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originally only third surgeon to the Dutch forces at Samarang, a settlement on the coast of Java; but having, in 1776, obtained the rank of surgeon, he determined to visit the interior of the island and satisfy himself from observation of many things which he had been accustomed to hear regarding the productions of Java, and the upas-tree among the rest. He accordingly visited the hitherto almost unexplored interior, and the result was, according to his own statement, that everything which he had heard concerning this strange tree was more than amply verified. According to the account which he published, the dreadful poison-tree was situated about twenty-seven leagues from Batavia, and only fourteen leagues from the residence of the emperor at Soura Charta. In a deep and lonely valley, around which towered high and barren mountains, grew this pestilential hermit tree. Determined to satisfy himself of the character and nature of the upas, he obtained permission from the Javanese potentate to visit it. He travelled round the mountains which circumvallated the Upas Valley, taking care, however, to keep at the distance of eighteen miles from its centre. Wonderful Dr Foersch! who could determine centres by instinct, and appreciate the nature and character of a plant at eighteen miles' distance, and on the other side of high and rugged hills! This learned, veracious, and particular doctor had obtained from a Malay priest a letter of introduction to another priest, who resided at fifteen or sixteen miles from the valley, whose duty it was to prepare for death those criminals whom the emperor condemned to gather the poison-fruit. This priest kindly received the philosopher, and informed him that he had stood janitor to that valley of death for thirty years, and in the course of that time had given his benediction to upwards of seven hundred individuals, who had been condemned for capital offences, and that two in twenty had not returned. Capital criminals in Java were allowed the privilege of choosing between this death and one more certain and immediate. When they had chosen the perilous journey to the upas-tree valley, they were instructed how to proceed with the greater chance of safety, and each individual had a silver or tortoise-shell box presented to him, in order that he might deposit the poison therein. They then dressed themselves, according to Foersch, in their best apparel, and, accompanied by their friends and relatives, set out upon their pilgrimage. When they reached the residence of the priest, the company stopped, and he then furnished each criminal with a pair of leathern gloves, with a long leather cap descending as far as the breast, having two eye-holes with glasses, in order that the wearer might see. When these garments were properly arranged, they then took farewell of their weeping friends and relatives, and ascended a particular mountain pointed out to them by the priest. After this ascent they were then to descend on the other side of the valley, where, meeting a rivulet, they should follow its course, and they would then reach the upas-tree. The Dutch savant declared, in his account of this romantic valley, that he saw criminals depart for it, and that he had such close communion with the victims as to give them some silken threads with which to measure the tree, and that he earnestly besought them to bring him some pieces of the wood-a smali branch, or some of its leaves.
in the cliffs. Bird, nor beast, nor plant, nor creeping thing dared to come near unto this vampire plant that for centuries had cursed the soil, and had rendered that deep glen a golgotha in truth. It filled the air with pestilence, and it sucked the strength from the ground. It lived alone, within a circuit of many miles, and the bones of hundreds of men and beasts that had been constrained to approach it, or which had done so unwittingly, attested with what jealousy and power it maintained its dominion over the elements of life which were proximate to it. The poison, which the people of Java used artificially, however, was the gum of the upas, gathered by lucky criminals who had returned, mixed with citron-water and other drugs, and administered to any one that had fallen under the emperor's displeasure. Its effect was almost instantaneous, producing horrible agonies, distortions, and death. The doctor, according to his own statement, had been at the execution of thirteen persons condemned by the emperor, and thus described the administration of the poison: The person was slightly wounded by a kritz, or Malayan dagger, and, the point having been previously impregnated with the poison, produced inoculation, dreadful torture, and death, in the course of about sixteen minutes. Of this fact the veracious Foersch was positive, having, he said, held his watch in his hand all the time, to observe its effects.
At last, however, the mendacious falsehoods thus propounded were met by a direct contradiction. Lambert Nolst, a Dutchman, whose memoir was translated into English in 1794, completely overturned all the pretended facts of his countryman. Nolst was a physician, and member of the Batavian Experimental Society at Rotterdam, and, upon the authority of one John Matthew, who had been in Java at the time Foersch pretended to have made such wonderful discoveries, proved them to be barefaced inventions. Shortly after Foersch's forgeries, a Swedish naturalist gave an account, at the University of Upsal, of the Bohan upas, or poison-tree of Macassar. This tree grows in many of the warmer parts of India, Java, Sumatra, Boli, and the Celebes Islands. There are two species of the plant, male and female. Aejmelous described its trunk as thick, its branches spreading, its bark dark brown, and its wood solid, yellow, and variegated with black spots. He, too, inclined to the fanciful stories relative to its poisoning powers, although, of course, they were not nearly so exaggerated as those of Foersch. The wonders and mysteries of the Upas Valley were at length completely dispelled, and the falsehoods of the celebrated Foersch were dissipated-much, no doubt, to the grief of nursery-maids and tale-tellers-when the British occupied Batavia. Dr Horsfield simply told the truth regarding this tree, and the romance of the Dutch surgeon vanished in air. That gentleman, writing about the poisontree, says there is in Java a tree continent of poison, but there is no such extravagant death-producing monstrosity as that which was so particularly described by Foersch. There is a fatal poison prepared from a tree called anchar, which grows in greatest abundance at the eastern extremity of the island. It belongs to the twenty-first class of Linnæus, Monacia, and the male and female flowers are produced on the same branch near to each other, the females being generally above the males. The seed vessel is an oblong drupe, covered by the calyx, and the seed is an
The result of this secondary method of acquiring knowledge was, that he obtained two dried, withered leaves, and was informed that the tree was only of middling size, hav-egg-shaped nut with cell. The top of the stem sends off a ing five or six young ones growing round it. It exhaled, he was told, a vapour, which steamed from it like the putrid breath of some sun-warmed marsh, and whoever and whatever was touched by this subtle poison was killed, so that neither bush, nor tree, nor blade of grass, save the upas and its progeny, was to be found in the valley or on the surrounding mountains for miles round. All animal life was also extinct: no beast was seen to roam in the lonely valley, in which lay jagged rocks, splintered from the mountain-tops by fierce lightning; the goat did not sport among the cliffs, nor the sheep bleat by the stream; the eagle never stretched his wing over this valley of death, nor did his young brood hail the sunrise from their eyrie
few stout branches, which, spreading nearly horizontally, with several irregular curves, divide into smaller branches, and form a tufted clumpy crown. The stem of the tree is cylindrical, and rises straight and naked to the height of nearly sixty, seventy, or eighty feet, when it throws off its branches. The bark is of a white colour, and is sometimes broken up into longitudinal furrows. Near the ground, in old trees, the bark is perhaps more than half an inch thick, and, when punctured, yields copiously the white milk-like substance from which the poison is extracted. This liquid is of a yellowish, creamy hue, and is of a frothy nature, becoming brown on the surface when exposed to the open air. Altogether this substance is much like milk, only
thicker and more viscid. This sap is found in the true bark, or cortex; the inner bark being of a close, fibrous texture, like that of linen, when separated from the other bark and cleansed. This the natives of Java formed into coarse ropes, and even into a cloth, which was adapted for habiliments to the poor. This cloth being worn in the fields is subject to saturation from rain, and then the wearers become affected with an intolerable itching. This property of the prepared inner bark is a fact well known wherever the tree grows; the preparation of the poison is a secret, however, exclusively confined to the inhabitants of the eastern extremity of Java.
Dr Horsfield had some difficulty with his native labourers in making his experiments; they, however, only feared an irruption of the skin, and nothing more.
'But what else can we do?' said the abbot, abashed at the rebuke, and yet not made sensible that he had proceeded upon a wrong system; we use all means for compelling them to learn, and yet they make no proficiency.'
Instead of standing like a centre of death in a lonely sterile valley, amidst black, splintered hills and the undis-petual restraint by fear, by threats and stripes, so that turbed bones of dead animals and men, as Foersch declared, the anchar is one of the largest of the trees that grow in Java, and is found in the midst of the densest forests, being surrounded on all sides by shrubs and plants, and in no instance standing alone in a lonely, sterile spot. The largest specimen which Dr Horsfield saw was so embosomed in common trees and shrubs that he could hardly approach it. Wild vines clung luxuriantly to its trunk, and climbing shrubs, verdant and healthy, wound round its stem. The poison prepared from the juice of this tree is very subtle, and its effects very powerful. On quadrupeds it exercised a rapid and certain destructiveness, proportionate in some degree to their strength and size-mice falling victims to its power in a few minutes, while a buffalo resisted its effects for two hours and ten minutes.
In 1670 the effects of this poison were terribly felt by the Dutch soldiers when they were attacked at Amboyna by the Macassars, who used arrows dipped in this or a similar preparation. The virus, when injected into the frame by means of the arrows of the natives, immediately mingled with the blood, producing an excessive burning, especially in the head, followed by sickness and death. Punctured by these poison-tipped arrows, and inevitably doomed to death by a process of extreme agony from their effects, the Dutch soldiers trembled at the very name of the Bohan upas; and perhaps this dread may have been the nucleus round which revolved all those supposed horrors of the valley, and barren mountain, and the tainted stream, and dead men's bones, on which there were no wolves nor wild beasts to batten, and whose very flesh dissolved and vanished away without the aid of slimy worms. Eventually, however, the terrified soldiers discovered an almost infallible antidote in a root, which, by its violently emetic properties, counteracted the force of the poison. So that the deadly upas, which stood in a lonely valley, breathing out death and devastation to man, beast, and plant, was at last found to be a handsome, beautiful tree, standing in the midst of forests and groves, and, instead of destroying, nourishing and supporting kindred plants beneath the shelter of its leaves and on its stem; and the effects of its poison were found, instead of being inevitable, to be subject to the essence of a root more subtle and powerful still than the liquid of the anchar. Truth has dissolved many such great stories as that of the upas-tree.
A CERTAIN abbot, talking one day with Archbishop Anselm of the affairs of the monastery (Canterbury is very likely to have been the scene), asked him what could be done with the boys who were bred up there. They are perverse,' he said, and incorrigible; we never cease beating them day and night, and yet they are always worse than they were before.' What,' replied Anselm, 'do you never cease beating them? and what sort of persons do they turn out to be when they are grown up?'-'Stupid and brutal,' said the abbot. Then,' answered Anselm, how well have you bestowed all your pains in education when you have educated human beings so as to make brutes of them?'
For compelling them?' repeated Anselm. Tell me, I pray you, Sir Abbot, if you planted a young tree in your garden, and were presently to shut it up so closely on every side that it could no where push out its branches, what sort of a sapling would it prove to be, when, at a year's end, you came to set it free?-truly a worthless one, with crooked and intertangled boughs; and this from no fault except your own, in having so unreasonably cramped it. Certes it is just that ye are doing with your schoolboys. They have been planted as an oblation in the garden of the church, that they may grow there and bring forth fruit unto God; but you keep them under a perthey are not allowed to enjoy any liberty; and, therefore, they who suffer under this injudicious oppression acquire evil thoughts and desires, which grow up like thorns in their minds, and these they feed and cherish, till they have acquired such strength as to resist obstinately every means which you can possibly administer for correcting them. Hence it results that, because they never perceived in you anything of love, anything of compassion, anything of benevolence or kindness towards them, they can have no belief afterward of anything good in you, but are persuaded that whatever you did proceeded from hatred and malice; and the miserable consequence is that, as they grow in years, their dispositions being thus contorted and rendered prone to evil, suspicion and hatred grow with their growth. Having themselves never been trained by any one in true charity, they can never look upon others but with a downcast brow and an eye askant. Tell me why it is that you treat them in the spirit of annoyance? Are they not human beings? Are they not your fellow-creatures? Would you that they should do unto you as ye do unto them, your relative situations were changed, and ye were what they are? But admit that your intention is to form them to good manners by blows and stripes; did you ever know a goldsmith form a plate of gold or silver into a goodly shape only by hammering it? I think not, indeed. But how then? To the end that he may bring his plate into the form desired, he, with his instrument. gently presses it, and taps it gently and carefully, and with gentle touches smoothes and shapes it; and so must ye, if ye desire to accomplish your boys in good learning, bestow upon them the alleviation and the aid of paternal compassion and kindness, as well as the use of stripes.' The abbot was not yet convinced, but maintained his cause like a sturdy disciplinarian. What alleviation?' he asked, 'what aid? We endeavour to force grave and good manners upon them. -'Bene quidem,' answered Anselm; bread and any kind of solid food, is good and wholesome for those who are able to eat it; but take an infant from the breast, and give it him instead of his natural food, and you will see him choked by it, rather than comforted and delighted, and I need not tell you why. But hold you this for a truth, that as there is for the weak body and the strong their appropriate food, so is there for the weak and the strong mind. The strong mind delighteth in, and is nourished by solid meat-to wit, by patience in tribulation, by not coveting other men's goods, by turning one cheek to him that smites the other, by praying for his enemies, by loving those that hate him; but he that is yet feeble in the service of God needs to be fed with milk as a suckling-that is to say, with gentleness, with benignity, with pity, with cheerful encourage ment, with charitable forbearance, and so forth. Adapt ye yourselves thus to the strong and to the weak, and by God's grace ye will, as far as in you lies, bring them all to the service of God.' It is to the credit of the abbot, that he no longer resisted the force of this unanswerable reasoning, but groaned and said, 'Verily we have erred, and the light of discretion hath not shone in us!' and falling at Anselm's feet, he confessed his fault, and entreated pardon for the past, and promised amendment for the future.Southey."
THE improvements of the nineteenth century are yet neither numbered nor finished. Though almost every science in learning's calendar, from mathematics to magnetism, has participated in them, the onomies, the ologies, and the ographies, as a condensing friend was wont to term those branches of general knowledge, have been enlarged in range and increased in number, thanks to the genius of discovery, which seems to have taken our age under its special patronage. Astronomers have widened the circle of their acquaintance with the starry worlds; politicians on earth have learned new phrases, and, they say, new principles also; mechanism has concluded alliances offensive and defensive with the mighty old agencies of nature, that were feared and worshipped as gods among primeval nations; in short, advances have been made in every region of moral and material philosophy;-but the science by which time is measured, on which history hangs, and the landmarks of the past stand forth to national and individual memory, it alone remains unprogressing: in the midst of a progress which is certainly not voiceless, the chronology of Europe has continued to stand still and changeless since 1750. At that period, the mode of reckoning, popularly called the new style, was introduced, and crowds of the operative classes used to pursue the then prime minister's carriage through the streets of London, loudly demanding the eleven days of which they said he had robbed them. We suspect the greater part had robbed themselves of more days than these. An observant inoralist has remarked that most men spend time more carelessly than money, though the one it is possible to win back' (he was right in not saying easy), and the other has no returning. How far had those noisy complainants fallen short of the wisdom of the old Hungarian who told Bonaparte that he never counted his years, because he could not lose one of them!' Yet years and days are lost. Titus the Roman emperor is said to have lamented over a lost day in which he remembered no good action done; we wonder what account the imperial Roman took of those spent in the destruction of Jerusalem? Men are apt to differ in their estimates of both days and actions. There was an eastern caliph who, out of a long and prosperous reign, great treasures, and domestic good fortune, could reckon only ten white days in the calendar of his memory, and left the sum total on parchment for the edification of The worthy caliph also believed it would furnish his subjects with a lesson against envy; and the anecdote of Titus seems to suggest an improvement in the modern computation of time which might be serviceable both in a public and private capacity. Eras are useful things as well as great; the ancient world had them of its own, few and far between, and dim with old uncertainty, by the fountains of its early story: the expulsion of the shepherd kings, the building of Thebes, and the destruction of Troy, were the memorial points of ancient annalists, from which they traced their lines of history.
have also the additional advantage of greater variety in unattended funerals, will be found included within the their duration. On an average, their birth, coronation, and space of from five to two years; and it is worthy of note that the latest are always the shortest too. deed strange if the revolutions of thought did not partake of the increased velocity of all our latter-day movements. It were inWhen America was a six months' sail, and London and Paris required a fortnight to communicate, changes in public opinion might be proportionally slow; but the world has learned the value of time and the insignificance of distance. Life is short-we are therefore in haste; and natural that they should think fast also? Old ideas kept when men travel and toil, write and read fast, is it not longer in fashion, as the dresses of our grandmothers continued to be the mode throughout an entire reign, while ours are superannuated in a month. It has been said that views of hills and rivers were obtained from the forgotten waggon or stage-coach, which the locked-up express, and the congregation of the upright,' as some call the unseated class, alike lose in the railway, and slow men believe that our modern manufactures could never wear with the damasks and camlets of former times. It may be so; but our journeys are swifter, our manufactures cheaper; and systems. we know not which comparative would best describe our
Periods of still nearer and mightier events have served a similar purpose in later chronicles. Europe reckons almost eighteen centuries and a half since the proclamation of peace on earth,' which so many feuds and battles have blasphemed; but the ciphers multiply-and why should later generations link their years to so long a chain-they over whom eras in public faith and practice pass as swiftly and sovereign-like as the shadows of Banquo's line before Macbeth? How many such monarchs have ruled within the memory of some still reckoned among the living! Those comprehended in the bounds of the present century equal at least in number the governments of France during the same period; and history presents us with no succession more rapid, except that of the sultanas in the Arabian Nights,' and the authorities in the City of Wisdom,' where, according to the rabbins, no permitted to retain power longer than two days, it being generally understood that he would certainly do evil on the third. The reigns to which we have referred, besides being somewhat more lengthened than the above,
their motion is accelerated. Might the rule be applicable Astronomers tell us that as planets approach the sun to our thinking world, in its approximation to that age of light so promised, hoped in, and waited for, by every reformer from Zoroaster downward? Perhaps it will come at last, with the coming man,' whoever he may be; for many have come in his name, and many a glare has flashed dawn, but the blaze went out, and another succeeded it. over the public mind, which dreamy watchers took for its The first years of our nineteenth hundred found freedom and free-thinking enthroned in popular worship; from the learned professor to the country schoolboy, every body was thrones. Tailors formed brotherhoods for the regeneraan unbeliever in every thing but the sins of churches and tion of the world; green-grocers clamoured for liberty or death; and chimney-sweeps' apprentices declaimed against the trammels which crafty priests and politicians had forged to degrade the dignity of man. from France, and it passed away with the Consulate; but Byron caught the echoes of the time long after, with other The impulse was given themes which gave his poems a relish to the multitude. Next came the reign of Conservative patriotism, in which every respectable man was expected to adore the Holy Alliance and hate Bonaparte; volunteers, anti-Gallican clubs, and illuminations, were its witnesses, and numerous were the trumpeters, of whom Southey led the van.
accompaniments of these eras; they were played by war We will not enlarge on what may be called the historical and fortune on nations and great names, the subordinate performers being kings, statesmen, and generals, and octhe longest, but it passed, and Greece came in fashion, not casionally mobs also. The last-mentioned epoch was much without the help of Byron, though some said he uttered but the voice of the time; so does every poet who grows great in his generation, and there are songs that mingle with the voices of all times. But, to return to the Grecian what paper was used up,' as a stationer would say, in era, what zeal exploded, what speeches were made, and denouncing the Othman tyrant and lamenting over the land of heroes! Young poets made a point of introducing the Arnaout' and the Suliote' on all occasions to any who would read; ladies dressed their hair a la Grecque, and it was generally agreed that no London soiree could go off well without a Greek exile. The liberation of Greece and the Turk's death-grasp of power, a consummation to be rejoiced over for the sake of old fame, and still more for was at last effected, in spite of cautious ministers in Europe that of new civilisation; but, after the battle of Navarino, public enthusiasm gradually cooled, and, before the assassination of Capo D'Istria, the most ardent devotee of Grecian glory had discovered what Childe Harold seems to
may be true time alone can answer; and, having traced
Time and enlightened institutions have wrought better changes by the banks of Eurotus and the ruins of the Piræus, and other reigning topics have ruled over the popu-will-the divine; but our current literature, whose mission lar mind of Britain. Greece was followed by another ferment for liberty in general, whose limits might be defined as those of Catholic Emancipation and the Reform Bill, with a French Revolution in the midst, to make things memorable. When Parisian barricades first came into notice, they made a king then, and have unmade him since; but who does not recollect, of all that saw and heard them, the newspaper commotion, the opposing dinners, and all the processions from Birmingham to London threatened by the Trades' Unions? The excitement subsided soon after the passing of the bill par excellence, and then commenced the philosophic times of moral force, in which we still exist, notwithstanding continental revolutions and rumours of wars from Ireland. These eras, though of a less demon- | strative and more intellectual character, passed not with-speak, might be displayed in the opening sentences, thus out sensible signs. First in the series came the phrenological, wherein every man, woman, and child were provided with casts of the cranium and charts of the brain, and nothing but bumps was talked of Was there a petty Barwell to be transported, a boy to be apprenticed, or a matrimonial partner to be selected, the inequalities of the skull were taken into immediate consideration, and consulted as so many oracles. It has never been accurately ascertained how many professions were chosen, sentences commuted, or matches broken off in consequence, but there were sanguine disciples, who predicted that thenceforth parents would be spared the possibility of mistake in mapping out the future courses of their children-friendship, the danger of deceit in placing its confidence-love, the peril of utter loss in laying up its trust; and no wonder that such regarded Gall and Spurzheim as the Newtons & Co. of our moral Principia. But even phrenology found a rival of still loftier promise. Mesmerism came, with its crowded exhibitions and uncertain miracles, an agent between the visible and invisible worlds. To do it justice, it has kept its hold longer than any of the family, though much of the glory has departed, and the empire was never fully established, most of the marvels being greater than popular faith. We believe its last form, phreno-mesmerism, has accompanied every succeeding reign, as they merged into each other. That of universal benevolence, in which everybody overflowed with sympathy, and spoke of no one that was not worse off than themselves; tongues and needles, pens and presses laboured for the poor, as if propelled by the very steam of philanthropy; and, strange to say, it has been remarked that the world was nothing the better. Transcendentalism was then imported from Germany, and though it is believed never to have descended farther than boarding-school girls and very young students, having a depth beyond that of the masses, a considerable amount of mysticism regarding the pure reason and individual consciousness has filled the pages of magazines and the atmosphere of drawing-rooms.
What is the predominant power at the present moment it is difficult to determine; our course is through drifting wrecks and falling fabrics. Phrenology, mesmerism, and sundry other isms of great and little note, mingle and clash together, like the floating fragments of great ships on a stormy sea. Some say the generation has grown keenly inquisitive-some that it is critically captious-and some, taking their watchword once again from France, insist that we are now in the era of fraternity. There was an alchemist, in olden times, who searched for the elixir of life and the philosopher's stone, till he lost faith in both, and spent a princely fortune. The man extinguished his furnace, broke his crucible, and said it was terrible to think how much might be true, and how little man could certify. Alchemy has long since become obsolete in the world's wisdom, but the words of that disappointed searcher are still emphatic in their boundless application. How much
LIFE OF SAMUEL CLUGSTON, THE SLUGGARD,
Every outward pressure being now removed except what arose from public opinion, the ruling passion made rapid encroachment on Samuel, and first manifested its progress to the general public in church. His father, while he lived, had managed to keep him tolerably awake while there, and Samuel himself, for a time, made extraordinary efforts to preserve a show of decency; but it was observed that every Sabbath he was losing ground, and that his naps were becoming longer and deeper, until at last they became one unbroken series of nods, from the time that the second psalm ceased, till the minister added no more. All this was very disgraceful. He was remonstrated with, and the minister one day went out of his way, it was thought, to attack him, by saying some strong things about sluggards;
but if he meant them for Samuel personally, he might have saved himself the trouble, for Samuel nodded on.
Now it so happened, that the seat which had been vaeated by the death of Andrew Clugston, fell into the hands of one James Draffin, a shoemaker, who lived a few miles out of the village, at a place called Powbridge. He was a slender, choleric, hard-working man, with a small family, and noted for his belief in witches. As he had unfortunately the habit of nodding too, the seat got a very bad name, and one after another slipped away to some other part of the church, till Samuel and James got the seat almost wholly to themselves. Now, as ill fortune would have it, it chanced to be a part of the sacramental seat, which, in many old-fashioned country churches, runs along the entire breadth, or rather length, of the building in front of the pulpit; and is divided, except at communion times, into different pews, in which the sitters are placed with their faces right opposite to each other, with a narrow table or book-board between them. By the law of chances, James and Samuel sometimes sat on the same side, and sometimes on opposite sides, and like the planets with the sun, to compare small things with great, they were sometimes aphelion and sometimes perihelion in their nodding. When the declination was such as to promise a conjunction, there was an intense interest felt, and the turning of hundreds of eyes to the scene of expectation.
It was a sultry day in July-I remember it well, for I happened to be there that day-that Samuel and James were seated precisely opposite to each other, and as the sermon began, they began to dip together, pull up, and duck down again, lengthening the stroke as the power increased, and Samuel's was no ordinary stroke when his prodigious neck got into full play. Wicked wishes were rife and on tiptoe, and some were standing up in the back galleries to see the expected collision take place. It was amazing how long it was deferred; for sometimes Samuel was going up while James was coming down; and sometimes James was hanging fire, while Samuel was loading and discharging with great regularity; and then, again, Samuel would take it into his head to send the shot side ways, while James was firing backwards; but at last they came into a sort of regular understanding and went off with astonishing precision. They approached within an inch of each other one time, then down came the two twelve-pounders the next fire, and rebounded with a smash and a deep groan from both parties. There was a suppressed tittering throughout the whole church, and several boys laughed right out. The minister looked round, and saw Samuel and James at each other's throats, and staring like wild cats. It was some time ere peace was restored; and in fact it would have been better to have dismissed the meeting, for not one in a hundred, I am sure, got any more good of the services that day. Heads were constantly going down, and rising up in a little while from beneath the book-boards as red as fire; and looks were interchanging, especially among the young, which showed plainly how their minds were occupied; and rows of teeth were now and then appearing in the more remote and secluded quarters, as white and naked as if they had not had a lip to cover them. It is only justice to say, however, that neither Samuel nor James slept any more that day.
Some time elapsed ere Samuel made his appearance again in the church; and as for James he betook himself to the back settlements in the gallery, where he was completely out of danger; for instead of compromising the matter as formerly, he laid his head down, and adhered to the book-board. It was observed that neither he nor Samuel ever spoke of each other afterwards but in the most disrespectful and bitter terms. About this time, I think, it was that Samuel had an attack upon his heart, which proved worse than James Draffin's assault upon his head; but as this is a matter of some importance I will take a new chapter to it.
I have said that Samuel was by no means lovely to look upon, and, being lazy, he did not pay that attention to his
dress and person he ought to have done; and the conse quence was that any moiety of good looks he had was buried beneath dirt, and slovenly clothes, and a long beard. But as Cupid is sometimes not over nice about outward appearances, if he can only kindle a good fire for himself, and have the pleasure of watching its progress, he one day took the opportunity of stepping across to Samuel, out of Jenny Airly's eyes, which were standing wide open at the time. Jenny was the doctor's maid, and had lately returned from service in the county town. She had acquired some town airs, and new-fangled words, and dashing dresses, so that she became quite the toast among the young men, and a target among the women. She was not to be put down by malice and detraction, however, so she continued to dress as gay and talk as fine at the end of the month as ever. There might have been little danger in these attractions, had she not had a cheek as red and plump as a cherry, and a pair of eyes that twinkled and danced like stars, and a waist that run in like a greyhound's, and a pair of ankles that came tapering into sight like those of a fallow-deer. She was not unaware of the powers she possessed, and, like many other great commanders, she took care that her forces should not suffer by inaction. It mattered little to her whether she barricaded a widower, or blew up an old bachelor; set fire to a miser, or laid mines for half a dozen young scamps, who had the vanity to suppose they could get her any day for the asking. No wonder, then, that Samuel surrendered almost at discretion, and at first sight. He did not know, it is true, that he had surrendered, but it was not the less certain for all that, and to none more certain than to Jenny herself. Samuel began to dress a great deal better, and even to shave his beard twice a-week, aud to wash his face as often, and change his shirt every eight days, which were great changes for him, and to stand about the door very much, and pretend to be looking down the street, while in reality he was keeping his eye on the doctor's kitchen window, where Jenny made her appearance pretty often, and sometimes deigned to cast a glance over to Samuel, which some people said made him shake all over and grow red in the face.
Samuel watched his opportunity, and by and by had the felicity to see the doctor and his wife go out one day to walk or visit. Samuel drew a wet towel across his face, combed his hair rapidly, and put about a showy neckerchief, and, after having looked himself in the glass once or twice, he took his march across the street with a beating heart and a sheepish look. He went directly into the doctor's shop, and Jenny promptly appeared behind the counter to know what was wanted. Samuel stammered a little, gave a hem or two, and then said, There's a fine day.'
'O, yes!-Fine weather, Mr Clugston,' said Jenny, in a soft deferential tone.
This was the first time he had ever been addressed as
Mr Clugston, and there was a charm in it he had never felt before, and the words altogether sounded so musically that he was completely captivated by the blandishments of Jenny's tongue.
'Is the doctor in?'-continued Samuel in rather a higher style of enunciation than he was wont to assume.
No, sir,' replied Jenny; but he'll no be unco long, I think. Will you just take a seat, sir?'
If it's the same thing,' said Samuel, the cunning rogue, I'll just step ben beside the kitchen-fire till he come; for although its grand weather, I've gotten a wee glisk o' the cauld, I think, at ony rate.'
It's quite the same thing, Mr Clugston,' said Jenny, with a sweet smile; but the kitchen's a' in confusion the day, and you maun just excuse it.'
The kitchen was as clean and orderly as kitchen could be, but it was Jenny's way of expressing herself, and she had many strange ways besides that. No rural coquette knew better how to plant her words, or sow her smiles, and the short and the long of it was, that there was scarcely a corner in Samuel's heart but she broke up and laid under crop. When she had done all she desired at the