Page images

is my wretchedness when that kindness is withheld, and that too by one on whom i have every claim which unlimited confidence and the sacrifice of friendship can exult. i know your deep and almost romantic sense of honor, and to that i trust. Miss F says you have great command of yourself, and i shall willingly agree in her opinion when 1 see that self-command exercised in checking these virulent and sarcastic feelings."

Some further sentences follow on the dangers of Ambition and the possibilities of disappointment it brings, which are precociously wise, and to some extent, i fear, prophetic. She thus closes her discourse:

"You will see, my dear , that

these remarks have been carelessly put together. i appeal, therefore, to you to pardon any inaccuracies which your better sense may discover. Every merit, or failing, i have noticed 1 firmly believe has its existence in your mind. Jealousy i have not noticed, because in a lover it may be tolerated, and i hope it will be discarded when you are united by a nearer tie. The latter an1 only venial errors which i am well convinced you can banish as soon as you please, and by so doing give me the highest satisfaction which the world can give by making that mau preeminent for his virtues, loved by his friends, and respected by his enemies, whom i have pledged myself to love as my husband, and esteem as my friend.

"Should you be disposed to follow my example, i shall patiently listen to any follies which you may object to and will endeavor to eradicate them."

Here follows the date. "Monday, December 24th, 1821," and the name and

address of the writer, and on the next page:

"Oblige me by preserving this little memorial, that when years have chilled the ardor of youth and an increased intercourse with the world has dissipated our more romantic feelings, we may ensure that halfhour's enjoyment which a retrospective view of our earlier years is sure to create, and thus give vitality to some latent spark of youthful fervor which even the icy breath of Time cannot extinguish."

Unhappily history does not relate if the young man was ever disposed to follow his future wife's example, or if on the other hand the little homily gave rise to any manifestation of the "quickness and asperity of temper" to which she refers. But as "extreme candor" was one of his characteristics, let us hope that he enjoyed the prospect of a candid wife. The pleasing fact remains that their marriage was singularly happy and affectionate. The style of the little book resembles, i have been told, that of the theme which the school girl of the period was taught to write, and, if this be the case, one may be old-fashioned enough to wish that school girls were still taught to write so precisely, even if the precision sounds quaint to modern ears.

i have had some qualms about unveiling the privacy of this old romance, but the ordinary objection to the publication of love letters does not apply to this case. As Mr. Chesterton has recently said, the afTection of marriage is to some extent associated with a mutual fondness for amiable follies in each of the parties which neither interests the world at large nor exhibits the persons concerned quite as they would wish to be seen by their friends and acquaintances. "Dulce est desipere in loco" is au excellent motto for lovers, but they naturally prefer to be by themselves. My little book, however, is sternly practical, and i cannot help feeling that its engaging, if slightly didactic, author might have

The Albany Berlew.

experienced some pleasure in the thought thut an anonymous reproduction of .her ingenuous exhortations should be given to the young men and maidens of another century.

E. S. P. Havne*.


Time and again the ornithologist, in pensive vein, sighs for the days when many now extinct birds graced our land in goodly numbers. Amongst others ho ruefully thinks of the raven and of the time when nearly every Midland and Southern village could point to its "raven-tree." True, the trees, or at least some, still stand strong and sturdy in their old age; but their masters—the raveas—have long since vanished.

Excepting some of the Western counties, Yorkshire, and that land beloved of tourists, the Lake District. it is more than doubtful if the raven now harlk•rs regularly in any English county. Rumor speaks of a few decreasing strongholds in Essex and one in Sussex, where the writer saw a raven so recently as the spring of 1905, and two years ago a pair of them reared a brood in Warwickshire; but to find this exiled chief of an outlawed clan in something of his ancient glory the naturalist must seek the wild hills and sea cliffs of Wales, ireland, aud Scotland, with their numerous outlying islets.

The raven's haunt can probably show as fair a face as any spot in our islands. Mountain peaks, often snowcapped till early summer, form part of the scene; lustrous streams, pluying leap-frog with gigantic boulders, frolic bolsterously, now through meadow and bog, now through deep, smoothcut gorges, a veritable gate of Hades

to the ardent fly-fisher, who from a distance has contemplated au unencumbered stretch of several miles of water with clean banks a few feet high.

The river-path, seen from a height, suggests an irregular iiue of cream paint, dotted here and there with dark patches of color, as if flies had settled on it when it was wet and stuck there. A nearer approach shows that these patches are rocks, and in fact, the way is full of surprises. At one time a regular saddleback of gray Silurian blocks the wayfarer's path; at another, some huge mass, dislodged from the grand old mountain above, has toppled from its birthplace aud lies in the middle of the dubious track. The scene is peaceful beyond description; the stiliness, unbroken save by the murmur of running water, is sometimes oppressive and almost fearful. Except for the chance whistle of a wandering shepherd or the far-reaching barking of his lynx-eyed collies, the fisherman has Nature's workings and hushed inarticulate voices all to himself.

The ornithologist - fisherman possesses this distinct advantage over the ordinary type of angler—he need never have a dull moment, no, not even when the trout are rising badly. His love of birds will always keep his interest at concert pitch. Now that gigantic water-wren, the Dipper, flying hurriedly past, rivets his attention, the cheery "tcbit" "tchit" apprising him of its coming; again, it is a kingfisher, resplendent in azure, emerald and orange, flashing by like a meteor; now a pair of gray wagtails, most lovely of their kind, tripping daintily on the slippery rocks of the beck. Opposite to where he wields his pliant "greenheart," the mountain side is a steep, rough array of buttresses and pinnacles; streaks of greenest moss and grass prevent too great a sombreness; nearer, the gray of the rock is prettily diversified with a delicate fur of lichen —orange and lilac.

ivy, hardiest of all plants, has long made its home here and clings to the weatherworn crags. A few stunted trees, chiefly mountain ashes, deck them at irregular intervals. There is little enough hold for the trees here, and their straggling roots scarcely find sufficient footing. Some of these roots, sprawling over the rock face, suggest the claws of a weird, prehistoric monster. As the fisherman patiently flogs the stream he looks up suddenly, attracted by the deep-voiced welcome of a brother-hunter, a good-luck call to him. Here is his old friend of other riverside days—the raven in his chosen fastness. Never a thought of fishing now; no, not even if the day is propitious and promises a thick silver blanket to his spacious creel. Down goes the rod, and he watches intently. After flapping about for some time far above the valley, the raven, as it were expressly for his gratification, delights him by his tumbling, antics which are clearly meant to amuse his wife brooding in the rocks above, and not, as some say, the result of inadvertent falling, whilst engaged in ridding himself of vermin. This tumbling is almost peculiar to the raven. No other bird does it in quite the same way, though occasionally a peregrine will momentarily indulge in it. and the chough takes a turn now and then. But the raven is master of the

art. Sailing along quietly in stately flight he suddenly turns a complete somersault, to drop for a yard or more on his back; his legs are tucked up and pressed close to the body, his gouge beak pointing towards them, but the recovery is effected in lightning fashion. Presently a buzzard appears, soaring above the skyline on rigid wings and using the opposing air currents as a counterbalance. Like any highwayman the raven "holds him up," and, challenging fiercely, sends him "mewing" in fear from his domains. Next a merry troop of daws, cackling noisily, scurry from the rocks for an afternoon fling, like boys let out of school. The raven takes this as a further insult; headlong he dashes straight into their midst, turning suddenly at right angles this way and that, seeking to strike which one he may. But it is all to no purpose. For the jackdaws, though clearly intimidated, elude his onslaught cleverly. The raven is a despot; soaring over his demesne, he will brook no trespass— no, not even from the eagle himself.

Fishing was the programme for this sunny March day, but the ravens have quashed the purpose, and the angler, crossing the torrent . whose eddies appear to smile derision at his fickleness, starts up the incline, gentle at first, which leads to the ramparts. The raven divines his intention, and forthwith his flight, from being apparently slow and sedate, becomes more of a winnow, recalling the display of the peregrine. His croakings sound loud and angry in the vast quiet of the scene. They rouse the hill-side from its calm. "Croc-croc-croc," he barks in guttural defiance; again, "whinr," as he races up and down the valley. And this has the desired effect, for out from a broad ledge far up the crags, swings his constant partner to join him in the fray. The couple have probably been united for nges; trusty fellow that he

is, the raven mates for life; home ties are very dear to him. Twenty—nay, fifty years hence, if all goes well, this valley -will harbor the same pair of ravens. ,\. long pull, half scramble. half climb, takes the cragsman to within a yard or two of the nest, which was descried some time ago resting on an overhung ledge—a great basketful of bleached sticks, harmonizing to perfection with their environment. A big effort carries him right up to it, and, breathlessly, he takes stock of the six beautifully marked eggs—a big clutch, a real prize! Evidently this betokens great plenty of food on the hills; possibly it promises a rare lambing season, for there is little doubt that the number of eggs a bird lays depends somewhat on the probable abundance or paucity of provender for the expected young.

Let the cragsman examine his prize with cnre; it Is not every one's lot to study a raven's belongings in the sanctuary of his home. Let him note how smoothly the rugged cradle is packed with hair-tufts and wool; the lining is smooth to slipperiness. The eggs are slippery, too, and it behooves him to handle them cautiously. Let him take one, if he will; the ravens will not frustrate him after so toilsome a climb.

The Gentleman's Magazine.

Besides, in days to come, when limbs are cramped and thews no longer supple, it will serve to remind him of halcyon times in a pleasant laud, when youth and • strength thought nothing of the terrors of precipice and giddy summit. Both ravens are now full of light. The male settles on a peak only a few yards distant, affording a delightful spectacle. His muscles, tense as whipcord, can be imagined rippling beneath his black mantle; his elongated neck-feathers, suggestive of hackles, flutter in the breeze, and his great beak croaks out the call of imminent battle. There he stands grufHy defiant, as much as to say, "How dare you be here? Back to your lowlands!" Then he dashes close past his unwelcome guest, the crackle of his broad pinions rustling like the swish of a silk skirt. Truly it is worth going miles to see the auger of a raven.

Well, enough. The fisherman grudgingly relinquishes his rocky quarters and seeks his rod and creel. He surveys the latter critically. What! only three small trout, and a perfect fishing day! But there is no regret in his heart for time lost; trout he will find In many places—ravens in comparatively few.

John Walpole-Iiond.


Mr. Atherley-Jones's book on "Commerce in War"—a title, by the way, which reminds one of Mr. Castle's work, published some thirty years ago. "Law of Commerce in Time of War"— appears opportunely. It ranges over all the chief English authorities. It contains copious extracts from the judgments of English and American courts as to contrabrand, blockade, the right

of search, and the law of prize. To those whose library of reports Is small, the volume will be most useful. When the author states his own opinion, which is seldom, he Is generally on the side of progress. When he is silent as to the merits of the rules which he expounds, he does not gloss over their defects. It Is a pity that the book, admirable in many respects, Is

out of touch with modern Continental literature. Calos and Hontefeuille, who are quoted, are the old-world authorities. They do not express the ideas to-day dominant in France and Germany among those likely to be the advisers <•1' foreign Governments as to "commerce in war."

it is not fair to criticize a good i>ook, written with great industry, and with one distinct purpose, because it is not written with another. i am anxious not to fall into this error, while i say how much it is to be regretted that at this time, when the rights of neutrals are about to be considered at the Hague Conference, no one has given that which is so much needed, a critical examination of the rules affecting commerce in time of war in the light of modern necessities; an examination juridical, economical, and moral. There have been some such critical inquiries; but one must go back to the eighteenth century, with its lucid reason and wide outlook, to find an examination which did not start from the assumption that the necessities of war must always be supreme. The critical examination here suggested, which would assume the supremacy of the interests of peace, would be of great value as a guide to diplomatists. It would enable them to appraise accurately the roles described in this volume-a collection of odds and ends, the survivals of past ages, the outcome in great part, of a policy under which those "cursed neutrals" (to quote a famous English Admiral's phrase) bad a bad time of it. "Ye Laws of Land Warfare" are a collection of rough compromises agreed to by States of nearly equal weight—one result, it may be said, of the Balance of Power. The rules in force at sea in time of war have not this merit; they are largely the outcome of the naval predominance of one or two Powers, and they retain elements of barbarism which

have been expelled from other parts of international law. Three men of a high order of intelligence—Stowell, Portalis, and Story—labored to rationalize and systematize these rules—but not to much effect; they still bear trace of their origin in a time when commerce was of small account, and its rights were feebly and timidly asserted. They were interpreted and expounded in the courts of belligerents by judges who unconsciously looked at most questions from the point of the interests of belligerents. Among all the judges who presided in the chief Prize Courts, i can think of only one. Pemberton Leigh, who was adequately impressed by the gravity of the interests of neutrals. The best-known of those judges, Stowell, had all Blackstone's propensity for finding lofty reasons in the nature of things for any accidental practice of his time. He devoted his great acumen to supporting, in a style more Johnsonian than Johnson's, rules, some of which now seem absurd and unjust. He meant to be fair. But he meant also to be patriotic. His Court was worth to his country, one cannot doubt . several ships of the line; and, in reading some of these haughty or disdainful sentences. in which he rejects neutral clauses, one can understand the animosity still felt towards him by foreign jurists, who, acknowledging his commanding talents, believed that the interests of neutrals and of commerce suffered much at his hands.

Such a critical examination as i have indicated would help to guide nations to a reasonable solution of some of the questions discussed by Mr. AtherleyJones and of others—for example, the position of wireless telegraphy and the laying of submarine mines—which he does not deal with, but which are likely to be mooted at the Hague. it is now too late to expect such a guidance. But it is not too late to avert a

« PreviousContinue »