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everything else ; sometimes they are in good taste, but, when otherwise, there is always this comfort, that they are sure to be followed by a reaction.
It is possible, therefore, that the admiration which is expressed of late years for Spenser, may be a mere fashion ; but we are more inclined to believe, that it is the sober judgment of an age of sound criticism, of better morals, and of a more elevated taste. At all events, such is the judgment of the age.
The Spenserian stanza has been used by a throng of writers, from the humble aspirant to a place in the “poet's corner newspaper, up to the sublime and lonely Byron. A host of critics have been busy in sounding the praises of the old poet ; beautiful editions of his works have been published, and, what is more important, there is good reason to believe that they have been read. And Spenser is now universally acknowledged, both in England and in this country, to belong to the first class of poets.
ART. VIII. - A Ncw
Who'll Follow ? or, Glimpses of Western Life. By Mrs. Mary CLAVERS, an Actual Settler. New York : C. S. Francis. 12mo.
We do not know whether Clavers is an assumed or a real name; but we are certain, that the book which bears it will confer on its author no unenviable reputation. It is a work of striking merit ; such as we do not often meet with in these days of repetition and imitation. The author is a person who sees for herself, and understands what she sees. She has the happy art of representing what she undertakes to describe, with a fidelity and reality, which at once fix the reader's attention, and make him feel, that no common intellectual power is at work. With literary accomplishments, and a capacity for enjoying all the pleasures of refined society, she has gone into the western wilds, and shown us what are the resources and the enjoyments of the backwoodsman. In doing this, she spreads no romantic coloring over the scenes she describes ; she has no paradise to offer him " who 'll follow"; and, on the other hand, she does not write in the churlish tone commonly inspired by extravagant hopes, which have been disappointed. Far from it. The real enjoyments of forest lise are set forth in their true colors; but the real inconveniences, and annoyances, and sacrifices, which belong to it, are not extenuated. The roads of the West, - if roads they may be called, — the unfathomable mud-holes, and the unspeakable corduroys, which will leave imperishable memorials in the recollections, if not on the body, of whoever has passed over, round, or through them, are presented to us in her pages, with all their terrible realities. We feel, while we read, an ex post facto aching of the bones ; we are retrospectively bespaltered with the irremovable mud; our galligaskins — but we are not in a Western wagon, behind an ox-team, as we began to fancy, so vivid are the recollections of these things, which Mrs. Clavers has called
up. But the talent of Mrs. Clavers is by no means confined to the delineation of scenery ; to giving pictures of the outward discomforts of Western life. She is a nice observer of human character. The free and easy ways of the backwoodsman are capitally hit off'; and the oddities and peculiarities, that such a life as theirs naturally produces, are represented in the liveliest manner, and without the least exaggeration. The language of the dialogue is in perfect keeping with the scene and characters. It is a rich form of the Yankee, modified by Western usages.
The following passages will give the inexperienced reader some idea of what is meant by a mud-hole.
“Since I have casually alluded to a Michigan mud-hole, I may as well enter into a detailed memoir on the subject, for the benefit of future travellers, who, Aying over the soil on railroads, may look slightingly back upon the achievements of their predecessors. In the settlements,' a mud-hole is considered as apt to occasion an unpleasant jolt, - a breaking of the thread of one's reverie, — or, in extreme cases, a temporary stand-still, or even an overturn of the rash or the unwary. Here, on approaching one of these characteristic features of the · West,' – how much does that expression mean to include ? I never have been able to discover its limits, driver stops, alights, walks up to the dark gulf, and around it, if he can get round it. He then seeks a long pole and sounds it, measures it across, to ascertain how its width compares with
the length of his wagon, tries whether its sides are perpendicular, as is usually the case, if the road is much used. . If he find it not more than three feet deep, he remounts cheerily, encourages his team, and in they go, with a plunge and a shock rather apt to damp the courage of the inexperienced. If the hole be narrow, the hinder wheels will be quite lifted off the ground by the depression of their precedents, and so remain until, by unwearied chirruping and some judicious touches of 'the string,' the horses are induced to struggle as for their lives ; and, if the fates are propitious, they generally emerge on the opposite side, dragging the vehicle, or, at least, the fore-wheels, after them. When I first penetrated the interior,' to use an indigenous phrase, all I knew of the wilds was from Hoffman's Tour, or Captain Hall's 'graphic' delineations ; I had some floating idea of driving a barouche-andfour anywhere through the oak-openings,' and seeing the murdered Banquos of the forest ’ haunting the scenes of their departed strength and beauty. But I confess, these pictures, touched by the glowing pencil of fancy, gave me but incorrect notions of a real journey through Michigan.
“Our vehicle was not, perhaps, very judiciously chosen ; at least, we have since thought so. It was a light, high-hung carriage, of the description commonly known as a buggy or shandrydan, names of which I would be glad to learn the etymology. I seriously advise any of my friends, who are about fitting to Wisconsin or Oregon, to prefer a heavy lumber-waggon, even for the use of the ladies of the family ; very little aid or consolation being derived from making a 'genteel appearance in such cases.
* At the first encounter of such a mud-hole as I have attempted to describe, we stopped in utter despair. My companion, indeed, would fain have persuaded me, that the many wheel-tracks which passed through the formidable gulf were proof positive that it might be forded. I insisted, with all a woman's obstinacy, that I could not and would not make the attempt, and alighted accordingly, and tried to find a path on one side or the other. But in vain, even putting out of the question my paper-soled shoes, - sensible things for the woods. The ditch on each side was filled with water and quite too wide to jump over ; and we were actually contemplating a return, when a man in an immense bear-skin cap and a suit of deer's hide, sprang from behind a stump just within the edge of the forest. He 'poled' himself over the ditch in a moment, and stood beside us, rifle in hand, as wild and rough a specimen of humanity as one would wish to encounter in a strange and lonely road, just at the shadowy dusk of the evening.
I did not scream, though I own I was prodigiously frightened. But our stranger said immediately, in a gentle tone and with a French accent, 'Me watch deer, — you want to cross ?' On receiving an answer in the affirmative, he ran in search of a rail, which he threw over the terrific mud-hole, - aided me to walk across by the help of his pole, showed my husband where to plunge, - waited till he had gone safely through, and
slow circles dimpled o'er the quaking mud,' – then took himself off by the way he came, declining any compensation, with a most polite 'Rien, rien !' This instance of true and genuine and generous politeness, I record for the benefit of all bearskin caps, leathern jerkins, and cowhide boots, which ladies from the eastward world may hereafter encounter in Michigan." - pp. 11 - 13.
The following will give an idea of tavern accommodations, not altogether agreeable to Dr. Johnson's notion of the felicity of tavern life.
“The sun had just set when we stopped at the tavern, and I then read the cause of my companion's quizzical look. My hotel was a log house of diminutive size, with corresponding appurtenances ; and from the moment we entered its door I was in a fidget to know where we could possibly sleep. then new in Michigan. Our good hostess rose at once with a nod of welcome.
". Well ! is this Miss Clavers ?' (my husband had been there before,) 'well! I want to know! why, do tell if you 've been upsot in the mash? why, I want to know !- and didn't ye hurt ye none ? Come, gals ! fly round, and let 's git some supper.
"• But you 'll not be able to lodge us, Mrs. Danforth,' said I, glancing at three young men and some boys, who appeared to have come in from their work, and who were lounging on one side of the immense open chimney:
Why, bless your heart ! yes I shall ; don't you fret yourself ; I'll give you as good a bed as any body need want.'
“I cast an exploring look, and now discovered a door opposite the fire.
"Jist step in here,' said Mrs. Danforth, opening this door; ‘jist come in, and take off your things, and lop down, if you 're a mind to, while we 're getting supper.'
“I followed her into the room, if room it might be called, a strip partitioned off, just six feet wide, so that a bed was accurately fitted in at each end, and a square space remained vacant between the two.
". We've been getting this room made lately, and I tell VOL. L. - NO. 106.
you it's real nice, so private, like!' said our hostess, with a complacent air. 'Here,' she continued, “in this bed the gals sleeps, and that 's my bed and the old man's ; and then here's a trundle-bed for Sally and Jane,' and suiting the action to the word, she drew out the trundle-bed as far as our standingplace would allow, to show me how convenient it was.
Here was my grand problem still unsolved! If ‘me and the old man,' and the girls, and Sally and Jane, slept in this strip, there certainly could be no room for more, and I thought with dismay of the low-browed roof, which had seemed to me to rest on the tops of the window-fraines. And, to make a long story short, though manifold were the runnings up and down, and close the whisperings before all was ready, I was at length ushered up a steep and narrow stick-ladder, into the sleeping apartment. Here, surrounded by beds of all sizes, spread on the floor, was a bedstead, placed under the peak of the roof, in order to gain space for its height, and round this state-bed, for such it evidently was, although not supplied with pillows at each end, all the men and boys I had seen below stairs, were to repose. Sundry old quilts were fastened by forks to the rafters, in such a way as to serve as a partial screen, and with this I was obliged to be content. Excessive fatigue is not fastidious. I called to mind some canal-boat experiences, and resigned myself to the honey-heavy dew of slumber.'
“I awoke with a sense of suffocation, - started up,—all was dark as the Hall of Eblis. I called, no answer came ; I shrieked ! and up ran one of the 'gals.'
on. What on airth 's the matter?
"Where am I ? What ails me ?' said I, beginning to feel a little awkward when I heard the damsel's voice.
Why, I guess you was scairt, wa’n't ye?'
Why am I in the dark ? Is it morning ?' "Morning? why the boys has been gone away this hour, and, you see, there ain't no winder up here, but I'll take down this here quilt, and then I guess you 'll be able to see some.' “ She did so, and I began to discern
"A faint shadow of uncertain light, which, after my eyes had become somewhat accustomed to it, served
very well to dress by. “Upon descending the ladder, I found our breakfast prepared on a very neat-looking table, and Mrs. Danforth with her clean apron on, ready to do the honors.
Seeing me looking round with inquiring eye, she said,