Imagini ale paginilor

tail pieces; a work, of which, it is true, I always thought favorably— but its beautiful morals made a much deeper impression on me, when I saw them in their court dress," in corpore pulchro," than when they appeared in the dishabille in which I had been accustomed to behold them. The same idea often forcibly struck me afterwards-and on consulting a lady of a refined literary taste, she perfectly agreed in the theory. Whether, however, it is not merely fancy, may perhaps be questioned.



DEAN SWIFT had a quarrel with a pompous, pragmatical attorney, on whom he determined to have satisfaction by his pen. Accordingly he turned Æsop's fable of the apples and the ordure into verse-and when he came to the address of the latter to the former,

"How we apples swim,"

he subjoined―

"Thus at the bar, that booby Bettsworth,
Tho' half a crown outpays his sweat's worth,
Who knows of law, nor text, nor margent,
Calls Singleton his brother Sergeant.”

Singleton was a first-rate lawyer, who stood as high in Dublin as our Binneys and Sergeants do here.

Bettsworth, stung to the quick, went very pompously to Swift, and holding out the paper, asked him, with a menacing voice and gesture: "Sir, are you the author of this infamous attack on me?" "Sit down, Sir," says Swift, very calmly-" Do not be in a passion, but let me tell you a short story. When I was young, my dear father-heaven rest his soul!-seeing that I had a turn for scribbling, and fearful of the consequences, one day told me that he was afraid that propensity would some time or other bring me into trouble. 'And, my dear son,' added he, let me give you a piece of advice. Should any libellous matter appear in any newspaper, and any fool or knave call on you to demand whether or not you are the writer-say no ;'-and therefore, Sir, I say no to you." Bettsworth had no remedy, and went off grumblingsaying Swift was like one of his own vile Yahoos, besmearing people with his filth, and out of the reach of punishment.




ALL who know any thing of his history, know that he was proud and ostentatious, and accustomed to the use of gorgeous costume, in which he piqued himself in outshining all the other courtiers of Henry VIII. One day, a prodigal nobleman, who was deeply in debt, and paid nobody, came into court in a dress, the splendor of which outshone that of Wolsey, who being piqued, addressed the nobleman, and said, "My Lord, it would be more commendable in you to pay your debts, than to lavish so much money on your dress." "May it please your reverence," re

plied the nobleman, "you are perfectly right: I humbly thank you for the hint, and now make a beginning, to show how I value your kind admonition. My father owed your deceased father a groat for a calf's head: here is sixpence let me have the change.”



I LOVE to contemplate an old clock-one of those relics of by-gone times, that come down to us wrapt in veneration-telling their tale of simple yet touching interest. How erect and prim it stands in yon corner, like some faded specimen of maiden antiquity! Its face bears evident marks of beauty-of beauty decayed, but not obliterated. It is plain that it has seen its best days, but equally evident is it that it was the pride and ornament of its day-unrivalled among its companions. How many eyes have watched the even tenor of its ways, as it moved on in the never-ending yet still beginning journey of the hours. Hours! aye, years have gone by, since that aged monitor of time first started on its course. And they who sat out with it, in the morning of life, whose motions were as active, and whose principles of vitality-if that may be called so which animates a clock-were as strong-where are they? Do they yet linger in the walks of the village? Can they be seen under the old oak tree, or at the door of the cottage? I see them not there; yet there stands the old clock, clicking blithely and patiently as ever. The voice and footsteps are silent of those who journeyed up with it to the full period of a good old age. A new race has sprung up, long and far removed from the other; and as they too watch the progress of the old clock, their hours are fleetly passing by, and time with them will soon be at a close. How impressive then the lesson taught by that old clock, and the simple inscription on its dial-plate"Tempus fugit."



It is a curious fact, that there were, comparatively, more wild tricks played in Philadelphia fifty years ago, when the population was so limited, than at present, with our very numerous population. A number of young fellows-one of whom I knew, and who, when he had sowed his wild oats, told me the story-tied a strong cord around a watch-box, while the watchman was in it, and were hauling it to Chesnut-street wharf, to let it float down the river, when the cries of the watchman attracting some passengers, caused the roués to flee. At another time, finding a cart loaded with bricks in the street at night, in front of a house that was then in progress of being built, they carried the bricks up three pairs of stairs, and then took the cart apart and carried the pieces up also, put them together there, and then loaded the vehicle with the bricks, much to the astonishment of the brick-layers when they came in the morning. But the most common trick was changing signs and shewboards, taking them from one extremity of the city to the other, and

making the most incongruous arrangement of them; converting tailors into carpenters-butchers into bakers-printers into rag merchants— apothecaries and druggists into venders of rum and tobacco-and doctors into undertakers.



DURING the Revolutionary war, there was a certain Major Ryan, who was celebrated-perhaps I might with more propriety say notorious for playing tricks, or hoaxing strangers. Of these I have heard scores, but at present remember but this: He ordered a dinner at the Bowling Green, to be ready on a particular day, about four or five days' distance; giving directions, principally in writing, not only for every dish, but for the order in which they were to be served up; and unless his orders were punctually and literally complied with, no pay was to be required. It was about the time of the adjournment of the Legislature, when there was a great concourse of people passing from Richmond in every direction. On the appointed day, he took his seat in the stage at Richmond, bound for the Bowling Green; and on the road told most miraculous stories of the potency of his olfactory nerves, and asserted that he could smell farther than any man living-even at the distance of a mile, and in a favorable state of the wind, a mile and a half. When he came thus near to the Bowling Green, he began to snuff, and recapitulate the various dishes that were provided for dinnerbacon and greens, lamb and salad, round of beef, roast turkey, duck, fowls, cabbage, potatoes, corn, &c., &c. A poor green-horn, who was staring at him with wonder, said he presumed he was only joking, as such extraordinary powers of smell were never bestowed on mortal man. Ryan swore he was in earnest, and offered to wager the dinner and wine for the whole company on the correctness of his smell. The poor oaf accepted the wager, and as soon as they arrived, placed himself in passage that led from the kitchen to the dining-room. To his utter dismay, he saw the articles paraded in the order prescribed by Ryan, and began to think that he had fallen into the hands of the devil himself. But he had no remedy. The voice of the company was unanimously against him, and he had a heavy bill to pay. Thus far Ryan had a triumph. But mark the end of it. The trick leaked out: and the hoaxee, who, however soft about the head, was athletic and strong about the arms, determined to have a settlement with the hoaxer. He waited until Ryan descended from the stage, when, seizing him by the collar, he took the worth of his money out of his hide; giving him, at the same time, as handsome a pair of black eyes as ever graced any of the pugilistic heroes of Donnybrook fair, together with a gratuitous warning never again to dare to play "tricks upon travellers."




THEY tell a pleasant story of one of our naval officers, who had the charge of a navy-yard, and who had never signalized himself on the

ocean. In walking through the yard, he met a ragged boy with a basket of fragments of wood, which he had picked up; and being angry with the intruder, he gave the basket a kick, and sent it adrift. The boy began to shout, and cried out, "Gi' me my basket! Gi' me my basket!" The officer gave an order-"Let the brat have his basket." When it was handed to him, he refused to take it, saying, in the midst of his sobbing, "Let him keep it-let him keep it! "Tis the first prize he ever took!"



BELZONI found in the northern oases of Egypt, as Hornemann had done before, the tops of the mountains of the desert encrusted with salt, and wells of sweet water rising out of a surface overspread with masses of it. Herodotus relates the same fact, 2200 years before.



THE roads in Sweden are uncommonly beautiful and excellent. surveyors never allow a stone to be used larger than a walnut. roads appear flat-but have a slight convexity.

Philadelphia, July 11, 1834.



SWIFT current, that from rocky Alpine vein
Gathering the tribute to thy waters free,
Movest joyous onward night and day with me
Where nature leads thee-with no tyrant chain-

Roll freely on, nor toil nor rest restrain
Thine arrowy course; but ere thou yieldest in
The tribute of thy waters to the main,
Seek out heaven's purest sky, earth's deepest green;
There wilt thou find the bright and living beam
That decks thy left bank with its heavenly rays:

If unto her too slow my footsteps seem,
(While by her feet thy lingering current strays,

Forming to words the murmurs of its stream,)
Say that the weary flesh the willing soul delays.



M. C.

G. W. G.

[ocr errors]


GUY RIVERS: a Tale of Georgia. By the author of 'Martin Faber.' In two vols. 12mo. New-York: Harper and BROTHERS.


THIS work has been some weeks before the public, and has been so generally read, that a labored analysis of its plot is not needed to illustrate the remarks we have to make, or the few quotations which we shall be enabled to present. If it may be taken as an earnest of the author's powers, there is less reason to regret the voluntary dimming of our shining lamp" in the person of Mr. Cooper, since there is a fair prospect that the author of "Guy Rivers" will tread hard upon his footsteps, and, with but little of his experience, contribute to the literature of his country, works which shall rival in interest the best efforts of his predecessor. In many respects, this novel is superior to the general works of Mr. Cooper. Its female portraitures are more natural— and there is less of that clap-trap arrangement of incident, which, however it may please for the moment, grows wearisome to the mind upon a second perusal and, like the legerdemain of the juggler, ceases to divert when discovered. The reader's interest in the tale-kept down, it may be, by a little stateliness and minutiæ of style and description in the first few pages-commences with the story itself, which opens naturally-without circumlocution or unnecessary detail. The scenes follow one another, in natural order. There is no distortion of character, or straining after the improbable, to "make a point." The plot is brought about by a regular and natural convergence of the several incidents. There is, too, a fine tone of moral reasoning-a deep knowledge of the human heart and its impulses of good or evil, running through the volumes, which stamp them as the product of correct observation and vigorous thought. In the several episodes-introduced with ease and grace-we are reminded of the truth of Byron's observation, that a drop of ink falling upon paper, may set ten thousand to thinking-for there is matter in many a space which could hardly have exhausted a pen-full, in which terse and metaphysical reasoning indicates the full mind, and provokes, per force, the thoughtful regard of the reader.

Without endeavoring to present any thing like a synopsis of a work which has reached so many hands, and upon which the seal of public approbation has been so broadly stamped, we proceed to lay before the reader a few specimens of the author's style, and his powers of description, without reference to the consecutive arrangement of the several parts of the tale.

The author is an acute observer of nature, and of human character. This is observable in the slight, pencil-touches which fill up his pictures. There is nothing tiresome in his minuteness of description, either of the

« ÎnapoiContinuați »