Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

side-boys, whose duty it was to lay aloft, and furl the sky- | 'ning back at the negro, as if there existed some means of sails, looked no bigger on the yard than a good-sized duff mutual intelligence between them. It was my watch on for a midshipman's mess, and the main-truck seemed not |-deck, and I stood awhile leaning on the main fife-rail and half as large as the Turk's-head-knot on the man-ropes of amusing myself by observing the antics of the black and the accommodation-ladder.

his congenial playmate; but at length, tiring of the rude When we had got every thing ship-shape, aud man-of- mirth, I walked towards the taffrel, to gaze on the more war fashion, we hauled out again, and took our berth about agreeable features of the scene I have attempted to half-way between the arsenal and Hospital Island; and a describe. Just at that moment a shout and a merry laugh pleasant view it gave us of the town and harbour of old burst upon my ear, and looking quickly round to ascertain Mahon, one of the safest and most tranquil places of the cause of the unusual sound on a frigate's deck, I anchorage in the world. The water of this beautiful inlet, saw little Bob Stay (as we called our commodore's son) which, though it makes about four miles into the land, is standing half-way up the main-hatch ladder, clapping his not much over a quarter of a mile in width,-is scarcely hands, and looking aloft at some object which seemed to ever ruffled by a storm; and on the delightful afternoon to inspire him with a deal of glee. A single glance to the which I now refer, it lay as still and motionless as a main-yard informed me of the occasion of his merriment. polished mirror, except when broken into momentary rip- He had been coming up from the gun-deck, when Jacko, ples, by the paddles of some passing waterman. What perceiving him on the ladder, dropped suddenly down little wind there had been in the fore-part of the day, died from the main-stay, and running along the boom-cover away at noon, and, though the first dog-watch was almost leaped upon Bob's shoulder, seized his cap from his head, out, and the sun near the horizon. not a breath of air had and immediately darted up the main-topsail-sheet, and risen to disturb the deep serenity of the scene. The Dutch thence to the bunt of the mainyard, where he now sat, liner, which lay not far from us, was so clearly reflected in picking threads from the tassel of his prize, and occasionthe glassy surface of the water, that there was not a rope ally scratching his side, and chattering, as if with exultaabout her, from her main-stay to her signal halliards, tion at the success of his mischief.

But Bob was a which the eye could not distinctly trace in her shadowy and sprightly, active little fellow; and though he could not inverted image. The buoy of our best bower floated climb quite as nimbly as a monkey, yet he had no mind abreast our larboard bow; and that, too, was so strongly to lose his.cap without an effort to regain it. Perhaps he imaged, that its entire bulk seemed to lie above the water, was the more strongly incited to make chase after Jacko, just resting on it, as if upborne on a sea of molten lead; by seeing me smile at his plight, or by the loud laugh of except when now and then, the wringing of a swab, or the Jake, who seemed inexpressibly delighted at the occurdashing of a bucket overboard from the head, broke up the rence, and endeavoured to evince, by tumbling about the shadow for a moment, and showed the substance but half boom-cloth, shaking his huge misshapen head, and sundry its former apparent size. A small polacca craft had got other grotesque actions, the pleasure for which he had no under-way from Mahon in the course of the forenoon, words intending to stand over to Barcelona; but it fell dead calm Ha, you rascal Jocko, hab you no more respec' for de just before she reached th: chops of the harbour; and young officer, den to steal his cab? We bring you to de there she lag as motionless upon the blue surface, as if she gangway, you blaek nigger, and gib you a dozen on de bare were only part of a mimic scene, from the pencil of some back for a tief.". accomplished painter. Her broad cotton lateen-sails, as The monkey looked down from his perch as if he underthey hung drooping from the slanting and taper yards, stood the threat of the negro, and chattered a sort of defishone with a glistening whiteness that contrasied beauti ance in answer. fully with the dark flood in which they were rellected ; and Ha, ha! Massa Stay, he say you mus' ketch him 'fore the distant sound of the guitar, which one of the sailors you tlog nim; and it's no so easy for a midshipman in boots was listlessly playing on her deck, came sweetly over the to ketch a monkey barefoot." water, and harmonized well with the quiet appearance of A red spot mounted to little Bob's cheek, as he cast one every thing around. The whitewashed walls of the laza glance of offended pride at Jake, and then sprang across retto, on a verdant headland at the mouth of the bay, the deck to the Jacob's ladder. In an instant he was halfglittered like silver in the slant rays of the sun; and some way up the rigging, running over the ratlines as lightly as of its windows were burnished so brightly by the level if they were an easy flight of stairs, whilst the shrouds beams, that it seemed as if the whole interior of the edifice scarcely quivered beneath his elastic motion. In a second were in flames. On the opposite side, the romantic and more his hand was on the futtocks. picturesque ruins of fort St. Philip, faintly seen, acquired “ Massa Stay," cried Jake, who sometimes, being a double beauty, from being tipped with the declining light; favourite, ventured to take liberties with the younger offiand the clusters of ancient-looking windmills, which dot cers; “Massa Stay, you best crawl through' de lubber's the green eminences along the bank, added, by the motion hole-it take a sailor to climb de futtock shroud." less state of their wings, to the effect of the unbroken tran But he had scarcely time to utter his pretended caution, quillity.

before Bob was in the top. The monkey, in the mean Even on board our vessel, a degree of stillness unusual while, had awaited his approach, until he got nearly up the for a man-of-war, prevailed among the crew. It was the rigging, when it suddenly put the cap on its own head, and honr of their evening meal; and the low murmur from the running along the yard to the opposite side of the top, gun-deck had an indistinct and buzzing sound, which, like sprang up å rope, and thence to the topmast backstay, up the dreamy hum of bees on a warm summer-noon, rather which it ran to the topmast cross-trees, where it again heightened, than diminished the charm of the surrounding quietly seated itself, and resumed its work of picking the quiet. The spar-deck was almost deserted. The quarter- tassel to pieces. For several minutes I stood watching my inaster of the watch, with his spy-glass in his hand, and litile messmate follow Jacko from one piece of rigging to dressed in a frock and trowsers of snowy whiteness, stood | another, the monkey, all the while, seeming to exert only aft upon the taffrel, erect and motionless as a statue, keep so much agility as was necessary to elude the pursuer, and ing the usual look-out. A group of some half-dozen pausing whenever the latter appeared to be growing weary sailors had gathered together on the fo castle, where they of the chase. At last, by this kind of manæuvring, the were supinely lying under the shade of the bulwarks; and mischievous animal succeeded in enticing Bob as high as here and there, upon the gun-slides along the gangway, sat the royal-mast-head, when, springing suddenly on the royal three or four others,—one, with his clothes-bag beside him, stay, it ran nimbly down to the fore-to'-gallant-mast-head, overhauling bis simple wardrobe; another working a set of thence down the rigging to the foretop, and leaping on the clues for some favourite officer's hammock; and a third foreyard, it ran out to the yard-arm, hung the cap on the engaged, perhaps, in carving his name in rude letters upon end of the studding-sail boom, and there taking its seat, it the handle of a jack-knife, or in knotting a laniard, with raised a loud and exulting chattering. Bob by this tiine which to suspend it round his neck.

was completely tired out, and, unwilling, perhaps, to return On the top of the boom-cover, in the full glare of the to the deck to be laughed at for his fruitless chase, sat down level sun, lay black Jake, the jig-maker of the ship, in the royal cross-trees, while those who had been attracted and a striking specimen of African peculiarities, in whose by the sport, returned to their usual avocations or amuse. single person they were all strongly developed. His flat ments. The monkey, no longer the object of pursuit or nose was dilated to unusual width, and his ebony cheeks attention, remained but a little while on the yard-arm, fairly glistened with delight, as he looked up at the gam but soon taking up the cap, returned in towards the slings, bols of a large monkey, which, clinging to the main-stay, and dropped it down upon the deck. just above Jake's woolly head, was chattering and grin-1 Some little piece of duty occurred at this moment to

[ocr errors]

engage me for a few moments, and as soon as it was per-| little affection for his son. However that might have been formed I walked aft, and leaning my elbow on the taffrel, it was certain that he treated him with precisely the same gave myself up to the recollection of scenes very different strict discipline that he maintained towards the other young from the boyish pantomime I had just been witnessing. officers, or if there was any difference at all, it was not in Soothed by the low hum of the crew, and by the quiet love- favour of Bob. Some, who pretended to have studied his liness of every thing around, my thoughts had travelled far character closely, affirmed that he loved his boy too well to away from the realities of my situation, when I was sud- spoil him, and that, intending him for the arduous profesdenly startled by a cry from Black Jake, which brought me sion in which he had bimself risen to fame and eminence, on the instant back to consciousness.

he thought it would be of service to him to experience some “Look, look ! Massa Scupper," cried he, “ Massa Stay of its privations and hardships at the outset. is on de main-truck!"

The arrival of the commodore changed the direction of A cold shudder ran through my veins at the word. Iseveral eyes, which turned on him, to trace what emotions cast my eyes up-it was too true!' The adventurous boy, the danger of his son would occasion. But their scrutiny after resting on the royal cross-trees, had been seized with was foiled. By no outward sign did he show what was a wish to go still higher, and moved by one of those im- passing within. His eye still retained its severe expression, pulses which sometimes instigate men to place themselves his brow the slight frown which it usually wore, and his in situations of imminent peril, where no good can result lip its haughty curl. Immediately on reaching the deck, from the exposure, he had climbed the skysail-pole, and, at he had ordered a marine to hand him a musket, and with the moment of my looking up, was actually standing on this, stepping after, and getting on the look-out block, he the main-truck! a small circular piece of wood on the very raised it to his shoulder, and tvok a deliberate aim at his summit of the loftiest mast, and at a height so great from son, at the same time hailing him, without a trumpet, ja the deck that my brain turned dizzy as I looked up at him. his voice of thunder, The reverse of Virgil's line was true in this instance. It “ Robert !" cried he, “jump! jump overboard ! or I'll was comparatively easy to ascend--but to descend-my fire at you." head swain round, and my stomach felt sick, at the thought The boy seemed to hesitate, and it was plain that he was of the perils comprised in that one word. There was nothing tottering, for his arms were thrown out like those of one above him or around him but empty air-and beneath him scarcely able to retain his balance. The commodore raised nothing but a point, a mere point-a small unstable wheel, his voice again, and, in a quicker and more energetic tone, that seemed no bigger from the deck than the button on the cried, end of a foil, and the taper skysail-pole itself scarcely larger “Jump! 'tis your only chance for life." than the blade. Dreadful temerity! If he should attempt The words were scarcely out of his mouth, before the boy to stoop, what could he take hold of to steady his descent ? was seen to leave the truck, and spring out into the air. A His feet quite covered up the small and fearful platform sound, between a shriek and a groan, burst from many lips. upon which he stood, and beneath that, a long, smooth, The father spoke not-sighed not-indeed he did not seem naked spar, which seemed to bend with his weight, was tu breathe. For a moment of intense interest a pin might all that upheld him from destruction. An attempt to get have been heard to drop on deck. With a rush like down from that “ bad eminence," would be almost certain that of a cannon-ball, the body descended to the water, and death; he would inevitably lose his equilibrium, and be before the waves closed over it, twenty stout fellows, among precipitated to the deck a crushed and shapeless mass. Such them several officers, had dived from the bulwarks. Anwere the thoughts that crowded through my mind as I first other short period of anxious suspense ensued. He roseraised my eyes, and saw the terrible truth of Jake's excla- he was alive! his arms were seen to move !-he struck out mation. What was to be done in the pressing and fearful towards the ship!-and despite the discipline of a man-ofexigency? To hail him, and inform him of the danger, war, three loud huzzas, an outburst of unfeigned and unwould be but to ensure his ruin. Indeed I fancied that the restrainable joy from the hearts of our crew of five hunrash boy already perceived the imminence of his peril; and dred men, pealed through the air, and made the welkin I half thought I could see his limbs begin to quiver. Every ring. moment I expected to see the dreadful catastrophe. I could Till this moinent, the old commodore had stood unmoved. not bear to look at him, and yet could not withdraw my The eyes that, glistening with joy, now sought his face, gaze. A film came over my eyes, and a faintness over my saw that it was ashy pale. He attempted to descend the heart. The atmosphere seemed to grow thick, and tremble look-out block, but his knees bent under him; he seemed and waver like the heated air round a furnace; the mast to gasp for breath, and put up his hand, as if to tear open appeared to totter, and the ship to pass from under my feet. his vest; but before he accomplished his object, he stagI myself had the sensations of one about to fall from a great gered forward, and would have fallen on the deck, had he height, and in a sudden effort to recover myself, like that not been caught by old Black Jake. He was borne into of a dreamer who fancies he is shoved from a precipice, I his cabin, where the surgeon attended him, whose utmost staggered up against the bulwarks.

skill was required to restore his mind to its usual equability When my eyes were once turned from the object to which and self-command, in which he at last happily succeeded. they had been riveted, my sense and consciousness came As soon as he recovered from the dreadful shock, he sent back. I looked round-the deck was already crowded with for Bob, and had a long confidential conference with him; people. The intelligence of poor Bub's temerity had spread and it was noticed when the little fellow left the cabin that through the ship like wildfire-and the officers and crew he was in tears. were all crowding to the deck. Every one, as he looked The next day we sent down our taunt and dashy poles, up, turned pale, and his eye became fastened on the truck and replaced them with the stump-to-gallant masts; and -like that of a spectator of an execution on the gallows on the third, we weighed anchor, and made sail for with a stedfast and unblinking, yet abhorrent gaze, as if Gibraltar. momently expecting a fatal termination to the suspense.

[Captain Basil Hall.] No one made a suggestion—no one spoke. Every feeling, every faculty, seemed absorbed and swallowed up in one PERSONS who want experience should be extremely caudeep, intense emotion of agony. Once the first lieutenant tious how they depart from those principles which have seized the trumpet, as if to hail poor Bob, but he had been received generally, because founded on solid reasonz ; scarce raised it to his lips, when his arm dropped again, and how they deviate from those customs which have oband sunk listlessly down beside him, as if from sad consciousness of the inutility of what he had been going to thus circumspect should all persons be, who cannot yet

tained long, because in their effect they have proved good. say. Every soul in the ship was now on the spar-deck, and have acquired much practical knowledge of the world ; lest, every eye was fixed on the main-truck. At this moment there was a stir among the crew about

instead of becoming what they anxiously wish to become, the gang way, and directly after, another face was added to them, they should actually, though inadvertently, be instru

more beneficial to mankind than those who have preceded those on the quarter-deck-it was that of the commodore, mental towards occasioning some of the worst evils that Bob's father. He had come alongside in a shore-boat, without having been noticed by a single eye, so intense and

can befall human society. -BISHOP HUNTINGFORD. universal was the interest that had fastened every gaze upon the spot where poor Bob stood trembling on the awful

LONDON: verge of fate. The commodore asked not a question, uttered

JOHN WILLIAM PARKER, WEST STRAND. not a syllable. He was a dark-faced, austere man, and it was

PUBLISHED IN WEEKLY NUMBERS, PRICE ONE PENNY, AND IN MONTHLY PARTA

PRICE SIXPENCE, AND thought by some of the midshipmen that he entertained but Sold by all Booksellers and Newsvenders in the Kingdom

THE

EDUC.

[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]

UNDER THE DIRECTION OF THE COMMITTEE OF GENERAL LITERATURE AND EDUCATION,

APPOINTED BY THE SOCIETY FOR PROMOTING CHRISTIAN KNOWLEDGE.

[graphic][merged small][merged small][subsumed][merged small][merged small]

THE INDIAN SNAKE-CHARMERS.

sinner to a serpent that shuts its ear against the TAE jugglers of India have been long celebrated for voice of the charmer." The allegory to which this their extraordinary dexterity, and, by the natives writer refers, is contained in the fourth and fifth generally, they are supposed to have intercourse with verses of the fifty-eighth psalm : “ their poison is like demons. These vagrants are frequently applied to the poison of a serpent; they are like the deaf adder as the bravoes of Spain and Italy formerly were, to that stoppeth her ear, which will not hearken to the get rid of obnoxious persons, whom they contrive to voice of the charmers, charming never so wisely.” despatch by poison, when well paid for the service,

Whenever a poisonous snake is known to be in and pretend that their influence with some malignant the vicinity of a dwelling-house, the snake-charmer spirit has produced a signal retribution upon the is sent for to remove it, and he always undertakes to enemy of their employer, who they boldly assert was get rid of the obnoxious intruder for a trifling no longer fit to live.

gratuity, but generally receives the money without The various tribes of vagrants who live by different abating the nuisance which he is employed to remedy; mountebank arts, though universally despised, are for it commonly happens that as soon as he apuniversally dreaded. They are outcasts; and yet proaches the hole where the reptile has taken the awe which they inspire, gives them a sort of shelter, it crawls further in. When this is the case confidence, and obtains for them, under certain cir- the man has bis remedy; he resorts to imposture, cumstances, a forced respect, which renders their and thus terminates the business to his employer's social condition far less deplorable than that of the entire satisfaction, as well as his own. His mode of Pariah tribes generally. The most common class proceeding is as follows. He takes one of his tame among the jugglers, and by far the most harmless, is snakes, which he carries concealed about his person, that of the snake-catchers, who infest the villages and and having made every one retire from the spot fairs, exhibiting their snakes, and accompanying their where he is to commence his charm, secretly places the movements with a music, if it may be so called, tame snake in the hole, and instantly begins to blow from which all melody is banished, and the most upon the favourite pipe, which the creature no sooner frightful confusion of sounds produced, that jars upon hears than it creeps out, when the impostor seizes it musical nerves worse than the old-fashioned wedding by the neck, receives his stipulated reward, and bears accompaniments of marrow-bones and cleavers in off in triumph the supposed offender. If on the this country, upon the ears of a young bride. They following day, the snake remaining in the hole should carry their serpents in round wieker baskets with flat happen to show itself, the same farce is repeated, and bottoms, in which the creatures. lie coiled up in a the man receives his second fee, accompanied by the state of lethargy, until roused by the harsh tones earnest thanks of the donor. · of their keepers' flutes. It is astonishing to see how These jugglers frequently contrive to impose upon they are affected by the tones of those rude instru- the superstitious Hindoos, by persuading them that ments, for no sooner do their charmers begin to blow, their houses are infested with snakes. In order to than the snakes raise their heads, gradually erect make this appear, they place one or two of their themselves, waving their necks to and fro, as if in a tame ones in some of the crevices of the building. state of ecstasy.

They then enter the house with all the assumed The hooded-snake is always the most prominent, wisdom of the ancient Sages, begin to pipe such one of which is represented in the print, with the hood music as would scare any other creature but a snake spread close by the hand of the man who is holding into the deepest recesses of its retreat, and when the a pitcher. The rock-snake, held by the person in reptile appears, they snatch it up, put it immediately the opposite corner of the picture is innoxious, but into its wicker prison, and thus the enchantment the bite of a hooded-snake is generally fatal; never ends. These pretended enchanters will sometimes go theless, the charmers do not extract the poisonous into every house in a village, and practise the same fangs as is commonly supposed, but exhibit these deceits, and where imposition is so easy, and impunity reptiles with all their powers of mischief unimpaired, so certain, it is no wonder that there are such a numand it is the perfect knowledge of their habits that ber of cheating vagabonds and quacks of all kinds in secures them from the danger of being bitten*. The every part of India. It must be confessed, however, rock-snake is usually from twelve to sixteen feet long, that among the jugglers are frequently to be found of a sluggish nature, and suffers itself to be handled persons who perform feats of manual dexterity without making any effort to escape. The man who scarcely credible. They possess an elasticity of shows it, ties it round his neck like a lady's boa, body, and a fexibility of limb, far exceeding any and coils it into all sorts of fantastic figures, the thing ever witnessed in colder latitudes. creature remaining all the while perfectly passive. mention one or two of their cunning juggles, and

This class of jugglers perform numberless tricks then a feat of physical activity which I have witwith these reptiles, taking even such as are venom nessed more than once. These people come to your

in their hands, and putting them against house in broad day-light, and perform their tricks their cheeks with perfect impunity. They always upon the ground before your door; they have no pretend that the fangs are extracted, in order to cunningly-planned tables to disguise their art, but prevent alarm in those before whom they exhibit only a few implements of their profession contained them. The general opinion concerning these pre- in a small basket. Being almost entirely naked, they tenders, is that they possess the power of charming have not those resources common to all conjurors in all venomous snakes, and of commanding their other countries. perfect obedience. The medium of communication One of their favourite tricks is to take the seed of they profess to be the musical instrument, the sound a mango, which they put into a small pot of earth, of which appears to infuse into the dumb captives about the size of an ordinary flower-pot. In a short new life and energy. “The same art,” says the time the earth is seen to heave, and, after a few Abbé Dubois,“ seems to have been laid claim to in seconds, the head of a plant peeps forth. To the other ancient nations; witness the allegory of the pro- astonishment of the beholder it gradually rises, the phet, where he compares the obstinacy of a hardened buds swell, the leaves unfold, the blossom expands, • For a further explanation of this subject, see Saturday Maga- and presented to you, and always turns out to be a

the fruit forms, grows, and ripens, when it is plucked zine, Vol. VI., p. 143.

I may

ous

very excellent mango. The impression on the mind of

THE ADMIRABLE CRICHTON. the beholder is so vivid, and the whole effect so over PRODIGIES of learning, as they are called, have powering, that he really fancies he sees the various generally failed to leave behind them satisfactory operations of the growth as I have described. The proofs of their amazing talent. This is instanced in deception is so perfect, that the reality of the thing the case of the distinguished person whose portrait never for a moment loses its hold upon the imagina is annexed. So regularly has his fame been handed tion, although the palpable fact of the mango-tree down from age to age, that, even now, when we being as large as an English oak, whereas the coun

wish to express the idea of an universal genius, terfeit does not rise niuch higher than a currant we style the character “ An admirable Crichton,” and bush, sufficiently attests the delusion; it is, never the force of compliment can no further go. But theless, altogether, a most remarkable deception. there are very few really authentic documents to The beholder, however, I should say, is never allowed illustrate his history, the principal details of which to approach near to the juggler while this operation have generally been drawn from the romantic memoir is going on.

of his life, written by Sir Thomas Urquhart: and if Another very common trick, but less extraordinary, we were allowed to judge of Crichton's mental powers, is to cover the ground before your door, to the extent by the few specimens of his pen which are left to us, of several feet, with growing flowers. The principal we should hesitate to confirm the report of former enchanter spreads upon the earth a large coarse cloth, ages concerning his merits. The times, however, and about the size of a sheet, over which he mutters his with them the public tastes, are changed. potent spell; he then suddenly raises it, and the

During the period in which Crichton flourished, whole space underneath is overspread with flowers, “ of the scholars of Europe were divided into two great all hues and fragrance" peculiar to that fruitful climate. classes,—the followers of Plato, and those of ArisHe again spreads the sheet, and raising it after a few totle, who puzzled themselves and others amidst the moments, there is no longer a flower to be seen. mazes of philosophy; not that “ Divine philosophy"

Upon one occasion, after I had seen this done, a of which the poet sung: tall stout bamboo, forty feet long, was fixed upright

As musical as is Apollo's lute, in the ground, sufficiently firm to bear the weight of And a perpetual feast of nectar'd sweets, a heavy man. About five feet from the top there

Where no crude surfeit reigns: was a transverse pole fastened to the upright bamboo but the harsh and crabbed philosophy of the school. with strong cords, the whole forming a lofty cross. men; a thorough acquaintance with the writings of When all was ready, a short active Hindoo, somewhat such authors as Thomas Aquinas, and Duns Scotus*, beyond the middle age, with compact limbs and was the test of scholarship in those darker days of rigid muscularity of frame, approached the cross, European literature. There are other reasons for such grasped the shaft, and using his hands and feet with

a genius as Crichton having been the idol of his own equal dexterity, climbed to the cross-bar with the time. His qualities were personally attractive and ease and agility of a cat. Placing himself on his engaging. Possessed of a handsome countenance back on one of the projecting ends of the transverse and noble figure; though a mere youth, an excellent pole, he folded his arms, and lay so still that every disputer; a graceful rider, fencer, actor, and musician, muscle of his body appeared in a state of complete it is no wonder that he carried off the palm from his repose. In a moment he sprang upon his feet with equals in age, and at his early death, (a circumstance out any apparent preparation or perceptible move. highly favourable to youthful fame,) left a title of ment of his limbs ; he then threw himself horizon- honour, which, for its comprehensive character, tally upon the point of the upright bamboo, and stands without a rival in the annals of biography, spun round with a velocity quite distressing to JAMES CRICHTON was born at Eliock castle, in a behold ; one while turning on his back, and another little island on the lake of Cluny, in Perthshire, in on his stomach, changing his position with a quick- | 1560. His father, a person of good family, was ness and precision that baffles description. He now Lord Advocate of Scotland; and his uncle was placed his head upon the extremity of the pole, shook bishop of Dunkeld, having succeeded in that see his feet in the air, and raised his arms with the most the famous Gavin Douglas, the translator of Virgil, distressing animation. Whilst he was thus occupied, of whom Sir Walter Scott says: eight brass balls were severally thrown to him, which

More proud that in a barb'rous age he caught and danced into the air one after the

He gave rude Scotland Virgil's page, other, throwing them in various directions above and

Than that beneath his sway he held round him, when, on a sudden, he sprang upon his

The bishopric of rich Dunkeld. feet, standing upright upon a diameter of not more The mother of our hero was a Stuart, descended than two inches and a half, and caught every ball, from Robert Duke of Albany, the uncle of Jaines without allowing one to fall to the ground. He the First; so that if there was presumption, there next performed the most extraordinary feats upon

was also truth in Crichton's boast, that he was the cross-pole, having nothing but his arms to sprung from Scottish kings. When very young he balance him, throwing a twelve-pound cannon-ball studied hard at the university of St. Andrew's; his over his head, catching it below his right shoulder, masters being Rutherford, whose name is more known and by the mere muscular force repelling it back through his pupil, than any other source; and again as if it had been ejected from the hand. Buchanan, one of the most profound men of that or After suspending himself by the chin, by the toes, any other age. Crichton was scarcely more than and heels, he dropped from the transverse beam to twelve, when he took his degree as Bachelor of Arts; the ground, a height of full thirty feet, and received and at fourteen, he became Master of Arts, with our benefactions with a graceful salaam.

distinguished praise. These early honours, howOne cannot help lamenting, in seeing the singular ever, did not spoil him for future exertions; they talents exhibited by the jugglers in India, that they rather quickened his zeal, and we soon find him should be invariably such depraved persons ; but this perfecting himself in the various branches of abstruse is one of the grievous results of those divisions into learning, and gaining the knowledge of eleven differcaste, which is the cause of all the social distractions ent languages. The custom then was, as indeed it 80 notoriously existing among the Hindoo population.

* See-Saturday Magazine, Vol. I. p. 97. J. H. C.

18542

« AnteriorContinuar »