« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
chastisement on the writer. The arm and not the pen would give the fittest answer.' That Napoleon was utterly destitute of chivalrous or even gentlemanlike feeling, where women were concerned, might be proved by a multitude of instances. It is sufficient to refer to his treatment of the Queen of Prussia and Madame de Staël, who, each in her several way, exacted a complete though (in the unfortunate Queen's case) posthumous retribution. Speaking of Queen Caroline of Naples, Lady Minto says:
'Numbers of her letters lie before me, some written in moments of intense agitation, others on the most trivial occasions; but in almost all there are some characteristic traits which account for the influence the Queen obtained over those whom she could not dupe. She carried into her intercourse with the persons in her confidence the charm of a kindly bonhomie, of a high spirit, and of the indiscretion which looks so like, but is not, trust. Love of children was a marked feature in her character, and there are not, among some hundred letters, half a dozen without a kindly mention of Mr. Elliot's youthful family-" Comment vont les chers, les intéréssans enfants?" "Que les chers enfants prient pour moi." "Mes amitiés à l'excellente Madame Elliot et à la charmante petite colonie." "Je suis touchée de l'amitié des enfants." These and similar phrases recur perpetually in letters containing the most important information, and often half illegible from the emotion of the writer.
Almost as numerous are the words of praise and affection lavished on Lord Nelson :-" Que fait-il, où est-il, mon héros-le brave et digne Nelson?" The sight of an English sloop, a vessel of war, carrying despatches to Nelson, and beating out of port in a high sea, and in the teeth of a heavy gale, brought an admiring note from the Queen :"Je l'ai suivi avec mes lunettes, et mes voeux accompagnaient le vaisseau et les matelots Anglais. Courage, enthousiasme, sentiments de devoir, sont des qualités qui font un grand peuple."
'Queen Caroline attached great importance to personal interviews with all those who, however remotely, were engaged in her service. Not content with letters from Lord Nelson, or with the information conveyed in his despatches to Mr. Elliot, she frequently chose to see the officers in command of the vessels despatched by him to carry his correspondence to Naples. On one occasion Mr. Elliot informed her the captain would not be able to wait upon her, having no suitable dress in which to appear before her Majesty. Her answer was short:— "Que me fait l'habit? Je veux voir l'homme, présentez le." In one of the Queen's notes she begs Mr. Elliot to come to her, to hear from herself the expression of her admiration for the humane action he had so gloriously performed.'
This action has been described by a pen which insured it the widest renown and will transmit it to the latest posterity. We translate from Corinne:
The weather began to change when they (Oswald and Corinne) arrived at Naples; the sky darkened, and the storm, whilst announcing its coming in the air, strongly agitated the waves, as if the tempest of the sea responded to the tempest of the sky. Oswald had preceded Corinne by some paces, because he wished to procure torches to conduct her more safely to her dwelling. As he was passing the quay, ho saw some Lazzaroni, who were crying out at the pitch of their voices, "Ah! poor fellow, he cannot escape; we must have patience-he will perish!" "What are you saying? exclaimed Lord Nelvil with impetuosity-" of whom are you speaking?" "Of a poor old man," was their reply, "who was bathing below there, not far from the wall, but who has been caught by the storm, and has not strength enough to struggle against the waves and regain the shore." The first movement of Oswald was to plunge into the water; but reflecting on the alarm that he might cause Corinne when she came up, he offered all the money he had about him, with a promise of doubling it, to any one who would save the old man. The Lazzaroni refused, saying, "We are too much afraid; there is too much danger; it cannot be done." At this moment the old man disappeared under the waves. Oswald hesitated no longer, and plunged into the sea, despite of the waves which broke over his head. He, however, struggled happily against them, reached the old man, who in another instant would have been lost, caught hold of him, and brought him safe to shore.'
It is stated in an original note to this passage that 'Mr. Elliot, the English minister, saved the life of an old man at Naples in the same manner as Lord Nelvil,'
The mission to the Court of the Two Sicilies terminated in 1806, and he remained unemployed till 1809, when he was appointed Governor of the Leeward Islands. In one of these, Tortola, he gave a marked proof of firmness and love of justice by refusing to respite the execution of a planter, highly connected, who had completed a series of revolting cruelties by the murder of a slave under the most aggravating circumstances. 'His victims,' wrote Elliot, have been numerous. Some of them were even buried in their chains, and there have been found upon the bones taken from the grave chains and iron rings of nearly forty pounds weight.' Seven of the jury, who could not help convicting him, recommended this man to mercy!
In 1814 Elliot was recalled to receive the appointment of Governor of Madras, for which he sailed in May, with his family, having first been sworn a member of the Privy Council.
This government gave him no opportunity of acquiring distinction; at all events, nothing remarkable is recorded of it. After mentioning its termination in 1820, Lady Minto goes on to say:
For the remainder of his life Mr. Elliot resided chiefly in London, where some still survive who remember the charm of his society. One who knew him well described his conversation as 66 a shower of pearls and diamonds," so sparkling and so spontaneous; but whatever the felicity of his talk, or the grace of his manner, by his descendants he is best remembered for the gifts of heart and mind which made him beloved by a large and devoted family.'
He died on the 2nd of December, 1830, and was buried by the side of his brother (the first Earl of Minto) in Westminster Abbey.
We conclude in a state of mind rarely experienced by a reviewer at the completion of his task. L'appetit vient en mangeant. Like Oliver Twist, we feel irresistibly impelled to ask for more. If the remainder of the partially-quoted or suppressed letters correspond either with the specimens or with Lady Minto's description of them, she has been decidedly too chary in her selections; and her single volume might, we venture to predicate, be advantageously enlarged, if not expanded into two.
ART. III.-1. Some Account of English Deer Parks, with Notes on the Management of Deer. By Evelyn Philip Shirley, Esq., M.A., F.S.A. London, 1867.
2. Our Deer Forests. By Alexander Robertson, Esq. An Inaugural Lecture delivered to the Members of the Highland Economic Society. London, 1867.
3. Notes of the Chace of the Wild Red Deer in the Counties of Devon and Somerset. By Charles Palk Collyns.
4. Forest Creatures. By Charles Boner. London, 1862.
T is doubtful whether fallow deer, the graceful ornaments of so many of our English parks, were originally 'joint tenants of the shade' with the multifarious beasts of chase which once peopled the extensive forests of our island
Where stalked the huge deer to his shaggy lair,
Through path and alleys roofed with sombre green,
Thousands of years before the silent air
Was pierced by whizzing shaft of hunter keen.'
Professor Owen is said to have declared that although he has found abundant remains of the red deer, the roe, and several extinct kinds of the cervus genus in Great Britain, he has never
*The deer here alluded to by the Poet (Wordsworth) is the "leith," a gigantic species long extinct.
discovered any of the fallow deer; and he appears to consider this negative evidence as affording a reasonable presumption of the foreign origin of that species. Be this, however, as it may, large herds of this most graceful of quadrupeds now graze peacefully within those enclosures, fenced in with rough oaken palings, grey with lichens and mosses, which form some of the most pleasing features of the rural scenery of England.
Nothing can be affirmed with certainty with respect to the history of the fallow deer. If it be not indigenous it must have been introduced into England at a very remote period, for it was hunted in a wild state in the numerous chaces and forests in which, in pre-Norman times, the country abounded. Two permanent varieties of the cervus dama or fallow deer appear to have been known from the earliest times, namely, the spotted and the dark brown. There is also a black and a white species, the latter of which is unquestionably a foreign importation, having been regarded in the Tudor times as a novelty, and consequently highly prized:
At first' (says Pennant) all the beasts of chace had this whole island for their range; they knew no other limits than those of the ocean, nor confessed any particular master. During the Heptarchy they were reserved by each sovereign for his own particular diversion, hunting and war being in those uncivilised ages the sole employment of the nobility. The Saxon kings only appropriated those lands to the use of forests which were unoccupied; numerous forests possessing deer were consequently open, and the practice of enclosing portions of them for private chaces or parks was first introduced by the Norman kings.'
There are very few notices in 'Domesday Book' of any of our existing deer parks: it must therefore be inferred that by far the greater number have been formed since the time of the Great Survey. Deer were originally obtained from the unenclosed forests for stocking chaces and parks by means of haiæ, or hayes, a term derived from the Saxon, signifying a hedge. They consisted of enclosures into which the wild deer were driven and secured. The hayes mentioned in the Great Survey were chiefly in Worcestershire, Herefordshire, Shropshire, and Cheshire, and more than seventy are specified. Their size is not noticed, excepting that of one belonging to Donnelie, the modern Beldesert, in Warwickshire, which is described as half a mile in length and half a mile in breadth. A precept is preserved among the records of the Court of Exchequer at Chester commanding one John Done to make a chamber in the forest' for the preservation of vert and venison, by which was undoubtedly meant one of those devices for facilitating the capture of game Vol. 125.-No. 250.
which were resorted to in those countries, particularly in Germany, where vast unenclosed and primitive forests occupied so large a portion of the soil. From these hayes the deer were transferred to larger enclosures, where they were hunted or shot at the pleasure of their owners.
Deer hunting has always ranked high among the recreations of every people, whether civilized or uncivilized. The pur suit of the stag was, however, in the Saxon, Norman, and Tudor times very different from the modern hunt, although it bore some resemblance to the system of driving, as practised in Scotland, the rifle having been substituted for the bow. 'N-owa-days,' says Mr. Earle, in the preface to his recent edition of the Saxon Chronicle,' quoted by Mr. Shirley, men hunt for exercise and sport, but they then hunted for food, or for the luxury of fresh meat. Now the flight of the beast is the condition of a good hunt; but in those days it entailed disappointment. They had neither the means of giving chace nor of killing at a distance, so they used stratagems to bring the game within the reach of their missiles.' A labyrinth of alleys was penned out at a convenient part of the forest, and here the archers lay under covert. The hunt began by sending men round to beat the wood and drive the game with dogs and horses into the ambuscade; and horns were used, not as with us to call the dogs, or as in France to signal the stray sportsman, but to scare the game into the toils that had been artfully prepared for it.
Another mode of capturing deer was by means of saltatoria, or pit-falls, which were generally constructed on the border of a forest or chace. Into these the deer were driven by persons employed for the purpose, and great numbers were thus caught and transferred to enclosed parks. There is an example of a chartered deer-leap still retaining its privileges in the park of Wolseley, Staffordshire.
Of the thirty-one deer parks noticed in Domesday Book,' eight belonged to the Crown, and the remainder were the property of the great monastic houses and of the nobility. The number of deer parks in England increased considerably after the Conquest. The desire to impark their woods appears to have then become very general among the great landed proprietors. It appears from the Chronicle' of Holinshed that in the year 1577 the increase in the number of parks had become so considerable that a twentieth part of the territory of the realm was thus appropriated. More than seven hundred deer parks are marked in the maps engraved by Saxton between the years 1576 and 1580. A great many of these parks belonged to the Church. The See of Canterbury, according to Spelman, enjoyed twenty, besides numerous chaces;