網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

will believe it ; make goodness lovely, and they will love it; make holiness cheerful, and they will be glad in it; but remind them of themselves by threat, inducement, or exhortation, and you impair (if you do anything) the force of their unconscious affections ; try to put them upon a task of arbitrary self-management, and your words pass over their ears only to be forgotten.

Before eight o'clock in the evening the Cincinnati public was pouring into Mrs. Trollope's bazar, to the first concert ever offered to them. This bazar is the great deformity of the city. Happily, it is not very conspicuous, being squatted down among houses nearly as lofty as the summit of its dome. From my window at the boarding-house, however, it was only too distinctly visible. It is built of brick, and has Gothic windows, Grecian pillars, and a Turkish dome, and it was originally ornamented with Egyptian devices, which have, however, all disappeared under the brush of the whitewasher. The concert was held in a large plain room, where a quiet, well-mannered audience was collected. There was something extremely interesting in the spectacle of the first public introduction of music into this rising city. One of the best performers was an elderly man, clothed from head to foot in gray homespun. He was absorbed in his enjoyment; so intent on his violin, that one might watch the changes of his pleased countenance the whole performance through without fear of disconcerting him. There was a young girl, in a plain white frock, with a splendid voice, a good ear, and a love of warbling which carried her through very well indeed, though her own taste had obviously been her only teacher. If I remember right, there were about five-and-twenty instrumental performers, and six or seven vocalists, besides a long row for the closing chorus. It was a most proinising beginning. The thought came across me how far we were from the musical regions of the Old World, and how lately this place had been a canebrake, echoing with the bellow and growl of wild beast; and here was the spirit of Mozart swaying and inspiring a silent crowd as if they were assembled in the chapel at Salzburg !

This account of our first three days at Cincinnati will convey a sufficient idea of a stranger's impressions of the place. There is no need to give a report of its charitable institutions and its commerce; the details of the latter are well known to those whom they may concern ; and in America, wherever men are gathered together, the helpless are aided and the suffering relieved. The most threatening evil to Cincinnati is from that faithlessness which manifests itself in illiberality. The sectional prejudice of the two leading classes of inhabitants has been mentioned, and also the ill-principled character of the opposition made to abolitionism. The offence against freedom, not only of opinion, but of action, was in this case so rank, that the citizens of Louisville, on the slaveholding side of the Ohio, taunted the citizens of Cincinnati with persecuting men for opinion from mercenary interest; with putting down free discussion from fear of injury to their commerce. A third direction in which this illiberality shows itself is towards the Catholics. The Catholic religion spreads rapidly in many or most of the recently-settled parts of the United States, and its increase produces an almost insane dread among some Protestants, who fail to see that no evils that the Catholic religion can produce in the present state of society can be so afflictive and dangerous as the bigotry by which it is proposed to put it down. The removal to Cincinnati of Dr. Beecher, the ostentatious and virulent foe of the Catholies, has much quickened the spirit of alarm in tbat region. It is to be hoped that Dr. Beecher and the people of Cincinnati will remember what has been the invariable consequence in America of public denunciations of assumed offences which the law does not reach; namely, mobbing. It is to be hoped that all parties will remember that Dr. Beecher preached in Boston three sermons vituperative of the Catholics the Sunday before the burning of the Charlestown convent by a Boston mob. Circumstances may also have shown thema by this time how any kind of faith grows under persecution ; and, above all, it may be hoped that the richer classes of citizens will become more aware than they have yet proved themselves to be of their republican (to say nothing of their human) obligation to refrain from encroaching, in the smallest particulars, on their brethren's rights of opinion and liberty of conscience.

The roads in the interior of Ohio were in so bad a state from recent rains that I did not, at this time, attempt to visit the middle or northern parts of the state, where may be seen those monuments of an extinct race about which much antiquarian inquiry is going forward. One of the large mounds, whose uses are yet unexplained, and in which are found

specimens of the arts of life which are considered to show that their artificers were not of Indian race, still remains within the city. It was crumbling away when I saw it, being a teinpting spot for children's play. It is a pity it should not be carefully preserved ; for the whole history of evidence, particularly the more recent portion of it, shows the impossibility of anticipating what revelations may emanate from a single object of historical interest.

A volume might presently be filled with descriptions of our drives about the environs of Cincinnati. There are innumerable points of view whence the city, with its masses of building and its spires, may be seen shining through the limpid atmosphere, like a cloud-city in the evening sky. There are many spots where it is a relief to lose the river from the view, and to be shut in among the brilliant green hills, which are more than can be numbered. But there is one drive which I almost wonder the inhabitants do not take every summer day, to the Little Miami bottoms.

We con tinued eastward along the bank of the river for seven miles, the whole scenery of which was beautiful ; but the unfor. gotten spot was the level about the mouth of the Little Miami river, the richest of plains or level valleys, studded with farmhouses, enlivened with clearings, and kept primitive in appearance by the masses of dark forest which filled up all the unoccupied spaces. Upon this scene we looked down from a great height, a Niphates of the New World. On entering a little pass between two grassy hills, crested with wood, we were desired to alight. I ran up the ascent to the right, and was startled at finding myself on the top of a precipice. Far beneath me ran the Little Miami, with a narrow white pebbly strand, arrow-like trees springing over from the brink of the precipice, and the long evening shadows making the current as black as night, while the green, up to the very lips of the ravine, was of the sunniest, in the last flood of western light.

For more reasons than one I should prefer Cincinnati as a residence to any other large city of the United States Of these reasons not the last would be that the “Queen of the West” is enthroned in a region of wonderful and inexhaustible beauty.

PROBATION.

“ Small is it that thou canst trample the earth with its injuries under thy feet, as old Greek Zeno trained thee; thou canst love, the earth while it injures thee, and even because it injures thee ; for this a greater than Zeno was needed, and he, too, was sent. Knowst thou that • Worship of Sorrow?' The temple thereof, opened some eighteen centuries ago, now lies in ruins, overgrown with jungle, the habitation of doleful creatures. Nevertheless, venture forward ; in a low crypt, arched out of falling fragments, thou findest the altar still there, and its sacred lamp perennially burning."-Sartor Resartus.

“I will tell you, scholar, I have heard a grave divine say that God has two dwellings; one in heaven, and the other in a meek and thankful heart." -IZAAK Walton.

AMONG the strongest of the fresh feelings excited by foreign travel those fresh feelings which are an actual re-enforcement of life-is that of welcome surprise at the sympathy the traveller is able to yield, as well as privileged to receive. We are all apt to lose faith in the general resem. blance between human beings when we have remained too long amid one set of circumstances; all of us nearly as weakly as the schoolgirl who thinks that the girl of another school cannot comprehend her feelings; or the statesman who is surprised that the lower classes appear sometimes to understand their own interests ; or the moralist who starts back from the antique page where he meets the reflection of his own convictions; or the clergyman who has one kind of truth for his study and another for his pulpit. Intellectual sympathy comes to the traveller in a distant land like a benignant rebuke of his narrowness; and when he meets with moral beauty which is a realization of his deep and secret dreams, he finds how true it is that there is no nationality in the moral creation, and that, wherever grass grows and the sun shines, truth springs up out of the earth and righteousness looks down from heaven. Those who bring home a deep, grateful, influential conviction of this have become possessed of the best results of travel; those who are not more assured than before of the essential sympathy of every human being they meet, will be little the worse for staying at home all the rest of their lives. I was

delighted with an observation of a Boston merchant who had made several voyages to China. He dropped a remark by his own fireside on the narrowness which causes us to conclude, avowedly or silently, that, however well men may use the light they have, they must be very pitiable, very far behind us, unless they have our philosophy, our Christianity, our ways of knowing the God who is the Father of us all, and the Nature which is the home of us all. He said that his thoughts often wandered back with vivid pleasure to the long conversations he had enjoyed with some of his Chinese friends on the deepest themes of philosophy and the highest truths of religion, when he found them familiar with the convictions, the emotions, the hopes which, in religious New England, are supposed to be derivable only from the Christianity of this region. His observation gave me intense pleasure at the time I heard it; and now, though I have no such outlandish friends as the Chinese appear to a narrow imagination, I can tell him, from a distance of three thousand miles, that his animating experience is shared by other minds.

The most extensive agreement that I have ever known to exist between three minds is between two friends of mine in America and myself, Dr. F. being German, Mrs. F. American, and I English, by birth, education, and (at least in one of the three) prejudice. Before any of the three met, all had become as fixed as they were ever likely to be in habits of thought and feeling; and yet our differences were so slight, our agreements so extensive, that our intercourse was like a perpetual recognition rather than a gradual revelation. Perhaps a lively imagination may conceive something of the charm of imparting to one another glimpses of our early life. While our years were passing amid scenes and occupations as unlike as possible, our minds were converging through foreign regions of circumstance to a common centre of conviction. We have sat mutually listening for hours, day after day, week after week, to his account of early years spent in the range of a royal forester's domain, and of the political struggles of later years; to her history of a youthful life nourished by all kinds of American influences; and to mine, as unlike both theirs as each was to the other.

The same sort of experience is yielded by every chapter of human history which comes under the mind's eye in a

« 上一頁繼續 »