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grave; no sound was heard but the rushing of the cruel flames; every eye, every ghastly face was turned to the fatal window, where the unhappy vics tim had stood, stretching her beseeching hands in vain, and the fire no longer checked, leaped upward from floor to floor, until it burst from the roof, as from some gigantic furnace, in a pillar of white, intollerable light.
From that fatal night, a funeral piłe was lighted in my brain, and burned through my dreams, for ever and ever;-1 have witnessed the bloody festivals of the pityless Inquisition; I have seen the young, the beautiful, and the pious; the constant few, faithful to death, to whom life was vile when purchased by apostacy; I have seen them borne in fanatic triumph from the prison to the stake, while the guilty priests muttered their blasphemies, and the cruel mob shouted for joy.
I have beheld cities and palaces given to destruction-stately castles that seemed built for eternity, buried in the white depths of inextinguishable fires, and gentle voices implored me in vain, and sweet pale faces turned to me beseechingly, and I groaned in the helplessness of sleep. · For there was ever between me and the flames, some fathomless abysm, or the numbing touch of some fiend had palsied my limbs, and though I would have laid down my life to rescue the victim, I was compelled to witness her destruction.---Do not think that the voice was the voice of a stranger, or the face, a face unknown ---oh! no ;---the searching eruelty of sleep has power over the grave, and the loved in life were called from their repose, to people my dreams, and wring my heart,
I declare to God, that such was the effect of these scenes, that often in the middle of the day, when every thing seemed to conspire to banish gloomy ideas, the universal light, the bustle of life, the voices of friends, I have groane d aloud at the thought of the horrors of the night gone by, and the heavy foreboding of their return.
For in spite of myself, my imagination now seizes on any unusual circumstance that occurred to me, any ugly sight that I witnessed, any passage in my reading suited to its purpose, and then, as in the case of the fire, transferred it to my dreams, distorted with strange exaggeration; for instance,-
There is an engraving in Pitiscus's edition of Seutonius ---I remember its title well,---HJEROSLVMA VNACVM TEMPLO, CAPTA ET INCENSA A Tito VESPASIANO,—many a time has the sad theatre of my sleep presented that memorable spectacle, many a time have I seen the temple of the living God wrapped in devouring fames, the pavement of the holy city slippery with the blood of the chosen people,---the miserable virgins lifting their despairing eyes to heaven,---the desperate defenders leaping in fierce scorn of captivity from the battlements into the flames, while the stern Legionarian stood still in horror, and the mild Titus offered mercy in vain.
I was present one day at a review, and was highly pleased with the fine appearance of the men and horses, and the dexterity with which they performed their evolutions; for being well mounted, I was enabled to follow every movement over the plain on which the review took place; above every thing else, I was struck by the grand effect of a charge of dragoon guards ; the Aashing of the sabres, the deep echo of the trampled plain, and the united rush of a thousand men and horses, starting from still life into a headlong torrent, at a single trumpet note, gave me a more vivid idea of the awful fury of war, than all the power of poetry or fancy, and the effect was not a little heightened by the strength and size of the horses and men,
the soldier. like plainness of dress, and the ponderous simplicity of weapons that distinguishes the guards from the light dragoons.
As I was returning home, I witnessed an accident not easily forgotten. I was considerably in advance of my own party, and I paused, as well to give them time to come up, as to watch those same dragoons as they dashed at a sharp trot through a gateway; a child of about four years
age who was standing within a few yards of me, darted across their path, and in an instant he was trampled out of the form of humanity---one moment, and he was full of life, and young beauty,---the next he was a mangled mass that his miserable mother might refuse to own for the child of her bosom.
I knew right well that this dismal sight would brand upon my memory the events of the day, and I expected as a sure, thing the coming of strange and fearful visions, night after night; nor was I deceived :---what boundless plains ---what sunless skies, formed the dusky scenery of these awful pageants; now came, first, the solemn musie of my fever, and then, not the roll of mighty waters, but the measured tramp of millions of horsemen, gathering like clouds in the dim circle of the horizon ;---eh! how shall I tell the deeds of these warriors of sleep!---sometimes they were the grisly giants of Spencer, waging mangling and savage war with uprooted oaks, or pine-tree clubs; ---sometimes they were fashioned from the melancholy fictions of the unhappy titans, or the wildest imagery of the Edda and Voluspa, or evoked by spells the mightiest of all, came the immortal chivalry of Milton;--
Of rigid spears, and helmets throng'd and shields. --with what breathless awe have I gazed upon the phantom hosts ---the severe angelic beauty of the one ---the withering eyes, and clouded brows of the other,---the thrilling pause ---the whirlwind rush of the winged steeds ---the unutterable fury of the closing shock, and the deadly struggle, as locked, spear in spear, and shield in shield, they swayed heavily, like a mighty sea, backward and forward on the plain.
You will ask me, did not the grandeur of such spectacles reconcile me to their gloom ?---Remember that the master feeling throughout my dreams, was a sense of eternal despair---I had done or suffered some unutterable thing ---I was never to behold the cheerful light, or listen to the voices that I loved, but in mourning and in suffering---the very sense of personal security that attended me was a curse, I felt no sordid bodily pain, I was set apart and devoted to a heavier doom---I was borne to witness the miserable fate of those, whose safety I would have purchased with my life a thousand times told, but for me there was no death, no final close, such as I was I was destined to be, dark, hopeless, and abandoned for ever..
July, 18th 1825.
My dream is o'er, it had no further change.-Byron. A fortnight has elapsed since we met on paper; I have enabled you as as far as in me lay, to judge of the truth of my assertion, that “the sufferings of sleep exceed in measạre, and in intensity, the pains of waking life;"and I take up my pen to close the subject, at least for the present.
At least for the present, for as yet I cannot say whether it will ever be in my power to detail at length, the singular events which, aided by my own unremitting exertions, have freed me from my lengthened bondage. From your first glance at these events,- deep-laid conspiracy of those whom I had trusted, headed by
to deprive me and the scattered remnant of my house of the wasted property, which even the greedy law had spared,-a tearing asunder of the ties which had bound this man and me together, followed by a war of extermination,-a struggle for life and death,--you would suppose them more likely to triple my chains than to break them, but our wisdom is foolishness when we prophesy of consequences; I was used to the common pickpocket dishonesty of agents and receivers, the every-day filching of rents, issues and profits, for these are among the thousand natural ills that attorneyism is heir to, but the treacherous unkindness of this man came upon me as it were in my sleep, and like a strong fiend, and bore me upward from the pit wherein I lay, to fight amidst day-light realites, to contend, not with shadowy enemies, but with monsters as uncouth and ugly in their guilt, as the race who had oppressed with impunity my helpless dreams.
From the last paragraph, you may guess at the nature of the antagonist feelings which enabled me to struggle successfully with the powers of darkness and sleep; more than you can learn from them, you are not likely to know from me, first, because I hate anonymous vengeance --- I would not assassinate an assassin,---secondly, because I would not make the respectable publication in which I appear the vehicle of my private resentments,---lastly, I am but an adumbration,---a fetch ---an ink-fed Eidolon, and surely, gentlest reader, you have too much humanity and sense to ask me to spend the last drop of my vital fluid in combating for your amusement;---no, no, joking apart, I love my incognito, and my mask might fall off in the struggle ;---as long as I can minister to you unknown, I servant, but my face must be veiled in a mantle.
July 30th, 1825.
How lorelily that blushing rose
The favors thus from fortune won,
Phrenology has of late attracted an extraordinary degree of attention. We did anticipate, when first the philosophy of Bumps was promulgated, that like every other such system, it would amuse the public for a short while, and be then laid aside, to make room for some other intellectual play-thing. But the Craniological mania has spread like a plague;—it has possessed every gradation of society from the kitchen to the garret; and even the very infants are taught to lisp the jargon" of the Organs.” Phrenology has become a creed, the Bumpkins a sect. There is a Phrenological synagngue, who put forth and sanction an authorized profession of faith. There is a society who publish Phrenological journals, divers tracts, and several reading made easy-like little books, for women, children, and the use of schools. There are corresponding and co-operative associations, and above all, there is a formidable and well organized host of professors, lecturers, missionaries, and disciples, all ardent in the belief of whai they conceive new doctrines, and animated with the liveliest zeal for the dissemmation of their tenets, and the conversion of unbelievers. When Spurzheim first set out to preach his system, there was a tone of unpretending modesty in what he said, that insensibly interested those who heard him. The course of lectures which he delivered some years since in Cork, was numerously and respectably attended ;-he did not however produce a deep or a lasting impression here. Those who heard him were amused and pleased,—they looked upon him as an ingenious, speculative theorist, who supported his opinions with much plausible reasoning, and rendered his lectures agreeable by an interesting detail of anecdotes and stories. Although an enthusiast, and perhaps a sincere one, he did not outrage science by assuming a tone of dogmatic superiority, not insult reason by repeating grossly absurd speculations. Few took the trouble to study deeply what he taught, and in a short time, Spurzheim was almost forgotten, and remembered only as one amongst the many itinerant lecturers who travel, and benefit the public by their learned labours, wherever they can procure a sufficient number of customers.
Phrenology has never been much in fashion upon the Continent. The lectures which Gall and Spurzheim have for some years been delivering at Paris, were attended mostly by British students. Spurzheim's lectures were considered valuable, more from his accurate dissections, and able anatomical demonstrations of the brain, than from any interest taken in his Phrenological opinions. Very few attended the prelections of Gall, the founder of the sect;—be, poor old man, presents a melancholy example of the uncertainty of literary renown. After a life of the most indefatigable labour and research, he has been completely thrown into the shade, and deprived of his hardly earned honours, by his more active and enterprizing pupil. His reproaches are loud and indignant, but the bitterest complaint of all, is, that the faithless friend who treacherously robbed him of his fame and plaister head, not content with having gained the glory, secured the profits too.
Great efforts have been making of late to diffuse a general knowledge of Phrenology in these countries. It is hard to pronounce what may be the real motives of those who take so warm an interest in extending the study.