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nance of laws and institutions formed in feudal times; the few inducements for energy and enterprise held out to the masses, whose capabilities and ambition led them to aspire to improvement in station, to a greater sphere of usefulness and the acquisition of wealth ; in fine, freedom to the many was more in name than reality. Splendid extravagance in the few ill-contrasted with the widely-diffused and galling misery of the people. The comparison led to jealousy, and fanned the smothered flame for revenge. With the advance of civilisation and the diffusion of knowlege, the deep consciousness of wrong rankled deeper and became more insupportable. The conviction of physical superiority created the desire for resistance, and when the torch was lit, a few daring minds applied it to the pile of national frenzy. The scourge was then put into the hands of the fanatic and assassin, and in their levelling notions they used it with merciless vengeance. Men's minds became exasperated, and when they thought of chill penury and half-starved oppression, they were inflamed at the paraphernalia of place, disgusted at the ostentation of power. The blood of thousands was shed—nay, every part of the country ensanguined in the rage of popular fury and democratic madness. It never was, nor can be, the intention of Providence that an insignificant fraction of a people should arrogate to itself the prerogatives which nature has given for the common good. The subdivision of landed • property, and the prohibition of the law of primogeniture, must destroy the conservative interest of the higher order of the state. Redundancy of population, and an increase of poverty amongst the lower orders, must result. Voltaire and Rousseau pictured in the visions of social equality a state of positive happiness; they erroneously imagined that classes and orders in society were arbitrary and unjust distinctions, and that the working of the social machine required no such differences amongst its integral parts. Their doctrines were eagerly embraced by enthusiasts and democrats ; they very potently tended to the bringing on of that strange catastrophe, the revolution. Those doctrines are now seen to be full of error and falseness; and France seems rather to be following the destinies of Eastern kingdoms than progressing towards improvement.”
Such was the strain of conversation for some time carried on between us; and from the general tenor of De Berryer's argument, and the agitation under which he spoke on what I at first conceived was to strangers a general subject, his history and other particulars, I became more anxious, if possible, to know. He had defended the noblesse. Was he one of their order? or at least a Frenchman ?
The day pleasantly passed away; we dined early, and after dinner, at the request of monsieur, contested another game at chess, in which I was soon and signally beaten. The victory pleased my antagonist, and seemed to give him much real satisfaction.
The evening was ushered in with all that calm serenitude and tranquil quietness which twilight shades impart. The sun had bathed his head in the ruddy west; the stars began to twinkle brighter, and become more numerous in the high blue vault of heaven, and in the east the gentle moon gave intimation of her coming. We were now passing those shores over whose craggy rocks lay the cloud-capped mountains of romantic Cintra, whose distant peaks were just discernible in rugged outline against the far-off heavens. Yes! and this was the hour—this the
place to feel the hallowing influence which the associations of history and the chain of poetry inspired. The vast ocean was without a ruffle ; the vessel progressed slowly, but silently, on her watery way, leaving behind her a silvery track—now discernible—then lost for ever! reminding the beholder of man's pilgrimage here as onward he sails through life, his deeds, his glories, leaving a transitory glare on the surface of Old Time; wave after wave of years succeed in obliterating course, and ere long the tide of Forgetfulness erases every vestige of his existence !
As it was now exceedingly agreeable to inhale the freshening air, madame and Madeline had come from below, and were seated on a bench on the quarter-deck. I accosted them, and, at their solicitation, joined them on the seat. They had on their mantillas, but Madeline had not with sufficient caution protected herself against the damp air of the evening.
“ I fear, mademoiselle,” said I, addressing myself to her,—“I fear you will take cold; had you not better draw your mantilla more closely around. Although it is a fine evening, there is a chilly feel in the air, her fine neck and part of her left arm being exposed.
“ Thank you-thank you, monsieur, I will take your advice; yet, I must say I have not always been accustomed to take such precautions. In my early youth the rude winds of winter have often chilled
cheek, nor did I take harm then. I would not be the lady-bird caged in the house, and if I could but roam again
“ You would do well to wrap yourself up more closely," interrupted Madame Vauville, " for if you take cold, Monsieur de Berryer will, on the morrow, chide us both. Are you fond of music, Monsieur Sommerton ?” observed madame, as she turned towards me.
Exceedingly, madame--exceedingly !" Madeline," said she to the beauty by her side, “will you oblige us ?” “In what, my dearest Vauville ?" “ In favouring us with a strain,” returned madame.
Why-yes, if Captain Sommerton will not be too censorious a critic.”
“ I shall, indeed, be delighted if Mademoiselle de Berryer will be so kind. As regards to my criticism, I am sure I shall be incompetent. I know nothing of the theory of music to pronounce any decided opinion. I love music-have a very passion for it; and this is, indeed, an hour meet for harmony!" “Then I'll sing you a ditty,” said mademoiselle.
my guitar. Make no noise, mind, lest you disturb your master.
De Berryer had, according to his custom, retired to his dormitory, and was engaged in his evening devotions, which he performed with all that regularity and scrupulous observance so common to enthusiasts of the Romish faith. For hours he was secluded, communing with himself and engaged in prayer and reflection. In society he made no parade of piety, nor was his conversation seasoned with Pharasaic sayings. If man’s measured span is threescore years and ten, and if beyond that time life loses its once absorbing interests, and its hopes of here decay, De Berryer's thoughts had more to do with the future than the present. His sojourn could not be long, and doubtless he rightly conceived that with age and grey hairs grave thoughts and serious musings were in keeping. Perhaps he loved, too, to be alone, and quietly indulge in re
“ Jules, go
flections that brought back on Faucy's airy wing other and happier times. He might have an inward comfort in these thinkings, and say, as Napoleon said after, when an exile on the rock, “ I will live on the past !"
Jules soon returned, and placed in the hands of his young and accomplished mistress the costly instrument for which he had been despatched. From the ornamental inlayings of silver and pearl, it must have been purchased at a high price. Trying for a few moments its chords, and feeling if they were set aright, she then, with graceful elegance, threw her delicate fingers over its tuneful strings, and, in an air of plaintive sweetness, sang, with much taste and warmth of feeling, the following words:
And is Night, lier dark shadows beginning to shed,
To the land which I love, that is still dear to me,
To the home of my youth-o'er the dark rolling sea !
Roam again 'mid the hills where my forefathers dwelt;
In the land which I love, that is still dear to me,
At the home of my youth-o'er the dark rolling sea!
As that vale which in infancy's hours I have known;
O'er the land which I love, that is still dear to me,
O'er the home of my youth-o'er the dark rolling sea !
When the hand of the Tyrant shall stay in its deeds;
To the land which I love, that is still dear to me,
To the home of my youth-o'er the dark rolling sea ? Godfrey, those verses I shall never forget, and whenever I do happen to repeat them it makes me melancholy. The pathos with which the song was sung, the silver-toned voice of Madeline, the skilful way in which she touched the chords, eliciting soul-stirring strains, made an impression to this hour remembered. The mystery connected with my new acquaintances was augmented by the verses I had heard. When Madeline had concluded, she became sombre and taciturn. Madame Vauville dropped on her knee the book she had been reading, and looked with dejected air upon the swelling waves, whose “gentle roar” murmured in unison with her feelings of that moment. Were the words of the song, thought I, merely those of some casual lyric? had they anything to do with Madeline ? had she left the “land which she loved, o'er the dark rolling sea ?" or were they idle fiction? or-or, did they tell the tale of her own misfortunes ? If my surmises were wrong, why were they both sad and despondent? These questions internally obtruded themselves, nor could I dispel them. Having in repetition thanked the beautiful performer, a turn was abruptly given to the conversation, and we were cheerfully chatting on various subjects as before.
No. VIII.-MRS. CROWE. In that shadowy borderland which separates the things which are seen and temporal, from the things which are unseen and eternal—where the eye dwells on a swarth canopy of clouds, and the ear catches stray cadences of ineffable speech, and the feet stumble on the dark mountains there, on the Night-side of Nature, loves Mrs. Crowe to pitch her tent. Thence she dispenses her dark sayings-thence publishes her revelations of matters in heaven and earth not dreamt of in our philosophy, or dreamt of only as a dream.
Rich are her walks with supernatural cheer :
The region of her inner spirit teems
With vital sounds and monitory gleams
Of high astonishment, and pleasing fear.* Montaigne tells us he was once tainted with that presumptuous arrogance which slights and condemns all things for false that do not appear to us likely to be true—the ordinary vice of such as fancy themselves wiser than their neighbours ; and that if he heard talk of dead folks walking, of prophecies, enchantments, witchcrafts, or kindred story of somnia, terrores magicos, portentaque Thessalo, he refused credit point-blank, and pitied the credulous vulgar who were abused by such follies; “ whereas I now find," quoth the older-and-wiser.grown Gascon, “ that I was to be pitied at least as much as they ; not that experience has taught me to supersede my former opinion, though my curiosity has endeavoured that way ;
reason has instructed me that thus resolutely to condemn anything for false and impossible is to circumscribe and liinit the will of God and the power of nature within the bounds of
my own capacity, than which no folly can be greater.”+ And such a position of suspense, of readiness to investigate and slowness to repudiate à priori, is the mental status upon which Mrs. Crowe insists, at the very least, as essential to every student or observer of the mysterious. Her illustrations of this subject, her contributions to the romance of dream-land and ghost-seeing, are instinct with cordial good faith, so positive and real that her readers are commonly moved to go some way with her, and to commune each one with himself, after being plied with her accumulations of stirring evidence, in the poet's strain :
No spirit ever brake the band
That stays him from the native land
Where first he walk'd when clasp'd in clay ? The veriest sceptic in these matters, to whom a ghost is airy humbug, and a dream dyspepsia, and presentiment a cunningly-devised fable, and mesmerism a preposterous sham, will yet hardly escape the influence of a qualified sympathy while perusing one of Mrs. Crowe's best tales of terror, and will incline to pay her the compliment of saying,
C'est à vous de rêver et de faire des songes,
Puisqu'en vous il est faux que songes sont mensonges. * Wordsworth.
+ Essays. Book i., chap. xxvi. #Tennyson.
§ L'Etourdi., iv., 3.
-Dare I say
It has been observed that an absolute scepticism on the theme of an invisible world can be maintained only by the aid of Hume's often repeated sophism -- that no testimony can be held sufficient to establish an alleged fact, which is at variance with common experience ; for it must not be denied that some few instances of the sort alluded to rest upon testimony in itself thoroughly unimpeachable. “At least let indulgence be given to the opinion that those almost universal superstitions which, in every age and nation, have implied the fact of occasional interferences of the dead with the living, ought not to be summarily dismissed as a mere folly of the vulgar, utterly unreal, until our knowledge of the spiritual world is so complete as shall entitle us to affirm that no such interferences can, in the nature of things, ever have taken place. The mere supposition of there being any universal persuasion, which is totally groundless, not only in its form and adjuncts, but in its substance, does some violence to the principles of human reasoning, and is clearly of dangerous consequence.”* So writes Mr. Isaac Taylor, adding, that whether such and such alleged facts happen to come to us mingled with gross popular errors, or not, is a circumstance of little importance in determining the degree of attention they may deserve—the one question to be considered being this : Is the evidence that sustains them in any degree substantial ?f He is, indeed, of opinion that almost all instances of alleged supernatural appearances may easily be disposed of, either on the ground of the fears and superstitious impressions of the parties recording them, or on that of the diseased action of the nervous system, which, in certain conditions, generates visual illusions of the most distinct kind ;I but he contends that no such explanations will meet the many instances, thoroughly well attested, in which the death of a relative, at a distance, has been conveyed, in all its circumstances, to persons during sleep;
* Physical Theory of Another Life. Chap. xvii.
† “Shall we allow,” he asks, "an objector to put an end to our scientific curiosity on the subject, for instance, of somnambulism, by saying, Scores of these accounts have turned out to be exaggerated or totally untrue ?'-or, 'This walking in the sleep ought not to be thought possible, or as likely to be permitted by the Benevolent Guardian of human welfare ?!" Our business is, first, to obtain a number of distinct, and unimpeachable, and intelligent witnesses ; and then, to adjust the results of their testimony, as well as we can, to other parts of our philosophy of human nature.
Mr. Taylor, let us add, gravely conjectures, what we cannot so gravely quote, that, as almost all natural modes of life are open to some degree of irregularity, and admit exceptive cases, so the pressure of the innumerable community of the dead, toward the precincts of life, arising from a yearning after the lost corporeity, or after the expected corporeity, may, in certain cases, actually break through the boundaries that hem in the ethereal crowds, and that so it may happen, as if by trespass, that the dead may, in single instances, infringe upon the ground of common corporeal life. If so, it is inexcusable that the “residuary establishment” of ghosts, though “non-intrusionists,” or rather because they are so, should not despatch after the stray ghost the ghost of a “Peeler,” armed with special warrant, or whatever is their analogue to our “Habeas corpus.”
* By the way, it was once observed by Coleridge, that in all the best attested stories of ghosts and visions, as in that of Brutus, of Archbishop Cranmer, that of Benvenuto Cellini, recorded by himself, and the vision of Galileo, communicated by him to his favourite pupil Torricelli, the ghost-seers were in a state of cold or chilling damp from without, and from anxiety inwardly. “'Twas bitter cold, and they were sick at heart, and not a mouse stirring.” See his “Literary Remains” (Notes on Shakspeare).