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people. And where the Greek Church is insensible even of the state in which it is, it would be in vain to expect that it will ever apply a remedy.

With these remarks we finish our notices of the Levant monasteries. Before we close the volume, however, we cannot forbear quoting one or two passages of a lighter and more passing interest. One is an instance of retributive justice, which shows how easily the forms of judicial inquiry are dispensed with by the unsophisticated natives of the East. We doubt whether the Lord Chief Justice of the Queen's Bench could have inflicted punishment so equitably. The scene is on the banks of the Nile.

"I landed at the village of rude huts on the shore of the river, and sat down on a stone, waiting for my donkey, which I purposed to ride through the desert in the cool of the evening to Assouan, where my boat was moored. While I was sitting there, two boys were playing and wrestling together; they were naked, and about nine or ten years old. They soon began to quarrel, and one of them drew the dagger which he wore upon his arm, and stabbed the other in the throat. The poor boy fell to the ground bleeding; the dagger had entered his throat on the left side under the jawbone, and being directed upwards, had cut his tongue and grazed the roof of his mouth. Whilst he cried and writhed about upon the ground, with the blood pouring out of his mouth, the villagers came out of their cabins and stood around talking and screaming, but afforded no help to the poor boy. Presently a young man, who was, I believe, a lover of Mouna's, stood up and asked where the father of the boy was, and why he did not come to help him. The villagers said he had no father. 'Where are his relations, then?' he asked. The boy had no relations; there was no one to take care of him in the village. On hearing this he uttered some words which I did not understand, and started off after the boy who had inflicted the wound. The young assassin ran away as fast as he could, and a famous chase took place. They darted over the plain, scrambling up the rocks, and jumped down some dangerous-looking places among the masses of granite which formed the back ground of the village. At length the boy was caught, and, screaming and struggling, was dragged to the spot where his victim lay moaning and heaving upon the sand. The young man now placed him between his legs, and in this way held him tight, whilst he examined the wound of the other, putting his finger into it, and opening his mouth to see exactly how far it extended. When he had satisfied himself on the subject he called for a knife; the boy had thrown away his in the race, and he had not one himself. The vil. lagers stood silent around, and one of them having handed him a dagger, the young man held the boy's head sideways across his

thigh, and cut his throat exactly in the same way as he had done to the other. He then pitched him away upon the ground, and the two lay together bleeding and writhing side by side. Their wounds were precisely the same; the second operation had been most exactly performed, and the knife had passed exactly where the boy had stabbed his playmate. The wounds, I believe, were not dangerous, for presently both the boys got up, and were led away to their homes. It was a curious instance of retributive justice, following out the old law, blood for blood, an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth."-page 160.

The only other extract which we take the liberty of quoting, will perhaps prove interesting to the lovers of Natural History.

"As I am on the subject of birds, I will relate a fact in natural history which I was fortunate enough to witness, and which, although it is mentioned so long ago as the times of Herodotus, has not, I believe, been often observed since; indeed, I have never met with any traveller who has himself seen such an occurrence. I had always a strong predilection for crocodile shooting, and had destroyed several of these dragons of the waters. On one occasion I saw a long way off a large one, twelve or fifteen feet long, lying asleep under a perpendicular bank about ten feet high, on the margin of the river. I stopped the boat at some distance: and noting the place as well as I could, I took a circuit inland, and came down cautiously to the top of the bank, where with my rifle I made sure of my ugly game. I had already cut off his head in imagination, and was considering whether it should be stuffed with its mouth shut or open. I peeped over the bank. There he was within ten feet of the sight of my rifle. I was on the point of firing at his eye, when I observed that he was attended by a bird called a ziczac. It is of the plover species, of a greyish colour, and as large as a small pigeon.

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The bird was walking up and down close to the crocodile's nose. I suppose I moved, for suddenly it saw me, and instead of flying away as any respectable bird would have done, he jumped up about a foot from the ground, screamed Ziczac! ziczac!' with all the powers of his voice, and dashed himself against the crocodile's face two or three times. The great beast started and up, immediately spying his danger, made a jump up into the air, and dashing into the water with a splash which covered me with mud, he dived into the river and disappeared. The ziczac to my increased admiration, proud apparently of having saved his friend, remained walking up and down, uttering his cry, as I thought with an exulting voice, and standing every now and then on the tips of his toes in a conceited manner, which made me justly angry with his impertinence. After having waited in vain for some time to

see whether the crocodile would come up again, I got up from the bank where I was lying, threw a clod of earth at the ziczac, and came back to the boat, feeling some consolation for the loss of my game in having witnessed a circumstance, the truth of which has been disputed by several writers on Natural History."-p. 149.

And here we must reluctantly conclude our notice. Our task has been an easy one. It has been one more of selection than of criticism. The work presented so many opportunities of selection, that we have allowed the author to speak for himself rather than distract the reader with much criticism upon his pages. Did we indulge in any lengthened opinion upon its merits, it may be inferred that that opinion would be of a favourable character. We have been interested, instructed, and amused. There is a vein of quiet humour pervading Mr. Curzon's style, and cropping out now and then upon the surface, that gives a considerable charm to many of his observations, and very frequently calls up a smile to the lips. The spirit of his observations on religious matters, and the tone of his remarks on the practices that came under his notice, are generally fair and tolerant; and, on the whole, we know few works that will afford the light reader more combined amusement and instruction.

ART. VI.-The History of England, from the Accession of James II. By THOMAS BABINGTON MACAULAY. 8vo. Vols. 1 and 2. London, Longman, 1849.

R. JOHNSON once described a play on which his opinion was asked, as a thing "which you might read without knowing that you had read anything at all." The description was used by Johnson, no doubt, to imply the utter worthlessness of the piece; but there is a sense, nevertheless, in which it might be meant to convey a commendation of the highest order. There are books in which the lucidness of the arrangement, the natural simplicity of the thoughts, the vigour of the language, and the ease and clearness of the style, beguile one into a

habitual forgetfulness of the author, and almost convert the operation of reading into the unconscious process of communing with oneself, and seeming to follow out as one's own the train of thought thus ingeniously presented. We have met with very few books of which, in a purely literary point of view, Dr. Johnson's criticism, taken in this better sense, is more strikingly true than it is of Mr. Macaulay's History; few books in which the author seems to hold a less prominent, or at least a less obtrusive position, and in which the student is less oppressed by the consciousness that, in the views which are presented to him, he is yielding to the suggestions of another, rather than following the silent flow of his own thoughts as they spontaneously arise. Whatever may be our opinion of the justice and solidity of Mr. Macaulay's views of the facts which he relates, and the characters whom he describes, it is impossible to deny that those views are put forward clearly, naturally, and vigorously. He is a perfect historical painter. The events which he narrates seem almost to pass under our view; the personages whom he sketches rise up in full life before us; the opinions which he suggests flow necessarily, and without an effort, from the facts and circumstances such as he details them. To say that this captivating book, even in its most commonplace pages, fixes and charms the reader's attention with all the interest of a highly-wrought romance, is to describe very inadequately its effect upon ourselves. There is no romance, however effective, that can equal the absorbing interest created by the actual or presumed reality of history, told as it is told by Mr. Macaulay.

Indeed, the striking literary merits of the work make a sober and dispassionate estimate of its true historical value a task of no ordinary difficulty. We cannot wonder that upon its first appearance it was received with one undivided outburst of favour and admiration. The previous reputation of the author; the familiarity with the characters and events of the period, which several of his published essays appeared to imply; the evidence of labour and research which the work itself presented in every page; the seeming variety and copiousness of his authorities; and, above all, the bold and unhesitating tone which pervaded all his statements and opinions, could not fail to disarm every suspicion of untruthfulness, while they appeared almost to preclude the possibility of laste, igno

rance, or misconception. Even still it is not without reluctance that we can pause in his rapid and life-like narrative, to discuss the accuracy of its brilliant details, or turn for a moment from the vigorous and masterly touches of his descriptive pencil, to examine the fidelity of his portraits, or the truthfulness of their colouring.

One of the chief sources of the attractiveness of Mr. Macaulay's work, lies in its being, in perhaps a greater degree than has before been attempted by a professed historian, a bistory of the men, rather than of the mere events of the period. What the biographer is for the subject of his biography, and the memoir-writer for the individuals whose private lives he undertakes to chronicle, Mr. Macaulay has contrived to be for most of the prominent characters of the Revolution; and indeed there are few, even among the minor actors whom he introduces, of whose life, habits, and conduct he does not manage, without interrupting the course of the narrative, to communicate at least so much as places before the reader a tolerably clear and intelligible idea of the individual, or at least of an individual, distinctly and graphically, even though it may not always be quite faithfully, portrayed. The labour and research, indeed, which Mr. Macaulay seems to have bestowed upon this branch of his subject, can hardly be estimated, except by those who have devoted themselves to a similar enquiry. There is not a source of information connected with the social or personal history of the time, with which he does not appear to be familiar. With the acts of parliament, state-papers, despatches, proclamations, records, minutes, official letters, and other similar materials of the professed historian, he has combined the biographies, memoirs, diaries, journals, personal anecdotes, gossiping correspondence, and all the other miscel laneous and indescribable records of private character, even down to the satirical ballads and pasquinades to which the events of the day may have given occasion. Nor is there, generally speaking, in the use of these motley and miscellaneous materials, the slightest trace of affectation or pedantry. No writer in the language has been more remarkable than Mr. Macaulay for the copiousness, beauty, and variety of his illustrations; yet it would be hard to discover a single instance in which his illustrations are introduced for their own sake, and do not arise naturally out of the subject, or out of the view of it which he is

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