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again, the man who must always be touching things to avert an evil chance, is he not absolutely real and yet absolutely Borrovian? Nothing in these strange books is too unremote from experience to be true, and though Dr Knapp has not yet proved his point, we are content to believe with him that 'Lavengro' and 'Romany Rye' are a faithful record of things seen and heard. No one who had not bought a horse a bargain and sold it at a proper figure could have written of Horncastle Fair with Borrow's enthusiasm.
Good fortune, then, never deserted Borrow, when he went upon the road; and his delight yielded to nothing save the "horrors"—that imaginary "fear," which more than once was near to turning his hand against himself. For even if he encountered no human curiosity, no old man who had mastered Chinese yet could not read the clock, and no Magyar to wile away the hours with new words, he still knew the vivid joy of the open air. "Life is sweet, brother, said Jasper. There's day and night, brother, both sweet things; sun, moon, and stars, all sweet things; there's likewise a wind on the heath." A wind on the heath! That is the characteristic phrase. A wind on the heath, which even the blind man can feel! These five words should be placed on the title-page of all Borrow's works, for not only did he feel the wind on the heath more acutely than any other man, but he knew well how to give
the impression to his readers. Truly the wind blows not only on the heath, but through all the pages of 'Lavengro,' driving before it the author's pedantry and bitterness, and leaving the ineffaceable image of a covered sky and fair green turf.
So he loved the heath, and all that passed thereon. And was it not upon the heath that the boxers took their stand, -the boxers whom, despite Dr Knapp's reference to duty, Borrow loved as his brothers? Nothing in the world moved him like a battle, and his chapter on pugilism is assuredly his masterpiece. Hazlitt, a master too, sketched a fight, and sketched it with his richer resources of style and words. But while his picture is more compact and of a better finish than Borrow's, Borrow's vision is incomparably quicker and more alert. For he has touched the prizering with the fingers of romance. He has purged it of prosaic horror and common blackguardism. He has sung a pæan to the fist, which carries you along with the right Homeric lilt. "Hail to thee, six-foot Englishman of the brown eye!" Has not that the exact touch? Does it not put you instantly in the proper humour? And where, outside the Iliad,' shall you match this famous image: "He strikes his foe on the forehead, and the report of the blow is like the sound of a hammer against a rock"? And the leonine Cribb, and Belcher, the Teucer of the Ring, and Jack Randall,
the terrible Randall, and, best of all, that "true piece of English stuff, Tom of Bedford, sharp as Winter, kind Spring" he knows them all, and draws them as one who understands their dignity and grandeur.
They, too, felt the wind on the heath; they, too, knew the joy of the open sky. "There they come, the bruisers, far from London; way, some another: some of tip-top reputation came with peers in their chariots; . others came in their own gigs, driving their own bits of blood, and I heard one say: 'I have driven through at a heat the whole hundred and eleven miles, and only stopped to bait twice.'" There is enthusiasm in every line of this rhapsody an enthusiasm which is never aroused by strange tongues or curious pedantry, but which responds instantly to the aspect of blood-horse or boxer, or even to the vague memory of Jerry Abershaw and GallopBut there are two ing Dick. heroes, two kings of the road, who inspire Borrow to his highest flights,-Jasper Petulengro and his black pal Tawno, "the horse-leaper of the world." When these two are upon the scene, the narrative never flags; it trots as fast as the famous horse which the author bought of the green-coated innkeeper, and we must read fast indeed if we would not lag as far behind as the cob bestridden by the fellow in velveteen.
accomplished for the Bible Society. At first sight he does not reveal the missionary spirit; and though his hatred of Popery gave a zest to his Spanish crusade, it was the love of adventure rather than a zeal for the Gospel which quickened his footsteps. To force a prohibited book upon an indifferent people was an enterprise after his own heart, and by the way there were gypsies and horsecopers to encounter, or cavaliers and señoras to reprove. But he was assuredly a sore trial to his worthy employers, and the scraps of correspondence given us by Dr Knapp are unconsciously humorous. At the outset Borrow had not acquired the lingo of the place, and his letters were not always designed to be read before a pious committee. He gave particular offence by expressing a hope that his work would be useful to "the Deity, to man, and to himself," and you are tempted to ask, "Which did he think mattered most of the three?" Above all, he aroused the wrath of the eminent secretary,-one Brandram,-who administered continual rebukes. "Luck," said this eminent divine, "is a scandal to Englishmen," and knew not that he was addressing an inspired traveller, whose head was packed with the superstitions of all the ages, and who believed (maybe) that the clouds foreshow the "dukkeripens" of men.
"A series of Rembrandt pictures, interspersed here and there with a Claude "—that is his own description of 'Lavengro,' and the praise which
Borrow, then, was a wanderer, and his restless passion is enough to explain the work he
his confidence gave to his worth villainy of those who presumed is well deserved. Portraiture to judge ‘Lavengro’ without and landscape, indeed, were the a previous study of Armenian. arts at which he aimed ; and But he might have spared his though his portraiture has a vehemence. He is triumphantly touch of Rembrandt's depth absolved from the great transand solemnity, his landscape is gression. Never once did he far away from Claude's classi- purposely represent himself cal simplicity. What sym- what he was not, either for his pathy should this wild lover of own glory or for the discredit romance feel for the Virgil of of others. At times he shows painting? But he chose Claude, a magnificent lack of self-knowno doubt, as a convenient sym- ledge, and befogs his character bol, and keeping his eye upon with qualities which were alien reality as resolutely as Rem- to it. But these mistakes are brandt's own countrymen, he a clear proof of sincerity: his forgot the Frenchman's stately books have no humbug about temples and grandiose palaces. them—not even the humbug of For they, in his eyes, would an accurate style. have savoured of “humbug,” His appearance is as familiar and he was determined to write
as his character. He book without “humbug,” was tall, handsome, and aththough he recognised the su- letic. A pair of dark eyes preme difficulty of the task. flashed from out a fair comHumbug in truth his plexion, and his hair was prebogey; he saw it everywhere, maturely touched with white. and was constantly suspecting He delighted to live in it in himself. What the sin atmosphere of movement and against the Holy Ghost was mystery, and Lieut. - Colonel for Peter Williams, what the Napier, who met him in 1839, borrowing of another's thought and who has left a sympathetic seemed to the unhappy writer portrait, could find no better who could never keep his fin- name for him than the Ungers from touching the objects known. And truly he was an about him, such was humbug insoluble puzzle. He would to George Borrow. Whenever reveal to no man the goal or he thought of it, he put him- purpose of his travel.
He self in an attitude of self-de- spoke French, Italian, and fence, and seemed as if he would English with
equal refute a charge which had never accent that he did not betray been brought. His famous ap- his own He addressed pendix to “The Romany Rye' the Spanish landlord in Castilis but a superfluous protestian, and gave orders to his against his favourite sin, and Greek servants in Romaic. His he is at as much pains to prove knowledge of the gypsies and himself a gentleman and their languages seemed more scholar as he is to denounce startling than his acquaintance Sir Walter Scott's Jacobitism, with Hindee, and it is not the folly of Radicals, or the strange that after four days
VOL. CLXV.-NO. MII.
spent in his society the British sets it down as the crowning officer gave the riddle up.
achievement of his life. “ The more I see of him the
He was always irascible and more I am puzzled. He ap- intolerant—a good hater, as we pears acquainted with every- have said, and sublimely carebody and everything, but un- less concerning the grounds of known to every one himself
. ... his hatreds. For instance, he In his dark and searching eye disliked sherry, and looked there is an almost supernatural upon sherry - drinkers with a penetration and lustre, which, positive contempt. Though a were I inclined to superstition, staunch Tory, he denounced might induce me to set down Jacobitism and Popery—“comits possessor as a second Mel- plines and Claverse moth.” And so he was a second hobbies of Oxford pedantry. Melmoth, as he was also Don Moreover, he execrated the
, Quixote and the Wandering memory of Wullie Wallace, and Jew.
suspected all London zanies of Thus romance clung about gentility. To those who in him as it clung about his books, his view had thwarted his yet it was not in the unrevealed career he was implacably hosmystery of his character that tile, and he embraced in a he took his keenest delight. common hatred all who bore He was still more proud of his a hated name. His vanity perphysical prowess. “ He has suaded him to believe that he been a great rider, walker, and was capable of teaching every swimmer,”—so he wrote in a lesson, and surely a second brief autobiography, with an
Mr Barlow was lost in this evident and just pleasure. tramp and horsebreaker. But Twice he saved the lives of his faults were the faults of a drowning men, and once "he hero, and they were based upon walked from London to Nor- the solid rock of egoism. To wich, a distance of one hundred reopen his books is to breathe and twelve miles, in
a purer and a larger air, to feel and-twenty hours. His entire the wind upon the immortal expenses in this expedition heath. And truly he deserved amounted to five -pence half- a better fate than an American penny, the only refreshments biographer. Yet we may spare which he took on the road con- modest gratitude for Dr sisting of a pint of ale, a roll Knapp, since he has shot down of bread, half a pint of milk, a vast heap of facts, whereon and two apples.” That is an some pearls may be discovered, exploit of which any man of and better still, he has sent us letters might be proud, and it back for a while to ‘Lavengro' is small wonder that Borrow and “The Romany Rye.'
ROMANCE OF THE MINES.
THE NEVADA SILVER BOOM.
WASHOE, which was destined selves were forced to own that to have a world-wide renown, the siftings were decidedly is believed to have taken its lighter in colour. Moreover, name from a wandering tribe the loose auriferous gravel had of Indians. It is a bleak range been changing to sticky clay, of hills, with an average height and, with many a curse, they of 5000 feet, running parallel tossed wide “the blue stuff,” to the Nevada on one side and which accumulated in to the Rockies on the other. garded refuse-heaps.
The igThe range is cut up
in all direc- norance was profound, and it tions by deep cañons and gul- seems almost incredible now that lies. The cities that afterwards the evidences did not penetrate sprang up immediately beneath their dull intelligences. For the the crests enjoy perhaps the grey shimmer of the depreciated vilest climate in the States. dust was due to the rich comThe summers are scorching, and bination of the white metal: the there is no shade. In winter, execrated blue stuff was so richly and indeed at all seasons, the impregnated with the overflow gales from the north, pleasantly of inexhaustible silver stores, known as the Virginian zephyrs, that it would have yielded them and confined between two mighty twice the profit of their gold. mountain-ranges, burst on the The hills, on the sides of which treeless plateau with incredible they were painfully scraping, fury, when the warmest clothes were pregnant with their lodes are no sort of protection. But of silver : everywhere interthe earlier prospectors kept to spersed through the reefs of the shelter of the gullies, for it quartz and porphyry were bonmust be remembered they were anzas of almost virgin ore. still searching for gold, and had How the existence of those no thought of the silver-reef. wonderful silver-reefs was first In one or two of these lateral realised is by no means clear, arroyos they struck it rich, and though much has been written Gold Cañon was the magnet on the subject. Comstock and which drew multitudes to the others who have left records of camps.
At first the yield was their investigations were notohighly satisfactory. But as the rious liars, and all that is cerwashers worked up the ravines, tain is that they are never to the gold - dust visibly deterio- be trusted. The story of all rated. San Francisco brokers, the miners who were first conwho had been buying for twenty cerned with the find is one of dollars an ounce, would now almost unchecked misfortune give little more than half the and bitter disappointments. money.
The workers them- All sold out for a comparative