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for lost; a few minutes more, and we should be crushed to atoms.
"At that moment the sonorous voice of Gabriel was heard firm and imperative: he had long been accustomed to danger, and now be faced it with his indomitable energy, as if such scenes were bis proper element. "Down from your horses,' cried he; let two of you keep them steady. Strip off your shirts, linen, anything that will catch fire: quick! not a minute is to be lost!' Saying this, he ignited some tinder in the pan of his pistol, and was soon busy in making a fire with all the clothes we now threw to him. Then we tore up withered grass and buffalo-dung, and dashed them on the heap
Before three minutes had passed, our fire burned fiercely. On came the terrified mass of animals, and perceiving the fame of our fire before them, they roared with rage and terror; yet they turned not, as we had hoped: on they came, and already we could distinguish their horns, their feet, and the white foam; our fuel was burning out; the flames were lowering; the parson gave a scream, and fainted. On came the maddened myriads, nearer and nearer ; I could see their wild eyes glaring; they wheeled not, they opened not a passage, but came on like messengers of death, nearer, nearer, nearer still. My brain reeled, my eyes grew dim; it was horrible, most horrible! I dashed down, with my face covered, to meet my fate.
• At that moment I heard an explosion, then a roar, as if proceeding from ten millions of buffalo-bulls : so stunning, so stupifying, was the sound from the mass of animals not twenty yards from us. Each moment I expected the hoofs which were to trample us to atoms, and yet death came not; I only heard the rushing as of a mighty wind, and the trembling of the earth. I raised my head and looked.
Gabriel, at the critical moment, had poured some whisky on the flames; the leathern bottle had exploded with a blaze like lightning and, at the expense of thousands crushed to death, the animals bad swerved from contact with the fierce blue column of fire which had been created. Before and behind, all around us, we could see no• thing but the shaggy wool of the huge monsters; not a crevice was to be seen in the flying masses, but the narrow line which had been opened to avoid our fire.
• In this dangerous position we remained for one hour, our lives depending upon the animals not closing the line. But Providence watched over us; and after what had appeared an eternity of intense suspense, the columns became thinner, until we found ourselves only encircled with the weaker and more exhausted animals, which brought up the rear. Our first danger was over, but we had still to escape from one as imminent: the pursuing flame, now so much closer to us. The whole prairie behind us was on fire; and the roaring element was gaining on us with a frightful speed. Once more we sprung upon our saddles, and the horses, with recovered wind, and with strength ten-fold increased with their fear, soon brought us to the rear of the buffaloes.
• It was an awful sight! A sea of fire roaring in its fury, with its heaving waves, and unearthly hisses, approaching nearer and nearer, rushing on swifter than the sharp morning breeze. Had we not just escaped so unexpectedly a danger almost as terrible, we should have despaired, and left an apparently useless struggle for our lives.
Away we dashed, over hills and down declivities, for now the ground had become more broken. The fire was gaining fast upon us, when we perceived that a mile a-head, the immense herds before us had entered a deep broad chasm, into which they dashed, thou. sands upon thousands tumbling headlong into the abyss ; but now the fire, rushing quicker, blazing fiercer than before, as if determined not to lose its prey, curled its waves above our heads, smothering us with its heat and lurid smoke.
*A few seconds more we spurred in agony: speed was life; the chasm was to be our preservation or our tomb. Down we darted, actually borne upon the backs of the descending mass, and landed with. out sense or motion, more than a hundred feet below. As soon as we recovered from the shock, we found that we had been most mer. cifully preserved : strange to say, neither horse nor rider had received any serious injury. We heard above our heads the hissing and cracking of the fire; we contemplated with awe the flames, which were roaring along the edge of the precipice,—now rising, now lowering, just as if they would leap over the space, and annihilate all life in these western solitudes.
• We were preserved : our fall had been broken by the animals, who had taken the leap a second before us, and by the thousands of bodies which were heaped up as a hecatomb, and received us, as a cushion, below. With difficulty we extricated ourselves and horses, and descending the mass of carcases, we at last succeded in reaching a few acres of clear ground. It was elevated a few feet above the water of the torrent, which ran through the ravine, and offered to our broken-down horses a magnificent pasture of sweet blue grass : but the poor things were too terrified and exhausted, and they stretched themselves down upon the ground, a painful spectacle of utter helplessness.
• We perceived that the crowds of flying animals had succeeded in finding, some way further down, an ascent to the opposite prairie ; and as the earth and rocks still trembled, we knew that the estampede ' had not ceased, and that the millions of fugitives had resumed their mad career. Indeed, there was still danger, for the wind was high, and carried before it large sheets of flame to the opposite side, where the dried grass and bushes soon became ignited, and the destructive element thus passed the chasm, and continued its pursuit.
• We congratulated ourselves upon having thus found security, and returned thanks to heaven for our wonderful escape ; and as we were were now safe from immediate danger, we lighted a fire, and feasted upon a calf, every bone of which we found had been broker into splinters.'
Monsieur Violet, not satisfied with such a very ordinary fact as five people on horseback leaping harmlessly down a precipice a hundred feet in depth, on the backs of a herd of flying buffaloes, adds the following note, in which he tells us that the precipice was, in fact, three hundred feet high, but that it was filled up to the height of almost two hundred feet by the crowds of buffaloes who had previously taken the leap, but who, it seems, did not all understand the art of escaping on the backs of one another.
• I have said, at a venture, that we descended more than a hun. dred feet into the chasm, before we fairly landed on the bodies of the animals. The chasm itself could not have been less than from 250 to 300 feet deep at the part we plunged down. This will give the reader some idea of the vast quantities of bodies of animals, chiefly buffaloes, which were there piled up. I consider that this pile must have been formed wholly from the foremost of the mass, and that when formed, it broke the fall of the others who followed them, as it did our own; indeed, the summit of the heap was pounded into a sort of jelly.'
Upon the whole, it will be seen that we do not think very highly of this effort of Captain Marryatt's pen. Our objections extend to the general conception and plan of the whole book. There is, as our extracts will show, some powerful description occasionally interspersed; but more than this is necessary, both in history and fiction. We have read several of Captain Marryatt's tales with much pleasure and some instruction : we would advise him to stick to the direct form of novel or romance, and to renounce what Monsieur Violet would call ' half breeds.' If he would also spend a little more time on the construction of his plots, and the invention of his characters and incidents, as well as on style, it would be all the better for his fame. We are convinced that he might take far higher rank as a novel writer than he has yet done, by submitting to the care and elaboration which have distinguished all really first-rate writers of fiction. But the same curse seems to lie on almost all the novelists of the present day : the cacoethes scribendi has infected them all. They pour out their multitud. inous volumes with such haste, that they have no time for maturing their plan, or for the correction and revision of their style. The allotted three volumes must be filled, and the sooner the better. A superfluous word, phrase, or sentence is too precious to be wasted; and hence the style is loaded with heavy commonplaces and mere verbiage. In nothing so much as in modern novels, do we see the force of old Hesiod's paradoxical maxim: "That the half is better than the whole. To the same causes we must attribute the frequent vulgarisms and solecisms which abound in these writers; and not least in Captain Marryatt. We are surprised that his practice as a writer, and his intercourse with good society, have not long since served to correct them. Thus, in the present work, we observe that extreme vulgarism, laid' for 'lay,' occurring twice in the same page (p. 186, vol. iii.) Why does he not purify his style from such debasements ?
Art. VII.—The Existence of Evil Spirits proved ; and their Agency, parti
cularly in relation to the Human Race, explained and illustrated. Ву
Walter Scott. Second Edition. London: 12mo., pp. 474. It will readily be admitted by all our readers, that impartiality is one of the first duties of a reviewer. But obvious as this is, it is not an easy matter for a public journalist to preserve strict impartiality, for independently of private feelings and personal considerations, he is always under temptation to bestow undue praise on works written by his own party, and undue censure on the compositions of his opponents. Such a course is, however, productive of immense mischief to literature, and must destroy all confidence in criticism. The indiscriminate praise which used to be given by some of the literary organs of nonconformity to all the works of nonconformists, bore its natural fruits: the encomiums so lavishly bestowed soon lost all value, and great injustice was in consequence often done to compositions of real merit. We have, therefore, acted upon the principle of censuring where censure was deserved, as well as of praising where praise was due, irrespective of the party to which the writer might belong, feeling assured that we were thereby promoting the cause of literature in general, and in the dissenting body in particular. For acting in this manner, and for daring to blame where blame was merited, we have more than once been exposed to obloquy and calumny; and attempts have been made to injure the circulation of our Review; but such attempts have always failed, for the public has appreciated the integrity of our conduct, and steadily continued to us their support.
Acting upon these principles, we considered it our duty in reviewing the first edition of Mr. Scott's work on “The Existence of Evil Spirits' in our July number of last year, to point out the very serious deficiencies of the book in classical scholarship. This we did with great reluctance, and in as brief a manner as possible (our remarks upon the subject did not exceed a page); but we felt that justice to the public, to ourselves, and to the literary reputation of the dissenting body, would not allow us to pass over the matter in entire silence. The nature of the case particularly called for the expression of our opinion. The work was not simply the publication of a private individual upon an interesting and difficult subject in theology, in which ignorance in some particulars might be looked upon with indulgence, but it formed one of the Series of the Congregational Lectures, which are intended to foster a spirit of learning among us, and which are, to quote the words of the committee of the Congregational Library, 'to partake rather of the chiaracter of academic prelections than of popular addresses.' Bcaring these circumstances in mind, and jealous for the literary honour of our body, which was to some extent compromised by the unscholarlike character of the work, we called attention to its failings in this respect, and respectfully counselled a severe revision of the volume in the matters we alluded to. Instead, however, of following our recommendation, Mr. Scott has carefully retained his old errors, and has devoted the preface of his second edition to an elaborate reply to our strictures. We would willingly have left the subject as it stands at present, feeling sure that the justice of our criticisms would be admitted by all scholars, if we said nothing more; but, as Mr. Scott imputes to us base and unworthy motives in the discharge of our public duty; intimates, with an obvious reference to ourselves, that reviewers have not unfrequently condemned at first, when afterwards they have been glad, for their own credit's safe, to praise,' and broadly asserts that we'evidently condemned con amore, and were glad of an opportunity of showing, by doing 80, our supposed critical judgment and extensive information, we consider it due to ourselves, fully convinced as we are of the justice of our criticisms, to make a few remarks upon his reply, lest he should construe silence into an admission of the validity of his statements. At the same time it is with extreme regret that we feel called upon to say any thing which may prove injurious to the literary reputation of Mr. Scott, but he has challenged investigation and criticism, and has only himself to blame if such investigation and criticism prove unfavourable to him.
The general complaint which we made respecting the scholar. ship of the book was as follows - His (Mr. Scott's) information is obviously derived from secondary sources, and is, in consequence, unsatisfactory and meagre; his scholarship is far from being rigidly accurate, and the principles of historical criticism are, to say the least, disregarded. Our evidence in proof of these statements must necessarily be brief :'-and we then pro