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Perfectly so, sir:-the young gentleman is free to depart when he pleases."
"Well, then, let us depart, in God's name," quoth the Heer to his young companions. "And here is something to make merry with, boys," throwing a handful of rix dollars among the men of bolts and bars, who greeted him with cheers, as he departed, and took coach for the Governor's.'
Still Christina is unintelligibly capricious; but, in reply to her lover's entreaties, she says that she can never marry a robber, or one who has been the associate of robbers. The astonished and indignant youth repels this aspersion, and the mystery is at length explained:
For this purpose it will be necessary to go back to the period when the Heer Piper resided in Finland, with his wife, a timid, gentle being, their daughter Christina, and the Frizzled Head, then to all appearance as old as on the day she died.
It was in those days, and it is still, the custom, for the petty princes of the north to hire out their subjects at so much per head, to cut the throats, not of the enemies of their country, but of those of the worthy potentates who paid for their services. The regiment of Holstein, commanded by Colonel Koningsmarke, was in this way employed in the service of Sweden, at that time on the eve of becoming embroiled with the Catholic powers of Germany.
'One summer evening, in the absence of the Heer, as Christina, then a little girl of about six years old, and her mother, were sitting, just about the twilight, in a little low parlour, whose open windows looked out on a charming rural landscape, tinted with the soft, enchanting, changeful hues of evening, on a sudden they were broken in upon by a party of ruffians, armed, and apparently half mad with liquor, who rudely seized both mother and daughter, and, by way of a good joke, frightened them almost into convulsions. They shrieked and screamed, but without any other effect than to bring forth old Bombie, who assailed the intruders with the most bitter reproaches she could devise. This brought the attention of the drunken rout towards the Frizzled Head, whom they seized, and, with great ceremony, proceeded, as they pretended, to decapitate forthwith.
'Among the party was a fair, light-haired, blue-eyed youth, apparently about thirteen years of age, who, however, kept aloof, and partook not in any of these outrages, until, incited by the taunts and ridicule, and, finally, commanded by the leader of the party, he came forward reluctantly, and affected to assist in restraining the violent efforts of poor Bombie, whose hands they were endeavouring to bind. The moment the boy came near enough, Bombie seized him by the collar, and, tearing off his ruff, disclosed a large and singular scar, just under his ear, in the shape of a cross. Christina, whose eyes were naturally turned in that direction, also saw the scar, which was impressed on her memory, not only by the terrors of the scene, but by the exclamation of the Frizzled Head, who cried out
"Ah! ha! thou bearest a mark-not the mark of Cain, but one by which I shall know thee, whatever changes time and chance may produce in thee. Thou carriest a sign, which to others may be the emblem of salvation, but which to thee, sooner or later, shall be the signal of disgrace and condemnation. I will remember thee."
The youth stood abashed, and took the opportunity of a momentary pause, to whisper the leader of the party a threat of representing the af
fair to his father, if they proceeded to any further violence. The whisper was, however, unnoliced by those whom it was intended to benefit. The party, after eating, drinking, or wasting every thing they could find, finally departed, and returned to their quarters.. The agitation and fright produced by this scene of outrage, operating upon the gentle spirits and weak frame of Christina's nother, threw her into a nervous fever, which in a few weeks terminated her life. The impression of these events was never effaced from the mind of Christina; and, in truth, it may be said, that it strengthened with age, and every little while received a deeper shade of horror, from the exaggerated declamations of the Frizzled Head; who, as her memory became less retentive and connected, substituted the youth with the scar for the principal actor in the death of her beloved mistress. In this way does memory often exaggerate the past, almost as much as hope does the future.'
The Heer Piper afterwards came to the New World; thither also the uncertain fortunes of Koningsmarke led him; and old Bombie's raving caused all that mystery which puzzled us from the beginning of the novel to the end. The author, like an impudent wag, as he is, laughs at his reader for the disappointment he must experience when the story is thus explained. The lovers are then united, and live very happily ever afterwards, according to the good old custom.
The chief fault in the novel is an excessive fondness for the ludicrous, which sometimes betrays the author into absurdities; he is, however, upon the whole, very amusing, and his work may be considered as an important addition to the small stock of American literature.
The Fall of Constantinople, a Poem; with a Preface; to which are added Parga, the Iphigenia of Timanthes, Palmyra, Emineh's Death, and other Poems. By JACOB JONES, Jun..
THE author of this poem is a gentleman who has committed two notable follies. First he wrote a poem in the hope of gaining a prize from the Royal Society of Literature; and, secondly, he has printed it to shame the fools,' and expose their delinquency in not keeping their faith by awarding the prize to some one. Mr. Jones does not say in so many words that he ought to have had the prize, but he says, reasonably enough, that the learned Thebans,' who call themselves governors, or God knows what, of the Royal Society of Literature ought not to encourage young men to build the lofty line' if they do not mean to recompense them for their loss of time. We would not, however, be understood to insinuate that Mr. Jones has not a very comfortable notion of the excellence of his poem.
We are not surprised at the conduct of the Royal Society of Liteture, because we happen to know the well-chosen sages who govern it ; but we are surprised that a man of any talent, or even any vanityand we think Mr. Jones has a little of both (thus we gild the pill)— would first write for them, and then confess himself a simpleton by complaining that they have cheated him. It is always wiser for a man to hold his tongue upon such occasions, and profit by his experience; Mr. Jones, however, is trumpet-tongued' in his claim for redress: his very little page foretells the nature of a tragic volume ;' and he
does belabour the Royal Society of Literature with a vengeance. We must give some of his own story in his own words, in order that justice may be done to both parties. After reasoning upon the injustice of the Society's proceedings, he goes on thus:
Up to this point, all the reasonings on which I have laid any stress, have been comprehensive, and the principles from which they proceeded, have been general. A statement of my own particular involvement with the Royal Society of Literature will prove, perhaps, as apt and convincing an illustration as could be brought forward, of the correctness of those reasonings and the justness of those principles.
So partially notorious, so incomplete, and so desultory, from the first, have been the doings of this "circumspect" association, that, although a regular reader of the Newspapers, and too frequently mixing in society, I did not know, that any fresh subjects were proposed for competition, after the adjudgment of the poetic premium to Mrs. Hemans, till I met with the advertisement already recited, which calls upon divers unworthy Candidates to revise, and correct, and prune, and mature their various productions, and, at the same, throws the lists open to any others who may be disposed to enter them.Not, therefore, till about the close of last year, was my course of reading, upon the subject of Homer, &c., commenced; and it was continued till within three weeks, exactly, of the 22d of March—I had relieved the intervals of this hard study, by occasionally penning verses on the Fall of Constantinople; my Poem, consisting of above six hundred and fifty hexameter lines, was completed with my course of reading; leaving the last three weeks free, for the composition, or rather, arrangement of my Dissertation upon Homer. At this composition I wrote, with the aid of previously compiled extracts, and paragraphs, between thirteen and fourteen hours daily, producing by this severe exertion, two hundred and forty-four pages of manuscript.
The Dissertation and Poem, in different hand-writings, headed by different mottos, and sealed with different seals, were left at Mr. Hatchard's, on Saturday night, the 22d of March.'
The Society found none of the poems nor dissertations presented to them worthy of the prizes, and therefore, with greater caution than they usually display, our modern Minoses thought to keep out of a scrape by keeping the money in the coffers of the Royal Society of Literature. Alas! they little thought of the vengeance they would awake. Mr. Jones proceeds:
*The public know nothing of the means the Society possesses, beyond what the King, in his good-heartedness and munificence, has set apart for it; and the election of its royal associates, was neither public, nor made known, as to those on whom it fell, to the public; though it occurred two or three years ago. For a body to invest itself with a public and corporate character, and call upon the public for pecuniary support, and, yet, to expend monies and transact affairs in private, or in such a manner as to keep two thirds of its good deeds under a bushel, is very far from what is either correct or judicious.'
After such strenuous and exhausting efforts, it may easily be conceived, that a proportionate degree of anxiety would be felt. My chances (in nubibus) had cost me much, but the abominable procrastination already alluded to cost me more: yet all my outlay was worse than lost; I should have been repaid by having had a fair chance of the Homeric and Poetic prizes; I was robbed of the chance of either. These private facts put a case, that effectively demonstrates how extensively a wrong may operate; by so doing, they corroborate the necessity of adhering to the general principles so amply laid down in the course of this discussion.-An individual is induced by the promises of others to study laboriously, and to the exclusion of his ordinary pursuits, for more than a quarter of a year; and after finishing his task, is for four additional months, first by exhaustion, and subsequently by daily increasing anxiety, and all the fever of expectation, materially unstrung for fresh exertions, and ultimately he is repaid with broken promises, and evasion rendered more odious by its awkward, unfeeling, and cool impudence! I say, impudence, for I do not believe there ever was a more impudent cheat practised upon the literary public!-If the Society found that it was out of the question to entertain any self-respect, the very discovery should have increased its regard for others. Under all the circumstancas of its incipient career, to treat the candidates in the dilatory, cavalier-like, and concise manner which has been described, apart from its injustice and inhumanity, was both unmannerly and impertinent. As far as the numbers marked on my returned papers' disclose, this injustice, and inhumanity, these bad manners, and this impertinence, were exercised towards twenty-five individuals. That they must have had a still greater number of objects, will be obvious from the statement, that the Essays on the Greek language are not included in this computation; and that my Dissertation, which was numbered as the eighth, and my Poem, as the seventeenth, were little likely to be, both of them, numbered the last of their respective classes. The just indignation and resentment of only twenty-five individuals, extending through all the ranks of their kinsfolk and acquaintance, is, however, quite enough for the Society to bear, or the public to sympathize with.-To show that I have not been wanting in a proper determination to risk something for the redress of an unprecedented public wrong, it will be proper to state that, on finding "my papers" returned, with a noti. fication of the non-adjudgment of the prizes, I applied to a very eminent Chamber-Counsel for his opinion, whether or not the Society had involved itself in an actionable frand?-That it had done so was the prevailing persuasion of all my friends to whom the affair was known. Let the answer I received go forth to the utter confusion of this delinquent Society: "Such is the state of the English law, that there are many rights without remedies-now, as this agreement was a nudum pactum, the violation of it is not an actionable fraud. In equity and natural justice, however, the transaction is a swindling transaction!" If the Society be capable of congratulating itself on its escape, how analogous must be its satisfaction to that of a man who breaks his legs by the same fall by which his companion breaks his neck.'
The last incident of the Chamber-Counsel gives us a high notion of Mr. Jones's gullibility;-if there had been a cunning man, a lostspoon finder, it had been better to have engaged his assistance.
And now we go to the poem. Really Mr. Jones seems to have suffered so deep a mortification from the Royal Society of Literature, that, if his poetry were worse than it is, we could hardly bring ourselves to say so. If we have a fault, it is excessive good nature; and we may as well say so, because we believe our readers by this time have found it out. The poem, then, is a clever prize poem; it is as good as most of the prize poems we ever saw-a great deal better than many which we have attempted to read. But, as the bard has had too much foul play to complain of from the Royal Society of Literature, we shall content ourselves with merely extracting some portions of his poem, and let our readers say what they choose of it. The incidents are chiefly taken from Gibbon; and, under favour of the author and the Royal Society of Literature, we cannot for our lives see how it is adapted to the purposes of poetry. The Soldan's speech we extract first:
'Meanwhile the Soldan bade repair
His ev'ry chieftain the divan to share:
O'er each swart brow audacious gladness beam'd,
"Soldiers of heav'n! whose blood from heroes came,
The toils they bore, the trophies of their might ?-