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EDITOR'S TA B L E.
MORE 'LAST Words' FROM `Carl Benson.'— Our friend Benson, before 'going down to the sea' (we hope not into it) in one of our noble steam-ships, has had barely time to correct a few errors, partly his own and partly the proof-reader's, which crept into his last hurried letter to the EDITOR.
DEAR KNICK.: There is just time to bid you good-bye again, as we are standing, so to speak, with one foot on land and the other on board. Two or three little typographical slips in my last I want to correct. Cento(r)ism is obyious ; occidus and amplera any one's knowledge of metre would enable him to rectify into occiduo and amplexu ; teneatis (in the 'Anna') might perhaps be recognized, though stripped of its initial; but nemini for memini (in the third line of the same) may have puzzled some. In the quotation from Ovid, parte should have been latere : that I believe was my fault. Also there was a sentence left out to this effect: that the non-use of cano as applied to singing birds was rendered more extraordinary by its use in reference to croaking birds ; corvus canit, parræ recinentis omen, etc. Talking of misprints and your hypercritical friend who found fault with you for writing sobriquet, do you know that that is one of the most commonly mis-spelt French words ? People are misled by the more familiar and somewhat similarly-sounding word bouquet, improperly written by some boquet. I had written soubriquet myself the other day, and it would have gone forth so to the world but for CRAIGHEAD's foreman, (who is & very sharp man at his business, by the way, and has all his wits about him.) That evening I tried experiments among my friends, and found that most of them (including one who was actually born in Paris) spelt the word with the superfluous u.
Apropos of the American-Parisian above mentioned. He said rather a good thing the other day, me judice. Two stout.Union men,' who would go out of the way any day to catch a 'fugitive' for a 'Southern brother,' were driving in a gig, and nearly all but pitched into one of those carriage-traps that our corporation and contractors are in the habit of sprinkling about the avenues. They were detailing their inkling of adventure' very circumstantially. So,' quoth HENRI, you came near changing your politics. “How so?' asked one of the almost sufferers. “Because you had like to become sewered men.' I call that not bad for an impromptu. Do you know if this is old! An acquaintance says it is, but I never heard it. What is the cheapest way to get a musical instrument! Buy a shilling's worth of physic at the druggist's, and they 'll give you a vial in' At any rate, I am sure this one is n't old; it's bad enough to be bran-new. Why ought a ballet-girl to be good at philosophy! Because she has been accustomed to play-toe. Beat that if you can: and so goodbye!
SCENE: THE EDITOR'S SANCTUM. -TIME: PABT TWILVE O'CLOCK AT NIGHT.
EDITOR. — ELIZABETH BARRETT is a great woman.
EDITOR. — ELIZABETH BARRETT. She has written no less than eighty-seven sonnets !
MOUSER (stretches first one wing and then the other, with an expression of intense weariness): Whoo!
EDITOR. — Yet Dulot, a French poet, even went beyond that. He lost his papers, and with them, as he complains, three hundred sonnets! What!' exclaim his friends, 'three hundred?' 'Yes, blank sonnets; bouts-rimés : all they wanted was the filling up!' By the way, I have somewhere a letter on this very subject, from an old friend, a poor clergyman and poet, as yet unpublished. It is in the following words :
MOUSER. — To-wbit:
EDITOR (reads): Sonnets I take to be the last remnants of that species of invention which formerly sprouted out in numberless petty devices, such as anagrams, charades, chronograms, lypograms, acrostics, and the like. They belong to the age of powder and periwigs, clipped hedges, and yews trimmed into monsters; when men, in order to be elegant, were obliged, as Ben Jonson writes,
"To pump for those hard trifles Anagrams
A pair of scissors, and a comb in verse.' 'Byron says, in a letter to Moore, ‘I never wrote but one sonnet before, and that was not in earnest, and many years ago, as an exercise ; and I will never write another. They are the most puling, petrifying, stupidly platonic compositions.' To which I subscribe. I do not mean to say that good sonnets have not been written, I have seen such ; it is the school that is bad. They are like Flemish pictures, or as the painter said of the sardines, Lillle fishes done in oil! But as I have been requested to write a sonnet, I will not refuse you, yet I am sure I would not do so
again even for a friend; that is, a friend for whom I had an especial regard: sonneteering is too nice a matter; the better done, the worse; and I think, with DISRAELI, * Extreme exactness is the sublime of fools.' Nevertheless here is the thing. If you wish to put it among your • KNICK'- knacks, you have my consent thereto, thinking that it may do some good :'
“A SONNET?' well, if it's within my ken,
I'll write one with a moral. When a boy,
One Christmas morn I went to buy a toy,
Blamed' if we didn't meet one Pat McCoy,
Who four more gave, which made fourteen together.
A pretty pocket-wallet; like a feather
• You're smart,' says he; you've got a heap of leather,
But where's them cents you wanted to put in it?'
GOSSIP wiru READERS AND CORRESPONDENTS. Here is an extract from a letter written by a lady-friend of ours, resident in San Francisco, to another lady-friend
of ours' in New York, which seems to us to present a graphic picture of life in the former · diggings.' The letter was written soon after the last destructive fire, which consumed, for the second time, the best part of the great California capital:
• BEFORE this letter reaches you, you will have heard that we have again been nearly burned up. Just one week ago to-day I was nearly all ready for church, hat on and tied, when the alarm of Fire' was given; and an alarm here has a very different effect from one in New York. Every body is at once panic-struck, and run immediately to the hills for protection. In five minutes our house presented a singular scene. Every body was 'picking up his own.' My husband said, "Take care of your clothes, and let every thing else go!' He said this because ladies' garments are the most difficult things to obtain here. I concluded to make a frolic of the matter, thinking all the while that it was ridiculous to be in such a hurry; but only for a short time was I laboring under this impression. I never in my life saw such flames as roared, and surged, and licked with crimson tongues the open sky.' The atmosphere of our house soon became so hot that I was glad enough to vacate it. Just fancy Mr.
H a nd myself running up a high hill, I with a copy of Tasso and Dants in one hand, and my jewel-box in the other. Before I left I took a hasty glance into the kitchen; saw our dinner lying on the table ; hesitated a moment as to whether it would not be more sensible to leave the books and take the beer, but finally concluded the beef could stand the fire best, and so left it, not expecting to see either our dinner or our house again. I begged very hard to be permitted to remove some of our fur niture, but my husband said, 'No.' I did, however, secure my beautiful curtains. Twenty-five dollars a load (the "fire price' at San Francisco) makes people rather reluctant to try to save their goods from conflagration. From the house to which we had fled upon the hill, we could look down upon the whole scene. By three o'clock the fire had been so far subdued that it was considered safe to return. We found our faithful old cook in the kitchen, ehelling peas, with the fire raging all around her. She hadn't moved a peg. The building was as hot as if it had actually been on fire; but the old woman said she kind o' mistrusted 't was n't a-goin' to burn up that time!!
Now I keep all my clothes packed up, ready to move at any moment. Had this fire originated a block from us, I should have had no time to save any thing. After this I shall be prepared, unless it comes next door; then I shall consider it fortunate if I get away myself. At the first toll of the bell there are thousands of people rushing into the streets, looking on, and letting the fire take its course. They can do nothing, except to do what I saw done, take up rich car pets and hang them over the fronts of houses. They are in truth perfectly powerless here : no water, no engines, and every thing so dry; and yet the broad Pacific is all around us. I think ir a few more enterprising Yankees were here it would be put to some use.
I can't for the life of me realize that I am in the United States. It is very far from civilization,' yet, in more meanings than one. It is amusing to sit at our window and see the different nations pass ; so many Chineses,' as Milton calls them, and so many curious-looking people ; the men mostly covered with hair. Our house is in a central situation, so that we see all that is going on— sometimes too much. ... I often sigh for some female friend ; one whom I could sit and sew or read with. It would make the hours pass very pleasantly.
I think it is a sad place, this same San Francisco. In the first place, there are so many bad women here that ladies can scarce go into the street. This prevents almost all social visiting at night. You know what a coward I always was in the streets of New York, so you can well imagine that I seldom go out here, and I should die to be left alone at home. At first my husband would not let me sit at the windows; "and never, upon any occasion, to open the door in the day-time!' ... I wish you could look out of our windows just now and see the wind blow! At eleven it begins, and blows a perfect hurricane until night. I have not seen a rainy day eince I left New-York — not one; and every day we sit down with a large fire in the parlor. And still they tell me, 'You must like our climate!' Perhaps so; but I like the climate of NewYork better.
"Would n't you like to know a little something about the expenses of house-keeping hereabout? Premising that we pay two hundred dollars a month for a comfortable house, and our cook a hundred and fifty, just take a few things for our dinner to-day, and, as J - used to say,' then you come at it'a little. Cook told me yesterday she could make us a good maccaroni pudding: so I sent out for a dozen maccaronis, 'only' a shilling apiece; six eggs, ten shillings; one quart of milk, seventy-five cents; to say nothing of jelly. (The 'good things' take the money!') I've just sent out for a quart of vinegar, four shillings; a bar of common soap, five shillings; while even the water that we use costs us a dollar a day, which does not include our water for washing. A little waiter-girl receives twenty-five dollars a month, and washing done out' is at five dollars the dozen! ... Tell — when he sits in his comfortable pew at Grace-church on Sundays, to think of our privilege in that respect, bere in San Francisco. Such a church as we attend I never saw before; a mere shed, with rough benches. But there is not the slightest use in building a handsome church here, for it is sure to burn down. And such is life' in California's chief capital.'
PUNCTUAL to the day and hour, we have · The North-American Review' for October. It is a very good number, although some of the papers are rather dry. As among the best of them, we regard the two upon the Life and Poetry of WORDSWORTH,' and • PARKMAN's History of Pontiac's War.' We heartily endorse the just praise bestowed upon Professor REED, of Philadelphia, in the first of the above-named papers. Mr. Reed's edition of Wordswortu's Poetical Works' is truly a noble one, and its two illustrations most creditable to those excellent artists, Messrs. TROUTMAN and Hayes, Philadelphia. We cannot conclude our article,' says the reviewer, without a notice of the great service Professor REED has rendered to the American public, as the editor of the works of WORDSWORTH and of his Memoirs. His notes on the poet's writings evince an intelligent and genial appreciation of the author, and tend to cultivate the like quality in others; and his additions to the memoirs furnish no inconsiderable portion of the most interesting matter they contain. Mr. REED has lately published a new, and now complete, edition of the poet's works, in a handsome volume, with convenient indices; a book which no American library should be without.' In treating of Mr. Parkman's book, already noticed somewhat at large in the KNICKERBOCKER, the reviewer commends the great spirit and fidelity with which the author has executed his task, and the large amount and variety of interesting and relevant material which he has amassed and deftly arranged. He also warmly commends a previous work of the same author, the • Oregon Trail, which was written for the KNICKERBOCKER. Several sketches from the same pen, which preceded it in these pages, were remarkable for the COOPER-like faithfulness of their descriptions of forest-life and scenery. The present work places Mr. ParkMan in the front rank of American historians. ... THERE
is some fervency in the following, and the theme is one that demands it. The man who can keep a dinner-table waiting, must at an early period of his life have committed some murder or other which he thought very little of at the time,' but which gradually led him down through profane swearing, disturbing a Methodist meeting, procrastination, etc., to the awful vice of coming · Too Late to Dinner :'
Lives there a man with soul so small,
Accepts, then does not come ?
Wrapped in the darkest gloom?
To him a well-known soud:
He 'll always late be found.
Aid me, ye gods! to curse the man,
Scarcely believe 't is true:
llis meat burned through and through!
Alas! poor hapless sinner!
J. HOWARD WAINWRIGIT.
THERE is not a little amusing gossip in the missive of our correspondent at C- , Indiana ; 'as par examp.':
"I HAVE some good times' in perusing your Gossip' with readers; and especially did I enjoy myself hugely in reading some extracts from the memoirs of William DELANEY PATTON, with whom I formed an acquaintance some years since, during a residence in Belmont county, Ohio, immediately adjoining the bailiwick in which the aforesaid WILLIAM DELANEY exercised the functions of High Sheriff. He is a veritable personage, I assure you. His Memoirs' are somewhat grandiloquent, certainly; but I think he could be equalled, if not excelled, in this Hoosier ked'ntry.'
"I have looked in vain for a copy of an 'Address to the Patriotic Voters of the Fourth Congressional District,' written by one Jown G. CHAPMAN, an unfledged lawyer, during an exciting Congressional canvass that shook the hills and jarred the rivers of Indiana, about the year of God 35. It begins thus: Man, vain man, cruel, credulous, prejudiced, pusillanimous, and egotisın!' and the author concludes by exhorting the free and enlightened voters to approach the polls, and vote for RaRIDEN with reverence, and dignity, and contempt!' The address abounds in the most fulsome laudations of his favorite candidate, and CHAPMAN followed it up by divers voluntary appeals to the voters aforesaid ; till RARIDEN, who could not breast the storm of ridicule called forth thereby, sent him a message that he would cow-skin him, if he ever heard of his writing another line in his behalf! I am sorry I cannot find the address; but ex uno disce omnes. I have said that CHAPMAN was unfledged when he wrote for the patriotic voters, or rather to them; and compared with some of the efforts of maturer years, it is as a Satyr to HYPERION. A friend has promised me one of his e-forts 'when prosecuting a poor devil who was indicted in the Elkhart Circuit Court, and who had, as he averred in the indictment, with force and arms, at the said county of Elkhart, feloniously stolen, taken and carried away one quart of a certain spirituous liquor, commonly called whiskey. The same friend promises me to reduce to writing and send to me a speech of our hero,' when called to order in our State Senate. You shall have it.
Let me give you (for I infer from the 'Gossip' that you enjoy a laugh after dinner) a speech tkat I actually heard. In the autumn of 1843 I made my 'star-entrée' into R — county, in this State, with a license in my pocket, obtained about six weeks before, that authorized me to practise law in the Circuit and Inferior Courts of Record in the State of Indiana ;' and between von and me, dear KNICK., that same license and nine one-dollar bills of scrip on the White Water Valley Canal Company were about all I had in my pocket. I found it a land of thorns and thistles, inhabited by a set of God-forsaken Arabs, who were disposed to sneer at a young gentleman who wore store-clothes' and kept his boots blacked, albeit he blacked them himself. I left after having staid one year, during which I rather fear I “appeared' on the stump for CLAY and FRELINGHUYSEN more frequently than I appeared at the bar of the Randolph Circuit Court in behalf of any unfortunate clients who chose to deliver themselves up to my tender mercies. But I wander. The uttorneys were illiterate men, who read the speeches of PHILLIPS, CURRAN and EMMET, and made them their models; per consequence, they indulged in a style of speaking which might be termed 'subloom;' a style of oratory not described by BLAIR or Lord KAIMES, but which was very common in the Eleventh Judicial Circuit, and signifies one degree beyond the sublime.