Imágenes de páginas

So enormous an

the colle

comes at last to be insensible to the niopolis like the catacombs, containing likeness between the head on his own

inhabitation," that shoulders and those that compose the no regular census has ever been made skull-work of the royal residence; and any accidental visitor might contrive, he might forget it entirely, were it surely, to while away a few hours not that he occasionally sees a loose without much rational perturbation, skull replaced by a head belonging, and unless very much disposed indeed the night before, to one of his friends. to pick a quarrel, might suffer the It is understood that the present king thigh-bones to lie at rest, as pieces of of Dahomey is about to remove these ornamental furniture, never intended walls, and distribute the old materials to be wielded as weapons either of through his kingdom, now greatly in offensive or defensive warfare. want of inclosures. There is also some A night passed in a small, black, talk of taking down the ancestral pa- bleak, musty old church, not far from lace itself, and of building another of the catacombs, would be worse by far fresh skulls. It is calculated that than the catacombs themselves. One 300,000 adult skulls, and 300,000 in- would sit there full of the abstract fant ones, will be sufficient for a very image of skulls; and, beyond all doubt, handsome palace; and 50,000 annually several skulls would come trundling have been cheerfully subscribed for in during the course of the night. Of six years. It will be finished, most old, when a hero was dubbed knight, probably, about the same time with he sat up during the dark hours in a

of Edinburgh ; and report church, where an occasional ghost or speaks highly of the beauty and gran- two might touch him, when gliding deur of the elevation.

by, with its icy fingers. It would From Mucruss and Dahomey the have required but a small share of transition is easy and natural to the chivalrous feeling, to have kept watch catacombs of Paris. They are on a in an intrenchment of skulls, seemlarger scale, and consequently so much ingly impregnable. It asks more courthe less terrifying. One“ skull by age to fight the champion of an army itself skull” may be no joking matter; in single combat, than to dash into but after remaining unmolested for a the lines. few minutes among some billions of pericraniums, we come to feel a sovereign contempt of the whole defunct world, and would not care a straw

STERNSTARE'S FIRST though a dozen of them were to jump down and attempt to kick our shins. One takes out a skull, and puts it back again into its place, just as one would

Paris, 12th Nov. 1818.. a common book from the shelves of a library; and what is far worse, every

MR EDITOR, skull is verbatim et literatim the same It is but a short while since I have empty performance, and, not being received your letter, requesting that I bound in Russia leather, worm-eaten would turn my attention to the Scotthrough and through. A man in the tish national character, and endeavour catacombs may indeed be said to be in to throw some light upon that intea brown study.

resting topic. I remember your appliA night passed in a vaulted cell, cations to me, when I was in Edinwith one or even two skeletons, espe- burgh, concerning this matter. Nor cially if they were well known to have indeed, since then, although much been able-bodied men when alive, engrossed with other scientific remight well occasion a cold sweat, and searches, have I altogether lost remake the hair to stand on end. There membrance of the cerebral characterwould be something like equal terms istics exhibited by, or detected in, there, one quick against two dead; your countrymen. Nevertheless, as is and no man of spirit could refuse the remarked by Van Sweiten, in his encounter, though the odds were Prognosis,

Phænomenorum quæ

alia against him, guineas to pounds. A quando in memoriam recepimus, haud ring would have to be formed, the odd ghost bottle-holder and umpire. But * See a letter on this subject, in a late in a populous Place of Skulls--a Cra- Number of a celebrated Magazine.


extemplo' menti theoria occurrit. ;” and was not successful. I found everytherefore I have by no means been so where a wonderful slackening and fallinconsiderate as to dismiss from my ing off from the old rigour of spirit. recollection, what I saw in Edin No hill-side visages were to be seenburgh, whether in its courts of law, no indications of hard wrestling. If I or churches, or other places of public may speak out my mind, I do not be resort; nor yet those quasi disjecta in- lieve that a single Scottish pastor of dicia, which I had opportunity of no the present times has ever been fairly ting in the country. Since I arrived hand to hand with the enemy. What here, I have received from my friend a declension is this !-1f I reproach Dr Spurzheim; valuable hints on the them unjustly, let them speak out subject which you have so much at and rebut the charge ; but, if I have heart, and, with his usual liberality, guessed the truth, then they are surehe has been so kind as to communi- ly very different men from their forecate to me a small unpublished tract, fathers. “ On certain peculiarities generally ob The superb collection of sculls servable in the structure of Scottish which for some time past I have been lawyers."

accumulating, in reference to Scottish In these circumstances, I have been characteristics, is increasing every day. revolving in my mind what things But a covenanter is yet required to were farther needful for throwing light form the apex of the pyramid. Meanon the national character of your coun time I must content myself with coltrymen, and have had several conver- lecting whatever specimens I can find. sations with Cuvier upon the subject. I have long had eye upon an old ScotThis ingenious and admirable philo- tish snuff-dealer in London, whose sopher has in his possession several head contains some remarkable points. sculls of Highlanders, which were He is now in his last illness, and, if picked up from the field of Waterloo, any confidence can be placed on cerand which attest, in the most striking tain nocturnal emissaries of the disa manner, the high-minded firmness of section-room, I may, in due time, exyour mountain compatriots. These pect to see him here. Several impohe contrasted with the sculls of some sitions have been attempted upon me: English dragoons, shewing that the On Thursday last, three sculls of ramlatter were generally larger behind the pant Irishmen were presented to me as ears, but not higher (and indeed for those of quiet Lowland peasants; but the most part not so high) in the top these I failed not to reject and respue of the head.

with indignation, and sent the swindBut what I most ardently long for, ler blushing from my presence. Anois the head of a genuine and well- ther person had the impudence to preauthenticated covenanter. Till I pro- sent me with a scull artificially concure this, my data for deciding upon structed of bone. The French are an the national character are quite inade ingenious people ; but an unfortunate quate and insufficient; and my con- consequence of this is, that one-half clusions must continue to hang, as it of what we meet with in their counwere, suspended in mid air. Till the try is not real. The German gravity head of a covenanter is produced, I of my appearance, and my large pesullenly refuse to open my lips. It ruke" (with which I envelope and was in the sufferings of the covenant- keep warm the seat of the soul, in ers that the strength and devotedness conformity to the advice left by the of the Scottish character were most re- profound and erudite Magliabechi to markably manifested, as well as the future men of learning), seem to invirulence and obduracy of its fanati. spire every Parisian variety of knave cism. I wonder that 'no painter has with a confidence in my bonhommie. yet attempted to represent a preaching These persons, however, have as yet on a hill-side. It is one of the finest met with nothing but disgraces in subjects that can be conceived for the their attempts to practise upon me, exhibition of character.

and have not even been allowed to When last in Scotland, I was advi- sneak off, till their heads were meased to look about among the pulpits, sured and examined in the most satisto try whether any living specimen factory manner, and the causes of could be found, resembling the an- their fourberic made as clear as daycient Scottishi worthies. I did so, but light. No French impostor now


E. U.]

thinks of grappling with me any more of religious opinion between them, than he would think of hugging with and the great majority of their neighone of the bears in the Jardin de bours, since the Maleverers of MalePlantes. This last-mentioned place verer prided themselves on still preis my favourite resort, and there I am serving, in all their rigour, the docin the habit of daily holding forth to trines of the church of Rome. men of science, on the peculiarities of In the early part of the 19th centhe different nations, of which travel- tury, the last remaining scion of this ling specimens are seen passing be- venerable stock began to droop, and as fore us.

the estate was, by virtue of an old enIf you meet with any thing curious, tail, to go toadistant and protestant sucbe so good as transmit it to me, either cessor, the present owner felt little intedead in a glass case, or alive with a rest in, or attachment to, an individual, letter of introduction. No specimen, of whom he knew nothing which he I promise you, shall ever suspect that considered to be favourable, and whom I am taking a look of him. Expect he looked on as little better than an my next letter on this subject in due intruder on the rights of his name. time.. I am, Mr Editor, yours, &c. Without therefore having had any comULRICK STERNSTARE. munication or intercourse with this ne

glected branch, Hugh Maleverer of Maleverer was gathered to his ances

tors in the month of October 18–, in (MREDITOR—The authenticity of the fol- the full profession of the catholic lowing narrative may be perfectly relied on, faith, having, by his last will, bealthough the family name has been altered. queathed away from his successor all

which it was in his power to alienate. The Maleverers of Maleverer had In compliance with the directions long inhabited a very ancient and ex. contained in this will, the magnificent tensive mansion, in a remote western but tarnished household furniture, nearcounty; the estate around it was con- ly coeval with the embattled mansion siderable, and the estimation in which itself, was sold immediately on his dethe members of the family were held cease; and when the new tenant, an throughout the surrounding country, amiable and respectable country genwas not less the result of their great tleman, arrived from his usual resilocal influence, than of their ancient dence, in a distant part of the kingdescent. There were those who said dom, to take possession of his newly that Avenel de Malever had accom- acquired estates, he found scarcely a panied Robert, Earl of Montaigne, the bed in his own house which he could uterine brother of the conqueror, in his call his own. invasion of England, and had, in con The day following his entry into sequence, received a share of the plun- the manor place, the gray-headed stewder and confiscations lavished on that ard attended his summons, and apgreedy nobleman. The Battle Abbey- peared with all the musty deeds and roll, in which is to be found the name age-stained parchments, which for cenof Malevere, affords considerable con turies had been employed to secure and firmation of such an opinion. Be this chronicle the various changes and aras it may, the genealogical tree was a rangements made by the house of lofty one, and its roots were planted in Maleverer. The investigation of them very high antiquity.

had occupied the greater part of the Living almost entirely within their day, and night was fast waning, when own demesne, this family had preserv- the new possessor of this extended ed much of the solemn grandeur which property, discovered that there was had attended their forefathers in the still much to be pored over and exzenith of their glory; and as they amined, in the pile of deeds, which found few, in more modern times, willa had been hitherto unexplained to him. ing to concede the respect they ex- As, however, the eyes of his venerable acted, they had gradually withdrawn companion began occasionally to close, from all general society, and confined and as the frequent yawn betrayed the themselves solely to the intercourse old man's fatigue, Mr Maleverer at which was occasionally held with their length told him to retire to bed, saynumerous tenantry. This resolution, ing, that his own faculties were still too, was strengthened by the variancé untired, and that he foresaw much in

the heaps around him to occupy his traordinary being, although Mr M. attention for some hours longer. himself, albeit a man of courage and

Thus left to himself, Mr Maleverer resolution, felt both yielding to a senemployed several hours in perusing the sation of indescribable alarm,

at beholdevidences of the noble property to a figure so occupied, at such a time, which he had become entitled, and it and in such a situation. was only as morning approached that A few moments, however, sufficed to his attention began to flag, and his rally his senses, and after a little remind to wander occasionally from flection, he determined boldly to exthe important papers before him. In, amine the object which had produced one of the short intervals occasioned so strong a feeling of surprise, nay, by this abstraction, his eye uncon- apprehension. He therefore returned sciously rested on a mark in one of the into the room in which he had been high pannels of black Norway wains- sitting, and hastily catching up the coat surrounding him, which bore some light, again approached the closet; on resemblance to a key-hole : having thus a second time entering it, he had more than once noticed this, Mr M. neither wish nor opportunity more at length rose from his seat to examine closely to examine its furniture or sic the object more accurately, and found, tuation, being solely occupied with the on a closer inspection, that his conjec- determination to unfold the mystery ture was correct. He then endeavoured which was before him. The stranger to discover if the pannel in which the still sat in the same spot, apparently hole was cut was moveable; but as it intent on his book, with one arm resta resisted all pressure, he would have ing on the table beside him ; Mr M. ceased to trouble himself further, but therefore advanced towards him, and that the singularity of the circumstance as the light glanced more strongly on excited his curiosity, from a belief that the figure, he was enabled to discern something extraordinary must have regular, and rather handsome features, been intended, and which the opening with a profusion of light hair ; the of the pannel would disclose. Under gentleman, for such he seemed, apthis impression, he began to look for a peared to be cloathed in the English key which might fit the aperture; and, fashion, but of a date rather remote ; after considerable search, discovered an his coat too was decorated with a brilold fashioned rusty key, on the edge liant but partly tarnished star, a cirof a narrow ledge, in the wainscoat, cumstance which alone would have some feet above his head ; this he an- produced considerable surprise, but xiously seized, and on its application which was much heightened by Mr to the key-hole, found that it was fitted M.'s remarking, that although he had to it; but owing to the rust which em- advanced several steps into the room, browned it, he was long apprehensive and consequently must have made that all his efforts to open this mys some noise in his approach, the figure terious pannel, would be vain. By still appeared not to heed him. In the dint, however, of perseverance, he ul- confusion of ideas produced by the sine timately succeeded in turning back the gularity of his situation, Mr M. at wards, and pushing open a door, form- length began to apprehend that the ed so nicely in the pannels of the motionless figure before him, must be wainscoat, as to elude observation, save an inhabitant of another world ; a confrom the shape of the key-hole; he jecture to which the hour of the night, found himself in a small but lofty the silent solemnity of the scene, and apartment, dimly liglated from a nare the strange mode in which he had berow window, situated very high in the come acquainted with the mystery, all wall, through which the full rays of a seemed to give colour ; and without waning moon feebly entered. He had waiting to analyze his feelings, or exscarcely cast a hasty glance around the amine more minutely into appearances room, before he was startled by the ap so alarming, he rushed, without further pearance of a figure in a sitting pos- hesitation, from the closet; and havture, in a remote part of the apart- ing hastily closed again the pannel, and ment, seemingly deeply engaged in put the key into his pocket, retired to reading, but without any light, save à sleepless bed to brood over the that afforded by the sickly beams of strangeness of the occurrence. the moon. The entry of Mr M. ap The waking reflections of Mr M. peared to produce no effect on this ex- were, however, insufficient to suggest


any solution of the circumstances which and forgotten, and the tradition only he had witnessed ; and as soon as the of its existence remained, since the dawn afforded sufficient light, he hase room in which it was contained had tened to the large bow-window, in his for many years been carefully closed. sleeping room, which afforded a view The old steward attributed the recent of the now leafless trees around the discovery of the figure to the sale mansion, in hopes that light and air (amongst the other furniture of the would dispel the feverish dreams of mansion) of an enormous mirror, imagination. The gloom, however, of which, having been nailed to the wainsa late November's morning, afforded coat for half a century, had concealed no relief to his mind ; the venerable alike the key and key-hole ; so that oaks in the park, deprived of their no aperture being visible, the very releaves, and the wide spreading ocean collection of the room, had, in the beyond them, only served to increase course of so long a period, died away. the solemnity of his thoughts; and as A cool and dispassionate investigasoon as his servant was stirring, he des- tion, by day light, of the closet, and patched him to summon the old stew- its unknown inhabitant, satisfactorily ard to his presence, in hopes, that, from corroborated the old man's solution of him, some solution of the mysterious the mystery. circumstances of the preceding night might be elicited.

After detailing the particulars, he demanded of the old man, if any tale of horror was connected with the mansion, or if he could, in any shape, ac

Behold yon stately vision that advances, count for the apparition he had wit- Trampling the Earth, and all that it in. nessed. The steward, at first, hesitated herits, to reply; but, at length, shaking his Beneath his lordly footsteps ! --His bare head gray locks, he, with a sly smile, in Is canopied by clusters of dark clouds, formed his master that he believed he That throng around his brow as if they could account for the apparition.

loved it. “ This, Sir," said he “ realizes, or ra

They throng around, but never veil the starther accounts for, a suspicion which the large, bright, burning star that glitters many of us have had respecting that seeming to glory in its marble throne. room and its inhabitant. It is not a human being whom you saw last night, As he comes on, see ! ever and anon but Why pause thus ?" said How his majestic arm dashes aside Mr Maleverer, “I adjure you to re- That gloomy mantle spurning it behind lieve my apprehensions !” • Be it so,"

him! replied the steward. “ That inmate But it still clings, and like the poisoned of the eastern closet, which caused you will not be cast away. such alarm, is, in fact, a waxen image of the unfortunate adventurer Charles

As he approaches, mark those haughty Edward Stuart.” He then went on to eyes, state a report which had been general What a strange lustre lights them! Yet at the time of the rebellion, in the methinks year 1745; and which he, as a boy, In their blue depths of beauty I can see had often heard ; that the ill-fated A dark, deep well of ever-springing tears : Chevalier had taken refuge, and been Howbeit tears that seldom reach the lids, concealed in the manor house, until he And stagnate round the heart-corroding

And never overflow them,,but sink down was enabled to escape from his pur there. suers.

This report could have had no other Mark ! as the vision stands and gazes foundation than the existence of this round it, waxen prototype, which had been pro- How all things bow before that awful precured by the then owner of the estate, sence! who being a rigid catholic, and of Ja. How all things seem to change! the lightcobite principles, had naturally taken Loses its beauty, and the small ground

green grass an interest in the Prince's misfortunes,

flowers and had caused this figure to be formed That flocked to meet his footsteps, shrink out of compliment to his hapless mas and wither. ter. It had afterwards been neglected Not that his eye falls on them,-it disdains

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