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prised; for all the objects around appeared to be equally near me ; and it was only after an infinite number of trials that I learnt to use my eyes to guide my hand, and, as it gave me totally different ideas from the impressions that I received through the sense of sight, my opinions were only more imperfect, and my whole being was to me still a confused existence.
Profoundly occupied with myself, with what I was, and what I might be, the contrarieties I had just experienced, humiliated me. The more I reflected, the more doubts arose in my mind. Tired out by so much uncertainty, fatigued by the workings of my mind, my knees bent, and I found myself in a position of repose. This state of tranquillity gave new vigour to my senses. I was seated under the shadow of a fine tree; fruits of a red colour hung down in clusters within reach of my hand. I touched them lightly, they immediately fell from the branch, like the fig when it has arrived at maturity. I seized one of these fruits, I thought I had made a conquest, and I exulted in the power I felt of being able to hold in my hand another entire being. Its weight, though very slight, seemed to me an animated resistance, which I felt pleasure in vanquishing. I had put this fruit near my eyes; I was considering its form and colour. Its delicious smell made me bring it nearer; it was close to my lips; . with long respirations I drew in the perfume, and I enjoyed in long draughts the pleasures of smell. I was filled with this perfumed air. My mouth opened to exhale it; it opened again to inhale it. I felt that I possessed an internal sense of smell, purer and more delicate than the first. At last, I tasted.
What a flavour! What a novel sensation! Until then I had only experienced pleasure; taste gave me the feeling of voluptuousness. The nearness of the enjoyment to myself, produced the idea of possession. I thought the substance of the fruit had become mine, and that I had the power of transforming beings.
Flattered by this idea of power, and urged by the pleasure I had felt, I gathered a second and a third fruit, and I did not tire of using my hand to satisfy my taste; but an agreeable languor by degrees taking possession of my senses, weighed on my members, and suspended the activity of my mind. I judged of my inactivity by the faintness of my thoughts; my weakened senses blunted all the objects around, which appeared feeble and indistinct. At this moment, my
now. useless eyes closed, and my head, no longer kept up by the power of my muscles, fell back to seek support on the turf. Everything became effaced, everything disappeared. The course of my thoughts was interrupted, I lost the sensation of existence. This sleep was profound, but I do not know whether it was of long duration, not yet having an idea of time, and therefore unable to measure it. My waking was only a second birth, and I merely felt that I had ceased to exist. The annihilation I had just experienced caused a sensation of fear, and made me feel that I could not exist for ever.
Another thing disquieted me. I did not know that I had not lost during my sleep some part of my being. I tried my senses. I endeavoured to know myself again.
At this moment, the sun, at the end of the course, ceased to give light. I scarcely perceived that I lost the sense of sight; I existed too much to fear the cessation of my being; and it was in vain that the obscurity recalled to me the idea of my first sleep.
25.-STRUGGLING WITH ADVERSITY.
Basil Hall. [THERE is only one book of biography in our language, that, in our view, can compare with Boswell's Life of Johnson, and that book is, Lockhart's Life of Scott. The life of the great novelist is more artistically put together than the life of the great moralist and critic; but they each, in their several modes, place you in the most intimate companionship with the heroes of their respective stories. There is more of varied incident in the narrative of Scott's career than in that of Johnson. When Scott falls from his splendid position as regards wealth into comparative poverty, with a load of debt upon his shoulders that might have sunk him to the earth, we trace the gradual approach and consummation of his ruin with an interest that no writer of fiction could ever hope to excite and sustain. And when again, we see the brave man bearing his load gallantly through years of labour, and gradually casting it off, bit by bit, and winning universal love and admiration by his wondrous exertions of talent and industry, that he may work out his emancipation by the strength of his own hand alonethe world can hardly show another such example of the sublime spectacle of will o'ermastering fate. We offer these obvious remarks upon the career of Scott, as an introduction to a most interesting narrative extracted from Captain Basil Hall's Diary, and published in Mr. Lock
hart's Life of Scott. Captain Hall was a most accomplished naval officer-one of that class now happily so common, who unite a taste for science and literature with their professional knowledge. He has described some of his travels and adventures with remarkable spirit, in various popular works. He was born in 1788, and died in 1844.]
A hundred and fifty years hence, when his works have become old classical authorities, it may interest some fervent lover of his writings to know what this great genius was about on Saturday the 10th of June, 1826—five months after the total ruin of his pecuniary fortunes, and twenty-six days after the death of his wife.
In the days of his good luck he used to live at No. 39 in North Castle Street, in a house befitting a rich baronet; but on reaching the door, I found the plate on it covered with rust (so soon is glory obscured), the windows shuttered up, dusty, and comfortless; and from the side of one projected a board, with this inscription, 'To Sell;' the stairs were unwashed, and not a foot-mark told of the ancient hospi. tality which reigned within. In all nations with which I am acquainted the fashionable world move westward, in imitation, perhaps, of the great tide of civilization; and, vice versá, those persons who decline in fortune, which is mostly equivalent to declining in fashion, shape their course eastward. Accordingly, by an involuntary impulse, I turned my head that way, and inquiring at the clubs in Prince's Street, learned that he now resided in St. David Street, No. 6.
I was rather glad to recognise my old friend the Abbotsford butler, who answered the door—the saying about heroes and valets-de-chambre comes to one's recollection on such occasions; and nothing, we may be sure, is more likely to be satisfactory to a man whose fortune is reduced than the stanch adherence of a mere servant, whose wages must be altered for the worse. At the top of the stair we saw a small tray, with a single plate and glasses for one solitary person's dinner. Some few months ago Sir Walter was surrounded by his family, and wherever he moved, his head-quarters were the focus of fashion. Travellers from all nations crowded round, and like the recorded honours of Lord Chatham, “thickened over him.' Lady and Miss Scott were his constant companions; the Lockharts were his neighbours both in town and in Roxburghshire; his eldest son was his frequent guest; and in short, what with his own family and the clouds of tourists, who, like so many hordes of Cossacks, pressed upon him, there was not, perhaps, out of a palace, any man so attended, I had almost said overpowered, by company. His wife is now dead-his son-in-law and favourite daughter gone to London, and his grandchild, I fear, just staggering, poor little fellow, on the edge of the grave, which, perhaps, is the securest refuge for him—his eldest son is married, and at a distance, and report speaks of no probability of the title descending; in short, all are dispersed, and the tourists, those curiosos impertinentes,' drive past Abbotsford gate, and curse their folly in baring delayed for a year too late their long projected jaunt to the north. Meanwhile, not to mince the matter, the great man had, somehow or other, managed to involve himself with printers, publishers, bankers, gasmakers, wool-staplers, and all the fraternity of speculators, accommodation-bill manufacturers, land-jobbers, and so on, till, at a season of distrust in money-matters, the hour of reckoning came, like a thief in the night; and as our friend, like the unthrifty virgins, had no oil in his lamp, all his affairs went to wreck and ruin, and landed him, after the gale was over, in the predicament of Robinson Crusoe, with little more than a shirt to his back. But like that able navigator, he is not cast away upon a barren rock. The tide has ebbed, indeed, and left him on the beach, but the hull of his fortunes is above water still, and it will go hard indeed with him if he does not shape a raft that shall bring to shore much of the cargo that an ordinary mind would leave in despair, to be swept away by the next change of the moon. The distinction between man and the rest of the living creation, certainly, is in nothing more remarkable than in the power which he possesses over them, of turning to varied account the means with which the world is stocked. But it has always struck me, that there is a far greater distinction between man and man than between many men and most other animals; and it is from a familiarity with the practical operation of this marvellous difference that I venture to predict, that our Crusoe will cultivate his own island, and build himself a bark in which, in process of time, he will sail back to his friends and fortune in greater triumph than if he had never been driven amongst the breakers.
Sir Walter Scott, then, was sitting at a writing-desk covered with papers, and on the top was a pile of bound volumes of the Moniteur,one, which he was leaning over as my brother and I entered, was open on a chair, and two others were lying on the floor. As he rose to receive us he closed the volume which he had been extracting from, and came forward to shake hands. He was, of course, in deep mourning, with weepers and the other trappings of wo, but his countenance, though certainly a little wo-begonish, was not cast into any very deep furrows. His tone and manner were as friendly as heretofore, and when he saw that we had no intention of making any attempt at sympathy or moanification, but spoke to him as of old, he gradually contracted the length of his countenance, and allowed the corners of his mouth to curl almost imperceptibly upwards, and a renewed lustre came into his eye, if not exactly indicative of cheerfulness, at all events of well-regulated, patient, Christian resignation. My meaning will be misunderstood if it be imagined from this picture that I suspected any hypocrisy, or an affectation of grief in the first instance. I have no doubt, indeed, that he feels, and most acutely, the bereavements which have come upon him; but we may very fairly suppose, that among the many visitors he must have, there may be some who cannot understand that it is proper, decent, or even possible to hide those finer emotions deep in the heart. He immediately began conversing in his usual style-the chief topic being Captain Denham (whom I had recently seen in London) and his book of African Travels, which Sir Walter had evidently read with much attention. * * * * After sitting a quarter of an hour, we came away, well pleased to see our friend quite unbroken in spirit-and though bowed down a little by the blast, and here and there a branch the less, as sturdy in the trunk as ever, and very possibly all the better for the discipline-better, I mean, for the public, inasmuch as he bas now a vast additional stimulus for exertion and one which all the world must admit to be thoroughly noble and generous.
Davy. [Sir HUMPHRY Davy, the great chemist, may fairly take his place amongst “ the best authors." The qualities by which he raised himself to his professional eminence were the very qualities that make a great writer-a vivid imagination subjected to the discipline of accurate reasoning, and both working with unwearied industry. Davy took the largest views of science; but he worked them out by the most