Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

we say in Greek, has no resemblance to the Lexis of Junius; and the resemblance in particulars can have far less weight than the resemblance of which there is no vestige. Francis uniformly writes English. There is Gallicism in Junius. Francis is furious, but not malevolent. Francis is never cool, and Junius is seldom ardent. Do not suppose that I have forgotten the fact, upon which you very properly lay great stress. I have little or no hesitation in supposing that, under all the circumstances of the case, and from motives of personal regard to George Grenville himself, his friend and his secretary would venture upon falsehood; and Woodfall, knowing the impor. tance of such disavowal, would record, although he disbelieved it. Woodfall stated a fact, and left his readers to their own conclusion; and it was the wish, if not the duty, of Woodfall to keep us in the dark. I retain my old faith: and in the true spirit of orthodoxy, I retain it the more firmly, in consequence of what I think unsuccessful attacks. You are at liberty to couple my name with that of Mr. Walsh, as fixing upon Mr. Lloyd for the writer."

And, in another letter, he thus speaks :

I smiled at the scepticism of our sagacious friend, Lord Hutchinson, as to Lloyd. We must all grant that a strong case has been made out for Francis; but I could set up very stout objections to those claims. It was not in his nature to keep a secret. He would have told it from vanity, or from his courage, or from his patriotism.

" His bitterness, bis vivacity, his acuteness, are stamped in characters very peculiar upon many publications that bear his name ; and very faint indeed is

heir resemblance to the spirit, and, in an extended sense of the word, to the style of Junius.

“Burke is altogether out of the question ; when he writes coolly, as in his book upon the sublime and beautiful, and in his imitation of Lord Bolingbroke, the style is very dissimilar. But in his political publications, there is what logicians call a specific identity. Even in the calmest of them (his thoughts upon the popular discontents), we see the mind of Burke ; and yet this is the only political work in which there are few or no vestiges of a public speaker. Again, there is a very marked character in his invectives; they have not even the very faintest resemblance to the invectives of Junius; they have not the coolness and the poignancy of Junius. We have none of Burke's amplification, none of his high-wrought eloquence, none of his aristocratical propensities. No two witnesses can be more dissimilar: you and I, and Mr. Walsh, shall adhere firmly to our old creed. I do not blame you for telling the tale to Lord Hutchinson ; with the exception of Mr. Fox only, I think Lord Hutchinson's judgment upon politics and common life, the very soundest I ever met with ; and he has another noble property-he has no artifice,-he has no ostentation, and he is a faithful speaker of truth.”

These letters met our eye about the time that Mr. Jacques's volume made its appearance, and served only to convince us that the secret was not more profound half a century ago than it is at this moment.

“But whatever may be the creeds of controversialists, or however sceptical we may remain respecting the theory of our present author, in no other single quarter whatever, no not in all the reviews, arguments, and treatises that the

question has given rise to, will so much he gathered concerning Junius, his genius, and his history, as in this earnest and remarkably able volume. The theory of Mr. Jacques is somewhat complicated, but with great dexterity it disposes of difficulties as well as arrays probabilities; telling all in a compact space that can be told of the libellous letter-writer, and leaving out whatever does not bear closely upon the matters in hand. If anything short of a positive discovery of the identity, can awaken an interest in our day relative to Junius, it must be this history of him and his works; the book being besides the very best commentary and illustrator of the letters that ever appeared. The research of Mr. Jacques has had no limit wherever there was a chance of making the slightest discovery; and then he honestly communicates the exact worth and amount of his findings.

Art. XXI.- Tales of the Colonies ; or, the Adventures of an Emigrant.

Edited by a late Colonial Magistrate. 3 vols. We have not yet had an opportunity to go through these volumes; but finding that such amusement and information closely linked together as offer themselves, in the following extracts, appear to characterize every portion of the publication, we shall make no scruple of availing ourselves of the lavish borrowing for the purposes of a notice, trusting that the sample may induce our readers to hasten to the circulating library for a fuller feast. Thornley, the Emigrant, arrives at Hobart Town, and soon, while in search of a location, falls in with Crab, who meditates to leave the country in disgust which the other has just entered. This was in 1817, when the settlement was still but in a state of infancy, comparatively with its more recent development; and when the scenery and society of the island, of which most lifelike sketches are given in the Tales, must have presented striking contrasts with the form and fashion of things in the mother country. Still, roughing it in the Wilderness was preferred to longer struggliug with adversity at home; and a stout and persevering face set to meet every danger and difficulty. And now for the sort of adventures which marked the settler's first days.

"We strolled on leisurely through the bush, and were within a short distance of New Norfolk, when our ears were suddenly assailed by a confusion of sounds that startled the quiet wilderness, and made us wonder what outbreak or disorder could occasion such a furious outcry; presently we descried a horseman riding with all his might through the trees beside us, now jumping over fallen timber, then ducking his head to avoid the branches of trees, but in spite of the dangers which he seemed ever to avoid by some special miracle, still keeping at the top of his speed, and urging on his horse, which seemed to be as much excited as the rider. Presently the cracking, it seemed of innumerable whips, making sharp reports like small fire-arms, was heard around, and a straggling multitude began to encircle us. kangaroo-skin friend seemed to regard with a sort of scornful glee the hurly-burly around us. • Now,' said he, 'master, you'll see how they manage some matters in this beautiful country.' "What can the matter be' said I. As I pronounced these words, a sudden crash of dead bouglis

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

and dry bushes, at no great distance from us, excited in me apprehension of danger. Instinctively I turned to the quarter whence the threatening sounds proceeded, and stood ready with my fowling piece against accidents. I saw my friend Crab give a grim smile at this movement, as I was inclined to do myself, had I not been, I must confess, rather frightened ; for at this moment I beheld a mad bull, as it seemed to me, making right to the spot where I stood. The animal appeared to be in a state of the most intense excitement, with its mouth covered with foam, its nostrils dilated, eyes wild, and its tail twisted into that corkscrew figure indicative of a disposition to mischief. I jumped aside as the creature made a plunge at me, glad enough to escape. It's a mad cow,' said I. 'I' suppose this climate makes cattle very savage when they get worried ?' 'Not madder than the people that are after her,' said Crab ; however, wait a bit till you see the end of it.' By this time we were in the midst of the crowd which was chasing the cow, but I could not yet divine their particular object. What do you want to do with her?' said I to a tall thin man, who had ceased for a moment to crack his whip; she seems terribly wild.' Wild !' said he, 'the brute is always wild, but she's one of the best milkers I've got, and have her in the stock-yard I will this blessed evening, if I raise all New Norfolk for it.' 'I shall be glad to lend a hand,' said I, but I'm not used to the ways of the country yet, and perhaps I might do harm instead of good.' But my aid was not wanted on this occasion, for at this moment a general shout in the distance proclaimed that the victory was won.”

“There were about thirty people assembled, among whom were one or two women. I observed that some of the men were provided with ropes made of bullock's hide twisted together, of great strength. I was still puzzled to know what was intended by all these preparations. Presently a farming man appeared, with a tin pannikin of a half-pint measure, and a stool with one leg. The stool with one leg looked like a design to milk the animal, but what the tin pannikin was for was a mystery to me.

Had there been a milk-pail, I should have made out their object at once: but this piece of machinery was as yet but little known in the colony. I continued to watch the proceedings with great interest, when presently a man advanced with a stoutish long stick, or a small pole, with a hiderope forming a large loop at the end of it; the other part of the rope he held in one hand in a coil. Climbing over the rails of the stock-yard, which were formed of the solid trunks of trees placed lengthways, about six feet high, he stood within the space. The cow eyed him as if she was used to the game, and without waiting to be attacked, made a dart at him ferociously. This did not disconcert the man with the pole and loop, who, stepping aside with the most perfect coolness, and with infinite agility, let the animal knock her head against the rails, which she did with a force that made the massive pile tremble. This process was repeated several times, to the great amusement of the spectators, some of whom applauded the pole-bearer's nimbleness, while others were inclined to back the cow. * That was a near go,' said one, as the beast made a sudden plunge at her tormentor, tearing off with her horn, a portion of his jacket; "she'll pin you presently Jem.' 'Never fear, said Jem, 'a miss is as good as a mile. She is the most cantankerous varmint

I ever seed: but I'll have her yet.' "What are you going to do,' said I, ‘kill her ?' 'Kill her!' eclaimed my tall friend : what! kill the best, the nicest, and sweetest-tempered creature of the whole herd; she's so tame, she'll almost let you pat her, only she doesn't like to be milked; that always puts her out. Now for it, Jemmy, that's the way; haul in quick, keep it up-don't slack-hold her tight; now we've got her. Where's the foot. rope?' Watching his opportunity, the man with the pole had succeeded in throwing the loop over the animal's horns, and two or three men on the outside of the yard, quickly gathering the end of it, hauled it taut, as seamen do a cable in getting up the anchor, round the thick stump of a tree.

[ocr errors]

" The cow,

however, was not milked yet; to arrive at that conclusion, some further steps were necessary.

The animal was now standing with its legs firmly planted before it, its neck elongated, its tongue hanging out of its mouth, and kicking with its hind legs continuously. These refractory members were now secured by a loop, into which they were dexterously insinuated, and half a dozen men catching up the end, hauled it out, and kept it on the stretch, to prevent her from plunging about. The creature, it seems, was now in a correct posture to be milked. Crab gave me another look. The man with the one-legged stool and pannikin now advanced, speaking soothingly to the animal to be operated on, and using much ceremony and caution on his approach. Seizing a favourable opportunity, he contrived to squeeze a few drops of milk into his pannikin ; but the sensitive cow, outraged, it seemed, at this indignity on her person, gave a sudden plunge, which upset the heel-rope holders, and, recovering her legs, she kicked man, stool, and pannikin over and over. Shouts of laughter proclaimed the amusement of the bystanders, and numerous were the jibes and jeers lavished on the occasion. And now, the pride of the stockmen being roused, and their honour being piqued by the presence, besides, of two strangers, the witnesses of their mnnæuvres, they set to again to manacle the almost spent animal ; and he of the pannikin, discarding the stool as a womanly encumbrance, boldly kneeling down, with the determination of a hero, and undaunted by the moanings and writhings of his victim, contrived to exude from her about half a pint of milk. This triumph achieved, the cow was set at liberty, the poles of the gateway were withdrawn, and the animal bounded into the bush."

Let us hear how Crab and Thornley were cabined for the night.

“I cannot easily describe the feelings of interest and curiosity with which I approached the place. I regarded it as a mirror into which I was about to look for the reflection of the condition which in a little time I was myself to assume.

I beheld before me a low building, which I afterwards ascertained was built of the logs of the stringy bark tree, split in half, and set on end. The building was about thirty feet long, and whitewashed. Its roof was composed of shingles ; that is, of slips of wood about nine inches long, four inches broad, and a quar of an inch thick. These shingles had acquired a bluish cast, from exposure to the atmosphere, and had a slatish appearance. At one end of the house was a rough-looking piece of stone

work, formed of irregular pieces of stone procured near the spot, and forming the end wall and chimney. At the back of the building was a tolerably large stack of wheat, enclosed with trunks of trees, forming an occasional small stock-yard. At one side was a garden, paled in with palings of the stringy-bark tree split into irregular rough boards or pales. I could see in this garden the aspect of the most luxuriant vegetation. In front of the house a small tree was left standing, from one of the boughs of which was suspended a sheep newly killed. At the sight of our approach, it seems, an attack was instantly made on the carcase, as a man was busily employed in cutting it up. At the same time, a sun-burnt, but very pretty face became visible at the door of the house, and instantly disappearing, a hissing sound was immediately heard within, proclaiming that some culinary preparation was put in progress. At a little distance was heard the bleating of a small flock of sheep, for evening was now set in; and from another quarter a team of bullocks, urged on by a strange-looking driver, with an immense cracking of his whip, and a prodigious deal of expostulation, slowly drew near with a huge load of wood for fuel. We were in the act of entering the house, when our passage was impeded by a tiny swarm of little children, the eldest about seven-the youngest of the six being held up by the eldest to greet its father. Each was provided with a thick lump of damper,' which had been served out to amuse them until the more substantial repast should be prepared. The clothing of these urchins was of the lightest possible description consistent with decency, and mocassins seemed to be the prevailing fashion. They were clean, however, and cheerful, but inclined to have a lanky appearance, like little weeds running to seed. This, I ascertained afterwards, was the general appearance of the children born in the colony.

We entered the habitation, which consisted of one spacious apartment, opening into the air. At the end opposite the chimney a space was divided off into two small bedrooms. Opposite to the entrance of the house a door led to a skillion, which served for a kitchen ; and it was from that spot that the hissing sounds, now become more violent, proceeded. In the middle of the principal apartment was a rough table of boards, on which were disposed sundry tin pannikins, a few plates, with some odd knives and forks. A gigantic green bottle, containing rum, graced one corner of the table, and in the centre was set, as a place of honour, the pannikin of milk, which had been obtained by the united efforts of the establishment within reach. And now the hostess emerged from the back recess, bearing in her hands an enormous dish of mutton-chops, which was quickly followed by another dish, in which appeared a sort of doughy cake. I thought,' said the lady of the house, you would like a cake in the pan better than a damper, so here it is. Edward, help the gentlemen; they have had a long walk, and must be hungry.' This hospitable intimation was responded to by her husband, who forthwith tlırust out of the large dish three or four of the chops into a plate, and handed them to me. Help yourself,' said he to my companion ; 'you're used to the ways of the place. Where's the salt? No mustard ?'--' The mustard's out; we must have some from camp. And the salt! Well, that is unlucky. I declare there's not an atom left. Well, you must do without it, or we can send to Connolly's farm, not three miles off. I know they've got salt there, for they were to

6

« VorigeDoorgaan »