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striking-, that the character and feelings of the person seemed, as it were, visible in the portrait.
The attitudes of his figures are natural and graceful; his colouring is much to be admired; and his draperies, which were taken from the fashion of the period, are in a grand yet easy style.
His best portrait, in England, is said to be that of the Earl of Strafford, at Wentworth House.
Though Vandyck is generally considered as a portrait painter, yet he has nearly approached his great master, Rubens, in some of his historical pictures. He had, it is true, less genius and spirit, but he excelled Rubens in the delicacy of his tints, and the vivacity of his colours. This was acknowledged even by his enemies, on the occasion of the exhibition of the picture which he painted for the church at Antwerp, in which is represented our Saviour King dead on the knees of his mother, and surrounded by angels.
However it must be admitted that he was generally inferior to Rubens in historical subjects, though he surpassed him in his portraits, which, savs De Piles, "have a softness and freedom of penciling beyond anything else in that way."
The most capital works of Vandyck are in England.
DE3CBIPTION OF A SIBERIAN SHAMAN.
Thi writer from whom we transcribe the following description of a Shaman, is treating of somnambulous ecstasy, and quotes, as instances of it, the conjurers or vizards of Lapland and of Samoyede, and the Shamans of Siberia, who bring themselves into this singular rtate by artificial means, such as whirling round of the tody, especially of the head, accompanied by stunning fries, songs, and music. "The condition," says our antkor, "into which the Shaman brings himself is m*h more extraordinary than that of the Lapland seer •ir the Samoyede enchanter: it resembles more what ve might imagine the state of an ancient Pythoness, Ving a kind of convulsive delirium, during which he utters dark and oracular sentences, and remarkable flear seeing, or prophetic sight, takes place." An interesting account of these Shamans is given by a companion of Wrangel, in his expedition to the North Pole, contained in a letter written by Mr. Matinschkin to a friend at Petersburgh, dated December, 1829.
This gentleman, after wandering all day by the banks of the Siberian river, Tabalog, sought shelter from the snow (which was beginning to fall, though only the month of August) in a place, where he found assembled » great many persons around a Shaman, who was just on the point of commencing his incantations.
By moans of one of the company, to whom Mr. M. had lately shown a trifling kindness, and by the promise of some brandy and tobacco, our traveller was permitted to remain and witness the proceedings.
"In the centre of the place a bright fire blazed, around which a circle was marked out by black sheepskins, on which, in slow and measured steps, the Shaman moved round, repeating, at the same time, half aloud, the forms of his incantation. His long, black, bristly hair, covered almost completely his red and swollen face, while from under the shaggy eyebrows gleamed a pair of blood-shot eyes. His dress was a long Talar, composed of the skins of animals, and hung from lop to bottom with amulets, rhymes, chains, shells, and pieces of iron and copper. In his right hand he held a charm-drum in the shape of a tambourin, likewise ornamented with shells. In his left hand was an unbent bow.
"By degrees the flame of the fire became extinguished, leaving only the glowing embers, which threw a dim mystic sort of light around. The Shaman threw himself down on the ground; and, after remaining motionless for about five minutes, broke out into a melancholy wail, the sound of which was as if it came from different voices. The fire was again kindled, and shot up into a high flame. The Shaman then sprang up, placed one end of the bow on the ground, rested bis forehead on the other, and still holding the bow in his hand, he began to whirl round it, first slowly, and then rapidly. This whirling continued until the very sight of it made me giddy, when suddenly he stood still, and commenced making all manner of figures in the air with his hand without exhibiting the slightest symptom of giddiness. He then seized his drum, and, in a sort of inspiration, played, what seemed to me, a sort of melody, while he quickened or slackened his pace, and moved and contracted his body with inconceivable rapidity. The motion of the head was especially striking; it whirled round with a velocity resembling a ball on a string.
"During these operations the Shaman took, now and then, a mouthful of brandy and a whiff of tobacco, which, at a sign given by him, was handed to him by some one of the bystanders. This and the other operations must at length have stupified him, for he fell suddenly down, and remained rigid and seemingly lifeless. Two of the spectators then approached, with large knives in their hands, which they began to whet on each other close to his head. This seemed to bring him again to himself; he renewed his strange wailings, and moved his body slowly and convulsively. The persons who had the knives in their hands raised him up, and placed him in an erect posture. His countenance was horrid to look at; the eyes were as if starting from their sockets, and seemed to project out from the head, while his face was crimson all over. He appeared perfectly unconscious, and except a slight tremor of the body, he remained for some minutes without a sign of life.
"He then awoke from his stupor apparently, and supported himself by his right hand on his bow, while, with the left, he swung the drum rapidly round his head with a whirring noise, and then suddenly let it fall, which, I was informed, was the sign that he was now fully inspired, and ready to be questioned. I approached him, as he stood motionless before me, without token of life either in eye or countenance, while neither my questions, nor his answers (which were given instantly, without one moment's reflection) changed in the slightest degree the immobility of his features. Several of his answers were very remarkable; others so obscure, that none of the interpreters were able to give me them in Russian. When the curiosity of all had been satisfied, the Shaman again fell into convulsions, accompanied with internal spasms, lying thus on the ground for about a quarter of an hour." The demons, it would appear, took a much shorter time to effect their exit than their entrance; as, for the latter, four hours hud been necessary. Besides their usual mode of departing —by the chimney—the traveller saw the door opened by the spectators to let them out that way if t'ie.v preferred it.
"At length, all was finished; the Shaman arose with marks of astonishment in his countenance, like a man awakened out of a deep sleep, finding himself in the midst of a large assembly. He looked at all the people around him, and particularly at Mr. M., whom he seemed now to see for the first time. Mr. M. asked him to explain some of his dark sayings, but the Shaman only looked at him with a questioning expression of countenance, as if he knew nothing of what had happened, and shook his head at each interrogatory, being utterly oblivious of what had passed, or of what he had said."
Our author is of opinion that the religious ceremonies of the dervishes of the present day had, in their origin, the same end in view as the demon-conjurations of the Siberian Shaman, namely, that of inducing a somnambulous cataleptic state: but that now, the former not carrying out their whirling and other stupifying operations to the same extent as was once done, these ceremonies have become mere senseless and unmeaning rites; the Dervishes themselves being now ignorant of the purpose meant to be accomplished by their singular religious services. Three, however, out of the thirty-two orders into which the Dervishes are divided, the Meldeve, the Bedive, and the liufai, still practise the whirling to a much greater extent than any of the others; their movements, accompanied by a barbarous kind of music, and various other ceremonies, while they call out in a voice of increasing loudness, " Allah! Hu!" until, breathless and exhausted, like the Shaman, they fall into a state of utter insensibility. After a few more absurd practices, they are then blessed by their chief, "Sheik Ulislam," as he is sometimes called, (meaning Chief of the True Believers,) and speedily recover.
In Original Poetry, the Name, real or assumed, of the Author, is printed in Small Capitals under the title; in Selections, it is printed in Italics at the end.
THE THKEE A'OICES.
What saith the Past to thee? Weep!
Truth is departed;
How speaks the Present hour P Act!
Walk, upward glancing;
What doth the Future say? Hope!
Turn thy face sun-ward! Look where light fringes the far-rising slope— Day coineth onward! Watch! Though so long be the twilight delaying, Let the first sunbeam arise on thee praying; Pear not, for greater is God by thy side, Than armies of Satan against thee allied! •
"I hare here made only a nosegay of culled flowers, and have brought nothing of my own, but the string that ties them."—Montaigne.
RISE OF THE THERMOMETER.
The cold during the winter nights is very severe. The sentinels are frequently obliged to be relieved every half hour, and the officers, so long as they are beardless, may enjoy horizontal refreshment in peace; but when they obtain those manly appendages yclept whiskers, they find that turning in bed becomes hopeless, and being "brought up with a round turn," discover that they are frozen to the sheets. And we are told that families have been awakened by their houses becoming
roofless, owing to the intensity of the frost having extracted the nails by which the shingles were fastened to the rafters. Provisions are brought into St. John's frozen hard, and they will keep perfectly well so long as the frost lasts; it is ludicrous enough to see pigs, hares, and large codfish frozen stiff, and carried by a leg or tail over a man's shoulder, like a musket. One evening a discussion as to the degree of cold led to a bet, and the commanding officer's orderly was sent to ascertain what the thermometer stood at outside the window. The major's servant ingenuously brought the thermometer into the room, and looked at it by the light of the fire; the mercury thus suddenly astonished, naturally ran up a tremendous pace. In the conversation which took palce between him and the orderly, he was overheard exclaiming, "Wait till it stops, Bob! Now tell the major it is at 45 notches above Nero."—Edwesfrom the Backwoods.
ANECDOTE OP LORD ERSKINE.
WnEN induced to make a personal observation on a witness, Erskine divested it of asperity by a tone of jest and good humour. In a cause at Guildhall, brought to recover the value of a quantity of whalebone, a witness was called of impenetrable stupidity. There are two descriptions of whalebone, of different value, the long and the thick. The defence turned on the quality delivered ; that an inferior article had been charged at the price of the best. A witness for the defence baffled every attempt at explanation by his dulness. He confounded thick whalebone with long in such a manner that Erskine was forced to give it up. "Why, man, you don't seem to know the difference between what is thick and what is long. Now, I'll tell you the difference. Now, I'll tell you the difference. You are a thick-headed fellow, and you are not a long-headed one!" —Townsend's Lines of Eminent Judges.
There is no small degree of malicious craft in fixing upon a season to give a mark of enmity and ill-will; a word—a look, which at one time would make no impression—at another time wounds the heart; and, like a shaft flying with the wind, pierces deep, which, with its own natural force, would scarcely have reached the object aimed at.—Sterne.
Who does not look back with feelings which he would in vain attempt to describe, to the delightful rambles which his native fields and meadows afforded to his earliest years? Flowers are among the first objects that forcibly attract the attention of young children, becoming to them the source of gratifications which are among the purest of which our nature is capable, and of which even the indistinct recollection imparts often a fleeting pleasure to the most cheerless moments of after-life.— Kidd.
When two friends part, they should lock up one another's secrets, and interchange their keys.
The noblest weapon wherewith man can conquer, is love and gentlest courtesy.
N.B.—The Second Volume of this Periodical is now ready ; covers for binding, with table of contents, may be ordered of any Booksellers.
The Privileges of Vienna 3
Black Frits, Chap. 1 4
Late Hours 7
To our Readers 0
Popular Year Hook 11
Biographical Sketehesof Eminent Painters: Vandyck ... 13
Description of a Siberian
London:—Publishcdby T. B. Sbabpe, 15, SkinnerStrcct,Snow-hil). Printed by R. Clay Bread Street Hill.
KINO LEAK AND HIS DAUGHTERS.
Lear. Now, our joy.
Although the last, not least: to whose young love
Cordelia. Nothing, my lord.
Jjcar. Nothing P
Isar. Nothing ran eome of nothing: speak again.
Cor. Vnhappy that 1 am, I cannot heave My heart into my mouth: I love your Majesty According to my hond; nor more, nor less.
Lear. How, how, Cordelia? Mend your speech :i little, Lest it may nar your fortunes.
Cor. Goou ,my lord,
Why have my sisters husbands, if they say,
They love you all? Haply when I shall wed,
That lord, whose hand must take my plight, shall c^rry
Half my love with him, half my care and duty.
Sure I shall never marry like my sisters,
To love my father all.
Lear. But goes this with thy heart?
Cor. Ay, good, my lord.
Lear. So young, and so lintender!
Cor. So young, my lord, and true.
ljcar. Let it be so;—thy truth then be thv dower:
Here I disclaim all my paternal care,
So utter in it* desolation that even winter lacks the i power to make its aspect wilder or more desolate. Summer leaves, and summer flowers, bright with the sunshine or glittering with the dew, trailing along the broken walls and shattered coping-stones, hanging a garland over porches mouldering into dust, over dim' discoloured window panes, over wormed and mossy garden seats, over fountains choked with weeds, over paths but barely pervious, mock and magnify its desolation and decay; but in winter all external and surrounding objects are in keeping with tUe void and ruined Grange. Titanic trees circling the old house like a body-guard of giants, wierd and awful in their look as those which frowned upon the Pilgrim's path, naked and gnarled, and making melancholy music as the wind sighs through the leafless boughs: bare slopes, with here and there a barer bush creaking as it sways; here and there a heap of faded leaves, thai rustle with a startling unfamiliar rustle as you tread; dead stems of flowers, and crackling sapless shrubs, weaving a tangled network that overspreads the uneven terrace and dismantled urns; the stagnant and turbid fishpool, the very clouds themselves, heavy and cold and leaden, and creeping sluggishly across the sky; are perfectly in harmony with all the eye discerns and all the imagination pictures of that old decaying house.
Did light laughter ever echo underneath that roof? Did youthful footsteps ever bound along its floors! Did the firelight ever gleam in crimson flakes upon its Bhining walls? Were rosy children ever wakened by the summer sunshine streaming through its cheerful window-panes! Did the smoke of blazing yule logs ascend its tunnelled chimney stacks at bygone Christmas festivals! Who were its inmates? what was their history! Why is it tenantlcss—fallen to decay?
Pass through the vaulted porch, traverse the sounding hall, and by the cold deserted hearth sit down, and let us conjure up a history of the past.
Once on a time,—for that is, after all, your only legitimate method of opening a tale,— once on a time, two centuries since perhaps, a grey-haired man, who had amassed great wealth by trading ventures to the East, came hither to reside. An only daughter, her husband, and their child, shared in the old man's heart and home. He had been a poor dependent, this son-inlaw, whose thrifty zeal had helped to build the fabric of the merchant's fortune, and. growing in his good opinion year by year, gained at the last the rich rcquit.il of his daughters hand. Her hand, we s:iy. for that her heart accompanied it admits of doubt. If rumour did
not wrong him, this son-in-law was one better calculated to excite distrust and dread than love. Fair seeming, smooth spoken, humble almost to abjectness, winding into men's thoughts without developing his own, with a wandering eye, a hesitating step, thin bloodless lips wearing a perpetual smile, a smile so like a sneer that it was difficult to determine when he smiled and when he sneered,—he was a man whom dogs and children would instinctively avoid: direr reproach we will not stay to cast upon him. Those wandering eyes of his, how truly did they symbolize the narrow restless mind which worked within! how intelligibly they spoke of growing, greedy, unsatisfied desires, of baneful, peacedestroying passions usurping absolute dominion over that unquiet stormy mind! The inactive aimless life he led, subserved to foster those desires by offering- no diversion to the current of his thoughts, which still flowed on in one direct and unimpeded course, delving a deeper channel, expanding into a broader flood, and gaining might, and volume, and velocity, by the mere absence of all impediment and check.
He knew that, come what might, all that his benefactor had amassed must one day devolve on him; but then the certainty was not so proximate as he could wish. Years might elapse before the wealth so coveted should become his portion. Oh, that the inevitable, but yet remote, event could be accelerated! Oh, that the wearisome delay, the tedious waiting for the dead man's shoes, could he abridged ! And might it not? Ay, might it not! In this one question all his gloomy reveries eventuated; beyond it, all was dim, chaotic, undefined.
So, brooding over this dark thought; so, day by day, tending and nourishing the poison-plant which had struck deep root and thrived apace within his mini!, until its baneful growth became too mighty for rcpn s'sion ; so, suffering suggestion to assume the form and pressure of a settled purpose, and listening to the whispers of a dwarfish fiend, until that fiend^ dilating with his expanding influence, swelled into giant's shape, and wore the mien and gestures of a stern inexorable taskmaster; the old man's son-in-law became the dociic slave of Avarice. Day and night, weekday and holyday, at mass and meals, visions of wealth, of sole supreme possession, flitted before his eyes, and ministered unceasing aliment to the master passion of his mind. But ever there arose one uniform impediment.— ever the figure of an old grey-headed man glided between him and his desire : and-ever, as that presence troubled him, a phantom whispered in his ear suggestions of a fearful import, which, awful and hideous at first, grew less and less repulsive with every repetition, so that a murderous thought at length would lo»s its horrid character, and harbour in his brain as naturally as though it were its own familiar lurking-place. From thought to act, from the motive to the method, were easy, if not inevitable, transitions. And yet, and yet, there wag a haunting dread, the disquieting and constant fear of subsequent detection, to deter him from the deed. "Silently and well would poison work, but
if suspicion should arise "and then the prospective
murderer would ponder on the matter more profoundly, Bearch into old treatises, study the nature of mineral and vegetable poisons, and test their effects on animals, whenever practicable, until his knowledge of their character and operation was accurate and complete.
And one was chosen, slow, and subtle, and sure as truth itself; and nightly mingled and administered in the stoup of spiced wine which custom had commended to the old man's palate. Yea, while he drank, the placid murderer stood by and never blanched: heard kindly words, thankful acknowledgments of his (the murderer's) delicate attentions fall from the old man's lips, and yet felt no compunctious visitings! And every day he saw the fitful flame of life which burnt within the victim's frame flickering with a fainter, feebler light, and knew how soon it would be quenched for ever; and saw the earnest sorrow of the daughter of that dying man, and yet persisted in the desperate crime, unwavering to the last 1 Grey-headed old man, surrounded on thy deathbed by delusions, close thy dim eyes in peace, happy in the illusory belief that thou hast confided thy daughter's happiness to safe and worthy keeping! I f e sank so slowly, wasting away with such a gradual decline, so like the natural decay of life, that, when death did set his " silent seal" upon the suffering clay, no comments followed the event, and he was laid to sleep within the village church with solemn pomp and simulated grief by the husband of his child, the inheritor of his possessions, and the destroyer of his life. "To sleep," said we? No, not to sleep, but theneeII forth to haunt the troubled vision of the assassin by his perpetual presence. Go where he would, to the murderer's fancy the very air was full of eyes, dim aped eyes, glaring upon him with a fearful menace. Through the dim gloom of midnight the angry gleam o( those old eyes would seem to penetrate and awo him. In the blazing embers, in the pictures on the walls, in the fantastic figures on the fountain, in the white clouds that skimmed athwart the sky, in the very stones upon his path, he saw the lineaments of the murdered man. In the moaning of the wind, in the shivering rustle of the leaves, in the murmuring ripple of the water, in every casual, transient, sound, there were, to his ear, intelligible articulations of the old man's voice. Wine had no power to banish from his brain the frightful images which thronged in thick succession through it; there was a poisonous savour in everything which met his lips; and the pure element itself smacked of a polluting mixture. Music was torture to his ears, for his wife found melancholy solace in dwelling on the songs and melodies which her father in his life-time loved ; and by the mere force of association the murderer would shudder as he passed one vacant chair, and hurry from the room, filled with the fear of seeing its former occupant glide into his accustomed seat.
His wife, too, pined and drooped, and seemed to wither gradually away. As we have hinted, her affection for the only parent Bhe had ever known, had never been supplanted by the more impassioned love which ordinarily springs up within a woman's heart towards him with whom she forms a new and nearer tie. From a sentiment of duty towards her father, rather than of actual attachment to the object of her father's choice, ihe had originally consented to the union proposed to her; and in the society of that father, and -in the nurture of her infant son, Bhe had subsequently found her greatest happiness; hence the bereavement she had sustained was full of bitterness. The oue goldun link in the chain of old remembrance v.as snapped—the living j
memento of earlier and happier times was now no more. That wrinkled face, those silvery hairs, those old benignant eyes, that kindly voice— lost, lost— irretrievably lost. While he was alive, it was a joy only to meet his affectionate greeting, morning and evening— much more to hold untiring converse of the past, to run over the sunny retrospect of her girlhood, to compare impressions, restore the half effaced, and, by renewing, vivify the fresh. Dreary, exceeding dreary, therefore, was the void created by the death of that dear doting parent.
Her spirits sank, and then her health, and then she, too, went down into the dust. Her husband and her son, the one a haggard, prematurely grey, and consciencestricken man, the other a dull-eyed, gibbering idiot, abandoned Farleigh Grange within a year of her decease, and perished by shipwreck on their voyage to a foreign land. The estate reverted to a distant relative, but, often as it has been tenanted, the Grange has never been the permanent abiding place of its inhabitants. Some curse appears annexed to its possession—some fatality attached to its possessors; and, for half a century past, it has been, as it now is, a desolate, deserted, and, in common credence, haunted house.
SCENERY OF THE GREAT WESTERN RAILWAY.
Fbw chapters in the history of civilization and human industry are so replete with importance and interest to every grade of readers, as the accounts of the means by which England has been, within the last score of years, covered with a net-work of iron, or System of Railways. As a branch of national economy, the subject will have a paramount claim upon the attention of the statist and the politician in forming their estimates of the means by which the internal prosperity and domestic peace of the empire have attained a century of advancement within less than a quarter of that period. At this vast Bubject it is but our intention to glance; and rather to select one of its stupendous examples, and describe its course and construction, we trust, so as to prove that a Railway, instead of cutting up and despoiling the face of the country, has, like a fertilizing river, enriched and embellished the district through which it trends, in its progress stretching out its giant-arms of improvement on each side of its mighty course.
For this purpose we have preferred Thb Great WestErn Railwat, in many respects the most important work of its class yet completed; and one of the most attractive by means of the picturesque and interesting country through which it passes. There exists, likewise, a peculiar facility for our task, or rather labour of love, in a work of the highest authority, which has just been issued from the press. This is a magnificent folio volume, detailing the history and description of the line, profusely illustrated with views of its great works, and the adjacent scenery; and forming, altogether, the most complete specimen of Railway Illustration yet produced. The work1 is, in every respect, worthy of the noble subject: the scenic pages are masterpieces of the artists' Bkill, both draftsman and lithographer; and the literature of the volume, both as regards scientific treatment and descriptive talent, takes precedence of every labour of its kind. In its vivid details of the skill of our own times in Railway construction, and of the glories of other ages in the antiquities of the country
(I) The History and Description of the Great Western Railway, including iu Geology, and the Antiquities of the District through which it passes; accompanied hy a Plan and Section of the Railway, a Geological Map, and by numerousViews of the principal Viaduct.',, Bridges, Tunnels. Stations, and of the Scenery and Antiquities in its Vicinity: from Druwings taken expressly for this Work, and executed in Lithography, by John C. Roume. Folio. (Sue, 2G hy It inches.) D. liogue, Fleet-street. ISiu.