« PreviousContinue »
heads of their negro children. In some of this kind are rife, that the practices are as the streets of Rio they amuse themselves by gross and abominable as any that have ever standing on the balconies and spitting on the been recorded, and that the perpetrators, heads of the foot-passengers below. With though publicly known, scarcely, if at all, scarcely an exception they all smoke, and lose caste in society, are most undoubted facts ; very frequently, if one of them happens to and the priests appear to be among the greatoccupy the same position in a room for a est delinquents. Still, I think that the mashort time while thus engaged, the floor in jority of the inhabitants are pretty free from her vicinity attests that the usual propensity taints of the grosser kinds, and I believe that for expectoration on such occasions has been a large proportion of the women are as chaste freely indulged.
as the generality of women in England. A After reading all this, you will, no doubt, practice exists here, and is of very common be prepared to hear that the morality of the occurrence, particularly among the tradespeople is not in the most desirable state. A people, which, strange as it would appear to few of them are exceedingly honorable in us, is not thought dishonorable in Brazil. A their dealings; but in general, honesty-in man and woman live together for many years the sense in which the word is understood in as man and wife, and bring up a family in the England—can scarcely be said to exist; and ordinary. way, but defer marriage until aptruthfulness is a quality which is neither val- proaching death. The ceremony is then perued nor possessed by more than a very few in- formed on the death-bed of one of the condeed of the inhabitants. Robberies on a large tractors. It frequently happens, however, scale seldom occur. Highway robberies very that when a woman is becoming old she is rarely indeed take place, except in some par- discarded, and a younger one adopted; but I ticular localities; and, considering the coun- believe that in such cases a periodical pecuntry, travelling is wonderfully safe. Small iary allowance is made to the elder woman. thefts, however, are committed by the poor There are many instances of the newlypeople all day long, and with the utmost ef- adopted one being the man's own daughter frontery. Fraudulent dealings and pecula- by the discarded woman. tion are constantly and almost openly prac The Roman Catholic ecclesiastics exercise tised by the trading and higher classes, so their ordinary functions, but all the educated much so, that men who have resided many men regard the Church simply as a political years in the country affirm that scarcely any institution, and very many of them avow that Brazilian acquires wealth in any other way religion is a proper thing for the amusement than by embezzlement.
of women, but that its dogmas are not beThough highway robberies are very sel- lieved by any sane men. dom heard of, murders for revenge are con The gorgeous ceremonies of the Romish tinually being committed, generally with im- Church have become in Brazil undignified punity, and they are thought very little burlesques. They are regarded simply as of. There are men living in most districts showy spectacles, to be enjoyed in the same who are publicly known to be professional manner as any secular display of splendor. assassins. If a man has a grudge against an- In the processions there is a total and entire other, by paying five or six pounds to one absence of the reverential demeanor among of these wretches he can procure the murder the spectators which is so remarkable on the of his victim with scarcely any chance of dis- European Continent. covery; and even if discovered, a legal in The churches are very plain buildings, demnity can be purchased by bribery without most of them having no pretensions whatever any great expense. The police arrangements to architectural effect. The bells are hung in are incredibly atrocious; they are in the last open arches in an attached tower, and are degree abominable; I have myself had some exposed to view. There is a great clamor small experience of the unrestrained turpi- with them almost all day long ; in many of tude of the officers.
the churches they are not rung," but are made The most severe and sweeping charges are to emit an inordinate and most discordant often made with regard to the sexual im- sound by a couple of little “ niggers” with morality of the Brazilians; but I think they hacamers, who seat themselves one on each are too broadly applied. That enormities of side of a bell and pommel away most lustily.
The interiors of the churches consist of scarce-those districts are called German colonies. ly anything more than four whitewashed They are not prosperous. In one of them, walls, with a few barbarously rude images near Rio de Janeiro, a large and handsome and a gaudily colored choir and altar-piece town has been built; but the builders lost at one end. Many of them are absolutely nearly all their investment, and the speculabeggarly. High up in the walls of the nave, tion is said to be a complete failure. The built in the walls, and flush with them, there name of the towif is Petropolis. Ships still are little curtained private pews, which look frequently arrive at Santos full of emigrants cxactly like boxes in a theatre. Escepting in destined for a colony about a hundred miles these there are no seats. All the central part beyond São Paulo. This proceeding is conof the nave is devoted to women, and merely ducted by a German speculator, who, under a narrow portion on each side and at the end sanction of the Brazilian Government, conopposite the choir, the west end, is left for tracts to bring over families on condition of
The division is formed by a small hand- their remaining in his employment until they rail, often made only of sticks. In the Ca- have earned over and above their livelihood thedral of São Paulo it is so rudely and care- a previously stipulated sum-generally about lessly constructed that the bark has not been seventy pounds-with accumulating interest. removed from the sticks.
They are sent up the country on foot, unBefore the commencement of the service, der the strict surveillance of agents of the and during portions of it, the women seat speculator, and it is pitiable in the extreme themselves on the floor. Very often their to see them trudging away in health and spirdresses form a splendid exhibition of rich its and to know the fate that awaits them, colors, and great taste is displayed in their Many years elapse hefore they can accumuarrangement. On the great saints' days even late the requisite amount, and they thus virthe slaves (the domestic slaves in the towns) tually become the slaves of the speculator, are elegantly dressed in silk gowns and man- They are let out for hire in the same mantles. The elevation of the Host is announced ner as the negroes, and are treated almost in by a discharge of fireworks, and there is the same way, except that they are not scarcely an hour in the day when the air of flogged. the towns is not burdened with their reports. When they have at last performed their When the divinity has been manufactured, part of the contract age has destroyed their he is invisibly but audibly transmitted to vigor, and bitter experience their capacity heaven on a rocket.
for_,enjoyment. With bodies debilitated by I ought not to conclude this letter without long years of labor on wretched diet, and saying something about one subject which I with minds dispirited by their forlorn posihave not yet mentioned. Some years ago a sys- tion, they are left penniless in an alien and tem of German emigration to Brazil was set on unproductive country to eke out the remainfoot. Whether the movement emanated origi- der of their miserable existence as best they nally from Germans or not, I do not know; but may. the Brazilian Government took active measures The speculator employs agents in Germany to promote it, and still gives it considerable to lure them away, and when they reach encouragement. The immigrants have various Brazil they are completely in his power. localities granted to them as settlements, and
A PAPER on the subject of certain Egyptian just appeared from the pen of M. Chabas, and was pepvri above four thousand years old will be read announced by us last week. We understand that by 31:. Goodwin at the Society of Antiquaries at the results of the decipherment of M. Chabas, one of the meetings next month. These papyri coincide with those obtained by Mr. Goodwin, are stated to contain the autobiography of an who h:s been studying the papyri independently. Egyptian adventurer under the earliest king of the twelfth dynasty, a part of a poem, and a long story, of which the incidents are referred to the The name of a poem which the Poet Laureate third dynasty. A work on the same papyri has has ready is “ Enoch, the Fisherman.”
From The Spectator. erage Englishman understands. He can folTARA.*
low that form of subtlety easily, because it is This is a very remarkable book. It is a unrestrained, and, therefore, leads as directly determined attempt to bring the interior Hin- to results as his own vigor of will and indo doo and Mussulman life of a great Mahratta peudence in action. But the Hindoo brain, province during the most exciting times hore which is as subtle, but, caring nothing for to the hearts and understandings of English- any divine law, yet swerves incessantly.to men, to interest them in people with whom avoid laws of its own making; which will they have nothing except human nature in sweep through human blood to its end, but
The task has been frequently at- not through the blood of cows; which disretempted, but always without success. Of the gards every oath, but never a caste rulo; scores of Indian stories which have from time which can sanction remorseless cruelty, yet to time been given to the world, and now rot is essentially gentle and patient, is too far slowly on old booketalls, scarcely one is now beyond his grasp. If he ever studies it with remembered in circulating libraries, and in interest, it is only when, as in that wondermost readers the mere sight of the Hindoo ful book of Mr. Grant Duff*s, “ The IIistory names arouses a sensation of disgust. Even of the Mabrattas,” which is as fascinating, as Sir Walter Scott's attempt has only been pre- Froissart and as little read as Kuolles, the served from oblivion by being bound up among character is painted avowedly from without. his collected works, and of the thousands who It is too troublesome to get within, have delighted in his Scotch and feudal stories Captain Taylor has faced the dificulty, and few indeed have ever accomplished the weary if he has not overcome it, be has poroduced a labor of reading “ The Surgeon's Daughter." | very remarkable book, incomparably the best The difficulty, indeed, of telling an Asiatic specimen yet existing of a real native tale. story is almost insuperable. The narrator We doubt if ordinary readers will quite unfcels that he is relating things of which he derstand or sympathize with his heroine, knows only the outside to readers who do not Tara, till the third volume, but that they know even that, and the temptation to stop will for the first time in their lives under and explain, to point out the significance of stand the circumstances amidst wbich Tara this incident, and the bearing of that custom, was placed, the exterval nature, if not the and the impossibility of this or that seemingly interior character of Indian society, we do not natural occurrence, is all but irresistible. doubt at all. The grand peculiarities of that There is no natural link between the imagi- society, its freedom from “ objects” save to nations of the reader and author, and in the live from day to day in obedience to immutaeffort to supply it the story is usually smoth-ble customs, the crushing force with which ered under a mass of explanation, and the its faiths bear upon every action, the crashbook is necessarily dull. There are, indeed, ing collision which every day occurs between two instances in which this danger has been its two rival creeds, are brought out with real escaped, but they only prove the rule. The and most striking power. Captain Taylor, Western world delighted in the first transla- who has been in a native service and has govtion of the “ Arabian Nights,” and all Eng- erned a British province, knows the Mabratlish society once revelled in Mr. Hope8“. An- tas as few Europeans have ever known, thein, astasius,” but in the former case Galland had and he has that genuine toleration for the the benefit of that groundwork of biblical Ilindoo, that sense of the singular powers teaching acquired in childhood which, in af-| latent within his character, which is only ter life, makes any picture of Arab manners given to highly imaginative minds. Above always seem to excite the memory rather than all, he has realized the circumstances amidst the imagination ; and in the latter there was which the Hindoo lives, that horrible presa still more subtle link. Anastasius is but a sure of tropical nature upon the heart and Greek, with the heroic armor laid aside, and mind which, acting for generations upon a the Greek character is, perhaps, the only one race originally excitable and nervous beyond utterly differing from his own which the av- European experience, has produced the Hin
doo imagination--that morbid, or even dis* " Tara.” A Mahratta Tale. By Captain Meadews Taylor. London : William Blackwood and eased brain, amidst which.the grotesque and Bons.
the lurid and the filthy and the sublime, all 1119
seem to struggle and shift and change, to act ious excitement which sometimes fall on Hinand re-act and combine, without ever touching doo women, devoted herself to Bhowanee, its groundwork, viz., the profound belief that though without becoming one of the harlots life is an illusion, that men and their acts the temple girls usually are. She is pursued and their responsibilities are all shadows by a Brahmin whom she detests, and it is moulded at will by some irresistible, and yet round this pursuit that the incidents of the capricious Fate, which also may be itself story are all hong. It opens with a violent equally an illusion. There is picture after shock to all English ideas—a wise pleading picture of India, the land where production with her husband that he will take a second and destruction seem in open visible warfare, bride, who may bear biun a son, while she where on one side of a road vegetation is so who pleads has given him only a daughter, luxuriant that it will, in a year, eat the very the heroine of the tale; and the incident is a
foundations of the bridges; while on the other fair example at once of the author's merit may stretch a plain as dreary as one of Nu-jand his single failure. The reader undermidia, plain and vegetation being alike seern- stands thoroughly why the wife should proffer ingly boundless. The objects and incidents such a prayer, how the husband would receive
and the customs which harmonize so well it, and what, under happy circumstances, I with this nature ; the vast temples which load might be the condition of the polygamous the land, only overshadowed by yet vaster bousehold. But he is not made to feel ruins ; the gorgeous yet bloody ceremonials; the internal action of the first wife's mindthe mad worship of Bhowaneo ; the feats of that struggle between jealousy and duty hereditary robber chiefs ; the bloodthirsty which must in such cases occur, or to see the teaching of the Mussalman priests; the more thoughts which ultimately compel her to a bloodthirsty acts of Hindoo patriots, all have proposal which is, to English ears, almost for the author's mind an interest which he revolting. That was beyond Captain Tay. succeeds in exciting within that of his rcader lor's power, as it is beyond the power of any also. There is an account in the first volume being save one who has gone through it all, of an intrigue against the King of Beeja poor and who can bear like an English novelist to and its defeat which, in its long-drawn evolu- dissect his own dead feelings. It is only whea tions and final catastrophe, reads like a chap- a Ilindoo bimself succeeds in writing a readter from the " Arabian Nights," and will re-able novel that this pleasure, the revelation call to the reader the days when as he read he of a heart guided by laws Europeans knew almost saw, under all the disguise necessary nothing of, will be afforded us. Till then we to the tale, the stately presence of the "good can recommend Tara, child widow and devoHaroun al Raschid," that solitary caliph tee, associate of dancing girls, voluntary sutwho has contrived to obtain a solid babitation tee and convert of the Mohammedan faith, to in Western thonght. The plot of the book all who care to wake their imaginations by is simple enough. Tara, a virgin widow of scenes not laid in the drawing-roums of Bel sixteen, has in one of those fits of wild, relig- gravia.
The Theory of the Foreign Exchanges. By of the American war did not immediately return George J. Goschen, M.P., Second edition ; re- to England, as was prophesied in the Times. vised by the Author. Effingham Wilson. The American market was well stocked with gold,
the English ill stocked, and, as a speculation, This is a new and materially improved edition the gold could not have been sent to America at of the only good theoretic book on the foreign ex- a profit
. Mr. Goschen shows that indebtedness changes, of which we had occasion to speak so entirely overrides the causes of a speculative flow highly when it first appeared. Mr. Goschen has of gold, and he explains with the greatest clearadded much that is sound and valuable on the ness the changes which followed the depreciation great variations which have taken place in the of the currency, though he himself is obviously American exchanges since he wrote, and their puzzled with the great fall in the price of gold cause. le explains, in complete conformity with which followed the battle of Gettysburg: -Spec. the general principles of his book, why the qunn- tutor, 21 Nov. cities of gold shipped to America at the beginning
From The Spectator. quality as much beyond the control of the MR. FOSTER ON DECISION OF CHARAC will as the length of the fingers, or the color TER.*
of the hair. It is impossible, though there It is not, perhaps, difficult to understand are strong facts on the other side, that apart why these Essays have passed through thirty from miraculous influence, the conglomerate editions. They are not, as a whole, very re- result of powers, circumstances, inheritances, markable for originailty of thought, though and physical tendencies, which we call chartheir author was himself a decidedly original acter, is as permanent as the shade of the man. They do not charm by their style, for skin, the size of the eye, or the height after the sentences, always a little involved, are be- twenty-one. No man by taking thought can ginning to seem more than a little antiquated. make himself credulous, any more than by Yet, they are read and admired by men not taking thought he can add a cubit to his stat given to sermons and satiated with essays; ure. But there is a debatable ground, in and we believe the cause to be this : Such which the essential character or permanent readers read first the " essay on decision of tendency of every man is so mixed up with character,” and arrive, from that essay alone, his habits as to be absolutely inseparable at the conclusion that John Foster was nat- therefrom ; and on this John Foster seized. ural thinker only short of the very first grade. No man, for example, born timorous could His mind was not that of a genius, not pos- possibly make himself brave; but a strong sessed of that rare combination of powers faith in Providence, or a determined habit of which we call intuition; but it had a grasp facing every danger, would so restrain this over data, a faculty of assimilating little bits timidity that, though still existing, it would of observation into a consistent whole very cease to produce results. No man can quito rarely found among men of his somewhat rid himself of that purely physical impul prejudiced school. The reader feels, as he which theologians call anger and men of the wades,--for it is wading,--that the author world hot temper ; but we see every day how was a man who had never received a thought in men, by continued self-restraint, by caltivat bis life, who had dived into human nature for ing the habit of fairness, and, above all, by himself, who understood and did not hate its ridding the mind of self-seeking, the great feebleness, and who, as he understood the real est cause of bad temper,--can acquire the sodificulty, so also could suggest a working renity other men enjoy without an efort. In
Most teachers of his class are accus- these two instances, the excessive pressure tomed, when assailed upon any moral or from without, the contempt with which Northsemi-moral question, to ascribe the difficulty ern races regard cowardice, and the social ob either to mental deficiency or to want of will, loquy produced hy bad temper, com pel the sufor to a positive distaste for the sound moral ferer to exert his will to overcome the habit of view. Foster assumes, on the contrary, that bis organization. In a third and equally frea man may have difficulties in striving to do quent case,-that of a man born vacillating, what is right, without being either a scoun---there is no such pressure, and it is, in this drel or a hopelessly feeble fellow. Instead of instance, therefore, that teaching is most usei denouncing, as most preachers do, he takes a ful. Of all the foibles except envy, indecision hint from the secular physician, shows by is, perhaps, the most injurious, and the one acute diagnosis that he understands the pa- which it is hardest to correct. For it exists tient's complaint, and then tells him how to most strongly in those natures which, from seek a possible cure. The result is that he their feminine elements—their affectionateis probably the one strictly didactic teacher ness, gentleness, and habit of sympathy, are whose precepts were ever obeyed, one of the of all others most likely to be buttressed by few who ever succeeded in really changing the social love, and most likely to fall into the character of a reader.
ruinous habit of asking small advice. It exWe must, however, distinguish. We are ists, too, unlike most deficiencies, almost innot venturing to decide the moot point variably in a semi-completed form, as an imwhether character in its essence can ever be perfect foible, hardly perceptible even to its altered, whether pride, for example, is not a victim himself. Completo indecision, extend
* “ Foster's Essays." Bohn's Standard Library. ing to all cases and circumstances, operative Tbirtieth Edition.
when there is but one course, and uncorrected