« PreviousContinue »
was suspected of having taken part in some Hungarian revolt, lie travelled, not knowing where else to go, down the Lower Danube, intending to make halt in Roumania, and there continue the practice of his profession. But happening to meet a Russian prince on the steamer, he found that this impressionable magnate had just become convinced that all Germans were born farmers, and after a very brief acquaintance, he proposed that the physician should take the place of one of his own countrymen, who had nearly ruined the prince by an abuse of trust. Tliis, briefly, was the agent's history, and when he had told it in a pleasant, dry, humorous, German way, he proposed that we should go and take tea with his wife. We made quite a civilised party in the wilderness, but the agent had a sad account to give of his charge.
"We, my wife and I, have done all we can," he said, "to render ourselves popular. We have tried to introduce dairy farming, and many other things which I have learned from hooks. For although I did not know much of agriculture when I came here, I have since tried to instruct myself, and in learning to teach others. We have oppressed and worried nobody, and done the best we could for our neighbours in a small way. But they all get tipsy, and care for nothing but drink. They will not work for money nor persuasion. They are so dall of intelligence that they are not to be trusted with the management of the simplest steam machinery by which their labour might be replaced; and whenever they get offended, they revenge themselves by burning down the barns where our corn is housed. I have tried to entice some of my countrymen here, to form a small colony, but there is a strong and growing prejudice against foreigners in Russia; and it is not altogether unreasonable. When an ordinary labouring man from any civilised country comes here, he sees so much ignorance and barbarism around him, that, in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred, his head gets quite turned by constantly comparing his own small acquirements with the utter darkness and savagery of all with whom he comes in contact. The Russian Iangnage.too, being difficult to learn, he finds himself cut off from all social intercourse; and there being no local opinion to restrain him he usually takes to drink, and becomes far worse and more unmanageable than a native. In a word, after having tried all I could for ten years to benefit my employer, I am about to give up my efforts in despair; and when I leave this place the estate will probably fall entirely out of cultivation. Nothing can be done at present with the emancipated serfs. Nothing ever will be done with them till they are brought to their senses by some awful visitation of famine. As it is we cannot even get a domestic servant. With the peasantry, freedom means simply, total idleness."
And then the kindly German lady tells her •jofy: How she was deluded to come into fiussia by an advertisement and a sham baron.
How she found herself at the end of her journey at a distant village remote from civilised help, and was there ill treated, outraged, and nearly starved. How she at length succeeded in escaping in disguise, and was brought here by a benevolent Jewish carrier. How her pre'sent husband gave her home and shelter, watched her through a lon^ illness brought on by hardship, and married her when she recovered. Then she tells how they have lived cut off from all intellectual resources, without friends, without amusement, far from intelligent speech and interchange of thought. How the few words they hear are mostly sordid and unsympathetic. How all grace and charm have been banished from their lives; till they are glad to leave a place which has been little better than a tomb to them, leaving no friendships, no regrets, behind them.
On going back to the post-house, after an evening spent in this way, I find that my kind host has had the forethought to send me some bedding; and two hulking men are arranging it in an uncouth sort of way as I come in. There is no such thing as a chambermaid in Russia. Women generally are rare and shy, much of the Asiatic feeling as to the propriety of their seclusion prevailing in the national mind. Women may be found in the fields driving oxen, sowing seea, and gleaning corn. They may be found sheep-shearing, wool-washing, or even following the plough—harsh-voiced, coarse, flatfaced things, with small lustreless eyes, wide nostrils, and large mouths. Women also may be found at court and in ball-rooms blazing witn jewels and daintily arrayed. But in the home life of the middle classes they seem to disappear altogether. Now and then by accident a withered old hag with bare legs will be observed carrying firewood for the stoves, or doing some rough menial work; but a smart little maid, all smiles and blushes, or a comely dame with a bonny welcome in her face, is never seen by a visitor in the house of a Russian under the rank of a prince; and then only because the higher classes of travelled people have copied foreign manners; for even princes, when they live in out-of-the-way places, shut up their wives and daughters as jealously as Turks. This is how it comes that two clumsy louts are making my bed. I am too thankful to have a bed at alt. It is a very scarce thing in Russia. Many Muscovite celebrities never think of going to bed. They do not know how to go to bed, most of them. An ex-governor-general of St. Petersburg and a minister of state were both discovered between sheets at one of the late emperor's palaces in full uniform with their jack-boots and spurs on. A Russian peasant scarcely knows what the use of a bed means. He rolls himself up in his sheepskin anywhere and everywhere, and sleeps till he is hungry. He has no fixed hours of rest; and is as likely to be asleep at noonday as awake at midnight. A Russian household is never all asleep or all awake at the same time. However, my bed is made at last and I am
alone, with the Cossack rolled up, dozing but watchful, at the door. And so I take some companionable book, out of my portmanteau and read myself off to sleep.
It must be somewhere about two or three o'clock in the morning when I am awoke by a sense of near danger, and, starting up in bed, I look round the room. There is nothing visible, but I fancy I hear a slight noise, and listen for some time attentively. I can distinguish nothing but the regular breathing of the Cossack soldier on the other side of the door, and so, becoming convinced that nightmare has startled me, I go off to sleep again till morning. Then the mystery is explained. Everything portable is gone. My clothes, my watch, whatever has been left about has been stolen. Yet the Cossack soldier never moved from his post, and the thing seems incredible till a stream of cold air makes me look towards the window, and then the manner in which the robbery has been effected is plain enough. One of the panes of glass has been removed, and as there are no shutters to the window a little country lout has been passed through, according to a common practice among Russian thieves, and has stripped the room of its contents too stealthily eventoattracttheattention of thewatchful soldier on guard within a few feet of him. Had I not awoke at the right time I might very probably have been deprived even of my bedclothes and sleeve buttons. If the Russian peasant displayed only one-tenth part of the ingenuity with which he can consummate a robbery, in his own legitimate concerns, he might be a prosperous man. But his aversion to honest toil is unconquerable, and his love of thieving inborn, and surprising as to its dexterity.
Br Charles Dickens.
IN POUR PARTS.
ROMANCE. PROM THE PEN OP MISS NETTIE ASHPORD*
There is a country, which I will show you when I get into Maps, where the children have everything their own way. It is a most delightful country to live in. The grown-up people are obliged to obey the children, and are never allowed to sit up to supper, except on their birthdays. The children order them to make jam and jelly and marmalade, and tarts and pies and puddings and all manner of pastry. If they say they won't, they are put in the corner till tney do. They are sometimes allowed to have some, but when they have some, they generally have powders given them afterwards.
One of the inhabitants of this country, a truly sweet young creature of the name of Mrs. Orange, had the misfortune to be sadly plagued by her numerous family. Her parents required
* Aged half-past six.
a great deal of looking after, and they had connexions and companions who were scarcely ever out of mischief. So Mrs. Orange said to herself, "I really cannot be troubled with these Torments any longer, I must put them all to school."
Mrs. Orange took off her pinafore, and dressed herself very nicely, and took up her baby, and went out to call upon another lady of the name of Mrs. Lemon, who kept a Preparatory Establishment. Mrs. Orange stood upon the scraper to pull at the bell, and gave a Ring-ting-ting.
Mrs. Lemon's neat little housemaid, pulling up her socks as she came along the passage, answered the Ring-ting-ting.
"Good morning," said Mrs. Orange. "Fine day. How do you do? Mrs. Lemon at home?"
"Will you say Mrs. Orange and babv?"
"Yes, ma'am. Walk in."
Mrs. Orange's baby was a very fine one, and real wax all over. Mrs. Lemon's baby was leather and bran. However, when Mrs. Lemon came into the drawing-room with her baby in her arms, Mrs. Orange said politely, "Good morning. Fine day. How do you do? And how is little Tootleum-Boots f"
"Well, she is but poorly. Cutting her teeth, ma'am," said Mrs. Lemon.
"Oh, indeed, ma'am!" said Mrs. Orange. "No fits, I hope?"
"How many teeth has she, ma'am?"
"My Emilia, ma'am, has eight," said Mrs. Orange. "Shall we lay them on the mantelpiece side by side, while we converse?"
"By all means, ma'am," said Mrs. Lemon. "Hem!"
"The first question is, ma'am," said Mrs. Orange—" I don't bore you P"
"Not in the least, ma'am," said Mrs. Lemon. "Far from it, I assure you."
"Then pray have you," said Mrs. Orange, "have you any vacancies?"
"Yes, ma'am. How many might you require?"
"Why, the truth is, ma'am," said Mrs. Orange, " I have come to the conclusion that my children "—O I forgot to say that they call the grown-up people, children, in that country— "that my children are getting positively too much for me. Let me see. Two parents, two intimate friends of theirs, one godfather, two godmothers, and an aunt. Rave you as many as eight vacancies P"
"Ihave just eight, ma'am," said Mrs. Lemon.
"Most fortunate! Terms moderate, I think?"
"Very moderate, ma'am."
"Diet good, I believe?"
"Most satisfactory! Corporal punishment dispensed with P"
"Why, we do occasionally shake," said Mrs.
Lemon, "and we have slapped. But only in
extreme eases." "Could I, ma'am," said Mrs. Orange, "could
I see the establishment P"
"With the greatest of pleasure, ma'am," said
Mrs. Lemon took Mrs. Orange into the
school-room, where there were a number of
pupils. "Stand up, children!" said Mrs. Lemon,
and they all stood up. Mrs. Orange wnispered to Mrs. Lemon,
"There is a pale bald child with red whiskers, in disgrace. Might I ask what he has done P" "Come here, White," said Mrs. Lemon, "and tell this lady what you have been doing."
"Betting on horses," said White, sulkily.
"Are you sorry for it, you naughty child?" said Mrs. Lemon.
"No," said White. "Sorry to lose, but shouldn't be sorry to win."
"There's a vicious boy for you, ma'am," said Mrs. Lemon. "Go along with you, sir. This is Brown, Mrs. Orange. Oh, a sad case, Brown's! Never knows when ne has had enough. Greedy. How is your gout, sir P"
"Bad," said Brown.
"What else can you expect?" said Mrs. Lemon. "Your stomach is the size of two. Go and take exercise directly. Mrs. Black, come here to me. Now here is a child, Mrs. Orange, ma'am, who is always at play. She can't be kept at home a single day together; always gadding about and spoiling her clothes. Play, play, play, play, from morning to night, andto morning again. How can she expect to improve!"
"Don't expect to improve," sulked Mrs. Black. "Don't want to.''
"There is a specimen of her temper, ma'am," said Mrs. Lemon. "To see her when she is tearing about, neglecting everything else, you wonld suppose her to be at least good-humoured. But bless you, ma'am, she is as pert and as flouncing a minx as ever you met with in all jour days!"
"You must have a great deal of trouble with them, ma'am," said Mrs. Orange.
"Ah! I have indeed, ma'am," said Mrs. Lemon. "What with their tempers, what with their quarrels, what with their never knowing what's good for them, and what with their always wanting to domineer, deliver me from these unreasonable children!"
"Well, I wish you good morning, ma'am," said Mrs. Orange.
"Well, I wish you good morning, ma'am," said Mrs. Lemon.
So Mrs. Orange took up her baby and went home, and told the family that plagued her so that they were all going to be sent to school. They said they didn't want to go to school, but she packed up their boxes and packed them off.
"Oh dear me, dear me! Rest and be thankful!" said Mrs. Orange, throwing herself back in her little arm-chair. "Those troublesome troubles are got rid of, please the Pigs!"
Just then another lady named Mrs. Alicum
paine came calling at the street-door with a Ring-ting-ting.
"My dear Mrs. Alicumpaine," said Mrs. Orange, "how do you doP Pray stay to dinner. We have but a simple joint of sweet stuff, followed by a plain dish of bread and treacle, but if you will take us as you find us it will be »o kind!"
"Don't mention it," said Mrs. Alicumpaine. "I shall be too glad. But what do you think I have come for, ma'am? Guess, ma'am."
"I really cannot guess, ma'am," said Mrs. Orange.
"Why, I am going to have a small juvenile party to-night," said Mrs. Alicumpaine, " and if you and Mr. Orange and baby would but join us, we should be complete."
"More than charmed, I am sure!" said Mrs. Orange.
"So kind of you!" said Mrs. Alicumpaine. "But I hope the children won't bore you?"
"Dear things! Not at all," said Mrs. Orange. "I dote upon them."
Mr. Orange here came home from the city, and he came too with a Ring-ting-ting.
"James, love," said Mrs. Orange, "you look tired. What has been doing in the city to-day?"
"Trap bat and ball, my dear," said Mr. Orange, "and it knocks a man up."
"That dreadfully anxious city, ma'am," said Mrs. Orange to Mrs. Alicumpaine; "so wearing, is it not P"
"Oh, so trying!" said Mrs. Alicumpaine. "John has lately been speculating in the peg-top ring, and I often say to him at night, 'John, is the result worth the wear and tear P'"
Dinner was ready by this time, so they sat down to dinner; and while Mr. Orange carved the joint of sweet-stuff, he said, "It's a poor heart that never rejoices. Jane, go down to the cellar and fetcn a bottle of the Upest Ginger-beer."
At tea-time Mr. and Mrs. Orange, and baby, and Mrs. Alicumpaine, went off to Mrs. Alicumpaine's house. The children had not come yet, but the ball-room was ready for them, decorated with paper flowers.
"How very sweet!" said Mrs. Orange. "The dear things! How pleased they will be!"
"I don't care for children myself," said Mr. Orange, gaping.
"Not for girls?" said Mrs. Alicumpaine. "Come! You care for girls P"
Mr. Orange shook his head and gaped again. "Frivolous and vain, ma'am."
"My dear James," cried Mrs. Orange, who had been peeping about, "do look here. Here's the supper for the darlings, ready laid in the room behind the folding-doors. Here's their little pickled salmon, I do declare! And here's their little salad, and their little roast beef and fowls, and their little pastry, and their wee, wee, wee, champagne!"
"Yes, I thought it best, ma'am," said Mrs. Alicumpaine, "that they should have their supper by themselves. Our table is in the comer
here, where the gentlemen can have their wineglass of negus and their egg-sandwich, and their quiet game at beggar-my-neighbour, and look on. As for us, ma'am, we shall have quite enough to do to manage the company."
"Oh, indeed you may say so. Quite enough, ma'am!" said Mrs. Orauge.
The company began to come. The first of them was a stout Dot, with a white top-knot and spectacles. The housemaid brought nim in and said, "Compliments, and at what time was he to be fetched?" Mrs. Alicnmpaine said, "Not a moment later than ten. How do vou do, sir? Go and sit down." Then a number of other children came; boys by themselves, and girls by themselves, and boys and girls together. They didn't behave at all well. Some of them looked through quizzing-glasses at others, and said, "Who are those? Don't know them." Some of them looked through quizzing - glasses at others, and said, "How do?" Some of them had cups of tea or coffee handed to them by others, and said, "Thanks! Much!" A good many boys stood about, and felt their shirt - collars. Four tiresome fat boys would stand in the doorway and talk about the newspapers, till Mrs. Alicumpaine went to them and said, "My dears, I really cannot allow you to prevent people from coming in. I shall be truly sorry to do it, but, if you put yourselves in everybody's way, I must positively send you home. One boy, with a beard and a large white waistcoat, who stood straddling on the hearth-rug warming his coat-tails, was sent home. "Highly incorrect, my dear," said Mrs. Alicumpaine, handing him out of the room, "and I cannot permit it."
There was a children's band—harp, cornet, and piano—and Mrs. Alicumpaine and Mrs. Orange bustled among the children to persuade them to take partners and dance. But they were so obstinate! For quite a long time they would not be persuaded to take partners and dance. Most of the boys said, "Thanks. Much. Bat not at present." And most of the rest of the boys said, "Thanks. Much. But never do."
"Oh! These children are very wearing," said Mrs. Alicnmpaine to Mrs. Orange.
"Dear things! I dote upon them, but they Are wearing," said Mrs. Orange to Mrs. Alicumpaine.
At last they did begin in a slow and melancholy way to slide about to the music, though even then they wouldn't mind what they were told, but would have this partner, and wouldn't have that partner, and showed temper about it. And they wouldn't smile, no not on any account they wouldn't; but when the music stopped, went round and round the room in dismal twos, as if everybody else was dead.
"Oh! It's very hard indeed to get these vexing children to be entertained," said Mrs. Alicumpaine to Mrs. Orauge.
"I dote upon the darlings, but it is hard," said Mrs. Orange to Mrs. Alicumpaine.
They were trying children, that's the truth. First, they wouldn't sing when they were asked,
and then, when everybody fully believed they wouldn't, they would. "If you serve us so any more, my love," said Mrs. Alicumpaine to a tall child, with a good deal of white hack, in mauve silk trimmed with lace, "it will be my painful privilege to offer you a bed, and to send you to it immediately."
The girls were so ridiculously dressed, too, that they were in rags before supper. How could the boys help treading on their trains? And yet when their trains were trodden on, they often showed temper again, aud looked as black, they did! However, they all seemed to be pleased when Mrs. Alicumpaine said, "Sapper is ready, children!" And Uiey went crowding and pushing in, as if they had had dry bread for dinner.
"How are the children getting on?" said Mr. Orange to Mrs. Orange, when Mrs. Orange came to Took after baby. Mrs. Orange bad left Baby on a shelf near Mr. Orange while he played at Beggar-my-Neighbour, and had asked nim to keep his eye upon her now and then.
"Most charmingly, my dear!" said Mrs. Orange. "So droll to see their little flirtatious and jealousies! Do come and look!"
"Much obliged to you, my dear," said Mr. Orange, "but I don't care about children myself."
So Mrs. Orange, having seen that baby was safe, went back without Mr. Orange to the room where the children were having supper.
"What are they doing now?" said Mrs. Orange to Mrs. Alicumpaine.
"They are making speeches and playing at Parliament," said Mrs. Alicumpaine to Mrs. Orange.
On hearing this, Mrs. Orange set off once more back again to Mr. Orange, and said "James dear, do come. The children are playing Parliament."
"Thank you, my dear," said Mr. Orange, "but 1 don't care about Parliament myself."
So Mrs. Orange went once again without Mr. Orange to the room where the children were having supper, to see them playing at Parliament. Ana she found some oftheDojs crying "Hear, hear, hear!" while other boys cried "No, no!" and others '* Question!" "Spoke!" and all sorts of nonsense that ever you heard. Then one of those tiresome fat boys who had stopped the doorway, told them he was on his legs (as if they couldn't see that he wasn't on his head, or on his anything else) to explain, and that with the permission of his honourable friend, if he would allow him to call him so (another tiresome boy bowed), he would proceed to explain. Then he went on for a lonz time in a sing-song (whatever he meant!), did this troublesome fat boy, about that be held in his hand a glass, and about that he had come down to that house that night to discharge what he would call a public duty, and about that on the present occasion he would lay his hand (his other hand) upon his heart, and would tell honourable gentlemen that he was about to open the door to general approval. Then he opened the door by saying " To our hostess!"
and everybody else said "To our hostess !" and then there were cheers. Then another tiresome boy started up in sing-song, and then half a dozen noisy and nonsensical boys at once. Bnt at last Sirs. Alicumpaine said, "I cannot hare this din. Now, children, you have played at Parliament very nicely, but Parliament gets tiresome after a little while, and it's time you left off, for you will soon be fetched."
After another dance (with more tearing to rags than before supper) they began to be fetched, and you will be very glad to be told that the tiresome fat boy who had been on his legs was walked off first without any ceremony. When they were all gone, poor Mrs. Alicumpaine dropped upon a sofa and said to Mrs. Orange, "These children will be the death of me at last, ma'am, they will indeed!"
"I quite adore them, ma'am," said Mrs. Orange, "but they Do want variety."'
Mr. Orange got his hat, and Mrs. Orange got her bonnet and her baby, and they set out to walk home. They had to pass Mrs. Lemon's Preparatory Establishment on their way.
"I wonder, James dear," said Mrs. Orange, looking up at the window, "whether the precious children are asleep!"
"I don't much care whether they are or not, myself," said Mr. Orange. "James dear!"
"You dote upon them, you know," said Mr. Orange. "That's another thing."
"1 do!" said Mrs. Orange, rapturously. "Oh I Do!" "I don't," said Mr. Orange. "But I was thinking, James love," said Mrs. Orange, pressing his arm, "whether our dear good kind Mrs. Lemon would like them to stay the holidays with her."
"If she was paid for it, I dare say she wonld," said Mr. Orange.
"I adore them, James," said Mrs. Orange; "but Suppose we pay her then!"
This was what brought that country to such perfection, and made it such a delightful place to live in; the grown-up people (that would be ia other countries) soon left off being allowed any holidays after Mr. and Mrs. Orange tried the experiment; and the children (that would be in other countries) kept them at school as long as ever they lived, and made them do whatever they were told.
Noke appreciate the beauties of music so thoroughly as those who make it. Much as a brilliant experiment delights an audience, it gratifies the experimenter even more. Nothing, therefore, can be more appropriate or welcome than a sketch of the labours of a master discoverer, by a masterly exponent of scientific discovery.
When Dr. Tyndall gives us a book, it is something better than Science Made Easy, being science rendered irresistibly attractive, without any false pretensions to easiness. The reader
mutt climb the hill before him. Its height and steepness are not concealed by any fog of ignorance or haze of assumption; but a friendly guide helps him over rugged places, avowing their difficulty and encouraging his efforts to surmount them. Moreover, the points which the guide himself cannot attain, he plainly states that he really cannot, holding out no delusive hope of their being ever accessible. "Though the progress and development of science may seem to be unlimited, there is a region apparently beyond her reach—a line, with which she does not even tend to osculate. . . Having exhausted physics, and reached its very rim, the real mystery yet looms beyond us. And thus it will ever loom—ever beyond the bourne of man's intellect."*
In the present instance there is the same able teaching, and the same modest and prudent reserve. There is no professed attempt to lay before the world a life of Faraday in the ordinary acceptation of the term, such personal traits only are introduced as are necessary to complete the picture of the philosopher,^ though by no means adequate to give a complete idea of the man. Faraday as a Discoverer, is a lecture given in print, instead of being spoken viva, voce. It is a dictation lesson, every sentence of which will be eagerly caught up and reverently remembered. It is an outpouring of the heart, a relief of the memory, by one full of his subject to overflowing. The earnest love of the biographer proves (if any such proof were necessary) the sterling value of his departed friend.
Michael Faradav was born at Newington Butts on the 22n'd of September, 1791, and died at Hampton Court, on the 25th of August, 1867. Dr. Tyndall—believing in the general truth of the doctrine of hereditary transmission, and sharing Mr. Carlyle's opinion, that " a really able man never proceeded from entirely stupid parents"—once used the privilege of his intimacy with Mr. Faraday to ask him whether his parents showed any signs of unusual ability. He could remember none. His father was a great sufferer during the latter vears of his life, and that might have masked whatever intellectnal power he possessed. But mental capability will often remain latent, until something special occurs to call it into action. Even when driven to exercise its faculties, its highest manifestations are not always produced. Lord Lytton (in his Student) says that an author's best works may be those which he has not written, but only projected.
In 1804, when thirteen years old, Faraday was apprenticed to a bookseller and binder, with whom he spent eight years of his life; after which, he worked as a journeyman else
* Heat as a mode of motion.
t Faraday loved this word, and employed it to the laet; he had an intense dislike to the modem term physic Ut. In one of his early letters we find, "I was formerly a bookseller and binder, but am now turned philosopher."