Слике страница

have taken in literature. There was one among them who was conspicuous not so much for what she wrote as for her wonderful personality, her conversational accomplishments, her strange but brilliant career. At Cambridgeport, Mass., upwards of eighty years ago, was born Sarah Margaret Fuller, otherwise known as the Marchioness Ossoli. When a little child she displayed a thirst for knowledge, and an aptitude for learning seldom, if ever, equalled in one so young. It is related of her that when a mere tot of six years she read Latin; that, shortly after, she became familiar with Virgil, Horace and Ovid. In her eighth year she wrote Latin verses, and among her favourite authors at that age were Shakespeare, Cervantes and Moliere ; then were added to these Ariosta, Sismondi, Helvetius, Madame de Stael, Racine, Locke, Byron, Rousseau, and others. By-and-bye she became absorbed in the German authors, and read eagerly Goethe, Tieck and Schiller. As she advanced in years she read and studied continuously, devoting every spare moment to composition and books. So remarkable a character soon attracted notice. Leading men of letters became curious about her, were charmed with her on acquaintance; many of them became her fast friends, and foremost among them was the illustrious Emerson. Adverse circumstances compelled her to become a teacher in a Boston school, and there she taught Latin, Italian and French. We find her later filling the position of principal of a school in Providence. After a time she took up the profession of journalism, and wrote industriously for the leading magazines and newspapers. She was employed on the staff of Horace Greeley's newspaper, the New York Tribune. She wrote for The Dial, a Boston publication, and reviewed German and English books; was busy at the same time making German translations; when not thus engaged she gave her time to the composition of more weighty productions, the result of which was seen in her "Woman in the Nineteenth


Century," "A Summer on the Lakes," and papers on Literature and Art." In the summer of 1846 she travelled in Great Britain, meeting the leading literary lights of that country-poets, preachers and authors, among them De Quincey, Wordsworth, Chalmers and Carlyle-and her descriptive letters form not the least interesting and valuable part of her published writings.

Thus Margaret Fuller became in turn school teacher, newspaper correspondent, journalist and author, and to these callings were added that of lecturer. In all she succeeded. Many said that her chief excellence consisted in her conversational powers. "Conversation is my natural element," she says of herself, and this is confirmed by Emerson, whose words give a picture of her too interesting to be omitted: "She wore her circle of friends as a necklace of diamonds about her neck. The confidences given her were their best. She was an active, inspiring correspondent, and all the art, the thought and the nobleness in New England seemed at that moment related to her, and she to it. Persons were her game, especially if marked by fortune, or character, or success. She addressed them with a hardihood -almost a haughty assurance-queenlike.

In 1847 and 1848 we find Margaret Fuller in Rome, in troublous times, an eye-witness of battle scenes and desperate fighting. "Margaret looked down from her window on the terrible battle before St. Angelo, between the Romans and the French." Then she becomes an army hospital nurse, attending the wounded, and emulating deeds which have made glorious the names of Nightingale and Barton. In the Eternal City she met and married the Marquis Ossoli, who proved a worthy, affection.ate, though unfortunate husband.

This is the brightest, happiest period of her otherwise sad and checkered career. A child was born of the marriage, a little girl, whose presence brightened their home. The tide of fortune went against them, the Marquis lost all his property; and as the result

of long and anxious consultation they decided to embark for America. The prospect pleased Margaret-she would once more, and soon, she thought, be among her own relatives and friends in that home-land she loved so well. Then, alas! came the tragic close of this brilliant woman's career. Just as the vessel which bore them was nearing the American shore, and on the very eve of landing, she struck on Fire Island beach, off Long Island, and went to the bottom, nearly all on board perishing. Margaret, her husband, and their little child, Angelino, were among the lost. The details of the shipwreck, as narrated by the survivors, are heartrending in the extreme. The vessel was tossed about among the breakers for many hours before the final crash came, and the passengers could only gaze helplessly upon the awful death that awaited them:


"When Margaret was last seen she had been seated at the foot of the foremast, still clad in her white night-robe, with her hair fallen loose on her shoulders. It was over-that twelve hours' communion, face to face with death! The only one of her treasures which reached the shore was the lifeless form of little Angelino. When the body, stripped of every rag by the waves, was rescued from the surf, a sailor took it reverently in his arms, and wrapping it in his neckcloth, bore it to the nearest house. There, when washed, and dressed in a child's frock, found in Margaret's trunk, it was laid upon a bed; and as the rescued seamen gathered round their late play-fellow and pet, there were few dry eyes in the circle. The next day, borne upon their shoulders in a chest, it was buried in a hollow among the sand-hills."

By Harold Robertson.


ENERAL CHRISTIAN DE WET has recently acquired a reputation as a fighting general through his persistent refusal to surrender to the British forces operating in South Africa. He has baffled the skill of Lord Roberts and checkmated the energy of Lord Kitchener and his generals. With two thousand horsemen and a few guns he has eluded the British for two months, at one time having to keep his scouts watching seven opposing columns. His fame as a fighter makes one hope that later on he may become a colonial leader serving under the flag which is the pride alike of Colonial and Britisher, but which demands a laying aside of the brutality characteristic of this and other Afrikander leaders.

Christian de Wet is a son of the soil and a native of the Orange Free State. He was born little more than forty years ago on his father's farm in the Bloemfontein district.

[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]


tion triumphed, and the result of that evil victory may be seen in the present De Wet most bitterly opposed Mr. Fraser, and used all his influence amongst the burghers in favour of Mr. Steyn's candidature. It was an easy matter to persuade the alarmed burghers that an alliance with the Transvaal would be the only means of saving the two Republics. Mr. Fraser was opposed to Closer Union. He had fought for years against what he believed, and which has now proved, to be a disastrous policy, and at the polls he suffered for his opinions. But de Wet's opposition to Mr. Fraser cannot be better exemplified than by the following:-Speaking of the candidate he said (and the mildness of the remark is characteristic): "Ik zal mij bloed zien stort voor ik een-Engelschman zien President.' ("I will see my blood spurt rather than see a Englishman President.") This expression was a favourite of his, often used, and not necessarily implying a courageous nature.


On another occasion the employment of an Englishman to teach the English language at the Grey College aroused his indignation. The French language was taught by a Hollander, and why not the English by a German ? During the same agitation he swore that his blood should "stort" for the beloved taal.

De Wet was extremely bitter against the Roman Catholic Church, and in a motion before the Raad sought to withdraw the annual grant of £50 to the Church; but to their credit be it said, the Raad members declined to embark on a campaign of religious. persecution.

Previous to the outbreak of war between Great Britain and the Republics, de Wet had very little military experience. He was of tender years at the time of the Basuto War (1865-66), but was one of the number of Free Staters who disobeyed President Brand's proclamation of neutrality, and joined the Transvaal forces in their revolt against Britain in 1880. Serving under General Joubert, de Wet was present at the

battle of Schanz's Hoogte and Laing's Nek.

On that fatal Sunday morning, de Wet, together with 49 other Free Staters, volunteered to ascend Majuba Hill, with what result the world knows.

If his own statements are correct, he killed many rooineks that day. Amongst other relics of that day's fight, de Wet possesses a complete Highlander uni


form, the owner of which he is said to have shot in cold blood. The soldier made a wild leap from a small cliff, and becoming entangled in a tree, fell an easy victim to the rifle of de Wet. will be possible from these incidents to gain some insight into the character of a man who, deservedly or not, is becoming famous for his generalship in the present war.


By an English Sportsman.


HE climate of Chili varies from constant rain, alternating with snow and gales of wind in the south, to perpetual sunshine and cloudless sky in the north. Coquimbo and its neighbourhood, which is much patronized by Her Majesty's ships, has an ideal climate. The sun rises and sets and performs his daily round in unclouded brilliancy. The midday sun is very powerful and the radiation of the heat from the rocks and hard-parched soil makes it rather trying to shooting. The difference between summer and winter is not great; the winter is the wet season, but the rainfall is only about four inches, which may fall in as many showers, and so the remainder of the year becomes monotonous in its serenity. The Chilian winter is our summer, and vice versa. March I therefore becomes the equivalent of our September 1, and is the opening day for partridge shooting.

The naval officer, when he sets out on a day's excursion, either for the purpose of shooting or fishing, and quite irrespective of clime, whether in the tropics or Arctic regions, must start at a very early hour, generally before dawn. The reason of this precocious habit is, not that he prefers rising before the sun, but, from being stationed on the water and often far from the haunts of game, he is forced to find himself breakfasted and equip

ped for the sport long before the world is accustomed to wake—that is, provided he wishes to have a fairly long day on his favourite ground. . . .

The country certainly does not impress one at first sight as being a likely place for harbouring game. The ground is baked hard, and bare, except for the few dead withered-looking bushes sparsely scattered over the plain, relieved here and there by cactus bushes. Up the valleys the bush is thicker, with occasional traces of a greenish colour. On each side of the valleys rise bare, rocky, precipitous hills, and along the bottom the driedup water-courses of the mountain streams. Sometimes these river beds contain pools of water, or a little dampness only. Along the water-courses and on the slopes of the valleys are the best places for birds, which are always found in the proximity of water.

The partridge is about the size and colour of our English bird, and resembles it also in its rapid flight. In one particular it is vastly different; it rises with a shrill, screaming whistle, which is so very startling that it will completely upset a novice and spoil his aim. The necessity of the birds to frequent the water pools in the dry season has been taken advantage of by the country bumpkin, who does not shoot, to snare them. His mode of procedure is very simple. He fences

off the pool with branches of the cactus bush, leaving only a few openings. The partridge will not fly over the cactus, but walks round until it comes to an opening which it creeps through. At these openings the yokel has his snares set, and into these the partridge puts his head. If he can get a market for his game, the shooting will be destroyed in a very short time.

We sent the trap on to a rendezvous after having rid ourselves of all superfluous clothing, cartridges, and other weights. I consider that the best shooting costume for this country to consist of flannel trousers, or knickerbockers, flannel shirt, no coat, and a straw hat of the country. Strong shooting boots and leather leggings are a necessity as a protection against the spines of the cactus and other thorns; even a leather boot will not always turn a cactus spine.

We get into line, and beat a plain at the foot of the hills. The first bird rises about ten yards in front of the right-hand gun, and is promptly bagged. After this there is a long interval, and it is not until we arrive at the dry water-course that the birds become plentiful. We beat up the ravine. I take the right and Mr. S. the left flank. The guns are kept fairly active, and the shots proportionately distributed. Except for an occasional halt to retrieve a wounded bird from the thick bush, we march steadily up the valley. We begin to feel the straps of our bags across the shoulders. The walking is rough and fatiguing, while in the hollows the fierce midday sun is not tempered by any cooling breeze. It is, therefore, with great delight we come in sight of the tethered horses and the carriage, drawn up in the friendly shade of some rocks.

What more pleasant after a morning's tramp in this invigorating climate than the approach to the shade of a tree or rock, where the lunch is laid out? It does not take long to settle down and discuss the contents of the hamper, and I have noticed that however liberal the supply seemed when

being packed, little is wasted, and nothing returns after the camp followers have been satisfied. During the half-hour's rest and pipe which follows the lunch we gaze dreamily upon the country, shimmering under the noontide heat, and far away in the distance, and bounding the whole eastern horizon, rise the grand majestic Andes, robed in a bluish haze, and only relieved here and there by streaks of glittering white snow; while every breath of wind is like iced champagne, so deliciously cool and dry, quite unlike the climate at the coast, which is damp. Here in the country, instead of feeling listless and indolent, one is full of energy and vigour, so much so that we are eager to be off again. We engaged a boy to carry our bag for the afternoon; as the natives never walk, this boy was mounted, and, in fact, he could not walk, being swathed in long leather leggings and huge spurs which prevented his heels touching the ground. He attached himself to me, and when a bird fell he would clap spurs to his horse, gallop up, retrieve the bird, mount, and wheel into heel again. He was very keen, and where I could scramble over rocks and bush, the pony and boy, for they seemed one, followed.

While we wend our way back to Coquimbo in the cool freshness of the night, the dark, jagged outline of the Andes becomes silhouetted against a lurid blaze in the sky, and in a few minutes rises the round orb of the moon. As the wheels plough through the loose sand and the carriage sways from side to side we experience that sleepy and agreeable tiredness and contentment which comes to all men after a successful day's sport-that peace with nature and all mankind which marks the day in our mental diary as a red-letter day. Long afterwards, in other climes and under duller skies, we will remember our partridge shooting in Chili, and the kind friends by whom and in whose company we enjoyed a capital day's sport.-The Field.

« ПретходнаНастави »