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the full development of her position on the
Amoor, Russia probably regards the
command of the Straits of La Pérouse, between
the southernmost cape of Sagalien and the
northernmost of Yezo, as a political necessity.
Whether hope of encroachment being
ended in the west, the absorption of Japanese
ground will go on henceforth in the east
with more or less rapidity, and whether
that also may not lead to future difficulties,
are such questions as we are not likely to
have answered yet. If the opened ports be
opened by the course of trade much more
effectually than at present, and the traders of
America and Western Europe find their way
in any numbers to Japan, the relations of
Russia with that empire will no doubt then
come into question, though it is to be hoped
not in the form of a problem very hard to



OUTLEAPING from the Present's narrow cage,
I floated on the backward waves of Time,
Until I landed in that antique age
When the now hoary world was in its prime.
How young, and fresh, and green, all things did look!
I stood upon a broad and grassy plain,
Shrouded with leaves, between which, like a brook
Dash'd on the turf, in showers of golden rain,
The broken sunlight mottled all the land.
And soon between the trees I was aware
Of a vast city, girt with stony band,
That hung upon the burning, blue-bright air,
  Like snowy clouds which that strange architect,
  The Wind, has with his wayward fancies deck'd.


A wilderness of beauty ! A domain
Of visions and stupendous thoughts in stone,
The sculptured dream of some enchanter's brain.
There did I see, all sunning in their own
Splendour and warmth, a thousand palaces
Where tower look'd out on tower; all overgrown
With pictured deeds, and coiling traceries,
And monstrous shapes in strange conjunction met,
The idol phantoms of an age long past,
In midst of which the wingéd Bull was set:
And I saw temples of enormous size,
Silent, yet throng'd; and pyramids that cast
  Shadows upon each golden-freak'd pavilion,
  And on the columns flush'd with azure and vermilion.


And on the top of all the wind-blown towers,
The thronging terraces and ramparts fair,
And the flat house-roofs scorching in the air,
Elysian gardens bloom'd with breadths of flowers
And clouds of moist green leaves, that tenderly
Cool'd the fierce radiance sight could scarcely bear,
Or over grassy lawns hung fluttering high,
Like birds upon the wing, half-pausing there;
Shadows where winds droop'd lingering with a sigh.
And there were fountains all of beaten gold,
That seem'd alive with staring imagery,
Fantastical as death; from which forth roll'd,
  Like spirits out of Sleep's enchanted ground,
  Far-flashing streams that flung a light all round.


Babylon!—But, as I look'd, a cloud of sand,
Slowly advancing with dead, sulphurous heat,
Burnt up the youth and freshness of the land,
And all those gorgeous palaces did eat,
As locusts waste the harvest. One by one
Fell tower and pyramid, settling heavily
In the advancing desert's ashes dun;
And those fair gardens faded in the eye
Of that great Desolation slowly growing
Above the outer walls and topmost stones ;
An arid sea, for ever, ever flowing,
Without an ebb, over an Empire's bones,
  Which, in these days, some stranger's close inspection.
  Gives up, like History's awful resurrection.




I AM going to try if I can't write something
about myself. My life has been rather a
queer one. It may not seem particularly
useful or respectable; but it has been, in
some respects, adventurous; and that may
give it claims to be read, even in the most
prejudiced circles. I am an example of some
of the workings of the social system of this
illustrious country on the individual native;
and, if I may say so without unbecoming
vanity, I should like to quote myself for the
edification of my countrymen.

Who am I?  Uncommonly well connected,
I came into this world with the great
advantage of having Lady Malkinshaw for a
grandmother, her ladyship's daughter for
a mother, and Francis James Softly, Esq.,
M.D. (commonly called Doctor Softly) for
a father. I put my father last, because he
was not so well connected as my mother,
and my grandmother first, because she
was the best connected of the three. I
have been, am still, and may continue to be,
a Rogue; but I hope I am not abandoned
enough yet to forget the respect that is due
to rank. On this account, I trust, nobody
will show such want of regard for my feelings
as to expect me to say much about my
mother's brother. That inhuman person
committed an outrage on his family by
making a fortune in the soap and candle
trade. I apologise for mentioning him, even
in an accidental way. The fact is, he left
my sister, Annabella, a legacy of rather a
peculiar kind, saddled with certain conditions,
which indirectly affected me; but this passage,
of family history need not be produced just
yet. I apologise a second time for alluding
to money matters before it was absolutely
necessary. Let me get back to a pleasing
and reputable subject, by saying a word or
two more about my father.

I am rather afraid that Doctor Softly was
not a sharp medical man; for in spite of his
great connections, he did not get a very
magnificent practice as a physician. As a general
practitioner, he might have bought a
comfortable business, with a house and snug
surgery-shop attached; but the son-in-law of