ページの画像
PDF
ePub

whom it was easy to recognise by their platted hair, covered with nets, their latge grey hats, their short jackets, ornamented with stripes of red or blue silk, their trowsers, which scarcely reached their knees, but so wide they might be mistaken for petticoats; in fine, by the species of stocking, which reached from the ankle a little above the calf, so as to leave the knee and the foot itaked, the latter protected by the alpargatas or sandals. Each one carried on his shoulder a blanket in a leathern case, the only preservative against the inclemeneies of the weather, at once a bed in the camp or bivouac, and a tablecloth at meals, the indispensable cade mecum of every Valencian, as the cloak is of the Castilian.

As the new comers entered the tent, they politely saluted the company. Their chief called for the best wine, passed it round to his companions, and careJessly throwing down a pieee of money, double the value of what he might owe, went out, after saluting the company with the same courtesy as at his entrance.

666 Who is this Don Bernardino Marti, who seems to exercise such an influence over the crowd ? ” said Antonio

"“What! is it possible you don't know him ?”exclaimed a dozen of voices at the same time;" you must be a great stranger here."

666 That man,” said one of the bystanders, " is well known from Castillan de la Plana to Reuss, and justly so. He is one of the richest land-owners in the neighborhood of Valencia, and captain in the Queen Amelia's regiment of heavy cayalry. He is the terror of the banditti, whom he hunts like wild beasts, and he has done more in a few years towards re-establishing the tranquillity of the country than all the brigades of the Santa Hermandada for centuries. He is foilowed in his excursions by his own peasants, and sometimes by a small detachment of his regiment, and these expeditions are made at his own expense. This new Theseus has succeeded in purging the kingdom of Valencia of all the bands of robbers that infested it, and you may walk there now with your fists full of gold, without the least apprehension.

66 A brave man! a noble fellow!" replied the company in choris; and one of them, a real Castilian, added half aloud, “What a pity he is not a Castilian, and that he should be nothing more than a Valencian, for you know the proverb-in Valencia the meat is vegetable, the vegetables, water; the women are beggars, and the men nothing at all."

But soon after, the evening bell, or oracion, was heard, and gave the signal for departure. At the first sound, the several groups stopped short. A religious silence succeeded the noise of conversation, and each one, uncovered and bowed, prayed silently. At this solemn moment, the same takes place all over Spain. After a few seconds of mental prayer, each one made the sign of the cross; and putting on his bat, saluted his neighbor, to the right and left, with lucnus noches, (good night.) A great number of the pedestrians separated, and returned home but the paseo still continued crowded; for the night had set in, sweet, fresh, and voluptuous, as it is in those climates; and its complacent shade served as a signal for another species of promenade, which was prolonged until midnight.

The last struggles of this constitutional regime, in which most of his dramatis personæ meet with a miserable end, form the subject of our author's last sketches.

We lay down this volume with a mingled feeling of satisfaction and regret. Satisfaction derived from the contemplation of the varied and agreeable pictures which the author has exhibited to our view, in a style always easy and natural, and at times spirited and eloquent. Of regret at the deplorable termination of a struggle, in which ardent and heroic lovers of liberty and their country perished ignominiously. But this regret is not unaccompanied by a confident expectation that the spirit that is abroad, and that'hath shook monarchs from their slumbers on the throne,' is repressed, but not extinguished; and that under happier auspices, and better direction, it may be ultimately successful in restoring the fallen and debased Spain to her place among European states, PASKEVITSCH AND THE POLES.

WEARLY three years have elapsed since I first visited, the ancient Capital of Poland, on my return from St. Petersburg. Late events had prepared ine for a great change, but the extent to which it has been eftected, perfectly astounded me. All traces of the national features are nearly extinguished, and this once splendid capital now resembles more an Asiatic camp, than a gay and polished European city. The streets are nearly deserted. Nothing breaks on the ear through their solemn silence, save the measured tramp of the Russian patroles, and lumbering roll of their heavy guns; the peculiar cry of the Tartar coachmen, as they urge their horses at a furious pace through the narrow streets.

In the places which, but a short time since, echoed the triumphant songs of gallant freemen, now we beheld the wild Cossack of the Don, the Circassian in his chain armour, that leads back the mind to the days of Mithridates ; in juxta position with the tall grenadier, or the gorgeously attired Hulan or Hussar of the guards. Russian generals, Russian aides-de-camp, their breasts covered with stars, are seen galloping in every direction, their flat Tartar countenances animated to an expression of haughty triumph. But when we reflect for what purpose these warriors have been drawn froin their distant homes, we vent a curse upon the head of the ruthless tyrant who is blotting out from the tablets of civilization a whole nation.

If we may judge from the immense system of fortifications erecting by the Russians, we should infer they still apprehend that the untameable spirit of the gallant Poles will again carve out some hot work for them. They are at present, fortifying Warsaw after the manner that the Prussians have done Posen and Coblentz, by a system of forts. 1st, the Fort of Sfola has been considerably augmented, near to it a citadel will be constructed, and another that will command the city and the vicinity of the Belvidere Bridge, a third will be built upon an elevation called Jolibord, and another upon the hill of the Barracks of the Guards, that will contain 6,000 men, the expense of these fortifications is estimated at twenty millions of florins, to be defrayed by the ill-fated city they are intended to subject.

In the meantime, the Russians neglect no precautions to ensure their safety. The Circassians are encamped in the Royal Gardens. The chateau is converted into a military hospital, and its beautiful facade marked by the wooden barracks occupied by the line. At Praga, they have thrown up a chain of batteries that mount some guns of an immense calibre ; these are pointed against the city. And sufficiently proclaim the feeling of insecurity that prevails. The garrison is now solely composed of the line, and the irregular troops. All the regiments of the guards have left, they were magnificent troops, but the line are short dark men, very much resembling the Indian Sepoys, or the Peruvian Indiaas the utmost discipline prevails it is rather of the officers, than the untutored soldiery, that the Poles have to complain. The officers of the guards carried off some hundred ladies of very equivocal reputation, whom they married, they also purchased, with singular avidity, all the political works that had been published during the revolution.

The morning after our arrival, we saw Paskevitsch on the parade. He is a tall, fine, handsome man, with a distinguished military air. At St. Petersburg he was famed for his gallantry; by birth a Lithuanian his military talents are of the highest order. "It was Paskevitsch who defended the famous redoubt in the centre of the Russian position at the bloody affair of the Borodino: and who afterwards led his corps from Riga to the Rhine, by one of the most rapid marches in the annals of modern warfare. The Persian campaigns of this officer are justly celebrated. His brilliant victories at Kainly and Milli duze, both gained by a profound strategetical movement in twenty-four hours, would have done honor to the greatest captain.

It is melancholy to think that he has since tarnished his brilliant military reputation by his conduct towards the heroic Poles. Paskevitsch executes, a la lettre, the cold blooded tyranny, the relentless cruelty of his ruthless and miscreant master. The indignities which he has inflicted upon this gallant people would fill volumes, and ruin him in the eyes of posterity.

To our great astonishment, we saw announced for representation at the national theatre, La Muette de Portici; ' during Constantine's time this piece was strictly prohibited. The house was crowded with Russian military, in fact, exclusively so.

The Polish campaign, like the fabulous shirt of Dejanira, is already spreading its venom through their ranks; the guards have already returned to Russia, tainted with liberalism-and the applause showered down during the popular movements in the market scene, may be taken as an augury for the future. In fact what country presents such ready clements for a Massiniello as Russia?

WHAT IS LOVE?

What is love? Ask him who lives, what is life-ask him who adores, what is God. I know not the internal constitution of other men, I see that in some external attributes they resemble me; but when, misled by that appearance, I have thought to appeal to something in common, and unburthen iny inmost soul, I have found my language misunderstood, like one in a distant and savage land. The more opportunities they have afforded me for experience, the wider has appeared the interval between us, and to a greater distance have the points of sympathy been withdrawn.

With a spirit ill fitted to sustain such proofs, trembling and feeble through its tenderness, I have every where sought, and have found only repulse and disappointment. Thou demandest, What is love? If we reason, we would be understood: if we imagine, we would that the airy children of our brain were born anew within another's: if we feel, we would that another's nerves should vibrate to our own,—that the beams of her eyes should kindle at once, and mix and melt into our own, that lips of motionless ice should not reply to lips quivering and burning with the hearts best food. This is love;—this is the bond and the sanction which connects not only the two sexes, but everything that exists.

We are born into the world, and there is something within us which, from the instant we live and move, thirsts after its likeness. This propensity developes itself with the development of our nature to this eagerly refer all sensations thirsting that they should resemble or correspond with it. The discovery of its antetype the meeting with an

understanding capable of clearly estimating the deductions of our own -an imagination which can enter into, and seize upon the subtle and delicate peculiarities which we have delighted to cherish, and unfold in secret-with a frame whose nerves, like the chords of two exquisite lyres strung to the accompaniment of one delightful voice, vibrate with the vibration of our own-and of a combination of all these in such proportion as the type within demands,—this is the invisible and unattainable point to which love tends ; and to attain which it urges forth the powers of man to arrest the faintest shadow of that without which there is no rest or respite to the heart over which it rules. Hence, in solitude, or in that deserted state when we are surrounded by human beings, and yet they sympathise not with us, we love the flowers, and the grass, and the waters, and the sky. In the motion of the very leaves of springin the blue air there is found a secret correspondence with our heart that awakens the spirits to a dance of breathless rapture, and brings tears of mysterious tenderness to the eyes, like the enthusiasm of patriotic success, or the voice of one beloved singing to you alone.

Sterne says, that, if he were in a desert, he would love some cypress. So soon as this want or power is dead, man becomes the living sepulchre of himself, and what yet survives is the mere wreck of what he was.

Is there anything in the writings of Rosseau that can compare with the tenderness, with the eloquence of passion, contained in these aspirations of Shelley ?

CAPTAIN ROSS' EXPEDITION.

There are, we should suppose, very few of our countrymen who have not asked themselves, frequently 'Is there any chance of poor Ross' ever coming back?' To many who, like ourselves, have had some acquaintance with the painful circumstances under which that brave man went forth, the question is of deep interest; and slowly, very slowly, and reluctantly, is all hope of his safety abandoned. Perhaps a few words given to the circumstances and fate of his expedition will not be misapplied.

Few of our readers will forget the effect produced upon the public by Captain Parry's comment upon Ross' last government voyage, but only those who knew Ross can fully measure his feelings. He determined at once, that if a ship could be procured, he would go again; and he rejoiced in the chance afforded him, by a generosity which has too few parallels. The details of the fitting out of his expedition are too well known to be here repeated; and it is also well known, that he cared not to return at all if unsuccessful. He went, resolving to enjoy an unquestioned triumph, or perish in the attempt.

The application of steam to such an undertaking was itself an experiment requiring the utmost perfection and certainty in all its details. Unfortunately, his ship was fitted with boilers of a new construction which have been since proved not to answer the high expectations then

formed of them. It is do::btful whether they could generate or keep up a supply of steam to give sufficient speed even in fair weather and smooth water; and it is very much to be feared that, in rough and deep seas, where they would be most needed, the engines would fail to act. Moreover, the hull of the vessel was not of a construction to bear safely the impulse and pressure of the ice. She was, besides, too deeply laden : and, even supposing the necessary consumption by the crew would materially lighten her, still she would be what sailors call too 'laborsomfor so weak a vessel.

But had his steamer been stronger, more roomy, and the machinery the most perfect and certain, Ross would have started under better prospects than any of the former expeditions. From the point of Parry's return in Regent's Inlet, no land or ice could be seen, and he probably would have reached Cape Turnagain in a week or ten days. Had Ross found as open a sea (as from the combined cvidence of Parry and Franklin, there seems little reason to doubt;) he would have done the same in three or four days. But the loss of his tender, the John, was an additional misfortune, which diminished his resources, already scanty when compared with the equipment of government expeditions.

The last authentic news of him was in lat. 57° N., 25th July, 1829. They had lost their foremost, but by singular good fortune had refitted in the harbor of Holsteinberg with the masts of the Rockwood, an abandoned whaler ; from which they also took provisions and stores. They sailed, after remaining there only a few hours, with high hopes ; the accounts of the ice received from the natives were excellent-all right amongst the crew-wind fair and weather favorable. Ross' last words were, we are in a more complete state than when we left England ; and if ever the north-west passage be made, it should be this year,

What destroyed these brave men, or how their ships was set fast or crushed, we shall never know, unless some remains be found by one of those changes which, from age to age, reveal the wreck of sea and land, or some one should hereafter visit the sad scene of their destruction. All chance of the return of the vessel or crew is, we sear, at an end. Yet hunger can scarcely have been their destroyer. They were provisioned for three years, and had they passed Behring's Straits, could have got further supplies from Kanschatka.

It is hard to give up all hope. It is barely possible that he may exist amongst the Esquimaux or Indians-he may yet return. But we fear his name must be added to the list of those whom ingratitude and injus. tice have driven upon enterprises with feelings which threating only one issue; and we could not longer delay the expression of our regret and sorrow; histories, like this of Ross, should be stamped deep upon the hearts and memories of his countrymen.

« 前へ次へ »