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after flapping its wings for a few seconds, it fell to the ground with a stunning shock. The other crows, which had been fortunate enough to escape a similar castigation, now surrounded it, and immediately pecked it to death.
'The expression of joy on the animal's countenance was altogether indescribable; and he had no sooner seen this ample retribution dealt to the purloiner of his repast, than he ascended the bamboo to enjoy a quiet repose. The next time his food was brought, not a single crow approached it, and I dare say that, thenceforward, he was never again molested by those voracious intruders. The scene was, in truth, well worth witnessing.' pp. 173-175.
The Forget-me-not we must pronounce to be not only one of the best of the series that has yet appeared, but it bears away the palm this year from all competitors of the same class. The embellishments are excellent, and appropriate; yet they do not form the chief attraction of this very pleasing volume, which does great credit to both publisher and editor. Our first specimen is from a very entertaining paper by W. L. Stone, Esq., entitled Life in the Woods.
It happened that, on one occasion, Castor had been kept out rather later than usual at a winter dance, and was wending his way homewards just in the grey of the morning. While crossing an old "cleaving," near the edge of the woods, bounding which stood a deserted and dilapidated log hut, he was set upon by a large pack of wolves from all directions, like a swarm of Cossacks upon a straggling platoon of Napoleon's grenadiers. He rushed with all possible speed into the hovel, the door of which stood wide open to receive him, but positively refused to be shut to keep out the foe, who now pressed so closely upon him, filling the air with their howlings, that he was obliged to spring upon a beam to prevent being torn to pieces. But the wolves, sorely pressed for a breakfast, were not slow in climbing the logs after achim, and he would most assuredly have formed their morning's banquet but for a bright thought. He had somewhere seen the hackneyed rhapsody of the poet,
"Music hath charms to soothe the savage beast;
or perhaps he had heard repeated the passage from Prior's Solomon,
"Often our seers and poets have confest
That music's force can tame the furious breast;
Thus beleagued, he determined to try the effect of the concord of sweet sounds upon their unsophisticated ears, whereupon he struck up the brisk tune of Yankee Doodle on his new Holland fiddle. The effect was magical. The party of Chateaubriand were no tmore success
ful in charming the rattle-snake with a flute at Niagara. The wolves were no longer bristling and barking with rage, and ready to devour him, but became as silent and attentive as so many Scotsmen at the ballad of Robin Adair. But, poor Castor! he would much rather have fiddled for forty country-dancers than a single party of wolves, since no sooner did he cease to play than they recommenced hostilities. The weather was cold, and his fingers were too much benumbed to allow him to traverse the strings. But, no matter; his unwelcome visitors were inexorable, and he was obliged either to allow himself to be eaten or to keep on fiddling. I have heard mention of the weariness of the fiddler's elbow, but never did elbow ache like John Castor's on that morning, and what added to his perplexity was, the giving way of his instrument; cat-gut and horse-hair will not last for ever, and string after string had snapped asunder, until the base was the last remaining, and the wolves began to manifest less satisfaction for the one grum note, "so long drawn out", but not in "linked sweetness." Just at this interesting crisis, however, my old friend Seymour, and his yet more athletic brother, appeared, being on their way to the saw-mill, and the wolves thereupon made a retreat— equally precipitate and welcome to their prisoner.
It was late in the summer when Bacon entered upon his new premises, so that he had only time to erect a log cabin, and cut down the timber of a few acres, before the commencement of winter. Contrary to the advice of the earlier settlers, he persisted in building his house upon the flats. He was admonished of the hazard he was running, in the event of a heavy freshet in the spring, but to no purpose. alluvial soil of the interval was so much better adapted to the purposes of a garden than the upland, and the prospect of looking out upon a broad level so inviting, that he was not to be diverted from his design. And, besides, the site he had chosen was upwards of a mile from the river, and was moreover elevated like an island, some three or four feet above the general surface of the alluvial plain; so that he was quite sure so small a river could never rise so high, or spread so wide. "Never mind," said his neighbours, "you'll find it out in the spring, if the river don't run off t'other way."
But the worthy emigrant had no idea of the quantity of snow which falls in that region, or of the magnitude of the flood which would follow its rapid dissolution in the spring. It so happened, that the snow fell to an extraordinary depth during the ensuing winter, and the month of March was so cold that the sun had but little power upon it. The consequence was, that, instead of gradually disappearing, the whole body of snow was left to melt suddenly beneath a warm April rain, by reason of which the river was swollen to an extent never before witnessed by the settlers. The snow had fallen so deep that but little intercourse was kept up among the scattered inhabitants during the winter, and Mr. Bacon had lived almost as secluded as a bear in a hollow tree,-perhaps his nearest neighbour.
During the warm rain just mentioned, which poured like a deluge from the clouds upon the materials for another deluge below, the
solitary had observed the rapid dissolution of the snow and the corresponding rise of the river, but he still thought himself secure, and retired to his lonely bed soon after sun-down, with his usual composure and unconcern. Before midnight, however, he was startled from his slumbers by the crackling of trees and the rush of waters. He sprang from his couch, and found himself leg-deep in water upon his own floor!
There was no time for his toilet; it was evident that not a moment should be lost; and, what was still worse, it was too dark to make his escape, even if the flood would admit of it. His only course of safety, therefore, was to climb the tree nearest to his house, and await the dawn of the morning, yet many long and wearisome hours distant. Notwithstanding the depth and force of the water, he succeeded in reaching and ascending the tree, and seated himself with tolerable security among its branches. But it was a dismal night. The unseasonable cold bath he had taken was no addition to his comfort, while, from the roar of waters, and the occasional crash of trees, it was evident that the icy fetters of the river had been broken up, and that the freshet with increasing volume was sweeping onward with tremendous power and velocity. The next cake of ice, moreover, might, in its irresistible course, bear away the tree which was his own supporter ! His mind was not very imaginative, otherwise his sufferings might have been a hundred fold greater than they were. Still his situation was sufficiently critical and painful. The longest night, however, must have an end, and day at length dawned upon the sleepless eyes of Roger Bacon. But the darkness disappeared only to show him the most cheerless and fearful prospect upon which his eyes had ever rested.
One of the first objects discerned upon the approach of light, was the destruction of his house, which rose upon the waters, and was soon dashed to pieces on its furious current, the logs of which it was composed floating promiscuously away. He next saw the whole valley of the river a waste of waters, rushing onwards with a mighty impulse, and bearing upon their surface huge cakes of ice, with broken timber and decayed trunks of trees, now whirling in eddies, and now borne onward upon the maddened torrent, with tremendous force, cutting away and bearing down everything in their course. What was to be his own fate, or whether a rescue were possible, he could not tell.
Nor was this all that was unpleasant in his situation. For an hour before daylight he heard a distant scream, which seemed approaching nearer at every repetition; and it had now become so distinct as to enable him to recognize the cry of a panther! Should the furious animal scent him in the air, his fate was to certain to be helped by insurance! Nor was he long in doubt upon this point. From its cries, the animal must be rapidly approaching him; and the flood which was sweeping below him afforded no protection in the emergency, since the panther could travel by springing from tree to tree, almost as well as upon the ground.
At length he saw the shaking of the limbs of a tree at no great distance, and,-what a situation for a man of sensibility,-a mighty chaos of waters beneath, whirling yet more angrily along, from the
huge masses of ice and fragments of timber borne upon their troubled current, and into which it was certain death to plunge, with the almost inevitable prospect of becoming the breakfast of a panther if he remained! Another scream close upon him: another tree was shaken, and yet another! Another moment of yet deeper interest passed; and he saw indistinctly the body of an animal. Again it sprang, and again. The dreadful crisis had now arrived; for at the distance of not more than forty yards, he saw in full view a huge panther, crouching upon an enormous limb with cat-like watch, and evidently measuring the distance to his intended prey, preparatory to the last bound. His large, green eyes, flashing with rage, glared hideously upon him, while, as he uttered a hoarse and frightful growl, his blood-red mouth disclosed a set of fangs anything but inviting to a poor mortal, expecting the next moment to be within them. Bacon grasped the limbs by which he was holding, with convulsive energy. The ferocious animal uttered another dreadful yell, his hairs bristled, he drew his back up into a curve, and commenced the rapid and tremulous shake of his tail, the unerring signal of the final leap,-his burning eye-balls glowing yet more fiercely. He made the leap with the swiftness and precision of an arrow; but, by a tremendous effort, Bacon succeeded in giving the branch, upon which the panther caught, such a sudden shaking, exactly at the right instant, as to prevent his making a secure lodgement of his talons. The monster attempted to recover, but could touch no branch of the tree with his hindmost feet; and he was thus suspended for a moment by his claws, and hung dangling in the air, at full length, over the wide abyss of waters. But Bacon continued shaking the limb, and it was evident by the giving way that the terrible animal could sustain himself by his talons but a few seconds longer. The panther himself now raised a piercing cry of terror, and the next instant the grasp of his claws gave way, and he fell with a howl of horror into the torrent, yet rushing onward with increasing velocity. The monster clung for a moment to a broken limb, upon which he struck; but he was soon drawn beneath the surge, and borne away among the ice and drift-wood, to trouble honest yeomen, living in single blessedness, alone in the woods,— -no more.
'In the course of the day the neighbours began to remark the precarious condition in which the freshet had probably found their solitary neighbour; and after the ice and broken timber had so far passed away as to render it safe to put forth a canoe, he was relieved from his perilous situation.' pp. 60-62; 74–79.
Juliana is an admirable story, extremely well told. Miss Lawrance has furnished one of her inexhaustible legends of the olden time. James Montgomery, Mary Howitt, Charles Swain, Henry Chorley, T. K. Hervey, L. E. L., Delta, and Laman Blanchard, are among the poetical contributors; and the volume closes with some lines from the oaten reed of the Ettrick Shepherd, whose lips are now closed for ever in death. As we can make room for only one more extract, it must be the following elegiac stanzas.
THE DEATH OF THE RIGHTEOUS.
IN MEMORY OF E. B.
'Her's was a soul of fire that burn'd,
To Him from whom it first was sent :
'Her's was a frame so frail, so fine,
The soul was seen through every part-
Body and soul eternally,
No more conflicting nor estranged,
One saint made perfect then shall be,
This was her hope in life, in death, may
We regret that we cannot bestow either very high or quite unqualified praise upon our old favourite, the Amulet. The embellishments are not of that well chosen and highly finished character which we have been accustomed to find in this Annual; and as to the contents, though there are some good articles, there is one which we cannot pass over without an expression of both censure and regret. In the following paragraphs, taken from a tale entitled 'The Bengal Missionary, by Captain M'Naghten, the reader will find a covert attack upon the Dissenting Missionaries, which, though rendered innoxious by the Writer's obvious ignorance of what he undertakes to write about, is not the less offensive and pernicious in its tendency.
THE BENGAL MISSIONARY.
From a superficial view of these differences of faith, and variety of rites, some unreflecting people have ridiculed the term " mild," as applied to the national character of the Hindoos, for, they ask, can the followers be "mild" of that religion which commands (here they assume the fact, or, at best, argue after a petitio principii) the destitute widow to immolate herself on the pyre of her husband-the miserable pilgrim to have himself crushed to death beneath the wheels of an idol's sacred car-and the ignorant fanatic to swing himself from iron hooks which perforate the muscular integuments of his shoulder.