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do, drink their wine, and live on the fat o' the land. Why can't we do the same, Bill? I can't see what 's to perwent it. There's no two ways about it, and if it is not all true, just what I tell you, then your name's not Villiam Viggins. And then it must be mighty agreeable to be dressed in such fine clothes, and to ride on such flashy horses, and to have nothin' to do but to be looked at, and to be laughed at, and to go a-larkin' and a travellin', and seein' all the world, and to be admired at by all the girls in the country. I say, Bill, the notion takes you, you dog; I see it does. And now come let's go out, and have a glass o' beer, and a long nine betwixt us, and talk the matter over a little, afore the entertainments begin ag'in.'
'In the country where I was fetched up,' said the son of Anak, no such doings as these is permitted. Two years ago, come next May, a company of circus-actors crossed over the Sound, and come to Bozrah. They sot themselves down, but did n't stay long, I guess, before they were attackted by the town-officers, and sent packing. They pulled up stakes, and took away their duds, and never come back, as I know on. For the people sot their faces like a flint agin 'em. Some few was for letting them act, but Deacon Giles opposed the motion, and carried his p'int, and on the Sabbath followin' stopped a load of hay on full drive through the town of Bozrah.'
In such conversation and exchange of sentiments, the interval 'between the acts' is wiled away. The second part of the diversions is a fescennine dialogue, made up of alternate strokes of rude raillery, interspersed with songs and merriment, affording as keen a relish as the best Attic salt.
'De gustibus non disputandum.'
Last of all, comes BILLY BUTTON, OR THE HUNTED TAILOR.' I forget the plot of this piece, exactly, which is yearly enacted with much acceptation in every considerable village in the country. There are some very good points about it, that never come amiss to a rural audience, as when the perverse pony shakes off the cabbaging tailor from his back, not allowing him to mount, or, dangerously acting on the offensive, chases him around the ring. And now the entertainments are about to conclude, let us indulge a wish that the ladies who have been seated near the crevices in the awning, may not catch their death a-cold, and that no evil whatever may result from the occasion. The clown bounces into the arena with a bow; doffs his harlequin aspect, and assumes the serious air of an every-day man. 'Ladies and gentlemen, the entertainments of the evening are concluded. We thank you for your polite attendance.' In a twinkling the canvass is rent down over your heads, the lights are extinguished, and while the equestrians are already preparing to depart to the next village, the motley assemblage moves homeward through the dark night, yelping like savages.
THOSE that on Fancy's pinion soar triumphant o'er their kind,
FOUR YEARS IN PARAGUAY. BY J. P. AND W. P. ROBERTSON. In two volumes. pp. 456. Philadelphia: E. L. CAREY AND A. HART.
PARAGUAY is less known to the English and American reader, than any other part of the world, into which European civilization has been introduced. At the same time, with all this indefiniteness in our knowledge of this part of South America, a train of singular circumstances, connected with its peculiar government, has created the most eager curiosity among us, to become acquainted with its civil and political history; and this curiosity has been increased by the system of non-intercourse established by the remarkable individual who has controlled its destinies for the last twenty-five years. The Messrs. ROBERTSON, the authors of this work, are two brothers, of whom the elder went to Buenos Ayres, and subsequently to Paraguay, about the time of the unsuccessful attack of General WHITELOCKE on the former place, in 1807, and the younger joined his brother in Paraguay, many years after. The earlier chapters of the first volume are filled with an account of the disaffections and revolts of the provinces of South America from the mother country. To this introductory portion succeeds a description of the scenes through which the elder Robertson passed, upon his journey from Buenos Ayres to Assumpcion, the capital of Paraguay, interspersed with many interesting anecdotes, and portraits of distinguished persons. Several chapters are devoted to the Jesuits, giving an account of their rise, gradual extension, and final expulsion from their favorite Paraguay. The authors being in the city of Assumpcion, at the period of the revolution by means of which the celebrated Dr. FRANCIA obtained the ascendancy, and remaining several years under his domination, beside enjoying the peculiar advantages of personal intimacy with him, may be supposed to possess the means of fully enlightening the world as to the character and policy of that extraordinary man. We are sorry to say, however, that this part of the work is very unsatisfactory. It ends at the very epoch, after which we looked for the most information, the accession of Dr. FRANCIA to the dictatorship. The authors, however, apologize for this sudden termination of the work, because of the loss of an important manuscript, and promise to conclude the subject in a new series.
The volumes are written in a very inartificial, homely style, while the awkward arrangement of the different matters, and the frequent repetitions, show the writers to be little conversant with the art of book-making. The following anecdote of the dictator, and brief sketch of his character, are interesting, and present a fair specimen of the work:
'From this moment Francia became de facto the absolute and undisputed despot. Yet did he not institute his system of terror all at once. It was by gradual process and slow degrees that his heart got chilled, and that his measures, first characterized by callousness, became at length stained with blood. As he advanced to the plenitude of his power, and as his fear of impunity diminished, his character, naturally stern, waxed ferocious. No 'compunctious visitings of nature' stopped the cruelty of his course;
till, step by step, he reduced unhappy Paraguay to the state of desolation and slavery under which it now groans.
The following anecdotes will tend to show what was the basis of Francia's character; and subsequent records will elucidate how easily stern integrity may turn to sullen despotism; inflexible determination be warped to unrelenting barbarity.
It has already been observed that Francia's reputation, as a lawyer, was not only unsullied by venality, but conspicuous for rectitude.
'He had a friend in Assumpcion of the name of Domingo Rodriguez. This man had cast a covetous eye upon Naboth's vineyard, and this Naboth, of whom Francia was the open enemy, was called Estanislao Machain. Never doubting that the young doctor, like other lawyers, would undertake his unrighteous cause, Rodriguez opened up to him his case, and requested, with a handsome retainer, his advocacy of it. Francia saw at once that his friend's pretensions were founded in fraud and injustice; and he not only refused to act as his counsel, but plainly told him that much as he hated his antagonist Machain, yet if he (Rodriguez) persisted in his iniquitous suit, that antagonist should have his (Francia's) most zealous support. But covetousness, as Ahab's story shows us, is not so easily driven from its pretensions; and in spite of Francia's warning, Rodriguez persisted. As he was a potent man, in point of fortune, all was going against Machain and his devoted vineyard.
'At this stage of the question, Francia wrapped himself up one night in his cloak, and walked to the house of his inveterate enemy, Machain. The slave who opened the door, knowing that his master and the doctor, like the houses of Montagu and Capulet, were smoke in each other's eyes, refused the lawyer admittance, and ran to inform his master of the strange and unexpected visit. Machain, no less struck by the circumstance than his slave, for some time hesitated; but at length determined to admit Francia. In walked the silent doctor to Machain's chamber. All the papers connected with the law-plea-voluminous enough I have been assured were outspread upon the defendant's escritoire.
"Machain,' said the lawyer, addressing him, 'you know I am your enemy. But I know that my friend Rodriguez meditates, and will certainly, unless I interfere, carry against you an act of gross and lawless aggression; I have come to offer my services in your defence.'
The astonished Machain could scarcely credit his senses; but poured forth the ebullition of his gratitude, in terms of thankful acquiescence.
'The first escrito,' or writing, sent in by Francia to the Juez de Alzada, or Judge of the Court of Appeal, confounded the adverse advocates, and staggered the judge, who was in their interest. 'My friend,' said the judge, to the leading counsel, 'I cannot go forward in this matter, unless you bribe Dr. Francia to be silen.' 'I will try,' replied the advocate, and he went to Naboth's counsel with a hundred doubloons, about three hundred and fifty guineas,) which he offered him as a bribe to let the cause take its iniquitous course. Considering, too, that his best introduction would be a hint that this douceur was offered with the judge's concurrence, the knavish lawyer hinted to the upright one that such was the fact.
Salga V.,' said Francia, con sus viles pensamientos, y vilisimo oro de mi casa.' Out with your vile insinuations, and dross of gold from my house.'
Off marched the venal drudge of the unjust judge; and in a moment, putting on his capoté, the offended advocate went to the residence of the Juez de Alzada. Shortly relating what had passed between himself and the myrmidon,-'Sir,' continued Francia, 'you are a disgrace to law, and a blot upon justice. You are, moreover, completely in my power; and unless to-morrow I have a decision in favor of my client, I will make your seat upon the bench too hot for you, and the insignia of your judicial office shall become the emblems of your shame.'
'To-morrow did bring a decision in favor of Francia's client. Naboth retained his vineyard; the judge lost his reputation; and the young doctor's fame extended far and wide.
Alas! that an action so magnanimous in itself should be blighted by the record which historical truth exacts that no sooner had Francia vindicated the law and justice of his enemy's case, than old antipathy revived; and one of the many victims, at a subsequent period, of the dictator's displeasure, was the very Machain whom he had so nobly served.'
These domestic incidents will perhaps convey to you more distinctly than mere abstract delineation could do, the cruel, callous, pitiless nature of the man. His ambition was as unbounded as his cruelty. His natural talents were of a higher class than those which had been displayed by any one of his countrymen in either a public or private capacity. His education was the best which South America afforded; and he had much improved that education by his own desire to increase his general attainments. He possessed an exact knowledge of the character of the people of Paraguay. He knew them to be docile, simple, and ignorant, easily guided to good or to evil, and without moral or physical courage to resist oppression. He was sagacious, astute, patient, and persevering. No moral or religious principle was allowed to stand between him
and his plans; his end was absolute imperious sway; and in using his means for attaining it, he was prepared to view the commission of crime without fear, and to inflict every suffering which human nature could endure, without pity and without remorse.
'These were the elemental parts of the character of the governor and of the governed: and by these have been upheld, for twenty-five years, the extraordinary tyranny under which, during all that time, Paraguay has groaned.'
CARL WERNER: WITH OTHER TALES. By the author of 'Guy Rivers,' etc. In two volumes. New-York: GEORGE ADLard.
THESE Volumes, by Mr. SIMMS, contain several tales, after the German school, and are well worth perusal. Carl Werner' and 'Conrade Weickhoff' please us better than the rest, though we doubt not that with some, the tales founded on Indian traditions may be greater favorites. In this collection, the author seems to us to have had in his eye, as respects style and subject, BULWER'S 'Pilgrims of the Rhine,' though he falls far below his model, in finish and effect. There is a peculiar manner, and a very careful elaboration, requisite to transfuse the German spirit into the English, and it is not a German castle nor a German heroine, that can insure a German tale. A thorough study of the language, an appreciation of the beauties of the German poets and novelists, a knowledge of the superstitions of the people, and of the traditions to which they have given rise, through the medium of their native tongue; these are essential pre-requisites to the proper understanding of the character and peculiarities of the Germans. To show how nearly, however, Mr. SIMMS has approached the external German style, we copy the following spirited passage, which, to stimulate curiosity for the work, we shall leave wholly unexplained:
'Demoniac, indeed, had been the taste which fitted up that apartment. Grotesque images stood glaring around upon them from the swaying and swinging tapestry. Sable shafts and columns, broken and cragged, seemed to glide about the walls. Gloomy and dark draperies hung over the doors and windows, fringed with flame-like edges; and sprinkled drops of blood, like a rain shower, as they entered the hall of doom, fell upon their dresses. Rodolphe clung to the arm of his friend, even as an infant in a sudden terror clings to that of a mother or a nurse. He was almost lifeless in his accumulating fears and fancies. But that laugh of Conrade, annoying as it was at every other period, had now the effect of reassuring him. It had in it a sort of scorn of all these objects of dread -so Rodolph thought-which re-nerved the apprehensive youth; and boldly they walked forward together. The board of death was spread; the board upon which Oberfeldt had slain himself. The outlines of his bloody form were printed upon its covering; and there, in an hour more, his successor was doomed to lie. And who was that successor? That was the question which Rodolph propounded momentarily to himself: Who? who?
'There was no long time for deliberation. Conrade led the way. There was a strange cry of assembled voices from a neighboring apartment, seemingly from cells beneath the stone floor upon which they stood. It was like laughter, and yet Rodolph distinguished now and then a shriek in the dreadful chorus which followed it. Faint notes of music-the sudden clang of a trumpet- and then the rapid rushing and the crash of closing doors, as if a sudden tempest raged without these were the sounds and images which accompanied the act, in which the fraternity now engaged, of drawing for the fatal lot.
'Blindly, madly, stupidly, and reeling like a drunken man, Rodolph, under the guidance of his friend's arm, approached the table, and the massive iron vase, from which the billet was to be taken. Desperately was his arm thrust forward into its fatal jaws. His fingers felt about its bottom, and he drew forth the eard. He knew not what he had drawn; he dared not look upon it. He believed his doom to be written.
'A signal announced the ceremony to be over the preparatory ceremony. A bright light played around the vase, and the several members of the college advanced with the lots which they had drawn.
"Give yourselves no trouble, my friends,' exclaimed one, whose voice Rodolph instantly recognised to be that of Conrade. You need not examine your billets, since mine tells me what yours must be. I have the good fortune to be chosen successor to our great founder. It is for me to set you an example in following that of Oberfeldt. The billet of death has fallen to my lot. And, as he spoke, he displayed the fearful and blood-written scroll loftily in the sight of the rest.'