Imatges de pÓgina
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avoiding and shrinking from the images and fancies of my imagination, I now courted them, and found an amusement in turning and varying their preternatural horrors; and it was a real treat to lie on my pallet, in my gloomy cell, when it and the whole vast enclosure of the Lazzaretto was still as death, and summon up

« Le invenzioni atroci d'ogni sorte

Spacciate per eventi che già furo :
Apparizioni di persone morte,
Ombre che rivelarono il futuro,
Anime di dannati a chiuse porte
Di mezza notte penetrate, al scuro
A visitar in minacciose forme

Ora l'amanza, ora il rival che dorme.* I suppose it was in accordance to this frame of mind, that I borrowed from the officer of the Lazzaretto the whole series of " Les Causes Celebres," and read with peculiar gusto the tales of horror they contain, and this always in the dead of night.

During my quarantine I felt as I have always done in disagreeable situations, or under adverse circumstances, the day to be much more irksome than the night. I therefore used to sit up till three or four o'clock in the morning, which permitted me to lie in bed till noon, and so consume a good round number of day-light hours. There was, besides, this additional advantage in sitting up-I was freed from the odious presence of my familiar, being only occasionally distressed by his elephantine snoring. It was on nights like these that I chiefly collated and arranged the notes of my “ Travels in the East," which, on my arrival in England, to my great surprise, swelled out to a quarto volume. And some of these nights of my imprisonment, with such occupation, and my books, and my chibook, my cheering pint of claret, and cheerful fire, and the music of the wintry wind singing in the long corridor, and of the waves dashing among the rocks and against the outer wall of the cemetery, were really delightful nights, and scarcely left me any thing to desire.

One morning, after one of these nights, as I was rising to a very late breakfast, I heard English words and English oaths from the court below. Before I could reach the corridor, I heard one gruff voice, in the same dear dialect, and with the same rhetorical ornaments, say, “ Things are come to a pretty pass, Jack, that you and me should a' to carry such a freight as this here !"

I looked over into the court to see what unwelcome freight this might be: it was a dead body, stretched on a couple of planks, rudely tied together. The sailors, even of the most civilized nations, are exceedingly obnoxious to superstition; and, knowing the dread they have of the poor harmless “mortal coil," and all the prognostics they found on the untoward circumstance of having a dead body on board ship, I was not much surprised to see four of them very reluctantly performing the duties of undertakers'-men on shore. My attention was claimed, the next moment, by a singular dialogue between my dapper friend, the quarantine-officer, who had learned a very small portion of English when prisoner-of-war aboard our hulks, and the seamen,

* Ildegonda, parte terza.

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whom I presently discovered, by oral proofs not susceptible of mistake, to be Yankeys. It was evident there was no intelligence” in more than half of the words that passed between the parties; nor did the vivacious gesticulation of the little Marseillais seem to convey any clearer meaning to the lads from the other side of the Atlantic. At last, the little Frenchman lost all patience, and after a good round Provençal oath, (these hommes du Midithese descendants of the Troubadours beat all the Mediterranean for swearing,) and after making a tremendous effort on his long dormant English, he cried out, “ It must that you make fosse !-it must that you

make fosse !" “ Fosse-fuss—who the devil wouldn't make a fuss, after overhauling this here cold meat, and bringing it ashore, with the wind that it blows, to be kept here a-jawing !"

“You no me understand-sacrés bêtes !cried the petulant little man, “ voyez ça !-voyez ça!" and with hands and feet he imitated the action of digging.

“ What is Mounseer arter now ? what does he mean?” said one of the Yankeys.

“ Mean l” replied a comrade, twitching up his canvass trowsers, “why, I guess he means we are to dig a grave !"

A long shrill " whew!" an oath still longer, and an expression of countenance, such as a rigid Jew might put on if brought in contact with things most unclean, showed the repugnance of all four to such a task. Anon words waxed louder and louder; the officer raved and swore in Provençal, the Yankeys in American-English ; the less they understood each other, the louder they talked ; and at last, as the only medium of explanation and arrangement, I was sent for, and begged to interpret between them. Affairs certainly went off better after my mediation, but it was with the greatest difficulty, when I had informed them that by the severe regulations of the place they must bury the body that had died on board of their ship, themselves, and that no other persons could touch it, without subjecting themselves to this Quarantine, that I could reconcile them to their novel duties. But they would not begin even then, without a supply of rum, and so copiously did they drink at their work, that by the time the grave was dug they were all four dead drunk. In the afternoon I saw three of them sleeping by the side of the grave—the fourth, I suppose, being asleep within it.

By the French laws, the body could not be buried until dissection had ascertained that it had died neither of violence nor an infectious disorder. Towards evening a surgeon from the town was admitted into the Lazzaretto, and he hastily made the post-mortem examination, at which I attended. As far as a cause of death was required, the trouble might have been spared; for the attenuated female form that lay before us, showed at once extreme old age, and an extreme stage of physical exhaustion and decay. The surgeon said it was wonderful how she could have lasted so long; that in the course of his practice he had never seen an instance in which the body was worn so near to the bone and sinew. Indeed, as he moved it about, it seemed as light as the body of a little child, and so wasted and thin as to be almost transparent. When the dissection was finished, the surgeon was conducted to a cell in the Lazzaretto to begin his quarantine; and

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the body was carried by the reeling sailors to the grave, to render to
the elements the infinitely small portions of matter it still retained.
And
yet

that snowy-headed, very old woman, that almost obliterated form of mortality, had enshrined, until a few hours before, an ardent hope, an intense and exquisite feeling! Her story was interesting. She was a native of Marseilles, but had gone to America in her early days. She had seen the War of Independence; had been married three times ; had had children and grandchildren, but had survived them all. Though surrounded by comforts and by friends, with whom she had spent many more years than are generally allotted to human life, as old age began to be felt, she felt with it an eager longing to see, ere she died, the land of her birth; and this desire became more ardent when the infirmities of years should have precluded the apparent possibility of her supporting so long a voyage as from Baltimore to Marseilles. At length she would talk of nothing but her own France, la belle France ; and protesting she should not sleep quietly in her grave unless she saw again the coast of Provence and Marseilles, she determined, to the surprise of every body, to undertake the voyage. But by this time the rapid decay of old age was so visible, that the masters of several vessels refused to treat with her for a passage, never imagining that any thing go frail could survive three days on board of ship. The captain who at last received her, related, that during the voyage across the Atlantic, when they had very stormy weather, he several times thought her dying, and even dead—that she revived a little as they got within the Straits of Gibraltar, but sank into a state of lethargy the day after. She could no longer assist herself, and it was with difficulty he had been able, now and then, to pour a little liquid nourishment down her throat. She had not uttered a syllable for several days until the preceding evening, when the captain, on telling her they were very near their journey's end, could hear her murmur “Marseilles !”—and her hands were closed as if in prayer as she named her native city. That morning, as the vessel came in sight, the captain gave her the welcome information, at which she rallied, as though the fabulous elixir had been administered to her. She was carried, at her eager request, to the deck. They laid her down on some sail-cloths and a mattress, and she steadfastly fixed her dim eyes on the rocks of Provence, that every moment increased to the sight. By degrees, even her dull organs could distinguish the steeples and houses of the town peering above a pale grey line of rock and hill—they became more and more pronounced, and as the ship entered the Quarantine Port in the island, she could see the towers of her own parish-church of St. Roch on the hill in the old town—but before the ship was anchored, the old Marseillaise had ceased to breathe !

I have made mention of Christmas-eve. It was my lot to pass my birth-day, Christmas-day, and the New-year in quarantine; and though perhaps a trifle, the recollections of these seasons of festivity in former years did not tend to lighten the dulness of my solitary and uncomfortable confinement. We had some miserably-bad, and even cold weather. The fire-place in my apartment (of which be it said, in passing, neither door nor window shut properly) was so large, and so very ill-constructed, that in spite of a ruinous dépense in wood, I never

could keep myself warm on these rigid nights. The chimney, moreover, was so wide and open at top, that whenever it rained, it rained on my fire; and there I used to sit, shivering over its embers, and almost choked with the smoke.

After the first ten or twelve days, the strictness of my quarantine was somewhat abated. I was permitted to extend my promenade from the corridor to the court below, and, in company with my gardien, to perambulate nearly the whole extent of the Quarantineground, which is much more extensive even than I had fancied. In its vastness, and in its outer walls, it reminded me of the Arsenal and Bagnio of Constantinople; but instead of being crowded like those places, the Lazzaretto of Marseilles, during all my stay, was almost awfully solitary and still. There was scarcely a soul to be seen; and I have gone through court-yard, and enclosure after enclosure, and looked into I know not how many of the immense warehouses recently built for the reception of susceptible Levant merchandise, without seeing so much as a bale of goods. The Greek war; the piracies long exercised in all parts of the Archipelago; the impoverishment of the Eastern countries on the Mediterranean; bad crops of cotton in Egypt, and other circumstances, had held the trade of Marseilles (which is principally with the Levant) in check for some time, and may account for the loneliness of the Lazzaretto.

From this irksome solitude and restraint I was released at last, the time, so long to look forward to, having glided away as happier hours will do, though not so rapidly. On a beautiful morning, like that on which I had arrived at Marseilles, and at an early hour-after I had been fumigated with sulphur and I know not what—I was told by my dapper friend, the officer, that, on the payment of a long account of fees and expenses he presented, I was at liberty to walk out. I paid and went, experiencing, as I crossed the gloomy threshold of my prison, that thrilling, bounding joy, that one who has been a prisoner, though but for a short time, must feel.

C. M. F.

MY PENSION.

a year,

What, take away my Pension ! a word with you, Lord Grey ;
You cannot be so barbarous ! you mean not what you say.
I have enjoyed for seven years twelve hundred ound
'Twas granted me by George the Fourth, how can you interfere ?
I really hoped you 'd think it right to grant me an extension;
It never once occurr’d to me you'd take away my Pension !
The thing 's so inconvenient, you 'll force me to retrench,
Indeed retrenchment will not do, you 'll send me to the Bench !
How can you serve a Lady so! oh! if I were a man,
I'd call you out, my Noble Lord, and end you with your plan;
You might retrench'in many little ways that I could mention,
But what on earth possesses you to take away my Pension !
You ask about my services; but surely to intrude
And ask a Lady such a thing is little less than rude;
Of course I could explain to you,—My Lord, I say again,
If 'twas my pleasure so to do, of course I could explain ;
I'm sure I've many female friends of vastly less pretension,
Who've met with greater recompense—then don'i disturb my Pension.
July.--VOL. XXXII. NO. CXXVII.

E

Reform may all be very proper in a certain line,
I never can object to it, it's no affair of mine;
Reform the House of Commons, and correct abuses there,
But don't reform my little house in Green-street, Grosvenor-square.
Don't seize my jewels to allay the popular dissension-
You can't appease the Radicals with my poor little Pension.
The Revolutionists abroad have stirr'd up all this fuss,
But can your Lordship tell me what are Paris mobs to us?
Because the papers bore one so about the row at Brussels,
Must English ladies interfere with Foreign people's bustles ?
Now be assured, my Noble Lord, 'twas folly set the French on;
You really are not call'd upon to take away my Pension.
Propriety might prompt your economical design
In many cases doubtless,-but believe me not in mine;
Were I alone, I now might make a sacrifice, 'tis true,
But all my Family, you know, have little pensions too;
My Brothers and my Cousins would go mad were I to mention
The revolutionary scheme of giving up a Pension !
I think it would be setting an extremely bad example
In times like these, when people are endeavouring to trample
On all our ancient usages,—and raising such a storm
About the Place and Pension List, and Radical Reforin,-
I say, my Lord, that I should feel deserving reprehension
If I-by these intimidated—threw away my Pension.
I'm quite convinced the only way of setting matters right,
And making common people see things in a proper light,
Is, keeping up the ancient aristocracy of course,
And keeping down plebeians with a military force :
The Lower Orders really are so dull of comprehension,
They can't see the utility of granting me a Pension.
The truth is this—(you must not deem these few remarks intrusive)
The Aristocracy are not sufficiently exclusive,
They call on Mistress this and that, and curtsey at a ball
To people who, in point of fact, are nobodies at all!
I never could perceive the use of smiling condescension-
It makes the upstarts insolent, they cavil at a Pension !
When I am at my country seat, I shun this growing evil,
No member of the middling rauks presumes to call me civil ;
I never call on them, and if one dares pay me a visit,
She comes in some old-fashion'd gown, and I and Laura quiz it;
And at the Race-ball once a year I sit the upper bench on,
In high unbending dignity,--so I deserve my Pension.
Now pray, my Lord, consider this, you ’re ruined if you grant
Concessions of the sweeping kind the common people want;
The Aristocracy must not be interfered with thus,
Pray tell me what are starving individuals to us!
To pacify the Radicals, and end all this contention,
We'll call my little income by some other name than Pension.
Of course, my Lord, you can retrench in ev'ry other way,
The Clerks in Public Offices may scribble on half-pay;
The Captains and the Cornets, and the Curates may be fleeced,
(The incomes of the Bishops, by the by, should be increased,)
I see you are convinced, my Lord, and through your intervention
I trust, in spite of Mr. Hume, you 'll let me keep my Pension.

T. H. B.

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