Obrázky stránek

witching effect, though they could not define its origin ;-like the servant, mentioned by Addison, who drew the bow across every string of her master's violin, and then complained that she could not, for her life, find where the tune was secreted.

•Souls of this fine mould keep the fountain of love sealed deep within its caverns; and to one only is access ever granted. Miss Osborne's affection had been tranquil on the surface, but it was as deep as it was pure. It was a pool which had granted its healing influence to one, but could never repeat the miracle, though an angel should trouble its waters.

• Assuredly, he that could mix death in the cup of love, which he offered to one so young, so fair, and so true, was guilty as the priest who administered poison in the holy eucharist.

• Lucretia, now an inmate of the family, read to her, supported her across the chamber, and watched her brief, gentle slumbers, with an intense interest, painfully tinged with self reproach. She was the cause of this premature decay,-innocent indeed, but still the cause. Under such circumstances, the conscience is morbid in its sensibility, unreasonable in its acuteness; and the smiles and forgiveness of those we have injured, tear and scorch it like burning pincers.

• Yet there was one, who suffered even more than Lucretia, though he was never conscious of giving one moment's pain to the object of his earliest affection. During the winter, every leisure moment which Doctor Willard's numerous avocations allowed him, was spent in Miss Osborne's sick chamber ; and every tone, every look of his, went to her heart with a thrilling expression, that seemed to say, “ Would I could die for thee. Oh, would to God I could die for thee."

• Thus pillowed on the arm of friendship, and watched over by the eye of love, Grace languidly awaited the returning spring; and when May did arrive, wasted as she was, she seemed to enjoy its pure breath and sunny smile. Alas, that the month which dances around the flowery earth, with such mirthful step and beaming glance, should call so many victims of consumption to their last home.

• Towards the close of this delightful season, the invalid, bolstered in her chair, and surrounded by her affectionate family, was seated at the window, watching the declining sun. There was deep silence for a long while; as if her friends feared that a breath might scare the flitting soul from its earthly habitation. Henry and Lucretia sat on either side, pressing her hands in mournful tenderness; Doctor Willard leaned over her chair, and looked up to the unclouded sky, as if he reproached it for mocking him with brightness ; and her father watched the hectic flush upon her

cheek, with the firmness of Abraham, when he offered his only son upon the altar. Oh, how would the heart of that aged suf"ferer have rejoiced within him, could he too have exchanged the victim!

• She had asked Lucretia to place Somerville's rose on the window beside her. One solitary blossom was on it; and she reached forth her weak hand to pluck it; but its leaves scattered beneath her trembling touch. She looked up to Lucretia, with an expression which her friend could never forget, and one cold tear slowly glided down her pallid cheek. Gently as a mother kisses her sleeping babe, Doctor Willard brushed it away; and turning hastily, to conceal his quivering lip, he clasped Henry's hand with convulsive energy, as he whispered, “Oh, God of mercies, how willingly would I have wiped all tears from her eyes."

• There is something peculiarly impressive in manly grief. The eye of woman overflows as readily as her heart ; but when waters gush from the rock, we feel that they are extorted by no gentle blow.

• The invalid looked at him with affectionate regret, as if she thought it a crime not to love such endearing kindness; and every one present made a powerful effort to suppress painful, suffocating emotion.

• Lucretia had a bunch of purple violets fastened in her girdle, and with a forced smile she placed them in the hands of her dying friend.

• She looked at them a moment with a sort of abstracted attention, and an expression strangely unearthly, as she said, “ I have thought that wild flowers might be the alphabet of angels, whereby they write on hills and fields mysterious truths, which it is not given our fallen nature to understand. What think you, dear father?”

"“I think, my beloved child, that the truths we do comprehend, are enough to support us through all our trials."

• The confidence of the Christian was strong within him, when he spoke ; but he looked on his dying daughter, the only image of a wife dearly beloved, and nature prevailed. He covered his eyes and shook his white hairs mournfully, as he added, “ God in his mercy grant that we may find them sufficient in this dreadful struggle.

• All was again still, still, in that chamber of death. The birds sung as sweetly as if there was no such thing as discord in the habitations of man; and the blue sky was as bright as if earth were a stranger to ruin, and the human soul knew not of desolation. Twilight advanced, unmindful that weeping eyes watched her majestic and varied beauty. The silvery clouds that composed her train, were fast sinking into a gorgeous column of gold and purple. It seemed as if celestial spirits were hovering round their mighty pavilion of light, and pressing the verge of the horizon with their glittering sandals.

• Amid the rich, variegated heaps of vapor, was one spot of clear, bright cerulean. The deeply colored and heavy masses which surrounded it, gave it the effect of distance, so that it seemed like a portion of the inner heaven. Grace fixed her earnest gaze upon it, as the weary traveller does upon an Oasis in the desert.' That awful lustre which the soul beams forth at its parting, was in her eye, as she said, “ I could almost fancy there are happy faces looking down to welcome me.”

* “It is very beautiful,” said Lucretia, in a subdued tone. “ It is such a sky as you used to love to look upon, dear Grace."

6“ It is such a one as we loved," she answered. “There was a time when it would have made me very happy; but—my thoughts are now beyond it."

• Her voice grew faint, and there was a quick gasp, as if the rush of memory was too powerful for her weak frame.

• Doctor Willard hastily prepared a cordial, and offered it to her lips. Those lips were white and motionless ; her long, fair eyelashes drooped, but trembled not. He placed his hand on her side; the heart that had loved so well, and endured so much, had throbbed its last.'

We close this article in the hope of soon hearing again from the same quarter. We shall be happy if our remarks should induce the author to select, for her future attempts, such subjects as will give full scope to the talents, which she indisputably possesses, and to bestow a little more care on the construction of her story, and especially on the unraveling of her plot. But at any rate, we trust, that she will not be discouraged from pursuing her literary labors, as we believe, that when the first feelings of disappointment shall have passed away, the present work, notwithstanding its many defects, will hold a high rank in the estimation of all admirers of descriptive and pathetic eloquence. Art. VIII.—Sketches of Algiers, Political, Historical, and Civil ;

containing an Account of the Geography, Population, Government, Revenues, Commerce, Agriculture, Arts, Manufactures, Tribes, Manners, Languages, and recent Political Events of that Country. By WILLIAM SHALER, American Consul General at Algiers. Boston. Cummings, Hilliard, and Co. 1826. Svo. pp. 308. DURING the last three centuries, the Algerine government has exercised no small degree of influence in the affairs of Europe; and yet few countries on the globe, visited by civilized men, have been less known, than that region on the south shore of the Mediterranean, denominated the Kingdom of Algiers. A hundred years ago, Dr Shaw resided twelve years in the city of Algiers, as Chaplain to the English factory there, and his learned book of travels affords almost the only source of information, which has since been resorted to. As a work illustrating the classical history and antiquities of the country, this is undoubtedly most accurate and judicious; but it throws very little light on the origin, progress, and character of the Algerine government, its maxims, policy, and aims, its sustaining force and effects; nor on the manners and habitudes of the people, their social and moral condition, their agriculture and commerce, institutions, intelligence, and pursuits. Dr Shaw was a scholar and antiquarian, but not a practised observer of human affairs, nor a politician. This may be said, without detracting from his great merits in the departments of learning, and branches of inquiry, in which he is universally acknowledged to have excelled.

But since the time of Dr Shaw, many changes have occurred in Algiers, of which history has taken but an imperfect record, and which have operated with a decided influence on the people and the forms of government. Nor, indeed, is it too much to say, that there has been as little known to the world at large, down to the present day, about the internal state of Algiers, as of its condition when the chief power was usurped by the elder Barbarossa, or when the romantic enterprise of Charles the Fifth, in attacking the city, met with so signal and ruinous a defeat. In the midst of this poverty of knowledge respecting a nation, which, however unjustly, with whatever violation of the sacred laws of humanity, has been allowed to play a conspicuous part for centuries in European politics, it is gratifying, that a gentleman of Mr Shaler's qualifications and opportunities should have given his thoughts to the subject, and laid before the world the results of his observations and long experience. He has resided ten years in Algiers, as Consul General from the United States, and in that capacity been engaged in important negotiations with the government, and enjoyed every possible advantage for acquiring information. His work was written on the spot. He has studied the policy of the civilized governments, in their intercourse with the Barbary powers, and become familiar with the springs, which have moved the Christian nations to their extraordinary and persevering alliances with these hordes of pirates, and professional plunderers of the human race. Mr Shaler has drawn aside the veil, which concealed these dark and disgraceful proceedings, and shown, that the piratical states themselves have always existed, as a mere mockery of properly and legally organized governments, the deep reproach of a civilized age; and he has, moreover, shown, that the European powers, in courting and sustaining treaties of alliance with them, have been actuated, could be actuated, by no other than the lowest motives of selfishness, jealousy of rival influence, and mercenary aims.

There never was a time, when any one of the great maritime powers of Europe could not have routed these bands of pirates from their strong holds, driven them into the deserts, or expelled them, as enemies of the human kind, from the face of the earth. Yet they have been suffered to exist, to assume rights, to claim the dignity and privilege of civilized governments, to make treaties and break them at will, to prey upon the commerce of every nation, to enslave their prisoners, exact tribute, levy exorbitant contributions, impose degrading terms of submission, and, in short, to commit every act of infamy and injustice, to which their cupidity and daring spirit of evil prompted them. All these things have been quietly endured, nay, winked at, encouraged, promoted, by the nations themselves who were the subjects of these shameless insults, and whose duty it was for their own honor, and the honor of human nature, to punish such gross infractions of right, and crush the audacious power that dared commit them.

The existence of the piratical states of Barbary, as governments tolerated by civilized nations, is an anomaly in the history of the world. They have never, till very recently, made any pretensions to an observance of the laws of nations. Their

« PředchozíPokračovat »