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could live. Sir Sidney was the first man to spring into the lee-cutter. Captain Selby having remonstrated against his risking so valuable a life, was answered gaily by the gallant hero calling to our first luff, “Mr. Landon, if your tackle-falls give way you will be drowned for your carelessness, as I intend to be lowered in the boat, and her tackle falls should always be ready to bear any weight. Now for a bow and stern-fast well attended, and your two best quartermasters at the falls. Watch her roll, men, when I give the word' for on your attention and skill depend the lives of the cutter's crew, your first luff
, to say nothing of my own, and Chips, the carpenter, whom with your leave, Captain Selby, I will take on board Jonathan, who I suspect is not so bad as stated, but rather lost in his reckoning. Additional stretchers in the boat, Mr. Landon,-each man with these in his hands to bear us off the side. Now, Captain Selby, place your frigate close on her weather quarter, to make a lee for us." And every man held his breath with consternation, as the gallant hero, watching the lee roll, loudly gave the word to lower away roundly, still louder to let go and unhook, on the celerity of which depended all their lives. I drew my breath freely when the boat showed her stern to the mountainous waves, impelled by her oars, as each billow threatened to engulph her, and the cool magnanimity of Sir Sidney, as he steered alongside the wall-sided monster of a Yankee, who rolled awfully as he sprang on board. “I
guess you are the captain of that there Britisher,” said Jonathan Corncob, addressing the hero of Acre, “and I take your conduct as most particularly civil.”
“I am only a passenger in yon frigate, and am called Sir Sidney Smith. But let your carpenter show mine where he thinks the leak is, and I shall be glad to look at your chart.”
“ You shall see it, Sidney Smith (we do not acknowledge titles in our free country),” and Jonathan unrolled a very greasy chart before Sir Sidney.
“I do not see any track pricked off. What was your longitude at noon yesterday? and what do you think your drift has been since that time ?"
“Why, to tell you the truth, Sidney Smith, I 'avn't begun to reckon yet, but mate and I was about it when the gale came on; I think we are about here ;" and Jonathan Corncob covered many degrees with the broad palm of his hand ; " Mate thinks we are more to the eastward."
This convinced Sir Sidney that he rightly guessed that the man was lost. Americans, long, long ago, were not pre-eminent as now in navigation, and were generally and irreverently called God's ships. The carpenter by this time had diminished the leak, and Sir Sidney, giving Captain Corncob the bearings and distance of Brest, only a day's sail dead to leeward, offered to take him and his crew on board the El Carmen, leaving the boat's crew to run the tarnation leaky hooker into Brest, and claiming half her value as salvage.
But Jonathan gravely demurred; and calling to mate, “Reverse our stripes and place our stars uppermost again where they should be," while he kindly slapped Sir Sidney on the shoulder, calling him an honest fellow from the old country, and in the fulness of his gratitude offered him a quid of tobacco and a glass of brandy.
Sir Sidney got on board without accident, and Jonathan Corncob made sail for Brest, where I trust (but never heard) that he safely arrived.
Sir Sidney's manners, we are told, “would have done honour to Lord Chesterfield's tuition.” “He was the life of the ship, composed songs and sang them; full of anecdote, so well told, that you lost sight of the little bit of egotism they smacked of.” He "shortened his moustachioes daily, according to our run made in the night, fully determined to get rid of them by our arrival in England.” Sir Sidney “asserted that rats fed cleaner and were better eating than pigs or ducks, and, agreeably to his wish, a dish of these beautiful vermin were caught daily with fish-hooks, well-baited, in the provision hold, for the ship was infested with them, and served up at the captain's table.” The knight, we are also informed, was a perfect Nimrod at running ; for so fleet a-foot he was, that when reconnoitring the French army before Acre, and the enemy's sharp shooters had been thrown forward with a desire to make him their target, “he would enter the breach in the walls, where Jezza Pacha made his bed every night during the siege, before his companions were half way."
We have now given samples of the staple of the “Reminiscences. What more can we do to insure the popularity of the book ?
Art. XI.--Letters of Horace Walpole to Sir Horace Mann. Con
cluding Series. 2 vols. Bentley. We are of that number who do not think that every scrap and letter written by a great man, should be published because he is dead. For should it happen that the fragments which have dropped from his literary table, that the scrapings of his library, have been the natural, unstudied, and careless expressions of his mind, about every-day or trifling matters, the probability is that they are not fit for or worth publishing, and ought in justice to the memory of the writer, to be left alone, as portions of the dust that must perish. On the other hand, if the things for the first time brought before the public eye, professing to be the genuine and inartificial outpourings of a master spirit, should be seen to have been covertly intended to be read by multitudes, then the tables are turned, but without bettering the case for the officious editor, because the pieces published are divested of all their professed or assumed naturalness. But we are proceeding upon the idea that the defunct was really a great man and a master genius, and asking would the rakings be desirable from the fields which he has cultured,—from the harvests which he has reaped? Yes, it will be returned ; if Shakspeare's signature or autograph is a national wonder-a treasure in itself,—what price would not be set upon the briefest note he ever scrawled to his baker or butcher, should such a curious relic cast up? True, but it is because the relic was curious,
was single, was unique that it would be held invaluable; for if eten Shakspeare had gossiped so perseveringly as Walpole did, and been so fully and fulsomely reported as some dead men and their sayings have been recently in our literary history, we should by this time have got tired of the commodity, and been obliged to complain of the oblique and unhealthy taste of an age that is greedy of food however morbid.
But this is presuming that Horace Walpole is entitled to and holds a niche in the front of the temple of fame, instead of assigning to him his rightful pedestal and appropriate site; and these are among the order of elegant triflers and cold-hearted superficialists,-far removed from the earnest and the sincere, it mattereth not for our argument, what be the object or what the course. Walpole was not a great man; no great man could have cultivated his species of liveliness, polish, and cleverness: none such could have sneered like as he did; libelled and lied like him ; written as he has done shame-facing praise, mawkish morals, and tricked-out language to one, while, and in the same day, he was capable of sending scandal and indelicacy to another. To the charge that he was a bundle of affectation and an egregious frivolist, it lias been answered that he pretended to be what he was not,--that he affected to be affected. Out and away with such a man; the world is too full of serious cares and of solid realities to give much ear to an idler, a sinecurist, a gim-crackery-man, a mere toy-master in thought, feeling, and occupation. Is it not vexing to think of a man, ripe and white in respect of years, squandering his hours and his powers in the way which our extracts will illustrate,a way trodden habitually as all his manifold correspondence demonstrates? Without speaking of his covert infidelity, of his eagerness to scoff at sacred things, of his want of truth in reporting of persons or facts when his purpose was to be served, we must pronounce him to have had little of the man about him,- to have been at best a piece of brilliancy, and only the idol for the worship of Strawberry Hill devotees.
The volumes upon volumes of Horace Walpole's letters which Mr. Bentley has recently published, professing to contain not only all those that had previously been printed in a collected form, but several hundreds that had theretofore existed only in manuscript, or made their appearance singly and individually in other works, have grown to a shameful mass, if to be measured according to their intrinsic worth, and the grain in them as compared with the chaff. This is one of the most impudent of book-building schemes that can be instanced. It would not be difficult, it is true, to collate and to compile a desirable volume out of Walpole's epistles. And then such a volume might be made to present features that would be suggestive of more important considerations than any that directly arose from their merely literary and individual character. An editor,
with speculation in him, might view the selected portions as offering a type of the politics, of the criticism, of the social sentiments that prevailed amid the class of which the writer was assuredly one of the most distinguished members. Some of the pieces, too, might be consulted as curiosities in our day, in respect of the philosophical nonsense which they uttered concerning the results that would follow the French Revolution ; the writer and those of his order, with scarcely an exception, being altogether at sea, and rudderless in their notions about that political and social convulsion,-its forerunners and probable developments.
But measured according to their real worth, or even their characteristic features, these two tomes of letters to Sir Horace Mann, when examined after the voluminous series that recently preceded them, are little short of a gross imposition. In the first place they are less studded with wit and anecdote than the epistles already before the world; and, secondly, they afford us no new grounds for estimating the character of the writer, at least none that leave a more favourable impression of the qualities of his nature, or in regard to his cherished habits, than did their predecessors. Trash and artificiality,-gossipry, twaddle, and heartlessness continually obtrude themselves, and scarcely with a vestige or an index of tenderness and sympathy for his fellow-creatures; while of deep interest in behalf of his country, of which his father had been so long prime minister, there is not a sign. Expunge from the collection the spontaneous wit that here and there sparkles, and the humour so disdainful of truth, that amuses now and then, and we have little more left than the lineaments that are in themselves uninviting, that caused the frivolist to be disliked when he lived, and still prevent him taking a hold of the cordialities of the living race. These general observations will find corroborative illustration even in the specimens to be selected by us, although the purpose has been to provide some of the more entertaining and pungent bits of gossip. Our first is of a poor creature," how far from ninety!"
Poor Lady Coventry concluded her short race with the same attention to her looks. She lay constantly on a couch, with a pocket-glass in her hand; and when that told her how great the change was, she took to her bed the last fortnight, had no light in her room but the lamp of a tea-kettle, and at last took things in through the curtains of her bed, without suffering them to be undrawn. The mob, who never quitted curiosity about her, went, to the number of ten thousand, only to see her coffin.
“She was not eight and twenty.” There are follies and fashions that in point of costliness keep pace with the march in every other sort of extravagance; and royal weddings and coronations do not offer exceptions. The crowning of George the Third is the subject of our extract :
On this occasion one saw to how bigh-water-mark extravagance is risen in England. At the coronation of George II. my mother gave forty guineas for a dining-room, scaffold, and bed-chamber. An exactly parallel apartment, only with rather a worse view, was at this time set at three hundred and fifty guineas--a tolerable rise in thirty-three years! The platform from St. Margaret's roundhouse to the church-door, which formerly let for forty pounds, went this time for two thousand four hundred pounds. Still more was given for the inside of the Abbey. The prebends would like a coronation every year. The King paid nine thousand pounds for the hire of jewels ; indeed, last time it cost my father fourteen hundred to bejewel my Lady Orford. A single shop now sold six hundred pounds sterling worth of nails; but nails are risen; so is everything, and everything adulterated. If we conquer Spain, as we have done France, I expect to be poisoned.
Wilkes and liberty.
The campaign is opened, hostilities begun, and blood shed. Now you think, my dear sir, that all this is metaphor, and mere eloquence.
You are mistaken: our diets, like that approaching in Poland, use other weapons than the tongue; ay, in good truth, and they who use the tongue too, and who perhaps you are under the common error of thinking would not fight, have signalized their prowess. But stay, I will tell you my story more methodically; perhaps you shall not know for these two pages what member of the British Senate, of that august divan whose wisdom influences the councils of all Europe, as its incorrupt virtue recalls to mind the purest ages of Rome, was shot in a duel yesterday in Hyde-park. The parliament met on Tuesday. We—for you know I have the honour of being a senator, sat till two in the morning; and had it not been that there is always more oratory, more good sense, more knowledge, and more sound reasoning in the House of Commons than in the rest of the universe put together, the House of Lords only excepted, I should have thought it as tedious, dull, and unentertaining a debate as ever I heard in my days. The business was a complaint made by one King George of a certain paper called the North Briton, No. 45, which the said King asserted was written by a much more famous man called Mr. Wilkes.-Well! and so you imagine that Mr. Wilkes and King George went from the House of Commons and fought out their quarrel in Hyde-park ? and which do you guess was killed ? Again you are mistaken. Mr. Wilkes, with all the impartiality in the world, and with the phlegm of an Areopagite, sat and heard the whole matter discussed, and now and then put in a word, as if the affair did not concern him. The House of Commons, who would be wisdom itself, if they could but all agree on which side of a question wisdom lies, and who are sometimes forced to divide in order to find this out, did divide twice on this affair. The first time, one hundred and eleven, of which I had the misfortune to be one, had more curiosity to hear Mr. Wilkes's story than King George's ; but three hundred being of the contrary opinion, it was plain they were in the right, especially as they had no private motives to guide them. Again, the individual one hundred and eleven could not see that the North Briton tended to foment treasonable insurrections, though we had it argumentatively demonstrated to us for seven hours together : but the moment we heard two