« PreviousContinue »
from Canada; the fichet from Germany ; , with a distinguished official personage, untiger skins from India ; valuable lamb- der a special passport, had great advanskins of the Kalmucks, and immense piles tages at Nischnei. The governor called of wolf, horse, and sheep skins, used by upon him and appointed a captain, a very the peasantry, were in the market. The gentlemanly man, who wished to sell him Russians are very expert in the prepara some razors, to wait on him during his tion of furs, and practice great frauds on visit. Whenever he went out, a troop of their Chinese purchasers. The black fox mounted Cossacks cleared the way before is the highest priced fur; a pelisse of this the carriage of the Amerakanskoi, and even costs from five hundred to five thousand the gates of a populous convent were no dollars, according to quality.
hindrance to his curiosity. The city was In one quarter were exhibited steel a perfect Babel. The empire is estimated work, platina boxes and, ornaments of to contain within itself eighty different nabrass from Tula ; another street was filled tions; most of these were represented, with embroidered leather and bespangled besides Swedes and Danes, and others slippers from Kazan ; others with Chinese from the West. There were also Chinese, toys and colors; the musks of Thibet ; Greeks, Arnauts, and Albanians from becarpets of Heran ; silks of Mascara; jewel yond the Black Sea; Servians, Croatians, ry and fancy articles from East and West. and Wallachians from beyond the Danube; There were sixty Cashmere shawls valued Kirghises and Baschirs, from the tribes of at ninety thousand dollars ; only twenty- | hunters and herdsmen beyond the Urals; two were sold. Rubies and turquoises Bucharians, Kalmucks, Turks and Tartars. trom Turkestan sold to the amount of The eating houses, teeming with dainties thirty-two thousand dollars. According for so many palates, were thronged with to the Russian official statement, the im- noisy crowds, and rich wines flowed like ports from Europe and America, sold at water. Thousands of forlorn women, from this fair six years ago, amounted to three London streets, and from the Ise of Sapmillions of dollars ; those of Asia, to seven pho, had wandered hither, and the saloons and a half millions; and those of home resounded with the minstrelsy of every growth or manufacture, to the enormous land. There were singing girls with harps sum of twenty-one millions. This vast from the banks of the Rhine and Danube; quantity of Russian products finds its way dark-skinned Muscovites, Gipseys, and to China, Independent Tartary and Persia. | Tsigani—the far-famed wild Bayaderes. Great caravans leave Orenburg and tra- These last are very beautiful, and many of verse northern Asia to the frontiers of them have intermarried with the noblest China--frequent the distant fairs of Thibet, families in Russia. Yarkand and Bokara ; and the religion, After enjoying the hospitality of the character, language, strength, &c., of all governor at his palace, and the society of these distant tribes is familiar to the em- a select company of gentlemen and gentleployees of a secret department at St. women, attracted from various parts of Petersburg. Russian influence is rapidly the world to this famous fair, Mr. Max. extending over the East, and will continue well embarked upon the Volga for the to do so, Mr. Maxwell thinks, until ar-city of Kazan. The river is about a mile rested somewhere beyond the Indus, by wide and, except in the time of freshets, the British bayonet. It is a singular fact very shallow. Its shores are diversified that though her overland trade with China and often picturesque, but, being unculis unrestricted, her vessels are not per- tivated and without forests, they seem mitted to enter Canton. When Krusen- bare and desolate. Many clumsy, rudely. stem displayed the Russian flag at Wham-carved craft, something resembling Chinese poa, the Chinese authorities denounced junks, were passed, each one having an him for sailing under false colors. They image of St. Nicholas fixed conspicuously could not comprehend how he got there to its unwieldy stern. Women with ropes from Russia by water, and have ever around their necks and shoulders were since refused admittance to Russian mer hauling boats against the current, while chant vessels.
their husbands remained sleeping or singMr. Maxwell, travelling in company | ing on board.
On the morning of the fourth day of While Mr. Maxwell's party was there, the voyage, a broad bend in the river a great fire broke out which destroyed exposed to view the domes and minarets most of the principal buildings and drove of the Tartar capital. On landing, the the greater part of its population into the travellers took a drosky and drove for a streets. It raged with the utmost fiercemile to the city gates. After the pass- ness for several days, and crowds of women ports were examined they passed in over and children were flying unprotected in smooth wooden pavements, and through every direction, among them hundreds of handsome streets, lined with palaces, noble ladies; so that “never before had churches, convents, and fine dwellings, to Christian men so good an opportunity for the club-house of the nobles, hotels being catching a Tartar," and from the impresan improvement that has not yet reached sion we get of their singular personal that quarter of the globe. Here the party beauty, it is rather to be regretted that was hospitably lodged and remained for they did not catch a few dozen for transseveral days, extending their acquaintance planting on the banks of the Hudson. with the inhabitants. The Tartars are a The fire was still raging when the party fine looking, athletic race. They are in- set out on their return to Nischnei. From telligent and apparently good-humored. Nischnei, which was almost deserted, they Their dress is the turban, embroidered returned to Moscow, and from Moscow to vest, loose trowsers, and yellow boots. St. Petersburg. From St. Petersburg They are said to be the most industrious Mr. Maxwell took stage, about the middle of the Emperor's subjects. They seclude of November, to Kovno, thence through their women and practice polygamy, yet | Warsaw and Cracow to Vienna, where he Mr. Maxwell says that a Christian stranger takes leave of the reader. whose respectability entitles him to atten The concluding portions of the volume tion will be invited to enter their houses, are no less interesting than those parts we will see the wife or wives, and will, per- have glanced at, but as they are more haps, be surprised to witness so much personally descriptive, and as our sketch domestic happiness and such a degree of already exceeds its proposed limits, we social and moral refinement. The fine must pass them by with a general comcity of Kazan is the resort of the gentry mendation, and a word of thanks to the of Eastern Russia during the winter author for his having presented the public months, but during the heat of summer with an agreeable and instructive book of is almost deserted.
G. W, P,
We can never forget the ardor of our of one who allowed his passions and appeearly attachment for Charles Lamb. That tites to destroy him, an unqualified eulogy. young admiration, however, we are ob- | Men, in this world, must and will be held liged to confess, has been, in a measure, responsible to society for their treatment outlived. We cannot, indeed, cease to feel of others and of themselves. The dead, a lively sympathy for one whose heart who live no longer in influence, may well was so accessible to all gentle and humane be spared the recital of their follies and impressions, and who ever bestowed so crimes ; but he whose memory remains, and good-natured a regard upon all who bore whose vital energies are still exerted in the the image of men. Nor is the mem world of living men, through the works he ory of the dead lightly to be disturbed. has left behind, is no more exempt from a Death removes its victims to a sanctuary rigid scrutiny and from an impartial record where no profane step should be allowed l of his character, than if he were really to approach, where malice, and envy, and alive. Truth requires that there be no personal prejudice have no leave to intrude. shrinking from the consequences of undeYet, to “speak only good of the dead" is niable facts. a principle as absurd in itself, as it is (of If this is the case in matters pertaining course) incompatible with any truthful to biography, still more evidently is it biography, history, or criticism. The true that the works of the dead are open historian ought to be impartial-equally to free and fair investigation, and that no ready to see and narrate the evil and the one is culpable for speaking unreservedly good. In no other way are the true ends of the literary defects and of the critical of history attainable. False, one-sided transgressions of one who has, in many chronicles fall by their own weight. They respects, strong claims upon our reverence carry with them the proof of their own and affection. If by asserting that no worthlessness. Subtract from human criticism of Shakspeare not eminently nature its depravity, and human nature reverential ought now to be written, Coleitself at once disowns the picture. Take ridge means to imply that no critic of the away all inherent goodness, and the falsity great dramatist should be allowed to see is equally manifest. Man, in the discipline and to portray his errors and imperfections, and development ordained him in this life, we must be permitted to dissent entirely is not advanced by the example of a per- from that proposition. He is no comfect ideal alone. In his great struggles petent critic, we believe, who writes of his with evil, it is not without its use that he subject solely as an enthusiastic disciple, witnesses the imperfect and varying com- ! or as an unqualified admirer. bat of his brother, both when he over- The temptation to disregard all these comes and when he is overcome. Facts considerations is in no case stronger, we are never unimportant, and (in their pro- suspect, than in speaking of such men as per place) can never be neglected but with Goldsmith, and Robert Burns, and Charles peril. We are by no means insensible to Lamb. Men of this character are always that delicacy of feeling which would prompt general favorites, and there is a liability a son to pass as lightly as possible over in any direction rather than that of too the errors of a father, or to leave them harsh a judgment. The mass of readers altogether in silence; but not the less on are slow to discriminate, in the same this account does it seem to us un wise and character, the elements which are good highly culpable to write on the tombstone l from those which are evil ; and accord
* The Works of Charles Lamb, to which are prefixed his Letters, and a Sketch of his Life. By THOMAS Noon TALFOURD, one of his executors. 2 Vols. 8vo. Harper & Brothers, New York. 1847.
ingly they praise or blame, for the most were, the one twelve, the other ten years, part, accordingly as the qualities to them older than himself. The age of his parents most easily discernible, impress their minds was such as to render their society widely favorably or otherwise, and their admira- removed from that which was craved by tion or their censure is mostly in unquali- the child and the boy. Left to his own fied terms. But to one who aspires to solitary meditations, his boyish dreams explore the mysteries of human character compounded of much that was wild and and habit, and to trace some of the hidden extravagant, never looking into the fufountains of existence—who has a fixed ture, but always lingering among the idea of an eternal right and an eternal ruins of the past-gained a power over wrong, and who is able to detect the him, which not even the severe actual expresence of each in the conduct and among perience of subsequent years could entirely the deeds of men—something more seems counteract. desirable. The admirers of Lamb cannot, At fourteen, Lamb saw his school comwe are sure, exceed us in hearty love of panions departing to the university, and all that is truly worthy in his writings ; found himself obliged, with many bitter and how can they be less influenced than regrets, to relinquish the studies in which we by any prejudice or malice? And if there had been so much relief from his we speak plainly on what we deem certain loneliness—so much solid pleasure. But, fundamental defects in his mental consti- | unlike so many others in a similar conditution, we shall endeavor to speak as tion, he did not give way to any repinings, plainly of what seems truly deserving of or indulge in any useless denunciations of praise.
the existing order. He submitted to what Charles Lamb was born in London, was inevitable, and seems never to have February 18th, 1775. His early condi- imagined but that everything was just as tion was humble, and from his childhood it ought to be. We have said that his up, he was accustomed to a “subordina- | dreams were all of the past. His imagition,” amounting almost to servility, for nation delighted to revel among the myswhich our republican pride feels no great terious and venerable works of antiquity : sympathy, and by which an important he saw no millennial days in the future. influence was exerted in the development Childhood, boyhood, youth, are seasons of his character. His father seems to during which the growing mind is nurtured have been in the employ of a barrister of upon visions of beauty, and splendor, and the Inner Temple, in a capacity some awe. All minds pass alike through this what between that of steward and servant. ardent and versatile state ; but dreams It was here that Lamb passed the first come not alike to all. In our own day, seven years of his life. The next seven how large is the number who, still feeding were spent in a charity school, named upon the visionary “elements” of their Christ's Hospital. Here his previous childhood, have an eye only for the future; habits of implicit deference and veneration who see no good in the past, or in the for whatever was established and for present, but only injustice and wrong; whomsoever was ostensibly his superior, and who, so far from a noble-minded was confirmed and strengthened by the content with a state of things, however circumstances in which he was placed. / unsatisfactory, nevertheless inevitable, are Of a physical constitution naturally feeble, forever contriving some new reform, broodhe took scarcely any part in the vigorous ing over some new system, developing sports of boyhood, and always preferred some new principle of social science, which a solitary ramble to the company of his is to work a revolution in human affairs, more lively and stirring schoolfellows. |' and banish evil entirely from the world ! His gentle deportment, however, secured | To see only good in the past, and to shrink him the kindness—if not the highest re- with dread from everything new, may be spect-of all. During all these years, his a vicious extreme, but the opposite is thoughts were mainly shut up within him- certainly quite as dangerous—and while self. He found little sympathy with those it makes a man in future vision inexpressiabout him, and seems not to have very bly happy, it inevitably makes him, in earnestly sought it. His brother and sister present reality, inexpressibly miserable.
On leaving school, Lamb was for a | left alone. Coleridge, I devoutly wish while employed as an inferior clerk in an that fortune, which has made sport with office of the South Sea Company, but, at you so long, may play one prank more, the age of seventeen, received an appoint- | throw you into London, or some spot near ment in the accountant's department of it, and there snugify you for life. "Tis a the East India House, in which station he selfish but natural wish for me, cast on remained until he was fifty years old, when | life's plain friendless." he retired with a liberal pension from his Lamb, at this time, was twenty-one. In employers. He died at Edmonton, near the following year were published his few the close of the year 1734, in the sixtieth little poems, in the same volume with those year of his age.
of Coleridge and Lloyd. In the next year, - Such was the outward condition of the he published “Rosamund Gray,” a short author of the celebrated “Essays of Elia.” | story, full of a kind of quiet tenderness and The gradual development of his literary melancholy, such as seems to have been the powers, and the methods by which, in the prevailing mood of his mind at this period. midst of so many hindrances, he won his Near the close of the year 1799, (being way to an honorable and extensive literary | then in his twenty-fifth year,) he comreputation, are topics on which, interesting pleted his tragedy of “ John Woodvil." as they are, it is not our purpose at pres- | This he eagerly desired to see represented ent to dwell. Of the friends of his early on the stage, but being denied this gratifidays, (particularly Coleridge,) and of their cation, he consoled himself by publishing it, a influence in arousing and urging him for year or two after. Like his preceding works, ward in a literary career, nothing after all however, it received no very gentle treatcan be predicated with any certainty, which ment from the critics, nor much favor with is not more or less true of the similar en- | the public. His next effort, aside from occouraging spirits that have beckoned on casional newspaper articles, was a farce, all the less independent sons of genius and entitled “ Mr. Il- , which was acceptmisfortune. Lamb was at first, as we have ed at Drury Lane, in 1806, and once seen, almost entirely without sympathy. acted-nearly through. Some unimporAmong his school-fellows who had re-| tant efforts intervene between this and the moved to the University at Cambridge, he first essay of “ Elia,” in the London Magaremembered Coleridge, and was still occa- zine, about fifteen years later. Lamb was sionally admitted to fellowship with him. now forty-five years old, and in these esHe became enamored of the conversation says (mainly written during the five years of the more advanced scholar, and, though | following his genius appears in its true sympathizing not at all with his mystical character, and, for the first time, fitly and tendencies, and standing entirely aloof naturally exhibited. All his writings that from the visions of a Susquehanna pantis- precede these seem rather as an exercise ocracy, with which the heads of other and discipline of the genial power that was members of that little group were turned, struggling within him, and, with perhaps he found in him, nevertheless, many im two or three exceptions among his occapulses and tastes in common, and the first sional poems, would hardly have been noapproach (distant as they indeed always ticed at all at this day, but for the relative remained) to a true fellow-feeling. importance given them by their connection
Allowing something for what seems to with the Essays. have been a temporary mood of despond We have already remarked, elsewhere,* ency, the following extract of a letter, that “nothing more appropriately char. written to Coleridge shortly after his mar- acterizes the poets of the days of Wordsriage and removal to Bristol, probably worth and Shelley, than a stubborn pergives a tolerably accurate view of Lamb's sistency in thrusting upon the world their condition at this time :-“ You are the own individual peculiarities and experionly correspondent, and, I might add, the ences." Lamb belongs to this era, and only friend I have in the world. I go no- partakes of its spirit. He seems to have where, and have no acquaintance. Slow been incapable of stepping beyond the of speech and reserved of manners, no one seeks or cares for my society, and I am! - * See American Review, vol. vi. p. 506.