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which he has thrown on some of the most interesting portions of the war that is passed.
- From the literal and real to the fabulous is not always so abrupt a transition as might be anticipated. We have thus given a detailed opinion on a distinctively professional essay, and in doing so, occupied, perhaps, more than a due space. And yet, before finishing this paper, we are tempted to add a hasty, and (if the term be allowable) parenthetical notice of a production which has lately appeared, and which, though under the garb of a novel, is, by no means, without affinity to the subjects generally treated of in the preceding pages. It may, in fact, be considered as a 'military novel,' if the coining of such an appellative may be conceded to us: the principal events recounted are all of that character-the periods, too, comprehended in the two works are almost the same and, in short, the only or nearly the only difference is, that the novelist, in the exercise of his special privilege, engrafts upon well-known facts certain romantic and high-coloured incidents, imaginary or otherwise, arising out of scenes of deep public interest, familiar to every recollection, and which we here find traced by a pen that we cannot refrain from regarding as that of an eye-witness.
The work now briefly referred to is entitled 'Cyril Thornton.' The profoundly distressing catastrophe, with an account of which it commences, presents, we are free to admit, a picture of no common power and effect, and is evidently from the pencil of no unpractised artist; but we, nevertheless, think it ill-chosen, or, at least, injudiciously placed. To us it seems but too well calculated to cloud irremediably the mind of a sensitive youth, and to quell for evermore the aspirations and buoyancy of his spirit. It is not without difficulty, therefore, that we reconcile ourselves to the idea of his advancing after so heart-rending a blow, with apparently unchecked alacrity, into the career of life. But we need not dwell on this.
"Cyril Thornton' tells his own story, and is content to describe himself merely as an intelligent, warm-hearted, ardent young man, of generally honourable intentions, though, by no means, always correct conduct :-sensitive, and of a keen susceptibility in his affections, the usual result of this tone and temper of mind awaits him. The three or four leading, female characters of his tale are, to our perception, exquisitely delineated and distinguished. His adventures as a soldier lie chiefly in America and the Peninsula; and in describing these, so little has he overstepped, if at all, the striking and happy semblances of truth, that the most conversant in such transactions will find a difficulty
in persuading themselves, that they do not present a portion of auto-biography, rather than the illusive creations of fancy.
The writer, unlike most of his rivals in this walk, crowds his pages with incident, and hurries his hero through a rapid succession of moving accidents by flood and field.' But seldom, we must confess, are they unskilfully introduced, or without exciting a lively sympathy; still more rarely are they recited without an ease, strength, and felicity of expression, calculated to sustain a very favourable impression of the ability of the writer. In his essays of the tragic mood, we are not prepared to say that there is any deficiency of point, pathos, or effect-but the tact evinced in some of those of a lighter and more playful tendency has our decided preference. The following is quoted as characteristic of the style of these volumes, and is selected, not on account of any marked or intrinsic merit above other passages in the same strain, but because of its relation to the subject-matter of this article.
'I was seated between Laura Willoughby and Miss Culpepper, and, as may be supposed, was led by the bent of my inclinations to bestow the larger share of my attention on the former. This division of my favours, however, I found scarcely practicable. Miss Culpepper was not one of those young ladies who throw the whole burden of conversation on the gentleman, and in case he is rather taciturn, sit moping and silent by his side, until restored to freedom and loquacity by the departure of the ladies for the drawing-room. Finding, perhaps, that I was engrossed with Miss Willoughby more than impartial justice required, she proceeded to enforce her claims to attention by such queries as the following:
Pray, Captain Thornton, is it long since you returned from Spain?' — About four months.'-' Pray, were you ever in a battle? '—' I have had that honour.' And were you wounded?'- Very slightly.'
But you were taken prisoner?' I have been so unfortunate.'what battle?' Roleia.'- Oh, pray, describe it to me. I cannot possibly understand what people do in a battle? Pray tell me all about it. I fear it would be rather a difficult task to make it intelligible.'Oh, not at all. I am very quick, I assure you; now, suppose the table to be a field of battle, I am sure you can make it quite plain, and you will so oblige me. Come now begin.'- Well, since you insist on it, I will endeavour. Suppose, then, that sirloin of beef to be a height, on the top of which there is erected a battery. This, the English, who are represented by these dishes, wish to take, and the French, who are those dishes opposite, wish to defend. Then the English send this venison-pasty, which is a brigade of infantry, to attack the sirloin of beef, which, as I said before, is a hill, with a fort on the top of it. The French seeing this, send up that dish of maintenon cutlets as a re-in
forcement. That capon is the Duke of Wellington, who immediately directs these chickens, which are the light cavalry, to charge the enemy in flank. These partridges are the French flying artillery, which that calf's-head, which is the French general, orders forward to act as a point d'appui to that dish of beef-à-la-mode, which these maintenon cutlets-no, the harico opposite, is about to attack. Thus you see the battle is fairly begun. The partridges, you observe, have opened a heavy fire on the chickens and stewed duck, which are advancing with the courage of lions to the charge, and the French general is riding up and down the table-I mean the field, attended by these butter-boats, which are his aides-de-camp; and this mustard-pot, which is the quartermaster-general. But I fear, after all, I have not succeeded in making the plan of the battle quite intelligible.'-' Oh, perfectly, I assure you. Pray go on, I am quite interested I declare.' Luckily for me, however, the dishes were in the act of being removed, and this change of the matériel de guerre, having thrown all the operations of the battle into confusion, a cessation of hostilities was found necessary. Cyril Thornton, vol. ii., p. 373-376.
We know not whether either of these authors will be flattered, when we say, that we read Cyril Thornton' with a lively suspicion that it was from the pen of the Subaltern.' We have since discovered that such is not the case; and perceive, that the writer of the novel announces A Narrative of the Peninsular Campaigns,' -in which he must be prepared to encounter closer comparison with his brother-author; and from which we are certainly prepared to expect a great deal, both of entertainment and instruction.
ART. XI.-Narrative of an Attempt to reach the North Pole, in Boats fitted for the purpose, and attached to His Majesty's Ship Hecla, in the year 1827, under the command of Captain William Edward Parry, R.N., F.R.S., and Honorary Member of the Imperial Academy of Sciences at St. Petersburg. Published by authority of his Royal Highness the Lord High Admiral London. 4to. 1828.
HE' attempt' which is here described, though unsuccessful, is of so bold and daring a character, that it will stand as a record to the latest posterity of the patient, persevering, energetic, and undaunted conduct which British seamen are capable of displaying, in the most difficult, discouraging, and dangerous circumstances, when under the command of prudent and intelligent officers in whom they have entire confidence. It will stand also as a noble monument to future ages, of the heroic and enterprising spirit of the distinguished officers who directed the energies of these brave fellows. It
It is almost superfluous to say, that the conduct of Captain Parry on the late, as on all former occasions, appears to have been above all praise. That conduct has frequently been put to trial in the most arduous and critical situations, but in none, perhaps, where prudence, foresight, skill, and mild but strict discipline, were more strongly required than on the enterprise we are about to speak of. It appears to us, indeed, after a careful perusal of the narrative, that had any one of these qualities been wanting in the commander, it is more than probable not a man would have returned to tell the melancholy catastrophe of the Polar Expedition. Let but any one conceive for a moment the situation of two open boats, laden with seventy days' provisions, and clothing for twenty-eight men, in the midst of a sea covered nearly with detached masses and floes of ice, over which these boats were to be dragged, sometimes up one side of a rugged mass and down the other; sometimes across the lanes of water that separated them; frequently over a surface covered with deep snow, or through pools of water;-let him bear in mind that the men had little or no chance of any other supply of provisions than what they carried with them, calculated as just sufficient to sustain life, and consider what their situation would have been in the event, by no means an improbable one, of losing any part of that scanty stock ;-let him also recollect that they were exposed to all the vicissitudes of a climate whose temperature did not much exceed, and was sometimes below, the freezing point, in the midst of heavy rains and snow, in which, for forty days or more, out of the sixty-three passed in this manner, nothing was visible all around but the sea, thus covered with these straggling masses of ice, and overhead a murky sky--let any one try to imagine to himself a situation of this kind, and he will still have but a faint idea of the exertions which the men under Captain Parry had to make, and the sufferings and privations they had to undergo. That, under such circumstances, the expedition should have failed, is less wonderful than that it should have returned with every officer and man, in nearly as good a state of health as when the adventurous band quitted their ship and took to the boats. There is something in the failures of Captain Parry that compensates the want of success, and that reconciles us to the disappointment.
Having first laid before our readers a brief abstract of the proceedings in the boats, we shall then offer a few general observations on this and the other arctic voyages, which have been so ably conducted by Captain Parry and his associates.
The object of the present expedition was to reach the North Pole by means of two sledge-boats, so constructed as either to travel over the ice, or sail or row through spaces of open water,
as circumstances might require. Captain Parry's old ship the Hecla was appointed to carry him and his companions to Spitzbergen, and there to wait in some secure harbour for his return. The vessel left the Nore on the 4th of April, reached Hammerfest on the 18th, and on the 27th, having received on board a number of trained rein-deer (which proved useless), made sail to the northward. On the 14th of May, the Hecla was abreast of Hakluyt's Headland, when she was obliged to run into the mainice for security in a heavy gale of wind. She remained beset and drifting about with the ice, chiefly to the eastward, for four-andtwenty days, when, on the 8th of June, she was liberated by a southerly wind dispersing the ice.
This detention was the more provoking, as the weather was delightful; I never remember,' says Captain Parry, to have experienced in these regions such a continuance of beautiful weather as we now had, during more than three weeks that we had been on the northern coast of Spitzbergen.' They had clear and cloudless skies, light airs, and a scorching sun. Twice he thought of leaving the Hecla, and taking to the boats, but her safety, in such a sea, if thus left with fewer than half her working hands, could not be reckoned upon for an hour; besides, he could not have known when or where to meet with her on his return. 'The nature of the ice,' he tell us, 'was beyond all comparison, the most unfavourable for our purpose that I ever remember to have seen. The men,' he continues, compared it to a stone-mason's yard, which, except that the stones (masses) were of ten times the usual dimensions, it, indeed, very much resembled.'
On reaching the Seven Islands, they were found to be all shut in by land-ice; but the party deposited on one of them, Walden Island, a store of provisions for their return. Captain Parry then stood on to the northward among loose and broken ice, in search of the main body, as far as 81°5′ 32"; but not finding anything like a field of ice, she stood back to the southward, and on the 19th of June discovered a bay on the north coast of Spitzbergen, in which the Hecla was anchored in latitude 79° 55′ N., longitude 16° 54′ E. It is named in the Dutch charts Treurenberg Bay; and was, no doubt, so called by the Dutch, in consequence of some great mortality among their whale-fishermen, which is sufficiently indicated by the number of graves on that melancholy shore. *
On the 21st of June, Captain Parry set out on his arduous, we might, perhaps, say perilous undertaking, with two boats named the Enterprize and Endeavour; Mr. Beverly, the surgeon, being
*Treuren is, to lament.