The Southern Literary Messenger, Vol. I., No. 10, June, 1835
SOUTHERN LITERARY MESSENGER:
EVERY DEPARTMENT OF LITERATURE
THE FINE ARTS.
|Au grť de nos desirs bien plus qu'au grť des vents.|
|As we will, and not as the winds will.|
T. W. WHITE, PUBLISHER AND PROPRIETOR.
CONTENTS OF VOLUME I, NUMBER 10
A STORM ON THE PRAIRIES: byD. D. Mitchell, Esquire
THE OLD PARISHCHURCH: by Nugator
LIONEL GRANBY: by Theta
CONVERSATION PARTIES,SOIREES AND SQUEEZES: by Oliver Oldschool
THE SANFORDS: by A.
A SCENE FROM "ARNOLD ANDANDRE": by the author of "Herbert Barclay"
ENGLISH POETRY: by L. L.
HANS PHAALL—ATALE: by Edgar A. Poe
THE SALE: by Nugator
THE INFIDEL,or the Fall of Mexico: by the author of Calavar
AN ADDRESS,delivered at his inauguration as President of Washington College, Lexington,Virginia, Feb. 21, 1835: by Henry Vethake
A HISTORY OF THE UNITEDSTATES, from the Discovery of the American Continent to the present time:by George Bancroft
THE WRITINGS OFGEORGE WASHINGTON; being his Correspondence, Addresses, Messages,and other Papers, official and private, selected and published from the original manuscripts; witha life of the Author, Notes and Illustrations: by Jared Sparks
OUTRE-MER, or aPilgrimage Beyond the Sea: by Professor Longfellow
VOYAGE OF THE U.S. FRIGATEPOTOMAC, under the command of CommodoreJohn Downes, during the circumnavigation of the globe in the years1831-32-33 and 34: including a particular account of the engagement atQuallah-Battoo, on the Coast of Sumatra: by J. N. Reynolds
THE HISTORY OFIRELAND: by Thomas Moore
BLACKBEARD, or a Page from the ColonialHistory of Philadelphia
PENCIL SKETCHES OROUTLINES OF CHARACTER AND MANNERS. SecondSeries: by Miss Leslie
THE AMERICANQUARTERLY REVIEW FOR JUNE
LIFE OF KOSCIUSZKO:by Charles Falkenstein
THE UNITEDSTATES OF NORTH AMERICA in their historical,topographical, and social relations:by G. H. Eberhard
SOUTHERN LITERARY MESSENGER.
The contents of the present number of the Messenger will be foundvarious and entertaining, many of them possessing uncommon merit. Theyare, like those of the last preceding number, entirely original.
The continuation of the Manuscripts of D. D. Mitchell, is highlyacceptable. The description of a Storm on the Prairies is told withmuch vigor, and will compare favorably with a similar scene in Mr.Hoffman's excellent itinerary of a Winter in the West.
Nos. XV and XVI of the "Letters of a Sister" are delightful. Thevivacity and elegance of the style, and the feminine grace whichbreathes through the whole correspondence, are peculiarly observablein these numbers.
The 2d and 3d chapters of "Lionel Granby" exhibit an improvement onthe first. But we think the writer has chosen a bad model, since hedisplays sufficient ability to render his writings interesting withoutimitation. Perhaps unconsciously, he has fallen into what may bedenominated the Bulwerian style, one which pleases less than almostany other in the hands of an imitator, as like that of Byron it isessentially an egotistical style.
Our reforming friend, "Oliver Oldschool," has hit off with greatforce some of the fashionable assemblages of the present day. Withoutentertaining a zeal in the reproval of these extravagancies, quitecommensurate with his own, we are fully aware of the justness of hisstrictures upon those modern customs which banish social intercoursefrom what are intended for social parties, and burthen the enjoymentof pleasure with so many qualifications as to make it little betterthan pain.
The story of "The Sanfords" is the production of a young girl; andif the reader should not find in it the skill of riper years, or thedeep interest of more stirring fictions—still, we trust he will agreewith us in the opinion, that it is highly creditable to the talents ofa young lady of sixteen and promises better things, when experienceand observation shall have stored her mind with incidents, and taughther the art of using them with effect.
"English Poetry, Chap, II," is highly meritorious. We scarcelysupposed that so trite a subject could have been rendered soattractive. Our correspondent has evidently studied his subject withgreat care, and, which is better, con amore. He does not follow inthe beaten track, but has the boldness to differ from many formercritics; and there is a freshness and originality in his remarks whichcannot fail of being admired by the classical reader.
Mr. Poe's story of "Hans Phaall," will add much to his reputation asan imaginative writer. In these ballooning days, when every "punywhipster" is willing to risk his neck in an attempt to "leave dullearth behind him," and when we hear so much of the benefits whichscience is to derive from the art of aerostation, a journey to themoon may not be considered a matter of mere moonshine. Mr. Poe'sscientific Dutch bellows-mender is certainly a prodigy, and the moreto be admired, as he performs impossibilities, and details them with aminuteness so much like truth, that they seem quite probable. Indeedthe cause of his great enterprise is in admirable harmony with theexploits which it encourages him to perform. There are thousands who,to escape the pertinacity of uncivil creditors, would be tempted to aflight as perilous as that of Hans Phaall. Mr. Poe's story is a longone, but it will appear short to the reader, whom it bears along withirresistible interest, through a region of which, of all others, weknow least, but which his fancy has invested with peculiar charms. Wetrust that a future missive from the lunar voyager will give us anarrative of his adventures in the orb that he has been the first to explore.
"The Sale" is one of Nugator's best sketches, and will be recognizedas true to the life, by those who best know the scenes andcircumstances described. The characters of the Hoe-Cake ridger and hissteed are admirably drawn.
Among our Reviews, those upon Bancroft's History of the UnitedStales, and the Writings of General Washington, are from the giftedpen of the reviewer of the orations of Messrs. Adams and Everett. Theformer displays much research, and contains some highly interestingdetails of our early history. The latter is the most eloquent tributeto the character of Washington that has ever met our eye. It is notour custom to notice our reviews; but it would have been indelicate inus to assume for a moment, even indirectly, the authorship of twoarticles of such transcendent merit.
The Poetical department in the present number is well supplied. "TheDaughter's Lullaby," a parody of Mrs. Hemans's Sunset Tree, but aparody only in the form of the verse, is a perfect gem. The Lineson Lafayette, by Mrs. Willard, possess much merit. "The Old ParishChurch," will be read with feeling by the Virginia antiquarian—ifsuch a being exist among us. The stanzas to "Estelle," and the lineswhich follow, were formerly addressed to us under the signature ofFra Diavolo, and were not inserted, because accompanied by anotherpoem which the late editor deemed objectionable. The author hasrequested us to suppress the latter, and has permitted the publicationof those pieces to which no exception was taken by our predecessor,who was fully impressed with the spirit of true poetry whichcharacterizes these productions. The scene from the unpublished drama,entitled "Arnold and Andre," will be read with uncommon interest.The author is not unknown to fame, and in this fragment of a work,which he informs us it is his intention to complete, he has givenearnest of the merit which it will possess as a whole. The descriptionof the battle of Princeton (the only occasion as we believe, in whichWashington drew his sword during the whole war,) is powerfullydescribed by the Old Officer, as also the great influence which thefather of our liberties possessed and exercised over the minds andactions of his followers. It is with great pleasure we announce thewriter of this admirable scene, as one from whom future contributionsto the Messenger may be anticipated.
A STORM ON THE PRAIRIES.
I left the Fort early in the morning of the 28th December, accompaniedas usual by my Spaniard and a few Canadian servants. The season thusfar had been uncommonly fine, not a spot of snow was visible on theprairies, and, as we passed along, the Elk, Antelope, and Fox, wereseen in various directions reposing with all that lazy listlessnesswhich the warm suns of March and April never fail to produce upon bothman and beast. There was in fact nothing to remind us of the presenceof winter, except the barren nakedness of nature, and the long rangeof the rocky mountains whose snowy peaks glittered in the sun, andwhose hoary summits stretching far to the north and south, wereundistinguishable from the white vapory clouds which floated aroundthem. Towards evening, however, a fresh gale sprung up from the north,and a very sensible change in the temperature was experienced. We drewour Buffalo robes closer around us, and jogged on, talking andlaughing away the time, inattentive to the signs of the storm whichwas rapidly gathering. A few flakes of snow began to descend, and thesun became suddenly obscured. We were now sensible that a snow stormof unusual violence was fast approaching, and we laid whip to ourhorses, in the hope of reaching the shelter afforded by a spot oftimbered ground, about eight miles distant. The tempest however hadalready burst upon us in all its fury; large snow-flakes came whirlingand eddying about our heads, which were caught up by the wind beforethey could fall to the earth;—darkness and confusion increased everymoment, and in half an hour it was impossible to see ten paces beforeus. Our horses now became blind and ungovernable, some dashing awaywith their riders across the prairies, heedless of what direction theytook, and others taking a firm and immoveable position with theirheads opposite to the wind and refusing to stir an inch. Of course,all of us became soon separated. It was of no use to call out to eachother, for our voices were drowned in the roar of the tempest, andcould not be heard twenty steps. In this emergency I dismounted frommy steed, and leaving him to his fate, endeavored to keep myself warmby vigorous exercise. Blinded and chilled by the wind and snow, Istumbled forward, groping my way in darkness, and regardless of theroute which I took. At length, having proceeded some distance, Itumbled headlong into a deep ravine filled with snow, from which, withall my efforts, enfeebled as I was by fatigue, I was unable toextricate myself. After some rest and many unavailing trials, I atlength crawled out, and perceiving at some little distance a kind ofshelter formed by an overhanging rock, I immediately sought it, andwrapping my cloak and blanket around me, sat down in no enviable mood,contemplating my forlorn and apparently hopeless condition. Afterremaining in the ravine about two hours, the fury of the stormsubsided, when on making a careful examination I discovered a place inthe bank which was of comparatively easy ascent, and accordinglysucceeded in gaining the level prairies. I looked around for myunfortunate companions, but no vestige of them was to be seen. Thesnow lay piled up in ridges several feet high, and the wind thoughconsiderably abated, continued to throw its light particles into suchdense masses or clouds as to intercept the view beyond a shortdistance. There was a kind of hillock or mound in the prairie, about ahalf mile off, to which I directed my steps in the hope that from itssummit I might make some discovery, and I was not disappointed. Ithought that I saw a few hundred yards distant, the whole of my partycollected together, and I instantly turned to join them. Guess myastonishment, however, when in lieu of my unfortunate comrades, Irecognized my horse standing all benumbed and shivering with cold, incompany with a few old buffalo bulls. I approached very near beforethey saw me, but on reaching out my hand to seize my horse's bridle,the buffaloes took to flight, and whether it was that my horse being aregular hunter, followed them from habit, or clung to them in thepresent instance as companions in misfortune, I do not know,—but soit was that he scampered off with the rest, and by his ill timeddesertion greatly aggravated my distress. I was now thirty miles