Page images
PDF
EPUB

on the village and on the church-yard; on the in his experience," and that he “never happy home of Cecilia Vaughan, on the lonely knew it.” It was not so much the young grave of Alice Archer! Yes; for before the lady's death as its cause, on which, could winter came she had gone to that land where he have been content with so meagre a winter never comes. Her long domestic tragedy was ended. She was dead; and with her subject, he might have constructed the had died her secret sorrow and her secret love. long contemplated romance, and that Kavanagh never knew what wealth of affection cause, we are told, died with her. What for him faded from the world when she depart- then have we to do with these impertinent ed; Cecilia never knew what fidelity of friends moralities, and why is Mr. Churchill's inship, what delicate regard, what gentle magna- evitable ignorance of the affair passed nimity, what angelic patience had gone with her into the grave; Mr. Churchill never knew, over, and the “ nearness” of the event that, while he was exploring the Past for rec

commented upon as preventing its being ords of obscure and unknown martyrs, in his clothed and suited to his purpose—its own village, near his own door, before his own “familiarily,” withal, rendering it too eyes, one of that silent sisterhood had passed “ trivial” to satisfy him. This is absolute away into oblivion, unnoticed and unknown.

gassing.” It reminds us of Joseph Sur“ How often, ah, how often, between the de- face's eternal “For the man who=;" and sire of the heart and its fulfilment, lies only the briefest space of time and distance, and yet the

with Sir Peter, we are ready to exclaim, desire remains forever unfulfilled ! It is so

“Oh, curse your sentiment!" near that we can touch it with the hand, and The displayful morality of Mr. Longyet so far away that the eye cannot perceive it. fellow's poetry has frequently been noWhat Mr. Churchill most desired was before ticed. In most of his minor poems—in him. The romance he was longing to find “The Voices of the Night” particularly, and record had really occurred in his neighbor- the beautiful moral so characteristically hood, among his own friends. It had been set involved and interwoven with the theme, like a picture into the framework of his life, inclosed within his own experience. But he

instead of being left to diffuse its own incould not see it as an object apart from him- fluence over the mind of the reader, is self; and as he was gazing at what was remote drawn out separately, and suspended like and strange and indistinct, the nearer incidents a label indicating the nature of that which of aspiration, love, and death, escaped him. in its own exquisite flavor and coloring They were too near to be clothed by the im- sufficiently declares itself. In Churchill's agination with the golden vapors of romance ; for the familiar seems trivial, and only the private meditations we notice the same distant and unknown completely fill and satisfy Laconics in the thirteenth chapter. They

to the mind.”

are well worth preserving, and we have a Viola says, “she never told her love,” | fancy that they have been preserved a &c., and knowing that she speaks of her. | long while ; just as ladies lay aside exself, we are touched with a feeling of her quisite old needlework till it is in danger of truth and delicacy; but how, if Alice wearing out from disuse, and then fabricate "never unclasped the book of her secret agreeable lounges and cushions on which soul,” is Mr. Longfellew supposed to have to display it; no one ever suspecting (undivined it? The artist should know that less it be some prying, inquisitive sister the charm of his picture is to be life-like. who, ten to one, has used the same innoWe voluntarily give ourselves to the pe- cent artifice herself) that the lounge was rusal of a fiction, and losing that conscious made for the embroidery, instead of the ness as we proceed, should never be per- embroidery for the lounge. mitted for a moment to recall it: for the time the imaginary must stand for the

“ Mr. Churchill had really put up in his real, and no inconsiderate assertion of the study the old white, wine-glass-shaped pulpit. author should dispel the illusion. Why note-book, recording his many meditations with

He made use of it externally as a should Mr. Churchill be reproached for

a pencil on the white panels. The following “ransacking the records of obscure mar

will serve as a specimen of his pulpit elotyrs," instead of chronicling the passage of quence: this remarkable romance which he knew

Morality without religion is only a kind of nothing about? while we are informed, dead-reckoning--an endeavor to find our place on the same page, that it was " enclosed on a cloudy sea by measuring the distance we

have run, but without any observation of the much larger than the book itself; as Sancho heavenly bodies.

Panza, with his eyes blinded, beheld from his “Many readers judge of the power of a book

wooden horse the earth no larger than a grain

of mustard seed, and the men and women on by the shock it gives their feelings--as some savage tribes determine the power of muskets

it as large as hazel-nuts. by their recoil; that being considered the best

" Like an inundation of the Indus is the which fairly prostrates the purchaser.

course of Time. We look for the homes of " Men of genius are often dull and inert in our childhood, they are gone ; for the friends of society; as the blazing meteor, when it de our childhood, they are gone. The loves and scends to earth, is only a stone.

animosities of youth, where are they? Swept

away like the camps that had been pitched in “With many readers, brilliancy of style the sandy bed of the river. passes for atiluence of thought; they mistake buttercups in the grass for immeasurable gold “ As no saint can be canonized until the mines under ground.

Devil's Advocate has exposed all his evil deeds, “ The motives and purposes of authors are and showed why he should not be made a saint, not always 80 pure and high, as, in the en so no poet can take his station among the gods thusiasm of youth, we sometimes imagine. To until the critics have said all that can be said many the trumpet of fame is nothing but a tin, against him.” horn to call them home, like laborers from the field. at dinner-time ; and they think themselves lucky to get the dinner.

Mr. Churchill's use of the old church “ The rays of happiness, like those of light, its dimensions may reasonably be supposed

pulpit is preposterously improbable, since are colorless when unbroken.

to have equalled the capacity of his study “ Critics are sentinels in the grand army of to receive it, and greatly to have exceedletters, stationed at the corners of newspapers ed the width of an inner door. It is and reviews, to challenge every new author.

laughable to observe with what fore“The country is lyric--the town dramatic. thought and labor it is brought up, and When mingled, they make the most perfect made to serve in presenting with an easy, musical drama.

natural air these meditations, which, after “ The natural alone is permanent. Fan- all, we read with little interest, because tastic idols may be worshipped for a while; but however beautiful or brilliant in themat length they are overturned by the continual selves, they stand separate and disconand silent progress of Truth, as the grim statues of Copan have been pushed from their nected. Brought in as illustrations, such pedestals by the growth of forest-tress, whose things possess a charm which is lost when seeds were sown by the wind in the ruined we see them alone.

Forced upon us walls.

without propriety they become weari“ The every-day cares and duties, which

some. Scattered pearls are of less value men call drudgery, are the weights and coun than when drawn together by the thread terpoises of the clock of time, giving its pendu- of connection, their beauty being enhanced lum a true vibration, and its hands a regular by the union of a purpose. Another obmotion ; and when they cease to hang upon jection might be offered to this “ pulpit the wheels, the pendulum no longer swings, eloquence” as it is facetiously termed, in the hands no longer move, the clock stands

that it draws attention from the story and still. 6 The same object, seen from the three differ-fore us in their stead, which, however

its personages, and brings the author beent points of view--the Past, the Present, and the Future-often exhibits three different faces agrecable to us, might not, on the present to us; like those sign-boards over shop doors, occasion, be convenient to himself. Mr. which represent the face of a lion as we ap

Churchill never commences his romance ; proach, of a man when we are in front, and of but we catch a glimpse of Mr. Longfellow, an ass when we have passed.

seated in Mr. Churchill's study, extracting “ In character, in manners, in style, in all from his common-place book material for things, the supreme excellence is simplicity. the pages of his own. “ Some critics have the habit of rowing ap

The sentimentality of our principal drathe Heliconian rivers wiih their backs turned, matis personæ is exhibited in a rather so as to see the landscape precisely as the poet spiritless pic-nic held at the “ Roaring did not see it. Others see faults in a book, Brook,” in the neighboring town of West

one.

wood. The description of the place, and of Miss Sally Manchester, and the house the drive to it, is lively and poetical : in which, with Alice and her mother, she

resided : “ Every State and almost every county of New England has its Roaring Brook--a “ The old house they lived in, with its four mountain streamlet overhung by woods, im- sickly Lombardy poplars in front, suggested peded by a mill, encumbered by fallen trees, gloomy and mournful thoughts. It was one but ever racing, rushing, roaring down of those houses that depress you as you enter, through gurgling gullies, and filling the

as if many persons bad died in it-sombre, forest with its delicious sound and fresh desolate, silent. The very clock in the hall ness; the drinking place of home-returning had a dismal sound, gasping and catching its berds; the mysterious haunt of squirrels breath at times, and striking the hour with a and blue-jays; the sylvan retreat of school. violent, determined blow, reminding one of girls, who frequent it on summer holidays, and Jael driving the nail into the head of Sisera. mingle their restless thoughts, their overflow “ One other inmate the house had, and only iny fancies, their fair imaginings, with its rest This was Sally Manchester, or Miss less, exuberant and rejoicing stream.

Sally Manchester, as she preferred to be called ; “ Fairmeadow had no Roaring Brook. As its an excellent chamber-maid and a very bad name indicates, it was too level a land for that. cook, for she served in both capacities. She But the neigboring town of Westwood, lying was, indeed, an extraordinary woman, of large more inland, and among the hills, had one of frame and masculine features ; one of those the fairest and fullest of all the brooks that who are born to work, and accept their inheritroar.

ance of toil as if it were play, and who conse"Over warm uplands, smelling of clover quently, in the language of domestic recomand mint; through cool glades, still wet with mendations, are usually styled “a treasure, if the rain of yesterday; along the river ; across you can get her.” A treasure she was to the rattling and tilting planks of wooden this family; for she did all the housework, bridges; by orchards ; by the gates of fields, and in addition took care of the cow and the with the tall mullen growing at the bars; by poultry, occasionally venturing into the field of stone walls overrun with privet and barberries; veterinary practice, and administering lampin sun and beat, in shadow and coolness, for- oil to the cock, when she thought he crowed ward drove the happy party on that pleasant hoarsely. She had on her forehead what is summer morning.

sometimes denominated a

“ widow's peak”— “ At length they reached the Roaring Brook. that is to say, her hair grew down to a point From a gorge in the mountains, through a in the middle; and on Sundays she appeared long, winding gallery of birch, and beech, and at church in a blue poplin gown, with a large pine, leaped the bright, brown waters of the pink bow on what she called “ the congregajubilant streamlet ; out of the woods, across the tion side of her bonnet." Her mind was plain, undera the rude bridge of logs, into the strong, like her person; her disposition not woods again--a day between two nights. With sweet, but, as is sometimes said of apples by it went a song that made the heart sing like- way of recommendation, a pleasant sour.” wise; a song of joy, and exultation, and freedom; a continuous and unbroken song of life, and pleasure, and perpetual youth."

The family mansion of the Vaughans

must be familiar to every one. We feel The pedantry of the two scholars breaks as if we had seen it and been in it a thouout immediately on their arrival :

sand times: “ How indescribably beautiful this brown

“The old family mansion of the Vaughans water is!" exclaimed Kavanagh. “ It is like stood a little out of town, in the midst of a wine, or the nectar of the gods of Olympus; pleasant farm. The county road was not near as if the falling Hebe had poured it from the enough to annoy; and the rattling wheels and goblet.”

little clouds of dust seemed like friendly salu“ More like the mead or metheglin of the tations from travellers as they passed. They northern gods," said Mr. Churchill

, spilled spoke of safety and companionship, and took from the drinking-horns of Valhalla.”

away all loneliness from the solitude. * But all the ladies thought Kavanagh's

“On three sides, the farm was inclosed by comparison the better of the two, and in fact willow and alder hedges, and the flowing wall the best that could be made."

of a river; nearer the house were groves clear of all underwood, with rocky knolls, and

breezy bowers of beech; and atar off the blue Most of the personal and local descrip- hills broke the horizon, creating secret longtions are felicitous. We quote the sketchings for what lay beyond them, and filling the

mind with pleasant thoughts of Prince Rasse Moreover, Mr. Hiram Adolphus Hawkins las and the Happy Valley.

was a poet; so much a poet, that, as his sister “ The house was one of the few old houses frequently remarked, he'* spoke blank verse in still standing in New England; a large, square the bosom of his family.” The general tone bnilding, with a portico in front, whose door in of his productions was sad, desponding, perhaps summer time stood open from morning until slightly morbid. How could it be otherwise night. A pleasing stillness reigned about it; with the writings of one who had never been and soft gusts of pine-embalmed air and dis- the world's friend, nor the world his? who tant cawings from the crow-haunted moun looked upon himself as “a pyramid of mind on tains, filled its airy and ample halls.”

the dark desert of despair ?" and who, at the

age of twenty-five, had drunk the bitter draught The description of young Hawkins is of life to the dregs, and dashed the goblet capital :

down? His productions were published in the “There was in the village a domestic and Poet's Corner of the Fairmeadow Advertiser; resident adorer, whose love for himself, for and it was a relief to know, that, in private Miss Vaughan, and for the beautiful, had trans- life, as his sister remarked, he was by no formed his name from Hiram A. Hawkins to

means the censorious and moody person some H. Adolphus Hawkins. He was a dealer in of his writings might imply.” English linens and carpets ; a profession which of itself fills the mind with ideas of domestic

The interview between Churchill and comfort. His waistcoats were made like Lord Mr. Hathaway tempts us, but it is long Melbourne's in the illustrated English papers, and would be injured by abbreviation ; and his shiny hair went off to the left in a su we must therefore refer our readers to the perb sweep, like the hand-rail of a bannister. volume. He wore many rings on his fingers, and several breast-pins and gold chains disposed his book with a moral :

True to himself Mr. Longfellow ends about his person. On all his bland physiognomy was stamped, as on some of his linens, “ Soft finish for family use." Everything Stay, stay the present instant ! about him spoke the lady's man. He was, in Imprint the marks of wisdom on its wings ! fact, a perfect ring-dove; and, like the rest of Oh, let it not elude thy grasp, but like his species, always walked up to the female, The good old patriarch upon record, and, bowing his head, swelled out his white Hold the fleet angel fast until he bless thee !" crop, and uttered a very plaintive murmur.

THE GREAT PACIFIC RAILROAD.

In the spring of 1844 Mr. Asa Whit our political friends as are not already faney, a merchant of New York, embarked miliar with its details. for China in the prosecution of an enter Conceiving that the general government prise whose successful termination, as it cannot undertake to construct a road to seemed to him, would be the commence connect the eastern with the western coast ment of a new period in the history of of the Atlantic, except at an expense too all the nations of the globe. This enter- vast to be thought of with its present reprise was no other than a design to turn sources, Mr. Whitney proposes, with the the commerce of the world from its pres- aid of his own private fortune, to attempt ent course about the two capes, and to lead the enterprise himself, but in such a manit, by the inducements of superior ease, ner, as to make the work pay for itself rapidity and cheapness of transportation, almost from the beginning. across the northern portion of the North To rely upon individual enterprise for American continent. By an observation the accomplishment of works of internal upon the figure of the earth—our ad- | improvements may be regarded as almost venturous projector conceived the idea among the first principles of the creed of that the great highway of all the na- republicanism, nor will the spirit of our tions should be carried as near to the government permit it to engage in works northern circle as the increasing cold of which can as well or better be accomhigh latitudes would permit; those circles plished by individuals or by companies. of latitude which encompass the earth be Having selected a certain route, of which coming rapidly smaller as we move north we shall take occasion before concluding ward upon its sphere. The voyage to this article to show the advantages, Mr. China was undertaken by bim, chiefly | Whitney offers the government his plan, with a view to collect information upon or contract, to be passed by Congress, if the trade and resources of that vast em it so please them, into a law. pire, as well as of Japan, the South Sea By this proposed contract, the nation, Íslands, and other Asiatic countries; in or- through their government, are to sell to der to satisfy himself, and to persuade his our contractor, under certain reservations countrymen, of the advantages of opening and conditions, and at a price considerably a free and frequent intercourse with east- above its total estimated value, a strip ern Asia.

of land sixty miles in width, extending After two years had been spent in westward, from the foot of Lake Michigan these inquiries Mr. Whitney returned to to Puget Sound, near the Columbia River, America, and commenced a long and eager carried, of course, through one of the investigation of the merits and advantages northern passes of the Rocky Mountains. of the various routes across the continent. At len cents the acre, a price beyond its After he had communicated personally value as estimated by committees in Conwith the most experienced travellers, and gress, the land will bring by this sale, collected by travels in the wilderness, by $7,795,200 into the public treasury. The study, and by intercourse with every source greater part being wilderness, and totally of information at home, all particulars of unsalable until the road is made, a better value, he began to lay his plans before the bargain for the nation could not be made. people and before Congress.

The payments will of course be made From a careful perusal of his own pub- gradually, and as the road progresses ; lished account of the project, aided by the each provision of the contract to be enpersonal explanation of the author, we forced by the government. gather the following idea of it, which we The second feature of the plan is the commend to the strict attention of such of I laying of a grand railroad VOL. IV. NO. I.

5

upon this

NEW SERIES.

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »