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GOSSIP WITH READERS AND CORRESPONDENTS. -'A friend,' says the Manchester (English) Guardian, 'recently returned from America, mentioned to us the other evening, that while sitting at an inn in Baltimore, in the State of Maryland, one day when he was on his way to Washington, the National Capital, he was much struck with the singular appearance of an old Guinea negro, 'black as the ace of spades,' who was attending to some menial duty in the travellers' room. His face was scarred and seamed, his legs were dreadfully awry, and his hands seemed almost turned wrong side outward, and in form and color resembled, more than any thing else, the paws of a wild animal, or the hands of an orang-outang. Our informant inquired of POMPEY what had occasioned these deformities. 'Wal, dey is beformities, massa, dat's fac'. Wal, den, I'll tell you hew dey come, massa. 'Good many years ago, I was in lub wid a handsum black gal, and we was same as married; and one day I see a nigger comin' out o' de house. I knew dat man, an' uf I am a nigger I had my feelin's. I was full ob de debbil in my heart ag'in him, 'cos I know'd him, and I know'd where he worked-e'yah! e'yah! He worked in a powdermill; and next day I went up dar. I went to de door and looked in, and dar I see him; an' I took a coal o' fire dat I had brought along, and frow'd it in on to de floor. Good Gwacious, massa, 'fore I could get away myse'f, dere was de biggest flash o' lightin' I ebber see, and dat was de last I know'd any t'ing 'bout dat business for two months. 'T would a-been all right, dough, but de man 't was dar was not de nigger I t'ought! He's a dead nigger his-se'f, dough, long ago; and I was glad ob it when he went, 'cos he always looked at me as if he'd got de best ob it; and he did got de best ob it, massa, dat's fac'; for I was n't de han'sumest nigger den dat dar was in Maryland — dat 's sartin sure. E'yah! e'yah!' Now, if we are not much mistaken, we wrote that anecdote, years and years ago, somewhere: and it seems to have been 'conveyed' bodily to the Guardian;' just as Captain MARRYATT 'appropriated,' ten years after WILLIS GAylord Clark wrote, the capital story of 'Desperation,' (the scene of which was also laid in Baltimore,) every incident, and most of the entire language, without the slightest acknowledgment of the source whence he derived them. In respect of which, the author of 'PETER SIMPLE,' albeit he did write two or three excellent original articles for the KNICKERBOCKER, must be regarded as having been 'faulty.' LISTEN again to our friend the Breakfast-Table Autocrat:
'I AM not ashamed to make you laugh, occasionally. I think I could read you something I have in my desk that would probably make you smile. Perhaps I will read it one of these days, if you are patient with me when I am sentimental and reflective; not just now. The ludicrous has its place in the universe; it is not a human invention, but one of the Divine ideas, illustrated in the practical jokes of kittens and monkeys long before ARISTOPHANES OF SHAKSPEARE. How curious it is that we always consider solemnity and the absence of all gay surprises and encounter of wits as essential to the idea of the future life of those whom we thus deprive of half their faculties and then call blessed! There are not a few who, even in this life, seem to be preparing themselves for that smileless eternity to which they look forward, by banishing all gayety from their hearts, and all joyousness from their countenances. I meet one such in the street not unfrequently, a person of intelligence and education, but who gives me (and all that he passes) such a rayless and chilling look of recog nition something as if he were one of Heaven's assessors, come down to 'doom'
every acquaintance he met. that I have sometimes begun to sneeze on the spot, and gone home with a violent cold, dating from that instant. I do n't doubt he would cut his kitten's tail off, if he caught her playing with it. Please tell me who taught her to play with it?
No, no!-give me a chance to talk to you, my fellow-boarders, and you need not be afraid that I shall have any scruples about entertaining you, if I can do it, as well as giving you some of my serious thoughts, and perhaps my sadder fancies. I know nothing in English or any other literature more admirable than that sentiment of Sir THOMAS BROWNE: EVERY MAN TRULY LIVES, SO LONG AS HE ACTS HIS NATURE, OR SOME
WAY MAKES GOOD THE FACULTIES OF HIMself.
I find the great thing in this world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving. To reach the port of heaven, we must sail sometimes with the wind, and sometimes against it; but we must sail, and not drift, nor lie at anchor. There is one very sad thing in old friendships, to every mind that is really moving onward. It is this: that one cannot help using his early friends as the seaman uses the log to mark his progress. Every now and then we throw an old schoolmate over the stern with the string of thought tied to him, and look - I am afraid with a kind of luxurious and sanctimonious compassion to see the rate at which the string reels off, while he lies there bobbing up and down, poor fellow! and we are dashing along with the white foam and bright sparkle at our bows- the ruffled bosom of prosperity and progress, with a sprig of diamonds stuck in it! But this is only the sentimental side of the matter; for grow we must, if we out-grow all that we love.
'Do n't misunderstand that metaphor of heaving the log, I beg you. It is merely a smart way of saying that we cannot avoid measuring our rate of movement by those with whom we have long been in the habit of comparing ourselves; and when they once become stationary, we can get our reckoning from them with painful accuracy. We see just what we were when they were our peers, and can strike the balance between that and whatever we may feel ourselves to be now. No doubt we may sometimes be mistaken. If we change our last simile to that very old and familiar one of a fleet leaving the harbor and sailing in company for some distant region, we can get what we want out of it. There is one of our companions; her streamers were torn into rags before she had got into the open sea, then by-and-by her sails blew out of the ropes one after another; the waves swept her deck, and as night came on, we left her a seeming wreck, as we flew under our pyramid of canvas. But lo! at dawn she is still in sight-it may be in advance of us. Some deep ocean-current has been moving her on, strong but silent yes, stronger than these noisy winds that puff our sails until they are swollen as the cheeks of jubilant cherubim. And when at last the black steam-tug, with the skeleton arms, that comes out of the mist sooner or later, and takes us all in tow, grapples her, and goes off panting and groaning with her, it is to that harbor where all wrecks are refitted, and where, alas! we, towering in our pride, may never come.
'So you will not think I mean to speak lightly of old friendships, because we cannot help instituting comparisons between our present and former selves by the aid of those who were what we were, but are not what we are. Nothing strikes one more, in the race of life, than to see how many give out in the first half of the course."
Admirable Autocrat!' ONE of the preeminent characteristics of the mere verbal style of DICKENS, is his wonderful adaptation of names to his characters, and of simple sound to the sentences which they utter. Thus recently, in an exceedingly clever story of his in the 'Household Words,' wherein he depicts a Smuggling Adventure on the English Coast, he describes, with great effect, a buccanier-spy, who has been sent on shore to assist in misleading and outwitting the 'Coast-Survey,' on land. He is a Portuguese, who understands 'small English;' yet he is deemed reliable and is trusted: and he is to wake up the coast-guard in the morning. So, in the morning gloaming, the narrator, after a 'dream-rap' at his door, hears him, 'Sol-Jeer, Yupp!'-which being interpreted, means, 'Soldier, get up.' We read this last night, saying what we have just said, to one or two friends around us, including our little near-about Six-Year Old Little Boy, who had n't gone to bed yet. We were going to town in the morning, and told him, not thinking that he would be awake, or if he were, that he would remember what we had re
quested, to call us in time for the boat. Now, this morning, what do you think that little boy did? He woke us from a sound sleep, by a pull with his small, soft hand, at our "stache,' as he calls it, and these words, 'So-Jeer, Yu-u-upp!' And this is the same juvenile, whom we have mentioned before, as not only willing, but even anxious, to come into the house at the commencement of a hard shower. We wish he could always remain as he is: we should like him not to grow any more. He is big enough; and he knows enough; and he is innocent. We don't wish ever to see him with a big gold watch-chain-andkey hanging down over extended abdominal proportions. He is 'all right' 'You cannot convince a Frenchman,' (says a correspondent who sends us from New-Orleans a prospectus of 'The State, a Journal of the City and Parishes,') 'that he is not an excellent English scholar: hence our Gallic littérateurs will always write their own prospectus-es. We give an extract:
'THE list of the numerous french papers which since twenty years have raised and failed in New-Orleans, is so long that we will not undertake to describe them. We, therefore, acknowledge the just mistrust of the public when a prospectus for a new journal is presented to him. The editors, notwithstanding their pompous promises, their perspective patrons repulse them, at the only thought of their past deceits. We have, therefore, hesitated before to decide the undertaking of the publication of the journal, The State.' Even thus have we taken a share of the New-Orleans publicity; but when we were certain to have enough subscribers to commercial advertisement, so that a sufficient number should have permitted us to bring our enterprise at a satisfactory end.. In first place, our wishes were that the merchants, who patronize us, be convinced that our publication will be such extended, either in the city or in the country, as in any other journal in this city. Moreover, we wish to give all the pecuniary guaranties as may be desired; guaranties which were never brought forth by any journal until now. We have, at least, done all what could possibly be done, to secure our enterprise, and that no one doubt of our sincerity for the success of our sheet.'
Confiding in the special 'patronizement' of the merchants of New-Orleans, the 'editor-proprietor' announces, that his collaborateur, ‘M. DE SARD, a distinguished publicist, will assure, by his help, precious correspondences.' For the 'Programme of Disposition,' and 'Tariff of Advertisements,' we must refer the reader to the 'Prospectus' itself, which is widely circulated, we are given to understand, along the Mississippi and its contributaries.' But let us not smile at the simple lingual or orthographical errors of our French 'compatriots' on this side of the water. Our mistakes in their language are infinitely more ridiculous: yet they seldom excite laughter, and are corrected with characteristic courtesy. But this aside: Listen to the great RACHEL. ('Have you seen her Camille?' 'Yes.' 'Enough.') She is writing from Havana, after leaving our metropolis; and amidst professional troubles in Cuba, is 'stretching out her wasted arms toward France: '
'I SHALL lead back all my hapless army, defeated and routed, to the banks of the Seine, and then I myself, like another NAPOLEON, shall go and die at the Invalides, asking only a stone to stay my head; but no, I am wrong-I shall find there my two guardian angels, my young boys. I seem to hear them calling me. Indeed I have been too long away from them, too far from their kisses, their caresses, their dear little arms, and GoD, who protects the angels, is forcing me home again. I regret my losses no more, nor my fatigues. I have carried my name as far as I could, and I shall take my heart back to those who love me.'
Let us not laugh at the mere word-errors of our French compatriots. They
seldom laugh at bað French. very A NEW Correspondent, and a facile rhythmist, sends us The City of the Ague,' a 'distinction' which he thus explains: 'The town of Circleville (Ohio) is one of the worst places in the world for the fever-and-ague. The writer having taken a 'chill' while passing through the place, some three years since, and not having been able as yet to 'shake himself clear of it entirely,' perpetrated the following.' What a risk we must have run, when, with a pleasant and hospitable party, we visited, 'summer-before-last,' a splendid mound-amphitheatre, near Newark, (Ohio,) which we were told was one of the circles, which, in almost regular succession, widen on to Circleville! But the 'Lines' are in order, at this present:
"By a route obscure and lonely,'
With voices gruff, and coarse, and hollow,
'In this valley dark and lonely,
'Cleveland, (Ohio,) Jan. 18, 1858.'
Till their bones come through their body,
'Once there was, and always should be,
'Where is this place so dark and lonely,
*THE old circle which used to surround the town.
J. R B.
'We shan't do anything else.' How much may be expressed in a few words, conveying thoughts truly felt, and accordingly recorded! Regard this commencement of a notice of Dr. ELDER'S Life of Dr. KANE, elsewhere reviewed in our present number. The brief sentences are from the pen of Mr. GEORGE RIPLEY, of the New-York 'Tribune' daily journal: 'No biography of Dr. KANE can equal the natural pathos and beauty of the almost unconscious personal revelations which gem the records of his voyages in the Arctic seas. He there appears to us in the maturity of his intellectual strength; his frail body inspired with fresh life by the impulses of a noble purpose; with a feminine sensitiveness of character, braving perils before which the stoutest heart might shrink; losing sight of his own personality in devotion to a humane mission; and in the darkest hours of a polar night, not only preserving his trust in Heaven, but alive to all genial sympathies, and with indomitable gayety of spirit, enlivening the gloomy scene by his cheerful presence.' HALL, of the 'Journal of Health,' says to his 'consumptive friends :'
'You want air, not physic; you want pure air, not medicated air; you want nutrition, such as plenty of meat and bread will give, and they alone; physic has no nutriment; gaspings for air cannot cure you; monkey capers in a gymnasium cannot cure you; and stimulants cannot cure you. If you want to get well, go in for beef and out-door air, and do not be deluded into the grave by advertisements and unreliable certifiers."
Ah! but DOCTOR, suppose your 'consumptive friend' 'do n't seem to have no appetite,' as an octogenarian lady told us Major ANDRÉ did n't, when she offered him five beautiful peaches, on the morning of his execution! They was beautiful: he bit into one of 'em, smiled, and thanked me very polite; but somehow or 'nother, he did n't seem to have no appetite.' It may be so with many a 'consumptive friend,' and in one respect, for a similar reason: their hours are numbered, and they know it. WE can't be 'held:'
that we have ascertained from counsel: but if there be any thing libelous in the following, our correspondent awaits a 'cartel': 'The Portsmouth and Concord Rail-road is the poorest, meanest, slowest, 'Goddestverzaken' road in all NewEngland. A few nights ago a Concord man went over this road, arriving at Concord, after innumerable and unaccountable delays, at eleven o'clock at night, two hours behind time. The conductor had had 'business' at every station, to the great annoyance of the five passengers, and had at one place taken in a string of 'smelts,' (the smallest kind of fish, as every body knows.) Arriving at the hotel, the Concord passenger was inquired of, why the cars were late? 'Well,' said he, 'the conductor, (who stood by) has been retailing smelts on the way; when we arrived at Hookset, he found that instead of a half-dozen which he ought to have remaining, he had only five; so he took us back eight miles, to correct the mistake which he had made with a widow woman, to whom he had delivered thirteen for a dozen; and that made the train two hours late!' While we are going over this very road, next June, as we hope to do, to visit a friend, suppose we should be asked: 'Sir, when you published that scandalous story concerning this road and our conductor, in your Magazine, did you believe the story, Sir?' 'We did. Do you now consider the statement true, Sir?' 'Ah! Sir, that is a different matter entirely!' 'PUNCH' is
going largely into 'MAXIMS.' Here are a few from his lips, which are pregnant with his deep wisdom: