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dusky ears of an elephant, or the helpless Once your eye fell upon it, you never saw leaf of a diseased tropical plant! How any other carriage. In all the by-ways it seemed to belong to no age nor nation, upon the island, at all times of day,wat but would have been as surprising at the point by the Spouting Horn beachTimbuctoo as Nova Zembla! I have no over toward the fort-in Narraganset idea what it was made of, nor where. I avenue — in Bellevue-st. — toward the suppose nobody knows. Mot preserves beaches—upon every possible spot of land with reverence a tradition of having above water was the chaise seen. It bought it somewhere, at some time. But was of highly polished leather, with open there is a wandering in his eye when he framework at the sides, and green curtells you so, that but feebly images the tains,—altogether an attractive carriage. wandering of his mind after any precise Its two wheels turned very nimbly hat-statistics. That hat put the Newport around corners. It was perpetually ruin to shame. After Mot appeared with driving in at gates, and through bars, at upon his head, the old mill was hushed and mysterious Jones always carried a up, and sold off at auction. He kept it roll, like a field-marshal's baton in his in a huge solitary white house upon the hand. cliff, as powder and other dangerous mat Perhaps, thought I, Wellington's hoters are preserved in lonely places. But nors have fallen upon Jones. he was perfectly generous in showing it. He wore a short cloak pendent from Mot wasn't proud of it, but wore it in his shoulders to his waist. The face of the most open manner upon the public F. M. Mr. Jones was cheerful ; it had a highways, and sometimes took it in to re steady composure, as of a man uninterceive private audiences from beautiful ruptedly satisfied. People bowed to him ladies! If you ask me its shape, I must gravely. He had evidently an extensive refer you to clouds. If you demand the acquaintance. General Ricetierce, from material, I must refer you to substances Georgia, and the Hon. Pyne Knott, from of every kind and color. It was an eclectic Maine, knew him equally well. hat, catholic, cosmopolitan. It was sur “Some diplomat," I said, “whom they rounded with what was familiarly called knew at Washington.” a ribbon. I should have said rainbow, I observed one remarkable fact. F. M. had I not detected many more than the Mr. Jones was never alone in the chaise. I seven primal colors. It might have been observed another fact. The face of his coma large straw village in Lilliput, in Brob panion, whoever he might be, had not his dignag it could have been Glumdalclitch's own uninterruptedly satisfied expression. bonnet.
Conversation took a very serious turn in I knew it had been removed from New respect of this carriage. Later in the port. I knew that I might as well look season, I heard men defy that chaise. I to see June coming over the fields; but I even heard one exasperated man swear would rather have seen that amorphous at the F. M. and his chaise. The next old hat flapping along the road, than a day I saw him in it, cutting round corbird of Paradise.
ners, driving in at gates, returned punctuBut I did see the chaise !
ally to dinner by his companion, who Do you ask whether among the multi flourished, at intervals, his official baton. tude of fine equipages that ornament the I began to suspect it to be a magic wand. Newport you know, there can be any one Every morning that chaise drew up specified as “the chaise," as Wellington before the Bellevue. F. M. calmly among scores of Dukes was "the Duke ?" scanned the groups upon the piazza, and Yes. You know how fiercely the fever singled out his man. Vainly General of land-speculation rages in Newport: Ricetierce pretended not to see, and how fathers dreaded to be drawn thither puffed his cigar more industriously, or by their families lest they should be more obstreperously laughed. He felt forced to buy a place,-how bleak rocks that eye upon him, as a snowflake a sunsuddenly became precious stones-how beam, and he melted into most docile every body had a secret about the land obedience. he was going to buy, and a romance about “Ah! Jones, is that you ; glad to see that every body else had bought. You you; I'm quite ready," said the poor vicknow what engineering there was, what tim, with great rapidity. staking, what surveying, what loads of “I shall be gone only a short time," bricks, and stone, and lumber passing in said the General to his companions, as endless procession. Well, among all this, he left them. They smiled mournfully, suddenly appeared a chaise. It was not and looked wistfully after him. peculiar in any way. It had none of the Jones stepped out of the chaise, handed fascinating inscrutability of Mot's hat. Ricetierce in, and closely followed him. It was a simple chaise, driven by Jones. They started.
"By the bye !" cried the General, in a He had been seen eating sponge-cake an loud voice, and leaning forward to his hour before dinner-he had been posing friends upon the piazza.
to the “Daguerrean artist,” half-nude, as It was too late. The chaise was cut the Dying Gladiator-he had professed ting round the corner.
willingness to buy a new hat! Or it was Pyne Knott, who was in in “It's very strange," said I. different health, and would as soon buy a “Not at all,” said J.; "he's had an lot in Newfoundland as Newport-who attack of the chaise." wondered at the wild prices men paid for When, therefore, I saw the chaise, all land, and especially how they could con the summer came driving back to me sent to pay an immense percentage to an in it. agent. It was Pyne Knott who pshawed Why spin out my story? I went to and pished, and wished people wouldn't Newport to find the winter, and surmake fools of themselves. The next day prised May lingering upon the island. I saw him whisking along in the chaise, The afternoon I left, I wandered along while F. M. waved his baton over him, in the cliffs, and met an old fisherman, a sign of subjugation.
friend of the past summer, sitting solitary You could as easily resist a fog as that upon the bass-rocks, and looking idly chaise. It would surely encompass you. over the sea. After a surprised greeting If you staid at the Bellevue, you were no upon his part, I told him that he was lookbetter than a miserable prisoner of the ing as if he expected to see the opposite Conciergerie, before whose door, with shore of the ocean. fatal regularity, the charette daily ap "No," said the old fisher; “I was only peared, and the headsman cried, "the thinking of a story I read long ago—for I, next batch."
too, have read books, though I've given it The chaise was like the guillotine. up for many years—of an island lying Men tremblingly ate their breakfasts, far to the north, and inhabited only by momently expecting the summons; and seals and white bears. Once every year, after breakfast, it was always waiting said the tradition, swarms of peacocks, that horrible mockery of polished leather buzzards, and birds of Paradise, find their and green curtains !
way thither, and monopolize the island, Presently the mystery was explained. so that for a month no seal nor bear is No one was ever let out of the chaise visible--nothing but a great fluttering until he had bought land? F. M. Mr. and buzzing of these winged strangers. Jones was an J. A. He was a land agent, Suddenly they fly as mysteriously as and his baton was a map of the island. they came, and totally disappear, leaving Mot sickened at the thought. He was the quiet island to the contemplative sure that his name was written against bears and seals, who inhabit it throughsome lot, in which case, Chaise, Jones, out the year, who are adapted to its life and map, would be brought to bear upon by their organization, and whose history him, until he succumbed and purchased. is the history of the island.
- Blast the chaise !” cried Mot, ener “It is a very remarkable fact in natural getically.
history, concludes the tradition, that the Within a week I saw Jones putting peacocks, buzzards, and birds of Paradise, him into it, hat and all. He waved his conceive that their fluttering month gives hand at me, feebly. The old hat had the chief interest to the island." evidently suffered from a fresh jaundice, “It is very singular," said I, to the old ind hung heavily, like weepers, around fisher. his head. They drove rapidly away. “It is very true," said the old fisher to Sad stories were told of Mot, that day. me, as I walked away.
OUR YOUNG AUTHORS-MELVILLE
was the enthusiasm. The oddity of the name set critics a wondering. Reviewers who were in the habit of writing an elaborate review of a work, from merely glancing over the heads of the chapters,
and thinking a little over the title-page, were completely at fault. TYPEE told nothing. It had no antecedents. It might have been an animal, or it might have been a new game, or it might have been a treatise on magic. Did they open the
book, and look over the chapters, they ing girls,” in the Valley of Martair, conwere not much wiser. Barbarous congre trast magnificently with that terrible gations of syllables, such as Kory-Kory, night off Papeetee, when the Mowree Nukuheva, Moa Artua, met their eyes. tried to run "Little Jule” ashore upon The end of it was, that the whole tribe of the coral breakers. In this contrast, which London and American critics had to sit abounds in Mr. Melville's books, lies one down and read it all, before they dared of his greatest charms. Sea and shore speak of a book filled with such mysteri- mingling harmoniously together, like ous syllables. From reading they began music-chords. Now floating on the wide to like it. There was a great deal of rich, blue southern seas—the sport of calms rough talent about it. The scenes were and hurricanes—the companion of the fresh, and highly colored; the habits and sullen Bent, the Doctor and Captain Guy. manners described had the charm of nov Anon clasping to our bosoms those jaunty, elty; and the style, though not the purest impassioned creatures, yclept Day-born, or most elegant, had a fine narrative Night-born, and the Wakeful; or watchfacility about it, that rendered it very ing Fayaway laving her perfect, shining pleasurable reading, after the maudlin form in the cool lake, by whose green
journeys in Greece-travels in the Holy bank the cocoa sheds its fruit, and the Land, full of Biblical raptures, and yacht bread-fruit tree towers. All this is delitours in the Mediterranean, where mono cious, to those who have been playing tonous sea-dinners and vulgar shore-plea- vulgar midshipman's tricks with Chamier sures were faithfully chronicled, with such and Marryatt, and comes to us pleasantly like trash that had been inundating the even after Cooper's powerful and tender literary market for years previous. Typee sea-tales. was successful. It could scarcely be other It is no easy matter to pronounce which wise. Prosy to the last degree, in some of Mr. Melville's books is the best. All portions, there yet were scenes in it full of of them (and he has published a goodly exquisite description, and novel characters, number, for so young an author) have who, like Fayaway, were in themselves so had their own share of success, and their graceful, that we could not help loving own peculiar merits, always saving and them. Mr. Melville found that he had excepting Pierre-wild, inflated, repulsive opened a fertile field, which he was not that it is. slow to work. Sea novels had, as it were, For us there is something very charmbeen run into the ground by Marryatt, ing about Mardi, all the time fully aware of Chamier, and Cooper. People were grow its sad defects in taste and style. Of course, ing weary of shipwrecks and fires at sea. we give Mr. Melville every credit for his Every possible incident that could occur, deliberate plagiarisms of old Sir Thomas on board men-of-war, privateers, and Browne's gorgeous and metaphorical manprizes, had been described over and over ner. Affectation upon affectation is scatagain, with an ability that left nothing to tered recklessly through its pages. Wild be desired. The whole of a sailor's life similes, cloudy philosophy, all things was laid bare to us. We knew exactly turned topsy-turvy, until we seem to feel what they ate, what they drank, and at all earth melting away from beneath our what hours they ate and drank it. Their feet, and nothing but Mardi remaining. language, their loves, their grievances, and Reading this wild book, we can imagine their mutinies, were as familiar as the ourselves mounted upon some Tartar steed, death of Cock Robin. Even staid, sober, golden caparisons clank around our person, land-lubbering people, who got sea-sick ostrich plumes of driven whiteness hang crossing in a Brooklyn ferry-boat, began over our brow, and cloud our vision with to know the names of ropes and spars, dancing snow. Lance in hand, from and imagined no longer that a “scupper which the horse-tail quivers in the wind, was one of the sails. Mr. Melville came we stand beneath the shadow of our forward with his books, to relieve this state desert-tent, dreaming of golden caravans. of well informed dulness. By a happy mix Suddenly a thirst for motion fills us with ture of fresh land scenery, with some clever uncontrollable desire.
Our steed paws ship-life, he produced a brilliant amalgam, the sand, and our lance trembles to its that was loudly welcomed by the public. very steel point, in grasp of nervous eaWho does not relish Dr. Long-ghost all gerness. Away, away, along the sandy the better, for leaving the Julia, albeit plain! Clouds of sand, that shine in the prisoner-wise, and going ashore to that sun like gold, are flung up around us. funny Calabooza Beretanee where he The swift ostrich stares see us pass it has epileptic fits, in order to get a good in our headlong flight. Pilgrims, wenddinner, and makes a fan out of a paddle, ing Mecca-ward, tremble when they beto keep off the mosquitoes. Does not the hold the advancing pillar of dust in which wild voluptuous dance of the "back-slid we and our steed are shrouded, and fall
with these words traced upon its surface:
A VOYAGE THITHER.
BY HERMAN MELVILLE
on their faces prostrate before what they believe to be the terrible Simoom. Still onward, onward! We have outrun our very breath, and left it miles behind, and, no longer panting, we race onward, unearthly calm. Every now and then we come to an oasis. Ho! pull up, good steed, and drink. We stop. Soft steals the moist fountain-wind through the tall, still palm-trees; tenderly the rich green grass sinks and rises as we tread. Coolly, freshly, diamondly, the desertspring wells out and cools our parching lips. But waste not time. Again in saddle; again speeding along the desert we know not whither. A wide black gulf, deep and edgeless, bars our path. What! coward steed! Dost thou think to stop and tremble? No, not even if it were the gulf of Death, shored with dismal banks of night. On, on! Strike the stirrupspurs deep into the flanks! lift the heavy golden bridle! Smite, smite heavily with the elastic lance-shaft! The quivering, frightened steed paws, and rears, and bounds. Down, down we sink through yielding air. Clouds, shapeless, formless clouds, fly up as we fly down. And the ocean that sounds below lifts up its billowy arms to receive us. Moonbeams cover the sea with a silver shroud. Caves murmur. Spirits float midway between the waves and heaven. We, steed and all, sail grandly onwards like an ocean centaur. But it is not always calm. Hoarse syllables of storm mutter in the North, and waves rise angrily to answer them.
What shall we do, with weary desert steed against the legion of winds?
Scatter them with our lance ?
Out-blow them with a breath, and burst their lungs?
All vain! They are too strong. They pour upon us from every side. The star Arcturus frowns red disaster from the sky. If we seek not harbor we are lost. A golden hope looms upon us from the distance! Let us fly. Now desert-steed, paw the waves as once thou didst the sand. O'erleap the fencing billows, and make for that white spot that looms distantly. The winds gallop fast behind, and will smite us unseen. The sea-gulls ride before, like stewards of the airy course, to clear the way. The desert-steed strains every nerve, wave after wave clears he, and paws onward to the white island that is to be our Salvator. We near it just as the tempest scents us, and bays upon our track.
But what is this we see?
No island, no sheltering harbor, no white fortress to defend the fugitive:
But a great, white, world-wide placard,
A greater difference could hardly exist between two men than between Mr. Mitchell and Mr. Melville, albeit we have chosen to link them together in our chain. Mitchell writes essentially from the heart. He is continually gazing inward, picking up what he finds there, and displaying it with a childlike, innocent pleasure to the world. From forms, and forms alone does Melville take his text. He looks out of himself, and takes a rich outline view of what he sees. He is essentially exoterical in feeling. Matter is his god. His dreams are material. His philosophy is sensual. Beautiful women, shadowy lakes, nodding, plumy trees, and succulent banquets, make Melville's scenery, unless his theme utterly preclude all such. His language is rich and heavy, with a plating of imagery. He has a barbaric love of ornament, and does not mind much how it is put on.
Swept away by this sensual longing, he frequently writes at random. One can see that he uses certain words only because they roll off the pen lus ciously and roundly, just as a child, who is entirely the sport of sense, grasps at the largest apple. In Mardi is this peculiarly obvious. A long experience of the South sea islanders has no doubt induced this. The languages of these groups are singularly mellifluous and resonant, vow. els enter largely into the composition of every word, and dissyllabled words are
Mr. Melville has been attracted by this. Whenever he can use a word of four syllables where a monosyllable would answer just as well, he chooses the former. A certain fulness of style is very attractive. Sir Thomas Browne, frorn whom Mr. Melville copies much that is good, is a great friend of magnificent diction. And his tract on urn burial is as lofty and poetical as if Memnon's statue chanted it, when the setting sun fell aslant across the Pyramids. But we find no nonsense in Sir Thomas. In every thing he says there is a deep meaning, although sometimes an erroneous one. We cannot always say as much for Mr. Melville. In his latest work he transcended even the jargon of Paracelsus and his followers. The Rosetta stone gave up its secret, but we believe that to the end of time Pierre will remain an ambiguity.
Mardi, we believe, is intended to embody all the philosophy of which Mr. Melville is capable, and we have no hesitation in
saying that the philosophical parts are the worst. We do not for a moment pretend to say that we understand the system laid down by the author. Whether there be a system in it at all, is at least somewhat problematical, but when Mr. Melville does condescend to be intelligible, what he has to say for himself in the way of philosophy, is so exceedingly stale and trite, that it would be more in place in a school-boy's copy-book, than in a romance otherwise distinguished for splendor of imagery, and richness of diction. The descriptive painting in this wild book is gorgeous and fantastic in the extreme. It is a tapestry of dreams, worked with silken threads, dyed in the ocean of an Eastern sunset. Nothing however strange startles us as we float onwards through this misty panorama. King Media looms out from the canvas, an antique gentleman full of drowsy courtesy. Babbalanja philosophizes over his calabash, or relates the shadowy adventures of shadows in the land of shades. From out the woods, canopied with flowers, that let the daylight in only through courtesy, comes Donjalolo, the Southern Sardanapalus. Women droop over his pale enervate figure, and strive to light its exhausted fires with their burning eyes. He looks up lazily, and opens his small, red mouth to catch a drop of honey that is trembling in the core of some over-hanging flower. Fatigued with this exertion, he sinks back with a sigh into the soft arms interlaced behind. Then comes Hautia, Queen of spells that lie in lilies, and mistress of the music of feet. Around her float flushing nymphs, who love through endless dances, and die in the ecstasy of mingled motion. While far behind, throned in mist, and with one foot dabbling in the great ocean of the Future, stands the lost Yillah; problem of beauty to which there is no solution save through death.
All these characters flit before us in Mardi, and bring with them no consciousness of their unreality and deception. As shadows they come to us, but they are sensual shades. Their joys thrill through us. When they banquet in drowsy splendor—when they wander upon beaches of pearls and rubies—when they wreath their brows with blossoms more fragrant and luscious than the buds that grow in Paradise, our senses twine with theirs, and we forget every thing, save the vision of their gorgeous pleasures. It is this sensual power that holds the secret of Mr. Melville's first successes.
No matter how unreal the scenery, if the pleasure be but truly painted, the world will cry “bravo!" We draw pictures of Gods and Goddesses, and hang them on our
walls, but we take good care to let their divinity be but nominal. Diana, Juno, Venus, are they known, but they loom out from the canvas, substantial, unadulterated women. Seldom does there live an Ixion who loves to embrace clouds. Call it a cloud if you will, and if it have the appearance of flesh and blood, the adorer will be satisfied. But we doubt if there is to be found any man enthusiast enough to clasp a vapor to his heart, be it schirri-shaped or cumulous, and baptized with the sweetest name ever breathed from the Attic tongue. Mr. Melville therefore deals in vapors, but he twines around them so cunningly all human attributes, and pranks them out so lusciously with all the witcheries of sense, that we forget their shadowy nomenclatures, and worship the substantial incarnation.
It must not be imagined from this, that Mr. Melville is incapable of dealing with the events of more matter-of-fact life. He is averse to it, no doubt, and if we may judge by Pierre, is becoming more averse to it as he grows older. But he some times takes the vulgar monster by the shoulders and wields it finely. In Ömoo, which by the way contains some exceedingly fine passages, occurs the following account of the attempt of a South sea savage named Bembo to run the ship ashore on a coral reef, because he had been insulted by one of the ship's crew is very graphic.
“Having remained upon deck with the doctor some time after the rest had gone below, I was just on the point of following him down, when I saw the Mowree (Bembo) rise, draw a bucket of water, and holding it high above his head pour it right over him. This he repeated several times. There was nothing very peculiar in the act, but something else about him struck me. However I thought no more of it, but descended the scuttle. After a restless nap, I found the atmosphere of the forecastle so elose, from nearly all the men being down at the same time, that I hunted up an old pea-jacket and went on deck, intending to sleep it out there, till morning. Here I found the cook and steward, Wymontoo, Rope Yarn, and the Dane; who, being all quiet, manageable fellows, and holding aloof from the rest since the captain's departure, had been ordered by the mate not to go below until suprise. They were lying under the lee of the bulwarks; two or three fast asleep, and the others smoking their pipes, and conversing.
“ To my surprise, Bembo was at the helm; but there being so few to stand there now, they told me, he had offered to take his turn with the rest, at the same time heading the watch; and to this, of course, they male no objection.