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the Landers, to penetrate the African continent and determine the direction of the Niger. In 1795, Mungo Park-a name dear to the literature of adventure and exploration-first saw the great river, and described the sight in words which do not fail to thrill the mind of every imaginative reader who has followed the traveler step by step:
"I saw the long-sought, majestic Niger, glittering in the morning sun, as broad as the Thames at Westminster, and flowing slowly to the eastward."
In 1830, Richard and John Lander settled the question of the course and mouth of the river. The zeal which inspired that research has recently illustrated the exploration of the sources of the Nile. Dr. Knoblecher, the Catholic Vicar General at Khartoum, which is the town situated at the confluence of the White and Blue branches, has advanced to a further point upon the White, or main branch of the river, than any other explorer. Before leaving America, Mr. Taylor was in correspondence with Dr. Knoblecher, and it was his hope to reach Khartoum in season to join a second expedition. And, as Dr. Kane went toward the North, and Mr. Taylor toward the South, we could not but hope that, through them, America was to have her share in the glory of the solution of the two great problems that remained. McClure has found the Northwest Passage, and Dr. Kane has not yet returned. And in latitude 120 30' north, Bayard Taylor, having reached a further point upon the Nile than any American or Englishman had attained, reluctantly turned back toward the Mediterranean. Upon his arrival at Khartoum, the boat of the Catholic mission was still detained at Cairo, and the expedition was deferred. Mr. Taylor consequently relinquished the hope of discovery, but resolved to push on alone, beyond the limit of previous travel, and purchasing a boat, named it "John Ledyard, in memory of the first American traveler in Africa," and sailed to the south. The account of this expedition upon the White Nile is one of the most delightful passages of the book; and the reader is compelled to sympathize with the heroic traveler, as he turns away from the present solution of the great mystery:
"I climbed to the mast-head and looked to the south, where the forest archipelago, divided by glittering reaches of water, waved its labyrinth in the distance. I thought I saw-but it may have
been fancy-beyond the leafy crown of the furthest isles, the faint blue horizon of that sea of water and grass, where the palm again appears and the lotus fringes the shores. A few hours of the strong north wind now blowing in our faces would have taken me there, but I gave myself up to fate and a pipe, which latter immediately suggested to me, that, though I was leaving the gorgeous heart of Africa, I was going back to civilization and home."
Mr. Taylor gives a very clear and concise account of the present condition of Nilotic research. Upon the 13th November, 1849, Dr. Knoblecher, after long delays and great difficulties, sailed from Khartoum with the annual trading expedition. The expedition established communications with the Dinkas and Shillooks, the two chief tribes upon the banks. They found the lotus, forests of sont trees, doum-palms, and tamarinds; and beyond lat. 10° the dhelleb-palm. "From lat 9° 26' to 6° 50′ N. there is a complete change in the scenery." The water of the river is here partially stagnant. In the land of the Elliabs, the White Nile divides into two branches. On the 2d January, 1850, Dr. Knoblecher saw in the southeast, the granite mountain of Nierkanyi, in about the fifth degree of north latitude. On the 14th January the expedition reached the furthest point touched by any preceding expedition, the island of Tsanker, at the rapids of the White Nile in 4° 49' N. But Dr. Knoblecher pushed on. As he receded from the races who had been corrupted by the contact of civilization, he found a purer and simpler character in the people. The chief of a Bari village offered the sovereignty of his tribe in exchange for a harmonica. On the 16th January the expedition reached a solitary granite peak, six hundred feet high, standing upon the left bank of the Nile. It is in lat. 4° 10', and is the most southern point ever reached upon the river. He could see a faint mountainrange at the south, in about lat. 3° N. The river was here about six hundred and fifty feet wide, and from five to eight feet deep. "Such an abundance of water," says Mr. Taylor, "allows us to estimate with tolerable certainty the distance to its unknown sources, which must undoubtedly be beyond the equator." Dr. Knoblecher thinks that no expedition from Khartoum will be successful. The traveler must become familiar with the Bari people, and
take some of the natives as his companions.
Upon the south, Drs. Krapf and Rebmann have discovered the snow-mountains, Kilimandjaro and Kenia. old enthusiasm of African travel burned in their hearts as they beheld them, and Dr. Krapf exclaims, "I could not doubt that the streams flowing northward from the Kenia pour into the White Nile." According to the calculations of Krapf and Rebmann, the Kenia is within one degree south of the equator.
From Mr. Taylor's account, therefore, and from Dr. Charles Beke's "Summary of recent Nilotic Discovery," there appears to be, from the furthest southern point of Dr. Knoblecher's exploration to the Kenia mountains, a distance of three hundred and seventy geographical miles in a southeasterly direction; and, from the same point, southwesterly, to the hypothetical northern line of the Lake Usambiro, there are three hundred and sixty geographical miles. Of course there is great uncertainty of names and places in the present condition of African research. But somewhere within this limit must be the sources of the Nile; and there can be little doubt that these snowy summits are the half-fabulous Mountains of the Moon. How truly the innate traveler speaks in the pathetic and glowing words with which Mr. Taylor concludes his chapter upon the White Nile.
"The pictures which these recent explorations present to us, add to the stately and sublime associations with which the Nile is invested; and that miraculous flood will lose nothing of his interest when the mystery which veils his origin shall be finally dispelled. Although, in standing upon the threshold of his vast central realms, I felt that I had realized a portion of my dream, I could not turn away from the vision of those untrodden solitudes, crowned by the flashing snows of Kilimandjaro, the monarch of African mountains, without a keen pang of regret. Since Columbus first looked upon San Salvador, the earth has but one emotion of triumph left in her bestowal-and that she reserves for him who shall first drink from the fountains of the White Nile, under the snow-fields of Kilimandjaro."
The aims of the traveler do not always, nor very often, command universal sympathy. There is a timid scepticism
which asks with a sneer what possible advantage could be derived from ascertaining that the Nile flowed from a mountain or from a lake, or how trade would gain if there were a northwest passage? But Nature does not inspire men, in vain, with the vague longings that drive them into deserts and upon solitary seas. Man is interested in the discovery of the sources of the Nile and the Northwest Passage, whether Trade and Luxury care for them or not. Man is interested to know if there is any physical problem which he cannot solve: if the earth, which is his subject, hides any secret that he cannot wrest from her polar rigors or her equatorial heats. And when McClure had settled the great doubt, who did not feel that none of those many lost lives had been wasted, and that, although the mere fact of the passage was of no moment, the other fact, that nothing could balk the imperial resolution of the human mind, and that the earth should be conquered and subdued, was of the sublimest importance?
Akin to this is the profoundest charm of the books of the travelers. It is not the thing seen, nor the difficulty surmounted, but the man and the hero who sees and surmounts, that interest us. Siberia is a country of no historic attraction, and of no natural beauty; but it is as pleasant to read Ledyard's account of it as his descriptions of other regions, because we care more about the man himself than the things he observes and describes. This distinguishes the books of such men as Bayard Taylor from those of the general tourist, and makes his volumes of travel unique in American literature. There have been Americans who have written more brilliant and imaginative descriptions, graced with more extensive and accurate scholarship-who have recorded more graphically the details of foreign society-who have criticised art more astutely, and literature more profoundly. But in all the long list of American tourists there is not, since John Ledyard, so evident a traveler-a man who, in traveling and telling his tales of travel, is so clearly doing what Nature meant him to doas Bayard Taylor.
Willis's books of travel-and the reader would be surprised to find how great a proportion of the published ten or eleven volumes of his works is, directly or indirectly, record of travel--belonging to the same class as Stephens's, with the difference, that they are the
offspring of a much more graceful, poetic, and affluent mind. If we place Bayard Taylor's in the first rank, as being the works of a man who has Nature's commission to travel, we must certainly put Willis's next as models of the traveling gentleman's diary. Nothing can exceed the spirit and interest with which he touches the old topics; and at this moment there is no more pleasant companion upon the usual European tour than the "Pencilings by the Way." It has, in a lesser degree, for all Europe, the peculiar kind of charm that Byron's "Childe Harold" has for Italy; that is, it expresses, in the most apt and airy manner, the average natural sentiment of an intelligent American in Europe, just as Byron hits the general tone of romance in Venice and Rome. In the opening of "Pencilings by the Way" Willis speaks for every American who follows the lead of his desire across the ocean.
"The dream of my lifetime was about to be realized. I was bound to France; and those fair Italian cities, with their world of association and interest, were within the limit of a voyage; and all that one looks to for happiness in change of scene, and all that I had been passionately wishing and imagining since I could dream a day-dream or read a book, was before me with a visible certainty."
Willis knows where to merge his statistics in his sentiment. He describes with a poetic, and not a prosaic, detail; instinctively discriminating the characteristic from the merely accidental. Hence his brief descriptions of persons, in the "Pencilings by the Way," are like cabinet portraits.
"Nearest me sat Smith, the author of 'Rejected Addresses'—a hale, handsome man, apparently fifty, with white hair, and a very nobly-formed head and physiognomy. His eye alone, small and . with lids contracted into an habitual look of drollery, betrayed the bent of his genius. He held a cripple's crutch in his hand, and though otherwise rather particularly well-dressed, wore a pair of large India rubber shoes-the penalty he was paying, doubtless, for the many good dinners he had eaten. He played rather an aside in the conversation, whipping in with a quiz or a witticism whenever he could get an opportunity, but more a listener than a talker. * * * Toward twelve o'clock Mr. Lytton Bulwer' was announced, and enter the author of Pelham.'**
He is short, very much bent in the back, slightly knock-kneed, and, if my opinion, in such matters, goes for anything, as ill-dressed a man, for a gentleman, as you will find in London. His figure is slight, and very badly put together, and the only commendable point in his person, as far as I could see, was the smallest foot I ever saw a man stand upon. * * He ran up to Lady Blessington with the joyous heartiness of a boy let out of school; and the 'how d'ye, Bulwer,' went round, as he shook hands with everybody, in the style of welcome usually given to 'the best fellow in the world.' *** His forehead retreats very much, but is very broad and well-marked, and the whole air is that of decided mental superiority. His nose is aquiline, and far too large for proportion, though he conceals its extreme prominence by an immense pair of red whiskers, which entirely conceal the lower part of his face in profile. His complexion is fair, his hair profuse, curly, and of a light auburn, his eye not remarkable, and his mouth contradictory, I should think, of all talent. A more good-natured, habitually-smiling, nerveless expression could hardly be imagined."
Here is Charles Lamb:
"There was a rap at the door at last, and enter a gentleman in black-small- · clothes and gaiters, short and very slight in his person, his head set on his shoulders with a thoughtful, forward bent, his hair just sprinkled with gray, a beautiful, deep-set eye, aquiline nose, and a very indescribable mouth. Whether it expressed most humor or feeling, goodnature or a kind of whimsical peevishness, or twenty other things which passed over it by turns, I cannot in the least be certain."
"Mr. Moore!' cried the footman at the bottom of the staircase. 'Mr. Moore' cried the footman at the top. And with his glass at his eye, stumbling over an ottoman between his near-sightedness and the darkness of the room, enter the poet. Half a glance tells you that he is at home on a carpet. He had the frank, merry manner of a confident favorite, and he was greeted: like one. He went from one to the other, straining back his head to look up at them, ** and to every one he said something which, from any one else, would have seemed peculiarly felicitous, but which fell from his lips as if his breath was not more spontaneous."
For all this portrait-painting and free report of private conversation Willis was savagely handled by the English Reviews, and he undoubtedly injured his reputation by the performance. He makes his defense in the preface to the last edition of the "Pencilings," and it is surely quite sufficient to excuse what is excusable in the sketches. The mere fact of describing famous persons is not matter of blame. But there can be no excuse for publishing any man's opinion of another, which is uttered in the close confidence of a social circle, and which would not be uttered at all, if there were any chance of the world's hearing it.
But our concern with these passages is only as they are illustrative of the singular facility of eye and hand which makes Willis so delightful a traveling companion. They are artificial, we grant. They have the air of the drawing-room; and the eyes which see are set in a téte exaltée by early success, and the hands which record tremble a little with the pressure of the hands of famous wits, and noble lords, and lovely ladies. But they are vivid and individual. They give the whole impression of the subject and the detail is subjected to the general spirit.
Willis shows the same man twenty years ago:
"Disraeli had arrived before me, and sat in the deep window, looking out upon Hyde Park, with the last rays of daylight reflected from the gorgeous gold flowers of a splendidly-embroidered waistcoat. Patent leather pumps, a white stick with a black cord and tassel, and a quantity of chains about his neck and pockets, served to make him, even in the dim light, rather a conspicuous object. ** He is lividly pale, and, but for the energy of his action and the strength of his lungs, would seem a victim to consumption. His eye is black as Erebus, and has the most mocking and lying-in-wait sort of expression conceivable. His mouth is alive with a kind of working and impatient nervousness, and when he has burst forth, as he does constantly, with a particularly successful cataract of expression, it assumes a curl of triumphant scorn that would be worthy of a Mephistophiles. hair is as extraordinary as his taste in waistcoats. A thick, heavy mass of jet black ringlets falls over his left cheek almost to his collarless stock, while on the right temple it is parted and put
away with the smooth carefulness of a girl's, and shines most unctuously
"With thy incomparable oil, Macassar.'"
It is this sensitive appreciation and graceful facility which make Willis so fine a narrator that he cannot easily touch the common-places of travel without partially restoring them to their places in the imagination. This peculiarity of his power has not escaped degenerating into mannerism; but if the reader who is impatient of the shower of grotesque, yet expressive words that weekly falls from Idlewild, will turn to the "Pencilings by the Way," and the "Suminer Cruise in the Mediterranean," he will find a style of opaline lucidity; and, if he has traveled, his mind will be left in the mood which followed lovely days at Albano and Sorrento, and brilliant evenings in the great European capitals. Among modern writers of travels, as distinguished from the travelers, Willis is very eminent. The indirect proof of his superiority is seen in the fact that his books of travel have given him literary distinction. But very few publishing tourists have ever acquired more than a momentary reputation. Stephens, with all the popularity and value of his "Incidents of Travel," achieved little literary position by them. It was instinctively perceived that the excellence of his books was not peculiar. They were like so much of the poetry which is published, and, which any welleducated gentleman ought to be able to write. Willis adds genius to the good education.
The recent books, whose titles we have placed at the head of our article, illustrate the various kinds of the literature of travel to which we have alluded. Bayard Taylor's represent the genuine traveler; "Travels in Europe and the East," and "Another Budget,". are the ordinary sketches of ordinary travel; and "Cosas de España," "Gan Eden," "Art, Scenery and Philosophy in Europe," belong to the category of traveling impressions, rather than descriptions, with which, also, must be classed the "Notes of a Theological Student."
The "Travels in Europe and the East" call for little remark, except upon the unpardonable carelessness of style in which they are written. They describe the usual course of American travel in Europe and the East, beginning with
"the outward voyage," and ending at the "Pyramids." They have the fault, not uncommon in the traveling journals of clergymen, of beatifying little men, and treating sectarian and local heroes as if they were of interest to the world. Exeter Hall is by no means the forum of civilization.
We shall specify several of the defects of style in these volumes, because they illustrate a pernicious literary error, which consists in supposing that slang is ease; and flippancy, spirit; and general carelessness, general superiority.
Mr. Prime leaves home an invalid, and upon page 16, vol. i., tells us that "I lay around on the deck generally." Upon page 74, vol. i., he is describing a dinner given by Mr. Peabody at the "Star and Garter," in Richmond. It chances that it fell to the lot of our author to hand out "a venerable English lady, patched and proud," who astonishes him, and he expresses his surprise that "an aristocratic and splendidly-genteel woman" should do what she did. At Billingsgate, page 89, vol. i., he and his companions are insulted by a fish-woman, and while they are retreating "she followed us with her compliments, and some of her neighbors heaped on a few more of the same sort." Upon page 114, vol. i., our traveler and his friends go early of a Sunday morning" to hear Dr. Cumming. Upon page 134, vol. i., he hears some one demand a question. Upon page 144, Mr. Prime informs us that Sir Joseph Paxton "with a good wife got a hundred thousand dollars, not bad
take." On page 308, vol. i.. he asks a question (or demands it) "in as fair German as I could frame to pronounce." Upon page 51, vol. ii., we learn that Venice is "unlike anything else in the way of a city that was ever seen before." In Florence, page 96, vol. ii., Madame A- "flourishes in the style of a princess," and "smokes and drinks, genteelly, of course," while Lord Bis "cutting a great dash in the city." And when our author reaches the East, and the American is in Egypt, this is his burst of enthusiasm: "On the Nile-on the Nile! and a broader, swifter, altogether a more respectable river than we had looked for."
All this is slipshod, if not vulgar, common-place. It is a kind of cheap newspaper style, which a sensitive eye or mind should have corrected in the proof. It is not ease, nor grace, nor
freedom, of style; it is simply slang, and bad grammar.
There is one other amusing point in these two volumes, not otherwise very amusing. Our author, traveling by rail to Oxford, consoles himself for the hole in his boot by observing that his neighbor is out at the elbows. In other words he sees women working in the fields, and triumphantly demands whether his English neighbor is so blinded by names as not to see that such a spectacle implies a state of things quite as bad as negro slavery? Now there is nothing more ignoble and unmanly than the testy and truculent patriotism which leads American travelers in Europe to defend that very disagreeable institution of ours because there chance to be other disagreeable institutions in other countries. Would Mr. Prime urge it as an excuse for his own bad manners (let us suppose) at an Englishman's table, that he had seen the host spit upon the carpet? Is a bad state of things at home better because there may be a bad state of things in France? or is an intelligent Frenchman not to allude to our beam because of his own mote? In traveling, the citizens of various countries may, sometimes, meet as men; and then they will regard life and society from the humane, and not the national, point of view; and it is an amusing illustration of the morbid nervousness which indicates an unpleasant consciousness, in a certain class of our fellowcitizens, of the necessity of springing to arms for slavery, that our traveler could not see a group of women working in the fields without insisting that a country which could tolerate such barbarity has no right to speak of human wrongs elsewhere. It is, at least, a principle that would soon close all mouths, and pulpits, and presses. We quote the passage as a specimen of the intellectual acumen of our author, and as an illustration of the wrong done the American name and character by scores of tourists abroad. The road lies through lovely English scenery :
"Yet in the midst of such pictures a sight suddenly met my eyes which pierced my heart. A gang of womenwhite women-the WOMEN OF ENGLAND' were at work in the field, in the middle of the day, each with a hoe in her hand, digging away as the veriest slaves.
"There, said I, 'Edwards, you see the white slaves of England.'
"An Englishman sitting next to him