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SECOND LETTER FROM AN OLD IX
as have been in the habit of considere by the Orcadians and Americans. Its ing the existence of the Great Sea Ser- appearance in the finest months of pent as little deserving of credit, we summer, during the calmest and most do not deem it necessary to encroach settled weather ; its resemblance, further upon their patience.
Our while on the surface of the water, to a chief object in the preceding examina- long chain of casks or floats; the ration has been to shew, not only that pidity of its motions; and its general certain animals, which, by a great ma- aspect and character; are described in jority of voices, have been long re- such a manner by the one, as immegarded as inseparable from the legends diately to recal to recollection the words of fable and romance, do actually ex- of the other. The existence of both ist, but also, that the proof of their these animals, we think, may be reexistence is not to be attributed solely, lied upon, although the exact nature as some have supposed, to the discove of the former is mysterious, and that eries of recent writers; on the con- of the latter sufficiently obscure. No trary, that all the most remarkable and doubt much has been accomplished characteristic features in their forms by the assiduity of modern naturalists, and habits, may be found recorded in yet it is evident that much remains the works of the Scandinavian authors still to be done. « There are more who flourished about and preceding things in heaven and earth than are the middle of the last century. In re- dream’t of in our philosophy.”
W. gard to the Kraken, which formed the subject of our first communication, it may be observed, that it is still exceedingly difficult to form a very decisive opinion of its real nature, or to separate its genuine history from the dense mass of fiction and exaggeration MR EDITOR, with which it is at present obscured. If any of your readers (who have ar. At the same time, we certainly con- rived at the years of discretion) were sider the different accounts to which inclined to hesitate about adopting the we have referred, however vague and conclusions of my former letter, I imuncertain they may be deemed, quite agine the answer to that letter, which sufficient to establish the existence of has since appeared in your Magazine, * an enormous marine animal, the at- must have greatly contributed to retributes of which are of a nature suf
move their scruples. The young lady, ficiently singular to account for the who has done me the honour to be so addition of those fabulous and almost witty at my expense, was not aware, supernatural powers with which it has when she composed her smart parabeen gifted by the superstitious appre- graphs, that she was, in truth, advohensions of the vulgar. An attentive cating, with all her might, the cause consideration of such of its characters she supposed herself to be confoundas may be relied upon, seems to war- ing. How she has happened to disrant the conclusion, that the great cover me under the signature of “ northern animal, called the Kraken, Old Indian,” I cannot exactly discover; is more nearly allied to the Colossal but it may be as well for me, before I Cuttle Fish of the Indian and African go any farther, to confess very frankly seas, than to any other creature of to you and to your readers, that the which we have ever heard ; and that hints she has given you respecting my these two species should be regarded person are, upon the whole, pretty as analagous, differing only in as far
correct. I am old and gouty, Mr Edias animals of the same genus are tor, but that is nothing to the argufound to differ from each other, the ments of Miss Alpina. It is sufficient nature of whose physical and geogra- for all the purposes of the present conphical position is so entirely dissimi- troversy, that I can hear and see. I lar.
also have made my discoveries, but of As to the Sea Serpent, it is unne- these in the sequel. cessary to point out an agreement so There is only one thing in the letter obvious, as that which might be per- of Miss Alpina, which can be by any ceived to exist between the accounts sophistry twisted into an argument in of the Norwegian writers and those given of the same or a similar animal
* See No XI.
He was a
favour of the rout-and-ball-system. will, it was the papistry of Airtation. It is this, that so far from the oppor- He had his relics like a good Catholic, tunities of gallantry and flirtation be- -his fan, his glove, or his thimble ; a ing lessened by the discontinuance of miniature, if he could procure one, was small parties, they are, in fact, multi- a treasure above all price. plied beyond all calculation, by means saint-worshipper, and the supremacy of the necessary bustle, confusion, ne- of some favourite Catharine or Bridget glect, and hubbub of great ones. She did not prevent him from reserving an says well, that in the thick of a rout, abundant portion of his veneration for or in the lobby of a house turned up- Cecilia, Martha, Agnes, and all the side down by a ball; or, in the chaos fair innocents of his calendar. Alpina of a supper for forty or fifty people will say that the reformation is a blesspacked into a bed-closet, there occur ing; I doubt whether the adoption of abundant occasions for sapping, in de- a less stately ceremonial has been as tail, all the outworks of courtship, or useful in the temple of Love, as in even for popping the match destined that of Religion. to blow up the citadel itself. Alpi- I am by no means desirous of being na is herself a melancholy example, severe on matters at home, but I that, however favourable might be the must confess my conviction, that a opportunity, it is not unfrequently ne- British ball-room is a thing, the absurglected. It seems that there is nothing dities of which are in a great measure to prevent the enemy from drawing his peculiar and unrivalled. I remember line as close as he pleases; there is when things wore a very different as every reason to suspect that he might pect; but the present mode of dancing easily gain a party within the fortress, is, I think, indeed an abomination. who would be happy, by all means in Without the airiness of French, the their power, to facilitate his entrance; sentiment of German, or the splendour -surely he is not much set upon the of Spanish execution, it is a vain and conquest, otherwise he would make fruitless attempt to ingraft the graces some use of “ the favourable hour.” of continental dancing upon the abori
The truth is, that there is no want ginal coarseness of the reel. When I of Airtation among our young gentle was a young man, I used to see the men and ladies ; my complaint is, that country lads and lasses dance pretty there is too much flirtation of one kind, much in the same manner at their the false, the superficial, the coxcombi- kirns, and I thought it suited them cal, the non-chalant; and very, very and their habits extremely well. Aş little of another kind, which I prefer- for the quadrille, that is a late importthe true, the hearty, the sentimental, ation, the use of which has not yet, the Philandering, old-fashioned flirta- and I believe never will, become famition. It moves my spleen, Mr Editor, liar to us. I never see four grave, when I go into a ball-room, or a rout- gloomy, Edinburgh beaux, figuring room, to see with what a confident, in it with four stiff, prim, saddled self-satisfied, free-and-easy manner, misses, without being reminded, in the the Alpinas of the present day suffer most lively manner, of some of the themselves to be addressed by their cuts in Holbein's dance of death. beaux. When a young gentleman of The waltz is not so bad a thing abroad my time approached a young lady, you as it is here. Foreigners continue to could read love in some one or other smile it off as a matter of a course, but of its shapes or shadings, in all the our waltzing couples seem always to workings of his countenance. His be impressed with a consciousness of general deportment was one of a far- guilt. With them it has quite the apoff
, respectful, almost adoring, sub- pearance of a serious and deliberate of. mission; a smile shone upon him like a tence; but perhaps Miss Alpina may beam from above,-he received a whis- be of opinion that all this adds to the per with the veneration due to an or- gout. acle of Heaven,
The young ladies may depend upon When the humility of his devotion it, that this vile system of dancing is procured for him a moment of com- a poor substitute for the elegant and munion with his deity, his counte- stately minuets which I remember to nance glowed with the fervency of a have seen performed by their grandmore than earthly rapture. His wor- mothers, in an assembly room far ship was formal, no doubt; if you smaller, but far more splendid, grace
ful, and attractive, than that of George letter, undergo the whole process, Street. In dancing, as in every thing at least fifty times within these two else, the old barriers have been broken years ; but alas ! alas ! Alpina, wh at down. The revolutionary spirit has has come of it? You know as well as been at work. Loose, vulgar, and de- I do, that by far the greatest part of mocratic ideas have been introduced the pinching and rubbing falls to the into the world of fashion. For my share of the heiresses. You know part, I am still a stickler for all the old they are the only persons who hear the prejudices, the divine right of beauties, question popped, and I leave it with and the legitimate subjection of beaux. you to decide whether that would not
Perhaps my aversion to a modern go on as well without the squeeze as ball is rendered more intense by the with it. At all events, I hope the habits of my long Indian life. I con- ladies who invite me to their routs fess that I have been so much used to will henceforth keep some little antiassociate the idea of dancing with those chamber for frail toes and whist. attributes which belong to its practi- I am no admirer of Calvinistic divi. tioners in Hindostan, that I do not nity, Mr Editor,- I was bred a nonfind it easy to look on any of our home conformist, and I am still an Episcoexhibitions with the eyes of an Eng- palian,--but I own to you I have been lishman. I doubt whether, even if extremely flattered to find, that my our young ladies should revive minu- notions, in regard to these modern ets, I should be able to look at them gayeties, coincide very nearly with those without being reminded of a ramjunee. of the most popular preacher of this I remember hearing my friend, old church-going city. Upon the report Jonathan Duncan, governor of Bom- of one of my nieces (who backbit him bay, tell a story of a native of high a whole evening after coming from rank, who once visited him at the Pre- church) I ventured to go to St George's sidency. Mrs Duncan, it seems, had a few Sundays ago, and certainly had the a ball in the evening, and the Mussul- satisfaction to hear all my own opinions man was a looker on, while all the touching these matters, supported by beauty and fashion of the station a host of arguments which I had never mingled in the mazes of the dance. thought of. In short, I find that King After one or two country dances had David, St Paul, &c. were all “ Old been gone through, he drew Jonathan Indians” in their day, and set their into a window, and signified to him, faces, as stoutly as I do mine, against that a particular young lady (I forget the crowded hops and at-homes, in the her name) had pleased his eye, and beaux monde of their city. As I have that he hoped the governor would per- no personal acquaintance with any of mit him to add her to his haram. the presbyterian clergy, I take this Jonathan was struck with horror, and way of returning my best thanks to endeavoured with all his eloquence, the ingenious preacher ; long may he to convince his guest that the thing rebuke the givers and frequenters of was impossible, the lady perfectly vir- balls and routs, and may all his sertuous, &c. &c. The Mussulman bow- mons leave upon the minds of his ed himself, and appeared satisfied, but hearers the same warm impression afterwards told a friend of mine, that which I am conscious I myself receivhe saw well enough the crafty old ed, in favour of the good venerable gentleman wished to keep the natch- system of fat-dinners and suppers for gul to himself. I am afraid the ladies the old—and quiet, sedate, sentimental will not easily pardon me for saying, tea-drinkings for the young. I may that I really sympathise at times with add, that I think his abuse of the theathe blunder of this Oriental.
tre was rather unnecessary, for that So much for a ball, Mr Editor-as which certainly is the most rational, for routs, I confess very honestly that and which might very easily be made the squeeze is the principal cause of the most moral of all public places, my hatred to them. The heat, the has, for some time, been almost encrushing, the buzz, the elbowing, the tirely deserted by the genteel inhabichattering, the pawing, are very good tants of Edinburgh. I am, Sir, your for those that like them. I have seen most obedient humble servant, the young lady who answered my first
An Old INDIAN,
Colter's ESCAPE FROM THE BLACK- dians, and advised an instant retreat, FEET INDIANS.
but was accused of cowardice by Potts,
who insisted that the noise was caused MR EDITOR,
by buffalo, and they proceeded on. In In your Eleventh Number I read a a few minutes afterwards their doubts very striking letter, said to be trans- were removed, by a party of Indians lated from the German, describing the making their appearance on both sides supposed author's preservation from of the creek, to the amount of five or death at sea. I suspect, however, from six hundred, who beckoned them to internal evidence, that that letter is come ashore. A retreat was now immerely the fiction of some man of possible, Colter turned the head of the poetical genius, for, along with much canoe to the shore; and at the moment truth and nature, it contains some of its touching, an Indian seized the touches, here and there, which betray rifle belonging to Potts; but Colter, the quarter from which it came, and who is a remarkably strong man, imseem to be any thing but natural. The mediately retook it, and handed it to following is an instance of preservation Potts, who remained in the canoe, and from death on land, plainly recited,- on receiving it, pushed off into the and though true, no less wonderful river. He had scarcely quitted the than the imaginary case I allude to. shore when an arrow was shot at him, It is extracted from Bradbury's Travels and he cried out, ‘Colter, I am woundin America, a very instructive and an ed. Colter remonstrated with him on musing book.
H. the folly of attempting to escape, and
urged him to come ashore. Instead of “ This man came to St Louis in complying, he instantly levelled his May 1810, in a small canoe, from the rifle at an Indian, and shot him dead head waters of the Missouri, a distance on the spot. This conduct, situated of 3000 miles, which he traversed in as he was, may appear to have been an • thirty days; I saw him on his arrival, act of madness; but it was doubtless and received from him an account of the effect of sudden, but sound reahis adventures after he had separated soning; for, if taken alive, he must from Lewis and Clarke's party : one have expected to be tortured to death, of these, from its singularity, I shall according to their custom. He was relate. On the arrival of the party on instantly pierced with arrows so nuthe head waters of the Missouri, Col- merous, that, to use the language of ter, observing the appearance of abun- Colter,' he was made a riddle of:' dance of beaver being there, he got They now seized Colter, stripped him permission to remain and hunt for entirely naked, and began to consult some time, which he did in company on the manner in which he should be with a man of the name of Dixon, put to death. They were first inclinwho had traversed the immense tracted to set him up as a mark to shoot of country from St Louis to the head at; but the chief interfered, and seizwaters of the Missouri alone. Soon ing him by the shoulder, asked him if after he separated from Dixon, and he could run fast? Colter, who had trapped in company with a hunter been some time amongst the Kee-katnamed Potts; and aware of the hosti- sa, or Crow Indians, had in a considerlity of the Blackfeet Indians, one of able degree acquired the Blackfoot lanwhom had been killed by Lewis, they guage, and was also well acquainted set their traps at night, and took them with Indian customs; he knew that he up early in the morning, remaining had now to run for his life, with the concealed during the day. They were dreadful odds of five or six hundred examining their traps early one morn- against him, and those armed Indians; ing, in a creek about six miles from therefore cunningly replied, that he that branch of the Missouri called Jef- was a very bad runner, although he ferson's Fork, and were ascending in was considered by the hunters as rea canoe, when they suddenly heard a markably swift. The chief now comgreat noise, resembling the trampling manded the party to remain stationof animals; but they could not ascer- ary, and led Colter out on the prairie tain the fact, as the high perpendicular three or four hundred yards, and re. banks on each side of the river imped- leased him, bidding him to save himed their view. Colter immediately self if he could. At that instant the pronounced it to be occasioned by In- horrid war whoop sounded in the ears
of poor Colter, who, urged with the mongst the trunks of trees, covered hope of preserving life, ran with a over with smaller wood to the depth speed at which he was himself sur- of several feet. Scarcely had he securprised. He proceeded towards the ed himself, when the Indians arrived Jefferson Fork, having to traverse a on the river, screeching and yelling, plain six miles in breadth, abounding as Colter expressed it, like so many with the prickly pear, on which he was devils. They were frequently on the every instant treading with his naked raft during the day, and were feet. He ran nearly half way across through the chinks by Colter, who the plain before he ventured to look was congratulating himself on his over his shoulder, when he perceived escape, until the idea arose, that they that the Indians were very much scat- might set the raft on fire. In horrible tered, and that he had gained ground suspense he remained until night, to a considerable distance from the when hearing no more of the Indians, main body; but one Indian, who car- he dived from under the raft, and ried a spear, was much before all the swam silently down the river to a conrest, and not more than a hundred siderable distance, when he landed, yards from him. A faint gleam of and travelled all night. Although hope now cheered the heart of Colter; happy in having escaped from the Inhe derived confidence from the belief dians, his situation was still dreadful: that escape was within the bounds of he was completely naked under a burnpossibility, but that confidence was ing sun: the soles of his feet were ennearly being fatal to him, for he ex- tirely filled with the thorns of the erted himself to such a degree, that prickly pear; he was hungry, and had the blood gushed from his nostrils, no means of killing game, although he and soon almost covered the fore part saw abundance around him, and was of his body. He had now arrived at least seven days journey from Lisa's within a mile of the river, when he Fort, on the Bighorn branch of the distinctly heard the appalling sound Roche Jaune river. These are cirof footsteps behind him, and every in- cumstances under which almost any stant expected to feel the spear of his man but an American hunter would pursuer. Again he turned his head, have despaired. He arrived at the and saw the savage not twenty yards fort in seven days, having subsisted on from him: Determined, possible, a root much esteemed by the Indians to avoid the expected blow, he sud- of the Missouri, now known by natudenly stopped, turned round, and ralists as Psoralea esculenta.” spread out his arms. The Indian, surprised by the suddenness of the action, and perhaps at the bloody appearance of Colter, also attempted to stop, but
EXTRACT FROM M. DE PEUDEMOTS.* exhausted with running, he fell whilst When one considers how very large a endeavouring to throw his which stuck in the ground, and broke in his proportion of his Majesty's subjects hand. Colter instantly snatched up
depend for a great part of their daily the pointed part, with which he pin- agreeable practice of novel-reading, it
amusement upon the innocent and ned him to the earth, and then continued his flight. The foremost of the
must appear to be a very strange thing Indians, on arriving at the place, stop- chooses to write a novel should ever
indeed, that any man of talents who ped till others came up to join them, undergo the mortification of seeing his when they set up a hideous yell
. work "neglected. The truth is, that Every moment of this time was improved by Colter, who, although faint- implies the most perfect incapacity to
the character of a great novel-reader ing and exhausted, succeeded in gaining the skirting of the cotton wood judge between a good novel and a bad
No man who knows the luxury
, through which he ran, and plunged of bestriding an Arabian, will submit into the river. Fortunately for him,
to be jolted upon a carrion-hack; and a little below this place there was an island, against the upper point of which from the French of Jean Pococurante de
Fragments and Fictions, translated a raft of drift timber had lodged, he Peudemots, sometime Secretary to the . dived under the raft, and after several Prince de Talleyrand. 12mo, pp. 138. efforts, got his head above water a- Macredie, &c. Edinburgh. 1817.