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The learned Abbé Venuti added to the confusion of opinions already existing, by asserting that the Cagots were descendants of Christian pilgrims to the East, and of Crusaders who had returned to their own country infected with the white leprosy-the Al Guada of the Arabs, and Al Barat of the Jews.

As the Albigenses, the Waldenses, and other people who had rebelled against the church, and even Queen Bertha herself, had been branded with the mark of the goose's foct, there were not wanting many who upheld a similar origin to the Cagots.

Ramond, whose beautiful work on the Pyrenees was published in 1789, was the first to overthrow the supposed Saracenic origin of the Cagots-a theory which has since been satisfactorily dismissed by the orientalist Reinaud.

“ Is it possible,” he says, “that Arabs, left to themselves in remote and secluded spots, should have preserved no traces of their language, their religion, or their manners ?”

The popular opinion—that of the people of Basque, Navarre, Bearn, and other provinces among whom these races, doomed to infamy, have been chiefly located—has always been in favour of their Gothic origin, some looking upon them as Arians, others as descendants of the Visigoths. Many who have participated in these opinions-medical men residing in the country, and, still more, especially the well-known Palassou, have also satisfactorily shown that it was an error on the part of Ramond ; and others, to confound the Cagots with the Cretins and the goitreux-people afflicted with infirmities almost peculiar to mountainous districts.

But still there have not been wanting, in modern times, new opinions struck out by able men, and supported by all the strength of learning and research. Count de Gebelin, in his etymological dictionary of the French language, considers the Cagots to be the true aborigines of the country. In 1833, the distinguished geographer, Walckenaer, lent the authority of his name to a new theory, which was, that the Cagots are descendants of the Christians of Novempopulania, who first received the Gospel in the third century. Lastly, Dr. Francisque Michel, who has devoted far more attention to the subject than any who preceded him, believes that the Cagots are descendants of Spanish refugees, who fled from the persecutions of the Moors to submit to a yoke, a thousand times more insufferable ; and who are indebted for their long-enduring misery to a political error on the part of Charlemagne, Charles the Bald, and Louis le Débonnaire, which has been perpetuated up to this time.

Taken numerically, we find that, up to the present day, out of fiftytwo published opinions, collected by Doctor Michel's industry, fifteen are in favour of a Gothic, and eleven in favour of a Saracenic origin. Three have advocated the opinion of their being Jews, a similar number their being Giezi, or Gezitains (Gehazites), and about the same number their being Crestiaa, or primitive Christians. Two have considered them as Albigenses, one as Yezidis, one as Celts, and one as pilgrims and Crusaders. Seven again have accounted the race as lepers, strictly, or only partially so speaking, and three have confounded them with the Cretins. Many attribute to them an origin in which two or three of these opinions are involved at the same time; and others, as Michelet, for example, content themselves with designating them as the “ Pariahs of the West.”


If you're a gemman, you'll behave as sitch.”—(CABMAN loquitur.)

It has become an universal axiom that there is no royal road to knowledge, but that he who would acquire it must earn his qualifications by dint of the severest study.

We are not going to dispute the truth of this proposition in a general sense, for our own experience reminds us of only too many occasions on which we have most signally failed—simply because we have not taken the trouble to go through the preliminary course of training.

The first time we ever went out shooting (we were forty years of age, and had never had a fowling-piece in our hands before), we equipped ourselves in a russet coat, with unnumbered pockets, undeniable gaiters for quickset hedges, the stoutest water-proof shoes for heavy land and wet turnips, a game-bag of the widest capacity, a double-barrelled gun of the best make, and the finest assortment of percussion-caps, patent cartridges, and other paraphernalia that ever was possessed by sportsman. It is an old saying, that cucullus non facit monachus, and it was perfectly true on this occasion. Externally, we were (or thought ourselves) a model for stubble-rangers, and we glanced somewhat contemptuously at the old velveteen coat of the gamekeeper who followed the party.

As we got over the first gate, our pride, like Acres's valour, began to ooze out at our fingers' ends, and by the time the dogs began to quarter the ground, a strong internal conviction assured us that we had never made so great a mistake in our lives as when we fancied that, to be a sportsman, it was only necessary to perform the simple act of pulling a trigger. We accomplished that part of the business easily enough--too easily, indeed ; for, instead of confining ourselves to one trigger, our eager fingers clawed simultaneously at both, and off went both barrels at the same moment. This would have been of little consequence if we had fired (as that literary guide-post, the Atheneum, which always points wrongly, says), “ in the right direction;" but, unluckily, the explosion took place as we were bringing our gun up to the shoulder, and the contents, if they did not actually lodge in the person of the Reverend Montague Blazer (the crack shot of the county), most severely galled his nether man, and he owed his escape from serious damage rather to the stoutness of the cords which he wore, and to the distance at which he stood, than to any act of skill on our part, or want of unanimity in the two charges of No. 4, “ warranted not to spread.”

An accident may happen to the most experienced, but when it became known in the field that both barrels had gone off together, we were by common consent declared “unsafe;” the gamekeeper, revenging himself for our superciliousness, refused to re-load our gun, and being left to ourselves, in our anxiety, we put the cartridges in the wrong way, were ashamed to acknowledge our mistake, so pretended to have sprained one of our ankles, hobbled out of the field, and then walked briskly home, satisfied, in our own mind, that there was no royal road to partridgeshooting.

Our success in hunting, making our maiden attempt about the same eventful period of life when, as the poet says, if a man be a fool he is “a fool indeed," was much on a par with the sporting experiment already described. It was not the first time we had been on horseback, though our seat was none of the happiest, but our previous equestrian performances -and they were longo intervallohad been contined to a little bonesetting along the turnpike road, with an occasional canter in the enclosure opposite Kensington Gore, and we were therefore not perfectly master of the routine of the “ field,” or acquainted with all its conventionalities, to say nothing of never having faced "timber” or taken“ raspers" in the course cf our casual rides, Nevertheless, with a courage that did more honour to our hearts than the judgment we displayed did to our heads, we ordered “ a bit of pink” from the “mart of Moses," and (we may as well acknowledge the fact) got the rest of our equipment from the knowingest of “ tiles” to the downiest of top-boots, at the same establishment, and thus prepared, trotted off one fine morning in December to join the meet of the Cut-and-run Hounds at Tumbledown-spinney, two miles on the other side of Galloper's-Green, a spot which is so well known that we need not further particularise the locality.

“That man rides well up to hounds," is one of the most complimentary remarks that can be made on a fox-hunter ; but the slight alteration of a preposition in the same sentence has a meaning which is any thing but complimentary. It was our misfortune (for in those days our zeal invariably outran our discretion) not only to ride “up to,” but “into” hounds, and this occurred at the very first check, partly because our horse was fiery and unmanageable, partly because we are short-sighted, and partly (we may say principally) because we had no idea there was any thing in it that was unsportsmanlike. We certainly had no intention to lame, as the huntsman said, “two couple of the best hounds in the pack,” nor did we think we had deserved the epithets of “muff” and “ tailor,” accompanied by some very violent adjectives which saluted our ears on all sides; neither did we take in good part the advice of the master of the hounds, to ride home again as fast as we could, “ and never get on the outside of a horse again.” Although such advice was unpleasantly intimated, we might perhaps have foliowed it, had we been perfectly free agents ; but we were not, for the scent having been recovered, and the view halloa given at the very moment, the nag which had been recommended to us at Mr. Elmore's as “ a thorough good ’un,” was resolved to justify his owner's opinion of him, and without any reference to our inclinations in the matter, set off at a racing-pace and took us with him, as far as the first fence, where he left us planted in as nice a bed of thorns as any early Christian martyr could have selected for the exhibition of his patience and powers of endurance. After this it needed no very extraordinary stretch of sagacity to perceive that there was no royal road to hunting.

These instances, which might, if necessary be multiplied, particularly with reference to other bodily accomplishments, such as salmon-fishing, when we were pulled into the stream ourselves owing to the liveliness of the fish, the strength of the tackle, and our extreme unwillingness to part with the rod; skating, at which amusement we broke three of our ribs in the mad attempt to achieve the outside edge before we could fairly stand upright in our skates; fencing, when pretending not to stand in need of a mask, we had our left eye nearly poked out ; dancing, when we tried an impromptu polka, and had to apologise, or run the risk of being shot next morning for kicking an unoffending gentleman in the most frantic manner ; these are illustrations which might be added to prove how impossible it is to discover a royal road to knowledge even in mere physical attainments.

What shall we say of that to which the proverbial expression is meant more particularly to apply, excellence in mental endeavour? There are many familiar examples at hand to declare its truth, no less striking than those which we have deduced from our own personal misadventures.

Our friend Brainless imagines that he is able to write a first-rate novel, chiefly from hearing that first-rate men have failed in some particular attempt ; he tries the experiment, and produces something equal, in brilliancy of style, raciness of expression, and vigour of delineation, to a washerwoman's bill, or the filling up a turnpike ticket.

Botchall had visited most of the picture-galleries in Europe, attended every sale at Christie's, gave the loudest opinion at every exhibition in London, and in an evil hour whispered one day to himself,“ Ed anchè son' io pittore!" He plunged in medias res, and took for his subject “ The Judgment of Solomon," but the judgment which he showed in doing so bore no resemblance to the quality of mind which the monarch of Israel evinced on the occasion referred to.

That accomplished young gentleman, Augustus Howler, the musical critic of a distinguished weekly paper, “ devoted to the fine arts,” in the way that Curtius“ devoted" himself for his country, by leaping headlong into a gulf whose profundity he could not fathom, this youth by dint of a constant attendance at operas and concerts, a good store of lacquer (brass was a flight beyond his feeble assurance) and, we incline to think, on the strength of a pair of red whiskers, gave a musical party,‘at which he proposed in a literal, as well as in a figurative sense, to play " first fiddle," and charm his guests with his unheard of powers of vocalisation. The evening came and the next day he was indicted for a nuisance and bound over in a heavy penalty to keep the peace towards all her majesty's subjects for the next two years, at the expiration of which time, it was hoped, he might be brought to his senses.

But although in point of fact there is no royal road to knowledge, no method of getting at it per saltum, the appliances in this age of improvement are many.

There is no art or science, trade, accomplishment, or professional pursuit that is not attainable by every one, and that at the most moderate cutlay. There are “ Hand-books” for everything, from the most abstruse to the simplest subject, presented in the most condensed form and adapted, as the saying is, “ to the meanest capacity," and it is certainly for no want of instruction if the world is not made wiser. Literary reputation too, may be had, almost for the asking. Here, for instance is an advertisement that has lately been going the round of the daily papers, in reading which we can arrive only at the conclusion that the writer who thus offers his services is the most self- denying genius that ever existed. With exquisite modesty he thus addresses the "inglorious Miltons" whom he is anxious (for what “consideration" he does not state), to raise to the pinnacle of fame :

• To Gentlemen of literary taste. FAME and Confidential Assistance.

Manuscripts critically corrected. A quarterly reviewer, classical scholar, and political writer of considerable experience, whose successful productions in various departments of literature have been reviewed in the strongest terms of commendation by the most authoritative periodicals of the day, pledges himself to enhance or to create the reputation of authors and diffident aspirants in any branch of the Belles Lettres. Poems, Satires, Essays, Lectures, Speeches, Prefaces, Prospectuses, Leading Articles, Sermons, or Romances, of sterling value, composed to order and transferred. Works prepared for the Press. Inviolable secrecy. By post, care of X. Y. Ż.

We omit the address to preserve the paragraph from the advertisement duty.

What an invaluable fellow must this be, and as generous as his powers are great! Caleb Quotem was a fool to him! Alexandre Dumas, with all his myrmidons, could not get over the ground at the pace of this phænix. The French writer, indeed, with all his versatility must yield the palm to X. Y. Z., for our Englishman sticks at nothing. Like Tom Thumb's passion for Huncamunca,

Nought is for him too high, nor ought too low! All's fish that comes into his net. He resembles that joyous spirit whom the poet has made to sing in the following strain :

Say, what shall be our sport to day?

There's nothing on earth, in sea, or air,
Too bright, too bold, too high, too gay,

For spirits like mine to dare! One doubt only obtrudes itself in reading his advertisement. We never dream for a moment of questioning the range of his genius. He of

course can run

Through each chord of the lyre and master them all. This we have no difficulty in believing. Our only misgiving arises from the collocation of his subjects. “ Lectures" and " Speeches," “ Prospectuses” and “ Leading Articles,” “Sermons” and “ Romances.” In spite of their “ sterling value" we fear, “when composed to order," that they may bear rather too strong a family resemblance ; that we might mistake a speech for a lecture, a leading article for a prospectus, a sermon for a romance, or even more unfortunately confound a romance with a sermon. We dread lest he should be likened to the celebrated Dr. Hill, of whom the epigram says

For physic and farces
His equal there scarce is.
His farces are physic,

His physic a farce is. However, there he is, for any man's money, and a rare bargain, no doubt he will prove. He has led us a little away from our immediate subject> but we now return to it, believing that he was worth the digression.

Three little volumes, got up in the neatest manner, and suitable for the waistcoat-pocket or reticule, for which, no doubt, they were originally intended, are now lying before us, the sight of which has led us into the train of thought which we have exposed (together with our own imperfections) to the reader. They bear the following titles: "Etiquette for Gentlemen;" March.-VOL. LXXXII. NO. CCCXXVII.

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