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barrier that enclosed it, was the next instant kicking and plunging, struggling and snorting, among the densely-crowded audience in the space called the gallery, who, mad with terror, and screaming to heaven for aid, crushed backwards with fierce struggling from around it, as if a very demon in a palpable shape had come among them.
Oh, the terrors of that dreadful night-terrors to which the dazzling glare of light, the gorgeously decorated scene, and the thrilling music, lent a strange sublimity approaching to the supernatural!
As I sprang after the animal with a coil of rope, which I had hastily seized somewhere about the place, and which I intended to throw over it, so as to obtain, by entangling its head or limbs, some purchase whereby to restrain its plunging, and drag it back into the ring. I got caught in the working vortex of the terror-stricken crowd, and after a few struggles, found myself crushed to the ground between the seats, and the next moment trampled over by a hundred feet. After some hard but useless attempts to rise, I became insensible and what happened thereafter I only heard by report many days afterwards.
I recovered consciousness in the wards of the surgical hospital, of the place where I lay—my frame a mass of bruises. It was more than a month before I was dismissed, cured; and by that time the circus had been removed, no trace of it remaining, save the hollow space where the sawdust, mingled with the sand, indicated the site of the arena.
It was shut up the day after the above event, and Mr. Codoni, with his troop, left the place and went to America. When they had performed there for some time, it was broken up and dispersed, the manager returning to Europe, and settling somewhere in his own country.
Of course, I found my occupation gone, and once more returned to the legitimate line of my profession.
Clara, I learned, was a maniac—the inmate of a public asylum. Here she still remains; at least she did when I was last at the place; but she is now quite quiet, cheerful, and docile; indeed, so far recovered, as to have a kind of authority intrusted to her over other female patients.
Since then, I have played in other concerns of the kind, but never in any one approaching in the remotest degree to the splendour of Mr. Codoni's. For a couple of years I was part proprietor of one myself, which did very well till, in an unlucky hour, having introduced (my old passion) some regular dramatic pieces among our performances, the patentee of a royal theatre, on whose preserves it appears we had been poaching, instituted law proceedings against us, and “fixed" us all in prison. After that, for some time, I could get nothing to do; and what it is to be an actor, without an engagement, and with no other means of earning his bread, thank Heaven! you can never know.
I am now on my way to Soandso, where, among the exhibitions at this, the market time, I hope to obtain employment as actor, Mr. Merryman, tumbler, spotted Indian, or I don't care what.
When he had thus completed his discourse, for which we thanked him sincerely, we rose, mounted the leafy bank, and moved along the lane towards the highway. Upon reaching it, this, our companion of an hour, shook our hands warmly, and having been presented with a
few of our cheroots, went on his way, and neither of us ever saw his face again.
We spoke not a word for some time after we had parted with him. At length said Bob, drawing a deep breath,
“ What a strange tale is that he has told us, and how strangely has he told it. If that young fellow had a good education, and a smatterof genius, and possessed of both, knew himself, it strikes me he would make a tolerable romancer, as literature goes nowadays."
“ Nay, it appears to me that his tale is too strange, too highly wrought, too unnatural.”
“ Pardon me," cried my friend,“ too natural is what you mean- -for with such vividness did he bring his picture before mind's
that I fancied I really saw the whole scene, with
before me, and was affected in my feelings as if it had positively done so. Now this I consider the triumph of a romancer, when he can produce, by his description or narration, the precise emotions that would be excited by a personal view of, or participation in the events he supposes, if actually occurring. In order to do this, the grand requisite is in all things to copy nature to the utmost. Now were I possessed of a talent for writing, such is the course I would embrace. In beauty and deformity, in good and evil, in charity and in crime, I would copy nature as exactly as I could. I would not depict her as innocent and virtuous, nor in her holiday dress, nor, although taking her all in all, she is most lovely, would I disguise one spot upon her face, or call one wrinkle by the name of dimple. The very sores upon her limbs (for we know she is subject to such things), from them would I make no scruple to snatch away the bandages. The most violent and debasing passions (for we know they often affect her), I would bring to the metallic mirror wherein to fix their reflection. The most atrocious crimes (and we know she will comınit them) would find no softening or glossing over from me. Guarding always that an idea should never escape me, calculated in any, the remotest degree, to call the blush to the cheek of purity.
"What! must we give all our admiring attention to the Apollo and Venus, and turn from the Gladiator or Laocoon, as overstrained and approaching the horrible? Must we be continually imagining milkand-water scenes of beauty, virtue, and happiness, nor remind our dainty readers that there are such things in this woful world as crime, famine, misery, disease, danger-death?"
“ Nay, but,” interrupted i, “ you know that there has lately sprung up a school of authors, who, by picturing scenes of a fearful or horrible description, or actions of a deeply atrocious character, endeavour to terrify into the minds of their readers, feelings of what they call intense interest.”
“ Yes," said my friend," and there would be nothing wrong in this, if they did it naturally, modestly, and sparingly; but they do not : they paint the monster Crime in an attractive shape, and make their personages murder, rob, and seduce as heroes. Now one thought will convince you that this is quite against my rule; for, in the actual study of nature, we find that such a state of things never existed, there never was in real life an heroic robber, or assassin, or forger, or any one wilfully
guilty of crime, who was not, in all respects, a most contemptible and execrable being. If then in fiction you describe one of the heinous deeds that fiction to be a picture of real life must exhibit, describe it as you see such occur in nature, with all the horror and repulsiveness that really does hang around such actions and the miserable actors in them; but never allow yourself—as is done in a popular modern piece-to paint such a thing as a high-principled, well-educated gentleman, committing a dastardly murder on a wretched, low, individual; with what motive -money; to what purpose to increase his powers of obtaining knowledge.”
Just as Bob arrived at this point of his discourse, we discovered all on a sudden, that we had lost our way.
We had for some time left the highway, and were now in search of the path over the moors, that saved some three or four miles distance in our journey, but having got entangled in a maze of little cross lanes, and seeing nobody at hand, we felt rather at a loss about our route, and for a few moments stood stock still, looking queerly into each other's faces.
But as we were about to go off into a guffaw, our attention was caught by two figures apparently in the same predicament with ourselves, and the oddity of whose aspect and fit out, immediately fixed our admiration.
But for who they were, and what they did, and for the issue-adverse at first, but afterwards most triumphant—of this our excursion, as well as for the many relishing conversations and adventures in which Bob Whyte took a part, I regret, reader, that you must wait till a future period; for the Medical Student is one of the footballs of fortune, whose luck it is to be kicked about wherever he would not, and he has just received a blow that will send him five thousand miles away from you, and it may be some months ere you hear from bim again.
NOTES ON SHAKSPEARE.
It is singular that none of the commentators on “The Merry Wives of Windsor" have hitherto attributed to Sir John Falstaff a tampering with the Black Art of Magic. There are at least as plausible grounds for such a supposition, as for some of the most elaborate of their conjectures, for not only does the Fat Knight undertake and personate that Witch the Wise Woman of Brentford, but he expressly informs us that he himself was a Wizard, and popularly known as “ Jack with his Familiars.”
A proof of the antiquity of the practice of letting lodgings, or offices for merchants and lawyers, has been equally overlooked by the Annotators. It occurs, indeed, more than once, and in words that might serve for a bill in a modern window-namely, “Chambers let off."
LITERATURE OF THE MONTH.
LETTERS OF MARY, QUEEN OF SCOTS.*
The great historical question of the guilt or innocence of Mary, Queen of Scots, which has uselessly agitated three centuries in all the phases of panegyric and vituperation that language could assume, has at last been solved by the simplest means; which is no other than the gathering together of the letters written by the unfortunate queen, and by presenting them to the public in language intelligible to the million.
A collection of Mary's Letters was first undertaken by the Russian Prince, Alexander Labanoff de Rostoff, who, with a gallantry worthy the brightest age of chivalry, has made pilgrimages to the archives of every court in Europe in which original letters of Mary, Queen of Scots were known to be deposited. He published his collection in French, the language in which it was chiefly written, but the inhabitants of this island, which is the actual locality where the tragedy was acted, and who were of course the most interested in any discovery relating to its hapless heiress, and were at the same time the best judges of the facts, were little benefited or enlightened by a publication in French, difficult to understand from its obsolete orthography and diction.
Miss Agnes Strickland, whose researches among contemporary documents to illustrate her forthcoming life of Elizabeth naturally led her to this precious coliection, first made herself mistress of its contents in the course of her vocation, and then introduced them to the public. But as she only published Prince Labanoff's printed collection, and the leaders of the public press loudly called for more, she has added another volume of her own collection, in a third volume. An important feature of this third volume is the group of letters bitherto enclosed in the archives of the Imperial library at St. Petersburg, and which, singular to say, are not comprised in the collection of the Russian prince, but were added to the portfolio of the English lady through the friendship of Miss Porter, whose lamented brother, Sir Robert Kerr Porter, it is well known married a relation of the Imperial house of Russia. By the emperor's family Sir Robert was always treated with confidence and friendship, and through his influence copies of these long absent letters have found their way back to the couutry from whence the originals were first despatched—but not to Russia.
These letters were written by Mary from her Scottish and English prisons, “making her moan," as she pathetically says to her royal relatives in France, for sympathy and succour. It is asserted by Miss Strickland, that in the French revolution these autographs were stolen by the sans-culottes from the archives of France, and finally sold to Catherine II., who deposited them in her library, where they have reposed in oblivion to this hour. To do the sans-culottes justice, they were rather more addicted to destructiveness than thieving—to tearing
Letters of Mary, Queen of Scots, and Documents connected with her personal History. Now first published, with an Introduction, by Agnes Strickland. Vol. III.
and burning rather than to abstracting and selling, and we own when we remember the lack of honesty of that precious revolutionist, Diderot, in performing his commission of purchasing a library for Catherine of Russia, it is no lack of charity to surmise that he abstracted some of these autographs from the royal collections of France, and pocketed the proceeds. This is, we own, our surmise, but it little matters where the originals are deposited if historical knowledge is enriched by genuine copies of the contents.
As specimens of the St. Petersburg collection we give two, written by poor Mary's own hand, showing her earnest desire that the faithful friends who had aided her escape from Lochleven, and the disastrous retreat from Langside, should be protected and rewarded by her relatives in France. The Queen of Scots to Charles IX., King of France.
June 26, 1658. Monsieur, my good Brother,-Seeing that, contrary to my hopes, the injustice of this queen, or, at least of her council, is preparing for me a much longer sojourn here than I could wish (if it does not please you to provide a remedy), as you will see by the reports of the Sieur de Montmorin ; and that I fear to be more strictly guarded for the future, I take this way of informing you of the state, present and past, both of my country and myself, for the last three months. And seeing that Lord Fleming, whom I sent for that purpose, has not been able to obtain leave to pass beyond London, I have despatched Douglas, the present bearer, to make you a full report of all that has happened, and to tell you about my prison, my escape, and my retreat into this realm, with all that I can understand has been done lately in my own country. I particularly beg you to give him the same credit as you would to me, for he has proved himself
my faithful servant, having delivered me from the hands of my mortal foes, at the peril of his life, and the sacrifice of his nearest ties of kina dred. He desires, to the end, that he may continue to render me service, as he has begun to do, that he may remain for a time in your court, to wait for the assistance that may be provided for me. I entreat you to give him such entertainment as may make it manifest, that he has rendered a service to you in saving my life. I will answer for his fidelity. He requires now to seek for his living in France, for he has left all he had in Scotland. If I am not altogether immured, I yet fear that I shall not receive so much favour here, but that I shall be constrained to send others to you for the same purpose (i. e. to be rewarded), but not one who has performed for me such good and important service.
I would also entreat to recommend Beaton to you, for he has preserved his integrity when he was canvassed by the other party to become one of them. Likewise the poor Lord Seaton, whose life they threatened to take away for the same conduct, nor would they have done less, if Montmorin had not been on his side. Also my Lord de Fleming, who is so well instructed, that if he can get leave to depart, I would recommend him especially. He is one of your old servants, and can briefly tell you as much as I could write.
With my humble commendations to your good grace, beseeching God to give you, monsieur, my good brother, in health long and happy life.
Your good sister,
MARIE. From Carlisle, the 26th of June.
The other is a letter written from Tutbury to the queen mother of France.