« AnteriorContinuar »
And yet the almond-oil she had tried,
(Like the brandy and salt
We now exalt)
At last-one very fine day in June
Suppose her sitting,
“ There, ma'am! try it!
You needn't buy it-
(“ That's very true," says Dame Eleanor S.) “ Try it again! No harm in trying
I'm sure you'll find it worth your buying,
“Dear!-O dear, to call it dear!
[Further hearing postponed till next Term.]
LITERATURE OF THE MONTH.
THE ANCIENT EGYPTIANS.*
The more we learn of the manners and customs of this ingenious and extraordinary people, the more does our interest in them increase. A very natural result, for independently of the religious and historical associations connected with them, whatever adds to our information must increase our admiration of their intelligence and refinement. Compared with cotemporary nations of which we have any satisfactory records, they appear immeasurably superior ; for, besides possessing a degree of mechanical skill no other people approached, they exhibited many purely intellectual acquirements, such as with all the scientific advantages of the present day, the moderns find it difficult to rival. Whether we turn to their mere arrangements for subsistence, or the deepest of their theological mysteries, we shall find the most convincing evidences of high capacity. Their obscure and elaborate system of religion is the natural result of strony powers of understanding, studying without proper guides the marvellous philosophy of nature. The separation and conjunction of matter with spirit, and the obligations of man to his Creator, Benefactor, and Judge, were subjects for the most profound and intricate speculations; but not having the light of revelation to assist them, it is not singular that the Egyptian sages should have lost themselves in inextricable confusion. Their explanations became darker than the mysteries they had vainly endeavoured to explore, and they spared no labour to advance in the most difficult paths of knowledge, yet were only tracing the windings of a maze of their own creating, which however close it might seem to what they sought, never went beyond a proscribed circle, as far from it as hope from despair. This philosophy, profitless as it was, became a monopoly of the priests, who succeeded in making it an engine for the exercise of the most absolute power over every other class of their fellow men—a rule that kept both mind and body in a like state of thorough subjection. It is owing to the unceasing watchfulness of these severe custodians of knowledge, that the intelligence of the ancient Egyptians remained for so many ages wrapped in impenetrable obscurity. The mystical character of their learning had, however, a powerful influence on all foreign nations who were allowed opportunities of studying it; and signs of this, not to be mistaken, were exhibited by the Jews and Greeks, and a few other distinct races : these were transmitted to others, comparatively modern, with certain modifications suitable to the period and the people; and long after nothing remained ostensibly belonging to the originators of these mysteries, but their indestructible monuments, their policy was flourishing in full vigour.
• A Second Series of the Manners and Customs of the Ancient Egyptians; incloding their Religion, Agriculture, &c. By Sir J. Gardner Wilkinson, F.R.S., F.R.G.S., &c. 2 vols. and a volume of Plates.
Though inquiring minds have occasionally, since the general revival of learning in Europe, been directed towards the interesting remains of the greatness and wisdom of the Ancient Egyptians that exist on the banks of the Nile, it was to marvel only. It was not till very recent times any attempt was made to explain these wonders. The labours of Champollion, Rossellini, and Dr. Young, at last excited the attention of the whole civilized world ; and as succeeding scholars advanced in the difficult task of interpretation, the more general became their astonishment and gratification. The transportation to Europe of some of the portable marvels of Egypt, afforded facilities for their study of which the learned quickly availed themselves—whilst to the more enterprising, the improvements in travelling by sea, and the trifling difficulties that of late years have been met with by tourists in Egypt, have been inducements to carry their researches into every part of the country where any monuments were to be found. Of these, Sir Gardner Wilkinson has far excelled his coadjutors in the interest, the extent, and variety of the information he obtained. His first publication on the manners and customs of the Ancient Egyptians, did more to popularize the study of Egyptian antiquities than the works of all his predecessors : of this the present production is a continuation, and rivals it in the elaborate and gratifying picture it affords of a state of society the most extraordinary that ever existed. No description can give an adequate idea of the highly interesting character of Sir Gardner Wilkinson's materials for this work, the excellence, the number, and the singularity of the engravings, and the extent of the information on the subject he affords the reader. There is no scholar who will not be anxious to possess such a publication, and few readers by whom it will not be regarded as an unfailing source of entertainment.
A SUMMER IN WESTERN FRANCE.*
Our tourists seem intent on leaving no corner of the civilized world uninspected, but whatever value may attached to countries that are remote and little known, Mr. Trollope appears to think that the nearer home he travels the greater must be the degree of interest his observasions ought to create among his countrymen. On the principle alone that that which is most easily obtained is least sought after, and consequently least known, he must be considered in the right; but when proper regard is paid to the various sources of deep interest to the English reader, the country he has selected to write an account of exhibits, the tourist's choice of France must universally be pronounced a wise one. In his preceding work, “ A Summer in Brittany,” he gave the public a fair taste of the entertainment he had in store for them, and the pleasant character of his materials lost nothing by the lively style in which they were set forth: but agreeable as were these volumes, he has
A Summer in Western France. By T. Adolpbus Trollope, Esq. Author of "A Summer in Brittany,” Edited by Frances Trollope. 2 vols.
contrived greatly to excel them in the present work. This, however, is not surprising, when we become acquainted with the extraordinary variety and extent of the interesting subjects that in his present tour presented themselves to the author. It embraces the scene of the English conquests in France the field of the heroic adventures of Joan of Arcthe theatre of the desperate struggles of the Huguenots at La Rochelle, and of the royalists of La Vendée—the land of cognac and claret-and the soil where flourished that terror of the over-curious, the famous Blue Beard- the no less sanguinary Geoffrey Grand-Dent-Diana of Poitiers—the once celebrated Les Pénitens d'Amour,” Tristan l'Ermite, and a whole host of historical characters, together with numerous other places possessed of all the pleasantest features of romantic tradition. Whilst passing over such attractive gtound, Mr. Trollope seems to have been stimulated to exercise all his talents as a tourist, and, as the reader will readily acknowledge, with a very happy result. At one time we find him gossiping about the antiquities of the old provincial towns ; at another making clear an obscure page of history; here he lingers with Richard Cour de Lion at Chalus, there he stays with Margaret of Anjou at Dampiere. After a while we find him describing mines, manufactories, prisons, Druidical remains, cathedrals, and battle-fields with the spirit of one born in their neighbourhood; and these are delightfully relieved by a fund of amusement in the anecdotes, adventures, legends, and remarks that accompany them. Indeed, information is so blended with entertainment throughout his pages, that as a book of travels the “Summer in Western France” proves one of the most agreeable works ever written. How much of this merit is owing to Mrs. Trollope's genius is not stated; but edited by her, these volumes could scarcely fail of exhibiting those elements of popularity so conspicuously displayed in every subject on which her literary talent has been employed.
TRAVELS IN THE HIMALAYAN MOUNTAINS.*
Such a length of time has elapsed since this work was announced for publication, that we began to fear there was some insurmountable obstacle in the way of its completion. We are glad, however, to find that such fears were groundless. The delay has had no other effect than to increase the public curiosity that the announcement had directed towards these travels, and afford time to the editor to produce them with all the advantages of care, science, and research. ‘Although so much has been published of late years in illustration of geographical science, the interesting provinces of Eastern Asia have been almost totally neglected ; and yet their importance in many points of view, particularly in a commercial one, entitles them to attentive considera
Travels in the Himalayan Provinces of Hindustan and the Punjab ; in Ladakh and Kashmir; in Peshwar, Kabul, Kunduz, and Bokbara ; by Mr. William Moorcroft and Mr. George Trebeck. From 1819 to 1825. Prepared for the Press from original Journals and Correspondence. By Horace Hayman Wilson, M.A., F.R.S. Published under the authority of the Asiatic Society of Calcutta. 2 vols.