Screen reader users: click this link for accessible mode. Accessible mode has the same essential features but works better with your reader.
eBook – FREE
Get this book in print
Find in a library
All sellers »
Porter’s Spirit of the Times, Volume 2
About this book
Terms of Service
80 – 84
THE OPERA IN PHILADELPHIA.—The second season is progressing as favorably as the first. The enthusiasm of the Philadelphians continues at fever heat; and hereafter the inauguration of the Academy of Music will be referred to as the most brilliant lyric campaign on record. The production of Linda di Chamouni proved a decided hit, and its repetition was unanimously demanded: so also with Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Seviglia, in which Miss Ada Phillips has won golden opinions in the rôle of Rosina. The company will continue to perform throughout the ensuing week; and then the New Yorkers will have an opportunity of judging of the merits of La Gazzaniga, whom the Philadelphians have pronononced, as singer and actress, superior to either Lagrange or Grisi. •
LAURA KEENE’s THEATRE.—The exceedingly pretty drama of Dreams of Delusion was revived on Monday evening, Mr. George Jordan sustaining his original part of Sir Bernard Harleigh in a highly artistic manner. The portrait of the monomaniac was most truthfully drawn, never descending for a moment to the realms of exaggeration for the sake of obtaining injudicious applause, but, throughout, a piece of finished acting of which Mr. Jordan may feel justly proud. Miss Ada Clifton was the substitute for Miss Keene in the rôle of Lady Wiola. She seemed somewhat nervous and distrait. And no wonder, for this is a part in which her predecessor has achieved some of her brightest laurels. Miss Clifton do as not possess the same advantages of lengthened experience in leading business that it has been Miss Keene’s good fortune to achieve; hence her performance lacks individuality and finish, but she exhibits a fresh ingenuousness, and charming simplicity of style, which is quite refreshing. Her personal advantages are great, her voice sympathetic, and her action (with one trifling exception, which time and attention will correct) extremely graceful. Miss Clifton has all the materiel for the making of an excellent artiste, and only needs the necessary practice and experience. She looked and dressed the part of the young and loving wife admirably. Mrs. T. B. Johnston left nothing to be desired in Amabel. She was the gay, light-hearted girl of good society, whose sole idea is to be loved and petted —a task easy of accomplishment, we should suppose, to any one capable of appreciating such rare combinations of grace and beauty as this lady exhibits. To dress in perfect taste, is an accomplishment which few actresses possess, In this respect Mrs. Johnston is a perfect model to her sister artistes—her costumes always seem to be made for her, instead of being “wardrobe things,” donned for the occasion. Burnett, as Pungent, the family medico, played with sound good taste and discretion; and Mr. J. A. Smith was an able exponent of the empty-headed roué fop, Lord Brandon. The new operatic burlesque burletta of The Elves has achieved a justlymerited triumph, owing to the beauty of the scenery, the lavish splendor of the costumes, and the admirable character of the original and selected music to which it has been wedded by Mr. Baker. Miss Keene has a part in which she displays talent of a novel and original kind. We recommend everybody who has not seen The Elves to pay them a visit forthwith.
WALLACK’s THEATRE.–Mr. Stewart has gracefully bowed to public opinion, and withdrawn Mrs. Howe’s play of Leonore, substituting Camille and Medea, which have proved far more attractive, and ir finitely more beneficial to the treasury account, despite the snarlings of a small portion of the New York press, whose laudations have for weeks past been showered on Miss Heron in these parts, and who, to maintain their proverbial inconsistency, have felt it necessary to be hypercritical at the last moment. Well, let them, “an it so please them.” The public, after all, are the best judges, and the motives of those who would retract from their previously and enthusiastically expressed opinions, are sufficiently transparent to render then perfectly harmless. As long as the public continue to sustain Miss Heron as they have done, she may smile at the futile attempts of those whose business it is “to prove inconsistency a virtue.” On Tuesday evening Miss Heron appeared in a new part, through her interpretation, to a New York audience, namely, that of Bianca, in Milman’s tragedy of Fazio, a character, the rendition of which first achieved her artistic fame as an actress of strikingly original talent, and impulsive genius. Time and space will not permit us to say more in our present issue, than to state that great as have been her interpretations of Camille and Medea, both are eclipsed by her rendition of Bianca. In our next, we hope to be enabled to give a critical analysis of the performance; for the present, it must suffice that in her portrayal of the various phases of peaceful love, the dawning of jealousy, the certainty of betrayal, the idea of revenge, its subsequent accom. plishment, with the attendant results of despair and death, she was in each and all equally great. Far more quiet than any of her predecessors, her delineation of the part was terrible in its intensity. (Depth of feeling seldom finds ventin didactic ravings.) She played the part as an injured, high-spirited woman would, and sought not to invest it with the mock heroics of the stilted tragedienne. The alternations of surprise and fear, on the first discovery of Fazio 8 wealth, were finely developed. So also her astonishment, when he becomes estranged, and suggests an altered behavior, whilst nothing could be more truthful than the admitted doubt of his constancy, and the burning revenge that ensues. Warmly applauded throughout by an audience crowded to suffocation, she was recalled at the end of the third act, and again, amid tumultuous applause, on the fall of the curtain. Her Bianca, in a word, was a renewal of her first triumph, which took New York by storm. In consequence of Miss Heron being unable to postpone previously-made engagements in St. Louis, her performances will be suspended for the present. On her return, she will appear in several fresh parts, and challenge comparison with those who have preceded her, and been deemed perfection in their interpretations of them. Whether she will be enabled to pass the fiery ordeal, and sustain her supremacy as the greatest of American tragediennes, yet remains to be proved. For ourselves, we believe Miss Heron will be found fully equal to the exigencies of the occasion. In the interim, Mr. Stewart has had to cast about for some other attraction to replace the one which has filled his house for weeks past, and has lighted on John Brougham and Mr. Blake, who will appear next week in conjunction with the talented stock company, in a series of comedies, which, we need scarcely say, with such adjuncts, will be magnificently cast.
BROADway THEATRE.—The renowned performing elephants of Sands & Co. have created quite a furore at this house. “Victoria” and “Albert” (for so are these elephantine wonders named) might well afford examples of acrobatic and pantomimic perfection to many biped performers who “strut and fret their hour upon the stage.” The feats these animals accomplish are truly wonderful, and display a sagacity, intelligence, and educational proficiency, so marvellous that their performances: must be seen to be appreciated. It has been asserted that severe punishment has been resorted to in order to obtain the results exhibited. This is simply absurd; for it is a well-known fact in Natural History that kindness and reward are the only methods of tuition understood by these mammoth animals, who are ever as ready to revenge slight, insult, and cruelty, as they are to acknowledge with lasting affection their opposites; besides, an enraged elephant is rather an awkward customer to deal with, and one whom any sane man would not like to tackle. We know not whether the royal namesakes of the accomplished quadrupeds that have been performing at the
Broadway are equally interesting and amusing; if so, we can only say they would be an immensely attractive acquisition to any establishment. Crowned heads have before now “played strange antics before high heaven,” but none so strange as those exhibited by the distinguished foreigners now on a visit to us. The present is the last week of the engagement of the elephants- where next they are to appear we know not; but whenever and wherever they are
exhibited, we claim for them the patronage which their talent and sagacity
We understand that the grand historic, spectacular drama of The Last Days of Pompeii will be produced during the ensuing week on a scale of scenic splendor and artistic completeness, which will in this respect fully maintain the celebrity of the establishment, Mr. Harry Loraine, who has just returned from a most successful starring tour in the west, sustaining the rôle of Arbaces.
Burton’s TIEArak—A new farce entitled The Rules of the House, or The Revolt of the Boarders, has been produced here, and thanks more to the exertions of the artistes than its own intrinsic merits, it has achieved a success destime. The plot is laid in a Bleecker street boarding house, managed by an hypocritical old skintint who, having by the aid of good dinners and genial treatment, seduced her lady and gentlemen boarders into signing a series of stringent rules, and undertaking to keep their apartments for a lengthened term, then shows herself in her true colors, and by her tyranny drives them into open rebellion, quelled only by the submission of the landlady whom she is discovered in flagrante delicto with an erratic parson. A vast deal of practical fun, a series of old jokes, and a few new ones, are evolved during the progress of the piece, which, though of quite an ephemeral character, displays considerable constructive ability, although such incidents as the discovery of the parson under the boarding-house keeper’s bed, is not exactly in good taste, and is obnoxious to censure for its coarse vulgarity. Mrs. Hughes, Mrs. Park, Miss Polly Marshall, Mr. C. Fisher, Mark Smith, Mr. Moore, and Mr. Setchell, played their respective characters excellently, and to their exertions is the author mainly indebted for the success of his piece. Tobin’s fine comedy of The Honeymoon was given on Monday evening, with Mr. J. W. Wallack, Jr., in the part of the Duke Aranza. Mr. De Walden’s comedy of Wall Street, in a condensed and altered form, was reproduced on Tuesday. Duties elsewhere precluded our being present, but from what we hear, excition and compression have considerably improved it. Shakspere’s play of The Winter’s Tale is to be produced forthwith, on a scale of great artistic splendor, Mr. Wallack, Jr., sustaining the part of Leontes, and Mrs. Parker that of Hermione. This is the revival underlined.
Bow ERY THEATRE.-Mr. Barry, the author of A Romance in High Life, has adapted the story of Dick Tarleton, which was produced in a dramatic form on Monday evening at this house. The incidents, we presume, are familiar to our readers, and, inasmuch as the situations are decidedly striking, from the fact of there being a surplusage of villains and murderers engaged throughout. The drama was comparatively successful; the audience of the Bowery having a vitiated palate for such highly-spiced commodities.
Another portion of the performance was more to our taste, viz., that of the debut of Miss Julia Daly, in the farce of In and Out of Place, in which, owing to her popular style of singing, and dramatic versatility, she achieved considerable success.
THE AMERICAN THEATRE-The season terminated on Monday evening, when the company united in presenting a testimonial benefit to their indefatigable managers, Messrs. E. L. Davenport and H. Watkins. In spite of the most energetic management, and an unequalled rapidity in the production of novelties, we regret to say, the season has not been a remunerative one; and we cannot but think Mr. Davenport was to blame, in venturing his popularity and artistic fame in the endeavor to raise a property which is now far below the limits of theatrical civilization. The tide of amusement seekers now flows beyond Chambers street. Burton, taught by the experience of his last season, was wise enough to discover that it was high time for him to remove up town; and he lost no time in doing it. The little house, whose walls have so often re-echoed the uproarious mirth of the delighted lieges of the republic, must, perforce, now come down; for any attempt to sustain them for theatrical purposes, will prove futile. Burton’s old theatre will soon be numbered with the things that were. The last experiment has been tried, and failed. The same amount of managerial energy and perseverance, combined with an equal amount of active talent, could not have but resulted in brilliant success elsewhere; but the locality alone killed Messrs. Davenport and Watkins, and they were wise to desist from a longer struggle.
NIBLo’s GARDEN.—The return of the Ravels to their head quarters has continued to be greeted with excellent and enthusiastic audiences. Paul Brilliant’s new ballet of La Bouquetiere (in which the author and Mdlle. Therese Robert display chorographic talent of the highest order) has proved eminently successful, and the revival of the capital fairy pantomime of Blanche has excited almost as great a furore as on its first production, owing to the mirth-provoking style in which the principal characters are sustained by Antoine and Jerome Ravel, M. Marzetti, and Mesdames Windel and Marzetti. The scenic displays, tricks, and transformations, are perfect.
The Maretzek opera troupe will conclude their performances in Philadelphia next week, and commence a short series of lyric representations at the Garden, on the following Monday.
THALBEBG IN Boston, has not proved, this time, so great a card as it was anticipated he would be, not owing to lack of appreciation for his surpassing talent as a pianist, but to the attempted “humbug” of his agent, whose manoeuvres have thoroughly disgusted the denizens of the American Athens. They turned up their noses at chocolate luncheons (a la New York), with pianoforte solos as entre-acts, and treated with justly merited contempt the gross impertinence which demanded the name and address of every one purchasing a ticket; hence, this portion of the snobbish, would-be aristocratic scheme had to be abandoned, and thanks to his agent, Thalberg enthusiasm is down to freezing-point. We understand that M. Thalberge manager, who has boasted that he could twist any given number of Americans round his little finger, is deeply chagrined that he cannot exemplify the fact with the Bostonians, and that in consequence, he has been laboring under the effects of a severe attack of “the blues.”
FOREIGN ITEMS. CHARLEs KEAN has produced Shakspere’s play of King Richard the Second, in magnificent style, at the Princess Theatre, London. MERCADANTE’s new opera—Il Pelacio—has been performed at the San
Carlos, Naples, with success, and Calzado’s son hopes to obtain it, with the prima donna, Fortunata Tedesco, for Les Italiens. The introduction is pronounced a magnificent composition, and the music throughout is in Mercadante’s best style. A terzetto and two melodies for the tenor were most applauded at San Carlos, but the opera is a success generally.
MR. BUCKsToNE is reported to have obtained a renewal of the lease of the Haymarket theatre on such advantageous terms as will enable him to effect a reduction in the prices.
MR. Robson, having recovered from his sprained ankle, has reappeared at the Olympic. Mr. Wigan still continues very ill.
MR. MURDoc.H terminated his engagement at Liverpool on Friday, the 6th inst, when he appeared as Vapid, in Reynold’s comedy of The Dramatist.
WHo Asserts THAT THE QUEEN DoEs Nor PATRoNIzE THE DRAMA *-Her Majesty, Prince Albert, and several of the royal children were present at the representation of the Pantomime at the Princess’ last Tuesday. On Thursday the Queen witnessed for the second time the new comedy of “DoubleFaced People,” at the Haymarket, and on Friday night the royal box at the Adelphi was occupied by Her Majesty, Prince Albert, Prince of Wale Princess Royal, and the Princess Alice, who appeared very much please with Mrs. Barney Williams’ performance of five characters in the personation piece of “In and Out of Place.” She introduced the song of “Qur. Mary Anne,” and, being encored, gave “ £ Around,” as well as “Independence Day.” The royal party previously laughed heartily at Mr. Wright’s funny, dry humor as the Alderman in “A Night at Notting-hill.” The farce of “Barney the Baron” again followed, in which Mr. Williams completely convulsed with laughter the occupants of the royal box, who did not retire until the fall of the curtain.—London Era.
MR. AND MEs. KEELEY have reappeared at Drury Lane in “A Cure for the Heart Ache,” Mrs. K. as Frank Oatlands, Mr. K. as Old Rapid, and Charles Matthews as Young Rapid.
Auber’s Fra Diavolo, for which the author has just written recitatives, will be performed at the Royal Italian Ópera during the approaching season, with the following cast:-Fra Diavolo, Signor Mario; Lord Allcash, Signor Ronconi; Lady Allcash, Mdlle. Marai; and Zerlina, Madame Bosto. Auber has composed a new aria for Mario, and re-written the last finale. Herold’s Zampa will likewise be produced at Mr. Gye’s establishment, with Mario and Lablache in the principal characters; and the Traviata is also to be produced for Madame Bosio, Mario, and Ghaziani. The Huguenots will be another important revival.
An obscure £ in Edinburgh has been trying to gain notoriety by advertising that he would preach against the opera His first assault was upon La Traviata, and in the course of his remarks he said such dreadful things that many ladies had to leave the church. The next object of his attack was to be Don Giovanni.
Ar a recent concert in London, among the vocalists was Madarne Anna Thillon. Sims Reeves was in superb voice. He is making a poor ballad by Balfe, “Come into the Garden, Maud,” quite popular. Reichart the tenor, who has been creating a furore at the Parisian concerts, is about to visit London. Ernest is now at Brighton for his health. Grisi is in Manchester, where Formes has been playing Don Pasquale with great spirit, and in a novel way, to the Norma of Madame Gassier, “who revelled in the sparkling music.” A great Handel festival is to be given in June at the Crystal Palace. The Queen and her husband are to attend, if nothing happens. Mrs. Keeley has been playing Frank Oatlands at Drury Lane very exquisitely. Keeley and Charles Matthews sustained Vorter and Young Rapid. Dillon has revived Don Caesar de Bazan, and performed the hero himself with much power and finish. Henry Russell has engaged the Princess’ Theatre for “Passion week,” to give his Far West, or the Emigrant’s
ogress. The “Howard Family” are doing well at the Strand.
[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][graphic]
[ocr errors][ocr errors]
| Q- 3 05:l f : U. orFICE £, New York, SATURDAY, APRIL 11, 1857.
_CoRNER or LEONARD-STREET.
[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
: fall #2, #rature at #: Stage.
[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]
farther travel through the thousand currents of commerce, we landed in the vortex and were sucked in. In vain Trueman struggled to free his mutilated dog, Bulfinch, from the labyrinth of putty cans and barricades of pigiron, of horses’ legs, and men’s legs, and women’s legs, and his (John Trueman’s) legs, and Bulfinch’s own irregular legs, and my own legs; for the poor cur had the misfortune to be pitched, by the exasperated foot of a policeman, into the middle of the thoroughfare-into the middle of a gulf of mud and garbage. Unhappy Bulfinch limped to his master’s side, with eyes bedeved with tears, and tail withering with mud. You see now who was to be our companion in our vague flight from the
Pedestrianism. Matches at N. O. News of the Week. Nicaragua and China.
Base Ball, Cricket, and Yachting.
Poetry, Editorial, Markets.
Police, Local, General Intelligence.
WILE anybody believe it? I can scarcely believe it; can he believe it himself? but nevertheless it is true; truer than last Sunday’s sermon, preached in explanation of the Apocalypse of St. John, that Trueman has taken me away from the old house by the reedy river, where I have been living in peace, and hurried me over railways, and over bridges, and through tunnels, and by dyspeptic stations, where boiling coffee, made of rye and decayed coffin-boards, and sweetened with beet-root decoctions, is administered to famished passengers; and all for the avowed object of fleeing from justice. He swears to me that a warrant is eut for his arrest, and that the whole police force of the city and corporation of New York is at his heels, and the Lord knows, his heels are big enough to be seen in a Scotch mist, and allowing to his gallant fight with D. X—, behind the Palisades, when the loadstone in the handkerchief across which he fought, saved his valuable life.
Is Trueman out of his wits, or is he playing some practical joke upon my good nature; or is it an act of kindness done under the guise he puts over it, to take me out of my den and give me an airing for the benefit of my brain and body? I shrewdly suspect the latter, for I assure the public, on my word of honor, that I believe there is no more truth in the story of his loadstone duel, than there is in the sincerity of the treaty of peace and friendship between long-nosed Louis Napoleon, and chubbyfaced Queen Victoria, to whom long life and fewer babies. This wish in bumpers, all around the taxed limits of the British Isles and dependent provinces, wherever her lion banner floats, or her tax-gatherers pull the wool over her subjects’ eyes and off the backs of her grazing flocks, of no less fleeced mutton. There may be some (doubtless there are many) of the readers of our weekly messenger of faith and fellowship, who have by this time begun to feel kindly towards this strange creature, whom I have linked to my fortunes and made the inmate of my home, and they will, ere long, learn to pardon his eccentricities, and look with friendly and companionly anxiety, for the further revelations of his deeds and thoughts. He has in his peculiar abandon of disposition, given me a carte blanche to make whatever use of him I like, and he is frank enough to admit, when his heart is warm and his great wild face breaks into a smile, that he has now no higher ambition than to become an object of interest to the brother spirits, who are readers of PoRTER’s SPIRIT of THE TIMEs.
When last we embarked on board the steamer “Sylvan Shore,” that plies between the bridge of Harlem and the slip of Peck, we passed in front of our quiet roost that nestled by the shining river, and we waved our handkerchiefs to the old place called home; I to each window and warm chimney-top, he to the rooster, Brigham Young; and then, as one of the good editors of the SPIRIT, he who lives near us, our kind neighbor, owner of the wind-cleaving steeds, approached us to ask why we had our luggage aboard, a sigh almost of sorrow disturbed my breast, for I felt I was undertaking a wonderful adventure for me, but Trueman winked at me and trod upon my toes, and hemmed and coughed, for he, not so intimate with JAMEs B. D , was afraid that I would let out the secret of our travel. So on we went, by rocky headland and smiling villalawn, by curling eddy in the wild Hurl Gate, by melancholy palaces of punished crime, the penal islands of the great garden of error, the Metropolis, where she sends her weeds to blow upon the confined air, harmless in their granite hot-beds, until, amid the confusion of drays and draymen, of police officers and dodgers of police officers, amid the boxes landed on the slip for
duel-detectors. Through by-lanes and blind alleys, led me this man-of-war, striding through the falling snow, and carelessly, with his huge shoulders, putting aside obstructing passengers, but gently getting into gutters when old women and young children came up to him, needing more than he the safer sidewalk. Every now and then he turned his head, and with a smile all over it, would say: “Old STIRRUP, my well-beloved, this will be over soon.” And thus, occasionally, to Bulfinch, who would, with a low instinct, invade the sacred pile of filth devoted to the raggatherer: “Miserable friend! Thy nostril has waited at the area grating for odors from a monarch’s kitchen! Fie! fiel my Bulfinch, thou art subsiding from the historic. Follow me, my Cupidon 1″ The carman, who travelled with our carpet-bags in the middle of the carriage way, looked in wonder at the sight of this man, and wondering who he might be, what he was going to do, where he was going to, what his age was, what his name was, what was the name of his dog, plodded along the bewildering way, and through the perplexing snow, a bewildered and a perplexed bearer of burthens, and hewer of mud. I followed, musing and amused, a simple passenger in the rail car of Trueman’s intention, willing to please him, careless of his pleasing me; and only wishing, in my patient heart, that he would take me anywhere, so it would be out of the dingy, damp, and disconsolate, sin-trodden, poverty-cursed paths of the city. Like two pursued offenders, like two escaped convicts, like two Irishmen fleeing from Botany Bay, like two Cains, against whom all the police clubs of the universe were upraised, we dodged in and out of blind alleys, and around corners, until at last we reached the New York and Albany station at the foot of Chambers street. Arrived there, John Trueman ensconced himself behind a venerable lady, who seemed to be muffled for eternity in furs of all the beasts. of the field, and seal-skin cap of all the seals of the ocean, and plumping his head behind her half-hemisphere of crinoline, whispered and made signs to me to purchase two tickets to Albany. That I did, and dog and all were soon on our way to the city of the Legislature and log-rolling. Pass we with the locomotive swiftly by all the minor towns on the route—by Sing Sing, toward which John Trueman turned a cold shoulder and a face of scorn, to make me think that for his duel he was in danger of becoming one of its ornaments. Within sight are we now of the last wave line of the great flood that, in the early thaw, had overrun the lower parts of Albany and the lowlands down the river. In the second frost the ice masses had been arrested and piled onward and upward, until vast fields were covered with hummocks, like those described by Dr. Kane and other adventurers in the Arctic realms. Remembering that Trueman had been there also, I pointed out the similarity. It was enough; leaning his head upon my shoulder, with a cigar unlit in his mouth, he discoursed to me thus:“You are right, O wonderful STIRRUP! right, ever right. These fields are miniature paintings of the big freezings of the berg land. By Jupiter and Captain Cook, this brings to my recollection old times, and old Tom Thomas, and Captain Sir John Franklin. Twenty thousand pounds from the admiralty for the discovery of the lost Sir John I How Tom Thomas, or Thomas Tom, of the Nantucket brig Nutmeg, smacked his grizzled lips at the idea of pocketing the reward! There wasn’t an elk’s horn that stood above the horizon, but that he took it for the masts of one of the missing vessels. What a fuss he made whenever he saw a pair of them in the distance. He would pipe all hands to quarters, go to work untackling his boats to row up to the ice-field, to see Sir John, and tell him that he was found, and probably ask him to advance a few pounds on the reward to pay expenses. Then I would take the spy-glass and sweep the horizon, and knock the elk’s horns into a cocked hat, and the
whole scheme of discovery into the middle of next week, thus putting the admiralty’s twenty thousand pounds into some other cove’s pocket. “A dim, gray day, the wind north by east, longitude 4° 30′ east, two days sail from Clover Cliff, the north-eastern boundary of Spitzbergen, 11th June, Captain Tom Thomas dozing after dinner; ship lying by tight cables, with the monkey cap on the windlass, the frost-bitten sails furled to the rheumatic spars, the meridian at half past 6 in the evening, the moon gone to rest and the sun in the same place, the stars down south in “Old Virginny, with the darkeys at a fiddle-dance, when I descended from the crow-quill roost on the mainmast, and presenting myself to the gallant snorer, waked him from his dream of Nantucket and his wife Nancy, and nutmegs, and informed him that if it would please him, I would thank him to come on deck instantly. On deck instantly he came. He saw a sight. Along survey of objects on the ice through the spy-glass, and then with a red and black silk handkerchief he blew his nose and his eye, and then exclaimed, as he put the optical instrument into my hands, ‘THAT’s HIM!’ ‘That’s him, Irepeated, and looking again over the ice-field that was distant some half mile to our right. lying fifty degrees within the are of the circle, I saw him shake a little on the surface of the ice, and then walk a little toward the west, as if he was in search of a new path across the hummocks. He did not seem to know that the ship was near him, for he did not turn his face directly toward us, but rather acted in an indifferent manner to our presence. “Captain Tom Thomas and I descended into the cabin, and the Captain turned over some old newspapers, and among them was a copy of the London Illustrated News, and in that he found a portrait of a good-looking sea-captain in the British naval uniform. Underneath was printed, “Photograph of Sir John Franklin.” “‘Very like, exclaimed Captain Tom Thomas, “Very likely,” I observed, looking at the portrait. Captain T. T. replaced the papers, with the exception of the one containing the portrait, in the locker, took a hasty glass of Jamaica rum, which took him some time afterward to get over, for the tumbler was brown from top to bottom when he put it to his lips, but clear when he took it away, “now you see it, now you don’t see it, sort of way of doing things; and then he put on his cow-hide boots and his fur arrangements generally, and then he suggested similar additions to my toilet, and then I whistled to this dog Bulfinch (faithful creature then slumbering at our feet and playing rug in the bottom of the car), and going upon deck we crossed over the gangway, and got into the Captain’s gig, and drove ashore to the ice. The dog stood at the bow with his face turned toward me, and his tail perfectly frozen, stiffened out and forming an admirable substitute for a bowsprit. Thus we went rowing over the water, and at length we touched the barrier of ice, and throwing a grappling iron, we jumped ashore. We jumped ashore to go and speak to Sir John Franklin, for that was him standing off there by the side of a pea-green hummock. As Captain Tom Thomas approached the British commander, he unfolded the Illustrated London News, and showed him his portrait. The Captain made a sort of respectful bow, and then stepped a few feet forward as if to meet us. As if to meet us, but he did not, for the next moment he stepped the same distance backward, as if, like most Englishmen, he could not speak first. ‘Formal to the last degree of zero, said I to the Captain. The Captain waved the photographic likeness in the air, but I thought the British knight had changed a little since the portrait was taken at No. 72 Regents street, London. “Up we marched to him, and away he walked from us. “He won’t be saved l’exclaimed the Captain, like a Puritan preacher, talking to a member of his vestry, who had come into meeting a little sprung in the knees. “So it seems, said I; ‘and I think he has forgotten how to speak English. Try him, Cap., in Esquimaux. The Captain spoke through his nose at the other Captain, as that was the way all the natives had spoken to him. It might be Esquimaux, but it sounded more like Usquebaugh whisky. “Off went Sir John Franklin, as fast as his legs could carry him, skimming along over the ice, and around the hummocks, as if the devil was after him, instead of two Christian people, with a well-bred dog; and after him followed we, until my legs ached me, and poor Bulfinch’s tail snapped off like an icicle, leaving about two inches of dog hair, to rudder him through his future course of life. “Sir Johnstopped and looked at us; and, as a slight breeze turned the corner of the block by which he was standing, he
appeared to dance a Mazourka, or Virginia-breakdown; and
then shook himself all in a lump, and jumped over the block
of ice—a good leap of forty feet. “Try that,’ said I to Captain
Thomas. “Try it yourself, retorted the mariner; and then we
advanced boldly upon Sir John.
“We had thus, my illustrious STIRRUP, advanced into the back
country of the Arctic regions some two miles, when, all at once,
I heard a loud and thunder ringing report, and away went a
great field of ice, on a voyage of discovery, while we, thank
Moses! were safe and sound on the one to which our boat was
anchored. Otherwise, it would have been otherwise. Sir John,
poor fellow, was on the detached ten acres of uncultivatable
property, and was again at his old trick of dancing a German
waltz, or a Virginny “all up till daybreak.’
“You ought to have seen Bulfinch at that particular juncture
of time. His ears stood erect, his hair stood erect, his tail
horizontal, his nose along the line of the horizon also, and his
bark went straight at the British Commander. The British
Commander seemed to notice it, for he put one foot forward,
and, holding up both his arms, while the wind blew his coat-
tails in a straight line, due west, he jumped about four feet in
the air, and then fell flat upon his face. We stood gazing at
his prostrate body. And the dog, with his mathematical atti-
tudes, barked as if he saw the moon, and smelt green cheese and
rats eating it. Slowly, the field of ice on which lay Sir John,
floated away, far away to the west; and, in an hour, I saw the
whole mass rise about five hundred feet in the air, and then
break into a million lumps; with it rose the prostrate Sir John,
waving his arms frantically upward, and then we saw him no
more— no more forever. “Sold again!’ exclaimed Captain
Thomas, looking at the photograph. “And not got the money.’
I added, finishing the classic sentence. ‘Let’s go aboard, boys!”
suggested the gallant, but disappointed man; and we turned
right about, reached the boat, reached the ship, went into the
cabin, took off the cow-hides, took Jamaica warm, and took the
“What did it all mean, TRUEMAN ?” I demanded, when he had
finished his extraordinary narrative.
“Why, this, O magnificent, but inexperienced citizen! Some British sea-captain’s body had been buried in the ice; the body exhaled, compact in form, from its place of entombment, like a mist out of a marsh, preserving the outline and figure of the body beneath. The exhalation froze as soon as it was formed, and it goes all about, bobbing up and down the Arctic regions; and we had fallen in with it. It was not Sir John’s, because I know, to a dead certainty, that he is still alive, and has been elected mayor of the village of Esquimacatautax, where he hopes soon to establish a sufficient police to arrest him and deliver him up to the British government.”
Of course, I was satisfied with the truth of the story, though I doubted that part of it, where Bulfinch had his tail broken off like an icicle.
We are now back of Albany, HIDING from the law.
A Good TRAVELLER.—The Wisconsin, of Milwaukee, tells us of a horse that died recently in Illinois, who could, in the ordinary way of travel, pass over 112 miles in fifteen hours, and whose usual time from Oregon to Rockford-25 miles-was twe hours. It is also claimed by his owner, that during the past six years, he has ridden him upwards of 20,000 miles, and that he has never known him to stumble so as to arrest the attention. He was very savage, having been a wild horse captured from the plains, and would bear nothing but the saddle. We think such a horse as this might have had a name.
wRITTEN FoR “PoETEB’s sprEIT of THE TIMEs.”
THIS STRANGE, MYSTERIOUS WORLD.
– BY FINLEY JOHNSON.
This is a strange, mysterious world-
Say, don’t you think so, Bill-
Where every man his foot does raise
To help you down life’s hill?
I love indeed to see men kind-
But then I’m not so flat
As to desire from their souls
Such striking help as that.
This is a strange, mysterious world-
So all the ladies say;
As with bonnets trimmed with roses fair,
They go to church to pray;
And how provoked the dear souls are,
While sitting in their pew,
To be gazed upon by nice young men,
Who’ve nothing else to do.
This is a strange, mysterious world,
Where many sorrows grieve us;
And e’en the women that we love
Are oft the first to leave us.
And then they say, to calm our grief,
“We love you as a brother,”
And lavish soft, sweet words on us,
But kisses on another.
This is a strange, mysterious world,
In which we live and thrive,
Where half the folks are starved to death
To keep the rest alive;
Some are in want, and all have ills,
Yet seem to mind it not;
But they grow grave when thoughts intrude
About a grave-yard lot.
This is a strange, mysterious world,
This rolling world of ours;
It is—well really now, I say it is-
“By the eternal powers.”
We cannot meet a well-tried friend,
And with him take a drink,
But some stiff temperance man will say,
We’re on destruction’s brink.
[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]
“Go to Bath, and get your head shaved,” is a time-honored
London saying, when a man is skeptical about the truth of any
assertion made by another, or conceives that his opponent is “a
little mad-ish.” Though why this peculiar locality is esteemed so
favorable to the operation of depriving the “caput” of its super-
fluous hair, unless a predisposition to monomania among the
inhabitants renders the barbers more perfect in their practice
here than elsewhere, I am at a loss to understand. Neverthe-
less, my transatlantic friend, I recommend you to “go to Bath,”
whenever you pay a visit to England, leaving the “shaving”
process to your discretion.
I am not quite old enough to rub up personal reminiscences
of Bath, when in its glory; that is to say, I did not go to school
with Beau Brummel, nor was I contemporary with Beau Nash;
but I still remember Bath a very tidy place, when its “York
House” was a first-rate hotel, and the York-House day-coach, a
first-rate turn out—when just eleven hours were occupied in
performing the journey of one hundred and two miles from the
door of the White Horse cellar, Piccadilly, London, to the
portals of the aforesaid York House; and when the night mails
from London and Bath respectively met at the Pelican, at Speen-
hamland (the half-way house), and the passengers united their
forces, and hob-nobbed at a late supper, and when the guards
blew their horns, implying that it was time to be off, it wa”
even betting that every man got into the wrong coach, and
woke after a comfortable nap in the morning, exactly at the
place he started from the previous night.
All these things were delightful in their way, but they are
past, and gone, and, like Shylock, “I have registered a vow” to
write no more pathetic jeremiads on the road’s decay; for how-
ever much I may rail at the present method of conveyance, it
is the way we must all perforce go, even although “the iron
may have entered into our (coach-loving) souls.” To reach
Bath, we must patronize that most magnificent enterprise, “The
Great Western Railroad,” with its wide gage and double track,
all the way through from London to Exeter (157 miles), built
with a solidity and lavish disregard of cost that is unequalled
in the world, with every inch of the way as carefully policed
and fenced off as a private street; the width of gage, solidity of
the line, and care taken to prevent intrusion on it, enabling the
company to achieve a speed unknown on other roads. I once
travelled from London to Bath in an hour and ten minutes, and
the morning lightning express regularly does the distance in an
hour and a half Brunel, the engineer, once accomplished it
within the hour, observing, that he thought that quite fast
enough for any reasonable man to travel; in which opinion 1
heartily coincide with him; and yet, when going at a pace of
seventy miles an hour on this line, you experience less shaking
and jarring, than when running at thirty on some of the other
Bath is a great, populous, and popular city, inhabited by
saffron-colored nabobs, gouty generals, fat widows, antiquated
spinsters, card-playing dowagers, bilious half-pay officers,
younger sons of good families, and dashing Irish fortune-hunt-
Its principal productions are—“Bath Bricks,” cheese,
and though last not least, an unfailing supply of disgustingly
nasty hot water, renowned for its medicinal properties, and
extraordinary effects on those unfortunate individuals who only
retain the vestige of a liver, and whose biliary organs are sadly
disorganized. Some people even consider it a palatable beve-
rage; not that I ever tried the experiment; no—the smell and
appearance was quite enongh for me. I have no objection to
hot water, when properly qualified with glenlivet or otard,
but decidedly decline the favor of rotten eggs and rusty nails,
and to nothing else can I compare the famed “Bath waters.”
Who has not read and seen acted those two magnificent
comedies, “The Rivals” and “The School for Scandal?”
Would you see the great originals of the characters Sheridan
drew with such graphic vigor? Go to Bath. Sir Peters, Sir
Anthonys, and Sir Olivers swarm in every direction. There,
too, you may find an abundance of Mrs. Malaprops, Mrs. Can-
dours, Lydia Languishes, Charles Surfaces, dashing Captains,
and even the prototypes of Sir Lucius, David, and Bob Acres.
I know of no city in the three kingdoms that evinces so great a
distinction, in the manners, customs, and habits of the people,
as Bath. Loiter near the Cathedral, and the faces of the passers-
by are familiar to you, and carry you back to the days of Foote
and Sheridan. Adjourn to the Pump-room (so historically
famous) and mark the ancient individuals you see-testy old
nabobs, with gold-headed canes and pig-tails; fiery-faced gen-
erals, drawn in on Bath chairs by sleek flunkeys, with gouty,
flannel-enveloped feet, who salute each other with all the exacting
politesse of the ancient régime, whilst waiting their turns for
the morning draught of nauseating hot stuff, that it’s a libel
to call water; and you rub your eyes, and wonder if you are
awake or dreaming of the past. Wander through the streets of
the old town, and watch the antiquated family coaches, drawn
by fat and lazy horses, driven by veritable “Davids” in livery,
and tenanted by wizened old maids and dyspeptic poodles, which
go rumbling about the ancient squares; and, in spite of yourself,
you are carried back at least a century. The old town slumbers
quietly in the sunshine, like a jaundiced invalid, dreaming of
the days of Nash and Brummel, and the thousands of intrigues
and faux pas, which have made it an everlasting theme for the
playwright of both the past and present age. On the other
hand, turn towards the new, or upper city, which, rising in
terrace above terrace, each excelling the other in splendor,
appears to rear its head to heaven, and, like a purse-proud,
gaudy parvenu, challenges attention and admiration, and how
differentisthe prospect! Here everything is modern-crescents,
streets, and terraces of palaces dazzle you with their magnifi-
cence. You are among a different race of people-the very
atmosphere teems with youth, gaiety, and fashion. Here you
will find “Charles Surface,” “Lydia Languish,” “Captain Abso-
lute,” and “Lady Teazle” at home, having deserted the old
fogies down below. Dashing, town built chariots, landaus,
britskas, and phaetons, drawn by high-bred cattle, cross your
path, and remind you of the purlieus of St. James’ Palace, Lon-
don, when Queen Vic. holds a drawing-room. You wonder, and
well you may, that the past and present centuries—their man-
ners and customs—can be exemplified within such brief limits,
and that two such different states of society can exist at the
same time, within earshot of each other, and harmoniously, too.
But so it is; the eighteenth epoch still holds its ground tena-
ciously, though surrounded by the vigorous troops of the nine-
teenth; and long may it continue to do so, for it is one link of
the few that remain in the chain that unites the present with the
I cannot better describe the location of Bath, than saying
that the old town is built in a basin of hot water, and that the
new one is constructed on the ridge far above. The former is so
ancient, that its locality dates back to one King Bladud, who is
supposed to have discovered the virtues of the aforesaid boiling
hot fluid. The placid River Avon runs through the town, and
almost bathes the crumbling buttresses of the fine old cathedral.
The city is almost entirely built of fine white freestone, and all the
edifices, whether public or private, are constructed on a noble
scale. It is, in fact, a city of palaces. Among the most prominent
portions of the town renowned for architectural beauty, are the
Circus, in which the Corinthian, Doric, and Ionic orders are
combined, and from which three broad and spacious streets, of
similar architectural character, diverge. The north and south
parades (noble terraces built on arches, and commanding mag-
nificent views), Kingston and Queen Squares, the Royal, Lans-
down, and Cavendish crescents, Bellevue and Portland Places,
Paragon, Marlborough, and Belvidere buildings, Kensingten,
Grosvernor, and Walcot Terraces, with many more whose names
I have forgotten, contribute to render Bath matchless in civic
The famous hot springs, which have made the city what it is,
are three in number, and have their rise in comparatively close
contiguity. The waters of each are received into four reser-
voirs, the first taking them at a temperature of about 117°
Fahrenheit, whence they flow into the others seriatim, the last
being merely tepid. Each reservoir is a spacious bath furnished
with stone benches, to many of which are attached huge
engraved rings of silver or brass, donated by convalescents, and
recording the miraculous cures effected by the use of the waters.
Here, up to their necks in hot water, people sit, or promenade,
and gossip the hours away, taking a dose of physic and politics
at the same time. The names of the three springs are the Kings,
the Queens, and the Cross; connected with the former is the
celebrated “pump room,” a splendid assembly room built in
1797, with a spacious orchestra and a statue of the renowned
Beau Nash. Besides the public baths, there are several
private ones, with hospitals and sanatoriums, such as the
Bath hospital, built in 1742; Bellot’s, endowed in the reign
of James the Second; Black Alms, dating back to Edward
VI.; St. John’s, to Henry II.; and other antiquated charities.
The assembly rooms are a superb suite of apartments, and
here are held those exclusive re-unions termed the Bath
assemblies, to which none having the taint of “vulgar,”
or tradesman’s blood in their veins, can possibly obtain the
entrée. Talk of the exclusiveness of New York upper-tendom.
Pooh 1 it’s nothing to that of the Bath dowagers and old maids.
The grand master of the ceremonies is more autocratic than the
Czar of all the Russias, and his veto on the claims of many a
blooming belle has driven them to the verge of distraction; for
exclusion is tantamount to ruin in fashionable eyes. All this is
very “snobbish,” and exactly like the restrictions of the high
noblesse of the Faubourg St. Germain, in Paris. “Bean Nash,”
who, however empty-headed in other matters, possessed refined
architectural taste, was elected master of the ceremonies in 1710,
and for fifty years subsequently ruled Bath with despotic sway
as arbiter elegantiarum. In this city, too, many of the bright
particular stars of the theatrical hemisphere first commenced
their professional careers; here the Loders achieved musical
fame, and here Cooper, Macready, and numbers more, first
achieved popularity. The theatre was renowned for possessing
the finest dramatic library, and the most extensive and perfect
wardrobe, in the kingdom. Bath was founded by those inde-
fatigable builders, the Romans, in the reign of Claudius, and
walled in by the Saxons at a later period; the latter using as
materials the ruins of the temples and triumphal arches left by
the former; the foundations and workmanship being good enough
to leave these same walls standing until the eighteenth century,
when the march of modern civilization tumbled them down.
“But how about the races?” say you; “that’s what we want
to come at.” All in good time, my friend; don’t be in a hurry,
nor ungrateful. Do you not see my aim has been to take you to
sporting localities famous for their historical associations, and
without your connivance to pen a superficial “sporting history
of England,” so that if ever you should visit any of the spots I
have scribbled about, you will, with “The SPIRIT Guide” in your
memory, feel at home, and thoroughly “ posted up,” as you delight to express it, concerning their antecedents. Horses and heroes, races and ruins, stakes and strategies, may form an odd sort of olla but then you know that dish entirely depends on the dressing, and if I can only dress mine to your palate, I am content. I
Bath, as a racing meeting, was distinguished for many years for certain come-and-go peculiarities; it was not always a steady votary of the turf, but was seized with tremendous racing fits from time to time, as horses take the “staggers,” or Dorking fowls the “ pip.” That was in the times before the rail, when it was no joke to send horses an hundred miles to run for a stake. Now it is nothing, for I have known animals vanned down from London in the morning, run for a race, and be returned, per express train, same night. The locality of the Bath racecourse is called Lansdown, and lies on the “ downs,” right above the new city. You want to walk; so do not I, for I am not fond of pedestrian exercise under the broiling heat of aBat’-J May morning, when the walk implies a dead “ pull against the collar” of three or four miles, up hill every foot of the way. I once tried it, but am not to be had at that game any more, if I know it. I’ll walk down with you. with pleasure; but age and obesity preclude the idea of the promenade up. So, with your good leave, we will charter that “ fly” with the pair of old 81′ ‘W 5
Well, here we are on Lansdown. Now, look about you. There’s the grand sts.nd—rather a shy affair after Epsom, Ascot, Goodwood, and Doncaster. But mark the splendor of the view which it afiords. Where can you find amore picturesque spotl How gorgeously beautiful is the panorama which on every side is bounded only by thehorizon. Who can look on “ Beckford’s Tower” —there, close by you—built by the princely commoner and author of “ Vathek,” without thinking of Byron and Fonthill, and the right royal hospitality of the builder, who is now numbered with the dead, but whose life was a pattern to his fellow men,
‘or recalling the days when George the Third was King, and
when Fox, Pitt, Sheridan, and a host of the illustrious dead, were wont to while away their leisure hours in this immediate vicinity? (‘ast your eyes down there, over the bird’s-eye view of the old and new city, lying, as I told you, in ahuge basin at your feet. Follow the windings of the gentle Avon, until they seem to terminate in a forest of niasts. That’s Bristol, eight or ten miles distant, where art has contrived to improve nature, and convert the old river, which was dry at low tide, into amagnificent floating dock, with a quay frontage of a couple of miles, from which dock, by the way, I saw the Great Western steamship start on her first trip to your shores (or rather from King Road, appertaining to it, a little lower down the river). There, too, is that loveliest of lovely suburbs, Clifton, where the rocks seem rent asunder for the passage of the river; where the luxuriant foliage springs from the water’s edge to the summit of the heights; and the lark, the nightingale, and the cuckoo, make the air melodious as they answer each other from the cliffs of Leigh and Clifton. Do you see you suspension bridge,’which spans the flood at a similar perilous height with that of Niagara! I remember when a single bar of iron formed the connecting link from shore to shore, as the first strand of the iron ropes now stretched, and when, in a huge basket suspended therefrom, I was foolhardy enough to be dragged across, stuck in the middle, and swinging about, like Mohammed’s cofin, high in air, was pretty nearly frightened out of the few wits I ever’p0seessed. Imagine anything more poetically beautiful than this place at high water, if you can; but at low tide, oh I ‘mud and murder.
But we’ll have a talk about Bristol, its antiquities, its churches, its bridges, and its beautiful women, some other time; so withdraw your eyes from that direction, and let them fall on the mossy greensward of Lansdown once again. The race-course forms an oval of a mile and a half, with a straight run in (or nearly so) of half a mile. It is, throughout, excellent running gronnd—like that of Brighton, Goodwood, &c.. the elevation and substrata precluding its becoming deep or sticky. The principal stakes are as follows : The Biennial Stakes, a sweepstakes of 60 dollars each, with 250 added, colts carrying 122 pounds, fillies and geldings 119 pounds, untried horse or mares allowed 3 pounds (but only one allowance).
The competitors are entered when yearlings, run first as two year olds, and again as three year olds, and the stake has generally an average of forty subscribers. The distance is about three quarters of a mile, and a single dash.
The Scmersetshire Stakes is the great handicap of the meeting This is a sweepstakes of 125 dollars each, 7 5 forfeit, with 1500. added from the fund; the terms, method of weighing, accepting, or declaring, &c., being the same as those I have previously described in connection with the Chester Cup, Goodwood Stakes, and other famous English handicaps; the winner of any one of certain specified races previously, is penalized to the extent of seven pounds, and of any two, fourteen. The length of this course is two miles and a distance. This stake always has a large entry, brings a strong field of horses to the post, and is a heavy betting race.
The Dyrham Park Stakes, a three year old sweepstakes of seventy-five dollars each; colts carrying 122 pounds, fillies and geldings 117 pounds; distance a mile and a half.
The Weston Stakes, for two year olds; colts 121 pounds, fillies and geldings 116 pounds, the produce of untried horses or mares allowed 8 pounds, if both, 6 pounds; the distance being the last straight half mile.
The Lansdown Trial Stakes are all aged sweepstakes, with a single dash of one mile.
The City Cup, value 500 dollars, added to a sweepstakes of 100 each; 8 year olds carrying 98 pounds, fours 131, fives 139, six and aged 144; distance two miles and a half.
The foregoing are the staple attractions of the Bath Meeting, as standingsporting dishes, but to them must be added a string of minor plates, handicaps, sweepstakes, selling stakes, die. The latter, I think, more especially, answer an excellent purpose, as they afford opportunities of winning to moderate horses, and preclude the, possibility of a first-rate animal being sent to sweep the country, as the best animal of his weight and year. The process is very simple: a stake is made of a certain amount by subscription sweepstakes; the race is weight for age, weights and distance duly prescribed; to this is added the condition that the winner is to be sold for a specified sum —say two thousand dollars—a reduction of price insuring a corresponding reduction of weight. The race over, the owner of the second horse can take the winner at the price sfiixed tohim; if he declines, then the third has the same opportunity, and so on with every horse placed by the judge; should they all decline, then the animal is put up to auction, any advance on the sale price going to the race fund. Thus a man has a good opportunity of disposing of a horse he does not care about keeping, besides winning a stake ; but if he has entered one of really more intrinsic value than that which he has afiixed to him, the chances are that he will have to “bid up,” or lose his horse. I have known instances where a man has doubled the sale price of his horse rather than part with him, and others where first-rate animals have been bought dirt cheap, their owners being desirous of selling out their stock. In either case the object is gained, viz, that of preventing a renowned turf champion carrying off the prize, and depriving animals of less pretensions from earning their keep and training expenses.
I have seen many a fine race for the Somersetshirc stakes. The best, perhaps, I can remember, was in 1846. There were only ten starters for the handicap; among them, a remarkably smart and pretty aged mare, named Queen of the Tyne; a well bred five year old horse, called Lord Saltoun; and eight others, known to fame. The latter were cleaned out by his lordship, at the distance. Here, the dashing little Queen, running game as a pebble, came with a rush; got to Lord Saltoun‘s head; and, after as brilliant a struggle as was ever seen, made a dead heat with him. In the deciding heat, the twain alternately led for the first two miles. Here, the struggle became earnest, and the race fast and furious. Stride for stride they came past the judge’s chair. The last one of all, thanks to the splendid riding of Nat Flatman, deciding the race in favor of the Queen by a short neck. The time was: 4 minutes 19 seconds. Now, that’s the kind of thing I call a race. A victory of half a dozen lengths, I would not give a snap of the fingers for. The Queen of the Tyne carried 107 pounds, and Lord Saltonn 99 poundsI do not wish to imply that the time was particularly good; but the race was. The former has been beaten (for the same stake) by from twenty to forty seconds; but the latter never has, on the same track, to my knowledge, although there was a dead heat two years previously, between Red Deer and N ewcourt; the former a three year old turned loose, with 67 pounds on his back; and the latter a four year old, carrying 112 pounds. But as akeenly contested race, and nearly double dead heat, the Queen of the Tyne and Lord Saltoun affair stands pre-eminent in the annals of the Somersetshire.
And now, my friend, if you want to carry away with you a lasting reminiscence of Bath, just swallow a pint of that abominable hot water, before you start on the return to London ; and if ybu ever forget the realms of King Bladud and Beau Nash, I’ll forgive you.
PELHAI (N. Y.,) lfarch 25th. En. Poa’rsa’s|’Sriurr or run Tnszs.-—Dear Sa’r:—I sn w, on looking over your paper of last week, an account of a large egg. In my rounds of to-day,I came across an egg from a game hen, which, on that account, I thought worthy of notice. The egg measured in its longitudinal circumference 8} inches, and in its transverse circumference 6 inches. I intend to set it, and if it produces a cock-chicken, I mean to present him to you for a SHAKE-BAG, as I hear you occasionally indulge in that
sport. Yours, &c., &c., S. F. Monais.
BRIEDING F1su.—The Hartford Times gives us an account of the successful artificial breeding of trout, by Mr. E. G. KELLOGG, of that city, during the past winter. It appears that Mr. K. conducted his experiment in his cellar. He procured a box with partitions, and put some sand, gravel, and stones in the bottom. He then procured two trout, a male and female, and went through the process which has proved so successful in France, of pressing the spawn from the female, and placing it in his box. He then filled the box with Connecticut River water, and kept a small stream constantly running through it. This was about seven weeks ago. He has now seventeen fine, lively young trout, from half an inch to an inch in length, and more in the process of hatching. By_ holding the eggs to the light, little fish can be seen in them distinctly. The old ones are kept in a tub, and are not allowed to range among the small fry. The little ones of a week old have all the characteristics of the old fish, and they will dart under a stone with great rapidity when the water is stirred up a little.
The Yimes, in closing this account, adds, that ” the water works of our large cities are constantly developing new sources of comfort, not the least of which is, that which furnishes In good supply of trout. fresh for the table, in the cellars of our citizens at all seasons of the year.”
[graphic][ocr errors][merged small]
Turns has been much written by speculators and tourists to draw attention to this rocky back-bone of our State, and induce settlements there, but it is still a trackless wild, and as such, among the natural curiosities of our State. The simple fact of such a wilderness lying unbroken within the very sound of the busy hum of cities, shows it is not a valuable country either for its lumber or for agricultural purposes. It is made up mostly of mountains, and the general elevation is such, together with the thinness of the soil, that the forest trees are of small and stunted growth, and therefore of inferior quality, and the land generally, is of still less value than the timber upon it. The soil is mostly a vegetable mould, that covers the rock but afew inches in depth, and frequently burns up with the brush in clearing the land. Many of its valleys are fertile and valuable, but the land generally is unfit for agricultural purposes except grazing, and until the rich prairies of the West are occupied, we fear that Northern New York will remain for years the wilderness it now is. It is glorious for fishing, and most beautiful
to look upon, but it will remain long to fishermen and hunters, and so may it be.
The scenery in this country of lakes and mountains cannot be surpassed for its wild beauty, and exquisite finish of coloring. The cool and humid atmosphere, common in such elevations, and the misty clouds that brush over the mountains with their moist wings, give the foliage a richness such as we have seen nowhere else. The hue of lowland foliage, viewed at a little distance, is pale and undefined, while here distance only softens its magic richness and adds additional beauty.
When on a visit to this region in June, it rained all day, and we paid little attention to the scenery and lakes in passing. Having stopped over night at “ Beaches Lake,” we went down to its shore the next morning, and as the mists rolled slowly up the sides of the mountains from the lake, and floated gracefully away, revealing the luxuriant coloring of the forests, lit up with the smiles of a morning sun, we thought this the most beautiful lake with its rich surroundings we ever beheld. It lay there in its mountain home calm and beautiful as a dream in the wilderness, and “its light waves went dancing on the sandy beach as merrily in the solitude, as if a thousand were there to witness their grace.”
The Raquette Lake, one of the largest in this region, is made up of innumerable small lakes, which seem to have been once separated by narrow slips of land, but with a female love of gossip got together occasionally in freshets, and liking each other’s society finally became inseparable. We would state, however, with all due deference, ‘as a matter of history, that they sometimes get stormy and throw water in each other’s faces in a polite way, but they easily calm down and mingle their smiles together again. This lake is much celebrated for its fine scenery and excellent fishing, and is more frequented than any other.
Deer being very plenty here, they are often seen feeding on V
the shores of the lake, or swimming across. We were startled one morning at our shanty, with the cry of “A deer on the lake,” seen by one of our party. Every gun was immediately seized, and every boat that could float a man was started in pursuit. The deer being some way out, there was a great strife as to who would get the first shot. Every muscle was strained to its utmost; the spray danced lightly before the boats, and seemed to participate in the sport. As the game was approached, we saw it was not a deer, but a panther, or some animal with a long tail we could see trailing behind. This made us think of adding a ball to our buck-shot; but no time for that, so on we sped, the animal having now almost reached the shore. The foremost boat getting in gunshot, the excited crew shouted, “ Come on, my hearties, we have it; an old duck followed by an interesting family of twelve small dear; I” “ Sold, by thunder i” cried one, and echo answered, sold]
This would never do for hunters to bring a gun two hundred miles to chase young ducks, so the next morning, “ Wood,” a native here, was to be on hand with his dogs and run a deer into the lake for us. All hands were therefore up bright and early, and with great care we were placed a mile apart, around the eternal crookedness of the Raquette’s shores, The dogs were then put—not the lake, where they should have been-—but the woods. ‘We, individually, were seated on the left side of a rock, and sat very quiet for an hour. But the second hour made sitting uncomfortable; notwithstanding we played all the variations of posture possible, the rock continued hard. We then tied a handkerchief over our face to keep off the fiies, lay down and went to sleep, as any sensible man would have done. But we were soon roused by a splashing in the water near by, and springing up, would have shot that laughing boat crew had they not mended their manners directly. No deer had been started, and we left for home. On our way we stopped at our host’s, and soon noticed that his two Amazonian daughters eyed us with a mischievous look. They inquired “ where was our game?” but as none of us knew, we could not inform them. They then opened a back door and showed us their game, a fine deer just killed, and hanging on s sapling. Wood knew pretty well where the deer would come in, and was very careful to place us -—not there. His daughters, in the mean time, kepta good lookout on the lake with a glass, and discovered the deer swimming across They immediately pushed ofi’ in a boat, armed with nothing but clubs. They soon headed the panting animal ; one paddled up beside him, while the other knocked him on the head and cut his throat. It makes me shudder even now, and feel thankful that I was not taken for a dear in my wanderings
up there among those strong-minded woodlings. Km;
[ocr errors][merged small]
FUR, FIN, AND FEATHER. A CHAPTER ON QUAIL.
A LETTER published in your number of the 28th ult, gives an account of a species of partridge found in the country bordering upon the Rio Colorado, in Texas, which is supposed to be undescribed. In the description which accompanies the communisation, it is so well characterized, that there is no mistaking the species; it is well known to naturalists, and is the Massena ..’artridge (Cyrtonix Massena, Lesson). It was first described ‘y Lesson at Paris, in 1830, from specimens obtained from £exico; Vigors described it about the same time at London, inder the specific name of “Montezuma.” It has also other ynonyms. It is only within the last few years, that this and many other pecies of birds, of equal interest, have been ascertained to be habitants of our territory. For this knowledge we are mostly hdebted to the officers of our army, connected with the boundry and other surveys, made on our southwestern frontier. As it may interest some of your readers, I will give a short ecount of some of the species of partridges frequenting the erritory adjacent to the Rio Grande and its tributaries.
1. Cyrtonix Massena. In the proceedings of the Philadelphia \cad. of Sci., vol. v., p. 221 (1851), Col. Geo. A. McCall gives he following account of this partridge: “This species was not met with before crossing the San .’edro; but it was not long until it made its appearance in the waste and rocky region into which we then entered. And from hat time until we reached the Rio Pecos, a distance of 140 miles (westwardly by the route travelled), it was frequently een, though I should not say it was very common. This region is a desert of great length from north to south, our trail crossing it nearly at right angles. The general face of the country is evel, and consists of either a crumbling argillaceous limestone, r a coarse gray sand, producing nothing but a sparse growth of and plants. Water is found only at long intervals; and except At these points, there is but little cover for game, and appaently less food,—the principal growth being cacti—of which he most common is C. arborescens; yet here, amongst proecting rocks, or on the borders of dry gullies, or in loose scrub, found C. Massena in all the beauty of his rich and varied plumage. “The habits of this species are different from those of any other species of partridge that I have met with. They were in oveys of from 8 to 12, and appeared to be extremely simple and affectionate in disposition. In feeding, they separated but little, keeping up a social cluck all the time. They were so gentle as to evince little or no alarm on the approach of man; scarcely moving out of his way as he passed; and only running off or flying a few yards, when perhaps half their numbers were laid low by a shot. This inclined me to think they might, with little difficulty, be domesticated, although I found them, here, in a boundless barren waste, and nowhere near the habitation of man. This trait of gentleness is the very opposite of those strikingly manifested by the scaly partridge, which I always observed to be, though found perchance in grounds as little frequented as these, remarkably vigilant, shy, and difficult to approach. The call or signal note of this species is peculiar. I never saw them after crossing the Pecos river.” T. Charlton Henry, M.D., U.S. Army, who has also published, in the Proc. of the Phil. Acad. of Sci., interesting “Notes on the Birds of New Mexico,” says of this species: “Not rare in the mountains; occasionally seen along the Rio Grande. Lie well to the dog, and afford much sport in shooting them. Their favorite resorts are along mountain sides, where they procure various kinds of insects, by grubbing them out with their bills, at the roots of the grass. Never detected a vegetable matter in the stomachs of any. This species often hides behind stones and in hollows after being flushed.”
2. Callipepla Gambellii, (Nutall). Gambel’s Partridge.
Col. McCall writes: “After losing sight of the last species, I did not fall in with this until we reached the Limpia River, about one hundred miles west of the Pecos. This beautiful bird, whose habits, in some respects, bear more resemblance to the common partridge, like that seems to prefer a more genial and hospitable region. In this part of the country the Mesquite tree (A. glandulosa) is more or less common; and the Mesquite grass, and other plants bearing nutritious seeds, are abundant. Here this partridge increases rapidly in numbers, and becomes very fat; and, as I afterwards ascertained, is much disposed to seek the farms, if any be within reach, and to cultivate the acquaintance of man. About the rancho of Mr. White, near El Paso, I found them very numerous; and here, in gangs of fifty or a hundred, they resort, morning and evening, to the barnyard, and feed around the grain stacks, in company with the poultry, where they receive their portion as it is scattered among them by the hand of the owner.
“I found them distributed through the country from the Limpia to the Rio Grande—a range from east to west exceeding one hundred miles—and along the Rio Grande from Eagle Spring Pass to Don Ana, a distance of one hundred and twenty miles. North of this I did not see them. I was not among them during the season of incubation.”
Dr. Henry remarks: “The common quail of this country; found both in high and low land. They are said not to lie well to a dog, but I have proved that this is the case only in light weather; for often, in cloudy days, I have seen them lie well to a well-broken pointer. Their food, unlike the Massena partridge, is exclusively, almost, vegetable. The berries of the mistletoe, in winter, seem to furnish their principal food.
This species is closely allied to the California partridge (C. Californica), which it resembles; but the prevailing colors are of lighter shades,
3. Callipepla Squamata (Vigors). The Scaly Partridge. Col. McCall’s note is as follows: “This species I have met with, at different times, throughout a more extended region than either of the last two, viz.: from Camargo, on the lower Rio Grande, to Santa Fe. On the present occasion, they were more numerous between the latter point and Don Ana than elsewhere. They seem to prefer the vicinity of the greater water-courses to the interior tracts. They are much more wild than either of the preceding, and being extremely watchful and swift of foot, they elude pursuit with surprising skill, scarcely resorting to flight even in open, sandy ground. They do not approach the settlements as much as the last. For the table, all these species, however, possess in a high degree the requisites of plump muscle and delicate flavor. Massena is, perhaps, the best.” Dr. Henry says in his note: “Found only in high ground, elevated plains, or mountain sides. They appear to be by far the shyest of their species. Their flesh I prefer to that of either of the others.” These beautiful birds are accurately figured in “Gould’s Monograph of the Odontophorinae” (American partridges), also in Mr. J. Cassin’s “Illustrations of the Birds of California, Texas, &c.,” published at Philadelphia; where a more extended history of them may also be found. 4. Ortyx Teranus (Lawrence). The Texas partridge. The discovery of this species is quite recent, the first description having been published in 1853. Captain J. P. McCown, who obtained the original specimen in Texas, sent the following note: “I observed one day a covey of partridges enter a chaperal from a small prairie (above Ringgold Barracks). They seemed so lame that I mistook them for the Massena. I found it difficult to flush them; but finally shot one of them upon the ground, and, as I did not recognize it, preserved the skin. I was under the impression that I saw similar birds further up the Rio Grande, when on my last trip through that country, but was unable to attend to them until it was too late.” See “Annals of the Lyceum of Nat. Hist. N. Y.” In general appearance it is much like our common species (O. Virginianus), and by a casual observer would readily be mistaken for it; but it is smaller, without the dark, chestnut markings on the back; the dark transverse bars on the breast are much broader, and more distinct. 5. Ortalida Poliocephala (Wagler). The Texas Guan; also called the Mexican pheasant. This is known on the Rio Grande by the name of chiac-chia-lacca; it belongs to the family of gallinaceous birds. It is figured in “Cassin’s Illustrations,” where a full and very interesting history of its habits is given, from notes furnished by Colonel McCall, from which the following extracts are made: “This very gallant-looking and spirited bird, I saw for the first time within our territory, in the extensive forest of Chaparral, which envelopes the Resaca de la Palma, a stream rendered famous in the history of our country, by the victory achieved by the American forces under General Taylor. Here, and for miles along the Rio Grande, the poliocephala was abundant, and throughout this region the remarkable and sonorous cry of the male bird could not fail to attract and fix the attention of the most obtuse and listless wanderer who might chance to approach its abode. “By the Mexicans it is called chiac-chia-lacca, an Indian name, and, doubtlessly, derived from the peculiar cry of the bird, which strikingly resembles a repetition of those syllables. And when I inform you that its voice in compass is equal to that of the Guinea-fowl, and in harshness but little inferior, you may form some idea of the chorus with which the forest is made to ring at the hour of sunrise. At that hour, in the month of April, I have observed a proud and stately fellow descend from the tree on which he had roosted, and, mounting upon an old log or stump, commence his clear, shrill cry. This was soon responded to, in a lower tone, by the female, the latter always taking up the strain as soon as the importunate call of her mate had ceased,” &c, &c. Capt. McCown says of this species: “In the Rio Grande region, this bird is abundant. I saw them as far in the interior of Mexico as the battle-field of Cerro-Gordo, but never higher up the river than the vicinity of Ringgold Barracks. They are exceedingly noisy, both in the morning and evening. I always found them upon trees when uttering their shrill cry, though I have often seen them on the ground. They build upon bushes, near the ground (seldom over six feet), selecting places that require little skill to effect their purpose. They are easily domesticated; and run at large with the domestic fowls, crossing with them. The cross is believed, by the Mexicans, to be the best for game chickens.” G.
FIGHT BETwKEN AN EAGLE AND A LADY.—On Sunday, the 8th March, while Mrs. MARY TAYLoR, of Hampshire, Va., was looking with complacent admiration on her fine flock of geese, an eagle suddenly swooped down into the yard, and made an effort to seize the gander, as he was proudly marshalling his flock. The gander made what fight he could, but he was on the point of being vanquished, when the anxious lady seized a heavy stick or club, and came forward to the rescue. Seeing her approach, the eagle turned for battle, but her first blow disabled him so that he fell to the ground, and a few more strokes dispatched him. He measured more than six feet from wing to wing.
CLEAR THE TRACK.—A steam wagon has been constructed in Cincinnati, which runs successfully on common roads. A stock company has been formed to put it in operation, and we may soon hear of some of its exploits upon the plains. It strikes us that
it might be made to act as pioneer to the railway to the Pacific.
[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]
LET me tell you about my Cousin Bob, (said a friend of mine, a few days since.) Let me tell you what a trick was played off upon him. It was a serious affair, and came very near making an old bachelor of him for life. It did not, however, for he has since gotten over it, and is now married, and doing well. To come to what I propose telling, I must say that Bob took a great notion to Martha Potfield, who lived with her dad and mam just over the swamp. In fact, as some people say, he was head-over-heels in love with her; and, as is the case with all lovers, was in a peck of trouble lest some other feller should slip in and “cut him out.” To prevent this he thought he’d better be stirring his stumps, so he resolved to go over on the very next Saturday evening, and to not come away until he had popped the question and asked the old folks. Saturday evening came, and my Cousin Bob went. On his way he had to pass through the little village of Bellesville; so thinks he to himself, “This poppin’ the question and axin the old folks ain’t the thing it’s cracked up to be; so, likely, I’d better buy somethin good to take to ’em, to put ’em all in a fine humor.” He thought of everything he had ever heard of, but could settle upon nothing. Gingerbread for the whole company would be too expensive, candy ditto. At last a happy thought, like an electric spark, popped into his cranium. Cloves; that was the very things! Five cents would get more than Martha could eat; yes, more than all the family could eat put together, in case she saw fit to pass them around. Cloves were the very thing, and cloves he resolved to get. Just as he was about entering the store to make his purchase, another trouble rose up—he had forgotten the name by which this desirable article was known. However, he was not a man to be turned aside by trifles, so he resolved to get them, or at least make a trial for it, any way. With the air of a man of business, he enters the little store, and calls out: “Mr. Storekeeper, I want five cents’ worth of these little things they eat—nice, to make a feller’s breath smell good-nice, to give the gals—oh, confound it, I can’t think of the name! They’re little, long things—got heads on ’em like saddler’s tacks.” “Cloves, perhaps,” suggested the merchant. “That’s it, ole hoss!” said Bob. “Cloves—that’s the thing. Give me five cents’ worth of cloves.” “Which way are you steering to-night, Bob,” asked the merchant, as he went fumbling about for the article demanded. “Down acrost the swamp,” replied my cousin; “and when you see me again you may say, there goes Bob; somethin’s been a happenin’ to him, shore and certain.” The merchant laughed, for he knew how Bob was “taken” with Miss Martha. When the cloves had been tied up, Bob fobbed them, and, with a light heart, soon made his way across the swamp. He found Martha and her dad and mam “just about as usual.” They all talked of the weather, the wind, the crops, &c., until the subject was exhausted of its interest, and then they sat in silence for some time, looking into the fire. “Now,” thought Bob, “is the best time to pitch in my cloves,” so he hitched up to Martha and said: “I’ve got somethin in my coat pocket.” “Ah!” said she, “what is it?” “Somethin good to eat—somethin’ for you, Martha !” “Have you, indeed? well, let’s have it, then.” “Oh, no, you take it out yourself. If it ain’t worth comin’ after, it ain’t worth havin’, as daddy says.” Martha was not a bashful girl, so she ran her hand into his pocket, and brought out the little parcel. “Now open it for me, Bob,” said she, handing it to him. With much assurance he took it, and after telling her to fix her mouth, and passing several eulogies on the goodness of its contents, he tore off the end of the paper and poured into her lap, not cloves, but a large handful of great, ugly, real genuine saddler’s tacks. Martha screamed and flopped them all over the floor; the old man and old woman gave vent to their feelings in an awful fit of laughter; and poor Bob, with face as red as a piece of flannel, dashed out at the door, and went “stumping it” up the lane, cursing the storekeeper at every breath. How he and the merchant settled matters at their next meeting, I may tell at another time.
A BIG TROUT, SURE ENOUGH.
New York, April 7, 1857. DEAR SPIRIT:—I saw an account in your paper, some six or seven weeks ago, of a large trout. Now I will tell you of one that I saw caught. Last October, a party of five of us went on an excursion up the Androscoggin. One of the party caught a trout that measured (we had no means of weighing him, but I think he must have weighed over seven pounds) 25% inches in length, and 15 inches in girth. He was caught under a dam, near the outlet of “Lake Molechunkemunk,” in Maine, with a small fly rod. He had every mark of a real brook trout, and was the finest fish that I ever saw. We had very good luck, and a great many fine, large trout. ONE of THE CoNFoRMERs.’ What will our friends at Olean say to this?
A DEER SLAYER.—The Sacramento Age says, that S. W. Mott, of the Nomee Lackee Reservation, in the northern part of Cali. fornia, killed 50 deer during the month of January last.
« PreviousContinue »