Pauline cast up her eyes in mute appeal to heaven. Her companion became excited as she proceeded, depicting the horrors of an unequal marriage. Pale and exhausted, her listener at length entreated her to forbear. She had been too long the slave of her mother's wishes to oppose them now; she had been drilled into fear until it was a weakness. This her bold-hearted, energetic friend could not understand; and it was on her reproaching Pauline with moral cowardice that she, for the first time, resented what had in fact been patiently borne.
We have seen how kindly Angela forgave the accusation, and how she wept over the effect of her words. The sudden entrance of Madame Dumesnil put an end to the conversation, and the friends separated.
The next morning Angela was at Pauline's side again. Silently she assisted in decorating the victim for the sacrifice. The bright jewels clasped her arm and neck; the long veil hung around her slender form; the orange wreath rested on the dark, dark tresses—and the dress was beautiful. But the bride! she was pale and ghastly, and her lips blue and quivering. Her eyes were void of all expression—those liquid, lustrous eyes; and ever and anon the large drops rolled over her face, oozing from the depths of her heart.
Poor Jeannette turned away, sobbing convulsively as the finishing touches were given to this sad bridal toilette. Angela remained firm and collected, but she, too, was pale; her cherished companion was gone from her forever—gone in such misery, too, that she almost prayed to see her the corpse she at that moment resembled.
Madame Dumesnil had remained below with the bridegroom and Mr. Percy, the sole witness to this ill-omened marriage. At length the hour came, Pauline was nearly carried down by Angela and Jeannette, and in a few moments bound forever to a man she loathed. The ceremony was ended, and the bride, with a convulsive sigh, fell back into the arms of her mother. Restoratives were procured, and at last she opened her eyes. They rested on the face of her friend, who hung over her in mute agony. Forcing a smile, which was taken by M. de Vaissiere for himself, Pauline arose, and hurried through her farewell. Her husband handed her into his carriage—and thus Pauline Dumesnil left her friends and her home.
* * * * *
Years had passed, and Pauline sat alone in her magnificent boudoir, the presiding deity of one of the finest hotels in Paris. Fortune had favored M. de Vaissiere. He had lived to rejoice over the downfall of the mighty Napoleon, and his mournful exile. He had returned to his beloved France, recovered his vast estates, and presented his young wife at court. His vanity was flattered at her gracious reception, and the admiration that followed her; his pride was roused, and, much against her will, Pauline found herself the centre of a gay circle that crowded her vast saloons as often as they were thrown open for the reception of her now numerous acquaintances.
It was on one of these evenings that Pauline sought the silence of her private apartment ere she gave herself up to her femme de chambre. Her loose peignoir of white satin was gathered round her, with a crimson cord tied negligently at the waist, and hanging, with its rich tassels of silver mixed, to the ground. Her hair had fallen over her shoulders, giving her a look of sadness that increased her beauty. Her eyes wandered around the room, and her lips parted into a melancholy smile, as she contemplated its delicate silk hangings, its heavy, costly furniture, her magnificent toilette, crowded with perfumes of every description, beautiful flacons, silver combs, and jewels that sparkled in and out of their cases. Her thoughts went back to her mother, whose pride had made her a childless, lonely widow; to Angela, whom she had so loved; to the misery of the day upon which they parted, perhaps forever—and her eyes were filled with tears that, rolling at length over her cheek, startled her as they fell upon her hand.
"And it was for this that I was sacrificed," murmured she, bending her head. "My poor mother! could you see me here, you would feel that my happiness is secure; but, alas! how little you know of the human heart. This splendor lends weight to my chains, and makes me feel more desolate than ever! Night after night mingling in gay crowds, listening to honied words that fall unheeded on my ear; wearing smiles that come not from the heart, but help to break it; exposed to temptation, that makes me fear to mix with those of my own age; bound forever to a man whose only sentiment for me is one of pride—what part of happiness is mine?"
A sudden step aroused her, and her husband entered unannounced. He looked but little older. Time had dealt lightly with him, and with the aid of cosmetics and a perfect toilette, M. de Vaissiere stood a remarkable looking man—for his age.
"How is this, madame—not dressed yet! Have you no anxiety to see Mademoiselle Mars to night?"
"I have, indeed," said Pauline, starting up and forcing a smile. "Is it so late, that I see you ready?"
"You must hasten Marie, or we shall be too late. How provoking! What can you do with that dishevelled hair? You have a bad habit of thinking—that is actually sinful. Why do you not take my example; I never reflect—it makes one grow old!"
She might have told him how her young life was embittered by the memory of days that were gone never to return; how she had grown old with thinking, and wore but the semblance of youth over a withered heart. But she had schooled herself to serenity with an effort almost superhuman—and seizing a silver bell at her side, she rang for her waiting woman.
"You must hasten, Marie—Monsieur de Vaissiere is already dressed. Bind up this hair beneath some net-work, my good girl; I have no time for embellishing this evening."
"Madame is more beautiful without her usual coiffure," said the girl, as she gathered up the dark tresses of her mistress. "I shall place her diamond aigrette in her hair, and she will turn all heads."
"I have no such ambition, my good Marie," said Pauline, laughing. "Give me my fan and gloves, and fasten this bracelet for me."
"Tenez, madame," said Marie, handing them; and Pauline ran down stairs, where her husband awaited her. He had just been fretted sufficiently to find fault with her dress.
"You never wear jewels enough. Do you think I bought them to ornament your boudoir?"
"I did not like to keep you waiting, mon ami. Shall I return and tell Marie to give me my necklace?"
"Yes, and your bracelet to match. Your white arm, madame, was made to ornament," added M. de Vaissiere, assuming an air of gallantry.
Pauline smiled, and ran back to her boudoir. In a few moments she returned blazing with jewels, inwardly lamenting the display, but ever ready to grant her husband's wish. He, too, smiled as she came forward, and taking her hand, led her to her carriage.
Shortly after they were seated, the door opened, and the young Vicomte de H—— entered the box. He placed himself behind Pauline, and remained there for the rest of the evening, in eager, animated conversation. He was not only one of the most agreeable men of the day, but added to wit and versatility of genius, a handsome face, graceful bearing, and a noble heart; and while Pauline yielded to the charms of so delightful a companion, full of the dreams and hopes of youth, uttering sentiments that years ago had been hers, her husband sat silent and moody beside her. A pang went through his heart as he gazed upon her bright countenance, and remembered her youth, whose sunshine was extinguished by her marriage with him. He looked at the smooth, full cheek of her companion, the purple gloss of his raven locks, the fire of his eye, and listening to his gay tones, his brilliant repartees, and enthusiastic expressions, pictured him with a shudder the husband of Pauline. What would have been her life compared to the one she led with him. How different would have been the bridal! He thought of her gentleness, her cheerful compliance with his wishes, her calm, subdued look, her lonely hours, the void that must be in her heart; and as all these things passed, for the first time, through his mind, he clasped his hands in despair.
He turned once more to look upon the wife he was but now beginning to appreciate. She, too, had fallen in a revery. Her beautiful head was bent, her long, dark lashes sweeping her cheek; and around her lips played a smile so sweet, that though he know her thoughts were far away in some pleasant wandering, he was sure he had no part in them.
For the first time since their wedded life, M. de Vaissiere was beginning to love his wife. He turned suddenly to look at the Vicomte de H——. He, too, was gazing upon Pauline with a look of intense admiration, but so full of pity and respect, that it made the jealous pang that thrilled through the husband's frame less bitter—and with a deep sigh he turned to the stage. The play was one that gave him a lesson for the rest of his days. It represented a young girl like his Pauline, forced to wed one, like him, old enough to be her father. For a while all went smoothly; the giddy wife was dazzled by her jewels and her importance. But time passed, and she was roughly treated, her every wish thwarted, and her very servants taught to disobey her. Her angelic behaviour had no effect upon her brutal husband; her patience exasperated him. Wickedly he exposed her to temptation; and as he watched her mingle with those of her own age, and share their plans and pleasures, suspicion entered his mind. He removed her far from her friends, and intercepted her letters, making himself master of their contents, until by a series of persecutions he drove her to fly from him, and perish in the attempt.
Well for him was it that Monsieur de Vaissiere witnessed this play. How different might have been the effect of his newly awakened emotions, had they risen in the solitude of his apartment. The curtain fell, and Pauline looked up. Tears were standing in her eyes—for the fate of the heroine of the piece had affected her deeply, and her husband's sympathy was with her when he remarked them. He waited until he saw her give her arm to the vicomte, and walked behind them, another creature. He had determined to win his wife's love or die; to watch her, that he might warn her; to minister forever to her comforts.
The vicomte returned with them, and soon the splendid salon was crowded with guests. Pauline passed from one to the other with graceful, winning smiles; and her husband's heart filled with pride and pleasure as he watched her, the object of admiration, glittering with diamonds, radiant with beauty, and remembered that she was his. Without a pang he saw the noble youth, whose coming had been to him salvation, lead her to supper, and seat himself at her side. He knew that she was pleased; he felt that she might have loved; but he knew, too, that she was as pure as an angel. How was it that suddenly her many virtues rose in array before him, and spoke to his heart?
One evening Pauline stood at the window overlooking the garden that was behind the Hotel de Vaissiere. The moonlight was glancing over the tops of the orange trees, and the perfume of their white blossoms came floating up like an incense of thanks to the Great Author of all, while fountains played beneath their shade, falling musically on the heart of the lonely watcher.
A shade was upon her brow—a shade of discontent; and busy were the thoughts that came creeping into her soul. She was judging her own heart—and bitterly did she reproach it as the image of another filled its space. Alas! she had feared this; and again she was roused into indignation as her mother's stern will was recalled to her—and she was carried back to the day whereon she had reproached her with hazarding the eternal welfare of her child. Throwing herself upon her knees, she prayed for strength—and her prayer was heard. Suddenly, as if struck with some impulse, she hurried from the window, through the hall, passed the long suite of apartments, and reached her husband's. Entering, she closed the door behind her, and rushed forward to M. de Vaissiere's chair with such passionate rapidity, that one might have thought she feared to fail in her resolution.
Her sobs and tears had nearly deprived her of utterance, but falling at her husband's feet, she confessed the momentary infidelity of her hitherto love-less heart, and besought him to take her from those scenes of gayety and temptation to some distant, quiet region, that she might expiate her fault in solitude.
Trembling she raised her eyes to his face. Instead of the fury, the reproaches she had expected, what was her surprise at seeing the tears coursing down his cheeks, to feel herself raised and clasped to his breast.
"My poor child!" said he, tenderly—and it was the first time he had ever so addressed her—"my poor child! I should have foreseen this; I should have warned you ere now. It was your mother's fault to marry you to me, and mine to have placed temptation in your way. But how could I tear you from those whose years were suited to yours, to shut you up with an old greybeard! Thus, while I watched over you, my pride in your success made me forgetful of your safety. It is not yet too late, my Pauline—all will be for the best. In time you will learn to love your husband, and to know how devotedly he has loved you since his stupid eyes were opened to your virtues."
With a smothered cry of joy Pauline threw herself upon his bosom. The poor stricken dove had at last found a shelter.
The next day, while the whole world was lamenting and wondering over the determination of the beautiful, brilliant, and courted Pauline de Vaissiere, to leave the gay metropolis in the midst of its pleasure, she sat once more in her boudoir. A holy calm had settled on her brow, peace had entered her heart; and though a deep blush overspread her features as she heard her husband's step approaching, she rose to meet him with a grateful look. Putting his arm around her, he drew her closer to him, and pressed a kiss upon her forehead.
"How many days of packing will you require, Pauline?" said he, smiling. "Poor Marie! she has nearly worn her arms out."
"She will complete her task to-night; and if you like, we can be off in the morning. But have you the carriages ready, mon ami? Are we not before-hand with you?" asked Pauline, in the same cheerful strain.
"We must summon Francois," said M. de Vaissiere, "and see if my orders have been executed."
Francois had been as prompt as usual; and three days after, we found Pauline gazing out at the windows, mournful and conscience-stricken—she was leaving Paris behind her as fast as four horses and cracking whips could carry her. As they drove on, losing sight of its towers and steeples, a sensation of freedom came over her, and she placed her hand in her husband's, as if to thank him for her safety. The wound upon her heart was not yet closed; but her firm principle, her love of right, and gratitude for her deliverance, and the indulgence of M. de Vaissiere were fast healing what she did not for a moment allow to rest within her mind.
Every thing delighted her; the ploughed fields, divided by green hedges; the farm-houses scattered far and near; the picturesque appearance of the peasantry and their groupings, as they gathered together to watch the travelers' suite; and when they stopped at a family estate of M. de Vassiere, her enthusiasm knew no bounds.
Here they remained until the spring was past and summer came, embellishing still more the beautiful woods around the little domain. But they lingered yet in this pleasant place, loving it for the peace it had given them, and the happiness they had learned to feel in being together.
Leaning on her husband's arm, Pauline wandered amid the bright scenes with a light step, now stopping to admire some variety of foliage, and now pausing by the crystal stream that ran at the foot of the tall trees, murmuring like a hidden sprite, and mirroring the waving boughs, and the blue sky of la belle France. She had forgotten the misery of her bridal-day, or remembered it but to contrast her present quiet enjoyment of life with her then wretchedness. She had forgotten her youth of terror, her husband's years and his coldness, and now, when she looked upon the silver hair that glittered beside her braids of jet, a feeling of gratitude filled her heart, as she recalled the hour when he might have cast her off with some show of justice, and sent her forth upon the wide world to die.
She had learned to love him, not with the heart-stirring love of youth for youth, but with the deep, holy affection of a prodigal child. Not all the temptations of the gay world could ever make her swerve from her allegiance to him. Like a good and pious daughter did she cling to him, providing for his comfort, and forseeing his every want.
One day he called her to him as she returned from her visit of charity to the surrounding peasantry. She had wept over their troubles and relieved them, and rejoiced with the happy. Her heart was over-flowing, and passing the little church, she entered, and offered up a prayer of thankfulness for her own blessings, and those she was able to confer on others.
Her husband watched her graceful form as she came at his call, and smilingly placed a letter in her hand. It was from her mother, and part of it ran thus:
"I am now very old, monsieur, and very infirm. I have often thought, in my lonely hours, of the unhappiness of my child on her marriage with you, and have doubted the wisdom of that authority which I exercised so severely over her. The vision of that pale, agonized countenance, comes upon me like a reproach; and although she has never hinted in one of her letters of unkindness from you, I have often thought that there was a mournful spirit pervading them. Pray God she may not be unhappy through my fault! I rely upon you, monsieur; be kind to my poor Pauline. MARIE THERESE CLEMENCE DUMESNIL. (Nee de Villeneuve.)"
Pauline's tears fell fast over this letter; and as she finished reading it, she cast herself upon her husband's bosom.
"She does not deserve a reply, does she, Pauline?" asked he, with a smile, and pressing her closer to him. "Think you there would be no more marriages de convenance if we were to give the benefit of our experience to the world? Would your mother even be sensible of her error, could she know how your suffering has ended—could she see how happy you make an old man."
"Let her think that we have been always so," cried the noble Pauline. "Why disturb her last years with a narrative of what may embitter them? Shall it not be so, my dear, kind husband?"
"It shall, my child," said he, touched by the generosity of her request. "And you, Pauline, shall write the answer—you, my patient, enduring, and admirable wife! Why is it that I alone know what you have suffered, forced thus to appreciate in silence your noble forbearance."
But there was another letter to be read—one from Angela. It contained an account of Madame Dumesnil's failing strength, and her earnest desire to embrace her child once more. Jeannette was long since numbered with the dead; and Angela, whose devotion to her father had made her refuse every offer of marriage, removed with him to the abode of her friend's mother, passing her life in dividing her cares.
But a short time elapsed and Pauline, with her husband, was sailing once more upon the broad bosom of the Atlantic. It was a long and tedious voyage; but she arrived in time to receive her mother's blessing, and close her eyes—the reward her filial piety had merited.
Mr. Percy soon followed his aged companion, and Angela returned with Pauline to France. Here she witnessed, with wonder and delight, the happiness that, through Pauline's virtue, was not incompatible with so great a disparity of age, and rejoiced when a few months after their arrival in Paris, Pauline gave birth to a son and heir. Nothing now was wanting to complete the domestic enjoyment of the circle gathered at the Hotel de Vaissiere; and while the same gay crowds graced its walls, and courted its fair mistress, Pauline never forgot to turn to her husband as the one whose smile was to her the brightest, whose praise the most valued, and whose approbation alone she loved and lived for.
THE HERMIT OF NIAGARA.
BY MRS. LYDIA H. SIGOURNEY.
It was the leafy month of June, And joyous Nature, all in tune, With wreathing buds was drest, As toward the mighty cataract's side A youthful stranger prest; His ruddy cheek was blanched with awe, And scarce he seemed his breath to draw, While bending o'er its brim, He marked its strong, unfathomed tide, And heard its thunder-hymn.
His measured week too quickly fled, Another, and another sped, And soon the summer-rose decayed, The moon of autumn sank in shade, And winter hurled its dart, Years filled their circle, brief and fair, Yet still the enthusiast lingered there, While deeper round his soul was wove A mystic chain of fearful love, That would not let him part.
When darkest midnight veiled the sky, You'd hear his hasting step go by, To gain the bridge beside the deep, That where its wildest torrents leap Hangs thread-like o'er the surge, Just there, upon its awful verge, His vigil-hour to keep.
And when the moon, descending low, Hung on the flood that gleaming bow, Which it would seem some angel's hand, With Heaven's own pencil, tinged and spanned, Pure symbol of a better land, He, kneeling, poured in utterance free The eloquence of ecstasy; Though to his words no answer came, Save that One, Everlasting Name, Which since Creation's morning broke Niagara's lip alone hath spoke.
When wintry tempests shook the sky, And the rent pine-tree hurtled by, Unblenching, 'mid the storm he stood, And marked sublime the wrathful flood, While wrought the frost-king, fierce and drear, His palace 'mid those cliffs to rear, And strike the massy buttress strong, And pile his sleet the rocks among, And wasteful deck the branches bare With icy diamonds, rich and rare.
Nor lacked the hermit's humble shed Such comforts as our natures ask To fit them for life's daily task. The cheering fire, the peaceful bed, The simple meal in season spread, While by the lone lamp's trembling light, As blazed the hearth-stone, clear and bright, O'er Homer's page he hung, Or Maro's martial numbers scanned—
For classic lore of many a land Flowed smoothly o'er his tongue. Oft with rapt eye, and skill profound, He woke the entrancing viol's sound, Or touched the sweet guitar. For heavenly music deigned to dwell An inmate in his cloistered cell, As beams the solem star, All night, with meditative eyes Where some lone, rock-bound fountain lies.
As through the groves, with quiet tread, On his accustomed haunts he sped, The mother-thrush, unstartled, sung Her descant to her callow young, And fearless o'er his threshold prest The wanderer from the sparrow's nest, The squirrel raised a sparkling eye Nor from his kernel cared to fly As passed that gentle hermit by. No timid creature shrank to meet His pensive glance, serenely sweet; From his own kind, alone, he sought The screen of solitary thought. Whether the world too harshly prest Its iron o'er a yielding breast, Or forced his morbid youth to prove The pang of unrequited love, We know not, for he never said Aught of the life he erst had led.
On Iris isle, a summer-bower He twined with branch and vine and flower, And there he mused on rustic seat, Unconscious of the noonday heat, Or 'neath the crystal waters lay, Luxuriant, in the swimmer's play.
Yet once the whelming flood grew strong. And bore him like a weed along, Though with convulsive grasp of pain And heaving breast, he strove in vain, Then sinking 'neath the infuriate tide, Lone, as he lived, the hermit died.
On, by the rushing current swept, The lifeless corse its voyage kept, To where, in narrow gorge comprest, The whirlpool-eddies never rest, But boil with wild tumultuous sway, The Maelstrom of Niagara. And there, within that rocky bound, In swift gyrations round and round, Mysterious course it held, Now springing from the torrent hoarse, Now battling, as with maniac force, To mortal strife compelled.
Right fearful, 'neath the moonbeam bright, It was to see that brow so white, And mark the ghastly dead Leap upward from his torture-bed, As if in passion-gust, And tossing wild with agony Resist the omnipotent decree Of dust to dust.
At length, where smoother waters flow, Emerging from the abyss below, The hapless youth they gained, and bore Sad to his own forsaken door. There watched his dog, with straining eye, And scarce would let the train pass by, Save that with instinct's rushing spell, Through the changed cheek's empurpled hue, And stiff and stony form, he knew The master he had loved so well. The kitten fair, whose graceful wile So oft had won his musing smile, As round his slippered foot she played, Stretched on his vacant pillow laid. While strewed around, on board and chair, The last-plucked flower, the book last read, The ready pen, the page outspread, The water cruse, the unbroken bread— Revealed how sudden was the snare That swept him to the dead.
And so, he rests in foreign earth, Who drew 'mid Albion's vales his birth: Yet let no cynic phrase unkind Condemn that youth of gentle mind— Of shrinking nerve, and lonely heart, And lettered lore, and tuneful art, Who here his humble worship paid In that most glorious temple-shrine, Where to the Majesty Divine Nature her noblest altar made.
No, blame him not, but praise the Power Who, in the dear domestic bower, Hath given you firmer strength to rear The plants of love—with toil and fear— The beam to meet, the blast to dare, And like a faithful soldier bear; Still with sad heart his requiem pour, Amid the cataract's ceaseless roar, And bid one tear of pitying gloom Bedew that meek enthusiast's tomb.
BURIAL OF A VOLUNTEER.
BY PARK BENJAMIN.
'Tis eve! one brightly-beaming star Shines from the eastern heavens afar, To light the footsteps of the brave, Slow marching to a comrade's grave.
The Northern wind has sunk to sleep; The sweet South breathes; as low and deep The martial clang is heard, the tread Of those who bear the silent dead.
And whose the form, all stark and cold, Thus ready for the loosened mould; Thus stretched upon so rude a bier? Thine, soldier, thine—the volunteer!
Poor volunteer! the shot, the blow, Or fell disease hath laid him low— And few his early loss deplore— His battle done, his journey o'er.
Alas! no fond wife's arms caressed, His cheeks no tender mother pressed, No pitying soul was by his side, As, lonely in his tent, he died.
He died—the volunteer—at noon; At evening came the small platoon; And soon they'll leave him to his rest, With sods upon his manly breast.
Hark to their fire! his only knell, More solemn than the passing bell; For, ah! it tells a spirit flown Without a prayer or sigh, alone!
His name and fate shall fade away, Forgotten since his dying day, And never on the roll of fame Shall be inscribed his humble name.
Alas! like him how many more Lie cold on Rio Grande's shore; How many green, unnoted graves Are bordered by those turbid waves!
Sleep, soldier, sleep! from sorrow free And sin and strife: 'tis well with thee! 'Tis well, though not a single tear Laments the buried volunteer.
THE BRIDAL MORNING.
Morn of hopes that, quivering, glow With a light ne'er known before; Morn of fears, which cannot throw Shadows its sweet glory o'er!
Gentle thoughts of all the past; Happy thoughts of all to come; Loving thoughts, like rose-leaves, cast Over all around her home.
Oh, the light upon that brow; Oh, the love within that eye! Oh, the pleasant dreams that flow Like fairy music sweetly by!
Morn of Hope! Oh may its light Melt but into brighter day! Lady, all that's blest and bright Be about thy path alway!
BY MRS. H. MARION WARD.
"Home, sweet home!" How many holy and beautiful memories are crowded into those three little words. How does the absent one, when weary with the cold world's strife, return, like the dove of the deluge, to that bright spot amid the troubled waters of life. "Home, sweet home!" The one household plant that blooms on and on, amid the withering heart-flowers, that brightens up amidst tempests and storms, and gives its sweetest fragrance when all else is gloom and desolation. We never know how deeply its roots are entwined with our heart-strings, till bitter lessons of wasted affection have taught us to appreciate that love which remains the same through years of estrangement. What exile from the spot of his birth but remembers, perhaps with bitterness, the time when falsehood and deceit first broke up the beautiful dreams of his soul, when he learned to see the world in its true colors. How his heart ached for his father's look of kindness—his mother's voice of sympathy—a sister's or brother's hand to clasp in the warm embrace of kindred affection. Poor, home-sick wanderer! I can feel for your loneliness; for my heart often weeps tears of bitterness over the memories of a far-off home, and in sympathy with a gray-haired father, who, when he calls his little band around the hearth-stone, misses full many a link in the chain of social affection. I can feel for your loneliness, for perhaps you have a father, too, whose eyes have grown dim by long looking into the tomb of love. Perhaps you, too, have a mother, sleeping in some distant grave-yard, beneath the flowers your hands have planted; and as life's path grows still more rugged before you, you wonder, as I have done, when your time will come to lie down and sleep quietly with her. An incident occurred on board of one of the western steamers, some years since, which strongly impressed me with its truthfulness in proving how wildly the heart clings to home reminiscences when absent from that spot. A party of emigrants had taken passage, amongst whom was a young Swiss girl, accompanied by a small brother. Not even the outre admixture of Swiss, German, and English costume, which composed her dress, could conceal the fact that she was supremely beautiful; and as the emigrants were separated from what is termed the first-class passengers only by a slight railing, I had an opportunity of inspecting her appearance without giving offence by marked observation. Amongst the crowd there happened to be a set of German musicians, who, by amusing the ennuied passengers, reaped quite a harvest of silver for their exertions. I have always heard that the Germans were extremely fond of music, and was surprised that none of the party, not even the beautiful Swiss girl, gave the slightest indication of pleasure, or once removed from the position they had occupied the whole way. Indeed, I was becoming quite indignant, that the soul-stirring Marseilles Hymn of France, the God Save the Queen of England, and last, not least in its impressive melody, the Hail Columbia of our own nation, should have pealed its music out upon the great waters, almost hushing their mighty swell with its enchantment, and yet not waken an echo in the hearts of those homeless wanderers. The musicians paused to rest for a moment, and then suddenly, as if by magic, the glorious Rans des Vache of Switzerland stole over the water, with its touching pathos swelling into grand sublimity, its home-music melting away in love, and then bursting forth in the free, glad strains of revelry, till every breath was hushed as by the presence of visible beauty. Having never before heard this beautiful melody, in my surprise and admiration I had quite forgotten my emigrant friends, when a low sob attracted my attention, and turning round, I saw the Swiss girl, with her head buried in the lap of an old woman, trying to stifle the tears that would force their way or break the heart that held them. I had but a slight knowledge of the Swiss dialect, and "my home, my beautiful home!" was the only words intelligible to me. She wept long and bitterly after the cadence of the song was lost amongst the waves, while the old woman, blessings on her for the act, sought by every endearment within her power to soothe and encourage the home-sick girl. There was little enow of refinement in her rough sympathy, but it was a heart-tribute—and I could almost love her for the unselfishness with which she drew the shrinking form closer to her bosom. I would have given the world to have learned that girl's previous history. I am sure accident must have thrown her amongst her present associates, as I have seen a lily broken from its stem by a sudden gust of wind, and flung to wither and die amid rude and hardy weeds. In a few hours the party left the boat, and I never saw either her or them again; but, till this day, whenever any incident of a domestic nature wakens old-time dreams, pleasant memories of that beautiful exile, weeping over the music of her lost Eden, and of the kind old woman caressing her, and kissing off the falling tears, creep together, and form a lovely picture of home and heaven-born love.
BY EDGAR A. POE.
That punctuation is important all agree; but how few comprehend the extent of its importance! The writer who neglects punctuation, or mis-punctuates, is liable to be misunderstood—this, according to the popular idea, is the sum of the evils arising from heedlessness or ignorance. It does not seem to be known that, even where the sense is perfectly clear, a sentence may be deprived of half its force—its spirit—its point—by improper punctuation. For the want of merely a comma, it often occurs that an axiom appears a paradox, or that a sarcasm is converted into a sermonoid.
There is no treatise on the topic—and there is no topic on which a treatise is more needed. There seems to exist a vulgar notion that the subject is one of pure conventionality, and cannot be brought within the limits of intelligibly and consistent rule. And yet, if fairly looked in the face, the whole matter is so plain that its rationale may be read as we run. If not anticipated, I shall, hereafter, make an attempt at a magazine paper on "The Philosophy of Point."
In the meantime let me say a word or two of the dash. Every writer for the press, who has any sense of the accurate, must have been frequently mortified and vexed at the distortion of his sentences by the printer's now general substitution of a semicolon, or comma, for the dash of the MS. The total or nearly total disuse of the latter point, has been brought about by the revulsion consequent upon its excessive employment about twenty years ago. The Byronic poets were all dash. John Neal, in his earlier novels, exaggerated its use into the grossest abuse—although his very error arose from the philosophical and self-dependent spirit which has always distinguished him, and which will even yet lead him, if I am not greatly mistaken in the man, to do something for the literature of the country which the country "will not willingly," and cannot possibly, "let die."
Without entering now into the why, let me observe that the printer may always ascertain when the dash of the MS. is properly and when improperly employed, by bearing in mind that this point represents a second thought—an emendation. In using it just above I have exemplified its use. The words "an emendation" are, speaking with reference to grammatical construction, put in apposition with the words "a second thought." Having written these latter words, I reflected whether it would not be possible to render their meaning more distinct by certain other words. Now, instead of erasing the phrase "a second thought," which is of some use—which partially conveys the idea intended—which advances me a step toward my full purpose—I suffer it to remain, and merely put a dash between it and the phrase "an emendation." The dash gives the reader a choice between two, or among three or more expressions, one of which may be more forcible than another, but all of which help out the idea. It stands, in general, for these words—"or, to make my meaning more distinct." This force it has—and this force no other point can have; since all other points have well-understood uses quite different from this. Therefore, the dash cannot be dispensed with.
It has its phases—its variation of the force described; but the one principle—that of second thought or emendation—will be found at the bottom of all.
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In a reply to a letter signed "Outis," and defending Mr. Longfellow from certain charges supposed to have been made against him by myself, I took occasion to assert that "of the class of willful plagiarists nine out of ten are authors of established reputation who plunder recondite, neglected, or forgotten books." I came to this conclusion a priori; but experience has confirmed me in it. Here is a plagiarism from Channing; and as it is perpetrated by an anonymous writer in a Monthly Magazine, the theft seems at war with my assertion—until it is seen that the Magazine in question is Campbell's New Monthly for August, 1828. Channing, at that time, was comparatively unknown; and, besides, the plagiarism appeared in a foreign country, where there was little probability of detection.
Channing, in his essay on Bonaparte, says:
"We would observe that military talent, even of the highest order, is far from holding the first place among intellectual endowments. It is one of the lower forms of genius, for it is not conversant with the highest and richest objects of thought.... Still the chief work of a general is to apply physical force—to remove physical obstructions—to avail himself of physical aids and advantages—to act on matter—to overcome rivers, ramparts, mountains, and human muscles; and these are not the highest objects of mind, nor do they demand intelligence of the highest order:—and accordingly nothing is more common than to find men, eminent in this department, who are almost wholly wanting in the noblest energies of the soul—in imagination and taste—in the capacity of enjoying works of genius—in large views of human nature—in the moral sciences—in the application of analysis and generalization to the human mind and to society, and in original conceptions on the great subjects which have absorbed the most glorious understandings."
The thief in "The New Monthly," says:
"Military talent, even of the highest grade, is very far from holding the first place among intellectual endowments. It is one of the lower forms of genius, for it is never made conversant with the more delicate and abstruse of mental operations.
It is used to apply physical force; to remove physical force; to remove physical obstructions; to avail itself of physical aids and advantages; and all these are not the highest objects of mind, nor do they demand intelligence of the highest and rarest order. Nothing is more common than to find men, eminent in the science and practice of war, wholly wanting in the nobler energies of the soul; in imagination, in taste, in enlarged views of human nature, in the moral sciences, in the application of analysis and generalization to the human mind and to society; or in original conceptions on the great subjects which have occupied and absorbed the most glorious of human understandings."
The article in "The New Monthly" is on "The State of Parties." The italics are mine.
Apparent plagiarisms frequently arise from an author's self-repetition. He finds that something he has already published has fallen dead—been overlooked—or that it is peculiarly a propos to another subject now under discussion. He therefore introduces the passage; often without allusion to his having printed it before; and sometimes he introduces it into an anonymous article. An anonymous writer is thus, now and then, unjustly accused of plagiarism—when the sin is merely that of self-repetition.
In the present case, however, there has been a deliberate plagiarism of the silliest as well as meanest species. Trusting to the obscurity of his original, the plagiarist has fallen upon the idea of killing two birds with one stone—of dispensing with all disguise but that of decoration.
Channing says "order"—the writer in the New Monthly says "grade." The former says that this order is "far from holding," etc.—the latter says it is "very far from holding." The one says that military talent is "not conversant," and so on—the other says "it is never made conversant." The one speaks of "the highest and richest objects"—the other of "the more delicate and abstruse." Channing speaks of "thought"—the thief of "mental operations." Chaming mentions "intelligence of the highest order"—the thief will have it of "the highest and rarest." Channing observes that military talent is often "almost wholly wanting," etc.—the thief maintains it to be "wholly wanting." Channing alludes to "large views of human nature"—the thief can be content with nothing less than "enlarged" ones. Finally, the American having been satisfied with a reference to "subjects which have absorbed the most glorious understandings," the Cockney puts him to shame at once by discoursing about "subjects which have occupied and absorbed the most glorious of human understandings"—as if one could be absorbed, without being occupied, by a subject—as if "of" were here any thing more than two superfluous letters—and as if there were any chance of the reader's supposing that the understandings in question were the understandings of frogs, or jackasses, or Johnny Bulls.
By the way, in a case of this kind, whenever there is a question as to who is the original and who the plagiarist, the point may be determined, almost invariably, by observing which passage is amplified, or exaggerated, in tone. To disguise his stolen horse, the uneducated thief cuts off the tail; but the educated thief prefers tying on a new tail at the end of the old one, and painting them both sky blue.
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After reading all that has been written, and after thinking all that can be thought, on the topics of God and the soul, the man who has a right to say that he thinks at all, will find himself face to face with the conclusion that, on these topics, the most profound thought is that which can be the least easily distinguished from the most superficial sentiment.
BY R. H. STODDARD.
Oh Love! thou art a fallen child of light, A ruined seraph in a world of care— Tortured and wrung by sorrow and despair, And longings for the beautiful and bright: Thy brow is deeply scarred, and bleeds beneath A spiked coronet, a thorny wreath; Thy rainbow wings are rent and torn with chains, Sullied and drooping in extremest wo; Thy dower, to those who love thee best below, Is tears and torture, agony and pains, Coldness and scorn and doubt which often parts;— "The course of true love never does run smooth," Old histories show it, and a thousand hearts, Breaking from day to day, attest the solemn truth.
[ILLUSTRATING AN ENGRAVING.]
The fair one stands beside the plashing brim, Her pet, her Beauty, gathered to her breast; A doubt hath crossed her: "can he surely swim?" And in her sweet face is that fear exprest.
Alas! how often, for thyself, in years Fast coming, wilt thou pause and doubt and shrink O'er some fair project! Then, be all thy fears False as this first one by the water's brink!
REVIEW OF NEW BOOKS.
Poems of Early and After Years. By N. P. Willis. Illustrated by E. Leutze. Philadelphia: Carey & Hart. 1 vol. 8vo.
This is a complete edition of one of America's most popular poets, with the old poems carefully revised, and many new pieces added. It is got up in a similar style with the editions of Longfellow and Bryant, by the same publishers, and is one of the most splendid volumes of the season. The portrait of the author, engraved by Cheney, is the most accurate we have seen. The illustrations, from designs by Leutze, and engraved by Humphrys, Tucker, and Pease, are sixteen in number, and in their character and execution are honorable to American art. They are truly embellishments. Fertile as has been the house of Carey & Hart in beautiful books, they have published nothing more elegant and tasteful than the present edition of Willis.
We have written, in various critiques, at such length on the merits and characteristics of Willis, that it would be but repetition to dilate upon his genius now. In looking over the present volume, we cannot see that the sparkle and fire of his poetry becomes dim, even as read by eyes which have often performed that pleasant task before. The old witchery still abides in them, and the old sweetness, raciness, melody and power. That versatile mind, gliding with such graceful ease over the whole ground of "occasional" pieces, serious and mirthful, impassioned and tender, sacred and satirical, looks out upon us with the same freshness from his present "pictured" page, as when we hunted it, in the old time, through newspapers, magazines, and incomplete collections. We cordially wish the author the same success in his present rich dress, which he has always met in whatever style of typography he has invaded the public heart. When the stereotype plates of the present edition are worn out, it does not require the gift of prophecy to predict that the poet's reputation will be as unworn and us bright as ever.
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A Plea for Amusements. By Frederic W. Sawyer, New York: D. Appleton & Co. 1 vol. 12mo.
This little volume, viewed in respect to the prejudices it so clearly exposes and opposes, is quite an important publication, and we trust it will find readers among those who need it most. That clumsy habit of the public mind, by which the perversions are confounded with the use of a thing, finds in Mr. Sawyer an acute analyst as well as sensible opponent. He has done his work with much learning, ability and taste, and has contrived to make his exposure of popular bigotries as interesting as it is useful.
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Campaign Sketches of the War with Mexico. By Capt. W. S. Henry, U. S. Army. With Engravings. New York: Harper & Brothers. 1 vol. 12mo.
Here is a work by a brave and intelligent soldier, relating to the battles of General Taylor in Mexico, of which he was an eye-witness. It has the freshness which might be expected from a writer who mingled in the scenes he describes; and the plates of the different battle-grounds enable the reader intelligently to follow the descriptions of the author. Spite of the numerous books relating to the subject already before the public, Captain Henry's volume will be found to contain much not generally known, and to describe what is generally known better than most of his precursors in the task.
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The Consuelo. By George Sand. In Three Volumes. New York: W. H. Graham, Tribune Buildings.
The Countess of Rudolstadt. By George Sand. [Sequel to Consuelo.] 2 vols. Same Publisher.
The Journeyman Joiner, or the Companion of the Tour of France. By George Sand. Same Publisher.
The Devil's Pool. By George Sand. Same Publisher.
The above editions of the somewhat too celebrated George Sand are got up, by our enterprising friend the publisher, in a style superior to that generally used on this species of literature. The translation by F. G. Shaw, Esq. has been generally, and we think justly, commended. The works themselves, and their tendencies and results, have been made the subject of various opinions both here and abroad. We are not among those who are prepared to enter the lists as their champion. The translator himself remarks in relation to Consuelo: "That it has not found fit translation before, was doubtless owing to prevailing impressions of something erratic and bizarre in the author's way of living, and to a certain undeniable tone of wild, defying freedom in her earlier writings." The censure of the moral portion of the community is thus softly and mercifully expressed: We will not at present add to it.
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The Last Incarnation. Gospel Legends of the Nineteenth Century. By A. Constant. Translated by F. G. Shaw, Esq. New York: Wm. H. Graham.
A well printed and cheap volume.
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The Scouting Expeditions of M'Culloch's Texas Rangers. By Samuel C. Ried, jr. Zieber & Co. Philadelphia.
This work contains a spirited and vivid sketch of the Mexican war as prosecuted under Taylor. It is full of incident and interest, is written with spirit, and illustrated by a number of engravings.
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DESCRIPTION OF THE FASHION PLATE.
TOILETTE DE VILLE.—Dress of gray satin, with a plain skirt; corsage plain, with a rounded point; sleeves above of violet-colored velvet, closed on the top, and trimmed with very rich lace; small pelerine to the waists, and terminated at the seam of the shoulder, trimmed with lace. Hat of yellow satin, long at the cheeks, and rounded, ornamented with a bouquet of white flowers resting on the side, arid a puff of tulle on the inside.
RICHE TOILETTE D'INTERIEUR.—Dress of blue cashmere, ornamented with a row of silver buttons down the front of the skirts; corsage plain, with buttons, and terminating in two small points; sleeves rather short, and under ones of three rows of lace: neck-dress of lace. Cap also of lace, resting flat upon the front of the head, and forming folds behind, trimmed with bows of ribbon, of rose-colored taffeta, below the lace to the depth of the strings.
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ERRATUM.—In the article on Stoke Church and Church-yard, page 77, 12th line from bottom of 2d column, "1779" should read 1799.
Some likely incorrect spellings and probable dialect have been left as printed, but the following corrections have been made:
1. Page 83—'for the lady lacked neither wit not humor, and the ....' changed to 'for the lady lacked neither wit nor humor...'
2. Page 83—superfluous word 'his' removed from sentence '...he had nothing on but his his shirt, and...'
3. Page 85—typo 'centipeds' corrected to 'centipedes'
4. Page 85—superfluous word 'his' removed from sentence '...constant to his his first love, mourning...'
5. A number of contracted forms, such as 't is, shortened to 'tis, in order to preserve the scansion of poetry
6. Page 106—typo in sentence '...up the mill-stream, und as we returned...' replaced by 'and'
7. Page 106—typo 'outre' in sentence '...however strange or outre; and there is...' changed to 'outre'
8. Page 106—typo 'evious' in sentence '...would turn up an evious nose, and...' corrected to 'envious'
9. Page 110—typo 'widows' in sentence '...sitting by the widows of the summer-house,' changed to 'windows'
10. Page 113—typo 'then' in sentence '...was upon then—the eye of Agnes;...' changed to 'them'
11. Page 121—typo 'clasped' corrected to 'clasped'
12. Page 125—typo 'giver' in sentence '...until he saw her giver her arm...' corrected to 'give'