Imagens das páginas

result. If, instead of believing in the mysticism, and, in many authenticated facts. Certain it is that, up to the present day, the cases, attaching an undue importance to effects resulting from practice of magnetic somnambulism has aided neither the science faith in animal magnetism,—that is to say, from the workings of of medicine nor any other branch of human knowledge ; por has the excited imagination,-he had calmly examined Mesmerism, it produced any known and acknowledged benefit to the human and its real power of action, as the mere physical effect of a phy- race. A few years since, a commission was appointed to examine, sical cause, and divested of its psychological and all other won and report to the national institute of France, upon the existence ders, he would have rendered good service to science.

and effects of animal magnetism. This commission was mis. One of the most popular writers on animal magnetism is the managed: the avowed believers in psychological magnetism, late M. Bertrand, who long professed it in Paris, and by whom, appointed, were numerous; and the other members were induced į. through the agency of one of his somnambulists, many extraordi- to withdraw in disgust. The magnetists, therefore, had it all their nary cures are said to have been effected, and the peace and honour own way, and, instead of a condemnatory, a laudatory report was of many families preserved. The work written by M. de Puységur, made, in which not a single attribute claimed by the Mesmerism of though very explanatory, is nevertheless scarcely intelligible ; and, Puységur and his followers, was disavowed. Still the members of as a literary and scientific production, is far below that of the Baron the commission did not commit themselves by any specific acknow. Dupotet, which has, of late, been most severely handled by a very ledgments : all was generalized, but animal magnetism, bearing clever contemporary.

its miraculous plumage, was admitted to be a reality. Until very M. Bertrand does not deny that, without entire faith, the ope- lately, this mysterious science was unable to gain a second footing rations of animal magnetism are powerless ; whence we may infer in England. At length, however, it claimed the rights of British a further admission, that its singular results arise from the mere hospitality, and was lodged for a time at the North London Hog. action of an imagination too feeble to support the strength and pital. Thanks to the editor of the “ Lancet," its monstrous and weight of reason. But then he goes to the full length of the absurd assumptions have been reduced to their real value, and psychological absurdity connected with the art, and admits the many weak-minded individuals thereby saved from dangerous power of magnetising at a distance, by which he defeats his own delusions. argument. If the magnetiser operate at a great distance, the “ But," will the reader naturally urge,

what, after all, is magnetised must be unconscious of his intention of doing so, animal magnetism ?" By reading our two next articles, he will unless he has previously announced such intention, which it is not find his question answered by all the information we are able to the practice to do : therefore, no aid can accrue to the operator give. from the workings of the patient's imagination. Again, if, as M. Bertrand would lead his readers to believe, magnetism be a spi. ritual essence, acting upon a corresponding but weaker spiritual

SPRING. essence, surely neither physical action is required to make it act, nor can it be the cause of physical action. Now, although it is

Hail, welcome Spring ! delightful Spring! true that the magnetiser who operates at a distance is said to do so

Thy joys are now begun : by the mere power of his will, and without muscular action, the

Earth's frozen chains are rent in twain person unconsciously magnetised is affected with sleep, sometimes with somnambulism, or with headach, or with pain in any of the

By yonder glorious sun. limbs or organs, or with insensibility to pain, or even with

The dews of eve, on meadows green, syncope. In either of these cases,--admitting their truth, for the

And waving blades of corn, sake of argument,—the action must be physical, not spiritual, and

Like diamonds set in emeralds shcen, similar to any other action that either causes or removes bodily disease, because spiritual causes can yield only spiritual effects.

Are twinkling in the morn. It therefore follows that animal magnetism, if it exist, must be a

Sweet Spring ! form or condition of matter, and not a spiritual essence. This leads us to the further fact, that, although it may be governed by

In thee the snowdrop finds a grave ; unknown laws, it cannot possibly produce any result contrary to

Meanwhile the primrose pale those laws of matter which are known to us, because nature never impedes her own legislation. It is therefore clear that all the

Grows sweetly on the sunny bank ; wonders of animal magnetism, which are violations of natural

The daisy in the vale laws, have no existence.

With golden eye looks beautiful ; As an instance of the inconsistency ofteu shown by men labour.

Young trees fresh odours fling,– ing under hallucinations, such as those shown at the North London Hospital, we must call attention to the fact that Dr.

Their incense rises to the skies Elliotson, in a work written by him on Human Physiology, after

In worshipping the Spring. a clever exposition of the anatomical and physiological blunders

Sweet Spring! committed by the somniloquent impostors, who, under the magnetic influence, pretend to detect and prescribe for diseases, states, as strong evidence against the reality of their pretended faculty,

All living things that life enjoy that, in their medical treatment, they pursue the practice of the

Are now instinct with love : country they are in; and that, for the sante disorder which in

In pairs fond creatures woo on earth, France would be combated by them with ptisans and leeches, they

In pairs they woo above. would, in England, direct the ordeal of calomel and port wine. It has been observed, that, in France, no physician of any emi

The echoing woods in music speak, nence has avowed the practice of animal magnetism. Such

As winged minstrels sing, practice has been rejected by Magendie, Dubois, Broussais,

Uniting heaven and earth with song Raspail, Pariset, Marc, and many others. Every medical man

In welcoming the Spring. who has avowed the practice of animal magnetism, and the wonders attributed to it by M. de Puységur and his contemporaries

Sweet Spring! and successors, has been of mediocre professional reputation, and generally deficient in professional skill as well as in general philo

Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter, all sophy. The only thing to be lamented in the general rejection of

Their lesson read to man, the magnetic theory by the most eminent men of the day is, that,

And teach him sorrow's not the end in their just indignation against its lies and absurdities, they have overlooked that which, had it been submitted to proper examina

Of Heaven's benignant plan : tion, would have been found really worth their attention.

However great our cares may be, The continental professors of animal magnetism and their

However deep their sting, patients, and somnambulists, have, during the last five-and-twenty

Like Winter's storms they pass away, years, generally formed a body of dupes and impostors. More frequently the professors have been the former; and the fruits of

And welcome glorious Spring. their too easy credulity have been published to the world as well

Sweet Spring!

[ocr errors]


thing or other somewhere or sometime. This, indeed, is a never

absent feature in the cases of all his class. They have always Tae reader must, we think, have observed amongst the various started in the world in the regular way, but have, some way or classes which compose that curious piece of mosaic work called other, always fallen through it. society, one of a particularly puzzling sort of character. It is com

It would gratify the reader, we dare say, if we could give him posed of persons, and very respectable-looking persons too, who "a swatch o' Spelter's way,”—if we would give a detailed speci. contrive to live, and live well, without any visible or known means men of his proceedings in the way of foraging; but we must at of doing so. But there is a means for all that, and we know the

once declare that we cannot do this. His ways were mysterious ; trick of the thing. These persons forage: they beat about for a you only saw results. All that we can say about the matter is, living, in a way which we hope presently to illustrate in a very then, that his house never wanted abundance of the creatureplain, if not a satisfactory manner.

comforts of life : there were hams, cheeses, kits of butter, boxes In the course of our life we have personally known three perfect of candles and soap,-everything, in short, necessary to good specimens of the class of persons we speak of. Three only! but housekeeping, and in never-failing, never-ending supply. But they were splendid geniuses in their several ways. We say in their where they came from, or how obtained, who could tell ?-we several ways ; because, though of precisely the same genus, and never could, nor could we ever even form a conjecture on the though proceeding on precisely the same principles, they were subject. There they were, and that is all we can say about them. somewhat different both in their character and special modes of | We have reason, however, to believe that Dick did sometimes sail operation.

rather near the wind in some of his catering expeditions ; that is, The first of these—we range them according to the chronological that some of his transactions had a shade-just a shade or so-of order of our acquaintance with them—was Dick Spelter, as he was swindling in their complexion. We have heard that something familiarly called by his coevals ; but our acquaintance with him approaching to this was the character of a particular case of a sack having been in our younger years, and merely through his sons, of potatoes, which Dick had somehow or other come across. Be who were our schoolfellows, we called him, with a respect for our this as it may, there certainly were some unpleasant consequences elders becoming our years, Mister Spelter.

attending this affair. Dick was actually pursued- not at law, for Dick, who was at this time somewhere about forty-five years of nobody ever dreamt of throwing away money in pursuing Dick at age, was a personage of rather tall stature, but somewhat bent. law,_but in his own proper person, and by the proper person of He stooped a little--a consequence, we believe, of intense mental the owner of the potatoes. On that occasion, Dick, being hard application to the object of circumventing the difficulties of the day. pressed, took to the roof of his own house through a skylight; for His eye was always on the ground, and he was always busied in the enemy had made a lodgment even in the very heart of his thought, even as he wound his way through the busiest streets domicile ; and escaped, after exhibiting sundry feats of fearlessness of the city. Neither the bustling nor jostling of passing people, and agility in skipping along steep roofs and scrambling over airily nor the perils of coach and cart, could for a moment withdraw situated chimneys, all at the height of some hundred feet from the him from the profound abstraction by which he seemed always ground. It is said that the potato-man had the temerity to give engrossed. The countenance of this prince of foragers, for so we Dick chase over a roof or two, but soon abandoned the pursuit, as Itckon him, was a peculiar one. It had a startling sinister look; equally hopeless as dangerous. proceeding, chiefly, from a habit he had acquired of gathering a The next in order of our foragers is Sandy Lorimer. Although large portion of his optical information by the tail of his eye, by pursuing the same peculiar walk in life, and acting on precisely the side-long glances. This sinister expression was also heightened same principles as Dick, Sandy was, in other respects, a totally by an habitual grin, which he intended, we dare say, for a smile, and different man. He, again, was a stout, bold, noisy personage, phich on any other countenance would, perhaps, actually have with an imposing presence, and loud, hearty voice. Dick carried been such a thing; but on his it was the most 'alarming-looking his points by circumvention ; Sandy by a coup-de-main. He thing imaginable-cunning, sly, and roguish. Altogether, Dick's advanced boldly on his prey, pounced on it at once, and bore it countenance, both in form and expression, bore a strange resem- off in triumph. He did the thing by open, fearless-we suppose blance to that of an overgrown cat: it exhibited the same indica- we must call it-effrontery. Sandy had formed a general intimacy, tions of a deep, designing, and treacherous nature. But the

not merely a trading acquaintance, (mark the excellent policy of resemblance just spoken of held good in other particulars besides. this,) with a large circle of dealers of all sorts,—grocers, butchers, Dick was quiet and demure, spoke little, and made no noise what. bakers, &c. &c. &c. Being on this footing with these persons, he ever of any kind. His step was slow, deliberate and measured, entered their premises, when on the hunt for provender, with a light and stealthy. He rather glided than walked, and when in hearty freedom and familiarity of manner that admirably facilitated motion always carried his hands behind him beneath the skirts of his subsequent proceedings, and altogether deprived them of the his coat. Thus it was that he might have been seen skipping power of denial. They could not, in fact, find in their hearts to noiselessly, and you would imagine, unobserved, through the refuse him anything, even though perfectly conscious at the streets, but Dick was wide awake. He had all his eyes about him, moment that they would never see a farthing of its value; his or, at least, the corners of them, and nothing could escape their manner was so taking, so plausible, so imposing. The impudent vigilance ; they were in quest of prey. Dick, in short, was what is courage of the man, too, was admirable; beyond all praise. The called a deep one, and a sly one to boot.

length of a score, either as to figures or time, or both, never At the time we knew Mr. Spelter, Mr. Spelter was doing daunted him in the slightest degree. He would enter the shop nothing; that is, he was not engaged in any business, nor occu- where the fatal document existed, and face the inditer thereof pied by any employment: yet Mr. Spelter had no other ostensible with as bold and upflinching a front as if the money was due to means of living, not the smallest; and yet, again, Mr. Spelter and him; and that shop he never left without adding something to the his family lived well and comfortably. They wanted for nothing, dismal record of his obligation. neither food nor raiment. There was a man of talent for you! His butcher's shop, for instance, where there was, to our Why we, ourselves, while we record the fact, are overwhelmed with certain knowledge, a score against him a yard long, and which had admiration of his genius--of the genius of that man who could rear been standing for years,—he would enter with a shout, an hilarious up a family, a large family on-nothing!

roar, slap the butcher on the shoulder with a hearty thwack, and When we said that Mr. Spelter, when we lenew him, was doing ask him what news ? He would then turn round on his heel, and nothing, we will, of course, be understood in a particular and commence a regular survey of all the tid-bits exposed for sale, limited sense.

He doing nothing! Mr. Spelter was doing an praising and admiring everything he saw. At length his wellimmense deal. He was the busiest man in the busy city to which practised eye selects a choice morsel. he belonged ; how else could he have done what he did ? Main. There, now, Mr. B.,” he would say, advancing towards the tained his family genteelly without the vulgar aid of coin, the article in question, “there, now, is what I would call a nice little resource of your common-place ideal men. Dick's notions were

That does you credit. What may the weight be ?" much too sublime for this. He created something, and something The butcher instinctively takes it down, and puts it into the substantial too, out of nothing,-never stooped to inferior practice. scale; not, however, with much alacrity, for he has certain mis

Mr. Spelter, however, although not engaged in any regular givings on the subject. But Sandy never minds this, though he business during the time we enjoyed the honour of his acquaint- sees it very well : he is not to be driven from his purpose by sulky ance, had been so at one period of his life ; but what that business looks. • Eleven pounds and a half, Mr. Lorimer," at length was, when or where he carried it on, we never knew,—nor did any says the butcher. body else. No one could tell what he had been, although there Boy,” says Sandy, addressing a little ragged urchin, who is in was a pretty general though vague idea, that he had been some- waiting to carry for customers, " take this out to my house;" and,


without giving the butcher time to adopt counteracting measures, mortification on being thus addressed by the major the man, of should he have contemplated them, the beef was popped into the all others, from whom he was most desirous to conceal the luscious boy's tray, and despatched from the premises. This is one treasure ; for he knew that he would not only carry off the usual particular point in the forager's practice. Another is, never to sample for himself, but that he would come day after day, as long trust to the seller of an article sending it home to you, but always as a fig remained, to get samples for his friends, (this, of course, to see it despatched, beyond hope of recal, before leaving the shop fudge,) in an affected zeal to find purchasers for the consignee. yourself. These points Mr. Lorimer always carefully observed, All this accordingly took place, and the major effected an entrance and his success was commensurate with his forethought.

into the fig-room, carried off his sample, and returned to the charge Besides catering for the family, however, Mr. Lorimer picked up next day; but, fortunately, the figs had been all disposed of and a very tolerable independent living of his own ; and this he removed in the interim. Our friend could never conceive where accomplished by the following process. On entering a grocer's or how the major had obtained his intelligence in the case just shop, he is particularly struck with the rich look of a cut chcese mentioned; but it was, after all, only one of a thousand every whit that is lying on the counter. He openly expresses his admiration as mysterious and unaccountable. The major was evidently bom of it, being on a familiar footing with the shopkeeper. He takes with an intuitive talent for finding the depositories of good things, up the knife that is lying beside it, with a hearty, pleasant freedom be these where they might : they could not escape him; for his of manner ; keeping the shopkeeper the while in play by an ani- vigilance was great, his scent unerring. mated conversation. He cuts off a whacking slice, and despatches Being fond of all sorts of delectable edibles, fish was, of course, it, having probably asked his friend to toss him over a biscuit. on the major's list; and he was, fortunately, so situated locally as Luncheon, then, has been secured, but something is wanted to to put a good deal of enjoyment of this kind in his way. He lived, wash it down. A glass of ale or a draught of porter is in request, in the first place, in a village situated on the sea-coast, several of but this he cannot with a good grace ask where he has had his the wealthier inhabitants of which kept pleasure-boats, with which cheese. Indeed, there is no such opportunity as would warrant they went frequently a-fishing for amusement. Now, the movehim in asking it. He must catch some one of his numerous friends ments of these boats the major watched with a sharp and wary eye, in the liquor line in the act, in the particular predicament, of so that they could not land a tail, on returning from a piscatory bottling; and this a little perseverance, aided by a shrewd guess of expedition, without his presence or his knowledge. Horering the most likely places, enables him to accomplish. He has also about on the coast, like a huge sea-gull, he pounced on the boat acquired the free entrance (by what means we know not) of a the moment it touched the strand; having been seen, some time certain range of bonded cellars, where he can, occasionally, pick previously, bowing, and scraping, and smiling to the party as they up a glass or two of choice wine, which, with a biscuit, and per. approached the shore. “ Pleasant day, gentlemen, for your ei. haps a slice of ham foraged in some other quarter, he can make a cursion ;-excellent sport, I hope-some beautiful fish, no doubt. pretty substantial passover.

Ah! there now !"—(the major is now leaning over the gunwale, Such, then, is Mr. Lorimer.

and pointing out with his cane some of the choicest specimens of The next on our list Major Longson,—the civil, polite, well. the finny tribe which it contains,)—"there is a lovely fish: three informed, bowing-and-scraping Major Longson. By the way, we pound weight, if it's an ounce. There is another beautiful fish, never knew precisely how he acquired this same military title; we —and there—and there—and there : all these are excellent." The rather think it was a local-militia honour, for the major's name amateur fishermen take the hint, and the major is invited to take a never appeared in any army-list. Be this as it may, however, few. He runs up to the house : in a twinkling a servant-girl, major he was always called, and by no other title was he known. with a clean towel or a basin, is at the side of the boat, with the

The major was an elderly man, grey headed, and of a grave, major's compliments to “the gentlemen," and in another twin. thoughtful, and intelligent countenance ; mild and pleasant of kling a dozen of the best fish are on their way to the major's speech-soft

, smooth, and insinuating ; but he was a most deter- kitchen! mined forager and a perfect master of his business, which, however, he conducted in a quiet, gentlemanly sort of way.

In his mode of proceeding there was a peculiarity which does not charac- A young man of fortune, who had led what is called so gay a tetise the practice of the other two. The major dealt largely in life as considerably to injure both his health and fortune, was at samples,--samples of wine, samples of cheese, samples of tea, length obliged to consult the physician upon the means of restor. samples of everything; but we suppose we must be more explicit. ing at least the former. One of his principal complaints was the To be so, then. The major had a habit of making tours amongst frequent presence of a set of apparitions, resembling a band of the dealers in the articles named, and all others useful in house figures dressed in green, who performed in his drawing-room a keeping, (the major was a bachelor, and had therefore no family to singular dance, to which he was compelled to bear witness ; though provide for, nobody but himself,) and in the most polite and engag- he knew, to his great annoyance, that the whole corps de ballet ing manper possible, requested a sample of some particular com- existed only in his own imagination. His physician immediately modity. It was at once given him; and if the article was, say informed him, that he had lived upon town too fast and too long tea, he never failed to go home with at least a pound weight in his not to require an exchange to a more healthy and natural course pocket; and so of all the other necessaries of which he stood in of life. He therefore prescribed a gentle course of medicine, but need.

earnestly recommended to his patient to retire to his own house in We have often been surprised at the singular talent which the the country, observe a temperate diet and early hours, practising major possessed of scenting out edibles, and that in the most regular exercise, on the same principle avoiding fatigue ; and unlikely places. He must either have had some wonderful gift of assured him that, by doing so, he might bid adieu to black spirits nose, or some strange intuitive guiding power that conducted him and white, blue, green, and grey, with all their trumpery. "The to his prey: A friend of ours and an acquaintance of the major's, patient observed the advice, and prospered. His physician, after at whose place of business he occasionally called, once happened the interval of a month, received a grateful letter from him, ac. to have a small consignment of figs from Smyrna sent to him. knowledging the success of his regimen. The green goblins had Our friend was in a totally different line of business, dealing in disappeared, and with them the unpleasant train of emotions to nothing that would either eat or drink, but of this consignment he which their visits had given rise, and the patient had ordered his took charge, stowing the drums of figs into a small dark back room town-house to be disfurnished and sold, while the furniture was to that they might be out of harm's way ; being too tempting an be sent down to his residence in the country, where he was deterarticle to keep in an exposed place. But, of all the depredators mined in future to spend his life, without exposing himself to the whom our friend dreaded, there was no one whom he so much temptations of town. One would have supposed this a well-devised feared as the major, whose foraging habits he well knew. When scheme for health. But, alas ! no sooner had the furniture of the he came, therefore, the door of the little apartment in which the London drawing-room been placed in order in the gallery of the figs were stored was always carefully closed, and every allusion to old manor-house, than the former delusion returned in full force ! the delicate fruit sedulously avoided in his presence. Vain pre- -the green figurantes, whom the patient's depraved imagination caution! Bootless anxiety! One morning the major entered our had so long associated with these moveables, came capering and friend's counting-house with a peculiarly bland countenance, and frisking to accompany them, exclaiming with great glee, as if the smiling and bowing, said, he had been informed that Mr. S. had sufferer should have been rejoiced to see them—“ Here we all are ! got a consignment of figs! If perfectly convenient, he would like here we all are!" The visionary, if I recollect right, was so much to see them ;-- he was extremely fond of figs ;-a fine wholesome shocked at their appearance, that he retired abroad, in despair that fruit, &c. &c.

any part of Britain could shelter him from the daily persecution We leave the reader to conceive our friend's amazement and of this domestic ballet. -Sir Walter Scott.


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]



venerable horse-chesnuts perishing in the flames. Pale and sickly

suckers, which look like ghosts of the former trees, have risen On the evening of the 12th of July 1789, the Parisians first from the roots; but their leaves no longer wear the bright tints of learned that their favourite, Necker, had been banished from the hope; they are brown and withered, like the hopes of the Parisians. court. The garden of the Palais Royal, which was the place of One of these trees comes into leaf much sooner than the others; rendezvous of the agitators of that day, was thronged with citizens. and it is a remarkable fact that when Napoleon Bonaparte returned All were in agitation and confusion. Indignation and wishes for from Elba on March 20th, 1815, the only tree in leaf at that early revenge filled every breast, but no one dared to give vent to the season which could give his followers green boughs, was a tree in thoughts which burned within him. Suddenly a young man broke the garden of the Palais Royal, and one in the gardens of the from the crowd, and mounting upon a table which had been placed Tuileries which had been reared from the same old stock. for refreshments under the noble trees which then shaded the garden, he thus addressed the people : “Let us each wear a green

HINTS ABOUT THE INVISIBLE WORLD. branch-for green is the colour of hope-and let us march against our oppressors.”

What a vast world is nearly crumbled into ruins under the Popular indignation is like a train laid of gunpowder. Though iron grasp of intellect! All that can be conceived of the most fraught with mighty mischief, it remains cold and quiet till the sublime, mean, terrifie, vulgar, wild, and stupid, .is heaping animating spark is applied which makes it burst forth with resist together, like a worthless pile of rubbish! “ Airs from heaven, less fury. Thus it was with the Parisians. The words of Camille and blasts from hell," are resolved into agitations of the atmoDesmoulins (for it was he who had addressed them) were the sphere. Old women are as snug and safe as if they were in paraenlivening spark ; his hearers were seized with a sudden enthu. aise. One would be hanged if he drowned a witch. Mrs. Veal's siasm that bore everything before it. They tore down the branches ghost sells no more of “ Drelincourt on Death.” The “second of the magnificent horse-chesnuts which hung above their heads ; sight” is a pair of spectacles. Milton's celestial host are “shorn they spent the following day in organizing their measures and of their beams” by the same process which has divested Shak. supplying themselves with arms; and on July 14th, with the speare's hags of all their unearthly terrors. The very schoolboy, horse-chesnut branches yet woven round their hats, they had passing through a churchyard, instead of “whistling to keep his attacked and taken the Bastile.

courage up,” discourses of " natural magic.” The mechanic, Those horse-chesnuts ! Little did their planter think they would travelling in the dark, is as composed as the assessor of the Westever serve as emblems of liberty. In the year 1629, the Cardinal minster Assembly, who, when he beheld his satanic majesty Richelieu began to build the magnificent palace, since called the standing by his bedside, waited patiently to receive his commands, Palais Royal ; and in the central garden he had planted horse- but the silence continuing unbroken, he coolly told him, “ If thou chesnut trees, then newly introduced into France ; he having con- hast nothing to do, I have,' and so turned himself to sleep. No ceived the idea of having them trained so as to form one vast man now gets a chance of drawing up a deed of partnership, canopy supported on arches, to throw a refreshing shade over the signed with his own blood. Quacks sell pills, but nobody has whole garden. The Cardinal was then in the zenith of his power ; discovered the elixir vitæ... Nature, in the “ Invisible World," a body guard had just been appointed to attend him; he had “abborred a vacuum," and therefore “no place was void, triumphed over his enemies; and, in fact, ruled France more but all full of spirits, devils, or other inhabitants ; not so much as despotically than any absolute monarch. He said himself, that a hair-breadth was empty in heaven, earth, or water above or whatever he willed he did ; and as he willed to make his horse- under the earth.” But the very invisible world is becoming a chesnuts magnificent trees, all that man could do, aided by un- vacuum itself; where spirits, devils, hobgoblins, fairies, witches, bounded power and uplimited wealth, was done. It is said that and all the other rout, once sported, roaring, yelling, singing, the Cardinal expended 300,000 francs upon this garden, and that dancing, or riding on broomsticks, there is now nothing but it amply repaid the wealth and labour bestowed upon it.

atmospheric vapours, exhalations, aurora borealis, steam-engines, In this garden Louis XIII. delighted to walk with his favourite and natural phenomena. minister ; and when Richelieu died he left it and the palace to his A plague on their natural phenomena! One now-a-days cansovereign. Louis died a few months after the Cardinal, and the not indulge in a good ghost-story without being laughed at ! It palace, the name of which was now changed from the Palais is as hard to get a believer in witchcraft, as it was once to find a Cardinal to the Palais Royal, became the favourite residence of Anne sceptic who would dare to doubt. Everything must be explained of Austria, mother of Louis XIV., during his minority. Under and expounded ; our very children begin to question, inquire the shade of these trees did that much-praised monarch imbibe his if angels really have wings, ask for the precise latitude and longifirst lessons of tyranny from the artful Mazarin ; under these trees tude of Robinson Crusoe's island, and wonder wbat kind of a were those measures devised which led to all the troubles of the bundle the honest Pilgrim in his Progress had tied upon his back. Fronde ; and in this garden Mazarin received the mandate which, It was not so with our forefathers. They believed too much, and for a time, banished him from France.

we believe too little. The catalogue of what they did believe is When Louis XIV. attained his full power, he gave this palace formidable enough, " Some one knave in a white sheet hath to his brother Philip, duke of Orleans ; whose wife, the Princess cozened and abused many thousands, specially when Robin GoodHenrietta of England, drank in this garden the fatal eau sucrée fellow kept such a coil in the country. In our childhood our which caused her death. His second wife, the witty Duchess, mothers' maids have so terrified us with an ugly devil having whose Memoirs of the Court of Louis XIV. are so well known, horns on his head, fire in his mouth, and a tail at his breech; delighted to walk under these trees, and by her amusing sallies to eyes like a basin, fangs like a dog, claws like a bear, a skin like delight her attendant nobles. In 1787, the Palais Royal came a negro, and a voice roaring like a lion, whereby we start and are into the possession of the famous Egalité ; and as it was then his afraid when we hear one cry Bah! and they have so frayd us great object to be popular, he threw the garden open to the public. with bull-beggars, spirits, witches, urchins, elves, hags, fairies,

From this period the garden of the Palais Royal was the satyrs, Pans, faunes, sylvans, Kitt-with-the-candlestick, tritons, general rendezvous of the Parisian citizens ; and here they met to centaurs, dwarfs, giants, imps, conjurors, nymphs, changelings, discuss the measures of government and organize their resistance. incubus, Robin Goodfellow, the spoorn, the man-in-the-oak, the Seats were placed at intervals under the trees ; and in the centre, hellwain, the fire-drake, the puckle, Tom Thomb, Hobgoblin, under the shade of the largest tree in the garden, the famous Tom Tumbler, Boneless, and such other bugbears, that we are Arbre de Cracovie, was a table, on which the citizens were sup- afraid of our own shadows, insomuch that some never fear the plied by the servants of the Duke with refreshments gratis. It was devil but on a dark night ; and then a polled sheep is a perilous on this table that Camille Desmoulins mounted when he addressed beast, and many times is taken for our father's soul, specially in the people ; and from this tree that the first badges of French a churchyard, where a right hardy man heretofore durst not to liberty were torn. Alas ! that they who fought so bravely for have passed by night but his hair would stand upright. Well, freedom should so abuse it when obtained. But their minds had thanks be to God, this wretched and cowardly infidelity, since the been debased by slavery, and they struggled against their oppressors preaching of the gospel, is in part forgotten, and, doubtless, the like demons rather than like men.

rest of these illusions will, in a short time, by God's grace, be Soon after the commencement of the Revolution, the greater detected, and vanish away.' part of the trees of the Palais Royal were removed, and a row of It would require a better demonologist than I am,” says Sir shops, and gambling and coffee houses, were erected ; and a circus Walter Scott, “to explain the various obsolete superstitions was erected in the centre among the remaining trees.

which Reginald Scot has introduced as articles of the old English In 1798 this building took fire, and was burnt to the ground, the I faith, into the preceding passage. . The catalogue, however,

[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]

serves to show what progress the English have made in two As the house was a boarding-school for a select number of young centuries, in forgetting the very names of objects which had been ladies, it was of great importance to the amiable and intelligent the sources of terror to their ancestors of the Elizabethan age.” mistress of the mansion, that it should not be known, even to the

To the same effect speaks Godwin. “ The improvements that inmates, that “midnight scenes” occurred, as they would very have been made in natural philosophy have, by degrees, convinced naturally be attributed to trickery, and as she herself did so attri. the enlightened part of mankind that the material universe is bute them. Little notice was therefore taken of the disturbances, everywhere subject to laws, fixed in their weight, measure, and and the servants were quietly changed, without the real reason duration, capable of the most exact calculation, and which in no being assigned. Still the noises continued, and the whole house. case admit of variation and exception. It was otherwise in the hold became aware of them. A strict search and investigation and less mature state of human knowledge. The chain led to nothing--there seemed no possible means of communication of causes and consequences was yet unrecognised ; and events by which they could be produced, and the inmates appeared all occurred for which no sagacity that was then in being was able to too visibly under the influence of terror to be likely to be con, assign an original. Hence men felt themselves habitually dis- niving at any trick. The writer has sat up with the lady of the posed to refer many of the appearances with which they were house (a woman of polished education and very excellent sense conversant to the agency of invisible intelligence ; sometimes and courage), and heard the fall of a heavy foot approaching the under the influence of a benignant disposition, sometimes of room-door; and when a rush was made into the passage nothing malice, and sometimes, perhaps, from an inclination to make could be seen. A latch purposely fastened has been shaken with themselves sport of the wonder and astonishment of ignorant great violence, no person being within the closet, the door of mortals. Omens and portents told these men of some piece of which it secured. Noises like animals fighting and scratching in good or ill fortune speedily to befall them. The flight of birds passages, and like something furiously sweeping up and down was watched by them as foretokening somewhat important. stairs, were perpetually heard. The writer was sitting with Thunder excited in them a feeling of supernatural terror. several other persons in the kitchen, when the supposed appari. Eclipses with fear of change perplexed the nations. The pheno- tion, ghost, or evil spirit, came distinctly down stairs, rushed mena of the heavens, regular and irregular, were anxiously re- across the kitchen-floor, apparently entered a large water-butt, marked from the same principle. During the hours of darkness agitated the water with violence, as if it had been all thrown out men vere apt to see a supernatural being in every bush; and suddenly, while not a drop was found to be spilled, nor the water they could not cross a receptacle for the dead, without expecting in the least disturbed. Blows were also distributed by the wicked to encounter some one of the departed uneasily wandering among spirit or malicious trickster--the writer received one while lying graves, or commissioned to reveal somewhat momentous and in bed awake. These were the general character of the nocturnal deeply affecting to the survivors. Fairies danced in the moonlight disturbances; if they were the result of trick, they were managed glade ; and something preternatural perpetually occurred to fill with a dexterity, and continued with a perseverance, quite astothe living with admiration and awe."

nishing, and worthy of some nobler employment, while their That all this rubbish has been swept away is certainly matter effect was most disastrous--they ruined the school, and shortly of sincere congratulation. The intellect of man must necessarily afterwards the mistress of the school died. have been pressed down under such a load of imaginary nonsense. The reader may depend on the facts as here stated, and perhaps The affections were depraved and perverted under the fear of some of them may have had similar circumstances coming under witchcraft. Law was abused, religion insulted, and the character their personal cognizance. The modus operandi may be explained of God affronted by the most stupid, mean, and cruel supersti by Brewster, but we have never yet been able to clear up, to our tions. But has not wheat been rooted up in weeding out the own satisfaction, whether the noises proceeded from ghosts, cats, tares ? Has the public mind not lost somewhat of that relish for rats, or quicksilver. They have, at all events, left on our minds those works of high imagination which deal with invisible things ? a strong disposition to swallow a good ghost story, and a tendency In giving up ghosts have we not nearly lost sight of angels ? It to bear a grudge against any hard-headed member of a Mechanics

' seems to be an inevitable concomitant of man's progress, that in Institution, who would spoil us of our pleasure in believing it. great alterations and transitions something should be lost as well Lest we should lose favour with any of our readers, we will as gained. The hand-loom weavers of Glasgow, Preston, &c., freely confess, in the words of Sir Walter Scott, that "tales of have long groaned under the effect of those gigantic inventions ghosts and demonology are out of date at forty years and upwards

; which have diffused manufactures over the world. The road it is only in the morning of life that this feeling of superstition innkeepers and stage-coach proprietors are feeling the effects of comes o'er us like a summer cloud,' affecting us with fear, railroads. So, in the region of mind, we have lost as well as which is solemn and awful rather than painful. The present gained ; and in turning out the black, grey, green, and blue fashion of the world seems to be ill-suited for studies of this spirits, with all their trumpery, from the invisible world, we fantastic nature ; and the most ordinary mechanic has learning have nearly demolished the invisible world altogether. Opinion sufficient to laugh at the figments which, in former times, were is, doubtless, in this respect, as in other matters, in a state of believed by persons far advanced in the deepest knowledge of gradual fusion. To separate the genuine metal from the refuse the age. incorporated with it, a melting of the entire mass seems neces- “ I cannot, however, in conscience, carry my opinion of my sary. But it is very unlikely that the mind of man can remain countrymen's good sense so far as to exculpate them entirely at rest without an invisible world." The vast void which, in from the charge of credulity. Those who are disposed to look all ages, and in all countries, has been filled up with both the for them may, without much trouble, see such manifest signs, poetry and the prose of superstition, must be occupied with just both of superstition and the disposition to believe in its doctrines, and commensurate opinions, worthy of man as a rational being, as may render it no useless occupation to compare the follies of and of the progress of society.

our fathers with our own. The sailors have a proverb that every Meantime, we confess to a strong tendency, not so much to man in his lifetime must eat a peck of impurity; and it seems believe in a ghost, as to be afraid of one. We do not like to yet more clear that every generation of the buman race must think of spirits when solitary at dark midnight. We are inclined swallow a certain measure of nonsense. There remains hope, to wonder, with Dr. Johnson, how six thousand years have now however, that the grosser faults of our ancestors are now out of elapsed since the creation of the world, and still it seems unde date ; and that whatever

follies the present race may be guilty of, cided whether or not there has been an instance of the spirit of the sense of humanity is too universally spread

to permit them to any person appearing after death. All argument is against it, think of tormenting wretches till they confess what is impossible, but all belief is for it."

and then burning them for their pains.“ An intimate friend, on whose entire veracity we can rely, communicates the following case, which shows that strange doings do still occasionally occur, in spite of modern philosophy.

We were residing in a house (about seven years ago) in which A secret is like silence—you cannot talk about it, and keep a variety of noises were heard, similar in nature and character to it; it is like money-when once you know there is any concealed, those which Southey has so minutely related his Life of the it is half discovered. “My dear Murphy," said an Irishman to Wesleys, as oecurring in the house of their parents. Every his friend, "why did you betray the secret I told you ?"_" Is it attempt was made by persons not disposed to give themselves up betraying you call it? Sure, when I found I wasn't able to keep to the influence of blind terror, in order to discover by what it myself, didn't I do well to tell it to somebody that could ". means the noises and disturbances were produced, but in vain. Tin Trumpel.




[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »