Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

where the silver lies in the deep shafts—that i themselves for resting and being still. They, is to say, outside the town, “in a flat, and not perhaps, think nothing is going on without very pleasant district.'

us ; there is no life while we are doing no“I knew no one in the town; I had nothing.' They think as many persons think, one to be my guide, so I accompanied the and do not remember that Time's horses cows, and came to the churchyard. The always fly onward with us! cows went past, but I stepped over the stile, “How solitary it is here! so delightfully and stood amongst the graves, where the solitary! one is so entirely alone with God grass grew high, and almost all the tomb- and one's self. As the sunlight streams over stones lay with worn-out inscriptions. On a | the earth and over the extensive solitary forfew only the date of the year was legible. ests, so does God's spirit stream over and • Anno,'--yes, what then? And who rested into mankind; ideas and thoughts unfold there ? Everything on the stone was erased, themselves, endless, inexhaustible as he is, as blotted out like the earthly life of those mor- the magnet which apportions its powers to tals that here were earth in earth. What the steel, and itself loses nothing thereby. life's dream have ye dead played here in As our journey through the forest scenery silent Sala ?

here, along the extended solitary road, so, “The setting sun shone over the graves ; travelling on the great high-road of thought, not a leaf moved on the trees, all was still ideas pass through our head. Strange, rich -still as death, in the city of the silver- caravans pass by from the works of poets, mines, of which this traveller's reminiscence from the home of memory, strange and novel, is but a frame around the shop-boy who for capricious fancy gives birth to them at the leaned over the counter."

moment. There comes a procession of pious One passage more, to show how Anderson children with waving flags and joyous songs ; paints scenery, and then we must terminate there come dancing Mænades, the blood's our pickings. It is a forest scene in midsum- wild Bacchantes. The sun pours down hot mer, and, to our thinking, it is charmingly in the open forest; it is as if the southern described.

summer had laid itself up here to rest in “ Midsummer raises its leafy arbor every- Scandinavian forest-solitude, and sought itwhere, yet it is most flush in the forest, it self out a glade where it might lie in the extends for miles around. Our road goes sun's hot beams and sleep: hence this stillfor miles through that forest without seeing ness as if it were night. Not a bird is heard a house, or the possibility of meeting travel to twitter, not a pine-tree moves ; of what lers, driving, riding, or walking. Come! the does the southern summer dream here in the hostler puts fresh horses to the carriage; come north, amongst pines and fragrant birches? with us into the large woody desert : we In the writings of the olden time, from the have a regular trodden way to travel, the classic soil of the South, are sagas of mighty air is clear, here is summer's warmth and fairies who, in the skins of swans, flew tothe fragrance of birch and lime. It is an up wards the North, to the Hyperborean's land, and down hill road, always bending, and so, to the east of the north wind; up there, in ever changing, but yet always forest scenery the deep, still lakes, they bathed themselves, —the close thick forest. We pass small and acquired a renewed form. We are in lakes, which lie so still and deep, as if they the forest by these deep lakes ; we see swans concealed night and sleep under their dark, in flocks fly over us, and swim upon the glassy surfaces.

rapid elv and on the still waters. The for"We are now on a forest plain, where ests, we perceive, continue to extend further only charred stumps of trees are to be seen; towards the west and the north, and are this long tract is black, burnt, and deserted, more dense as we proceed: the carriagenot a bird flies over it. Tall, hanging birches roads cease, and one can only pursue one's now greet us again ; a squirrel springs play- way along the outskirts by the solitary path, fully across the road, and up into a tree; we and on horseback. cast our eye searchingly over the wood-grown Woodland solitude ! what images dost mountain-side, which slopes so far, far for- thou not present to one's thoughts ! Woodward; but not a trace of a house is to be land solitude! through thy vaulted halls seen; nowhere does that bluish smoke-cloud people now pass in the summer-time with rise, that shows us here are fellow-men. cattle and domestic utensils ; children and

“The sun shines warm, the flies dance old men go to the solitary pasture where around the horses, settle on them, fly off echo dwells, where the national song springs again, and dance, as though it were to qualify I forth with the wild mountain flowers ! Dost thou see the procession ? paint it if thou | boughs, and in each there is a large fire burucanst! The broad wooden cart laden high ing. See where the blue smoke curls through with chests and barrels, with jars and with the green leafy roof; peasants are within at crockery. The bright copper kettle and the work, hammering and forging; here they tin dish shine in tìe sun. The old grand have their meals. They are now laying a mother sits at the top of the load and holds mine in order to blast a rock, and the rain her spinning-wheel," which completes the falls faster and faster, and the pine and pyramid. The father drives the horse, the birch emit a finer fragrance. It is delightful mother carries the youngest child on her in the forest.” back, sewed up in a skin, and the procession From the extracts we have given, it will moves on step by step. The cattle are driven be seen what kind of book this is. We have by the half-grown children: they have stuck nothing to offer in the way of criticism, fura birch branch between one of the cow's ther than to say, that the whole of it is writhorns, but she does not appear to be proud ten in the same picturesque and pleasant of her finery ; she goes the same quiet pace strain ; that a cheerful and grateful feeling as the others, and lashes the saucy flies with of enjoyment in the delights of nature and of her tail. If the night becomes cold on this existence is manifest in every sketch ; and solitary pasture, there is fuel enough here, that the tone of the author's thoughts is the tree falls of itself from old age, and lies eminently joyous, free, and humanizing. It and rots.

is apparently his habit to make the best of “But take especial care of the fire, fear everything; to look upon the world and its the fire-spirit in the forest desert! He comes goings-on with calm eyes and a contented from the unextinguishable pile, he comes heart; and to use his poetic gifts for the purfrom the thunder-cloud, riding on the blue pose of illustrating and revealing the beauty lightning's flame, which kindles the thick, and the goodness which are more or less in dry moss of the earth; trees and bushes are all things. A wise and genial philosophy kindled, the flames run from tree to tree, it pervades all his observations and reflections is like a snow-storm of fire; the flame leaps on human life and man's relations and destiny to the tops of the trees; what a crackling and in the world; and we think it next to imposroaring, as if it were the ocean in its courses ! sible for any one to read the book without The birds fly upwards in flocks, and fall deriving from it a measure of the mild and down suffocated by the smoke; the animals thankful spirit with which the author is in. flee, or, encircled by the fire, are consumed spired. If there is one defect in the work, in it! Hear their cries and roars of agony! | it is perhaps a too continuous prettiness of The howling of the wolf and the bear, dost phraseology, which has a somewhat palling thou know it? A calm, rainy day, and the effect upon the reader when the book is read forest-plains themselves, alone are able to con- connectedly, an effect somewhat analogous fine the fiery sea, and the burnt forest stands to that of sweet confectionery on the palate charred, with black trunks and black stumps when too liberally indulged in; but even this of trees, as we saw them here in the forest seems natural and not inappropriate to the by the broad high-road. On this road we author's style of treatment; and it is evident continue to travel, but it becomes worse and you are liable to just the same effect from worse; it is, properly speaking, no road at running hastily over a gallery of paintings; all, but it is about to become one. Large whereas, if you steadily contemplate a single stones lie half dug up, and we drive past picture till you have taken in its entire beauthem; large trees are cast down, and ob- ty and intention, you get exactly what the struct our way, and therefore we must de- artist desired to impart; and hence, perhaps, scend from the carriage. The horses are the way to use and enjoy such a book as taken out, and the peasants help to lift and this, is to read it at intervals, one or two push the carriage forward over ditches and sketches at a time, so that you may quietly opened paths.

and effectually realize the charm of each. “The sun now ceases to shine; some few Were it not that reading, like everything rain-drops fall, and now it is a steady rain. else, is now commonly gone through at rail But how it causes the birch to shed its fra-way speed, we should recommend to readers grance! At a distance there are huts erected having leisure, å trial of the plan thus indiof loose trunks of trees and fresh green cated.

[blocks in formation]

When a new comet is described, we set on the continent this neglect had its palliaourselves to trace the path on which it is tion. Most governments were then too ocmoving ; so that, if it seems likely to trespass cupied by anxieties and agitations derived on our own orbit, prudent men may have from the approaching future, or even by warning to make all snug aloft, and ready desperate convulsions derived from the presfor action; authors, in particular, seeking to ent. But whither shall we look for the excorrect the proofs of any book they may be cuse of our own government? Some years publishing, before the comet has had time ago, it was, by inconsiderate Radicals, made with its tail to sweep all the types into “pi.” the duty of government to find work for the It is now becoming a duty to treat Califor people. That was no part of their duty; nia as a comet; for she is going ahead at a nor could be; for it can be no duty to atrate that beats Sinbad and Gulliver, threat- tempt impossibilities. But it was a part of ening (if we believe the star-gazers of our their duty, officially, to publish remonstranday) to throw universal commerce into “pi ;” ces and cautions against general misappreand other Californias are looming in her hension of apparent openings, that too often wake, such as Australia and the South Sea were no real openings, for labor, and against islands, now called Hawaii :* they are crowd- a national delusion that for ninety-nine out ing all sail towards the same object of pri- of a hundred was sure to end in ruin. Two vate gain and public confusion; anxieties things government were bound to have done, are arising in various quarters; and it is viz., 1st., to have circulated a circumstantial daily becoming more a matter of public in- account of the different routes to San Franterest to assign the course upon which they cisco, each with its separate distances asare really advancing, and to measure the signed, and its separate varieties of in. dangers (if any at all) with which they are conceivable hardship; 2dly, to have sent practically charged.

out a party of surveyors and mineraloIn the case of California, the most painful gists, with instructions to report from time feature at the outset of the termashaw was to time, at short intervals, upon the real the torpor manifested by all the governments condition of the prospects before the goldof Christendom as to a phenomenon that was diggers, upon the comparative advantages of leading their countrymen by wholesale into the several districts in California, as yet exruin. "Helpless and ignorant as that army of plored, with these mineral views, and upon children, which, in an early stage of the Cru- the kind of labor, and the kind of tools or sades, set forward by land for Palestine; | other apparatus, that had any reasonable knowing as little as those children, of the chance of success. Had this been done, horrors that besieged the road, or of the dis- some myriads of energetic and enterprising appointments that would seal its terminus, men, that have long since perished miserably, supposing it ever to be reached; from every would have been still available for the pubquarter of Europe rushed the excited plough-lic service. California, be its real wealth man and artisan, as vultures on a day of bat- what it may, was a “job;" a colossal job; tle to the supper of carrion: and not a word and was worked as a job by a regular conof warning or advice from their government. spiracy of jobbers. The root of this con

spiracy lay and lies in all senses lies) up *i. e. by Missionaries in their dictionaries of the and down the United States. It is no afSandwich language : but formerly better known to sailors as that whyhee, where Captain Cook was

front, nor intended as such, to the American massacred.

Union nor to Mr. Barnum, if I say that this gigantic republic (which, by the seventh | “Who or what this writer may be, with his census, just now in the course of publication, daily million of dollars, we know not, and do has actually extended its territorial compass not desire to know. But we warn the editor in a space of ten years from about two mil- of that paper, that it is infamous to sport lions of square miles, which it had in 1840, with the credulity of European emigrants. to three and a quarter millions of square A million, indeed, daily! We, on the conmiles* which it had reached last midsum- trary, assert that the produce for the last mer) produces a race of Barnums on a pre- three months, though steadily increasing, has Adamite scale, corresponding in activity to never exceeded an average of half a million its own enormous proportions. The idea of -and even that not to be depended on for a Barnum does not at all presuppose an ele- more than nine days out of ten." To him ment of fraud. There are many honorable succeeds No. 10, who, after quoting No. 8, Barnums; but also there is a minority of goes on thus :-“Some people are never fraudulent Barnums. All alike, good Bar- content. To our thinking, half a million of nums and bad Barnums, are characterized dollars daily, divided amongst about 1400 by Titanic energy, such as would tear into laborers, working only seven hours a day, is ribbons a little island like ours, but is able to a fair enough remuneration, considering that pull fearlessly against a great hulk of a con- no education is required, no training, and no tinent, that the very moon finds it fatiguing capital. Iwo ounces of tobacco and a spade, to cross. Now, it happens that the bad with rather a large sack for bagging the Barnums took charge of the California swin- gold, having a chain and padlock-such is dle. They stationed a first-rate liar in San the stock required for a beginner. In a week Francisco, under whom, and accountable to he will require more sacks and more padwhom, were several accomplished liars dis- locks; and in two months a roomy waretributed all the way down to Panama, and house, with suitable cellars, for storing the thence to Chagres. All along the Atlantic gold until the fall, when the stoutest steamsea-board, this gathering volley of lies and ers sail. But, as we observed, some people Californian “notions” raced with the speed are never content. A friend of ours, not of gunpowder trains up to New York, in twelve miles from San Francisco, in digging which vast metropolis (confounded amongst for potatoes, stumbled upon a hamper of its seven hundred thousand citizens) burrow- gold that netted 40,000 dollars. And, beed the central bureau of the swindle. Thence hold, the next comer to that locality went in ten days these poetic hoaxes crossed over off in dudgeon because, after two days' digto a line of repeating liars posted in Liver- ging, he got nothing but excellent potatoes; pool and London, from which cities, of course, whereas he ought to have reflected that our ihe lies ran by telegraph in a few hours over friend's golden discovery was a lucky chance, the European continent, and thence by Tar- such as does not happen to the most hardtar expresses overland to Indus and the working man above once in three weeks.", Ganges. When the swindle got into regul Then came furious controversies about working order, it was as good as a comedy blocks of gold embedded in quartz, and left to watch its mode of playing. The policy at “our office” for twenty-four hours, with of the liars was to quarrel with each other, liberty for the whole town to weigh and and cavil about straws, for the purpose of measure them. One editor affirms that the masking the subterraneous wires of their blocks weighed six quintals, and the quartz, fraudulent concert. Liar No. 5, for instance, if pulverized, would hardly fill three snuffwould observe carelessly in a Panama jour- boxes. “But,” says a second editor, “the nal, that things were looking up at Sacra- bore of our friend's nostrils is preternaturally mento, for (by the latest returns that could large; his pinch, being proportionable, averbe depended on the daily product of gold ages three ounces: and three of his snuffhad now reached a million of dollars. Upon boxes make one horse-bucket. Six tons, which No. 8 at Chagres would quote the does he say? I don't believe, at the outparagraph into a local paper, and comment side, it reaches seven hundredweight.” upon it thus with virtuous indignation :- Thereupon rejoins editor No. 1—“The block

head has mistaken a quintal for a ton; and * I quote from an abstract of the census in the thus makes us talk nonsense. Of course we New York “Journal of Commerce,” for December shall always talk nonsense, when we talk in 6, 1851, transmitted by an American friend before his words and not in our own. His wish it had been published even in the Washington jourDals. This estimate does not include a vast extent

was to undermine us : but, so far from of watery domains.

doing that, the knowing reader will perceive

مهما تا

that he confirms our report, and a little en- | Litany,) within the precincts of the gold dislarges it.'

tricts, probably not far from a quarter of a Even in Scotland, as far north as Perth million are now sleeping in obscure graves, and Aberdeen, the incorporation of liars that might have been saved by the interferthought it might answer to subborn a youth, ence of surveyors, guides, monitors such as to all appearance an ingenuous youth, as re- a benign and Christian government in Europe peating signalist in the guise of one writing would assuredly have authorized officially. home to his Scottish relations, with flourish. But these things are not disputed; or only ing accounts of his success at the "diggins.” as a question of extent. The evil is confessApparently he might have saved his post- ed. But, small or great, it is now over. age, since the body of his letter represented War, it is true, and war of that ferocious him as having returned to Scotland, so that character which usually takes place with the he might have reported his adventures by vindictive Indians, apparently is now immiword of mouth. This letter was doctored nent; but this will be transitory, possibly so as to leave intentionally a very slight im- favorable to peace and settlement, by absorbpression that even in California the course ing the ruffianism of the state. And, in the of life was chequered with good and evil

. meantime, the iniquity* of the Lynch law is It had been found, perhaps, that other letters in more romantic keys had overleaped their own swindling purpose. The vivacious

*“ Iniquity.—Naturally one might suppose that youth admitted frankly' that on some days Lynch law would not be liable to much of downhe got nothing, except, perhaps, a touch of right injustice, unless through disproportionate se

verity in its punishments, considering how gross and catarrh. Such things were actually possible palpable are the offences which fall within its juris

- viz., the getting nothing except a soupçon diction. But the fact is otherwise. If with us in of catarrh, even in California. Finally, how- Europe the law, that superintends civil rights, works ever, with all his candor

, the repeating sig- continual injustice by its cruel delays, so often annalist left one great mystery unsolved. He has long been asleep in the grave; on the other had been getting nothing on some days; hand, the Lynch code is always trembling by the but still, after all these cloudy seasons had brink of bloody wrong through the very opposite been allowed for, bis gains had averuged cause of its rapturous precipitance. A remarkable from three to four guineas a-day during the and New York journals of Christmas last. A man period of his stay. That being the case, had been arrested on a charge of robbery in some one could not well understand what demon obscure place two hundred miles from San Francisco, had led him ever to quit this garden of the Reasons for doubt had arisen amongst the intelligent, Hesperides for Perth or Aberdeen, where no

and amongst consciences peculiarly tender, but not

such reasons as would have much weight amongst such golden apples grow either on the bigh- an infuriated mob. Two gentlemen, a physician roads, or even in gentlemen's “policies," and a young lawyer, whose names should be gloribeset with mastiff-dogs and policemen. fied by history, made a sublime though fruitless

But why, or for what ultimate purpose, effort, at great personal risk, to rescue the prisoner do I direct these satiric glances at the infant from the bigots who had prejudged him. Finally,

however, he was rescued; but, as may be supposed, records of California, and the frauds by which in a place so slenderly peopled, with no result be. she prospered? No doubt the period of yond that of gaining a little additional time—i. e., her childhood, and of the battle which she so long as the hiding-place of the prisoner should had to fight at starting with an insufficient remain undiscovered. Fortuvately this time proved

sufficient for the discovery of the real offender. He population, was shortened exceedingly and

was taken at San Francisco, two hundred miles off. alleviated by unlimited lying. An altar she Luckily be confessed; and that took away all preought to raise, dedicated to the goddess of tence for raising demurs. But so satisfied were some insolent mendacity, as the tutelary power of the witnesses against the innocent prisoner with under which she herself emerged into im

their own identification of the criminal-through his

features, build of person, size, apparent age, and portance ; this altar should be emblazoned dress that they resisted even the circumstantialities upon the shield of her heraldic honors; this of the regular judicial confession. Some of these inaltar should stand amongst the quarterings credulous gentlemen mounted their horses, and rode on her coins. And it cannot be denied, that off to San Francisco; where, upon visiting the pris

on, to their extreme astonishment, they found a man a preliminary or heralding generation has who presented a mere duplicate and fac-simile of perished in the process of clearing the way the prisoner whom they had left behind. It is true for that which is now in possession. What that precipitancy would not often be misled into inby perils of the sea, and the greater perils justice by this specific error; but neither is this speof the land route; what by “plague, pesti- might give a fatal turn to the sentence of a jury lence, and famine; by baitle, and murder, I deciding by momentary and random gleams of proand sudden death,” (to quote our English | bability.

VOL XXV. NO. IV.

[ocr errors]

36

« VorigeDoorgaan »