Page images

the bloody flesh, trampled under foot, is there at hand whenever the inmates of the hut feel disposed to eat.

On one side of the hut is an old woman, nearly blind, with grisly locks, bare legged and bare armed, sewing skins which she moves about with her feet and hands. Her red eyelids, contrasting with her bistre skin, seem still more prominent from the leanness which is only found in individuals of her race. She looks the image of one the witches of Macbeth. Near her lies her son, who sits up to do me the honors of his house. At the further end a young woman nearly naked, is suckling a naked infant, which she holds with one hand, whilst with the other she snatches up some skins which constitute her garments. Two lamps fed with fetid oil do the double service of lighting and warming the apartment. Ilarpoons, lances, and rolls of skin hang from the walls, or are laid against it, the lower ends resting in rub. bish and offal of all sorts. There is no opening for the escape of smoke; a single hole near the entrance, glazed with the thin intestinal membranes, alone allows it to be seen that there is an

outer world.

I feel suffocated; my nose, throat, and eyes, all are affected, but I want to see. I even try to conceal my sensations; and when an oily hand is stretched out to me in token of welcome, I hold out a handkerchief as a gift, and thus avoid the good natured grasp that threatens me. Some trifling presents soon make friends of these poor disinherited children of nature; and, like the diver, preparing for a long effort, I try to see as much as possible, holding my breath and inhaling as little as I can of that atmosphere.


on whose path of enterprise he had entered may be seen by this criticism upon Franklin and Parry, wonderful when we consider it as written by a Frenchman in the Frozen Seas!

I cannot reflect without sorrow, first, on the impossibilty to which we should of course be reduced of doing anything for those whom we are going to succor, and then at the terrible blow this would be to poor Lady Franklin, whose last The floes break with a crackling hope we are.

noise against our sides; it is impossible to close an eye. Read over Sir John Franklin's voyages again. What admirable simplicity, and what real superiority is apparent in those unpretending phrases, which say only what those eminent men have seen in a clear manner, yet poetical withal, for they are faithful painters of nature! In reading these voyages, as well as those of Parry, we are possessed with implicit confidence; and, without analyzing our feelings, we are instinctively prompted to believe the writers: and yet they never deal in high-sounding empty phrases, but give us facts in every line. They how substantial and dignified, how full of inare painters after Humboldt's manner; we feel structive matter are their narratives, as we can tell by the sound of a cask struck with a finger whether it is full or empty.

We will add only one other extract, from an entry made before a perilous coasting journey, which preceded by not very many months the coasting journey upon which he perished:

A week ago, I accomplished my twenty-sixth The "poor disinherited children of nature year; in the last ten years I have passed through learnt his name not in that hut only. After more dangers than men of my age usually meet his death among the ice, when men of science with. I have passed safely through those trials; in all parts of Europe grieved for the loss of and when I speak of my lucky star, or of prea fellow-laborer, when hard-handed English fidence in anything astrological; that would be destination, I do not mean that I place my consailors grieved for the loss of a chief who was too absurd and too impious. No; my confidence in their eyes as a brother, when Alphonse, is placed higher; I do not believe that Proviand the sisters, and, above all, the mother at dence has guided and sustained me hitherto to home were to hear that their pride was gone, abandon me in the midst of my greatest trial. I and to refuse to be comforted-the Esquimaux, do not care to lose myself in the labyrinth of reinformed of his death by Captain Inglefield ligious systems, in which I believe there is little on his way home, cried out" Poor Bellot! beside sophisms, more or less fallacious; but I poor Bellot!" and shed tears. They remembered among other acts of kindness, how when he once saw one of their people with broken leg dragging himself painfully over the snow, he designed a wooden leg, and had it made by the ship's carpenter as a gift to the poor cripple.


The English character is honored by the admiration of a man like this. Bellot, himself possessing the best English qualities enriched with a French liveliness of thought and all the finer traits that make the special worth and charm of the true Frenchman, was an Anglo-French Alliance in himself. He stood between two equal nations, understanding both and by both understood. How well he appreciated, for example, the Arctic leaders

listen to that inner voice which tells me that we

are not thrown upon this earth by chance, withian to protect us. My prayer is offered up direct out compass to guide our conduct, without guardto the throne of the Almighty who created me, and renews my existence day by day.

Before undertaking a journey, the chances of which it is impossible to foresee, I will once again place myself in the midst of all those I love, and ask the blessing of Heaven upon them and upon me. Full of confidence in the Divine mercy, I acknowledge all my imperfections; and if my conscience is at rest, it is because I trust, inexhaustible as it is boundless. not in my own justification, but in a goodness as

And now, let the struggle with the physical and moral perplexities of life on earth come when they may, I feel full of strength, of cour age, and of hope. My brother, my Alphonse, if

True soul! Well might he feel that he had dear child, before beginning any arduous under- not been "thrown upon this earth by chance." taking, always to invoke him who has said. It is not to Alphonse alone that he has left a "Knock, and it shall be opened! Ask, and it bright and noble example. shall be given !" And then, with thy conscience to guide thee, and thy heart in thy hand, march fearlessly on!

my counsels cannot be given to you, remember, |

GRAY AND STEPHEN DUCK.-It may appear | succeeding in the rhymes which he had commitsomewhat surprising that Gray was in any way ted to memory in his boyish days.-N. and Q. indebted for a notion to Queen Caroline's thrasher poet, but I cannot help thinking that such MILITARY BANDS IN LHE LAST CENTURY. was the fact. -I have before me a letter, dated July 2, 1793, In the Midsummer Wish, printed in the Gentle-written by the late Mr. W. J. Mattham, innman's Magazine for February, 1731, speaking of keeper of Lavenham, Suffolk, from which the Windsor, Duck says :following is an extract:

[ocr errors]

"Where tufted grass and mossy beds
Afford a rural, calm repose-
His crystal current Thames displays,
Through meadows sweet by flowers made,
Along the smiling valleys plays,

And bubbling springs refresh the glade."

These lines are somewhat similar to those in
Gray's Poem, "On a distant Prospect of Eton

"And ye that from the stately brow

Of Windsor's heights th' expanse below
Of grove, of lawn, of mead survey;
Whose turf, whose shade, whose flowers

Wanders the hoary Thames along
His silver-winding way."

"We have had four companies of the West Middlesex Militia quartered upon us for three days, consisting of three officers and forty-nine men, who had the best band I ever heard, 't is worth mentioning to those who are lovers of superior music. It consisted of five clarinets, two French horns, one bugle horn, one trumpet, two bassoons, one bass drum, two triangles (the latter played by boys about nine years old), two tambourines, the performers mulattos,—and the clash-pans by a real blackamoor, a very active man, who walked between the two mulattos, which had a very grand appearance indeed!”

I may mention that Mr. Mattham was a much respected member of the West Suffolk troop of Yeomanry Cavalry, and a competent judge of music. It is well known that, during a conBut in these lines which, in both poems, almost siderable part of the last century, it was cusimmediately follow, there is a still greater resem-tomary in wealthy families to keep a black footman; we see this pleasingly illustrated by the in the words of Mr. Mattham, it was considered 'great painter of mankind," Hogarth; whether, to have "a very grand appearance indeed," 1 am unable to say. It appears, however, to have

blance and if Gray was not indebted to Duck in this instance, it is a curious coincidence. Speaking of the Thames, Duck says:

"Where'er his purer stream is seen

The god of health and pleasure dwells.
Let me thy pure, thy yielding wave,
With naked arm once more divide:
In thee my glowing bosom lave

And gently stem thy rolling tide."

So in Gray, we find a succession of the same ideas, sprightliness or health, pleasure, and cleaving

the wave:

"Say, Father Thames, for thou hast seen
Full many a sprightly race,
Disporting on my margent green,
The path of pleasure trace,
Who foremost now delight to cleave
With pliant arm thy glassy wave?"

And then, to make the resemblance more com-
plete, Duck has "herbage green" to rhyme with
"while Gray employs a similar
stream is seen
rhyme. In 1731 Gray was a boy at Eton, in his
fifteenth or sixteenth year. He no doubt was
well acquainted with Ďuck's poem, and when
composing his ode in after years, may have been
unconsciously influenced by the train of ideas


met with the concurrence of the learned Dr. Johnson, who kept a black servant, and bequeathed to him the greater part of his property.

It was a practice disapproved of by the late William Cobbett, who observed, in his characteristic manner: "Blacks don't smell like other people."

The African race generally appear cheerful, contented and happy, when under the influence of humane treatment. Many years since, being at New York, I observed groups of negroes employed in discharging the cargoes of vessels; on commencing to raise the respective bales of goods, one of the party commenced singing the first words of a sentence resembling a glee or catch; which, being responded to by the others, produced altogether a pleasing degree of harmony-reminding me of a couplet in Tusser's Five Hundred Points of Good Husbandry":

[ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]



"I HAVE brought home Gower to spend the evening," Harold said, one day, soon after our return home. "I thought you would like it. He is fond of music and poetry, and all that sort of thing; so I thought you would get on well together."

I thought Harold showed a bitter remembrance of those words of mine-I had never forgotten them-in this speech.

"I do not want-"I began; but Mr. Gower was now in the room; it was necessary to receive him civilly.

[ocr errors]



I observed how, first, the waters on one side ling on, swift, and fell as fate, only to be met, gathered themselves together and came rolscattered and broken, by the great army of waters tumbling on from the other side. What a pigmy I felt standing there! Yet I would not, for much, have missed the exwas almost as wild as the sea, only along the perience of the hour I spent there. The sky horizon there was a line of gleamy, watery in!" light, and between sky and sea I was shut

Some fascination made me raise my eyes but I dropped them immediately, and did not from my work to Mr. Gower's kindled face; speak.

"Pass into Hell's Throat. Excuse my inter

"Do not want any interruption to your tête-a-tête evenings, Mrs. Warden? But you must be generous. Remember how long it is since I have had the pleasure of seeing you," From the Devil's Tongue; people some"Did you get home safe?" Harold asked. or my friend, Harold. Since the evening times—" when you surprised us all so brilliantly, you have been invisible. I hope," he continued, ruption, I was afraid you might mar by more 'you will give me credit for having been sin- genteelly expressing the idea of the nature cerely sorry to hear of your subsequent ill- of the transition. That boiling, surging world I trust sea-air has quite restored of waters gave birth to the idea in my mind. you." further experience; when I turned and deYet, I got home safe, but not without a little scended from my slight elevation, I saw water covered the narrow and lower neck of land before me still; the tide had come up and along which I had approached the end. I tried it cautiously, and was nearly washed away. I had no desire unhousel'd, disappointed, unhead, to lose sight of known life to try some anel'd, and with all my imperfections on my unknown, perchance greater ill, so the attempt to traverse that wave-washed strip of land." I gave up

I am very well now, thank you," I replied. Of course, Mr. Gower could not know the pain his words gave me.

"We have been staying at Seawash," Harold said. "Do you know it at all, Gower? It is very pleasant there. My wife fell quite in love with it, so we shall often go down there, again, I think."


It has a very broken coast, has it not? the sea running up into many small bays, and lashing itself furiously against rocky points? I know it well. One autumn some years ago, I was there alone. You know the Devil's Tongue, as they call the longest, sharpest point, I dare say, Mrs. Warden ?"

"Yes, I do."


"What did you do?" Harold asked.

"Do, man! Just nothing. I went back to my former station, wrapped myself up famous cure for the ills of this life, Mrs. tight in my cloak, and waited. Waiting is a Warden."

on the point?"
"Did you know that you were safe there

I was returning from a long ramble late one wild evening, and saw the sea-it was very rough,-breaking magnificently on the rock at the end. I went down, although it was growing dusk, and mounted to the top of the little peak. I was not much above the ened by a sou'-wester, that point was some"When it was full moon ane the sea roughwater, I could see no land; it was awfully times washed over, an old boatman had told beautiful to see from that wild point of view me, as we rowed past it the day before. I the heaving and breaking, meeting and dash- don't pretend to say but that I waited and ing of the great, foamy, angry waves. a man of tolerable nerve and courage, but I times a slight lull in the storm came, and I am watched the waters in great anxiety. Somefelt an icy thrill pass through ine; it was some every wave reached less high than the former time before my heart returned to its regular, had done. Then, with a howl and a scream, quiet beating. Each wave shat came whelm- the wind rushed across the water, and huge ing the rock at my feet, seemed as if it might billows would leap, and well, and gurgle up, swell up and wash me from my little pin- sometimes over my feet, always drenching me nacle, and as if it hungered to do so. One with spray!” reads of angry, foamy, troubled seas, but no words that I know can express the fearful excitement roused within one, standing in the midst of such wild commotion. There was an order in the wild going of the waves, too.

experience which you would not have missed
Well! chacun à son gout! You call that.
for the world? I cannot understand that.
Can you imagine the feeling, Annie ?"

I worked away diligently with a quivering

hand, and answered absently, without looking rather a bungling fashion, I am afraid, but I up, "I do not know." think my melodies suit their meaning." 'Don't praise yourself, Gower, but let us hear and judge."


"Capital fish you get at that same place," Harold went on. "It is not like most fishingplaces, where you can't get fish. Dinner "Read the words, then, first," Mr. Gower ready? Very well. Gower, give my wife said, putting the book into my husband's your arm; I must follow disconsolately for once."

Mr. Gower's narrative, the voice in which it was told, and the gestures accompanying it, had excited me painfully. The hand laid on his arm still trembled, but I stilled it by a great effort, yet not soon enough. He glanced at me significantly and said, "I think you did know, Mrs. Warden."

"We must have some music after you have given us a cup of coffee, Annie," Harold said, when he and Mr. Gower returned to the drawing-room after dinner.

I did not answer. I had secretly determined I would not play. I had not touched my piano since that dreadful evening. The thought of perhaps having to do so to-night had already given me a nervous headache, of which I thought I would, if need were, avail myself, as an excuse.


"Yes, that is pretty enough," Harold said, returning it, suppressing a slight yawn. "Could it not have been said more straightforwardly and comprehensibly in plain prose, though? Don't transfix me with your indig nant glances, but let us hear your music."

Harold stretched his great length on the sofa, composing himself to listen. The coffee apparatus was cleared away, and the lamp brought; and I sat down with my idle work to listen too.

Mr. Gower amused himself at the piano some time-coquetting with his memory. Then he began.

He had a fine voice, powerful, and under great control. The first song was set to wild and passionate music. When he filled the room with the greatest possible power of his voice, I cowered back into the depths of my Mr. Gower was wandering about the draw-easy-chair, dropping my work, turning my ing-room abstractedly, opening and turning over my books.

"Oh! you have this true Poet's book," he suddenly exclaimed. He came up to me, book in hand. "Is it not splendid? I am sure you like it, though I know very few ladies who do. I know the writer. 1 can introduce him to you, if you have any care to see the external features of the poet. Have you?"

"I think not," I answered.

head away from the musician. I looked at Harold. "Noise enough!" he muttered rather drowsily, in answer to my look, and closed his eyes.

I had just turned to observe Mr. Gower. I was curious to know if his own music woke any emotion in him. Yes; his voice died away trembling; yet he turned abruptly round to look at me.

[ocr errors]

He sang song after song, and Harold went to sleep. Harold had had one or two very "Ah! Right, right! It is a very vulgar hard days' work lately, and had kept late curiosity that, concerning lions; and often its hours. No wonder he is tired, poor fellow!” gratification—which proves no gratification-I said to myself; and I tried to subdue the shivers a thousand beautiful imaginings to great troublous heart-swellings that the strong, passionate singing produced in me. Mr. Gower went on singing or playing. It was a pleasure to touch such a magnificent instrument, he said, and since I would not play-for I had refused-he must.


Does it not?"

"I don't know. I have had no experi


[ocr errors]

"But you do know and have read this book. Ah! here's a leaf of fern put in at one of the most beautiful passages. That is your At last I stole to my husband's side, and mark?" woke him softly. I thought Mr. Gower did "Is it the book you read to me on that luck-not know he had been asleep; but poor H less morning?" asked Harold, laughingly. rold gave such yawns that he quite betrayed himself.

I blushed deeply as I said "Yes." I do not know exactly why. Mr. Gower looked inqui- I shall weary you as well as your husband sitive. "Little as you care for poetry, I am if I go on longer," Mr. Gower said at last, rissure you admired this so read, Warden; did ing from the piano, and coming towards us. you not?" I am afraid I have done so, already, Mr. Warden." he continued, “you look & weary, a-weary !”

"So much, that, soothed by the soft sweet voice of the reader, I went to sleep," laughed Harold.

"To sleep!" Mr. Gower gave an expres sive shrug. "I have set one or two of these songs to music," he continued to me, "after

"It is rather late," I said. "I have a heat ache. We have kept bad hours of returned from the sea-side. Harod nas teen hard-worked, and, of course, I át up kor

"So you must forgive our having been rather bad company," Harold said. "I have not learnt to do without sleep, as you seem to have done."

"Five hours is enough for any man, when he is once used to it," Mr. Gower said.

"To exist, but not thrive upon," said Harold, glancing at Mr. Gower's very thin, worn form and face.

again, on the threshold of consciousness
knowledge that I was not happy.


Now that we are settled at home again, things soon went back into the old miserable way. What was there to prevent their doing so? I had no new power of ruling myself, no new hope for which to live, no new light by which to walk. I loved my husband. Yes! but I know, now, that one poor weak human love will avail nothing when it stands alone, based on nothing, looking up to nothing.


"Other things than want of sleep have made the ravages you see," Mr. Gower answered laughingly, and yet with a latent Harold, seeing me look ill and unhappy, melancholy in the smile that died away very urged me to cultivate the acquaintance of some slowly from his face. "It is very well for of the many people with whom we had exyou, Warden, and for prosperous, easy-going changed visits, to try and make friends, but fellows like you, whom fortune favors, and when I told him I wanted only him and no whose life-paths are smooth and plain, to other friend - that he was enough for me enjoy your eight or nine hours' sleep. But he smiled and looked pleased, and said no sleep is too expensive a luxury for us poor fellows, who struggle and strive with the So I fought on alone, my soul never satisfied, world, and follow an exacting mistress, ever my heart never at rest, and every now and ready to avail herself of the slightest excuse then some outburst of long-controlled bitterfor deserting us." ness or pain betraying me and making my husband miserable. He was very patient, very gentle and forbearing, but at last even he grew weary. His home came to be a place that he entered timidly, not knowing in what miserable mood he might find his wife; soon he entered it less willingly and hurried from it earlier, seeking in his business, in the pursuit of worldly good, distraction from its miseries and cares.

"Yet you would not change with me. Give up your glorious uncertainties-hopes of fame and dreams of ambition-for my common-place and inglorious certainties? Now would you?"

"No!" Mr. Gower answered slowly, sending his eyes out on some far journey, and bringing them back radiant with a strange light. "No!" he answered, more assuredly, "I would not change. I would rather fight and battle on till death, than know the respectable composure, the dignified composure, of a man good friends with the world. For me there would be no rest in your life. I fancy I have not known what rest is, since I was a child. But Mrs. Warden's tired pale face reminds me to say good-night so good-night."

[ocr errors]

Harold went down-stairs with him. "Harold, do not ask Mr. Gower here again please," I said, when he returned.


Why, dear? I thought I had given you a pleasant evening."

"I do not think Mr. Gower is a good man. I do not think we shall either of us be the happier for having him here. No wife ought to find pleasure in the society of a man who shows no respect for her husband. I don't mind his coming when other people are here, but please don't ask him again when we are alone."


Very well, Annie. I think I can see what you mean. I am sure you are right; thank you, love. But I am afraid that poor head is very bad again?"

[ocr errors]

Yes, but it shall be well to-morrow," I said resolutely.

I struggled, yes, I did struggle bravely, but, O! so blindly! I struggled against knowledge, and pushed it back from me with violent hands, only to have it come and stand there

We grew rich; my
husband more worldly;
even this blame is mine — I, isolating myself
from all human interests and cares, preying on
my own heart-grew constantly more morbid,
sensitive, irritable, and miserable. The dis-
tance between us widened daily. We stood
afar-off from each other, but God mercifully
sent little hands that should have drawn our
hearts together.


I HAD been three years a wife before I became a mother. My first baby came to me with the early summer flowers. I date best by them, because afterwards many things over laid such blessed anniversaries, and made it difficult for me to endeavor, and hard for me to dare, to remember when, in what hour, at what season, this or that happened. And yet I can even now bring present to my senses the delicious fragrance and delicate loveliness of the flowers my husband brought to me so often at that time.

After the birth of my darling, there was a long interval during which I thought I was at peace: physical weakness made quiet and stillness grateful, and the new great joy seemed to fill and satisfy my soul.

Again I smiled to myself as I had smiledhow long ago it seemed!-looking out on the lovely summer beauty of the land round Ilton.

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »