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ture, a Palmyrene of the truest stamp. And ever since there have been these rumours of a war with Rome'
• What sayst thou ? What is that ? War with Rome? Did I hear aright?
• Verily thou didst. ’T was the current report when I left Palmyra. It came both by the way of Antioch and Alexandria. Nothing was talked of else.'
Why hast thou not said this before ? How shall I believe thee?
'I said it not before, simply because I thought not of it. How was I to know what thou most desired to hear ? I can give thee no other ground of belief than common rumor. If my own opi. nion will weigh aught, I may add, that for myself I have not a doubt that the report springs from truth. When at Rome, it was commonly spoken of, and by those, too, whom I knew to be near the emperor, that Aurelian felt himself aggrieved and insulted, that a woman should hold under her dominion territories that once belonged to Rome, and who had wrested them from Rome by defeat of Roman generals and had sworn to restore the empire in the East as well as West, to its ancient bounds. At Palmyra, too, I found those who were of deep intelligence in the politics of the times, who felt sure of nothing more than that, what with the pride of Zenobia and the ambition of Aurelian, war was inevitable. I tell thee these things as they fell upon my ear.
Before this, as I think, it is most likely that war may have broken out between the two nations.'
Thou hast now spoken, Jew,' said Calpurnius. ‘Hadst thou said these things at first, thou hadst spared me much tormenting doubt. My mind is now bent and determined upon flight. This it will not be difficult, I think, to accomplish. But what is thy plan? - for I suppose, coming upon this errand, thou hast one well digested. But remember, now, as I have already warned thee, that thy head will answer for any failure : detection will be death.'
* Death is little to a Jew, who in dying dies for his country. And such would be my death. Whether I live or die, 't is for Jerusalem. Thy brother rewards me largely for this journey, and these dangers I encounter — and though I perish, still a portion — the half, that is, of the whole sum agreed upon is to be paid according to certain directions left with him. I would rather live; but I shall not shrink from death. But, Piso, detection shall not ensue.
I have not lived to this age, to writhe upon a Persian spear, or swing upon a Persian gibbet. What I have devised is this. Thou seest my slave Hadad ?
I see him - an Ethiopian.' • So he seems to thee. But his skin is white as thine. By an art, known only to me, it has been changed to this ebon hue.'
• What follows ?'
* This follows. Thou art to take his place, thy skin being first made to resemble his, while he is cleansed, and remains in Ecbatana, We, then, thou bearing my packages of merchandise, take vur way, quietly and in broad day-light, through the gates of Ecbatana. How bayst thou ?
• The invention is perfect. I cannot fear the result. Soon, then, as I shall have made some few preparations, for which to-morrow will suffice, I shall be ready for the desert.'
• I heard these words with joy. I now called to Hadad to open bis cases of jewels, from which I took a seal, having upon it the head of Zenobia, and offered it to Calpurnius. He seized it with eagerness, having never before seen even so much as a drawing of the Great Queen. I then drew forth thine own ring and gave him, with that locket containing the hair of Portia, and thy letter. He received them with emotion; and as I engaged myself in re-packing my goods, my quick ear caught tears falling upon the sheet as he read.
I then returned to the house of Levi.
Thus have I accomplished, successfully so far, my errand. I write these things to thee, because a caravan leaves Ecbatana in the morning, and may reach Palmyra before ourselves. Though it is quite possible that we may overtake and join it. But we may also be delayed for many days. So that it is right, in that case, that thou shouldst hear.
In these words, my Curtius, you have, for the most part, the letter of Isaac. I have omitted many things which at another time you shall see. They are such as relate chiefly to himself and his faith – abounding in cautions against that heretic, Probus, who haunts his imagination as if he were the very genius of evil.
How can I believe it, that within a few hours, I may embrace a brother, separated so long, and so long numbered with the dead? Yet how mixed the pleasure! He returns a brother, but not a Roman. Nay, 't is the expectation of war with Rome, that has gained him. I am perplexed and sad, at the same time that I leap for joy. Fausta cannot conceal her satisfaction - yet she pities me. Gracchus tells us to moderate our feelings and expectations, as the full cup is often spilled. No more now
fail not at once to send this letter to Portia. Farewell!
Fair pledges of a fruitful tree,
Your date is not so past,
And go at last.
And so to bid good night?
And lose you quite.
MELLICHAMPE: A LEGEND OF THE SANTEE. By the Author of Guy RIVERS. New
York: HARPER AND BROTHERS.
We have lost no time in reading this historical romance - experience having taught us that any work by Mr. Simms must be of a nature to give pleasure, however obnoxious it may be to criticism. That all his works are open to censure, in some respects, is neither untrue nor strange. Mr. Simms is yet a young man, and has time to learn both how to avoid defects and to improve upon merits. He is a man of decided genius, and of very great industry; but genius and industry must be aided by experience, and derive benefit from criticism; and the surest evidence that they exist, is furnished by the very fact that they do take benefit therefrom.
In the case of Mr. Simms, this evidence is neither wanting nor doubtful. The faults of Guy Rivers - and abounding with fine points, and with the tokens of genius and talent as that work is, its faults are many and great — have been gradually disappearing from each successive novel by the same author, except, perhaps, the
Partisan,' in which there are manifest tokens of haste, and defects, the unavoidable consequence of haste; but in 'Mellichampe,' this retrogression is amply and nobly redeemed. As a story, it is to the full as interesting and exciting as either the 'Yemmassee' or 'Guy Rivers': the style is more correct, equal, and elegant, than in those or any others of Mr. Simms' writings, except some two or three of his short tales, published in the annuals — and the principal personages are delineated with more knowledge, and a more delicate perception of the lights and shades yhich are invariably found cöexisting in human character. Like its immediate predecessor, of which it is a continuation, 'Mellichampe' is based, as we have before observed, upon incidents drawn from the revolutionary history of South Carolina. Major Singleton, the hero of the 'Partisan,' together with General Marion, and one or two subordinate characters, are made to rëappear in the volumes before us, although their actions relate to a subsequent period of the revolution, and are in nowise connected with those narrated in the former work. The plot is so complicated and laden with details, that it would be a difficult matter for us to give the reader a correct outline of it, within our allotted limits. We will, however, attempt to furnish a general view.
Mellichampe, the hero of the narrative, from whom the story derives its title, is the son of an active and strenuous supporter of the whig cause in South Carolina, who has been killed in a skirmish by a refugee officer, Captain Barsfield, and his property confiscated. The son becomes a partisan under Marion, and is, at the opening of the narrative, outlying in the skirts of a forest, with his faithful attendant, Jack Witherspoon, or Thumbscrew, as he is familiarly termed. After an unimportant conversation, the scene shifts to the mansion of Mr. Berkeley, a rich planter, whose daughter, Janet Berkeley, is betrothed to Mellichampe. Barsfield, who has been despatched with a detachment of troops and stores to assist the tories in rising in
that vicinity, arrives, and quarters himself on Mr. Berkeley. While here, he is attacked by an American force, under Col. Singleton, and when on the point of being dislodged, is succored by Tarleton, with his legion, who, after a skirmish in which Mellichampe is dangerously wounded and taken prisoner, compel the partisans to retreat. Tarleton, however, makes but a short stay, and hurries on in pursuit of Marion, leaving Barsfield in command. Mellichampe gradually becomes convalescent, and a plot is devised by Barsfield to procure his death, while escaping from his guards. The scheme is frustrated by the interposition of Singleton, with his troop, at the very crisis when the soldiers of Barsfield are pursuing the prisoner. The British, taken at a disadvantage, are defeated, their commander killed, and Mellichampe restored to liberty. The work closes with an affecting description of the death of Jack Witherspoon, the faithful attendant and friend of Mellichampe.
This, it must be confessed, is but a general and meagre sketch of the main plot. In the course of the narrative, many digressions occur, all of them, as well as the underplot, detailing the numerous wiles and stratagems made use of by Blonay, the half-breed, to circumvent and kill Bill Humphries, and avenge the murder of his mother. The description of the haunt of Man on, in the centre of a swamp, and of the habits of the partisans in general, is exceedingly graphic. The vacillating yet gentlemanly and liberal character of Colonel Berkeley is well contrasted with the noble independence and patriotic zeal of his daughter, whose devotion to the cause of freedom is of that self sacrificing cast which marked the characters of South Carolina's high-bred daughters, during the darkest period of our revolutionary history. She is, indeed, a beautiful creation, uniting the grace and gentleness of female tenderness, with the firmness of principle and resolution of conduct, required by her situation. Blonay and Witherspoon are perfect in their kind; as much so as Cooper's Leatherstocking, although of a class not requiring so deep an insight into the wondrous and diverse workings of human feelings and passions. The hero, Mellichampe, is a personage of but little interest, and that little not the most prepossessing. If it were not a thing of every day's occurrence to see women attach themselves to men of inferior mind and less pure hearts, we should say that Janet's love for Mellichampe was not in keeping; but experience tells us that it is.
The story of Mellichampe' never flags from want of incidents; they are literally crowded into the narrative, from the commencement to the close. Many of these are almost entirely disconnected with the main plot, and tend, as we think, to distract the attention of the reader. We cannot approve Mr. Simms' plan of using the same characters in two or three consecutive productions. That the same personages have been made to figure in different works proceeding from the pens of distinguished authors, we admit; but each narrative in such efforts, has been kept entirely disconnected in its details, and the plot perfect. We like not to find the heroes of one romance introduced in secondary capacities, to aid the fortunes of some new-found hero of a later date; and we think that the saving of labor, by taking a personage with whose character the reader is already familiar, and introducing him in a new narrative, more than counterbalanced by the disadvantage of losing just that amount of interest in the reading public which would be felt in the character and actions of a stranger, albeit a man of straw. Novelty is of itself attractive; and we think the author would have done better, had all his personages been new to us. We have another objection to advance against the present volumes, and it is one to which most of the productions of our author lie open. There is too much of sanguinary conflict in them: the reader wearies of fightings and skirmishes, and perils ' i' the imminent deadly breach. As we are in the mood of blemish-finding, we may as well remark also, that, to our perception, there seems a strong family likeness in the
stories of the 'Partisan' and `Mellichampe.' We do not speak, now, of the similarity of the descriptions of scenes which have a strong resemblance to each other, and must therefore be depicted in colors nearly alike, but of events. In Mr. Berkeley, we see a slightly altered picture of Colonel Walton, the one being a little more tinged with toryism than the other. The skirmishes around the mansion of each, in the different narratives, bear the same general resemblance; while Janet Berkeley and Katharine Walton are as much alike as any two heroines of romance can well be, making allowance for a slightly different course of events. Mellichampe and Singleton, likewise are marked by the same traces of similarity. We make these remarks neither in a captious nor querulous spirit. With all these objections, we repeat, we consider ‘Mellichampe,' as a whole, the best of all our author's works. Mr. Simms has but to pursue the path he has chosen, and to walk therein with the care and circumspection which are due to his fame, to stand in the front rank of native writers.
The Fairy Book. Illustrated with Wood Cuts by Adams. In two vols. 12 mo.
pp. 300. New-York: HARPER AND BROTHERS.
The collection of tales here submitted to the American public, has been taken, with some slight omissions and additions, from the 'Magazin des Fees,' or Fairy Tales, by Perrault, Fenelon, and Mesdames Le Prince de Beaumont, and D'Aulnoy, lately published at Paris. A great portion of the work, which was believed not before to have existed in an English dress, has been expressly translated for it. In external character and embellishment, the original has been closely followed, although several new and beautiful designs by CHAPMAN have been introduced. All the cuts are beautifully executed by Adams, and nothing seems to have been neglected, which it was thought would render it more worthy of approbation. The moral import of many of these tales is too well known to require commendation; and it may confidently be asserted, that the tenor of the others, not so familiar to the public, is in nowise inferior. In a collection of this sort, it was doubtless found impossible to attend solely to the novelty of the stories introduced, for by that means some of the most popular and approved must have been omitted, and the regrets of young readers for the absence of their wellknown friends, have somewhat impaired the pleasure of being introduced to a newer set of acquaintances. There is sufficient novelty, however, to attract their attention, and render this effort to increase their pleasure and improvement decidedly successful.
The antiquity of fictitious writings mounts up to the earliest authentic records of history. In one form or another, they have successively been the favorites of every nation and of every age. Varied in form, and modified by the particular genius of each people, they have solaced the sufferings, added to the enjoyments, or contributed to the instruction of mankind. The fables of Pilpay and Esop were early made con. ducive to the moral education of multitudes. Simple in their structure, and of easy application, they taught without arrogance, and were listened to without weariness.
As nations became more advanced in luxury and wealth, leisure was afforded for the production and perusal of more complicated works. Thence originated the lonian and Milesian Tales of Greece, the loss of which (if they were, as is supposed, characterized by an undue licentiousness of descrip n) is far from being a subject of regret.
Among the Romans, a people simple and bold, owing their greatness and power to their warlike achievements, we find few traces of this species of writing, until nearly the decline of their empire, when the progress of luxury for a while favored the