TWO ARISTOCRATIC TRAVELLERS.*
IT is natural that these two books should be abused, but then it is also a little unfair. The capacity to write books is not hereditary, as the capacity to legislate is assumed by our laws to be, and we do not see why a lad of twenty-one, who chooses to publish his letters to his family from abroad, should be scolded because he happens to be called Marquis of Lorne. That is, in this matter, his misfortune, and not his fault. Almost any John Smith of similar age, who had travelled far with good introductions, would like to impress his " views " and experiences on a circle wider than that of his family, and would do it, but that no publisher would invest five shillings in the production of such green food. Being Lord Lorne, this particular traveller has enough money to indulge his vanity, and connections enough to guarantee a sale among persons justifiably anxious to see what he is like, and flunkeys enough to order it at the libraries under an impression that a lord mast in some mysterious way be wiser than other people. He, therefore, publishes, and suffers for life for a fault which Smith would also have committed had not beneficent obscurity interposed. Lord Lorne's account of his travels b not worse than any average John Smith's would probably be, is, perhaps, a little better, because Lord Lorne saw people whom John Smith might not have reached so easily. President Geffrard, of Hayti, for example, evidently exerted himself to im- press his visitor with an opinion of his acquirements, and ap- parently succeeded. There is nothing in A Trip to the Tropics to justify its publication, but then there is nothing for which its writer can justly be abused. Lord Lorne seems to be an average young man, with some dry humour—witness his story of the Fenian waiter who lectured him on the wrongs of " Oireland," and "put down the potatoes with an emphatic crash that told of awful resolu- tion "—and an under-current of good sense quite visible through the bubbles at the top. Lord Lorne, for instance, does not believe in negroes and is a bit of a Southerner, —possibly because his father is not,—but he smiles with some bitterness at officers who refused to land in Hayti because it was a "Nigger Republic," and wanted to knock down any nigger who was impudent. " ‘Ve remembered the courtesy and refinement of President Geffrard's conversation, and we made our own reflections." The Marquis thinks industry is wanting in Hayti, apparently because hired labour is so in- efficient, but he disdains the ordinary form of the prejudice of colour, and gives a most favourable account of President Geffrard, doubting, however, whether his power would last, a doubt which has since been partly justified by repeated insurrections. So in Jamaica, though Lord Lorne asserts that we could not hold the island without the aid of the Maroons, as if we did not hold Ceylon, and writes too lightly of some very bad doings, he sums up im- partially enough, declaring that the rebellion was not organized, that the grand grievance of the disturbed parishes was a total and, as we understand him, a well founded want of confidence in the adminis- tration of justice, "such as no Englishman would have stood for a week ;" that negro freeholders make very often very good subjects, and that the system of stopping wages in the form of fines is carried a great deal too far. He adds a significant fact, which is, so far • A Trip to the nopics, and Home through America. By the Marquis of Lorne. London: Hurst and tilackett.
Half Bound the old Warta. Being some Account of a Tour In Russ, the Caucasus, Persia, and Turkey. 180-65. By Viscoast Pollingtou, ILA., F.1t.0.9. London: Edward Almon st.d Co. as we know, novel—that both in Hayti and Jamaica the blacks object to sign written contracts. He thinks it hurts their dignity, being a relic of the system of slavery ; but the dislike has, we imagine, a second and different cause. It exists equally in Bengal, where slavery was never established, and is due simply to the ex- cessive distrust with which men who cannot read regard docu- ments which may be altered, and which in Courts of law always outweigh verbal testimony. Lord Lorne landed in Cuba, but saw nothing, and the latter half of his book, which is devoted to the Southern States of America, is very much thinner than his sketches of Hayti and Jamaica. His personal experiences are uninteresting, and he confides too implicitly in Southern state- ments on every point except one. He is clear that the Freedmen's Bureau is doing its duty in establishing schools, and that they are successful. He acknowledges that the Southerners will not asso- ciate with the Northerners or sell them land if they can help it, but remarks several times the absence of ill feeling between the whites and negroes. On one occasion a whole party of planters expressed warm gratitude to the negroes for the way in which they had behaved, statements we imagine only true of a very good class of planters, men with brains and capital enough to adopt the new system. On the whole, Lord Lorne believes that the negro will remain the labourer in the South, but that masters and men will slowly shake down into a new and reasonable rela- tion, all the quicker if negroes are educated by the State. His opinions, we must add, are always modestly and quietly expressed, and though they are not valuable enough to justify their publica- tion in a pretentious volume, their author will five years hence look back to them with more amusement than annoyance.
As much cannot be said for Viscount Pollington. Should age- bring him wisdom, he will probably buy up all extant copies of his exquisitely printed diary and make a bonfire of them, but we can hardly hope for such a mental advance. It is not easy to travel "half round the world," that is, down the Volga, through Georgia and Persia to Shiraz, and then northwards again through Bagdad and the Euphrates Valley to Trebizonde, and so by the- Black Sea to Constantinople, and see absolutely nothing, yet this feat the Viscount has apparently performed. If he saw anything worth recording he certainly did not record it in his diary, for he says he has given it us entire, and there is nothing in it beyond jottings, of which the following is a specimen picked absolutely at random :—
" We grounded twice during the night, and arrived at Kasen six hours and a half late, on the 19th. Here the Kasanka flaws into the Volga. It is a flourishing commercial town, as almost all the trade with China passes through it. Soundings were continually taken with a long polo during our passage down. Here we changed into another larger and English-built boat. We rather objected to the arrangement of the cabin deck, being strewn with the filthy bedding of the third class, but were told that they (the third class) were the chief source of profit to. the Company. The water melons are really very good here, but imported from the south. Our captain is a most gentlemanly Dalmatian, speaking five languages, besides his own, fluently and well. He told us that whilst running a cargo from Kertch, during the Crimean war, his. ship was captured and burnt by the Allies, and he himself placed on the nearest shore. After wandering about for some time he took to his present occupation."
Almost every page is full of these unconnected scraps, interspersed with feeble little jokes such as that " Calmucks have no nose to speak of, but plenty of mouth to speak with," morsels of slang and stories of which the point is imperceptible. Lord Pollingtots seems to have some capacity for getting along and making him-
self comfortable in wild places, and may, for aught we know, develop into an average man of the world. But the man who could go to Ararat and see nothing except a monastery, who. "bursts out laughing" when his companion asks a monk if he has a bit of the true Ark, and who thought these jottings in his diary worth publication, can never become an author of any mark. We
dare say he does not wish to be. Peerages have compensation even.
for literary failure, but still for years to come Lord Pollington wiTh have to regret that the public judges him by its recollection of the very poorest book of travels it was ever our lot to read. There is scarcely a page in it connected enough for extract, and the single
lengthy description of any value is the following, which for the sake of fairness we extract. The author is one of the very few- men who have been admitted into the private Treasury of the Shahs, and completely confirms previous accounts :—
"The designs on the walls here were very well drawn, and the decora- tion more tasteful than of ordinary. The chairs were of pure chased gold, as also was a sort of huge dumbwaiter that stood in one corner. Of the chairs the Shah possesses forty, of the dumbwaiters nine ! (Of course underneath the gold there are wooden supports, unseen.) After some tea, the jewels were brought in, for our inspection in detail. It would be endless and impossible to attempt to describe a tithe of them,. or even the impression they produced on our eyes. Their value, putting a moderate estimate on them, could not, in our own judgment and that of the four gentlemen who saw them with us, by any possibility be under forty or fifty millions of money! that is if they were to be sold singly. Of course in the aggregate no fortune would suffice to pay for them, and therefore their value would be depreciated. We must attempt to describe a few in the order they were shown to us. An evidently French jewel case was brought in first and placed on a table, round 'which we eagerly gathered, awaiting its opening. In this there were some forty gold rings, each with a single diamond, of which the largest (diamond, not ring) was some one and a half inch round, and the smallest a quarter of an inch. One with a large yellow diamond. Two diamonds were placed as pendants at the end of a necklace of pearls, and most gracefully, looking like two drops of dew. Two pearl neck- laces, each pearl perfectly round and white and about the size of a large pea. In two little drawers two or three more necklaces, the pearls this time much larger ; and in the bottom drawer another, of the largest pearls we had yet seen, arranged an oblong one and a perfectly round one alternately, each, without the smallest exaggeration, being the size of a sour cherry. This casket always follows the Shah wherever he goes. Next came a collection of a dozen belts, each surpassing the other in costliness and taste. One of these had the fastening buckle, about eight inches long and three broad, studded with perfect rabies, each about half an inch round, set in gold. Another diamonds only; a third, the whole band set in emeralds and diamonds, and so on. We then were shown four sabres ; all had the fiat side of the scabbard richly enamelled on gold ; one was one blaze of diamonds on the hilt and scabbard ; another was studded with pearls like large peas; a third was net with diamonds and other stones to represent flowers. Two other necklaces we were shown were about two and a half feet long each, and formed of largo emeralds, each about an inch and a quarter long, alternating with bunches of pearls. An aigrette presented by some Emperor of Austria was ex- quisitely worked as a bouquet of flowers, in diamonds, with one large amethyst set a jour. The last tray of jewels was the bonne bouche. On this we saw a belt of pliant gold work, the buckle consisting of the celebrated Deriehnoor,' or Sea of Light ;' a diamond perfectly flat except at the edges, and almost two inches long by one and a quarter in breadth L it was set round with other smaller diamonds ; with this there were some bracelets of uncut rubies and emeralds, quite as large as pigeons' eggs for the most part. The largest turquoise we saw was perfectly flat, and about one inch by a half."