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"Indeed ?" said I, rather astonished. "But surely in Spain ladies think differently. At Madrid it is quite the fashion for them to attend."
"That may be; we do not follow the fashions of Spain. Perhaps we are more tender-hearted here."
After this dialogue, I was not surprised, on entering the Cirque in which the bull-fight was to be held, to find that the spectators were nearly all men, and that the few women who were present were of the lower orders. The building was of wood, open to the sky in the centre, and anything but substantial. Several tiers of seats, each a foot or so higher than the other, had been erected round a circular area about a hundred and twenty feet in diameter. These seats accommodated perhaps fifteen hundred people, and there seemed but little room to spare.
In front of the lowest seat, which was not much raised from the ground, were strong palisades, between which a man could slip with ease, and thus they afforded the toreros a secure retreat from the fury of the bulls. Close to where I took my place there was a large gate, which was thrown open to admit the bulls one by one. First of all, however, a squeaking band struck up, and eight toreros, or pedestrian Dull-fighters, entered, and saluted some
Season of note who sat opposite the large gate. ust at that moment, the thunder-shower which had been gathering descended in torrents, and the people shouted to the toreros, "No moja se," — "Don't get wet!" — on which they slipped in between the palisades, and so put themselves under cover. They were very well made, active fellows, with extremely good legs, which were seen to advantage, as they wore white silk stockings and kneebreeches, embroidered with gold.
As soon as the rain stopped there was a loud shout, and presently the large gate opened and in rushed a bull. He was a dark animal, almost black, and had evidently been goaded to madness, for he came charging in, tossing his head, and with his tail erect. I could see, however, that the sharp points of his horns had been sawn off. One of the toreros now ran nimbly up to the bull and threw his red cloak on the ground before him, on which the animal made a furious charge, attempting to gore — not the man, of whom he at first took no notice, but the cloak. The torero dragged this along rapidly, and adroitly whisking it from side to side, fatigued the bull by causing him to make fruitless rushes, now in this direction, now in that. This was repeated again and again, until the animal seemed quite tired.
The most active of the toreros then advanced with a banderilla, or javelin entwined with fireworks in one hand, and his cloak in the other. He came so close to the bull that the animal charged him headlong. In a moment the torero glided to one side, and drove the dart into the bull, pinning the wretched animal's ear to his neck, immediately the fireworks around the dart began to explode, and the terrified bull turned and rushed madly across the arena. In half a minute or so the fire had reached the flesh, and began to burn into it. The bull then reared straight up, bellowing piteously, while its poor flanks heaved with the torture. Anon it dashed its head against the ground, driving the dart further into its flesh, and so continued to gallop round the ring in a succession of rearings and plungings. This seemed to be a moment of exquisite delight to the spectators, who yelled out applause, and some in their excitement stood up clapping and shouting. I was heartily disgusted, and would have
gone out at once had it been possible, but I was too tightly wedged in. Meantime, the large gate opened again, and the poor bull fled through it, to be slaughtered and sold with all despatch. After ten minutes' pause another bull was admitted, and was similarly tortured. And so it fared with four more bulls.
The sixth bull was a very tall, gaunt animal, whose tactics were quite different from those of the others. He came in without a rush, looked warily about, and could hardly be induced to follow the torero. In short, he was so sluggish, that the people, enraged at his showing so little sport, shouted for a matador to kill him in the arena. Hereupon, one of the toreros darted up to stick a banderilla into the sluggard. But the bull, being quite fresh, not only defeated this attempt by a tremendous sweep of his horns, but almost struck down his assailant, who was taken by surprise at this unlooked-for vigor on the part of an animal which seemed spiritless. However, by a desperate effort the torero escaped for a moment, but the bull followed him like lightning, and, as ill luck would have it, before the man could reach the shelter of the palisades his foot slipped in a puddle and he fell back. Expecting that the charge would end as all previous ones had ended, I had got up with the intention of leaving, and I was thus able to see more clearly what followed. As the man fell backward, the bull struck him on the lower part of the spine with such force that the blow sounded all over the building. The unfortunate torero was hurled into the air, and came down with his head against the palisades, and there lay, apparently dead, in a pool of blood.
A sickening feeling of horror crept over me; the bull was rushing upon the poor fellow again, and would no doubt have crushed him as he lay motionless, but, just in the nick of time, one of the toreros threw his cloak so cleverly that it fell exactly over the bull's head and blinded him. While the brute was trampling and tossing to free himself, the matador came up and drove a short sword into the vertebrae of his neck, and down he went headlong. At one moment full of mad fury, the next he was a quivering mass of lifeless flesh. A few minutes more, and the dead bull, and seemingly lifeless man, were removed from the arena, and another bull was called for. I, however, had witnessed enough, and gladly made my exit.
It wanted still several days to that appointed for my meeting the ministers, and I determined to spend them in visiting the few buildings of interest in the city. My first expedition was to the Municipal Hall, and indeed I had but a little way to go, as it is close to the Gran Plaza. This hall is one of the oldest buildings in Caracas, and externally is not only plain, but almost shabby. Inside, however, there is a very respectable council-chamber, with handsome gilt arm-chairs for the president and eleven members, who impose the town dues, and discharge the ordinary functions of civic authorities. Round the room are hung some very tolerable portraits. Among these are that of the ecclesiastics who filled the archiepiscopal chair of Caracas in 1813, and those of President Monagas and his brother.
There are also portraits of Bolivar, of Count Tovar, and Generals Miranda and Urdaneta, and one remarkable picture of the reading of the Act of Independence, with likenesses of the leaders in the revolution. The mob are represented compelling the Spanish general to take off his hat and salute.
As a pendant to this picture hangs a framed copy of the Act of Independence. But the great curiosity of all is the flag of Pizarro, sent from Peru in 1837, and enshrined in a case. All the silk and velvet are eaten off, but the gold wire remains, with the device of a lion, and the word Carlos. The flag is about five feet long and three broad, and being folded double in the frame, only half is seen, and they will not allow it to be taken out. There are also two flags of Carlos the Fourth, taken from the Spaniards, and the original manuscripts of the Act of Independence, and other important documents, bound up together.
A day or two after, I went to see the university of Caracas, which, with the House of Assembly, the National Library, and a church, form one great block of buildings. The National Library does not contain more than ten thousand volumes, and in that of the university there are about three thousand fire hundred. The department of divinity seemed best represented; but there was no great evidence of the books being cared for. The professors of the university were most obliging, and showed me all there was to be seen in the college, which is massive and not ill-suited for its present purpose, though originally it was a convent of Carmelite friars. The departments of chemistry and medicine seemed the best organized. I concluded my inspection with a visit to the dissecting-room, and that for anatomical preparations. Among other things, I was shown the skull of a man whose bones had turned to chalk. The skull was from an inch to an inch and a half thick, and if a piece of it had been broken off and shown separately, no unscientific person would have guessed it to be, or to have ever been, a human bone.
One of the professors then went with me to the Hall of Congress, where also are pictures of Bolivar, and of the meeting at which the Act of Independence was settled. The locality seemed to inspire my cicerone, for, though I, and a man who sat there reading, and who never raised his head, were his sole audience, he delivered with the greatest animation an eloquent harangue on the subject of liberty. If it be true that still waters are the deepest, I should fear that the republicanism of South America is somewhat shallow, it does so babble as it runs. However, I was glad to hear the orator express himself with great warmth as regards England, saying that she was the only power that had assisted them in their great struggle with the Spaniards, and without her they wouldhardly have secured their independence.
The time had come for my interview with the ministers on the business I had in hand. C. came for me at 11 A. M. on the appointed day, and we walked together to Government House. As we were very busy conversing, I did not notice the sentry, and indeed he was such a mite of a man, that I might have been pardoned for overlooking him. It seems that in Venezuela "such divinity doth hedge " a sentinel that no passer-by must come within a yard of him.
Having approached within the limits, the small warrior soon convinced me that his dignity was not to be so offended with impunity. In the twinkling of an eye he brought down his musket with a terrible rattle to the charge, and very nearly wounded me a little above the knee, at the same time snarling out some unintelligible words. It is a curious fact that the Venezuelans are, generally speaking, a very civil race, until they put on uniform, (a red uniform, by the by, like the English,) when their whole na
ture seems to be soured. "Don't go near that sentry," was a caution I often received; and I once heard it suggested that a mat with Care caneml should be laid down in front of every soldier on duty. Very different is the demeanor of the civilians. One day, for instance, I was walking with a friend on the northern outskirts of the city, when we met a gardener with a store of fresh fruit. "Now is your time," said my friend, "to try your Spanish. See how you can manage a bargain with the gardener." So, for the mere sake of talking, we detained the poor man a long time, and looked at his fruit, and tumbled it about, until I was ashamed, and would have bought a quantity of it. Then he asked where I was living, and when I told him, as it was a very long way off, he said it would not pay him to send so far. "Well then," I said, "I fear there is nothing to be done, for I should not know how to direct my servant to come to you." "That's true," said he, " but I should like you to taste this fruit, which is really very fine, so you must accept a few specimens." With these words he insisted on my taking some of the best mangoes and other fruit he had, and positively refused to be paid for it
Escaping from the surly little sentry, we entered the Government House, and were received by the official whose duty it is to usher in those who come to pay their respects to the ministers. This official, whose name is Godoy, is a negro of the negroes, and is a genius in his way. Many of his bon-mots are current at Caracas. On one occasion, when government had suddenly changed hands, a conceited official, who had just got into power, said to Godoy, " You here still? How is it that you have not been turned out with the rest?" "I," said Godoy, with an affectation of humility, but casting a significant glance at his interrogator, "never ascend, and consequently never descend." His questioner was soon enabled to appreciate the philosophy of the remark, for he descended from Government House as suddenly as he ascended, being turned out by another change. Another time, during the late troubles, a number of young men, chiefly students from the university, collected in a threatening manner near Government House, and began shouting out various seditious cries. Godoy, and one of the generals on the side of the party in power, came out on the balcony to see what was the matter; on which stones were thrown at Godoy, and the mob shouted," Down with the negroes!" "Down with the brigands!" "Do you hear what they say?" asked the general, sneeringly, of Godoy. "Your excellency," he replied, "I hear. They are calling out, 'Down with the negroes!' meaning, of course, me; and 'Down with the brigands 1' which, as no one else is present, must refer, I suppose, to your excellency."
We were ushered by Godoy into the councilroom, a handsome apartment, looking on the Gran Plaza. It contains the inevitable picture of Bolivar. There is also his sash, but I do not remember to have seen his sword anywhere. We entered and found a suffocating atmosphere, for the rooms at Government House are open only during the day, and the doors and windows are kept closed from sunset till the hour when business commences, which is generally about eleven o'clock. There are, besides, no verandahs, so that the public rooms at Caracas are hotter than those at Madras. However, as the ministers, with the acting president at their head, were already assembled, there was noth
ing for it but to go forward and take our seats. The meeting was one of vital importance to every one present. Not only were the exigencies of the government most urgent, but each individual supporter of it knew that on the satisfactory termination of that meeting depended his hopes of indemnity for losses, and the settlement of his claims, whatever they might be. The public tranquillity, too, was at stake, because the greater part of the army, after five years' incessant fighting, had no other reimbursement to look to for all their toils and dangers, but what might be alloted to them if this conference passed off well.
Nay more; at the very moment that we were seated there, an extensive conspiracy was on foot, in which a minister and several other persons of rank were said to be engaged, and which, if some of the conspirators had not turned informers, might have been successful. Yet so great was the command of countenance possessed by the ministers there assembled, and so complete the absence of all appearance of excitement, that no one wquld have supposed the business under discussion to have been more than an every-day matter. War is a sharp teacher, and in troublous times political students learn in months what it takes years to acquire in peace. The men who sat there as ministers had been, not very long before, one a clerk, another a cattle-farmer, and so on. And now they were governing a country three times as large as France, and had learned so much from the experience of the late struggle, that they were by no means unfitted for the task of government
After a long discussion, our business, for the time at least, was satisfactorily concluded. C. and I then took leave, having received several invitations to breakfast from the ministers; for at Caracas it does not seem to be the fashion to give dinners. These invitations we accepted, and walked back to the hotel.
On the way we heard a good deal of shouting, mingled with laughter, and presently we met a big, wild-looking man, who seemed to be in a perfect frenzy, stopping from time to time and imprecating the most dreadful curses on all about him. He was followed by a number of people who were jeering and throwing stones, which he returned with interest, picking up flints as large as one's fist, and throwing them with a force that would have shattered the skull of any one but a negro. He was in fact a madman; in general, they said, tolerably quiet; but on this occasion goaded to fury by his persecutors. I said to C.: "This is a very disgraceful scene. In any European city the police would interfere, and prevent this poor maniac from being tormented. Have you no madhouse in Venezuela to which this wretched man might be sent?" "Well," said C, "as to the police, you yourself must admit that, though our streets are not patrolled in the daytime, disturbances are rarer here than in European towns. With regard to mad people, I never heard of any serious accident from their being allowed to go about as they choose, and so I don't see the use of madhouses here. But you will have more opportunities before you leave Venezuela of forming an opinion on this subject. Our lunatics are in general very quiet. What you see today is an unusual occurrence."
By this time we had reached the hotel, and I parted with C, having first accepted an invitation to dine with him next day. I went to his house accordingly about seven P. M., and found no one
but himself and the ladies of the family. In the middle of dinner, a gentleman, whom I had not seen before, entered and walked straight up to the hostess, as I thought, to apologize, but he said nothing, and, after looking at her strangely for a moment or two, moved across the room to a picture, which he began to examine. I thought this rather curious conduct, but supposed he was some intimate friend or relation, who did not stand on ceremony. As to our conversation the day before, de lunatico inquirendo, I had forgotten all about it. When, however, the new-comer began to walk round and round the table, murmuring broken sentences, I began to understand the case.
Presently the madman, for such he was, went up to the buffet, and began fumbling with the things there. "If he takes up a knife, and makes a rush at some one," thought I, "it will not be pleasant." However, as no one took any notice of the intruder, I too said nothing about him, and went on talking to the lady who sat next me, and eating my dinner. In a minute or two my eyes wandered back to the gentleman at the sideboard, when, to my coasternation, I perceived that he had indeed got hold of a knife, with which he had already cut himself pretty severely, for the blood was trickling from his wrist. He was muttering, too, faster than ever, and his eyes glittered like sparks, though he did not seem to be looking at us, but had his gaze fixed on the wall, I tried to attract C.'s notice, but failing to do so, said in a low voice, "Look out, or there will be mischief directly 1"
C. glanced quickly at the man, and with great presence of mind filled a glass of wine, and rose and offered it to him. He looked at C. for a moment in a way that was not agreeable, then very quietly put down the knife, and walked out of the room without saying a word. C. resumed his seat with the greatest composure, and said: "Poor fellow, he was one of the best scholars in Caracas, and would certainly have distinguished himself; but the girl he was engaged to fell in love with his brother, and married him. He has been insane ever since."
I went away, wondering whether it was by peculiar infelicity that so soon after my arrival at Caracas I should have witnessed a visit of this kind, or whether such incidents were common. I had not long to wait before learning that they were by no means rare. I went one evening to a musical entertainment at the house of a person high in office. The lady of the house was singing "II Bacio " very charmingly, and a group had been formed round her, near to which I had taken a seat with my face towards the door. Presently I saw a man enter, whose peculiar look immediately reminded me of the gentleman with the knife at the buffet. The new-comer, like his predecessor, walked straight up to the lady of the house, and in a hoarse voice commenced a muttering accompaniment, which jarred strangely with the music and the sweet tones of the singer. Everybody looked annoyed, but no one spoke to the intruder; only, the group near the piano gradually melted away, leaving him standing by himself.
At last, he went closer to the lady, who continued to sing with marvellous self-possession, and leaning over her, began to strike chords on the piano. This was too much even for her aplomb, — she stopped and" walked down the room; and the stranger, after addressing some incoherent remarks to the people near him, followed her. I was too far off to see what took place then, but there was a bustle, and I
heard the intruder talking in a loud, angry voice, after which he suddenly went off, and the party broke up. This man, I was subsequently informed, was intoxicated as well as insane, yet no attempt was made to remove him, nor was he even told to
On the following Sunday I went to breakfast at the house of the minister of public works. It was a sumptuous entertainment, with very beautiful fruits and flowers displayed on the table, and many more dishes than guests, for of the latter there were only sixteen. The place of honor fell to my lot, opposite to the acting president of the republic: an old general with an iron constitution, who, unhappily for me, supposing all men to be equally vigorous, plied me at every pause in the collation with fruits pleasant to the eye, and of tolerable flavor, but to the last degree pernicious to a person of weak digestive powers. Owing to these flattering attentions, the order of my meal ran something in this style.
A brimming plateful of turtle-soup, good in quality, overpowering in quantity, and indifferently cooked; a large fruit of the custard-apple genus; prawns, pirga fish, and oysters; several fruits of the cactus, called here tuna, selected for their size by the general; turkey, prepared in a fashion peculiar to the country, boned, and the inside filled with a kind of stuffing redolent of garlic; a plate of cherries; a fricandeau of some unknown meat; several slices of pine-apple; a dish, name unknown, the chief ingredient being the flesh of the land tortoise; grapes of various kinds; and an infinite series of other trifles.
No speeches were made; indeed, the meal was too severe for any but the most languid conversation- The longest meal must, however, come to an end, and at l:ust, after a wind-up of coffee and cigars of an exquisite flavor, we separated. The Sunday following, the scene was repeated, but on this occasion it was the acting president who gave the breaklast. Having determined not to risk my life any more by undue complaisance, I refused all offers of fruit, and ate more moderately. At last the meal reached its termination, and the president, filling his glass, looked round the table, and then at me, and said, ** Brindo al senor qui nos ha llevado treinte mil libras,"— "I drink to the gentleman who has brought us thirty thousand pounds." I was somewhat disconcerted by the wording of the toast, and thinking that it spoke for itself, judged it unneces<irv to rise to respond. Presently, filling his glass again, the old general said, "I drink now to the English government, which has always been the protector of Venezuela, and has set the best example for free states to follow."
This, of course, compelled me to reply, and I expressed the pleasure I had had in visiting that beautiful country, in which Nature had been so lavish of her gifts, and whose inhabitants, by their gallant struggle for liberty, had shown themselves worthy of such a fair inheritance. England, I said, was the friend of all free nations, and would no doubt support the Venezuelans in maintaining their independence, as warmly M she had aided them in acquiring it. These, and many other things, I was obliged to say in English, not having sufficient Spanish at command for an oration. A friend, however, translated what I had said into pure CasuTian, and his version seemed to give great satisfaction, more particularly as he compressed my harangue into very small compass. Nothing, however,
seemed to please the company so much as my happening to say, " Viva la Amanita!" — " Hurrah for the yellow !" — which I did when a flower of that color was given me, though I had no idea that yellow was the color of the party in power. The next speech was the health of the ministers, proposed by a red-hot republican, who discoursed with immense fluency on the rights of man. Among other things, he assured us that, as all obstacles to perfect freedom were at length removed, Venezuela would now enjoy permanent tranquillity, during which all the blessings of the golden age would be restored. Ten days afterwards, one of the ministers and a number of leading men were arrested and thrown into prison, while, at the same time, an insurrection, with which it was supposed they were connected, broke out in several of the provinces.
THE FAIR FANARIOTE.
In consequence of the numerous revolutions that have accompanied the fall pf the Greek empire in Byzantium, most of the inhabitants of Panama, near Constantinople, boast of being descendants of the dethroned imperial family, — a circumstance which is probable enough, and which nobody takes the trouble to dispute, any more than the alleged nobility of the Castilian peasantry, or the absurd genealogies of certain great families.
In a retired street in Pera, one of the suburbs of Constantinople, a descendant of the Cantacuzenes followed the humble calling of a butcher; but, in spite of industry and activity, he had great difficulty in earning a sufficiency to pay his way, and maintain his wife and his only daughter Sophia. The latter had just entered her fourteenth year, and her growing beauty was the admiration of the whole neighborhood. Fate, or, if you wish to call it, Providence, ordained that the poor butcher should suffer repeated losses, which reduced him to a condition bordering on beggary. His wife unfolded his distressed circumstances to a Greek, one of her relations, who was a dragoman to the French embassy, and who, in his turn, related the story to the Marquis de Vauban, the ambassador. This nobleman became interested for the unfortunate family, and especially for Sophia, whom the officious dragoman described as being likely to fall into the snares that were laid for her, and to become an inmate of the harem of some pasha, or even of a Turk of inferior rank.
Prompted by pity, curiosity, or perhaps by some other motive, the ambassador paid a visit to the distressed family. He saw Sophia, was charmed by her beauty and intelligence, and he proposed that her parents should place her under his care and allow him to convey her to France. The misery to which the poor people were reduced may perhaps palliate the shame of acceding to this extraordinary proposition; but, be this as it may, they consented to surrender up their daughter for the sum of fifteen hundred piastres, and Sophia was that same day conducted to the ambassador's palace.
She found in the Marquis de Vauban a kind and liberal benefactor. He engaged masters to instruct her in every branch of education; and elegant accomplishments, added to her natural charms, rendered her an object of irresistiblo attraction.
In the course of a few months, the ambassador was called home, and he set out, accompanied by this Oriental treasure, to travel to France by land. To diminish, as far as possible, the fatigue of a long
journey, they proceeded by short stages, and having passed through European Turkey, they arrived at K ;nnii! ]>•]/., in Podolia, which is the first fortress belonging to Russia. Here the marquis determined to rest for a short time, before undertaking the remainder of his tedious journey.
Count do Witt, a descendant of the grand pensionary of Holland, who was governor of the place, received his noble visitor with every mark of attention. The count, however, no sooner beheld Maria, than he became deeply enamored of her; and on learning the equivocal situation in which she stood, — being neither a slave nor a companion, but, as it were, a piece of merchandise purchased for fifteen hundred piastres, — he wound up his declaration of love by an offer of marriage. The count was a handsome man, scarcely thirty years of age, a lieutenant-general in the Russian service, and enjoying the high favor of his sovereign, Catherine II. The fair Greek, as may well be imagined, did not reject this favor of fortune, but accepted the offer of her suitor without hesitation. .
It was easy to foresee that the Marquis de Vauban would not be very willing to part with a prize which he regarded as lawfully acquired, and to which he attached no small value. The county therefore, found it advisable to resort to stratagem. Accordingly, his excellency having one day taken a ride beyond the ramparts, the drawbridges were raised, and the lovers repaired to church, where their hands were joined by a papa. When the marquis appeared at the gates of the fortress, and demanded admittance, a messenger was sent out to inform him of what had happened; and to complete the denouement of the comedy, the marriage contract was exhibited to him in due form.
To save Sophia from the reproaches which her precipitancy — it may perhaps be said her ingratitude — would have fully justified, the count directed the ambassador's suite to pack up their baggage, and join his excellency extra muros. The poor marquis soon discovered that it was quite useless to stay where he was for the purpose of venting threats and complaints; and he had no hope that the court of France would think it worth while to go to war for the sake of avenging his affront. He therefore took a hint from one of the French poets, who says,
"Le bruit est pour le fat, la plninte pour Ie sot, L'hoondte homme trompe, s'eUoigne, et ne dit mot,"
and he set off, doubtless with the secret determination never again to tramc in merchandise which possesses no value when it can be either bought or sold. About two years after this marriage the Count de Witt obtained leave of absence, and, accompanied by his wife, he visited the different courts of Europe. Sophia's beauty, which derived piquancy from a certain Oriental langukhinent of manner, was everywhere the theme of admiration. The Prince de Lignc, who saw her at the court of France, mentions her in his memoir in terms of eulogy, which I cannot think exaggerated; for when I knew her at Tulc/in, though she was then upwards of forty, her charms retained all their lustre, and she outshone the young beauties of the court, amidst whom she appeared like Calypso surrounded by her nymphs
I now arrive at the second period of Sophia's life, which forms a sequel perfectly in unison with the commencement. Count Felix Patocka, at the commencement of the troubles in Poland, raised a considerable party by the influence of his rank and vast fortune. During a temporary absence from
the court of Poland, he made a tour through Italy, and on his return, he met the Count and Counuie de Witt at Hamburg, where he fell deeply in love with Sophia. Not to weary with the details of the romance, I will come to the denouement at once.
Nothing is so easy as to obtain a divorce in Poland. The law extends so far on this point, that I know a gentleman, Mr. Wortel, who had no lea than four wives, all living, and bearing his name. Count Patocka, therefore, availing himself of this advantage, and having previously made every arrangement necessary, one morning called on Count de Witt, and, without further ceremony, said: "Count, I love your wife, and cannot live without her. I know that I am not indifferent to her; and I might immediately carry her off; but I wish to owe my happiness to you, and retain forever a grateful sense of your generosity. Here are two papers, one is an act of divorce, which only wants your signature, for you see the countess has already affixed hers to it; the other is a bond for two millions of florins, payable at my banker's in the city. We may, therefore, settle the business amicably or otherwise, just as you please." The husband doubtless thought of his adventure at the fortress of K nietz, and like the French ambassador, he resigned himself to his fate, and signed the paper. The fair Sophia became, the same day, the Countess IV tocka; and to the charms of beauty and talents were now added the attractions of a fortune the extent of which was unequalled in Europe.
French law is a severe protector of patents and copyrights. We doubt if our courts would hold that the two words "popular concerts" constituted a property; but M. Pasdcloup has recovered damages against a musical speculator whose announcements of another series under that title seemed to threaten injury to his well-known enterprise at the Cirque Napoleon.
Sir John Lawrence has sent three native agents, disguised as merchants, to explore Central Asia by different routes. Each one is independent of the others, and kept in ignorance of their appointment, so that on their return three independent narratives may be looked for. They are instructed to take note of all that they see, to observe the temper of the different peoples among whom they travel, whether movements are taking place in favor of Russia, and to visit Bokhara, Khokand, and Samarcand before they turn back.
An English paper says that a London publishing firm has been recently trying to prevail on the Poet Laureate to permit the introduction into this country of the American editions of his works, alleging as a reason that they are quite as well if not better printed, and that they are so very much cheaper than the English editions. Another reason adduced for their introduction here, we believe, was the desirability of circulating Mr. Tennyson's writings amongst the working classes. Notwithstanding these representations, the Laureate has, we understand, failed to perceive any necessity for allowing American reprints of his poems to circulate here.
Seventeen highly interesting autograph letter) of Lord Byron were sold last month in London by Messrs. Sotheby. They are mostly addressed to Mr. J. Hodgson, and contain numerous passages which have not yet been published.