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island had been explored without finding any traces, and being wearied, at 8 P.M. we turned into our sleeping-bags.
On the 19th, the search having been fruitless, they started for the north side of Queen Victoria Channel. Their course was N.E., and the distance not less than thirty miles. They had not proceeded far in their passage across, when two sea-horses were observed close to the boat, and thinking there was a change of killing one of them for the sake of fuel, they bore down upon them, and after putting a ball into the mouth of one, they got fast to him with the harpoon and line. A good deal of firing ensued, but they were forced to draw close up and run a lance through him, for the balls took no effect whatever, except to increase his fierceness. The blubber proved of great value as fuel; Penny deemed the fresh flesh a delicacy, and the seamen made mocassins of the hide. After twelve hours' plying at the oars, they reached Cape Becher, Captain Stewart's furthest. At this point, standing at an elevation of six to eight hundred feet, Penny named the more prominent points of land, bays, and islands that lay before him in the open sea; the two most furtherly points visible, one on the north side of the channel after Lady Franklin, the other on the south after Sir John.
At this point of his journey, Penny began to consider the prudence of continuing to proceed further with only one week's provisions. It was, he says, a severe struggle to leave the search, but there was no other course left. That the missing ships had gone beyond their reach, he says he had no doubt; for if they had not, they would have found traces of them about some of the Bird Heads or Duck Islands, which had been surrounded with water ever since the 17th of May-in fact, during the whole winter-for it is Penny's opinion that the ice in Queen Victoria Channel kept in motion all that time. To this view of the subject, it might again be opposed with quite as much appearance of probability, that the absence of all traces of the missing expedition in Queen Victoria Channel were quite as strongly indicative of the expedition never having passed that way, as of their having passed through at a time when an open sea and a favourable wind were of too much importance to have permitted of the delay incurred by erecting a cairn and leaving a notice. Considering that no notice of their proceedings was left at Beechey Island (at least as far as is at present known), it is equally likely that they would not have left notices on the islands or headlands in Queen Victoria Channel; but considering again the difficult and obstructed navigation of that channel, especially between Baillie Hamilton and Dundas Islands, and the peculiar and novel character of the channel at that part, there really seems little likelihood that the expedition would have passed that way without leaving some memorandum of its passage. We say nothing about the bit of elm picked up by the sanguine navigator. Sir John Richardson has justly remarked that that might have flowed from Beechey Island. The fact is not, however, without interest.
The navigation of Queen Victoria Channel, and the narrative of Captain Stewart, and of Dr. Sutherland's enterprising exploration of the shores of the same remarkable Arctic thoroughfare, are not, however, the sole points of interest in Dr. Sutherland's work. The glances at Arctic life, and the pictures of Arctic scenery, are replete with interest.
Dr. Sutherland found in the same neighbourhood a tremulous, jelly
like plant-a species of Nostoc*-which, he says, possessed far higher recommendations to the hungry palate than the dry tripe de roche which Sir John Franklin, Sir John Richardson, and their companions, used as food for a considerable time.
A group of the characteristic flowers of the Arctic regions, including the yellow poppy, the pretty dryas, sacred to the Dryads, a ranunculus, several variously-coloured saxefrages, and others, are figured in the foreground of a truly polar scene, and so brightly tinted as to appear worthy of figuring in one of Martin's paradises, rather than in regions of gloomy
ice and snow.
The Arctic winter breaks up about the end of May and beginning of June, when, instead of the keen, bracing atmosphere, the clear blue sky, and the northerly winds, generally accompanied by low temperatures, there was a densely overcast sky, the clouds were heavy, gloomy, and portentous, and the winds prevailed from the southward, accompanied by a constant falling of soft snow, and comparatively high temperatures. Snow begins to melt on the canvas of the tents, and foreign substances, such as bits of rope, tins, &c., sink into the snow on the floe. At this time, birds-brent, geese, and a species of plover-were observed to have migrated so far north; but ptarmigan and sea-fowl were seen at a much earlier period on the same side of the channel.
In the event of Queen Victoria Channel extending far to the westward, or communicating with an open Arctic sea, of which there seems to be every probability, it becomes an important question, which time is the most suitable for navigating it? Ships, Dr. Sutherland remarks, are not permitted access into it till the end of the season, and then the winds are generally violent, and the weather stormy. Were it possible to get into it, there can be no doubt that, like all other parts where the ice does not close up during winter, the best time for navigation is early in the season. The plan advocated by Mr. Petermann, F.R.G.S., is to set out early in the season, before the ice is reduced to a state of pack, and southerly winds begin to prevail, when ships can be navigated in the "clear vein" of water alluded to above.
This would not obviate the necessity of taking the ships through Wellington Channel into Queen Victoria Channel, and as this can only be done late in the season, the ships, assisted by screw-steamers, under command of Sir Edward Belcher, will be in proper season to undertake this laborious task. They may then pursue their way, as far as they are able, up Queen Victoria Channel, or, failing success there, may winter in that channel; and Penny points out Sir Robert Inglis Bay as a fit and convenient spot for a winter harbour. This accomplished, they may then avail themselves of the very first of the ensuing season for going far away to the westward in search of, we fear, what will prove to be "the relics" of our lost countrymen.
* This plant, which belongs to the same family as the much-talked of "red snow" of the Arctic regions-Nostochina-is supposed by Agandh to change into the genus Collema among the Lichens. It is a roundish or shapeless gelatinous plant, the substance of which is composed of curved moniliform simple filaments, lying irregularly in a gelatinous nidus.
Sept.-VOL. XCVI. NO. CCCLXXXI.
BEFORE the railway was made from Rouen to Paris, the traveller who wished to expedite his journey to the capital was in the habit, when he left Nantes, of taking the road called Le chemin de Quarante Sous,. which subtends a very wide arc, in preference to following the more circuitous route by Meulan. After skirting the Seine, at the deep bend where stands the old town of Poissy, the forest of Saint-Germain appeared on his left hand and that of Marly on his right; but before he passed between the two, a small village on the edge of the first-named forest attracted his attention, not so much on account of the picturesqueness of its situation-though this was not slight-as from the associations to which it gave birth; for that little village, which bears the name of Chambourcy, was once the fief and still belongs to the noble family of De Grammont.
It is a quiet spot, suggestive of anything but feudal recollections, with its narrow, straggling street, its small, whitewashed houses, its débit de tabac, and its hospitable intimation to the charretiers and graziers of Poissy that, at the sign of the Ecu de Grammont, "on donne à boire et à manger," and also that " on loge à pied et à cheval" such as are willing to put up with road-side accommodation. The "Ecu de Grammont," and all its quarterings! The rampant azure lion on a field, or, armed and lampassed, gules; the three arrows in pale, or, feathered and armed, argent; the greyhound, gules, coupled and muzzled, azure, within a sable border charged with eight bezants, or; and the escocheon of pretence, bearing quarterly its fasces straight and wavy, argent !
Did the marchands de bœufs of Poissy ever speculate on the signification of these heraldic glories, as they discussed their pot-au-feu, or tossed off their goutte of anisette to the health of "not' bourgeois," in the salle of the "Ecu de Grammont ?" Had they ever heard of the illustrious houses of Aster, and Aure, and Toulongeon; of homage rendered to the Counts of Foix for broad lands in Gascony and Guienne; of letters patent erecting baronies into counties, and counties into duchies, until all the grades of nobility were attained? It is not very likely; for heraldry, and homage, and letters of nobility, were all swept away in the first revolution, before the greater part of them were born.
As little did they know of that Philibert de Grammont, Comte de Guiche, who was killed by a cannon-ball which carried off his arm at the siege of La Fère, in 1580, when he was only twenty-eight years of age; of his wife, Diana, who, with her beauty, conveyed the name of la belle Corisande to the females of the house of Grammont; of their grandson Roger, Comte de Louvigny, who, in a duel fought in Flanders, in 1629, between the Comte de Villerval and the Comte de St. Amour de Bourgogne, was killed-though a second only-by the Sieur de St. Loup, the other second, who also died of his wounds a few days afterwards-so perilous was the honour of being a "friend" in those days!
Even the fame of the celebrated Marshal de Grammont, who fought for so many sovereigns, but rendered his best services to his own country, had never reached the ears of those honest marchands de bœufs. And
quite as ignorant were they of that no less celebrated Philibert, Comte de Grammont, of whom St. Simon tells the following story:
When on his first bed of sickness at the age of eighty-five!-he was attended by his wife, who offered him the consolations of religion by reciting the Paternoster for his edification. "Cette prière est belle,"
said the aged invalid, " cette prière est bien belle; qui l'a faite ?”
Alas for valour and high descent, and worldly eminence! What signify those proud alliances with the names of Noailles, Grimaldi, Bethune, Gontaut, Durfort, Hamilton, to the simple marchands de boeufs? They sit beneath the shadow of the "Ecu de Grammont," unconscious that the representatives of such names ever existed, and far more indifferent to the fact, even if told it, than to the addition of a solitary centime to the octroi that taxes their beef and mutton!
The "Ecu de Grammont" has, then, its moral; for in the indifference of the cattle-merchants of Poissy, we read the general lesson taught by all earthly grandeur. The Past-how little of it survives, or is permitted to abide in the memory of man! But still,
Non omnis moriar;
and perhaps it is enough for us that we should limit our recollections— our joys as well as our sorrows-to that which we ourselves have known.
There will be room for their exercise if we pass through the village of Chambourcy, and, pausing in the rustic churchyard, gaze upon green eminence, crowned with luxuriant chesnut-trees," which divides it from the domains of the Duke de Grammont; for on that height stands the tomb which holds the remains of Two who have carried with them to the grave more of affection, of sympathy, and of grief, than mortality commonly claims from those who survive. It is the tomb of Marguerite, Countess of Blessington, and of Alfred, Count D'Orsay, who raised it to her memory, in the hope-too soon realised-of sharing it with her he loved.
A gifted authoress-Isabella Romer, whose own untimely loss her many friends still deplore-published in Bentley's Miscellany, about two years since, a very interesting account of the mausoleum of Chambourcy, from which we extract the following description :
"A pyramid composed of large blocks of white stone, and similar in form to the ancient monuments of Egypt, rises from a platform of solid black granite, which has been completely isolated from the surrounding surface by a deep, dry moat, whose precipitous slopes are clothed with the softest green turf. A bronze railing encloses the whole, within which has been planted a broad belt of beautiful evergreens and flowering shrubs; and beyond these the lofty chestnut trees wave in tender gloom,' and form a leafy canopy to shelter that lonely tomb from the winds of heaven. Solid, simple, and severe, it combines every requisite in harmony with its solemn distination; no meretricious ornaments, no false sentiment, mar the purity of its design. The genius which devised it has succeeded in cheating the tomb of its horrors, without depriving it of its imposing gravity. The simple portal is surmounted by a plain massive cross of stone, and a door, secured by an open-work of bronze, leads into a sepulchral chamber, the key of which had been confided to me. The light of the sun, streaming through a glazed aperture above the door, fell like a ray of heavenly hope upon the symbol of man's redemption-a beautiful copy, in bronze, of Michael Angelo's crucified Saviour-which is affixed to the wall facing the entrance. A simple stone sarcophagus is placed on either side of the chamber, each one surmounted by two white marble tablets, encrusted in the sloping walls. That to the left encloses the coffin of Lady Blessington-that to the right is still untenanted; long may it remain so!"
This wish has not been granted. A little more than three years from
the death of the earliest tenant of this tomb, it has been opened to receive its latest!
Mrs. Romer thus wrote, in continuation :
"The affection she most valued, the genius and talent she most admired, have contributed to do honour to the memory of that gifted woman. Her sepulchre is the creation of Alfred D'Orsay, her epitaphs are the composition of Barry Cornwall and Walter Savage Landor. Upon the two tablets placed over her tomb, are inscribed the following tributary lines:
"In memory of Marguerite, Countess of Blessington, who died on the 4th of June, 1849. In her lifetime she was loved and admired for her many graceful writings, her gentle manners, her kind and generous heart. Men famous for art and science, in distant lands, sought her friendship; and the historians and scholars, the poets, and wits, and painters of her own country, found an unfailing welcome in her ever-hospitable home. She gave cheerfully, to all who were in need, help and sympathy, and useful counsel; and she died lamented by many friends. They who loved her best in life, and now lament her most, have reared this tributary marble over her place of rest.
Infra sepultum est
Benefacta sua celare novit, ingenium non ita.
Peregrinis eleganter hospitalis.
Venit Lutetiam Parisiorum Aprili mense,
WALTER SAVAGE LANDOR.'"
The life of one who was chiefly known to the world as a gay, witty, agreeable man of fashion, offers but slight materials for general biography; his course being marked by few of the incidents which befal those who embrace a public career. For the portraiture that should interest
us in such a man, we must either look to the records which he has left of himself, or to the reminiscences of those with whom he was most intimately associated. It is more than probable that the former are in existence; and for the latter, the widely-extended and friendly intercourse which Count D'Orsay held with the most eminent men of his time, affords reason for hoping that enough may be gathered from their lips to render a memoir of him at once ample and attractive.
In attempting, ourselves, to pay a passing tribute to his memory, we aim at no more than the endeavour to show-what some biographer, better qualified for the task, may, we trust, have the means of doing— that in addition to the well-known qualities of Count D'Orsay—his wit, his grace, his talent-which were patent to all the world, he possessed a heart and mind which justly endeared him to every one whose good fortune it was to be included in the circle of his friends. Amongst those who knew him in the closest relations of private life, there has never been a dissentient opinion. They concurrently declare that one more amiable, more kind, more generous-one who more laboured to do good for its own sake, and who spared himself less in efforts of charitable and humane purpose-than Count D'Orsay, came not within the sphere of their remembrance. It is to some of these friends, whose names would be a sufficient guarantee for the value of this assertion, were we at liberty to mention them, that we have been indebted for the letters which throw upon these pages whatever of interest may belong to them.