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« “ Brother!” cried Archibald, while tears ran down his cheeks, “ Speak not so, brother! you know me well, and could you doubt, look at these scars upon my hands. These wounds, the traces of wbich I shall ever retain, were made by your spurs, when you thrust me out of your house ; and by these wounds I implore you to have compassion upon me.
I have no roof to shelter me--no bread to satisfy my hunger -and no clothes to cover me. Receive me, brother! I will never be a burden to you. I have not been idle since we parted, and I will work for you— I will be your secretary, your servant, your porter, any thing. 'Tis true I was not born in wedlock. I am" (here his voice seemed to fail him) “a bastard ; I cannot claim equal rights with you; but, Philip, do not forget that we owe our being to the same father. Forgive the hatred which I felt towards you, and I for my part will forgive, from the bottom of my heart, whatever wrong I may have suffered at your hands. Let us be friends. Do not refuse to your brother what you would have granted to a stranger.”
« « Will no one protect me from this importunate liar?” cried Philip, jumping up in a fury.
• “ Philip!” pursued Archibald, in a still more earnest tone, “ what are you
about? Your mouth disowns, but your heart must recognise me. Be merciful ; here I am again at your feet, as on the day when I knelt down to loosen your spurs. See l here I kneel before you! I, your brother, kneel, and heg a corner which you would not deny to your dog. Oh! it is cold and stormy without-my wounded feet stick to the ice with their blood, and I can go no farther. Oh! assist me-spare me a corner with a little straw, till spring appears-the crumbs from your table, and water from your well.”
« « Away, wretched impostor!” cried Philip, retreating several steps, “ I know you not. Is there one among the company here present who recognises in this impostor that Archibald, whose death has been so satisfactorily proved ?"
• There was a general silence.
· Archibald rose up slowly. “Must I then away?" he said calmly, and in a suppressed tone, whilst all his features assumed an expression of agony. “Must I then? Well, be it so. Nevertheless, you will scarce refuse me a crust of bread, and a drop of wine from your table, before I go?"
“ I will not give the smallest donation to the impostor who has attempted to mock me by his deceitful tale,” growled Philip. “Out of my house, and thank your good fortune, impudent adventurer, that my fatherin-law is not here, and that I celebrate my son's baptism to-day, else might you have had cause to repent your rashness.”
" If either of us," answered Archibald, with a furious look, “ has to congratulate himself that this is the christening day of your son, it is you, Philip Verner. This might otherwise have been your last meal !”
" " What, villain ! do you threaten ?" asked Philip, hastily drawing back. Help, servants; call the guard !”
• Servants of every description rushed into the room; but Archibald drew his dagger, which he had hitherto kept concealed, and prepared to offer resistance to those who appeared anxious to seize him. “He is a dead man who dares to touch me," he cried, turning towards the company.
is Murder !-help-murder !” cried the guests, while Archibald made his way to the door. “ Farewell, Master Verner,” he cried with a savage look, “ I have performed an almost superhuman duty, and my conscience is now at rest; as far as you are concerned, we will meet again."
· He hurried from the bouse, and thence through the deserted streets into the open country; there kneeling upon the snow, a prey to rage and suffering, and raising his dagger towards heaven, he said—“ Almighty One! thou hast witnessed my sufferings and my struggles. I bare entreated bim-he has rejected me, I knelt before him, and be thrust me from him-I now vow vengeance against him—the fullest, most horrible vengeance; and I here consign myself to eternal perdition, if I desist till I have drunk of his black, his hated blood, and so belp me God, as I keep this my vow.”
After this dreadful vow, the third which he had uttered against Philip, be arose from his knees, and, indifferent as to what became of him, wandered at random across the dreary and desolate plain.'
In conclusion, let us again suggest to the translator the choice of some original more worthy of imitation than Spindler. Even if Spindler must be the man, we would have felt more indebted to him for a translation of the Invalid,' which is, in every point of view, the least offensive of this writer's novels. The scene is laid in France during the Revolution ; many of the scenes, in which Bonaparte is a chief actor, are of strong dramatic interest; the character of the old republican Sans-regret is well conceived, and consistently sustained throughout; and, although the work in its present form (spun out to five volumes) is tedious enough, we are inclined to think that, if condensed into two, as it easily might be, it would be more likely to be popular with English readers than any of those false and disagreeable pictures of earlier times with which Spindler has presented us.
Art. VII.—Des Comètes en général, et en particulier de celles qui
doivent paraitre en 1832 et 1835. Par M. ARAGO, Membre du Bureau des Longitudes. 18mo. Paris : 1834. 2. Notice sur la Comète de Halley et son retour en 1835. Par G. de PonteCOULANT. 18mo. Paris : 1835. . 3. Observations on Bielas' Comet. By Sir J. F. W. HERSCHEL, K.G.H., F.R.A.S. (Memoirs of the Royal Astronomical Society). London: 1833.
epoch. For the civil and political historian the past alone has existence—the present he rarely apprehends, the future never. To the historian of science it is permitted, however, to penetrate the depths of past and future with equal clearness and certainty ; facts to come are to him as present, and not unfrequently more assured than facts which are past. Although this clear perception of causes and consequences characterises the whole domain of physical science, and clothes the natural philosopher with powers denied to the political and moral enquirer, yet foreknowledge is eminently the privilege of the astronomer. Nature has raised the curtain of futurity, and displayed before him the succession of her decrees, so far as they affect the physical universe, for countless ages to come; and the revelations of which she has made him the instrument, are supported and verified by a never ceasing train of predictions fulfilled. He shows us the things · which will be hereafter,' not obscurely shadowed out in figures and in parables, as must necessarily be the case with other revelations, but attended with the most minute precision of time, place, and circumstance. He converts the hours as they roll into an ever present miracle, in attestation of those laws which his Creator through him has unfolded ;—the sun cannot rise-the moon cannot wane—a star cannot twinkle in the firmament without bearing witness to the truth of his prophetic records. It has pleased the · Lord and Governor' of the world, in his inscrutable wisdom, to baffle our enquiries into the nature and proximate cause of that wonderful faculty of intellect,—that image of his own essence which he has conferred upon us ;—nay, the springs and wheelwork of animal and vegetable vitality are concealed from our view by an impenetrable veil, and the pride of philosophy is humbled by the spectacle of the physiologist bending in fruitless ardour over the dissection of the human brain, and peerqin equally unproductive enquiry over the gambols of an animalcule. But how nobly is the darkness which envelopes metaphysical enquiries compensated by the flood of light which is shed upon the physical creation! There all is harmony, and order, and majesty, and beauty. From the chaos of social and political phenomena exhibited in human records-phenomena unconnected to our imperfect vision by any discoverable law, a war of passions and prejudices governed by no apparent purpose, tending to no apparent end, and setting all intelligible order at defiance, -how soothing and yet how elevating it is to turn to the splendid spectacle which offers itself to the habitual contemplation of the astronomer! How favourable to the developement of all the best and highest feelings of the soul are such objects! The only passion they inspire being the love of truth, and the chiefest pleasure of their votaries arising from excursions through the imposing scenery of the universe, -scenery on a scale of grandeur and magnificence compared with which whatever we are accustomed to call sublimity on our planet, dwindles into ridiculous insignificancy. Most justly has it been said, that nature has implanted in our bosoms a craving after the discovery of truth, and assuredly that glorious instinct is never more irresistibly awakened than when our notice is directed to what is going on in the heavens. ' Quoniam eadem Natura cupiditatem ingenuit • hominibus veri inveniendi, quod facillime apparet, cum vacui curis, etiam quid in cælo fiat, scire avemus; his initiis inducti omnia vera diligimus ; id est, fidelia, simplicia, constantia ; tum (vana, falsa, fallentia odimus.'*
Among the multitude of appearances which succeed each other in their appointed order, and of the times and manner of which the perfect knowledge of the astronomer enables him to advertise us, there are some which more powerfully seize upon the popular mind, as well by reason of their infrequency and the extraordinary circumstances wbich attend them, as by the imaginary consequences with which ignorance and superstition have in times past and present invested them. Among these, Solar Eclipses hold a prominent place; but a still more interesting position must be assigned to Comets. Of these bodies, which are extremely numerous, by far the most remarkable has been predicted to reappear in our firmament in the course of a few months ; and at the moment these pages are in the hands of the reader, it is bastening on its journey from the invisible depths of space which it has been traversing for three-fourths of a century. All the information which those who cultivate astronomy can require respecting this rare visitor of our system is already accessible to them in various scientific works published in almost every part of Europe. It has appeared to us, however, that something more is required. If the present age is distinguished by more clear and just views of social and political science, it is not less marked by the disposition, so unequivocally and universally manifested, to reject the inordinate estimate heretofore set upon merely ornamental literature ; and whilst it does not refuse their just rank and influence to such studies, it admits to that high consideration to which they are entitled the sciences which explain the beautiful phenomena of the physical world. The demand for some portion of scientific knowledge, and the desire to be informed of what is passing in that universe, of which our planet is so minute and apparently insignificant a member, no longer confined within the walls of universities, and the precincts of academies of science, has spread throughout the whole extent of civilized society. Some account, therefore, of the return of a remarkable visitor to our system, after an absence of more than seventy-five years, cannot, we think, be unacceptable to the mass of our readers; the more especially as the visits of the same body on various former occasions are recorded so far back as the commencement of the Christian era, and are connected in history with several events not destitute of general interest.
* Cic. de Fin. Bon. et Mal. ij. 14.
We propose, then, in the present article to give some account of the comet of Halley, to take a short retrospect of its history, and to offer a few observations on the general class of astronomical appearances to which it belongs. We have the less difficulty in adventuring upon this task from the aid which is offered to us in the treatises of MM. Arago and de Pontecoulant on the same subject. These very eminent persons have not thought it incompatible with their high scientific station to compose treatises in plain and intelligible language, divested as far as possible of the technicalities of science, for the information and instruction of the public in general; an example which, it were to be wished, might be oftener followed in our own country.
It is well known that the solar system, of which our planet forms a part, consists of a number of smaller bodies revolving in paths, which are very nearly circular, round the great mass of the sun placed in the centre. These paths or orbits are very nearly in the same plane ;-that is to say, if the earth, for example, be conceived to be moving on a flat surface, extended as well beyond its orbit as within it, then the other planets never depart much above or below this plane. A spectator placed upon the earth keeps within his view each of the other planets of the system throughout nearly the whole of its course. Indeed there is no