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UNITY AND VARIETY.
GRAVELY to admonish the youthful aspirant after happiness on his first entrance into life, or the lover who awaits with anxious and expectant thoughts the promised interview, that there is no certainty of happiness in this sublunary vale--that all is mutability, all is vanity--will neither abate his ardour nor convince his mind. In reality, is all in this world is not change," as Crabbe justly observes in his dedication of the “ Tales of the Hall.” There is a unity in variety. Six thousand years have nearly elapsed, and yet we have a constant recurrence of the same objects. The motions of the heavenly bodies, and the rotations and diurnal movements of this our own fair-looking sphere, have been ever the same.
Nor do animals differ. The whale of the present day may, for aught we know, be the same creature as the behemoth or leviathan of Scripture; or if that latter animal were the crocodile, we have crocodiles yet in existence, although they now learn to seize their prey without tears. The bones of the mammoth, which name importeth “ animal of the earth,” discovered by a Siberian fisherman on the banks of some river in that frightful region, do, indeed, rise up to terrify us, as they present to our view the hideous structure of some antediluvian animal which holds no affinity with the present orders of created existence. And in our own country we have been recently horrified by the discovery of certain caves in Yorkshire, containing the bones of elephants, tigers, and hyænas. In all this there is a variety in unity. We have learned, also, to vary, our opinions respecting the external aspect of the earth. Ye Andes, " hide your diminished heads.". Had Messrs. Humboldt and Bompland estimated the exact height of the Himalayan mountains, they might have spared themselves the toil and exertion of ascending 19,000 feet to dance on the summit of Chimborazo or of Cotopaxi. - After this, what may we not hope, when we have removed the Cordilleras from their fancied eminence, and placed our aneient classical friend Caucasus in their room. But, in reality, nature never varies from herself; she is always another, yet the same. The "everlasting hills”. have stood for ages; and the feline race have the same qualities, and inhabit the same regions, as their ancestors of the olden time possessed, although a Mexican tiger may occasionally find
into the woods of North America, or a wolf peep in, at the gates of Paris. n. As in the natural, so it is in the moral world. Man varies but little; whether a descendant of Shem, Ham, or Japheth ; whether he has a white, a copper, or an olive complexion ; or whether he is an Albino, if such a race there be, it matters little; as he bears the human form, he partakes of many of the human qualities. We speak this with due reverence to the sage observation of Shakspeare, in place of which we would the more readily adopt that of Terence, very inapplicable, albeit, to the crowds who visited the gladiatorial arena of old Rome. Love, and fear, and jealousy, and revenge, and a host of other passions, perform their respective parts in the great drama; yet where have they ever differed from their counterparts at remoter ages of the world? Did not Berenice display the same heroic fortitude as Arria, though on a different occasion ?' Of Cleopatra, of Messalina, of Zoe, may not the same opinion be formed? In the view of the historian, as well as that of posterity, the Egyptian queen, the Roman empress, and the Greek prinW. L. M. VOL. I. NO. II.
cess, will bear the same estimation. In all this there is nothing new, exclaims the impatient observer ; and we join him in the exclamation ; but, gentle reader, if you will condescend to examine the subject with closer eyes, you will find much that is new-much that you have overlooked. Do
you live in the country, and are you, daily accustomed to view the scenery of nature, to you, perhaps, too common to be interesting? Deign in your next excursion to pause a moment, and contemplate it anew. You will, perhaps, find that your daily view of the same prospect will vary more than you had anticipated. New appearances present themselves, former ones disappear. You tread not the same earth ; you view not the same skies. The fleecy clouds you saw yesterday have vanished, and others of a more sombre aspect have supplied their place. The landscape of yesterday exists not to-day--the face of nature is changed. Are you in the crowded city pent,” you must have looked with an incurious eye, on the beings with whom you associate, if you have not found that many of them are of camelion hue. Many propose to themselves objects of pursuit, which they never do pursue ; and others waste a great portion of their lives in anxious endeavours to attain a something, which, when attained, they know they shall not be able to enjoy. A gentleman of the latter class, with whom I am acquainted, a Mr. Carpent, engaged during half a life in laborious commercial pursuits, has now retired from business with an ample fortune, and, distrusting the funds, employs himself in building houses. He rises early in the morning, eats while he is walking about and directing his workmen, hurries from his bricklayers to his masons, and never stays above five minutes at any house at which he calls. One family are at dinner; Mr. Carpent sits down, eats a morsel, but immediately rises, recollecting that business requires him in another quarter. He runs out of the house with part of the good cheer in his hand, and hastens to the place of destination, calling on another family by the way, among whom he performs the same part. In the evening he calculates, arranges, and directs; retires to bed early, and rises at four o'clock in the winter, and two in summer, to renew with indefatigable assiduity his accustomed game of life. His friends represent to him to no purpose, that he injures his health in the decline of life by such continued agitation ; that he should allow himself repose, and attend to the duties of religion,
and seek to acquire a calmness of mind more befitting old age. Mr. Carpent replies, that he is not irreligious, but he has no time to devote to other pursuits. One object alone occupies his thoughts. He has no wishes to fulfil, but to see his unfinished houses completed, -nor any desire to gratify, but that of the erect on of
Thus have I endeavoured to shew, that while there is a constant unity in all terrestrial things, there is also considerable variety. The complaint that “there is nothing new under the sun," is therefore true in kind, but not in degree; and man, if he knows his best interests, and attends to the solid duties of life, will be able to derive much pleasure from that variety which is continually diversifying the constant uniformity of nature and of art.
THE CONFESSIONS OF A BLUE BAG. I LATELY went to consult with an old friend, a chamber counsel in the Temple, whose judgment being matured by much experience of the world, I find his opinion extremely valuable even in matters unconnected with his profession. As he was engaged when I arrived at his chambers, I was shewn into his anti-room, where, among other old-fashioned furniture, I noticed an arm-chair with a high cane back, surmounted with two knobs, on one of which a law-bag was suspended. I drew the seat with its appendage rather near to the fire, and resting my feet on the fender, and reclining in the chair, what with the warmth of the situation, the somnolence of my posture, and the darkness of the room, which looked into a narrow court, it is very probable that I dropt asleep; though what passed in my mind seemed to bear the impress of wakeful reality. I thought that as my ear came in contact with the string of the bag, I heard myself addressed in a small and hollow voice—“ Mister-Sir-lend me your ears, if you please;" and on looking towards the spot whence the sound proceeded, I observed the mouth of the bag to be in motion. I immediately became all attention, and listened to the following narrative, which was delivered with something of a forensic emphasis.
“ As I am now hanging by a very frail thread, and expect whenever that gives way, to be handed over to the piece-broker for dissection, it seems incumbent upon me, before I bid adieu to my present abode, to make my confessions; and I think myself happy, Mr. Merton, in having such a medium as yourself”—I begged him to spare my editorial modesty.—“ Well, Sir,” continued the Bag, “ I have come to this determination, in deference to the eminent examples of this kind, with which the world has of late been so wonderfully edified. Those confessions must be my apology as they shall be my precedents, excepting only that I shall adhere to the facts of my case, and state them as briefly as possible, under existing circumstances.
“ I am descended of the Woollens, an ancient and a numerous family, many of whom have held high appointments in the public offices, and have been intrusted with more state secrets than perhaps are known even to the keeper of his Majesty's conscience. But our reputation, Sir, is too well established to require any eulogium from me.
The hardness of the times, however, rendered it necessary for myself and others of the family to be sent up to this town for the purpose of making a provision for ourselves : and after' two or three removes, we thought ourselves comfortably settled in the house of a robe-maker in Chancery Lane. But alas ! as if to shew the vanity of sublunary security, in one fatal hour I was eruelly severed from all my nearest and dearest ties. Those fine cords which united me to a long line of Woollens, were cut, once and for ever, and I found myself cut out for the profession of the law. The stupor which came upon me after this calamity, rendered me quite insensible to all that passed around me, but after a short interval, I recovered my consciousness sufficiently to perceive that I had undergone an entire transformation; that I had become possessed of a string, of an inside and an outside; that I had a mouth susceptible of extension, and a capacity of no contemptible dimensions. In a word, that instead of being a mere piece of stuff, I was a Bag.
“ I now felt agitated with a variety of new emotions, I panted to have my capacity exerted to the utmost, and to become the depository of legal
knowledge. Nor was it long before I had the happiness to change the idle inanity which I was doomed awhile to endure on the shelf of the robe-maker's shop, for the service of a young gentleman, who having duly eaten his way, had just been called to the bar. I arrived at his chambers soon after the arrival of his new gown and wig, in which he was no sooner attired, than pulling hold of me by the cord, with the familiarity of an old acquaintance, he strutted and fourished about with me before his looking-glass, mightily pleased with his own appearance, for the completeness of which I must confess that I think he was not a little indebted to me. I felt as you may suppose, Sir, all impatience to be filled with legal lore, but when the morning came, a most woful disappointment awaited me: after having my mouth opened wide enough to admit a whole library, I received nothing more than a volume of Term Reports, the last number of the Quarterly, a note-book, and a few fair sheets of foolscap. Intrusted with these, I was taken to Westminster, , handed in and out of the courts ; up and down the spacious and magnificent hall; and then brought back to chambers at night, during a whole Term, and the sittings after it, without any other incident than being occasionally opened and shut for the egress and ingress of the aforesaid Review. My second Term was marked by no variation, except the receipt and discharge of a common motion-paper, which brought half-aguinea to my master's pocket, but added little to my information.
“ The Winter Assizes were now approaching, and I hoped for better fortune on the Circuit.—We went the Norfolk Circuit—but here again disappointment awaited me. Judge what must be the mortification of a Bag desiring to be filled with the choicest stores of legal reading, finding itself crammed to repletion with a Barrister's gown, and all and singular his wearing apparel. Never did I more regret that I had not a tongue proportioned to my mouth; then should I have remonstrated with becoming loudness and severity, on the indignities to which I was subjected. However, I was presently relieved from these odious commodities, and tolerably well filled with odd volumes of law, with which I was paraded about from town to town until we reached that at which the circuit was to terminate. I now began to despair of ever having the honour to hold a brief,' and so, I believe, did my poor master,
“ But, as his good fortune would have it, he happened to have some connexions in the neighbourhood of this town, who having an ejectment cause for trial, had directed a brief to be delivered to him, accompanied with a handsome fee. As such an event was an entire novelty to him, he sat up nearly the whole of the preceding night to put himself into possession of the case, and to fortify himself with authorities in its support. The next morning was the proudest of my life. The brief, enriched with annotations, was treasured up within me, and, moved with delight at the confidence reposed in me, I swang about with an elasticity which added a wonderful importance to the air of my master, who entered the court where civil causes were tried, as if he had been big with the fate of Cæsar and of Rome.' When the cause of · Doe on the demise of Goodtitle versus No-title,' was called on, Sergeant Slinky, who was to lead, did not appear in court, the officer was sent to the Crown-court to see if he were there, and messengers were despatched to the neighbouring taverns in quest of him : but no Sergeant Slinky could be found. At length, the court, growing impatient with delay, it devolved upon my master to proceed with the cause. Notwithstanding he was completely master of it,
and we really had the right side of the question, he stood aghast, and looked as if he knew nothing about the matter His hands trembled and roved about, he knew not whither, until, fortunately for his client, and for the purposes of justice, he caught hold of me by the cord, which he no sooper grasped, than he recovered himself so far as to look his Lordship in the face, and make him a respectful bow; upon which, receiving a gracious nod of encouragement—which all our judges are wont to bestow upon the diffident Tyro-he proceeded to say, - May it please your Lordship, and gentlemen of the jury'-a-hem. Then twisting the string into a true lover's knot, he was imboldened to proceed. This he did slowly enough at first, still holding my cord very tightly, and twisting it into all sorts of quirls and contortions. At last he grew bolder, and holding me by one hand only, he began to lash the desk before him as the furor of his eloquence approached; by which exercise he raised no little dust from the row of all-important wigs within the bar. Towards the conclusion of his address he grew so violent and impassioned, that, in a hapless moment, he let go my string altogether, and down I fell to the ground. By the fall I received a severe contusion; but that was nothing compared with the kicks I received from my master. Think what must have been my feelings, Mr. Merton, on being thus ungratefully and indignantly degraded, kicked, trampled upon, literally used by the man I had so signally befriended, at his utmost need ;' used, Sir, to wipe his
“ It is my misfortune, with all my capacity, to have a very slender memory; could I now recall one half the learning 1 have, in my time possessed, I might defy the competition of the most profound of our lawyers; but so it has ever been with me, that no sooner was my mouth opened, and myself turned topsy-turvy, than my whole fund of acquirements came pouring out, leaving me as flat and as empty as if I had never been master of a syllable. But the treatment of that hour I shall never forget : indeed I cannot. In it I lost the freshness of youth and beauty, and received the germs of those rents and ruptures which time has too effectually helped to widen; until I am reduced to that last stage of wretchedness, and tatters, which renders me daily apprehensive of being discarded by my present owner. Thenceforward I no longer felt any interest in the service of one who had so grossly abused and assaulted me.
It is true, he raised my drooping form from the ground, and brushed the dust from me, when he had gained his cause; but these attentions came too late I held both him and them in detestation. I gave myself up to revenge, determined to gratify it let the cost be whatever it might.
[To be continued.]
EDDA. In the Edda, the sacred book of the Danes, the punishment of the wicked is thus described :-" There is an abode remote from the sun, the gates of which face the north; poison rains there through a thousand openings ; this place is all composed of the carcasses of serpents; there run certain torrents in which are plunged the perjurers, assassins, and those who seduce unarmed women; a black dragon flies incessantly around, and devours the bodies of the wretched who are there imprisoned.