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with the exception of a few
legacies, of which the most important was ten thousand pounds to his ward, the
whole of his property was left to Richard Strahan, on the condition that he took
the name and arms of Derval within a year from the date of Sir Philip's decease.
The codicil, added to the will the night before his death, increased the legacy
to the young lady from ten to thirty thousand pounds, and bequeathed an annuity
of one hundred pounds a year to his Albanian servant. Accompanying the will, and
within the same envelope, was a sealed letter, addressed to Richard Strahan, and
dated at Paris two weeks before Sir Philip's decease. Strahan brought that
letter to me. It ran thus : " Richard Strahan, I advise you to pull down the
house called Derval Court, and to build another on a better site, the plans of
which, to be modified according to your own taste and requirements, will be
found among my papers. This is a recommendation, not a command. But I strictly
enjoin you entirely to demolish the more ancient part, which was chiefly
occupied by myself, and to destroy by fire, without perusal, all the books and
manuscripts found in the safes in my study. I have appointed you my sole
executor as well as my heir, because I have no personal friends in whom I can
confide as I trust I may do in the man I have never seen, simply because he will
bear my name and represent my lineage. There will be found in my writing-desk,
which always accompanies me in my travels, an autobiographical work, a record of
my own life, comprising discoveries, or hints at discovery, in science, through
means little cultivated in our age. You will not be surprised that before
selecting you as my heir and executor, from a crowd of relations not more
distant, I should have made inquiries in order to justify my selection. The
result of those inquiries informs me that you have not yourself the peculiar
knowledge nor the habits of mind that could enable you to judge of matters which
demand the attainments and the practice of science ; but that you are of an
honest, affectionate nature, and will regard as sacred the last injunctions of a
benefactor. I enjoin you, then, to submit the aforesaid manuscript memoir to
some man on whose character for humanity and honor you can place confidential
reliance, and who is accustomed to the study of the positive sciences, more
especially chemistry, in connection with electricity and magnetism. My desire is
that he shall edit and arrange this memoir for publication ; and that, wherever
he feels a conscientious doubt whether any discovery, or hint of discovery,
therein contained would not prove more dangerous than useful to mankind, he
shall consult with any other three men of science whose names are a guarantee
for probity and knowledge, and according to the best of his judgment, after such
consultation, suppress or publish the passage of which he has so doubted. I own
the ambition which first directed me toward studies of a very unusual character,
and which has encouraged me in their pursuit through many years of voluntary
exile, in lands where they could be best facilitated or aided—the ambition of
leaving behind me the renown of a bold discoverer in those recesses of nature
which philosophy has hitherto abandoned to superstition. But I feel, at the
moment in which I trace these lines, a fear lest, in the absorbing interest of
researches which tend to increase to a marvelous degree the power of man over
all matter, animate or inanimate, I may have blunted my own moral perceptions ;
and that there may be much in the knowledge which I sought and acquired from the
pure desire of investigating hidden truths, that could be more abused to
purposes of tremendous evil than be likely to conduce to benignant good. And of
this a mind disciplined to severe reasoning, and uninfluenced by the enthusiasm
which has probably obscured my own judgment, should be the unprejudiced arbiter.
Much as I have coveted and still do covet that fame which makes the memory of
one man the common inheritance of all, I would infinitely rather that my name
should pass away with my breath, than that I should transmit to my fellow-men
any portion of a knowledge which the good might forbear to exercise and the bad
might unscrupulously pervert. I bear about with me, wherever I wander, a certain
steel casket. I received this casket, with its contents, from a man whose memory
I hold in profound veneration. Should I live to find a person whom, after minute
and intimate trial of his character, I should deem worthy of such confidence, it
is my intention to communicate to him the secret how to prepare and how to use
such of the powders and essences stored within that casket as I myself have
ventured to employ. Others I have never tested, nor do I know how they could be
resupplied if lost or wasted. But as the contents of this casket, in the hands
of any one not duly instructed as to the mode of applying them, would either be
useless, or conduce, through inadvertent and ignorant misapplication, to the
most dangerous consequences ; so, if I die without having found, and in writing
named, such a confidant as I have described above, I command you immediately to
empty all the powders and essences found therein into any running stream of
water, which will at once harmlessly dissolve them. On no account must they be
cast into fire
"This letter, Richard Strahan,
will only come under your eves in case the plans and the hopes which I have
formed for my earthly future should be frustrated by the death on which I do not
calculate, but against the chances of which this will and this letter provide. I
am about to revisit England, in defiance of a warning that I shall be there
subjected to some peril which I refuse to have defined, because I am unwilling
that any mean apprehension of personal danger should enfeeble my nerves in the
discharge of a stern and solemn duty. If I overcome that
peril, you will not be my heir ;
my testament will be remodeled ; this letter will be recalled and destroyed. I
shall form ties which promise me the happiness I have never hitherto found,
though it is common to all men—the affections of home, the caresses of children,
among whom I may find one to whom hereafter I may bequeath, in my knowledge, a
far nobler heritage than my lands. In that case, however, my first care would be
to assure your own fortunes. And the sum which this codicil assures to my
betrothed would be transferred to yourself on my wedding-day. Do you know why,
never having seen you, I thus select you for preference to all my other kindred
? Why my heart, in writing thus, warms to your image ? Richard Strahan, your
only sister, many years older than yourself —you were then a child—was the
object of my first love. We were to have been wedded, for her parents deceived
me into the belief that she returned my affection. With a rare and noble candor
she herself informed me that her heart was given to another who possessed not my
worldly gifts of wealth and station. In resigning my claims to her hand, I
succeeded in propitiating her parents to her own choice. I obtained for her
husband the living which he held, and I settled on your sister the dower which
at her death passed to you as the brother to whom she had shown a mother's love,
and the interest of which has secured you a modest independence.
" If these lines ever reach you,
recognize my title to reverential obedience to commands which may seem to you
wild, perhaps irrational ; and repay, as if a debt due from your own lost
sister, the affection I have borne to you for her sake.”
While I read this long and
strange letter Strahan sat by my side, covering his face with his hands, and
weeping with honest tears for the man whose death had made him powerful and
"You will undertake the trust
ordained to me in this letter," said he, struggling to compose himself. "You
will read and edit this memoir; you are the very man he himself would have
selected. Of your honor and humanity there can be no doubt, and you have studied
with success the sciences which he specifies as requisite for the discharge of
the task he commands."
At this request, though I could
not be wholly unprepared for it, my first impulse was that of a vague terror. It
seemed to me as if I were becoming more and more entangled in a mysterious and
fatal web. But this impulse soon faded in the eager yearnings of an ardent and
I promised to read the
manuscript, and in order that I might fully imbue my mind with the object and
wish of the deceased, I asked leave to make a copy of the letter I had just
read. To this Strahan readily assented, and that copy I have transcribed in the
I asked Strahan if he had yet
found the manuscript ; he said, " No, he had not yet had the heart to inspect
the papers left by the deceased. He would now do so. He should go in a day or
two to Derval Court, and reside there till the murderer was discovered, as,
doubtless, he soon must be through the vigilance of the police. Not till that
discovery was made should Sir Philip's remains, though already placed in their
coffin, be consigned to the family vault."
Strahan seemed to have some
superstitious notion that the murderer might be more secure from justice if his
victim were thrust, unavenged, into the tomb.
THE GREAT NAVAL EXPEDITION.
WE continue our illustrations of
the GREAT NAVAL EXPEDITION.
On page 712 we give a picture of the PRESENTATION OF COLORS to the regiments of
General Viele's Brigade before their departure from Annapolis. On
page 713 an
illustration of the FLEET
AT ANNAPOLIS as they were leaving for Fortress Monroe; and on page
712 a view of PART OF THE SQUADRON at Sea, sailing to Hampton Roads.
The latter picture is from a
sketch by an officer on board one of the gun-boats. It depicts the vessels as
they sailed on the night of 16th October, en route for Fortress Monroe. These
vessels steamed down New York Bay in single file, according to rank. In the
evening, in obedience to signals from the flag-ship, the fleet formed in the
shape of an inverted V, in which order they sailed through the night, the two
gun-boats at the extreme ends of the lines being about five miles distant. The
sketch represents the squadron as it appeared when answering the signals from
The other picture on page 713 is
from a sketch by Mr. Thomas A. Makibbin, taken from Annapolis, looking out of
the Severn River into Chesapeake Bay. Kent Island is seen in the distance, and
on the left bank of the river the Severn Heights, lately fortified by General
Butler. The following, from the Washington Star of 21st October, relates to the
departure of the expedition :
The expedition from Annapolis
sailed yesterday. Among the troops composing the portion of it that embarked
there are the following, viz.:
First Brigade—General Viele
commanding. New Hampshire Third, on the Atlantic; New York Forty-sixth, on the
Daniel Webster; New York Forty-seventh, on the Roanoke; New York Forty-eighth,
on the Empire City; Maine Eighth, on the Ariel.
Second Brigade—General Stevens
commanding. Round-head Pennsylvania, five companies Pennsylvania Fiftieth, on
the Ocean Queen; five companies Pennsylvania Fiftieth, Michigan Eighth, New York
Seventy-ninth, on the Vanderbilt.
Third Brigade—General H. Wight
commanding. New Hampshire Fourth, on the Baltic; Connecticut Sixth, on the
Marion and Parkersburgh; Connecticut Seventh, on the Illinois; Maine Ninth, on
Division and Staff, on the
In addition to these troops, we
learn that quite as many more join the expedition at Old Point, having been
shipped to that end at New York,
Boston, and elsewhere.
Where they are to strike no one
outside yet knows.
The following extract from a
private letter marks the progress of the expedition and the spirit of the men :
OFF FORTRESS MONROE, ON BOARD THE
VANDERBILT, Oct. 22, 1861.
DEAR FATHER,—We have just cast
anchor here, and form one of an immense fleet destined for—where? I have just
counted seventy-five vessels, large and small, and there are more than that
here; but I got tired of counting. How long we will remain here, or where we are
going, are mysteries which we can not solve, and with which, I suppose, we have
no business ; as we must look upon ourselves only as machines. I heard a
laughable illustration of this idea last night : A soldier was on sentry at a
certain point of the vessel, and when she began to heave he ran considerable
risk of his life; he was warned of his danger by a comrade, and his reply was,
"Well, if they put me here to be killed it's their business, not mine : as, if I
go, the Government will lose a first-rate soldier!" The coolness and spirit of
the remark gave rise to many a hearty laugh wherever it was repeated through the
I take this opportunity of
writing to you, as the Lord only knows when I may have another chance, if ever.
General Stevens, at a meeting of the officers yesterday, told us that we might
look out for sharp work, and that we were going to do a very signal service to
the Government. Well, so let it be. Wherever he leads the Seventy-ninth will
follow- "do or die!"
If you can find out where the
regiment is, will you be so kind as send me a paper once in a while—the Weekly,
if practicable. I like to see it very much, for "auld lang syne," as its
familiar face seems like a visit from an old friend.
THE ATTACK ON OUR SQUADRON AT THE MOUTH OF
ON page 717 we illustrate the
recent ATTACK OF THE REBEL COMMODORE HOLLINS ON OUR SQUADRON at the Southwest
Pass in the
Mississippi River. The event, shorn of
fictitious embellishments, is thus described :
An attack was made on the night
of the 12th inst. on the United States fleet lying at anchor near the Southwest
Pass by the rebel fleet, consisting of six gun-boats, the battering
ram Manassas, and a large number of fire-ships,
which filled the river from shore to shore. The United States fleet consisted of
the United States steamers Richmond, Huntsville, Water Witch, sloops-of-war
Preble and Vincennes, and store-ship Nightingale. The fleet when attacked were
at anchor inside the Southwest Pass. The ram Manassas came down and drifted foul
of the Richmond, knocking a hole in her quarter and stern, doing but little
damage. To avoid the fire-ships the squadron immediately got under weigh and
drifted down the river.
The Richmond, Feeble, and
Vincennes got ashore on the bar (the Nightingale also went ashore), and while
ashore were attacked by the rebels, but without doing any damage to the vessels
in any respect; but one shot took effect, and that struck the Richmond on the
quarter. The rebels were beaten off by the Vincennes with two guns, she having
hove overboard the rest of her armament, with her chains, anchors, etc., to
lighten her, as she was very much exposed to the rebel fire.
The squadron had no one killed or
wounded. The Richmond, Preble, and Vincennes were towed off the next day by the
steamship McClellan, which opportunely arrived. She received considerable damage
to her stern frame in getting them off. The Nightingale remained ashore when the
McClellan left. It was expected that she would be got off next day by the aid of
the steamers connected with the fleet.
HUMORS OF THE DAY.
THE USES OF
PROSPERITY.-Prosperity has its "sweet uses" as well as adversity, for no sooner
does a man come into a little property than he instantly learns the number of
his friends ; whereas, if he remained poor, the chances are that he would have
died in perfect ignorance of the fact.
MEM BY A MISANTHROPE.—To enjoy a
favor thoroughly, never curry it.
Why is the glance of a maternal
parent like an Egyptian soldier?—Because it's a mamma-look.
THE APPLES OF VANITY.
O Vanity ! thy lust of dress
Is as the hunger of a dog.
No beast exceeds thy vast excess;
No glutton, alderman, or hog.
Horse-leech more suction doth not
crave: Thou art insatiate as the grave.
What bounds thy ravage can
contain? Our orchards must their fruit produce, That Manchester may better stain
Thy cotton trappings with their juice: So we shall have no apples left,
And of our cider be bereft.
Thou idiot Vice, whose mean
delight Lies in the thought of being seen, In gay habiliments bedight,
Distended by thy Crinoline:
What is there thou wouldst not
devour Just in thy hat to stick a flower?
Ah ! couldst thou, from the very
grape, Squeeze out a novel purple dye
To color thy confounded crape
So as to catch the public eye,
Thou'dst spoil the true
Burgundian vine Itself, and rob us of our wine.
following remark was made by a Swell inspecting through his eye-glass a very
small infant exhibited to him, at the instance of its father, by its nurse:
"Welcome, little Stwangeaw ! Baby, singulaw queechaw! Of cawse, A was once a
baby myself. Ought to make a fella humble—the ideaw of having evaw been sa match
like a puppy !"
A SCOTCH laird, at his death,
left his property in equal shares to his two sons, who continued to live very
amicably together for many years. At length one said to the other, "Tam, we're
getting auld now; you'll tak' a wife, and when I dee you'll get my share of the
grund." "Na, John, you're the youngest and maist active, you'll tak' a wife, and
when I dee you'll get my share." "Od," says John, "Tam, that's just the way wi'
you when there's ony 'fash or trouble,' the de'il a thing you'll do at a'."
The man who follows the sea
thinks he shall get up with it one of these days.
"Why do you wear your hair so
long?" asked a student of his companion, whose locks fell over his brow.
"Because I haven't time to get it cut," was the reply. "I might as well ask why
is your head so bald?" " My dear fellow," said the other, " I haven't time to
let mine grow."
"Douglas, dear," said a wife,
appealing to her husband in a small feminine dispute, "do you think I am
generally bad-tempered?" "No, my dear," says he, "I think you are particularly
"Jim, I believe that Sam's got no
truth in him." "You don't know, nigga; dere's more truth in dat nigga dan in all
de rest on de plantation." "How do you make dat?" "Why, he never lets any out."
OPPOSITES IN LOVE.—Love is made
up of contraries; a fair woman, they say, best loves a dark man; a tall man
generally selects a little woman for a wife; and the portly dame admires to tuck
a pigmy spouse beneath her sheltering arm; the mild and timid girl turns with
delight to the bold and sparkling lover; the ancient crone sighs for the
blooming youth; and the wisest seek in the society of the weakest the pleasing
relaxation from the austere duties of the bar, the senate, or the state.
" Does your dog take to the
water?" said a gentleman to a rustic, who had a water-spaniel following him. "
Why, yes, Sir, if they put meal in it," was the reply.
CANDIDATES FOR MATRIMONY.—On a
recent occasion, as the marriage ceremony was about to be performed in a church,
when the clergyman desired the parties wishing to be married to rise up, a large
number of the ladies immediately rose.
'Tis a very ancient saying,
Time till now has proved it true:
"Do unto all your neighbors
As you would have them do to
But another saying now prevails,
Of an entirely different hue:
"Be sure and do your neighbors,
Or they'll certainly do you."
The boy who lost his balance on
the roof found it on the
ground shortly afterward.
" Let me collect myself," as the
man said when he was blown up by a powder-mill.
A ragged little urchin came to a
lady's door, asking for old clothes. She brought him at vest and a pair of
trowsers, which she thought would be a comfortable fit. The young scape-grace
took the garments, and examined each; then, with a disconsolate look, said,
"There ain't no watch-pocket!"
When is a lane very unlike an
action at law?—When you can see the end from the beginning.
An experienced old stager says,
if you make love to a widow who has a daughter twenty years younger than
herself, begin by declaring that you thought they were sisters.
AN INSPIRING SIGHT FOR A
GLAZIER.—The early dawn, when it breaks in the windows.
The value of spirituous liquors
is always overrated, but every body knows that water naturally finds its level.
"Goodness me!" cried a nice old
lady, the other day, "if the world does come to an end next year, what shall I
do for snuff?"
"I think," said a gentleman to
his footman, "I have been a moderate good master to you, John." " Very moderate,
Sir," said John.
We pity the family that sits down
to a broil three times a day.
A country paper says—" A cow was
struck by lightning and instantly killed, belonging to the village physician,
who had a beautiful calf four days old!"
A "Settler," in Australia, was
taken before a justice very drunk, and instead of answering the questions put to
him, he persistently spluttered out, " Your Honor is very—wise—y-y-our Honor is
very wise." Being unable to get any other answer, the justice ordered him to be
locked up till next day, when he was again brought up. "Why, John," said the
justice, "you were as drunk as a beast yesterday. When I asked you any
questions, the only answer you made was: Your Honor's very wise.'" "Did I say
so?" quoth the defendant? " then I must have been drunk indeed."
Two Dutchmen, living opposite
each other, who had for many years been in the habit of smoking by their
door-sides in silence, at length broke forth into the following dialogue: "What
sort of wedder you tink it will be today, neighbor?" The other, after two or
three hasty puffs, "Well, I don't know ; what sort of wedder you tink it will
be?" The first, somewhat nettled, "I tink it will be such wedder as you tink it
will be." The other, acquiescingly, "Well, I tink so too."
ONE GOOD TURN DESERVES
ANOTHER.—Dr. A—, physician at Newcastle, being summoned to a vestry, in order to
reprimand the sexton for drunkenness, dwelt so long on the sexton's misconduct
as to raise his choler so as to draw from him this expression—" Sir, I was in
hopes you would have treated my feelings with more gentleness, or that you would
have been the last man alive to appear against me, as I have covered so many
blunders of yours."
A bad-tempered judge was annoyed
by an old gentleman who had a very chronic cough, and after repeatedly desiring
the crier to keep the court quiet, at length angrily told the offending
gentleman that he would fine him £100 if he did not cease coughing, when he was
met with the reply, "I will give your lordship £200 if you will stop it for me."
Some days ago a pretty, bright
little juvenile friend, some five years of age, named Rosa, was teased a good
deal by a gentleman who visits the family; he finally wound up by saying, "Rosa,
I don't love you." "Ah, but you've got to love me," said the child. How so?"
asked her tormentor. " Why," answered Rosa, " the Bible says you must love them
that hate you, and I am
sure I hate you."
DO YOU GIVE IT UP?
What pupil gets most punishment?
The pupil of the eye, for it is
continually under the lash.
My first denotes a brilliant
Where belles and jewels shine;
My next transports the merchant's
stores, Or produce of the mine;
Sweet pleasures in my whole
Apart from worldly strife,
By nymphs and swains I'm always
found The happiest part of life.
Those who have me not, do not
wish for me; Those who have me, do not wish to lose me; Those who gain me, have
me no longer.
Why is a laundress the greatest
traveler in the world ? Because she is constantly crossing the line, and going
from pole to pole.
Why is Jenny Lind like a good
Because she is neither greasy (Grisi)
nor all bony (Alboni).
Why are very old people
necessarily prolix and tedious? Because they dilate (die late).
Where is happiness always to be
In the dictionary.
Why should a tailor have all
sorts of filth thrown to him?
Because he is a common stover.
Why ought not people to starve in
the deserts of Egypt? On account of the sandwiches (sand which is) there. But
how came the sand which is there?
Because Ham was there, and his
descendants mustered and bred (mustard and bread).
WORCESTER, Oct. 21, 1861. To the
Editor of Harper's Weekly :
DEAR SIR,—I saw in your paper it
few weeks ago the following:
"What is the difference between
the Emperor of Russia and a beggar?—One issues his manifestoes, and the other
manifests his toes."
That is good as far as it goes,
but there is not enough of it. 'Tis this:
One issues his manifestoes, and
the other manifests his toes without his shoes. Yours, etc., READER.