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music was in his voice, what a sunshine in his presence. Yet alas ! the tender outcast always had to pay for this momentary admission into the paradise of humanity. The instinct of hatred took its old shape and natural tone when the door had closed on the intruder.
That gay, sunny, open room, seemed a home fit for the affections to assemble in, and hold festival for ever. But to him, the pale child of aversion, that elysium was a cavern cold and dark as midnight. There, for the other children, were father and mother, and ties of love binding them equally to present happiness; there, for him, were gaolers and spies ; a prison, not a home; a grave-like dwelling, but no grave; no companionship, yet no solitude. Worse than solitary, to a degree that words can scarcely paint, was the condition of the unloved boy.
He disappeared. Seldom and more seldom was he permitted to darken or to affright with his sad pallid face, the bright circle which parental partiality lived in—and at length, without a word spoken, his shadow was seen on the wall farthest from the fireside no more. He might have been sent alone to school, or put out to a hireling to board; -or he might have wandered away, to find in fields and doorways a kinder home, and with strangers a more pitying nurture; or, better than all, he might have been caught up to Heaven in his innocence and sorrow, ere yet his blood had received any taint of its origin, or become partaker of the scorn, the bitterness, and the hatred, that so unnaturally poisoned the spring from which it flowed.
It is difficult to set a limit to the revelations even of one solitary key. hole in London, when put to its confessions—so much variety of life must it have espied, such changes of character scanned, such whispered secrets caught. The windows fast and the door locked, still the airy sprite in the keyhole is left master of the room. Of the tenants I have watched, when no other eye was upon them, when nothing visible was present to influence their actions, and no imaginable motive existed for further concealment-when, therefore, they have been utterly and exclusively themselves—the majority beyond a doubt have been better worth knowing for their inside character, than the one they presented to the world, and had they but walked abroad as they might be seen at home, with all their native defects and weaknesses bare to the eye, they would have more easily obtained the esteem of mankind. The mask, in two cases out of three, hid handsomer features than it imitated with such vulgar hypocrisy; and in the third case, the deception was so gross, or the difference between the affectation and the reality so slight, that the mask was scarcely worth the trouble of putting it on—and never atoned, by success in the issue, for the constant misery of wearing it.
What opposites have from year to year taken up their abode in this single room! Hither have come to reside, the youthful lonely student, and the venerable survivor of love, ambition, fame, hope, almost life; the hospitable entertainer, and the self-lover, who, nevertheless, denied food to his own lips; the proud, poor family, who would ever hide their wants from the reliever, and the rich scorner of his fellows, whose hand scattered blessings secretly. The marriage-party, flushed, glistening, and exulting, fresh from the altar, has here assembled ; and here, too, have met the mourners, summoned to escort to his final lodging, a tenant unconscious of his removal.
As I have within these walls seen the decaying tenant, who staid till he was starved out, and flitted ghostlike in the night-and the thriving tenant who outgrew his small respectable abode and shot from it into western splendour-so has this apartment itself, in its finery and dilapidation, witnessed the two extremes of fortune. It has been heaped with comforts, hung round with elegance; usefulness and ornament have been combined in its attractions. Beauty has been born within it-infancy has gambolled upon its floor-here has happy old age said good night to the world; the wedding-feast, the bachelor-supper, lasting as the long night, have filled it to the ceiling with gaiety and joy; the laugh and the song have rung out, and the silent midnight prayer been sent up to Heaven; the moan from the sick bed, the music of the birthday-ball
, and the quiet fireside converse of domestic life, together with sights and sounds speaking in infinite ways of humanity's humiliation and triumph, its delights and afflictions—have been echoed in rapid succession within its walls.-And now, appropriated to vile uses, occupied by lumber, and tenanted by rats, it shakes in the winter-wind, and totters in anticipation of the doom to which it is sentenced to be pulled down,” in furtherance of the metropolitan improvements.
HINTS TO PEACE SOCIETIES.
Ah me! what perils do environ
The law that chases politics from our pages forbids us alike in general to refer to proceedings or speeches in parliament, a restriction which occasionally subjects us to serious privations in our capacity of Humorist.
There are, however, little incidental morceaux of parliamentary eccentricity to which it would be mere prudery to extend our principle of non-intervention. Amongst others of late occurrence there has been one little passage in the House of Commons, so exquisite in its way, that it would be actually sinful not to record it in a journal like ours. We allude to the delicious eulogium pronounced upon a gallant chieftain of our Indian army by a no less gallant relative of his now reposing under his laurels at home, or only tighting the peaceful battles of St. Stephen's chapel.
The following passage, not having the remotest connection with politics, or party interests, we may innocently quote :
" At the battle of Corunna, when leading on the 50th regiment in the most gallant style, his general, Sir John Moore, called out to him, and to his friend, Major Stanhope, who was near him, Well done, my
majors' (hear, hear). The expression at once stamped him as a hero (hear, hear). On that occasion, when he advanced with his regimentand it was the first time he had been under fire-- he got beyond his men, and was surrounded by a troop of French cavalry-he was struck down by a sword-cut on the head-stabbed in the back-received a musket ball in the leg, and got two ribs broken by a spent shot. This was certainly a sufficient dose (laughter). He was taken care of by Marshals Soult and Ney. These distinguished men bore him to their quarters—had him carefully nursed, and restored him to his country, without exchange (loud cheers). Indeed he was sure that no man, either in England or France, would rejoice more than the gallant Soult to hear of the late exploits of Sir C. Napier (cheers). The following May his gallant relative, although his regiment was not in Spain, obtained permission to serve there as an amateur (a laugh). They first heard of him at the passage of the Coa, where he had a horse shot under him. At the battle of Busaco, he was present as an amateurhe himself was there as an amateur too (a laugh). His gallant relative was shot through the nose, the ball lodging in his jaw, and he (Commodore Napier) carried him off the field (hear, hear, hear). He mentioned this to account for the feelings with which he viewed his gallant relative (hear, hear, hear). He remembered well at Busaco seeing him watching the movements of the army. He was dressed in the uniform of his regiment-red, the staff wore blue. He (Commodore Napier) said to him, “ You are in an exposed position, you will be marked. You had better throw on your cloak.' He replied, “No, I wear the uniform of my regiment, and in that uniform I will stand or fall' (cheers). He had hardly uttered the words when he was wounded (hear, hear). When he (Commodore Napier) was carrying him off the field, he met the Duke of Wellington, and his gallant relative, weak and exhausted as he was, yet still with a soldier's ardour burning in his breast, took his hat off and cheered his illustrious commander, remarking at the same time that he could not die at a better moment (hear, hear). He manifested the same courage during the infliction of severe physical pain. He held him while the ball was being extracted from his jaw, and although he kicked as a, man might who was having his tooth drawn (a laugh), he never uttered a sound (hear, hear). After recovering from his wound, they found him next at the battle of Fuentes d'Onore, where he escaped for once in his life (a laugh)."
The first thought that occurred to us, on reading this spirited address, was Falstaff's question, “Can honour set a leg?" Our next reflection was a self-congratulation that we were not with Sir John Moore at the battle of Corunna. We are content to leave that immortal hero “ alone in his glory.” Here is the oddest encouragement to heroism imaginable : “Surrounded by a troop of French cavalry!”—“Struck down by a sword-cut on the head !" "Stabbed in the back!" And all this improved and embellished by “getting two ribs broken by a spent shot.”
The commodore may well call this “a sufficient dose."
But it is clear that the dose was not sufficient to cure either the general or the commodore of his heroic propensities. The dose operated upon them very differently from the way in which it would certainly have affected us. Phlebotomy is evidently no specific for the red-coat or scarlet fever.
We are told that Marshals Soult and Ney restored the English chief to his country “without erchange.” Why, they surely could not have expected an integral Frenchman in exchange for such a fragment of a Briton as General Napier inust have been after his dose of steel at Corunna. Then there is something irresistibly comical in the picture of the French marshals first hacking an English major into pieces with their sabres, and then “carefully nursing him," to send him home to his fire-side. It reminds us of the vulgar adage, “break my head and give me a plaister.” Delicate nurses, the Marshals Soult and Ney! Who does not admire the British commodore's notion of a tender nurse?
But let us mark the operation of the French physic. “ The following May” we find the officer who had his head cloven at Corunna, his back stabbed, his leg riddled, and his ribs pounded like oyster-shells in a workhouse, -we find him in Spain again, at the passage of the Coa and at the battle of Busaco. And in what character ? The natural conjecture would be that he was there by compulsion, by “ bitter constraint;" but no he is there as “an amateur !”
No wonder the house, or some members of the house, laughed at this announcement, for surely Spain is the last country in the world where one would have expected to have found Major Napier after the “ dose” that has been described. He had got enough of Spain, we should have thought, in our simplicity, all incomprehensible to us as is the luxury of wounds, stabs, fractures, and even of amputations by French surgeons, and nursings by French marshals. Heroes alone can understand the joys of heroes, as madmen only can appreciate the ecstacies of madness.
The commodore himself, too, was at Busaco, as “an amateur.”. A manifest pair of epicures these gallant brothers in arms, but was there ever stranger gourmanderie than not only to love a broil, but to furnish the materials for it from one's own proper carcase ? At Busaco the major was “shot through the nose, the ball lodging in his jaw,” and the commodore revels in the recollection of this piquant entre-met of the martial feast. The morsel is, so toothsome that he compares the extraction of the ball to the drawing of a tooth, an illustration which no doubt excites in the heroic mind of a British commodore the most pleasurable sensations in the world-next lo gunshot wounds.
But the narrative is not yet done. The leaden pill at Busaco works just like the medicine at Corunna. In fact, it acts like those pills that dyspeptic gluttons take to provoke their appetites. “After recovering from his wound, they found him next at the battle of Fuentes d'Onore, where he escaped for once in his life.” This was not as it ought to have been. After two such courses there should have been a handsome dessert, the lopping of an ear or a toe, or a couple of fingers, would have been a proper conclusion of the Spanish banquet, and we may presume it was this defect of the peninsular ntertainment which urged the gallant major to proceed to India, where he had the tempting prospect before him of being curried as well as hushed by the Ameers.
It will appear from all this that we have more of the spirit of poltroonery than of heroism in our composition. Such is the disgraceful fact. We are far from envying our brave countryman all the good things the French treated him to at Corunna and Busaco. We prefer a whole head to a broken one; we have no conception of the comfort of being minced by the sabres of French dragoons; and if we shall ever be seduced into the battle-field, it will not be by the enticements of Commodore Napier's speech. No French marshal shall ever have it to boast that he shattered two of our ribs on Monday, and nursed us tenderly on Tuesday and Wednesday. The Napier dose seems enough to cure Achilles himself of the fighting distemper, and in this point of view we beg to recommend it to our humane friends of the different Peace Societies, who cannot do better than circulate the speech we have alluded to, in the form of a cheap tract, illustrated by cuts. A cut of an English major cut to pieces by French hussars, would do more, we apprebend, to discourage warlike enthusiasm than all the moral appeals and religious remonstrances which the Joshuas and Obadiahs take such pains to disseminate.
Segnius irritant animos demissa per aurem,
Quam quæ sunt oculis subjecta fidelibus. To us it has often appeared singular that a nation, anxious as we are to cherish a warlike spirit in our people, should maintain such establishments as those of Greenwich and Chelsea, in which it seems impossible for any man of common sense to pass half an hour, and not feel the very spirit of cowardice stirred within him, by the ghastly results of valour which everywhere meet his view. To encourage military and naval ardour by the prospect of hundreds of soldiers and sailors, without an integral man amongst them, all legless, armless, or noseless, seems the oddest adaptation of means to ends that human absurdity ever devised. A stranger, unacquainted with the real intention of these celebrated hospitals, would infallibly conclude that they had been erected by the humane Society of Friends to advance their pacific objects, upon the same principle that made the ancient Spartans exhibit the drunken Helot to deter their sons from the practice of inebriety. As things are, however, we are forced to the conclusion that there are people so constituted as to be attracted and charmed instead of being repulsed and horrified by the details of a bloody battle. The spectacle of a minced man would not be displayed if there were not people to admire and to enjoy it; the existence of our Greenwich and Chelsea hospitals proves, beyond all doubt, that there are men in the world (or at least in this part of it), who think as little of a cannon-shot as Commodore Napier or Baron Munchausen, and who are further of opinion that the human physiognomy is rather improved than otherwise by the substraction of a nose, or the curtailing of a chin. Chacun à son gout. This, however, we must say, in justice to the guild of tailors, that if a member of that craft be only a ninth-part of a man, the hero who has left the greater part of his carcase scattered about the world, one leg in China, another in Hindostan, a hand in Spain, an arm in Canada, an ear in the Nile, and a nose in the Gulf of Navarino, is exposed to precisely the same sarcasm. At the same time, we are far from denying the right of a free-born Englishman to permit himself to be hacked with sabres and riddled with shot, wherever there is a wound