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will. The female gendarmes are off low going off because he feels as if he guard occasionally. The sitting-room were not wanted. has its solitary moments, when any two She had her locked drawing-book boarders who wish to meet may come to- under her arm. — Let me take it, -I gether accidentally, (accidentally, I said, said. Madam, and I had not the slightest in- She gave it to me to carry. tention of Italicizing the word,) and dis- This is full of caricatures of all of us, cuss the social or political questions of I am sure,--said I. the day, or any other subject that may She laughed, and said,— No,—not all prove interesting. Many charming con- of you. versations take place at the foot of the I was there, of course ? stairs, or while one of the parties is hold- Why, no,-she had never taken so ing the latch of a door,-in the shadow of much pains with me. porticos, and especially on those outside Then she would let me see the inside balconies which some of our Southern of it? neighbors call “ stoops," the most charm. She would think of it. ing places in the world when the moon Just as we parted, she took a little key is just right and the roses and honey from her pocket and handed it to me. suckles are in full blow,- as we used to -This unlocks my naughty book, she think in eighteen hundred and never said, - you shall see it. I am not afraid mention it.
of you. On such a balcony or “stoop,” one I don't know whether the last words evening, I walked with Iris. We were exactly pleased me. At any rate, I on pretty good terms now, and I had took the book and hurried with it to coaxed her arm under mine, - my left my room. I opened it, and saw, in a arm, of course. That leaves one's right few glances, that I held the heart of Iris arm free to defend the lovely creature, in my hand. if the rival - odious wretch!- attempt to ravish her from your side. Likewise - I have no verses for you this if one's heart should happen to beat a lit- month, except these few lines suggested tle, its mute language will not be with- by the season. out its meaning, as you will perceive when the arm you hold begins to tremble,-a circumstance like to occur, if
MIDSUMMER. you happen to be a good-looking young fellow, and you two have the “stoop to HERE! sweep those foolish leaves away, yourselves.
I will not crush my brains to-day!We had it to ourselves that evening. Look! are the southern curtains drawn? The Koh-i-noor, as we called him, was Fetch me a fan, and so begone! in a corner with our landlady's daughter. The young fellow John was smoking out Not that, - the palm-tree's rustling leaf
Brought from a parching coral-reef! in the yard. The gendarme was afraid
Its breath is neated;- I would swing of the evening air, and kept inside. The
The broad gray plumes, – the engle's wing. young Marylander came to the door, looked out and saw us walking together, I hate these roses' feverish blood! gave his hat a pull over his forehead and Pluck me a half-blown lily-bud, stalked off. I felt a slight spasm, as it A long-stemmed lily from the lake, were, in the arm I held, and saw the
Cold as a coiling water-snake. girl's head turn over her shoulder for a
Rain me sweet odors on the air, second. What a kind creature this is !
And wheel me up my Indian chair, She has no special interest in this youth, And spread some book not overwise but she does not like to see a young fel- Flat out before my sleepy eyes.
One little hour to lie unseen Beneath thy scarf of leafy green!
- Who knows it not,- this dead recoil
O Nature! bare thy loving breast And give thy child one hour of rest,
So, curtained by a singing pine,
REVIEWS AND LITERARY NOTICES.
Life and Liberty in America : or Sketches
of a Tour in the United States and Canada in 1857–8. By CHARLES MACKAY, LL.D., F.S. A. London: Smith, Elder, & Co. 1859.
“Let him come back and write a book about the 'Merrikins as'll pay all his expenses and more, if he blows 'em up enough," urged Mr. Anthony Weller, by way of climax to his scheme for Mr Pickwick's liberation from the Fleet Prison. Whether Mr. Dickens, in putting forth this suggestion through one of his favor. ite characters, had or had not a view to subsequent operations of his own, has long been a sore question among his admirers on this side of the Atlantic. We believe that he had not; and that such “blowing. up" as he imparted to the people of this country was wholly unpremeditated and spontaneous, besides being of so harmless a nature that the patriot of most uneasy virtue need have been nowise distressed in consequence. The language can show few more amusing books than the "American Notes," especially the serious parts thereof.
Mr. Dickens had plenty of objects besides his future self at which to aim his satirical shot. At the time he discharged it, the literary market of England was overstocked with books on America, the authors of which had apparently tasked the best energies of their lungs in incessant" blowings-up" of all that came with in range of their breath. Up to that period, though viewing America from various stand-points, they had seldom failed to recognize this one essential element of success. Since then, however, attempts have been made to satisfy the prejudices
of all sides,- in which the bitter and the sweet have been deftly mingled, with the obvious belief that persons aggrieved, while suffering from the authors' stings, would derive comfort from the consciousness of accompanying honey. These hopes generally proved fallacious, and the authors, falling to the ground between the two stools of American sensitiveness and British asperity, were regarded in the light of stern warnings by many of their successors, who straightway became pitiless.
The critical works on America by English writers, published during the last fifty years, may be numbered by hundreds. Of these, nearly half have at different times been reprinted in this country. Most of them are now unknown, having passed to that oblivion of letters from whose bourn no short-sighted and narrowminded traveller ever ought to return. The annual harvest began to appear about a half-century ago, when little more than descriptions of scenery and geographical statistics were ventured upon, - although one quaint explorer, John Lambert, vouchsafed, in 1810, some sketches of society, from which we learn, among other interesting facts, that a species of Bloomerism pervaded New York, and flourished on Broadway, even at that early day. Our visitors very soon enlarged the sphere of their observations, and entered upon the widest discussions of republican manners and morals. Slavery, as was to be expected, received immediate attention. In the course of ten years, “American Tours" had set in with such rigor, that one writer felt called upon to apologize for adding another to the already profuse supply. This was in 1818. For the next fifteen years, the
principle of unlimited mockery was quite nothing in particular to say, - Mr. Baxter, faithfully observed. The Honorable De who considered Peter Parley a shining Roos, who made a naval examination in light of American literature - Miss Mur: 1826, and satisfied himself that the United ray, who sacrificed her interests at St. States could never be a maritime power, James's upon the shrine of Antislavery, Colonel Maxwell, who entered upon a mili- Mr. Phillipps, scientific,-Mr. Russell, agri. tary investigation, and came to a similar cultural, Mr. Jobson, theological,- and conclusion respecting our prospects as to Mr. Colley Grattan, who may be termed army, and who gained great credit for in- the Sir Anthony Absolute of American dependent judgment by pronouncing Ni. censors, insisting that the Lady Columbia agara a humbug, - Mrs. Kemble, frisky shall be as ugly as he chooses, shall have a and fragmentary, excepting when her fa- hump on each shoulder, shall be as crookther was concerned, and then filially dif- ed as the crescent, and so forth. fuse, - Mrs. Trollope, who refused to in- Last of all comes Mr. Charles Mackay's cumber herself with amiability or veraci- book. Before proceeding to the few genty, -Mr. Lieber, who was principally trou- eral words we have to say of it, let us look bled by a camp-meeting at which he as- for a moment at a question which he, like sisted,- Miss Martineau, who retailed too a number of his predecessors, has considmuch of the gossip that had been decanted ered with some attention. Why it is that through the tunnel of her trumpet, - and the people of the United States manifest Captain Marryatt, who was simply clown- such acute sensibility to the strictures of ish, - afford fair examples of the style English writers, and receive their critiwhich dominated until about 1836 or 1887. cisms with so much suspicion, Mr. MacThen works of a better order began to ap- kay is unable fully to determine. He is pear. America received scientific atten- forced to believe that it is only their anxition. It had been agriculturally worked ety “to stand well in English opinion up in 1818 by Cobbett, whose example which causes them to wince"; particularwas now followed by Shirreff and oth- ly as “French and Germans may coners. In 1839, George Combe subjected demn, and nobody cares what they say." us to phrenological treatment, and had the This is but a part of the truth. Unquesfrankness to acknowledge that it was im- tionably, Americans do, as Mr. Mackay possible for an individual to properly de- says, "attach undue importance to what scribe a great nation. Afterwards came English travellers may say"; but this Lyell, the geologist, who did not, however, does not account for the universal feeling confine himself to scientific research, but of mortification which follows the appearalso analyzed the social deposits, and as- ance of each new tourist's story. Americertained that Slavery was triturable. The cans have not failed to observe, that, of the manufacturers of gossip, meanwhile, had hundreds of writers who come over, only revolutionized the old system. Mr. Dick- a few of the most prominent of whom we ens blew hot and cold, uniting extremes. have mentioned above, not one in fifty is Godley, in 1844, disavowed satire, and was animated by a sincere impulse of honest solemnly severe. Others evinced a simi- good-will. They have learned to mislar disposition, but the result was not tri- trust them all, as triflers with our reputaumphant. Alexander Mackay, in 1846, tion, if not predetermined calumniators. returned to ridicule ; and Alfred Bunn, a They have witnessed over and over again few years after, surpassed even Marryatt the childish ignorance, the discourtesy, in his flippant falsehood. Mr. Arthur Cun- the vulgar deceptions of this class of bookyngliame, a Canadian officer, entertained makers. They are not blind to these rehis friends, in 1850, with a dainty volume, peated struggles to digest a mass of menin which the first personal pronoun aver- tal food for years, in days or weeks. aged one hundred to a page, and the man. They know their nation cannot be underner of which was as stiff as the ramrods of stood by these chance viewers, feebly his regiment. Of our more recent judges, glancing through greenest spectacles, any the best remembered are Lady Emmeline more than the Atlantic can be sounded Stuart Wortley. who gave to the world the with a seven-fathom line. They have bedetails of her private experiences, - Mr. come familiar with the English traveller Chambers, of whose book there is really only to regard him with contempt. Each
new production has opened the old wound. in New York, in payment for a ride of Each new announcement awakens only two miles; nor do we mourn for the derisire expectations. As for “ French numerous other dollars with which he reand Germans," with them it is very dif- luctantly parted to satisfy the rapacity of ferent; and Mr. Mackay ought to know it. hack-drivers all over the Union. We do They commonly write, if not with compre- not thrill with indignation, when we learn hensive vision, at least with integrity of that he was, on a certain occasion, swept purpose. The best works on America are by crinolines into the middle of Broadway. by Frenchmen. What Englishman has Neither are we in any way stirred by such sliown the sincerity and fairness of De information as, that he, like an English Tocqueville or Chevalier? Knowing, then, lord of whom he tells, was accustomed to that absurd malice and a capacity for mi. eat oysters every night in New York; or croscopic investigation of superficial irreg- that he "was pervaded, permeated, steepularities in a society not yet defined are ed, and bathed in a longing desire to bethe principal, and in many cases the only, hold Niagara,” and that, when he beheld qualifications deemed necessary to accom it, his " feelings were not so much those of plish an English book on America, is it astonishment as of an overpowering sense matter for wonder that Americans should of Law”; or that a peddler in a railroadhesitate to kiss the clumsy rods so liberal car sold nine bottles of quack medicine at ly dispensed ?
a dollar a bottle; or that he had eight We hasten to say that Mr. Charles Mac pages of interview with a Baltimore madkay's “Life and Liberty in America ” is man, who proved his insanity by perpetuunusually free from the worst of these ally calling Mr. Mackay the “Prince of faults. Hasty judgments, offences against the Poets of England." The dreary sotaste, inaccuracies, occasional revelations lemnity with which these incidents are of personal pique it has ; but it is not ma- narrated renders them doubly tedious. licious. Sometimes it is even affecting in A flash of humor might enliven them, but its tenderness. It breathes a spirit of pa- we never see a spark. Mr. Mackay's ternal regard. But it is, perhaps, the dull- comic stories, too, of which there are not est of books. If not "icily regular," it is a few, are most lamentable specimens of “splendidly null.” The style is as oppres wit, suggesting forcibly the poppy-seeds sive as a London fog. It is marked, to spoken of by Mr. Pillicoddy, which are use the author's own words, by “elegant soporific in tendency, and which, if taken and drowsy stagnation.” After the first incessantly for a period of three weeks, few pages, it is with weariness that we produce instant death. follow him. We are inclined to think Mr. Mackay's experiences were not of a Mr. Mackay has written too much. Mr. startling character. He travelled leisurely, Squeers had milk for three of his pupils and recorded discreetly. His blunders on watered up to the necessities of five. Mr. a large scale are not numerous ; but of Mackay's experiences might have sustain- minor facts, he announces many which ed him through a single small volume, but may be classed among the remarkable dishe has diluted them to the requirements coveries of the season. He states that of two large ones. This would injure the New York, New Jersey, (!) and Brooklyn prospects of his work in America, but may form one city; that Broadway, N. Y., is not interfere with them in England. Mi decorated with elms, willows. and mounnute details of toilet agonies, pecuniary tain-ashes, “ drooping in green beauty”; miseries, laundry tribulations, and anxie- that persons with decent coats and clean ties of appetite may possess an interest shirts in Boston may be safely put down abroad which we are unable to appreciate as lecturers, Unitarian ministers, or poets ; here. We are not excited by the intel- that Maryland and Virginia are one comligence that Mr. Mackay had an alter- monwealth ; that eighteen months before cation with a negro servant on board & every Presidential election, a cause of Sound steamer, because he could not quarrel is made with England by both the have lager-beer at table. Such things principal political parties, for the purpose have been noticed before. We do not of securing the Irish vote; that measly shed a sympathetic tear over the two pork is caused by too hasty insertion in dollars which he once had to disgorge brine after killing, and consequent rapid
fermentation ; that the people of the United music is all wrong. The first opera by an States, unless they have travelled in Eu- American was produced in 1845; and it is rope, are quite unable to appreciate wit. not true that this is a solitary example (Mr. Mackay's wit? If so, certainly.] Were it possible for us to pursue them, These are but random pluckings from a we should run down more errors of this rich blossoming.
kind than a prudent man would have put The subject upon which the author has into print. labored most earnestly is that of Slavery. Altogether, while we readily admit that If the views he sets forth are the result of Mr. Mackay has honestly, and, in general, his own investigation, he is entitled to cred- good-naturedly, performed his duty as an it for unusual exactness. There is noth- American chronicler, renouncing in a great ing new about them, to be sure; but there measure the old principle of "blowingis also nothing absurd, which is a great up," and that his essays do not reek with point. He maintains the argument against ignorance, like those of many of his preSlavery, that it is to be practically con- decessors, it is yet proper to say that he sidered in its injurious influences on the has achieved a stupendous bore. His two white people of the Slave States, and, volumes are to us a melancholy rememthrough them, on the nation at large. brance. Their life is spiced with no FariWhen he undertakes an emotional view of ety. The same dead level of dry personal the "institution," he becomes feeble again. detail speaks through each chapter; or He thus describes his sensations while visit- if occasional relief is afforded, it is "in ing a slave-market in New Orleans: -"I liquid lines mellifluously bland," and proentertained at that moment such a hatred sier than all the rest. The one source of of slavery, that, had it been in my power amusement that the reader will discover to abolish it in an instant off the face of is the complacent self-confidence which do the earth by the mere expression of my assumption of modesty can hide. "A conwill, slavery at that moment would have troversy had been raging for at least a ceased to exist,” — an avowal which will week" in Philadelphia about the author's hardly be likely to confound the American letters in the “Illustrated London News." people by its boldness.
His defender was “one of the most inThe statistical information in these vol- fuential and best-conducted papers of the umes is as accurate as that of ordinary Union”; his assailant behaved "scurvily." gazetteers. In most cases, the author ap- We cannot lavish examples. This is the pears to have drawn his information from type of a hundred. Mr. Mackay seems proper sources. The principal exceptions to expect that his Jeremiad on tobaccoto this are shown in one or two statements chewing and spitting will act in America which he makes on the authority of his as St. Patrick's spells did on the vermin Pylades, Colonel Fuller, and in his re of Ireland. Unfortunately, it will not. marks upon Canada, which are colored Mr. Dickens attempted the same thing in with excessive warmth. Mr. Mackay rests a much better manner,- excepting where greater hopes upon the future of Canada Mr. Mackay has copied him exactly, as he than upon that of the United States. He has once or twice,- and even the novelist's considers the Canadians as the rivals in efforts were fruitless. On the other hand, energy, enterprise, and industry of the the main source of annoyance will be people of the United States. His testi- found in the needless elevation of minute mony differs from that of Lord Durham, evils, and the determination to form genwho had good opportunities for knowing eral judgments from 'isolated experiences. something about the matter when he had But of this we do not much complain. charge of Canadian affairs, and who de Rome derived some benefit from the clared, that “on the American side of the cackling of a goose. Possibly we may be frontier all is activity and bustle," etc., made in some respects a wiser and a better "on the British side all seems waste and nation through Mr. Mackay's influence. desolate."
For ourselves, however, if our aspirations Mr. Mackay gives correctly the most ever turn toward a literary Paradise, we prominent names of American literature, shall pray that it may be one where trar. but his list of artists is very imperfect. ellers cease from troubling and dull tourThe little that he says about American ists are at rest.