Page images
PDF
EPUB

Τ Η Ε

H IN DU'S

R E WARD.

'I HAVE HEARD OF FEW THINGS MORE TOUCHING THAN THE REPLY OF A RYOT WHO BROUOHT AN ENGLISH BABE TO THE FORT. REWARDS WERE PRESSED ON HIM, BUT HE REFUSED THEM ALL, SAYING : 'IP I HAVE DONE RIGHTLY, DIG A WELL TO MY MEMORY.''

LETTER FROM INDIA,

The fort is strong and the night is still,

What do the watchers fear?
'T is but a shadow that they see,

But a foot-fall that they hear :
Ah! ‘British hearts should mock at fear,

And grow in danger strong;'
But not when they guard what they love best,

From worse than deadly wrong!
Calm lies the hill in the moon-light glow,
But liuman tigers may lurk below.
A form moved slowly up the vale,

Each hand on the trigger falls,
He has passed with a word the native guard,

Who watch without the walls.
Some news from Delhi sent to them?

Some leader whom they wait ?
With a bold, free step the stranger came,

And on to the very gate :
The click of a hundred locks he heard
Ere he had uttered a single word.
Bears he some tidings of deep import?

A message of joy or wo ?
Of the coming tramp of the British host ?

Or the gathering of the foe?
He wore the native garb and hue,

Though he spoke the English tongue;
Yet the muskets sank from the shoulders down,

And the heavy gate back swung,
But sobs shook many a manly vest
When he laid down a burden he bore on his breast.
Fast asleep in the torches' glare,

With lips that sleeping smiled,
Rosy and dimpled and soft and fair,

Was the face of the English child.
He wakes in the clasp of gentle arms

And a rain of woman's tears ;
But lips that kiss him grow ashy white

With newer, wilder fears.
Who was his father? his mother -where?

*Peace,' said the Hindu, ‘my story hear:
“She came to my hut in the gray of morn,
Her feet from the jungle were bleeding and torn ;
Her head to the sun and dew was bare,
Save its tangled masses of golden hair ;
And her large bright eyes with fear grew wild,
As she looked from my face to her wailing child.
Famine and frenzy burned iu her eye,
She asked but for food, and had turned to fly:

6

In vain, for her feverish strength was gone,
She faltered and sank on the threshold stone;
And I knew when we lifted her through the door
She never would cross that threshold more :
No scathe from a human hand she bore ;
But horror and anguish had raged in her breast,
And our sultry sun-shine had done the rest.
“At first she raved of her frantic flight,
Of the blazing noon and the dreadful night:
Thrice had the tiger passed by the bed
Of the highly born and the gently bred:
Terror and hunger and thirst she had known
In the pathless jungle all alone.
She slept and wakened — that scene was gone,
And her murmured words had another tone:
“Why did I leave him ? He bade me fly!
Did 'I look from the hill with a straining eye:
They come — - they are leading them forth — to die !
Friend and beloved in the dust are low:
Cling not so closely! Oh! let me go!
Falling, still falling : my sight grows dim:
Babe! but for thee, I had died with him!'
And this, too, passed : with the setting day,
The dark clouds rolled from her mind away,
And there came to her memory again
Nothing of horror or grief or pain :
She was back again in her childhood's home,
Her fair young sisters around her come:
'Tis her brother's call she is answering now;
'T is her mother's kiss on her fevered brow:
Oh! could that mother have dreamed her fate,
Widowed and frenzied and desolate !

• The sun-rise broke o'er the mountain's steep,
As her eyes unclosed from a troubled sleep:
The room in the golden rays grew bright;
But there flashed o'er her beauty a holier light,
As she spake of One who had died to save,
Of a love and a life beyond the grave:
One look on the fair babe by her side,
With a smile and a blessing : and so she died.
• Dear to our hearts had the infant grown;
Fain had we cherished him as our own :
We have hushed in his breast the orphan pain:
We have nursed the rose to his cheek again;
But my power is weak, as my will is good,
And the Sahil thirsts for the English blood.

"Take back your treasures : it may not be :
Offer no gold and no gems to me.
If the deed I have done of reward be worth,
Bid in some desert a fount gush forth;
There will the fainting wanderer drink;
Some of the giver perchance may think,
With a blessing and prayer, if they bend the knee :
Mine shall that prayer and that blessing be;
And not to this helpless babe alone,

But to coming ages good may be done.'
Windholme, Nov.

M. L. E.

REFINEMENT IN MANNER AND CONVERSATION.

BY T.

BIBB BRADLEY, A.M.

Nemo adeo ferus est ut non mitescere possit,
Si modo culturæ patientem commodet aurem.'— HORACE, Epist. 1:1, 39.

The value of a graceful address and refined manner cannot be over-rated. However commanding their intellectual characters may be, men are oftentimes judged by their outward appearances. On account of this estimate, many learned men have been unappreciated in certain circles of society. A consciousness of his inability to glide with unruffled ease upon the stream of etiquette, caused sagacious Thomas Baker to refuse an introduction to the Earl of Oxford and the men of his set.' Devoting their whole lives to the cultivation of the mind; toiling assiduously for the food that does not perish,' men of letters generally have neglected the acquisition of bodily graces. When they emerge from their studious retirement, they find themselves unfitted for the ways of the world. Entering mixed assemblies, they become useless burdens. Goldsmith was peculiarly unhappy in this respect : the current of his genial humor was congealed by the cold conventionalities of life. His plastic temper could ill brook the stately pomposity of the fashionable dignitaries of the day; and, in consequence of this, those dignitaries often depreciated his genuine abilities. Men of letters cannot smooth the furrows of thought upon their brows with as much facility as they can arrange the pages of a manuscript for publication. They cannot wreathe their lips into suitable smiles with as much precision as they can elaborate a profound argument. To them Venus is not the most adorable divinity upon Olympus; nor do they study with intensest application the graceful qualities displayed by the courtly shepherd of Mount Ida. Their forms, bent with severe study, they cannot in the twinkling of an eye erect into presentable shape. Elegance of attitude is not assumed with dexterity by them; nor are they at all expert in the beatitudes of posture. In voices, earnest, eloquent, and

Mild, as when ZEPHYRUS on Flora breathes,' they cannot, or will not, frame honeyed sentences for fashionable assemblies. They feign no eagerness which they do not feel; they endeavor to conceal no aversion really felt; when

weary they are prone to yawning, and when exhausted, they permit nature to make apparent her wants. Unaccustomed to the demands of polite society, they cannot adopt themselves to its manifold requirements. In the entangling mazes of ceremony, they would be more hopelessly lost than in the labyrinth of Minos. The silliest coxcomb, with the most lamentable deficiency of brains, will generally

[ocr errors]

6

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

surpass men of letters in being agreeable.' He will skip, with unexampled ease, into the drawing-room; while they, in the abstractions of thought, are unmindful of the necessity of skipping. He, by his ready tact, becomes charming,' while they, by their superior knowledge, are rendering themselves “highly disagreeable. He is able, without a single clearly-defined idea, to glide with grace into the current of conversation; while they, by the multitude of their thoughts, are unable to utter one word. Upon the stream of small talk the fop floats as a flower; while the man of intellect, from the very weight of his knowledge, ingloriously flounders, and sinks to the bottom. Thus scholars often retire from social amusements, disgusted with themselves and averse to society. They are thus, by fashionable men and women, voted outrageous bores;' and, to revenge themselves, they return the compliment, by altogether despising the bestowers of the ungracious epithet. Hurrying to their studious pursuits with renewed zeal, in order to forget their mortification, they resolve never more to leave their retirement. Regardless of social pleasures, they determine for the future to find true enjoyment in the domains of thought. Thus have some of the profoundest minds been deprived of needful relaxation and exquisite pleasure.

Against this tendency to become veritable hermits, men of letters should always struggle. Their studious habits are too apt to indulge and engender this feeling; and unless suitable means are brought to counteract it, it will certainly increase, and have unlimited sway over them. They should endeavor to estimate refinement of manner at its proper value; and neither above nor below that value. For sentimentalism and prating effeminacy, they must, from the nature of things, always entertain a wholesome contempt. Certainly, in the wide world, we find not a more contemptible animal than the sleek fop, whose sole aim in existence is to live like Alcinous, and to render himself 'interesting to the ladies. As in valiant Hotspur, it may well engender contempt in any man of lordly stamp to look upon one of these animals, clad in fashionable garments, and

• To see him shine so brisk, and smell so sweet,

And talk so like a waiting gentle-woman.' In venting this contempt, however, upon pertness and coxcombry, they should not under-rate true dignity and elegance of manners. A graceful exterior will always favorably impress strangers. It is,

, in itself, a more admirable letter of recommendation than Onesimus ever received from Paul, or Septinicus from his poet-friend. To be dignified without reserve; affable without forwardness; communicative without loquacity; polished without conceit; and at all times obliging — is, indeed, difficult; but to conquer the difficulty is to possess many of the qualities of the true gentleman. The man of refinement finds ready welcome in all circles of society; in every

situation of life, his refinement will commend him to men. There is real enjoyment in the refined gentleman's presence.

[ocr errors]

Even under circumstances calculated to render him irritable, his courtesy never deserts him. Like the lance of Chevalier Bayard, · Sans peur et sans reproche,' his politeness abandons not the true gentleman in his utmost hour of need. He is at all times gracious, and ever prepared to contribute his share to the enjoyment of the company in which he may be placed. He never condescends to any artifice in order to accomplish his wishes; never resorts to base means in order to achieve his designs. He proceeds, in direct, manly, and dignified manner, to the furtherance of his purposes. Having nothing to conceal, he does not fear investigation; having honesty in his heart, he does not dread censure; having faith in himself, he can repose confidence in others. He courts the open light of day — hating darkness, which hides evil deeds.

The true gentleman by no means adopts Lord Chesterfield as a proper el. He does not endeavor to regulate his outward actions, or his inward emotions, by the noble Lord's precepts; but rather by the prompting of an honest heart, loving man, and aware that the God of the heavens beholds his every action. Many, indeed most, of the maxims and counsels of the unctuous Lord were heartless and hollow in the extreme. His entire life was fraught with deceit and hypocrisy. He did not scruple to abuse the confidence of his best friends, or to violate any law of honorable duty. His advice, if followed, will indeed render a man outwardly as a stately pillar - but as one rotten and worm-consumed within, and resting upon an unsafe foundation. A disciple of Chesterfield would not hesitate to commit a dishonest act, if he could do so under the semblance of honesty; nor shrink from lowering himself to the level of meanness, if thus he could gain an apparent elevation. With softest plausibility, his tongue distils honeyed deceit; and with politest glance of the eye, his mouth emits a falsehood. With affected purity of language and unruffled evenness of manner, he proceeds deliberately to the commission of a base deed. With the apparent innocence of the dove, and the visible mildness of the lamb, he nevertheless, like the serpent, inflicts an unseemly wound, and leaves filthy slime upon his deluded victim. With energetic ardor, he applies himself to learn cozening hypocrisy as a science, whereby he may mislead the unsuspecting, and accomplish his purposes. He is the veritable Belial of John Milton :

[blocks in formation]

Thus vile, and indeed viler, is the pupil of the urbane Lord, albeit he assumes angelic guise. If divested of his superficial graces, disrobed of his artful smoothness and crafty refinement, like the mummy of Egypt stripped of its attractive cerements, the filthy

« PreviousContinue »