Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

“copy," &c.

But see

ing public and of those great profit-absorb- and you will hardly believe how much the ing whirlpools the circulating libraries,- anxiety lest another translation should get in short all possible causes of diminished the start of us can shake the stoutest of sale on the one hand ; and on the other translating hearts. The names of Lindauhand the forestalling spirit of competition Methusalem Müller-Dr. Spieker-Von among the translation-jobbers—bidding Halem--and Loz t sound awfully in the over each other's heads as at an auction, ears of us gentlemen of the trade. And where the translation is knocked down to now, alas ! as many more are crowding him that will contract for bringing his into this Quinquevirate. wares soonest to market ; ;-hearing all this, Should it happen that the recent versions Sir Walter, you will perceive that our old of your works had not entirely satisfied German proverb " Eile mit Weile," (i. e. your judgment, and that mine of Wallad(Festina lente, or the more haste, the less mor had, I would in that case esteem speed) must in this case, where haste hap- myself greatly flattered by your again pens to be the one great qualification and sending me through the house of B-a sine-qua-non of a translator, be thrown al- copy of the manuscript of your next rotogether into the shade by that other pro. mance; in provision for which case I do verb_“ Wer zuerst kommt mahlt zuerst here by anticipation acknowledge my obli. (First come first served).

gations to you ; and in due form of law I for my part, that I might not lie so bind myself over wholly at the mercy of this tyrant-Haste, 1. To the making good all expences of struck out a fresh path-in which you, Sir, were so obliging as to assist me.

2. To the translation of both prose and what new troubles arise out of this to the verse according to the best of my poor unhappy translator. The world pretends abilities; that your eminent name may not to doubt whether the novel is really yours : fall into discredit through the translator's people actually begin to talk of your friend incompetence. Washington Irving as the author, and God 3. To all possible affection, friendship, knows whom beside. As if any man, respect, &c. in so far as, and according as, poets out of the question, could be sup- you yourself shall be pleased to accept of posed capable of an act of self-sacrifice any or all of these from so severe as that of writing a romance in

The Translator of Walladmor. 3 vols, under the name of a friend.

Now for the novel itself: but to All this tends to drive us translators to utter despair. However I, in my garret, the nature of the leading interest

prepare the reader, we shall first state comfort myself by exclaiming “ Odi pro- which is derived from the following fanum," if I cannot altogether subjoin

-“ et arceo." From your obliging dis case:-A young man of uncertain paposition, Sir Walter, I anticipate the gra- rentage, having been stolen when an tification of a few lines by the next post infant, and brought up among smug, establishing the authenticity of Wallad- glers,-of an aspiring and energetic mor. Should these lines even not be duly character, but depressed by circumcertified “ coram notario duobusque testi- stances, seeks in vain to raise himself bus,” yet if transmitted through the em- from that humblerank which the style bassy--they will sufficiently attest their own of his mind makes him feel as a degralegitimacy as well as that of your youngest dation. Hence à gloomy discontent, child Walladmor.

Notwithstanding what I have said about and hatred of social institutions : with haste, I fear that haste has played me a trick the native dignity of his own chahere and there. The fact is-we are in racter he combines a good deal of dread of three simultaneous translations of false dignity, as might be expected Walladmor from three different publishers: from the style of associations-upon

* Oh! spirit of modern scepticism, to what shocking results art thou leading us ! Already have Lycurgus, Romulus, Numa, &c. been resolved into mere allegorized ideas. And a learned friend has undertaken to prove, within the next 50 years, according to the best rules of modern scepsis, that no such banker as Mr. Rothschild ever existed ; that the word Rothschild in fact was nothing more than a symbolic expression for a habit of advancing loans at the beginning of the 19th century: which indeed the word itself indicates, if reduced to its roots. I should not be surprized to hear that some man had un. dertaken to demonstrate the non-existence of Sir Walter Scott: already there are symptoms abroad : for the mysterious author of Waverley has in our own days been detected in the persons of so many poets and historians the most opposite to each other, that by this time his personality must have been evaporated and volatilized into a whole synod of men.-- Note of the Dedicator.

+ Names of persons who have translated one or more of Sir Walter Scott's novels into Gerinan.

a

which his early 'misfortunes had gazetteers of two centuries back, thrown him: a gradual recklessness when Liverpool was not—and Manof character succeeds: and he at- chester, &c. as yet in ovo. tempts to obtain as a smuggler or pirate the distinctions which he had Perhaps the reader may still remember vainly sought in more honourable the following article in the Times newspaths. In the course of his wild paper, which about a year or two ago raised adventures, which afford continual a powerful interest in our Southern capital: exercise to the hardihood and ro

“ BRISTOL.—Yesterday the inhabitants mantic address of character,—whilst of this city were witnesses to a grand but lying hid in a wood he sees

afflicting spectacle from the highlands of

the coast. The steam-vessel, Halcyon, from young woman of great beauty riding the Isle of Wight, and bound to the north past.

To her he becomes pas coast of Wales, was suddenly in mid-chansionately devoted: and before she nel — when not a breath of wind ruffled the is aware of his character or con surface of the sea-driven into our bay” nexions, he persuades her, though a (the bay of Bristol !). “ Scarcely had she young woman of family and distinc- rounded the point of Cardowa” (q. Cartion, by the lofty air of his manners

diff ?)” when we beheld a column of smoke and sentiments into clandestine meet- rising; and in a moment after a dreadful ings; and finally wins her affec- report echoed from the mountains made tions. Afterwards she comes to hear

known that the powder magazine was blown something more of his character, The barks, which crowded to the spot

up, and the ship shattered into fragments. though not the whole; is shocked; from all quarters, found only floating spars; and suffers much in mind: but at and were soon compelled to return by the length, her love predominating and coming-on of a dreadful hurricane. Of knowing that he was unfortunate and the whole crew, and of sixty passengers persecuted, she tells him—that, if he (chiefly English people returning from will wash out the stains upon his France), not one is saved. It is said that a name, “ her heart shall remember prisoner, of atrocious character, was aboard only his misfortunes.”

the Halcyon. We look with the utmost But he, who knows that all hope anxiety for the next accounts of this meof retrieving his character is lost,

lancholy event.” grows desperate and frantic; for any England, this account was confirmed in its

To the grief of some noble families in chance of rising to a level with the

most dreadful circumstances. Some days woman he loves, is ready to con after the bodies of Lord W***, and of Sir nect himself with the most criminal 0.

(that distinguished ornament enterprises; and finally becomes a for so long a period of the House of Comparty in the Cato-street conspiracy: mons ") were found upon the rocks. So whilst the young lady, who never much were they disfigured, that it was with abates in her love for him, is preyed difficulty they were recognized. And thus upon by grief and ill health. This is did an English sea take vengeance upon the nature of the presiding interest.

her sons for their long and wilful expatria

tion. Both parties are still in early youth at the opening of the novel; the of the Halcyon a young man, who gazed

On that day there stood upon the deck young man being about twenty-four.

on the distant coasts of Wales apparently The novel opens with the follow- with deep emotion. From this reverie he ing scena; which, as all overtures

was suddenly roused as the ship whirled should, prefigures as it were and ab- round with a hideous heaving. He turned, stracts the prevailing character of as did all the other passengers who had the music throughout the piece. The been attracted on deck by the beauty of the reader must continually bear in mind evening, to the man at the helm. He was that the author is writing in the per- in the act of stretching out his arms to the son of Sir W. Scott; our Southern centre of the ship, whence a cloud of smoke capital” therefore in the first sen

was billowing upwards in voluminous tence of what follows, means London

surges : the passengers turned pale: the

sailors began to swear: “ It's all over!” -or possibly Bristol ; the relative

they shouted : importance of which city amongst huzza ! let's have some sport as long as he

“old Davy has us. So English towns the Germans greatly leaves us any day-light.”. Amidst an upoverrate, drawing their estimate from roar of voices the majority of the crew

• Alas! for poor Sir 0

-! How soon we have all forgot him !

English Revitrine.

rushed below ; stove in the brandy-casks; therefore to an armistice. Each kept his drank every thing they could find ; and hold by his right hand reach raised his paid no sort of regard to the clamorous left aloft, and shouted for succour. But outcries of the passengers for help! help! they shouted in vain ; for the storm ad, except that here and there a voice replied vanced, as if it heard and were summoned -Help? There is no help: Old Nick by the cry; the sky was black and porten, will gulp us all; so let us gulp a little tously lurid ; thunder now began to roll : comfort first.

and the waves, which had hardly moved The master of the vessel, who retained before the explosion, raised their heads most presence of mind, hurried on deck, crested with foam more turbulently at but not for any purpose of saving lives, every instant. “ It is in vain,” said the With his sabre he made a cut at the ropes second man, “ Heaven and Earth are which suspended the boat : and, as he against us: one or both of us must perish : passed the young man already mentioned, Messmate, shall we go down together p” who in preparation for the approaching At these words the wild devil all at once catastrophe had buckled about his person a left loose of the barrel, by which means small portmanteau and stood ready to leap the other, who had not anticipated this into the boat, with a blow of his fist he movement, lost his balance and was sink. struck him overboard. All this was the ing. His antagonist made use of this mo. work of a few minutes.

ment. He dashed at the sinking man's The young man becomes insensi- throat—in order to drag him entirely under ble: and, on reviving finds himself the water ; but he caught only his neck, floating on the sea : the ship is gone: other thus murderously assaulted, on find,

handkerchief, which luckily gave way. The the death-cry is over : nothing remains but a few spars in the distance: his time, and sprang upon the barrel ;

ing himself at liberty for an instant, used but the air is no longer asleep, the and just as his desperate enemy was haglassy mirror is no longer calm : the zarding a new attack, in a death-struggle waves are gathering and swelling he struck him with his clenched fist upon as for a storm: and the reader is the breast: the wild man threw up his aware that a second plunge is pre- arms; groaned ; sank back ;--and the paring into the terrific. At a little waves swallowed him up." distance he sees a barrel, sometimes Now then having mounted our hid beneath waves—sometimes rid- young man upon his barrel, and ading aloit; and to this he makes with vanced him the sole command of all his strength. Then the scene goes this valuable vessel which refuses to on thus :

carry double,--the reader will be Just as he was exhausted, he succeeded glad to know who he is. We are at in reaching the barrel.—But scarcely had liberty to tell him that his name (by he laid hold of the outermost rim with both his own account, given to a justice hands, when the barrel was swayed down of peace, in vol. ii. p. 174,), is Ed. from the opposite side.. A shipwrecked mund Bertram, and so we shall call man, whose long wet hair streamed down him for the future; and further, that over his face, fixed his nails, as it were the talons of an eagle, on the hoops of the he is (according to the general opibarrel ; and by the energy of his gripe-it nion of Germany and the design of seemed as though he would have pressed the author) the hero of the novel : them through the wood itself.--He was we indeed say No; he is only aware of his coinpetitor : and he shook his the pseudo-hero. No matter: hero, head wildly to clear the hair out of his eyes or not,the reader is glad that he is --and opened his lips, which displayed his victorious on account of the ferocious teeth pressed firmly together.

assault of the other man: but let “ No: though the d—1 himself,—thou him not be too sure that he is victomust down into the sea : for the barrel rious :-we have not done with the will not support both."

So speaking he shook the barrel with other fellow yet; he will be back such force that the young man, had he again in a moment: and here he not been struggling 'with death, would comes, have been pushed under water. Both In the moments of mortal agony and pulled at the barrel for some minutes, conflict human laws cease, for punishments without either succeeding in hoisting him- have lost their terrors : even higher laws self upon it.-In any further contest they are then silent. But, in the pauses of the seemed likely to endanger themselves or to struggle, the voice of conscience resumes sink together with the cask. They agreed its power,—and the heart of man again

*Old Nick, a name for the D-1 in the popular dialect ; especially the nautical dialect of England."-German Note.

relents. As Bertram went rocking over “ No: it was the first time in my life the waves numbed in body and exhausted that I was ever on shipboard." in spirits, all about him hideous gloom, and The other laughed. “ You don't know the fitful fashes of lightning serving but to it?” “ Well ! now I do: and I can tell you light up the great world of terrors,--his this : there's no manner of use in our plaguing inner voice was not so silenced but that he ourselves, and spending the last strength felt a pang of sorrow at the thought of we have in keeping ourselves afloat. I having destroyed the partner of his misfor- know this same sea as well as I know my tunes. A few minutes however had scarcely own country: and I know that no deliverpassed before he heard a groaning near ance is possible. There is not a spot of him. Happily at this instant a flash of shore that we can reach—not a point of lightning illuminated the surrounding tract rock big enough for a sea-mew; and the of water ; and he descried his antagonist only question for us is—whether we shall still fighting with the waves : he was hold. enter the fishes' maw alive or dead." ing by a spar-too weak to support his " It is still possible,” said the other weight, but capable of assisting him in “ that some human brother may come to swimming. His powers were apparently our assistance.” failing him, as he looked up to his more The other laughed again and said fortunate enemy: He stretched out his “ Human brother, eh? Methinks, my hand to him, and said :

friend, you should be rather young in this “ Stranger! show me this pity. All world of ours--and have no great acis over with me; or in a moment will be: quaintance with master man: I know the should you have a happier fate, take from animal: and you may take my word for it, my pocket-book this letter--and convey it that, on such a night as this, no soul will to the lady. Oh! if thou hast ever loved, venture out to sea.

What man of sense I beseech thce to do this : tell her that I would hazard his life--for a couple of raga. never ceased to think of her—that I thought muffins like you and me? and suppose he of her only when I was at the point of would, who knows but that it might be death : and, whatsoever I may have been worse to fall into the hands of some men of to man, that to her I have been most faith sense than into the tender mercies of the ful. With frantic efforts he strove to un sea ? But I know a trick worth two of that.” clasp his pocket-book : but could not suc “ Tell it then." ceed. Bertram was deeply touched by the “Let us leave fooling: This cask, on pallid and ghastly countenance of the man which I sit, to my knowledge contains (in whose features however there was a wild rum; or arrack; which is as good. We and licentious expression which could not can easily knock a hole in it; then make be mistaken); and he said to him : ourselves happy and bouzy-fling our arms

“ Friend below, if I should have better about each other like brothers, and go down luck, I will endeavour to execute your together to the bottom : after that, I think commission. Meantime I can swim ; and we shall neither trouble nor be troubled, I have now rested myself. Give me your for we shall hardly come up again, if we hand. You may come alofi, and I will toddle down groggy." take a turn in the waters until I am tired. Shocking! why that's suicide !” In this way, by taking turn about, possibly “ Well ! is your conscience so delicate both of us may be saved.”

and scrupulous ? However as you please : “ What!” cried the other_“ are you for any thing I care, and as you like it crazy ? Or are there really men upon this better, some dog of a fish may do for us earth such as books describe ?”

what we might as well have done for our

selves. But now come aloft, my darling, Bertram convinces him that he is in come aloft. I'll take my turn at swimearnest by assisting him to mount ming—as long as the state of things will the barrel, and descends himself into allow it; and wait for you below.” They the waves ; after which the scene changed situations. - But even upon the proceeds thus:

barrel, Bertram began to feel his powers

sinking. He clung as firmly as he could. Meanwhile the storm continued, and But the storm grew more and more terrific : the natural darkness of night was now and many times he grew faint in his wild blended with the darkness of tempest. descents from the summit of some mountAfter some minutes, the man, who was at ing wave into the yawning chasm below: present in possession of the barrel, began Nature is benign even in the midst of her thus :

terrors : and, when horrors have been ac“ You fool, below there, are you still cumulated till man can bear no more, then alive?”

his sufferings are relieved for a time by in“ Yes : but I am faint, and would wish sensibility. On awaking it is true that the to catch hold of the barrel again."

horrors will return; but the heart has gained “Catch away then :-Do you know any fresh strength to support them. thing of the sea hereabouts ?"

So it fared with Bertram, who continued

to grow fainter and fainter ; until at length dogs, peremptorily orders him to go in the midst of silent prayer he finally lost back : which he does : and, for a all consciousness.

hero, somewhat too tamely. She When Bertram next awakens, the again alarms him, when lying apscene is changed: the sea is no longer parently asleep, by attempting to raving in his ears: the wind is silent: strip his shirt sleeve above his elbow nothing is heard but the gentle flap- -for a purpose which the reader first ping of a pine tree fire: Bertram's understands when he comes to the senses begin to clear: he looks up, end of the novel. In the end howa and by the fitful gleams of the fire ever Bertram is put on board a smughe sees the rafters of a rude hut like gling brig commanded by a sort of a Highland shealing ; and at length Dirk Hatteraick (who does not howbecomes aware that he is lying in a ever support his brief part with much bed. The smoke, which disperses spirit), and soon after is put ashore at intervals, discovers to him an old in some part of Wales. But where? woman-of striking person and coun- Aye, where indeed? With all retenance-sitting near the fire. This spect for our German friend, we must person is styled Gillie Godber, and take the liberty of laughing a little at plays so conspicuous a part in the his theories on the subject of Wales novel, that we may as well at this and the Bristol Channel. Welsh point furnish the reader with the key hydrography and Welsh geography, to all that she does. About twenty- are not his fort. No Vincent will four years ago a son of hers, a strip- ever investigate Mr. Bertram's Periling of seventeen, had been connected plus of the Bristol Channel: no with a gang of smugglers; some of- Strabo (to borrow a pun from Dean fence, in which he had participated, Swift, which he is very welcome to made him liable to capital punish- have back again) will ever track our ment: and, in spite of his mother's stray beau through the principality. agony of intercession, he had actually To him, who would determine the suffered on the gallows — chiefly latitude and longitude of the place at through the agency of Sir Morgan which he is now put ashore, be it Walladmor: a circumstance in this known that the following are the congentleman's history, which is calcu- ditions of the problem. It is a place lated to give a false impression of his in South Wales; on the Bristol character; for he is really a kind- Channel ; not very far from Mancheshearted man to all sorts of people ter (which is stated to be on the borexcept smugglers and the readers of ders of Wales); near Bath and the Walladmor; the first of whom he is Isle of Anglesea ; and within an easy apt to hang when he can, and the morning's ride of Snowdon and Brislast he takes every opportunity of tol.-Well, we know all these places; boring. To this unhappy event suc even Manchester and her portico; ceeds a pitiable effect on the poor and very pleasant places they all are mother's mind : she is possessed by (though some of them rather smoky), a frenzy of grief, and an immitigable and very pleasant it is to us to see appetite for revenge; to which in so many old friends brought acdeed she dedicates her life; and Sir quainted with each other. HowMorgan has long suspected that in ever, all these things are trifles: and one instance she had very soon met our German friend is welcome to with an opportunity of gratifying her laugh in his turn at our geography vindictive appetite, and had not let it of the Hartz forest (which by the slip. Be that as it might—under way he does at p. 174, vol. ii.); for this terrific conflict of passion the we dare to say that it is to the full as poor woman's wits had unsettled ; absurd as his map of Wales. and she is frequently quite out of her On leaving the boat, he asks the mind. In her cottage Bertram, road to M* the nearest town; whilst supposed to be asleep, is wité and, just as it falls dark, sets off on ness to a dreadful spectacle; misin- a mountain-road which“ terpreting it, he is alarined for his dangerous in more respects than one" own safety; and the next morning -in quest of a lodging for the night; about sun-rise makes his escape: but s which according to the usages of Mrs. Gillie Godber, soon after appear- this country it was not likely that he ing behind him with a couple of bulle would find it easy to obtain, both be

appeared

« AnteriorContinuar »