Page images
PDF
EPUB

from the benches that support the tain. Already, things have very likely honourable members from Cotton- taken a decisive turn, and by the time burgh and Calicopolis. But who has this letter reaches you, the doings of stood up as for altars and fires ? I the Assembly will have enabled you hope, ere this reaches you, the ques- to conjecture whether the nation is tion will be creditably answered. I going by the long way, or the short hope the Christianity of England will cut, to Henry Fifth. As all will be not die without a struggle. I suspect stale before you can read what I now it will be of no use, but I look yet for write, I will not presume to predict some John of Gaunt in the House of the immediate results; but I am sure Lords. Imagine him, my Basil :- that the assembling of such a set as “ This sceptred isle,

have been returned to the legislature, This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, would be enough to blow up the this England,

strongest government on earth. Jew, Renowned for her deeds as far from home Dominican, pastor and bishop, poet (For Christian service and true chivalry)

and butcher, all in their tricoloured

sashes-was there ever such a fullAs is the sepulchre in stubborn Jewry Of the world's ransom, blessed Mary's Son;

blown tulip-bed of liberty, equality, This land of such dear souls, this dear, dear

and fraternity!

The announcement of several clerland, Dear for her reputation through the world, gymen as members of the Assembly Is now-pawn'd out to Jews !"

reminds me that there has been some

sickly sentiment among us, about the This is what ought to be said ; and piety' that has been displayed in this I look for it, if not from lords spiritual, Trevolution. In Boston we are fathen even from lords temporal. But voured with some strange types of surely it would well become the pri- religious enthusiasm ; in fact, the mate's mouth! Of course, it would type of Christianity that prevails do little good; but then the religion among usis peculiarly ourown; and like of England would fall at least dra

our improvements in machinery, dematically. It would make a picture serves the proverbial name of a "Bosquite as good as the death of Chatham. ton notion.” Emerson, who is now Do you remember the lawn-sleeves in illuminating England, may give you that picture? The bishops are “in at some idea of what I mean ; and a the death,”—but nothing more. queer story that is told of one of his

But another steamer has come in disciples, may furnish you with an exwith news; and France is all the planation of the fact, that some men talk. The elections are over; the see religion in the sacking of the TuilModérés have triumphed; the National eries. The youth was at the Opera Assembly has convened, and the Pro- to see a celebrated danseuse, and exvisional Government is at an end. cited general attention by his someVive Lamartine! Of course the stock what extraordinary applause. His of the republic takes a rise, but enthusiasm so transported him, that holders are not firm. The bloodshed the emotions of his heart became unat Rouen, the émeutes at Elbeuf and consciously audible. As the dancer beLimoges, and the threats of the Com- gan to whirl, he cried, "Ah, that is munistes, do not precisely inspire confi- poetry!” As she stretched her toe to the dence. Still, we are so farsurprised, and horizontal, he exclaimed, “That's divithose who have predicted favourably nity !but when she proceeded to an for France grow a little more sanguine evolution that forced the ladies to pay in their hopes. I am glad to say that attention to their fans, he burst into the Louis Blanc has no sympathisers climax_" That's religion!" If this be here. All are convinced that Lamar- caricature, the Emersonians richly detine will make the best of it, and that serve it. They are laughed at even in if he fails, the republic will be suffo- Boston. But they are not alone in thinkcated and expire in a stench. For ing well of the piety of Paris, and arone, it seems to me that Lamartine is guing from it that there will be no reign not bad enough to encounter success- of terror ; as if there was not vastly fully the frantic malice of his opponents, more show of religion in the first reand that their eventual success is cer- volution ! If there is an archbishop

of Paris now, there was formerly a palmer. IIe bathed in Siloa with enTalleyrand for high-priest and master thusiasm, and almost expired of feelof ceremonies. Oh, but they rejoining under the venerable olive-trees of with a story! When the blouses were Gethsemane. gutting the palace of its pictures and How Frenchy — how intensely marbles, they found, among other French ! mass in the morning, and works of art, an image of the Crucified. weeping and sighing,-a revel before As a blouseman was about to dash it nightfall, and desperate gaming. And to atoms, there was a cry, “Save it, this man to be the Cromwell of the save the great teacher of fraternity !" commonwealth ? He could hardly The crucifix was accordingly saved, have been the Milton, though it would and borne about the streets amid have been more becoming. And what songs and curses, and, very appropri- will be his career? It is a pity Lady ately, " with lanterns and torches.” Hester Stanhope was not permitted to * Ah, that's religion." says your Emer. consult his stars in full when he met sonian. So, when recreant priests her on Mount Lebanon, when she baptise a liberty-pole, or join a pro- praised his handsome foot and arched cession of blouses, with crosses and instep, and told him he should be very censers, that's divinity, at least. Was important in the bistory of the world. ever hypocrisy so revolting! The Ah, how certainly he will yet lament, pauseous mockery has its only parallel if he does not lament already, the fulin the writings of George Sand, who filment of the oracle! Such weird makes a favourite hero and heroine sisters as Lady Hester generally tell betake themselves to an adulterous only half, leaving the rest to imaginabed, after duly reciting their prayers, tion and to time. But whether this in which the absent husband is very Phaeton, who has grasped the reins, affectionately remembered. If a re- is to set the world on fire; whether volution thus begun is not destined to he, in turn, is only to try the game of go speedily through all the ripening Humpty Dumpty and to fall; or wheand rotting of a godless anarchy, it is ther, even as I write this, he be not to be accounted for only on the prin- already under the foot of Louis Blanc ciple that “ He who is Eternal can and his Communistes, --what probabiliwait.” The old scene at Notre Dame ties or improbabilities shall aid my conmay not be actually revived, and the jecture ?" This thing only will I venBible may not be literally dragged ture as my surmise, though not my through Paris again tied to an ass's hope, that kings shall reign again in tail ; but the undisguised atrocities of France, as if Lamartine never lived : the first revolution

may, after all, be that tricoloured cockades shall be exceeded by the smooth-faced blas- made no more, and lilies be cultivated phemies of that which has already de- again: that there will soon be longings graded the world's Redeemer into the for a sight of the drapeau blanc, and patron saint of insurrection, and the a prince of the sons of St Louis : and father of infidel fraternity.

that, fat as he is, and Bourbon as he Poor Lamartine! Is this the man, is, and half Austrian as he has made my Basil, whom you once likened to himself, Henry Duke of Bordeaux Chateaubriand ? Quantum mutatus! will soon be known as HENRI LÉ I knew him, till lately, only as a poet DÉSIRÉ. and a traveller. He certainly went Yours ever, my dear Basil, to Palestine with the spirit of a

ERNEST.

THE CAXTONS.-PART IV.

CHAPTER IX.

I was always an early riser. Happy Camp, that you planned an excursion the man who is ! Every morning with my father to C Castle." day comes to him with a virgin's “Never depend upon a whimsical love, full of bloom, and purity, and man. I must be in London to-night." freshness. The youth of nature is 66 And return to morrow?" contagious, like the gladness of a “I know not when," said my uncle, happy child. I doubt if any man gloomily; and he was silent for some can be called 'old' so long as he moments. At length, leaning less is an

early riser, and an early lightly on my arm, he continued walker. And oh, youth !-take my Young man, you have pleased me. I word of it,-youth in dressing-gown love that open saucy brow of yours, on and slippers, dawdling over breakfast which nature has written • Trust me. at noon, is a very decrepid ghastly I love those clear eyes that look man image of that youth which sees the sun manfully in the face. I must know blush over the mountains, and the dews more of you—much of you. You must sparkle upon blossoming hedgerows. come and see me some day or other in

Passing by my father's study, I your ancestor's ruined keep.” was surprised to see the windows un “Come! that I will. And you shall closed-surprised more, on looking in, show me the old tower—" to see him bending over his books, " And the traces of the outfor I had never before known him works;" cried my uncle, flourishing study till after the morning meal. his stick. Students are not usually early risers, " And the pedigree" for students, alas! whatever their age, Ay, and your great-great-grandare rarely young. Yes ; the great father's armour, which he wore at work must be getting on in serious Marston Moor_" earnest. It was no longer dalliance "Yes, and the brass plate in the with learning : this was work. church, uncle."

I passed through the gates into the “ The deuce is in the boy! Come road. A few of the cottages were here—come here; I've three minds to giving signs of returning life ; but it break your head, sir !" was not yet the hour for labour, and "It is a pity somebody had not no Good morning, sir," greeted me broken the rascally printer's, before he on the road. Suddenly at a turn, had the impudence to disgrace us by which an overhanging beech-tree had having a family, uncle." before concealed, I came full upon my Captain Roland tried hard to frown, Uncle Roland.

but he could not. “Pshaw !" said he, “What! you, sir? So early? Hark, stopping, and taking snuff. " The the clock is striking five!”

world of the dead is wide; why should “Not later! I have walked well the ghosts jostle us ?” for a lame man. It must be more “ We can never escape the ghosts, than four miles to - and back." uncle. They haunt us always. We

"You have been to -: not on cannot think or act, but the soul of business? No soul would be up." some man, who has lived before, “ Yes, at inns there is always some points the way.

The dead never die, one up. Ostlers never sleep! I have especially since—" been to order my humble chaise and "Since what, boy? you speak well." pair. I leave you to day, nephew." “Since our great ancestor intro

Ah, uncle, we have offended you. duced printing," said I, majestically. It was my folly—that cursed print—" My uncle whistled " Malbrook

“ Pooh !" said my uncle, quickly. s'en va-t-en guerre." “ Offended me, boy! I defy you!" I had not the heart to plague him and he pressed my hand roughly. further.

" Yet this sudden determination ! “Peace!" said I, creeping cauIt was but yesterday, at the Roman tiously within the circle of the stick.

“No! I forewarn you—"

"Peace,” said my uncle, smiling. “Peace! and describe to me my “But you must come and judge for little cousin, your pretty daughter yourself.” for pretty I am sure she is."

CHAPTER X.

Uncle Roland was gone. Before he now, by the calm power of genius, went, he was closeted for an hour with they seemed of themselves to fall into my father, who then accompanied harmony and system—the unconhim to the gate; and we all crowded scious humility with which the scholar round him as he stepped into his exposed the stores of a laborious chaise. When the Captain was gone, life ;-all combined to rebuke my I tried to sound my father as to own restlessness and ambition, while the cause of so sudden a departure. they filled me with a pride in my But my father was impenetrable in father, which saved my wounded all that related to his brother's egotism from a pang. Here, indeed, secrets. Whether or not the Captain was one of those books which embrace had ever confided to him the cause an existence; like the Dictionary of of his displeasure with his son,-a Bayle, or the History of Gibbon, or mystery which much haunted me,- the Fasti Hellenici of Clinton,-it my father was mute on that score, was a book to which thousands of both to my mother and myself. For books had contributed, only to make two or three days, however, Mr the originality of the single mind more Caxton was evidently unsettled. He bold and clear. Into the furnace all did not even take to his great work; vessels of gold, of all ages, had been but walked much alone, or accom- cast, but from the mould came the panied only by the duck, and without new coin, with its single stamp. And even a book in his hand. But by happily, the subject of the work did degrees the scholarly habits returned not forbid to the writer the indulgence to him ; my mother mended his pens, of his naïve, peculiar irony of humour and the work went on.

-so quiet, yet so profound. My For my part, left much to myself, father's book was the “ History of especially in the mornings, I began Human Error.” It was, therefore, to muse restlessly over the future. the moral history of mankind, told Ungrateful that I was, the happiness with truth and earnestness, yet with of home ceased to content me. I an arch unmalignant smile. Someheard afar the roar of the great world, times, indeed, the smile drew tears. and roved impatient by the shore. But in all true humour lies its germ,

At length, one evening, my father, pathos. Oh! by the goddess Moria or with some modest hums and ha's, and Folly, but he was at home in his theme! an unaffected blush on his fair fore- He viewed man first in the savage head, gratified a prayer frequently state, preferring in this the positive urged on him, and read me some por- accounts of voyagers and travellers, tions of “the great Work." I cannot to the vague myths of antiquity, and express the feelings this lecture the dreams of speculators on created—they were something akin pristine state. From Australia and to awe. For the design of this book Abyssinia, he drew pictures of morwas so immense—and towards its tality unadorned, as lively as if he execution, a learning so vast and had lived amongst Bushmen and various had administered that it savages all his life. Then he crossed seemed to me as if a spirit had over the Atlantic, and brought before opened to me a new world, which had you the American Indian, with his always been before my feet, but which noble nature, struggling into the my own human blindness had hither- dawn of civilisation, when friend to concealed from me. The un- Penn cheated him out of his birthspeakable patience with which all right, and the Anglo-Saxon drove these materials had been collected him back into darkness. He showed year after year—the ease with which both analogy and contrast between

Our

this specimen of our kind, and others tics and purity of breed, with the Celt equally apart from the extremes of whose blood, mixed by a thousand the savage state and the cultured. channels, dictates from Paris the manThe Arab in his tent, the Teuton ners and revolutions of the world. He in his forests, the Greenlander in his compared the Norman in his ancient boat, the Fin in his rein-deer car. Scandinavian home, with that wonder Up sprang the rude gods of the north, of intelligence and chivalry which he and the resuscitated Druidism, pass- became, fused imperceptibly with the ing from its earliest templeless belief Frank, the Goth, and the Anglointo the later corruptions of crommell Saxon. He compared the Saxon, staand idol. Up sprang, by their side, tionary in the land of Horsa, with the the Saturn of the Phoenicians, the colonist and civiliser of the globe, as he mystic Budh of India, the elemen- becomes, when he knows not through tary deities of the Pelasgian, the what channels - French, Flemish, Naith and Serapis of Egypt, the Danish, Welch, Scotch, and Irish-he Ormuzd of Persia, the Bel of Babylon, draws his sanguine blood. And out the winged, genii of the graceful from all these speculations, to which I Etruria. How nature and life shaped do such hurried and scanty justice, the religion ; how the religion shaped he drew the blessed truth, that carries the manners; how, and by what 'in- hope to the land of the Caffre, the hut fluences, some tribes were formed for of the Bushman—that there is nothing progress; how others were destined in the flattened skull and the ebon to remain stationary, or be swal- aspect that rejects God's law, imlowed up in war and slavery by their provement; that by the same principle brethren, was told with a precision which raises the dog, the lowest of clear and strong as the voice of Fate. the animals in its savage state, to the Not only an antiquarian and philolo- highest after man,--viz. admixture gist, but an anatomist and philosopher of race you can elevate into nations --my father brought to bear on all of majesty and power the outcasts of these grave points, the various specu- humanity, now your compassion or lations involved in the distinctions of your scorn. But when my father got race. He showed how race in per- into the marrow of his theme—when, fection is produced, up to a certain quitting these preliminary discussions, point, by admixture : how all mixed he fell pounce amongst the would be races have been the most intelligent- wisdom of the wise; when be dealt how, in proportion as local circum- with civilisation itself, its schools, and stance and religious faith permitted the porticos, and academies; when he bared the early fusion of differing tribes, races the absurdities couched beneath thecolimproved and quickened into the re- leges of the Egyptians, and the Symfinements of civilisation. He tracked posia of the Greeks;—when he showed the progress and dispersion of the that, even in their own favourite purHellenes, from their mythical cradle in suit of metaphysics, the Greeks were Thessaly; and showed how those who children ; and in their own more pracsettled near the sea-shores, and were tical region of politics, the Romans compelled into commerce and inter- were visionaries and bunglers ;--when, course with strangers, gave to Greece following the stream of error through her marvellous accomplishments in arts the middle ages, he quoted the pueand letters—the flowers of the ancient rilities of Agrippa, the crudities of world. How others, like the Spartans, Cardan ; and passed, with his calm dwelling evermore in a camp, on guard smile, into the salons of the chattering against their neighbours, and rigidly wits of Paris in the eighteenth century, preserving their Dorian purity of ex- oh, then his irony was that of Lucian, traction, contributed neither artists, nor sweetened by the gentle spirit of Eraspoets, nor philosophers to the golden mus. For not even here was my treasure-house of mind. He took the father's satire of the cheerless and Me. old race of the Celts, Cimry, or Cimme- phistophelian school. From this record rians. He compared the Celt who, of error he drew forth the grand eras as in Wales, the Scotch Highlands, of truth. He showed how earnest men in Bretagne, and in uncomprehended never think in vain, though their Ireland, retains his old characteris- thoughts may be errors. He proved

« PreviousContinue »