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imagine. At the end of eight or ten days, Colonel Vancour took his departure for home in the good sloop, Watervleit, which had made vast . . . dispatch in unlading and lading, on account of the lateness of the season, * Catalina was connected in different ways with almost all the really: respectable and wealthy inhabitants of New York, and its vicinity; such. as, the Philipses, the Stuyvesants, the Van Courtlandts, the Beckmans, Bayards, Delanceys, Gouverneurs, Van Hornes, Rapalyes, Rutgers, Waltons, and a score of others too tedious to enumerate. Of course she could be in no want of visitors or invitations, and there was every prospect of a. gay winter. But all these good folks were only secondary in the estimation of Mrs. Aubineau, when compared with—not his Majesty's governor. and his family, for they were out of the sphere of mortal comparison—but with the families of his Majesty's chief justice, his Majesty's attorney and solicitor-generals, his Majesty's collector of the customs, and, indeed, with the families of any of his Majesty's petty officers, however insignificant. These formed the focus of high life in the ancient city of New York, and nothing upon the face of the earth was more ridiculous in the eyes of a discreet observer, than the pretensions of this little knot of dependants, over the truly dignified independence of the great body of the wealthy inhabitants, except, perhaps, the docility with which these latter submitted to the petty usurpation.’—The Dutchman's Fireside, vol. ii. pp. 23–31.
To this portrait we cannot refuse ourselves the pleasure of adding that of Colonel Gilfillan, one of a numerous family that may still be met with in every part of the globe.
“No wonder Sir Thicknesse was proud of his family. But great as his progenitors were, they could not hold a candle to those of Colonel Barry Fitzgerald Macartney Gilfillan, a genuine Milesian, whose ancestors had been kings of Connaught, princes of Breffny, and lords of Ballyshannon, Ballynamora, Ballynahinch, Ballygruddrey, Ballyknockamora, and several lordships besides. Gilfillan was an Irish Bull. He was all life, love, gallantry, whim, wit, humour, and hyperbole. His animal spirits were to him as the wings of a bird, on which he mounted into the regions of imagination and folly. They flew away with him ten times an hour. He learned every thing so fast that he knew nothing perfectly; and such was the impetuosity of his conceptions, that one-half the time they came forth wrong end foremost. His ignorance of a subject never for a moment prevented him dashing right into it, or stopped the torrent of his ideas, which resembled a stream swelled by the rains, being excessively noisy and not very clear. His ideas, in truth, seemed always turning somersets over the heads of each other, and for the most part presented that precise rhetorical arrangement which is indicated by the phrase of “putting the cart before the horse.” He never pleaded guilty to ignorance of any thing, nor was ever known to stop a moment to get hold of the right end of an idea—maintaining with a humorous obstinacy, that as he always came to the right end at last, it was of no consequence where he began.
“Nature had given to Colonel Gilfillan a more than usual share of the truly Irish propensity to falling in love extempore. His heart was quite as hot as his head, and between the two there was a perfect volcano. He was always under high steam pressure. He once acknowledged, or rather boasted—for he never confessed any thing—that he had fallen in love at
the Curragh of Kildare, with six ladies in one day, and was refused by them all in less than twenty-four hours afterward. “But, faith !” added he, “I killed two horses riding about the country after them; and that was some comfort.” “Comfort 1” said a friend, “how do you make that out, Gilfillan P” “Why, wasn't it a proof I didn't stand shilly-shally, waiting my own consent any more than that of the ladies, my dear!” It is scarcely necessary to add, that he was generous, uncalculating, brave, and a man of his word, except in love affairs, and sometimes in affairs of business, when he occasionally lost at play the money he had promised to a tradesman. His person exhibited a rich redundancy of manly beauty, luscious with youth, health, and vigour; he sang charmingly; played the fiddle so as to bring tears into your eyes; danced, laughed, chatted, blundered, gallanted, flattered, and made love with a graceful confidence and fearless audacity, that caused him to be a great favourite, and rather a dangerous companion for women of warm imaginations and mere ordinary refinement of manners and feelings. Like most men of his profession, his ideas on certain subjects were of the latitudinarian order. Gilfillan swore he was a man of as much honour as ever wore a uniform. He would not pick a pocket; but as for picking a lady's white bosom of a sweet little heart, let him alone for that. A fair exchange was no robbery all the world over; and he always left his own with them, if there were twenty. When his brother officers laughed at him for having so many hearts, “Och my dears,” would he reply,” what, do you talk about having but one heart? A man with only one heart in his bosom, is like a poor divil with only a shilling in his pocket—he is afraid to part with it, and so starves himself for fear of starving !”’—The Dutchman's Fireside, vol. ii. pp. 38–41.
“The Staff Officer,’ we regret to say, is a work upon which we o must pronounce our decided reprobation. It has no one quality t please the judgment, or to excite the attention; it has no story, no style, no groups of interesting characters, no descriptions of scénery, nothing whatever to entitle it to a place even in the meanest circulating library in the country. On the contrary, there is much in it that deserves to be stigmatized as a pander to the most|*** atrocious vices, hospitality outraged, female innocence seduced, parental wickedness unveiled, and all this related with a degree of cool effrontery which has not been surpassed by Harriet Wilson herself. If this be, as it is given out, a story of real life, it is a picture as revolting as perhaps any human being, that prostitute excepted, has told of himself. From his earliest youth the author informs us, with a degree of triumph which is truly despicable, that he was practically initiated in the most wretched debauchery, which he pursued in the lowest haunts of corruption. Many like him have indeed fallen into the same courses at various periods of their lives, but few, very few at least that we have any knowledge of, have thought fit to publish their iniquity in three octavo volumes, and we feel assured that the respectable publishers of this work were not at all aware of its contents, when they ushered it into the world with their names in the title page. If they have any regard for their character they will not hesitate to disclaim any further con
nexion with a production which, under the pretext of being merely a tale of military life, is, in fact, a tale of the brothels. In “The Club Book' we have a collection of original tales, from the pens of various authors, most of whom are favourably known to the public,+Messrs. Galt, James, Power, Jerdan, Cunningham, Moir, Ritchie, the Ettrick Shepherd, and Lord F. L. Gower. We should suspect that these compositions had been originally destined to appear in a different kind of publication, perhaps an annual or a magazine. Let that be as it may, the idea of presenting them to the world in their present shape is not a bad one, as we know by our critical experience, that the task of writing three volumes, génerally speaking, is more than any one individual can accomplish to the satisfaction of the reader. We much wish that the novelists of the day would more frequently act upon the club-system than they do. It would not be at all difficult for each of them to compress, within the limits of half or the quarter of a volume, the essence of those stories which they usually expand over the surface of some nine hundred pages. Let them then put their productions together, and we may venture to predict that, although they would thereby materially diminish the waste of paper, they would greatly increase the number of their admirers. The first tale in the collection celebrates the Siege of Rhodes by the Turks, at the period when that island was in the possession of the Knights of St. John. It is a story of chivalry and love, by Mr. James, but it has not sufficient character to deserve particular notice. It is followed by ‘Haddad-Ben-Ahab,” which we suppose Mr. Galt intended as a burlesque upon some modern travellers, who, limiting their excursions to short distances from home, deem it necessary to relate, with laborious minuteness, every thing that befals them on the way. The subject is one that might have been worked up into a laughable satire, but that style of composition is certainly not Mr. Galt's forte. The ‘Gipsey of the Abruzzo, by Power, is a feeble affair; and we should have said as much of Y Mr. Picken’s “Eisenbach; or the Adventures of a Stranger,’ if there were not something like boldness in the conception of his | plan, however marred by the want of energy and of the appearance of probability in the execution. Eisenbach is a personage who by chance lighted on many persons and incidents of an extraordinary kind. He could not pass through a street in Dover, upon his first landing in this country, without meeting there with something mysterious; indeed, he tells us that he never could be idle for any length of time in a strange place, but something fell in his way that more or less fastened on his mind, and “ became a nucleus for future observation.” On arriving in London, such were the lengths to which his curiosity urged him, that he entered a house at night in pursuit of a nucleus of this description, and exposed himself, without we suppose being at all aware of his danger, to the imminent hazard of being apprehended for burglary. The editor would
appear, contrary to the ancient principle, to have set before his guests at first the inferior wine, and to improve it as the feast goes on. Thus the second volume is as much superior to the first, as the third is to the second. “The Fatal o: from Mr. Galt's
pen, exhibits, in a formidable point of view the penalty which a man may inflict upon himself, by listening too easily to the sug... gestions of a jealous disposition. An officer serving abroad, who left his wife and family in England, chances to hear an English profligate boasting of his triumphs over the virtue of a married female, which obliged him for a season to abandon his native country. A few coincidences, added to still fewer hasty conclusions, assure the military husband that his own wife was the victim on this occasion; he returns home, finds or invents evidence of her guilt, and persecutes his faithful consort to her death, which takes placeat the moment when her innocence is proved beyond the possibility of mistake, by the confession of the real culprit. The story has no novelty in vo its outline, but it is written with great power. By way, we suppose, of balancing between the sexes, this piece is followed by one from Mr. Jerdan, calculated to display the effects of a jealous temper on the part of the lady—his ‘Sleepless Woman,’ being, in fact, a wife whose eyes are always kept open by that unhappy passion, which he very truly represents as capable of driving a man out of his mind... We must, in passing, observe, that this trifle of Mr. Jerdan's is gracefully written; it has a French air of pretty nothingness about it, which would induce us to suspect its origimality, if the title-page did not afford us a sufficient guarantee upon that point. We regret that we cannot commend the scenes founded on Victor Hugo's Tragedy of Hernani, which have been contributed by Lord F. L. Gower. They are in rhymed verse, but neither the incidents, nor the sentiment, nor the diction, can we consider as in any degree worthy of the well-known taste of that noble, and already deservedly distinguished, writer. ‘Gowden Gibbie,’ by Allan Cunningham, is a striking lesson of great practical latility, to those daydreamers, who, neglecting the ordinary means within their reach for the improvement of their fortune, place all their dependence upon visionary hopes of golden gains, which can never be realized, and only lead them from delusion to delusion, until their ruin become irretrievable. The reading world has been rather sickened of Highland legends. It will not be relieved, we fear, by those which Mr. Picken and the Ettrick Shepherd have supplied to this collection. It would require but the invention of a few more scenes to render Mr. Moir's ‘Bridal of Borthwick’ capable of being converted into a drama. Even as it stands, the story is dramatic in an eminent degree, though spun out of the common mäterials of . kidnappery, if we may be allowed the expression. But amongst all the pieces in the series there is not one, we apprehend, that will stand a comparison with that entitled ‘The Book of Life,’ by Mr. Galt, for the greater portion of which we must find room.
“The day was showery and stormy, by which I was detained at the inn until late in the afternoon, so that it was dark before I reached the ferryhouse, and the tide did not serve for safe crossing until midnight. I was therefore obliged to sit by the fire and wait the time, a circumstance which gave me some uneasiness, for the ferryman was old and infirm, and Dick, his son, who usually attended the boat during the night, happened to be then absent, the day having been such, that it was not expected any travellers would seek to pass over that night. “The presence of Dick was not, however, absolutely necessary, for the boat swung from side to side by a rope anchored in the middle of the stream, and, on account of the strong current, another rope had been stretched across, by which passengers could draw themselves over, without assistance : an easy task to those who had the sleight of it, but it was not so to me, who still wore my arm in a sling. “While sitting at the fire-side conversing with the ferryman and his wife, a smart, good-looking country lad, with a recruit's cockade in his hat, came in, accompanied by a young woman who was far advanced in pregnancy. They were told the state of the ferry, and that, unless the recruit undertook to conduct the boat himself, they must wait the return of Dick. “They had been only that day married, and were on their way to join a detachment of the regiment in which Ralph Nocton, as the recruit was called, had that evening enlisted, the parish officers having obliged him to marry the girl. Whatever might have been their former love and intimacy, they were not many minutes in the house when he became sullen and morose towards her; nor was she more amiable towards him. He said little, but he often looked at her with an indignant eye, as she reproached him for having so rashly enlisted, to abandon her and his unborn baby, assuring him that she would never part from him while life and power lasted. ‘Though it could not be denied that she possessed both beauty and an attractive person, there was yet a silly vixen humour about her, ill-calculated to conciliate. I did not, therefore, wonder to hear that Nocton had married her with reluctance; I only regretted that the parish officers were so inaccessible to commiseration, and so void of conscience, as to be guilty of rendering the poor fellow miserable for life, to avert the hazard of the child becoming a burden on the parish. “The ferryman and his wife endeavoured to reconcile them to their lots; and the recruit, who happened to be naturally reckless and generous, seemed willing to be appeased ; but his weak companion was capricious and pettish. On one occasion, when a sudden shower beat hard against the window, she cried out with little regard to decorum, that she would go no further that night. “You may do as you please, Mary Blake,” said Nocton, “but go I must, for the detachment marches to-morrow morning. It was only to give you time to prepare to come with me, that the captain consented to let me remain so late in town.” “She, however, only remonstrated bitterly at his cruelty, in forcing her to travel in her condition, and in such weather. Nocton refused to listen to her, but told her somewhat doggedly, more so than was consistent with the habitual cheerful cast of his physiognomy, that “although he had been already ruined by her, he trusted she had not the power to make him a