Page images
PDF

clothes bore the same initials, and was certainly Tiers, had drifted on shore and been buried some fourteen miles further to the •west. The fisherman who had so nearly destroyed me maintained, after his arrest a gloomy and obstinate silence ; nothing could induce him to give the least explanation of his conduct, of the words he had used. When, for want of evidence, he was discharged, he returned to his former employment and residence; but the fishermen and Eeasantry avoided him so carefully that his fe was perfectly solitary. It was known, however, that much of his time was spent over the grave of the lady whose murderer he was supposed to be, and that he frequently visited the grave of her child. At length a gentleman arrived at Camplay and requested permission to remove the body of her who had proved to have been Mrs. M'Clean, of Ghea, as he had previously removed the body of her child from its burying-place. While availing himself of the permission readily granted, his workmen

the lunatic fisherman. He had rushed from the grave of the child, which he had found empty, and endeavored by threats and violence to drive the people from the graveyard. Suspicion was again aroused; he was more closely examined; and it appeared that lie had been the servant of Mr. M'Clean, of Ghea, who had discharged him for misconduct. Influenced by feelings of fierce revenge against his late master, he had cut loose from the shore a boat into which his young mistress had entered with her child, to wait the arrival of her husband. lie had watched the boat carried away by one of the impetuous tides, and believed himself a murderer, and revenged. However, Mrs. M'Clean was recovered from that danger, but a few months afterwards was lost with the many other victims who sank in the ill-fated Argus. It would seem that the bodies of the hapless mother and child had been conveyed by the currents into my path. It is certain that the extraordinary circumstance I have faithfully recorded was the means of saving me

•were disturbed by the sudden appearance of | from a sudden and dreadful death.

Dumas Robbing Garibaldi.—Not long ago Barnes and Burr, of New York, published an interesting Life of Garibaldi, written by himself, with sketches of his companions in arms, translated by liis friend nnd admirer, Theodore Dwight. This biography, it appears by the following extract from the Philadelphia Press, lias been stolen by that most unscrupulous of literary hacks, Alexandra Dumas :—

"Some months ago the famous Alexandra Dumas, author of' Monte Christo,'' Tho Three Musketeers,' and an immense number of other romances, proceeded to Italy with the avowed purpose of becoming the biographer of Garibaldi. He issued a flaming prospectus of his forthcoming work, in which it was announced that it would contain a great many details received directly from Garibaldi himself. An American publisher (who may be heard of in Boston, we arc told), conceived the business-like idea of purchasing advance sheets of Dumas' Life of Joseph Garibaldi, and succeeded in obtaining a copy of the work in anticipation of its appearance in Paris. It is said that S500 was the sum paid to Dnmas—certainly not a very extravagant amount, but a great deal considering that the book might have been obtained immediately after its publication for nothing.

"The advanced sheets, duly received from France, were immediately placed in the hands of a competent translator, and the Boston publisher prepared to bring out the book with ns little delay as possible. But, by the timo the first twenty-four pages were translated, a careful 'reader,'well acquainted with 'current literature,' went over them, and speedily discovered that Dumas had simply got some one to make a French translation of Garibaldi's Autobiography, edited by Dwight, nnd published by Barnes and Burr, prefixing a few prefatory remarks of his own to this stolen property. Of course, the translation of Dumas' Life of Garibaldi was not proceeded with, and we need scarcely add that the publisher so scandalously cheated by Dumas lias not the slightest chancb of ever receiving back even a fraction of his $500."

Mr. MtrnitAY has in the press, nnd will shortly publish, "Francis Bacon, Lord-Chancellor of England," by Hcpworth Dixon, being an inquiry into his life and character based on letters and documents hitherto unpublished. This work, though new in form and in material, will contain the substance of the articles which appeared in the Athenccum in January last.

From The Spectator.
SIEMORIALS OF THOMAS HOOD.*

The children of Thomas Hood have wisely chosen to make him as much as possible his own biographer, the means at their disposal for that purpose being not inconsiderable in quantity, and very precious in kind. They consist of letters addressed to intimate friends chiefly during the last ten years of the writer's life, and these the editors have connected together by a modest thread of explanation and comment, derived from their recollections of a father who was the playfellow of their childhood, and who made them his close companions to the last; for say they, "we were never separated for any length of time from our parents, neither of us having been sent to a boarding-school, or in earlier years confined to that edifying Botany Bay —the nursery—where children grow up by the pattern of unwatched, uneducated, hired servants." They have done their work in a thoroughly filial spirit, free from all desire of self-display, and therefore they have done it fittingly, as every judicious reader will thankfullv acknowledge.

Thomas Hood was born on the 23d of May, 1799, in the Poultry, where Thomas, his father, who was a Scotchman of cultivated taste, and an author of some popularity in his day, carried on business as a bookseller. Sydney Smith's account of his earliest known progenitor was that he disappeared suddenly and forever in Assize time; and Thomas Hood the Second used to say that as his grandmother was a Miss Armstrong, he was descended from two notorious thieves—Robin Hood and Johnnie Armstrong. Little is known of his early years. Mr. Hessey, who was intimate with his father, recollects him as " a singular child, silent and retired, with much quiet humor, and apparently delicate in health." One droll anecdote of this period of his life has survived many others related by him to his son. He drew the figure of a demon with the smoke of a candle on the staircase ceiling near his bedroom door to frighten his brother. "Unfortunately, he forgot that he had done so, and, when he went to bed, succeeded in terrifying himself into fits almost—while his brother had not observed the picture." At the age of fifteen or sixteen he was articled to his uncle Mr. Sands, an engraver. His health having suffered from confinement he was sent to a relation in Scotland, where he remained some years and made his first appearance in print; but it was not until the year 1821 that he adopted

* ilemoriul» of Tliomai Hood. Collected, Arranged, and r.dited by his Daughter. With a Preface nii'l Notes by his'Son. Illustrated with Copies from his own Sketches. In two volumes. Published by Hoxon and Co.

literature as a profession being then engaged as sub-editor of the London Magazine, which has passed into the hands of his friends Messrs. Taylor and Hessey. His first contributions to the magazine consisted of humorous notices and answers to correspondents in the "Lion's Head." "The Echo "in Hood's Magazine was a continuation of this idea. Some of the replies to imaginary letters were very quaint—for instance :—

"Vekitt. It is better to have an enlarged heart than a contracted one, and even such a haemorrhage ns mine than a spitting of spite."

"' A Chapter on Bustles ' is under consideration for one of our back-numbers."

"N.N. The most characteristic 'Mysteries of London' are those which have lately prevailed on the land and tho river, attended by collisions of vessels, robberies, assault, accidents, and other features of Metropolitan interests. If N.N. be ambitious of competing with the writer, whom he names, let him try his hand at a genuine, solid, yellow November fog. It is dirty, dangerous, smoky, stinking, obscure, unwholesome, and favorable to vice and violence."

Among the contributors to the London Magazine w8s John Hamilton Reynolds, whose sister Hood married, and conjointly with whom he wrote and published anonymously "Odes and Addresses to Great People," which had a great sale, and occasioned no little speculation as to the author. Coleridge unhesitatingly declares that no other man could have written it than Charles Lamb.

"On the 5th of May, 1824, the marriage of my father and mother took place. In spite of all the sickness and sorrow that formed the greatest portion of tho after-part of their lires, the union was a happy one. My mother was a woman of cultivated mind and literary tastes, and well suited to him as a companion. He had such confidence in her judgment that lie read, and reread, and corrected with her all that he wrote. Many of his articles were first dictated to her, and her ready memory supplied him with his references and quotations. He frequently dictated tho first draft of his articles, although they were always finally copied out in his own peculiarly clear and neat writing, which was so legible and good, that it was once or twice begged by printers, to teach their compositors n first and easy lesson in reading handwriting. Of late years, my mother's time and thoughts were entirely devoted to him, and he became restless and'almost seemed unable to write unless she were near.

"The first few years of his married life were the most ancloudcd my father ever knew. The young couple resided for some years in Robert Street, Adelphi. Here was born their first child, which, to their great grief, scarcely survived its birth. In looking over some old papers, I found a few tiny curls of golden hair, as soft as the finest silk, wrapped in a yellow and time-worn paper inscribed in my father's handwriting:—

"' Little eyes tlmt scarce did see,

Little lips that never smiled;

Alas! my little dear dead child,
Death is thy father and not me,
I but embrace thco, soon as ho!'

On this occasion, these exquisite lines or Charles Lamb's ' On an infant dving as soon ns born,' wero written and sent to my father and mother."

In 1826 appeared the first series of "Whims and Oddities" with the following "Dedication to the Reviewers "—

"What is a modern poet's fato?
To write his thoughts upon a slate:
The critic spits on what is done,
Gives it a wipe—and all is gone!"

The first series reached a second edition in the same year, and other works followed in quick succession. In 1831-2, Hood wrote some pieces for the stage, and an entertainment for Charles Mathewg the Elder, " who was heard by a friend most characteristically to remark that he liked the entertainment very much, and Mr. Hood too,—but that all the time he was reading it, Mrs. Hood would keep snuffing the candles. This little fidgety observation," says Mrs. Broderip, "very much shocked my mother, and, of course, delighted my father." About this time the Duke of Devonshire asked Hood for a set of titles for a door of sham books for the entrance of a library staircase at Chatsworth, and received a list of about four score among •which were, "The Life of Zimmermann. By Himself" (Zimmermann, tho author of Solitude); " Designs of Friezes. By Captain Parry ;" "On the Site of Tully's Offices;" "On Sore Throat and the Migration of the Swallow. By T. Abernethy," etc. Hood •was now living in a very pretty little cottage in a pleasant garden on Winchmore Hill, which he quitted in 1832 for Lake House, Wanstead, a beautiful but exceedingly inconvenient old place. It was a bad exchange, and he always regretted it. Much of the scenery and description of his only completed novel, Tylney Hall, was taken from Wanstead and its neighborhood. Here, as at Winchmore Hill, his life seems to have passed smoothly enough with the exception of some sharp but comparatively harmless attacks of illness. It was not until 1834 that his pecuniary troubles began and brought with them continual aggravations of his bodily Bufferings. He used to make frequent excursions to the sea, for which he had an ardent love, being an expert boatman and a good swimmer, as well as a poet; and he •was much amused when one of his contemporaries, in a little sketch of his life, gravely asserted that he had been destined for the

sea, but disliked the great ocean too much to fulfil the intention. The only ground he could imagine for this assertion was that he had written in one of the Comics a burlesque account of a landsman's sufferings in a first voyage. Thus is contemporary biography written. The author of another memoir got hold of a bit of truth as to Hood's mental character, but turned it into untruth by overstatement when he said, "we believe his mind to be more serious, than comic; we have never known him laugh heartily either in company or in rhyme." But the queerest blunder was that made by Mr. Home, when in The New Spirit of the Age, by a mistake of a single letter he gave to Mr. Hood the pages descriptive of Mr. Hoot, and enriched the self-knowledge of the former with the discovery that he was "a diner-out and a man about town," and that he had given the world " unfavorable views of human nature." At the end of 1834, Hood suffered a very heavy loss by the failure of a firm, and became involved in pecuniary difficulties. The course he took to extricate himself is thus described in a letter of his own :—

"'Emulating the illustrious example of Sir Walter Scott, lio determined to try whether ho could not score off his debts ns effectually and more creditably with liis pen than with tholegal whitewash or a wet sponge. Ho had aforetime realized in one year n sum equal to the amount in arrear, and there was, consequently, fair reason to expect that, by redoubled diligence, economizing, and escaping costs at law, ho would soon be able to retrieve his affairs. With these views, leaving every shilling behind him, derived from the salo of his effects, tho means he carried with him being an advance upon his future labors, ho voluntarily expatriated himself, and bade lib native land good-night.'"

As the readers of Up the Rhine are aware, Hood started alone for the Rhineland, and finally fixed his residence at Coblentz, where he was joined by his family. The expatriation was in every way an unfortunate one. He was caught in the fearful and memorable storm of the 4th and 5th of March, 1835, when eleven vessels, including a Dutch East Indiaman, were lost off the coast of Holland; and he attributed much of his subsequent sufferings to the mental and bodily exhaustion which attended this danger. He was disgusted with the Rhinelanders, a mongrel race in whom he discovered all the bad qualities of the French without the good ones of either French or Germans. They were all comprised in two classes, Jew Germans and German Jews. The diet of the country was wretched, and the domestic comforts few; and he found that he and his might have lived in England in the same squalid style for the same money. "It is not pleasant," he says in one of his letters, "nor even a pecuniary trifle to pay from twenty to thirty per cent on your whole expenditure for being an Englishman—and you cannot avoid it; but it is still more vexatious to the spirit and offensive to the mind to be everlastingly engaged in such a petty warfare for the defence of your pocket, and equally revolting to the soul to be unable to repose confidence on the word or honesty of any human being around you." The only fruit of his visit to Germany which might not as well have been matured in England, was his Up the Shine, the sale of which was spoiled by the dishonesty of his agent. The book is now entirely out of print; why is it suffered to remain so'? Turning his back with delight on Coblentz, Hood went in June, 1837 to Ostend, a place which was very much to his liking until he found himself the victim of its malarious atmosphere, of which he felt the effects as long as he lived. In July or August, 1840, he finally returned to England, utterly broken in health, but as strong in mind and as gallant in spirit as ever. The

B mentioned in the following extract

from a letter, dated February, 1841, was the agent of whom we have already spoken.

"You will be gratified to hear that, without any knowledge of it on my part, the Literary Fund (tho members of the committee having frequently inquired about my health, and the

B business, of Dilkc), unanimously voted

me £50, the largest sum they give, and, setting aside their standing rules, to do it without my application. I, however, returned it (though it would have afforded mo some case and relief), but for many and well-weighed reasons. I am, however, nil tho better for tho offer, which placet mo in a good position. It was done in a very gratifying and honorable manner, and I am the first who has .said 'no.' But I am in good spirits, and hope to get through all my troubles as independently as heretofore."

In the August of the same year he was made comparatively affluent by succeeding, on tho death of Theodore Hook, to the editorship of the New Monthly, but he soon resigned it to edit Hood's Magazine which began with the year 1844, and ended with its proprietor's life on the 3d of May, 1845. That life had been truly a long disease, aggravated in its last ten years by care and annoyances that "fell with a double weight on the mind overtasked by such constant and harassing occupation." Very touchingly docs his daughter say :—

"The income his works now produce to his children, might then have prolonged his life for many years; although when wo looked on the calm, happy face afier death, free at last from tho painful expression that had almost become habitual to it, we dared not regret the rest so long prayed for, and hardly won."

"... His Oh :i family never enjoyed his

( quaint and humorous fancies, for they were nil associated with memories of illness and anxiety. Although Hood's 'Comic Annual,' as he himself used to remark with pleasure was in every house seized npon, and almost worn out by the frequent handling of little fingers, his own children did not enjoy it till the lapse of many years had mercifully softened down somo of the sad recollections connected with it. The only article that 1 can remember we ever really thoroughly enjoyed, was 'Mrs. Gardiner, a Horticultural liomanco,' and even this was composed in bed. But the illness he was then suffering from was only rheumatic fever, and not one of his dangerous attacks, and he was unusually cheerful. He sat up in bed, dictating it to my mother, interrupted by our bursts of irrepressible laughter, us joke after joke came from his lips, he all tho while laughing and relishing it ns much as wo did. But Miis was a rare—indeed almost solitary—instance; for ho could not usually write so well at any time as at night, when all tho house was quiet. Our family rejoicings were generally when the work was over, and we were too thankful to be rid of tho harass and hurry, to care much for tho results of such labor."

"... He had, for years past, known, as well as his doctors, his own frail tenure of existence, and had more than once, as ho said himself; 'been so near death's door, he could almost fancy he heard the creaking of the hinges ;' and he was now fully aware that at last his feeble step was on its very threshold. With this knowledge ho wroto the following beautiful letter to Sir Robert Peel—worthy of being the last letter of such a man.

"' Dear Sir,—We are not to meet in the flesh. Given over by my physicians and by myself, I am only kept alive by frequent instalments of mulled port wine. In this extremity I feel a comfort, for which I cannot refrain from again thanking yon, with all the sincerity of a dying man,—and at tho same time, bidding you a respectful farewell.

"' Thank God! my mind is composed and my reason undisturbed, but my race as an author is run. My physical debility finds no tonic virtue in a steel pen, otherwise I would have written one more paper—a forewarning one—ngainst nu evil, or the danger of it, arising from a literary movement in which I have hnd some share, a one-sided humanity, opposite to that Catholic Shakspcarian sympathy, which felt with king as well as peasant, and duly estimated tho mortal temptations of both stations. Certain classes at the poles of society arc already too far asunder; it should be the duty of our writers to draw them nearer by kindly attraction, not to aggravate the existing repulsion, and place a wider moral gulf between rich and poor, with hato on the one sido and fear on tho other. But I am too weak for this task, the last I had set myself; it is death that stops my pen, you sec, and not tho pension.

"God bless you, sir, and prosper all your measures for tho benefit of my beloved country.

"' I have tho honor to be, sir, your most grateful and obedient servant.

"•thos. Hood.'"

From The Spectator.

ANGLING AT HOME AND ABROAD.* Tiieke are hills beyond Pentland, and streams beyond Forth. ' The rivers of England, Ireland, Scotland, and Norway, do not monopolize all tho salmon fishing of the •world. The author of one of the books before us begins his first chapter by laying down this fundamental proposition, that any one who doubts that Canada has its share of the sport is mistaken. He believes there is as good-salmon fishing in Canada as in any other part of the world, "and better, much better, than in a great many highly vaunted countries." His editor is even more emphatic, and declares that on the lakes ana rivers of British America frequented by the great maskanonge, salmon, bass, white fish, etc., the fisherman from the old country, would find such scope for his art that home fishing would appear to him very tame ever after. "Take," says the author, " a map of Canada, find out Quebec; then run your eye eastward along the left hand or northern side of the river and Gulf of St. Lawrence; you will see many streams marked there; almost every one of them is a salmon river, and in every one of them that has been fished, excellent sport has been had, and heavy fish killed." It is a pity he did not tell us this a few months earlier in the year, for we ought to have been off from Liverpool on the first Saturday in May in order to arrive at Quebec about the middle of the month, and have time to see that strange old city and its magnificent environs, and to make the necessary preparations for the angling cruise, upon which we should have started about the 10th of June. The salmon-fishing season is generally at its height on the Canadian rivers in the last week of June or the first week of July. We shall, therefore, not see Quebec this year, nor Montreal, chief of Canadian cities, clean, handsome, and solid in appearance, on which a Yankee pronounced his opinion; "Well, I guess it looks like a city that was bought and paid for." One might, perhaps, even yet arrive in time to intercept a few belated "water-angels," as a Yankee writer calls salmon; ' and even should this hope fail the enthusiastic sportsman, he would have whale fishing in the St. Lawrence to fall back upon, or he might immortalize himself by being the first to drag to shore another ferocious and hitherto uncaptured monster occasionally to be met in that river. Says our author :—

* Salmon Fiihiny in Canada. By n Resident. Edited by Colonel Sir James Edward Alexander, Knt., K.C.L.S., Fourteenth l.'cgiment, Author of '• Explorations in America, Africa, etc." With Illustrations. Published by Longman and Co.

At ihi- moment I have before mo an official 'Report of the Commissioners for exploring tho country lying between tho Rivers Saguenny, Saint Maurice, and Saint Lawrence,' ordered to be printed by tho House of Assembly on tho 22d of March, 1831. These commissioners are gentlemen of tho highest respectability and intelligence, Messieurs Andrew and David Stuart, who would not bo likely to be deceived in a matter of tho kind, and would bo tho lust men to attempt a deception upon others. At pp. 16 and 17 of their report, are the following words, being an extract from the journal kept upon tho occasion:—

''Sunday, August 26th, 1829.—Kmbnrked at seven A.m. to go down to Baic do I'Eohaffaud du Basque, or Riviere aux Canards; but, when we reached the Point of Baio dcs Roches, tho wind, blew too hard for us to proceed, and wo put ashore in a little cove till noon, when wo embarked again, and kept close in shore, with the tide and wind in our favor. Wo had not proceeded fur, when we were pursued by a monstrous fish of prey, in consequence of which wo put ashore again. Tho nnimal was four hours about us, and apparently watching us. It camo sometimes within twenty feet of the rock oa which we were. It was at least from twenty to twenty-five feet long, and shaped exactly like a pike; its jaws were from live to six feet long, with a row of largo teeth on each side, of n yellowish color. It kept itself sometimes for nearly a minute on tho surface of the water. At fivo P.m., seeing nothing more of it wo embarked again, keeping closo in shore, and at seven P.m. put in for the night at tho fishing-hut at Echaffaud dn Basque. Two men, named Bnptisto Simard nnd Coton Fclion, who were on their way to Mnlbay, hunting for seals, put in at tho same time as we did. Thermometer 71°, 77°, and 69°.'"

This book, besides being full of special, and we doubt not authentic, information, is very amusing, and is adorned with head and tail pieces in on original and highly comic style. The author, an Irishman long resident in Canada, is a capital story-teller, a clever draughtsman, and a parson par-dessus lo marcb.6, in proof whereof he actually treats his readers to a sermon—a regular sermon on the text " I go a fishing" (John xxi, 3).

Mr. Simeon, the author of a very pleasant volume of Stray Notes teaches his readers not only how to catch all sorts of fish in fresh water and salt, but how to cook a fish when they have caught him.

"There is a way of dressing fish, which may be resorted to by tho side of the water with pleasure (and not without advantage should your stock of provisions run short), during the middle of the day, when fish do not generally feed so freely as ct the other times, and when your sport is often improved by giving them, as well as yourself, a rest. It is managed as follows: first collect a lot of small dry wood and set it on fire;—when n sufficient quantity of ashes has been thus obtained, which will be soon done.

« PreviousContinue »