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philanthropy came in fashion, and though the din far exceeds the labour, something has been effected in the way of awakening inquiry and directing attention to the subject; but the rights and the consideration due to the unpropertied and laborious mass, enforced by the soundest dictates of reason and the most terrible warnings of history, advocated by religion, with the power of Scriptural precept and example, as that one portion of the law of Moses most completely ratified by the Gospel, are they yet sufficiently understood or regarded? Do not the very extent of our poor-laws and houses testify against us, that we are guilty concerning our brethren, sold for so many ages to those Ishmaelites of time, ignorance and pauperism? The desideratum is not charity, but work for the million. Work or want is their only alternative; bounty may increase, but can never satisfy the demand; and were the energy of legislators and the zeal of private benevolence exerted for the employment and instruction of the multitude, whose position in the scale of fortune renders them at once so serviceable to their species, and so incapable of guarding their own best interests, it would prevent the possibility of extensive destitution, and supersede at least three-fourths of the poor-rates.
bour; others still might be pointed out-for instance, the finny stores of the sea, now comparatively neglected on many of our coasts, and veins of mineral wealth yet unwrought, especially in Ireland; but to which of the natural capabilities of that luckless isle could an observer turn and say, cultivation and improvement have been here? In this state of things lies the cause of Ireland's pauperism and disaffection, and in an industrial revolution alone must their remedy be sought. It is the ignorance and selfishness of mankind, not the arrangements of Creative Wisdom, that limit the means of human subsistence, and one among the many signs of advancement in the present generation is, that this great truth has begun to be perceived and acted on, though as yet merely in the way of theory and experiment; but when the resources lying round us in every direction are estimated and applied, not as now by feeble and fitful efforts, but on a scale commensurate to the necessities of the working world; when the value and the rights of agricultural and mechanical industry are properly appreciated and justly protected; and, above all, when those invested with the powers of property or position learn that employment on equitable terms is, in the largest sense, giving to the poor, which the Scripture calls lending to the Lord, and likely to be repaid, even in this life, with interest, our country will exhibit the noblest features, without the abuses of public charity.
CHIPS FROM MY LOG. No. V.
'I believe Sir Charles does a world of good in your neighbourhood,' said an inquisitive traveller to one of the Irish peasantry, referring to a charitable M.P. I am told it is astonishing to see the quantity of food and clothing which he and his lady distribute to the poor every Christmas.' Thrue for ye, sir,' replied the labourer, pausing in the midst of his toil in a ditch. He gives male and blankets to some of thim, but Mr Smith from Ingland and his spinnin'-jinnies is far the charitablest, for he keeps the rest in work all the year, barrin' Sunday's.' And the INHABITANTS OF THE COCOS-MANUFACTURE OF COCO-NUT Irishman was right-the just and liberal employer is the true friend of the people, and he who promotes productive industry serves his country best. The old Greeks seem to have had an impression of this fact on their minds when they ascribed to nearly every one of their deities the invention of some useful art.
The proportion of its people incapable of providing for their own subsistence, owing to age or other disabilities, is, in any kingdom, comparatively small, and still smaller would be the number left to the nation's care could kindred hands that are able and willing to labour find adequate scope or return for their exertions; at all events, the support of the old and helpless alone would entail neither the expenditure nor the abuses of our present system. Instruction and employment! When will the world's lawgivers and proprietors learn that these are the two great sources of safety, as well as prosperity, to nations? But though the last is not least, for nightshade and nettles will occupy the uncultivated soil, more especially in a moral sense, the former is the measure of most immediate necessity.
'Man is everywhere complaining of the want of land, and the globe is covered with deserts,' said Saint Pierre, more than half a century ago, and now it may be said, in addition, that the greater part of Europe are complaining of the want of bread and work, yet the globe is covered with unreclaimed wastes, and filled with mines of unexplored riches. Not only is this the case in the distant regions subject to Britain, vast and unpeopled as they are, and in many instances possessing climates far superior to that of the governing country, and soils, compared with which her outworn fields seem niggardly and barren, but even in our isles themselves, England and Wales have woods and heaths of wide extent, where hamlet chimneys smoked and corn grew before the Norman came with his forest laws; Scotland has fertile glens, which remnants of the same feudal statutes have devoted to the hare and pheasant; and Ireland, among whose famished and unemployed population so many millions have been distributed almost in vain, contains in her different counties, according to the statements of government surveyors, unreclaimed land amounting to one-sixth of the entire island. These are immense agricultural resources, and the operative de partments have corresponding fields of remunerative la
OIL-GARDEN PRODUCTIONS-USES OF THE COCO-TREETURTLING AND FISHING-EXCURSION TO WINDWARD ISLAND.
THE whole population of the Coco Islands is contained in a village comprising 25 or 30 houses. The inhabitants, including women and children, numbered at the time of our visit about 200; the parents being chiefly Malays from Java, Borneo, &c., with a few negroes from the Cape, all being dependents of a Captain Ross who settled here with his family in 1826. The place is so healthy that no deaths had occurred since the commencement of the settlement, and, the families being prolific, the population is multiplying rapidly. No nation has ever taken formal possession of the islands, and so Captain Ross is monarch of all he surveys.
The chief employment of the place is the manufacture of coco-nut oil. The ripe nuts which have fallen from the trees are gathered, and the outer husks taken off on the spot by the Malays, who get two guilders (Batavia money, and equal to three shillings and fourpence sterling) for every thousand they bring to Captain Ross. The inner hard shell of the nut is then knocked off with a heavy knife, women and children being generally employed to do this, and the white interior part is put into a mill to be crushed. The mill consists simply of two heavy circular stones placed on edge, and made to roll round on a flat surface upon which the nuts are placed, the moving power being the wind. The crushed matter is now put into a large flat pan and exposed to heat for some time, and then into a long rectangular box, where it is pressed hard by means of screws. The oil, as it drops from the bottom of the box, is collected and heated in large pots to separate impurities, and is lastly stowed away in casks, and conveyed to Batavia to be sold. Captain Ross makes this trip generally twice a-year in a schooner which he built on the islands, and with the produce of the oil he brings back stores of food and clothing for the use of himself and 'subjects.' His crew is made up by volunteers, who go to make purchases on their own account. Along with these light articles, however, the schooner takes a return cargo of earth for the purpose of making garden-soil. Thus, in the course of years, each family has got a small patch of fertile ground, on which they cultivate sugar-canes, plantains, maize, &c. In Captain Ross's garden I saw growing, in addition to the articles
mentioned, figs, grapes, custard-apples, sour sop,' the cotton plant, the taro plant (Arum macrorhizon), which is cultivated extensively among the South-Sea Islands for the sake of its farir aceous root, and some others. He had a small variety of plantain, or banana, which was very delicious. The taro-root requires much moisture, and the way in which this is secured for it leads me to mention a peculiarity of the wells here. There are no springs on the islands, but excellent fresh water can be procured almost anywhere by digging below the level of high-water, and the well thus formed, although permanently fresh, will rise and fall with the tide. The taro then is planted in a trench, the bottom of which is about the level of high-water, and as fresh water rises also to this level, the earth at the bottom of the trench is kept constantly moist. The plant seldom flowers, but, when it does, the blossoms are considered sacred by the Malays.
The men commonly work only two or three days a week for Captain Ross, and the remainder of their time they occupy in fishing, turtling, kite-flying, and other amusements. Some of them have become expert boatbuilders, and they have among them a number of very smart craft, in which they take great pride. Altogether they are a happy, contented, careless set of fellows, without cares or responsibilities, and much indebted to Captain Ross for finding them such a comfortable home in this distant and solitary speck of dry land.
The coco-nut being the very life of these islands, the tree from which it derives its origin deserves a brief notice. The coco-tree (Cocos nucifera) is a palm, rising like a slender column 30 to 60 feet or more in height. The stem swells a little at the base, and is then of nearly uniform thickness throughout. As it grows old the diameter at the base decreases, until at length it is not of sufficent strength to support the superincumbent weight, and the tree falls. About a dozen leaves, each 12 or 15 feet long, form an immense tuft at the top, and as they fall off year by year they leave circular marks on the A young tree commences bearing in its sixth or seventh year, and a nut comes to maturity in about six months, but nuts are to be seen in every stage of growth at one time on the same tree. I don't know how many a tree would produce annually, perhaps about a hundred, but I have counted about fifty on a tree at once. Eight or ten ripe nuts are found to contain a quart of oil. In other localities, I believe, they are generally less productive. The useful products of the tree are very numerous, and every part of it is employed in one way or other in ministering to the wants of man. The heart of the young stem is used as an esculent vegetable. With the leaves, houses are thatched, and baskets constructed; and brooms are made from the fibrous midribs of the leaflets. A sweet fluid called toddy is obtained from the young buds in the following manner: A well-developed flower-sheath is cut open, and all the buds stripped from the enclosed bunch. The bare twigs are then tied together, their ends cut off, and a piece of hollow bamboo placed underneath to receive the juice of the tree as it drops from the cuts. After standing a few hours, this liquid ferments and becomes intoxicating, and if distilled it furnishes a spirit. While fermenting, it is used as yeast in making bread; and coarse sugar (called jaggary) is got from the sweet toddy by simply boiling it down. The green nuts contain a cooling and refreshing drink, slightly sweet, but clear and limpid as water. The half-ripe kernel has been called a vegetable blanc-mange, and by some is much relished. The ripe kernel yields oil by pressure, as I have described, and pigs and poultry are fed with the residuum. When scraped down, mixed with water, and strained, the kernel makes a rich-flavoured milk, which is used with tea and coffee, or with rice. From the outer husk of the ripe nut are made cordage (called coir), bags, and mats; and the hard inner shell can be polished and formed into various small utensils. This hard shell is also converted into charcoal, and used as fuel at the blacksmith's forge. In other parts of the world, the coco-tree, I believe, is made to contribute still more largely to economical purposes,
but the above, as far as I know, are all its applications in these islands.
Fishing and turtling I have said are among the chief employments of the Malays. When the islands were first settled, green turtle used to be very abundant, but owing to the constant war waged against them, they are now much scarcer and more timid. They are never to be caught on the sandy beaches as at other places, but always in the water, and a sufficient number to supply the wants of the natives and occasional visiters can still be pretty easily picked up. To give an idea of the mode of catching them, I shall mention an attempt which was made by a small party of us from the ship. We proceeded to a good station in the cutter with a small canoe in tow. On arriving at the sandy flats frequented by the turtle, we anchored the large boat, and three of us went in the canoe to give chase to the first one we should catch sight of. We propelled ourselves by paddles and long poles; but there being rather too much sea for our frail and overloaded vessel, I had to squat myself on the bottom, partly by way of ballast, and partly to keep baling out the water. In pursuing turtle, the object is to follow them till they are tired out, which they will generally be in ten or fifteen minutes, and whenever they come to a stand a person jumps out of the boat, seizes them by the neck, and brings them to the surface. We paddled after several fine ones most lustily, but in most cases we were the parties first exhausted, and in others the turtle got away into deep water where we could not follow them. So we had to return ingloriously, and content ourselves with buying them from Captain Ross at two dollars each.
Fish are caught by the natives with nets, hooks, and spears. We too were pretty successful with hooks, and one day we attempted a fish-hunt with spears at the back of the north end of west island. At that place the outer reef lies considerably away from the island, and leaves between it and the shore an extensive sheet of smooth water, which at low tide is tolerably shallow and much frequented by fish. Having singled out a small shoal of spermwhale fish,' we commenced operations. Armed with light spears about five feet long, and stripped to shirt and trousers, four of us marched into the water in a line in such a manner as to get beyond the fish without disturbing them. We then advanced gradually, beating the water with our spears when they attempted to pass us, till we got them pretty near the shore. Up to this time they seemed quite cool, and retreated in good order, but now they apparently came to the conclusion that they had yielded far enough, for, after swimming hastily about in various directions, they made a desperate rush towards us; and while they were passing at full speed, we darted our spears with the best aim we could. Two fish were transfixed. One escaped while we were endeavouring to secure it, and the other swam off with one of our spears sticking in his body. In the next shoal which we operated against, the casualties were one wounded and one killed outright. The specimen we got was a large green fish weighing 30 or 40 pounds. It had an ugly head shaped somewhat like a sperm-whale's-hence its name-and a horny mouth like a turtle's to enable it to feed on coral.
Let me give just one example more of the many excur sions we had to the different islands during our stay. Starting from the ship one day after dinner, we beat up in our cutter to the settlement, whence, after landing to pay our respects to the 'governor,' we continued our voyage to the second largest island of the group, known from its position by the name of Windward Island.' We landed after dark in one of the bays about the middle of this island, eight or nine miles from the ship. After kindling a fire for the sake of illumination, our next care was to provide a lodging for the night, and for this purpose we set about reconstructing a hut, of which a few materials remained from some former expedition. Its plan was sufficiently simple. A rafter being supported about five feet from the ground by a tree at one end and two sticks crossed at the other, we then made two sloping sides of coco-leaves, by placing them obliquely from the ground
down to the days of Ebenezer Elliot, we will perceive that the diversity of power in execution is not so great as is the diversity of ideas in relation to men and things. 'Gentle Will,' with all the ability of transcendent genius, illustrates the villanies and vanities of humanity, and, with the mirror of his own experience and imagination, reflects in universal humanity a shade of villany. Shakspeare writes down man as he sees him; he copies him, and after he has done so, he leaves him alone as an artist leaves the creation of his pencil. He attaches to the Jew the popular stigma, and does not see nobility in Israel because the general eye does not. He makes the clown clownish; and though he says that the mind makes the body rich,' and that honour "'peareth in the meanest habit,' he, at the same time, does not appear as either the bard of honour or poverty.
to the horizontal pole. The floor of the hut was well covered with coco-leaves to serve as a bed. Soon after 'turning in,' we were roused by a loud cry from Captain S., and, on starting up, found the cause of alarm to be a crab that had crawled over him. The hut was quite surrounded by them, and although they scampered off in terror from the noise we made, the expectation of another visit, and a pinch from their powerful claws, made us so restless that we could not sleep. Accordingly about midnight, when the tide was down, and the moon well overhead, we got up and walked across to the outside of the island to look for craw-fish among the reefs. In an hour or two we found half-a-dozen large ones, with which we returned to our bivouac. At daybreak we again set out, fortified by a little brandy and cold beef, and wandered about the island until the tide rose, when we took the boat and sailed quite to the south end of the lagoon, but In the poetry of the schools, from the days of Chaucer the day became so hot that we could do little more than to those of Crabbe, there is little consistency to be found sit under the trees and drink coco-nut water. On com--much of what may be termed its beauty, but little of mencing our return, we found the water rather too shal- its religion. The poet's vocation seemed to be looked low for the boat, and we had consequently to heave out upon as merely emotional, and not educational; to please the ballast and push and drag her through the mud and and move were reckoned the grand purposes of song. branching coral for nearly a mile. She then went along Crabbe rendered poetry something more vital in its purfor some distance under her sails, although still grinding pose, however; and although he sometimes sacrificed the down the coral, but for the last half mile we had to aban- agreeable, he infused an element into poetry which endon her entirely and wade. On reaching the hut, we hanced and strengthened its character. kindled up the fire and prepared dinner. It consisted of chicken-pie, salt beef, craw-fish, two land crabs, and a roasted frigate-bird! After another ramble in the evening, we returned to sleep until the tide rose sufficiently to float our boat. This occurred about eleven o'clock; when we kindled a large pile of dry coco-leaves to serve as a mark to navigate by in the darkness, and then embarked. For a short distance we sailed along with a fair wind smoothly enough, but it happened to be rather a low tide, and when we got among the coral there was nothing but bumping and rubbing, and our Malay crew were almost constantly in the water dragging the boat over obstacles. Keeping the trouble and delay out of account, these coral formations are very pretty to sail amongst, especially by moonlight. The diversified shapes and colours of the coral, the fishes glancing about, and the gigantic clampshells, along with others lying gaping at the bottom, form such a submarine picture as is rarely to be met with. The navigation of the north part of the lagoon is comparatively open and safe for boats, but there are sandbanks and rocks of hard black coral which must be carefully avoided.
Thus, in boat-sailing, bathing, fishing, shooting, rambling among the reefs and woods, and occasionally visiting Captain Ross and family, from whom we received great attention and kindness, five weeks passed pleasantly away, and notwithstanding that the ship's head was then di rected homewards, I, for one, left the islands with regret, and few things would gratify me more than to see the cocos and have a yarn with the old 'governor' again.
GLIMPSES OF THE BEAUTIFUL.*
WE are of those who deny that the fount of poetic inspiration has been drained. We do not believe that the waters of Helicon have forsaken its channels, and that the poetic muses have gone away for ever from every place, and Castalia amongst the rest. We know that the grand old flowers that wont to bloom upon the untrodden sod of poesy have been culled and woven into coronas, immortal as the amaranth, for bards whose names will never die. We know that every known aspect of things, and every supposable or felt emotion of soul or sense, has been sung in strains that even angels might love to echo, but still we believe that the elements of sublime and beautiful poetry are co-existent with man, and as exhaustless as the streams of life and love. If we examine the best works of the best poets, from the days of Shakspeare
Glimpses of the Beautiful, and other Poems. By JAMES HENDERBON. Glasgow: David Chambers.
Since the days of Crabbe, what were termed the 'rabble poets' have arisen to exalt and immortalise 'honest poverty.' The poets and elements of poetry have completely changed within these few years, and instead of hearing song poured forth in honour of steeds and standards reeling,' we hear the voices of lowly men singing in loud and sometimes sad strains the loves, wrongs, hopes, and joys of their order. The author of Glimpses of the Beautiful' is a young man, who, while prosecuting a laborious calling, has with noble perseverance educated himself and studied poetry, during those hours too generally wasted by young men in frivolous pastimes or pleasures. Next to the more solid and useful adornments of the mind, there is nothing which we would recommend young men to study more earnestly than poetry; for although they may never be poets nor seek to be such, they will find that the heart is refined and purified by familiarity with the sweetest of sentiments clothed in the sweetest expressions. The spirit of love and goodwill breathes through the softly-rhymed lucubrations of Mr Henderson, and there is an earnestness and sweetness in many of the pieces that recommend them to the sympathetic heart.
THE LAST FAREWELL.
Why wilt thou weep, my mother? Thou art sighing—
Life from my throbbing bosom now is flying
My eyes grow darkly dim; and am I dying--
I grieve to leave thee now; yet thou hast told me
Where we shall meet-where thou wilt yet behold me,
Where, robed in light, unnumber'd angels bending-
Strike golden harps, with sinless glory blending
Can I be happy there, when thou, my mother,
And in that land, oh! shall I find another
As kind as thee?
Shall I be glad? Can there be aught will cheer nie
From thee, whose smiles with joy were ever near me-
Yet thou wilt come and dwell with me for ever
In blissful spheres, where death can enter never,
I will be there, and welcome thee to pleasures
I will be there, and lead thee unto treasures
I'll roam with thee where stars arise entrancing
I'll lead thee where the rainbow arches, glancing
Thou shalt be happy there-no tear bedimming
Thou shalt be happy there, with angels hymning
But now the pangs of icy death oppress me;
I see thee not, yet thou art near to bless me;
Methinks I hear celestial voices humming
In golden spheres I'll fondly wait thy coming.
Mr Henderson is full of aspirations for the good time coming, and hails its advent in the following strains:
WE ARE MOVING.
Days foretold by bards and sages,
Bright with living glory,
Hasten to adorn the pages
Of undying story.
Clouds that dimm'd the fair horizon
Errors that the soul would poison
Flee away before us.
In the past, dark shadows slumber
And the wrongs we blush to number
Every day we are improving,
Hasting to perfection;
Other lands with sad recitals
That our country knows not.
And the wrong shall yet be righted
Man no more, abash'd and humble,
Hoary thoughts and fashions crumble,
Blissful thought! we are improving,
War's empurpled rage and ravage,
Bringing death and dark bereavement
Day by day we are improving.
We are moving, we are moving
And at eve bright faces cluster
By the smiling village;
When the grim wolf hunger 's banish'd
Joy we now! We are improving,
We are moving, we are moving
Joy hath crown'd beginning.
Every little hour improving,
Soon must bring perfection; We are moving, we are moving In the right direction.
The handsome volume is a praiseworthy illustration of the industry of the young author, who, if he has not won poetic bays, has certainly acquired a flowing style, and habits of thought that will be reward enough for the hours he has devoted to the muses. We heartily wish him every success.
AUNT AGNES'S WILL.
My cousin, you are in my last will and testament.' The full force of these few words will be perfectly understood when it is known that she who pronounced them was old and rich, and that he who listened to them was as greedy as a pike. Mademoiselle Agnes Duperron had no less than forty thousand francs of revenue. She was upwards of sixty years of age, and one of her sides was completely paralysed, so it may be judged whether she was likely to be without friends or not. One of the most assiduous, most affectionate, and attentive of her devoted wellwishers was her cousin Gigandet; and this same day, when these remarkable words were uttered (which was the twentieth of January, or the day of St Agnes), he had come to offer his first compliments and a bouquet of flowers to his most respectable and respected cousin. He had presented himself at the mansion before she had arisen from her couch, and had stood with his bouquet in one hand and his hat in the other, repeating to himself for a full hour, in a low voice, the compliments which he intended to address to her, until she was ready to receive him. Touched by an affection so ardent, Mademoiselle had invited her good cousin to partake of her breakfast, consisting merely of a little toasted bread and butter, which was moistened with coffee, slightly coloured with cream; but Gigandet, in the glow of his generous enthusiasm, had solemnly declared that 'it was the best cream, the best coffee, the best butter, and the best bread that he had eaten during all the period of his mortal life.'
The effect produced by an actor's appearance is termed in the slang of the theatres his physique. We wish that we could convey to our readers an exact impression of M. Gigandet's physique. He was a meagre, ghostlike man, a portrait of whose counterpart might be seen any day stuck up in the fields of Brittany during the potato season to frighten away the crows. His loug, pale face was armed with a long-pointed nose; and as it was planted between two little holes, from which sparkled two little restless twinkling eyes, it might have struck even the dullest imagination as a curious resemblance to the snout of a weasel. The disproportion that existed between the superior and inferior parts of his person was also as remarkable as it was strange. It was the corporeal frame of a dwarf upon the legs of a giant-it was an infant upon stilts. The breakfast being finished, M. Gigandet seated himself opposite to Mademoiselle Duperron, and it was while gazing on his long thin legs, which stuck out in parallel lines from the fauteuil, and effectually occupied the whole length of the hearthstone, that the old dame had expressed her sympathy for him in those touching words- Rest satisfied, my cousin, you shall be remembered in my last testament.' At these words, he threw such a beaming glance from his little eyes upon his dearly beloved cousin as told the fullness of his soul; but, repressing the excess of his joy, he smiled in the most modest natural way in life, and in a voice trembling with emotion exclaimed-' Oh, my cousin, you have plenty of time to think of that.'
Oh, that would be too much of a good thing,' said the old lady, shaking her head with a serious air. What is the use of remaining in a state of illusion? I know very well that my day is quickly coming, and I have no right to complain. I have been sixty-four years already in this world, and, between you and me, I have not wasted many of them.'
'I know that,' cried M. Gigandet, with a gentle sigh,
as he pressed his hands together; 'yours has indeed been a life full of good works.'
'We shall not speak on that point,' interrupted Mlle. Duperron, modestly. Then pursuing her former train of observation, she smilingly said, 'It is not with the notary as with the doctor, however-the notary never kills anybody when you call him; so that I fear no danger in immediately making my testament.'
The door opened at that instant, and Mlle. Duperron had to receive a second cousin, a second compliment, a second bouquet, and a second embrace. When the usual ceremonials had been finished, Gigandet, assuming that mysterious tone of raillery so characteristic of a man who supposes that he has gained an advantage, exclaimed, 'Are you there, cousin Baculard ?'
'Yes,' replied the other, unable to conceal his spite; 'and, although late, it is not because I want the goodwill to be here as soon as you, but I live at some distance, as my cousin knows; and another thing, my legs do not happen to be so long as yours.'
Next to the fear of losing money, there was nothing in the world that Gigandet so dreaded and hated as allusions to his legs. His face was naturally of so cadaverous a hue, that his passion, therefore, did not now add anything to its pallor; but his brow lowered and puckered, and his lips trembled, as, addressing his antagonist with a glance of sovereign contempt, and a disdainful smile, he answered, 'I do not wish to deny your ardour, cousin Baculard. You blow your trumpet too loud for any one to call that in question.'
In order to comprehend the full force of M. Gigandet's reply, it must be recorded that M. Baculard was in every point his very opposite in personals. The latter was fat and rubicund, and carried upon a pair of the very shortest legs a most voluminous and rotund body. Although still very young, he was most extraordinarily plethoric, and, as this plethora had found access to his lungs, he was also very as thmatic. At thirty years of age he had fallen in love, and the object of the dear, insidious, subduing sentiment was a rich and beautiful heiress. Unfortunately for his suit, whilst in the midst of a warm and ardent declaration of his passion, his respiration suddenly failed him, and the youthful, simpering, blushing, beauteous object of his love having profited by this interruption to burst into a violent fit of laughter, the indignant Baculard resolved thenceforth to eschew the sex; but still one remnant of weakness remained intrenched in his great heart, to show that he was human-he could no more philosophise over his asthma than Gigandet over his legs.
Mlle. Duperron sunk back in her seat, and secretly rejoiced at this altercation, just as a mischievous urchin would be amused by two curs worrying each other in the street for a bone which was snatched away from them after all; nevertheless, fearing the noisy consequences of a protracted display of this kind between her relatives, she judged it prudent to interfere. Cousin Baculard,' said she, in as winning a way as an aged dame with her infirmities could assume, 'I have equal confidence in the strength of your affection as in that of my cousin Gigandet, and I am equally grateful to you as to him. Yes, my friends-my good friends,' added she, with overflowing heartfeltness, and stretching out to them the only hand which was now at her or anybody's service, 'you are both equally dear to me, and you shall both be remembered in my will.'
Believing that the last sentence was of the most fruitful significance to her relatives, and that the expression of it had given her the right to be now alone, Mlle. Duperron intimated to the gentlemen her desire to avail herself at present of that right; and these two worthies, who seemed walking illustrations of the two extremes in the chain of humanity, took their leave. They descended the stairs side by side, in silent meditation; for they were both busy discussing with themselves whether it would be advantageous to maintain their present enmity, or to form a mutual alliance. Accident, we shall see, declared for the latter alternative.
As they reached the vestibule, a young woman passed
rapidly before them, and began lightly to ascend the stairs which they had just quitted. Her dress of indiana, her simple little chip bonnet, and her leathern shoes were not very striking indications of opulence; and if anybody, even independent of these evidences, had still retained doubts of her social position, the little bandbox which she carried would have sufficed to dissipate them. But her little shoe, although so coarse in its material, inclosed a foot so light and handsome, and her dress of humble stuff was arranged so gracefully on so lovely and faultless a form, and from beneath her bonnet escaped such a rich profusion of long, shining, waving, fair curls, that nobody who looked upon her with an impartial eye for a moment would not have asked if one so rich in nature's jewels was scant of earthly treasures. As she lightly tripped up the stairs, as graceful as a fawn, the two cousins seemed to have taken root upon the straw mat which lay at the bottom of the first flight of steps; and Gigandet, whose awful brow had lowered portentously at the sight of that young woman, quickly interrupted, with an elbow stroke in the region of the ribs, the mute contemplation of the profound Baculard, and at the same time exclaimed, Who could doubt, cousin Baculard, as you look at that baggage, that you have not a right to hate her perfidious sex for ever?' 'Oh, hem,' said Baculard, laying his hand ungracefully on his side, and drawing a painful respiration, which much resembled the croak of a frog-'Oh, hem, cousin Gigandet, you must not suppose me influenced by past ideas altogether. Exceptions don't form rules.'
Alas, for the majesty of human nature! Baculard still retained a portion of that amiable weakness called vanity; and as he did not wish M. Gigandet, above every one else, to suppose that he was hors de combat in the tiltingground of Cupid, it was not very likely that he should at once assent to that dear relative's proposition. In addition to this secret sentiment, so common to fat men, M. Baculard's pectoral muscle was suffering from the application of Gigandet's spear-like elbow, and this circumstance conducing to ruffle his otherwise not very equable temper, did not incline him to a ready recognition of even his strongest convictions. I cannot confirm your assertion,' continued M. Baculard, looking very pompous and very much inclined for a little argumentation; I am impelled to dissent from you in favour of one little excep
M. Gigandet looked hard at his cousin, and then his little twinkling eyes glanced brightly up the stair; and then, in a tone meant for a very grave one, but which bore a strong resemblance to the squeak of a juvenile pig, he exclaimed, 'In favour of that low-born creature whom you have now recognised ?'
'Recognised!' cried Baculard, in a tone of surprise, as he turned on his kinsman; I vow to you, cousin, that I have seen her for the first time.'
'In that case I beg your pardon,' said Gigandet, bending his frame to a bow. You do not know, then, that that little minx is the most dangerous enemy to your interests and mine?'
That puppet that just now ascended the stair, cousin Gigandet P' cried Baculard, with a start.
Yes, that young gillflirt there,' answered Gigandet; 'for she is the daughter of William Duperron, our valuable relative's veritable nephew.'
Baculard's entire frame trembled, from the point of his toes to the summit of his heavy, confounded-looking head; and from the depths of his bodily gravity issued, as if with a desperate struggle, the ejaculation of Misericorde.'
'And you can easily guess,' continued Gigandet, 'that it is not without some motive that she mounts that stair to the house of her grandaunt, with such a gay, saucy air, upon the morning of St Agnes. I can see through her motive, Baculard,' said he, with sundry knowing winks. It is treason, my cousin. Ah, you have good reason to detest women. I know as well as you of what they arc capable-and this one in particular. I can perceive her from this spot putting on her affected airs before her aunt, modulating her voice to the sweetest tone before