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effect on the individuals who resort to it. I spoke of eastern tongues. The career of our hero in con-
he had left in another to awaken at leisure from their
Cagliostro and his countess were not always pampered, however, in fortune's coach-and-four. Sometimes their stores ran low; and on unwisely attempting to figure in the eyes of old friends at Palermo, the count was sent to jail by the revengeful goldsmith. He had the address to induce a Sicilian prince to interfere, and he was freed. Then, again, we hear of Cagliostro in London, in the obscure character of a common painter, and bearing the title of plain Signor Balsamo. This was in 1772. He returned to the continent, and must again have climbed the ladder of fortune; for we find him once The count here commenced as usual with his elixir more in England, in 1776, with a stock of L.300 0. and philosopher's - stone annunciations; but it was necessary to the success, both of himself and his helpmate, that they should obtain access to society. them to mock lords and ladies, by whom, ere long, A false friend undertook this task, and introduced the arch-plunderer was plundered of all his means. A prison was the end. The count gained his freedom, however, and left the uncongenial air of England. Yet the visit was not thrown away. Far from it. He had been initiated into some obscure mason-lodge, and the most brilliant idea of his life struck him in conse
quence-the idea of the "Grand Egyptian Lodge of Masonry," of which who so fit as himself to become
descended even to bears. The French army having defeated the Swiss in several engagements, entered the town (1798), and immediately took possession of the treasury. Eleven mules were dispatched to Paris laden with specie found in it; two of them bore away the birthright of the bears, amounting at the time to about two millions of francs. The bears themselves were led away captives, and deposited in the Jardin des Plantes, where one of them, the celebrated Martin, soon became the favourite of the French metropolis. When, after a series of years, the ancient order of things was restored at Berne, one of the first cares of the citizens was to replace and provide for their ancient pensioners. A subscription was raised in consequence, and a small estate purchased, the rents of which, though diminished from various causes, are appropriated to their support. The cost of keeping them amounts to between 600 and 700 francs per annum ; and well-grounded fears are entertained, that modern legislators, forgetful of the service rendered by Bruin for so many centuries, in figuring upon the shield of the canton, may soon strike him off the pension list."
The carrying away of so much treasure from Berne is quite true, and the circumstance throws a strange light on the condition of society. It appears that until a comparatively late period, the Swiss knew so little of the fructifying power of money lent out at interest, or they were so fearful of losing the principal, that the practice was universal of storing up hard coin in chests. Every franc which could be saved was laid past in a strong box. These chests of coin, wherever found in the possession of public authorities, became the plunder of the French republican army, who, it is said, carried away as much as 120 millions of francs from Switzerland-a windfall which enabled the French government to pay for the equipments of their Egyptian fleet. One would have supposed that, on the restoration of the ancient constitutions in 1815, the people, taught by experience, would have employed their savings in some other way than hiding them in chests: but such was not the case; the practice continued; and when Berne underwent a revolution in 1830, the democratic party, on attaining power, found twelve or thirteen millions of francs reposing in idleness in the town chest. This sum, however, was not plundered, but devoted to the reasonable purpose of improving the town, the schools, The spirit of saving, I am told, is a predominating feature in Bernese society. It is not uncommon for several families to own a common fund, which is sacred from ordinary demands, and may only be drawn upon on the occasion of great misfortunes, or when a marriage dowry is required. All marriages are matters of family negotiation, with very little regard to the feelings of the parties concerned; and if any one rebel, he or she need look for nothing from the family chest. Latterly, these family funds have been more frequently laid out on property yielding an annual
increase than was the case formerly-a circumstance no doubt attributable to the repeated seizures of the public cash.
In these and some other traits of character in the Bernese, we have a small insight into the state and tone of their society. They are a pains-taking race, fearful of losing advantages which they may have gained by years of industry and good fortune, and little influenced by modern notions of any kind. I could not help on some occasions finding a resemblance betwixt them and the Dutch-a constant eye to the main chance, not given to speculation, jealous of foreign connexion, encouragers of school instruction on a liberal footing, yet narrow in disposition, and fond of going on in their own quiet way. Like the Dutch, also, they are great supporters of hospitals for orphans, the poor, and other purposes. One of the principal beneficiary institutions in Berne is the Grand Hospital, a large building in the environs devoted to the reception of decayed burgesses, with the inscription over the doorway-" Christo in pauperibus" (To Christ in the persons of the poor). Both in Berne and other cantons we find a trait of manners certainly not Dutch. This is a practice pursued by travelling workmen of begging their way, and which is common all over Germany. Young men of this stamp, with knapsacks on their backs, frequently pushed their hat into our carriage seeking for an alms, with very much of the usual mendicatory whine. I do not know that any thing more offensive than this occurs in German and Swiss travelling; and although sanctioned by immemorial usage, surely it must have a demoralising
*I have lately perused an excellent sketch of the political re
volutions of Switzerland between the years 1830 and 1832, in the British and Foreign Review, No. 25, to which I would refer those
who are interested in the subject. Of these revolutions scarcely any thing is known in England, although they afford instructive lessons in national government. The general principle aimed at was the abolition of those corporate and family privileges which
had weighed down the country since their restoration in 1815, and making the cantonal governments in each case a reflex of the will of the whole people. This double object was effectually gained
in Berne, Vaud, Zurich, and seven other cantons; and although
not unattended by wranglings, political and ecclesiastical, the changes have given universal satisfaction. Since the people of Berne became in effect their own governors, they have, like those of Zurich, Vaud, &c., done much to promote education on the broadest possible scale-public enlightenment, as they conceive, being the only sure basis of public liberty. During my visit to the country, there was a considerable ferment respecting the sup
pression of certain convents in Argau; but any notice of this
subject would be inconsistent with the character of these pages.
In the year 1743 Joseph Balsamo first saw the light, being born of poor parentage resident at Palermo in Sicily. Left under the weak control of a widowed mother, the youth showed an unruly and indolent disposition in his earliest years, and greatly neglected
even the scanty educational advantages which were
their calm tranquillity of mind, in the midst of po-
the head, or, as he called himself, the Grand Coptha? As for the female lodges, again, who so well suited for the "Grand Priestess-ship" as the fair Lorenza?
Full of this new idea, the count recommenced his career on the continent. The repute of the wonderful Egyptian mason, who knew all the secrets of the brotherhood, from the time of its institution by "Enoch and Elias," soon flew abroad. "Arrived in
AN INCIDENT IN THE REIGN OF
LET us in idea go back two centuries and a half, and
the citizen, more slowly-" I have no child now, and my godson shall supply the place which has been wilfully vacated." The queen was obviously pleased with what had passed. As she looked on Sir John, who had cast down his eyes in closing his speech, there was a sparkle of passing pleasure in her quick dark eye. "Farewell for the present, Sir John Spencer," said she; "due tidings shall reach thee when it becomes necessary to assume thy new duties." The knight stooped to kiss the hand extended to him, and the queen passed on, leaving the citizen to follow, and finally wend his way homewards.
Sir John Spencer, commonly called "Rich Spencer," was in his day the wealthiest and most influential citizen of London. The mayoralty and shrievalty had been both served by him more than once, we believe. He was a great favourite with the queen, being noted for his public-spiritedness, and his anxiety to sustain the honour of his sovereign and his country. Such a feeling was peculiarly evinced by the opulent clothworker, as he was by profession, on the occasion of the Marquis of Rosny's visit to England, as ambassador from Henry IV. of France to Elizabeth. The Marquis (afterwards Duke of Sully) was lodged and entertained by Sir John in the most sumptuous manner, at his own private cost. He was understood to be worth a million sterling, and had but one child, a daughter, his sole heiress. Having fixed upon a sonin-law in his own rank in life, the worthy citizen had been deeply irritated by the elopement of his daughter with the young Lord Compton; and though, at the period referred to in our story, more than a year had elapsed since the event, Sir John's anger seemed to have been increased rather than diminished by the lapse of time. Various attempts had been made to bring about a reconciliation, but unsuccessfully. So stood the family affairs of Sir John Spencer, when good Queen Bess intimated her wish to honour him
in the manner related.
any city, he has but by masonic grip to accredit himself with the venerable of the place; and, not by degrees as formerly, but in one night, is introduced to all that is fattest and foolishest far and near; and in the fittest arena-a gilt pasteboard masonic hall." Mr Carlyle, to whom we are indebted for part of our information, describes the quack as having been received with loud shouts under steel arches; as holding threehour discourses on all things fittingly unintelligible; and as founding Egyptian lodges in all manner of places, with ceremonials of such a dark, death's-head description, that it makes one's hair stand on end merely to read of them. The elixirs sold now at a double quick rate; and in consideration of the enormous expenses of the Grand Coptha, in correspondences and the like, the money flowed into his coffers in full streams.
The mid-doors are thrown open, and the coming of the queen is announced. Gentlemen, barons, earls, and knights of the garter, all richly dressed and barePassing in splendour from place to place, the count headed, are the first to enter the presence-chamber visited Warsaw, and finally Strasburg. Here he met the greatest of his prizes the Prince de Rohan, first- from her apartments. They are followed by the lordclass peer of France, and Cardinal Archbishop of chancellor, bearing the seals in a silk purse; and on Strasburg, rich as Croesus, and gullible to excess. each side of him walks a nobleman, one bearing the Knowing well his man, the count at first wrapt him- royal sceptre, and the other the sword of state in a self up in reserve, while he at the same time gained a crimson scabbard. Queen Elizabeth follows. A small character by liberally dispensing medicine (brick-dust pills, possibly) to the poor, and even showing them, golden crown is upon her head, and rests on a profunow and then, his purse. Prince de Rohan sought an sion of thick curled hair, of a colour too deeply saninterview again and again; he was refused. His guine to countenance her early flatterers when they anxiety grew greater, and at length he was indulged. called the hue golden. The locks now worn by Elizawas emptied freely-in payment, chiefly, for the pro-natural tresses were in her younger days. Rich pearls At once he became an obedient dupe, and his purse beth are, however, but a close imitation of what her found predictions which Cagliostro gave the cardinal, to serve in guiding him in all his affairs.
Of that honour the citizen continued to think with pride, up to the time of his receiving a message from the queen, requiring a second visit from him at Greenwich Palace. Thither, accordingly, Sir John wended his way, meditating how he might best show, in a marked manner, his sense of the high favour bestowed
This period, 1783, may be called the brightest in the career of Cagliostro, whose reputation was now European. He was asked by the Prince de Rohan to go to Paris, and went; but he staid at this time only a few days, being anxious to drain a little further the dupeables of Strasburg. But the enthusiasm was past, and he found it advisable to try Bordeaux. Here, for the period of a year, he was so eminently successful
hang from her ears, and a necklace of fine jewels is
in and elixir that the authorities
on him by the queen. When ushered into the presence of the latter, he found her with a goodly company of ladies and courtiers; and in presence, also, was her majesty's household chaplain. "Welcome, Sir John," said the queen, as the citizen his on entrance; "thou art punctual, yet we have been for some time in readiness. The ceremony shall be private, as best befits the condition of our poor little charge." Sir John bowed in silence; and the company, at a motion of the queen's hand, proceeded to the small chapel, where her majesty was accustomed to perform her private devotions.
On the occasion when this scene, here described in the present tense, was to be witnessed, foreign ministers were in the presence-chamber, and to each Elizabeth spoke in his own language, whether that were Spanish or Italian, French or Dutch. Whithersoever she turned
at one time granted him a guard to keep his doors clear. Bordeaux exhausted, he thought fit to quarter himself on Paris. It might have been expected that he would have shrunk from exposing his magical pretensions to the eyes of the savans in Paris. Not he. He there openly professed his ability to transmute metals; and, by handicraft deceptions, he practically convinced the silly and unwary. He-when well paid We shall suppose the child baptised, and the whole for it, for the dead would not rise for nothing-called her eye, all knelt down before her. Whosoever had ceremony over. Increasing the amount of the honour, up spirits, though they seem not to have been seen, but the queen gave to the child the Christian name of merely to have spoken to him from under glass bells. " "Spencer." This unexpected circumstance, and the The countess supported him ably in these deceptions. uncommon beauty of the infant, seemed to determine But Cagliostro suddenly fell in this very zenith of the knight in its favour. "Madam," said he to the his glory, and fell irrecoverably. Happening to be queen, with tears in his eyes, "I have resolved to show somehow involved in the celebrated necklace case of my sense of this honour by adopting this child, now Marie Antoinette, where one of the queen's servants, my name-son. He shall be my sole heir; and, that no named La Motte, forged her mistress's name, Caglifoolish relentings may afterwards affect this resolve, I ostro, as well as La Motte and Rohan, was thrown here solemnly vow, before the holy altar, and in preinto the Bastile. On being brought to trial, he told sence of your majesty and this fair company, to settle lies of the most astounding magnitude as to his birth irrevocably my estate by deed in this child's favour, and resources, averring for one thing that he was conand to place it immediately in your majesty's possesstantly supplied with money by an unknown friend sion, if you will honour me by accepting such trust." in Arabia; but the court paid no attention to his rant. La Motte and others were duly punished: as for our count, though he got free, it was in the state of a beggar.
the honour of a word from her, remained kneeling, unless the great queen raised him. She passed along slowly through the large chamber, conversing to those on one side and another, and sometimes receiving strangers presented by the usher. She came at length to a gentleman advanced in years, who knelt at her look. He was richly dressed, but not in the robes of office or nobility. "Ha!" said the queen, stretching out her hand, and raising this personage; "our good citizen, Sir John Spencer. Welcome! Thou wert informed of our wish to converse with thee?" "I had the honour," answered the citizen, "to receive your majesty's commands to that effect." "Thou hast ever indeed, good Sir John, regarded our slightest wish as a command," continued Elizabeth; "and well thy loyalty beseems thee. Thou hast paid dearly, too, for thy affectionate regard to our person." The old The sun of the arch-quack had begun its descending citizen sighed as if involuntarily, showing well that he course, and rapid, indeed, was its downward progress. understood the queen's allusion. She went on, howIn England, to which he now resorted, he gained the ever, to refer more plainly to the subject, while all countenance of scarcely one man of note excepting poor around fell respectfully back, marking her low tones. Lord George Gordon; and trickery was at a discount "It was while an attendant on our train that my now, whether in regard to elixirs or Egyptian lodges. young Lord Compton first saw thy daughter, and the Cagliostro was compelled to look to the Continent issue was the rash marriage which thou deplorest. again; but, alas! France, Germany, Russia, and the Sir John, we would remedy the evil thou hast susSardinian territory, were all closed against him by posi- tained." The face of the citizen-knight grew suddenly tive royal edicts. He had been too successful in his flushed, and then left him more pale than before. He magic. His wide-spread repute had roused the long knelt down after a moment of apparently agitated suspicious church, and he had lost all power to contend thought, and said, in a low and hurried voice, "I hope with her. So he felt to his cost, when, after some obscure I trust your majesty does not mean to lay your comand poverty-struck ramblings, he ventured at length mands on me to pardon"- The queen interrupted to enter Rome in 1789, urged by his wife, who, jaded him. "Listen to us, Sir John Spencer. Your paterand wearied out, now desired but to reach her mother's nal resentment will be respected by us. It is a favour grave and die. Cagliostro had not been long there, which we have now to require of thee, and the grantere the Inquisition caught him founding what Mr ing of which may partly remedy the misfortune which Carlyle aptly calls "some feeble, moneyless ghost of you have suffered. An infant boy has somewhat an Egyptian lodge," and he was thrown into the strangely fallen to our particular guardianship. He Castle of St Angelo. By papers, and petitions, and ex- is of such rank and birth that we conceive thee to be planations, and recantations, Cagliostro still struggled a fitter person to act as his sponsor than any of the stoutly for life and liberty. The former boon he ob- nobles of our court. Thy civic position suits thee tained; but being doomed to perpetual confinement, much more for serving the future fortunes of this he died in St Angelo in the summer of 1795. The boy; and, God's bread, Sir John, thou shalt have a Grand Copthess was placed for life in a nunnery. queen for a partner in the office." Cagliostro forms on the whole a sad monument of the miseries of a career of imposture. We have seen here what was the end of all; and moreover, with all his impudent assurance, it may be doubted if the instability of his position, and the constant risk of exposure, left him one happy moment even in the hours of his greatest success. Goethe visited his disclaimed mother and sister; and the picture given of
The eyes of the queen sparkled with unaffected pleasure. ""Tis well, Sir John Spencer," said she; "we are witnesses to your promise, and know that it will be kept." She then turned round, and exclaimed, looking to a side door, "Without there! You may enter." In an instant the door was thrown open, and Sir John Spencer beheld his daughter, the Lady Compton, and her husband, kneeling at his feet. Before the agitated citizen could speak, the queen addressed him. "Sir John, the child whom thou hast here adopted is thine own grandchild. Take these his parents also to your favour, and make this one of the happiest hours in a queen's life." "Pardon, dearest father, pardon!" cried the weeping daughter of the knight; "pardon," continued she, taking her child from an attendant, and raising it in her arms" pardon, for this child's sake!" Sir John Spencer could not resist these appeals. "Heaven bless you, my children!" said he, embracing them by turns; "I do forgive all the past; and I heartily thank her majesty, who has brought about this happy event."
Our anecdote is told. Many glorious acts signalise the reign of Elizabeth, but it may be questioned if any recorded deed of hers places her character in a more pleasing light, than the little ruse by which she reconciled Sir John Spencer and his daughter.
Doubt had gradually disappeared from the citizen's brow during this speech, and had been supplanted by a feeling of the highest gratification, as was clear and apparent in his looks. "Your majesty," said he, "does me an honour which kings might be proud of. And by my life, madam, I shall prove, by my conduct to the boy, that your majesty has not so honoured one who is ungrateful for it. I have no child," continued
A CHINESE PAINTER.
A Chinese who was present at the martyrdom of a with which he died for his faith, that he himself became Christian missionary, was so struck with the firmness and studied painting: he has been successful as an artist; a Christian. He made his way to Europe, went to Rome, and there is now here, in the church of St Guillaume, a fine picture by his hand, well designed and strongly coloured. The subject is The Death of the Christian Missionary," to which he was a witness, and which changed his faith and his life.—Art Union,
dullest moods, some of his own beautiful and pathetic |
part in sustaining the cause of home industry and agriculture. If husbandry is made respectable, as it ought to be, it will serve to check one of the greatest evils that bears now heavily on the community-the rush of our young men into the learned professions, which are already filled to overflowing, especially that of the law, which, under the present wretched course of legislation, of "It is difficult to convey any adequate notion of the To engage the minor affections, and, in the absence of making litigation cheap, is starving this once honourable series of operations of which moral treatment consists, higher objects, to call forth that love for animals which and most useful profession. Yet it is thought to be the to describe the agents which have been, or may be, made has characterised men of refined and serene tempera-high road to office and honour, and ambitious fathers to act directly upon the mind itself, because it is impos-ment, has been considered curative, and tried. Accord- and weak mothers are for making their sons great lawyers sible to mark exactly where physical treatment termi-ingly, sheep have been introduced into one court; in and eminent judges. Infatuated policy! The greater nates, as the efficacy of even a drug may, and often does, another, rabbits have long ingratiated themselves with part of them never rise higher than respectable pettidepend as much upon the feelings of repugnance or conthe patients; in a third, urchins have become favourites; foggers. Many of them get disheartened, and sink into fidence with which it is swallowed as upon its intrinsic in a fourth, there is a colony of white mice; and in the dissipation and idleness. properties. Indeed, every step beyond the regulation of fields, a jackass was courted and conciliated by a con- The business of the farmer knows no such anxiety-is the diet and the exhibition of medicine to regulate and accompanied by no such risks; it is quiet and peaceful. restore particular functions-there being no specific for Make it intelligent, and you open to it the first and highderangement-leads to an attempt to reach the disease est honours of your country: there are no prejudices through and by the senses, the intellect, or the affections. against it, as against that of the law; there is no limit to The residence of an individual in an asylum, the new it; it is broad and extensive enough for all-a rich and arrangements, the absence of friends, the subjection to wide domain, the vast possessions of the government, lie discipline, and the delivery of every thought and wish open to us-it invites to cultivation and improvement. If into the keeping of strangers, are all intended and calcuour rich men will plant themselves in the country, and lated to address the mind itself, and to serve as silent educate their sons in the care and knowledge of the farm, arguments and warnings against error-to create a they would see the land smiling around them, their chilposition to self-examination and self-regulation, and to dren would be honoured in their industry, the occupation force the adoption or imitation of rational views and of the plough be elevated and respected, their sons prove habits. That these instruments often act in this way is healthy, robust, and strong men, and they and their deunquestionable; and because they cannot be assembled scendants become, as the landholders are in England, or applied at home, it is well shown that efficient treatthe great men and strong props of the government. Hard ment can only be found in an asylum. The occupations, and incessant toil is not essential in any farmer, nor any recreations, the rigid routine, the varied exercises, the toil equal to the exhausting unhonoured labours of the stern or soothing tones of the physician's voice, all opelawyer and mechanic: a few hours a-day devoted to the rate on the same principle; and when judiciously selected regulation and superintendence of the farm, affording a and perseveringly applied, remodel the whole nature, and most wholesome and agreeable exercise to the body, is sometimes restore health. But besides these means, all that is requisite to the independent farmer; reading, there are many, such as the following, which are sugwriting, &c., will pleasantly and profitably occupy the gested by the peculiar circumstances of each case, rest of the day. To my brother lawyers, in particular, founded upon some former taste or capability, or adapted would I recommend this kind of life as the happiest and to the actual condition of the patient, or the change the best. They are capable of making good farmers, and, which it is desirable to bring about:when advanced in life, they are fit for nothing else; the strife and rivalship of the law are neither suited to their temper nor taste. They are often, if not generally, first and foremost in every good work. Let us set the example in this. I regret not meeting more of them on this occasion. It is said to be dull times for them-three hundred are said to have cleared out from the city of New York. I hoped to have met some of them here; the country and the plough will receive them with open arms, and give them plenty of honest business. There is room enough for them all. I offer my own experience as a slight and humble instance of what may be easily effected: I have had the pleasure of superintending a farm-I have succeeded to my entire satisfaction-my farm is growing up under my own eye, yearly developing new beauties and new sources of income and improvement; and if it does not make me a richer, it makes me a healthier, and, I trust, a better man. In fact, dyspepsia and the blue devils immediately left me. I am conscious that the occupation is an honest one; I know it is a healthy and pleasant one; and as it interferes with no man, it is a peaceful one, and all nature tells me it is one that God will bless and prosper."
Our amanuenses, greatly increased in number, have been as industrious as if engaged in productive labour. At one time it was ground for envy and emulation which should be selected to assist the medical officer; many thousand pages have been copied or written to dictation, and in one case with a marked humanising and elevating effect. One young lady is at present curing herself of extravagant ideas of her own greatness by copying, and then playing music, at which she is an adept. And that the curative powers of the sister art of painting might
not be untried, we have an instance where a convalescent
CURATIVE TREATMENT OF THE INSANE.
THE following are passages extracted from the last report of the Crichton Asylum for Lunatics near Dumfries-an institution on a splendid scale, founded by a large be quest, and conducted by Dr W. A. F. Browne, author of a work on Insanity:
The great objection to all these measures is, that they embrace only one patient, or a very small number of patients; that the application of them is therefore difficult and tedious; and that success must depend as much upon the skill and tact of the experimenter as upon the consent of the individual to be acted upon. What is wanted is, some plan which shall rouse, arrest, and tend to regulate the intellect of a number of patients simuldis-taneously, without rousing or disturbing the passions; and as insanity, in a majority of cases, consists rather in excited feeling than in disordered reason, this precaution is absolutely necessary. It is not pretended that this panacea has been discovered; but a practice has been recently commenced which possesses many of the advantages coveted, is at all events perfectly innocuous, and promises to afford a very simple, cheap, and pleasing antidote to the darkness and dullness of a winter's evening.
Tranquil and convalescent patients have been allowed to attend quiet parties for conversation and music; to visit the Theatre, the Circus, the Exhibition, the Bazaar, the races, and public concerts; and the liberty thus granted has in no case been abused, nor-so complete has been the control exercised-have the insane been distinguished from those by whom they were accompanied. Now, when familiarised with the beneficent influence of a sounder philosophy, and instructed that many of the insane are only partially separated from the sane, such facts do not excite surprise or interest. But if it be recollected that, at a period by no means distant, no patient ever passed beyond his cell or airing-yard, and that the very individuals now described as mingling in the pleasures of their fellow-men would have been condemned to perpetual confinement and to chains, the boldness and triumphs of the humane system will be appreciated."
ON THE LAUNCH OF A FIRST-RATE.
England hails thee with emotion,
Heaven resounds thy welcome; Ocean
Giant oaks of bold expansion
O'er seven hundred acres fell,
Oaks that living did inherit
Thou shalt cleave the ocean's path,
Like the coming whirlwind's speck.
Storm or battle ne'er shall blast,
AN Agricultural Society for the state of New York has
CHAMBERS'S EDUCATIONAL COURSE.
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LONDON: Published, with permission of the proprietors, by W. S. ORR, Pater: oster Row.
Prin by Bradbury and Evans, Whitefriars.
WHAT IS MEANT BY "A BEGGAR?" It is to the house of death we will ask the reader to accompany us; but he need not fear for his sensibility, if he is over much possessed of it, for we are not going to picture any scenes of overwhelming grief. It is true that the shutters are closed, and the servant who ushers you in looks grave, and speaks in a lower tone of voice than usual; and Mr Compton, the master of the house, heaves a sigh as he addresses you, while his lady-wife raises her handkerchief to her eyes. It is a second cousin of the former who is dead-a solitary old man, who, after passing nearly forty years in a foreign land, returned home to spend the independence he had acquired, and to find of his early friends some dead, others separated, and the few, the very few, who remained, almost forgetful of his existence. But a childless widower, in independent circumstances, Mr Tracey was not long without relatives who proved their affinity; and after a severe but half-concealed struggle, Mr and Mrs Compton were the successful candidates, under whose roof Mr Tracey took up his abode. Shortly following that event, a little stranger arrived, who was named, after his godfather, James Tracey Compton; and now, after eight years of devoted attention, the anxious parents' hopes were in some degree realised. Mr Tracey had not forgotten his godson in his will; indeed, he was the only relation he seemed to have remembered. About three hundred a-year was bequeathed to little James on his reaching one-and-twenty; and the remainder of his property, amounting to several thousands, was divided between a few inconsiderable legacies and bequests to charitable institutions.
It was the day following that on which Mr Tracey died, but the mournful necessary arrangements had been made, and the will read the preceding evening. Mr and Mrs Compton had deserted their usual sittingroom, as being a storey nearer to the chamber of death, but were, nevertheless, sitting very cozily after dinner in their back parlour, the young legatee being present. "Well, James, my boy," said the father, patting his son's head caressingly, "at all events you cannot be a beggar, though I did think your poor godfather would have provided more handsomely for you. He was not blind or deaf; I wonder what on earth could have put it into his head to leave his thousands to the Blind School and the Deaf and Dumb Asylum." "At all events, I am glad he did not leave them over the way," chimed in Mrs Compton, with all the ill-nature of a selfish, cunning, and narrow-minded
"I fancy, my dear, you took care of that," rejoined her husband, while they exchanged looks in which the ghost of a smile was on each face visible.
Now, "over the way" was a comprehensive phrase, signifying Mr and Mrs William Compton and their six children. It must be acknowledged that, in a worldly sense, the elder brother had been the more prudent. He had established himself in a thriving business before he thought of looking out for a wife, while, about the same time, his brother William, though some years his junior, fell in love, without being at all on the "look-out" for such a catastrophe, and married as soon as it was possible (to use a homely phrase) to make both ends meet. His family increased in at least an equal proportion to his means; so that, at the time of his cousin Mr Tracey's death, he, with his six children, occupied a smaller house, kept fewer servants, and in every respect a more moderate establishment, than his elder brother, who was blessed, or encumbered, with one only child, the James Tracey to whom we have before alluded. We question if it is
SATURDAY, APRIL 23, 1842.
a good plan for relatives to live so very near to each other as "over the way" implies that the Comptons did. They often become too intimate, and get a habit of interfering with things that do not concern them. To do justice, however, we must own that Mrs William was a very amiable woman, a great deal too much occupied with her own family to trouble herself about other persons' concerns; and in the family disputes which had arisen, the elder lady had usually been the aggressor. It was quite natural that the younger couple should, and quite true that they did, anxiously hope Mr Tracey would leave legacies to their children, but they were quite prepared for their disappointment. They had had no spacious apartments to offer him, and they were even aware, that when he had visited them, the necessary unquiet of a small house which contained so large a family, was any thing but agreeable to a nervous invalid. Latterly, however, they had been conscious of a sinister influence, though, had they known precisely in what manner it had been exerted, perfect candour on their part would have been more than a match for the duplicity of their enemy. But this was not the case; poor Mr Tracey's behaviour for the last two years had grown gradually cooler and cooler, and yet there had been neither word nor action sufficiently marked to demand an explanation of it. This is a common state of things, and it must be confessed that the pride which accompanies a clear conscience in such matters often stands in the way of one's worldly interest. In a downright, tangible quarrel, even the party offending is seldom the one first to hold out the olive branch; but the case of the secret maligner is far worse, for he has the advantage of making the first or "proof" impression, and the credulous listener seldom opens his eyes and ears of his own accord to the other side of the question; nay, if pride does yield, and the innocent volunteers a defence, facts, circumstances-the very flood-gates of truthful eloquence-must be opened before the "stuffed bosom" can be cleansed of the "perilous stuff which weighs upon the heart."
Unfortunately, the latter plan had not been adopted by the younger Comptons, and Mr Tracey died with the firm conviction that every trifling act of kindness and civility had been dictated by the hope of a legacy, and that even the children had been tutored to please him; faults also had been hinted at which did not exist, and to the most innocent observations a false meaning had been given. Surely nothing under the sun is so easy as misrepresentation, except-telling the truth. Of course, Mrs Compton senior had insinuated (it was out of her line of policy to assert) that she and her husband were not "beggars"-they wanted nothing from him-which, we are afraid, if sincerely believed, is a most persuasive argument with a certain class of persons who have money to leave. These people have such a dread of their money being spent-not considering that, wisely distributed, one spring may fertilise many plains, and make seeds grow where all before was barren. Certainly, even a few hundred pounds to William Compton would have smoothed an anxious brow, and spared many an act of self-denial; however, he and his family did without them.
Of the worldly retribution so often remarked, nothing is more common than to find money, not altogether honestly acquired, either in a few years scattered to the winds, or become a source of misery instead of a blessing to the possessor; and so did it in some degree prove with Master James's legacy. The assurance that he would not be "a beggar," was at first used by his parents as an encouragement to good behaviour, and to exert himself in his studies, that he
might be the more worthy of, and fit for, his lucky destiny; but as years passed on, he contrived to wrest the argument from them, and turn it as a weapon against themselves. It was all very well for his cousin William (a boy of about his own age) to fag and make the most of his time; but for himself, he shouldn't be obliged to go into a counting-house at fifteen-he shouldn't be a "beggar." A pretty life they had with the hopeful youth long before he was that age.
As for "the people over the way," they kept on their even course. The families visited occasionally, and maintained to the world a tolerable appearance of cordiality, though Mrs Compton abated not one jot of the malice and uncharitableness which rankled at her heart. Envy, too, was there; for ever since she had known her she had envied Mrs William's youth and good looks (youth always remains comparative), and now she envied her her tractable, well-managed family. Certainly, a school, or an assemblage of children, is a miniature world, in which each, generally speaking, finds its level, and it is usually an excellent discipline for only, or spoilt, children. The consequence the young heir assumed almost immediately after Mr Tracey's death, was not lost upon his sprightly cousins. At first, they could not quite make out why he had grown so fond of playing at "grand people" (what a study of character it is to watch children's play!) and at "fine houses," where he must always be the master; but at last it came out, and what a laugh there was! With one sweep of his foot, little William knocked down a make-believe house, which had been manufactured of tables, chairs, and boxes, and, mounting in glory upon the loftiest of the ruins, he exclaimed, "Now, Master James, I want to know exactly what you mean by a 'beggar !'"
This was a question which might have puzzled a much wiser head to answer. It did occur to the young heir to tell his cousins that they were often called "beggars ;" but there was something in William's manner which told him it would not be quite safe to venture so far, so he stammered out, that "papa and mamma called people who had no money 'beggars.""
"Oh! then, we shan't be beggars," rejoined William, "because I mean to make a fortune, and one rich man in a family shows the others the road."
The sisters, who were a little older, had not joined in the noisy play; but Emily raised her eyes from her work, and, with an arch look, said very quietly, "When you have quite done with Susan's box of colours, I am sure, James, she will be glad to have it back again, for she had begun to paint the green parrot that hangs out in the next balcony before she lent it you; and there it remains in her portfolio, one wing penciled and the other green, just as if he were half plucked for roasting."
This was really spiteful, for the sisters knew perfectly well that the colours, every one, were either spoilt or lost; and so, with a red cheek, Master James confessed.
"Never mind," continued Emily, "you know, instead of pocket-money, mamma pays us for the work we help her with; and we have saved up three and sixpence already towards buying a new box."
"And when do you mean to begin to write your own Latin exercises, Master James?" chimed in Susan, perhaps a little vexed at the loss of her colours.
The poor child burst into tears, exclaiming, "Oh! you tell-tale !"
"No, Jemmy, I didn't tell; indeed, I didn't," replied William, jumping down from his throne.
"No, he didn't tell," echoed the sisters; "we found it out. We saw it on the slate, and we knew he was through that book six months ago."
ant. James had been articled to a solicitor (the law seemed a profession suitable to his prospects), and though he had been any thing but studious, by dint of "grinding" and "cramming" he managed to pass his examination. With a portion of his fortune the share of a business in his native town was purchased, and thus seemingly established, to the elders on both sides, as well as to the gentleman himself, the match seemed in every respect desirable. Poor Alice! what an array against her-and what bitter tears she shed! Still, though like a reed she seemed bent to the earth, the firm spirit of her resolves was not broken.
"Oh! you dunce!" lisped an urchin of six years old. The young heir was glad to beat a retreat; the odds were against him.
It was a short scene of a drama, acted in the miniature world to which we have alluded; and had there not been a counteracting influence at home, Master James Tracey Compton might have gained a useful lesson from it. He might have comprehended that the term "beggar" applied to himself rather more than to his cousins, and thence have suspected that neither money nor station places us beyond the need of assistance from our fellow-creatures. But no such wholesome seed was allowed to germinate. He told his storywas pitied and caressed; a handsome box of colours was sent, out of pique, to Susan (the only person who benefited by the circumstance); and a childish quarrel, the bitterness of which might have passed off in a few hours, and yet some good effects have remained, was fretted and swelled till Master James fancied himself shamefully used by his cousins. Poor child! his parents were far more to be blamed than himself; and assuredly they reaped their reward. They taught him to cringe to those above him, and to scorn an obligation from such as they considered were beneath him; they repeated so often the advantages of his independence, that he grew to consider it an inexhaustible sum, and one which was to exempt him from all toil or trouble. It took about seven years to convince them of their error, and then they tried to repair itby telling a lie. They hinted that the property was contingent on circumstances-that they could prevent his touching it; but he had a keen memory, and recollected, child that he was, hearing the will read. Any lingering respect there might have been, the discovery of a mean falsehood shook off, and, before he was eighteen, Master James Tracey had plunged into a headlong career of folly and extravagance.
Mrs Compton grew more cross, discontented, and ill-natured than ever. At the very time that her darling son had become the plague of her life, all "the world" of their acquaintances were praising the steadiness and good conduct of William, who had entered a merchant's counting-house, and had contrived, although still so young, to make himself of the greatest consequence in it. A blow, too, had been threatened to the pride of the family by the rumour that Emily was endeavouring to establish herself as a teacher of music and singing, and the consummation was only prevented by a very opposite, and to Mrs Compton, perhaps, a more vexatious, catastrophe. A young gentleman, with excellent prospects, had thought proper to fall in love with and marry her. Susan, whose taste for drawing had always been remarkable, had devoted herself to miniature painting, and though little more than twenty, already earned quite enough for pocket-money. It was ridiculous to call the girls "beggars" any longer. Neither was Mr James Tracey himself by any means exempt from the inward feeling of envy and the outward show of scorn which characterised his mother's sentiments towards their poorer relations; and before he was one-and-twenty, two circumstances occurred which appeared to him insults as well as injuries.
Like most extravagant persons, Mr James was not very particular and punctual on the nice point of paying debts; and on one occasion his cousin William chanced to be with him when a tradesman made some little demur before acceding to his demands. He was quite aware that James was a minor, and the article, a gun, not being absolutely a necessary, he thought the young gentleman's honour not the best security he could obtain. But he knew the character of the cousin, and turned to him saying, "If you, sir, will promise it shall be paid for at Christmas, I have not the least objection."
More than half offended at the tradesman's doubts, and never suspecting the honest intentions of James, he answered, without a moment's hesitation, "Certainly, I will take care you are paid."
Here was a mortifying example of a "beggar's" reputation being worth more than the expectations of a young gentleman of property; yet before Christmas arrived the affair was nearly forgotten, and William paid the twenty pounds out of his own earnings. It is true, his cousin afterwards refunded it; but what then? He had submitted to obligation from William only because he dared not mention it at home. As for William, it was certainly hard to be called on to spare such a sum from the sweet money he had earned that money which seems beyond any other so especially one's own-but it was preferable to forfeiting his word. The next preference, however, which was shown, was one far more difficult to pardon.
For once the views of Mr James Tracey and those of his parents chanced to coincide. He fixed his affections on one of the belles of the place, Alice Merton by name, who was pretty and clever, and, moreover, entitled to five thousand pounds, independently of the fortune it was probable her father would leave her. But she actually preferred “poor" William. Whether it was on account of the three or four inches in height by which he outstripped his cousin James, or that his hair was darker, or that his voice was deeper, or that the pretty Alice suspected he loved her the better of the two, it is impossible to decide, for there is no accounting for the caprices of women. However, "the course of true love never did run smooth," and on this occasion the "flinty-hearted" father most decidedly favoured the views of the wealthier aspir
They had long loved each other, but only in a moment of sorrow did the secret escape the lips of William Compton. It is true he had never lost sight of the one great object which had been the ambitious hope of his childhood, namely, to achieve something more than independence; but he was still far from the goal, and he felt he had no right to ask the hand of Alice Merton. Yet when deep emotion and the strong temptation of opportunity had wrung the truth from him, he certainly had not philosophy enough to do other than rejoice in the sweet promise of her affection-for she did promise that though she would not wed in opposition to her father's wishes, she would at least be firm in the rejection of all others. We do not believe the pretty Alice ever made any appointments with her lover, though it was strange how very often they chanced to meet. However, a trial of their constancy was at hand.
We have said that William Compton had contrived to make himself eminently useful to his employers-so much so, that his salary had been regularly increased; but the sudden death of the most active partner determined them to send William to London for the next twelve months, for the purpose of conducting their business in the metropolis. Assuredly, he felt that the implicit confidence they placed in his talents and integrity did him honour, and would most probably prove one of those stepping-stones to fortune which do occasionally present themselves to such as have eyes to see, and skill to take advantage of them. Still, it was a hard trial to part from Alice, and he was forbidden even to write to her. Such a separation is a trial of constancy, very different from the condition of those who, thanks to the humane dispensation of the penny post, may "waft a sigh," every day if they will, from one heart to the other. Letters under such circumstances may be all true, without containing all the truth. Like our earth, which is half in light and half by itself shadowed, is the human character; but in such a correspondence the bright sides only are shown, and, aided by that burning-glass the imagination, there is little chance of a year's absence cooling the lover's passion. No, no, no; an absence brightened by unrestrained and frequent letters is not so great a trial of constancy as daily intercourse may chance to prove, for there the dark side is turned occasionally-faults and follies are sometimes seen.
But to return to William and Alice. Mr Merton positively forbade all communication between them: although a little struck by the evident consideration in which William was held by his employers, he rather implied than promised, that if, at the expiration of a year, the young people were in the same mind, he would consider the subject. Here was an inch of ground on which hope built a fairy castle. They felt the justice of the case, and parted. We believe they loved each other with a confidence that was superior to jealousy; still, during a whole year deprived on each side of one fond assurance, they would scarcely have been human had not William sometimes envied, if he did not fear, his cousin's opportunities of pleasing Alice Merton; and had not she pictured with a sigh the many fair faces he must meet, and questioned for a moment if they would draw him from his allegiance.
But the year had nearly passed-for the lovers parted in June, and May was come-when James Compton renewed his addresses more pertinaciously than ever. It was, however, remarked that on this occasion Mr Merton gave him but slight encouragement. The truth was, that rumours had reached him that the concern into which Mr James had entered was not in the most flourishing condition. He had brought money into it certainly, but he had neither improved it by connexion nor his own perseverance. From an inaptitude for business habits, he was either behind in his duties, or a dupe: this perhaps might have been amended; but his ignorance of the value of money and love of petty indulgences spoiled all-as a sagacious neighbour very graphically observed, "That young gentleman's expenditure on kid gloves and cigars would certainly form a very handsome revenue for many a respectable family." What with one thing and another, a great portion of Mr James's property was sunk, and what income he might draw from it was at least problematical. The idea of such a personage claiming the affections of Alice Merton was unutterably ridiculous. Mr Merton, as we have said, knew something of all this; and Alice's spirits rose when she felt that her father was becoming her ally, and she looked forward with trembling hope to the next month. The first week came, the second-three more days, and the twelvemonth would have expired. It was the second morning from this time that Alice descended to the breakfast-room a few minutes before her father, and beheld, conspicuous among a heap of letters, a thick packet directed to him, in the handwriting of William
Compton. Tears Sprung to her eyes, and she raised the packet to her lips; but she could not have encountered her father at that moment for worlds. She bent her steps to the garden-not that she expected William to be there, for the term of his probation had not expired, but it was a holy spot, endeared to her by the tenderest recollections. It was full a quarter of an hour before she returned to the breakfast-room; her father had waited with exemplary patience for her fulfilment of the duties of tea-maker, although he had been down stairs long enough to read all his letters; he did not, however, make an observation upon one of them.
Surely that day was the longest poor Alice had ever known; and it is doubtful if the night was shortened by sleep. Morning came; a thin mist had been raised like a veil from the earth, and the thirsty sun was quickly drinking up the drops of dew which still hung upon the roses, when Alice Merton stood at the garden gate; but not alone this time. The tried one was there, who came to prove his faith. Ah! that hour made ample amends for a year's pain; indeed, some people would think a year of very tolerable enjoyment might fairly have been bartered for it. There was a third to breakfast that morning; but first, William Compton told to Alice the contents of the yesterday's letter. He had been made a partner in the house he had so faithfully served, and that packet contained a copy of the deed of partnership. He was now a suitable match for the pretty heiress.
A great change came over the Compton family. Within the next year William and Alice were married; but he did not forget his childish promise of showing his younger brothers the road to riches. Now that the family were grown up and settled, it was astonishing what a pretty and commodious house that of the younger Comptons became. Throwing two rooms into one, and new furnishing, made a vast difference. As for Mrs Compton senior, she had a serious fit of illness, said to be brought on by fretting at the good fortune of "the people over the way," and at her own son's disappointments. Instead of blaming her own folly, and learning, however late, a useful lesson from its consequences, she took to scolding and reproaching the "fortunate legatee" more unmercifully than ever. This state of things could not last. He left home in high dudgeon; and as he had not courage to break through the habits of idleness he had formed-and as his property was dwindled to a mere pittance-and as, of course, "to beg he was ashamed”—he has married a rich widow nearly double his age. Her fortune, to be sure, is settled on herself, still he derives many advantages from it.
If any parent is led to reflect on the folly of teaching children to rely on adventitious circumstances, instead of on their own conduct and exertions-or if the thoughtless but common and obnoxious term “a beggar" is in one proper instance withdrawn-this sketch from the life will not have been written in vain.
POPULAR INFORMATION ON SCIENCE. NITROUS OXIDE (LAUGHING GAS). ONE of the most remarkable, though not by any means the most gravely important, scientific discoveries of the last age, was that of the effects of nitrous oxide upon those who breathed it. To hear that the chemist could produce a gas which, when inhaled into the lungs, threw the tamest philosophers into a state of mind resembling that of the excited bacchanal, was calculated to strike all with astonishment; and such was really the effect of the discovery. For a time, the laughing gas, as it was called, was the theme of every mouth; and many who had never given a moment's thought to chemistry, when it was working out principles of the greatest consequence to the weal of mankind, lent it a delighted attention when they heard that it could intoxicate them, if they pleased, by a few mouthfuls of an impalpable fluid.
The early experiments upon this gas were attended by circumstances of high moral interest. Towards the close of the last century, a young man, whose early days had been partly spent in a druggist's shop at Penzance, was promoted to a situation in a medical institution in Bristol, where an association of physicians were endeavouring to add to the resources of their science by investigations in pneumatic chemistry. He was obscure and unrecommended, but possessed genius, with all its usual enthusiasm. This, in short, was no other than Humphry Davy, ultimately the most eminent British man of science of his day. It was his duty to make experiments on various aëriform fluids, with a view to ascertain their effects on the human constitution. One of those which he thought worthy of investigation was nitrous oxide-a gas, however, of a very formidable kind, seeing it is nearly allied to one of the most noxious fluids with which we are acquainted, aqua fortis. This terrible association of ideas had no effect in restraining Mr Davy. After some preliminary experiments in breathing the gas diluted with common air, and finding no