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their furniture, their gold ornaments, and every
movable they had, to purchase bread. As all.
the necessaries of life were brought from Ben-
gal, and some other provinces which had not
been deprived of the usual monsoon, the price
charged for rice was so enormous that it re-
quired vast funds to support a family. The
roads were strewed with dead bodies, and
wretches sinking from starvation; and Chunda
Gopal had the melancholy prospect of seeing
himself, as he advanced in life, not only de-
prived of every movable, but forced to put up
one part of his estate after another to auction, till
he began to fear that the whole would not out-
last the famine: for at such a melancholy time,
of course, very little would be given for land.

During this mournful period the good and
kind-hearted Luxana felt all the emotions of
sorrow that can possess the breast of a fond wife
and a happy mother. She prayed to all the
gods she shed floods of tears she made vows
of pilgrimages, and offerings and most ear-
nestly implored favour from Brahma. When
in deep distress to whom can we fly for succour
with hope, but to God? Even if we receive
no direct assistance, the act of entreating it is
salutary, because we should not ask a power to
help us without believing he had the ability to
do so; and therefore, hope being necessarily
generated by prayer, something is always
gained by it.

It happened that Luxana retired late to rest
one night, after fervent devotion and a pouring
out of her grief in secret, for fear of increasing
the sorrow of her husband. She had implored
Indra to instruct her in a dream how she should
act to relieve the dear objects of her solicitude.
"Great power," said she, "if thou wilt accept
the sacrifice of myself to secure the safety of
those I love, make but a sign to thy servant,
and I shall instantly become ashes." With
this heroic resolution she laid herself down,
kissed her sleeping husband, and sank into the
embraces of sleep.

But her soul, that astonishing never-dying
lamp, never-slumbering somewhat, continued
to pour its light on her internal orbs of sight.
She seemed all faculty; ear, eye, smell, taste,
feeling, were as busy as they had been during
the day. "I am wide awake," thought she.
"Yes I am in the temple of Indra. I see
his benign aspect beaming. He is all fire."
Seated on his huge recumbent elephant, with
two attendants fanning him, and numerous

peacocks sporting in the fruit-tree which grew
out of his head, the god appeared to Luxana.
His wife, Indranee, on a huge tiger, fanned
by four choury, or yak 1 tail bearers, with her
child on her knee, sat near him. They were
resplendent as the rainbow. She saw through
them as though she had been looking at sun-
beams. Indranee waved her hand. Luxana
prostrated herself. The gods shook their heads;
and golden mangoes fell from the trees. The
peacocks in their branches screamed, and spread
their celestial plumage in all the gorgeous
pageantry of pride. Luxana gathered up the
mangoes; and Indra and Indranee smiled arid
nodded their assent. S6*on after, a large ape
came forward from among the branches over
Indra's head. It was Hunnymaun. Luxana
was not sure, it might be the monkey son of
the god; for he has one, who is a kind, good-
natured creature. But she saw him twist his
long tail round a branch, and let himself down
on Indra's 2 mighty shoulders, where he perched
most respectfully; and applying his mouth to
the idol's ear, he asked: "Shall I answer Lux-
ana, mighty father?" She felt no fear; for
when we arc ready to die, what can have terror?
But a thrill passed through her frame when
she heard these words in a deep sullen tone, like
the voice of St. Paul's "It is my will."

"Look at this oyster," said Hunnymaun;
holding one up in his great paw, which appeared
all light, except a black spot in the centre of
the shell, surrounded by an orange rim. "Go
to the next auction, and buy the heap in which
you shall see this."

The whole vanished into darkness, the deep
black hue of which startled Luxana to con-
sciousness that what she had seen was a dream ;
but her astonishment next morning was inex-
pressible, when she discovered her sauri 3 full
of fine ripe mangoes. She of course imparted
her dream to her husband, and showed him
the beautiful golden fruit, of which they h::d
not eaten for many a day.

You must know that there is, between the
island of Ceylon and the peninsula of Hindco-
stan, a very valuable pearl fishery, in which
some of the most valuable ornaments of diadems
have been found. You will be able to conceive
what a prize one of these must be, when I tell
you that the pearl which caps the crown of
England was pledged to the Dutch, by
Charles IT., for 18,000. Its real value can-

1 The huge tailed cow of Thibet.

2 See a representation of this wonderful Hindoo idol
in Capt. feley's Elnra, \ age 41.

3 The piece of cloth which forms the general female



not be estimated till there shall be a market
of such; at present there are very few in the
whole world like it. Julius Caesar gave Ser-
vilia a Ceylon pearl worth 48,457; and Cleo-
patra's Ceylon pearl ear-rings were valued at

This fishery is farmed out by the govern-
ment. It yields a very large item of revenue.
Sometimes in a hundred oysters one will not
be found that has a pearl; so that, as it is such
a lottery, they are made up into heaps, or lots,
and sold by auction to the highest bidder.
Superstition is blended with everything in
India. The divers think that the Brahmans,
or idols, can save them from being devoured
by ground sharks; and the purchasers believe
that by making offerings and prayers to the
temples, they will get repaid in pearls, pur-
chased with their fortunate lots. Such a place
as the oyster auction market you never saw.
To describe it is impossible. There are as
deep speculators as ardent a thirst for profit
as mad a risk of certainty on chance as
haggard- looking faces as great a degree of
bustle as much noise and seeming confusion
and as much distraction, disappointment,
and anguish in this trade, as you will behold
on the Stock Exchange in London, if ever you
stare into the private room, as I have done
with amazement. At the pearl auction you
would hear fifty voices at once cry this! a
hundred roar that! You would sec sharp,
lean-faced, hollow-eyed, pale, shrivelled-up
Hindoos, like roguish-looking stock- brokers,
running about, seemingly wild with anxiety,
and not only at war with the world, but at
daggers-drawing with themselves. Such is the
torture arising from the spirit of gaming, when
it once takes possession of the human heart !
The flames kindle there and spread over the
whole man, till he appears one fearful volume
of perturbation: crackling, and fretting, and
wasting him, till at length he becomes a vapour
of smoke, and deposits the grain of dust into
which all his gold has changed under that
great alkahest that more certain Destroyer
than fire Time.

We easily believe what we wish: and readily
think ourselves favoured by the gods, because
we are inclined to credit the flattery that we
deserve special marks of protection and grace.
Chunda Gopal, therefore, eagerly drank the
tale of his Luxana's vision ate a mango with
uncommon satisfaction expressed his convic-
tion that somewhat of extraordinary good was
about to happen to them ; he felt so full of
life, of hope, of joy, that he knew there was
meaning in his wife's dream. How could the

mangoes come into hrs apartment? No Brah-
man had been there. It was clear that they
had been shaken out of Indranee's head, and
gathered by Luxana in her sleep ! Indra was
smiling on his family. He would not now
have to sell his beautiful daughters for danc-
ing-girls, or his sons for slaves. No; he would
part with his last cocoa-nut grove go to the
oyster auction, and purchase that lot in which
Luxana should see the one with a black spot
surrounded by an orange rim.

Well, we need not describe the journey of
Chunda Gopal and Luxana, with all their
children, to Condatchy Bay. I shall leave
you to conceive how they journeyed along,
with their little ones riding on bullocks, or
carried by father and mother. It is sufficient
for me to state that they arrived at the pearl
auction mart in perfect safety ; and that Lux-
ana of course saw there, in a heap, the very
oyster that Indra, or rather Hunnymaun, had
shown her, which Chunda Gopal bought, after
bidding up to his last rupee against a Brahman,
who seemed to know that it was worth a Jew's

When the black -spotted, orange-rimmed
oyster was opened, to be sure, out dropped one
of the largest, purest, roundest pearls that had
ever been seen. It was a gem of light. You
could see through it as Luxana saw the trans-
parency of Indra's air- fabricated form. A
shout of astonishment was raised. Wonder
stood gaping on every face. Thousands of
thousands were instantly offered for the pearl;
but the agent or pearl merchant of the King
of Candy bought it for two lacs of rupees, or
about 25,000 of our money. Chunda Gopal
and Luxana travelled back to their home,
mounted on a pair of elephants in shining how-
dahs. Their sons all became great men, and
their daughters were happy. At length they
died, full of years; and I tell you this latter
particular, because the philosophers say that no
one is blessed till dead. Thus ends the story
of the Ovster.


Sun of the sleepless ! melancholy star!

Whose tearful beam glows tremulously far.

That showest the darkness thou canst not dispel.

How like art thou to joy remembered well 1

So gleams the past, the light of other days,

Which shines, but warms not with its ) oHrle$s rays:

A night beam Sorrow watcheth to behold.

Distinct, but distant; clear, but, oh, bow cold !





[Mrs. Adeline D. Train Whitney, born in Boston,
U.S., 1824, has won reputation as a novelist aud poet.
Her principal works are : Fo',tste t .s on the Stan, a .Poem;
Faitli GuLi-tMift (itrUiw,d; The Gaywoithys; Hithertu,
a Story of Yesterday; and Panzies, a volume of poems
from which we quote. J

A double life is this of ours ;

A two-fold form wherein we dwell;
And heaven itself is not so strange.

Nor half so far, as teachers tell.

"With weary feet we daily tread
The circle of a self-same round;

Yet the strong soul may not be held
A prisoner in the petty bound.

The body walketh as in sleep,

A shadow among things that seem ;

While held in leash yet far away,
The spirit moveth in a dream.

A living dream of good or ill,

In caves of gloom or fields of light;

Where purpose doth itself fulfil,
Aud longing love ii instant sight.

Where time, nor space, nor blood, nor bond
May love and life divide in twain;

But they whom truth hath inly joined
Meet inly on their common plane.

We need not die to go to God ;

See how the daily prayer is given !
'Tis not across a gulf we cry,

"Our Father, who dost dwell in heaven!"

And, " Let thy will on earth be done,
As in thy heaven ;" by this, thy child!

What is it but all prayers in one,
That soul and sense be reconciled?

That inner sight and outer scene

No more in thwarting conflict strive;

But doing blossom from the dream,
And the whole nature rise, alive?

There's beauty waiting to be born,
And harmony that makes no sound;

And bear we ever, unaware,

A glory that hath not been crowned.

And so we yearn, and so we sigh,
And reach for more than we can see;

And, witless of our folded wings,
Walk Paradise unconsciously;

And ditnlv feel the day divine
With vision half redeemed from night,

Till death shall fuse the double life,
And God himself shall give us light !



One day in the leafy month of June an
angler wandered by a brook-side in a deep glen.
Tall rocks and trees rose at either side, and
tinkling silver threads of water ran down to the
bigger stream in many places. The spot was
lonely but not savage. It was full noon, and
so warm that after a while the fisherman left
off work and found a moss patch to rest on.
And as he rested he heard that native concert
which is ever going on in due season and
weather amongst birds, and bees, and grass-
hoppers, and other creatures that rejoice in
the summer for the sun in their own language.
But of a sudden, in the midst of the soft croon
of pigeons, the occasional flute-call of that won-
derful musician with the golden bill, the deep
and always as it were distant bassoon of the
flower- robber, there came the queerest, quaint-
est tangle of sounds, scarcely more rhythmical
or measured than the performances of doves,
honey -gatherers, gnats, or river. It mingled
with them quite naturally. And when a wind
swept for a moment down the glen, and the
trees whispered to each other the singular tune,
or as it seemed the odds and ends of a hundred
tunes, combined also with that effect as if the
breeze -sigh and leaf-flutter were part of the
symphony. And the fisherman gets up to go
in search of the accomplished elf who has come
out of the hollow hills to practise the airs he
must play for his gay companions under the
stars by the haunted rath. And he follows the
brook path, and the music becoming louder he
knows he is approaching the source of it. And
this he observed, that as the tune (and it now
began to have a distinct or half-distinct out-
line) was less dispersed by distance, it was not
altogether so magical in character, though yet
strangely and sweetly becoming the scene over
which it was rambling. And finally the angler
is drawn by the ear to the very feet of his
Orpheus* Think you he saw the ghost of an
ancient harper in white, seated like a gray
friar on a gray stone, or the fairy fiddler above
mentioned, or beheld a figure blowing into a
sheaf of reeds with the power of the great goa
Pan, or any other beautiful daemon or sprite
born of a poet's fancy, or of an artist's dream,
or say of any ink-bottle (talk of your ocean
being kind to us for casting up one Venus, how
many as beautiful divinities have emerged from
our oceans of ink?) think you he saw but
this reads like a passage of the Critic what
he did see was an old man playing the Irish

* .*.

>*" *:

Auqustus Ton




pipes, with a (log for an audience, unless a
goat is to be counted who has stopped munch-
ing bush tops for a moment on the other side
of the brook. An old man, obviously blind,
dressed poorly but not raggedly. His hat, to be
sure, has seen better days : but considered as a
ruin, it has a picturesque appearance. And the
angler quietly intended to listen to the music
without announcing hirnelf, but the dog would
not permit such a liberty to be taken with his
master's property, and so he barked a sentence
of barks as who would say, Master, here is a
scurvy fellow who has his ear cocked for the
purpose of stealing our tunes ; whereupon the
pipes left off with a kind of snarl that had
nothing at all pastoral or idyllic about it. The
piper was on his way to a wedding and a chris-
tening in the neighbouring village. He was
rehearsing for his performances. It was not
difficult to set him going again. Well, he was
not Pan, Orpheus, Mars, Bacchus, Apollo, or
Virorum. He was a common piper, and yet the
music he made amongst the rocks and trees
sounded still far more sympathetically than I
imagine the music of the best trained orchestra
would. I, for I was the eavesdropping angler,
dislodged the goat and sat thus some distance
from the player. The tunes are all supposed
to be cheerful. "The Foxhunter's Jig," listen
to that for merriment! The tallyho, tallyho!
quite plain on the tenor notes, the hound-music
and its echoes, the call of the horn, the death of
the modereen ruadh, and through it always the
dance itself, to which these mimetic references
are only asides, garnish. I encore the "The
Foxhunter's Jig," and my ancient bard pumps
away at it again with such renewed spirit that
if he doesn't move the rocks he makes them
speak, for they repeat many of the wild cadences,
the dog gives an awakened bark of approval,
and from behind a doomed shrub peers the big
astonished eyes of the goat with his beard and
horns, the very picture of a faun ! And so
again we join the chase, and do double shuffle
in the jig besides, and then an end of the Fox-
hunter business, and we start with "Nora
Creina." Nora Creina is not as successful a
hit. The musician employs his chanter with
bad effect. "Oh my Nora Creina, dear," and
similar affectionate passages, are not well trans-
lated into orchestral form when the phrase is
expressed in hoarse asthmatic tones. You
perceive I am candid as to the bagpipes, and
no enthusiast about them when the measure
of their function and capacity has been ex-
ceeded. And now we shall take our leave of
the type of piper we have been describing, and
sight one from another point of view.

There be pipers and pipers. There are fello vs
who could give the vagrant armed with the
hurdy-gurdy or the leader of a street German
band lessons on discord. These offensive pipers
Scotch, or Irish, or Italian disgrace their
craft, which is so ancient that, according to a
Celtic legend, one of the fraternity had the
honour of playing before Moses. The tradition
is embodied to this day in a current form of
Irish imprecation. A medal has been found of
the Nero period with a representation of a bag-
pipe in the obverse, from whence it has been
reasonably enough conjectured, that when the
amiable Roman monarch desired to express his
delight at the burning of his city and the roast-
ing of his subjects, he did not employ the violin
for that purpose, but poured out the joy of his
soul through the cornamusa. The instrument,
in some shape or other, turns up in every quarter
of the globe. It was known in Greece as the
askaulos, in Germany it is to be recognized a-s
the sacpfeijf, in Norway jockpipe, in Italy
cornamusa pira and zampoyua, in France as
the musette,, in Wales the pi/tan, in Lapland
the ivalp'pe, in Finland the/>/o, in Persia the
nei aubana, and in Arab-Egypt the zoughara.
Sir Robert Stewart of Dublin, in a most in-
teresting course of lectures on the " Bagpipes
of Scotland and Ireland," gives these details
and much more. He claimed superiority for
the latter on account of superior sweetness of
tone and its more extensive range. The Irish
pipe, he said, possessed a perfect chromatic
scale of twenty-five notes (C to C) upon the
chanter. It also had three drone basses, violin-
cello C, tenor C, and C below the treble clef.
The Scotch pipe had but two drones, A and A,
no tenor, and an odd scale of nine notes only
consisting of G flat (the G clef note) and above,
the eight notes of the scale of A major rather
imperfect. Sir Robert was so far unfair to
the Scotch instrument that he did not remind
his hearers that, while it remains almost in its
primitive form, the Irish bagpipe, which he
compared with it, is almost a modern instru-
ment. In its original form it had nothing
like the range of capabilities which now enables
Mr. Bohun to perform on it not only the
"Humours of Ballynahinch," "Shaun Dheerig
Lanagh," "Paddy Carroll," the "Foxhunter's
Jig," and the "Blackbird," but such serious
productions as Corentino's song from Dinorah,
and Bach's Pastorale in F major. Look for
instance at the piper whose picture Sir David
Wilkie painted. He certainly is not provided
with an instrument which would enable him to
attack such a piece as the Pastorale. And yet,
I warrant, in his time he made hearts now at



rest beat the quicker for his skill, and faces of
old and young light up with harmless pleasure
and enjoyment. For he is none of your com-
mon street performers. His head has a splen-
did intellectual contour, and his countenance,
rugged though it is, is full of a calm settled
spirit of humour, with just that overmuch ex-
pression of sensibility, a readiness to quiver
and to kindle, which the representative face
of a musician ought to have. He is just as
ready to play you as sad a tune as " Silence
Moyle" as he is to strike up "Garry Owen,"
or that fantastic " ilory O'More," which always
sounds to me like the tossing of the heads of
wild flowers in the wind on the side of a par-
ticular hill in Munster. Wilkie's piper would
scorn to drive you into frenzy like his degener-
ate imitator of the kerbstone. He was asked,
in the good old time, to the house of his honour
the squire, where, if he did not sit down with
the family, he was respectfully cared for and
cheerfully welcomed by the host himself after
dinner, and furnished with a jorum of punch,
in the consumption of which the squire bore
him company. And when the mild potation
was over a servant brought in the pipes, and
the children were silent; and without any hint
as to the exact thing wanted our piper, rambl-
ing over the keys a little, brings into the room
at his will a dear plaintive air, wandering and
wild, and low and loud and irregular, and yet
full of meaning; and the squire and his good
dame look at each other and remember when
this same piper played the same tune how
many many years ago, when they were younger
than they are! It is all there, the romance of
youth and love, in the piper's performance.
And his honour when the tune closes takes a
moment to clear his throat before he thanks
the piper, who has, however, to amuse the
youngsters, suddenly dashed into the " Cows
amongst the Barley," or some other piece of
imitative musical whim for which he is famous.
Later on in the evening a dance will be got up
not amongst the servants mind you, our piper
plays for the gentle folk ; and what band of
Tinney, Strauss, or Godfrey could equal for
heel-powder the rapid rattling articulations of
our instrument? Pipers of this quality have
disappeared. The Irish gentry who encouraged
them and welcomed them have gone also.
But in Wilkie's picture we have fixed for
ever something more than the likeness of an
individual of the class; the portrait, without
being idealized to a point of improbability, has
still a typical expression, thoroughly Celtic and
Irish, in its readiness to respond to the most
diverse moods of emotion and sentiment.



" Open your mouth and shut iionr (ties"
Three little Maidens were saying

" And see tckut Godsends you;" little they thongnt
He listened while they were playing !

So little we guess that a light light word
At times may be more than praying.

" I," said Kate with the merry blue eyes,
" Would hare lots oj frolic and folly;"

"I," said Ciss with the bonny lirown hair,
" Would have lij'e a/ways smiliny andjudy;"

" And I ivouldhare just what our Father may send, '
Said lovable little pale Polly.

Life came for the two, with sweetnesses new
Each morning in gloss and in glister.

But our Father above, in a gush of great love,
Caught up little Polly and kissed her.

And the churchyard nestled another wee grave ;
The angels another wee sister.


[Richard Thomson, born 1795; died -d January, L C 65.
He was for n.ore than thirty years librarian of the
London Institute. His cliief works are: The Jiook oj
Life, a Bibliographical Melody; Clironiclef "f Lotnli>
Bi-iilge; Illurti-ati<rn of Jiritith Hifto'y; Tale* of tin
Antiquary, chiefly illustrative of London, &c. He also
wrote various sketches and tales for the annuals anil

" He was a stout carle for the nones,

Full big he was of brawn, and eke of bones :
A baggepipe well could he blow and soune."

About a century since, in the last "rugging
and riving days" of Scotland, before the modern
march of intellect had so completely routed
the wonderful arts of magic and witchcraft as
to leave neither witch nor conjuror in all the
broad lands of Britain, there lived a noted
fellow called RORY BLARE, who filled the office
of town-piper to the prosperous fishing port of
Mucklebrowst. He always affirmed his family
to be of high antiquity, and as he was dis-
claimed by the Blairs of that Ilk, and the
Blairs of Balthayock, and the Blairs of Lethen-
die, and the Blairs of Overdurdy, and, in short,
by all the other Blairs, he set up at once to be
the head of the Blares of Bletherit and Skirl-
awa', which have furnished Scotland with
pipers ever since it was a country. In the
course of his life Rory had performed the

Online LibraryUnknownThe library of choice literature : poetry and prose selected from the most admired authors (Volume 4) → online text (page 68 of 75)