Hail to the Count Léandre — or more properly hail to the Kaleidoscope which has conferred upon him the power of multiplication; and so completely that as in that instrument we cannot discover the true image from the refraction, and are at this very moment in doubt whether he is studying English at the Hotel Sablonniere in Leicester Square, or transcribing Greek manuscripts in Ionia. Yet if the truth must be told, we think the latter voyage rather too long for his courage, even in a packet, and are more inclined to put faith in the letter which tells us of his expedition from Calais, with all his apparatus of cork jackets, bladders, and other life preservers, and we verily declare that we would have given the best half of our sheet of paper, to have been present at the moment when he was caught by the English fishermen. His predecessor would indeed have been fortunate in a similar accident, but in his days, either fishing was less usual, or there is some difference between the shores of the Hellespont and of St George’s Channel. But, but to perplex ourselves on this topic, we are happy to hear that the Count is so near us; but we trust the present company will bear to testimony that our doors are not quite so churlish as to refuse entrance to all except the postman, and will join with us in a cordial invitation to the Count Léandre to favour us with his company at our next Attic Meeting, and in the assurance that so distinguished a contributor can ever be otherwise than welcome.
As for the Manuscript communicated by the Count’s double, we are sorry that the difficulty of the character has almost baffled our best Grecians and that we shall be obliged to present only a very imperfect translation to our friends. The adoption of the Minister’s plan would however be an easy and ingenious way of satisfying those restless spirits who are enamour’d of Spencer’s Titaness, commonly called Change.
But in the meantime, what is become of the Count’s second refraction — the Knight of the Kaleidoscope. We hear no more of him, yet last night as we lay sleepless on our pillow a radiant vision filled the room. By degrees, all surrounding objects, even the smoke of London passed from our eyes and our mind, we felt a slight sensation of dizziness, and appeared to be standing in air. Soon however our senses became cleaner, we perceived ourselves on the apex of a spire, the town of Calais stretched beneath, before us the British Channel, and the white cliffs of our native Isle. Far, far, to sea we distinguished a departing sail, and the instinctive consciousness of dreams told us it was the Count Léandre on his way to the Levant. The same instinct turned our eyes to a fat swimmer midway across the Channel, and then withdrew it, to fix upon a third image of the Count by our side. Still occupied with his kaleidoscope, he adored his Iris in that fascinating instrument whose brilliant hues are emblematic of her own. He perceived not the Sun that had risen behind him, the cloud on the British coast already prepared to descend in showers. The first drops fell, when lo! the kaleidoscope opened. The Count was absorbed, like a bunch of carrots into the mouth of Grimaldi, till he became himself the centre of the brilliant star he had been contemplating. At the same moment his Iris appeared in the heavens. He obeyed the attraction and was blended with her etherial beauty, just as she vanished behind the Cliffs of Dover. I started up — Farewell! I exclaimed, immortal spirits, worthy of each other. Ye are lost perchance to worldly minds who may number you with the dead, but never shall the eye of poetic fancy glance thro’ the kaleidoscope, or gaze on the rainbow, without feeling the presence of those immortals who preside in their mansions of light, and are absorbed into their essence.
We had said so much of this modern hero that we have little time left to notice those of more antient date, such as Hassan Sabah, who in bulk, as well as time, ought to have preceded. The poem is evidently a fragment, and like a panorama conceals both the top and bottom of the picture, for we are as ignorant how the knight is to get out of the power of the assassin as we are of the means by which he was led into it.
The dream displays much pleasing fancy and correct observation. The 2d number of the Family Circle keeps up the promise of the first and encourages us to hope for a continuation in future seasons. The Quest of the Muse only shows how much we have lost in being deprived of the Cantos intermediate between those read last year, and that now presented, and the Cairngorm Diamond is a beautiful gem, which has taken its colours from an elegant Caledonian superstition.
It was but at our last meeting that we congratulated our Members on their assemblage. We now have to bid them farewell. We might moralize on the occasion and the proof which it affords of the near connexion between our pleasures and our pains; but we prefer wishing to all our friends the fullest enjoyment of the fine season which appears to have just commenced, and the looking forward to meetings of as much pleasure and more permanency.