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Title: Lippincott's Magazine of Popular Literature and Science - Volume 11, No. 24, March, 1873
Author: Various
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Lippincott's Magazine of Popular Literature and Science - Volume 11, No. 24, March, 1873" ***

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LIPPINCOTT'S MAGAZINE

OF

_POPULAR LITERATURE AND SCIENCE._

MARCH, 1873.

Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1873, by J. B.
LIPPINCOTT & Co., in the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at
Washington.

Transcriber's Note: Minor typos have been corrected and footnotes moved
to the end of the article.



THE ROUMI IN KABYLIA.


[Illustration: ALGIERS FROM THE SEA.]

A fact need not be a fixed fact to be a very positive one; and Kabylia,
a region to whose outline no geographer could give precision, has long
existed as the most uncomfortable reality in colonial France.
Irreconcilable Kabylia, hovering as a sort of thunderous cloudland among
the peaks of the Atlas Mountains, is respected for a capacity it has of
rolling out storms of desperate warriors. These troops disgust and
confound the French by making every hut and house a fortress: like the
clansmen of Roderick Dhu, they lurk behind the bushes, animating each
tree or shrub with a preposterous gun charged with a badly-moulded
bullet. The Kabyle, when excited to battle, goes to his death as
carelessly as to his breakfast: his saint or marabout has promised him
an immediate heaven, without the critical formality of a judgment-day.
He fights with more than feudal faithfulness and with undiverted
tenacity. He is in his nature unconquerable. So that the French, though
they have riddled this thunder-cloud of a Kabylia with their shot,
seamed it through and through with military roads, and established a
beautiful _fort national_ right in the middle of it, on the plateau of
Souk-el-Arba, possess it to-day about as thoroughly as we Americans
might possess a desirable thunder-storm which should be observed hanging
over Washington, and which we should annex by means of electrical
communications transpiercing it in every direction, and a resident
governor fixed at the centre in a balloon. France has gorged Kabylia,
with the rest of Algeria, but she has never digested it.

[Illustration: "IMPREGNABLE KABYLIA."]

A trip through Algeria, such as we now propose, belongs, as a
pleasure-excursion, only to the present age. In the last it was made
involuntarily. Only sixty years ago the English spinster or spectacled
lady's-companion, as she crossed over from the mouth of the Tagus to the
mouth of the Tiber, or from Marseilles to Naples, looked out for capture
by "the Algerines" as quite a reasonable eventuality. (Who can forget
Töpfer's mad etchings for _Bachelor Butterfly_, of which this little
episode forms the incident?) Her respectable mind was filled with
speculations as to how many servants "a dey's lady" was furnished with,
and what was the amount of her pin-money. A stout, sound-winded
Christian gentleman, without vices and kind in fetters, sold much
cheaper than a lady, being worth thirty pounds, or only about one-tenth
the value of Uncle Tom.

[Illustration: BOUGIE, AND HILL OF GOURAYA.]

The opening up of Algeria to the modern tourist and Murray's guide-books
is in fact due to the American nation. So late as 1815 the Americans,
along with the other trading nations, were actually paying to the dey
his preposterous tribute for exemption from piratical seizure. In this
year, however, we changed our mind and sent Decatur over. On the 28th of
June he made his appearance at Algiers, having picked up and disposed of
some Algerine craft, the frigate Mashouda and the brig Estido. The
Algerines gave up all discussion with a messenger so positive in his
manners, and in two days Decatur introduced our consul-general Shaler,
who attended to the release of American captives and the positive
stoppage of tribute.

The example was followed by other nations. Lord Exmouth bombarded
Algiers in 1816, and reduced most of it to ashes. In 1827 the dey opened
war with France by hitting the French consul with his fan. Charles X.
retorted upon the fan with thirty thousand troops and a fleet. The fort
of Algiers was exploded by the last survivor of its garrison, a negro of
the deserts, who rushed down with a torch into the powder-cellar.
Algeria collapsed. The dey went to Naples, the janizaries went to
Turkey, and Algeria became French.

From this time the country became more or less open, according as France
could keep it quiet, to the inroads of that modern beast of ravin, the
tourist. The Kabyle calls the tourist _Roumi_ (Christian), a form,
evidently, of our word Roman, and referable to the times when the bishop
of Hippo and such as he identified the Christian with the Romanist in
the Moorish mind.

Modern Algiers, viewed from the sea, wears upon its luminous walls small
trace of its long history of blood. As we contemplate its mosques and
houses flashing their white profiles into the sky, it is impossible not
to muse upon the contrast between its radiant and picturesque aspect
and its veritable character as the accomplice of every crime and every
baseness known to the Oriental mind. To see that sunny city basking
between its green hills, you would hardly think of it as the abode of
bandits; yet two powerful tribes still exist, now living in huts which
crown the heights of Boudjareah overlooking the sea, who formerly
furnished the boldest of the pitiless corsairs. To the iron hooks of the
Bab (or gate) of Azoun were hung by the loins our Christian brothers who
would not accept the Koran; at the Bab-el-Oued, the Arab rebels, not
confounded even in their deaths with the dogs of Christians, were
beheaded by the yataghan; and in the blue depths we sail over, whose
foam washes the bases of the temples, hapless women have sunk for ever,
tied in a leather bag between a cat and a serpent.

The history, in truth, is the history--always a cruel one--of an
overridden nation compelled to bear a part in the wickedness of its
oppressors. This rubric of blood may be read in many a dismal page.
Algeria was a slave before England was Christian. The greatest African
known to the Church, Augustine, has left a pathetic description of the
conquest of his country by the Vandals in the fifth century: it was
attended with horrible atrocities, the enemy leaving the slain in
unburied heaps, so as to drive out the garrisons by pestilence. When
Spain overthrew the Moors she took the coast-cities of Morocco and
Algeria. Afterward, when Aruch Barbarossa, the "Friend of the Sea," had
seized the Algerian strongholds as a prize for the Turks, and his system
of piracy was devastating the Mediterranean, Spain with other countries
suffered, and we have a vivid picture of an Algerine bagnio and
bagnio-keeper from the pen of the illustrious prisoner Cervantes. "Our
spirits failed" (he writes) "in witnessing the unheard-of cruelties that
Hassan exercised. Every day were new punishments, accompanied with cries
of cursing and vengeance. Almost daily a captive was thrown upon the
hooks, impaled or deprived of sight, and that without any other motive
than to gratify the thirst of human blood natural to this monster, and
which inspired even the executioners with horror."

While our fancy traces the figure of the author of _Don Quixote_, a
plotting captive, behind the walls of Algiers, the steamer is
withdrawing, and the view of the city becomes more beautiful at every
turn of the paddles. We pass through a whole squadron of fishing-boats,
hovering on their long lateen sails, and seeming like butterflies
balanced upon the waves, which are blue as the petal of the iris.
Algiers gradually becomes a mere impression of light. The details have
been effaced little by little, and melted into a general hue of gold and
warmth: the windowless houses and the walls extending in terraces
confuse interchangeably their blank masses. The dark green hills of
Boudjareah and Mustapha seem to have opened their sombre flanks to
disclose a marble-quarry: the city, piled up with pale and blocklike
forms, appears to sink into the mountains again as the boat retires,
although the picturesque buildings of the Casbah, cropping out upon the
summit, linger long in sight, like rocks of lime. As we pass Cape
Matifou we see rising over its shoulder the summits of the Atlas range,
among whose peaks we hope to be in a fortnight, after passing Bona,
Philippeville and Constantina.

Sailing along this coast of the Mediterranean resembles an excursion on
one of the Swiss lakes. Four hours after passing Algiers, in going
eastwardly toward the port of Philippeville, we come in sight of Dellys,
a little town of poor appearance, where the hussars of France first
learned the peculiarities of Kabyle fighting. This warfare was something
novel. In place of the old gusty sweeps of cavaliers on horseback,
falling on the French battalions or glancing around them in whirlwinds,
the soldiers had to extirpate the Kabyles hidden in the houses. It was
not fighting--it was ferreting. Each house in Dellys was a fort which
had to be taken by siege. Each garden concealed behind its palings the
"flower" of Kabyle chivalry, only to be uprooted by the bayonet. The
women fought with fury.

We follow our course along these exquisite blue waters, and soon have a
glimpse, at three miles distance, of an isolated, abrupt cone, trimmed
at the summit into the proportions of a pyramid. It is the hill of
Gouraya, an enormous mass of granite which lifts its scarped summit over
the port of Bougie, called Salda by Strabo. We approach and watch the
enormous rock seeming to grow taller and taller as we nestle beneath it
in the beautiful harbor. Bougie lies on a narrow and stony beach in the
embrace of the mountain, white and coquettish, spreading up the rocky
wall as far as it can, and looking aloft to the protecting summit two
thousand feet above it. We abstain from dismounting, but sweep the city
with field-glasses from the deck of the ship, recollecting that Bougie
was bombarded in the reign of the Merrie Monarch by Sir Edward Spragg.
We trace the ravine of Sidi-Touati, which breaks the town in half as it
splits its way into the sea. Here, in 1836, the French commandant,
Salomon de Mussis, was treacherously shot while at a friendly conference
with the sheikh Amzian, the pretext being the murder of a marabout by
the French sentinels. The incident is worth mentioning, because it
brought into light some of the nobler traits of Kabyle character. The
sheikh, for killing a guest with whom he had just taken coffee, was
reproached by the natives as "the man who murdered with one hand and
took gifts with the other," and was forced by mere popular contempt from
his sheikhship, to perish in utter obscurity.

[Illustration: ROMAN RELICS AT PHILIPPEVILLE.]

Putting on steam again, we recede from Bougie, and passing Djigelly,
with its overpoweringly large barracks and hospital, doubling Cape
Bougarone and sighting the fishing-village of Stora, we arrive at the
new port-city of Philippeville. This colony, a plantation of Louis
Philippe's upon the site of the Roman Russicada, has only thirty-four
years of existence, and contains twenty Frenchmen for every Arab found
within it. It differs, however, from our American thirty-year-old towns
in the interesting respect of showing the traces of an older
civilization. French savants here examine the ruins of the theatre and
the immense Roman reservoirs in the hillside, and take "squeezes" of
inscriptions marked upon the antique altar, column or cippus. On an
ancient pillar was found an amusing grafita, the sketch of some Roman
schoolboy, showing an _aquarius_ (or water-carrier) loaded with his twin
buckets. Philippeville, nursed among these glowing African hills, has
the look of some bad melodramatic joke. Its European houses, streets
laid out with the surveyor's chain, pompous church, and arcades like a
Rue de Rivoli in miniature, make a foolish show indeed, in place of the
walls, white, unwinking and mysterious, which ordinarily enclose the
Eastern home or protect the Arab's wife behind their blinded windows.

[Illustration: LION-SHAPED ROCK, HARBOR OF BONA.]

If we leave Philippeville in the evening, we find ourselves next morning
in the handsome roadstead of Bona. This, for the present, will terminate
our examination of the coast, for, however fond we may be of level
traveling, we cannot reasonably expect to get over the Atlas Mountains
by hugging the shore. The harbor of Bona, though broad and beautiful, is
somewhat dangerous, concealing numbers of rocks which lurk at about the
surface of the water. Other rocks, standing boldly out at the entrance
of the port, offer a singular aspect, being sculptured into strange
forms by the sea. One makes a very good statue of a lion, lying before
the city as its guard, and looking across the waves for an enemy as the
foam caresses its monstrous feet.

Dismounting from shipboard, we become landsmen for the remainder of our
journey, and wave adieu to the steamboat which has brought us as we
linger a moment on the mole of Bona. This city is named from the ancient
Hippo, out of whose ruins, a mile to the southward, it was largely
built. The Arabs call it "the city of jujube trees"--Beled-el-Huneb. To
the Roumi (or Christian) traveler the interest of the spot concentrates
in one historic figure, that of Saint Augustine. In the basilica of
Hippo, of which the remains are believed to have been identified in some
recent excavations, the sainted bishop shook the air with his learned
and penetrating eloquence. Here he exhorted the faithful to defend their
religious liberty and their lives, uncertain if the Vandal hordes of
Genseric were not about to sweep away the faith and the language of
Rome. Here, where the forest of El Edoug spreads a shadow like that of
memory over the scene of his walks and labors, he brought his grand life
of expiation to a holy close, praying with his last breath for his
disciples oppressed by the invaders. We reach the site of Hippo (or
Hippone) by a Roman bridge, restored to its former solidity by the
French, over whose arches the bishop must have often walked, meditating
on his youth of profligacy and vain scholarship, and over the abounding
Divine grace which had saved him for the edification of all futurity.

[Illustration: SHOPKEEPER AT BONA.]

Bona has a street named Saint Augustine, but it is, by one of the
strange paradoxes which history is constantly playing us, owned entirely
by Jews, and those of one sole family. This fact indicates how the
thrifty race has prospered since the French occupancy. Formerly
oppressed and ill-treated, taxed and murdered by the Turks, and only
permitted to dress in the mournfulest colors, the Jew of Algeria hid
himself as if life were something he had stolen, and for which he must
apologize all his days. Now, treated with the same liberality as any
other colonist, the Jew indulges in every ostentation of dress except as
to the color of the turban, which, in small towns like Bona, still
preserves the black hue of former days of oppression. On Saturdays the
children of Jacob fairly blaze with gold and gay colors. On their
working days they line the principal streets, eyeing the passers-by with
a cool, easy indifference, but never losing a chance of business. In
Algeria this race is generally thought to present a picture of
arrogance, knavery and rank cowardice not equaled on the face of the
globe. An English traveler saw an Arab, after maddening himself with
opium and absinthe, run a-mok among the shopkeepers who lined the
principal street of Algiers. Selecting the Hebrews, he drove before him
a throng of twenty, dressed in all the colors of the rainbow, who
allowed themselves to be knocked down with the obedience of ninepins. A
Frenchman stopped the maniac after he had killed one Jew and wounded
several, none of them making any effort at defence.

A few narrow streets, bordered with Moorish architecture, contain the
native industry of Bona. It is about equally divided between the Jews
and the M'zabites, who, like the Kabyles, are a remnant of the
stiff-necked old Berber tribe. The M'zabites preserve the pure Arab
dress--the haik, or small bornouse without hood, the broad breeches
coming to the knee, the bare legs, and the turban rolled up into a coil
of ropes. Thus accoutred, and squatting in the ledges of their small
booths, the jewelers, blacksmiths and tailors of Bona are found at their
work.

Returning to Philippeville by land, and remaining as short a time as
possible in this unedifying city, which is a bad and overheated
imitation of a French provincial town, we concede only so much to its
modern character as to hire a fine open carriage in which to proceed
inland toward Constantina. This city is reached after a calm, meditative
ride through sunny hills and groves. After so quiet a preparation the
first view of Constantina is fairly astounding. Encircled by a grand
curve of mountainous precipices, rises a gigantic rock, washed by a moat
formed of the roaring cascades of the river Rummel. On the flat top of
this naked rock, like the Stylites on his pillar, stands Constantina.
The Arabs used to say that Constantina was a stone in the midst of a
flood, and that, according to their Prophet, it would require as many
Franks to raise that stone as it would of ants to lift an egg at the
bottom of a milk-pot.

[Illustration: CONSTANTINA.]

This city, under its old Roman name of Cirta, was one of the principal
strongholds of Numidia. In 1837 it was one of the most hotly-defended
strongholds of the Kabyles. The French have renamed, as "Gate of the
Breach," the old Bab-el-Djedid, where Colonel Lamoricière entered at the
head of his Zouaves. The city had to be conquered in detail, house by
house. Lamoricière himself was wounded: the Kabyles, driven to their
last extremity, evacuated the Casbah on the summit of the rock, and let
down their women by ropes into the abyss; the ropes, overweighted by
these human clusters, broke, piling the bodies and fragments of bodies
in heaps beneath the precipice, while some of the natives descended the
steep rock safely with the agility of goats.

Of all the large Algerian cities, Constantina is that which has best
preserved its primitive signet. In most quarters it remains what it was
under the Turks. These quarters are still undermined, rather than laid
out, with close and crooked streets, where the rough white houses are
pierced with narrow windows, closed to the inquisitive eye of the Roumi.
The roofs are of tile, for the winters on the hills are too severe to
permit the flat, terraced roofs of Algiers or Bona. These white houses,
roofed with brown, give a perfectly original aspect to the city as seen
from any of the neighboring eminences. The plateau of Mansourah is
connected with the town by a magnificent Roman bridge, two stories in
height, restored by the French.

[Illustration: ROMAN BRIDGE AT CONSTANTINA.]

From this bridge, which is three hundred feet high by three hundred and
fifteen feet in length, and has five arches, you look down into the bed
of the Rummel, while the vultures and eagles scream around you, and you
recite the words of the poet El Abdery, who called this river a bracelet
which encircles an arm. The gorge opens out into a beautiful plain rich
with pomegranates, figs and orange trees. The sea is forty-eight miles
away.

The last bey of Constantina, not knowing that he was merely building for
the occupancy of the French governors who were to come after him,
decreed himself, some fifty years ago, a stately pleasure-dome, after
the fashion of Kubla Khan. From the ruins of Constantina, Bona and
Tunis, Ahmed Bey picked up whatever was most beautiful in the way of
Roman marbles and carving. With these he built his halls, while the
Rummel, through caverns measureless to man, ran on below. Some
Frenchman of importance will now-a-days give you the freedom of this
curious piece of Turkish construction, where, among storks and ibises
gravely perched on one stilt, you examine the relics of Roman history,
preserved by its very destroyers, according to the grotesque providence
that watches over the study of archæology.

[Illustration: BEY'S PALACE, CONSTANTINA.]

You are told how Ahmed, wishing to adorn the walls of his gallery or
loggia with frescoes, of which he had heard, but which he had no artist
capable of executing, whether Arab, Moor or Jew, applied to a prisoner.
The man was a French shoemaker, who had never touched a brush: he vainly
tried to decline the honor, but the bey was inflexible: "You are a vile
liar: all the Christians can paint. Liberty if you succeed, death if you
disobey me."

[Illustration: SHAMPOOING THE ROUMI.]

Extremely nervous was the hand which the painter _malgré lui_ applied to
the unlooked-for task. From the laborious travail of his brain issued at
length an odd mass of arabesques with which the walls were somehow
covered. His invention exhausted, he awaited in an agony of fear the
inspection of his Turkish master. He came, and was enchanted. The
painter was free, and the bey observed: "The dog wanted to deceive me: I
knew that all the Christians could paint."

You are amazed to find, in this nest of Islamite savagery and among
these wild rocks, the uttermost accent of modern French politeness. Your
presence is a windfall in quarters so retired, and you sit among orange
plants and straying gazelles, while the military band throws softly out
against the inaccessible crags the famous tower-scene from the fourth
act of _Il Trovatore_. As night draws on, tired of your explorations,
you seek a Moorish bath.

Let no tourist, experienced only in the effeminate imitations of the
hummum to be found in New York or London, expect similar considerate
treatment in Algeria. He will be more likely to receive the attention of
the M'zabite bather after the fashion narrated in the following
paragraph, which is a quotation from an English journalist in the land
of the Kabyles:

"We were told to sit down upon a marble seat in the middle of the hall,
which we had no sooner done than we became sensible of a great increase
of heat: after this each of us was taken into a closet of milder
temperature, where, after placing a white cloth on the floor and taking
off our napkins, they laid us down, leaving us to the further operations
of two naked, robust negroes. These men, newly brought from the interior
of Africa, were ignorant of Arabic; so I could not tell them in what way
I wished to be treated, and they handled me as roughly as if I had been
a Moor inured to hardship. Kneeling with one knee upon the ground, each
took me by a leg and began rubbing the soles of my feet with a pumice
stone. After this operation on my feet, they put their hands into a
small bag and rubbed me all over with it as hard as they could. The
distortions of my countenance must have told them what I endured, but
they rubbed on, smiling at each other, and sometimes giving me an
encouraging look, indicating by their gestures the good it would do me.
While they were thus currying me they almost drowned me by throwing warm
water upon me with large silver vessels, which were in the basin under a
cock fastened in the wall. When this was over they raised me up, putting
my head under the cock, by which means the water flowed all over my
body; and, as if this was not sufficient, my attendants continued plying
their vessels. Then, having dried me with very fine napkins, they each
of them very respectfully kissed my hand. I considered this as a sign
that my torment was over, and was going to dress myself, when one of the
negroes, grimly smiling, stopped me till the other returned with a kind
of earth, which they began to rub all over my body without consulting my
inclination. I was as much surprised to see it take off all the hair as
I was pained in the operation; for this earth is so quick in its effect
that it burns the skin if left upon the body. This being finished, I
went through a second ablution, after which one of them seized me behind
by the shoulders, and setting his two knees against the lower part of my
back, made my bones crack, so that for a time I thought they were
entirely dislocated. Nor was this all, for after whirling me about like
a top to the right and left, he delivered me to his comrade, who used me
in the same manner: and then, to my no small satisfaction, opened the
closet door."

[Illustration: HAMMO-EL-ZOUAOUI.]

This is the true Moorish bath. Meantime, the M'zabite or negro, as he
dislocates your legs, cracks your spinal column or dances over you on
his knees, drones forth a kind of native psalmody, which, melting into
the steamy atmosphere of the place, seems to be the litany of happiness
and of the pure in heart. Clean in body and soul as you never were
before, skinned, depilated, dissected, you emerge for a new life of
ideal perfection, feeling as if you were suddenly relieved of your body.

[Illustration: "BALEK!"]

[Illustration: A STREET IN CONSTANTINA.]

There is held every Friday at Constantina a grand assembly of the
fire-eating marabouts, the fanatics who have given so much trouble to
their French rulers. Every revolution among the Kabyles is a religious
movement, set in motion by the wild enthusiasm of the "saints." The
religious orders of Kabylia, all of them differing in various degrees
from Turkish Mohammedanism, are of some half dozen varieties, adapted to
minds of various cultivation. Some, as that of Sidi-Yusef-Hansali, are
mild in their rites and of a purely didactic or religious nature. This
latter sect originated in Constantina, comprises two thousand brothers
or khouans, and was in 1865 under the authority of Hammo-el-Zouaoui, a
direct descendant of Yusef-Hansali. An hour passed in the college of
this order, where the whole formula of worship consists in saying a
hundred times "God forgive!" then, a hundred other times, "Allah ill'
Allah: Mohammed ressoul Allah!" may be monotonous, but it is not
revolutionary. From this tautological brotherhood, through various
degrees of emotional activity, you arrive at the wild doings of the
fire-eaters, or followers of Mohammed-ben-Aissa. This Aissa was a native
of Meknes in Morocco, where he died full of years and piety three
hundred years ago. His legend states that being originally very poor, he
attempted to support his family in the truly Oriental manner, not by
working for them, but by spending his whole time at the mosque in prayer
for their miraculous sustenance. His inertia and his faith were
acceptable to Mohammed, who appeared to Aissa's wife with baskets of
food, and to Aissa with the order to found a sect. The allegory
expressed by the disgusting actions of the order would seem to be that
anything is nourishment to the true believer. They therefore exhibit
themselves as eating red-hot iron, scorpions and prickly cactus. Various
travelers, some of them cool hands and accurate observers, have seen
these khouans at their horrible feasts without being able to explain
the imposture. A British soldier, an experienced Indian officer,
happened to be in Kabylia just before the breaking out of the great
Sepoy rebellion in India, and was introduced to one of the fire-eating
orgies by Major Deval at Tizi-ouzou, where our journey into Kabylia is
to terminate. With his own eyes he saw a khouan, excited by half an
hour's chanting and beating the tom-tom, drive a sword four inches deep
into his chest by hitting it with a tile. The man marched around and
exhibited it to the congregation as it quivered in his naked body.
Another seared his face and hands with a large red-hot iron, holding it
finally with his mouth without other support. Another chewed up an
entire leaf of a cactus with its dangerous spikes, which sting one's
hands severely and remain rankling in the flesh. Another filled his
mouth with live coals from a brazier, and walked around blowing out
sparks. Another swallowed a living scorpion, a small snake, broken glass
and nails. The spectator was in the midst of these enthusiasts, being
touched by them in their antics, yet he could detect no foul play,
except that he imagined the sword in the first-named experiment to have
been driven into an old wound or between the skin and the flesh. It was
to counteract the influence of the fire-eating marabouts that the French
government sent over Robert Houdin, the ingenious mechanician, but
though he eclipsed their wonders by tricks of electricity and sleight,
he has left but a lame explanation of the "juggleries" of the Algerine
saints.

[Illustration: THE GREAT MOSQUE, CONSTANTINA.]

The worst attribute of these khouans is, that after having excited the
ignorant Kabyles to many a losing war by their magnetism, they remain
themselves behind the curtain, safe and sarcastic.

In the Moorish quarter of Constantina, where the streets are about five
feet wide, you sit down to watch the perpetual come-and-go of the
inhabitants. Taking a cup of fragrant coffee--which, as the reader
knows, is in Eastern countries eaten at the same time that it is
drunk--you sit on a stone bench of the coffee-house and contemplate
mules, horses, asses, passengers, buyers, sellers, loungers, Arabs,
Turks, Kabyles, Jews, Moors and spahis. On every side you hear the cry
of "Balek! balek!" This means "Look out!" and the word is closely
followed by the causative fact. The street is unpaved, the horse is
unshod, the hoofs cannot be heard, and you have hardly time to efface
yourself against a wall when a cavalier passes by like a careless
torrent, scattering the white bornouses centrifugally from his pathway
as he advances. The streets, as we observed, are very narrow. Each has
its own manufacture. Here are the tailors; here, in this deafening
alley, are the blacksmiths; farther on are the shoemakers, and you are
driven mad with wonder at the quantities of slippers made for a people
which goes eternally barefoot. Springing out of this dædal intricacy of
booths and workshops rise the slender minarets of prayer, of which the
principal one belongs to a mosque said to be the most beautiful in
Algeria. The interior of this chief mosque is not deprived of ornament,
having its columns of pink marble, its elliptical Moorish arches, and
its tiles of painted fayence set in the walls. In the centre is the
pulpit, coarsely painted red and blue, where the imaum recites his
prayers. Three small, lofty windows are filled with carved lacework. The
floor is spread with carpets for the knees of the rich, with matting for
the poor. Over all rises the square, crescent-crowned minaret--no
_belfry_, but a steeple where the chimes are rung by the human voice.
Night and day, from the heights of their slender towers, the muezzins
toll out their vibrating notes like a bell, inviting the faithful to
prayers with the often-heard signal: "Allah ill' Allah: Mohammed resoul
Allah!"

[TO BE CONTINUED.]



THE NATIONAL TRANS-ALLEGHANY WATER-WAY.


[Illustration: VIEW OF NEW RIVER.]

The offices of running water have afforded a fertile theme for the poet
and the philosopher. In the ruder ages of the world the water-ways which
carve their course over the face of the globe were regarded only in the
light of natural barriers against hostile invasion; and thus arose the
historic principle--

    Lands intersected by a narrow frith
    Abhor each other.

But civilization has demonstrated that they subserve a much higher
purpose, that the rivers of a country are its great arteries and
highways of trade, and that they fulfill functions as numerous and
benign in the political economy as in the physical geography of the
regions they furrow. In the Old World, the advancing streams of culture,
science and commerce, and even the migrations of nations, have ebbed and
flowed along the classic valleys of the Rhine, the Rhone and the Danube;
and the banks of the Tigris, the Euphrates and the Nile are rich in
memories of the world's mightiest and most splendid empires. In America
the fertile watersheds of the Ohio, the Mississippi and the Missouri are
fast becoming what their antitypes of the great continent have been in
the past. The outspreading wave of civilization and population has
already reached westward to the foot of the Rocky Mountains from the
Gulf of Mexico to Montana and Idaho, while even the basin of the
Columbia River is rapidly filling up with an active, thriving and busy
people, who can smile at the poet's vision:

    Where rolls the Oregon, and hears no sound
    Save its own dashings.

The water-courses of a country are not less valuable to it than the
little Pactolus was to the ancient city of Sardis, through whose streets
it ran freighted with gold. But these natural highways of human
intercourse, like most of Nature's provisions, are capable of indefinite
artificial extension and multiplication. Our finest modern canals are
scarcely smaller, and certainly capable of more uninterrupted, safe and
heavy navigation, than many of the rivers which have figured in history,
and which Pascal so graphically described as "_moving roads_ that carry
us whither we wish to go."

Such considerations as these have a profound bearing on many of the
great economic problems of the age, but on none more than upon the grand
problem which is now agitating the national mind in the United States:
_How to connect its seaboard and central regions by water_. A glance at
the map of the Union shows that its vast interior lies ensconced between
the two mountain-walls of the Rocky chain on its western side and the
Appalachian chain on its eastern side. Hemmed in by these barriers is
the immense expanse of the most prolific, populous and prosperous
section on the continent, which, taking its name from "the Father of
Waters," is geographically designated as the _Mississippi Valley_,
estimated by Professor J. W. Foster of the Chicago University to contain
an area of two million four hundred and fifty-five thousand square
miles, equal to that of all Europe excepting Russia, Norway and Sweden.
Unlike the inland basin of Asia, in which the vast, mountain-girt Desert
of Gobi stretches out its seas of sand, stony, sterile and desolate, the
inland basin of America is its garden-spot and granary. Swept by the
vapor-bearing winds and rain-distilling clouds from the Gulf of Mexico,
and blessed with an excellent climate, it contains all the physical
elements of an empire within itself. Its position makes it the national
strong-hold, so that with military men it has grown into an adage,
"Whoever is master of the Mississippi is lord of the continent." It is
yet but half developed, but no far-seeing mind can form any estimate of
its future growth and opulence. "With a varied and splendid
entourage--an imperial cordon of States--nothing," says Dr. John W.
Draper of New York, "can prevent the Mississippi Valley from becoming in
less than three centuries the centre of human power." The only wall of
partition that shuts it off from the great marts of the world is formed
by the chain of the Alleghanies, which stretch along the Atlantic
seaboard, from south-west to north-east, for twelve hundred miles. This
natural barrier, with a mean altitude of two thousand feet, is destitute
of a central axis, and consists, as the two Rogerses, who have most
fully explored its ridges, showed, of a series of convex and concave
flexures, "giving them the appearance of so many colossal
entrenchments." With a broad artificial channel cut through its sunken
defiles and picturesque gorges, there would at once be opened a gateway
for the flow and reflow of the heavy commerce of the Western World.

In 1781 the practical and philosophic eye of Thomas Jefferson perceived
the national necessity for a great trans-Alleghany water-line, and early
in the year 1786, though still tossed on the wave of the Revolution, and
not yet recovered from the shock of British invasion, the State which
gave birth to the author of the "Declaration of Independence" declared
for the enterprise. With all the means and energy at its command it
pushed forward the work from year to year, and directed it, as Mr.
Jefferson had proposed, so as to connect the head-waters of the James
River, flowing from the Alleghany summits to the ocean, with the
mountain-river known as the Great Kanawha, which rises near the
fountains of the upper James and descends into the broad bosom of the
Ohio. Although this undertaking was prosecuted slowly at first, it was
permanently recognized as one that must go on; in 1832 and 1835 it
received new impulses; and in 1840 it had reached the piedmont
districts. In 1847 a powerful impetus was given to the work, and it was
thenceforth, till 1856, forced rapidly westward up the eastern slopes of
the Alleghanies, as a complete and working structure, above a point
three hundred miles from the Atlantic capes, and two hundred miles from
Richmond, leaving an unfinished gap to the upper or navigable part of
Kanawha River of a little over one hundred and fifty miles. This
enormous work was more than half finished at an outlay of $10,436,869--a
sum which, during the economic period of its expenditure, went as far as
nearly twice that amount would go now.

By recent legislation the State of Virginia proposes to turn over the
entire property of the canal to the United States, on the sole condition
of its being finished by the government and converted into a national
water-highway for the good of the common country--in other words, upon
the one condition of its _nationalization_.

It is sometimes contended that the day of canals has passed, and
henceforward the railway must take their place. But this notion is
opposed to the present economic necessities of the world, as well as to
the provisions of Nature, which evidently point to the utilization of
the hydraulic systems of the globe. The lavish and prodigal use of the
coal-deposit of the earth, and the deforesting of vast tracts of soil to
supply fuel for the locomotive and the stationary engine, have already
wrought incalculable and almost irremediable evils. The past year has
seen the prices of all English coals go up at least eighty per cent.,
and the coal-famine of Great Britain, foreseen some years ago, has
already threatened to sap the vigor of her industrial systems and
destroy her manufacturing supremacy, or, at any rate, place her at the
mercy of the United States for the fuel with which to operate them. The
denudation of the vast territories of the United States by the axe of
emigration has already told in a marked degree upon the condition of its
climate, and greatly affected its meteorology and rainfall; while the
railroads, which have spread their Briarean arms over the whole country,
by their immense consumption of wood for cross-ties, sills, fuel,
snow-sheds, bridges, etc., have wellnigh stripped the land of its
timber, leaving its bosom exposed to the biting blasts of winter and to
the fiery blaze of the summer sun.

The problem of more rapid canal navigation is speedily approaching
solution, and to give up the water-lines of the larger sections would be
fatal to their commercial development. "The Erie Canal," said a
distinguished citizen of New York a short time ago, "now conveys
one-fourth of the whole export of that vast interior region I have
described (the Mississippi drainage), and as much of it during its six
months of uninterrupted navigation as all of the trunk railways together
during the same time." "Every canal-boat," he added, "which comes to
Albany with an average cargo is more than the average of the New York
Central Railroad trains. In the busy canal season more than one hundred
and fifty such boats come daily to tide-water, and the New York Central
Railroad traffic never reaches thirty trains a day." Such a canal
traffic would make more than twenty miles of uninterrupted
railroad-cars, which could not, by any possibility, be handled by the
largest force of railroad employés with expedition or convenience. The
_furore_ which the steam-engine has excited and so long maintained in
the mechanical world is decidedly abating. Engineers are everywhere at
work studying the practicability of employing new forces. The solar
heat, the wind-power, the water-power of rivers, and even the tidal
energy of the sea, have been and are now being harnessed to the
machineries of Europe. These reservoirs of force are kept perennially
full by the sun and the moon, to whose action they are due, and at a
future period, when men have prodigally squandered their heritage of
coal and wood wealth, they will be invoked by the mechanic and
manufacturer to furnish their chief motive-power. As an economist of the
force-_capital_ deposited by the sun's influence in the bowels of the
earth during its carboniferous epoch, and as using, instead of it, the
force-_interest_ received annually from the sun through the medium of
rain and wind, the water-way will and must become one of the most
generally employed engines of the higher civilizations yet to be.

So long as the subject of trans-Alleghany water-communication was viewed
as one merely affecting individual States, it possessed no national
interest. But in its present aspect it is of vast moment, both national
and international. While many overcrowded portions of the Old World are
often confronted with both the spectre and the reality of gaunt famine,
and their breadless thousands are looking wistfully to the fresh and
prolific fields of the New, for relief, there are annually lost to the
country and the world vast stores of corn, which the Western farmers
cannot afford to send by railroad to the seaboard for foreign shipment,
and freely use as a substitute for fuel. This fact is suggestive and
significant. To understand its import we have only to look at the
geographical position of the West and the Mississippi Valley, isolated
in the heart of a continent.

There are three outlets for the commerce of these sections seeking New
York, the emporium of the New World, and the chief trans-Atlantic
markets: 1. By the Mississippi River to New Orleans, and thence by
transhipment to New York and Europe. 2. By the northern lakes to the St.
Lawrence Valley, or by the former to the Erie Canal. 3. By the costly
transportation of railroads over the Alleghanies or along the
lake-shores eastward.

[Illustration: THE CANAL BASIN AT LEXINGTON, VIRGINIA.]

The first of these routes is of course the longest, both in time and
distance. It takes the merchandise by an extensive détour, which, from
the mouth of the Ohio River, _viâ_ the Gulf, to New York, exceeds three
thousand miles. Although lying in the powerful current of the Gulf
Stream, which is a propelling force speeding forward the vessel that
trusts its warm, blue waters, this route is exposed to the most violent
cyclonic storms, and navigators shun and evade it during the equinoctial
or hurricane season. But, barring danger and distance, no country with
such an outlet to the sea as the Mississippi River affords can be
considered dependent upon any artificial communication. Notwithstanding
the objections which exist to this long route (which is both expensive
and long), its trade is rapidly increasing from the very exigencies of
the case. The introduction of the barge-system on the great Western
rivers has greatly facilitated and cheapened transportation. Steam-tugs,
carrying neither passengers nor freight, are substituted for the
steamboat. These tugs never stop except to coal and attach the barges,
already loaded before their arrival at a city, and proceed with great
despatch. Steaming steadily on, night and day, they make the trip from
St. Louis to New Orleans almost as quickly as the oft-detained
steamboat. The distance has been made between these cities by a tug,
with ten heavily-freighted barges, in six days. The tugs plying on the
Minnesota River carry with good speed barges containing thirty thousand
bushels of wheat, and the freight of a single trip would fill more than
eighty railroad-cars. This transportation is cheap, because the tugs
require less than one-fourth the expense for running and management
required by the steamboats. The carriage of grain from Minnesota to New
Orleans by this method costs no more than the freightage from the same
point to Chicago by rail. A boatload of wheat from St. Paul, taking the
river route, is not once handled until it is put aboard ship at the
Crescent City. The mighty energy of the North-west--"the Germany of
America," as it has been well called by Dr. Draper--has long since
discovered that the Mississippi is the best existing route to European
markets. Grain can be shipped by way of St. Louis and New Orleans to New
York and Europe twenty cents a bushel cheaper than it can be carried by
the other existing routes. As long ago as 1868 the Illinois Central
Railroad took hold of the West India and Southern trade through the
river route, and offered such commercial inducements to Western
importers that "Havana sends her products by this route to the
North-west, instead of by New York."[A] As the North-west expands and
multiplies in resources and population, it will be compelled to transact
its foreign and seaboard commerce through the noble navigable waters of
the Mississippi, unless it can obtain a short and cheap transportation
to New York by some trans-Alleghany water-line. In the event of the
North-western trade being diverted southward along the great natural
artery of the continent, where no tolls, no tariffs and no transhipments
are required, the loss will fall most heavily upon New York and the
seaboard marts. The increasing stream of South American commerce, in the
same event, must inevitably take the short, speedy and entirely
inexpensive route to the North-west (through the broad and free highway
of the "Father of Waters"), rather than encounter the delay, danger and
expense of the Gulf-Stream route to New York, and thence by rail or the
Lakes to its destination. The longer the present trade-status continues,
and the mammoth corporations of the railroads force the transportation
of the North-west, the West and the Mississippi Valley to take the river
and Gulf route to the sea, the greater and more fixed becomes the
diversion of this incalculable commerce from the great markets of the
Middle and Eastern States. So far, therefore, from the far West being at
the mercy of the East in this matter, the former has the advantage. The
East, rather than allow the present tendency of the commercial current
to set well in toward the Gulf, and wear a channel for itself, should
strain every nerve to keep it steadily moving toward its own maritime
cities. The great cities of the Atlantic seaboard can better afford to
construct a water-line over the mountains at their own cost than to run
the risk of the Mississippi River becoming the commercial avenue for its
vast valley and drainage, and thus bearing the golden stream away from
their harbors and streets.

The Utopian idea that Norfolk may become the rival of the great seaports
and centres of capital, Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York and Boston, is
without the field of discussion. It is not more possible than that a
magnetized knife-blade should exert a more powerful attraction than the
largest lodestone or the mightiest electro-magnet.

The Lake route from the Mississippi Valley to the East was made
continuous and complete by the opening of the Erie Canal in 1825. The
day of the old flat-boats had not then closed, and the application of
steam to river navigation was still in its infancy. The growth of the
West--which has always outstripped its internal improvements--like an
immense river long dammed up, bursting the barriers that confined it,
forced its way toward the sea. Although it was said at first that the
canal would never pay, "the opening of this work," as the Superintendent
of the Census says, "was an announcement of a new era in the internal
grain-trade of the United States. To the pioneer, the agriculturist and
the merchant the grand avenue developed a new world. From that period do
we date the rise and progress of the North-west." This splendid
structure is to-day the great artery of Eastern wealth; and but for the
fact that for six months in the year, when the vast sea of Western
commerce would seek an outlet through its banks to the East, it is
locked by ice, it would be widened into a ship-canal. It lies in the
very track of the great north-westerly winds, which descend with
torrential rush and polar cold over the Lakes, and thence through
Northern New York. Last year, as late as the third of March, when the
vegetation of the Middle States was beginning to spring forth in vernal
beauty, the whole of the lower Lake region and Western and Northern New
York were swept by these Arctic tempests; and this is the climatic rule
rather than an exceptional case. Even in the season of open water the
Lakes are exposed to the most violent storms, and within their narrow
shores hundreds of vessels are annually lost. The mariner overtaken by
what would be a moderate gale in a broad sea is in imminent peril for
want of sea-room; and in a snow-storm, however light--whose winds
elsewhere he would court to fill his sails and propel his craft--his
course is beset with danger and difficulty. For more than half the year
navigation is suspended by the thickening terrors of the tempest and the
accumulated obstacles of ice.[B] And yet, with all the obstacles which
impair the utility of the Lake route while it is in operation, the
volume of Western produce prefers it, or rather is forced by the
necessities of the case to employ it. And these necessities will
continue to increase. With the aid of all the railroads now or to be
constructed, the rapid expansion of Western commerce has distanced the
facilities of transport. The iron horse, as has been well said, has
always stimulated industry and production beyond his power to carry it.
It was the forcible remark of the English traveler Sir Morton Peto that
the American railroads from West to East were "choked with traffic." So
great is the inadequacy of all existing outlets for conveying the more
than Amazonian streams of trans-Alleghany merchandise that it has long
since become the interest of every great corporation, as well as of
every citizen of the country, to open for them new and national
highways.

From this digression, embracing facts and views which seemed essential
to an intelligent discussion of the main subject, we pass on to examine
the Appalachian outlet by which the great Western empire of America may
find its way to the sea. The bird's-eye view here presented will show
the Appalachian mountain-chain, and the waters which thread their way
along its gentle slopes eastward to the Atlantic basin and westward to
the Ohio and Mississippi Valleys. The Alleghanies bear a striking
geographic resemblance to the Highlands of Scotland, so famed in song
and story. Like the central Grampian Hills--those majestic buttresses in
whose recesses the old Caledonians found secure and impregnable asylums
from the Roman legions--except that they are richer in verdure and less
lofty, they form the grand natural rampart of the American Union. To use
the words of Lavallée, the French military historian and statistician,
"Mountains play the principal part in military operations: true ramparts
of states, they interrupt the development of strategic movements, and
render the greatest efforts necessary for their passage and possession.
They are the poetical part of the theatre of the art of war." If the day
ever comes, as come it may, when the kingly powers of the world combine
to crush the republican institutions of the United States, and swarm the
harbors and bays of our Atlantic seaboard with their allied navies, the
defiles of the Alleghanies will prove the Thermopylæs of the Union; and
against their eastern base the surging wave of invasion must be stayed,
if stayed at all. Like the Scottish peaks,

    The grisly champions that guard
    The infant rills of Highland Dee,

or the Spanish wall of the Pyrenean chain, on whose Sierras, in 1808,
Wellington's blazing lines of Torres Vedras arrested Massena's march,
the mountains that look out on our Atlantic sea-front must ever be of
the highest military importance.

To throw across their central ridges a great aqueduct is no mean
undertaking of merely local significance, but may take rank with the old
Roman aqueducts, with the magnificent roads constructed by Napoleon over
the Alps, and with the more modern and now triumphant tunnels through
Mont Cenis and the Hoosac Mountains, and the rapidly-progressing railway
over the Andes from Callao to the Amazon Valley.

The broad and national features of the proposed trans-Alleghany
water-way have so strongly commended themselves to President Grant that
in his last message he recommends preliminary Congressional action, and
in a more recent address to a number of distinguished visitors at the
Executive Mansion he used much stronger and bolder language in assuring
them that "he hoped Congress would give such encouragement to the
measure as to secure the completion of the canal." He has in these words
only repeated the sentiments of his illustrious predecessors, George
Washington and Thomas Jefferson, in behalf of the value of the work. We
have already alluded to Mr. Jefferson's early advocacy of a water-line
by the James and Kanawha Rivers. The first idea of this enterprise seems
to have been suggested to Washington as early as the year 1753, after
his celebrated trip from Jamestown to Fort Duquesne as an envoy of
Governor Dinwiddie. At the close of the Revolutionary war he made an
arduous and personal exploration of the country for many hundred miles.
He kept a journal in which were minutely recorded his conversations with
all intelligent persons he met respecting the facilities for internal
navigation afforded by the rivers rising in the Alleghany Mountains and
flowing either east or west. Returning to Mount Vernon October 4, 1784,
he wrote, as the result of his observations, to the then governor of
Virginia, the father of William Henry Harrison: "I shall take the
liberty now, my dear sir, to suggest a matter which would (if I am not
too short-sighted a politician) mark your administration as an important
era in the annals of this country. It has been my decided opinion that
the _shortest_, _easiest_ and _least expensive_ communication with the
invaluable and extensive country back of us would be by one or both of
the rivers of this State which have their sources in the Appalachian
Mountains." General Washington, on the 26th of August, 1785, became the
first president of the company authorized by the legislation which he
had suggested previously to Governor Harrison. It is well known that the
same views entertained by Washington and Jefferson were held and
advocated by Mr. Madison, long before the most prescient statesman could
descry the faintest image of that colossal empire of population, wealth
and rapid development now lying west of the Alleghanies.

For the great future water-ways which are needed for the Western, the
North-western and the Mississippi Valley trade there are several routes
that have been demonstrated to be practicable. One of these is by a
projected canal to connect the Coosa River with the Alabama River, and
thence following that stream to the Gulf of Mexico. This, if ever
carried out, as eventually it is probable will be the case, would avoid
the bars and dangers of the navigation of the lower Mississippi, and in
a measure obviate the necessity of the proposed sub-canals in Louisiana
and other engineering expedients to remove or turn the very serious
river-obstacles to an outlet south of New Orleans. Another proposal is
to connect the Ohio and Tennessee Rivers, and to run a canal from the
latter to the Ocmulgee or Savannah River, and thence by the use of slack
water to reach the harbors of Savannah and Charleston. This scheme has
been clearly proved to be feasible, although the distance seems
objectionable. The third (or central) water-line proposed is that so
long agitated since the beginning of the present century, so often
surveyed and re-surveyed by the most eminent engineers, and not long
since by the United States Engineer Corps under the direction of General
A. A. Humphreys, the chief engineer of the United States army. It is the
shortest and most direct line, and has the advantage that it is, as we
have seen, already nearly half completed, from the head of tide-water on
the James River, above Lexington, to Buchanan, near the summit-level of
the mountains. The engineers who have reported upon it--among whom are
the late Colonel E. Lorraine, Benjamin H. Latrobe, Esq., and other
eminent engineers--estimate that the largest sum required for its
completion to the Kanawha River is $37,364,000, and the length of time
required four years. "Of this large sum, however," they say, "it can be
clearly shown that there will be no need of any other advance by
government than the interest which will accumulate while the work is in
progress, which, by issuing the bonds every six months, as required,
will not reach the sum of _six million dollars. And this is every cent
that will ever be required to be advanced_. Should the government
undertake to make the work a fine one, it will of course cost the whole
amount estimated, but this would be more than made up by its increased
benefits to the whole country.

"The work when completed, even at a low rate of tolls--not over about
half the rate charged on the Erie Canal--will return the advance, pay
the interest and redeem the principal in less than twenty years.

[Illustration: BIRD'S-EYE VIEW OF THE TRANS-ALLEGHANY WATER-LINE.]

"In considering this question we are not left to mere conjecture. The
wonderful history of the Erie Canal, and a comparison of the
circumstances connected with the operations of that great work with
those under which this enterprise will be inaugurated and accompanied,
furnish sufficient data for reliable conclusions."

When we consider that the Erie Canal, though frozen up and useless for
half the year, has not only long since paid for its construction out of
its tolls, but makes a present of itself to the State, with _about
thirty millions of dollars_ of net profit, and that it does more than
five times the business of the great New York Central Railroad,
transporting annually over five million tons of cargo (which exceeds the
total foreign commerce of New York City), and yet is "choked" and gorged
with freight, the close figuring of the engineers does not appear to be
questionable.

The immense saving in the cost of water-carriage as compared with that
of railway-transportation is hardly conceived by the public mind. Many
of the railroads carry produce at very low and reasonable rates, but
they cannot afford to take it at much if any less than _three times the
amount_ charged by the canals. It appears from the report of the New
York State Engineer for 1868 that the average receipts per ton per mile
on the New York Central Railroad and the Erie Railway was 2.92 cents and
2.42 cents respectively; while on the New York State canals it was 1
cent only, tolls included. But a trans-Alleghany canal would, after
getting fully into operation, be able to transport produce more cheaply
than the New York canals, which are frozen over about five months of the
year, and during the very period when the great tide of Western
freightage and the ingathered crops is pressing most heavily for an
outlet to the East.[C] There are many products of the West and the
Mississippi Valley that will not bear the cost of transportation to the
Eastern cities, either by rail, Gulf or Lake route, because they would
consume _in transitu_ for freight between sixty and seventy per cent. of
their market value in Boston, New York, Philadelphia and Baltimore.

These views have been ably and earnestly pressed time and again upon
Congress by Eastern and Western statesmen, merchants and citizens of all
classes, by the press of all parties, and by the boards of trade and
commercial conventions. The surveys cover every foot of the proposed
James River Canal extension to the Ohio Valley, which, by general
consent, seems to be regarded as the most eligible because it is the
most direct central route, and because the State of Virginia has most
munificently offered to remand the half-completed work to the general
government on the sole condition of its _nationalization_.

If, as history has always testified, it be true that

              Mountains interposed
    Make enemies of nations, which had else,
    Like kindred drops, been mingled into one,

it would be difficult, as it is unnecessary, even to attempt to form an
adequate estimate of this great trans-Alleghany highway as a benign and
powerful agent in the political reconstruction and moral unification of
the American States.

After leaving Buchanan, the proposed route for the extension of the
James River and Kanawha Canal runs westward to the mouth of Fork Run, a
small mountain-river, and ascends that stream to the summit-level,
seventeen hundred feet above tide-water. It then pierces the main range
of the Alleghanies, passing under Tuckahoe and Katis Mountains by a
tunnel nearly eight miles long, and emerges into the valley of the
Greenbrier River on the western mountain-slope. Its water-line pursues
its course by slack-water navigation down the Greenbrier to New River,
and down New River to Lyken's Shoals on the Kanawha, eighty-five miles
above its mouth. The last distance of eighty-five miles will be
traversed by open navigation, as the Kanawha Valley permits it. Major W.
B. Craighill of the Engineer Corps, in his able report to General A. A.
Humphreys on this central water-line, says: "The recent completion of
the Mont Cenis Tunnel in Europe, and the rapid progress made with the
Hoosac Tunnel in this country, with the experience gained in these
works, and the improved facilities daily coming into use for carrying on
such operations, induce us to approach such an undertaking as the
Lorraine tunnel not only without apprehension of failure, but with a
feeling of assured certainty of success. It is no longer an
extraordinary, but an ordinary, undertaking."

The practical capacity of the water-line when completed will be of
almost unlimited extent, while the canal proper with its locks will have
a capacity of from fifteen to twenty millions of tons annually. In the
fall and early winter, after the harvests are over, and during the very
season that the highway is most needed, and when the northern routes are
blocked by ice, this trans-Alleghany water-way will be open.

The local trade in its path would alone justify its construction. It
will penetrate the finest mineral lands of Virginia and West Virginia,
which have been so long locked up from the world. The great Kanawha
coal-fields and iron- and salt-mines are unsurpassed by any now known in
any part of the globe. In the large demand from England and Europe for
coal, which is finding expression in the large orders sent to
Philadelphia and Baltimore for Pennsylvania and Maryland coal,[D] there
is the best possible evidence that the local trade of the national canal
would be enormous. So highly thought of is the Kanawha cannel coal that
it is now shipped down the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers to New Orleans,
and sent thence by sea to New York, where it brings per ton about three
times the price of anthracite in that market. It is equal to the best
English and Nova Scotia cannel, while the Kanawha bituminous and splint
coals are unsurpassed by any others. The veins lie horizontally, and
vary from three to fifteen feet in thickness, the aggregate thickness of
the various strata amounting in some localities to forty or fifty feet
of the solid carbon.

But, great as are the local interests and the trade of the water-line,
they are entirely lost sight of in the national aspect of the question.

The population now demanding a direct and central highway for its great
inland commerce, according to the best estimates (those of Poor), cannot
fall short of fifteen millions, and most probably exceeds that number.
It is now conclusively established that the centre of gravity of our
national population has crossed the Appalachian chain. Professor Hilgard
of the Coast Survey prepared a year ago, at the request of the Hon. J.
A. Garfield of Ohio, a series of calculations to ascertain this centre
of gravity by the four last censuses. Supposing a plane of the exact
shape and size of the United States, exclusive of Alaska, loaded with
the actual population, he determined the points on which it would
balance. In the recently-published words[E] of Mr. Garfield we give the
following results of Professor Hilgard's calculations: By this process
he found that in 1840 the centre of gravity of the population was at a
point in Virginia near the eastern foot of the Appalachian chain, and
near the parallel of 39° N. latitude. In 1850 this centre had moved
westward fifty-seven miles across the mountains, to a point nearly south
of Parkersburg, Virginia. In 1860 it had moved westward eighty-two
miles, to a point nearly south of Chillicothe, Ohio. In 1870 it had
reached a point near Wilmington, Clinton county, Ohio, about forty-five
miles north-east of Cincinnati. In no case had it widely departed from
the thirty-ninth parallel. If the same rate be maintained during the
next three decades, which I doubt, it will fall in the neighborhood of
Bloomington, Indiana, by 1900. Professor Hilgard also found that a line
drawn from Lake Erie, at the north-eastern corner of Ohio, to Pensacola
in Florida, would divide the population of the United States, as it
stood in 1870, into two equal parts. This line is nearly parallel to the
line of the Atlantic coast. From these calculations it will appear that
both the "centre of gravity" and the line that divides the population in
half are more than one hundred and fifty miles west of the Appalachian
chain.

If these computations be correct, Poor's figures are too low by two or
three millions at least. But, apart from the demand for an
inter-continental canal by the population on the west of the Appalachian
chain, the seaboard States and cities east of the Appalachians are, as
we have already shown, as profoundly interested in such a national cheap
thoroughfare as is the former section. Careful estimates have shown that
the surplus produce[F] of the trans-Alleghany sections and the
Mississippi Valley cannot be less than twenty-five million tons; and
this would immediately seek an outlet through the Virginia water-line
to the sea. The saving that would result to the West and to the whole
country would be enormous; and at a very moderate calculation the amount
would be an average of two dollars per ton on the river route, _viâ_ New
Orleans, and ten dollars per ton over the railroad routes. The
completion of a comparatively short canal of eighty miles, to cover the
gap from Buchanan to the upper Kanawha, would without the shadow of
exaggeration save the West forty millions of dollars a year; and the
central water-line would yield an interest of ten to fifteen per cent.
on the capital invested, while opening a continuous water-road from
Liverpool to Omaha, running nearly due west, fifty-nine hundred miles in
length! By reducing the freights on the other present thoroughfares
through the influence of wholesome competition, it would perhaps at once
lessen the cost of inland transportation by nearly one hundred millions
of dollars annually!

These considerations, and the added fact that for many years the
chambers of commerce of the great Western cities, the many commercial
conventions that have met, and the legislatures of the States bordering
on the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers, have earnestly and unanimously
memorialized Congress in behalf of the completion of this great
inter-continental highway, fully establish the _national_ character of
the measure now pending in the national councils.

                        THOMPSON B. MAURY.

FOOTNOTES:

[A] New York _Times_.

[B] From the 3d to the 6th of March, last year, the thermometer at
Rochester was several degrees _below zero_; at Troy, New York, on the
5th it stood at -14° (_below zero_); at Ogdensburg, New York, at -32°
(_below zero_); at Watertown, New York, -34° (_below zero_)! These
intense colds recur as late as April.

[C] The average of twenty years shows that the James River and Kanawha
Canal was closed annually by ice only fifteen days; the longest period
in any one year was fifty-six days.

[D] A single English order for Cumberland coal, to be shipped by a
Baltimore dealer last December, was for three hundred thousand tons.

[E] New York _Nation_, December 19, 1872.

[F] Last year's grain-yield in the Mississippi Valley was one billion
and thirty-six millions of bushels. In many parts of the West, for want
of transportation, corn is now sold for as little as eighteen and twenty
cents per bushel, and the husks are worth, for fuel, nearly as much as
the grain. One of the great newspapers of the West, the Chicago
_Inter-Ocean_ (January 8th) in discussing editorially "The Reason
Farming does not Pay" in that country, forcibly says: "A charge of
thirty cents per bushel for the carriage of corn, when the freight
should be only fifteen cents, absorbs _one-half the value of the crop_;
and this process, repeated from year to year during the whole period of
a decade, exhausts what would otherwise become the surplus of the
farmer, and finally impoverishes the entire agricultural community."



A PRINCESS OF THULE.

BY WILLIAM BLACK, AUTHOR OF "THE STRANGE ADVENTURES OF A PHAETON."


CHAPTER I.

"LOCHABER NO MORE."

On a small headland of the distant island of Lewis an old man stood
looking out on a desolate waste of rain-beaten sea. It was a wild and a
wet day. From out of the louring south-west fierce gusts of wind were
driving up volumes and flying rags of clouds, and sweeping onward at the
same time the gathering waves that fell hissing and thundering on the
shore. Far as the eye could reach the sea and the air and the sky seemed
to be one indistinguishable mass of whirling and hurrying vapor, as if
beyond this point there were no more land, but only wind and water, and
the confused and awful voices of their strife.

The short, thick-set, powerfully-built man who stood on this solitary
point paid little attention to the rain that ran off the peak of his
sailor's cap or to the gusts of wind that blew about his bushy gray
beard. He was still following, with an eye accustomed to pick out
objects far at sea, one speck of purple that was now fading into the
gray mist of the rain; and the longer he looked the less it became,
until the mingled sea and sky showed only the smoke that the great
steamer left in its wake. As he stood there, motionless and regardless
of everything around him, did he cling to the fancy that he could still
trace out the path of the vanished ship? A little while before it had
passed almost close to him. He had watched it steam out of Stornoway
harbor. As the sound of the engines came nearer and the big boat went
by, so that he could have almost called to it, there was no sign of
emotion on the hard and stern face, except, perhaps, that the lips were
held firm and a sort of frown appeared over the eyes. He saw a tiny
white handkerchief being waved to him from the deck of the vessel; and
he said, almost as though he were addressing some one there, "My good
little girl!"

But in the midst of that roaring of the sea and the wind how could any
such message be delivered? And already the steamer was away from the
land, standing out to the lonely plain of waters, and the sound of the
engines had ceased, and the figures on the deck had grown faint and
visionary. But still there was that one speck of white visible; and the
man knew that a pair of eyes that had many a time looked into his
own--as if with a faith that such intercommunion could never be
broken--were now trying, through overflowing and blinding tears, to send
him a last look of farewell.

The gray mists of the rain gathered within their folds the big vessel
and all the beating hearts it contained, and the fluttering of that
little token disappeared with it. All that remained was the sea,
whitened by the rushing of the wind and the thunder of waves on the
beach. The man, who had been gazing so long down into the south-east,
turned his face landward, and set out to walk over a tract of wet grass
and sand toward a road that ran near by. There was a large wagonette of
varnished oak and a pair of small, powerful horses waiting for him
there; and having dismissed the boy who had been in charge, he took the
reins and got up. But even yet the fascination of the sea and of that
sad farewell was upon him, and he turned once more, as if, now that
sight could yield him no further tidings, he would send her one more
word of good-bye. "My poor little Sheila!" That was all he said; and
then he turned to the horses and sent them on, with his head down to
escape the rain, and a look on his face like that of a dead man.

As he drove through the town of Stornoway the children playing within
the shelter of the cottage doors called to each other in a whisper, and
said, "That is the King of Borva."

But the elderly people said to each other, with a shake of the head, "It
iss a bad day, this day, for Mr. Mackenzie, that he will be going home
to an empty house. And it will be a ferry bad thing for the poor folk of
Borva, and they will know a great difference, now that Miss Sheila iss
gone away, and there iss nobody--not anybody at all--left in the island
to tek the side o' the poor folk."

He looked neither to the right nor to the left, though he was known to
many of the people, as he drove away from the town into the heart of the
lonely and desolate land. The wind had so far died down, and the rain
had considerably lessened, but the gloom of the sky was deepened by the
drawing on of the afternoon, and lay heavily over the deary wastes of
moor and hill. What a wild and dismal country was this which lay before
and all around him, now that the last traces of human occupation were
passed! There was not a cottage, not a stone wall, not a fence, to break
the monotony of the long undulations of moorland, which in the distance
rose into a series of hills that were black under the darkened sky. Down
from those mountains, ages ago, glaciers had slowly crept to eat out
hollows in the plains below; and now in those hollows were lonely lakes,
with not a tree to break the line of their melancholy shores. Everywhere
around were the traces of the glacier-drift--great gray boulders of
gneiss fixed fast into the black peat-moss or set amid the browns and
greens of the heather. The only sound to be heard in this wilderness of
rock and morass was the rushing of various streams, rain-swollen and
turbid, that plunged down their narrow channels to the sea.

The rain now ceased altogether, but the mountains in the far south had
grown still darker, and to the fisherman passing by the coast it must
have seemed as though the black peaks were holding converse with the
louring clouds, and that the silent moorland beneath was waiting for the
first roll of the thunder. The man who was driving along this lonely
route sometimes cast a glance down toward this threatening of a storm,
but he paid little heed to it. The reins lay loose on the backs of the
horses, and at their own pace they followed, hour after hour, the rising
and falling road that led through the moorland and past the gloomy
lakes. He may have recalled mechanically the names of those stretches of
water--the Lake of the Sheiling, the Lake of the Oars, the Lake of the
Fine Sand, and so forth--to measure the distance he had traversed; but
he seemed to pay little attention to the objects around him, and it was
with a glance of something like surprise that he suddenly found himself
overlooking that great sea-loch on the western side of the island in
which was his home.

He drove down the hill to the solitary little inn of Garra-na-hina. At
the door, muffled up in a warm woolen plaid, stood a young girl,
fair-haired, blue-eyed, and diffident in look.

"Mr. Mackenzie," she said, with that peculiar and pleasant intonation
that marks the speech of the Hebridean who has been taught English in
the schools, "it wass Miss Sheila wrote to me to Suainabost, and she
said I might come down from Suainabost and see if I can be of any help
to you in the house."

The girl was crying, although the blue eyes looked bravely through the
tears as if to disprove the fact.

"Ay, my good lass," he said, putting his hand gently on her head, "and
it wass Sheila wrote to you?"

"Yes, sir, and I hef come down from Suainabost."

"It is a lonely house you will be going to," he said absently.

"But Miss Sheila said I wass--I wass to--" But here the young girl
failed in her effort to explain that Miss Sheila had asked her to go
down to make the house less lonely. The elderly man in the wagonette
seemed scarcely to notice that she was crying: he bade her come up
beside him; and when he had got her into the wagonette he left some
message with the innkeeper, who had come to the door, and drove off
again.

They drove along the high land that overlooks a portion of Loch Roag,
with its wonderful network of islands and straits, and then they stopped
on the lofty plateau of Callernish, where there was a man waiting to
take the wagonette and horses.

"And you would be seeing Miss Sheila away, sir?" said the man; "and it
wass Duncan Macdonald will say that she will not come back no more to
Borva."

The old man with the big gray beard only frowned and passed on. He and
the girl made their way down the side of the rocky hill to the shore,
and here there was an open boat awaiting them. When they approached, a
man considerably over six feet in height, keen-faced, gray-eyed,
straight-limbed and sinewy in frame, jumped into the big and rough boat
and began to get ready for their departure. There was just enough wind
to catch the brown mainsail, and the King of Borva took the tiller, his
henchman sitting down by the mast. And no sooner had they left the shore
and stood out toward one of the channels of this arm of the sea, than
the tall, spare keeper began to talk of that which made his master's eye
grow dark. "Ah, well," he said, in the plaintive drawling of his race,
"and it iss an empty house you will be going to, Mr. Mackenzie; and it
iss a bad thing for us all that Miss Sheila hass gone away; and it iss
many's ta time she will hef been wis me in this very boat--"

"---- ---- ---- ---- you, Duncan Macdonald!" cried Mackenzie, in an
access of fury, "what will you talk of like that? It iss every man,
woman and child on the island will talk of nothing but Sheila! I will
drive my foot through the bottom of the boat if you do not hold your
peace!"

The tall gillie patiently waited until his master had exhausted his
passion, and then he said, as if nothing had occurred, "And it will not
do much good, Mr. Mackenzie, to tek ta name o' God in vain; and there
will be ferry much more of that now since Miss Sheila iss gone away, and
there will be much more of trinking in ta island, and it will be a great
difference, mirover. And she will be so far away that no one will see
her no more--far away beyond ta Sound of Sleat, and far away beyond
Oban, as I hef heard people say. And what will she do in London, when
she has no boat at all, and she will never go out to ta fishing? And I
will hear people say that you will walk a whole day and never come to ta
sea, and what will Miss Sheila do for that? And she will tame no more o'
ta wild-ducks' young things, and she will find out no more o' ta nests
in the rocks, and she will hef no more horns when the deer is killed,
and she will go out no more to see ta cattle swim across Loch Roag when
they go to ta sheilings. It will be all different, all different, now;
and she will never see us no more. And it iss as bad as if you wass a
poor man, Mr. Mackenzie, and had to let your sons and your daughters go
away to America, and never come back no more. And she ta only one in
your house! And it wass the son o' Mr. Macintyre of Sutherland he would
hef married her, and come to live on ta island, and not hef Miss Sheila
go away among strangers that doesna ken her family, and will put no
store by her, no more than if she wass a fisherman's lass. It wass Miss
Sheila herself had a sore heart tis morning when she went away; and she
turned and she looked at Borva as the boat came away, and I said, Tis
iss the last time Miss Sheila will be in her boat, and she will not come
no more again to Borva."

Mr. Mackenzie heard not one word or syllable of all this. The dead,
passionless look had fallen over the powerful features, and the deep-set
eyes were gazing, not on the actual Loch Roag before them, but on the
stormy sea that lies between Lewis and Skye, and on a vessel
disappearing in the midst of the rain. It was by a sort of instinct that
he guided this open boat through the channels, which were now getting
broader as they neared the sea, and the tall and grave-faced keeper
might have kept up his garrulous talk for hours without attracting a
look or a word.

It was now the dusk of the evening, and wild and strange indeed was the
scene around the solitary boat as it slowly moved along. Large
islands--so large that any one of them might have been mistaken for the
mainland--lay over the dark waters of the sea, remote, untenanted and
silent. There were no white cottages along these rocky shores; only a
succession of rugged cliffs and sandy bays, but half mirrored in the
sombre water below. Down in the south the mighty shoulders and peaks of
Suainabhal and its sister mountains were still darker than the darkening
sky; and when at length the boat had got well out from the network of
islands and fronted the broad waters of the Atlantic, the great plain of
the western sea seemed already to have drawn around it the solemn mantle
of the night.

"Will you go to Borvabost, Mr. Mackenzie, or will we run her into your
own house?" asked Duncan--Borvabost being the name of the chief village
on the island.

"I will not go on to Borvabost," said the old man peevishly. "Will they
not have plenty to talk about at Borvabost?"

"And it iss no harm tat ta folk will speak of Miss Sheila," said the
gillie with some show of resentment: "it iss no harm tey will be sorry
she is gone away--no harm at all, for it wass many things tey had to
thank Miss Sheila for; and now it will be all ferry different--"

"I tell you, Duncan Macdonald, to hold your peace!" said the old man,
with a savage glare of the deep-set eyes; and then Duncan relapsed into
a sulky silence and the boat held on its way.

In the gathering twilight a long gray curve of sand became visible, and
into the bay thus indicated Mackenzie turned his small craft. This
indentation of the island seemed as blank of human occupation as the
various points and bays they had passed, but as they neared the shore a
house came into sight, about half-way up the slope rising from the sea
to the pasture-land above. There was a small stone pier jutting out at
one portion of the bay, where a mass of rocks was imbedded in the white
sand; and here at length the boat was run in, and Mackenzie helped the
young girl ashore.

The two of them, leaving the gillie to moor the little vessel that had
brought them from Callernish, went silently toward the shore, and up the
narrow road leading to the house. It was a square, two-storied
substantial building of stone, but the stone had been liberally oiled to
keep out the wet, and the blackness thus produced had not a very
cheerful look. Then, on this particular evening the scant bushes
surrounding the house hung limp and dark in the rain, and amid the
prevailing hues of purple, blue-green and blue the bit of scarlet coping
running round the black house was wholly ineffective in relieving the
general impression of dreariness and desolation.

The King of Borva walked into a large room, which was but partially lit
by two candles on the table and by the blaze of a mass of peats in the
stone fireplace, and threw himself into a big easy-chair. Then he
suddenly seemed to recollect his companion, who was timidly standing
near the door, with her shawl still round her head.

"Mairi," he said, "go and ask them to give you some dry clothes. Your
box it will not be here for half an hour yet." Then he turned to the
fire.

"But you yourself, Mr. Mackenzie, you will be ferry wet--"

"Never mind me, my lass: go and get yourself dried."

"But it wass Miss Sheila," began the girl diffidently--"it wass Miss
Sheila asked me--she asked me to look after you, sir--"

With that he rose abruptly, and advanced to her and caught her by the
wrist. He spoke quite quietly to her, but the girl's eyes, looking up at
the stern face, were a trifle frightened.

"You are a ferry good little girl, Mairi," he said slowly, "and you will
mind what I say to you. You will do what you like in the house, you will
take Sheila's place as much as you like, but you will mind this--not to
mention her name, not once. Now go away, Mairi, and find Scarlett
Macdonald, and she will give you some dry clothes; and you will tell her
to send Duncan down to Borvabost, and bring up John the Piper and
Alister-nan-Each, and the lads of the _Nighean dubh_, if they are not
gone home to Habost yet. But it iss John the Piper must come directly."

The girl went away to seek counsel of Scarlett Macdonald, Duncan's wife,
and Mr. Mackenzie proceeded to walk up and down the big and half-lit
chamber. Then he went to a cupboard, and put out on the table a number
of tumblers and glasses, with two or three odd-looking bottles of
Norwegian make, consisting of four semicircular tubes of glass meeting
at top and bottom, leaving the centre of the vessel thus formed open. He
stirred up the blazing peats in the fireplace. He brought down from a
shelf a box filled with coarse tobacco, and put it on the table. But he
was evidently growing impatient, and at last he put on his cap again and
went out into the night.

The air blew cold in from the sea, and whistled through the bushes that
Sheila had trained about the porch. There was no rain now, but a great
and heavy darkness brooded overhead, and in the silence he could hear
the breaking of the waves along the hard coast. But what was this other
sound he heard, wild and strange in the stillness of the night--a shrill
and plaintive cry that the distance softened until it almost seemed to
be the calling of a human voice? Surely those were words that he heard,
or was it only that the old, sad air spoke to him?--

    For Lochaber no more, Lochaber no more,
    Maybe to return to Lochaber no more.

That was the message that came to him out of the darkness, and it seemed
to him as if the sea and the night and the sky were wailing over the
loss of his Sheila. He walked away from the house and up the hill
behind. Led by the sound of the pipes, that grew louder and more
unearthly as he approached, he found himself at length on a bit of high
table-land overlooking the sea, where Sheila had had a rude bench of
iron and wood fixed into the rock. On this bench sat a little old man,
humpbacked and bent, and with long white hair falling down to his
shoulders. He was playing the pipes--not wildly and fiercely, as if he
were at a drinking-bout of the lads come home from the Caithness
fishing, nor yet gayly and proudly, as if he were marching at the head
of a bridal-procession, but slowly, mournfully, monotonously, as though
he were having the pipes talk to him.

Mackenzie touched him on the shoulder, and the old man started. "Is it
you, Mr. Mackenzie?" he said in Gaelic. "It is a great fright you have
given me."

"Come down to the house, John. The lads from Habost and Alister, and
some more will be coming; and you will get a ferry good dram, John, to
put wind in the pipes."

"It is no dram I am thinking of, Mr. Mackenzie," said the old man. "And
you will have plenty of company without me. But I will come down to the
house, Mr. Mackenzie--oh yes, I will come down to the house--but _in a
little while_ I will come to the house."

Mackenzie turned from him with a petulant exclamation, and went along
and down the hill rapidly, as he could hear voices in the darkness. He
had just got into the house when his visitors arrived. The door of the
room was opened, and there appeared some six or eight tall and stalwart
men, mostly with profuse brown beards and weatherbeaten faces, who
advanced into the chamber with some show of shyness. Mackenzie offered
them a rough and hearty welcome, and as soon as their eyes had got
accustomed to the light bade them help themselves to the whisky on the
table. With a certain solemnity each poured out a glass and drank
"_Shlainte!_" to his host as if it were some funeral rite. But when he
bade them replenish their glasses, and got them seated with their faces
to the blaze of the peats, then the flood of Gaelic broke loose. Had the
wise little girl from Suainabost warned these big men? There was not a
word about Sheila uttered. All their talk was of the reports that had
come from Caithness, and of the improvements of the small harbor near
the Butt, and of the black sea-horse that had been seen in Loch
Suainabhal, and of some more sheep having been found dead on the Pladda
Isles, shot by the men of the English smacks. Pipes were lit, the peats
stirred up anew, another glass or two of whisky drunk, and then, through
the haze of the smoke, the browned faces of the men could be seen in
eager controversy, each talking faster than the other, and comparing
facts and fancies that had been brooded over through solitary nights of
waiting on the sea. Mackenzie did not sit down with them: he did not
even join them in their attention to the curious whisky-flasks. He paced
up and down the opposite side of the room, occasionally being appealed
to with a story or a question, and showing by his answers that he was
but vaguely hearing the vociferous talk of his companions. At last he
said, "Why the teffle does not John the Piper come? Here, you men--you
sing a song, quick! None of your funeral songs, but a good brisk one of
trinking and fighting."

But were not nearly all their songs--like those of all dwellers on a
rocky and dangerous coast--of a sad and sombre hue, telling of maidens
whose lovers were drowned, and of wives bidding farewell to husbands
they were never to see again? Slow and mournful are the songs that the
northern fishermen sing as they set out in the evening, with the
creaking of their long oars keeping time to the music, until they get
out beyond the shore to hoist the red mainsail and catch the breeze
blowing over from the regions of the sunset. Not one of these Habost
fishermen could sing a brisk song, but the nearest approach to it was a
ballad in praise of a dark-haired girl, which they, owning the _Nighean
dubh_, were bound to know. And so one young fellow began to sing, "Mo
Nighean dubh d'fhas boidheach dubh, mo Nighean dubh na treig mi,"[G] in
a slow and doleful fashion, and the others joined in the chorus with a
like solemnity. In order to keep time, four of the men followed the
common custom of taking a pocket handkerchief (in this case an immense
piece of brilliant red silk, which was evidently the pride of its owner)
and holding it by the four corners, letting it slowly rise and fall as
they sang. The other three men laid hold of a bit of rope, which they
used for the same purpose. "Mo Nighean dubh," unlike most of the Gaelic
songs, has but a few verses; and as soon as they were finished the young
fellow, who seemed pleased with his performances, started another
ballad. Perhaps he had forgotten his host's injunction, perhaps he knew
no merrier song, but at any rate he began to sing the "Lament of
Monaltrie." It was one of Sheila's songs. She had sung it the night
before in this very room, and her father had listened to her describing
the fate of young Monaltrie as if she had been foretelling her own, and
scarcely dared to ask himself if ever again he should hear the voice
that he loved so well. He could not listen to the song. He abruptly left
the room, and went out once more into the cool night-air and the
darkness. But even here he was not allowed to forget the sorrow he had
been vainly endeavoring to banish, for in the far distance the pipes
still played the melancholy wail of Lochaber.

    Lochaber no more! Lochaber no more!

--that was the only solace brought him by the winds from the sea; and
there were tears running down the hard gray face as he said to himself,
in a broken voice, "Sheila, my little girl, why did you go away from
Borva?"


CHAPTER II.

THE FAIR-HAIRED STRANGER.

"Why, you must be in love with her yourself!"

"I in love with her? Sheila and I are too old friends for that!"

The speakers were two young men seated in the stern of the steamer
Clansman as she ploughed her way across the blue and rushing waters of
the Minch. One of them was a tall young fellow of three-and-twenty, with
fair hair and light blue eyes, whose delicate and mobile features were
handsome enough in their way, and gave evidence of a nature at once
sensitive, nervous and impulsive. He was clad in light gray from head to
heel--a color that suited his fair complexion and yellow hair; and he
lounged about the white deck in the glare of the sunlight, steadying
himself from time to time as an unusually big wave carried the Clansman
aloft for a second or two, and then sent her staggering and groaning
into a hissing trough of foam. Now and again he would pause in front of
his companion, and talk in a rapid, playful, and even eloquent fashion
for a minute or two; and then, apparently a trifle annoyed by the slow
and patient attention which greeted his oratorical efforts, would start
off once more on his unsteady journey up and down the white planks.

The other was a man of thirty-eight, of middle height, sallow complexion
and generally insignificant appearance. His hair was becoming
prematurely gray. He rarely spoke. He was dressed in a suit of rough
blue cloth, and indeed looked somewhat like a pilot who had gone ashore,
taken to study and never recovered himself. A stranger would have
noticed the tall and fair young man who walked up and down the gleaming
deck, evidently enjoying the brisk breeze that blew about his yellow
hair, and the sunlight that touched his pale and fine face or sparkled
on his teeth when he laughed, but would have paid little attention to
the smaller, brown-faced, gray-haired man, who lay back on the bench
with his two hands clasped round his knee, and with his eyes fixed on
the southern heavens, while he murmured to himself the lines of some
ridiculous old Devonshire ballad or replied in monosyllables to the
rapid and eager talk of his friend.

Both men were good sailors, and they had need to be, for although the
sky above them was as blue and clear as the heart of a sapphire, and
although the sunlight shone on the decks and the rigging, a strong
north-easter had been blowing all the morning, and there was a
considerable sea on. The far blue plain was whitened with the tumbling
crests of the waves, that shone and sparkled in the sun, and ever and
anon a volume of water would strike the Clansman's bow, rise high in
the air with the shock, and fall in heavy showers over the forward
decks. Sometimes, too, a wave caught her broadside, and sent a handful
of spray over the two or three passengers who were safe in the stern;
but the decks here remained silvery and white, for the sun and wind
speedily dried up the traces of the sea-showers.

At length the taller of the young men came and sat down by his
companion: "How far to Stornoway yet?"

"An hour."

"By Jove, what a distance! All day yesterday getting up from Oban to
Skye, all last night churning our way up to Loch Gair, all to-day
crossing to this outlandish island, that seems as far away as
Iceland;--and for what?"

"But don't you remember the moonlight last night as we sailed by the
Cuchullins? And the sunrise this morning as we lay in Loch Gair? Were
not these worth coming for?"

"But that was not what you came for, my dear friend. No. You came to
carry off this wonderful Miss Sheila of yours, and of course you wanted
somebody to look on; and here I am, ready to carry the ladder and the
dark lantern and the marriage-license. I will saddle your steeds for you
and row you over lakes, and generally do anything to help you in so
romantic an enterprise."

"It is very kind of you, Lavender," said the other with a smile, "but
such adventures are not for old fogies like me. They are the exclusive
right of young fellows like you, who are tall and well-favored, have
plenty of money and good spirits, and have a way with you that all the
world admires. Of course the bride will tread a measure with you. Of
course all the bridesmaids would like to see you marry her. Of course
she will taste the cup you offer her. Then a word in her ear, and away
you go as if it were the most natural thing in the world, and as if the
bridegroom was a despicable creature merely because God had only given
him five feet six inches. But you couldn't have a Lochinvar five feet
six."

The younger man blushed like a girl and laughed a little, and was
evidently greatly pleased. Nay, in the height of his generosity he began
to protest. He would not have his friend imagine that women cared only
for stature and good looks. There were other qualities. He himself had
observed the most singular conquests made by men who were not
good-looking, but who had a certain fascination about them. His own
experience of women was considerable, and he was quite certain that the
best women, now--the sort of women whom a man would respect--the women
who had brains--

And so forth and so forth. The other listened quite gravely to these
well-meant, kindly, blundering explanations, and only one who watched
his face narrowly could have detected in the brown eyes a sort of amused
consciousness of the intentions of the amiable and ingenuous youth.

"Do you really mean to tell me, Ingram," continued Lavender in his rapid
and impetuous way--"do you mean to tell me that you are not in love with
this Highland princess? For ages back you have talked of nothing but
Sheila. How many an hour have I spent in clubs, up the river, down at
the coast, everywhere, listening to your stories of Sheila, and your
praises of Sheila, and your descriptions of Sheila! It was always
Sheila, and again Sheila, and still again Sheila. But, do you know,
either you exaggerated or I failed to understand your descriptions; for
the Sheila I came to construct out of your talk is a most incongruous
and incomprehensible creature. First, Sheila knows about stone and lime
and building; and then I suppose her to be a practical young woman, who
is a sort of overseer to her father. But Sheila, again, is romantic and
mysterious, and believes in visions and dreams; and then I take her to
be an affected school-miss. But then Sheila can throw a fly and play her
sixteen-pounder, and Sheila can adventure upon the lochs in an open
boat, managing the sail herself; and then I find her to be a tom-boy.
But, again, Sheila is shy and rarely speaks, but looks unutterable
things with her soft and magnificent eyes; and what does that mean but
that she is an ordinary young lady, who has not been in society, and who
is a little interesting, if a little stupid, while she is unmarried, and
who after marriage calmly and complacently sinks into the dull domestic
hind, whose only thought is of butchers' bills and perambulators?"

This was a fairly long speech, but it was no longer than many which
Frank Lavender was accustomed to utter when in the vein for talking. His
friend and companion did not pay much heed. His hands were still clasped
round his knee, his head leaning back, and all the answer he made was to
repeat, apparently to himself, these not very pertinent lines:

    "In Ockington, in Devonsheer,
    My vather he lived vor many a yeer;
    And I his son with him did dwell,
    To tend his sheep: 'twas doleful well.
                        Diddle-diddle!"

"You know, Ingram, it must be precious hard for a man who has to knock
about in society, and take his wife with him, to have to explain to
everybody that she is in reality a most unusual and gifted young person,
and that she must not be expected to talk. It is all very well for him
in his own house--that is to say, if he can preserve all the sentiment
that made her shyness fine and wonderful before their marriage--but a
man owes a little to society, even in choosing a wife."

Another pause.

    "It happened on a zartin day
    Four-score o' the sheep they rinned astray:
    Says vather to I, 'Jack, rin arter 'm, du!'
    Sez I to vather, 'I'm darned if I du!'
                        Diddle-diddle!"

"Now you are the sort of a man, I should think, who would never get
careless about your wife. You would always believe about her what you
believed at first; and I dare say you would live very happily in your
own house if she was a decent sort of woman. But you would have to go
out into society sometimes; and the very fact that you had not got
careless--as many men would, leaving their wives to produce any sort of
impression they might--would make you vexed that the world could not
off-hand value your wife as you fancy she ought to be valued. Don't you
see?"

This was the answer:

    "Purvoket much at my rude tongue,
    A dish o' brath at me he vlung,
    Which so incensed me to wrath,
    That I up an' knack un instantly to arth.
                        Diddle-diddle!"

"As for your Princess Sheila, I firmly believe you have some romantic
notion of marrying her and taking her up to London with you. If you
seriously intend such a thing, I shall not argue with you. I shall
praise her by the hour together, for I may have to depend on Mrs. Edward
Ingram for my admission to your house. But if you only have the fancy as
a fancy, consider what the result would be. You say she has never been
to a school; that she has never had the companionship of a girl of her
own age; that she has never read a newspaper; that she has never been
out of this island; and that almost her sole society has been that of
her mother, who educated her and tended her, and left her as ignorant of
the real world as if she had lived all her life in a lighthouse.
Goodness gracious! what a figure such a girl would cut in South
Kensington!"

"My dear fellow," said Ingram at last, "don't be absurd. You will soon
see what are the relations between Sheila Mackenzie and me, and you will
be satisfied. I marry her? Do you think I would take the child to London
to show her its extravagance and shallow society, and break her heart
with thinking of the sea, and of the rude islanders she knew, and of
their hard and bitter struggle for life? No. I should not like to see my
wild Highland doe shut up in one of your southern parks among your tame
fallow-deer. She would look at them askance. She would separate herself
from them; and by and by she would make one wild effort to escape, and
kill herself. That is not the fate in store for our good little Sheila;
so you need not make yourself unhappy about her or me.

    'Now all ye young men, of every persuasion,
    Never quarl wi' your vather upon any occasion;
    For instead of being better, you'll vind you'll be wuss,
    For he'll kick you out o' doors, without a varden in your puss!
                        Diddle-diddle!'

Talking of Devonshire, how is that young American lady you met at
Torquay in the spring?"

"There, now, is the sort of woman a man would be safe in marrying!"

"And how?"

"Oh, well, you know," said Frank Lavender. "I mean the sort of woman who
would do you credit--hold her own in society, and that sort of thing.
You must meet her some day. I tell you, Ingram, you will be delighted
and charmed with her manners and her grace, and the clever things she
says; at least, everybody else is."

"Ah, well!"

"You don't seem to care much for brilliant women," remarked the other,
rather disappointed that his companion showed so little interest.

"Oh yes, I like brilliant women very well. A clever woman is always a
pleasanter companion than a clever man. But you were talking of the
choice of a wife; and pertness in a girl, although it may be amusing at
the time, may become something else by and by. Indeed, I shouldn't
advise a young man to marry an epigrammatist, for you see her shrewdness
and smartness are generally the result of experiences in which _he_ has
had no share."

"There may be something in that," said Lavender carelessly; "but of
course, you know, with a widow it is different; and Mrs. Lorraine never
does go in for the _ingénue_."

The pale blue cloud that had for some time been lying faintly along the
horizon now came nearer and more near, until they could pick out
something like the configuration of the island, its bays and
promontories and mountains. The day seemed to become warmer as they got
out of the driving wind of the Channel, and the heavy roll of the sea
had so far subsided. Through comparatively calm water the great Clansman
drove her way, until, on getting near the land and under shelter of the
peninsula of Eye, the voyagers found themselves on a beautiful blue
plain, with the spacious harbor of Stornoway opening out before them.
There, on the one side, lay a white and cleanly town, with its shops
and quays and shipping. Above the bay in front stood a great gray
castle, surrounded by pleasure-grounds and terraces and gardens; while
on the southern side the harbor was overlooked by a semicircle of hills,
planted with every variety of tree. The white houses, the blue bay and
the large gray building set amid green terraces and overlooked by wooded
hills, formed a bright and lively little picture on this fresh and
brilliant forenoon; and young Lavender, who had a quick eye for
compositions which he was always about to undertake, but which never
appeared on canvas, declared enthusiastically that he would spend a day
or two in Stornoway on his return from Borva, and take home with him
some sketch of the place.

"And is Miss Sheila on the quay yonder?" he asked.

"Not likely," said Ingram. "It is a long drive across the island, and I
suppose she would remain at home to look after our dinner in the
evening."

"What? The wonderful Princess Sheila look after our dinner! Has she
visions among the pots and pans, and does she look unutterable things
when she is peeling potatoes?"

Ingram laughed: "There will be a pretty alteration in your tune in a
couple of days. You are sure to fall in love with her, and sigh
desperately for a week or two. You always do when you meet a woman
anywhere. But it won't hurt you much, and she won't know anything about
it."

"I should rather like to fall in love with her, to see how furiously
jealous you would become. However, here we are."

"And there is Mackenzie--the man with the big gray beard and the peaked
cap--and he is talking to the chamberlain of the island."

"What does he get up on his wagonette for, instead of coming on board to
meet you?"

"Oh, that is one of his little tricks," said Ingram with a good-humored
smile. "He means to receive us in state, and impress you, a stranger,
with his dignity. The good old fellow has a hundred harmless ways like
that, and you must humor him. He has been accustomed to be treated _en
roi_, you know."

"Then the papa of the mysterious princess is not perfect?"

"Perhaps I ought to tell you now that Mackenzie's oddest notion is that
he has a wonderful skill in managing men, and in concealing the manner
of his doing it. I tell you this that you mayn't laugh and hurt him when
he is attempting something that he considers particularly crafty, and
that a child could see through."

"But what is the aim of it all?"

"Oh, nothing."

"He does not do a little bet occasionally?"

"Oh dear! no. He is the best and honestest fellow in the world, but it
pleases him to fancy that he is profoundly astute, and that other people
don't see the artfulness with which he reaches some little result that
is not of the least consequence to anybody."

"It seems to me," remarked Mr. Lavender with a coolness and a shrewdness
that rather surprised his companion, "that it would not be difficult to
get the King of Borva to assume the honors of a papa-in-law."

The steamer was moored at last: the crowd of fishermen and loungers drew
near to meet their friends who had come up from Glasgow--for there are
few strangers, as a rule, arriving at Stornoway to whet the curiosity of
the islanders--and the tall gillie who had been standing by Mackenzie's
horses came on board to get the luggage of the young men.

"Well, Duncan," said the elder of them, "and how are you, and how is Mr.
Mackenzie, and how is Miss Sheila? You have not brought her with you, I
see."

"But Miss Sheila is ferry well, whatever, Mr. Ingram, and it is a great
day, this day, for her, tat you will be coming to the Lewis; and it wass
tis morning she wass up at ta break o' day, and up ta hills to get some
bits o' green things for ta rooms you will hef, Mr. Ingram. Ay, it iss
a great day, tis day, for Miss Sheila."

"By Jove, they all rave about Sheila up in this quarter!" said Lavender,
giving Duncan a fishing-rod and a bag he had brought from the cabin. "I
suppose in a week's time I shall begin to rave about her too. Look
sharp, Ingram, and let us have audience of His Majesty."

The King of Borva fixed his eye on young Lavender, and scanned him
narrowly as he was being introduced. His welcome of Ingram had been most
gracious and friendly, but he received his companion with something of a
severe politeness. He requested him to take a seat beside him, so that
he might see the country as they went across to Borva; and Lavender
having done so, Ingram and Duncan got into the body of the wagonette,
and the party drove off.

Passing through the clean and bright little town, Mackenzie suddenly
pulled up his horses in front of a small shop, in the window of which
some cheap bits of jewelry were visible. The man came out, and Mr.
Mackenzie explained with some care and precision that he wanted a silver
brooch of a particular sort. While the jeweler had returned to seek the
article in question, Frank Lavender was gazing around him in some wonder
at the appearance of so much civilization on this remote and
rarely-visited island. There were no haggard savages, unkempt and
scantily clad, coming forth from their dens in the rocks to stare wildly
at the strangers. On the contrary, there was a prevailing air of comfort
and "bienness" about the people and their houses. He saw handsome girls
with coal-black hair and fresh complexions, who wore short and thick
blue petticoats, with a scarlet tartan shawl wrapped round their bosom
and fastened at the waist; stalwart, thick-set men, in loose blue jacket
and trowsers and scarlet cap, many of them with bushy red beards; and
women of extraordinary breadth of shoulder, who carried enormous loads
in a creel strapped on their back, while they employed their hands in
contentedly knitting stockings as they passed along. But what was the
purpose of these mighty loads of fish-bones they carried--burdens that
would have appalled a railway porter of the South?

"You will see, sir," observed the King of Borva in reply to Lavender's
question, "there is not much of the phosphates in the grass of this
island; and the cows they are mad to get the fish-bones to lick, and it
iss many of them you cannot milk unless you put the bones before them."

"But why do the lazy fellows lounging about there let the women carry
those enormous loads?"

Mr. Mackenzie stared: "Lazy fellows! They hef harder work than any you
will know of in your country; and besides the fishing they will do the
ploughing and much of the farm-work. And iss the women to do none at
all? That iss the nonsense that my daughter talks; but she has got it
out of books, and what do they know how the poor people hef to live?"

At this moment the jeweler returned with some half dozen brooches
displayed on a plate, and shining with all the brilliancy of cairngorm
stones, polished silver and variously-colored pebbles.

"Now, John Mackintyre, this is a gentleman from London," said Mackenzie,
regarding the jeweler sternly, "and he will know all apout such fine
things, and you will not put a big price on them."

It was now Lavender's turn to stare, but he good-naturedly accepted the
duties of referee, and eventually a brooch was selected and paid for,
the price being six shillings. Then they drove on again.

"Sheila will know nothing of this--it will be a great surprise for her,"
said Mackenzie, almost to himself, as he opened the white box and saw
the glaring piece of jewelry lying on the white cotton.

"Good heavens, sir!" cried Frank Lavender, "you don't mean to say you
bought that brooch for your daughter?"

"And why not?" said the King of Borva in great surprise.

The young man perceived his mistake, grew considerably confused, and
only said, "Well, I should have thought that--that some small piece of
gold jewelry, now, would be better suited for a young lady."

Mackenzie smiled shrewdly: "I had something to go on. It wass Sheila
herself was in Stornoway three weeks ago, and she wass wanting to buy a
brooch for a young girl who has come down to us from Suainabost and is
very useful in the kitchen, and it wass a brooch just like this one she
gave to her."

"Yes, to a kitchen-maid," said the young man meekly.

"But Mairi is Sheila's cousin," said Mackenzie with continued surprise.

"Lavender does not understand Highland ways yet, Mr. Mackenzie," said
Ingram from behind. "You know we in the South have different fashions.
Our servants are nearly always strangers to us--not relations and
companions."

"Oh, I hef peen in London myself," said Mackenzie in somewhat of an
injured tone; and then he added with a touch of self-satisfaction, "and
I hef been in Paris, too."

"And Miss Sheila, has she been in London?" asked Lavender, feigning
ignorance.

"She has never been out of the Lewis."

"But don't you think the education of a young lady should include some
little experience of traveling?"

"Sheila, she will be educated quite enough; and is she going to London
or Paris without me?"

"You might take her."

"I have too much to do on the island now, and Sheila has much to do. I
do not think she will ever see any of those places, and she will not be
much the worse."

Two young men off for their holidays, a brilliant day shining all around
them, the sweet air of the sea and the moorland blowing about
them,--this little party that now drove away from Stornoway ought to
have been in the best of spirits. And indeed the young fellow who sat
beside Mackenzie was bent on pleasing his host by praising everything he
saw. He praised the gallant little horses that whirled them past the
plantations and out into the open country. He praised the rich black
peat that was visible in long lines and heaps, where the townspeople
were slowly eating into the moorland. Then all these traces of
occupation were left behind, and the travelers were alone in the
untenanted heart of the island, where the only sounds audible were the
humming of insects in the sunlight and the falling of the streams. Away
in the south the mountains were of a silvery and transparent blue.
Nearer at hand the rich reds and browns of the moorland softened into a
tender and beautiful green on nearing the margins of the lakes; and
these stretches of water were now as fair and bright as the sky above
them, and were scarcely ruffled by the moorfowl moving out from the
green rushes. Still nearer at hand great masses of white rock lay
embedded in the soft soil; and what could have harmonized better with
the rough and silver-gray surface than the patches of rose-red
bell-heather that grew up in their clefts or hung over their summits?
The various and beautiful colors around seemed to tingle with light and
warmth as the clear sun shone on them and the keen mountain-air blew
over them; and the King of Borva was so far thawed by the enthusiasm of
his companions that he regarded the far country with a pleased smile, as
if the enchanted land belonged to him, and as if the wonderful colors
and the exhilarating air and the sweet perfumes were of his own
creation.

Mr. Mackenzie did not know much about tints and hues, but he believed
what he heard; and it was perhaps, after all, not very surprising that a
gentleman from London, who had skill of pictures and other delicate
matters, should find strange marvels in a common stretch of moor, with a
few lakes here and there, and some lines of mountain only good for
sheilings. It was not for him to check the raptures of his guest. He
began to be friendly with the young man, and could not help regarding
him as a more cheerful companion than his neighbor Ingram, who would sit
by your side for an hour at a time without breaking the monotony of the
horses' tramp with a single remark. He had formed a poor opinion of
Lavender's physique from the first glimpse he had of his white fingers
and girl-like complexion; but surely a man who had such a vast amount of
good spirits and such a rapidity of utterance must have something
corresponding to these qualities in substantial bone and muscle. There
was something pleasing and ingenuous too about this flow of talk. Men
who had arrived at years of wisdom, and knew how to study and use their
fellows, were not to be led into these betrayals of their secret
opinions; but for a young man--what could be more pleasing than to see
him lay open his soul to the observant eye of a master of men? Mackenzie
began to take a great fancy to young Lavender.

"Why," said Lavender, with a fine color mantling in his cheeks as the
wind caught them on a higher portion of the road, "I had heard of Lewis
as a most bleak and desolate island, flat moorland and lake, without a
hill to be seen. And everywhere I see hills, and yonder are great
mountains which I hope to get nearer before we leave."

"We have mountains in this island," remarked Mackenzie slowly as he kept
his eye on his companion--"we have mountains in this island sixteen
thousand feet high."

Lavender looked sufficiently astonished, and the old man was pleased. He
paused for a moment or two, and said, "But this iss the way of it: you
will see that the middle of the mountains it has all been washed away by
the weather, and you will only have the sides now dipping one way and
the other at each side o' the island. But it iss a very clever man in
Stornoway will tell me that you can make out what wass the height o' the
mountain, by watching the dipping of the rocks on each side; and it iss
an older country, this island, than any you will know of; and there were
the mountains sixteen thousand feet high long before all this country
and all Scotland and England wass covered with ice."

The young man was very desirous to show his interest in this matter, but
did not know very well how. At last he ventured to ask whether there
were any fossils in the blocks of gneiss that were scattered over the
moorland.

"Fossils?" said Mackenzie. "Oh, I will not care much about such small
things. If you will ask Sheila, she will tell you all about it, and
about the small things she finds growing on the hills. That iss not of
much consequence to me; but I will tell you what is the best thing the
island grows: it is good girls and strong men--men that can go to the
fishing, and come back to plough the fields and cut the peat and build
the houses, and leave the women to look after the fields and the gardens
when they go back again to the fisheries. But it is the old people--they
are ferry cunning, and they will not put their money in the bank at
Stornoway, but will hide it away about the house, and then they will
come to Sheila and ask for money to put a pane of glass in their house.
And she has promised that to every one who will make a window in the
wall of their house; and she is very simple with them, and does not
understand the old people that tell lies. But when I hear of it, I say
nothing to Sheila--she will know nothing about it--but I hef a watch put
upon the people; and it wass only yesterday I will take back two
shillings she gave to an old woman of Borvabost that told many lies.
What does a young thing know of these old people? She will know nothing
at all, and it iss better for some one else to look after them, but not
to speak one word of it to her."

"It must require great astuteness to manage a primitive people like
that," said young Lavender with an air of conviction; and the old man
eagerly and proudly assented, and went on to tell of the manifold
diplomatic arts he used in reigning over his small kingdom, and how his
subjects lived in blissful ignorance that this controlling power was
being exercised.

They were startled by an exclamation from Ingram, who called to
Mackenzie to pull up the horses just as they were passing over a small
bridge.

"Look there, Lavender! did you ever see salmon jumping like that? Look
at the size of them!"

"Oh, it iss nothing," said Mackenzie, driving on again. "Where you will
see the salmon, it is in the narrows of Loch Roag, where they come into
the rivers, and the tide is low. Then you will see them jumping; and if
the water wass too low for a long time, they will die in hundreds and
hundreds."

"But what makes them jump before they get into the rivers?"

Old Mackenzie smiled a crafty smile, as if he had found out all the ways
and the secrets of the salmon: "They will jump to look about them--that
iss all."

"Do you think a salmon can see where he is going?"

"And maybe you will explain this to me, then," said the king with a
compassionate air: "how iss it the salmon will try to jump over some
stones in the river, and he will see he cannot go over them; but does he
fall straight down on the stones and kill himself? Neffer--no, neffer.
He will get back to the pool he left by turning in the air: that is what
I hef seen hundreds of times myself."

"Then they must be able to fly as well as see in the air."

"You may say about it what you will please, but that is what I
know--that is what I know ferry well myself."

"And I should think there were not many people in the country who knew
more about salmon than you," said Frank Lavender. "And I hear, too, that
your daughter is a great fisher."

But this was a blunder. The old man frowned: "Who will tell you such
nonsense? Sheila has gone out many times with Duncan, and he will put a
rod in her hands: yes, and she will have caught a fish or two, but it
iss not a story to tell. My daughter she will have plenty to do about
the house, without any of such nonsense. You will expect to find us all
savages, with such stories of nonsense."

"I am sure not," said Lavender warmly. "I have been very much struck
with the civilization of the island, so far as I have seen it; and I
can assure you I have always heard of Miss Sheila as a singularly
accomplished young lady."

"Yes," said Mackenzie somewhat mollified, "Sheila has been well brought
up: she is not a fisherman's lass, running about wild and catching the
salmon. I cannot listen to such nonsense, and it iss Duncan will tell
it."

"I can assure you, no. I have never spoken to Duncan. The fact is,
Ingram mentioned that your daughter had caught a salmon or two--as a
tribute to her skill, you know."

"Oh, I know it wass Duncan," said Mackenzie, with a deeper frown coming
over his face. "I will hef some means taken to stop Duncan from talking
such nonsense."

The young man, knowing nothing as yet of the child-like obedience paid
to the King of Borva by his islanders, thought to himself, "Well, you
are a very strong and self-willed old gentleman, but if I were you I
should not meddle much with that tall keeper with the eagle beak and the
gray eyes. I should not like to be a stag, and know that that fellow was
watching me somewhere with a rifle in his hands."

At length they came upon the brow of the hill overlooking
Garra-na-hina[H] and the panorama of the western lochs and mountains.
Down there on the side of the hill was the small inn, with its little
patch of garden; then a few moist meadows leading over to the estuary of
the Black River; and beyond that an illimitable prospect of heathy
undulations rising into the mighty peaks of Cracabhal, Mealasabhal and
Suainabhal. Then on the right, leading away out to the as yet invisible
Atlantic, lay the blue plain of Loch Roag, with a margin of yellow
seaweed along its shores, where the rocks revealed themselves at low
water, and with a multitude of large, variegated and verdant islands
which hid from sight the still greater Borva beyond.

They stopped to have a glass of whisky at Garra-na-hina, and Mackenzie
got down from the wagonette and went into the inn.

"And this is a Highland loch!" said Lavender, turning to his companion
from the South. "It is an enchanted sea: you could fancy yourself in the
Pacific, if only there were some palm trees on the shores of the
islands. No wonder you took for an Eve any sort of woman you met in such
a paradise!"

"You seem to be thinking a good deal about that young lady."

"Well, who would not wish to make the acquaintance of a pretty girl,
especially when you have plenty of time on your hands, and nothing to do
but pay her little attentions, you know, and so forth, as being the
daughter of your host?"

There was no particular answer to such an incoherent question, but
Ingram did not seem so well pleased as he had been with the prospect of
introducing his friend to the young Highland girl whose praises he had
been reciting for many a day.

However, they drank their whisky, drove on to Callernish, and here
paused for a minute or two to show the stranger a series of large
so-called Druidical stones which occupy a small station overlooking the
loch. Could anything have been more impressive than the sight of these
solitary gray pillars placed on this bit of table-land high over the
sea, and telling of a race that vanished ages ago, and left the
surrounding plains and hills and shores a wild and untenanted solitude?
But, somehow Lavender did not care to remain among those voiceless
monuments of a forgotten past. He said he would come and sketch them
some other day. He praised the picture all around, and then came back to
the stretch of ruffled blue water lying at the base of the hill. "Where
was Mr. Mackenzie's boat?" he asked.

They left the high plain, with its _Tuir-sachan_,[I] or Stones of
Mourning, and descended to the side of the loch. In a few moments,
Duncan, who had been disposing of the horses and the wagonette,
overtook them, got ready the boat, and presently they were cutting
asunder the bright blue plain of summer waves.

At last they were nearing the King of Borva's home, and Ingram began to
study the appearance of the neighboring shores, as if he would pick out
some feature of the island he remembered. The white foam hissed down the
side of the open boat. The sun burned hot on the brown sail. Far away
over the shining plain the salmon were leaping into the air, catching a
quick glint of silver on their scales before they splashed again into
the water. Half a dozen sea-pyes, with their beautiful black and white
plumage and scarlet beaks and feet, flew screaming out from the rocks
and swept in rapid circles above the boat. A long flight of solan geese
could just be seen slowly sailing along the western horizon. As the
small craft got out toward the sea the breeze freshened slightly, and
she lay over somewhat as the brine-laden winds caught her and tingled on
the cheeks of her passengers from the softer South. Finally, as the
great channel widened out, and the various smaller islands disappeared
behind, Ingram touched his companion on the shoulder, looked over to a
long and low line of rock and hill, and said, "Borva!"

And this was Borva!--nothing visible but an indefinite extent of rocky
shore, with here and there a bay of white sand, and over that a
table-land of green pasture, apparently uninhabited.

"There are not many people on the island," said Lavender, who seemed
rather disappointed with the look of the place.

"There are three hundred," said Mackenzie with the air of one who had
experienced the difficulties of ruling over three hundred islanders.

He had scarcely spoken when his attention was called by Duncan to some
object that the gillie had been regarding for some minutes back.

"Yes, it iss Miss Sheila," said Duncan.

A sort of flush of expectation passed over Lavender's face, and he
sprang to his feet. Ingram laughed. Did the foolish youth fancy he
could see half as far as this gray-eyed, eagle-faced man, who had now
sunk into his accustomed seat by the mast? There was nothing visible to
ordinary eyes but a speck of a boat, with a single sail up, which was
apparently, in the distance, running in for Borva.

"Ay, ay, ay," said Mackenzie in a vexed way, "it is Sheila, true enough;
and what will she do out in the boat at this time, when she wass to be
at home to receive the gentlemen that hef come all the way from London?"

"Well, Mr. Mackenzie," said Lavender, "I should be sorry to think that
our coming had interfered in any way whatever with your daughter's
amusements."

"Amusements!" said the old man with a look of surprise. "It iss not
amusements she will go for: that is no amusements for her. It is for
some teffle of a purpose she will go, when it iss the house that is the
proper place for her, with friends coming from so great a journey."

Presently it became clear that a race between the two boats was
inevitable, both of them making for the same point. Mackenzie would take
no notice of such a thing, but there was a grave smile on Duncan's face,
and something like a look of pride in his keen eyes.

"There iss no one, not one," he said, almost to himself, "will take her
in better than Miss Sheila--not one in ta island. And it wass me tat
learnt her every bit o' ta steering about Borva."

The strangers could now make out that in the other boat there were two
girls--one seated in the stern, the other by the mast. Ingram took out
his handkerchief and waved it: a similar token of recognition was
floated out from the other vessel. But Mackenzie's boat presently had
the better of the wind, and slowly drew on ahead, until, when her
passengers landed on the rude stone quay, they found the other and
smaller craft still some little distance off.

Lavender paid little attention to his luggage. He let Duncan do with it
what he liked. He was watching the small boat coming in, and getting a
little impatient, and perhaps a little nervous, in waiting for a
glimpse of the young lady in the stern. He could vaguely make out that
she had an abundance of dark hair looped up; that she wore a small straw
hat with a short white feather in it; and that, for the rest, she seemed
to be habited entirely in some rough and close-fitting costume of dark
blue. Or was there a glimmer of a band of rose-red round her neck?

The small boat was cleverly run alongside the jetty: Duncan caught her
bow and held her fast, and Miss Sheila, with a heavy string of lythe in
her right hand, stepped, laughing and blushing, on to the quay. Ingram
was there. She dropped the fish on the stones and took his two hands in
hers, and without uttering a word looked a glad welcome into his face.
It was a face capable of saying unwritten things--fine and delicate in
form, and yet full of an abundance of health and good spirits that shone
in the deep gray-blue eyes. Lavender's first emotion was one of surprise
that he should have heard this handsome, well-knit and proud-featured
girl called "little Sheila," and spoken of in a pretty and caressing
way. He thought there was something almost majestic in her figure, in
the poising of her head and the outline of her face. But presently he
began to perceive some singular suggestions of sensitiveness and
meekness in the low, sweet brow, in the short and exquisitely-curved
upper lip, and in the look of the tender blue eyes, which had long black
eyelashes to give them a peculiar and indefinable charm. All this he
noticed hastily and timidly as he heard Ingram, who still held the
girl's hands in his, saying, "Well, Sheila, and you haven't quite
forgotten me? And you are grown such a woman now: why, I mustn't call
you Sheila any more, I think. But let me introduce to you my friend, who
has come all the way from London to see all the wonderful things of
Borva."

If there was any embarrassment or blushing during that simple ceremony,
it was not on the side of the Highland girl, for she frankly shook hands
with him, and said, "And are you very well?"

The second impression which Lavender gathered from her was, that nowhere
in the world was English pronounced so beautifully as in the island of
Lewis. The gentle intonation with which she spoke was so tender and
touching--the slight dwelling on the _e_ in "very" and "well" seemed to
have such a sound of sincerity about it, that he could have fancied he
had been a friend of hers for a lifetime. And if she said "ferry" for
"very," what then? It was the most beautiful English he had ever heard.

The party now moved off toward the shore, above the long white curve of
which Mackenzie's house was visible. The old man himself led the way,
and had, by his silence, apparently not quite forgiven his daughter for
having been absent from home when his guests arrived.

"Now, Sheila," said Ingram, "tell me all about yourself: what have you
been doing?"

"This morning?" said the girl, walking beside him with her hand laid on
his arm, and with the happiest look on her face.

"This morning, to begin with. Did you catch those fish yourself?"

"Oh no, there was no time for that. And it was Mairi and I saw a boat
coming in, and it was going to Mevaig, but we overtook it, and got some
of the fish, and we thought we should be back before you came. However,
it is no matter, since you are here. And you have been very well? And
did you see any difference in Stornoway when you came over?"

Lavender began to think that Styornoway sounded ever so much more
pleasant than mere Stornoway.

"We had not a minute to wait in Stornoway. But tell me, Sheila, all
about Borva and yourself: that is better than Stornoway. How are your
schools getting on? And have you bribed or frightened all the children
into giving up Gaelic yet? How is John the Piper? and does the Free
Church minister still complain of him? And have you caught any more
wild-ducks and tamed them? And are there any gray geese up at
Loch-an-Eilean?"

"Oh, that is too many at once," said Sheila, laughing. "But I am afraid
your friend will find Borva very lonely and dull. There is not much
there at all, for all the lads are away at the Caithness fishing. And
you should have shown him all about Stornoway, and taken him up to the
castle and the beautiful gardens."

"He has seen all sorts of castles, Sheila, and all sorts of gardens in
every part of the world. He has seen everything to be seen in the great
cities and countries that are only names to you. He has traveled in
France, Italy, Russia, Germany, and seen all the big towns that you hear
of in history."

"That is what I should like to do if I were a man," said Sheila; "and
many and many a time I wish I had been a man, that I could go to the
fishing and work in the fields, and then, when I had enough money, go
away and see other countries and strange people."

"But if you were a man, I should not have come all the way from London
to see you," said Ingram, patting the hand that lay on his arm.

"But if I were a man," said the girl, quite frankly, "I should go up to
London to see you."

Mackenzie smiled grimly, and said, "Sheila, it is nonsense you will
talk."

At this moment Sheila turned round and said, "Oh, we have forgotten poor
Mairi. Mairi, why did you not leave the fish for Duncan? They are too
heavy for you. I will carry them to the house?"

But Lavender sprang forward, and insisted on taking possession of the
thick cord with its considerable weight of lythe.

"This is my cousin Mairi," said Sheila; and forthwith the young,
fair-faced, timid-eyed girl shook hands with the gentlemen, and said,
just as if she had been watching Sheila, "And are you ferry well, sir?"

For the rest of the way up to the house Lavender walked by the side of
Sheila; and as the string of lythe had formed the introduction to their
talk, it ran pretty much upon natural history. In about five minutes she
had told him more about sea-birds and fish than ever he knew in his
life; and she wound up this information by offering to take him out on
the following morning, that he might himself catch some lythe.

"But I am a wretchedly bad fisherman, Miss Mackenzie," he said. "It is
some years since I tried to throw a fly."

"Oh, there is no need for good fishing when you catch lythe," she said
earnestly. "You will see Mr. Ingram catch them. It is only a big white
fly you will need, and a long line, and when the fish takes the fly,
down he goes--a great depth. Then when you have got him and he is
killed, you must cut the sides, as you see that is done, and string him
to a rope and trail him behind the boat all the way home. If you do not
do that, it iss no use at all to eat. But if you like the
salmon-fishing, my papa will teach you that. There is no one," she added
proudly, "can catch salmon like my papa--not even Duncan--and the
gentlemen who come in the autumn to Stornoway, they are quite surprised
when my papa goes to fish with them."

"I suppose he is a good shot too," said the young man, amused to notice
the proud way in which the girl spoke of her father.

"Oh, he can shoot anything. He will shoot a seal if he comes up but for
one moment above the water; and all the birds--he will get you all the
birds if you will wish to take any away with you. We have no deer on the
island--it is too small for that--but in the Lewis and in Harris there
are many, many thousands of deer, and my papa has many invitations when
the gentlemen come up in the autumn; and if you look in the game-book of
the lodges, you will see there is not any one who has shot so many deer
as my papa--not any one whatever."

At length they reached the building of dark and rude stone-work, with
its red coping, its spacious porch and its small enclosure of garden in
front. Lavender praised the flowers in this enclosure: he guessed they
were Sheila's particular care; but in truth there was nothing rare or
delicate among the plants growing in this exposed situation. There were
a few clusters of large yellow pansies, a calceolaria or two, plenty of
wallflower, some clove-pinks, and an abundance of sweet-william in all
manner of colors. But the chief beauty of the small garden was a
magnificent tree-fuchsia which grew in front of one of the windows, and
was covered with deep rose-red flowers set amid its small and deep-green
leaves. For the rest, a bit of honeysuckle was trained up one side of
the porch, and at the small wooden gate there were two bushes of
sweetbrier that filled the warm air with fragrance.

Just before entering the house the two strangers turned to have a look
at the spacious landscape lying all around in the perfect calm of a
summer day. And lo! before them there was but a blinding mass of white
that glared upon their eyes, and caused them to see the far sea and the
shores and the hills as but faint shadows appearing through a silvery
haze. A thin fleece of cloud lay across the sun, but the light was
nevertheless so intense that the objects near at hand--a disused boat
lying bottom upward, an immense anchor of foreign make, and some such
things--seemed to be as black as night as they lay on the warm road. But
when the eye got beyond the house and the garden, and the rough hillside
leading down to Loch Roag, all the world appeared to be a blaze of calm,
silent and luminous heat. Suainabhal and its brother mountains were only
as clouds in the south. Along the western horizon the portion of the
Atlantic that could be seen lay like a silent lake under a white sky. To
get any touch of color, they had to turn eastward, and there the
sunlight faintly fell on the green shores of Borva, on the narrows of
Loch Roag, and the loose red sail of a solitary smack that was slowly
coming round a headland. They could hear the sound of the long oars. A
pale line of shadow lay in the wake of the boat, but otherwise the black
hull and the red sail seemed to be coming through a plain of molten
silver. When the young men turned to go into the house the hall seemed a
cavern of impenetrable darkness, and there was a flush of crimson light
dancing before their eyes.

When Ingram had had his room pointed out, Lavender followed him into it
and shut the door.

"By Jove, Ingram," he said, with a singular light of enthusiasm on his
handsome face, "what a beautiful voice that girl has! I have never heard
anything so soft and musical in all my life; and then when she smiles
what perfect teeth she has! And then, you know, there is an appearance,
a style, a grace about her figure--But, I say, do you seriously mean to
tell me you are not in love with her?"

"Of course I am not," said the other impatiently, as he was busily
engaged with his portmanteau.

"Then let me give you a word of information," said the younger man, with
an air of profound shrewdness: "she is in love with you."

Ingram rose with some little touch of vexation on his face: "Look here,
Lavender: I am going to talk to you seriously. I wish you wouldn't fancy
that every one is in that condition of simmering love-making you delight
in. You never were in love, I believe--I doubt whether you ever will
be--but you are always fancying yourself in love, and writing very
pretty verses about it, and painting very pretty heads. I like the
verses and the paintings well enough, however they are come by; but
don't mislead yourself into believing that you know anything whatever of
a real and serious passion by having engaged in all sorts of imaginative
and semi-poetical dreams. It is a much more serious thing than that,
mind you, when it comes to a man. And, for Heaven's sake, don't
attribute any of that sort of sentimental make-believe to either Sheila
Mackenzie or myself. We are not romantic folks. We have no imaginative
gifts whatever, but we are very glad, you know, to be attentive and
grateful to those who have. The fact is, I don't think it quite fair--"

"Let us suppose I am lectured enough" said the other, somewhat stiffly.
"I suppose I am as good a judge of the character of a woman as most
other men, although I am no great student, and have no hard and dried
rules of philosophy at my fingers' ends. Perhaps, however, one may learn
more by mixing with other people and going out into the world than by
sitting in a room with a dozen of books, and persuading one's self that
men and women are to be studied in that fashion."

"Go away, you stupid boy, and unpack your portmanteau, and don't quarrel
with me," said Ingram, putting out on the table some things he had
brought for Sheila; "and if you are friendly with Sheila and treat her
like a human being, instead of trying to put a lot of romance and
sentiment about her, she will teach you more than you could learn in a
hundred drawing-rooms in a thousand years."


CHAPTER III.

THERE WAS A KING IN THULE.

He never took that advice. He had already transformed Sheila into a
heroine during the half hour of their stroll from the beach and around
the house. Not that he fell in love with her at first sight, or anything
even approaching to that. He merely made her the central figure of a
little speculative romance, as he had made many another woman before. Of
course, in these little fanciful dramas, written along the sky-line, as
it were, of his life, he invariably pictured himself as the fitting
companion of the fair creature he saw there. Who but himself could
understand the sentiment of her eyes, and teach her little love-ways,
and express unbounded admiration of her? More than one practical young
woman, indeed, in certain circles of London society, had been informed
by her friends that Mr. Lavender was dreadfully in love with her; and
had been much surprised, after this confirmation of her suspicions, that
he sought no means of bringing the affair to a reasonable and sensible
issue. He did not even amuse himself by flirting with her, as men would
willingly do who could not be charged with any serious purpose whatever.
His devotion was more mysterious and remote. A rumor would get about
that Mr. Lavender had finished another of those charming heads in
pastel, which, at a distance, reminded one of Greuze, and that Lady
So-and-so, who had bought it forthwith, had declared that it was the
image of this young lady who was partly puzzled and partly vexed by the
incomprehensible conduct of her reputed admirer. It was the fashion, in
these social circles, to buy those heads of Lavender when he chose to
paint them. He had achieved a great reputation by them. The good people
liked to have a genius in their own set whom they had discovered, and
who was only to be appreciated by persons of exceptional taste and
penetration. Lavender, the uninitiated were assured, was a most
cultivated and brilliant young man. He had composed some charming songs.
He had written, from time to time, some quite delightful little poems,
over which fair eyes had grown full and liquid. Who had not heard of the
face that he painted for a certain young lady whom every one expected
him to marry?

The young man escaped a great deal of the ordinary consequences of this
petting, but not all. He was at bottom really true-hearted, frank and
generous--generous even to an extreme--but he had acquired a habit of
producing striking impressions which dogged and perverted his every
action and speech. He disliked losing a few shilling at billiards, but
he did not mind losing a few pounds: the latter was good for a story.
Had he possessed any money to invest in shares, he would have been
irritated by small rises or small falls; but he would have been vain of
a big rise, and he would have regarded a big fall with equanimity, as
placing him in a dramatic light. The exaggerations produced by this
habit of his fostered strange delusions in the minds of people who did
not know him very well: and sometimes the practical results, in the way
of expected charities or what not, amazed him. He could not understand
why people should have made such mistakes, and resented them as an
injustice.

And as they sat at dinner on this still, brilliant evening in summer, it
was Sheila's turn to be clothed in the garments of romance. Her father,
with his great gray beard and heavy brow, became the King of Thule,
living in this solitary house overlooking the sea, and having memories
of a dead sweetheart. His daughter, the princess, had the glamour of a
thousand legends dwelling in her beautiful eyes; and when she walked by
the shores of the Atlantic, that were now getting yellow under the
sunset, what strange and unutterable thoughts must appear in the wonder
of her face! He remembered no more how he had pulled to pieces Ingram's
praises of Sheila. What had become of the "ordinary young lady, who
would be a little interesting, if a little stupid, before marriage, and
after marriage sink into the dull, domestic hind"? There could be no
doubt that Sheila often sat silent for a considerable time, with her
eyes fixed on her father's face when he spoke, or turning to look at
some other speaker. Had Lavender now been asked if this silence had not
a trifle of dullness in it, he would have replied by asking if there
were dullness in the stillness and the silence of the sea. He grew to
regard her calm and thoughtful look as a sort of spell; and if you had
asked him what Sheila was like, he would have answered by saying that
there was moonlight in her face.

The room, too, in which this mystic princess sat was strange and
wonderful. There were no doors visible, for the four walls were
throughout covered by a paper of foreign manufacture, representing
spacious Tyrolese landscapes and incidents of the chase. When Lavender
had first entered this chamber his eye had been shocked by these coarse
and prominent pictures--by the green rivers, the blue lakes and the
snow-peaks that rose above certain ruddy chalets. Here a chamois was
stumbling down a ravine, and there an operatic peasant, some eight or
ten inches in actual length, was pointing a gun. The large figures, the
coarse colors, the impossible scenes--all this looked, at first sight,
to be in the worst possible taste; and Lavender was convinced that
Sheila had nothing to do with the introduction of this abominable
decoration. But somehow, when he turned to the line of ocean that was
visible from the window, to the lonely shores of the island and the
monotony of colors showing in the still picture without, he began to
fancy that there might be a craving up in these latitudes for some
presentation, however rude and glaring, of the richer and more
variegated life of the South. The figures and mountains on the walls
became less prominent. He saw no incongruity in a whole chalet giving
way, and allowing Duncan, who waited at table, to bring forth from this
aperture to the kitchen a steaming dish of salmon, while he spoke some
words in Gaelic to the servants at the other end of the tube. He even
forgot to be surprised at the appearance of little Mairi, with whom he
had shaken hands a little while before, coming round the table with
potatoes. He did not, as a rule, shake hands with servant-maids, but was
not this fair-haired, wistful-eyed girl some relative, friend or
companion of Shiela's? and had he not already begun to lose all
perception of the incongruous or the absurd in the strange pervading
charm with which Sheila's presence filled the place?

He suddenly found Mackenzie's deep-set eyes fixed upon him, and became
aware that the old man had been mysteriously announcing to Ingram that
there were more political movements abroad than people fancied. Sheila
sat still and listened to her father as he expounded these things, and
showed that, although at a distance, he could perceive the signs of the
times. Was it not incumbent, moreover, on a man who had to look after a
number of poor and simple folks, that he should be on the alert?

"It iss not bekass you will live in London you will know everything,"
said the King of Borva, with a certain significance in his tone. "There
iss many things a man does not see at his feet that another man will see
who is a good way off. The International, now--"

He glanced furtively at Lavender.

"--I hef been told there will be agents going out every day to all
parts of this country and other countries, and they will hef plenty of
money to live like gentlemen, and get among the poor people, and fill
their minds with foolish nonsense about a revolution. Oh yes, I hear
about it all, and there iss many members of Parliament in it; and it iss
every day they will get farther and farther, all working hard, though no
one sees them who does not understand to be on the watch."

Here again the young man received a quiet, scrutinizing glance; and it
began to dawn upon him, to his infinite astonishment, that Mackenzie
half suspected him of being an emissary of the International. In the
case of any other man he would have laughed and paid no heed, but how
could he permit Sheila's father to regard him with any such suspicion?

"Don't you think, sir," he said boldly, "that those Internationalists
are a lot of incorrigible idiots?"

As if a shrewd observer of men and motives were to be deceived by such a
protest! Mackenzie regarded him with increased suspicion, although he
endeavored to conceal the fact that he was watching the young man from
time to time. Lavender saw all the favor he had won during the day
disappearing, and moodily wondered when he should have a chance of
explanation.

After dinner they went outside and sat down on a bench in the garden,
and the men lit their cigars. It was a cool and pleasant evening. The
sun had gone down in red fire behind the Atlantic, and there was still
left a rich glow of crimson in the west, while overhead, in the pale
yellow of the sky, some filmy clouds of rose-color lay motionless. How
calm was the sea out there, and the whiter stretch of water coming into
Loch Roag! The cool air of the twilight was scented with sweetbrier. The
wash of the ripples along the coast could be heard in the stillness. It
was a time for lovers to sit by the sea, careless of the future or the
past.

But why would this old man keep prating of his political prophecies?
Lavender asked of himself. Sheila had spoken scarcely a word all the
evening; and of what interest could it be to her to listen to theories
of revolution and the dangers besetting our hot-headed youth? She merely
stood by the side of her father, with her hand on his shoulder. He
noticed, however, that she paid particular attention whenever Ingram
spoke; and he wondered whether she perceived that Ingram was partly
humoring the old man, at the same time that he was pleasing himself with
a series of monologues, interrupted only by his cigar.

"That is true enough, Mr. Mackenzie," Ingram would say, lying back with
his two hands clasped round his knee, as usual: "you've got to be
careful of the opinions that are spread abroad, even in Borva, where not
much danger is to be expected. But I don't suppose our young men are
more destructive in their notions than young men always have been. You
know every young fellow starts in life by knocking down all the beliefs
he finds before him, and then he spends the rest of his life in setting
them up again. It is only after some years he gets to know that all the
wisdom of the world lies in the old commonplaces he once despised. He
finds that the old familiar ways are the best, and he sinks into being a
commonplace person, with much satisfaction to himself. My friend
Lavender, now, is continually charging me with being commonplace. I
admit the charge. I have drifted back into all the old ways and
beliefs--about religion and marriage and patriotism, and what not--that
ten years ago I should have treated with ridicule."

"Suppose the process continues?" suggested Lavender, with some evidence
of pique.

"Suppose it does," continued Ingram carelessly. "Ten years hence I may
be proud to become a vestryman, and have the most anxious care about the
administration of the rates. I shall be looking after the drainage of
houses and the treatment of paupers and the management of Sunday
schools--But all this is an invasion of your province, Sheila," he
suddenly added, looking up to her.

The girl laughed, and said, "Then I have been commonplace from the
beginning?"

Ingram was about to make all manner of protests and apologies, when
Mackenzie said, "Sheila, it wass time you will go in-doors, if you have
nothing about your head. Go in and sing a song to us, and we will listen
to you; and not a sad song, but a good merry song. These teffles of the
fishermen, it iss always drownings they will sing about from the morning
till the night."

Was Sheila about to sing in this clear, strange twilight, while they sat
there and watched the yellow moon come up behind the southern hills?
Lavender had heard so much of her singing of those fishermen's ballads
that he could think of nothing more to add to the enchantment of this
wonderful night. But he was disappointed. The girl put her hand on her
father's head, and reminded him that she had had her big greyhound Bras
imprisoned all the afternoon, that she had to go down to Borvabost with
a message for some people who were leaving by the boat in the morning,
and would the gentlemen therefore excuse her not singing to them for
this one evening?

"But you cannot go away down to Borvabost by yourself, Sheila," said
Ingram. "It will be dark before you return."

"It will not be darker than this all the night through," said the girl.

"But I hope you will let us go with you," said Lavender, rather
anxiously; and she assented with a gracious smile, and went to fetch the
great deerhound that was her constant companion.

And lo! he found himself walking with a princess in this wonder-land
through that magic twilight that prevails in northern latitudes.
Mackenzie and Ingram had gone on in front. The large deerhound, after
regarding him attentively, had gone to its mistress's side, and remained
closely there. Lavender could scarcely believe his ears that the girl
was talking to him lightly and frankly, as though she had known him for
years, and was telling him of all her troubles with the folks at
Borvabost, and of those poor people whom she was now going to see. No
sooner did he understand that they were emigrants, and that they were
going to Glasgow before leaving finally for America, than in quite an
honest and enthusiastic fashion he began to bewail the sad fate of such
poor wretches as have to forsake their native land, and to accuse the
aristocracy of the country of every act of selfishness, and to charge
the government with a shameful indifference. But Sheila brought him up
suddenly. In the gentlest fashion she told him what she knew of these
poor people, and how emigration affected them, and so forth, until he
was ready to curse the hour in which he had blundered into taking a side
on a question about which he cared nothing and knew less.

"But some other time," continued Sheila, "I will tell you what we do
here, and I will show you a great many letters I have from friends of
mine who have gone to Greenock and to New York and Canada. Oh yes, it is
very bad for the old people: they never get reconciled to the
change--never; but it is very good for the young people, and they are
glad of it, and are much better off than they were here. You will see
how proud they are of the better clothes they have, and of good food,
and of money to put in the bank; and how could they get that in the
Highlands, where the land is so poor that a small piece is of no use,
and they have not money to rent the large sheep-farms? It is very bad to
have people go away--it is very hand on many of them--but what can they
do? The piece of ground that was very good for the one family, that is
expected to keep the daughters when they marry, and the sons when they
marry, and then there are five or six families to live on it. And hard
work--that will not do much with very bad land and the bad weather we
have here. The people get downhearted when they have their crops spoiled
by the long rain, and they cannot get their peats dried; and very often
the fishing turns out bad, and they have no money at all to carry on the
farm. But now you will see Borvabost."

Lavender had to confess that this wonderful princess would persist in
talking in a very matter-of-fact way. All the afternoon, while he was
weaving a luminous web of imagination around her, she was continually
cutting it asunder, and stepping forth as an authority on the growing of
some wretched plants or the means by which rain was to be excluded from
window-sills. And now, in this strange twilight, when she ought to have
been singing of the cruelties of the sea or listening to half-forgotten
legends of mermaids, she was engaged with the petty fortunes of men and
girls who were pleased to find themselves prospering in the Glasgow
police-force or educating themselves in a milliner's shop in Edinburgh.
She did not appear conscious that she was a princess. Indeed, she seemed
to have no consciousness of herself at all, and was altogether occupied
in giving him information about practical subjects in which he professed
a profound interest he certainly did not feel.

But even Sheila, when they had reached the loftiest part of their route,
and could see beneath them the island and the water surrounding it, was
struck by the exceeding beauty of the twilight; and as for her
companion, he remembered it many a time thereafter as if it were a dream
of the sea. Before them lay the Atlantic--a pale line of blue, still,
silent and remote. Overhead, the sky was of a clear, pale gold, with
heavy masses of violet cloud stretched across from north to south, and
thickening as they got near to the horizon. Down at their feet, near the
shore, a dusky line of huts and houses was scarcely visible; and over
these lay a pale blue film of peat-smoke that did not move in the still
air. Then they saw the bay into which the White Water runs, and they
could trace the yellow glimmer of the river stretching into the island
through a level valley of bog and morass. Far away, toward the east, lay
the bulk of the island--dark green undulations of moorland and pasture;
and there, in the darkness, the gable of one white house had caught the
clear light of the sky, and was gleaming westward like a star. But all
this was as nothing to the glory that began to shine in the south-east,
where the sky was of a pale violet over the peaks of Mealasabhal and
Suainabhal. There, into the beautiful dome, rose the golden crescent of
the moon, warm in color, as though it still retained the last rays of
the sunset. A line of quivering gold fell across Loch Roag, and touched
the black hull and spars of the boat in which Sheila had been sailing in
the morning. That bay down there, with its white sands and massive
rocks, its still expanse of water, and its background of mountain-peaks
palely colored by the yellow moonlight, seemed really a home for a magic
princess who was shut off from all the world. But here, in front of
them, was another sort of sea and another sort of life--a small
fishing-village hidden under a cloud of pale peat-smoke, and fronting
the great waters of the Atlantic itself, which lay under a gloom of
violet clouds.

"Now," said Sheila with a smile, "we have not always weather as good as
this in the island. Will you not sit on the bench over there with Mr.
Ingram, and wait until my papa and I come up from the village again?"

"May not I go down with you?"

"No. The dogs would learn you were a stranger, and there would be a
great deal of noise, and there will be many of the poor people asleep."

So Sheila had her way; and she and her father went down the hillside
into the gloom of the village, while Lavender went to join his friend
Ingram, who was sitting on the wooden bench, silently smoking a clay
pipe.

"Well, I have never seen the like of this," said Lavender in his
impetuous way: "it is worth going a thousand miles to see. Such colors
and such clearness! and then the splendid outlines of those mountains,
and the grand sweep of this loch! This is the sort of thing that drives
me to despair, and might make one vow never to touch a brush again. And
Sheila says it will be like this all the night through."

He was unaware that he had spoken of her in a very familiar way, but
Ingram noticed it.

"Ingram," he said suddenly, "that is the first girl I have ever seen
whom I should like to marry."

"Stuff!"

"But it is true. I have never seen any one like her--so handsome, so
gentle, and yet so very frank in setting you right. And then she is so
sensible, you know, and not too proud to have much interest in all sorts
of common affairs--"

There was a smile in Ingram's face, and his companion stopped in some
vexation: "You are not a very sympathetic confidant."

"Because I know the story of old. You have told it me about twenty
women, and it is always the same. I tell you, you don't know anything at
all about Sheila Mackenzie yet: perhaps you never may. I suppose you
will make a heroine of her, and fall in love with her for a fortnight,
and then go back to London and get cured by listening to the witticisms
of Mrs. Lorraine."

"Thank you very much."

"Oh, I didn't mean to offend you. Some day, no doubt, you will love a
woman for what she is, not for what you fancy her to be; but that is a
piece of good-fortune that seldom occurs to a youth of your age. To
marry in a dream, and wake up six months afterward--that is the fate of
ingenuous twenty-three. But don't you let Mackenzie hear you talk of
marrying Sheila, or he'll have some of his fishermen throw you into Loch
Roag."

"There, now, that _is_ one point I can't understand about her," said
Lavender eagerly. "How can a girl of her shrewdness and good sense have
such a belief in that humbugging old idiot of a father of hers, who
fancies me a political emissary, and plays small tricks to look like
diplomacy? It is always 'My papa can do this,' and 'My papa can do
that,' and 'There is no one at all like my papa.' And she is continually
fondling him, and giving little demonstrations of affection, of which he
takes no more notice than if he were an Arctic bear."

Ingram looked up with some surprise in his face. "You don't mean to say,
Lavender," he said slowly, "that you are already jealous of the girl's
own father?"

He could not answer, for at this moment Sheila, her father and the big
greyhound came up the hill. And again it was Lavender's good fortune to
walk with Sheila across the moorland path they had traversed some little
time before. And now the moon was still higher in the heavens, and the
yellow lane of light that crossed the violet waters of Loch Roag
quivered in a deeper gold. The night-air was scented with the Dutch
clover growing down by the shore. They could hear the curlew whistling
and the plover calling amid that monotonous plash of the waves that
murmured all around the coast. When they returned to the house the
darker waters of the Atlantic and the purple clouds of the west were
shut out from sight, and before them there was only the liquid plain of
Loch Roag, with its pathway of yellow fire, and far away on the other
side the shoulders and peaks of the southern mountains, that had grown
gray and clear and sharp in the beautiful twilight. And this was
Sheila's home.

[To be continued.]

FOOTNOTES:

[G] "My black-haired girl, my pretty girl, my black-haired girl, don't
leave me." _Nighean dubh_ is pronounced _Nyean du_.

[H] Literally, _Gearaidh-na'h-Aimhne_--"the cutting of the river."

[I] Another name given by the islanders to these stones is
_Fir-bhreige_, "false men." Both names, False Men and the Mourners,
should be of some interest to antiquarians, for they will suit pretty
nearly any theory.



WINTER.


    The golden sunshine has fled away,
    The clouds o'erhead hang heavy and gray,
    The world is woefully sad to-day;

    And I am thinking of you, dear, you.
    The cold clay hides from the rain and dew
    The tenderest heart that the world e'er knew.

    Why should I think of you when the rain
    Smiteth so sharply the window-pane,
    And the wild winds round the old house 'plain?

    You were so sweet and sunny and bright,
    Ever your presence brought life and light,
    And I recall you in storm and night.

    When snow-shrouds hang on the corpse-cold trees,
    When sharp frosts sting and the north winds freeze,
    What has your mem'ry to do with these?

    O fair lost love! O love that is dead!
    The pleasant days from my life are fled,
    The rosy morns and the sunsets red.

    The light has faded from out my life,
    Leaving the clouds and the stormy strife,
    And the keen sharp cold that cuts like a knife.

    The days and the months, how slow they glide,
    Gray-robed and cold-breathed and frozen-eyed!
    The summer died for me when you died.

    O world of woe and of want and pain!
    O heaven of clouds and storm and rain!
    When shall I find my summer again?


                        LUCY H. HOOPER.



NEW WASHINGTON.


A stranger visiting the national capital should begin by leaving it. He
should cross the Anacostia River at the Navy-yard, climb the heights
behind the village of Uniontown, be careful to find exactly the right
path, and seat himself on the parapet of old Fort Stanton. His feeling
of fatigue will be overcome by one of astonishment that the scene should
contain so much that is beautiful in nature, so much that is exceedingly
novel if not very good in art, and so much that has the deepest
historical interest. From the blue hills of Prince George's county in
Maryland winds the Anacostia, whose waters at his feet float all but the
very largest vessels of our navy, while but six miles above they float
nothing larger than a Bladensburg goose. To the left flows the Potomac,
a mile wide. Between the rivers lies Washington. A vast amphitheatre,
its green or gray walls cloven only by the two rivers, appears to
surround the city. "Amphitheatre" is the word, for within the great
circle, proportioned to it in size and magnificence, dwarfing all other
objects, stands the veritable arena where our public gladiators and wild
beasts hold their combats. This of course is the Capitol, whose white
dome rises like a blossoming lily from the dark expanse below.

Along these summits are the remains of a chain of earthworks that
completely enveloped the capital. They are all overgrown by verdure, and
are fast disappearing; but whenever the site of one is relieved against
the clear sky a grassy embrasure or a bit of rampart may yet be seen
from a distance. Here stretched

    The watchfires of a hundred circling camps,

whose light is in the "Battle-Hymn of the Republic," for it was a
personal view of them, and of these altars built in the evening dews and
damps, which gave form to the great lyric. Here in a few years, when
more of the business-men of Washington shall have learned how to do
business, or when her social development shall have detained the
cultured and wealthy who now come and go, will be found a circle of
beautiful villas and nearly all the luxuries of summer life.

Below the high bank opposite, where the Congressional Cemetery skirts
the city, where some famous men are actually buried, and where Congress
places cenotaphs that look like long rows of antiquated beehives for all
who die while members of that body, a line of black dots crosses the
Anacostia like the corks of a fisherman's seine. They are the piles that
upheld a bridge in the summer of 1814. On the hills to the right the
little army of five thousand redcoats made a feint toward this bridge,
and caused the Americans to burn it. Away to the left, across the
Potomac, stretches Long Bridge, which was also fired the next night by
the British and by the fleeing inhabitants of the captured town.

The eight miles of Virginia shore visible from Washington contain really
but three objects. Two or three dark chimneys and steeples and a few
misty outlines are all one needs to see of Alexandria, which is six
miles down the river, and appears about as ancient as its Egyptian
namesake. Nearer, the monotony is broken by the tower of Fairfax
Seminary; nearer still, among the oaks of Arlington, by the mansion of
Custis-Lee, imposing, pillared and cream-colored; or it was the last in
the days when cream had a color.

Descending from the old fort, the stranger should go at once to
Georgetown and climb up into the little burying-ground of Holyrood. The
view thence will give him all that was excluded from the other. He will
now be prepared to examine Washington in detail, and as this is not a
guide-book he shall go his way alone. But the "gentle reader" is
requested to linger an hour longer upon the natural walls and look down
with me on the dark city.

Below is such a growth of beautiful and strange that we can understand
it only by remembering that we look down on all the United States. Into
that problem of squares and circles and triangles wise men from the East
plunge and see Beacon street; wise men from the West plunge and see
Poker Flat; and from the highest ground we can find we will try to see
the whole of Washington. We cannot distinguish a friend's house from an
enemy's. The lines are mingled and the colors blended by our distance.
Individuals are lost to sight entirely. What would be such a conflict of
sounds down there that we should never be certain of what we heard, is
now so faint a hum that it does not disturb us or affect our speech. We
have risen into a better atmosphere, and find that some things which
were ugly have grown good and graceful.

To allude to all the noted and novel things in this complicated scene
would be to fill a book, and enough pre-Raphaelites are already browsing
there. Giving due attention to particulars in their places, we must yet
give effects in sweeping strokes, steering as best we can between the
Scylla of didactic details and the Charybdis of glittering generalities.

The candid observer wonders not that Washington is so far below what it
ought to be, but that it exists as a city at all. It has suffered
calamities that would have extinguished any other place. The vitality
that could survive them would seem capable of surviving anything. Other
towns have had to contend against natural disadvantages, but they have
had the aid of citizens who knew what they wanted, and who used the
public money and energy and brains for the public good. But here has
been the novel sight of a city having every natural advantage, yet
compelled to fight its own citizens for life; to see the public money
and energy and brains--what little there were--used to kill not only the
town, but the people in it; to support men of weight in the community
who really did not want it polluted by trade or manufactures or any
such vulgar things.

The Capitol, which now, like the Irishman's shanty, has the front door
on the back side, was made to face the east because in that direction
lay as fine a site as ever a town possessed, and there the city was to
be built. To the westward the ground was such that men are living who as
boys waded for reed-birds and caught catfish where now is the centre of
business. The necessity of transforming this tract in the very beginning
of trade retarded the general growth incalculably. The owners of the
good ground didn't want to do anything themselves, and were too greedy
to let anybody else. The Executive Mansion, a mile to the westward,
attracted other public buildings about it; the people who had to support
themselves bought real estate in the swamps; those who lived without
business of their own followed them of course; and the fine plateau
prepared by Nature has been touched only so far as improvement has been
compelled by forces radiating from the other side of the Capitol. The
life and trade that tend to crystallize around one centre are still much
dissipated by the policy that ruined Capitol Hill; but as this can no
longer endanger the general prosperity, it is now more a blessing than a
calamity. It makes sure and speedy the reclamation of the waste places,
while the improvement of all the good ones must take place at last. The
owners of the barren sites which yet break the continuity of blocks in
good localities can sit still and "hold on" if they please, but they
must expect to see the "worthless" tracts--Swampoodle, Murder Bay and
Hell's Bottom--fill with life and rise in value faster than their own.

Another calamity, which has grown with the city instead of being
outgrown, is the changes that have been permitted to take place in the
Potomac. Long Bridge, instead of being built so as to permit an
uninterrupted flow of the stream, was composed for a great distance of
an earthen road--a dam--arresting half the water of the river. This
temporarily benefited the Georgetown channel, no doubt, by forcing all
the water into it. But a marsh is rising in the middle of the stream,
creeping rapidly up to the Washington wharves, threatening the health of
the city, and so crippling its commerce that an expensive remedy must be
speedily applied. There is some difference of opinion as to the
comparative injuries and benefits arising from the bridge, but the fact
remains clear that this important river has suffered needless injury to
a degree that is deplorable. In the past, however, the fault has been as
much with the city as with Congress. That body cannot improve rivers
where there is no commerce to be benefited, nor give new facilities to
towns that do not make the most of what they have. But the gazer from
Fort Stanton--glancing beyond the Navy-yard and the shot-battered
monitors that lie there, across Greenleaf's Point and the Arsenal, made
tragic by the death of many a British soldier and of the Lincoln-Seward
assassins half a century later--overlooking the wharves of Washington
and dimly descrying the masts at Georgetown, now sees a traffic that has
earned a consideration it has not received. A few weeks ago we paused in
an after-dinner walk, down there on the Arsenal boulevard, to watch the
troubles of a crew and the labors of a tug which were altogether too
suggestive. A senseless fellow of a captain came sailing up the river
from a foreign port, his vessel laden with a valuable cargo, and
attempted a landing at Washington. He knew no better than to suppose
that the capital of this nation, on one of our finest rivers, possessing
all its days a navy-yard, would permit itself to be approached by a
merchantman. He stuck in the mud within a hundred yards of the wharf.
There he spent three or four days in anxiety and chagrin, and finally
got a tug to pull him back into navigable water. He swung about, made
haste down the river and took his vessel to another port, uttering some
natural oaths, no doubt, and wondering what kind of country he had got
into. A small vessel going from Washington to Georgetown heads for
Chesapeake Bay, passes up around the island of filth accumulated by the
bridge, and sails four miles in ascending two.

Bordering the broad belt of grass and trees which we see sweeping
gracefully through the heart of the city from the Capitol to the
President's, where rise the towers of the Smithsonian, the roof of the
Agricultural Bureau, and all that is built of the Washington Monument,
there stretched another calamity, which existed some fifty years, which
was at last extinguished during 1872 at an immense cost to the city,
which was one of the "improvements" of the past, which once employed the
public money and energy--we cannot repeat brains--to kill not only the
town, but the people in it. This was the great pestiferous open sewer
that stole into a filthy existence under the name of the Washington
Canal.

But there was a greater misfortune than any of these. Slavery need only
be mentioned. More of Washington's present defects are attributable to
it in one way or another than to all else. Yet under this crowning
calamity, added to the others, the undulating plain before us, which
appears so sluggish from the height to which we have climbed, has within
seventy-five years passed from a wilderness into a city of one hundred
and eleven thousand inhabitants. Although the general government kept
the breath of life in it during a period when perhaps nothing else could
have done so, yet such a growth, under all the circumstances, cannot be
accounted for without recognizing an inherent strength that has never
been acknowledged by the multitudes who come to "see" Washington. It
proves that she may have a significance of her own. The visitor should
remember that New York and Boston are enjoying, and Philadelphia has
nearly reached, the third century of their lives.

This scene from the heights is a fascinating one for the day-dreamer.
Everything is in harmony with the past character of the capital.
Everything is misty, vast, uncertain, grand and ill-defined. One does
not see clearly the boundaries--the city and country are one. Every
street we trace in the distance, almost every building, almost every
foot of ground, has gathered something of tradition from the lives of
the statesmen, generals, jurists, diplomates who have lived and wrought
here for three-quarters of a century. The visions that passed before the
eyes of Washington as he stood on the Observatory Hill there, a
subaltern under Braddock, contemplating the wilderness about him and
imagining the future; the pictures that filled the fancy of the
intractable L'Enfant as he defined the great mall and thought of the
gardens between the Tuileries and the Chamber of Deputies; Andrew J.
Downing giving his last days to such an arrangement of the trees and
grass as would be worthy of the design; President Madison and his
cabinet, with a useless little army at their heels, flying in despair
from yonder bloody hillside; Admiral Cockburn derisively riding an old
mare up Pennsylvania Avenue; the burning Capitol and White House
lighting up the gloom of that hideous night; Stephen Decatur shot to
death just round the bend of the Anacostia there; the conflicts by
tongue and pen that have again and again gone on here till the whole
country swayed; Gamaliel Bailey silencing a mob at his door; the
histories that lie buried under the thirty thousand headboards that
gleam like an army of ghosts among the trees of Arlington; Abraham
Lincoln gasping his life away in that little Tenth street house; his
assassin dashing in darkness across the bridge at our feet, over which
we have just passed, and spurring almost into the shadow of the parapet
where we stand;--all these things, and a hundred more as tempting to the
dreamer, come crowding on the mind at every glance. Yet who stops to
call Washington a romantic city? When the White House, just visible from
those tree-tops, shall have ceased, as it soon must do, to be the home
of the chief magistrate, what future magician shall summon down those
cheerless stairways the ghostly procession of dead Presidents, as our
first literary necromancer marshaled the shades of royal governors
across the threshold of the Province House? We turn from all this to
speak of the practical affairs of to-day which await us in the city,
with a reluctance that delays our feet as we descend.

A phrase applied, we believe, by Dickens, when writing of the avenues
here many years ago, and illustrating his remarkable faculty of telling
the most truth when he exaggerated most, rises so constantly to mind
when one considers what Washington has been, that we are tempted to make
it a kind of text. He described the great houseless thoroughfares as
"beginning nowhere and ending in nothing." That phrase sets old
Washington before the reader as the literal truth could never do.

But the reader must now remember that old Washington is going--that a
new Washington has come. The city is no longer disposed to make
apologies, wait for generosity or beg for patronage. It is disposed--and
has proved its disposition--to take off its seedy coat and go to work in
its own way. Its waiting is now only for enlightened judgment from
others, and its begging is only for justice.

The change of local government in 1871, when Congress gave the District
of Columbia a legislature and a representative, was the particular event
from which may be dated such innovations as make necessary a revision of
the popular opinion. The visitors who come this month, and who have not
been here since the last inauguration, will have to learn the capital
anew. While the establishment of the territorial government and the
organization of its outgrowths--particularly the Board of Public
Works--mark the new departure by physical changes, all will understand
that it was the first gun at Charleston, startling the stagnant pool
here, which set in motion the successive waves that carried the city up
to this departure. The public affairs of the city became practically
unmanageable. A joint-stock company could not organize for the most
trifling business without depending on the slow and uncertain action of
Congress for a charter. A few active men, who saw that the old order of
things could be endured no longer, met quietly in 1870 at the house of
an honored citizen on K street to see what further they could see. They
continued to meet at each other's homes, lightening their interchange of
thought for the public by such an extension of hospitality as drew into
their circle many influential Congressmen, and converted them to the new
idea that there was something in Washington besides the national
service. The result was, that the city government was abolished; a
legislative assembly was created; a governor was appointed by the
President of the United States; and a delegate was sent to Congress,
instead of a crowd of lobbyists, to represent the District of Columbia.
This delegate is always to be a member of the committee on the District,
Congress has the constitutional right of exclusive legislation, and the
Assembly cannot impose taxes of any consequence without especial
authority from the people.

The wisdom of the change was doubted at first by many real friends of
progress, who thought they saw grave legal complications arising; who
knew what popular government in a large city, with no restriction of the
election franchise, might mean; who at times thought of New York with a
shudder; who knew that as Washington was the centre of everything
political, it was necessarily the centre of political corruption; that
her alleys were crowded with ignorant freedmen; that her ward
politicians were as unscrupulous and skillful as the same class in other
cities; and who thought it safer to trust the average Congressman than
the small political trader and his chattels. But Congress sits as a
perpetual court of appeal on the spot where its members can judge from
personal knowledge, ready to overrule any act of the Assembly that can
be shown to be a bad one; and one house of the Assembly, with the
governor and executive boards, is appointed by the President. The
election of the larger house and of the delegate to Congress is
sufficient security to the people, and Washington is to-day in most
respects the best-governed city of its size in the United States. The
powers of the little Assembly are very limited: the governor can veto
its measures; Congress can override them both; the President can veto
the acts of Congress; two-thirds of Congress can still surmount this
veto. This complicated system may retard good measures, but it is not
probable that any very bad one can long survive under it.

The Baron Haussmann here is the Board of Public Works. It is grading,
filling, paving, planting, fencing, parking, and making the
thoroughfares what they would never have become by ordinary means. At
last we see what Washingtonians never saw before--vast public operations
having a consistent and tangible shape; obeying a purpose that can be
understood, defined and executed; beginning somewhere and ending in
something. Within its sphere this Board has despotic power: it would be
worthless with any less. It dares to strike without fear or favor, and
hit whoever stands in the way: the way would never be cleared if it did
not. It makes bitter enemies by its inexorable exactions: the public
cannot be served except at the expense of the individual. A strong party
has fought it by injunctions and failed: the same persons will no doubt
continue to fight, while the Board will no doubt continue to vindicate
itself and go on with its work. It made some mistakes which wrought
hardships to individuals who wished it well, but such were the
difficulties before it at the outset that it might have made greater
mistakes and still been forgiven. It is to be hoped that it will have
enemies enough to watch it closely, criticise it sharply and hold it to
a strict accountability; but should it have enough to really interfere
with its present course, then we shall have to add one more, and a great
one, to the list of Washington's calamities. The new blood that created
it is able to sustain it, while the air it has done so much to purify is
already laden with blessings from the lips of strangers.

In the matter of public improvements an equitable adjustment of
relations--always heretofore uncertain and unsatisfactory--between the
District and the general government still remains to be accomplished,
and at this writing is impatiently awaited by the city. Congress should
explicitly define for itself a course that can be depended upon, so that
the city can go ahead and know what it ought to do. The general
government, promising great things which began nowhere and ended in
nothing, laid out the city for its own use, and gave more space to
streets and ornamental grounds than to buildings. The plan was wise and
good, but did not appear so until the liberal citizens, unable to endure
the disgrace of such a city as the nation thrust upon them, taxing
themselves six millions of dollars for street purposes, went generously
to work, with their own money improved the immense fronts of the
government property, which pays no taxes, evolved something tangible out
of the old cloudy-magnificent plan, and gave the country, so far as they
could, a decent capital.

There is another important matter for adjustment. The city has left
nothing undone that money and labor could do to make the public schools
the best in the United States. It is doubtful whether there has ever
before been seen in any city or State an expenditure for public schools
so generous, under all the circumstances, as that of Washington within
the past few years. The best school-houses here are the best the
Prussian commissioners, who lately came to inspect them, had ever seen.
A very great number of the pupils educated by the city are the children
of government servants whose homes are in the States, and who pay no
considerable taxes here. Every State and Territory has received a
liberal allotment of public land for school-purposes except the District
of Columbia, which has probably done more for schools without the
endowment, considering the time and taxable property at command, than
any State has ever done with it.

Of course the city has received many benefits from the general
government, but the considerable ones have been indirect. The excellent
water-works, for instance, costing about three millions of dollars, were
built with the nation's money and by army engineers, because the nation
needed them, and show how entirely identical are the interests of both
parties. Their respective duties, while they need defining anew, are so
wedded that there is no room for serious difference. It is really a
matter for congratulation that the general government held back and did
not take more of the improvements into its own hands. The city's present
claims are by so much stronger: the two governments can work in harmony,
and any efforts that are now made will not be thrown away. Had Congress
acted sooner we might have had more Washington canals, and Washington
and Georgetown street-cars, and similar Congressional "improvements,"
beginning nowhere but in ignorance or selfishness, and ending in nothing
but nuisances. The improvement of the interiors of the national grounds,
however, by the general government, is now keeping pace with that of the
exteriors by the city as nearly as is possible under present
legislation, and their superintendence has become at last an office of
some practical consequence to Washington. The general government owns
about one-half of the property in the District, and during seventy years
has expended for the improvement of the thoroughfares a little over one
million of dollars. The city during the same time has expended for the
same purpose nearly fourteen millions of dollars.

The old Washington idea seems to have consisted in finishing a city
before it was begun. To use an architectural figure, the capital of the
column has been well designed and partly carved, but the base is not yet
laid. Those characteristics which the builders thought would be a sure
foundation of greatness have proved insufficient in the past and will
prove so in the future. The infusion of new blood has done wonders
within ten years, but there is still needed the admixture of another
current. Wealth and ideality--supposed to be possessed by all who are
attracted hither--do not raise a man above material wants or fail to
multiply them. When Washington shall give her utmost attention to
satisfying the vulgarest common wants of common people, she will have
taken her first real step toward--anything. She has had enough of fog
and moonshine. She wants for a proper period the most unmitigated
materiality--not as an end, of course, but as the first means of making
something else possible. She will be made our republican Paris, if made
so at all, by the aid of the shops, the wonderful skilled labor, the
economical living of poor people, on which rested, as well as on higher
things, the splendors of the imperial Paris. The average American lady
goes to that city to buy "things," as well as to visit the Louvre, and
while the late emperor endeavored to make his capital the social centre
of the world, he did not scorn to make it a fashionable market and
foster a Palace of Industry.

That Washington is an admirable place for manufactures is clear to all
who have sought the facts. Whether she will ever become a manufacturing
city is a question that must be settled by the citizens themselves.
Whoever doubts that the growth of skilled labor here will be an
indispensable condition of the higher growth that is sought fails to
understand modern civilization, and should not have survived the days
when things began nowhere and ended in nothing. The old thoroughbred
Washingtonian will never invest a dollar to build a railroad or a modern
workshop, of course. He does not know anything about them, and does not
want to. His idea of business is to get real estate, and "hold on" till
somebody else makes it valuable. Gentlemen of new Washington, Hercules
will stand idle till he sees your own shoulders at the wheel. When you
shall have the faithful, enlightened manual labor of New England, you
may expect such flowers as Yale and Harvard and the æsthetic fruits they
enfold. You may be unable to see any intimate connection between such
labor and such culture, but nevertheless it exists. Old Washington could
not see it, and now you are compelled to bury old Washington out of
sight. It is time for Mohammed to start if he wants his mountain.

There are a few business-men in Washington who are as enlightened, as
liberal, as trustworthy as any in the country; and abundant is their
reward. There are a few who deal only in good wares, who always sell
them at a reasonable profit, who believe that any kind of deception is a
blunder, who manage their establishments with economy, who are aware
that the more money they permit their customers to make the more they
will ultimately make themselves,--who, in short, have learned the
principles of business and have the character to stand by them. But so
many fall short--often through ignorance--in one or more of these
respects that the average business character is low. If a lady wishes to
spend twenty-five dollars in shopping, she can generally travel eighty
miles--to Baltimore and back--and save enough of that small sum to pay
her for going, besides being sure of finding what she wants. The
Washington shopkeepers may really think that they cannot help this. They
_must_ help it, or consent to be soon shoved aside by those who can.
Instead of being troubled by the sight of his best customers going as
far as New York whenever they have anything of consequence to buy, the
genuine old Washington retailer seems to take a calm satisfaction in
putting such fastidious buyers to so much inconvenience. Here it is
rather the exception than the rule for the man of small business to do
just what he promises to do. He don't know the value of another's time,
is used to disappointments himself, and somehow or other will manage to
disarrange your most careful calculations. Unable himself to meet an
engagement thoroughly and exactly, he seems determined that nobody else
shall.

But you cease censuring the average business-man when you begin to deal
with the average Washington mechanic. There are some good ones, but they
are absorbed by the large and experienced dealers in labor, and are
beyond the knowledge or reach of ordinary mortals. You want a little
job done at your house; you call on a "boss;" certainly--it shall be
done instantly; a workman will be sent in a few minutes; two days
afterward he comes and "looks at it;" the next day he returns with
another man and they both look at it; another day passes, and an
apprentice-boy, with a lame negro to wait on him, comes and makes your
home hideous by pretending to begin; when they have given your family a
proper amount of information, and torn things to pieces sufficiently,
they go away. Two more days elapse, and you go again to the boss; he is
surprised--he supposed the work had been done, for he had given
"orders;" at the end of a week perhaps the job that should have consumed
two hours of honest work is done; then, if you pay the boss no more than
the work actually cost him, you know that the sum is twice as much as it
should have cost him. As a generalization this is a true picture of
Washington labor.

These things are trifles? They are just what determine the permanent
residence of multitudes of valuable citizens. They are the trifles that
in the aggregate make the difference between civilization and barbarism.
For every broken promise or slighted piece of work the city suffers.
Civilized people like to live smoothly and comfortably. Washington,
thinking of something besides hotels and boarding-houses, and the people
of leisure who come once a year to fill them for a few weeks, must
provide for a permanent population of moderately poor people. The word
of a merchant or banker is supposed to be as good as his bond; his
occupation is gone when this ceases to be the case; his standing is
reported in a business guide-book, and dealers with him act accordingly.
Cannot some of the methods that enforce integrity in higher branches of
business be more systematically applied by dealers in manual labor? The
men who are reforming the city's outward appearance have an opportunity
of doing something in this direction. A Northern mechanic who reverences
his conscience, and makes the most of his opportunities to gain
knowledge and character, cannot emigrate to a better place than
Washington.

Yet when one looks into the past he thinks that perhaps labor is
improving as fast as other things here. He is inclined to admire it when
he remembers how much worse it used to be. John Adams was the first
occupant of the White House, and this is what his wife said in a private
letter just after moving into it: "To assist us in this great castle,
and render less attendance necessary, bells are wholly wanting, not one
single one being hung through the whole house, and promises are all you
can obtain. If they put me up bells, and let me have wood enough to keep
fires, I design to be pleased. But, surrounded with forests, can you
believe that wood is not to be had, because people cannot be found to
cut and cart it?" Seventy-two years ago the President's wife could get
nothing but promises toward hanging a servant's bell! Washington was in
a forest and couldn't furnish wood enough to warm the presidential
hearthstone! The forests and people of that day are gone, but those
eternal "promises" remain.

The recent building in Washington has been mostly that of dwellings,
which the ordinary visitor, following the old routes between the Capitol
and West End, will hardly notice, although they have covered many acres
within the past four years. Since the Board of Public Works has
settled--some would say unsettled--the foundations of things, we may
expect to see the heavy building for business purposes, which must soon
take place even if there be no change in the character of business,
conducted with a little system and uniformity. The streets themselves
have been made so fine that it will require some moral courage--a thing
for which Washington is not noted--to disfigure them by the hideous
jumbles that accorded so well with the old ways. Such splendid
monstrosities as the Treasury--as a whole, the worst public building in
the city, although good in parts, so situated that one must go down
stairs from Pennsylvania Avenue to get into the grand north entrance,
without proportion, completeness or consistency--it will be impossible
even for Congress to build.

Both the physical and moral appearance of Washington truly represent the
civilization of the nation as a whole. Such is, after all, the only
description that can be given; and so vast and heterogeneous is the
nation that to many readers this will be no description at all. A farmer
measures out a half bushel of wheat, "levels" it, and tells you truly
that the only difference is in quantity between that in the measure and
that which it came from in the bin: take the architecture, the people,
the ideas of all these States, shake them together in a half bushel,
"level" them, and you can truly say you have Washington. Any noteworthy
character of its own is still lacking. So long as it is nothing more
than a representative of the whole country, it will in many desirable
things fall far below a dozen other cities, whose independence has
enabled them to reach excellences toward which Washington vaguely
aspires. As the capital it will not be the best and most enlightened,
but will be the "average" city. As an independent one its destiny is now
in its own hands, and facilities are thrown at its feet such as no other
can hope to have. There have been good excuses for its shortcomings in
the past. There are none now. Two years ago, Washington was a great boy
who had grown up under the repressive guardianship of his Uncle Samuel;
he had not been permitted to do anything for himself; he had no money
except the few pennies which the old gentleman had grudgingly given him
for menial services. He needed higher culture and better business habits
than his uncle exhibited: the leading-strings were at last sufficiently
cut. His guardian, still exercising a good deal of authority, has
permitted him to go into business for himself; given him the use of the
greatest library in the United States; surrounded him with specimens of
architecture invaluable as models or as warnings; opened to him the
treasures of the Smithsonian, the Coast Survey and a unique medical
museum; given him the benefit of a fine observatory; placed at his
disposal magnificent pleasure-grounds; set before him a botanical
garden; put up for him some good statues and pictures; shown him models
of all the mechanical inventions of the age; sent to him as associates
the first statesmen, jurists and captains of the land; and brought to
his door as guests the polished representatives of all civilized
countries. What more does the boy want that he may make a man of
himself? Nothing but a will of his own so to develop his natural
resources that he can use these things. Will he now refuse to earn the
necessary money to enjoy them, and insist on living, in shabby-genteel
ignorance and idleness, exclusively on the pocket-money of the visitors
to whom his uncle introduces him? If he does, shall we call him a
gentleman?

                        CHAUNCEY HICKOX.



IN THE CRADLE OF THE DEEP.


Forty days in the great desert of the sea--forty nights camped under
cloud-canopies, with the salt dust of the waves drifting over us.
Sometimes a Bedouin sail flashed for an hour upon the distant horizon,
and then faded, and we were alone again; sometimes the west, at sunset,
looked like a city with towers, and we bore down upon its glorified
walls, seeking a haven; but a cold gray morning dispelled the illusion,
and our hearts sank back into the illimitable sea, breathing a long
prayer for deliverance.

Once a green oasis blossomed before us--a garden in perfect bloom,
girded about with creaming waves; within its coral cincture pendulous
boughs trailed in the glassy waters; from its hidden bowers spiced airs
stole down upon us; above all, the triumphant palm trees clashed their
melodious branches like a chorus with cymbals; yet from the very gates
of this paradise a changeful current swept us onward, and the happy isle
was buried in night and distance.

In many volumes of adventure I had read of sea-perils: I was at last to
learn the full interpretation of their picturesque horrors. Our little
craft, the Petrel, had buffeted the boisterous waves for five long
weeks. Fortunately, the bulk of her cargo was edible: we feared neither
famine nor thirst. Moreover, in spite of the continuous gale that swept
us out of our reckoning, the Petrel was in excellent condition, and, as
far as we could judge, we had no reason to lose confidence in her. It
was the gray weather that tried our patience and found us wanting: it
was the unparalleled pitching of the ninety-ton schooner that
disheartened and almost dismembered us. And then it was wasting time at
sea. Why were we not long before at our journey's end? Why were we not
threading the vales of some savage island, reaping our rich reward of
ferns and shells and gorgeous butterflies?

The sea rang its monotonous changes--fair weather and foul, days like
death itself, followed by days full of the revelations of new life, but
mostly days of deadly dullness, when the sea was as unpoetical as an
eternity of cold suds and blueing.

I cannot always understand the logical fitness of things, or, rather, I
am at a loss to know why some things in life are so unfit and illogical.
Of course, in our darkest hour, when we were gathered in the confines of
the Petrel's diminutive cabin, it was our duty to sing psalms of hope
and cheer, but we didn't. It was a time for mutual encouragement: very
few of us were self-sustaining, and what was to be gained by our
combining in unanimous despair?

Our weatherbeaten skipper--a thing of clay that seemed utterly incapable
of any expression whatever, save in the slight facial contortion
consequent to the mechanical movement of his lower jaw--the skipper sat,
with barometer in hand, eyeing the fatal finger that pointed to our
doom: the rest of us were lashed to the legs of the centre-table, glad
of any object to fix our eyes upon, and nervously awaiting a turn in the
state of affairs, that was then by no means encouraging.

I happened to remember that there were some sealed letters to be read
from time to time on the passage out, and it occurred to me that one of
the times had come, perhaps the last and only, wherein I might break the
remaining seals and receive a sort of parting visit from the fortunate
friends on shore.

I opened one letter and read these prophetic lines: "Dear child"--she
was twice my age, and privileged to make a pet of me--"Dear child, I
have a presentiment that we shall never meet again in the flesh."

That dear girl's intuition came near to being the death of me: I
shuddered where I sat, overcome with remorse. It was enough that I had
turned my back on her and sought consolation in the treacherous bosom of
the ocean--that, having failed to find the spring of immortal life in
human affection, I had packed up and emigrated, content to fly the ills
I had in search of change; but that parting shot, below the water-line
as it were, that was more than I asked for, and something more than I
could stomach. I returned to watch with the rest of our little company,
who clung about the table with a pitiful sense of momentary security,
and an expression of pathetic condolence on every countenance, as though
each were sitting out the last hours of the others.

Our particular bane that night was a crusty old sea-dog whose memory of
wrecks and marine disasters of every conceivable nature was as complete
as an encyclopædia. This "old man of the sea" spun his tempestuous yarn
with fascinating composure, and the whole company was awed into silence
with the haggard realism of his narrative. The cabin must have been
air-tight--it was as close as possible--yet we heard the shrieking of
the wind as it tore through the rigging, and the long hiss of the waves
rushing past us with lightning speed. Sometimes an avalanche of foam
buried us for a moment, and the Petrel trembled like a living thing
stricken with sudden fear: we seemed to be hanging on the crust of a
great bubble that was, sooner or later, certain to burst and let us drop
into its vast, black chasm, where in Cimmerian darkness we should be
entombed for ever.

The scenic effect, as I then considered, was unnecessarily vivid: as I
now recall it, it seems to me strictly in keeping and thoroughly
dramatic. At any rate, you might have told us a dreadful story with
almost fatal success.

I had still one letter left--one bearing this suggestive legend: "To be
read in the saddest hour." Now, if there is a sadder hour in all time
than the hour of hopeless and friendless death, I care not to know of
it. I broke the seal of my letter, feeling that something charitable and
cheering would give me strength. A few dried leaves were stored within
it. The faint fragrance of summer bowers reassured me: somewhere in the
blank world of waters there was land, and there Nature was kind and
fruitful: out over the fearful deluge this leaf was borne to me in the
return of the invisible dove my heart had sent forth in its extremity. A
song was written therein, perhaps a song of triumph: I could now silence
the clamorous tongue of our sea-monster, who was glutting us with tales
of horror, for a jubilee was at hand, and here was the first note of its
trumpets.

I read:

    Beyond the parting and the meeting
        I shall be soon:
    Beyond the farewell and the greeting,
    Beyond the pulse's fever-beating,
        I shall be soon.

I paused. A night black with croaking ravens, brooding over a slimy
hulk, through whose warped timbers the sea oozed--that was the sort of
picture that arose before me. I looked farther for a crumb of comfort:

    Beyond the gathering and the strewing
        I shall be soon:
    Beyond the ebbing and the flowing,
    Beyond the coming and the going,
        I shall be soon.

A tide of ice-water seemed rippling up and down my spinal column: the
marrow congealed within my bones. But I recovered. When a man has supped
full of horror, and there is no immediate climax, he can collect himself
and be comparatively brave. A reaction restored my soul.

Once more the melancholy chronicler of the ill-fated Petrel resumed his
lugubrious narrative. I resolved to listen, while the skipper eyed the
barometer, and we all rocked back and forth in search of the centre of
gravity, looking like a troupe of mechanical blockheads nodding in
idiotic unison. All this time the little craft drifted helplessly, "hove
to" in the teeth of the gale.

The sea-dog's yarn was something like this: He once knew a lonesome man
who floated about in a waterlogged hulk for three months--who saw all
his comrades starve and die, one after another, and at last kept watch
alone, craving and beseeching death. It was the staunch French brig La
Perle, bound south into the equatorial seas. She had seen rough weather
from the first: day after day the winds increased, and finally a cyclone
burst upon her with insupportable fury. The brig was thrown upon her
beam-ends, and began to fill rapidly. With much difficulty her masts
were cut away, she righted, and lay in the trough of the sea rolling
like a log. Gradually the gale subsided, but the hull of the brig was
swept continually by the tremendous swell, and the men were driven into
the foretop cross-trees, where they rigged a tent for shelter and
gathered what few stores were left them from the wreck. A dozen wretched
souls lay in their stormy nest for three whole days in silence and
despair. By this time their scanty stores were exhausted, and not a
drop of water remained: then their tongues were loosened, and they
railed at the Almighty. Some wept like children, some cursed their fate:
one man alone was speechless--a Spaniard with a wicked light in his eye,
and a repulsive manner that had made trouble in the forecastle more than
once.

When hunger had driven them nearly to madness they were fed in an almost
miraculous manner. Several enormous sharks had been swimming about the
brig for some hours, and the hungry sailors were planning various
projects for the capture of them: tough as a shark is, they would
willingly have risked life for a few raw mouthfuls of the same. Somehow,
though the sea was still and the wind light, the brig gave a sudden
lurch and dipped up one of the monsters, who was quite secure in the
shallow aquarium between the gunwales. He was soon despatched, and
divided equally among the crew: some ate a little, and reserved the rest
for another day; some ate till they were sick, and had little left for
the next meal. The Spaniard with the evil eye greedily devoured his
portion, and then grew moody again, refusing to speak with the others,
who were striving to be cheerful, though it was sad enough work.

When the food was all gone save a few mouthfuls that one meagre eater
had hoarded to the last, the Spaniard resolved to secure a morsel at the
risk of his life. It had been a point of honor with the men to observe
sacredly the right of ownership, and any breach of confidence would have
been considered unpardonable. At night, when the watch was sleeping, the
Spaniard cautiously removed the last mouthful of shark hidden in the
pocket of his mate, but was immediately detected and accused of theft.
He at once grew desperate, struck at the poor wretch whom he had robbed,
missed his blow, and fell headlong from the narrow platform in the
foretop, and was lost in the sea. It was the first scene in the mournful
tragedy about to be enacted on that limited stage.

There was less disturbance after the disappearance of the Spaniard: the
spirits of the doomed sailors seemed broken: in fact, the captain was
the only one whose courage was noteworthy, and it was his indomitable
will that ultimately saved him.

One by one the minds of the miserable men gave way: they became peevish
or delirious, and then died horribly. Two, who had been mates for many
voyages in the seas north and south, vanished mysteriously in the night:
no one could tell where they went nor in what manner, though they seemed
to have gone together.

Somehow, these famishing sailors seemed to feel assured that their
captain would be saved: they were as confident of their own doom, and to
him they entrusted a thousand messages of love. They would lie around
him--for few of them had strength to assume a sitting posture--and
reveal to him the story of their lives. It was most pitiful to hear the
confessions of these dying men. One said: "I wronged my friend; I was
unkind to this one or to that one; I deserve the heaviest punishment God
can inflict upon me;" and then he paused, overcome with emotion. But
another took up the refrain: "I could have done much good, but I would
not, and now it is too late." And a third cried out in his despair: "I
have committed unpardonable sins, and there is no hope for me. Lord
Jesus, have mercy!" The youngest of these perishing souls was a mere
lad: he too accused himself bitterly. He began his story at the
beginning, and continued it from time to time as the spirit of
revelation moved him: scarcely an incident, however insignificant,
escaped him in his pitiless retrospect. Oh the keen agony of that boy's
recital! more cruel than hunger or thirst, and in comparison with which
physical torture would have seemed merciful and any death a blessing.

While the luckless Perle drifted aimlessly about, driven slowly onward
by varying winds under a cheerless sky, sickness visited them: some were
stricken with scurvy; some had lost the use of their limbs and lay
helpless, moaning and weeping hour after hour; vermin devoured them,
and when their garments were removed and cleansed in the salt water,
there was scarcely sunshine enough to dry them before night, and they
were put on again, damp, stiffened with salt, and shrunken so as to
cripple the wearers, who were all blistered and covered with boils. The
nights were bitter cold: sometimes the icy moon looked down upon them;
sometimes the bosom of an electric cloud burst over them, and they were
enveloped for a moment in a sheet of flame. Sharks lingered about them,
waiting to feed upon the unhappy ones who fell into the sea overcome
with physical exhaustion, or who cast themselves from that dizzy
scaffold, unable longer to endure the horrors of lingering death. Flocks
of sea-fowl hovered over them; the hull of the Perle was crusted with
barnacles; long skeins of sea-grass knotted themselves in her gaping
seams; myriads of fish darted in and out among the clinging weeds,
sporting gleefully; schools of porpoises leaped about them, lashing the
sea into foam; sometimes a whale blew his long breath close under them.
Everywhere was the stir of jubilant life--everywhere but under the
tattered awning stretched in the foretop of the Perle.

Days and weeks dragged on. When the captain would waken from his
sleep--which was not always at night, however, for the nights were
miserably cold and sleepless--when he wakened he would call the roll:
perhaps some one made no answer; then he would reach forth and touch the
speechless body and find it dead. He had not strength now to bury the
corpses in the sea's sepulchre; he had not strength even to partake of
the unholy feast of the inanimate flesh: he lay there in the midst of
pestilence, and at night, under the merciful veil of darkness, the fowls
of the air gathered about him and bore away their trophy of corruption.

By and by there were but two left of all that suffering crew--the
captain and the boy--and these two clung together like ghosts, defying
mortality. They strove to be patient and hopeful: if they could not
eat, they could drink, for the nights were dewy, and sometimes a mist
covered them--a mist so dense it seemed almost to drip from the rags
that poorly sheltered them. A cord was attached to the shrouds, the end
of it carefully laid in the mouth of a bottle slung in the rigging. Down
the thin cord slid occasional drops: one by one they stole into the
bottle, and by morning there was a spoonful of water to moisten those
parched lips--sweet, crystal drops, more blessed than tears, for _they_
are salt--more precious than pearls. A thousand prayers of gratitude
seemed hardly to quiet the souls of the lingering ones for that great
charity of Heaven.

There came a day when the hearts of God's angels must have bled for the
suffering ones. The breeze was fresh and fair; the sea tossed gayly its
foam-crested waves; sea-birds soared in wider circles, and the clouds
shook out their fleecy folds, through which the sunlight streamed in
grateful warmth: the two ghosts were talking, as ever, of home, of
earth, of land. Land--land anywhere, so that it were solid and broad.
Oh, to pace again a whole league without turning! Oh, to pause in the
shadow of some living tree!--to drink of some stream whose waters flowed
continually--flowed, though you drank of them with the awful thirst of
one who has been denied water for weeks, and weeks, and weeks!--for
three whole months--an eternity, as it seemed to them!

Then they pictured life as it might be if God permitted them to return
to earth once more. They would pace K----street at noon, and revisit
that capital restaurant where many a time they had feasted, though in
those days they were unknown to one another; they would call for coffee,
and this dish and that dish, and a whole bill of fare, the thought of
which made their feverish palates grow moist again. They would meet
friends whom they had never loved as they now loved them; they would
reconcile old feuds and forgive everybody everything; they held
imaginary conversations, and found life very beautiful and greatly to
be desired; and somehow they would get back to the little _café_ and
there begin eating again, and with a relish that brought the savory
tastes and smells vividly before them, and their lips would move and the
impalpable morsels roll sweetly over their tongues.

It had become a second nature to scour the horizon with jealous eyes:
never for a moment during their long martyrdom had their covetous sight
fixed upon a stationary object. But it came at last. Out of a cloud a
sail burst like a flickering flame. What an age it was a-coming! how it
budded and blossomed like a glorious white flower, that was transformed
suddenly into a barque bearing down upon them! Almost within hail it
stayed its course, the canvas fluttered in the wind; the dark hull
slowly rose and fell upon the water; figures moved to and fro--men,
living and breathing men! Then the ghosts staggered to their feet and
cried to God for mercy. Then they waved their arms, and beat their
breasts, and lifted up their imploring voices, beseeching deliverance
out of that horrible bondage. Tears coursed down their hollow cheeks,
their limbs quaked, their breath failed them: they sank back in despair,
speechless and forsaken.

Why did they faint in the hour of deliverance when that narrow chasm was
all that separated them from renewed life? Because the barque spread out
her great white wings and soared away, hearing not the faint voices,
seeing not the thin shadows that haunted that drifting wreck. The
forsaken ones looked out from their eyrie, and watched the lessening
sail until sight failed them, and then the lad with one wild cry leaped
toward the speeding barque, and was swallowed up in the sea.

Alone in a wilderness of waters! Alone, without compass or rudder, borne
on by relentless winds into the lonesome, dreary, shoreless ocean of
despair, within whose blank and forbidding sphere no voyager ventures;
across whose desolate waste dawn sends no signal and night brings no
reprieve; but whose sun is cold, and whose moon is clouded, and whose
stars withdraw into space, and where the insufferable silence of vacancy
shall not be broken for all time.

O pitiless Nature! thy irrevocable laws argue rare sacrifice in the
waste places of God's universe!...

       *       *       *       *       *

The Petrel gave a tremendous lurch, that sent two or three of us into
the lee corners of the cabin; a sea broke over us, bursting in the
companion-hatch, and half filling our small and insecure retreat; the
swinging lamp was thrown from its socket and extinguished; we were
enveloped in pitch-darkness, up to our knees in salt water. There was a
moment of awful silence: we could not tell whether the light of day
would ever visit us again; we thought perhaps it wouldn't. But the
Petrel rose once more upon the watery hilltops and shook herself free of
the cumbersome deluge; and at that point, when she seemed to be riding
more easily than usual, some one broke the silence: "Well, did the
captain of the Perle live to tell the tale?"

Yes, he did. God sent a messenger into the lonesome deep, where the
miserable man was found insensible, with eyes wide open against the
sunlight, and lips shrunken apart--a hideous breathing corpse. When he
was lifted in the arms of the brave fellows who had gone to his rescue,
he cried "Great God! am I saved?" as though he couldn't believe it when
it was true: then he fainted, and was nursed through a long delirium,
and was at last restored to health and home and happiness.

Our cabin-boy managed to fish up the lamp, and after a little we were
illuminated: the agile swab soon sponged out the cabin, and we resumed
our tedious watch for dawn and fairer weather.

Somehow, my mind brooded over the solitary wreck that was drifting about
the sea: I could fancy the rotten timbers of the Perle clinging
together, by a miracle, until the Ancient Mariner was taken away from
her, and then, when she was alone again, with nothing whatever in sight
but blank blue sea and blank blue sky, she lay for an hour or so,
bearded with shaggy sea-moss and looking about a thousand years old.
Suddenly it occurred to her that her time had come--that she had
outlived her usefulness, and might as well go to pieces at once. So she
yawned in all her timbers, and the sea reached up over her, and laid
hold of her masts, and seemed to be slowly drawing her down into its
bosom. There was not an audible sound, and scarcely a ripple upon the
water, but when the waves had climbed into the foretop, there was a
clamor of affrighted birds, and a myriad bubbles shot up to the surface,
where a few waifs floated and whirled about for a moment. It was all
that marked the spot where the Perle went down to her eternal rest.

"Ha, ha!" cried our skipper, with something almost like a change of
expression on his mahogany countenance, "the barometer is rising!" and
sure enough it was. In two hours the Petrel acted like a different craft
entirely, and by and by came daybreak, and after that the sea went down,
down, down, into a deep, dead calm, when all the elements seemed to have
gone to sleep after their furious warfare. Like half-drowned flies we
crawled out of the close, ill-smelling cabin to dry ourselves in the
sun: there, on the steaming deck of the schooner, we found new life, and
in the hope that dawned with it we grew lusty and jovial.

Such a flat, oily sea as it was then! So transparent that we saw great
fish swimming about, full fathom five under us. A monstrous shark
drifted lazily past, his dorsal fin now and then cutting the surface
like a knife and glistening like polished steel, his brace of pilot-fish
darting hither and thither, striped like little one-legged harlequins.

Flat-headed gonies sat high on the water, piping their querulous note
as they tugged at something edible, a dozen of them entering into the
domestic difficulty: one after another would desert the cause, run a
little way over the sea to get a good start, leap heavily into the air,
sail about for a few minutes, and then drop back on the sea, feet
foremost, and skate for a yard or two, making a white mark and a
pleasant sound as it slid over the water.

The exquisite nautilus floated past us, with its gauzy sail set, looking
like a thin slice out of a soap-bubble; the strange anemone laid its
pale, sensitive petals on the lips of the wave and panted in ecstasy:
the Petrel rocked softly, swinging her idle canvas in the sun; we heard
the click of the anchor-chain in the forecastle, the blessedest
sea-sound I wot of; a sailor sang while he hung in the ratlines and
tossed down the salt-stained shrouds. The afternoon waned: the man at
the wheel struck two bells--it was the delectable dog-watch. Down went
the swarthy sun into his tent of clouds; the waves were of amber; the
fervid sky was flushed; it looked as though something splendid were
about to happen up there, and that it could hardly keep the secret much
longer. Then came the purplest twilight; and then the sky blossomed all
over with the biggest, ripest, goldenest stars--such stars as hang like
fruits in sun-fed orchards; such stars as lay a track of fire in the
sea; such stars as rise and set over mountains and beyond low green
capes, like young moons, every one of them; and I conjured up my spells
of savage enchantment, my blessed islands, my reefs baptized with silver
spray; I saw the broad fan-leaves of the banana droop in the motionless
air, and through the tropical night the palms aspired heavenward, while
I lay dreaming my sea-dream in the cradle of the deep.

                        CHARLES WARREN STODDARD.



HER CHANCE.


Mary Trigillgus tucked the money away in her purse. It was a very small
sum, but it was the utmost that could be spared for the evening outfit:
she and her mother had talked it all over, and such was the decision.

"Now, Mary," said her mother, "don't get a tarletan, or anything
exclusively for evening wear: you so seldom go to parties that you can't
afford such a dress. I would try to get a nice silk. Something that's a
little out of style by being made up fashionably might answer very
well."

Mary gave a sigh and turned her face toward the shops, feeling how
difficult it would be to purchase a fashionable outfit with the scanty
sum in her purse. And she sighed many another time that afternoon as she
went from shop to shop. The goods were too expensive for her slender
purse, or they were poor or old-fashioned. Twilight was settling down on
the gay streets; window after window was flashing into light, revealing
misty laces with gay ribbons and silks streaming like banners; the
lamplighters on every hand were building their walls of flame; and yet
Mary wandered from store to store, each moment more bewildered and
undecided as to the best investment for her money.

She approached a brilliant store, passed it with lingering step, then
paused, turned back, and stood looking down the glittering aisle. The
large mirror at the farther end seemed scarcely broader than the little
cracked bureau-glass in her humble room before which she dressed her
hair in the mornings. The clerks were hurrying to and fro, eager and
business-like, while fine ladies were coming and going, jostling her as
she stood just outside the door. Among the hurrying forms her eye sought
one familiar and loved: not a woman's, I need scarcely say, else why
does she stand in the shadow there, with her veil half drawn over her
face, trembling and frightened? Why else does her cheek glow with shame?

Poor Mary! You feel like a guilty thing in thus seeking a man who has
never declared his love; but let me whisper a word in your ear: True
love is woman's blue ribbon of honor: without it her nature is the rose
tree without the rose--the dead egg among the cliffs: quickened by the
grand passion, it is the eagle soaring to the stars. Your heart is a
grander thing now than ever before. Next to loving God, the best thing
for woman is to love a good man. Take the comfort of this thought, and
leave the humiliation to the heart too hard or too light for loving.

Were I looking into your eyes, my reader, telling my story by word of
mouth, I can fancy we might hold something like this dialogue: "Whom was
Mary Trigillgus, this keeper of a small day-school--whom was she seeking
in this brilliant store? One of the underclerks, perhaps?" "No." "The
bookkeeper?" "No." "The confidential clerk?" "You must guess again."
"The junior partner?" "No, it was Christian Van Pelt, the sole
proprietor of that fine establishment, one of the merchant princes of
the city." "But what right had Mary Trigillgus, this obscure
school-teacher, to love this man of fortune? How did she ever come to
his acquaintance?" And then I should tell you a very long story, and a
tedious one perhaps, of two Hollanders, close friends, who settled in
New Amsterdam; of how fortune had prospered the one until Christian Van
Pelt, his lineal descendant, was among the leaders in the dry-goods
trade of New York City; of how various disasters had befallen the family
of the other, until the daughter of the house, and its only lineal
descendant, Mary Trigillgus's mother, had married an intemperate
spendthrift, who had at his death left her penniless, though the
grandchild, Mary Trigillgus, had inherited the small house in which
mother and daughter found a home.

In the back parlor Mary kept a school for small children: the front
chamber was let to a quiet man, who went down town at eight and returned
at five, and whom they seldom saw except when he rapped at the
sitting-room door on the first day of every month to hand in the three
five-dollar bills which covered his rent. Besides these sources of
revenue there were a few day-boarders, who sometimes paid for their
keeping and sometimes did not.

An intercourse and a show of friendship had all along been maintained
between the families of these Hollanders; and now Mrs. Van Pelt, the
young merchant's mother, was to give a large party. Mary Trigillgus had
been invited, and her mother had insisted on an acceptance of the
invitation.

"They are quite friendly to you, Mary, and you can't afford to throw
away such friends," the mother said.

So it was for Christian Van Pelt's broad, square figure that Mary's
eager eyes were seeking; but in vain they sought: it was nowhere to be
seen. A choking feeling of disappointment rose in her heart--a
disappointment very unequal to the occasion, since she had meant nothing
more than to get a sight of the loved figure and then to go on her way.
Having satisfied herself that he was not in the store, a yearning desire
possessed her to enter the place where he every day walked--a place to
her invested with romance, haunted by his presence--a place to which her
thoughts often wandered as some stupid child stood by her side in the
little school-room spelling out his reading-lesson. She had not for
months entered the store--not since that evening when, in her poor
parlor, Christian Van Pelt, the rich young merchant, had looked into her
eyes with a look that thrilled her for many a day, and spoken some
nothings in tones that set her heart throbbing. Indeed, since that day
she had avoided passing the store, lest she might seem, even to herself,
to be seeking him. And yet her poor eyes and heart were ever seeking
him in the countless throngs that passed up and down the busy streets.

"I'll get my dress from his store," she said mentally. "I shall wear it
with the greater pleasure that he has handled it. My patronage will be
to him but as the drop to the ocean," she said with a little bitterness,
"but it will be a sweet thought to me that I have contributed even one
drop to the flood of his prosperity."

So she entered Christian Van Pelt's trade-palace, and said, in answer to
the smart clerk's look of inquiry, "I am looking for a silk that will do
for the evening and also for the street--something a little out of
style, perhaps, might answer."

"We have some bargains in such silks--elegant dress-patterns at a third
of what they cost us in Paris. Step this way;" and Mary found herself
going back and back through the spacious building, with her image
advancing to meet her.

In a few seconds the counter was strewn with silks at most enticing
figures, and the clerk showed them off to such advantage, gathering them
so dexterously into elegant folds, shifting them so skillfully in the
brilliant gas-light, persuading the lady, in the mean while, in such a
clever, lawyer-like way: "These cost us in Paris three times the money I
am offering them for, and they are but very little _passé_; there is an
extraordinary demand for them; they are going like wildfire; country
merchants are ordering them by the score; we sent eighty pieces to
Chicago, to one house, yesterday, and fifty patterns to Omaha this
morning; one hundred and ten we last week shipped to the South; the
whole lot will perhaps be sold by to-morrow," etc.--that poor Mary felt
like a speculator on the verge of a great chance. So she decided on a
light-green brocade, and could not gainsay the smooth-tongued clerk as
he assured her, while tying the bundle, that she had secured a very
handsome and elegant dress at a great bargain.

The next day Mary and her mother spent in studying and discussing the
latest fashion-plates, but the elaborate descriptions of expensive
costumes plunged the girl into another state of bewilderment and slough
of despond. She heartily regretted having accepted the invitation. She
began to dread the party as an execution--to shrink from exhibiting
herself to Christian with the fine ladies and gentlemen who would form
the company at Mrs. Van Pelt's. However, the dress was cut and made, and
in this there was a fair degree of success, for necessity had taught
these women considerable skill in the use of the scissors and needle.
The dress was trimmed with some handsome old lace that had been in the
mother's family for years. Mrs. Trigillgus pronounced the dress very
handsome as she spread it on the bed and stepped off to survey it, and
even the despondent Mary took heart, and as she surveyed her image in
the mirror at the conclusion of her toilet for the important evening,
she felt a degree of complacency toward herself--a feeling of admiration
even.

"You look like a snowdrop, dear," said the mother fondly; and the
comparison was not inapt, for the young girl's Saxon complexion and fair
hair were in pretty contrast with the lace-decked silk of delicate green
falling about her.

As she had no attendant, she went early to Mrs. Van Pelt's, feeling at
liberty to be unceremonious; and she thought, with a beating heart, that
Christian would be her escort home. Mrs. Van Pelt was not in the parlor
when Mary entered, but Christian received her kindly, though with a
slight embarrassment that embarrassed her. She tried to keep the
love-flicker from her eyes and the love-tremor from her voice as she sat
there alone with the man she loved, trying to reply indifferently to his
indifferent remarks, and wondering if he could not hear the beating of
her heart. She was greatly relieved at the entrance of Mrs. Van Pelt.
When this lady had kissed her guest, she stepped off a few paces and
looked the girl over.

"Your dress is very becoming, my dear," she said, "but why did you get a
brocade? Don't you know that brocades are out of style? Nobody wears
brocades; and they are not trimming with lace at all. I wish you had
advised with me."

The blood rushed to Mary's face. Though she did not turn her eyes to
Christian's, she knew that they were looking at her--that he was noting
her confusion and comprehending its cause. "He knows why I have bought
this brocade," was her thought, "and he knows that I am humiliated in
having my poverty held up to his view. Of course Christian knows that I
am poor, and he must know, as a consequence, that I wear poor clothes. I
can endure that he should know this in a general way, while I shrink
from having the details of my poverty revealed to him. I would not wish
my patched gaiters and darned stockings held up for his inspection."

Mary hesitated a moment before replying to Mrs. Van Pelt's criticism.
Then, with a feeling that it was better to acknowledge a poverty of
which both her companions were cognizant than an ignorance of style, she
said, with a slight kindling of the eye, "I decided on this dress from
economical considerations, and the lace is some which my mother's
great-grandmother brought from Holland.--I have reminded them, at least,
that I had a grandfather," she thought.

As she finished speaking she lifted her eyes to Christian's. She could
not understand the expression she saw there. But the poor girl's
satisfaction in her dress was all gone. She was ready to reproach her
mother for the reassuring words that had helped to generate it. "What if
it is pretty? it is old-fashioned. No matter that the lace is rich, when
nobody wears it. I must look as though I were dressed in my
grandmother's clothes. I wish I was back in my poor home. There I am at
least sheltered from criticism. I am a fool in daring to face fashion: I
am the silly moth in the candle."

If these were Mary's thoughts as she sat there with her two friends,
what must they have become as the regally-dressed ladies, one after
another, were announced? There were the majestic sweep of velvet, the
floating of cloudlike gossamer, the flashing diamond, the starry pearl,
the flaming ruby, the blazing carbuncle. There were marvelous toilets
where contrast and harmony and picturesqueness--the effect of every
color and ornament--had been patiently studied as the artist studies
each shade and line on his canvas. And when the laugh and the jest and
the wit were sounding all about her, and the intoxicating music came
sweeping in from the dancing-room, there came over Mary a lost feeling
amid the strange faces and voices--a bewildered, dizzy feeling, such as
the semi-conscious opium-eater might have, half real, half dreaming. It
was all so strange, so separate from her, as though, herself invisible,
she was watching a festival among a different order of beings. Everybody
was coming and going, continually varying his pastime, while she sat as
unobserved as though invisible. Occasionally an eye-glass was leveled at
her, or some lady accidentally placed beside her superciliously
inspected the lace and green brocade.

Mrs. Van Pelt found her in the course of the evening, and insisted that
she should go to the dancing-room and see the dancing. Mary begged to
remain seated where she was. She dreaded any move that would render her
more conspicuous, and dreaded especially being recalled to Christian's
mind. But the hostess insisted, so the wretched girl crept out of her
retreat, and with a dizzy step traversed the parlors and halls to the
dancing-rooms. The band was playing a delicious waltz, and graceful
ladies and elegant gentlemen were moving to its measures. Mary's eyes
soon discovered Christian waltzing with a young girl in a rose-colored
silk. She was not a marked beauty, but the face was refined and pretty,
and was uplifted to Christian's with a look of listening interest. A
pang of jealousy shot through Mary's heart as she saw this and noted the
close embrace in which Christian held his partner, with his face bent
down to hers. Soon they came whirling by.

"There is Christian with Miss Jerome," said Mrs. Van Pelt. "Her father
is said to be worth four millions."

The next moment Mrs. Van Pelt was called away, and Mary was again left
to her isolation. With a dread of having Christian see her there,
old-fashioned and neglected, a stranger to every individual in the
assemblage of wealth and fashion, she slipped quietly away into the
library, where some elderly people were playing whist. She would have
gone home, but she lived in an obscure street some distance away. With a
sense of suffocation she now remembered that she would have to recall
herself to Christian's mind, for she must depend upon him to see her
home. "He has not thought of me once this evening," she said bitterly.
Soon supper was announced. Gentlemen and ladies began to pair off, not
one mindful of her. She was hesitating between remaining there in the
library and going unattended to the refreshment-room, when a
white-haired gentleman entered from the parlor. He glanced at Mary, and
was passing on when he paused and looked again. A moment of hesitation
ensued while the young girl and the old gentleman gazed at each other.

"Miss Trigillgus, I believe?" he said, finally. "My name is Ten Eyck. I
knew your mother when she was a girl, and I knew her father. Allow me
the pleasure of escorting you to supper."

Mary took the proffered arm with the feeling of one who unexpectedly
encounters a friend in a foreign land.

As he reseated her in the library after supper he said, "Present me
kindly to your mother: if ever I can serve her, I should be glad to do
so."

At length the party was ended. Every guest had gone except Miss
Trigillgus.

"I'm afraid I shall have to trouble you to see me home, Mr. Van Pelt,"
she said to Christian with a burning at her heart.

"Allow me the pleasure, you mean to say," replied Christian with a bow.

This was but a passing pleasantry, and Mary should not have allowed it
to bring the color to her cheek, and that peculiar, half-disdainful look
to her eye and lip.

"I fear you haven't had a pleasant evening," said Mrs. Van Pelt as Mary
took leave of her hostess.

"It was not to be expected that I should, being an entire stranger."

"Well, dear, come and spend a quiet evening with me soon; and give my
love to your mother."

Mary went up to the dressing-room, and soon reappeared, looking demure
and nun-like in her white hood and black-and-white plaid shawl. How she
dreaded the ride home with Christian! and yet for a whole week she had
been longing for this very thing. The thought of the party had always
brought the throbbing anticipation of the ride with Christian after the
party. How near he had seemed then, and ever since the memorable evening
when they had sat together over that book of engravings! How happy she
had been then! how hopeful of his love! But now, what a gulf there
seemed between them! What had she to do with this atmosphere of wealth
and luxury and fashion where Christian dwelt? He had been pleased to
amuse himself for a brief space with looking into her eyes, with making
some silly speeches, which he had straightway forgotten, but which
she--poor fool!--had laid away in her heart.

Thus she was thinking as Christian handed her into the carriage. She
wondered what he would talk about. For a time there was a constrained
and painful silence, and Mary tried to think of something to say, that
she might hide her aching heart from his merciless gaze. Finally she
remarked that the streets were quiet, and he that the night was fine;
and in such commonplaces the ride was passed.

Mary found her mother up, eager to learn her impressions of the first
large party she had ever attended.

"I am very tired, mother," she said, determined to end the torturing
inquisition, "and am aching to get to bed. I'll tell you about the party
to-morrow. Don't call me early: let me have a good sleep."

With a feeling of sickening disgust she laid off the silk and lace and
flowers which a few hours before had so pleased her. The pale face
which met her as she stood before her mirror was very unlike the happy,
expectant face she had seen there in the early evening. Turning from the
piteous image, she hurriedly put the mean dress away, longing to have
the sheltering darkness about her. Soon she had laid her head on the
pillow, where, with eyes staring into the darkness, it throbbed for a
weary while. "What am I to Christian Van Pelt?" This was the question
the poor heart argued and re-argued. One sweet delicious evening stood
over against this last, so full of heartache.

The next morning Mary felt weary with all the world. Her home seemed
poorer and meaner than ever; the boarders disgusted her with their
coarseness; teaching was unrelieved drudgery; everything was
distasteful. To her mother's renewed inquiries about the party she
replied wearily, "My dress was poor and mean, mother; and had I spent
our year's income on my toilet, it would have still been poor, compared
with those I saw last night. For such as I there is nothing in
fashionable life but heart-burning and humiliation."

A few days after this there came from Mrs. Van Pelt to Miss Trigillgus
an invitation to tea. She at once longed and dreaded to meet Christian;
so the invitation was declined on the plea of indisposition. It was
renewed two evenings, later, and she was obliged to accept it. Mary
never looked better than on that evening. She wore a blue empress-cloth,
which heightened the fairness of her complexion and of her bright hair.
After tea she and Mrs. Van Pelt were looking at some old pictures. They
were discussing an ambrotype of herself, taken when she was thirteen,
when a servant announced guests in the parlor.

"You were a pretty child, my dear," said Mrs. Van Pelt, rising to go to
the parlor, "and you are a handsome woman--a beautiful woman, I may
say--your beauty ought to be a fortune to you--but you lack style. I
must take you in hand," she continued, talking all the way to the door.
"I shall need some amusement after Christian's marriage, to keep me
from being jealous of his little wife;" and she disappeared through the
door, little dreaming of the arrow she had sent to the poor heart.

Mary caught her breath, and Christian saw her stagger at the shot. Taken
by surprise, completely off his guard, he opened his arms and received
the stricken girl in his bosom, and pressed his lips to hers. But Mary
had not lost her consciousness. Quickly recovering, she disengaged
herself and reached a chair. She was more self-possessed than he. He sat
down beside her, quivering in every fibre.

"Mary! Mary!" he cried in passionate beseechment, "I never meant to win
your love to betray it. We have both been surprised into a confession of
our love for each other, and now let me lay open my heart to you. I do
love you, as you must have seen, for I have not been always able to keep
the love out of my eyes and voice. You will recall one evening--I know
you must remember it--when I was near declaring my love and asking you
to be my wife. I don't know why I did not--why I left my story but half
told. I sometimes wish that I had declared myself fully, and that we
were now pledged to each other. But the very next morning I sustained
heavy losses in my business, and others soon followed, and to-day I am
threatened with utter ruin. If I cannot raise a hundred thousand dollars
this week, and as much in another week, I am a bankrupt. And now you
will understand why in two days I am to marry Miss Jerome."

Mary started again. Was the execution, then, so near? She drew a long
breath, as though gathering her strength for a hard struggle.
"Christian," she said in a low tone that trembled with the energy
underlying it, "my poor Christian, you are bewildered. These troubles
have shut the light away from your path, and you have lost your way in
the darkness. If this is true which you have told me, do you not see
that when you have delivered yourself from this threatened bankruptcy,
you are yet a bankrupt--a bankrupt in heart and happiness? How can you
weigh wealth and position against the best good than can ever come to
either of us? I am not afraid of poverty, for I have known nothing else;
and surely you do not dread it for yourself. This love is the one good
thing which God has permitted in my pitiless destiny. Am I unwomanly? If
I plead for my life, who can blame me? And shall that which is more than
life go from me without a word? Oh, I cannot smile and look cold as
though I was not hurt: I am pierced and torn. Yet, Christian, for your
sake, rather than for mine, I entreat. You would bring desolation into
both our lives. I might endure it, but how could you bear through the
years the memory of your deed? You are trampling on your manhood. You
are giving to this woman's hungry heart a stone: you are buying with a
lie the holiest thing in her womanhood."

"For four generations my house has withstood every financial storm. The
honorable name which my ancestors bequeathed to me I will maintain at
every hazard," Christian replied with gloomy energy.

"And you will marry Miss Jerome?"

"Yes: it is my only hope."

"Then God help you, Christian. Your lot is harder than mine. At the
worst, my life shall be true: I shall hide no lie in my heart, to fester
there." Her words, begun in tenderness, ended in a tone of scorn. "And
now I must ask you to see me home."

She left the room, and soon returned cloaked and hooded, to find
Christian waiting in overcoat and gloves and with hat in hand. With her
arm in his they walked in perfect silence through the gay, bustling
streets, passing God knows how many other spirits as sad as their own.
When they came to the humble little house which was Mary's home,
Christian stopped on the step as though he would say something, but Mary
said "Good-night," and passed into the hall.

We magazine-writers have no chance in the space allotted to a short
story for a quantitative analysis of emotions and situations, or for
following the processes by which marked changes come about in the human
heart. We must content ourselves with informing the reader that certain
changes or modifications ensued, trusting that he will receive the
statement without requiring reasons or the _modus operandi_.

For a time it seemed to Mary Trigillgus that the sun would never shine
for her again, but a certain admixture in her feeling of scorn and
contempt for Christian prevented her from sinking into a total
despondency. As she revolved day after day the strange separation of two
lives which should have flowed on together, there grew in her heart a
kind of bitterness toward the society which had demanded the separation.
And then the diffused bitterness gathered, and was concentrated on the
woman and the man who had robbed her of her happiness. Especially did
her heart rise against Christian Van Pelt. Gold had won him from her: he
had made his choice between gold and her love; and then she would chafe
against the poverty which from her earliest recollection had fettered
her tastes and aspirations, and at every step had been her humiliation.
And then she would feel a wild, unreasoning longing to win gold. What a
triumph to earn gold beyond what his wife had brought him--beyond what
they would together possess! From the time this thought first occurred
to her it never left her except for brief intervals. Day after day, hour
after hour, it recurred to her, until she became possessed with it. It
was in her dreams by night, and with the day she seized and revolved it,
until her brain whirled with delirium. A hundred wild schemes and
projects came and went in scurrying confusion. With hungry eyes she read
the daily advertisements of "Business Chances," "Partners Wanted," etc.,
and in answering some of these was led into some strange discoveries and
adventures.

"I am mad! I am losing my reason! More gold than their millions! I
cannot even make a living for myself, lunatic!" she would say; and
straightway in fancy would read in the papers the announcement of a
fortune being left to Mary Trigillgus--of great and marvelous riches
coming to her--and would thrill with her triumph over Christian Van
Pelt. She would even pen these announcements to see how they looked, and
read them aloud to study their sound.

Mrs. Trigillgus grew alarmed at her daughter's unaccountable moods. A
physician was summoned, who decided that she was overworked, and advised
a few months in the country. But Mary refused to leave the city, and
continued to search for her "chance."

One day she was reading the New York _Tribune_, when her eye caught a
little paragraph in relation to the eclipse of the sun which was to
occur on the twentieth of August, and of the preparations that were
being made in the scientific world for its observance--of the universal
interest it was exciting, etc. etc.

Mary thought of the amount of smoked glass which would be prepared for
the day, then of the soiled fingers, then of a remedy for this, and
then--her chance flashed upon her.

For a time she sat there, with kindled eyes, with throbbing heart and
brain, revolving and shaping her thought. Then she put on her hat and
took the omnibus for Mr. Ten Eyck's office.

"Mr. Ten Eyck," she said, after the customary commonplaces, "you once
said that you would be glad to serve my mother. Are you as willing to
serve her daughter?"

"Certainly," replied Mr. Ten Eyck, growing a little uneasy; "that is, if
I can, you understand."

"I have urgent need for money."

Mr. Ten Eyck began to fidget visibly.

"I own a house and lot on Thirty-second street. How much money can you
lend me on it? It is a house of seven rooms."

"I know the house," answered Mr. Ten Eyck. "Your mother's father left it
to you. There is no encumbrance on it?"

"None."

"Allow me to suggest, Miss Trigillgus, as your mother's old friend,
that this step should be well considered before it is decided upon. The
necessity should be very urgent before you mortgage your home. As your
mother's old friend, may I inquire how you intend using this money? Do
not answer me if you have any hesitancy in giving me your confidence."

The old gentleman looked at her with such kindly, fatherly solicitude
that, after a moment of confused hesitation, she answered: "I will give
the confidence you invite, Mr. Ten Eyck. I have a plan by which I can
make a fortune in a few days. I propose to manufacture glasses for the
great eclipse--say three millions of eclipse-glasses--and distribute
them throughout the United States and the Canadas."

Mr. Ten Eyck stared at her through his golden-bowed glasses: "What kind
of glasses? Explain yourself more fully."

"I shall buy up all the common glass in New York and Pittsburg, and in
other cities perhaps, at the lowest possible figure. Much of the refuse
glass will answer my purpose. I shall have it cut, three inches by five,
stain it, put two stained surfaces together, and bind with paper. At ten
cents apiece the gross proceeds of three millions will be three hundred
thousand dollars."

"And how will you distribute them?"

"Through the news agents," she answered promptly, "and on the same terms
at which they push the newspapers. By this great system I shall secure a
simultaneous distribution throughout the whole country."

Mr. Ten Eyck had laid off his glasses and assumed an attitude of deep
attention: "Suppose it should rain on eclipse-day?"

"I have thought of that contingency. I should anticipate it by having
the glasses in the market for two or three days preceding the eclipse.
To give the glass additional value, I should paste on it a printed slip
stating the hour when the eclipse will begin, the period of its
duration, and the moment of total obscuration." Then she started and
glowed with a sudden revelation that came flashing through her brain.
"I will make the glasses an advertising medium," she continued eagerly.
"I will make the advertisements pay all the expenses, and much more. Can
I not find a man in New York City, or somewhere in the United States,
who would pay a hundred thousand dollars to have three millions of
people reading in one moment the merits of his wares or of his remedies!
And if such a man cannot be found, one who will purchase the exclusive
right to advertise with me, I'll parcel it out. Yes, I can pay all
expenses with the advertisements; but I must have some ready money to
begin with--to initiate the enterprise. Will you lend me the money on my
house and lot?"

Mr. Ten Eyck resumed his glasses, and sat for a long time staring into a
pigeon-hole of his desk in profound meditation.

"My dear Miss Trigillgus, allow me, as your mother's old friend, to
speak plainly to you. You are planning an enterprise of such proportions
that no woman could go through with it. In the most skillful hands great
risk would attend it, even with abundance of money to back it; and let
me assure you that a woman without business education and with cramped
means could have no chance whatever in the arena of experts. Her defeat
would be inevitable. I would gladly serve you, Miss Trigillgus, and I
think, pardon me, that my surest way of doing this is to decline making
the loan you ask, and to advise you, as your mother's old friend, to
abandon this scheme."

"I shall consider your advice, Mr. Ten Eyck," said Miss Trigillgus, "and
I thank you for it, whether I act upon it or not;" and she gave a cold
bow that contradicted her words.

Mary made many other attempts to raise money, but all were unsuccessful.
A few mornings after this her advertisement appeared in the _Tribune_,
calling for a partner with ten thousand dollars to take a half interest
in an enterprise which was sure to net a quarter of a million within a
month. It had such an extravagant sound that it was set down as a
humbug, and few answered it. She had interviews with two young men of
such suspicious appearance that she did not dare reveal her scheme to
them. Day after day the card appeared with no satisfactory result; and
Mary perceived with a kind of frenzy the short time in which her great
work was to be accomplished growing shorter and shorter. She moved
cautiously, lest her grand idea should be appropriated, but she left no
stone unturned for raising the money. Finally, on the ninth of August,
impatient, anxious, nervous, she had six thousand dollars in hand, and
only ten days intervened before the day of the eclipse. She went
immediately to an eminent solicitor of patents, who had influence at
Washington, and made application for a patent for advertising on
eclipse-glasses. The solicitor thought there was no doubt but that the
patent could be secured, so that she might freely proceed with her
enterprise. She next contracted with a glass-factory for five thousand
dollars' worth of glass, and engaged one hundred men to cut and stain it
and put up the eclipse-glasses. Then she made several endeavors to see
the president of the news agency, and after repeated failures she opened
a correspondence by letter with him, briefly outlining her plan, and
asking him to undertake through the news agents the distribution of the
glasses. The next morning she received in response, through the
post-office, these lines:


"MISS TRIGILLGUS: You have been anticipated in your enterprise. We are
engaged to distribute eclipse-glasses for another party."

As Mary read the cruel words that ended all her hopes, she fell lifeless
to the floor, and was thus discovered by her mother.

The following day there came a confirmatory note from the solicitor of
patents, stating that she had been anticipated also in her application
for a patent.

From this period Mary's moods became indescribable. From a state of
unrelieved despondency she issued so merry, in such exhilaration, that
her mother was glad to welcome back the shadowed mood which soon
succeeded. The sagacity of physicians, of her most familiar
acquaintances, of her mother, was all at fault. No one could decide
whether or not her mind was unhinged, whether or not Mary Trigillgus was
insane; for it must be remembered that her friends were ignorant of the
events we have been narrating--her love for Christian Van Pelt, her
disappointment, her grand scheme, the sacrifice of her home and the
failure of her enterprise.

The nineteenth of August came, the day preceding the grand event of the
century. Mary Trigillgus and her mother were lingering at the
breakfast-table. The girl seemed wild and hawk-like, startling her
mother with her unnatural merriment, commenting with weird brilliancy
and grotesqueness and sparkle on the various items as Mrs. Trigillgus
read them. At length she read a paragraph about the eclipse. "'And we
would advise every reader,'" she continued, "'to furnish himself with an
eclipse-glass, which he can procure at any of the news dépôts for the
sum of ten cents. The glass is nicely finished, and is very perfect for
the purpose intended. We understand that five millions of these glasses
have been put into the market, for which the country is indebted to the
genius and enterprise of our young fellow-citizen, Mr. Christian Van
Pelt, assisted by Mr. W. V. Ten Eyck.'"

"He has done it! he has again stabbed me!" cried Mary Trigillgus, with
the maniac's glare in her eyes. "The gold is his--his and hers! Piles of
gold! and they have cut it out of my heart, dug it out of my brain! I
have nothing left! Don't you see, mother, I am only an empty shell? Stab
me here in the heart, where he has stabbed me: it won't hurt. There's
nothing there! nothing! it's all hollow." There was no longer any doubt
that Mary Trigillgus's mind was unhinged.

During all that day men and children were crying the eclipse-glasses in
the street, selling them at every door.

"Hear them! hear them!" the poor maniac would cry. "They are selling
millions of them! they are piling the gold all about him and her! They
are to have a palace of gold, and Mary's to have only the ashes. Poor
Mary! poor Mary! All the good's for them, all the pain's for Mary!" and
then she would weep herself into a quiet mood of despondency.

The next day, the day of the eclipse, Mary demanded one of the glasses,
and would not be diverted from her desire. She read the advertisement on
the eclipse-glass: "Babcock's Fire-Extinguisher will put out any fire!
Get one!"

"Mother, get me one: I have a fire here;" and she pressed her hand to
her brow. She examined the glass again and again, looking it over and
over, and reading the advertisement aloud: "Babcock's Fire-Extinguisher
will put out any fire! Get one!" All day long, at short intervals, she
was running to the window and looking through the glass at the sun.

And when the grand hour arrived for the wonderful phenomenon, when the
five million glasses were raised to witness the obscuration, and the
weird twilight had settled over all nature, this young life too had
passed into a total eclipse, from which it has never for a moment
emerged.

The poor lunatic never rages. She is sweet and harmless as a child. She
makes frequent visits to the glass-factories and to the news-rooms to
inquire after the progress of her enterprise, and over and over again
makes her contract to advertise the "Babcock Fire-Extinguisher," and
comes back with promises to her mother of the boundless riches which are
to flow in upon them.

As for Christian Van Pelt, his wrong to Mary had been unintentional, as
he was ignorant of her connection with the eclipse-glass scheme. Though
Mr. Ten Eyck had been honest in advising Miss Trigillgus to abandon her
plans, under the persuasion that with her limited means and want of
business training the result could not fail to be disastrous, he yet saw
that with capital and energy to push it a grand success might be
achieved. Having little loose capital, and his time being well occupied,
he unfolded the scheme to Christian Van Pelt, and together they put the
enterprise through. Mr. Ten Eyck argued that since Miss Trigillgus had
abandoned the plan, as he really supposed had been the case, he was not
wronging her by prosecuting it himself. He was one of that numerous
class who fail to perceive that _ideas_ have commercial value.

                        S. W. Kellogg.



CUBA.


"If," wrote Franklin, "you wish a separation to be always possible, take
the utmost pains that the colonies shall never be incorporated with the
mother-country. Do not let them share your liberties. Make use of their
commerce, regulate their industry, tax them at your will, and spend at
your caprice the wealth thus drawn from them, which costs you nothing.
Take care to invest the general in charge of them with despotic power,
and at the same time give him immunity from all colonial control. If the
colonists protest, do not listen to them, but reply by charges of high
treason and rebellion. Say that all such complaints are the invention of
certain demagogues, and that if one could catch and hang these wretched
fellows all would go well. If need be, arrest and hang them. By
continuing such a policy you will infallibly arrive at your goal, and to
a certainty be in a brief time disembarrassed of your colonies."

The above, wrote an accomplished Spaniard a few years ago, applies as
exactly to the Spanish colonies to-day as it did to those of England at
the time of our struggle with her. In fact, the misrule in Cuba has been
fifty times worse than the worst Anglo-Saxon misrule ever known. The
island has been used by Spain simply as a gold-mine.[J] So far as those
toiling in it are concerned, she has displayed an indifference similar
to that which resulted in the destruction of her West Indian population
three centuries ago. The Cubans have been taxed without representation,
shot down if they remonstrated, and mocked by acts of the Cortes,
granting relief which it was never intended to afford to them, but which
for a time served in some degree to throw dust in the eyes of Europe.

And thus it came to pass that on the 10th of October, 1868, the Cubans,
recognizing the truth of the poetic axiom, that

    Who would be free, themselves must strike the blow,

and that Spain's difficulty should be Cuba's opportunity, issued a
Declaration of Independence. The document, dated from Manzanillo, thus
stated the case: "In arming ourselves against the tyrannical government
of Spain, we must, according to precedent in all civilized countries,
proclaim before the world the cause that impels us to take this step,
which, though likely to entail considerable disturbance now, will ensure
future happiness. It is well known that Spain governs this island with
an iron and blood-stained hand, holding its inhabitants deprived of
political, civil and religious liberty. Hence the unfortunate Cubans,
illegally prosecuted, sent into exile and executed in time of peace by
military commissions. Hence their being prohibited from attending public
meetings, and forbidden to speak or write on affairs of state. Hence
their remonstrances against the evils that afflict them being regarded
as the proceedings of rebels, from the fact that they are expected to
keep silent and obey. Hence the never-ending plague of hungry officials
from Spain to devour the product of their industry and labor. Hence the
restrictions to which public instruction with them is subjected, in
order to keep them so ignorant as to render them unable to know and
enforce their rights in any shape or form. Hence the navy and standing
army kept in and about their country at an enormous expense (paid out of
taxes levied on Cuba), to make them submit to the terrible yoke
imposed....

"As we are in danger of losing our property, our lives and our honor
under further Spanish domination; as we have reached a depth of
degradation revolting to manhood; as great nations have sprung from
revolt against a similar disgrace after exhausted pleadings for relief;
as we despair of justice from Spain through reasoning, and cannot longer
live deprived of the rights which other people enjoy,--we are
constrained to appeal to arms, to assert our rights in the battle-field,
cherishing the hope that our grievances will be a sufficient excuse for
this last resort to redress them and secure our future welfare."

Ten days later the Cuban insurgent general Cespedes asked our own
government to recognize the belligerent rights of his party, in a letter
which detailed the rapid success of the movement. On the 27th of
December, 1868, Cespedes issued a proclamation of emancipation. In
January, 1869, it would appear that Spain, herself in a very critical
condition under a provisional government, thought that a sop must be
thrown to Cuba, and accordingly the captain-general of Cuba issued one
of those highflown addresses which come with such readiness from Spanish
bureaus. Said this gallant and noble-minded governor: "I will brave
every danger, accept every responsibility, for your welfare. The
revolution has swept away the Bourbon dynasty, tearing up by the roots a
plant so poisonous that it putrefied the air we breathe. To the citizen
shall be returned his rights, to man his dignity." [An admission, by the
way, that they had been bereft of both.] "You will receive all the
reforms which you require. Cubans and Spaniards are all brothers. From
this day Cuba will be considered as a province of Spain. Freedom of the
press, the right of meeting in public, and representation in the
national Cortes--the three fundamental principles of true liberty--are
granted you. Speaking in the name of our mother, Spain, I adjure you to
forget the past, hope for the future and establish union and
fraternity."

These very fine words, however, seem to have utterly failed in buttering
the Cuban parsnips. They were, in truth, calculated to carry about as
much conviction to the mind of Cubans as Joseph Surface's sentiments
after the discovery of Lady Teazle behind the screen do to her
ladyship's husband.

The insurrection saw no abatement. A reinforcement of fifteen hundred
men came from Spain, and within six weeks of all these blessings being
promised by the captain-general, freedom of the press was abolished and
trial by military commission established. On the 3d of March came a
second reinforcement of a thousand men from Spain.

Meanwhile, Cespedes, the Cuban general, found his only available policy
to be a sort of guerilla warfare until he could rally a sufficient force
and collect arms for an encounter with the Spanish army; and on March
1, 1869, he again addressed our President, asking for the recognition of
belligerent rights.

Up to this date no civil organization had existed among the insurgents,
but in April, 1869, representatives from the several anti-Spanish
districts met at Guaymazo, in the province of Puerto Principe, when
Cespedes formally resigned his power into the hands of the House of
Representatives, who thereupon proclaimed him president of the Cuban
republic, and General Quesada commander of the forces.

During the summer of 1869 the war was carried on with indifferent
success by the Spaniards, and in June General Dulce, captain-general,
went home,[K] being, in fact, virtually deposed by the "volunteers," who
were supposed to support the Spanish interest. These latter are, for the
most part, a set of worthless men, the scum of Spain and other
countries, who, with everything to gain and nothing to lose, consented
to enlist in the service of the Spanish slave-dealing clique in Havana,
and were furious at what they deemed too great clemency on the part of
the captain-general.

Dulce was succeeded by De Rodas, who announced "a vigorous policy."
During the autumn of 1869 no decisive step was taken on either side, but
the insurgents, careful to prevent the enemy profiting by the
confiscated property of the Cubans who had been compelled to abandon
their plantations, set fire to the cane, and hundreds of valuable crops
were thus destroyed. The year 1870 saw no abatement of the struggle.

Meanwhile, Peru and Chili formally and cordially recognized the
independence of the insurgents, toward whom still warmer symptoms of
sympathy from this quarter have been lately evinced, and widespread
sympathy has also been expressed toward them in the United States; but
the President in his message of December, 1869, intimated that he did
not consider the position of the insurgents such as to warrant him in
recognizing their belligerent rights.

And thus matters have continued till to-day. For more than four years
Cuba has been the scene of bloodshed, misery and ruin. Notwithstanding
the strong feeling for Cuba in this country, it would appear that even
now our cabinet deems it undesirable to recognize belligerent rights on
the part of the Cubans, but at the same time Mr. Fish's letter to Mr.
Sickles of the 29th of October last is couched in terms which clearly
indicate a limit to this forbearance, when he says: "Sustained, as is
the present ministry, by the large popular vote which has recently
returned to the Cortes an overwhelming majority in its support, there
can be no more room to doubt their ability to carry into operation the
reforms of which they have given promise than there can be justification
to question the sincerity with which the assurance was given. It seems,
therefore, to be a fitting occasion to look back upon the relations
between the United States and Spain, and to mark the progress which may
have been made in accomplishing those objects in which we have been
promised her co-operation. It must be acknowledged with regret that
little or no advance has been made. The tardiness in this respect,
however, cannot be said to be in any way imputable to a want of
diligence, zeal or ability in the legation of the United States at
Madrid. The department is persuaded that no person, however gifted with
those qualities and faculties, could have better succeeded against the
apparent apathy or indifference of the Spanish authorities, if, indeed,
their past omission to do what we have expected should not be ascribable
to other causes.

"The Spanish government, partly at our instance, passed a law providing
for the gradual emancipation of slaves in the West India colonies. This
law, so far as this department is aware, remains unexecuted, and it is
feared that the recently-issued regulations, professedly for its
execution, are wholly inadequate to any practical result in favor of
emancipation, if they be not really in the interest of the slaveholder
and of the continuance of the institution of slavery."

And after various stringent comments he concludes: "It is hoped that
you will present the views above set forth, and the present grievances
of which this government so justly complains, to the government to which
you are accredited, in a way which, without giving offence, will leave a
conviction that we are in earnest in the expression of those views, and
that we expect redress; and that if it should not soon be afforded Spain
must not be surprised to find, as the inevitable result of the delay, a
marked change in the feeling and in the temper of the people and of the
government of the United States. Believing that the present ministry of
Spain is in a sufficiently confirmed position of power to carry out the
measures which it announces and the reforms which have been promised,
and to do justice by the removal of the causes of our well-founded
complaints, and not doubting the sincerity of the assurances which have
been given, the United States look confidently for the realization of
those hopes, which have been encouraged by repeated promises, that all
causes for estrangement or for the interruption of those friendly
feelings which are traditional, as they are sincere, on the part of this
government toward Spain, will be speedily and for ever removed."

The cry is now loudly raised for recognition of belligerent rights, with
a view to independence and annexation by the United States. But, as we
have said, the government of this country does not--wisely for American
interests, in our opinion--appear inclined to hurry toward such a
course, and we should like to see the experiment first tried of active
mediation on its part between Spain and Cuba. A meeting of leading
representatives of both parties of the island under a distinguished
jurist at Washington might not impossibly assist the solution of the
difficulty.

Although many Cubans, despairing of reconciliation, are disposed at this
moment to declare that the time has quite gone by for a compromise, it
is doubtful whether this be really the case. Cuba and Spain have been
united for centuries, and notwithstanding fierce animosities have yet
many common ties. There are, too, not a few prudent men who, whilst
strongly in favor of abolition, dread the sudden adoption of such a
course, which would be the inevitable result of an entire break with
Spain. They see in it nothing but ruin to the majority of whites,
without corresponding advantage to the blacks. "Let abolition come,"
they say, "by all means, but not all at once. Look at Jamaica, look at
your own South! Would it not have really been better for all parties if
the abolition had been more gradual, or at least attended by such
conditions as would have ensured less immediate depreciation of
property?"

We believe that our government could not more effectually serve the
interests of the Cubans than by a vigorous intercession[L] to secure
them an independent government on the Anglo-colonial system, accompanied
by the passage of an act of the Cortes freeing every slave within five
years; and meantime enforcing rigorously protective measures for the
enslaved, including payment of wages.

There seems no reason why a legislative system on the plan of the
Australian colonies of Great Britain should not be attempted. Its
failure in Jamaica is not sufficient ground against it. In Jamaica there
were a few grains of whites to bushels of blacks: in Cuba there are some
seven hundred thousand colored--of whom only four hundred thousand are
slaves--to about one million four hundred thousand whites.

We can scarcely doubt that the Spanish government will feel constrained
to hearken to the remonstrances of that of the United States. Spain is
to-day in all but extent of territory a fourth-rate rather than a
second-rate power. Her government is the least stable in Europe, except
possibly that of France. Her exchequer is exhausted. Her credit is
utterly gone. Assume a war: where is she to get money? There is not a
people in Europe, save the Dutch and the English, who at this moment
have anything to lend, and neither Dutch nor English are likely at
present to send more money to Madrid. Spain has too amply proved herself
the defaulter _par excellence_ of the world.

Now, therefore, is the time for American mediation; and we sincerely
hope that Mr. Fish will not let it pass, but will follow up vigorously
his admirable despatch, and thus secure to Cubans the blessings of a
free country.

For years Spain has been promising, and not performing. Performance
seems with her the result only of compulsion; and if this really be so,
she must be compelled. So far as Cuban affairs are concerned, she has
had ample indulgence at the hands of ourselves and Great Britain. Every
reasonable chance has been given her to mend her ways. She has failed to
avail herself of her opportunities, and cannot complain if she suffer
accordingly. It is not in the nature of things that this country should
look calmly for all time on the just struggles of an enthralled and
trodden-down people dwelling within a few hours of our own mainland.

FOOTNOTES:

[J] In September, 1872, Senator Benot made a remarkable speech in the
Cortes in reference to the treatment of Cuba. "It is," he said, "the
Spanish peninsula alone that is ignorant of events in Cuba. But it is
not ignorance only of which I complain. From those remote possessions
comes the blood of the negro converted into gold to pervert the public
mind."

Referring to the horrid massacre of students in 1871, Senator Benot
said: "Spain does not rule Cuba: if she did, innocent children would not
be executed at the instance of the Spanish clique in Havana. Senators,
you are parents. Suppose that your boys in the professors' absence were
to run out to play in the adjoining cemetery. Suppose that for this lack
of reverence a ferocious mob seized your sons, subjected them to a
court-martial, charged them falsely with the demolition of
sepulchres--sepulchres whose crystals are untouched even now. Imagine
them brought before a court-martial and absolved, and then imagine these
children dragged by the mob, disappointed of their prey, before another
military council, who under terror condemned eight to death and the
remainder to the galleys. There were forty-four children, and the kind
council drew lots to decide which of them should be shot. Two brothers
were drawn, but even the stony hearts of the so-called judges thought
that it would be going rather too far to rob one father of his two sons;
so one was discharged, and another substituted because older than the
rest. This incredible, unprecedented crime yet goes unpunished."

[K] He died in the following November at Madrid.

[L] "I have, since the beginning of the present session of Congress,
communicated to the House of Representatives, upon their request, an
account of the steps which I had taken in the hope of securing to the
people of Cuba the blessings and the right of independent
self-government. These efforts failed, but not without an assurance from
Spain that the good offices of this government might still avail for the
objects to which they had been addressed. It is stated, on what I
believe to be good authority, that Cuban bonds have been prepared to a
large amount, whose payment is made dependent upon the recognition by
the United States of either Cuban belligerency or independence. The
object of making their value thus contingent upon the action of this
government is a subject for serious reflection." (_President Grant's
message, June, 1870._) Suggestive statements, indicating how powerful
the interference of our government may be! It would more than aught else
give the Spanish cabinet strength in inducing the Cortes to endorse it
in high-handed measures against the moneyed slave-holding, slave-dealing
clique in Havana, which is the root of all evil there.



PROBATIONER LEONHARD;

OR, THREE NIGHTS IN THE HAPPY VALLEY.


CHAPTER X.

THE ADVANTAGE OF A DEBTOR.

The house to which Spener's steps now turned was the sixth one below
Loretz's, on the same narrow street facing the stream--the long white
house with a deep porch in which young men might often be seen smoking.
Spener had given it the name of "Brethren's House," rather in
remembrance of the custom still existing in Moravian villages than
because it was strictly the abode of unmarried men who sought there a
home. It was the fact that many unmarried men did dwell there, but also
it was true that the house was the one inn of the place, and at this
time it was well filled, as Loretz had said to Leonhard when he opened
for him his hospitable gate.

At the head of the long dining-table Albert Spener took his place, and
room was made beside him for his guest; and truly it was a company of
cheerful-hearted workers, on whom no director might look without a
thrill of satisfaction.

"Stay a month with us as a probationer," said Spener suddenly, bringing
his eyes to bear upon Leonhard, and there was kindly and powerful
persuasion in them. "We can make you comfortable at least, and perhaps
you may be brought to like us. I want to have a school-house built here:
it is getting to be a necessity. You shall give us something ornamental
in spite of ourselves, if you insist upon it. And it may be no difficult
thing to compel me to put up houses on both those sites. But you are
settled already, I suppose?"

"No," answered Leonhard: "I am much more unsettled than any man of my
years ought to be. I am so unfortunate as to have two professions."

"Get into debt, and that will straighten you for a while," said Spener,
laughing heartily. "When I had fairly left my employer and set this
enterprise afoot, I gave up my sleeping habits. You will be obliged to
part with something in order to convince yourself that you are in
earnest. If you give up sleep, you will soon come to decisions."

"I owe enough," said Leonhard.

"I should not have guessed it. You sleep yet, though."

"Because I can't help it. Yes, I sleep."

"Then you will have to part with something of your free will--one of the
professions, I suppose: you can't follow two very well. It is
astonishing," Spener continued, not averse to talking about himself just
now, when he was so much occupied with thoughts which concerned himself
chiefly--"it is astonishing how different things look from the two sides
of an action. Do your best, you cannot tell before you have taken a step
how you will feel after it." On that remark he paused for a moment. Then
he went on. It was a relief to talk with this young stranger: he had
this advantage in the talk--it relieved him, and what he said, much or
little, did not affect in the least the more that was left unsaid. There
was nobody in Spenersberg to whom he could say as much as he was saying
to Marten. Any Spenersberger would immediately proceed with the clew to
the end. "My employer," he continued, "was a very cautious man, and I
believe he thought me crazy when I told him what I was going to do, and
asked him to lend me the money. Not a dollar would he lend, and I thank
him for it. Go to the bank if you can find an endorser: it is best to
feel that an institution is at your heels, and will be down on you if
you are not up to time. An avalanche is a thing anybody in his senses
will keep clear of."

"True," said Leonhard; and Spener went on eating his dinner, without
suspecting that his talk had entirely appeased his companion's hunger.

The young men spent a part of the afternoon walking about the garden
alluded to where the willows were under cultivation. A scene of thrift
and industry of which the eye could not soon tire was presented by these
products of careful labor in every stage of growth.

At length Spener came to Leonhard and told him that he should be obliged
to leave him till the next day. "I find that I must go to town this
afternoon," he said, "but you are to stay until after the festival. That
is decided. I must talk with you again, and arrange about those
buildings."

It was easy now for Leonhard to decide that he would stay till after the
festival--there was reason good why he should--and he promised to do so.
Spener was so desirous that he should stay that after he had left the
field he came back to urge it. But when he had looked again at Leonhard,
he did not urge it in the way he had intended to do: "You must think
whether it will be worth your while to stay or not. What is the
profession you spoke about that keeps you unsettled, did you say?"

"Music."

"Ah!"

"But I am a builder of course--an architect and a builder," said poor
Leonhard hurriedly.

"I like you," said Spener, drawing Leonhard's arm within his. "If you
could make up your mind to stay, we might make it your interest to do
so. As a probationer, you understand. There is a good deal to be done
here, and I may throw open the farm up there to purchasers. The only
difficulty is, that our people here might object. But it is quite clear
to me--quite clear--that a little daylight wouldn't do any of us harm if
it could be had, you know, by merely cutting away the dead underbrush
and worthless timber."

He shook hands again with Leonhard, who said, "I will think about what
you have said: I like the sound of it."

"There will be no end of work here for a skillful man of your business
if the land is sold in lots. I have had a great many applications. I
don't know of any such building-sites anywhere. My house will have to
be over there on the slope, I think--a sort of guard to the valley and
an assurance to Spenersbergers."

He now went away, looking back and nodding at Leonhard, confident that
they understood each other.

"There's a man to envy!" thought our explorer; and he felt as if a
strong staff had been wrenched out of his hand.

But the thoughts with which Albert Spener strode toward the station, a
mile away, were not enviable thoughts. For a little while he went on
thinking about Leonhard with great satisfaction, and he made many plans
based on ground-lines traced for his new acquaintance; but as he went
his way he passed first Mr. Wenck's small abode, and farther on the
house where Elise lived, and his indignation was not lessened when he
thought how trivial was the part he had allowed himself to act in the
play which might end as a tragedy if Elise should prove obstinate.


CHAPTER XI.

LORETZ ON THE TROMBONE.

Later in the afternoon, toward sunset, Leonhard left the gardens and
walked slowly down the street, taking cognizance of all things in his
way. He noticed that Taste had taken Haste in hand in many a place, and
that already attempts were evident to repair and amend or construct
anew. What might not be done toward making a paradise of such a place
under the encouragement of a man like Albert Spener? But a probationer!
That meant, Say that you will present yourself to Moravian brethren as a
candidate for admission to their fellowship. He smiled at the thought,
but when he considered the opportunities of work Spener would put in his
way, he began to look grave. Of course he must give up his music: it was
no profession for him, and he saw that it was folly and weakness to
attempt the service of two masters; and yet he will go back and talk
with Mrs. Anna about Herrnhut and old Leonhard Marten. Just here comes
the sound of a trombone cleaving the air.

It startles him, and it startles others also. "Who is gone?" he hears
one man ask another from his place in the garden; and he understands
that the trombone has made an announcement to the people of Spenersberg.
How the notes wind along, a noble stream of solemn sound!

"Who is gone home?" he hears another ask, but again there is no answer.

He sees a group of children stopping in the midst of their play and
looking at each other with scared faces--one little one suddenly hiding
its face in its mother's apron, as if in the shrinking shyness and awe
of apprehension.

As he approaches his destination a ghostlike face and figure startles
Leonhard: he looks back and sees it is "our little minister, Wenck,"
whom Spener had pointed out to him in their morning walk. He is hurrying
down the street, and it is not likely that any one will stop a man
proceeding at such a rate, with questions.

Loretz stands on his piazza with his trombone in his hand: it is he who
blows that blast which echoes through Spenersberg, announcing a death.

Doubting what the signal means, Leonhard, with a little hesitation,
approaches his host and looks for the information he does not ask. Is it
a calamity that has overtaken the house? One could hardly gather from a
glance at Mr. Loretz. Evidently the stout little man has been moved by
some powerful surprise: his eyes are full of agitation; his dress
betokens it; he has been driven to and fro, distracted, within the hour.
When he sees Leonhard his excitement exhibits itself in a new form: he
lifts the trombone to his lips, and taking another key he sounds again;
it is a note of solemn triumph, so prolonged that it would seem as if
the desire was that all space should be filled with the echoes thereof.

Leonhard sits down on one of the large wooden chairs in the piazza to
enjoy the music: then Loretz comes to him and says, "You have heard it?"

"I have heard it?" repeated Leonhard, interrogatively.

"Sister Benigna--"

"What is it, sir?" exclaimed Leonhard, starting to his feet.

"She has gone home."

"Good God!" exclaimed Leonhard. "Do you mean to say that she is dead?"

"We call it going home," answered Loretz.

"But gone home! When, why, how did she go?"

"It shocks you," said Loretz, finding perhaps not a little satisfaction
in seeing this stranger so moved. He had himself been so horrified by
Benigna's silent, unlooked-for departure, and to be shocked and
horrified by death was so undesirable and so fought against among good
Moravians, that Leonhard's emotion, and much more than emotion, seemed a
real solace for the moment. "We don't know how it was," he continued.
"My daughter was to go to practice the music with her in the hall after
school, and when she went into the school-room she found Sister Benigna
sitting at her desk with _The Messiah_ open. But she was gone. We had in
Doctor Hummel, and he says it was the heart. He has thought, he says,
for a year or so, that there must be some feeble action of the valves.
She went to him a twelvemonth since about it, and he told her his
opinion; but he told her she might live fifty years yet, though she
_might_ go any day. She never mentioned it to us. But Hummel says when
he told her she said it was good news. Yet, sir, you never saw a happier
creature. You saw her last night and this morning. Well, sir, that's a
fair sample--busy all the time, and happy as happy."

"But are you sure that nothing could be done for her?" exclaimed
Leonhard, to whom the quiet and calm into which Loretz had talked
himself was anything but composing.

"Perfectly sure. If you should look at her once you would see. But I
must go back to my women. Will you make yourself at home within? We
shall all be back in an hour or so."

Leonhard said he would go to the Brethren's House and spend the night
there, but Loretz said hastily, "I was afraid you would be thinking of
that, sir. Stay with us: we want your company. We shall not bring
Sister Benigna here. If she had--had died here, we should have carried
her to the corpse-house this evening. It is but a short distance from
the factory, and she will lie there to-night. And--I have been
thinking--to-morrow evening we must celebrate our congregation festival
with her funeral."

"Then if I had not come just when I did," thought Leonhard, "I should
never have seen Sister Benigna. If the truth could be known, I don't
believe the woman has known any greater pleasure in a long time than I
gave her when I made those suggestions last evening. Only twenty-four
hours, and it might be a year! She ought to have lived until after the
festival. How she would have enjoyed it! I should like to look at Spener
when he hears that the woman is actually out of the world. It would be a
bad job for him if it had happened to be the other one. Jupiter!
wouldn't I like to know whether it is better to be lamented by the
community, so far as the community's principles will allow it to lament,
or to spread devastation all around in the way this little Miss Elise
couldn't help doing if she should be 'called home,' as they say!
Musician answers one way, architect the other. Have you the nerve to go
in and touch that piano, Probationer Marten?"

    Rex tremendæ Majestatis,
    Qui salvandos salvas gratis,
    Salva me, Fons Pietatis!

What voice was this which made the house resound, and thrilled the
hearts of the listeners at the gate as they stood there for a moment in
the moonlight?

"I left Mr. Marten within," said Loretz to his wife and daughter.

"He is singing the Requiem," said Elise. They waited a moment longer,
but just then Leonhard stepped over the window-sill, and began pacing
the piazza with his arms folded on his breast, his head bent. The words
he sang in fact had electrified him, and the rush of thoughts had driven
him from the piano.

    Salva me, Fons Pietatis!


CHAPTER XII.

PREPARATIONS FOR THE FESTIVAL.

Later in the evening, Mr. Wenck came to the house, not to talk about the
event, but the funeral. In spite of the hint Loretz had dropped when
talking with Leonhard, he seemed somewhat surprised when the minister
proposed that the funeral should take place on the following evening.
The good man made this proposal in the fewest words possible: it had
evidently cost him a good deal to make it. He perhaps felt himself under
constraint in the midst of this very select audience.

Loretz said, "I don't know that we can decide till Mr. Spener gets back.
He went to town this afternoon."

"When will he come?" asked the minister.

"Some time to-morrow--toward night: he usually comes up at six or seven,
unless he is detained."

"We might fix the funeral at six: the concert was to begin at seven. I
think we may take it for granted that the hours would meet his approval.
He would say, if he were here, that we had better decide on the hour
ourselves."

"Yes, yes, he would say so, of course," said Loretz quickly, "and he
would mean what he said, sir," he added, argumentatively. "Of course:
let us then say at six o'clock the procession will move from--from the
corpse-house to the church. She has been taken away just as she was in
the midst of preparation for the festival; let us therefore observe it
even as it would have been observed."

The voice which spoke these words was altogether under the speaker's
control, but the pathos in it so moved the heart of dear little Dame
Loretz that she exclaimed, "Let it be so, father: certainly, it must be.
It would please Sister Benigna beyond anything to have all the little
children there just as she had arranged. And who has done for the church
more than she has? I am sure it is what--what _everybody_ must see is
the right thing. Mr. Wenck, I am very glad you came to talk about it: we
were all beside ourselves--we didn't know what to think or what to do."

"Shall it be so, Elise?" asked Loretz, turning to his daughter quietly
after his wife had concluded her animated speech.

"I know it would be what she would wish," said Elise.

"Then it shall be. I have a mind to go to town for Mr. Spener. But he
will come: he is always on time. He knows when he means to be here, if
we don't, and we can't change that."

So it was decided, and Mr. Wenck went away, having declined the entreaty
of Mrs. Loretz to fill a seat at their supper-table.

Slowly walking back to his lonely house, which had never seemed so
lonely, so desolate to him, Mr. Wenck saw little Charles Hummel, who was
going in the same direction and homeward. He had been looking for
Charley, for he had heard one of the children say that he was in the
school-room with the teacher last, and so he took the boy's hand, and
they walked along together.

"Are you all prepared with your pieces, Charley?" the minister asked.

"Oh yes, sir, but now we shall not sing them."

"And why will you not sing them, my boy?"

"Because there will not be any celebration--will there, sir?"

"Certainly: why should there not?"

"What, sir! to-morrow night, just the same?"

"Do you think that Sister Benigna would approve of our having no
congregation festival?"

"Why, sir, you know--don't you know? I saw them carrying her from the
school-room. She--she--"

"Yes, I know all," said the minister: "she is gone home. But then she
will know about our celebration: oh yes, just the same: it must be that
she will hear all the sweet voices. It seems far away to us where she
is: perhaps it has seemed so, but she brings heaven nearer: it is surely
but a step to the Better Land."

It had appeared almost impossible for Mr. Wenck to speak in Loretz's
house, but now words came so freely to his lips that he seemed even to
find comfort in speech.

The boy had now reached his father's house, and would have gone in, but
the minister with gentle force retained the small hand he held, and
said, "Let us walk on a little farther, Charley. How beautiful the moon
is to-night! Were you in the school-room to-day, my boy?"

"I was there this afternoon, sir," said the little lad, awed by the
sound of his own voice's gentleness--so gently the minister spoke he
could himself speak in no other way. But he would not have liked the
boys to hear him, and he looked around as if to see if any one followed,
and was a little startled when he saw his shadow and the shadow of Mr.
Wenck following so close.

"When I come to speak to the congregation about her I shall want to tell
them all about to-day," said Mr. Wenck, "if there is anything it would
be pleasant for them to know. Do you remember anything she--she said or
did, Charley?"

The boy thought a moment. "It was just the same as always," said he.

"Did you practice your songs this afternoon?"

"Yes, sir, we practiced them."

"For the last time, and you did not know it!" Would that little lad
remember, when he came to manhood, this hour and these words? Would he
from that noonday sun receive a light that could enlighten the mystery
of this pallid, shadowy hour which filled his little being with such
awe?

"But she said we sang beautifully," he said, moved by the spirit of
obedience to stay and answer, and not shake off the hand that held him
and run home affrighted, and dream of spirits and Mr. Wenck's pale face
and his strange voice.

"Oh, then you pleased her?"

"She said it was the best singing, sir, she had ever heard, and that she
was glad we had worked so hard and had been so attentive and patient.
That was what she said, I remember now," said the little lad with
spirit: "I thought there was something I forgot. She said when we sang
our part in the festival all the people would know how hard we had tried
to learn."

"And when she dismissed you, was there anything more?"

"She--she kissed us: she always did," said the little fellow, bursting
into sudden crying.

"Oh, Charley," said the minister--and he bent down and kissed the little
boy, whose face was wet with tears--"we must not cry for her--not any of
us. And God himself has wiped away _her_ tears."

"And then when I was going out," said Charley, rallying again, "she
asked me to bring her a pitcher of water from the spring before I went
home. When I took it in she was reading her music, and she had some
flowers in a glass. And I filled it with fresh water for her," he said
proudly. And that was all he had to tell.

"You are a good boy to remember so much," said Mr. Wenck; and now he
walked back with Charley to the doctor's gate, and kissing him again
bade him "Good-night."

Long after every light was extinguished in Spenersberg homes, Mr. Wenck
was walking up and down in front of his own house beneath the trees,
pacing the grass, a noiseless sentinel. He had no duties now to perform:
undisturbed his thoughts might wander whither they would. They could not
wander far--too near was the magnet. The day had begun in a manner which
he could not but think remarkable: the shadow of approaching calamity
had disturbed him until the horror appeared. For, accustomed as he had
been to teach and preach and to think of death as a friend, the
conductor to a happier world, the enlightener and the life-giver, he
could not regard the departure of Sister Benigna in such light. The loss
to the community was almost irreparable, he began by saying to himself,
but he ended by saying, "Hypocrite! do you mourn the community's loss,
or your own?"

The tower-clock struck twelve as in his walk he approached the gate to
his little garden: he hesitated, and then noiselessly opened it. Here
were various fragrant flowers in blossom, and roses innumerable on the
well-cared-for bushes, but he passed these, and gathered from the house
wall a few ivy leaves, and climbing the fence in the rear of his house
began to ascend the slope that led to the cemetery, that place of the
people's constant resort. He did not enter it, but stood a long while on
the peaceful plain, which was filled with moonlight. At last he slowly
turned away and walked across the wooded knolls and fields until he came
to the corpse-house, which only yesterday he had garnished with fresh
boughs. He knew whither he went, and yet when he had come to the door of
that resting-place the external calm disappeared--the props of
consolation, the support of faith, gave way. He opened the door,
entered, closed it behind him, and by the light of the lamp suspended
from the whitewashed rafters saw Sister Benigna lying on the bier,
dressed in white garments, with a rose in one white hand.

When he came forth again a cold fog was filling the valley, and morning
approached. Who will wish to dwell even in imagination on the hours he
had passed in that silent house, or care to guess the battle which
perchance had been fought there, or the wild flow of tears which had for
years been pent, or the groans which could not be uttered, which at last
had utterance; or how at last the man died there, and the victor, as one
who had been slain, came forth?


CHAPTER XIII.

THE MOTHER CONFESSOR.

So the day passed in preparation for Sister Benigna's funeral, as well
as for the congregation festival.

Mr. Spener had given out yesterday that the workers in the factory
should have a half holiday, and, in conformity to his orders, at twelve
o'clock Loretz dismissed the weavers for the day. The various performers
met in the hall and rehearsed their several parts, and the programme, it
was decided, should be carried out precisely as Sister Benigna had
designed.

Leonhard looked on and listened, wondering. Mrs. Loretz, who had only
to sing in the choruses, had a little time on her hands during the day,
and was glad that the young man was there to be talked to. True, he was
busily at work over his drawing, which he wished to have ready to show
Mr. Spener in the morning, but he was glad to listen, and the talk was
in itself not uninteresting. Dame Anna had a great deal to say about
Sister Benigna--not much to tell, really: the facts of her life as they
were known to Mrs. Loretz were few. Benigna had come six years ago to
Spenersberg, and had been an active member of the church there since
that day. What everybody said was true: she had been the Genius of Music
there, and in the true Moravian spirit had rallied every musical thought
and all musical skill to the standard of religion. At first there had
been a good deal of talk about founding a Sisters' House, but that had
been given up: it was thought that the ends to be accomplished by it
could be obtained at less cost and with less labor. She had lived in
their house since the day she came: she was like a daughter to them, and
a sister and more to Elise.

Then by and by the communicativeness of the good woman, as well as her
confidence in Leonhard, increasing with her speech, she began to talk
about Mr. Spener, and to hint his "intentions;" and she ended by telling
this stranger what was not known outside her own family except to the
minister. And when she had explained all it became clear to her that she
must justify the method of proceeding in matrimonial affairs which had
given to herself a good husband, and had been the means of establishing
many happy households which she could name.

The only trouble that could possibly arise from the turn affairs had
taken was a trouble that did look rather threatening, Leonhard thought.
Spener had consented to abide by the decision of the lot, but now--would
he?

After she had told all this, Mrs. Loretz asked Leonhard what he thought
about it. He said he thought it was a hard case: he could feel for Mr.
Spener. He was afraid that under the circumstances he should not behave
well.

The good woman nodded her head as if she quite understood the force of
his remarks, but, though it seemed hard, wasn't it better to be
disappointed before marriage than after? Undoubtedly, he answered, yet
he should prefer to feel that in an affair like that he could make his
own choice, with consent of the lady.

Mrs. Loretz thought to herself he spoke as if he had already chosen for
himself, and knew what he was talking about; and the cheerful fancies
which she had entertained last night with regard to the beneficent care
of Providence in sending Leonhard to Spenersberg disappeared like a
wreath of mist. She must now mourn the loss of Sister Benigna more
heavily than before, since she found herself without support on the
highway of sorrow.

Had an unhappy marriage never come within her knowledge, Leonhard asked,
which the lot had seemed to sanction?

She had been thinking of that, Mistress Anna acknowledged. There had,
certainly--she could not deny it. But it was where the parties had not
seriously tried to make the best of everything.

Was it necessary, then, he asked--even when the lot decided
favorably--that people should _put up_ with each other, and find it not
easy to keep back sharp words which would edge their way out into
hearing in spite of all efforts to keep them back? Must people
providentially yoked together find themselves called upon, just like
others, to make sacrifices of temper and taste and opinion all through
life?

Wasn't that going on everywhere? she asked. Did he know of any people
anywhere who agreed so well about everything that there was never a
chance of dispute? And where was there such an abundance of everything
that there was no occasion for self-sacrifice?

Leonhard laughed at these questions, and Mistress Anna looked wise, but
she did not laugh. Leonhard might not be the providential substitute for
a lover providentially removed, but at least he was a pleasant companion
for a troubled hour. He had thought so much on this subject, possibly
he had some experimental knowledge. Had he a wife?--Not yet, he said.
But he would have.--Oh, of course: what would a man do in this world
without a wife? Perhaps it would not trouble him to think of the one he
would like to marry if he might.--No, not in the least.--And he would be
satisfied to decide for himself, and not ask any counsel?--Was he not
the one who must live with the lady? and was it likely that anybody
would know as well as himself what he wanted?--Only, she suggested, how
could he feel certain that he would have what he wanted, after
all?--What! hadn't a man eyes?--That can be trusted, my dear?--If he
can't trust his own, will he trust another man's?--But can he feel sure
that what he wants would be best for him?--Is the best he can imagine
any too good for a man, if he can get it?

But she has been thinking, How happened it that father should have found
his very name in the birthday book? She has been thinking of it nearly
all the morning. When she first set eyes on him--did he know?--she felt
sure that he belonged to them.

Leonhard did not know about the name. He felt very grateful to her for
her kindness. He hoped the book had shown him the writing of his
ancestor, but he did not know. His parents died when he was a little
boy, and if he had any relatives alive, they were unknown to him. He
should be glad to believe that the Herrnhuter was his grandfather or
great-grandfather. But they must not ask him to run the risk of losing
his chance if there should be a young lady whom he might wish to marry:
he could not trust any voice in such a matter except hers.

"Loretz and I have had our share of trials," she answered solemnly. "It
has helped us to bear them, I am sure, dear youth, to think that God had
brought us together and united us, for the lot decided how it should be.
There have been times when I knew not how I could have endured what was
put upon me but for remembering--remembering that in the counsels of a
better world our marriage was decreed. See, Sister Benigna brought the
ink home with her this noon! Now write your name in Frederick's book,
and think whether it would not be best to stay with us."

Leonhard appeared to be intent on his drawings: he bent over his work,
but in truth his eyes could not see quite distinctly the lines which he
drew. "I will not forget the book," he said: "as to staying in
Spenersberg, I am only a probationer wherever I am."

"And who knows how happy you might be among us!" said Dame Anna, who was
quite clear now on a point somewhat cloudy before. The stranger had
brought with him some secret sorrow and trouble, poor dear!


CHAPTER XIV.

THE CONGREGATION FESTIVAL.

As the day passed on, all thoughts were evidently directed toward the
solemn scenes with which it was to close. It was pleasant to our friend
to walk along the street toward the end of the afternoon, and look at
the pretty cottages, each with its garden of flowers in front and its
vine-encased windows and doors. Now and then he saw at door or window or
in little garden young girls with flowers in their hands: were they
weaving them into emblematic devices for the coffin and the grave? This
little hamlet seemed to be the sanctuary of beautiful thoughts and
things. Music was loved and served here, and he had never seen so many
flowers as were crowded into these gardens.

Instead of entering the church at the hour appointed for the funeral, as
Mrs. Loretz had advised him to do, Leonhard merely ascended the steps
and looked within on the neat edifice, all the architectural points of
which could be surveyed at a glance, for there was neither pulpit nor
altar within, nor pointed window nor arched roof to gaze at, but merely
a large square room well furnished with benches, and a table and the
minister's chair; and then descending the steps, he retired to a group
of trees in the distance, beneath which he sat down to await the
procession. He had not to wait long. Soon the sound of trombones came
floating upon, encompassing, filling the air. A slight breeze was
stirring; the sun was going down; the willow-covered plain was aglow
with its golden light; among the hills the evening shadows were already
gathering. Night was only awaiting its swift-coming opportunity.

A small company gathered around the corpse-house, the body was brought
forth upon the bier, and the procession, which had silently and quickly
gathered at the signal of the trombones, started on foot for the church.

When all had entered the edifice, Leonhard went in and sat down near the
door. It was but his third night in Spenersberg, yet he was not among
strangers, and how his heart was moved by all he saw and heard! An
influence prevailed in this place which was fast mastering him.

As he sat down and looked upon the faces of the elders, the faces of the
men and the women--of the people who had toiled, and whose toil had been
blessed to them--who had suffered, and whose suffering had been
sanctified to them--his heart was like wax. In the drive and hurry of
life he had never seen such faces. When he watched the troop of
children, dressed in white and walking hand in hand, he thought of his
own lonely childhood, and sighed to think that he had come here too
late. And the minister, whom Spener had spoken about with patronizing
contempt--looking at him, Leonhard said to himself, "Here is a man who
could counsel me. He has fought his fight, and for him there is a crown
of victory and rejoicing."

The impression he had received when he glanced toward the minister's
place was deepened as the services went forward, and he saw Mr. Wenck
stand looking down upon the coffin, and from it toward the people.

The music for the congregation festival was sung. It was all as Benigna
had arranged it: there was no omission of parts except her own and
Elise's. Such voices, such trained voices, and such instrumental
performances, Leonhard said to himself, and could say truly, he had
never heard. He was dumb with wonder, and because he loved music he wept
as though he had loved Benigna. It seemed indeed that the mourners--and
the church was filled with mourners in spite of all the words of
resignation and immortal hope upon their tongues--were all intent on
doing honor to the woman whose life among them would never be forgotten.

In accordance with the usual custom--nothing could he omit that would do
honor to her memory--the minister gave a slight biographical sketch of
Benigna. He spoke of her childhood, and told the children that there was
not one of them who had not been born in a happier home and to better
fortunes than she. She had served music well because she loved it well,
and they were all witnesses whether she had received any reward for
faithfulness in that service. She had served her Master well because to
her His service was the highest freedom, and she found in it the
greatest joy. They had but to think upon, to look upon, her beautiful
face if they would know whether she could have chosen another service in
which she would have found such joy. Did she not appear to them--not
because she had departed: would she not if she were still among
them?--the most complete in excellences and virtues of any character
they had known? Was she not farther on in the perfect life than any one
of them? And how happy her life in Spenersberg had been! "Surely,
surely," he concluded, "this heroic example of constancy to duty, of
struggle against weakness, will not be lost on us! Never, on any
battle-field of faith, fought a braver soldier. God has given her the
victory. In a moment, at the close of a day of labor, in her
school-room, right there in that blessed, that sacred place--just there
where she would have chosen, with the kisses of her children on her
face--just there she heard the summons. Can we doubt, O friends! that
when our day of labor is ended we shall see Sister Benigna again? Not
if we resolve that with God's help we will prove ourselves worthy of the
high honor of being called her friends on earth."

The silence which filled the house after the minister sat down was
broken by the sounding of the trombones: then from beneath the trees
Leonhard saw the beautiful procession again following the bier; and as
he watched the flutter of garments between the dark-green cedar walls,
it had been no difficult thing to see in that company not a company of
mourners, but the ransomed sons and daughters of the New Jerusalem.

After the services at the grave the people assembled in the church again
to partake of the love-feast. Leonhard still followed. No wonder if he
walked as in a dream, and at times stood to ask himself where he was,
and what all this might mean. A month ago, a week ago, he might have
seen half his acquaintances hid away in darkness, and such feelings not
have been stirred, such thoughts suggested, as were stirred and
suggested here. So much human kindness he had never heard in human
voices or seen in human faces. The fierce grasping at opportunity, the
wild struggle for place, which his short experience had shown him was
the world's way of living, made him wonder if it was possible that
mortals could live so near heaven as these people lived. In that hour
the sharp strain of life relaxed--his disappointments ceased to torment
him--he almost forgot that he stood in the attitude of an absconding
debtor. Around him flowed the isolating, soothing, life-renewing waters.
He had passed rapids and cataract: could his humbled head receive the
benediction of the hour? Could he drop his burdens here, and go forward
on a new path and with a new ambition? What were all the honors of the
world, its rewards, its pride, compared with the peace and satisfaction
of this people? Home, work, friendship, holiness--could so much
content him? All were to be had here. But why might he not find
the same elsewhere--home, work, friendship, uprightness, honor,
success--patience to do the work that offered and to wait for the
ripening of the harvest which should rightfully be his? While the people
sat at their love-feast, exchanging the grasp of friendship and the kiss
of peace, these questions waited upon him. Then came thoughts that were
like answers. He would write to Wilberforce: if Spener had spoken
seriously he would undertake those buildings; and then he looked around,
and his imagination transformed this room of the worshiping congregation
into a temple all beautiful within; and somehow into tint and form the
character of the Spenersbergers seemed so to enter that over the people
as well as the house of worship he saw the wings of the Angel of the
Covenant outspread.


CHAPTER XV.

LEONHARD'S THIRD NIGHT IN THE HAPPY VALLEY.

Loretz invited Mr. Wenck to go home with him after the services: there
was something he wished to speak about, he said. Mr. Wenck needed no
urging: he wanted to see Elise one moment alone. But he did not find
that moment, for while Loretz was talking about the work which should be
done without delay in the cemetery, and saying that there could be no
better time to call attention to it than the present, when so many would
be going to visit Sister Benigna's grave, Spener came in. He had heard
already all that could be told him with regard to Benigna's death, but
his surprise had brought him straight to Loretz, and what he said was
creditable to him, although he had made certain statements to Leonhard
yesterday concerning Sister Benigna which neither of them would be
likely to forget. It was perhaps the recollection of them just now which
made him look at Leonhard and say, "I have been speaking to Mr. Marten
about a school-building, and he has promised to give me a design for
one. Shall we not call it Sister Benigna's monument?"

"Sister Benigna's monument should be erected by the people," said the
minister instantly. "She is in such regard among them all that it would
be a most beautiful memorial."

"We will consider that," said Spener. He was not very well pleased by
Wenck's remark, and perhaps there could be no better time than the
present to express his thought in regard to such assistance as he would
be likely to receive from Spenersberg in erecting a monument. "I dare
say the parents would be pleased to contribute their mite, and the
children also; but no doubt in the end it would be my lookout. And it
would be my pleasure, certainly, to see that there was no debt on the
building."

"Then, sir, pray do not call it her monument," said Mr. Wenck.

When Spener had spoken he felt a slight misgiving, as one who should
look pitifully on the moth which he had crushed. The minister's words
now amazed him, but he restrained his rising anger. Wenck must have
something else to say: let him say it then.

"I judged the people by myself," Wenck said. "And that is saying a great
deal more than I can express. It would be no pleasure, certainly, to see
that her friends bore the least share in such expenses."

"But, dear Brother Wenck, we are all Sister Benigna's friends," said
Spener with the expostulation of a master in his voice.

"Could we praise ourselves more highly, sir, than to say we are her
friends? For myself, I feel that the glory of Spenersberg has passed
away. I came here, Brother Loretz, to speak to you about her."

Loretz nodded: he was too much surprised by the minister's remarks to
speak. They all seemed to feel that the only thing asked of them was a
hearing.

"One week ago," Mr. Wenck continued, "I did not suppose that I could
speak to you with such freedom as I feel I may use now. If I had said
then what I now must, I might not have been able to convince anybody
except of one thing. Perhaps I could not have felt certain about my own
motives. But now I am above suspicion: I cannot suspect myself. _She_
will not doubt my secret thought, and you will all bear me witness." The
minister looked around him as he spoke, and Spener would never point him
out to man again as yesterday he had called Leonhard's attention to the
little minister. Leonhard sat uneasily on his chair, doubting whether to
go or stay, but nobody thought of him, and he felt himself to be in the
centre of a charmed circle, out of which he could not remove himself.
Every one was looking at Mr. Wenck, who, pausing a second as if to
assure himself again that all to whom he would speak were before him,
went on, his voice becoming more calm and strong, and his whole bearing
witnessing for him in his speech. "Before I heard of Spenersberg," he
said--"before it had existence even in the brain of its honored
founder--my acquaintance with Benigna began."

"Is it possible, Mr. Wenck?" exclaimed Dame Loretz, her voice breaking
under the weight of her sympathy.

"Yes, and I was hoping that she and I were to spend our lives together.
Dear Sister Loretz, you understand now why I could not take a wife."

"Why--why is that so, sir?" asked Loretz, doubting, and not very well
pleased: "that's news, I'm sure."

"It is, I know. And the story would never be told by me but for--for
your sake, my friends."

"Well, well, but--" said Loretz, afraid to hear what was coming; not
that he guessed, but because Spener sat there with a face so--so
inexplicable. Loretz could not make out its meaning when just now he
glanced that way; and the face was full of meaning. What was passing in
his mind?

"Let me tell the story, Mr. Loretz. I want you to know it. It will not
take long. May I not go on?"

"Go on, sir, by all means!" exclaimed Spener. "Say what you have to say,
and--" His voice sunk: he did not finish the sentence, audibly at least.

But Wenck still waited until Mrs. Loretz said, "Husband, surely you
would like to know about dear Sister Benigna?"

"Well," said Loretz, reluctant still because of his misgivings, "go on.
It will be a comfort to you, I dare say, Mr. Wenck, to talk about her
here."

"It is my duty, sir, to talk about her here, and my privilege. We were
both toiling in our way to reach the time when our love for each other
might be spoken and shown to be something short of unreasonable. When
that time did come we were led to ascertain whether our union would be
in accordance with the Divine will, in the manner of our fathers, which
had been adhered to for generations in the village where we lived. We
found that, according to the lot, our lives must be lived apart. It did
not appear to me then that we did right to give each other up. But I did
not attempt to persuade her--or--to assure myself that I had not made a
mistake when I loved her."

"I believe that," was the comment on this statement which appeared on
the scornful face of Spener.

"But I have often asked myself whether I should not have performed my
duty in a better way, a more enlightened way, if I had tried to persuade
Benigna to a step which has been taken by many of the most devout,
God-fearing brethren."

"What! what!" exclaimed Loretz, aghast. This was the very thing he had
feared from some quarter, and now he heard it whence he had least
expected it to come.

"I told you before you resorted to the lot--and my inmost hope was that
you would act upon it--that the lot is not now considered among the
brethren essential in the decision of questions of this kind. Surely you
have not forgotten."

"You mentioned it," said Spener reluctantly, in most ungenerous
acknowledgment. "I recollect wishing that you would make a point of it."

"It was impossible," replied the minister. "But now I can speak. If I
understand you, my friends, there is none of you that feels ready to
resign his own will in this matter. In your own secret hearts you
understand there is no submission. With such sacrifice God is not well
pleased. Do you think He can be? You have but followed a fashion. It is
a vain oblation. But"--he went on hurriedly, for he did not wish to
provoke discussion, at least until he had told the brief tale to the
end--"Benigna and I accepted the decision as final. When I came to
Spenersberg and found her here, it was a great, an overwhelming
surprise. Brother Loretz, you know by whose request I came."

"I have always felt proud of having brought you here, Brother Wenck: I
stand by it yet. You have done the right thing always, so far as I know.
Surely it was well to bring you here."

"When I found her here I thought I could not stay, but I finally
accepted that too as a dispensation of the Divine will, thankful, sir,
thankful that I might have the woman for my friend and co-worker. Has
she worked with me? Oh, Benigna, thou art still and for ever my
friend--for ever!--and the thought of thee will be an inspiration to my
work till my work too is done! But, Mr. Spener, I do not think that this
trial is set for you and Elise. Brother Loretz, I feel called upon to
testify that I do not believe that this trial is appointed to Brother
Spener and Elise. Think of it, and give me your consent, all of you, and
I will immediately, with devout thanksgiving, in the presence of God,
join together this man and this woman in holy matrimony."

Spener was first to break the silence which bound each amazed soul of
this little company when Mr. Wenck ceased to speak. His face shone, he
looked as if he could have embraced "our little minister" then and
there. He had been, in spite of his pride and prejudice, converted
wholly into faith in Wenck, but instead of manifesting his conversion at
once, he strode across the room to Elise's mother. "This is a house of
mourning," said he, "otherwise I would never consent that Elise's
marriage should be a private one. I would wish all Spenersberg to see my
bride: I would like all the people to see our happiness. But let it be
now, let it be now, Loretz. Elise, let it be now. Surely you see the
wisdom of it. Such a compliance as ours to a mere custom would be an
insult to our Father in heaven. Common sense is against it."

His voice was tremulous with emotion: he took Elise's hand. Who could
stand against him? Her eyes were lifted as to the hills whence help had
come to them.

Loretz was sadly disconcerted. Spener's instant acceptance of the
minister's proposal completed the overthrow occasioned by Mr. Wenck's
astonishing words. How true what he was always saying, that nobody could
stand against that man!

"Surely, father, surely," said Spener, approaching him, and drawing
Elise along with him--"surely you cannot fail to feel the force of what
our good brother has said."

Loretz looked at his wife: it was not merely Albert, the man he revered
most, but the child--yes, the child of his heart also was arrayed
against him. How was it with Anna?

"Listen to the minister," said she. "He knows what is right."

"I have spoken in the fear of God," said Mr. Wenck. "I call no man
master."

Spener looked down at these words: he understood their significance. The
interview he had returned home intending to ask of Wenck was of a
different character from this. "I think that no one could suspect you,
sir, of tampering with another man's destiny or his conscience," he
said. "I have never understood you till now, and for my misunderstanding
I humbly ask your pardon." And indeed who that looked at him could
suppose that this was a moment of proud rejoicing over a success won in
spite of Church and household?

The minister silently gave him his hand. Spener did himself justice when
he took the extended palm and held it a moment reverently in his.

"Father, we await your decision," he said to Loretz. He still held
Elise's hand, and she would not have flown away had he held it less
firmly.

Leonhard, quite forgotten, just here accidentally touched the piano with
his elbow, and the sound that came forth was the keynote to
Mendelssohn's "Wedding March." Forthwith he began to play it. Loretz
looked at him, and seemed to feel suddenly reassured. A wavering light
fell around him: he beckoned to the minister. "Do any of the folks
around here know?" he asked.

"About the lot? Who would have told them? I should say no one."

"Then 'twill do them no harm: I am my brother's keeper. Go on. We won't
make a balk of it this time."

"What, father!" exclaimed Dame Loretz. "How! Now?" It was her turn to
offer herself as a stumbling-block, but, dear soul! she must always make
poor work of such endeavor.

"If they are agreed, let it be. Albert Spener never gave his consent out
and out to the testing; and look at our girl here! The Lord have mercy
on us! If I can understand, though, it isn't Albert's doing."

"It is wholly Brother Wenck's," said Spener.

"It is Benigna's," said the minister. "Let us therefore celebrate this
day of sorrow by a concluding special service;" and he drew from his
pocket the manual from which he had read the burial service over Sister
Benigna. "We will rejoice together, as she will rejoice if it is given
her to know what the friends she loved do on the earth. Is it not as if
she had given her life for her friends?"

When Leonhard took up the interrupted strain of the "Wedding March,"
bridegroom had saluted bride, and Loretz, by the light of his daughter's
eyes, had taken one decided step toward conviction that he had consented
in that hour not to the furtherance of his own will, but the will of
Heaven.

Have we permitted Miss Elise to figure almost as a mute on this
momentous occasion? But does the reader think it likely that she had
much to say? She might perhaps have uttered one word that would have
proved insurmountable, but Mr. Wenck had spoken as it were with
Benigna's authority, and so to yield now was the most obvious duty.

The next morning saw Leonhard Marten on his way back to A----. He had
submitted to Spener his designs for the monument to be erected among the
living to the memory of Sister Benigna, and for the houses to be built
on those elected sites; and these all accepted, he had said to himself,
"I am an architect and a builder as long as I live," though Spener had
embraced him when he said, "I never heard such music, sir--never--as you
gave us last night!"

He went away, promising to come back and bring with him a young lady to
study music of the Spenersbergers, so soon as he should have despatched
a letter to a friend who was about to travel abroad.

He promised with a young man's audacity, but he performed it all. If
Marion was not to be abandoned at once and for ever to a false style of
music and a false way of living, she must be converted, as he had been,
out of all patience with the foolish falseness of their life. And then
everything seemed so easy to him, and really was so easy, after he had
decided that he could write his name down in that birthday book sacred
to friendship in which Loretz had offered him a place.

And here is explanation ample of the fact that Wilberforce, about to
travel abroad and in sore need of money, found a thousand dollars
deposited to his credit when he expected five thousand, and in due time
received a letter which satisfied him, in spite of its surprise, that
Leonhard was the best friend he had and the most trustworthy man living,
and that whoever she might be whom he had taken in holy matrimony for
his life-companion, he was worthy of her.

CAROLINE CHESEBRO'.



UNSETTLED POINTS OF ETIQUETTE.

     In England the higher the rank the more affable and kind I
     found them. It is only the little people climbing up who are
     disagreeable.--SULLY.


Not alone of English people can this be said. In "society" all over the
world it is the same; for everywhere men and women born and bred ladies
and gentlemen value their reputation as such too highly to risk it by
any rudeness or uncourteousness. They may upon occasion be frigidly
polite, but polite they will always be. But customs vary so much that
some things which would be considered polite in one country would be
looked upon in another as rude or intrusive. Take, for instance, one
illustration among many which might be cited. A foreigner sent on a
diplomatic mission to this country brought with him letters of
introduction to several members of a large family. Having affairs of
importance to attend to, he was remiss about delivering these letters on
this occasion, but on a second visit, having more leisure, he made it a
point to have himself presented at a ball to every member of the family
who was present. After the ball he told a lady of the trouble he had
given himself, and asked her congratulations upon having accomplished so
much in one evening. She, being upon intimate terms with him, assured
him that his politeness was not only unnecessary, but would in all
probability be misunderstood. "According to the customs of our country,"
said the lady, "you ought to have waited until they asked to be
presented to you." "How could I do that," he inquired indignantly, "when
it was my duty to make myself known to them, out of respect for the
writer of the letters as well as for those to whom she had written?
Besides, one can never be too civil to ladies and gentlemen." The lady
replied, "True; only you must first be sure that you are dealing with
ladies and gentlemen who understand all points of etiquette as you do."
Before his return to his own country he learned his error by the result,
for during a stay of some months he never received an invitation from
any of the family. By following the customs of his own country, instead
of adopting those of the country he was in, he had subjected himself to
being looked upon as "a pushing foreigner," who valued their
acquaintance so highly that he was determined to gain it, even at the
sacrifice of the customs of good society.

Americans when abroad, unless in an official position, have very little
opportunity of gaining a knowledge of such requirements of etiquette as
had influenced this gentleman in making the overtures he had thought
necessary; nor can we be expected to be acquainted with them. The rules
of social etiquette are all so well understood and practiced in Europe
that no opportunity presents itself for the miscomprehensions as to
one's duties in society which prevail with us. There every detail is
prescribed by the codes and usages of courts; and one might as well pass
an acquaintance in the street without the usual salutation as neglect
any one of these forms. Again to illustrate: A gentleman belonging at
one time to the English legation in Washington passed a summer at one of
our fashionable watering-places. His official position would have
secured him the consideration to which he was entitled, even had he not
been the general favorite that he was; but the men who left their cards
from time to time upon him were not always particular in having
themselves presented the first time they met him afterward at the club
or at dinners; and looking upon this omission as he had been trained to
do, it could not but seem to him an intentional rudeness on their part.
The consequence was, he avoided the watering-place thereafter, and
sought his summer recreation where there was less pretension at least,
and where he doubtless became less exacting or more accustomed to such
trifling breaches of etiquette.

For want of an exact code many points of etiquette are with us left
open to discussion, and this without reference to foreign ideas. Thus
the custom of inviting gentlemen to call when a married lady wishes to
give them the entrée to her house seems to have become an obsolete one
with a great many. Quite recently a discussion took place as to its
propriety between several ladies of distinction in this city. One lady
said that it was the Philadelphia custom for gentlemen to call where
they wished, without waiting for an invitation, after they had made the
acquaintance of any lady in the family; and more than one married woman
asserted that they had never yet asked a gentleman to come to see them;
while another insisted that gentlemen generally would not venture to
make a call upon any married lady unless she had invited them, or they
had first asked her permission. As a difference of opinion exists on
this point, it would be well if it could be an understood thing that any
gentleman wishing to make the acquaintance of a lady could, after having
himself presented to her, leave his card at her house with his address
upon it. Of course this applies only to comparative strangers, for any
young man can commit his card to his mother or sister to leave for him
at a house where either visits, if he wishes to be included in
invitations. Unless his card is left in this way or in person, how can
he expect to be remembered? Some years ago, a lady who gave a ball
during the winter after her return from a residence abroad, omitted to
send invitations to the young men who, having previously visited at her
house, had not left their cards at her door since her arrival home,
preferring to substitute gentlemen who had never been entertained by her
to inviting those who were so remiss. For this reason she gave
permission to several young ladies to name gentlemen among their friends
whom they would like to have invited; and so agreeable to the hostess
was the selection thus made that she placed permanently upon her
inviting list the names of those who sufficiently appreciated her
courtesy to remember afterward the slight duties which their acceptance
of her hospitality imposed upon them.

Still another illustration will show what unsettled ideas many hold in
regard to points of etiquette which ought not to admit of any diversity
of opinion. Ladies sometimes say to each other, after having been in the
habit of meeting for years without exchanging visits, "I hope you will
come and see me," and almost as frequently the answer is made, "Oh, you
must come and see me first." One moment of reflection would prevent a
lady from making that answer, unless she were much the older of the two,
when she could with propriety give that as the reason. The lady who
extends the invitation makes the first advance, and the one who receives
it should at least say, "I thank you--you are very kind," even if she
has no intention of availing herself of it. A lady in the fashionable
circles of our largest metropolis once boasted that she had never made a
first visit. She was not aware, probably, that in the opinion of those
conversant with the duties of her position she stamped herself as being
just as underbred as if she had announced that she did not wait for any
one to call upon her. No lady surely is of so little importance in the
circle in which she moves as never to be placed in circumstances where a
first visit is requisite from her; nor does any one in our land so
nearly approach the position of a reigning monarch as to decree that
all, irrespective of age or priority of residence, should make the first
call upon her.

One of the most reasonable rules of etiquette is that which requires
prompt replies to invitations. The reason why an invitation to dine or
to an opera-box should be answered as soon as received is so evident
that it will not admit of questioning; but many who are punctilious in
these particulars are remiss in sending promptly their acceptances or
regrets for parties and balls. Most of those who neglect this duty do so
from thoughtlessness or carelessness, but there are some who have the
idea that it increases their importance to delay their reply, or that
promptness gives evidence of eagerness to accept or to refuse. Others,
again, are prevented from paying that direct attention to an invitation
which politeness requires by the inconvenience of sending a special
messenger with their notes. Where any doubt exists in reference to the
ability of the person invited to be present at a soirée or ball, an
acceptance should be sent at once; and if afterward prevented from going
a short note of explanation or regret should be despatched. It is well
known that a few words make all the difference between a polite and an
impolite regret. "Mrs. Gordon regrets that she cannot accept Mrs.
Sydney's invitation for Tuesday evening," is not only curt, but would be
considered by many positively rude. The mistake arises, however, more
frequently from ignorance than from intentional rudeness. "Mrs. Gordon
regrets extremely that she cannot accept Mrs. Sydney's kind invitation
for Tuesday evening," is all that is necessary. All answers to
invitations given in the name of the lady and gentleman of the house are
generally acknowledged to both in the answer, and the envelope addressed
to the lady alone.

Some persons are in the habit of sending acceptances to invitations for
balls even when they know that they are not going; but this is very
unfair to the hostess, not only because she orders her supper for all
who accept, but because she may wish to invite others in their places if
she knows in time that they are not to be present. No house is so large
but it has a limit to the number of people that can be comfortably
entertained; and some ladies are compelled by the length of their
visiting-list to give two or three entertainments in order to include
all whom they wish to invite. When the invitations are sent out ten days
in advance, if answered within three days the hostess is enabled to
select from her other lists such of her friends as she would like to pay
the compliment of inviting twice, in case the number of regrets which
she receives will permit her to do so; but delaying the answers or
accepting with no intention of going puts it out of her power to send
other invitations.

An invitation once given cannot be recalled, even from the best motives,
without subjecting the one who recalls it to the charge of being either
ignorant or regardless of all conventional rules of politeness. Some
years ago a lady who had been invited with her husband to a musical
entertainment given at the house of an acquaintance for a mutual friend
of the inviter and the invited, received, after having accepted the
invitation, a note requesting her not to come, on the ground that she
had spoken slanderously of the lady for whom the soirée was to be given.
Entirely innocent of the charge, she demanded an explanation, which
resulted in completely exonerating her. The invitation was then
repeated, but of course, as the withdrawal of it had been intended as a
punishment, the rudeness was of too flagrant a character to overlook,
and all visiting between the parties ceased from that day. The rule
would not apply to a more recent case, where a lady gave a ball, and, in
endeavoring to avoid a crush and make it agreeable for her guests, left
out all young men under twenty-one years of age; but finding that she
had received wrong information concerning the age of one whom she had
invited, and that this one exception was much commented upon, causing
her to appear inconsistent, she wrote a note asking permission to recall
the invitation (having received no answer to it), and expressing her
regret that she should be made to appear rude where no rudeness was
intended. In this case the gentleman could, without compromising his
dignity, have sent a courteous reply, assuring the lady that he
perfectly understood her motives, and begging her not to give herself
any uneasiness upon his account in having felt compelled to withdraw the
invitation. By doing so he would have made the lady his firm friend, and
had she appreciated his politeness as it would have deserved to be
appreciated, she would have lost no opportunity of showing her sense of
it.

There is no better test of ladies and gentlemen than the manner in
which they receive being left out of a general invitation. They may feel
ever so keenly the omission, but it should never betray itself in a
shadow of change either in look or in tone. If the invitation is not a
general one, why should any one feel hurt by being omitted? No one but
the entertainer can know all the motives that influence her in her
selections. And here might be mentioned several reasonable points of
etiquette which may control her. When a first invitation has not been
accepted, it is to be supposed that no other will be expected until the
recipient of the invitation has returned the courtesy in some way, be it
ever so simple. In cases where previous invitations have been accepted,
even those who are not in the habit of balancing the exchange of
hospitalities cannot continue to extend them year after year, however
much they may wish to do so, when not the slightest disposition is shown
to make any return. Then, too, many ladies are not willing to overlook
the omission of leaving cards after their entertainments, and they very
naturally feel that a distinction should be made between such young men
as have shown an appreciation of their past courtesies and those who
have not. And again, a lady may often be deterred from sending
invitations to those whom she heartily wishes to invite, from her
dislike of making any advance to persons who are older residents, or
from a fear of being considered pushing or patronizing. A lady who never
makes first calls upon those who have lived longer than herself in the
city where she resides (unless in cases where age or infirmities upon
the part of those inviting her makes it her province to do so), learned
just before giving an entertainment that the wife of a gentleman from
whom she had received assistance in the charitable labors which occupied
some of her leisure hours was a native of another city; and in writing a
note upon business to the gentleman she expressed her intention of
calling upon his wife, explaining why she had not sooner done so. She
received an immediate reply from the husband, in which, after the
business had been attended to, he informed her that he and his wife
selected their own circle of friends, which was quite as large as they
desired to make it. The lady as promptly sent back a note in answer, in
which she expressed her regret for the mistake she had made, and thanked
him for having corrected the impression which she had formed of him as a
gentleman in her acquaintance with him solely in business relations.
Such an experience would prevent a sensitive woman from ever placing
herself in a position to receive such a rudeness again from any one and
therefore no one whose duty it is to make a first call, and who has not
made it, should ever feel hurt or offended at not being invited by such
an acquaintance, no matter how general may have been the invitation.

Ladies who are the most apt to give offence are those who divide their
lists, giving two parties in the course of the year, instead of the
grand crush which is more popular. Some feel aggrieved because they are
not invited to both, fancying that there are reasons why an exception
should be made in their favor; while others prefer the party for which
no invitation was sent. Those who send regrets for the first party
sometimes expect to be invited to the second, but this in no way changes
the relation between the inviter and the invited. It is the misfortune
and not the fault of the lady who invites that such regrets are sent;
and if she is able to repeat her invitations to any upon her first list,
it will surely be to those who gave such reasons for regretting as
illness or absence from the city. Certainly the entertainer must desire
to make both parties equally pleasant, and must select her guests to
this end; and yet there are those who, when left out, do not hesitate to
show her by the change in their manner that they consider themselves
more capable than she is of selecting her guests.

The question is frequently asked whether replies should be sent to
invitations to wedding and other receptions, and to "at-home" cards. If
one receives the great compliment of being invited to a marriage
ceremony (not at church), an acceptance or regret would of course be
immediately sent, for it is only in the case of the reception following
that any doubt seems to exist. It is generally understood that no
answers are expected; but as it is certainly very polite to send a
regret when one is unable to accept, why is it not equally polite to
send an acceptance? After receptions it is not considered necessary for
those who have been present to call, but those who are prevented from
going call in person as soon as is convenient. Sometimes, as in the case
of wedding receptions, many are invited for the occasion, friends either
of the bride or groom, whom the relative who gives the reception has
never visited, and does not wish to visit in the future. Of course the
visiting then ends with the call made after the reception; for if the
cards left at the reception or afterward are not returned by those of
the host or hostess, no matter how desirous the recipient of the
civility may be to extend her hospitality in return, she ought not to do
so unless under corresponding circumstances. Frequently those who are
prevented from attending wedding-receptions send their cards, and these
are returned by those of the bride and groom when they make their round
of visits, except in cases where, after the reception, their cards are
sent with a new address. Then, of course, those who receive them always
pay the first visit. The gentleman sends his card alone (when there has
been no reception) where he wishes to have his wife make the
acquaintance of his friends whom she has not previously visited; and the
sooner the call is made under such circumstances the more polite it is
considered.

The reason why an invitation to an opera-box, like an invitation to
dine, must be answered immediately is because the number of seats being
limited it is necessary, when regrets are received, to send out other
invitations at once, in order that all may be complimented alike by
receiving them upon the same day. Gentleman not receiving any special
invitation to a box, who chance to be in the opera-house in a
dress-suit, often pay visits of ten or fifteen minutes to the box of any
lady with whom they are well acquainted. If a gentleman wishes to enter
the box of some chaperone with whom he is not acquainted, he always
requests some mutual acquaintance in the box to present him to the
chaperone immediately upon entering. Unless invited by her to remain, he
is careful not to prolong his visit beyond the time allowed. Young
ladies are sometimes very thoughtless in urging young gentlemen to stay
during an entire act, or even longer; but when the party is made up by
the chaperone, she does not like to see the gentlemen whom she has
invited incommoded by one whom she has not asked to her box.

The diversity of opinion that exists with us in reference to many points
of etiquette is unfortunate; for where no fixed rules exist there must
always be misapprehensions and misunderstandings; rudenesses suspected
where none are intended, and sometimes resented, to the great perplexity
of the offender as to the cause of the offence. It is not every one who
knows how rude a thing people of the old school consider it to make use
of a lady's house in calling upon a guest staying with her, and leaving
no card for the hostess. This simple act of courtesy does not
necessitate a continuance of visiting, inasmuch as the lady only feels
obliged to return her card through her friend, leaving it to after
circumstances to decide whether it will be mutually agreeable to make
the acquaintance. To call upon strangers for whom dinners are given when
invited to meet them is very polite, but it should not be construed into
any intended impoliteness in this country if the call is not made; and
it may even happen that one is unable to be presented to such guests
where the dinner is large, though one should at least make the attempt.
Nor is it generally understood how great is the discourtesy of
permitting any person who has been shown into a house through the
mistake of a servant when the ladies are engaged, to be shown out again
without seeing any member of the family. The mistake having occurred,
if no member of the family is able to make her appearance without
considerable delay, a message should be sent down with an explanation,
inquiring if the visitor will wait until one of the ladies can come
down. The lady who finds herself admitted when out upon a round of calls
will be without doubt only too glad of the excuse for departure; and
even if calling upon matters that require an answer, her _savoir faire_
would prevent her from waiting under such circumstances. Any hesitation
upon the part of the servant who answers the bell, as to whether the
ladies are at home or engaged, authorizes the persons calling to leave
their cards without waiting to ascertain.

The etiquette in regard to bowing is so simple and reasonable that one
would scarcely suppose it possible that any differences of opinion could
exist, and yet there are some who think it a breach of politeness if one
neglect to bow, although meeting half a dozen times on a promenade or in
driving. Custom has made it necessary to bow only the first time in
passing: after that exchange of salutations it is very properly not
expected. The difference between a courteous and a familiar bow should
be remembered by gentlemen who wish to make a favorable impression. A
lady dislikes to receive from a man with whom she has but a slight
acquaintance a bow accompanied by a broad smile, as though he were on
the most familiar terms with her. It is far better to err on the other
side, and to give one of those stiff, ungracious bows which some men
indulge in. Those gentlemen who smile with their eyes instead of their
mouths give the most charming bows. As for men who bow charmingly at one
time, and with excessive hauteur at others, according as they feel in a
good or bad humor, they need never be surprised if the person thus
treated should cease speaking altogether; nor can any man who does not
lift, or at least touch, his hat in speaking to a lady expect that she
will continue her salutations.

The rules to which allusion has been made are all reasonable, but there
are others which, having only an imaginary foundation in the
requirements of true politeness, might be disregarded with advantage.
Such, for example, as that of sending answers to invitations by a
special messenger. It is equally convenient to employ a man to deliver
invitations or to send them by post. With the reply it is different.
Each family receiving an invitation has to send out a servant with the
answer. This not being always convenient, the reply is frequently
delayed--sometimes until it is forgotten. But if the foreign custom of
sending acceptances and regrets by post could be brought into general
use, how much more sensible it would be! It was the occasion of many
comments when a few years since some cards, not invitations, were thus
sent by mistake, the servant posting those which he had forgotten to
deliver before the wedding had taken place. But it only needs a few
resolute persons to set the example, and persist in it, to have it as
generally adopted as it is abroad.



THE HERMIT'S VIGIL.

    Here is the ancient legend I was reading
      From the black-letter vellum page last night:
    Its yellow husk holds lessons worth the heeding,
                        If we unfold it right.

    The tome is musty with dank superstition
      From which we shrink recoiling, to th' extreme
    Of an unfaith that with material vision,
                        Accounts as myth or dream

    Problems too subtle for our clumsy fingers--
      High truths that stretch beyond our reach as far
    As o'er the fire-fly in the grass that lingers
                        Stretches yon quenchless star.

    Give rather back the old hallucinations--
      The visible spirits--the rapture, terror, grief
    Of faith so human, than the drear negations
                        Of dumb, dead unbelief!

    --But will you hear the story?
                             --In a forest,
      Girt round by blacken'd tarns, a hermit dwelt:
    And as one midnight, when the storm raged sorest,
                        Within his hut he knelt

    In ghostly penance, sounds of fiendish laughter
      Smote on the tempest's lull with sudden jar,
    That sent the gibbering echoes shrilling after,
                        O'er weir and wold afar.

    "Christ ban ye now!"--he cried, the door wide flinging,
      "Fare ye some whither with perdition's dole?"
    --"We go"--out from the wrack a shriek came ringing--
                        "To seize the emperor's soul,

    "Who lies this hour death-smitten." Execration
      Thereat still fouler filled the sulphurous air:
    Before the rood the hermit sank:--"Salvation
                        Grant, Lord! in his despair!"

    And agonizing thus, with lips all ashen,
      He prayed--till back, with ghastlier rage and roar,
    The demon rout rushed, strung to fiercer passion,
                        And crashed his osier door.

    "Speak, fiend!--I do adjure thee!--Came repentance
      Too late?"--With wrathful curse was answer made:
    --"Heaped high within the Judgment Scales for sentence,
                        The emperor's sins were laid;

    "And downward, downward, with a plunge descended
      _Our_ scale, till we exulted!--when a moan,
    --'_Save, Christ, O save me!_'--from his lips was rended
                        Out with his dying groan.

    "Quick in the other scale did Mercy lay it,
      _Lo! it outweighed his guilt_--"
          --"Ha,--baffled! braved!"--
    The hermit cried;--"Hence, fiends! nor dare gainsay it,
                     _The emperor's soul is saved!_"

                        MARGARET J. PRESTOX.



CHATEAUBRIAND'S DUCKS.


François-Auguste de Chateaubriand, the illustrious author of the _Génie
du Christianisme_, the poet, statesman, diplomatist, soldier, and
traveler in the Old World and the New, was one of the two or three human
beings who, at the commencement of the nineteenth century, disputed with
the emperor Napoleon the attention of Europe. Sprung from an old family
of the Breton nobility--a race preserving longer perhaps than any other
in France the traditions of the monarchy--he reluctantly gave in his
adhesion to the _de facto_ government of Napoleon; but the execution of
the duc d'Enghien outraged him profoundly, and sending back to Napoleon
his commission as foreign minister, he abjured him for ever. Napoleon
probably regretted the fact seriously. "Chateaubriand," said the
emperor, "has received from Nature the sacred fire: his works attest it.
His style is that of a prophet, and all that is grand and national
appertains to his genius."

It would be out of place in the brief sketch here given to trace his
long and adventurous career. By turns author, minister, ambassador,
soldier, he saw, like his famous contemporary and associate, Talleyrand,
revolution after revolution, dynasty after dynasty, Bonapartist,
Bourbon and Orleanist, pass before him; and having in this long career
enjoyed or suffered all the splendors and all the woes of life--now at
the height of wealth and power, now a penniless and homeless
wanderer--he came at the age of eighty, in 1848, to Paris to die, in
wellnigh abject poverty.

Among the personal delineations of this celebrated man, the most
characteristic and entertaining perhaps are those presented by Victor
Hugo and Alexander Dumas in their respective memoirs. Chateaubriand is
there shown in undress, and the portrait drawn of him is vivid and
interesting. Victor Hugo describes him as he appeared in 1819 at his
fine hôtel in Paris, wealthy, influential and renowned. The author-to-be
of _Les Misèrables_ was then a mere youth, and his budding glories as an
ultra-royalist poet conferred upon him the honor of an introduction to
the great man. Hugo was ushered in, and saw before him, leaning in a
stately attitude against the mantelpiece, the illustrious individual. M.
de Chateaubriand, says Hugo, affected the bearing of a soldier: the man
of the pen remembered the man of the sword. His neck was encircled by a
black cravat, which hid the collar of his shirt: a black frockcoat,
buttoned to the top, encased his small, bent body. The fine part about
him was his head--out of proportion with his figure, but grave and
noble. The nose was firm and imperious in outline, the eye proud, the
smile charming; but this smile was a sudden flash, the mouth quickly
resuming its severe and haughty expression.

"Monsieur Hugo," said Chateaubriand without moving, "I am delighted to
see you. I have read your verses on La Vendeé and the death of the duc
de Berri; and there are things in the latter more especially which no
other poet of this age could have written. My years and experience give
me, unfortunately, the right to be frank, and I say candidly that there
are passages which I like less; but what is good in your poems is very
good."

In the attitude, inflections of voice and intonation of the speaker's
phrases there was something sovereign, which rather diminished than
exalted the young writer in his own eyes. Night came and lights were
brought. The master of the mansion permitted the conversation to
languish, and Hugo was much relieved when the friend who had introduced
him rose to go. Chateaubriand, seeing them about to take their leave,
invited Hugo to come and see him on any day between seven and nine in
the morning, and the youth gained the street, where he drew a long
breath.

"Well," said his friend, "I hope you are content?"

"Yes--to be out!"

"How! Why, M. de Chateaubriand was charming! He talked a great deal to
you. You don't know him: he passes four or five hours sometimes without
saying a word. If you are not satisfied, you are hard to please."

In response to Chateaubriand's general invitation, Hugo went soon
afterward, at an early hour of the morning, to repeat his visit. He was
shown into Chateaubriand's chamber, and found the illustrious personage
in his shirt-sleeves, with a handkerchief tied around his head, seated
at a table and looking over some papers. He turned round cordially, and
said, "Ah! good-day, Monsieur Victor Hugo. I expected you. Sit down.
Have you been working since I saw you? have you made many verses?"

Hugo replied that he wrote a few every day.

"You are right," said Chateaubriand. "Verses! make verses! 'Tis the
highest department of literature. You are on higher ground than mine:
the true writer is the poet. I have made verses, too, and am sorry I did
not continue to do so, as my verses were worth more than my prose. Do
you know that I have written a tragedy? I must read you a scene.
Pilorge! come here: I want you."

An individual with red face, hair and moustaches entered.

"Go and find the manuscript of _Moses_," said Chateaubriand.

Pilorge was Chateaubriand's secretary, and the place was no sinecure.
Besides manuscripts and letters which his master signed, Pilorge copied
everything. The illustrious author, attentive to the demands of
posterity, preserved with religious care copies of his most trifling
notes. The tragedy which Chateaubriand read from with pomp and emphasis
did not immensely impress Hugo, and the scene was interrupted by the
entrance of a servant with an enormous vessel full of water for the
bath. Chateaubriand proceeded to take off his head handkerchief and
green slippers, and seeing Hugo about to retire, motioned to him to
remain. He then continued to disrobe without ceremony, took off his gray
pantaloons, shirt and flannel undershirt, and went into the bath, where
his servant washed and rubbed him. He then resumed his clothes, brushed
his teeth, which were beautiful, and of which he evidently took great
care; and during this process talked with animation.

This morning seems to have been a fortunate exception, as Hugo declares
that he found Chateaubriand on other occasions a man of freezing
politeness, stiff, arousing rather respect than sympathy--a genius
rather than a man. The royal carelessness of his character was shown in
his financial affairs. He kept always on his mantelpiece piles of
five-franc pieces, and when his servant brought him begging letters--a
thing which took place constantly--he took a piece from the pile,
wrapped it in the letter and sent it out by the servant. Money ran
through his fingers. When he went to see Charles X. at Prague, and the
king questioned him in reference to his affairs, his response was, "I am
as poor as a rat."

"That will not do," said the king. "Come, Chateaubriand, how much would
make you rich?"

"Sire," was the reply, "you are throwing away your time. If you gave me
four millions this morning, I should not have a penny this evening."

It must be conceded that there was something imposing in this refusal of
royal generosity; but the poet seems to have passed through life thus,
with his head carried superbly aloft, and his "grand air" ready on all
occasions.

Hugo draws him at fifty, in his fine hôtel at Paris--a celebrity in
politics and society. Dumas shows him in his old age, poor, self-exiled,
and wellnigh forgotten by the world in which he had played so great a
part. The brilliant and eccentric author of _Henry III._ was traveling
in Switzerland in 1834, and on reaching Lucerne was informed that the
hotel of The Eagle had the honor of sheltering no less a personage than
one of his own literary idols--the great, the famous, the imposing M. de
Chateaubriand. Dumas declares that genius in misfortune was always
dearer to him than in its hours of greatest splendor, and the statement
seems to have been honest. He determined to call and pay his respects to
the great poet. He accordingly repaired to the hotel of The Eagle, asked
for M. de Chateaubriand, and was informed by the waiter in a
matter-of-fact voice that M. de Chateaubriand was not then at the hotel,
as he had "gone to feed his ducks."

At this strange announcement Dumas stared. He suppressed his curiosity,
nevertheless, left his name and address, and duly received on the next
morning a polite note from Chateaubriand inviting him to come and
breakfast with him at ten.

The invitation was gladly accepted, not, however, without a tremor of
awe on the part of the youthful author. Even in old age, poverty, exile
and forgotten by the world, Chateaubriand was to him the impersonation
of grandeur. He trembled at the very thought of approaching this "mighty
rock upon which the waves of envy had in vain beaten for fifty
years"--this grand genius whose "immense superiority wellnigh crushed
him." His demeanor, therefore, he declares, when shown into
Chateaubriand's presence, must have appeared exceedingly awkward.
Nevertheless, the cordial courtesy of the exile speedily restored his
self-possession, and they proceeded to breakfast, conversing meanwhile
upon political affairs, the news from France, and other topics of
national interest to the old poet. Dumas represents him as simple,
cordial, grave, yet unreserved. He was gray, but preserved his imposing
carriage.

When breakfast was over, and they had conversed for some time upon
French affairs, Chateaubriand rose and said with great simplicity, "Now
let us go and feed my ducks."

At these words Dumas looked with surprise at his host, and after
hesitating an instant essayed to reach a solution of the mystery.

"The waiter informed me yesterday," he said, "that you had gone out for
that purpose. May I ask if you propose in your retirement to become a
farmer?"

In reply to this question Chateaubriand said in his tranquil voice, "Why
not? A man whose life has been, like mine, driven by caprice, adventure,
revolutions and exile toward the four quarters of the world, would be
happy, I think, to possess, not a chalet in these mountains--I do not
like the Alps--but a country-place in Normandy or Brittany. Really, I
think that this is the resource of my old age."

"Permit me to doubt it," returned Dumas. "You remember Charles V. at
Yuste. You do not belong to the class of emperors who abdicate or kings
who are dethroned, but to those princes who die under a canopy, and who
are buried, like Charlemagne, their feet in their bucklers, swords at
their sides, crowns on their heads and sceptres in their hands."

"Take care!" replied Chateaubriand. "It is long since I have been
flattered, and it may overcome me. Come and feed my ducks."

The impressible visitor declares that he felt disposed to fall upon his
knees before this grand and simple human being, but refrained. They went
to the middle of a bridge thrown across an arm of the lake, and
Chateaubriand drew from his pocket a piece of bread which he had placed
there after breakfast. This he began to throw into the lake, when a
dozen ducks darted forth from a sort of isle formed of reeds, and
hastened to dispute the repast prepared for them by the hand which had
written _René, The Genius of Christianity_ and _The Martyrs_. Whilst
thus engaged, Chateaubriand leaned upon the parapet of the bridge, his
lips contracted by a smile, but his eyes grave and sad. Gradually his
movements became mechanical, his face assumed an expression of profound
melancholy, the shadow of his thoughts passed across his large forehead
like clouds of heaven; and there were among them recollections of his
country, his family and his tender friendships, more sorrowful than all
others. He moved, sighed, and, recalling the presence of his visitor,
turned round.

"If you regret Paris," said Dumas, "why not return? Nothing exiles
you--all recalls you."

"What could I do?" said Chateaubriand. "I was at Cauterets when the
revolution of July took place. I returned to Paris. I saw one throne in
blood, and another in the mud--lawyers making a constitution--a king
shaking hands with rag-pickers: that was mortally sad; above all, when a
man is filled as I am with the great traditions of the monarchy."

"I thought you recognized popular sovereignty?"

"Well, kings should go back from time to time to the source of their
authority--election; but this time they have cut a branch from the tree,
a link from the chain. They should have elected Henry V., not Louis
Philippe."

"A sad wish for the poor child! The Henrys are unfortunate: they have
been poisoned or assassinated."

"Well," said Chateaubriand, "it is better to die by the poniard than
from exile: it is quicker, and you suffer less."

"You will not return to France?"

"Possibly, to defend the duchess de Berri if she is tried."

"And if not?"

"Then," said Chateaubriand, throwing bread into the water, "I shall
continue to feed my ducks."

                        JOHN ESTEN COOKE.



OUR MONTHLY GOSSIP.


BACONS AND BARONETS.

There died in November last a gentleman who, though not remarkable
himself, was the head and representative of so famous a family and order
that his death is an event deserving of some notice. This was Sir Henry
Hickman Bacon, premier baronet of England. This gentleman was not the
descendant of the great Francis Bacon, Baron Verulam, but head of the
family whence that eminent man, a cadet of the house, sprung.

The origin[M] of this family is lost in the obscurity of centuries. Sir
Nicholas, an eminent lawyer of England in the reign of Queen Mary,
succeeded, when Elizabeth ascended the throne, to the lord-keepership of
the great seal. He married twice, and had a numerous issue, and the
baronet lately deceased is the direct representative of the
lord-keeper's eldest son by his first marriage, who was the first person
created--by James I., on May 22, 1611--a baronet.

And it is not a little remarkable that whilst of the baronetcies since
created an immense percentage have become extinct, and only some half
dozen of those created in 1611 remain, the first ever created has
survived, and bids fair to do so for some time to come. The baronetcy of
Hobart (earl of Buckinghamshire)--whose ancestral seat of Blickling, in
Norfolk, passed some time since, with its magnificent collection of
books, by marriage, into the Scotch family of Ker, and now belongs to
the marquis of Lothian--and that of Shirley (held by Earl Ferrers), seem
to be the only baronetcies now extant whose patents bear date the same
day as that of Bacon.

The others left of the same year are Mordaunt, of which we heard so much
in a trial in 1870; Gerard, an ancient Lancashire Catholic house; Monson
(Lord Monson); Musgrave of Edenhall ("the luck of Edenhall" is the
subject of one of Longfellow's poems); Gresley, Twysden, Temple and
Houghton. The last became well known a few years ago in this country as
the largest holder of Confederate bonds.

Francis Bacon, familiarly known as Lord Bacon, though in fact he never
enjoyed that honor, his titles being Baron Verulam and Viscount St.
Alban's, was second son of his father's second marriage, his mother
being one of three sisters, the most eminent blue-stockings of the
period, daughters of Sir Anthony Cooke, of Gidea Hall, Essex.

Another of Sir Anthony Cooke's daughters was Lady Burleigh, who had been
governess to Edward VI., second wife of the famous lord-treasurer, and
direct ancestress of the present talented marquis of Salisbury,
vice-chancellor of the University of Oxford, whose sister, Lady Mildred
Beresford-Hope, wife of the well-known son of the author of
_Anastasius_, bears the same name (Mildred) as her ancestress. Indeed,
names are thus frequently transmitted for centuries in English families,
and often thus serve as links in genealogical research. The Cooke family
has long been extinct, and their stately seat was pulled down by a
London alderman in the eighteenth century.

Another sister, Lady Hobby--whose husband resided at Bisham Abbey, a
fine old place, maintained in admirable repair, near Windsor--was a
terrible disciplinarian, and there is an ugly story of her having
whipped a wretched son of hers into his grave, from exasperation at his
inability to make his "pothooks," when she was teaching him writing,
without blots. Curiously enough, when, some years ago, improvements were
being made at the Abbey, a number of copy-books of the style of writing
common at the period in which Lady Hobby lived were discovered behind
wainscoting, and all were blotted.

The manor of Gorhambury, the great Bacon's seat, was purchased by his
father, whose other seat was Redgrave in Suffolk. Gorhambury is near the
town of St. Alban's, renowned for its abbey, now in course of splendid
rehabilitation.

Not far from St. Alban's once stood the celebrated Roman city of
Verulam, called by Tacitus _Verulamium_, which Bacon, deeply imbued with
Latin learning, appropriately selected for his first title. The plough
has now for many centuries made furrows over it, and the only vestiges
remaining are a few detached masses of the wall. Verulam was bounded on
the south-west by the Roman Watling Street. Gorhambury was built by Sir
Nicholas, and in the archbishop of Canterbury's library at Lambeth may
be seen an interesting account of the expenses. It need scarcely be
added that Queen Elizabeth paid her lord-keeper a visit there. Sir
Nicholas Bacon left Gorhambury to Mr. Anthony Bacon, the eldest son of
his second marriage, and he, dying unmarried, left the estate to his
brother Francis.

Gorhambury now belongs to the earl of Verulam, whose family name is
Grimston. It was left by the great Bacon to his friend, Sir Thomas
Meautys, and thence, by a course of intricate successions, came to the
present proprietor.

Bacon, like so many other famous men, had no children. He died in Lord
Arundel's house at Highgate in 1626.

Sir Robert Bacon, fifth baronet, sold Redgrave, the family seat in
Suffolk, to Lord Chief-Justice Holt toward the end of the seventeenth
century. Holt, who died in London 5th of March, 1710, was buried there,
and a grand monument to his memory may be seen in the church. It was
erected by his brother and heir, for, like Bacon, he was childless.

Redgrave Hall, eighty-seven miles from London by the coach-road, is a
large square mansion. The male line of the Holt family has long been
extinct, but the present owner of the estate is descended from the great
lord chief-justice's niece, who married Mr. Wilson, a younger son of an
ancient Westmoreland family.

But to pass to the origin of the order of baronets. After one of the
almost chronic Irish insurrections against British rule, James I.
conceived in 1609 the idea of offering to English and Scotch settlers,
known to be possessed of capital, a large portion of the forfeited
estates in Ulster. The supposed necessity of a military force for the
protection of the colonists suggested to Sir Antony Shirley a project of
raising money for the king. He proposed the creation of a new honor,
between those of knight and baron, and that it be conferred by patent at
a fixed price for the support of the army in Ulster--that it should
descend to heirs male, and be confined to two hundred gentlemen of three
descents in actual possession of lands worth one thousand pounds a
year--a sum equal to five thousand now.[N]

James I. approved of the scheme, as he would have done of any which
seemed feasible for raising the wind, and the patents were offered at
the price of ten hundred and ninety-five pounds, the estimated amount of
the charge of thirty soldiers during three years. The purchasers did not
prove so numerous as had been expected. In the first six years
ninety-three patents were sold at £101,835. "It is unnecessary to add,"
says Doctor Lingard, "that the money never found its way to Ireland" in
the shape of forces paid for by this process.

There have been three or four creations of baronetesses in their own
right, but nearly two centuries have elapsed since such a creation.
James II. made a curious remainder clause in a patent, by creating a
Dutchman a baronet with remainder to his mother. It has been a mooted
question whether baronets are not entitled to a coronet, and a certain
Sir Charles Lamb, who died a few years ago, was so determined to uphold
their privileges on this score that he had this ensign worked into the
ornamentation of his entrance gates at Beaufort, near Battle Abbey,
Sussex; but he met with small encouragement in such notions from his
brother-baronets. An old English gentleman was wont to declare that more
of disagreeable eccentricity is to be found amongst members of the
baronetage than amongst those of any other order of men. He chanced to
be thrown early in life amongst several eccentric beings of the class,
and took his ideas accordingly; but it is a fact that a very large
number of stories about eccentric baronets are in circulation. A marked
man of the kind was early in the last century an individual who, in
consequence of his height, was called Long Sir Thomas Robinson. It was
in allusion to him that the lines were penned:

    Unlike to Robinson shall be my song--
    It shall be witty, and it sha'n't be long.

This was the man to whom a Russian nobleman displayed the greatest
anxiety to be introduced, under the impression that he was the real
identical and unadulterated Robinson Crusoe.

Sir Thomas was a bore of the first magnitude, and an inveterate
hanger-on about cabinet-ministers and other prominent persons. He was
constantly worrying Lord Burlington and Lord Burlington's servants by
his Paul-pry-like presence. On calling at Burlington House, and being
told that his lordship had gone out, he would desire to be let in to
look at the clock or to play with a monkey which was kept in the hall,
and so at length get into his lordship's room. The servants,
exasperated, preconcerted a scheme to be rid of the nuisance. So, one
day, as soon as the porter opened the gate and found Sir Thomas
outside, he said, "His lordship is gone out, the clock has stopped, the
monkey is dead."[O]


MISS NEILSON.

The story of _La Giulietta_ was told, in the beginning of the sixteenth
century, by Luigi da Porto, a gentleman of Vicenza who had served in the
army, and to whom it was narrated by one of his archers to beguile a
solitary night-march. After passing through various translations the
story was taken by Shakespeare as the groundwork of his wonderful
tragedy, _Romeo and Juliet_, one of his earliest plays, and one of the
most varied in passion and sentiment. Schlegel says of it: "It shines
with the colors of the dawn of morning, but a dawn whose purple clouds
already announce the thunder of a sultry day."

The stormy acting of the elder Kean in _Richard III._--that epitome of
ambition and bloodshed--was said to produce the effect of reading
Shakespeare by flashes of lightning: in _Romeo and Juliet_ the first two
acts are illumined only by the soft moonlight of love, and we are not
startled by the lightning of tragedy until it gleams upon the bloody
blade of Tybalt in the beginning of the third act: then Love and Death
join hands, and move for a time with equal step across the stage.
Finally come the poisoning and self-slaughters, and in the
representation the curtain falls upon a corse-strewn graveyard, where
Death reigns alone. Sad contrast to the lighted ball-room where the
lovers first looked into each other's eyes--to the fair garden that lay
at midnight "all Danaë to the stars"--to the moon-silvered balcony from
which Juliet leaned in her loveliness as she exchanged with Romeo her
earliest vows!

Beneath Italian skies girls spring with sudden leap to womanhood, and
the seed of the tender passion hardly drops into the heart before it
buds and blooms, a perfect flower. Though the actual lapse of time
represented in the play occupies only a few days, Juliet in that brief
period must assume several distinct characters. We see her first the
coy, heart-whole maiden, the cherished heiress of a patrician house:
soon the blind bow-boy launches his shaft, and, quick as thought, she is
passionately, impulsively, enduringly in love; then we see her but a few
hours a bride, with black sorrow creeping already to darken her
happiness; her kinsman is slain, Romeo banished, and the coy maiden is
changed at once to the devoted wife, capable of any sacrifice that will
enable her to rejoin her husband, then follow the fearful drinking of
the philter, the miscarriage of the Friar's scheme, and the death of the
lovers, who seek in the grave that union denied them on earth. What
varied qualities and acts are clustered here!--simplicity, love, hope,
fear, courage, despair, suicide. In the whole range of Shakespeare's
female characters there is none so difficult to portray--none requiring
such a combination of beauty and talent; and we need not marvel that the
part of Juliet is rarely attempted, and still more rarely with success.

That Miss Neilson was successful during her recent short engagement at
the Walnut Street Theatre may be inferred, not alone from the great
audiences that thronged the theatre night after night--for people will
often throng to see a very unworthy performance--but from the
intellectual character of those audiences, and the manifest pleasure
they derived from seeing the fair English actress.

In every criticism it should be borne in mind that she played under
great disadvantage. She was unfortunately, with some few exceptions,
very badly supported. It seems ungracious, therefore, to search for any
flaw in the performance of such an admirable actress, who has left
behind her so many charming memories; yet it must be admitted that her
acting is not always as faultless as her face. In her Juliet there are
striking inequalities perceptible: sometimes she seems to have just
grasped perfection, then again she makes one wonder that she does no
better. In portraying love-scenes she is unsurpassed: she is graceful
and beautiful, has studied her parts thoroughly, has a sweet,
penetrating voice, and seems herself to feel the sentiments she would
convey to others. Her enunciation is remarkably distinct, and she has
the power of mingling more or less pathos with the tones to express
sorrow in greater or less degree: in one scene, where she thinks that
Romeo has been murdered, her cheeks are wet with actual tears. At the
close of the ball, when she learns that the fascinating young pilgrim is
a Montague, the hereditary enemy of her house, she gives her first touch
of pathos to the words--

    My only love sprung from my only hate!
    Too early seen unknown, and known too late!

But it is a pathos entirely different from that which later tinges her
sad good-night to her mother and nurse when she has determined to
counterfeit death:

    Farewell!--God knows when we shall meet again.

Miss Neilson also possesses, in an eminent degree, the power to portray
that sly humor without malice known as _archness_. In the earlier phases
of Juliet's career, and throughout the whole impersonation of Rosalind
in _As You Like It_, this accomplishment stands the actress in good
stead: she undoubtedly owes to it much of her power to charm. It strikes
one when she first comes on the stage as Juliet and gently checks the
garrulous old Nurse, taking up the thread of the discourse--

    And stint thou too, I pray thee, nurse, say I

again, in her witty word-fencing with the mock palmer at the ball--

    For saints have hands that pilgrims' hands do touch,
    And palm to palm is holy palmers' kiss;

so too in the garden-scene, when she half rebukes herself, and all
encourages her lover--

                                 O gentle Romeo,
    If thou dost love, pronounce it faithfully;
    Or if thou think'st I am too quickly won,
    I'll frown, and be perverse, and say thee nay,
    So thou wilt woo; but else, not for the world.

And she shows it wonderfully in her coaxing, half-pettish behavior to
the provoking old woman--talkative and reticent by fits and starts, now
whining and now laughing--who has been to seek out Romeo, and brought
back news of him. In _As You Like It_, Rosalind's bright humor ripples
and laughs like a silver brook through the glades of Ardennes, and
trickles gently even into the epilogue: in this lively comedy--so much
lighter and easier than the heavy tragedy we are discussing too--love
and despair never come to overlay and destroy the arch humor. If there
be any defect in the performance of the banished princess, it must still
remain, like Orlando's verses, tacked to some tree in the forest, but,
unlike those verses, still unseen.

To return to the tragedy--for in the discussion of two plays in which
the same faculties are exhibited by the same actress it is most
convenient to pass at times from one play to the other--who that has
seen Miss Neilson tread the stately _minuet de la cour_ at the ball
given in the palace of the Capulets will deny her the possession of
marvelous grace? The long floating robe and abundant train, the
high-heeled, pointed shoe of the period, instead of embarrassing her,
seem but to give additional opportunity for displaying elegance of pose
and gesture. In the garden-scene, when nightingales are whist, bright
moonlight falls upon the balcony, and lights up the face of Juliet who
leans there, certainly the fairest flower in that scenic paradise. As
yet the course of love runs smooth for her: she does not dream of the
dreadful gulf down which she is about to plunge, and her happy tones
fall musically upon the air, "smoothing the raven down of darkness till
it smiles." This happiness continues till her speedy and clandestine
marriage. Soon after the Nurse comes home, and by her incoherent
mutterings leads Juliet to suppose that Romeo is slain: then we have the
first display of grief, but it is a grief so sudden and so violent that
the blow stuns and almost silences the young wife. She is roused from
this by learning at last that it is Tybalt who is dead, and that Romeo
is exiled; which last causes her far greater grief than the loss of her
cousin. Her sorrow, however, is at once displaced by rage when the Nurse
speaks against her husband--

    Shame come to Romeo!--

          Blistered be thy tongue,
    For such a wish! he was not born to shame.

The sorrow and anger here are well enacted, being neither overdone nor
forced. It is here at least shown that Miss Neilson can, when she
pleases, express great passions with that suppressed vehemence which
carries the cultivated spectator away far more than violence of voice
and gesture. Such suppression, with a view to producing greater effect
by leaving much to the excited imagination of the beholder, is not
practiced only by the tactful histrionic artist--it pervades all art. To
take a single brief example: the greatest sculptors, knowing that the
chisel could produce form, not color, have shrunk from indicating the
pupil of the eye in their statues, and left the eyeball smooth, because
the imagination was more pleased with entire absence of the organ than
with its imperfect representation. So with ultra-clamorous passion and
wild melodramatic action on the stage: both are better omitted than
expressed. These remarks are made here in connection with Miss Neilson's
first fair displays of passionate sorrow and sorrowful passion:
presently they may be applied again, less favorably, to her Juliet. In
her Rosalind, however--to refer to _As You Like It_ once more--she gives
another fine example of the power of suppressed, suggestive action
accompanying the expression of hot wrath. When the tyrant duke informs
her that she is banished from his court, she kneels before him in
supplication and begs to know the reason of his harsh decree. But the
instant he intimates that her father is a traitor, and she another as
his daughter, she springs to her feet, and in an attitude of intense
defiance, but without a motion of her folded arms, flings back her
scornful retort:

    So was I when your highness took his dukedom;
    So was I when your highness banished him:
    Treason is not inherited, my lord;
    Or, if we did derive it from our friends,
    What's that to me? my father was no traitor.

Here again is a display of power without distortion or over-acting, such
as must give the actress fair title to celebrity.

Let us return now to Juliet and her approaching doom. There is a sad
scene in her chamber at early daybreak, for banished Romeo must leave
her and haste to Mantua, lest sunrise betray him still lingering in
Verona. Juliet at first lovingly detains him, then fearfully urges him
to fly; then as he descends from the balcony would fain recall him, and
sinks in a swoon when she finds he is really gone. The parents come in
and announce their determination that she must marry Paris forthwith:
finding her unwilling to comply, they leave her with fierce threats in
case she continue disobedient, and even the time-serving, timid old
Nurse, though aware of her marriage with Romeo, urges her to comply with
their wishes. Thus left entirely to herself, Juliet determines to die
rather than prove false to her husband. She hastens to the Friar who
married them, and he gives her the philter, which she accepts joyfully
and carries home in her bosom. Up to this point her acting is good,
because it is natural. Love, grief, stern determination are here
successively and skillfully developed by Miss Neilson. But in the next
act, just before she drinks the philter alone in her chamber, she
oversteps the modesty of nature. In her attempt to express extreme
terror at the fearful visions that her excited imagination conjures up,
she loses herself in a wild whirlwind of vociferation, accompanied by
frantic looks and gestures. All the loud artillery of old melodrama
seems at once to be unlimbered and brought into action, with so much
noise and smoke that one can neither hear the signals of the bugle nor
see the manoeuvring of the guns. Of course, even to this part a
superior actress like Miss Neilson can impart a certain dignity and
interest which would be lacking in an inferior performer. She strikes a
certain horror to the spectator by the very hideousness of her terror
displayed. It is natural that a young girl about to be laid out alive in
a tomb should be tormented with fearful imaginings; but then that young
girl cherishes an all-pervading love for a living husband, whom she
hopes to rejoin by means of her entombment: she expects that the gates
of the mausoleum will open to admit her to life, not death, and she is
urged by fear of a hateful second marriage; therefore it is unlikely--no
matter what gloomy, blood-stained phantoms she may see--that she should
shriek out her fears with such appalling clamor as would arouse any
well-organized household, and thus defeat her prospects of success. As
Miss Neilson has shown in former instances, a less violent announcement
of her feelings would be far more forcible and far more natural.
Besides, the actress has not yet reached the time when she wishes to
depict her greatest misery: that climax is reached when she wakes in the
vault and finds not only Tybalt "festering in his shroud," but her
Romeo, her husband, a bloody corpse at her feet. If ever the
ungovernable shriek of dying despair be allowable on the stage, it must
be at such a time, when Juliet falls upon the still warm body. Even the
effect of such a wild performance at the very climax and end of a
tragedy may be questioned; but there can be little doubt that the great
violence exerted before in describing her horrible suspicions merely,
deprives the actress of power to throw increased stress into her
performance as the play moves to its close, and she is confronted with a
far more horrible reality.

As though she feels that her power of melodramatic declamation has been
weakened, Miss Neilson in the graveyard seems to rely more on
melodramatic action. And it is very melodramatic. She rises from Romeo's
body, where she has flung herself, where it would be natural she should
remain to kill herself, and standing at some distance from the corpse,
stabs herself openly with a stage dagger, then falling, drags herself
slowly, accompanied by soft music, back to the body, and there at last
expires. How much more effective would this part become if more were
left to the beholder's imagination! Great artists generally avoid open
stabbing on the stage, as it almost invariably produces the impression
of trickery. We may see the gleaming blade and the arm descending to
strike the blow, but it is best not to see the weapon pretending to
enter the victim's body; and this can always be avoided by proper
management. When Ristori as Medea murdered her children at the base of
Saturn's statue, the other actors grouped around and screened the act
from the view of the audience: when the crowd opened again, the bodies
were discovered lying on the steps of the pedestal. The death of Juliet,
instead of bringing tears to all eyes, as Miss Neilson undoubtedly could
make it do, is thus rendered ineffective by over-acting; and when she
drags herself six or eight feet along the stage, prostrate and stabbed,

    Oh, 'tis dreadful there to see
    A lady so richly clad as she,
    Beautiful, exceedingly!

On the last evening of her engagement Miss Neilson appeared in the _Lady
of Lyons_, and after the performance recited the following epilogue,
suggested by Lord Lytton's recent death:

    FAIR LADIES AND GOOD SIRS: Since last this play
    Was acted on this stage, has passed away
    Its noble author from the gaze of men,
    No more, alas! to wield his facile pen.
    In Knébworth's ancient park, across the sea,
    Lord Lytton sleeps, but not his witchery.
    The dramatist, romancer, poet, still
    Can touch our hearts and captivate our will;
    For laureled genius has the power to brave
    Death's fell advance, and lives beyond the grave:
    Bear witness, this grand audience clustered here.
    Your plaudits cannot reach dead Lytton's ear,
    But no more sweet libation can you pour
    To Lytton's memory, on this distant shore,
    Than your prolonged applause, which now proclaims,
    Though the great author's gone, his fame remains.

    M. M.


GENERAL LEE CONVULSED.

An old lady who knew General R. E. Lee almost from childhood declared
that when he was a young man he enjoyed fun and indulged in harmless
frolics as much as anybody. Later in life, and after his sons became
stout lads, it is said that he was fond of sleeping with them, in order
that he might in the morning engage in a regular old-fashioned romp and
pillow-fight with the boys. During the war, though habitually grave, as
befitted a commanding officer, he relished an occasional joke very
highly. When some of his staff mistook a jug of buttermilk that had been
sent him for "good old apple-jack," and made wry faces in gulping it
down, he did not attempt to conceal his merriment. So, too, when
inquiring into the nature of "this new game, 'chuck-a-buck,' I think
they call it," which had been introduced into his army, there was a sly
twinkle in his eye that showed how shrewdly he guessed its real purport
as a gambling game. So, again, it is reported that he appreciated fully
the "sell" which a wag on his staff palmed off upon a reporter, who
promptly inserted it in the papers. The reporter wanted to know General
Lee's hour for dining.

"Six o'clock--exactly at six," was the reply.

"I infer, then, that it is rather a formal meal?"

"Decidedly formal--in fact, I may say it is a rigidly military dinner."

"Military! how military?"

"Well, you see General Lee sits at the head of the table, and Colonel
Chilton at the foot, and everything is done in red-tape style."

"Red tape at table! I don't understand you. Please explain."

"Certainly. General Lee never carves and never helps--all that is left
to Colonel Chilton--but General Lee asks the guests what they will have:
they tell him, then he issues his orders, and Colonel Chilton executes
them. That's all."

"Go on, go on!" opening his notebook: "give me an example--tell me
exactly how it is done."

"Suppose, then, that we have beef--we generally have beef. Grace is said
by the chaplain, then General Lee raps on the table with the handle of
his knife and says, 'Attention!' Everybody is silent. Every eye is
turned toward General Lee. He looks at one of us--me, for example--and
I rise and make a military salute. 'Captain C----, what will you be
helped to?' says General Lee. I say 'Beef,' make another salute, and sit
down. General Lee, fixing his eye on Colonel Chilton, says, 'Beef, for
Captain C----.' My plate is passed, helped, and then Colonel Chilton,
handing it to the servant, says,

    'Beef for Captain C----,
    By order of General Lee.
    R. H. CHILTON, A. A. G.'"

And this absurd story went the round of the Southern papers.

After the war, General Lee rarely smiled, and one may say never laughed
outright. Yet he was neither sad nor unsociable. But there was that
about him which made it wellnigh impossible to believe that he could
ever have given completely away to feelings of mirth and indulged in a
real fit of cachinnation. Such, however, was the fact, and it occurred
at a time when, of all others, one would have least expected it--in the
retreat to Appomattox--and General Henry A. Wise was the occasion of it.

On the second or third day of the retreat, General Wise, who had long
desired an interview with General Lee, discovered him at a distance, and
immediately hastened toward him. While he was yet a great way off,
General Lee, who happened at the time to be alone, turned and began to
stare in a way that was most unusual with him. As Wise drew nearer the
stare became intense and mixed with wonderment. A few steps more, and
still General Lee gazed and gazed wonderingly, as if he had never seen
Wise in his life. Amazed and puzzled at General Lee's unmistakable
ignorance of his identity, Wise advanced quite close to him and said
rather stiffly, "Good-morning, General Lee." It was very early and very
cool, too--a sharp spring morning.

As he said this, General Lee's intense gaze relaxed, a smile appeared in
its place, the smile deepened, broadened, and, spreading from feature to
feature, ended at last in a fit of the most immoderate and
uncontrollable laughter.

Astounded beyond words, and indignant beyond measure at such a
reception, it was some time before General Wise could demand an
explanation. During all this time General Lee laughed as a mature man
rarely ever laughs.

The explanation, given through tears of laughter not yet dried, was
simple enough. General Lee had mistaken the general for a Comanche
Indian. He had lost his hat or cap, a dirty blanket was thrown over his
shoulders to protect him from the keen morning air, and his face, washed
in a mud-puddle and hastily wiped, retained a ring of red mud around the
borders, which made the resemblance to an Indian as exact as well could
be--all the more so in consequence of Wise's strong features.

Barely sufficient at the time (so incensed was Wise), the explanation
eventually proved ample, for General Wise now laughs at this incident as
heartily as any one, and often relates it himself, while it may well be
doubted whether ever again in life General Lee found either the occasion
or the disposition to relax his wonted gravity.


FUNERALS vs. PARTIES.

A Southern correspondent sends the following incident from real life,
which illustrates the well-known negro fondness for so-called lugubrious
festivals:

A lady friend of mine was much beset a few days ago by her cook for
permission to attend the funeral of some relative. The _res angustæ_
forbade her leaving just at that time, but, to compensate her for the
deprivation, her mistress said, "Rose, I really feel very sorry for you,
but you shall lose nothing by staying at home. I promise that you shall
go to the first party that is given by any of your friends, and stay all
night long."

Rose, tossing her head, replied, "Law! Miss Susan, how kin you talk like
dat? You know I don't set no vally on parties. _Forty parties couldn't
pay me for de sight of one corp!_" She saw the "corp."

FOOTNOTES:

[M] The origin of the name of Bacon is thus explained by Richard
Verstegan, famous for Saxon lore and historical research:

"Bacon, that is, 'of the beechen tree,' anciently called Bucon; and
whereas swines' flesh is now called by the name of bacon, it grew only
at the first unto such as were fatted with Bucon or beech-mast."

It is, as a writer in _Notes and Queries_ points out, a curious
authentication of this derivation that Collins, in his _Baronetage_,
mentions that the first man of the name of Bacon of whom there is record
in the Herald's College, bore for his arms "argent, a beech tree
proper." Additional confirmation seems afforded by the fact that in
certain places in England boys call beechen tops "bacons."

[N] "My father," says Thomas Shirley to the king, "being a man of
excellent and working wit, did find out the device of making baronets,
which brought to Your Majesty's coffers wellnigh one hundred thousand
pounds, for which he was promised by the late Lord Salisbury (son of
Miss Cooke, Bacon's aunt), lord-treasurer, a good recompense, which he
never had." Ninety-three patents were sold within six years. It was
promised in the patents that no new title of honor should be created
between barons and baronets, and that when the number of two hundred had
been filled up, no more should ever after be added. The first promise
has been kept.

[O] This recalls a story of the Marquis of L----, Sydney Smith's friend,
grandfather of the present peer. His lordship's gallantries were
notorious, though most carefully concealed. On one occasion he went to
visit a lady with whom he maintained very intimate relations. Not
choosing to take a groom on such an occasion, he gave his horse to a boy
in the street to hold. On coming out he looked up and down the street,
but in vain, and at length had to go home steedless. On reaching L----
House, the groom, waiting at the door for his return, said, "Shall I go
for the horse, my lord?" "The horse is dead," was the brief response.
"Where shall I send for the saddle and bridle, my lord?" "Oh--a--a--h"
(and then with emphasis), "they're dead too!"



NOTES.


As a knowledge of the circumstances under which a work of art is
composed occasionally gives a clearer insight into certain of its
peculiarities, so perhaps an analysis of the individual elements which
go to make up the present Assembly of Versailles may give the reader a
clue to the reason of some of its legislative measures, as well as to
its possibilities for the future and its political tendencies. Such an
analysis is made by the _Rappel_ of Paris in an elaborate article, from
which we must only cite a few points. The Assembly, then, contains, it
appears, 2 princes (the princes d'Orléans), 7 dukes, 30 marquises, 52
counts, 17 viscounts, 18 barons and 97 untitled nobles, or those
"_n'ayant que la particule_;" which last phrase we may explain to mean
having the _de_ prefixed to their names, without other titular
distinction. Next, it contains 163 great landed proprietors, including
the richest in France; 155 advocates; 48 leading manufacturers; 45
officers or ex-officers of the army, chiefly of high rank; 35
magistrates or ex-magistrates; 25 engineers; 23 physicians; 21
professors; 19 notaries or ex-notaries; 16 wholesale merchants; 14
officers or ex-officers of the navy; 10 attorneys; 5 bankers; 2
druggists; 1 bishop; 1 curate; 1 Protestant minister; and 10 others of
sundry occupations. The difference in composition between this
republican Assembly and our own Congresses is in some respects
remarkable; for, independently of the very large and indeed altogether
disproportionate representation of the nobility or titled classes, we
observe a very great preponderance of rich land-owners, representing in
their own persons the agricultural and vine-growing interests. Very
singular, also, is the small proportion of lawyers, only 155 being
classed as advocates, and the magistrates and attorneys swelling the
number only to 200. In an ordinary American Congress at least one-half,
and usually two-thirds, of the members are or have been lawyers by
profession. The clerical representation seems to reach a total of three,
all told, Catholic and Protestant; and as trivial is that of the retail
traders and mechanics, of whom there are but two or three in all. We may
add that a full-blooded negro member, M. Pory-Papy, came as deputy from
Martinique. The standard of intelligence and political experience is
rather high: it is said, for example, that no less than 33 members have
been ministers. Altogether, the Assembly may be considered as rather
fortunately constituted.

       *       *       *       *       *

During the session of the medical congress at Lyons one day was set
apart for the study of alcoholic stimulants. On that occasion the
physician of Sainte-Anne asylum, Dr. Magnan, comparing the chemical
action of alcohol and absinthe on man, drew the conclusion that the
former acts more slowly, gradually provoking delirium and digestive
derangement, while absinthe rapidly results in epilepsy. Then, producing
a couple of dogs, he treated one with alcohol and the other with essence
of absinthe, this latter being the active principle of the absinthe
liquor which is commonly drunk. The alcoholized brute could not stand
up, became sleepy and stupid, and, when set on his legs, trembled in an
inert mass: the other dog experienced at once frightful attacks of
epilepsy. Analogous effects are produced in mankind. Surely the
"absinthe duel" which is said to have taken place at Cannes, when both
the combatants perished after drinking an extraordinary quantity, may be
strictly denominated a duel with deadly weapons. In the south of France,
it is said, one person sometimes invites another to partake of absinthe
by the slang phrase, "Take a shovelful of earth;" as if an American
bar-room lounger, recognizing with grim humor the deadly quality of his
liquor, should say, "Come and get measured for your coffin." The French
expression has certainly, in view of Dr. Magnan's disclosures, a
melancholy picturesqueness. This subject has to France a national
importance, since, if the recent report of Dr. Bergeron does not
exaggerate, the _absintism_ introduced amongst the French army in
general by the Algerian officers did its part toward producing that
inertness and lack of vigor which generals often complained of in their
subordinates during the disastrous invasion of 1870.

       *       *       *       *       *

Richard II., in the play of that name, disheartened by his calamities,
responds to all the encouraging words of his lords and followers with a
bitter satire on the wretchedness of royalty:

    For God's sake, let us sit upon the ground,
    And tell sad stories of the death of kings:
    How some have been depos'd; some slain in war;
    Some haunted by the ghosts they have depos'd;
    Some poison'd by their wives; some sleeping kill'd;
    All murther'd; for within the hollow crown
    That rounds the mortal temples of a king
    Keeps Death his court.

The unhappy monarch was destined to furnish in his own tragic fate one
more illustration of his homily. His words come vividly to mind in
reviewing the curious catalogue which a European statistician lately
furnished of the number of sovereigns who have perished by violent
deaths or been discrowned by disaster. The list, which must perforce be
incomplete, embraces 2540 emperors or kings, who have ruled over 64
nations. Of these, 299 were dethroned; 151 were assassinated; 123 died
in captivity; 108 were formally condemned and executed; 100 were killed
in battle; 64 abdicated; 62 were poisoned; 25 died the death of martyrs;
20 committed suicide; and 11 died insane. Even these lists do not
probably include all the unnatural deaths and dethronements that have
occurred among the 2540 rulers thus tabulated, for it was often deemed
politic to conceal the circumstances of a monarch's death, and history
mentions many such instances in which the cause of death is doubtful; so
that, for example, the 11 insane and the 20 suicides and the 62 poisoned
doubtless do not comprise the whole number of deaths which ought to be
included under those descriptions. Nevertheless, taking these figures as
they are, they furnish a striking comment on King Richard's melancholy
words; which, by the way, Richard's own conqueror and successor almost
paralleled in his lamentations over the anxieties and perils that
encompass the kingly state. We may add that the death of Napoleon III.
at Chiselhurst has now, by one more name, increased the number of
sovereigns dying in exile, while giving the whole subject a fresh
interest.

       *       *       *       *       *

The authority of Professor Godebski of St. Petersburg is given for the
extraordinary statement that the Russian authorities in Poland have
prohibited the contemplated erection of a monument to Chopin in his
native Warsaw, on the ground that it might become an occasion for a
political manifestation. M. Godebski was to have executed the statue, a
plan had been submitted and accepted, musical admirers of Chopin had
favored the project, Prince Orloff, Princess Czartoryska and many ladies
of the Polish nobility had contributed the necessary funds, when the
whole scheme was vetoed by Count von Berg, on the pretext already
stated. Surely this was pushing caution to extremes, even in Poland. It
was Chopin's fate to be driven from his country in 1836 by revolutionary
disorders; but the very composition of the monumental committee, which
was under the direction of Madame Mouchanoff, an ardent admirer of the
master, indicated that the enterprise was an artistic, not a political
one. Chopin, reposing between Bellini and Cherubini in the Père la
Chaise, his chosen burial-place, has long since passed from the narrow
confines of his Polish nationality to the worldwide and immortal realm
of art. In pretending, thirty years after his death, that the genius of
the artist is of less account than the accident of his birthplace, and
in reviving against this memorial project the entirely secondary facts
of the revolutionary epoch (when Chopin's career was not in politics,
but in art), the Russian authorities are wondrously sensitive, to say
the least. A chagrined friend of the sculptor has proposed that a piece
of ground should be bought, a temporary wooden house built on it, the
statue set up as if in a private courtyard or gallery, and the doors
then thrown open to the public, while, after some days or months, the
building could be taken down, leaving the statue substantially on a
public square. But the prohibition which vetoed the original project
would of course cover this stratagem also, and besides, it would be
rather too petty a device to engage in.



LITERATURE OF THE DAY.


Middlemarch: A Study of Provincial Life. By George Eliot. Vol. II. New
York: Harper & Brothers.

As a "study of provincial life" _Middlemarch_ appeals to a class of
readers who might have little taste for the psychological studies in
which the book abounds, and which give it a much deeper import. Its
variety, spirit and truth of local color are Hogarthian, while it shows
a figure, in the heroine, of far higher beauty and belonging to the
great circle of epic characters. Dorothea, with her loveliness and her
history of divine blunders, is fit to stand with any queen of song or
story. This volume begins with the closing scenes in her
scholar-husband's life. The character is a curious, and, after all, a
pathetic one. What Philadelphia reader, at least, can pursue the
narrative of poor Casaubon's misplaced study and ill-judged bequest
without being reminded of another career of futile scholarship near
home? Like him, as it will seem to the curious annalist, Richard Rush
was a student without an audience, and like him a mistaken testator.
Locking up his mind from the public amidst a company of ideas imbibed in
the day when his city was the great book-producing city of the country,
Rush prosecuted his barren researches in a moral prison, saw domestic
life only through a grating woven from his own prejudices, and died in
the confidence falsely sustaining him that the inefficiency of a
lifetime would be amended by the bequests of an impracticable will.
Rush, too, was wealthy, of influential family, studious, sterile, and
apt to put off present action in the hope that the grave would one day
co-operate with his motives; and Rush, like the imagined author of the
_Key to all Mythologies_, finds the grave a treacherous trustee. The
heroine of _Middlemarch_, in her action over her husband's testament,
behaves as every true and lovable woman, obeying the emotions, will
behave while the world lasts: a flippant, easy, youthful censor has told
her, in a boudoir in the Via Sistina at Rome, that her husband's labor
was thrown away because the Germans had taken the lead in historical
inquiries, and that they laughed at those who groped about in woods
where they had made good roads. The censor is agreeable, curly, and has
engaging ways of lying about on hearth-rugs and giving his arm to quaint
old maids: his criticism is therefore securely effective against all the
conclusions of a life of dry labor; and so it comes that Dorothea writes
on her husband's posthumous schedule: "_I could not use it. Do you not
see now that I could not submit my soul to yours by working hopelessly
at what I have no belief in?_" That is the way in which schemes of more
or less erudition will for ever be lost to the world when entrusted to
those who reason as Nature imperiously teaches them to do, through their
affinity with blooming cheeks, curled locks and versatile intellects. It
is inevitable that Dorothea must sink, from her dreams of emulating
Saint Theresa, to comradeship with the glossy occupant of the
hearth-rug. George Eliot, as a true artist, sees what is faulty in the
catastrophe, but she will not unsex her creation. Another of her
characters, Rosamond, she pursues with a minute, withering, one would
say vindictive, contempt. It is the beautiful, distinguished young
creature who marries Lydgate on account of his high connections, and who
trains him to do up her plaits of hair for her, and allows him to talk
the "little language" of affection, which Rosamond, though not returning
it, "accepted as if she had been a serene and lovely image, now and then
miraculously dimpling toward her votary." How such a creature can become
the cool blighting Nemesis of a hopeful home, ruining it by
extravagance, and taking credit to herself for every act of calm revolt,
until her wretched husband, who had meant to be another Vesalius,
compares her to Boccaccio's basil, that flourished upon the brains of a
massacred man, the author sees only too plainly, and shows forth in some
of the most cutting scenes she has ever written. Her "Study of
Provincial Life," while it reveals her warm poet's love for a lofty
nature defeated by its conditions, shows still plainer her intimate and
personal dread of the cold thin nature that kills by its commonplace.
The last she rewards contemptuously with a carriage in the Park and a
rich second match: the first she punishes with exquisite Junonine
tenderness by giving her a little boy in the bride-chamber of the home
of the clever young politician whom the local editor has called a
"violent energumen."

       *       *       *       *       *

In laying down the book the reader is conscious of a different feeling
from that with which he ordinarily parts with a work of fiction which
has gratified his artistic tastes and furnished him with a high
intellectual pleasure. Comparing the productions of George Eliot with
those of other novelists, we are tempted to think of these as trivial
fond records, which might well be blotted from the tablets of the
memory, leaving the inscription she has placed there to live alone in
ineffaceable characters. It is not that they show her to be endowed with
a larger measure of those gifts which constitute the artist. In each of
these she has perhaps been equaled or surpassed by one or another of her
predecessors. As a painter of manners, of all that belongs to the
surface of life, she is rivaled in fidelity, if not in breadth and
force, by Fielding, Thackeray and Miss Austen. Her observation is less
keen than theirs, her portraiture less vivid, her humor less cordial and
abundant. Her conceptions have not the intensity of Charlotte Bronté's,
nor her great scenes the dramatic fire of Scott's. In the minor matters
of invention and plot she sometimes has recourse to shifts that betray
the deficiencies they are intended to conceal. The quality in which she
is supreme is one that lies beyond the strict domain of art. It is the
power of penetrating to the roots of human character and action--a power
which seems to be something more than insight, but for which sympathy
would be a still less adequate term, indicating as it does a nature
harmonious and complete, one in which intellect and feeling are resolved
into an element that overflows and envelops its object without effort or
repulsion. In other novelists we admire a subtlety that winds through
the intricacies of motives, unmasking deceptions, revealing weaknesses
and flaws but half suspected, or delicacies and beauties but half
appreciated: George Eliot drops a plummet that sinks straight and
steadily, through turbid waves and calm under-current, reaching depths
before unexplored. We can claim no part in her discoveries, however our
faculties may be exercised in grasping or in testing them. They more
often correct than confirm our impressions; they make large additions to
our knowledge; they suggest the necessity of reconstructing our theories
and placing them on a new and wider base.


A Memorial of Alice and Phoebe Cary. By Mary Clemmer Ames. New York:
Hurd & Houghton.

Alice Cary was a poetess of feeling, tender, prolific, overworked,
unhealthy, and cooked to desiccation in a New York "elegant residence"
that was but one enormous stove. Phoebe, working less, was amusing,
plump, gay and original. Alice, obediently grinding out her sweet
morning poem for the _Ledger_ before she went to market, died at her
desk, and then Phoebe died of loneliness. It is a gentle and a
thoroughly American history. In the eyes of both these Ohio women, New
York was the market where they could easiest sell their wares, and their
poems were commodities from which they were determined to derive as
comfortable an existence as possible. Any strict idea of duty to their
art, as the responsibility committed to them above all things on earth,
seems never to have crossed the mind of either sister, though Alice, who
wrote a great many volumes, would occasionally complain--not, however,
more feelingly than all sincere authors do--that she knew her labors
were overtaxing her faculty. They arranged, at their handsome residence
on Twentieth street, a _salon_ of Sunday evenings, where Mr. Greeley,
Robert Bonner and Whitelaw Reid used to meet and converse kindly with
the minor literati, and which were believed to have much of the
pleasantness and life of French conversaziones. Alice Cary has left a
profusion of pensive poetry: the following is the most beautiful extract
she affords:

    The fisher droppeth his net in the stream,
      And a hundred streams are the same as one;
    And the maiden dreameth her lovelit dream;
      And what is it all when all is done?
    The net of the fisher the burden breaks,
    And always the dreaming the dreamer wakes.

Phoebe, who was reckoned less clever than Alice, excites a great deal
more sympathy, quietly accepting a position of admiring secondariness,
and yielding occasional good things in wit or poetry: she was famed
among her friends as a punster and parodist, and once answered at a
dinner to a question what wine they used, "Oh, we drink Heidsick, but we
keep mum." An irresistibly taking and womanly remark of hers, disposing
in its own way of whole schemes of Calvinistic theology, was her reply
to the argument for endless punishment: "Well, if God ever sends me into
such misery, I know He will give me a constitution to bear it." Again,
as the least laborious of the sisters, her talent had moments of greater
felicity than that of Alice, and she has left one hymn which has all the
promise of a lasting favorite. The sacred lyric, "One sweetly solemn
thought comes to me o'er and o'er," is sung, as it deserves to be,
wherever Christianity is known, and there is an attested story of its
having aroused a pair of gamblers in China to repentance and permanent
reform. It is imprudent to predict a permanent place for even the best
of Alice Carey's gentle songs; but Phoebe's utterance may very
possibly be quoted, from her unpretending station as adviser and
alleviator of every-day life, after her name shall be forgotten and her
religion shall have become impersonal.



How I Found Livingstone. By Henry M. Stanley. New York: Scribner,
Armstrong & Co.

This book, the circumstances of its writing considered, is a literary
curiosity. It contains seven hundred and twenty pages octavo, and it was
composed in an incredibly short time, while the stomach of its author
was digesting a series of stout English dinners, and his attention
dissipating among speech-makings and speech-listenings, feasts, meetings
and visits. Only a New York reporter could have achieved the feat. The
faculty acquired by men of Mr. Stanley's trade, of acting with the
intense decision and energy of great military captains, and then
relating the action with the voluble unction of bar-rooms or political
stumps, is a strange mixed faculty, and is found to perfection in the
reporters' rooms of the New York _Herald_. The tale has the _Herald's_
well-known style, and is a correspondent's letter in a state of
amplification. It is always energetic, often tinged with real heroism
and romance, and adorned sometimes with an ambition of classical
allusions that resemble Egyptian jewels worn by a Nubian savage. It has
not the least self-restraint or good taste, but it sounds fresh, genuine
and sincere. It brings out with fine distinctness the feudal fidelity of
a reporter-errant, whose whole soul is dyed with belief in the great
establishment whose behest he obeys--one of the last refuges in which
mediæval humility is to be found. As a part of the same habit of mind,
Mr. Stanley shows a fine, literal, unquestioning championship of the
object of his quest, Dr. Livingstone; but he seems to admire the doctor,
after all, rather as an ornamental possession of the New York _Herald_.
The great traveler's good-nature to Mr. Bennett, as a voluntary
correspondent and coadjutor by brevet with the journal, disarms and
enchants him: beginning with a prejudice, he ends by saying, "I grant he
is not an angel, but he approaches to that being as near as the nature
of a living man will allow." In every trait Stanley shows himself
whole-souled, ignorant of half measures, unscrupulous, cruel on
occasion, driving, positive, and furnished with a sure instinct of
success. The book, from its hasty construction, admits many
inconsistencies, the worst of which is its long tirade against the
Geographical Society, nullified finally by gracious thanks for their
medal; but it has the energetic virtue of a book written while memory
was fresh, and is often truly dramatic and pictorial. It is the
garrulous appendage of a strange and solid achievement, the feather-end
of the arrow, which advertises the hit of the steel.


The Minnesinger of Germany. By A. E. Kroeger. New York: Hurd & Houghton.

Mr. Kroeger appears to have an antiquarian's thoroughness in his
subject, and he has made it an interesting one to Western readers. But
he has not succeeded in his translations, partly because he does not
respect the usage and associations of the English words he rivets
incompatibly together, and partly because success, even for a more
poetical translator, is impossible in the premises. The authors of the
Minnelay, in their elaborate rhyme-caprice, must have remained
harmonious and lyrical, which is not the case with a version like this:

    I look so Esau-like, perdu,
    My hair hangs rough and unkempt. Hu!
    Gentle Summer, where are you?
    Ah, were the world no more so dhu!
    Rather than bide in this purlieu,
    Longer to stay I'll say, Adieu!
    And go as monk to Toberlu.

Or like this, which Mr. Kroeger, without the fear of _Maud's_ author
before his eyes, compares to Tennyson:

      Rosy-colored meadows
    To shadows we see vanish everywhere,
      Wood-birds' warbling dieth,
    Sore-trieth them the snow of wintry year.
      Woe, woe! what red mouth's glow
      Hovers now o'er the valley?
      Ah, ah, the hours of woe!
      Lovers it doth rally
    No more; yet its caress seems cosy.

These studies of intricate rhymes concealed in and terminating the lines
are at least as hard for the reader as for the writer; yet we hope Mr.
Kroeger will not lose his readers before they arrive at the historical
and critical parts of the work, which are really valuable. The narrative
of Ulrich von Lichtenstein of the thirteenth century, who sent one of
his fingers to an exacting lady-love, and paraded through Europe on her
quests disguised variously as King Arthur, Queen Venus or as a leper, is
one which makes the maddest deeds of Quixote seem sane, although he was
a true singer and an admired chevalier of his period. Gottfried von
Strassburg, whose excellent poem of _Tristan and Isolde_ inspires the
writer with his least unhappy translation, leads the subject away from
the mere love-carolers toward the authors of the metrical romances, the
bards of Germany. It is at this point that he introduces some forcible
criticisms on Tennyson's poetry of that character, and makes it evident
that the Laureate might have improved his Idyls by extending his
readings among the German chanters of Arthurian legend. The following
seems practical and just: "If Tennyson was determined to make the
love-passion the chief theme of his work, rather than the religious
element of the St. Graal, he had at hand in one of his legends that very
same relation between the sexes which existed between Queen Guinevere
and Launcelot, and yet deprived in the essential point of all disgusting
characteristics. It seems strange that the impropriety of making this
adulterous connection between the king and queen the chief theme of his
song should not have struck Tennyson when he dedicated his legends to
the husband of Queen Victoria, even in that dedication drawing
comparisons: strange that he should have taken no means to hide it, by
at least bringing the king into some position of interest, whereas he is
made so little of that he seems a mild, inoffensive, gentle soul, who is
ready even to shake hands with the seducer of his wife." In this
connection it will repay the reader to peruse, even if the version has
not much charm, the long extract from Gottfried's _Tristan_, with an eye
to the noble and knightly way in which the legend is conceived and taken
up. Mr. Kroeger, who can give it no grace in translation, is a warm
partisan in matters of melody and rhythm, appreciating Coleridge and
Swinburne. Altogether, he is a sincere and useful interpreter between
our public--rather careless of musty poetry--and the fine old German
singers.



_Books Received._


History of English Literature. By H. A. Taine. Abridged from the
translation of H. van Laun, by John Fiske, Assistant Librarian of
Harvard University. New York: Holt & Williams.

The Polytechnic: A Collection of Music for Schools, Classes and Clubs.
Arranged and Written by U. C. Burnap and Dr. W. J. Wetmore. New York: J.
W. Schermerhorn.

The Athenæum: A Collection of Part Songs. Arranged and Written by U. C.
Burnap and Dr. W. J. Wetmore. New York: J. W. Schermerhorn & Co.

Joseph Noirel's Revenge. By Victor Cherbuliez. Translated from the
French by William F. West, A. M. New York: Holt & Williams.

A New Theory of the Origin of Species. By B. G. Ferris. New Haven,
Connecticut: C. C. Chatfield & Co.

Johnson's Natural Philosophy. By Frank G. Johnson, A.M., M.D. New York:
J. W. Schermerhorn & Co.

The Ordeal for Wives. By the author of "Ought We to Visit Her?" New
York: Sheldon & Co.

The Higher Ministry of Nature. By John Leifchild, A.M. New York: G. P.
Putnam & Sons.

A Manual of Pottery and Porcelain. By John H. Treadwell. New York: G. P.
Putnam & Sons.

The Outcast, and Other Poems. By J. W. Watson. Philadelphia: T. B.
Peterson & Brothers.

The Catholic Family Almanac for 1873. New York: The Catholic Publication
Society.

Off the Skelligs. By Jean Ingelow. Boston: Roberts Brothers.





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