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Title: Lippincott's Magazine of Popular Literature and Science - October, 1877. Vol XX - No. 118
Author: Various
Language: English
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*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Lippincott's Magazine of Popular Literature and Science - October, 1877. Vol XX - No. 118" ***

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Transcriber's note: Punctuation normalized, original spelling retained.


[Illustration: "He stepped forward with a smile." For Percival. Page 420.]



LIPPINCOTT'S MAGAZINE
OF
_POPULAR LITERATURE AND SCIENCE_.

OCTOBER, 1877.
Vol XX--No. 118

Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1877, by J.B. LIPPINCOTT
& CO., in the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.



CHESTER AND THE DEE.

TWO PAPERS.--I.


[Illustration: THE DEE ABOVE BALA.]

The history of Chester is that of a key. It was the last city that gave up
Harold's unlucky cause and surrendered to William the Conqueror, and the
last that fell in the no less unlucky cause of the Stuart king against the
Parliamentarians. In much earlier times it was held by the famous Twentieth
Legion, the _Valens Victrix_, as the key of the Roman dominion in the
north-west of Britain, and at present it has peculiarities of position, as
well as of architecture, which make it unique in England and a lodestone to
Americans. Curiously planted on the border of the newest and most bustling
manufacturing district in England, close to the coalfields of North Wales,
the mines of Lancashire, the quays of its sea-rival Liverpool and the mills
of grimy, wealthy Manchester, it still exercises, besides its artistic and
historic supremacy, a _bonâ fide_ ecclesiastical sway over most of these
new places. It is the first ancient city accessible to American travellers,
many of whom have given practical tokens of their affectionate remembrance
of it by largely subscribing to the fund for the restoration of the
cathedral, a work that has already cost some eighty thousand pounds.

[Illustration: CAER-GAI.]

The neighborhood of Chester is as suggestive of antiquity and foreigners as
the city itself. Volumes might be written about the quaint, Dutch-like
scenery of the low rich land reclaimed from the sea; the broad, sandy
estuary of the Dee, with the square-headed peninsula, the Wirrall, which
divides this quiet river from the noisy Mersey; the Hoylake, Parkgate and
Neston fisher-folk on the sandy shores, with their queer lives, monotonous
scratching-up of mussels and cockles, a never-failing trade, their terms of
praise--"the biggest scrat," for instance, "in all the island," being the
form of commendation for the woman who can with her rake at the end of a
long pole scratch up most shellfish in a given time; the low, fertile green
pastures, the creamy cheese and the eight yearly cheese-fairs. The city
itself is the most foreign-looking in all England, and the inhabitants have
the good taste to be proud of this. The river Dee--Milton's "wizard
stream"--celebrated both by English and Welsh bards, is not seen to as much
advantage under the walls of the Roman "camp" (_castra_=Chester) as
elsewhere, but its bridges serve to supply the want of fine scenery,
especially the Old Bridge, which crosses the river just at its bend, and
whose massive pointed arches took the place, when they were first built, of
a ferry by which the city was entered at the "Ship Gate," whence now you
look over "the Cop" or high bank on the right side of the stream, and view,
as from a dike in Holland, the reclaimed land stretching eight miles beyond
Chester, though the resemblance ceases at Saltney, where behind the
iron-works tower the Welsh hills--Moel-Famman conspicuous above the
rest--that bound the Vale of Clwyd.

The Dee is more a Welsh than an English river. It rises in the bleak
mountain-region of Merionethshire, the most intensely Welsh of all
counties, above Bala Lake, which is commonly but incorrectly called its
source. Thence it flows through the Vale of Llangollen, famous in poetry,
and waters the meadows of Wynnestay, the splendid home of one of Wales's
most national representatives, Sir Watkin Williams Wynn, and only beyond
that does it become English by flowing round and into Cheshire. On a very
tiny scale the Dee follows something of the course of the Rhine: three
streamlets combine to form it; these unite at the village of Llanwchllyn,
and the river flows on, a mere mountain-torrent, past an old farmhouse,
Caer-gai, lying on a desolate moor at the head of Bala Lake, and through
the lake itself, after which its scenery alternates, like the Rhine's below
Constance, between rocky gorges and flat moist meadows dotted with hamlets,
churches and towns. Bala--otherwise Lin-Jegid and Pimblemere ("Lake of the
Five Parishes")--has some traditional connection with the great British
epic, or rather with its accessories--the _Morte d'Arthur_--of which
Tennyson has availed himself in _Enid_, mentioning that Enid's gentle
ministrations soothed the wounded Geraint

    As the south-west that blowing Bala Lake,
    Fills all the sacred Dee.

Arthur's own home, according to Spenser, was at the source of the Dee:
Vortigern's castle was near by on the head-waters of the Conway; and "under
the foot of Rauran's mossy base" was the dwelling of old Timon, where
Merlin came and gave to his care the wonderful infant who was to become the
Christian Hercules of Britain. "Rauran" is the mountain which in Welsh is
Arran-Pon-Llin, and which with its rocky shelves overlooks the yews of
Bala's churches and the unaccustomed shade trees which the little town
boasts in its principal streets. The lake, quiet and hardly visited as it
is now, has great resources which are likely to be called upon in the
future, and a survey was made ten years ago with a view of supplying
Liverpool, Manchester, Blackburn, Birkenhead, etc. with water whenever a
fresh demand for it should arise. This would imply the building of a
breakwater at the narrow outlet of the lake, the damming up of a few
mountain passes, and the "impounding" of a tributary of the Dee below the
lake--the Tryweryn, which has an extensive drainage-area; but these works
are still only projected.

[Illustration: BALA.]

There is scarcely an English brook that has not some historical
associations, some poetical reminiscences, some attractions beyond those of
scenery. Wherever water, forest and meadow were combined, an abbey was
generally planted. Bala Lake, with its fishing-rights, once belonged to the
Cistercian abbey of Basingwerk, while the Dee just above Llangollen was the
property of the abbey of Valle Crucis, whose beautiful ruins still stand on
its banks. Before we reach them we pass by the country of the Welsh hero,
Owen Glendower, from whom are descended many of the families of this
neighborhood and others--the Vaughans, for instance; by Glendower's prison
at Corwen, and the Parliament House at Dolgelly, where he signed a treaty
with France, and where the beautiful oak carving of the roof would alone
repay a visitor for his trouble in getting there. The Dee is for the most
part wanting in striking natural features, but here and there steep rocks
enclose its foaming waters; deep banks covered with trees break the rugged
shore-line; a village, such as Llanderfel with a tumbledown bridge, lies
nestled in the valley; and coracles shoot here and there over the stream.
These primitive boats, basketwork covered with hides, or, as used now,
canvas coated with tar, are propelled by a paddle, and are much used for
netting salmon. Near Bangor the fishermen are so skilful that they
generally win in the coracle-races got up periodically by enthusiastic
revivalists of old national sports.

[Illustration: REMAINS OF VALLE CRUCIS ABBEY.]

Llangollen Vale has a beauty of its own, the family likeness of which to
that of all valleys in the hearts of mountains makes it none the less
welcome. The picturesqueness of thatched houses and a dilapidation of
masonry which only age makes beautiful marks the difference between this
valley and the Alpine ones with their trim, clean toy houses, or the
Transatlantic ones with their square, solid, black log huts and huge
well-sweeps; otherwise the fresh greenery, the purple mountain-shadows, the
subdued sounds, no one knows whence, the sense of peace and solitude, are
akin to every other beautiful valley-scene of mingled wildness and
cultivation. A traveller can hardly help making comparisons, yet much
escapes him of the peculiar charm that hangs round every place, and is too
subtle to disclose itself to the eye of a mere passer. You must live at
least six months in one place before its true character unfolds: the broad
beauties you see at once, but it needs the microscope of habit to find out
the rarest charms. Therefore it is much easier to descant on the tangible,
striking beauty of Valle Crucis Abbey than on the aggregate loveliness of
Llangollen Vale; and perhaps it is this lack of familiarity that leads
novelists, poets and others to dwell so much more and with such detail on
buildings than on natural scenery. It may not be given them to understand
upon how much higher a plane of beauty stands a bed of ferns on a rocky
ledge, a clump of trees even on a flat meadow, and especially a tangled
forest-scene or a view of distant mountains in a sunset glow, or the
surface of water undotted by a sail, than the highest effect of man-made
beauty, be it even York Minster or the Parthenon. What man does has value
by reason of the meaning in it, and of course man cannot but fall short of
the perfection of his own meaning; whereas Nature is of herself perfection,
and perfection in which there is no effort. Valle Crucis is hardly a rival
of Fountains or Rivaulx. The Cistercians in the beginning of their
foundation were reformers, ascetic, and essentially agriculturists. Their
great leader, Bernard of Clairvaux, the advocate of silence and work, once
said, "Believe me, I have learnt more from trees than ever I learnt from
men." But decay came even into this community of farmer-monks, and the
praise and panegyric of the abbey, as handed down to us by a Welsh poet,
betray unconsciously things hardly to the credit of a monastic house, for
the abbot, "the pope of the glen," he tells us, gave entertainments "like
the leaves in summer," with "vocal and instrumental music," wine, ale and
curious dishes of fish and fowl, "like a carnival feast," and "a thousand
apples for dessert."

[Illustration: OWEN GLENDOWER'S PRISON.]

[Illustration: THE PARLIAMENT HOUSE, DOLGELLY.]

The river-scenery changes below Llangollen, and gives us first a glimpse of
a wooded, narrow valley, then of the unsightly accessories of the great
North Wales coalfield, after which it enters upon a typically English
phase--low undulating hills and moist, rich meadows divided by luxuriant
hedges and dotted with single spreading trees. The hedgerow timber of
Cheshire is beautiful, and to a great extent makes up for the want of
tracts of wooded land. This country is not, like the Midland counties and
the great Fen district, violently or exclusively agricultural, and these
hedges and trees, which are gratefully kept up for the sake of the shade
they afford to the cattle, show a very different temper among the farmers
from that utilitarianism which marks the men of Leicester shire, Lincoln,
Nottingham, Norfolk, or Rutland. There even great land-owners are often
obliged to humor their tenants, and keep the unwelcome hedges trimmed so as
not to interpose two feet of shade between them and the wheat-crop; and as
often as possible hedges are replaced by ugly stone walls or wooden fences.
It is only in their own grounds that landlords can afford to court
picturesqueness, and in this part of the country the American who is said
to have objected to hedges because they were unfit for seats whence to
admire the landscape, might safely sit down anywhere; only, as matters are
seldom perfectly arranged, there is very little to admire but a flat
expanse of wheat, barley and grass. This part of Cheshire has hardly more
diversity in its river-scenery, but the mere presence of trees and green
arbors makes it a pleasant picture, while here and there, as at Overton
(this is Welsh, however, and belongs to Flintshire), a church-tower comes
in to complete the scene. Here the Dee winds about a good deal, and
receives its beautiful, dashing tributary, the Alyn, which runs through the
Vale of Gresford and waters the park of Trevallyn Old Hall, one of the
loveliest of old English homes. Its pointed gables and great clustering
stacks of chimneys, its mullioned and diamond-paned windows, its
finely-wooded park, all realize the stranger's ideal of the antique
manor-house. This neighborhood is studded with country-houses in all styles
of architecture, from the characteristic national to the uncomfortable and
cold foreign type. Houses that were meant to stand in ilex-groves under a
purple sky and a sun of bronze look forlorn and uninviting under the gray
sky of England and amid its trees leafless for so many months in the year:
home associations seem impossible in a porticoed house suggestive of
outdoor living and the relegation of chambers to the use of a mere refuge
from the weather. For many of these places are no more than villas
enlarged, and might be set down with advantage to themselves in the
Regent's Park in London, the very acme of the commonplace. On the other
hand, all the traditional associations that go with an English hall
presuppose a national style of architecture. Even florid Tudor, even sturdy
"Queen Anne," can stand juxtaposition with groups of horses, dogs and
huntsmen; Christmas cheer and Christmas weather set them off all the
better; leafless trees are no drawback; the house looks warmer, coseyer,
more home-like, the worse the blast and rush without. A roaring fire is
natural to the huge hall fireplace, while in a mosaic-paved "ante-room" or
a frescoed "saloon" it looks foreign and out of place. Many an odd Welsh
and English house has unfortunately disappeared to make room for a cold,
unsuccessful monstrosity that reminds one of a mammoth railway-station or a
new hotel; and when Welsh names are tacked on to these absurd dwellings the
contrast is as painful as it is forcible. Such, for instance, is
Bryn-y-Pys, on the Dee--a house you might guess to belong to a Liverpool
merchant who had trusted to a common builder for a comfortable home.
Overton Cottage, on the other side, fills in with its walks and plantations
an abrupt bend of the river, and the view from the up-going road at its
back is very lovely, though the scene is purely pastoral. Overton
Churchyard is one of the "seven wonders" of North Wales: it has a very trim
and stately appearance, not that ragged, free if melancholy,
outspreadedness which distinguishes many country cemeteries, that
unpremeditated luxuriance of creepers and flowers, blossoming bushes and
grasses, that make up at least half of one's pleasant reminiscences of such
places. How much more interesting to find an old tomb or quaint "brass"
under the temple of a wild rosebush or in the firm clasp of an ivy-root
than to walk up to it and read the inscription newly scraped and cleaned by
the voluble attendant who volunteers to show you the place! The great elms
by Overton Church and the half-timbered and thatched houses crowding up to
its gates somewhat make up for the splendor of the coped wall and new
monuments in the churchyard. A scene wholly old is the Erbistock Ferry,
which one might mistake for a rope-ferry on the Mosel. The cottage looks
like the dilapidated lodge of an old monastery, and here, at least, is no
trimness. Two walls with a flight of steps in each enclose a grass terrace
between them, and trees and bushes straggle to the edge of the river,
hardly keeping clear of the swinging rope. Coracles are sometimes used for
ferrying--also punts. Bangor is a familiar name to students of church
history, and to those who are not, the startling tale of the massacre of
twelve hundred British monks by the Saxon and heathen king of Northumbria,
who conquered Chester and invaded Wales in the seventh century, is repeated
by the local guides. At present, Bangor is interesting to anglers and to
lovers of curiosities--to the former as a good salmon-ground, and to the
latter for the quaint verses, which, though trivial in themselves, borrow a
value from the date of their inscription and the "laws" to which they
refer. They are on the wall of the lower story of the bell-tower:

[Illustration: IN THE VALE OF LLANGOLLEN.]

    If that to ring you would come here,
    You must ring well with hand and ear;
    But if you ring in spur or hat,
    Fourpence always is due for that;
    But if a bell you overthrow,
    Sixpence is due before you go;
    But if you either swear or curse,
    Twelvepence is due; pull out your purse.
    Our laws are old, they are not new;
    Therefore the clerk must have his due.
    If to our laws you do consent,
    Then take a bell: we are content.

[Illustration: LLANGOLLEN.]

Farndon Bridge and Wrexham Church (the latter looks like a small cathedral
to the unpractised eye) are the last Welsh points of attraction before the
Dee becomes quite an English river. Malpas (_mauvais pas_ = "bad step"), on
the English bank, is significantly so-called from its situation as a border
town: the rector, too, might consider it not ill named, as regards the odd
partition of the church tithes, which has been in force from time
immemorial, and has given rise to an explanatory legend concerning a
travelling king whom the resident curate wisely entertained in the absence
of the rector, receiving for his guerdon a promise of an equal share in the
income, not only for himself, but for all future curates. In the upper
rectory (the lower is the curate's house) was born Bishop Heber in 1783,
and in the early years of this century, before missionary meetings were as
common as they are now, the young clergyman wrote on the spur of the
moment, with only one word corrected, the well-known hymn, "From
Greenland's Icy Mountains." A missionary sermon was announced for Sunday at
Wrexham, the vicarage of Heber's father-in-law, Shirley, and the want of a
suitable hymn was felt. He was asked on Saturday to write one, and did so,
seated at a window of the old vicarage-house. It was printed that evening,
and sung the next day in Wrexham Church. The original manuscript is in a
collection at Liverpool, and the printer who set up the type when a boy was
still living at Wrexham within the last twenty years.

[Illustration: CHESTER, FROM THE ALDFORD ROAD.]

The river now makes a turn, sweeping along into English ground and making
almost a natural moat round Chester, the great Roman camp whose form and
intersecting streets still bear the stamp of Roman regularity, and whose
history long bore traces of the influence of Roman inflexibility mingled
with British dash. The view of the city is fine from the Aldford road (or
Old Ford, where a Roman pavement is sometimes visible in the bed of the
stream), with the cathedral and St. John's towering over the peaks and
gables that shoot up above the walls. The mention of the ford brings to
mind a famous crossing of the river during the civil wars. It was just
before the battle of Rowton Moor, which Charles I. watched from the tower
that now bears his name; and Sir Marmaduke Langdale, one of his leal
soldiers, wishing to send the king notice of his having crossed the Dee at
Farndon Bridge and pressing on the Parliamentarians, bade Colonel Shakerley
convey the message as speedily as possible. The latter, to avoid the long
circuit by the bridge, galloped to the Dee, took a wooden tub used for
slaughtering swine, employed "a batting-staff, used for batting of coarse
linen," as an oar, put his servant in the tub, his horse swimming by him,
and once across left the tub in charge of the man while he rode to the
king, delivered his message and returned to cross over the same way.

[Illustration: CORACLES.]

Eaton and Wynnestay are the grandest of the Dee country-seats, though not
the most interesting as to architecture. The former, like many Italian
houses, has its park open to the public, and is an exception to the
jealously-guarded places in most parts of England, but its avenues, rather
formal though very magnificent, are approached by lodges. The Wrexham
avenue leads to a farmhouse called Belgrave, and here is the
christening-point of the new, fashionable London of society, of novelists
and of contractors. Another like avenue leads to Pulford, where there is
another lodge: a third leads from Grosvenor Bridge to the deer-park, and a
fourth to the village of Aldford. The hall is an immense pile, strikingly
like, at first glance, the Houses of Parliament, with the Victoria Tower
(this in the hall is one hundred and seventy feet high, and built above the
chapel), and the style is sixteenth-century French, florid and costly. The
plan is perhaps unique in England, and comfort has been attained, though
one would hardly believe it, such size seeming to swamp everything except
show. The description of the house, as given by a visitor there, reads like
that of a palace: "The hall is an octagonal room in the centre of the house
about seventy-five feet in length and from thirty to forty broad: on each
side, at the end farthest from the entrance, are two doors leading into
anterooms--one the ante-drawing-room, and the other the ante-dining-room;
each is lighted by three large windows, and is thirty-three feet in length:
they are fine rooms in themselves, and well-proportioned. From these lead
the drawing-room and the dining-room respectively, both exceedingly grand
rooms, ingenious in design and shape, each with two oriel windows and
lighted by three others and a large bay window: this suite completes the
east side. The south is occupied by the end of the drawing-room and a vast
library--all _en suite_. The library is lighted by four bay windows, three
flat ones and a fine alcove, and the rest of the main building to the west
is made up of billiard- and smoking-rooms, waiting-hall, groom-of-chambers'
sitting- and bed-rooms, and a carpet-room, besides the necessary
staircases. This completes the main building, and a corridor leads to the
kitchen and cook's offices: this corridor, which passes over the upper
part of the kitchen, branches off into two parts--one leading to an
excellently-planned mansion for the family and the private secretary, and
another leading to the stables, which are arranged with great skill. The
pony stable, the carriage-horse stable, the riding horses, occupy different
sides, and through these are arranged, just in the right places, the rooms
for livery and saddle grooms and coachmen. The laundry, wash-house,
gun-room and game-larder occupy another building, which, however, is easily
approached, and the whole building, though it extends seven hundred feet in
length, is a perfect model of compactness. Great facilities are given to
any one who desires to see it." The mention of a "mansion for the family"
shows how the associations of a home are lost in this wilderness of
magnificence: indeed, I remember a remark of a person whose husband had
three or four country-houses in England and Scotland and a house in London,
that "she never felt at home anywhere."

[Illustration: CHESTER CATHEDRAL AND CITY WALL.]

The farms in this neighborhood are mostly small, the average being seventy
acres, and some are still smaller, though when one gets down to ten, one is
tempted to call them gardens. Grazing and dairy-work are the chief
industries. Farther inland, beyond the manufacturing town of Stockport, is
a house of the Leghs, an immense building, more imposing than lovely in its
exterior, but one of the most individual and pleasant houses in its
interior as well as in its human associations. It has been altered at
various times, and bears traces, like a corrected map, of each new phase of
architecture for several hundred years. The four sides form a huge
quadrangle, entered by foreign-looking gateways, and the rooms all open
into a wide passage that runs round three sides of the building, and is a
museum in itself. Old and new are just enough blended to produce comfort,
and the stately, old-English look of the drawing-room, with its dark
panelling and tapestry, is a reproach to the pink-and-white,
plaster-of-Paris style of too many remodelled houses. Outside there is a
garden distinguished by a heavy old wall overrun with creepers, dividing
two levels and making a striking object in the landscape; and beyond that,
where the country grows bleak and begins to remind one of moors, there are
the last survivors of a unique breed of wild cattle, which, like the
mastiffs at the house, bear the name of the place. The name of another
Cheshire house, formerly belonging to the Stanleys, and now to Mr.
Gladstone, is probably familiar to American readers--Hawarden Castle. The
present house must trust entirely to associations for its interest, having
been built in 1809, before much taste was applied to restore old places,
but the old castle in the park dates from the middle of the thirteenth
century. The park is not unlike that of Arundel, but the views from the
ruin are finer and more varied. The counties of Caernarvon, Denbigh, Flint,
Cheshire and Lancashire are spread out around it, and the ruin itself is
beautiful and extensive.

The road from Hawarden to Boughton is exceedingly grand: we come upon one
of the widest panoramas of the Dee and one of the most typical of English
country scenes. A vast sweep of country unsurpassed in richness spreads
along the river on the Cheshire side: sixty square miles of fields and
pastures are in sight, with elms, sycamores and formal rows of Lombardy
poplars. Wherever the trees cluster in a grove they usually mark the site
of a country-house or a cherished ruin, like this one of old Hawarden,
where one enormous oak tree sweeps its branches on the ground on every
side, and forms a canopy whence you can peer out, as through the delicate
tracery of a Gothic window, at the landscape beyond. The mouth of the Dee
is visible from this road, whence at low water it seems reduced to a huge
sandbank, through which the tired river trickles like a brook. The dun sky
and yellow sands and gray sea, with the island of Hilbree, a counterpart of
Lindisfarne both in its legend of a recluse and its continual alternation
twice a day between the state of an island and a peninsula, make a picture
pleasant to look back upon. Hence too come the shoals of cockles and
mussels that go to delight Londoners. Then the open-sea fishing, the lithe
boats that seem all sail, the wide waste of waters, with the point of Air
and the Great Orme's Head walling it in on the receding Welsh coasts, the
remembrance of the shipwreck a little beyond the mouth of the Dee which led
to Milton's poem of _Lycidas_ (containing the phrase "wizard stream" which
has become peculiar to the Dee),--all claim our notice, and it seems
impossible that we are so few miles from Manchester and so far from the
historic, romantic times of old.

LADY BLANCHE MURPHY.

[Illustration: OVERTON CHURCH.]



FOR ANOTHER.

    Sweet--sweet? My child, some sweeter word than sweet,
      Some lovelier word than love, I want for you.
    Who says the world is bitter, while your feet
      Are left among the lilies and the dew?

    Ah? So some other has, this night, to fold
      Such hands as his, and drop some precious head
    From off her breast as full of baby-gold?
      I, for her grief, will not be comforted.

S.M.B. PIATT.



AMONG THE KABYLES.

CONCLUDING PAPER.

[Illustration: ROMAN SEPULCHRE AT TAKSEBT.]


Few countries twenty-five leagues long by ten wide have such an assortment
of climates as Grand Kabylia. From the Mediterranean on the north to the
Djurjura range on the south, a distance of two hours' ride by rail if there
were a railway, the ascent is equal to that from New York Bay to the summit
of Mount Washington. The palm is at home on the shore, while snow is
preserved through the summer in the hollows of the peaks. This epitome of
the zones is more condensed than that so often remarked upon on the eastern
slope of Mexico, although it does not embrace such extremes of temperature
as those presented by Vera Cruz and the uppermost third of Orizaba. The
country being more broken, the lower and higher levels are brought at many
points more closely together than on the Mexican ascent. It happens thus
that semi-tropical and semi-arctic plants come not simply into one and the
same landscape, but into actual contact. Each hill is a miniature Orizaba,
so far as it rises, and hundreds of abrupt hills collected in a space
comparatively so limited so dovetail the floras of different levels as in a
degree to cause them to coalesce and effect a certain mutual adaptation of
habits. Good neighborhood has established itself rather more completely
among the vegetable than with the human part of the inhabitants.

What more amiable example of give-and-take than the intertwining of birch
and orange, the thin ghostly sprays of the hyperborean caressing the
fragrant leaf and golden globes of the sub-tropical? This, and other
conjunctions less eloquent of contrast, may be seen on the headland of
Zeffoun or Cape Corbelin. They stand out from a prevailing background of
the familiar forest trees of temperate Europe and America--the ash, elm,
beech, oak, fir and walnut. The orchards, above those of oranges and
lemons, are of figs and olives. The cork-oak covers considerable tracts,
but is less attended to than in Spain. A non-European aspect is imparted by
the tufts of cactus and aloes which abound in the most arid localities.

[Illustration: THE DJURJURA RANGE.]

Wherever intelligent farming is met with in Northern Africa it is a safe
assertion that the Kabyles are either on the spot or not far off. Like
other farmers, they are conservative and adhere to old rules or fancies,
which in some cases verge upon superstition. The practice of fertilizing
fig trees by hanging them with fruits of the wild fig is one of those which
it is difficult to class--whether with the visionary or the practical. Be
that as it may, people who know nothing about figs except to eat them have
no right to a say in the matter. Tradition and experience are in favor of
the Kabyle. He does what has been done since Aristotle, Theophrastus and
Pliny, all of whom insist on "caprification" as essential to a large crop
of figs adapted to drying. He will go or send many miles to procure the
wild fruit if it does not grow in his neighborhood, and the traffic in it
reaches a value of some thousands of dollars annually, trains of thirty,
fifty and sixty mule-loads passing from one tribe to another. As with other
valuable things, this inedible fruit is food for quarrelling. The tribe
which is rich in the _dokhar_, or wild fig, is fortunate, and especially so
if its neighbors have none or if their crop of it fails. It is then able to
"bull the market," and proceeds to do so with a promptness and vim that
would turn a Wall street operator blue with envy. But it is compelled to
take account of troubles in its path unknown at the Board. The party who is
"short" on dokhar may be "long" on matchlocks. If so, the speculation is
apt to come to an unhappy end. A sudden raid will capture the stock and at
once equalize the market. To many communities figs are at once meat and
pocket-money. To lose the harvest is not to be thought of. The aspect of
the means of preventing such a disaster is altogether a secondary
consideration. Dokhar at all hazards is the cry of men, women and children.
The comparative cessation of fig-wars is one of the blessings due to French
rule.

[Illustration: ROAD ACROSS THE DJURJURA AT MOUNT TIROURDA.]

What we deem the fruit of the fig is, it will be remembered, only the husk,
the apparent seeds being the true fruit and--before ripening--the blossom.
A small fly establishes itself in the interior of the wild fig, escaping in
great numbers when the fruit is ripe. This happens before the ripening of
the improved fig, and the fly is supposed to carry the wild pollen to the
flowers of the latter. A single insect, say the Kabyles, will perfect
ninety-nine figs, the hundredth becoming its tomb. Some varieties of figs
do not need caprification, but they are said to be unsuitable for drying or
shipment.

The Italian practice of touching the eye of each fig, while yet on the
tree, with a drop of olive oil seems opposed to the African plan; since the
oil would certainly exclude the insect. And there are no better figs in the
world than those of the Southern States of the Union, which are not
treated in either way, and receive the least possible cultivation of any
kind. Those States, if it be true that the difference in the yield of a
"caprified" and non-caprified tree is that between two hundred and eighty
and twenty-five pounds, cannot do better than borrow a leaf from the Kabyle
book, should it only be a fig-leaf to aid in clothing the nakedness of bare
sands and galled hillsides. The United States Department of Agriculture
should by all means introduce the dokhar. Some of our agricultural
machinery would be an exchange in the highest degree beneficial to the
other side.

[Illustration: THE PEAK OF TIROURDA.]

Long before the French occupation the Kabyles had maintained a regulation
which is, we believe, peculiar in Europe to France--the _ban_, or
legally-established day for the beginning of the vintage and the harvest of
other fruits. The cultivator may repose under his own vine and fig tree,
but he shall not until the word is given by the proper authority put forth
his hand to pluck its luscious boon, though perfectly mature or past
maturity. Exceptions are made in case of invalids and distinguished guests,
and doubtless the hale schoolboy decrees an occasional dispensation in his
own favor. The birds share his defiance of the law, and both are abetted by
a third group of transgressors, the monkeys.

Africans of this last-named race are in some localities extremely numerous,
and they do not restrict their foraging parties to succulent food. Grain
is very acceptable to them, and has the advantage of keeping better than
fruit, the art of drying which they have not yet mastered any more than the
Bushmen or the Pi-Utes. They establish granaries in the crevices of the
rocks; and these reserves of provision are sometimes of such magnitude as
to make exploring expeditions on the part of the plundered Kabyles quite
remunerative.

[Illustration: DJEMA-SAHRIDJ.]

These most ancient of all the devastators which have successively descended
upon Barbary are baboons of small size. They have no tails, that ancestral
organ having dwindled to a wart the size of a pea. This approach to the
form of man is aided by another point of personal resemblance--long
whiskers. That the tail should have been worn off against the rocks, or in
climbing the fences to get at orchards and melon-patches, is easily
conceivable. How the evolutionists account for the retention of the beard
does not yet appear. The females carry their young as adroitly and
carefully as do the Kabyle women, and ascend the rocks with them with much
greater activity. A young monkey has a less neglected look than a young
Kabyle. His ablutions cannot be less frequent. Tourists complain that all
Kabylia does not boast a single bath-house--a privation the more striking
to one who has to pick his way often for miles among the ruins of Roman
aqueducts, tanks and baths, the great basin in cut stone at Djema-Sahridj,
which gives name to the place, being a noted example of these works.

[Illustration: A DISH-FACTORY.]

As the vultures, dogs, negroes, Jews and jackals keep exact memoranda of
the market-days, so the baboons are always on hand at harvest. Ranged in
long ranks on an amphitheatre of cliffs, stroking gravely their long white
beards like so many reverend _episcopi_ or "on-lookers" confident of their
tithes, they calmly contemplate the toilers in the vale below. Swift was
not more certain of his "tithe-pig and mortuary guinea." Sunset comes
sooner below than above. The reapers are early home, and the peaks are
still purple when the marauders pour down upon the fields, and their share
of the work is done with a neatness unsurpassable by reiver, ritter or
kateran. The monkey-tax thus collected is quite a calculable percentage of
the crop, and few taxes are more regularly paid. As it goes to
non-producers, its reduction is an object constantly kept in view. The
wretched guns of the natives are, however, but a feeble instrument of
reform. The chassepot may succeed after having finished the rest of its
task, and dispose of the baboons after the settlement of the men. The
former, though not incomparably smaller than the French conscript after a
protracted war, will never be made to bear arms. He is therefore useless to
modern statesmen, and needs to be got rid of.

While the barn is defrauded by these little vegetarians, the barnyard is
laid under tribute by a family of equally unauthorized flesh-eaters--the
panthers. If this large spotted cat, known in other parts of the world as
ounce, jaguar, leopard and chetah, has any choice of diet, it is for veal.
But his appreciation of kid is none the less lively. Lamb, in season, comes
well to him also. As there are many panthers, each of them of "unbounded
stomach," and they can find little to eat in the way of wild quadrupeds,
the destruction they must cause among domestic animals is seen to be
serious. In the Mokuéa neighborhood each village has its panther-killer, an
enterprising man set apart for a profession which sometimes becomes
hereditary. One of these boasts of having killed thirty-six panthers. His
father before him had bagged seventy-five, and he hoped before pulling his
final trigger to have done as well. This expectation was a just one, as at
twenty-eight he had already nearly halved the paternal count. The method of
hunting is very simple. The sportsman fixes a bleating little victim from
the herd at the foot of a tree, and climbs with his flint gun into the
branches. Had the North African beast the arboreal habits of the South
African tree-leopard or the American jaguar, this proceeding would be less
effectual with him. But he can neither climb nor reflect like his
countryman the monkey, and is picked off like a beef. One finds it
difficult to get up sympathy for an animal so little able to take care of
himself, or to suppose that panthers could have furnished a particularly
high-spiced ingredient to the enjoyments of the Roman arena. An English
bull-dog, if less picturesque, would have been far more fruitful of
fighting.

Products edible neither to the wild beast nor the tooth of time are the
Kabyle vases in clay. The amphoræ in common use by the women for carrying
water are generally of graceful forms, comparing well in design with many
of the archaic vases of Greece and the Levant. The patterns vary somewhat
with the locality, but there is a resemblance which speaks of a common
origin and taste. Those of the Beni-Raten all come to a blunt point at the
bottom, and will not stand unsupported. The jar is made to rest upon the
girdle of the bearer, while she supports it upon her back by one or both of
the handles. Among the tribes nearer the Djurjura the jar has a broader and
hollowed bottom, fitted to rest upon the head of the woman. It must
therefore be less elongated and more rotund to admit of her reaching the
handles for the purpose of balancing it. These jars weigh, filled with
water, sixty pounds. In carrying one of them a Kabyle woman, it may easily
be supposed, is not in a condition to study lightness of step or grace of
carriage. Yet this heavy task, to which she begins to accustom herself at
the age of twelve, does not appear to injure her figure or health. Such a
result is more often due to violent and exceptional strains than to
habitual exertion even greater in extent. The muscles are not less
susceptible of education than the mind. Whatever brings out the full power
of either without suddenly overtasking is healthy and beneficial.

It has been remarked that the most usual size of the Kabyle water-jar is as
nearly as possible identical with the amphora kept for a standard measure
in the Capitol at Rome. This coincidence may well be due rather to a
correspondence in the average strength of the carriers than to a common
system of authorized measures. In decoration the Kabyle vases approach the
Arabic more than the Roman style. But the feeling, both in form and
coloring, is decidedly more artistic than in the similar ware of Northern
Europe.

Very ancient influences are manifest, too, in the work of the Kabyle
silversmiths. Their diadems, ear-drops, bracelets and anklets remind one
of the forms unearthed at Hissarlik and in Cyprus. In outline and chasing
the rectangular, mathematical and monumental rules at the expense of the
flowing and floriated. A certain pre-Phidian stiffness of handling seems to
hamper the workman, as though twenty-three hundred years had been lost for
him.

[Illustration: THE BOUDOIR AND KITCHEN.]

That there should be so much of hopeful force left in the Kabyle, artisan,
agriculturist or adventurer, is creditable to him, and suggests "an
original glory not yet lost." He obstinately refuses to accept the sheer
professional vagabondism of the Arab, confident, as it were, that the world
has in reserve better use for him than that. "Day-dawn in Africa" will
probably gild his hills sooner than the tufted swamps of Guinea or the
slimy huts of the Nile. A class of missionaries quite different from the
Livingstones and the Moffatts have devoted themselves to his improvement.
They approach him in a different way, and begin on his commercial and
industrial side, not on the spiritual. The latter does not appear to be by
any means so accessible. Unlike the Ashantees, the Kafirs and the M'pongwe,
he was a Christian once, and may become one again. But he is not going to
be evangelized on the hurrah system; and that fact his new rulers, with all
their alleged defects as reformers and colonizers, have sense enough to
recognize. The new faith must push its way in the rear of works. Peace,
good government, good roads, better implements and methods of labor will
promote the enlightenment necessary to its success.

Bougie, the port of Eastern Kabylia, lying under Cape Carbon, has one
Catholic church, standing in the midst of new streets, squares and public
constructions indicative of prosperity wrought by the French régime. It is
still in need of easy communication with the interior, having but one
road--one more than in the time of the Turks. Wax is the chief commodity
traversing that line of traffic. That circumstance has, however, nothing to
do with the name of the town. The name was there when the French came, as
was the wax, and very little else but ruins. If the present state of
improvement has been effected with so little aid from good roads, what
would not a number of them accomplish? A railway running to the other end
of the province longitudinally through its centre would have but one ridge
to overcome, and would find a very fair business ready for it. The railway
and vandalism, in the proverbial sense of the word, could not coexist.
When the Vandals buy railway-tickets and ship fat oxen on fast stock-trains
the African world will move. Nobody ever heard of chronic war between two
adjacent railroad-stations, or of a gang of raiders dressed only in shirts
and armed with spears and matchlocks going out on the morning mail for a
day's shooting among their fellow-countrymen in the next county.

Let us quote a sketch of the region lying a few leagues west and north-west
of Bougie:

"Near Tarourt we found thermal springs. An open park-like country,
beautiful with trees and turf, is defaced only by charred spots where the
cork-woods have been burned by the natives to effect clearings much less in
extent than the space thus denuded. Ten acres of cork trees will be
thoughtlessly burned to make one of fig-orchard. And this evil rather
increases than lessens, prevention being difficult by reason of the want of
good roads for reaching the delinquents.... In six hours' march we reached
Toudja, at the foot of Mount Arbalon, in the most delicious oasis
imaginable. The soil, threaded by clear and cool rivulets which spring in
abundance from the rocks forming the base of the mountain, is wonderfully
fertile. We are surrounded by more than a square league of tufted verdure,
composed in great part of orange and lemon groves, mingled with some palms
and immense carob trees. The houses are well built, and even show fancy in
their designs. Vines bending with enormous clusters of grapes festoon
themselves from tree to tree, tasselling the topmost branches with fruit
and tendrils. It is not uncommon to see four or five large trees taken
possession of by a single vine, its trunk as large as the body of a man.
The grapes are mostly of a light-red color, large and sweet."

[Illustration: REPOSE.]

All this indicates that France did not deceive herself as to the
capabilities of Algeria, and that her conquest of it was inspired by
considerations more solid than the glory she has been accused of
recognizing as an all-sufficient motive. She has made the country much
more valuable to the commerce of the world than any other part of Barbary.
Had she done nothing more with it than hold it prostrate and put an end to
its existence as a den of pirates, she would by that alone have earned the
gratitude of the nations. She has done a great deal more. European
civilization has discovered a penetrable spot in the dense armor of
African barbarism. It has effected a lodgment in the darkest and most
hopeless of the continents. Should the movement fail, like so many before
it, to extend itself, and become localized after a period of promise, the
cause must be sought mainly in natural obstacles almost impossible to be
overcome.

To have lifted the dead, brutal weight of Ottoman tyranny from any corner
of the broad territory it blasts is to deserve well of humanity. Still
stronger is the case when the rescued territory is fertile, beautiful, and
inhabited by a race worthy of a better fate than the bondage against which
it had never ceased to struggle.

France has not been guiltless of acts of severity, always attendant, in a
greater or less degree, on violent political changes. It is not doubtful,
nevertheless, that by repressing the endless turbulence of the tribes and
driving out a foreign rule that knew no law but force, she has saved many
more lives than she has taken. A genius for organization was never denied
her. Organization was the first thing wanted in Algeria.

EDWARD C. BRUCE.



"FOR PERCIVAL."

CHAPTER I.

THORNS AND ROSES.


It was a long, narrow and rather low room, with four windows looking out on
a terrace. Jasmine and roses clustered round them, and flowers lifted their
heads to the broad sills. Within, the lighted candles showed furniture that
was perhaps a little faded and dim, though it had a slender, old-fashioned
grace which more than made amends for any beauty it had lost. There was
much old china, and on the walls were a few family portraits, of which
their owner was justly proud; and in the air there lingered a faint
fragrance of dried rose-leaves, delicate yet unconquerable. Even the full
tide of midsummer sweetness which flowed through the open windows could not
altogether overcome that subtle memory of summers long gone by.

The master of the house, with a face like a wrinkled waxen mask, sat in his
easy-chair reading the _Saturday Review_, and a lady very like him, only
with a little more color and fulness, was knitting close by. The light
shone on the old man's pale face and white hair, on the old lady's
silver-gray dress and flashing rings: the knitting-pins clicked, working up
the crimson wool, and the pages of the paper rustled with a pleasant
crispness as they were turned. By the window, where the candlelight faded
into the soft shadows, stood a young man apparently lost in thought. His
face, which was turned a little toward the garden, was a noteworthy one
with its straight forehead and clearly marked, level brows. His features
were good, and his clear olive complexion gave him something of a foreign
air. He had no beard, and his moustache was only a dark shadow on his upper
lip, so that his mouth stood revealed as one which indicated reserve,
though it was neither stern nor thin-lipped. Altogether, it was a pleasant
face.

A light step sauntering along the terrace, a low voice softly singing
"Drink to Me only with Thine Eyes," roused him from his reverie. He did not
move, but his mouth and eyes relaxed into a smile as a white figure came
out of the dusk exactly opposite his window, and singer and song stopped
together. "Oh, Percival! I didn't know you had come out of the
dining-room."

"Twenty minutes ago. What have you been doing?"

"Wandering about the garden. What could I do on such a perfect night but
what I have been doing all this perfect day?"

She stood looking up at him as she spoke. She had an arch, beautiful
face--the sort of face which would look well with patches and powder. Only
it would have been a sin to powder the hair, which, though deep brown, had
rich touches of gold, as if a happy sunbeam were imprisoned in its waves.
Her eyes were dark, her lips were softly red: everything about Sissy
Langton's face was delicate and fine. She lifted her hand to reach a spray
of jasmine just above her head, and the lace sleeve above fell back from
her pretty, slender wrist: "Give it to me. Percival! do you hear? Oh, what
a tease you are!" For he drew it back when she would have gathered it. Mrs.
Middleton was heard making a remark inside.

"You don't deserve it," said Percival. "Here is my aunt saying that the hot
weather makes you scandalously idle."

"Scandalously idle! Aunt Harriet!" Sissy repeated it in incredulous
amusement, and the old lady's indignant disclaimer was heard: "Percival!
Most unusually idle, I said."

"Oh! most unusually idle? I beg your pardon. But doesn't that imply a
considerable amount of idleness to be got through by one person?"

"Yes, but you helped me," said Sissy.--"Aunt Harriet, listen. He stood on
my thimble ever so long while he was talking this afternoon. How can I work
without a thimble?"

"Impossible!" said Percival. "And I don't think I can get you another
to-morrow: I am going out. On Thursday I shall come back and bring you one
that won't fit. Friday you must go with me to change it. Yes, we shall
manage three days' holiday very nicely."

"Nonsense! But it _is_ your fault if I am idle."

"Why, yes. Having no thimble, you are naturally unable to finish your book,
for instance."

"Oh, I sha'n't finish that: I don't like it. The heroine is so dreadfully
strong-minded I don't believe in her. She never does anything wrong; and
though she suffers tortures--absolute agony, you know--she always rises to
the occasion--nasty thing!"

"A wonderful woman," said Percival, idly picking sprays of jasmine as he
spoke.

Sissy's voice sank lower: "Do you think there are really any women like
that?"

"Oh yes, I suppose so."

She took the flowers which he held out, and looked doubtfully into his
face: "But--do you _like_ them, Percival?"

"Make the question a little clearer," he said. "I don't like your ranting,
pushing, unwomanly women who can talk of nothing but their rights. They are
very terrible. But heroic women--" He stopped short. The pause was more
eloquent than speech.

"Ah!" said Sissy, "Well--a woman like Jael? or Judith?"

He repeated the name "Judith." "Or Charlotte Corday?" he suggested after a
moment.

It was Sissy's turn to hesitate, and she compressed her pretty lips
doubtfully. Being in the Old Testament, Jael must of course come out all
right, even if one finds it difficult to like her. Judith's position, is
less clear. Still, it is a great thing to be in the Apocrypha, and then
living so long ago and so far away makes a difference. But Charlotte
Corday--a young Frenchwoman, not a century dead, who murdered a man, and
was guillotined in those horrible revolutionary times,--would Percival say
_that_ was the type of woman he liked?

"Well--Charlotte Corday, then?"

"Yes, I admire her," he said slowly. "Though I would rather the heroism did
not show itself in bloodshed. Still, she was noble: I honor her. I dare say
the others were too, but I don't know so much about them."

"What a poor little thing you must think me!" said Sissy. "I could never do
anything heroic."

"Why not?"

"I should be frightened. I can't bear people to be angry with me. I should
run away, or do something silly."

"Then I hope you won't be tried," said Percival.

She shook her pretty head: "People always talk about casting gold into the
furnace, and it's coming out only the brighter and better. Things are not
good for much if you would rather they were not tried."

Her hand was on the window-frame as she spoke, and the young man touched a
ring she wore: "Gold is tried in the furnace--yes, but not your pearls.
Besides, I'm not so sure that you would fail if you were put to the test."

She smiled, well pleased, yet unconvinced.

"You think," he went on, "that people who did great deeds did them without
an effort--were always ready, like a bow always strung? No, no, Sissy: they
felt very weak sometimes. Isn't there anything in the world you think you
could die for? Even if you say 'No' now, there may be something one of
these days."

The twilight hid the soft glow which overspread her face. "Anything in the
world you could die for?" Anything? Anybody? Her blood flowed in a strong,
courageous current as her heart made answer, "Yes--for one."

But she did not speak, and after a moment her companion changed the
subject. "That's a pretty ring," he said.

Sissy started from her reverie: "Horace gave it me. Adieu, Mr. Percival
Thorne: I'm going to look at my roses."

"Thank you. Yes, I shall be delighted to come." And Percival jumped out.
"Don't look at me as if I'd said something foolish. Isn't that the right
way to answer your kind invitation?"

"Invitation! What next?" demanded Sissy with pretty scorn. And the pair
went off together along the terrace and into the fragrant dusk.

A minute later it occurred to Mrs. Middleton to fear that Sissy might take
cold, and she went to the window to look after her. But, as no one was to
be seen, she turned away and encountered her brother, who had been watching
them too. "Do they care for each other?" he asked abruptly.

"How can I tell?" Mrs. Middleton replied. "Of course she is fond of him in
a way, but I can't help fancying sometimes that Horace--"

"Horace!" Mr. Thorne's smile was singularly bland. "Oh, indeed! Horace--a
charming arrangement! Pray how many more times is Mr. Horace to supplant
that poor boy?" His soft voice changed suddenly, as one might draw a sword
from its sheath. "Horace had better not cross Percival's path, or he will
have to deal with me. Is he not content? What next must he have?"

Mrs. Middleton paused. She could have answered him. There was an obvious
reply, but it was too crushing to be used, and Mr. Thorne braved it
accordingly.

"Better leave your grandsons alone, Godfrey," she said at last, "if you'll
take my advice; which I don't think you ever did yet. You'll only make
mischief. And there is Sissy to be considered. Let the child choose for
herself."

"And you think she can choose--_Horace?_"

"Why not?"

"Choose Horace rather than Percival?"

"I should," said the old lady with smiling audacity. "And I would rather
she did. Horace's position is better."

Mr. Thorne uttered something akin to a grunt, which might by courtesy be
taken for a groan: "Oh, how mercenary you women are! Well, if you marry a
man for his money, Horace has the best of it--if he behaves himself. Yes, I
admit that--_if he behaves himself_"'

"And Horace is handsomer," said Mrs. Middleton with a smile.

"Pink-and-white prettiness!" scoffed Mr. Thorne.

"Nonsense!" The color mounted to the old lady's forehead, and she spoke
sharply: "We didn't hear anything about that when he was a lad, and we were
afraid of something amiss with his lungs: it would have been high treason
to say a syllable against him then. And now, though I suppose he will
always be a little delicate (you'd be sorry if you lost him, Godfrey), it's
a shame to talk as if the boys were not to be compared. They are just of a
height, not half an inch difference, and the one as brave and manly as the
other. Horace is fair, and Percival is dark; and you know, as well as I do,
that Horace is the handsomer."

Mr. Thorne shifted his ground: "If I were Sissy I would choose my husband
for qualities that are rather more than skin-deep."

"By all means. And still I would choose Horace."

"What is amiss with Percival?"

"He is not so frank and open. I don't want to say anything against him--I
like Percival--but I wish he were not quite so reserved."

"What next?" said Mr. Thorne with a short laugh. "Why, only this morning
you said he talked more than Horace."

"Talked? Oh yes, Percival can talk, and about himself too," said Mrs.
Middleton with a smile. "But he can keep his secrets all the time. I don't
want to say anything against him: I like him very much--"

"No doubt," said Mr. Thorne.

"But I don't feel quite sure that I know him. He isn't like Horace. You
know Horace's friends--"

"Trust me for that."

"But what do you know of Percival's? I heard him tell Sissy he would be out
to-morrow. Will you ever know where he went?"

"I sha'n't ask him."

"No," she retorted, "you dare not! Isn't it a rule that no one is ever to
question Percival?"

"And while I'm master here it shall be obeyed. It's the least I can do. The
boy shall come and go, speak or hold his tongue, as he pleases. No one
shall cross him--Horace least of all--while I'm master here, Harriet; but
that won't be very long."

"I don't want you to think any harm of Percival's silence," she answered
gently. "I don't for one moment suppose he has any secrets to be ashamed
of. I myself like people to be open, that is all."

"If I wanted to know anything Percival would tell me," said Mr. Thorne.

Mrs. Middleton's charity was great. She hid the smile she could not
repress. "Well," she said, "perhaps I am not fair to Percival, but,
Godfrey, you are not quite just to Horace."

He turned upon her: "Unjust to Horace? _I?_"

She knew what he meant. He had shown Horace signal favor, far above his
cousin, yet what she had said was true. Perhaps some of the injustice had
been in this very favor. "Here are our truants!" she exclaimed. She and her
brother had not talked so confidentially for years, but the moment her eyes
fell on Sissy her thoughts went back to the point at which Mr. Thorne had
disturbed them: "My dearest Sissy, I am so afraid you will catch cold."

"It can't be done to-night," said Percival. "Won't you come and try?" But
the old lady shook her head.

"All right, auntie! we won't stop out," said Sissy; and a moment later she
made her appearance in the drawing-room with her hands full of roses, which
she tossed carelessly on the table. Mr. Thorne had picked up his paper, and
stood turning the pages and pretending to read, but she pushed it aside to
put a rosebud in his coat.

"Roses are more fit for you young people than for an old fellow like me,"
he said, "Why don't you give one to Percival?"

She looked over her shoulder at young Thorne. "Do you want one?" she said.

He smiled, with a slight movement of his head and his dark eyes fixed on
hers.

"Then, why didn't you pick one when we were out? Now, weren't you foolish?
Well, never mind. What color?"

"Choose for him," said Mr. Thorne.

Sissy hesitated, looking from Percival's face to a bud of deepest crimson.
Then, throwing it down, "No, you shall have yellow," she exclaimed: "Laura
Falconer's complexion is something like yours, and she always wears yellow.
As soon as one yellow dress is worn out she gets another."

"She is a most remarkable young woman if she waits till the first one is
worn out," said Percival.

"Am I to put your rose in or not?" Sissy demanded.

He stepped forward with a smile, and looked darkly handsome as he stood
there with Sissy putting the yellow rose in his coat and glancing archly up
at him.

Mr. Thorne from behind his _Saturday Review_ watched the girl who might,
perhaps, hold his favorite's future in her hands. "Does he care for her?"
he wondered. If he did, the old man felt that he would gladly have knelt to
entreat her, "Be good to my poor Percival." But did Percival want her to be
good to him? Godfrey Thorne was altogether in the dark about his grandson's
wishes in the matter. He tried hard not to think that he was in the dark
about every wish or hope of Percival's, and he looked up eagerly when the
latter said something about going out the next day. He remembered which
horse Percival liked, he assented to everything, but he watched him all the
time with a wistful curiosity. He did not really care where Percival went,
but he would have given much for such a word about his plans as would have
proved to Harriet, and to himself too, that his boy _did_ confide in him
sometimes. It was not to be, however. Young Thorne had taken up the local
paper and the subject dropped. Mr. Thorne may have guessed later, but he
never knew where his roan horse went the next day.



CHAPTER II.

"THOSE EYES OF YOURS."


Not five miles away that same evening a conversation was going on which
would have interested Mrs. Middleton.

The scene was an up-stairs room in a pleasant house near the county town.
Mrs. Blake, a woman of seven or eight and forty, handsome and well
preserved, but of a high-colored type, leant back in an easy-chair lazily
unfastening her bracelets, by way of signifying that she had begun to
prepare for the night. Her two daughters were with her. Addie, the elder,
was at the looking-glass brushing her hair and half enveloped in its silky
blackness. She was a tall, graceful girl, a refined likeness of her mother.
On the rug lay Lottie, three years younger, hardly more than a growing
girl, long-limbed, slight, a little abrupt and angular by her sister's
side, her features not quite so regular, her face paler in its cloud of
dark hair. Yet there was a look of determination and power which was
wanting in Addie; and at times, when Lottie was roused, her eyes had a dark
splendor which made her sister's beauty seem comparatively commonplace and
tame.

Stretched at full length, she propped her chin on her hands and looked up
at her mother. "I don't suppose you care," she said, in a clear, almost
boyish voice.

"Not much," Mrs. Blake replied with, a smile. "Especially as I rather doubt
it."

Addie paused, brush in hand: "I really think you've made a mistake,
Lottie."

"Do you really? I haven't, though," said that young lady decidedly.

"It can't be--surely," Addie hesitated, with a little shadow on her face.

"Of course no. Is it likely?" said Mrs. Blake, as if the discussion were
closed.

"I tell you," said Lottie stubbornly, "Godfrey Hammond told me that
Percival's father was the eldest son."

"But it is Horace who has always lived at Brackenhill. Percival only goes
on a visit now and then. Every one knows," said Addie, in almost an injured
tone, "that Horace is the heir."

Lottie raised her head a little and eyed her sister intently, with
amusement, wonder, and a little scorn in her glance. Addie, blissfully
unconscious, went on brushing her hair, still with that look of anxious
perplexity.

"This is how it was," Lottie exclaimed suddenly. "Percival was just gone,
and you were talking to Horace. Up comes Godfrey Hammond, sits down by me,
and says some rubbish about consoling me. I think I laughed. Then he looked
at me out of his little, light eyes, and said that you and I seemed to get
on well with his young friends. So I said, 'Oh yes--middling.'"

"Upon my word," smiled Mrs. Blake, "you appear to have distinguished
yourself in the conversation."

"Didn't I?" said Lottie, untroubled and unabashed: "I know it struck me so
at the time. Then he said something--I forget how he put it--about our
being just the right number and pairing off charmingly. So I said, 'Oh, of
course the elder ones went together: that was only right.'"

"And what did he say?"

"Oh, he pinched his lips together and smiled, and said, 'Don't you know
that Percival is the elder?'"

"But, Lottie, that proves nothing as to his father."

"Who supposed it did? I said 'Fiddlededee! I didn't mean that: I supposed
they were much about the same age, or if Percy were a month or two older it
made no difference. I meant that Horace was the eldest son's son, so of
course he was A 1.'"

"Well?" said Addie.

"Well, then he looked twice as pleased with himself as he did before, and
said, 'I don't think Horace told you that. It so happens that Percival is
not only the elder by a month or two, as you say, but he is the son of the
eldest son.' Then I said 'Oh!' and mamma called me for something, and I
went."

Mrs. Blake and Addie exchanged glances.

"Now, could I have made a mistake?" demanded Lottie.

"It seems plain enough, certainly," her mother allowed.

"Then, could Godfrey Hammond have made a mistake? Hasn't he known the
Thornes all their lives? and didn't he say once that he was named Godfrey
after their old grandfather?"

Mrs. Blake assented.

"Then," said the girl, relapsing into her recumbent position, "perhaps
you'll believe me another time."

"Perhaps," said Mrs. Blake: "we'll see when the other time comes. If it is
as you say, it is curious." She rose as she spoke and went to the farther
end of the room. As she stood by an open drawer putting away the ornaments
which she had taken off, the candlelight revealed a shadow of perplexity
on her face which increased the likeness between herself and Addie.
Apparently, Lottie was right as to her facts. The estate was not entailed,
then, and despotic power seemed to be rather capriciously exercised by the
head of the house. If Horace should displease his grandfather--if, for
instance, he chose a wife of whom old Mr. Thorne did not approve--would his
position be very secure? Mrs. Blake was uneasy, and felt that it was very
wrong of people to play tricks with the succession to an estate like
Brackenhill.

Meanwhile, Lottie watched her sister, who was thoughtfully drawing her
fingers through her long hair. "Addie," she said, after a pause, "what will
you do if Horace isn't the heir after all?"

"What a silly question! I shan't do anything: there's nothing for me to
do."

"But shall you mind very much? You are very fond of Horace, aren't you?"

"Fond of him!" Addie repeated. "He is very pleasant to talk to, if you mean
that."

"Oh, you can't deceive me so! I believe that you are in love with him,"
said Lottie solemnly.

The color rushed to Addie's face when her vaguely tender sentiments,
indefinite as Horace's attentions, were described in this startling
fashion. "Indeed, I'm nothing of the kind," she said hurriedly. "Pray don't
talk such utter nonsense, Lottie. If you have nothing more sensible to say,
you had better hold your tongue."

"But why are you ashamed of it?" Lottie persisted: "I wouldn't be." She had
an unsuspected secret herself, but she would have owned it proudly enough
had she been challenged.

"I'm not ashamed," said Addie; "and you know nothing about being in love,
so you had better not talk about it."

"Oh yes, I do!" was the reply, uttered with Lottie's calm simplicity of
manner: "I know how to tell whether you are in love or not, Addie. What
would you do if a girl were to win Horace Thorne away from you?"

Pride and a sense of propriety dictated Addie's answer and gave sharpness
to her voice: "I should say she was perfectly welcome to him."

Lottie considered for a moment: "Yes, I suppose one might _say_ so to her,
but what would you do? Wouldn't you want to kill her? And wouldn't you die
of a broken heart?"

Addie was horrified: "I don't want to kill anybody, and I'm not going to
die for Mr. Horace Thorne. Please don't say such things, Lottie: people
never do. You forget he is only an acquaintance."

"No; I don't think you are in love with him, certainly." Lottie pronounced
this decision with the air of one who has solved a difficult problem.

"What are you talking about?" Mrs. Blake inquired, coming back, and
glancing from Addie's flushed and troubled face to Lottie's thoughtful
eyes.

"I was asking Addie if she didn't want Horace to be the heir. I know you
do, mamma--oh, just for his own sake, because you think he's the nicest,
don't you? I heard you tell him one day "--here Lottie looked up with a
candid gaze and audaciously imitated Mrs. Blake's manner--"that though we
knew his cousin _first_, he--Horace, you know--seemed to drop _so_
naturally into _all_ our ways that it was quite _delightful_ to feel that
we needn't stand on _any_ ceremony with him."

"Good gracious, Lottie! what do you mean by listening to every word I say?"

"I didn't listen--I heard," said Lottie. "I always do hear when you say
your words as if they had little dashes under them."

"Well, Horace Thorne _is_ easier to get on with than his cousin," said Mrs.
Blake, taking no notice of Lottie's mimicry.

"There, I said so: mamma would like it to be Horace. Nobody asks what I
should like--nobody thinks about me and Percival."

"Oh, indeed! I wasn't aware," said Mrs. Blake. "When is that to come off? I
dare say you will look very well in orange-blossoms and a pinafore!"

"Oh, you think I'm too young, do you? But a little while ago you were
always saying that I was grown up, and oughtn't to want any more childish
games. What was I to do?"

"Upon my word!" exclaimed Mrs. Blake. "I'll buy you a doll for a birthday
present, to keep you out of mischief."

"Too late," said Lottie from the rug. She burst into sudden laughter, loud
but not unmelodious. "What rubbish we are talking! Seventeen to-morrow, and
Addie is nearly twenty; and sometimes I think I must be a hundred!"

"Well, you are talking nonsense now," Mrs. Blake exclaimed. "Why, you baby!
only last November you would go into that wet meadow by the rectory to play
trap-and-ball with Robin and Jack. And such a fuss as there was if one
wanted to make you the least tidy and respectable!"

"Was that last November?" Lottie stared thoughtfully into space. "Queer
that last November should be so many years ago, isn't it? Poor little Cock
Robin! I met him in the lane the day before he went away. They will keep
him in jackets, and he hates them so! I laughed at him, and told him to be
a good little boy and mind his book. He didn't seem to like it, somehow."

"I dare say he didn't," said Addie, who had been silently recovering
herself: "there's no mistake about it when you laugh at any one."

"There shall be no mistake about anything I do," Lottie asserted. "I'm
going to bed now." She sprang to her feet and stood looking at her sister:
"What jolly hair you've got, Addie!"

"Yours is just as thick, or thicker," said Addie.

"Each individual hair is a good deal thicker, if you mean that.
'Blue-black, lustrous, thick like horse-hairs!' That's what Percy quoted to
me one day when I was grumbling, and I said I wasn't sure he wasn't rude.
Addie, are Horace and Percival fond of each other?"

"How can I tell? I suppose so."

"I have my doubts," said Lottie sagely. "Why should they be? There must be
something queer, you know, or why doesn't that stupid old man at
Brackenhill treat Percival as the eldest? Well, good-night." And Lottie
went off, half saying, half singing, "Who killed Cock Robin? I, said the
Sparrow--with my bow and arrow." And with a triumphant outburst of "_I_
killed Cock Robin!" she banged the door after her.

There was a pause. Then Addie said, "Seventeen to-morrow! Mamma, Lottie
really is grown-up now."

"Is she?" Mrs. Blake replied doubtfully. "Time she should be, I'm sure."

Lottie had been a sore trial to her mother. Addie was pretty as a child,
tolerably presentable even at her most awkward age, glided gradually into
girlhood and beauty, and finally "came out" completely to Mrs. Blake's
satisfaction. But Lottie at fifteen or sixteen was her despair--"Exactly
like a great unruly boy," she lamented. She dashed through her lessons
fairly well, but the moment she was released she was unendurable. She
whistled, she sang at the top of her voice, and plunged about the house in
her thick boots, till she could be off to join the two boys at the rectory,
her dear friends and comrades. Robin Wingfield, the elder, was her junior
by rather more than a year; and this advantage, especially as she was tall
and strong for her age, enabled her fully to hold her own with them. Nor
could Mrs. Blake hinder this friendship, as she would gladly have done, for
her husband was on Lottie's side.

"Let the girl alone," he said. "Too big for this sort of thing? Rubbish!
The milliner's bills will come in quite soon enough. And what's amiss with
Robin and Jack? Good boys as boys go, and she's another; and if they like
to scramble over hedges and ditches together, let them. For Heaven's sake,
Caroline, don't attempt to keep her at home: she'll certainly drive me
crazy if you do. No one ever banged doors as Lottie does: she ought to
patent the process. Slams them with a crash which jars the whole house, and
yet manages not to latch them, and the moment she is gone they are swinging
backward and forward till I'm almost out of my senses. Here she comes down
stairs, like a thunderbolt.--Lottie, my dear girl, I'm sure it's going to
be fine: better run out and look up those Wingfield boys, I think."

So the trio spent long half-holidays rambling in the fields; and on these
occasions Lottie might be met, an immense distance from home, in the
shabbiest clothes and wearing a red cap of Robin's tossed carelessly on her
dark hair. Percival once encountered them on one of these expeditions.
Lottie's beauty was still pale and unripe, like those sheathed buds which
will come suddenly to their glory of blossom, not like rosebuds which have
a loveliness of their own; but the young man was struck by the boyish
mixture of shyness and bluntness with which she greeted him, and attracted
by the great eyes which gazed at him from under Robin's shabby cap. When he
and Horace went to the Blakes' he amused himself idly enough with the
school-girl, while his cousin flirted with Addie. He laughed one day when
Mrs. Blake was unusually troubled about Lottie's apparel, and said
something about "a sweet neglect." But the soul of Lottie's mamma was not
to be comforted with scraps of poetry. How could it be, when she had just
arraigned her daughter on the charge of having her pockets bulging
hideously, and had discovered that those receptacles overflowed with a
miscellaneous assortment of odds and ends, the accumulations of weeks,
tending to show that Lottie and Cock Robin, as she called him, had all
things in common? How could it be, when Lottie was always outgrowing her
garments in the most ungainly manner, so that her sleeves seemed to retreat
in horror from her wrists and from her long hands, tanned by sun and wind,
seamed with bramble-scratches and smeared with school-room ink? Once Lottie
came home with an unmistakable black eye, for which Robin's cricket-ball
was accountable. Then, indeed, Mrs. Blake felt that her cup of bitterness
was full to overflowing, though Lottie did assure her, "You should have
seen Jack's eye last April: his was much more swollen, and all sorts of
colors, than mine." It was impossible to avoid the conclusion that Jack
must have been, to say the least of it, unpleasant to look at. Percival
happened to come to the house just then, and was tranquilly amused at the
good lady's despair. It was before the Blakes knew much of Horace, and she
had not yet discovered that Percival's cousin was so much more friendly
than Percival himself; so she made the latter her confidant. He recommended
a raw beefsteak with a gravity worthy of a Spanish grandee. He was not
allowed to see Lottie, who was kept in seclusion as being half culprit,
half invalid, and wholly unpresentable; but as he was going away the
servant gave him a little note in Lottie's boyish scrawl:

     "DEAR PERCIVAL: Mamma was cross with Robin and sent him away
     do tell him I'm all right, and he is not to mind he will be
     sure to be about somewhere It is very stupid being shut up
     here Addie says she can't go running about giving messages
     to boys and Papa said if he saw him he should certainly
     punch his head so please tell him he is not to bother
     himself about me I shall soon be all right."

Percival went away, smiling a little at his letter and at Lottie herself.
Just as he reached the first of the fields which were the short cut from
the house, he spied Robin lurking on the other side of the hedge, with Jack
at his heels. He halted, and called "Robin! Robin Wingfield! I want to
speak to you."

The boy hesitated: "There's a gate farther on."

Coming to the gate, Percival rested his arms on it and looked at Robin. The
boy was not big for his age, but there was a good deal of cleverness in his
upturned freckled face. "I've a message for you," said the young man.

"From her?" Robin indicated the Blakes' house with a jerk of his head.

"Yes. She asked me to tell you that she is all right, though, of course,
she can't come out at present. She made sure I should find you somewhere
about."

Robin nodded: "I did try to hear how she was, but that old dragon--"

"Meaning my friend Mrs. Blake?" said young Thorne. "Ah! Hardly civil
perhaps, but forcible."

"Well--Mrs. Blake, then--caught me in the shrubbery and pitched into me.
Said I ought to be ashamed of myself. Supposed I should be satisfied when
I'd broken Lottie's neck. Told me I'd better not show my face there again."

"Well," said Percival, "you couldn't expect Mrs. Blake to be particularly
delighted with your afternoon's work. And, Wingfield, though I was
especially to tell you that you were not to vex yourself about it, you
really ought to be more careful. Knocking a young lady's eye half out--"

"Young lady!" in a tone of intense scorn. "Lottie isn't a _young lady_."

"Oh! isn't she?" said Percival.

"I should think not, indeed!" And Robin eyed the big young man who was
laughing at him as if he meditated wiping out the insult to Lottie then and
there. But even with Jack, his sturdy satellite, to help, it was not to be
thought of. "She's a brick!" said Cock Robin, half to himself.

"No doubt," said Percival. "But, as I was saying, it isn't exactly the way
to treat her.--At least--I don't know: upon my word, I don't know," he
soliloquized. "Judging by most women's novels, from _Jane Eyre_ downward,
the taste for muscular bullies prevails. Robin may be the coming hero--who
knows?--and courtship commencing with a black eye the future
fashion.--Well, Robin, any answer?"

"Tell her I hope she'll soon be all right. Shall you see her?"

"I can see that she gets any message you want to send."

Robin groped among his treasures: "Look here: I brought away her knife that
afternoon. She lent it me. She'd better have it--it's got four blades--she
may want it, perhaps."

Percival dropped the formidable instrument carelessly into his pocket: "She
shall have it. And, Robin, you'd better not be hanging about here: Lottie
says so. You'll only vex Mrs. Blake."

"All right!" said the boy, and went off, with Jack after him.

Percival, who was staying in the neighborhood, went straight home, tied up
a parcel of books he thought might amuse Lottie in her imprisonment, and
wrote a note to go with them. He was whistling softly to himself as he
wrote, and, if the truth be told, had a fair vision floating before his
eyes--a girl of whom Lottie had reminded him by sheer force of contrast.
Still, he liked Lottie in her way. He was young enough to enjoy the easy
sense of patronage and superiority which made the words flow so pleasantly
from his pen. Never had Lottie seemed to him so utterly a child as
immediately after his talk with her boy-friend.

"Here are some books," said the hurrying pen, "which I think you will like
if your eye is not so bad as to prevent your reading. Robin was keeping his
disconsolate watch close by, as you foretold, and asked anxiously after
you, so I gave him your message and dismissed him. He especially charged me
to send you the enclosed--knife I believe he called it: it looks to me like
a whole armory of deadly weapons--which he seemed to think would be a
comfort to you in your affliction. I sincerely hope it may prove so. I was
very civil to him, remembering that I was your ambassador; but if he isn't
a little less rough with you in future, I shall be tempted to adopt Mr.
Blake's plan if I happen to meet your friend again. You really mustn't let
him damage those eyes of yours in this reckless fashion. Mrs. Blake was
nearly heartbroken this morning."

He sent his parcel off, and speedily ceased to think of it. And Lottie
herself might have done the same, not caring much for his books, but for
four little words--"those eyes of yours." Had Percival written "your eyes,"
it would have meant nothing, but "those eyes of yours" implied notice--nay,
admiration. Again and again she looked at the thick paper, with the crest
at the top and the vigorous lines of writing below; and again and again the
four words, "those eyes of yours," seemed to spring into ever-clearer
prominence. She hid the letter away with a sudden comprehension of the
roughness of her pencil scrawl which it answered, and began to take pride
in her looks when they least deserved it. Only a day or two before she had
envied Robin the possession of sight a little keener than her own, but now
she smiled to think that Percival Thorne would never have regretted injury
to "those eyes of yours" had she owned Robin's light-gray orbs.

Her transformation had begun. The knife was still a treasure, but she was
ashamed of her delight in it. She breathed on the shining blades and rubbed
them to brightness again, but she did it stealthily, with a glance over her
shoulder first. She went rambling with Robin and Jack, but not when she
knew that Percival Thorne was in the neighborhood. She was very sure of his
absence on the November day to which her mother had alluded, when she had
insisted on playing trap-and-ball in the rectory meadows. Mrs. Blake did
not realize it, but it was almost the last day of Lottie's old life. At
Christmas-time they were asked to stay for a few days at a friend's house.
There was to be a dance, and the hostess, being Lottie's godmother,
pointedly included her in the invitation; so Mrs. Blake and Addie did what
they could to improve their black sheep's appearance.

Lottie, dressed for the eventful evening, was left alone for a moment
before the three went down. She felt shy, dispirited and sullen. Her
ball-dress encumbered and constrained her. "I hate it all," she said to
herself, beating impatiently with her foot upon the ground. Something
moving caught her eye: it was her reflection in a mirror. She paused and
gazed in wonder. Was this slender girl, arrayed in a cloud of
semi-transparent white, really herself--the Lottie who only a few days
before had raced Robin Wingfield home across the fields, had been the first
over the gap and through the ditch into the rectory meadow, and had rushed
away with the November rain-drops driving in her face? She gazed on: the
transformation had its charms, after all. But the shadow came back: "It's
no use. Addie's prettier than I ever shall be: I must be second all my
life. Second! If I can't be A 1, I'd as soon be Z 1000! I won't go about
to be a foil to her. I'd ten times rather race with Robin; and I will too!
They sha'n't coop me up and make a young lady of me!"

She caught the flash of her indignant glance in the glass and paused.

"_Those eyes of yours!_"

_Must_ she be second all her life? Had she not a power and witchery of her
own? Might she not even distance Addie in the race? "I've more brains than
she has," mused Lottie.

Her heart was beating fast as they came down stairs. They had only arrived
by a late train, which gave them just time to dress; and Mrs. Blake had
rather exceeded the allowance, so that most of the guests had arrived and
the first quadrille was nearly ended as they came in. Lottie followed her
mother and Addie as they glided through the crowd, and when they paused she
stood shy and fierce, casting lowering glances around.

She heard their hostess say to some one, "Do let me find you a partner."

A well-known voice replied, "Not this time, thank you: I'm going to try to
find one for myself;" and Percival stood before her, looking, to her
girlish fancy, more of a hero than ever in the evening-dress which became
him well. The perfectly-fitting gloves, the flower in his coat, a dozen
little things which she could not define, made her feel uncouth and
anxious, fascinated and frightened, all at once. Had he greeted her in the
patronizing way in which he had talked to her of old, she would have been
deeply wounded, but he asked her for the next dance more ceremoniously, she
knew, than Horace would have asked Addie. Still, she trembled as they moved
off. They had scarcely met since her note to him. Suppose he alluded to it,
asked after her black eye, and inquired whether she had derived any benefit
from the beefsteak? Nothing more natural, and yet if he did Lottie felt
that she should _hate_ him. "I know I should do something dreadful," she
thought--"scratch his face, and then burst out crying, most likely. Oh,
what would become of me? I should be ruined for life! I should have to
shut myself up, never see any one again, and emigrate with Robin directly
he was old enough."

Percival did not know his danger, but he escaped it. The fatal thoughts
were in his mind while Lottie was planning her disgrace and exile, but he
merely remarked that he liked the first waltz, and should they start at
once or wait a moment till a couple or two dropped out?

"I don't know whether I _can_ waltz," said Lottie doubtfully.

"Weren't you over tortured with dancing-lessons?"

"Oh yes. But I've never tried at a party. Suppose we go bumping up against
everybody, like that fat man and the little lady in pink--the two who are
just stopping?"

"I assure you," said Percival gravely, "that I do not dance at all like
that fat man. And if you dance like the lady in pink, I shall be more
surprised than I have words to say. Now?"

They were off. Percival knew that he waltzed well, and had an idea that
Lottie would prove a good partner. Nor was he mistaken. She had been fairly
taught, much against her will, had a good ear for time, and, thanks to many
a race with Robin Wingfield, her energy was almost terrible. They spun
swiftly and silently round, unwearied while other couples dropped out of
the ranks to rest and talk. Percival was well pleased. It is true that he
had memories of waltzes with Sissy Langton of more utter harmony, of
sweeter grace, of delight more perfect, though far more fleeting. But
Lottie, with her steady swiftness and her strong young life, had a charm of
her own which he was not slow to recognize. She would hardly have thanked
him for accurately classifying it, for as she danced she felt that she had
discovered a new joy. Her old life slipped from her like a husk. Friendship
with Cock Robin was an evident absurdity. It is true she was angry with
herself that, after fighting so passionately for freedom, she should
voluntarily bend her proud neck beneath the yoke. She foresaw that her
mother and Addie would triumph; she felt that her bondage to Mrs. Grundy
would often be irksome; but here was the first instalment of her wages in
this long waltz with Percival. She fancied that the secret of her pleasure
lay in the two words--"with Percival." In her ignorance she thought that
she was tasting the honeyed fire of love, when in truth it was the
sweetness of conscious success. Before the last notes of that enchanted
music died away she had cast her girlish devotion, "half in a rapture and
half in a rage," at her partner's feet, while he stood beside her calm and
self-possessed. He would have been astounded, and perhaps almost disgusted,
had he known what was passing through her mind.

Love at sixteen is generally only a desire to be in love, and seeks not so
much a fit as a possible object. Probably Lottie's passion offered as many
assurances of domestic bliss as could be desired at her age.

Percival was dark, foreign-looking and handsome: he had an interesting air
of reserve, and no apparent need to practise small economies. His clothes
fitted him extremely well, and at times he had a way of standing proudly
aloof which was worthy of any hero of romance. No settled occupation would
interfere with picnics and balls; and, to crown all, had he not said to
her, "Those eyes of yours"? Were not these ample foundations for the
happiness of thirty or forty years of marriage?

Percival, meanwhile, wanted to be kind to the childish, half-tamed Lottie,
who had attracted his notice in the fields and trusted him with her
generous message to Robin Wingfield. The girl fancied herself immensely
improved by her white dress, but had Thorne been a painter he would have
sketched her as a pale vision of Liberty, with loosely-knotted hair and
dark eyes glowing under Robin's red cap. He was able coolly to determine
the precise nature of his pleasure in her society, but he knew that it was
a pleasure. And Lottie, when she fell asleep that night, clasped a card
which was rendered priceless by the frequent recurrence of his initials.

Her passion transformed her. Her vehement spirit remained, but everything
else was changed. Her old dreams and longings were cast out by the new. She
laughed with Mrs. Blake and Addie, but under the laughter she hid her love,
and cherished it in fierce and solitary silence. Yet even to herself the
transformation seemed so wonderful that she could hardly believe in it, and
acted the rough girl now and then with the idea that otherwise they _must_
think her a consummate actress morning, noon and night. For some months no
great event marked the record of her unsuspected passion. It might,
perhaps, have run its course, and died out harmlessly in due time, but for
an unlucky afternoon, about a week before her birthday, when Percival
uttered some thoughtless words which woke a tempest of doubt and fear in
Lottie's heart. She did not question his love, but she caught a glimpse of
his pride, and felt as if a gulf had opened between her and her dream of
happiness.

Percival was calling at the house on the eventful day which was destined to
influence Lottie's fate and his own. He was in a happy mood, well pleased
with things in general, and, after his own fashion, inclined to be
talkative. When visitors arrived and Addie exclaimed, "Mrs. Pickering and
that boy of hers--oh bother!" she spoke the feelings of the whole party;
and Percival from his place by the window looked across at Lottie and
shrugged his shoulders expressively. Had there been time he would have
tried to escape into the garden with his girl friend; but as that was
impossible, he resigned himself to his fate and listened while Mrs.
Pickering poured forth her rapture concerning her son's prospects to Mrs.
Blake. An uncle who was the head of a great London firm had offered the
young man a situation, with an implied promise of a share in the business
later. "Such a subject for congratulation!" the good lady exclaimed,
beaming on her son, who sat silently turning his hat in his hands and
looking very pink. "Such an opening for William! Better than having a
fortune left him, I call it, for it is such a thing to have an occupation.
Every young man should be brought up to something, in my opinion."

Mrs. Blake, with a half glance at Addie and a thought of Horace, suggested
that heirs to landed estates--

"Well, yes." Mrs. Pickering agreed with her. Country gentlemen often found
so much to do in looking after their tenants and making improvements that
she would not say anything about them. But young men with small incomes and
no profession--she should be sorry if a son of hers--

"Like me, for instance," said Percival, looking up. "I've a small income
and no profession."

Mrs. Pickering, somewhat confused, hastened to explain that she meant
nothing personal.

"Of course not," he said: "I know that. I only mentioned it because I think
an illustration stamps a thing on people's memories."

"But, Percival," Mrs. Blake interposed, "I must say that in this I agree
with Mrs. Pickering. I do think it would be better if you had something to
do--I do indeed." She looked at him with an air of affectionate severity.
"I speak as your friend, you know." (Percival bowed his gratitude.) "I
really think young people are happier when they have a settled occupation."

"I dare say that is true, as a rule," he said.

"But you don't think you would be?" questioned Lottie.

He turned to her with a smile: "Well, I doubt it. Of course I don't know
how happy I might be if I had been brought up to a profession." He glanced
through the open window at the warm loveliness of June. "At this moment,
for instance, I might have been writing a sermon or cutting off a man's
leg. But, somehow, I am very well satisfied as I am."

"Oh, if you mean to make fun of it--" Mrs. Blake began.

"But I don't," Percival said quickly. "I may laugh, but I'm in earnest too.
I have plenty to eat and drink; I can pay my tailor and still have a little
money in my pocket; I am my own master. Sometimes I ride--another man's
horse: if not I walk, and am just as well content. I don't smoke--I don't
bet--I have no expensive tastes. What could money do for me that I should
spend the best years of my life in slaving for it?"

"That may be all very well for the present," said Mrs. Blake.

"Why not for the future too? Oh, I have my dream for the future too."

"And, pray, may one ask what it is?" said Mrs. Pickering, looking down on
him from the height of William's prosperity.

"Certainly," he said. "Some day I shall leave England and travel leisurely
about the Continent. I shall have a sky over my head compared with which
this blue is misty and pale. I shall gain new ideas. I shall get grapes and
figs and melons very cheap. There will be a little too much garlic in my
daily life--even such a destiny as mine must have its drawbacks--but think
of the wonderful scenery I shall see and the queer, beautiful
out-of-the-way holes and corners I shall discover! And in years to come I
shall rejoice, without envy, to hear that Mr. Blake has bought a large
estate and gains prizes for fat cattle, while my friend here has been
knighted on the occasion of some city demonstration."

Young Pickering, who had been listening open-mouthed to the other's fluent
and tranquil speech, reddened at the allusion to himself and dropped his
hat.

"At that rate you must never marry," said Mrs. Blake.

Percival thoughtfully stroked his lip: "You think I should not find a wife
to share my enjoyment of a small income?"

"Marry a girl with lots of money, Mr. Thorne," said the future Sir William,
feeling it incumbent on him to take part in the conversation.

"Not I." Percival's glance made the lad's hot face yet hotter. "That's the
last thing I will do. If a man means to work, he may marry whom he will.
But if he has made up his mind to be idle, he is a contemptible cur if he
will let his wife keep him in his idleness." He spoke very quietly in his
soft voice, and leaned back in his chair.

"Well, then, you must never fall in love with an heiress," said Mrs.
Blake.

"Or you must work and win her," Lottie suggested almost in a whisper.

He smiled, but slightly shook his head with a look which she fancied meant
"Too late." Mrs. Pickering began to tell the latest Fordborough scandal,
and the talk drifted into another channel.

Lottie had listened as she always listened when Percival spoke, but she had
not attached any peculiar meaning to his words. But an hour or so later,
when he was gone and she was loitering in the garden just outside the
window, Addie, who was within, made some remark in a laughing tone. Lottie
did not catch the words, but Mrs. Blake's reply was distinct and not to be
mistaken: "William Pickering, indeed! No: with your looks and your
expectations you girls ought to marry really well." Lottie stood aghast.
They would have money, then? She had never thought about money. She would
be an heiress? And Percival would never marry an heiress--he could not: had
he not said so? How gladly would she have given him every farthing she
possessed! And was her fortune to be a barrier between them for ever? Every
syllable that he had spoken was made clear by this revelation, and rose up
before her eyes as a terrible word of doom. But she was not one to be
easily dismayed, and her first cry was, "What shall I do?" Lottie's
thoughts turned always to action, not to endurance, and she was resolved to
break down the barrier, let the cost be what it might. Her talk with
Godfrey Hammond gave a new interest to her romance and new strength to her
determination. Since her hero was disinherited and poor, and she, though
rich, would be poor in all she cared to have if she were parted from him,
might she not tell him so when she saw him on her birthday? She thought it
would be easier to speak on the one day when in girlish fashion she would
be queen. She would not think of her own pride, because his pride was dear
to her. She could not tell what she would say or do: she only knew that her
birthday should decide her fate. And her heart was beating fast in hope
and fear the night before when she banged the door after her and went off
to bed, sublimely ready to renounce the world for Percival.



CHAPTER III.

DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES--ALFRED THORNE'S IS TOLD BY THE WRITER.


Mr. Thorne of Brackenhill was a miserable man, who went through the world
with a morbidly sensitive spot in his nature. A touch on it was torture,
and unfortunately the circumstances of his daily life continually chafed
it.

It was only a common form of selfishness carried to excess. "I don't want
much," he would have said--truly enough, for Godfrey Thorne had never been
grasping--"but let it be my own." He could not enjoy anything unless he
knew that he might waste it if he liked. The highest good, fettered by any
condition, was in his eyes no good at all. Brackenhill was dear to him
because he could leave it to whom he would. He was seventy-six, and had
spent his life in improving his estate, but he prized nothing about it so
much as his right to give the result of his life's work to the first beggar
he might chance to meet. It would have made him still happier if he could
have had the power of destroying Brackenhill utterly, of wiping it off the
face of the earth, in case he could not find an heir who pleased him, for
it troubled him to think that some man _must_ have the land after him,
whether he wished it or not.

Godfrey Hammond had declared that no one could conceive the exquisite
torments Mr. Thorne would endure if he owned an estate with a magnificent
ruin on it, some unique and priceless relic of bygone days. "He should be
able to see it from his window," said Hammond, "and it should be his, as
far as law could make it, while he should be continually conscious that in
the eyes of all cultivated men he was merely its guardian. People should
write to the newspapers asserting boldly that the public had a right of
free access to it, and old gentlemen with antiquarian tastes should find a
little gap in a fence, and pen indignant appeals to the editor demanding to
be immediately informed whether a monument of national, nay, of world-wide
interest, ought not, for the sake of the public, to be more carefully
protected from injury. Local archæological societies should come and read
papers in it. Clergymen, wishing to combine a little instruction with the
pleasures of a school-feast, should arrive with van-loads of cheering boys
and girls, a troop of ardent teachers, many calico flags and a brass band.
Artists, keen-eyed and picturesque, each with his good-humored air of
possessing the place so much more truly than any mere country gentleman
ever could, should come to gaze and sketch. Meanwhile, Thorne should remark
about twice a week that of course he could pull the whole thing down if he
liked; to which every one should smile assent, recognizing an evident but
utterly unimportant fact. And then," said Hammond solemnly, "when all the
archæologists were eating and drinking, enjoying their own theories and
picking holes in their neighbors' discoveries, the bolt should fall in the
shape of an announcement that Mr. Thorne had sold the stones as building
materials, and that the workmen had already removed the most ancient and
interesting part. After which he would go slowly to his grave, dying of his
triumph and a broken heart."

It was all quite true, though Godfrey Hammond might have added that all the
execrations of the antiquarians would hardly have added to the burden of
shame and remorse of which Mr. Thorne would have felt the weight before the
last cart carried away its load from the trampled sward; that he would have
regretted his decision every hour of his life; and if by a miracle he could
have found himself once more with the fatal deed undone, he would have
rejoiced for a moment, suffered his old torment for a little while, and
then proceeded to do it again.

For a great part of Mr. Thorne's life the boast of his power over
Brackenhill had been on his lips more frequently than the twice a week of
which Hammond talked. Of late years it had not been so. He had used his
power to assure himself that he possessed it, and gradually awoke to the
consciousness that he had lost it by thus using it.

He had had three sons--Maurice, a fine, high-spirited young fellow; Alfred,
good-looking and good-tempered, but indolent; James, a slim, sickly lad,
who inherited from his mother a fatal tendency to decline. She died while
he was a baby, and he was petted from that time forward. Godfrey Thorne was
well satisfied with Maurice, but was always at war with his second son, who
would not take orders and hold the family living. They argued the matter
till it was too late for Alfred to go into the army, the only career for
which he had expressed any desire; and then Mr. Thorne found himself face
to face with a gentle and lazy resistance which threatened to be a match
for his own hard obstinacy. Alfred didn't mind being a farmer. But his
father was troubled about the necessary capital, and doubted his son's
success: "You will go on after a fashion for a few years, and then all the
money will have slipped through your fingers. You know nothing of
farming."--"That's true," said Alfred.--"And you are much too lazy to
learn."--"That's very likely," said the young man. So Mr. Thorne looked
about him for some more eligible opening for his troublesome son; and
Alfred meanwhile, with his handsome face and honest smile, was busy making
love to Sarah Percival, the rector's daughter.

The little idyl was the talk of the villagers before it came to the
squire's ears. When he questioned Alfred the young man confessed it readily
enough. He loved Miss Percival, and she didn't mind waiting. Mr. Thorne was
not altogether displeased, for, though his intercourse with the rector was
rather stormy and uncertain, they happened to be on tolerable terms just
then. Sarah was an only child, and would have a little money at Mr.
Percival's death, and Alfred was much more submissive and anxious to please
his father under these altered circumstances. The young people were not to
consider themselves engaged, Miss Percival being only eighteen and Alfred
one-and-twenty. But if they were of the same mind later, when the latter
should be in a position to marry, it was understood that neither his father
nor Mr. Percival would oppose it.

Unluckily, a parochial question arose near Christmas-time, and the squire
and the clergyman took different views of it. Mr. Thorne went about the
house with brows like a thunder-cloud, and never opened his lips to Alfred
except to abuse the rector. "You'll have to choose between old Percival and
me one of these days," he said more than once. "You'd better be making up
your mind: it will save time." Alfred was silent. When the strife was at
its height Maurice was drowned while skating.

The poor fellow was hardly in his grave before the storm burst on Alfred's
head. If Mr. Thorne had barely tolerated the idea of his son's marriage
before, he found it utterly intolerable now; and the decree went forth that
this boyish folly about Miss Percival must be forgotten. "I can do as I
like with Brackenhill," said Mr. Thorne: "remember that." Alfred did
remember it. He had heard it often enough, and his father's angry eyes gave
it an added emphasis. "I can make an eldest son of James if I like, and I
will if you defy me." But nothing could shake Alfred. He had given his word
to Miss Percival, and they loved each other, and he meant to keep to it.
"You don't believe me," his father thundered: "you think I may talk, but
that I sha'n't do it. Take care!" There was no trace of any conflict on
Alfred's face: he looked a little dull and heavy under the bitter storm,
but that was all. "I can't help it, sir," he said, tracing the pattern of
the carpet with the toe of his boot as he stood: "you will do as you
please, I suppose."--"I suppose I shall," said Mr. Thorne.

So Alfred was disinherited. "As well for this as anything else," he said:
"we couldn't have got on long." He had an allowance from his father, who
declined to take any further interest in his plans. He went abroad for a
couple of years--a test which Mr. Percival imposed upon him that nothing
might be done in haste--and came back, faithful as he went, to ask for the
consent which could no longer be denied. Mr. Percival had been presented to
a living at some distance from Brackenhill, and, as there was a good deal
of glebe-land attached to it, Alfred was able to try his hand at farming.
He did so, with a little loss if no gain, and they made one household at
the rectory.

He never seemed to regret Brackenhill. Sarah--dark, ardent, intense, a
strange contrast to his own fair, handsome face and placid
indolence--absorbed all his love. Her eager nature could not rouse him to
battle with the world, but it woke a passionate devotion in his heart: they
were everything to each other, and were content. When their boy was born
the rector would have named him Godfrey: at any rate, he urged them to call
him by one of the old family names which had been borne by bygone
generations of Thornes. But the young husband was resolved that the child
should be Percival, and Percival only. "Why prejudice his grandfather
against him for a mere name?" the rector persisted. But Alfred shook his
head. "Percival means all the happiness of my life," he said. So the child
received his name, and the fact was announced to Mr. Thorne in a letter
brief and to the point like a challenge.

Communications with Brackenhill were few and far between. From the local
papers Alfred heard of the rejoicings when James came of age, quickly
followed by the announcement that he had gone abroad for the winter. Then
he was at home again, and going to marry Miss Harriet Benham; whereat
Alfred smiled a little. "The governor must have put his pride in his
pocket: old Benham made his money out of composite candles, then retired,
and has gas all over the house for fear they should be mentioned. Harry, as
we used to call her, is the youngest of them--she must be eight or nine and
twenty; fine girl, hunts--tried it on with poor Maurice ages ago. I should
think she was about half as big again as Jim. Well, yes, perhaps I am
exaggerating a little. How charmed my father must be!--only, of course,
anything to please Jim, and it's a fine thing to have him married and
settled."

Alfred read his father's feelings correctly enough, but Mr. Thorne was
almost repaid for all he had endured when, in his turn, he was able to
write and announce the birth of a boy for whom the bells had been set
ringing as the heir of Brackenhill. Jim, with his sick fancies and
querulous conceit, Mrs. James Thorne, with her coarsely-colored splendor
and imperious ways, faded into the background now that Horace's little star
had risen.

The rest may be briefly told. Horace had a little sister who died, and he
himself could hardly remember his father. His time was divided between his
mother's house at Brighton and Brackenhill. He grew slim and tall and
handsome--a Thorne, and not a Benham, as his grandfather did not fail to
note. He was delicate. "But he will outgrow that," said Mrs. Middleton, and
loved him the better for the care she had to take of him. It was
principally for his sake that she was there. She was a widow and had no
children of her own, but when, at her brother's request, she came to
Brackenhill to make more of a home for the school-boy, she brought with her
a tiny girl, little Sissy Langton, a great-niece of her husband's.

Meanwhile, the other boy grew up in his quiet home, but death came there as
well as to Brackenhill, and seemed to take the mainspring of the household
in taking Sarah Thorne. Her father pined for her, and had no pleasure in
life except in her child. Even when the old man was growing feeble, and it
was manifest to all but the boy that he would not long be parted from his
daughter, it was a sombre but not an unhappy home for the child. Something
in the shadow which overhung it, in his grandfather's weakness and his
father's silence, made him grave and reserved, but he always felt that he
was loved. No playful home-name was ever bestowed on the little lad, but
it did not matter, for when spoken by Alfred Thorne no name could be so
tender as Percival.

The rector's death when the boy was fifteen broke up the only real home he
was destined to know, for Alfred was unable to settle down in any place for
any length of time. While his wife and her father were alive their
influence over him was supreme: he was like the needle drawn aside by a
powerful attraction. But now that they were gone his thoughts oscillated a
while, and then reverted to Brackenhill. For himself he was content--he had
made his choice long ago--but little by little the idea grew up in his mind
that Percival was wronged, for he, at least, was guiltless. He secretly
regretted the defiant fashion in which his boy had been christened, and
made a feeble attempt to prove that, after all, Percy was an old family
name. He succeeded in establishing that a "P. Thorne" had once existed, who
of course might have been Percy, as he might have been Peter or Paul; and
he tried to call his son Percy in memory of this doubtful namesake. But the
three syllables were as dear to the boy as the white flag to a Bourbon.
They identified him with the mother he dimly remembered, and proclaimed to
all the world (that is, to his grandfather) that for her sake he counted
Brackenhill well lost. He triumphed, and his father was proud to be
defeated. To this day he invariably writes himself "Percival Thorne."

Alfred, however, had his way on a more important point, and educated his
son for no profession, because the head of the house needed none. Percival
acquiesced willingly enough, without a thought of the implied protest. He
was indolent, and had little or no ambition. Since daily bread--and,
luckily, rather more than daily bread, for he was no ascetic--was secured
to him, since books were many and the world was wide, he asked nothing
better than to study them. He grew up grave, dreamy and somewhat solitary
in his ways. He seemed to have inherited something of the rector's
self-possessed and rather formal courtesy, and at twenty he looked older
than his age, though his face was as smooth as a girl's.

He was not twenty-one, when his father died suddenly of fever. When the
news reached Brackenhill the old squire was singularly affected by it. He
had been accustomed to contrast Alfred's vigorous prime with his own
advanced age, Percival's unbroken health with Horace's ailing boyhood, and
to think mournfully of the probability that the old manor-house must go to
a stranger unless he could humble himself to the son who had defied him.
But, old as he was, he had outlived his son, and he was dismayed at his
isolation. A whole generation was dead and gone, and the two lads, who were
all that remained of the Thornes of Brackenhill, stood far away, as though
he stretched his trembling hands to them across their fathers' graves. He
expressly requested that Percival should come and see him, and the young
man presented himself in his deep mourning. Sissy, just sixteen, looked
upon him as a sombre hero of romance, and within two days of his coming
Mrs. Middleton announced that her brother was "perfectly infatuated about
that boy."

The evening of his arrival he stood with his grandfather on the terrace
looking at the wide prospect which lay at their feet--ample fields and
meadows, and the silvery flash of water through the willows. Then he
turned, folded his arms and coolly surveyed Brackenhill itself from end to
end. Mr. Thorne watched him, expecting some word, but when none came, and
Percival's eyes wandered upward to the soft evening sky, where a glimmering
star hung like a lamp above the old gray manor-house, he said, with some
amusement, "Well, and what is your opinion?"

Percival came down to earth with the greatest promptitude: "It's a
beautiful place. I'm glad to see it. I like looking over old houses."

"Like looking over old houses? As if it were merely a show! Isn't
Brackenhill more to you than any other old house?" demanded Mr. Thorne.

"Oh, well, perhaps," Percival allowed: "I have heard my father talk of it
of course."

"Come, come! You are not such an outsider as all that," said his
grandfather.

The young man smiled a little, but did not speak.

"You don't forget you are a Thorne, I hope?" the other went on. "There are
none too many of us."

"No," said Percival. "I like the old house, and I can assure you, sir, that
I am proud of both my names."

"Well, well! very good names. But shouldn't you call a man a lucky fellow
if he owned a place like this?"

"My opinion wouldn't be half as well worth having as yours," was the reply.
"What do you call yourself, sir?"

"Do you think I own this place?" Mr. Thorne inquired.

"Why, yes--I always supposed so. Don't you?"

"No, I don't!" The answer was almost a snarl. "I'm bailiff, overlooker,
anything you like to call it. My master is at Oxford, at Christ Church. He
won't read, and he can't row, so he is devoting his time to learning how to
get rid of the money I am to save up for him. _I_ own Brackenhill?" He
faced abruptly round. "All that timber is mine, they say; and if I cut down
a stick your aunt Middleton is at me: 'Think of Horace.' The place was
mortgaged when I came into it. I pinched and saved--I freed it--for Horace.
Why shouldn't I mortgage it again if I please--raise money and live royally
till my time comes, eh? They'd all be at me, dinning 'Horace! Horace!' and
my duty to those who come after me, into my ears. Look at the drawing-room
furniture!"

"The prettiest old room I ever saw," said Percival.

"Ah! you're right there. But my sister doesn't think so. It's shabby, she
would tell you. But does she ask me to furnish it for her? No, no, it isn't
worth while: mine is such a short lease. When Horace marries and comes into
his inheritance, of course it must be done up. It would be a pity to waste
money about it now, especially as there's a bit of land lies between two
farms of mine, and if I don't go spending a lot in follies, I can buy it.
Think of that! I can buy it--_for Horace!_"

Percival was guarded in his replies to this and similar outbursts; and Mrs.
Middleton, seeing that he showed no disposition to toady his grandfather or
to depreciate Horace, told Godfrey Hammond that, though her brother was so
absurd about him, she thought he seemed a good sort of young man, after
all. "Time will show," was the answer. Now, this was depressing, for
Godfrey had established a reputation for great sagacity.

[TO BE CONTINUED.]



ABBEYS AND CASTLES.


It is a frequent reflection with the stranger in England that the beauty
and interest of the country are private property, and that to get access to
them a key is always needed. The key may be large or it may be small, but
it must be something that will turn a lock. Of the things that charm an
American observer in the land of parks and castles, I can think of very few
that do not come under this definition of private property. When I have
mentioned the hedgerows and the churches I have almost exhausted the list.
You can enjoy a hedgerow from the public road, and I suppose that even if
you are a Dissenter you may enjoy a Norman abbey from the street. If,
therefore, one talks of anything beautiful in England, the presumption will
be that it is private; and indeed such is my admiration of this delightful
country that I feel inclined to say that if one talks of anything private,
the presumption will be that it is beautiful. Here is something of a
dilemma. If the observer permits himself to commemorate charming
impressions, he is in danger of giving to the world the fruits of
friendship and hospitality. If, on the other hand, he withholds his
impression, he lets something admirable slip away without having marked its
passage, without having done it proper honor. He ends by mingling
discretion with enthusiasm, and he says to himself that it is not treating
a country ill to talk of its treasures when the mention of each connotes,
as the metaphysicians say, an act of private courtesy.

The impressions I have in mind in writing these lines were gathered in a
part of England of which I had not before had even a traveller's glimpse;
but as to which, after a day or two, I found myself quite ready to agree
with a friend who lived there, and who knew and loved it well, when he said
very frankly, "I _do_ believe it is the loveliest corner of the world!"
This was not a dictum to quarrel about, and while I was in the neighborhood
I was quite of his mind. I felt that it would not take a great deal to make
me care for it very much as he cared for it: I had a glimpse of the
peculiar tenderness with which such a country may be loved. It is a capital
example of the great characteristic of English scenery--of what I should
call density of feature. There are no waste details; everything in the
landscape is something particular--has a history, has played a part, has a
value to the imagination. It is a country of hills and blue undulations,
and, though none of the hills are high, all of them are
interesting--interesting as such things are interesting in an old, small
country, by a kind of exquisite modulation, something suggesting that
outline and coloring have been retouched and refined, as it were, by the
hand of Time. Independently of its castles and abbeys, the definite relics
of the ages, such a landscape seems historic. It has human relations, and
it is intimately conscious of them. That little speech about the
loveliness of his county, or of his own part of his county, was made to me
by my companion as we walked up the grassy slope of a hill, or "edge," as
it is called there, from the crests of which we seemed in an instant to
look away over half of England. Certainly I should have grown fond of such
a view as that. The "edge" plunged down suddenly, as if the corresponding
slope on the other side had been excavated, and one might follow the long
ridge for the space of an afternoon's walk with this vast, charming
prospect before one's eyes. Looking across an English county into the next
but one is a very pretty entertainment, the county seeming by no means so
small as might be supposed. How can a county seem small in which, from such
a vantage-point as the one I speak of, you see, as a darker patch across
the lighter green, the twelve thousand acres of Lord So-and-So's woods?
Beyond these are blue undulations of varying tone, and then another
bosky-looking spot, which you learn to be about the same amount of manorial
umbrage belonging to Lord Some-One-Else. And to right and left of these, in
shaded stretches, lie other estates of equal consequence. It was therefore
not the smallness but the vastness of the country that struck me, and I was
not at all in the mood of a certain American who once, in my hearing, burst
out laughing at an English answer to my inquiry as to whether my
interlocutor often saw Mr. B----. "Oh no," the answer had been, "we never
see him: he lives away off in the West." It was the western part of his
county our friend meant, and my American humorist found matter for infinite
jest in his meaning. "I should as soon think," he declared, "of saying my
western hand and my eastern."

I do not think, even, that my disposition to form a sentimental attachment
for this delightful region--for its hillside prospect of old red farmhouses
lighting up the dark-green bottoms, of gables and chimney-tops of great
houses peeping above miles of woodland, and, in the vague places of the
horizon, of far-away towns and sites that one had always heard of--was
conditioned upon having "property" in the neighborhood, so that the little
girls in the town should suddenly drop courtesies to me in the street;
though that too would certainly have been pleasant. At the same time,
having a little property would without doubt have made the sentiment
stronger. People who wander about the world without money have their
dreams--dreams of what they would buy if their pockets were lined. These
dreams are very apt to have relation to a good estate in any neighborhood
in which the wanderer happens to find himself. For myself, I have never
been in a country so unattractive that it did not seem a peculiar felicity
to be able to purchase the most considerable house it contained. In New
England and other portions of the United States I have coveted the large
mansion with Greek columns and a pediment of white-painted timber: in Italy
I should have made proposals for the yellow-walled villa with statues on
the roof. In England I have rarely gone so far as to fancy myself in treaty
for the best house, but, short of this, I have never failed to feel that
ideal comfort for the time would be to call one's self owner of what is
denominated here a "good" place. Is it that English country life seems to
possess such irresistible charms? I have not always thought so: I have
sometimes suspected that it is dull; I have remembered that there is a
whole literature devoted to exposing it (that of the English novel "of
manners"), and that its recorded occupations and conversations occasionally
strike one as lacking a certain desirable salt. But, for all that, when, in
the region to which I allude, my companion spoke of this and that place
being likely sooner or later to come to the hammer, it seemed as if nothing
could be more delightful than to see the hammer fall upon an offer made by
one's self. And this in spite of the fact that the owners of the places in
question would part with them because they could no longer afford to keep
them up. I found it interesting to learn, in so far as was possible, what
sort of income was implied by the possession of country-seats such as are
not in America a concomitant of even the largest fortunes; and if in these
interrogations I sometimes heard of a very long rent-roll, on the other
hand I was frequently surprised at the slenderness of the resources
attributed to people living in the depths of an oak-studded park. Then,
certainly, English country life seemed to me the most advantageous thing in
the world: on these terms one would gladly put up with a little dulness.
When I reflected that there were thousands of people dwelling in brownstone
houses in numbered streets in New York who were at as great a cost to make
a reputable appearance in those harsh conditions as some of the occupants
of the grassy estates of which I had a glimpse, the privileges of the
latter class appeared delightfully cheap.

There was one place in particular of which I said to myself that if I had
the money to buy it, I would simply walk up to the owner and pour the sum
in sovereigns into his hat. I saw this place, unfortunately, to small
advantage: I saw it in the rain. But I am rather glad that fine weather did
not meddle with the affair, for I think that in this case the irritation of
envy would have been really too acute. It was a rainy Sunday, and the rain
was serious. I had been in the house all day, for the weather can best be
described by my saying that it had been deemed an exoneration from
church-going. But in the afternoon, the prospective interval between lunch
and tea assuming formidable proportions, my host took me out to walk, and
in the course of our walk he led me into a park which he described as "the
paradise of a small English country gentleman." Well it might be: I have
never seen such a collection of oaks. They were of high antiquity and
magnificent girth and stature: they were strewn over the grassy levels in
extraordinary profusion, and scattered upon and down the slopes in a
fashion than which I have seen nothing more charming since I last looked at
the chestnut trees on the banks of the Lake of Como. It appears that the
place was not very vast, but I was unable to perceive its limits. Shortly
before we turned into the park the rain had renewed itself, so that we were
awkwardly wet and muddy; but, being near the house, my companion proposed
to leave his card in a neighborly way. The house was most agreeable: it
stood on a kind of terrace in the midst of a lawn and garden, and the
terrace looked down on one of the handsomest rivers in England, and across
to those blue undulations of which I have already spoken. On the terrace
also was a piece of ornamental water, and there was a small iron paling to
divide the lawn from the park. All this I beheld in the rain. My companion
gave his card to the butler, with the observation that we were too much
bespattered to come in; and we turned away to complete our circuit. As we
turned away I became acutely conscious of what I should have been tempted
to call the cruelty of this proceeding. My imagination gauged the whole
position. It was a Sunday afternoon, and it was raining. The house was
charming, the terrace delightful, the oaks magnificent, the view most
interesting. But the whole thing was--not to repeat the epithet "dull," of
which just now I made too gross a use--the whole thing was quiet. In the
house was a drawing-room, and in the drawing-room was--by which I meant
_must be_--a lady, a charming English lady. There was, it seemed to me, no
fatuity in believing that on this rainy Sunday afternoon it would not
please her to be told that two gentlemen had walked across the country to
her door only to go through the ceremony of leaving a card. Therefore,
when, before we had gone many yards, I heard the butler hurrying after us,
I felt how just my sentiment of the situation had been. Of course we went
back, and I carried my muddy shoes into the drawing-room--just the
drawing-room I had imagined--where I found--I will not say just the lady I
had imagined, but--a lady even more charming. Indeed, there were two
ladies, one of whom was staying in the house. In whatever company you find
yourself in England, you may always be sure that some one present is
"staying." I seldom hear this participle now-a-days without remembering an
observation made to me in France by a lady who had seen much of English
manners: "Ah, that dreadful word _staying!_ I think we are so happy in
France not to be able to translate it--not to have any word that answers to
it." The large windows of the drawing-room I speak of looked away over the
river to the blurred and blotted hills, where the rain was drizzling and
drifting. It was very quiet: there was an air of leisure. If one wanted to
do something here, there was evidently plenty of time--and indeed of every
other appliance--to do it. The two ladies talked about "town:" that is what
people talk about in the country. If I were disposed I might represent them
as talking about it with a certain air of yearning. At all events, I asked
myself how it was possible that one should live in this charming place and
trouble one's head about what was going on in London in July. Then we had
excellent tea.

I have narrated this trifling incident because there seemed to be some
connection between it and what I was going to say about the stranger's
sense of country life being the normal, natural, typical life of the
English. In America, however comfortably people may live in the country,
there is always, relatively speaking, an air of picnicking about their
establishments. Their habitations, their arrangements, their appointments,
are more or less provisional. They dine at different hours from their city
hours; they wear different clothing; they spend all their time out of
doors. The English, on the other hand, live according to the same system in
Devonshire and in Mayfair--with the difference, perhaps, that in
Devonshire, where they have people "staying" with them, the system is
rather more rigidly applied. The picnicking, if picnicking there is to be,
is done in town. They keep their best things in the country--their best
books, their best furniture, their best pictures--and their footing in
London is as provisional as ours is at our "summer retreats." The English
smile a good deal--or rather would smile a good deal if they had more
observation of it--at the fashion in which we American burghers stow
ourselves away for July and August in white wooden boarding-houses beside
dusty, ill-made roads. But it is fair to say that these improvised homes
are not immeasurably more barbaric than the human _entassement_ that takes
place in London "apartments" during the months of May and June. Whoever has
had unhappy occasion to look for lodgings at this period, and to explore
the mysteries of the little black houses in the West End which have a
neatly-printed card suspended in the door-light, will admit that from the
obligation to rough it our more luxurious kinsmen are not altogether
exempt. We rough it, certainly, more than they do, but we rough it in the
country, where Nature herself is rough, and they rough it in the heart of
the largest and most splendid of cities. In England, in the country, Nature
as well as civilization is smooth, and it seems perfectly consistent, even
at midsummer, to dress for dinner; albeit that when so costumed you cannot
conveniently lie on the grass. But in England you do not particularly
expect to lie on the grass, especially in the evening. The aspect of the
usual English country-houses sufficiently indicates the absence of that
informal culture of the open air into which the American _villeggiatura_
generally resolves itself; and one reason why I mentioned just now the
excellent dwelling which I visited in the rain was that, as I approached
it, it struck me as so good an example of all that, for American rural
purposes, a house should not be. It was indeed built of stone, or of brick
stuccoed over; which, as they say in England, is a "great pull." But except
that it was detached and gabled, it belonged quite to the class of city
houses. Its walls were straight and bare, and its windows, though wide,
were short. It might have been deposited in Belgravia without in the least
seeming out of place: it conformed to the rigid London model. It had no
external galleries, no breezy piazzas, no long windows opening upon them,
no doors disposed for propagating draughts. But, indeed, I have never seen
an English house furnished with what we call a piazza; and I must add that
I have rarely known an English summer day on which it would have been
convenient to sit in a propagated draught.

It seems, however, grossly unthankful to say that English country-houses
lack anything when one has received delightful impressions of what they
possess. What is a draughty doorway to an old Norman portal, massively
arched and quaintly sculptured, across whose hollow threshold the eye of
fancy may see the ghosts of monks and the shadows of abbots pass
noiselessly to and fro? What is a paltry piazza to a beautiful ambulatory
of the thirteenth century--a long stone gallery or cloister repeated in two
stories, with the interstices of its carven lattice now glazed, but with
its long, low, narrow, charming vista still perfect and picturesque--with
its flags worn away by monkish sandals, and with huge round-arched doorways
opening from its inner side into great rooms roofed like cathedrals? What
are the longest French windows, with the most patented latches, to narrow
casements of almost defensive aspect set in embrasures three feet deep and
ornamented with little grotesque mediæval faces? To see one of these small
monkish masks grinning at you while you dress and undress, or while you
look up in the intervals of inspiration from your letter-writing, is a
simple detail in the entertainment of living in an ancient priory. This
entertainment is inexhaustible, for every step you take in such a house
confronts you in one way or another with the remote past. You feast upon
picturesqueness, you inhale history. Adjoining the house is a beautiful
ruin, part of the walls and windows and bases of the piers of the
magnificent church administered by your predecessor the abbot. These relics
are very desultory, but they are still abundant, and they testify to the
great scale and the stately beauty of the abbey. You may lie upon the grass
at the base of an ivied fragment, measure the girth of the great stumps of
the central columns, half smothered in soft creepers, and think how strange
it is that in this quiet hollow, in the midst of lonely hills, so exquisite
and elaborate a work of art should have arisen. It is but an hour's walk to
another great ruin, which has held together more completely. There the
central tower stands erect to half its altitude, and the round arches and
massive pillars of the nave make a perfect vista on the unencumbered turf.
You get an impression that when Catholic England was in her prime great
abbeys were as thick as milestones. By native amateurs, even now, the
region is called "wild," though to American eyes it seems thoroughly
suburban in its smoothness and finish. There is a noiseless little railway
running through the valley, and there is an ancient little town at the
abbey gates--a town, indeed, with no great din of vehicles, but with goodly
brick houses, with a dozen "publics," with tidy, whitewashed cottages, and
with little girls, as I have said, bobbing courtesies in the street. But
even now, if one had wound one's way into the valley by the railroad, it
would be rather a surprise to find a small ornamental cathedral in a spot
on the whole so natural and pastoral. How impressive then must the
beautiful church have been in the days of its prosperity, when the pilgrim
came down to it from the grassy hillside and its bells made the stillness
sensible! The abbey was in those days a great affair: as my companion said,
it sprawled all over the place. As you walk away from it you think you have
got to the end of its traces, but you encounter them still in the shape of
a rugged outhouse grand with an Early-English arch, or an ancient well
hidden in a kind of sculptured cavern. It is noticeable that even if you
are a traveller from a land where there are no Early-English--and indeed
few Late-English--arches, and where the well-covers are, at their hoariest,
of fresh-looking shingles, you grow used with little delay to all this
antiquity. Anything very old seems extremely natural: there is nothing we
accept so implicitly as the past. It is not too much to say that after
spending twenty-four hours in a house that is six hundred years old, you
seem yourself to have lived in it for six hundred years. You seem yourself
to have hollowed the flags with your tread and to have polished the oak
with your touch. You walk along the little stone gallery where the monks
used to pace, looking out of the Gothic window-places at their beautiful
church, and you pause at the big round, rugged doorway that admits you to
what is now the drawing-room. The massive step by which you ascend to the
threshold is a trifle crooked, as it should be: the lintels are cracked and
worn by the myriad-fingered years. This strikes your casual glance. You
look up and down the miniature cloister before you pass in: it seems
wonderfully old and queer. Then you turn into the drawing-room, where you
find modern conversation and late publications and the prospect of dinner.
The new life and the old have melted together: there is no dividing-line.
In the drawing-room wall is a queer funnel-shaped hole, with the broad end
inward, like a small casemate. You ask a lady what it is, but she doesn't
know. It is something of the monks: it is a mere detail. After dinner you
are told that there is of course a ghost--a gray friar who is seen in the
dusky hours at the end of passages. Sometimes the servants see him, and
afterward go surreptitiously to sleep in the town. Then, when you take your
chamber-candle and go wandering bedward by a short cut through empty rooms,
you are conscious of a peculiar sensation which you hardly know whether to
interpret as a desire to see the gray friar or as an apprehension that you
will see him.

A friend of mine, an American, who knew this country, had told me not to
fail, while I was in the neighborhood, to go to S----. "Edward I. and
Elizabeth," he said, "are still hanging about there." Thus admonished, I
made a point of going to S----, and I saw quite what my friend meant.
Edward I. and Elizabeth, indeed, are still to be met almost anywhere in the
county: as regards domestic architecture, few parts of England are still
more vividly Old English. I have rarely had, for a couple of hours, the
sensation of dropping back personally into the past in a higher degree than
while I lay on the grass beside the well in the little sunny court of this
small castle, and idly appreciated the still definite details of mediæval
life. The place is a capital example of what the French call a small
_gentilhommière_ of the thirteenth century. It has a good deep moat, now
filled with wild verdure, and a curious gatehouse of a much later
period--the period when the defensive attitude had been wellnigh abandoned.
This gatehouse, which is not in the least in the style of the habitation,
but gabled and heavily timbered, with quaint cross-beams protruding from
surfaces of coarse white stucco, is a very picturesque anomaly in regard to
the little gray fortress on the other side of the court. I call this a
fortress, but it is a fortress which might easily have been taken, and it
must have assumed its present shape at a time when people had ceased to
peer through narrow slits at possible besiegers. There are slits in the
outer walls for such peering, but they are noticeably broad and not
particularly oblique, and might easily have been applied to the uses of a
peaceful parley. This is part of the charm of the place: human life there
must have lost an earlier grimness: it was lived in by people who were
beginning to feel comfortable. They must have lived very much together:
that is one of the most obvious reflections in the court of a mediæval
dwelling. The court was not always grassy and empty, as it is now, with
only a couple of gentlemen in search of impressions lying at their length,
one of whom has taken a wine-flask out of his pocket and has colored the
clear water drawn for them out of the well in a couple of tumblers by a
decent, rosy, smiling, talking old woman, who has come bustling out of the
gatehouse, and who has a large, dropsical, innocent husband standing about
on crutches in the sun and making no sign when you ask after his health.
This poor man has reached that ultimate depth of human simplicity at which
even a chance to talk about one's ailments is not appreciated. But the
civil old woman talks for every one, even for an artist who has come out of
one of the rooms, where I see him afterward reproducing its mouldering
quaintness. The rooms are all unoccupied and in a state of extreme decay,
though the castle is, as yet, far from being a ruin. From one of the
windows I see a young lady sitting under a tree across a meadow, with her
knees up, dipping something into her mouth. It is a camel's hair
paint-brush: the young lady is sketching. These are the only besiegers to
which the place is exposed now, and they can do no great harm, as I doubt
whether the young lady's aim is very good. We wandered about the empty
interior, thinking it a pity things should be falling so to pieces. There
is a beautiful great hall--great, that is, for a small castle (it would be
extremely handsome in a modern house)--with tall, ecclesiastical-looking
windows, and a long staircase at one end climbing against the wall into a
spacious bedroom. You may still apprehend very well the main lines of that
simpler life; and it must be said that, simpler though it was, it was
apparently by no means destitute of many of our own conveniences. The
chamber at the top of the staircase ascending from the hall is charming
still, with its irregular shape, its low-browed ceiling, its cupboards in
the walls, and its deep bay window formed of a series of small lattices.
You can fancy people stepping out from it upon the platform of the
staircase, whose rugged wooden logs, by way of steps, and solid,
deeply-guttered hand-rail, still remain. They looked down into the hall,
where, I take it, there was always a certain congregation of retainers,
much lounging and waiting and passing to and fro, with a door open into the
court. The court, as I said just now, was not the grassy, æsthetic spot
which you may find it at present of a summer's day: there were beasts
tethered in it, and hustling men-at-arms, and the earth was trampled into
puddles. But my lord or my lady, looking down from the chamber-door, could
pick out the man wanted and bawl down an order, with a threat to fling
something at his head if it were not instantly performed. The sight of the
groups on the floor beneath, the calling up and down, the oaken tables
spread, and the brazier in the middle,--all this seemed present again; and
it was not difficult to pursue the historic vision through the rest of the
building--through the portion which connected the great hall with the tower
(here the confederate of the sketching young lady without had set up the
peaceful three-legged engine of his craft); through the dusky, roughly
circular rooms of the tower itself, and up the corkscrew staircase of the
same to that most charming part of every old castle, where visions must
leap away off the battlements to elude you--the sunny, breezy platform at
the tower-top, the place where the castle-standard hung and the vigilant
inmates surveyed the approaches. Here, always, you really overtake the
impression of the place--here, in the sunny stillness, it seems to pause,
panting a little, and give itself up.

It was not only at Stokesay--I have written the name at last, and I will
not efface it--that I lingered a while on the quiet platform of the keep to
enjoy the complete impression so overtaken. I spent such another half hour
at Ludlow, which is a much grander and more famous monument. Ludlow,
however, is a ruin--the most impressive and magnificent of ruins. The
charming old town and the admirable castle form a capital object of
pilgrimage. Ludlow is an excellent example of a small English provincial
town that has not been soiled and disfigured by industry: I remember there
no tall chimneys and smoke-streamers, with their attendant purlieus and
slums. The little city is perched upon a hill near which the goodly Severn
wanders, and it has a noticeable air of civic dignity. Its streets are wide
and clean, empty and a little grass-grown, and bordered with spacious,
soberly-ornamental brick houses, which look as if there had been more going
on in them in the first decade of the century than there is in the present,
but which can still, nevertheless, hold up their heads and keep their
window-panes clear, their knockers brilliant and their doorsteps whitened.
The place looks as if seventy years ago it had been the centre of a large
provincial society, and as if that society had been very "good of its
kind." It must have transported itself to Ludlow for the season--in
rumbling coaches and heavyish curricles--and there entertained itself in
decent emulation of that metropolis which a choice of railway-lines had not
as yet placed within its immediate reach. It had balls at the
assembly-rooms; it had Mrs. Siddons to play; it had Catalani to sing. Miss
Austin's and Miss Edgeworth's heroines might perfectly well have had their
first love-affair there: a journey to Ludlow would certainly have been a
great event to Fanny Price or Anne Eliot, to Helen or Belinda. It is a
place on which a provincial "gentry" has left a sensible stamp. I have
seldom seen so good a collection of houses of the period between the elder
picturesqueness and the modern baldness. Such places, such houses, such
relics and intimations, always carry me back to the near antiquity of that
pre-Victorian England which it is still easy for a stranger to picture with
a certain vividness, thanks to the partial survival of many of its
characteristics. It is still easy for a stranger who has stayed a while in
England to form an idea of the tone, the habits, the aspect of English
social life before its classic insularity had begun to wane, as all
observers agree that it did, about thirty years ago. It is true that the
mental operation in this matter reduces itself to fancying some of the
things which form what Mr. Matthew Arnold would call the peculiar "notes"
of England infinitely exaggerated--the rigidly aristocratic constitution of
society, for instance; the unæsthetic temper of the people; the private
character of most kinds of comfort and entertainment. Let an old gentleman
of conservative tastes, who can remember the century's youth, talk to you
at a club _temporis acti_--tell you wherein it is that from his own point
of view London, as a residence for a gentleman, has done nothing but fall
off for the last forty years. You will listen, of course, with an air of
decent sympathy, but privately you will be saying to yourself how
difficult a place of sojourn London must have been in those days for a
stranger--how little cosmopolitan, how bound, in a thousand ways, with
narrowness of custom. What is true of the metropolis at that time is of
course doubly true of the provinces; and a genteel little city like the one
I am speaking of must have been a kind of focus of insular propriety. Even
then, however, the irritated alien would have had the magnificent ruins of
the castle to dream himself back into good-humor in. They would effectually
have transported him beyond all waning or waxing Philistinisms.

Ludlow Castle is an example of a great feudal fortress, as the little
castellated manor I spoke of a while since is an example of a small one.
The great courtyard at Ludlow is as large as the central square of a city,
but now it is all vacant and grassy, and the day I was there a lonely old
horse was tethered and browsing in the middle of it. The place is in
extreme dilapidation, but here and there some of its more striking features
have held well together, and you may get a very sufficient notion of the
immense scale upon which things were ordered in the day of its strength. It
must have been garrisoned with a small army, and the vast _enceinte_ must
have enclosed a stalwart little world. Such an impression of thickness and
duskiness as one still gets from fragments of partition and chamber--such a
sense of being well behind something, well out of the daylight and its
dangers--of the comfort of the time having been security, and security
incarceration! There are prisons within the prison--horrible unlighted
caverns of dismal depth, with holes in the roof through which Heaven knows
what odious refreshment was tossed down to the poor groping _détenu_. There
is nothing, surely, that paints one side of the Middle Ages more vividly
than this fact that fine people lived in the same house with their
prisoners, and kept the key in their pocket. Fancy the young ladies of the
family working tapestry in their "bower" with the knowledge that at the
bottom of the corkscrew staircase one of their papa's enemies was sitting
month after month in mouldy midnight! But Ludlow Castle has brighter
associations than these, the chief of which I should have mentioned at the
outset. It was for a long period the official residence of the
governors--the "lords presidents" they were called--of the Marches of
Wales, and it was in the days of its presidential splendor that Milton's
_Comus_ was acted in the great hall. Wandering about in shady corners of
the ruin, it is the echo of that enchanting verse that we should try to
catch, and not the faint groans of some encaverned malefactor. Other verse
was also produced at Ludlow--verse, however, of a less sonorous quality. A
portion of Samuel Butler's _Hudibras_ was composed there. Let me add that
the traveller who spends a morning at Ludlow will naturally have come
thither from Shrewsbury, of which place I have left myself no space to
speak, though it is worth, and well worth, an allusion. Shrewsbury is a
museum of beautiful old gabled, cross-timbered house-fronts.

H. JAMES, JR.



LITTLE LIZAY.


Alston was a Virginia slave--a tall, well-built half-breed, in whom the
white blood dominated the black. When about thirty-seven years of age he
was sold to a Mississippi plantation, in the north-western part of the
State and on the river. The farm was managed by an overseer, the
master--Horton by name--being a practising physician in Memphis, Tenn.
Alston had been on the plantation a few weeks when, toward the last of
September, the cotton-picking season opened. The year had been, for the
river-plantations, exceptionally favorable for cotton-growing. On the
Horton place especially "the stand" had been pronounced perfect, there
being scarcely a gap, scarcely a stalk missing from the mile-long rows of
the broad fields. Then, the rainfall had not been so profuse as to develop
foliage at the bolls' expense, as was too frequently the case on the river.
Yet it had been plenteous enough to keep off the "rust," from which the
dryer upland plantations were now suffering. Neither the "boll-worm" nor
the dreaded "army-worm" had molested the river-fields; so the tall
pyramidal plants were thickly set with "squares" and green egg-shaped
bolls, smooth and shining as with varnish. On a single stalk might be seen
all stages of development--from the ripe, brown boll, parted starlike, with
the long white fleece depending, to the bean-sized embryo from which the
crimson flower had but just fallen. Indeed, among the wide-open bolls there
was an occasional flower, cream-hued or crimson according to its age, for
the cotton-bloom at opening resembles in color the magnolia-blossom, but
this changes quickly to a deep crimson.

There was, then, the promise, almost the certainty, of a heavy crop on the
Horton place. It was in view of this that the owner completed an
arrangement, for months under consideration, in which he increased his
working plantation-force by thirteen hands, of whom one was Alston. It was,
too, in view of this promised heavy crop that the overseer, Mr. Buck,
harangued the slaves at the opening of the picking-season. The burden of
his harangue was, that no flagging would be tolerated in cotton-gathering
during the season. The figures of the past year were on record, showing
what each hand did each day. There was to be no falling behind these
figures: indeed, they must be beaten, for the heavier bolling made the
picking easier. Any one falling behind was to be cowhided. As for the new
hands, they ought to lead the field, for they were all young, stout
fellows.

As has been said, Alston was tall, strong, well-made. Working in tobacco,
to whose culture he had been used, he could hold his hand with the best:
how would it be in this new business of cotton-picking? He had a strong
element of cheerful fidelity in his nature. The first day he worked
steadily and as rapidly as he was able at the unfamiliar employment. When
night came he reckoned he had done well. With a complacent feeling he stood
waiting his turn as the great baskets, one after another, were swung on the
steelyard and the weights announced. He found himself pitying some of the
pickers as light weights were called, wondering if they had fallen behind
last year's figures. When his basket was brought forward, it was by Big
Sam, who with one hand swung it lightly to the scales; yet Alston's thought
was, "How strong Big Sam is!" and never, "How light the basket!"

The weight was announced: Alston was almost stunned. He had strained every
nerve, yet here he was behind the children-pickers, behind the gray old
women stiff with rheumatism and broken with childbearing and with doing
men's work.

"Sixty-three pounds!" the overseer said with a threatening tone. "Min' yer
git a heap higher'n that ter-morrer, yer yaller raskel! Ef yer can't pick
cotton, yer'll be sol' down in Louzany to a sugar-plantation, whar' niggers
don't git nothin' ter eat 'cept cotton-seeds an' a few dreggy lasses."

Next to being sent to "the bad place" itself, the most terrible fate, to
the negro's imagination, was to be sold to a sugar-planter.

"Here's Big Sam," the overseer continued, "nigh unto three hunderd; an'
Little Lizay two hunderd an' fawty-seven.--That's the bigges' figger yer's
ever struck yit, Lizay: shows what yer kin do. Min' yer come up ter it
ter-morrer an' ev'ry other day."

"Days gits shawter 'bout Chrismus-time," Little Lizay ventured to suggest,
"an' it gits col', an' my fingers ain't limber."

"Don't give me none yer jaw. Reckon I knows 'nuff ter make 'lowances fer
col' an' shawt days an' scatterin' bolls an' sich like."

The next day, Alston, humiliated by his failure and by the brutal reprimand
he had received, went to the cotton-field before any of the other
hands--indeed, before it was fairly light. There he worked if ever a man
did work. When the other negroes came on the field there were laughing,
talking, singing, nodding and occasional napping in the shade of the
cotton-stalks. But Alston took no part in any of these. He had no interest
for anything apart from his work. At this all his faculties were engaged.
His lithe body was seen swaying from side to side about the widespreading
branches; he stood on tiptoe to reach the topmost bolls; he got on his
knees to work the base-limbs, pressing down and away the long grass with
his broad feet, tearing and holding back even with his teeth hindering
tendrils of the passion-flower and morning-glory and other creepers which
had escaped the devastating hoe when the crop was "laid by," and had made
good their hold on occasional stalks. Persistently he worked in this intent
way all through the hot day, every muscle in action. He lingered at the
work till after the last of the other pickers had with great baskets poised
on head joined the long, weird procession, showing white in the dusk, that
went winding through field and lane to the ginhouse. On he worked till the
crescent moon came up and he could hardly discern fleece from leaf. At
last, fearing that the basket-weighing might be ended before he could reach
the ginhouse, a half mile distant, he emptied his pick-sack, belted at his
waist, into the tall barrel-like basket, tramped the cotton with a few
movements of his bare feet, and then kneeling got the basket to his
shoulder: he was not used to the balancing on head which seemed natural as
breathing to the old hands. With long strides he hurried to the ginhouse.
He was not a minute too early. Almost the last basket had been weighed,
emptied and stacked when he climbed the ladder-like steps to the scaffold
where the cotton was sunned preparatory to its ginning. When he had pushed
his way through the crowd of negroes hanging about the door of the
ginhouse-loft he heard the overseer call, "Whar's that yaller whelp,
Als'on?"

"Here, sah," Alston answered, hurrying forward to put his basket on the
steelyard.

"Give me any mo' yer jaw an' I'll lay yer out with the butt-en' er this
whip," said Mr. Buck. Alston was wondering what he had said that was
disrespectful, when the man added, "Won't have none yer sahrin' uv me. I's
yer moster, an' that's what yer's got ter call me, I let yer know."

Alston's blood was up, but the slaves were used to self-repression. All
that was endurable in their lives depended on patience and submission.

"Beg poddon, moster," Alston said with well-assumed meekness. "In Ol'
Virginny we use ter say moster to jist our sho'-'nuff owners; but," he
added quickly, by way of mollifying the overseer, who could not fail to be
stung by the covert jeer, "it's a heap better ter say moster ter all the
white folks, white trash an' all: then yer's sho' ter be right."

At this speech there was in Mr. Buck's rear much grinning and eye-rolling.

But Mr. Buck was engaged with Alston's basket, which was now on the scales.
"Sixty-seven poun's," the overseer called.

The slave's heart sank: only four pounds' gain after all his toil early and
late! He was bitterly disappointed. He believed the overseer lied. Then his
heart burned. Couldn't he leave his basket unemptied, and weigh it himself
when the others were gone? No: the order of routine was peremptory. The
baskets must be emptied and stacked on the scaffold outside the
cotton-loft, so that there would be no chance the next morning for the
negroes to take away cotton in their baskets to the fields. And what if he
could reweigh his cotton, and prove Mr. Buck a liar? He would not dare
breathe the discovery.

So Alston emptied out the cotton he had worked so hard to gather, listening
moodily to the overseer's harsh threats: "Yer reckon I's goin' to stan'
sich figgers? Sixty-seven poun's! fou' poun's 'head uv yistiddy. Yer ought
ter be fawty ahead. I won't look at nothin' under a hunderd. Ef yer don't
get it ter-morrer I'll tie yer up, sho's yer bawn, yer great merlatto dog!
Yer's 'hin' the poo'es' gal in the fiel'."

"I never pick no cotton 'fo' yistiddy, an' its tolerbul unhandy. Rickon I
kin do better when I gits my han' in. I use ter could wuck fus'-rate in
tobaccy."

"Tobaccy won't save yer. We hain't got no use for niggers ef they can't
come up ter the scratch on cotton. I's made a big crop, an' I ain't goin'
ter let it rot in the fiel'. Yer ought ter pick three hunderd ev'ry day. I
know'd a nigger onct, a heap littler than Little Lizay, that picked five
hunderd ev'ry lick; an' I hearn tell uv a feller that went up ter seven
hunderd. I ain't goin' ter take no mo' sixties from yer: a good hunderd or
the cowhide. That's the talk!"

"I'll pick all I kin," said Alston: "I wuckt haud's I could ter-day."

"Ef yer don't hush yer lyin' mouth I'll cut yer heart out."

Alston went from the gin-loft, his blood tingling. On the sunning-scaffold
he encountered Little Lizay. She had been listening--had heard all that had
passed between the two men. She went down the scaffold-steps, and Alston
came soon after. She waited for him, and they walked to the "quarter"
together. "It's mighty haud, ain't it?" she said.

"I believe he tol' a lie 'bout my baskit. Anyhow, I wuckt haud's I could
ter-day. I can't pick no hunderd poun's uv the flimpsy stuff. He'll have
ter cowhide me: I don't kere."

But Alston did care keenly--not so much for the pain; he could bear worse
misery than the brutal arm could inflict, though the rawhide cut like a
dull knife; but it was the shame, the disgrace, of the thing. He was a
stranger on the place--only a few weeks there--and to be tied up and
flogged in the midst of strange, unsympathizing negroes! it was such
degradation to his manhood. Since he was a child he had not been struck. He
had been rather a favorite with his master in Virginia, but this master had
died in debt, leaving numerous heirs, and in the changes incident to a
partition of the estate Alston was sold.

Perceiving that he had Little Lizay's sympathy, Alston went on talking,
telling her that he could stand a lashing coming from his own master, but
that an overseer was only white trash, who never did "own a nigger," and
never would be able to. If he had to be flogged, he wanted it to be by a
gentleman.

"Never min'," said Little Lizay. "Maybe yer'll git mo' ter-morrer. When
yer's pickin' yer mus' quit stoppin' ter pick out the leaves an' trash. I
lets ev'rything go in that happens, green bolls an' all: they weighs
heavy."

The following day, Alston, as before, went to the cotton-field early, but
he found that Little Lizay had the start of him. She had already emptied
her sack into her pick-basket. "The cotton we get now'll weigh heavy," she
said: "it's got dew on it."

"That's so," Alston assented, "but yer mus'n't talk ter me, Lizay. I's got
ter put all my min' ter my wuck: I can't foad ter talk."

"I can't nuther," said Lizay. "Wish I didn't pick so much cotton the fus'
day: I's got ter keep on trottin' ter two hunderd an' fawty-seven."

She selected two rows beside Alston's. She wore a coarse dress of uncolored
homespun cotton, of the plainest and scantiest make, low in the neck, short
in the sleeves and skirt. Her feet and head were bare. A sack of like
material with her dress was tied about the waist, apron-like. This was to
receive immediately the pickings from the hand. When filled it was emptied
in a pick-basket, holding with a little packing fifty or sixty pounds. This
small basket was kept in the picker's vicinity, being moved forward
whenever the sack was taken back for emptying. Besides this go-between
pick-basket, there was at that end of the row nearest the ginhouse an
immense basket, nearly as tall as a barrel, and of greater circumference,
with a capacity for three hundred pounds.

Alston's pick-basket stood beside Little Lizay's, and between his row and
hers. She was carrying two rows to his one, and he perceived, without
looking and with a vague envy, that Lizay emptied three sacks at least to
his one. Yet she did not seem to be working half as hard as he was. With
light, graceful movements, now right, now left, she plucked the white tufts
and the candelabra-like pendants stretched by the wind and the expanding
lint till the dark seed could be discerned in clusters.

It was near nine o'clock when Alston emptied his first sack, some fifteen
pounds, in the pick-basket, which Little Lizay had brought forward with her
own. Soon after she went back to empty her sack. The baskets stood
hazardously near Alston for Lizay's game, but with her back turned to him
and the luxuriant cotton-stalks between she reckoned she might venture.
One-third of her sack she threw into Alston's basket--about five pounds.
And thus the poor soul did during the day, giving a third of her gatherings
to Alston. She would have given him more--the half, the whole, everything
she owned--for she regarded him with a feeling that would have been called
love in a fairer woman.

Alston had been in Virginia something of a house-servant, doing occasional
duty as coachman when the regular official was ill or was wanted elsewhere.
He was also a good table-waiter, and had served in the dining-room when
there were guests. So it came that though properly a field-hand, yet in
manner and speech he showed to advantage beside the slaves who were
exclusively field-hands. Little Lizay too occupied a halfway place between
these and the better-spoken, gentler-mannered house-servants. In the
winters, after Christmas, which usually terminated the picking-season,
Lizay was called to the place of head assistant of the plantation
seamstress. Indeed, she did little field-service except in times of special
pressure and during the quarter of cotton-picking. She was so
nimble-fingered and swift that she could not be spared from the field in
picking-season, especially if, as was the case this year, there was a heavy
crop. And occasionally in the winter, when there was unusual company at the
Hortons' in the city, Little Lizay was sent for and had the advantage of a
season in town. She felt her superiority to the average plantation-negro,
and had not married, though not unsolicited. When, therefore, Alston came
she at once recognized in him a companion, and she was not long in making
over her favor to the distinguished-looking stranger. He was, as she, a
half-breed, and Lizay liked her own color. Had Alston courted her favor,
she might have yielded it less readily, but he did not take easily to his
new companions. Some called him proud: others reckoned he had left a
sweetheart, a wife perhaps, in Virginia. Little Lizay's evident preference
laid her open to the rude jokes and sneers of the other negroes--in
particular Big Sam, who was her suitor, and Edny Ann, who was fond of
Alston. But Edny Ann did not care for Alston as Little Lizay did--could
not, indeed. She was incapable of the devotion that Lizay felt. She would
not have left her sleep and gone to the dew-wet field before daybreak for
the sake of helping Alston: she would not have taken the risk of falling
behind in her picking, and thus incurring a flogging, by dividing her
gatherings with him. And if she had helped him at all, it would not have
been delicately, as Lizay's help had been given. Edny Ann would have wanted
Alston to know that she had helped him: Little Lizay wished to hide it from
him, both because she feared he would decline her help, and because she
wanted to spare him the humiliation.

When night came not only Alston lingered, picking by moonlight, but Little
Lizay; and this gave rise to much laughing among the other pickers, and to
many coarse jokes. But to one who knew her secret it would have seemed
piteous--the girl's anxious face as the weighing proceeded, drawing on and
on to Alston's basket and hers at the very end of the line. Would he have
a hundred? would she fall behind? Would he be saved the flogging? would she
have to suffer in his stead? She dreaded a flogging at the hands of that
brutal overseer, and all her womanliness shrunk from the degradation of
being stripped and flogged in Alston's presence, or even of having him know
that she was to be cowhided. She bethought her of making an appeal to the
overseer. She knew she had some power with him, for he had been enamored,
in his brutish way, of her physical charms--her neat figure, her glossy,
waving hair, and the small, shapely hand and foot.

Just before the weighing had reached Alston's basket and hers she stepped
beside the overseer. "Please, Mos' Buck," she said in a low tone, "ef I
falls 'hin' myse'f, an' don't git up to them fus' figgers, an' has to git
cowhided--please, sah, don't let the black folks an' Als'on know 'bout it."

Mr. Buck took a hint from this request. He perceived that Lizay was
interested in Alston, as he had already guessed from the jokes of the
negroes, and that she was specially desirous to conceal her shame from the
man to whom she had given her favor. Mr. Buck resented it that Lizay should
rebuff him and encourage Alston; so he hoped that for this once, at any
rate, she would fall behind: he had thought of a capital plan of revenging
himself on her.

The next moment after her whispered appeal Lizay saw with intense interest
Alston's basket brought forward for weighing. She glanced at him. His eyes
were wide open, staring with eagerness, his head advanced, his whole
attitude one of absorbed anxiety. By the position of the weight or pea on
the steelyard she knew that it was put somewhere near the sixty notch. Up
flew the end of the yard, and up flew Lizay's heart with it: out went the
pea some ten teeth, yet up again went the impatient steel. Click! click!
click! rattled the weight. Out and out another ten notches, then another
and another--one hundred, one hundred and one, one hundred and two, one
hundred and three--yet the yard still protested, still called for more.
Out one tooth farther, and the steel lay along the horizon. Everybody
listened.

"One hunderd an' fou'," Mr. Buck announced. "Thar' now, yer lazy dog! I
know'd yer wasn't half wuckin'. Now see ter it yer come ter taw arter this:
hunderd an' fou's yer notch."

It was a moment of supreme relief to Alston. He drew a long breath, and
returned some smiles of congratulation from the negroes. Then he sighed: he
felt hopeless of repeating the weight day after day. He had hardly stopped
to breathe from day-dawn till moon-rise: he would not always have the
friendly moonlight to help him. But now Little Lizay's basket was swinging.
He listened to hear its weight with interest, but how unlike this was to
the absorbed anxiety which she had felt for him!

"Two hunderd an' 'leven--thutty-six poun's behin'!" said Mr. Buck, smacking
his lips as over some good thing. Now he should have vent for his spite
against the girl. "Thutty-six lashes on yer bar' back by yer sweet'art."
Mr. Buck said this with a dreadful snicker in Little Lizay's face.

The word ran like wildfire from mouth to mouth that Little Lizay, the
famous picker, had fallen behind, and was to be flogged--by the overseer,
some said--by Big Sam, others declared. But Edny Ann reckoned the cowhiding
was to be done by Alston.

"An' her dersarves it, kase her's a big fool," said Edny Ann, "hangin'
roun' him, an' patchin' his cloze like her wus morred ter 'im--an' washin'
his shut an' britches ev'ry Saddy night."

All the hands were required to stop after the weighing and witness the
floggings, as a warning to themselves and an enhancement of punishment to
the convicts. There was but little shrinking from the sight. Human nature
is everywhere much the same: cruel spectacles brutalize, whether in Spain
or on a negro-plantation. But to-night there was a new sensation: the
slaves were on the _qui vive_ to see Little Lizay flogged, and to find out
whose hand was to wield the whip.

"Now hurry up yere, yer lazy raskels! an' git yer floggin'," Mr. Buck said
when the weighing was over.

From right and left and front and rear negroes came forward and stood, a
motley group, before the one white man. It was a weird spectacle that did
not seem to belong to our earth. Black faces, heads above heads, crowded at
the doorway--some solemn and sympathetic, others grinning in anticipation
of the show. Negroes were perched on the gin and in the corners of the loft
where the cotton was heaped. Others lay at full length close to the field
of action. In every direction the dusky figures dotted the cotton lying on
every hand about the little cleared space where the flogging and weighing
were done. In a close bunch stood the shrinking, cowering convicts, some
with heads white as the cotton all about them. Mr. Buck, the most
picturesque figure of the whole, was laying off his coat and baring his
arm, standing under the solitary lamp depending from the rafters, whose
faint light served to give to all the scene an indefinite supernatural
aspect.

"Now, come out yere," said Mr. Buck, moving from under the grease-lamp and
calling for volunteers.

One by one the negroes came forward and bared themselves to the
waist--children, strong men and old women. And then there was shrieking and
wailing, begging and praying: it was like a leaf out of hell.

Little Lizay was among the first of the condemned to present herself, for
she felt an intolerable suspense as to what awaited her. The vague terror
in her face was discerned by the dim light.

As she stepped forward Mr. Buck called out, "Als'on!"

"Yes, moster," Alston answered.

"What yer sneakin' in that thar' corner fer? Come up yere, you--" but his
vile sentence shall not be finished here.

Alston came forward with a statuesque face.

"Take this rawhide," was the order he received.

He put out his hand, and then, suddenly realizing the requisition that was
to be made on him, realizing that he was to flog Little Lizay, his
confidante and sympathizing friend, his hand dropped cold and limp.

"Yerdar' ter dis'bey me?" Mr. Buck bellowed. "I'll brain yer: I'll--"

"I didn't go ter do it, moster," Alston said, reaching for the whip. "I'll
whip her tell yer tells me ter stop."

"He didn't go ter do it, Mos' Buck," pleaded Little Lizay, frightened for
Alston. "He'll whip me ef yer'll give 'im the whip.--I's ready, Als'on."

She crossed her arms over her bare bosom and shook her long hair forward:
then dropped her face low and stood with her back partly turned to Alston,
who now had the whip.

"Fire away!" said the overseer.

Alston was not a refined gentleman, whose youth had been hedged from the
coarse and degrading, whose good instincts had been cherished, whose
faculties had been harmoniously trained. He was not a hero: he was not
prepared to espouse to the death Little Lizay's cause--to risk everything
for the shrinking, helpless woman and for his own manhood--to die rather
than strike her. He was only a slave, used from his cradle to the low and
cruel and brutalizing. But he had the making of a man in him: his nature
was one that could never become utterly base. But there was no help, no
hope, for either of them in anything he could do. He might knock Mr. Buck
senseless, sure of the sympathy of every slave on the plantation. There
would be a brief triumph, but he and Little Lizay would have to pay for it:
bloodhounds, scourgings, chains, cruelty that never slept and could never
be placated, were sure as fate. Resistance was inevitable disaster.

Alston did not need to stand there undetermined while he went over this: it
was familiar ground. Over and over again he had settled it: it was madness
for the slave to oppose himself to the dominant white man.

So, after his first unreasoning recoil, his mind was decided to adminster
the flogging. Would it not be a mercy to Little Lizay for him to do this
rather than that other hand, energized by hate, revenge and cruelty?

He raised his arm, with his heart beating hot and his manhood shrinking: he
struck Little Lizay's bare shoulders. She had nerved herself, but the blow,
after all, surprised her and made her start; and she had not quite
recovered herself when the second blow fell, so that she winced again; but
after that she stood like a statue.

"Harder!" cried Mr. Buck after the first few lashes. "None yer tomfool'ry
'bout me. She ain't no baby. Harder! I tell yer. Yer ain't draw'd no blood
nary time. Ef yer don't min' me I'll knock yer down. Yer whips like yer wus
'feard yer'd hurt 'er. Yer ac' like yer never whipped no nigger sence yer
wus bawn. Yer's got ter tiptoe ter it, an' fling yer arm back at a better
lick 'an that. Look yere: ef yer don't lick her harder I'll make Big Sam
lick yer till yer see sights."

At length the wretched work was ended, and the negroes made their way along
the moonlighted lanes to their cabins. These were single rooms, built of
unhewn logs, chinked and daubed with yellow mud. They had puncheon floors
and chimneys built of sticks and clay. Of clay also were the all-important
jambs, which served as depositories of perhaps every household article
pertaining to the cabin except the bedding and the stools. There might have
been found the household knife and spoon, the two or three family tin cups,
the skillet, the pothooks, sundry gourd vessels, the wooden tray in which
the "cawn" bread was mixed--pipe, tobacco and banjo.

On the Horton place the negroes cooked their own suppers after the day's
work was over. So for an hour every evening "the quarter" had an animated
aspect, for the cabins, standing five yards apart, faced each other in two
long lines. In each was a glowing fire, on which logs and pine-knots and
cypress-splints were laid with unsparing hand, for there was no limit to
the fuel. These fires furnished the lights: candles and lamps were unknown
at "the quarter."

Of course the windowless cabins, with these roaring fires, were stifling
in September; so the negroes sat in the doorways chatting and singing while
the bacon was frying and the corn dough roasting in the ashes or the
hoecake baking on the griddle. An occasional woman patched or washed some
garment by the firelight, while others brought water in piggins from the
spring at the foot of the hill on whose brow "the quarter" was located.

As Alston sat outside his door on a block, eating his supper by the light
of the high-mounting flames of his cabin-fire, Little Lizay came out and
sat on her doorsill. Her cabin stood opposite his. He recognized her, and
when he had finished his supper he went over to her.

"I didn't want ter strike yer, Lizay," he said. "Do you feel haud agin me
fer it?"

"No," Lizay answered: "he made yer do it. Yer couldn't he'p it. I reckon
yer'll have ter whip me agin ter-morrer night. I mos' knows my baskit won't
weigh no two hunderd an' fawty-seven poun's. 'Tain't fa'r ter 'spec' that
much from me: it's a heap more'n tother gals gits, an' mos' all uv um is
heap bigger'n me. I's small pertatoes." She laughed a little at her jest.

"Yer's some punkins," said Alston, returning the joke. "I'd give a heap ef
I could pick cotton like yer."

"Yer's improved a heap," said Little Lizay. "Ef yer keeps on improvin',
mayby yer'll git so yer kin he'p me arter 'while."

"Mayby so," Alston answered.

"But yer wouldn't he'p me, I reckon. Reckon yer'd he'p Edny Ann: yer likes
her better'n me."

"No, I don't."

"Reckon yer likes somebody in Virginny more'n yer likes anybody on this
plantation."

"I's better 'quainted back thar'," said Alston apologetically.

"But thar' ain't no use hankerin' arter them yer's lef 'hin' yer: reckon
yer won't never see um no mo'. Heap better git sati'fied yere. It's a long
way back thar', ain't it?"

"A mighty long way," said Alston; and then he was silent, his thoughts
going back and back over the long way.

Lizay recalled him: "Was yer sorry yer had ter whip me?"

"I was mighty sorry, Little Lizay," he replied with a strong tone of
tenderness that made her heart beat faster. "I would er knocked that white
nigger down, but it wouldn't er he'ped nothin'. Things would er jus' been
wusser."

"Yes," Lizay assented, "nothin' won't he'p us: ain't no use in nothin'."

"Reckon I'll go in an' go ter sleep," said Alston: "got ter git up early in
the mawnin'."

He _was_ up early the next morning, he and Little Lizay being again in the
cotton-field before dawn. All through the day there was, as before,
persistent devotion to the picking; then the holding on after dusk for one
more pound; the same result at night--the man up to the required figure,
the woman behind, this time forty-one pounds behind. Again she received a
cowhiding at Alston's hands.

"What yer mean by this yere foolin'?" Mr. Buck demanded in a rage of Little
Lizay. "Yer reckon I's gwine ter stan' this yere? Two hunderd an'
fawty-seven 'gin two hunderd an' six! It's all laziness an' mulishness.
I'll git yer outen that thar' notch, else I'll kill yer. Look yere:
ter-morrer, ef yer don't come ter taw, I'll give yer twict es many licks es
the poun's yer falls behin'."

Did this threat frighten Little Lizay out of her devotion?

"Two hunderd is 'nuff fer a little gal like yer," Alston said the next
morning. "Save my life, I can't pick no more'n a hunderd an' a few poun's
mo'. I wouldn't stan' ter be flogged ef I'd done my shar'."

"Got ter stan' it--can't he'p myse'f."

"I'd go ter town an' tell Mos' Hawton. I's tolerbul sho' he wouldn't 'low
yer ter git twict es many licks, nohow. Mos' Hawton's tolerbul good ter his
black folks, ain't he?"

"Yes, tolerbul--to the house-sarvants he's got in town; but he jist goes
'long mindin' his business thar', an' don't pay no 'tention sca'cely ter
his plantation. He don't want us ter come 'plainin' ter him. He's mighty
busy--gits a heap er practice, makes a heap er money. He went down the
river onct, more'n a hunderd miles, ter cut somethin' off a man--I fawgits
what 'twas--an' the man paid him hunderds an' hunderds an' hunderds--I
fawgits how much 'twas."

Here Little Lizay found that Alston was no longer listening, but was
absorbed with the cotton-picking.

That day, to save the pickers' time, their bacon and corn pones were
brought out to the field by wagon in wooden trays and buckets. There were
three cotton-baskets filled with corn dodgers. Alston and Little Lizay sat
not far apart while eating their dinners.

"I reckon I's gittin' 'long tolerbul well ter-day," he said. "Dun know for
sar-tin, but looks like the pickin' wus heap handier than at fus'. Look
yere, Lizay: ef I know'd I'd git more'n a hunderd I'd he'p yer 'long: I'd
give yer the balance. Couldn't stave off all the floggin', but I might save
yer some licks."

"Take kere yer ownse'f, Als'on. I don't min' the las' few licks: they don't
never hut bad es the fus' ones." This was Little Lizay's answer, given with
glowing cheek and eyes looking down. To her own heart she said, "I likes
him better'n he likes me. Reckon he can't git over mou'nin' fer somebody in
Virginny." She wondered if he had left a wife back there: she would test
him. "Reckon yer'll hear from yer wife any mo', Als'on?" she said.

"Yes, reckon I will. She said she'd write me a letter. She didn't b'long
ter my ol' moster: she b'longed ter Squire Minor. I tuck a wife off'en our
plantation. She's goin' ter ax her moster ter sell her an' the childun to
Mos' Hawton, and I's waitin' ter fin' out ef he'll sell 'um. I ain't goin'
ter cou't no other gal tell I fin's out."

"Yer hopes he'll sell her, don't yer?" Little Lizay asked with an anxious
heart.

"She wus a mighty good wife," said Alston, without committing himself by a
categorical answer. "Would seem like Ol' Virginny ter have her an' the
childun, but they's better off thar'. They couldn't pick cotton, I reckon.
Her moster an' mistiss thinks a heap uv her: she's one the cooks. I don't
reckon they kin spaw her."

"Don't yer, sho' 'nuff?"

"No, I don't reckon they kin, 'cause one Mis' Minor's cooks is gittin' ol'
an' can't see good--Aunt Juno. She wucks up flies an' sich into the cawn
bread. They wants ter put my wife into her place, but they can't git shet
with Aunt Juno: she's jis' boun' she'll do the white folks' cookin'. She
says thar' ain't no use in bein' free ef she can't do what she pleases:
they set her free Chrismus 'fo' las'. But law, Lizay! we mus' hurry up an'
get ter pickin'."

That night Lizay had gained on her basket of the preceding day by five and
a half pounds, and Alston had fallen behind his by four. But as he was
still over a hundred he escaped a flogging. Mr. Buck, being unable to
reckon exactly the number of lashes to which Little Lizay was entitled,
gave the rawhide the benefit of any doubt and ordered Alston to administer
seventy-five lashes.

The next day nothing noticeable occurred in the lives of these two slaves,
except that Alston's basket fell yet behind: Mr. Buck acknowledged it was a
"hunderd, but a mighty tight squeeze," while Little Lizay's had gained
three pounds on the last weight.

"Yer saved six lashes ter-day, Little Lizay," Alston said. He was evidently
glad for her, and her hungry heart was glad that he cared.

"An' yer didn't haudly git clear," she replied, adding to herself that
to-morrow she must be more generous with her help to Alston.

But on the morrow something occurred which dismayed the girl. She had
shaken her sack over Alston's basket, designing to empty a third of its
contents there, and then the remainder in her "pick." But the cotton was
closely packed in the sack, and almost the whole of it tumbled in a compact
mass into Alston's basket. He would not need so much help as this to ensure
him, so she proceeded to transfer a portion of the heap to her basket.
Suddenly she started as though shot. Some one was calling to her and making
a terrible accusation. The some one was Edny Ann: "Yer's stealin' thar': I
see'd yer do it--see'd yer takin' cotton outen Als'on's baskit. Ain't yer
shame, yer yaller good-fer-nuffin'? I's gwine ter tell." This was the
terrible accusation.

"Yer dun know nothin' 'tall 'bout it," said Little Lizay. "It's my cotton.
I emptied it in Als'on's baskit when I didn't go ter do it. I ain't tuck a
sol'tary lock er Als'on's cotton; an' I wouldn't, nuther, ter save my
life."

"Reckon yer kin fool me?" demanded the triumphant Edny Ann. Then she called
Alston with the _O_ which Southerners inevitably prefix: "O Als'on! O
Als'on! come yere! quick!"

"Don't, please don't, tell him," Little Lizay pleaded. "I'll give yer my
new cal'ker dress ef yer won't tell nobody."

But Edny Ann went on calling: "O Als'on! O Als'on! come yere!"

Little Lizay pleaded in a frantic way for silence as she saw Alston coming
with long strides up between the cotton-rows toward them.

"I wants yer ter ten' ter Lizay," said Edny Ann. "Her's been stealin' yer
cotton: see'd 'er do it--see'd 'er take a heap er cotton outen yer baskit
an' ram it into hern. Did so!"

Then you should have seen the man's face. Had it been white you could not
have discerned any plainer the surprise, the disappointment, the grief.
Lizay saw with an indefinable thrill the sadness in his eyes, heard the
grief in his voice.

"I didn't reckon yer'd do sich a thing, Lizay," he said. "I know it's
mighty haud on yer, gittin' cowhided ev'ry night, but stealin' ain't goin'
ter he'p it, Lizay."

"I never stole yer cotton, Als'on," Little Lizay said with a certain
dignity, but with an unsteady voice.

"I see'd yer do it," Edny Ann interrupted.

"I emptied my sack in yer baskit when I didn't go ter do it," Little Lizay
continued. "It wus my own cotton I wus takin' out yer baskit."

"Ef yer deny it, Lizay, yer'll make it wusser." Then Alston went up close
to her, so that Edny Ann might not hear, and said something in a low tone.

Lizay gave him a swift look of surprise: then her lip began to quiver; the
quick tears came to her eyes; she put both hands to her face and cried
hard, so that she could not have found voice if she had wished to tell
Alston her story. He went back to his row, and left her there crying beside
the pick-baskets. He returned almost immediately, shouldered his basket,
and went away from her to another part of the field, leaving his row
unfinished. He wondered how much cotton Lizay had taken from his basket--if
its weight would be brought down below a hundred; and meditated what he
should do in case he was called up to be flogged by the brutal overseer.
Should he stand and take the lashing, trusting to Heaven to make it up to
him some day? or should he knock the overseer senseless and make a strike
for freedom? Where was freedom? Which was the way to the free North? In
Virginia he would have known in what direction to set his face for Ohio,
but here everything was new and strange.

However, he had no occasion for a desperate movement that night. His basket
weighed one hundred and seven, while Little Lizay's had fallen lower than
ever before. Alston thought it was because she had missed her chance of
transferring the usual quantity of cotton from his basket.

The striking of Lizay had never seemed so abhorrent to him as on this
night, now that there was estrangement between them. She was already
humiliated in his sight, and to raise his hand against her was like
striking a fallen foe. She would think that he was no longer sorry--that he
was glad to repay the wrong she had done him.

In the mean time, Edny Ann had told the story of the theft to one and
another, and Lizay found at night the "quarter" humming with it. Taunts and
jeers met her on every hand. Stealing from white folks the negroes regarded
as a very trifling matter, since they, the slaves, had earned everything
there was: but to steal from "a po' nigger" was the meanest thing in their
decalogue.

"Stealin' from her beau!" sneered one negro, commenting on Little Lizay's
offence.

"An' her sweet'art!" said another.

"An' her 'tendin' like her lubbed 'im!"

"An' Als'on can't pick cotton fas', nohow, kase he ain't use ter
cotton--neber see'd none till he come yere--an' her know'd he'd git a
cowhidin'. It's meaner'n boneset tea," said Edny Ann.

"A heap meaner," assented Cat. "Sich puffawmance's wusser'n stealin' acawns
frum a blin' hog."

Over and over Little Lizay said, "I never stole Als'on's cotton;" and then
she would make her explanation, as she had made it to Edny Ann and Alston.
Often she was tempted to tell the whole story of how she had been all along
helping Alston at her own cost, but many motives restrained her. She
dreaded the jeers and jests to which the story would subject her, and
everything was to be feared from Mr. Buck's retaliation should he learn
that he had been tricked. Besides, she wished, if possible, to go on
helping Alston. She doubted, too, if he would receive it well that she had
been helping him. Might he not gravely resent it that through her action
such a pitiable part in the drama had been forced on him? Then there was
something sweet to Little Lizay in suffering all alone for Alston--in
having this secret unshared: she respected herself more that she did not
risk everything to vindicate herself, for this she could do: the steelyard
to-morrow would demonstrate the truth of her story.

But the morrow came, and she went out to the field, her story untold, a
marked woman. Yet she was not comfortless. The something that Alston had
told her the previous day was making her heart sing. This is what he told
her: "While yer wus stealin' from me, Lizay, I wus he'pin' yer. I put a
ha'f er sack in yer baskit ter-day, an' a ha'f er sack yistiddy--kase I
liked yer, Lizay."

She took her rows beside Alston's as usual, determined to watch for a
chance to help him. But when he moved away from her and took another row,
Lizay knew that the time had come. She couldn't stand it to have him strain
and tug and bend to his work as no other hand in the field did, only to be
disappointed at night. She could never bear it that he should be flogged
after all she had done to save him from the shame. She could never live
through it--the cowhiding of her hero by the detested overseer. Yes, the
time had come: she must tell Alston.

She went over to where he had begun a new row. "Yer don't b'lieve the tale
I tole yistiddy, Als'on: yer's feared I'll steal yer cotton ter-day," she
said.

"I don't wish no talk 'bout it, Lizay," Alston said. His tone was half sad,
half peremptory.

"Yer mustn't feel haud agin me ef I tells you somethin', Als'on. Yer's been
puttin' cotton in my baskit unbeknownst ter save me some lashes, an' yer
throw'd it up ter me yistiddy. Now, look yere, Als'on: I's been he'pin' yer
all this week, ever since Mr. Buck said yer got ter git a hunderd. Ev'ry
day I's he'ped yer git up ter a hunderd."

Alston had stopped picking, both his hands full of cotton, and stood
staring in a bewildered way at the girl. "Lizay, is this a fac'?" he said
at length.

"'Tis so, Als'on; an' ef yer don't lemme he'p yer now yer'll fall 'hin' an'
have ter git flogged."

"An' ef yer he'p me, yer'll fall shawt an' have ter git flogged. Oh, Lizay,
thar' never was nobody afo' would er done this yer fer me," Alston said,
feeling that he would like to kiss the poor shoulders that had been
scourged for him. Great tears gathered in his eyes, and he thought without
speaking the thought, "My wife in Virginny wouldn't er done it."

"So yer mus' lemme he'p yer ter-day," said Little Lizay.

"I'll die fus'," he said in a savage tone.

"Oh, yer'll git a whippin', Als'on, sho's yer bawn."

"No: I won't take a floggin' from that brute."

"Oh, Als'on, yer jis' got ter: yer can't he'p the miserbulness. No use
runnin' 'way: they'd ketch yer an' bring yer back. Thar's nigger-hunters
an' blood-houn's all roun' this yer naberhood. Yer couldn't git 'way ter
save yer life."

"Look yere, Lizay," Alston said with sudden inspiration: "le's go tell
Mos' Hawton all 'bout it. Ef he's a genulman he'll 'ten' ter us. They won't
miss us till night, an' 'fo' that time we'll be in Memphis. Yer knows the
way, don't yer?"

"Yes," Lizay said; "an' I reckon that's the bes' thing we kin do--go tell
moster an' mistis. But, law! I ought er go pull off this yere ole homespun
dress an' put on my new cal'ker."

"I reckon we ain't got no time ter dress up," said Alston. "We mus' start
quick: come 'long. Le's hide our baskits fus' whar' the cotton-stalks is
thick."

This they did, and then started off at a brisk pace, their flight concealed
by the tall cotton-plants. They reached Memphis about eleven o'clock, and
found Dr. Horton at home, having just finished his lunch. They were
admitted at once to the dining-room, where the doctor sat picking his
teeth. He had never seen Alston, as the new negroes had been bought by an
agent.

"Sarvant, moster!" Alston said humbly, but with dignity.

"Howdy, moster?" was Little Lizay's more familiar salutation.

"I's Als'on, one yer new boys from Ol' Virginny."

"You're a likely-lookin' fellow," said the doctor, who was given to
dropping final consonants in his speech. "I reckon I'll hear a good report
of you from Mr. Buck. You look like you could stan' up to work like a
soldier. But what's brought you and Little Lizay to the city? Anything gone
wrong?"

"Yes, moster," said Alston--"mighty wrong. Look yere, Mos' Hawton: when I
come on yer plantation I made up my min' ter sarve yer faithful--ter wuck
fer yer haud's I could--ter strike ev'ry lick I could fer yer. When I hoed
cawn an' pulled fodder I went 'head er all the han's on yer plantation. But
when I went ter pick cotton I wusn't use ter it. I wuckt haud's I could,
'fo' day an' arter dark. Mos' Hawton, I couldn't pick a poun' more'n I pick
ter save my life. But I wus 'hin' all t'other han's. Then Mos' Buck wus
goin' ter flog me ef I didn't git a hunderd: then Little Lizay, her he'ped
me unbeknownst: ev'ry day she puts cotton in my baskit ter fetch it ter a
hunderd, an' that made her fall 'hin' las' year's pickin'; then ev'ry night
she was stripped an' cowhided; but she kep' on he'pin' me, an' kep' on
gettin' whipped. I dun know what she dun it fer: 'min's me uv the Laud on
the cross."

Dr. Horton knew what she did it for. His knightliness was touched to the
quick. The story made him wish as never before to be a better master than
he had ever been to his poor people. He asked many questions, and drew
forth all the facts, Lizay telling how Alston was helping her while she was
helping him. Dr. Horton saw that here was a romance in slave-life--that the
man and woman were in love with each other.

"Well, if you can't pick cotton," he said to Alston, "what can you do?"

"Mos' anything else, moster. I kin do ev'rything 'bout cawn; I kin split
rails; I kin plough; I kin drive carriage."

"Could you run a cotton-gin?"

"Reckon so, moster: the black folks says it's tolerbul easy."

"Well, now, look here: you and Lizay get some dinner, an' then do you take
a back-trot for the plantation. I'll sen' Buck a note: no, he can't more'n
half read writin'. Well, do you tell him, Alston, to put you to ginnin'
cotton: Little Sam mus' work with you a few days till you get the hang of
the thing; an' then I want you to show that plantation what 'tis to serve
master faithfully. You see, I believe in you, my man."

"Thanky, moster. I'll wuck fer yer haud's I kin. Please God, I'll sarve yer
faithful."

"Of cou'se, Lizay, you'll go back to pickin' cotton, an' don't let me hear
any mo' of you' nonsense--helpin' a strappin' fellow twice you' size. An'
tell Buck I won't have him whippin' any my negroes ev'ry night in the week.
Confound it! a mule couldn't stan' it. If I've got a negro that needs
floggin' ev'ry night, I'll sell him or give 'im away, or turn 'im out to
grass to shif' for himself. I'll be out there soon, an' 'ten' to things. If
anybody needs a floggin', tell Buck to send 'im to me. Tell the folks to
work like clever Christians, an' they shall have a fus'-rate Christmas--a
heap of Christmas-gifts."

"Yes, moster."

"Do you an' Lizay want to get married right away, or wait till Christmas?"

Alston and Little Lizay looked at each other, smiling in an embarrassed
way.

"But, moster," said Alston, "I's got a wife an' fou' childun in Ol'
Virginny, an' I promused I'd wait an' wouldn't git morred ag'in tell she'd
write ter me ef her moster'd sell her; an' I was goin' ter ax yer ter buy
'er."

"You needn't pester yourself about that. I got a letter for you the other
day from her," the doctor said, fumbling in his pockets.

"Yer did, sah?" Alston said with interest.

"Yes: here it is. Can you read? or shall I read it to you?"

"Ef yer please, moster."

Then Dr. Horton read:

"MY DEAR B'LOVED HUSBUN': Miss Marthy Jane takes my pen in han' ter let yer
know I's well, an' our childun's well, an' all the black folks is tolerbul
well 'cept Juno: her's got the polsy tolerbul bad. All the white folks
'bout yere is will 'cept mistis: her's got the dumps. All the childun say,
Howdy? the black folks all says, Howdy? an' Pete says, Howdy? an' Andy
says, Howdy? an' Viny says, Howdy? an' Cinthy says, Howdy? an' Tony Tucker
says, Howdy? and Brudder Thomas Jeff'son Hollan' says, Howdy? Last time I
see'd Benj'man Franklins Bedfud, he says, ''Member, an' don't fawgit, the
fus' time yer writes, ter tell Als'on, Howdy?'

"Yer 'fectionate wife, CHLOE."

"P.S. Mistis says her can't spaw me, so 'tain't no use waitin' no longer
fer me. 'Sides, I got 'gaged ter git morred: I wus morred Sundy 'fo' las'
at quat'ly meetin'. Brudder Mad'son Mason puffawmed the solemn cer'mony,
an' preached a beautiful discou'se. Me an' my secon' husbun' gits 'long
fus'-rate. I fawgot ter tell yer who I got morred to. I got morred to
Thomas Jeff'son Hollan'."

"So you're a free man," said Dr. Horton, folding the letter and handing it
to Alston. "You an' Little Lizay can get married to-day, right now, if you
wish to. Uncle Moses can marry you: he's a member of the Church in good an'
regular standin': I don't know but he's an exhorter, or class-leader, or
somethin'. What do you say? Shall I call him in an' have him tie you
together?"

"Thanky, moster, ef Little Lizay's willin'.--Is yer, Lizay?"

"I reckon so," said Lizay, her heart beating in gladness. But she
nevertheless glanced down at her coarse field-dress and thought with
longing of the new calico in her cabin.

So Uncle Moses was called in, and Mrs. Horton and all the children and
servants.

"Uncle Moses," said Dr. Horton, "did you ever marry anybody?"

"To be sho', Mos' Hawton. I's morred--Lemme see how many wives has I morred
sence I fus' commenced?"

"Oh, I don't mean that;" and Dr. Horton proceeded to explain what he did
mean.

"No," said Moses. "I never done any that business, but reckon I could: I's
done things a heap hauder."

"Well, let me see you try your han' on this couple."

"Well," said Uncle Moses, "git me a book: got ter have a Bible, or
hymn-book, or cat'chism, or somethin'."

The doctor gravely handed over a pocket edition of _Don Quixote_, which
happened to lie in his reach.

Uncle Moses took it for a copy of the _Methodist Discipline_, and made
pretence of seeking for the marriage ceremony. At length he appeared
satisfied that he had the right page, and stood up facing the couple.

"Jine boff yer right han's," he solemnly commanded. Then, with his eyes on
the book, he repeated the marriage service, with some remarkable
emendations. "An' ef yer solemnly promus," he said in conclusion, "ter lub
an' 'bey one 'nuther tell death pawts yer, please de Laud yer lib so long,
I pernounces boff yer all man an' wife."

Then the mistress looked about and got together a basket of household
articles for the new couple. Bearing this between them, Alston and Little
Lizay went back to the plantation and to their unfinished rows of cotton,
happy, poor souls! pathetic as it seems.

SARAH WINTER KELLOGG.



THE BASS OF THE POTOMAC.


Some twenty-five years ago Mr. William Shriver, a primitive pisciculturist,
took from the Youghiogheny River eleven black bass, and conveyed them in
the tank of the tender of a locomotive to Cumberland, in the coal-region of
Western Maryland. There he deposited them in the Potomac, with the
injunction which forms the heraldic motto of the State of
Maryland--_Crescite et multiplicamini_. The first part of this excellent
precept they obeyed by proceeding to devour all the aboriginal fish in the
river, and waxing extremely hearty upon the liberal diet. The second they
performed with a diligence so commendable that the name of them in the
river became as legion, and the original possessors of the waters were
steadily extirpated or took despairingly to small rivulets, and led ever
after a life of undeserved ignominy and obscurity. There were bass in the
river from the Falls of the Potomac, near Georgetown, to a point as near
its source as any self-respecting fish could approach without detriment to
the buttons on his vest by reason of the shallowness of the water. They
were in all its tributaries, and in fact monopolized its waters completely.
Had the supply of small fish for food held out, it is impossible to say to
what extent they would have increased. They might in their numerical
enormity have rivalled the condition of that famous river, the Wabash,
which in a certain season of excessive dryness became so low that a local
journal of established veracity described the fish as having to stand upon
their heads to breathe, and while in that constrained attitude being pulled
by the inhabitants like radishes in a garden.

It has been contended by some ichthyologists that the black bass does not
eat its own kind, but the spectacle which I recently beheld of a
four-pounder, defunct and floating on the water, with the tail and half the
body of a ten-ounce bass sticking out of his distended mouth, affords but
inadequate confirmation of their views. I sat upon the bass in question,
and rendered a verdict of "choked to death, and served him right." He had
swallowed the younger fish, who, for aught he knew to the contrary, or
cared, might have been his own son; and his confidence in his capacity
being ably supported by his appetite, he undertook a contract to which he
was unequal in the matter of expansion. He couldn't disgorge, being in the
predicament of the boa-constrictor who swallows a hen head first, and finds
her go against the grain when he would fain reconsider the subject. The
head of the inside fish was partially digested, but that process had
imparted no gratification to either party, and both were defunct, mutually
immolated upon the altar of gluttony. It is not an uncommon thing to find
them dead in that condition, for their appetites are ravenous, and lead
them into indiscretions more or less serious in their consequences.

There can be no doubt of their having regarded as a delicate attention the
action some few years since of the Maryland Fish Commissioner in placing
several thousand young California salmon in the river. Those salmon have
never been seen or heard of since; but, although the bass for some time had
a guilty look about them, it is hardly fair to let them remain under so
grievous an imputation as is implied in the whole responsibility for the
fate of the California emigrants. The fact is, that at Georgetown the
Potomac River makes a very abrupt change in its grade, and the Great Falls,
as they are called, are both picturesque and arduous of passage. The
salmon, being of luxurious habit, betakes him each year to the seaside, and
at the end of the season returns in a connubial frame of mind to the spot
endeared to him by his early associations. It is quite possible that these
particular salmon when on their way to the purlieus of marine fashion were
somewhat discouraged at the jar and shock incident to their transit over
the Falls. They may have concluded that the locality was unpropitious for
the return trip, and then, consulting with salmon whose lines had been cast
in more pleasant places, they may have ascended rivers of more conspicuous
natural attractions and more agreeable to fish of cultivated habits.

The habits of the black bass may be described as generally bad. It is a
fish devoid of any of the cardinal virtues. It is ever engaged in
internecine war, and will any day forego a square meal for the sake of a
fight. It gorges itself like a python, and when hooked is as game as a
salmon, and quite as vigorous in proportion to size. In the Potomac it has
been known to weigh as much as six pounds, but bass of that weight are very
rare, from three to four pounds being the average of what are known as good
fish. These afford excellent sport, and are taken with a variety of bait.
The habitués of the river commonly employ live minnow, chub, catfish,
suckers, sunfish--in fact, any fish under six inches in length. The bass
has also a well-marked predilection for small frogs, or indeed for frogs of
any dimensions. It sometimes rises well at a gaudy, substantial fly or a
deft simulation of a healthy Kansas grasshopper; but fishermen have noticed
that the largest fish despise flies, much as a person of a full roast-beef
habit may be supposed to turn up his nose at a small mutton-chop. In other
rivers they take the fly quite freely, but in the Potomac they have had
that branch of their education greatly neglected. In the matter of
vitality they are simply extraordinary: they cling to life with a tenacity
that very few fish exhibit. In the spring or fall, when the water and the
air are at a comparatively low temperature, a bass will live for eight or
ten hours without water. The writer has brought fifty fish, weighing on an
average two and three-quarter pounds, from Point of Rocks to Baltimore, a
distance of seventy-two miles, and after they had been in the air six hours
has placed them in a tub of water and found two-thirds of the number
immediately "kick" and plunge with an amount of energy and ability that
threw the water in all directions. These fish had been caught at various
times during the day, and as each was taken from the hook a stout leather
strap was forced through the floor of its mouth beneath its tongue, and the
bunch of fish so secured allowed to trail overboard in the stream. They
were thus dragged all day against a powerful current, but never showed any
symptoms of "drowning." In the evening they were strung upon a stout piece
of clothes-line, and after lying for some time on the railway platform were
transferred to the floor of the baggage-car, and so transported to the
city. It is quite evident that we do not live in the fear of Mr. Bergh. But
what is one to do? The fish is not to be discouraged except by the
exhibition of great and brutal violence. In fact, bass will not be induced
to decently decease by any civilized process short of a powerful shock from
a voltaic pile administered in the region of their _medulla oblongata_. Of
course, one cannot be expected to carry about a voltaic pile and go hunting
for the medullary recesses of a savage and turbulent fish. On the other
hand, one may batter the protoplasm out of a refractory subject by the aid
of a small rock, but it won't improve the fish's looks or cooking
qualities. It may seem like high treason to mention, moreover, at a safe
distance from Mr. Bergh, that euthanasia in animals designed for the table
does not always improve their quality, and in fact that the linked misery
long drawn out of a protracted dissolution imparts a certain tenderness and
flavor to the flesh that it would not otherwise possess. Should that
excellent and most estimable gentleman regard this statement with a
sceptical eye, let it be here stated that the bass should be recently
killed, split, crimped and broiled to a delicate brown, with a little good
butter and a sprinkling of pepper, salt and chopped parsley. Should he
pursue the subject upon this basis, he will not be the first gentleman who
has surrendered his convictions and compounded a culinary felony upon
favorable terms.

Below Harper's Ferry there is one of the most picturesque reaches of the
Potomac River. From the rugged heights that frown upon that historic and
lovely spot, where the Shenandoah strikes away through the pass that leads
to the broad and beautiful Valley of Virginia, and where John Brown's
memory struggles through battered ruins and the invading smoke of the
unhallowed locomotive, the river chafes from side to side of the stern
defile that hems it in and curbs its restless waters. Great walls of dark
rocks, crested by serried ranks of solemn pines, stand guard above its
fitful, surging flood, and against the dark blue calm and misty depth of
its gorge the pale smoke rises in a quiet column above the mills and houses
that nestle by the river's bed. Huge boulders stem the current, and the
rocks stand out in shelves and rugged ridges, around which the stream
whirls swiftly and sweeps off into broad dark pools in whose green,
mysterious depths there should be noble fish. Below, the river widens and
has long placid reaches, but for the most part its banks are precipitous,
and the deep water runs along the trunks and bares the roots of great trees
whose branches stretch far out over its surface. Occasionally, the
mountains recede and form a vast amphitheatre, clad in primeval forest, and
there are islands on which vegetation runs riot in its unbridled luxury,
and weaves festoons of gay creepers to conceal the gaunt skeletons of the
endless piles of dead drift-wood. All is in the most glorious green--a very
extravagance of fresh and brilliant color--relieved with the bright
purples and tender leafing of the flowering shrubs and vines that
intertwine among its heavy jungle. Upon the broad, flat rocks one may see
dozens of stolid "sliders," or mud-turtles, some of great size, basking in
the sun like so many boarders at a country hotel. They crowd upon the rocks
as thickly as they can, and blink there all day long unless disturbed by
the approach of a boat, when they dive clumsily but quickly. Occasionally,
one sees an otter, with seal-like head above the surface of the water,
swimming swiftly from haunt to haunt in pursuit of the bass; and small
coteries of summer ducks fly swiftly from sedge to sedge.

The acoustic properties of the river would make an architect die with envy.
The light breeze bears one's conversation audibly for half a mile; one
hears the splash of a fish that jumps a thousand yards away; and the grim
cliffs at the foot of which the canal winds in and out take up the
profanity of the towpath and hurl it back and forth across the river as if
it was great fun and all propriety. The stalwart exhortations and clean-cut
phraseology of the mule-drivers and the notes of the bugles go ringing over
to Virginia's shore, and fill the air with cadences so sweet and musical
that they sound like the pleasant laughter of good-humored Nature, instead
of the well-punctuated and diligent ribaldry of the most profane class of
humanity in existence. It is perfectly startling and frightful to hear an
objurgation of the most utterly purposeless and ingeniously vile
description transmitted half a mile with painful distinctness, and then
seized by a virtuous and reproachful echo and indignantly repelled in
disjointed fragments.

"Y'ill take care, sorr, an' sit fair in the middle of the shkiff," said Mr.
McGrath as I got into his frail craft at five o'clock in the morning on the
bank of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal near Point of Rocks. "It's
onconvanient to be outside of the boat whin we're going through them locks.
There were a gintleman done that last year, an' he come near lavin' a lot
of orphans behind him."

"How was that, McGrath?" said I.

"Begorra! the divil a child had he," he replied.

"But do you mean that he was drowned?" I asked.

"Faith, an' he was that, sorr--complately."

I promised Mr. McGrath that I would observe his instructions carefully, and
that gentleman, after placing the rods, live-bait bucket, luncheon-basket
and other articles on board, took his seat in the bow, and we proceeded. We
had two boats for my companion and myself, and an experienced man in each.
Mr. McGrath had fallen to my lot, and my companion had a darkey named Pete.
We were to go up the canal some four miles, and then, launching the boats
into the river, were to fish slowly down with the current. We had a horse
and tow-rope, and a small boy, mounted on the animal, started off at a
smart trot. It was quite exhilarating, and the boats dashed along merrily
at a capital rate. A gray mist hung low on the river, and thin wraiths of
it rose off the water of the canal and crept up the mountain-side,
shrouding the black pines and hiding the summit from view. Beyond, the tops
of the hills on the Virginia shore were beginning to blush as they caught
the first rays of sunrise, and the fish-hawk's puny scream echoed from the
islands in the stream. It was a lovely morning, and promised a day, as Mr.
McGrath observed, on which some elegant fish should die. After a few delays
at locks, in which canal-boats took precedence of us, we reached our point
of transshipment, hauled the boats out on the bank, and our horse drew them
sleigh-fashion across field and down to and out into the water.

I had a light split bamboo rod, a good silk line and a fair assortment of
flies. Mr. McGrath had a common bamboo cane, a battered old reel, and the
value of his outfit might be generously estimated at half a dollar. In his
live-bait bucket were about a hundred fish, varying in length from two to
six inches. He did not prepare to fish himself, but was watching me with
the deepest attention. He held the boat across the stream toward the
opposite shore, and by the time we dropped down on a large flat rock I was
ready. I got out, and there being a pleasant air stirring, I made my casts
with a great deal of ease and comfort. There was a deep hole below the
rocks, bordered on both sides by a swift ripple--as pretty a spot as ever a
fly was thrown over. I sped them over it in all directions, casting fifty
and sixty feet of line, and admiring the soft flutter with which they
dropped on the edge of the ripple or the open water. Mr. McGrath was
surveying the operation critically, nodding his head in approval from side
to side, and uttering short ejaculations of the most flattering nature. I
kept whipping the stream assiduously, so satisfied with my work and the
style of it as to feel confident that no well-regulated fish could resist
it. But there was no appearance of a rise: not a sign appeared on the water
to show even the approach of a speculative fish. I was about to note the
fact to Mr. McGrath when that gentleman remarked, "Begorra! but it's
illigant sport it'd be if the bass 'ud only bite at them things!"

"Bite at them?" said I, turning round: "of course they'll bite at them."

"Sorra bit will they, sorr. It's just wondherin' they are if them things up
above is good to ate, but they're too lazy to step up an' inquire. Augh, be
me sowl! but it's the thruth I tell you. Now, if it was a dacent throut
that were there, he'd be afther acceptin' yer invite in a minit; but them
bass--begorra! they're not amaynable to the fly at all."

Now, if there is anything that I have been brought up to despise, it is
fishing with "bait." Fly-fishing I have learned to regard as the only
legitimate method of taking any fish that any sportsman ought to fish for,
and fishing with a worm and a cork I always looked upon as equal to
shooting a partridge on the ground in May. I did not believe Mr. McGrath,
and I told him, as I resumed my graceful occupation, that I didn't think
there were any fish there to catch. The idea of their rejecting flies
served up as mine were was too preposterous.

"Well," said he, "ye may be right, sorr: there may be none there at all;
but I'll thry them wid a bait, anyhow."

In another minute Mr. McGrath was slashing about right and left a bait
which to my disordered vision looked as big as a Yarmouth bloater. He threw
it in every direction with great vigor and precision, and, as I could not
help noticing, with very little splashing. I turned away with emotion, and
continued my fly-fishing. Presently I heard an exclamation from Mr.
McGrath, quickly succeeded by an ominous whirring of his reel.

"Luk at the vagabone, sorr! luk at him now! Run, ye divil ye! run!" he
cried as he facilitated the departure of the line, which was going out at a
famous rate. "Bedad! he's a fine mikroptheros! Whisht! he's stopped.--Take
that, ye spalpeen ye!"

As he said this he gave his rod a strong jerk, that brought the line up
with a "zip" out of the water in a long ridge, and the old bamboo cane bent
until it cracked. At the same moment, about a hundred and fifty feet away,
a splendid fish leaped high and clear out of the water with the line
dangling from his mouth. Mr. McGrath had struck him fairly, and away he
went across stream as hard as he could tear.

"Take the rod, sorr, while I get the landing-net. Kape a tight line on him,
sorr: niver let him deludher ye. It's an illigant mikroptheros he is,
sure!"

He returned from the boat in a moment with the landing-net, but absolutely
refused to take back his rod: "Sorra bit, sorr: bring him in. It's great
fun ye'll have wid the vagabone in that current! No, sorr: bring him in
yerself, sorr: ye'll niver lay it at my door that the first fish hooked
wasn't brought in."

I didn't need any instructions, and as the fish ran for a rock some
distance off, I brought him up sharply, and he jumped again as wickedly as
he could full three feet out of the water, and came straight toward us with
a rush. It was no use trying, I couldn't reel up quick enough, and he was
under the eddy at our feet before I had one-third of the line in.
Fortunately, he was securely hooked, and there was no drop out from the
slacking of the line. He was in about twelve feet of water, and as I
brought the line taut on him again he went off down stream as fast as ever.
I had the current full against him this time, and I brought him steadily up
through it, and held him well in hand. I swept him around in front of Mr.
McGrath's landing-net, but he shied off so quickly that I thought he would
break the line. Away down he went as stiffly and stubbornly as possible,
and there he lodged, rubbing his nose against a rock and trying to get rid
of the hook. Half a dozen times I dislodged him and brought him up, but he
was so wild and strong I did not dare to force him in. At last he made a
dash for the ripple, and I gave him a quick turn, and as he struck out of
it Mr. McGrath had his landing-net under him in a twinkling, and he was out
kicking on the rock. He weighed four pounds six ounces, and furnished
conclusive evidence that a bass of that weight can give a great deal of
very agreeable trouble before he will consent to leave his element.

"What was it," said I, "that you called him when you struck him just now?"

"What did I call him, sorr? A mikroptheros, sorr."

"And for Goodness' sake, McGrath, what is a mikroptheros?"

"Begorra! that's what it is," said Mr. McGrath, throwing the bass overboard
to swim at the end of its leathern thong.

"Well!" said I in amazement. "I never heard such a name as that for a fish
in all my life!--a mikroptheros!"

"Divil a more or less!" said Mr. McGrath decidedly. "The Fish Commissioner
wor up here last week, an' sez he to me, sez he, 'It's a mikroptheros, so
it is.'--'What's that?' sez I.--'That!' sez he; and he slaps him into an
illigant glass bottle of sperrits, as I thought he was goin' to say to me,
'McGrath, have ye a mouth on ye?' an' I as dhry as if I'd et red herrin's
for a week. 'Yis,' sez he to me, 'that's the right name of him;' and wid
that he writes it on a tag, and he sends it off, this side up wid care, to
the musayum. Sure I copied it: be me sowl, an' if ye doubt me word, here
it is."

Mr. McGrath handed me a piece of paper torn off the margin of a newspaper,
on which he had written legibly enough, "_Micropteros Floridanus_" I read
it as gravely as I could, smiled feebly at my own ignorance, and returned
it to him, saying, "Upon my word, McGrath, you are perfectly right. What a
blessing it is to have had a classical education!"

"Sorra lie in it," said he proudly as he replaced the slip in the crown of
his hat; "an' it's meself that's glad of it."

I can but throw myself upon the mercy of every respectable disciple of the
art before whom this confession may come when I say that during this
conversation I was employed in taking off my flies and in substituting
therefor a strong bass-hook and a cork, after the effective fashion of Mr.
McGrath. When this never-to-be-sufficiently-despised device was ready I
took from the bucket a small and unhappy sunfish, immolated him upon my
hook by passing it through his upper and lower lips, and cast him out upon
the stream. The red top of the cork spun merrily down the current and out
among the oily ripples of the deep water below, but Mr. McGrath could beat
me completely in handling his. I noticed that I threw my fish so that it
struck hard upon the water, "knocking the sowl out of it," as he said,
while he threw his hither and thither with the greatest ease, always taking
care to do it with the least possible amount of violence, and keeping it
alive as long as possible. However, it was not long before my cork
disappeared with a peculiar style of departure abundantly indicative of the
cause, to which I replied by a vigorous "strike." My cork came up promptly,
and with it my hook, bare. The sunfish had found a grave within the natural
enemy of his species, and I had missed my fish.

"Divvle a wondher!" said Mr. McGrath in reply to a remark to that
effect--"being, sorr, that ye're not familiar wid their ways. Ye see, sorr,
he comes up an' he nips that fish be the tail, an' away wid him to a
convanient spot for to turn him an' swallow him head first, by rason of his
sthickles an' fins all p'intin' the other way. Whin he takes it, sorr, jist
let him run away wid it as far as he likes, but the minit he turns to
swallow it, an' says to himself, 'What an illigant breakfast this is, to be
sure!' that minit slap the hook into his jaw, an' hould on to him for dear
life."

These excellent instructions I obeyed with no little difficulty. My cork
came up in the back water under the rock on which I stood, and there,
almost at my very feet, it disappeared. I could not believe that a bass had
taken it, but all doubt on the subject was dispelled by the shrill whir of
my reel as the fine silk line spun out at a tremendous rate. The fish had
darted across the current, and only stopped after he had taken out over two
hundred feet of line.

"Now, sorr, jist make a remark to him," whispered Mr. McGrath; and I struck
as hard as I could. "Illigant, begorra!" said he as the fish, maddened and
frightened, leaped out of the water. "Look at him looking for a dentist,
bedad!"

It was peculiarly delightful to feel that fish pull--to get a firm hand on
him, and have him charge off with an impetuosity that involved more line or
broken tackle--to feel that vigorous, oscillating pull of his, and to note
the ease and strength with which he swam against the powerful current or
dashed across the boiling eddy below.

It did not last long, however: he soon spent himself, and Mr. McGrath
received him with a graceful swoop of his landing-net and secured him. Four
more soon followed, all large fish--two to the credit of Mr. McGrath and
two to myself. When caught they are of a dark olive-green on the back and
sides, the fins quite black at the ends, and the under side white. They
change color rapidly, and as their vitality decreases become paler and
paler, turning when dead to a very light olive-green. The mouth in general
form resembles that of the salmon family, but the size is much larger in
proportion to the weight of the fish, and the arrangement of the teeth is
different. With its great strength and its "game" qualities it is not
surprising that it should afford a good deal of what is known as "sport."

An attribute of man which is equivalent to a strong natural instinct is his
disposition to "do murder." This may account for his love of "sport," or it
may only be an hereditary trait derived from the period when he had not yet
concerned himself with agriculture, but slew wild beasts and used his
implements of stone to crack their bones and get the marrow out. The
instinct to slay birds, beasts and fishes is certainly strong within us,
whatever be its remote origin, and it is very little affected by what we
are pleased to call our civilization. Indeed, it is hardly to be believed
that one of the primitive lords of creation, stalking about in the
condition of gorgeous irresponsibility incident to the Stone Period, would
have lowered himself to the level of the kid-gloved example of the present
stage of evolution who fishes in Maine. It cannot be supposed that the
pre-historic gentleman would have disgraced himself by catching fish he
could not use. He never caught ten times as many of the _Salmo fontinalis_
as he and all his friends could eat, and then threw the rest away to rot.
This kind of thing has prevailed to a great extent, but natural causes have
nearly brought it to an end. The wholesale slaughter of the fish has
reduced their numbers, and a surfeit of indecent sport can no longer be
indulged in. Such fishermen should be confined by law to a large aquarium,
in which the fish they most affected could be taught to undergo catching
and re-catching until the gentlemen had had enough. The fish might grow to
like it eventually, and submit as a purely business matter to being caught
regularly for a daily consideration in chopped liver and real flies. But
how our ancestor, just alluded to, would despise the sport of this
progressive age! With his primitive but natural acceptation of Nature's law
of supply and demand, what would he think of the gentlemen who killed fish
to rot in the sun or drove a few thousand buffaloes over a precipice--all
for sport? It is probably the propensity to "do murder" which accounts for
these things, for "sport," within decent and proper limits, is a good
thing, and has been favored by the best of men in all ages--fishing
particularly, because it predisposes to pleasant contemplation, to equity
of criticism in the consideration of most matters of life, and to no little
self-benignancy. No one knew this better (although Shakespeare himself was
a poacher) than Christopher North, and where more fitly could the brightest
pages of the _Noctes Ambrosianæ_ have been conceived or inspired than when
their author was, rod in hand, on the banks of a brawling Highland
trout-stream?

The fish had ceased to bite where we were, and at Mr. McGrath's suggestion
we dropped down the stream to where my friend and his darkey were. His
experience with the flies had been similar to mine, but he had too much
regard for his fine fly-rod, he said, to use it for "slinging round a bait
as big as a herring." He had taken it to pieces and put it away. He was
sitting with his elbows on his knees and a brier-root pipe in his mouth,
content in every feature, a perfect picture of Placidity on a Boulder.

"Given up fishing?" I asked.

"Not much," he replied: "I've caught nine beauties. Pete does all the work,
and I catch the fish."

Sure enough, he had Pete, who was one of the best fishermen on the river,
fishing away as hard as he could. Whenever Pete hooked a fish my friend
would lay down his pipe and play the fish into the landing-net. "It's
beastly sport," he said: "if I wasn't so confoundedly lazy I couldn't stand
it at all.--Hello, Pete! got him?"

"Yes, sah--got him shuah;" and Pete handed him the rod as the line spun
out. We watched the short struggle, and started down stream, leaving him to
his laziness just as he was settling back in the boat for a nap and telling
Pete not to wake him up unless the next was a big one.

By noon we had thirty-two fish--a very fair and satisfactory experience. We
were about to change our position when we were detained by a tremendous
shouting from the other boat, about half a mile above us.

"What's the matter with them, McGrath?" said I.

"Bedad, sorr! I think it must be that bucket there in the bow," he replied,
pointing to the article, which contained our luncheon.

I was quite satisfied that it was, and there being a cool spring about
forty feet above us on the bank on the Virginia side, we disembarked. In
the excitement of fishing I had not thought of luncheon, but now I found I
had a startling appetite. So had my friend and his assiduous darkey when
they came in and reported twenty fish.

"Yes," he said, "I know we ought to have a good many more, but Pete is so
lazy. It was all I could possibly do to catch those myself."

With a flat rock for a table, the grass to sit upon, and the bubbling music
of the little stream that flowed from the spring as an accompaniment, the
ham and bread and butter, the pickles and the hard-boiled eggs, and even
the pie with its mysterious leather crust and its doubtful inside of dried
peaches, tasted wonderfully well. We did not venture out upon the river
again until three o'clock, our worthy guides agreeing that the fish do not
bite well between noon and that hour, and both of us being disposed to rest
a little. My friend stretched himself on the thick grass, and when his pipe
was exhausted went fast asleep, and snored with great precision and power
to a mild sternutatory accompaniment by Mr. McGrath and Pete. I employed
myself in bringing up my largest bass from the boat to sit for his picture
in a little basin in the rock under the spring. After he had floundered
himself into a comparatively rational and quiet condition, much after the
fashion of a gentleman reluctant to have his portrait taken under the
auspices of the police, I succeeded in committing him to paper. He was a
handsome fish, and eminently deserving of the distinction thus conferred
upon him.

Sleeping in the grass on a summer afternoon is a bucolic luxury I never
fully appreciated. When I stirred up my friend he was red, perspirational
and full of lively entomological suspicions. He slapped the legs of his
pantaloons vigorously in spots, moved his arms uneasily, took off his
shirt-collar and implored me to look down his back.

"There's nothing there," I reported. "I know how it is myself: a fellow
always feels that way when he goes to sleep in the grass."

"Any woodticks here?" he asked.

"Begorra! plenty," said Mr. McGrath, sitting up. "They et a child," he
added with perfect seriousness of manner, "down here below last summer."
McGrath's eyes twinkled when my friend began to talk of peeling off and
jumping into the river after a general search. He was finally reassured,
and we started out. We had even better sport than in the morning, and
accumulated a splendid string of fish each. On the way down we passed two
boats in which were some gentlemen, evidently foreigners, engaged in
throwing flies with apparently the same results that we had attained in the
morning.

"Do you know who those people are?" I asked McGrath.

"I dunno, sorr," said he, "but I think they are from one of the legations
at Washington. They come up for a day's fishin' all along of the illigant
fishin' a party from the same place had one day last week I suppose;" and
he smiled.

"How was that, McGrath?"

"It wor last week, sorr; and I wor up the river be meself, an' I had thirty
illigant fish thrailin' undher the boat comin' down. It wor just where they
are I seen two boats full of gintlemen, an' I dhropped alongside. They wor
swells, sure. They had patint rods, an' patint reels, an' patint flies, an'
patint boots, an' patint coats, an' patint hats, an' the divil knows what.
Bedad! they wor so fine that sez I to meself, sez I, 'Bedad! if I wor a
bass I'd say, "Gintlemen, don't go to no throuble on my account: I'll git
into the boat this minit."'--'Been fishin', me man?' sez one of them to me.
'Sorra much, yer honor,' sez I.--'It's very strange, you know,' sez he,
'that they don't bite at all to-day. You haven't caught any, have
you?'--'Well, sorr,' sez I, 'I did dhrop on a few little ones as I come
down.'--'Oh, did you, really?' sez another one, puttin' a glass in his eye
and standin' up excited like. 'Why, my good man,' sez he, 'be good enough
to 'old them up, you know. We'd like so much to see them!'--Wid that, sorr,
I up wid the sthring as high as I could lift it, an' it weighin' nigh onto
a hundred pound. Well, they were that wild they didn't know what to make of
it. One of them sez, sez he, 'The beggar's been a hauling of a net, he
has.'--'Divvle a bit more than yerself,' sez I. 'There's me impliments,
an', what's more, if ye wor to stay here till next week the sorra fish can
ye ketch, because, bedad! ye dunno how.' Wid that they put their heads
together, and swore it ud disgrace them to go home to Washington without a
fish, you know; an' how much would I take for the lot? Sez I, 'I have
twenty-five more down here in a creel in the river: that's fifty-five,' sez
I. 'Ye can have the lot for twinty dollars.'--'It's a go,' sez he; an' ever
since that there's letters comin' up from Washington askin' if the wather
is in good ordher, and what is the accommodations? Bedad! I'm wondherin' if
them as we passed wouldn't be likin' a dozen or two on the same terms?"

Nothing finishes up a day's bass-fishing better than a good hot supper of
broiled bass, country sausage, fried ham and eggs, and coffee. The cooking
can generally be managed, and the appetite is guaranteed. _Experto crede_.

W. MACKAY LAFFAN.



THE CHRYSALIS OF A BOOKWORM.

    I read, O friend, no pages of old lore,
      Which I loved well, and yet the wingèd days,
      That softly passed as wind through green spring ways
    And left a perfume, swift fly as of yore,
    Though in clear Plato's stream I look no more,
      Neither with Moschus sing Sicilian lays.
      Nor with bold Dante wander in amaze,
    Nor see our Will the Golden Age restore.
    I read a book to which old books are new,
      And new books old. A living book is mine--
        In age, two years: in it I read no lies--
    In it to myriad truths I find the clew--
      A tender, little child; but I divine
        Thoughts high as Dante's in its clear blue eyes.

MAURICE F. EGAN.



A LAW UNTO HERSELF.

CHAPTER X.


Miss Fleming arrived that evening while Jane was on the water. She was in
the habit of coming out to the Hemlock Farm for a day's holiday, and went
directly to her own room as though she were at home. When she stepped
presently out on the porch, where the gentlemen had gone to smoke, a soft
black silk showing every line of her supple figure, glimpses of the rounded
arms revealed with every movement of the loose sleeves, one or two thick
green leaves in her light hair--ugly, quiet, friendly--they all felt more
at home than they had done before. There was a pitcher of punch by the
captain's elbow: she tasted it, threw in a dash of liquor, poured him out a
glass and sat down beside him, and he felt that a gap was comfortably
filled.

"You have turned your back on Philadelphia, they tell me, Miss Fleming,"
complained Judge Rhodes. "New York sucks in all the young blood of the
country--the talent and energy."

"Oh, I came simply to sell my wares. New York is my market, but
Philadelphia will always be home to me," in her peculiar pathetic voice. "I
left good friends there," with one of her bewildering glances straight into
the judge's beady eyes, at which his flabby face was suffused with heat.

"You do not forget your friends, that's certain," he said, lowering his
voice. "That was a delicate compliment, sending my portrait back to the
Exhibition. I felt it very much, I assure you."

Cornelia bowed silently. Neither she nor the judge said anything about the
round-numbered cheque which he had sent her for it. In the moonlight they
preferred to let the affair stand on a sentimental basis.

Mr. Van Ness meanwhile eyed Miss Fleming's pose and rounded figure with a
watery gleam of complacency.

"An exceptional woman," was his verdict. He turned the conversation to art,
and asked innumerable questions with a profound humility. Cornelia replied
eagerly, until the fact crept out from the judge that there was not an
æsthetic dogma nor a gallery in the world with which he was not familiar.
Then to pottery, in which field his modesty was as profound, until the
judge pushed him, as it were, to a corner, when he acknowledged himself the
possessor of a few "nice bits."

"I have some old Etruscan pieces which I should like you to see, Miss
Fleming," with his mild, deprecating cough, "and a bit of Capo di Monte,
and the only real specimen of Henri Deux in the country."

"I must see them," emphatically. "Where are your cabinets?"

"Oh, nowhere," with a shrug. "My poor little specimens have never been
unpacked since I returned to this country. They are boxed up in a friend's
cellar."

"God bless me, Cornelia!" cried the captain in a muffled tone, "how could
Mr. Van Ness spend his time koo-tooing to cracked pots? He has, as I may
say, the future of Pennsylvania in his hand. When I think what he is doing
for the friendless children--thousands of'em--" The punch had heated the
captain's zeal to the point where words failed him.

After that the friendless children swept lighter subjects out of sight. Mr.
Van Ness, whose humility in this light rose to saintly heights, had all the
statistics of the Bureaux of Charity at his tongue's end. He had studied
the Dangerous Classes in every obscure corner of the world. He could give
you the _status quo_ of any given tribe in India just as easily as the
time-table on the new railway in Egypt. No wonder that he could tell you in
a breath the percentage of orphans, deserted minors, children of vicious
parents, in his own State, and the amount _per capita_ required to civilize
and Christianize them. As he talked of this matter his eyes became
suffused with tears. The great Home for these helpless wards of the State
he described at length, from its situation on a high table-land of the
Alleghanies and the dimensions of the immense buildings down to the
employments of the children and the capacity of the laundry--a perfect
Arcadia with all the modern improvements, where Crime was to be transformed
wholesale into Virtue.

"Where is this institution?" asked Miss Fleming. "It is strange I never
heard of it."

"Oh, it is not built as yet: we have not raised the funds," Mr. Van Ness
replied with a smothered sigh.

The judge patted one foot and looked at him compassionately. It was a
devilishly queer ambition to be the savior of those dirty little wretches
in the back alleys. But if a man had given himself up, body and soul, to
such a pursuit, it was hard measure that he must be thwarted in it.

Miss Fleming also bent soft sympathetic eyes on her new friend. The Home
was not built, eh? Not a brick laid? She wondered whether that box with the
priceless treasures existed in his friend's cellar or in his brain: she
wondered whether he had not seen those pictures of the old masters in
photographs, or whether he had travelled in Japan and the obscure corners
of the earth in the flesh or in books. There was more than the wonted
necessity upon her to establish sympathetic relations with this new man:
she had never seen a finer presence: the beard and brow quite lifted his
masculinity into æsthetic regions; she caught glimpses, too, of an
unfamiliar mongrel species of intellect with which she would relish
Platonic relations. Yet with this glow upon her she regarded the reformer's
noble face and benignant blond beard doubtfully, thinking how she used to
stick pins in brilliant bubbles when she was a child, and nothing would be
left but a patch of dirty water.

"Jane is out on the river, as usual?" she asked presently.

"Yes," said her father: "Mr. Neckart is with her. Neither of them will ever
stay under a roof if they can help it. They ought to have a dash of Indian
blood in their veins to account for such vagabondizing."

"Is Bruce Neckart here?" with a change in her tone which made the captain
look up at her involuntarily.

"Yes."

"I thought he was in Washington: I did not expect to meet him."

The judge puffed uneasily at his cigar. He was a family man, with a stout
wife and married son. He did not meet Miss Fleming once a year, but he felt
a vague jealousy of Neckart.

"By the way, you must be old acquaintances?" he said abruptly. "Both from
Delaware? Kent county?"

"Oh yes," with a shrill womanish laugh, very different from her usual sweet
boyish ha! ha! "Many's the day we rowed on the bay or dredged for oysters
together, dirty and ragged and happy. There is not very much difference in
our ages," seeing his look of surprise. "I look younger than I am, and
Bruce has grown old fast. At least, so I hear. I have not seen him for
years."

She was silent after that, and preoccupied as her admirers had never seen
her, and presently, hearing Jane's and Neckart's steps on the path, she
rose hastily and bade them good-night. They each shook hands with her, that
being one of the sacred rites in the Platonic friendships so much in vogue
now-a-days among clever men and women. Mr. Van Ness offered his hand last,
and Cornelia smiled cordially as she took it. But it was clammy and soft.
She rubbed her fingers with a shudder of disgust as she hurried up to her
own room. There she walked straight to her glass and turned up the lamp
beside it, looking long and fixedly at her face. She knew with exactness
the extent of its ugliness and its power.

"It is too late now even if it ever could have been," she said quietly, and
put out the light. Then she went to the window. Mr. Neckart had left Jane
inside, and, not joining the other men, turned back to the garden. She saw
the bulky dark figure as it passed under her window.

She stretched out her hands as if for a caress, with the palms pressed
close. "Oh, Bruce!" she said under her breath. "Bruce!"

After he had passed out of sight she stood thinking over all the men who
had made a comrade of her since she saw him last--how they had handled her
fingers and looked into her eyes; how her every thought and fancy had grown
common and unclean through much usage; how she had dragged out whatever
maidenly feeling she had in the old times, and made capital of it to bring
these companions to her who were neither lovers nor friends.

"When I could not have the food which I wanted. I took the husks which the
swine did eat," she said, leaving the window, with a short laugh. "Well, I
could not die of starvation."



CHAPTER XI.


When Jane woke the next morning a bluebird was singing outside of the
window: she tried to mimic him before she was out of bed, and sang scraps
of songs to herself as she dressed. The captain heard her in his room
below, but pretended to be asleep when she came down as usual to lay out
his clothes, for, although she insisted that her father should have Dave as
a valet, she left him but little to do.

Watching her from under the covers, the captain saw that she had left off
the black snood and tied her hair with a band of rose-colored ribbon. Her
lips were ruddy and her eyes alight: once or twice she laughed to herself.

"What high day or holiday is it, Jane?"

"Oh, every day is a high day now!" running to kiss him. "I was just
thinking how comfortable money is, and how glad I am that we have it,"
glancing about delighted at his luxurious toilet appointments before the
low wood-fire. Then she spread out his dressing-gown and velvet
smoking-cap, and eyed with her head on one side the fine shirt and its
costly studs.

"Do you remember the rag-carpet in your room which we thought such a
triumph? and the old tin shaving-cup? Now, my lord, look out upon your
estate!" opening the window. "Your musicians have come to waken you, and
your servitors stand without," as Buff tapped at the door with hot water.

"He is as comfortable as a baby wrapped in lamb's wool," she thought as she
ran down the stairs. "And this air is so pure and the sun so bright! Oh, he
must grow strong here! Anybody would be cured here--anybody!"

The captain followed her to the barnyard. It was one of her inexorable
prescriptions for him that he should drink a glass of warm milk-punch
before breakfast, and smell the cow's breath during the operation. She was
milking the white cow herself, while the pseudo sempstress, Nichols, waited
with the goblet, and the bandy-legged shoemaker, Twiss, stood on guard,
eyeing Brindle's horns suspiciously.

"Now the glass! These are the strippings. Oh you'll soon learn, Betty!
You'll make butter as well as you used to make dresses badly."

The little widow and Twiss laughed, as they always did at Jane's weak
jokes, and took the punch to the captain. She was the finest wit of her day
in their eyes. The hostler's boy ran down from the stable to speak to her.
She thought he had as innocent a face as she had ever seen. No doubt he
would have gone to perdition if Neckart had not rescued him. She stopped to
talk to him with beaming eyes, and meeting Betty's toddling baby took it up
and tossed it in the air, and then walked on, carrying the soft little
thing in her arms. The farm was like the Happy Valley this morning! God was
so good to her! She could warm and comfort all these people. Then she
turned into the woods and sat down on a fallen log. It was the place where
they had stopped to rest yesterday, Neckart lying at her feet. There was
the imprint still in the dead moss where his arm had lain. She looked
guiltily about, and then laid her hand in the broken moss with a quick
passionate touch. The baby caught her chin in its fingers. She hugged it to
her breast, and kissed it again and again. From the hemlock overhead a
tanager suddenly flashed up into the air with a shrill peal of song. Jane
looked up, her face and throat dyed crimson. Did he know? She glanced down
at the grass, at the friendly trees all alive with rustling and chirping.
The sky overhead was so deep and warm a blue to-day. It seemed as if they
all knew that he loved her.

The captain found Mr. Neckart standing on the stoop listening to some sound
that came up from the woods.

"It is Jane singing," he said. "You would not hear her once in a year.
Hereditary gift! In the old Swedish annals we read of the remarkable voices
of the Svens."

"I never heard her sing before." Yet he had known at once that it was she.
It was the most joyous of songs, but there was a foreboding pathos in the
voice which moved him as no other sound had ever done.

"You are not going before breakfast?" cried the captain.

"Yes, and I shall not be able to come again for a long time. Say to Miss
Swendon--But no. I will go and bid her good-bye."

He met her as she was crossing the plank thrown across the brook, and they
stopped by the little hand-rail, not looking directly at each other: "I
came to bid you good-morning."

"Do you take the early train, then?"

"Yes." He did not mean to tell her that he would not come again. The more
ordinary their parting the sooner she would forget it and him. He had
thought the matter out during the night, and being a man who was apt to
under-rate himself, was convinced that the feeling which she had betrayed
was but that transient flush of preference which any very young and
innocent girl is apt to give to the first man of whom she makes a
companion.

"There is nothing in me likely to win enduring love from her. A more
intellectual woman, indeed--" He had gone over the argument again and
again. When he was out of sight her fancy would soon turn to this new
lover, so much better suited to her in every respect. For himself--But he
had no right, to think of himself. He struck that thought down fiercely
again as they stood together on the bridge. No more right than he would
have, were he dead, to drag down this young creature into his grave.

He patted the child on the head as it clung to her dress, and talked of the
chance of more rain with perfect correctness and civility; and when Jane
managed to raise her eyes to his face she found it grave and preoccupied,
as it usually was over the morning papers. He saw Van Ness coming smiling
to meet her.

"It is time for me to go," he said, his eyes passing slowly over her: then
with a hasty bow, not touching her hand, he struck through the woods to the
station, thinking as he went how she was standing then on the bridge in the
sunshine, with the man whom she would marry beside her. She looked after
him, her eyes full of still, deep content. He loved her. She had forgotten
everything else.

"A perfect morning, Miss Swendon," said Mr. Van Ness, stroking his
magnificent golden beard. "You see just this deep azure sky above the
Sandwich Islands. Now, I remember watching such a dawn on Mauna Loa. Ah-h,
_you_ would have appreciated that. Our friend has gone, eh? Most active,
energetic man! I heard him tell your father he should not return soon
again."

"Not return?" stopping in her slow walk.

"No. It really must be impossible for an editor to spare time often for
visits to even such an Arcadia as this. No stock market or political news
in Arcadia, eh?" with a benevolent gurgle of a laugh. "Business! business!
Miss Swendon. Ah, how it engrosses the majority of men!" shaking his head
ponderously.

She said nothing. It was as if she had been suddenly wakened out of a dream
in the crowd of a dusty market-place. He had gone back to the world, to his
real business and his real trouble. She, with her love and her intended
cure for him, was a silly fool wandering in a fantastic Arcadia.

Miss Fleming was walking up and down on the porch as they came up, more
carefully dressed than usual. The captain had just told her that Neckart
had gone.

"Ah? I'm very sorry," carelessly. "I should have been glad to see him
again. Though no doubt he has forgotten me."

She went forward to meet Jane with a smile, but a withered gray look under
her eyes. "I have been making a tour of your principality," she said as
they went in to breakfast. "I see you have brought out a colony of
Philadelphia paupers. Twiss, and Betty, and the rest."

"They were not paupers," said Jane, taking her place behind the urn. "Did
you see into what a great boy Top has grown? And Peter?" It gave her a warm
glow at heart to remember these people just now. At least, there her care
had not been fantastic or thrown away.

"I hardly expected you to take up the rôle of guardian angel. It requires
study, after all, to play it successfully," pursued Cornelia with an
amiable smile, cutting her butter viciously.--"Very young girls are apt to
be impetuous in their charities, and damage more than they help," turning
to the judge. "These poor people, for instance. Betty had her kinsfolk
about her in Philadelphia, her church and her gossips. She complained
bitterly to me this morning that she 'had no company here but the cows:
Miss Swendon might as well have whisked her off into a haythen desart.'"

"She complained to you!" cried the captain. "Why, the trouble and money
which Jane has given to that woman and her family! They were starving, I
assure you!"

Jane listened at first with her usual quiet good-humor. Miss Fleming's
waspish temper generally amused her, as it would have done a man (if he was
not her husband). But she began to grow anxious.

"You really think Betty is not contented here?" her hand a little unsteady
as she poured the cream into the cups.

"Contented? She seems miserable enough. Home is home, you know, if it is
only a cellar and starvation. But perhaps"--with a shrug--"that class of
Irish are never happy without a grievance. Now, Twiss, it appears to me,
has just ground for complaint.--A shoemaker," turning to the judge a face
beaming with fun, "whom this young lady has transported and set down in
charge of gardens and hot-houses. He does not know a hoe from a mower, and
he is too old to learn. He had a good trade: now he has nothing."

"But he could not live by his trade," cried Jane.

"Well, cobbling is looking up now. In any case, you have pauperized him."

"That's bad--bad! Now, in Virginia we used to feed everybody who came
along!" said the judge, shaking his head. "But I've learned wisdom in the
cities. Every bit of bread given to a beggar degrades human nature and rots
society to the core."

"But suppose he is starving?" urged the captain. "The Good Samaritan wasn't
afraid of pauperizing that poor devil on the road."

"Let him starve. He will have preserved his self-respect. The Good
Samaritan knew nothing of political economy, sir."

Jane left her breakfast untasted. She understood nothing about political
economy, but she saw that she had done irreparable injury to these people
whom she had tried to serve--God knew with what anxiety and tenderness of
heart. In one case, at least, there had been no mistake.

"Did you see Phil?" she said, turning with brightening countenance to Miss
Fleming. "We intend to have Phil educated. He is such a keen-witted little
fellow."

Miss Fleming laughed outright now: "Mr. Neckart's protégé? Yes, I saw him.
He has been stealing tobacco and money from Dave, it appears, ever since he
came, and was found out this morning. There was a horrible row in the
stable as I passed."

"Of course he stole!" said the judge triumphantly. "I tell you, the more
efforts you make to reform the dangerous classes the more hardened you will
grow. It's hopeless--hopeless!"

Her other listeners each promptly presented their theory. Like all
intelligent Americans, they were provided with theories on every social
problem, and were ready to hang it on an individual stable-boy or any other
nail of a fact which might offer. Jane alone sat silent. She did not hear
when her father spoke to her once or twice.

"You are disappointed," Mr. Van Ness's soft soothing voice murmured in her
ear. "I know how these baffled efforts chill the heart. I will explain to
you the machinery which I propose to bring to bear on these classes."

"I don't know anything about machinery or classes. Twiss and Betty were
friends of mine, and I tried to help them, and have failed."

Miss Fleming, who was watching her furtively, saw her dull eyes raised
presently and rest on the captain, who with a red face and bursts of
laughter was telling one of his interminable stories.

"This girl," Cornelia said to herself, "has everything which I have
not--beauty, wealth, Bruce Neckart's love. Yet she looks at that weak old
man as if he were all that was left her in the world." She had put Jane
before on the general basis of antipathy which she had to everything in the
world that was not masculine, but the feeling had kindled since last night
into active dislike.

When breakfast was over and their guests had gone to their rooms to make
ready to meet the train, Jane decoyed the captain away to Bruno's kennel,
where he was tied during Mr. Van Ness's stay. Once out of sight she retied
his cravat, arranged his white hair to her liking, stroked his sunken
cheeks. Here was something actual and real. She knew now that she had never
had anything that was truly her own but the kind foolish face looking down
on her. She never would have anything more. Only an hour ago life had
opened for her wide and fair as the dawn: now it had narrowed to this old
hand in hers, to his breath, that came and went--O God, how feebly!

"You are looking stronger to-day, father. You are gaining every day. Oh
that is quite certain! Very soon we shall have you as well and strong as
you were at forty."

What if she had not had money this last year? He never could have lived
through it. God had been kind to her--kind! She pressed his hand to her
breast with a quick glance out to the bright sky. The Captain saw her chin
quivering. His own thoughts ran partly in the same line as hers.

"Oh, I'm gaining, no doubt of it. Though I never could have pulled through
this year if we had had to live in the old way. God bless Will Laidley for
leaving the money as he did!"

"It was not his to leave otherwise!" she cried indignantly.

"Tut, tut, Jane! Of course it was his. By every law. He could have flung it
away where he chose; and he had a perfect right to do it."

It was not God who had been kind to her, then: it was only that she had
stolen the money?

"Come, Jenny: we must go back to the house."

"In a moment, father. Go on: I will follow you."

She walked up and down the tan-bark path for a while. She was sure of
nothing. Wherever she had done what seemed to her right and natural, she
was barred and checked by the world's laws and experience. She had brought
these starving wretches out of a hell upon earth into this paradise, and
even they laughed at her want of wisdom: the very money which was her own
in the sight of God, and which had lengthened her father's life, ought to
be given back to-day to the poor, its rightful owners. If there was any
other cause for her to fight blindly against the narrow matter-of-fact
routine which ruled her life, she did not name it even to herself.

Looking toward the house, she saw her father escorting their guests to the
gate, where the carriage waited, David resplendent on the box. The captain
walked with a feeble kind of swagger: his voice came back to her in weak
gusts of laughter. She laid her hand on a tree, glancing about her with a
firm sense of possession. "The property is mine," she said, "and I'll keep
it as long as he lives, if all the paupers in the United States were
starving at the gates!"



CHAPTER XII.


Mr. Van Ness returned to the Hemlock Farm at stated periods during the
summer. He had, to be plain, sat down before Jane's heart to besiege it
with the same ponderous benign calm with which he ate an egg or talked of
death. There was a bronze image of Buddha in the hall at the Farm, the gaze
of the god fixed with ineffable content, as it had been for ages, on his
own stomach.

Jane went up to it one day after an hour's talk with Mr. Van Ness. "This
creature maddens me," she said. "I always want to break it into pieces to
see it alter."

Little Mr. Waring, who had come with Van Ness, hurried up as a connoisseur
in bronzes, adjusting his eye-glasses. "Why, it is faultless, Miss
Swendon!" he cried.

"That is precisely what makes it intolerable."

Much of Jane's large, easy good-humor was gone by this time. She had grown
thin, was eager, restless, uncertain of what she ought or ought not to do,
even in trifles.

Mr. Waring and Judge Rhodes were both at the Farm now. They ran over to New
York every week or two. Phil Waring was not a marrying man, but it was part
of his duty as a leader in society to be intimate with every important
heiress or beauty in the two cities. Out of sincere compassion to Jane's
stupendous ignorance he would sit for hours stroking his moustache, his
elbows on his knees, his feet on a rung of the chair, dribbling information
as to the nice effects in the Water-Color Exhibition, or miraculous "finds"
of Spode or Wedgwood in old junk-shops, or the most authentic information
as to why the Palfreys had no cards to Mrs. Livingstone's kettledrums,
while Jane listened with a quizzical gleam in her eyes, as she did to the
little bantam hen outside cackling and strutting over its new egg.

"We must have you in society this winter," he urged. "It is a duty you owe
in your position. You have no choice about it."

"You are right, Mr. Waring," called the captain from the corner where he
sat with Judge Rhodes. "The child must have friends in her own class." He
dropped his voice again: "The truth is, Rhodes, she has no ties like other
girls. Her dog and two or three old women and some children--that is all
she knows of life. It's enough while she has me. But I shall not be here
long, now. Not many months."

The eyes of the two men met.

"Does she know?" asked the judge after a while.

"No." The captain's gaunt features worked: he trotted his foot to some
tune, looking down from the window and whistling under his breath. "It was
for this I sent for you," he added presently. "If I could only see her
settled, married, before I go! She is no more fit to be left alone in the
world than Bruno."

The judge shook his head in gloomy assent. His own opinion was that Jane
would follow her own instincts in a dog-like fashion if her father was out
of the way, and God only knew where they would lead her! He had brought his
own girls, Rose and Netty, with him to visit her, in order that she might
have a domestic feminine influence upon her. They found, accidentally, that
she did not know a word of any catechism, and, terrified, loaned her
religious novels to convert her: she took them graciously, but never cut
the leaves. There were to them even more heathenish indications in her
hoopless straight skirts: the good little creatures zealously cut and
trimmed a dress for her from the very last patterns. She put it on, and
straightway went through bog and brake with Bruno for mushrooms, coming
back with it in tatters. They chattered in their thin falsetto voices the
last Culpepper gossip into her patient ear--the story of Rosey's balls at
Old Point, and Netty's lovers, all of whom were "splendid matches until
impohverished by the war." She listened to their chirping with amused eyes,
tapping them, when they were through, approvingly on the head as though
they were clever canaries. The girls told their father that they "feared
her principles leaned toward infidelity, and that it was never safe to be
intimate with these original women," and had gone home the next day, not
waiting for the judge. They washed their hands of her, and gloved them
again, but he still felt responsible for her. After he left the captain he
went to her, fatherly interest radiant in every feature: "Mr. Waring is
right, Jane. It is high time that you were taking your part in society.
Your father wishes it."

"I will do whatever he wishes," quietly.--"You did not know us when we
lived in the old house in Southwark, Mr. Waring. We invented our patents
then. Sometimes we could afford to go to the gallery at the theatre when
the play was good. Father and the newsboys would lead the clapping. And we
went once a year in our patched shoes a-fishing for a holiday. Those were
good times."

"Perfect child of Nature!" telegraphed Mr. Waring uneasily to the judge.
"How Mrs. Wilde will rejoice in you, Miss Swendon! Nature is her specialty.
She is coming to call this morning.--Miss Swendon," turning anxiously to
the judge, "can have no better sponsor in society than Mrs. Wilde. She only
can give the accolade to all aspirants. No amount of money will force an
entrance at her doors. There must be blood--blood. 'Swendon?' she said when
I spoke to her about this call. 'The Swedish Svens? I remember. Queen
Christina's gallant lieutenant was her great-grandfather. Good stock. None
better. The girl must belong to our circle.' So, now it is all settled!"
rubbing his hands and smiling.

"Jane is careless," said the captain eagerly. "People of the best fashion
have called, and she has not even left cards. Her dress too--Now a Paris
gown, fringes and--"

The three men looked at her at that with a sudden imbecile despair, at
which she laughed and went out.

The captain found her presently down by the boat in which she had heard
Neckart's story. She bailed it out and cleaned it carefully every day, but
she had never gone on the river in it since that night.

"Father," stepping ashore, "what have I done that I must be turned into
another woman?"

"Now, Jenny, making models and crabbing were well enough for you as a
child. But, as Waring justly observes, the society to which you belong is
inexorable in its rules for a woman."

She flung out her arms impatiently, and then clasped them above her head.
It seemed as if a thousand fine clammy webs were being spun about her.

"If you had any especial talent, as Waring says--if you were artistic or
musical, or concerned in some asylum-work--you could take your own path,
independent of society. But--" looking down at her anxiously.

"I understand. I don't know what I was made for."

It was the first time in her life that she had been driven in to consider
herself. She stood grave and intent, saying nothing for some time. Every
other woman had some definite aim. The whole world was marching by, keeping
step to a neat, orderly little tune. They made calls, they gave alms, they
dressed, all of the same fashion.

"Why not be like other people?" her father was saying, making a burden to
her thought.

"I don't know why," drearily.

"What would you have, Jenny?" taking her hand in his.

"Father, I never loved but one or two people in the world. You and Bruno
and--not many others. I can do nothing outside of them."

"Nonsense! You cannot be a law to yourself, child. God knows I want to see
you happy!" his voice breaking. "But," straightening his eye-glasses,
"Waring says, very justly, you are out of the groove which all other girls
are in." He stopped inquiringly, but she did not answer. She was a
strongly-built woman in mind and body, and just then she felt her strength.
The blood rushed in a swift current through her veins. Why should she be
hampered with these thousand meaningless, sham duties? She was fit for but
one purpose--to serve two men whom she loved. Her father was ill, and he
pushed her from him into Society; and Bruce Neckart was alone, and with a
worse fate than death creeping on him, and he--

"Why does not Mr. Neckart come to us?" she asked abruptly. "It is months
since I have seen him."

"His health is failing. There is some trouble of the brain threatened. I
hear that he is going to give up the paper, and is settling up his business
to go to Europe." Her question startled him: he watched her with a new keen
suspicion.

"If this must come on him, why should he not come here to bear it? I can
nurse you both. Surely, that is as good work as returning calls or learning
to dress in Parisian style," with a short laugh.

The captain's face gathered intelligence as he listened. He knew her secret
now. For a moment he felt a wrench of pity for her. But love, with the
captain, had been a sentimental fever ending in a cold ague: he had
experienced light heats and chills of it many a time since. This wild fancy
of the girl's would speedily burn itself out if judiciously damped. He
would at once take the matter in hand.

"Neckart," he said deliberately, eying her to gauge the effect of his
words, "is a man of sense and knowledge of the world. He knows his
condition, and in the little time left to him he attends to his business
and important political affairs, instead of nursing a romantic friendship
which cannot serve him, and would only compromise you."

"Compromise me? I don't understand you, father."

"A woman could not render such service as you offer except to her betrothed
lover or husband."

"Why, he would understand."

"But Society, child--"

"Oh, Society!" with a laugh. "But you do not remember!" clasping her hands
on his shoulder. "If this thing comes upon him--he has looked forward to it
all his life--he has nobody. He is quite alone."

"At least," impatiently, "you will not be involved. I did not understand
before why Bruce had deserted us lately. I see now that he has acted very
properly. It was not his fault nor yours--this flirtation--preference--or
whatever you may choose to call it. But Bruce knows the world, and knows
just how long-lived such fancies are, and he intends that it shall be no
hinderance to your marriage--making an excellent match."

"I marry? Make an excellent match?"

"Yes. Certainly. What else should you do? Don't look in that way, my
darling. It frightens me. I'm not strong. It is not death that is coming to
you, but a good husband. You need not turn so white."

"And Mr. Neckart planned this for _me?_"

"N-no. I can't say 'planned,' to be accurate. But he agreed in our plan.
Why, Bruce has common sense. He knows it is the way of the world that a
woman should marry, and he will be much happier to know that you are the
wife of a good man--good and good-looking too. Much more presentable than
Bruce, poor fellow!"

The captain watched her closely as he gave this home-thrust. How a woman
could turn from that magnificent, devout reformer to any lean, irascible
politician! Her foot was on the edge of the little skiff. She pushed it
into the water. While he sat in the boat there that night, with the
moonlight white about them, while he told her that he loved her, he had
been planning this good match for her! There was no such thing as love,
then, in the world? Or truth? But there was Society and common sense and
the inexorable rules of propriety. Bruce Neckart represented to her
Strength itself, and he submitted to these rules cheerfully. He was happy
to think of her as the wife of a good, presentable man!

When she had thought of him as going alone with his terrible burden away
from her into the wilderness, true to her until the last breath of reason
was gone, there had been a thrill of delight in the intolerable pain. But
planning, like finical little Waring, that she should fall snugly into a
fashionable set, Parisian gowns, a suitable marriage!

Jane had not the womanish faculty of thinning every fact or thought that
came to her into tears or talk. Neckart had gone out of her life. She
accepted the fact at once, without argument. What the loss imported to her
would assuredly be known only to her own narrow, one-sided mind, and the
God who had given it to her.

"Shall we go to the house, father? Can't you laugh again, and look like
yourself? Why, I will give myself up, body and soul, to Society or
Philanthropy--anything you choose--rather than see you so shaken." She hung
on his arm as they went up the path, talking incessantly, and laughing
more, as even the captain felt, than the jokes would warrant. The moment
was favorable for introducing the subject he had at heart.

"The last train brought out a dozen men to consult Mr. Van Ness," he
began--"deputations from church and charitable organizations. 'Pon my soul,
I don't know what Christianity in this country would do without that man!"

"It would wear a very different face," absently.

"I went with Rhodes to a great revival-meeting in town one night lately,
and Van Ness, of course, was called up on the platform. Rhodes thought he
looked like one of the apostles in modern dress; and all the ladies near me
said that his face beamed with heavenly light. It would have made anybody
devout to look at him. Are you listening?" glancing at her abstracted face.
"You certainly think him remarkably handsome? As to his nose, now?"

"I don't suppose anybody could find fault with his nose," smiling.

"Nor with his manner?"

"Nor with his manner."

"And yet you are not friends, eh?" holding his breath for her answer.

"No," carelessly. "Mr. Van Ness and I could not be friends."

"Why? why?"

"How could I tell?" with a shrug, and looking at Bruno, who was fighting a
cat just then without cause.

The captain looked and sighed. It was of no use, he thought, to try to
account for the prejudices or likings of any of the lower animals.

Mr. Waring met them at the moment in an anxious flutter: "Mrs. Wilde is
here. She is coming down the path."

Mrs. Wilde was a small, plump old lady with a sober, tranquil face framed
in soft puffs of white hair; her dress never rustled or brought itself into
any notice; her language never fell uneasily out of its quiet gait; when
she spoke to you, you felt that something genuine and happy dominated you
for the moment.

"I followed Mr. Waring here," holding out her hand. "One makes acquaintance
so much more quickly out of doors. I must begin ours by asking for your
arm, Miss Swendon. I am fat and scant o' breath, and apt to forget it."

Jane drew the puffy hand eagerly through her arm. She would have liked to
say outright how welcome the motherly presence and the honest voice were to
her just then.

Mrs. Wilde dismissed the captain and Mr. Waring, and the two women sat down
in the arbor, and at once were at ease and at home with each other. Bruno
came up, eyed and smelled the new-comer, and snuggled down on her skirts to
go to sleep.

"He vouches for me," she said nodding. "You must take me at his valuation."

"He makes no mistakes."

"Nor do you, I suspect. That reminds me, Miss Swendon. I brought a friend
with me, and now that I have seen you I mean to bespeak your good-will for
her. She needs just such healthy influence as yours would be."

"Is she ill?"

"Only in mind. One of those morbid women who must make a drama out of their
lives, and prefer to make it a tragedy. A Madame Trebizoff, an
English-woman who married a Russian prince. She is a widow now, with large
means--came to New York a few months ago, and has had much court paid to
her. But her nature makes her always a very lonely woman." She spoke
hastily as the trailing of heavy skirts approached on the grass. "Here she
is, poor thing! Be good to her," she whispered before presenting her in
form. Madame Trebizoff was draped in black, with a good deal of lace about
her head and an artificial yellow rose at her throat. Jane went up to her
with outstretched hand, but when the sallow face turned full on her she
stopped short, looked at it a moment, and then bowed without a word.

"It is the materialized spirit!" But she did not speak, for in a moment she
remembered that she had once taken the bread from the wretched woman's
mouth. She would not do it again.



CHAPTER XIII.


Mr. Van Ness came beaming down through the lilacs to the arbor, and was
received with much reverence by Mrs. Wilde. She was a devout woman, and
Pliny Van Ness's name was in all the churches. They all sauntered back to
luncheon presently, Mrs. Wilde and Jane going before, while Mr. Van Ness
and the Russian princess walked more slowly through the woods, the
foreigner talking with animation and many gestures of American trees, while
the reformer listened benignly, ineffable calm in his smiling eyes.

"You followed me here purposely, Charlotte?" he said gently as she dilated
eloquently on our autumnal foliage.

"No. I did not know that you were in New York. But I meant to call upon you
soon. I have had no money from you since last August."

"Somebody, apparently, has filled my place as your banker," his placid eye
sweeping over the costly dress and be-diamonded fingers.

"What is that to you?" with a sudden shrill passion. "Once you would have
cared, Pliny. But that was years ago."

"Yes. Many years ago," buttoning his glove carefully. "A Russian princess,
eh?" after a short pause. "You are playing higher than ordinary, Charlotte.
You'll find it dangerous. I should advise you to keep to begging letters or
the rôle of medium or literary tramp."

"One class is as ready to be humbugged as the other. Who knows that better
than you?"

"In the religious and charitable work to which I have given up my life,"
deliberately measuring his words, "there are few impostors to be met. We
usually detect fraud, with God's help, and do not suffer from it,
therefore."

She stopped short, looking at him with blank amazement. Then walked on with
a shrug: "Absolutely! He expects me to believe in him! He believes in
himself! Can imposture go further than that?"

Mrs. Wilde, in the distance, caught sight of the two figures as they passed
through a belt of sunlight, and smiled contentedly.

"I am so glad to bring poor madame under direct religious influence! Mr.
Van Ness is speaking to her with great earnestness, I perceive."

The Princess Trebizoff scanned the great reformer as they walked,
appraising him, from the measured solemn step to his calm humility of eye.
She would have relished a passionate scene with him. After terrapin and
champagne, there was nothing she relished so much as emotion and tears. But
they had played up to each other so often! The tragedy in their relation
had grown terribly stale! You could not, she felt, make Hamlet's inky cloak
out of dyed cotton. But he would serve as audience.

"I'm growing very tired of good society," talking rapidly as usual. "Now,
you always enjoyed a dead level, Pliny."

"Yes. There's no Bohemian blood in my veins. I was designed for
respectability."

"So? I mean Ted shall be respectable," with sudden earnestness. "He is in a
Presbyterian college. I should be glad if he'd go into the ministry. Yes, I
should. Provided he had a call from God. I'll have no sham professions
from Ted," her black eyes sparkling. "You did not ask for the boy. In your
weighty affairs doubtless you forgot there was such a human being."

"No, indeed. In what institution have you placed Thaddeus?"

"No matter. He's out of your influence, thank God! He never heard your
name. But as for me, I think I'll drop this princess business soon,"
meditatively. "I began down town," with a fresh burst of vivacity. "On the
boarding-house keepers. Last December."

"You are Madame Varens! Is it possible?" turning to look at her. "The
papers were filled with your exploits last winter."

"Precisely!" She had a joyous girlish laugh, infectious enough to draw a
smile from Van Ness.

"You are really very clever, Charlotte," admiringly.

"I made a tour in the West just before that," excitedly, patting her hands
together. "Agent for Orphans' Homes in the Gulf States. I wrote a letter of
introduction from one or two bishops to the clergymen in their dioceses:
that started me, and the clergy and press passed me through. What a mill of
tea-drinkings and church-gossip I went through! But it was better fun than
this."

Looking up, she happened to catch the cold, furtive glance with which he
had listened, and kept her eye fixed on him curiously.

"Do you hate me so much as _that?_" she said with a long breath. "Well,"
frankly, "it must be intolerable to carry such a millstone about your neck
as I am to you. You know I could pull you down any minute I chose," tossing
her head and laughing maliciously. "No matter how high you had climbed. I
often wonder, Pliny, why you do not rid yourself of me. It could be easily
done."

The usually suave tone was harsh and hoarse as he began to speak. He
coughed, and carefully modulated his voice before he said politely, "Yes.
But it would involve exposure unless carefully managed. That is certain
damnation. There is a chance of safety for the present in trusting to you.
You were always good-natured, Charlotte. And," turning his watery eye full
on her, "you loved me once."

"Possibly," coolly. "But last year's loves are as tedious reading as last
year's newspapers. Better trust my good-nature. You show your shrewdness in
that. I don't interfere with people. The world uses me very well. It's a
hogshead that gives the best of wine--if you know how to tap it."

"You've tapped it with a will. You go through life perpetually drunk," he
thought as she ran lightly before him up the steps. He habitually made such
complacent moral reflections upon his companions to himself, and took
spiritual comfort in them.

The hall was wide and sunny, made homelike by low seats and growing plants:
it was occupied by half a dozen committee-men, who were waiting impatiently
to see Mr. Van Ness. The princess seated herself, attentive, her head on
one side like some bright-eyed tropical bird.

Van Ness, without even a glance toward her, took up his business of
Christian financier. "Do not go, I beg," as the captain opened the inner
door for Rhodes and the ladies to retire. "Our affairs are conducted in the
eyes of the public. Sound integrity has no secrets to keep. That is our
pride.--Ah, gentlemen?"

The captain was glad to stay. Surely, Jane would be impressed with the vast
influence of this good man. Van Ness did not look at her once. But he saw
nobody but her, and spoke directly to her ear.

Asylums, workingmen's homes, hospitals, in all of which he was a director,
were brought up and dismissed with a few hopeful, earnest words. The vast
system of organized charities through which the kindly wealthy class touch
the poor beneath them was opened. Mrs. Wilde, a manager in many of them,
joined in the discussion.

"What a useless creature I am!" thought Jane. "But the money," doggedly,
"is mine, and I choose to give it to father if the whole world go hungry."
She turned, however, from one representative of these asylums to the other
with a baited look. Was it this one or that whom she had robbed?

"Now, as to Temperance City--_our_ city?" demanded a puffy little man
importantly. "You are the fountain-head of information there. We look to
you, Mr. Van Ness."

"You shall have the annual report next week.--Temperance City," turning to
Rhodes, his balmy gaze aimed straight over her head, "is a scheme to
protect people of small means in the churches, especially women, from
wrecking their little all in unwise investments. It is a town on the line
of the Pacific Railroad. Lots are only sold to colonists who are
tee-totallers and members of some church. The stock is owned largely by the
same class."

"Oh, almost altogether!" cried the little man enthusiastically. "Mr. Van
Ness's name, as you will understand, gives it authority among all religious
people. We distribute prospectuses at camp-meetings and at all sectarian
seaside resorts. Shares go off this summer like hot cakes. There's nothing
like religion, sir, to back up business enterprise. There's Stokes, for
instance. His shoes are sold from New Jersey to Oregon on the strength of
the hymns he has written."

"Yes," said the judge solemnly. "We used to keep religion too much in the
chimney-corner--spoke of it with bated breath. But it's in trade now, sir.
We hear every day of our Christian shoe-makers and railway kings and
statesmen. The world moves!"

"Moves? Oh there's no lever like religion!" gasped the little man. "No
advertisement to equal it. And a good man ought to succeed! Are the
swindlers to take all the fat of the land? Does not the good Book say, 'To
the laborers belong the spoils'?"

"But this is so charming to me!" cried the princess. "We foreigners have so
few opportunities of looking into the workings of your politics and trade!"

Van Ness bowed respectfully.

"And the State Home for destitute children?" asked a raw-boned
Scotch-Irishman. "We're interested in that here in New York. We've
subscribed largely, as you're aware, Mr. Van Ness. May I ask when you wull
begin the buildin'?"

"In the spring, I trust. If enough funds are collected."

"And hoo air the funds invested in the mean while?"

"Oh, in corner-lots in Temperance City."

The committee-men had hurried away to catch the next train: lunch was over,
and Mr. Van Ness stood apart on the lawn under the drooping branches of a
willow, when the princess tripped lightly out to him.

"You have an object in coming here? You had an object in bringing those men
to-day and opening out your affairs. What is it?"

He regarded her composedly for a moment without answering: "You always
erred, Charlotte, in ascribing your own skill in intrigue to me. It was a
flattering mistake. What I am to others I am to myself."

She laughed, a merry, hearty laugh: "Yes, Pliny, because you are not
satisfied with cheating the world and the God that made you into the belief
that you are a Christian, but you parade in your godliness before yourself.
There is not a spot within you sound enough for your real soul to lodge in.
It is all like that," setting her foot viciously on a fallen apple. "Rotten
to the core!"

A shadow of disgust passed over his handsome face. Van Ness had a
fastidious taste. Her melodramatic poses had been familiar to him for
years: they always had annoyed and bored him.

"What is it that brings you here? A woman?"

He hesitated a moment: "Yes."

"This yellow-haired girl? You mean to marry her?"

"I may marry her," cautiously.

Their eyes met. "I did not think you would push me so far," she said
thoughtfully.

"It is to your interest not to interfere. You are mad, Charlotte. But you
never lose sight of the dirty dollar in your madness."

"That is for Ted's sake," quietly. "I dislike that girl. She's so damnably
clean! She's of the sort that would walk straight on and trample me under
foot like a slug if she knew what I was. I owe her an old grudge, too. But
that's nothing," laughing good-humoredly. "It was the most ridiculous
scene! But it lost me a year's income. She nearly recognized me to-day. On
the whole, I'll not interfere. Marry her. She deserves just such a
punishment. By the way, there is my card. You can send the back payments
that are due, to-morrow."

Van Ness received the card and command with a smile and bow, meant for the
bystanders: "Of course, Charlotte, you understand that these payments must
soon stop. I shall rid myself of any legal claims you have upon me before
marrying another woman."

"Oh, I've no doubt you'll walk strictly according to law! You will not run
the risk of a lawsuit, much less prosecution, even for Miss Swendon. You
will have no trouble in gaining your freedom from me," shrilly.

"None whatever," stripping the leaves from a willow wand. She left him
without a word, going to the house.

Mrs. Wilde had just summoned her carriage. "Where is the princess?" looking
lazily around.

"Is Madame Trebizoff a guest in your house?" asked Jane suddenly.

"Yes."

"I will call her. I have something to say to her."

She went to meet her with the grave motherly firmness with which she would
have gone to give a scolding to black Buff or a lazy chambermaid. The
princess, crossing the grass, slender, dark, sparkling, had no doubt of her
own smouldering passionate hate against her. It was the proper thing for
Hagar to hate Sarah. Life was thin and insipid without great remorses,
revenges, loves. The poor little creature was always aiming at them, and
falling short. She was wondering now why Jane wore no jewelry. "Not an
earring! Not a hoop on her finger! If I had her money!" glancing down at
the blaze of rubies on her breast.

They met under a clump of lilacs.

"Stop one moment," said Jane, looking down at her not unkindly. "You must
not let this go too far, you know."

"What do you mean?" The princess fixed her eye upon her, with a somewhat
snaky light in it. Indeed, when she assumed that attitude toward Van Ness
or any other man she could frighten and hold him at bay as if she had been
a cobra about to strike. But the lithe dark body, the vivid color, the
beady eye only reminded Jane oddly of a darting little lizard, and tempted
her to laugh.

"No. You really must keep within bounds. Because I have my eye upon you. I
can't let you cheat that good soul, who brought you here, to her damage."

The princess gasped and whitened as though a cold calm hand was laid on her
miserable sham of a body.

"Do you know who I am?" stiffening herself into her idea of regal bearing.

"Not exactly. It does not matter in the least, either. I took your means of
earning a living from you once, you told me, and I don't wish to do it
again. I will not interfere as long as you hurt nobody."

The princess stared at her and burst into an hysteric laugh: "I believe, in
my soul, you mean just what you say! You are the shrewdest or stupidest
woman I ever saw! Do you sympathize with me? Do you feel for me?"
tragically, "or are you trying to worm my secret from me?"

"Neither one nor the other," coolly. "I know your secret. You are no spirit
and no princess. I shall pity you perhaps when you go to some honest work.
Why," with sudden interest, "I can find steady work for you at once. A
staymaker in the village told me the other day--"

"_I_ make stays!"

They both laughed. Jane's chief thought probably was how bony and sickly
this poor woman was: her own solid white limbs seemed selfish to her for
the instant. She took the twitching, ringed fingers in her hand.

"Play out your own play," she said good-humoredly. "You will not hurt
anybody very seriously, I fancy."

They walked in silence to the house.

The princess bent forward in the carriage-window as they drove away to look
back at her. "I wish my son knew such women as that!" she cried.

"Son?" said the startled Mrs. Wilde. "You have not spoken before to me of
your son, madame."

"I have always kept him under tutors--at Leipsic."

She leaned back as they drove through the sunshine, her filmy handkerchief
to her painted eyes, seeing nothing but an ugly, honest-faced boy hard at
work in a bare Presbyterian chapel. He would never know nor guess the life
of shame which his mother led! Her tears were real now.

She even had wild, visionary thoughts of a confession, of staymaking, of so
many dollars a week regularly. But she remembered the time when some fussy,
good women had put her in charge of a fashionable Kindergarten. There was a
fat salary! The house was luxurious: the teachers did the work. But one
night she had broken the finical apparatus to pieces, left a heap of
bonbons for the children, scrawled a verse of good-bye with chalk on the
blackboard, and taken to the road again without a penny.

REBECCA HARDING DAVIS.

[TO BE CONTINUED.]



ALFRED DE MUSSET.


It is twenty years since the death of Alfred de Musset, a poet whose
popularity and influence, both in his own country and out of it, can be
compared only to Byron's. Not that the Frenchman is known in England as the
Englishman is known in France, but the latter country may be called the
open side of the Channel, and in establishing a comparison between the
relative fame and familiarity of foreign names and ideas there and on the
isolated side, it is proportion rather than quantity which must be kept in
view. While Byron is out of fashion in his own country, the rage for
Musset, which for a long time made him appear not so much the favorite
modern poet of France as the only one, has subsided into a steady
admiration and affection, a permanent preference. New editions of his
works, both cheaper and more costly, are being constantly issued, portraits
of him are multiplied, his pieces are regularly performed at the Théâtre
Français, his verses are on every one's lips, his tomb is heaped with
flowers on All Souls' Day. Until after his death it would have been easy to
count those who knew even his name in this country and England: as usual in
such matters, we preceded the English in our acquaintance with him. The
freedom with which Owen Meredith and Mr. Swinburne helped themselves from
his poems proves how unfamiliar the general public was with him ten years
ago, but his distinction is now so well recognized in that island, so
remote from external impressions, that some knowledge of his life and
writings formed part of the French course last year in the higher local
examinations of Cambridge University.

Alfred de Musset belongs to the class of poets whose inner history excites
most curiosity, because his readers feel that there lies the spring of his
power, the secret of his charm, as well as the key to the riddles and
inconsistencies which his writings present: they are so imbued with the
essence of a common humanity that the heart that beats, the tears which
start, the blood which courses through them, keep time with our own. The
desire to penetrate still further into the intimacy to which they admit us
is quite distinct from the vulgar inquisitiveness which pursues celebrity,
or merely notoriety, into privacy. His biography has lately been published
by one who recognizes the true nature of this curiosity: Paul de Musset has
reserved the right of telling his brother's story, regarding it, he says,
"not only as a duty I owe to the man I loved best, and whose most intimate
and confidential friend I was, but as a necessary complement to the perfect
understanding of his works, for his work was himself."

The way in which this task has been performed is not entirely satisfactory,
and many passionate admirers of the poet, the order of readers to whom it
is dedicated, will feel disappointment and a regretful sense of its failing
to fulfil what it undertook, increased by the conviction that, having been
undertaken by the hand best fitted for it by natural propriety, it cannot
be done again. The book bears the relation to what one desired and expected
that a bare diary does to the journal, or memoranda to the lecture. It is a
collection of notes on the life of Alfred de Musset, rather than a full
memoir. This inadequacy arises principally from the biographer himself.
Paul de Musset, the poet's elder and only brother, is a man of taste and
cultivation, a judge of art, literature, music and the drama, a person of
charming manners and conversation, dignified, kindly, courteous, easy: he
was until middle age a busy, working man, whose leisure moments were
occupied with writings that have found little favor, except the _Femmes de
la Règence_ and the pretty child's story of _M. le Vent et Mme. la Pluie_,
which latter has been translated. He was the devoted, unselfish friend and
mentor of Alfred, to whose juniority and genius he extended an indulgence
of which he needed no share for himself: in fact, he was the elder brother
of the Prodigal in everything but want of generosity. A more amiable
portrait cannot be imagined than the one to be drawn of him from the
history of his intercourse with his brother and from Alfred's own letters
and verses to him. This, however, was not the person to give us such an
account and analysis of the life and character of Alfred de Musset as the
subject called for: he has neither the necessary impartiality nor ability.
He is now seventy years old, and although, like his brother, he has the
gift of appearing a decade less than his age, he is forced to remember that
the time must come when he will no longer be here to defend his brother's
memory, which has suffered more than one cruel attack. Having once had to
silence calumny under cover of fiction, he naturally wished to put his name
beyond the reach of being further traduced. Whatever the shortcomings of
the performance, it could not fail to be interesting. It is written in an
easy, well-bred style, like the author's way of talking--not without a
sense of humor, with touching pride in his brother's endowments, and
tenderness toward faults which he does not deny. In place of comprehensive
views and sound judgment of Alfred de Musset's genius and career, we have
the knowledge of absolute intimacy and sympathy, candor, a hoard of
reminiscences and details which could be gained from no other source, and,
more than all, that certainty as to events and motives which can exist only
where there has been a lifelong daily association without disguise or
distrust.

The family of Musset is old and gentle, and was adorned in early centuries
by soldiers of mark and statesmen of good counsel--the sort of lineage
which should bequeath high and honorable ideas, an inheritance of which
neither Paul nor Alfred de Musset nor their immediate forbears were
unworthy. A disposition to letters and poetry appears among their ancestry
on both sides, beginning in the twelfth century with Colin de Musset, a
sort of troubadour, a friend of Thibaut, count of Champagne, while the
poet's paternal grandmother bore the name of Du Bellay, so illustrious in
the annals of French literature. Alfred de Musset's parents were remarkable
for goodness of heart and high principle: both possessed an ideality which
showed itself with them in elevation of moral sentiments, and which passed
into the imaginative qualities of their sons. From remoter relatives on
both sides came a legacy of wit, promptness and point in retort, gayety
and good spirits. Alfred de Musset was born on the 11th of December, 1810,
in the old quarter of Paris, on the left bank of the Seine. The stories of
his childhood--which are pretty, like all true stories about children--show
a sensitive, affectionate, vivacious, impetuous, perverse nature,
precocious observation and intelligence. He was one of those beautiful,
captivating children whom nobody can forbear to spoil, and who, with the
innocent cunning of their age, reckon on the effect of their own charms. He
was not four years old when he first fell in love, as such mere babies,
both girls and boys, occasionally do: these infantine passions exhibit most
of the phenomena of maturer ones, and show how intense and absorbing a
passion may be which belongs exclusively to the region of sentiment and
imagination. Alfred de Musset's first love was his cousin, a young girl
nearly grown up when he first saw her: he left his playthings to listen to
her account of a journey she had made from Belgium, then the seat of war,
and from that day, whenever she came to the house, insisted on her telling
him stories, which she did with the patience and invention of Scheherazade.
At last he asked her to marry him, and, as she did not refuse, considered
her his betrothed wife. After some time she returned to her home in Liége:
there were tears on both sides--on his genuine and excessive grief. "Do not
forget me," said Clélia.--"Forget you! Don't you know that your name is cut
upon my heart with a pen-knife?" He set himself to learn to read and write
with incredible application, that he might be able to correspond with his
beloved. His attachment did not abate with absence, so that when Clélia
really married, the whole family thought it necessary to keep it a secret
from her little lover, and he remained in ignorance of it for years,
although he betrayed extraordinary suspicion and misgiving on the subject.
He was a schoolboy of eight or nine before he learned the truth, and was at
first extremely agitated: he asked tremblingly if Clélia had been making
fun of him, and being assured that she had not, but that they had not
allowed her to wait for him, and that she loved him like an elder sister,
he grew calm and said, "I will be satisfied with that." The cousins seldom
met in after-life, but preserved a tender affection for each other, which
served to avert a lawsuit and rupture that threatened to grow out of a
business disagreement between the two branches of the family. In 1852,
Clélia came to Paris to be present at Alfred's reception by the French
Academy. He had great confidence in her taste and judgment, and the last
time they met he said to her, "If there should ever be a handsome edition
of my works, I will have a copy bound for you in white vellum with a gold
band, as an emblem of our friendship."

His first literary passion was the _Arabian Nights_, which filled the
imagination of both brothers with magical lamps, wishing-carpets and secret
caverns for nearly a twelvemonth, during which they were incessantly trying
to carry out their fancies by constructing enchanted towers and palaces
with the furniture of their apartment. The Eastern stories were superseded
by tales of chivalry: Paul lit upon the _Four Sons of Aymon_ in his
grandfather's library, and a new world opened before him in which he
hastened to lose himself, taking his younger brother by the hand. The
children devoured _Jerusalem Delivered_, _Orlando Furioso_, _Amadis de
Gaule_, and all the poems, tales and traditions of knighthood on which they
could lay hands. Their games now were of nothing but tilts and jousts,
single combats, adventures and deeds of arms: the paladins were their
imaginary playfellows. A little comrade, who charged with an extraordinary
rush in the excitement of the tournament, generally represented Roland:
Alfred, being the youngest and smallest of the three, was allowed to bear
the enchanted lance, the first touch of which unseated the boldest rider
and bravest champion--a pretty device of the elder brother's, in which one
hardly knows whether to be most charmed with the poetic fancy or the
protecting affection which it displayed. The delightful infatuation lasted
for several years, undergoing some gradual modifications. Until he was
nine, Alfred had been chiefly taught at home by a tutor, but at that age he
was sent to school, where the first term dispelled his belief in the
marvellous. His brother was by this time at boarding-school, and they met
only on Sunday, when they renewed their knightly sports, but with
diminished ardor. One day Alfred asked Paul seriously what he thought of
magic, and Paul confessed his scepticism. The loss of this dear delusion
was a painful shock to Alfred, as it is to many children. Who cannot
remember the change which came over the world when he first learned that
Krisskinkle _alias_ Santa Claus did not fill the Christmas stocking--that
the fairies had not made the greener ring in the grass, where he had firmly
believed he might have seen them dancing in the moonlight if he could only
have sat up late enough? The Musset children fell back upon the mysterious
machinery of old romance--trap-doors, secret staircases, etc.--and began
tapping and sounding the walls for private passages and hidden doorways;
but in vain. It was at this stage of the fever that _Don Quixote_ was given
to them; and it is a singular illustration both of the genius of the book
and the intelligence of the little readers that it put their giants, dwarfs
and knights to flight. During the following summer they passed a few weeks
at the manor-house of Cogners with an uncle, the marquis de Musset, the
head of the family: to their great joy, the room assigned them had
underneath the great canopied bedstead a trap leading into a small chamber
built in the thickness of the floor between the two stories of the old
feudal building. Alfred could not sleep for excitement, and wakened his
brother at daybreak to help him explore: they found the secret chamber full
of dust and cobwebs, and returned to their own room with the sense that
their dreams had been realized a little too late. On looking about them
they saw that the tapestry on their walls represented scenes from _Don
Quixote:_ they burst out laughing, and the days of chivalry were over.

Alfred de Musset was nine years old, as we have said, when he began to
attend the Collége Henri IV. (now Corneille), on entering which he took his
place in the sixth form, among boys for the most part of twelve or upward.
He was sent to school on the first day with a deep scalloped collar and his
long light curls falling upon his shoulders, and being greeted with jeers
and yells by his schoolmates, went home in tears, and the curls were cut
off forthwith. He was an ambitious rather than an assiduous scholar, and
kept his place on the bench of honor by his facility in learning more than
by his industry; but it was a source of keen mortification to him if he
fell behindhand. His talents soon attracted the attention of the masters
and the envy of the pupils, the latter of whom were irritated and
humiliated by seeing the little curly-pate, the youngest of them all,
always at the head of the class. The laziest and dullest formed a league
against him: every day, when school broke up, he was assaulted with a
brutality equal to that of an English public school, but which certainly
would not have been roused against him there by the same cause. He had to
run amuck through the courtyard to the gate, where a servant was waiting
for him, often reaching it with torn clothes and a bloody face. This
persecution was stopped by his old playfellow, Orlando Furioso, who was two
years his senior: he threw himself into the crowd one day and dealt his
redoubtable blows with so much energy that he scattered the bullies once
for all. Among their schoolmates was the promising duke of Orleans, who was
then duc de Chartres, his father, afterward King Louis Philippe, bearing at
that time the former title. He took a strong fancy to Alfred de Musset,
which he showed by writing him a profusion of notes during recitation, most
of them invitations to dinner at Neuilly, where he occasionally went with
other school-fellows of the young prince. For a time after leaving school
De Chartres--as he was called by his young friends--kept up a lively
correspondence with Alfred, and when their boyish intimacy naturally
expired the recollection of it remained fresh and lively in the prince's
mind, as was afterward proved.

De Musset left college at the age of sixteen, having taken a prize in
philosophy for a Latin metaphysical essay. His disposition to inquire and
speculate had already manifested itself by uneasy questions in the classes
of logic and moral philosophy; and although few will agree with his brother
that his writings show unusual aptitude and profound knowledge in these
sciences, or that, as he says, "the thinker was always on a level with the
poet," nobody can deny the constant questioning of the Sphinx, the eager,
restless pursuit of truth, which pervades his pages. He pushed his search
through a long course of reading,--Descartes, Spinoza, Cabanis, Maine de
Biran--only to fall back upon an innate faith in God which never forsook
him, although it was strangely disconnected with his mode of life.

I have lingered over the early years of Alfred de Musset because the
childhood of a poet is the mirror wherein the image of his future is seen,
and because there is something peculiarly touching in this season of
innocence and unconsciousness of self in the history of men whose after
lives have been torn to pieces by the storms of vicissitude and passion. So
far, he had not begun to rhyme--an unusual case, as boys who can make two
lines jingle, whether they be poets or not, generally scribble plentifully
before leaving school. At the age of fourteen he wrote some verses to his
mother on her birthday, but it is fair to suppose that they gave no hint of
talent, as they have not been preserved: it was only from his temperament
that his destiny might be guessed. The impressions of his infancy were
singularly vivid and deep, and acted directly upon his imagination: they
are reflected in his works in pictures and descriptions full of grace or
power. The ardent Bonapartism of his family, particularly of his mother,
whom he loved and revered, took form from his recollections in the
magnificent opening of the _Confession d'un Enfant du Siècle,_ which has
the double character of a prose poem and a kindling oration, while by the
volume and sonorous beauty of the phrase it reminds one of a grand musical
composition. When he was between seven and eight years old his family
passed the summer at an old country-place to which belonged a farm, and he
and his brother found inexhaustible amusement among the tenants and their
occupations. He never saw it again, but it is reproduced with perfect
fidelity in the tale of _Margot_. The chivalric mania left, as Paul de
Musset observes, a love of the romantic and fantastic, a tendency to look
upon life as a novel, an enjoyment of what was unexpected and unlikely, a
disposition to trust to chance and the course of events. The motto of the
Mussets was a condensed expression of the gallant love-making, Launcelot
side of knightly existence--_Courtoisie, Bonne Aventure aux Preux_
("Courtesy, Good Luck to the Paladin;" or, to translate the latter clause
more freely, yet more faithfully to the spirit of the original, "None but
the Brave Deserve the Fair"). It came from two estates--_Courtoisie_, which
passed out of the family in the last century, and _Bonne Aventure_, a
property on the Loire, which was not part of Alfred's patrimony. The
fairies who endowed him at his christening with so many gifts and graces
must have meant to complete his outfit when they presented him with such a
device, which might have been invented for him at nineteen. On leaving
college he continued his education by studying languages, drawing, and
music to please himself, and attempting several professions to satisfy the
reasonable expectations of his father. He found law dry, medicine
disgusting, and, discouraged by these failures, he fell into low spirits,
to which he was always prone even at the height of his youthful
joyousness--declared to his brother that he was and ever should be good for
nothing, that he never should be able to practise a profession, and never
could resign himself to being _any particular kind of man._ His talent for
drawing led him to work in a painter's studio and in the galleries of the
Louvre with some success, and for a time he was in high spirits at the
idea of having found his calling, and pursued it while attending lectures
and classes on other subjects. This uncertainty lasted a couple of years,
during which he began to venture a little into society, of which, like most
lively, versatile young people, he was extravagantly fond. His Muse was
still dormant, but his love for poetry was strongly developed; a volume of
André Chenier was always in his pocket, and he delighted to read it under
the trees in the avenues of the Bois on his daily walk out of Paris to the
suburb of Auteuil, where his family lived at that time. Under this
influence he wrote a poem, which he afterward destroyed, excepting a few
good descriptive lines which he introduced into one of later date.
Meanwhile, he had been presented to the once famous Cénacle, the nucleus of
the romantic school, then in the pride and flush of youth and rapidly
increasing popularity; its head-quarters were at the house of Victor Hugo
_facile princeps ordinis_ even among its chiefs. There he met Alfred de
Vigny, Mérimée, Sainte-Beuve and others, whose talents differed essentially
in kind and degree, but who were temporarily drawn together by similarity
of literary principles and tastes. Their meetings were entirely taken up
with intellectual discussions, or the reading of a new production, or in
walks which have been commemorated by Mérimée and Sainte-Beuve, when they
carried their romanticism to the towers of Notre Dame to see the sun set or
the moon rise over Paris.

Stimulated by this companionship, Alfred de Musset began to compose. His
first attempt at publication was anonymous, a ballad called "A Dream,"
which, through the good offices of a friend, was accepted by _Le
Provincial,_ a tri-weekly newspaper of Dijon: it did not pass unnoticed,
but excited a controversy in print between the two editors, to the extreme
delight of the young poet, who always fondly cherished the number of the
paper in which it appeared. At length, one morning he woke up Sainte-Beuve
with the laughing declaration that he too was a poet, and in support of
his assertion recited some of his verses to that keenly attentive and
appreciative ear. Sainte-Beuve at once announced that there was "a boy full
of genius among them," and as long as he lived, whatever Paul de Musset's
fraternal sensitiveness may find to complain of, he never retracted or
qualified that first judgment. The _Contes d'Italie et d'Espagne_ followed
fast, and were recited to an enthusiastic audience, who were the more
lenient to the exaggerations and affectations of which, as in most youthful
poetry, there were plenty, since these bore the stamp of their own mint.

Alfred de Musset's first steps in life were made at the same time with his
first essays in poetry. He was so handsome, high-spirited and gay that
women did not wait to hear that he was a genius to smile upon him. His
brother, who is tall, calls him of medium height, five feet four inches
(about five feet nine, English measure), slender, well-made and of good
carriage: his eyes were blue and full of fire; his nose was aquiline, like
the portraits of Vandyke; his profile was slightly equine in type: the
chief beauty of his face was his forehead, round which clustered the
many-shaded masses of his fair hair, which never turned gray: the
countenance was mobile, animated and sensitive; the predominating
expression was pride. Paul relates without reserve how one married woman
encouraged his brother and trifled with him, using his devotion to screen a
real intrigue which she was carrying on, and that another, who was lying in
wait for him, undertook his consolation. One morning Alfred made his
appearance in spurs, with his hat very much on one side and a huge bunch of
hair on the other, by which signs his brother understood that his vanity
was satisfied. He was just eighteen. That a man of respectable life and
notions like Paul de Musset should take these adventures as a matter of
course makes it difficult for an American to find the point of view whence
to judge a society so abominably corrupt. Thus at the age of a college-boy
in this country he was started on the career which was destined to lead to
so much unhappiness, and in the end to his destruction. Dissipation of
every sort followed, debts, from which he was never free, and the habit of
drinking, which proved fatal at last. To the advice and warnings of his
brother he only replied that he wished to know everything by experience,
not by hearsay--that he felt within him two men, one an actor, the other a
spectator, and if the former did a foolish thing the latter profited by it.
On this pernicious reasoning he pursued for three years a dissolute mode of
life, which, thanks to the remarkable strength and elasticity of his
constitution, did not prevent his carrying on his studies and going with
great zest into society, where he became more and more welcome, besides
writing occasionally. He translated De Quincey's _Confessions of an English
Opium-Eater_, introducing some reveries of his own, but the work attracted
no attention. During this period his father, naturally anxious about his
son's unprofitable courses, one morning informed him that he had obtained a
clerkship for him in an office connected with the military commissariat.
Alfred did not venture to demur, but the confinement and routine of an
office were intolerable, and he resolved to conquer his liberty by every
effort of which he was capable. He offered his manuscripts for publication
to M. Canel, the devoted editor of the romantic party: they fell short by
five hundred lines of the number of pages requisite for a volume of the
usual octavo bulk. He obtained a holiday, which he spent with a favorite
uncle who lived in the provinces, and came back in three weeks with the
poem of "Mardoche." He persuaded his father to give a literary party, to
which his friends of the Cénacle were invited, and repeated his latest
compositions to them, including "Mardoche." Here we have another example of
manners startling to our notions: the keynote of these verses was rank
libertinism, yet in his mother's drawing-room and apparently in the
presence of his father, a dignified, reputable man, venerated by his
children, this young rake declaimed stanzas more licentious than any in
Byron's _Don Juan_. But it caused no scandal: the friends were rapturous,
and predicted the infallible success of the poems, in which they were
justified by the event. "Rarely," says Paul de Musset, "has so small a
quantity of paper made so much noise." There was an uproar among the
newspapers, some applauding with all their might, others denouncing the
exaggeration of the romantic tendency: the romanticists themselves were
disconcerted to find the "Ballade à la Lune," which they had taken as a
good joke, turned into a joke against themselves. At all events, the young
man was launched, and his vocation was thenceforth decided. In reading
these first productions of Alfred de Musset's without the prejudice or
partiality of faction, it cannot be denied that if not sufficient in
themselves to ensure his immortality, they contain lines of finished beauty
as perfect as the author ever produced--ample guarantee of what might be
expected from the development of his genius.

He now began to be tired of sowing wild oats, and became less irregular in
his mode of life. A lively, pretty little comedy called _Une Nuit
Vénitienne_, which he wrote at the request of the director of the Odéon,
for some inexplicable cause fell flat, which, besides turning him aside
from writing for the stage during a number of years, discouraged him
altogether for some time. Before he entirely recovered from the check he
lost his father, who died suddenly of cholera in 1832. The shock left him
sobered and calm, anxious to fulfil his duties toward his mother and young
sister, whose means, it was feared, would be greatly diminished by the loss
of M. de Musset's salary. Alfred resolved to publish another volume of
poetry, and, if this did not succeed to a degree to warrant his considering
literature a means of support, to get a commission in the army. He set
himself industriously to work, and inspiration soon rewarded the effort: in
six months his second volume appeared, comprising "Le Saule," "Vœux
Stériles," "La Coupe et les Lèvres," "A quoi rèvent les jeunes filles,"
"Namouna," and several shorter pieces. Among those enumerated there are
splendid passages, second in beauty and force to but a few of his later
poems, the sublime "Nuits," "Souvenir," and the incomparable opening of
"Rolla." Again he convoked the friends who three years before had greeted
the _Contes d'Espagne_ with acclamation, but, to the unutterable surprise
and disappointment of both brothers, there was not a word of sympathy or
applause: Mérimée alone expressed his approbation, and assured the young
poet that he had made immense progress. Perhaps the others took in bad part
their former disciple's recantation of romanticism, which he makes in the
dedication of "La Coupe et les Lèvres" after the following formula:

    For my part, I hate those snivellers in boats,
      Those lovers of waterfalls, moonshine and lakes,
    That breed without name, which with journals and notes,
      Tears and verses, floods every step that it takes:
    Nature no doubt but gives back what you lend her;
    After all, it may be that they do comprehend her,
    But them I do certainly not comprehend.

The chill of this introduction was not carried off by the public reception
of the _Spectacle dans un Fauteuil_ (as the new collection was entitled),
which remained almost unnoticed for some weeks, until Sainte-Beuve in the
_Revue des Deux Mondes_ of January 15, 1833, published a review of this and
the earlier poems, indicating their beauty and originality, the promise of
the one and progress of the other, with his infallible discernment and
discrimination. A few critics followed his lead, others differed, and
discussions began again which could not but spread the young man's fame.
The _Revue des Deux Mondes_ was now open to him, and henceforth, with a few
exceptions, whatever he wrote appeared in that periodical. He made his
entry with the drama of _Andrea del Sarto_, which is rife with tense and
tragic situations and deeply-moving scenes. The affairs of the family
turned out much better than had been expected, but Alfred de Musset
continued to work with application and ardor. His fine critical faculty
kept his vagaries within bounds: he knew better than anybody "how much good
sense it requires to do without common sense"--a dictum of his own. Like
every true artist, he took his subjects wherever he found them: the
dripping raindrops and tolling of the convent-bell suggested one of
Chopin's most enchanting _Preludes;_ the accidental attitudes of women and
children in the street have given painters and sculptors their finest
groups; so a bunch of fresh roses which De Musset's mother put upon his
table one morning during his days of extravagant dissipation, saying, "All
this for fourpence," gave him a happy idea for unravelling the perplexity
of Valentin in _Les Deux Maîtresses;_ and his unconscious exclamation, "Si
je vous le disais pourtant que je vous aime," which caused a passer-by in
the street to laugh at him, furnished the opening of the _Stances à Ninon_,
like Dante's

    Donne ch'avete intelletto d'amore.

These fortunate dispositions were interrupted by a meeting which affected
his character and genius more than any other event in his life. It is
curious that Madame Sand and De Musset originally avoided making each
other's acquaintance. She fancied that she should not like him, and he,
although greatly struck by the genius of her first novel, _Indiana_,
disliked her overloaded style of writing, and struck out in pencil a
quantity of superfluous adjectives and other parts of speech in a copy
which unluckily fell into her hands. Their first encounter was followed by
a sudden, almost instantaneous, mutual passion--on his part the first and
strongest if not the only one, of his life. The first season of this
intimacy was like a long summer holiday. "It seemed," writes the
biographer, "as if a partnership in which existence was so gay, to which
each brought such contributions of talent, wit, grace, youth, and
good-humor, could never be dissolved. It seemed as if such happy people
should find nothing better to do than remain in a home which they had made
so attractive for themselves and their friends.... I never saw such a happy
company, nor one which cared so little about the rest of the world.
Conversation never flagged: they passed their time in talking, drawing, and
making music. A childish glee reigned supreme. They invented all sorts of
amusements, not because they were bored, but because they were overflowing
with spirits." But Paris became too narrow for them, and they fled--first
to Fontainebleau, then to Italy. Musset's mother was deeply opposed to the
latter project, foreseeing misfortune with the prescience of affection, and
he promised not to go without her consent, although his heart was set upon
it. The most incredible story in the biography is that Madame Sand actually
surprised Madame de Musset into an interview, and, by appeals, eloquence,
persuasion and vows, obtained her sorrowful acquiescence.

The lamentable story of that Italian journey has been told too often and by
too many people to need repetition here. No doubt Paul de Musset has told
it as fairly as could be expected from his brother's side: probably the
circumstances occurred much as he sets them down. But he could not make due
allowance for the effect which Alfred's dissolute habits had produced upon
his character: he was but twenty-three, and had run the round of vice; he
had already depicted the moral result of such courses in his terrible
allegory of "La Coupe et les Lèvres:" the idea recurs throughout his works,
conspicuously in the _Confession d'un Enfant du Siècle_, which is Madame
Sand's best apology. But if his excesses had destroyed his ingenuousness,
she destroyed his faith in human nature, and on her will ever rest the
brand he set in the burning words of the "Nuit d'Octobre."

He returned to Paris shattered in mind and body, and shut himself up in his
room for months, unable to endure contact with the outer world, or even
that of the loving home circle which environed him with anxious tenderness.
He could not read or write: a favorite piece of music from his young
sister's piano, a game of chess with his mother in the evening, were his
only recreations--his only excitement the letters which still came from
Venice, for which he looked with a sick longing, at which one cannot wonder
on reading them and remembering what a companionship it was that he had
lost. Urged by his brother and his friend M. Buloz, the director of the
_Revue des Deux Mondes_, to try the efficacy of work, he completed his play
of _On ne badine pas avec l'Amour_, already sketched, in which, of all his
dramatic writings, the cry of the heart is most thrilling. Aided by this
effort, he made a journey to Baden in September, five months after his
miserable return to Paris. The change of air and scene restored him, and
his votive offering for the success of his pilgrimage was the charming poem
called "Une Bonne Fortune." Although he had determined not to see Madame
Sand again, their connection was renewed, in spite of himself, when she
came back from Italy: it lasted for a short period, full of angry and
melancholy scenes, quarrels and reconciliations. Then he broke loose for
ever, and went back to the world and his work.

This episode, of which I have briefly given the outline, was the principal
event of Alfred de Musset's life, the one which marked and colored it most
deeply, which brought his genius to perfection by a cruel and fiery
torture, and left a lasting imprint upon his writings. Although he never
produced anything finer than certain passages of "Rolla," which was
published in 1833, yet previous to that--or more accurately to 1835, when
he began to write again--he had composed no long poem of equal merit
throughout, none in which the flight was sustained from first to last. The
magnificent series of the "Nights" of May, December, August and October,
the "Letter to Lamartine," "Stanzas on the Death of Malibran," "Hope in
God," and a number of others of not less melody and vigor, but less exalted
and serious in tone; several plays, among them _Lorenzaccio_, which missed
only by a very little being a fine tragedy; the greater part of his prose
tales and criticisms, including _Le Fils de Titien_, the most charming of
his stories, and the _Confession d'un Enfant du Siècle_, which shows as
much genius as any of his poems,--belong to the period from 1835 to 1840,
his apogee. Of the last work, notwithstanding its unmistakable personal
revelations--which, if they do not tell the author's story, at least
reflect his state of mind--Paul de Musset says, what everybody who has read
his brother's writings carefully will feel to be true, that neither in the
hero nor any other single personage must we look for Alfred's entire
individuality. In the complexity of his character and emotions, and the
contradictions which they united, are to be found the eidolon of every
young man in his collection, even "the two heroes of _Les Caprices de
Marianne_, Octave and Cœlio," says Paul, "although they are the antipodes
of one another." Neither is it as easy as it would seem on the surface to
trace the thread of any one incident of his life through his writings.
Although containing some irreconcilable passages, the four "Nights"
appeared to have been born of the same impulse and to exact the same
dedication: it is undeniably a shock to have their inconsistencies
explained by hearing that while the "Nuits de Mai," "d'Août" and
"d'Octobre" refer to his passion for Madame Sand, the "Nuit de Décembre"
and "Lettre à Lamartine," which naturally belong to this series, were
dictated by another attachment and another disappointment. I will not stop
to moralize upon this: the story of De Musset's life is really only the
story of his loves. His brother says that he was always in love with
somebody: it was a necessity of his nature and his genius. Before he was
twenty-seven, six different love-affairs are enumerated, without taking
into account numerous affairs of gallantry; nor was the sixth the last. The
"Nuit d'Octobre" was written two years and a half after his return from
Italy, and its terrible malediction is the outbreak of the rankling memory
of his wrong and suffering. It was psychologically in order that while his
love (which does not die in an hour, like trust and respect) survived, it
should surround its object with lingering tenderness, but that as it slowly
expired indignation, scorn and the sense of injury should increase: this is
their final utterance, followed by pardon, a vow of forgetfulness and
farewell, but not a final farewell. That was spoken years afterward, in
1841, when, once again seeing by chance the forest of Fontainebleau, and
about the same time casually encountering Madame Sand, he poured forth his
"Souvenir," a poem of matchless sweetness and beauty, vibrating with
feeling and most musical in expression--an exquisite combination of lyric
and elegy. In this he calls her

    Ma seule amie à jamais la plus chère.

Ten years after this, in one of the last strains of his unstrung harp, a
fragment called "Souvenir des Alpes," the sad chord is touched once more:
up to the end it answered faintly to certain notes. Long after their
rupture and separation he said that he would have given ten years of his
life to marry her had she been free; and it is deplorable that the most
fervent and lasting affection of which he was capable should have been
thrown back upon him in such sort.

Of marriage there were several schemes at different times: they fell
through because he was averse to them himself, except one to which he much
inclined, the young lady being pretty, intelligent, charming and the
daughter of an old friend; but on the first advances it turned out that she
was engaged to another man. His biographer regrets this deeply, convinced
that such an alliance would have been his brother's salvation; but even if
he could have been more constant to his wife than to his mistresses, the
habit of intemperance was too confirmed to admit much hope of domestic
happiness. The same may be opined in regard to the vague hopes which were
destroyed by the death of the young duke of Orleans. When Louis Philippe
came to the throne, De Musset made no attempt to approach the royal family
on the pretext of the old school-friendship: it was the duke himself who
renewed it in 1836 on accidentally seeing some unpublished verses of the
poet's on the king's escape from an attempt at assassination. Louis
Philippe himself did not like the sonnet, considering the use of the poetic
_thou_ too familiar a form of address: he did not know who was the author;
and when Alfred was presented to him at a court-ball took him for a cousin
who was inspector of the royal forests at Joinville, and continued to greet
him, under this mistake, with a few gracious words two or three times a
year during the rest of his reign, while the poet's name was on the lips
and in the heart of every one else. The duke's favor and friendliness ended
only with his sad and sudden death.

Paul de Musset tells us that the years 1837 and 1838 were the happiest in
his brother's life. The love-trouble which had wrung from him the "Nuit de
Décembre" was a disappointment, but not a deception, and the parting had
caused equal sorrow on both sides, but no bitterness. After no long
interval appeared "a very young and very pretty person whom he met
frequently in society, of an enthusiastic, passionate nature, independent
in her position, and who bought the poet's books." An acquaintance, a
friendship, a correspondence, a serious passion followed, and became a
relation which lasted two years "without quarrel, storm, coolness or
subject of umbrage or jealousy--two years of love without a cloud, of true
happiness." Why did it not last for ever? The biographer does not give the
answer. It is hinted in a letter to Alfred's friend, the duchesse de
Castries, dated September, 1840, in his _Œuvres posthumes_: "I have told
you how about a year ago an absurd passion, totally useless and somewhat
ridiculous, made me break with all my habits. I forsook all my
surroundings, my friends of both sexes, the current in which I was living,
and one of the prettiest women in Paris. I did not succeed in my foolish
dream, you must understand; and now I find myself cured, it is true, but
high and dry like a fish in a grain-field." This is probably the clue, and
the foolish dream was for a woman to whom his brother refers as having
repelled Alfred's homage with harshness, and having called forth from him
some short and extremely bitter verses beginning "Oui, femme," and another
called "Adieu!" in which there prevails a tone of quiet but deep feeling.
This is a sad story: he apparently united the volatility and vagrancy of
fancy, the inconstancy of light shallow natures, with the ardor and
intensity of passion and the capacity for suffering which belong to strong
and steadfast ones. There was a childlike quality in his disposition, which
showed itself in a sort of simplicity and spontaneousness in the midst of a
corrupt existence, and still more in the uncontrollable, absorbing violence
of his emotions: they swept over him, momentarily devastating his present
and blotting out the horizon, but unlike the tempests of childhood their
ravages did not disappear when the clouds dispersed and the torrents
subsided. The life of debauchery which had preceded his journey to Italy
was replaced, for some years, by a less excessive degree of dissipation,
during which he lived with a fast set, who, however, were men of talent and
accomplishments, the foremost among them being Prince Belgiojoso. The
influence of the two fortunate years, 1837-38, not only the happiest but
the most fertile of his short career, seems to have weakened these
associations and led him into calmer paths. He had formed several
friendships with women of a sort which both parties may regard with pride,
in particular with the Princess Belgiojoso, one of the most striking and
original figures of our monotonous time, and Madame Maxime Jaubert, a
clever, attractive young woman with a delightful house, whom he called his
_Marraine_ because she had given him a nickname. These women, and
others--but these two above the rest--were sincerely and loyally attached
to him with a disinterested regard which did not spare advice, nor even
rebuke, or relax under his loss of health and brilliancy or neglect of
their kindness, which nevertheless he felt and valued. His purest source of
pleasure was in the talent of others, which gave him a generous and
sympathetic enjoyment. The appearance of Pauline Garcia--now Madame
Viardot--and Rachel, who came out almost simultaneously at the age of
seventeen, added delight to the two happy years. He has left notices of the
first performances of these artistes, the former in opera, the latter on
the stage (for he was musical himself and a _connoisseur_) which are
excellent criticisms, and have even more interest than when they appeared,
now that the career of one has long been closed and that of the other long
completed. His relations with Rachel lasted for many years, interrupted by
the gusts and blasts which the contact of two such natures inevitably
begets. She constantly urged him to write a play for her, and in the year
after her _début_ he wrote a fragment of a drama on the story of
Frédegonde, which she learned by heart and occasionally recited in private;
but there were endless delays and difficulties on both sides, and the rest
was not written. After various episodes and passages between them, De
Musset was dining with her one evening when she had become a great lady and
queen of the theatre, and her other guests were all rich men of fashion.
One of them admired an extremely beautiful and costly ring which she wore.
It was first passed round the table from hand to hand, and then she said
they might bid for it. One immediately offered five hundred francs, another
fifteen, and the ring went up at once to three thousand: "And you, my poet,
why do not you bid? What will you give?" "I will give you my heart," he
replied. "The ring is yours," cried Rachel, taking it off and throwing it
into his plate. After dinner De Musset tried to restore it to her, but she
refused to take it back: he urged and insisted, when she, suddenly falling
on her knee with that sovereign charm of seduction for which she was as
renowned as for her tragic power, entreated him to keep it as a pledge for
the piece he was to write for her. The poet took the ring, and went home
excited and wrought up to the resolve that nothing should interfere with
the completion of his task. But it was the old story again--whims and
postponements on Rachel's part, possibly temper and pique on his--until six
months afterward, at the end of an angry conversation, he silently replaced
the ring on her hand, and she did not resist. Four years later the compact
was renewed, and although by this time De Musset had to all intents and
purposes ceased to write, he struck off the first act of a play called
_Faustina_, the scene of which was laid in Venice in the fourteenth
century; but he put off finishing it, and finally let it drop altogether.

In December, 1840, Alfred de Musset was thirty years old, and on his
birthday he had one of those reckonings with himself, which the most
deliberately careless and volatile men cannot escape. At twenty-one he had
held a similar settlement: he was then uncertain of his genius,
dissatisfied with his way of life and with the use he made of his time: the
result was his adoption of a more serious line of study and conduct, which
had led him, in spite of interruptions and aberrations, to the brilliant
display of his beautiful and splendid talents, the full exercise of his
wonderful powers. Now another review of his past and survey of his future
left him in a mood of discontent and depression. He felt that he could not
always go on being a boy. The year behind him had been almost sterile, and
marked by the loss of many of what he called his illusions. He had been
implored and urged to write by his friends and editors, had made and broken
promises without number to the latter, and had become involved in money
difficulties to a degree which kept him in constant anxiety and torment.
Yet he steadily rejected all his brother's affectionate advice and
importunities to shake off the deepening lethargy. He would not write
poetry because the Muse did not come of her free will, and he would never
do her violence. He had forsworn prose, because he said everybody wrote
that, and many so ill that he would not swell the number of magazine
story-writers, who, he foresaw, were to lower the standard of fiction and
style. In short, he always had an excuse for doing nothing, and although he
hated above all things to leave Paris, and seldom accepted the invitations
of his friends in the country, he now repeatedly rushed out of town to
escape the visits of editors, who had become no better than duns in his
eyes. When at home he shut himself in his room for days together in so
gloomy a frame of mind that even his brother did not venture to break in
upon him: he even made a furtive attempt at suicide one night when his
despondency reached its lowest depth; it was foiled by the accident of
Paul's having unloaded the pistols and locked up the powder and balls some
time before. He grew morbidly irritable, and resented Paul's remonstrances,
which, we may be sure, were made with all the tact and consideration of
natural delicacy and unselfish affection, generally by laughing at the poor
poet, which was the most effectual way of restoring his courage and
good-humor. One morning he emerged from his seclusion, and with vindictive
desperation threw before his brother a quantity of manuscripts, saying,
"You _would_ have prose: there it is for you." It was the introduction to a
sort of romance called _Le Poète déchu_, a wretched story of a young man of
many gifts who finds himself under the necessity of writing for the support
of his orphan sisters, and it described with harrowing eloquence the vain
efforts of his exhausted brain. The extracts in the biography are painfully
affecting and powerful, but the work was never finished or published. Such
a state of things could not go on indefinitely, and De Musset fell
dangerously ill of congestion of the lungs, brought on by reckless
imprudence when already far from well: the attack was accompanied by so
much fever and delirium that it was at first mistaken for brain fever. This
illness redoubled the tenderness and devotion of his family and friends:
his Marraine and Princess Belgiojoso took turns by his bedside, magnetizing
the unruly patient into quiescence; but the person who exercised the
greatest influence over him was a poor Sister of Charity, Sœur Marcelline,
who was engaged to assist in nursing him. The untiring care,
self-abnegation, angelic sweetness and serenity of this humble woman gained
the attachment of the whole family, and established an ascendency over
Alfred's impressionable imagination. She did not confine her office to her
patient's physical welfare, but strove earnestly to minister to him
spiritually. His long convalescence "was like a second birth. He did not
seem more than seventeen: he had the joyousness of a child, the fancies of
a page, like Cherubino in the _Marriage of Figaro_. All the difficulties
and subjects of despair which preceded his malady had vanished in a
rose-colored distance. He passed his days in reading interminable
books--_Clarissa Harlowe_, which he already knew, the _Memorial of St.
Helena_, and all the memoirs relating to the Empire. In the evening we all
gathered about his writing-table to draw and chat, while Sœur Marcelline
sat by knitting in bright worsteds. Auguste Barre, our neighbor, came to
work at an album of caricatures in the style of Töppfer's, and we all
amused ourselves with the comic illustrations: Alfred and Barre had the
pencil, the rest of us composed a text as absurd as the drawings. Who will
give us back those delicious evenings of laughter, jest and chat, when
without stirring from home or depending on anything from without our whole
household was so happy?" Alas! they were not of long duration. By and by
Sister Marcelline went away, leaving her patient a pen on which she had
embroidered, "Remember your promises." He was afflicted by her departure,
and wrote some lines to her, who, as he said, did not know what poetry
meant, but he could never be induced to show them, although he repeated
them to Paul and their friend Alfred Tattet, who between them contrived to
note down the four following verses:

    Poor girl! thou art no longer fair.
    By watching Death with patient care
      Thou pale as he art grown:
    By tending upon human pain
    Thy hand is worn as coarse in grain
      As horny Labor's own.

    But weariness and courage meek
    Illuminate thy pallid cheek
      Beside the dying bed:
    To the poor suffering mortal's clutch
    Thy hard hand hath a gentle touch,
      With tears and warm blood fed.

           *       *       *       *       *

    Tread to the end thy lonely road,
    All for thy task and toward thy God,
      Thy footsteps day by day.
    That evil must exist, we prate,
    And wisely leave it to its fate,
      And pass another way;

    But thy pure conscience owns it not,
    Though ceaseless warfare is thy lot
    Against disease and woe;
    No ills for thee have power to sting,
    Nor to thy lip a murmur bring,
      Save those that others know.

De Musset held in peculiar sacredness and reverence whatever was connected
with this good woman and his feeling for her: seventeen years after this
illness the embroidered pen and a piece of her knitting were buried with
him by almost his last request.

Seventeen years! a large bit of any one's life--more than a third of Alfred
de Musset's own term--yet there is hardly anything to say about it. The
"Souvenir," which was written about six months after his recovery, is the
last poem in which all his strength, beauty and pathos find expression: he
never wrote again in this vein: it was the last echo of his youth. He
composed less and less frequently, and though what he wrote was redolent of
sentiment, wit, grace and elegance, and some of the short occasional verses
have a consummate charm of finish, the soul seems gone out of his poetry.
His brother mentions a number of compositions begun, but thrown aside;
there were projects of travel never carried out; he gradually gave up the
society of even his oldest friends: everything indicated a rapid decline of
the active faculties. Unhappily, that of suffering seemed only to
increase--no longer the sharp anguish of unspent force which had wrung from
him the passionate cries and plaintive murmurs of former years, but the
dull numbness of hopelessness. His existence was monotonous, and the few
occurrences which varied it were of a sad or unpleasant nature. His sister
married and left Paris, and his mother subsequently went to live with her
in the country, thus breaking up their family circle; Paul de Musset was
absent from France for considerable spaces of time, so that for the first
time Alfred de Musset was compelled to live alone. Friends scattered, some
died: the Orleans family, for whom he had a real affection, was driven from
France; he fancied that his genius was unappreciated--a notion which,
strangely enough, his brother shared--and although he was the last man to
rage or mope over misapprehension, the idea certainly added to his gloom.
Through the good graces of the duke of Orleans he had been appointed
librarian of the Home Office, a post of which he was instantly deprived on
the change of government; but a few years later he was unexpectedly given a
similar one in the Department of Public Education. In 1852 he was elected
to the French Academy, that honor so limited by the small number of
members, so ridiculed by unsuccessful aspirants, yet without which no
French author feels his career to be complete. His plays were being
performed with great favor, his poems and tales were becoming more and more
popular, his verses were set to music, his stories were illustrated: but
all this brought no cheer or consolation to the sick spirit. He lived more
and more alone: the Théâtre Français, a silent game of chess at his café,
the deadly absinthe, were his only sources of excitement. It is a comfort
to learn that the last ray of pleasure which penetrated his moral dungeon,
reviving for an instant the generous glow of enthusiasm, was the appearance
of Ristori: inspired by her, he began a poetical address which he never
finished, nor even wrote down, but a fragment of it was preserved orally by
one or two who heard it:

    For Pauline and Rachel I sang of hope,
      And over Malibran a tear I shed;
    But, thanks to thee, I see the mighty scope
            Of strength and genius wed.

    Ah keep them long! The heart which breathes the prayer
      When genius calls has ever made reply,
    Bear smiling home to Italy the fair,
            A flower from our sky.

           *       *       *       *       *

    They tell me that in spite of grief and wrong,
      And pride bent earthward by a tyrant's heel,
    A noble race, though crushed and conquered long,
            Has not yet learned to kneel.

    Rome's godlike dwellers of a bygone age,
      The marble, porphyry, alabaster forms,
    Still live: at night, to speech upon the stage,
            An ancient statue warms.


       *       *       *       *       *

What was the cause of De Musset's unhappiness and impotence? His brother
tries to account for them by an enumeration of the distresses and
annoyances mentioned above, and others of the same order; but when one
remembers how the poet's great sorrows, his father's death and the betrayal
of his affection by the first woman he really loved, had given him his
finest conceptions in verse and prose, it is impossible to accept so
insufficient an explanation. Nor can we allow that De Musset sank into a
condition of puerile impatience and senile querulousness. Judged by our
standard, all the Latin races lack manhood, as we may possibly do by
theirs: De Musset was only as much more sensitive than the rest of his
countrymen as those of the poetic temperament are usually found to be in
all countries. Nor had he seen his talent slowly expire: the spring did not
run dry by degrees: it suddenly sank into the ground. He had made a fearful
mistake at the outset, which he discovered too late if at all. Considering
what life is sure to bring to every one in the way of trial and sorrow, it
is not worth while to go in search of emotions and experience which are
certain to find us out; nor is it in the slums of life that its meaning is
to be sought. He had foretold his own end in the prophetic warning of his
Muse:

    Quand les dieux irrités m'ôteront ton génie,
    Si je tombe des cieux que me répondras-tu?

His light was not lost in a storm-cloud nor eclipse, but in the awful
Radnorok, the Götterdämmerung, when sun and stars fall from a blank heaven.
His health and habits constantly grew worse--he had organic disease of the
heart--but his existence dragged on until May 1st, 1857, when an acute
attack carried him off after a few days' illness. He died in his brother's
arms, and his last words were, "Sleep! at last I shall sleep." He had
killed himself physically and intellectually as surely as the wages of sin
are death.

But let not this be the last word on one so beloved as a poet and a man.
Mental qualities alone never endear their possessor to every being that
comes into contact with him, and Alfred de Musset was idolized by people
who could not even read. There was not a generous or amiable quality in
which he was wanting: he had an inextinguishable ardor for genius and
greatness in every form; he was tender-hearted to excess, could not endure
the sight of suffering, and delighted in giving pleasure; his sympathy was
ready and entire, his loyalty of the truest metal. "He never abused
anybody," says his brother, "nor sacrificed an absent person for the sake
of a good story." He loved animals and children, and they loved him in
return.

He can never cease to be the poet of the many, for he has melody,
sentiment, passion, all that charms the popular ear and heart--a
personality which is the expression of human nature in a language which, as
he himself says, few speak, but all understand. He can never cease to be
the poet of the few, because, while his poems are a very concentration and
elixir of the most intense and profound feelings of which we are all
capable, they give words to the more exquisite and intimate emotions
peculiar to those of a keener and more refined susceptibility, of a more
exalted and aërial range. Sainte-Beuve says somewhere, though not in his
final verdict on De Musset, that his chief merit is having restored to
French literature the wit which had been driven out of it by the
sentimentalists. His wit is indeed delightful and irresistible, but it is
not his magic key to souls. In other countries every generation has its own
poet: younger ears are deaf to the music which so long charmed ours; but De
Musset will be the poet of each new generation for a certain season--the
sweetest of all, because, as has been well said, he is the poet of youth.
And if doubt breathes through some of his grandest strophes, Faith finds
her first and last profession in the lines--

    Une immense espérance a traversé la terre;
    Malgré nous vers le ciel il faut lever les yeux.

SARAH B. WISTER.



THE BEE.


    What time I paced, at pleasant morn,
      A deep and dewy wood,
    I heard a mellow hunting-horn
      Make dim report of Dian's lustihood
    Far down a heavenly hollow.
    Mine ear, though fain, had pain to follow:
      _Tara!_ it twang'd, _tara-tara!_ it blew,
      Yet wavered oft, and flew
    Most ficklewise about, or here, or there,
    A music now from earth and now from air.
      But on a sudden, lo!
      I marked a blossom shiver to and fro
    With dainty inward storm; and there within
    A down-drawn trump of yellow jessamine
              A bee
      Thrust up its sad-gold body lustily,
    All in a honey madness hotly bound
              On blissful burglary.
                       A cunning sound
    In that wing-music held me: down I lay
    In amber shades of many a golden spray,
    Where looping low with languid arms the Vine
    In wreaths of ravishment did overtwine
    Her kneeling Live-Oak, thousand-fold to plight
    Herself unto her own true stalwart knight.

    As some dim blur of distant music nears
    The long-desiring sense, and slowly clears
      To forms of time and apprehensive tune,
      So, as I lay, full soon
    Interpretation throve: the bee's fanfare,
    Through sequent films of discourse vague as air,
    Passed to plain words, while, fanning faint perfume,
    The bee o'erhung a rich unrifled bloom:
      "O Earth, fair lordly Blossom, soft a-shine
      Upon the star-pranked universal vine,
              Hast naught for me?
                       To thee
      Come I, a poet, hereward haply blown,
      From out another worldflower lately flown.
    Wilt ask, _What profit e'er a poet brings?_
    He beareth starry stuff about his wings
    To pollen thee and sting thee fertile: nay,
    If still thou narrow thy contracted way,
      --Worldflower, if thou refuse me--
      --Worldflower, if thou abuse me,
      And hoist thy stamen's spear-point high
      To wound my wing and mar mine eye--
    Natheless I'll drive me to thy deepest sweet,
    Yea, richlier shall that pain the pollen beat
    From me to thee, for oft these pollens be
    Fine dust from wars that poets wage for thee.
    But, O beloved Earthbloom soft a-shine
    Upon the universal jessamine,
          Prithee abuse me not,
          Prithee refuse me not;
    Yield, yield the heartsome honey love to me
          Hid in thy nectary!"
    And as I sank into a suaver dream
    The pleading bee-song's burthen sole did seem,
    "Hast ne'er a honey-drop of love for me
          In thy huge nectary?"

SIDNEY LANIER.



"OUR JOOK."


"Königin," said I, as I poked the fire, "what do you think of the people in
the house?"

On second thoughts it was not "Königin" that I said, for it was only that
night that she received the title. It is of no consequence what I did call
her, however, for from that time she was never anything but Königin to me.

We began to "talk things over," as we had a way of doing; and very good fun
it was and quite harmless, provided the ventilator was not open. That had
happened once or twice, and got us into quite serious scrapes. People have
such an utterly irrational objection to your amusing yourself in the most
innocent way at what they consider their expense.

Königin and I had come to the boarding-house that very day. We were by
ourselves, for our male protectors were off "a-hunting the wild deer and
following the roe"--or its Florida equivalent, whatever that may be--and we
did not fancy staying at a hotel under the circumstances. Now, we had taken
our observations, and were prepared to pronounce our opinions on our
fellow-boarders. One after another was canvassed and dismissed. Mr. A. had
eccentric table-manners; Miss B. wriggled and squirmed when she talked;
Mrs. C. was much too lavish of inappropriate epithets; Mr. X.'s
conversation, on the contrary, was quite bald and bare from the utter lack
of those parts of speech; Miss Y. had a nice face, and Mrs. Z. a pretty
hand.

Just here Königin suddenly burst out laughing. "Really," she said, "we go
about the world criticising people as if we were King Solomon and the queen
of Sheba."

"'Die Königin von Seba,'" said I. "That, I suppose, is you and our motto
should be, 'Wir sind das Volk und die Weisheit stirbt mit uns.'"

I was not at all sure of the accuracy of my translation, but its
appropriateness was unquestionable.

"What do you think of the Englishman, Königin?" I asked, giving the fire
another poke, not from shamefacedness, but because it really needed it, for
the evening was damp and chilly.

"I like him," said Königin decidedly.

Königin and I were always prepared with decided opinions, whether we knew
anything about the subject in hand or not.

"He has a fine head," Königin went on, "quite a ducal contour, according to
our republican ideas of what a duke ought to be. I like the steady intense
light of his eyes under those straight dark brows, and that little frown
only increases the effect. Then his laugh is so frank and boyish. Yes, I
like him very much."

"He has a nice gentlemanly voice," I suggested--"rather on the
'gobble-gobble' order, but that is the fault of his English birth."

This is enough of that conversation, for, after all, neither of us is the
heroine of this tale. It is well that this should be distinctly understood
at the start. Somehow, "the Jook" (as we generally called him, in memory of
Jeames Yellowplush) and I became very intimate after that, but it was never
anything more than a sort of _camaraderie_. Königin knew all about it, and
she pronounced it the most remarkable instance of a purely intellectual
flirtation which she had ever seen; which was all quite correct, except for
the term "flirtation," of which it never had a spice.

One of the Jook's most striking peculiarities, though by no means an
uncommon one among his countrymen, was a profound distrust of new
acquaintances and an utter incapacity of falling into the free and easy
ways which prevail more strongly perhaps in Florida than in any other part
of America. There really was some excuse for him, though, for, not to put
it too strongly, society is a little mixed in Florida, and it is hard for a
foreigner to discriminate closely enough to avoid being drawn into
unpleasant complications if he relaxes in the slightest degree his rules of
reserve. Besides which, the Jook was a man of the most morbid and ultra
refinement. "Refinement" was the word he preferred, but I should have
called it an absurd squeamishness. He could make no allowance for personal
or local peculiarities, and eccentricities in our neighbors which delighted
Königin and me and sent us into fits of laughter excited in his mind only
the most profound disgust. Therefore, partly in the fear of having his
sensibilities unpleasantly jarred upon, partly from the fear of making
objectionable acquaintances whom he might afterward be unable to shake
off, and partly from an inherent and ineradicable shyness, he went about
clad in a mantle of gloomy reserve, speaking to no one, looking at no
one--"grand, gloomy and peculiar." It was currently reported that previous
to our arrival he had never spoken to a creature in the boarding-house,
though he had been an inmate of it for six weeks. For the rest, he was
clever and intelligent, with frank, honest, boyish ways, which I liked,
even though they were sometimes rather exasperating.

It was not quite pleasant, for instance, to hear him speak of Americans in
the frank and unconstrained manner which he adopted when talking to us. We
could hardly wonder at it when we looked at the promiscuous crowd which
formed his idea of American society. Refined and well-bred people there
certainly were, but these were precisely the ones who never forced
themselves upon his notice, leaving him to be struck and stunned by fast
and hoydenish young ladies, ungrammatical and ill-bred old ones, and men of
all shades of boorishness and swagger, such as make themselves conspicuous
in every crowd. Unluckily, both Königin and I have English blood in our
veins, and the Jook could not be convinced that we did not eagerly snatch
at the chance thus presented of claiming the title of British subjects. It
is quite hopeless to attempt to convince Englishmen that any American would
not be British if he could. Pride in American citizenship is an idea
utterly monstrous and inconceivable to them, and they can look on the
profession of it in no other light than that of a laudable attempt at
making the best of a bad case. Therefore, the Jook persisted in ignoring
our protestations of patriotic ardor, and in paying us the delicate
compliment of considering us English and expressing his views on America
with a beautiful frankness which kept us in a frame of mind verging on
delirium.

What was to be done with such a man? Clearly, but one thing, and I sighed
for one of our American belles who should come and see and conquer this
impracticable Englishman. At present, things seemed quite hopeless. There
was no one within reach who would have the slightest chance of success in
such an undertaking. Though outsiders gave me the credit of his
subjugation, I knew quite well that there not only was not, but never could
be, the necessary tinge of sentimentality in our intercourse. We were much
too free and easy for that, and we laughed and talked, rambled and boated
together, "like two babes in the woods," as Königin was fond of remarking.

It was in Florida that all this took place--in shabby, fascinating
Jacksonville, where one meets everybody and does nothing in particular
except lounge about and be happy. So the Jook and I lounged and were happy
with a placid, unexciting sort of happiness, until the day when Kitty Grey
descended upon us with the suddenness of a meteor, and very like one in her
bewildering brightness.

Kitty was by no means pretty, but, though women recognized this fact, the
man who could be convinced of it remains yet to be discovered. You might
force them to confess that Kitty's nose was flat, her eyes not well shaped,
her teeth crooked, her mouth slightly awry, but it always came back to the
same point: "Curious that with all these defects she should still be so
exquisitely pretty!"

Really, I did not so much wonder at it myself sometimes when I saw Kitty's
pale cheeks flush with that delicious pink, her wide hazel eyes deepen and
glow, her little face light up with elfish mirth, and her round, childish
figure poise itself in some coquettish attitude. Then she had such absurd
little hands, with short fingers and babyish dimples, such tiny feet, and
such a wealth of crinkled dark-brown hair--such bewitching little helpless
ways, too, a fashion of throwing herself appealingly on your compassion
which no man on earth could resist! At bottom she was a self-reliant,
independent little soul, but no mortal man ever found that out: Kitty was
far too wise.

Of course, as soon as I saw Kitty I thought of the Jook. Would he or
wouldn't he? On the whole, I was rather afraid he wouldn't, for Kitty's
laugh sometimes rang out a little too loud, and Kitty's spirits sometimes
got the better of her and set her frisking like a kitten, and I was afraid
the modest sense of propriety which was one of the Jook's strong points
would not survive it. However, I concluded to risk it, but just here a
sudden and unforeseen obstacle checked my triumphant course.

"Mr. Warriner," I said sweetly (I was always horribly afraid I should call
him Mr. Jook, but I never did), "I want to introduce you to my friend, Miss
Grey."

The Jook looked at me with his most placid smile, and replied blandly,
"Thank you very much, but _I'd rather not_."

Did any one ever hear of such a man? I understood his reasons well enough,
though he did not take the trouble to explain them: it was only
exclusiveness gone mad. And he prided himself upon his race and breeding,
and considered our American men boors!

After that I nearly gave up his case as hopeless, and devoted myself to
Kitty, whom I really believe the Jook did not know by sight after having
been for nearly a week in the same house with her.

Kitty once or twice mildly insinuated her desire to know him. "He has such
a nice face," she said plaintively, "and such lovely little curly brown
whiskers! He is the only man in the house worth looking at, but if I happen
to come up when he is talking to you, he instantly disappears. He must
think me _very_ ugly."

It was really very embarrassing to me, for of course I could not tell her
that the Jook had declined the honor of an introduction. I knew, as well as
if she had told me so, that Kitty in her secret heart accused me of a mean
and selfish desire to keep him all to myself, but I was obliged meekly to
endure the obloquy, undeserved as it was. Königin used to go into fits of
laughter at my dilemma, and just at this period my admiration of the Jook
went down to the lowest ebb. "He is a selfish, conceited creature!" I
exclaimed in my wrath. "I really believe he thinks that bewitching little
Kitty would fall in love with him forthwith if he submitted to an
introduction. Oh, I _do_ wish he knew what we thought of him! _Why_ doesn't
he listen outside of ventilators?"

"My dear," said Königin, still laughing, though sympathetic, "it strikes me
that we began by making rather a demi-god of the man, and are ending by
stripping him of even the good qualities which he probably does possess."

Well! things went on in this exasperating way for a week or so longer. Of
course I washed my hands of the Jook, for I was too much exasperated to be
even civil to him. Kitty was as bright and good-natured as ever, ready to
enjoy all the little pleasures that came in her way, though now and then I
fancied that I detected a stealthy, wistful look at the Jook's impassive
face.

It was lovely that day, but fearfully hot. The sun showered down its
burning rays upon the white Florida sands, the sky was one arch of
cloudless blue, and the water-oaks swung their moss-wreaths languidly over
the deserted streets. We had been dreaming and drowsing away the morning,
Königin, Kitty and I, in the jelly-fish-like state into which one naturally
falls in Florida.

Suddenly Kitty sprang to her feet. "I can't stand this any longer," she
said: "I shall turn into an oyster if I vegetate here. Please, do you see
any shells sprouting on my back yet?"

"What do you want to do?" I asked drowsily. "You can't walk in this heat,
and if you go on the river the sun will take the skin off your face, and
where are you then, Miss Kitty?"

"I can't help that," retorted Kitty in a tone of desperation. "I don't
exactly know where I shall go, but I think in pursuit of some yellow
jessamine."

I sat straight up and gazed at her: "Are you mad, Kitty? Has the heat
addled your brain already? You would have to walk at least a mile before
you could find any; and what's the good of it, after all? It would all be
withered before you could get home."

"Can't help that," repeated Kitty: "I shall have had it, at all events.
Any way, I'm going, and you two can finish your dreams in peace."

It was useless to argue with Kitty when she was in that mood, so I
contented myself with giving her directions for reaching the nearest copse
where she would be likely to find the fragrant beauty.

Two hours later Königin sat at the window gazing down the long sandy
street. Suddenly her face changed, an expression of interest and surprise
came into her dreamy eyes: she put up her glass, and then broke into a
laugh. "Come and look at this," she exclaimed; and I came.

What I saw was only Kitty and the Jook, but Kitty and the Jook walking side
by side in the most amicable manner--Kitty sparkling, bewitching, helpless,
appealing by turns or altogether as only she could be; the Jook watching
her with an expression of amusement and delight on his handsome face. And
both were laden with great wreaths and trails of yellow jessamine, golden
chalices of fragrance, drooping sprays of green glistening leaves, until
they looked like walking bowers.

"How on earth--" I exclaimed, and could get no further: my feelings choked
me.

Kitty came in radiant and smiling as the morning, bearing her treasures. Of
course we both pounced upon her: "Kitty, where did you meet the Jook? How
did it happen? What did you do?"

"Cows!" said Kitty solemnly, with grave lips and twinkling eyes.

"Cows? Cows in Florida? Kitty, _what_ do you mean?"

"A cow ran at me, and I was frightened and ran at Mr. Warriner. He drove
the cow off. That's all. Then he walked home with me. Any harm in that?"

"Now, Kitty, the idea! A Florida cow run at you? If you had said a pig,
there might be some sense in it, for the pigs here do have some life about
them; but a cow! Why, the creatures have not strength enough to stand up:
they are all starving by inches."

"Can't help that," said Kitty. "Must have thought I was good to eat, then,
I suppose. I thought she was going to toss me, but I don't think it would
be much more agreeable to be eaten. Mr. Warriner is my preserver, anyhow,
and I shall treat him _'as sich_.'"

Kitty looked so mischievous and so mutinous that there was evidently no use
in trying to get anything more out of her, and after standing there a few
minutes fingering her blossoms and smiling to herself, she danced off to
dress for tea.

"Selfish little thing, not to offer us one of those lovely sprays!" I
exclaimed, but Königin laughed: "My dear, they are hallowed. Our touch
would profane them."

Königin always saw further than I did, and I gasped: "Königin! you don't
think--"

"Oh no, dear, not yet. Kitty is piqued, and wants to fascinate the Jook a
little--just a little as yet, but she may burn her fingers before she gets
through. Looks are contagious, and--did you see her face?"

Such a brilliant little figure as slipped softly into the dining-room that
evening, all wreathed and twisted and garlanded about with the shining
green vines, gemmed with their golden stars. Head and throat and waist and
round white arms were all twined with them, and blossoming sprays and knots
of the delicately carved blossoms drooped or clung here and there amid her
floating hair and gauzy black drapery. How did the child ever make them
stick? How had she managed to decorate herself so elaborately in the short
time that had elapsed since her return? But Kitty had ways of doing things
unknown to duller mortals.

Not a word had Kitty for me that evening, but for her father such clinging,
coaxing, wheedling ways, and for the Jook such coy, sparkling,
artfully-accidental glances, such shy turns of the little head, such dainty
capricious airs, that it was delicious to watch her. Königin and I sat in a
dark corner for the express purpose of admiring her delicate little
manœuvres. As for her father, good stolid man! he was well used to Kitty's
freaks, and went on reading his newspaper in such a matter-of-fact way that
she might as well have wheedled the Pyramid of Cheops. The Jook, however,
was all that could be desired. The shyest of men--shy and proud as only an
Englishman can be--he could not make up his mind to walk directly up to
Kitty, as an American would do, as all the young Americans in the room
would have done if Kitty had let them. But Kitty, flighty little butterfly
as she seemed, had stores of tact and finesse in that little brain of hers,
and the power of developing a fine reserve which had already wilted more
than one of the young men of the house. For Kitty was none of your arrant
and promiscuous flirts who count "all fish that come to their net." She was
choice and dainty in her flirtations, but, possibly, none the less
dangerous for that.

The Jook hovered about the room from chair to sofa, from sofa to
window-seat, finding himself at each remove one degree nearer to Kitty.

"He is like a tame canary-bird," whispered Königin. "Let it alone and it
will come up to you after a while, but speak to it and you frighten it off
at once."

And when at length he reached Kitty's side, how beautiful was the look of
slight surprise, not _too_ strongly marked, and the half-shy pleasure in
the eyes which she raised to him; and then the coy little gesture with
which she swept aside her draperies and made room for him. Half the power
of Kitty's witcheries lay in her frank, childish manner, just dashed with
womanly reserve.

Well! the Jook was thoroughly in the vortex now: there was no doubt about
that. Kitty might laugh as loud as she pleased, and he only looked charmed.
Kitty might frisk like a will-o'-the wisp, and he only admired her innocent
vivacity. Even the bits of slang and the Americanisms which occasionally
slipped from her only struck him as original and piquant. How would it all
end? That neither Königin nor I could divine, for Kitty was not one to wear
her heart upon her sleeve. It was very little that we saw of Kitty in
these days, for she was always wandering off somewhere, boating on the
broad placid river or lounging about "Greenleaf's" or driving--always with
the Jook for cavalier, and, if the excursions were long, with her father to
play propriety. When she did come into our room, she was not our own Kitty,
with her childish airs and merry laughter. This was a brilliant and
volatile little woman of the world, who rattled on in the most amusing
manner about everything--except the Jook. About him her lips never opened,
and the most distant allusion to him on our part was sufficient to send her
fluttering off on some pressing and suddenly remembered errand. Yet this
reserve hardly seemed like the shyness of conscious but unacknowledged
love. On the contrary, we both fancied--Königin and I--that Kitty began to
look worried, and somehow, in watching her and the Jook, we began to be
conscious that a sort of constraint had crept into her manner toward him.
It could be no doubt of his feelings that caused it, for no woman could
desire a bolder or more ardent lover than he had developed into, infected,
no doubt, by the American atmosphere. Sometimes, too, we caught shy,
wistful glances at the Jook from Kitty's eyes, hastily averted with an
almost guilty look if he turned toward her.

"What can it mean, Königin?" I said. "She looks as if she wanted to confess
some sin, and was afraid to."

"Some childish peccadillo," said Königin. "In spite of all her
woman-of-the-world-ishness the child has a morbidly sensitive conscience,
and is troubled about some nonsense that nobody else would think of twice."

"Can it be that she has only been flirting, and is frightened to find how
desperately in earnest he is?"

"Possibly," replied Königin. "But I fancy that she is too well used to that
phase of affairs to let it worry her. Wait a while and we shall see."

We couldn't make anything of it, but even the Jook became worried at last
by Kitty's queer behavior, and I suppose he thought he had better settle
the matter. For one evening, when I was keeping my room with a headache, I
was awakened from a light sleep by a sound of voices on the piazza outside
of my window. It was some time before I was sufficiently wide awake to
realize that the speakers were Kitty and the Jook, and when I did I was in
a dilemma. To let them know that I was there would be to overwhelm them
both with confusion and interrupt their conversation at a most interesting
point, for the Jook had evidently just made his declaration. It was
impossible for me to leave the room, for I was by no means in a costume to
make my appearance in the public halls. On the whole, I concluded that the
best thing I could do would be to keep still and never, by word or look, to
let either of them know of my most involuntary eavesdropping.

Kitty was speaking when I heard them first, talking in a broken, hesitating
voice, which was very queer from our bright, fluent little Kitty: "Mr.
Warriner, you don't know what a humbug you make me feel when you talk of
'my innocence' and 'unconsciousness' and 'lack of vanity,' and all the rest
of it. I have been feeling more and more what a vain, deceitful,
hypocritical little wretch I am ever since I knew you. I have been
expecting you to find me out every day, and I almost hoped you would."

"What _do_ you mean, Miss Grey?" asked the Jook in tones of utter
amazement, as well he might.

"Oh dear! how shall I tell you?" sighed poor Kitty; and I could _feel_ her
blushes burning through her words. Then, with a sudden rush: "Can't you
see? I feel as if I had _stolen_ your love, for it was all gained under
false pretences. You never would have cared for me if you had known what a
miserable hypocrite I really was. Why, that very first day I wasn't afraid
of the cow--she didn't even look at me--but I saw you coming,
and--and--Helen wouldn't introduce you to me--and it just struck me it
would be a good chance, and so I rushed up to you and--Oh! what will you
think of me?"

"Think?" said the Jook: "why, I think that while ninety-nine women out of
a hundred are hypocrites, not one in a thousand has the courage to atone
for it by an avowal like yours. Not that it was exactly hypocrisy, either."

The poor blundering Jook! Always saying the most maddening things under the
firm conviction that it was the most delicate compliment.

Kitty was too much in earnest to mind it now, though. "Do you know," she
went on, "that from the very first day I came into the house I was
determined to captivate you?--that every word and every look was directed
to that end? I have been nothing but an actress all through. I have done it
before, hundreds and hundreds of times, but I never felt the shame of it
until now--because--because--"

"Because you never loved any one before? Is that it, Kitty?" said the Jook
tenderly.

"Oh, I don't know," said Kitty desperately. "How can I tell? But it's all
Helen's fault. If she had introduced you to me in a rational way, I should
never have gone on so. But she wouldn't, and I was piqued--"

"I must exonerate Miss Helen," interrupted the Jook. "She wanted to
introduce me, and I declined. I am sure I don't know why--English reserve,
I suppose. I had not seen you then, you know, and some of the people here
are such a queer lot that I rather dreaded new acquaintances."

"Not Helen's fault?" wailed Kitty. "Oh, this is stolen--oh, poor Helen!"

Naturally, the Jook was utterly bewildered, but as for me I sprang up into
a sitting posture, for the meaning of Kitty's behavior had just flashed
upon me. Absolutely, the poor little goose thought that in accepting the
Jook, as she was evidently dying to do, she would be robbing me of my
lover. And she never guessed at my own little romance, tucked away safely
in the most secret corner of my heart, which put any man save one quite out
of the question for me. If I had stopped to think, I suppose I should not
have done what I did, but in my surprise the words came out before I
thought: "Good gracious, Kitty my dear! do take the Jook if you want him!
_I_ don't."

I could not help laughing when I realized what I had done. A little shriek
from Kitty and a _very_ British exclamation from the Jook, a slight scuffle
of chairs and a sense, rather than sound, of confusion, announced the
effect of my words.

I waited for their reply, but dead silence prevailed, so I was obliged to
speak again. "You needn't be alarmed," I said, peering cautiously through
the chinks in the blinds, for I had approached the window by this time. "I
didn't mean to listen, but I couldn't get out of the way, and I never
intended to let you or any one else know that I had heard your
conversation. I'm awfully sorry that I have disturbed you, but, as I am in
for it now, I might as well go on."

There I stopped, for I didn't exactly know what to say, and I hoped that
one of them would "give me a lead." I could just catch a glimpse of their
faces in the moonlight. The Jook was staring straight at the window-shutter
behind which I lurked, and the wrath and disgust expressed in his handsome
features set me off into a silent chuckle. I was sorry for Kitty, though.
Her face drooped as if it were weighed down by its own blushes, and the
long lashes quivered upon the hot cheeks.

"Ah, really, Miss Helen," spoke the Jook at last, "this is a most
unexpected pleasure. Ah, really, you know, I mean--"

It was not very lucid, but it was all I needed, and I replied suavely, "Oh
yes, I understand. You never asked me, and never had the faintest idea of
doing so. Otherwise, we should not have been such good friends. All I want
is to enforce the fact on Kitty's mind.--And now, Kitty, my dear, if you
are quite satisfied on this point, I will dress and go down stairs.--Don't
disturb yourselves, pray!" for both of them showed signs of moving. "You
can finish your conversation to much better advantage where you are, and
this little excitement has quite cured my headache."

I wonder how in the world they ever took up the dropped stitches in that
conversation? They did it somehow, though, for when they reappeared Kitty
was the prettiest possible picture of shy, blushing, shamefaced happiness,
while the Jook was fairly beaming with pride and delight. It was a case of
true love at last: there was no doubt about that--such love as few would
have believed that a flighty little creature like Kitty was capable of
feeling. It was wonderful to see how quickly all her little wiles and
coquetries fell off under its influence, just as the rosy, fluttering
leaves of the spring fall off when the fruit pushes its way. I don't
believe it had ever struck her before that there was anything degrading in
this playing fast and loose with men's hearts which had been her favorite
pastime, or in beguiling them by feigning a passion of which she had never
felt one thrill. It was not until Love the magician had touched her heart
that the honest and loyal little Kitty that lay at the bottom of all her
whims and follies was developed. The very sense of unworthiness which she
felt in view of the Jook's straightforward and manly ardor was the surest
guarantee for the perfection of her cure.

A truce to moralizing. Kitty does not need it, nor the Jook either. If he
is not proud of the bright little American bride he is to take back with
him to the "tight little isle" of our forefathers, why, appearances are
"deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked."

HENRIETTA H. HOLDICH.



COMMUNISM IN THE UNITED STATES.


Nowhere in the history of the world have we any example of successful
communism. The ancient Cretan and Lacedemonian experiments, the efforts of
the Essenes and early Christians, the modified communities of St. Anthony
and several orders of monks, the schemes of the Anabaptists of the
sixteenth century, together with all the experiments of modern times, have
proved essential failures. Setting out with ideas of perfection in the
social state, and undertaking nothing less than the entire abolition of the
miseries of the world, the communists of all times have lived in a
condition the least ideal that can be imagined. The usual course of
socialistic communities has been to start out with a great flourish, to
quarrel and divide after a few months, and then to decrease and degenerate
until a final dispersion by general consent ended the attempt. During the
short existence of nearly all such communities the members have lived in
want of the ordinary comforts of life, in dispute about their respective
rights and duties, at law with retiring members, and battling with the
wilds and malarias of the countries in which alone anything like practical
communism has been usually possible. The most successful (so far as any of
these attempts can be called successful) have been those communities which
have been founded on a religion and which have consisted entirely of
members of one faith. But all political communism has utterly failed, and
the name is little more than a synonym for the most egregious blunders,
excesses and crimes of which visionary and unpractical people can be
guilty.

The United States seem ill suited for the spread of communistic ideas,
notwithstanding they contain almost the only socialistic communities to be
found anywhere. Though the people are free to live in common if they
desire, and although land and every facility are offered on easy terms for
the realization of communism--which is not the case in Europe (and which
is, therefore, the reason why the New World is chosen for communistic
experiments)--yet there is felt no need of communism here. There are
neither the political nor the social inducements for it which exist in
Europe, and all efforts to excite an enthusiasm on the subject have
invariably failed. Almost the only agitators are foreigners, and nearly all
the existing communities are composed of foreigners. Of these, two only are
political, the Icarian and the Cedar Vale, while the rest are religious.

The Icarian Community in Adams county, Iowa, about two miles from Corning,
a station on the Burlington and Missouri River Railroad, is the result of
an effort to realize the communistic theory of M. Cabet, a French writer
and politician of some note. It is perhaps the most just and practical of
all communistic systems; for the reader will remember that social systems
are as numerous in France as religious systems are in this country, and
take much the same place in the passions and bigotries of the people of
France, where there is but one religion, as our various sects do here,
where there are so many. The system of M. Cabet differs from the others in
much the same manner as our religious sects differ from one another; which
is not of much importance to the outside world, as they all contain the one
principle of a community of goods. M. Cabet first promulgated his system in
the shape of a romance entitled _A Voyage to Icaria_, in which he
represented the community at work under the most favorable circumstances
and in a high degree of prosperity. According to his system, all goods are
to be held in common, and all the people are to have an equal voice in the
disposal of them. Each is to contribute of labor and capital all that he
can for the common good, and to get all that he needs from the common fund.
"From each according to his ability--to each according to his wants," is
the formula of principles. The practical working of the community will
further illustrate the system.

In 1848, M. Cabet, with some three thousand of his followers, sailed from
France for New Orleans, intending to take up land in Texas or Arkansas on
which to establish a community, having the promise that he would soon be
followed by ten thousand more of his disciples. After spending several
months in reconnoitring, during which half of his followers got
discontented and left him, he settled with about fifteen hundred at Nauvoo,
Illinois, where they bought out the property of the Mormons, who had
recently been driven from that place. There they commenced operations,
establishing a saw- and grist-mill, and carrying on farming and several
branches of domestic manufacturing. In a little while they sent out a
branch colony to Icaria, in Adams county, Iowa, where they purchased, or
entered under the Homestead Act, four thousand acres of land. In this place
likewise they built a mill and went to farming and carrying on the more
simple trades. In a little while, however, a quarrel arose in the principal
community at Nauvoo in regard to the use and abuse of power, when, after a
rage of passion not unlike that which they had exhibited in the Revolution
of 1848 in France, M. Cabet, with a large minority, seceded and went to St.
Louis, where they expected to form another and more perfect community. They
never formed this community, however, and were soon dispersed. The
community at Nauvoo, being now harassed with debts and with lawsuits
growing out of the withdrawal of M. Cabet and his party, repaired to their
branch colony at Icaria, where they have been ever since. Here they had
likewise frequent disputes and withdrawals, often giving rise to lawsuits
and a loss of property, until in 1866, when the writer first visited them,
they were reduced to thirty-five members. Since that time they have picked
up a few members, mostly old companions who had left them for individual
life, until now they have about sixty in all. They own at present about two
thousand acres of land, of which three hundred and fifty are under
cultivation. They have good stock, consisting of about one hundred and
twenty head of cattle, five hundred sheep, two hundred and fifty hogs and
thirty horses. They still have their saw- and grist-mill, now run by steam,
but give most of their time to farming. They preserve the family relation,
and observe the strictest rules of chastity. Each family lives in a
separate house, but they all eat at a common table. By an economic division
of labor one man cooks for all these persons, another bakes, another
attends to the dairy, another makes the shoes, another the clothes; and in
general one man manages some special work for the whole. No one has any
money or need of any. All purchases are made from the common purse, and
each gets what he needs. The government is a pure democracy. The officers
are chosen once a year by universal (male) suffrage, and consist of a
president, secretary (and treasurer), director of agriculture and director
of industry. They have no religion, but, like most of the European
communists, are free-thinkers. They are highly moral, however, and much
esteemed by their neighbors. Some of them are quite learned, and all of
them may be pronounced decidedly heroic for the terrible privations they
have undergone in order to realize their political principles, to which
they are as strongly and sincerely devoted as any Christian to his
religion.

Such is a sketch of the most perfect system and most successful experiment
of political communism in the United States--not very encouraging, it will
be confessed. The other example of political communism is the Cedar Vale
Community in Howard county, Kansas, which needs only to be mentioned here,
as it has as yet no history. It was commenced in 1871, and is composed of
Russian materialists and American spiritualists. They have a community of
goods like the Icarians, and in general their principles are the same. They
had only about a dozen members at last accounts. Another and similar
community was established in 1874 in Chesterfield county, Virginia, called
the "Social Freedom Community," its principles being enunciated as a "unity
of interest and political, religious and social freedom;" but we cannot
discover whether it is yet in existence, as at last accounts it had only
two full members and eight probationers. It will be seen from these
examples that the prospects of political communism are far from promising.
Its principal power has always been as a sentiment, and it can be dreaded
only as an appeal to the destitute and lawless to rise in acts of violence.
It has been powerful in France in revolutions, riots and mobs, and in this
country in aiding the late strikers in their work of destruction.

The other existing communities are founded on some religious basis, being
efforts on the part of their founders to secure their religious rights or
to live with those of the same faith in closer relations. And although
their measures have been similar in many respects to those of the political
communists, they have resorted to them not on account of any political
principles, but because they believed them to be commanded by Scripture or
to grow out of some peculiarity of religious faith or duty. Most of them
have been formed after the model of the society of the apostles, who had
their goods in common, and because of their example. None, so far as we
know, have ever proposed to establish communities by force or to have the
whole people embraced in them. Held together by their peculiar religious
principles, they have been far more successful (especially when under some
shrewd leader whom they believed to have a spiritual authority) than when
actuated purely by reason.

Perhaps the most successful of these religious communities is that of the
"True Inspirationists," known as the Amana Community, in Iowa,
seventy-eight miles west of Iowa City, on the Chicago, Rock Island and
Pacific Railroad. These are all Germans, who came to this country in 1842,
and settled at first near Buffalo, New York, on a tract of land called
Ebenezer, from which they are sometimes known as "Ebenezers." This tract
comprised five thousand acres of land, including what is now a part of the
city of Buffalo. In 1855 they moved to their present locality in Iowa. They
pretend to be under direct inspiration, receiving from God the model and
general orders for the direction of their community. The present head,
both spiritual and temporal, is a woman, a sort of sibyl who negotiates the
inspirations. Their business affairs are managed by thirteen trustees,
chosen annually by the male members, who also choose the president. They
are very religious, though having but little outward form. There are
fourteen hundred and fifty members, who live in seven different towns or
villages, which are all known by the name of Amana--East Amana, West Amana,
etc. They have their property for the most part in common. Each family has
a house, to which food is daily distributed. The work is done by a prudent
division of labor, as in the Icarian community. But instead of providing
clothing and incidentals, the community makes to each person an allowance
for this purpose--to the men of from forty to one hundred dollars a year,
to the women from twenty-five to thirty dollars, and to the children from
five to ten dollars. There are public stores in the community at which the
members can get all they need besides food, and at which also strangers can
deal. They dress very plainly, use simple food, and are quite industrious.
They aim to keep the men and women apart as much as possible. They sit
apart at the tables and in church, and when divine service is dismissed the
men remain in their ranks until the women get out of church and nearly
home. In their games and amusements they keep apart, as well as in all
combinations whether for business or pleasure. The boys play with boys and
the girls with girls. They marry at twenty-four. They own at present
twenty-five thousand acres of land, a considerable part of which is under
cultivation. They have, in round numbers, three thousand sheep, fifteen
hundred head of cattle, two hundred horses and twenty-five hundred hogs.
Besides farming, they carry on two woollen-mills, four saw-mills, two
grist-mills and a tannery. They are almost entirely self-supporting in the
arts, working up their own products and living off the result. In medicine
they are homœopathists.

The "Rappists" or Harmony Society at Economy, Pennsylvania, is composed of
about one hundred members, being all that remain of a colony of six hundred
who came from Germany in 1803. They were called Separatists or
"Come-outers" in their own country, and much persecuted on account of their
nonconformity with the established Church. They landed in Baltimore, and
some of them who never found their way into the community, or who
subsequently withdrew, settled in Maryland and Pennsylvania, where they are
still known as a religious sect. Those who remained together purchased five
thousand acres of land north of Pittsburg, in the valley of the
Conoquenessing. In 1814 they moved to Posey county, Indiana, in the Wabash
Valley, where they purchased thirty thousand acres of land, and in 1824
they moved back again to their present locality in Pennsylvania. In 1831 a
dissension arose among them, and a division was effected by one Bernard
Mueller--or "Count Maximilian" as he called himself--who went off with
one-third of the members and a large share of the property, and founded a
new community at Phillips, ten miles off, on eight hundred acres of land,
which, however, soon disbanded on account of internal quarrels.

The peculiarity of this community is that there is no intercourse between
the sexes of any kind. In 1807 they gave up marriage. The husbands parted
from their wives, and have henceforth lived with them only as sisters. They
claim to have authority for this in the words of the apostle: "This I say,
brethren, the time is short; it remaineth that both they that have wives be
as though they had none," etc. They teach that Adam in his perfect state
was bi-sexual and had no need of a female, being in this respect like God;
that subsequently, when he fell, the female part (rib, etc.) was separated
from him and made into another person, and that when they become perfect
through their religion the bi-sexual nature of the soul is restored.
Christ, they claim, was also of this dual nature, and therefore never
married. They believe that the world will soon come to an end, and that it
is their duty to help it along by having no children, and so putting an end
to the race as well as the planet.

Their property is all held in common and managed by a council of seven,
from whom the trustees are chosen. From four to eight live in each house,
men and women together, who regard each other as of the same sex, and are
never watched. Each household cooks for itself, although there is a general
bakery, from which bread is taken around to the houses as they have need.
The members are fond of music and flowers, but they discard dancing. Though
Germans, they have ceased to use tobacco; which loss, it is said, the men
feel more heavily than that of the wives. They make considerable wine and
beer, which they drink in moderation. They are said to be worth from two
millions to three millions of dollars, and speculate in mines, oil-wells,
saw-mills, etc., doing very little hard work, and hiring laborers from
without to take their places in all drudgery. They are engaged principally
in farming and the common trades, and supply nearly everything for
themselves. They are nearly all aged, none of them being under forty except
some adopted children. All are Germans and use the German language.

The Shakers are the oldest society of communists in the United States. The
parent society at Mount Lebanon, New York, was established in 1792, being
the outgrowth of a religious revival in which there were violent hysterical
manifestations or "shakes," from which they took their name. In this
revival one Ann Lee, known among them as "Mother Ann," was prominent. This
woman, of English birth, emigrated to Niskayuna, New York, about seven
miles north-west of Albany, where she pretended to speak from inspiration
and work miracles, so that the people soon came to regard her as being
another revelation of Christ and as having his authority. Being persecuted
by the outside world, her followers, after her death, formed a community in
which to live and enjoy their religion alone and: undisturbed. Their
principles may be summed up as special revelation, spiritualism, celibacy,
oral confession, community, non-resistance, peace, the gift of healing,
miracles, physical health and separation from the world. Like the Rappists,
they neither marry nor have any substitute for marriage, receiving all
their children by adoption. They live in large families or communes,
consisting of eighty or ninety members, in one big house, men and women
together. Each brother is assigned to a sister, who mends his clothes,
looks after his washing, tells him when he needs a new garment, reproves
him when not orderly, and has a spiritual oversight over him generally.
Though living in the same house, the sexes eat, labor and work apart. They
keep apart and in separate ranks in their worship. They do not shake hands
with the opposite sex, and there is rarely any scandal or gossip among
them, so far as the outside world can learn. There are two orders, known as
the Novitiate and the Church order, the latter having intercourse only with
their own members in a sort of monkish seclusion, while the others treat
with the outside world. The head of a Shaker society is a "ministry,"
consisting of from three to four persons, male and female. The society is
divided into families, as stated above, each family having two elders, one
male and one female. In their worship they are drawn up in ranks and go
through various gyrations, consisting of processions and dances, during
which they continually hold out their hands as if to receive something. The
Shakers are industrious, hard-working, economical and cleanly. They dress
uniformly. Their houses are all alike. They say "yea" and "nay," although
not "thee" and "thou," and call persons by their first names. They confine
themselves chiefly to the useful, and use no ornaments. There are at
present eighteen societies of Shakers in the United States, scattered
throughout seven States. They number in all two thousand four hundred and
fifteen persons, and own one hundred thousand acres of land. Their
industries are similar to those of the Rappists and True Inspirationists,
and are somewhat famed for the excellence of their products. The Shakers
are nearly all Americans, like the Oneidans, next mentioned, and unlike all
other communistic societies in the United States.

The Perfectionists of Oneida and Wallingford are perhaps the most singular
of all communists. They were founded by John Humphrey Noyes, who organized
a community at Putney, Vermont, in 1846. In 1848 this was consolidated with
others at Oneida in Madison county, New York. In 1849 a branch community
was started at Brooklyn, New York, and in 1850 one at Wallingford,
Connecticut, all of which have since broken up or been merged in the two
communities of Oneida and Wallingford. Their principles are perfectionism,
communism and free love. By "perfection" they mean freedom from sin, which
they all claim to have, or to seek as practically attainable. They claim,
in explaining their sense of this term, that as a man who does not drink is
free from intemperance, and one who does not swear is free from profanity,
so one who does not sin at all is free from sin, or morally perfect. Their
communism is like that of the Icarians, so far as property is concerned,
this being owned equally by all for the benefit of all as they severally
have need; which state they claim is the state of man after the
resurrection. But they have a community not only of goods, but also of
wives; or, rather, they have no wives at all, but all women belong to all
men, and all men to all women; which they assert to be the state of Nature,
and therefore the most perfect state. They call it complex marriage instead
of simple, and it is both polygamy and polyandry at the same time. They are
enemies of all exclusiveness or selfishness, and hold that there should be
no exclusiveness in money or in women or children. Their idea is to be in
the most literal sense no respecters of persons. All women and children are
the same to all men, and _vice versâ_. A man never knows his own children,
and the mothers, instead of raising their children themselves, give them
over to a common nursery, somewhat after the suggestion of Plato in his
_Republic_. If any two persons are suspected of forming special
attachments, and so of violating the principle of equal and universal love,
or of using their sexual freedom too liberally, they are put under
discipline. They are very religious, their religion, however, consisting
only in keeping free from sin. They have no sermons, ceremonies, sacraments
or religious manifestations whatever. There are no public prayers, and no
loud prayers at all. Their method of discipline is called "criticism," and
consists in bringing the offender into the presence of a committee of men
and women, who each pass their criticisms on him and allow him to confess
or criticise himself. The least sign of worldliness or evidence of
impropriety is enough to subject one to this ordeal. They are very careful
about whom they admit to their community, as there are numerous rakes and
idlers who make application on the supposition that it is a harem or
Turkish paradise. None are admitted who are not imbued with their doctrine
of perfection, and who do not show evidences of it in their lives. In a
business point of view, they are comparatively successful, the original
members having contributed over one hundred thousand dollars' worth of
property, which has not depreciated. They engage in farming, wine-raising
and various industries, and are known in the general markets for their
products.

The Separatists at Zoar, Ohio, about halfway between Cleveland and
Pittsburg, are a body of Germans who fled from Würtemberg in 1817 to escape
religious persecution. They are mystics, followers of Jacob Böhm, Gerhard,
Terstegen, Jung Stilling and others of that class, and considerably above
the average of communists in intellect and culture. They were aided to
emigrate to this country by some English Quakers, with whom there is a
resemblance in some of their tenets. They purchased fifty-six hundred acres
of land in Ohio, but did not at first intend to form a community, having
been driven to that resort subsequently in order to the better realization
of their religious principles. They now own over seven thousand acres of
land in Ohio, besides some in Iowa. They have a woollen-factory, two
flour-mills, a saw-mill, a planing-mill, a machine-shop, a tannery and a
dye-house; also a hotel and store for the accommodation of their neighbors.
They are industrious, simple in their dress and food, and very economical.
They use neither tobacco nor pork, and are homœopathists in medicine. In
religion they are orthodox, with the usual latitude of mystics. They have
no ceremonies, say "thou" and "thee," take off their hats and bow to nobody
except God, refuse to fight or go to law, and settle their disputes by
arbitration. At first they prohibited marriage and had their women in
common, like the Perfectionists. In 1828, however, they commenced to break
their rules and take wives. Now they observe the marriage state. Their
officers are elected by the whole society, the women voting as well as the
men.

The Bethel and Aurora communities--the former in Shelby county, Missouri,
forty-eight miles from Hannibal, and the latter in Oregon, twenty-nine
miles south of Portland, on the Oregon and California Railroad--were
founded in 1848 by Dr. Kiel, a Prussian mystic, who practised medicine a
while in New York and Pittsburg, and subsequently formed a religious sect
of which these communists are members. He was subsequently joined by some
of "Count Maximilian's" people, who had left Rapp's colony at Economy,
which this closely resembles except as to celibacy. He first founded the
colony in Missouri, where he took up two thousand five hundred and sixty
acres of land, and established the usual trades needed by farmers. In 1847
there were the inevitable quarrel and division. In 1855 he set out to
establish a similar community on the Pacific coast. The first settlement
was made at Shoalwater Bay, Washington Territory, which was, however,
subsequently abandoned for the present one at Aurora. There are now about
four hundred members at Aurora, who own eighteen thousand acres of land,
and have the usual shops and occupations of communists mentioned above,
carrying on a considerable trade with their neighbors. The members of both
communities are all either Germans or Pennsylvania Dutch, and thrive by the
industry and economy peculiar to those people. Their government is
parental, intended to be like God's. Kiel is the temporal and spiritual
head. Their religion consists in practical benevolence, the forms of
worship being Lutheran. They are thought to be exceedingly wealthy, but if
their property were divided among them there would be less than three
thousand dollars to each family, which, though more than the property of
most other communities would average, is but small savings for twenty
years. They preserve the usual family relations.

The Bishop Hill Community, in Henry county, Illinois, was formed by a party
of Swedes who came to this country in 1846 under Eric Janson, who had been
their religious leader in the Old World, where they were greatly persecuted
on account of their peculiar religious views. They suffered great hardships
in effecting a first settlement, some of them going off, in the interest of
the community, to dig gold in California, and others taking to
stock-raising and speculating. In this they were quite successful, so that
jobs and speculations became the peculiar work of this community. They took
various public and private contracts; among others, one to grade a large
portion of the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad and to build some of
its bridges. In 1859 they owned ten thousand acres of good land, and had
the finest cattle in the State. In 1859, however, the young people became
discontented and wished to dissolve the community. They divided the
property in 1860, when one faction continued the community with its share.
In 1861 this party also broke up, separating into three divisions. In 1862
these again divided the property after numerous lawsuits. A small fraction,
I believe, still continues a community on the ruins. In this community the
families lived separately, but ate all together. They had no president or
single head, the business being transacted by a board of trustees. Their
religion was their principal concern.

Such are the strictly communistic societies in the United States. It will
be seen that they are each of such very peculiar views that they are
specially fitted by their very oddity for a life in common, and specially
disqualified from the same cause to extend or embrace others; for while
their community of oddity makes them, by a necessarily strong sympathy, fit
associates to be together, it separates them by an impassable gulf from the
appreciation and sympathy of the rest of mankind, who are interested only
in the ordinary common-sense concerns of life.

Besides these, there are several other colonies which, though not
communistic, have grown out of an attempt to solve some of the questions
raised by socialism. They are for the most part co-operative. The following
are the principal: The Anaheim colony in California, thirty-six miles from
Los Angelos, which was formed by a large number of Germans in 1857, who
banded together and purchased a large tract of land, on which they
successfully cultivate the vine in large quantities. The property is held
and worked all together, but the interests are separate, and will be
divided in due time. Vineland, New Jersey, on the railroad between
Philadelphia and Cape May, is another. It was purchased and laid out by
Charles K. Landis in 1861 as a private speculation, and to draw the
overcrowded population of Philadelphia into the country, where the people
could all have comfortable homes and support themselves by their own labor.
Some fifty thousand acres of land were purchased, and sold at a low rate
and on long time to actual settlers and improvers. As a result, some twelve
thousand people have been drawn thither, who cultivate all this tract and
work numerous industries besides. No liquors are allowed to be sold in the
place, so that the population is exceptionally moral as well as
industrious, and offers a model example of low rates and good government. A
successful colony exists also at Prairie Home in Franklin county, Kansas,
which was founded by a Frenchman, Monsieur E.V. Boissière. It is designed
to be an association and co-operation based on attractive industry; a large
number of persons contributing their capital and labor under stringent
laws, the proceeds to be divided among them whenever a majority shall so
desire. I might mention other associations of this kind, which are, in
fact, however, only a variety of partnership or corporation.

It strikes me, however, that this is the only practical remedy for the
evils which are aimed at by the communists, as far as they are remedial by
social means. If a number of working people, with the capital which their
small savings will amount to (which is always large enough for any ordinary
business if there be any considerable number of them), can be induced to
organize themselves under competent leaders, and work for a few years
together as faithfully as they ordinarily do for employers, they might
realize considerable results, and get the advantage of their own work
instead of enriching capitalists. But the difficulty is, that this class
have not, as a rule, learned either to manage great enterprises or to
submit to those who are wisest among them, but break up in disorder and
divisions when their individual preferences are crossed. The first lesson
that a man must learn who proposes to do anything in common with others
(and the more so if there be many of them) is to submit and forbear. With a
little schooling our people ought, to a greater extent than at present, to
be able to co-operate in large numbers in firms and corporations where the
members and stockholders shall themselves do all the work and receive all
the profits, and so avoid the two extremes of making profits for
capitalists and paying their earnings to officers and directors.

AUSTIN BIERBOWER.



OUR MONTHLY GOSSIP.


NOTES FROM MOSCOW.

JUNE 1 (May 20, Russian style), 1877.

This diversity in the matter of dates is unpleasantly perplexing at times.
With every sensation of interest and pleasure I set myself about the task
of describing, I must at once begin to reckon. Twelve days' difference!
Yes, I have already grasped that fact, but then in which direction must the
deduction begin?--backward or forward? Such is the question that instantly
arises, and if we are at the fag end of one month and the beginning of
another, the amount of reckoning involved seems somewhat inadequate to the
occasion. The Russian clergy, it is said--those, at any rate, of the lowest
class, designated as "white priests," many of them peasants by birth and
marvellously illiterate--have ever been averse to any change being made in
the calendar, in order that their seasons of fasting and feasting may not
be disturbed.

_Apropos_ of priests and priesthood. Whilst quietly at work yesterday
morning my attention was suddenly called off, first by a hurried
exclamation, and then the inharmonious--ah, how utterly
discordant!--ding-donging of church-bells. "Listen!" fell upon my ear: "one
of the secular priests belonging to St. Gregory's church died two days ago,
and is to be buried this morning. They are still saying masses over his
body, the church is packed, and it is a sight such as you may possibly not
have an opportunity of again witnessing." In half an hour we were within
the church-walls. The place was already thronged, and the air close almost
to suffocation. Never can one forget that peculiar heat, the sort of
indescribable vapor, that arose, and the perspiration that streamed down
the faces of all present, each of whom, from the oldest to the youngest,
carried a lighted candle. After many vigorous efforts, and occasional
collisions with the flaring tapers, the wax or tallow dropping at intervals
upon our cloaks, we found ourselves at last in the centre of the edifice,
immediately behind a dozen or more officiating priests clad in magnificent
robes, before whom lay their late confrère reposing in his coffin, and
dressed, according to custom, in his ecclesiastical robes. Tall lighted
candles draped with crape surrounded him, and the solemn chant had been
going on around him ever since life had become extinct. The dead in Russia
are never left alone or in the dark. Relays of singing priests take the
places of those who are weary, and friends keep watch in an adjoining room.
The Russian temperament inclines to the strongest manifestation of the
inmost feelings, and the method here of mourning for the dead is
exceptionally demonstrative. The corpse of the old priest lay surrounded by
what was of bright colors or purest white, the coffin being of the
last-mentioned hue. Black was utterly proscribed. The face and hands were
half buried in a lacy texture, whilst on the brow was placed a label,
"fillet-fashion," on which was written "The Thrice Holy," or
_Trisagion_--"O Holy God! O Holy Mighty! O Holy Immortal! have mercy upon
us!"

Chant after chant ascended for the repose of his soul. The deacon's deep
bass voice rose ever and anon in leading fashion, the other voices
following suit. There was of course no instrumental music. This Russian
singing is curiously unique--of a character wholly different from any heard
elsewhere. It is weird in the extreme, and, if the expression be
permissible, gypsy-like. The deacons' voices are of wonderful capability,
the popular belief being that they are specially chosen on account of this
peculiar power. At last there came a pause. Not only the priests' and
deacons' voices, but those of the chanting men and boys--alike unsurpliced
and uncassocked, lacking, therefore, much of the attraction offered by a
service in the Western Catholic Church--had all at once ceased to be
heard. All were now pressing forward to kiss the dead priest--his
fellow-priests first, and then, duly in order, all his relations and
friends. "The last kiss" it is termed--a practice, it would seem, derived
from the heathen custom, of which we find such frequent mention. None, if
possible, omit the performance of this duty, all seeking to obtain the
blessing or benefit, supposed to be thereby conferred. Some, however, are
obliged to content themselves with merely kissing the corners of the
coffin.

Many of the numerous _stichera_, as they are termed--poetically-worded
prose effusions--made use of in the course of the service are curiously
quaint. I quote two or three, of which I have since procured a translation:
"Come, my brethren, let us give our last kiss, our last farewell, to our
deceased brother. He hath now forsaken his kindred and approacheth the
grave, no longer mindful of vanity or the cares of the world. Where are now
his kindred and friends? Behold, we are now separated! Approach! embrace
him who lately was one of yourselves."--"Where now is the graceful form?
Where is youth? Where is the brightness of the eye? where the beauty of the
complexion? Closed are the eyes, the feet bound, the hands at rest: extinct
is the sense of hearing, and the tongue locked up in silence."

The words succeeding these are supposed to emanate from the lips of the
dead, lying mute before the eyes of all present: "Brethren, friends,
kinsmen and acquaintance, view me here lying speechless, breathless, and
lament. But yesterday we conversed together. Come near, all who are bound
to me by affection, and with a last embrace pronounce the last farewell. No
longer shall I sojourn among you, no longer bear part in your discourse.
Pray earnestly that I be received into the Light of life."

The absolution having been pronounced by the priest, a paper is placed in
the dead man's hand--"The Prayer, Hope and Confession of a faithful
Christian soul." This is accompanied by another prayer containing the
written words of absolution. This custom has given rise to the belief in
the minds of many foreigners that such missives are presented in the light
of passports to a better world; but the idea seems to be as erroneous as it
is absurd. Moreover, I believe that, strictly speaking, the custom is one
of national origin, and that the Church has had nothing to do with its
adoption.

All the lighted tapers having been taken away by one of the attendants, the
coffin with its gilded ornaments was removed slowly from its resting-place,
and placed upon an enormous open bier or hearse, extensively mounted and
heavily ornamented with white watered silk, purple and gilt draperies, a
gilt crown surmounting all. The base of the ponderous vehicle was alone
permitted to boast a fringe of deep black cloth--as if, however, for the
sole purpose of hiding the wheels. The six horses, three abreast, were also
enveloped in black cloth drapery touching the ground on either side. Right
and left of the coffin itself, and mounted therefore considerably aloft,
stood two yellow _stoicharioned_ (or robed) deacons, wearing the
_epimanikia_ and _orarion_--the former being a portion of the priestly
dress used for covering the arms, and signifying the thongs with which the
hands of Christ were bound; the latter a stole worn over the left shoulder.
The head of each deacon was adorned with long waving hair, and each carried
a censer in his hand. They faced each other, keeping watch together over
the dead. A procession of priests, duly robed, began to move, preceded by
censer-bearers and singing men and boys.

The point whence the procession started--Mala Greuzin, situated at the
extreme east end of Moscow--lay several miles away from the cemetery for
which they were all _en route;_ and this veritably ancient Asiatic city had
to be traversed at an angle in this solemn fashion, seventy or eighty
carriages following. From the beginning to the end of the prescribed route
Muscovites lined the road on either side, and it is fair to add that I
never beheld more respect shown even to royalty itself. All was quietness,
the general expression of sympathy and respect being permitted to find vent
only in excessive gesticulation and genuflection. Not a head remained
covered, not a single person by whom the procession passed permitted it to
do so without crossing himself several times from forehead to chest and
from shoulder to shoulder.

At the first church which the procession reached, the bells of which had
begun to toll--clash rather--long before it came in sight, the entire party
halted. A bell was rung by one of those in advance, and then all waited.
The priests and their various acolytes clustered reverently by the hearse,
the followers and spectators standing at a respectful distance, but
nevertheless taking part in the service. After first incensing the hearse,
themselves and all around, further prayers were said and chanted: then a
signal was given and all moved on again, only, however, to again pause on
the route, for at every church we passed--and we must have encountered at
least thirty or forty, if not more, seeing that such sacred edifices rise
upon one's view in Moscow at wellnigh every three or four minutes'
space--the ceremony was repeated. No sooner had one set of bells ceased to
sound in our ears than another took its place, and again all halted, and
then again all marched onward. Every window as the cortége passed along was
thrown open, and figures bent forward ever and anon, enacting their wonted
part in the pageant. And the pageant, be it remembered, was, after all,
only one of frequent occurrence.

Only the week before I had had the privilege of watching this identical old
priest baptize the child of one of the most ancient nobles here, the
ceremony being performed not in a church, but at the nobleman's house. One
godfather and one godmother are all that are required, the latter of whom
holds the infant. On the godmother also a large share of duty devolves,
there being certain gifts which she is bound by national custom to offer
for acceptance on the occasion. Often, therefore, the duty of selecting a
female sponsor becomes a somewhat invidious one. A handsome dress to the
mother, no matter in what rank of life; a delicate lace cap to the main
object of the occasion; a lace chemise for the same highly-honored small
individual; and an elaborate silk pocket handkerchief to the officiating
priest,--these, when of the best quality, and they are invariably so, mount
up somewhat as regards price, seeing that everything is marvellously dear
here in the matter of dress. The godfather, standing immediately in front
of the large font brought specially for the purpose from the adjacent
church, and at the right hand of his fellow-sponsor, simply presents a
small golden cross, to be worn, it is supposed, ever afterward. Immediately
behind the font, and facing the entire audience--for a large circle of
friends had been invited to witness the ceremony--was placed the "holy
picture" of the household, without which in Russia no homestead, whether
belonging to rich or poor, is considered complete, and before which a
lighted oil lamp ever stands burning--a "picture of God," as the Russian
children are taught from their earliest years to call it. Before this the
priests bowed on entering.

The mode of baptism was immersion, after several exorcisms had been read
and the priest had thrice blown in the infant's face, signing him, also
thrice, on the forehead and breast. Three tall lighted candles were affixed
to the font, and others were held by the god-parents, except when they
marched round the font in procession three times during "the chrism," when
the candles were laid down. The chrism consists in anointing the infant's
forehead, breast, shoulders and middle of the back with holy oil, after
which comes the service, when the forehead, eyes, nostrils, mouth, ears,
breast, hands and feet are again anointed, but this time with the holy
unction prepared once a year, on Monday in Holy Week, within the walls of
the Kremlin, and consecrated by the metropolitan in the cathedral of the
Annunciation on Holy Thursday. Then comes the concluding act, when the
priest cuts off a small portion of the child's hair in four different
places on the crown of the head, encloses it in a morsel of wax and throws
it into the font, as a sort of first-fruits of that which has been
consecrated.

S.E.


A DAY AT THE PARIS CONSERVATOIRE.

It was ten o'clock in the morning when we drove up to the door of the
world-famous institution, but, early as it was, an animated throng already
filled the wide marble-paved entrance-hall--former pupils in elegant
attire; girl aspirants for future honors, accompanied by the inevitable
mamma with the invariable little hand-bag; young men and old; celebrated
dramatists and well-known actors, visitors, critics, etc.--all passing to
and fro or engaged in conversation while awaiting the hour for taking their
seats. Passing through these, we ascend a narrow staircase that gives one
good hopes of a martyr's death should the theatre chance to catch fire, and
we instal ourselves in a narrow and by no means comfortable box in the
dress-circle. The theatre of the Conservatoire, though not very large, is
very elegantly and artistically decorated in the Pompeian style, the stage
being set with a single "box scene," as it is technically called, which is
never changed, as plays are never acted there. Here take place the
far-famed concerts du Conservatoire, for which tickets are as hard to
obtain as are invitations to the entertainments of a duchess, all the seats
being owned by private individuals. But what we are now here to witness is
the competition in dramatic declamation, tragic and comic. The jury occupy
a box in the centre of the dress-circle and opposite to the stage. This
terrifying tribunal is enough to try the nerves of the stoutest aspirant
for dramatic honors, comprising as it does among its members such powers in
the land as Legouvé, Camilla-Doucet, Alexandre Dumas, the directors of the
Comédie Française and the Odéon, and the great actors Got and Delaunay. An
elderly gentleman comes forward on the stage and reads from a printed paper
the name of each competitor and those of his or her assistants, and that of
the play from which the scene that is to be represented is chosen. Each
pupil selects a scene, and the persons who in French technical parlance are
to "give the reply" (_i.e._ to take the other characters in the scene) are
chosen from among the ranks of the pupil's fellow-competitors. Lots are
drawn to decide the place that each one is to occupy on the programme, the
first place and the last being considered the least desirable. Printed
bills are distributed among the audience giving a list of the competitors,
with the names of the plays from which they have chosen scenes, and
(horrible innovation for the lady pupils!) the age of each one as well.

The competition is opened by M. Levanz, a young man of thirty, who took a
second prize last year, and who has chosen the closet-scene from _Hamlet_
(the translation of the elder Dumas) as his _cheval de bataille_. He has a
marked Germanic countenance, decidedly the reverse of handsome, yet mobile
and expressive: his voice is good, his figure tall and manly. He has
evidently seen Rossi in Hamlet, and models his conception of the character
on that grand impersonation. Next comes M. Bregaint in a scene from
_Andromaque:_ he is so bad, so _very_ bad, that the audience are moved to
sudden outbursts of hilarity by his grand tragic points. He is succeeded by
a boy of sixteen, tall and graceful, with a fine tragic face of the heroic
Kemble mould, and great blue-gray eyes that dilate or contract beneath the
impulses of the moment--a born actor from head to foot. He fairly thrills
the audience in the great scene of the duke de Nemours from _Louis XI_.
This youth, M. Guitry, is undoubtedly, if his life be spared, the coming
tragedian of the French stage. Then we have the first one of the lady
competitors, Mademoiselle Edet, a tall, awkward girl of eighteen, with a
flat face and Chinese-like features, dressed up in a gown of cream-yellow
foulard trimmed with wide fringe and made with a loose jacket, whereon the
fringes wave wildly in the air as she flings her arms around in the tragic
love-making of Phèdre. Two or three others of moderate merit succeed, and
then comes Mademoiselle Jullien, who gives the great scene of Roxane in
_Bajazet_ with so much intelligence of intonation and grace of gesture that
the audience are moved to sudden applause. She is rather too short and of
too delicate a physique for tragedy, but her face is expressive, her eyes
fine, and there are intellect and talent in every tone and movement. She is
nearly twenty-nine years of age, so has not much time to waste if she is to
make her mark in her profession. Last on the list of tragic aspirants comes
a gentleman of thirty-one, M. Aubert, who goes through a scene from
_Hamlet_ in a very tolerable manner. He was in the army, was doing well and
was rising in grade when, seized by the theatrical mania, he relinquished
his profession and turned his attention to the stage. Thus far, he has
proved, practically speaking, a failure: he has won no prizes, and no
manager will engage him. This is his last chance, as his age will prevent
him, by the rules of the Conservatoire, from taking part in any future
competition.

The tragedy concours ended, a recess of an hour is proclaimed, and there is
a rush to the refreshment-tables and a great consumption of sandwiches and
cakes, of coffee and water (known as "mazagran") and of _vin ordinaire_.
Under that vestibule pass and repass the literary luminaries of modern
France. Here is Henri de Bornier, the author of _La Fille de Roland_, a
quiet, earnest-looking gentleman, with clear luminous eyes and the smallest
hands imaginable. Here comes Francisque Sarcey, the greatest dramatic
critic of France and one of the most noted of her Republican journalists,
broad-shouldered, black-eyed and stalwart-looking. Yonder stand a group of
Academicians--Legouvé, Doucet, Dumas--in earnest conversation with Édouard
Thierry, the librarian of the Arsénal. The handsome, delicate,
aristocratic-looking gentleman who joins the group is M. Perrin, the
director of the Comédie Française, the most accomplished and intelligent
theatrical manager in France. There is an elderly, reserved-looking
gentleman beside him who looks like a solemn _savant_ out on a holiday. It
takes more than one glance for us to recognize in him the most accomplished
light comedian of our day, that embodiment of grace, vivacity, sparkling
wit and unfading youth, who is known to the boards of the Comédie Française
by the name of Delaunay. There are other minor luminaries, too numerous to
mention.

We go up stairs and resume our seats, and the competition of comedy is
begun. Scene succeeds to scene and competitor to competitor: the day wears
on, and flitting clouds from time to time obscure the dome, bringing out
the glare of the footlights that have been burning all day in a singularly
effective manner. Of the nineteen competitors, the deepest impression is
made by M. Barral, who plays a scene from _L'Avare_ magnificently; by
Mademoiselle Carrière, who reveals herself as a sparkling and intelligent
soubrette; and by Mademoiselle Sisos, a genuine _comédienne_, only sixteen
years of age and as pretty as a peach. It is six o'clock when the last
competitor has said his say, and then the jury retire to deliberate
respecting the awards. What a flutter there must be among the young things
whose future destiny is now swaying in the balance, for success means
fortune, and failure a disheartening postponement, and to the elder ones
downright and disastrous ruin of all their hopes! Half an hour passes, and
then, after what seems a weary period of suspense, the box-door is thrown
open and the jury resume their seats. Ambroise Thomas, the president of the
Conservatoire, strikes his bell and a dead silence ensues. In a full
sonorous voice he begins: "Concours of tragedy, men's class. No
prizes.--Usher, summon M. Guitry." The gifted boy comes forward to the
footlights. "M. Guitry, the jury have awarded to you a _premier accessit_."
He bows and retires amid the hearty applause of the audience. "Women's
class.--Usher, call Mademoiselle Jullien." She comes out pale and agitated,
the slight form quivering like a wind-swept flower in her robes of creamy
cashmere. Is it the Odéon that awaits her--the second prize? for in her
modesty she had only hoped for a _premier accessit._ "Mademoiselle Jullien,
the jury have awarded to you the first prize." The first prize! Those words
mean to her an assured career, a brilliant future, the doors of the Comédie
Française flung wide open to receive her. She falters, trembles, bows
profoundly, and goes off in a very passion of hysterical weeping. Then come
the comedy awards. M. Barral gets a first prize, as is his just due, as
does also Mademoiselle Carrière. "Usher, call Mademoiselle Sisos." She
comes forward, her great brown eyes dilated with excitement, her cheeks
burning like two red roses, a mass of faded white roses clinging amid the
rumpled gold of her hair--a very bewitching picture of childish grace and
beauty. "Mademoiselle Sisos, the jury have awarded to you a second prize."
She laughs and blushes, and brings her hands together with a childlike
gesture of delight. "Oh, merci!" she cries, and drops a courtesy, and then
away she goes--happy little creature, thus consecrated artiste at sixteen!
The other awards are given, the jury leave their box, and the audience
disperse. The friends of the competitors crowd around the stage-door, and
each of the successful ones is seized by the hand and congratulated and
embraced, the youthful Guitry being especially surrounded. Two or three
more years of study will land this gifted boy on the boards of the Comédie
Française. The queen of the day, Mademoiselle Jullien, has stolen away
overcome by excess of emotion, which, though joyful, is still exhausting to
her delicate frame. Finally, everybody retires, the doors are closed, and
the long, exciting _séance_ has come to an end at last.

L.H.H.


BRIGHAM YOUNG AND MORMONISM.

Brigham Young's career is a valuable commentary on that of Mohammed, and
will hereafter be a standard citation with explorers of the natural history
of religions. It might be more proper to go back of Young, and adhere to
Joe Smith as the figure-head of the Mormon dispensation. How Smith would
have turned out had he lived, and whether he would have made as much of
Utah as the man upon whose shoulders his mantle fell, is not easy to say;
but his was a less robust character, the enthusiast in him too far
obscuring the organizer and commander. The Church is the thing to look at,
rather than its leaders, when we consider duration--the soil rather than
the plough. Why has Mohammed's creation lasted longer and spread wider than
that of Charlemagne or Tamerlane? And is Smith's to have the like fortune,
or to die out like those of Münster and Joanna Southcote?

The Mormon "revelation" has been before the world more than forty years. In
twenty-two years from his first vision Mohammed had reduced all Arabia
under his religious and political sway. Young's dominions have not expanded
territorially. His faith cannot be said to exist outside of Utah. His
converts are compelled to go thither for the exercise of their religion.
Salt Lake City is not a Mecca, the goal of a passing pilgrimage, but the
one and only possible abiding-place of those who profess its creed. A
system thus localized is in danger of being stifled. Especially is this the
case when its seat is exposed to invasion by a swelling current of
non-sympathizers or open enemies. These may be repelled or prevented from
improving their foothold by the firmness, unity and numerical predominance
of the invaded. So it has happened at Salt Lake. The Mormons hold all the
serviceable soil, and it is difficult for the "Gentiles" to effect a
lodgment. Until they do, they must occupy, even in their own eyes, somewhat
the position of adventurers. They cannot hope to secure the respect of the
industrious sectaries who own and till the soil, and who are taught to
count them aliens and persecutors. Irrigation is here the only means of
successful agriculture. It involves great outlay of capital and labor, and
creates great fixedness of tenure. Newcomers are thus additionally
discouraged.

Thus entrenched in a well-provisioned citadel, welcoming all the new levies
it can win, and amply able to provide for them, Mormonism bids fair to
make a prolonged stand. To emerge from a defensive position and strike for
unlimited sway is what it cannot, to judge by all precedents, expect. It
will be compelled, in fact, to lighten itself of some dead weights in order
to maintain its actual situation. Polygamy must go, and the absolute power
of the priesthood be modified. With some such adaptations it may continue a
reality for generations to come. And time is a great sanctifier. A creed
that lives for one or two centuries is by so much the more likely to live
longer. Youth is the critical period with religions, as with animals and
plants and nations. Through that period Mormonism is passing with
flattering success. That such a lusty juvenile will, by favor of the
mellowing effect imposed on all creeds by early years of toil, trouble and
experience, reach a middle age of presentable decency, is not a more
unlikely supposition than the worthy Vermont clergyman would have
pronounced, half a century ago, the idea that his _jeu d'esprit_ would
become the Bible of sixty thousand industrious, well-ordered
English-speaking people in the heart of the American continent.

E.C.B.


THE EDUCATION OF WOMEN IN INDIA.

According to a report sent to our Commissioner of Education at Washington
four years ago, there were then in India one thousand girls' schools
supported by the government and some five hundred missionary schools
devoted to female education. Besides these, there has sprung up during the
last few years a new field for the women-educators in that country. This is
the teaching of women in their homes. It is called _zenana-work._ The
_zenana_ is the women's apartment in the house--the _harem_ of the Turks.
Women have been sent from England and from America for this special object,
and their labors are meeting with encouraging success. They are constantly
gaining admission to new families, which from caste or other causes are
opposed to sending their young women to the regular schools. Some of the
zenana-teachers are regularly-educated physicians.

For the government schools each province has a director of public
instruction, with inspectors of divisions and subdivisions. These directors
are "gentlemen of high qualification and well paid." It is a notable fact
that in one of the provinces the office of director is filled by a
Christian woman--a foreigner no doubt, though the report does not say.

At Dehra, at the foot of the Himalaya Mountains, there is a high school for
girls organized on the plan of the Mount Holyoke Seminary. Here English is
spoken, and the pupils are carried through a course of training that may
justly be termed _high_. One of the pupils of this school has lately been
appointed by the government to go to England and qualify herself as a
physician, under a contract to return and serve the government by taking
charge of a hospital and college for training young women as midwives and
nurses.

Of course, in a country containing a population of over one hundred and
fifty-one millions, one thousand public schools for girls, supplemented as
these are by missionary schools of many denominations, are inadequate to
meet the needs of the people. There is an increasing demand in all the
provinces for schools and colleges; and the native young men especially are
eagerly seeking the educational advantages of the colleges and
universities, because they know that these are a sure road to preferment.
"The government takes care to give employment to those who wish it."

The difficulties in the way of female education in India are well expressed
in a late letter from one of the most distinguished native reformers, Baboo
Keshub Chunder Sen of Calcutta. "No words of mine," he says, "would convey
to you an adequate idea of the great obstacles which the social and
religious condition of the Hindoo community presents in the way of female
education and advancement. In a country where superstition and caste
prejudices prevail to an alarming extent, where widows are cruelly
persecuted and prevented from remarrying, where high-caste Hindoos are
allowed to marry as many wives as they like without undertaking the
responsibility of protecting them, and where little girls marry at a most
tender age and sacrifice all prospects of healthy physical and mental
development, it will take centuries before any solid and extensive reform
is achieved."

Until recently, scarcely one woman in ten thousand learned to read or
acquired any of the accomplishments common to women of Christian countries.
Occasionally, women of vicious lives in cities, having leisure, became
quite learned, and this made learning a shame for women of irreproachable
reputation. Moreover, Hindoo husbands declared, and believed, that if you
taught a woman to read she would be sure in time to have illicit relations
with some one. Ignorance was innocence, the safeguard of both rank and
chastity.

The missionaries, who were the first to attempt the amelioration of the
people, had to commence with the lowest castes or classes, those having
nothing to lose; and even then the teachers had to pay the girls a small
copper coin daily for attending school. Even the government schools in some
places pay the girls for attending, but they are much more popular than the
missionary schools, because, according to the Rev. Joseph Warren in the
report mentioned, the parents are not afraid that their girls will become
Christians by attending them; and he adds that the government teachers and
books are "all positively heathen or quite destitute of all religion." In
some parts of the country the government schools secure the attendance of
high-caste girls by allowing them to be placed behind a curtain, and thus
screened from the eyes of the male teacher or inspector, as all the women
of such classes are screened from male visitors. Even the physician sees
only a hand protruded from under a curtain, and by the touch of this, with
a few unsatisfactory answers to his questions, he is supposed to be able to
know what the malady is, and how to prescribe for it.

M.H.



LITERATURE OF THE DAY.


Birds and Poets: with other Papers. By John Burroughs. New York: Hurd &
Houghton.

A duodecimo that discourses on equal terms of Emerson and the chickadee,
and unites Carlyle and the author's cow with a cement or filling-in
indescribable in variety and in the comminution of materials, need not be
held to strict account in the matter of neatness or accuracy of title. The
closing article, headed "The Flight of the Eagle," is the most remarkable
of the collection. Who would suspect, under such a heading, an elaborate
eulogy of Walt Whitman? The writer is obviously more at home among the
song-birds than among the Raptores, unless he be the discoverer of some new
species of eagle characterized by traits very unlike those of other members
of the genus. It were to be wished that he had left out the disquisition on
Whitman, for it is a jarring chord in his little orchestra of lyric and
ornithologic song. He might have kept it by him till the longer growing of
his critical beard, and then, if still a devotee at that singular shrine,
have expanded it into a volume or two explanatory of the imagination,
animus and metre of his favorite bard.

The feathered warblers have always been popular with the featherless, who
are indebted to them for no end of similes and suggestions. What would
poetry be without the skylark, the nightingale, the dove and the eagle? It
is far yet from having exhausted them. It cannot be said to have approached
them in the right way--on the most eloquent and interesting side. It
forgets that each species of bird stands by itself, and has its special
life and history as truly as man. We counted thirty-nine kinds in a grove
the centre whereof was our delightful abode for two-thirds of the past
summer, each endowed with its separate outfit of language, ways and means
of living, tastes and political and social notions. In each, moreover,
individualism showed itself--if not to our apprehension as articulately,
yet as indubitably, as among the race which considers them to have been all
created for its amusement and advantage. It does not take long, superficial
as is our acquaintance with their vernacular and the workings of their
little brains, to single out particular specimens, and perceive that no two
"birds of a feather" are exactly alike. A particular robin will rule the
roost, and assert successfully for his mate the choice of resting-places
above competing redbreasts. It is a particular catbird, identified, it may
be, by a missing feather in his tail, that heads the foray on our
strawberries and cherries. We recognize afar off either of the pair of
"flickers," or yellow-shafted woodpeckers, which have set up their penates
in the heart of the left-hand garden gatepost. The wren whose modest
tabernacle occupies the top of the porch pilaster we have little difficulty
in "spotting" when we meet her in a joint stroll along the lawn-fence. Her
ways are not as the ways of other wrens. She has a somewhat different style
of diving into the ivy and exploring the syringa. A new generation of doves
has grown up since the lilacs were in bloom, and nothing is easier than to
distinguish the old and young of the two or three separate families till
all leave the grass and the gravel together and hie to the stubble-fields
beyond our ken. Of the one mocking bird who made night hideous by his
masterly imitations of the screaking of a wheel-barrow (regreased at an
early period in self-defence) and the wheezy bark of Beppo, the
superannuated St. Bernard, there could of course be no doubt. There was
none of his kind to compare him with--not even a mate, for "sexual
selection" could not possibly operate in face of so inharmonious a
love-song. His isolation had its parallel in the one white guinea-fowl that
haunted the shrubbery like a ghost, much more silent and placid than it
would have been in society, and its antitype in the hennery, where
individuality of course ran riot among the Brahmas, Dominicas and
Hamburgs--hens that would and would not lay, that would and would not set,
that would and would not scratch up seeds, and presented generally as great
a variety of vagaries as of feathers. So, when we turned our back at last
on lovely Boscobel, itself shut out, as the common phrase goes, "from the
world" by serried ramparts of maple, elm, acacia and catalpa, we knew well
that that enceinte of leafage enclosed many little worlds of its
own--winged microcosms, epicycles of the grand cycle of dateless life which
man in his humility assumes to be merely a subsidiary appendage of his own
orbit.

Birds should be studied seriously. The naturalists will tell us more about
them, and interest us more, than the poets. Mr. Bryant makes fun of the
bobolink, and turns into an aimless whistle the solemn oration on domestic
matters uttered by that small but energetic American to his mate. The
waterfowl he treats more gravely and respectfully, but he still makes it
only a part of the landscape and the theme, without ascribing any
intelligent purpose to its flight. The bird, proceeding steadily and calmly
to its business, may well have confounded its versifier with his fellow the
fowler, and looked upon him, too, as regretting only that it was out of
gunshot. Audubon or Wilson would have noted more sensibly the floating
figure, far above "falling dew," and the earth-bound mortal who was
evidently afraid of rheumatics and calculating whether he could walk home
before dark. The bird, they would have been perfectly aware, was neither
"wandering" nor "lost," and no more in need of the special interposition of
a protecting Providence than they or Mr. Bryant. They would infer its
motives, its point of departure and its destination, the character of the
friends it left behind or sought--whether it was carrying out a plan of
the day or bound on an expedition covering half the year. Its species would
have been plain to them at half a glance, and its scientific name would
have replaced the vague designation of "waterfowl." Its life, habits and
habitat winter and summer, would have unrolled before them, and the
dogs-eared and rain-stained note-book sprung open for a new entry. The
poet, on the other hand, got happily home without injury to his health (for
he is still hale half a century after the fact), lit the gas, nibbed the
quill pen of the day, and sent down to us what must be confessed a
pleasanter memorandum than we should have had from the forest-students.
These, brave and ardent fellows! have long been asleep beneath the birds.

Mr. Burroughs is half poet, half naturalist in his way of looking at
Nature, and steers clear of the poetic vagueness in regard to species. A
passing description of the brown thrush as "skulking" among the bushes hits
that bird to the life. Some remarks on page 119 would seem to be applied by
a slip of the pen to the crow blackbird, instead of the cowbird, which has
always enjoyed the distinction of being the only American species that
disposes of its offspring after the fashion of the cuckoo and Jean Jacques
Rousseau. The chapter on Emerson contains some acute remarks, but the
warmest tribute to Emerson is the book itself, in which that writer's
influence is everywhere patent both in style and thought. Mr. Burroughs has
a happy facility of expression, and could well afford by this time to
discard the Emersonian props and stand on his own merits.


The Life of Edgar Allan Poe. By W.F. Gill. Illustrated. New York:
Dillingham.

Griswold's memoir of Poe has been actually beneficial to the reputation of
its subject, contrary to its obvious design. It has caused a thorough
sifting of all accessible records of the poet's short and dreary life, and
elicited many reminiscences from men of mark who were in one way or another
personally associated with him. We know now, more certainly than we might
have done but for Griswold's effort to prove the opposite, that Poe was not
expelled in disgrace from the University of Virginia, but bore himself well
there as a student and a man; that he deliberately went to work and
procured his being dropped from the rolls of West Point by building up with
venial faults the requisite sum of "demerits," after having repeatedly and
in vain sought permission to withdraw from the control of a system of
discipline so unsuited to his temperament; that, so far from being
intemperate, a single glass of wine sufficed to bring on something like
insanity; that, instead of neglecting his family, he devoted himself to
them with a very rare exclusiveness, and wore down his health by watching
at the bedside of his sick wife; that he was as faithful to his business as
to his domestic obligations; and that, wholly disqualified for battling
with the world, he managed to keep his necessarily troubled life at least
unstained. We know, moreover, that he did not appoint Griswold his
literary executor, and that the document used by the latter as a means of
deriving from that assumed office an opportunity of vindictive defamation
was drawn up after the poet's death by Griswold himself. To the controversy
thus excited we are indebted for the illumination of one or two poems
relinquished by the critics as hopelessly, if not intentionally, obscure.
_Ulalume_, for example, held by some to be a mere experiment on the
jingling capacity of words and the taste of readers for grappling with
insoluble puzzles, is pronounced by one familiar with his most intimate
feelings at the time of its composition a sublimated but distinct reflex of
them and of the circumstances which gave them color.

Could Poe's pen have cleared itself from the morbid influences which fixed
it in a peculiar path, we might have missed some of his finest and most
subtle poems and some prose efforts which we could better spare. But his
wonderful powers of analysis would have been serviceable upon a broader and
more practical field. He had an insight into the laws of language and of
rhythm equalled by no one else in our day. What is most mysterious in the
forms and relations of matter had a special charm for him. None could trace
it more acutely; and his powers, matured by more and healthier years and
applied in their favorite direction, were quite equal to results like those
attained by his predecessor Goethe, the savant of poets. He died a few
years older than Burns and Byron, but more of a boy than either. The man
Poe we never saw. The best of him was to come, and it never came. Poe had,
however, what he is not always credited with--the sincerity and earnestness
of maturity. He was anything but a mere propounder of riddles. Had he lived
to our day, his office would have been to aid science, so wonderfully
advanced in the intervening third of a century, in solving some of its own.
And in addition to that possible work we should have been none the poorer
in the treasures of poetry he actually gave us.


Olivia Raleigh. By W.W. Follett Synge. Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott & Co.

In the few choice words of introduction to the American reprint Mrs. Annis
Lee Wister admirably characterizes this charming novel. It is indeed like a
"clear, pure breath of English air:" from the first page to the last it is
redolent of the health of an "incense-breathing morn." There are no dark
scenes here, leaving on the reader a feeling of degradation that such
things can be--no impossible villain weaving a web of intricate or
purposeless villainy--but all is fresh and genuine, and we close the volume
with a sense of gratitude that such a story is possible.

Even if this be not in itself a recommendation sufficient to enlist the
interest of novel-readers, _Olivia Raleigh_ is something more: it is a work
of art: there is in it nothing crude or hasty or ill-digested. Around the
four or five prominent characters all the interest centres, and the
attention is not distracted by any wearisome episodes that have nothing to
do with the main story. The characters are admirably thought out, and
reveal themselves more by their actions than by any microscopical analysis
of motives. They pass before us like veritable human beings, and what they
are we learn from what they do. The transformation of one of the characters
from a gay, debonnair bachelor past middle age into a penurious miser of
the Blueberry-Jones type is bold, and in less skilful hands would be a
blemish, but Mr. Synge has amply justified it, and admirably uses it to
cement the structure of his plot. There is no weakness in any chapter, and
as we read so secure do we feel in the author's strength that, had he
chosen to end the story in sorrow and not in joy, we should submit as
though to an inflexible decree of Fate.


Les Koumiassine. Par Henry Gréville. Paris: Plon.

It is always interesting to watch the course of French fiction, because
while the novel is in all countries at the present time the favorite form
of expression of those writers who eschew scientific work on the one side
and stand aloof from poetry on the other, in France, which is noticeably
the country where theories are put into practice as well as invented, all
sorts of literary methods have their clever defenders, who furnish examples
of what they preach. Since Balzac and George Sand died, the post of leading
novelist has been vacant, although there has been no lack of writers of the
second or third, and especially of still lower, rank. Octave Feuillet still
produces occasionally a clever piece of workmanship; Cherbuliez at
intervals writes a novel which proves how lamentable a thing is the
possession of brilliancy alone apart from the seriousness of character, or
of some sides of character, which must exist alongside of even high
intellectual qualities in order that the man may make a lasting impression
on his time. Great gifts frittered away on meaningless trifles are as
disappointing as possible, and are the more disappointing in proportion to
the greatness of the gifts; so that the decadence of Cherbuliez--or, if
this is too severe, his lack of improvement after his brilliant
beginning--is a very melancholy thing. Zola is among the younger men, the
head of a number of enthusiasts who revel in the exact study of social
ordure, and who threaten to destroy fiction by ridding it of what makes its
life--imagination, that is--and substituting for it scientific fact.
Theuriet is an amiable but by no means a powerful writer, who so far has
contented himself with following different models without striking out any
special path of his own.

Henry Gréville is a new author, who has reached by no means the highest,
yet a very respectable, place--such as would be a source of gratification
to most people. The name signed to her novels is the _nom-de-plume_ of a
lady who, as is also apparent from her work, has lived long enough in
Russia to become familiar with the people and their ways. _Les Koumiassine_
is a story of Russian life, treating of a rich family whose name gives the
title to the novel. The family is one of great wealth, and consists of the
Count Koumiassine and his wife, their two children--one a boy of nine or
ten, the other a girl half a dozen years older--and a niece of about
seventeen. The plot concerns itself with the efforts of the countess to
give her niece, whom she values much less than her daughter, a suitable
husband. The poor girl is bullied and badgered after the most approved
methods of domestic tyranny, and her high-spirited struggle against adverse
circumstances makes the book as readable as one could wish. After all, the
family is a microcosm, and furnishes frequent opportunity for the practice
of good or bad qualities; and the cleverest novel-writers have chosen just
this subject which seems so bald to the romantic writer. The contest in
this case is a long one, and is hotly contested, and the imperiousness of
the countess and the graceful courage of the girl are excellently well
described. The other characters too are clearly put before the reader, so
that those who exercise care in their choice of French novels may take up
this one with the certainty that they will be entertained, and, what is
rarer, innocently entertained. For in a large pile of French novels it
would be hard to find so pretty a story so well told as is the intimacy
between the two young girls, the cousins, who in their different ways
circumvent Fate in the person of the countess. Their amiability and jollity
and loyalty to each other give the book an air of attractive truthfulness
and refinement which well replaces the priggishness generally to be found
in innocuous French fiction. More than this, the plot is intelligently
handled, and no person is introduced who is not carefully studied. In this
respect of careful execution the author resembles Tourgueneff, whose friend
and disciple she is. Like him, and like those who have been affected by his
influence, she gives attention to the minor characters and comparatively
insignificant incidents, so that the book makes a really lifelike
impression. This is not a story of great passion, but it deals very
cleverly with the less open waters of domestic strife. While what it shows
of human nature in general is the most important thing, what is shown of
Russian life is of great interest. The position of the countess, and the
habit of her mind with its over-bearing self-will and ingenious
self-approval, are studies possible, of course, anywhere, but pretty sure
to be found especially in a land like Russia, where the habit of command
was until recently so strongly fostered by the existence of serfdom. The
condition of those who are exposed to this aggressive imperiousness is
clearly illustrated in the numerous dependants who make their appearance in
this story. But it is the countess who is the best drawn and most
impressive personage. She is really lifelike, and yet not a commonplace
figure.



_Books Received_.

Disease of the Mind: Notes on the Early Management, European and American
Progress, Modern Methods, etc., in the Treatment of Insanity, with especial
reference to the needs of Massachusetts and the United States. By Charles
F. Folsom, M.D. Boston: A. Williams & Co.

Cicero's Tusculan Disputations; also Treatises on The Nature of the Gods,
and on The Commonwealth. Literally translated by C.D. Yonge. New York:
Harper & Brothers.

Shakespeare: The Man and the Book. Being a collection of Occasional Papers
on the Bard and his Writings. Part I. By C.M. Ingleby, M.A. London: Trübner
& Co.

Shakespeare's Comedy of a Midsummer Night's Dream. Edited with Notes by
William J. Rolfe, A.M. New York: Harper & Brothers.

Four Irrepressibles; or, The Tribe of Benjamin: Their Summer with Aunt
Agnes, what they Did, and what they Undid. Boston: Loring.

The Magnetism of Iron Vessels, with a Short Treatise on Terrestrial
Magnetism. By Fairman Rogers. New York: D. Van Nostrand.

Virgin Soil. By Ivan Tourgueneff. From the French by T.S. Perry.
(Leisure-Hour Series.) New York: Henry Holt & Co.

Personal Appearance and the Culture of Beauty. By T.S. Sozinsky, M.D.,
Ph.D. Philadelphia: Allen, Lane & Scott.

An English Commentary on the Tragedies of Euripides. By Charles Anthon,
LL.D. New York: Harper & Brothers.

Strength of Men and Stability of Nations. By P.A. Chadbourne, D.D., LL.D.
New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons.

Eighth Annual Report of the State Board of Health of Massachusetts. Boston:
Albert J. Wright. State Printer.

The Antelope and Deer of America. By John Dean Caton, LL.D. New York: Hurd
& Houghton.

G.T.T.; or, The Wonderful Adventures of a Pullman. By Edward E. Hale.
Boston: Roberts Brothers.

Until the Day Break. By Mrs. J.M.D. Bartlett ("Birch Arnold").
Philadelphia: Porter & Coates.

Other People's Children. By the author of "Helen's Babies." New York: G.P.
Putnam's Sons.

Poet and Merchant. By B. Auerbach. (Leisure-Hour Series.) New York: Henry
Holt & Co.

Mental Education. By J. Edward Cranage, M.A., Ph.D. London: Bemrose & Sons.

Beautiful Edith, the Child-Woman. (Loring's Tales of the Day.) Boston:
Loring.

Aliunde; or, Love Ventures of Tom, Dick and Harry. New York: Charles P.
Somerby.

Ideals made Real: A Romance. By George L. Raymond. New York: Hurd &
Houghton.

Lola. By A. Griffiths. (Leisure-Hour Series.) New York: Henry Holt & Co.

Kilmeny: A Novel. By William Black. New York: Harper & Brothers.

Winstowe: A Novel. By Mrs. Leith-Adams. New York: Harper & Brothers.





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