A MAGAZINE OF LITERATURE, ART, AND POLITICS.
VOL. XIII.—JUNE, 1864.—NO. LXXX.
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1864, by Ticknor and Fields, in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of Massachusetts.
A TALK ABOUT GUIDES.
THE KALIF OF BALDACCA.
LIFE ON THE SEA ISLANDS.
A FAST-DAY AT FOXDEN.
THE PARALLEL ROADS OF GLEN ROY, IN SCOTLAND.
UNDER THE CLIFF.
SEVEN WEEKS IN THE GREAT YO-SEMITE.
HOUSE AND HOME PAPERS.
HOW TO USE VICTORY.
REVIEWS AND LITERARY NOTICES.
RECENT AMERICAN PUBLICATIONS
Transcriber's note: Minor typos have been corrected. Footnotes have been moved to the end of the article. Table of contents have been generated for the HTML version.
A TALK ABOUT GUIDES.
Talk about guides! Let Independence, Self-Conceit, and Go-ahead undervalue them, if they will; but I, Sola Fœmina, (for that is the name I go by,) of Ignorance, (the place I hail from,) casting up my unbalanced accounts, (with a view to settling,) find a large credit due to this class of individuals, which (though I have not the means to meet) I have no intention to repudiate.
Now and then, to be sure, I, S. F., have been reminded in my journeyings of poor dear E., whose lively spirit was so chafed by the exactions made upon his purse and his temper at the hands of this imperturbable race, that at last he turned, like a stag at bay, and vented all his wrath in the face of a startled old woman by the abrupt and emphatic query, "What'll you take to clear out?"
Still, dogmatic and prosing as they sometimes proved, my experience on the whole was favorable; and from the motherly old portress of the English church at Honeybourne, who fed me with bread and butter under her cottage-roof, and sent me away laden with garden-flowers and a blessing, to faithful Michel, who held me over the blue fissures of the glaciers that I might get a glimpse of their secret waterfalls, who gathered violets for me on the margin of the icy sea, and, when I had carelessly dropped them by the way, treasured up the faded things to restore them to me at nightfall,—from the aged woman, with her "Good bye till we meet in heaven," to the rough mountaineer, with his hearty hand-pressure and God-speed at parting, I would not willingly lose one link out of the chain of such fast friends which stretched along my way.
There is Warwick Castle,—a written history, no doubt, to scholars, a mine of wealth to antiquaries and architects; but how incomplete would my associations be with the spot, were you banished from the picture, my sturdy friend, fit type of the female retainers of the household of the King-Maker, who, stationed within the ivied approach to the castle, presided at the brazen porridge-pot, once holding food enough to satisfy ten score of men, now empty, save for the volume of sound which stuns the ear when you strike it with your ponderous iron bar! Can I ever forget the scene of laughter and riot, when you installed me within the capacious vessel, dubbed me "Countess Guy, of the Porridge-Pot," and, the rest of my party having been induced to accept the hospitalities of the place, and mount my triumphal car, declared your intention to light a fire beneath and have the finest stew in all England? The castle is a stern place, perhaps; but how can I ever think it grim, with such a jolly old flatterer as you stationed at its portal?
And here, in my blundering way, I have stumbled on the secret spring of my whole subject; so I may as well make a merit of confession, and acknowledge frankly that the trap in which these wary guides entangled my affections was generally neither more nor less than a net of silken flattery. Your good guide, your dear guide, your pet guide, whom Neighbor So-and-so, going abroad, must look up immediately on his arrival, this invaluable creature, depend upon it, is an arrant flatterer. He does not go out of his way for you; he does not tell it you to your face; but, somehow or other, (if he knows his vocation,) he makes you believe, that, of all the travellers he ever escorted, (and he has been a travellers' escort from his infancy,) you are the first, the only one, in whose behalf duty became a privilege.
Do you suppose I put faith in Michel, when, on my second Alpine excursion, this companion of the previous day's peril placed himself in close proximity to my mule, took the bridle with an air of satisfaction, and whispered with an insinuating smile, "I go with you to-day; see, there is another guide for Mademoiselle"? He was mistaken. It was my young friend whom he was, on this occasion, destined to escort over the mountain. He was as devoted to her as if she had been the apple of his eye. Whether I followed next in the file, brought up the rear, or was dashed over the precipice, I doubt if he looked behind him to discover. Was I fool enough, then, to trust his professions? I acknowledge the weakness. I was but