Imágenes de páginas

the most promising of all apprentices, grees. It would be difficult to ascend and the genii, delighted at the pros- a stair at such an angle ; yet this pect, vanish in a blaze, with a strong young person, night after night, walks smell of sulphur. George is then seen up the terrific ascent, when the slightat his ledger; he is posting with a est false step, giddiness of head, or marvellous industry, and is evidently accidental agitation, must be her in a fair way of being a millionaire. death. If she fell she must be dashed But Millwood comes, buys some tea to pieces. The gazers in the pit, too, and sugar, gives him her card-a are in rather an uncomfortable posisquare of pasteboard a foot long-and tion; for, in its present crowded state, invites him to an evening party. she would probably kill several perGeorge shuts up his windows, dresses sons in her fall. This feat is regardhimself en beau, and sallies forth. The ed as the ne plus ultra of the profesparty are dancing quadrilles. Mill. sion, and which no one has accomplishwood asks whether he has brought his ed since Madame, a short, thick, little uncle's money with him, and the story lump of activity, who was the glory of proceeds in the old style to the end. Vauxhall some years ago. But the Then comes the fairy queen, turns all peril takes off all the pleasure, and no the characters into the dramatis per- one who saw it once would probably sone of harlequinade, and the tumb- ever desire to see it again. lings and transformations begin. Some of the scenery is striking, and, among the rest, the Parliament-House, after

VALENTINE'S DAY. Barry's' design, produces a forcible effect. Then come satirical touches Oy, love! terrific, tender love, at public life. Something expressive What plaguey work you make ! of the newspaper regulations turns From New-year's Day to New-year's Day into a boiling-pot, inscribed a mess of No rest you seem to take. rice. The papers are next measured And yet you're such a tiny thing. by his " superficial inch ” rule; and To wise men it seems odd each is vying with the other in size. That earth should truckle thus to thee, But Harlequin touches the Weekly Thou demi-semi-god. Despatch, and, by a very clever con

The day, of all the livelong year, trivance, it instantly spreads over the whole scene. Wyatt's masterly eques

On which you brightest shine,

Is February's fourteenth day, trian statue of George the Third is

Delicious Valentine. transformed into a man, which goes off firing a salute in honour of William O, then, what heaving of young hearts, the Fourth. Then comes an imitator What smiles, what swoons, and cries, of Rice, the American Jim Crow. If And rhymes of every kind and sort, this be the specimen of native talent And sighs of every size! which our brothers on the other side No day makes such a stir as this, of the Atlantic send as their represen- Not even King William's natal ; tative, we can have no great wish for Of all the fêtes, to Valentine new importations. Jim Crow is a Thy fête is the most fatal. miserable, ragged negro, who sings a

All other feasts are sinking fast, horrid tune to the lowest and most

But yours shall ne'er decline ; unmeaning of all possible jargons. If

And, oh! among read-letter days,

And there were humour of any kind in it,

What day can match with thine ? the vulgarity might, perhaps, be pardoned from the mouth of the wretch All now to love their homage pay, who roars; but it is utterly dull, and

From him that guides the plough, is merely a string of negro slang.

To him that guides the state : the King The pantomime closes with an extra

Himself's a courtier now. ordinary exhibition of strength, stea. Love leads poor mortals such a dance diness, and courage, yet one of the O'er hill, and vale, and plain : most painful exhibitions possible. A The world seems all one vast quadrilleMadame Irvine walks up a rope from The figure, ladies' chain. the back of the stage to the upper gal. This day is nature's grand court day, lery. The rope is scarcely thicker Where high and low you meet, than a man's wrist. The ascent is at The noble with his lady gayan elevation of nearly forty-five de- The beggar with his suite.

There's not a trade or mystery

counts for the simplest state of the But love finds means to bind ;

dream_that in which the mind, unThe oldest blacksmith at his forge

disturbed by either bodily pain or exFeels hammerously inclined.

ternal impulse, follows its own free Jack Ketch himself now dreads a noose

course of enjoyment; flies all round Surpassing his own art;

the world ; lives in the moon, the sun, The butcher feels, with strange surprise, the stars; plunges in the depths of That he has got a heart.

ocean ; gives serandas under the

wall of China, or sits under the perThe beasts are all in the same plight,

fumed groves of Ceylon. No theory The horse, the ass, the steer;

accounts for the existence of images to The lion finds his own true love,

the full as vivid as those of the waking The stag has got his deer.

senses, and much more vivid than The little mouse, though small he be,

those of memory, when the senses are Courts after his own fashion ;

wholly closed, and the body repreThe very mite's oblige to own

sents but a mass of helpless inaction. That love's a mity passion.

If memory is the sole agent, why is it And while Miss Grace invites her beau that the images of dreams have such With her to-day to wander,

superior clearness? If invention be The very goose whose quill she wields the sole agent, why is it that multiIs gone to meet her gander.

tudes who, in their waking hours, Since birds and beasts don't die for love,

have not the power of combining halfI think it were inhuman

a-dozen ideas together in the shape of If woman's heart I fail to move,

a story, and who would no more To dangle after woman.

think of fabricating an adventure than

they would of fabricating a palace, But, Cupid, if on me you shine,

yet follow idea after idea in all the I'm young, and yours for life;

windings of story every night of their I've done with fickle Valentine,

lives, and wander in the wildest and And anchor with a wife.

most curious adventure through every

region of the globe. The subject of dreams is one of the In casting contempt on the usual problems which continually attract theories, we have none of our own to and continually baffle human investi. replace them. The subject seems to gation. Every one dreams, yet no be totally beyond human knowledge, man solves the phenomena. Every and if we are to derive any concluman is conscious that the strangest sion from it, it is as to its evidence of imaginable deviations from the com- the power which the mind is capable mon things and thoughts of life pass of exercising when the view of exbefore him in sleep, yet the most phi. ternal things is totally shut out, when losophical are still totally at a loss to the mind is as completely as possible discover the cause, the instrument, or left to its own workings, and when its the law of those most singular, excit. delights, pains, and actions, must proing, and perpetually recurring mo- ceed almost wholly from its own contions of the mind. All attempts to stitution. account for them by peculiar actions Thus, if we find that the inactivity of the brain are idle. Who can see of the body in sleep has no effect on or know the actual state of the organ? the activity of the mind, if it does not All attempts to account for them by absolutely contribute to it, what is to association of ideas are equally idle. prevent us from conceiving that a still What does any man know even of more extreme state of inactivity, even the nature of that association ? Every death, would only free and invigorate theory which hopes to determine them the movement of the mind in a supeby external impulses has equally fail- rior degree? That the body is no more ed. That external impulses will oft- the man than the clothes are the man, en influence the dream is notorious; or than the house is the inhabitant, but this seems to occur only in an there can be no doubt whatever. The imperfect condition of slumber, when body is necessary to our communicathe senses are partly awake. That tion with the material world, and with bodily pain will influence them also our fellow men. But when the indithere is no doubt. Still this is an vidual shall have run his course in the imperfect condition, and on the verge world, and the law of nature, which is of waking. No theory hitherto ac. but the will of Providence, removes

him, there may be no more necessity the night, the dream occurred three for the death, or the insensibility of times without the least variation. He the mind, than there is for polar was now so much impressed by it, that clothing for a man transplanted to the he felt much inclined to give notice to tropics. In a state of being where Mr Percival, but was dissuaded by material objects surrounded him no some friends whom he consulted, who longer, there would be no more ne- told him he would only get himself cessity for the senses than there would treated as a lunatic. On the evening for eyes in a globe of utter darkness, of the eighth day after, he received the or lungs in air without an atmos. account of the murder, it having ocphere. But the mind may survive, curred two days previously. Being even on physical principles, and may, in London a short time subsequently, even from what we observe of its vi. he found in the print shops a represenvidness when unimpeded by the bodily tation of the scene, and recognised in organs, and the impressions of exter the countenances and dress of the parnal things, exhibit a much more in- ties, the blood on Mr Percival's waisttense vividness, when no longer re- coat, and the peculiar yellow basket quiring the connexion with the frame. buttons on Bellingham's coat, preBut the positive proof of the subsist cisely what he had seen in his dream. ence of the mind is to be derived only “ All this, I beg to repeat, I have from the Scriptures.

myself heard more than once circumA curious and amusing little vo- stantially related by Mr Williams, lume of Reminiscences by a Dr Car- who is still alive (February 1836) and lyon, formerly a Fellow of Pembroke residing at Calstock, Devon, and who, College, and since practising as a phy. I am sure, from his obliging disposisician, has led into this topic, by de- tion, would be most ready to corrobotailing the extraordinary dream of the rate the wonderful history to its full death of the Prime Minister Mr Per- extent. cival. This dream is different from “ I have compared this account of the vague sportings of the mind, and Dr Abercrombie's with a manuscript, implies a higher influence. It has which Mr Hill, a barrister and grandbeen already narrated by Dr Aber son of Mr Williams, was lately kind crombie, but it is here given with a enough to give me, and which records more direct reference to original and the particulars of this most strange corroborating authority.

dream in the words in which he heard « The dream in question occurred in it related by his grandfather. There Cornwall, and the gentleman to whom is very little, and no material variait occurred was Mr Williams, late of tion. Mr Hill states, that Mr WilScourier House, from whose own lips liams heard the report of the pistol, I have more than once heard the rela- saw the blood fly out and stain the tion.

waistcoat, and saw the colour of the - Six days before the murder of the face change." late Mr Percival (of whom he had no He likewise mentions, that, “ on the personal knowledge whatever), Mr day following the dream, he went to Williams dreamt that he was in the Godolphin, with Messrs Robert W. lobby of the House of Commons, and Fox, and his brother Mr Wm. Wilsaw a small man enter dressed in a liams, and on his return home inblue coat and white waistcoat. Im- formed them of the dream, and of the mediately after he saw a man dressed uneasiness of his mind on the subject, in a brown coat with yellow basket uneasiness in a great measure arising metal buttons, draw a pistol from from his doubts about the propriety of under his coat, and discharge it at the announcing a dream which had made former, who instantly fell, the blood so great an impression upon himself, issuing from a wound a little below to the friends of Mr Percival : but he the left breast. He saw the murderer allowed himself to be laughed out of seized by some gentlemen who were any such intention." present, and observed his counten- If we ask to what purpose an inti. ance, and on asking who the gentle- mation was given, if it were from a man was that had been shot, he was higher source, yet given in vain, the told that it was the Chancellor of the answer can be only human ignorance Exchequer. He then awoke, and of the purpose ; and there the matter mentioned the dream to his wife who ends. The narrator, and the testi. made light of it; but in the course of mony to the narrator, are both alive, and still to be questioned by those female, and to her kindness and care who will.

I believe I owe what remains to me In the late Sir H. Davy's “ Conso- of existence; my despondency gralations in Travel," there is a charac- dually disappeared, and though my teristic description of his state of mind health continued weak, life began to under peculiar circumstances. “ About possess charms for me which I thought a quarter of a century ago," he says, were for ever gone, and I could not “ I contracted that terrible form of help identifying the living angel with typhus fever, known by the name of the vision which had appeared as my jail fever, while engaged in a plan for guardian genius during the illness of ventilating one of the great prisons of my youth.' the metropolis. My illness was se- Lord Brougham, in his notes on Pavere and dangerous. As long as the ley's Natural Theology, in allusion to fever continued, my dreams of deli. the extraordinary rapidity with which rium were most painful. But when images rise before the mind in sleep, the weakness consequent, and ex. in other words, the extraordinary omishaustion came on; and when the pro- sion of the measures of space and time, bability of death seemed to my phy- thus illustrates the principle-“ Let sician greater than that of life, there any one, who is extremely overpowerwas an entire change in all my ideal ed with drowsiness, as after sitting up combinations. I remained in an ap all night, and sleeping none the next parently senseless or lethargic state. day, lie down and begin to dictate ; But in fact, my mind was peculiarly he will find himself falling asleep af. active. There was always before me ter uttering a few words. And he the form of a beautiful woman with will be awakened by the person who whom I was engaged in the most in writes repeating the last word, to teresting and intellectual conversation. show that he has written the whole. I was passionately in love at that time, Not above five or six seconds may but with no ideal being. The object elapse, and yet the sleeper will find it of my real admiration was a lady with quite impossible to believe that he has black hair, dark eyes, and pale com- not been asleep for hours, and he will plexion. The spirit of my vision, on chide the amanuensis for having fallen the contrary, had brown hair, blue asleep over his work. So great apeyes, and bright rosy complexion, parently will be the length of his dream, and was, as far as I can recollect, un extending through half a lifetime. like any of the forms which had so The experiment is easily tried. Again often haunted my imagination; the and again the sleeper will find his end. figure, for many days, was so distinct less dream renewed, and he may easiin my mind, as to form almost a ly be enabled to tell in how short a visual image. As I gained strength, time he must have performed it. For, the visits of my good angel, for so I suppose eight or ten seconds required called it, became less frequent. And to write the four or five words dictawhen I was restored to health they ted, sleep could hardly begin in less were discontinued."

than four or five seconds after pro“ Ten years after I had recovered nouncing the sentence ; so that, at the from the fever, and when I had almost utmost, not more than four or five lost the recollection of the vision, it seconds could have been spent in sleep. was recalled to my memory by a very But indeed the greater probability is, blooming and graceful girl fourteen or that not above a single second can fifteen years old, whom I accidentally have so passed. For a writer will met during my travels ; but I cannot easily finish two words in a second ; say that the impression made upon my and supposing he has to write four, mind by her was very strong. Here and half the time is consumed in fallcomes the extraordinary part of the ing asleep, one second only is the dunarrative. Twenty years after my ration of the dream, which yet seems first illness, at a time when I was ex- to last for years, so numerous are the ceedingly weak from a severe malady, images which compose it." which for many weeks threatened my This, however, is an extreme case. life, and when my mind was almost in The impressions on the mind in that a desponding state, being in a course state of drowsiness which arises from of travels ordered by my medical ad- overwatching are generally so convisers, I again met the person who fused as scarcely to exhibit any distinwas the representative of my visionary guishable succession of images. There




is no story, no capacity of reference the nightmare, what visions of flight, to space and time. All is a chaos, wo, and wandering rise before the feverish, cloudy, and unimaginative. inward eye, in any stagnation of the The true and interesting dream is that veins! What a world of darkness, which arises from healthful action, bloodshed, robbery, pursuit, and pain, composed thoughts, and in that period is created by a thing so simple as an of the sleep when the frame is begin- uneasy posture. ning to recover from the exhaustion B ut Mr Carlyon shrewdly remarks of the day, and is refitting its powers on another unexpected evil which may for the day to come.

arise from too frequent a use of this

faculty-" It is certain, from the fact “ Thus morning dreams, as poets tell, are

that persons are seldom, if ever, contrue."

scious of having talked in their sleep, The succession of images is then ha- that dreams often take place without bitually drawn, the story wrought being remembered by us. This may, with more ingenuity, the horrors of now and then, lead to very awkward the earlier part of the night disap- discoveries. pear, and the adventure becomes fre- . “ I was, at one time of my profesquently interesting, picturesque, and sional life, in frequent attendance upon beautiful, in a remarkable degree. a gentleman subject to attacks of gout, Like the visions of Prospero's isle, who talked a great deal in his sleep ; “ This we do weep to dream again."

, and his man-servant, who often sat

up by him at night, gave me such acA dream of the well-known Dr Dod- counts of his master's talk as would dridge offers a striking illustration of have led to any thing but pleasant rethe finely inventive fancy of slumber sults, if the secrets of the pillow had He thought that his spirit had sud- been allowed further to transpire. denly departed from his frame. After There are few physcians who could various adventures preparatory to a not unfold tales of this kind; but they final state of happiness, he was led to are not confined to the gouty. Let an apartment surrounded with pic- the love-sick damsel beware who octures; which he found to contain the cupies a bed in the same room with history of his whole life. The most her. I once heard a lady boast, as I remarkable incidents were represented thought with very bad taste, of having in the most lively manner. The trials discovered a female friend's secret in to which he had been exposed, toge- the following way :—They lay in the ther with the signal instances of the same room, and in the course of the Divine goodness to him at such pe- night her friend divulged in her sleep riods, excited the strongest emotions, the name of a lover respecting whom especially when he recollected that he no suspicion had previously existed. was now out of the reach of human Good feeling, doubtless, required that trial. The ecstasy of joy into which no allusion should have been made, dithose reflections threw him was so rectly or indirectly, to such a circumgreat, that it awoke him. But the im- stance. But, on the contrary, a fapression remained so vivid for a con- vourable opportunity was ungeneroussiderable time after awaking, that the ly taken to put the poor dreamer to tears flowed down his cheeks, and he dire confusion, by an unexpected alsaid that on no other occasion did he lusion to what she previously believed remember to have felt sentiments of to have been confined to her own delight equally strong

breast.” It is perfectly certain from all the phenomena, that the state of the frame Cobbett, of whom the world has so is capable of powerfully influencing happily got rid at last, was the most the nature of the dream. That di- notorious performer of his time in the sease, wounds, accidental pressure, art of contradicting to-day what he uneasiness of position, or indigestion, said yesterday. His regular plea on can give a sudden and direct character such occasions was, that he was only to the dream ; they, in fact, strike the wiser to-day than he was yesterday ; key-note ; but the difficulty remains, the true reading would have been, that of accounting for the instant and keen he was baser. But, as every thing in susceptibility with which the mind this march-of-mind age improves, Cobadopts, and composes in that strain. bett has left behind him professors of What wild horrors are generated by falsehood, who throw the miserable

« AnteriorContinuar »