« AnteriorContinuar »
ment that met his eye, he tucked it under his arm and walked into court, asecnded the bench, and commenced putting it on, when, to the great amazement of all present, he discovered that he had got on a lady's petticoat. Ladies in those days wore pockets, and the Judge had slipped the petticoat over his head, and got his arms through the pocket holes, before he discovered his mistake; when, with that gravity which seldom forsook him, and with his usual asseveration, he exclaimed, 'Before God, I have got on Van Rhine's petticoat!!
Mr. Thomas's description of the personal presence and manners of WASHINGTON accords with the unanimous verdict of all who ever had the good fortune to behold that great and good man. • The calm dignity of his manner and the mild accents of his voice,' he writes, “are engraven upon my heart, and will be as lasting as their tablet.' We take this passage from the chapter upon the Father of his Country:
'It is an extraordinary fact, that the life of no man, of any age or nation, who has risen to greatess, ever afforded so few anecdotes as his. One, however, I well remember to have heard frequently spoken of soon after it occurred; it was this : directly after the British were compelled to quit Boston, which was besieged by WASHINGTON, with General Ward second in command, General Ward resigned his commission, which circumstance was thus spoken of by Washington, in a letter to congress; no sooner is the seat of war removed from beyond the smoke of his own chimneys, than General Ward resigns his command.'
About the time of the organization of the government under the constitution, General Ward was informed of this remark, and ing elected to the second congress, soon after his arrival at the seat of government, (then New-York,) he took a friend with him and called upou WASHINGTON, and asked him if it was true, that he had made use of such language. The President replied that he did not know; but he kept copies of all his letters, and would take an opportunity of examining them, and give him an answer at the next session. Accordingly, at the next session General Ward called again with his friend, and received for answer, that he (WASHINGTON) had written to that effect. Ward then said, • Sir, you are no gentleman,' turned on his heel and left him, and here, of course, the matter ended.
'I have recently met the confirmation of an important fact I had heard mentioned nearly half a century ago; but I do not know that it has found its way into any biography of WASHINGTON. It is this: that Governor Johnson, of Maryland, requested Mr. John Adams to nominate WASHINGTON for commander-in-chieif; that Adams seemed to decline, and Johnson made the nomination. At a previous meeting of the New-England delegation, to consult upon this subject, General Ward was agreed upon with the consent of every man present, but Mr. Adams, who dissented, and declared himself in favor of WASHINGTON. Great God how often was the fate of this country suspended by a single hair? This was one of the numerous instances.'
Here is a graphic description of the great eclipse of the sun, which occurred in June, 1806. Mr. Thomas is at Providence, Rhode Island :
“The phenomenon commenced between eleven and twelve o'clock, and after the sun became totally obscured, it remained so for more than half an hour. Its operation upon animated nature was truly and awfully sublime. The birds flew about in every direction, in evident distress and terror; the domestic fowls ran about in all directions, cackling as in a fright. Horses galloped round their pastures neighing; while the horned cattle, which seemed more affrighted than the rest, tore up the earth with their horns and feet in madness; all this uproar was followed by the silence of midnight, when the eclipse was complete ; the birds retired to their resting places, the fowls to their roosts, the horses to their stalls, and the cattle to their mangers, while the stars shone forth in their beauty, and all was still. When the sun began to re-appear, a large number of musicians, students of Brown University, assembled upon the terrace of the college, and struck up Milton's Hymn to Light. The effect was altogether sublime and beautiful.'
We could pursue, with pleasure and profit, our second excursion through these pleasant pages ; but our space permits us only to add, that the volumes are extremely well printed with large types upon paper firm and white ; so that in manner as well as matter there is little left to be desired.
In one volume.
POEMS BY MRS. MARY Noel McDONALD.
HOOKER AND RUSSELL.
pp. 208. New-York: PUDNEY,
With many of the poems in this very handsome volume our readers are already familiar ; they having been written, from time to time, for these pages, within the last two or three years. They are characterized by ease of versification, a peculiarly feminine refinement of thought and expression, great simplicity and feeling, and undoubted truthfulness. It is easy to perceive that with Mrs. McDonald poetry is its own exceeding great reward ;' it is the medium through which her utterances' of affection, love of nature and of human kind, are poured forth. It is but simple truth to say, that her volume is not less creditable to her heart than to her talents. Those of our readers who may remember ' An Old Man's Reminiscence," "The Spirit's Whisper," "The Dying Boy,' etc., will not need our counsel to secure the work before is, whose externals are in admirable keeping with the purity of its contents.
YONNONDIO, OR WARRIORS OF THE GENESSEE: a Tale of the Seventeeth Century. By Wm. H.
C. HOSMER. In one volume. pp. 239. New-York : WILEY AND PUTNAM. Rochester, N. Y.: D. M. DEWEY.
Our friend the late lamented Col. William L. STONE was perhaps as familiar with Indian history, Indian manners, customs, virtues and vices, as any other American writer, COOPER and COLDEN excepted; yet, from our knowledge, both of Mr. Hosmer and of the advantages which he has enjoyed, through direct tradition as well as personal observation, in the study of the aboriginal history and character, we are inclined to yield him a place second only to the historian of RED JACKET. Added to this, Mr. Hosmer is a true lover of nature, and depicts with a faithful pencil all her scenes and phases; ample evidence of which, had we space to adduce it, might be presented from the volume under notice. The poem is descriptive of events that occurred (not transpired') in the valley of the Genessee, during the summer and autumn of 1687; of the memorable attempt of the Marquis de Nouville, under pretext of preventing an interruption of the French trade, to plant the standard of Louis the Fourteenth in the beautiful country of the Senecas. This frame-work of fact has been invested by our author with a rich drapery of fancy, and a succession of vivid pictures of character and scene, various in kind but kindred in merit, are presented, which will command the admiration of the reader. The subjoined proem' will afford a fair example of the smoothness and melody of Mr. HOSMER's verse :
• REALM of the Senecas! no more
In shadow lies the Pleasant Vale;
Around the crackling camp-fire told ;
Are changed to ashes cold.
Harsh its wild tone, untuned its wire!' To the tale he tells' we commend our readers ; satisfied that in its perusal they will find cause to thank us, as well as the author.
MORE OF SANDS' LITERARY REMAINS: THE BLACK VAMPYRE.' — A friend, to whose courtesy in the same kind we have heretofore been indebted, has by good luck been enabled to furnish us with another of the quaint and curious productions of the late lamented ROBERT C. Sands, which has never been included in any of his published writings. It was written some twenty-five years ago, and is called “The Black Vampyre, a Legend of Saint Domingo.' It was dedicated to the author of · Wall-Street,' an ambitious but very stupid performance, which through diligent puffery attained a temporary notoriety. It bore this motto, from BOMBASTES FURIOSO :
"So have I seen upon another shore,
And the last Lion thought the first a Boar! The 'dedication' made the application of the last line somewhat apparent. Omitting the very diplomatic and tender prefixes and affixes, it was in these words: “Charmed with the success of your anomalous drama, which, without aspiring even to the character of nonsense, has already seen three editions, I have been myself induced to venture on publishing; with the sanguine hope of also scraping together a few shillings, in these hard times. Permit me to inscribe this tale to you, with a fellow-feeling for your lack of genius, and a fervent hope that our names may be encircled by the same evergreen in the temple of the Muses; and that we may long flourish together, on the same pedestal, embellishing and elevating the literature of the auction-room. In the introduction' the author tells his readers that if they can discover his drift, it is more than he can do himself; 'if it be thought exquisite nonsense, it is more than he dares hope. He began to write without any fable, and before he had found any, had spun out the thread of his ideas.' His motive was to show of how much nonsense an individual might be delivered in the short space of two afternoons, without any excuse but idleness, or any object but amusement.' The prominent descriptions held up to ridicule, he added, were fresh in the memory of all who had read • The White Vampyre ;' and to those who had not, the superstition was of course familiar. BYRON's well-known lines were quoted: *But first on earth, as Vampyre sent,
Yet thou must end thy task and mark
Her cheek's last tinge, her eye's last spark,
And the last glassy glance must view
Which freezes o'er its lifeless blue;
Then with unhallowed hands shall tear
The tresses of her yellow hair,
Affection's fondest pledge was worn,
But now is borne away by thee,
Memorial of thine agony!
Yet with thine own best blood shall drip
Thy gnashing tooth, and haggard lip;
Then stalking to thy sullen grave,
Go, and with Ghouls and Afrits rave,
Till these in horror sbriuk away
The author seems (by parity of reasoning) to think that there need not be any great degree of incredulity conce
ncerning the existence of such a creature as the vampyre; for in a sort of moral upon his performance, he says: 'In this happy land of liberty and equality, we are free from all traditional superstitions, whether political, religious, or otherwise. Fiction has no materials for machinery; romance no horrors for a tale of mystery. Yet in a figurative sense, and in the moral world, our climate is perhaps more prolific than any other in enchanters, vampyres, and the whole infernal brood of sorcery and witchcraft. The accomplished dandy, who in maintaining his horses, his tailor, etc., absorbs, in the forced and unnatural excitement of his senseless orgies, the life-blood of that wealth which his prudent sire had accumulated by a long devotion to the counter - what is he but a vam. pyre? The fraudulent trafficker in stock and merchandize, who, having sucked the whole substance of an hundred honest men, is consigned for a few weeks to the sepulchre of the jail; and then, by the potent magic of an insolvent law, stalks forth, triumphant with bloated villany, more elated in his shameless resurrection, to renew his career of iniquity and of disgrace what is he but a vampyre ? The corrupted and senseless clerk, who being placed near the vitals of a moneyed institution, himself exhausted to feed the appetite of sharpers, drains in his turn the coffers he was appointed to guard, is he not - I appeal to the stock-holders — is he not a vampyre? Brokers, country bank directors and their disciples; all whose hunger and thirst for money, unsatisfied with the tardy progression of honest industry, by creating fictitious and delusive credit, has prayed on the heart and liver of public confidence, and poisoned the currents of public morals — are they not all vampyres? The whole tribe of plagiarists, under every denomination ; the critic, who, by eviscerating authors, and stuffing his own meagre show of learning with the pilfered entrails, ekes out his periodical fulmination against public taste; the forum orator, who, without compunction, barbarously exenterates BURKE, and CURRAN, and PAILLIPS; the second-handed lawyer, scholar, theologue, who quote from quotations, and steal stolen property; the divine, who preaches TILLITSON and TOPLADY what are they all but Vampyres ? T'he empiric, who fills his own stomach, while he empties his shop into the bowels of the hypochondriac; the bibliopolist, “who guts the fobs' of the whole reading community, by ascribing to Lord Byron works which that author never saw; the philanthropic contractor for the army, who charges more for lime and horse-beef, than his quantum-meruit for the best provisions; who sets up his carriage and his palace, by blistering the mouths and destroying the intestines of thousands – what are these but vampyres ? The professors and disciples of Surgeon's Hall, wbo, when a fine fat corse is rolled out of the resurrectionists budget, set up a howl of horrible transport, like the anthropophagous Caribs in Robinson Crusoe ; glut their gloating eyes with the pinguidity and unctuousness of the subject; and whet their blades like Shylock, impatient to attack the ilia - what are they but vampyres? And I, who, as Johnson said of an hypochondriac lady, ‘have spun this discourse out of my own bowels,' and made as free with those of others - I AM A VAMPYRE!
But let us hasten to present an instalment of The Black Vampyre,' which is the kind treated of in the imaginative exercitation before us : “Mr. Anthony GIBBONS was a gentleman of African extraction. His ancestors emigrated from the eastern coast of Guinea, in a French ship, and were sold in St. Domingo remarkably cheap, as they were reduced to mere skeletons by the yaws on the passage ; and all died shortly after their arrival, except one small negro, of a very slender constitution, and fit for no work whatever. The gentleman who purchased him, charitably knocked out his brains ; and the body was thrown into the ocean. The tide returning in the night, it was washed upon the sands; and the moon then shining bright, the gentleman was taking a walk to enjoy the coolness of the evening ; judge of his surprise, when the little corpse got up, and complaining of a pain in its bowels, begged for some bread and butter!
• The planter, supposing his business to have been but half done, kicked him back in the water. The element seemed very familiar to him; and he swam back with much grace and agility; parting the sparkling waves with his jet black members, polished like ebony, but reflecting no single beam of light. His complexion was a dead black ; his eyes a pure white; the iris was flame color; and the pupils of a clear, moonshiny lustre ; but so peculiarly constructed, that, though prominent, they seemed to look into his own head. His hair was neither curled nor straight; but feathery, like the plumage of a crow. Having paddled again on shore, he came crawling, crab-fashion, to the feet of Mr. PERSONNE. The latter gentleman, in considerable alarm, (not knowing whether it was Satan, Obi, or some other worthy, with whom he had to deal,) mustered up sufficient resolution to tie a large stone round the boy's middle: then, with a main exertion of strength, he hurled him into the sparkling ocean. He fell where the reflection of the moon was brightest, and sunk like lead; but immediately rose again like cork, perpendicularly, with the stone under his arm; while the radiant lustre of the planet retreated from his dark figure, exhibiting in its most striking contrast its utter blackness !
'In this predicament, he came buoyant to land ; surrounded, as he seemed, by a sphere of magic lustre. He now walked up to the Frenchman, with his arms a-kimbo, and looking remarkably fierce. Mr. Personne's particular hairs stood up on end,
TUNC perculit horror
but being ashamed that a little negro of ten years old should put him in bodily fear, he knocked him down. The Guineaman rose again, without bending a joint; as fast as Mr. PERSONNE could upset him, he recovered his altitude ; just like one of those small toys, fabricated from pith tipped with lead, called witches and hobgoblins by the rising generation. The planter, in utter amazement and despair, took hold of the child by both his extremities, and pressing him to the earth, sat down upon him! Then, hallooing for his attendants, he ordered a tremendous fire to be kindled on the sand. This was accordingly done. The Gaul congratulated himself on his perseverance and sagacity; and as he had never heard of ignaqueous animals, was confident that though the water-fiend was so expert in his own element, he could not stand the fiery ordeal. The boy, meanwhile, lay perfectly passive, as if he had been a mere log; but presently, when the pile was all in a light blaze, with a sudden expansion, like that of a compressed India-rubber, he popped Mr. PERSONNE up into the air many yards, and he alighted head-foremost into the fire, where he had intended to have dedicated the sable brat, with his nine lives, to Moloch!
Whatever the negro was, it is notorious that Mr. PERSONNE was no salamander. He was rescued from the pyre, which like HERCULES he had (though unwittingly) erected for himself; looking like a squizzed cat, and having apparently no life left in his body. The attention of the domestics was drawn entirely to their master; who soon betrayed signs of animation, though he exhibited a most awful spectacle, being one continual sore and blister. His whole body was one wound,' as Virgil or some other poet has hyperbolically expressed himself.
• Mr. PERSONNE, when he had perfectly recovered his senses, found himself in his owu bed, wrapped in greasy sheets, and smarting as if in a Cayenne bath. He called for a glass of brandy, his dear wife EUPHEMIA, and his infant son, who had not yet been christened. His lady, with streaming eyes, presented herself before him; and after tenderly inquiring into the state of his health, told him, (with a voice interrupted with sobs and hiccups,) that when she went in the morning to see her baby, whom she had left in the cradle, there was nothing to be seen, but the skin, hair, and nails! She declared that there never was such another object; except, indeed, the exsiccation in Scudder's Museum!
On the receipt of this horrid intelligence, Mr. PERSONNE was seized with a violent spasmodic affection; and shortly after expired, muttering something about sacre, and the Guinea-negro.
“The amiable but unfortunate EUPHEMIA was thrown into several hysterical convul.