Page images
PDF
EPUB

also how they may be overcome. 'JOHNSON HITCHCOCK,' while thumping and sweating away at the hand-loom, driving the shuttle and tramping upon the treadles thereof, although in some of his dreams he might have created a 'chateau in Spain' big enough to hold him as a village lawyer, or peradventure a justice of the peace, somewhere among his native hills ; hardly dreamed, I will venture to say, of ever sitting on a judicial bench in New Haven, or of reading lectures on law as professor in Yale College. Yet it was at that loom that the brightest part of his destiny was woven:

• What streams, what floods soe'er athwart him fall,
Who crossed the Rubicon, would cross them all.'

Whatever obstacles might interpose in his progress afterward, he who had fitted himself for college by toiling at his father's handloom, in a mean crazy old cottage situated on Carmel Hill, the highest of the range of highlands, about three miles west of the village of Bethlehem, would fit himself for any thing. The eminent talents, the untiring industry, the exalted virtues, both in public and private life, and the fervent piety of this truly “great and good man' have won for him a name as imperishable as his own deeds, and a garland of glory which shall grow brighter and brighter as the world grows older.

Our country mourns the departure of one of its worthies; Connecticut laments the loss of one of her brightest ornaments, and her tribunals a distinguished judge; the Yale Law School its chief pillar and head; the community a liberal supporter of every enterprise for the public good; the friends of the institution with which he was connected grieve over the absence of a most valuable member, a votary of science and letters; the Church of Christ weeps over the extinction of a burning and shining light, that spread its genial rays far and wide ; bereaved relatives bewail the death of a tender husband and an affectionate father; afflicted friends bemoan the death of one who knew not what it was to be wanting to a friend; in short, all are deeply a flicted with a sense of bereavement by the removal of so much excellence from earth :

"THOUSANDS bewail a hero, and a nation mourneth for its king,
But the whole universe bemoaneth the loss of a man of prayer.'

Yet we mourn not for him, but for our country and for ourselves. He is gone; but our loss is his infinite gain,

New Haven, (Conn.)

SITELEN WIVUS; AN EXTRACT.

PROMREYMIS ON TEK ROAD.'

IF faithless in wedlock, in gallantry gross,

Without honor to guard, or reserve to restrain,
What have they a husband can mourn as a loss?

What have they a lover can prize as a gain?

VOL. XXIX.

W INTER.

Gone are the long bright summer days, and gone
Are flowers and fruit, the green leaves and the birds ;
All have departed! Winter reigns supreme,
Chilling all nature by his icy touch,
And freezing up the very soul of life
With his fierce breath.

It seems but as a day
Since Spring was here, with sunshine and with cloud,
Tearful but smiling: Spring! beneath whose step
The violet and spring-beauty wake to life :
Prophetic Spring ! telling of future days,
When harvests shall reward man's hopeful toil,
And Joy shall reap the field which Faith has sown.
Then came the glowing SUMMER, whose warm breath
Aroused to life and beauty earth and air,
Opened the swelling buds, and called to light
The dancing foliage and the blushing flowers.
Then AUTUMN came, laden with choicest fruits,
Yielding to industry a rich reward,
And giving to pale Want a full supply.
At her approach the glaring sun restrains
His fiery glances ; and the graceful clouds
Fold up their silvery wings, or slowly sail
With quiet motion through the hazy sky:
The winds are hushed to rest, or only sigh,
With fitful breath, their soft and soul-like sounds ;
The landscape sleeps, bathed in a mellow light;
And the green vesture of the solemn woods
Now gains new tints, now glows with gorgeous dyes,
As though the colors of heaven's arching bow,
Leaving the clouds, had come to deck the trees
As for a festival. Alas! This glow
Is but the hectic flush foretelling death:
For soon this scene must change ; even now, behold

The Ice-King cometh! From the frozen North,
Leaving his icy throne, he marcheth forth
To make his annual and dreaded tour
Through his domains. The howling winds proclaim
His swift advance. All nature owns his sway:
The threatening clouds no longer melt to tears,
But, gathering around his mighty form,
Scatter the drifting snow and rattling hail :
The ancient forests reverently stand
Uncovered in his presence: the moist earth
Hardens beneath his footsteps ; and the streams,
Obedient to his voice, stop in their course,
And build the crystal bridge from shore to shore.

Heaven be praised! this will not last forever:
For other days will come; Spring shall return
With its reviving showers and genial warmth:
Earth is not dead but sleepeth.' In due time
She shall awake, and break these icy chains,
And cast aside this snowy winding-sheet,
And look once more up to the smiling sky,
And bloom again in primal beauty,

The Egyptian Letters.

NUMBER TANKF.

LETTER NINTH.

TRON ABD' ALLA. OMAR, TO SEYD AEIMAD EL HAJI, CHIEF SECRETARY OY THR OKADER AT CAIRO.

MARRIAGES are contracted in this country while the parties are very young. At the age of sixteen or seventeen a maiden may receive a lover and be married. This period of life corresponds with the age when females may marry at Cairo, which is at twelve or thirteen; for the difference of climate renders our youth more precocious. The manner however by which marriages are brought about is much less simple than with us, or with the French, both of which countries might serve as models to this people, notwithstanding they imagine they have improved the system of the old world, and found a better and shorter method of making two persons happy.

I cannot, as you know, speak from personal knowledge, but I have learned from my good uncle Aboo Zeyd, that with us the usual method is for the mother of the youth who desires to obtain a wife to address herself to some one who has access to a Hhareem, such as a Della' leh, or female broker, who is admitted to sell female ornaments; or he may himself employ a Kat beh, or female match-maker, whose regular business is to assist men in such cases. She may be accompanied by the mother or some other near female relation, who after visiting several Hhareems, make their report, wherein the charms or riches of the girl are set forth. When a young female is found having the necessary personal qualifications, the proposal is formally made and the matter discussed. During the settlement of these preliminaries the couple most interested have no chance of seeing or speaking to each other, and the bridegroom's first acquaintance with his bride is when she is in his absolute possession. Now I think this method has many advantages to recommend it. Each party is spared the pain of being obliged to bear many personal caprices of the other; they avoid the trouble of using artificial means of winning each other's affections, and escape from a thousand perplexities that often strew thorns in the path of love. The girl, now become a woman, goes from a place where she held an inferior station to become mistress of a Hhareem. Her condition is at once improved, and she exhibits a new-born affection by delicate attention to her husband's comforts. She is mindful that he be well supplied with coffee, his pipe filled when he requires it, and when he is fatigued, with her own fair hands rubs the soles of his feet with the Hhagar-el-hhammam, (foot-rasps.)

The French method differs from ours in a slight degree, yet is equally simple. Here too it is the mother of the young man who is the principal agent. She makes known her wishes to the priest, whose duty as confessor carries him to female seminaries, but more commonly addresses herself to the physician of the establishment. In the course of his visits, near the close of the classical year, he demands of the head instructress which of her pupils is to come out, what are her personal qualifications, and who are her parents. When his report is made, the respective parents are brought together, provided the information obtained from the physician is so far favorable as to warrant the expectation that the match would be eligible as to rank, fortune, or mutual disposition. This last is not however dwelt upon if the two former leave nothing to desire. The young people are then told of the happiness that awaits them, are allowed to see each other, but invariably in the presence of the parents or some third person, a near relative of the parties.

The forms of French society do not impose much restraint upon the actions of the husband, so that after marriage, if he is not pleased with the choice that has been made for him, he is not censured if he seek elsewhere the domestic enjoyment he fails to find at home. The young lady, on her part, being brought up under the strict watch of her parents and teachers, has passed her life in seclusion, partaking only in a limited degree of the amusements which charm the season of youth. She is glad to be married on almost any terms, for when she becomes a wife then is she mistress of her own actions; she is freed from her thraldom, and provided she is discreet, may indulge herself in a thousaud freedoms, which she may have dreamed of, but never could have learned from books or the conversation of those under whose care she was placed.

The people of this country being descended from the English, have preserved almost all the domestic habits of their ancestors. They marry and give in marriage much after the same manner, with only such slight variation as would naturally be produced by the state of society of a country rising from a simple condition to one of opulence and luxury. The frequent domestic and public reunions which I have already mentioned bring the young often into intercourse with each other. They are there allowed to converse with entire freedom, without the presence of their parents or guardians; the young men speak without reserve, and the damsels, whose natural modesty checks the full flow of speech, make known their thoughts by nods or smiles or frowns, which pass current as language, being as well understood.

After the young people have continued this commerce a certain length of time, they then (to use the language of the country,) are smitten, and get up what is called a flirtation ; when tired of this they then do what is called fall in love. The two first operations are very simple; the last is a little more complicated. It is performed by each of the parties becoming suddenly very reserved, especially toward each other; and this is greatest when the infection is most deeply seated. When they meet, instead of looking at each other in the face, the lady casts her eyes down, while the gentleman puts his right hand to the left side of his waistcoat and shows his teeth. The motion is very pretty when gracefully done, and seldom fails of bringing a little color into the lady's face. After this, if perchance (their meetings are purely accidental,) they meet in the street, the gentleman walks by the young lady's side, being scrupulous not to touch even the hem of her garment, much less her person, and generally talks about the weather. These steps being taken, which are merely preliminaries to a crisis, the parties are heard to sigh whenever the name of either is pronounced; then the complaint has reached its height, and the friends consider it necessary to appear and take charge of the two sufferers.

The lovers, however, for fear of any improper interference, make matters secure by engaging themselves very soon after the sighing symptoms show themselves; so that when the friends come forth to aid by their counsel, they find the parties have got the start and have lightened the burden that pressed upon their hearts by joining hands and vowing to live and die together, let the parents, guardians or friends do what they will to prevent. After this, to display a reverential respect for their parents, their consent is asked to the union. This consent is seldom or never refused when they learn what has passed, and the marriage takes place as soon as the young man is in a condition to provide for a family; not unfrequently a little sooner. This is the common method in America of uniting young people, or rather of permitting them to act as their inclinations dictate; yet this very regularity creates displeasure with those of a lively disposition, and they sometimes complain that it is monotonous. Indeed this was my own impression, when a friend described to me the 'smiting,' the 'flirtation,' and the falling in love' operations, and I candidly confess I should not like to be a victim to all these ceremonies. In certain cases they resort to an expedient to avoid all this inconvenience, and it is a singular one. It is to get up a quarrel between the lovers, which is brought about by the interposition of kind friends.

When the young people have made progress in the preliminary measures, and the crisis seems still not near at hand, the nearest friends, with the most benevolent intentions, immediately begin to talk about the parties and make sinister remarks, which are thrown out in a manner so secret and confidential that they are sure to reach the ears of the couple in question in a short space of time. The effect is soon made visible by little fits of coolness; by giving to each other brief answers to questions, to which are added a few slight indications of jealousy if either of the party should pay marked attention to any other person. As the two become animated, the friends keep up the excitement by observations of a more pointed character, till at last the pair who once believed they lived only for each other are now upon the eve of an open rupture. The moment matters are brought to this juncture the wedding clothes are bespoken, for it is well understood by the knowing ones that a trifling explanation will remove all ill-feeling, and that they will be wanted

« PreviousContinue »