Imagens das páginas

" that Jonathan was not going to be diddled by a parcel of darned Frenchmen."

I hardly know why, but I must confess that I never could bring myself to consider the present president, Martin Van Buren, as belonging to the family of lions. He is constitutionally too deep and calculating for that noble race; and I know that his own party look for no great achievement at his hands. The ultra-republican party who hoisted his predecessor into the chair of the executive, for want of a fitter leader, have chosen him to rule over them. But it has long since been proved that fitness or capacity is wholly lost sight of in selecting candidates to fill high and responsible situations even in vannting, republican America. Absolute monarchs fre. quently appoint tyrannical governors over the people ; so do tyran. nical democratic majorities appoint absolute rulers, as has been in. stanced in the case of ex. President Jackson and some others. One of the leading traits in the character of Van Buren is what his support. ers have been pleased to call bis firmness; but now that they have placed him for a period beyond their power or control, they are beginning to surmise that this virtue may possibly turn out-Dutch obsti.

nacy !

Fulton of steamboat-notoriety is amongst the names consecrated in American history; but how far he merits all which is claimed for him is a matter I am not going to discuss. Livingston, De Witt Clinton, Patrick Henry and Hamilton stand forth conspicuously in the pages referred to; the last of which was a name of high pro. misc; but unfortunately for his country, he fell in a duel with Co. lonel Burr. They are all gone to reap the reward of their mortal labours.

“I guess we have reason to be mighty considerably proud of our lengthy list of authors,'' said an American one day to me, and he proceeded to enumerate a long list of names that I had never heard of. I confessed my ignorance of more than nine-tenths of the names he men. tioned, and begged to be enlightened upon the subject. He informed me that he had his information from the “ Village Record,” the name of a provincial newspaper . and, although the editor was “a downright smart man,” he certainly had omitted to say which of them, the authors, had made books, which had composed 4th of July orations, and which of them had written their two days' speeches, that they had subsequent read from their desks in the Hall of Congress.

I think it pro. bable that the list referred to had contained all those who had ever seen their names in print, whether appended to doggerel verses or to prose run mad. Positively however they have “ lions” in literature too ; the

greatest of these are Washington Irving and J. Fenimore Cooper.

The great literary lion is Washington Irving; he is a favourite everywhere in America. Like Mr. Cooper, he has written a good deal about England and the English. He is much esteemed and ralued by his countrymen, and most of all by those who have had the good fortune to make his personal acquaintance. At one period, i think it was in the summer of 1833, I anticipated that pleasure ; but unfortu. nately for both Wa hington Irving and myself

, as will be hereafter ex. plained, I was doomed to be disappointed. An American gentleman, a neighbour of mine,-a lover of literature, and one of the most gifted

individuals I ever met with in America,-having spent a portion of the preceding winter in one of the cities, had had the good fortune to share frequently the society of the author of Knickerbocker. Pleased with each other, my neighbour gave the author an invitation to spend a few days, or weeks, or months, during the summer, at his secluded but splendid residence in the back woods; and the literary lion was pleased to accept the invitation. Soon after my neigh. bour's return home, I was made acquainted with the anticipated visit; and at that early period, received an invitation “to meet the lion at dinner.” I had previously known sundry governors, and generals, and rulers of the land, paying visits to my neighbour and acquaintance; but never on any previous occasion had I witnessed anything like the preparations which this expected visit called forth. Workmen of all orders and descriptions were employed for I know not how long; some in repairing old buildings, others in construct. iny new ones; some in mending roads, beautifying gardens and shrubberies; and others in cutting out winding paths and vistas through the wild forests. A new summer-pavillion was erected in a romantic situation, overhanging “the deep blue waters of the slumbering lake;" while a beautiful turret was seen springing up amidst a grove of blooming acacias, which was intended for the visitor's study ;—“for it was quite probable that he might be induced to write a romance during his sojourn in the wilderness.” The new winding walk in the woods was named " Washington's Labyrinth ;" a pretty new shallop was launched upon the lake, and christened "The Irving;” and when the turret was completed and beautified, it was dignified with the appellation of " Washington Irving's Tower.” An antiquated chariot which had been cognised by spi. ders during the many years it had remained shut up in the cor. ner of a large old barn, was once more trundled into daylight, the springs rubbed and oiled, and the axletrees anointed with bear. grease ; while the colony 'of spiders, like a tribe of aboriginal Indians, were inhumanly driven from possessions that they had long considered their own, in order to make room for Washington Irving. Then there arose a consultation respecting which two, out of the fifty or sixty horses, that roamed about the large farm in a half-wild state, should be selected for the high honour of dragging the lumbersome old carriage and expected stranger. Old, and brown, and broken harness was looked up, and sent off to a distant country town,“ to be blacked, and put in order ;” and new equipments for a saddle-horse were also provided. Miss, and Miss E., two marriageable daughters, and mamma, all wrote post-haste to a city-acquaintance, praying and beseeching her that she would forthwith procure for them befitting and becoming dresses for the approaching grand occasion. The old jingling pianoforte would have been retuned, if anybody in the back woods had known how to manage it ; while their whole stock of old tunes was replayed, until the performers laid all the blame upon the instrument of their succeeding no better.

Mamma con sulted and studied her cookery and receipt-books, and wondered if Washington Irving was fund of curds and home-made wines, The two young girls that waited at the table wie drilied ani scold; their bare feet were occasionally placed in confinement; and on Sun. days they practised walking in shoes. The good lady, for the first

time in her life, wished she had known something more of the History of England, in order that she might be able to converse about that country with her expected guest, and of all the ladies and gentlemen whom he met at Bracebridge Hall. The young ladies conned incessantly every thing that Washington Irving had pub. lished, and discovered new beauties in almost every sentence. The elder of the sisters-a pretty, laughing brunette-the younger, a sentimental and delicate blush-rose, thought, and pondered, and would have given worlds to discover the style of beauty the most likely to reach the heart of the literary bachelor. His age was can. vassed by them; and they came to the conclusion that he must still be young-comparatively—his writings were so vigourous and lively. In their young hearts they were already determined rivals; but they endeavoured to keep this secret from each other. Papa’s library was ransacked for an old “ Red Book,” or “ Court Calendar;" but, alas ! it contained nothing to lead the young folks to become better acquainted with the titles of the English nobility. They had the te. merity almost to wish that they had not been the daughters of a plain. republican American ; and were sadly afraid that the author of the History of New York might have met with their equals elsewhere. In short, they were delighted with the thoughts of the approaching visit, and yet afraid that it might not lead to the result they could have wished. In lieu of the Court Calendar they consulted a host of fashionable novels and romances ; taking every high-sounding name and title which they found in the context of each as veritably be. longing to the British aristocracy. But their knowledge in these mat. ters was not tested, and therefore their ignorance was not doomed to be exposed.

But preparations were not exclusively confined to my neighbour's establishment. I had been invited to meet the lion on his arrival in the back woods; and humble as my domestic condition was, I felt that it would be expected of me to invite my neighbors and their guest to re. turn the visit. We accordingly amused ourselves with making some slighi improvements around our wood-built cottage ; and every little performance of this sort we jocularly attributed to the expected honour of a visit from Washington Irving.

Communications passed from time to time between my neighbour and the literary lion ; and at length the day was finally fixed for his arrival, and I was invited to meet him “at the first dinner." How. ever, before that day arrived, an other letter brought the distressing intelligence that he, Washington Irving, having been travelling, in company with another gentleman in a Dearborn wagon, had had the misfortune to be overset; and although not dangerously hurt, yet the injuries he had received were of such a nature that they would prevent him from fulfilling his anticipated visit to the back woods for that


Alas! even in the back woods of America, mortals are born to suffer disappointments !


PARIS, 1838.

They have borne me far from the distant strand,

Where my God's bright sanes in the sun-light gleam, And the Ganges pours through the happy land

The clear cool depths of its sacred strcam They have borne me here to this cloudy France,

Where day is as dim as an Eastern night, And in cruel mockery bid me dance

By the lamp's fierce glare in the stranger's sight. I would I had been like the campack flower

In the blessed gardens of Indra found, That withers and dies in a single hour,

If its blossom but touch less holy ground ! When the tinkling ring of my girdle-bells

Keeps gentlest time to my footsteps' play, And the voice of applauso around me swells,

I could weep, and shrink from the crowd away. For those golden bells were my joy and pride,

And sweetly they sounded at Indra's shrine When dancing as priestess—the idol's bride!

My homage honour'd the powers divine.
When I bathed in the Ganges, I smiled to trace

How bright was the image reflected there,
And sprang like a flower from the wave's embrace,

While the hot winds dried my musky hair.
We can sometimes beneath our Eastern skies

Allure with the juice of the nutmeg tree To our cages the birds of paradise.

All the treasures of earth have tempted me In this stranger-land! yet, oh! could I fly

With my happy wings o'er the troubled main, They should bear me far, till our sapphire sky

And my own dear temple appear'd again. The shafts in Camdeo's, our love-god's quiver,

Are tip'd with the petals of Indian flowers; And I swore by the Ganges, our sacred river,

Till I home return'd to my native bowers,
No passion should over my heart have sway,

No love-strains should trouble my bosom's peace,
But think how I long for the blissful day
That shall bid my vow and my exile cease!

M. T. H.



It is gratifying to be able to name those authors whose writings first taught us that “ books are a substantial world, both pure and good, round which, with tendrils strong as flesh and blood, our pastime and our happiness may grow:” but the names of some of the greatest, the most dearly cherished, the most deservedly popular, are totally un. known to us; and all the gratitude we can display towards their me. mories must be summed up in a pleasant recollection of their works, and of the impressions which these left upon our young minds. The names of Blind Harry, Cervantes, De Foe, Fielding, Smollett

, Richard. son, we can easily associate with the productions of their separate minds; but who can tell us of the authors of the Life and Death of Lit. tle Cock Robin, Jack the Giant Killer, Jack and the Bean-stalk, Cin. derella, Little Red Riding Hood, Tom Thumb, Fortunatus, Wise Wil. lie and Witty Eppie, the Merry Tricks of Leper the Tailor, Paddy from Cork, and a hundred cther imperishable productions, the perusal of which in boyhood lent a luxurious charm to that period of existence which we can never know again? What is fame, and what is author. ship, when the names of these great bencfactors of the human race are, and ever were unknown ?

Ample justice has no doubt been done to these anonymous masters by the voice of common fame; their works are familiar to our minds as household gods: but, strange to say, their unquestionable excel. lences have never yet been lectured upon in philosophical and literary institutions, and our periodical literature has hitherto left them to stand upon their own merit. There is a deep injustice in all this, which the growing intelligence of the age must speedily dispel

Of these masters it is not too much to say that they were the fathers of circulating libraries, and of that multitudinous race of authors whose imagination is never obscured by the judgment. The productions of their imitators however are not to be compared, in any respect, with the things imitated. True, they both address themselves to our credu. lity, and our love of the marvellous; but the one attains its object, and something more, while the other talls short of it. There is a greater polish about the one, to the sacrifice of improbability; while there is a greater streng:h about the other, and a bold fearlessness, that displays true genius unfettered, untrammelled, uncontrolled. In short, we are inclined to claim for these great anonymous authors a high niche in the temple of fame, and we challenge the most rigid investigation of those pretensions which we mean to urge in their favour.

Our authors may be classified as tragic and comic, or pathetic and humorous, and biographical. To the first class belong the au. thors of Little Red Riding Hood, and the Life and Death of Little Cock Robin. Riding blood has been the model of an entire school of literature by itself. We may trace some of our most popular no. vels and successful melodramas to this source. The story is unex. ceptionable; and the heroine is as perfect a creation of innocence and true charity as Pamela herself. As for the rascal who gobbles her up,

it is a well-known fact that he is the bastard son of Gloster, in King Lear; and although Steevens does not acknowledge this in his notes upon Shakspeare, he evidently suspects something of the sort. Cock Robin again has been the foundation of what is now called

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