« ПредишнаНапред »
the charge, and encourage them to cultivate their own intellects, that they may learn the better to guide the youthful ones which from them receive their earliest impressions.
A cutting remark appeared in one of the periodicals last year, on the diluted state of the intellects of women and girls. If such is indeed the unfortunate state, or low estimate, of our reasoning powers, is it not rather a subject of regret than of sarcasm ? – and should not some efficient measures be taken in future to strengthen those intellects ,on which so much of the character of our young citizens depends? This, methinks, would be a nobler aim than that of flattering our follies, and ridiculing our weaknesses.
But I must pause, or I may draw a rebuke from our friendly adviser, instead of a few more of the useful hints of which we all stand sufficiently in need.
Together in his loved embrace,
No distance can our hearts divide ;
I kneel thy kneeling form beside:
But soars the spirit far and free:
For then, dear love! I am with thee.
G. W. B.
RETROSPECT OF Western Travel. By HARRIET MARTINEAU, Author of 'Society in
America,' 'Illustrations of Political Economy,' etc. In two volumes. pp. 515. New-
Modern political economists, of the second sex, and statesmen (if the bull be pardonable) of the feminine gender, have never commanded much of our admiration. When personally unknown, they have always seemed, in our imagination, to be 'bearded like the pard,' and to assume, in their manly labors, the port of an Ariel in top-boots; and acquaintance generally confirms these impressions. Hence we have never alluded to the dissertations, involving sundry varieties of national and social metaphysics,contained in a former work upon America, by Miss MARTINEAU. We hold with Walter Scott, that no woman ever stepped from her appropriate sphere, how much notoriety soever she may have acquired, who did not lose far more than could by any possibility have been gained. As to the benefits conferred by the feminine speculations in question, we, as Americans, have but one opinion. They are not essential to the preservation of our institutions!
The 'Retrospect of Western Travel,' however, is open to none of the objections which were valid against its predecessor. The object of the writer is, to convey to the English public more of her personal narrative, and to sketch more of the lighter characteristics of men, and incidents of travel, than it suited her purpose to give in ‘Society in America." The result is, very graphic pictures of the general aspect of our country, its distinguished men, various manners, etc., all which we are glad to commend to the reader's attention.
The incidents of the voyage hither, though necessarily hackneyed in kind, are in many respects presented in rare and beautiful lights. We have pencilled a few passages of life at sea, and have italicized one or two sentences of painting by words:
“Our afternoons were delightful; for the greater number of the forty-two days that we were at sea, the sun set visibly, with more or less lustre, and all eyes were watching his decline. There was an unusual quietness on board just about sunset. All the cabin passengers were collected on one side, except any two or three who might be in the rigging. The stcerage passengers were to be seen looking out at the same sight, and probably engaged as we were in pointing out soine par. ticular bar of reddened cloud, or snowy mountain of vapors, or the crimson or golden ligbt spattered on the swelling sides of the billors as they heaved sunward. Then came the last moinent of expectation, even to the rising on tiptoe, as if that would enable us to see a spark more of the suv ; and then the revival of talk, and the bustle of pairing off to wulk.
I kpow po greater luxury than sitting alone in the stern on fine pights, when there is no one within hearing but the helmsman, and sights of beauty meet the eye wherever it turns Behind, the light from the binnacle alone gleams upon the deck ; dim, shifting lights and shadows murk out the full sails against the sky, and stars look down between The young moon drops silently into the sea afar. Io our wake is a long train of pale fire, perpetually renewed as we hiss through the dark wares. On such a quiet night, how startling is a voice from the deck, or a shout of laughter from the cabin ! More than onco, when I heard the voices of children, and the barking of a dog from the steerage, I wholly forgot for the moment that I was at sea, and, looking up, was struck breathless at the sight of the dim, gray, limitless expanse. Never, however, did I see the march of the night so beautiful over hill, dale, wood, or plain, as over the boundless sea, roofed with its complete arch. The inexpressible slepce, the undinimed lustre, the steady, visible motion of the sky, make tbe night what it can nowhere be on land, unless in the midst of the Great Desert, or on a high mountain-top. It is not the clear still nights alove that are beautiful. Nothing can be more chilling to the imagination than the idea of fog, yet I have seen exquisite sights iv a night sog; not in a pervading durable mist, but in such a fog as is common at sea, thick and driving, with spaces through which the moon may shine down, making clusters of silvery islands ou every side. This was an entirely new appearance to me, and the white archipelago was a spectacle of great beauty. Then, again, the action of the ship in a strong night-breeze is fine, cutting her steady way through the seething water, and dashing them from her sides so uniformly and strongly, that for half a mile on either hand the sea is as a white marble floor gemmed with stars ; just like a child's idea of the pavement
of the heavenly courts. Such are the hours when all that one has ever known or thought that is beautiful, comes back softly and mysteriously; spatches of old songs, all one's first loves in poetry and in the phantasmagoria of nature. No sleep is sweeter than that into which one sinks in such a mood, when one's spirit drops anchor amid the turbulence of the outward world, and the very power of the elements seems to shed stillness into the soul."
Here is a forcible description of a storm at sea :
"We were lying in the trough of the sea, and the rolling was tremendous. The captain wished to wear round, and put out a sail, which, though quite new, was instantly split to ribands, so that we had to make ourselves contented where we were. The scene was perfectly unlike what I had imagined. The sea was no more like water than it was like land or sky. When I had heard of the ocean runuing mountains high, I thought it a mere hyperbolical expression. But here the scene was of huge wandering mountains – wandering as if to find a resting place— with dreary leaden vales between. The sky seemed narrowed to a mere slip overhead, and a long-drawn extent of leaden waters seemed to measure a thousand miles; and these were crested by most exquisite shades of blue and green where the foam was about to break. The heavens seemed rocking their masses of torn clouds, keeping time with the billows to the solemn music of tbe winds; the most swelling and mourusul music I ever listened to. The delight of the hour I shall not forget; it was the only new scene I had ever beheld, that I had totally and unsuspectingly failed to imagine."
That portion of the volumes which is devoted to the portraitures of our most prominent political, clerical, and judicial functionaries, possesses much interest, and exhibits a marked power of intellectual and physical limning; while an air of freshness is imparted to the oft-repeated descriptions of American scenery, particularly that of the western states. Now and then we are favored with very pretty specimens of self-sufficiency and egotism. Witness this morceau :
“In one Massachusetts village, a large party was invited to meet me. At tea-time I was busily engaged in conversation with a friend, when the lea-tray was brought to me by a young person in a plain white gown. After I had helped myself, she still stood just before me for a long while, and was perpetually returning. Again and again I refused more tea, but she still came. Her pertinacity was afterward explained. It was a young lady of the village who wished to see me, and knew that I was going away the next day. She had called on the lady of the house in the afternoon, and begged permission to come in a plain gown as a waiter!"
How many American journals have contributed to the feeling which actuated this silly girl! Yet, after all, we are gradually acquiring self-respect; and every book of travel among us is contributing to this desirable end.
Miss MARTINEAU was highly delighted at Cincinnati. There she saw the 'best thing in the United States.' It was a negress, breakfasting in the midst of whites, at the public table of a large boarding house. Also, in Boston, she met Mr. Garrison — a man 'with the most saint-like of countenances, wholly expressive of purity,' and a voice 'gentle as a woman's. Moreover, he bears his honors so meekly, we are told, that'his child will never learn at home what a distinguished 'great hero' of a father he has,' for even Miss Martineau herself forgot the deliverer of a race in the friend of the fireside !
The following story, illustrating the manner in which an unintelligible religion is received by savages, must close our extracts :
"A missionary among a tribe of northern Indians, was wont to set some simple refreshment, fruit and cider, before his converts, wben they came from a distance to see him. An old man who had no pretensions to being a Christian, desired much to be admitted to the refreshments, and proposed to some of his converted friends to accompany them on their next visit to the missionary. They told him he must be a Christian first. Wbat was tbat? He must know all about the Bible. When the time came, he declared himself prepared, and undertook the journey with them. When arrived, he seated himself opposite the missionary, wrapped in his blanket, aud looking exceedingly serious. In answer to an inquiry from the missionary, be rolled up his eyes, and solemnly uttered the following words, with a pause between each:
" • Adam -- Eve - Cain - Noab - Jeremiah - Beelzebub - Solomon -
This reminds us of the anecdote of an old Oneida squaw, who was present at the communion service of a missionary station, at the Castle,' where she heard the sacramental wine termed 'the blood of Jesus,' and where those who had been missed, in passing the cup, were requested to 'manifest it by rising.' She rose three or four times in succession, from her distant seat, each time receiving the cup, and rejoicing in a 'long swig.' At last, a young squaw exposed her ultra devotion. When remonstrated with for such unchristian conduct, her conciliatory answer was, 'I do love my Jesus so!'
MEMOIRS OF THE LIFE OF Sir WALTER Scott, Babt. By J. G. LOCKHART. Part
Sixth. Philadelphia: CAREY, LEA AND BLANCHARD.
But one 'Part' remains unpublished of these admirable 'Memoirs,' and as that may soon be expected to issue from the press, we shall delay a notice in detail of the last three parts, until the whole work shall have been completed. Perhaps no one volume of the series is more interesting than the present. It contains a copious diary, kept by Scott during the most important periods of his life, embracing the death of his wife, the catastrophe of the publishing houses with which he was connected, and by which he was reduced from affluence to poverty; a triumphal excursion to Ireland, with a trip to London and Paris; interspersed with varied correspondence, numerous sketches of eminent men, and a history of the inception, progress, and completion, of some of his most renowned works.
We subjoin, as a specimen of the style of the diary, some unconnected passages recorded therein, immediately after the death of Lady Scott. Sir Walter has returned to Abbottsford, after a short absence, and finds his 'thirty years' companion' in her shroud. Bitter, for many months, were his emotions,
• Whepe'er his thoughts wero led
And her together.'
“When I contrast what this place now is, with what it has been not long since, I think my heart will break. Lonely, aged, deprived of my family - all but poor Aune; an impoverished, an embarrassed man, deprived of the sharer of my thoughts and counsels, who could always talk down my sense of the calamitous apprehensions which break the heart that must bear them alone." " I have seen her. The figure I beheld is, and is not my Charlotte - my thirty years' companion. There is the same symmetry of form, though those limbs are rigid which were once so gracefully elastic — but that yellow masque, with pinched features, which seems to mock life rather than emulate it, can it be the face that was once so full of lively expression ? I will not look on it again." * “Another day, and a bright one to the external world, again opens on us; the air soft, and the flow. ers smiling, and the leaves glittering. They cannot refresh her to whom mild weather was a natural enjoyment. Cerements of lead and of wood already hold her; cold earth must have her soon. But it is not my Charlotte, it is not the bride of my youth, the mother of my children, that will be laid among the ruins of Dryburgh, which we have so often visited in gayety and pastime. No, no. She is sentient and conscious of my emotions somewhere - somehow ; where we cannot tell; how we cannot tell; yet would I not at this moment renounce the mysterious, yet eertain bope, that I shall see her in a better world, for all that this world can give me. I have been to her room ; there was no voice in it - no stirring; the pressure of the coffin was visible on the bed, but it had been removed elsewhere; all was neat, as she loved it, but all was calm — calm as death. I remembered the last sight of her; she raised herself in bed, and tried to turn her eyes after me, and said, with a sort of smile, “You all have such melancholy faces ! These were the last words I ever heard her utter, and I hurried away, for she did not seem quite conscious of what she said: when I returned, immediately departing, she was in a deep sleep. It is deeper now. This was but seven days since. They are arranging the chamber of death; that which was long the apartment of connubial happiness, and of whose arrangements (better than in richer houses) she was so proud. They are treading fast and thick. For weeks you could have heard a foot fall. Oh my God!"
The annexed passages were written after the funeral at Dryburgh, which appears to have been a very imposing ceremony:
" The whole scene floats as a sort of dream before me - the beautiful day, the gray ruins covered and hidden amoug clouds of foliage and flourish, where the grave, even in the lap of beauty, lay lurking, and gaped for its prey. Then the grave looks, the hasly important bustle of men with spades and mattocks - the train of carriages - the coffin containing the creature that was so long the dearest on earth to me, and whom I was to consign to the very spot which in pleasure parties we so frequently visited. It seems still as if this could not be really so. Last night Charles and I walked late on the terrace at Kaeside, when the clouds seemed accumulating in the wildest masses both on the Eildon Hills and other mountains in the distance. This rough morning reads the riddle. Dull, drooping, cheerless, has this day been. I cared not for carrying my owu gloom to the girls, and so sate in my own room, dawdling with old papers, which awakened as many stings as if they had been the nest of fifty scorpions. Then the solitude seemed so absolute - my poor Charlotte would have been in the room half a score of times to see if the fire burned, and to ask a hundred kind questions. Well, that is over - and if it cannot be forgotten, must be remembered with patience. I do not know what other folks feel, but with me the hysterical passion that impels tears is a terrible violence- a sort of throttling sensation - then succeeded by: state of dreaming stupidity, in which I ask if my poor Charlotte can actually be dead. I think I feel my loss more than at the first blow.”
The work still preserves its original character, in the external matters of paper and printing. New-York: WILEY AND PUTNAM, Broadway.
PASSAGES IN FOREIGN TRAVEL. By ISAAC APPLETON JEWETT. In two volumes.
pp. 603. Boston: CHARLES C. LITTLE AND JAMES BROWN.
MR. Jewett is an acute observer, and a faithful transcriber of clear impressions. Hence he has given us two just such volumes as a tasteful reviewer, sadly cramped for space, must needs condemn, in one sense, at least; for what avail dogs' ears, indicating a picturesque paragraph here, a lively page there, and a felicitous sentence in another place, when after all, the gratification of their perusal must be confined to one's self ? Such is our case; and we are left but the alternative of commending the reader to the fountain-head. Would you bring before you London, with its sights and sounds; the scenery, people, and manners of England and Scotland; the French metropolis, with its press, its arts, its balls, festivals, theatres, dancers, singers; its statesmen, authors, poets; would you see these, read Mr. Jewett's volumes; and it shall come to pass, that you shall behold them, even as did the writer. Thenceforward, moreover, you will be glad to accompany the author to Italy, and wander over Rome, Naples, Venice, Florence, with him, and among the mountains of Switzerland. Such 'passages of travel as these may save you the nausea marina, and other expenses of the Atlantic passage; yet shall you be an accomplished iraveller. And this result arises from a gift of travel-writing as rare as in the present instance it is prëeminent.
CHARCOAL SKETCHES: OR SCENES IN A METROPOLIS. By Joseph C. NEAL. With
Illustrations by David C. JOHNSTON. In one volume. pp. 222. Philadelphia : E. L. CAREY AND A. Hart. New-York: WILEY AND PUTNAM.
Mr. Neal deserves the hearty thanks of every lover of genuine humor, for the laughter-moving volume which he has so timely put forth. He is a public benefactor, and should be so considered, and as such rewarded, who contributes toward allaying and ventillating the feverish and irritated feelings of the heavy-hearted, in times like these, when every third face one meets is awfully sour and persimmony,' by reason of 'the pressure.' 'Human life,' says Sir William Temple, 'even at the greatest and the best, is but a froward child, that must be played with, and humored a little, to keep it quiet.' He who amuses the troubled, or diverts unpleasant thoughts, then, is surely a literary Howard; and all honor should be his, therefor. Our author has gone out into the by-ways and thoroughfares of the metropolis, and from among the greasy multitude selected rare specimens of that numerous class of wights who hang loose, like rags, upon the back of society, and has made them 'heroes in history.' There is a completeness in his sketches, the result oftentimes of a few adroit touches with his charcoal, which is worthy of especial praise. He sacrifices nothing of nature to an overweening desire to startle or to shine. There are no premeditated impromptus interpolated into the dialogues of his speakers; but they talk just as such personages should, ' situated as they are.' Some of his illustrations are certainly odd enough, but then they are always lucid; and his perception of the lights and shades of character, in low life, are of the very nicest. In short, as a writer, he is what Mount is as a painter - Hogarthian to a degree. There is much excellent philosophy, moreover, in the volume, which steals upon the reader when he least expects to encounter it, and after the most oblique fashion. We proceed to instance some of the felicitous 'touches' to which we have alluded, in a few random extracts. The first is the soliloquy of a tall specimen of liquefied humanity, about to promenade a slippery street, all unlighted, because there was a moon which the corporation knew should have shone; but, being very cloudy, pedestrians were under the necessity of supposing the moonshine:
* "I've not the slightest doubt that this is as beautiful a night as ever was; only it's so dark you can't see the pattern of it. One night is pretty much like another nicht in ihe dark; but it's a great advantage to a good looking evening, if the lamps are lit, so you can twig the stars and the moonshine. The fact is, that in this 'ere city, we do grow the blackest noons, and the hardest moons to find, I ever did see. Sometimes I 'in most disposed to send the bellman after 'em-or VOL. XI.