The following sections of this BookRags Literature Study Guide is offprint from Gale's For Students Series: Presenting Analysis, Context, and Criticism on Commonly Studied Works: Introduction, Author Biography, Plot Summary, Characters, Themes, Style, Historical Context, Critical Overview, Criticism and Critical Essays, Media Adaptations, Topics for Further Study, Compare & Contrast, What Do I Read Next?, For Further Study, and Sources.
(c)1998-2002; (c)2002 by Gale. Gale is an imprint of The Gale Group, Inc., a division of Thomson Learning, Inc. Gale and Design and Thomson Learning are trademarks used herein under license.
The following sections, if they exist, are offprint from Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction: "Social Concerns", "Thematic Overview", "Techniques", "Literary Precedents", "Key Questions", "Related Titles", "Adaptations", "Related Web Sites". (c)1994-2005, by Walton Beacham.
The following sections, if they exist, are offprint from Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults: "About the Author", "Overview", "Setting", "Literary Qualities", "Social Sensitivity", "Topics for Discussion", "Ideas for Reports and Papers". (c)1994-2005, by Walton Beacham.
All other sections in this Literature Study Guide are owned and copyrighted by BookRags, Inc.
|Table of Contents|
|Start of eBook||1|
|GERMAN CRITICISM ON ENGLISH FEMALE ROMANCE WRITERS.||1|
|BY G.F.R. JAMES||10|
|THE FINE ARTS.||29|
|AUTHORS AND BOOKS.||29|
We translate the following for the International from a letter dated London, June 15, to the Cologne Gazette.
“Among the most remarkable writers of romances in England, three women are entitled to be reckoned in the first rank, namely, Miss Jewsbury, Miss Bronte, and Mrs. Gaskell. Miss Jewsbury issued her first work about four years since, a novel, in three volumes, under the title of ‘Zoe,’ and since then she has published the ‘Half Sisters.’ Both these works are excellent in manner as well as ideas, and show that their author is a woman of profound thought and deep feeling. Both are drawn from country life and the middle class, a sphere in which Miss Jewsbury is at home. The tendency of the first is speculative, and is based on religion; that of the second is social, relating to the position of woman.
“Miss Jewsbury is still young, for an authoress. She counts only some thirty years, and many productions may be confidently expected from her hand, though perhaps none will excel those already published, for, after gaining a certain climax, no one excels himself. Her usual residence is Manchester; it is but seldom that she visits the metropolis; she is now here. She has lively and pleasing manners, a slight person, fine features, a beautiful, dreamy, light brown eye. She is attractive without being beautiful, retiring, altogether without pretensions, and in conversation is neither brilliant nor very intellectual,—a still, thoughtful, modest character.
“Miss Bronte was long involved in a mysterious obscurity, from which she first emerged into the light as an actually existing being, at her present visit to London. Two years ago there appeared a romance, ’Jane Eyre,’ by ‘Currer Bell,’ which threw all England into astonishment. Everybody was tormenting himself to discover the real author, for there was no such person as Currer Bell, and no one could tell whether the book was written by a man or woman, because the hues of the romance now indicated a male and now female hand, without any possibility of supposing that the whole originated with a single pencil. The public attributed it now to one, now to another, and the book passed to a second edition without the solution of the riddle. At last there came out a second romance, ‘Shirley,’ by the same author, which was devoured with equal avidity, although it could not be compared to the former in value; and still the incognito was preserved. Finally, late in the autumn of last year the report was spread about that the image of Jane Eyre had been discovered in London in the person of a pale young lady, with gray eyes, who had been recognized as the long-sought authoress. Still she remained invisible. And again, in June 1850, it is said that Currer Bell, Jane Eyre, Miss Bronte,—for all three names mean the same person,—is in London, though
“Our third lady, Mrs. Gaskell, belongs also to the country, and is the wife of a Unitarian clergyman. In this capacity she has probably had occasion to know a great deal of the poorer classes, to her honor be it said. Her book, ‘Mary Barton,’ conducts us into the factory workman’s narrow dwelling, and depicts his joys and sorrows, his aims and efforts, his wants and his misery, with a power of truth that irresistibly lays hold upon the heart. The scene of the story alternates from there to the city mansion of the factory owner, where, along with luxury and splendor we find little love and little happiness, and where sympathy with the condition of the workman is wanting only because it is not known, and because no one understands why or how the workman suffers. The book, is at once very beautiful, very instructive, and written, in a spirit of conciliation.”
* * * * *
Margaret Fuller, marchesa D’OSSOLI.
Sarah Margaret Fuller, by marriage Marchioness of Ossoli, was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, about the year 1807. Her father, Mr. Timothy Fuller, was a lawyer, and from 1817 to 1825 he represented the Middlesex district in Congress. At the close of his last term as a legislator he purchased a farm near Cambridge, and determined to abandon his profession for the more congenial one of agriculture; but he died soon after, leaving a widow and six children, of whom Margaret was the eldest.
At a very early age she exhibited unusual abilities, and was particularly distinguished for an extraordinary facility in acquiring languages. Her father, proud of the displays of her intelligence, prematurely stimulated it to a degree that was ultimately injurious to her physical constitution. At eight years of age he was accustomed to require of her the composition of a number of Latin verses every day, while her studies in philosophy, history, general science and current literature were pressed to the limit of her capacities. When he first went to Washington he was accustomed to speak of her as one “better skilled in Greek and Latin than half of the professors;” and alluding in one of her essays, to her attachment to foreign literature, she herself observes that in childhood she had well-nigh forgotten her English while constantly reading in other tongues.
Soon after the death of her father, she applied herself to teaching as a vocation, first in Boston, then in Providence, and afterward in Boston again, while her “Conversations” were for several seasons attended by classes of women, some of them married, and many of them of the most eminent positions in society. These conversations are described by Dr. Orestes A. Brownson, as “in the highest degree brilliant, instructive, and inspiring,” and our own recollections of them confirm to us the justice of the applause with which they are now referred to. She made her first appearance as an author, in a translation of Eckermann’s Conversations with Goethe, published in Boston in 1839. When Mr. Emerson, in the following year, established The Dial, she became one of the principal contributors to that remarkable periodical, in which she wrote many of the most striking papers on literature, art, and society. In the summer of 1843 she made a journey to the Sault St. Marie, and in the next spring published in Boston reminiscences of her tour, under the title of Summer on the Lakes. The Dial having been discontinued, she came to reside in New York, where she had charge of the literary department of the New York Tribune, which acquired a great accession of reputation from her critical essays. Here in 1845 she published Woman in the Nineteenth Century; and in 1846, Papers on Literature and Art, in two volumes, consisting of essays and reviews, reprinted, with one exception, from periodicals.
In the summer of 1845, she accompanied the family of a friend to Europe, visiting England, Scotland, and France, and passing through Italy to Rome, where they spent the ensuing winter. The next spring she proceeded with her friends to the north of Italy, and there stopped, spending most of the summer at Florence, and returning at the approach of winter to Rome, where she was soon after married to Giovanni, Marquis d’Ossoli, who made her acquaintance during her first winter in that city. They resided in the Roman States until the last summer, after the surrender of Rome to the French army, when they deemed it expedient to go to Florence, both having taken an active part in the Republican movement. They left Florence in June, and at Leghorn embarked in the ship Elizabeth for New York. The passage commenced auspiciously, but at Gibraltar the master of the ship died of smallpox, and they were detained at the quarantine there some time in consequence of this misfortune, but finally set sail again on the 8th of June, and arrived on our coast during the terrible storm of the 18th and 19th ult., when, in the midst of darkness, rain, and a terrific gale, the ship was hurled on the breakers of Fire Island, near Long Island, and in a few hours was broken in pieces. Margaret Fuller d’Ossoli, the Marquis d’Ossoli, and their son, two years of age, with an Italian girl, and Mr. Horace Sumner of Boston, besides several of the crew, lost their lives. We reprint a sketch of the works and genius of Margaret Fuller, written several years ago by the late Edgar A. Poe.
* * * * *
“Miss Fuller was at one time editor, or one of the editors of the ‘The Dial,’ to which she contributed many of the most forcible and certainly some of the most peculiar papers. She is known, too, by ‘Summer on the Lakes,’ a remarkable assemblage of sketches, issued in 1844, by Little & Brown, of Boston. More lately she published ‘Woman in the Nineteenth Century,’ a work which has occasioned much discussion, having had the good fortune to be warmly abused and chivalrously defended. For ‘The New York Tribune,’ she has furnished a great variety of matter, chiefly notices of new books, etc., etc., her articles being designated by an asterisk. Two of the best of them were a review of Professor Longfellow’s late magnificent edition of his own works, (with a portrait,) and an appeal to the public in behalf of her friend Harro Harring. The review did her infinite credit; it was frank, candid, independent—in even ludicrous contrast to the usual mere glorifications of the day, giving honor only where honor was due, yet evincing the most thorough capacity to appreciate and the most sincere intention to place in the fairest light the real and idiosyncratic merits of the poet. In my opinion it is one of the very few reviews of Longfellow’s poems, ever published in America, of which the critics have not had abundant reason to be ashamed. Mr. Longfellow is entitled to a certain and very distinguished rank among the poets of his country, but that country is disgraced by the evident toadyism which would award to his social position and influence, to his fine paper and large type, to his morocco binding and gilt edges, to his flattering portrait of himself, and to the illustrations of his poems by Huntingdon, that amount of indiscriminate approbation which neither could nor would have been given to the poems themselves. The defense of Harro Harring, or rather the philippic against those who were doing him wrong, was one of the most eloquent and well-put articles I have ever yet seen in a newspaper.
“‘Woman in the Nineteenth Century’ is a book which few women in the country could have written, and no woman in the country would have published, with the exception of Miss Fuller. In the way of independence, of unmitigated radicalism, it is one of the ’Curiosities of American Literature,’ and Doctor Griswold should include it in his book. I need scarcely say that the essay is nervous, forcible, suggestive, brilliant, and to a certain extent scholar-like—for all that Miss Fuller produces is entitled to these epithets—but I must say that the conclusions reached are only in part my own. Not that they are bold, by any means—too novel, too startling or too dangerous in their consequences, but that in their attainment too many premises have been distorted, and too many analogical inferences left altogether out of sight. I mean to say that the intention of the Deity as regards sexual differences—an
“The most favorable estimate of Miss Fuller’s genius (for high genius she unquestionably possesses) is to be obtained, perhaps, from her contributions to ‘The Dial,’ and from her ‘Summer on the Lakes.’ Many of the descriptions in this volume are unrivaled for graphicality, (why is there not such a word?) for the force with which they convey the true by the novel or unexpected, by the introduction of touches which other artists would be sure to omit as irrelevant to the subject. This faculty, too, springs from her subjectiveness, which leads her to paint a scene less by its features than by its effects.
“Here, for example, is a portion of her account of Niagara:—
“’Daily these proportions widened and towered more and more upon my sight, and I got at last a proper foreground for these sublime distances. Before coming away, I think I really saw the full wonder of the scene. After a while it so drew me into itself as to inspire an undefined dread, such as I never knew before, such as may be felt when death is about to usher us into a new existence. The perpetual trampling of the waters seized my senses. I felt that no other sound, however near, could be heard, and would start and look behind me for a foe. I realised the identity of that mood of nature in which these waters were poured down with such absorbing force, with that in which the Indian was shaped on the same soil. For continually upon my mind came, unsought and unwelcome, images such as had never haunted it before, of naked savages stealing behind me with uplifted tomahawks. Again and again this illusion recurred, and even after I had thought it over, and tried to shake it off, I could not help starting and looking behind me. What I liked best was to sit on Table Rock close to the great fall; there all power of observing details, all separate consciousness was quite lost.’
“The truthfulness of the passages italicized will be felt by all; the feelings described are, perhaps, experienced by every (imaginative) person who visits the fall; but most persons, through predominant subjectiveness,
“From the essay entitled ’Philip Van Artevelde, I copy a paragraph which will serve at once to exemplify Miss Fuller’s more earnest (declamatory) style, and to show the tenor of her prospective speculations:—
“’At Chicago I read again ‘Philip Van Artevelde,’ and certain passages in it will always be in my mind associated with the deep sound of the lake, as heard in the night. I used to read a short time at night, and then open the blind to look out. The moon would be full upon the lake, and the calm breath, pure light, and the deep voice, harmonized well with the thought of the Flemish hero. When will this country have such a man? It is what she needs—no thin Idealist, no coarse Realist, but a man whose eye reads the heavens while his feet step firmly on the ground, and his hands are strong and dexterous in the use of human instruments. A man, religious, virtuous, and—sagacious; a man of universal sympathies, but self-possessed; a man who knows the region of emotion, though he is not its slave; a man to whom this world is no mere spectacle or fleeting shadow, but a great, solemn game, to be played with good heed, for its stakes are of eternal value, yet who, if his own play be true, heeds not what he loses by the falsehood of others. A man who lives from the past, yet knows that its honey can but moderately avail him; whose comprehensive eye scans the present, neither infatuated by its golden lures nor chilled by its many ventures; who possesses prescience, as the wise man must, but not so far as to be driven mad to-day by the gift which discerns to-morrow. When there is such a man for America, the thought which urges her on will be expressed.”
“From what I have quoted, a general conception of the prose style of the authoress may be gathered. Her manner, however, is infinitely varied. It is always forcible—but I am not sure that it is always anything else, unless I say picturesque. It rather indicates than evinces scholarship. Perhaps only the scholastic, or, more properly, those accustomed to look narrowly at the structure of phrases, would be willing to acquit her of ignorance of grammar—would be willing to attribute her slovenliness to disregard of the shell in anxiety for the kernel; or to waywardness, or to affectation, or to blind reverence to Carlyle—would be able to detect, in her strange and continual inaccuracies, a capacity for the accurate.
“’I cannot sympathize
with such an apprehension; the spectacle
is capable to swallow up all such objects.”
“It is fearful, too,
to know, as you look, that whatever has
been swallowed by the cataract, is like to rise suddenly to
“I took our mutual friends to see her.”
“It was always obvious
that they had nothing in common
“The Indian cannot be
looked at truly except by a poetic
to the Lakes gives some facts not to be met
“There is that mixture
of culture and rudeness in the aspect
of things as gives a feeling of freedom,” etc., etc.
“These are merely a few, a very few instances, taken at random from among a multitude of willful murders committed by Miss Fuller on the American of President Polk. She uses, too, the word ‘ignore,’ a vulgarity adopted only of late days (and to no good purpose, since there is no necessity for it) from the barbarisms of the law, and makes no scruple of giving the Yankee interpretation to the verbs ‘witness’ and ‘realize,’ to say nothing of ‘use,’ as in the sentence, ‘I used to read a short time at night.’ It will not do to say in defense of such words, that in such senses they may be found in certain dictionaries—in that of Bolles’, for instance;—some kind of ‘authority’ may be found for any kind of vulgarity under the sun.
“In spite of these things, however and of her frequent unjustifiable Carlyleisms, (such as that of writing sentences which are no sentences, since, to be parsed, reference must be had to sentences preceding,) the style of Miss Fuller is one of the very best with which I am acquainted. In general effect, I know no style which surpasses it. It is singularly piquant, vivid, terse, bold, luminous—leaving details out of sight, it is everything that a style need be.
“I believe that Miss Fuller has written much poetry, although she has published little. That little is tainted with the affectation of the transcendentalists, (I used this term, of course, in the sense which the public of late days seem resolved to give it,) but is brimful of the poetic sentiment. Here, for example, is something in Coleridge’s manner, of which the author of ‘Genevieve’ might have had no reason to be ashamed:—
A maiden sat beneath a tree;
Tear-bedewed her pale cheeks be,
And she sighed heavily.
From forth the wood into the light
A hunter strides with carol light
And a glance so bold and bright.
He careless stopped and eyed the maid;
‘Why weepest thou?’ he gently said;
‘I love thee well, be not afraid.’
He takes her hand and leads her on—
She should have waited there alone,
For he was not her chosen one.
He leans her head upon his breast—
She knew ’twas not her home of rest,
But, ah! she had been sore distrest.
The sacred stars looked sadly down;
The parting moon appeared to frown,
To see thus dimmed the diamond crown.
Then from the thicket starts a deer—
The huntsman seizing on his spear
Cries, ‘Maiden, wait thou for me here.’
She sees him vanish into night—
She starts from sleep in deep affright,
For it was not her own true knight.
Though but in dream Gunhilda failed—
Though but a fancied ill assailed—
Though she but fancied fault bewailed—
Yet thought of day makes dream of night;
She is not worthy of the knight;
The inmost altar burns not bright.
If loneliness thou canst not bear—
Cannot the dragon’s venom dare—
Of the pure meed thou shouldst despair.
Now sadder that lone maiden sighs;
Far bitterer tears profane her eyes;
Crushed in the dust her heart’s flower lies.’
“To show the evident carelessness with which this poem was constructed, I have italicized an identical rhyme (of about the same force in versification as an identical proposition in logic) and two grammatical improprieties. To lean is a neuter verb, and ’seizing on’ is not properly to be called a pleonasm, merely because it is—nothing at all. The concluding line is difficult of pronunciation through excess of consonants. I should have preferred, indeed, the ante-penultimate tristich as the finale of the poem.
“The supposition that the book of an author is a thing apart from the author’s self, is, I think, ill-founded. The soul is a cipher, in the sense of a cryptograph; and the shorter a cryptograph is, the more difficulty there is in its comprehension—at a certain point of brevity it would bid defiance to an army of Champollions. And thus he who has written very little, may in that little either conceal his spirit or convey quite an erroneous idea of it—of his acquirements, talents, temper, manner, tenor and depth (or shallowness) of thought—in a word of his character, of himself. But this is impossible with him who has written much. Of such a person we get, from his books, not merely a just, but the most just representation. Bulwer, the individual, personal man, in a green velvet waistcoat and amber gloves, is not by any means the veritable Sir Edward Lytton, who is discoverable only in ‘Ernest Maltravers,’ where his soul is deliberately and nakedly set forth. And who would ever know Dickens by looking at him or talking with him, or doing anything with him except reading his ‘Curiosity Shop?’ What poet, in especial, but must feel at least the better portion of himself more fairly represented in even his commonest sonnet, (earnestly written,) than in his most elaborate or most intimate personalities?
“I put all this as a general proposition, to which Miss Fuller affords a marked exception—to this extent, that her personal character and her printed book are merely one and the same thing. We get access to her soul as directly from the one as from the other—no more readily from this than from that—easily from either. Her acts are bookish, and her books are less thoughts than acts. Her literary and her conversational manner are identical. Here is a passage from her ’Summer on the Lakes:’—
“’The rapids enchanted me far beyond what I expected; they are so swift that they cease to seem so—you can think only of their beauty. The fountain beyond the Moss Islands I discovered for myself, and thought it for some time an accidental beauty which it would not do to leave, lest I might never see it again. After I found it permanent, I returned many times to watch the play of its crest. In the little waterfall, beyond, Nature seems, as she often does, to have made a study for some larger design. She delights in this—a sketch within a sketch—a dream within a dream. Wherever we see it, the lines of the great buttress in the fragment of stone, the hues of the waterfall, copied in the flowers that star its bordering mosses, we are delighted; for all the lineaments become fluent, and we mould the scene in congenial thought with its genius.’
“Now all this is precisely as Miss Fuller would speak it. She is perpetually saying just such things in just such words. To get the conversational woman in the mind’s eye, all that is needed is to imagine her reciting the paragraph just quoted: but first let us have the personal woman. She is of the medium height; nothing remarkable about the figure; a profusion of lustrous light hair; eyes a bluish gray, full of fire; capacious forehead; the mouth when in repose indicates profound sensibility, capacity for affection, for love—when moved by a slight smile, it becomes even beautiful in the intensity of this expression; but the upper lip, as if impelled by the action of involuntary muscles, habitually uplifts itself, conveying the impression of a sneer. Imagine, now, a person of this description looking at you one moment earnestly in the face, at the next seeming to look only within her own spirit or at the wall; moving nervously every now and then in her chair; speaking in a high key, but musically, deliberately, (not hurriedly or loudly,) with a delicious distinctness of enunciation—speaking, I say, the paragraph in question, and emphasizing the words which I have italicized, not by impulsion of the breath, (as is usual) but by drawing them out as long as possible, nearly closing her eyes, the while—imagine all this, and we have both the woman and the authoress before us.”
* * * * *
[FROM THE NEW YORK TRIBUNE.]
ON THE DEATH OF S. MARGARET FULLER.
High hopes and bright thine early path
And aspirations beautiful, though wild,
A heart too strong, a powerful will unchecked,
A dream that earth-things could be undefiled.
But soon, around thee, grew a golden chain,
That bound the woman to more human things,
And taught with joy—and, it may be, with pain—
That there are limits e’en to Spirits’ wings.
Husband and child—the loving
Won, from the vast of thought, a mortal part,
The empassioned wife and mother, yielding, proved
Mind has, itself, a master—in the heart.
In distant lands enhaloed by old fame
Thou found’st the only chain the spirit knew,
But, captive, led’st thy captors from the shame
Of ancient freedom, to the pride of new.
And loved hearts clung around thee on
Welling with sunny hopes ’neath sunny skies;
The wide horizon round thee had no speck;
E’en Doubt herself could see no cloud arise.
The loved ones clung around thee, when
O’er wide Atlantic billows, onward bore
Thy freight of joys, and the expanding gale
Pressed the glad bark toward thy native shore.
The loved ones clung around thee still,
Was darkness, tempest, terror, and dismay—
More closely clung around thee, when the pall
Of fate was falling o’er the mortal clay.
With them to live—with them,
with them to die—
Sublime of human love intense and fine!
Was thy last prayer unto the Deity,
And it was granted thee by love divine.
In the same billow—in the same
Mother, and child, and husband find their rest.
The dream is ended; and the solemn wave
Gives back the gifted to her country’s breast.
* * * * *
An Illustration of the high prices paid to fortunate artists in these times may be found in the fact that Alboni, the famous contralto singer, has been engaged to sing at Madrid, at the enormous rate of $400 dollars per day, while Roger, the tenor, who used to sing at the Comic Opera at Paris, and who was transplanted to the Grand Opera to assist in the production of Meyerbeer’s “Prophet,” has been engaged to sing with her at the more moderate salary of $8000 a month. This is almost equal to the extravagant sum guaranteed to Jenny Lind for performing in this country. It would be a curious inquiry why singers and dancers are always paid so much more exorbitantly than painters, sculptors or musical composers, especially as the pleasure they confer is of a merely evanescent character, while the works of the latter remain a perpetual source of delight and refinement to all generations.
* * * * *
FRASER’S MAGAZINE UPON THE POETS AND POETRY OF AMERICA.
The last number of Fraser’s Magazine has a long article upon THE POETS AND POETRY OF AMERICA, in which the subject is treated with more than the customary civility of English criticism upon this subject. We are half inclined, indeed, to believe the article was written “above Bleecker,” or by an inhabitant of that quarter now in London. Omitting the illustrative extracts, we copy the greater portion of the review, in which most of those who are admitted to be poets are characterized.
“When Halleck said of New York—
Contain some seven-and-thirty-bards,
he rather understated than exaggerated the fact. Mr. Griswold, besides the ninety regular poets in his collection, gives an appendix of about seventy fugitive pieces by as many authors; and bitter complaints have been made against him in various quarters for not including some seventy, or a hundred and seventy more, ‘who,’ it is said, and probably with truth, ’have as good a right to be there as many of those admitted.’ Still it is possible to pick out a few of general reputation, whom literati from all parts of the Union would agree in sustaining as specimens of distinguished American poets, though they would differ in assigning their relative position. Thus, if the Republic had to choose a laureate, Boston would probably deposit a nearly unanimous vote for Longfellow; the suffrages of New York might he divided between Bryant and Halleck; and the southern cities would doubtless give a large majority for Poe. But these gentlemen, and some three or four more, would be acknowledged by all as occupying the first rank. Perhaps, on the whole, the preponderance of native authority justifies us in heading the list with Bryant, who, at any rate, has the additional title of seniority in authorship, if not in actual years.
“William Cullen Bryant is, as we learn from Mr. Griswold, about fifty-five years old, and was born in Massachusetts, though his literary career is chiefly associated with New York, of which he is a resident. With a precocity extraordinary, even in a country where precocity is the rule instead of the exception, he began to write and publish at the age of thirteen, and has, therefore, been full forty years before the American public, and that not in the capacity of poet alone—having for more than half that period edited the Evening Post, one of the ablest and most respectable papers in the United States, and the oldest organ, we believe, of the Democratic party in New York. He has been called, and with justice, a poet of nature. The prairie solitude, the summer evening landscape, the night wind of autumn, the water-bird flitting homeward through the twilight—such are the favorite subjects of inspiration. Thanatopsis, one of his most admired pieces, was written at the age of eighteen, and exhibits a finish of style, no less than a maturity of thought, very remarkable for so youthful a production. Mr. Bryant’s poems have been for some years pretty well known on this side the water,—better known, at any rate, than any other transatlantic verses; on which account, being somewhat limited for space, we forbear to make any extracts from them.
“FITZ-GREENE HALLECK is also a New-Englander by birth and a New Yorker by adoption. He is Bryant’s contemporary and friend, but the spirit and style of his versification are very different; and so, it is said, are his political affinities. While Bryant is a bulwark of the Democracy, Halleck is reported to be not only an admirer of the obsolete Federalists, but an avowed Monarchist. To be sure, this is only his private reputation: no trace of such a feeling is observable in his writings, which show throughout a sturdy vein of republicanism, social and political. In truth, the party classification of American literary men is apt to puzzle the uninitiated. Thus Washington Irving is said to belong to the Democrats; but it would be hard to find in his writings anything countenancing their claim upon him. His sketches of English society are a panegyric of old institutions; and the fourth book of his Knickerbocker is throughout a palpable satire on the administration of Thomas Jefferson, the great apostle of Democracy. Perhaps, however, he may since have changed his views. Willis, too, the ‘Free Penciler,’ who has been half his life prating about lords and ladies, and great people, and has become a sort of Jenkins to the fashionable life of New York; he also is one of the Democratic party. Peradventure he may vote the ‘Locofoco ticket’ in the hope of propitiating the boys (as the canaille of American cities are properly called), and saving his printing-office from the fate of the Italian Opera House in Astor Place. But what shall we say of Cooper, who, by his anti-democratic opinions, has made himself one of the most unpopular men in his country, and whose recent political novels rival the writings of Judge Haliburton in the virulence as well as the cleverness of their satire upon Republican institutions? He, too, is a Democrat. To us, who are not behind the curtain, these things are a mystery incapable of explanation. To return to our present subject. Halleck made his debut in the poetical world by some satirical pieces called The Croakers, which created as much sensation at their appearance as the anonymous Salmagundi which commenced Irving’s literary career. These were succeeded by Fanny, a poem in the Don Juan metre. Fanny has no particular plot or story, but is a satirical review of all the celebrities, literary, fashionable, and political, of New York at that day (1821). And the satire was probably very good at the time and in the place; but, unfortunately for the extent and permanence of its reputation, most of these celebrities are utterly unknown, not merely beyond the limits of the Union, but beyond those of New York. Among all the personages enumerated we can find but two names that an European reader would be likely to know anything about,—Clinton and Van Buren. Nay, more, in the rapid growth and change of things American, the present generation of New Yorkers are likely to lose sight of the lions
“LONGFELLOW, the pet poet of Boston, is a much younger man than either Bryant or Halleck, and has made his reputation only within the last twelve years, during which time he has been one of the most noted lions of American Athens. The city of Boston, as every one knows who has been there, or who has met with any book or man emanating from it, claims to be the literary metropolis of the United States, and assumes the slightly-pretending soubriquet just quoted. The American Athenians have their thinking and writing done for them by a coterie whose distinctive characteristics are Socinianism in theology, a praeter-Puritan prudery in ethics, a German tendency in metaphysics, and throughout all a firm persuasion that Boston is the fountain-head of art, scholarship, and literature for the western world, and particularly that New York is a Nazareth in such things, out of which can come nothing good. For the Bostonians,
“The immediate influences of this camaraderie are highly flattering and apparently beneficial to the subject of them, but its ultimate effects are most injurious to the proper development of his powers. When the merest trifles that a man throws off are inordinately praised, he soon becomes content with producing the merest trifles. Longfellow has grown unaccustomed to do himself justice. Half his volumes are filled up with translations; graceful and accurate, indeed; but translations, and often from originals of very moderate merit. His last original poem, Evangeline, is a sort of pastoral in hexameters. The resuscitation of this classical metre had a queer effect upon the American quidnuncs. Some of the critics evidently believed it to be a bran-new metre invented for the nonce by the author, a delusion which they of the ‘Mutual Admiration’ rather winked at; and the parodists who endeavored to ridicule the new measure were evidently not quite sure whether seven feet or nine made a hexameter. It is really to be regretted that Longfellow has been cajoled into playing these tricks with himself, for his earlier pieces were works of much promise, and, had they been worthily followed out, might have entitled him to a high place among the poets of the language.... Longfellow’s poetry, whenever he really lays himself out to write poetry, has a definite idea and purpose in it—no small merit now-a-days. His versification is generally harmonious, and he displays a fair command of metre. Sometimes he takes a fancy to an obsolete or out-of-the-way stanza; one of his longest and best poems, The Skeleton in Armor, is exactly in the measure of Drayton’s fine ballad on Agincourt. His chief fault is an over-fondness for simile and metaphor. He seems to think indispensable the introduction into everything he writes of a certain (or sometimes a very uncertain) number of these figures. Accordingly his poems are crowded with comparisons, sometimes very pretty and pleasing, at others so far-fetched that the string of tortured images which lead off Alfred
“Such persons as know from experience that literary people are not always in private life what their writings would betoken, that Miss Bunions do not precisely resemble March violets, and mourners upon paper may be laughers over mahogany—such persons will not be surprised to hear that the Longfellow is a very jolly fellow, a lover of fun and good dinners, and of an amiability and personal popularity that have aided not a little the popularity of his writings in verse and prose—for he writes prose too, prettier, quainter, more figurative, and more poetic if anything, than his poetry. He is also a professor at Harvard College, near Boston.
“EDGAR A. POE, like Longfellow and most of the other American poets, wrote prose as well as poetry, having produced a number of wild, grotesque, and powerfully-imagined tales; unlike most of them he was a literary man pur sang. He depended for support entirely on his writings, and his career was more like the precarious existence of an author in the time of Johnson and Savage than the decent life of an author in our own day. He was a Southerner by birth, acquired a liberal education, and what the French call ‘expansive’ tastes, was adopted by a rich relative, quarreled with him, married ‘for love,’ and lived by editing magazines in Richmond, Philadelphia, and New York; by delivering lectures (the never-failing last resort of the American literary adventurer); by the occasional subscriptions of compassionate acquaintances or admiring friends—any way he could—for eighteen or nineteen years: lost his wife, involved himself in endless difficulties, and finally died in what should have been the prime of his life, about six months ago. His enemies attributed his untimely death to intemperance; his writings would rather lead to the belief that he was an habitual taker of opium. If it make a man a poet to be
Dowered with the hate of hate, the scorn
The love of love,
Poe was certainly a poet. Virulently and ceaselessly abused by his enemies (who included a large portion of the press), he was worshiped to infatuation by his friends. The severity of his editorial criticisms, and the erratic course of his life, fully account for the former circumstance; the latter is probably to be attributed, in part at least, to pity for his mishaps.
“If Longfellow’s poetry is best designated as quaint, Poe’s may most properly be characterized as fantastic. The best of it reminds one of Tennyson, not by any direct imitation of particular passages, but by its general air and tone. But he was very far from possessing Tennyson’s fine ear for melody. His skill in versification, sometimes striking enough, was evidently artificial; he overstudied metrical expression and overrated its value so as sometimes to write, what were little better than nonsense-verses, for the rhythm. He had an incurable propensity for refrains, and when he had once caught a harmonious cadence, appeared to think it could not be too often repeated. Poe’s name is usually mentioned in connection with The Raven, a poem which he published about five years ago. It had an immense run, and gave rise to innumerable parodies—those tests of notoriety if not of merit. And certainly it is not without a peculiar and fantastic excellence in the execution, while the conception is highly striking and poetic. This much notice seems due to a poem which created such a sensation in the author’s country. To us it seems by no means the best of Poe’s productions; we much prefer, for instance, this touching allegory, which was originally embodied in one of his wildest tales, The Haunted Palace. In the very same volume with this are some verses that Poe wrote when a boy, and some that a boy might be ashamed of writing. Indeed the secret of rejection seems to be little known to Transatlantic bards. The rigidness of self-criticism which led Tennyson to ignore and annihilate, so far as in him lay, full one half of his earlier productions, would hardly be understood by them. This is particularly unlucky in the case of Poe, whose rhymes sometimes run fairly away with him, till no purpose or meaning is traceable amid a jingle of uncommon and fine-sounding words....
“Though Poe was a Southerner, his poetry has nothing in it suggestive of his peculiar locality. It is somewhat remarkable that the slave-holding, which has tried almost all other means of excusing or justifying itself before the world, did not think of ‘keeping a poet,’ and engaging the destitute author from its own territory to sing the praises of ‘the patriarchal institution.’ And it would have been a fair provocation that the Abolitionists had their poet already. Indeed several of the northern poets have touched upon this subject; Longfellow, in particular, has published a series of spirited and touching anti-slavery poems; but the man who has made it his specialite is JOHN GREENLEAF WHITTIER, a Quaker, literary editor of the National Era, an Abolition and ultra-Radical paper, which, in manful despite of Judge Lynch, is published at Washington, between the slave-pens and the capitol. His verses are certainly obnoxious to the jurisdiction of that notorious popular potentate, being unquestionably ‘inflammatory, incendiary, and insurrectionary,’ as the Southern formula goes, in a very high degree. He makes passionate appeals to the Puritan spirit of New England, and calls on her sons to utter their voice,
... From all her wild green mountains,
From valleys where her slumbering fathers lie,
From her blue rivers and her welling fountains,
And clear cold sky—
From her rough coast, and isles, which hungry Ocean
Gnaws with his surges—from the fisher’s skiff,
With white sails swaying to the billow’s motion
Round rock and cliff—
From the free fireside of her unbought farmer,
From her free laborer at his loom and wheel.
From the brown smithy where, beneath the hammer,
Rings the red steel—
From each and all, if God hath not forsaken
Our land and left us to an evil choice;—
“and protest against the shocking anomaly of slavery in a free country. At times, when deploring the death of some fellow laborer in the cause, he falls into a somewhat subdued strain, though even then there is more of spirit and fire in his verses than one naturally expects from a follower of George Fox; but on such occasions he displays a more careful and harmonious versification than is his wont. There is no scarcity of these elegies in his little volume, the Abolitionists, even when they escape the attentions of the high legal functionary already alluded to, not being apparently a long-lived class.
“Toujours perdrix palls in poetry as in cookery; we grow tired after awhile of invectives against governors of slave-states and mercenary persons, and dirges for untimely perished Abolitionists. The wish suggests itself that Whittier would not always
‘Give up to a party what is meant for mankind,’
but sometimes turn his powers in another direction. Accordingly, it is a great relief to find him occasionally trying his hand on the early legends of New England and Canada, which do not suffer such ballads as St. John....
“Whittier is less known than several other Western bards to the English reader, and we think him entitled to stand higher on the American Parnassus than most of his countrymen would place him. His faults—harshness and want of polish—are evident; but there is more life, and spirit, and soul in his verses, than in those of eight-ninths of Mr. Griswold’s immortal ninety.
“From political verse (for the anti-slavery agitation must be considered quite as much a political as a moral warfare) the transition is natural to satire and humorous poetry. Here we find no lack of matter, but a grievous short-coming in quality. The Americans are no contemptible humorists in prose, but their fun cannot be set to verse. They are very fond of writing parodies, yet we have scarcely ever seen a good parody of American origin. And their satire is generally more distinguished for personality and buffoonery than wit. Halleck’s Fanny looks as if it might be good, did we only know something of the people satirized in it. The reputed comic poet of the country at present is OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES,
“But within the last three years there has arisen in the United States a satirist of genuine excellence, who, however, besides being but moderately appreciated by his countrymen, seems himself in a great measure to have mistaken his real forte. JAMES RUSSELL LOWELL, one of the Boston coterie, has for some time been publishing verses, which are by the coterie duly glorified, but which are in no respect distinguishable from the ordinary level of American poetry, except that they combine an extraordinary pretension to originality, with a more than usually palpable imitation of English models. Indeed, the failure was so manifest, that the American literati seem, in this one case, to have rebelled against Boston dictation, and there is sufficient internal evidence that such of them as do duty for critics handled Mr. Lowell pretty severely. Violently piqued at this, and simultaneously conceiving a disgust for the Mexican war, he was impelled by both feelings to take the field as a satirist: to the former we owe the Fable for Critics; to the latter, the Biglow Papers. It was a happy move, for he has the rare faculty of writing clever doggerel. Take out the best of Ingoldsby, Campbell’s rare piece of fun The Friars of Dijon, and perhaps a little of Walsh’s Aristophanes, and there is no contemporary verse of the class with which Lowell’s may not fearlessly stand a comparison; for, observe, we are not speaking of mock heroics like Bon Gaultier’s, which are only a species of parody, but of real doggerel, the Rabelaisque of poetry. The Fable is somewhat on the Ingoldsby model,—that is to say, a good part of its fun consists in queer rhymes, double, treble, or poly-syllabic; and it has even Barham’s fault—an occasional over-consciousness of effort, and calling on the reader to admire, as if the tour de force could not speak for itself. But Ingoldsby’s rhymes will not give us a just idea of the Fable until we superadd Hook’s puns; for the fabulist has a pleasant knack of making puns—outrageous and unhesitating ones—exactly of the kind to set off the general style of his verse. The sternest critic could hardly help relaxing over such a bundle of them as are contained in Apollo’s lament over the ‘treeification’ of his Daphne.... The Fable is a sort of review in verse of American poets. Much of the Boston leaven runs through it; the wise men of the East are all glorified intensely, while Bryant and Halleck are studiously depreciated. But though thus freely exercising his own critical powers in verse, the author is most bitter against all critics in prose, and gives us a ludicrous picture of one—
A terrible fellow to meet in society,
Not the toast that he buttered was ever so dry at tea.
And this gentleman is finely shown up for his condemnatory predilections and inability to discern or appreciate beauties. The cream of the joke against him is, that being sent by Apollo to choose a lily in a flower-garden, he brings back a thistle as all he could find. The picture is a humorous one, but we are at a loss to conjecture who can have sat for it in America, where the tendency is all the other way, reviewers being apt to apply the butter of adulation with the knife of profusion to every man, woman, or child who rushes into print. Some of his complaints, too, against the critic sound very odd; as, for instance, that
His lore was engraft, something foreign that grew in him.
Surely the very meaning of learning is that it is something which a man learns—acquires from other sources—does not originate in himself. But it is a favorite practice with Mr. Lowell’s set to rail against dry learning and pedants, while at the same time there are no men more fond of showing off cheap learning than themselves: Lowell himself never loses an opportunity of bringing in a bit of Greek or Latin. Our readers must have known such persons—for, unfortunately, the United States has no monopoly of them—men who delight in quoting Latin before ladies, talking Penny-Magazine science in the hearing of clodhoppers, and preaching of high art to youths who have never had the chance of seeing any art at all. Then you will hear them say nothing about pedantry. But let a man be present who knows more Greek than they do, or who has a higher standard of poetry or painting or music, and wo be to him! Him they will persecute to the uttermost. What is to be done with such men but to treat them a la Shandon, ’Give them Burton’s Anatomy, and leave them to their own abominable devices?’
“The Biglow Papers are imaginary epistles from a New England farmer, and contain some of the best specimens extant of the ‘Yankee,’ or New England dialect,—better than Haliburton’s, for Sam Slick sometimes mixes Southern, Western, and even English vulgarities with his Yankee. Mr. Biglow’s remarks treat chiefly of the Mexican war, and subjects immediately connected with it, such as slavery, truckling of Northerners to the south, &c. The theme is treated in various ways with uniform bitterness. Now he sketches a ‘Pious Editors Creed,’ almost too daring in its Scriptural allusions, but terribly severe upon the venal fraternity. At another time he sets one of Calhoun’s pro-slavery speeches to music. The remarks of the great Nullifier form the air of the song, and the incidental remarks of honorable senators on the same side make up a rich chorus, their names supplying happy tags to the rhymes. But best of all are the letters of his friend the returned volunteer, Mr. Birdofredom Sawin, who draws a sad picture of the private soldier’s life in Mexico. He had gone out with hopes of making his fortune. But he was sadly disappointed and equally so in his expectations of glory, which ’never got so low down as the privates.’
“But it is time to bring this notice to a close not, however, that we have by any means exhausted the subject. For have we not already stated that there are, at the lowest calculation, ninety American poets, spreading all over the alphabet, from Allston, who is unfortunately dead, to Willis, who is fortunately living, and writing Court Journals for the ‘Upper Ten Thousand,’ as he has named the quasi-aristocracy of New York? And the lady-poets—the poetesses, what shall we say of them? Truly it would be ungallant to say anything ill of them, and invidious to single out a few among so many; therefore, it will be best for us to say—nothing at all about any of them.”
* * * * *
On this rustic footbridge sitting,
I have passed delightful eyes,
Moonbeams round about me flitting
Through the overhanging leaves.
With me often came another,
When the west wore hues of gold,
And ’twas neither sister—brother—
One the heart may dearer hold.
She was fair and lightly moulded,
Azure eyed and full of grace;
Gentler form was never folded
In a lover’s warm embrace.
Oh those hours of sacred converse,
Their communion now is o’er
And our straying feet shall traverse
Those remembered paths no more.
Hours they were of love and gladness,
Fraught with holy vows of truth:
Not a single thought of sadness
Shadowing o’er the hopes of youth.
I am sitting sad and lonely
Where she often sat with me,
And the voice I hear is only
Of the silvery streamlet’s glee.
Where is she, whose gentle fingers,
Oft were wreathed amidst my hair?
Still methinks their pressure lingers,
But, ah no! they are not there.
They are whiter now than ever,
In a light I know not of,
Sweeping o’er the chords of silver
To a song of joy and love.
Though so lonely I am sitting,
This sweet thought of joy may bring,
That she still is round me flitting,
On an angel’s tireless wing.
* * * * *
THE AUTHOR OF “ION.”
“Mr. Talfourd is now a Justice, and we find in the London journals an account of a visit to his residence by a deputation from his native town, to present to him a silver candelabrum, subscribed for by a large number of the inhabitants of the borough, of all parties. The base of the candelabrum is a tripod, on which stands a group of three female figures; representing Law, Justice, and Poetry, the two former modeled from Flaxman’s sculpture on Lord Mansfield’s monument in Westminster Abbey, the latter from a drawing of the Greek Antique, bearing a scroll inscribed with the word “Ion” in Greek characters. The arms of Mr. Talfourd and of the borough of Reading are engraved on the base. The testimonial was presented to the Justice in the presence of his family, including the venerable Mrs. Talfourd, his mother, and a large circle of private friends. In answer to the gentleman who presented the testimonial, Mr. Talfourd replied:
“If I felt that the circumstances of this hour, and the eloquent kindness which has enriched it, appealed for a response only to personal qualities, I should be too conscious of the poverty of such materials for an answer to attempt one; but the associations they suggest expand into wider circles than self impels, and while they teach me that this occasion is not for the indulgence of vanity, but for the cultivation of humble thankfulness, they impart a nobler significance to your splendid gift and to your delightful praise. They remind me that my intellectual being has, from its first development, been nurtured by the partiality of those whom, living and dead, you virtually represent to-day; they concentrate the wide-spread instances of that peculiar felicity in my lot whereby I have been privileged to find aid, comfort, inspiration, and allowance in that local community amidst which my life began; and they invite me, from that position which once bounded my furthest horizon of personal hope, to live along the line of past existence; to recognize the same influence everywhere pervading it: and to perceive how its struggles have been assisted; its errors softened down or vailed, and its successes enhanced, by the constant presence of home-born regards. Embracing in a rapid glance the events of many years, I call to mind how at an early age—earlier than is generally safe or happy for youths—the incidents of life, supplying an unusual stimulus to ordinary powers, gave vividness to those dreams of human excellence and progress which, at some time, visit all; how by the weakness which precluded them from assuming those independent shapes which require the plastic force of higher powers, they became associated with the scenes among which they were cherished, and clove to them with earnest grasp; and how the fervid expressions which that combination prompted, were accepted by generous friends as indicating faculties ‘beyond the reaches of my soul,’ and induced them to encourage me by genial prophecies which, with unwearied purpose, they endeavored to fulfill. I renew that golden season when such vague aspirations were at once cherished and directed by the Christian wisdom of the venerated master of Reading School—who, during his fifty years of authority, made the name of our town a household word to successive generations of scholars, who honored him in all parts of the world, and all departments of society—whose long life was one embodied charity—and who gave steadiness and object to those impulses in me which else might have ended, as they began, in dreams. I remember, when pausing on the slippery threshold of active life, and looking abroad on the desolate future, how the earnestness of my friends gave me courage, and emboldened me, with no patrons but themselves, to enter the profession of my choice by its most dim and laborious avenue, and to brace myself for four years of arduous pupilage; how they crowded with pleasures the intervals of holiday
* * * * *
Cultivate and exercise a serene faith, and you shall acquire wonderful power and insight; its results are sure and illimitable, moulding and moving to its purposes equally spirit, mind, and matter. It is the power-endowing essential of all action.
* * * * *
Under this head we have rarely to present so many articles as are demanded by the foreign journals received during the week, and by the melancholy disaster which caused the death of the MARCHESA D’OSSOLI, with her husband, and Mr. SUMNER. Of MARGARET FULLER D’OSSOLI a sketch is given in the preceding pages, and we reserve for our next number an article upon the history of Sir ROBERT PEEL. The death of this illustrious person has caused a profound sensation not only in Great Britain, but throughout Europe. In the House of Lords, most eloquent and impressive speeches upon the exalted character of the deceased, and the irreparable loss of the country, were delivered by the Marquis of Lansdowne, Lord Stanley, Lord Brougham, the Duke of Wellington, and the Duke of Cleveland, and in the House of Commons, by Lord John Russell, and Messrs. Hume, Gladstone, Goulburn, Herries, Napier, Inglis and Somervile. The House, in testimony of its grief, adjourned without business, an act without
* * * * *
BOYER, EX-PRESIDENT OF HAYTI.
Jean Pierre Boyer, a mulatto, distinguished in affairs, and for his abilities and justice, was born at Port-au-Prince, on the 6th of February, 1776. His father, by some said to have been of mixed blood, was a tailor and shopkeeper, of fair reputation and some property, and his mother a negress from Congo in Africa, who had been a slave in the neighborhood. He joined the French Commissioners, Santhonax and Polverel, in whose company, after the arrival of the English, he withdrew to Jacqemel. Here he attached himself to Rigaud, set out with him to France, and was captured on his passage by the Americans, during the war between France and the United States. Being released at the end of the war, he proceeded to Paris, where he remained until the organization of Le Clerc’s expedition against St. Domingo. This expedition he with many other persons of color joined; but on the death of Le Clerc he attached himself to the party of Petion, with whom he acted during the remainder of that chieftain’s life, which terminated on the 29th of March, 1818. Under Petion he rose from the post of aid-de-camp and private secretary to be general of the arrondissement of Port-au-Prince; and Petion named him for the succession in the Presidency, to which he was inducted without opposition. When the revolution broke out in the northern part of the island, in 1820, Boyer was invited by the insurgents to place himself at their head; and on the death of Christophe, the northern and southern parts of the island were united under his administration into one government, under the style of the Republic of Hayti. In the following year the Spanish inhabitants of the eastern part of the island voluntarily placed themselves under the government of Boyer, who thus became, chiefly by the force of character, without much positive effort, the undisputed master of all St. Domingo.
It is not questionable that the productions and general prosperity of the island decreased under Boyer’s administration. The blacks needed the stringent policy of some such tyrant as Christophe. And the popularity of Boyer was greatly lessened by his approval or direct negotiation of a treaty with France, by which he agreed to pay to that country an indemnity of 150,000,000 of francs, in five annual instalments. The French Government recognized the independence of Hayti, but it was impossible for Boyer to meet his engagements. He however conducted the administration
* * * * *
THE DUKE OF CAMBRIDGE.
The death of the Duke of Cambridge, brother of the late William IV., occurred the 8th of July, and was quite sudden. He was the seventh son of George III., was born in 1774, received his earliest education at Kew, and finished his studies at Gottingen. He entered the army, and experiencing much active service, was promoted, until in 1813 he attained the distinction of Field Marshal. He soon afterward became Governor-General of Hanover, and continued to fill that post until the accession of the Duke of Cumberland, in 1839. His subsequent life presented few features of much interest. His name was to be found as a patron and a contributor to many most valuable institutions, and he took delight in presiding at benevolent festivals and anniversary dinners, when, though without the slightest pretension to eloquence, the frankness and bonhommie of his manners, and his simple straight-forward earnestness of speech, used to make him an universal favorite. He took but little part in the active strife of parties. He died in his seventy-seventh year, leaving one son, Prince George of Cambridge, and two daughters.
* * * * *
GEORGE W. ERVING.
This distinguished public man died in New York, on the 22d ult. A correspondent of the Evening Post gives the following account of his history:
“The journals furnish us with a brief notice of the death of the venerable George W. Erving, who was for so many years, dating from the foundation of our government, connected with the diplomatic history of the country, as an able, successful and distinguished negotiator. The career of this gentleman has been so marked, and is so instructive, that it becomes not less a labor of love than an act of public duty, with the press, to make it the occasion of comment. At the breaking out of our revolution, the father of the subject of this imperfect sketch was an eminent loyalist of Massachusetts, residing in Boston, connected by affinity with the Shirleys, the Winslows, the Bowdons, and Winthrops of that State. Like many other men
“Such facts as these should not be lost sight of at the present day—such an example it is well to refer to now, in the day of our prosperity. And we would ask—in no ill-natured or censorious spirit, but rather that the lessons of history should not be forgotten—how many young men of these days under like circumstances, would make a similar sacrifice upon the altar of their country? The solemn and impressive event which has produced this notice seems to render this question not entirely inappropriate; for years should not dim in the minds of the rising generation the memory of those pure and strong men, who, in the early trials of their country, rose equal to the occasion. When, at a later period, political parties began to develop themselves, Mr. Erving, then a resident of Boston, identified himself with the great republican party, and became actively instrumental in securing the election of Thomas Jefferson to the Presidency. From that time forward until the day of his death, he never faltered in his political faith.
“Few men have been, for so long a period, so intimately connected with the diplomatic history of our country. He received his first public appointment, as Consul and Commissioner of Claims at London, nearly half a century since. This appointment was conferred upon him without his solicitation, and was at first declined. Subsequent reflection, however, induced him to waive all private and personal considerations, and he accepted the post assigned to him. The manner in which he discharged the duties of that trust, impressed the government with the expediency of securing his services in more important negotiations, and he was sent as Commissioner and Charge d’Affaires to Denmark. His mission to the court of that country was, at that period, a highly important one. The negotiations he had to conduct there, required great tact and ability.
“While at Copenhagen, he secured, in an eminent degree, the esteem and confidence of the Danish authorities, and brought to a successful solution the questions then arising out of the interests committed to him. In consequence, the government was enabled to avail itself of his experience at the Court of Berlin, where events seemed to require the exercise of great diplomatic ability. He was afterward appointed to Madrid, where, by his highly honorable personal character, and captivating manners, he obtained great influence, even at that most proud and distrustful court, and conducted, with consummate skill and marked success, the important and delicate negotiations then pending between the United States and Spain. He remained at Madrid for many years, where he attained the reputation of being one of the most able and accomplished diplomatists that the United States had ever sent abroad. Upon his final retirement from this post, and, in fact, from all public employment, the administration of General Jackson sought to secure his services in the mission to Constantinople, but the proffered appointment was declined.
“There are many interesting incidents in his public and diplomatic career, which a more extended notice would enable us to detail. Indeed, we hope that so instructive a life as that of Mr. Erving may hereafter find a fit historian. That historian may not have to chronicle victories won upon the battle field, but the civic achievement he will have to record, if not so dazzling as the former, will, at least, be as replete with evidences of public usefulness.
“The latter years of his life were passed in Europe, chiefly in Paris. The public agitations consequent upon the last French revolution, need of quiet at his advanced age, and the presentiment of approaching dissolution, induced him to return home. Indeed it was meet that he should close his mortal career in that country which he had so long and faithfully served, and whose welfare and happiness had been the constant object of his every earthly aspiration.”
* * * * *
DR. JOHN BURNS.
Among those who perished in the wreck of the Orion, was Dr. John Burns, Professor of Surgery in the University of Glasgow, aged about eighty years. Dr. Burns held a distinguished place in the medical world, for at least half a century, as an author and a teacher. He was a son of the Rev. Dr. John Burns, for more than sixty years minister of the Barony parish of Glasgow, who died about fourteen years ago, at the age of ninety. He was originally intended to be a manufacturer, and in his time the necessary training for this business included a practical application to the loom. A disease of the knee-joint unfitted him for becoming a weaver, and he turned his attention to the medical profession, winch the neighboring university afforded him easy and ample means of studying. He early entered into business as a general practitioner,
As a professor, Dr. Burns was highly popular. He had a cheerful and attractive manner, and was fond of bringing in anecdotes more or less applicable, but always enlivening. His language was plain and clear, but not always correct or elegant. In personal appearance, he was of the middle size, of an anxious and careworn, but gentlemanly and intelligent, expression of countenance. In 1830, he published Principles of Surgery, first volume, which was followed by another. This work is confused, both in style and arrangement, and has been very little read, but it did credit to his zeal and industry, for he had now acquired fame and fortune, and had long had at his command the most extensive practice in the west of Scotland. John Burns, the younger, had written and published a work on the evidences and principles of Christianity, which was extensively read, and went through many editions. His name was not at first on the title-page, but that it was the production of a medical man was obvious. He gave a copy to his father, who shortly after said, “Ah, John, I wish you could have written such a book!” Dr. Burns has many friends in the United States, who were once his pupils. One of the most eminent of them is Professor Pattison of the Medical Department of the New York University, in this city.
* * * * *
This gentleman, one of the victims of the lamentable wreck of the Elizabeth, was the youngest son of the late Charles P. Sumner, of Boston, for many years Sheriff of Suffolk county, and the brother of George Sumner, Esq., of Boston, who is well known for his legal and literary eminence throughout the country. He was about twenty-four years of ago, and has been abroad for nearly a year, traveling in the south of Europe for the benefit of his health. The past winter was spent by him chiefly in Florence, where he was on terms of familiar intimacy with the Marquis and Marchioness d’Ossoli, and was induced to take passage in the same vessel with them for his return to his native land. He was a young man of singular modesty of deportment, of an original turn of mind, and greatly endeared to his friends by the sweetness of his disposition and the purity of his character.—Tribune.
* * * * *
POWERS’S STATUE OF CALHOUN.—An unfortunate fatality appears to wait upon the works of Hiram Powers. It is but a few weeks since his “Eve” was lost on the coast of Spain, and it is still uncertain here whether that exquisite statue is preserved without such injury as materially to affect its value. And his masterpiece in history—perhaps his masterpiece in all departments—the statue of Calhoun, which has been so anxiously looked-for ever since the death of the great senator, was buried under the waves in which Madame d’Ossoli and Horace Sumner were lost, on the morning of the 19th, near Fire Island. At the time this sheet is sent to press we are uncertain as to the recovery of the statue, but we hope for the sake of art and for the satisfaction of all the parties interested, that it will still reach its destination. It is insured in Charleston, and Mr. Kellogg, the friend and agent of Mr. Powers, has been at the scene of the misfortune, with all necessary means for its preservation, if that be possible.
* * * * *
HORACE VERNET, the great painter, has returned to Paris from St. Petersburgh. Offensive reports were current respecting his journey: he had been paid, it was alleged, in most princely style by the Emperor, for his masterly efforts in translating to canvas the principal incidents of the Hungarian and Polish wars. He came back, it was declared, loaded and content, with a hundred thousand dollars and a kiss—an actual kiss—from his Imperial Majesty. M. Vernet has deemed it necessary to publish a letter, correcting what was erroneous in these reports. He says:—“In repairing to Russia I was actuated by only one desire, and had but a single object, and that was, to thank His Majesty, the Emperor, for the honors with which he had already loaded me, and for the proofs of his munificence which I had previously received. I intended to bring back, and in fact have brought back from the journey, nothing but the satisfaction of having performed an entirely disinterested duty of respectful gratitude.” It is true, however, that he lent his powers to illustrate the triumph of despotism, and if he brought back no gold the matter is not all helped by that fact.
* * * * *
THE REV. JAMES H. PERKINS, of Cincinnati, whose suicide during a fit of madness, several months ago, will be generally recollected for the many expressions of profound regret which it occasioned, we are pleased to learn, is to be the subject of a biography by the Rev. W.H. Channing. Mr. Perkins was a man of the finest capacities, and of large and genial scholarship. He wrote much, in several departments, and almost always well. His historical works, relating chiefly to the western States, have been little read in this part of the Union; but his contributions to the North American Review and the Christian Examiner, and his tales, sketches, essays, and poems, printed under various signatures, have entitled him to a desirable reputation as a man of letters. These are all to be collected and edited by Mr. Channing.
* * * * *
Mrs. ESLING, better known as Miss Catherine H. Waterman, under which name she wrote the popular and beautiful lyric, “Brother, Come Home!” has in press a collection of her writings, under the title of The Broken Bracelet and other Poems, to be published by Lindsay & Blackiston of Philadelphia.
* * * * *
M. ROSSEEUW ST. HILAIRE, of Paris, is proceeding with his great work on the History of Spain with all the rapidity consistent with the nature of the subject and the elaborate studies it requires. The work was commenced ten years ago, and has since been the main occupation of its author. The fifth volume has just been published, and receives the applause of the most competent critics. It includes the time from 1336 to 1492, which comes down to the very eve of the great discovery of Columbus, and includes that most brilliant period, in respect of which the history of Prescott has hitherto stood alone, namely, the reign of Ferdinand and Isabella. M. St. Hilaire has had access to many sources of information not accessible to any former writer, and is said to have availed himself of them with all the success that could be anticipated from his rare faculty of historical analysis and the beautiful transparency of his style.
* * * * *
THE REV. ROBERT ARMITAGE, a rector in Shropshire, is the author of “Dr. Hookwell,” and “Dr. Johnson, his Religious Life and his Death.” In this last work, the Quarterly Review observes, “Johnson’s name is made the peg on which to hang up—or rather the line on which to hang out—much hackneyed sentimentality, and some borrowed learning, with an awful and overpowering quantity of twaddle and rigmarole.” The writer concludes his reviewal: “We are sorry to have had to make such an exposure of a man, who, apart from the morbid excess of vanity which has evidently led him into this scrape, may be, for aught we know, worthy and amiable. His exposure, however, is on his own head: he has ostentatiously and pertinaciously forced his ignorance, conceit, and effrontery on public notice.” We quite agree with the Quarterly.
* * * * *
JOHN MILLS—“John St. Hugh Mills,” it was written then—was familiarly known in the printing offices of Ann street in this city a dozen years ago; he assisted General Morris in editing the Mirror, and wrote paragraphs of foreign gossip for other journals. A good-natured aunt died in England, leaving him a few thousand a year, and he returned to spend his income upon a stud and pack and printing office, sending from the latter two or three volumes of pleasant-enough mediocrity every season. His last work, with the imprint of Colburn, is called “Our Country.”
* * * * *
Mr. PRESCOTT, the historian, who is now in England, has received the degree of Doctor of Civil Law from the University of Oxford. Two or three years ago he was elected into the Institute of France.
* * * * *
DR. MAGINN’s “Homeric Ballads,” which gave so much attraction during several years to Fraser’s Magazine, have been collected and republished in a small octavo.
* * * * *
Mr. KENDALL, of the Picayune, has sailed once more for Paris, to superintend there the completion of his great work on the late war in Mexico upon which he has been engaged for the last two years. The highest talent has been employed in the embellishment of this book, and the care and expense incurred may be estimated from the fact that sixty men, coloring and preparing the plates, can finish only one hundred and twenty copies in a month. The original sketches were taken by a German, Carl Nebel, who accompanied Mr. Kendall in Mexico, and drew his battle scenes at the very time of their occurrence. He has engaged in the prosecution of the whole enterprise with as much zeal and interest as Mr. Kendall himself, and has spared no pains to procure the assistance of the most skillful operatives. The book is folio in size, and will be published early in the fall. The letter press has long been finished, and only waiting for the completion of the plates. These are twelve, and their subjects are Palo Alto, the Capture of Monterey, Buena Vista: the Landing at Vera Cruz, Cerro Gordo, Contreras, Cherubusco, Molino del Rey, two views of the Storming of Chapultepec, and Gen. Scott’s entrance into the city of Mexico. The lithographs are said to be unsurpassed in felicity of design, perfection of coloring, and in the animation and expression of all the figures and groups. No such finished specimens of colored lithography were ever exhibited in this country. The plates will have unusual value, not only on account of their intrinsic superiority, but because of their rare historical merit, since they are exact delineations of the topography of the scenes they represent and faithful representations in every particular of the military positions and movements at the moment chosen for illustration.
* * * * *
MRS. TROLLOPPE is as busy as she has ever been since the failure of her shop at Cincinnati—trading in fiction, with the capital won by her first adventure in this way, “The Domestic Manners of the Americans.” Her last novel, which is just out, has in its title the odor of her customary vulgarity; it is called “Petticoat Government.” Her son, Mr. A. Trolloppe, his just given the world a new book also, “La Vendee” a historical romance which is well spoken of.
* * * * *
THE REV. DR. WILLIAM R. WILLIAMS, it will gratify the friends of literature and religion to learn, has consented to give to the press several works upon which he has for some time been engaged. They will be published by Gould, Kendall & Lincoln, of Boston. In the next number of The International we shall write more largely of this subject.
* * * * *
Dr. BUCKLAND, the Dean of Westminster—the eloquent and the learned writer of the remarkable “Bridgewater Treatise” is bereft of reason, and is now an inmate of an asylum near Oxford.
* * * * *
Dr. WAYLAND’s “Tractate on Education,” in which he proposes a thorough reform in the modes of college instruction, has, we are glad to see, had its desired effect. The Providence Journal states that the entire subscription to the fund of Brown University has reached $110,000, which is within $15,000 of the sum originally proposed. The subscription having advanced so far, and with good assurances of further aid, the committee have reported to the President, that the success of the plan, so far as the money is concerned, may be regarded as assured, and that consequently it will be safe to go on with the new organization as rapidly as may he deemed advisable. Of the sum raised, about $96,000 have come from Providence. A meeting of the Corporation of the University will soon be called, when the entire plan will be decided upon, and carried into effect as rapidly as so important a change can be made with prudence.
* * * * *
SIR JAMES EMERSON TENNANT has in the press of Mr. Murray a work which will probably be read with much interest in this country, upon Christianity in Ceylon, its introduction and progress under the Portuguese, the Dutch, the British, and the American missions, with a Historical View of the Brahminical and Buddhist superstitions.
* * * * *
CHARLES EAMES, formerly one of the editors of the Washington Union, and more recently United States Commissioner to the Sandwich Islands, is to be the orator of the societies of Columbia College, at the commencement, on the evening of the 6th of October. Bayard Taylor will be the poet for the same occasion.
* * * * *
CHATEAUBRIAND’S MEMOIRS.—The eleventh and last volume has just been published at Paris in the book form, and will soon be completed in the feuilletons. An additional volume is however to be brought out, under the title of “Supplement to the Memoirs.”
* * * * *
THE THIRD AND FOURTH SERIES of Southey’s Common-Place Book are in preparation, and they will be reprinted by the Harpers. The third contains Analytical Readings, and the fourth, Original Memoranda.
* * * * *
WASHINGTON IRVING’s Life of General Washington, in one octavo volume, is announced by Murray. It will appear simultaneously from the press of Putnam.
* * * * *
MRS. JAMESON has in press Legends of the Monastic Orders, as illustrated in art.
* * * * *
Dr. ACHILLI is the subject of an article in the July number of the Dublin Review—the leading Roman Catholic journal in the English language. Of course the history of the missionary is not presented in very flattering colors.
* * * * *
[FROM HOUSEHOLD WORDS.]
THE SERF OF POBEREZE.
The materials for the following tale were furnished to the writer while traveling last year near the spot on which the events it narrates took place. It is intended to convey a notion of some of the phases of Polish, or rather Russian serfdom (for, as truly explained by one of the characters in a succeeding page, it is Russian), and of the catastrophes it has occasioned, not only in Catherine’s time, but occasionally at the present. The Polish nobles—themselves in slavery—earnestly desire the emancipation of their serfs, which Russian domination forbids.
The small town of Pobereze stands at the foot of a stony mountain, watered by numerous springs in the district of Podolia, in Poland. It consists of a mass of miserable Cabins, with a Catholic chapel and two Greek churches in the midst, the latter distinguished by their gilded towers. On one side of the market-place stands the only inn, and on the opposite side are several shops, from whose doors and windows look out several dirtily dressed Jews. At a little distance, on a hill covered with vines and fruit-trees, stands the Palace, which does not, perhaps, exactly merit such an appellation, but who would dare to call otherwise the dwelling of the lord of the domain?
On the morning when our tale opens, there had issued from this palace the common enough command to the superintendent of the estate, to furnish the master with a couple of strong boys, for service in the stables, and a young girl to be employed in the wardrobe. Accordingly, a number of the best-looking young peasants of Olgogrod assembled in the avenue leading to the palace. Some were accompanied by their sorrowful and weeping parents, in all of whose hearts, however, rose the faint whispered hope, “Perhaps it will not be my child they will choose!”
Being brought into the court-yard of the palace, the Count Roszynski, with the several members of his family, had come out to pass in review his growing subjects. He was a small and insignificant-looking man, about fifty years of age, with deep-set eyes and overhanging brows. His wife, who was nearly of the same age, was immensely stout, with a vulgar face and a loud, disagreeable voice. She made herself ridiculous in endeavoring to imitate the manners and bearing of the aristocracy, into whose sphere she and her husband were determined to force themselves, in spite of the humbleness of their origin. The father of the “Right-Honorable” Count Roszynski was a valet, who, having been a great favorite with his master, amassed sufficient money to enable his son, who inherited it, to purchase the extensive estate of Olgogrod, and with it the sole proprietorship of 1600 human beings. Over them he had complete control; and, when maddened by oppression, if they dared resent, woe unto them! They could be thrust into a noisome dungeon, and chained by one hand from the light of day for years, until their very existence was forgotten by all except the jailor who brought daily their pitcher of water and morsel of dry bread.
Some of the old peasants say that Sava, father of the young peasant girl, who stands by the side of an old woman, at the head of her companions in the court-yard, is immured in one of these subterranean jails. Sava was always about the Count, who, it was said, had brought him from some distant land, with his little motherless child. Sava placed her under the care of an old man and woman, who had the charge of the bees in a forest near the palace, where he came occasionally to visit her. But once, six long months passed, and he did not come! In vain Anielka wept, in vain she cried, “Where is my father?” No father appeared. At last it was said that Sava had been sent to a long distance with a large sum of money, and had been killed by robbers. In the ninth year of one’s life the most poignant grief is quickly effaced, and after six months Anielka ceased to grieve. The old people were very kind to her, and loved her as if sue were their own child. That Anielka might be chosen to serve in the palace never entered their head, for who would be so barbarous as to take the child away from an old woman of seventy and her aged husband?
To-day was the first time in her life that she had been so far from home. She looked curiously on all she saw,—particularly on a young lady about her own age, beautifully dressed, and a youth of eighteen, who had apparently just returned from a ride on horse-back, as he held a whip in his hand, whilst walking up and down examining the boys who were placed in a row before him. He chose two amongst them, and the boys were led away to the stables.
“And I choose this young girl,” said Constantia Roszynski, indicating Anielka; “she is the prettiest of them all. I do not like ugly faces about me.”
When Constantia returned to the drawing-room, she gave orders for Anielka to be taken to her apartments, and placed under the tutelage of Mademoiselle Dufour, a French maid, recently arrived from the first milliner’s shop in Odessa. Poor girl! when they separated her from her adopted mother, and began leading her toward the palace, she rushed, with a shriek of agony, from them, and grasped her old protectress tightly in her arms! They were torn violently asunder, and the Count Roszynski quietly asked, “Is it her daughter, or her grand-daughter?”
“Neither, my lord,—only an adopted, child.”
“But who will lead the old woman home, as she is blind?”
“I will, my lord,” replied one of his servants, bowing to the ground; “I will let her, walk by the side of my horse, and when she is in her cabin she will have her old husband,—they must take care of each other.”
So saying, he moved away with the rest of the peasants and domestics. But the poor old woman had to be dragged along by two men; for in the midst of her shrieks and tears she had fallen to the ground, almost without life.
And Anielka? They did not allow her to weep long. She had now to sit all day in the corner of a room to sew. She was expected to do everything well from the first; and if she did not, she was kept without food or cruelly punished. Morning and evening she had to help Mdlle. Dufour to dress and undress her mistress. But Constantia, although she looked with hauteur on everybody beneath her, and expected to be slavishly obeyed, was tolerably kind to the poor orphan. Her true torment began, when, on laving her young lady’s room, she had to assist Mdlle. Dufour. Notwithstanding that she tried sincerely to do her best, she was never able to satisfy her, or to draw from her naught but harsh reproaches.
Thus two months passed.
One day Mdlle. Dufour went very early to confession, and Anielka was seized with an eager longing to gaze once more in peace and freedom on the beautiful blue sky and green trees, as she used to do when the first rays of the rising sun streamed in at the window of the little forest cabin. She ran into the garden. Enchanted by the sight of so many beautiful flowers, she went farther and farther along the smooth and winding walks. till she entered the forest. She who had been, so long away from her beloved trees, roamed where they were thickest. Here she gazes boldly around. She sees no one! She is alone! A little farther on she meets with a rivulet which flows through the forest. Here she remembers that she has not yet prayed. She kneels down, and with hands clasped and eyes upturned she begins to sing in a sweet voice the Hymn to the virgin.
As she went on she sang louder and with increased fervor. Her breast heaved with emotion, her eyes shone with unusual brilliancy; but when the hymn was finished she lowered her head, tears began to fall over her cheeks, until at last she sobbed aloud. She might have remained long in this condition, had not some one come behind her, saying, “Do not cry, my poor girl; it is better to sing than to weep.” The intruder raised her head, wiped her eyes with his handkerchief, and kissed her on the forehead.
It was the Count’s son, Leon!
“You must not cry,” he continued; “be calm, and when the filipony (peddlers) come, buy yourself a pretty handkerchief.” He then gave her a ruble and walked away. Anielka, after concealing the coin in her corset, ran quickly back to the palace.
Fortunately, Mdlle. Dufour had not yet returned, and Anielka seated herself in her accustomed corner. She often took out the ruble to, gaze fondly upon it, and set to work to make a little purse, which, having fastened to a ribbon, she hung round her neck. She did not dream of spending it, for it would have deeply grieved her to part with the gift of the only person in the whole house who had looked kindly on her.
From this time Anielka remained always in her young mistress’s room; she was better dressed, and Mdlle. Dufour ceased to persecute her. To what did she owe this sudden change? Perhaps to a remonstrance from Leon. Constantia ordered Anielka to sit beside her whilst taking her lessons from her music masters, and on her going to the drawing-room, she was left in her apartments alone. Being thus more kindly treated. Anielka lost by degrees her timidity; and when her young mistress, whilst occupied over some embroidery, would tell her to sing, she did so boldly and with a steady voice. A greater favor awaited her. Constantia, when unoccupied, began teaching Anielka to read in Polish; and Mdlle. Dufour thought it politic to follow the example of her mistress, and began to teach her French.
Meanwhile, a new kind of torment commenced. Having easily learnt the two languages, Anielka acquired an irresistible passion for reading. Books had for her the charm of the forbidden fruit, for she could only read by stealth at night, or when her mistress went visiting in the neighborhood. The kindness hitherto shown her for a time, began to relax. Leon had set off on a tour, accompanied by his old tutor, and a bosom friend, as young, as gay, and as thoughtless as himself.
So passed the two years of Leon’s absence. When he returned, Anielka was seventeen, and had become tall and handsome. No one who had not seen her during this time, would have recognized her. Of this number was Leon. In the midst of perpetual gayety and change, it was not possible he could have remembered a poor peasant girl; but in Anielka’s memory he had remained as a superior being, as her benefactor, as the only one who had spoken kindly to her, when poor, neglected, forlorn! When in some French romance she met with a young man of twenty, of a noble character and handsome appearance, she bestowed on him the name of Leon. The recollection of the kiss be had given her ever brought a burning blush to her cheek, and made her sigh deeply.
One day Leon came to his sister’s room. Anielka was there, seated in a corner at work. Leon himself had considerably changed; from a boy he had grown into a man. “I suppose, Constantia,” he said, “you have been told what a, good boy I am, and with what docility I shall submit myself to the matrimonial yoke, which the Count and Countess have provided for me?” and he began whistling, and danced some steps of the Mazurka.
“Perhaps you will be refused,” said Constantia coldly.
“Refused! Oh, no. The old Prince has already given his consent, and as for his daughter, she is desperately in love with me. Look at these moustachios; could anything be more irresistible?” and he glanced in the glass and twirled them round his fingers; then continuing in a graver tone, he said, “To tell the sober truth, I cannot say that I reciprocate. My intended is not at all to my taste. She is nearly thirty, and so thin, that whenever I look at her, I am reminded of my old tutor’s anatomical sketches. But, thanks to her Parisian dress-maker, she makes up a tolerably good figure, and looks well in a Cachemere. Of all things, you know, I wished for a wife with an imposing appearance, and I don’t care about love. I find it’s not fashionable, and only exists in the exalted imagination of poets.”
“Surely people are in love with one another sometimes,” said the sister.
“Sometimes,” repeated Anielka, inaudibly. The dialogue had painfully affected her, and she knew not why. Her heart beat quickly, and her face was flushed, and made her look more lovely than ever.
“Perhaps. Of course we profess to adore every pretty woman,” Leon added abruptly. “But, my dear sister, what a charming ladies’ maid you have!” He approached the corner, where Anielka sat, and bent on her a coarse familiar smile. Anielka, although a serf, was displeased, and returned it with a glance full of dignity. But when her eyes rested on the youth’s handsome face, a feeling, which had been gradually and silently growing in her young and inexperienced heart, predominated over her pride and displeasure. She wished ardently to recall herself to Leon’s memory, and half unconsciously raised her hand to the little purse which always hung round her neck. She took from it the rouble he had given her.
“See!” shouted Leon, “what a droll girl; how proud she is of her riches! Why, girl, you are a woman of fortune, mistress of a whole rouble!”
“I hope she came by it honestly,” said the old Countess, who at this moment entered.
At this insinuation, shame and indignation kept Anielka, for a time, silent. She replaced the money quickly in its purse, with the bitter thought that the few happy moments which had been so indelibly stamped upon her memory, had been utterly forgotten by Leon. To clear herself, she at last stammered out, seeing they all looked at her inquiringly, “Do you not remember, M. Leon, that you gave me this coin two years ago in the garden"?”
“How odd!” exclaimed Leon, laughing, “do you expect me to remember all the pretty girls to whom I have given money? But I suppose you are right, or you would not have treasured up this unfortunate rouble as if it were a holy relic. You should not be a miser, child; money is made to be spent.”
“Pray put an end to these jokes,” said Constantia impatiently; “I like this girl, and I will not have her teased. She understands my ways better than any one, and often puts me in a good humor with her beautiful voice.”
“Sing something for me pretty damsel,” said Leon, “and I will give you another rouble, a new and shining one.”
“Sing instantly,” said Constantia imperiously.
At this command Anielka could no longer stifle her grief; she covered her face with her hands, and wept violently.
“Why do you cry?” asked her mistress impatiently; “I cannot bear it; I desire you to do as you are bid.”
It might have been from the constant habit of slavish obedience, or a strong feeling of pride, but Anielka instantly ceased weeping. There was a moment’s pause, during which the old Countess went grumbling out of the room. Anielka chose the Hymn to the Virgin she had warbled in the garden, and as she sung, she prayed fervently;—she prayed for peace, for deliverance from the acute emotions which had been aroused within her. Her earnestness gave an intensity of expression to the melody, which affected her listeners. They were silent for some moments after its conclusion. Leon walked up and down with his arms folded on his breast. Was it agitated with pity for the accomplished young slave? or by any other tender emotion? What followed will show.
“My dear Constantia,” he said, suddenly stopping before his sister and kissing her hand, “will you do me a favor?”
Constantia looked inquiringly in her brother’s face without speaking.
“Give me this girl”
“I am quite in earnest,” continued Leon, “I wish to offer her to my future wife. In the Prince her father’s private chapel they are much in want of a solo soprano.”
“I shall not give her to you,” said Constantia.”
“Not as a free gift, but in exchange. I will give you instead a charming young negro—so black. The women in St. Petersburgh and in Paris raved about him: but I was inexorable: I half refused him to my princess.”
“No, no,” replied Constantia; “I shall be lonely without this girl, I am so used to her.”
“Nonsense! you can get peasant girls by the dozen; but a black page, with teeth whiter than ivory, and purer than pearls; a perfect original in his way; you surely cannot withstand. You will kill half the province with envy. A negro servant is the most fashionable thing going, and yours will be the first imported into the province.”
This argument was irresistible. “Well,” replied Constantia, “when do you think of taking her?”
“Immediately; to-day at five o’clock,” said Leon; and he went merrily out of the room.
This then was the result of his cogitation—of Anielka’s Hymn to the Virgin. Constantia ordered Anielka to prepare herself for the journey, with as little emotion as if she had exchanged away a lap-dog, or parted with parrot.
She obeyed in silence. Her heart was full. She went into the garden that she might relieve herself by weeping unseen. With one hand supporting her burning head, and the other pressed tightly against her heart, to stifle her sobs, she wandered on mechanically till she found herself by the side of the river. She felt quickly for her purse, intending to throw the rouble into the water, but as quickly thrust it back again, for she could not bear to part with the treasure. She felt as if without it she would be still more an orphan. Weeping bitterly, she leaned against the tree which had once before witnessed her tears.
By degrees the stormy passion within her gave place to calm reflection. This day she was to go away; she was to dwell beneath another roof, to serve another mistress. Humiliation! always humiliation! But at least it would be some change in her life. As she thought of this, she returned hastily to the palace that she might not, on the last day of her servitude, incur the anger of her young mistress.
Scarcely was Anielka attired in her prettiest dress, when Constantia came to her with a little box, from which she took several gay-colored ribbons, and decked her in them herself, that the serf might do her credit in the new family. And when Anielka, bending down to her feet, thanked her, Constantia, with marvelous condescension, kissed her on her forehead. Even Leon cast an admiring glance upon her. His servant soon after came to conduct her to the carriage, and showing her where to seat herself, they rolled off quickly toward Radapol.
For the first time in her life Anielka rode in a carriage. Her head turned quite giddy, she could not look at the trees and fields as they flew past her; but by degrees she became more accustomed to it, and the fresh air enlivening her spirits, she performed the rest of the journey in a tolerably happy state of mind. At last they arrived in the spacious court-yard before the Palace of Radapol, the dwelling of a once rich and powerful Polish family, now partly in ruin. It was evident, even to Anielka, that the marriage was one for money on the one side, and for rank on the other.
Among other renovations at the castle, occasioned by the approaching marriage, the owner of it, Prince Pelazia, had obtained singers for the chapel, and had engaged Signer Justiniani, an Italian, as chapel-master. Immediately on Leon’s arrival, Anielka was presented to him. He made her sing a scale, and pronounced her voice to be excellent.
Anielka found that, in Radapol, she was treated with a little more consideration than at Olgogrod, although she had often to submit to the caprices of her new mistress, and she found less time to read. But to console herself, she gave all her attention to singing, which she practiced several hours a day. Her naturally great capacity, under the guidance of the Italian, began to develop itself steadily. Besides sacred, he taught her operatic music. On one occasion Anielka sung an aria in so impassioned and masterly style, that the enraptured Justiniani clapped his hands for joy, skipped about the room, and not finding words enough to praise her, exclaimed several times, “Prima Donna! Prima Donna!”
But the lessons were interrupted. The Princess’s wedding-day was fixed upon, after which event she and Leon were to go to Florence, and Anielka was to accompany them. Alas! feelings which gave her poignant misery still clung to her. She despised herself for her weakness; but she loved Leon. The sentiment was too deeply implanted in her bosom to be eradicated; too strong to be resisted. It was the first love of a young and guileless heart, and had grown in silence and despair.
Anielka was most anxious to know something of her adopted parents. Once, after the old prince had heard her singing, he asked her with great kindness about her home. She replied, that she was an orphan, and had been taken by force from those who had so kindly supplied the place of parents, Her apparent attachment to the old bee-keeper and his wife so pleased the prince, that he said, “You are a good child. Anielka, and to-morrow I will send you to visit them. You shall take them some presents.”
Anielka, overpowered with gratitude, threw herself at the feet of the prince. She dreamed all night of the happiness that was in store for her, and the joy of the poor, forsaken, old people; and when the next morning she set off, she could scarcely restrain her impatience. At last they approached the cabin; she saw the forest, with its tall trees, and the meadows covered with flowers. She leaped from the carriage, that she might be nearer these trees and flowers, every one of which she seemed to recognize. The weather was beautiful. She breathed with avidity the pure air which, in imagination, brought to her the kisses and caresses of her poor father! Her foster-father was, doubtless, occupied with his bees; but his wife?
Anielka opened the door of the cabin; all was silent and deserted. The arm-chair on which the poor old woman used to sit, was overturned in a corner. Anielka was chilled by a fearful presentiment. She went with a slow step toward the bee-hives; there she saw a little boy tending the bees, whilst the old man was stretched on the ground beside him. The rays of the sun, falling on his pale and sickly face, showed that he was very ill. Anielka stooped down over him, and said, “It is I, it is Anielka, your own Anielka, who always loves you.”
The old man raised his head, gazed upon her with a ghastly smile, and took off his cap.
“And my good old mother, where is she?” Anielka asked.
“She is dead!” answered the old man, and falling back he began laughing idiotically. Anielka wept. She gazed earnestly on the worn frame, the pale and wrinkled cheeks, it which scarcely a sign of life could be perceived; it seemed to her that he had suddenly fallen asleep, and not wishing to disturb him, she went to the carriage for the presents. When she returned, she took his hand. It was cold. The poor old bee-keeper had breathed his last!
Anielka was carried almost senseless back to the carriage, which quickly returned with her to the castle. There she revived a little; but the recollection that she was now quite alone in the world, almost drove her to despair.
Her master’s wedding and the journey to Florence were a dream to her. Though the strange sights of a strange city slowly restored her perceptions, they did not her cheerfulness. She felt as if she could no longer endure the misery of her life; she prayed to die.
“Why are you so unhappy?” said the Count Leon kindly to her, one day.
To have explained the cause of her wretchedness would have been death indeed.
“I am going to give you a treat,” continued Leon. “A celebrated singer is to appear to-night in the theater. I will send you to hear her, and afterward you shall sing to me what you remember of her performances.”
Anielka went. It was a new era in her existence. Herself, by this time, an artist, she could forget her griefs, and enter with her whole soul into the beauties of the art she now heard practiced in perfection for the first time. To music a chord responded in her breast which vibrated powerfully. During the performances she was at one moment pale and trembling, tears rushing into her eyes; at another, she was ready to throw herself at the feet of the cantatrice, in an ecstacy of admiration. “Prima donna,”—by that name the public called on her to receive their applause, and it was the same, thought Anielka, that Justiniani had bestowed upon her. Could she also be a prima donna? What a glorious destiny! To be able to communicate one’s own emotions to masses of entranced listeners; to awaken in them, by the power of the voice, grief, love, terror.
Strange thoughts continued to haunt her on her return home. She was unable to sleep. She formed desperate plans. At last she resolved to throw off the yoke of servitude, and the still more painful slavery of feelings which her pride disdained. Having learnt the address of the prima donna, she went early one morning to her house.
On entering she said, in French, almost incoherently, so great was her agitation—“Madam, I am a poor serf belonging to a Polish family who have lately arrived in Florence. I have escaped from them; protect, shelter me. They say I can sing.”
The Signora Teresina, a warm-hearted, passionate Italian, was interested by her artless earnestness. She said, “Poor child! you must have suffered much,”—she took Anielka’s hand in hers. “You say you can sing; let me hear you.” Anielka seated herself on an ottoman. She clasped her hands over her knees, and tears fell into her lap. With plaintive pathos, and perfect truth of intonation, she prayed in song. The Hymn to the Virgin seemed to Teresina to be offered up by inspiration.
The Signora was astonished. “Where,” she asked, in wonder, “were you taught?”
Anielka narrated her history, and when she had finished, the prima donna spoke so kindly to her that she felt as if she had known her for years. Anielka was Teresina’s guest that day and the next. After the Opera, on the third day, the prima donna made her sit beside her, and said:—
“I think you are a very good girl, and you shall stay with me always.”
The girl was almost beside herself with joy.
“We will never part. Do you consent, Anielka?”
“Do not call me Anielka. Give me instead some Italian name.”
“Well, then, be Giovanna. The dearest friend I ever had but whom I have lost—was named Giovanna,” said the prima donna.
“Then, I will be another Giovanna to you.”
Teresina then said, “I hesitated to receive you at first, for your sake as well as mine; it you are safe now. I learn that your master and mistress, after searching vainly for you, have returned to Poland.”
From this time Anielka commenced an entirely new life. She took lessons in singing every day from the Signora. and got an engagement to appear in inferior characters at the theater. She had now her own income, and her own servant—she, who till then had been obliged to serve herself. She acquired the Italian language rapidly, and soon passed for a native of the country.
So passed three years. New and varied impressions failed, however, to blot out the old ones. Anielka arrived at great perfection in her singing, and even began to surpass the prima donna, who was losing her voice from weakness of the chest. This sad discovery changed the cheerful temper of Teresina. She ceased to sing in public; for she could not endure to excite pity, where she had formerly commanded admiration.
She determined to retire. “You,” she said to Anielka, “shall now assert your claim to the first rank in the vocal art. You will maintain it. You surpass me. Often, on hearing you sing, I have scarcely been able to stifle a feeling of jealousy.”
Anielka placed her hand on Teresina’s shoulder, and kissed her.
“Yes,” continued Teresina, regardless of everything but the bright future she was shaping for her friend. “We will go to Vienna—there you will be understood and appreciated. You shall sing at the Italian Opera, and I will be by your side—unknown, no longer sought, worshiped—but will glory in your triumphs. They will be a repetition of my own; for have I not taught you? Will they not be the result of my work!”
Though Anielka’s ambition was fired, her heart was softened, and she wept violently.
Five months had scarcely elapsed, when a furore was created in Vienna by the first appearance, at the Italian Opera, of the Signora Giovanna. Her enormous salary at once afforded her the means of even extravagant expenditure. Her haughty treatment of male admirers only attracted new ones; but in the midst of her triumphs she thought often of the time when the poor orphan of Pobereze was cared for by nobody. This remembrance made her receive the flatteries of the crowd with an ironical smile; their fine speeches fell coldly on her ear, their eloquent looks made no impression on her heart: that, no change could alter, no temptation win.
In the flood of unexpected success a new misfortune overwhelmed her. Since their arrival at Vienna, Teresina’s health rapidly declined, and in the sixth month of Anielka’s operatic reign she expired, leaving all her wealth, which was considerable, to her friend.
Once more Anielka was alone in the world. Despite all the honors and blandishments of her position, the old feeling of desolateness came upon her. The new shock destroyed her health. She was unable to appear on the stage. To sing was a painful effort; she grew indifferent to what passed around her. Her greatest consolation was in succoring the poor and friendless, and her generosity was most conspicuous to all young orphan girls without fortune. She had never ceased to love her native land, and seldom appeared in society, unless it was to meet her countrymen. If ever she sang, it was in Polish.
A year had elapsed since the death of the Signora Teresina, when the Count Selka, a rich noble of Volkynia, at that time in Vienna, solicited her presence at a party. It was impossible to refuse the Count and his lady, from whom she had received great kindness. She went. When in their saloons, filled with all the fashion and aristocracy in Vienna, the name of Giovanna was announced, a general murmur was heard. She entered, pale and languid, and proceeded between the two rows made for her by the admiring assembly, to the seat of honor beside the mistress of the house.
Shortly after, the Count Selka led her to the piano. She sat down before it, and thinking what she should sing, glanced round upon the assembly. She could not help feeling that the admiration which beamed from the faces around her was the work of her own merit, for had she neglected the great gift of nature—her voice, she could not have excited it. With a blushing cheek, and eyes sparkling with honest pride, she struck the piano with a firm hand, and from her seemingly weak and delicate chest poured forth a touching Polish melody, with a voice pure, sonorous, and plaintive. Tears were in many eyes, and the beating of every heart was quickened.
The song was finished, but the wondering silence was unbroken. Giovanna leaned exhausted on the arm of the chair, and cast down her eyes. On again raising them, she perceived a gentleman who gazed fixedly at her, as if he still listened to echoes which had not yet died within him. The master of the house, to dissipate his thoughtfulness, led him toward Giovanna. “Let me present to you, Signora,” he said, “a countryman, the Count Leon Roszynski.”
The lady trembled; she silently bowed, fixed her eyes on the ground, and dared not raise them. Pleading indisposition, which was fully justified by her pallid features, she soon after withdrew.
When on the following day Giovanna’a servant announced the Counts Selka and Roszynski, a peculiar smile played on her lips, and when they entered, she received the latter with the cold and formal politeness of a stranger. Controlling the feelings of her heart, she schooled her features to an expression of indifference. It was manifest from Leon’s manner, that without the remotest recognition, an indefinable presentiment regarding her possessed him. The Counts had called to know if Giovanna had recovered from her indisposition. Leon begged to be permitted to call again.
Where was his wife? why did he never mention her? Giovanna continually asked herself these questions when they had departed.
A few nights after, the Count Leon arrived sad and thoughtful. He prevailed on Giovanna to sing one of her Polish melodies; which she told him had been taught, when a child, by her muse. Roszynski, unable to restrain the expression of an intense admiration he had long felt, frantically seized her hand, and exclaimed, “I love you!”
She withdrew it from his grasp, remained silent for a few minutes, and then said slowly, distinctly, and ironically, “But I do not love you, Count Roszynski.”
Leon rose from his seat. He pressed his hands to his brow, and was silent. Giovanna remained calm and tranquil. “It is a penalty from Heaven,” continued Leon, as if speaking to himself, “for not having fulfilled my duty as a husband toward one whom I chose voluntarily, but without reflection. I wronged her, and am punished.”
Giovanna turned her eyes upon him. Leon continued, “Young, and with a heart untouched, I married a princess about ten years older than myself, of eccentric habits and bad temper. She treated me as an inferior. She dissipated the fortune hoarded up with so much care by my parents, and yet was ashamed on account of my origin to be called by my name. Happily for me, she was fond of visiting and amusements. Otherwise, to escape from her, I might have become a gambler, or worse; but, to avoid meeting her, I remained at home—for there she seldom was. At first from ennui, but afterward from real delight in the occupation, I gave myself up to study. Reading formed my mind and heart. I became a changed being. Some months ago my father died, my sister went to Lithuania, whilst my mother, in her old age, and with her ideas, was quite incapable of understanding my sorrow. So when my wife went to the baths for the benefit of her ruined health, I came here in the hope of meeting with some of my former friends—I saw you—”
Giovanna blushed like one detected; but speedily recovering herself, asked with calm pleasantry, “Surely you do not number me among your former friends?”
“I know not. I have been bewildered. It is strange; but from the moment that I saw you at Count Selka’s, a powerful instinct of love overcame me; not a new feeling; but as if some latent, long-hid, undeveloped sentiment had suddenly burst forth into an uncontrollable passion. I love, I adore you. I—”
The Prima Donna interrupted him—not with speech, but with a look which awed, which chilled him. Pride, scorn, irony sat in her smile. Satire darted from her eyes. After a pause, she repeated slowly and pointedly, “Love me, Count Roszynski?”
“Such is my destiny,” he replied. “Nor, despite your scorn, will I struggle against it. I feel it is my fate ever to love you; I fear it is my fate never to be loved by you. It is dreadful.”
Giovanna witnessed the Count’s emotion with sadness. “To have,” she said mournfully, “one’s first, pure, ardent, passionate affection unrequited, scorned, made a jest of, is indeed a bitterness, almost equal to that of death.”
She made a strong effort to conceal her emotion. Indeed she controlled it so well as to speak the rest with a sort of gayety.
“You have at least been candid, Count Roszynski; I will imitate you by telling a little history that occurred in your country. There was a poor girl born and bred a serf to her wealthy lord and master. When scarcely fifteen years old, she was torn from a state of happy rustic freedom—the freedom of humility and content—to be one of the courtly slaves of the Palace. Those who did not laugh at her, scolded her. One kind word was vouchsafed to her, and that came from the lord’s son. She nursed it and treasured it; till, from long concealing and restraining her feelings, she at last found that gratitude had changed into a sincere affection. But what does a man of the world care for the love of a serf? It does not even flatter his vanity. The young nobleman did not understand the source of her tears and her grief, and he made a present of her, as he would have done of some animal, to his betrothed.”
Leon, agitated and somewhat enlightened, would have interrupted her; but Giovanna said, “Allow me to finish my tale. Providence did not abandon this poor orphan, but permitted her to rise to distinction by the talent with which she was endowed by nature. The wretched serf of Pobereze became a celebrated Italian cantatrice. Then her former lord meeting her in society, and seeing her admired and courted by all the world, without knowing who she really was, was afflicted, as if by the dictates of Heaven, with a love for this same girl,—with a guilty love”—
And Giovanna rose, as she said this, to remove herself further from her admirer.
“No, no!” he replied earnestly; “with a pure and holy passion.”
“Impossible!” returned Giovanna. “Are you not married?”
Roszynski vehemently tore a letter from his vest, and handed it to Giovanna. It was sealed with black, for it announced the death of his wife at the baths. It had only arrived that morning.
“You have lost no time,” said the cantatrice, endeavoring to conceal her feelings under an iron mask of reproach.
There was a pause. Each dared not speak. The Count knew—but without actually and practically believing what seemed incredible—that Anielka and Giovanna were the same person—his slave. That terrible relationship checked him. Anielka, too, had played her part to the end of endurance. The long cherished tenderness, the faithful love of her life could not longer be wholly mastered. Hitherto they had spoken in Italian. She now said, in Polish,
“You have a right, my Lord Roszynski, to that poor Anielka who escaped from the service of your wife in Florence; you can force her back to your palace, to its meanest work; but”—
“Have mercy on me!” cried Leon.
“But,” continued the serf of Pobereze, firmly, “you cannot force me to love you.”
“Do not mock—do not torture me more; you are sufficiently revenged. I will not offend you by importunity. You must indeed hate me! But remember that we Poles wished to give freedom to our serfs; and for that very reason our country was invaded and dismembered by despotic powers. We must therefore continue to suffer slavery as it exists in Russia; but, soul and body, we are averse to it; and when our country once more becomes free, be assured no shadow of slavery will remain in the land. Curse then our enemies, and pity us that we stand in such a desperate position between Russian bayonets and Siberia, and the hatred of our serfs.”
So saying, and without waiting for a reply, Leon rushed from the room. The door was closed. Giovanna listened to the sounds of his rapid footsteps till they died in the street. She would have followed, but dared not. She ran to the window. Roszynski’s carriage was rolling rapidly away, and she exclaimed vainly, “I love you, Leon; I loved you always!”
Her tortures were unendurable. To relieve them she hastened to her desk, and wrote these words:
“Dearest Leon, forgive me; let the past be forever forgotten. Return to your Anielka. She always has been, ever will be, yours!”
She dispatched the missive. Was it too late, or would it bring him back? In the latter hope she retired to her chamber, to execute a little project.
Leon was in despair. He saw he had been premature in so soon declaring his passion after the news of his wife’s death, and vowed he would not see Anielka again for several months. To calm his agitation, he had ridden some miles into the country. When he returned to his hotel after some hours, he found her note. With the wild delight it had darted into his soul, he flew back to her.
On regaining her saloon a new and terrible vicissitude seemed to sport with his passion—she was nowhere to be seen. Had the Italian cantatrice fled? Again he was in despair-stupefied with disappointment. As he stood uncertain how to act, in the midst of the floor, he heard, as from a distance, an Ave Maria poured forth in tones he half recognized. The sounds brought back to him a host of recollections: a weeping serf—the garden of his own palace. In a state of new rapture he followed the voice. He traced it to an inner chamber, and he there beheld the lovely singer kneeling in the costume of a Polish serf. She rose, greeted Leon with a touching smile, and stepped forward with serious bashfulness. Leon extended his arms; she sank into them; and in that fond embrace all past wrongs and sorrows were forgotten! Anielka drew from her bosom a little purse, and took from it a piece of silver, It was the rouble. Now, Leon did not smile at it. He comprehended the sacredness of this little gift, and some tears of repentance fell on Anielka’s hand.
A few months after, Leon wrote to the steward of Olgogrod to prepare everything splendidly for the reception of his second wife. He concluded his letter with these words:
“I understand that in the dungeon beneath my palace there are some unfortunate men, who were imprisoned during my father’s lifetime. Let them be instantly liberated. This is my first act of gratitude to God, who has so infinitely blessed me!”
Anielka longed ardently to behold her native land. They left Vienna immediately after the wedding, although it was in the middle of January.
It was already quite dark when the carriage, with its four horses, stopped in front of the portico of the palace of Olgogrod. Whilst the footman was opening the door on one side, a beggar soliciting alms appeared at the other, where Anielka was seated. Happy to perform a good action as she crossed the threshold of her new home, she gave him some money; but the man, instead of thanking her, returned her bounty with a savage laugh, at the same time scowling at her in the fiercest manner from beneath his thick and shaggy brows. The strangeness of this circumstance sensibly affected Anielka, and clouded her happiness. Leon soothed and reassured her. In the arms of her beloved husband she forgot all but the happiness of being the idol of his affections.
Fatigue and excitement made the night most welcome. All was dark and silent around the palace, and some hours of the night had passed, when suddenly flames burst forth from several parts of the building at once. The palace was enveloped in fire; it raged furiously. The flames mounted higher and higher; the windows cracked with a fearful sound, and the smoke penetrated into the most remote apartments.
A single figure of a man was seen stealing over the snow, which lay like a winding-sheet on the solitary waste; his cautious steps were heard on the frozen snow as it crisped beneath his tread. It was the beggar who had accosted Anielka. On a rising ground he turned to gaze on the terrible scene.
“No more unfortunate creatures will now be doomed to pass their lives in your dungeons,” he exclaimed. “What was my crime? Reminding my master of the lowness of his birth. For this they tore me from my only child—my darling little Anielka; they had no pity even for her orphan state; let them perish all!”
Suddenly a young and beautiful creature rushes wildly to one of the principal windows: she makes a violent effort to escape. For a moment her lovely form, clothed in white, shines in terrible relief against the background of blazing curtains and walls of fire, and as instantly sinks back into the blazing element. Behind her is another figure, vainly endeavoring to aid her—he perishes also: neither of them are ever seen again!
This appalling tragedy horrified even the perpetrator of the crime. He rushed from the place, and as he heard the crash of the falling walls, he closed his ears with his hands, and darted on faster and faster.
The next day some peasants discovered the body of a man frozen to death, lying on a heap of snow—it was that of the wretched incendiary. Providence, mindful of his long, of his cruel imprisonment and sufferings, spared him the anguish of knowing that the mistress of the palace he had destroyed, and who perished in the flames, was his own beloved daughter—the Serf of Pobereze!
* * * * *
A TRUE POET never takes a “poetic license.”
* * * * *
FROM THE DUBLIN UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE.
THE MYSTERIOUS COMPACT.
IN TWO PARTS.—PART I.
In the latter years of the last century, two youths, Ferdinand Von Hallberg and Edward Von Wensleben were receiving their education in the military academy of Mariensheim. Among their schoolfellows they were called Orestes and Pylades, or Damon and Pythias, on account of their tender friendship, which constantly recalled to their schoolfellows’ minds the history of these ancient worthies. Both were sons of officers who had long served the state with honor, both were destined for their father’s profession, both accomplished and endowed by nature with no mean talents. But fortune had not been so impartial in the distribution of her favors—Hallberg’s father lived on a small pension, by means of which he defrayed the expenses of his son’s schooling at the cost of the government; while Wensleben’s parents willingly paid the handsomest salary in order to insure to their only child the best education which the establishment afforded. This disparity in circumstances at first produced a species of proud reserve, amounting to coldness, in Ferdinand’s deportment, which yielded by degrees to the cordial affection that Edward manifested toward him on every occasion. Two years older than Edward, of a thoughtful and almost melancholy turn of mind, Ferdinand soon gained a considerable influence over his weaker friend, who clung to him with almost girlish dependence.
Their companionship had now lasted with satisfaction and happiness to both, for several years, and the youths had formed for themselves the most delightful plans—how they were never to separate, how they were to enter the service in the same regiment, and if a war broke out, how they were to fight side by side, and conquer or die together. But destiny, or rather Providence—whose plans are usually opposed to the designs of mortals—had ordained otherwise.
Earlier than was expected, Hallberg’s father found an opportunity to have his son appointed to an infantry regiment, and he was ordered immediately to join the staff in a small provincial town, in an out-of-the-way mountainous district. This announcement fell like a thunderbolt on the two friends; but Ferdinand considered himself by far the more unhappy, since it was ordained that he should be the one to sever the happy bond that bound them, and to inflict a deep wound on his loved companion. His schoolfellows
The place where this vow was made was a solitary spot in the garden, by a monument of gray marble, overshadowed by dark firs, which the former director of the institution had caused to be erected to the memory of his son, whose premature death was recorded on the stone.
Here the friends met at night, and by the fitful light of the moon they pledged themselves to the rash and fanciful contract, and confirmed and consecrated it the next morning by a religious ceremony. After this they were able to look the approaching separation in the face more manfully, and Edward strove hard to quell the melancholy feeling which had lately arisen in his mind on account of the constant foreboding that Ferdinand expressed of his own early death. “No,” thought Edward, “his pensive turn of mind and his wild imagination cause him to reproach himself without a cause for my sorrow and his own departure. Oh, no, Ferdinand will not die early—he will not die before me. Providence will not leave me alone in the world.”
* * * * *
The lonely Edward strove hard to console himself, for after Ferdinand’s departure, the house, the world itself, seemed a desert; and absorbed by his own memories, he now recalled to mind many a dark speech which had fallen from his absent friend, particularly in the latter days of their intercourse, and which betokened but too plainly a presentiment of early death. But time and youth exercised, even over these sorrows, their irresistible influence. Edward’s spirits gradually recovered their tone, and as the traveler always has the advantage over the one who remains behind, in respect of new objects to occupy his mind, so was Ferdinand even sooner calmed and cheered, and by degrees he became engrossed by his new duties and new acquaintances, not to the exclusion, indeed, of his friend’s memory, but greatly to the alienation of his own sorrow. It was natural, in such circumstances, that the young officer should console himself sooner than poor Edward. The country in which Hallberg found himself was wild and mountainous, but possessed all the charms and peculiarities of “far off” districts—simple, hospitable manners, old-fashioned customs, many tales and legends which arise from the credulity of the mountaineers, who invariably lean toward the marvelous, and love to people the wild solitudes with invisible beings.
Ferdinand had soon, without seeking for it, made acquaintance with several respectable families in the town; and as it generally happens in such cases, he had become quite domesticated in the best country-houses in the neighborhood; and the well-mannered, handsome, and agreeable youth was welcomed everywhere. The simple, patriarchal life in these old mansions and castles—the cordiality of the people, the wild, picturesque scenery, nay, the very legends themselves, were entirely to Hallberg’s taste. He adapted himself easily to his new mode of life, but his heart remained tranquil. This could not last. Before half a year had passed, the battalion to which he belonged was ordered to another station, and he had to part with many friends. The first letter which he wrote after this change bore the impression of impatience at the breaking up of a happy time. Edward found this natural enough; but he was surprised in the following letters to detect signs of a disturbed and desultory state of mind, wholly foreign to his friend’s nature. The riddle was soon solved. Ferdinand’s heart was touched for the first time, and perhaps because the impression had been made late, it was all the deeper. Unfavorable circumstances opposed themselves to his hopes: the young lady was of an ancient family, rich, and betrothed since her childhood to a relation, who was expected shortly to arrive in order to claim her promised hand. Notwithstanding this engagement, Ferdinand and the young girl had become sincerely attached to each other, and had both resolved to dare everything with the hope of being united. They pledged their troth in secret; the darkest mystery enveloped not only their plans, but their affections; and as secrecy was necessary to the advancement of their projects, Ferdinand entreated his friend to forgive him if he did not intrust his whole secret to a sheet of paper that had at least sixty miles to travel, and which must pass through so many hands. It was impossible from his letter to guess the name of the person or the place in question. “You know that I love,” he wrote, “therefore you know that the object of my secret passion is worthy of any sacrifice; for you know your friend too well to believe him capable of any blind infatuation, and this must suffice for the present. No one must suspect what we are to each other; no one here or round the neighborhood must have the slightest clew to our plans. An awful personage will soon make his appearance among us. His violent temper, his inveterate obstinacy, (according to all that one hears of him,) are well calculated to confirm in her a well-founded aversion. But family arrangements and legal contracts exist, the fulfillment of which the opposing party are bent on enforcing. The struggle will be hard—perhaps unsuccessful; notwithstanding, I will strain every nerve. Should I fail, you must console yourself, my dear Edward, with the thought, that it will be no misfortune to your friend to be deprived of an existence rendered miserable by the failure of his dearest hopes, and separation from his dearest friend. Then may all the happiness which Heaven has denied me be vouchsafed to you and her, so that my spirit may look down contentedly from the realms of light, and bless and protect you both.”
Such was the usual tenor of the letters which Edward received during that period, His heart was full of anxiety—he read danger and distress in the mysterious communications of Ferdinand; and every argument that affection and good sense could suggest did he make use of, in his replies, to turn his friend from this path of peril which threatened to end in a deep abyss. He tried persuasion, and urged him to desist for the sake of their long-tried affection—but when did passion ever listen to the expostulations of friendship?
Ferdinand only saw one aim in life—the possession of the beloved one. All else faded from before his eyes, and even his correspondence slackened, for his time was much taken up in secret excursions, arrangements of all kinds, and communications with all manner of persons; in fact every action of his present life tended to the furtherance of his plan.
All of a sudden his letters ceased. Many posts passed without a sign of life. Edward was a prey to the greatest anxiety; he thought his friend had staked and lost. He imagined an elopement, a clandestine marriage, a duel with a rival, and all these casualties were the more painful to conjecture, since his entire ignorance of the real state of things gave his fancy full range to conjure up all sorts of misfortunes. At length, after many more posts had come in without a line to pacify Edward’s fears, without a word in reply to his earnest entreaties for some news, he determined on taking a step which he had meditated before, and only relinquished out of consideration for his friend’s wishes. He wrote to the officer commanding the regiment, and made inquiries respecting the health and abode of Lieutenant Von Hallberg, whose friends in the capital had remained for nearly two months without news of him, he who had hitherto proved a regular and frequent correspondent.
Another fortnight dragged heavily on, and at length the announcement came in an official form. Lieutenant Von Hallberg had been invited to the castle of a nobleman whom he was in the custom of visiting, in order to be present at the wedding of a lady; that he was indisposed at the time, that he grew worse, and on the third morning had been found dead in his bed, having expired during the night from an attack of apoplexy.
Edward could not finish the letter—it fell from his trembling hand. To see his worst fears realized so suddenly, overwhelmed him at first. His youth withstood the bodily illness which would have assailed a weaker constitution, and perhaps mitigated the anguish of his grief. He was not dangerously ill, but they feared many days for his reason; and it required all the kind solicitude of the director of the college, combined with the most skillful medical aid, to stem the torrent of his sorrow, and to turn it gradually into a calmer channel, until by degrees the mourner recovered both health and reason. His youthful spirits, however, had received a blow
Time gradually deadened the intensity of his affliction. The violent paroxysms of grief subsided into a deep but calm regret. It was as if a mist had spread itself over every object which presented itself before him, robbing them indeed of half their charms, yet leaving them visible, and in their real relation to himself. During this mental change the autumn arrived, and with it the long-expected commission. It did not indeed occasion the joy which it might have done in former days, when it would have led to a meeting with Ferdinand, or at all events to a better chance of meeting, but it released him from the thraldom of college, and it opened to him a welcome sphere of activity. Now it so happened that his appointment led him accidentally into the very neighborhood where Ferdinand had formerly resided, only with this difference, that Edward’s squadron was quartered in the lowlands, about a short day’s journey from the town and woodland environs in question.
He proceeded to his quarters, and found an agreeable occupation in the exercise of his new duties.
He had no wish to make acquaintances, yet he did not refuse the invitations that were pressed upon him, lest he should he accused of eccentricity and rudeness; and so be found himself soon entangled in all sorts of engagements with the neighboring gentry and nobility. If these so-called gayeties gave him no particular pleasure, at least for the time they diverted his thoughts; and with this view he accepted an invitation (for the new-year and carnival were near at hand) to a great shooting-match which was to be held in the mountains—a spot which it was possible to reach in one day, with favorable weather and the roads in good state. The day was appointed, the air tolerably clear; a mild frost had made the roads safe and even, and Edward had every expectation of being able to reach Blumenberg in his sledge before
That building was indeed a castle: the village belonged to it, and both were the property of the Baron Friedenberg. “Friedenberg!” repeated Edward: the name sounded familiar to him, yet he could not call to mind when and where he had heard it. He inquired if the family were at home, hired a guide, and arrived at length by a rugged path which wound itself round steep rocks, to the summit of them, and finally to the castle, which was perched there like an eagle’s nest. The tinkling of the bells on Edward’s sledge attracted the attention of the inmates; the door was opened with prompt hospitality; servants appeared with torches; Edward was assisted to emerge from under the frozen apron of his carriage, out of his heavy pelisse, stiff with hoar-frost, and up a comfortable staircase into a long saloon of simple construction, where a genial warmth appeared to welcome him from a huge stove in the corner. The servants here placed two large burning candles in massive silver sconces, and went out to announce the stranger.
The fitting-up of the room, or rather saloon, was perfectly simple. Family portraits, in heavy frames, hung round the walls, diversified by some maps. Magnificent stags’ horns were arranged between; and the taste of the master of the house was easily detected in the hunting-knives, powder-flasks, carbines, smoking-bags, and sportsmen’s pouches, which were arranged, not without taste, as trophies of the chase. The ceiling was supported by large beams, dingy with smoke and age; and on the sides of the room were long benches, covered and padded with dark cloth, and studded with large brass nails; while round the dinner-table were placed several arm-chairs, also of ancient date. All bore the aspect of the good old times, of a simple, patriarchal life with affluence. Edward felt as if there were a kind welcome in the inanimate objects which surrounded him, when the inner-door opened, and the master of the house entered, preceded by a servant, and welcomed his guest with courteous cordiality.
Some apologies which Edward offered on account of his intrusion, were silenced in a moment.
“Come, now, Lieutenant,” said the Baron, “I must introduce you to my family. You are not such a stranger to us, as you fancy.”
With these words he took Edward by the arm, and, lighted by the servant, they passed through several lofty rooms, which were very handsomely furnished, although in an old-fashioned style, with faded Flemish carpets, large chandeliers, and high-backed chairs: everything in keeping with what the youth had already seen in the castle. Here were the ladies of the house. At the other end of the room, by the side of an immense stove, ornamented with a large shield of the family arms, richly emblazoned, and crowned by a gigantic Turk, in a most comfortable attitude of repose sat the lady of the house, an elderly matron of tolerable circumference, in a gown of dark red satin, with a black mantle and a snow-white cap. She appeared to be playing cards with the chaplain, who sat opposite to her at the table, and the Baron Friedenberg to have made the third hand at ombre, till he was called away to welcome his guest. On the other side of the room were two young ladies, an elder person, who might be a governess, and a couple of children, very much engrossed by a game at lotto.
As Edward entered, the ladies rose to greet him, a chair was placed for him near the mistress of the house, and very soon a cup of chocolate and a bottle of tokay were served on a rich silver salver, to restore the traveler after the cold and discomfort of his drive: in fact it was easy for him to feel that these “far away” people were by no means displeased at his arrival. An agreeable conversation soon began among all parties. His travels, the shooting-match, the neighborhood, agriculture, all afforded subjects, and in a quarter of an hour Edward felt as if he had long been domesticated with these simple but truly well-informed people.
Two hours flew swiftly by, and then a bell sounded for supper; the servants returned with lights, announced that the supper was on the table, and lighted the company into the dining-room—the same into which Edward had first been ushered. Here, in the background, some other characters appeared on the scene—the agent, a couple of his subalterns, and the physician. The guests ranged themselves round the table. Edward’s place was between the Baron and his wife. The chaplain said a short grace, when the Baroness, with an uneasy look, glanced at her husband over Edward’s shoulder, and said, in a low whisper—
“My love, we are thirteen—that will never do.”
The Baron smiled, beckoned to the youngest of the clerks, and whispered to him. The youth bowed, and withdrew. The servant took the cover away, and served his supper in the next room.
“My wife,” said Friedenberg, “is superstitious, as all mountaineers are. She thinks it unlucky to dine thirteen. It certainly has happened twice (whether from chance or not who can tell?) that we have had to mourn the death of an acquaintance who had, a short time before, made the thirteenth at our table.”
“This idea is not confined to the mountains. I know many people in the capital who think with the Baroness,” said Edward. “Although in a town such ideas, which belong more especially to the olden time, are more likely to be lost in the whirl and bustle which usually silences everything that is not essentially matter of fact.”
“Ah, yes, Lieutenant,” replied the Baron, smiling good-humoredly, “we keep up old customs better in the mountains. You see that by our furniture. People in the capital would call this sadly old-fashioned.”
“That which is really good and beautiful can never appear out of date,” rejoined Edward courteously; “and here, if I mistake not, presides a spirit that is ever striving after both. I must confess, Baron, that when I first entered your house, it was this very aspect of the olden time that enchanted me beyond measure.”
“That is always the effect which simplicity has on every unspoiled mind,” answered Friedenberg: “but townspeople have seldom a taste for such things.”
“I was partly educated on my father’s estate,” said Edward, “which was situated in the Highlands; and it appears to me as if, when I entered your house, I were visiting a neighbor of my father’s, for the general aspect is quite the same here as with us.”
“Yes,” said the chaplain, “mountainous districts have all a family likeness: the same necessities, the same struggles with nature, the same seclusion, all produce the same way of life among mountaineers.”
“On that account the prejudice against the number thirteen was especially familiar to me,” replied Edward. “We also dislike it; and we retain a consideration for many supernatural, or at least inexplicable things, which I have met with again in this neighborhood.”
“Yes, here, almost more than anywhere else,” continued the chaplain, “I think we excel all other mountaineers in the number and variety of our legends and ghost stories. I assure you that there is not a cave or a church, or, above all, a castle, for miles round about, of which we could not relate something supernatural.”
The Baroness, who perceived the turn which the conversation was likely to take, thought it better to send the children to bed; and when they were gone, the priest continued, “Even here, in this castle—”
“Here!” inquired Edward, “in this very castle?”
“Yes, yes! Lieutenant,” interposed the Baron, “this house has the reputation of being haunted; and the most extraordinary thing is, that the matter cannot be denied by the skeptical, or accounted for by the reasonable.”
“And yet,” said Edward, “the castle looks so cheerful, so habitable.”
“Yes, this part which we live in,” answered the Baron; “but it consists of only a few apartments sufficient for my family and these gentlemen; the other portion of the building is half in ruins, and dates from the period when men established themselves on the mountains for greater safety.”
“There are some who maintain,” said the physician, “that a part of the walls of the stern tower itself are of Roman origin; but that would surely be difficult to prove.”
“But, gentlemen,” observed the Baroness, “you are losing yourselves in learned descriptions as to the erection of the castle, and our guest is kept in ignorance of what he is anxious to hear.”
“Indeed, madam,” replied the chaplain, “this is not entirely foreign to the subject, since in the most ancient part of the building lies the chamber in question.”
“Where apparitions have been seen?” inquired Edward, eagerly.
“Not exactly,” replied the Baroness; “there is nothing fearful to be seen.”
“Come, let us tell him at once,” interrupted the Baron. “The fact is, that every guest who sleeps for the first time in this room (and it has fallen to the lot of many, in turn, to do so,) is visited by some important, significant dream or vision, or whatever I ought to call it, in which some future event is prefigured to him, or some past mystery cleared up, which he had vainly striven to comprehend before.”
“Then,” interposed Edward, “it must be something like what is known in the Highlands, under the name of second sight, a privilege, as some consider it, which several persons and several families enjoy.”
“Just so,” said the physician, “the cases are very similar; yet the most mysterious part of this affair is, that it does not appear to originate with the individual, or his organization, or his sympathy with beings of the invisible world; no, the individual has nothing to say to it—the locality does it all. Every one who sleeps there has his mysterious dream, and the result proves its truth.”
“At least, in most instances,” continued the Baron, “when we have had an opportunity of hearing the cases confirmed. I remember once, in particular. You may recollect, Lieutenant, that when you first came in, I had the honor of telling you you were not quite a stranger to me.”
“Certainly, Baron; and I have been wishing for a long time to ask an explanation of these words.”
“We have often heard your name mentioned by a particular friend of yours—one who could never pronounce it without emotion.”
“Ah!” cried Edward, who now saw clearly why the Baron’s name had sounded familiar to him also—“ah! you speak of my friend Hallberg; truly do you say, we were indeed dear to each other.”
“Were!” echoed the Baron, in a faltering tone, as he observed the sudden change in Edward’s voice and countenance; “can the blooming, vigorous youth be—”
“Dead!” exclaimed Edward; and the Baron deeply regretted that he had touched so tender a chord, as he saw the young officer’s eyes fill with tears, and a dark cloud pass over his animated features.
“Forgive me,” he continued, while he leaned forward and pressed his companion’s hand; “I grieve that a thoughtless word should have awakened such deep sorrow. I had no idea of his death; we all loved the handsome young man, and by his description of you were already much interested in you before we had ever seen you.”
The conversation now turned entirely on Hallberg. Edward related the particulars of his death. Every one present had something to say in his praise; and although this sudden allusion to his dearest friend had agitated Edward in no slight degree, yet it was a consolation to him to listen to the tribute these worthy people paid to the memory of Ferdinand, and to see how genuine was their regret at the tidings of his early death. The time passed swiftly away in conversation of much interest, and the whole company were surprised to hear ten o’clock strike, an unusually late hour for this quiet, regular family. The chaplain read prayers, in which Edward devoutly joined, and then he kissed the matron’s hand, and felt almost as if he were in his father’s house. The Baron offered to show his guest to his room, and the servant preceded them with lights. The way led past the staircase, and then on one side into a long gallery, which communicated with another wing of the castle.
The high-vaulted ceilings, the curious carving on the ponderous doorways, the pointed gothic windows, through many broken panes of which a sharp nightwind whistled, proved to Edward that he was in the old part of the castle, and that the famous chamber could not be far off.
“Would it be possible for me to be quartered there,” he began, rather timidly; “I should like it of all things.”
“Really!” inquired the Baron, rather surprised; “have not our ghost stories alarmed you?”
“On the contrary,” was the reply, “they have excited the most earnest wish—”
“Then, if that be the case,” said the Baron, “we will return. The room was already prepared for you, being the most comfortable and the best in the whole wing; only I fancied, after our conversation—”
“Oh, certainly not,” exclaimed Edward; “I could only long for such dreams.”
During this discourse they had arrived at the door of the famous room. They went in. They found themselves in a lofty and spacious apartment, so large that the two candles which the servant carried only shed a glimmering twilight over it, which did not penetrate to the furthest corner. A high-canopied bed, hung with costly but old-fashioned damask, of dark green, in which were swelling pillows of snowy whiteness, tied with green bows, and a silk coverlet of the same color, looked very inviting to the tired traveler. Sofa and chairs of faded needlework, a carved oak commode and table, a looking-glass in heavy framework, a prie-dieu and crucifix above it, constituted the furniture of the room, where, above all things, cleanliness and comfort preponderated, while a good deal of silver plate was spread out on the toilet-table.
Edward looked round. “A beautiful room!” he said. “Answer me one question, Baron, if you please. Did he ever sleep here?”
“Certainly,” replied Friedenberg; “it was his usual room when he was here, and he had a most curious dream in that bed, which, as he assured us, made a great impression on him.”
“And what was it?” inquired Edward.
“He never told us, for, as you well know, he was reserved by nature; but we gathered from some words that he let slip, that an early and sudden death was foretold. Alas! your narrative has confirmed the truth of the prediction.”
“Wonderful! He always had a similar foreboding, and many a time has he grieved me by alluding to it,” said Edward; “yet it never made him gloomy or discontented. He went on his way firmly and calmly, and looked forward with joy, I might almost say, to another life.”
“He was a superior man,” answered the Baron. “whose memory will ever be dear to us. But now I will detain you no longer. Good night. Here is the bell”—he showed him the cord in between the curtains—“and your servant sleeps in the next room.”
“Oh, you are too careful of me,” said Edward, smiling; “I am used to sleep by myself.”
“Still,” replied the Baron, “every precaution should be taken. Now once more good night.”
He shook him by the hand, and, followed by the servant, left the room.
Thus Edward found himself alone, in the large, mysterious-looking, haunted room, where his deceased friend had so often reposed; where he also was expected to see a vision. The awe which the place itself inspired, combined with the sad and yet tender recollection of the departed Ferdinand, produced a state of mental excitement which was not favorable to his night’s rest. He had already undressed with the aid of his servant (whom he had then dismissed,) and had been in bed some time, having extinguished the candles. No sleep visited his eyelids; and the thought recurred which had so often troubled him, why he had never received the promised token from Ferdinand, whether his friend’s spirit were among the blest—whether his silence (so to speak) proceeded from unwillingness or incapacity to communicate with the living. A mingled train of reflections agitated his mind; his brain grew heated; his pulse beat faster and faster. The castle clock tolled eleven—half-past eleven. He counted the strokes: and at that moment the moon rose above the dark margin of the rocks which surrounded the castle, and shed her full light into Edward’s room. Every object stood out in relief from the darkness. Edward gazed, and thought, and speculated. It seemed to him as if something moved in the furthest corner of the room. The movement was evident—it assumed a form—the form of a man, which appeared to advance, or rather to float forward. Here Edward lost all sense of surrounding objects, and found himself once more sitting at the foot of the monument in the garden of the academy, where he had contracted the bond with his friend. As formerly, the moon streamed through the dark branches of the fir-trees, and shed its pale cold light on the cold white marble of the monument. Then the floating form which had appeared in the room of the castle became clearer, more substantial, more earthly-looking; it issued from behind the tombstone, and stood in the full moonlight. It was Ferdinand, in the uniform of his regiment, earnest and pale, but with a kind smile on his features.
“Ferdinand, Ferdinand!” cried Edward, overcome by joy and surprise, and he strove to embrace the well-loved form, but it waved him aside with a melancholy look.
“Ah! you are dead,” continued the speaker; “and why then do I see you just as you looked when living?”
“Edward,” answered the apparition, in a voice that sounded as if it came from afar, “I am dead, but my spirit has no peace.”
“You are not with the blest?” cried Edward, in a voice of terror.
“God is merciful,” it replied; “but we are frail and sinful creatures; inquire no more, but pray for me.”
“With all my heart,” cried Edward, in a tone of anguish, while he gazed with affection on the familiar features; “but speak, what can I do for thee?”
“An unholy tie still binds me to earth. I have sinned. I was cut off in the midst of my sinful projects. This ring burns.” He slipped a small gold ring from his left hand. “Only when every token of this unholy compact is destroyed, and when I recover the ring which I exchanged for this, only then can my spirit be at rest. Oh, Edward, dear Edward, bring me back my ring!”
“With joy—but where, where am I to seek it?”
“Emily Varnier will give it thee herself; our engagement was contrary to holy duties, to prior engagements, to earlier vows. God denied his blessing to the guilty project, and my course was arrested in a fearful manner. Pray for me, Edward, and bring me back the ring, my ring,” continued the voice, in a mournful tone of appeal.
Then the features of the deceased smiled sadly but tenderly; then all appeared to float once more before Edward’s eyes—the form was lost in mist, the monument, the fir-grove, the moonlight, disappeared; a long, gloomy, breathless pause followed. Edward lay, half sleeping, half benumbed, in a confused manner; portions of the dream returned to him—some images, some sounds—above all, the petition for the restitution of the ring. But an indescribable power bound his limbs, closed his eyelids, and silenced his voice; mental consciousness alone was left him, yet his mind was a prey to terror.
At length these painful sensations subsided—his nerves became more braced, his breath came more freely, a pleasing languor crept over his limbs, and he fell into a peaceful sleep. When he awoke it was already broad daylight; his sleep toward the end of the night had been quiet and refreshing. He felt strong and well, but as soon as the recollection of his dream returned, a deep melancholy took possession of him, and he felt the traces of tears which grief had wrung from him on his eyelashes. But what had the vision been? A mere dream engendered by the conversation of the evening, and his affection for Hallberg’s memory, or was it at length the fulfillment of the compact?
There, out of that dark corner, had the form risen up, and moved toward him. But might it not have been the effect of light and shade produced by the moonbeams, and the dark branches of a large tree close to the window, when agitated by the high wind? Perhaps he had seen this, and then fallen asleep, and all combined, had woven itself into a dream. But the name of Emily Varnier! Edward did not remember ever to have heard it; certainly it had never been mentioned in Ferdinand’s letters. Could it be the name of his love, of the object of that ardent and unfortunate passion? Could the vision be one of truth? He was meditating, lost in thought, when there was a knock at his door, and the servant entered. Edward rose hastily, and sprang out of bed. As he did so, he heard something fall with a ringing sound; the servant stooped and picked up a gold ring, plain gold, like a wedding-ring. Edward shuddered: he snatched it from the servant’s hand, and the color forsook his cheeks as he read the two words “Emily Varnier” engraved inside the hoop. He stood there like one thunderstruck, as pale as a corpse, with the proof in his hand that he had not merely dreamed, but had actually spoken with the spirit of his friend. A servant of the household came in to ask whether the Lieutenant wished to breakfast in his room, or down stairs with the family. Edward would willingly have remained alone with the thoughts that pressed heavily on him, but a secret dread lest his absence should be remarked, and considered as a proof of fear, after all that had passed on the subject of the haunted room, determined him to accept the proposal. He dressed hastily, and arranged his hair carefully, but the paleness of his face, and the traces of tears in his eyes, were not to be concealed, and he entered the saloon, where the family were already assembled at the breakfast-table, with the chaplain and the doctor.
The Baron rose to greet him: one glance at the young officer’s face was sufficient; he pressed his hand in silence, and led him to a place by the side of the Baroness. An animated discussion now began concerning the weather, which was completely changed; a strong south wind had risen in the night, so there was now a thaw. The snow was all melted—the torrents were flowing once more, and the roads impassable.
“How can you possibly reach Blumenberg, to-day?” the Baron inquired of his guest.
“That will be well nigh impossible,” said the doctor. “I am just come from a patient at the next village, and I was nearly an hour performing the same distance in a carriage that is usually traversed on foot in a quarter of an hour.”
Edward had not given a thought this morning to the shooting-match. Now that it had occurred to him to remember it, he felt little regret at being detained from a scene of noisy festivity which, far from being desirable, appeared to him actually distasteful in his present frame of mind. Yet he was troubled by the thought of intruding too long on the hospitality of his new friends; and he said, in a hesitating manner—
“Yes! but I must try how far—”
“That you shall not do,” interrupted the Baron. “The road is always bad: and in a thaw it is always dangerous. It would go against my conscience to allow you to risk it. Remain with us: we have no shooting-match or ball to offer you, but—”
“I shall not certainly regret either,” cried Edward, eagerly.
“Well, then, remain with us, Lieutenant,” said the matron, laying her hand on his arm, with a kind, maternal gesture. “You are heartily welcome; and the longer you stay with us, the better shall we be pleased.”
The youth bowed, and raised the lady’s hand to his lips, and said—
“If you will allow me—if you feel certain that I am not intruding—I will accept your kind offer with joy. I never care much for a ball, at any time, and to-day in particular”—. He stopped short, and then added, “In such bad weather as this, the small amusement—”
“Would be dearly bought.” interposed the Baron. “Come, I am delighted; you will remain with us.”
He shook Edward warmly by the hand.
“You know you are with old friends.”
“And, beside,” said the doctor, with disinterested solicitude, “it would be imprudent, for M. de Wensleben does not look very well. Had you a good night, sir?”
“Very good,” replied Edward.
“Without much dreaming?” continued the other, pertinaciously.
“Dreaming! oh, nothing wonderful,” answered the officer.
“Hem!” said the doctor, shaking his head, portentiously. “No one yet—”
“Were I to relate my dream,” replied Edward, “you would understand it no more than I did. Confused images—”
The Baroness, who saw the youth’s unwillingness to enlarge upon the subject, here observed—
“That some of the visions had been of no great importance—those which she had heard related, at least.”
The chaplain led the conversation from dreams, themselves, to their origin, on which subject he and the doctor could not agree; and Edward and his visions were left in peace at last. But when every one had departed, each to his daily occupation, Edward followed the Baron into his library.
“I answered in that manner,” he said, “to get rid of the doctor and his questioning. To you I will confess the truth. Your room has exercised its mysterious influence over me.”
“Indeed!” said the baron, eagerly.
“I have seen and spoken with my Ferdinand, for the first time since his death. I will trust to your kindness—your sympathy—not to require of me a description of this exciting vision. But I have a question to put to you.”
“Which I will answer in all candor, if it be possible.”
“Do you know the name of Emily Varnier?”
“Is there no one in this neighborhood who bears that name?”
“No one: it sounds like a foreign name.”
“In the bed in which I slept I found this ring,” said Edward, while he produced it; “and the apparition of my friend pronounced that name.”
“Wonderful! As I tell you, I know no one so called—this is the first time I ever heard the name. But it is entirely unaccountable to me, how the ring should have come into that bed. You see, M. von Wensleben, what I told you is true. There is something very peculiar about that room: the moment you entered, I saw that the spell had been working on you also, but I did not wish to forestall or force your confidence.”
“I felt the delicacy, as I do now the kindness, of your intentions. Those who are as sad as I am can alone tell the value of tenderness and sympathy.”
Edward remained this day and the following at the castle, and felt quite at home with its worthy inmates. He slept twice in the haunted room. He went away, and came back often; was always welcomed cordially, and always quartered in the same apartment. But, in spite of all this, he had no clew, he had no means of lifting the vail of mystery which hung round the fate of Ferdinand Hallberg and of Emily Varnier.
* * * * *
OUR “IN MEMORIAM.”
Not in the splendor of a ruinous glory
Emblazoned, glitters our lost Statesman’s name:
The great deeds that have earned him deathless fame
Will cost us merely thanks. Their inventory
Of peaceful heroism will be a story,
Of wise assertion of a rightful claim,
And Commerce freed by sagely daring aim.
Famine averted; Revolution glory
Disarmed; and the exhausted Commonweal
Recruited; these are things that England long
Will couple with the name of ROBERT PEEL,
Of whom the worst his enemies can say
Is, that he left the error of his way
When Conscience told him he was in the wrong.
* * * * *
FROM THE SOUTHERN LITERARY MESSENGER.
TO W.J.R., WITH A MS.
A little common weed, a simple shell,
From the waste margent of a classic sea;
A flower that grew where some great empire fell,
Worthless themselves, are rich to Memory.
And thus these lines are precious, for the hand
That penned their music crumbles into mould;
And the hot brain that shaped them now is cold
In its own ashes, like a blackened brand.—
But where the fiery soul that wove the spell;
Weeping with trailing wings beside his tomb?
Or stretched and tortured on the racks of Hell
Dark-scowling at the ministers of doom?—
Peace! this is but a dream, there cannot be
More suffering for him in Eternity!
* * * * *
FROM THE KNICKERBOCKER MAGAZINE.
Away! no more shall shadows entertain;
No more shall fancy paint and dreams delude;
No more shall these illusions of the brain
Divert me with their pleasing interlude;
Forever are ye banished, idle joys;
Welcome, stern labor-life—this is no world for toys!
Blessed labor-life! victorious only he
Who in its lists doth valiantly contend;
For labor in itself is victory;
Yield never to repose; but let the end
Of Life’s great battle be—the end of life:
A glorious immortality shall crown the strife.