Billeder på siden

Handle catridge! Pretty well, considering you did it wrong end foremost, as if you took the catridge out of your mouth and bit off the twist with the catridge-box.

Druw rammer! Those that havn't no rammer to their guns need not draw, but only make the motion; it will do just as well, and save a great deal of time.

Return rammer! Very well again! But that would have been done, I think, with greater expertness, if you had performed the motion with a little more dexterity.

S, h, o, u, is-Shoulder foolk! Very handsomely done indeed! Put your guns on the other shoulder, gentlemen.

Order foolk! Not quite so well, gentlemen--not quite altogether, but perhaps I did not speak loud enough for you to hear me all at once. Try once more if you please; I hope you will be patient gentlemen, we will soon be through.

Order, foolk! Handsomely done, gentlemen! very handsomely done! and altogether too, except that a few of you were a leetle too soon, and some others a leetle too late.

In laying down your guns, gentlemen, take care to lay the locks up and the other sides down. 'Tention the whole! Ground foolk! Very well.

Charge, bayonet! (some of the men - That can't be right, captain; pray look again, for how can we charge bayonet without our

(Captain.) I don't know as to that, but I know I'm right, for here 'tis printed in the book, h, a, r, yes, charge bayonet, that's right, that's the word, if I know how to read; come gentlemen, do .pray charge bayonet! Charge, I say! Why don't you charge? Do you think it an't so? Do you think I have lived to this time o'day and don't know what charge bayonet is? Here, come and see for yourselves; it's plane as the nose on your famstopstay—no! halt! no! no! Faith I'm wrong! I turned over two leaves at once, but I beg your pardon; gentlemen we will not stay out long, and we'll have something to drink as soon as we have done. Come boys, get up off the stumps and logs and take up your guns, we'll soon be done; excuse me if you please.

Fir bayonet! · Advance, arms! Very well done, turn the stocks of your guns in front gentleman, and that will bring the barrels behind; and hold them strait up and down if you please. Let go with your left hand and take hold with your right just below the guard. Steuben says the gun must be held p, e, r, partic'lar--yes, you must always mind and hold your guns very pertic'lar. Now boys—’tention the whole!

Present, arms! Very handsomely done! hold the guns over t'other knee; t'other hand up-turn your hands round a little, and raise the up higher-draw the other foot back! Now you are nearly right-very well done, GENTLEMEN; you have improved


vastly since I first saw you; you are getting too slick for taller! What a charming thing it is to see men under good discipline! Now, GENTLEMEN, we come to the revolutions--but, lord, men, you have got all in a sort of a snarl, as I may say: how did you get all into such a higglety pigglety?

The fact was, the shade had moved considerably to the eastward and liad exposed the right wing of these hardy veterans to a galling fire of the sun. Being but poorly provided with umbrellas at this end of the line, they found it convenient to follow the shade and in huddling to the left for this purpose, they had changed the figure of their line from that of a crescent to one which more nearly' resembled a pair of pot-hooks.

“ Come gentiemen,” (says the captain) "spread yourselves out again into a straight line, and let us get into the wheelings and other matters as soon as possible.”

But this was strenuously opposed by the soldiers. They objected to going into these revolutions at all, inasmuch as the weather was extremely hot, and they already had been kept in the field upwards of three quarters of an hour. They reminde. the captain of his repeated promise to be as short as he possibly could, and it was clear he could dispense with all this same wheeling and flourishing if he chose. They were already very thirsty, and if he would not dismiss them, they declared they would go off without dismission and get something to drink, and he might fine them if that would do him any good; they were able to pay their fine, but couid not go without drink to please any body; and they swore they would never vote for another captain who wished to be so unreasonably strict. One of the men was so insolent as to exclaim,“i'll not be dragged about here any longer. You know I'm as good as you any day. I can buy two of you."

The captain behaved with great spirit on this occasion, and a smart colloquy ensued; when at length becoming exasperated to the last degree, he roundly asserted that no soldier ought never to think hard of the orders of his officer; and finally he went so far as to say that he did not think any gentleman on that ground had any just cause to be offended with him;~The dispute was finally settled by the captain's sending for some grog for their present accommodation, and agreeing to omit reading the military law, as directed by a late act, and also all the military maneuvres, except two or three such easy and simple ones as could be performed within the compass of the shade. After they had drank their grog, and had spread themselves, they were divided into platoons.

'Tention the whole! To the right wheel! Each man faced to the right about.

Why, Gentlemen! I didn't mean for every man to stand still and turn himself nayturally right round; but when I told you to the right I intended for you to wheel round to the right as it were.Please to try that again, gentleman; every right hand must stand fast, and only the others turn round.

In a previous part of the exercise, it had, for the purpose of sizing, been necessary to denominate every second person a right hand man. A very natural consequence was, that on the present occasion those right hand men maintained their position, all the intermediate ones facing about as before.

Why look at'em now! exclaimed the captain, in extreme vexation; l'il be darned if you can understand a word I say. Excuse me gentlemen, but it rayly seems as if you could not come at it exactly. In wheeling to the right, the right hand eend of the platoon stand fast, and the other eend comes round like a swingletree; them on the outside, must march faster than them on the inside, and them on the inside not near so fast as them on the outside. You sartanly must understand me now gentlemen, and now please to try onst more.

In this, they were somewhat more successful.

'Tention the whole! To the left left, no-right-that is, the left----I mean the right-left wheel! march!

In this he was strictly obeyed some wheeled to the right, left, or

both ways.

[ocr errors]

“ Stop! halt! let us try again! I could not jist then tell my right hand from my left! you must excuse me gentlemen, if you please, experience makes parfect, as the saying is; long as I have served, I find something new to learn every day: but all's one for that. Now gentlemen, do that motion once more.”

By the help of a non-commissioned officer in front of each platoon, they wheeled this time with tolerable regularity.

“ Now boys you must try to wheel by divisions; and there is one thing in perticlar which I have to request of you gentlemen, and it is this, not to make any Slunder in your wheeling. You must mind and keep at a wheeling distance, and not talk in the ranks nor get out of size again; for I want you to do this motion well, and not to make any blunder now.

'Tention the whole! By divisions to the right wheel! march!

In doing this it seemed as if bedlam had broke loose; every man took the command. Not so fast on the right! Slow now, slow now! Haul down them umbrellurs! Faster on the left! Keep back a little there! Don't crowd so! Hold up your gun Sam! Go faster there! faster! Who trod on my- -your huffs! Keep back, keep back! Stop us captain, do stop us! Go faster there! I've lost my shoe! Get up again, Ned! halt! halt! halt! stop gentlemen! stop, stop! -n it, I say can't you stop!

By this time they got into utter and inexplicable confusion, and so I left them

TIMOTHY CRABSHAW. CRITICISM.--Tales of my Landlord, collected and arranged by JEDEDIAH

CLEISHBOTHAM, Schoolmaster and Parish Clerk of Gandercleugh. Edinburg, for Wm. Blackwood; and London, for John Murray, 1816. 4 vols. 12 mo. and New York, for J. Eastburn, 1817. 2 vols. 12 mo. $ 2.

It is impossible to read the first sheet of this production without a conviction that it is by the author of Waverly, Guy Mannering, and The Antiquary, though the title-page gives us no such information. It is not difficult to conjecture why it slould have been omitted when we recollect the concludiug sentence of the preface to The Antiquary, in which the writer took leave of the public as one not likely soon to trouble it again.” Eight months, however, are scarcely elapsed before he once more introduces himself to our notice in four volumes of Tales of my Landlord.

Besides the reason above given, several others may have induced Mr. Forbes (or whoever the writer in reality be) to persevere in his anonymous system of authorship; in the first place, the volumes on our table are by no means equal to his other productions; and although an indication on the title-page would greatly have assisted the tale, and enhanced the price of the copy-right, he may have been unwilling to risk his nameless fame in this new experiment; or, in the next place, he may have been desirous of ascertaining whether the popularity of his novels have hitherto acquired, ought in any large proportion to be attributed to the oftenrepeated, and as often-refuted report, that Mr. Walter Scott, at least, had “a main finger in their composition.” It is, however, not very material to settle these questions, nor to indulge in further fruitless conjecture as to the author's motives for persevering in a provoking concealment (as most of his female readers term it,) which appears to answer no purpose but that of exciting curiosity by withholding its gratification, as appetite is created by the refusal of sustenance.

The tales before us are two in number, and are called “ The Black Dwarf,” and “ Old Mortality:" the scenes of both lie in Scotland, and the design of the author is declared to be, to portray the manners of his countrymen; and they are to be followed by others of the same character at a re period. They are both compounded of fiction and history, the latter being ingeniously made to assist the former in the development of the characters, and the production of the events. There is, however, a defect in their arrangement, for “ The Black Dwarf” refers to the state of Scotland in the reign of Queen Anne, while “ Old Mortality" speaks of its condition during the struggles by the Presbyterians in favour of the “ solemn league and covenant," in the latter end of the reign of Charles II. For this reason, we wish that the order had been reversed that as far as any difference exists, not only the historical transactions, but the manners and habits of the people, might have been displayed chronologically. In another respect

also, this change might have been advantageous; for although the first story, according to the present arrangement, bears the more tempting title, it is much inferior to that which follows in most of the respects in which this author's novels are excellent.

The general title of “ Tales of my Landlord” is derived from the circumstance, that they are supposed to have been collected from the relations of different persons at the Wallace Inn at Gandercleugh: this is rather a clumsy expedient, for they are the tales of any body but the landlord, and Old Mortality" does not profess to have its origin even in that source. It is a little surprising that an individual who has shown so much skill in interweaving facts with fiction, and heightening the one by the other, should have so completely failed in his endeavours to give an appropriate introduction to these entertaining relations.

Mr. Peter Pattieson is supposed to have been the writer and compiler of the tales, who, dying young, left them to the care of Mr. Jedediah Cleishbotham, the schoolmaster, to whom he had been usher and assistant. The clumsiness of this contrivance, and the awkward manner in which it is executed, have nothing, however, to do with the merits of the novels themselves.

In speaking of these separate productions, we shall take them in the order of time and of comparative merit and importance, beginning therefore with “ Old Morality,” which occupies the three last of the four volumes. It is not to be supposed, that in the limits to which we are compelled to restrict ourselves, we can enter even into a brief detail of the story, which is somewhat complicated, and the less necessary, because the historical matters introduced and contributing to the unwinding of the plot, are generally known to all readers but those who would read this story as a mere novel for the amusement the fable will afford.

“ Old Morality" is a sort of nick-name given by the people of Scotland to an antiquated Presbyterian, who having engaged and suffered in the struggles of 1679, preserved his unshaken zeal for his party, and in his declining years, journied from burial-ground to burial-ground with his hammer and chissel, renewing the decaying names on the tomb stones of those who had fought and fallen in the cause he reverenced: from the details he supplied, Peter Pattieson is supposed to have framed the novel which bears his title,

There is considerable bustle and business in the story, not merely from the numerous conflicts in which the covenanters are engaged with their enemies, in which the hero and some of the principal characters are concerned; but from the great liumber of personages introduced; they are not less than sixteen or eighteen in number, to nearly all of whom parts of importance are assigned; and in the space of the whole three volumes, the author has not room completely to develop any of their characters; some are killed off earlier and some later, according to convenience; so that



3 E

« ForrigeFortsæt »