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Children, the year hath waned away; a new
And sour to thousands, carries on his back;
Some on death's dunghill downward falling whack,
Well, we intend our guerdon be our word—
Shall look, when out we sally primely dress'd
Already Europe bows before our nod,
And echoes back our dicta: India, too,
That even we please the democratic crew,
But one thing we have omitted; we are sorry,
The Greenlanders we mean: We now must tarry
That these bleak realms in darkness still do sit.
Farewell!-a word that hath been, and must be→→→→
With comments on life's dim and mazy chart.---
VANDERBRUMMER: OR, THE SPINOSIST.
VANDERBRUMMER was a student at Leyden, where he had come to acquire the medical art. He was sober and retired in his habits. Being fond of reading, he often extended his inquiries beyond what pertained to his own department. Metaphysics also drew his attention, and led him to study the ancient writers. But he found them not according to his liking, for he thought them either too cold and definitive, or too devotedly contemplative of the beautiful, and neglectful of human affections. His mind, from the beginning, had inclined most towards thought concerning substantive existence, and he often wished to lose all differences of feeling, in the notion of an universal community of being, and relationship with nature. This filled his mind with a sort of absolute tenderness, but with no admiration for the beautiful, and with no aspiring wish; for he delighted to think his moving spirit was internally of the same feeling with the weeds which grew under his window, or the water which stagnated in the neighbouring pool. While his mind was forming these notions for itself, the writings of Spinoza fell into his hands, and shewed him how an endeavour might be made to prove, by logical deduction, what he wished habitually to feel.
But his medical courses being completed, the time came for him to return home to his father, a thriving merchant in Amsterdam. This was not displeasing to Vanderbrummer; for, before coming to Leyden, he had been deeply attached to a young lady in his native city; and his love remained undiminished, and was cherished by him with every probability of success. Therefore, when the term for his departure was at hand, he cheer fully packed up his books, and bestirred his mind in expectation of exchanging the college modes of life, for the dissimilar habits of a physician practising his art in a town. At this time, he received a letter from his father, directing him not to return to Amsterdam, but first to go to England, Scotland, and France, for farther insight into his profession.
Vanderbrummer prepared to obey this order. But, one evening before he left Leyden, he gave a small enterVOL. X.
tainment in his apartment to two other students. One of them was a German named Kroetzer, a man given to the study of the ancient languages and philosophy. The other, whose name was Laet, was educating for a Dutch clergyman. Their conversation turned on the separation of friends and associates, and how it might be regarded by persons of different constitutions or opinions. Vanderbrummer, taking his two companions by the hands, said, "Although I esteem you both, I feel something at leaving you; I am convinced in opinion that such throbbings come altogether from delusive appear ances; for nature is one, and whenever, in future, I meet with an affectionate honest clergyman, I meet again with the very being of Laet, the same that now speaks to me, though appear ing in another place, and in a different form; and also, whenever I meet with a man of pure intellect, I find again the rest of Kroetzer meeting me there."
Laet replied," Now this is bring ing in metaphysics where I would scarcely have expected them; but I do not, on that account, question the truth of your feelings towards me. I never can think of any one of my friends but as remaining always in his individual self; nor can I take any other person for his essence, which, to my feelings, is always his and no other's."
Vanderbrummer replied," Ah, Laet, I see you will not take the whole of nature as cautioner for its parts."
Here Kroetzer observed," Your doctrine, Vanderbrummer, sounds like an abstraction, but, in truth, is the very reverse. For, when you say that you expect to meet elsewhere with what is here in Laet, you do not speak of similarity of kind, but universality of essence.'
To which Vanderbrummer answered,-"Yes, and what I seek after is the feeling of that universality amidst its differences of appearances. But, I fear that Laet, when he has once got settled for life in some country place, or on some milk and cheese giving pasture, will forget any thing general that he has learnt here, and will see nature only in the form of his house, of his wife and children, or his church steeple."
To which Laet replied,-" Estima3 R
ble is learning, and beyond all price is religion, but dear is true attachment. And if I, as clergyman, were to know and be personally concerned for all of my flock, would not that be enough?" "No," said Vanderbrummer. "Not although you knew the name and concerns of every person in Holland; for, so long as you see nature in the form of individuals, you are as far as ever from what I seek to feel."
Kroetzer then said," I dissent from both of your opinions. For my mind desires most to feel relations which it may always be able to find again, the same as before, since that gives fortitude, confidence and certainty. Therefore, I neither would wish, like Laet, merely to be placed in a situation for enjoying always the neighbourhood of the same individuals, and the same things; nor, on the other hand, would I hope to find contentment by endeavouring to recognise in all nature a fluctuating universality. In parting with friends, I think that some regrets of human tenderness are not out of place; but wherever we go, or whoever may be left behind, the love of truth need suffer no change, it being the same everywhere." Such was the general tenor of their conversation with Vanderbrummer, with whom they remained till a late hour. Next morning, the Student went to take leave of the different Professors whom he knew, and came past the house of the Professor of Mathematics, who had become blind, and was partly superannuated. He was sitting at his door, smoking in a wheeled chair; and on hearing footsteps, he said, "Salve fili, quorsum vadis?" Vanderbrummer answered, "In Angliam." The Professor, thinking he was going into some of the courts of the college, replied, "In angulum? Immo in quadrangulum, vel aream publicam, et forum doctrinæ dixisses." Vanderbrummer answered, “Minus acute audiveras. Non in angulum, sed in Britanniæ partem dicebam." The tendency of Vanderbrummer's opinions was known in the college, and the Professor, who hated them, recognising the Student by his voice, said, "Vah! Brummerium ex voce. Tuarum sententiarum, fili, haud ignarus sum. Me non sordido auctore, credas, quod Spinosismum omnium angulorum impurissimum invenies. Ranas, etiam, in aqua paludum, sese lavantes, Spi
nosisticas putarem. Et sonos qui, Belgicum concentum, inter nationes, appellari solent, tibi magis gratos crediderim quam verissima harmonia. Si omnia communis substantiæ sint nihil diutius abominandum, vile, aut immundum erit." Vanderbrummer said, with some bitterness, " Quæ non munda sunt, mundana tamen erint." The Professor answered, "Apage hæc turpissima, et scientiæ maxime contraria." The Student went away without making any reply; and, every thing being ready for his departure, he soon left Leyden.
Vanderbrummer felt mingled sensations of pleasure and regret when he stepped on board the vessel which was to convey him to England. He had not as yet crossed any part of the ocean in the course of his travels, and to the idea of a sea voyage he attached that of a total separation from his native country. Formerly, in travelling through Holland, he had daily met with objects which awakened associations connected with home; and he had found that the chain of local affections, which bound him to the place of his birth, extended itself, and acquired additional links in proportion as he moved forwards, and receded from the spot where it commenced. But, on his losing sight of land, its continuity seemed to be suddenly broken, for the heaving expanse of ocean around presented no objects that could restore those ideas to which it had hitherto owed its existence.
The weather was gloomy and boisterous, and Vanderbrummer soon became sea-sick. Every thing then appeared hateful and distorted, and he thought with contempt and aversion on the pursuits he had formerly delighted in. All his opinions seemed erroneous and unfounded; and he began to despise himself and his fellowcreatures, as beings who were incapable of resisting causes of pain, and unable to evade the degrading influence of adventitious circumstances. Before he landed in England, a fit of sea-sickness had given him a sort of insight into his own mind, which he did not previously possess, and with which he would gladly have dispensed..
However, on shore, a good dinner and a comfortable night's rest revived his spirits, and he spent the ensuing day in strolling round the small seaport town where he had disembarked,
and in forming plans for the future. His father had supplied him liberally with money and letters of credit, and he resolved to take advantage of his bounty, and live and travel in whatever style he happened to find most agreeable.
Vanderbrummer, on turning over his letters of introduction, found one addressed to Dr L, a medical man, who resided about twenty miles from the coast. He determined to visit him immediately, and therefore took a place in a mail-coach that passed through his place of destination. It was about six in the evening when Vanderbrummer reached the Doctor's house, which was situated in the outskirts of a small town. A servant ushered him into an ir apartment, fitted up like a study, and Dr L soon entered, wiping his mouth with a table napkin, and said, "What do you want?" Vanderbrummer made no reply, but presented his letter of introduction, which the former having read, he cried, "Oh, I beg your pardon-I had no idea who you were I'm so tormented with consultations-I rejoice to see you-I'm afraid you have dined-I hope you havn't." Yes," replied Vanderbrummer, "I had dinner on the road, and supposed that meal would have been over with you before I reached this.".
Then," said the Doctor, " you shall go into the drawing-room, and I'll send up my daughter Caroline to en
A servant now conducted Vanderbrummer into an elegant apartment, where he was soon joined by Miss L--, with whom he conversed till her father and mother came to them.
was a short, stout, corpulent man, bold and assuming in his manners, and impatient of contradiction, though very liberal in using it towards others. He delighted to keep his wife and daughter under controul, and was anxious to convince every one that he was completely master of his own house. He had once practised in the village near which he now resided, but having acquired a competency, he had given up business, that he might live at his ease, and be at leisure to decry the labours and characters of his professional brethren.
Mrs L- had no sooner cast her eyes upon, than she exclaimed to the servant in attendance," Thomas! Thomas! what have you been about? why did you bring this here ?-carry it away before the Doctor comes down stairs. Thomas did as he was ordered; and Mrs L- turning to Vanderbrummer, said, "You will be at a loss to understand the meaning of all this. The truth is, my husband has the greatest aversion to all sorts of pastry-we dare not present it when he is at home. He is very particular in his notions about diet."- "What is this I hear about diet?" cried the Doctor, entering the room abruptly"Mr Vanderbrummer, you may fearlessly sit down at my table, for I never allow any article to be placed upon it that is of an injurious nature. My wife and daughter would have had us all dead long ago, had not I interfered. I don't exactly know how you live in Holland, Mr Vanderbrummer, but I believe you deal chiefly in oleaginous substances-these I rather disapprove of; but when you see my countrymen hurrying on towards premature death, by making their stomachs a receptacle for deletereous substances of all kinds, you will begin to understand my feelings, and also sympathize with me.”
At a late hour, the party separated for the night. The window of Vanderbrummer's room overlooked a rich shrubbery, through which a rivulet glided with gentle murmurings; a level expanse of cultivated country stretched all around to the horizon; and the white cottages scattered upon its surface gleamed unassumingly in the moonshine, which was bright, but at the same time mellow. There was no appearance of animation, except when a light happened to gleam for a moment through the windows of some
of the rural abodes that diversified the prospect. Vanderbrummer sat down to meditate, and recurred to his favourite metaphysical notions, but could not help feeling a degradation in believing that the lowest, stupidest, and basest individuals were entirely of the same stuff as himself; for hitherto he had not been displeased to own an alliance with inanimate nature. His retired life at Leyden had prevented him When the evening was pretty far from witnessing instances of human advanced, a servant announced supper. ignorance, grossness, and depravity. The supper-table presented, among He remained at the window nearly an other things, a dish of pastry, which hour, and finding it impossible to solve
his doubts for the time, he retired to sleep.
Next morning after breakfast, Dr I led Vanderbrummer through his garden and grounds, and endea voured to shew that he was happier and more comfortable than any other being in the world. He was interrupted by the arrival of a messenger, who requested him to visit a dying person at a cottage not far off. The Doctor, accompanied by Vanderbrummer, went to the house, where they saw a inan stretched on a bed, in the last stage of a consumption. His family, friends, and relatives stood around him. A genteel looking young man paced back wards and forwards at one end of the room, and returned a contemptuous glance to the consequential nod which was directed to him by Dr Lwho, seizing the patient's arm, held it for a few moments, and then dropped it carelessly, and shook his head. The people looked at him with an expression of anxious inquiry, but he turned towards a table, and began to examine some medicines that lay upon it. A cry from the attendants soon announoed that the sick man was no more. This was the first time Vanderbrummer had witnessed death, and it seem ed to him different from what he had believed it to be. As he gazed on the corpse, he felt sensations of horror, uneasiness, and gloomy fear, which he couldnot account for. Dr L- touch ed him on the shoulder, and told him
quired, as he hoped to prove at dinner that same day.
Accordingly, when they sat down at table, Vanderbrummer was pre sented with some soup made from the sawings of beech timber, which had been first baked three several times in an oven, and then boiled fourteen hours and a half over a gentle fire. Doctor L stated that a dog had been fed upon the soup during three days, without any loss of flesh, strength, or spirits. He then directed the attention of his guest to a pudding, which consisted of powdered ox bones, and a small proportion of plum-tree gum, declaring, at the same time, that it was highly nutritious, and even a greeable to the taste. "All articles are equally nourishing, and equally con vertible into chyle," said Doctor L "Some are indeed more quickly so than others, and this has given rise to the prevailing mistake respecting diet. This turkey, and the knife that cuts it, are both equally calculated to afford nourishment to the human frame; but the flesh of the turkey will do so a few hours after it is swallowed; while, on the other hand, the knife would re quire to remain in the stomach seve ral years before it could be of use in a similar way." On hearing this, Vanderbrummer said, "Allow me to re mark, that your practice seems inconsistent with your theory. If all substances are equally capable of affording nourishment to the human frame, why have you such an aversion to Their walk was rather an unsocial pastry?" This led to a dispute conone, for Vanderbrummer allowed his cerning diet. Vanderbrummer comcompanion to support the conversation bated the Doctor's assertions and arhimself, his mind being entirely en- guments with such success, that the grossed by what he had recently wit- latter lost temper, and began to abuse pessed. Dr L informed him that Dutch people and Dutch physicians. he had for some time past been making Vanderbrummer at first bore these are experiments to shew how small a quan- tacks with patience; however, Nature tity of nutriment was sufficient for the soon asserted her rights, in spite of support of the animal economy; and him, he retorted upon the Doctor, that he had discovered a way of sup- and such reciprocations ensued, that plying the lower classes with food, at he found it necessary to take leave of a cheap rate, during times of scarcity his entertainer early in the evening. He went to the neighbouring vil substances in use as articles of diet lage, with the intention of immediamong various nations, and mentioned ately proceeding on his tour, but found some northern savages, who lived up- that he could not obtain any means of on moss and the bark of pine-trees. conveyance till the following morn He concluded by asserting that such ing. He therefore secured accommosubstitutes for bread and animal food tered out, and entered a small bookproductions would form very good dations at the tavern, and then saunin this country, when occasion re- seller's shop on the opposite side of
it was time to return home.
or famine. He then alluded to the