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Title: Tales of the Chesapeake
Author: Townsend, George Alfred, 1841-1914
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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         A fruity smell is in the school-house lane;
           The clover bees are sick with evening heats;
         A few old houses from the window-pane
           Fling back the flame of sunset, and there beats
         The throb of oars from basking oyster fleets,
           And clangorous music of the oyster tongs
         Plunged down in deep bivalvulous retreats,
           And sound of seine drawn home with negro songs.

New York:
American News Company,
39 and 41 Chambers Street.
Copyright, 1880,
Geo. Alfred Townsend.







Of the following pieces, two, "Kidnapped," and "Dominion over the
Fish," have been published in _Chambers's Journal_, London. The poem
"Herman of Bohemia Manor" is new. All the compositions illustrate the
same general locality.




    One day, worn out with head and pen,
    And the debate of public men,
      I said aloud, "Oh! if there were
    Some place to make me young awhile,
      I would go there, I would go there,
    And if it were a many a mile!"
      Then something cried--perhaps my map,
    That not in vain I oft invoke--
      "Go seek again your mother's lap,
      The dear old soil that gave you sap,
    And see the land of Pocomoke!"

    A sense of shame that never yet
    My foot on that old shore was set,
      Though prodigal in wandering,
    Arose; and with a tingled cheek,
      Like some late wild duck on the wing,
    I started down the Chesapeake.
      The morning sunlight, silvery calm,
    From basking shores of woodland broke,
      And capes and inlets breathing balm,
      And lovely islands clothed in palm,
    Closed round the sound of Pocomoke.

    The pungy boats at anchor swing,
    The long canoes were oystering,
      And moving barges played the seine
    Along the beaches of Tangiers;
      I heard the British drums again
    As in their predatory years,
      When Kedge's Straits the Tories swept,
    And Ross's camp-fires hid in smoke.
      They plundered all the coasts except
      The camp the Island Parson kept
    For praying men of Pocomoke.

    And when we thread in quaint intrigue
    Onancock Creek and Pungoteague,
      The world and wars behind us stop.
    On God's frontiers we seem to be
      As at Rehoboth wharf we drop,
    And see the Kirk of Mackemie:
      The first he was to teach the creed
    The rugged Scotch will ne'er revoke;
      His slaves he made to work and read,
      Nor powers Episcopal to heed,
    That held the glebes on Pocomoke.

    But quiet nooks like these unman
    The grim predestinarian,
      Whose soul expands to mountain views;
    And Wesley's tenets, like a tide,
      These level shores with love suffuse,
    Where'er his patient preachers ride.
      The landscape quivered with the swells
    And felt the steamer's paddle stroke,
      That tossed the hollow gum-tree shells,
      As if some puffing craft of hell's
    The fisher chased in Pocomoke.

    Anon the river spreads to coves,
    And in the tides grow giant groves.
      The water shines like ebony,
    And odors resinous ascend
      From many an old balsamic tree,
    Whose roots the terrapin befriend;
      The great ball cypress, fringed with beard,
    Presides above the water oak,
      As doth its shingles, well revered,
      O'er many a happy home endeared
    To thousands far from Pocomoke.

    And solemn hemlocks drink the dew,
    Like that old Socrates they slew;
      The piny forests moan and moan,
    And in the marshy splutter docks,
      As if they grazed on sky alone,
    Rove airily the herds of ox.
      Then, like a narrow strait of light,
    The banks draw close, the long trees yoke,
      And strong old manses on the height
      Stand overhead, as to invite
    To good old cheer on Pocomoke.

    And cunning baskets midstream lie
    To trap the perch that gambol by;
      In coves of creek the saw-mills sing,
    And trim the spar and hew the mast;
      And the gaunt loons dart on the wing,
    To see the steamer looming past.
      Now timber shores and massive piles
    Repel our hull with friendly stroke,
      And guide us up the long defiles,
      Till after many fairy miles
    We reach the head of Pocomoke.

    Is it Snow Hill that greets me back
    To this old loamy _cul-de-sac_?
      Spread on the level river shore,
    Beneath the bending willow-trees
      And speckled trunks of sycamore,
    All moist with airs of rival seas?
      Are these old men who gravely bow,
    As if a stranger all awoke,
      The same who heard my parents vow,
    --Ah well! in simpler days than now--
    To love and serve by Pocomoke?

    Does Chincoteague as then produce
    These rugged ponies, lean and spruce?
      Are these the steers of Accomac
    That do the negro's drone obey?
      The things of childhood all come back:
    The wonder tales of mother day!
      The jail, the inn, the ivy vines
    That yon old English churchside cloak,
      Wherein we read the stately lines
      Of Addison, writ in his signs,
    Above the dead of Pocomoke.

    The world in this old nook may peep,
    And think it listless and asleep;
      But I have seen the world enough
    To think its grandeur something dull.
      And here were men of sterling stuff,
    In their own era wonderful:
      Young Luther Martin's wayward race,
    And William Winder's core of oak,
      The lion heart of Samuel Chase,
      And great Decatur's royal face,
    And Henry Wise of Pocomoke.

    When we have raged our little part,
    And weary out of strife and art,
      Oh! could we bring to these still shores
    The peace they have who harbor here,
      And rest upon our echoing oars,
    And float adown this tranquil sphere,
      Then might yon stars shine down on me,
    With all the hope those lovers spoke,
      Who walked these tranquil streets I see
      And thought God's love nowhere so free
    Nor life so good as Pocomoke.





























The night before Christmas, frosty moonlight, the outcast preacher
came down to the island shore and raised his hands to the stars.

"O God! whose word I so long preached in meekness and sincerity," he
cried, "have mercy on my child and its mother, who are poor as were
Thine own this morning, eighteen hundred and forty years ago!"

The moonlight scarcely fretted the soft expanse of Chincoteague Bay.
There seemed a slender hand of silver reaching down from the sky to
tremble on the long chords of the water, lying there in light and
shade, like a harp. The drowsy dash of the low surf on the bar beyond
the inlet was harsh to this still and shallow haven for wreckers and
oystermen. It was very far from any busy city or hive of men, between
the ocean and the sandy peninsula of Maryland.

But no land is so remote that it may not have its banished men. The
outcast preacher had committed the one deadly sin acknowledged amongst
those wild wreckers and watermen. It was not that he had knocked a
drowning man in the head, nor shown a false signal along the shore to
decoy a vessel into the breakers, nor darkened the lighthouse lamp.
These things had been done, but not by him.

He had married out of his race. His wife was crossed with despised

"What do you seek, preacher?" exclaimed a gruff, hard voice. "Has the
Canaanite woman driven you out from your hut this sharp weather, in
the night?"

"No," answered the outcast preacher. "My heart has sent me forth to
beg the service of your oyster-tongs, that I may dip a peck of
oysters from the cove. We are almost starved."

"And rightly starved, O psalm-singer! You were doing well. Preaching,
ha! ha! Preaching the miracle of the God in the manger, the baby of
the maid. You prayed and travelled for the good of Christians. The
time came when you practised that gospel. You married the daughter of
a slave. Then they cast you off. They outlawed you. You were made
meaner, Levin Purnell, than the Jew of Chincoteague!"

The speaker was a bearded, swarthy, low-set man, who looked out from
the cabin of a pungy boat. His words rang in the cold air like
dropping icicles articulate.

"I know you, Issachar," exclaimed the outcast preacher. "They say that
you are hard and avaricious. Your people were bond slaves once to
every nation. This is the birth night of my faith. In the name of
Joseph, who fed your brethren when they were starving, with their
father, for corn, give me a few oysters, that we may live, and not

The Jew felt the supplication. He was reminded of Christmas eve. The
poorest family on Chincoteague had bought his liquor that night for a
carouse, or brought from the distant court-house town something for
the children's stockings. Before him was one whose service had been
that powerful religion, shivering in the light of its natal star on
the loneliest sea-shore of the Atlantic. He had harmed no man, yet all
shunned him, because he had loved, and honored his love with a
religious rite, instead of profaning it, like others of his race.

"Take my tongs," replied the Jew. "Dip yonder! It will be your only
Christmas gift."

"Peace to thee on earth and good-will to thee from men!" answered the

The preacher raised the long-handled rakes, spread the handles, and
dropped them into the Sound. They gave from the bottom a dull, ringing
tingle along their shafts. He strove to lift them with their weight
of oysters, but his famished strength was insufficient.

"I am very weak and faint," he said. "Oh, help me, for the pity of

The Jew came to his relief doggedly. The Jew was a powerful,
bow-legged man, but with all his strength he could scarcely raise the

"By Abraham!" he muttered, "they are oysters of lead. They will
neither let go nor rise."

He finally rolled upon the deck a single object. It broke apart as it
fell. The moonlight, released by his humped shadow, fell upon
something sparkling, at which he leaped with a sudden thirst, and

"Gold! Jewels! They are mine."

It was an iron casket, old and rusty, that he had raised. Within it,
partly rusted to the case, the precious lustre to which he had devoted
his life flashed out to the o'erspread arch of night, sown thick with
star-dust. A furious strength was added to his body. He broke the
object from the casket and held it up to eyes of increased wonder and
awe. Then, with an oath, he would have plunged it back into the sea.

The outcast preacher interposed.

"It is your Christmas gift, Issachar. _It is a cross._ Curse not! It
cannot harm you nor me. Dip again, and bring me a few oysters, or my
wife may die."

"I know the form of that cross," said the oyster-man. "It is Spanish.
Many a year ago, no doubt, some high-pooped galleon, running close to
the coast, went ashore on Chincoteague and drifted piecemeal through
the inlet, wider then than now. This mummery, this altar toy, destined
for some Papist mission-house, has lain all these years in the
brackish Sound. Ha! ha! That Issachar the Jew should raise a cross,
and on the Christian's Christmas eve! But it is mine! My tongs, my
vessel, myself brought it aboard!"

He seized the preacher's skinny arm with the ferocity of greed.

"I do not claim it, Issachar. My worship is not of forms and images.
Dip again, and help me to my hut with a few oysters, for I am very
faint. Then all my knowledge and interest in this effigy I will
surrender to you."

"Agreed!" exclaimed the Jew, plunging the tongs to the bottom again
and again, in his satisfaction.

They walked inland across the difficult sands, the Jew carrying the
crucifix jealously. Lights gleamed from a few huts along the level
island. At the meanest hut of all they stopped, and heard within a
baby's cry, to which there was no response. The preacher staggered
back with apprehension. The Jew raised the latch and led the way.

The light of some burning driftwood and dried sea-weed filled the low
roof and was reflected back to a cot, on which a woman lay with a
living child beside her. Something dread and ineffable was conveyed by
that stiffened form. The Jew, familiar with misery and all its
indications, caught the preacher in his arms.

"Levin Purnell," he said, "thy Christmas gift has come. Bear up! There
is no more persecution for thee. She is dead!"

The outcast preacher looked once, wildly, on the woman's face, and
with a cry pressed his hands to his heart. The Jew laid him down upon
a miserable pallet, and for a few moments watched him steadily.
Neither sound nor motion revealed the presence of the cold spark of
life. The husband's heart was broken.

"Poor wretch!" exclaimed the Jew. "Mismated couple; in death as
obstinate as in life. Lie there together, befriended in the closing
hour by the Jew of Chincoteague, a present--to-morrow's Christmas--for
thy neighbors of this Christian island!"

He stirred the fire. Death had no terrors for him, who had seen it by
land and sea, in brawls and shipwrecks, by hunger and by scurvy. He
laid the bodies side by side, and warmed the infant at the fire.
Looking up from the living child's face, he caught the sparkle of the
crucifix he had discovered, where it stood in the narrow window-sill.
There were gems of various colors in it, and they reflected the
firelight lustrously, like a slender chandelier, or, as the Jew
remembered in the version of the Evangels, like the gifts those
bearded wise men, of whom he might resemble one, brought to the manger
of the infant Christ--gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Struck
by the conceit, he looked again at the baby's face--the baby but a few
days or weeks old--and he felt, in spite of himself, a softness and

"It might be true," he muttered, "that a Jewish man, a tricked and
unsuspecting husband of a menial, like her who has perished with this
preacher, _did_ behold a new-born baby in the manger of an inn,
eighteen hundred and forty years ago."

He looked again at the cross. In the relief of the night against the
window-pane its jewels shone like the only living things in the hovel.
A figure was extended upon this cross, and every nail was a precious
stone; the crown of thorns was all diamonds.

"It might be true," he said again, "that on a cross-beam like that,
the manger baby perished for some audacity--as I might be put to death
if I mocked the usages of a whole nation, as this preacher has done."

The cross, an object as high as one of the window-panes, and suffused
with the exuding dyes of its jewels, took now a dewy lustre, as if
weeping precious gum and amber. The Jew felt an instant's sense of
superstition, which he dashed away, and placing the child, already
sleeping, before the fire, awakened rapacity led him to hunt the hovel
over. He found nothing but a few religious books, and amongst them a
leather-covered Testament, which he opened and read with
insensibility--passing on, at length, to interest, then to
fascination, at last to rage and defiance--the opening chapters and
the close of the story of Jesus.

"Now, by the sufferings of my patient race! I will do a thing unlike
myself, to prove this testimony a libel. Here is a child more homeless
than this carpenter, Joseph's, without the false pretence of coming
of David's line. Its mother tainted with negro blood, like the slaves
I have imported. Its father the obscurest preacher of his sect. I will
rob the shark and the crab of a repast. It shall be my child and a
Hebrew. Yea, if I can make it so, a Rabbi of Israel!"

Issachar looked again at the cross. Day was breaking in the window
behind it, and the rich light of its gems was obscurer, but its form
and proportions seemed to have expanded--perhaps because he had worn
his eyes reading by the firelight--and the outstretched figure looked
large as humanity, and the cross lofty and real, as that which it was
made to commemorate. He hid it beneath his garment, and walked forth
into the gray dawn of Christmas. One star remained in mid-heaven,
whiter than the day. It poised over the hovel of the dead like
something new-born in the sky, and unacquainted with its fellow orbs.

"Christmas gift!" shouted a party of lads and women, rushing upon the
Jew. "Christmas gift! You are caught, Issachar. Give us a present, old

It was the custom in that old settled country that whoever should be
earliest up, and say "Christmas gift!" to others, should receive some
little token in farthings or kind.

"Bah!" answered the Jew. "Look in yonder, where the best of your
religion lie, perished by your inhumanity, and behold your Christmas
gift to them!"

There, where no friendly feet but those of negroes and slaves had
entered for months, the strengthening morning showed a young wife,
almost white, and the most beautiful of her type, with comely
features, and eyes and hair that the proudest white beauty might envy.
The gauntness of death had scarcely diminished those charms which had
brought the pride of the world's esteem and the prudence of religion
to her feet, and lifted her to virtuous matrimony, only to banish her
lover from the hearthstones of his race and make them both outcasts,
the poorest of the creatures of God, even on Chincoteague. A slight
sense of self-accusation touched the bystanders.

"He was a good preacher," said one, "and I was converted under him. He
baptized my children. That he should have married a darkey!"

"She was a pious girl," added another, "and from her youth up was in
temptation, which she resisted, like a white woman. That she should
have ruined this preacher!"

"He was a poet," said a third. "'Peared like as if he believed every
thing he preached. But, my sakes! we can't have sich things in _our_

"She loved him, too, the hussy!" exclaimed a fourth. "She would have
been his slave if he had asked her. Oh! what misery she felt when she
knew that his passion for her was starving him, body and soul!"

They slipped away, with a feeling that, somehow, two very guilty
people had been punished in those two. The negroes made the funeral
procession. The Jew walked amongst the negroes.

"O Father Abraham," he said, chuckling to himself, "forgive me that I
stand here, no renegade to my faith, yet the only white Christian on

Issachar was oyster-man, sailor, and sutler in one. He advanced money
to build pungy boats, knit nets, and make huts. He kept a trading
place, packed fish, and dealt with the Eastern port cities by a
schooner whose crew he shipped himself and sometimes commanded her. He
was a wrecker, too, prompt and enterprising; passed middle life, but
full of vitality; bold and cunning in equal degree; and he had been,
it was guessed, a slaver, and some said a pirate. He was called by the
negroes the King of Chincoteague. His schooner was named The Eli.

Chincoteague is the principal inhabited island along the one hundred
miles of coast between the capes of the Delaware and of the
Chesapeake--a coast of low bars, divided into long and slender islands
by a dozen inlets, which, almost filled with sand, permit only
light-draught vessels to enter; and it is destruction to any ship to
go ashore on that coast, where five successive lighthouses warn the
commerce of the Atlantic off, but are unable to intimidate the storms
which sweep the low shores and almost threaten to leap over the
peninsula and submerge it. Chincoteague lies like a tongue between two
inlets, and partly protrudes into the sea, but is also sheltered in
part by the bar of Assateague, whose light has flamed for years.
Chincoteague is about ten miles long, and behind it an inland bay
stretches continuously, under various names, for thirty miles,
protected from the ocean, and scarcely flavored with its salt, except
near the outlet at Chincoteague, where the oysters lie in the brackish
sluices, and all sorts of fish, from shrimps to sharks, hover around
the oyster beds. In the green depths they can be seen, and there the
crab darts sidewise, like a shooting star. In the sandy beach grows
the mamano, or snail-clam, putting his head from his shell at high
tide to suck nutrition from the mysterious food of the sea, and giving
back such chowder to man as makes the eater feel his stomach to
possess a nobility above the pleasures of the brain. The bay of
Chincoteague is five or six miles wide, and the nearest hamlet is in
Virginia, as is Chincoteague island also. The hamlet takes the name of
Horntown, and not far from there is the old court-house seat of Snow
Hill, in Maryland. Every soul on Chincoteague was native there or
thereabout, except Issachar the Jew.

He had appeared amongst them after a sudden storm, the solitary
survivor of a wreck that had partly drifted ashore, and, as he said,
gone down with all his fortune. The mild air and easy livelihood of
the spot pleased the Jew, after his first despair, and he set about
making another fortune. Capable, solitary and active, he soon
outstripped all the people of the islands, and neither beloved nor
unbeloved, lived grimly, as chance ordained, and until now, had never
shown more than business benevolence. It was a surprising thing to the
people of Chincoteague, when the news went round that he had been over
to court at Drummond-town and given his recognizance to bring up the
orphan boy--whom he named Abraham Purnell--so that the county should
not be at the expense of him, and he also brought out from New York,
on the Eli's next trip, a Hebrew woman to be the boy's matron. Suckled
at a negro's breast, Abraham grew to a vigorous youth, resembling his
guardian's race and his mother's as well, in the curling nature of his
hair and the brightness of his eyes. The Old Testament Scriptures
alone were taught him, and Issachar himself joined the family circle
at daily prayer to encourage the faith of Israel in the stranger. The
finest of the lean, tough ponies, bred only on Chincoteague, and
renowned throughout the peninsula for their endurance, was bought for
the boy, as he grew older. He was made Issachar's companion, and, in
course of time, passed in fireside talk for a Jew, like his protector.

Only once the superior comfort and clothing of Issachar's _protégé_
provoked the remark from one of a group of men that Abraham was "only
a stuck-up nigger, anyway;" and then, like a maniac, Old Issachar
dashed from his store with a boat-hook and struck down the offender
like a dead man.

But the boy was of such docile and beautiful nature that he excited no
general antagonism. He was four removals from pure African blood, and
as his mother had been a freed girl, he was a citizen, or might be if
he pleased. The certain heir of Issachar's possessions, the only thing
except gold that Issachar loved, and of a parentage which linked
misfortune with piety, his mysterious nativity gave him with the
negroes a sacred character. They believed that he would become their
king and priest and lead them out of bondage to a promised land; and
this involuntary homage so pleased old Issachar that his heart
inclined toward the black race above the Christian whites around him.
If an aged negro fell sick, the Jew sent, by his ward, medicine and
food. If a very poor negro was buried, the Jew contributed to the
expenses. He gave the first counsel of worldly wisdom to the negro
freedmen, and gave them faithful interest on their savings. One slave
that he possessed he set free, saying:

"By Jacob's staff! I will not hold as cattle the blood people of my

His enlarged benevolence made no difference in his business. It grew
to the widest limits of that humble society, and by the accident of a
younger life coming forward to bear his honor up, Issachar grew into
sympathy with the social life of all the lower peninsula. If they
wanted money for public enterprise on the mainland, the Jew of
Chincoteague was first to be thought of. His credit, Masonic in its
reach, extended to his compatriots in distant cities, and the
politicians crossed the Sound to bring him into alliance with their
parties. To personal flattery he was obtuse, except when it reached
his ward, and then a melting mood came over him. At every Christmas he
led himself the eloquent Oriental prayer, young Abraham responding
with even a richer imagery, for his mind was alert, his schooling had
been private and unintermittent, and his father's enthusiasm and his
mother's docility made him a poet and a son together.

"My son," said the Jew, as Abraham's fifteenth Christmas approached,
"the time is at hand when we must part for years. I am growing old,
and the loss of thee, O my love! is harder than thou canst know. The
sands of life are running out with me, as from an hour-glass. With
thee the heavens are rosy and the world is new. Thou beautiful Samuel,
Jehovah's selected one! Wilt thou remember me when far away?"

"Father," answered Abraham, "what besides thee can I love? Every
morning, and at noon, and again at night, I will face from the East to
pray toward thee; for God will not listen unless I am grateful to my

"Thou art going to Amsterdam," said Issachar. "There, amongst the
noblest Jews of Europe, the descendants of the Jewish Portuguese, the
Hebrew tongue in its purity, the law of Moses in its majesty, our lore
in its plenitude, thou wilt learn. I look to thee, adopted child of
Israel! to give the promise of thy youth to the study of our grand old
religion, and, like the infant Moses, discovered amongst these
bulrushes of Chincoteague, to be the reviver of our faith, the
statesman of our sect. Yea! the rebuilder of our Zion. It has been
ordained that these things will be done, and, by the stars of Abraham;
it shall be so!"

"My father," said young Abraham, "God will keep all His promises."

The Jew took from a chest of massive cedar wood, empty of all besides,
the precious crucifix.

"Look on that," he exclaimed. "Dost thou know what it represents?"

"No," answered Abraham.

"It is the symbol of the faith in which thy father died. A Hebrew
impostor, one Jesus, was nailed by the Roman conquerors of Jerusalem
to a cross-piece of wood. He affected to be the son of David and the
Saviour of men. My son, in the name of his punishment the children of
Israel have been burned at the stake, dispersed abroad among the
nations, and hated of mankind. Preaching his imposture thy father and
thy mother were suffered to die for their consistency. See what I have
done with the bauble! The years I have expended on thy mind and
comfort have cost me money. From that crucifix, one by one, I have
plucked the precious stones for thy education. Here, from the side,
where they say the soldier's spear was thrust, I have sold the costly
ruby. The nail in the feet, a sapphire, paid thy Jewish matron. The
emerald in this right hand purchased thy books. I send thee abroad
with the price of the diamonds in the crown."

"Father," said young Abraham, "the image is hallowed to me for thy
piety. It is Humanity, O my father! that has made me devoutly a Jew,
and thee, unsuspectingly, a Christian."

He sailed away upon the Eli. His parting words had affected old
Issachar so much that his mind returned along the course of years to
the Christmas night he had passed in the outcast preacher's hut, and
the curious story of Jesus he had read there in the New Testament and
in the presence of the dead.

"To-morrow is Christmas," said the Jew; "a hallowed day to me, because
it brought me a son whose obedience and piety have gratified the exile
of my old age. Although these Christians have covered him with their
despite, his excellent charity remembers it not. I will be no less
magnanimous, and I will cross the bay and attend the Methodist worship
at Snow Hill on Christmas morning, that I may communicate its
frivolity to my son."

He kept his word; and for fear thieves might discover and steal the
valuable crucifix, he hid it beneath his vesture and carried it to the
mainland. The little plank meeting-house at the edge of Snow Hill was
filled with whites on the floor, but in the end gallery, amongst the
negroes, Issachar haughtily took his seat, an object of wonder to both
races, for his face and reputation were generally recognized. Perhaps
it was for this reason that the young preacher, a gentle, graceful
person, adapted his sermon to the sweetness of the Christian story
rather than bear upon those descriptions which might antagonize his
Jewish auditor.

He told the story of the world's selfishness when Christ appeared; how
the Jews, living in the straitest of sectarian aristocracies, inviting
and receiving no accessions, had finally fallen under the dogmatism of
the uncharitable Pharisees, who esteemed themselves the only righteous
devotees and doctrinaires amongst the millions of people on the earth.
Jesus, a youth of good Jewish extraction, and honorable family, had
been bold enough to denounce Phariseeism and make its votaries
ridiculous. He was scorned by them, if for no other crime, for the
cheap offence, in a bigoted age, denominated blasphemy. Here the
preacher, looking toward the Jew, paid a tribute to the antiquity and
loyalty of the better class of Jews, and said that it was well known
that one of his own forerunners in the Christian ministry, dying in
penury from the consequences of a marital mistake, had been befriended
in his death and in his posterity by a gallant follower of the House
of Israel.

The congregation, facing about to look at the Jew in the gallery,
amongst the negroes, were surprised to see tears on his gray
eyelashes, and the colored elders, who loved Issachar exceedingly,
exclaimed, in stentorian chorus:

"Praise God for dat Israelite, in whom dar is no guile! Hallelujah!"

Then, as if the Christmas frost had melted, these grateful
exclamations made warmth at once in both races, and encouraged the
orator in his extemporization. Issachar began to appreciate the
possibility of the founder of a more liberal sect of Jews, whose
charitable hand should be extended to Gentiles also, and whose heaven
should comprehend all the posterity of Adam. Perhaps his son's
portrait was in his mind--that loving son who had but just departed in
the interests of the law of Moses and the restoration of the Temple.
At the end of the sermon alms were invited for the support of the
minister and the propagation of such a gospel as he had preached. With
a mixture of pride and humility old Issachar descended the gallery
stairs and walked up the aisle, and, taking the crucifix from his
breast, planted it upon the altar.

"There," he said, "if your sect asserts the sentiments of this sermon,
you are entitled to this rich image. I am repaid for its possession by
a son of Gentile parentage whose obedience has been the delight of my
old years, and for the gift God has given me in him, I tender you
this counterfeit of Jesus nailed on the Roman scaffold."

The congregation gazed a minute at the golden cross. Ireful laughter
broke forth, followed by rage.

"The pagan! The papist! The Turk! The idolater!" they exclaimed. "He
mocks the memory of our Saviour on Christmas morning! Out with him!"

The Jew recovered the crucifix and put it beneath his mantle. He
vouchsafed no reply except a scornful "Ha! ha! ha!" and with this he
strode out of the Methodist meeting, rejoined his boatmen, and
returned to the island of Chincoteague.

Years passed, and the Jew grew very feeble. He had lasted his
fourscore and ten years, and prosperity had attended him through all,
and children loved him; but, true to his first and only fondness, his
heart was ever across the sea, where gentle Abraham, studiously intent
amongst the Rabbis, communicated with his father by every mail and
raised the old man's mind to a height of serious appreciation which
greed and commerce had never given him. Although hungering for his
boy, Issachar forebore to disturb young Abraham's studies until a
bitter illness came to him, and in his gloom and solitude his great
want burst from his lips, and he said aloud:

"Almighty Father! What will it avail to these old bones if the Temple
be rebuilded, and I die without placing my hands on the eyelids of my
boy and blessing him in Thy name? I will pluck from this Christian
image the last jewel and dispose of it, that he may return and place
his hands in mine, and receive my benediction, and gladden me with his

The image was therefore wholly separated from the cross. Nothing
remained but the figure in gold of that bloody Pillory on which He
died on whom two hundred millions of human beings rely for
intercession with their Creator and Destiny.

The days seemed months to the Jew of Chincoteague. The negroes
gathered round his cabin to be of assistance if he should require it;
for they also looked for young Abraham as the Shiloh of their race,
and would have died for old Issachar, unredeemed as they thought him,
except by his goodness to their prince and favorite.

A high tide, following a series of dreadful storms, arose on the coast
of the peninsula, as if the Gulf Stream, like a vast ploughshare, had
thrown the Atlantic up from its furrow and tossed it over the beach of

The sturdy ponies were all drowned. The sea was undivided from the
bay. Pungy boats and canoes drifted helplessly along the coast, and
the Eli alone was out of danger in the harbor of New York, waiting to
receive young Abraham. At last the freshet crept over the house-tops,
and nothing remained but the cottage of the Jew, planted on piles,
which lifting it higher than the surrounding houses, yet threatened it
the more if the water should float it from its pedestal and send it to
sea. Every effort was made to induce the Jew to abandon it, but he was

"By the tables of the law!" he said, "living or dead, here will I
abide until my son returns."

The bravest negro left the island of Chincoteague at last, placing
food beside old Issachar, and there he lay upon his pallet, with
nothing to pierce the darkness of his lair except that sacred cross he
had raised from the depths of the ocean. That object, like a sentient,
overruling thing, still shed its lustre upon the wretched interior of
the deserted hut, and, day by day, repeated its story to the neglected

The mighty storm increased in power as Christmas approached, in the
year one thousand eight hundred and fifty----. Wrecks came ashore on
the submerged shoal of Chincoteague, but there were now no wreckers to
labor for salvage. The Eli, too, was overdue. One night a familiar gun
was heard at sea, thrice, and twice thrice, and Issachar raised up and
said, in anguish:

"It is my schooner. My son is at hand and in danger. Oh! for a day's
strength, as I had it in my youth, to go to his relief through the
surf. But, miserable object that I am! I cannot rise from my bed. What
help, what hope, in the earth or in heaven can I implore?"

The naked cross beamed brightly all at once in the darkness of the
cabin. Issachar felt the legend it conveyed, and with piety, not
apostacy, he uttered:

"O Paschal Lamb! O Waif of God! Die Thou for me this night, and give
me to look upon the countenance of my son!"

The Jew, intently gazing at the cross, passed into such a stupor or
ecstasy that he had no knowledge of the flight of time. He only knew
that, after a certain dreamy interval, the door of his house yielded
to a living man, and, nearly naked with breasting the surf and
fighting for life, young Abraham staggered into the hut and recognized
his father.

"O son!" cried Issachar, "I feel the news thou hast to tell. The Eli
is wrecked and thou only hast survived. The moments are precious.
Hark! this house is yielding to the buoyant current. Stay not for me,
whose sands are nearly run. I am too old to try for life or fear to
die, but thou art full of youth and beauty, and Israel needs thee in
the world behind me. Let me bless thee, Abraham, and commit thee to

The water entered the cracks of the cabin; a pitching motion, as if it
were afloat, made the son of the negro cling closer to the Jew.

"Father," he said, "I have passed the bitterness of death. When the
vessel struck and threw me into the surf, I cried to God and fought
for life. The waves rolled over me, and the agony of dying so young
and happy grew into such a terror that I could not pray. In my despair
a something seemed to grasp me, like tongs of iron, and my eyes were
filled with light, bright as the face of the I AM. Behold! I am here,
and that which saved me has made me content to die by thee."

The old man drew the dripping ringlets of the younger one to his
venerable beard. The house rocked like a sailing vessel, and the
strong sea-fogs seemed to close them round.

"We are sailing to sea," whispered the Jew. "It is too late to escape.
The next billow may fling us apart, and our bones shall descend
amongst the oyster-shells to build houses for the nutritious beings of
the water. Thence, some day, my son, from the heavens God may drop His
tongs and draw us up to Him, as on this night thy father and I drew
the casket, many years ago. Look there! Look there!"

The heads of both were turned toward the spot where the finger of the
old man pointed, and they saw the denuded cross shining in the light
of the agitated fire, so large and bright that it reduced all other
objects to insignificance.

"It was a light like that," exclaimed Abraham, "which shone in my eyes
through the darkness of the billows."

"It was on that," whispered Issachar, "that I called for help, my son,
when thou wert dying. From the hour I dipped it from the water my
heart has been warmer to the world and man. Is there, in all the hoary
traditions of our church, a reason why we should not beseech its
illumination again before it returns to the ocean with ourselves? Do
thou decide, who art full of wisdom; for I am ignorant in thy eyes,
and heavy with sins."

The cross, resplendent, seemed to wear a visible countenance. Wrapped
in Issachar's arms, like a babe to its mother, young Abraham extended
his hands to the effigy, and in its beams a wondrous consolation of
love and rest returned to those poor companions, reconciling them to
their helplessness in the presence of the Almighty awe.

"Child of God!" exclaimed the Jew, "thou beauty of the Gentiles, I
gave thee life but for a span, and thou seemest to bring to me the
life immortal."

The morning broke on the shore frosty and clear after the subsided
storm, and the earliest wreckers, seeking in the drift for Christmas
gifts to give their children, found well-remembered parts of the Eli
and portions of the tenement of its proprietor. A wave rolled higher
than the rest and cast upon the shore two bodies--a young man of the
comely face and symmetry of a woman, without a sign of pain in his
features and dark, oriental eyes, and an old man, venerable as an
inhabitant of the ocean and mysterious as a being of some race
anterior to the deluge. In his rugged face the marks of that antiquity
which has something stately in the lowest types of the Jew, and in
this one an almost Mosaic might, were softened to a magnanimity where
death had nothing to contribute but its silence and respect. Laying
them together, the fishermen and idlers looked at them with a
superstition partly of remorse and mild remembrance, and the star of
Christmas twinkled over them in the sky. None felt that they were
other than father and son, and black men and white, indifferent that
day to social prejudices, followed the child of Hagar and the Hebrew
patriarch to the grave.


    They hewed the pines on Haunted Point
      To build the pungy boat,
    And other axes than their own
      Yet other echoes smote;
    They heard the phantom carpenters,
      But not a man could see;
    And every pine that crashed to earth
      Brought down a viewless tree.

    They launched the pungy, not alone;
      Another vessel slipped
    Down in the water with their own,
      And ghostly sailors shipped;
    They heard the rigging flap and creak,
      And hollow orders cried.
    But not a living man could seek,
      And not a boat beside.

    They sailed away from Haunted Point,
      Convoyed by something more:
    A boatswain's whistle answered back,
      And oar replied to oar.
    No matter where the anchor dropped,
      The fiends would not aroint,
    And every morn the pungy boat
      Still lay off Haunted Point.

    They hailed; and voices as in fog
      Seemed half to speak again--
    A devilish chuckling rolled afar,
      And mutiny of men.
    The parson of the islands said
      It was the pirate band,
    Whose gold was lost on Haunted Point
      And hid with bloody hand.

    Until what time a kidnapped boy,
      By ruffians whipped and stole,
    Should in the groves of Haunted Point
      Convert his stealer's soul!
    They stole the island parson's child,
      He said a little prayer:
    Down sank the ground; a gliding sound
      Went whispering through the air.

    And in the depths the pungy sank;
      And, as the divers told,
    They sought the wreck to lift again,
      And found the pirates' gold.
    And in a chapel close at hand
      The pious freedmen toil;
    No slaves are left in all the land,
      Nor any pirates' spoil.


People say that a certain tombstone in the London Tract "Hardshell"
Baptist graveyard, near Newark, Delaware, will give to the ear placed
flat upon it the sound of a ticking like a watch. The London Tract
Church, as its name implies, was the worshipping place of certain
settlers who either came from London, or chose land owned by a London
company. It is a quaint edifice of hard stone, with low-bent bevelled
roof, and surrounded by a stone wall, which has a shingle coping. The
wall incloses many gravestones, their inscriptions showing that very
many of the old worshippers of the church were Welsh. Some large and
healthy forest trees partly shade the graveyard and the grassy and
sandy cross-roads where it stands, near the brink of the pretty White
Clay Creek.

I climbed over the coping of the graveyard wall last spring, and
followed my companion, the narrator of the following story, to what
appeared to be the very oldest portion of the inclosure. The
tombstones were in some cases quite illegible as to inscriptions, worn
bare and smooth by more than a century's rains and chipping frosts,
and others were sunken deep in the grass so as to afford only partial
recompense for the epitaph hunter.

"This is the Ticking Stone," said my companion, pointing to a
recumbent slab, worn smooth and scarcely showing a trace of former
lettering; "put your ear upon it while I pull away the weeds, and then
note if you hear any thing."

I laid my ear upon the mossy stone, and almost immediately felt an
audible, almost tangible ticking, like that of a lady's watch.

"You are scratching the stone, Pusey," I cried to my informant.

"No! Upon my honor! That is not the sound of a scratch that you hear.
It cannot be any insect nor any process of moving life in the stone or
beneath it. Can you liken it to any thing but the equal motion of a
rather feeble timepiece?"

I listened again, and this time longer, and a sort of superstition
grew over me, so that had I been alone, probably I would have
experienced a sense of timid loneliness. To stand amidst those silent
memorial stones of the early times and hear a watch beat beneath one
of them as perfectly as you can feel it in your vest pocket, and then
to feel your heart start nervously at the recognition of this
disassociated sound, is not satisfying, even when in human company.

"This is the best ghost I have ever found," I said. "Perhaps some one
has slipped a watch underneath, for it is somebody's watch; there _is_
something real in it."

"I took the stone up once myself," said Pusey, "and the ticking then
seemed to come up from the ground. While I deliberated, an old man
came out of yonder old sexton-looking house, and warned me not to
disturb the dead. He crossed the wall, and assisted me to replace the
stone, and then bade me sit down upon it, ancient mariner-like, while
he disclosed the cause of the phenomenon."

Here my companion stopped a minute--and in the pause we could hear the
old trees wave very solemnly above us, and a nut, or burr, or sycamore
ball, came rattling down the old kirk roof as we stood there in the
graves, to startle us the more, and then he said:

"It is just as queer as the tale he told me--the disappearance of that
old man. Nobody about here can recognize him from my descriptions. He
walked toward the old mill down the Newark road, and the next time I
looked up he was gone. The people in the house there think I am
flighty in my mind for insisting upon his appearance to me at all."

"Go on with the tale right here, my flesh-creeping friend," I said.
"It will do us good to feel occasionally solemn."

       *       *       *       *       *

"This stone, young man," said my Quakerly rebuker, in a hard country
farmer's voice; "this stone is the London Tract Ticking Stone. It is
the oldest preacher and admonitor in this churchyard. It is older than
the graves of any of the known pastors or communicants round about it.

"In the year 1764 the comparative solitude of this region was broken
by a large party of chain-bearers, rod-men, axe-men, commissaries,
cooks, baggage-carriers, and camp-followers. They had come by order of
Lord Baltimore and William Penn, to terminate a long controversy
between two great landed proprietors, and they were led by Charles
Mason, of the Royal Observatory, at Greenwich, England, and by
Jeremiah Dixon, the son of a collier discovered in a coalpit. For
three years they continued westward, running their stakes over
mountains and streams, like a gypsy camp in appearance, frightening
the Indians with their sorcery. But, near this spot, they halted
longest, to fix with precision the tangent point, and the point of
intersection of three States--the circular head of Delaware, the
abutting right angle of Maryland, and the tiny pan-handle of

"The people of this region were sparse in number, but of strong,
sober, and yet wild characteristics. The long boundary quarrel had
made them predatory, and though God-fearing people, they would fight
with all their religious intensity for their right in the land and the
dominion of their particular province. They suspended their feuds when
the surveying battalion came into their broken country, and looked
with curious interest upon all that pertained to the distinguished
foreign mathematicians. Around their camp of tents and pack-mules,
peddlers and preachers called together their motley congregations, and
the sound of axes clearing the timber was accompanied by fiddling and
haranguing, the fighting of dogs, and the coarse tones of religious or
business oratory. It was in the height of the era of the great period
of the Dissenters in England, and Methodist, Baptist, and Calvinistic
zealots were piercing to the boundaries of English-speaking people,
wild forerunners of those organized bands of clergy which were
speedily to make our colonies sober-minded, and prepare them for

"Charles Mason was the scientific spirit of the party--a cool,
observing, painstaking, plodding man, slow in his processes and
reliable in his conclusions, and the bond of friendship between
himself and Dixon was that of two unequal minds admiring the
superiorities of each other. They had already proceeded together to
the Cape of Good Hope on two occasions to study an eclipse and an
occultation. Mason liked Dixon for his ready spirits, almost
improvident courage, speed with details, and worldly bearing. Though
little is known of their memories now, because they left us no
prolific records and spent much of the period of service among us in
the midst of the wilderness or in the reticence required for
mathematical calculation, yet they were the successors of Washington
in the surveying of the Alleghany ridges. Their survey was reliable;
the line was true. How much superior does it stand to-day to the line
of thirty degrees thirty minutes, which is the next great political
parallel below it, and was partly run only a few years afterwards! Up
to their line for the next hundred years flowed the waters of slavery,
but sent no human drop beyond, which did not evaporate in the free
light of a milder sun. God speed the surveyor, whoever he be, who
plants the stakes of a tranquil commonwealth and leaves them to be
the limit of bad principles, the pioneer line of good ones!

"Charles Mason had spent many years of his life, up to his old age,
experimenting with timepieces of his own invention. Many years before,
Sir Isaac Newton had called the attention of the British Government to
the necessity for an accurate portable time-keeper at sea, to
determine longitude, and in 1714 Parliament offered a reward of 20,000
pounds sterling for such a chronometer. Thenceforward for fifty years
the inventive spirits of England and the Continent were secretly at
work to produce a timepiece which would deserve the large reward,
amongst them Charles Mason, who labored with such perfect discretion
and uncommunicative self-reliance that none knew, none will ever know,
the motive principle he employed or the enginery he devised. While he
was working at this survey, near the spot at which we stand, the Board
of Award gave the £20,000 to one John Harrison, almost at the very
instant when Mason and Dixon's line was begun. This you can confirm by
any history of Horology. Charles Mason lived down to the year 1787,
surviving Dixon, who had died in England ten years previously, and he
was known to say to the end of his days, to people resident in
Philadelphia, that a child had eaten up £20,000 belonging to him at a
single mouthful.

"The child whom the neighborhood at that time accused of this act was
known in later life as Fithian Minuit, babe of a woman of mixed
English and Finnish-Dutch descent, who came from the fishermen's town
of Head of Elk, a few hours jog to the southward, to sell fish to the
surveying camp. She was a woman of mingled severity of features and
bodily obesity, uniting in one temper and frame the Scandinavian and
the Low Dutch traits, ignorant good-humor, grim commerce, and stolid
appetite. Her baby was the fattest, quaintest, and ugliest in the
country; ready to devour any thing, to grin at any thing, go to the
arms of everybody, and, in short, it represented all the traits of
the Middle State races--the government of the members, including the
brain, by the belly.

"One day this Finnish-Dutch baby--aged perhaps two years--was picked
up by one of the assistant surveyors and carried into the tent of
Charles Mason. The great surveyor was at that instant bending down
over a small metallic object which he was examining through the medium
of a lens. He recognized the child, and seemed glad of the opportunity
to dismiss more serious occupation from his mind, so he instantly
leaped up and poked the fat urchin with his thumb, tempting the bite
of its teeth with his forefinger, and was otherwise reducing his tired
faculties to the needs of a child's amusement, when suddenly the voice
of its mother at the tent's opening drew him away.

"'Fresh fish, mighty surveyor! Fall shad, and the most beautiful
yellow perch. Buy something for the sake of Minuit's baby!'

"The celebrated surveyor, who seemed in an admirable humor, stepped
just outside the tent to look at the fish, and in that little interval
his assistant, seized with inquisitiveness, stole up to his table, and
picked up the tiny object lying there under the magnifying glass.

"'This is the little ticking seducer which absorbs my master's time,'
he said. 'Why, it isn't big enough for an infant to count the minutes
of its life upon it!'

"At this the fat, good-humored baby, anticipating something to eat,
reached out its hands. The surveyor's assistant, in a moment of
mischief, put the object in the child's grasp. The child clutched it,
bit at it, and swallowed it whole in an instant.

"Before the assistant surveyor could think of any other harm done than
the possible choking of the child, the child's mother and the great
surveyor entered the tent. The arms of the first reached for her
offspring, and of the second for the subject of his experiment.

"'My chronometer!'

"'The child of the fish-woman ate it!'

"The fish-woman screamed, and reversed the urchin after the manner of
mothers, and swung him to and fro like a pendulum. He came up a trifle
red in the face, but laughing as usual, and the ludicrous
inappositeness of the great loss, the unconscious cause of it, the
baby's wonderful digestion, the assistant's distress, and the
surveyor's calm but pallid self-control, made Jeremiah Dixon, dropping
in at the minute, roar with laughter.

"'Dixon,' said Mason, 'the work of half my life, my everlasting
timepiece, just completed and set going, has found a temperature where
it requires no compensation balance.'

"'I am glad of it,' said his associate, 'for now we can proceed with
Mason and Dixon's line, and nothing else!'

"A look, more of pity than of reproach, passed over Mason's scarcely
ruffled face--the pity of one man solely conscious of a great object
lost, for another, indifferent or ignorant both of the object and the
loss. He took the smiling urchin in his hands, and raising it upon his
shoulder, placed his ear to its side. Thence came with faint
regularity the sound of a simple, gentle ticking. They all heard it by
turns, and, while they paused in puzzled wonder and humor, the
undaunted infant looked down as innocent as a chubby, cheery face
painted on some household clock. The innocent expression of the child
touched the mathematician's heart. He filled a glass with good Madeira
wine, and drank the devourer's health in these benignant words:

"'May Minuit's baby run as long and as true as the article on which he
has made his meal!'

"Next day they set the great stone in the corner of the State of
Maryland, and, breaking camp, vanished westward through the cleft of
light opened by their pioneers, pursued yet for many miles by a motley

"Before many years this fertile country filled up with hamlets,
mills, and churches; the War of Independence scarcely interrupted its
prosperity, because the Quaker element adhered with constancy to
neither side, and only one campaign was fought here. The story of the
boy who ate a watch passed out of general knowledge and remark; he was
known to have been a drummer at the battle of Chadd's Ford, and to
have buried his mother before the close of the war, at the Delaware
fishing hamlet of Marcus Hook, amongst her Finnish progenitors.

"But soon after the peace, the short, fat body and queer, merry Dutch
face of Fithian Minuit were known all along the roads of Chester,
Cecil, and Newcastle counties, by parts of the people of three States,
as components of one of the least offensive, most industrious, and
most lively and popular young chaps around the head of the Chesapeake.

"He was respectful with the old and congenial with the young--always
going and never tired, up early and late, of a chirruping sort of
address and an equal temper, and while he appeared to be thrifty and
money-making, he did all manner of good turns for the high and the
humble; and, although everybody said he was the homeliest young man in
the region, yet more village girls went to their front doors to see
him than if he had been a showman coming to town to do feats of magic.
He was not unintelligent either, and could play on the violin, compute
accounts equal to the best country book-keeper, and as he was of
religious turn, although attached to no particular denomination, the
meeting-houses on every side, hardly excepting the Quakers themselves,
delighted to see him drive up on Sundays and tell an anecdote to the
children and sing a little air, half-hymn sort, half stave, but always
given with a good countenance, which apologized for the worldly notes
of it. If any severe interpreter of Christian amusements took the
people to task for tolerating such a universal and desultory
character, there were others to rise up and ask what evil or
passionate word or act of sorry behavior in Fithian Minuit could be
instanced. The severe Francis Asbury himself raised the question once
on the Bohemia Manor amongst the Methodists, and got so little support
that he charged young Minuit with the possession of some devilish art
or spell to entrap the people; but Fithian once, when the good
itinerant's horse broke down on the road, met Mr. Asbury, won his
affections, and mended his big silver watch.

"This mending of clocks, watches, and every description of
time-keepers was the occupation of Minuit. He had picked up the art,
some said, from a Yankee in the army at the close of the war, and
certainly no man of his time or territory had such good luck with
timepieces. Residing in the little village of Christina (by the
pretentious called Christi-anna, and by the crude, with nearer
rectitude, called Crist_ene_), Fithian kept a snug little shop full of
all manners and forms of clocks, dials, sand-glasses, hour-burning
candles, water-clocks, and night tapers. He had amended and improved
the new Graham clock, called the 'dead scapement,' or 'dead-beat
escapement' (the origin of our modern word _dead-beat_, signifying a
man who does not meet his engagements, whereas the original
'dead-beat' was the most faithful engagements-keeper of its time.
Perhaps a dead-beat nowadays is a time-server; for this would be a
correct derivation). From this shop the young Minuit, in a plain but
reliable wagon, with a nag never fast and never slow, and indifferent
to temperatures, travelled the country for a radius of forty
miles--not embarrassed even by the Delaware, which he crossed once a
month, and attended fully to the temporal and partly to the spiritual
needs of all the Jerseymen betwixt Elsinborough and Swedesboro.

"Over the door of Minuit's whitewashed cabin on the knoll of Christina
was the sign of a jovial, fat person, bearing some resemblance to
himself, in the centre of whose stomach stood a clock inscribed, 'My
time is everybody's.' Past this little shop went the entire long
caravan and cavalcade by land between the North and South,
stage-coaches, mail-riders, highwaymen, chariots, herdsters, and
tramps; for Christina bridge was on the great tide-water road and at
the head of navigation on the Swedish river of the same name, so that
here vessels from the Delaware transferred their cargo to wagons, and
a portage of only ten miles to the Head of Elk gave goods and
passengers reshipment down the Chesapeake. This village declined only
when the canal just below it was opened in 1829 and a little railway
in 1833. It was nearly a century and a half old when Minuit set his
sign there, before General Washington went past it to be inaugurated.
From Fithian's window the pleasant land was seen spread out below him
beyond the Christina; and the Swedish, Dutch, and English farms smiled
from their loamy levels on sails which moved with scarcely perceptible
motion through the narrow dykes planted with greenest willows. Before
his door the teamsters, ill-tempered with lashing and swearing at
their teams in the ruts of Iron Hill, schoolboys from Nottingham,
millers' men from Upper White Clay, and bargemen and stage passengers,
recovered temper to see the sign of the great paunch with a timepiece
set so naturally in it indicating the hour of dinner. Within they
found the clock-maker, with face beaming as if reflected from a
watch-case, working handily amongst a hundred ticking pieces, of which
he looked to be one. There were large sundials for the outer walls of
barns and farm-houses, very popular in the Pennsylvania hills;
sand-glasses for the Peninsula, where it cost nothing to fill them;
and hour-burning candles, much affected by the Chesapeake gentry,
which gave at once light and time. There were ancient striking clocks,
such as the monks may have used to disturb them for early prayers,
which, with a horrible rattle of wheels and clash of heavy weights,
hammered the alarm. There were the tremendous watches of river
captains who had aspired to go to sea, and old crutch escapement
watches which Huygens himself had perhaps handled in Holland. The
window was filled with trains of wheels and pinions, snails and racks,
crystals, and faces and watches, cackling at each other. There were
striking clocks which rung chimes or rocked like little vessels on
apparent billows, or started off with notes like grasshoppers. A
hundred of the most musical tree-frogs shut up in a piano might give a
feeble notion of the tunes and thrummings assembled in this shop. It
was the same day or night, and the power of Fithian Minuit over
time-keepers was nearly miraculous. He appeared to be able to smile an
old watch into action. Transferred to his hand, some spent and rusty
sentinel, long silent and useless, seemed to feel the warmth of the
mender and resumed the round of duty. He would buy from the old estate
halls on the Sassafras and the Chester rivers, tall, solemn clocks,
dead to the purpose of their creation, their stately learned faces
lost to former automatic expressions or waggery, and when exposed to
the infectious influences of his shop, a gurgle of sound as of the
inhalation of air into their lungs had been heard, according to some
people, and next day the carcass of the clock would be found resonant
and its faculties recovered. One day the great patriots, John
Dickinson and Cæsar Rodney, riding past Christina together, stopped
for dinner, and sent their watches in to be cleaned meantime.

"'Minuit,' said Rodney, 'you are a devil with a time-keeper!'

"'Nay, Minuit,' said Dickinson, 'thou art the gentlest custodian of
time in our parts. I would some one could regulate these States and
times like thee.'

"The country round resorted to Minuit for repairs, but he generally
came himself along the roads fortuitously about the time anybody's
dials stood still. He was almost equal as a weather prophet to his
fame as a mechanic, and as his broad, fat face, blue eyes, and portly
body passed some farmer's gate, the cheery cry would go up, perhaps:

"'Make hay--the wind's right!' or again: 'Time enough, farmer, with
another pair of hands. But it's coming from the east!'

"Had it been possible to suggest any superstition about a man
universally popular, people would have said that this henchman of time
and minute-hand of diligence drew his power from doubtful sources.
Further north, where there was less superstition than amongst these
mingled unspiritualized populations, Minuit might have been burnt as a
wizard. A little doctor in the Deutsch hills, who once prescribed for
the clock-mender, reported that his pulse had a metallic beat, and,
looking suddenly up, he saw, where Minuit's face had been, a round
clock face looking down and ticking at him. This doctor was a
worthless fellow, however, and loose of tongue. Minuit, it was
observed, never used a tuning-fork in church, like all leaders of
religious music, but cast his eyes down a moment towards his heart,
and tapped his foot, and then, as if catching the pitch somewhere from
within, he raised the tune and carried it forward with an exquisite
sense of rhythm.

"A very old man and a cripple, who lived across the way from Minuit's,
affected to observe extraordinary changes in his stature according to
the weather changes, elongating as the temperature rose, and in very
cold weather sinking into himself; this man also observed, on the day
of a solar eclipse, that for the period there was nothing at all in
the place where the clock-mender's head had been except a ring of
light which enlarged as the disk of the sun was released. But who
could rely upon the vagaries of an old man, who could do nothing but
make memoranda out of his window upon the doings of his neighbors?

"If anybody knew more than that Fithian Minuit was an obliging,
neighborly man, and a model for mechanics, it must have been the
subject of his romance. He was related to have told all that he knew
upon the mystery of his being to his clergyman, and there is nothing
now to confirm the gossip; for the preacher himself has gone to sleep
in the old Shrewsbury graveyard in Maryland.

"At Port Penn, where the last island in the channel of the lower
Delaware now raises its flaming beacon, and the belated collier steers
safely by Reedy Island light, lived the daughter of an old West India
and coasting captain, who would permit his chronometers to be repaired
and cleaned by nobody but Minuit. His cottage stood where now there is
a broad and sandy street leading to a wooden pier and to
bathing-houses on a pleasure beach. The few people near at hand were
pilots, captains of bay craft, and grain-buyers; although the Dutch
and Swedish farms, alternating with long marshes, musical with birds,
had lined the wide Delaware at this point many a year. In calm, sunny
weather, the broad beauty of the river and its low gold and emerald
shores, with bulky vessels swinging up on the slow full tide, combined
the sceneries of America and the Netherlands; but when a gale blew
over the low shores, scattering the reed-birds like the golden pollen
of the marsh lilies, and cold white gulls succeeded, diving and
careening like sharks of the sky, the ships and coasters felt no
serenity in these wide yeasty reaches of the Delaware bay, and they
labored to drop anchor behind the natural breakwater of Reedy Island.
There, clustering about as thickly in that olden time as they now seek
from all the ocean round the costly shelter of Henlopen breakwater,
coaster and pirate, fisherman and slaver, sent up the prayer a
beneficent government has since granted in the fullest measure, for a
perfect Coast Survey and a vigilant Lighthouse Board.

"The daughter of Captain Lum was named Lois, and she was the junior of
Fithian Minuit by several years, a slender, beautiful girl, with hair
and eyes of the softest brown, and household ways, daughterly and

"The old sea-captain, who made five voyages a year to the nearer
Indies, and sent ashore to Port Penn as he passed, returning, the best
of rum and the freshest of tropical fruits, looked with a jealous eye
upon any possible suitor to his daughter, and had, perhaps,
embarrassed her prospects for a younger protector, if such she had
ever wished. But he loved to see the clock-maker come to the cottage,
who had never shown partiality for any woman, while popular with all.

"'Minuit,' he used to say, 'the best man on watch by land or sea, thou
North Star; look to my girl as to my chronometer, and I'll pay thee
twice the cost of thy time!'

"It was the captain's delight, while ashore, to have every timepiece,
stationary or portable, taken apart in the presence of his daughter
and himself, while he told his sailor yarns, and Lois stood ready to
serve his punch, or pass to the fat, smooth-faced, cheerful Minuit the
pieces of mechanism: brass gimbals, chronometer-boxes, wheels and
springs, ship-glasses, compasses, the manifold parts of little things
by which men grope their way out of sight of land, hung between a
human watch and the crystal shell of the embossed heaven. Chronometers
were with Minuit attractive and yet awe-giving subjects. The legend of
his childhood, well forgotten by all else, said that he had swallowed
a chronometer, so small that a sea-captain could swim with it in his
mouth. And now the sailors of all the navies cruised by the aid of
clumsy watches, big as house-clocks, which to look at made Minuit
smile with pity.

"'Captain Lum,' he said aloud, on the eve of a voyage in the winter
season, 'I have often yearned to go to sea. The sight of it makes me a
little wild. I think I could guess my way over it and about it, by
inherent reckoning.'

"He saw the pair of white hands holding something before him tremble a
little, and he looked up. The spiritual face of Lois was looking at
his with wistful apprehension and interest. If ever his pulse beat out
of time it was now--for in that exchange of glances he felt what she
did not understand--that he was beloved.

"Pain and joy, not swiftly, but softly, filled Minuit--pain, because
he had loved this girl and wished never to have her know it, but would
keep it an unbreathed, a holy mystery; and joy, like any lover's
recognizing himself in the dear heart he had never importuned.

"Next day the good ship Chirpland came off Port Penn. The jolly
captain saying adieu to Minuit, clasped his hand.

"'I saw thy look and my daughter's yesterday,' he said. 'It is weak of
me to deny her a man like thee, thou sailor's friend. My ship is old.
These coasts are dangerous. Nights and days come when we get no sight
of lights ashore or in heaven. If thy chronometer fail, fail not thou,
but be to her repairer and possessor!'

"The discovery and the trust embarrassed Minuit, but he had never
denied the request of any man. His time, as his sign affirmed, was
everybody's. Yet a thrill, a twang, a twinge of delicious fear passed
through him now. He loved this girl dearly, but he feared to love at
all. He had now both the parental and the womanly recognition, and his
days were lonely even with his garrulous timepieces, but he felt a
lonelier sense of the possibility of turning her affection to awe.
Those queer legends of his birth, his affinity for fixed luminaries
and motions, and his conscious knowledge that he stood in some way
related to spheres and orbits, and the laws of revolution and period,
had never disturbed his mind in its calculations. But if he did stand
exceptional in these respects to his fellow-men, might another and a
beloved one comprehend what he himself did not? Yet the kindly regard
of his neighbors, the composure of a conscience well consulted, and
the hope that he was worthy of human love, made him resolve to keep
the captain's admonition, though he hoped the occasion to obey it
might never arrive.

"In the absence of the good ship, however, love could not be deceived.
It spoke in waitings and longings, and in tender glances and
considerateness. She knew the rattle of his carriage-wheels, and he
could feel her in the air like the breath of a beautiful day soon to
appear in distance. Time, toward which he stood in such natural
harmony, was dearer that it contained this passion and life more
exquisite, and himself more questionable for it all.

"It was a stormy winter. Ships strewed the coast between Hatteras and
Navesink, and the capes of the Delaware received many a tattered
barque. The ice poured down and wedged itself between Reedy Island and
the shores, and crushed to pieces many that had escaped the ocean
gales. One night in a raging storm the door of Captain Lum's cabin was
thrown open, and a sailor appeared fresh from the water. He bore in
his hand a chronometer, which Minuit recognized in a moment, and he
drew his arm for the first time around the maiden's form.

"'The Chirpland went down on Five Fathom Shoal, and the captain stood
by her. He bade us return his chronometer, and say that he perished in
the assurance that his daughter was left to the guidance of another
fully as sure.'

"'My child,' said Minuit, 'I accept thee wholly, sharing thy griefs!
Weep, but on the breast of one who loves thee!'

"The village of Christina rejoiced when its broad-faced, dimpled
friend came home with a bride so fair and well-descended. They dressed
the sign before his door with flowers. Only the groom wore an anxious
face as he led her into his tidy home, now for the first time blessed
with a mistress.

"The night of the nuptials came softly down, as nowhere else except
upon the skies of the Delaware and Chesapeake, and Minuit was happy.
The thrumming clocks in the shop below mingled their tones and
tickings in one consonant chorus, scarcely heard above the long drone
and low monotonies of the insects in the creeks and woods, which
assisted silence. The husband slept, how well beloved he could not

"In the dreams of the night he was awakened. In the pale moonshine he
saw his wife, clad in her garments of whiteness, standing by his bed
all trembling.

"'Tell me,' she said, 'what it is that I hear? I have listened till I
am afraid. As I lay in this room perfectly silent, with my head, my
husband, nearest your heart, I felt the ticking of a watch. At first
it was only curious and strange. Now it haunts me and terrifies me. I
am a simple girl, new and nervous to this wedded life. Is this noise
natural? What is it?'

"Minuit trembled also.

"'Lois, my bride, my heaven!' he said. 'Oh! pity me, who have tried to
pity all and make all happy, if I cannot myself explain away the cause
of your alarm. I have kept myself lonely these many years, aware that
I was not like other men, but that my heart--no evil monitor to
me--gave a different sound. There is nothing in its beat, my wife, to
make you fear it. Return and lay your head upon it, and you will hear
it say this only, if you listen with faith: _love_!'

"Thus the watch-maker turned superstition to assurance, and the
admonition of his heart was a source of joy instead of fear to the
listener at its side. It ticked a few bright years with constancy, and
was the last benediction of the world to her ere she was ushered into
that peace which passeth understanding.

"At the death of his wife Minuit felt a deeper sense of his
responsibility to time, and the finite uses of it expanded to a
cheerful conception of the infinite. The country round was generally
settled by a religious people, and the many meeting-houses of
different sects had his equal confidence and sympathy. Pursuing his
craft with unwearied diligence, and delighting the homestead with his
violin as of old, a more pensive and wistful expression replaced his
smile, and love withdrawn beckoned him toward it beyond the boundaries
of period. Hard populations, which would not listen to preachers,
heard with delight the amiable warnings of this friendly man, and as
his own generation grew older, a new race dawned to whom he appeared
in the light of a pure-spirited evangelist. 'Improve the time! watch
it! ennoble it! It is a part of the beautiful and perpetual circle of
everlasting duty. It is to the great future only the little disk of a
second-hand, traversed as swiftly, while the great rim of heaven
accepts it as a part of the eternal round!' Such was the burden of his

"He could ride all along the roads, and hear his missionaries
preaching for him wherever a clock struck, or a dial on the gable of a
great stone barn propelled its shadows. His tracts were in every
farmer's vest pocket. Whatever he made he consecrated with a paragraph
of counsel.

"The old sign faded out. The clock-maker's sight grew dim, but his
apprehensions of the everlasting love and occupation were clearer and
more confident to the end.

"One day they found him in the graveyard of the London Tract, by the
side of the spot where his wife was interred, worn and asleep at the
ripe age of three-score.

"The mill teams and the farm wagons stopped in the road, and the
country folks gathered round in silence.

"'Run down at last,' said one. 'If there are heavenly harps and bells,
he hears them now!'"

And there they hear the ticking, the preaching of this faithful life,
under the old stone, sending up its pleasant message yet. The stone is
perishing like a broken crystal, but the memory of the diligent and
useful man beneath it rings amongst the holy harmonies of the country.
Though dead, he yet speaketh!


    Dull in the night, when the camps were still,
    Thumped two nags over Good Hope Hill;
    The white deserter, the passing spy,
    Took to the brush as the pair went by;
    The army mule gave over the chase;
    The Catholic negro, hearing the pace,
    Said, as they splashed through Oxon Run:
    "Dey ride like de soldiers who speared God's Son!"
    But when Good Friday's bells behind
    Died in the capital on the wind,
    He who rode foremost paused to say:
      "Herold, spur up to my side, scared boy!
    A word has rung in my ears all day--
      Merely a jingle, 'Nanjemoy.'"

    "Ha!" said Herold, "John, why that's
    A little old creek on the river. Surratt's
    Lies just before us. You halt on the green
    While I slip in the tavern and get your carbine!"
    The outlaw drank of the whiskey deep,
    Which the tipsy landlord, half asleep,
    Brought to his side, and his broken foot
    He raised from the stirrup and slashed the boot.
    "Lloyd," he cried, "if some news you invite--
    Old Seward was stabbed in his bed to-night.
    Lincoln _I_ shot--that long-lived fox--
    As he looked at the play from the theatre box;
    And it seemed to me that the sound I heard,
      As the audience fluttered, like ducks round decoy,
    Was only the buzz of a musical word
      That I cannot get rid of--'Nanjemoy.'"

    "Twenty miles we must ride before day,
    Cross Mattawoman, Piscataway,
    If in the morn we would take to the woods
    In the swamp of Zekiah, at Doctor Mudd's!"
    "Quaint are the names," thought the outlaw then,
    "Though much I have mingled with Maryland men!
    I have fever, I think, or my mind's o'erthrown.
    Though scraped is the flesh by this broken bone,
    Every jog that I take on this road so lonely,
      With thoughts, aye bloody, my mind to employ,
    I can but say, over and over, this only--
      The drowsy, melodious 'Nanjemoy.'"

    Silent they galloped by broken gates,
    By slashes of pines around old estates;
    By planters' graves afield under clumps
    Of blackjack oaks and tobacco stumps;
    The empty quarters of negroes grin
    From clearings of cedar and chinquopin;
    From fodder stacks the wild swine flew,
    The shy young wheat the frost peeped through,
    And the swamp owl hooted as if she knew
      Of the crime, as she hailed: "Ahoy! Ahoy!"
    And the chiming hoofs of the horses drew
      The pitiless rhythm of "Nanjemoy."

    So in the dawn as perturbed and gray
    They hid in the farm-house off the way,
    And the worn assassin dozed in his chair,
    A voice in his dreams or afloat in the air,
    Like a spirit born in the Indian corn--
    Immemorial, vague, forlorn,
    And disembodied--murmured forever
    The name of the old creek up the river.
    "God of blood!" he said unto Herold,
    As they groped in the dusk, lost and imperilled,
    In the oozy, entangled morass and mesh
    Of hanging vines over Allen's Fresh:
    "The chirp of birds and the drone of frogs,
    The lizards and crickets from trees and bogs
    Follow me yet, pursue and ferret
      My soul with a word which I used to enjoy,
    As if it had turned on me like a spirit
      And stabbed my ear with its 'Nanjemoy.'"

    Ay! Great Nature fury or preacher
    Makes, as she wists, of the tiniest creature--
    Arming a word, as it floats on the mind,
    With the dagger of wrath and the wing of the wind.
    What, though weighted to take them down,
    Their swimming steeds in the river they drown,
    And paddle the farther shore to gain,
    Chased by gunboats or lost in rain?
    Many a night they try the ferry
      And the days in haggard sleep employ,
    But every raft, or float, or wherry,
      Drifts up the tide to Nanjemoy.

    "Ho! John, we shall have no more annoy,
    We've crossed the river from Nanjemoy.
    The bluffs of Virginny their shadows reach
    To hide our landing upon the beach!"
    Repelled from the manse to hide in the barn,
    The sick wretch hears, like a far-away horn,
    As he lies on the straw by the snoring boy,
    The winding echo of "N-a-n-j-e-m-o-y."
    All day it follows, all night it whines,
    From the suck of waters, the moan of pines,
    And the tread of cavalry following after,
    The flash of flames on beam and rafter,
    The shot, the strangle, the crash, the swoon,
    Scarce break his trance or disturb the croon
    Of the meaningless notes on his lips which fasten,
      And the soldier hears, as he seeks to convoy
    The dying words of the dark assassin,
      A wandering murmur, like "Nanjemoy."


The reception at Secretary Flake's was at its height. Bland Van, the
President of the nation, had departed with his boys; the punch-bowl
had been emptied nine times; and still the cry from our republican
society was, "Fill up!"

A pair of young men, unacquainted with each other, pressed at the same
time to the punch-bowl, and Jack, the chief ladler, turning from the
younger, a clerk in civil dress, helped the elder, a tall naval
officer, to a couple of glasses. The clerk, young Utie, who was
somewhat flushed, addressed the chief ladler and remarked:

"You dam nigger, didn't you see my glass?"

"See it, sah? Yes! I've seen it seval times afo, dis evening."

Black Jack then received the current allowance of curses for his color
and his impudence, all of which he took meekly, till the officer,
Lieutenant Dibdo, interrupted on the negro's behalf.

"It's none o' yo affair, I reckon!" cried Utie sullenly.

"The man had no intention of slighting you," said Dibdo. "You have
been drinking too much, boy, and your coarseness is coming out."

A fresh crowd of thirsty people pressing up at this point gave Jack
his opportunity to cry: "Room around de punch-bowl!"

And the disputants were separated and squeezed by the promenading
tides into different rooms.

The officer presently forgot all about it, but not so young Utie, who
was partly drunk, entirely vain, not a gentleman by nature, and
outraged that anybody had dubbed him "a boy." He sought the side of a
fine young girl, the daughter of the chief of the bureau where he was
employed, and with whom he was in love. She was attired in the free
costume of republican receptions--bare arms, a low dress giving ample
display to the whitest shoulders in the room, and fine natural hair
dressed with flowers. Every gentleman who passed her during the
evening had looked his homage freely--old beaux, dignitaries,
officers, foreign deputies, _roués_--and as she had been two or three
winters in that kind of society, nothing discomposed her.

"Robert," she said, with part of a glance, as Utie rejoined her, "you
go to the punch-bowl too much. You reflect upon me, sir. Besides, I
heard you quarrelling with that handsome officer. I am dying to know
him. Who is he?"

Utie looked viciously up, anger and jealousy inflaming his heated
face, for, although he had no engagement with Miss Rideau, he
conceived himself her future suitor. But some rash words that he said
against the officer were scarcely heard by the self-possessed beauty
of official society, because, just then, the young officer and a
friend were approaching them. She dropped her eyes when she met
Lieutenant Dibdo's bold glance of admiration, perhaps in order not to
be privy to the more searching look with which, like a gentleman of
the world, he ran over the fine points of her plump body as he passed.
But young Utie, seeing the offender of a moment ago taking such ardent
and leisurely survey of the girl under his care, turned pale with
hate. The officer did not notice him at all, absorbed in the fine
colors, eyes, and proportions of Miss Rideau, and this further
outraged Utie who--to his credit be it said--had only modest thoughts
for her. When he saw, however, that she looked after the manly figure
and naval gilt of him of the profane eyes, as if to return his
admiration, the intoxicated boy dropped an oath.

"I will horsewhip that powder-monkey!" he said.

"Robert," said the girl placidly, "you won't. You have no horse and no
horsewhip, but you have been drinking. Go from me, sir! Some one else
shall see me home to-night."

"I will kill the man who takes my place! Do you dare to speak that way
to me?"

He had raised his voice, in his rage, so that some others heard it.
There was a little pause of pressing people, for that was a chivalrous
age as to the manner of men to women, and the young officer, just then
returning, availed himself of a pretty girl's dilemma to say:

"May I assist you, miss? I presume you are not in very agreeable

"Thank you, sir," answered Miss Rideau. "I would be obliged to have
some one find my aunt for me; she is here somewhere."

"Will you accept a stranger's arm?"

"In this misfortune, I will."

Dibdo took off the pretty girl, and one of his naval companions,
looking after him, exclaimed, "What a genius Dib. is with the ladies!"
But the companion, feeling a trembling, unsteady hand upon his arm,
turned about and met young Utie's desperate face. "I want to know the
name of that fellow!" said Utie.

"That is Charles Dibdo," said the naval companion, "lieutenant of the
United States frigate Fox, and I recommend you, my boy, to address
_him_ in a civil tone. For me, I never mind a drunken man."

Thoroughly demonized now, young Robert Utie turned blindly about for
some implement of revenge. He found it in Tiltock, a fellow-clerk, a
novitiate and a ninny, who was visible in the crowd.

"Tiltock, are you a man of honor?"

"I hope so, Bob."

"Can you carry a challenge?"

"Oh yes! I guess so, to 'blige a ole friend."

"Can you write it?"

"I'm afraid not."

"Then take it by word of mouth. That scoundrel there, Lieutenant
Dibdo, has insulted a lady, and me too. I must have his blood. Follow
him up, and meet me at Gadsby's with his answer."

Full of self-importance at this first and safe opportunity to stand
upon what is known as "the field of honor," Tiltock kept the
lieutenant in his eye, and took him finally aside and demanded a
meeting in the name of Utie. The naval officer answered that he had
simply relieved a lady from a drunken boy; but Tiltock, in the
dramatic way common to halcyon old times, refused to accept either
"drunken" or "boy" as terms appropriate to "the code," and pressed for
an answer. In five minutes the naval officer replied, through his
naval companion, that having ascertained Mr. Utie to be a gentleman's
son, and he as an United States officer not being able to decline a
challenge, the latter was accepted. The weapons were to be pistols,
the place the usual ground at Bladensburg, and the time the afternoon
of the next day.

There was a good deal of drinking and boasting at the hotels that
night, Utie and Tiltock telling everybody, as a particular secret,
that there was to be "an 'fah honah," otherwise a "juel," at
"Bladensburg, sah!" The gin-drinking, cock-fighting, sporting element
of the town was aroused, and Utie and Tiltock were invited on all
sides to imbibe to the significant toast of "The Field." Very noisy,
very insolent, nuisances indeed, these two mere lads--the offspring of
a vain and ignorant social period of which some elements yet
remain--borrowed the money to hire a carriage, and at midnight they
set out with some associates by the old, rutty, clay road for the
Maryland village of Bladensburg. That night they caroused until
Nature, despite her revolt, put them to bed. In the morning, with a
swollen and sallow face, dry hair, unsteady hands, aching eyes and
dim vision, Robert Utie awoke to the recollection of his folly and his
rashness, and he realized the critical period which he had provoked.
His clerkship lost, his self-pride poignant, his pockets nearly empty,
his respectable career irretrievably terminated, his sweetheart
insulted, and his life in danger! There was no escape either from
despair or fate. Tiltock was strutting about below stairs with a
drunken old doctor, misnamed a surgeon, who deposited behind the bar a
rusty case of surgical instruments, and who took a deep potation to
the toast of "The fawchuns of waw." The Bladensburg people were well
aware of the occasion, and the old tavern was surrounded by loafers
and gossips, many of whom were boys who had walked out from the city
as we go to prize-fights in our day. To fill up the time a dog-fight
and a chicken-fight were improvised by the enterprising stable-boys in
the back yard, on the green slopes of the running Branch. While
Tiltock strutted out of town at an imposing pace to examine "The
Field," Robert Utie retired to his room, sought with an emetic to
relieve his stomach, and then sat down to write some letters and an
epitaph. The paper was thin, and the pen and ink matched it, but the
drunken boy's eyes marred more than all; for suddenly the secret
fountains of his lost youth were touched as by the prick of his pen,
and the drops gushed out upon the two words he had written:

"Dear mother--"

Not his sweetheart, who was nothing to him now; not his "honor," which
had been only vain-glory and deceit; not any thing but this earliest,
everlasting faith which is ours forever, whether we be steadfast or go
astray: the tie of home, of childhood, and of our mother's prayer and
kiss--this was the soft reproach which glided between a wasted youth
and the "field of valor" he had tempted. He wept. He sobbed. He threw
himself upon the bed, and pressing his temples into the ragged quilt,
felt the panorama of childhood pass across his mind like something
cool, sorrowful, and compassionate. The sickness _she_ had cured, the
bad words _she_ had taken from his undutiful lips, the whipping she
had saved him from at the cost of her deceit, the lie she had never
told _him_, the tears he had found her shedding upon her knees when
first he had been drinking, the money he had never given her out of
his salary but had spent with idlers, his ruined soul which to that
mother's thought was pure as a baby's still, and watched by all the
angels of God: these were admonitions from the green meadows of
childhood. Before was the barren field of honor.

How short is the struggle betwixt youth and selfishness, that sum of
all diseases and crimes; that selfishness out of which wars arise and
hell is habitated!

A poor, overworked Christian negro, a slave in the tavern, hearing the
sobbing of Robert Utie and aware that one of the duellists occupied
that room, lifted the latch, and wakened the wretched boy from his

"Young moss," he said, "doan you fight no juels! Oh! doan do it, for
de bressed Lord's sake! It's nuffin but pride and sin. Yo's only a
pore, spilt boy, but you got a soul, young moss! Doan you go git kilt
in dat ar bloody gully wha' so many gits hurt amoss to deff!"

Utie arose from the dream of home, and kicked the poor slave out of
the room. He then drank, speculated upon his chances, practised with
an imaginary pistol at the wall, and meditated running away,
alternately, until Tiltock's business-step rang in the hall.

"Bob," he said, "we've picked you a beautiful piece of ground, and the
other party's waiting. It's the most popular juel of the season."

They walked up the sandy village street, under the old hip-roofed
houses, crossed the Branch bridge, and proceeded a quarter of a mile
on the road to Washington. There, where a rivulet crossed the road
amongst some bushes, they descended by a path into a copse, and on to
a green meadow-space cleared away by former rain freshets. Farm boys,
town boys, and intruders of all sorts were lurking near. The field of
honor resembled a gypsy camp.

Lieutenant Dibdo's companion came up to Tiltock and said that his
friend did not wish to fight, and would make any manly apology, even
though unconscious of offence, if the challenge was withdrawn. The
crowd was ardent for the fight, and Tiltock, who was punctilious about
honor, particularly where he could cut a safe figure, repelled the
compromise, as "unwarranted by the code." He knew as much about the
code as about honor, and more about both than about getting a living.

"Then," said the lieutenant, "I am authorized to say that my principal
will take Mr. Utie's first fire. Let him improve the generous chance
as he will. The second time we will make business of it."

The interlopers fell back. The word was given: "Ready--Aim--Fire!"
Robert Utie, sustained by braggadocio, that quality which makes
murderers die on the scaffold heroically, fired full at the body of
Lieutenant Dibdo. That officer fired into the air and remained unmoved
and unharmed.

"Is another shot demanded?"

"Yes," said Tiltock, "our honor is not yet satisfied."

He waved the crowd back in an imperious way--they having rushed in
after the first shot--and he gave the word himself like a dramatic

Robert Utie looked, and this time with a livid, sobered face, into the
open pistol of the man he had provoked, the professional officer of
death. The fine, cool face behind the pistol was concise, grave, and
eloquent now as a judge's pronouncing the last sentence of the law.
The next instant the boy was biting and clawing at the ground in
mortal agony. The impatient crowd rushed in. A faint voice was heard
to gasp for what some said was "water" and some thought was "mother."
Then a figure with a dissipated face a little dignified by death, and
with some of the softness of childhood glimmering in it, like the
bright footfall of the good angel whose mission was done and whose
flight was taken--this figure lay upon its back amongst the bushes,
under the sunshine, peeped at by distant hills, contemplated by idlers
as if it were the body of a slain game-chicken, and the drunken
"surgeon" was idiotically feeling for its heart.

"Gentlemen," said Tiltock with a flourish, "we are all witnesses that
every thing has been honorably conducted."

The city had its little talk. The newspapers in those days were models
of what is called high-toned journalism, and printed nothing on purely
personal matters like duels when requested to respect the feelings of
families. As if "the feelings of families" were not the main cause of
duels! There was a mother somewhere, still clinging with her prayers
to the footstool of God, hoping for the soul of her boy even after
death and wickedness. This was all, except the revolution of the
world, and the wedding in due time upon it of Lieutenant Dibdo and
Miss Rideau. It was what was called a romantic wedding.



    Nick Hammer sat in Funkstown
      Before his tavern door--
    The same old blue-stone tavern
      The wagoners knew of yore,
    When the Conestoga schooners
      Came staggering under their load,
    And the lines of slow pack-horses
      Stamped over the National Road.

    Nick Hammer and son together,
      Both blowing pipe-smoke there,
    Like a pair of stolid limekilns,
      In the blue South Mountain air;
    And the mills of the Antietam,
      Grinding the Dunker's wheat
    So oldly and so slowly,
      Groaned up the deserted street.

    "What think'st thou, Nick, my father?"
      Said Nick, the old man's twin.
    "This whole year thou art silent.
      Let a little speech begin.
    Thou think'st the bar draws little;
      That the stables are empty yet,
    And the growing pride of Hagerstown,
      Thou can'st not that forget."

    "Thou liest, Nick, my little boy;
      For Hager's bells I hear
    Like the bells of olden travel,
      Forgot upon mine ear.
    In a wonderful thing once asked him
      Thy dear old daddy is sunk--
    I have sot here a year and wondered
      Who the devil was Mr. Funk!"


    "A year ago I was smoking,
      When a strange young fellow came by.
    He was taking notes on paper,
      And the rum in his'n was _rye_.
    Says he: 'I'm a writin' a hist'ry'--
      'Twas then I thought he was drunk--
    'And I want to see your graveyard,
      And the tomb of your founder, Funk!'

    "I think if he'd sot there, sonny,
      I'd looked at him a week;
    But he wanished tow'rd the graveyard,
      Before your daddy could speak.
    Directly back he tumbled,
      Before I had quit my stare,
    And he says: 'I'm disappinted!
      No Funk is buried in there.'

    "'The Funks is all up-country'--
      That's all I could think to say,
    'There never was Funks in Funkstown,
      And there ain't any Funks to-day.'
    'Why man,' he says, 'the city
      That stands on Potomac's shores
    Was settled by Funk, the elder,
      Who afterward settled yours!

    "'The Carrols, they bust him yonder;
      Old Hager, he bust him here;
    But my heart will bust till I find him,
      And make a sketch of his bier.
    Oh shame on the Funkstown spirit
      That in Maryland does dwell!
    _He_ wouldn't consent to be buried
      Where you can keep a hotel.'"


    "There's John Stocklager, daddy,"
      Said young Nick, thinking much;
    "A hundred years he's settled
      Amongst the mountain Dutch.
    Ask _him_!" "Nay, young Nick Hammer,
      You young fellows run too fast:
    I shall set out here a thinking,
      And maybe Funk'll go past!"


    He drank and smoked and pondered,
      And deep in the mystery sunk;
    And the more Nick Hammer wondered
      The duller he grew about Funk.
    The wagoners talked it over,
      And a new idea to trace
    Enlivened the dead old village
      Like a new house built in the place.


    One day in June two wagons
      Came over Antietam bridge
    And a tall old man behind them
      Strode up the turnpike ridge.
    His beard was long and grizzled,
      His face was gnarled and long,
    His voice was keen and nasal,
      And his mouth and eye were strong.

    One wagon was full of boxes
      And the other full of poles,
    As the weaver's wife discovered
      While the weaver took the tolls.
    Two young men drove the horses,
      And neither the people knew;
    But young Nick asked a question
      And that old man looked him through.

    A little feed they purchased,
      And their teams drank in the creek,
    And to and fro they travelled
      As silently for a week--
    Went southward laden heavy,
      And northward always light,
    And the gnarled old man aye with them,
      With the long beard flowing white.

    From Sharpsburg up to Cavetown
      The story slowly rolled--
    That old man knew the mountains
      Were filled with ore of gold.
    The boxes held his crucibles;
      'Twas haunted where he trod;
    And every shafted pole he brought
      Was a divining rod!

    And none knew whence he came there,
      Nor they his course who took,
    Down the road to Harper's Ferry,
      In a shaggy mountain nook;
    But Nick the Sire grew certain,
      While from his eye he shrunk,
    That old man was none other
      Than the missing Mr. Funk:

    The famous city-builder
      Who once had pitched upon
    The sunny ledge of Funkstown,
      And the site of Washington.
    Again he was returning
      To the Potomac side,
    To found a temple in the hills
      Before he failed and died!

    And Nick laughed gently daily
      That he alone had guessed
    The mystery of the elder Funk
      That had puzzled all the rest.
    And younger Nick thought gently:
      "Since that chap asked for Funk
    There's been commotion in this town,
      And daddy's always drunk."


    But once the ring of rapid hoofs
      Came sudden in the night,
    And on the Blue Ridge summits flashed
      The camp-fire's baleful light.
    Young Nick was in the saddle,
      With half the valley men,
    To find that old man's fighting sons
      Who kept the ferry glen.

    And like the golden ore that grew
      To his divining rod,
    The shining, armed soldiery
      Swarmed o'er the clover sod;
    O'er Crampton's gap the columns fought,
      And by Antietam fords,
    Till all the world, Nick Hammer thought,
      At Funkstown had drawn swords.


    Together, as in quiet days
      Before the battle's roar,
    Nick Hammer and his one-legg'd son
      Smoked by the tavern door.
    The dead who slept on Sharpsburg Heights
      Were not more still than they;
    They leaned together like the hills,
      But nothing had to say;

    Save once, as at his wooden stump
      The young man looked awhile,
    And damned the man who made that war--
      He saw Nick Hammer smile.
    "My little boy," the old man said,
      "Think long as I have thunk--
    You'll find this war rests on the head
      Of that 'air Mister Funk!"


In the little town of Chester, near the Bay of Chesapeake, lived an
elegant man, with the softest manners in the world and a shadow
forever on his countenance. He bore a blameless character and an
honored name. He had one son of the same name as his own, Perry
Whaley. This son was forever with him, for use or for pleasure; they
could not be happy separated, nor congenial together. A destiny seemed
to unite them, but with it also a baleful memory. The negroes
whispered that in the boy's conception and birth was a secret of
shame; he was not this father's son, and his mother had confessed it.

That mother was gone--fled to a distant part of the world with her
betrayer--and the divorce was recorded while yet young Perry Whaley
was a babe. But the boy never knew it: his origin reposed in the
sensitive memory of his father only, and every day the father looked
at the son long and distantly, and the son at the father with a most
affectionate longing.

"Papa," he would say, "can't you try to love me? Do I disobey you? I
am sure I am always unhappy out of your sight."

The father could not do without that boy, but could only hate him. "My
son," he would reply, "you are obedient, but a demon! I could not love
you if I would!"

"Never mind then, father, I can wait. There is plenty of time in life
to make you love me!"

Judge Whaley--for he had been on the bench--was the highest example in
Maryland of honor and pride. A General of militia, often in the
Legislature, and once or twice a Senator at Washington, he had all
the shattered sensibilities of a proud man wounded in the soul. Age
was coming untimely upon his high temples and shadowed countenance,
and as he walked along the market-place and green court-house yard,
polite to men, boys, and negroes, they said in low tones, "Pity such a
real gentleman can't be happy!"

In public affairs Judge Whaley was not silent: he led his party with
intrepid utterances, and his prejudices, like his intellect, were
strong; but though the election sometimes hung by a few votes, and his
influence then gave every temptation on the part of low speakers and
writers to allude to his domestic dishonor, the vile reminiscence was
never mentioned. A profound respect for the man permeated society, and
in his unsmiling way he was kind to whites and blacks. A slaveholder,
and at the head of the principal slave-holding connection, and the
particular champion in that region of slavery privileges, he would
take his Bible and visit the cottages of his negroes and read to them
even when sick of contagious fevers. He defended poor clients freely
in the courts, and fought for the lives of free negroes under capital
indictments. He was of the vestry of the aged Episcopal Church, which
dominated the social influence of the town, and never omitted
attendance on all the services, but with the shadow forever on his
brow. Young Perry went everywhere with his father, and chattered and
was active to oblige him, and sometimes by his boyish humor made a
little light weaken the strong edges of that paternal shadow; but in a
few minutes, looking up into the Judge's face, he would see that
distant, accusing look returned again.

A great desire sprang up in the boy's heart to be fully loved by his
father. He looked at other boys and saw that they received from their
fathers a treatment not more gentle, but more real, as if a deep well
of feeling lay in those parents which could send up cool water or
tears, either in disagreement or sympathy. Young Perry had his own
horse and his negro, and was the only inhabitant, besides the Judge,
of the old black brick, square, colonial house on the brink of the
river--that house whence the light had gone in lurid flight when the
young wife, in the bravado of her shame, departed forever.

Judge Whaley was able, with his intellectual sympathy, to observe that
his boy was apt and right-minded.

Perry read law precociously, and liked it. He was the best juvenile
debater in the little old college on the slight hill overlooking the
town. His appearance was good, and he had a cheerful nature; yet
nowhere, among beautiful girls or riding companions, gunning on the
river, crabbing on the bridge, or skating on the meadows, was he half
so happy as with his father.

"Well, Perry," the Judge would say, "how is my demon to-day--what is
he studying now?"

"Studying you, papa; I don't understand you."

"The time will come, alas for you!" exclaimed the Judge.

"Do I displease you in any thing I do?"

"No, my son."

"Do you believe I love you?"

"Yes, I do believe it. I wish, Perry, it could be returned."

The son, under the influence of this discouraging confidence, became
serious and melancholy. He would take his gun on his shoulder and wade
out into the meadow marshes, as if for game, and there would be seen
by other gunners sitting on some old pier or perched on some worm
fence, looking straight up at the sky, as if it might answer the
riddle of his father's hate and his own unreciprocated affection. He
would also, on rainy or cold days, when the inmates could not stir
abroad, mount his horse and ride to the almshouse beyond the town
mill, and, taking a pleasant story or ballad from his pocket, read to
the huddled paupers, as well as to the keeper's family, attracted by
his pleasant condescension. By degrees the boy's face also took the
shadow worn by his father.

"Oh, if they could only love!" remarked the old people around the
court-house; "or if they only could admit the real love between them!"

The Judge never admitted it; that seemed to be a part of his religion,
a duty to himself, if painful, and the son never woke nor retired to
rest without searching in that paternal shadow for the kindly gleam of
awakened love, yet ever kissed the shadow only, and a brow that was

One Christmas Day the river was frozen--a rare event in that genial
latitude, and hearing that wild geese were flying down toward the bay
creeks and coves, the Judge took his gun and a negro and set off,
without waiting for Perry, who was not immediately to be found. An
hour later the boy returned and heard of his father's departure, and
started on horseback to overtake the carriage. He followed the track
beyond the mill and almshouse, and across the heads of several
peninsulas or necks leading into the wide tidal river. A few frosted
persimmons hung yet to their warty branches; the hulls of last
autumn's black walnuts were beneath the spreading boughs; old orchards
of peach-trees where the tints of green and bud smouldered in pink
contrast to the oft-blackened and sapless branches, set off the purple
beads of the haw on the bushes along the lanes. Fish-hawks, flying
across the sky, felt the shadow of the flocks of wild ducks flying
higher; and rabbits crossed the road so boldly in the face of Perry
Whaley, that once a raccoon, limping across a cornfield like a lame
spaniel, turned too and took both barrels of Perry's gun without other
fright or injury than slightly to hurry its pace. As the young man
heard the crows chatter around the corn-shocks and the mocking-bird in
some alder-thicket answer and sauce the catbird's scream, he said to

"Every thing is attached by an inner chord to something else, and that
other thing, free-hearted, carols or quarrels back--except father to
me. Can I not, too, find something to love me? There is Marion, the
Doctor's daughter, with the chestnut curls falling all round her
neck--she loves me, I know; but until I gain my father's love I cannot
think of woman!"

The pine-trees above his head murmured rather than moaned, as if they
strongly sympathized with him and would presently make loud and angry
cause against his enemies. "What is it," asked Perry of his
unsuspecting mind, "which makes my father so unappeasable? What is
there in me which broods upon his just and honorable life, and which
he cannot drive away though he tries? Has he some learned
superstition, some religious vow or mistaken sacrifice?"

Perry turned down a lane and then into the bed of a frozen brook, and
coming in sight of the broad river, espied his father, gun in hand,
stealthily creeping under a load of brush and twigs which the Judge's
negro had piled about his back and head, to conceal his figure from a
flock of ducks that were bathing and diving in an open place of deep
water, to which the ice had not extended.

The gliding brush heap, by slow and flitting advances, had progressed
about to within gunshot of the scarce suspecting fowls, and Perry and
the negro, from different sides of the cove, watched with the keenest
interest--when suddenly, with very little noise, the ice gave way and
Judge Whaley had sunk in deep water, loaded down with heavy gunning
boots, shot-belt, overcoat and gun. The negro stood paralyzed a
minute and then fell upon his knees, unknowing what to do. A sense of
joy started in Perry Whaley's breast as strong as his apprehensive
fears. He might be made the instrument of saving that beloved life,
and dissipating the spell of its indifference!

Nothing but this ardent passion saved Perry himself from drowning. He
had crossed the cove ere yet the impulse of parental recognition had
taken form, and throwing a rein from the carriage around the negro
man's armpits, and seizing a long fence-rail, ran rapidly across,
pulling both toward the point of danger.

Judge Whaley had been a powerful man and an accomplished sportsman;
and still as resolute as in youth, struggled with all intelligence for
his life. He sank to the bottom on first breaking through the ice,
then reaching upward made two or three powerful efforts to catch the
rim of the ice-field and sank again in each endeavor, weighted down
with leather and iron. He had sunk to rise no more when Perry reached
the edge of the field, placed the end of the rail over the abyss and
planted the negro's weight upon it, and then he dived, head foremost,
into the freezing salt depths--where the tide was running--and with
the carriage rein looped in his right hand. Before he could lay hand
upon his father, that desperate man had seized him by the hair and
drawn his head to the bottom, and every instant Perry felt that his
remainder of breath was almost run unless he could break that iron
hold. Even in that instant of agony, with death painting its awful
pageantry on his interior sight, Perry felt a gladder kind of destiny;
that perhaps the arms of a father's love were around him, and in
another sphere, already about to dawn, the shadow might depart from
that kind face and unyearning heart.

But with a sense of more human dutifulness, Perry recalled his
residuum of perception. It was necessary to break that drowning man's
grapple upon his hair, and taking the only way, if cruel, to assist
his father, the young man struck the elder's knuckles with his
clinched fist. As they released the rein was thrown about Judge
Whaley's shoulders and run through the buckle, and as his rescuer,
almost exhausted, swam upward, he made the rein fast to his ankle and
seized hold of the rail. Here occurred another agonizing delay. The
negro could not pull the rail in, between his own fears and the double
burden; the young man was exhausted and cramped with cold, and every
instant his father, still submerged, was drowning. At this moment
when the renewed probability of death brought no compensations of a
tender sentiment, it pleased the tide to whirl Judge Whaley's body
inwards, directly beneath the ice-field, and he being now insensible,
if alive at all, the negro clutched it effectually. In the awakened
pain and hope of that minute, Perry Whaley supported himself along the
piece of rail to the solid ice, and assisted to draw his father from
the water, and then swooned dead. They lay together, the unwelcome son
and the repelling father, under the universal pity of the great eye of
Heaven, on the natal day of Him who came into the world also
fatherless, but not disowned.

A neighboring farmer sent one of his boys to Chester for the doctor,
and by rubbing and restoratives, both the Judge and his son were
brought back to circulation and pulsation. Perry soon recovered, but
Judge Whaley was saved only with the greatest difficulty. It was
nightfall in the hospitable farm-house before he was able to see or
speak, and then, a little drunken with the spirits which had been
administered, he asked in a whisper:

"Who saved my life?"

"Who but your son Perry?" answered the cheerful Doctor Voss. "You were
both wrapped together for a long while in the bottom of the cove!"

"My son!" exclaimed Judge Whaley, scarcely understanding the reply.
"Who is my son?"

"Here, father! We are both alive. Thank God!"

"_My_ son?" muttered Judge Whaley. "Brave son! Who is it?"

"Why, Perry Whaley!" answered the good housewife. "His arms are around
your neck. Those warm kisses were his!"

The sick man glared about him till his eye fell on the boy.

"Ha!" he whispered. "By you. Had I awakened in heaven would you have
been there, too?"

The Judge sank back into a moment's insensibility, and the son sat
there sobbing piteously.

Though saved from the wave Judge Whaley had a long following spell of
fever, in which his son nursed him for many weeks, and once the spark
of life seemed to have fled; the Judge's pulse stopped still, and
while they were at solemn prayer--the rector of the Episcopal Church
reading from his book--Perry cried: "He still lives. It is the
medicine he needs!"

After the second resuscitation Dr. Voss remarked: "It is not often,
Judge Whaley, that a man's life is twice saved by his son!"

Tears were no longer in Perry's eyes; he had heard his father in
delirium constantly repeat his name. After the Judge's recovery he
placed in Perry's pocket a fine English watch, and gave him a pair of
horses and a stylish wagon.

"Hereafter," he said, "you shall take charge of the property. My son,
look about you and find a wife! In your character you are deserving of
a good one, for I fear the affection you are seeking can never arise
in my heart enough to satisfy you. Gratitude and respect are always
here, my son, but love has been a stranger to me these many years. I
wish you to marry while I live, and be happy in some good woman's
affection. I may die and you may not become my heir! There is the
doctor's beautiful daughter; she has my decided approval!"

"If it is your wish, father, I will marry."

The day Perry Whaley was admitted to the bar of Kent County on motion
of his father, he stopped with his pair of horses at Doctor Voss's
house, and asked Miss Marion to take a drive. She was a peerless
brunette, whose dark brown curls taking the light upon their
luxuriance seemed the rippling of water from the large amber wells of
her eyes. In childhood she had looked with admiration on his straight,
trim figure and manly courtesy, and hoped that she might find favor in
his sight. For this she had put by the scant opportunities in a small,
old, unvisited town, to be wedded to her equals, and the whispered
imputation that there was a taint in Perry Whaley's blood made no
impression upon her wishes. Her younger sisters were gone before her,
but true to the impetuous tendencies of her childhood she waited for
Perry, indulging the dream that she was destined to be his wife.

The happy, supreme opportunity had come. They took the road over the
river drawbridge into another county; the frost was out of the ground,
and the loamy road invited the horses to their speed until the breath
of spring raised in Marion's cheeks the color that dressed the budding
peach orchards which spread over the whole landscape, as if Nature was
in maternity and her rosy breasts were full of milk.

"Do you like these horses, Marion?" said Perry Whaley, when they had
gone several miles. "If you do you can drive them as long as you

She laughed, more because it was the feminine way than in her feeling.

"Drive them alone?"

"Only when you do not want me to go."

"Then it will seldom be alone, Perry."

They both breathed short in silence, the happy silence of youth's
desire and assent, until Perry said, "You are sure you love me, then?"

"Must I be frank, Perry?"

"As much as ever in your life!"

"I am very sure. I loved you in my childhood--no more now than then,
except that the growth of love has strengthened with my strength."

"Marion," said the young man with a thoughtful face, "if I have not
long ago recognized this fidelity, which, to be also frank with you, I
have suspected--not because of any desert of mine, but love is like
the light which we distinctly feel even with our eyes shut--it has
been because with all my soul I was laboring for my father's love
first. You have seen the shadow on his brow? How it came there I do
not know. I have thought that with my wife to light the dark chambers
of our old house, a triple love would bloom there, and what he has
called the demon in me would disappear beneath your beautiful
ministrations. Be that angel to both of us, and as my wife touch the
fountain of his tears and make his noble heart embrace me!"

Marion Voss felt a great sense of trouble. "Is it possible," she
thought, "that Perry has never suspected the cause of that shadow on
the Judge's life? Perhaps not! It would have been cruel to tell Perry,
but crueller, perhaps, to let him grow to manhood in unchallenged
pride and find it out at such a critical time." The rest of the ride
passed in endearments and the engagement vow was made.

"My dear one," said Marion, as they rolled on the bridge at Chester,
and the few lights of the town and of the vessels and the single
steamboat descended into the river, "had you not better have an
understanding with your father on the subject of his affection?
Perhaps you have talked in riddles. Something far back may have
disturbed your mutual faith. Whatever it is, nothing shall break my
promise to you. I will be your wife, or no man's. But the shadow that
is on Judge Whaley's face I fear no wife can drive away."

These words disturbed young Perry Whaley, as he drove his horses into
the hotel stable and slowly pursued his way across the public plot or
area, past the old square brick Methodist church, already lighted
brightly for a special evening service, though it was a week-day. He
passed next the small, echoing market-house and the Episcopal church,
and court-house yard. Every thing he saw had at that moment the
appearance of something so very vivid and real that it frightened him.
Yonder was the spot where, with other boys, he had burned tar-barrels
on election nights; up a lane the jail where he had seen the prisoners
flatten their noses against the bars to beg tobacco; a tall Lombardy
poplar at a corner stood stolid except at its summit, where a portion
of the foliage whispered with a freshening sound. How still; as if
every thing was in suspense like him--the favorite of the old town
for so many years, and soon to become the possessor of its most
beautiful and virtuous woman!

He sounded the knocker at the door of the square, solid brick mansion,
built while all acknowledged the King of Britain here, and in whose
threshold General Washington had stood more than once. His father
admitted him directly into a prim, wainscoted room with a
square-angled stairway in the corner leading above; a thick rag carpet
was on the floor; the furniture was mahogany and hair-cloth; on the
wall were portraits of the Whaleys or Whalleys, back to that regicide
who fled from the vengeance of King Charles's sons, and, escaping many
perils in New England, lived unrecognized on this peninsula.

Judge Whaley had lighted a large oil lamp, and its shade threw the
flame upon his strong magisterial face, wherein grief and
righteousness seemed as highly blent as in some indigent republican
Milton or Pym.

"My father," said Perry Whaley with the tender tone habitual to him,
"I have consulted your wishes as well as my desire. Marion Voss will
be my wife."

"It is well, my son," replied Judge Whaley, placing upon his nose his
first pair of silver spectacles. "You are entitled to so much beauty
and grace on every ground of a dutiful youth and agreeable person, and
of talents which will make both of you a comfortable livelihood."

"Father, with so great a change of relations before me, I desire to
obtain your whole confidence."

Perry's voice trembled; the Judge sat still as one of the brazen
andirons where the wood burned with a colorless flame in the
fireplace. The father took off the spectacles and laid them down.

"Confidence in what respect, Perry?"

The young man walked to his father and knelt at his knee and clasped
his hand. Even then Perry saw the shadow gather in that kind man's
brow, as if he perceived the demon in his son.

"Before I make a lady my wife, father, I want every mystery of my
life related. I have always heard that my mother died. Where is she

There was a long pause.

"She is not dead," said Judge Whaley, without any inflection, "except
to me."

"Not dead, father?" asked the son, with throbbing temples. "Oh, why
have I been so deceived? Were you unhappy?"

"I thought I was happy," said the Judge huskily; "that was long my

"And my mother--was she, too, happy when you were so?"


The young man rose and walked to the wainscot and back again. "Dear
father, I see the origin of the shadow upon your brow. Why was I not
told before? Perhaps the son of two unhappy parents might have brought
them together again, if for no other congenial end, than that he was
their only son!"

The Judge raised his eyes to the imploring eyes of the younger man.
The shadow never was so deep upon his brow as Perry saw it now; it was
the shadow of a long inured agony intensified by a dread judicial

"You are not my son!" he said.

Perry's mouth opened, but not to articulate. He stretched out his
hands to touch something, and that only which he could not reach
struck and stunned him; he had fallen senseless to the floor.

When Perry returned to knowledge he was lying upon the carpet, a cloak
under his head, and his father, walking up and down, stooped over him
frequently to look into his face with a tender, yet suffering
interest. The young man did not move, and only revealed his
wakefulness at last by raising his hand to check a relieving flow of

"My dear boy," finally said Judge Whaley, himself shedding tears, "I
had supposed that you already knew something of the tragedy of my

"Never," moaned Perry.

"Then, forgive me; I should myself have gradually told you the tale;
it might have come up with your growth, inwoven like a mere ghost
story. Did no playmate, no older intimate, not one of your age
striving for the bar, ever whisper to you that I had been deceived,
and that you, my only comfort, were the fruit of the deception?"

"No, sir." Perry's tears seemed to dry in the recollection. "We were
both gentlemen--at least, after we reached this world. No one ever
insulted me nor you! I humbly thank God that, discredited as I may
have been, my conduct to all was so considerate that no one could
obtrude such a truth upon me. Is it the truth? O father!--I must call
you so! it is the only word I know--is this, at last, one of the
dreadful visions of diseased sleep or of insanity? Who am I? What was
my mother? I can bear it all, for now I have seen why you never loved

Perry, pale as death and still of feeble brain, had arisen as he spoke
and made this imploration with only the eloquence of haggard
forgetfulness. The Judge took Perry's hands and supported him.

"My son, have I not earned the name of father? Yes, I have plucked the
poison-arrow from my heart and sucked its venom. I have taken the
offspring of my injurer and warmed it in my bosom. Every morning when
you arose I was reminded of my dishonor. Every night when we kissed
good-night, I felt, God knows, that I had loved my enemies and done
good to them which injured me!"

The young man, looking up and around in the impotence of expression,
saw the portraits of the dead Whaleys in unbroken lineal
respectability, bending their eyes upon him--the one, the only
impostor of the name!

"Perry," continued the Judge, "I am not wholly guilty of keeping you
blind. I have told you many times that between us was a gap, a rift of
something. I have sometimes said, as your artless caresses, mixed
with the bitter recollection of your origin, almost dispossessed my
reason, that you were 'my demon.'"

"Yes, father; but I was so anxious to love you that I never brooded on
that. I see it all! Every repulse comes back to me now. You have
suffered, indeed, and been the Christian. But I must hear the tale
before I depart."

"Depart! Where?"

"To find my mother, if she lives. To find my name! I cannot bear this
one. It would be deceit."

"Not even the name of My Son?"

"Alas! no. Just as I am I must be known. My putative father, if he
lives, must give me another name."

"Thank God, Perry, he is dead!"

"But not his name. I can make honorable even my--"

"Say it not!" exclaimed the Judge, placing his hand upon Perry's
mouth. "Pure as all your life has been, you shall not degrade it with
such a word. Oh, my son!--my orphan son!--dear faithful prattler
around my feet for all these desolate and haunted years, I have
doubted for your sake every thing--that wedlock was good, that pride
of virtuous origin was wise, that human jealousy was any thing but a
tiger's selfishness. I did not sow the seed that brought you forth;
too well I know it! Yet grateful and fair has been the vine as if
watered by the tears of angels; and when I sleep the demon in you
fades, and then, at least, your loving tendrils find all my nature an
arbor to take you up!"

"Would to God!" said Perry bitterly, "that in the sleep of everlasting
death we laid together. O my God! how I have loved you--father!"

The Judge enfolded the young man in his arms and like a child Perry
rested there. The lamp, previously burning very low, went out for want
of oil, as the old man nursed like his own babe the serpent's
offspring, not his own but another's untimely son, bred on the honor
of a husband's name. As they sat in the perfect darkness of the old
riverside mansion, Judge Whaley told his tale.

He had neglected to marry until he had become of settled legal and
business habits, and more than forty-five years of age when he chose
for a wife a young lady who professed to admire and love him. They had
no children. The wife was a coquette, and began to woo admiration
almost as soon as the nuptials were done. Judge Whaley thought nothing
ill of this; he was in the heyday of his practice and willing to let
one so much his junior enjoy herself. Among his law students was a
young man from South Carolina, of brilliant manners and insidious
address. This person had already become so intimate with Mrs. Whaley
as to draw upon the Judge anonymous letters notifying him that he was
too indifferent, to which letters he gave no attention, only bestowing
the more confidence and freedom upon her, when, happily, as it was
thought, the wife showed signs of maternity. Perry was born, to the
joy of his father. The young mother, however, hastened to recover her
health and gayety. The favor she expressed for the student's society
was revived and not opposed by her husband. Judge Whaley returned
unexpectedly one day to his residence; he came upon a scene that in an
instant destroyed faith and rendered explanation impossible. His wife
was false. The student passionately avowed himself her seducer. The
Judge went through the ordeal like a magistrate.

"Take her away with you," he said. "That is the only reparation you
can do her, until she is legally divorced, and after that, if
necessary, I will give her an allowance, but she cannot rest under
this roof another night. It has been the abode of chaste wives since
it was builded. My honor is at stake. This day she must go. Make her
your wife and let neither ever return."

They departed by carriage, unknown to any, and never had returned.
But a few weeks after they disappeared a letter was received by Judge
Whaley, admonishing him that his son was the offspring of the same
illegal relations. It was signed and written by his wife. The wretched
man debated whether he should send the infant to an asylum or keep it
upon his premises. Through procrastination, continued for twenty
years, the child had derived all the advantages of legitimacy, and
still the demon of the husband's peace was the test of the gentleman's

As this story had proceeded toward its final portions, the young man
had detached himself from his father's arms. When Judge Whaley
concluded in the darkness he waited in vain for a response. The old
man lighted the lamp and peered about the room wistfully. Perry was

That night, in the happiness of her engagement, Marion Voss had a glad
unrest, which her mother noticed. "Dear," said the mother, "let us go
over to the Methodist church. It is one of their protracted meetings
or revivals, as they call it. If Perry comes he will know where to
find us, as I will leave word."

The Methodists were second in social standing, but a wide gap
separated them from the slave-holding and family aristocracy, who were
Episcopalians. The sermon was delivered by one of their most powerful
proselytizers, an old man in a homespun suit, high shoulders, lean,
long figure, and glittering eyes. He was a wild kind of orator,
striking fear to the soul, dipping it in the fumes of damnation,
lifting it thence to the joys of heaven. Terrible, electrical
preaching! It was the product of uncultured genius and human
disappointment. Marion sat in awe, hardly knowing whether it was
impious or angelic. In a blind exordium the old zealot commanded those
who would save their souls to walk forward and kneel publicly at the
altar, and make their struggle there for salvation.

The first whom Marion saw to walk up the dimly lighted aisle and kneel
was Perry Whaley. All in the church saw and knew him, and a
thunderous singing broke out, in which religious and mere
denominational zeal all threw their enthusiasm.

"Judge Whaley's son--Episcopalian--admitted to the bar

Marion heard these whispers on every hand; and as the singing ceased,
and the congregation knelt to pray, Marion's mother saw her turning
very pale, and silently and unobserved led her out of the

It was one o'clock in the morning when Judge Whaley heard Perry enter
the door. He was preceded by the beams of a lamp, as his step came
almost trippingly up the stairs. The Judge looked up and saw the face
of his demon, streaked with recent tears and shaded with dishevelled
hair, but on it a look like eternal sunshine.

"Glory! glory! glory!" exclaimed the young man hoarsely. He rushed
upon his aged friend, and kissed him in an ecstacy almost violent.

"My boy! Perry! What is it? You are not out of your mind?"

"No! no! I have found my father, our father!"

"Who is it?" asked the Judge, with a rising superstition, as if this
were not his orphan, but its preternatural copy; "you have found your
father? What father?"

"God!" exclaimed young Perry, his countenance like flame. "My father
is God and He is love!"

The town of Chester and the whole country had now a serious of rapid
sensations. Judge Whaley and his son were turned lunatics, and behaved
like a pair of boys. Marion Voss had broken her engagement with Perry
Whaley because he insisted that he was not the Judge's son. Young
Perry was exhorting in the Methodist church, and studying and starving
himself to be a preacher. The Methodists were wild with social and
denominational triumph: the Episcopalians were outraged, and meditated
sending Perry to the lunatic asylum. Finally, to the great joy of
nervous people, the last sensation came--Perry Whaley had left
Chester to be a preacher.

Judge Whaley now grew old rapidly, and meek and careless of his
attire. In an old pair of slippers, glove-less and abstracted, he
crossed the court-house green, no longer the first gentleman in the
county in courteous accost and lofty tone. He read his Bible in the
seclusion of his own house, and fishermen on the river coming in after
midnight saw the lamp-light stream through the chinks of his shutters,
and said: "He has never been the same since Perry went away." But he
read in the religious papers of the genius and power of the absent
one, roving like a young hermit loosened, and with a tongue of flame
over the length and breadth of the country, producing extraordinary
excitement and adding thousands to his humble denomination.

On Christmas Day the Judge was sitting in his great room reading the
same mystic book, and listening, with a wistfulness that had never
left him, to every infrequent footfall in the street. There came a
knock at the door. He opened it, and out of the darkness into which he
could not see came a voice altered in pitch, but with remembered
accents in it, saying:

"Father, mother has come home!"

Stepping back before that extraordinary salutation, Judge Whaley saw a
man come forward leading a woman by the hand. The Judge receded until
he could go no farther, and sank into his chair. The woman knelt at
his feet; older, and grown gray and in the robes of humility, yet in
countenance as she had been, only purified, as it seemed, by suffering
and repentance, he saw his wife of more than twenty years before.

Looking up into the face of the son he had watched so long for, the
old man saw a still more wonderful transformation. The elegant young
gentleman of a few months before was a living spectre, his bright eyes
standing out large and consumptive upon a transparent skin, and
glittering with fanaticism or excitement.

"Perry Whaley," said the woman firmly, but with sweetness, "it is
twenty-two years since I left this house with hate of me in your heart
and a degraded name; I was in thought and act a pure woman, though the
evidence against me was mountain-high. My sin was that of many
women--flirtation. Nothing more, before my God! I trifled with one of
your students, a reckless and hot-blooded man, and inspired him with a
tyrannous passion. He swore if I would not fly with him to destroy me.
One day, the most dreadful of my life, he heard your foot upon the
stairs ascending to my chamber, and threw himself into it before you
and avowed himself your injurer. Then rose in confirmation of him
every girlish folly; I saw myself in your mild eyes condemned, in this
community long suspected, and by my own family discarded for your
sake. Where could I go but to the author of my sorrows? He became my
husband and I am a widow."

Judge Whaley stretched out his hand in the direction of his eyes, not
upon the old wife at his feet, but toward his son, who had settled
into a chair and closed his eyes as if in tired rapture.

"Hear me but a moment more," said the kneeling woman. "I was the slave
of an ever-jealous maniac; but my heart was still at this fireside
with your bowed spirit, and this our son. My husband told me that the
way to recover the child was to claim it as his. His motive, I fear,
was different--to place me on record as confessedly false and prevent
our reunion forever. But I was not wise enough to see it. I only
thought you would send my son to me. I waited in my lonely home in
Charleston years on years. He came at last, but not too late; my
frivolous soul, grown selfish with vanity and disappointment, bent
itself before God through the prayers of our son. I am forgiven, Perry
Whaley. _I have felt it!_"

The old man did not answer, but strained his eyes upon his son. "See
there!" he slowly spoke, "Perry is dying. Famished all these years for
human love, this excess of joy has snapped the silver cord. Wife,
Mary, we have martyred him."

It was the typhoid fever which had developed from Perry's wasting
vitality. He sank into delirium as they looked at him, and was carried
tenderly to his bed. Marion Voss came to nurse him with his mother.
She, too, after Perry's departure, had grown serious and followed his
example, and was a Methodist. The young zealot sank lower and lower,
despite science or prayers. Both churches prayed for him. Negroes and
whites united their hopes and kind offices. One morning he was of
dying pulse, and the bell in the Episcopal church began to toll. At
the bedside all the little family had instinctively knelt, and Perry's
mother was praying with streaming eyes, committing the worn-out nature
to Heavenly Love, when suddenly Judge Whaley, who had kept his hand on
Perry's pulse, exclaimed:

"It beats! He lives again. The stimulant, Marion!"

Father and son had rescued each other's lives. One day as Perry had
recovered strength, Judge Whaley said:

"My son, are you a minister, qualified to perform marriages?"


"When you are ready and strong, will you marry your mother and me

"Very soon," said Perry; "but not too soon. Here is Marion waiting for
me, as she has waited, like Rachel for Jacob, these many years. I
shall preach no more, dear father, except as a layman. I see by your
eyes that the demon is no longer in our home, and the remainder of my
life will be spent in returning to you the joy my presence for years

"O Perry, my patient son," exclaimed the father, "they who entertain
angels unawares have nothing to look to with regret--except


    The General Moreau, that pure republican,
      Who won at Hohenlinden so much glory,
    And by Bonaparte hated, crossed the sea to be free.
      And brought to the Delaware his story.
    World-renowned as he was, unto Washington he strayed.
      Where Pichegru, his friend, had contended,
    And to Georgetown he rode, in search of a church,
      To confess what of good he offended.

    The Jesuits' nest beckoned up to the height
      Where pious John Carroll had laid it,
    And the General knelt at the cell but to tell
      His offence; yet or ever he said it,
    A voice in the speech of his Bretagny home,
      From within, where the monk was to listen,
    Exclaimed like a soldier: "Ah me! _mon ami_,
      Take my place and a sinful one christen!

    "For mine was the band that brought exile to you;
      Cadoudal, the Chouan, my master,
    Broke my sword and my heart, and I lost when I crost,
      Both honor and love to be pastor.
    A knight of the king and my lady at court,
      At the call of Vendée the despised,
    Into Paris I stole with a few, one or two,
      As assassins, to murder disguised.

    "On the third of Nivose, in the narrowest street,
      And never a traitor one to breathe it,
    We prepared to blow up Bonaparte with a cart,
      And a barrel of powder beneath it.
    He came like a flash, dashing by, but behind,
      Poor folks and his escort in feather,
    And the child that we put, _sans_ remorse, by the horse,
      Were torn all to pieces together."

    "To the guillotine both of my comrades were sent,
      But the Church, saving me for the tonsure,
    Hid me off in the wilds, and my dame, to her shame,
      To be _Père_ sold me out from a _Monsieur_;
    And now she is clad in the silk of the court,
      And I in the wool of confessor,--
    Hate me not, ere hence you go, Jean Victor Moreau!
      And with France be my fame's intercessor!"

    "Limoelan! priest! is it you that I hear
      In this convent by Washington's river?
    Ah! France, how thy children are hurled round the world,
      Like the arrows from destiny's quiver!
    Take shrift for thy crime! Be thou pardoned with peace,
      Poor exile of Breton, my brother!"
    And the cannon of Dresden Moreau gave release,
      The bells of the convent the other.



The Honorable Jeems Bee, of Texas, sitting in his committee-room half
an hour before the convening of Congress, waiting for his negro
familiar to compound a julep, was suddenly confronted by a small boy
on crutches.

"A letter!" exclaimed Mr. Bee, "with the frank of Reybold on it--that
Yankeest of Pennsylvania Whigs! Yer's familiarity! Wants me to appoint
one U--U--U, what?"

"Uriel Basil," said the small boy on crutches, with a clear, bold, but
rather sensitive voice.

"Uriel Basil, a page in the House of Representatives, bein' an infirm,
deservin' boy, willin' to work to support his mother. Infirm boy wants
to be a page, on the recommendation of a Whig, to a Dimmycratic
committee. I say, gen'lemen, what do you think of that, heigh?"

This last addressed to some other members of the committee, who had
meantime entered.

"Infum boy will make a spry page," said the Hon. Box Izard, of

"Harder to get infum page than the Speaker's eye," said the orator,
Pontotoc Bibb, of Georgia.

"Harder to get both than a 'pintment in these crowded times on a
opposition recommendation when all ole Virginny is yaw to be tuk care
of," said Hon. Fitzchew Smy, of the Old Dominion.

The small boy standing up on crutches, with large hazel eyes swimming
and wistful, so far from being cut down by these criticisms, stood
straighter, and only his narrow little chest showed feeling, as it
breathed quickly under his brown jacket.

"I can run as fast as anybody," he said impetuously. "My sister says
so. You try me!"

"Who's yo' sister, bub?"


"Who's Joyce?"

"Joyce Basil--_Miss_ Joyce Basil to you, gentlemen. My mother keeps
boarders. Mr. Reybold boards there. I think it's hard when a little
boy from the South wants to work, that the only body to help him find
it is a Northern man. Don't you?"

"Good hit!" cried Jeroboam Coffee, Esq., of Alabama. "That boy would
run, if he could!"

"Gentlemen," said another member of the committee, the youthful
abstractionist from South Carolina, who was reputed to be a great poet
on the stump, the Hon. Lowndes Cleburn--"gentlemen, that boy puts the
thing on its igeel merits and brings it home to us. I'll ju my juty in
this issue. Abe, wha's my julep?"

"Gentlemen," said the Chairman of Committee, Jeems Bee, "it 'pears to
me that there's a social p'int right here. Reybold, bein' the only
Whig on the Lake and Bayou Committee, ought to have something if he
sees fit to ask for it. That's courtesy! We, of all men, gentlemen,
can't afford to forget it."

"No, by durn!" cried Fitzchew Smy.

"You're right, Bee!" cried Box Izard. "You give it a constitutional

"Reybold," continued Jeems Bee, thus encouraged, "Reybold is (to speak
out) no genius! He never will rise to the summits of usefulness. He
lacks the air, the swing, the _pose_, as the sculptors say; he won't
treat, but he'll lend a little money, provided he knows where you
goin' with it. If he ain't open-hearted, he ain't precisely mean!"

"You're right, Bee!" (General expression.)

"Further on, it may be said that the framers of the govment never
intended _all_ the patronage to go to one side. Mr. Jeffson put _that_
on the steelyard principle: the long beam here, the big weight of
being in the minority there. Mr. Jackson only threw it considabul more
on one side, but even he, gentlemen, didn't take the whole patronage
from the Outs; he always left 'em enough to keep up the courtesy of
the thing, and we can't go behind _him_. Not and be true to our
traditions. Do I put it right?"

"Bee," said the youthful Lowndes Cleburn, extending his hand, "you put
it with the lucidity and spirituality of Kulhoon himself!"

"Thanks, Cleburn," said Bee; "this is a compliment not likely to be
forgotten, coming from you. Then it is agreed, as the Chayman of yo'
Committee, that I accede to the request of Mr. Reybold, of

"Aye!" from everybody.

"And now," said Mr. Bee, "as we wair all up late at the club last
night, I propose we take a second julep, and as Reybold is coming in
he will jine us."

"I won't give you a farthing!" cried Reybold at the door, speaking to
some one. "Chips, indeed! What shall I give you money to gamble away
for? A gambling beggar is worse than an impostor! No, sir!
Emphatically no!"

"A dollar for four chips for brave old Beau!" said the other voice.
"I've struck 'em all but you. By the State Arms! I've got rights in
this distreek! Everybody pays toll to brave old Beau! Come down!"

The Northern Congressman retreated before this pertinacious mendicant
into his committee-room, and his pesterer followed him closely,
nothing abashed, even into the privileged cloisters of the committee.
The Southern members enjoyed the situation.

"Chips, Right Honorable! Chips for old Beau. Nobody this ten-year has
run as long as you. I've laid for you, and now I've fell on you. Judge
Bee, the fust business befo' yo' committee this mornin' is a
assessment for old Beau, who's away down! Rheumatiz, bettin' on the
black, failure of remittances from Fauqueeah, and other casualties by
wind an' flood, have put ole Beau away down. He's a institution of his
country and must be sustained!"

The laughter was general and cordial amongst the Southerners, while
the intruder pressed hard upon Mr. Reybold. He was a singular object;
tall, grim, half-comical, with a leer of low familiarity in his eves,
but his waxed mustache of military proportions, his patch of goatee
just above the chin, his elaborately oiled hair and flaming necktie,
set off his faded face with an odd gear of finery and impressiveness.
His skin was that of an old _roué's_, patched up and calked, but the
features were those of a once handsome man of style and carriage.

He wore what appeared to be a cast-off spring overcoat, out of season
and color on this blustering winter day, a rich buff waistcoat of an
embossed pattern, such as few persons would care to assume, save,
perhaps, a gambler, negro buyer, or fine "buck" barber. The assumption
of a large and flashy pin stood in his frilled shirt-bosom. He wore
watch-seals without the accompanying watch, and his pantaloons, though
faded and threadbare, were once of fine material and cut in a style of
extravagant elegance, and they covered his long, shrunken, but
aristocratic limbs, and were strapped beneath his boots to keep them
shapely. The boots themselves had been once of varnished kid or fine
calf, but they were cracked and cut, partly by use, partly for
comfort; for it was plain that their wearer had the gout, by his
aristocratic hobble upon a gold-mounted cane, which was not the least
inconsistent garniture of his mendicancy.

"Boys," said Fitzchew Smy, "I s'pose we better come down early.
There's a shillin', Beau. If I had one more sech constituent as you, I
should resign or die premachorely!"

"There's a piece o' tobacker," said Jeems Bee languidly, "all I can
afforde, Beau, this mornin'. I went to a chicken-fight yesterday and
lost all my change."

"Mine," said Box Izard, "is a regulation pen-knife, contributed by the
United States, with the regret, Beau, that I can't 'commodate you with
a pine coffin for you to git into and git away down lower than you
ever been."

"Yaw's a dollar," said Pontotoc Bibb; "it'll do for me an' Lowndes
Cleburn, who's a poet and genius, and never has no money. This buys me
off, Beau, for a month."

The gorgeous old mendicant took them all grimly and leering, and then
pounced upon the Northern man, assured by their twinkles and winks
that the rest expected some sport.

"And now, Right Honorable from the banks of the Susquehanna, Colonel
Reybold--you see, I got your name; I ben a layin' for you!--come down
handsome for the Uncle and ornament of his capital and country. What's

"Nothing," said Reybold in a quiet way. "I cannot give a man like you
any thing, even to get rid of him."

"You're mean," said the stylish beggar, winking to the rest. "You hate
to put your hand down in yer pocket, mightily. I'd rather be ole Beau,
and live on suppers at the faro banks, than love a dollar like you!"

"I'll make it a V for Beau," said Pontotoc Bibb, "if he gives him a
rub on the raw like that another lick. Durn a mean man, Cleburn!"

"Come down, Northerner," pressed the incorrigible loafer again; "it
don't become a Right Honorable to be so mean with old Beau."

The little boy on crutches, who had been looking at this scene in a
state of suspense and interest for some time, here cried hotly:

"If you say Mr. Reybold is a mean man, you tell a story, you nasty
beggar! He often gives things to me and Joyce, my sister. He's just
got me work, which is the best thing to give; don't you think so,

"Work," said Lowndes Cleburn, "is the best thing to give away, and the
most onhandy thing to keep. I like play the best--Beau's kind o'

"Yes," said Jeroboam Coffee; "I think I prefer to make the chips fly
out of a table more than out of a log."

"I like to work!" cried the little boy, his hazel eyes shining, and
his poor, narrow body beating with unconscious fervor, half suspended
on his crutches, as if he were of that good descent and natural spirit
which could assert itself without bashfulness in the presence of older
people. "I like to work for my mother. If I was strong, like other
little boys, I would make money for her, so that she shouldn't keep
any boarders--except Mr. Reybold. Oh! she has to work a lot; but she's
proud and won't tell anybody. All the money I get I mean to give her;
but I wouldn't have it if I had to beg for it like that man!"

"O Beau," said Colonel Jeems Bee, "you've cotched it now! Reybold's
even with you. Little Crutch has cooked your goose! Crutch is right
eloquent when his wind will permit."

The fine old loafer looked at the boy, whom he had not previously
noticed, and it was observed that the last shaft had hurt his pride.
The boy returned his wounded look with a straight, undaunted, spirited
glance, out of a child's nature. Mr. Reybold was impressed with
something in the attitude of the two, which made him forget his own
interest in the controversy.

Beau answered with a tone of nearly tender pacification:

"Now, my little man; come, don't be hard on the old veteran! He's
down, old Beau is, sence the time he owned his blooded pacer and dined
with the _Corps Diplomatique_; Beau's down sence then; but don't call
the old feller hard names. We take it back, don't we?--we take _them_
words back?"

"There's a angel somewhere," said Lowndes Cleburn, "even in a
Washington bummer, which responds to a little chap on crutches with a
clear voice. Whether the angel takes the side of the bummer or the
little chap, is a p'int out of our jurisdiction. Abe, give Beau a
julep. He seems to have been demoralized by little Crutch's last."

"Take them hard words back, Bub," whined the licensed mendicant, with
either real or affected pain; "it's a p'int of honor I'm a standin'
on. Do, now, little Major!"

"I shan't!" cried the boy. "Go and work like me. You're big, and you
called Mr. Reybold mean. Haven't you got a wife or little girl, or
nobody to work for? You ought to work for yourself, anyhow. Oughtn't
he, gentlemen?"

Reybold, who had slipped around by the little cripple and was holding
him in a caressing way from behind, looked over to Beau and was even
more impressed with that generally undaunted worthy's expression. It
was that of acute and suffering sensibility, perhaps the effervescence
of some little remaining pride, or it might have been a twinge of the
gout. Beau looked at the little boy, suspended there with the weak
back and the narrow chest, and that scintillant, sincere spirit
beaming out with courage born in the stock he belonged to. Admiration,
conciliation, and pain were in the ruined vagrant's eyes. Reybold felt
a sense of pity. He put his hand in his pocket and drew forth a

"Here, Beau," he said, "I'll make an exception. You seem to have some
feeling. Don't mind the boy!"

In an instant the coin was flying from his hand through the air. The
beggar, with a livid face and clinched cane, confronted the
Congressman like a maniac.

"You bilk!" he cried. "You supper customer! I'll brain you! I had
rather parted with my shoes at a dolly shop and gone gadding the hoof,
without a doss to sleep on--a town pauper, done on the vag--than to
have made been scurvy in the sight of that child and deserve his words
of shame!"

He threw his head upon the table and burst into tears.


Mrs. Tryphonia Basil kept a boarding-house of the usual kind on
Four-and-a-Half Street. Male clerks--there were no female clerks in
the Government in 1854--to the number of half a dozen, two old bureau
officers, an architect's assistant, Reybold, and certain temporary
visitors made up the table. The landlady was the mistress; the slave
was Joyce.

Joyce Basil was a fine-looking girl, who did not know it--a fact so
astounding as to be fitly related only in fiction. She did not know
it, because she had to work so hard for the boarders and her mother.
Loving her mother with the whole of her affection, she had suffered
all the pains and penalties of love from that repository. She was
to-day upbraided for her want of coquetry and neatness; to-morrow, for
proposing to desert her mother and elope with a person she had never
thought of. The mainstay of the establishment, she was not aware of
her usefulness. Accepting every complaint and outbreak as if she
deserved it, the poor girl lived at the capital a beautiful scullion,
an unsalaried domestic, and daily forwarded the food to the table, led
in the chamberwork, rose from bed unrested and retired with all her
bones aching. But she was of a natural grace that hard work could not
make awkward; work only gave her bodily power, brawn, and form. Though
no more than seventeen years of age, she was a superb woman, her chest
thrown forward, her back like the torso of a _Venus de Milo_, her head
placed on the throat of a Minerva, and the nature of a child moulded
in the form of a matron. Joyce Basil had black hair and eyes--very
long, excessive hair, that in the mornings she tied up with haste so
imperfectly, that once Reybold had seen it drop like a cloud around
her and nearly touch her feet. At that moment, seeing him, she
blushed. He plead, for once, a Congressman's impudence, and without
her objection, wound that great crown of woman's glory around her
head, and, as he did so, the perfection of her form and skin, and the
overrunning health and height of the Virginia girl, struck him so
thoroughly that he said:

"Miss Joyce, I don't wonder that Virginia is the mother of

Between Reybold and Joyce there were already the delicate relations of
a girl who did not know that she was a woman, and a man who knew she
was beautiful and worthy. He was a man vigilant over himself, and the
poverty and menial estate of Joyce Basil were already insuperable
obstacles to marrying her, but still he was attracted by her
insensibility that he could ever have regarded her in that light of
marriage. "Who was her father, the Judge?" he used to reflect. The
Judge was a favorite topic with Mrs. Basil at the table.

"Mr. Reybold," she would say, "you commercial people of the Nawth
can't hunt, I believe. Jedge Basil is now on the mountains of Fawquear
hunting the plova. His grandfather's estate is full of plova."

If, by chance, Reybold saw a look of care on Mrs. Basil's face, he
inquired for the Judge, her husband, and found he was still shooting
on the Occequan.

"Does he never come to Washington, Mrs. Basil?" asked Reybold one day,
when his mind was very full of Joyce, the daughter.

"Not while Congress is in session," said Mrs. Basil. "It's a little
too much of the _oi polloi_ for the Judge. His family, you may not
know, Mr. Reybold, air of the Basils of King George. They married into
the Tayloze of Mount Snaffle. The Tayloze of Mount Snaffle have Ingin
blood in their veins--the blood of Poky-huntus. They dropped the name
of Taylor, which had got to be common through a want of Ingin blood,
and spelled it with a E. It used to be Taylor, but now it's Tayloze."

On another occasion, at sight of Joyce Basil cooking over the fire,
against whose flame her moulded arms took momentary roses upon their
ivory, Reybold said to himself: "Surely there is something above the
common in the race of this girl." And he asked the question of Mrs.

"Madame, how was the Judge, your husband, at the last advices?"

"Hunting the snipe, Mr. Reybold. I suppose you do not have the snipe
in the North. It is the aristocratic fowl of the Old Dominion. Its
bill is only shorter than its legs, and it will not brown at the fire,
to perfection, unless upon a silver spit. Ah! when the Jedge and
myself were young, before his land troubles overtook us, we went to
the springs with our own silver and carriages, Mr. Reybold."

Looking up at Mrs. Basil, Reybold noticed a pallor and flush
alternately, and she evaded his eye.

Once Mrs. Basil borrowed a hundred dollars from Reybold in advance of
board, and the table suffered in consequence.

"The Judge," she had explained, "is short of taxes on his Fawquear
lands. It's a desperate moment with him." Yet in two days the Judge
was shooting blue-winged teal at the mouth of the Accotink, and his
entire indifference to his family set Reybold to thinking whether the
Virginia husband and father was any thing more than a forgetful
savage. The boarders, however, made very merry over the absent
unknown. If the beefsteak was tough, threats were made to send for
"the Judge," and let him try a tooth on it; if scant, it was suggested
that the Judge might have paid a gunning visit to the premises and
inspected the larder. The daughter of the house kept such an even
temper, and was so obliging within the limitations of the
establishment, that many a boarder went to his department without
complaint, though with an appetite only partly satisfied. The boy,
Uriel, also was the guardsman of the household, old-faced as if with
the responsibility of taking care of two women. Indeed, the children
of the landlady were so well behaved and prepossessing that, compared
with Mrs. Basil's shabby _hauteur_ and garrulity, the legend of the
Judge seemed to require no other foundation than offspring of such
good spirit and intonation.

Mrs. Tryphonia Basil was no respecter of persons. She kept boarders,
she said, as a matter of society, and to lighten the load of the
Judge. He had very little idea that she was making a mercantile matter
of hospitality, but, as she feelingly remarked, "the old families are
misplaced in such times as these yer, when the departments are filled
with Dutch, Yankees, Crackers, Pore Whites, and other foreigners." Her
manner was, at periods, insolent to Mr. Reybold, who seldom protested,
out of regard to the daughter and the little Page; he was a man of
quite ordinary appearance, saying little, never making speeches or
soliciting notice, and he accepted his fare and quarters with little
or no complaint.

"Crutch," he said one day to the little boy, "did you ever see your

"No, I never saw him, Mr. Reybold, but I've had letters from him."

"Don't he ever come to see you when you are sick?"

"No. He wanted to come once when my back was very sick, and I laid in
bed weeks and weeks, sir, dreaming, oh! such beautiful things. I
thought mamma and sister and I were all with papa in that old home we
are going to some day. He carried me up and down in his arms, and I
felt such rest that I never knew any thing like it, when I woke up,
and my back began to ache again. I wouldn't let mamma send for him,
though, because she said he was working for us all to make our
fortunes, and get doctors for me, and clothes and school for dear
Joyce. So I sent him my love, and told papa to work, and he and I
would bring the family out all right."

"What did your papa seem like in that dream, my little boy?

"Oh! sir, his forehead was bright as the sun. Sometimes I see him now
when I am tired at night after running all day through Congress."

Reybold's eyes were full of tears as he listened to the boy, and,
turning aside, he saw Joyce Basil weeping also.

"My dear girl," he said to her, looking up significantly, "I fear he
will see his great Father very soon."

Reybold had few acquaintances, and he encouraged the landlady's
daughter to go about with him when she could get a leisure hour or
evening. Sometimes they took a seat at the theatre, more often at the
old Ascension Church, and once they attended a President's reception.
Joyce had the bearing of a well-bred lady, and the purity of thought
of a child. She was noticed as if she had been a new and distinguished
arrival in Washington.

"Ah! Reybold," said Pontotoc Bibb, "I understand, ole feller, what
keeps you so quiet now. You've got a wife onbeknown to the Kemittee!
and a happy man I know you air."

It pleased Reybold to hear this, and deepened his interest in the
landlady's family. His attention to her daughter stirred Mrs. Basil's
pride and revolt together.

"My daughter, Colonel Reybold," she said, "is designed for the army.
The Judge never writes to me but he says: 'Tryphonee, be careful that
you impress upon my daughter the importance of the military
profession. My mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother married into
the army, and no girl of the Basil stock shall descend to civil life
while I can keep the Fawquear estates.'"

"Madame," said the Congressman, "will you permit me to make the
suggestion that your daughter is already a woman and needs a father's
care, if she is ever to receive it. I beseech you to impress this
subject upon the Judge. His estates cannot be more precious to his
heart, if he is a man of honor; nay, what is better than honor, his
duty requires him to come to the side of these children, though he be
ever so constrained by business or pleasure to attend to more worldly

"The Judge," exclaimed Mrs. Basil, much miffed, "is a man of
hereditary ijees, Colonel Reybold. He is now in pursuit of
the--ahem!--the Kinvas-back on his ancestral waters. If he should hear
that you suggested a pacific life and the grovelling associations of
the capital for him, he might call you out, sir!"

Reybold said no more; but one evening when Mrs. Basil was absent,
called across the Potomac, as happened frequently, at the summons of
the Judge--and on such occasions she generally requested a temporary
loan or a slight advance of board--Reybold found Joyce Basil in the
little parlor of the dwelling. She was alone and in tears, but the
little boy Uriel slept before the chimney-fire on a rug, and his pale,
thin face, catching the glow of the burning wood, looked beautified as
Reybold addressed the young woman.

"Miss Joyce," he said, "our little brother works too hard. Is there
never to be relief for him? His poor, withered body, slung on those
crutches for hours and hours, racing up the aisles of the House with
stronger pages, is wearing him out. His ambition is very interesting
to see, but his breath is growing shorter and his strength is frailer
every week. Do you know what it will lead to?"

"O my Lord!" she said, in the negrofied phrase natural to her
latitude, "I wish it was no sin to wish him dead."

"Tell me, my friend," said Reybold, "can I do nothing to assist you
both? Let me understand you. Accept my sympathy and confidence. Where
is Uriel's father? What is this mystery?"

She did not answer.

"It is for no idle curiosity that I ask," he continued. "I will appeal
to him for his family, even at the risk of his resentment. Where is

"Oh, do not ask!" she exclaimed. "You want me to tell you only the
truth. He is _there_!"

She pointed to one of the old portraits in the room--a picture fairly
painted by some provincial artist--and it revealed a handsome face, a
little voluptuous but aristocratic, the shoulders clad in a martial
cloak, the neck in ruffles and ruffles, also and a diamond in the
shirt bosom. Reybold studied it with all his mind.

"Then it is no fiction," he said, "that you have a living father, one
answering to your mother's description. Where have I seen that face?
Has some irreparable mistake, some miserable controversy, alienated
him from his wife? Has he another family?"

She answered with spirit:

"No, sir. He is my father and my brother's only. But I can tell you no

"Joyce," he said, taking her hand, "this is not enough. I will not
press you to betray any secret you may possess. Keep it. But of
yourself I must know something more. You are almost a woman. You are

At this he tightened his grasp, and it brought him closer to her side.
She made a little struggle to draw away, but it pleased him to see
that when the first modest opposition had been tried she sat quite
happily, though trembling, with his arm around her.

"Joyce," he continued, "you have a double duty: one to your mother and
this poor invalid, whose journey toward that Father's house not made
with hands is swiftly hastening; another duty toward your nobler
self--the future that is in you and your woman's heart. I tell you
again that you are beautiful, and the slavery to which you are
condemning yourself forever is an offence against the creator of such
perfection. Do you know what it is to love?"

"I know what it is to feel kindness," she answered after a time of
silence. "I ought to know no more. You goodness is very dear to me. We
never sleep, brother and I, but we say your name together, and ask God
to bless you."

Reybold sought in vain to suppress a confession he had resisted. The
contact of her form, her large dark eyes now fixed upon him in
emotion, the birth of the conscious woman in the virgin and her
affection still in the leashes of a slavish sacrifice, tempted him
onward to the conquest.

"I am about to retire from Congress," he said. "It is no place for me
in times so insubstantial. There is darkness and beggary ahead for all
your Southern race. There is a crisis coming which will be followed by
desolation. The generation to which your parents belong is doomed! I
open my arms to you, dear girl, and offer you a home never yet
gladdened by a wife. Accept it, and leave Washington with me and with
your brother. I love you wholly."

A happy light shone in her face a moment. She was weary to the bone
with the day's work, and had not the strength, if she had the will, to
prevent the Congressman drawing her to his heart. Sobbing there, she
spoke with bitter agony:

"Heaven bless you, dear Mr. Reybold, with a wife good enough to
deserve you! Blessings on your generous heart. But I cannot leave
Washington. I love another here!"


The Lake and Bayou Committee reaped the reward of a good action.
Crutch, the page, as they all called Uriel Basil, affected the
sensibility of the whole committee to the extent that profanity almost
ceased there, and vulgarity became a crime in the presence of a child.
Gentle words and wishes became the rule; a glimmer of reverence and a
thought of piety were not unknown in that little chamber.

"Dog my skin!" said Jeems Bee, "if I ever made a 'pintment that give
me sech satisfaction! I feel as if I had sot a nigger free!"

The youthful abstractionist, Lowndes Cleburn, expressed it even
better. "Crutch," he said, "is like a angel reduced to his bones. Them
air wings or pinions, that he might have flew off with, being a pair
of crutches, keeps him here to tarry awhile in our service. But,
gentlemen, he's not got long to stay. His crutches is growing too
heavy for that expandin' sperit. Some day we'll look up and miss him
through our tears."

They gave him many a present; they put a silver watch in his pocket,
and dressed him in a jacket with gilt buttons. He had a bouquet of
flowers to take home every day to that marvellous sister of whom he
spoke so often; and there were times when the whole committee, seeing
him drop off to sleep as he often did through frail and weary nature,
sat silently watching lest he might be wakened before his rest was
over. But no persuasion could take him off the floor of Congress. In
that solemn old Hall of Representatives, under the semicircle of gray
columns, he darted with agility from noon to dusk, keeping speed upon
his crutches with the healthiest of the pages, and racing into the
document-room; and through the dark and narrow corridors of the old
Capitol loft, where the House library was lost in twilight. Visitors
looked with interest and sympathy at the narrow back and body of this
invalid child, whose eyes were full of bright, beaming spirit. He
sometimes nodded on the steps by the Speaker's chair; and these spells
of dreaminess and fatigue increased as his disease advanced upon his
wasting system. Once he did not awaken at all until adjournment. The
great Congress and audience passed out, and the little fellow still
slept, with his head against the Clerk's desk, while all the other
pages were grouped around him, and they finally bore him off to the
committee-room in their arms, where, amongst the sympathetic watchers,
was old Beau. When Uriel opened his eyes the old mendicant was looking
into them.

"Ah! little Major," he said, "poor Beau has been waiting for you to
take those bad words back. Old Beau thought it was all bob with his
little cove."

"Beau," said the boy, "I've had such a dream! I thought my dear
father, who is working so hard to bring me home to him, had carried me
out on the river in a boat. We sailed through the greenest marshes,
among white lilies, where the wild ducks were tame as they can be. All
the ducks were diving and diving, and they brought up long stalks of
celery from the water and gave them to us. Father ate all his. But
mine turned into lilies and grew up so high that I felt myself going
with them, and the higher I went the more beautiful grew the birds.
Oh! let me sleep and see if it will be so again."

The outcast raised his gold-headed cane and hobbled up and down the
room with a laced handkerchief at his eyes.

"Great God!" he exclaimed, "another generation is going out, and here
I stay without a stake, playing a lone hand forever and forever."

"Beau," said Reybold, "there's hope while one can feel. Don't go away
until you have a good word from our little passenger."

The outstretched hand of the Northern Congressman was not refused by
the vagrant, whose eccentric sorrow yet amused the Southern

"Ole Beau's jib-boom of a mustache 'll put his eye out," said Pontotoc
Bibb, "ef he fetches another groan like that."

"Beau's very shaky around the hams an' knees," said Box Izard; "he's
been a good figger, but even figgers can lie ef they stand up too

The little boy unclosed his eyes and looked around on all those
kindly, watching faces.

"Did anybody fire a gun?" he said. "Oh! no. I was only dreaming that I
was hunting with father, and he shot at the beautiful pheasants that
were making such a whirring of wings for me. It was music. When can I
hunt with father, dear gentlemen?"

They all felt the tread of the mighty hunter before the Lord very near
at hand; the hunter whose name is Death.

"There are little tiny birds along the beach," muttered the boy. "They
twitter and run into the surf and back again, and am I one of them? I
must be; for I feel the water cold, and yet I see you all, so kind to
me! Don't whistle for me now; for I don't get much play, gentlemen!
Will the Speaker turn me out if I play with the beach birds just once?
I'm only a little boy working for my mother."

"Dear Uriel," whispered Reybold, "here's Old Beau, to whom you once
spoke angrily. Don't you see him?"

The little boy's eyes came back from far-land somewhere, and he saw
the ruined gamester at his feet.

"Dear Beau," he said, "I can't get off to go home with you. They won't
excuse me, and I give all my money to mother. But you go to the back
gate. Ask for Joyce. She'll give you a nice warm meal every day. Go
with him, Mr. Reybold! If you ask for him it will be all right; for
Joyce--dear Joyce!--she loves you."

The beach birds played again along the strand; the boy ran into the
foam with his companions and felt the spray once more. The Mighty
Hunter shot his bird--a little cripple that twittered the sweetest of
them all. Nothing moved in the solemn chamber of the committee but the
voice of an old forsaken man, sobbing bitterly.


The funeral was over, and Mr. Reybold marvelled much that the Judge
had not put in an appearance. The whole committee had attended the
obsequies of Crutch and acted as pall-bearers. Reybold had escorted
the page's sister to the Congressional cemetery, and had observed even
Old Beau to come with a wreath of flowers and hobble to the grave and
deposit them there. But the Judge, remorseless in death as frivolous
in life, never came near his mourning wife and daughter in their
severest sorrow. Mrs. Tryphonia Basil, seeing that this singular want
of behavior on the Judge's part was making some ado, raised her voice
above the general din of meals.

"Jedge Basil," she exclaimed, "has been on his Tennessee purchase.
These Christmas times there's no getting through the snow in the
Cumberland Gap. He's stopped off thaw to shoot the--ahem!--the wild
torkey--a great passion with the Jedge. His half-uncle, Gineral
Johnson, of Awkinso, was a torkey-killer of high celebrity. He was a
Deshay on his Maw's side. I s'pose you haven't the torkey in the Dutch
country, Mr. Reybold?"

"Madame," said Reybold, in a quieter moment, "have you written to the
Judge the fact of his son's death?"

"Oh yes--to Fawquear."

"Mrs. Basil," continued the Congressman, "I want you to be explicit
with me. Where is the Judge, your husband, at this moment?"

"Excuse me, Colonel Reybold, this is a little of a assumption, sir.
The Jedge might call you out, sir, for intruding upon his incog. He's
very fine on his incog., you air awair."

"Madame," exclaimed Reybold straightforwardly, "there are reasons why
I should communicate with your husband. My term in Congress is nearly
expired. I might arouse your interest, if I chose, by recalling to
your mind the memorandum of about seven hundred dollars in which you
are my debtor. That would be a reason for seeing your husband anywhere
north of the Potomac, but I do not intend to mention it. Is he
aware--are you?--that Joyce Basil is in love with some one in this

Mrs. Basil drew a long breath, raised both hands, and ejaculated:
"Well, I declaw!"

"I have it from her own lips," continued Reybold. "She told me as a
secret, but all my suspicions are awakened. If I can prevent it,
madame, that girl shall not follow the example of hundreds of her
class in Washington, and descend, through the boarding-house or the
lodging quarter, to be the wife of some common and unambitious clerk,
whose penury she must some day sustain by her labor. I love her
myself, but I will never take her until I know her heart to be free.
Who is this lover of your daughter?"

An expression of agitation and cunning passed over Mrs. Basil's face.

"Colonel Reybold," she whined, "I pity your blasted hopes. If I was a
widow, they should be comfoted. Alas! my daughter is in love with one
of the Fitzchews of Fawqueeah. His parents is cousins of the Jedge,
and attached to the military."

The Congressman looked disappointed, but not yet satisfied.

"Give me at once the address of your husband," he spoke. "If you do
not, I shall ask your daughter for it, and she cannot refuse me."

The mistress of the boarding-house was not without alarm, but she
dispelled it with an outbreak of anger.

"If my daughter disobeys her mother," she cried, "and betrays the
Jedge's incog., she is no Basil, Colonel Reybold. The Basils repudiate
her, and she may jine the Dutch and other foreigners at her pleasure."

"That is her only safety," exclaimed Reybold. "I hope to break every
string that holds her to yonder barren honor and exhausted soil."

He pointed toward Virginia, and hastened away to the Capitol. All the
way up the squalid and muddy avenue of that day he mused and wondered:
"Who is Fitzhugh? Is there such a person any more than a Judge Basil?
And yet there _is_ a Judge, for Joyce has told me so. _She_, at least,
cannot lie to me. At last," he thought, "the dream of my happiness is
over. Invincible in her prejudice as all these Virginians, Joyce Basil
has made her bed amongst the starveling First Families, and there she
means to live and die. Five years hence she will have her brood around
her. In ten years she will keep a boarding-house and borrow money. As
her daughters grow up to the stature and grace of their mother, they
will be proud and poor again and breed in and out, until the race will
perish from the earth."

Slow to love, deeply interested, baffled but unsatisfied, Reybold made
up his mind to cut his perplexity short by leaving the city for the
county of Fauquier. As he passed down the avenue late that afternoon,
he turned into E Street, near the theatre, to engage a carriage for
his expedition. It was a street of livery-stables, gambling dens,
drinking houses, and worse; murders had been committed along its
sidewalks. The more pretentious _canaille_ of the city harbored there
to prey on the hotels close at hand and aspire to the chance
acquaintance of gentlemen. As Reybold stood in an archway of this
street, just as the evening shadows deepened above the line of sunset,
he saw something pass which made his heart start to his throat and
fastened him to the spot. Veiled and walking fast, as if escaping
detection or pursuit, the figure of Joyce Basil flitted over the
pavement and disappeared in a door about at the middle of this
Alsatian quarter of the capital.

"What house is that?" he asked of a constable passing by, pointing to
the door she entered.

"Gambling den," answered the officer. "It used to be old Phil

Reybold knew the reputation of the house: a resort for the scions of
the old tide-water families, where hospitality thinly veiled the
paramount design of plunder. The connection established the truth of
Mrs. Basil's statement. Here, perhaps, already married to the
dissipated heir of some unproductive estate, Joyce Basil's lot was
cast forever. It might even be that she had been tempted here by some
wretch whose villainy she knew not of. Reybold's brain took fire at
the thought, and he pursued the fugitive into the doorway. A negro
steward unfastened a slide and peeped at Reybold knocking in the hall;
and, seeing him of respectable appearance, bowed ceremoniously as he
let down a chain and opened the door.

"Short cards in the front saloon," he said; "supper and faro back.
Chambers on the third floor. Walk up."

Reybold only tarried a moment at the gaming tables, where the silent,
monotonous deal from the tin box, the lazy stroke of the markers, and
the transfer of ivory "chips" from card to card of the sweat-cloth,
impressed him as the dullest form of vice he had ever found. Treading
softly up the stairs, he was attracted by the light of a door partly
ajar, and a deep groan, as of a dying person. He peeped through the
crack of the door, and beheld Joyce Basil leaning over an old man,
whose brow she moistened with her handkerchief. "Dear father," he
heard her say, and it brought consolation to more than the sick man.
Reybold threw open the door and entered into the presence of Mrs.
Basil and her daughter. The former arose with surprise and shame, and

"Jedge Basil, the Dutch have hunted you down. He's here--the Yankee

Joyce Basil held up her hand in imploration, but Reybold did not heed
the woman's remark. He felt a weight rising from his heart, and the
blindness of many months lifted from his eyes. The dying mortal upon
the bed, over whose face the blue billow of death was rolling
rapidly, and whose eyes sought in his daughter's the promise of mercy
from on high, was the mysterious parent who had never arrived--the
Judge from Fauquier. In that old man's long waxed mustache, crimped
hair, and threadbare finery the Congressman recognized Old Beau, the
outcast gamester and mendicant, and the father of Joyce and Uriel

"Colonel Reybold," faltered that old wreck of manly beauty and of
promise long departed, "Old Beau's passing in his checks. The chant
coves will be telling to-morrow what they know of his life in the
papers, but I've dropped a cold deck on 'em these twenty years. Not
one knows Old Beau, the Bloke, to be Tom Basil, cadet at West Point in
the last generation. I've kept nothing of my own but my children's
good name. My little boy never knew me to be his father. I tried to
keep the secret from my daughter, but her affection broke down my
disguises. Thank God! the old rounder's deal has run out at last. For
his wife he'll flash her diles no more, nor be taken on the vag."

"Basil," said Reybold, "what trust do you leave to me in your family?"

Mrs. Basil strove to interpose, but the dying man raised his voice:

"Tryphonee can go home to Fauquier. She was always welcome
there--without me. I was disinherited. But here, Colonel! My last drop
of blood is in the girl. She loves you."

A rattle arose in the sinner's throat. He made an effort, and
transferred his daughter's hand to the Congressman's. Not taking it
away, she knelt with her future husband at the bedside and raised her

"Lord, when Thou comest into Thy kingdom, remember him!"


(_See note at end of poem._)


    "My corn is gathered in the bins,"
      The Lord Augustin Herman said;
    "My wild swine romp in chincapins;
    Dried are the deer and beaver skins;
      And on Elk Mountain's languid head
      The autumn woods are red.

    "So in my heart an autumn falls;
      I stand a lonely tree unleaved;
    And to my hermit manor walls
    The wild-goose from the water calls,
      As if to mock a man bereaved:
      My years are nearly sheaved.

    "Go saddle me the Flemish steed
      My brother Verlett gave to me,
    What time his sister did concede
    Her dainty hand to hear me plead!
      Poor soul! she's mouldering by the sea
      And I with misery."

    The slave man brought the wild-maned horse
      All wilder that with stags he grazed--
    Bred from the seed the knightly Norse
    Rode from Araby. Like remorse
      The eyes in his gray forehead blazed,
      As on his lord he gazed.

    "Now guard ye well my lands and stock;
      Slack not the seine, ply well the axe;
    The eagle circles o'er the flock;
    The Indian at my gates may knock:
      The firelock prime for his attacks;
      I ride the sunrise tracks."

    Swift as a wizard on a broom,
      The strong gray horse and rider ran,
    Adown the forest stripped of bloom.
    By stump and bough that scarce gave room
      To pass the woodman's caravan,
      Rode the Bohemian.

    "Lord Herman, stay," the brewer cried,
      "And Huddy's friendly flagon clink!"
    And martial Hinoyossa spied
    The horseman, moving with the tide
      That ebbed from Appoquinimink,
      Nor stopped to rest or drink.

    "Where rides old Herman?" Beekman mused;
      "That railing wife has turned his head."
    "He keeps the saddle as he used,
    In younger days, when he enthused
      Three provinces," Pierre Alricks said,
      "And mapped their landscapes spread."

    Broad rose Zuydt River as the sail
      Above his periauger flew;
    Loud neighed the steed to snuff the gale;
    But Herman saw not, swift and pale,
      Two carrier pigeons, winging true
      North-east, across the blue.

    They quit the cage of Stuyvesant's spy,
      And lurking Willems' message bore:
    ("This morn rode Herman rapid by,
    Tow'rd Amsterdam, to satisfy
      Yet wider titles than he tore
      From shallow Baltimore!")


    The second sunset at his back
      From Navesink Highlands threw the shade
    Of horse and Herman, long and black,
    Across the golden ripples' track,
      Where with the Kills the ocean played
      A measured serenade;

    There where to sea a river ran,
      Between tall hills of brown and sand,
    A mountain island rose to span
    The outlet of the Raritan,
      And made a world on either hand,
      Soft as a poet planned:

    Fair marshes pierced with brimming creeks,
      Where wild-fowl dived to oyster caves;
    And shores that swung to wooded peaks,
    Where many a falling water seeks
      The cascade's plunge to reach the waves,
      And greenest farmland laves:

    Deep tide to every roadstead slips,
      And many capes confuse the shore,
    Yet none do with their forms eclipse
    Yon ocean, made for royal ships,
      Whose swells on silver beaches roar
      And rock forevermore.

    Old Herman gazed through lengthening shades
      Far up the inland, where the spires,
    Defined on rocky palisades,
    Flung sunset from their burnished blades,
      And with their bells in evening choirs
      Breathed homesick men's desires:

    "New Amsterdam! 'tis thine or mine--
      The foreground of this stately plan!
    To me the Indian did assign
    Totem on totem, line on line--
      Both Staten and the groves that ran
      Far up the Raritan.

    "By spiteful Stuyvesant long restrained,
      Now, while the English break his power,
    Be Achter Kill again regained
    And Herman's title entertained,
      Here float my banner from my tower,
      Here is my right, my hour!"


    He scarce had finished, when a rush,
      Like partridge through the stubble, broke,
    And armed men trod down the brush;
    A harsh voice, trembling in the hush,
      As it must either stab or choke,
      Imperiously spoke:

    "Ye conquered men of Achter Kill,
      Whose farms by loyal toil ye got,
    True Dutchmen! give this traitor will--
    And he is yours to loose or kill--
      All that ye have he will allot
      Anew--field, cradle, cot.

    "Years past, beyond our Southern bounds,
      On States' commission sent by me,
    He mapped the English papists' grounds,
    And like a Judas, o'er our wounds,
      Our raiment parted openly:
      This is the man ye see!

    "Yet followed by my sleepless age,
      Fast as he rode my pigeons sped--
    Straight as the ravens from their cage,
    Straight as the arrows of my rage,
      Straight as the meteor overhead
      That strikes a traitor dead."

    They bound Lord Herman fast as hate,
      And bore him o'er to Staten Isle;
    Behind him closed the postern gate,
    And round him pitiless as fate,
      Closed moat and palisade and pile:
      "Thou diest at morn," they smile.


    Morn broke on lofty Staten's height,
      O'er low Amboy and Arthur Kill;
    And ocean dallying with the light,
    Between the beaches leprous white,
      And silent hook and headland hill,
      And Stuyvesant had his will;

    One-legged he stood, his sharp mustache
      Stiff as the sword he slashed in ire;
    His bald crown, like a calabash,
    Fringed round with ringlets white as ash,
      And features scorched with inner fire;
      Age wore him like a briar.

    "Bring the Bohemian forth!" he cried;
      "Old man, thy moments are but few."
    "So much the better, Dutchman! bide
    Thy little time of aged pride,
      Thy poor revenges to pursue--
      Thy date is hastening, too.

    "No crime is mine, save that I sought
      A refuge past thy jealous ken,
    And peaceful arts to strangers taught,
    And mine own title hither brought,
      Before the laws of Englishmen,
      A banished denizen.

    "Yet that thy churlish soul may plead
      A favor to a dying foe,
    I'll ask thee, Stuyvesant, ere I bleed,
    Let me once more on my gray steed
      Thrice round the timbered _enceinte_ go:
      Fire, when I tell thee so!"

    "What freak is this?" quoth Stuyvesant grim.
      Quoth Herman, "'Twas a charger brave--
    Like my first bride in eye and limb--
    A wedding-gift; indulge the whim!
      And from his back to plunge, I crave,
      A bridegroom, in her grave."

    Then muttered the uneasy guard:
      "We rob an old man of his lands,
    And slay him. Sure his fate is hard,
    His dying plea to disregard!"
      "Ride then to death!" Stuyvesant commands;
      "Unbind his horse, his hands!"


    The old steed darted in the fort,
      And neighed and shook his long gray mane;
    Then, seeing soldiery, his port
    Grew savage. With a charger's snort,
      Upright he reared, as young again
      And scenting a campaign.

    Hard on his nostrils Herman laid
      An iron hand and drew him down,
    Then, mounting in the esplanade,
    The rude Dutch rustics stared afraid:
      "By Santa Claus! he needs no crown,
      To look more proud renown!"

    Lame Stuyvesant, also, envious saw
      How straight he sat in courteous power,
    Like boldness sanctified by law,
    And age gave magisterial awe;
      Though in his last and bitter hour,
      Of knightliness the flower.

    His gray hairs o'er his cassock blew,
      And in his peak'd hat waved a plume;
    A horn swung loose and shining through
    High boots of buckskin, as he drew
      The rein, a jewel burst to bloom:
      The signet ring of doom.

    'Thrice round the fort! Then as I raise
      This hand, aim all and murder well!'
    His head bends low; the steed's eyes blaze,
    But not less bright do Herman's gaze,
      As circling round the citadel,
      He peers for hope in hell.

    Fast were the gates; no crevice showed.
      The ramparts, spiked with palisades,
    Grew higher as once round he rode;
    The arquebusiers prime the load,
      And drop to aim from ambuscades;
      No latch, no loophole aids.

    But one small hut its chimney thrust
      Between the timbers, close as they;
    Twice round and with a desperate trust
    Lord Herman muttered: "die I must:
      _There_, CHARGE!" and spurred through beam and clay--
      "By heaven! he is away!"


    In clouds of dust the muskets fire,
      And volleying oaths old Stuyvesant from:
    "Turn out! In yonder Kills he'll mire,
    Or drown, unless the fiends conspire.
      Mount! Follow! Still he must succumb--
      That tide was never swum."

    Through hut and chimney, down the ditch
      And up the bank, plunge horse and man;
    And down the Kills of bramble pitch,
    Oft-stumbling, those old gray knees which,
      Hunting the raccoon, led the van;
      Now, limp yet game he ran.

    But cool and supple, Herman sat,
      His mind at work, his frame the horse's,
    And knew with each pulsation, that
    Past foe and fen, past crag, and flat,
      And marsh, the steed he nearer forces
      To the broad sea's recourses.

    "Old friend," he thought, "thou art too weak
      To try the Kills and drown, or falter,
    The while from shore their marksmen seek
    My heart. (Once o'er the Chesapeake
      I paddled oarless.) Lest the halter
      Be mine, I must not palter--

    "Thou diest, though my marriage-gift:
      I still can swim. Poor Joost, adieu!"
    Ere ceased the heartfelt sigh he lift,
    The prospect widened: all adrift,
      The salty sluice burst into view,
      Where grappling tides fought through,

    And sucked to doom the venturous bear,
      And from his ferry swept the rower--
    How wide, how terrible, how fair!
    Yet how inspiriting the air--
      How tempts the long salt grass the mower!
      How treacherous the shore!

    Far up the right spread Newark Bay,
      To lone Secaucus wooded rock;
    Nor could the Kill von Kull convey
    Passaic's mountain flood away:
      In Arthur Kill the surges choke,
      The wild tides interlock.

    O'er Arthur Kill the Holland farms
      Their gambril roofs, red painted, show;
    Beyond the newer Yankee swarms--
    His cider-presses spread their arms.
      Before, the squatter; back, the foe;
      And the dark waters flow.

    As that salt air the stallion felt,
      He whimpers gayly, as if still is
    Upon his sight his native Scheldt,
    Or Skagger Rack, or Little Belt,--
      Their waving grass and silver lilies,
      Where browsed the amorous fillies.

    And o'er the tide some lady nags
      Blew back his challenge. Scarce could Herman
    Hold in his seat. "By John of Prague's
    True faith!" he thought, "thy spirit lags
      Not, Joost! Thy course thyself determine!"
      And plunges like a merman.

    Leander's spirit in the steed
      Inspired his stroke, not Herman's fear;
    And fast the island shores recede,
    Fast rise the rider's spirits freed,
      The golden mainland draws more near--
      "O gallant horse! 'tis here!"


    Across the Kills the muskets crack--
      "Ha! ha!" Lord Herman waves his beaver:
    "Die of thy spleen ere I come back,
    Old Stuyvesant!" With a noise of wrack
      The fort blew up of his aggriever!--
      But not without retriever.

    For from the smoke two pigeons fly,
      One south, one westward, separating,
    And straight as arrows crossed the sky,
    With silent orders ("_He must die_
      _Who comes hereafter. Lie in waiting!_")
      Their snowy pinions freighting.

    They warn the men of Minisink;
      They warn the Dutchmen of Zuydt River.
    Now speed to Jersey's farther brink,
    Old horse, old master, ere ye shrink!--
      Or ambushed fall ere moonrise quiver,
      On paths where ye shall shiver.

    On went the twain till past the ford
      That red-walled Raritan led over,
    And lonely woodland shades explored.
    Unarmed with firelock or with sword,
      Free-hearted rode the forest rover,
      Of all wild kind the drover:

    Fled deer and bear before his coming,
      The wild-cat glared, the viper hissed;
    And died the long day's insect-drumming.
    Where things of night began their humming,
      And witchly phantoms went to tryst,
      Was Herman exorcist.

    "No land so tangled but my eye
      Can map its confines and its courses;
    Yet on life's map who can espy
    Where hides his foe--where he shall die?"
      So Herman said, and his resources
      Resigned unto his horse's.

    All night the steed instinctive travelled--
      His weary rider wept for him--
    Through unseen gulfs the whirlwind ravelled,
    Up moonlit beds of streamlets gravelled,
      Till halting every bleeding limb,
      He stands by something dim,

    And will not stir till morning breaks.
      "What is't I see, low clustering there,
    Beyond those broadening bays and lakes,
    That yonder point familiar makes?--
      Is it New Amstel, lowly fair,
      And this the Delaware?"


    Lord Herman hugged his horse with pride;
      He raised his horn and blew so loudly,
    That more than echoes back replied:
    Horns answered louder; horsemen cried,
      And muskets banged, as if avowedly
      On Stuyvesant's errand proudly!

    "Die, traitor; fleér! though thou 'scape
      Our ambush on thy devil's racer,
    Caught here upon this marshy cape,
    Thy bones the muskrat's brood shall scrape,
      The sturgeon suck--Death thy embracer!"
      So shouts each sanguine chaser.

    To die in sight of Amstel's walls,
      And gallant Joost to die beside him?--
    O foolish blast, such fate that calls!
    O river that the heart appalls!
      Dear Joost may live. And _they_ bestride him?
      "By hell! none else shall ride him!

    "My steed, thy limbs like mine are sore!
      Few years are left us ere the billows
    Roll over both. Come but once more,
    And to the bottom or the shore,
      Bear me and thee to happy pillows,
      Or 'neath the water willows!"

    He strokes old Joost. He bends him low.
      He winds his horn and laughs derision.
    One spring!--they've cleared the bog and sloe,
    And down the ebb tide buoyant go--
      That stately tide. So like a vision
      Of home, to Norse and Frisian,

    Where full a league spread Maas and Rhine,
      And in the marsh the rice-birds twitter;
    The long cranes pasture and the kine
    Loom lofty in the misty shine
      Of dawn and reedy islands glitter:
      Yet death all where is bitter.

    Ere out of range a volley peals,
      But greed too great made aye a blunder.
    His horse Lord Herman's self conceals,
    Yet once his horse and he go under,
      And rise again. No wound he feels.
      They hold their fire in wonder!

    Short of the mark the bullets splash:
      "Now drown thee, wizard! at thy pleasure,"
    The Dutchmen hiss through teeth they gnash.
    He answers not; for o'er the plash
      Of waves he hears Joost's gasping measure
      Of breath's fast wasting treasure.


    The sighs when dying comrades fall,
      Struck by the foe, are only sad;
    They leaped the ditch and climbed the wall,
    And shared the purpose of us all;
      The fame they have; the joy they had:
      "Rest in thy tracks, brave lad!"

    But thou, poor beast! unknown to fame,
      Whose heart is reached while ours is bounding,
    Amidst the victory's acclaim--
    By thee we kneel with more of shame,
      That bore us through the fight resounding,
      And dumbly took our wounding!

    Lord Herman saw the blood drops seethe,
      The nag's neck droop, the nostril bubble,
    And loosed the bridle from his teeth;
    Yet swam the old legs underneath,
      Invincibly. The gap they double;
      But further swim in trouble.

    And lovely Nature stretched her aid,
      Her sympathetic tow and eddy;
    The oars of air with azure blade,
    And silent gravities persuade
      And waft them onward, slow and steady--
      On duteous deeds aye ready.

    High leaped the perch. The hawk screamed joy.
      Under Joost's belly musically
    The ripples broke. Bright clouds convoy
    The brute that man would but destroy,
      And all instinctive agents rally
      Strong and medicinally.

    In vain! The gurgling waters suck
      That old life under. Herman swimming
    Seized but the horse tail. Like a buck
    Breasting a lake in wild woods' pluck,
      Joost rose, the glaze his bright eyes dimming,
      And blood his sockets brimming.

    Then voices speak and women cry.
      The treading feet find soil to stand.
    Above them the green ramparts lie,
    And twixt their shadows and the sky,
      The wondering burghers crowd the strand,
      And Herman help to land:

    "Now to Newcastle's English walls,
      Hail, Herman! and thy matchless stud!"
    Joost staggers up the bank and falls,
    And dying to his master crawls.
      Yields up his long solicitude,
      And spills his veins of blood.

    In Herman's arms his neck is prest,
      With martial pride his dark eye glazes;
    He feels the hand he loves the best
    Stroke fondly, and a chill of rest,
      As if he rolled in pasture daisies
      And heard in winds his praises:

    "O couldst thou speak, what wouldst thou say?
      I who can speak am dumb before thee.
    Thine eyes that drink Olympian day
    Where steeds of wings thy soul convey,
      With pride of eagles circling o'er thee:
      Thou seest I adore thee!

    "Bound to thy starry home and her
      Who brought me thee and left earth hollow!
    An honored grave thy bones inter,
    And painting shall thy fame confer,
      Ere in thy shining track I follow,
      Thou courser of Apollo!"


The singular incident of this poem was published in 1862, in Rev. John
Lednum's "Personal Rise of Methodism," and in the following words:

"It is said that the Dutch had him (Herman) a prisoner of war, at one
time, under sentence of death, in New York. A short time before he was
to be executed, he feigned himself to be deranged in mind, and
requested that his horse should be brought to him in the prison. The
horse was brought, finely caparisoned. Herman mounted him, and seemed
to be performing military exercises, when, on the first opportunity,
he bolted through one of the large windows, that was some fifteen feet
above ground, leaped down, swam the North River, ran his horse through
Jersey, and alighted on the bank of the Delaware, opposite Newcastle,
and thus made his escape from death and the Dutch. This daring feat,
tradition says, he had transferred to canvas--himself represented as
standing by the side of his charger, from whose nostrils the blood was
flowing."--Page 277.

Such a singular and improbable story attracted great local attention,
and in 1870, Francis Vincent, publishing his "History of Delaware,"
wrote: "The author found this incident in both Lednum and Foot, and
has seen a copy of this painting. It is in the possession of James R.
Oldham, Esq., of Christiana Bridge, the only male descendant of Herman
in Delaware State. He is the seventh in descent from Augustin
Herman."--Page 469.

In 1875, Rev. Charles P. Mallery, of Chesapeake City, a part of the
Bohemia Manor, wrote in the Elkton (Md.) _Democrat_ as follows:
"Herman resided on the Manor for more than twenty years, during which
time he once rode to New York on the back of his favorite horse, to
reclaim his long-neglected possessions there. He found his land
occupied by squatters.... They secured him, as they thought, for the
night; but he soon found means to escape by leaping his horse through
a forced opening, swimming the North River, and continuing his flight
through New Jersey until he reached the shore opposite Newcastle,
where he swam his horse across the Delaware and was safe.... Dr.
Spotswood, of Newcastle, told me that there was a tradition in his
town that the horse was buried there." Augustin Herman made the first
drawing of New Amsterdam, and early maps of Maryland and New England.
He was the first speculator in city real estate in America.

[Footnote 1: The Bohemia Manor is a tract of 18,000 acres of the best
land on the Delaware peninsula. It was granted to Augustine Herman,
Bohemian, whose tombstone, now lying in the yard of Richard Bayard, on
the site of Herman's park, bears date 1661. He received the manor for
making an early map of Maryland, and granted a part of the land to the
sect of Labadists. In the course of a century it became the homestead
of Senator Richard Bassett, heir of the last lord of the manor, and of
his son-in-law, Senator James A. Bayard, the first. Herman was the
principal historic personage about the head of the Chesapeake, and was
Peter Stuyvesant's diplomatist to New England as well as Maryland. The
argument he made for the priority of the Dutch settlement on the
Delaware was the basis of the independence of Delaware State. The
legend of his escape from New York is told in several local books and
newspapers, and it was the subject of one of his paintings, as he was
both draughtsman and designer. G. A. T.]

In 1876 I visited the relics of Herman on the Manor, and observed the
topography and foliage. I then undertook to put this legend into
verse, but struck a short, ill-accommodating stanza, in which I
nevertheless persevered until the tale was told. I found that Herman
had bought, in 1652, "the Raritan Great Meadows and the territory
along the Staten Island Kills from Ompoge, or Amboy, to the Pechciesse
Creek, and a tract on the south side of the Raritan, opposite Staten
Island" (see Broadhead, page 537). It at once occurred to me to put
the seat of Herman's capture by squatters on this property, and to
take Staten Island's bold scenery as a contrast to that of the head of
the Chesapeake, whence Herman had ridden. He could, besides, more
reasonably swim the Kills than the North River with a horse, as a
gentle prelude to swimming the Delaware.

One year before buying the above property (see Broadhead's "History of
New York," page 526), Peter Stuyvesant vindictively persecuted Herman,
Lockerman, and others, who retired to Staten Island to brood. These
men belonged to "the popular party." I therefore had a hint to make
Stuyvesant himself the incarcerator of Herman in a fort, and the most
available period seemed to be subsequent to the capture of Dutch New
York by the English, but before the Dutch settlements on the Delaware
were yielded. Stuyvesant surrendered New York September 8th, 1664. It
was not until October 10th that Newcastle on the Delaware surrendered.
The theory of the poem is that Herman, hearing New York to be English,
like Maryland where he resided, repaired to his possessions.
Stuyvesant rallies the squatters against him and makes use of a fort
on Staten Island, not yet noticed by the English, as Herman's place of
punishment. On Herman's escape this fort is blown up. When Herman
returns to Newcastle, it is no longer Dutch, but English. Four days is
the time of the action. The device of the carrier pigeons is possibly
an anachronism, and also the age of Herman. I have aimed to make the
story reasonable, if not creditable.


A celebrated apostle of the Methodist sect, on the Eastern shore of
Maryland, was the Rev. Titus Bates. He had been twenty-six years
engaged in the ministry, and was now a bronzed, worn, failing man,
consumed by the zeal of his order, but still anxious to continue his
work and die at his post. Like all his tribe, he was an itinerant,
moving from town to town every second year--these towns being his
places of abode, while his fields of labor were called "circuits," and
comprised many houses of worship scattered through the surrounding
district. He had chosen his wife with reference to his vocation, and
she was equally earnest with himself. She attended the sick, prayed
with the dying, taught Sabbath-schools, and organized religious
meetings among the women. They had but one son, Paul, an odd, silent
little fellow, who was thought to be more bashful than bright; but his
parents loved him tenderly, and argued the highest usefulness from his
still, sober, thoughtful habits. He was of a singularly dark
complexion, with fine black eyes and curling hair, and he was now old
enough to ride to and fro with his father upon the long pastoral

Paul's sixth birthday occurred on a raw Sunday in December. He had
been promised, as a special treat on that occasion, a visit to
Hogson's Corner, an old meeting-house near the bay-side, twenty miles
distant. His mother woke him at an early hour, and, while he
breakfasted, the gray pony Bob came to the door in the "sulky." His
mother bade him to be a good boy, and kissed him; he took his seat
upon a stool at his father's feet, and watched the stone parsonage
fade quickly out of sight. The last houses of the town vanished; they
passed some squalid huts of free negroes; and when, after an hour,
they came to a grim, solitary hill, the snow began to fall. It beat
down very fast, whitening the frozen furrows in the fields, making
pyramids of the charred stumps, and bleaching the sinuous
"worm-fences" which bordered the road. After a while, they found a
gate built across the way, and Paul leaped out to open it. The snow
was deep on the other side, and the little fellow's strength was taxed
to push it back; but he succeeded, and his father applauded him. Then
there were other gates; for there were few public highways here, and
the routes led through private fields. It seemed that he had opened a
great many gates before they came to the forest, and then Paul wrapped
his chilled wet feet in the thick buffalo hide, and watched the dreary
stretches of the pines moan by, the flakes still falling, and the
wheels of the sulky dragging in the drifts. The road was very lonely;
his father hummed snatches of hymns as they went, and the little boy
shaped grotesque figures down the dim aisles of the woods, and
wondered how it would be with travellers lost in their depths. He was
not sorry when they reached the meeting-house--a black old pile of
planks, propped upon logs, with a long shelter-roof for horses down
the side of the graveyard. A couple of sleighs, a rough-covered
wagon, called a "dearbourn," and several saddled horses, were tied
beneath the roof. Two very aged negroes were seen coming up one of the
cross-roads, and the shining, surging Chesapeake, bearing a few pale
sails, was visible in the other direction. Some boors were gossiping
in the churchyard, slashing their boots with their riding-whips; one
lean, solemn man came out to welcome the preacher, addressing him as
"Brother Bates;" and another led the sulky into the wagon-shed, and
treated Bob to some ears of corn, which he needed very much.

Then they all repaired to the church, which looked inside like a
great barn. The beams and shingles were bare; some swallows in the
eaves flew and twittered at will; and a huge stove, with branching
pipes, stood in the naked aisle. The pews were hard and prim, and
occupied by pinch-visaged people; the pulpit was a plain shelf, with
hanging oil-lamps on either side; and over the door in the rear
projected a rheumatic gallery, where the black communicants were boxed
up like criminals. A kind old woman gave Paul a ginger-cake, but his
father motioned him to put it in his pocket; and after he had warmed
his feet, he was told to sit in the pew nearest the preacher on what
was called the "Amen side." Then the services began, the preacher
leading the hymns, and the cracked voices of the old ladies joining in
at the wrong places. But after a while a venerable negro in the
gallery tuned up, and sang down the shrill swallows with natural
melody. The prayers were long, and broken by ejaculations from the
pews. The text was announced amid profound silence, after everybody
had coughed several times, and then the itinerant launched into his
sermon. At first it was dry and argumentative, then burdened with
divisions and quotations, but in the end he closed the great book, and
made one of those fierce, feeling appeals--brimming with promises of
grace and threatenings of hell--in words so homely that all felt them
true, while the wild, interpolated cries of the believers thrilled and
terrified the young.

Little Paul heard with pale lips these grim, religious revelations,
and his child's fancy conjured up awful pictures of worlds beyond the
grave. He wondered that the birds dared riot in the roof: the sky in
the gable window was full of cloudy marvels; and the snow beat under
the door, like a shroud blown out of one of the churchyard tombs. The
closing prayer was said at last, the unconverted walked away, but five
or six communicants remained to tell their experience in the
class-meeting. Paul's father gave him permission to go into the yard
if he liked, and the boy got into the sulky, beneath the buffalo, and
heard the sobs and hymns floating dismally on the wind. Grim shapes
thronged his mind again, wherein the Bible stories were mingled with
tales of ghosts and strange nursery fables. They chased each other in
and out, generating others as they went, and then came drowsiness, and
Paul slept.

The class-meeting lasted an hour. It was very fervent and
demonstrative; and when it was over the kind old lady who had given
Paul the gingerbread asked the preacher home to dinner. She said that
roasted turkey, wild duck, and pumpkin-pie were waiting for them; and
Mr. Bates thought fondly what a treat it would be for Paul on his
birthday. He was to preach again that afternoon, seven miles away, and
so moved briskly toward the sulky.

"The poor fellow is asleep," said the preacher, seeing that the
curling head was not thrust up at his approach. "I wonder of what he
dreams?" He drew near as he spoke. Old Bob was munching his corn
sedately; the sulky had a saucy air; the robe nestled in the front,
with the tiny stool peeping from a corner; but Paul was not there. The
preacher called aloud; the horses raised their ears in reply, and the
wheels crackled in the frozen crust. He called again; some
sleigh-bells jingled merrily, and then the pines moaned. He looked
into the other vehicles; he watched for the little foot-tracks in the
snow; he ran back to the old church, and searched beneath every pew.

"Brethren--sisters," he cried, "I cannot find my boy!" and his voice was
tremulous. They gathered round him and some said that Paul had ridden
away with the worldly lads; others, that he was hiding mischievously.
But one silent bystander looked into the drifts, and traced four great
boot-marks close to the sulky. He followed them across the road into the
pines, and out into the road again, where they were lost in the
multitude of impressions. "Brother," he faltered, "God give you
strength! your boy has been stolen--kidnapped!"

The old man staggered, but the kind old lady caught him, and as he
leaned upon her shoulder his face grew hard and blanched; then he
removed his hat, and his gray hair streamed over his gaunt features.
"Let us pray!" he said.

The preacher plodded to his next appointment as if he had still a
child, and his sermon was as full and straightforward. He announced
his bereavement from the pulpit when he had done, and the whole
country was alarmed and excited. He bore the tidings to his desolate
home, and his stricken wife heard it with a stern resignation.
Thenceforward he preached more of the burning pit, and less of the
golden city; his eyes were full of fierce light, and his visage grew
long and ghastly. He denied himself all joys and comforts; his prayers
rang in the midnight through the gloomy parsonage; and he toiled in
the ministry as if reckless of life, and anxious to lose it in his
Master's service. The end came at last; the world closed over the grim
couple, and they hoped through the grave's portal to find their child.

When Paul awoke from his nap in the sulky, he found himself far in the
forest, and moving swiftly forward. A huge negro, with bloodshot eyes,
was transferring him to an evil-looking white man, and he struggled in
the latter's arms, crying for his papa.

The negro drew a long knife from his breast and flourished it before
Paul's face. "Hold um jaw, or I kill um dead!" he muttered. "Got um
grave dug out yer."

"O yer young yerlin!" said the other man, boxing Paul's ears, "yer
don't know yer own father, don't yer? I'm yer parpa!"

"You are not," cried Paul. "Where are you taking me? Where is the
church, and the sulky, and old Bob?"

The negro drove his knife so close to Paul's throat that the boy
flinched and shrieked.

"You dare to say fader to anybody," yelled the negro, "and I cut yo'
heart out! You dare to tell yer name, or yer fader's name, or wha yo
come from, and I cut yo' eyes out! I cut yo' heart and eyes out--do
yo' yar?"

The lad was cowed into cold, tearless terror; he shrank from the
glittering edge, and trembled at the giant's murderous expression. He
thought they had brought him to this lonely spot to slay him, and he
embraced silence as the only chance for his young life. He wondered if
this were not one of his wild imaginings, or if it had not something
to do with the punishment pronounced in the morning's fierce sermon.

The two men came to a ruined cabin after awhile; it was buried in deep
shade; the logs were worm-eaten, and the clay chimney had fallen down.
They climbed by a creaking ladder into the loft and laid Paul upon a
ragged bed. A young negro woman and her child were there, and the boy
saw that her foot was shackled to the floor, for the chain rattled as
she moved. They gave him a piece of beef and a corn-cake, and
stripping him of his tidy clothes, dressed him in the coarse blue
drilling worn by slaves. The two men drank frequently from the same
bottle, talking in low tones, and after a time both of them lay down
and slept. The woman dandled her child to and fro, for it moaned
painfully, and the pines without made a deep dirge. No birds trilled
or screamed in this desert place, but a roaring as of loud waters was
borne now and then on the twilight; it was the bay close below them,
making thunder upon the beach.

When Paul woke from his second sleep he was on the deck of a vessel.
The shore lay beneath him, and the waves heaved behind. It was night;
the snow-flakes still filtered through the profound darkness, and the
wind whistled in the rigging. A red lantern moved along the beach;
some voices were heard speaking together, and one of them said:
"Don't be afraid of the boy; I have sold lots paler than him. Lick him
smartly if he gammons, and he'll tell no tales."

Then they lifted the anchor aboard; the tide floated off the sloop;
they were soon scudding before the wind under a freezing starlight.
Two weary days passed over Paul, of travel by land and water. They
came to the city of Richmond at last, and marched him with five other
unfortunates to the common slave-pen. It was situated in a squalid
suburb, surrounded by a high spiked wall, and entered by an office
from which a watchman could observe the interior through two grated
doors. The pen consisted of a paved area open to the sky, except on
one side, where it was protected by a shelving roof, and of a jail or
den. The latter was walled up in a corner, but its inmates could look
out upon the area through a window in the door, and their savage
features revealed at the bars so terrified Paul that he retreated to
the opposite corner, afraid to look towards them. Now and then they
howled and blasphemed; for two were delirious from drunkenness and one
was desperate from rage, and as they moved like tigers to and fro,
their irons clanked behind them, dragging on the stone floor. A number
of women were huddled together beneath the roof, some as fair as Paul,
others as black as ebony. Some had babes at their breasts, others had
no regard for their offspring, but sat stolidly apart while their
children cried for nourishment. In the open place a bevy of the
coarser inmates were holding a rude dance, a large gray-haired man
patted time or "juber" with his feet and hands, calling the figures
huskily aloud; while the women, with bright turbans tied around their
heads, grinned and screamed with glee as they followed the measure
with their large, heavy shoes.

Their efforts were directed not so much to grace as to strength, for
some kept up the dance for a whole hour, divesting themselves of
parcels of clothing as they proceeded, and breathing hard as if weary
to exhaustion. The men applauded vociferously, coupling the names of
the performers with wild ejaculations, but subsiding when the keeper
appeared at the door occasionally to command less noise. Remote from
the bacchanals crouched a serious group of negroes, who sang religious
melodies, quite oblivious of their wild associates; and in still
another quarter a humorous fellow was enlivening his constituents with
odd sayings and stories. Paul's heart sank within him as he looked
upon these scenes. A sense of his degradation rushed over his young
mind, and he threw himself upon the stones with his head in his hands,
and wept hot tears of bitterness. Henceforth he should be a creature,
a thing, a slave! He must know no ambition but indolence, no bliss but
ignorance, no rest but sleep, no hope but death! Long leagues must
interpose between himself and his home; he should never kiss his
mother again, or kneel with his father in the holiness of prayer. The
recollections of his childhood would be crushed out by agonizing
experiences of bondage; he would forget his name and the face of his
friends, and at last preserve only the horrible consciousness that he
was the chattel of his master!

The uproar continued far into the night; one poor creature was
delivered of a child in the hazy light of the morning. Paul was too
young to think much of the matter, for his own sorrows engrossed him;
but he often recurred, in his subsequent career, to the romance of
that bondwoman, and the soul which first felt the breath of life in
the precincts of the slave shamble. What a childhood must it have had
to look back upon--cradled in disgrace, sung to sleep with the simple
melodies of grief, bred for no high purposes, but with the one
distinct and dreadful idea of gain--to be filched from that dusky
bosom when its little limbs had first essayed motion, that its feeble
lips might lisp the accents of servility. Days and weeks passed over
Paul, but he found no opportunity to tell his story. They kept him
purposely that he might forget it, or feel the hopelessness of
relating it. Other wretches came and went, till there remained none of
the original inmates of his prison, and he learned to mingle with his
coarse companions, joining sometimes in their gayety, and the high
walls stood forever between his dreams and the sky till the sombre
shadows were printed upon his heart.

The boy's turn came at length. He climbed the auction block before the
gaping multitude, and leaped to show his suppleness. They were pleased
with his still serious manner, the paleness of his skin, his
thoughtful eyes, and the shining ringlets of his hair. Bids were
bandied briskly upon him, and the auctioneer rattled glibly of the
rare lot to be sold.

"Who owns the boy?" cried a bystander.

"Colonel James Purnell, of the Eastern shore," answered the
auctioneer. "His mother is a likely piece that will be in the market

Tears came to Paul's eyes, but he held down the great sob that started
to his throat, and called lustily: "It is a wicked story! My father is
white, and my mother is white! I am not a slave, and they have stolen

A loud, long laugh broke from the crowd, and the trader cracked a
merry joke, which helped the pleasantry.

"We may call that a 'white lie,'" he said; "but it is a peart lad, and
the air with which he told it is worth a cool hundred! Going at four
hundred dollars--four hundred," etc.

The bidding recommenced. The article rose in esteem, and Paul was
pushed from the block into the arms of a tall, angular person, who led
him into the city. That afternoon he was placed in a railway carriage,
and on the third night he was quartered in Mobile, at the dwelling of
his purchaser. The tall person proved to be the agent of a rich old
lady--a childless widow--who required a handsome, active lad, to wait
upon her person, and make a good appearance in the drawing-room.

She had many servants; but Paul was not compelled to associate with
them, and his duties were light, though menial. When his mistress went
out to walk, he must carry her spaniel in his arms. He must stand
behind her at dinner, wielding a fly-brush of peacock's feathers. He
must run errands, and be equally ready to serve her whims and satisfy
her wants. She was not harsh, but very petulant; and had Paul been
hasty or high-tempered, his lot might have been a bitter one. On the
contrary, he was quiet, docile, and bashful, and he pleased her
marvellously. If he sometimes wept for the happy past, or felt a
child's strong yearning for something to love, he hid his grief from
those about him, and sought that consolation which the world cannot
take away in the simple prayers he had conned from his mother. He was
a slave, but not a negro. His pleasures were not theirs, for he had
quick intelligence, and he shrank from their loud, lewd glee. Their
blood had thickened through generations of bondage, and trained in the
harness of beasts, they had become creatures of draught. His had
rippled bright and brisk through generations of freedom, and a year
could not drag him to their level. He had learned to read and write,
and it was his habit to stand at the window in his leisure moments,
adding to his information from some pleasant book; but his mistress
supposed that he was looking at the pictures merely, till one day,
entering the dining-room softly, she heard him reading aloud. He had a
sweet, boy's voice, which somewhat pacified the anger she felt at such
presumption in a slave; and though at first rebuking him, she
reconsidered the matter during the evening, and bade him read to her
from a new novel. Henceforward Paul gained favor, and his mistress
found it convenient to employ him as an amanuensis. She released him
from menial duties, and gave him neat attire, and it was wonderful how
well these accessories became him. He was unassuming, as before,
submitting with patience to his lot; and at length he became
indispensable to Mrs. Everett. Her attachment to books of fiction
amounted to dissipation, and the part that he bore in their perusal
filled his warm imagination till his fancies were brighter than
romance--they became poetry. The one great grief of his life touched
his whole face with a pensive melancholy, but he forebore to tell them
his true history again, preferring to wait for some golden moment when
he might be believed and emancipated.

From the beginning Mrs. Everett's agent disliked him. Wait was a
Northern adventurer, cool, courageous, and ambitious, who had settled
in the South with the resolution of becoming rich, and he had pursued
his purpose with steady inflexibility. He was not a bad man, but a
bitter one, and Paul had in some sort divided Mrs. Everett's esteem
from him. Previously he had been her sole and undisputed adviser, and
as she was readily influenced, he hoped, in course of time, to be
acceptable as her second husband. He was young and manly, and she was
giddy and middle-aged. Her relatives held him in contempt, but he had
proved his courage, and they did not care to cross him. But with the
coming of Paul he had lost somewhat of her regard, and he had laid it
to the boy's charge. Paul read his calm purpose in his keen eyes, and
he shuddered at the thought of some day falling into his relentless
hands. He labored to conciliate his enemy, but with little effect,
until one afternoon, Wait told him to obtain permission from Mrs.
Everett and come to the office. He dictated some ambiguous letters to
Paul, and gave him many papers to burn, meanwhile inspecting a pair of
long pistols which he took from a portmanteau. It was late in the
afternoon when he had done, and then he bade Paul take the case of
pistols, slip quietly into the street, and walk straight on till he
was overtaken. He obeyed, not without suspicion, and when he reached
the city limits found the agent, to his great surprise, seated in a
carriage. Two other persons attended him, and one, who was bald and
wore glasses, had a case of surgical instruments lying at his feet.
Paul climbed to the driver's box, and they dashed along by the
water-side, meeting a second carriage on their way. The last rays of
sunset were streaming over the low landscape when both carriages
stopped, their occupants dismounted, and Wait came to the front and
reached up his hand to Paul.

"Good-by, boy," he said in a tone of unwonted tenderness; "remain here
a moment and you will see me again!"

They filed along a dyke separating two swamps, and turning down to the
beach, were hidden behind a line of cypress trees. For a few moments
Paul only heard the roar of the surf, the noise of the distant town,
and the short breathing of the sedate negro beside him. Then there
were shouts, as of a person counting rapidly, and two reports so close
that one seemed the echo of the other. A few minutes afterward the
agent appeared, leaning upon the arms of his attendants. He was
divested of coat and vest, and as he came nearer, bareheaded, Paul saw
that his face was colorless and working as from deadly pain. His shirt
was perforated close to the collar, and the blood flowing beneath had
stained it to his waist, and dripped in a runnel from his boots. He
fainted when he had taken his seat; and as the carriage rolled away,
Paul looked back toward the duelling-ground, and beheld two men
bearing upon their shoulders a stiff, straight burden, wrapped in a

The second carriage passed him, driven swiftly, and it seemed to emit
a chill draught upon Paul like the damp wind from a tomb; it was the
presence of death, at whose very mention we grow cold.

Wait had vindicated his courage, but at the expense of his life. He
lingered on in agony many days; and Paul so pitied him that he stole
into his darkened chamber and begged to do him kindnesses. The grim
man lay implacable, waiting for death; but one night as he writhed
with the dew upon his forehead, Paul heard him mutter, "My God! my

The boy remembered a quaint text of Scripture: "Save me, O God! for
the waters have come in unto my soul;" and he repeated it in the
strong man's ear. "Go on," cried Wait, rising upon his elbow; "I have
heard that before: tell me the rest."

"I have the good book here," replied Paul. "I am sure it will be
pleasant to you, sir, if you will let me read."

"Do so, boy; I used to know it well. An old friend taught those
strange words to me, but I have forgotten them now."

Paul read some soothing and beautiful Psalms, which took his
companion's mind back to his native mountains, and the white spire of
the village church where he had worshipped with his mother. The hard
lines melted in his face as he listened, but Paul fell upon a bitter
verse, and the agent's conscience began to trouble him. He could not
look into the boy's eyes, for they seemed to rebuke him, and at last
he commanded Paul to stop.

It was midnight. They heard the great clock in the hall strike twelve,
and all the household slumbered.

"Go to your mistress's room," said Wait; "tell her that I must see her
_now_--she must come at once. The morning may never come to me. Go;
God bless you!"

He called Paul back when he had got to the door, and added

"My boy, do you say your prayers?"

"Yes, sir."

"Would you mind thinking of me when you say them to-night?"

"I do so every night, sir."


Paul heard the agent sobbing as he stole away; but when he knocked at
Mrs. Everett's door she answered petulantly, and at first she refused
to rise. She had little self-denial; it would pain her to enter a
dying chamber; and she would have left Wait to perish, had not some
strange passage from the romance entered her head of dead folk, with
secrets on their minds, haunting the living. It would be very terrible
to be haunted, and the old woman was frightened into obedience. When
she returned her mind was disquieted, and she made Paul stay in her
room to compose her with cheerful talk. Finally she fell asleep, and
he hastened to the agent's chamber. It was very dark within, and he
waited a moment that the other might recognize him. Wait seemed to be
in deep slumber, though Paul could not hear him breathe; but as the
lad ventured to place his head upon the quilt, it encountered a hand
so cold and hard that it seemed to be marble. Paul knew that he need
no longer remember his enemy in his prayers.

What transpired between his mistress and her agent at this dying
interview Paul could not surmise, but he believed that it concerned
himself. He perceived that Mrs. Everett treated him more considerately
afterward; and many times, as he looked up from a long silence, he
found her regarding him inquisitively. She asked him strange questions
once, bearing upon his early life, and he was almost encouraged to
reveal the secret of his birth; but she seemed to divine his purpose,
and changed the theme. Something troubled her, he knew; and when he
applied himself to conciliate and cheer her, at those moments she
suffered most. Had she loved the stern, ambitious man whose closed
chamber still chilled her mansion? Was it because she was childless,
and travelling graveward? Or did she cherish a mother's feeling for
Paul, and wish that he was of her race, and worthy to be her son?
Toward each of these theories he inclined, favoring the last, and
finally he concluded that she did not love, but feared him. He had
grown tall and manly. An individual beauty, rather of mind than of
face, developed in him, and his mistress had been prodigal of favors,
so that his dress and ornaments corresponded with his person. He
might have ruled, rather than served in her dwelling; but content with
the recognition of his equality, he maintained the same modest guise,
and his mistress felt an uneasy pride in his promotion. One day he
found her weeping, and when he spoke she answered bitterly:

"Paul, you have ceased to love me; you are ungrateful; you wish to be
free--you would leave me!"

He responded pleasantly--for he had become familiar with such
moods--that he had found a new romance which he would read. It was not
a long story, but a thrilling one, and based upon the simple narrative
of Joseph in bondage. The outline was true, the details were fabulous,
and the old lady marvelled that a theme so trite could be so well
embellished. He read far into the night, and she bade him leave the
book upon her table, that she might peruse it again.

"It is manuscript," he said, "and this is the only copy."

"Why, Paul," she said, "how came you by it?"

"I wrote it myself."

Paul was indeed the author, having filled in the sorrows of his hero
from his own experiences. Mrs. Everett was loud in its praises; she
was sure that it indicated genius, and she lay awake that night
meditating an act of charity and of justice. She would make a free man
of Paul, and he should find in far lands that equality which he could
not obtain in his own. They would journey together. He should have
means and advantages, and become her protégé and heir. But the strong
self-love defeated this resolve. If Paul were not bound to her by law,
he might forsake her, and she could not bear to lose him, for he had
become a part of her heart; but when she broached the matter, Paul
gave his parole never to leave her without consent.

He was still a slave, with the taint of a trampled race in his blood,
and he said nothing to Mrs. Everett of his origin. They crossed the
seas; they dwelt in pleasant places, beneath soft skies; and Paul grew
in knowledge. But his patron was still harassed by some deep remorse.
She hurried him from city to city like the fabled apostate, and at
length fell sick in London, on the eve of their return to America.
Paul gleaned from her ravings in delirium the cause of her unrest.
Wait had made known to her on the night of his decease the secret of
the young man's origin, and had conjured her to do justice to the lad.
Her self-love had deterred her in consummating this duty, and
conscience had therefore tortured her. She was enabled to reach New
York, where she left the preacher's son the bulk of her property, and
received his gratitude and forgiveness before she died.

Paul was free--haunted no longer by premonitions of future suffering;
and his first impulse was to return to the Eastern shore and discover
his desolate parents. His recollections of them were imperfect. He
preserved many trifling circumstances, though more important events
were forgotten; but as he made his way to the old village his heart
beat high. There were the negro quarters, the cornfields, the twisting
fences, and, at last, the shady stone parsonage--recollections they
seemed of objects beheld in a foggy dream. They directed him to the
Methodist Church--a prim, square structure in the centre of the
village--a tavern on one side, a court-house and market on the other;
and when the sexton threw open a window, the bleared light fell upon a
marble slab set in the wall:

          "Near this spot lie the remains of
               REV. TITUS BATES,
      for two years Pastor of this Congregation,
          and of PEGGY, his Wife.
   'They have ceased from their labors, and their
               works do follow them.'"

Paul's hopes fell. He walked through the village friendless, and,
impelled by his swift-coming fancies, strolled far into the suburbs.
A crowd was collected round a squalid negro cabin, and, less by
interest than by instinct, he bent his steps toward it.

"What is the matter, friend?" he asked of a bystander.

"The boys hez scented kidnappers to this shanty," answered the man;
"and by doggy! they going to trap 'em!"

The mob seemed to be fearfully incensed as Paul pushed close to the
scene. There were said to be two of the man-stealers, both of whom had
been very daring and successful. He heard their names called as Peter
Gettis and Dave Goule, and the opinion was expressed that the
first-named would not yield without a desperate struggle. The mob was
hot and clamorous, and while a selected committee entered the den to
search it, the rest brandished clubs and knives, and yelled for
justice and blood. Word came at length that the kidnappers were
concealed beneath the floor of the cabin; and at the hint, a score of
stalwart fellows began to pull up the planks, while their associates
formed a wide circle around, prepared to prevent escape.

Finally, the cry arose: "Here they air! This is them! Drag 'em out!

The men within the cabin rushed through the doors and windows as if
pursued, and a stalwart negro, with bloodshot eyes, almost naked, and
flourishing a huge knife, staggered to the threshold, and glared
fiercely round him.

The circle stood firm; some were clubbing their cudgels, others
lifting their blades, and here and there along the line rang out the
click of a pistol.

"Come, Pete," cried one of the ringleaders; "you're treed, Pete! Don't
be a fool, but give yourself in."

The negro gnashed his teeth, and his wild eyes glared like coals of

"Do you give me faih-play?" he bellowed, extending the knife.

"Yes, Pete, yes," answered the multitude.

"Then look heah," answered the wretch, drawing his knife across his
throat. He staggered into the air like an ox, cursing as he came. They
parted to avoid him, and as he reached a fence, a few rods from the
cabin, he leaned upon it, and swaying to and fro, raised his horrible
eyes to the sky.

Paul recognized his ancient captor with a thrill and a silent prayer.
Vengeance had come in His own good time, and Paul felt no bitterness
toward the poor fellow, but prayed forgiveness for his slipping soul.

The second offender burrowed so remotely that the mob could not drag
him from his covert. They struck at him with knives, and hired dogs to
creep beneath the logs and rend him, but in vain. At length one of the
ringleaders obtained a torch, and the cabin was fired in several
places. The flames spouted into the night, bursting from the small
windows, and the roof fell in with a crash, scattering ashes and
red-hot coals. They could hear the shriek of the victim now, and he
was seen dancing among the fire-brands, for the blaze encircled him
like an impassable wall. He made a desperate rush at length to
overleap the fire, and his figure, magnified by the red light, looked
gigantic as he sprang high in the air. A dozen pistols clattered
together--the man fell heavily forward, tossing up his scorched hands,
and the frizzing, cracking timbers closed darkly above him to the
thunder of his executioners' huzzas.

Paul did not reveal himself. He left the village stealthily, and
journeyed northward. Years afterwards a name was added to the tablet
in the old church:

           "Here lie also the Remains of the
                REV. PAUL BATES.
             'He went about doing good.'"


    The Judge took down his fiddle,
      And put his feet on the stove,
    And heaved a sigh from his middle
      That might have been fat, or love;
    He leaned his head on the mantel,
      And bent his ear to the strings,
    And the tender chords awakened
      The echoes of many things.

    The Bar had enjoyed the measure,
      The Bench and Senate had been
    Amused at the simple pleasure
      He drew from his violin;
    But weary of power and duty,
      He had laid them down with a sigh,
    Exhausted of life the beauty,
      And he fiddled he knew not why.

    In the days when passion budded,
      And she in the churchyard lain
    Came over his books as he studied
      With an exquisite pang of pain,
    He played to his sons their mother's
      Old favorites ere she wed;
    Those tunes, like hundreds of others,
      Were requiems of the dead.

    They lay in the kirk's inclosure:
      All three, in the shadows dim,
    In a cenotaph's cynosure
      That waited for only him,
    Who sat with his fiddle tuning
      On the spot where his fame was won,
    On the empty world communing,
      Without a wife or a son.

    And he drew his bow so plaintive
      And loud, like a human cry,
    That the light of the shutter darkened
      From somebody passing by.
    A young man peeped at the pensive
      Great man, so familiar known;
    His features, if inoffensive,
      Were like to the judge's own.

    "Come in," cried the politician--
      "Come not," his soul would have said--
    "Thou bringest to me a vision
      Of a sin ere thy mother wed,
    When I, wild boy from college,
      Her humble desert o'ercame,
    And we hid the guilty knowledge
      Beneath thy father's name."

    The youth delayed no longer,
      His sense of music strong,
    Nor knew of his mother's wronger,
      Nor that she had known a wrong;
    Deep in the grave the secret
      Her husband might never guess.
    He stood before his father
      With a loyal gentleness.

    "What tune, fair boy, desirest
      My old friend's worthy son?--
    Say but what thou requirest,
      And for father's sake 'tis done."
    "Oh! Judge, our State's defender,
      Whose life has all been power,
    Play me the tune most tender,
      When thou felt thy greatest hour!"

    The old man thought a minute,
      Irresolutely stirred,
    As if his fiddle's humor
      Changed like a mocking-bird;
    Then, as his tears came raining
      Upon the plaintive chords,
    He played the invitation
      To the sinner, of his Lord's.

    "Come, poor and needy sinners,
      And weak and sick, and sore,
    The patient Jesus lingers
      To draw you through the door."
    It was a tune remembered
      From old revival nights,
    In crowded country churches,
      Where dimly blew the lights.

    And boys grew superstitious
      To hear the mourners wail.
    The great man, self-degraded,
      So sighed his contrite tale
    In notes that failed for sobbing,
      To feel Heaven's sentence well,
    That took away his Isaac
      And blessed the Ishmael.

       *       *       *       *       *

    Low in the tomb of glory
      The old man's ashes lie--
    Unuttered this my story,
      Unwritten to human eye;
    And the young man, blessed and blessing,
      Walks over the shady town,
    The evil passions repressing,
      And his head bent humbly down.

    Perhaps he marvels why treasure
      Of the judge to his credit is set,
    And an old revival measure
      Should have been the statesman's pet.
    But he hears the invitation,
      And sees the streaming eyes
    Of the old man lost to the nation,
      And forgiven beyond the skies.


"A gift-book for Christmas. A poem preferred. Limited text, and
profuse illustration." What should it be?

As if by invocation, the Ancient Mariner rose before me! He stood in
the doorway of my office, and held me with his glittering eye. He
lifted his skinny hand to his long gray beard, and then gravely tipped
his oiled hat. "The reader for Spry, Stromboli, and Smith?"

I had that honor, and handed him a chair. He sat in it after the
manner of a flounder, concentrated his eye upon me like a star-fish,
and produced a roll of manuscript with the fluttering claws of a
lobster. Then he stirred and squirmed, like an elderly eel, looking
distrustfully into the vestibule. I closed the door and begged to be
informed of his business.

"I have a great work for you," he said mysteriously, proffering his
manuscript. As he leaned over to do this, I saw a shining something on
the top of his head, but the thick white hair concealed it when he
resumed his place. The manuscript smelled as if it had contained
mackerel, and looked as if it had come from the bottom of the sea. I
found, curiously enough, some fish-scales adhering to it, and its
title very oddly confirmed these testimonies--"Five Years in the Great

I glanced at the author with some surprise. He was the quaintest of
mariners, and if I had met him leagues under the sea, I should have
thought him in his proper element. His locks were like dry sea-weed;
his cheeks were so swollen that they might have contained gills, but
this was probably tobacco. When he wiped his nose with a handkerchief
like a scoop-net, some shells and pebbles fell from his pocket, and
his ears flapped like a pair of ventrals. I remarked as he pursued the
lost articles over the floor, that he wore a microscope strapped in a
leathern case, and a geological hammer belted to his side. He walked
as if habituated to swimming, and when he shrugged his shoulders I
expected to see a dorsal fin burst out of the back of his jacket. He
might have been sixty years of age, but looked much older, and behaved
like a well-born person, though, superficially judged, he might have
lived in Billingsgate.

"A good title for a fiction," I said encouragingly.

"I never penned a line of fiction in my life," exclaimed my visitor

Referring to the copy again, I saw that it purported to be the work of
"Rudentia Jones, Fellow of the Palæontologic Society, Entomologist to
the Institute for Harmonizing the Universes, and Ruler of Subaqueous
Creation, excepting the Finny Mammalia."

"Ah! I see," said I; "a capital title for a satire!"

"Life is too grave, and science too sacred," replied my visitor, "for
the indulgence of idle banterings. The work is mine; I am its hero;
and it is all true." He wore so earnest a face, and looked so directly
and intelligently at me, that I forebore to smile. "I have travelled
in strange countries," he said; "Nature has been bountiful in her
revelations to me, indeed; my experiences have been so individual,
that I sometimes discredit them myself. I do not complain that others
ridicule them."

He spoke in the manner of one devoted to his species; and an easy
dignity, which some trace to high birth and the consciousness of
dominion, became him very naturally. The eldest of the admirals, or
old Neptune himself, could not have seemed more kingly; but once or
twice he started at a noise from the publishing-house, as if longing
to get back to his legitimate brine. I told him to leave the
manuscript in my hands for a fortnight, that I might form an opinion
as to its claims for publication.

"No!" he said quickly. "It is not a girl's romance, or a boy's poem,
or the strollings of a man-errant: it is of such rare value that gold
cannot purchase it; it is so priceless that I cannot own it myself; it
is like the air, or the water, or the light, or the magnet--the
property of all the peoples. It must not leave my sight. I must read
it to you now!"

He literally held me with his eye. He stood erect dilating, until he
seemed to reach the height of a mainmast, as long and lank and brown
as the subject of the veritable _rime_; and his ears, contracted,
flapped like the pectorals of a flying-fish. It was uncertain whether
he was going to fly or swim, or seize and shake me. I believed him to
be either a lunatic or an apparition; but when the frenzy of the
moment was over, he became a very harmless, kindly, and grave old
gentleman, who begged my pardon for transgressing decorum in the
enthusiasm for his "great work." He still smelled abominably of fish,
but I could not take it into my heart to be harsh with this most
pertinacious of authors.

I had been but a short time in the service of Spry, Stromboli & Smith,
and my nerves had not yet been exercised by sensitive and eccentric
writers. I had led a vagabond career myself, and had frequent reason,
in my incipient literary days, to be grieved with publishers'
"readers;" and when promoted to the same exalted place, I resolved to
be charitable, careful, and obliging--to do as I would be done by--to
crush no delicate Keats, to enrage no Johnson, by slight, prejudice,
or deprecation. But to suffer the infliction of a crack-brained old
naturalist, repeating an interminable manuscript in my own office,
went beyond my best resolve! Still there was little to do. It would be
a paltry task to select a poem for illustration, and had not this
same Ancient Mariner suggested an admirable one?

"I can grant your request in part, Mr. Jones," I said at length; "you
may read one hour; and if at the end of that period I do not think
favorably of your article, you must promise to read no further."

The old gentleman gave his parole at once, took a pair of great green
spectacles from a sea-grass case, and blowing his nose again, rained
pebbles and marine shells over the whole office. When he took the
manuscript from my hand, I saw the shining something distinctly on the
top of his head; and when he sat back to read, he was a perfect copy
of a dry old king-fish, looking through a pair of staring, glaring,
green eyes. Without more ado, and in a rippling kind of voice, as of
the rushing of deep water, the old naturalist read the following
introduction to a most wonderful manuscript:

"At a very early period of my life I manifested an inclination for the
study of the sciences. In my eighteenth year I submitted a theory of
inter-stellar telegraphing to the Gymnotian Academy. It was my purpose
to have placed the papers simultaneously before the scientific bodies
of each of the seven planets in our constellation, but having no
capital, the design failed, though I was complimented thereupon by the
'Institute for Harmonizing the Universes,' and elected a contributing
member of that society. For several years I petitioned annually for
outfit and transportation to Scilly Islands,[2] on the Ecliptic
Circle, where I purposed to develop my scheme of transferring a
portion of our globe to the system of Orion. In this I was opposed by
the Palæontologic Society, on the ground that some valuable fossils
were presumed to be there; and Parliament, opining that my protests
were subversive of the law of gravity, rejected them. A number of
projects, each of which, I firmly believe, would have benefited my
kind, and facilitated correspondence between all created beings,
terminated unfortunately, and my relatives at length placed it out of
my power to continue these philanthropic exertions. For some years I
was denied the ear of man, and in the interval my hair grew gray and
my body a trifle faint. But the lofty impulses of youth survived. My
mind could not be imprisoned, and I held communication with the stars
through the grating of my chamber in the still midnight. At last the
relief came. I had long prayed for it! My deliverer was Sirius, the
brightest of the celestial intelligences. He shone upon my window bars
with an intense concentrated light, and they reddened and melted
before daybreak. I fled to Glasgow in the month of April, 184-, and
obtained a captain's clerkship on the whaler Crimson Dragon.

[Footnote 2: This group of Scilly Islands is in the South Pacific; not
off Land's End.]

"We took in water at the Shetland Islands, and sailing north-westward,
skirted the coast of Greenland, whence, cruising in a southerly
direction, we lay off Labrador, and waited for our prey. Our crew was
fifty men, all told. Our captain had been a whaler thirty-eight years,
and had killed five hundred and six animals or eight more than the
renowned Scoresby. We carried seven light-boats for actual service,
and twenty-seven thousand feet, or more than five miles, of rope.
Three men kept watch, day and night, in the 'crow's-nest,' at the
maintop; but though we beat along the whole coast, through Davis'
Strait, and among the mighty icebergs of Baffin's Bay, we saw no
cetaceous creatures, save twice some floundering porpoises, and thrice
a solitary grampus. With these beings I endeavored to open
communication, but they made no intelligible responses. The stars also
of this latitude failed to comprehend my signals, from which I
concluded that they were less intelligent than those of more temperate
skies. But with the animalcules of the sea I obtained most gratifying
relations. A series of experiments with the _infusoria_ satisfied me
that they were not loath to an exchange of information, and finally
they followed the ship by myriads, so that all the waves were full of
fire, which the sailors remarked; and fearful of being observed, I
ceased my experiments for a time.

"On the evening of the fifth Saturday of our cruise, I waited till the
changing of the watch; then I stole noiselessly upon deck, and
secreted myself behind a life-boat which hung at the side of the
vessel. The helmsman was nodding silently upon his tiller; two seamen
sat motionless upon the bow, and the lookout party in the crow's-nest
talked mutteringly of our ill-luck as they scanned the horizon. The
Northern Lights were pulsing like some great radiating heart, and the
sea was alternately flame and shadow. The headlands of Labrador lay to
the south--bare, boundless, precipitous; and to the east a glittering
iceberg floated slowly towards us, like a palace of gold and emerald.
The ship rolled calmly upon the long swells, the ripples plashing in
low lulling monotone, and her hull and spars were reflected darkly
beneath me. I drew a long gray hair from my temple, and subjected it
to a gentle friction between my palm and finger; then I pricked my
wrist, and leaning forward, placed it against my heart: five
blood-drops--symbols of the five types of organized creation--fell
simmering into the depths, and the scintillant hair, floating after
them, described a true spiral. In an instant the Aurora grew bright to
blindness; there was a rush of infinite stars, and a host of beautiful
beings fluttered to the surface of the sea, within the shadow of the
ship! A gull darted along the water, and in the far distance I heard
the bellow of the huge Greenland whale. All animate nature had
acknowledged my message; I had touched the nerve of the universes!

"'Blow me if there warn't a whale, Ben!' said one of the men in the

"'My eyes! but it wor like it,' replied the other.

"Fearful of being remarked, I slipped below, a second time
disappointed, but with such exultant feelings that I tried in vain to
sleep. The intimacy of species and their common language, lost in the
degeneracy of the first human beings, were about to be restored by me.
Confusion had overcome the counsels of the countless things which had
talked and dwelt together in the past, but science was about to win
back from sin the great secret of communication. I should translate
the scream of eagles and the cooing of doves; I should hear the gossip
of my household kittens, and speak familiarly with the mighty
hippopotami. The serpent should teach me his traditions, and the
multitude of mollusks should develop the mysteries of their sluggish
vitality; nay, the plurality of worlds should be demonstrated, and
with the combined intelligences of all the systems, we should wrest
the mysteries of life, matter, and eternity from their Divine

"I lay awake all night revelling in these anticipations, and at dawn
was quite weak of body. It was now the Sabbath, and at nine o'clock
all hands were summoned to the poop-deck for the customary worship. I
lay upon a coil of rope, when the mate commenced to read the service,
and a deep drowsiness came over me. The lesson was a part of the first
chapter of Genesis--the weird history of creation. He had reached the
twenty-eighth verse when I dropped asleep. It could have been only an
instant's forgetfulness, for when I awoke he had not finished the
reading of the same verse, but in that instant a vision had passed
before me.

"A female of marvellous beauty rose from the water. I had seen the
long green locks, the eyes of azure, and the glossy neck--it was
Tethys, the queen of the sea-nymphs. She was begotten of humidity in
the remote beginning, and seemed even now cloudy and incorporeal.
Euripius, the divinity of whirlpools, lay in the waves at her feet,
projecting a spectrum of spray, in an arch, above her head.

"'Man,' she said, or rather rippled, for it was like the even voice of
waters, 'your love of nature, the boundlessness of your kindness, the
daring of your speculation, the profoundness of your introspection,
have made you one of us. Awake, and hear our decree!'

"She melted into vapor, and disappeared. I opened my eyes. The crew
were grouped about the deck, the mate was reading the lesson, the
words which I heard were: 'Have dominion over the fish!'

"'A fall! a fall!' was shouted from the maintop. The men on watch had
discovered the long-expected prey.

"'Man the boats!' cried the captain; 'all hands be spry! Where away,
look out?'

"'Sou'-west!' answered the crow's-nest, 'about two leagues. There must
be hoceans of 'em! They 'eave like water-spouts, and, lor! how they

"The seven boats were arranged in curved shape, so as to form a
semicircle around the animals; and the captain's, of which I took the
helm, formed the left tip of the crescent. We pulled steadily for a
half-hour over a smooth sea, and came at length so close to our
victims that we could count them. Truly it was 'a fall'! A few cubs
played recklessly around the surface; but there was an enormous bull,
whose bulk was much greater than that of the ship's hull, which came
once in full view, dived vertically, and beat the water with his
terrible tail, making such billows that a storm seemed to be raging.
The other animals swam in the froth and foam thus developed, now
plunging to the far depths, now shooting their huge bodies into the
air, and falling with a splash, as of the emptying of the ocean. The
scene was so exciting that even my wonderful discoveries passed out of
mind. Our oars dipped noiselessly; the crews were silent; the
harpooners stood, each in the bow of his launch, with naked weapons
extended, waiting to strike. The first opportunity occurred to the
launch on our extreme right. At the distance of twenty yards the
executioner hurled his javelin full into the back of the great bull; a
roar ensued and a frightful leap. The other creatures repeated the
agonized cry, and they swam southward with the velocity of a ship
under full sail.

"'Now, lads, bend your oars!' shouted the captain through his trumpet.
The entire length of rope unwound directly from the reel or 'bollard'
of the first launch, and the line of a second boat was attached
forthwith; a third and a fourth were annexed, but the whale exhibited
no sign of exhaustion, and dragged his pursuers like the wind. A fifth
and a sixth line spun out. The captain's cheek grew pale, and he
opened his clasp-knife with a curse upon his lips. There remained the
line of our boat alone: unless the monster stopped within ten minutes,
we should lose every foot of the ship's cordage, and this last rope
would have to be severed. Tremulously a seaman attached it; it was
whirled out as if by a locomotive. The oars moved like light, but no
human activity could approach that of our victim. He nearly swamped
the launch, and the friction of the bollard threatened to set it

"'What devil of the deep is this?' said the captain, bending forward
with his blade. The sailors ceased with hot faces, and stared aghast.
I seemed to hear calling voices; I grew faint and blind. The bollard
snapped with a dead, dull sound; I was entangled in the stout twine,
and tossed into the sea. Some oars were thrown overboard, that I might
be buoyed up. Three of the launches were turned toward me, and the
seamen called aloud that I should keep up courage. But the line pulled
me downward; my heart ceased to beat; I beheld with indescribable
terror the pale surface receding, and the dark shapes of the vessels
above me were finally lost to view. I knew that at the first
inhalation the brine would fill my mouth and lungs; I held my breath
hard, and tried to pray. Down, down, down into the blue depths--a
cycle of protracted years it seemed! My ears were stunned with
strange noises; my lips parted, and at length the sea rushed into my
throat; for an instant I seemed to strangle, but I did not perish.

"The fluid was mysteriously expelled from me. I breathed as freely of
the water as a moment before I had breathed of the air! A weight was
lifted from my brain, which had before been crushing it, and my
temples grew suddenly cool. A spiracle had developed at the apex of my
cranium, and I exuded water through a cavity or 'blow-hole' in the top
of my head, like the cetacea around me!"

The naturalist here paused and ran his hand through his hair. The
shining something among his gray locks revealed itself as a plate of
silver, circular in shape, covering what had evidently been an opening
in the skull. He looked less like a man than ever, and when,
consulting a glutinous old chronometer, like a jellyfish, he found
that his hour was passing, he begged so earnestly to be allowed to
finish his "Introduction," that I gave him leave. A boy coming in with
copy so frightened him, however, that I thought he was going to turn
upon his stomach, and swim away through the window.

"I became sensible directly of three organic changes: my heels clave
together, my feet flattened, and my toes turned out, like a caudal
fin; my integument grew thick and hard, and my blood thin and chill.
But these conditions being novel to me, and my fears only equalled by
my wonder as yet, I was paralyzed, and continued to sink. I had
descended about one hundred fathoms, and was experiencing a strange
oppression, as of the forcing together of my bones, when I heard a
sonorous voice close below me say! 'If you go any deeper, you will
sustain a pressure of twenty atmospheres, and may not get back at

I looked beneath, and to my horror a huge whale was coming upward with
extended jaws. His half-human eyes were turned benignantly upon me;
but he was evidently in pain, and from a point in his back, where a
broken harpoon still remained, gouts of blood curdled upward, coloring
the water. His vocal power lay in his spiracle, and he said again:

"'I should have been asphyxiated in five minutes.'

"'Who is it that speaks?' I faltered. 'Leviathan, king of the sea, be

"'I am called _New England Tom_ by the creatures of the upper
element,' answered the whale, 'although falsely thought to be of the
family of the Spermaceti; but though my exploits have recommended me
to my species, I am not equal to the high title you have given me.
_That_ is possessed by you and our sovereign Jonah only!'

"The conviction rushed upon me that I had, indeed, 'dominion over the

"'I have suffered this wound for your majesty's sake,' said the whale
again; 'for I had been deputed to wait in this latitude for your
arrival, and convey you to our sovereign. But though I am now in the
third century of my age, I can survive a dozen such prickings, and if
I chose could shiver the Crimson Dragon with a blow of my tail, as in
1804 I stove the Essex, and made driftwood of her spars.'

"In an instant I was seated within the mighty maw of this famous
monster. His jaw-bones were forty feet in length; the roof of his
mouth was fifteen feet high, and formed of a spacious arch of
'balleen,' or whale-bone. His crescent-shaped tail, thirty-five feet
from tip to tip, swept the depths twice or thrice; and when we emerged
into the air, the blood spouted from his pores, and he threw cataracts
of water through his spiracle. I saw the Crimson Dragon some miles
away, but there were no traces of her boats. The crews of the launches
were fathoms deep in the ocean!

"I passed the cape of Greenland, rounded the base of Mount Hecla, and
was escorted to the abode of the king of the cetacea by a multitude of
his subjects. A submarine island, forty fathoms from the surface, had
been occupied three thousand years by this venerable person. He came
out to meet me upon the back of a mighty 'rorqual,' and a body-guard
of four hundred picked narwhals swam before him. Fifty white whales
surrounded their monarch, and a host of dolphins, grampuses, and
porpoises brought up the rear. Banners of dyed seal-skin bore his
arms--three gourds, _argent_, upon a field _vert_; and with these were
carried as trophies the wrecks of ships, including the identical
shallop whence he was expelled on the voyage to Tarshish. But,
marvellous beyond all, the 'great fish' (falsely so translated, since
no cetaceous creature can be denominated a _fish_) into which he was
received still lived, and accompanied him. It was now the eldest of
the species, but very sprightly, and burdened with dignities. The
Seer-King saluted gravely, and gave me a draught of spirits, distilled
from the fronds of a rare sea-tangle. His long tenure in the deep had
obliterated much of the similitude to man, but his memory of
terrestrial matters was extraordinary. The weeds were wrapped about
his head after the manner of a crown, and he carried a sceptre of
walrus tusk. He told me that his original three days' experience under
the sea had so cooled his blood, that the suns of Nineveh parched him,
and he had cried for cooling water. I informed him that Nineveh no
longer existed, at which he was gratified beyond measure; for his only
knowledge of events happening on the earth had been derived from the
wrecks which had sunk into his domain. I found that he was badly
informed upon matters of science, and he heard my theories of
harmonizing the universes with impatience. In his days, he said, no
such ideas were broached, and he was indifferent to the intellectual
development of his subjects.

"My visit was brief, for, though the palace of Jonah had a sepulchral
grandeur about it--a mighty cavern beneath the waves--yet the
glittering stalactites which studded the roof, and the cold columns of
ice supporting its halls, nearly froze me, and at length I made ready
to depart.

"An escort of 'thrashers,' or grampuses, accompanied me. The Seer-King
would have detached a cohort of white whales, but the animosity of my
tribes might have provoked combat. I left the cetacea with some
foreboding. They were allied in some degree to man; they were capable
of some human impressions; their blood was warm like mine; they
breathed with lungs; they had double hearts; and nourished kindness
for their offspring. But I was now about to be delivered over to the
cold, cruel, gluttonous tribes of the fish. The family of sharks
received me. They could not be counted for multitude. The terrible
_requiem_ of the storm--the cannibal white shark--welcomed me with
open jaws; the blue shark flung up his caudal for joy; the fox-shark
lashed the sea; the northern shark glared through his purblind orbs;
the hammer-head dilated his yellow irides; the purple dog-fish made a
low purring huzza; and the spotted eyes of the monk-fish glistened
with satisfaction. The hound-shark, the basking-shark, and the
port-beagle were not less loyal; and these, the most perfectly
organized of my cartilaginous tribes, handed me over to the
deep-swimming Norwegian 'sea-rat.' Thus I kept steadily southward, the
water growing warmer hour by hour, now riding on the serrated snouts
of saw-fishes, now moving in the midst of battalions of sword-fish,
now acknowledged by the great pike, now vaulting above the surface on
the backs of flying-fish, now clinging to the spines of sturgeons, now
passing through illimitable shoals of cod, now borne by the swift
sea-salmon, now dazzled by the golden scales of the carp, now passing
over miles of flat-fish, now hailed by monster conger-eels, now
swimming down files of leering hippocampuses, now received by
congregations of staid aldermanic lobsters. The torpedo telegraphed my
coming to the tribes before, and at last I reached my abode, on the
line of the equator, in mid-Atlantic.

"The magnitude and beauty of my court no mind can realize. A truncated
cone of granitic rock, whose base extended to the profoundest depths
of the sea--even to the region of perpetual fire--formed with its
upper plane a circular lagoon at the surface of the ocean. Geysers or
volcanoes of fresh water gurgled up through the centre of this palace,
and vast submarine groves, intermixed with meadows, extended for
leagues along its sides. My household consisted entirely of silver and
golden carp, but my guards were of the loyal and gentle, yet
courageous and powerful xiphias (sword-fish). These barred the
unlicensed ingress of my subjects, and if the adventurous foot of man
should profane my lagoon, I could close its inlet and cover it with
floods. The dim aisles of the waters were full of wonderful lights:
combinations of colors, unknown above, were here developed in gigantic
_fuci_, around whose boles the scarlet tangle climbed, and parasites
of purple and emerald played upon their rinds. Some of these forests
pointed upward toward the sun; some grew downward, deriving light and
heat from the incandescent gulfs. My state apartments were built of
coral, in wondrous architecture, and trumpet-weed clothed their
battlements. Some cavernous recesses were lit with constellations of
shining zoophytes, and there were floors of pearl, studded with
diamonds. I could stroll through marvellous arch-ways, gathering
jewels at every step, or wander in my royal meadows, among the wrecks
and spoils of hurricanes; or rising through the mellow depths, sit
among the palms of the lagoon, watching the white sails of ships or
studying the awfulness of the storm.

"For a time I secluded myself, theorizing upon the policy of my
government. My dominions were vast and venerable; they comprehended
two thirds of the surface of the globe; no deluges had destroyed them,
and they had been peopled ages before the coming of man. Life here
inhabited forms, vegetable and animal, to which the greatest
terrestrials were puny. But the darkness which of old rested on the
face of the deep, now shadowed its depths. There was no _mind_ here.
These gigantic beings were shapes without souls. How should I reason
with creatures who could not feel, whose heads could not know till
to-morrow that their members had been severed to-day--some of whom, in
a single moment, passed their whole existences, and fulfilled all the
functions of eating, drinking, and generating--who were not only
incapable of thoughts, affections, and emotions, but who could not
see, smell, hear, taste, or touch? But such subjects are among the
afflictions of all wise rulers, and I resolved to conclude upon
nothing till I had visited every part of my dominions.

"During three years of travel I classified the fishes anew, all
previous enumeration being paltry, and made the notes and queries
which form the staple of my manuscript. I found fresh-water creatures
to which the sheat-fish would be a morsel, and hydras to which the
fabled sea-serpent would be a worm. I ascended the rivers with the
salmon, and fathomed the motives of the climbing-perch. I heard the
narrative of a _siluris_ tossed out of a volcano, and talked with a
haddock which produced at a birth more young than there are men upon
the globe. I have noted the harlequin-angler, which lived three weeks
in Amsterdam, hopping about on his fins like a toad; the sucking-fish
which adhered to Marc Antony's galley and held it fast; the
horned-fish (_fil en dos_) which the savages discard from their nets
in terror and prayer; and the sprats which rise with vapors into the
clouds, and are rained back into the sea. I have collected the
traditions of many of these beings, and have translated some of their
ballads. There is music under the ocean; but most of the fishes sing
with their fins, beating the water to rude measures. Among the
traditions of all the tribes is that of a time when the waters were
peaceful and the fishes happy, when none were rapacious, when death
was unknown, when no storms lashed the ripples into billows, and when
beings of the upper air bathed at the surface, and the fishes rendered
them homage. But some foul deed of which the finny folk were guiltless
brought confusion into the waters; the ocean covered all the globe,
corpses sank into the depths and were devoured, nets were let down
from above, strange fires were kindled beneath, and whirlpools,
water-spouts, storms, and volcanoes began.

"I devoted a fourth year to perfecting my system of organic
communication, and made some advance toward developing life in
inorganic matter. From this latter attainment it would be but a step
to _perpetuate_ life, and I should thus restore immortality to man.
But the shark family having threatened to revolt, I left off my
investigations for some months, and organized a military force, with
which I massacred the malcontents till my subjects swam in blood.
Returning victoriously at the head of my legions, a sad incident
occurred. A ship was crossing our line of march, and I had an
unaccountable curiosity to hear something of terrestrial affairs. Five
sawfish, at my bidding, staved in the ship's bottom, and she sank
almost instantly. The corpses of the drowned drifted slowly down, and
as I passed among them, turning up the faces, I recognized in one the
features of my mother!

"After a season of remorse I continued my investigations, but a novel
and unexpected discovery deranged my plans, and wrought a change in my

"The subtlest forms of matter, as commonly known, are the
imponderables--light, heat, magnetism, and electricity. I had
concluded that these were manifestations of some still subtler form,
and that this was _life_, beyond which lay the ethereal elements
(called _principles_) of mind and soul--soul being ultimate and
eternal. To demonstrate this I resolved to descend as far as possible
into the depths of the sea, and examine the beings which dwelt in the
remotest darkness. The conical shape of my island allowed me to
descend within its shelving interior, and yet sustain no great
atmospheric pressure. I selected a sturgeon, whose body was so
powerfully plated that he could not be crushed, and his long-pointed
shape gave him great facility for penetrating dense waters. I attached
a phosphorescent light to his caudal, that I might not lose him in the
gloom, and he preceded me along the sloping interior. We passed the
foundations of my court, bade adieu to the deep-swimming hydras, left
the profoundest polypi behind, and came at length to uninhabited
regions, three thousand fathoms below the surface. My pioneer here
suffered great inconvenience, and only by the most vigorous efforts
was able to progress at all. The blackness was literally tangible, and
our lantern, at most, only 'darkness visible.' By threat and
persuasion I forced him forward, hardly able to make headway myself.
He swept the almost solid element with his powerful tail, depressed
his sharp snout, sucked a long breath, and we darted forward
simultaneously. There was a cracking as of bones forced together, and
my cranium seemed to split. We shot out of the density into lighter
water, and the momentum carried us fifty fathoms beyond!

"We had passed out of the limit of solar attraction, and were being
drawn toward the centre of the earth!

"Before, we had been descending; now, we were rising. The fluid grew
rarer and warmer as we proceeded, the darkness more luminous, and at
last we became visible to each other, swimming in a ruby and
transparent liquid, unlike any aspect or part of our native domain.
The fluid became so rare finally, that the sturgeon was unable to go
farther, kept down by his superior gravity. Some lights glimmering
above us, and some mysterious sounds alarming him, he turned and fled.
I was left alone.

"I reached the surface of this peaceful sea. A scene lay before me
more beautiful than any wonder of the deep. I knew that I was among
immortals, and that this was 'Happy Archipelago'!

"The surface was calm. Some purple islets were sprinkled here and
there, and creatures marvellously fair were basking in the roseate
waters. They looked like angels half way out of heaven. Their faces
were of a silvery hue; their hairs shone on the stream like tremulous
beams of light; their eyes were of a tender azure, and their bosoms
rose and fell as if they were all dreaming of blessedness. Some
strains of ravishing harmony that were floating among the islands
ceased when I appeared, and I thought I heard the snapping of a
lute-string. All the spirits started at once. They were
crescent-shaped, and stood upon their nether tips. A star upon their
foreheads shone like a pure diamond. They saw me and vanished!

"All but one! She was the fairest of the spirits, and looked, thus
frightened, like the pale new moon. The violet veins faded from her
lids, and her blue eyes were full of wonder. I felt as if, for the
first time, a sinless being had looked upon me, and my heart grew so
black and heavy that I sank a little way. I feared to breathe, for she
might vanish. I wished to lie forever with her face shining upon me.
What were science, and dominion, and the secret of man's immortality
to one pure glance like hers? In the agony of my soul I spoke:
'Spirit! Immortal! Woman! O stay! Speak to me!'

"'Who are you? Whence do you come? You are not of us, nor of our

"The voice was like a disembodied sound, coming from nothing, floating
in space eternally.

"'I am a creature of a cursed race--ruler of a blighted domain--a
realm filled with violence: it lies beneath you.'

"The pale face grew tender; the star on the forehead grew dim, like a
tearful eye. She pitied me.

"'There are beings above us,' she said, 'winged beings, that talk with
us sometimes; but nothing below. Are _they_ sorrowful as you are? Are
their brows all heavy with sadness like yours? Why are they unhappy?'

"I wept and moaned.

"'They have not your pure eyes; they cannot hear your voice. They have

"She glided toward me. I felt my gray hairs dropping one by one; my
heavy heart grew light; my groans softened to sighs.

"A shape came suddenly between us.

"I knew the long green locks, and the glossy neck. It was Tethys who
spoke. 'Man,' she said, 'you were made one of us, not one of these. Go
back to your domain, for you are mortal. Resume dominion over the
fish, or, striving to win more, lose all!'

"I turned my face seaward bitterly. I looked back once; the blue eyes
were gleaming--oh, so tenderly!--and I could not go. I muttered an
execration at my bitter fate. Straightway the sky rocked, the sea
rose, the pale star vanished. I had spoken a wicked word.

"I was consigned to Euripius, the divinity of whirlpools. In vain I
struggled in his watery arms; the swift current bore me circling away,
and finally whirled me with frightful velocity. My feet were shaken
asunder, my integument softened, my brain reeled. I was passed from
eddy to eddy; I became drunken with emotion; I suffered all the
tortures of the lost. A waterspout lifted me from the clutch of the
sea, and deposited me upon the dry land, close to the home of my

"I have passed the weary hours of my penance in arranging the memoirs
which follow. Science has again wooed me with her allurements; the
stars continue their correspondence. I have not despaired of the great
secret of immortality; and though these hairs are few and white, I
shall be rejuvenated in the tranquil depths of the water, and reassert
for ages my rightful dominion over the fish!"

I was in doubt whether to laugh or wonder when the Ancient Mariner
concluded; but I was relieved from passing judgment upon his article
by the unceremonious entrance of a tall, lithe, gray-eyed person, who
wore gold seals and carried a thick walking-stick. The naturalist
appeared to be bent on diving through the floor, and swimming away
through the cellar; but he caught the stern, keen eye of the stranger
and cowered. The tall man lifted his cane, and struck the manuscript
out of his Highness's hands; he demolished the microscope at a blow,
and flung the geological hammer out of the window.

"Come along," he said. "No! drop that trash--every article of it, or
else you'll be experimenting again. Come along!"

They went away together, leaving my office littered with broken glass
and sea-shells. With some astonishment I followed through the
warehouse to the street; they had entered a carriage and were driving
rapidly away. The next morning's paper explained the whole occurrence
in the following paragraph:

"_Much Learning hath made him mad._--Yesterday noon an elderly lunatic,
named Robert Jones, committed suicide by leaping over the parapet of
London Bridge. He was in the custody at the time of Dr. Stretveskit, the
celebrated keeper of the Asylum for Monomaniacs. He had been at large
some days, and was traced to several publishing-houses, whither he had
gone to contrive the publication of some insane vagaries. He was finally
overhauled at the office of Spry, Stromboli & Co., and placed in a
carriage; but seizing a favorable moment when travel was impeded upon
the bridge, he burst through the glass door and cleared the parapet at a
bound. Jones was an adventurous and dangerous character. Some years ago
he set fire to the Shrimpshire Asylum, where his family had confined
him, and went abroad upon a whale-ship; but meeting with an accident, he
underwent the process of trepanning and came home more crazy than
before. At one time he attempted to drown his mother, in furtherance of
some strange experiment; but it was thought at the date of his death
that he was recovering his wits. Among his delusions was a strange
one--that he had been made viceroy over all the fishes. His body has not
been recovered."

I read the last sentence with a thrill. My late visitor might even now
be presiding at some finny council; and as I should have occasion to
cross the sea some day, an untimely shipwreck might place me in closer
relations with him. I determined, therefore, to print the manuscript
which remained in my hands. May it appease his Mightiness, the King of
the Fishes!


    His thin wife's cheek grows pinched and pale with anxiousness intense;
    He sees the brethren's prayerful eyes o'er all the conference;
    He hears the Bishop slowly call the long "Appointment" rolls,
    Where in His vineyard God would place these gatherers of souls.

    Apart, austere, the knot of grim Presiding Elders sit;
    He wonders if some city "Charge" may not for him have writ?
    Certes! could they his sermon hear on Paul and Luke awreck,
    Then had his talent ne'er been hid on Annomessix Neck!

    Poor rugged heart, be still a pause, and you, worn wife, be meek!
    Two years of banishment they read far down the Chesapeake!
    Though Brother Bates, less eloquent, by Wilmington is wooed,
    The Lord that counts the sparrows fall shall feed His little brood.

    "Cheer up! my girl, here Brother Riggs our circuit knows 'twill please.
    He raised three hundred dollars there, besides the marriage fees.
    What! tears from us who preached the word these thirty years or so?
    Two years on barren Chincoteague, and two in Tuckahoe?

    "The schools are good, the brethren say, and our Church holds the wheel;
    The Presbyterians lost their house; the Baptists lost their zeal.
    The parsonage is clean and dry; the town has friendly folk,--
    Not half so dull as Murderkill, nor proud like Pocomoke.

    "Oh! Thy just will, our Lord, be done, though these eight seasons more,
    We see our ague-crippled boys pine on the Eastern Shore,
    While we, Thy stewards, journey out our dedicated years
    Midst foresters of Nanticoke, or heathen of Tangiers!

    "Yea! some must serve on God's frontiers, and I shall fail, perforce,
    To sow upon some better ground my most select discourse;
    At Sassafras, or Smyrna, preach my argument on 'Drink,'
    My series on the Pentateuch, at Appoquinimink.

    "Gray am I, brethren, in the work, though tough to bear my part;
    It is these drooping little ones that sometimes wring my heart,
    And cheat me with the vain conceit the cleverness is mine
    To fill the churches of the Elk, and pass the Brandywine.

    "These hairs were brown, when, full of hope, ent'ring these holy lists,
    Proud of my Order as a knight--the shouting Methodists--
    I made the pine woods ring with hymns, with prayer the night-winds shook,
    And preached from Assawaman Light far north as Bombay Hook.

    "My nag was gray, my gig was new; fast went the sandy miles;
    The eldest Trustees gave me praise, the fairest sisters smiles;
    Still I recall how Elder Smith of Worten Heights averred.
    My Apostolic Parallels the best he ever heard.

    "All winter long I rode the snows, rejoicing on my way;
    At midnight our revival hymns rolled o'er the sobbing bay;
    Three Sabbath sermons, every week, should tire a man of brass--
    And still our fervent membership must have their extra class!

    "Aggressive with the zeal of youth, in many a warm requite
    I terrified Immersionists, and scourged the Millerite;
    But larger, tenderer charities such vain debates supplant,
    When the dear wife, saved by my zeal, loved the Itinerant.

    "No cooing dove of storms afeard, she shared my life's distress,
    A singing Miriam, alway, in God's poor wilderness;
    The wretched at her footstep smiled, the frivolous were still;
    A bright path marked her pilgrimage, from Blackbird to Snowhill.

    "A new face in the parsonage, at church a double pride!--
    Like the Madonna and her babe they filled the 'Amen-side'--
    Crouched at my feet in the old gig, my boy, so fair and frank,
    Naswongo's darkest marshes cheered, and sluices of Choptank.

    "My cloth drew close; too fruitful love my fruitless life outran;
    The townfolk marvelled, when we moved, at such a caravan!
    I wonder not my lads grew wild, when, bright, without the door
    Spread the ripe, luring, wanton world--and we, within, so poor!

    "For, down the silent cypress aisles came shapes even me to scout,
    Mocking the lean flanks of my mare, my boy's patched roundabout,
    And saying: 'Have these starveling boors, thy congregation, souls,
    That on their dull heads Heaven and thou pour forth such living coals?

    "Then prayer brought hopes, half secular, like seers by Endor's witch:
    Beyond our barren Maryland God's folks were wise and rich;
    Where climbing spires and easy pews showed how the preacher thrived,
    And all old brethren paid their rents, and many young ones wived!

    "I saw the ships Henlopen pass with chaplains fat and sleek;
    From Bishopshead with fancy's sails I crossed the Chesapeake;
    In velvet pulpits of the North said my best sermons o'er--
    And that on Paul to Patmos driven, drew tears in Baltimore.

    "Well! well! my brethren, it is true we should not preach for pelf--
    (I would my sermon on Saint Paul the Bishop heard himself!)
    But this crushed wife--these boys--these hairs! they cut me to the core;
    Is it not hard, year after year, to ride the Eastern Shore?

    "Next year? Yes, yes, I thank you much! Then my reward may fall!
    (That is a downright fair discourse on Patmos and St. Paul!)
    So Brother Riggs, once more my voice shall ring in the old lists,
    Cheer up, sick heart, who would not die among these Methodists?"


"Sister, thy boy is a big idiot--a very big idiot!" said Gerrit Van
Swearingen, the Schout of New Amstel. Then the Schout struck his long
official staff on the ground, and went off in a grand manner to
frighten debtors.

The Widow Cloos made no reply, but dropped a couple of tears as she
saw her son, Nanking, shrink away before his uncle's frown and roll
his head in deprecation of such language.

"My mother," he whispered, "won't the big wild turkeys fly away with
my uncle Gerrit if he calls me such dreadful names?"

"Nanking," said the widow, kissing the big idiot, "your uncle is a
very great man. I don't know what is greater, unless it is an admiral,
or a stadtholder, or maybe a king!"

"Yes," conceded Nanking, "he is a dreadfully great man. He puts
drunken Indians in the stocks and ties mighty smugglers up to the
whipping-pump. But Saint Nicholas will punish him if he calls me an

"Ah! Nanking," replied the widow, "nothing can curb your
uncle--neither the valiant Captain Hinoyossa, nor the puissant
director of every thing, great Beeckman, nor hardly Pietrus Stuyvesant

"I know who can frighten him," exclaimed the big idiot. "Santa Claus!
He's bigger than a schout. Mother, his whip-lash can reach clear over
New Amstel--isn't it so? How many deers and ponies does he drive? Will
he bring me any thing this year?"

"My poor son!" said the poor mother, "we are so far from Holland and
so very humble here, that Saint Nicholas may forget us this year; but
God will watch over us!"

Nanking could hardly comprehend this astonishing statement: that Saint
Nicholas could ever forget little boys anywhere. So he went out by the
river to think about it. There were three or four Swedish boys out
there rolling marbles and playing at jack-stones. They did not like to
play with Dutch boys, but Nanking was only a big idiot, and they did
not harbor malice against him.

"_He! Zoo!_" they cried; "wilt thou play?"

"Yes, directly. But tell me, Peter Stalcop, and you, Paul Mink, do the
very poorest little boys in Sweden get nothing on Christmas?"

"_Ah, Zon der tuijfel!_ without doubt," cried the boys. "Old Knecht
Clobes, your Santa Claus, is a bad man. That is why he gave the Dutch
our country here. And in Sweden, too, he turns people to wolves, and
brothers and sisters tear each other to pieces."

"But not in Holland," exclaimed Nanking. "There he gives the strong
boys skates and the weak boys Canary wine. He brought, one time, long
ago, three murdered boys to life, so that they could eat goose for
Christmas dinner. And three poor maidens, whose lovers would not take
them because they had no marriage portions, found gold on the
window-sill to get them husbands."

"_Foei! Fus!_ You're lied to, Nanking! There is no good Christmas in
this land."

Nanking said they were very wicked to doubt true and good things. He
believed every thing, and particularly every thing pleasant. His
mother, whose house was on the river bank, looked out with a fond
sadness as she heard him playing, his heart amongst the little boys,
although he was so big.

"_Ach! helas!_" she said to herself, "what will become of my dear
man-lamb? He is simple and fatherless, poor and confiding. Thank God,
at least he is not a woman!"

The Widow Cloos had come but recently from Holland, sent out by
charity at the instance of her brother, Van Swearingen, the schout or
bailiff of New Amstel colony. Her son, who was almost a man in years,
had been kept in the Orphan House at Amsterdam until his growth made
him a misplaced object there, and his feeble intellect forbade that he
should become a soldier, and die, like his father, in the Dutch
battles. So the Widow Cloos brought Nanking out in the ship Mill, to
the city of Amsterdam's own colony on the banks of the South River,
which the English called the Delaware. They came in a starving time,
when the crops were drenched out by rains and all the people and the
soldiery of the fort were down with bilious and scarlet fever. The
widow was just getting over a long attack of this illness, and her
brother, the schout, regarded the innocent Nanking as the cause of her

"Thou hadst better drown him," said the hard official; "he'll eat all
thy substance or give the remainder away, for he believes every thing
and everybody."

"O brother!" pleaded the widow, "if he did not believe something, how
sad would he be! All the children love him, and he is company for

It was an odd sight to see Nanking down with the boys, as big as the
father of any of them, playing as gently as the littlest. He rode them
pig-a-back on his broad shoulders; they liked to see him light his
pipe and smoke without getting sick. He worked for his mother,
carrying water and catching fish, and was the only person in New
Amstel (or Newcastle) who could go out into the woods fearlessly among
the Minquas Indians; for the Indians all believed that feeble-minded
people were the Great Spirit's especial friends, and saw beyond the
boundaries of this world into that better heaven where shad ran all
the year in the celestial rivers, and the oysters walked upon the
land to be eaten. Nanking believed all this, too. It was his confiding
nature which made him useless for worldly business. Hobgoblins and
genii, charms and saints, and whatever he had heard in earnest, he
held in earnest to be true.

"Dear me!" thought Nanking, when he was done playing marbles, "can't I
be of use to somebody? Perhaps if I could do something useful my uncle
would not think me a big idiot. Then, besides, little Elsje Alrichs
might let me be her sweetheart and carry her doll!"

Elsje was the daughter of Peter Alrichs, the late great director's
son, whose father slept in the graveyard of the little log church on
Sand Hook, beside Dominie Welius, the holy psalm-tune leader. Nanking
believed that when the weathercock on the church tingled in the wind,
it was Dominie Welius in the grave striking his tuning-fork to catch
the key-note. Peter Alrichs inherited the well-cleared farm of his
papa, and had the best estate in all New Amstel except Gerrit Van
Swearingen, who was accused of getting rich by smuggling, peculating,
and slave-catching. Little Elsje liked Nanking, but her father too,
said he was a big idiot. So Nanking had a hard time.

"Elsje," cried Nanking one day, "don't tell anybody if I give you a

"No, big sweetheart!"

"I'm going to catch a stork!"

"We don't have storks in New Netherlands, Nanking."

"That's just where I'm going to be smart," exclaimed Nanking. "Because
there are no storks here I'm going to catch one. Then uncle Gerrit
cannot call me a big idiot."

Elsje gave Nanking her doll to hold. He sat there as big as a soldier,
and handled the doll tenderly; for he believed it to be alive as much
as she did, and she was a little girl.

"In Holland," said Nanking, "there is a stork on every happy chimney.
The farmers put a wagon-wheel on the chimney-top, and along comes your
stork and his family, and they build a nest on the wagon-wheel. There
it is, Elsje, all twigs and grass, warm as pie, heated by the
chimney-fire, and such a squawking you never heard. It keeps the devil
away! The old stork sits up on one long straight leg, and with the
other foot he hands the worms around to the family. I used to sit down
and watch them by the hour in that other Amstel where ours gets its

"By the great city of Amsterdam?" asked Elsje.

"That's it. In Amstel, the suburb of Amsterdam, where you can see such
beautiful ships from all parts of the world. If I get a stork for our
chimney may I hold your doll another day?"

"Yes, Nanking, and I'll give you a kiss."

Nanking told his mother next day that he was going to the woods, and
not to cry if he did not return at dark. The Widow Cloos kissed him,
and saw him go happily up the street.

"_Om licht en donker!_" she moaned. "Between the hawk and the buzzard!
Poor, simple son! The Indians may kill him, but here he will only get
his uncle's curse!"

Nanking walked out through the little settlement of log and brick, and
past the court-house, where the stocks and whipping-post were always
standing. He saw his uncle Van Swearingen's smart dwelling, with its
end to the street and notched gables, and many panes in its glazed
windows, and two front doors, and large iron figures in front, telling
the date his uncle built it. A little way off was the fine residence
of Peter Alrichs, with a balcony on the roof where the family sat of
evenings, smoking their pipes and seeing starlight come out on the
river and the flag drop at sunset from Fort Casimir; or hearing the
roll of drums as they changed the guard or fired a gun to overhaul a

"If I get a stork and bring it back," thought Nanking, "won't I
astonish this town? It'll be proclaimed, I expect, in a public manner,
that Nanking Cloos is no longer the big idiot."

The woods closed round New Amstel not very far from the houses, and
only an Indian path led on through the strong timber or marshy copse.
Nanking was unarmed and not afraid. He walked until long after sun-up,
and waded the headwater swamps of Christine Kill, until he saw before
him the hills of Chisopecke rise blue and wooded, and there he knew
the Minquas kept their fort. But the Minquas had no storks. He turned
the first and second of these hills and then crossed the range and
descended to the rain-washed country on the other side, where, amid
the low sparse pines on the lonely barrens, he could walk more
readily, guided south-westward by the proceeding sun. The fierce
Susquehannocks dwelt beyond the next high range, and Nanking had heard
from other Indians that they only had some storks. Fierce Indians they
were, but all Indians had been good to Nanking; so he advanced right
merrily, and at the crossing of the second river snaked a fish out of
the water with his line and made a fire with his flint and punk-wood
to cook it. When he had finished his meal he looked up and was
surrounded by Indians.

They were fierce, grave Indians, armed with spears and bows. Although
they looked angry, Nanking wiped his mouth on his ragged sleeve and
saluted them all kindly--shaking hands. He perceived that they formed
around him closely, in front and rear, but he was not suspicious on
this account. The Indians marched him over a long range of very high
hills and stopped at a place where, through the timber, could be seen
a noble bay.

"It is Chisopecke Bay," cried Nanking gladly, "and there, they say,
are storks and plentiful geese. I suppose, when we come to a proper
place, these Indians will ask me what I want."

The Indians turned down from the bay-view, backward, by another trail,
and entered a very rocky glen, where rocks as big as the houses of New
Amstel were strewn all over the country-side. Following downward, by a
dangerous way like stair-steps, they entered at length a small shady
amphitheatre, where a waterfall plunged down a gorge and foamed and
thundered. Nanking fairly danced with delight.

"Oh!" he exclaimed, "I have seen paintings of cascades in Holland, but
nothing like this. My mother and Elsje must come here."

The Indians, now present in great numbers, looked at Nanking dancing
and laughing with the greatest wonder, but still they were far from
affable. After a while they began to sit around in a large circle and
sing a doleful sort of tune. Then two Indians produced a long piece of
grapevine and tied one end of it to a tree and the other end around
Nanking's wrists, which were fastened together behind his back. A fire
had already been lighted at the foot of the tree, and the coals were
now strewn over the ground.

"_Hond mold!_ Keep courage!" thought Nanking. "It is only some kind of
play or game. How can I get a stork from them unless I play with

But the Indians still sung their doleful tune and did not laugh a bit.
The month was December, and the fire, at first grateful, grew
unreasonably warm. At last Nanking trod on a hot coal, which burnt his
old shoe through, and raised a blister on his heel.

"Such a game as this I never learned in Amsterdam or New Amstel,"
thought Nanking, laughing good-naturedly; "I guess I will cut it short
by riding one of their boys pig-a-back."

So he picked out a young Indian with his roving eye, one perhaps
sixteen years old, and, darting upon him, lifted the Indian boy up in
powerful arms and carried him around the fiery circle. The young brave
struggled in vain. Nanking clinched his big fingers around the Indian
and dandled him like a baby. The effect upon the Indians in the
circle was exciting; they seized their spears, stopped their singing,
and rushed upon their guest with apparent or assumed fury.

"_Ha! herfe!_" cried Nanking, "I have changed the monotony of this
game, anyhow!"

At this moment an old Indian woman, the mother of the boy whom Nanking
had desired to amuse, threw herself between the upraised spears and
the laughing widow's son. She shouted something very earnestly, and
then stretched herself at Nanking's feet. All the other Indians also
flung themselves down in fear or revulsion of feeling, and some
crawled in another minute to where the burning coals were strewn over
the sward, and with their fingers or with tree-boughs returned these
coals to the fire, while others quenched the fire itself with water
from the torrent. Nanking had never lost his temper. He put the young
Indian down and kissed him, and shook hands with one after another,
who only rose as he approached them with a kind countenance. They
unbound his hands and overwhelmed him with attentions and professions,
and placed their fingers on their foreheads significantly, still
looking at him.

"Well," exclaimed Nanking, "I hope they also don't take me for a big
idiot! No, they do not. It is only a part of the queer game."

It was now growing late in the day, and Nanking wanted some food. The
Susquehannocks produced nuts, venison, fish, hominy, and succotash.
Their formerly savage countenances beamed confidence and
consideration. Nanking expressed his wishes by signs. He wanted a
great, long-legged, long-winged bird, a stork, to carry back alive to
New Amstel. The Indian chiefs conferred, and finally replied, by signs
and assurances, that they had such a bird, but that it would take two
whole days to procure one.

"Very well," thought Nanking, "I may as well stay here until I get it,
and not return home like a fool. My mother will trust in God, if not
in Saint Nicholas, and I trust in both. Elsje will not forget me at
any time!"

All the next day Nanking played ball and bandy with the Susquehannock
boys, and taught them jack-stones and how to make a shuttlecock. They
put eagle's feathers in his hair, and the old men adopted him into
their tribe. On the third day the absent Indians returned with a
stork. It was a white stork with a red bill and plenty of stork's
neck, but short legs. Nanking doubted if it could stand on one leg on
the top of a chimney and feed worms around to the young stork family,
but he felt very proud and happy. The whole tribe seemed to have
assembled to see Nanking go away. He had become the friend of all the
boys and women and the _protégé_ of the tall warriors. They placed his
stork in a canoe, and in a second canoe following it were a couple of
large deers freshly killed, which he was to take to his mother as the
gift of the fierce Susquehannocks. Amid the cheers and adieus of the
nation the two canoes pushed off and, entering the broad bay, paddled
up a river under the side of a bar of blue mountains, until the river
dwindled to a mere creek, and finally its navigation ceased
altogether. By signs upon the head of the dead stag, indicating a
larger deer, Nanking knew they were at the "Head-of-Elk" River. His
fierce friends left him here with many professions of apology and
esteem, and soon after they departed Swedes and Minquas appeared, who
had observed the hostile canoes from their lookout stations on the
neighboring hills. These also welcomed Nanking, being already well
acquainted with him, and taking up his venison proceeded through the
woods toward New Amstel. He carried the live stork himself--a rough
bird, which would not yield to blandishments or good treatment. After
a very fatiguing journey and four days' absence from home, Nanking
entered New Amstel in the dead of night.

"To-morrow," he thought, "I shall be repaid for all this. They will
say, 'Nanking Cloos is the smartest man in the colony of New Amstel.'
Perhaps I shall be a burgomaster, and eat terrapin stewed in Canary

Nanking was up betimes, looking at the chimneys on his mother's
dwelling, of which there were two, and both were the largest chimneys
in New Amstel. The Widow Cloos lived in a huge log building with brick
ends, long and rather low, which had been built by the commissary of
the colony at the expense of the city of Amsterdam as a magazine of
food and supply for her colonists; but after several years of
unprofitable experiment with the colony, it was resolved to give no
more provisions away, and the director, great Captain Hinoyossa, when
Van Swearingen became the schout, allowed the latter's sister to
inhabit one end of the warehouse, and that the farthest end from the
water. The rest was uninhabited, and Nanking, looking at the chimney
which surmounted the river gable, said to himself:

"That will never do for my stork, as there is no fire lighted there. I
never saw smoke from that chimney in my life. The stork requires a
nest where there is heat, and plenty of it."

He therefore prepared to climb to the chimney on the land-side and
establish a nest. There was a broken cart-wheel in the warehouse,
which Nanking procured and drew to the roof, and when daylight broke
upon the town the earliest loungers and fishermen saw the happy
simpleton working like a chimney-sweep, as they thought, except that
instead of brushing he was piling brush around the chimney on the
cart-wheel. His mother came out and looked joy to see him back; the
soldiers strolled down from the fort and the boys and women from the
town. Uncle Van Swearingen was there, smiting the ground with his
shodden staff, and ejaculating, "_Foei! weg! fychaam u!_ Fie! leave
off! fie on you! What absurdity is this on the property of our
_hoofstad_, our metropolis?"

"Never mind, uncle!" answered the beaming Nanking. "I have been a
great man in the last few days. I have lived among the fierce
Susquehannocks. Presently you shall see something that you shall see!"

Peter Alrichs also came down to the quay with his pretty daughter, who
could no longer keep her secret. "Good Nanking," she whispered, "is
building a nest for a real stork. He has found one, just like the dear
creatures in Holland!"

The news was presently dispersed, and all felt an interest, until
finally Nanking produced his stork.

"It is like a stork, indeed!" uttered Peter Alrichs; "'tis big as one,
too, but its wings are all white!"

"'Tis a stork, _yah, op myne eer_! Upon my honor, it is!" muttered
uncle Van Swearingen.

"Nanking is not an idiot, papa!" said Elsje, overjoyed.

The widow was delighted at the enterprise of her son.

When Nanking had carried the great bird to the nest he made a little

"Worshipful masters and good people all, I have been at great pains to
get this stork, not for my own gratification entirely, though there
are some here I expect to please particularly. (He looked at Elsje and
his mother.) This stork will pick up the offal and eat it, and we
shall have no more bad fevers here for want of a good scavenger. By
and by he will bring more storks, and they will multiply; and every
house, however humble, shall have its own stork family to ornament the
chimney-top and remind us of our dear native land. I have done all
this good with the hope of being useful, and now I hope nobody will
call me wicked names any more."

Nanking cut the fastenings on the bird and set it on the new-made
nest. In a minute the stork stood up on its short legs, poked its
beautiful head and neck into the air, and with its wings struck
Nanking so heavy a blow that it knocked him off the roof of the house,
but happily the fall did not hurt him. As he arose the huge bird was
spreading its wings for flight. Before Nanking could climb the ladder
again, it was sailing through the air, magnificent as a ship, toward
its winter pastures on the bay of Chisopecke.

"_He! Zoo!_" exclaimed the soldiers.

"_Foei! weg!_" cried the fishermen.

Only three persons said "_Ach! helas!_"--the Widow Cloos, pretty
Elsje, and Nanking.

"Thy stork is a savage bird!" cried Peter Alrichs. "The English on the
Chisopecke name it a _swan_!"

Nanking burst into tears. His uncle struck the ground with his
schout's staff, swore dreadfully, and shouted to the Widow Cloos:

"Sister, thy boy is nothing but a big idiot. Thou hadst better drown
him, as I told thee!"

Nothing could equal the mortification of Nanking. He thought he would
die of grief. He was now known to be more of an idiot than ever, and
the fickle Miss Elsje would not let him hold her doll for a whole

"My poor son," entreated the widow, "do not pine and lose courage! The
venison will feed us half the winter. You can help me smoke it and dry
it. Do not give up your sweet simple faith, my boy! As long as you
keep that we are rich!"

The next day Schout Van Swearingen, the great dignitary, came in and
said to Nanking: "As you are a big idiot and good for nothing else, I
will give you an office. Even there you will be a failure, for you are
too simple to steal any thing."

Nanking's mother was happy to hear this, and to see her son in a
linsey-woolsey coat with large brass buttons, and six pairs of
breeches--the gift of the city of Amsterdam--stride up the streets of
New Amstel, with copper buckles in his shoes and his hair tied in an
eel-skin queue. The schout, his uncle, who was sheriff and chief of
police in one, marched him up to the jail and presented him with a
beautiful plaything--a handle of wood with nine leather whip-lashes
upon the end of it. "Your duties will be light," said the schout.
"Every man you flog will give your mother a fee. Come here with me and
begin your labors!"

In the open space before the jail and _stadt huys_ were a pair of
stocks and a whipping-post. Nanking's uncle released a rough but
light-built man, who had been sitting in the stocks, and taking off
the man's jacket and shirt, fastened him to the post by his wrists.

"Give this culprit fifty lashes, well laid on!" ordered the schout.

Nanking turned pale. "Must I whip him? What has he been doing that he
is wicked?"

"Smuggling!" exclaimed Schout Van Swearingen. "He has taken advantage
of the free port of New Amstel to smuggle to the Swedes of Altona and
New Gottenburg, and the English of Maryland. Mark his back well!"

The sailor, as he seemed to be, looked at Nanking without fear. "Come,
earn your money," he said.

"Uncle," cried Nanking, throwing down the whip, "how can I whip this
man who never injured me? Do not all the people smuggle in New Amstel?
Was it not to stop that which brought the mighty Director Stuyvesant
hither with the great schout of New Amsterdam, worshipful Peter
Tonneman? Yes, uncle, I have heard the people say so, and that you
have smuggled yourself ever since your superior, the glorious Captain
Hinoyossa, sailed to Europe."

"Ha!" exclaimed the bold smuggler. "Van Swearingen, _dat is voor u_!
That is for you!"

"_Vore God_!" exclaimed the schout; "am I exposed and mocked by this

He took up the whip and beat Nanking so hard that the strong young man
had to disarm his uncle of the instrument. Then, stripped of his fine
clothes and restored to his rags, Nanking was returned with contempt
to his mother's house.

"Mother!" he cried, throwing himself upon the floor, "am I an idiot
because I cannot hurt others? No, I will be a fool, but not

The shrewd Peter Alrichs came to the widow's abode and asked to see
Nanking. He brought with him the worshipful Beeckman, lord of all
South River, except New Amstel's little territory, which reached from
Christine Hill to Bombay Hook. They both put long questions to
Nanking, and he showed them his burnt heel, still scarred by the
fagots of the Susquehannocks.

"_Ik houd dat voor waar!_ I believe it is true," they said to each
other. "They were burning him at the stake and he did not know it.
Yes, his feeble mind saved him!"

"Not at all," protested Nanking. "It was because I thought no evil of

"Hearken, Nanking!" said Peter Alrichs, very soberly. "And you, Mother
Cloos, come hither too. This boy can make our fortunes if we can make
him fully comprehend us."

"Yah, mynheers!"

"He can return in safety to the land of the Susquehannocks, where no
other Dutchman can go and live. Thence, down the great river of rocks
and rapids, come all the valuable furs. Of these we Dutch on South
River receive altogether only ten thousand a year. Nanking must take
some rum and bright cloth to his friends, the chiefs, and make them
promise to send no more furs to the English of Chisopecke, but bring
them to Head-of-Elk. There we will make a treaty, and Nanking and
thee, widow, shall have part of our profits."

"_Zeer wel!_" cried Nanking. "That is very well. But Elsje, may I
marry her, too?"

"Well," said Peter Alrichs, smiling, "you can come to see her
sometimes and carry her doll."

"Good enough!" cried Nanking, overjoyed.

Before Nanking started on his trip, the sailor-man he had refused to
whip walked into his mother's house.

"Widow Cloos, no doubt," he said, bowing. "Madame, I owe your son a
service. Here are three petticoats and a pair of blue stockings with
red clocks; for I see that your ankles still have a fine turn to

The widow courtesied low; for she had not received a compliment in
seven years.

Nanking now began to show his leg also, as modestly as possible.

"Ah! Nanking," cried the sailor, "I have a piece of good Holland stuff
for you to make you shirts and underclothes. 'Tis a pity so good a boy
has not a rich father; ha! widow?"

The widow stooped very low again, but had the art to show her ankle to
the best advantage, though she blushed. She said it was very lonely
for her in the New World.

"Now, Widow Cloos," continued the sailor, "I am Ffob Oothout, at your
service! I am a mariner. Some years ago, when Jacob Alrichs was our
director, I helped to build this great warehouse with my own hands.
They were good men, then, in charge of New Amstel's government.
Thieves and jealous rogues have succeeded them. Would you think it,
they suspect even me, and ordered Nanking to whip me with the cat! But
for Nanking I should have a bloody back at this minute, and you would
be wiping the brine out of it for me, I do not doubt!"

Nanking had gone out meantime, seeing that he was to get no

"Widow, come hither," said the sailor. "Do you know I like this big
barn of a warehouse. It is my handicraft, you know, and that attaches
me to it. Well, you say nothing to anybody, and let me sleep in the
river end. In a little while the noble veteran, Alexander D'Hinoyosso,
will be due from Holland on the ship Blue Cock. Then we will all have
good protection. In that ship are lots of supplies of mine. Of
evenings we can court and drink liquor of my own mulling. And when
the Blue Cock comes to port you shall have more petticoats and
high-heeled shoes than any beauty in New Amstel."

Ffob Oothout stole a couple of kisses from the widow, like a bold
sailor-man, and she promised that he should lodge in the river end of
the Amsterdam warehouse.

For the rest of that afternoon Nanking carried Elsje's beautiful doll,
and his feelings were very much comforted.

"Big sweetheart," she said, "what a smart man you would be if you
could only make me a bigger doll than this, which would open and shut
its eyes and cry '_fus_; hush!'"

Nanking left New Amstel at moonlight, at the head of a little
procession, carrying gay cloths and plenty of rum for the
Susquehannocks. The last words Peter Alrichs said to him were: "You
must talk wisely, Nanking. It is a mighty responsibility you have on
this errand. Remember Elsje!"

Next morning Nanking pushed off in a boat, all alone, from the
Head-of-Elk, and rowed under the blue bar of mountain into the
Chisopecke, and turned up the creek below the rocky mouth of the great
river toward the council-fire retreat of the fierce Susquehannocks. As
he was about to step ashore a band of Englishmen confronted him, with
swords and muskets.

"Whom art thou?" cried their leader, a stalwart man, with long

"Only Nanking Cloos, mynheers, who used to be the big idiot of New
Amstel. But," he added, with confidence, "I am now a great man on a
very responsible mission to the Indians. I am to talk much and wisely.
They are to send to New Amstel thousands of furs and peltries, and I
am to give them this rum and finery!"

"He talks beautifully," exclaimed the English; and the chief man

"Nanking, I know thee well. Thy mother is the pretty widow in the
house by the river. I am Colonel Utye, who swore so dreadfully when I
summoned New Amstel to surrender. Come ashore, Nanking."

Nanking felt very proud to be recognized thus and receive such
compliments for his mother. The English poured out a big flagon of
French brandy and gravely drank his health, touching their foreheads
with their thumbs. The brandy elated and exalted Nanking very much.

"Nanking," said Colonel Utye, "we desire to spare thee a long journey
and much danger. Leave here thy rum and presents, and return to thy
patrons, Alrichs and Beeckman, bearing our English gratitude, and thou
shalt wear a beautiful hat, such as the King of England allows only
his jester to put upon his head."

Nanking felt very much obliged to these kind gentlemen. They made the
hat of the red cloth he had brought. It was like a tall steeple on a
house, and was at least three feet long. As proud as possible he
re-entered New Amstel on the evening of the day after he left it. It
was now within a few days of Christmas, and the Dutch burghers and
boors, and Swedes, English and Finns, were anticipating that holiday
by assembling at the two breweries which the town afforded, and
quaffing nightly of beer. Beeckman and Alrichs were interested in the
largest brewery, and their beer was sent by Appoquinimy in great
hogsheads to the English of Maryland in exchange for butts of tobacco.

As Nanking walked into the big room where fifty men were drinking, his
prodigious red hat rose almost to the ceiling, and was greeted by
roars of laughter.

"_Goeden avond! Hoe yaart gij!_ How do you do, my bully?"

Nanking bowed politely, and singling out Beeckman and Alrichs, stood
before them with child-like joy.

"Gentlemen," he said, "I gave all your presents to the noble Colonel
Utye, who sends his deepest gratitude, and presented me with this
exalted cap in acknowledgment of my capacity."

"Thou idiot!" exclaimed Beeckman; "'tis a dunce's cap!"

"Dunder and blitzen!" swore Peter Alrichs, "hast thou lost all our
provision and made fools of us, too?"

They struck the dunce's cap off Nanking's head with their staves, and
threw their beer in his face.

"Two hundred guilders are we out of pocket," cried both these great
men. "Was ever such a brainless dolt in our possessions?"

The room rang with the cry, "Incurable idiot!" and Gerrit Van
Swearingen cried louder than any, "Go drown thyself, and spare thy
mother shame!"

"Then I shall not marry Elsje?" exclaimed Nanking, bursting into

"No!" stormed Peter Alrichs; "thou shalt marry a calf. Away!"

When Nanking arrived home he found his mother sitting very close to
Ffob Oothout. He told his tale with a broken heart.

"My man," exclaimed the rough sailor, in his kindest tone, but still
very rough, "take this advice from me: Whatever thou believest, tell
it not. Where thy head is weak, hold thy teeth tight. Then thou canst
still have faith in many things, and make no grief."

The next day the Blue Cock sailed into the roadstead and the fort
thundered a salute. Fort and vessel dipped the tricolor flag of the
States-General and the municipal banner of Amsterdam. Beeckman
surrendered all the country on South River to Hinoyossa, who came
ashore very drunk and very haughty, and threatened to set up an empire
for himself and fit out privateers against the world.

"Let him lose no time," muttered Ffob Oothout; "the English have
doomed these Western Netherlands!"

Amidst the festivity Nanking was in a condition of despair. He had
seen Elsje on the street and she turned up her nose at him. Christmas
was only one day off, and Santa Claus, the Swede boys insisted, never
came to the sorrowing shores of New Amstel.

"My uncle Gerrit was right," thought Nanking. "I had better drown
myself. Yes; I will watch on Christmas eve for Santa Claus. I will
give him plenty of time to come. He is the patron saint of children,
and if he neglects poor, simple boys in this needful place, there is
no truth in any thing. On Christmas morning I will fall into the river
without any noise. My mother will cry, perhaps, but nobody else, and
they will all say, 'It was better that the big idiot should be
drowned; he had not sense enough to keep out of the water.'"

Nanking spent half the day watching the chimneys of his mother's
house. Both chimneys were precisely alike in form and capacity, and
the largest in the place. But the chimney next the river did not
retain the dark, smoky, red color of the chimney on the land side.

"No wonder," thought Nanking, "for no fire nor smoke has been made in
that river chimney for years. It almost seems that the bricks therein
are oozing out their color and growing pale and streaked."

Night fell while he was watching. Nanking hid himself upon the roof of
the house, determined to see if Saint Nicholas ever came to bless
children any more by descending into chimneys, or was only a myth.

It was a little cold, and under the moonlight the frost was forming on
the marshes and fields. The broad, remorseless river flowed past with
nothing on its tide except the two or three vessels tied to the river
bank, of which the Blue Cock was directly under the widow's great
dwelling. From the town came sounds of revelry and wassail, of singing
and quarrel, and from the church on Sand Hook softer chanting, where
the women were twining holly and laurel and mistletoe. Nanking lay
flat on the roof, with his face turned toward the sky. The moon went
down and it grew very dark.

"Lord of all things," he murmured, "forgive my rash intention and
comfort my poor mother!"

The noise of the town died on the night air, and every light went out.
Nanking said to himself, "Is it Christmas at all, out in this lonely
wilderness of the world? Is it the same sky which covers Holland, and
are these stars as gentle as yonder, where all are rich and happy?"

He heard a noise. A voice whispered, just above the edge of the
chimney on the river gable: "_Fus-s-s! Pas op!_"

"What is that?" thought Nanking; "somebody saying, 'Hist! be careful?'
Surely I see something moving on the chimney, like a living head."

The voice whispered again: "_Maak hast! Kom hier!_" Or, "Hasten! Come

Nanking raised up and made a noise.

"_Wie komt, daar_?" demanded the voice, and in a minute repeated:
"_Wie sprecht, daar_?"

They ask, "Who comes and who speaks?" said Nanking. "Blessed be the
promises of heaven! It is Santa Claus!"

Then he heard movements at the chimney, and people seemed to be
ascending and descending a ladder. There seemed, also, to be noises on
the deck of the Blue Cock, and sounds of falling burdens and spoken
words: "Maak plaats!" or make room for more.

"I never heard of Santa Claus stopping so long at one humble house,"
thought Nanking.

After awhile all sounds ceased. Nanking crept to the chimney and
touched it with his hand. It had no opening whatever in the top.

He felt around this mysterious chimney. "He! Zoo!" he said aloud,
"there is more wood here than brick. 'Tis a false chimney altogether!"

Then he saw that his close observation had not been at fault. The
chimney over the river gable was a painted chimney, a mere invention.
Yet, surely Santa Claus had been there.

After a time Nanking opened the top and side of this chimney as if
they were two doors. He found it packed with goods of all kinds--a ton
at least.

"I will run and awaken my mother," he thought. "But no. Did not Ffob
Oothout tell me to blab no secrets and shut my teeth tight? I will
tell nobody. These costly things are all mine; for there are no other
boys in this whole dwelling but Nanking Cloos, the fatherless idiot!"

He slipped down and hastened to his boat, which lay in a cove not far
below. Towing it along the bank to a sheltered place convenient,
Nanking began to load up the goods from the chimney. Before daylight
broke he had secured every thing, and hoisting sail was speedily
carried to the island of the Pea Patch, far down the bay--that island
which shone in the offing and seemed to close the river's mouth. Here,
in the wreck of an old galiot, he hid every article dry and secure;
kegs of liquors and wine, shawls and blankets, pieces of silk,
gunpowder, beautiful pipes, bars of silver and copper, and a whole bag
of gold. Nanking covered them with dry driftwood and boughs of trees,
and sailed again to New Amstel, where he arrived before breakfast.

At breakfast Nanking found upon his bench a beautiful new gun.

"It is thine, good child," said Ffob Oothout, "for sparing me those
lashes. Thy churlish uncle felt so reproved by thy innocent words that
he set me free. Widow, here is a _spiegel_ for thee, a looking-glass
to see, unseen, whoever passes up or down the street. That is a
woman's high privilege everywhere. Thou shalt be, erelong, the
best-dressed wife in all New Amstel. Nanking, wouldst thou like to
have a father?"

"I would like you, Ffob Oothout, for a father."

"Widow," said Ffob, "he has popped the question for me; wilt thou take
an old pirate for thy man?"

"They are all pirates here," replied the blushing widow, "and thou
art the best pirate or man I have seen."

"Well, then, when the English conquer this region I have that will
make thee rich. Till then let us wait on the good event, but not delay
the marriage."

That Christmas Day they were married in form. As the three sat before
the fresh venison and drank wine from the store of the Blue Cock,
Nanking said:

"Father Ffob, you are wise. Give me yet another word of advice, that I
may not continue to be a big idiot."

"Trust whom thou wilt, Nanking, yet ever hold thy tongue. If thou hast
now a secret, hold it close. Begin this instant!"

"Even the secrets of Santa Claus?"

"Yes, even them."

Nanking said no more. He found compensation for Elsje's contumely in
his gun, and roved the forests through, and peeped from time to time
at his mystic treasures.

One day the news came overland that the English had taken New
Amsterdam. Then the great Hinoyossa and uncle Van Swearingen and
Alrichs and Beeckman swore dreadfully, and said they would fight to
the last man. Ffob Oothout went around amongst the Swedes and the
citizen Dutch, and prepared them to take the matter reasonably.

One day in October of that same wonderful year, 1664, two mighty
vessels of war, flying the English flag, came to anchor off New Amstel
and the fort. They parleyed with the citizens for a surrender, and
Ffob Oothout conducted the negotiations. The citizens were to receive
protection and property. The fort replied by a cannon. Then the
English soldiery landed and formed their veteran lines. They charged
the ramparts and broke down the palisades, and killed three Dutchmen
and wounded ten more. Proclamation was made that New Amstel should for
all the future be named New-_castle_, and that Gerrit Van Swearingen,
the refractory schout, should yield up his noble property to Captain
John Carr, of the invaders, and Peter Alrichs lose every thing for the
benefit of the fortunate William Tom.

The English soldiery proceeded to make barracks of the Amsterdam
warehouse. The first night they inhabited it they strove to light a
fire under the wooden chimney in the river gable. The chimney caught
fire and burnt out like an old hollow barrel.

"Wife," exclaimed Ffob Oothout, looking grimly on, "in that chimney
was all my property and thine. Poor boy," he said to Nanking, "we must
all be poor together now."

"No," cried Nanking, "I have yet the gifts of Santa Claus which I took
from that chimney on the night before Christmas. Yours, father, may be
burnt. Mine are all safe!"

He sailed his father and mother to the island since called the Pea
Patch, and Ffob Oothout recognized his property.

"Wonderful Nanking!" he cried, "thy faith was all the wisdom we had.
God protects the simple! Thou art our treasure."

The great Hinoyossa condignly fled to Maryland. Uncle Van Swearingen
was exported to Holland, and in the dwelling of Peter Alrichs the
family of Ffob Oothout made their abode.

"Nanking," asked the houseless Alrichs, "is not Elsje pretty yet?"

"Not as pretty," answered Nanking, "as my little baby sister. I will
carry nobody's doll but hers."

"Humph!" said Peter Alrichs, "you are not the big idiot I took you


    Basking on the Choptank pleasant Cambridge lies
    In the humid atmosphere under fluttered skies,
    And the oaks and willows their protection fling
    Round the court-house cluster and the public spring.

    There the streets are cleanly and they meet oblique,
    Forced upon each other by the village creek
    Winding round the ancient lawns, till the site appears
    Like a moated fortress crumbling down with years.

    Round the town the oysters grow within the coves,
    And the fertile cornfields bearing yellow loaves;
    And the wild duck flying o'er the parish spire
    Fall into the graveyard when the fowlers fire?

    There the old armorial stones dwellers seldom read;
    There the ivy clambers like the rankest weed;
    There the Cambridge lawyers sometimes scale the wall
    To the grave of Helen, loveliest of all.

    Even here the fairest of the little band
    Strangers call the fairest girls in Maryland,
    Like the peach her color ere its dyes are fast,
    And her form as slender as the virgin mast.

    Like a vessel gliding with a net in tow,
    Up the street of evenings Helen seemed to flow,
    Leaving light behind her and a nameless spell
    Murmured in the young men, like an ocean shell.

    Made too early conscious of her power to charm,
    Still unconscious ever love of men could harm,
    Voices whispered to her: "Beauty rare as thine
    Princes in the city never drank in wine!

    "Hide it not in Cambridge! Cross the bay and see
    How a world delighted hastes to honor thee.
    Seek the fortune-teller and thy future hear;
    There is empire yonder; there is thy career!"

    Oh, the sad ambition and the speedy dart!
    He, the fortune-reader, read poor Helen's heart;
    And a face created for the hearthstone's light--
    Fishers tell its ruin as they scud by night.

    Whisper, whisper, whisper! leaf and wave and grass;
    Look not sidewise, maiden, as the place you pass.
    If you hear a restless spirit when you pray,
    'Tis the voice that tempted Helen o'er the bay.


An extraordinary story, some say the recital of a dream, or scenes in
somnambulism, is that of Andrew Waples, of Horntown, Va. He visited
Saratoga twenty years ago, well-to-do, the owner of slaves, sloops,
lands, and fisheries, and visits it now upon an income of $2000 a
year, derived from boiling down fish into phosphates for the midland
markets. He preserves, however, the habit and appearance of old days:
that is to say, his chin is folded away under his lip like a reef in a
mainsail; his cheek-bones hide his ears, so tusky and prominent are
the former, and tipped with a varnish of red, like corns on old folks'
feet; he has a nose which is so long and bony that it seems to have
been constructed in sections, like a tubular bridge, and to
communicate with itself by relays of sensation. A straight, mournful,
twinkling, yet aristocratic man was Andrew Waples, "befo' de waw, sah!
befo' de waw!"

He had no sooner arrived at Saratoga than he met some ancient boon
companions, who took him off to the lake, exploded champagne, filled
his lungs with cigar-smoke, and sent him to bed, the first night, with
a decided thirst and no occasion to say his prayers. For it was
Andrew's intention, being a mournful man of the Eastern Shore, to pray
on every unusual occurrence. Piety is relative as well as real, but
Andrew Waples on this occasion jumped into bed, said hic and amen, and
"times befo' de waw," and went to sleep in the somnorific air of the

He awoke with a dry throat, a disposition to faint and surrender his
stomach, and an irresistible propensity to walk abroad and drink of
the waters. He looked at his watch: it was two o'clock, and Saturday
night. "Alas!" said Andrew Waples aloud, "the bars are closed. Even
Morrissey has gone to bed, and the club-house is in darkness, but
perhaps I can climb over the gate of some spring company, or find a
fountain uninclosed. Yes, there is the High Rock Spring!"

He drew on his clothes partly, slipped his feet in slippers, and wrote
on a piece of paper, which he conspicuously posted on the gas bracket:

"Andrew Waples, Gentleman (befo' de waw), departed from the United
States Hotel, at two o'clock A. M., precisely. If any accident happens
to him, seek at the High Rock Spring, or thereabouts."

It was a sad, green, ghostly moonlight streaming through the elms as
Andrew Waples walked up Broadway. The moon appeared to be dredging for
oysters amongst the clouds, circling around there by bars, islets, and
shoals. Bits of spotted and mackerel-back sky swam like hosts of
menhaden through the pearly sheen of the more open aërial main. The
leaves of the tall domes and kissing branches of the elms, that peeped
on either side into open windows of people asleep and told across the
street to each other the secrets there, were now themselves heavy as
if with surfeit of gossip and they drooped and hardly rustled. Not a
tipsy waiter lurked in the shadows, not a skylarking couple of darkey
lovers whispered on doorsteps. No birds, nor even crickets, serenaded
the torpid night. The shuffling feet of Andrew Waples barely made
watch-dogs growl in their dreams, and started his own heart with the
concussions they produced on the arborescent and deeply-shadowed
aisles of the after midnight. He saw the town-hall clock pallidly
illuminated above its tower. The low frame villa of Chancellor
Walworth, cowering amongst the pine-trees, expressed the burden of
parricidal blood that had of late oppressed its memories. There were
no murmurs from the court-room where Judge Barnard had been tried,
but its deep silence seemed from the clock to tick: "Removed!
disqualified!" and "Disqualified! removed!"

Turning from Broadway to lesser streets of cheap hotels and plain
boarding cottages, where weary women and girls had drudged all day
long, and washerwomen moaned and fluting and ruffling were the
amusements of the poor, Andrew Waples became haunted with the idea
that Saratoga was poisoned, that every soul in the village was dead,
and that he was to be the last man of the century to drink of the
Springs. Nature and night were in the swoon of love or death. Parting
their drowsy curtains went Waples through the muffled echoes, impelled
by nothing greater than a human thirst.

He saw his shadow, at length, fall down the steep stairs of the valley
of High Rock Spring, as he stood at the top of the steps uncovered to
the moon. It was a shadow nearly a hundred feet long, a high-cheeked
head without a chin and all nose, like the profile of a mountain. But
what was extraordinary was the total absence of an abdominal part to
Mr. Waples' exaggerated shadow, for he distinctly saw a young
maple-tree, in perfect moonlight, grow through the cavity where his
stomach ought to have been.

"I must be hollow," said Andrew, as he looked,--"the frame of a
stomach removed; for surely my whole figure is in blackness, except my
bread-basket." But his fears were dissipated by the sound of voices,
of glasses clinking and water running, and the evident semblance of
life at the High Rock Spring in the ravine beneath, to which the steep
stairs descended. At the same moment he descried another shadow
propelled alongside his own, as if from some far distance in the rear
a human object was slowly advancing to stand beside him.

There were very old wooden houses around this precipice or promontory
of Saratoga, some of them a hundred years old, and decrepit and in
ruins; for here, at the High Rock, was the original fountain of the
village. As if from the cover of one of these old and decaying
tenements came a person of venerable aspect, with a tray of glasses
fastened to the top of a staff, like a great caster of bottles on a
broomstick. As this person stood by the side of Andrew Waples, and
planted his staff on the top step of the stairs, his prolonged shadow,
falling in the valley, gave him the appearance of a gigantic Neptune,
with a trident in his hand.

"Hallo!" exclaimed Mr. Waples, "are you a town scavenger, to be up at
this time of the clock?"

The man replied, after a very curious and explosive sound of his lips,
like the extraction of a cork from a bottle, "No, sir; I'm only the
Great Dipper."

"Very good," resumed Mr. Waples. "Then, perhaps, you'll explain to me
a very great optical delusion, or tell me that I'm drunk. Do you see
our two shadows as they fall yonder on the ground, and amongst the
tree-tops? Now, if I have any eyes in my head, there is a stomach in
your shadow and no stomach whatever in mine."

"Quite right," answered the Great Dipper. "You are the mere rim of a
former stomach. Abdominally, you are defunct."

Andrew Waples put his hand instinctively where his stomach was
presumed to be, and he saw the hand of his shadow distinctly imitate
the motion, and repeat it through his empty centre.

"This is Sir William Johnson's night," remarked the Great Dipper. "We
have a large company of guests on this anniversary, and no gentleman
is admitted with a stomach, nor any lady with a character. My whole
force of dippers is on to-night, and I must be spry."

As the venerable man spoke, and ceased to speak, exploding before and
after each utterance, it occurred to Mr. Waples that his voice had a
sort of mineral-water gurgle, which was very refreshing to a thirsty
man's ears. He followed, therefore, down the flight of rickety stairs
and stood in the midst of a promenading party of many hundred people,
variously dressed and in the costumes of several generations.

The canopy or pavilion of the spring, which, like a fairy temple,
seemed to have been exhaled from in bubbles, was yet capped, as in the
broad light of day, by a gilded eagle, from whose beak was suspended a
bottle of the water, and no other light was shed upon the scene than
the silver and golden radiance emitted together from this bottle, as
if ten thousand infinitely small goldfish floated there in liquid
quicksilver. The spring itself, flowing over its ancient mound of
lime, iron and clay, like the venerable beard over the Arabian
prophet's yellow breast, shed another light as if through a veil
fluttered the molten fire of some pulsating crater. The whole scene of
the narrow valley, the group of springs, the sandy walks, dark
foliage, and in closing ridges took a pale yellow hue from the
effervescing water and the irradiant bottle in the eagle's beak. The
people walking to and fro and drinking and returning, all carried
their hands upon their stomachs or sides, and sighed amidst their
flirtations. Mr. Waples saw, despite their garments, which represented
a hundred years and more of all kinds, from Continental uniforms and
hunting shirts to brocades, plush velvets, and court suits, that not a
being of all the multitude contained an abdomen. He stopped one large
and portly man, who was carried on a litter, and said:

"Have you a window through you, too, old chap?"

"'Sh!" exclaimed one of the supporters of the litter, who wore the
feathers and attire of an Indian. "'Tis Sir William Johnson--he who
receives to-night."

"Young man," exclaimed that great and first of Indian agents, "this is
the spot where all people come to find their stomachs. Mine was lost
one hundred and ten years ago. The Mohawks, my wards, then brought me
through the forest to this spot. Faith! I was full of gout and humors,
and took a drink from a gourd. One night in the year I walk from
purgatory and quench my thirst at this font. The rest of the year I
limp in the agonies of dyspepsia."

A large and short-set woman was walking in one of the paths, wearing
almost royal robes, and her train was held up by a company of young
gallants, some of whom whistled and trolled stanzas of foreign music.
"Can you tell me her name!" asked Waples, speaking to a bystander.

"It is Madame Rush, the daughter of the banker who rivalled Girard.
She was a patroness of arts and letters in her day, full of

"But disguised in a stomacher!" interrupted our friend. The lady
passed him as he spoke, and, looking regretfully in his face,

"Avoid hot joints for supper! Terrapin must crawl again. Drink nothing
but claret. Adieu!"

"Really," thought Andrew Waples, "this is a sort of mass meeting of
human picture-frames. But here is one I know by his portrait--the
god-like head, the oxen eyes, the majestic stalk of Daniel Webster."
He was about to address this massive figure, when it turned and looked
upon him with rolling orbs like diamonds in dark caves.

"Brandy," said the great man, "'tis the drink of a gentleman, and the
stimulus of oratory. But public life requires a thousand stomachs. Who
could have saved the Constitution on only one?"

"Poor ghost!" thought Andrew Waples. "Yet here is a milder man, also
of mighty girth, like the frame of a mastodon, transparent. Your name,
my friend?"

"John Meredith Clayton, of Delaware! I filled my paunch of midnights
with chicken soup. I arose from bed to riot in gravy. Ye who have
livers and intestines, think of my fame and fate!"

The old man sobbed as he receded, and Waples had only time to get a
glimpse of the next trio before they were upon him.

"I agree with Commodore Vanderbilt," said the other, the wearer of a
rubicund face, and great blue eyes. "My _forte_ was oysters and
economy. I grew wondrous fat and conservative, and one day awoke with
a stomach that exclaimed, 'I have become round, so that you can
trundle me for the exercise you deprived me of.' Henceforward, not
even the unequalled advantages of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad gave
me pleasure. I live like a skeleton world, without an inner globe,
without a paunch. Beware?"

"Well," cried Mr. Waples, "it is a singular thing that the
conservative as well as the volatile lose their full habits. How is it
with Colonel Tom Scott, I wonder?"

"No rest," exclaimed a full-necked man, "I eat at figures, and think
in my sleeping car. Go slow, go fast, young man, 'But it is even,
heads I win, stomach you lose!'"

The shaggy iron-gray whiskers and hair of Charles Sumner were well
known to Mr. Waples, as that great Senator strutted down the maple
paths. "You here, also!" shouted Mr. Waples.

"Ay!" answered the champion. "Freedom is not worth enjoying without
the gastric juice. The taste of Château Yquem pursues me through
eternity. There are times when Plymouth Rock is a pennyweight in value
compared to High Rock at Saratoga, and all the acts of Congress
foolish beside a pint of Congress water!"

A tall and elegant man came by and said: "I was the reviver of the
running turf. My stomach was tough as my four-in-hand. 'Twas Angostura
nipped my bud. It was, by Saint Jerome!"

Another passer, with a dark skin and a merry twinkle, said: "Uncle
John's under the weather to-night. But he can lay out another
generation yet. While there's sleep there's hope. Cecil's the word!
Give me me an order."

A tremendous fellow, with a foot a little gouty, gulped down a gallon
of the water, and said: "Rufe Andrews never gives up while on that
high rock he builds his church!"

"The way to eat a sheep's head," exclaimed a florid man, "is with
plain sauce. Clams are not kind after nightfall. Champagne destroyed
the coats of W. Wickham, Mayor of the _bon vivants_. _Sic transit_
overtook my rapid transit. Heigh-ho!"

"Hear me lisp a couplet," said the great poet Saxe. "Oh, how many a
slip 'twixt the couplet and the cup! Abdomen dominates. When Homer had
no paunch, he went blind."

"Halt! 'Sdeath! is't I, that once could put the whole Brazilian court
to bed, who prowls these grounds for midnight water now? I am the
Chevalier Webb. Who says it is dyspepsia? I will spit him upon my

"Ees! 'tis good drinkin' at the fount when one can naught sleep.
Johnson, of Congress Spring, the resident cherub; that's my name. I
tipped the rosy, and it tripped on me. What measure I used to take
around the bread-basket!"

"The top of the foine midnight to you!" said Richard O'Gorman. "I'm
here, my lords and gentle folk, to find a portion of my appetite. It
was not so when I could lead a revolution in a cabbage garden."

So went past Uncle Dan Sanford and Father Farrell, and arm-in-arm, on
mutual errands of thirst, Judge Hilton and Joseph Seligman.

"Shudge," said Seligman, "when you refushed me a room, it was only
becaush you had no stummicks? Heigh, Shudge?"

"Ay, Joseph, me broth of a darlint," answered Hilton, "when a spalpeen
has no stummick, he speaks without circum--spection. Ye can impty yer
stummick wherever ye loike over the furniture, if ye'll fill this
aching void."

So went the procession. All walking with hands laid heavily on their
paunches, or where they used to be. Lovers had lost the light of
interest from their eyes, wedded people the light of retrospection,
statesmen the pride of intellect, princes and legates the pride of
power. Wealth flashed in a thousand diamonds to contrast with the
heavy eyes that had no vanity in them, and religion wore the
asceticism of everlasting gloom instead of the hope of immortal life.

As Mr. Andrew Waples beheld these things, and felt his thirst impel
him toward the fountain of the High Rock, he became sensible of a
wonderful change in the proportions of that object. It had always been
a mound or cone of sand, clay, magnesia, and lime, well oxidized, and
made rusty-red by the particles of iron in the composition deposited
with the other materials, through ages of overflow. It had never been
above three feet in height, and of little more diameter than a man's
stature. The water, flowing through its middle, sparkled and
discharged diamond showers of bubbles, and ran down the
ochre-besmeared sides, to disappear in the ground, the cavity through
which it came not more than ten inches wide. Such had been the
dimensions of the High Rock Spring.

But it was now a mountain, rising high in the air, and flowing crystal
and gold, like a volcano in an eruption of jewels. The pyrites of
sulphur and motes of iron, that formerly gleamed in the rills that
trickled down its slopes, were now big as cascades, filled with
carbuncles and rocks of amethyst. A mist of soft splendor, like the
light of stars crushed to dust and diffused around the mountain's
head, revealed an immense multitudes of people scaling the slopes, and
drinking; and some were raising their hands to Heaven in praise, and
some were drawing the water from the mountain's base by flumes and
troughs. This extensive prospect fell to a foreground of people, such
as Mr. Waples had been mingling with, and these were clamoring and
supplicating for water faster than a hundred dippers there could pass
it up. The dippers were of all garbs and periods, from Indians and
rustics to boys in cadet uniform. The vessels with which they dipped
were of all shapes and metals, from conch shells and calabashes to
cups of transparent china, and goblets of gold and silver. Amongst the
dippers, conspicuous by his benevolent face and clothing of a
butternut color, was the Great Dipper himself, directing operations.

"Drink freely!" he exclaimed, "for the night is going by. Sir William
Johnson has ordered his litter, and the company is breaking up. Drink
while you may, for the sun is soon to arise, and ye who have no
stomachs will be exposed and disgraced."

"Hark ye! old friend," whispered Andrew Waples to the Great Dipper,
"are there here people alive, as well as dead people, and why do they
fear exposure?"

The Great Dipper replied: "Nobody can be said to live who has lost his
stomach. We make no other distinction here. There are thousands who
have lost them, however, and who deceive mankind. Even these, you
perceive, who drink at the High Rock Spring, flirt while they feel
unutterable gloom, and so are dead women above the ground tied to
living men, and men without a human hope of health mated to joyous
beauty and animation."

It seemed at this point that Mr. Waples shrank away down to the
ground, and the Great Dipper loomed up high as the mountain of High
Rock. His drinking glasses were as large as Mr. Waples' body; he was a
mighty giant, clad in colors like those of the overflowing mountain.

"Old chap," cried Mr. Waples, "methinks your clothing up there is of
much age and tarnish. Tell me its material?"

A voice came down the long ravines of the mountain like rolling
thunder. "It's calcareous tufa I'm a-wearing, wove on me by exudation
and accretion in the past two thousand years."

At this point the head of the Great Dipper was quite invisible in the
clouds, but the tray of glasses he carried, which were now big as
barrels or full-sized casks, was set down on Mr. Waples' toe. As he
sought to get out of the way a torrent of water washed him up and
away, and he was spilled into one of the glasses; and then, as it
appeared, he was raised an inconceivable distance in the air and
plunged down like a bursted balloon from the sky to the sea, and he
found himself immersed in mineral water and rapidly descending,
against the current, toward the centre of the earth!

Before Mr. Waples could get his breath he was landed in a bar or shoal
of mineral salt, which came nearly to the surface of the torrent in
which he found himself, and the current of this torrent was ascending
toward the surface, as full of mineral substances as a freshet is full
of saw-logs. Explosions of gas, loud and rapid as the guns in a naval
battle, took place on every side. The walls of the inclosure made a
large and almost regular cave or tunnel of blue marl, and in the
contrary way from the course of the stream. Mr. Waples sank along the
sides of the cave in the swash or backflow, until he arrived at a
grand archway of limestone, riven from a mass of slate. A voice from
the roof of the archway, whispering like a sigh of pain, articulated

"Who goes back?"

Waples discerned, in the joint or junction of the arch a huge deformed
object, whose hands were caught between the masses of stone, and he
still desperately pulled to divide them, so that the torrent could
escape through. The eyes of this object rolled in pain, but he gave no
sign of relinquishing his hold, and again the painful whisper skipped
through the abyss, "Who goes back from the alluvial?" Mr. Waples got a
breathful of air from an explosion of bubbles, and boldly replied,
"The Great Dipper's assistant."

"Tell him," whispered the hunchback in the roof, "that Priam, the
Fault Finder, is holding the strata back, but wants the relief to come
on three centuries hence, that I may spit upon my hands."

Mr. Waples had no time to reply, for a large bubble of carbonic acid
gas burst at that moment, and blew him through the gap or "fault" of
the rock, into the coldest and clammiest cavern he had ever trodden.
From every part of the walls, ceilings, and floor exuded moisture,
which flowed off in rills and large canals, until they formed the
torrent that disappeared at the Fault Finder's Archway.

"Magnesia, faugh!" exclaimed Mr. Waples, unconscious that he was in
the presence of somebody.

"You don't like Magnesia, then?" rejoined a large, spongy object on
the floor, whose forehead perspired while he looked up through the
chalky-white sockets of sightless eyes. "Why, he's a sixth part of all
that's drunk at the springs. Here, I'll call him up. Come Magnesia!
come Potash! come Lime, Soda, Lithia, and Baryta! Come ye all to the
presence of Prince Saturation."

There glided to the Sponge's feet a number of leather-looking beings,
of broad, circular faces, and to every face a tail was appended on the
other side.

"The gentleman don't like our laboratory," exclaimed the Sponge,
purring the while like a cat. "Apply your suckers to him, ye
percolating angels, and draw him to the forests of Fernandes!"

Mr. Waples felt a hundred little wafers of suction take hold of his
body, and a sense of great compression, as if he was being pulled
through a mortar bed. He opened his eyes on the summit of a stalagmite
in a vast thicket or swamp of overthrown and decaying trees. Birds of
buried ages, whose long, bittern-like cries flopped wofully through
the silence, made ever and anon a call to each other, like the Nemesis
of century calling to century. One of these birds, having authority
and standing on one leg, observed to Mr. Waples, in a very
philosophical manner:

"Stranger, are you of the Fungi family?"

"No, Fernandes," answered our bold adventurer; "I live nearer the
phosphates when at home, and it's a good article."

A mournful chorus of croons from the loons went round the solitude.
"Phosphates! phew! Phosphates! phew!"

"This apartment," exclaimed the one-legged bird, "is exclusively for
fungi of the old families. Here we rot piecemeal and furnish gas to
the nine-thousandth generation after us. By our decay the springs are
fed with bubbles. Here is the world as it fell in the floral period,
and our boughs are budding anew in the Eldorado of the waters above

"Phosphates! phew!" shouted the great birds of this land of Lethe, as
Mr. Waples' stalagmite broke off and dropped him and set him astride
of an ancient pterodactyl bird that flew off with its burden to an
immense height, and swinging him there by the seat of his breeches, as
if he were to be the pendulum of a fundamental and firmamental clock,
the griffin-bird finally let go. Mr. Waples was propelled at least six
miles out of gravity, and tossed into a most deep and silent lake.
Nothing affected its loveliness but an oppressive shadow that came
from above, and seemed to sink every floating object in the scarcely
buoyant waves. No shores were visible, but distant mountains on one
side; nothing lived in the waters but meteoric lights and objects that
ran as if on errands for the spirit above. Broad, submissive,
unevaporating, but sinking down; the great inland lonely pool was
everywhere the creature of an invisible footprint. Mr. Waples knew the
power it obeyed to be that prostrate, cloud-like, overbrooding
presence, far above, with outlines like a mountain range. The silent
sea was the water-trough of Apalachia, the western dyke of the deluge
of Noah. The oppressive spirit, stretching overhead, was Bellydown, or
the thing that brooded over the waters of chaos, known to
schoolmasters as Atmospheric Pressure.

Mr. Waples saw it all now. The spirit overhead, with equal and
eternal pressure, forced down this meteoric water through the slopes
of stone, until it reascended toward the clouds of its origin and was
lost in the forest of the fossils, where every decaying fibre made
bubbles to drive it forward, and hold in solution the mineral
substances it was to receive in the porous magnesian barrier between
it and freedom. Soaking through this, the water escaped by the break
in the strata at the arch of the Fault Finder.

But who had ever passed back against the current of the earth's
barometry, from the spa to the reservoir, like Andrew Waples, of
Horntown, Eastern Shore of Virginia?

He felt a mighty vanity overwhelm him to get recognition of some kind
from Bellydown, who disdained even thunder for a language.

"Thou sprawling spirit, up yonder in the sky!" shouted Mr. Waples,
with much firmness, "if thou art not mere nightmare, mere figment of
the sciences, let me feel thy strength unequally, for once!"

The vast cloud object moved and yawned. Something like a small world,
wearing a boot, smote Andrew Waples in the rear, as if the spirit
above had kicked him on the proper spot. He felt a pain and a flying
sensation, that was like paralysis on wings, and he never seemed to
stop for years, until he fell and struck the ground, and, after an
interval, looked around him.

He was in his room, at the United States Hotel, and had fallen out of
bed. The clock in the Baptist church cupola struck two. On the gas
bracket was pinned a written notice, not yet dry, that Andrew Waples
had just started for the High Rock Spring.

But he knew that his adventure continued to be true, for when he went
to breakfast at daylight, he found he had no stomach.


    Four hundred miles of brawling through many a mountain pass,
    From the shadow of the Catskills to the rocks of Havre de Grace,
    The Susquehanna flashes by willowy isles of May
    And deluges of April to the splendors of the bay.

    It brings Otsego water and Juniata bright,
    Chenango's sunny current and dark Swatara's night,
    By booms of lumber winding and rafts of coal and ore,
    And gliding barges crossing the dams from shore to shore.

    It is an aisle of silver along the mountain nave,
    Where towers the Alleghany reflected in its wave,
    By many a mine of treasure and many a borough quaint,
    And many a home of hero and tomb of simple saint.

    The granite gates resign it to mingle with the bay,
    And softened bars of mountain stand glowing o'er the way;
    The wild game flock the offing; the great seine-barges go--
    From battery to windlass, and singing as they row.

    The negroes watch the lighthouse, the trains upon the bridge,
    The little fisher's village strewn o'er the grassy ridge,
    The cannoneers that, paddling in stealthy rafts of brush,
    With their decoys around them, the juicy ducks do flush.

    And oft by night, they whisper, a phantom architect
    Lurks round the Cape of Havre, of ruined intellect,
    Who had designed a city upon this eminence,
    To cover all the headland and rule the land from hence.

    And sometimes men belated the phantom builder find,
    Lost on the darkened water and drifting with the wind;
    Then by his will a vision starts sudden on the night--
    The city flashing splendor o'er all that barren height.

    Its dome of polished marble and tholus full of fire;
    The dying look of sunset just fading from the spire;
    The towers of its prisons, the spars and masts of fleets,
    And lines of lamps that clamber along the crowded streets.

    The ships of war at anchor in the indented ports,
    The thunder of the broadsides, the answer of the forts--
    These by his invocation arise and flame and thrill,
    Raised on his faith tenacious and strengthened by his will.

    My soul! there is a city, set like a diadem,
    Beyond a crystal river: the new Jerusalem.
    The architect was lowly and walked with fishermen;
    But only He can open the blessed sight again.



The express train going south on the Northern Central Railroad, March
3d, 186-, carried perhaps a score of newly-elected Congressmen,
prepared to take their seats on the first day of the term. For every
Congressman there were at least five followers, adventurers or
clients, some distinguished by their tighter-fitting faces, signifying
that they were men of commerce; others, by their unflagging and
somewhat overstrained amiability, not to say sycophancy, signifying
that out of the aforesaid Congressmen they expected something "fat."
Of the former class the hardest type was unquestionably Jabel Blake,
and the business which he had in hand with the freshly Honorable
Arthur MacNair, who sat at his side reading the Pittsburg news-paper,
was the establishment of a national bank at the town of Ross Valley,

Jabel Blake had as little the look of a bank president as had his
representative the bearing of a politician. MacNair was a thin, almost
fragile young person, with light-red hair and a freckled face and
clear blue eyes, which nearly made a parson of him--a suggestion
carried out by his plain guard and silver watch and his very sober,
settled expression. The Honorable Perkiomen Trappe, who had served
three terms from the Apple-butter District, remarked of him, from the
adjoining seat, "Made his canvass, I s'pose, by a colporterin'
Methodist books, and stans ready to go to his hivinly home by way of
the Injin Ring!"

But, in reality, the Congressman belonged to the same faith with his
constituent and client--both Presbyterians like their great-grandfathers,
who were Scotch pioneers among the spurs of the Alleghenies; and there
still lived these twain, in fashion little changed--MacNair a lawyer at
the court-house town, and Jabel Blake the creator, reviver, and
capitalist of the hamlet of Ross Valley. Jabel was hard, large, bony, and
dark, with pinched features and a whitish-gray eye, and a keen, thin,
long voice high-pitched, every separate accent of which betrayed the love
of money.

"It's an expensive trip," said Jabel Blake; "it's a costly trip. More
men are made poor, Arthur MacNair, by travellin' than by sickness.
Twice a year to Pittsburg and twice to Phildelfy is the whole of my
gadding. I stop, in Phildelfy, at the Camel Tavern, on Second Street,
and a very expensive house--two dollars a day. At Washington they rob
everybody, I'm told, and I shall be glad to get away with my clothes."

"Tut! Jabel," said MacNair, "brother Elk has taken rooms for me at
Willards', and for the little time you stay at the capital you can
lodge with us. A man who has elected a Congressman in spite of the
Pennsylvania Railroad shouldn't grudge one visit in his life-time to

"Oh!" said Jabel, "I don't know as I begrudge that, though your
election, Arty, cost me four hundred and seven dollars and--I've got
it here in a book."

"I know that," said MacNair quietly; "don't read it again, Jabel. You
behaved like a sturdy, indignant man, paid all my expenses, though you
protested against an election in a moral land involving the
expenditure of a dime, and though you pass for the closest man west of
the mountains. And here we are, going upon errands of duty, as little
worldly as we can be, yet not anxious to belittle ourselves or our

"I'd cheerfully given more, Arty, to beat that corporation. A
twenty-dollar bill or so, you know! But money is tight. I've scraped
and scraped for years to start my bank at Ross Valley, and every
dollar wasted retards the village. You boys have cost me a sight of
money. There's Elk's sword and horse, and the schooling of both of
you, and the burying of your father, Jim MacNair, eighteen years ago
this May. Dear! dear!"

The Honorable Perkiomen Trappe, catching a part of this remark,
observed that Jabel Blake, judging by his appearance, shouldn't have
buried MacNair's father, but devoured him. Jabel's unfeeling remark
gave MacNair no apparent pain; but he said:

"Jabel, don't speak to Elk about father. He is not as patient as he
should be, and perhaps in Washington they disguise some of the matters
which we treat bluntly and openly. There's Kitty Dunlevy, you know,
and she is a little proud."

The glazed, whitish eye of Jabel bore the similitude of a beam of

"It's nothing agin you boys," he said, "that Jim MacNair, your father,
didn't do well. He wronged nobody but himself, as I made the
stonecutter say over his grave. _That_ cost me upwards of eleven
dollars, so I did _my_ duty by him. You boys don't seem to have his
appetite for liquor. You are a member of Congress, and Elk was one of
the bravest ginerals in the war; and I don't see, if he saves his
money and his health, but he is good enough even for Judge Dunlevy's

Judge Dunlevy was the beau ideal of Jabel Blake, as the one eminent
local statesman of the region round Ross Valley--the County Judge when
Jabel was a child, the Supreme Justice of the State, and now a
District Justice of the United States in a distant field. His
reputation for purity, dignity, original social consideration, moral
intrepidity, and direct Scotch sagacity had made his name a tower of
strength in his native State. To Jabel's clannish and religious nature
Judge Dunlevy represented the loftiest possibilities of human
character; and that one of the two poor orphans--the sons of a
wood-cutter and log-roller on the Alleghenies, and the victim of
intemperance at last--whom Jabel had watched and partly reared,
should now be betrothed to Catharine Dunlevy, the judge's only
daughter, affected every remaining sentiment in Jabel's heart.

Absorbed in the contemplation of this honorable alliance, Jabel took
out his account-book and absently cast up the additions, and so the
long delay at Baltimore caused no remarks and the landscapes slipped
by until, like the sharp oval of a colossal egg, the dome of the
Capitol arose above the vacant lots of the suburbs of Washington.

A tall, handsome, manly gentleman in citizen black, standing
expectantly on the platform of the station, came up and greeted
MacNair with the word,



And the brothers, legislator and soldier, stood contrasted as they
clasped hands with the fondness of orphans of the same blood. They had
no superficial resemblances, Arthur being small, clerical, freckled,
and red-haired, with a staid face and dress and a stunted, ill-fed
look, like the growth of an ungracious soil; Elk, straight and tall,
with the breeding and clothing of a metropolitan man, with black eyes
and black hair and a small "imperial" goatee upon his nether lip; with
an adventurous nature and experience giving intonation to his regular
face, and the lights and contrasts of youth, command, valor,
sentiment, and professional associations adding such distinction that
every lady passenger going by looked at him, even in the din of a
depot, with admiration.

To Jabel Blake, who came up lugging an ancient and large carpet-bag,
and who repelled every urchin who wanted the job of carrying it, Elk
MacNair spoke cordially but without enthusiasm.

"Jabel," he said, "if I hear you growl about money as long as you are
here, I'll take you up to the Capitol and lose you among the

"It took many a grunt to make the money," said Jabel Blake, "and it's
natural to growl at the loss of it."

By this time they had come to the street, and there in a livery
barouche were the superb broad shoulders, fringed from above with
fleece-white hair, of Judge Dunlevy. Health, wisdom, and hale,
honorable age were expressed attributes of his body and face, and by
his side, the flower of noble womanhood, sat Catharine, his child,
worthy of her parentage. Both of them welcomed Arthur MacNair with
that respectful warmth which acknowledged the nearness of his
relationship to the approaching nuptials, and the Judge said:

"Great credit to Jabel Blake as a representative citizen, in that his
eyes have seen the glory of these fine boys, to whom he has been so
fast a friend!"

Jabel's glassy eyes shone, and his mouth unclosed like a smile in a
fossil pair of jaws.

"It's the nighest I ever come to being paid for my investment in Arty
and Elk," he said, "to get sech a compliment from Judge Dunlevy! They
_are_ good boys, though they've cost me a powerful lot, and I hope
they'll save their money, stick to their church, and never forgit Ross
Valley, which claims the honor of a buildin' 'em up."

"Get up here, Jabel, and ride!" cried Elk. "Remember that coal-hole,
old man!"

"No! no!" cried Jabel; "I can walk. These fine carriages is expensive
luxuries. They'll do for politicians, I 'spose, but not for business
men with limited means."

The Judge made Jabel Blake sit facing him, however, and they rattled
off to the hotel, where Elk MacNair had secured a parlor and suite for
his brother in the retired end of the structure, commanding a view of
Newspaper Row upon one side and of the Treasury façade on the other.
The long, tarnished mirrors, the faded tapestry, and the heavy,
soiled, damask curtains impressed Jabel Blake as parts of the wild
extravagance of official society, and gave him many misgivings as to
the amount of his bill. He retained enough of his Scotch temperament,
however, to make no ceremony about a glass of punch, which the General
ordered up for the old man, Arthur MacNair only abstaining, and the
beauty and amiability of the Judge's daughter, who sat at his side and
beguiled him to speak of his idolized village, his mills, his
improvements, and his new bank, softened his hard countenance as by
the reflection of her own, and touched him with tender and gratified
conceptions of the social opportunities of his _protégés_. Miss
Dunlevy's face, with the clear intellectual and moral nature of her
father calmly looking out, expressed also a more emotional and more
sympathetic bias. A pure and strong woman, whose life had ripened
among the families and circles of the best in condition and influence,
she had never crossed to the meaner side of necessity, nor appreciated
the fact, scarcely palpable, even to her father, that he was poor. An
entire life spent in the public service had allowed neither time nor
propriety for improving his private fortune; and as his salary
continued over the war era at the same modest standard which had
barely sufficed for cheaper years, he had been making annual inroads
upon his little estate, which was now quite exhausted. His daughter
might have ended his heartache and crowned his wishes by availing
herself of any of several offers of marriage which had been made to
her; but the soldierly bearing, radiant face, and fine intellect of
Elk MacNair had conquered competition when first he sought, through
her father's influence, a lieutenancy in the army.

His career had been brilliant and fortunate, and when he was brought
in from the field dangerously wounded, her womanly ministrations at
the hospital had helped to set him upon his horse again, with life
made better worth preserving for the promise of her hand, surrendered
with her father's free consent. It was a love-match, without
reservations or inquiries, the _rapport_ and wish of two equal
beings, kindred in youth, sympathy, and career, earnest to dwell
together and absorbed in the worship of each other. Folded in full
union of soul as perfectly as the leaves of a book, which are in
contact at every point equally, they felt at this period the wistful
tenderness of a marriage near at hand, and their eyes anticipated it,
seeking each other out. She was cast in the large stature of her
father, and her dark brown hair and eyes betokened the stability of
her character, while her graces of movement and speech no less
revealed her adaptability to the social responsibilities which she had
solely conducted since her mother's death. Together, Catharine and her
affianced made a couple equal to the fullest destiny, and they won
praise without envy from all.

"It is a happy fortuity," said Judge Dunlevy, putting aside his glass;
"Catharine's marriage to a worthy man, native to my own part of the
country; Arthur's induction into national life; and hard-working Jabel
Blake's final triumph with his bank! There is no misgiving in the mind
of any of us. The way is all smooth. Perfect content, perfect love, no
stain upon our honors or our characters: with such simple family
democracies all over the land we vindicate the truthfulness of our
institutions, and grow old without desponding of our country!"

"I feel almost religiously happy," said Arthur, the Congressman; "not
for myself, particularly; not for my mere election to Congress, for in
our district there are many abler men to make representatives of--I
hope none with more steadfast good intentions!--but Elk here always
had so much health, blood, wayward will, and brilliancy that I
sometimes feared he might abandon the safe highways of labor and
self-denial and try some dangerous short-cut to fortune. To see him
survive the battle-field and begin the longer campaigns of peace with
a profession, a reputation, no entanglements, and such a wife, makes
me a religious man. God bless you, brother Elk!"

General MacNair said, in a jesting way, that Arthur was the truest,
most old-fashioned, and most ridiculously scrupulous brother that ever
grew up among the daisies; but he was affected, as were they all.

"Elk MacNair," asked Jabel Blake, in his hard, incisive, positive,
business voice, "what do you mean to do after you are married?"

The General looked at Jabel as if he were a little officious and with
large capacities for being disagreeable.

"I have arranged to buy a partnership in a legal firm having the
largest practice in the North west. This is better than beginning
alone and waiting to make a business."

"How much will that cost?" persisted Jabel Blake, not remarking the
growing repulsion with which the General answered, after some little

"One hundred and sixty thousand dollars."

"Why!" cried Jabel Blake, "that is nearly as much as it takes to start
the Ross Valley bank. Take care! Take care! Beware, Elk MacNair, of
getting into debt at your time of life. It makes gray hairs come. It
breaks up domestic pleasure. It mortgages tranquil years. Neither a
borrower nor a lender be! That's Bible talk, and the Bible is not only
the best book for the family, but the best business book besides."

"I don't mean to run in debt," said the General, with a look, perhaps
surly; "I mean to buy into the firm with cash."

"Bosh!" said Jabel Blake, rising up, "where did you get one hundred
and sixty thousand dollars, Elk MacNair?"

"If you were not claiming to its fullest extent the privilege of my
father's friend, Jabel, I should tell you that it was none of your
business! I will have made the money by the practice of law in the
City of Washington."

"Dear me, Elk," said his brother, quietly; "I don't presume to be
worth five thousand dollars, all told. But I suppose you have genius
and opportunity, and the times are wondrous for men of acquaintance
and enterprise."

Jabel Blake stared at Elk MacNair a long while without speaking.


The sudden revelation that Elk MacNair was very rich had, on the
whole, a depressing effect. Kate Dunlevy, who had expected to marry
purely for love, found with a little chagrin that she was also
marrying for money. The Judge was led to remark upon the curiosities
of a speculative age and a fluctuating currency, and said he longed
for the solid times of hard coin, cheap prices, easy stages, and a
Jeffersonian republic. As for Jabel Blake, he was too late for that
day to deposit his bonds at the Treasury and obtain the currency for
the Ross Valley bank, so he went sauntering around the city, grim as a
defeated office-seeker.

The brothers also made some calls, and Arthur MacNair was puzzled and
at the same time pleased, to find that his dashing junior knew
everybody, had something to chat about with innumerable strangers or
members, and was freely admitted to any public office he desired. They
came home at twilight, quite fatigued, and found Jabel Blake lying on
a bed in the inner chamber, fast asleep.

"Dreaming of his bank!" said Elk MacNair; "what a metallic soul must
Jabel's be! His very voice rattles like money. His features are cut
hard as a face on a coin."

"Jabel has good points, Elk," said the Congressman; "if you can
understand the passion of the town builder you can apprehend him. He
has devoted his life to Ross Valley, and the only text of Scripture he
finds it hard to understand is, that he who ruleth his soul is greater
than he who buildeth a city."

The two brothers sat together in the main room; the day, at the
windows, was growing grayer, and they were silent for a while.

The face of Elk MacNair had been growing long during the whole
afternoon, but with an assumed gayety he had sought to make the hours
pass pleasantly, and when his thoughtful and modest brother endeavored
to argue with him that his legal labors were wearing him out, Elk
MacNair turned the conversation off in a cheerful way by saying:

"Arthur, I have arranged that you shall have the chairmanship of a
first-rate committee."

"How arranged it?"

"Oh, these things can be managed, you know. Every good position in
Washington has to be begged for, or brought about by strategic
approaches. I know the Speaker and the Speaker's friends below him,
and the old chairman of the committee where I wish you to be; and,
among us all, you have obtained the rare distinction, for a new
member, of going to the head of one of the best of the second-class

"I do not like this, Elk," said Arthur. "I hope I am without ambition,
particularly of that sort which would annihilate processes and labors,
and seek to obtain distinction by an easy path. I do not know that I
shall make a speech during the whole of this Congress, although I
shall try to be in my seat every day, and to vote when I am well
informed. What committee is it that you have been at such pains to put
me at the head of it?"

"The Committee on Ancient Contracts."

Arthur MacNair, who had not much color at the best of times, turned a
little pale.

"Elk," said he, "there is a bad sound in that word 'contracts.' Of
course, I do not take much stock in the widespread scandal about our
Government giving away contract work to do from base or personal
considerations; but I have a little belief that one ought to avoid
even the appearance of evil. I think I must refuse to go on that

Elk MacNair seemed to grow darker and older, and his face assumed an
intensity of expression which his brother did not perceive.

"Pshaw! Arty," he said, with agitation, "everything here goes by
friends. You brought with you no renown, no superstition, nothing
which would entitle you to the Speaker's consideration. He might have
put you, but for me, away down on the Committee on Revolutionary

"I think I would like that committee," said Arthur MacNair quietly.
"In it I might be the means of doing gratitude to some old and needy
hero. I like those tasks which involve no notoriety. At home, in our
church and among our townsfolks, I always tried to get on the
societies which are unknown to public fame; and there, any little
thing which I can diligently do brings its own reward. I must decline
to go on the Committee on Ancient Contracts, Elk!"

The younger brother, with his dark burning eyes, met at this point the
cool, unsuspecting glance of the country lawyer, and something in it
seemed to embarrass even his worldliness, for he rose from his seat
and threw up his hands impatiently.

"Oh! very well," he said. "I thought I was doing you a service, and
now I see that it has been love's labor lost. In fact, I want you on
that committee to serve a little turn for me!"

The country brother looked up with truthful surprise.

"For you, Elk?"

"Yes," cried the younger, striding up and down the floor with the step
of one made decisive by being put at bay; "I want you upon that
committee, not only to do me a turn but to do me a benefit; to come to
my rescue; to fulfil the expectations of many hard-working months; to
make me happy. Yes, Arthur, to make my fortune!"

Arthur MacNair followed the rapid walk and excited voice of his
brother with astonishment. His small, thin, commonplace face seemed to
develop lights and intelligences which were painful to him, the
clearer his apprehensions became. He said, in a quiet, still voice, as
if he also were interested now,

"I am afraid I am on the eve of hearing something bad, my brother. If
it must come, let it all come."

"Arthur MacNair," said Elk, his voice raised above the ordinary pitch,
and the recklessness of an officer in the ardor of battle showing in
his working face, quick talk, and rapid gestures, "you _are_ on the
eve of hearing something. In your answer lies my destiny. I told you I
was a lawyer, and had made one hundred and sixty thousand dollars with
which I was to buy my way into an attorney's firm and establish myself
in business. It was true. I have made that engagement. My talent and
energy are recognized, and the place of which I spoke is waiting for
me immediately after my marriage. The lady who is to be my bride is
divided from me by no other consideration than this--that I have not
obtained the one hundred and sixty thousand dollars."

The Congressman grew paler, and he made an effort to say "Go on," but
his voice was scarcely audible, and Elk MacNair saw that he seemed to
be suddenly sick. With self-reproach the younger brother observed all
this, but it was too late for him to falter; the time was too

"Arty," he said; "oh, my brother, the whole story must be told and the
full crisis met. I am dependent upon you for the price of my
happiness; for the hand of my wife; for the key to my fortune; for all
that makes the future auspicious and the past clear. I am not a
lawyer, as I have said, in the common sense in which, with modest
effort and goodness, you have followed out your career. I am a

"I returned from the war flushed with my success, and told on every
hand that an immediate and profound prosperity were close before me.
These politicians and speculators around the capital took me by the
hand, flattered me, and showed me where my fortune was within my own
grasp. Little by little they led me on, using my reputation and
influence to accomplish their ends; and my mode of living, my
acquaintances, my expectations, increased with my facilities, until,
chafing under the consciousness that I was working out the private
interests of others, I resolved to stake all upon one large hazard,
conclude this wayward, self-accusing life, and depart from the
purlieus of legislation. Up to the present time no stigma has been
attached to my irregularities, none have suspected that I was less
than I claimed to be--a soldier and a gentleman, betrothed to the
noblest woman in the world. But this manner of living in the end works
the destruction of habits and reputation to any who continue in it. To
be brief, I have found political life nothing but a commerce. All have
their price, and the highest sometimes sell out the cheapest. Men are
estimated here by their boldness and breadth only, and a single
successful venture of the kind I have in hand will dismiss me from
this city rich and without exposure, and I swear never again to be
seen in the lobbies of the Federal legislature. All my dependence in
this, however, is upon you. I watched your campaign in our native
region--how gallantly and how exceptionably you fought it, none knows
so well!--and I took to heart the belief that, wishing to see me
distinguished, wedded, and settled, your old scruples might give way,
and you would afford me this last, best chance. Shall I go on?"

The small, thin face of the elder brother seemed to have lost all of
its vitality; his fragile form was even more diminished; it might
almost have been paralysis which had seized him.

"Water!" he muttered. "I cannot talk."

The younger brother ran for a glass, and with a look of mingled guilt
and affection sought to support him with his arm. Arthur MacNair
feebly repelled his assistance.

"You may finish, sir," he said.

"God forgive me," cried Elk MacNair, sinking into a chair; "my
brother, I beseech you, do not think so evil of me as to suppose that
in this enterprise I would compromise your character for one minute,
and if it shall be necessary, all the fault shall be mine by open
confession. There is an old claim for postal services rendered many
years ago, which has reposed in the catacombs of one of the
departments. The claimant has long been dead, and it was purchased for
a small sum from his heirs. There are some equities about the claim;
the attestations in its favor are purely documentary, and I have so
entirely manipulated every instrumentality on the way to its passage,
judicial, legislative, and executive, that if the Committee on Ancient
Contracts should report favorably upon it at the beginning of the
session, my confederates in the House will see that it goes along, and
the department will pay it immediately. Congress will then at once
adjourn, within a day or two, for such is the usage here. With my
share of the money, which will be large, I will be a man of wealth and
able to turn my back once and for all upon this Capitol. You are to be
the chairman of the committee; the other members, as is habitual here,
will intrust the whole matter to you; a few words explanatory of this
claim will send it on its way, and the crisis of my life will have

When the younger brother had finished, he also seemed to have expended
his strength in the effort he had made, and he sat limp and
despondent. The elder brother, on the contrary, appeared to recover
his strength by a vigorous effort of the will. He stood up. He walked
straight before his brother and looked down upon him with his
penetrating blue eyes.

"Elk MacNair," he said, "tell me--by our common origin, solemnly,
truthfully, and on your honor, tell me--will this claim stand the test
of full investigation? Is it right?"

"Arthur," said the younger, feebly, "under that appeal I must speak
truthfully. The claim is irregular; perhaps it has been paid already.
There is no time for investigation. I have stocked the cards, and the
trick must be taken at once or never. You have this alternative. I can
take you off that committee, and I have a man in reversion who will
get the post and pass the claim."

The stature of Arthur MacNair seemed to expand, and he became the
positive spirit of the room.

"Not so," he said; "it shall not pass, Elk MacNair, neither by my help
nor by any other man's! You have acknowledged to me that there is no
justice in this thing. You have made me a party to a fraud. You shall
know that the only oath I came here to take is that of allegiance to
the interests of the country. No brotherhood, no sympathy, no
ambition, no pity, nothing shall be able to swerve me from my full

"What would you do, fanatic?" cried Elk MacNair.

"I will denounce that claim upon the floor of Congress, and couple
with the denunciation the story of this infamous proposal you have
made to a member of Congress."

The younger brother gave a laugh.

"What nonsense, Arthur," he said. "If you expect to find any large
class of Americans who will appreciate such heroism, exhibited at the
sacrifice of your own blood and family, you do not know your
countrymen in these days. The only men who deal in sentiment in our
time are demagogues, who never feel it. A sneer will go up from all
the circles of the capital, from all the presses of the land, at a man
who seeks, in a political age, to play the part of the elder Brutus."

"Miserable, lost, dishonored man!" said Arthur MacNair. "In the
valleys of my State, in the quiet farming districts all through the
Union, among the hard-working, the penurious, and the plain--such as
you and your class despise--there are armies of men who would rise and
march upon this capital if they appreciated the whole of the scene in
which you have figured to-day! You would steal the money of the
people that you may buy a character and a position among your
countrymen. Shame upon the man who would defend the acquisition of
such booty to wed the woman he loves."

Every word which Arthur MacNair had uttered, and most of all the last,
cut like a knife into the pride of Elk MacNair.

"I thought I was pleading with my brother," he said hoarsely, "not to
a stone. I shall say no more. I have placed myself in your power.
Remember this: if my point is not carried within three days, or if it
be balked by your interference, I will blow out my brains. I have
walked to the door of hell on the battle-field, and I can go further."

He seized his hat and hurried away like a fury. Arthur MacNair stood
motionless an instant in the middle of the floor, and then, worn out
with the intensity of the scene, his limbs gave way beneath him, and
he fell unconscious.

In a moment the hard, strong face and giant form of Jabel Blake
appeared over the threshold of the bedroom; he lifted his Congressman
and counsel in his arms and carried him grimly to a sofa.


The Honorable Perkiomen Trappe was much delighted, on the morning
subsequent to the occurrences related in our last chapter, to see
Jabel Blake walk down Pennsylvania Avenue with the pensive air of a
man whose heart had been broken. The Honorable Perkiomen supposed that
Jabel had failed to receive some drawback or other upon his
income-tax, and he rejoiced in the reverses of the close and thrifty.

But Jabel Blake was now concerned solely with the sudden and violent
rupture between the MacNair brothers. He had little acquaintance with
Elk MacNair, and no great fondness for him; but, being well informed
as to the positive, combative traits of character in Arthur MacNair,
Jabel knew very well that what his counsel had threatened to do he
would do, though his own heart-strings might be sundered.

The deepest wish in Jabel's heart, next to establishing a national
bank in Ross Valley, was to see the marriage between Kate Dunlevy and
the MacNair family brought to pass; yet such was his reverence for the
Dunlevys and so great his antagonism to the Washington Lobby that he
was half inclined to be himself the means of breaking off the match
between the daughter of his great neighbor and exemplar and the son of
his old chum and companion.

Jabel took his way to the house of the old Circuit Judge, which was
one of a row of tall brown-stone structures not far from the city
hall, and when he rang the bell a servant showed him to a library in
the second story, where the Judge was dictating certain judicial
opinions to his daughter. The two elderly men retired to an adjacent
apartment, which seemed, from its appointments and the character of
needlework and literature strewn about, to be the _boudoir_ of Miss
Dunlevy; and the Judge, who was somewhat past the prime of life,
plunged into a long story about Ross Valley and its early settlement,
speaking much of the time with his eyes closed in a sort of half
reverie, while Jabel, who occupied a seat nearer to the library, was
meantime overhearing a conversation between Kate Dunlevy and young Elk
MacNair, who had followed hard upon Jabel's heels. The old Judge
meantime, used to their voices, paused only to remark that he thought
Elk MacNair one of the strongest, most brilliant, and most promising
men in the nation, and then went on with his dissertation upon pioneer
days among the spurs of the Alleghenies. Jabel, however, who was an
attentive, inquisitive busybody, and who lived in a part of the
country where folks of quality and large pursuits were few, observed
that the two voices in the next room were lowered, and that their
key, while not so high, was yet even more startling than before.

"Kate," said Elk MacNair, "I had counted upon my brother as an assured
ally in something of the most momentous importance to me at this
juncture, before our marriage. My brother is a man of power, but of
narrow views, and I have unconsciously aroused his animosity. He is
not to be appeased. Nothing can divert him from his purpose.

"It can be nothing, if Arthur is the arbiter and your happiness the
subject," said Miss Dunlevy.

"It is a point of honor differently taken by two men," said Elk
MacNair; "and the issue is a matter of character. It is a matter of
fortune besides, and if neither relents both will suffer."

These words were attended with some emotion which smote the rough
feelings of Jabel Blake, and he was a witness of some subsidiary
endearments, besides, which softened his indignation against the young
officer. So he followed Elk MacNair from the house and accosted him
upon the street.

"General," he said, "I claim the privilege of a guardian over you
boys--over your brother in particular, who is a true man and an
obstinate one. I know the matter of your difference. If you do not
yield, Arthur MacNair will keep his word! You will be exposed on the
floor of Congress, exactly as he promised, and your engagement with
Kitty Dunlevy broken forever."

"Jabel Blake," answered the soldier, "I know just what I am about. I
told my brother that I would blow my own head off if he sacrificed me
for a sentiment. And just that I mean to do."

"I know the devil in the MacNair blood," said Jabel Blake; "but you
are playing a false part and Arthur a true one. He fought his campaign
against the corruptions and chicanery of power, and he will trample
you out like a snake."

"He thinks he's correcting a boy," said Elk MacNair; "he shall find me
a soldier."

"And you will find him a Christian soldier, truer to his allegiance
than to rob his country!"

"Pshaw!" laughed Elk MacNair; "a skinflint who has raked up fortune
with his fingers, ground down his laborers, pinched his soul, and
stooped his stature for money, has no right to be my chaplain, Jabel
Blake! You have grown rich like a scavenger. What matter if I bring
down fortune with my rifle, though the American eagle be the bird. I
would spare my body some of the dirty crawling you have done to get
your bank!"

"Base boy!" cried Jabel Blake, with more contempt than anger; "I will
live to teach you that a life of thrift and honest toil is above your
power to insult it. You can neither repel me nor break your brother's
heart. The time will come when you will weep to deserve the respect
you have lost from these gray hairs."

He passed away with his old, heavy, deliberate gait, and left the
young man almost repentant.


The galleries and floors of the House of Representatives were crowded,
as was usual upon early working days of the session. Among the members
in a retired seat his red shock of hair, clerical dress, and thin,
worn, commonplace, freckled face denoted the new member from the
Scotch district of Pennsylvania. The gay daughter of the Honorable
Perkiomen Trappe, picking him out from the diplomatic gallery by the
aid of her opera-glass, remarked that she mourned for her country when
Europe could behold such a specimen of homespun among American

"And what's more, pet," said the Honorable Perkiomen, "he's a bin put
on a fat committee. He has the cheer in the room on Ancient Contracts,
and your unfortnit father is only a member under him. I think that
staving cavalry brother of his'n, Elk MacNair, fixed his feed for

They turned to look at Elk MacNair, sitting in the gallery near by
with the venerable Judge and the Judge's daughter. His dark goatee,
eyes, and hair, were set in a face unusually pale and intense, and his
manly and refined worldly bearing suited his associations. Kate
Dunlevy, with her charms of bloom, repose, and stateliness, looked
like the wife of such a public man.

"Elk," said she, "you do not seem to be at ease to-day. You are pale
and nervous, and you have stared down there at your brother's seat
till people are taking notice of you."

"I am suffering a little, Kitty; that is all. My case comes up within
five minutes, and I might as well blow my head off if it shall stick

His eyes seemed to flame out with a reckless light as he said this.

"Arthur has a sick look as well," said Kate. "This public life is too
exciting for him. See how nervously he sips that glass of water."

"Sick!" exclaimed Elk MacNair, with a voice of bitterness, yet with a
melancholy glance of admiration in the direction of the Congressman;
"he is more dangerous than sick. His will is sublime, Kate; nothing
can soften it, not even pity."

The committees were now being called by the Speaker, and chairman
after chairman rose to make his report. As the list diminished more
and more, and the Committee upon Ancient Contracts approached its
turn, there were no two such livid, deathly faces in all the crowded
house as these two brothers wore. Elk MacNair's had a settled
ferocity. The youthfulness and comely moods were gone from it, and the
burnt-out countenance of a man of the world looked dead and ashen
above the exhausted reservoirs of a diseased mind. Nothing was left
but the last chance before despair, and apprehensive of the failure of
this hope also, his gloved hand, resting upon a pocket hidden at his
hip, sought support from the hilt of a pistol secreted there. Was
_this_ the meaning of the sullen and ghastly determination glaring
from his eyes? Yes, love and death were almost mated; and so in every
busy Congress do the spectres of temptation and ill-omen lurk in wait.

The country brother on the floor showed also his tenacious purpose in
his compressed lips, straight, expanded breast and shoulders, and
clear and direct but grave look. No extremity of occasion could make a
heroic figure of him, but in his plain face was the beauty of moral
courage. He rose to his feet when the Speaker cried:

"Committee on Ancient Contracts is next in order. The gentleman from

The people in the galleries were not disappointed that such a homely
man should have no voice nor grace, and that he spoke only with the
gravest effort.

"The gentleman's voice is inaudible to the chair," said the Speaker.

But Elk MacNair had heard it from where he sat. He had distinguished
the fitful words:

"The committee reports against the ---- claim for postal services,
desires that it do not pass, and the chairman wishes to make a
personal explanation relative to the claim."

"Kitty," said Elk MacNair, in a coarse whisper, "my brother has broken
my heart!"

"Stay!" said Miss Dunlevy; "he staggers in his seat as if he were
about to fall. A page has run to him with a letter. He reads it. Elk,
for Heaven's sake, go to his help! He is dying!"

There was a rush of members about the new chairman of committee.
Confusion reigned upon the floor of Congress. The lobby brother had
apprehended it all. He cleared the gallery at a run, passed a familiar
doorkeeper like a dart, and raised his senior to his breast.

"Arty," he whispered, "may Heaven forgive me! I repent of my folly and
wickedness, and entreat you to speak to me!"

"Heaven has forgiven you, Elk MacNair!" muttered the spent
Congressman. "Your father's friend has spared your fame and my
feelings at the expense of his fortune. It has taken the bank of Jabel
Blake--the dream of his life--to save you from a dishonored name, and
to give you a wife too worthy for you!"

He put a piece of paper in the lobbyist's hands. It said:

     "Arthur, I have given you the last gift in my power--a
     costly and a dear one--to keep your brother from disgrace,
     and to save you both remorse. I have bought the ---- claim,
     and destroyed it, but Ross Valley has lost the bank.

                                         "JABEL BLAKE."


On the terrace of the Capitol, while all this was occurring, a gaunt,
gigantic, aged figure might have been seen, looking away into the city
basking in the plain at his feet, with almost the bitterness of
prophecy. He carried an old worn carpet-bag, and a railroad ticket
appeared in his hat-band. It was Jabel Blake, shaking the dust of the
capital city from his feet!

To him the soft and purple panorama brought no emotions, as pride of
country or æsthetic associations; and even the bracing savor of the
gale upon the eminence seemed laden, to his hard regard, with the
corruptions and excesses of a debauched government and a rank society.
The river, to him, was but the fair sewer to this sculptured
sepulchre. The lambent amphitheatre of the inclosing ridges was like
the wall of a jail which he longed to cross and return no more. He saw
the dark granite form of the Treasury Department, and groaned like one
whose heart was broken there. The bank of Ross Valley was never to be!

Jabel thought in one instant of the inquiries which should be
addressed to him on his return, the prying curiosity of the hamlet,
the strictures of his neighbors and laborers, the exultation of his
enemies, the lost chance of his cherished village to become the mart
of its locality and dispense from its exchequer enterprise and aid to
farms and mines and mills.

"The good God may make it up to my children some day," he said; "but
the bank is never to be in the life of old Jabel Blake!"

So Jabel went home and met with all obtuseness the flying rumors of
the country. His worst enemies said that he had fallen from grace
while in Washington, and "bucked" with all his bonds against a faro
bank. His best friends obtained no explanation of his losses. He kept
his counsel, grew even sterner and thriftier than he had ever been,
and only at the Presbyterian church, where he prayed in public
frequently at the evening meetings, were glimpses afforded of his
recollections of Washington by the resonant appeals he made that the
money-changers might be lashed out of the temples there, and
desolation wrought upon them that sold doves.

There was no bank at Ross Valley, but people began to say that old
Jabel Blake had particles of gold in the flinty composition of his
life, and that his trip to Washington had made him gentler and wider
in his charities. He was attentive to young children. He encouraged
young lovers. He lifted many errant people to their feet, and started
them on their way to a braver life of sacrifice. And fortune smiled
upon him as never before. His mills went day and night, stopping never
except on Sabbaths. The ground seemed to give forth iron and lime
wherever he dug for it. The town became the thriftiest settlement in
the Allegheny valleys, and Jabel Blake was the earliest riser and the
hardest delver in the State.

It happened at the end of two years that rheumatism and an
overstrained old age brought Jabel Blake to bed, and a flood, passing
down the valley, aroused him, despite advice, to his old indomitable
leadership against its ravages. He returned to his rest never to
arise; for now a fever laid hold upon the old captain, and he talked
in his delirium of Judge Dunlevy and his bank, and he was attended all
the while by Arthur MacNair.

One night, in a little spell of relief, Jabel Blake opened his eyes
and said,

"Arty, I dreamed old Jabel Blake was in heaven, and that he had
founded a bank there!"

"Jabel," said the young Congressman, "you must have some treasure laid
up there, old friend. And not only in heaven, but in this world also.
Look on this happy family redeemed by your sacrifice!"

Jabel Blake opened his eyes wider, and they fell upon Judge Dunlevy.

"This is a great honor," he said; "Ross Valley brings her great
citizen back."

"No!" cried the Judge, "it is you, Jabel, who have brought us all to
your bedside to do ourselves honor. Here are Elk MacNair and my
daughter, who owe all their fortune to your fatherly kindness, and who
have come to repay you the uttermost farthing. Providence has
appreciated your sacrifice. They bring for your blessing, my grandson,
and the name they have given him is Jabel Blake."

"Jabel," said General MacNair, "take with our full hearts this money.
It has been honestly earned with the capital of your bank. We return
it that you may fulfil the dream of your life!"

Jabel Blake took the money, and a smile overspread his face. His hard
lineaments were soft and fatherly now, and their tears attested how
well he was esteemed. He drew Elk MacNair's ear to his lips, and said
feebly, and with his latest articulate breath,

"General, you owe me two years' interest!"

They laid Jabel Blake away by his fathers, and on the day of the
funeral Ross Valley was crowded like a shrine.


    Brave river in the mountains bred,
      And broadening on thy way,
    So stately that thy stretches seem
      The bosom of the bay!
    Thy growth is like the nation's life,
      Through which thy current flows--
    Already past the cataracts
      And widening to repose.

    Thy springs are at the Fairfax stone,
      Thy great arms northward course,
    They join and break the mountain bars
      With ever rallying force;
    But in thy nature is such peace,
      The beaten mountains yield,
    And lie their riven battlements
      Within thy silver shield.

    Through battle-fields thy runnels wind,
      In fame thy ferries shine;
    Thy ripples lave the ancient stones
      On Freedom's boundary line;
    Where every slave the border crossed,
      A living host repass'd,
    And of the sentries of thy fords,
      John Brown shall be the last!

    Yet, O Potomac! of thy peace
      Somewhat let faction feel,
    And Northern Pilgrims patient hear
      Of Mosby and MacNeill.
    The long trees bloom where Stuart cross'd,
      And weep where Ashby bled,
    And every echo in thy hills
      Seems Stonewall Jackson's tread.

    The love we bore in other days
      No difference can bar,
    And truce was kept at Vernon's grave
      However rolled the war.
    Like thee, oh river! human states
      By many a rapid rage,
    Before they reach the deeper tides
      And glass the perfect age.

    Brief is the span since Calvert's huts
      Were still the Indian's sport,
    And Braddock's columns stumbled on
      The borderer Cresap's fort,
    Till now the tinted hills grow fond
      Around yon marble height,
    Where Freedom calmly rules a realm
      That tires her eagle's flight.

    And still the wild deer sip thy springs,
      The wild duck haunt thy coves,
    And all the year the fisher fleets
      Bask o'er thine oyster groves;
    The strange new bass thy trout pursue.
      And where the herring spawn,
    The blue sky opens to let through
      Thine own majestic swan.

    Haste, Nature! Raze yon shiftless halls,
      Where pride penurious bides,
    The while the richness of the hills
      Runs off to choke the tides;
    Where every negro cabin stood
      A freeman's hearthside warm,
    And broad estates of bramble wood
      Expunge in many a farm!

    Fill and revive these fair arcades,
      O race to Freedom born!
    The tinkling herds that roam the glades,
      The barge's mellow horn,
    The lonesome sails that come and go
      Repeat the wish again:
    The ardent river yearns to know
      Not memories, but MEN!


The din of the day is quiet now, and the street is deserted. The last
bacchanal reeled homeward an hour ago. The most belated cabman has
passed out of hearing. The one poor wretch who comes nightly to the
water-side has closed her complaint; I saw her shawl float over the
parapet as she flung her lean arms against the sky and went down with
a scream. Here, in the busiest spot of the mightiest city, there is no
human creature abroad; but footsteps are yet ringing on the
desolateness. They are heard only by me. There are two of them; the
first light, timorous, musical; the other harsh and heavy, as if shod
with steel. I recognize them with a thrill; for they have haunted me
many years, and they are speaking to me now. The one is soothing and
pleading, and it implores me to write; but the second is like the
striking of a revengeful knell. "Confession and Pardon," says the one;
"Horror and Remorse," echoes the other. They tinkle and toll thus
every midnight, when my hour of penance arrives and I have tried to
register my story. It is almost finished now. Let me read the pages
softly to myself:

"My life has been a long career of suffering. The elements, whose
changes and combinations contribute to the pleasure of my species,
have arrayed themselves against me. I am fashioned so delicately that
the every-day bustle of the world provokes exquisite and incessant
pain. Embodied like my fellows, my nerves are yet sensitive beyond
girlishness, and my organs of sight, smell, and hearing are
marvellously acute. The inodorous elements are painfully odorous to
me. I can hear the subtlest processes in nature, and the densest
darkness is radiant with mysterious lights. My childhood was a
protracted horror, and the noises of a great city in which I lived
shattered and well-nigh crazed me. In the dead calms I shuddered at
the howling of winds. I fancied that I could detect the gliding
revolution of the earth, and hear the march of the moon in her
attendant orbit.

"My parents loved me tenderly, and, failing to soothe or conciliate
me, they removed from the busy city to a secluded villa in the
suburbs. Those labors which necessitated abrupt or prolonged sound
were performed outside our grounds. The domestics were enjoined to
conduct their operations with the utmost quietude. Carriages never
came to the threshold, but stopped at the lodge; the drives were
strewn with bark to drown the rattle of wheels; familiar fowls and
beasts were excluded; the pines were cut down, though they had moaned
for half a century; the angles of the house were rounded, that the
wind might not scream and sigh of midnight, and the flapping of a
shutter would have warranted the dismissal of the servants. Thick
carpets covered the floors. My apartments lay in a remote wing, and
were surrounded with double walls, filled with wool, to deaden
communication. Goodly books were provided, but none which could arouse
fears or passions. Fiery romances were prohibited, and histories of
turmoil and war, with theology and its mournful revelations, and
medicine, which revived the bitter story of my organism. My library
was stocked with dreamy and diverting compositions--old Walton, the
pensive angler; the vagaries of ancient Burton, and the placid
essayists of the Addisonian day. Of poets I had Cowper and Wordsworth,
who loved quiet life and were the chroniclers of domestic men and
manners. Pictures of shadowy studios and calm lakes, unfrequented
coverts and sleepy wayside inns, covered my wall. The tints of
tapestry, panel, and furniture were subdued, and the sunshine which
mellowed a stained window was softened by an ingenious arrangement of
shades and refractors. Art opposed her quaintest contrivances against
the intense and violent moods of Nature, and my retirement was secure
from the inroads of all except my careful guardians.

"But I was still unhappy, and the prey of vivid fancies. This privacy
suggested the great world without, where men were wrestling with
dangers. I imagined ships upon stormy seas, and whirlwinds around
mountain-homes; the chaos of cities, the rout of armies, dim arctic
solitudes, where the icebergs tumbled apart and the frozen seas split
asunder. They had banished painful occurrences, but the sensitive
organism could not be destroyed, and I bore up until almost insane,
struggling to be cheerful when stunned and dazzled. At last, when my
mother stole into my room one day--it was October, I think, for I
could hear the tiniest leaves dropping to the grass far below--I laid
my head wearily in her lap and covered my ears with my hands. My eyes
were filled with tears.

"'My dear mother, I cannot bear this life. I suffer as of old, though
there be not a mote across the sun nor a breath in the air. If my mind
could be led from these consciousnesses, I might be calm.'

"'Luke,' said my mother, 'you need a companion.'

"The thought was a new one, and so thrilled me.

"'No, mother,' I replied; 'strong, healthy beings could not exist thus

"'For less than money,' she responded, 'they have done more.'

"'We should not agree,' I said; 'I would be peevish and he would
despise me.'

"'Your companion must be a woman, my son.'

"A succession of short chills passed through every nerve, and a
moment's faintness possessed me.

"'It must not be,' I pleaded; 'a restless, chatting, plotting woman
would be worse than all.'

"My mother marked my rising agitation and glided away.

"'Whatever can relieve you, dear Luke,' she said, 'your father shall

"I now fancied that they believed me mad, and that a keeper was to be
introduced to me, under the guise of a companion. I formed many mental
portraits of this fierce person, and they kept me awake through the
long watches. I even meditated escape, and unclosed my casement with
that design, but the sunlight, the bird songs, and the zephyrs rushed
into my window and staggered me like so many sentinels. One day I
slept fitfully, and dreamed that I was poor and orphaned, with the
alternatives of death or work before me. I had wandered to a village
and thrown myself beneath some elms, with a horrible despair sealing
my eyelids. Suddenly the grass was stirred by some human footfalls,
and two soft voices were speaking close beside me.

"'It is strange,' said the first voice; 'he is pale and delicate, but
with no evidences of heavier afflictions.'

"'You do not know him,' murmured the other; 'wait and see!'

"A face bent down to mine, and the lips of a woman touched my cheek. I
started in my sleep, caught my breath gaspingly, and quivered like an

"'This is indeed terrible,' said the soft voice compassionately; 'but
do not despair. It cannot be nature. It must be habit, or bashfulness,
or the effect of some childish and forgotten fright. Cheer up, and

"'Be kind to him, Heraine,' resumed the other; 'you are my last resort,
and becoming his companion you become my child. Do not vex, do not excite
him. Be yourself--always calm, gentle, and affectionate--and the kindness
which you show my boy may God return to you in mercy and blessing!'

"I unclosed my eyes; the scene was resolved to my quiet library.
Something glided through the door, but a form from the other side
flung a shadow across my face. A premonition of the keeper thrilled me
a moment, but I turned slowly at length and looked into the intruder's

"A woman, or rather a girl with a woman's face, serene and placid, as
if never ruffled by care or passion, sat between me and the window,
and the gloomy light softened her calm countenance. As I looked up her
lashes fell, and her blue eyes were bent fixedly upon the floor. She
seemed like one of my sedate portraits, which had come down from its
case. She waited, apparently, for some sign of recognition, or until
my surprise should have passed away, and did not move while I ran her
over with keen curiosity. She was, probably, of my own age, though her
self-possession might have stamped her as much older; but the bloom of
her cheek and her bosom just ripening were indices of a girl's year's.
She raised her eyes at length and bade me good afternoon in a voice
which reminded me of the faintest lullaby. The quiet tone was seconded
by an assuring glance, and directly we were conversing without
restraint, as if friends of years rather than acquaintances of an

"Heraine was the impersonation of composure. The neutral tint of dress
corresponded with the smooth tresses of her brown hair. Her touch was
magnetic, and petulancy vanished at her smile as at a charm. Her
intelligence was, doubtless, the secret of her power. She divined my
moods without inquiry, and cheered them without effort. She led me out
of the unhealthy atmosphere engendered by my sensitiveness, and I
sometimes forgot my disability for hours. She was as good as she was
capable, and as amiable as she was resolute. We fraternized
immediately, and I felt all the newness of a regenerated life. My
temperament was fitful as of yore, but the gloomy spectres vanished;
and my attention being weaned from the slighter occurrences of
nature, I was no longer racked by their tremors and jars. The soft
face of Heraine seemed to hush all chaos, and when she smiled I
thought that the very earth had ceased to roll. When her large liquid
eyes were fully opened upon me, I seemed to be looking into the hungry
blue of the sky, and carried aloft by the look beyond the influence of
matter. For the moment my nerves grew numb, the compass of my senses
narrowed to her wondrous face, and the fetters which bound me to it
were forged of gold.

"The months went by like the stars, which wheel eternally, but seem
motionless as we watch them. Sometimes we read aloud, but our voices
were low and lulling, as if quieter than silence. Then we talked of my
calm paintings, shadowing deeper lonelinesses in them. But it was my
highest rapture to sit in stillness for hours while Heraine, cushioned
at my feet, made cunning embroideries, like some facile poet whose
fingers were dropping rhymes.

"I remarked that our conversations were progressive. My companion led
me gradually into forbidden themes, as if to strengthen and embolden
me. We went forth, in fancy, from our shadowy chamber, through deep
groves, into twilights, beneath soft skies, even into the glare of the
sun, and, at last, among the storms and the seas. I may have quivered,
but I was not shocked; for the wrack and roar of the universe were
drowned in the quietness of her voice. Then we walked abroad a little
way, and, though pained, I endured; for she did not abuse these
successes. She had travelled in far countries, and often read me
friendly letters which attested how well the world esteemed her.
Sometimes her acquaintances came to the house, but never to my room;
and once or twice she was absent a whole day, when my nervousness
returned. There was one correspondent whose missives were never read
to me--a fine, bold hand, which at length became familiar. Their
receipt pleased her, I thought, and once I ventured to say,

"'Heraine, you have a pleasant letter there.'

"She only blushed very much, and all her quietness was gone for a

"As the months expanded into years, a new feeling engendered from our
intimacy. I did not comprehend it at first. It crept upon me like the
unfolding of a new sense, or the gradual realizing of the earliest
profound thought. An unexpected event gave it recognition.

"The boldly-indorsed letters came twice a month at first, afterward
four times, and finally twice, thrice, and even five times a week.
Heraine was quick and flushed. She passed but two or three hours daily
in my apartment, and substituted for the embroidery a dress of such
bright hues that it dazzled my eyes. One day she took her accustomed
seat, with a face subdued to sadness and an irresolute manner.

"'Luke,' she said, after a long pause, 'we have passed many days
pleasantly together?'

"She did not wait for me to speak, though I thrilled and turned deadly

"'And because so pleasantly, I contemplate my farewell with regret.'

"'Your farewell, Heraine?'

"'Yes,' she said firmly; 'to-day--this afternoon--this hour--I bid
adieu to Glengoyle!'

"I fell forward in my seat, forcing down my heart, which sobbed and
swelled, and the whole world rang, flared, and burst into violence. If
the seas had opened their fountains and the crust of the globe crushed
up, there would have been no greater chaos. But in my faintness and
agony I caught the blue eye which had soothed and melted me so often,
and, clasping my hands, I fell at her knees and said,

"'Heraine, I love you!'

"It was her time to tremble now, and I interpreted the pallor of her
cheek as a signal of hope.

"'I know that I love you,' I said; 'if the earth and the stars were to
be blotted out, and you remain, I should not miss them. You are my
universe. Without you there is no creation, and the elements are at
war. If you leave me, you have left only a bright space in a wretched
eternity. No voice but yours can say "peace" to me. Be merciful and

"She was moved with my appeal, and tears came to her eyes.

"'I did not know that it had come to this,' she said. Then her
composure returned, and she raised me with a smile.

"'If you would win any woman,' she said meaningly, 'you must first be
a man. You are not a man, Luke. You are a child! You have shut the
sunlight from you, and the trill of a thrush pierces you like an
arrow. Would you cage your wife in the gloominess of this sepulchre?
Would you hush her songs, and tremble beneath her caresses, and die in
the delights of her love? Go! Open the window of this vault! Mingle
with the crowds of cities! Ascend into the mountains! Cross the seas!
Become worthy of my affection, and then entreat me again!'

"She had shown me the abject thing I was. Her conditions were harder
than death; but the hope she had spoken was like a glimpse of Heaven,
and I answered,

"'Heraine, I will do it!'

"In a month I set out for my travels. An easy coach conveyed me to
London, and the third day I lay sick in Paris. Sore of body and brain,
strained in nerve and stunned in sense, I persisted in my resolve, and
was whirled, more dead than alive, across the Continent to Berlin. In
the period of three months I had traversed all the leading kingdoms
and pushed my purpose to the sandy banks of the Nile. Every moment in
this journey was an infinity of torture; but in the bitterest pangs I
remembered the divine consummation, and kept on. My infirmities were
increased rather than diminished. In the deepest thunder I could hear
the delving of the beetle; and though the whole vault blazed with
electric light, I could see the twinkle of the glow-worm. But among
the multitude of noises which haunted me, the most persistent were the
footfalls of men. There were pauses in the lives of all other beings.
The weasel and the hyena rested sometimes, and I could avoid their
haunts, but men were forever alert and ubiquitous. I heard them in
abysses, upon peaks, and in wildernesses. They trod upon my nerves;
they crushed sleep from my soul. I closed my ears in vain; I fled
without refuge; I prayed without avail. The patter of little children,
the footfall of the maiden, the elastic pace of the youth, the racking
limp of the cripple, the veteran hobbling upon his wooden stump, the
confused tread of crowds, the steady tramp of soldiers--these tortured
me by daylight, and I kept penance at midnight with the going of
outcasts and vagrants.

"I learned to classify these footfalls. My sensations of them were so
keen that my memory retained them. I recognized individuals, not by
their faces but by their feet. A solitary tourist met me among the
ruins of Luxor; I knew his tread, though months had elapsed, among the
thousands on London Bridge. A gypsy family, whom I passed on the
Spanish sierras, went under my window in Paris, and I missed the feet
of the lad who had been hanged. Ten thieves were marched to the
pillory in Kiev; I counted the paces of the four who escaped, from a
closed diligence on the Simplon. I lost not one among the millions of
footfalls. But there were two which I distinguished every where. When
I pursued, they retreated; when I fled, they followed me. They were
like two echoes in different keys; and one of them I loved, the other
I hated. The first was soft, tinkling, harmonious, like a memory
rather than a sound; the other was firm, vigorous, and vehement, and
it kept time with the soft footstep, as if to drown it to my ears.
When I was fagged and wretched, the light footfall approached me; but
when, inspirited, I rose to behold its owner, it died away in the
thunder of its companion tread.

"At last I embarked for America, and when the land disappeared I said
to myself, 'At sea, at least, no footfalls can follow.' But one night,
when the clangor of the screw drove me upon deck, I heard, far astern,
through the deep fog, the sound of two haunting feet. Next morning a
swifter steamer overtook us. The waves revelled between, and the winds
were high, but above the bellow of our engines and the elements, those
thrilling footfalls rang out. I caught a glimpse of a familiar
something, as the rival craft went by, and reeled and fell upon the

"I found New York the noisiest city in the world, and felt that a
week's tenure would drive me mad. A fire occurred in Broadway the
night of my arrival, and the din of the mobs which ran to its relief
was greater than all the combined clamors of Europe. So I resorted to
a beautiful village called Wyoming, in the heart of the Susquehanna
mountains, and passed the month of September in comparative quiet. If
any place in the world is shut in from brawls and storms, it is this
historic valley. Its reminiscences were sad and painful to me, but its
scenes were like soft dreams.

"During a part of my tenure in the village I missed my shadowy
attendants; but when, one day, I ascended to Prospect Rock, I heard
amid the hum of farms and mines and mills, those same audible
repetitions floating up the sides of the mountain. The valley grew dim
upon my sight, and I hastened nervously to my cottage. Thenceforward I
seldom lost them. When I penetrated the wild glen of the Lackawanna,
or climbed the Umbrella Tree, or ventured into the Wolf's Den, or sat
upon Queen Esther's Rock, or sailed upon Harvey's Lake, they followed
me, the one lulling, the other maddening--invisible but omnipresent
types of the good and the evil which forever hover in the air.

"One day I ventured to Falling Waters, a reservoir which is
precipitated from a cliff, called Campbell's Ridge, into a gorge of
the Shawnee Mountains. The deafening roar of the cataract would be
almost deathly to me; but, strengthened by the promise of Heraine, I
determined to add this achievement to the long list of inflictions
endured for her sake.

"I made the ascent on foot, and could see, from the base of the ridge,
the skein of foam shining through the pines in its everlasting flight
down the rocks. I became accustomed to the sound as I gradually
approached, and mused, with gladness, of an early return to England.
Heraine would acknowledge my vindication. Suffering more anguish from
a sunbeam or a song than others from the knout or the rack, I had yet
run the gauntlet of the intensest horrors, cheered by the certainty of
her regard. She would confess her error. We should shut out the world
again from our shadowy home at Glengoyle, and go down together, hand
in hand, to a deeper stillness. As I mused thus I heard the haunting
footfalls again, going up the mountain before me. To my delight, their
attendant demon was inaudible, and I pursued them rapturously. The
rush of waters grew louder. They had moaned before; they shrieked and
screamed now, as if in the agony of their suicidal leap. But, clear
and musical, above the hell of sound rang the tinkling feet which had
led me around the globe.

"I called aloud. I quickened my pace. I could see only in glimpses
through my tears; but along the steep sinuosities of the path
something fluttered and vanished, and fluttered again--I recognized

"I knew now the fidelity of her affection. She had followed my invalid
wanderings, to be near me in want and prostration. I could have knelt
in the aisle of the dim woods, with God's choir of waters pealing
before me, to weep my gratitude. But as the figure of Heraine
disappeared above, those other abhorred footfalls rang keenly below.
Deep, rapid, and elastic, they were sonorously defined above the clash
of the cataract. I fled, with my hands upon my ears.

"On and on! winding among boles, creeping beneath branches, climbing
ledges, vaulting over fissures and chasms, I reached the open plain at
last, and halted unnerved upon the brink of the abyss.

"The glory of the prospect filled me with exquisite pain. A mist,
arched by a delicate rainbow, rose from the tumbling flood, and the
sunny valley was visible, at intervals, beyond it, inclosed by blue
mountains and intersected by the pale, ribbon-like Susquehanna. It was
my fate to endure, not to enjoy; but at this moment the cataract was
forgotten in a deeper torment; the boughs opened, the sky split with
the shock of feet, and a man bounded from the wood.

"He was tall, handsome, and athletic, and his ruddy cheeks were
flushed with exercise. He made a trumpet of his hands, and hallooed,
long and clear,


"Then he whistled through his fist till the rocks and water rang.

"'Where the deuce is the dear girl?' he said, and his eyes fell upon

"A terrible hatred rose in my heart against this man. It was the first
great passion I had nurtured, and had received no other provocation
than the empty sounds of his footfalls. But antipathies are not
accidental merely; they are organic; and my quick sense took alarm
even from his tread. One's character may be defined in his gait, but I
knew from the tramp of this person that his nature was averse to mine.
Why had he followed my affianced across the seas? Why had his crashing
drowned the music of her steps? Why had he uttered her name with an
endearment? Why had he been retained at her side, and I sent alone and
wretched before? My wrists knotted nervously as these accusations took
shape, and my blood became gall.

"'I beg pardon,' he said curtly; 'but are you the young man we are
looking for?'

"I asked through my teeth whom he designated in the term '_we_.'

"'Heraine, of course,' he replied; 'give me your hand! We have
followed our little invalid--that's what we call you--over many a
league, and may make his acquaintance at last. Ralph Clendenning, at
your service!'

"I shrank menacingly from him, and counted the dull throbs of my

"'What! timid!' he said; 'and with so old a friend? I never met you,
indeed, but then I have talked of you so often that you have grown to
be quite a brother.'

"I saw that he was frank and winning, and hated him the more.

"'Upon my word,' he added, 'there was none whom I had resolved in my
mind to love so well, for the sake of Heraine.'

"A cry escaped me, so bitter that it seemed a howl, and I clenched my

"He still followed me along the very edge of the cliff, extending his
hand. A horrible impulse rushed upon me, and a thought darker than
jealousy caught it up. I hurled myself against him. He staggered on
the brink of the abyss, and went down with a sharp, half-stifled

"My eyes followed the dead weight, as it rolled from ledge to ledge,
accelerated each instant by the force of the cataract. A world, tossed
out of gravity and crashing among the planets, could not have been
more awfully distinct. Down--down--down--a formless mass of fibre and
bone, the mist seemed to buoy it up when it reached the deepmost
cascade, and as it disappeared through the tops of the pines I heard
the coming of footfalls.

"Mine was a soul in torment, listening to music in heaven. I stood,
stiff and numb in horror, staring into the gulf. The roar of the
cataract was smothered to a babble. The rainbow vibrated tremulously
to the dropping harmonies. I saw the familiar shadow as it gided to
my feet. A soft hand thrilled me with its touch, and the old voice

"'Dear Luke, I am Heraine, come back.'

"I could not stir. My eyes were forged to the abyss.

"'Why do you glare so wildly?' she said. 'Come! you have been brave,
and must not fail now. Have you no kind greeting for Heraine?'

"Down in the abyss, swaying and rocking upon the pine bough, with the
frank smile as when I murdered him, I saw my victim in fancy.

"'Speak, Luke,' she repeated. 'I have a dear friend here; he has made
the long pilgrimage with me, fondly anticipating this meeting. You
will know him to-day, and I am sure you will love him.'

"Still surging upon mist and spray and bough, with the halo of the
rainbow shimmering above it, the noble face turned upward forgivingly.

"'We have planned for your happiness, dear friend. Compared to the
retreat we have fashioned for you, Glengoyle is a Babel. But you are
ill, Luke; What terrible allurement lies in the waterfall? Come away
from the brink! Ralph! Ralph!'

"She called in clear tones. The woods and waters answered back.

"'He is there,' I stammered; 'down--deep--dead--do you see him?--how
he smiles and surges on the tufts of the pines! I--thrust him over--in
rage--even as he gave me his hand--I slew him!'

"'Merciful God!' she whispered in horror; 'he was my husband!'

"The rainbow dissolved; the waterfall deluged the valley; the
mountains were covered with waves; the skies grew pitchy dark; I saw
nothing more.

       *       *       *       *       *

"My sensations upon waking were those of a diver who has risen from
the tranquil depths to the surface. Hubbub recommenced; horror
returned. My hair was shaven close to my skull; my head ached
dismally; I moved my hand with an effort, and my eyelids were so weak
that I could not unseal them for a time.

"I was lying in my old chamber at Glengoyle, and Heraine was sitting
at my bedside. Her garments were sable, her brown hair thin, her face
placid, as of yore, but marked by deep-seated grief, and the magnetism
of will and courage was gone from it. To the eye she was the same; to
the mind, a weak and broken thing. Crime had changed both our natures;
she had been tutor and governess before, and I the passive, submissive
creature; but sin had made me bold, and sorrow worn her to a woman.

"'Luke,' she said, in the same lullaby tone, 'do you know me? do you
recognize the place? are you still weak?'

"'Heraine,' said I, sternly, 'do not the wrongs we have done each
other forbid this intimacy?'

"'Oh, Luke!' she replied, 'let us not uncover the past. I have buried
your sin with its victim, and watched you through weary months, and
prayed God to pardon you.'

"'Can God pardon your sin to me, Heraine?'

"'I trust so, Luke,' she said feebly, 'if ever in my life I treasured
you a hard thought or did you any injury.'

"'Is it no injury,' I said, 'to have lured me by a false promise from
my quiet home? I have endured the torture of cities, seas, suns, and
storms. Your pledge was my spur and talisman through all. But you had
cheated me with a lie. You were another's already. For you I have
stained my hands with blood and shut heaven against my soul!'

"'As I have an account to Settle, Luke,' she pleaded, 'I meant your
happiness only. To have told you that I was wedded would have pained
you. I thought to familiarize you with scenes and sounds, by making my
regard an incentive to adventure. It was your mother's plan. I yielded
to the deception, and believed it good."

"'It was a wicked falsehood,' I said; 'you knew the weakness of my
nature--that my sensitiveness was a disease--that to cross me was to
kill. You have made both of us wretched forever.'

"My cruelty was murdering her; her face grew deathly in its pallor,
and she pressed her hands upon her heart.

"'Let the dead man lie between us,' I proceeded; 'it is not seemly for
you to be my friend; and to me you are an ever-present accusation. We
must not see each other!'

"'Oh, Luke!' she cried, falling upon her knees imploringly; 'I am a
bruised thing, a-weary of the world. This silence and darkness are
endeared to me. Do not send me away!'

"'You agitate me,' I said; 'let us do our penance, each in loneliness.
There was a time when our sorrows were mutual; it is past; we have
only to say farewell.'

"I covered my face with my hands; she touched my brow with her lips,
and when the door had closed upon her sobbing I heard her footfalls
making mournful music on the stairs. They rang upon the lawn, then
pattered down the drive; they passed desolately out of the gate, they
were lost on the highway, and then the world became blank again.

       *       *       *       *       *

"'Luke,' said my mother timidly, 'Mrs.

"'I know it,' said I quietly.

"She seemed surprised, and interrogated me with her eyes.

"'She died at twilight yesterday,' I stated; 'as the first candles
were lit in the lodge and the earliest star appeared--I heard her

"'At that time she passed away,' sobbed my mother. 'Oh, Luke! you were
cruel to the poor girl. Her parting prayer was made for you. To the
last you stood between Heraine and heaven.'

"'At that time, mother, I was sitting at my window. Tears and thrills
haunted me during the afternoon, and I was frightened in the silence
and darkness. And I heard Heraine's footsteps come up the road, pass
the lodge, ascend the stairs, and cross my threshold. They were like
echoes rather than sounds--hollow and ghostly; and mingled with them
were the deeper footfalls of my other spectre, her husband.'

"I could not inhabit my chamber now. These awful sounds drove me into
the open world, where I hoped to lose them in the tread of multitudes.
I wandered to the old church on the day of the funeral, and looked
upon the bier with dry and burning eyes. The pastor read of the holy
Jerusalem, and said that her pure feet were walking the golden
streets. But in the hushes of the sobbing I heard them close beside
me, and while children were strewing her grave with flowers they
followed me over the stile and through the village till I gained the
fields and took to my heels in fright.

"I sought the resort of crowds, and lived amid turbulences. In busy
hours I baffled my pursuers; but in the dark midnights, when only the
miserable walked, I suffered the agonies of remorse and penance. The
ever-flowing stream of life on London Bridge became my solace. My
apartments are here, and I sit continually at an open window, leaning
far forward, to catch the thunder of the tramp. I know the footfalls
as of old. I see the suicide pace to and fro, to nerve herself for the
deed. I hear her sleek betrayer, and detect their wretched offspring
as he first essays to filch a handkerchief or a purse.

"Oh, the footfalls! the footfalls! Each tread marks a good or a wicked
thought. A fiend or an angel starts beneath every heel. They write an
eternal record as they go. Their voices float forever to witness
against or for us. We people space as we cleave it. The ground that is
dumb as we spurn it has a memory and a revenge. I am more sensitive
than my kind; and my penance to these monitors of my sin is but a
realization of the terror which all must feel at the accusation of
their footfalls."


    Through a narrow, ravelled valley, wearing down the farmer's soil,
    The Patuxent flows inconstant, with a hue of clay and oil,
    From the terraces of mill-dams and the temperate slopes of wheat,
    To the bottoms of tobacco, watched by many a planter's seat.

    There the blackened drying-houses show the hanging shocks of green,
    Smoking through the lifted shutters, sunning in the nicotine;
    And around old steamboat-landings loiter mules and over-seers,
    With the hogsheads of tobacco rolled together on the piers.

    Inland from the river stranded in a cove between the hills,
    Lies old Marlb'ro' Court and village, acclimated to her chills;
    And the white mists nightly rising from the swamps that trench her round,
    Seem the sheeted ghosts of memories buried in that ancient ground.

    Here in days when still Prince George's of the province was the queen,
    Great old judges ruled the gentry, gathering to the court-house green;
    When the Ogles and the Tayloes matched their Arab steeds to race,
    Judge Duval adjourned the sessions, Luther Martin quit his case.

    Here young Roger Taney lingered, while the horn and hounds were loud,
    To behold the pompous Pinkney scattering learning to the crowd;
    And old men great Wirt remembered, while their minds he strove to win,
    As a little German urchin drumming at his father's inn.

    When the ocean barks could moor them in the shadow of the town
    Ere the channels filled and mouldered with the rich soil wafted down--
    Here the Irish trader, Carroll, brought the bride of Darnell Hall,
    And their Jesuit son was Bishop of the New World over all.

    Here the troopers of Prince George's, with their horse-tail helmets, won
    Praise from valiant Eager Howard and from General Wilkinson;
    And (the village doctor seeking from the British to restore)
    Key, the poet, wrote his anthem in the light of Baltimore.

    One by one the homes colonial disappear in Time's decrees.
    Though the apple orchards linger and the lanes of cherry-trees;
    E'en the Woodyard[3] mansion kindles when the chimney-beam consumes,
    And the tolerant Northern farmer ploughs around old Romish tombs.

    By the high white gravelled turnpike trails the sunken, copse-grown route,
    Where the troops of Ross and Cockburn marched to victory, and about,
    Halting twice at Upper Marlb'ro', where 'tis still tradition's brag,
    That 'twas Barney got the victory though the British got the swag.

    But the Capital, rebuilded, counts 'mid towns rebellious this--
    Standing in the old slave region 'twixt it and Annapolis;
    And the cannons their embrasures on the Anacostia forts
    Open tow'rd old ruined Marlb'ro' and the dead Patuxent ports.

[Footnote 3: "The Woodyard," the finest brick mansion on the western
peninsula of Maryland, the seat of the Wests, twelve miles from
Washington, burned down a few years ago by the unaccountable ignition
of the great beam of wood over the big chimney-place, which had stood
there for nearly 200 years. Either seasoned by the fire or fired by
spooks, it caught in the night, and a heap of imported bricks stood
next morning in place of The Woodyard.]

    Still from Washington some traveller, tempted by the easy grades,
    Through the Long Old Fields continues cantering in the evening shades,
    Till he hears the frogs and crickets serenading something lost,
    In the aguey mists of Marlb'ro' banked before him like a frost.

    Then the lights begin to twinkle, and he hears the negroes' feet
    Dancing in the old storehouses on the sandy business street,
    And abandoned lawyers' lodges underneath the long trees lurk,
    Like the vaults around a graveyard where the court-house is the kirk.

    He will see the sallow old men drinking juleps, grave and bleared--
    But no more their household servants at the court-house auctioneered;
    And the county clerk will prove it by the records on his shelves,
    That the fathers of the province were no better than ourselves.


When I admit that these reminiscences are real, it will at once be
inferred that I am a preacher's son. The general reputation of my
class has been bad since the day of Eli; but I affirm and maintain
that reason does not bear out this verdict, however obstinate
experience may be. For why should the best parents have the worst
children? and that our itinerant sires were godly and self-sacrificing
men the most prodigal of their boys must confess. No flippant or
errant example rises before me when I take my father's portrait in my
hand and recall the humility and heroism of his life. A stern and
angular face, out of whose saliences look two ruddy windows, lit by a
steadfast cheerfulness, is thinly thatched by hairs of iron-gray, and
around the long loose throat a bunch of frosted beard sparkles as if
the painter's pencil had fastened there in reverence. I do not need to
study the bent, broad shoulders and thin sinewy limbs to measure the
hardness and steepness of his path; he climbed it like a bridegroom,
humming quaint snatches of hymns to lull his human waywardnesses, and
all the fever and errantry of our own vain career shrink abashed
before his high devotion.

That I have turned out a rover is not odd; for the travelling
preacher's son is cradled upon the highway. Three months after my
birth we "moved" a hundred miles; by my sixteenth year we had made
eleven migrations.

We children little sympathize with our weak and sickly mother on these
occasions, but look forward to a change of abode as something very
novel and desirable. We count the days between Christmas and April,
after which the annual "Conference" assembles in the distant city, and
we see our father, in his best black suit, quit the parsonage door
with an anxious face, cut to the heart by his wife's farewell, "May
they give you a good place, Thomas!"

Then come letters--one, two, three: "The bishops are friendly;" "The
Presiding Elder has promised to do the best for us that he can;" "The
influential Doctor Bim has praised our missionary sermon, and Brother
Click, the Secretary, has applauded our Charge's large subscription to
the _Advocate_;" "Our character has passed even the severe approval of
the great theologian, Steep;" "Take courage, my dear, and hope for the

The membership, meanwhile, are dropping in by couples to say kindly
words to our mother, whom they pity, and it is rumored that they are
collecting a purse to help us on our way. At last our father returns,
striving to hide his solicitude in a smile, for no fate to which they
could consign himself would scathe that grisly servant of his Master;
but for his family, who do not altogether share the spirit of his
mission, he has a little fear. He kisses us all in order, from the
least to the biggest, commencing and ending with our mother, and
playfully prevaricates as to our "appointment," the name of which we
noisily demand, until his wife says timidly,

"Where do they send us, Thomas?"

He tries to smile and trifle, but the possibility of her discontent
gives him so great pain that we children perceive it.

"How would you like to go to Greensburg?"

"Not _Greensburg_!" she says, with a sudden paleness.

"Isn't it a good circuit?" he says smilingly; "they paid the last
preacher three hundred dollars, and his marriage fees were a hundred
more. They say he saved fifty dollars a year!"

"Oh, Thomas, I thought I had fortitude, but this--"

"Is only to test your faith," he cries. "A poor preacher's wife should
be willing to go anywhere--even to Greensburg; but that is not our
appointment, dear; we move to Swan Neck."

Then the fun begins in earnest. The church people come to look at our
contribution bedquilts, and help us pack up the blue earthenware. The
legs of the prodigious box, yclept a milk chest, are summarily
amputated and laid away in it, with the parental library, which, we
are sorry to say, is equally doubtful in point of both ornament and
use. The good gossips slyly peep into the covers of Matthew Henry, and
regard their retiring pastor as a more learned man than they had
suspected, while the black letter-press of Lorenzo Dow, and John
Bunyan, and Fox's "Book of Martyrs" touches them like so much
necromancy. The faithful old clock, whose disorders are crises in our
humdrum pastoral year, is stopped and disjointed, much to our marvel,
and all the spare straw in the barn is brought to protect the large
gilt-edged cups and saucers, which say upon their edges, "To our
pastor," and "To our pastor's wife." The thin rag carpets are folded
away; the potatoes in the bin are sold to Brother Bibb, the grocer,
and to a very few of the select sisters we present a can of our
preserved quinces, with directions how to prepare them. Poor Em., the
black domestic, drops so many tears upon the parlor stove as she
carries it out to the wagon that the fresh blackening she has so
industriously given it goes for nothing; for Em. is to be discharged,
and the fact troubles her, though a preacher's servant has little to
eat and plenty to do.

At last the old parsonage is quite bare and deserted, though our
successors, box and baggage, have moved in upon us, much to the
annoyance of the females, who see with jealousy that the new arrival
gets the lion's share of attention, and that Brother Tipp, whose
class-book we took from him, and who has backbitten us ever since, is
courteous as a dancing-master with our rival. We shall talk for six
years to come--that is, our mother--of Bangs's, the new-comer's,
impudence in feeding his horse on our oats, and shall never speak of
him as Brother Bangs, but simply call him _Bangs_, emphasized. We are
not even sure that he will not turn his poultry loose before ours has
been secured, and we boys, with great zeal, run down the roosters and
ducks, giving them, if the truth must be told, longer chase than is
necessary. The aged muscovy, we are sorry to say, lames himself in the
retreat, and the only goose on the premises hides among Powell's, the
neighbor's, so that we cannot tell which from which. However, the
property is tied up at last in the several wagons; Sister Phoenix's
lunch has been eaten, and our father, the itinerant, in his
shirt-sleeves, stands up, with pain and perspiration on his brow, to
bid his flock good-by.

"Now, brethren," he says, with a quiver at his throat, "my time is
passing; I have finished the work appointed for me to do. Renew the
kindnesses you have done me and my little ones upon the good steward
who is to replace me. My heart weeps to cut the bonds which have held
us so long together; but in this world I am a pilgrim and a stranger.
Let us all pray!"

As his shrill, broken voice goes up in a mingled wail and hosanna, we
children peep by stealth into the working faces of the bystanders, and
our own grow tearful, till our little sister cries aloud, and our
mother falls into some fond matron's arms.

Immediately our wagons are on the way. The clustering village roofs
and the church spire sink down behind. We are too full of excitement
to share the silence of our elders, and the passing objects while us
to laughter and debate.

Swan Neck is a representative circuit. It lies, as everybody knows,
somewhere upon the Eastern shore--that landmark and stronghold of
Methodism. The parsonage is in Crochettown, the county-seat, and the
circuit comprises half a dozen churches down the neck, among the pine
forests and on the bay side. Our father tells our mother on the way of
the advantages of the place, till we take it to be quite a metropolis.
He says that Wiggins, whom we succeed, gives a first-rate account of
it. One of the members (Judd) is a judge, and our church, in short,
rules the roast thereabout, and makes the Episcopalians stand around,
not to speak of the Baptists, who try as usual to edge us out.

The boys ask with glowing cheeks if there is a river at Crochettown,
and are thrown into ecstasy by the reply that a large steamboat
touches there twice a week, and that there is a drawbridge. We are
less interested in the statement that the schools are good, but hear
with delight the history of one Dumple, an innkeeper, who persecutes
our church and sells quantities of "rum" to our young men. William,
the son of Wiggins, our predecessor, was once seen in the bar-room and
reported to his father, who fetched him home by _posse comitatus_, and
found that he smelled strongly of soda water.

As we go along the road in this way, our furniture mean time having
been shipped by water, a very compact and knotty young man rides up
behind us upon a nag which we at once identify as church property. The
sleekness of the flanks betokens his conversance with other people's
corn-cribs, and he has a habit of shying at all the farm-house gates
as if habituated to stopping whenever he liked and staying to dinner.
His Perseus has a semi-gallant, semi-verdant way of lifting his hat,
and his voice is hard as his knuckles.

"Woa, Sal!" he says (all preachers drive mares, it may be
interpolated), "have I the pleasure of addressing Brother Ryder?"

"The same, sir."

"My name is Chough, sir; the annual Conference has done me the favor
of associating my name with yours at Swan Neck."

"Oh, ho! You are my colleague; my wife, Brother Chough!"

The wife runs Brother Chough over immediately, who looks very red and
awkward, and she gives her estimate of him in an undertone. It will be
bad for Chough if he is at all airish or scholastic, or individual in
his opinions, for between a senior pastor's wife and his young
assistant there is an hereditary distrust; conceit has no show at all
in a young itinerant.

But Chough wisely confines his remarks to asking questions about the
bishops, and agrees with us that Doctor Bim's address on the church
extension cause was sound as the Fathers, and finally gives us his own
extraction, which we trace to the respectable Choughs of Caroline
County, and at once fraternize with him.

Those were happy days for us children! Cornfield and barn and negro
quarter rolled by us like things of fable. We watched the squirrels in
the scrubwood as never again we shall take interest in human
companionship, and stopped at farm-house troughs to water our nag with
keener joy than that with which we have since gazed upon far blue seas
or soft cis-alpine lakes and rivers.

At last we reach the place; the complement of free negro cabins lies
on its outskirts; we ask the way to the Methodist preacher's
residence, and learning with feigned surprise that "he has just gone
an' lef town for good," cross a sandy creek and bridge, climb a hill,
and stop at our future threshold.

It is an ancient edifice of brick; a pigmy stable stands beside it,
with a gate intervening, and in the rear we have a lot big enough to
graze one frugal horse, and a garden sufficiently large to employ us
boys. Our father starts off immediately to find the keys; but in the
face of a gathering of small lads in pinafores and jack-knives, who
come to gaze at us, we scale the gate, enter a back shutter, and cry
a welcome to our mother from the second-story front.

We hastily scan the several chambers to claim all that we find in the
drawers and closets; are gratified to observe the bow-gun and
shinney-sticks of the young Wigginses departed, and quite fall out
among ourselves over the wooden effigy of an Indian which has tumbled
down from the barn-top.

Soon the nearest neighbor of our persuasion arrives with our father,
and takes our mother and the baby away to his dwelling. A fat old
trustee and local preacher carries off ourself and sister, and we go
bashfully and wonderingly into the heart of the town, past the church,
past the market-house, past the tavern and court and public hall,
until the door of our host closes upon us, and our short sandy hairs
appear at the windows to scan the street and the people.

Yeasty, our host, is the only local preacher in Crochettown, where he
also keeps a store, but is said to be as rich as Croesus, and
miserly as get out; and he has a pretty daughter, Margot, who sweeps
into the room like a little queen, and, being older than ourselves,
patronizes us till we blush. She rattles off all the town talk, the
parties in the winter season, the terrible master of the academy, and
the handsomest boys, including Barret, who is dissipated and writes
poetry; the beauty of Marian Lee, who seems to be the terror of young
gentlemen, though Margot don't see any thing in her, the proud piece!

And so we pick up the history of the village with the diligence of
Froissart or Jean de Troyes, and eat last winter's apples by the ruddy
grate, listening to Margot, with our very round tow head upon our
sister's, filled with vague dreams of greatness and wealth, and old
Yeasty's silver half dollars piled up around us, and Margot to chat at
our side forever.

Oh! innocent days of itinerant urchinhood, your freshness comes no
more; we "move on" as of old--waifs in the wide circuit of this nomad
life--but with the hymns which lulled us in the neglected
meeting-house, the prophecies they told us of toil, duty, reverence,
and content, have floated into heaven whither our father has gone!

The bulk of our furniture being delayed, and our mother impatient of
accepting hospitality, we move into the great, bare parsonage house on
Saturday, and sit in the only furnished room. It grieves even
ourselves to see how this merry moving has thinned her anxious white
face, and therefore we forbear to fret her when we read the three long
Bible chapters she exacts. Josh, our brother, does not purposely
pronounce physician "physiken," as he is in the habit of doing, and
our sister remembers for once that ewe lamb is to be called "yo," and
not "e-we" in two syllables. The dinner is quite cold, but Josh, who
complains, is reminded of the poor Shepherd of Salisbury Plain, who
could not afford salt with his potatoes. Josh says that for his part
he don't like potatoes anyhow, and will not be comforted.

In the afternoon we present ourselves at Sunday-school, and as the
preacher's sons are supposed to be first-class ecclesiastical
scholars, are put in the Bible-class. Here we surprise everybody by
the quantity of verses we know by heart, and get many red and blue
tickets for our reward. It must be confessed that we had been twice
before paid for the same lesson, it being our perquisite to carry all
that we know from school to school. We see Margot among the girls,
swinging her feet under the seat as she hummingly commits her lesson
to memory, and as her feet are very pretty, they do not perhaps move
unconsciously. But Josh and we have quite a battle as to Margot, Josh
saying, "She's my girl," and we averring that "we know better--she's
mine," until finally our sister disposes of the matter by betraying us
to the little coquette, whereat we are both ashamed, and go home

We feed and curry the horse by turns, and hunt eggs in the stable
with boisterous rivalry, and have quite a contest as to who shall go
down upon "the circuit" first, which is at last settled in favor of
the first person.

On the appointed Sunday we rise betimes, "gear up" the nag to the
sulky, and depositing a carpet-stool in the foot, sit upon it between
our father's legs, and trot out of town at a respectably slow gait to
clear the preacher of any suspicion of keeping a fast horse. Fairly
out of town, however, we switch up somewhat, ourself watching over the
dasher the clods and dust thrown from the mare's shoes, and our father
humming snatches of hymns, with his grave eyes twinkling.

We say "How de do," of course, to every passer-by, as it is the pride
of the profession to lead the etiquette of the country; and, passing
remarks upon the badness of the fences, the staunchness of the barns,
and the coziness of the dwellings, soon leave the cultivated high-road
for one of the by-ways which lead down the sparsely-settled "Neck."
The sombre pine forests gather about us; a squirrel or two runs across
the route, and a solitary crow caws in the tree-top; we hear the loud
"tap-tap-tap" of a woodpecker, and see through the sinuous aisles of
firs some groups of negroes pattering to church. The men take off
their hats obsequiously, and the women duck their heads, and our
father says benignantly, "Going to church, boys? that's right! I like
to see you honor the Great Master!" At which the younger Africans show
their teeth, and the more forward patriarchs reply, "Yes, massar,
bress de Lord!"

So the teams increase in number like the wayfarers, all with the same
object in view, until we see the church at last, standing behind a
line of whitewashed palings, flanked by less pretentious worm fences,
and in the rear a long shed for horses, open in front, shadows the few
tomb memorials of stone and stake.

Several lads and worldlings at the gate, slashing their boots with
riding-whips, make obeisance, while two or three plain old gentlemen
walk down to meet us, saying:

"Brother Ryder, we _pré_-sume! Welcome to Dodson's Corner, Brother

We tie up the nag, loosen her bridle bit, and follow into the
meeting-house--a lofty building unplastered at the roof, whose open
eaves and shingles give place in summer to nests of wasps, and in the
winter to audacious birds, some of which swoop screaming to the
pulpit, and beat the window panes in futile flight. Two uncarpeted
aisles lead respectively to the men's side and the women's side--for,
far be it from us, primitive Methodists, to improve upon the
discipline of Wesley--and midway of each aisle, in square areas, stand
two high stoves, with branching pipes which radiate from their red-hot
cylinders of clay. The pulpit is a square unpainted barricade, with
pedestals on each side for a pair of oil-lamps; the cushions which
sustain the Bible are the gift of young unconverted ladies, and are
sacredly brought to the place of worship each Sunday morning and taken
away in the afternoon.

By the side of the stove the old stewards and the new minister stand
awhile talking over the moral _status_ of the country, the advances
made by the Baptists, and the amount of money contributed by Dodson's
Corner to the various funds of the church. The folk, meanwhile, drop
in by squads, the colored element filling the unsteady gallery in the
rear, until our father looks at his open-faced watch, and says:

"Bless my soul, brethren, it is time to begin the services!"

He ascends into the pulpit. We sit on what is known as the "Amen
side," with our thumb in our button-hole, and watch the process of the
chief steward, who is unlimbering his tuning-fork. He obtains the
pitch of the tune by rapping the pew with this, or, if his teeth be
sound, which is rare, touches the prongs with his incisors. Then his
head--whose baldness, we imagine, arises from the people in the rear
looking all the hair off--is thrown back resolutely, his jaws fly wide
open, he projects a tangible stream of music to the roof, to the alarm
of the birds, and comes to a dead halt at the end of the second
line--for here we have congregational singing, and even those without
hymn books may assist to swell the music. But very often the leader
breaks down; the vanguard of old ladies cannot keep up the tune;
volunteers make desperate efforts to rally the chorus, but retire
discomfited, and the pastor, in addition to praying, reading, and
preaching, must finally, in his worn, subdued voice, lead the forlorn

The sermon on this inaugural occasion may justly be termed a work of
art. It must be conclusive of the piety, learning, eloquence, and
sound doctrine of the preacher, and be by turns argumentative,
combative, stirring, pathetic, practical, and pictorial. The text has
about the same connection at first with the discourse that a campanile
has with a cathedral. A solid eulogium upon the book from which it is
taken gives occasion for some side-slashes at Voltaire, Hume, and
Gibbon; the deaths of these are contrasted with the obsequies of the
righteous, and the old-fashioned, material place of punishment is
reasserted and minutely described. The text is then said to naturally
resolve itself into three parts--the injunction, the direction, and
some practical illustrations. The injunction, it is further allowed,
re-subdivides itself, and these parts are each proclaimed in the form
of speech of "Once more." We are quite too old a hand at listening to
imagine that "once more" means _only_ once more, and start to
enumerate the beams in the roof, the panes in the windows, and the
gray hairs in the old gentleman's head before us. About the time that
we feel sleepy an anecdote arouses us: then the iteration of
expletives from the membership succeeds; we see that the owner of the
tuning-fork has fallen to sleep in so ingenious an attitude that he
would never have been detected but for his snore, and are amused by
the fashion one good lady has of slowly wagging her head as she drinks
in the discourse. A slight commotion in the gallery arises, which
gives a steward excuse to steal down the aisle and hasten to the scene
of disturbance; the final appeal, brimming with the poetry of mercy,
grace, patience, and salvation is said; we all kneel down upon the
hard cold floor while the last prayer is being made, and receive the
benediction, as if some invisible shadow of bright wings had fallen
upon the dust and fever of our lives.

To say that the first person is weary but vindicates the sagacity of
our father, who steals down to our side and whispers, "You may go out,
Fred, if you are tired." But curiosity compels us to remain after the
congregation is dismissed, that we may hear the class-meeting

Those solemn corollaries to the service thrill me with their
recollection even now. The almost empty church echoing the sobs of the
weary, and heart-bruised, and spirit-broken; the pinched, hard faces
of the older people telling their bitter trials in bereavement,
misappreciation, and poverty. But bursting through all, that
unconquerable enthusiasm which lends to the face more than the glow of
intelligence, and to the heart more than the recompense of riches; the
timid utterance of the younger converts, outlining the rebellious
instincts of their tempted bodies, and their need of more faith,
grace, and help divine. While these speak in order, the bald-headed
chorister interpolates appropriate snatches of psalms, and the
preacher cries, "Patience, my brother! All will be well! Hope on, hope

At last the impatient negroes in the gallery have their opportunity,
and roll down thunders of exuberant piety, which, by their natural,
almost inspired eloquence, pathos, and vehemence, stir even their
masters to ejaculations of praise.

How must such spiritually social reunions cheer the long, hard lives
of these poor, remote believers! He was a profound statesman who,
projecting a gospel for the lowly, devised the class-meeting as an
outlet for their suppressed emotions, sympathies, and sorrows.

However, it is all over, and there is quite a dispute after the
"class" as to who shall have the pastor's company to dinner. It is a
piece of fine diplomacy to determine this. Policy dictates the most
influential; feeling, the most reverend and poor. But the interest of
the church is paramount; a compliment or a promise appeases the vanity
of the humbler, and we follow the double team of the great landholder,
Tibbet, and are soon sitting before his roaring fire.

Itinerants are notoriously big eaters. Our father keeps a weather eye
on the provender as it is brought in smoking, and it being soon
apparent that the dinner is to be orthodox, if not apostolic, his
social attributes improve wonderfully. He breaks out in little spurts
of anecdote, not entirely secular, nor yet too didactic to be jovial.
They run upon young Brother Bolt, who once, after an unusual happy
"revival" night, to show his great faith, tried to leap over a creek
and doused himself to the ears; upon the great controversialist,
Whanger, who, being invited to preach in a "High Church" pulpit,
improved the occasion to trace apostolic succession as far back as
Pope Joan; upon the first intelligent contraband of his kind, whose
mistress affirmed that if one's ill deeds were numerically greater
than his good ones he would be--jammed, and if the contrary, saved,
and who responded, "Spose'n dey boff de same, missus?"

These are told with inimitable spirit and mimicry, as want of clerical
wit is a direct impeachment of the validity of one's "call" to preach;
and when the table is filled, and with outstretched hands the blessing
said, our father gets a universal compliment for his carving. There is
roast turkey, with rich stuffing, bright cranberry sauce, and savory
pies of pumpkin, mince, and persimmon, cider to wash down the mealy
ripeness of the sweet potato, and at the end transparent quinces
drowned in velvet cream. How glibly goes the time! We play with a
young miss, who shows us her library, in which, we are sorry to say, a
book about pirates deeply absorbs us. But at last the sulky comes to
the door; we say good-by with touched full hearts, and pass hummingly
to appointment No. 2.

This is "Sand Hill," perhaps, or "Mumpson Town," or "Ebenezer," or
"Dry Pond;" and when we have mustered again in the afternoon, and in
the evening for the third time, turn Sal's head toward the parsonage,
and sail along in the night, cold and worn, past fields of stubble,
over which the wind sweeps, past negro cabins, watching like human
things upon us, through dreary woods where the tall pines rock against
the stars and the clouds sail whitely by like witches going to a
rendezvous, past cheerful homes, gleaming light and rest and worldly
competence, the owners whereof have heard no deep command to carry the
gospel into wildernesses, or hearing disobeyed. And all the while our
father sings softly to himself, looking now and then at us who are his
cross, and again into the shining constellations which hide his crown.

But we "preacher's sons," by which name we are universally
distinguished, have our own crosses as well. It is generally agreed
that much ought to be expected of us and little obtained. Let one of
us play truant from school, or use a naughty word in play, or make
marbles a source of revenue, or fight on the common when provoked, or
steal a cherry, and the fact travels our town over like a telegram. We
once suffer greatly in repute by selling our neighbor's old iron and
brass to an itinerant pedler, and are alleged to have run up a debit
account of one dime with an old negro who sells spruce beer and "horse
cakes"--whereafter we fail.

The church people, much to our dissatisfaction, present us with
castaway coats and boots, which we are made to wear, and once or
twice, when we encounter Margot in this shape, we burst into tears
and run home to hide our wounded vanity in the stable loft. There, in
the "mow," while we devise bitter and futile conspiracies against
society, the mare, munching her fodder, looks up at us with patient
eyes, as if to say: "Am I not also mortified for the faith?" But we
are cut to the heart to think that Margot may contrast us with
better-dressed boys, and therefore think us of little spirit,
learning, and courage. It is for you, pretty coquette, that we carry
many scandals and scars! We do not quite love you, Margot; but we are
foolishly vain and sensitive, and your eyes are very beautiful!

Still we are acknowledged at school to be "smart." All preacher's sons
are so by common concession, and though we may not visit the circus,
like others, we get abundance of free tickets for concerts, panoramas,
and glass-blowers. Once, indeed, the great Chippewa chief,
Haw-waw-many-squaw, having thrown the town into consternation by
placards of himself scalping his enemies and smoking their tobacco,
makes a triumphal entry into the main street at full gallop, and
pitching his tent before the court-house, walks into the
parsonage--war plumes, moccasins, and all--gives us complimentary
seats, and eats the better half of our dinner. This incident is a
source of pride to ourself beyond any thing experienced by any urchin
besides. We boast of it frequently, and, being disliked therefor,
commit several impromptu scalpings on our own account.

Vagabonds unnumbered beg our hospitality, and get it. Some of these it
would be difficult to determine, either as to profession or
destination. Many of them are systematic pensioners upon the preacher,
and plead devotion to our denomination as a means of gaining our
hearts. They have the gossip of the "Conference" at their tongues'
ends, and lead our family devotion with the grace and hypocrisy of

The weddings that we hold are frequent and various. Runaway couples
come to us, blushing and short-winded, satisfy us of their lawful age,
are united, and pass into the moon, leaving a five-dollar bill behind
them. We cannot quite find it in our hearts, even at this late day, to
forgive those numerous candidates for felicity who hold the par value
of a wedding ceremony to be no more than two dollars. Yet, though we
grieve to admit it, two dollars is the average fee. At one time the
negro population, anxious to be wived by a white preacher, makes
inroads upon us _en masse_ to the detriment of decorum and our
carpets. We summarily shut down upon this business when we find that
their fees come to but half a dollar a pair.

However, the year drifts by, and we are greatly concerned to know if
it is the sentiment of Swan Neck that we shall continue its pastor
another year. Old Yeasty, Margot's father, as we are aware, feels
himself slighted because we do not call upon him of Sundays to make
the closing prayers; for Yeasty's prayer is a sermon under another
name, and runs the morning into twilight; but a sly compliment that we
pay him in a diplomatic sermon at the end of the conference year
brings him round all right, and back we go to Swan Neck.

So with burying the dead and writing their obituaries; making the
babes pure with that holy sprinkling which gives them, dying early, to
a Christian immortality; launching our thunders upon the bold,
softening the hearts of the errant, mingling with our unbending creed
the more pliable ethics of worldly graces, and, in a word, walking
like Saint John on the savage border of civilization, to thrill the
brutal and unlettered with the tidings of one just day to come--our
itinerant lives drift on till the marble slab in the meeting-house
wall writes the itinerant's only human memorial.

We have dreamed our last. Burst from the narrow chrysalis which we
would gladly rebuild again, the seething, churning sea is before us
and around us; we only catch, like the strains of bells through the
fog, the hum of hymns, the drowsy murmur of the buzzing
Sabbath-school, and the nasal ring of the itinerant's summer sermon.
Margot is married to Chough, our whilom colleague, and makes her
migration in his Bedouin train, and does not know how once she
thrilled us. The tuning-fork is rusty, and the chorister in his coffin
may hear, if he can, his successor stirring the birds in the roof with
his sonorous melody. All are at rest, and we live on--moving, moving,
moving--so deeply fastened into our natures are our early instincts;
but every night we say the same parsonage prayer, and every morning
look upon the wall where hangs the grave, grim features we revere--the
Itinerant Preacher.


    Wise is the wild duck winging straight to thee,
    River of summer! from the cold Arctic sea,
    Coming, like his fathers for centuries, to seek
    The sweet, salt pastures of the far Chesapeake.

    Soft 'twixt thy capes like sunset's purple coves,
    Shallow the channel glides through silent oyster groves,
    Round Kent's ancient isle, and by beaches brown,
    Cleaving the fruity farms to slumb'rous Chestertown.

    Long ere the great bay bore the Baltimores,
    Yielded thy virgin tide to Virginian oars;
    Elsewhere the word went, "Multiply! increase!"
    Long ago thy destinies were perfect as thy peace.

    Still, like thy water-fowl, dearly do I yearn,
    In memory's migration once more to return,
    Where the dull old college from the gentle ridge,
    O'erlooks the sunny village, the river, and the bridge.

    On the pier decrepit I do loiter yet,
    With my crafty crab-lines and my homespun net,
    Till the silver fishes in pools of twilight swam,
    And stars played round my bait in the coves of calm.

    Sweet were the chinquapins growing by thy brink,
    Sweet the cool spring-water in the gourd to drink,
    Beautiful the lilies when the tide declined,
    As if night receding had left some stars behind.

    But when the peach tints vanished from the plain,
    Or struggled no longer the shad against the seine,
    Every reed in thy march into music stirred,
    And to gold it blossomed in a singing bird.

    Eden of water-fowl! clinging to thy dells
    Ages of mollusks have yielded their shells,
    While, like the exquisite spirits they shed,
    Ride the white swans in the surface o'erhead.

    Silent the otter, stealing by thy moon,
    Through the fluttered heron, hears the cry of the loon;
    Motionless the setter in thy dawnlight gray
    Shows the happy hidden cove where the wild duck play.

    Homely are thy boatmen, venturing no more
    In their dusky pungies than to Baltimore,
    Happy when the freshet from northern mountains sweeps,
    And strews the bay with lumber like wrecks upon the deeps.

    Not for thy homesteads of a former space,
    Not for thy folk of supposititious race;
    Something I love thee, river, for thy rest,
    More for my childhood buried in thy breast.

    From the mightier empire of the solid land,
    A pilgrim infrequent I seek thy fertile strand,
    And with a calm affection would wish my grave to be
    Where falls the Chester to the bay, the bay unto the sea.


A stranger in Washington, looking down the wide outer avenue named
"Massachusetts," which goes bowling from knoll to knoll and disappears
in the unknown hills of the east, has no notion that it leads
anywhere, and gives up the conundrum. On the contrary, it points
straight to the Washington Asylum, better known as the District
Poor-House, an institution to become hereafter conspicuous to every
tourist who shall prefer the Baltimore and Potomac to the Baltimore
and Ohio Railroad; for the new line crosses the Eastern Branch by a
pile-bridge nearly in the rear of the poor-house, and let us hope that
when the whistle, like

          "the pibroch's music, thrills
    To the heart of those lone hills,"

the dreary banks and bluffs of the Eastern Branch will show more
frequent signs of habitation and visitation.

To visit the poor-house one must have a "permit" from the mayor,
physician, or a poor commissioner. Provided with this, he will follow
out Pennsylvania Avenue over Capitol Hill, until nearly at the brink
of the Anacostia or Eastern Branch, when by the oblique avenue called
"Georgia" he will pass to his right the Congressional burying-ground,
and arriving at the powder magazine in front, draw up at the almshouse
gate, a mile and a quarter from the palace of Congress.

It is a smart brick building, four stories high, with green trimmings,
standing on the last promontory of some grassy commons beloved of
geese and billygoats. The short, black cedars, which appear to be a
species of vegetable crape, give a stubby look of grief to the region
round the poor-house, and, thickest at the Congressional Cemetery,
screen from the paupers the view of the city. Across the plains, once
made populous by army hospitals, few objects move except funeral
processions, creeping toward the graveyard or receding at a merry
gait, and occasional pensioners, out on leave, coming home dutifully
to their bed of charity. The report of some sportsman's gun, where he
is rowing in the marshes of the gray river, sometimes raises echoes in
the high hills and ravines of the other shore, where, many years ago,
the rifles of Graves and Cilley were heard by every partisan in the
land. Now the tall forts, raised in the war, are silent and deserted;
the few villas and farm-houses look from their background of pine upon
the smart edifice on the city shore, and its circle of hospitals
nearer the water, and its small-pox hospital a little removed, and
upon the dead-house and the Potter's Field at the river brink. We all
know the melancholy landscape of a poor-house.

The Potter's Field preceded the poor-house on this site by many years.
The almshouse was formerly erected on M Street, between Sixth and
Seventh, and, being removed here, it burned to the ground in the month
of March, fourteen years ago, when the present brick structure was
raised. The entire premises, of which the main part is the almshouse
garden, occupy less than fifty acres, and the number of inmates is
less than two hundred, the females preponderating in the proportion of
three to one. Under the same roof are the almshouse and the
work-house, the inmates of the former being styled "Infirmants," and
of the latter "Penitents." The government of the institution is vested
in three commissioners, to whom is responsible the intendent, Mr.
Joseph F. Hodgson, a very cheerful and practical-looking "Bumble."

Every Wednesday the three commissioners meet at this almshouse and
receive the weekly reports of the intendent, physician, and gardener.
Once every year these officers, and the matron, wagoner, and baker are
elected. Sixteen ounces of bread and eight ounces of beef are the
ration of the district pauper. The turnkey, gate-keeper, chief
watchmen, and chief nurses, are selected from the inmates. The gates
are closed at sunset, and the lights go out at eight P.M. all
winter. The inmates wear a uniform, labelled in large letters
"Work-house," or "Washington Asylum."

The poor-house is an institution coeval with the capital. We are told
that while crabbed old Davy Burns, the owner of the most valuable part
of the site of Washington City, was haggling with General Washington
over his proportion of lots, his neglected and intemperate brother,
Tommy, was an inmate of the poor-house.

Thus, while the Romulus of the place married his daughter to a
Congressman, and was buried in a "mausoleum" on H Street, Remus died
without the walls and mingled his ashes, perhaps, with paupers.

The vaunted metropolis of the republican hopes of mankind--for such
was Washington, the fabulous city, advertised and praised in every
capital of Western Europe--drew to its site artists, adventurers, and
speculators from all lands. From Thomas Law, a secretary of Warren
Hastings, who wasted the earnings of India on enterprises here, to a
Frenchman who died on the guillotine for practising with an infernal
machine upon the life of Napoleon Bonaparte, the long train of
pilgrims came and saw and despaired, and many of them, perhaps, lie in
the Potter's Field. Old books and newspapers, chary on such personal
questions, contain occasional references as to some sculptor's
suicide, or to the straits of this or that French officer, a claimant
about Congress; and we know that Major L'Enfant, who conceived the
plan of the place, sought refuge with a pitying friend and died here
penniless. The long war of twenty years in Europe brought to America
thousands in search of safety and rest, and to these the magnetism of
the word "capital" was often the song of the siren wiling them to the
poor-house. By the time Europe had wearied of the sword, the fatality
attending high living, large slave-tilled estates, the love of
official society, and the defective education of the young men of
tide-water Virginia and Maryland, produced a new class of native-born
errants and broken profligates at Washington, and many a life whose
memories began with a coach-and-four and a park of deer ended them
between the coverlets of a poor-house bed. The old times were, after
all, very hollow times! We are fond of reading about the hospitality
of the Madisonian age, but could so many have accepted it if all were

In our time, work being the fate and the redemption of us all, the
District Almshouse contains few government employés. Now and then, as
Mr. Hodgson told us, some clerk, spent with sickness or exhausted by
evil indulgences, takes the inevitable road across the vacant plains
and eats his pauper ration in silence or in resignation; but the age
is better, not, perhaps, because the heart of man is changed, but in
that society is organized upon truer principles of honor, of
manfulness, and of labor. The class of well-bred young men who are
ashamed to admit that they must earn their living, and who affect the
company of gamesters and chicken-fighters, has some remnants left
among us, but they find no aliment in the public sentiment, and hear
no response in the public tone. Duelling is over; visiting one's
relatives as a profession is done; thrift is no more a reproach, and
even the reputation of being a miser is rather complimentary to a man.
The worst chapters of humanity in America are those narrating the
indigence of the old agricultural families on the streams of the
Chesapeake; the quarterly sale of a slave to supply the demands of a
false understanding of generosity; the inhuman revelling of one's
friends upon the last possessions of his family, holding it to be a
jest to precipitate his ruin; the wild orgies held on the glebe of
some old parish church, horses hitched to the gravestones, and punch
mixed in the baptismal font; and at the last, delirium, impotence,
decay! Let those who would understand it read Bishop Meade, or descend
the Potomac and Rappahannock, even at this day, and cross certain

The Washington poor-house seems to be well-arranged, except in one
respect: under the same roof, divided only by a partition and a
corridor, the vicious are lodged for punishment and the unfortunate
for refuge.

We passed through a part of the building where, among old, toothless
women, semi-imbecile girls--the relicts of error, the heirs of
affliction--three babies of one mother were in charge of a strong,
rosy Irish nurse. Two of them, twins, were in her lap, and a third
upon the floor halloaing for joy. Such noble specimens of childhood we
had never seen; heads like Cæsar's, eyes bright as the depths of wells
into which one laughs and receives his laughter back, and the
complexions and carriage of high birth. The woman was suckling them
all, and all crowed alternately, so that they made the bare floors and
walls light up as with pictures. A few yards off, though out of
hearing, were the thick forms of criminals, drunkards, wantons, and
vagrants, seen through the iron bars of their wicket, raising the
croon and song of an idle din, drumming on the floor, or moving to and
fro restlessly. Beneath this part of the almshouse were cells where
bad cases were locked up. The association of the poor and the wicked
affected us painfully.

Strolling into the syphilitic wards, where, in the awful contemplation
of their daily, piecemeal decay, the silent victims were stretched all
day upon their cots; among the idiotic and the crazed; into the
apartments of the aged poor, seeing, let us hope, blessed visions of
life beyond these shambles; and drinking in, as we walked, the solemn
but needful lesson of our own possibilities and the mutations of our
nature, we stood at last among the graves of the almshouse dead--those
who have escaped the dissecting-knife. Scattered about, with little
stones and mounds here and there, under the occasional sullen green of
cedars, a dead-cart and a spade sticking up as symbols, and the
neglected river, deserted as the Styx, plashing against the low banks,
we felt the sobering melancholy of the spot and made the prayer of
"Give me neither poverty nor riches!"



    This is the river. Like Southampton water
    It enters broadly in the woody lands,
    As if to break a continent asunder,
    And sudden ceasing, lo! the city stands:
    St. Mary's--stretching forth its yellow hands
    Of beach, beneath the bluff where it commands
    In vision only; for the fields are green
    Above the pilgrims. Pleasant is the place;
    No ruin mars its immemorial face.
    As young as in virginity renewed,
    Its widow's sorrows gone without a trace,
    And tempting man to woo its solitude.

    The river loves it, and embraces still
    Its comely form with two small arms of bay,
    Whereon, of old, the Calvert's pinnace lay,
    The Dove--dear bird!--the olive in its bill,
    That to the Ark returned from every gale
    And found a haven by this sheltering hill.[4]

    Lo! all composed, the soft horizons lie
    Afloat upon the blueness of the coves,
    And sometimes in the mirage does the sky
    Seem to continue the dependent groves,
    And draw in the canoe that careless roves
    Among the stars repeated round the bow.
    Far off the larger sails go down the world,
    For nothing worldly sees St. Mary's now;
    The ancient windmills all their sails have furled,
    The standards of the Lords of Baltimore,
    And they, the Lords, have passed to their repose;
    And nothing sounds upon the pebbly shore
    Except thy hidden bell, Saint Inigo's.

[Footnote 4: The Catholic settlers of Maryland had a ship called The
Ark, and a pinnace called The Dove.]

    There in a wood the Jesuits' chapel stands
    Amongst the gravestones, in secluded calm.
    But, Sabbath days, the censer's healing balm,
    The Crucified with His extended hands,
    And music of the masses, draw the fold
    Back to His worship, as in days of old.

    Upon a cape the priest's house northward blinks,
    To see St. Mary's Seminary guard
    The dead that sleep within the parish yard,
    In English faith--the parish church that links
    The present with the perished, for its walls
    Are of the clay that was the capital's,
    When halberdiers and musketeers kept ward,
    And armor sounded in the oaken halls.

    A fruity smell is in the school-house lane;
    The clover bees are sick with evening heats;
    A few old houses from the window pane
    Fling back the flame of sunset, and there beats
    The throb of oars from basking oyster fleets,
    And clangorous music of the oyster tongs,
    Plunged down in deep bivalvulous retreats,
    And sound of seine drawn home with negro songs.

    Night falls as heavily in such a clime
    As tired childhood after all day's play,
    Waiting for mother who has passed away,
    And some old nurse, with iterated rhyme
    Of hymns or topics of the olden time,
    Lulls wonder with her tenderness to rest:
    So, old St. Mary's! at the close of day,
    Sing thou to me, a truant, on thy breast.

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