Графични страници
PDF файл

bet, it afterwards turned out, with some students who happened to be passing at the time the tray was let down, that he would get into it, and so get hauled up. He, however, little thought that there was any danger of the tray's turning round from under him when he had got part way up, as it did, or of the difficulty presented, of his getting into the balcony when once up at the top. His insufficient weight, and his position on the tray, had not balanced it properly, and owing to this his scat had slid from under him, and he had clung to the iron hook to save him from falling.

"The next affair, which was more alarming in its way, happened in this wise. One day a servantmaid brought up a child of about two years old. She was accompanied by a soldier. People did not always ring the bell, but if the door was open they would pass through and on to the balcony, I did not always follow the visitors out, but as this party remained a longer time than was usual, I went up to see what they were about The girl was, as I supposed, talking and laughing with her schatz [lover]; but where was the child? ah! where? In going round the tower to look for it, I saw to my unutterable horror that the little fellow was standing on one of the stone buttresses which supported the balustrade, having evidently got out to it between a gap in the railings. No grown person could have found standing-room where his little feet were perched. I felt a tingling sensation creep all over me; what should I do? My first impulse was to call out to the child, and to rush up to it to pull it away; but on reflection I felt almost sure that this would lead to fatal consequences, as the child would probably thus be frightened, and fall over. What then, you will ask, did I do in this emergency? I laid myself at length along the floor, and creeping that way nnperceived up to the spot where he stood, I cautiously reached one hand through the rails, and caught the child by the petticoats; then rising, with the other I lifted him over the balustrade, and thus effected the rescue. . After I had him safe, I looked at him, and fancied that I had seen his black eyes and curly pate before, and when I noticed the initials on his pinafore, I recognized the boy as belonging to an acquaintance of ours. I took him in my arms, and purposely avoiding the still preoccupied nursemaid, carried the child down. He never ceased staring at me with his large eyes till I had restored him to his mother, who, I need scarcely tell you, overwhelmed me with expressions of gratitude; and this ring," pointing to a handsome signet which he wore, in the fashion of his country, on the forefinger, " is a token of it. She and her husband then promised me to help me in any difficulty I might be in at any time, and we have now put their sincerity to the test, for my family are now receiving the good people's hospitality, sharing their roof and partaking of their bread until such time as I shall be able to procure a new one for them, which shortly I hope to do. But to return to what I was telling you: it did not take long to carry the child home. On returning here, I found the servant in a fine state of alarm, having just discovered the loss of her charge. She was frantically rushing about, and now and then looking over the parapet. When she saw me, she sprang towards me, beseeching me to assist her to find the child. I told her to go below and seek for it under the tower in the yard; that she alone was responsible, and that I had nothing to do with this sad business. She, followed by the soldier, whom she was abusing soundly for tak

ing up her attention so long, hurried down the stairs, and fearing that the child was killed (she had not stopped to look for it, I heard afterwards), not liking to face her master and mistress, ran straight back to her home in the Oden Wald.

"And, now, madame, I am coming to the fearful accident which happened to us about a fortnight ago, — the recollection of which makes it impossible for us to remain here. My wife was attacked by brain fever the day after that which I am going to relate took place, and from this she is only now slowly recovering. She was ill in bed when this happened, and when I left the tower on the afternoon of which I am going to speak she was asleep I had to practise a difficult solo accompaniment for the opera that evening, and had in consequence gone to the theatre much earlier than usual. The children were all at school, excepting the two young est, who were under the care of our maid-of-all-wort She had put the baby to sleep in its cradle in my wife's room, and had taken away the little boy, who is about two years and a half old, to put on his walking-dress, intending to take the child with her on an errand which she had to do in the town. She had, however, to wait until our oldest girl should return from school, as she could not leave my wife alone. After laying the child's clothes on a chair ,ready to put on, she took him with her to go and open the door to some one who had rung the bell, and had afterwards been gossiping a long time on the stairs with this individual, who had proved to be a friend of hers, without paying proper attention to the little boy, who had in the mean time slipped back into the children's room. This was the clearest account of the matter that I could get given me, when I came to inquire afterwards of the servant, how it was that she could have been so negligent. My wife told me that she awoke some time after I had gone (it must have been with a strange presentiment that some evil had befallen our boy), and getting as quickly out of bed as she could, she ran out on the landingplace, exclaiming, 'My Ludwig, — my Ludwig,-- where is he?'' The servant, running up from the stairs, explained that he had been by her side only an instant ago, and that he could not be very far on. My wife and the servant then searched in every direction for him, but no Ludwig was to be found.

"In the nursery there was a chair standing by the window; and on it a little shoe, one of his, was lying. A sudden fear took possession of my wife; she tottered to the window, which was open, and, after a moment's hesitation, an instant of dread to know the worst, the truth,—which she suspected,— she looked out; and there, on. the pavement two hundred feet below, lay the body of her child, — for alive he could not be. Rushing down stairs just as she was, in her night-dress, my poor wife ran wilSly into the little narrow street or lane which lay immediately under the window from which the dear child had fallen. This was not much used a* a thoroughfare, and at the moment she reached it there happened to be nobody there. How shall I express to you, madame, the surprise,—the consternation of my wife and the servant, — when, on hurrying to the spot where they expected to behold the child's shapeless mangled corpse, they found nothing. Here was a mystery to be solved! By this fame the screams of the two women had roused the attention of the neighbors, who came running to them from the next street, close by.

"' Where, where is the child?' was the reiterated cry passed on from mouth to mouth, till at lasttht lane was full of people asking each other the same question. Some of them, not knowing the immediate cause of my wife's distress, and struck by her unusual appearance, believing her mad, laid hold other, and forcing her back into the building, and up into her room, endeavored to quiet her the best way they could. But no one could answer her repeated question, 'Where is my Ludwig? where is his poor body?' Ah, where indeed was it 1 Before she had wellnigh been carried up stairs, however, a woman who had with breathless haste made her way into the lane, hurried up, saying that she had something important to say, and on being admitted she forthwith told my wife that she had seen the child fall from one of the upper windows, and had instantly hastened down from the top of the house where she lived, and which commanded a partial view of the tower. There was, then, no doubt of his having fallen, — no doubt of the poor child's destruction. But again the question,—What had, what could have become of the body? The general consternation increased, as indeed it well might: this was an unparalleled mystery. The woman who had seen him fall was of course more wonderstruck than the rest were, to find that the child was not to be found alive or dead.

"After receiving this intelligence, it was of course perfectly hopeless to make any further search for the poor child in the tower, for, as he had been seen to fall, he could not be anywhere inside the dwelling; the body must be sought for, must be found, out of the tower; that was clear to the astounded assemblage in my wife's room. A messenger was despatched to tell me that something had happened at borne to require my immediate return. I was taking my part in the overture to the opera, and the curtain was about to draw up in obedience to the sound of the boll, when I was thus interrupted. Dropping my violin, I made my way out of the theatre with trembling limbs and a sinking heart, conjecturing all kinds of dreadful misfortunes to have happened. By the time I reached our little street, I could hardly get by for the mob, which was filling it up to the very door of the tower, and part of the way up the steps. But as soon as I was recognized, way was made for me with one consent. On all sides I heard, 'There is the child's father!' It was then something which had happened to one of the children. My suspense was soon ended, when I beard from my wife and those around her what had happened. I immediately determined to go at once to the police, and instigate a proper inquiry as to the child; when, just as I was going out of the tower, a man brushed by me, but seeing who I was, issued and put into my hand — what? a child's hat ud pelisse. These I instantly recognized as be'"•ging to my little boy. *■' I live at the end of Tower Lane,' said the man; »v little girl has brought me home these things, >kich she tells me she picked up about half an hour Apr, as she was passing under the tower, and of "arse I thought they might belong to you.'

"It was then only the clothes that my wife had ***. A dawning of hope began to awaken within * • was it possible that the woman had mistaken re clothes falling fur the child falling, and that it *** all untrue, and the dear child would still be found?

"I went immediately back to my wife and the People up stairs, amongst whom the woman who •*> 1 she had seen him fall was still loitering. I put **e eager questions to her, but her replies ban

ished all hope. She told me that she had been watching my little boy for some time playing at the window, and that she had seen him throw out first the hat, and then what seemed to her like some garment, and seeing that he was leaning over to look at the things drop, she had turned to come away and to warn us about him, when, casting a last look at the window before doing so, she saw the child tumble out of it, and then she made as much speed to tell us as possible.

"Her account appeared to be very connected, and we felt that it was all too convincing. There was only just this one little incongruity in her tale, and that was, that the clothes were seen lying under a different window, though one close at hand, to that from which the woman said she saw him throw them out.

"Night was advancing by this time, and getting rid of the numerous sympathizing intruders upon our privacy, I shut the door upon all the world, and, closeted with my wife, whom I succeeded in somewhat quieting, we gave ourselves up to our grief; and various were our conjectures as to the probable or possible fate of our poor little Ludwig. Some of my friends had informed the police, and emissaries were sent in every direction to endeavor to procure tidings of the child's body, whose disappearance seemed to be so perfectly unaccountable. At length I persuaded my wife to lie down; the bigger children some kjjid neighbors had taken charge of to lighten our cares in our distress; the baby, therefore, alone remained. I had carried the little creature in to my wife, and had laid it in her arms to comfort her; and as she was gazing on its calm face as it slept, her tears began to flow, which was what I wanted: I knew that nature would in this way relieve itself, for I feared, as I have said before, for her reason. Ay, madame, such things have driven people mad before now; and it is to the wonder of all that she retains her senses, after all she has gone through. I saw that my wife was very quiet, and, fancying she had dropped into a kind of sleep, I slipped out of the room, and calling the servant to bring a light, I determined once more to search the place thoroughly, inside and out, although this had, they told me, been done before. We visited the cellar and every nook and corner that could be thought of, but all to no purpose; no, it did really appear as if this extraordinary affair would never be cleared up. No news came from the town, from any of the many messengers employed in the inquiry, and it was with a heavy, despairing heart that I returned to my wife. As soon as I entered her room, she put up her finger, whispering, 'Listen; stand still here by the bed.' Doing an she desired me, I looked at her in wonder at her meaning, and fearful that her mind was wandering.

"' Do you hear anything, Wilhelm ?' said she.

"' Yes, wife, I do hear something, and it sounds very like a human voice, — a child's voice crying out in distress.'

"It seemed to come from somewhere outside the walls.

"' Yes,' said my wife,' as soon as you were gone, and all was quiet, I fancied I heard it first.'

"The sound was faint, as if distant, and as of a child wailing and calling for help. We opened the window, and could hear it more distinctly. It did not seem to proceed from either over or under our window, but from somewhere at the side of the walls. We took our light and went into the children's room, the window of which we opened; but though we

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

could hear the sounds more distinctly, still we could see nothing, and following what we landed must be the direction of the cries, we went on into a room near this one, and only divided by a small passage. This little room was used for lumber and for drying clothes, and was usually locked up, but the servant had been there sorting clothes for the wash that morning, and had evidently left it open after her. We had over and over again searched in this, as well as in every part of the dwelling. The sounds now became much more intelligible, and, going to the window, which was open, — it often was left open to enable the clothes to dry, — we could clearly distinguish a child's voice crying out, ' Mamma, Sophie,' the name of our servant. Our hearts leaped for joy: it was our darling's voice. His cries, heartrending as they were, and hoarse with long screaming, were like the music of the spheres to us. They appeared to ascend from somewhere underneath the window; we threw the light from our candle down upon — what? Upon something dark below, — some large object against the wall, about six feet from the window-sill. When our eyes had become accustomed to the uncertain light, we beheld our child sitting in our large water-tub. We did not, you may be sure, linger long over our exclamations of wonder and of joy, but quickly pulled up the bucket with its precious burden. You are, doubtless, madame, anxious to know how it came that the bucket happened to be hanging in that way, — also how it was that the woman who had seen the child fall did not remark it. I will explain both. I found that our boys, hearing there was a grand wash in prospect for the day after, had taken the bucket from the place where it usually was kept, and had suspended it from some large iron staves which were used for hanging on the double windows we were obliged to use in the winter. This they did, knowing that there was no soft water in the large rainwater butt in the yard — the season having been remarkably dry — for the purpose of collecting the rain which had been threatening to descend that morning. The woman's window opposite only commanded a partial view, as I told you before, of the tower; and upon visiting her room, which I afterwards did to see, I was aware of the impossibility of her seeing the bucket, for another roof came between, and only the window and about four feet beneath it of wall were discernible from her window. Nor was the bucket to be seen from the lane, for the window from which it hung was at the side of the tower. The wind must have blown the hat and pelisse aside as they were falling, and they had alighted under the window in the children's room, from whence my wife had discovered them lying in the lane. The west-wind had been blowing hard all the day. In these sudden emergencies people seldom reason logically, if they reason at all; but, of course, a little quiet survey of the bearings of the case would probably have led to an earlier denouement of this mystery. The little boy had been playing with some toys at the lumber-room window, and had dropped his little horse-and-cart into the bucket, in endeavoring to recover which he must have fallen, for we found the toy lying under him when we took him out. The clothes which he had thrown out were, it appears, those which the servant had laid upon a chair in the nursery ready to put on the child, and which he must have carried over into the lumberroom with him. These are the three frights and the accident which are the cause of our determination to leavc-our home in this tower, madame; and, now

you have heard about them, I think you cannot wonder at our decision.

The watchman, before I left him, gave me a manuscript containing his mother's story, which, though interesting, is too long to give here. I hurried away from the tower, feeling that it was, perhaps, an illomened place, yet, that if haunted by spirits, they were not altogether of an evil sort; and though mischievous, ready to undo the worst of their tricks. I was not sorry, when I returned to my own home, to know, that, as we live on the parterre, our children are pretty safe even if they should fall.


The death of this most distinguished sculptor of our modern school occurred at Rome, on the 27th of January. Though he had lived to an age when most men are but the shadows of their former selves, yet Gibson retained all the young-mindedness of his early days, and much of the vigor of his manhood. His fine countenance showed few of the ordinary signs of age; his full hair and beard were scarcely more gray than at forty; and his dark eye had not been dimmed at all. Like many Welshmen, Gibson had a decidedly Italian cast of features, with a grave, thoughtful, and amiable expression, which was strengthened by his pleasant and simple manners. There was never anything very forcible or demonstrative about him, although his views, when once settled in his own mind, were held with a degree of tenacity and firmness that might have been mistaken for obstinacy. The most remarkable instance of this was in his taking up the practice of coloring his statues in the late years of his career, and after he had attained to the height of his fame. He had then become an autocrat, and perhaps the opposition that was raised, and always will be, against coloring statues rather led him into the extreme assertions which he made in the Venus which occupied so prominent a position at the International Exhibition of 1862, the Cupid, and a Hebe, which -we remember seeing in Ins studio at Rome. He often said that the coloring of statuary was a most delicate matter, and he thought no one understood it as he did himself; but it cannot be overlooked that the great man never ventured to apply it to his greatest works. It seemed to us that he played with it rather as if in the indulgence of a fancy, and for the sake of vindicating this knowledge of antique practice of the art. His noble statue of " The Hunter," a nude figure of a man holding back a hound, which for its style, as well as the extraordinary vigor and originality of conception, has been compared with the antique, was not touched with color, although it was finished in 1851, only a few years before his Venus. A Youthful Bacchus, also one of his latest, and certainly one of his most beautiful works, remains uncolored. It is not necessary to enter into the argument as to the correctness of such a view; the allusion is sufficient to point out Gibson's strong opinions upon the subject, which, indeed, became the most remarkable feature in his artistic career, next to his great genius as a sculptor after the antique style.

That Gibson should have achieved so much in emulation of the great models of antique art, is due entirely to his own great natural gifts. As the son of a gardener at Conway, he had no sort of classical education, nor did he even obtain this after he went to Liverpool with his father to l>c apprenticed to a cabinet-maker. His time was occupied simply in training his hand to the wood-carving for his trade,

[merged small][ocr errors]

and probably his only idea* of Greek art were obtained from any plaster casts which might have happened to be in the shop of Mr. Francis, the marble111:1.-. Mi. to whom he was transferred as un apprentice. It was here, however, that he became acquainted with Mr. Roscoe, whose notice had been attracted by a small figure of "Time," modelled in wax by young Gibson, and we may suppose that Mr. Roscoe'slibrary, with its collection of engravings, contained many examples of classic art «Inch were a new world to the young marble carver. The talent for modelling which he showed procured him many friends, and the means were soon found for giving him the advantages of studying at Rome. It does not appear that ne ever entered at the Academy, as Flaxman did, while a boy in his father's plaster figure-shop in the Strand, but made his way entirely after studying at Rome. He arrived there in 1817, in his twenty-seventh year, and it was n6t till 1838 that he was admitted as Associate of the Academy, to be, however, elected a full Academician in three years' time; so that he made a very decided impression at this time, though his works were not to be compared for- a moment with those he produced nearly twenty years afterwards, when at the very ripe age of fifty-eight.

His whole artistic life was spent at Rome, with rare visits to England, and he troubled himself little with the duties of an Academician. Gibson's first manner was precisely in accordance with the prevailing taste of the day for statues classical in name only. As to style, there was then nothing thought of but that of which Canova had set the fashion, and which was taken up by the French sculptors even more warmly than it was by the English. Flaxman had produced but little impression by his very few statues; however, his power was universally admitted to be great in the outlines he did in illustration of J&chylus and Homer, and Thorwaldsen was only beginning to be known, although never to exercise so much influence perhaps as Gibson himself has since held. It was from Canova, who took him as a pupil, that Gibson learnt the simply graceful and picturesque style of his first groups of " Mars and Cupid," — Psyche borne by the Zephyrs, and Hyla.i borne by the Nymphs, two similar groups, in which Psyche and Hylas are carried on the shoulders of two nymphs. These were sculptured about 1821, after h«- left Canova, and had set up for himself at Rome. The attention he excited by these works must have been considerable, for some were purchased by the Duke of Devonshire, the Psyche by Sir George Beaumont, the well-known amateur, and, M a replica, by the present Emperor of Russia and Prince Torloma, while the Hylas was bought by Mr. Vernon, and stands now in the National Gallery amongst the rest of the Vernon bequests to the nation. These groups were all of them marked by a good deal of poetic feeling, but in none of them can we perceive that deep insight into the antique which Gibson showed in the productions of his maturer years. They were, as we have said, not in advance of his contemporaries as regarded style, but they were very greatly superior in conception, and as trroups they were wrought with technical skill of a nigh order. It is remarkable of them also that they were the first result of his serious study at Rome, and must have been designed and modelled with the greatest facility, from the short time, not more than four or five years, occupied in the work.

It was in 1817 that he entered Canova's studio, where he worked four years, and during this time

and the two or three years after he left Canova, the groups referred to were executed. Ho was led to design these groups probably from having seen Canova and the Danish sculptor, Thorwaldsen, occupied with their groups of the three Graces, the idea of which was suggested by the small antique bas-relief of the subject that gave to Raphael also his idea of the lovely group he painted. Whether Gibson studied directly under Thorwaldscn or not after he left Canova, he could not fail to be much influenced by the great Danish sculptor, and saw in his works an ideal more severe and certainly not less beautiful than in those of Canova, at the same time entirely free from any of the simpering affectation of attitude and expression which are so peculiar to his famous Italian rival, who was so absurdly eulogized at the time of his death, in 1822, as "The Phidias of his time." Juster views of the art have led us to regard Thorwaldsen as a greater sculptor than Canova, and that Gibson surpassed them both, if the antique is to be the standard of comparison, will generally be the opinion now. There are no works of modern sculpture which arc so thoroughly inspired by the antique feeling, whether that may be true or not for the art of the present day, as Gil>son's "Hunter," his "Youthful Bacchus/' and his two bas-reliefs of the " Hours " and " Phaeton," with, in a second degree, his Colored Venus and the Cupid. We may take the " Hunter," which many will remember was one of the finest examples of sculpture in the '51 Exhibition, and again in the Manchester Exhibition, as the best instance in modern sculpture of natural study of the figure in the severe manner of the Greeks.

The story goes that Gibson was one day in an idle mood looking out of his window down into the streets of Rome, and saw a young man of the Campagna holding back his dog, whicli had attacked another one, and was straining for the fight The idea struck him at once, and he hastened to make a sketch of the group, which afterwards in the marble became his greatest work. Another signal proof of bis great power in idealizing may be noticed in the very beautiful head called "Grazia," which was modelled from a Capuan girl, who no doubt was just such a model as the Greeks chose, and Gibson did what they did in giving his work all the ideal grandeur of a goddess. His bas-reliefs of " Phaeton driving the Chariot of Phoebus," and " The Hours," personified according to the Greek mvth by the three daughters of Zeus, harnessing the horses of Phoebus, which were done at Earl Fitzwilliam's request for "something about horses," may be named amongst the most beautiful examples of bas-relief in existence. These again were completely the result of the sculptor's devoted study of nature. When he undertook the commission he had never modelled a horse from the life, but he began by buying the most beautiful creature he could find, and this he made his model. Casts of these noble bas-reliefs are to be seen in the collection of the Crvstal Palace, as well as several other works by him. The great merit of Gibson's bas-relief is in the nobleness and grandeur of the style, without anything approaching to that servile following of the antique which we see so frequently in modern bas-relief. His horses remind us of the Parthenon frieze, and yet they have more wildness and'fiery grace in their plunging forms. He was especially fond of this line of sculpture, and frequently amused himself latterly with modelling small groups from the legend of Psyche, but with the exception of the two great works mentioned, and the Jocasta and her Sons, he has left nothing very remarkable.

Intermediate between those works we have referred to as his greatest achievements, and which were the product of his genius at its maturity, were those which he did while studying the beauties of the Vatican, the Capitol, the Ludovisi, and the Borghesc collections at Rome. In his " Cupid " he has evidently been much influenced by the lovely figures of the Capitol and the Vatican. His "Wounded Amazon " is another figure the idea of which is borrowed from the antique, with less freedom of natural study than his mastery of later years enabled him to give. The " Venus Vincitrice " was in the common classical style, as was also a Flora and a group of Venus *ni Cupid, in which he followed the well-known antique of the half-kneeling Venus. The tinted "Venus" was a feeble work compared with his " Hunter" and the "Bacchus "; it was completely Roman in taste, and could not be said to be improved by the coloring.

In portrait-statues of the monumental order Gibson did not undertake much, and it cannot be said that his taste inclined him to works of this kind. His best portrait-statue was that of Huskisson, which he modelled, however, we presume, from sketches, as this statesman met his death many years before 1847, when the statue was sculptured. This statue, in marble, is in the Royal Exchange, and a copy in bronze ornaments the Liverpool Exchange, both presented by the widow of Mr. Huskisson, for whom Gibson undertook the commission. He also executed a statue of the Queen, which is, we believe, at Windsor, and another in a kind of semi-allegorical style, representing the Queen seated, and supported by figures of Justice and Clemency, which is in the Prince's Chamber in the House of Lords.

Great sculptors are not so common in the world of art that we can see them pass away, without an anxious regret lest we should never look upon their like again. Flaxman died without fulfilling all the promise of his many beautiful sketches; he never had the opportunity that he would have had in these days, although modern sculpture owe* much to him. Gibson carried the art to a higher point of excellence in the same direction, andlias left still brighter examples. A favorite project of the late eminent sculptor, and one that does high honor to his public spirit, was the founding of a gallery of all the finest examples of sculpture, for the use of the Royal Academy, for which purpose he offered to give the noble legacy of £ 30,000. Whether this was ever accepted, and how far the scheme is likely to be carried out, will, it is to be hoped, soon be known among the other good intentions of the Academy on which so much now depends


The poetic brigand of noble impulses and elevated intellect, who has been driven to a lawless life by the oppression of man, and who is merely a hero turned the wrong side out, — that mysterious and glorious creature who sits on a rock talking to himself, and apostrophizing the moon, his mother, and the distant sheep-bells below, while confiding Medora or devoted Gulnare watches for his coming or waits on his moods, — that courtly gentleman of the greenwood, who is brave to his foes, generous to the vanquished, and chivalrous to woman, is doubtless a very fascinating personage, especially to the young; but the real brigand, seen as he is, and not

through the softening haze of romance, is a different creature. A greedy, truculent, half-starved coward, whose life is one of perpetual fear, who shivers with terror if the troops be within hail, and whose greatest exploits are performed by overwhelming numbers against defenceless paeeen-br, — a mean thief stealing shirts and stocking!, and bits of stale bread from a helpless captive,—a savage, now gorging himself with meat, and now fainting for want of food, — inexpressibly dirty and shabbyby,— brutal to the woman who has temporarily united herself to him, — alternately the tyrant and the victim, the extortioner and the prey of the peasant,— the bandit, as Mr. Mocns* found and has described him, is about as repulsive a ruffian as one would wish not to see anywhere; the brigand of romance and reality having no more resemblance to each other than Voltaire's Huron has to the stamping, grunting rascal who quails before a "medicineman" with a bladder rattle, but who takes the scalp of a fallen enemy as his version of " Who't afraid?"

There never was a book which took all the romance out of a thing more completely than this dashing and unaffected narrative of the English traveller who went down to Pajstnm, and fell among thieves, by the way. From the first page to the last there is not a single trait of heroism to enliven the prosaic brutality of the men. Nothing but hardship, selfishness, and fear.

Like the savage, whose mode of living he affects, the brigand's whole existence is one of suspicion and terror. He is afraid of everything, — of sickness, of death, of the peasants, of the soldiers, of the king,folk, of his wife. At every turn some peril, beyond the usual peril of human life, meets him face to face; and familiarity, far from producing contempt of danger, only serves to sharpen his faculties in the perception of it, and to keep his fears forever alive. Even in the ordinary danger of their trade they are cowards. When the soldiers were once close to some of them, " Pavoni's teeth were all chattering, and he was as white as a sheet; Scope was the same, and lying on the groud; and Antonio was in such a state of fear and shaking, that he kept striking his gun against the rocky sides of the cave, and making a great noise, to the dismay of all. I sat down on a stone, and, to reassure them, said,' Courage, courage; eat a little'; and, to set the example, took some bread and meat out of my pocket, and began eating it. My doing so enraged them to a great extent, and they said, 'What a fool you are to begin to eat when you will be dead in two minutes!"'

Indeed, the self-possession of this Englishman, and his contempt of death and danger, stand out at all times in startling contrast to their incessant tear; and this, together with his quickness of observation, his power of enduring fatigue, his cool good temper, and his "cleverness " of hand and eye, gave him a certain hold on their esteem and rough good-fellowship, which probably saved him from many a torture. For he was not ill treated on the whole. The band itself fared ill. Hunted by the soldiers into a strange country where they were not sure of the peasantry, by whose connivance alone they exist; without shelter at all times; often without food; living like wild beasts driven from lair to lair, they had but a bad time of it Except in the thievings and ill-humor of two worthies, Pepino and Scope, the

* Xogliah Tr.ncll.Ts and Italian BiindlU. By W. J. C. Mom

« ПредишнаНапред »