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duly arranged on the little window-sill, that they might be taken as fit emblems of herself. Little Paquerette would smile at the undisguised glee of the tall maiden on receiving such attentions, but would sigh and turn aside when Melanie would add,
"Poor Paquerette, how came thy mother to give thee such a name, thou canst have no such joy, thy saint is not to be found in the whole calendar!'
“One evening towards the close of winter, after having spent a happy day, for I remember that it was an early Easter Even, the first festival on which the fair spring flowers had come to market, I was just preparing to leave my station, when I was accosted by a tall young man, who, advancing, as I thought, rather mysteriously, drew from beneath the large Spanish cloak in which he was enveloped from head to foot, a picture of moderate dimensions, and, holding it to the light, requested to know if I could by the morrow accomplish the composition of a bouquet to be the exact counterpart of the one represented in the painting.
“It was a singular request; the first proposition of the kind which had ever been made to me, and I examined the painting attentively before I answered. It was the portrait of a female of the size of life; the face was most beautiful, and to my unpractised eye seemed also most beautifully executed; the figure was attired in the ancient Jewish costume, all gold brocade and rich stuffs, with a profusion of jewels on the arms and neck. A wide turban of sea-green sisk, with a falling veil of silver tissue, formed the head-dress, and displayed the rounded neck and snowy shoulders to the best advantage. She held in one hand a nosegay of the rarest flowers of the East, most artificially blended both in form and colours; and so beautifully were these executed, that in spite of the great perfection of the other parts of the picture, the eye rested on them with admiration. I have since that time been taught to consider this peculiarity a failing, but then, in my happy ignorance, considered it the one great excellence of the performance, and dwelt upon it with a delight I sought not to conceal.
“My rustic ecstacies seemed to give unfeigned pleasure to the young man.
66 Thine admiration cheers me, maiden,' said he, and gives me brighter hope than I have felt for many a long day. I have worked from morn to night for months upon this, the first trial of my pencil, the first struggle betwixt me and fame. "Tis a study of the fair Queen of Sheba about to seek the presence of King Solomon; all that is my own,' added he, showing the face and figure of the portrait ; but the bouquet which she carries is the composition of the sweet maiden to whom I now seek, through thy aid, to offer the reality.'
“ I examined it again and again, and the more I did so, the more I felt convinced of the utter hopelessness of the task; and I told him that the bouquet could not be executed without great expense. Every rare and costly flower, the product of Eastern climes, was there mingled together, the scented nilica, the scarlet pomegranate, the delicate bidmush, the rich yellow blossoms of the hemasagara, and the sky-blue water-lotus, in which the poets say that Cupid sleeps.
“I thought it my duty to represent this to the young man, and at the same time offered to his notice several of the very best of my own compositions in lieu of what, I ventured to say, would not be a whit more effective, and certainly not so outré in price. But the youth would not listen for a moment to any of my arguments.
“« If it can be done,' said he, • I must have it. The maiden for whom it is intended is not one upon whom such attention will be lost.'
““Think you that she will even observe it ?' returned I, sharply, for I felt annoyed that my own productions should have met with so little success.
“Ay, that will she,' replied the youth ; did you but know with what deep worship she sometimes bends over these beautiful creations, with what poetry of heart and soul she will pass whole hours in the contemplation of their starry shapes and glowing colours, you, who love them too, would never doubt her. I have sometimes imagined that she herself partook of the nature of flowers: like them, she is bright and beautiful; like them, she is delicate, and clings to life but by a single breath ; like them, too, I fear, alas! that she will bow before the first autumnal storm ; like them, with the first sharp gust of winter, will she bend low, and wither, and die.'
“He spoke these words with a melancholy fervour, which told me at once that he was certainly very much in love. I gazed upon the poor youth with compassion, for even young as I then was, had I not already been the unsuspected witness of the dawning and of the withering of many such a passion as this ? all trust and truth in its commencement, and ending, for the most part, in either disgust or indifference, or else in folly and despair. 'Allons !' thought I, here is another poet's soul, another painter's mind, doomed to waste all their bright early bloom and freshness upon one of those wicked, artful jades, yclept grisettes ; I dare say some artificial flower-maker, or embroiderer of yellow tulips upon black satin reticules, who has fed the romance of the student's character, by making him believe that her soul is like his own, in order to entrap him the more effectually.'
“Consoled with this reflection, I mentioned a price so exorbitantly high, and so out of keeping with his threadbare cloak, that I hoped it would at once have deterred him from thinking any further about his purchase.
“ The youth mused for a moment; he seemed, indeed, as I had expected, to be astounded at the price I had mentioned, but, presently rallying, he said, abruptly,
« • Can you remember the arrangement of these flowers, when you shall no longer have the picture before your eyes?'
“ The question failed not to arouse my professional vanity; and, giving one steady gaze at the painting, I unhesitatingly answered in the affirmative.
“ * Then our bargain is concluded,' said he, smiling in evident satisfaction; "to-morrow evening, at this hour, will I return to fetch it.'
“ • I am poor and needy myself, replied I, and cannot undertake so large an order without some advance or deposit.'
“ The youth coloured slightly, but made no reply; and, gathering the cherished painting beneath his cloak, hurried away in silence, and was soon lost to sight.
“ I certainly did not expect ever to hear any thing further concerning his expensive whim, and was beginning, as I packed up to depart on the morrow, inwardly to congratulate myself upon my sagacity in not having
laid out so large a sum upon speculation, when, to my surprise, the youth again stood before me. He was paler than when I had seen him on the day previous. He seemed, too, greatly agitated, as he sought, with trembling fingers, in the pocket of his waistcoat, and drew froni thence two double louis-d'ors, flinging them recklessly upon the stall be
The amount was more, much more, indeed, than the sum we had agreed upon, and as, by the light of my little paper lantern, I sought for change, I just observed, with no other motive than that of inducing him to speak, that, however large the sum might appear to him, yet it was little enough to earn for one who would perhaps have to be astir on the morrow by four o'clock, and to pace the city the whole day long, in order to procure wherewithal to content his whimsical fancy. “The youth started, and his lip quivered, as he answered, bitterly,
Ay, you will, doubtless, think the money hard earned by one single day's care and trouble; you will, doubtless, deem that a single day's anxiety and toil is more than should be given for such a poor price as this: why, bouquetière, it would not buy the scarlet cord by which your eventaire is so gracefully suspended from your waist; yet, little as you think it, know that it has been considered sufficient to repay whole months of unceasing toil and bitter privation ; 'tis all that has been given me as payment of my long and weary vigils; as the produce of my dreamy days of solitude and pain, of all my nights of sleepless anguish. For such paltry price have I been compelled to yield the very sight of my eyes and the labour of
first fresh dream of beauty, and see 'twill scarcely pay for the bauble which it pleases me to bestow upon my mistress.'
“ I attempted to reason with the youth upon the folly of laying out so large a sum under such circumstances, but he now seemed reckless, and answered precipitately, “Nay, nay, why should I refuse myself this little fancy, since by so doing I shall gain nought, and lose the chance I now possess of winning a smile from her I love better than my life?'
" My heart bled for the poor youth; but of course it was not for me to inake any objection to so conclusive a reason as this last, nor yet to give utterance to the conviction which at that moment pressed itself upon my mind, of his being the dupe of some artful hussy who would, had the truth been known, have preferred by far that the money should have been expended in a new shawl, or a new cap, and that a trip to the chaumière, or a day at Belleville, should have been comprised in the outlay.
“Well, after great trouble and great expense, I succeeded in compounding the famous bouquet ; and although I am the one to say it, it certainly did prove to be a marvel of beauty. I cannot speak of it even now without adding the frank avowal of my opinion that it was the foundation of the patronage which the public of this great city have since thought fit to bestow upon me, for, during the few hours that it was on
stall was so thronged with buyers and amateurs that never was the like seen in the world before. All my regret was not being able to show this treasure to Paquerette, who, I knew so well would have viewed it with most exquisite pleasure, but she, poor child, had been, during the whole of the holy week, under the care of her confessor, and was still in strict retraite, and I, therefore, should have sought in vain to lure her thoughts from Heaven.”
A FEW MONTHS IN SOUTHERN AFRICA.
BY LIEUT.-COLONEL E. NAPIER.
THE CAPE, AND VAN RIEBECK ITS FIRST GOVERNOR.
They shall admire the chiefs of old, the race that are no more! While we ride on our clouds, Malvina, on the wings of the roaring winds, our voices shall be heard at times in the desert ; we shall sing on the breeze of the “Rock.”
Ossian. To the weary voyager, whether bound to the sunny climes of the far East, or returning thence to the long-wished-for home of his youth, the Cape presents a welcome haven of temporary refreshment and rest ; both mind and body, cramped and weakened by the long confinement and monotony of a ship-board existence, soon regain in this fine bracing atmosphere their wonted elasticity and vigour; and on approaching this southernmost extremity of Africa, the eye long dimmed and wearied by the unvaried and unvarying sameness of sea and sky, brightening with delight, finds solace and relief whilst resting on the blue cloud-capped hills, wooded slopes, trees, houses, and smiling gardens around ; in short, whilsti contemplating old Mother Earth in her most inviting mood, clad in Sunday garb, the very wrinkles of her oft sad and care-worn aspect, suddenly converted into the pleasing dimples of youth and beauty, on a countenance now beaming with content and radiant with pleasure !
To the wave-buffetted and weather-beaten wanderer it is truly a joyous spectacle, the entrance in fine weather) to Table Bay-but whether scanned through cloud or sunshine, by tempest, or—what is here more rare-during the dreamy stillness of a calm, the great “Cape of Storms,” presents on its approach, a scene, probably unrivalled in its kind, of grandeur and sublimity.
Table Mountain, its long, level, and unbroken summit propped on a wall of living rock, towering full 3500 feet above the vast Ethiopic Ocean, buttressed on one side by the “ Lions," on the other by the “ Devil's Hill,” seems not a mere work of nature but some monster fort, fashioned by giant or by genii hands, to guard the passage of these stormy seas.
As huge masses of white fleecy clouds roll slowly o'er its high battlements of rock, and sweep along their sides, no great stretch of imagination is called for, to fancy this the vast arsenal of the storms and winds* whose thund'ring ordnance—having just belched forth great salvoes on the world beneath-remains now shrouded in deose exhalations of its own sulphurous breath!
But whether capped with its white "cloth" and seen through the misty influence of the south-east wind, or standing out in bold relief against the clear blue atmosphere of the north-western breeze, this stupendous object cannot fail to excite both admiration and surprise.
In the higher regions of the Apennines and Alps, it is not unusual to see the clouds fast chasing each other far beneath the spectator of the * By some old authors Table Mountain is called the “ Mountain of the Winds." Feb.-VOL. LXXXII, NO. CCCXXVI.
scene ; amidst the rocky heights of Lebanon I have from some sunny spot, raised high above the storm, often looked down on the bursting thunder-cloud at my feet as it angrily sent forth its forked messengers of fire, deluging the green valleys below, and swelling into turbid and raging torrents their erst gurgling, silvery streams; but the fleecy vapours which occasionally envelop the “ Table” of the Cape differ from every phenomenon of the kind elsewhere beheld, and present so extraordinary an appearance as fully to warrant their descriptive appellation of the “ Table Cloth."
The prevailing winds at the Cape (and it is indeed the head-quarters of blustering Æolus) blow chiefly from the north-west, and south-east. With the former, the atmosphere is clear and transparent to a degree, the “ Table" then shows the full proportions of its stupendous bulk, every angle, bastion, and turret of the high battlements stand boldly chiselled forth where
These fields of light and liquid ether flow
Purged from the pond'rous dregs of earth below. But when the south-east wind gleans up the vapours from the surface of the Indian Ocean they here congregate en masse, forming a dense white cloud, which resting on the mountain's summit, first hangs like a “ Table Cloth*" o'er its sides, and then slowly creeping down the face of the precipice threatens a deluge to the town beneath; it however all ends—not in smoke-but wind! The vapours as they descend gradually melt into thin air, which then rushes like a tornado down every gully, sweeps through the town, bearing before it clouds of dust and pebbles: not unfrequently tearing the shipping from their anchors and carrying them far out to sea.
It is one of the peculiarities of this locality, that when the wind blows from the south-east, Cape Town-lying on its north-western baseinstead of being completely sheltered as would be imagined, is then exposed to all the redoubled fury of the blast which, sweeping over its summit, is led, as through so many funnels, down the precipitous ravines opening on the plains below.
Barrow, in his “ Travels in Southern Africa,” gives a learned dissertation as to the cause and reasons of this phenomenon of the “ Table Cloth," and to this account the philosophical reader is referred, whilst, may be to the more superficial perusers of these pages, the following description of an ascent to Table Mountain by the same author, may not be deemed here wholly uninteresting or misplaced :
"To those whom mere curiosity, or the more laudable desire of acquiring information, may tempt to make a visit to the summit of the Table Mountain, the best and readiest access will be found directly up the face next to the town. The ascent lies through a deep chasm that divides the curtain from the left bastion. The length of this ravine is about threefourths of a mile ; the perpendicular cheeks at the foot more than a thousand feet high, and the angle of ascent about forty-five degrees. The entrance into this deep chasm is grand and awful. The two sides, distant at the lower part about eighty yards from each other, converge within a few feet at the portal, which opens upon the summit, forming two lines of natural perspective. On passing this portal, a plain of very consider
Under which denomination this phenomenon is always known at the Cape.