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very properly related the circumstances Bishop Simpson's was the principal adwhich gave birth to the Christian Commis- dress of the evening. He called attention sion. He was one of the seven who origi- to the services which the Commission had nally met in Washington on the 10th of No- rendered the Government and the country. vember, 1861, to see what could be done It had sanctified the war in the hearts of the for the spiritual welfare of the army. He soldiers and the people, and its influence briefly told the history of the work they was of such increasing effect that one-fourth begun on that day, and spoke for fifteen of all the contributions made were tendered minutes in explanation of the causes which in the last six months of the war. The sucled to the great success of that work, and cess of the Commission had given proof of the incidental results which it accomplished. the power of the influence of the spirit of

Mr. Colfax, on rising to announce the Christ, and he noticed as an astounding fact song, said that a year ago there was one that the aggregate of the labors of all the here whose absence we all now mourn more agents was one hundred and eighty-one than we could mourn the absence of rela- thousand days. The work of the Commistive or friend. He paid a most touching sion had presented the world with a true and eloquent tribute to the memory of Mr. specimen of Christian brotherhood, all sects Lincoln, and added that during the exer- and religious organizations being representcises of the anniversary meeting of a year ed among its officers and agents. ago there was sent up to him as presiding officer a programme on the back of which was written, in the peculiar style so well known to all men, the words : ~ Near the close let us have the song, Your Mission,' by Mr. Phillips. Don't say I called for it.

THE BURNING OIL-WELL. Signed Lincoln.” “ That song,” said Mr. Colifax, was sung then, and will be again FRANKLIN, PA., February 13, 1866. sung now.” It was received with hearty IT occurred to me that a more detailed and repeated and long-continued applause. account of the • Burning Well,' referred to

Mr. Harlan being absent, the next speaker by your correspondent from this place, a was Admiral Davis, who spoke very briefly, few days ago, would be interesting to your and was followed by Rev. Mr. Johnson, who readers. It is certainly one of the greatest related many instances which came under curiosities to be found in the oil-region. It his observation while through the Army of yields an interest to none of the great phethe Potomac as one of the agents of the nomena found in other lands, and richly reCommission, who in turn gave way to Sen- pays one for the trouble and fatigue enator Doolittle, who spoke in an eloquent and dured in visiting it. The well is situated forcible manner for about ten minutes. on the eastern bank of the Alleghany, at

General Meade was the next speaker an- the mouth of Mog's Run, or as it is somenounced, but Mr. Stuart said he was unable times-called, Pine Hill Run. The distance to be present on account of sudden sickness below Franklin is about twenty miles by the in bis family. He had however sent a letter, course of the river, or across the hills about which was read. He says he bears testimony twelve miles. The mode of travel by your to the value of the Commission in the Army correspondent was by the river, on the ice of the Potomac, ministering not only to the about half the distance, the remainder over spiritual but to the bodily wants of the sol- the hills. diers, and adds that one of the brightest As you approach the region of the well pages in our history will be that on which the country becomes rough and romantic in is written the record of the noble manner the extreme. High hills and abrupt preciin which the people supplied the wants of pices are covered and overhung by immense their armies.

masses of detached rock, that seem scatterGeneral Auger was next called upon, ed at random on the hill tops and on the and made a brief, modest, soldierly address sides of the acclivities. If the glacial theory of thanks to the people for their loving and of Agassiz be correct, then the icebergs that constant remembrance of the soldiers, and were anchored here were thickly laden with he was followed by Rev. D. A. Chidlaw of mighty boulders from the North. Be this Cincinnati, who had seen much service in as it may, the rocky masses are lying here the Western armies as an agent of the Com- in wonderful confusion. mission, and made a most telling and thrilling Before you approach near enough to the address in a fervid Western manner, which well to see the flames, your ears are saluted won round after round of applause. with the roaring sound similar to that

filled up:

which Ross Brown describes as peculiar to and fresh as in April, while the very ice on the Geysers in Iceland. It seems to be due the river has melted and disappeared. chiefly to the rush of gas from the depths The well has been burning about three below, but may be in part from the flame weeks, with no apparent diminution in its itself as it rises high in the air.

power, or in the quantity of gas, so that at Like most great curiosities, this well suf- present it bids fair to afford light to the fers from surrou

rounding circumstances. There people for some time to come. is no good object near with which it may Although the fire is surrounded on all be compared as to height. Added to this, sides by hills of such lofty proportions, yet the hills all around it are from six hundred at night the light is seen at a great distance. to a thousand feet in height, affording as a At Franklin it lights up the southern horiback ground rocks and shrubs and stunted zon with a bright, tremulous glow. trees, that tend to diminish its effect on the This light assumed a very strange appear. eye and imagination.

ance one evening last week. It was somewhat The well was of course bored for oil. It cloudy, and in addition to the usual ruddy : had reached a depth of some five hundred glow, the light appeared to concentrate itfeet, when the column of gas, that must be self into a bright lance-like figure about immense, rushed up and became ignited four or five degrees in length, that remained from the furnace of the engine. Soon, of stationary about midway between the horicourse, the derrick, engine house, and fix- zon and the zenith, wbere it continued all tures were consumed, and the engine itself the evening. - Meadville (Pa.) Republican. a wreck. The top of the conductor which emerges from the pit, being of wood, was burned off, when an attempt was made to fill up the pit with earth and extinguish the flames. This proved a failure, as the pressure of the gas was too great to be easily

From the Spectator.

CHARLES LAMB.* As it is seen at present, the gas rushes through the loose earth in a thousand jets, MR. FITZGERALD thinks it necessary, beand the result is that a column of flame cause he writes about Lamb, to affect to be constantly emerges from the pit equal to its Lambish, just as persons writing about Carsize, which is, perhaps, eight feet square. lyle are often absurd enough to be CarlylThis column rises to a height of from fifty ish, and to discourse on "the great fact of to one hundred feet, varying every few the man Cariyle." Because Lamb loved seconds from the minimum to the maximum rambling on without any method but the height. The pillar is not regular in form, turns of his own humor, Mr. Fitzgerald but rough and jagged. Sometimes it is di- rambles on about Lamb without any method vided, and sends its tongues of flame out in at all. “ Is it fancitul,” he says, every direction. As it reaches its greatest pose that a treatment a little fitful and height, the top of the flame Jeaps off and rambling would be almost in keeping with is extinguished. This is the appearance in Lamb's own nature, which migut have daylight. At night, and surrounded by the shrunk from the more formal honours of darkness, its appearance must be awfully official biography ?”. We should say it is grand and imposing:

fanciful, — quite fanciful, — in any one to I am inclined to think that there is some whom the “ fitful and rambling” treatment oil mingled with the product of the well

, in- is not the natural and fitting literary exasmuch as every three or four seconds a pression, which it was to Lamb. Mr. Percy cloud of dark smoke rolls up with the Fitzgerald's fitfulness and ramblingness are flames; and is swept to its very summit, a little like an elderly spinster's girlish when it disappears.

ways, – like Merry Pecksniff's early fasciSome visitors compute the height at one nations. When Mr. Pecksniff showed Marhundred and fifty feet. This is probably tin Chuzzlewit round his new home, he correct at some periods, as the day I visited just opened the bedroom door where the it, the air was damp and unfavorable to its Miss Pecksniffs slept, and said to Martin, reaching its greatest height.

“ Birds, flowers, you see, Martin, — such The roaring sound is constant, and al- things as girls love !” but the birds were, most resembles the sound of distant thunder. says the biographer, limited to a lame sparThe climate in the neighbourhood is very

* Charles Lamb, his Friends, his Haunts, and his mild and summer-like. The buds on the

By Percy Fitzgerald, M.A., F.S.A. Looshrubs are expanding and the grass green don : Bentley.

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row, which had been captured and impris- | Jeffrey Dunstan, whom he had met and seen at oned in an old cage expressly for the occa- his dwelling: A strong odour of burnt bones, I sion. This is a little the effect left upon us remember, blending with the scent of horseby Mr. Fitzgerald's Lambishness in dis- flesh reeking into dogs' meat, and only relieved coursing about Lamb.

He seems to say, made up the atmosphere. This is one of

a little by the breathings of a few brick-kilns, “ Bookstalls, folios, bindings, oddities, you Lamb's wonderful gatherings of oddness; see, dear readers, such things as Lamb lov- and even the quaint position of the words ‘Í eil," and then to put on quaintish, sly freaks remember' is worthy of study." of manner, the tears-and-smiles mood, to tread daintily with no visible occasion for

What there is quaint or worthy of study? dainty treading, to fall into ecstasies about in the position of the words • I remember nothing particular because it was Lamb's we are quite unable to see. Lamb himself way, and fall out of them again with diffi- would probably have regarded study of culty in anything but Lamb's way, and all that point as decidedly imbecile. because in talking about Lamb he wants to

again ;be Lambish, instead of forming any connected or distinct conception of him and his

A correspondent, Tim Tims, gossipping genius. Thus, for example :

about the ass brings out Lamb again to plead

for this suffering servant. “Nature did pru“Even over the stall-keepers themselves, dently in furnishing him with a tegument imtheir calling exercises a chastening influence. pervious to ordinary stripes. His back They are generally simple men, rarely griping. offers no mark to a puny foeman. To a comSo with those who explore the stalls. They have mon whip or switch his side presents an absoa special eye, a quick glance that runs along lute insensibility. . . . . His jerkin is well forthe shelves ; which as it lights on the peculiar tified. . . . Contemplating this natural saferusted back — say the tarnished but mellow guard, his fortified exterior, it is with pain I

bit' of old French red morocco — kindles view the sleek, foppish, combed, and curried with an eagle glance. So with their touch, person of this animal, as he is transmuted and which is almost tender, opening with a famil- disnaturalized at watering-places, &c., where iar but cautious reverence, and laying the book they affect to make a palfrey of him. Fie on back softly, not ramming it violently between its all such sophisticating! It will never do, Masfellows, to the certain abrasion of its sides, as ter Groom. Something of his honest, shaggy rude heretics. do. After all, it is a good and re- exterior will peep up in spite of you - his deeming toleration in those who watch over good, rough, native pine-apple coating.' Pinepublic buildings, bridge parapets, and the like, apple coating ! How truly after Lamb's mind, who suffi'r the humble professors of this craft, the deceit in suggesting an agrecable image, And allow to their shelves wall space. This is which, on a second's reflection, shows us quite a a redeeming feature in our hard, practical age; different idea. Nothing, too, is more remarkaand who shall say that it is not a warm, pleas- ble in him than his airy and special use of the ant, and appropriate furniture — like ivy for a " &c.'wall — for the outside of inns of court, for the long stretch of the Quai Voltaire, and the bases of the Academy pillars in gay Paris ?. It gives tures over deep no-meanings.

This is indeed indulging in forced rapa subdued monastic or scholastic air, that tells the &c.” because Lamb, instead of putting

“ Airy use of of quiet men and gentle scholars — gentle scholars, like Walter Scott, Lamb, and a hun.

" at watering-places, places of amusement, dred others.”

sight-seeing places, and the like,” shortens

down his meaning, as a good essayist should, We suppose the value of that must be with an "&c.” Nor do we imagine that that Mr. Fitzgerald thinks it the sort of Lamb, even if warned by Mr. Fitzgerald thing Lamb would have said. Certainly it that he had been very subtle about the pinedoes not strike us as at all true of modern apple coating of the ass, would have been bookstall-keepers, bookstall frequenters, or able to take credit for really meaning it

. bookstall permitters. In London, book- It he did mean to suggest, and then balk stalls, even if they have this softening influ- his readers of, the agreeable idea of the ence on the hard culture of the day, have taste of pine-apple in using the illustration seldom now any privilege of access to places of pine-apple coating” to express the where other and vulgarer stalls are not also hardness of the ass's skin, we do not see the allowed. Then, speaking of Lamb's appear- humour of the freak. What was more in ances in Hone's Every-Day Book, Mr. Fitz- his mind perhaps was to suggest the value gerald gets into a rapture about nothing, of the ass, by the strong shag coat nature

had given to him and to the pine apple

alike. But to us this sort of forced critical “He is brought out' by an allusion to Sir rapture over an imaginary touch that no

and says:

one would really care about even if it were he writes, not like Dr. Johnson, a downseriously meant, has rather a tendency to right earnest defence of what is old-fashionprovokė, – if anything could provoke us ed or unreasonable, but a plea for it that is with Lamb, than to heighten our regard the more humorous because you see at for him. The only respectable criticisms every point that he is resolutely painting we have found in this book are, first, the out the rational background which he dissuggestion of a certain analogy between likes and is trying to ignore at every touch. Dickens's and Lamb's treatment of old Thus his “ Complaint of the Decay of Begchildish recollections, like Noah's arks, gars in the Metropolis,” is humorous by that for instance, - and next the observation, very emphasis and grandeur of encomium not perhaps very recondite, that in the title on the fasť vanishing mendicants which beof Lamb's essay on “ The Decay of Beggars trays his knowledge of the truth behind. It in the Metropolis,”. “ there is an art and is the fertility of the resource which he lavsignificance in the choice of the word “de- ishes in excluding the truth, and excluding cay; ' it is the key to the whole essay that it by a picture intended to charm the eye follows, conveying, as it were, that mendi- far more than the reality he is seeking to cancy was one of the choice blessings and paint out, which betrays to us that he is all pleasant things of life, decaying away just the time smiling to himself at his own ingeas the old artificial fountains in the old nuity, nay, indirectly painting bis own mensquares of London were being bricked up tal smile, while professing to be busy on and abolished.” This is a just but sure- praise of the mendicants. Thus he says of ly rather obvious remark, considering that the beggar, “ He is the only man in the Lamb called his essay expressly “A Com- universe who is not obliged to study appearplaint of the Decay of Beggars in the Me- ances. The ups and downs of the world tropolis.” Mr. Fitzgerald's book affords us, concern him no longer. He alone continuon the whole, but a small net profit of re- eth in one stay.

No man troubleth spectable criticism, for 229 pages of ram- him with questioning his religion or politics. bling matter, though we readily admit that He is the only free man in the universe.” a certain considerable proportion of the Or again, of the beggar who had lost his space is taken up with extracts — often lower limbs, and used to push himself about good — from the more scattered writings of on his wheeled machine, * He seemed earthLamb, which are not always easy to lay born, an Antæus, and to suck in fresh vigyour hand upon. Still, even this benefit is our from the soil which he neighboured, sadly diluted by artificial raptures; for, Mr. He was a grand fragment, -— as good as an Fitzgerald, while doing his very best to Elgin marble. The nature which should screw up his mind into the quaint simplici- have recruited his left legs and thighs was ties of " Lamb the frolic and the gentle,” not lost, but only retired into his upper parts, succeeds only in attaining a very awkward and he was half a Hercules." The amused and far from frolicsome simplesse.

knowledge betrayed throughout this most A real study of Lamb, — not an etude, if humorous essay that its author was staving what Mr. Fitzgerald has written be an off unwelcome general truths by charming étude, - illustrating the different kinds of pictures of his own wayward and capricious his humour and his pathos, and their rela- preferences for things as they are, is the tion to each other, would have been a fine secret of its humour. Lamb said of himsubject for an essay, though there are not self very happily, that “the impressions of many perhaps who could adequately work infancy had burnt into him, and he resented it out. Leigh Hunt used to say of Lamb the impertinences of manhood.It was this that he had a bead worthy of Aristotle, but resentment of the impertinences of mana great disinclination to exert the powerful hood, combined with a clear though averted understanding which he really possessed. understanding of what manhood had forced We believe a great secret of his humour upon him, that created the double current will be found in this remark. Lamb saw in his mind requisite to all humour. clearly the inference to which reason on all Another and probably even richer source soits of subjects led, but deliberately shied of Lamb's humour was allied to this just so at the light as a horse would shy at a sud- far as all sorts of intellectual waywardness den stream of light through the gap in a have the same root. Just as his fancy refence, and took to defending some arbitrary belled against the rational view of a subview cherished by old and dear associations ject, glanced aside from it, and suggested instead. Nevertheless the gleam of light mock reason after mock reason for rejectivg from which he turns away with such mock it, so even when there was no room for a disgust is never absent from his mind, and rebellion of this sort, his mind was fertile beyond expression in detecting oblique pression of his adoration. Or take Lamb's ways out of commo

mon-places, back ways, conduct to the unfortunate stamp distribuside ways, even blind alleys leading from tor, who expressed his belief that Milton common-places anywhither or nowhither, as was “a very clever man,” whereupon the case might be. He says of a pun, “ It Lamb, half dozing till then before the fire, is a pistol let off at the ear,” to startle the - he had dined, not without wine, it is mind. And the reason why he was so good true, - jumped up, lighted a bed-candle, a punster was, that his mind was always and calling out, “Let me have a look at starting aside, like a bow bent, from the that gentleman's phrenological developrigid matter-of-fact views of things. He ments,” walked round the unfortunate man, was, he said, “not a matter-of-fact man, but amidst Wordsworth's shocked exclamations a matter-of-lie man," and certainly his mind of “Charles ! my dear Charles !” and even, had a wonderful felicity in detecting any when forced into the next room, continued opportunity of escaping, at an acute angle to sing audibly, as it were, from the ordinary line of thought. Mr. Percy Fitzgerald has half-spoiled his “Diddle diddle dumpling, my son John most brilliant pun. When the Highgate

Went to bed with his breeches on," omnibus conductor called out, “ All full inside ?” Lamb, who was half asleep in his

- as expressive, we suppose, of the stamp corner, woke up to stammer out, “Well, I distributor's very coarse and inappropriate can't answer for the other gentlemen, but that clothing for the absolute nakedness of his last piece of pudding at Mrs. Gilman’s did mind on the subject of Milton. There is the business for me.” The attraction of the same wildness of humour about this puns to him was this sudden and violent story of Mr. Fitzgerald's : diversion they afforded from the beaten track. His brilliant answer to a superior “Quite in the same way is his humorous at the India House, who complained that he treatment of the poet whose friend had submitalways came late, Well, that is

ted some newly published verses to his inspec

very true, but then I always go away early," was a di- tion. He was to meet the gentleman at dinner, version of exactly the same character. Yet fore the author's arrival. When he came, he

and the poems were shown to Lamb a little bethis happy zigzag impulse in bis intellect, proved to be empty and conceited. During implied the clearest possible insight into the dinner Lamb fell into the delightful drollery of straight line of thought by the very eager- saying, now and again, “That reminds me of ness of his desire to deviate from it. And some verses I wrote when I was very young,' this is in fact proved by his criticisms of and then quoted a line or two, which he recolpoetry and dramatic art, some of the finest lected, from the gentleman's book, to the latin the language. Here his sympathies ter's amazement and indignation. Lamb, imacted with his reason, instead of tempting the first lines of Paradise Lost Of man's first him into capricious rebellion. There are disobedience, as also written by himself, which bits of Shakespearian criticism, - such as actually brought the gentleman on his feet that on Malvolio, — which Coleridge scarce- bursting with rage. He said he had sat by and ly equalled and never surpassed, and criti- allowed his own little verses’ to be taken cisms on actors of the day such as no living without protest, but he could not endure to see man can write.

Milton pillaged.” Yet after all perhaps his highest humour, the humour by which he will be best re- And the letter to Mr. P. G. Patmore, membered, is the humour of his occasional the one nugget in that gentleman's volumiwild moods, on which sufficient stress is sel nous reminiscences published some eleven dom laid. When people talk of his quaint- years ago, — which Mr. Fitzgerald has ness, and his dainty choice of words, and copied from that work, is the perfection of so forth, they suggest a sort of tame dry wild, unbridled humour, starting off at all humour. Now Lamb's humour was very sorts of tangents, but keeping up a pace far from dry. In its happiest moments it that no mere dainty or quaint humourist was a sort of passion, to which he throws ever even conceived :the reins and lets it carry him fast and far. Even in the great essay on the origin of CHARLES LAMB TO P. G. PATMORE. roast pig, one could almost imagine that

“Dear P. - I am so poorly! I have been the main conception had been first suggest to a funeral, where I made a pun, to the coned by the old gentleman in small clothes sternation of the rest of the mourners. And who used to throw the vegetable marrows we had wine. I can't describe to you the howl over the wall to Mrs. Nickleby as an ex- which the widow set up at proper intervals.

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