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a very severe student, particularly of theology, church history, &c., from 1821 to 1824. In 1826 he sold his half-pay, and wrote the “Subaltern,” which first came out in Blackwood, by portions.
The “Subaltern” of this author contains no tale, properly so called ; but professes merely to relate the personal adventures of the hero during his service with the Duke of Wellington's army. So, also, in the “ Chelsea Pensioners,” a considerable portion of the volumes consists of mere public narrative. The claims of Mr. Gleig to rank among the British novelists, are founded mainly on a few of the stories contained in this latter work. Within that small sphere, however, he has exhibited powers of no ordinary character; and the author of the “ Gentle Recruit,” the “ Neutral Ground," and the historian of“ Percy Vernon” and of the “Two Rival Allens,” is entitled to take a very high place indeed among the modern writers of fictitious story. The great merit of this gentleman's productions is the vigour of his narrative, and the intense reality produced by a judicious and striking selection of his details. So thoroughly does he imbue his readers with the circumstances of the scene he describes, so penetrating is the interest with which he invests it, that they are compelled almost to fancy themselves present at the action, and are hurried on without a pause to reflect that (as in the case of the “ Subaltern”) there is no tale whatever to be told. Thus, for instance, in the Introduction to the “ Chelsea Pensioners," a work in which the author has grouped a series of tales within the frame-work of a storytelling mess of half-pay officers, he has described the particulars of what might be called one of Robert Owen’s parallelograms—a sort of clubboarding house, where a number of officers unite to enjoy the pleasures of society on a better scale than their fortunes would otherwise enable them to do. Yet on these dry matters of fact he has contrived to throw such a colouring, and has placed them in such picturesque lights, as beget an immediate attention in the reader, who is almost infallibly led to desire that he might make one in the circle, and is anything but pleased at finding the whole machinery and personages dropped as soon as they have answered their limited purpose of introducing the stories. Strong perceptions, then, and a corresponding power of giving out what he conceives, are the leading qualities of this writer; and truth and vraisemblance are the results at which he arrives.
The “ Subaltern ” and the “ Chelsea Pensioners” throw a vivid, though perhaps not always an agreeable light, upon military life, and depict the camp in all its “ pride, pomp, and circumstance of glorious war," with a fidelity which is not to be mistaken. To the soldier they doubtless recall many things quas meminisse juvat; while to the civilian they afford much instruction, which should tend to detract something from that abstract love of war which the long absence of its personal experience has engendered among the John Bulls of our island. There pervades the narrative also a healthy tone of mind, alike distant from a morbid sensibility on the one hand, and, on the other, from a heartless indifference to the scenes of human misery with which it is conversant.
From the time when “ The Subaltern" was written, Mr. Gleig's life has been one of great labour. A growing family imposed this upon him, and he had a large and populous parish to superintend; his mode of doing so, at least in the opinion of the parishioners, was testified by their presenting him on his departure with an elegant Epergne, and by giving him a public dinner. And to this bour he goes among them as a man does among his nearest of kin.
After the “Subaltern” and the “Chelsea Pensioners,” came out in succession the “Country Curate,” the “Life of Sir Thomas Munro,” the “History of the Bible,” the “History of British India,” “Sermons for Plain People,” “ Allan Breck," "A Guide to the Lord's Supper, "The Soldier's Help to a Knowledge of Divine Truth," the “Chronicles of Waltham,” and the “ Family History of England.”
Mr. Gleig's politics have always been Conservative; indeed, he is descended on both sides from families that suffered much in the cause of the house of Stuart. But our author never took any part in politics, till the agitation of the Reform Bill. While that measure pended he struggled to the best of his abilities against it; since it became the law, he has reverted to his original neutrality. But his sentiments have never varied. He is a firm and conscientious supporter of the established Constitution in Church and State.
His appointment to the Chaplaincy of Chelsea College was to him as great a surprise as it could have been to any one. It was communicated in a letter from Lord John Russell, which he read once or twice over before he could persuade himself that it was genuine. And the conduct of Lord John was ever afterwards most honourable. He would not retract his appointment, and never so much as hinted that it would gratify him if our author were to change or even suppress his opinions. It is just to our author to add, that he never disguised those opinions from his Lordship.
He is the father of eight children : his eldest son is gone to India in the Madras army.*
* These details have been supplied by a friend of Mr. Gleig's, better acquainted with dates and circumstances connected with his earlier life than we are: but we cannot permit these details to go forth in our pages without paying a tribute of our own, not only to Mr. Gleig's literary talents, but to his private and personal character. There never existed a man more universally esteemed and respected. In all the relations of life he stands enviably high. In his official capacity, we only tell those who want to know what his reputation at Chelsea is (where he has resided nearly three years), that they have only to go amongst the pensioners and inquire ; nor do these veterans venerate and respect his piety, philanthropy, and religious zeal for their good, the less from the curious coincidence that the flag, in capturing which he was wounded at Bladensburg, now hangs beside his pulpit in the Hospital Chapel.-E..
SECOND POETICAL EPISTLE
FROM AMOS STOKES, ESQ., OF NASHVILLE, U. S., TO WASHINGTON NOKES,
ESQ., OF LIVERPOOL,
Continuing the account of the very remarkable ascent made in
MR. Hudson's GRAND KENTUCKY BALLOON.
My last, dear Nokes, convey'd a full account
Of our most desperate and horrid plight,
By rendering it more volatile and light,
And quench our raging thirst,—we deem'd it right
And was about to close his hand, when lo !
A gust of wind snatch'd up those types of woe,
Gave to our spirits a reviving flow;
Some new and strong attraction, upwards rush'd,
A warmer air, which thro' our system gush'd,
While we no longer felt oppress'd and crush'd
And we were compass'd by a vapoury shroud.
A heavy rain from this dissolving cloud;
The swelling sides of the balloon allow'd
Me and my comrades did that magic draught
Raise from despair to bliss without alloy, As if we simultaneously had quaff'd
Hope, courage, strength, vitality, and joy. Green was no longer truculent-he laugh'd,
And thought no more of whom he should destroy ; While Guy kept praying, in his own farrago, “ Jupiter Auctor? tibi gratias ago." From that most blessed cloud emerging soon,
There shot athwart our course a sudden light, As warm as a meridian ray of June,
When our three voices, at their topmost height,' Set up a choral shout—" The Moon ! the Moon!"
And there it was above us, huge and bright;
Kept our balloon in equipoised inaction,
Until we came within the moon's attraction.
Our course with so much speed and satisfaction.
We were rapt upwards with a rush-and lo!
And the warm planet sparkled in the glow
There was no night that night. Guy felt it so,
Can tell, paint, write the spirit-stirring change,
We gazed upon this planet fair and strange,
That lunar garden of delight, until The paradise thus open'd in the wild,
Fill’d us with wonder, though it could not fill Our maws:-the pangs of Tantalus were mild,
Compared to those that made us yearn and thrill, As various fruits we noted, all and each Within our sight, but far beyond our reach. When we had nearly gain’d the promised land,
Some most provoking law of aerostatics Brought our poised vessel to a second stand,
And thus we hung suspended in the attics; While the ground floor exhibited a bland
Display of warmth to solace our rheumatics, As well as food, which, in our starving languor, Half madden'd us with an impatient anger.
Our woes to aggravate, the rustic crew,
Who in the fields already were at work, Soon as our floating figures came in view,
Brandish'd ferociously scythe, spade, and fork,
Each, with the look of a malignant Turk,
Brought our balloon still nearer to the ground,
The peasants fled, to the defying sound “ Hikānah polbob, boo !” but in their station
We marked one maiden as we gazed around, For such we judged her by her curly head, Her figure slim and petticoat of red. Cried Green, whose spirits were revived, “By Jingo!
That flaming petticoat and graceful mien,
But that no beak or pinions can be seen,
Hilloa ! Ma'am, or Miss ! behold our lean
Her fair round arms, and tenderly exclaim'd, “Squanch zimzom squish !" How euphonous appeared
Those guttural and Dutch-like words, when named By woman's ever welcome voice, endear'd
Tenfold to us, whose hearing was inflamed By long and hungry listening for a sound, While we were prison d in our silent pound. As speech was useless here, I made a sign,
By pointing to my mouth with starving look: Untwisting then a little ball of twine,
And fastening to its lower end a hook,
Came within reach, which eagerly she took,
As to the covert of a wood she flew !
As her light form again appeared in view !
How carefully the basket we updrew!
How mortal cows could yield so rich a draught,
Imagine with what eagerness we quaff'd ! Next were three loaves upon a wooden tray,
So far beyond an earthly baker's craft, That from their taste they might have been surmised To be sweet almond cakes celestialized,