[Illustration: CHAMBERS' EDINBURGH JOURNAL
CONDUCTED BY WILLIAM AND ROBERT CHAMBERS, EDITORS OF 'CHAMBERS'S INFORMATION FOR THE PEOPLE,' 'CHAMBERS'S EDUCATIONAL COURSE,' &c.
NO. 308. NEW SERIES. SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 24, 1849. PRICE 1½_d._]
BY MRS ALARIC A. WATTS.
When a naturalist is desirous of describing any genus of peculiar interest in the world of nature, we generally find him selecting one of the kind as a specimen from which to draw his description of the whole race; satisfied that, although distinctions may exist in minor details between it and others of its species, the general characteristics will be found alike in all.
In endeavouring to sketch the principal incidents in the history of a class whose trials seem peculiarly interesting, because coming at a period of life usually exempted from them, I have pursued a similar course; and though the career of my heroine may present features peculiar to itself, as must ever be the case with personal history, her experiences will, I believe, be found to differ in no essential particular from those of the great body of her sisterhood. It can hardly be deemed necessary perhaps to begin the biography of the half-boarder from the hour of her birth; it may be sufficient to state that she is usually the eldest daughter of parents of the middle class, depressed into comparative poverty either by misfortune or imprudence, but blessed with the inalienable advantage of belonging to 'a good family,' and being enabled to boast of relatives of consideration in the world. Her earliest years are too often passed amid all the horrors of genteel but biting penury; in witnessing, daily, cares that have become familiarised, though not lightened, to her by frequent recurrence; and sharing anxieties which, though studiously concealed from her, experience has enabled her to divine, without suggesting any means of alleviating. Her duties are sufficiently multifarious: she shares the labours of
'The little maid some four foot high,'
by taking upon herself the lighter portion of the house work; and adds to this the heavier burthens of unremitting attendance on an ailing mother, and constant endeavours to divert the anxieties of a careworn father. She is the governess of such of her half-dozen brothers and sisters as are old enough to profit by her instruction, enlightening them with such gleams of knowledge as her own limited opportunities may have enabled her to acquire; and is at the same time the playmate and nurse of the younger members of her family. Thus matters usually stand until our heroine is about fourteen years old, when some pressing emergency induces the wife, notwithstanding her own repugnance, and the strong discouragement of her husband, to apply to his family for pecuniary assistance. The welldoing uncles or cousins, though at first astonished at the assurance of the world in general, and their own poor relation in particular, are not more hardhearted than is usual with persons who have all their lives enjoyed an uninterrupted tide of prosperity, and a family council is therefore held to consider what should be done in the matter. It is agreed at once, without a dissentient voice, that any pecuniary advances would be entirely out of the question; that they would only patch matters for a time, without being of any permanent service to the family; and, what is not the least objection, might afford an inconvenient precedent for similar applications in future emergencies: and it is finally determined that the aid which will prove eventually of most service to the family, at the least cost to themselves, may be afforded by assuming the charge of the education of the eldest child. The matron of the conclave is therefore deputed to make known to the applicant that, although they feel themselves precluded from complying with the specific request contained in her letter, yet that, being desirous of serving her family in consideration of the blood relationship subsisting between her husband and themselves, they have determined on relieving her from the burthen of Maria's education.
The first feeling of the anxious circle on the receipt of this announcement is one of unmixed disappointment. The father had not been without hopes of the success of the application, though he professes that the result is just what he had expected from the beginning. Maria is but young, and her education at this precise period is comparatively unimportant, while he is convinced that a compliance with the original request would have relieved him from all difficulty, and have enabled him satisfactorily to provide himself for his children's education; while the mother, though by no means so sanguine on this head, has nevertheless her own cause of disappointment in the cold and measured tone of the communication, which she feels with all the sensitiveness of misfortune. The matter, however, is talked over in all its bearings, and by degrees a brighter light seems to break in upon them.
The father begins to consider that, although the aid offered is not precisely that which he desired, it is nevertheless an important assistance; and the mother soon loses sight of the affront to her own _amour propre_ in the chilling tone in which the favour is proffered, when she thinks of the advantages it promises to her child. Both parents remember having noticed particularly the young ladies of Miss Wilson's establishment at church, their superior gentility both of appearance and deportment, and forthwith follows a bright daydream on the advantage of Maria's becoming a day-boarder at that establishment--thus securing the double benefit of the good education for herself, without losing the advantage of the evening instruction for her sisters, and the solace of her society to them all. A letter of thanks for the consideration of the uncle or cousin is cheerfully penned, a card of the terms of Miss Wilson's school is procured and enclosed, and, for one entire evening, the whole family rejoice together in the midst of their cares at this stroke of good-fortune.
For a whole week no reply is vouchsafed to the letter, and they begin to feel anxious lest some stray word or unconsidered sentence should have given offence to the persons they are most interested in conciliating. At length, however, they are relieved on this head: a brief note arrives, in which the writer regrets that they cannot fall into the plan sketched out by the parents; but as their motive in consenting to undertake the charge of the child at all, is to give her the means of securing her own livelihood in a respectable manner, they are of opinion that that object will be best attained by removing her altogether from her own family, and placing her as half-boarder, for a term of years, in some well-known school, for which they are already on the look-out. The letter concludes by professing, with extreme humility, that should this arrangement not coincide with the parents' views, they would by no means desire its adoption; in which case, however, it is very clearly intimated, they would of course feel themselves relieved from any further responsibility in the matter.
The dictatorial tone and startling brevity of this communication fall like an ice-bolt on the assembled group. The first impulse of the father is to reject the offer altogether; but when he looks on the anxious countenance of his child, he feels that he has no right to sacrifice her permanent benefit to a mere consideration of feeling on his own part. He accordingly smothers his resentment at the manner in which the boon is offered, and tries to rejoice that the comforts of a respectable home, and freedom from home cares and menial drudgery, are by any means secured to his child.
An anxious consultation next ensues on the subject of her outfit: the family wardrobe is produced in the little parlour; the least mended of the under-garments are selected, and a clean white tucker is appended to the well-worn best frock; the Sunday bonnet is relined with an eighteenpenny sarsnet, and retrimmed with a threepenny ribbon; the cost of half-a-dozen home-made muslin collars is calculated; and the propriety of a new merino frock is finally canvassed and determined on. The father looks on with an aching heart and a moistened eye as the last article of absolute necessity is provided for by a cheerful surrender, on the part of the mother, of her own squirrel boa and scarlet shawl.
A few days elapse, during which our heroine endeavours to soften the loss her absence will occasion in the household by redoubled diligence on her own part. The fortnight's wash is anticipated by a few days; she works early and late to mend up all the stockings; the children are doubly tasked on the score of lessons; the sister next in age to herself is enjoined to be very attentive to poor mamma, and the younger children to render due obedience to her deputy. On the evening of the Saturday following the father brings home a letter from his munificent relative, announcing that a school having been found for the child, she is to repair, on the Monday following, by Dawney's Wimbleton Coach, where a place for her has been taken and paid for, to their country-house; and intimating that it will not be necessary for the father to be at the trouble of accompanying her himself, as her safety has been secured by an order already issued to the gardener to be in attendance at the end of the avenue on the arrival of the vehicle.
The intervening Sunday is a day of restless anxiety to the whole family. Advice on the minutest particular of her future conduct is affectionately bestowed on our heroine. A faint attempt at cheerfulness is maintained by the whole circle, till the arrival of night and darkness permits each individual to give free vent to the pent-up feelings by an unrestrained burst of tears. The heart thus lightened of its load, they sleep calmly, and rise in the morning of separation conscious of a feeling of hope and cheerfulness, to which anxiety has kept them strangers since the first opening of the important negotiation.
The middle of Monday sees our heroine, for the first time in her life, surrounded by all the refinements of a well-appointed English gentleman's household. On her arrival she is conducted to the school-room of her young cousins, where she joins the party at dinner, and undergoes a somewhat unceremonious scrutiny on the part of the young ladies. They are good-natured, thoughtless girls, however; and though they do not fail to remark that her hands are rather coarse, and that she wants the self-possession of a lady, the circumstance is noted to each other in a carefully-subdued tone, and does not in anyway influence their kindly dispositions towards her. They exhibit, by way of amusing her, their toys and trinkets, and question her of her own possessions and attainments; but meeting with little response on this head, they try another resource, and considerately propose some merry game. The young novice, alas, has never had time to play! but she feels their kindness, and does her best to participate in the gaiety around her. The lady-mother returns from her drive barely in time to dress for dinner; and thus the awful period of introduction to her is deferred until the accustomed hour of dessert summons the denizens of the school-room and nursery to the dining-room.
I wish that truth would enable me to endow my heroine with that best letter of introduction--personal beauty; but what girl of her age was ever even pretty? The beautiful roundness of the features of childhood is past, and the skeleton only of womanhood has succeeded it: hence the falling-in chest, the long, thin arms, the bony ankles, the squareness of figure, and, above all, the vacant or anxious school-girl face. It is utterly impossible to conjure up beauty out of such materials; they belong less to the individual than to the age, and nothing short of time itself can remedy the evil. But when, to such disadvantages, a frightened awkwardness of manner is superadded, as in the present instance, by the unaccustomed appearance of everything around, and the consciousness of a dubious position, it is hardly to be expected that the result could be of a nature greatly to conciliate the favour of an indifferent, not to say prejudiced, spectator; and the reader, therefore, will not be surprised to learn that a reception perfectly civil, though rather cold, is all that awaits the protégée in the halls of her benefactors. The hostess fills her plate with fruit, and the host, without asking her consent, adds a glass of wine; and then both turn to listen to the wit of their own offspring, and talk over the events of the day. In the course of some half-an-hour the gentleman exhibits signs of an inclination to take his siesta, and the rest of the party adjourn to the drawing-room, where a confidential conversation ensues between madam and the resident governess, in reference, apparently, to the dependent child, who, with the quick instinct of inborn propriety, retreats towards the other end of the room, where she endeavours to amuse the younger children; in which she is so eminently successful, that the stately manner of the lady gradually begins to relax. Previously to the arrival of coffee, she is heard to request some trifling service at the hands of her little relative; and before the conclusion of the evening, finds herself even addressing the child as 'my dear!' The rest of the circle take their cue from the lady-in-chief; and the young stranger, by degrees, feels herself on a footing of intimacy almost approaching to equality.
With the earliest dawn our heroine is wide awake, the unaccustomed luxury of down pillows having, she thinks, prevented her from sleeping well. She wonders whether they are thinking of her at home, and how her sister performed her new duties; and ponders with some anxiety on her own future lot. Her father's relations have been very kind to her, far more kind, indeed, than she had expected; and she does not despair for the future. She is, however, rather annoyed at being obliged to admit the assistance of a servant in dressing her, and rejoices when the morning salutation with her cousins is over. However, a walk round the extensive grounds tends somewhat to brace up her nerves; and she receives a personal summons to attend her benefactress in her dressing-room without experiencing any serious trepidation. On her arrival in this sanctum she is desired to take a seat, and has to undergo a rather minute cross-examination as to her personal attainments, as well as in regard to her late habits and occupations. Her replies elicit no further remark than a caution, not harshly given, against bestowing any unnecessary confidences on these points upon the lady, her future governess, and the companions of her future home; whereof the advantages are forcibly pointed out to her, and a due appreciation of their benefits earnestly enjoined. Then follows the expression of a confident hope on the part of her monitor that the great expense incurred to secure for her all these benefits will be met by proportionate exertions on her part to profit to the very utmost by the advantages thus generously placed within her reach. This exordium brought to a close, and a dutiful acknowledgment returned thereto, she is next interrogated as to the extent and quality of her wardrobe, and replies with cheerful alacrity that she is well provided for on that score; but whether a hint dropped to the governess by the under-housemaid of the result of her observations at her toilet may have suggested a doubt on this head, or whether a feeling of curiosity is entertained by the lady as to what is considered a good provision by a poor relation, is uncertain, but the poor girl is required to produce the wardrobe, the extent of which does not preclude her from fulfilling the mandate in person. The carpet-bag is brought down, and hastily opened, and, with an involuntary gesture of distaste, as hastily closed. The services of the maid of the young ladies are in instant requisition, and an order is given to her to make a selection of the more ordinary garments from the wardrobes of her young mistresses. The damsel, though by no means approving of this wholesale appropriation of what she has been accustomed to regard as her own ultimate property, obeys her instructions, and soon returns with an ample supply of half-worn garments, which, with an air of subdued sullenness, she places before her mistress. The lady, who fathoms at once the origin of her dissatisfaction, desires her, in a voice of some asperity, instantly to pack them up; and secures a more cheerful compliance with the mandate by an intimation that compensation will be made to her in another way. These preliminaries adjusted, luncheon and the carriage are ordered to be in readiness an hour before their usual time; the lady announces her intention of personally introducing her protégée to her new home; and then intimates that her presence may for the present be dispensed with.
At the hour appointed the carriage is announced, the lady sweeps in, followed by her young relative, and an hour's drive brings them to the end of their journey. The aristocratic peal of the footman remains unanswered for a period sufficiently long to admit of a brief investigation of our heroine's future home. It is a large, red brick house, old fashioned, but perfectly respectable in appearance, with a multiplicity of windows, carefully veiled by blinds from top to bottom. A small front garden intervenes between the house and the public road, and is surrounded by a low brick wall, surmounted by a lofty hedge of laurustinas, under which blooms a perpetual growth of the blue periwinkle. The box-edges of the parterres are more than usually luxuriant, and the gravel walk, though carefully swept, presents visible signs of the moss of ages. The brass-plate on the outer gate, and the ample steps leading into the house, are scrupulously clean. On either side of the entrance hall, which is spacious, and even handsome, stand two large professional-looking globes, appropriate introductions to the world of knowledge beyond; while from the centre branches off a square flight of broad, well-carpeted oak stairs, which, if any criterion of the size of the rooms above, promise well for the domestic comfort of the establishment.
In the absence of a footman--a functionary not admissible in a seminary for young ladies--the party is conducted by a smart parlour-maid to a well-proportioned, though somewhat chilly drawing-room, handsomely furnished with chairs, guarded from use as carefully as 'the throne' of Lady Margaret Bellenden at Tillietudlem, and footstools which, though preserved by oil-silk covers, are yet guiltless of ever having been pressed by the foot of human being. The chimneypiece exhibits hand-screens as smart as gold paper and water-colours can make them, in which the conflicting styles of the pupil and the master, though ingeniously blended, are easily to be distinguished; and on the principal table stands a valuable work-box, which the lady of the house will not fail incidentally to remark was a present to her from her affectionate pupils. The room, in short, is redolent of professional decorations, from the Berlin wool and embroidery of the present day, to the bygone glories of filigree and shellwork. The visitors have only time to look around them, and select two chairs upon which they can sit with a good conscience, before the mistress of the house presents herself in the person of a very upright, ladylike woman, attired in black silk of glossy freshness, and leading by the hand a beautiful little girl, the pride of the school. The child (who is exquisitely dressed for exhibition) has been committed to her charge by its doting parents the day before they sailed for India, and she cannot, therefore, persuade herself to lose sight of her for an instant. This is said by way of apology; and the little piece of sentimentalism having produced its desired effect, the child is quietly dismissed to amuse herself at the other end of the room.
The important subject of terms and length of engagement having been adjusted at a previous interview, the patroness has little to do beyond introducing the new pupil to her new protector; and the identity of the family name unhappily preventing her début as the orphan child of a deceased schoolfellow, no alternative remains but to name her as Miss Maria Armstrong, a young person in whose welfare she feels a lively interest, the young lady being, in fact, a distant relative of Mr Armstrong himself, the offspring, she is sorry to add, of an imprudent marriage. How far her education may already have proceeded, the lady has had no means of ascertaining, never having seen any member of the family until the previous evening. She, however, without solicitude, confides the child to her maternal care, in the fullest confidence that whatever talents she may possess will receive the highest culture at her hands, and in the hope that the same will be met by a corresponding degree of diligence on the part of the young person herself, as on the exercise of these talents, be they great or small, her future wellbeing must depend. The lady believes that every necessary for the use of one in the position of her protégée has been provided; but should anything indispensable have been forgotten, she begs Mrs Sharp will have the goodness to procure it. She has only further to request, that no unnecessary intercourse with her own family may be encouraged on the part of the child; such communications, if of frequent occurrence, having a very obvious tendency to unsettle the mind, and unfit it for its manifold duties. With these sentiments Mrs Sharp entirely coincides. The lady rises, bestows a kiss on the little fairy--a shake of the hand and half-a-guinea on the young dependent--and a bow expressive of mingled cordiality and condescension on the mistress of the house--and then, with a measured step, regains her equipage; and, as the nursery rhyme has it--
'The carriage drives off with a bound.'
As the new-comer is only a half-boarder, it cannot of course be expected that the head of an establishment of pretensions equal to the one of which we are speaking should herself introduce the stranger to her dormitory; and as the attendance of a housemaid might lead to unwarrantable expectations of future service, the little girl is deputed to convoy Miss Armstrong to the room over the kitchen, the left-hand closet of which will be found vacant for the reception of her clothes. When this is accomplished, should any time remain previously to the tea-bell, she had better inform herself of the names and localities of the various departments, with which her little guide will have pleasure in making her acquainted. The clothes are unpacked, and put away, and the tour of the house is hardly accomplished when the expected peal is rung. A rustling sound, accompanied by the shuffling of many feet, is heard in the distance; the little girl safely pilots her companion to the parlour door, leaving her to make her _entrée_ alone, and then skips off to join her companions in the refectory. The young novice waits a few moments to gather both breath and courage, and then gently taps at the door; a voice from within desires her to enter, and she stands before half-a-dozen smart ladies at tea. A pause of a moment succeeds, which is broken by the governess, who thinks (aloud) that it will perhaps be the best plan for Miss Armstrong at once to enter upon her duties. She is therefore desired to proceed along the passage till she arrives at a green baize door, on opening which, a second door will introduce her to the apartments of the young ladies. She makes her exit from the parlour in the best manner she is able, and experiences but little difficulty in discovering the eating-room, from which issues a cheerful buzz of voices. She wisely resolves not to give her courage time to cool, and so enters without observing the preliminary ceremony of self-announcement. The sound of the opening door produces an instantaneous hush, and at the same time directs towards her the glance of four-and-twenty pair of curious eyes, besides a piercingly-black individual pair appertaining to the French governess at the head of the table. She stands perfectly astonished at her own temerity; then thankfully sinks into a chair pointed out by that lady on her left hand; accepts a cup of tea, which a choking sensation in the throat prevents her from swallowing, and is conscious of an unwilling suffusion of colour from the crown of her head to her very fingers' ends. Tea and the tea things at length despatched, the usual half hour supervenes previously to the period for preparing lessons, advantage of which is taken by madame to inquire the name, age, &c. of the new-comer; whilst the little figurante, whose position renders her a sort of _avant-courier_ to the school-room of the proceedings in the drawing-room, is captured by one of the elder girls, who, on pretence of plaiting her hair, seats her on her knee in the midst of her own peculiar set, and proceeds to extract, with very commendable ingenuity, all the events of the day, reserving to herself the liberty of drawing her own inferences from the detail, copious or meagre, as the case may be. One circumstance connected with the arrival of the young stranger does strike the privileged set with inexpressible astonishment. If, as is asserted, she came in a private carriage, and that carriage the veritable property of her friends, and not a 'trumpery glass-coach'--how, then, could she be going to sleep in the room over the kitchen?--that chamber of Blue-Beard reputation, strongly suspected of harbouring mice, and convicted, beyond question, of being subject to a very disagreeable odour! The thing is pronounced impossible, and unworthy a moment's credit. In vain the child assures them, upon her word and honour, she helped to put away her clothes; the proposition is not to be believed for an instant. The informant, indignant at having her veracity impeached, calls aloud on Miss Armstrong to verify her assertion. The appeal is, however, happily overpowered by a simultaneous shuffle of the feet of the inquisitors; she is quietly slided from the knee on which she had been sitting, and the discussion proceeds in the absence of the witness. There certainly is something very unusual attending the new-comer: no note of preparation announced her advent; no cheerful congratulations had been offered to themselves on the prospect of a new companion; no hopes expressed that they would do their best to make her home a pleasant one. And then the circumstance of her taking her _first_ tea in the eating-room, to which she was not even introduced; such a mark of contumely had never before been suffered within the memory of the oldest school-girl present; and of this fact they were themselves eye-witnesses. It was inexplicable: they could not understand it. A single hour, however, suffices to solve the mystery: the period at length arrives for preparing lessons, and with it the housemaid to curl the hair of the younger children; and in this labour of love Miss Armstrong is requested to lend her assistance! A glimmering light as to her real position flashes across the minds of the bewildered spectators. But when she is further required to attend the children to their respective rooms, and light the candles preparatory to the arrival of the elder girls, the matter is put beyond a doubt: she is--she must be--a half-boarder!
Reader, picture to yourself, I beseech you, the estimation in which a Christian slave is held by a follower of the true Prophet, a Nazarene by a Jewish rabbi, a Pariah by a holy Brahmin of immaculate descent, and you may then have some faint, some very faint idea, of the depths to which this fact has sunk our heroine in the estimation of the major part of her schoolfellows!
The young ladies are at length fairly disposed of for the night; and the half-boarder, having completed her duties, descends again to the school-room, which she finds in the possession of the housemaid and a cloud of dust, the French teacher having joined the party in the parlour. Thither she also repairs, and requests permission to retire to her room. The concession is readily granted to her, and she gladly seeks her bed, to sleep with what soundness of repose she may. Anxious to fulfil the duties of her post to the spirit as well as to the letter of the bond, she is dressed even before the school-bell rings, and is ready on its summons to assist in the ablutions of the little ones. She saves many a heedless chit a fine by herself folding up the forgotten night-clothes; an indulgence, however, not to be taken as a precedent, her duty being to aid in the reformation of evil habits, not to slur them over. Having had no lessons marked out for her on this first morning, she watches the order of proceedings, and helps the little favourite to master the difficulties of a column of spelling.
After breakfast, the pupils having dispersed themselves in the garden to taste the morning air (young ladies have no playground), the half-boarder has a private audience of the superior, in order that, her mental standing having been duly ascertained, she may be drafted into class second or third, as the case may be. After rendering a true and particular account of her acquirements in reading, writing, needlework, &c. &c. and admitted her total ignorance of French, music, and dancing, the order is given for her admission into the third class, and beginning French forthwith. Dancing and music are held out as stimulants to quicken her diligence in making herself 'generally useful,' in consideration of having been received into the establishment at one-half the usual charge. Her duties cannot very clearly be defined, but she will soon comprehend them. Soon, indeed, poor girl! they being, in fact, to do all that is neglected to be performed by the other members of the household--to stand in the alternate relations of nursemaid and instructress of the younger children, and of butt and fag to the elder ones. She must be prepared to consider herself the link between the lower teacher and the upper servant, willing to lend her aid to each, and to bear the blame due to either; to labour with untiring diligence to improve her mind and increase her accomplishments, and thus eventually supersede the necessity for an under teacher at all.
These are multifarious duties, it must be admitted; but, as Dr Johnson says, 'few things are impossible to ingenuity and perseverance.' She has not been brought up in the lap of refinement, and therefore misses not its comforts: she is blessed with a strong constitution and a willing mind, loves learning for its own sake, and never forgets that every member of her own family may be ultimately benefited through her means.
It is true that at first it is painful to stand up with the little class--herself a giant among pigmies; to be conscious of a sneering smile on the part of the teacher as she draws a parallel between her bodily height and her dwarfish information. It is mortifying to know that her dresses have been discovered, by their misfit, to have belonged to other parties--that the discrepancies between her own initials and those on her linen have not been overlooked--and to feel that the absence of a weekly allowance, and regular home correspondence, are never-failing sources of unsympathising wonder.
All this is mortifying enough, but it is not all she has to undergo. After rising early, and lying down late, and eating the bread of carefulness, she finds that even the rigid performance of her own duties, and the neglected work of half-a-dozen people besides, meets at first with but little encouragement from the mistress of the house, who receives it purely as a matter of course, while it does not fail to awaken the distrust and jealousy of her subordinates. The cook remembers her refusal to connive at the abstraction of 'a dust of tea,' even when the key of the storeroom was actually in her hand; and the housemaid bears in mind that Miss Johnson would have bestowed upon her her last year's cloak on the arrival of her new _visite_, had not the half-boarder suggested the necessity for asking leave. The French teacher does not forget that, on the only occasion in which she indulged in a little harmless flirtation with a whiskered cousin of her own, the half-boarder looked reproof; the English teacher remembers her refusal furtively to procure sundry little delicacies not included in the daily bill of fare; while her assistant notes her strenuous efforts to qualify herself to supersede her in her own department.
All these offences are registered and retaliated. The cook, when reproved for any omission, stoutly declares that orders transmitted through Miss Armstrong never reach her; the housemaid, in waiting at table, contrives that the least savoury _plat_ shall fall to her lot; the Parisienne shrugs her shoulders as she comments on her air _bourgeois_; the English teacher frankly declares she never could like her; whilst her subordinate sister 'hopes' that Miss Armstrong may prove as simple as she appears.
But a Sacred Authority has assured us that though sorrow may endure for a night, joy cometh in the morning; and the experience even of a half-boarder demonstrates that a patient continuance in welldoing is not without its reward. By degrees the lot of our heroine is considerably ameliorated: the prejudice against her begins to wear away; and even the English teacher, who has held out the longest, having a character for consistency to maintain, is constrained to admit that Miss Armstrong is an estimable and well-conducted young person. Her desire to please is at length appreciated, and her poverty is even admitted to be rather her misfortune than her fault. The great girls cease to despise her--the little girls learn to love her. The higher powers readily second the exertions for self-improvement which promise to relieve them from the drudgery of initiatory instruction; and the prize held out for the successful fulfilment of her humbler duties is in process of time secured. Instruction in dancing and music commences with the second half year, and glimmerings of still greater glories are pointed out in the distance.
The governess, though an exacting, is not an unjust taskmistress. If she requires much during school-hours, she allows the unusual luxuries of fire and lights when school duty is over; and furthermore advances the interests of her pupil by a statement, under her own hand, to the benefactress of the half-boarder, that she promises to do honour to that lady's patronage no less than to her own establishment.
Her successful progress in the road to learning, and in the good graces of those around her, coupled with the encouragement afforded by a kind word, and now and then a small present bestowed on her by the grateful mamma of some infant prodigy, all combine to quicken her steps in the race towards the grand object of her ambition--the qualifying herself for the situation of a nursery governess. In the meantime, in the words of Crabbe, her duty is--
----'to feel Dependent helper always at the wheel; Her power minute, her compensation small, Her labours great, her life laborious all; Set after set the lower tribe to make Fit for the class which her superiors take. The road of learning for a time to track In roughest state, and then again go back, Just the same way on other troops to wait-- Doorkeeper she at Learning's lower gate.'
This is her lot for some two years; but she has the encouragement of knowing that her apprenticeship, though a hard one, is gradually fitting her for the object of her ambition; while, as she advances in her career, the experience of the past inspires her with confidence for the future, since it proves to her that right principle and steady perseverance are invincible, or they could never have enabled her to overcome the trials and difficulties which beset the path of a Half-Boarder.
INDIAN POLICE REVELATIONS.
We have frequently had occasion to observe that travellers differ widely from each other, even as to such matters of fact as must have come under the cognisance of their senses. The late Mr Rae Wilson, for instance, who observed personally the falls of the Narova, gives the measurement of the descent of water at something so comparatively enormous, as to prove that he had unconsciously blended in his imagination the whole of the rapids into one cataract; and we ourselves, when gazing upon those troubled waters from the wooden bridge that spans them, looked with such surprise upon the 'Yarrow Visited,' as must, we fear, have coloured, in an opposite way from Mr Wilson's, our impressions, and consequently our report. If travellers who desire, both from interest and inclination, to be impartial differ so widely in matters of fact, what shall be said of matters of opinion? A compiler is frequently taunted with presuming to write critically of countries he has never visited in person; but if he will only take the pains to collect, and sift, and compare the jarring and often opposite accounts of residents and travellers, we have a strong suspicion that he will be found better qualified for his business than any of them!
India has always been _the_ Debateable Land of authors, both as to fact and opinion. The books published upon that country contain the most outrageous mass of contradictions extant; and each successive writer gives the lie, without the smallest ceremony, to those who preceded him. This cannot be wholly owing to our ignorance of the country and the people. The Hon. Robert Lindsay was shut up with the natives almost exclusively for twelve years; and he represents them as being so honest, that he could intrust three or four thousand pounds' worth of his property to a menial servant, wandering to the farthest extremity of the country, and absent for twelve months at a time. Colonel Davidson resided for many years, and travelled much in India; and he turns the reverse of the medal, representing the native inhabitants as thieves and vagabonds to a man. We must go further, therefore, than the mere question of knowledge; for these two witnesses (whom we take as the types of two numerous classes) are men of both knowledge and honour. We must seek for an explanation of the mystery in the depths of the human character.
The colour of an object, although really one of its inherent properties, is always modified by the medium through which it is seen; and nothing but care and reflection, or at least lengthened experience, will enable us to correct the error, and trace the actual through the apparent hue. In the same way, the qualities of a people in one stage of civilisation cannot be judged of intuitively by a people in another stage, because they are viewed through an uncongenial medium. The Indians can no more be comprehended at once by Europeans, than Europeans can be comprehended at once by the Indians. Much care will be required to enable the two to arrive even at an approximation to a true understanding of each other. Virtue and vice are not the substantive and unbending terms we commonly imagine them to be. They receive a new meaning, or a new force, in every new form of civilisation; the _lex talionis_ of the ancient Jews, for instance, was abrogated by the more advanced law of Christianity; and we meet with a hundred things in history--
'Things light or lovely in their acted time'--
which, in the present day, would be considered indications of positive depravity. Few of the heroes of the middle ages would escape hanging or the hulks in the nineteenth century, and fewer still of the heroines would be received in a modern drawing-room!
To form a correct estimate of the Indians, we must compare them with other Asiatic nations, and not with the inhabitants of Europe, where the human character received a new and extraordinary development through the collision of different and distant races of mankind. According to the former standard, the Indians are much in advance, which can only be accounted for by the vast extent of their country, and the fluctuating movements of its population, interrupting in some degree what is called the 'permanent' form of civilisation peculiar to Asia. To estimate their moral and social prospects, however, and the moral and social prospects of the Eastern world in general, we must compare them with our own ancestors of a few centuries ago, among whom we shall find quite as much grossness of taste, obtuseness of feeling, tyranny, dishonesty, antagonism of classes, and puerile and debasing superstition. The conflicting views of the Indian character arise simply from the opposite idiosyncrasies of the observers. Colonel Davidson finds theft common, and stigmatises the people with the English name of thieves; while Mr Lindsay, marvelling at the singular fidelity of his servants, ascribes to them the English virtue of honesty. Both are deceived; for these two apparently opposite qualities may, and do, meet in the same individuals, and are therefore not of the nature of the English qualities of the same name. If we encountered such passages in history, we should comprehend the seeming anomaly, and at once refer it to a particular stage of civilisation; but falling in with them in the course of our personal experience, and suffering from the bad, or deriving advantage from the good quality, we take no care to discriminate, but give praise or blame according to the religious and moral dispensation we live under in Europe. The tendency of this want of discrimination is adverse to Indian progress. The people are at this moment undergoing, but more slowly, the change which revolutionised the West; although this time Mohammed goes to the mountain, since the mountain does not come to Mohammed. Europe flings itself upon Asia, and Western knowledge ferments in the inert mass of Eastern ignorance. We are numerically few, however, though intellectually powerful; and it is of the utmost consequence that we should comprehend clearly what we are about, so that our efforts towards the advancement of those we have taken forcibly under our tutelage should proceed in the right direction.
We have been led into these reflections by a very slight matter--a little book, as coarse, vulgar, and tasteless as can well be imagined; which professes to be the revelations of an orderly, or police subordinate, attached to an Anglo-Indian provincial court. According to this authority, all India would appear to be one bloated mass of crime and tumult, and the calm and beautiful pictures of such writers as Sleeman would therefore require to be set down as impudent fabrications. But we do not look for an account of English manners in the Newgate Calendar; and the native scribe who in this little book withdraws the curtain from the mysteries of Indian police may be thanked for his contribution, partial as it is, to our knowledge of the country. In fact it is impossible to talk with too much reprobation of the police system of India. In venality and oppression it was never surpassed even by the most corrupt nations either of the East or the West, either in ancient or modern times. The reason is, that an effective police must be spread like a network over the whole country, and the Europeans are far too few for reasonable superintendence. Old abuses thus remain unchecked, and vast multitudes of hereditary scoundrels combine to cheat their superiors and oppress the people. The police, in fact, are the objects of universal dread; and numberless crimes escape unpunished, and even unexposed, because their victims will rather suffer than invoke such fatal assistance.
At present, however, our business is more with the criminal than the policeman; and the rough pictures of our Orderly show that the peculiarity of Indian crime is its resemblance to the crime of old and modern Europe at the same time. We see in it, under Indian characteristics, the offences of mediæval Europe, extravagantly combined with those of our own day. The priestly transgressors of the dark ages are reproduced in the Pundahs and Poojarees of Benares; and the English swindler who takes a handsome house, and victimises the neighbouring tradesmen, has an Indian brother in the _soi-disant_ rajah, who confers his patronage as a prodigious favour.
The priests, it seems, perpetrate all sorts of crimes with perfect impunity. 'Many a dark deed has been done, and is done, in the extensive houses of these Pundahs and Poojarees. While the gong is loudly sounding, and scores of athletic priests are blowing _sunkhs_ in the numerous temples that are dotted about and around the houses, the last expiring shriek of some victim is perhaps suppressed by the noise. Disobedient _chelas_, victims of jealousy and crime, die by slow torture, or poison, or famine. No intimation is, or can be, given to the police, for none but the initiated and privileged may enter these houses, sanctified by the numerous temples. And who but the most devoted and trustworthy are ever permitted to see the dark places where crime is committed? It is believed generally--but I speak not from experience (for being of the faith of Islam, I am not permitted to approach such places)--that in the innermost recesses of several temples is a shrine devoted to "Devee," or "Bhowanee;" those infernal deities whose delight is in blood, where children of tender age are enticed, and offered up on certain occasions. Frequent are the reports made to the police that children are missing; the informants suspect nobody, and no trace of the innocents is ever found.'
Another pest are the _dullals_ (brokers), who haunt the markets, and levy a handsome per-centage on everything that is bought and sold. 'Go into the _chouk_, and attempt to purchase the most trivial article: take up a pair of shoes, or a shawl, and you will find a _dullal_ at your elbow. The man praises one thing, abuses another, beats down the price of the vender authoritatively; and you are surprised that such disinterested officiousness should be shown to a stranger in a crowded chouk. The man civilly offers to take you whithersoever you please, and to assist you in purchasing whatever you may require. You return home, wondering what was the man's inducement to waste his own time in chaffering for you. I lift the curtain to show you that the venders and your _chaperone_ are in league; that your complaisant friend is a dullal, who takes very good care to lower the vender's price only so much as to admit of his coming in for a handsome _dusturee_. The difference between the bazaar price and the amount price of the article sold is the _huq_ of the dullal. You will ask whether the vender may not himself pocket the whole of the money? I answer that he dare not. The whole of the dullals would cabal against him; would cry down his wares; would thrash him within an inch of his life; would by force prevent purchasers from attending his shop. Can such things be? you ask. Can the authorities submit tamely to such outrages? Why do not the parties who are cheated or bullied complain to the magistrate? They have tried the experiment; and although in a few instances successful, they have generally failed in obtaining redress from want of judicial proof. Moral conviction is one thing, and judicial proof another. And were a magistrate to punish on moral conviction alone, his judgment would in all probability be reversed by the judge in appeal; who, having to form his judgment by the written evidence, must be guided by judicial proof alone.'
The _Budmashes_ practise a trick that is not unknown in England, although known there chiefly under the modification of bills of Exchange obtained from the unwary by means of advertisements in the newspapers. 'Another common trick of the Budmashes is to entice people of decent condition into their private houses with seductive solicitations; and after amusing them, to keep them there until they put their names to papers, just by way of showing specimens of their autographs. They have documents ready cut and dry on stamp papers of different value, duly witnessed by people who are in their pay, or who participate in their frauds, to be converted into penal bonds for value received. Months afterwards the unfortunate visitor is accosted in any public place, in the presence of numerous witnesses, and asked for the amount of his (extorted) bond. Of course the debt is denied, and the demander is cursed only for his pains. But the Budmash calls people to witness that he did ask his debtor to pay the amount of his bond, which he refused to discharge. An action for debt is instituted. The Budmash produces the bond before the _Moonsiff_. The witnesses are summoned, and are merely asked, "Did you witness this _tumassook_?" "I did, your worship," is the reply: "this is my signature." The witnesses before whom the Budmash demanded the amount of the bond also confirm the plaintiff's allegation. The defendant can only deny the claim, and submit that the bond was extorted. "Where is the proof?" says the Moonsiff. "I have none," is the reply. And a decree is given in favour of plaintiff with costs. It is only when "Greek meets Greek" that the result is different. Then the defendant acknowledges the deed, but alleges that he has paid the amount with interest; and files a receipt for the amount of the bond, with interest at twelve per cent., duly attested by three "credible" witnesses, who appear before the _huzoor_, and swear to their signatures, as well as to having seen the money repaid to the plaintiff.'
We come now to the swindling rajah, whose proceedings are almost amusing in their rascality. 'A common mode of swindling in the city of Kashee, as practised by the clever Budmashes, is for one of the party to personate a rajah on a visit of ceremony to the holy city, while his companions pretend to precede him, and hire a stately _huvelee_ in Dal-ka-Munduvee, which they furnish for the nonce. Bulbhuddur Singh sits in state as Rajah Guchpuch Rae, bedecked in false gems, and dressed in shawls and _kimkhabs_. His retainers go about the city, and entice shawl-merchants and jewellers to the rajah's house. They arrive with costly wares, and eagerly proceed to expose them; but the rajah turns an indifferent eye upon them, and declares they are not sufficiently choice for _him_. The _Soudagurs_ promise to return next day. In the meantime the song and dance proceed with fierce rivalry. Six sets of the best dancing-women exert their lungs and limbs, and go through every fascinating movement to delight and amuse Rajah Guchpuch Rae. "Where is my treasurer?" exclaims the rajah. "Bid him bestow a largess of 100 _ushurfees_ on these soul-enslaving, terrestrial houries." A retainer, after going through the farce of a search, respectfully approaches his highness, and intimates that the treasurer has not yet arrived. "The _nimukharam!_ _behaeyah!_" exclaims the rajah. "Here, fellows, see that a proper treasurer be in attendance on the morrow, to whom we shall deliver our treasure and _toshehkhanah_." The rajah enjoys himself until no longer able to sustain excitement; and then the _Gundrupins_ retire, and the torches are extinguished.
'Next day there are several candidates for the honour of the treasurer's office, who eagerly offer to serve. "The salary is 200 rupees a month," says the rajah; "and I hate accounts. Constant attendance and implicit obedience are all I require." After rejecting some, his highness fixes upon Lalla Umbeka Sahaee, who receives a well-worn shawl as a _khillut_, and an immense key. He ventures to ask where the treasury is? and is told to wait until the _huzrut_ has leisure to show it to him. In the meantime the rajah suddenly recollects that he has an immediate occasion for 1000 rupees, and he shouts out, "Here, Bahadoor, take one thousand rupees from Lalla Umbeka Sahaee, and give it to Bisheshur Singh, and be sure to take a receipt for the money. Tell him it is the price of a ring I bought of him for my favourite Goolbehar." Bahadoor asks the treasurer for the money. The poor man looks aghast, and shows a huge key as all he has received of the rajah's treasure. But Bahadoor tells him that Rajah Guchpuch Rae never fails to cut off the ears of a disobedient servant. So the hint is taken, and Lalla gives an order on his _shroff_ in the city for the amount; and Bahadoor at once proceeds to realise the money. As evening approaches, shawl-merchants and jewellers again appear, and press their wares on the rajah. They see Lalla Umbeka Sahaee figuring as treasurer. They are old acquaintance, and they ask him the amount of Guchpuch Rae's treasure; in reply to which he simply shows _the_ key, about a foot in length. The merchants open out their wares to entice the rajah, but he says he will wait until all his things arrive. They offer to leave their bundles for the rajah and his ladies to choose, which is agreed to with apparent indifference. The song and dance proceed, as usual, until midnight, when the torches are extinguished.
'Next morning, what a change has taken place! One old man is seated at the doorway, dozing over a _chillum_ of _ganjah_. No other sign of life is visible in Rajah Guchpuch Rae's palace. The treasurer arrives first, opens and rubs his eyes, and asks the old man where the rajah and his people have gone? He replies that they decamped before dawn. In due course the Muhajuns, the jewellers, and birds of song arrive, but nothing of the rajah is to be found; and smoke-stained walls, and filth, and litter about the rooms, alone betray that revelry _had been_ there! The jewellers and Muhajuns turn in wrath upon Lalla Umbeka Sahaee, and tax him with having aided to cheat them. They proceed first to abuse, and then to beat him. In vain the poor man shows the huge key, and laments his thousand rupees lost for ever. They drag him to the _kotwal_, and charge him with having cheated them; and the defrauded treasurer remains in durance vile for a week at least, and gets off at last on proving himself to be one of the victims of this system of swindling, and after feeing the police myrmidons pretty roundly.'
Here we close, without further remark, a book from which the reader will learn that the crimes of India are not remarkably different from those of earlier England, although fostered by the worst police system that ever disgraced and demoralised a country.
 The Revelations of an Orderly, being an Attempt to Expose the Abuses of Administration by the Relation of Every-day Occurrences in the Mofussil Courts. By Panchkouree Khan. London: Madden, 8 Leadenhall Street. 1849.
 Large shells.
 Customary douceur.
 Gold mohurs.
 Unfaithful to salt--shameless.
 Place for keeping valuables.
 A caste of Hindoo Nautch-girls.
 Dress of honour.
TRACINGS OF THE NORTH OF EUROPE.
GOTTENBURG TO CHRISTIANIA.
At six o'clock of the morning of the 4th July, Quist duly appeared with the carriage at the door of the Gotha Kellare. It was a dull, cool, drizzling morning, and I mentally rejoiced in having, against many advices, resolved upon a vehicle which could afford me protection from the elements. My baggage being arranged beside me in the carriage, so that I could readily command anything I wanted--one of the greatest of all comforts in solitary travelling--I hastily swallowed the cup of coffee presented to me in my bedroom--the common custom of the country--and was soon on the road to Christiania. I observed that two hardy little horses were yoked to the carriage with rope-traces. Beside Quist, who drove them, sat a man who was to bring back the cattle, the first of a long series of such persons whom I was to see in that situation during my journey, of all varieties of age, from twelve years to threescore, in all kinds of clothes, from stout _wadmaal_ down to bare decency. The robust, bulky frame of honest Quist generally made these people appear like dwarfs by his side. As we drove rapidly along the swampy plain surrounding Gottenburg, we met an immense number of small market-carts, driven by peasant men or women, or both, generally very lightly laden, and going at a trot, the people being usually seated on a sort of chair, perched on elastic beams passing back at an angle from the beams of the vehicle, so as to give somewhat the effect of springs. I felt affected at seeing such a multitude of people engaged in a labour so uneconomical, and which must consequently remunerate them so ill; for of course where a man or woman give a day of their own time, along with a horse's labour, to the business of selling a single pig or lamb, a few chickens and eggs, or some such trifling merchandise, the remuneration must be of the most miserable kind. The poor too often struggle on in this manner, always busy, as they allege, often working very hard, and wondering that, with all their exertions, they make so little, when the plain truth is, that their labour is so ill-directed, or is so uneconomically conducted, and in the result of their labours they consequently do so little for their fellow-creatures, that their little gains are exactly what is to be expected, and what is strictly their due. The very best lesson that we could teach a poor man, with a view to improving his fortunes, would be that which led him, as far as possible, to extend his usefulness, to substitute economical for uneconomical labour, and to concentrate and divide employments. I beheld, with interest, in this exhibition of the Swedish peasantry, the first aspect of an economy out of which it has been the business of the last hundred years to reform the farming population of my own country.
At the first station, which we reached in little more than an hour, the horses which had been ordered were in waiting, along with a new _loon_ of some kind to take care of them. The man in charge of the used horses was then paid at a rate which appeared nearly equivalent to threepence-halfpenny per English mile. But something more was needed--_dricka-pinge_, or drinks-money, as Quist called it. In England, something like half-a-crown would have been expected. In Sweden, a few skillings--about twopence of our money--was given, and most thankfully received. We then set out with our new horses. The station, it may be remarked, is a place like a carrier's inn. Travellers of a humble class may stop and refresh at it; but it expects no gentlemen customers, and is unprepared for their reception. One or two out of a long series are tolerable places, and it is necessary to calculate so as to have any needful meals there, instead of the meaner houses; but even with these better-sort of houses it is necessary to order meals by the forebud, for a guest is so rare, that they have no standing arrangements for his reception. My breakfast had been ordered at the third station. It proved a decent, plain house, with clean-boarded floors, and a few rude prints along the walls; and, had there been wheaten bread, the eggs and coffee would have enabled me to make a tolerable meal.
The country passed over to-day consisted of low rocky hills of soft outline, with alluvial plains between. It is impossible for any person of common powers of observation to fail to be struck with the appearance of the rocky surface presented around Gottenburg and along the road upon which I was now travelling. All the abruptnesses and asperities usually seen upon rocks are here ground off: all is smooth and rounded. Here you see great ridges, resembling the hull of a ship turned keel uppermost, both in the general form and the smoothness of surface. There you see great slopes, as straight and smooth as an ashlar wall. Sometimes a kind of trough or channel is seen between rising ridges, and of this the sides are usually quite smooth. In general, there has been a certain weathering of the exterior, though leaving the general plane--if I may use such an expression--in its original state. Where the surface has been from any cause protected from the elements, the smoothing is clearly seen to be a true mechanical polish; that is to say, not a result of some causes connected with the formation of the rock, but an effect proceeding from some external agent which has operated on the rocks after they had been thrown into their present arrangement as a surface for this part of the earth. On these preserved surfaces we find striæ or scratches, evidently a portion of the general operation, whatever it was; and these striæ, as well as the channellings and ridges, lie in one direction--namely, _compass_ N. E. and S. W. In numberless instances in travelling to-day I took out my compass to test this point, where much struck by the appearances, and the result was invariable. The valley of the Gotha Elv lies from north to south; but this seems merely to have exposed it to being impressed with these singular appearances. There are several hill-faces which may be considered as an exception, being rough and cliffy, sometimes with a talus of débris descending from below the cliffy front, as in Salisbury Crags near Edinburgh. In all such instances the face of the cliff is to the _south-west_; and where this occurs in a valley, the opposite hill-face is invariably smooth, with rounded surfaces, showing as if the smoothing agent had moved from the north-east, failing to press against faces turned away from that point of the compass, but bearing hard upon such as were presented towards it. It was most impressive and interesting to read in these facts so strange a tale of grand preterite operations of nature. I had seen some of the few and scattered markings of the same kind which exist on the surface of my own country, but was nevertheless unprepared for the all but universal grinding to which Sweden has been subjected. In Scotland one has to seek for the appearances in nooks of the country; but here they are met at every step. Very often farm establishments, and the inns at which the traveller stops, are placed on smoothed plateaux of rock, the place thus acquiring from nature all the benefit of a paved courtyard, as well as of a perfectly firm and dry foundation. Often you can trace in these natural pavements the primitive channellings and striæ, though hob-nails and wagon-wheels have clattered over them for centuries.
The matter massed up against the smoothed valley-sides has all the appearance of that of _moraines_ amongst the Alps. A moraine, as must be known by many persons, is the accumulation of loose matter which a glacier brings down in its course, and deposits at its base. The matter seen here, as at the skirts of the Alpine glaciers, is a coarse, pale, sandy clay, mixed with rough stones of all sizes up to many tons--mixed confusedly--with here and there little nests of matter, where the clay and sand have been separated and laid down by water. Over this matter in some places are stratified sand and gravel, coming to flat, terraced forms, like sea-beaches. These, however, are rare objects. The tendency of the whole appearances, in an unprejudiced mind, is to convey the idea that ice has been the cause of the main phenomena. That water in any form could have produced them is utterly inadmissible, though this was the supposition formed by the first scientific observer, M. Sefstrom. Persons who have only read descriptions of the appearances may think them explainable upon an aqueous theory; but if they visit Sweden, and look at the surface with their own eyes, they must, if open to conviction at all, see that no such agent could have produced such effects. Only some agent applying forcibly, pressingly, and with an equable, continuous motion--like a plane going over a deal, or a plough in a furrow--could have so dressed the original surface. Such an agent is ICE. The identity of the loose matter with the moraines of existing glaciers points to the same conclusion. I therefore believe, with M. Agassiz and others, that ice has been the means of smoothing the surface of Sweden--ice on a scale of grandeur beyond what we are accustomed to see; though how such a glacial sheet was originated, and how it could move across the whole irregular face of a large country, up hill and down hill, maintaining over wide provinces one direction, I think it would be difficult to explain. We perceive clearly the nature of the agent, and we see this agent still at work upon the earth, though in a limited manner: the only difficulty is as to the different physical circumstances on which depended the magnitude of the phenomenon and the manner of its application. The superficial arrangements of the loose matter speak of a subsequent dip under water, a fact of which I shall have occasion to show other evidences.
The country passed over in this day's journey is not interesting to any but the geologist. It presents only a series of humble-looking farmsteads, and one or two small and unimportant towns. The farmhouses bear a general resemblance to those of Switzerland, but want the overhanging eaves, and are less picturesque, though some are painted of a red or ochrey colour, which gives a cleanly effect. Unlike Switzerland, too, barns, byres, and all sorts of store-offices occupy detached buildings, an arrangement by which the risk of fire is materially reduced. The scenery, though sufficiently rude, is not romantic; for the hills are in general only a few hundred feet above the level of the sea, and their outline has been rendered tame by the glacial polishing above described. The ice, as I sometimes surprised my Scandinavian friends by remarking, has been a great enemy to the picturesque in this region of the earth. Though there is no want of population, the country is dull. One misses even the little taverns and huckstry-shops which everywhere give a sort of life to the roadsides in England and Scotland. In the afternoon we came to a fiord, and found at its upper extremity the town of Uddevalla, containing from 3000 to 4000 inhabitants. Uddevalla is a name of no small interest in science, because of a great bed of ancient shells found near it. This, too, is a kind of object very rare, and only seen on a most limited scale in the superficial formations of Britain. The effect was novel and startling when, on the hill-face overlooking the fiord, and at the height of two hundred feet above its waters, I found something like a group of gravel-pits, but containing, instead of gravel, nothing but shells! It is a nook among the hills, with a surface which has originally been flat in the line of the fiord, though sloping forward towards it. We can see that the whole space is filled to a great depth with the exuviæ of marine mollusks, cockles, mussels, whelks, &c. all of them species existing at this time in the Baltic, with only a thin covering of vegetable mould on the surface. That surface has been broken in several places by the peasantry, who dig and carry away these spoils of ancient seas to spread them over their lands. I feel sure that some of their excavations are twenty feet deep; yet that is not the whole thickness of the shell-bed. Of course it is a proof of the sea and land having formerly been at a different relative level; and one more convincing could not be desired. I was familiar with this as a geological fact; but the shell-bed of Uddevalla presented it with a freshness and liveliness of evidence beyond what I would have expected. Seeing these shells so entire, so like in all respects to any bed of shells on the present shore, one looks upon the period antecedent to the assumption of the present relative level as a thing of yesterday; the whole series of intermediate events, including, what is probably but a small part of it, the course of the written history of the human race, seems concentrated into that brief space which, relatively to the entire history of the universe, it actually occupies.
My halting-place for the first night was at Quistrom, ten and a-half Swedish, or about seventy English miles from Gottenburg. This reminds me to remark that the mile in Sweden, in consequence of an arrangement adopted during the last century, is fixed at the tenth part of a geographical degree, which, it will be remembered, is about 69½ English miles. For such spaces as we require the term _mile_ to designate, the Swedes speak of quarter and half-quarter miles. The roads exhibit formidable 'milestones' for each quarter, usually adorned with the initials of the king under whose reign they were erected. In the whole of this day's journey I had passed only one gentleman's house--a pretty place with a park, near Quistrom; and I was afterwards informed that it belonged to an Englishman. Country-houses, of a character approaching that of an English gentleman's mansion, are objects scarcely existing in either Sweden or Norway, except in the immediate neighbourhood of the larger towns.
At Quistrom I was shown into a large room in an upper floor, uncarpeted, but strewed thickly with small pieces of pine spray and juniper bush, the scent of which is abundantly pungent. This is a description applicable to most public rooms in the country inns of Scandinavia, the vegetable sprinkling being designed for exactly the same effect as a sprinkling of yellow sand in British houses of a humble class. In obedience to the forebud order, a meal was ready to be laid down for me, consisting of two small dishes of animal food, with milk, cheese, and hard cakes of rye. Everything was clean, though homely. A married pair with a child had arrived in a light vehicle about the same time with me; and as soon as I was done with eating, I retired to my bedroom, that they might sup in privacy at the same table. They had a bedroom at one side; I one at the other, a plain small room, also uncarpeted, and possessing little furniture besides a small couch of plain deals. I mention these things as characteristic of the roadside inns all over the country. Here, as everywhere else, there was snowy bed-linen. I feared the entomology of the house, but was agreeably disappointed. The stories told of Sweden and Norway in this respect are surely exaggerations. At least I can say, with a safe conscience, that of the _cimicidæ_ I never saw one example, and of the species _pulex irritans_ only two, during the whole time I was in the country. It is a point not unworthy of notice, for, under different impressions, I had for many nights much less steady sleep than is desirable for a traveller.
An early walk next morning showed me the situation of the inn in a pleasant valley, where a river terminates in a fiord. The river, I was told, contains abundance of fine fish, and I bethought me that for an angler such an opportunity of sport, with so cleanly an inn to live in, might be very attractive. Quist having contrived the night before to get several forebud notices sent on by a private hand free of expense, I started at eight o'clock, with some uncertainty as to the conclusion of my day's journey. The country passed over to-day consisted of low rocky hills, all smoothed, with spaces between, filled up to various heights with detrital matter. This matter usually composes flats, and the ground therefore joins the rocky hills almost as mountain lakes join the sides of the basins containing them--a feature speaking significantly of the operations of the sea upon the stuff left at the conclusion of the glacial action. Contrary to my expectation, very few boulders appeared upon the hills. Sometimes a rill cuts down the alluvial flat, and then we see a series of cultivated fields on the bisected level spaces, frontiered by steep pastoral banks, all in a flush of wild-flowers. The rounded gray rocky hills; the alluvial flats, sometimes cultivated, sometimes in moorland; low, gray, stone enclosures; red wooden houses scattered at wide intervals; now and then a whitened church, with a red wooden spire, topping a low height--such were the predominant features of the landscape during this morning's drive. The people are remarkably civil and inoffensive: not a man or boy do I pass or meet who does not take off his hat. I feel this as courtesy, not as servility, and am careful to return each greeting duly, in order that so amiable a custom may not suffer by me. There is one singular impediment in travelling: almost every few hundred yards--though often at very much wider intervals--a gate crosses the road, being part of the system of farm enclosures, and having a regard to the exclusion of cattle from the corn-fields. Generally some cottage child or group of children is ready to run and open the gate for the approaching vehicle; and for this service a minute coin, such as the third or sixth of a skilling, is regarded as a rich reward. Where no such aid is at hand, the charge-taker of the horses has to descend and throw up the bar. Another novel feature of the roads is the frequent appearance by the wayside of little posts bearing small boards, which contain an inscription--as 'Hede, 200 alnar,' 'Hogdal, 134 alnar,' &c. The explanation is, that the roads in Sweden and Norway are kept up by the bonder or peasants, each taking charge of some small section near his farm. The boards show for what piece each is answerable, the space being indicated in ells. A public officer makes periodical rounds, to see that each person executes his portion in a satisfactory manner, and to impose fines where the duty is neglected. This system partakes of the character of the compulsory furnishing of horses, and imparts a curious idea of the state of public opinion in these countries as to personal liberty. It appears that, let there be never such liberal or democratic forms established on the continent, the state of individual liberty remains the same: the central government is still permitted to bandy about the simple subject at its pleasure. And the oddest consideration is, that, amidst all the democratic struggles and revolutionary writhings which occasionally take place, no one thinks of complaining of these trammelments, or getting them corrected.
In the evening I approached a fiord called Swinesund, which forms the northern limit of Sweden in this direction. At the last station on the Swedish side an elderly officer-like man came up with great politeness, and addressed me, first in Swedish, and afterwards in German. It was his duty to search the baggage of travellers before they should pass into Norway, though I cannot imagine for what reason, unless the exaction of a rigs dollar, or some such trifle, which I paid to save myself from detention, furnish one. At a house on the Norwegian margin of the fiord something more was paid, my passport inspected, and my name entered in a book. The tendency on the continent to petty impositions of this kind is so great, that here, even between two countries under one sovereign rule, they are kept up. At this point a bag of Swedish money, with which I had been furnished at Gottenburg, and with which I was just beginning to become familiar, ceased to be useful, and a new kind became necessary. Laying down rigs-gelt dollars and skillings, I had to take up with specie dollars and marks. A rigs-gelt dollar, I may remark, is equivalent to 13½d. of English money, and the skilling is its forty-eighth part. Calculations are, however, made in an all but imaginary denomination called dollars and skillings _banco_, which are as 3 to 2 of the actual rigs-gelt. The prevalent monies are, in reality, notes of 1, 3, 5 rigs-gelt dollars, and for 8, 12, 16 skillings banco, the smallest of this paper-money being for 3½d. English. As may readily be imagined, the threepence-halfpenny note is generally found in no very neat or cleanly state; yet though it may be a mere clot of dirty paper, not much different in appearance from a huddled-up spider's web, it will be preferred by the natives to coin, provided it only retain the signature of the government banker. In Norway, they have notes for 1 specie dollar (about 4s. 6d. English), 2, 5, and 10 dollars, with silver marks and half-marks (9d. and 4¼.), and copper skillings. I need scarcely remark that the plunge into a new money in the course of continental travel is always a painful thing, and that it is a vexation which occurs the more frequently the more rapidly you travel. On this occasion I had had to make acquaintance with three kinds of money in about a week.
I spent the night at Westgaard, the first station within Norway, and one somewhat superior to the last. I here observed the first examples of a piece of substantial furniture very common in the north--namely, large chests or arks, usually bearing the name of a person, and an old date in quaint lettering, such as 'Agnes Olsen, 1733.' During the two previous days the weather had been dull and ungenial. The third morning proved bright and clear, and I started at an early hour for Frederickshald with elevated spirits. This place was a few miles out of the way; but I was anxious to see the scene of the death of that extraordinary prince who, as Johnson says--
----'left a name, at which the world grew pale, To point a moral, and adorn a tale.'
It was yet scarcely past seven o'clock when we drove into the inn-yard at this little town. The landlord soon came, and being able to speak well in French, and a little in English, he proved a most serviceable ally. I was quickly on my way, under proper conduct, to the scene of the assassination of poor Carl Tolv. Frederickshald is a neat, cleanly town, at the head of one of the smaller fiords, and the fort lies close by, perched upon a rocky eminence of considerable extent, at the foot of which runs a river, noted for several fine waterfalls. A painful ascent of two or three hundred feet, along zig-zagging causeways and fortified walls, brings us to the fortress, which seems to be now chiefly a mere post for soldiers, like Edinburgh and Stirling castles. Behind the main buildings is a space of irregular rocky ground, enclosed within the exterior defences. Here an enclosure of trees and shrubs, and a little tumulus of stones, one of them bearing a half-obliterated inscription, marks the spot where Charles XII. was slain. He had invaded Norway in his usual madcap style; one of his armies, consisting of 7000 men, had there been literally buried in a snow-storm; he was now directing in person the siege of this fortress, when an unknown hand despatched him by a shot which penetrated his temple (December 11, 1718). He was found dead, but with his sword half-drawn, as if to defend himself from some enemy, or to punish an assassin, and it is accordingly believed that the wound was inflicted by one of his own people. A survey of the ground supports this view of the matter, as at such a place one does not readily see how the fatal shot could have come from the fortress. I had afterwards an opportunity of examining the dress worn at this time by the king, in the Riddarsholm Church at Stockholm. The plain cocked-hat shows the hole by which the bullet entered, and the right glove is stained with blood, as if the unfortunate monarch, under the first impulse of the moment, had clapped his hand upon the wound.
After breakfast, I took a walk around the town, and very much enjoyed the views almost everywhere presented, but particularly one from a noted place within a gentleman's pleasure-grounds. Frederickshald appears to me a more pleasing and interesting place than the guide-books allow. In the little park alluded to I found a private cemetery, containing the graves of eight adults and three infants. Each grave is a well-defined heap, with turf sides and ends, but a top of bare earth, on which is laid a single wreath; all the rest of the ground bare earth. Such is a prevalent style of sepulture in the north; it has a neat and pretty effect. One likes to see a grave well-defined. That smoothing of the ground, introduced in some of the improved modern cemeteries of England, is not, I think, an approvable step. We desire the 'mouldering heap,' so affectingly significant of what is below, and so associated with all our old literary ideas upon the subject.
After receiving a lesson in Norwegian money from my intelligent landlord, Mr Stein, and so many civilities of various kinds, that I felt ashamed of the small bill which I had to pay, I set out on the way to Christiania, returning for some miles along the way by which I had come from Westgaard. As we drove out of the town, I was, as a stranger, honoured with a sufficient quantity of observation by the people. To add to the fracas produced by the carriage, a foal came clattering along by our side, apparently under a filial mistake as to one of our horses. Presently a cart was heard making a furious rattle along the stones behind us, as if still further to make my poor equipage an object of public attention. It was the mamma of the foal, who, having missed her progeny in the market-place, was now anxious to recover the lost one: there she came, with mouth distended, and eyes glaring, the whole aspect expressing the utmost excitement, and saying as plainly as words could have spoken it, 'What's all this?--taking away my child!' The whole was so vividly like human affairs, that I felt inclined to stop and apologise for our unintentional concern in the elopement; but Quist settled the matter more summarily by a smart application of his whip to the haunches of our undesired attaché. It may be remarked that in Norway the foal is often allowed to accompany its parent, even in coach-travelling. I have seen it come the whole stage, never missing any opportunity afforded by a pause of our machine to come up and indulge in the mode of nutrition appropriate to its age. Horses are altogether less under strict rule in the north than with us, and it appears to me as if they consequently were more _natural_ in their conduct. For one thing, they are eminently social with one another. In the course of a long stage over a thinly-peopled country, if we come at length to a park where a horse is feeding, even I could almost say though out of sight, our own pachyderms are sure to get up a great skirl of recognition, just as much as to say, 'How are you?--how are you?' My predecessor, Mr Laing, alleges that they have a rational way of eating not observed in the horses of less democratic countries--taking first a quantity of their hay or corn, and then a drink; but I cannot say I ever could observe them acting in this bite-and-sup manner. Of their amazing steadiness, sureness of foot, and hardiness, abundant evidence is presented to every traveller.
In the middle of the day we arrived at the brink of the river Glommen, a copious stream, which contains the drainage of a large district in the centre of Norway, and which is here remarkable for a cascade of great grandeur. The fall is at a place about an English mile above the ferry: the flood pours in one mass through a narrow channel, and makes a descent of about seventy feet. It would be an unexceptionably fine sight but for the details of an enormous timber-sawing and exporting establishment which press in upon its beauties, and usurp not a few of its most romantic points. The river runs fourteen English miles below the waterfall, but so gently, that ships come up for the timber; and the river is there accordingly an active commercial scene. I observed at the falls specimens of the smoothed and dressed rocks, over which the water streamed in an oblique direction--a fact than which nothing could be more convincing as to the incompetency of water to produce the effects attributed to the ice. The country is here low, and not marked by any features of grandeur. There is an alluvial plain of the most absolute flatness for fully a mile in every direction around the ferry; and from the measurements which I made (starting from the surface of the river at that point), I suspect this to be identical in elevation above the sea with the terrace at Elsinore. This is, however, a point which must be left for determination to the native inquirers.
We stopped for the night at Moss, a town on the Christiania Fiord, where my servant and I had each an evening and morning meal, with lodging, at a charge of about six shillings. Yet this was a good large house, very tolerably furnished. A small silver coin (value about 5d.) laid in the hardened palm of the blithesome lass who served as an attendant in all capacities made her the happiest of the happy. As a serving-girl in Denmark, Sweden, or Norway, only gets about 30s. a year of wages, it may readily be imagined that even so small a gratuity as this is a great prize to her. It is necessary, however, to be careful to give such a gratuity directly to the person for whom it is designed, as it will not otherwise reach its destination. At this place there are alluvial terraces at various elevations above the sea, and precisely resembling the ancient sea-margins of the British coasts. A circumstance worthy of note occurred in the business of measuring their elevations, which I did with a regular levelling apparatus. The sea is here presented in two detached bays, embracing a peninsula of several miles in extent, yet approaching within two hundred yards of each other, with only the division of a low isthmus. One of these bays appeared by my survey as 0.9 foot above the level of the other. The cause was in the wind, which blew up the one bay, and down the other.
There remained only a forenoon's journey to Christiania. As we approached this capital, there was no observable improvement in the appearance of the country; no better houses, no trimmer or larger fields, no smarter-looking people; the same rough and homely character over all things. The roads are made of the sand and gravel found everywhere near their borders; no cuttings anywhere for improved gradients. A rise of 1 in 5 is not uncommon when any of the rocky ridges between the plains has to be crossed. Two miles from Christiania we come to the brow of a hill, whence we see the bright white city with its blue and red-tiled roofs lying below at the head of its fiord, backed by green slopes ascending to the pine-clad hills. The descent of this hill is terrible, from the extreme steepness of the road, especially at its somewhat sharp turnings. Having a geologist's climometer in my pocket, I measured the slope in some places with all possible care, and found it actually on an angle of 16 degrees, implying a rise of 1 in 3½ feet. I deemed this a strange sight so near one of the capitals of Europe; but I must do the Norwegians the justice to say that a better road is in the course of being made.
On the two last days' journeys we met many parties of Norwegian infantry on their march or exercising. They are a good-looking soldiery, neatly dressed in white duck-trousers and green frock-coats, with burnished-leather hats rising to a metal peak, each bearing the arms of Norway--a ramping lion holding a battle-axe. As to this ensign, by the way, though gratifying to the national vanity, and poetically conveying the idea which its originators intended, it belongs to a class which cannot be scientifically contemplated without a shock. The philosophical zoologist reflects on the adaptations of the natural organs, and knowing the very peculiar formation of the anterior extremities of the feline family--so well contrived for clutching and tearing a prey, so useless for every other kind of prehension--he cannot endure the idea of one of these animals being supposed to hold a weapon only adapted to the hand of man. Heralds, if they could think of anything beside their own profession, should study these things!
PLAN FOR MAINTAINING THE INDEPENDENCE OF THE LABOURING-CLASS.
It has often occurred to us, and we have once or twice hinted at the idea in the Journal, that the working-classes might make a provision for themselves in times of want, whether occasioned by failure of employment or natural disability through disease or old age, if they could be induced to agree to a system of stoppages like that which has existed for ages in the mercantile navy for the support of Greenwich Hospital. We find that, in 1843, probably before the date of any reference of ours to the subject, though unknown to us, Mr David Milne, a patriotic country gentleman of Scotland, and member of the Scottish bar, made a suggestion to this effect to the commissioners who conducted the Poor-Law inquiry in Scotland. His idea was this:--Let some small sum, say sixpence a month, be deducted from the amount of wages under a law to that effect, and thrown into a fund upon which every contributor would have a claim. He conceived that, in five years, so much would be accumulated, that the managers might begin to give support to any number under a twentieth part of the original contributors. Some one had suggested to Mr Milne that it might be well if the law taxed the masters to an equal extent for the benefit of the fund; but he rejected this idea, on the ground of its injustice, and because it would induce employers to be less anxious to carry on their works in unfavourable times for the sake of giving bread to their people. 'It is also to be considered,' says Mr Milne, 'that the duty of sixpence a month for each workman would, in ordinary times, when trade is prosperous, and labourers in demand, actually fall upon the employers, because the natural competition of trade would make up for the deduction of duty by a corresponding rise of wages.' Mr Milne was, however, not unwilling that appeals to, and even a general assessment upon, the rich should be resorted to when the fund failed under the pressure of any unusual calamity.
There cannot, we think, be a doubt that if this plan were practicable, it would be a great improvement in our social economy. At present, the bulk of the working-people of this country have scarcely anything to save them from a state of dependence whenever they fail in getting work, or are no longer fit for it. In Scotland, the able-bodied man who cannot obtain work and wages, has no legal recourse to the poors' funds. In England he has, but accompanied by conditions calculated to lower the man in his own eyes; and therefore the privilege is no true advantage. Even though the poors' funds were more available than they are, the honest workman who wishes to maintain his self-respect can never complacently place his trust in them; for though it is not uncommon to hear individuals in humble life proclaiming that they have a _right_ to them, the fact really is, that these funds are only a product of the humanity and economy of the country, designed to insure that there shall be no class left to misery and the barbarism attending it, but not to interpose between any one and his obligation to gain his own subsistence if possible. In plain truth, he who accepts parochial relief sells away some of his very best rights as a citizen, as well as his dignity as a man; and any one who wishes to exalt either the social or political position of the labouring-class, should desire nothing so much as to see them in the first place superior to all but a remote chance of coming to this wretched expedient. If any feasible and easy-working plan could be devised for enabling them, mainly by sacrifices on their own part, to defy the prospect of becoming paupers, or leaving their children to pauperism, they would certainly have received the greatest boon that any philanthropist could confer upon them.
We fear that no such plan is at present practicable. There is too much prejudice among the labouring-class against their employers to admit of its being received with general favour. While an honourable minority would be glad to see their independence secured, the great mass would undoubtedly prefer going on upon their present footing, careless how soon the failure of business or the occurrence of sickness should deprive them of an independent subsistence. Some such plan, however, may be expected to be realised when the labouring-class shall have acquired a just feeling for their own character, and a just sense of their relation to the rest of society. It would only be a fair and proper part of a social system in which the highest behests of a true civilisation were worked out. How soon it may come about will depend on the rapidity with which the education of the masses of the people shall proceed. If, from any narrow views of whatever kind, a member of the middle or upper classes in this country finds himself thwarting the movements towards universal and improved education, let him understand what he pays for the gratification he thus obtains. He pays for it in large poor-rates and prison-rates, and in the distress which his humanity must be continually receiving from the spectacle of a multitude of his fellow-creatures lost to the sense of self-respect, and consequently subjected to a vast load of misery.
THE LATE DR ZUMPT.
At an early stage of our labours, many years ago, we took occasion to offer, for the consideration of the young, a memoir of Professor Heyne of Gottingen, one of the greatest scholars of the age, and who, by dint of perseverance, rose from a very humble to an exalted station in life. Heyne presented not an uncommon instance of German enthusiasm in scholarship. In our own country, erudition seems to be pursued chiefly for the sake of professional advancement, and consequently it seldom attains to any very lofty pitch. How few of our scholars, it may be asked, know anything critically of the ancient classics? How few write or speak Latin with elegance or purity? How few ever saw any more recondite exemplars of Roman literature than elementary school-books--the copy of a copy? In Germany, where no sort of painstaking seems to be grudged, scholarship has gone, and still goes on, immeasurably farther. As in the case of Heyne, Wolf, Hermann, Boeckh, Vater, Gesenius, and others, men are there found devoting themselves to a whole lifetime of earnest study in complete forgetfulness of self. Living perhaps on the merest trifle, they bury themselves in a library surrounded by old vellum-bound classics; and there, poring over dingy yellow pages, they compare words with words, examine into the merits of punctuation and orthography, and detect new meanings, till they transfuse into themselves, as it were, the very soul of their author. In this way, by collating old and priceless versions of the classics--some of them in manuscript, and unique--they are able to produce modern editions, which are greedily accepted throughout European universities, and which have usually formed the basis of elementary works for British compilers. We at least know of few works in Latin common in our schools which have not been copied in a reduced form from the painfully-constructed editions of German scholars. We have been led into these observations from a desire to do honour to the memory of one whose name has gone to swell the already long list of German philologists.
Carl Gottlob Zumpt, the individual to whom we refer, was born at Berlin in 1792. His parents were not wealthy: but in the circumstances in which Prussia was placed at the beginning of the present century, this was a matter of little importance. The oppressions of France pretty nearly brought down all ranks into one common mass of distress and poverty. To meet the cruel exactions of Napoleon, families gave up every article of value to the state. For their gold they received tokens in iron; and these acknowledgments are still treasured by families, as lasting memorials of an adversity which took away almost everything but life. Amidst these national sufferings and humiliations, Carl Gottlob Zumpt received such an education as could then be procured. Fortunately he required no incitement to learn: from childhood he had been a diligent porer over books; and the acquisition of languages cost him no trouble. Nature made him a scholar. After passing through a series of schools and gymnasia in Berlin, he was sent, by the advice of Buttman, the well-known grammarian, to the university of Heidelberg, which at that time enjoyed a high reputation. Kreuzer, Voss, Boeckh, belonged to it, all of them men of talent, and celebrated for their philological learning. During Zumpt's residence at Heidelberg, the university of Berlin was founded; and returning home, he finished his education in his native city.
Though still a young man, Zumpt was already noted for his remarkable attainments in the Greek and Roman languages. Thrown upon his own resources, he soon distinguished himself, and was appointed a teacher in one of the principal seminaries. From this position he subsequently rose to be Professor of History in the Royal Military Academy, and finally to be Professor of Roman Literature in the university of Berlin.
The life of a scholar is usually barren of incident. There is little to tell about Zumpt. Amidst the cares of public teaching, he found time to occupy himself in writing various works, critical and historical, all connected with his favourite branch of study. To improve his knowledge of antiquities, he made a tour through Italy and Greece, which, while of considerable service to him as a man of letters, unfortunately tended to injure his health. This tour was made in 1835, and after that year Zumpt laboured still more assiduously at his critical editions of the classics, unmindful of aught but that love of digging among ancient words and thoughts which seems a fanaticism in the German mind. His great aim was to be a Latinist worthy of the Augustine age itself. Nor was he unsuccessful; for he wrote Latin with great elegance. He was seldom required to speak the language; but when called on to do so, he delivered himself with correctness and fluency. In this respect he is supposed to have had no superior among his learned countrymen.
Holding this man in respect, not alone for his intellectual, but his moral and social qualities, we shall always consider it as something to say that we have enjoyed his personal acquaintance. In the course of a tour in Germany, and short residence in Berlin in 1847, we had the pleasure of visiting him at his house in the Burgher Strasse--a terrace-like street on a branch of the Spree. We found Zumpt entombed amidst his books. Tall in person, emaciated from study, and wrapped in a dressing-gown, he rose and affectionately welcomed us to Berlin in tolerable English--a language which, in compliment, he insisted all his family should speak on every occasion of our visit. At this time he was engaged on his edition of 'Quintus Curtius'--a work which will long be regarded as a monument of his industry and learning.
One of the objects of our visit to Zumpt was to consult with him on the subject of an enterprise in which he had recently engaged--the joint editorship, with Dr Schmitz of Edinburgh, of a series of Latin classics for use in schools. The projectors of this undertaking were the publishers of the present sheet. Having in our own early days experienced the dreary heaviness of ordinary school classics, unrelieved by the slightest explanations in English touching the subject or the authors, we were glad to be instrumental in putting into the hands of youth a series which they could peruse with some degree of pleasure, or at all events not with absolute weariness and disgust. As Dr Zumpt entered heartily into the design, the arrangement promised to have the advantage of naturalising in Britain a set of editions drawn freshly from comparatively original sources, in place of the bald reprints of antiquated copies. The task occupied the amiable scholar during the remainder of his too short life, at the close of which he had prepared the whole series excepting a portion of Horace, which has consequently fallen into the hands of his nephew and son-in-law, A. W. Zumpt. A victim to his study of ancient literature, his failing eyesight first, and afterwards disordered viscera, admonished him to take some species of relaxation. This counsel he took when too late. In the hope of relief from his sufferings, he repaired to Carlsbad, a watering-place in Bohemia; and there, to the great grief of his family and friends, he died on the 25th of June last, in the fifty-eighth year of his age. The decease of the illustrious Zumpt, together with the loss of Orelli, and the veteran Hellenist, Gottfried Hermann, both of whom died within the last eighteen months, leaves a blank among European scholars which will not soon be filled up.
The conceptions of female beauty which men form for themselves are frequently, if not always, overturned by some plain face, in which they find the mystic influence they had supposed to belong only to features of a particular and more perfect mould. In like manner our theories touching certain departments of literature are liable to be damaged now and then by the appearance of a work which fulfils not one of the conditions we had laid down as absolute necessities. Now here, for instance, is a volume of fiction without even an attempt at a plot, and yet with a perfect enchainment of interest--a hero without adventures and without a heroine, yet whose fortunes we follow with a true excitement! How does this come about? Why do we love plain women, and admire ill-constructed books? Because there is an innate power in the irregular features to excite our sympathies, and a quality in authors, called Genius, to command them. No man, we will venture to say, possessing common sensibility, can read 'Cola Monti,' although it is of the class of books for young people, without a thoughtful brow and a glistening eye; and we have heard a family circle declare that 'they had found it impossible to lay down the volume till they had finished it.'
Cola Monti is an Italian boy educated economically at a boarding-school in England. His talent for drawing exhibited itself first in caricatures of his companions, and he then ventured to try his hand upon the master himself. 'This was irresistible; and when the Doctor stood out in relief from the slate in all his peculiarities--his stiff collar, his upright hair, and his spectacles--the likeness was such, that the boys gave a general hurra. So much noise did they make, and so intent were they, that no one heard the door open, until the original of the portrait looked over Cola's shoulder and beheld--himself! It was a terrible moment in schoolboy annals. The Doctor looked, frowned, glanced round at the young rebels, then again at the slate. Whether it was that natural vanity made him feel rather pleased to see the only likeness of himself which had ever been taken, or whether Cola's sketch had less of caricature than nature, it is impossible to say; but Doctor Birch smiled--absolutely smiled! He was a good-tempered man, and the boys knew it: they took advantage of it sometimes, the naughty fellows! So the smile gradually went round, until it became a laugh, and the schoolmaster could not help laughing too.' The boy-artist then, at the instigation of his companions, resolved to try his chivalrous friend and patron Archibald M'Kaye:--'Archibald looked surprised, and rather vexed; for one of his weaknesses was, that he could not bear being laughed at; however, he took his station. Cola finished the sketch, but it was no caricature: it was a capital likeness of Archibald's thoughtful head, with the soft curling hair, and the calm, serious eyes. "Why, Cola, you ought to be an artist," cried the boys when they saw it. Cola smiled, and his eyes kindled. "I will try!" he said in his own heart, and from that day he drew no more caricatures.'
Cola Monti's national and personal sympathies were now strongly excited in favour of a poor little Italian organ-boy, who was found dying of starvation by the roadside. He had no other means of permanently assisting him than by supplying him with drawings to sell, in the hope of thus enabling him to collect a fund sufficient for the purchase of a new organ, his own having been destroyed. This fund at length amounted, by slow accumulations, to L.10 in silver; but the organ-boy, who had become devotedly attached to his patron, could not consent to be thus paid off. Poor Cola was now in destitution himself. His mother had died; his stepfather refused to contribute longer to his support; and in fact he was thrown adrift upon the world. The generous debate between him and his protégé was terminated by both proceeding to London upon the fortune of L.10--Cola to pursue his career of an artist, and Seppi in the quality of his servant.
Arrived in London, 'Cola woke the next morning, dreaming that he was at school again, and that, somehow or other, his class was all composed of great stout farmers, who would persist in repeating their Italian verbs with a strong Staffordshire accent. The dream vanished under the influence of a bright sunbeam that crept through the small uncurtained window, and just reached his nose. In London, the good-natured sun is more partial to attic windows than to any other, and it made Cola's tiny room quite cheerful. From thence he looked, not at the street, which lay many feet below, but skywards, where, above the tops of the houses, he could see the great dome of St Paul's lifting itself up, grand and giant-like, with its ball and cross glistening in the clear light of early morning. This was the first sight that struck Cola in London. His artist-mind felt it to the uttermost. The numberless streets below seemed so solemn and quiet, lying in the shadow of the scarcely-risen sun; and though even now the sounds of life were beginning to stir, they were but faint as yet, while over the dark and half-awakened city watched its great temple, already illumined with the sunbeams. It was a scene that Cola never forgot, and never will while he lives.' He finds his way as soon as possible to the National Gallery. 'I shall not enlarge upon the feelings of the boy-artist when he beheld for the first time this grand collection of paintings. He had seen many in his childhood; but the memory of them was grown dim. He looked on these with the sensations of one blind, who re-enters a long-forgotten world with his eyes opened. He began to understand and to feel what Art really was. This new sense dazzled and overwhelmed him; his heart beat wildly; he trembled; and fairly subdued with emotion, he sat down in the darkest corner he could find, turned his face away into the shadow, while the tears rose, large and silently, to the long lashes, and dropped on the arm which he raised to hide them.'
Cola worked, played, and starved by turns, like other friendless adventurers in London; and then came the grand event of his life--his first Academy picture--which was very near being too late. 'Night and day Cola worked, allowing himself only an hour or two for sleep, and scarcely taking any food. His wild and desperate energy sustained him to a degree almost miraculous. Under the influence of this terrible excitement his powers seemed redoubled: he painted as he had never painted before. Archibald, evening after evening, walked up from Islington, not to talk or reason--he dared not do that in Cola's present state--but to sit quietly in the painting-room, watching his labours, and at times encouraging them with a few subdued words of praise, which Cola sometimes scarcely heard. Even M'Kaye was astounded by the almost miraculous way in which, day after day, the picture advanced to completion beneath the young artist's hand; and as he looked, he could not but acknowledge that there is nothing in this world so strong, so daring, so all-powerful as genius.
'The first Monday in April came--there were but four-and-twenty hours left; Tuesday--there were but twelve! Seppi stood by with the untasted dinner, his bright black eyes continually filling with tears. He dared not even speak to his young master, who, with wild and haggard looks, was painting still.
'The clock struck six as Cola's now trembling hand put the last stroke to his picture, and sank on a chair.
"It will do now, I think; it will not disgrace me at least."
"No, indeed it will not, dear Cola! It is a beautiful picture," whispered the gentle, encouraging voice of Archy, who had come direct from Bread Street hither. "And now, do have some dinner, or, what will be better for you, some tea."
"No, no; I can't eat: we shall lose the time: the Academy will be shut. Seppi, I must have a cab, and go there at once."
'Archibald saw resistance would have been vain and cruel, so he quietly suffered his friend to step into the cab, and followed him. All the long ride to Trafalgar Square Cola did not utter a single word, but sat motionless, with his picture in his arms. M'Kaye offered to hold it; but the other rejected his aid with a slight motion of the head. At last Cola relinquished this darling first-fruits of his genius with a look something like that of a mother parting from a beloved child, and then sank fainting into his friend's arms. That night Cola Monti was in a brain fever.' The picture was successful, and the boy-caricaturist grew at the same time to be an artist and a man.
Although Cola Monti, artistically speaking, is an imperfect story, it possesses both power and promise of no ordinary kind. The power is evident in the book itself: the promise rests upon the fact, that the author is a young lady now struggling, by her own unaided genius, through the stony and thorny paths of the literary profession. But we would not have her rely upon genius alone, or consider 'Cola Monti' as anything more than a promise or a pledge. It is like a gleam of light disclosing partially, and for a moment, a scene which in some measure owes its beauty and value to the mind of the beholder. It is suggestive of high thoughts, fine aspirations, sad memories. It throws the intellectual man back into his experiences, and impels the daring and generous youth forward in the path of his hopes and resolves. But in all this it relies upon those it addresses, pointing mysteriously before and behind, and accomplishing nothing of itself. But this is obviously owing to want of effort, not want of power. The author must follow the example of her hero, and give her days and her nights to the labour of her calling. She must look upon her heretofore attempts as so many separate studies, and construct with toil and determination a work of art not only harmonious in colouring, not only accurate in drawing, but skilful in Design.
 Cola Monti; or the Story of a Genius. By the Author of 'How to Win Love,' 'Michael the Miner,' &c. London: Arthur Hall and Co. 1849.
LADY SETTLERS IN AUSTRALIA.
Dr Lang, in his description of the Port-Philip district, alludes to the success which may there attend female settlers who carry on the business of sheep-farming on their own account; and mentions the following facts on the subject:--
'On the morning after our arrival at Geelong, Dr Thomson accompanied me on a visit to Miss Drysdale, an elderly maiden lady from Scotland, whose acquaintance and friendship I had had the honour of making on my first visit to Geelong in the year 1843, when I had the pleasure of spending a day or two under her hospitable roof. Miss Drysdale is a lady of a highly-respectable family, and of superior intelligence, her brother having been the late Sir William Drysdale, treasurer of the city of Edinburgh. Having a considerable patrimony of her own, and being of an active disposition, and fond of rural pursuits, she had rented a large farm in Scotland, of which she superintended the management in person; but being a martyr, as she told me, to the coughs and colds, and other ills that flesh is heir to in our hyperborean Scottish climate, she resolved to emigrate to a milder region, where she might hope to enjoy better health, while she continued to indulge in her favourite pursuits, and endeavour to exert a salutary influence on some at least of her fellow-creatures, wherever Divine Providence might fix her lot. And, I am happy to add, Miss Drysdale sees no reason to regret the step she took, in pursuance of this resolution, in emigrating to Philipsland. She has uniformly enjoyed excellent health; she is in the midst of such scenes, and scenery, and occupations as she delighted in at home; the property she invested in stock on her arrival in the colony must have increased greatly during the interval that has since elapsed; and she has not only exhibited the goodly and influential example of a highly-respectable family living in the fear of God, and in the zealous observance of all the ordinances of religion, in a country in which, I am sorry to say, such examples are rare, but she has had it in her power to render the most valuable services to some who really required what she has proved to them--a friend indeed. At the period of my first visit to Geelong Miss Drysdale had two of the younger daughters of the late Mr Batman residing with her, to whom she was benevolently discharging the duty of a parent; and her character as a doer of good was generally known, and gratefully acknowledged, in the vicinity.
'On her arrival in the colony, Miss Drysdale determined to "squat," as it is styled in the phraseology of the country; that is, to settle on a tract of unoccupied crown land, of sufficient extent for the pasturage of considerable flocks and herds, with their increase for several years--a tract, in all likelihood, from twenty-five to fifty square miles in extent. For this land the occupant pays a yearly license-fee to the government of L.10, which insures to him for the time being the full possession of the entire tract; and it is universally understood that while this fee is paid, and no offence committed against the laws and the customs of squatting, the occupant shall not be disturbed, unless the land is sold in the meantime to a _bona-fide_ purchaser, at not less than L.1 an acre, or required for government purposes--neither of which events is, in ordinary circumstances, at all likely to happen. It has not been allowed, for a good many years past, to give a squatting license of this kind to any person within a considerable distance of a township or village; but Miss Drysdale was allowed, as a special exception from this general rule, to occupy a station within four miles of the town of Geelong. On that station she accordingly erected a neat thatched cottage, with glazed rustic lattice-windows, which she had carried out with her from home, formed a garden, and fenced in a sufficient extent of superior land for cultivation. The cottage had been greatly improved, both externally and internally, at the period of my visit in 1846, and three years had made a wonderful change for the better upon the garden, which had gravelled walks dividing the different parterres--the only instance of the kind I had seen in the country, and strongly reminding me of home.
'The situation of Miss Drysdale's cottage, to which she has judiciously given the native name of the locality, Barrangoop, which signifies a turf, is on a gentle grassy slope towards the Barwon River, with the garden in front. The cottages of her farm-overseer and servants are close at hand, and remind one of a respectable farming establishment in _the old country_. On my first visit to Geelong, I found a respectable young man, who had been three sessions at the university of Glasgow, as an intending candidate for the Christian ministry, but who had subsequently abandoned his studies, and gone out as a bounty emigrant to Port Philip, acting in the humble capacity of tutor to the children of Miss Drysdale's overseer, a respectable Scotch farmer, with a large family. Upon the whole, there was something of a domestic character about Miss Drysdale's establishment generally which is but rarely seen at the squatting stations of the interior; and I could not help thinking that the very horses and cattle seemed to consider themselves more at home than elsewhere.
'After passing Geelong to the left, the Barwon River, which in this part of its course is a beautiful stream, pursues a south-easterly course, nearly parallel to that of the western arm of Port Philip, to the great Southern Ocean. About nine or ten miles below Barrangoop it spreads out into a series of lakes, as picturesque as any sheets of water of that kind I have ever beheld. On my first visit to this part of the country in 1843, I rode down to these lakes along with Miss Newcome, another maiden lady, whom Miss Drysdale had some time before taken into partnership with herself--partly, I presume, that she might have some kindred spirit--which, I am happy to say, Miss Newcome unquestionably is--to whom she might be able to whisper that "solitude was sweet." Miss Newcome was quite at home on her high-spirited steed, and we gallopped along through scenery of the richest description, beautiful grassy plats alternating with clumps of trees of the most graceful and ornamental foliage, till we reached the lakes. These extensive sheets of glassy water, variegated with headlands and islands, were absolutely alive with black swans, and other waterfowl, sailing quietly along on their silent surface. There must have been at least five hundred swans in view at one time on one of the lakes. They were no "raræ aves" there. Their deep solitudes, however, are effectually invaded now; for the white man will soon thin their ranks in all probability, and force them to retreat before the progress of civilisation.'
There is now reason to think that in pursuit of this object our Scottish neighbours have got considerably ahead of us here in England. The subject, indeed, seems congenial to the shrewd faculties of our northern fellow-countrymen. The founder of the Bank of England was a Scotchman: a native of the same country originated the idea of the Savings' Bank: and for a long period of time the facilities and accommodations of banking have been known and practised beyond the Tweed to an extent very much above what has been attained in this country. Here banks may be said to exist solely or chiefly for the wealthier classes of society; in Scotland the advantages which they afford are widely diffused among the middle ranks, and are shared in a large measure by the petty capitalists and retail traders of the towns and villages. As a proof of the great extension of the system, we find that throughout Scotland there is a bank for every 7500 of the population--in some districts for every 5000. In London, the proportion is stated to be only 1 for every 32,894; in some parts of England 1 for every 16,000. The rapid progress in wealth and civilisation which has been made by a country naturally so poor and sterile, has been attributed by many sagacious observers to the multiplication of its banks, and to the facilities afforded by them. Capital has been made to stimulate industry in a double ratio, by the increased activity and quickened speed with which it circulates through the channels of commerce. Above all, this great desideratum has been attained without any sacrifice of the other prime requisite of sound banking--stability. Within the last century and a-half it is computed that the loss to the community in Scotland by the failure of the four or five public banks which have stopped payment has not exceeded L.26,000. In England, during a much shorter period, the loss occasioned by those fearful catastrophes, both in London and in the country, with which experience has made us familiar, has certainly exceeded as many millions. It is also a fact of much significance, that in 1793, in 1825, and in the late crisis of 1847, the Scottish banks rode out the storm which proved fatal to so many English establishments. It seems, therefore, no undue claim which is set up on the part of our northern neighbours, to a better knowledge and more mature development of the principles of banking than have been attained in this country.--_Morning Chronicle._--[There is no more than justice done, as we believe, to Scotch banking in this paragraph. During the last twenty years and upwards, there have been many banks set up in England _on the Scotch principle_, as it is called; but there have been many noted failures among them. The fact is, that in England they introduce every feature of Scottish banking _except the Scotch brains by which banking has been so successfully conducted_. It is true Scotchmen have been got to act as managers, secretaries, and cashiers; but what were all these in the hands of a set of English directors, who necessarily hold the chief sway? In an English joint-stock bank, the bulk of the funds of the company will be found ventured out in the hands of a few grand speculators, on whose good or bad fortune the fate of the establishment depends. No such thing was ever done in a Scotch bank, from the beginning down to this day. On the contrary, the life of the institution lies in a quick circulation and frequent turning over of a moderate capital amongst a _multitude of traders of good credit_. The capital of an English joint-stock bank too often is an African river losing itself in sands: that of a Scotch bank is a river dispersed in a thousand channels of irrigation, to reappear in its entire form, and with increased volume, after it has done its work. We do not believe, after all, that there is any great witchcraft about banking in Scotland. The prudence shown there is no more than what might be expected of rational men. The failures in England are to be accounted for not by their want of some extraordinary gift which chances to have been vouchsafed to their northern neighbours, but by the fact, that England is full of people hastening over-much to be rich, and in whose circumstances there are of course great vicissitudes. If ever England shall cool a little in Mammon-worship, and pursue business objects with the moderation of the Scottish mind, it may succeed in joint-stock banking to as great an extent as Scotland has done.]
I cannot give you, my young friends, a better description of a successful professional struggle, and the wear and tear of life, than that which the commentary of Dr Johnson upon the life of Cheyne affords. It is drawn by the graphic pen of the late editor of the 'Medico-Chirurgical Review,' an eloquent Irishman, himself a successful struggler. He adds--'We have followed Cheyne in his march up-hill--we see him at its summit--we are to see him going down. Such are the objects of human desires--sought with avidity--obtained with difficulty--enjoyed with disappointment--and often, in themselves, the source of irreparable evils. _Success_ in a profession now-a-days has entailed, and entails, such labour on its possessor, that few who know its real nature can envy it. Success means wealth and eminence bought with the sacrifice of all healthy recreation both of body and mind. The daily toil is relieved only by the nightly anxiety; and, worn by almost uninterrupted exertion, the _fortunate_ man is deprived of most of the social pleasures of life, and debarred from indulgence in its most cherished affections. He acquires property, loses his health, and often leaves the wealth of his industry to be squandered by children whom it demoralises.' Besides all this, remember that it has been truly said, in the most elevated position there is the least liberty, because that very elevation invites observation, and excites _envy_. That merit and that ability which would have carried a man successfully through the crowd, will be found insufficient for him who is the object of general scrutiny. You should recollect, gentlemen, that even the position won by merit and ability may be lost by a want of that continued energy and persevering struggle which overcame all the obstacles opposed to your pioneering ascent. The champion in our profession, like in that of Christianity, must be ever progressing. A fall from an eminence is always perilous--in the medical sphere, _fatal_ to _fame_. The world, in respect to our calling, may be esteemed as a school; the boy who has obtained head place must labour assiduously to _retain_ that position against his less fortunate competitors. Remember that sympathy is enlisted for the swimmer to the shore, against the buffeting billows, rather than for the individual who had encountered the same obstacles, the same dangers, and the same difficulties, but who has now apparently surmounted and escaped all.--_Lecture by Dr Hayden._
MRS FRY'S RULES.
1. Never lose any time: I do not think that lost which is spent in amusement or recreation some time every day; but always be in the habit of being employed. 2. Never err the least in truth. 3. Never say an ill thing of a person when thou canst say a good thing of him; not only speak charitably, but feel so. 4. Never be irritable or unkind to anybody. 5. Never indulge thyself in luxuries that are not necessary. 6. Do all things with consideration, and when the path to act right is most difficult, feel confidence in that Power alone which is able to assist thee, and exert thy own powers as far as they go.--_Memoir of Elizabeth Fry._
BY CALDER CAMPBELL.
Too much--too much we make Earth's shadows fall Across our thoughts, neglecting, in the dark, The sunshine we might woo in lane or park, By listening to the hopeful skylark's call! We fear too much, and hope too little: all That's threatened is not lost: each one an ark Of safety well might build, if he a wall Would raise 'twixt rashness and despair! The lark Soars bravely towards the sun--but not too high; And we, like it, should dare and do; but dare As soldiers, urged by courage, not despair, To win a wise and bloodless victory: Though Life shrinks back before its vassal--Death; We know it springs again, undimmed by mortal breath!
ROUGET DE L'ISLE AND THE 'MARSEILLAISE.'
There appeared recently in this Journal the _fabulous_ account of the origin of the 'Marseillaise:' the following is said to be the _fact_:--In April 1792, at the opening of the campaign against Austria and Prussia, Rouget de l'Isle was a captain of engineers stationed at Strasburg. The day before the volunteers from that city were about to join the main army of the Rhine, M. Dietrich, mayor of the city, gave an entertainment, at which Rouget de l'Isle and several other officers were present. A question arose as to what air should be played on the departure of the new levies; and it was thought desirable that some appropriate and spirited national song should be chosen. Various pieces having been tried and rejected as unsuitable to the occasion, Rouget de l'Isle left the company, retired to his own rooms, and in the course of the evening wrote the words and music of 'Le Chant de l'Armée du Rhin.' Before the party at the _mairie_ broke up, he returned with his composition. Mademoiselle Dietrich accompanied him on the piano, and he sang the inspiriting song to the delight of all present. It was immediately put in rehearsal, played at parade the next day, and its popularity at once established. Gradually it spread through France, the Marseillais sang it on entering Paris, and the name it now bears was irrevocably substituted for the original title. It was produced on the stage of the Opera at Paris in October 1792, much in the style in which Rachel gave it in 1848, and was received by the audience as enthusiastically as it had been by the populace.
PICKING UP THOUGHTS.
Boys, you have heard of blacksmiths who became mayors and magistrates of towns and cities, and men of great wealth and influence. What was the secret of their success? Why, they picked up nails and pins in the street, and carried them home in the pockets of their waistcoats. Now, you must pick up thoughts in the same way, and fill your mind with them; and they will grow into other thoughts almost while you are asleep. The world is full of thoughts, and you will find them strewed everywhere in your path.--_Elihu Burritt._
CHAMBERS'S EDUCATIONAL COURSE.
WITH INTRODUCTIONS AND NOTES IN ENGLISH.
_Edited by Dr Zumpt, of the University of Berlin, and Dr Schmitz, Rector of the High School, Edinburgh._
Latin Grammar, 3_s_ 6_d_ C. Julii Caesaris Commentarii de Bello Gallico, 2_s_ 6_d_ P. Virgilii Maronis Carmina, 4_s_ 6_d_ C. Sallustii Crispi Catilina et Jugurtha, 2_s_ 0_d_ Q. Curtius Rufus, de Gestis Alexandri Magni, 3_s_ 6_d_ M. Tullii Ciceronis Orationes Selectae XII., 3_s_ 6_d_
⁂ Other works in preparation.
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Published by W. & R. CHAMBERS, High Street, Edinburgh. Also sold by D. CHAMBERS, 20 Argyle Street, Glasgow; W. S. ORR, 147 Strand, London; and J. M'GLASHAN, 21 D'Olier Street, Dublin.--Printed by W. & R. CHAMBERS, Edinburgh.
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Transcriber's note--the following changes have been made to this text:
Page 332: painsfully to painfully.