Obrazy na stronie


the lower and more instinctive animals, the brain is merely one of the ganglions, and supplies nerves to the eyes and mouth, and neighboring regions; whilst, for the chest and abdomen, other ganglions are supplied, which furnish their own respective depart ments with the requisite amount of nervous fibre. In articulated animals, which consist of a series of rings, like caterpillars, each ring has its own ganglion, or ganglia. This explains the fact of the tenacity with which these animals cling to life, and seem even to possess more lives than one, when cut into two or more parts. With them the brain is divided and distributed over the body, and the vitality accordingly; and each division being a little independent brain, the animal constitutes a republic of lives, instead of one combined and united monarchy. The instinct of animals thus organised, is beyond the understanding of human reason; but their intellect is so small as to be inappreciable or undiscoverable. There is therefore, as M. Agassiz has well remarked, "a certain antagonism between instinct and intelligence; so that instinct loses its force and peculiar character whenever intelligence becomes developed."

[ocr errors]

The difficulty which reason experiences in understanding the movements of instinct, would be quite sufficient for sceptical philosophers to deny its existence, were the evidences not as palpable and undeniable as the thing itself is incomprehensible. There is a little spider called the water-spider, which actually constructs a diving-bell; not only upon the most scientific principles, but in so mysterious and recondite a manner that natural philosophers have not even yet discovered the secret of its patent. This diving-bell is a little cylinder lined with silk, and fastened with threads on every side to the water-plants. It is open only below, so that the spider has to dive under the water before it can get into it. But when it is in, how can it live unless there be air? It solves this difficulty in a manner that puzzles the philosophers. its body, a bubble of air, and lets it escape It carries down, round at the mouth of the bell; the air ascends to the top of the bell, and displaces a quantity of water equal to its own bulk. The spider goes on diving with these air-bubbles, until it has filled the diving-bell with air; and, being now furnished with an atmosphere, and secure from all molestation from without, it rejoices in the seclusion of its own domestic retirement.

How does this little creature discover this intricate and ingenious process of housebuilding, so far beyond the inventive powers of man himself? No doubt it is furnished with an apparatus for carrying this airbubble, and with power to force itself under



the water with air-bladders around it; but how it comprehends the manner of using the apparatus, shaping the bell, fastening it, making its opening in the water, instead of in the air, and then filling it with an invisible gas, is a problem difficult of solution. Kepler, the great astronomer, thoroughly perplexed with the problem of animal instinct, that he came to the conclusion that animals were automatons,mere machines, which seemed conscious of existence, but in reality were not; and Addison, in his Spectator, almost maintains the supposition that "God is the soul of the brute creation."

mining-bees, carpenter-bees, and waspsThe industry and ingenuity of mason-bees, upholsterer, carder, lapidary, and humblebees, and social wasps-the carpentry of tree-hoppers and saw-flies-the ingenuity of leaf-rolling, nest-building, carpenter and tent-making, and stone-mason caterpillarsthe extraordinary architecture of ants of every description-the galleries which they excavate in trees, the towers which they build, the government which they organise, their military establishments, their nurseries, sively set apart for superintending the nurture and their "maiden ants," or females excluand admonition of the young-the infinite variety of modes of industry exhibited by worms, moths, and spiders, and many other classes of articulated animals, are all so many illustrations of the wonders of instinct in contra-distinction to reason, or intelligence derived from experience.

Man acquires his wisdom by labor and research, and by treasuring up the facts of tradition, and written records, from father to a long series of observations transmitted by son, and from generation to generation.

But these instinctive animals are born with the fully-developed wisdom of their own perience from one generation to another; respective species. They transmit no exeach other; for they never make them. they communicate no new discoveries to to circumstances; but in like circumstances they act alike, and one generation is the facThey have the power of adapting themselves simile of all the generations that preceded it. Whatever reason they have is, therefore, inappreciably small; and it is apparently instinct in very difficult and exciting predicaments. Their normal condition is that only the result of an extraordinary effort of of routine-a law of perfect regularity and necessary. So that the circumstances that conservatism, in which reason becomes uncall forth the exercise of reason in instinctive animals, are circumstances of misfortune, in which their houses are demolished, their plans are thwarted, and the even tenor of their industry becomes impracticable.


The happiness of an ant or a bee consists in the uninterrupted exercise of its instinctive faculties. No better fortune can befall it than such a constant flow of that orderly routine which characterises all its favorite movements, that nothing like what man is pleased to denominate rationality shall ever be required of it. The apparent development of reason in such a creature, is the result of an agony or an irresistible unprecedented attraction. Its laws are not made by itself, like those of man; but made for it. It is a denizen of Nature; its obedience to Nature's laws is voluntary and cheerful; and it is only when the action of these laws is interrupted by violence or restraint, that it makes use of a seeming reason re-establish it. The law of Nature once restored, the apparent reason ceases to manifest itself, and instinct once more resumes its unvarying and delightful routine. How very different man is from these instinctive animals! Man is ever changing; they are not. And yet there are menraces of men-who seem to personify the principle of instinct, in comparison with others who personify reason. We see the routine of instinct in Oriental and savage life-the reign of conservatism and precedent, use and wont, custom and habit. Man is a little world, and has the type of everything in himself. The most instinctive of all organised human associations are those of China and Japan. There, men live together a life of unchanging mannerism; indifferent to what is taking place in the world around them-as incurious of neighboring regions as a community of ants, and as exclusively engaged in their own limited nationality; exercising their inventive genius only when difficulty or aggression and invasion compel them, and desiring nothing better than to be let alone to live a life of unvaried uniformity, established and unchangeable science, unimproved and unimproveable art, irreversible customs, and unalterable habits. To develop the reason of such a race of men, and elevate them above their inferior or instinctive condition, you must treat them as you would a community of ants when you want to be witness of their intellectual resources. They must

Let us add, that if the question were raised, which of the two gifts are preferableinstinct or reason, it would be a hard matter to decide the point. The "lower order" of animals are certainly "happy;" and so far so good. But as reason does not make mankind by any means happy, as a matter of course, the question must remain open to further debate.

He were clever man indeed, who could set such a matter straight!



to pervade all space. It removes water, and may
be so compressed as to remove the more substan-
tial bodies. Some have even asserted that, but
for it, some parts of this globe would fly off into
immeasurable space, and never return.
effects on water, may be judged by the following
experiment.-Take a tall drinki glass, at the


be assailed by force or internal confusion-edges whereof is fastened, by means of sealingtheir law of order must be reversed-anarchy wax, a piece of string made tight, and having in its centre a lighted wax taper. This being must reign for a season that faculties, balanced, so as to retain its position when the hitherto unemployed, may be brought into glass is turned upside down, place its mouth in a play. vessel filled with water; as the taper consumes the air within the glass, its pressure is withdrawn ; but the pressure from without still continuing, supply the place of the air which the taper has will force part of the water up into the glass to


It must be evident, that nothing but the pressure of the atmosphere could thus cause the water within the glass to rise above its own level.

Whether the Chinese and Japanese-who are instinctive races of men-can ever be made to act upon the progressive principle, like the men of the West, is a question not easily answered. Like instinctive animals, their history reveals no progress made in the arts of life and association since the earliest

antiquity. They always were, like the ants and the bees, just what they are; they had no savage and barbarous ancestors, painted with ochre and dressed in skins of slaughtered animals, as we had. They were, so far as human testimony goes, created as they are; inspired at first with the civilisation which they now possess; and either unable or unwilling to change it. But whether this be strictly correct or not, in reference to Oriental nations, it is relatively so when compared with the Western, amongst whom the principle of reason has been developed in such a manner as to establish an incompatible dissimilarity of character between the two hemispheres.

It would, however, be foolish for us to maintain that all the wisdom lies with reason, and the ignorance or the folly with instinct. On the contrary, the wisdom of instinct is, in some respects, perfect, and therefore Divine; whereas the wisdom of reason is merely human. To the bee and the ant, their normal condition is perfection. Such cannot be affirmed of any human political constitution; for one of the most decisive proofs of imperfection in law is its mutability. A Divine law is unchangeable, because it is perfect; human laws are changeable, because they are imperfect.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]





THE PURELY ARTIFICIAL ENGLISH lead, are thrown into powerful contrast by what we notice abroad. Innocence of feeling, as well as action, in early age, is encouraged there; whilst here, all that is natural and harmless is suppressed. The nurse takes her lesson from her mistress. The child is reared by art. always made to play "second fiddle" in the Nature is drama of life. Nobody will deny this. We have just been glancing Mackay's Travels in the United States;' and what we have therein read has elicited these few observations. Speaking of the American Maiden, the author says:—

The whole course of her education is one habitual lesson of self-reliance. The world is not kept a sealed book to her until she is tolerably advanced in years, then to be suddenly thrown open to her in all its diversity of aspects. From the earliest age she begins to understand her position, and to test her own strength. She soon knows how to appreciate the world, both as to its proprieties and its dangers. She knows how far she can go in any direction with safety, and how far she can let others proceed. She soon acquires a strength of character to which the young woman of Europe is a stranger, and can act for herself whilst the latter is yet in leading strings. All this would tend, were her entrance in society a little longer delayed, or were the sway which she acquires over it somewhat postponed, to impart a much more sedate and serious character to American social intercourse than it


How very delightful would such an innocent and natural habit be, if observed amongst ourselves! Any little act of comeach other by friends and acquaintances, mon attention or kindly greeting, paid to be natural. If our heart leans towards any is by us regarded as de trop. We dare not suppress the feeling. Friendly calls, cordial one whose attractions engage us, we must over-these are voted as vulgar, heathenish, shaking of hands, an absence of ceremony, "natural" salutations, and hearty welcomes improper, dangerous!

Nature however has "converted" US, we are What a world to live in! Honest old happy to say; and we have converted others. Innocent we feel, and we defy the world at When WE shake hands, and when WE salute, the heart goes with the offering. And rely upon this, good folk-if we like our time of life to change our sentiments. you, no false modesty shall check the expression of feeling; if we love you, the same principle holds good. pleasing evidence of that fact. If our life You shall have would be burthensome. were held upon other tenure than this, it conscience be honest, and clear of offence towards God, the formula of "the world So long as we live in" shall never make us unnatural.


These remarks are convincing to us, that our system of early education is greatly inferior to that of our neighbors. Our chil dren's "minority" is regarded for the most part as merely probationary. leading-strings when they ought to be able They are in to teach and instruct others. Habit would soon render this easy. But fashion and custom overrule this wholesome system. The author continues :

The latitude of action here referred to, necessarily involves a free and habitual intercourse between the sexes. This is permitted from the very earliest ages, and never ceases until the young girl has left her father's house for that of her husband. The freedom thus extended is one which is seldom abused in America; and is more an essential feature than an accidental circumstance in a young woman's education. Her male friend invites her to walk or ride with him; and her compliance with the invitation is a matter solely dependent upon her own humor. escorts her to the concert, or home from the party; He the rest of the family finding their way or returning home as they may. Indeed, I have known the young ladies of the same family escorted by their male acquaintances in different vehicles to the same party, where they would

make their appearances perhaps at different

result whatever is observable from this Dr. Mackay tells us further, that no illnatural and proper freedom of action. He adds:


on the other. * * *

Nor is this licence confined to cases in which young ladies-by no means. A friendly intimacy the young men are recognised admirers of the It justifies invitation on one side, and compliance is all-sufficient for every purpose of social life. education in England, teaches her that such conduct is a disregard of the proprieties of her sex. A young woman's If it were looked upon as such in America, it would not be followed. The difference arises from the different views taken, in the two hemisIn America, it neither impairs the virtue, nor compromises the dignity of the sex. It may be somepheres, by young women of their actual position. what inimical to that warmth of imagination and delicacy of character which, in Europe, is so much admired in the young woman; but it is productive of impurity neither in thought nor conduct.

time or space in pursuing this subject. We
It is not our intention to waste either
are aware all argument is vain. Constructed
the very cradle, in these matters we must
as modern society is, and sacrificed as all
natural feelings are to 66
expediency" from
remain in statu quo.

of action. We have lived long enough for
All we claim is, the privilege of a freedom
other people. Some have emptied our purse;

[blocks in formation]

The Loves and the Graces are felt to reside naturally in a woman's countenance, but to be quite out of place in a man's. His face is bound to be clean, and may be allowed to be picturesque-but it is a woman's business to be beautiful. Beauty of some kind is so much the attribute of the sex, that a woman can hardly be said to feel herself a woman who has not, at one time of her life at all events, felt herself to be fair.

Beauty confers an education of its own, and that always a feminine one. Most celebrated beauties have owed their highest charms to the refining education which their native ones have given them. It was the wisdom as well as the poetry of the age of chivalry, that it supposed all women to be beautiful, and treated them as such. A woman is not fully furnished for her part in life, whose heart has not occasionally swelled with the sense of possessing some natural abilities in the art of pleasing; opening to her knowledge secrets of strength, wonderfully intended to balance her muscular, or, if you will, her general weakness. And herein we see, how truly this attribute belongs to woman alone. Man does not need such a consciousness, and seldom has it without rendering himself most extremely ridiculous; while to a woman it is one of the chief weapons in armoury, deprived of which she is comparatively powerless. And it is not nature which thus deprives her.

*Hear this, ye advocates for making a man's face hairy as a savage, and doing away with the use of the razor and soap. A MAN'S face must be "clean," pure, natural, wholesome.-ED. K. J.

Few, and solitary as sad, are the cases when a woman is stamped by nature as an outcast from her people, and such a one is understood not to enter the lists. But it is a perverse system of of stifling nature. education which starts with the avowed principle

Here is the grand fault. The very first effort of a girl's parents is to stifle nature "Woman" in their offspring. How then can fulfil her mission-her mission "to be beautiful?" It is impossible; as we proved last month, whilst sitting in judgment upon the prevailing want of taste in the arrangement of ladies' hair. Most of our women-if not known to be such, would, if their heads only were seen, pass admirably for monkeys. There can be no two opinions about that; and dressed as they are from the head downward, we could, were we ill-natured, make a further apt comparison. We seldom hear of "elopements" under the reigning fashion. A woman's head and face have lost all their wonted attraction. We fear their owners have read the "Comic English Grammar," and studded it too severely. It surely is recorded there, that "the masculine is more worthy than the feminine."

Our contemporary next attacks the silly practice of those disgusting prudes (all prudes are disgusting), who instil the idea that it is wicked to show a consciousness of beauty; and who maintain that it is right to

mortify the flesh." Then speaketh he about plainness, as contra distinguished from beauty:

What can be more false or cruel than the com

[ocr errors]

mon plan of forcing upon a young girl the withering conviction of her own plainness? If this be only a foolish "sham" to counteract the supposed demoralising consciousness of beauty, the world will soon counteract that. But if the victim have really but a scanty supply of charms, it will, in addition to incalculable anguish of mind, only diminish those further still." To such a system alone can we ascribe an unhappy, anomalous style of a young woman, occasionally met with, who seems to have taken on herself the vows of voluntary ugliness-who neither eats enough to keep her complexion clear, nor smiles enough to set her pleasing muscles in action-who prides herself on a skinny parsimony of attire, which she calls neatness-thinks that alone respectable which is most unbecoming-is always thin, and seldom well, and passes through the society of the lovely, the graceful, and the happy, with the vanity that apes humility on her pale, disappointed countenance, as if to say-" Stand back! I am uncomelier than thou!"

Yet even such self-disfiguring ladies as these instinctively obey that law of nature which bids a woman hide her face when she knows it not to be attractive. Even these cry into their pocket handkerchiefs and sneeze behind their hands; not because they are ashamed of either emotion, but simply because such paroxysms of the countenance are too ugly for the light. Let here add one


word of our

own, about "plain" people. We have usually found that people called plain, are intelligent; and as frequently, amiable. Nay more-when we have been twitted for speaking of our "pets" in such high terms, we have learnt to regard them as "beautiful." So great is the power of amiability, which illumines the countenance of a "plain" person till it becomes radiant as a diamond!

We can afford to be laughed at for such sentiments.



WE HAVE GIVEN IN NOTHER COLUMN some interesting particulars of the Spanish Let us now hear what Mr. Power, in his "Recollections of Three Years' Residence in China," says of the females of that country:

The wife and daughter of the Chinese farmer

walk about the world with such feet as it has pleased God to give them, and very pretty feet and ankles they generally are. In fact, whatever want of beauty of feature there may be among the Chinese women, no one can deny them the merit of remarkably beautiful feet, ankles, hands, and arms. Of the rest of the figure one cau judge but indifferently, from their peculiar though not ungraceful costumes.

In the country villages the young girls and matrons may be seen at their doors, or grouped together beneath the trees, or in the yard attached to the house, engaged in household or farm occupation; laughing the while in merry chorus to their work. I have often, from the back of my horse, looked over the low walls at such a group, but the result was rarely complimentary; for on some coy damsel suddenly catching sight of my Saxon face, she would scream an alarm to the rest, who retreated to the house with a general screech. On reaching the threshold, however, they would generally stop to giggle at the object of their fears, on finding him not pursuing with savage intent; or sometimes the respectable bearded patriarch would take them by the shoulders, and in spite of their affected resistance, push them all out again into the yard, calling jokingly to me at the same time, in some incomprehensible gibberish probably, to eat them up." I flatter myself, however, that I was not sufficiently frightful to alarm them very much; with a stout wall between, and the whole village within call.

Far different, however, was the case when "the foreign devil" happened to come upon one solitary matron, pursuing her way from one village or farm to the other. Her fears were really terrible; and she fled as fast as her legs could carry her. If, however, the unprotected female happened to be of the small-footed kind, she staggered off with the aid of her bamboo, till an unlucky trip would usually leave her sprawling on the path, or not impossibly in the mud and water of a paddy-field. To rush to her assistance was the natural impulse; but the approach of the

monster was a signal for the most tremendous shrieking, and one could only persevere at the risk of throwing the distressed matron into hysterics. It was a disagreeable dilemma, but it the lady to scramble out of the mud in her own invariably ended in my walking on and leaving



If I had a Chinese attendant with me, usually sent him on to conduct any fair one I might meet into a secure bypath, or to assure her of the harmlessness of my general character and


It is "well" that the Chinese women have "remarkably beautiful feet, ankles, hands, and arms. 11 Their snub-noses and copper faces are not exactly what one could fall in love with.

We believe that only one daughter in every family has "pinched-up" feet. That The is an honor which is "expensive." other members run nimbly about to discharge their needful domestic duties.

There can be nothing to admire in little feet-made little by the barbarous screw. The others, however, may do "nicely."


THE moonlight fell like pity o'er the walls
And broken arches, which the conqueror, Time,
Had rode unto destruction; the grey moss,
A silver cloak, hung lightly o'er the ruins;
And nothing came upon my soul but soft
Sad images. And this was once a palace,
Where the rich viol answered to the lute,
And maidens flung the flowers from their hair,
Till the halls swam with perfume: here the dance
Kept time with light harps, and yet lighter feet;
And here the beautiful Mary kept her court,
And dreamed not of the long and many years
Where sighs and smiles made her regality,
When the heart was to waste itself away
In hope, whose anxiousness was as a curse :
Here, royal in her beauty and her power,
The prison and the scaffold, could they be
But things whose very name was not for her?
And this now fallen sanctuary, how oft
Have hymns and incense made it holiness!
How oft, perhaps, at the low midnight hour,
Its once fair mistress may have stolen to pour
At its pure altar, thoughts which have no vent
But deep and silent prayer; when the heart finds
That it may not suffice unto itself,
But seeks communion with that other state,
Whose mystery to it is as a shroud
In which it may conceal its strife of thought
And find repose.






But it is utterly changed: No incense rises, save some chance wild-flower Breathes grateful to the air; no hymn is heard, No sound but the bat's melancholy wings; And all is desolate and solitude. And thus it is with links of destiny Clay fastens on with gold, and none may tell What the chain's next unravelling will be. Alas the mockeries in which Fate delights! Alas for time!--still more,-alas for change! L. E. L.

« PoprzedniaDalej »