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horse-radish against insects, and a wood-hen against poison. These fancies and delusions, for so our better knowledge must term them now, are worth noticing as characteristic of those happier times, when the Poles derived all their power, vigour, and poetical feelings from the very roughness and primitive artlessness of their society, and when
They carved at the meal
With gloves of steel,
TO A MUTTON CHO P.
BY JAMES KENNEY, ESQ.
Dear little, modest, modicum,
Of food for modest bard,
Nor think my Fortune hard.
Thy savour humble salt,
Were never yet at fault.
Art thou, while thee we relish,
That lordly boards embellish.
Lightly our hearts remember ;
Through nights of restless slumber.
Thy juicy fascination,
Drugs to the brute creation."
For more I would not press,
Ah! do not leave me less.
For bread and cheese (in cold conceit
Let stoics prate about them),
Are sorry fare without them.
And keep our conscience quiet,
Be thou my staple diet.
What cataracts of literature come daily pouring from the presswhither it tends afterwards is marvellous enough, notwithstanding all the extent, and all the thirstiness of the human mind over which it has spread ; but whence it comes, is a far more wonderful, if not so important, a consideration. The critic who sits beside the springs, and sees thein flow, and tries to analyze their waters, can give us little account of their origin as those who ask the question. From the garret in the city, to the tent in the desert—from the bright boudoir of the palace, to the cavern in the Kyber Pass, it comes incessantly—that tide, whose supply is inexhaustible, and whose demand is, providentially, as unsatisfied.
In the midst of such plenty, we naturally become fastidious about variety, but how seldom do we find any thing that deserves the name. If the face of man answereth to the face of man in a mirror, so does the mind of author to that of reader, and the latter is weary of the likeness. Once, perhaps, in a season do we find novelty in a “ novel,” or an adventure in the adventures" that beset us; and we are therefore proportionately grateful to “ Arthur O'Leary" for the union of both that he has given us in these quaint and original “Loiterings" of his. This book consists of a series of powerfully told tales, illustrative of the shrewd and subtle observations on men and manners, with which they are interwoven. The personality of the author is very slightly connected with his travels; but the tissue of thought with which they are invested, forms, perhaps, the most valuable, if not the most entertaining, part of the work.
The Irish humour, of which Mr. Lever is such a master, appears to great advantage in these pages. After the introductory chapter, it is kept under strict control; and, whether “ in the guise of Fancy laughing, or of Fancy sad,” the Irish character is found imparting life and spirit, without prejudice to the individuality of the various subjects of which it professes to take cognizance.
Here, then, is a new book. It is one which we think that Carlyle himself, the most rigid yet appreciative of critics, would acknowledge as sucli-genuine, fresh-hearted, and freely-flowing, from an abundant source. It is the fifth or sixth from the same vivid writer, yet it has all the freshness and energy of a first production. It has also, perhaps, strangely enough, many of the faults of a young writer, but we are not disposed to dwell upon them, more especially as in the course of his sweeping career, Arthur O'Leary does not scruple to criticise himself.
These “ Loiterings" lie among scenes familiar to every reader-but what of that? Who objects to Sterne, that his “ Sentimental Journey" did not embrace the Caucasus, or to the voyageur “autour de sa chambre," that he had not space enough? The objectivity, to use a stiff expression, of travels is soon exhausted, but the objectivity will always be as new and inexhaustible as the mind that can evolve it.
Arthur O'Leary. By Mr. Lever. George Cruikshank.
3 vols. post 8vo, with illustrations by
This work seems as if it had been written at racing speed, but it is the hurry of the fountain, not of the fire-engine. The sparkling thoughts of men, manners, and morals, though gushed out, as if only to be gotten rid of, have their springs in deep and subtle research, and observation of human nature. The hero, however, seems to present these almost apologetically, and ever hastens onward to the stirring and eventful incident, or to the ludicrous situation, in which latter, especially, he seems to revel. Let the blasé traveller, or the young enthusiast, who visits the scenes of these loiterings, take them with him; and the one will find novelty and suggestion; the other, revelation of many an intricate or obscure problem
of life, and not a little valuable experience conveyed in the disguise of amusing gossip, and playful sarcasm.
The anecdotes related by our hero, tell for the most part against himself, and thereby lose nothing of their piquancy; indeed it is one of the most characteristic features of this, and of other works by the same author, that they owe nothing of their interest to personalities, nothing of their strength to bitterness.
The tone of this book is healthy, cheerful, and earnest; moreover, pure in its morality, notwithstanding the various scenes in court, and camp, and cottage, wherein woman is here made to figure in almost every aspect of her life. But we shall better illustrate the character of this quaint, bold, animated book, by some quotations from its pages, than by any further observations of our own.
The introduction, although abounding in humour, does not please us so much as the scenes to which it does not introduce us. mighty purty entrance,” as our author's countryman observed of the handsomely-arched drop at Kilmainham, "only it leads out." introduction, we would 'fain hope, may some day re-appear in its proper place as a prelude to “Arthur O'Leary's" wanderings in other lands, and in another character. He is here presented to us as an intimate friend of Ab del Kader's, and a dinner guest in the polite circles of the Sandwich Islanders. We now find him taking luncheon upon “pickled negroes and potted squaws among the Caribs, and anon assisting a Bedouin dairy-maid to milk her camels in the desert."
This Arthur O'Leary, is a very amusing, and highly-coloured sketch in himself, but he is not the Arthur O'Leary with whom we loiter so pleasantly along the streets of Paris, or the banks of the Rhine. The latter, with some of the faults has most of the virtues of his countrymen-he is adventurous even to chivalrousness, yet he scoffs goodhumouredly at his own enthusiasm; he is sanguine and sensitive, yet he makes 'merry with his own character; he is an ardent admirer of woman; but he is as observant of her foibles, as he is appreciative of her virtues ; the general aspect of his mind is humorous and joyous, but this is shadowed frequently by pathos and tenderness. On the whole, we consider this work, notwithstanding the maturer popularity of its author, as one full of promise as well as of power.
Our observations have taken up so much space, that we have little to spare for their illustration by quotation. We cannot refrain, how
66 It's a
ever, from introducing some specimens of the various styles with which the work abounds.
Arthur O'Leary is an eccentric, and, what is more, an Irish eccentric. He has travelled far and wide, and learns, to his great indignation, that the editor has availed himself of his travels and his eccentricity, to write a book about hini. In consequence of this information, he appoints a meeting with his volunteer biographer in a letter, " the writing of which resembled a species of rustic paling, curiously interwoven and gnarled, to which the thickness of the ink lent a needless obscurity, giving to the whole the appearance of something like a child's effort to draw a series of beetles and cockroaches with a blunt stick.” At this interview, after a glorious jollification, he presents the editor with his own MS., after a conversation in the best Harry Lorrequer style. The first chapter is the least attractive in the book, though enlivened with an accurate portrait of a character we have all encountered in the Rotterdam steamersma broken down "man-abont-town.” The following sketch is good :
I like Holland ; it is the antipodes of France. No one is ever in a hurry here. Life moves on in a slow majestic stream, a little muddy and stagnant, perhaps, like one of their own canals, but you see no waves, no breakers-not an eddy, nor even a froth bubble breaks the surface. Even a Dutch child, as he steals along to school, smoking his short pipe, has a mock air of thought about him. The great fat horses that wag along, trailing behind them some petty, insignificant truck, loaded with a little cask, not bigger than a life-guardsman's hemlet, look as though Erasmus was performing duty as a quadruped, and walking about his own native city in harness. It must be a glorious country to be born in. No one is ever in a passion ; and, as to honesty, who has energy enough to turn robber? The eloquence, which in other lands might wind a man from his allegiance, would be tried in vain here. Ten minutes' talking would set any audience asleep, from Zetland to Antwerp. Smoking, beer-drinking, stupifying, and domino-playing, go on in summer, before, in winter, within, the cafés, and every broad flat face you look upon, with its watery eyes and muddy complexion, seems like a coloured chart of the country that gave it birth.
How all the industry that has enriched them, is ever performed-how all the cleanliness, for which their houses are conspicuous, is ever effected, no one can tell. Who ever saw a Dutchman labour? Every thing in Holland seems typified by one of their own drawbridges, which rises as a boat approaches, by invisible agency, and then remains patiently aloft, till a sufficiency of passengers arrives to restore it to its place, and Dutch gravity seems the grand centre of all prosperity.
One of the inhabitants of the country is thus described :
Mynheer Hoogendorp, with his long Dutch pipe, and tall flagon, with its shining brass lid, looked the concentrated essence of a Hollander, and might have been hung out, as a sign of the country, from the steeple of Haarlem.
There is an excellent sketch of a traveller's perplexity, and a foreign minister's responsibilities a little further, but we hurry on to O’Kelly's tale.
My grandfather was in the Austrian service, and killed in some old battle with the Turks. My father, Peter O'Kelly, was shot in a duel by an attorney from Youghal. Something about nailing his ear to the pump, I've heard tell was the cause of the row; for he came down to my father's with a writ, or a process, or something of the kind. No matter the thief had pluck in him ; and when Peter-my father that was—told him, he'd make a gentleman of him, and fight him, if he'd give up the bill of costs ; why the temptation was too
strong to resist ; he pitched the papers into the fire, went out the same morning, and faith he put in his bullet as fair, as if he was used to the performance.”
This story is told in an apartment we have most of us seen, and some of us inhabited in Holland.
The room was of small dimensions, but seemed actually the boudoir of a palace. Rich cabinets in buhl, graced the walls, brilliant in all the costliness of tortoise-shell and silver inlaying ; bronzes of the rarest kind; pictures ; vases ; curtains of gorgeous damask covered the windows ; and a chimney-piece of carved black oak, representing a pilgrimage, presented a depth of perspective, and a beauty of design, beyond any thing I had ever witnessed. " The floor was covered with an old tapestry of Oudenarde, spread over a heavy Persian rug, into which the feet sank at every step, while a silver lamp of antique mould, threw a soft, mellow light, around, revolving on an axis, whose machinery played a slow but soothing melody, delightfully in harmony with all about.
“ That's a pretty bit of carving there—that was done by Van Zoost, from a design of Schneider's ; see how the lobsters are crawling over the tangled seaweed there, and look how the leaves seem to fall heavy and flaccid, as if wet with spray. This is good, too-it was painted by Gherard Dow-it is a portrait of himself-he is making a study of that little boy who stands there on the table-see how he has disposed the light, so as to fall on the little fellow's side, tipping him from the yellow curls of his round bullet head, to the angle of his white sabot.
“ Yes, you're right, that is by Van Dyk; only a sketch to be sure, but has all his manner. I like the Velasquez yonder better, but they both possess the same excellence. They, could represent birth. Just see that dark fellow there, he's no beauty you'll say, but regard him closely, and tell me, if he's one, to take a liberty with ; look at his thin, clenched lip, and that long, thin, pointed chin, with its straight, stiff beard-can there be a doubt he was a gentleman ? Take care, gently, your elbow grazed it. That, is a specimen of the old Japan china—a lost art now, they cannot produce the blue colour, you see there, running into green. See, the flowers are laid on after the cup is baked, and the birds are a separate thing after all ; but come, this is, perhaps, tiresome work to you, follow me.”
We would fain give O'Kelly's diversified story entire ; but must confine ourselves to the extract of a scene or two in different styles.
A SMUGGLER'S CREW. To be sure they were a motley crew. The craft belonged to Flushing, and the skipper himself was a Fleming; the others were Kinsale fishermen. Ostenders, men from the coast of Bretagny, a Norwegian pilot, and a negro, who acted as cook. Their jovial style of life, the apparent good humour and good fellowship that subsisted among them, a dash of reckless, devil-may-care spirit, resembling a schoolboy's love of fun-all captivated me; and when I found myself on board the · Dart,' as she lay at anchor under the shadow of the tall clíffs
, and saw the crew burnishing up pistols and cutlasses, and making ready for a cruise, I had a proud heart when they told me, I might join, and be one among them. I suppose every boy has something in his nature that inclines him to adventure : it was strong enough in me, certainly.
The hardy, weather-beaten faces of my companions—their strong, muscular frames--their coarse uniform of striped Jersey wear, with black belts crossing on the chest—all attracted my adiniration : and from the red bunting that floated at our gaff, to the brass swivels that peeped from our bows, the whole craft delighted me.