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conduct of the army; it will not be thrown away, it is a genteel way of praising yourself. String all this (with a report of afterdinner speeches, corrected by yourself) upon the thread of conceit and self-commendation, and be sure you display a laudable disregard of orthography and grammar; this may, perhaps, recommend you at head-quarters, and prove that, in your case at least, the schoolmaster has been always abroad.
We dare say that our readers imagine it impossible that a man can so completely mistake his own powers as to venture totally unqualified before the public: yet so it is. We have seldom met with a more unhappy attempt at authorship than the present, or such a farrago of trash and nonsense, with scarcely one redeeming feature. What could possibly have induced the author not only to commit his soporific lucubrations to paper (he has the assurance to call them light reading)—but to print them, let him answer for himself.
He does not seem to have been a great favourite with his fellowpassengers, who appear to have taken a delight in quizzing him, and he therefore thought of a literary undertaking 'Surely it was better than to be looking ever and anon in the face of those enemies to my peace, who, from words I occasionally overheard, I knew were speaking of me.' “ I know they are talking of nie, for they laughed consumedly," says the man in the play, and our Sub. evidently knew that they could be saying no good of him. • I hoped, too, that notwithstanding my many failures, some pursuit would be discovered that might make the sight of my brother passengers and myself a greater treat and novelty to each other.' The greater the novelty the greater the treat; and how do our readers imagine that his presence was rendered a greater novelty ? By boring them with the contents of his log-book. did not prevent my reading on, as long as they would listen! until I found some of my stories seemed to interest, and my anecdotes make them smile, not at, but with me,' which means, of course, that they all laughed at them together.
Our Subaltern, according to his version, was indebted for his commission to the kindness of the late Duke of York, and that prince is consequently so unfortunate as to become the object of his eulogy. Gratitude is a very fine thing; but the person obliged should contrive in expressing it not to make the obliger appear ridiculous. The following is his report of an interview with the Duke previous to his going to India.
• In my lodgings I had that morning found the Madras Courier newspaper, with an epitome of his Royal Highness's biography; it was written in accordance with truth, and with my most warm feelings of admiration of him. It would have been impossible for me to give utterance to the gratitude I owed him on my own account, as well as on that of my mily; or of the very exalted opinion we all entertained of him, independently of our personal obligations; which opinion, now that he is no
• Their irony
more, appears to be a national feeling. I said, “ May it please your Royal Highness, I have taken the liberty of presenting to you, for your perusal when at leisure, this paper; among its contents you will find something which I dare not attempt to express, lest I might altogether fail. It may convey a part of that respectful regard, which your goodness makes all those to whom you are known feel towards your royal person.” I also requested him to peruse a letter I had received from ihe Commander of our depôt, which said something of my attention to my duty.'--yol. i. pp. 96, 97.
This is capital. The Duke strongly recommended his keeping out of the sun, living temperately, and avoiding, if possible, powerful medicine.' But the following precious specimen outberod's Herod :
• But I trust that the recollection of him (the Duke), whose memory ! constantly cherish, may, in all time coming, so influence my feelings and conduct, as in time past it has; and that the hope of meeting him hereafter, in that region “ where the weary are at rest, and the good happy,” may not be frustrated.'
- vol. i.
98. Only think of that, Master Brook!
The style of the two following letters is very unofficial, and the defects so marvellously resembling those pervading the rest of these volumes, that we strongly suspect the Ensign and Secretary to be one and the same person :
Shortly after this interview, I received the following note from his Secretary:"Captain H— has the satisfaction of transmitting to Ensign the accompanying introductory letter, which his Royal Highness promised him on Saturday last, to Sir T. Hislop, and which, there can be no doubt, will be most serviceable to him on his arrival at Madras. In doing this, Captain H- also desires to assure him of the Duke's anxious good wishes for his welfare, united with those of his own.”.
I acknowledged the receipt of this, and was favoured with the following reply :- Captain H-has duly received Ensign ------'s letter of the 3rd, and was so well pleased with its contents, that he could not help shewing it to his Royal Highness, who has now directed that he should be assured all those effusions of his good and warm heart, which it contains, are appreciated as they merit, and that he will ever be happy. to hear of his welfare through the channel of Sir T. Hislop, who, he trusts, will become a protector to him.””
We have seen how the poor Duke fares under the Subaltern's hands; his parents cannot boast of much better treatment. His father, notwithstanding much maudlin sentiment dispersed through the work, whenever he appears personally on the scene, does not much honour to his clerical character. He takes into his house two illegitimate daughters of Marquis -, although their father had informed him of their irreclaimable folly. One of these young ladies affects the heart of our hero, then at the age of sixteen. One little incident will show the amiable delicacy of our clergyman's protegée :
".. One day, looking over with me the portraits of English kings, she remarked, « Charles (the Second) must have been very handsome" (the artist had flattered most impudently); “ observe him," added she, putting her white finger on his face, and long flowing hair," he had the strongest passions of any man of his age." I thought I heard a gently stifled sigh, but it might have been from the heat of the weather.
“ What must woman's be,” she resumed, “ when they are twenty times as strong, and she must, to be respected, suppress them?” I looked at her; and if I recollect right, blushed, for I was not quite sixteen.'vol, i. p. 75.
And on another occasion the clergyman sends for his son to Ireland, on a matrimonial speculation ; but the lady was playing the same game, and the paternal go-between was nearly caught in his own trap. His son informs us, that he (his father) was a poet; and in a subsequent page gives us some very pathetic effusions from papa and mama. We extract a couplet of the poet's production :
Oh, none can love better than those whom you part from ;
For parting from you is like parting a heart from.'-vol. ii. p. 196. We cannot at all reconcile ourselves to the idea that these volumes were written by an officer in the army. Captain Skinflint, Major Callous, Major Diddler, Captain Escrew, and many other names got up merely for the sake of effect, and in a work, too, in which the author professes not to make incident, but, Heaven bless the mark, to exhibit real characters, is an expedient unworthy of any but the paltriest literary hack. And what.
And what a description of his profession does he give? The officers with whom he principally came into contact, were frequently sharpers, liars, or scoundrels; the honorable men form by far the minority. That this is a libel on the military profession will be readily acknowledged, That individual can know but little of the
who can venture to declare that it is in general advantageous to rise from the ranks; there are officers of rank, and as highly esteemed as any of their brethren who have thus risen, but it was in spite of the disadvantages of their first position, not in consequence of its advantagés. Nor does it savour much of military nonchalance to be disconcerted by the gaze of manufacturers, when on a recruiting service.
The following extract, describing the situation of a sub, in India, shews our author is quite out of his sphere.
I dare say some may turn up their noses at the idea of a subaltern drinking wine every day, as attempting to keep up too great an appearance for one in such an humble line, but have always thought that his Majesty never could intend our pay to be appropriated in any other way than might conduce to the respectability of the regiment, in keeping up that gentlemanly system which, I trust, we are accustomed to at the tables of our private homes, and in promoting a due degree of cordiality, by having some small excuse for continuing a reasonable time after dinner at the mess-table, to be edified and improved by the conversation of the senior officers.'- vol. ii. p. 31.
But we are tired of the hateful office of finding fault; we gladly select a tale that is decidedly the best in the whole work, to give our readers an opportunity of judging of the favourable side of our subaltern.
During our stay at Ceylon, I had been introduced to a very lovely young woman, the wife of a Bengal civilian, a man old enough to be her grandfather. She came out to India, a fine lively, blooming girl, and she had been scarcely a month on shore, when she was proposed for, and married. . Age and appearance, are in the eyes of some ladies who go to India, of little consequence, provided the suitor has a good fortune, and possesses a high civil situation.
• In one year this lady's husband was recommended by his physician to permit his wife to go and see her friends in Europe. - They parted, as may be fancied, without much sorrow on her part. During her absence, which was to be for, an indefinite time, she was to be allowed one thousand a year.
•She met with a giddy fashionable looking man at Ceylon, who, during the passage, paid her the most marked attention. In such an intercourse, unless feelings of propriety, and a sense of moral and social obligation are constantly uppermost, the result may be easily. foreseen. The slightest circumstances are noticed on board ship; and many try to employ themselves so little, as to have much time to spare in noticing the faults and peculiarities of their fellow passengers.
• The flirtation of the two individuals which I have just mentioned, became the daily subject most dwelt upon by the passengers.
“When lovely woman stoops to folly," and when the sophistry of her lover, and her own heart, lead her to err, there is still one slender stay—the observation and opinion of the world that may for a time prevent her falling. The epitome of that world on board ship, devours, most voraciously, every slander injurious to woman's fame; and watches, with the eyes of an Argus, for the slightest cause to impugn her innocence and purity.
There are here no mothers, or thoughtful, feeling females, who allow for youth, vanity, good spirits, and admiration, to warn the unfortunate woman she is going headlong to destruction; and that what is now her delight and boast, unless tempered with judgment and good sense,
will shortly make her an object of pity to the feeling, and a bye word to the malicious.
I fear that passion and infatuation so completely took the lead in the minds of these young people, that they were blinded to all that was said or passing around them. Many rumours affecting the honour of the lady, were circulated on the quarter deck.
* The gentleman possessed an appearance, by some considered effeminate: be had those frank, winning manners, that find their way to the unoccupied heart of a thoughtless woman. He was esteemed a well meaning young man, who would not do any action that was admitted to be dishonourable, but whose want of thought led him to do things which tended directly to injure his own respectability, and the peace of others; his passions, where they took the lead, could not suddenly be checked, from a conception of the ruin he was bringing on the person he thought he loved,
and on the future store of misery he was laying up for himself; for man may
many things, and conscience trouble him not at the time of his iniquity; but the debt must be paid with interest, at some future period, and perhaps under disease and misery, which bow him to the earth.
'On coming on the quarter deck one night, after reading below, I ob served many of the passengers and ship officers in a low whispering discussion ; I walked up to them, and enquired what had taken place to occasion this meeting. " Have you not heard,” said a captain, " that Mrs.
was seen going into her cabin with a gentleman hidden under her long shawl?” She saw she was observed, and hurrying forward, left him exposed to the view of several people on the gun deck. Soon after we heard a cry, “I am lost for ever ;” and a noise resembling a fall. The cabin was entered, and the beautiful form of the lady, in the last agonies, was extended on the floor. She pointed to a small bottle, and closed her eyes
The next day she was brought up on a grating, with the Union flag over her body, to be committed to the deep.'-vol. ii. pp. 98-102.
The author threatens the public with a successor to his Log Book --we trust that they will be spared the infliction-at the utmost he should not venture beyond the sphere of a story teller. After dinner some of his tales and jokes might pass current, in the excusing exhilaration of a convivial party. Yet there have been about him the germs of better things, but they have been completely choked by an overwhelming mass of conceit and selfadulation. Witness his concluding paragraph:
'I trust that in following the progress of my early days, my introduction to life, my observations, such as they have been, on men and things, during a very busy period, of a very active existence; and finally, in the review of those transactions, in which others, rather than myself, have held the prominent place, you have had all the profit and pleasure, which the time spent in the perusal warranted you to expect. A celebrated writer has said, that the biography of a man, if faithfully composed, could not fail to prove interesting and instructive. It is in the persuasion, that the portion of mine now presented to the public, contained very ample materials, that I venture to hope the uninitiated may derive advantage from the large experience a few years have given me; and the old stagers be amused by the recurrences, not very unlike those amidst which their own youth has passed.'—vol. ii. pp. 310, 311.
Confound the man's impudence! What a pity it is, that his experience has not conferred upon him a few scruples of selfknowledge.
ART. XII.--On the Designs of Russia. By Lieut.-Colonel Evans. 8vo.
pp. 251. London: Murray. 1828. MINGLED with not a few ingenious, and sometimes fanciful speculations, we have in this volume many sound views, and cogent arguments, illustrative of the real objects which the Emperor of Russia proposes to achieve by his invasion of the Ottoman Empire.