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a variety of subjects, we intimated a desire to be allowed to cultivate his acquaintance during our residence at Paris. This, he was polite enough to say, would afford him pleasure equal to that expressed by us. It chanced that, on the following day, we were suddenly taken so ill as to lose all consciousness. Dr. de L-being resident in the neighbourhood, the people of the hotel sent for him as the nearest physician at hand. Under his treatment we speedily recovered. This circumstance led to a close intimacy between us. Among a variety of topics that formed the subject of our conversation, when together, that of animal mag
netism was at last mentioned.
"Have you any faith in it, Doctor?" we asked. "None in somnambulism and its wonders; none in the pretended psychological effects of animal magnetism; none in any of the various absurdities attached to Mesmerism: but that a principle does exist, of wonderful power and effect, and which may be termed animal magnetism, for want of a more appropriate name, I firmly believe; nay more, I employ it in my practice, but without the knowledge of my patients, or anybody else. You are the first to whom I have confessed as much; and you will no doubt be not a little surprised when I add, that I have very suc cessfully used it upon yourself. I say nothing about it, because I would not have the credit of being humbugged (donner dans le panneau) by the marvels coupled, in general opinion, with animal magnetism, which I must tell you is a purely physical effect, resulting from a cause implanted by nature, and common to all warm-blooded animals. There is nothing marvellous in it except its action; and there are various other effects in nature equally marvellous. Though he certainly covered it with a thick varnish of empiricism, Mesmer never dreamt of imputing any supernatural powers to animal magnetism."
"Why do you not," said we, "publish your opinions, and disclose what animal magnetism really is?"
"Because," Dr. de L—— replied, "I have no desire to be considered a quack; neither have I strength of mind or of body, had I even leisure, to wage a war of extermination, as it must be, against the prejudices of the anti-magnetists, and the absurd assumptions and pretended miracles which constitute the faith of the magnetists. I shall leave behind me copious materials, which they who will hereafter possess them may publish if they
"But what evidence do you offer of the existence of animal magnetism?"
"I hope to give you plenty before I have done; meanwhile, I will make the presence of the fluid sensible to you."
So saying, he held his fingers extended, with the ends within an inch of our forehead.
"Do you feel anything? he inquired. "Yes! there seems to issue a stream of cold wind," we replied, "from the tips of your fingers, similar to the wind produced by the electric fluid issuing from a metallic point, though not so strong."
"Precisely! that is the magnetic fluid."
A thought came at that moment which induced us to state what we had recently experienced and witnessed, during the operation of the provincial magnetiser, which we have already
WHO is it that comes mumping along in the race of the days, elothed in a sackcloth shirt, and new tights and dancing-pumpsa curious compound of mirth and melancholy, where grins and groans struggle for the mastery ;-a simpering widow-a laughing Don Quixote-a harlequin in reduced circumstances-the old man and his ass-to what shall I liken thee, mysterious vision, that hobbling unwillingly, flanked with two opinions like a handcuffed deserter between his guards, appeareth sorely puzzled, now listening to mortification, and now inclining to merry-making? O! Good-Friday, the rubric calleth thee a fast, but the profane insist on a traditional error of the press, and, reading feast, do eat and drink accordingly; but for fear of a mistake, or in compassion to tender consciences, considerately place salt-cel-I beg pardon, salt-cod-at the head of the table.
Time was, thou wert more honoured, and preachings at Paul's Cross proclaimed thy presence; but Paul's Cross has vanished, and sackcloth is in disrepute; and thou, oh! Good Friday, although thou dost in some sort keep thy state, yet art thou fallen from thy ancient observances. Thy honours are wrested from thee, and thy mortification is moth-eaten. And yet compunction still hangs upon those who violate the rigidity of thy ordinances. The Quaker boldly flings open his shop, and rejoices as greatly in the display of his broad window, as of his broad brim; but few are hardy enough to go all lengths with him. Many a door is open, but you may always see a lingering shrinkingness from a ful. exhiSome shroud themselves beneath the bition of the stores within. shelter of one-half of their shutters, others content themselves with two or three, whilst, even in the shops of the boldest, a little shutter may be detected screwed up in the extreme corner. school-boy, all agog for the enjoyment of his Easter Holidays, feels dubious on Good Friday, and whilst angling for tittlebats in the New River, seems uneasy at his post, and nervously jerking at the phantom of a nibble, fails in fixing the fish.
Thou art an anomaly, Janus-faced day; one side of thee looketh grimly on Lent, the other gaily on Easter, and the very hot crossbuns we devour at breakfast, prove that thou art not altogether a fast. Some there are whom stern necessity compels to work on this day, but whilst they lay the flattering unction of Easter Monday to their souls, they toil unwillingly. The comfortable closed shutters of others, seem to scorn their naked openness, and the very printers' devils, who among other devilries, share this curse, look dejected as they fit to and fro, amidst their dingy
Strange that in England, such opposite opinions should be held respecting the observance of this day; opinions varying from even Catholic strictness, (far exceeding that which regulates a Catholic Sunday,) through all degrees, to no observance at all. It is, perhaps, best as it is; but we are far from desiring that it should cease to be regarded. Each man will use it as seems best to him. and the mere circumstance of its being a closed day for all public business, gives the necessary liberty, and none can forget the cause where public holidays are so rare. The most careless cannot forget the purpose of the observance of Good Friday. The recollection of the great sacrifice is revived, in the minds of the most unthinking; and, as we have before observed, there is, even "Your sickness and that of your friend," replied M. de L-among those who do not think it right or necessary to celebrate it were no doubt occasioned by your being too near the clumsy operator, who, by his foolish passes, was flinging about his own magnetic fluid. When beyond its influence, you were neither of you affected. The faintness and subsequent catharsis of the patient proceeded from a more direct application of the same I have frequently produced the same effects upon particular idiosyncrasies. Passes are unnecessary in communicating the magnetic fluid; the electric circle is alone sufficient. But I will explain to you what I consider animal magnetism to be, and state to you some of its ordinary effects."
This article having already far exceeded our usual limits, we will give the doctor's explanation in our next, which will close the subject.
I CANNOг contentedly frame a prayer for myself in particular, without a catalogue for my friends, nor request a happiness wherein my sociable disposition doth not desire the fellowship of my neighbour. I never hear the toll of a passing, though in my mirth, without my prayers and best wishes for the departing spirit: I cannot go to cure the body of my patient, but I forget my profession, and call unto God for his soul.-Sir T. Browne.
by religious observances, a disinclination to turn the day into one of revelry, albeit it is a leisure day-with us an oasis in the wilderness.
Many who make it a practice, and a praiseworthy practice, to worship God in public on Good Friday, yet hold it not improper to occupy the rest of the day in secular employment or amusement. With the suburban population of a city, it is the great gardening day with many, who never on any other occasion have time or opportunity to do more to their flower-beds, than pluck out a weed, or remove an unsightly stone laid bare by a summer shower. On the afternoon of a Good Friday, many a good citizen plies his unpractised hands, and sows his annuals in the little beds of his straitly enclosed garden. His wife and children hover round him, and many a reproof he undergoes from the more experienced matron, when she finds him sowing sweet-peas close to the boxborder, and mignionette in the centre; but all is taken in good part, and the blunderer promises to be wiser-next Good Friday.
When Good Friday arrives, we feel convinced, in spite of any ill-natured north-east wind that will blow, that spring is come; perchance, you find your hot cross-bun crossed with a bunch of primroses, "those sweet infantas of the year," and you defy Boreas. Let him do his worst-you enjoy a day. O citizen! an
who labour !
extra day-a second day in the week, O rare indulgence! in the bosom of your family, and you bound into the world again like a giant refreshed, not with new wine, but with the renewed feelings of earlier days. Blessed are the rare days of leisure unto those What an amazing effect have the ceremonies of the Roman Catholic Church had, in retaining her hold over the minds of men! They are so imposing, so adapted to work upon the weaker portion of our minds, our passions, that for the time, many a good Protestant has been more than half a Catholic. Who has ever
beheld the midnight-mass in the Sistine Chapel on the eve of Easter-who has ever heard those mournful tones, the low, weak, pleadings of the agonizing spirit, Mis-e-re-re, Mis-e-re-re, and not trembled? But the moment is arrived-the crash of the organ, till then mute-the blaze of the unveiled altar, till then shrouded-proclaim the glorification of the Lamb-and a thousand voices hail the tidings,
Jubilate Jubilate !
SKETCH OF THE LIFE AND CHARACTER OF THE
AMIDST the diversity and ceaseless change of opinion with respect to the most modern poets, it is pleasing to turn to one whose merits have constantly been admitted. While others have risen and fallen with the varying scale of popular taste, Crabbe preserved one consistent character for excellence, neither elevated nor depressed by any transient burst of excitement. The reader who approaches his works has no false veil of prejudice to remove before he can enter upon their enjoyment Living apart from the bustling scenes, and uncommitted to the party interests of his day, it was the rare felicity of Crabbe to appear before the world successfully claiming justice for his Muse. No error of exclusive political policy, no unfortunate theory of morals, no blinded devotion to a false revolutionary principle, came between our author and popular esteem. He was looked upon only as the poet, and his works, as they appeared, were received and canvassed with an impartiality and regard but rarely paid to living genius. The opposite principles of the hostile Reviews met for once in harmony on the peaceful ground of letters, and early acknowledged, with just discrimination, the new claimant for the rewards of poesy. Honoured with the patronage of Burke, equally flattered by the admiration of Fox, noticed by Johnson, reverenced as a parent by the rising talent of the day, and preserving this influence through a long literary career, Crabbe has already attained his permanent station with the world. Criticism, relieved from the burden of establishing his fair fame, has left the agreeable duty of noting the excellences by which it was ensured.
more quiet and gentle George might be seen withdrawn from the rest, devouring such specimens of literature as strayed to the humble shed of the fisherman. Among these, the poetical corner of a philosophical Magazine became an especial object of his emulation. This, in a boy of ten, was an early predilection for the Muse; but genius will find its peculiar aliment, and, to the credit of our poet's father, he appreciated the talents of his son, and devoted him to the calling of a surgeon, It was during the apprenticeship to this profession, while in his twentieth year, that he first appeared in print. He published, in Ipswich, a short poem, entitled Inebriety," which, in its strictures on "the deacon sly," the "easy chaplain," and the "reverend wig," at the banquet of the lord, contrasts curiously with the after days of Crabbe, when he himself became chaplain to the Duke of Rutland, and feasted at his table. Its success was inconsiderable, and the poet turned more sedulously to his professional studies. In these, probably from a deficiency in preparation,—the opportunity for which his father's circumstances did not permit,-but ultimately from the want of the necessary manual tact, Crabbe was never very successful. He felt the reproach, but conscious of his merits in a superior walk, resolved to venture the future upon a struggle, the uncertainty of which, with all his discouragements, he had not fully appreciated. He determined to seek his fortune as a literary man in the metropolis.
With fresh youthful hopes,-the fond wishes of a gentle and faithful heart, the Myra of his early love, destined to become in happier times his wife, and a small sum of money (barely three pounds), Crabbe set out for London, the grave of so many cherished for the event had not reached him at Aldborough, he was entering expectations and imaginary successes. Unconsciously to himself, upon a similar career to that in which Chatterton had so lately fallen a victim. This he soon learned, and a disheartening prospect lay before him. Nothing daunted, however, he prepared a small collection of poems, and offered them for publication. They were courteously refused by the publisher. He made another In the mean time, attempt, which met with the like ill success. he had tried an anonymous publication, "The Candidate," addressed to the authors of the Monthly Review, which had been something," partially successful, and was likely to afford him " when the failure of the publisher extinguished this bright hope. His funds were exhausted, and the scanty relief obtained by parting with the few articles of value he possessed, every day grew less. He had exerted himself nobly, but had not succeeded. With the prospect of starvation before him, he addressed a letter to Lord North, and, after a cold delay, his request for employment was denied. Application to Lord Shelburne and the Chancellor, Thurlow, met a similar fate. A journal that he wrote during this period has been preserved, and its simple record of his hopes and his disappointment, ever sustained by firm religious confidence, attaches the reader insensibly to the author. Crabbe made one more attempt, and, as he afterwards expressed himself, "he fixed
The biography of Crabbe, as written by his son, forms no unapt prelude to his verse. The same gentleness and tender humanity, -the same sympathy with man, regardless of the accident of station, the same keen sense of the domestic relations,-the same healthy tone of feeling that characterises his poetry, appear in the unobtrusive incidents of his life. The simple history of the poet,-impelled by some propitious influence, in some happy monatural, kind, and benevolent,-the noble heart and head of genius, without its perversity,-must commend itself to all. It is a literary memorial that should be well received; for, in exchange for the melancholy errors and misfortunes of poets, it offers the story of a well-spent life, violating no law of social intercourse,of an honourable reputation earned without envy or detraction from others. In connexion with the striking example of Scott, it may tend to disabuse the world of an old fallacy, that genius must ever be irregular, and the best wits be looked for among the worst livers.
Crabbe was born of poor but reputable parents, in the middle of the eighteenth century, at the small sea-faring town of Aldborough, on the coast of Suffolk, amidst the rugged and desolate scenes so vividly described in his poem of "The Village.". In his early youth were seen the germs of the future. While his brothers were venturing on the ocean, the scene of their future livelihood, the
From the New York Review.
ment,-upon Edmund Burke, one of the first of Englishmen, and, in the capacity and energy of his mind, one of the greatest of human beings." The letter he addressed to that eminent statesman was not to be mistaken: the air it bore of sincerity, tempered by melancholy resignation, could not be counterfeit. An early interview was appointed by Burke, and from that instant the difficulties of the poet were past. But this is a theme on which his son must speak. The following is an honourable expression of his enthusiasm, in "The Life :"
"He went into Mr. Burke's room, a poor young adventurer, spurned by the opulent and rejected by the publishers, his last shilling gone, and all but his last hope with it: he came out virtually secure of almost all the good fortune that, by successive steps, afterward fell to his lot,his genius acknowledged by one whose verdict could not be questioned,-his character and manners appreciated and approved by a noble and capacious heart, whose benevolence knew no limits but its power-that of a giant in intellect, who was, in feeling, an unsophisticated child; a bright
example of the close affinity between superlative talents and the warmth of the generous affections. Mr. Crabbe had afterwards many other friends, kind, liberal, and powerful, who assisted him in his professional career; but it was one hand alone that rescued him when he was sinking."-Vol. i. p. 93.
The friendship of Burke to our poet was everything. He shortly became established in the family circle at Beaconsfield, and was frequently the companion of the statesman in his private walks. One of the first fruits of this intercourse was a severer criticism than the poet had been accustomed to, of his different manuscripts. Of these there must have been a various stock. He mentions in the journal a poem of 350 lines, with the fanciful title of "An Epistle from the Devil;" then there were "Poetical Epistles, with a preface by the learned Martinus Scriblerus ; "The Hero, an Epistle to Prince William Henry; " and a prose treatise, being "A Plan for the Examination of our Moral and Religious Opinions," with two dramas. These were at once rejected, and the poet's powers fastened on "The Library," and "The Village ;" works which, on their publication, at once elevated him in the literary world.
more human emotions of common life rather than the high bursts of passion, and weave them into the history of the dramatist, so the disposition of Crabbe may be truly gathered from his verse. There is a popular idea that our author deals only in the severer traits of nature; that he is ever groping in poor-houses and dungeons, among the vicious and unfortunate; that his pages abound with harshness and gloom; that he pictures only the penseroso of life in its most repulsive aspect. This is not the character of the great poet of actual life. He has been more just to nature. In his moral anatomy of society, he has laid bare many errors and misfortunes of the species. He has painted life as it came before him, and never violated truth for sickly sentiment. He has drawn a portion of society-the village poor-as they truly exist. But he has found too "the soul of goodness in things evil."-The tares and wheat of this world spring up together, and in whatever rank of men there must be much good. No one observes this truth more than our poet; and in his darkest pictures we have gleams of the kindliest virtues. The severity of Crabbe's muse consists in the faithful portraiture of nature. If a man is not always happy, it is not the poet's fault. There is too much of sober reality in life to make the picture other than it is. This Crabbe knows, for he writes of scenes under his own observation. He lived amid the people he describes, felt their little occasional joys, and saddened over their many misfortunes. But in the gloomiest character he never "oversteps the modesty of nature." He does not accumulate horrors for effect. He has no extravagant and unnatural heroes pouring forth their morbid sentiment in his pages. There is no sickly affectation, but a pure and healthy portrait of life of life it may be in its unhappiest, but in its least artificial development, where society has done little to alter its rough uneducated tones, when the actual feelings and passions of man may be traced at every footstep.
The disposition of Crabbe had always been religious. Nothing less, indeed, than this powerful principle could have sustained him through the difficulties of his early life. His private journal breathes the most devotional spirit. It was with no improper feelings, then, that he professed to Burke an attachment for the ministry, and through his interest was admitted to orders. From this period the events of Crabbe's life may be briefly comprised. Through the continual kindness of his patron, he became chaplain to the Duke of Rutland, when he published the "Village." The "Newspaper" appeared in 1785; and, twenty-two years afterwards, The Parish Register," "The Borough," "Tales in Verse," and "Tales of the Hall," with a volume of poems, complete the list of his works. For the copyright of the "Tales of It has been objected against Crabbe that he has modelled himthe Hall," in 1819, he received from Murray the liberal sum of self after Pope; and he has been considered by some-ignorant of three thousand pounds. The intervals of those various publica- the true character of his writings-but a mere imitator. Horace tions were mostly spent in the quiet of domestic life, in the Smith has favoured this injustice by a note to the Rejected discharge of his clerical duties, and in the labour of his pen. Addresses, where, merely for the sake of the point, Crabbe is chaDuring the latter part of his life, Crabbe made occasional journeys racterised as " Pope in worsted stockings." It is not the first to London, where he was always received in the first walks of instance in which truth has been sacrificed to a witticism. No society. He also paid a visit to Sir Walter Scott, with whom he intelligent reader of their poetry can confound the different merits had long held correspondence, at Edinburgh. The personal anec- of Pope and Crabbe. They belong to independent schools. The dotes of his life, if not extraordinary, are always pleasing. He excellence of one consists in the perfection of the Artificial, the was a fluent writer, and found occasion, at times, to submit his merit of the other in the purer love of the Natural. Pope reflects productions to what he calls a "grand incremation," which was the nice shades of a court life, and adapts himself to the polished not huddled over in a chimney, but regularly consummated in the society around him. He lives among lords and ladies. He peneopen air; his children officiating with great glee at the bonfire. trates beneath the surface of character, but it is within the circle He would be seized with the poetic inspiration, especially during of a court, and after a classical model. Out of Queen Anne's a snow storm on one such occasion he composed the very power-reign he would have been nothing. We can form no idea of him ful tale of "Sir Eustace Grey." At one time he was taken with removed from the wits and gentlemen of his day. He is a master the desire to see the ocean again; and, "mounting his horse, rode of elegance, and has power as a satirist; can dilate upon the vir. alone to the coast of Lincolnshire, sixty miles from his house, tues of Atticus, or heighten the crimes of Atossa. He can follow dipped in the waves that washed the beach of Aldborough, and where one has gone before. He can revive the felicity of Horace returned to Strathern." He had the gentlest disposition; and, as or the vehemence of Juvenal. Out of the track of the artificial, in the case of Cowper, a striking fondness for the society of intel- the conventional, he is nothing; within it he reigns supreme. ligent females, affords evidence of the purity and simplicity of his Crabbe is of another order. He has no model to copy after. He character. The correspondence with Mary Leadbeater, in which throws himself upon a subject that derives no aid from romance or he so naturally assumes the demure phrase and conversation of classic association. He paints the least popular part of society. Quakerism, does him honour for its artless sincerity. His devo- He has to overcome a powerful prejudice against his characters. tion to the study of botany (evidences of which are scattered through He struggles where art can avail him little; where his whole suchis poems) was also the mark of a simple mind. A naturalist is, cess must depend upon nature. His personages have nothing in with rare exceptions, a good man. Crabbe was always a friend to them to please the taste, or enlist the fancy of the polished. fiction, and, what may excite surprise, not confined to the more They come before us at every disadvantage. They are out of the classic, he devoured eagerly his package from London, of all the pale of good society. They have no relish of high life to add inteproductions of the season. He found something in the poorest : rest to their virtues, or throw a softening shadow over their crimes. a great writer is not always the severest critic. He was emi- They do not belong to the court standard. According to nently the man of private life-the kind father, the constant Touchstone's scale they would infallibly be condemned: “If thou friend; and, ever ready to the call of the poor, he was loved by all. never wast at court, thou art in a parlous state, shepherd!" But It was a melancholy day at his village of Trowbridge, when, in they have something in their composition prior to and independent 1832, Crabbe at the advanced age of seventy-eight, died, full of of this artificial excitement. They are vigorous specimens of years and honour. The anthems selected at his funeral accorded human nature in its elementary traits, and have their whole charm well with the feelings of those who knew him best. in being simply men. They interest us as they feel and suffer, as they truly exist in themselves, not as they act in an outward pageant. They have the feelings and passions of the species, and their example comes home to our own breasts. It is in this respect that "one touch of Nature makes the whole world kin." The Artificial must be content with admiration; the Natural claims our sympathy. This is the distinction. Pope tickles the sense with fine periods, or gains the fancy by a sparkling picture; while Crabbe leaves an impression on the heart. There may not be a single line to be quoted for its brilliancy, like a finished
"When the ear heard him, then it blessed him;
Kindness, and meekness, and comfort, were in his tongue."
couplet of Pope; but the passage from our author shall convey a force and reality, the bard of Twickenham-were he twice the master of art he is-could never attain.
A word of apology for the poetry of Crabbe is hardly needed. Time was when this might be necessary, but a returning sense of justice is rapidly coming over the age, and the world is fast acknowledging that the relations of life, however simple, afford a true ground of poetry. It is pleasing to remark this change in favour of sound taste. Wordsworth, but lately neglected, begins to receive his due honours. He is no longer laughed at for his childishness. This is a triumph of humanity; for it permits the poor and humble, as well as the great, to feel they too have emotions and sympathies worthy of poesy; that their simple hopes may also be "married to immortal verse." If we have taught a man self-respect, we have led him to the path of virtue. When he feels that his existence, however unobtruded upon the world, is an object of sacred regard to the poet; he must think more nobly of himself and live more wisely. The age is made better by such works as "The Lyrical Ballads," and "The Borough." Question not their claim to poetry. The denial is not founded on a proper understanding of the art. Poetry is born not only of the lofty and the imaginative, but of the simple and pathetic. The attendant of human feelings and human passions, it exists alike for the means and the extremes of life. Wherever man is separated from the gross earth beneath him, and connected by any link with the vast and beautiful above him; wherever there exists an image of a greater good than the conditions of sense offer; wherever the limited, intellectual, and moral part of our nature sighs after the great and the perfect; wherever any of the mysterious links of the chain bending together the present with the untried future, are visible there, in their just degree, like the nature and spirit of poetry," soaring in the high region of its fancies," it may approach "the azure throne, the sapphire blaze." It may be "choiring to the young-eyed cherubim," and it may sing of "the humblest flower that decks the mead," or speak of the smallest hope that breaks the darkness of the least educated. It is not to be limited in its application. It is not built on learning, or founded on the canons of the critic. It is itself the foundation of all just critical laws. Its fresh source is in the human heart; its province is in the wide map of human relations; it is bounded only by the horizon of human emotion; its heritage is the race of man,and its task-work is to connect and blend the sentiment of the true, the good, the beautiful, the infinite, and eternal, with all the passions and emotions that beat in the heart of universal humanity.
Hunting the buck,
I found him sitting by a fountain's side,
Which gave him roots; and of the crystal springs,
That could be wish'd: so that, methought, I could
Philaster, by Beaumont and Fletcher.
WILD SCENES IN THE FOREST AND PRAIRIE.* MR. HOFFMAN has thrown together a number of slight but lively sketches, descriptive of scenes in the forest and prairie, personal adventures, Indian superstitions and traditions, all of which have such an air of vraisemblance, and are, withal, so animated, as to interest the reader more strongly than at first sight would appear likely. A portion of them relate to the wild scenes of the northern part of the state of New York, which, strange to say, has been, until very recently, a terra incognita. Others relate to the "Far West," and one or two belong to city Some of the Indian superstitions are very singular and striking.
and civilised life.
If the reader will glance over a map of the United States, he will perceive that the great state of New York has a kind of triangular shape, its apex being at the city of New York, and its base extending along the St. Lawrence. "Everybody," says Mr. Hoffman, "was aware that the Hudson rose among a group of mountains in the northern part of the state of New York; and if you looked upon the map, some of the lakes which formed its head waters seemed to be laid down with sufficient particularity. Few, however, until the legislature instituted the geological survey which is now in progress, had any idea that the mountains upon which this noble river rises overtopped the Catskills and the Alleghanies, and were among the loftiest in the United States : or that the lakes from which it draws its birth were equally remarkable for their prodigal numbers, their picturesque variety, and their wild and characteristic beauty." The sources of the Hudson were only explored during 1837; and "the worthy Knickerbockers were not a little surprised, when they learned, from the first official report of the surveying corps, that their famous river was fed by mountain snows for ten months in the year." started on an excursion to the sources of the Hudson. We will confine ourselves to the state of New York; and, as a specimen of our author's manner of telling a story, quote one relating to that early and disastrous time when the lone settlers in the forest were exposed to midnight Indian visits, and to have their slumbers disturbed by the whoop of a ferocious war-party, that often spared, in their savage fury, neither man, woman nor child. The story also illustrates the nature of that mutual hatred and spirit of revenge,
which too often arises, and is cherished, wherever settlers are
guided only by their own feelings, instead of an enlightened policy, in their dealings with aborigines.
THE DEAD CLEARING.
"Schroon Lake is the largest, and perhaps the finest body of water among the myriad lakes which form the sources of the Hudson. The Schroon,' as it is called by the country people, has, indeed, been likened by travellers to the celebrated lake of Como, which it is said to resemble in the configuration of its shores. It is about ten miles in length, broad, deep, and girt with mountains, which, though not so lofty as many in the northern part of the state of New York, are still picturesque in form, while they enclose a thousand pastoral valleys and sequestered dells among their richly-wooded defiles.
"In one of the loveliest of these glens, near a fine spring, wellknown to the deer-stalker, there flourished, a few years since, a weeping willow, which, for aught I know, may be still gracing the spot. The existence of such an exotic in the midst of our primitive forest would excite the curiosity of the most casual observer of nature, even if other objects adjacent did not arrest his attention, as he emerged from the deep woods around, to the sunny glade where it grew. On the side of a steep bank, opposite to the willow, the remains of an old fireplace were to be seen; and blackened timbers, with indications of rough masonry, could be discovered by turning aside the wild raspberry-bushes that had overgrown the farther side of the knoll. These ruins betokened something more than the remains of a hunting-camp; and the forester who should traverse an extensive thicket of young beeches and wild cherry-trees, within a few yards of this spot, would be at no loss to determine that he had lighted upon the deserted home of some settler of perhaps forty years back;-a scene where the toil, the privation, and the dangers of a pioneer's life had been once endured, but where the hand of improvement had wrought in vain, for the forest had already closed over the little domain that had been briefly rescued from its embrace; and the place was now what in the language of the country is called a dead clearing.' "The story of this ruined homestead is a very common one in the *"Wild Scenes in the Forest and Prairie." By C. F. Hoffman, Esq., author of "A Winter in the Far West." London, Bentley, 1839.
private family annals of the state of New York, which has always been exposed to the perils of frontier warfare, and which, for twenty years, at the close of the seventeenth century, and throughout the whole of that which followed it, was the battle-field of the most formidable Indian confederacy that ever arrayed itself against the Christian powers on the shores of this continent. The broken remains of that confederacy still possess large tracts of valuable land in the centre of our most populous districts; while their brethren of the same colour, but of a feebler lineage, have been driven westward a thousand miles from our borders. And when this remnant of the Iroquois shall have dwindled from among us, their names will still live in the majestic lakes and noble rivers that embalm the memory of their language. They will live, too, unhappily, in many a dark legend of ruthless violence, like that which I have to relate.
"It was in the same year when Sullivan's army gave the finishing blow to the military power of the Six Nations, that a settler, who had come in from the New Hampshire grants to this part of Tryon County, (as the northern and western region of New York was at that time called,) was sitting with his wife, who held an infant to her bosom, enjoying his evening pipe beside his hearth. The blaze of the large maple-wood fire spread warmly upon the unpainted beams above, and lighted up the timbers of the shanty with a mellow glow that gave an air of cheerfulness and comfort to the rudely-furnished apartment. From the grey hairs and weather-beaten features of the settler, he appeared to be a man considerably on the wrong side of forty, while the young brighthaired mother by his side had not yet passed the sunny season of early youth. The disparity of their years, however, had evidently not prevented the growth of the strongest affection between them. There was a soft and happy look of content about the girl, as she surveyed the brown woodsman, now watching the smoke-wreaths from his pipe as they curled over his head, now taking his axe upon his lap and feeling its edge with a sort of caressing gesture, as if the inanimate thing could be conscious of the silent compliment he paid to its temper, when thinking over the enlargement of the clearing he had wrought by its aid during the day. Nor did the eye of the young mother kindle less affectionately when the brawny pioneer, carefully depositing the simple instrument, which is the pride of an American woodsman, behind the chimney, turned to take the hand of the infant, which she pressed to her bosom, and shared at the same time with her the caresses which he bestowed on the child.
"That boy's a raal credit to you, Bet. But I think, if he cries to-night, as he has for the last week, I must make a papoose. cradle for him to-morrow, and swing him somewhere outside of the shanty, where his squalling can't keep us awake. Your face is growing as white as a silver birch, from loss of sleep o'nights.' "Why, John, how you talk! I'm sure Yorpy never cries ;never, I mean, worth talking of.'
"As the mother spoke, she pressed the unhappy little youngster somewhat too closely to her bosom, and he awoke with one of those discordant outbreaks of infant passion with which the hopeful scions of humanity sometimes test the comforts of married life. "Baby-why, baby-there-there now! what will it have?— does it want to see brother Ben? Hush-hush-he's coming with something for baby! Hush, now, darling!-Will it have this?' "Why, Bet, my dear,' said the father, don't give the brat Ben's powder-horn to play with; for thof he does like you as much as my first missus, his own mother and flesh and blood, the lad doesn't love to have his hunting tools discomboborated. God's weather! where can the tormented chap be staying?-he ought to be home by this time.' With these words he walked to the door, and stood for a moment commenting upon the mildness of the night, and wondering why Ben did not return. But the mother was too much engaged in soothing the infant, by rocking him to and fro in her arms, to reply.
"Now don't, don't, gal,' continued the kind-hearted woodsman, turning from the door, which he left open; 'you'll tire yourself to death. Let me take him-there, now-there,' said he, as she relinquished the child to his arms; and, addressing the last words to the poor perverse little thing, he walked up and down the room with it, vainly trying to lull its gust of passion or peevishness. "Hush! you little varmint, you !' said the father at last, growing impatient; 'hush! or I'll call in the Indians to carry you off-I will.'
"The settler was just turning in his walk, near the open threshold, as he uttered the ill-omened words, when a swarthy hand, reaching over his shoulder, clutched the child from his arms, and brained it against the doorpost, in the same moment that the
tomahawk of another savage struck him to the floor. painted demons sprang over his prostrate body into the centre of the room. The simple scene of domestic joy, but a moment before so sheltered and homelike, was changed on the instant. The mummied nursling was flung upon the embers near the feet of its frantic mother, who slipped and fell in the blood of her husband, as she plucked her child from the coals and sprang towards the door. It was a blow of mercy, though not meant as such, which dismissed her spirit, as she struggled to rise with her lifeless burden. The embers of the fire soon strewed the apartment, while the savages danced among them with the mad glee of the devil's own children, until the smoke and blaze, ascending to the rooftree, drove them from the scene of their infernal orgies. "The next day's sun shone upon that smouldering ruin as brightly as if unconscious of the horrors which his light revealed. So complete had been the devastation of the flames, that little but ashes now remained; and the blue smoke curled up among the embowering trees as gently as if it rose only from a cottager's hospitable fire. The oriole, perched upon a cedar-top, whistled as usual to his mate, swinging in his nest upon the pendant branches of a willow which had been planted by the ill-fated settler near a spring not far from his door; while the cat-bird from the brierthicket replied in mocking notes blither and clearer than those he aimed to imitate. The swallow only, driven from her nest in the eaves, and whirling in disordered flight around the place, seemed in sharp cries to sympathise with the desolation which had come over it.
"There was one human mourner, however, amid the scene. A youth of sixteen sat with his head buried in his hands upon a fallen tree hard by. So still and motionless he seemed, that his form might almost be thought to have been carved out of the grey wood, with which his faded garments assimilated in colour. It would not be difficult to surmise what passed in the bosom of the young forester, as at last, after rising with an effort, he advanced to the funeral pyre of his household, and, turning over the dry embers, disengaged a half-burned cloven skull from among them. He threw himself upon the grass and bit the ground with a fierce agony that showed some self-reproach must be mingled with his
My father! my father!' he cried, writhing in anguish; 'why why did I not come home at once, when I heard that the Black Wolf had gone north with his band!' A burst of tears seemed to relieve him for a moment; and then, with greater bitterness than ever he resumed, Fool-thrice accursed fool that I was!—I might have known that he would strike for these mountains, instead of taking the Sacondaga route, where the palatine yægars were out and on the watch for him. To die so like a brute in the hands of a butcher-without one word of warning-to be burned like a wood-chuck in his hole-stricken to death without a chance of dealing one blow for his defence! My father! my poor father! Oh, God! I cannot bear it.'
"But the youth knew not the self-renovating spirit of life's springtime, when he thought that his first sorrow, bitter as it was, would blast his manhood for ever. A first grief never blights the heart of man. The sapling hickory may be bowed-may be shattered by the storm, but it has an elasticity and toughness of fibre that keep it from perishing. It is only long exposure to a succession of harsh and biting winds that steals away its vigour, drinks up its sap of life, and sends a chill at last to the roots which nourished its vitality.
"That day of cruel woe, like all others, had an end for the young forester : and, when the waning moon rose upon the scene of his ruined home, her yellow light disclosed the boy kneeling upon the sod wherewith he had covered up the bones of his only earthly relatives. She, too, was sole witness to the vow of undying vengeance which he swore upon the spot against the whole race of red men.
"There are but too many traditions surviving in this region to prove the fulfilment of this fearful vow. But I leave the dire feats of Bloody Ben,' by which name only is the avenger now remembered, to some annalist who finds greater pleasure than I do in such horrible details. My business, here, is only to describe the first deed by which he requited the murderous act of the Indians.
"The seasons had twice gone their round since destruction had come over the house of the settler, and his son had never yet revisited the spot, which, with the exuberant growth of an American soil, had partly relapsed into its native wildness, from the tangled vines and thickets which had overgrown the clearing. The strong arm of the government had for a while driven the Indians beyond