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Title: Lippincott's Magazine of Popular Literature and Science - Volume 15, No. 90, June, 1875
Author: Various
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Lippincott's Magazine of Popular Literature and Science - Volume 15, No. 90, June, 1875" ***

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LITERATURE AND SCIENCE, VOL. 15, NO. 90, JUNE, 1875***


Note: The Table of Contents and the list of illustrations were added
      by the transcriber.

LIPPINCOTT'S MAGAZINE OF POPULAR LITERATURE AND SCIENCE

JUNE, 1875.

Vol. XV, No. 90



TABLE OF CONTENTS

  ILLUSTRATIONS
  UP THE PARANA AND IN PARAGUAY.
    Concluding Paper. [Illustrated]
  A TALE OF THE CONSCRIPTION by E.C. GRENVILLE MURRAY.
  THE SYMPHONY by SIDNEY LANIER.
  THE BLOUSARD IN HIS HOURS OF EASE by WIRT SIKES.
  EIGHT HUNDRED MILES IN AN AMBULANCE.
    Two Papers.--1 by LAURA WINTHROP JOHNSON.
  A MEETING AT SEA by ROBERT WILSON.
  ART--EXPERIENCE OF AN IGNORAMUS by SARAH B. WISTER.
  BY THE LAKE by ITA ANIOL PROKOP.
  A SCENE IN THE CAMPAGNA by T. ADOLPHUS TROLLOPE.
  THREE FEATHERS by WILLIAM BLACK.
    Chapter XXXVI.--Into Captivity
    Chapter XXXVII.--An Angry Interview.
    Chapter XXXVIII.--The Old, Half-Forgotten Joke.
    Chapter XXXIX.--New Ambitions
    Chapter XL.--An Old Lady's Apology
  CAMP-FIRE LYRICS.
    II.--Night--Lake Helen by EDWARD KEARSLEY.
  MILL'S ESSAYS ON RELIGION by LAWRENCE TURNBULL.
  OUR MONTHLY GOSSIP.
    Woman's Rights In The Eighteenth Century.
  THE TOMB OF LORENZO DE' MEDICI.
  T.W. ROBERTSON.
  THE LETTERS OF A PRINCESS.
  JAPANESE ART.
  LITERATURE OF THE DAY.
  Books Received.


ILLUSTRATIONS
  THE QUINTA DE LA MISERIA.
  HOW THE POOR TRAVEL IN PARAGUAY.
  VIEW OF IBITIMI.
  ITAPE: PALACE AND CHURCH.
  INTERIOR OF THE CHURCH AT VILLA RICA.
  A JAGUAR TRAP.
  UNCAPTIONED
  FOUNDRY AT IBICUY, DESTROYED DURING THE WAR.
  VILLAGE OF CARAPEGUA.



UP THE PARANA AND IN PARAGUAY.

CONCLUDING PAPER.


One day--to return to our traveler and his personal experiences--M.
Forgues makes the acquaintance of a Swiss who resides at Paraguari, a
small interior town distant about twenty-five leagues from Asuncion.
His new acquaintance invites him to go with him to Paraguari, but
before complying with the invitation M. Forgues crosses the river and
rides into the territory of Gran Chaco as far as the Quinta de la
Miseria, situated about two miles and a half from the river-bank. The
owner of this farm, Mequelain, a French pioneer, his wife and three
servants, had been surprised and murdered by the Chaco Indians a short
while before the arrival of M. Forgues in Asuncion. The quinta is on
the edge of a vast plain. The unfortunate Mequelain had surrounded his
house with ditches and a small fence of posts. Besides this, he had
built a sort of observatory from which to watch the movements of the
Indians. But his precautions, as the end showed, proved useless. The
farm was occupied by new tenants at the time of M. Forgues's visit,
and the bodies of the five victims were buried in one of the ditches.
The Quinta de la Miseria derives its gloomy name from the tragic event
that had given it its melancholy prominence in the minds of the people
of Asuncion. To reach Paraguari our traveler avails himself of the
railroad which extends between that town and the capital. The
railroad-station presents a lively scene with its crowd of
savage-looking natives thronging it. In connection with this station
M. Forgues mentions a curious circumstance--that in order to prevent
the rush of the multitude to the cars on the departure of the train
the station-master has ingeniously replaced gates and fences, which
might be climbed easily, with brushes steeped in pitch and tar, so
disposed as to bar the passage. As the Paraguayan women hold
cleanliness to be one of the cardinal virtues, they religiously avoid
these defiling brushes for fear of soiling their garments. The cars
are built on the most approved American model. The train, furthermore,
has two platform-cars attached to it, which are reserved exclusively
for the gratuitous use of the poor, who are permitted to ride on them
with as much as they can carry in the way of bundles and other goods.
Sometimes the platforms are so crowded that they are lost to sight
under the passengers' heads and legs. Another feature of railway
travel in Paraguay--for a foreigner a sensation--is to observe a
woman clad in the Arcadian simplicity of a single garment enter a car
and take a seat opposite you or alongside of you with the most
unconstrained air imaginable.

[Illustration: THE QUINTA DE LA MISERIA.]

The train on its way to Paraguari passes Trinidad and many other
stations. The station-houses are all small structures covered with
tile roofs. At Luque, a village where the passengers stop for
refreshments, the women of the place flock at the windows and offer
for sale embroideries of their own invention worked on tulle or on a
special kind of netting, while the venders of lunches appear, not with
the traditional fried oysters, fried chickens or sandwiches of our own
favored land, but with bottles of fresh milk and _chiapa_, a kind of
bread made from manioc, among the ingredients of which are starch and
eggs, and for which Luque is famous. The engineer of the train, an
Englishman, is a person who is as important in his way as is the
Brazilian minister in his. At Luque he descends from his locomotive to
chat with a friend on the platform. Time--or what would be "time"
elsewhere--is up, but our Englishman continues to talk,
notwithstanding that after the utterance of impatient cries the
passengers leave the cars in wrath to crowd around him and overwhelm
him with abusive words. An admirable representative of English phlegm,
he finishes his conversation at his ease, looks at his watch, climbs
in a leisurely way to his position on the engine and puts the train in
motion. There is no danger of collision with any other train, however,
for this train is the only one on the line. It leaves Asuncion every
morning, moving at an average rate of fifteen miles an hour, and
arrives at Paraguari some time during the day, at the will of the
engineer. Returning from Paraguari the same day, it reaches Asuncion,
remarks M. Forgues, when it pleases Heaven that it shall do so.

[Illustration: HOW THE POOR TRAVEL IN PARAGUAY.]

The scenery along the road is beautiful, but the country is almost a
desert. Around the stations are groups of dwellings of varied
appearance, the most solidly built of which are connected with farms
that belonged to the late President Lopez. At times appear palm trees,
the feathery leaves of which mingle with beautiful effect with the
pale or dark foliage of an exuberant vegetation. Lopez had established
telegraphic communication between the mouth of the Paraguay and
Paraguari, but the line having been broken between the latter
terminus and a place called Cerro Leon, and nobody having been
sufficiently interested in it to have it repaired, it now stops at
Cerro Leon, the only telegraphic wire in the country, as the Asuncion
and Paraguari Railroad is the only railroad.

As the train approaches its destination the passengers see in the
distance the three _cerros_ of Paraguari. These isolated
sugar-loaf-shaped hills called _cerros_, covered with verdure, are a
marked feature of Paraguayan scenery. They rise from the flat plains,
and although their isolated situations impart to them an appearance of
great height, they are rarely more than four hundred feet above the
level of the plain. Paraguari comprises fifty or sixty houses worthy
of the appellation, built around a square. In the outskirts are
numerous mud-huts, all well populated with women and children. Its
inhabitants number about three thousand, and in its quality as
terminus of an unfinished railroad it has that flavor of desperadoism
which usually attaches to positions of that kind. Here gather
malefactors, generally of foreign birth, from Asuncion and
elsewhere--refugees from the central authority and the metropolitan
police--who are more free in Paraguari to prey on whomsoever chance
may throw in their way. Of the sixty houses, twelve are _tiendas_,
shops in which are sold at retail English cotton goods, Hamburg gins,
etc., in exchange for the products of the country--hides, tobacco,
_maté_ and other commodities.

The Paraguayan is an inveterate gambler, and in Paraguari two at least
of the houses are devoted to public play. They are crowded nightly,
and often the stakes amount to five hundred or a thousand francs.
Quarrels frequently arise over the play, and then the knife is brought
into requisition, but the affrays are due more to the presence of the
Italian, Argentine and Brazilian adventurers who flock there than to
the Paraguayans, who are not, naturally, a quarrelsome race. On the
night of his arrival, M. Forgues, with revolver in belt and
accompanied by his Swiss friend, walks through the village. The
_tiendas_ are lighted up, but the other houses are in darkness. They
look in on the gamblers. The dingy room is partially illuminated by a
petroleum lamp which hangs from the ceiling and casts its rays on
groups of men with hang-dog countenances seated or standing around a
long table, smoking pipes and playing at cards for silver coin, or
else engaged in a certain game played on a billiard-table, in which a
handful of small balls is thrown on the table by the players, the end
to be attained being to cause as many of the balls as possible to
enter the pockets. Then M. Forgues and his companion leave the scene
of the gambling orgie and look on another phase of life in Paraguari
after dark. Not far distant is a lighted stable-lantern on the ground:
around it, with a confused medly of ponchos and white skirts flying in
the air, goes on the merry dance to the sound of an organ's whining
notes. This is all that can be seen from where they stand, for the
faces of the dancers, too dark to be distinguishable in the night, are
invisible.

The village square is a kind of permanent fair-ground filled with
diminutive booths, each one composed of four posts stuck in the ground
and upholding a bit of cloth not much larger than a hand-kerchief,
under which the hucksters, women and children, sit as under a tent.
There is a multitude of sellers, and a pitiful lack of goods to be
sold. One woman, with her four children seated near her, offers six
eggs to the passer-by as her little store of merchandise: another
booth is presided over by two women and three children, and a dozen
ears of corn constitute their stock. There is a sad suggestion of
poverty about all this which is very depressing. The day before the
arrival of M. Forgues in the place an enterprising baker, the first
who had ever set foot in Paraguari, began the making and selling of
wheat bread. Everybody deserted his customary manioc and bought a loaf
of the good fellow, who rubbed his hands with delight at the success
of his speculation. The next day, not satisfied with a legitimate
profit, he raised the price of his loaves. Human nature is the same
all over the world, and the speculator found his bread left on his
hands. Nobody would pay his price, and everybody returned to manioc.

From Paraguari our traveler's course next led him toward Villa Rica, a
thriving town situated still farther in the interior, and near the
Cordillera of Caaguazu. He sets out accompanied by his Swiss
acquaintance. The journey is made in two days and on horseback. Their
route in the beginning lies across a small mountain-range, and then
through a piece of thick woods bearing an evil reputation as the home
of footpads. But the two pass through in safety, for the robbers are
either asleep or absent from their haunts. Reaching the head-waters of
the Yuqueri, which empties into the Canabe, a tributary of the
Paraguay, they skirt the heights of Angostura, where Lopez, after the
evacuation of Humaita, planted his batteries, and which he made his
final strategic point. Near by, on the right bank of the Canabe, is
the field of Las Lomas Valentinas, where the Paraguayan president
fought his last great battle. So far, the route had been through an
almost unpeopled solitude. In the evening they reach Ibitimi, a
village built, as are all the Paraguayan hamlets, in the shape of a
square, with its little church in the centre. Here the ravages of war
are painfully apparent. Many of the houses have gone to ruin,
dismantled piecemeal by passers-by, their owners never having come
back from the battlefield to reoccupy them. The surrounding country is
charming, and, seated on one side, M. Forgues sketches a cart drawn by
oxen which goes by slowly with the declining sun shining on its
leather top. An eight-year-old boy of the village, whose attire is
limited strictly to a necklace of black seeds, approaches him, looks
over his shoulder, and reads aloud the word which he writes under his
sketch: "Ibitimi." Returning from his little sketching excursion to
where his companion is awaiting him, he observes that he has suddenly
become an object of mingled curiosity and respect on the part of the
villagers. The cause of this prominence is a mystery to him until he
learns that during his absence his friend had spread the rumor that he
is a civil engineer who has come to make a definite survey of the line
of the Asuncion and Villa Rica Railroad, which, although it was
completed only to Paraguari, was originally intended to extend to
Villa Rica, taking Ibitimi in its route. Thus become a great man in
the little community, M. Forgues is besought by the political chief of
the village--a functionary who fulfills the duties of mayor--almost
the only male adult in Ibitimi, to command his services. These
services are pressed on him with so much warmth that he is fain to
seek relief from this persecuting hospitality by announcing his desire
to sleep that night under the canopy of heaven. Consequently, a bed of
girths is carried out into the public square for his use, a sort of
leather ticking is stretched on it, and he sleeps quietly with his
face to the stars.

[Illustration: VIEW OF IBITIMI]

A long day's journey to Villa Rica lies before our traveler and his
companion, and so they rise early while the moon is still brightly
shining. They bid the friendly political chief farewell, and take
their departure for Villa Rica. As they emerge from the village the
moon silvers with its pure light the tops of the palms and of the
bushes that line the road. Away from Ibitimi their course lies through
a pretty forest, wherein the party is increased by the addition of two
Paraguayans on horseback, one of them armed with a long sword, and of
a Paraguayan woman, who rides her horse man-fashion. A few miles
farther on they come to a vast marsh, a common feature of the
topography of Paraguay, and one of the great drawbacks to travel in
the country, for when the rains fall these marshes become dangerous
and impassable, and the traveler is compelled to go miles out of his
way to turn them before he can continue his journey. The lagoon which
lies before them on this occasion, however, is empty, and they are
thus saved the détour of more than ten leagues which they would be
compelled to make if it were filled with water. The sun, dispersing
the last vestige of the morning fog, rises in a clear blue sky, and
this spectacle they witness from a slight eminence, in front of which
extends an immense plain with its limit at the bank of the
Tebicuari-mi, the waters of which shine like a mirror.

M. Forgues now begins to enter a stretch of wooded country in which
the solitude of the day previous is replaced by a thickly-settled
region, wherein are to be seen in quick succession a multitude of
pretty ranchos nestled in the foliage. The day before, on the journey
from Paraguari to Ibitimi, scarcely ten persons had been met with, but
now they pass groups of men--the fact is more noticeable because of
the rarity of men in Paraguay--and women. The men salute the party by
removing their hats, and the women with a _Buen dia_ ("Good-day"),
uttered with a gracious smile. The whole of this forest is peopled
like the environs of Paris. Rancho succeeds rancho at short distances
apart, and each shelters under its blackened thatched roof many women
and children, of whose number its small dimensions give no idea. In
the towns the houses need to be large to protect their occupants from
the heat, but in this forest the people live in the open air chiefly,
entering their hovels only to sleep, be it during the day or the
night. In strange contrast with the humble aspect of the houses is the
heavy silver pitcher, weighing at least two pounds, from which M.
Forgues is given to drink by the owner of one of the huts of whom he
has asked water.

[Illustration: ITAPE: PALACE AND CHURCH.]

Leaving these cheerful forest-homes behind him, our traveler fords the
Tebicuari-mi, which rises in the cordillera where are gathered the
yerba-leaves from which is made the _maté_. The water at Paso de
Itape, as the ford is called, is shallow enough to permit the party to
walk their horses through it, although usually the passage is made on
the flat-boat and the two long canoes which are tied to the bank near
by. The ford derives its name from the village of Itape, which lies a
short distance beyond--a pleasant, prosperous hamlet with cultivated
lands surrounding it, and built in a square, with its church and its
bell-tower in the centre. The space at the entrance of the sacred
edifice is covered with sweet, fine grass, and contented-looking oxen
and horses browse at the foot of the wall.

[Illustration: INTERIOR OF THE CHURCH AT VILLA RICA]

It is the breakfast-hour, and M. Forgues and his companion stop in
front of the first house they reach as they enter the village and
utter the traditional _Ave Maria_, thus requesting the hospitality of
the owner. In response, from the shadow of the verandah in which he is
seated comes a tall, superb-looking, bearded man, who replies, "_Sin
peccado concebida"_ ("conceived without sin"), which indicates that
the hospitality asked for is granted. When the Paraguayan gives this
response to the invocation of the traveler, the latter may consider
himself at home; and so is it on this occasion with M. Forgues. His
host proves to have been one of that body of the Paraguayan army,
eight or ten thousand strong, which, besieged by the Brazilians in the
town of Uruguayana in 1865, at the very beginning of the war, became
prisoners when the town was surrendered. They fared far better than
their unfortunate fellow-soldiers, for, sent to Brazil, they remained
there four years before they were exchanged. In addition to this, they
returned to their own country more instructed and more civilized than
when they left it. It is to this long relief from the perils of
battle, by which the troops drawn from the department of Itape were so
generally spared the fate that overtook their comrades in the field,
that are due the evident prosperity and the large male adult
population of the district, as M. Forgues observed it. His host of the
rancho is as gracious in manners and as affable as it is possible to
be, and serves up for breakfast a soup of Indian corn, a chicken
fricasee and some delicious bread of crusty _chipa_--a frugal meal
assuredly, and one entirely out of keeping with the richness of the
service of silver plate which burdens the table, and which, worth
fully two thousand francs, includes three large plates, an enormous
dish and several massive mugs. The spoons and the forks, however, are
of more modest material, for the former are made of horn and the
latter of iron.

[Illustration: A JAGUAR TRAP.]

After a brief siesta M. Forgues and his companion resume their
journey toward Villa Rica. Under a shed on the roadside they see a
dozen women, all talking at the same time, and engaged in grating
manioc-roots in pails of water. The mixture thus obtained composes the
dough of manioc. This dough is very white, and is made into small
balls which are pressed between the hands--an operation which, when
completed, constitutes the entire process of making a coarse kind of
bread, not at all of delicate flavor, called _galetta_, which is
furnished to laborers of both sexes. Under another shed a young girl
with a complexion like bronze is seated before a loom weaving, with a
light and elegant shuttle, a hammock out of the cotton thread of the
country.

Evening is about deepening into night when M. Forgues arrives at Villa
Rica. His host in the town, a prosperous shopkeeper, invites him to
dinner, and at the table he meets the mistress of the house, a tall,
handsome Paraguayan woman, who receives him and his fellow-traveler
with polished courtesy. She belongs to the class of the posterity of
the old Spanish colonists. She is dressed in a long calico dress with
a white train, and with a row of small red buttons down the front. The
sleeves have deep cuffs, also fastened with small buttons. A wide,
turned-down collar partly covers the shoulders, and exposes to the
sight the lower part of a very shapely neck. In the course of
conversation this lady informs M. Forgues that the department of Villa
Rica is perhaps the only part of the country which may give an idea of
what Paraguay was before the war. The men, it is true, were killed
off, as were the men of the other departments, but by a happy chance
the women and children were spared that terrible flight to the
Cordilleras whereby thousands of their sex and age perished. His
hostess relates to him her experiences during that fearful period.
After the occupation of Asuncion by the Brazilians, and their advance
as far as Paraguari, Lopez gave the order that Villa Rica should be
abandoned and that the population should follow him to the mountains.
As it happened, however, the commanding officer of the two hundred
men who constituted the Paraguayan force at Villa Rica just about that
time committed some breach of discipline, for which he was arrested by
order of Lopez and sent to another point to be tried and shot.
Coincidently with this his detachment suddenly fell back, leaving word
with the inhabitants to quit the town within twenty-four hours or take
the consequences of disobedience. Despair and terror prevailed among
the people, and while they were hesitating as to what course to
pursue, before the twenty-four hours of grace had expired news came to
them that the Brazilians had reached Ibitimi in the pursuit. Then the
whole population fled in the night to the Brazilians for protection,
traveling until morning to Ibitimi, twelve leagues distant.

[Illustration]

The Guayrinos, as the inhabitants of Villa Rica are called, are
industrious, amiable and temperate. They possess great independence of
character, and speak somewhat contemptuously of the submissiveness of
the rest of Paraguay to the slightest caprice of the dictators who
have successively ruled the country. Foreigners meet with a cordial
welcome from them, and are often voluntarily selected by them to be
the godfathers of their children. The Guayrinos are, moreover, a
contented community, and are disposed to congratulate themselves on
the fact that they are spared the presence of the adventurers and
cut-throats of the class that infests Asuncion and Paraguari. The
women are very devout, and on Sundays the church is filled with
worshipers of the female sex, while the men are possibly engaged in
attending a cock-fight. Apropos of the religious fervor of the
Paraguayan women, M. Forgues relates that there is not a single house
in Paraguay occupied by natives which does not possess its two penates
in the shape of wooden images of a saint, which are kept enclosed in a
glass box and are the objects of incessant devotion. This box stands
on a small table which serves as a sort of altar, and is placed in a
certain corner of the hut, sacred for that reason from all other use.
From time to time the family, with a pious inspiration on them, walk
abroad in the village carrying the box with them. Then all the
neighbors, observing this, issue from their houses and follow the
bearers of the box. Family and escort chant while marching, and
everybody uncovers as the little procession passes. After a while the
transient ceremony is over, the box is brought back to its accustomed
corner, the neighbors disperse and quiet resumes its sway in the
hovel.

The department of Villa Rica produces excellent cotton, which is
cultivated, however, only in infinitesimal quantities. Indigo, called
by the natives _añil_, grows wild. The tobacco of the district is
especially renowned, and in the Cordillera, the tops of which compose
the background of the beautiful region lying to the east of the town,
_maté_ is grown successfully. The very name of the Cordillera of
Caaguazu bears testimony to the abundance of the yerba, _caa_ meaning
_maté_ in the Guaranian language, and _guazu_, "great" or "much." As
seen from the elevation on which Villa Rica stands, this
mountain-range, twelve leagues distant, stretches along the horizon an
undulating mass of blue. The intervening space nearer the town is
filled with beautiful forests, while beyond are vast plains, the
monotony of which is broken by lagoons and clumps of palms. The
population of the region around Villa Rica is estimated at fifteen
thousand. There are good opportunities here for immigrants, for
Nature, like a fruitful mother, holds ample treasures in her bosom,
which need only a little well-directed labor to bring the tiller of
the soil his reward. Laborers receive a sum equal to about twenty
cents of our money for a day's work, and carpenters about fifty cents.
Food of coarse quality, however, is supplied by the employer.

Owing to the decrease in the population--which, as before stated, is
composed almost altogether of women and children--and the simple life
of the people, the importations into Paraguay are limited to a few
articles. Of these products of foreign industry, the observer may see
exposed for sale in the shops coarse cotton goods and hardware of an
inferior quality, both manufactured in England; boots and shoes, the
former of which are worn chiefly, of Buenos Ayres make; and ready-made
garments of linen and poor cloths. The imported liquors and articles
of food are principally a small quantity of sugar, lard, wine of an
execrable quality, and Hamburg gin, together with a few boxes of
candles and some oil and soap. To this list of imports must be added
the inevitable Chinese fire-crackers, without which noisy accessories
no Paraguayan holiday would be complete. Throughout South America a
passion for fire-crackers and fireworks prevails; and as an example of
this mania, M. Forgues relates that when the Argentine troops were on
their return to Buenos Ayres after the close of the war, great
preparations were made by the authorities to greet them on their
arrival at three o'clock in the afternoon with a great display of
fireworks. There was a delay in the coming of the troops, however, and
so, to satisfy the people, the fireworks were let off a half hour
after the appointed time, although the soldiers had not yet made their
appearance. Still the troops delayed, and the populace, satiated with
pageantry, retired to their homes and to bed. About eleven o'clock at
night a tumult of trumpets, cymbals and drums was heard in the dark
and deserted streets: it was the army, which, landed at last, was
making a solemn entry into the city, with nobody on the sidewalks to
admire it. The timely--or perhaps untimely--fireworks had appeased the
desire for show, and the spectacle of the marching soldiers was only
of secondary importance in a celebration that included skyrockets and
Roman candles. Yerba is the principal article exported, and as the use
of maté is so general on the continent, this trade is a very important
branch of industry. In addition to these leaves, a small quantity of
tobacco, a few hides, hard woods and demijohns of a primitive kind of
rum constitute the exportations of a country in which cotton and
indigo grow wild, and where sugar and rice could be made to yield
large revenues.

[Illustration: FOUNDRY AT IBICUY, DESTROYED DURING THE WAR.]

The lack of money and of banking facilities in Paraguay has made the
process of buying and selling, in reality, but not professedly, a
matter of exchange of commodities. For instance, a shopkeeper will
barter his imported cotton stuffs, his demijohns of wine, his candles,
etc. for the tobacco grown by the natives. The merchants also endeavor
to buy as much tobacco as possible, when the crop is first in, for
specie. Usually, large profits are derived from this course, as the
planters have pretty well exhausted their receipts for the crop of the
previous year, and hence are disposed at that time to sell at a
sacrifice. The money thus obtained returns to the merchant in the
usual way of business, and thus the latter is enabled to buy more
tobacco. The result is, that in the end the merchant gets the
planter's cash as well as his tobacco. It is a curious fact, however,
that the Paraguayans do not admit the principle of exchange. They must
touch the value of their wares in the shape of coin before parting
with them. Thus, no woman of the country will exchange outright a
quantity of yerba, large or small, or any product of her industry, for
cotton or thread. She will first insist on holding in her hand, even
if it be for a moment, the price in silver of her wares, and with this
money she will pay for what she obtains from the merchant.

During his sojourn in Villa Rica, M. Forgues purchases a house there,
to the great gratification of the community, who, in the simplicity of
their hearts, see in him the pioneer of European immigration, the
influential capitalist who is to introduce foreign money among them.
Attentions are showered on him. The political chief of the town
invites him to a twelve-o'clock breakfast to meet the notabilities of
the place. A salvo of firecrackers at noon announces that the chief is
prepared to welcome his friends, and the invited guests, male and
female, hasten to the prefecture. Before entering the banquet-hall the
guests, as they arrive, take seats in wooden chairs in a large
ball-room which adjoins it, receiving as they do so, from the hands of
the host, a glass of _caña_. The breakfast-table is decked with
flowers, and under it grunts and roots about among the feet of the
guests a very tame tapir as large as a decently-sized pig. The hard
and dry Spanish wine used at the entertainment is drunk out of large
beer-glasses. The mistress of the house and the officers of the
Paraguayan guard that composes the political chief's escort act as
waiters. After many toasts have been offered and honored, M. Forgues,
mustering up his few words of Spanish-Guaranian, drinks to the health
of the pretty girls of Villa Rica amid the enthusiastic hurrahs of the
guests, one of whom, with exclamations of _Bueno! bravo!_ and the
like, leaves his seat to scatter flowers over our traveler's head,
wishing him at the same time every prosperity. At this moment a bass
drum and a clarionet intervene in the clamor with a delicious French
melody, "Ah! zut alors si Nadar est malade!" and the company retire to
the ball-room to dance, and also, women as well as men, to smoke
immense cigars.

Yakaguazu, a large square village near Villa Rica, is visited by M.
Forgues. It contains eighty or ninety houses, and a church which is
the counterpart of that at Itape. There is a school in the place
attended by one hundred and twenty-five pupils, who secure a patriotic
but limited education with nothing in the way of a printed text-book
but a lot of surplus copies of the constitution of Paraguay. Their
teacher informs M. Forgues that of the three hundred and sixty-five
school-children in his district, three hundred are orphans.

[Illustration: VILLAGE OF CARAPEGUA.]

Continuing his journey the next day, with his host of Yakaguazu added
to the party, M. Forgues reaches the dwelling of an old and very rich
Paraguayan, Vicente Fleytas, whose farm, happily spared the ravages of
war, is a fair sample of what the farms of the country were in the
days of Lopez. Fleytas lives in patriarchal style, and he entertains
his visitors most hospitably. At night, seated under the verandah,
they smoke, or eat delicious oranges which the wife and daughters of
old Vicente peel in a large silver dish, and the hours of sleep are
passed in hammocks, the doors of the house having first been closed
carefully to keep out any wandering jaguars that may be prowling
around. In regard to these fierce animals, M. Forgues says that
enough of them are to be met with in the forests of Paraguay to
affright the bravest man, but it is more difficult to avoid them than
to see them. They are sometimes caught in traps resembling enormous
rat-traps and baited with raw meat. The skin of the jaguar sells for
eight dollars, and consequently the man who is so lucky as to catch
one in his trap rejoices greatly. The next night a ball is given at
the patriarch's in honor of our traveler. During the day they ride
around the neighborhood and personally invite to the entertainment the
guests to the number of seventy-four, of whom seventy are young women,
some of them very handsome. The music is of the modest kind that might
be expected from a clarionet and a guitar. The majority of the
participants come to the house with their chairs on their heads. The
dances are the polka, the waltz, quadrilles, including the Lancers,
and two or three native dances called La Polomila, the Dondon Karapé
and La Santa Fé, which are accompanied with graceful poses, while the
women, as they dance, snap their fingers in imitation of castanets.
While the dance is in progress the good and hospitable Vicente remains
outside to fire off his gun at intervals with the view of frightening
away the jaguars, one of these animals having been killed only eight
days before in the very room wherein the revelers are enjoying
themselves. Before taking leave of the brave Fleytas, M. Forgues is
regaled with several jaguar stories which doubtless admirably prepare
him for the remainder of his journey through forest and jungle.

The next morning he bids the patriarch farewell. On the women and
children of the family, grouped in front of the house, he bestows a
benediction with the utterance of a "Peace be with you!" Then with his
Swiss acquaintance he rides away, to return not to Villa Rica, but to
Paraguari, on his way to Asuncion. His course lies nearly due west,
and for six leagues he rides through a beautiful country, but on a
road so muddy that the horses sink up to the saddle-girths. He tarries
for dinner at the estancia of another Paraguayan, Don Matias
Ramirez--not as rich a man, but as hospitable a host, as Don
Vicente--who spreads before his guests for dinner a simple repast of
boiled turnips and small manioc doughnuts. But before reaching the
estancia our traveler has had the good fortune to shoot three large
birds of the pheasant variety called _mutus_, and thus the humble
board of Don Matias is graced with meat, a rare commodity in those
parts.

After a short siesta--as much an institution in Paraguay as dinner
itself--M. Forgues pushes forward, furnished with a youthful guide
mounted on a mule whom Don Matias has bidden accompany him. For six
hours the route lies through a virgin forest composed of orange, cedar
and other trees, mingled with dense thorny thickets, trunks of decayed
trees and a twisted network of climbers. The passage through this
forest is attended with many vexatious incidents, owing to the
difficulty experienced in making a way through the undergrowth and
thickly-growing climbers. After having his spectacles, his maps, his
gun and his hat jerked from him, M. Forgues himself is pulled from his
horse. The horses are attacked by a multitude of small yellow flies,
which sting them unmercifully in the nostrils, the ears and in
whatever part of their bodies the animals cannot reach with their
tails, so that, maddened with pain, they break into a fierce gallop to
avoid the pest, carrying their riders in their course along the edge
of a hole in the ground in which swarms about a bushel of small snakes
of a bright green color. When the party finally emerge from this
beautiful but inhospitable forest, their clothes are hanging in rags
about their persons, and their faces and hands are covered with
scratches caused by the thorns.

Their next troublesome experience, although not so long continued, is
almost as exhausting, for when the forest is left behind they enter on
a marshy waste, through which they are compelled to ride for two hours.
Finally, worn out with fatigue, hunger and thirst, they arrive at an
estancia, where sleeping accommodations are offered them in the shape
of the under side of a cart, nourishment in the shape of fire wherewith
to cook a _mutus_, and assistance comes in the persons of two servants,
whose service consists in aiding M. Forgues and his companion to
devour, without thanks, salt or manioc, the frugal supper. After that,
"Good-night to you!" At daybreak our traveler takes his departure from
his churlish--or, it may be, hungry--entertainers, tending in the
direction of the foundry of Ibicuy, where in the days of Lopez was
smelted the iron ore of San Miguel. Before the war this foundry was a
small model establishment with a handsome tile-covered roof, and was
thoroughly equipped for the purpose to which it was devoted. All the
machinery was destroyed by the Brazilians, and the foundry was left a
wreck. Near by is the estancia of Margarita Rivarola, where our
traveler and his companion stop to breakfast. Margarita is a poor widow
with a beautiful daughter. She is a cousin of a former president of the
republic, but so destitute did M. Forgues find her that she and her
daughter led an existence bordering on starvation. As in the case of
his entertainment at the dwelling of Don Matias, he fortunately brings
his breakfast with him. He had killed that morning an _ara_, a
beautiful bird, but not so pleasant to the taste, and this constitutes
the meal.

Leaving this spot, and traveling five leagues farther in the direction
of Paraguari, M. Forgues and his companion reach the village of
Mbuyapey at eight o'clock at night. Here they meet with an adventure.
As they enter the village three men, composing the guard of the place
and armed with rusty pikes of the Lopez period, challenge them and
order them to halt. An interview is held in the darkness, and after a
thousand explanations they are permitted to pass. Early next morning
they are aroused from sleep by a tumult at their window. Through the
grating a number of boys are glaring in on them, capering and uttering
a variety of ejaculations. The secret of this popular demonstration is
soon explained, for almost at the same moment the door is opened
abruptly and the magistrate of the place makes his appearance, asking
in Spanish to see their passports and the passports of their horses.
The dispute thickens. Finally, M. Forgues, toying with his revolver,
proclaims that he and his companion are Frenchmen, and not
Paraguayans, that no passports are necessary to travel in the country,
and that they cannot be interfered with with impunity. At this a
change comes over the magistrate. He begs a thousand pardons, and
justifies his course as being merely in the interest of good order,
while declaring his belief in the entire respectability of our
traveler and his friend. Even in this solitary and almost deserted
village a school flourishes (and here it may be remarked in passing
that so diffused is public instruction in Paraguay that it is a rare
thing to meet with a Paraguayan who cannot sign his name), and when M.
Forgues and his companion ride away they are followed by the benign
smiles of the magistrate and the bewildered looks of the scholars.

In this departure from the retired hamlet of Mbuyapey our traveler
falls into the great highway that passes through the Missiones between
Asuncion and Encarnacion on the Parana, in the south-eastern corner of
Paraguay. It includes in its extent the towns and villages of Jesus,
Yuti, Ibicuy, Quindi, Carapegua and Paraguari. The road presents a
busy scene, for it is along this route that the _troperos_ drive their
herds of cattle obtained from the Argentine province of Corrientes, on
the other side of the Parana. These drovers are free livers, and they
spend their money lavishly in the villages. The aspect of the
Missiones differs from the part of Paraguay lying to the north of it,
as the names of the villages in the province differ from the
nomenclature elsewhere. Pampas covered with water prevail, for the
country south of the Tebicuari is generally marshy, and during a part
of the year is transformed into a lake. Throughout this region decay
and ruin have set their seal on what was formerly one of the most
prosperous parts of the republic. Orange trees grow in wild profusion
on the spots where once stood farm-houses, while mud ranchos, tenanted
by a few old women who sustain life with oranges and manioc, here and
there disturb the monotony of desolation. The early Jesuits have left
their traces in their churches, college squares now empty, and houses
gone to wreck, while their labors in the cause of religion and
civilization are recalled in the names of saints borne by the
villages. At Carapegua, which owes what importance it possesses to its
proximity to Paraguari and the railroad, our traveler once more finds
himself amid the products of civilization, for on the shelves of the
grocery stores are displayed, among other wares, cans of preserved
fruits and meats from Europe.

From Carapegua, M. Forgues journeys to Paraguari, a day's ride. Eight
days later he is in Asuncion, and ready to take passage on the
Republica for Buenos Ayres. "From the preceding extracts," he writes,
"a very exact idea may be formed of a journey in the interior of
Paraguay at the present time. How to procure a piece of bread is a
matter of serious moment: riding on horseback fifteen leagues at a
stretch, or threatening to blow out somebody's brains, is, as it were,
a matter of daily occurrence. What is seen and done there is often
monstrous compared with our European customs, and yet is not even
shocking there where it is seen and done."

The political future of the country is still an unsolved problem. The
rule of the dictators, which the allied powers specifically covenanted
among themselves to destroy, has ended, probably for ever. When the
war closed with the death of Lopez, chaos prevailed in Paraguay, and
the people were both bankrupt in fortune and degraded in morals. The
reign of outlaws commenced, and it was dangerous to go beyond Asuncion
and into the interior. But the Brazilians and the Argentines occupied
the capital with a force strong enough to maintain order, and to
convince the Paraguayans that their rule must be respected. To-day
Paraguay possesses only a nominal independence. She has her president,
and he has his cabinet, who hold their offices under the constitution
of the republic; but from the glimpse that M. Forgues has given us of
the submissive spirit of these officials, it is clear that they
themselves feel that they govern only by the sufferance of their
conquerors. The policy of Dom Pedro's government is to intervene
Paraguay between Brazil and the Argentine Confederation in order to
prevent a clashing of interests between his empire and its late ally.
In the mean time, Paraguay is loaded with heavy debts, contracted
under Brazilian auspices since the war, in the shape of loans and
obligations which must weigh her down for a long time. To illustrate
the attitude of Brazil toward the conquered state one incident, and a
recent one, will suffice. In the autumn of 1874 the boundary
commission, composed of Brazilian and Paraguayan officers, set out for
the final survey of the new boundary-line between Paraguay and Brazil.
The commission had been engaged on this duty for two years, and last
November it brought its work to a close. The line fixed by the
Brazilians follows the Apa River from its junction with the Paraguay
to its source, and thence extends along the summit of the cordillera
to the falls of the Parana--the Salto de la Guayra of the Paraguayans
and the Siete Quedas of the Brazilians. The Brazilian commissioners
took advantage of the fact that the Apa River has two forks, and chose
the south fork as the boundary. This selection added a few hundred
square miles to the territory of the Brazilian province of Matto
Grosso, but, in spite of the protests and objections of Paraguay, the
boundary treaty has been made on the basis of the Brazilian idea of
what is right between the two governments. The liberty of opinion
accorded to Paraguay by Brazil is merely the liberty which a cat
grants to a captive mouse, to run about within reach of its sheathed
claws.



A TALE OF THE CONSCRIPTION.


One afternoon, some years ago, I was walking along a narrow old road
which leads from Le Crotay, a fishing-village in Picardy, to the town
of St. Valéry-sur-Somme. It was in the month of February, and one of
those luckless days on which cold, wind and rain all seem banded in
league against the comfort of mankind: the sky, dull and lowering,
presented to the eye nothing but a bleak, cheerless desert of gray,
relieved only by troops of dark, inky clouds, which would at moments,
as though flying the fury of a raging storm, roll pell-mell through
the air like an army in rout, pouring down at the same time through
the thick, black fog that covered land and sea like a pall a deluge of
cold, heavy water, which occasional blasts of a violent north-west
wind would lash into whistling, pelting and drenching gusts. It was
wretched weather; and how I came to be out in it I am sure I forget;
but perhaps it was that the morning had been a bright one, and that,
beguiled by the clear winter sun, which threw its will-o'-the-wisp
rays on my table like gold-edged invitation cards to be stirring, I
had set out joyously in hopes of a good bracing walk on the hard,
frost-dried roads, which, seen from my windows, gleamed smooth and
glistening as white marble, or, again, in expectation of a gay stroll
through the crisp, clean snow which draped the fields with its downy
folds and reflected the morning light in opal tints like the glossy
satin of a wedding-dress.

But in any case, and whatever may have been my reasons for so doing,
certain it is that about noon I had ventured out; and equally so that
some two hours after I had good reasons to regret my presumption, for
at three, having already wandered far from home, I found myself
tramping on the road I have named, wearily plodding my way through a
slough of thawing snow, teeth chattering, eyes watering and fingers
numbed, whilst a wind fit to dethrone all the weather-cocks in
Christendom was ploughing up the earth in showers of mud around me,
blowing my hat off my head and howling in my ears like a maniac who
has broken his chains and got loose.

I groaned pitifully amidst all this: in the first place, because I had
no umbrella; and in the second, because I had no companion to be
drenched through with me; for it is a curious fact, and one aptly
illustrative of the happy way in which man is constituted, that,
whereas I should most certainly have scrupled to ask a dog out on such
a day, yet I should have felt the most pleasurable relief in seeing a
fellow-being soaked like a towel in my company. The fact is, man is a
sociable animal, and, loving to share his emotions with his neighbors,
steps into a puddle with a lighter heart when a bosom friend is being
wetted to the skin by his side.

Lacking a partner, however, I trudged on alone, plish-plash-plosh,
through the clayey sludge, cold, dripping and miserable, stopping
occasionally to turn my back to the wind or to tie up a wayward
shoestring, and pondering dolefully in my mind that I had full two
hours to go, not only before reaching home, but perhaps before finding
a shelter of any kind. I think I must have been walking thus
three-quarters of an hour when I suddenly heard the music of two pairs
of hobnailed boots splashing in the dirt behind me, and forming
between them a symphony, the charms of which those only who have been
in the same predicament as I can appreciate. "Thank the Fates!" I
murmured, and stopped to allow the comers to reach me, noting with a
grim smile that they were covered with mud from top to toe, and as
damp as a couple of Malvern hydropaths. Their plight was every whit as
pitiable as mine; and although the rain had not abated its flow or the
wind its strength, yet I almost felt as though it had grown fine
again. Corroborative proof of the sociability of the human race.

The two men who were stepping along the road in my direction, and
reconciling me by their crestfallen demeanor with the inclemencies of
the season, were peasants. The one was an old man, gray-haired,
stooping, and apparently sixty years of age: the other, his son, as I
afterward found out, was a mere youth of, at the most, twenty. They
were strikingly alike in physiognomy, notwithstanding the difference
in their years, but neither had anything at all remarkable either in
his looks or general appearance: both were small, clumsy-limbed,
somewhat simple-faced, rather ugly; and on the whole they were a very
commonplace, every-day-to-be-seen pair of countrymen.

Both mechanically raised their rusty beaver hats as they approached
me; but after wishing me a short "Good-evening" continued, much to my
surprise and no less to my disappointment, to walk on without taking
the slightest notice of me, or, indeed, seeming to remember that I
existed; and this although I stepped by their side and tried to keep
pace with them.

"This is poor weather," I observed, in hopes of starting a
conversation with my fellow-wayfarers.

"Yes, sir," was the curt reply, and both relapsed again into silence,
receiving in monosyllables or with simple shrugs of the shoulders
every attempt of mine--and I made many--to renew an intercourse.

As such uncivil taciturnity is very rare amongst Frenchmen, I began to
examine my companions with more attention than I had hitherto done, in
order to discover, if I could, some clue to their strange behavior. I
scanned them curiously, and it was then I noticed for the first time
that their faces wore a look of the most profound dejection--so
profound indeed that I wondered how it was that I had not observed it
at once upon seeing them. Their features were pale and drawn; their
eyes, rimmed with black, were cast moodily on the ground, and their
heads, hanging heavily upon their chests, had, seemingly, a weighty
load of sorrow to press them down.

Besides this, their gait was uneven, undecided, I might almost say
spasmodical: they did not keep step, although close side by side, for
now one and now the other, as though goaded by a troublesome thought
which he wished to avoid, would of a sudden quicken his pace and break
into a hasty, feverish walk, or, contrarily, as though held back by
the chain of some unhappy reflection, lag in his stride and draw his
hand across his brow with a gesture of pain.

Each seemed so wrapped in the gloom of his own musings as to be
unconscious of all around him, and I began to feel angry with myself
for having intruded upon the privacy of this grief with my idle and
silly chattering. A feeling of remorse, too, sprang up in me as I
remembered that for a moment I had accused these poor people of
churlishness and set down the sensitiveness of their sorrow to a sulky
rudeness. There must be something very revolting to the feeling of our
better nature in the sense of an injustice done even in thought, for I
declare I felt for a minute as if I ought to confess my ideas to my
companions and beg their pardon for having wronged them, though only
in mind. "Who knows," I muttered, "what efforts it may have cost them
to answer me with the composure they did? and am I sure that I myself,
under similar circumstances, should have suffered with the same
forbearance the company of a stranger, whose presence must have been
both irksome and galling?"

Once it seemed to me that the two turned to gaze earnestly into each
other's eyes and then to clasp their hands in a quick nervous grasp,
as though each hoped, by so doing, to take from the other a part of
the sorrow they appeared to share in common. Neither spoke, however,
but the mute sympathetic touch was doubtless more eloquent than words.
Once again both stopped, at once and together, as if their minds,
acting in unison and following the same strain, had arrived
simultaneously at a point where rest and relief were needed. The old
man placed his hand upon the boy's shoulder. "Courage, Henri!" he
said, and hastily walked on.

Tears rose to my eyes, but how or why I can scarcely tell, unless it
be indeed that grief is contagious, and that the angel who hovers over
those who mourn cannot bear to see a heart indifferent: yes, tears
started to my eyes, and pity with them. The features of the two
peasants became transformed for me: they were no longer ugly and
uninteresting: how could they be so, brightened by the halo with which
sympathy crowned them?

"Have you far to go, sir?" suddenly asked the old man, breaking in
abruptly upon the course of my reflections.

"About a league," I answered.

He made no reply, and we walked on again in silence, the rain
continuing meanwhile to pour down in torrents, and the wind lashing
itself by degrees into the fury of a hurricane.

After a few minutes we reached a spot where the road branched off in
two directions: my path lay to the right. The wayfarers paused as
though to take the left: both looked at me.

"This is no weather for such as you, sir, to be out in," said the
elder considerately, but in the shy, hesitating tone usual to the poor
when addressing those whom they fancy their betters. "If you go a
league more in the plight in which you are, you will be in a sad state
before reaching home;" and he pointed significantly to my clothes,
every stitch of which was dripping with mud and water.

"Yes, indeed," I replied, "but what is to be done?"

"Why, sir," he answered, "two hundred yards or so from this I've a
cottage, and if nothing else, I can at least offer you a fire to dry
yourself at."

Certainly I was in good need of a shelter, for I was tired as well as
cold and wet, but still I am sure that I should have refused this
invitation from the fear that it had been made out of mere courtesy,
and that my acceptance of it might, in fact, be unwelcome. A few words
spoken by the younger man convinced me, however, of the contrary.

"Yes, sir," said he, "come;" and he added in a low voice to the
other, "it will do mother good to have a visitor to divert her this
evening. She will fret less."

"Thank you, then," I assented, moved now by a feeling of painful
curiosity; and we all three marched on.

A few minutes' walk brought us in sight of a small one-storied
cottage, built with flintstones, and standing isolated near a tilled
field of about two acres: before it stood a small kitchen-garden, and
at one end of it an open shed half filled with firewood. A thin wreath
of blue smoke curling through its single chimney gave to the house,
thanks to the desolate appearance of all the country around, an
attractive look which on a finer day it might not have possessed.

"That's my home," exclaimed the old man, but as we approached it I
noticed that both he and Henri slackened their pace and seemed to
dread advancing: at last both stopped and began to whisper. They were
evidently much moved, and the fear that I might be in their way
occurring to me again, I told them of it, and expressed a hope that I
was not intruding.

"No, no, sir," cried they together, turning their poor sorrow-thinned
faces toward me, as though they had interpreted my words as a
reproach. "No, no, sir, we are very glad to see you;" and they led the
way to their cottage door. Here, however, they paused again, and
looked dismally at me. Their emotion, too long pent up, was mastering
them. "The fact is, sir," said the old man, trying, but in vain, to
smile as he saw my eyes fixed upon him--"The fact is, sir, we have not
been quite hap--py, not quite hap--py, to--day--sir;" and he looked at
me apologetically, as though his grief had been a fault to him, whilst
two big tears, for a time kept in by an effort, rolled stealthily down
his cheeks.

I am but a poor comforter even at the best of moments, but in this
instance, not knowing upon what chord to touch, my speaking could be
of very little avail; nevertheless, I hazarded a few consolatory
words, such as we always have at hand to exhort sufferers to bear
their ills with patience and look beyond the cloud surrounding them to
hopes of better things; but I am afraid all I said was very
meaningless, for the affliction of which I had been the witness,
without knowing its cause, having in a manner impregnated my own
heart, I was too much in need of comfort myself to be able to impart
any to others. The two men thanked me, however, artlessly, naïvely,
and seemed about to initiate me into the secret of their distress,
when the cottage door by which we were standing opened, and a woman
with an anxious, inquiring expression on her face came out to meet us.
She was old, being perhaps fifty-five years of age, but Time had dealt
less harshly with her features than Grief, and the wrinkles which
furrowed her cheeks and contracted her forehead into thin, shriveled
folds showed less the footprints of departed seasons than the marks of
that hard iron hand of Sorrow whose least touches sear more surely
than fire. Her hair was white as spun-glass, and neatly confined under
one of those high Norman caps of which the long starched frills,
encircling the face, lend a cold, severe expression to the wearer: her
gait was stooping, her steps feeble, and her whole appearance denoted
lassitude and weakness. She was, as I guessed, the wife of the elder
and the mother of the younger of my companions; and the glance she
threw at these when she saw them told as plainly as the language of a
wife's and mother's eyes can tell what a large and willing share she
claimed of all their trials. As she appeared her husband hastily
turned his face from her to dry his tears and to assume with a loving,
simple hypocrisy a cheerful countenance, with which he fondly hoped to
hide the trouble of his heart. "Madeleine," he said in a voice which,
poor man! he meant to be gay--"Madeleine, I bring you a stranger very
cold, very wet, and, I've no doubt, very hungry. You must try to--"
but here he stopped short: his wife's eyes were fixed upon him with a
look of quiet reproach.

"François," she asked in a low, slightly tremulous tone, "you have
some news to give me?" and at the same time she glanced from him to
her son. A moment's silence followed. Henri and his father exchanged a
timid look, but before either had spoken the wife had thrown herself
into her husband's arms: what need had she of an answer--she, who for
years had been used to read every thought, every wish, every feeling
of those she loved, long ere they gave expression to them?

I shall never forget that scene--father, mother and son clasped in
each other's embrace, and giving free course to their grief in tears
of which each tried to stop the flow from the other's eyes, forgetful
of the bitter stream which ran from his own; each striving to find in
his heart a word of comfort for the other, and each seeking in vain a
like word for himself.

"We must hope," faltered the old man.

"Yes, mother," echoed Henri, "we must hope."

"Ay, my poor boy," said Madeleine, "hope, hope!--in God!" and she
pointed upward.

This was the story of the poor family: François Derblay was a peasant,
born and brought up in Picardy, and the son of poor parents, who, at
dying, had left him little to add to what Nature had given him--a pair
of strong arms and a sound, honest mind. With this fortune François
had begun early to till the fields, and by the age of twenty-five had
laid by a little store sufficient to marry on. His choice had been
happy, and Madeleine, although poor and untaught, had been a good and
loving wife to him. By her thrift and his own hard work his little
store quickly increased, and within a few years Derblay reached the
goal to which all poor Frenchmen so ardently aspire--the position of a
landowner. He had bought himself a few acres of ground, and their
produce was sufficient not only to feed his family, but also to enable
him to lay by each year a little sum wherewith to enlarge his
property. For some time, prosperous in all his undertakings, François
was really happy, and at the age of forty could reasonably look
forward to passing a quiet, comfortable old age; but, as so often
occurs in life, at the very moment when the man deemed himself most
secure in his ease, misfortunes began to rain upon him. Dazzled by the
accounts of some successful ventures made by neighbors, Derblay began
to dream of doubling his capital by speculation, and accordingly
invested the two or three thousand francs of his savings in shares
which were to bring him fifteen per cent., but which ultimately left
him without a sixpence. To make matters worse, his land was bought by
a railway company, and this sale, by placing in his hands a round sum
of ready money, prompted him with the delusive hope of regaining his
losses: he speculated again, and this time as unhappily as the first,
swamping all his funds in some worthless enterprise, which on the
strength of its prospectus he had believed "safe as the Bank of
France." To fill the cup of his sorrows to the brim, four of his five
children were carried off by illness, the only one spared being Henri,
the youngest. At forty-eight, François and his wife, but five years
younger than himself, were thus obliged to begin life again, poorer
than at first, for they had no longer youth, as when they married.
They were not disheartened, however: they had their boy to live for,
and set to work so bravely that after ten years' struggle they found
themselves owners of the cottage and field I have described. Still,
they were not happy, for a painful anticipation was constantly
dwelling on their minds and souring every moment of their existence.
Henri, their only boy, had reached his twentieth year, and the time
had come when he must "draw for the conscription;" that is, stake upon
the chances of a lottery-ticket the seven best years of his own life
and all the happiness of theirs. This thought it was which, like a
heavy storm-cloud, was day and night hanging over their peace, and
throwing them into a tremor of doubt and sickening anxiety that made
them watch the flight of each hour which brought them nearer to the
minute they dreaded with aching, panting hearts. How _should_ they
bear it, how _could_ they bear it, if their loved boy, their one
child, upon whom all their affections and all their hopes were
centred, was enrolled and taken rudely from them against his will, as
against theirs, to be a soldier? How could they support this cruel
bereavement at an age when, life having lost all its sweets for them,
they lived but in the happiness and in the presence of their boy, and,
like weak plants drooping toward the earth, were kept from falling
only by the young and vigorous prop beside them?

Had it come to this, that after all the projects, all the vows, all
the prayers, all the charming aspirations made for the one hope of
their declining years, the simple hazard of a figured paper was to be
called upon to realize the dreams of their lives or to blast all their
cherished schemes in a moment? to decide whether they should be happy
or eternally afflicted, or, in short, whether they should continue to
live or hasten quickly to their graves; for a seven years' separation
would be an eternity to them, and how could they expect to drag
themselves through it?

They were sad moments, those in which the parents asked themselves
these questions, looking woefully before them, and neglecting the
happiness they might enjoy in the present to mourn over its possible
loss in the future; counting the hours as they raced by, and turning
pale at the risks their son was to face, as though his hand were
already in the urn and his fingers grasping the little ticket upon
which was inscribed his destiny.

Ah, how often had they seen it in their dreams, that dreadful mahogany
cylinder turning lazily upon its pivot and rolling in its womb, along
with that of a hundred others, the fate of all that was dear to them
on earth! How often, too, had their poor brains, racked and fired by
doubt, fear and anguish, followed their child as he stood beside it,
and grown dizzy as they watched him plunge his hand through its lid
and tear open the little white slip which might be his sentence of
slavery, his order of exile, or--O God! who knows?--his
death-warrant!

One night the father and mother had started up in their sleep
together: they had dreamt that all was over: giddy with terror, they
had rushed into Henri's room. Thank Heaven! he was still there, and
asleep: they knelt by his bed and wept.

"Mother," he said on awaking, "I've been dreaming that they had taken
me."

Another night Madeleine saw herself in a field somewhere. All around
and before her were soldiers; by them stood lines of cannon; here and
there were horses, and by the light of a few bivouac-fires she
perceived some bleeding heaps of dead. Of a sudden she stumbled: a
corpse was barring her way. She stooped over it: it was her boy!

Once again she fancied herself seated by her cottage door: the sun was
setting, and down the small road which led to the house galloped an
orderly, a dragoon, covered with dust. "Are you Madeleine Derblay?" he
asked.--"Yes."--He drew from his sack a letter sealed with black.
"Madame," he said, "your son has died for his country, but he has
gained this on the field of battle;" and he handed her the cross of
the Legion of Honor. "Give me back my child!" she had shrieked: "take
away your reward! Give me back my child! I won't sell him for that
cross."

And Henri the while? His heart was as heavy as that of his parents,
for he well knew that the day which doomed him to a seven years'
absence would also condemn him to orphanhood. His father and mother
were too aged by sorrow to be able to abide his return: they would
soon die; and if not, who would be there to tend them, to earn them
bread, to find them the comforts which their old arms were unfit to
earn by themselves? These reflections were terrible; and besides, to
make his pain more torturing, he was in love. A young girl of his own
age had been destined for him by his parents and by hers, and she was
to become his wife at once if--if--and ever uppermost to cloud all his
prospects came that fatal _if_--if he should draw a lucky number at
the conscription. But what if he should not? How could he ask her to
wait for him seven years? or how, indeed, could he expect that her
friends would allow her to do so? They were poor people, as he knew,
and it was but natural that they should wish to see their daughter
speedily settled. This thought filled the unhappy boy with despair;
and as the twentieth of February, the day appointed for the
conscription, approached, he was almost beside himself with anxiety.
For a long while his father and his mother, trusting to their arms and
their economy, had lived in the hope of being able to buy him off. Two
thousand three hundred francs were needed to do this, and neither hard
work, self-denial nor thrift had been spared to collect the money; but
it was a large sum, and notwithstanding all the hard toil of father
and son, and all the frugality of the mother, they had not been able
in five years' time to collect more than two-thirds of it. An accident
had then happened to them: Madeleine, whose love, deep and boundless
as Heaven, had pushed her to pinch and stint herself almost to
starvation in order to save, had fallen ill under her efforts, and her
life had only been saved after a three months' combat with death,
during which doctor's fees, medicines and little comforts had
swallowed up five hundred francs of what had been laid by. At the
beginning of February there were, therefore, nearly fourteen hundred
francs wanting to make up the amount needed.

In this emergency, François Derblay had thought of a person to whom he
had once rendered a service of importance--a tradesman who lived in a
neighboring town, who was known to be rich, and who had promised his
benefactor in the first flush of his gratitude that if ever he could
discharge the obligation under which he lay, he would do so at any
cost and with the sincerest joy. Poor, guileless Derblay! measuring
the words of others by the same simple and honest standard of truth by
which he was used to mete his own sayings and promises, he innocently
believed in the sterling worth of his debtor's assurance, and starting
off to visit him with his son, naïvely asked the man to lend him the
fourteen hundred francs he so much needed. Of course the worthy
shopkeeper would have been, as he said, delighted to do so: day and
night had he thought of his dear friend, and prayed Providence to send
him an occasion of showing his gratitude. But why, alas! had not
François come but half an hour before? He should then have had the
sum, and double, treble the sum, had he pleased; whereas now--and
dear! dear! what an unfortunate thing it was!--now it was completely
out of his power to comply with the request, for he had just paid in
to a creditor five thousand francs, "the last money he had or should
have for some months." The good soul was grieved beyond expression,
wept, and affectionately showed his visitors to the door.

It was on their return from this bootless errand the day previous to
the drawing of the conscription that I had fallen in with the two
peasants. They had cast their last die but one, and unsuccessfully: a
single chance yet remained--that of drawing a lucky ticket--but on
this they dared not even hope. Their match against Fortune they
considered already lost, and told me so.

"No, no," I exclaimed in as cheering a tone as possible, "you must not
despair, Monsieur Derblay: your son has as good a chance of drawing
happily as any one else."

"Ay," answered the old man, "but few have a good chance at all this
year;" and he then explained that owing to the Mexican expedition,
there was a greater demand for soldiers than usual, and also that, by
a strange fatality, the number of young men of age to draw--that is,
of twenty--was smaller that year than usual. Some one hundred and ten
only were to be chosen from, and of these about eighty would be
conscripts.

"Well, well," I cried, "there will still be thirty winning numbers."

Henri shook his head: "We cannot count so many as that, sir, for of
the eighty taken twenty at least will claim exemption on the ground of
infirmities, as being only sons of widows, or as having elder brothers
already in the service. The government will thus be obliged to press
twenty more, and this will bring the number of losing figures up to
one hundred."

"The odds are ten to one against him," sadly muttered the father,
drawing from his pocket a paper covered with figures. "We have it all
written down here: I've calculated it;" and for perhaps the thousandth
time the old man recommenced his dismal arithmetic.

At this moment we heard a knock at the door of the cottage, where we
were all four seated round the fire. "It is Louise, poor girl!" cried
Madeleine, rising: "she told me she would come;" and she opened the
door to give admittance to two women. The first was a tall,
neatly-dressed, middle-aged woman: the second, her daughter, was a
young, slight, fair-haired girl of twenty. She was not pretty, but her
features wore a look of honesty and candor which gave a bright and
pleasing expression to her face, and one could see at a glance that
although poor and possibly untaught, that part of her education had
not been neglected which was to render her a good and virtuous woman.
I was not long in finding out that she was the betrothed of Henri
Derblay, and I could not wonder that the poor lad should grieve at the
prospect of losing her.

Casting her eyes timidly around for her lover, she blushed as she
entered upon seeing a stranger, and passing by me with a little
curtsey went to greet François and his wife.

"God bless you, dear child!" cried Madeleine, caressing her: "we are
in sad need of your bright, sunny face to cheer us;" and she led the
young girl toward Henri, who, leaning against the chimney, was
affecting a composure strangely at variance with the trembling of his
limbs and the violent quivering of his upper lip.

Louise walked up to him, and seeming to forget my presence innocently
held up her forehead for him to kiss. "Tu as du chagrin, mon pauvre
ami?" she said in tones of exquisite delicacy and tenderness, and took
one of his hands in hers.

A few minutes after I rose to take my leave: François accompanied me
to the door. "I think, sir," he said hesitatingly, "you might perhaps
bring good-luck to our poor boy by going to-morrow to see the
conscription. Would you do us the favor of joining us? We shall all be
at St. Valéry."

"Certainly," I replied, shaking his hand, and starting off with my
heart so full that the league's walk from the cottage to my lodgings
filled up one of the saddest hours I have ever spent.

I passed a dull night: how indeed could I do otherwise? And I am sure
that I never so sincerely lamented the want of wealth as upon that
occasion, when a thousand francs might have given me the joy of making
four people happy.

The next day, the twentieth of February, dawned brightly--so brightly
indeed that I began to draw from the smiling appearance of the heavens
a good augury for the luck of Henri Derblay. It was about eight when I
set out. The conscription was to begin at nine, but already the one
straggling, narrow street which bisects the old bathing-town was
filled with country-people hastening in groups or singly toward the
market-place, where the town-hall was situated. The scene presented
here was of a most animated kind. The market had some time since
begun, and in and out amongst the stalls of the sellers moved a crowd
of people of all trades, of all ranks and of all appearances.
Fishermen, tradesmen, peasants, soldiers--knots of all these were
there, some from curiosity or to accompany a friend or relation to the
urn; some laughing, some shouting, some drinking, some dancing in a
boisterous round to the music of a barrel-organ; some bawling a
popular song in a gay, ever-repeated chorus; some raffling for nuts
and biscuits at smartly-decked fair-booths, or playing at Chinese
billiards for painted mugs or huge cakes of gilt gingerbread; some
listening to the stump orations of an extempore fortuneteller, who
promised the bâton of the field-marshal to any conscript who would
give him a penny; and some buying by yards the patriotic,
soul-stirring songs of Béranger, and reciting them in every tone, in
every key and to every tune. One of these songsters was a young
soldier, a lancer, with a bright intelligent look: he was standing
outside a cabaret with several companions, and trolling in a rich,
clear voice a melody which seemed thoroughly to spring from his heart.
His eye alternately sparkled or dimmed as his words were animated or
affecting, and the expression he breathed into his notes was full of
feeling and admirably suited to all he sang. The last stanza of his
ballad was especially well given, and it seemed so entirely the
interpretation of his sentiments that I am sure more than one person
in the crowd must have thought that the young soldier was repeating a
composition of his own. This was the final strophe:

  Ah, depuis si longtemps je prolonge mon rêve,
  La route est commencée, il faut que je l'achève;
        Il est trop tard pour m'arrêter.
  Que la gloire m'oublie, ou qu'elle me couronne,
  Quel que soit mon destin, à lui je m'abandonne,
        J'ai besoin de chanter.

I am not sure whether these verses are by Béranger or not, but they
certainly deserve to be.

As the song ended, the market-place was being rapidly filled by
streams of people who came pouring into it from all directions. The
crowd was now mostly composed of country-people, all dressed in
holiday garments, but in appearance, nevertheless, for the greater
part at least, the very reverse of happy. In almost every case the
families of peasants as they arrived walked into the church, of which
the doors were wide open to invite the faithful to mass, and from
which flowed occasionally into the tumult of the crowd without, like a
little brook of pure water into a bubbling, surging lake, a few waves
of gentle, calm religious music. Each one of the poor people who
entered to pray went up, as I noticed, to the charity-box and dropped
in a mite, in the hope, no doubt, that this good action might buy fair
fortune for a son or brother about to "draw." I also remarked that it
was toward the chapel of the Virgin that most of the suppliants bent
their steps, and more than one mother and sister, moved by a naïve
faith which one can only respect, carried with them large nosegays of
winter flowers to lay at the feet of the Holy Mother's image.

As I left the church and stood looking at a poor ploughboy who, pale
with apprehension, was endeavoring to give to himself a look of
unconcern by smoking a big cigar in company with some soldiers, who
were laughing at him for his pains, a hand touched my arm, and upon
turning round I saw François Derblay with his wife and Henri and
Louise. A year's illness could not have aged them more than the night
they had just spent: they all seemed completely worn out, and when the
old man tried to speak his voice was so hollow and harsh that it
frightened me. "Look at Louise, sir," he said at last, slowly shaking
his white head: "she and Madeleine there have been sitting up all
night praying to God."

"'Cast thy bread upon the waters,'" I answered, "'and thou shalt find
it after many days.'"

"Yes, sir," said Louise: "our curate tells us that prayers are like
letters--when properly stamped with faith they always reach their
address."

"Ay," exclaimed Henri, "but does God always answer them?"

François drew a mass-book from his pocket and finding the Lord's
Prayer, "Look," he said as he pointed to the words, _Fiat voluntas tua
in terra ut in coelo._

A few minutes after the church-clock struck nine, and by a common
impulse all the population of the market-place hurried simultaneously
toward the town-hall. The door and ground-floor windows of this
building opened at the same time, and we could see the mayor of St.
Valéry, with the commissioner of police and a captain of infantry in
full uniform, seated at a table upon which stood a cylindrical box
horizontally between two pivots. This was the urn. Two gendarmes, one
upon each side, stood watching over it with their arms folded. A man
came to the window and shouted something which I could not catch, and
at the same moment half a dozen mayors of districts, girt with their
tri-color sashes, ran up the steps of the Hôtel de Ville to draw for
the order in which their respective communes were to present
themselves. This formality occupied five minutes, and the mayors then
came out again to marshal their people into separate groups. The
district in which the Derblays lived was to go up third, and as he
came to tell us this the mayor of N---- patted François on the back
and told him that _three_ was an odd number and therefore lucky. Poor
Madeleine was so weak that she could hardly stand up: Louise and I
were obliged to support her.

At half-past nine, punctually, the conscription began, and amidst a
breathless silence one of the mayor's assistants came to the window
and called out the first name: "Adolphe Monnier, of the commune of
S----;" and a tall country-boy, elbowing his way through the crowd,
walked up into the town-hall. The commissioner of police gave the
round box a touch, and as it turned round some six or seven times one
might almost have heard a raindrop fall. "Now," said he laughing,
"good luck to you!" and the peasant, plunging his hand into the trap
of the box, drew out a little piece of card-board rolled into a curl.
"No. 17," shouted the infantry captain, taking it from his hands and
reading it, whilst a loud roar of laughter from the mob hailed the
dismal face with which the unhappy lad heard of his ill-success.

"Oh, what a head for a soldier!" cried some wag in the crowd. "Yes,"
screamed another, "he'll make the Russians run." "Have you chosen your
regiment yet?" barked a third. "Why, of course!" yelped a fourth: "he
is to be fife-player in the second battalion of the pope's
horse-beadles."

And amid a shower of jokes equally witty No. 17 came down, and a
second name was called. After him came a third, and then a fourth, and
so on, all equally unlucky; and no wonder, since all the numbers up to
one hundred were losing ones. There were great differences in the way
in which the youths bore their discomfiture: some went up crying to
the urn and trembled as in an ague whilst it was rolling round; three
stamped and sobbed like children when they had lost, and the crowd,
ever charitable in its doings, threw about their ears by way of
comfort a volley of epigrams which pricked them like so many wasps;
others, on the contrary, went up laughing, and upon drawing a bad
number stuck the card in their hats and came down bandying jokes with
the mob as unconcernedly as though they had been only taking a pinch
of snuff instead of selling seven long years of their lives. Others,
again, trying to imitate the latter, but in reality too miserable to
do so with ease, only succeeded in making themselves ridiculous,
drawing upon themselves an extra amount of squibs from the spectators;
upon which, like young steers worried by mosquitoes, they would begin
distributing kicks and blows right and left with most liberal
profusion, to the no small disgust of the mayor and the immense
amusement of the infantry captain, who laughed like an ox in a
clover-field.

At last a boy went up and drew the number 109: frantic cheers greeted
this check to fortune, and the lucky fellow rushed down with such wild
demonstrations of joy that it would have been no great folly to have
mistaken him for a criminal just reprieved.

A few minutes after the commune of Henri Derblay was called up. Henri
himself was sixth on the roll. His father's face had become livid; his
mother hung so heavily on my arm that I fancied at one moment she had
fainted; Louise was as white as a sheet, and her lips, bloodless and
cold, looked blue and frozen as ice.

"Courage, Henri!" I said: "more than forty have drawn, and but one
winning number has come out yet: you will have at least nine good
chances."

"Henri Derblay, of the commune of N----," cried an official, and we
all started as though a gun had been fired. The moment had come: a
minute more and the doubt would become certainty.

"Courage, mother!" whispered the boy, stooping over Madeleine and
repeating in a faltering tone the words I had just spoken to him.

The poor woman was speechless: she tried to smile, but her face
twitched as though in a convulsion. "My child--" she whispered, and
stopped short.

"Henri Derblay!" cried the voice again, and the crowd around repeated
the cry: "Be quick, Derblay, they are waiting for you."

The boy drew his sleeve across his eyes and tottered up to the steps
of the hall. Louise fell down on her knees; François and his wife did
the same; for myself, my temples throbbed as in fever, my hands were
dry as wood, and my eyes, fixed on the conscription-urn, seemed
starting out of their sockets.

Henri walked up to the box.

"Allons, mon garçon," said the mayor, "un peu d'aplomb;" and he opened
the lid. Derblay thrust in his hand: his face was turned toward us,
and I could see him draw out his ticket and give it to the captain: a
moment's deep silence.

"No. 3!" roared the officer; and a howl of derision from the mob
covered his words. Henri had become a soldier.

I could not well see what then followed: there was a sudden hush, a
chorus of exclamations, a rush toward the steps of the town-hall, and
then the crowd fell back to make way for two gendarmes who were
carrying a body between them.

"Is he dead?" asked a number of voices.

"Oh no," tittered the two men--"only fainted: he'll soon come round
again." And the mob burst into a laugh.

E.C. GRENVILLE MURRAY.



THE SYMPHONY.


  "O Trade! O Trade! would thou wert dead!
  The age needs heart--'tis tired of head.
  We're all for love," the violins said.
  "Of what avail the rigorous tale
  Of coin for coin and box for bale?
  Grant thee, O Trade! thine uttermost hope,
  Level red gold with blue sky-slope,
  And base it deep as devils grope,
  When all's done what hast thou won
  Of the only sweet that's under the sun?
  Ay, canst thou buy a single sigh
  Of true love's least, least ecstasy?"

  Then all the mightier strings, assembling,
  Fell a-trembling, with a trembling
  Bridegroom's heart-beats quick resembling;
  Ranged them on the violin's side
  Like a bridegroom by his bride,
  And, heart in voice, together cried:
  "Yea, what avail the endless tale
  Of gain by cunning and plus by sale?
  Look up the land, look down the land--
  The poor, the poor, the poor, they stand
  Wedged by the pressing of Trade's hand
  Against an inward-opening door
  That pressure tightens ever more:
  They sigh, with a monstrous foul-air sigh,
  For the outside heaven of liberty,
  Where Art, sweet lark, translates the sky
  Into a heavenly melody.
  'Each day, all day' (these poor folks say),
  'In the same old year-long, drear-long way,
  We weave in the mills and heave in the kilns,
  We sieve mine-meshes under the hills,
  And thieve much gold from the Devil's bank tills,
  To relieve, O God, what manner of ills?--
  Such manner of ills as brute-flesh thrills.
  The beasts, they hunger, eat, sleep, die,
  And so do we, and our world's a sty;
  And, fellow-swine, why nuzzle and cry?
  _Swinehood hath never a remedy,_
  The rich man says, and passes by,
  And clamps his nostril and shuts his eye.
  Did God say once in God's sweet tone,
  Man shall not live by bread alone,
  But by all that cometh from His white throne?
      Yea: God said so,
      But the mills say No,
  And the kilns and the strong bank-tills say _No:
  There's plenty that can, if you can't. Go to:
  Move out, if you think you're underpaid.
  The poor are prolific; we re not afraid;
  Business is business; a trade is a trade_,
  Over and over the mills have said.'"

  And then these passionate hot protestings
    Changed to less vehement moods, until
  They sank to sad suggestings
    And requestings sadder still:
  "And oh, if the world might some time see
  'Tis not a law of necessity
  That a trade just naught but a trade must be!
  Does business mean, _Die, you--live, I?_
  Then 'business is business' phrases a lie:
  'Tis only war grown miserly.
  If Traffic is battle, name it so:
  War-crimes less will shame it so,
  And we victims less will blame it so.
  But oh, for the poor to have some part
  In the sweeter half of life called Art,
  Is not a problem of head, but of heart.
  Vainly might Plato's head revolve it:
  Plainly the heart of a child could solve it."

  And then, as when our words seem all too rude
  We cease from speech, to take our thought and brood
  Back in our heart's great dark and solitude,
  So sank the strings to heartwise throbbing,
  Of long chords change-marked with sobbing--
  Motherly sobbing, not distinctlier heard
  Than half wing-openings of the sleeping bird,
  Some dream of danger to her young hath stirred.

  Then stirring and demurring ceased, and lo!
  Every least ripple of the strings' song flow
  Died to a level with each level bow,
  And made a great chord tranquil-surfaced so
  As a brook beneath his curving bank doth go
  To linger in the sacred dark and green
  Where many boughs the still pool overlean,
  And many leaves make shadow with their sheen.
    But presently
  A velvet flute-note fell down pleasantly
  Upon the bosom of that harmony,
  And sailed and sailed incessantly,
  As if a petal from a wild-rose blown
  Had fluttered down upon that pool of tone,
  And boatwise dropped o' the convex side
  And floated down the glassy tide,
  And clarified and glorified
  The solemn spaces where the shadows bide.

  From the velvet convex of that fluted note
  Somewhat, half song, half odor, forth did float--
  As if God turned a rose into a throat--
  "When Nature from her far-off glen
  Flutes her soft messages to men,
  The flute can say them o'er again;
  Yea, Nature, singing sweet and lone,
  Breathes through life's strident polyphone
  The flute-voice in the world of tone.
      Sweet friends,
      Man's love ascends
  To finer and diviner ends
  Than man's mere thought e'er comprehends.
      For I, e'en I,
      As here I lie,
  A petal on a harmony,
  Demand of Science whence and why
  Man's tender pain, man's inward cry,
  When he doth gaze on earth and sky?
  Behold, I grow more bold:
      I hold
  Full powers from Nature manifold.
  I speak for each no-tonguèd tree
  That, spring by spring, doth nobler be,
  And dumbly and most wistfully
  His mighty prayerful arms outspreads
  Above men's oft-unheeding heads,
  And his big blessing downward sheds.
  I speak for all-shaped blooms and leaves,
  Lichens on stones and moss on eaves,
  Grasses and grains in ranks and sheaves;
  Broad-fronded ferns and keen-leaved canes,
  And briery mazes bounding lanes,
  And marsh-plants, thirsty-cupped for rains,
  And milky stems and sugary veins;
  For every long-armed woman-vine
  That round a piteous tree doth twine;
  For passionate odors, and divine
  Pistils, and petals crystalline;
  All purities of shady springs,
  All shynesses of film-winged things
  That fly from tree-trunks and bark-rings;
  All modesties of mountain-fawns
  That leap to covert from wild lawns,
  And tremble if the day but dawns;
  All sparklings of small beady eyes
  Of birds, and sidelong glances wise
  Wherewith the jay hints tragedies;
  All piquancies of prickly burs,
  And smoothnesses of downs and furs
  Of eiders and of minevers;
  All limpid honeys that do lie
  At stamen-bases, nor deny
  The humming-birds' fine roguery,
  Bee-thighs, nor any butterfly;
  All gracious curves of slender wings,
  Bark-mottlings, fibre-spiralings,
  Fern-wavings and leaf-flickerings;
  Each dial-marked leaf and flower-bell
  Wherewith in every lonesome dell
  Time to himself his hours doth tell;
  All tree-sounds, rustlings of pine-cones,
  Wind-sighings, doves' melodious moans,
  And night's unearthly undertones;
  All placid lakes and waveless deeps,
  All cool reposing mountain-steeps,
  Vale-calms and tranquil lotos-sleeps;
  Yea, all fair forms, and sounds, and lights,
  And warmths, and mysteries, and mights,
  Of Nature's utmost depths and heights,--
 --These doth my timid tongue present,
  Their mouthpiece and lead instrument
  And servant, all love-eloquent.
  I heard, when '_All for love_' the violins cried:
  Nature through me doth take their human side.
  That soul is like a groom without a bride
  That ne'er by Nature in great love hath sighed.
  Much time is run, and man hath changed his ways,
  Since Nature, in the antique fable-days,
  Was hid from man's true love by proxy fays,
  False fauns and rascal gods that stole her praise.
  The nymphs, cold creatures of man's colder brain,
  Chilled Nature's streams till man's warm heart was fain
  Never to lave its love in them again.
  Later, a sweet Voice _Love thy neighbor_ said;
  Then first the bounds of neighborhood outspread
  Beyond all confines of old ethnic dread.
  Vainly the Jew might wag his covenant head:
  '_All men are neighbors_,' so the sweet Voice said.
  So, when man's arms had measure as man's race,
  The liberal compass of his warm embrace
  Stretched bigger yet in the dark bounds of space;
  With hands a-grope he felt smooth Nature's grace,
  Drew her to breast and kissed her sweetheart face:
  His heart found neighbors in great hills and trees
  And streams and clouds and suns and birds and bees,
  And throbbed with neighbor-loves in loving these.
  But oh, the poor! the poor! the poor!
  That stand by the inward-opening door
  Trade's hand doth tighten ever more,
  And sigh with a monstrous foul-air sigh
  For the outside heaven of liberty,
  Where Nature spreads her wild blue sky
  For Art to make into melody!
  Thou Trade! thou king of the modern days!
      Change thy ways,
      Change thy ways;
  Let the sweaty laborers file
      A little while,
      A little while,
  Where Art and Nature sing and smile.
  Trade! is thy heart all dead, all dead?
  And hast thou nothing but a head?
  I'm all for heart," the flute-voice said,
  And into sudden silence fled,
  Like as a blush that while 'tis red
  Dies to a still, still white instead.

  Thereto a thrilling calm succeeds,
  Till presently the silence breeds
  A little breeze among the reeds
  That seems to blow by sea-marsh weeds:
  Then from the gentle stir and fret
  Sings out the melting clarionet,
  Like as a lady sings while yet
  Her eyes with salty tears are wet.
  "O Trade! O Trade!" the Lady said,
  "I too will wish thee utterly dead
  If all thy heart is in thy head.
  For O my God! and O my God!
  What shameful ways have women trod
  At beckoning of Trade's golden rod!
  Alas when sighs are traders' lies,
  And heart's-ease eyes and violet eyes
      Are merchandise!
  O purchased lips that kiss with pain!
  O cheeks coin-spotted with smirch and stain!
  O trafficked hearts that break in twain!
 --And yet what wonder at my sisters' crime?
  So hath Trade withered up Love's sinewy prime,
  Men love not women as in olden time.
  Ah, not in these cold merchantable days
  Deem men their life an opal gray, where plays
  The one red sweet of gracious ladies' praise.
  Now comes a suitor with sharp prying eye--
  Says, _Here, you Lady, if you'll sell, I'll buy:
  Come, heart for heart--a trade? What! weeping? why?_
  Shame on such wooers' dapper mercery!
  I would my lover kneeling at my feet
  In humble manliness should cry, _O sweet!
  I know not if thy heart my heart will meet:
  I ask not if thy love my love can greet:
  Whatever thy worshipful soft tongue shall say,
  I'll kiss thine answer, be it yea or nay:
  I do but know I love thee, and I pray
  To be thy knight until my dying day._
  Woe him that cunning trades in hearts contrives!
  Base love good women to base loving drives.
  If men loved larger, larger were our lives;
  And wooed they nobler, won they nobler wives."

  There thrust the bold straightforward horn
  To battle for that lady lorn;
  With heartsome voice of mellow scorn,
  Like any knight in knighthood's morn.
    "Now comfort thee," said he,
       "Fair Ladye.
  Soon shall God right thy grievous wrong,
  Soon shall man sing thee a true-love song,
  Voiced in act his whole life long,
    Yea, all thy sweet life long,
       Fair Ladye.
  Where's he that craftily hath said
  The day of chivalry is dead?
  I'll prove that lie upon his head,
    Or I will die instead,
       Fair Ladye.
  Is Honor gone into his grave?
  Hath Faith become a caitiff knave,
  And Selfhood turned into a slave
    To work in Mammon's cave,
       Fair Ladye?
  Will Truth's long blade ne'er gleam again?
  Hath Giant Trade in dungeons slain
  All great contempts of mean-got gain
    And hates of inward stain,
       Fair Ladye?
  For aye shall Name and Fame be sold,
  And Place be hugged for the sake of gold,
  And smirch-robed Justice feebly scold
    At Crime all money-bold,
       Fair Ladye?
  Shall self-wrapt husbands aye forget
  Kiss-pardons for the daily fret
  Wherewith sweet wifely eyes are wet--
    Blind to lips kiss-wise set--
       Fair Ladye?
  Shall lovers higgle, heart for heart,
  Till wooing grows a trading mart
  Where much for little, and all for part,
    Make love a cheapening art,
       Fair Ladye?
  Shall woman scorch for a single sin
  That her betrayer can revel in,
  And she be burnt, and he but grin
    When that the flames begin,
       Fair Ladye?
  Shall ne'er prevail the woman's plea,
  _We maids would far, far whiter be
  If that our eyes might sometimes see
    Men maids in purity_,
       Fair Ladye?
  Shall Trade aye salve his conscience-aches
  With jibes at Chivalry's old mistakes,
  The wars that o'erhot knighthood makes
    For Christ's and ladies' sakes,
      Fair Ladye?
  Now by each knight that e'er hath prayed
  To fight like a man and love like a maid,
  Since Pembroke's life, as Pembroke's blade,
    I' the scabbard, death, was laid,
      Fair Ladye.
  I dare avouch my faith is bright
  That God doth right and God hath might,
  Nor time hath changed His hair to white,
    Nor His dear love to spite,
      Fair Ladye.
  I doubt no doubts: I strive, and shrive my clay,
  And fight my fight in the patient modern way
  For true love and for thee--ah me! and pray
    To be thy knight until my dying day,
      Fair Ladye,"
  Said that knightly horn, and spurred away
  Into the thick of the melodious fray.

  And then the hautboy played and smiled,
  And sang like a little large-eyed child,
  Cool-hearted and all undefiled.
      "Huge Trade!" he said,
  "Would thou wouldst lift me on thy head,
  And run where'er my finger led!
  Once said a Man--and wise was He--
  _Never shalt thou the heavens see,
  Save as a little child thou be_."

  Then o'er sea-lashings of commingling tunes
  The ancient wise bassoons,
      Like weird
      Gray-beard
  Old harpers sitting on the wild sea-dunes,
      Chanted runes:
  "Bright-waved gain, gray-waved loss,
  The sea of all doth lash and toss,
  One wave forward and one across.
  But now 'twas trough, now 'tis crest,
  And worst doth foam and flash to best,
      And curst to blest.

  "Life! Life! thou sea-fugue, writ from east to west,
        Love, Love alone can pore
        On thy dissolving score
        Of wild half-phrasings,
          Blotted ere writ,
        And double erasings.
          Of tunes full fit.
  Yea, Love, sole music-master blest,
  May read thy weltering palimpsest.
  To follow Time's dying melodies through,
  And never to lose the old in the new,
  And ever to solve the discords true--
      Love alone can do.
  And ever Love hears the poor-folks' crying,
  And ever Love hears the women's sighing,
  And ever sweet knighthood's death-defying,
  And ever wise childhood's deep implying,
  And never a trader's glozing and lying.

  "And yet shall Love himself be heard,
  Though long deferred, though long deferred:
  O'er the modern waste a dove hath whirred:
  Music is Love in search of a Word."

SIDNEY LANIER.

       *       *       *       *       *



THE BLOUSARD IN HIS HOURS OF EASE.


Bulwer in his last novel said something to the effect that an
orang-outang would receive a degree of polish and refinement by ten
years of life in Paris. This statement is not to be taken literally,
of course: I have detected no special polish of manners in the monkeys
confined at the Jardin d'Acclimatation in Paris, some of whom are
pretty well on in years. The novelist only sought to make a strong
expression of his good opinion of French manners, no doubt. In
observing the blouse wearers of Paris in their hours of ease and
relaxation, I have been struck with the great prevalence of a certain
unforced courtesy of manner, even among the coarsest. No one would
dream what a howling demon this creature could and did become in the
days of the Commune who should see him enjoying himself at his ball,
his concert, his theatre or his dinner.

I suppose no one not in the confidence of the managers of these places
would readily credit to what an extent the public masquerade-balls of
Paris are the peculiar possession of the blousard. The gaping crowds
of English and Americans who go to the disreputable Jardin Mabille and
the like resorts in summer to gaze at what they imagine is a scene of
French revelry, do not know that the cancan-dancer there is paid for
his jollity. The men who dance at the Jardin Mabille are not there for
revelry's sake: they are earning a few sous from the manager, who
knows that he must do something to amuse his usual spectators--viz.,
the tourists--who go back to Manchester or to Omaha and astonish their
friends with tales of the goings-on of those dreadful Frenchmen in
Paris. The women who disport in the cancan at the same place are
simply hired by the season. It is not at the Jardin Mabille that the
visitor to Paris need ever look to see genuine revelry: the place is
as much a place of jollification for the people as the stage of a
theatre is, and no more. Very often the dancer at night is a blousard
by day. So at many of the masquerade-balls which rage in the winter,
particularly during the weeks just preceding Mardi Gras. These are
less purely tourist astonishers than the Jardin Mabille. They are
largely visited by the fast young men and old beaux and roués of
Paris, but these are almost never seen to go upon the floor and dance.
In the crowded ball-room of the Valentino on a masquerade-night you
may have observed with wondering awe the gyrations of an extraordinary
couple around whom a ring has been formed, giving them free space on
the floor for their wild abandon of exercise. The man is long, lank
and grotesque; he wears a tail coat which reaches the floor, and upon
his back is strapped a crazy guitar with broken strings; his false
nose stands out from his face at prodigious length; his hat is a
bottle, his gloves are buckskin gauntlets, and his trousers are those
of a circus-rider. The woman does not hide her face with a mask, for
her face is her fortune, and she cannot afford to hide it: she is
painted tastefully with vermilion and white; abundant false curls
cluster at her neck, and are surmounted by a dainty little punchinello
cap in pink silk and gilding; her dress is every color of the rainbow,
and reaches to her knees; blue gaiters with pink rosettes are on her
feet, and kid gloves are on her hands. The saltatory terpsichoreanisms
of this couple are seemingly inspired by a mad gayety of spirit which
only the utmost extravagance of gesture and pirouette will satisfy.
The man flings his feet above the woman's head; the woman sinks to the
floor, and springs up again as if made of tempered steel; and as a
conclusion to the figure she turns a complete somersault in the air.
If you are so innocent as to suppose that these performers are
exerting themselves in that manner for the mere pleasure of the thing,
you are innocent indeed. They are "artists," and receive a salary from
the manager of the Valentino.

To innumerable blousards in Paris these dancers are objects of
emulation. The Valentino supports a large troupe of such performers,
and is less often the scene of the blousard's efforts, therefore, than
ball-rooms where the regular corps of dancers is smaller. The matter
of the admission-fee also regulates the blousard to some extent in his
choice of resort. At the mask-balls he most favors--such as the
Élysée-Montmartre at the Barrière Rochechouart, or the Tivoli
Waux-Hall (_sic_) near the Château d'Eau--there is no charge for
admission to cavaliers in costume. Tourists sometimes stumble upon
these places, but not often: they are remote from the gay quarter
which foreigners haunt.

The neighborhood of the Château d'Eau--an immense paved space at the
junction of the Boulevards St. Martin and du Temple--is to the
blousard what the neighborhood of the Madeleine is to the small
shopkeeper. He does not frequent it every day: it is a scene for
special visits--more expensive than the immediate quarter where he
eats, drinks and sleeps, and more attractive. There is a café on the
southern side of the esplanade, where, if you go on a Saturday night,
you may see a curious sight. It is after midnight that the place is
thronged. Descending a broad flight of steps, you turn to the right
and go down another flight, entering an immense underground hall,
broken up with sturdy square pillars, and brilliant with mirrors which
line walls and pillars in every direction. Here are gathered a great
number of men and women, sitting at the tables, drinking beer and
wine, playing cards, dominoes and backgammon, and filling the air with
the incessant din of conversation and the smoke of pipes and cigars.
The women are generally bareheaded or in muslin caps. The men are
almost without exception in blouses--some white, some black, some in
the newest stages of shiny blue gingham, some faded with long wearing
and frequent washing. Caps and soft hats are universal: a tall hat is
nowhere to be seen--a fact which is much more significant in Paris
than it would be in America, for in Paris the tall hat is almost _de
rigueur_ among the better classes. Girls from sixteen to twenty years
of age stroll in from the street bareheaded with the cool manner of
boys, quite alone and unconcerned, looking around quietly to see if
there is any one they know: in case of recognizing an acquaintance
they perhaps sit down to a game or stand with hands in pockets and
converse. They have not the air of _nymphes du pavé_, and are simply
grisettes (working-girls), passing away their idle hours in precisely
the same independent way as if they were of the opposite sex. For the
price of the glass of beer which he orders when he sits down (six
cents) the blousard can sit here all night, playing cards and smoking.

It is one o'clock in the morning when we leave this scene, and the
place is in full blast. Crossing the Château d'Eau, we plunge into a
quiet street, down which comes a flood of light from an electric lamp
hung before the entrance of the Tivoli Waux-Hall. Within, the
ball-room is thronged. An occasional blouse is visible, but the
blousard who comes here is generally arrayed in some fancy costume,
which he hires for the night for a trifling sum or has devised in his
leisure moments from odds and ends gathered in an old-clo' market.
There is a group of four now prancing in a quadrille, who are
blousards enjoying at once their hours of ease and of triumph. Emulous
of the "artists" of grander balls, they have got themselves up in the
guise of American Indians, and are a sight to behold. Their faces are
painted every color of the rainbow; and when I say painted I do not
mean tricked out with the red and white of toilet-boxes, but daubed
thickly with the kind of paint used in painting houses and
signs--paint which _stays_ in spite of the reeking perspiration which
trickles off their cheeks. They wear no masks, but have pasteboard
noses stuck upon their faces with glue, for they are "got up" for all
night, and this is the proud scene on which they win laurels. Their
dance is a coarse imitation of the gyrations of the professional
cancanists, and they prance and cavort with glowing enthusiasm, happy
in the evident admiration of a surrounding throng of provincials,
pickpockets and prostitutes.

For a more genuine scene of blousard gayety come with me to the Rue
Mouffetard, where there is a ball frequented solely by the lowest and
poorest class of Paris strugglers for bread, such as the ragpickers
and the street-sweepers. At first thought it seems improbable that the
squalid wretches who can barely earn sous enough to live on, to whom
fifty cents a day are fine wages, should have a ball. But all things
are possible in Paris in the way of popular amusements. In the Rue
Mouffetard, then, near the Rue Pot de Fer, we read on the wall of a
gloomy building a yellow advertisement which is translatable thus,
literally:

    GREAT HALL OF THE OLD OAK.

    MOUFFETARD STREET, 69, HOUSE OF LACROSSE,

    _All the Sundays, departing from the first January, up till
    Fat Tuesday_.

    BALL OF NIGHT!

    DRESS, MASK, DISGUISE.

    A Grand Orchestra, composed of Artists of Talent, will be
    conducted by G. Maurage, who will have performed a Repertory
    entirely new, composed of Quadrilles, Valses, Polkas,
    Schottisches, Varsoviennes, Mazurkas, Redowas, Lancers, etc.

    ENTRANCE--On the Sundays, five cents; at ordinary times, four
    cents. One commences at 8 o'clock.

Although one commences at eight o'clock on the bills, one does not
commence in reality at any such unfashionable hour. If we are so
innocent as to go to the ball-room before ten o'clock, we shall find
only a crowd of boys and girls gathered about the entrance of the
hall, waiting to see the guests arrive. Needless to say, no carriages
roll up to this door. The revelers come on foot, emerging from dark
alleyways, descending from garrets by creaking old staircases,
filtering out one by one into the street, and making their way to the
ball-room in couples or alone. To find the ball in the full tide of
successful operation we should arrive about half-past ten in the
evening. Entering then through a long, broad passage, midway of which
we deposit five sous each with the Cerberus on guard, we pass into a
hall crowded with people. The hall is not larger than that of an
average country-tavern ball-room in New England: the space occupied by
the dancers will accommodate perhaps fifty quadrille sets. (There are
no "side couples" in the quadrilles of Paris popular balls; hence a
set consists of but four persons.) This would indicate a pretty large
ball-room to most minds, but the dancers here are crowded so close
upon each other that they really occupy a surprisingly small space.

Up and down the two sides of the long hall are ranged coarse wooden
tables, with the narrowest benches at them for use as seats that I
think ever served that purpose. Sitting on a Virginia fence is the
only exercise I remember that suggests the exceeding narrowness of the
benches at the ragpickers' ball. On the side of the tables nearest the
wall runs a narrow alley, down which we walk in search of a seat. On
the other side the tables are protected from the dancers--who might
otherwise bang destructively against them, to the detriment of
wine-bottles and glasses--by a stout wooden railing. Reaching the
lower end of the hall, we find an unoccupied seat, and are able to
survey the scene at our leisure.

The hall is lighted by no fewer than six chandeliers, with numerous
burners, and between the chandeliers depend from the ceiling large
glass balls, coated inside with quicksilver, which serve to reflect
the light and add something of brilliancy. There are two round holes
for ventilation in the ceiling: the only windows are two which are at
the lower end of the hall, and look out on a gloomy courtyard
surrounded by a high wall, on whose ridged top is a forbidding array
of broken bottles imbedded in the mortar. On an elevated platform at
one side, as high as the dancers' heads, sits the orchestra "composed
of artists of talent," thirteen in number; and it is but justice to
say that they make excellent music--far better than that we commonly
hear at home in theatres and at dancing-assemblies. Blouses are
abundant on the floor, in spite of the fact that the ball is
advertised to be "dress, mask, disguise." Near us is a dusty blousard
in huge wooden shoes, who dances no less vigorously with his head and
arms than with his legs; and how earnestly he does bend to his work!
He is one incessant teeter. While the music sounds he never flags. He
spins, he whirls, he balances: he stands upon the toes of his wooden
sabots and pirouettes with clumsy ease, like one on stilts. He claps
his hands smartly together, flings them wildly above his head, and
pounds away with his feet as if it were his firm intention to go
through into the cellar. But, though our attention is centred on him,
he is by no means alone or peculiar. Around and around whirl others
and others, under the gleaming chandeliers, in the clouds of tobacco
smoke, dancing as vigorously, flinging their hands above their heads
as wildly, as he. Here and there handsome costumes are seen, but the
majority are in Cardigan jackets or blouses: many are in their
shirt-sleeves. All wear their hats and caps. Women in male attire and
men in women's frocks and ribbons are a favorite form of disguise:
occasionally there is one of an elaborately grotesque character. The
spectators, sitting at the tables or strolling down the narrow aisles,
look on with applause and laughter at the boisterous scene.
Occasionally one jumps upon a table and flings up his arms with a
hilarious yell, but he is promptly tumbled down again. When the
quadrille is over many of the dancers go on jumping and skipping,
loath to have done; but the floor is promptly cleared by two men in
authority, the proprietors of the place, for there is rigid discipline
here.

In the interval, while the music is silent, three or four policemen
armed to the teeth, with swords at their sides and glittering
uniforms, saunter in an idle, unconcerned manner up and down the
cleared floor, with the air of men who have no earthly use for their
time, and are walking thus merely to stretch their legs a bit. But
they are keenly on the alert, these gendarmes. They cast their eyes on
us where we sit with a sidelong glance which seems to say, "We see
you, you two men in tall hats," for we presently find we are
conspicuous in this crowd by the hats we wear. A ragamuffin Pierrot in
a white nightcap is seen to touch a trousered female on the arm and
look leeringly at us, and is overheard to say, "Vois donc, Delphine,
those aristos there--have they hats?--quoi?" Whereupon I nod
good-naturedly to them, and Delphine comes up to us with a smile. "One
sees easily thou art not Parisian, little father _(p'tit père_)" she
says to me. "Rest tranquil, then--thou shalt see dancing--rest
tranquil." And with a flirt of her heel she bounds into the middle of
the floor with her cavalier as the orchestra sounds the preliminary
strain of a waltz.

It is the custom here for the orchestra to sound this preliminary
note as a foretaste to the dancers of the coming piece. Then the
musicians rest on their instruments while the two men in authority on
the floor set up a stentorian call of "Advance, mesdames and
messieurs: one is about to begin the waltz," or the polka, as the name
of the coming dance may be. At this cry, through the little gates
which open here and there in the wooden railing a crowd of eager
clients pour upon the floor and range themselves in place. The men in
authority coolly proceed to collect a tax of two sous from each
couple, and then the music and the dance begin. In waltzing the
dancers simply put their arms around each other's necks, and thus
embracing vigorously, face to face, they spin about the room, bumping
against each other, laughing, shouting and chaffing. Waiters in white
aprons dodge about among the dancers, taking orders for wine, beer and
punch, and exciting our constant amazement that they do not get
knocked down and trampled on. One of them approaches us and asks what
we will take. Observe, he does not ask if we will take anything, for
if you sit you must "consume" either drink or cigars. Your five cents
paid at the door, you perceive, entitle you to neither a seat nor a
dance. The constant drinking which goes on is the heaviest source of
income of the establishment, after all. Yet nobody is drunk. In New
York a like amount of guzzling would have put half the men under the
table by this time. It is a popular notion that Frenchmen _never_ get
drunk, but this exaggerates the truth. One sees almost as much
drunkenness among the lower classes in Paris as in New York, but the
amount of drunkenness is so trifling in proportion to the enormous
amount of tippling that goes on among Frenchmen that the matter is a
cause of constant wonderment to visitors from other lands.

At the end of the waltz the floor is promptly cleared again. One woman
puts her hand on the rail-fence and leaps over unconcernedly, rather
than take her turn at the gate. Then the band strikes up the opening
strain of the popular opera-bouffe quadrille of the hour, and the air
echoes with the shout on every side, "C'est Angot! C'est Angot!" and
the struggle for places is furious. "Madame Angot," the heroine of a
fashionable opera-bouffe, is a market-woman, and a sort of goddess
among the blousards, who are eager to dance to the inspiring melody of
her song. The men in authority have little need to persuade the
dancers with their cry of "Avancez! avancez!" this time: they have
only to collect the sous, and the wild revelry begins. The tallest man
in the room leads on to the floor the shortest woman--a little
humpbacked dwarf: he is smoking a cigar, and she a cigarette, and they
dance with fury while puffing clouds of smoke. The man jumps in the
air with wondrous pigeon-wings, slaps his heels with his hands, shouts
and twists his lank body into grotesque shapes. The little dwarf,
madly hilarious, rushes about with her head down, swings her long
dress in the air, whirls and "makes cheeses," and in the climax of her
efforts kicks her partner squarely in the back amid roars of laughter.

Across the way from this ball-room there is a large "brewery," as it
is called--a combination of beer-hall, wineshop, café and
billiard-room--where for eight cents you may play a game of billiards,
or for twelve cents may play an hour. Beer is four cents the glass,
and wine two cents, for in Paris wine is cheaper than beer. Blousards
crowd this place at all hours of the night.

Near by is a café concert. A "Grande Soirée Lyrique" is the
entertainment offered us at the Maison Doucieux, as we learn from the
rudely-written handbill which hangs at the entrance. Through a long,
winding, narrow, dark and dirty passage, up a rickety stone staircase,
through another passage, and we stand in a crowded hall, at whose
lower end a rude stage is erected, on which a ragged man is bawling a
comic song. In the midst of it there is a disturbance: a drunken man
has climbed upon the back of a seat to light his pipe at the
chandelier, and falling thence has enraged the fallen-upon to that
extent that a fight ensues. In a twinkling the tipsy man is dragged
out of the door, to the delight of the audience, who shout "Bravo!"
as he disappears. The concert is not entertaining, and we follow him
out. He is carefully propped up against a wall by those who put him
into the street, and when we come upon him is growling maledictions
upon his enemies, with his hair about his eyes and his hands clawing
the air. Four bareheaded women, roaring with laughter, come marching
abreast along the middle of the street, and picking up the drunkard's
battered hat disappear in the gloomy distance, boisterously thrusting
the hat upon each other's heads in turn.

A café chantant of a more pretentious sort than the Maison Doucieux,
but still the peculiar resort of the blousard--for there are café
chantants of many grades in Paris--may be found in one of the back
streets near the Boulevard St. Martin. Some of the cafés chantants are
patronized by the well-dressed class, and a blousard is no more likely
to be seen in their orchestra fauteuils than in the same division of
the regular theatres. The El Dorado, for example, in the Boulevard
Strasbourg, is as large and almost as elegant as Booth's Theatre in
New York, but it is a café chantant. Keeping still to the favorite
haunts of the blousard, we enter the showiest of the cafés chantants
peculiar to him--as free-and-easy a _beuglant_ as one could wish.
Beuglant, by the way, is the argot name of this sort of place; and as
the word comes from _beugler_, to "bellow," it may easily be seen how
flattering it is as a definite noun for a place where the chief
attraction is the singing.

It is late when we enter the beuglant, and the place is crowded to
suffocation and thick with tobacco smoke. The hall is an immensely
large one, with gleaming chandeliers, frescoed nymphs and cupids on
the walls, a regular stage and a regular orchestra. A venerable man in
gray hair and spectacles saws away at the big bass; a long-haired,
professor-looking person struggles laboriously with the piano; there
are two violinists, a horn, a trombone, a flute and a flageolet. On
the wall is a placard where we read that the price for the first
_consommation_ is fifteen sous, but that subsequent consommations will
be furnished at the ordinary price. Consommation is the convenient
word of cafés chantants for food or drink of any kind, and every
visitor is forced by the rules of the place to "consume" something as
his title to a seat. Nothing is furnished more nearly approaching food
than brandied cherries, but the drinks include all the noxious and
innoxious beverages known to the French--from coffee, sugar-water or
tea to brandy, rum and absinthe. In the list of the stronger drinks, a
compound of sugar, lemon, hot water and whisky (which I believe I have
heard mentioned under the name of punch in remote towns of Arkansas
and Minnesota) is here known as "an American." The first time one
hears the order, "Bring me an American, waiter, and let him be hot,
mind you--as hot as one can swallow him," it is a little surprising.

Waiters move laboriously about among the legs of the audience, bearing
salvers laden with wine, beer, Americans and bottles of water. The
audience is rough and ready; hats and caps are worn habitually; pipes
are diligently smoked--cigars are rare. Women are seldom seen here,
except upon the stage, where they sit in a semicircle in a somewhat
formal manner, each holding a bouquet in her lap carefully wrapped
round with white paper, each wearing flowers in her elaborately coiffé
hair and in the folds of her silken skirts, and each with arms and
shoulders bare. From time to time these women come forward and
_sing_--songs not always strictly adapted to the family circle,
perhaps. But the favorite vocalist is a comic man, who emerges from
behind the scenes in a grotesquely exaggerated costume--an
ill-fitting, long, green calico tail-coat, with a huge yellow bandana
dangling from a rear pocket; a red cotton umbrella with a brass ring
on one end and a glass hook on the other; light blue shapeless
trousers; a flaming orange--colored vest; a huge standing collar, and
in his buttonhole a ridiculous artificial flower. This type of comic
singer is unknown in American concert-halls of any grade, though he
is sometimes seen at the German concerts in the Bowery of the lowest
class. Here he is very cordially esteemed. The ladies behind him yawn
in a furtive manner under cover of their bouquets, but the audience is
hilarious over him as he sings about his friend Thomas from the
country, who came up to Paris to see the sights and shocked everybody
by his dreadful manners. He put his muddy boots on the fauteuils, did
mon ami Thomas; he fell in love with a gay woman of the Boulevards
whose skin was all plastered up like an old cathedral; he ate oysters
with a hair-pin at dinner; he offered his toothpick to his vis-à-vis,
and altogether conducted himself in such a manner that one was forced
to say to him (_chorus_), Ah, my friend Thomas! at Paris that's hardly
done. Ah, mon ami Thomas! at Paris that is not done at all. The
audience is in ecstasies of delight at this ill-bred conduct on the
part of the cousin from the provinces--secretly conscious as they are,
even though they be blousards, that they are Parisians, and know how
to behave themselves in a polite manner; and the vocalist, recovering
from his last grimace, gives them another dose. He relates that his
friend Thomas wanted to go to the grand opera; so he took him to the
Funambules: the fool swallowed that--il à gobé ça!--and when the tenor
began to sing Thomas roared out, "Tais-toi donc!" and began to bellow
a comic song, whereupon I dragged him out, protesting (_Chorus_), Ah,
mon ami Thomas! à Paris ça n'se fait guère. Ah, mon ami Thomas! à
Paris ça n'se fait pas!

When a sentimental song is sung the audience pay little attention. To
patriotic songs they listen respectfully. A song which breathes the
glories of literature as represented by Montaigne, Jean Jacques
Rousseau, and Molière is tolerated idly. But when the stage is
presently cleared for a ballet the young blousards--for they are
mostly young men who gather here--are all attention. What is their
disgust at perceiving that the dancers are men in ancient Greek
costumes, who do a sword-fight to music, with periods of sudden
tableau-attitude striking! They are a bit ridiculous, these Greeks,
flopping about the stage in tights and tunics, and presently three or
four blousards near me begin to guy the performance. "Ah-h-h!" they
cry, grinning broadly; "ah, ah, ha! ha-a-a-a!"--putting into this
utterance a world of amused scorn. The "regulator" of the
establishment--a solemn man in a tail-coat who walks about the hall
preserving order--gets angry at this. "Restez tranquilles," he says to
the jeerers, with expressive and emphatic forefinger leveled at the
group. Whereupon one of them, a handsome chap in a soft hat, leans his
elbows squarely on the table in front of him, wags his head saucily
and openly chaffs the solemn regulator. "Ah, bah!" he says, "do we
come _here_ to keep still?" The superintendent threatens to call the
police: the blousards laugh him to scorn. "You would make a fine
figure of yourself bringing here the police, wouldn't you? Look then
at what we have consumed!" pointing to the empty glasses before him on
the table. "Go along, then, do--go quickly--and bring here the police,
old wag that you are!" The regulator perceives the force of this
argument. "But they should be more respectful," he says, appealing to
me: "n'est ce pas, m'sieu?" and with this walks away. The hall is so
large, and the noise which fills it so prodigious, that this little
altercation has attracted no general attention, as it must have done
in a quieter place.

The theatre named by the beuglant's funny singer the "Funambules," to
which he took his friend Thomas under pretence that it was the opera,
is one of the queerest of the blousard's places of resort. It is a
droll little underground theatre--literally underground, with no
windows, no opening of any kind to the light of day, and no
ventilation. We reach it by a long winding way of pleasantly-lighted
stairs and corridors, and find ourselves in a room incredibly small
for a theatre--a mere little box of a place, not wider, I should
judge, than sixteen feet, nor more than fifty feet deep, but so
curiously and ingeniously arranged with seats in tiers upon an
inclined plane that quite a numerous audience can find room within it.
The "fauteuils d'orchestre," or orchestra-chairs, are the front row of
benches, nearest the stage. The "parterre" is the back rows. There is
a little bird's nest of a gallery at the rear of the room, where the
spectators cannot stand up without striking the ceiling with their
heads. At the sides of the space set apart for the musicians are two
queer little private boxes, perched up against the wall like
old-fashioned pulpits, and reached by a narrow flight of steps like a
ladder. The aristocratic seats (after the boxes) are the fauteuils
d'orchestre, for which we pay the ruinous sum of twenty-five sous
each. Here we are in an atmosphere utterly unlike that of the beuglant
just described, for this is a place where the honest blousard comes
with his wife and children for an evening of innocent amusement.
Directly behind us sits a family of three generations--a bent old man
of seventy-five or eighty years, gray-haired and venerable; a
round-faced, middle-aged blousard with his dark-eyed wife; and their
two little babies, scarcely old enough to prattle, and who lisp their
delight with beaming eyes to "dan'père." Next me is a bright-eyed boy
of four years, with clustering curls about his fair forehead, who sits
bolt upright in his mother's lap and comments in subdued but earnest
tones on the performers on the stage. "Pou'quoi fait-on ça?" ("What
are they doing that for?") is his favorite question during the
evening, varied by the frequent and anxious remark, "Mais, c'n'est pa'
encore fini?" ("But it is not yet finished?"). A cat is asleep on the
steps of the private box at the left. Neither of the boxes is
tenanted, by the way, as they are inordinately expensive--fifty sous
each occupant, or some such heavy sum of money. Under one of them
there is a cozy cupboard, where the woman-usher (in a neat muslin cap
with pink ribbons) keeps the candies and cakes she sells to the
audience between the acts. Upon the poor little profits of her office
here this honest woman lives, and keeps herself as tidy as if she had
ample pin-money. She thrusts a little wooden footstool under the feet
of each woman in the audience, and is amply repaid with a sou at the
end of the evening. The footstool is welcome, for a Frenchwoman is ill
at ease at a place of amusement without her little "bench" under her
foot: it is invariably brought her at theatres or cafés, as a rule;
and each of the larger theatres in Paris has a dozen or so of these
"ouvreuses," as they are called, who are paid usually two sous by each
lady who accepts a little bench. In the present instance the fee is as
small as it possibly could be, and the bench-woman ekes out her income
by selling cakes, oranges and candies. Curiosity to know her earnings
elicits the frank reply that she often makes as much as thirty sous a
night in her sphere of labor.

The Funambules orchestra is composed of three instruments--a big bass,
played by a tall, genial-looking man who wears a flannel shirt and a
paper collar, and has a bald head; and a piano and violin, played by
two handsome, dark-haired, romantic-looking young men, apparently
brothers. The music is excellent. The performance lasts from seven
till twelve, five hours, and includes three pieces. The first is a
farce, in which the orthodox stage papa looks over the top of a screen
in a fury at the orthodox stage-lovers, and ends the piece by joining
their hands with the orthodox "Take her, you young rascal!" The second
piece is a nautical, black-eyed-Susan sort of drama, with the genteel
young navy lieutenant who sings like a siren; the jolly old tar who
swaggers like a ship in the trough of the sea; the comic servant who
is in love with the heroine, and whose passion brings him droll
burdens of woe; and so on. Both these pieces are interspersed with
songs, duets, quartets, after the manner of the old-fashioned Dibdin
"Jolly Waterman" style of pieces, never seen on our stage now-a-days,
nor on the French stage except at minor theatres. Follows a
pantomime--_Monsieur Goosequill's Troubles_--the only pantomime of the
kind introduced in America by the Ravels that I have ever seen in
Paris, this style of entertainment having gone completely out of
fashion in France. The papa of the farce (who was also the Jack Tar of
the drama) reappears in the pantomime as Pierrot, the white-faced
clown; and tremendously funny is he. There is a weird, elastic
harlequin in a ghastly mask which he never lifts; and an amazing
notary in an astounding nose, who proves to be Monsieur Goosequill.
There is a humpback of hideous deformity and a Columbine of seraphic
loveliness; and all Monsieur Goosequill's troubles come out of the
fact that he endeavors to marry the humpback to the Columbine, who
prefers to marry the harlequin. And so the notary's quill sets fire to
the inkstand: the table is bewitched and treads on his corns; and
indeed he suffers terribly and turns somersaults of agony. Peace
arrives at last through the humpback giving up his suit; the curtain
falls on Columbine and harlequin bowing and backing, hand in hand;
gran'père and the babies are all three fast asleep; but the
bright-eyed boy in his mother's lap asks with unabated interest,
"Pou'quoi fait-on ça?"

In the Boulevard Beaumarchais, close by the old Place of the Bastile,
stands the grandest of the theatres habitually visited by the
blousard. Its most constant patrons are the furniture-makers of the
Faubourg St. Antoine, who bring to the theatre a decided perfume of
mahogany and rosewood, and suggest the varnish of newness which the
place would otherwise sadly lack. The quarter in which it stands is
not a specially suspicious one by day, but at night it is ill
calculated to inspire confidence. There are villainous-looking,
slouching wretches about, who eye you curiously and not too amiably.
The theatre has had its day of splendor, but is now a frowzy-looking
concern--very roomy, somewhat suggesting the Old Bowery Theatre, but
lacking its cheerful aspect. The audience is without exception of the
blousard class: the patrons of the Old Bowery, even in its latest
years, were almost millionaires in comparison. The highest-priced
seats (excepting the proscenium-boxes, which are never occupied) cost
forty sous. You can sit in the gallery for five sous if you like the
company of the Paris gamin. At the entrance of the theatre there is a
placard which reads thus: "By paying twenty-five centimes one enters
immediately without making queue." The ticket-seller is a
prosperous-looking old woman of fifty or there-about, who wears a
beribboned cap and side-curls, and has a mouth which tells of years
spent in the authoritative position she occupies. She is stern to a
terrible degree with the average blousard who approaches the round
hole whereat she reigns; but to us, who indulge in the extravagance of
paying the extra five sous for the privilege of entering without
taking our place in the queue at the door, she relaxes visibly.

The curtain rises at seven o'clock, here as at all the theatres where
the blousard pays his money, and the amusement continues until after
midnight. But it is not amusing. There are several pieces on the bill,
but' the chief one, a drama in five acts, is a poor thing, played by
mediocre actors in the most dismal manner possible. The scenery is
worn and dilapidated and wretched; the play turns on the sufferings of
the poor; there are two or three murders, a suicide, a death from
starvation, and such a glut of horrors that the whole entertertainment
is dismal and depressing to the last degree. Yet the theatre is
usually well patronized, and the audience seems intensely interested.
The blousard loves to see depicted on the stage a degree of misery
more terrible than that which is his daily lot. For the dramas which
depict high life--unless it be the high life of the old days of
beruffled and silk-stockinged cavaliers--he cares very little. And in
his serious modern dramas the hero must be a blousard, the villain a
fine gentleman, the blousard to marry the heroine in the last act, and
the fine gentleman to be sent to the galleys.

WIRT SIKES.



EIGHT HUNDRED MILES IN AN AMBULANCE.

TWO PAPERS.--1.


The United States is the only country in the world that has its
frontier in the middle. The Great American Desert, stretching from the
Canadas to the Gulf in a belt nearly a thousand miles in breadth, is
now the true divide between the East and the West; and as if that were
not enough, it is backed by the long ranges of the Rockies, which,
though they flatten out and break down here and there, have yet quite
enough of "sassy country" to make a very respectable barrier. A
century ago the Alleghanies were the boundaries--now we look upon them
as molehills; then the vast prairies lay in the way, like an endless
sea; then the Mississippi, like Jordan, rolled between. But all this
is now as nothing. We have jumped the old claim of the Alleghanies, we
have crossed the prairies, we have spanned the Mississippi with a
dozen splendid bridges, and now the great lines of railroad make but a
mouthful of the desert, and digest the Rockies as easily as an ostrich
his pebbles and tenpennies. The old fables of magic cars, in which
magicians could annihilate space and time, are now dull and tame. Like
a dream the desert glides by while a sunrise, a sunset, lights up the
measureless waste; we pass some low hills, and the Rockies that loomed
before us are circumvented and flanked; we whirl through a wild cañon,
and they are left behind. Have we seen the desert, the mountains? No.
It is but a glimpse--a flat space blackened with prairie-fires, a
distant view of purple peaks. Few become intimate with this our
wonderful frontier, and most people scorn it as an empty, useless,
monotonous space, barren as the sea.

We left Cheyenne early in July, under the care of a paymaster of the
U.S.A., to visit with him some of the forts and Indian agencies of
Wyoming Territory and beyond. Our party consisted of twelve persons,
including six ladies and three children. There were two ambulances for
us, and three wagons containing all the comforts necessary in camping
out for some weeks. It was promised that we should see wonders, and
should go where no white women had ever been before. At 6.45 on a
beautiful morning, with a fresh breeze blowing over the desert, the
party set forth, looking forward with delight to a continuous picnic a
month long. Soon every vestige of human habitation disappeared, and we
were alone in the midst of one of the loneliest lands in the world.
Sahara itself, that bugbear of childhood, could not be much more
desert than this. Fort Laramie, distant nearly one hundred miles, two
long days' journey toward the north, was our first point of
destination. Over ridge after ridge of the vast rolling plains,
clothed with thin brown grass, we rode: no other vegetation was
visible but the prickly pear, white thistle and yucca, or Spanish
bayonet--stiff, gray, stern plants, suited to the stony, arid soil.
The road was good, the vehicle comfortable, the air sweet and cool:
along the many ruts in the sand grew long rows of sunflowers, which
fill every trail on the plains for hundreds of miles, and give a
little color to the colorless scene. The season of flowers was nearly
over in that rainless country, but a few still lingered, and among
them was the familiar larkspur, growing wild. At first, the long low
hills seemed lonely as graves, but we soon found there was not a rod
of ground but had its inhabitants. Everywhere something was moving,
some little beast, bird or insect: larks sang and perked about on the
stones; prairie-birds twittered; gophers (pretty creatures with
feathery tails and leopard spots) slid rapidly to their holes;
prairie-dogs sat like sentinels upon their mounds and barked like
angry puppies; great pink-and-gray grasshoppers, so fat that they
could hardly waddle, indulged their voracity; and brown crickets and
butterflies were seen on every side. An antelope disappears in the
distance: a brigand-like horseman rides up and asks the way. He is a
suspicious-looking character, and pistols are cocked. We have not our
full escort, and are there not greenbacks among us? But he too
disappears in the distance. Is his band lurking among those hills? We
like to think so.

About fifteen miles up and down brought us to our first ranch, on Pole
Creek, a dry stream, with osiers, shrubs and weeds in its bed. It was
pleasant to see something green, even so little, and something human,
though only a long, low whitewashed cabin; but this touch of life did
not make much impression upon the wilderness, save to make it seem
wilder. A plover was flying about, "crying and calling:" a large flock
of cow-buntings, our old acquaintances, followed the cattle that
grazed in the bed of the stream. We gathered twenty species of flowers
here, among them a tiny scarlet mallow and a white oenothera or
evening primrose. In the three rooms of the ranch there was
refreshment to be found, doubtless of a spirituous nature, but we
watered our mules and went on. It was ten miles farther before we came
to our next ranch, so thinly settled is the country. Being time for
our noonday rest, we took refuge from the fierce heat and glare of the
desert in the clean rooms of Mrs. Fagin, dined on our own provisions
and drank the excellent milk she brought us.

Still on the ambulances rolled, over the hot, high table-land, till
about five o'clock we saw some strange yellow bluffs before us, and
descended into the valley of the Chug, a clear stream flowing through
a fringe of willow, box-elder (a species of maple) and the cottonwood
poplar. Here was Kelly's Ranch, a large one, close by which we were to
camp for the night. We found there Lieutenant F---- and an escort of
twenty horse, which had been sent to meet us from Fort Laramie. They
had our tents pitched for us, and everything ready. A wild, lonely
place was this green valley, with its fantastic waterworn bluffs that
bore a grotesque resemblance to turtles, seals and other great
sea-beasts, and it was delightful to see trees again and to hear the
sound of running water. The children at once pulled off shoes and
stockings and began to paddle in the stream, and some of the elders
followed. It was arranged that we should have supper and breakfast in
the ranch, which was a sort of tavern, and we found the supper quite
good enough for hungry people, despite the odor of onions that
pervades the hearths and homes of this region.

Kelly was a tall, dark, slender man, with large melancholy eyes, soft,
but never meeting you quite frankly--eyes into which you could not
look very far. It is not easy for us to understand the life of this
man and his "pard," with their Indian wives and half-breed children,
fifty miles from anywhere; yet they seemed very busy and comfortable.
He was asked how he liked it. "It's rather lonesome," he replied. He
was a man of few words, and went about silently in carpet slippers,
waiting on us at table. No one else appeared, but we had glimpses of
the Indian women in the kitchen preparing the meal. After supper we
all sat down on buffalo robes spread upon the dewless grass, while the
sun went down in glory and the twilight gathered in the sky, realizing
that we were camping out for the first time in our lives, and having a
delicious sense of adventure, a first sip of the wine of the wilds.
"Early to bed and early to rise" is the rule in camp, and so when the
stars came out we turned in. As soon as the sun set another climate
reigned over the Plains. The nights are always cool, dry and
delicious, and fifty miles of ambulance-traveling is a good
preparation for sleep. Yet when all was still I came out to look at
the night, for everything was so strange and new that sleep at first
would not come. The scene was wild enough. The twilight still
glimmered faintly; the sky was thick with stars of a brightness never
seen in more humid air; the Milky Way was like a fair white cloud; the
fantastic bluffs looked stranger than ever against the pale green
west; and the splendid comet was plunging straight down into; the
Turtle's mouth. A light from the blacksmith's forge glowed upon the
buildings, tents and low trees: in the stillness the hammer rang out
loud, and there was a low murmur of voices from the officers' tent. In
the middle of the night we were wakened by hearing the galloping of a
horse, perhaps a passing traveler, and when it ceased a new sound came
to our ears, the barking and whining of wolves.

The next morning we were off at six. Our road lay in the green valley
of the Chugwater, under the pale bluffs, channeled and seamed by the
rains into strange shapes. We never tired of watching our train as it
wound up and down, the white-covered wagons with red wheels and blue
bodies, the horsemen loping along, picturesquely dressed, with broad
hats, large boots, blue trousers and shirts of every color. Their
riding was admirable, and as they appeared and disappeared among the
trees or behind some rising ground the effect was always picturesque.
The valley was charming after so much desert, for it was long since we
had seen a good tree. The principal one in Cheyenne was not larger
than a lilac-bush, and had to be kept wrapped in wet towels. The light
vivid tints of the box-elder contrasted well with the silvery willows
and cottonwoods, and still better with the long rows of sage-brush in
the foreground and the yellowish cliffs behind. A high, singular butte
called Chimney Rock was conspicuous for many miles; also a long one
called the Table. There were several ranches in the valley, and many
splendid cattle.

About ten o'clock we stopped at Colonel Bullock's ranch. Not a soul
within: all hands were gone off to a "rounding out," or branding of
cattle--a wild scene, they say, and worth seeing. The herders, rough
men with shaggy hair and wild, staring eyes, in butternut trousers
stuffed into great rough boots, drive the cattle together, a mass of
tossing horns and hoofs, and brand the names of their several owners
upon them--a work full of excitement and not unattended with peril.
We looked curiously about the ranch, which resembled others we had
seen: a log house, furnished with the necessaries of life, with
buffalo skins and arms in plenty lying about, and some hanging
shelves, containing a number of very good books, including a classical
dictionary. About the middle of the day we rested a few minutes at
Owen's Ranch, where lived a handsome blond young man with a nice white
wife. His corral was surrounded with a wall of neat masonry, instead
of the usual crooked posts. Here were Chug Springs, the head of a
branch stream, and from thence we went over what we were told was the
toughest divide in the whole country. The heat was scorching over the
dreary, dusty wastes of sand and alkali, where hardly the cactus could
find sustenance. This was our first glimpse of the Mauvaises Terres,
the alkali-lands, which turn up their white linings here and there,
but do not quite prevail on this side the Platte. The Black Hills of
Wyoming, with their dark jagged outlines, gave life to the backward
view, and when they were concealed Laramie Peak appeared on the
left--a mountain of noble form and color. At Eagle's Nest the yellow
bluffs again started up, opening with a striking gateway, through
which a fine picture of the blue peak showed itself down a dry valley,
a chimney rock in the foreground giving emphasis to the view. The
bluffs disappeared, and there was again the desert, and always the
desert, with its heat and dust. Our four shining black mules went
bravely on, however, and at five o'clock we came in sight of Fort
Laramie, a little brown spot far away over the plain. In less than an
hour we arrived at the post in a whirlwind of dust.

We were expected, for had we not followed the telegraph-wires? Utter
strangers as we were, at once we were made to feel at home, and
everything was done for the comfort of the weary travelers. A
description of this fort will do for all the rest, though this is one
of the oldest, largest and most important posts. There is no sort of
fortification whatever: a large parade-ground, nearly destitute of
grass and planted with half-dead trees, is surrounded by the barracks
and quarters, neat, low buildings, and beyond, at one end, are the
ordnance and sutler's stores. A hospital and a large old barrack
called Bedlam tower above the rest: more buildings straggle away
toward the Laramie River, where there is a bridge. The position
commands the river and bluffs. No grass, no gardens, no irrigation, no
vegetables nor anything green is here. One good-sized cottonwood,
perhaps coeval with the post, seemed as much of a veteran as the old
artilleryman, a character always pointed out to strangers, who has
lived at the post ever since it was a post, and is distinguished as
the ugliest man there. His seamed and scarred face looks as if it had
been through many storms and many Indian fights. Another distinguished
character is the pet elk, a privileged person, who abuses his
privileges by walking into houses and eating up hats, shoes,
window-curtains, toys--anything to satisfy his voracious appetite.

On the 14th of July we were off for Fort Fetterman. To our surprise,
the morning was delicious, though the mercury at noon the day before
had ranged at over 100° in the shade. Laramie Peak was still in sight,
and was so, in fact, for weeks, till upon nearer acquaintance the fine
old mountain became a friend for life. The country was still wilder
and lonelier than that we had seen, and not a single habitation lay
upon our route. All had been burnt by the Indians. We followed at some
distance the right bank of the North Platte, all day over a barren
country of low hills and scattered pines, bounded by a range of
whitish bluffs beyond the river. We halted a few moments at Warm
Spring, where a clear basin of tepid water bubbled and boiled and
overflowed into a good-sized brook. Then on to Big Bitter Cottonwood,
where we had our nooning among the trees on the wide sandy bed of the
stream, which had sunk under ground for many miles, as is the custom
of rivers here. It gushed forth near by, however, in copious springs,
which gave us abundance of water and supported quite a luxuriant
growth of vegetation. Wild currants delighted the children, clematis
twined its white blossoms among the scarlet buffalo-berries, graceful
osiers waved in the wind, and wild flowers were plentiful. It was a
pleasant place among the wilds, and had perhaps been a happy home, for
here were the ruins of a ranch burnt by the Indians. Here, too, were
other ruins--of beaver-dams, built by the first settlers of all.

Leaving this creek, we went on to Little Bitter Cottonwood, a similar
dry creek, but smaller and more lightly timbered. Then passing some
more low hills with a few pines, always with the Platte on the right
and Laramie Peak on the left, we crossed a long hill or divide called
Bull Bend, and descended into the fine valley of Horseshoe Creek. We
were now upon the old Overland Route to California, once so much
traveled, but now deserted for the railroad. Here was the abode of
Jack Slade, one of the station-masters on that famous stage-road--a
man of bad reputation, and more than suspected of having been a
freebooter, and even a murderer. This did not prevent his station from
being one of the best on the road, his horses always good, his meals
easily bolted. Of him and of his band you may read the history in Mark
Twain's _Roughing It_. After the railroad was finished the Indians
descended upon these lonely ranches in the valley of the Platte, now
left out in the cold: they attacked Slade's house one morning in
force, and there was a savage fight. Jack and his band succeeded in
driving them off, but the next day the Indians returned in larger
numbers, killed some of the whites and burnt the ranch. We next hear
of Jack Slade in Montana, where he took to his old trade again. The
Vigilants thought they must "draw the line somewhere," so they drew it
at Jack Slade. He escaped several times the threatened vengeance,
saved by the intercession of his wife, a faithful and determined
woman, but he did not mend his ways. One day, when she was absent,
they took him and hung him to a tree. Strange to say, he did not "die
game." His wife came galloping in on the scene, but it was too late:
all was over for Jack Slade. It was strange and interesting to hear
this wild story in the very spot where it happened--to see the
blackened ruins and the graves of those who fell in that long day's
struggle, the lonely bluffs that once looked down on Jack Slade's
ranch and echoed to the trot of his famous teams. The creek here makes
a wide bend, leaving a fertile intervale where thousands of cattle
could graze: the trees are always green, the river never dry. About
three o'clock we came to our camping-ground among the timber on the
clear stream, over against the inevitable bluffs. Fire had destroyed
some of the finest trees, and on the great black trunks sat flocks of
chattering blackbirds, the little chickadee's familiar note was heard,
and a crane flew away with his long legs behind him, just as he looks
on a Japanese tray. The scene of encamping is ever new and delightful.
The soldiers are busy in pitching tents, unloading wagons and
gathering wood; horses and mules are whinnying, rolling and drinking;
Jeff, the black cook, is kindling a fire in his stove; children are
running about, and groups in bright colors are making, unconsciously,
all sorts of charming effects among the white wagons and green trees.

We spread our blankets in the shade and dream. The children's voices
sound pleasantly. They are bathing in a still pool which the eddy
makes behind the bushes, though the cool clear water is rushing down
fast from Laramie Peak. It seems as if we were almost at the world's
end, so lonely is the place, but there is nothing to fear. Indians
will not attack so large a party as ours. A strong wind rises and
sways the willows, making the wild scene wilder than ever; a blood-red
sunset flames from the horizon to the upper sky: and as it darkens,
and the wolves begin to howl, we think of Jack Slade and all the wild
stories we have heard of robbers and fights and Indian massacres.

At reveille we all started up. It was 4-1/2 A.M. Had we slept? We knew
not. All had been blankets and--blank. A pail of water and a tin
basin, a little "Colgate" for cosmetic, on went the warm flannels, and
we were ready by five o'clock for breakfast in the dining-tent. Here
we had camp-stools and tables, and upon the latter coffee,
beef-steaks, fried potatoes, preserves and olives. Though all our
meals had to be very much alike, they were always excellent and did
credit to the commissariat. As Carlyle remarks, "Honor be to the man
who cans! He is Canning, König, or King!" How people lived here before
the days of canned vegetables it is hard to imagine. Before six we
were packed and off again. The morning ride in the cool invigorating
air, before the heat of the day came on, was the most delightful of
our experiences.

Winding first through a pass between hills of sandstone and rubble,
where moss-agates are found (an excellent place for an ambush), we
followed the same sort of country as before over a succession of small
creeks and divides. These table-lands were always barren, and covered
with the same thin gray vegetation, but sometimes adorned with a few
flowers--the beautiful agemone or prickly poppy, with its blue-green
leaves, large white petals and crown of golden stamens; the pretty
fragrant abronia, and the white oenothera. A deep pink convolvulus was
common, which grew upon a bush, not on a vine, and was a large and
thrifty plant. Sage and wormwood were seen everywhere, and on the
streams we found larkspur, aconite, little white daisies and lungwort,
lupines and the ever-present sunflower. But usually all was
barren--barren hills, barren valleys, barren plains. Sometimes we came
upon tracts of buffalo-grass, a thin, low, wiry grass that grows in
small tufts, and does not look as if there were any nourishment in it,
but is said to be more fattening than corn. Our animals ate it with
avidity. Was not all this dreary waste wearily monotonous and tame?
Monotonous, yes; but no more tame than the sea is tame. We sailed
along day after day over the land-waves as on a voyage. To ride over
those lonely divides in the fresh morning air made us feel as if we
had breakfasted on flying-fish. We felt what Shelley sings of the
power of "all waste and solitary places;" we felt their boundlessness,
their freedom, their wild flavor; we were penetrated with their solemn
beauty. Here the eyesight is clearer, the mind is brighter, the
observation is quickened: every animal, insect and bird makes its
distinct impression, every object its mark. There is something on the
Plains that cannot be found elsewhere--something which can be felt
better than described--something you must go there to find.

Under the superb blue sky we went on and on, over a country all tops
and bottoms, some of the bottoms with wet creeks, most of them with
dry. We lunched at a pretty creek, a wet one, called La Bonté (it is
charming to find the soft French and Spanish names so common here), a
pleasant timbered stream, and a great place for Indian massacres. The
ruins of the ranches once standing in this valley are still to be
seen, and the graves of a lieutenant and twenty-four soldiers killed
by the Indians many years ago.

The afternoon sun blazed upon the low hills, mere heaps of rubble like
old moraines, where sometimes a little red sandstone cropped out and
gave the wearied eyes a change of color. Always the noble vault of
sky, the flying cloud-shadows, the Laramie range with its torn
outlines softened by distance, which looked so near, yet was so far.
Constantly we said, "How like to Arabia or Palestine!" We only asked
for camels to make the resemblance perfect. The gray sage-brush tinted
the long low solemn hills like the olives of Judaea; the distant
bluffs looked like ruined cities; the mirage was our Dead Sea. The
cattle-and sheep-farmers follow the same business as Abraham and
Isaac, and are as sharp in their dealings as Jacob of old. The Indians
are our Bedouins, and like them they "fold their tents and silently
steal." Once in looking back the illusion was perfect. The Sea of
Galilee was behind us, and upon its banks stood the old cities of
Capernaum and Nazareth towered and walled and gray. We had not then
seen the verses of Joaquin Miller, in which he expresses the same idea
in better words--in words of prophecy.

After a long hot ride we were glad to see the flag waving over Fort
Fetterman, though the signs of human habitation did not seem to belong
there. The post is not as large as Fort Laramie, but otherwise as like
it as one pea to another, and stands in the same way at the junction
of a stream (La Prele) with the Platte, upon a bluff that commands the
two rivers. The view from thence at the moment of sunset was
impressive--of the two streams, bordered with green, and the vast
country beyond the Platte, more barren and alkaline even than the
nearer side.

At the fort we found the same kindness and hospitality as at Laramie.
Our quarters were in a large empty house, the abode of the commanding
officer of the post, then absent with his family, where we were made
very comfortable. Our meals were provided at other officers' quarters,
and everything was done for our entertainment. Our rooms were on the
ground floor, and we were startled at reveille to see five or six dogs
leap in at the open windows and run about the floor. Just awakened, we
hardly knew in the dim light what manner of wild beasts they might be.
Afterward, we heard that this was the custom in the family. A pet
porcupine in the house amused us very much. He was a grotesque little
creature, and very tame and affectionate, following the servant about
like a little dog, and fondling her feet. His quills had been drawn or
shed, but they were beginning to grow again, like pin-feathers.

In this quiet, kindly little post nothing seems ever to happen, but
the air is full of Indian rumors. A Gatling gun, pointed at the
universe, seemed to promise the enemy a sharp reception if a scare
ever came. This diabolical little mitrailleuse would not be pleasant
to look upon as it ground out grim death in such a matter-of-fact way.
A few days were very agreeably spent at Fetterman (of which the very
name tells of Indian murders), and there we found courteous, educated
men and gracious, lovely women. It was wonderful what elegant little
entertainments they managed to give us in this far-away outpost of
civilization.

On Saturday, July 18, we set out to return to Fort Laramie. The route
was the same, and nothing occurred to vary it save the little
incidents, not worth telling, which yet give the real charm to a
journey. Our party was made still larger by the addition of some
mounted traders and their train of wagons. It was always pleasant to
see them, for there are no such riders as upon the frontier, where
every one sits easily and perfectly, and the large boots and the
sombreros make every man a picture. Again we were on La Bonté at noon,
on Horseshoe at night. We begin to feel at home here, and it is truly
a place to like, with its many bird-voices and rushing breezes. We
encamp; the soldiers laugh and sing; a simple joke seems to go a great
way; one lassos another, and all roar when he misses. The steam of
cooking rises on the air: we feel again the charm of camp-life, and
our sleep is sweet in the night. Once more the morning red flashes
upon the sky, then changes to yellow and to gray. Clouds come over,
the roaring wind that always blows at Horseshoe scatters the limbs
from the burnt trees, but it will not rain. No such luck, but it will
be cool and pleasant for our journey. Passing by the ruins of Jack
Slade's ranch, the long curve of the Horseshoe, the bluffs and the
plains, we are once more at Fort Laramie, and sitting in the cool
evening air upon the friendly verandah of Major W----, hearing the
band play.

Our stay at the post was short, but we had time to attend a charming
little ball given us by the officers, and to drive along the really
pretty banks of the Laramie. And now we were to leave them once more
for a wilder country still, the Indian Territory itself, and to visit
Red Cloud and Spotted Tail agencies, the names of which alone gave us
a sense of adventure and of nearness to savage life. Our escort was
increased to fifty men, under command of Captain S---- and two
lieutenants, and we took along with us a large supply-train for the
agencies of about thirty wagons, so that, numbering the teamsters and
drivers, our party was at least one hundred strong.

Fording the Platte, a large deep stream, was a little unpleasant to us
novices, for we tumbled about a great deal over the stones in the
river-bed, and felt as if an upset was quite possible. The crossing is
sometimes dangerous, and there is a rope-ferry, but to-day the water
was low and fordable with ease. We are now no longer in the United
States, but in the Indian country. No ladies have ever taken this
journey before except the wives of the agents, who have been there but
a few weeks. In fact, these agencies were only established a short
time ago and the Indians are not yet very friendly to them. The
country was wilder, vaster and more barren than ever, with fewer
streams and broader divides. Tantalizing showers flying across the
distant mountains did not cool the dry, hot air. At noon we began to
see a long detached ridge, an advanced post of the Rockies, called
Rawhide Peak, and at night we camped on Rawhide Creek, a rather
desolate stream, without timber, bordered only with shrubs and weeds.
It seemed cheerful, however, upon its stony banks with such a gay
crowd as we had, so many soldiers and other people about, with their
wagons, horses, mules, tents and mess-chests. But a great black cloud
was rising over Rawhide Peak, and just as we were seated comfortably
at dinner down came the whirlwind upon us, nearly blew over our tent,
and covered our dinner with a thick coating of the dust of the Plains.
Beds, clothing, hair, mouths, noses, were full of the fine gray
powder. What if our dinner was spoiled? 'Twas but the fortune of war.
The blow was soon over, and we managed to dine off the scraps, so as
not to go quite hungry to bed. The rain poured down for five minutes,
and laid the dust when too late, the sky cleared, and a wonderful
rainbow, three deep, appeared in the east. The sunset was one not to
be forgotten. The deep blue-black of Rawhide Peak, cut sharp by the
clear gleaming apricot sky, and above the flying clouds, wavered and
pulsed with color and flame. We watched them by the camp-fire till
twilight faded and moon and stars shone with desert brilliancy.
Shaking the dust from our beds as a testimony against the spiteful
spirits of Rawhide Peak, we slept with our usual profundity. Always,
however, before bedtime we had to go through the little ceremony of
removing the burs from our clothing, for every plant in this country
seems to have a bur or a tick-seed, and we found a new one in every
camp. Sometimes they were arrows or needles an inch long, sometimes
triangles with sharp corners, sometimes little spiked balls, sometimes
long bags with prongs. There was no end to their number and variety,
and they grew to be one of our studies.

After the first wrench of waking, the morning, from dawn to sunrise,
was always beautiful. It amused us while dressing to watch the ears of
the mules moving against the pale yellow sky, and the men, like black
ghosts, stealing about. We crossed a wide, noble mesa clothed with
buffalo-grass: there was no heat, no dust, and the long caravan before
us made, as usual, a moving picture. The desert looked more like
Palestine than ever, with the low buttes and sandhills yellow in the
distance. "Towered cities called us then," yet when we reached them we
found but desolation, "and the fox looked out of the window." The
queer little horned frogs, lizards, rattlesnakes and coyotes were the
sole inhabitants. "Them sandhills," we were told, "tracks across the
country for a thousand mile."

Our next halt was at Niobrara Creek, called also L'eau qui court and
Running Water, These three names (all with the same meaning) are far
prettier than the place. Not a stick of timber, not a shrub, can be
seen upon its banks. There was a flowing stream, a wide meadow, full
of what looked like pink clover, but was only a bitter weed, and
behind and before us the desert, in which our lively little camp was
the only life to be seen. We soon found that we were not beyond the
power of the spirits of Rawhide Peak. "O'er the far blue mountain"
came the whirlwind punctually at dinner-time, but, fortunately, we had
been somewhat beforehand with it, and had already stowed away our soup
safely. The dust could not get at the champagne which we drank in
honor of a wedding anniversary. Lighting our camp-fire, we forgot all
else in listening to stories of the war and its heroic life; of Indian
scares and massacres; of handfuls of men defending themselves behind
their dead horses and driving back the foe; of brave young fellows
lying cold and mutilated upon the Plains; of freezing storms of snow
and hail; and of the many hair-breadth 'scapes and perils of the
wilderness, till we all became Desdemonas of the hour. We felt that
though we were probably as safe as ever in our lives, yet there were
possibilities that gave our position just enough spice of danger to be
exciting.

Looking out during the night, I saw a misshapen gibbous moon, of a
strange green-cheese color, setting between the four legs of a mule,
whose body made an arched frame for it. The effect was most grotesque.
A ride on horseback next morning over the fresh breezy divide was a
charming change from the monotonous 'bus. How the larks sang for us on
that bright morning! and coyotes and blackbirds with white wings fled
away before us. A little after noon we struck the sources of the White
River, pleasant springs on a hillside, bubbling forth among the first
trees we had seen since we left the Laramie. Then we descended into a
fine shady valley: all our old friends were there in thickets--the
box-elder, willow, birch and cottonwood, the alder, osier and wild
cherry, currant, gooseberry, buffalo-berry and clematis. As we went
on, brushing through the thick foliage, the hills on either side
became higher, and grew into bastions, castles, donjon-keeps and
fantastic clustered chimneys, like Scott's description of the valley
of St. John. The river went circling about through the intervale, so
that we had to cross it constantly upon the little bridges made
during the White River expedition in the February before. It was
pleasant thus to wind along under the overarching boughs, coming
frequently upon some pretty reach of the stream, where we could watch
the cavalcade crossing, dashing out from under the bushes or watering
the horses, while the heavy white-topped wagons plunged into the water
and slowly mounted the opposite bank. In the distance the men were
scouring the hillsides for deer, and perhaps looking out a little for
Indians also. We went on in military order, with mounted pickets in
advance, in the rear and on both sides; not that there was any danger,
but an Indian is an inscrutable mystery, a wolf on two legs, and it is
not easy to know what he may do.

The valley grew wider and spread into a great bare plain, still
bordered with pine-sprinkled bluffs, through which the river dodged
about without any apparent reason, and wherever it went the trees
followed. Before we came in sight of the agency we were met by several
officers and traders, glad of a little change of society. They
conducted us to our camp on a pleasant rising ground about a mile from
the agency, overlooking the cavalry and infantry camps in front and
rear. It is a wild, lonely, fascinating place, this White River
Valley, shut out from the world by its castled bluffs, though should
we climb them we should only find another desert. We dined under a
bower of pine boughs beside our tents, that served for a parlor. In
the evening everybody called to see us, including the only two ladies
in the place, wives of the traders, who looked too delicate to bear
the hardships of the wilderness. Perhaps the hardships are not great,
but the loneliness must be terrible in the long, long winters.

The next day we drove over to the agency, eager to see the Indian dance
that had been promised us. The place consists of several government and
private buildings surrounded by a stockade. When we arrived a large
number of Indians were already there, mostly squaws and children,
mounted on ponies and dressed in their gayest blankets and
embroideries. Their ponies are very pretty, small, gracefully-formed
horses, not clumsy as we had expected. The mantles of the squaws were
of deer-skin, but covered entirely with beads, the groundwork of deep
sky-blue ones, with gay stiff figures in brilliant colors. They were
gracefully cut, somewhat like a "dolman," and had a rich, gorgeous
effect in the crowd. Most of them wore necklaces of "thaqua"--the
quill-like white shell which is brought from the Pacific, and serves
them for small change--and heavy earrings of the same shells, a quarter
of a yard long. Their ears were slit from top to bottom to hold these
great earrings: sometimes they wore two pairs, with heavy
mother-of-pearl shells at the end of each. The necklaces covered the
whole chest, like a bib or a breastplate. The parting of their long
black hair was painted red, and their cheeks daubed with red, yellow
and blue. Most of them had flat faces and flat noses: very few were in
the least good-looking. Hundreds were waiting outside the gates, among
them some half-breed boys.

Soon the braves began to come in. With a glass we could see great
numbers of them winding out of the hills from their hidden camps, well
mounted and flashing with bright arms and gay trappings. It was a
strange, wonderful scene of motion and color, with the gray,
unchangeable desert and the pale walls of the buttes for a background.
The men came crowding, tearing in at a great pace, and soon we could
see the dancing-party dashing along in all their feathers and
war-paint, an inconceivably wild, savage cavalcade. On they rushed,
beating a great drum in solemn cadence, shouting, blowing fifes, and
firing their pieces into the air. There was as much noise as on a
Fourth of July. We had to stand back to let them pass, for there was a
scene of the wildest confusion as they all, horse and foot, rushed
pell-mell into the stockade, followed closely by the squaws and
children on their spirited ponies. It was a piece of _real_ savage
life. Following after them, we went up into the second story of the
agent's house, where we could look down upon the barbaric crowd. The
squaws made a brilliant circle all round the inside of the enclosure,
gay as a terrace of flowers. About fifteen men squatted round the big
drum, which must have been five or six feet in diameter, and began a
weird song, interspersed with grunts and yells. It had a measured
cadence, but not a semblance of music. Meanwhile the braves who were
to join in the dance formed themselves into two circles of about
thirty men each, and the rest sat upon their horses, looking
imperturbable. The principal chiefs did not join in the dance, and two
or three came up into the room where we were.

The dresses of the dancers were varied and splendid. Most of them wore
the usual trousers or Indian leggings of blue cloth, cut off below the
hips, with another cloth for the loins, and those that had no trousers
had their legs painted. Embroidered blankets of blue or red cloth,
moccasins, belts, tobacco-pouches, and cases for scalping-knives, all
beaded, with glittering arms and tomahawks, hung about them
everywhere, but the chief piece of finery was the war-bonnet; and a
tremendous show it made. A turban of fur or scarlet cloth went round
the head, adorned with tall eagles' feathers in a crown, such as we
see upon the wooden figures before cigar-shops, and from this hung
down a long piece of scarlet cloth, about a quarter of a yard wide,
and long enough to trail on the ground a yard or two behind. This was
ornamented with a fringe of eagles' feathers on each edge, like the
backbone of a fish, and as it waved about nothing could be more
superb. The savage dandies were evidently proud of their appearance,
and to say that they were "got up regardless of expense" was simply a
fact, for their wardrobes must have cost considerable sums--half a
dozen ponies at least. Standing in a circle, they danced, shouting and
singing. It was a slow measured step, but no more like dancing than
their singing was like singing. Another gorgeous circle was formed on
the other side of the stockade, and both parties kept up this weird
dance with great gravity. One young fellow laughed, twisted about,
and conducted himself a little like a harlequin. All held the hands
upon the haunches and bent forward. This was called an Omaha dance.
After a while all stopped dancing, and one of the squad of chiefs rode
into the circle and began to relate his experience, while at every
pause the emphasis was given by a strange roll of the drum. He was
telling some savage exploit, the interpreter said, against the
Pawnees. The crowd applauded with wild grunts and savage cries. Then
the circle rose and danced again, then another chief spoke, and so on,
some on foot and some on horseback, till one whom we had selected as
the most grotesque horror of the whole came into the circle. He was
painted all over a greenish-rhubarb color, like a stagnant pool: his
chin was blue, his face was streaked with red. He wore a very short
shirt of deer-skin, with a very deep fringe of black horsehair. Though
sansculotte, his legs were painted with red and blue hands on the
rhubarb ground: all over his horse were these red and blue hands and
red stripes, and the beast had a red mane and tail. This villain, who
had a most appropriate name, unmentionable to ears polite, completed
his charms with a great pair of blue goggles. The red stripes upon his
horse signified how many horses he had taken--the red hands, the
number of prisoners.

The names of these fellows, as translated for us by the interpreter,
were odd enough. Besides the great chiefs, Red Cloud and Spotted Tail,
there were Red Dog, Red Leaf, Red Horse, Little Wound, White Crane
Walking, Man Afraid of (Losing) his Horses, Crow that don't like
Water, Man who Sings in the Long Grass, Turkey Legs, Lone Horn,
Sitting Bull, Spider, Yellow Bear, Blue Horse, Two Strike, White Crow,
Long John, Friday, Face, Hand, Man that Sleeps under the Water, Man
that Looks the Sun blind, Wish, Three Bears, Blue Tomahawk, White
Thunder, etc., etc. These Indians were Sioux of the wildest kind,
about as savage as any there are. Our lives were in their hands, and
they were well mounted and well armed. Still, we were safe enough so
near the camp, for they are very prudent, and never attack unless they
are five to one. Besides, they have rations given them every ten days
by government, and they don't quarrel much with their bread and
butter. In fact, they are paupers, and we are all taxed to support
them and the army which is more than necessary as a police to keep
them in order. When the dance was half over about twenty soldiers came
into the gate and produced quite a panic among the squaws and
children, who shrieked with terror and rushed toward the larger gate.
The braves did not think it the correct thing to show any fear.

One might live a thousand years at the East and never see anything so
wonderful as this dance: it is impossible to give a true idea of its
life and color. It was the real thing, not a theatrical or Cooperesque
imitation. All was new to us, and we were probably as new and strange
to most of our entertainers. Many crowded round us with evident
curiosity, desiring to shake hands with us and to say, "How? Kola!
(friend)." Those who could speak a few words of English plied us with
questions as to our ages, the relationships that existed between us,
whose squaws the ladies were, and whose were the little blond-haired
children. Certain articles of finery seemed to be greatly valued among
them, such as red, white and blue umbrellas, like those used as signs
in our cities; patchwork and Marseilles quilts; orange shirts and
green dresses; pink and pearl shells; little bells; small mirrors; and
beads about four inches long made of fine pipeclay. These beads cost a
dollar and a half each, and are made especially for them in one place
in Massachusetts. They wear them in rows of twenty or thirty on the
breast, making quite an expensive necklace.

The dance lasted, perhaps, two hours. After all were tired presents
were brought and laid upon the ground, consisting of hard-tack,
calico, etc. All through the dance the wind was blowing the dust about
in clouds, and the Indians held their blankets and fans of eagles'
feathers to their eyes. Several wore blue goggles--we knew not whether
for use or beauty.

LAURA WINTHROP JOHNSON.



A MEETING AT SEA.


It seems like a long, long while ago since Uncle Joseph told it to me
as a recollection of his youthful days; and as Uncle Joseph was then
no longer young, it must have been long, long ago that it happened. It
was dull work sitting day after day on the hard benches and listening
to lectures on therapeutics and anatomy which I had already heard
twice _verbatim_--for I was a third-course student--and it was
scarcely more entertaining to sit alone in my cozy little chamber and
pore over the dry details of my medical textbooks. How often would my
gaze wander through the attic-window to rest upon the broad blue bosom
of the Ashley, and watch the course of the rippling current which
flashed and glistened in the October sunlight! It was very hard to fix
my mind upon the contra-indications of calomel and the bromides while
the snowy gulls were circling gracefully over the gliding waters, and
the noisy crows were leading my thoughts across the stream to the
island thickets where I knew the wild-deer lay. I remember how I used
to interpret their cawing into mocking laughter because I had no wings
to follow them into those shady fastnessess, which were filled by my
hunter's fancy with all kinds of temptations to manly sport. And
then, just as I was about to turn; with a great effort from the
alluring scene, there would be a sudden commotion among the distant
wavelets, and a huge white mass would flash for a moment in the
sunshine as the enormous devil-fish of the Carolina waters would
spring into the air in his unwieldy gambols, and fall again with a
mighty splash into his native element.

"Then you had better have had your study-hours at night." I am sure
that's what you are thinking. I thought so too, and put the thought
into practice; but then it _would_ be moonlight sometimes, and the
white beams would shimmer on the water, and the regular beat and dash
of the oars would come to my ears in time with the wild, chanting
melody of the boatmen's song. That was just the way of it on the night
when I heard this story; and when my cigar had burned out and the
autumn air had begun to chill me with its fresh, crisp breath, I said
to myself, "It's of no use. I'll shut the old book and spend an hour
with Uncle Joseph."

The moon did not have it all her own way that night, notwithstanding
her tempting brightness. There was a threatening scud over the harbor
to the eastward, and the freshening sea-breeze brought an occasional
warning murmur from the breakers on the distant bar. By the time I had
made all my little arrangements and stepped out on the quiet street, I
found my light waterproof quite comfortable, and prudently went back
for a moment to exchange my night-cane for an umbrella. When I reached
the end of my walk the cold rain was already beginning to fall, and
the wind was gustily hurrying round the corners of the streets and
rattling the loose tin upon the housetops. A very few minutes elapsed
between my three raps with the old-fashioned brass knocker and the
appearance of the neat-looking servant who opened the door. But I may
as well use the brief opportunity to tell you that Uncle Joseph was
not my uncle at all, and that my habit of calling him so had grown out
of a long intimacy with certain nephews and nieces who were very dear
to the old gentleman's heart. They were all scattered now--the older
girls married and gone, the younger away at school, and the two boys,
my childhood and boyhood friends, completing their professional
education at a foreign university. But still I loved to visit Uncle
Joseph, and he always had a warm and kindly welcome for me. None knew
better than he the kind of entertainment most likely to please a young
friend and attract him from places of idle amusement; and I knew that
a well-timed evening-call at his bachelor home meant a dozen or two of
oysters, a glass of old brown sherry, a fragrant cigar and an hour's
chat which was often instructive and never prosy.

On that particular night the oysters were fried to exactly the right
shade of brown, and the delicate "mill-pond" flavor, so well known to
every Charleston taste, was especially fine; the old sherry--just two
glasses of it apiece-seemed milder and warmer and richer than ever
before; and the havanas never seemed so fragrant. These were not
limited, for Uncle Joseph smoked only in the evening, and he liked to
keep an open box within reach of his hand. A little fire would have
been more cheerful, but it was hardly late enough in the season, and
we made out very well for a cozy evening by drawing our easy-chairs to
the sides of the little centre-table, and getting the cigar-box and
ash-holder at a convenient distance between us.

Uncle Joseph was not eccentric, nor was there anything extravagant in
the general style of his housekeeping; but the furniture of this
little sitting-room was unique, and could not have been duplicated for
a very large sum of money. It required a close degree of observation
to discover that several articles in common use were really specimens
of rare _virtu_, and everything indicated that the owner had been a
traveler, fond of collecting mementos of the distant lands which he
had visited; but whether his travels had been those of a mercantile
sea-captain or of a wandering gentleman of leisure would have been
hard to determine. There was a neat walnut bookcase with well-filled
shelves, on the top of which stood a large glass case containing a
huge stuffed albatross, and just opposite was a small but
exquisitely-carved Venetian cabinet adorned with grotesque heads of
men and animals, and surmounted by a small square case in which was a
beautifully-mounted specimen of the little spotted brown owl of
Greece, the species so common among the ruins of the Acropolis. On the
mantelpiece were a small bronze clock, a quaint Chinese teapot and a
pair of delicately-flowered Sèvres vases. On the table the engraved
tooth of a sperm whale did duty as a paper-weight, a miniature gondola
held an inkstand and pens, and a sprig of red coral with a
sabre-shaped ivory blade formed the most beautiful paper-knife I ever
saw. A single oil-painting hung on the wall--a finely-executed marine
representing two stately ships becalmed near each other on a glassy
sea under the glare of a tropical sun--and in a corner, resting upon a
light stand, the top of which was a charming Florentine mosaic, was a
polished brass box containing a ship's compass. I had been from
boyhood familiar with all these things, but I never tired of looking
at them, especially at the albatross and the owl--the former so
suggestive of Coleridge and the unfathomable depths of the far-away
Indian Ocean, and the latter always leading my thoughts away back to
the fierce-eyed Athene and her Homeric compeers.

Uncle Joseph got up and unlocked the Venetian cabinet to put away the
decanter, his invariable habit as soon as the second glass was filled.
As he did so there was a clink as of glass against glass, and the old
gentleman hastily took out a small, dusty black bottle, examined it
with great care and returned it with evident relief: "I was afraid I
had carelessly broken the last bottle of that precious Constantia
which I brought with me from the Cape of Good Hope. It is strange that
no soil will grow that wine but that of one little vineyard under the
South African sun."

"Uncle Joseph, you never told me anything about your voyages. But what
are you keeping that wine for?" "To drink a welcome home to Joe when
he returns from Europe next month. You must dine with us the day after
he gets back. Will has still another year at Göttingen."

"Nothing would give me more pleasure."

"You spoke of my voyages just now: have you never heard the story of
my early life?"

"Never, Uncle Joseph," I answered eagerly. "Can't you tell me all
about it to-night?"

"Well, perhaps I may. That bottle of wine suggested memories of a
singular and sad incident, and the sound of that storm without recalls
it all as if it were yesterday. It happened on the homeward passage
when I made my last voyage to the Cape, and I have never since looked
at that Constantia without thinking of it."

The old gentleman walked across the room and gazed long and earnestly
at the picture of the ships; then he seemed to find something very
interesting in the compass-box on the stand; then he locked the
cabinet, and lighting a cigar stretched himself back in his
easy-chair, and smoked for a while with closed eyes. I sat thoughtful
and silent until he roused himself with a slight effort: "Draw a chair
for your feet, Frank, and take a fresh cigar: you'll find them very
mild. Go to sleep if I get prosy when fairly wound off on my yarn. I
am going to begin at the very starting-place.

"Of course you know I am an Englishman, for you were quite old enough,
when you first knew us all at Stewart's hotel on Broad street, to
remember now all about it. The children were then in mourning for
their dear mother, but lately dead, and had just come over to make
their home with me. My father was a clergyman, possessed of an
independent fortune and holding a comfortable living in a sea-coast
town some twenty miles from Liverpool, where I was born four years
after my only brother. There were only the two of us, and my earliest
recollections are connected with the dangerous and mischievous pranks
which John and I used to play in and upon the waters of the Irish
Sea. I always was fond of John, as I believe he was of me, but he was
a domineering fellow, never satisfied unless he had the lead in
everything: very dull at his books, but quite handsome, even when a
lad, and having a certain smartness about him which was very taking.
He was the elder son, and the favorite of my father, though my mother
never showed any partiality between us. John never treated me well.
Heaven knows, I have no unkind thoughts of him for it now, poor
fellow! but I wish to tell you the whole story exactly as it was. I
was a fair scholar, and generally had my own tasks to do, and John's
also. I worked out all his hard sums and problems, construed his
Virgil while I was only reading Caesar, and often wrote his Greek
exercise when I was almost too sleepy to keep my eyes open. The
consequence was that my own lessons were often neglected, and if I got
a caning for my failure, I had no sympathy from John, although it was
the price I paid for his good mark."

"It was confoundedly mean of him," I remarked, knocking the ashes from
my cigar. But Uncle Joseph did not notice the interruption.

"In short, I was John's fag at school, though not at all a willing
one, and the situation was quietly accepted for me at home. My father
was singularly blind to my brother's faults. His ambition was to
purchase the patronage of his living and have John succeed to it; but
we both preferred paddling about in the salt water, and holding a
sheet in the fishermen's smacks with a stiff norther after us, to
studying our catechism or making Hebrew letters. We were both expert
and fearless swimmers, with good wind and strong limbs. In after years
I remember well a wager which I lost at Honolulu to remain under water
as long as a famous Kanacka diver: I rose just four seconds before
him. When I was thirteen I could cast a line, manage a spritsail, pull
an oar or handle a tiller as well as any boy on the north coast of
England. John was equally fond of the water, but his constant habit of
putting the heavy work on me prevented his becoming as good a
practical sailor as I was. No man can make a good sea-captain who has
not had plenty of experience in splicing sheet-ropes and climbing
shrouds. In our vacations we had plenty of pocket-money and went about
pretty much as we pleased; and we frequently ran down the coast to
Liverpool on board some of the small vessels which sailed from our
bay. On these trips we often amused ourselves with the masters'
instruments, which were rough and simple enough. John had a good
weather-eye, and could take an observation as well as any old salt,
but he never had patience to use a logarithm table, and I always did
the calculations. It was only amusement for me then, but served me
many a good turn afterward. Well, things went on in this way for
several years, and meantime my home was not pleasant to me. I grew
restless and dissatisfied under the restraints and mortifications of
my secondary position; and, besides, as the younger son I knew I
should have to make my own way in the world. Our mother had gone to
her rest, John's domineering ways had grown on him, and my father,
absorbed in his parochial and literary work, and more wrapped up in
his eldest son than ever, seemed to have no definite plans for my
future."

Uncle Joseph's cigar had gone out, and he had not noticed it until
now. He struck a match and relit it, and smoked thoughtfully and in
silence for several minutes. The wind had fallen, and the rain, which
had been driving against the windows, was now coming down heavily with
a steady, monotonous splash.

"About this time an event took place which has left a lasting
impression upon my life. The old physician who had held the village
practice for forty years died suddenly of apoplexy, and his successor
was a gentleman of high culture--an Oxford wrangler, it was
said--about forty years of age, with a daughter of sixteen, an only
child. Of course the first time I saw her at church I fell desperately
in love: boys always do that with a new face. She was a sprightly
girl, with soft blue eyes, dark hair, fair complexion, white teeth, a
lithe figure and a smiling, roguish mouth."

Uncle Joseph seemed to be talking to himself, not to me, and I thought
he started when I exclaimed, "Why, Jane might have sat for that
picture! You describe her exactly as she was when I saw her last, just
before she left home for St. Mary's Hall."

"So she might, Frank, but I was not thinking of _her_ then. The
doctor's daughter was not a bit romantic, and her name was just plain
Ellen Jones. But boys will be boys. It was not a week before I found
that John was as much in love as I was, and he was soon paying marked
attentions to the young lady. I knew at once, from long experience,
that my chance was gone; and indeed it was only a boyish fancy with
me, after all, for I was too young to think of marrying.

"One day we had an adventure which I often think of now when I look at
that picture hanging there. Two of the fishermen had bought new boats,
about the same size, but differing somewhat in rig and model, and
there was much talk about their respective sailing qualities. A stiff
breeze was blowing and some ugly clouds were gathering to seaward, but
John proposed that we should try the boats for a short sail, and with
the owners' consent we pushed off to round the outer buoy and back as
a test of speed. The boats had each a single spritsail, but I felt
sure that John's carried too much canvas and would not behave well in
a gale. We soon got them on the wind, and were sailing pretty evenly
together when I heard the muttering of distant thunder. A moment more
and the sails were flapping heavily, everything was still as death,
but the white-caps were plain enough to what had been the leeward a
short time before. We were a good mile from shore, and I called out to
John to look out for flaws, and put my boat about on a homeward tack.
Without a moment's warning the gale burst upon us, and as my own boat
bowed gracefully to the wind and threw the water from her bows, I saw
John's mast quiver and bend as a large sea swept over the gunwale and
drenched him from head to foot. 'Let go your sheet!' I shouted, 'and
luff her up into the wind.' But instead of doing so, he hauled
powerfully upon the swelling sail, put his helm hard down, and the
next moment the boat was tossing bottom up, and John was struggling in
the seething waters. I had no fears for his life, for he was a
powerful and skillful swimmer, and this was not the first upset for
either of us; but I never was so deeply impressed before by John's bad
seamanship. He gained the boat without difficulty, and clambered on to
the upturned bottom, so that I had time to let go my sheet and
double-reef my sail. I then bore down on him and took him aboard, and
the two of us had little trouble in righting his boat and towing her
ashore. I have mentioned the incident only because I always connect it
in my mind with what happened long years afterward.

"Six months after this our father died, and John wished to be married
at once. But Ellen, although she could not hide her attachment to him,
steadily refused to engage herself on account of her invalid mother,
whose only and devoted attendant she was. Fickleness was not one of my
brother's faults, and he was true and steady in his love for the
girl--how true and steady I never knew until I learned it from himself
in my ship's cabin on the broad Atlantic. I found myself with a few
thousand pounds and a careless guardian, from whom it was not
difficult to get the money into my own hands. In a few weeks I left
home for Liverpool, and I have never seen my native town since that
day."

Uncle Joseph paused to light a fresh cigar, and then opened the
cabinet and filled the two glasses again. It was the only time I ever
knew him to do such a thing.

"Of course I looked naturally to the water, and saw for the first time
a prospect of gratifying my boyish longing for the sea. My funds were
sufficient to enable me to purchase a pretty staunch little barque and
part interest in her cargo of Wedgwood and Sheffield ware, and I
sailed in her as a passenger for Naples and a market. It was a
foolish venture, but my friends cared just enough about me to assist
me in carrying out my plans, while none gave me serious advice. It
turned out well, however, and my profits were quite large. Two other
voyages, one to New York and the other to Valparaiso, turned out
equally well, and meantime I was using my opportunities to study
navigation practically under the direction of my master, an old and
able seaman. My ambition was to command my own ship and carry my own
cargo, a common thing in those days, when the merchant marine of
England was generally officered by men who were the peers in every
respect of those who held her naval commissions. I had some prudence,
however, and therefore chartered my barque and sailed her as master
two short voyages to Bremen and Amsterdam with the best under-officers
I could secure. Having now full confidence in myself, I sold out,
bought a fine new American ship, filled her with an assorted cargo,
and cleared for Rio and the South Pacific. I was now twenty-six years
old, and it was eight years since I had been at Liverpool, and ten
since I had heard anything of John. After my father's death his old
spirit had shown itself very offensively toward me, and we had parted
in anger."

I saw that my old friend was deeply moved by the memories recalled by
this part of his story, and partly as a relief to him and partly to
gratify my curiosity, I asked him if any of the articles which adorned
the room were mementoes of these voyages.

"Every one of them has a story," he replied. "I myself caught that
albatross in the Straits of Magellan with a dolphin-line trolling
astern. I should have let him go again, but he beat himself to death
before we could get out the hook, and I amused myself by preparing and
mounting the skin. That paper-knife has a sad history. I had it made
in London. The blade is cut from a walrus's tooth given to me by a
whaling-captain at Hawaii, and I bought the coral which forms the
handle from a diver whom I saw bring it up on the Corsican coast. He
made a wager with one of my crew that he could bring up another piece
of equal value by diving from the ship, went over, and was seized by a
shark as he reached the surface. I heard the cry of horror from the
men, and rushed to the ship's side just in time to see the water
crimson with his blood.

"In the spring of 1832 I accepted a very advantageous offer for
charter, and with several passengers sailed for Cape Town on what
proved to be my last voyage (excepting the return trip) as a
ship-master. We had rough weather most of the way out, and a long
passage, but nothing occurred which would interest you now. The season
was a disastrous one to shipping on that route, and before leaving the
Cape I had the vessel thoroughly overhauled, and was fortunate enough
to secure three or four good seamen to make up a full crew. My first
officer was an old salt, a strict disciplinarian, but kind to the men
and a favorite with them all. Like most of his class, he was given to
profanity in private conversation, but he never swore at the men, and
always encouraged them at their work with cheery words. The weather
was lovely when we sailed for home, and continued so until we were
four days out. The ordinary routine of a master's duty was simple
enough, and I had plenty of leisure for watching the beautiful Cape
pigeons which followed the ship's wake, my favorite amusement when
tired of reading. We were a little out of the common track of vessels
in those seas, and sighted very few sail, none of which passed within
hail. On the morning of the fifth day out I indulged myself a little,
having been up quite late the night before studying the charts, and it
being the first mate's watch, a man in whom I had great confidence.
When I turned out I found the ship becalmed. We were not yet in the
calm latitudes, and I did not altogether like the looks of the
weather. The sea was as smooth as an immense expanse of blue steel;
there was a long, low swell, like the memory of yesterday's breeze,
but not a ripple could be detected by the glass in any quarter; the
sky had an almost coppery glow, and the sun blazed down with a force
which made all the seams of the deck-planks sticky with melting pitch.
Still, the barometer was rising, and there was nothing to indicate
danger. Although competent to perform skillfully all the duties of my
profession, I had not, as you know, that long experience which alone
can give a seaman thorough knowledge of all his perils even before
they are apparent. I felt no apprehensions, therefore; and when I saw
how Mr. Kelson was overhauling every rope and sail and spar, and
making everything snug alow and aloft, I only congratulated myself on
having an officer who kept the men too busy to get into mischief, and
lost no opportunity for putting and keeping everything in order."

I now knew that Uncle Joseph was "fairly wound off" on his yarn, for I
never before had heard him use so many sea-phrases. All of them I did
not fully understand, but he was evidently thinking very little of me,
and did not stop to explain.

"It was about four bells when the lookout in the cross-trees sung out,
'Sail ho!'

"'Where away?' I asked.

"'Broad on the port-beam," was the answer.

"I made out the vessel with my glass very easily from the deck, but
paid no more attention to the matter until I came up from breakfast,
an hour later. Not a ripple was stirring, nor a ghost of a breath of
wind, but the two ships were several miles nearer, and evidently
approaching, though their relative position was somewhat different.
She was slowly drifting on one current, and we as slowly on another
diagonally across her track. The stranger was a large Clyde-built
ship, and carried far more canvas than was necessary in a calm, but I
thought she might be drying her sails. I was waiting for her to get
within hail, but her captain anticipated me and hailed first.

"'Ship ahoy!' came over the water, 'What ship is that?'

"The Ariadne, Alford master, from Cape Town for Portsmouth. What ship
is that?' I replied.

"'The Ellen, Alford master, from Liverpool for Cape Town. Will send a
boat aboard with letters for home.'

"The coincidence of names had evidently not been noticed, or produced
no impression. But I saw it all in a moment, and I had to grasp the
mizzen-backstay to keep from falling. My brother John, whom I had not
seen or heard from for nearly fifteen years, had drifted across my way
on the vast and pathless ocean! Ah, how often since have I asked
myself if a Providence _could_ be clearer--if this, with all its
consequences to my after-life, could have been had not He who keepeth
the winds as His treasures and measures the oceans in the hollow of
His hand so ordered it for the furtherance of His own wise and
beneficent will! Not a thought of anger toward my brother crossed my
mind--not a solitary harsh memory of the past. My heart yearned to him
with a tender and womanly love, and the only shade on the brightness
of my joy was the slight doubt whether he would feel thus toward me.
The order had already been passed on the Ellen to lower away a boat,
and my voice sounded husky and unnatural as I shouted back an
invitation to her master to board me in person. I recognized John with
the aid of my glass as he returned a hearty 'Ay, ay!' and dropped
lightly from the futtock-shrouds into the boat. In ten minutes he lay
alongside of my vessel, and in two more stood upon the deck. I
remember well how my heart beat and my tongue refused its office as he
stepped forward to greet his stranger host; how he stopped suddenly as
if frozen to the deck when he looked full in my face; how his whole
frame trembled and his cheeks grew ashy pale as he almost whispered,
'Joseph?'

"'John!'

"And then we were clasped in each other's arms and sobbed like
children, while each hid his face on his brother's shoulder.

"Kelson told me afterward how the rough seamen gazed at us for a while
in astonishment, and then, with a delicacy of feeling which even such
unrefined natures can sometimes exhibit, moved quietly off and left
us unobserved; but I forgot for a while that there was any one else on
the ship besides my new-found brother and myself. It was full five
minutes before either of us could utter a word, and then, after a few
brief expressions of surprise and pleasure, John sent word to his
first officer that he would spend the day on the Ariadne, and giving
our orders to keep the ships together, which was easy enough now that
both were in the same current, we retired together to my cabin.

"That day was, I honestly believe, the brightest and happiest of my
life. Not a word was said by either of us in reference to any jar or
unpleasantness in the past--not a reproach for long and unfraternal
negligence through all these years of separation. Each listened
eagerly to the story of the other's life, questioned closely for every
minute detail, sympathized with every slight misfortune, and expressed
a hearty pleasure in every incident of happiness or success. I learned
how John had passed a year after my departure in uncertainty as to his
plans for the future, and in the vain effort to break the resolution
of Ellen Jones. Then he purchased a vessel, as I had done, and
crossing the ocean ran for two years between New York and the West
Indian ports. His career was not as fortunate as mine had been, and
when, after eight years of a seaman's adventurous life, he was
rewarded for his faithful devotion by the hand of the woman whom he
loved, he was no richer than my father had left him. Ellen had made
two voyages with him--one just after their marriage, and one two years
later, after their baby died. John lost money on this last trip, but
was steadily repairing his fortunes when, about a year before our
meeting, he lost his ship and cargo off the coast of Newfoundland,
barely escaping with his crew by the assistance of a fishing-vessel
which had answered their signal of distress. This misfortune had
reduced him to very straitened circumstances, and he had left his wife
with five little ones at home, hoping for a successful venture in this
voyage to the Cape, every guinea of his capital having been invested
in a half interest in the Ellen and her cargo. There was nothing to
require our attention, as our ships were lying as still and
motionless, but for the drift, as if riding at anchor in a road-stead;
so we talked together until the steward announced dinner, and after
that adjourned to the after-deck with a box of cigars and a bottle of
wine, where we resumed our conversation. The weather continued
unchanged, and I shall never forget the quiet happiness of those hours
as we sat under the awning looking at the Cape pigeons and schools of
flying-fish, and chatting about the pleasant memories of our boyish
days. It was near sunset when John Alford asked me to signal his boat,
and soon afterward he left the Ariadne. We both expected the wind to
rise during the night, but intended keeping our ships together until
next day, and so made all our arrangements for signaling, so that we
might not part company in the darkness.

"When I went below I met Kelson at the cabin door. 'The barometer's
taken a start downward, sir,' said he: 'we shall have nasty weather
before morning.'

"'It is very likely,' I answered, 'but I think the old ship can stand
some weather. Set the watches with two good men in each, and have
everything snug for a blow.'

"'Ay, ay, sir!' answered the careful fellow: 'all that's done already.
I've seen these South Atlantic calms before now. The sails are all
clewed up and the useless spars sent down: the boats are secured, the
movables all double lashed, and the storm-staysails made ready to bend
on.'

"'Then we shall only have to keep a good lookout, and if it blows, let
it blow. Give the watches strict orders not to lose the Ellen, Mr.
Kelson.'

"'Ay, ay, sir! The Lord grant it isn't a cyclone! I don't like 'em.'

"It was about nine o'clock that night that I heard a light ripple
against the ship's side, and a moment after the creaking of the yards
as the rising breeze moved them slightly. I at once went on deck, and
my first glance showed me how fortunate I was in having such a first
officer as Kelson. The night was as black as pitch: the wind came in
little puffs and flaws, and then for a moment would die away
altogether. There was a low, ominous murmur in the distance like the
sighing of a pine forest, and now and then the faint muttering of
thunder. Suddenly there was a sharp, jagged flash which seemed to run
halfway round the horizon, followed instantly by a rattling peal like
a running fire of field-pieces. A silence and a stillness followed
this opening overture like that of the valley of death. I sprang to
the pilot-house and seized the wheel, for I knew everything would
depend upon _that_, but as yet there was neither lee nor weather side,
for it was impossible to guess from what quarter the wind would strike
us. There was a brief period of suspense, which seemed to me an hour
long, the dead silence broken only by the cheery ring of Kelson's
voice giving his orders with a promptness and decision which was sweet
music to my ears. A moment more and the whole sky was one blaze of
dazzling light; in a second of time I saw with almost supernatural
distinctness every rope and spar, every brace and shroud of the ship;
I saw the illimitable black expanse of water on the port side, and the
Ellen, a mile distant on the starboard bow, her outlines as sharply
defined as in a silhouette; I saw the figures of men ascending her
shrouds, and with utter amazement I saw that her topsails were set.
But as I glanced away from her I saw a dark wall of water on our
starboard beam, crested with glittering foam and twenty feet or more
in height, bearing right down upon us.

"'Hard a-lee!' came the voice of Kelson, drowned in a crash of thunder
which words are powerless to describe, and as the good ship swung
round responsive to the touch of her helm, all was again Egyptian
darkness, and the wind rushed upon us with the howl and roar of a
thousand hungry wild beasts. The Ariadne answered her helm like a
tender-mouthed colt, but she was not quick enough for the enormous sea
which the next moment broke on her starboard quarter. The decks were
deluged with water, which must have swamped the ship had not every
hatch been securely battened; the starboard quarter-boat was crushed
like an egg-shell, and swept from her davits with the wreck of the
bulwarks, which were stove in like a cigar-box; the masts bent like
reeds and quivered to the keelson, and the strong mizzen
storm-staysails burst with the report of a twelve-pounder. The Ariadne
careened until her lee-earrings dipped into the sea, but righted
herself as she came before the wind, and rose like a duck on the back
of the angry swells. It was a fearful night, and every incident of it
is photographed indelibly on my memory. There was not a rag of canvas
on the ship except her heavy main-staysail, and yet one after another
the topmasts splintered and fell, hampering the lower rigging and
littering the deck with the wreck, the broken royals making terrible
work as they whipped about in the storm; but it was utterly impossible
to cut them loose. Well, it's getting late, and I must hurry to the
end of my story. The storm lasted about three hours, and then the wind
fell almost as suddenly as it rose.

"When daylight came there was no trace of the tremendous commotion of
the night except the heavy swell of the wearied sea. We had weathered
the gale in safety, and although the Ariadne was dreadfully battered
and her rigging badly cut up, there was no damage which we were not
able to repair sufficiently well to continue our voyage."

Uncle Joseph paused as if he had no more to say. I waited a moment,
and then ventured to ask, "How did the Ellen get through it?"

"When the sun rose clear I swept the horizon with my glass, but she
was not in sight. She has never been heard of since."

Again the old gentleman paused, but this time I dared not break the
silence. At last he dropped the stump of his cigar into the ash-holder
and said, "I never made but one more voyage after that, and that was
to bring John's orphans to Charleston after their mother's death."

ROBERT WILSON.



ART--EXPERIENCE OF AN IGNORAMUS.


When I remember my first visits to the picture-galleries of Europe, I
am filled with compassion for the multitudes of my country-folk who
yearly undergo the same misery. I hope they do not all know how
miserable they are, and fancy that they enjoy themselves; but with
many the suffering is too great for self-deception, and they come home
to look back upon those long halls, filled with the masterpieces of
ancient and modern art, as mere torture-chambers, whence nothing is
brought away but backache, headache, weary feet and an agonizing
confusion of ideas. Some of them avenge themselves by making fun of
the whole matter: they tell you that there is a great deal of humbug
about your great pictures and statues; that Raphael is nearly as much
overrated as Shakespeare; that it is all nonsense for people to
pretend to admire headless trunks and dingy canvases. To them I have
nothing to say: they find consolation in their own cleverness. But a
great many are left with a mingled sense of disappointment and
yearning: they cannot get rid of the thought that they have missed a
great pleasure--that a precious secret has remained hidden from them,
and that through no fault of theirs. It is to these, who have my
sincere sympathy, and to those who have the same trials before them,
that I offer the result of three years' acquaintance with the great
galleries of Europe, premising that I have no technical knowledge of
art: I have only learned to enjoy it.

We Americans generally bring total want of preparation with us from
home: pictures and statues, their subjects and their authors, except a
few of the most famous, are equally unknown to us. This is to some
degree our own fault. All that we can learn by reading is valuable. I
do not refer to criticism or descriptions, but what may be called the
general literature of art--the lives of artists, the history of the
various schools, even mythology and the lives of the saints; which
last were the favorite theme during the best period everywhere except
in England, whose native art is not much over a century old. This is
within the reach of every one on this side the Atlantic, and to know
what a picture is about is to have one source of confusion removed.
Besides which, all accessory information adds much to the general
interest and is a help in the first stages. Criticism is to be
excepted, as tending to disturb the integrity of one's individual
impressions, difficult enough to keep independent under the influence
of a great name. The beginner ought not to seek the opinion of
others--except in devoting his attention to the works of highest fame,
which is following the verdict of the world, and not of a person or
set--until he has one of his own, always bearing in mind that his is
probably wrong, and keeping his conceit down and his mind open to
conviction. The study of works of art with the handbooks of
connoisseurs belongs to the higher branches of aesthetic education, of
which I have naught to tell.

Besides reading, of course all opportunities of seeing good specimens
at home should be made the most of. These are far from so rare as ten
years ago. In Boston the Athenaeum, in New York the Metropolitan Art
Museum, and both in the latter city and Philadelphia the private
collections--which the kindness of their owners makes almost as
accessible as public ones--afford us examples of most contemporary
painters and of some of the older masters; while our schools of design
are provided with casts from the most celebrated antique statues, and
many of the best modern ones come to our shores. The Arundel Society
of London publishes chromo-lithographs of uncommon merit after the
finest and most curious paintings of the Old World. But the best
preparation of all is a knowledge of drawing: even if nothing is
acquired beyond the ability to copy a cast correctly or sketch a
landscape roughly but faithfully, it is a long step over the primary
difficulties of the path.

The very first of these difficulties is to know what we really like.
It is probably impossible to look at a famous work with eyes clear
from preconceived impressions: copies, engravings, photographs, have
familiarized us in some measure with the finest things in the world.
However imperfect an idea may be given by reproductions of great
pictures--great in size as well as merit--whether we have seen a
Marcantonio or a Raphael Morghen or only a _carte de visite_--a notion
of their chief features is acquired: we recognize them from the
farther end of the gallery, whither indeed we have generally come in
quest of them, and the results are very like those of a first sight of
Niagara. Everybody knows how that looks--the huge downpour of the
American Fall, the graceful rush of the slenderer stream formed by
Goat Island, the mighty curve and tremendous placidity of the
Horseshoe Fall, the clouds of spray, the lightly poised rainbow. But
all this does not give us the feeling of Niagara: one person is
overwhelmed, another enraptured, very many are disappointed. Besides,
we are bothered by notions of how we ought to feel at such a moment.
All these hinderances the majority of us will meet at the outset.
After seeing a few masterpieces, a superficial acquaintance with the
characteristics of the most elaborated painters is soon acquired, and
then comes the difficulty of judging honestly of the effect upon one's
self of a picture which bears so great a name. Yet all Tintoretto's
paintings are no more equal than Sir Walter Scott's novels or Byron's
poems: Titian trips as Homer nods. Of course we cannot expect to
distinguish between the good and the bad of a great master, but there
is no reason for our admiring everything from his hand. A great step
is gained when we know whether we are pleased or not.

All our familiarity with the composition of great pictures does not
prevent our becoming bewildered by their size and color on first
beholding them. The number of canvases and conflict of hues in a
gallery confuse the eye and irritate the nerves. One looks down the
interminable corridors, the immense halls, the endless suites of
rooms, with growing dismay: as one succeeds another, and the inmost
chamber seems farther off as we advance, the nightmare sense of
something which is impossible, yet must be done, begins to weigh upon
us. And this goes on day after day with a protracted strain upon the
limbs, the senses and the brain, until real injury sometimes ensues.
After traversing almost without a pause the great art-palaces of
Munich, Brussels, Antwerp, The Hague and all the minor ones on the
route, on reaching Amsterdam, with its inexhaustible picture-shows, I
had got to the point where I sat down amidst the Rembrandts, forced to
declare that I would rather look at so much wall-paper of a good
pattern. This is utter folly. One cardinal rule in seeking either
pleasure or profit is not to tire one's self. When time is limited and
the opportunity may never recur, the temptation is almost
overpowering: this is our only chance--we must not lose it. But it
_is_ lost if we overtask the perceptions and carry away no idea with
us: there is no gain, and positive harm. No one new to galleries
should look at pictures for more than an hour together, and I think
that one who knows and cares much about them will not wish to do so
for more than double that time. We learn by degrees to go through a
gallery much more rapidly than at first, for unless we have adopted
some plan of selection we begin by looking at every picture. After a
while we merely glance at the greater number, and get over the ground
much more quickly, though we spend a long time before the rest. If in
this cursory survey a picture strikes and pleases you, look at it by
all means, return to it again and again, and see whether the charm
works or wears out: it may be the starting-point of your whole career
of enjoyment. Do not run counter to your natural impulse if you have
any: no matter whether you suspect the picture to be bad or by an
inferior master, look at it and enjoy it as much as you can. If you
are only honest with yourself, you will not care for it long if it be
poor.

A good plan for getting our ideas into order on going into a gallery
is to take one master and look only at his works for a day or two, and
then at the others of his school, else there is a terrible confusion
of names, dates, periods, manners and subjects in our heads. This
cannot always be accomplished, for in some choice collections there
are but a few specimens of each master, though in the large ones there
are always more than enough for a beginner's first day. It is best to
begin with a comparatively modern master, and work back gradually,
otherwise the eye is puzzled by inaccuracies of drawing, perspective,
color. The early painters can hardly be expected to delight us at
first: we are shocked by the unnatural proportions, the grotesque
countenances. To cite an extreme case, the first view of Giotto's
frescoes, where men and women with bodies of board, long jointless
fingers, rigid plastered hair, and dark-rimmed slits for eyes whose
oblique glance imparts an air of suspicion to the whole assembly, will
suggest merely a notion of their grotesqueness. By and by we shall
grow used to the deformities, and recognize the primitive truthfulness
of attitude and expression, the spirit which animates these ungainly
forms and faces, until at length we look at the painter with the eyes
of his contemporaries, and judge him by the standards of his own time,
on which his claims rest. Then we shall admire him. The Venetians of
the sixteenth century are the easiest to look at, however much of
their genius and wonderful skill be lost on a novice, for they knew as
much about anatomy and perspective as any painter of to-day, and their
men and women are such glorious creatures, with backgrounds of such
stately architecture or such magnificent scenery, all displayed in a
revel of color, that pleasure outruns comprehension in the beholder.

The subject of a work of art exercises a great influence at first.
Some subjects naturally attract, others awe, others repel, and some
have no interest for us whatever: this, of course, is entirely apart
from the intrinsic sources of enjoyment. Next we are affected by the
way in which the subject is treated; and this, too, is a moral or
intellectual appreciation, rather than an aesthetic one. Perhaps, as a
general rule, the enjoyment of landscapes precedes that of figures,
and expression strikes us sooner than form, while color comes last of
all; but this differs with different temperaments. I suppose there are
few who do not feel a little stupid amusement at first at inaccuracies
of costume and accessories in the older pictures, but we soon become
as indifferent to them as the painters were themselves. One grows so
accustomed to see scriptural personages presented in the dress and
surrounded by the architecture or landscape of Southern Europe of
three centuries ago that the anachronism or inconsistency ceases to
strike one. Perhaps it is because armor and flowing robes, colonnades
and branching trees, never seem out of keeping with events of a
certain dignity. I am not sure that the traveler ever becomes quite
unconscious of the incongruity of the old Flemish dress and
decorations, in most cases strongly enhanced by the prim composure
which is the elementary expression of the earlier Netherlandish faces:
this is still discernible through all transitory emotions of fear,
hate, love or anguish, and does not fail to produce very tragi-comic
combinations. I remember a group of a man in the dress of an Antwerp
burgher sitting on a three-legged stool, with his head on the knee of
a discreet-looking woman in a long-waisted, plain-skirted gown, with a
high square bodice closed by a plaited neckerchief, her hair drawn
tightly back under a close round cap, her pocket hanging from her
girdle on one side, and on the other a small array of housewifery
implements, among others a pair of scissors, with which she is
clipping his locks: her expression is so placid and thrifty withal
that it seemed clear she was saving a penny for her goodman instead
of sending him to the barber. But this was not the painter's idea: the
two were Samson and Delilah. Better than this was a painting of
Susannah and the elders, where the chaste Susannah is depicted clothed
to the throat like a Dutch burgomaster's wife, with a close cap and
long veil, while her perilous ablutions are typified by a small
wash-basin on the ground beside her. Another almost as grotesque was a
Massacre of the Innocents by Peter Breughel the Elder--a snow-scene in
the wide street of a red brick, high-gabled village--soldiers,
parents, children, all in the stiff, ungraceful Flemish dress of the
sixteenth century, the poor little children, in square trousers and
pinafores, clinging to their mothers' narrow skirts. Oddly enough, it
made the story more real to me than it had ever seemed before, quite
painfully and terribly so, indeed: dispoiled of its usual conventional
character, it became definite, and the very historical inaccuracy
which destroyed the traditional conception made it an historical fact.
We have only to go to Ghent and Bruges to see how the genius and
devout earnestness of the Van Eycks, Van der Heyden and Hemling raise
their pictures above trifling absurdities. It is undeniable that with
many of us the constant presentation to our eyes of the incidents of
our Saviour's life, especially His passion, gives them more reality
than even the most frequent reading of the Bible. This renders the
crucifixion extremely painful, intolerable in powerful pictures. I
knew of an intelligent, sensitive little child who burst into
convulsive sobbing before Tintoretto's great Crucifixion in the Scuola
San Rocco at Venice. In the Belvedere at Vienna there is a picture by
Rubens of the dead Christ in the arms of the usual small group: His
mother is removing with a light, tender touch a thorn which is still
piercing the cold brow. The whole picture is in the same spirit, and I
never could look at it with dry eyes. Yet in Rubens's hands this and
all kindred subjects are generally repulsive. The very early masters
are prone to fix the attention upon some revolting detail of torture
or too material and agonizing exhibition of physical suffering, but
their stiff, hard outlines, absence of perspective and childishness of
composition, with the element of the grotesque which is seldom absent,
take the edge off their effect. Later, when art has advanced, and is
capable of affecting us more deeply, refinement too has advanced:
there is less simplicity, but merely painful detail is subordinated to
general expression and skill of drawing and color. It is where the two
meet, as in Rubens, that the result is most harrowing: the picture I
have just spoken of is the only one of his in which I ever saw any
sign of delicacy or tenderness, any appeal to the deeper and more
exquisite emotions. Nevertheless, by degrees his genius helps one to
surmount his realism. On my first visit to Antwerp I looked for a few
minutes--which was as long, as I could bear it--at the great Descent
from the Cross in the cathedral, and turned away with the conviction
that I could never have anything but distressing and disagreeable
impressions from that picture. Six months afterward I was in Antwerp
again: I could not see the Descent often enough, and spent my last
hour in the place before it. Yet he is a brutal painter withal, and
such subjects, however magnificently treated by him, could never give
me the same unmixed enjoyment as in the hands of the gentle and
pensive Vandyke.

Some people maintain that all great works of art speak for themselves,
and will make their appeal at once to a person capable of appreciating
them, without any previous experience or education. This is
impossible, for were it so the fine arts would be an exception to the
rules which govern everything else in life--music, literature, moral
beauty and the beauties of Nature. It must be with them as with other
things: knowledge, cultivation, practice enhance the power of
enjoyment. Of course, in this, as in all matters, individual
organization will tell powerfully; but take an intelligent, educated
person of average perceptions, who has never seen a single good
picture, and set him before one of the greatest in the world, and I
doubt if he would receive any genuine pleasure from it. _A fortiori_,
an uneducated person, one who could appreciate the first masterpiece
he ever saw the first time he ever saw it, would be a prodigy only
second to him who could produce one without preliminary study. The
picture which I think calculated to appeal most powerfully and
universally is Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper, where the grouping of
the figures and the expression of each head, as well as the
disposition of the whole, can hardly fail to produce a deep impression
on any one of thought and feeling; yet even here there would be a
first shock, to any untrained eye, from the faded colors, the defaced
and spotted surface; and this must be got over before the fresco can
be even seen. Moreover, in my experience, there is no pleasure
connected with the whole business of seeing galleries like that of
revisiting them: not only should we return to them daily on first
acquaintance, but we should make a practice of seeing them again after
an interval of months whenever it can be done: it is surprising what a
comprehension and enjoyment of their chief treasures grows up during
absence.

Little by little, through divers probations, we begin to feel ground
under our feet. We have our likes and dislikes, our favorite masters,
pictures and statues, which are like old friends. Instead of
weariness, vexation and a vain effort to comprehend, a delightful
sense of repose and coming pleasure steals over us as we enter a
gallery. The lovely forms, the noble composition, the delicious color
minister to us, mind and body, and soothe us like music or the smile
of Nature; and the plastic arts have this advantage over music, that
they are impersonal. We cannot identify ourselves with what moves us
in painting or sculpture or architecture: on the contrary, it lifts us
out of ourselves, away from our griefs and cares, instead of giving
them a more intense and poignant expression, which at some moments is
all the divinest music seems to do. Their influence is always benign
and serene, and we may always have recourse to it, while the secrets
of Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Chopin, Schumann lie hidden between leaves,
in the keeping of crabbed little hieroglyphs, and a voice, an
instrument, or perhaps an orchestra, is needed to reveal them. The
picture, the statue, has no secrets but open secrets. You stand before
it, and the very soul and essence of it comes softly forth and
breathes upon yours. Oh moments of delight, when we lose ourselves in
the soft Arcadian mood of Claude Lorrain, in the cool, tranquil revery
of the Dutch landscape-painters, in the giant impetuosity of
Tintoretto, in the rich, warm sensuousness of Titian, in the glowing
mystery of Giorgione, in the calm, profound devoutness of the early
Flemings, in the religious rapture of the early Italians! It needs no
jot of technical knowledge for this, however much that may enhance our
enjoyment, as it undoubtedly must. But the inspiration of a work of
art may be felt by any one.

I have considered sculpture less than painting in these remarks,
partly because to the majority it is less interesting, and partly
because it seems to me so much simpler in itself. The absence of
color, the relief of form, the unity of idea, the limitation of each
subject to a single figure, or at most two or three, perhaps too the
repose and simplicity which characterize antique art, make the path
less arduous. I never, even in the infinite vistas of the Vatican,
felt the fatigue and perplexity which have beset me in the smallest
picture-galleries.

If any reader has had patience with me until now, he or she may like to
know the books which were of most use to me in my apprenticeship. There
is no pleasanter instructress than Mrs. Jameson, although she is
superficial and sentimental, a little lackadaisical indeed: her _Early
Italian Painters_, _Sacred and Legendary Art_, and the supplementary
volumes on the _Legends of the Madonna_ and of the _Monastic Orders_,
and on those relating to the life of our Lord, have all been
republished in this country. There is a finer book of the same order,
Lord Lindsay's _Christian Art_, now out of print, but to be found in
public libraries. M. Rio's work, _De l'Art Chrétien_ (let the purchaser
beware of two volumes of _Epilogue_, which are autobiography), is a
full and admirable history of religious art: it is written from a
purely Roman Catholic point of view, and his opinions are deeply imbued
by prejudice. The reader will soon perceive this, however, and be upon
his guard, remembering that, after all, the Roman Catholic view is the
true one whence to contemplate art from the twelfth to the seventeenth
century, but that art and theology are not one, nor even akin. M. Rio
does not mention the Spanish school, perhaps with reason, as the
Virgins of Murillo, the saints of Zurburan and Ribera, scarcely belong
to the realm of religious art: this deficiency is supplied by
Stirling's _Annals of the Artists of Spain_. Kugler's _Handbuch der
Kunstgeschichte_ (translated, I believe) is a capital and comprehensive
work, including ancient as well as modern art; and the knowledge of the
one is as necessary for the understanding of the other as an
acquaintance with ancient history is for the comprehension of modern
history. I cannot recommend Vasari's _Lives of the Italian Painters_
entertaining as it is, for so much of each page is taken up by notes of
different editors and commentators denying flatly the assertions of the
text that to read him for information seems waste of time. Messrs.
Crowe and Cavalcaselle's _New History of Painting in Italy_ is the
latest English authority. Mr. Charles Perkins's _Tuscan Sculptors_, of
which we have reason to be very proud, is already the accepted standard
work everywhere. Kugler's _Handbook of the German and Dutch Schools_,
edited by Sir Edmund Head, has not been superseded, I think. It is with
great hesitation that I name Mr. Ruskin in the catalogue of
guidebooks: he is so arbitrary and paradoxical, lays down the law so
imperiously, and contradicts himself so insolently, that a learner
attempting to follow him in his theories will be hopelessly bewildered.
Yet nowhere are the eternal, underlying truths upon which art rests so
clearly discerned and nobly defined as in _Modern Painters, The Seven
Lamps of Architecture_ and _The Stones of Venice_; and nowhere do we
find such poetical or beautiful descriptions. Yes, one should read
these earlier books of Ruskin's, if it be but for the pleasure they
give. All theories of art are useless for the American student who has
not been abroad: the object is not to make up one's mind respecting the
principles and limits of beauty in painting and sculpture, to form a
code of aesthetics while the great pictures and statues of the world
are still unknown; yet if a natural curiosity impel us to the inquiry,
there are Lessing and Winckelmann, still the first authorities, despite
some slight signs of human fallibility.

I will not say that all these stories of artists whose works one has
not seen, that even the most brilliant and graphic descriptions of
their works, have not often the bitter flavor of the Barmecide feast,
but we must have faith and patience: the real banquet will be
forth-coming, and then we shall see what an appetite we bring to it
from our studies.

SARAH B. WISTER.



BY THE LAKE.


"Who is she?" asked Maurice Grey of the lady with whom he was walking.

"Fay Lafitte," replied the latter curtly: then, as if by chance, she
turned in another direction, saying, "You left them all well at home?"

The young man halted, forcing his companion to do the same, and with
his eyes fixed on a figure pacing up and down the opposite alley, he
remarked, "I suppose she is one of the reigning belles here?"

"Rather a solitary belle," laughed his cousin.

"I should think even a belle might enjoy solitude at times," rejoined
Maurice, argumentatively.

The lady, Mrs. Clare Felton, slightly raised one shoulder, indicating
thereby that the point in question did not interest her, and asked,
"Shall we walk on?"

"Couldn't you introduce me? That's a good soul, do."

"My dear cousin, it is impossible: the girl has a particular aversion
to me."

"Nonsense, Clare! Don't be ill-natured the first day I arrive. How do
you know she has?"

"We are neighbors at Felton, and--"

"Neighbors in the country, I perceive. Did their chickens destroy your
flower-beds, or their cock wake you by crowing at unearthly hours in
the morning? Had they a barking dog they refused to part with, or was
it the servants?"

"If you mean to be sarcastic I shall need support. Now go on, and,
notwithstanding your provoking innuendo, I will try to satisfy your
curiosity."

"Firstly," began Maurice, seating himself on the rustic bench near
her, "why isn't Miss Lafitte a belle?--she is certainly beautiful."

"'Pretty is as pretty does'--a motto especially true of belles."

"Which, interpreted, means she is not agreeable. Yet she has mind, or
she would not keep that thoughtful position for so long a time."

"She may be planning the trimming for her next ball-dress," remarked
his cousin.

"She is too serious for that."

"It is a serious affair at times."

"There is something about her extremely interesting to me."

"Maurice, of course you will think me odious"--and Mrs. Felton checked
her bantering tone--"but don't sit here allowing your imagination to
run wild, deifying Miss Lafitte before you know her. Either make her
acquaintance in the ordinary way, or, which I should like better,
avoid her."

"Do you think I am falling in love at first sight?"

"I think any idle young man tempts Providence when he sits weaving
romances about a very beautiful girl before he knows her."

"Then introduce us."

"She won't speak to me."

"What have you quarreled about?"

"Nothing."

"Very mysterious. Clare, listen! If you don't tell me the whole
secret, I will fall in love with her for spite, and make a terrible
fool of myself."

"An easy task."

"Shoot it off, Clare: I know you are dying to tell me."

"I would rather you heard it from some one else: I would indeed.
Still, if you insist--"

"I command, I entreat."

"Incorrigible! For your own good I--"

"My peace of mind depends on it."

"I wish you were not so obstinate." Then, lowering her voice, "The
report is that the poor girl is insane."

"What a horrible slander!" exclaimed the young man, springing to his
feet.

"Yes," remarked the widow, "if it is not true."

"It is heartless." Then looking at her sharply, "There is no
foundation for it, is there?"

"She has strange fancies, takes aversions to people--I can't say. Let
us continue our walk. I have told you I am not acquainted with her."

"We will walk that way: I want to see her closer."

Not satisfied with merely passing, Dr. Maurice Grey--to give him his
full title--crossed the path when near the solitary figure, so as to
have a full view of her face. At that moment Miss Lafitte raised her
eyes, and their expression when they rested on Mrs. Felton was hard to
interpret. It seemed a mixture of repulsion and dread. She drew back
as they went by, and involuntarily shuddered.

"What do you think of that?" asked the widow as soon as they were at a
safe distance.

"Unquestionably she is a good hater," answered Maurice.

Maurice again saw Fay Lafitte that evening at a ball given at the
hotel by the lake where they were both staying. She was standing among
a group of girls laughing and talking gayly, but to a close observer
this light gayety might appear a symptom of restlessness rather than a
proof of enjoyment. With her shining eyes and her crimson cheeks and
lips she looked the Allegro of her morning's Penseroso. The young
doctor took a station where he would not be remarked, and, forgetting
Mrs. Felton's sage advice, kept his eyes fixed on the graceful girl.
She gave him the impression of one who had been brought up in some
foreign land, where public opinion is more exacting and the bounds of
propriety more restricted than in ours. She was clearly a favorite
among the ladies with whom she conversed. Several middle-aged
gentlemen approached her with their wives and met a kind reception,
but she avoided young men with a perversity that was amusing. In a
person speaking to her he recognized an acquaintance, and, awaiting
his opportunity, addressed him. After the first salutations he asked,
"Mr. Allen, do you know Miss Lafitte?"

"From a child: her father is my oldest friend."

"Was she educated abroad?"

"Bless you! no: she is altogether American in training."

"Isn't she rather peculiar?" ventured Maurice.

"If by peculiar you mean the sweetest girl in the world, she is that,"
replied the old man enthusiastically.

"Is she generally liked?"

"Not by dandies and coxcombs: my little girl over there adores her.
But let me introduce you."

"Willingly," ejaculated the other.

"Wait a moment: I will ask her permission."

As Mr. Allen went to prefer his request the doctor narrowly watched
the result. A slight accession of color on the lady's face as her old
friend indicated him told Maurice he had been recognized; which fact
rendered her answer more annoying, for "Miss Lafitte begged to be
excused: she was fatigued and wished to retire."

But she did not retire, as he saw with an irritation that grew as the
evening advanced. For what reason did she refuse to make his
acquaintance? Did she extend to him the dislike she had for his
cousin? Did she class him among the fops, or was it but a caprice?

Now, Dr. Grey was a truthful man, and he told himself the _case_
interested him. When, later, he was accosted by an old college-chum,
George Clifton, who proceeded to give him the newest confidential
slander at the lake, it was but natural he should try to unravel this
mystery.

"What do you fellows mean by not surrounding that beauty over there?
Where are your eyes?" he asked.

"Miss Lafitte? We have dubbed her the man-hater. She has never been
known to make herself agreeable to any male creature under fifty, and
not then if he were either a bachelor or a widower. A fellow is
obliged to marry before he can be received. Rather too great a
sacrifice, isn't it?"

"French blood?" insinuated the doctor.

"French?--as if wickedness had a country and was too patriotic to
travel! You are an olive-gray, Maurice. Besides, you could as
truthfully accuse an oyster of light behavior."

On making further inquiries one lady told him that she understood the
beauty was a bluestocking, and when he asked another why Fay appeared
to shun gentlemen's society, "To make them more eager to seek her,"
was the reply.

"What an amount of trash one can hear at these places in a single
hour!" muttered Dr. Grey as he retired that night: then he added,
thoughtfully, "I shall certainly make her acquaintance."

The night brings counsel. Maurice decided, on awaking, that he must
depend on himself if he would succeed in overcoming Miss Lafitte's
prejudice. What if he should make an excuse and speak to her without
an introduction? Chance must determine. About the same hour that he
had met her the day before the young man directed his steps to the
alley where she had been walking. There she was, pacing to and fro
meditatively, enjoying the morning air.

"She looks the sanest of sane people," thought the doctor as he noted
her calm expression, but the next moment he had occasion to retract
his opinion. The girl caught the sound of his footstep, looked up,
recognized him, and, turning, ran like a frightened roe in the
opposite direction.

Dr. Grey, giving forth a prolonged low whistle, stood motionless with
astonishment, but suddenly he too was running at full speed. The
Atalantis had stepped into a hole made by the washing of the rain, and
falling forward with violence lay motionless.

The instincts of the physician replaced those of the man as he gently
raised the insensible form and laid it on a grassy bank. But her
antipathy, whatever its cause, seemed more potent than the injury she
had received, for as he touched her she moved uneasily, and opening
her eyes said with difficulty, "Thanks. I am not hurt: I do not need
your assistance."

"I am a physician," returned Maurice gravely. "Your foot has had a
terrible wrench: permit me." He dropped on his knee before, her and
proceeded to make an examination with so much quiet authority that
she ceased to resist. "There is nothing wrong here: do you feel pain
elsewhere?"

She was trembling, for the nervous reaction of the shock had taken
place, but she endeavored to conceal it: "I have an oppression on my
chest, and this arm--I cannot lift it."

"Do not be alarmed: lean against this tree."

She reluctantly submitted as he carefully felt the arm--nothing; the
shoulder, across to the neck--a cry of pain.

"The clavicle is fractured."

"Is that very dreadful?" and now her eyes sought his for the first
time.

"Oh no: it happens every day. It will be tedious perhaps, but can
scarcely be called an accident at all--only a mishap. I think I will
bring you a little brandy before you try to walk."

"Don't speak of it at the house: my father would be troubled. And
hurry back: I do not want to be alone."

"What an inconsistent prescription she is!" thought Maurice as he
went. "However, fright will make the most obstinate woman docile."

If it was fright, it certainly worked marvels. When he returned Fay
obediently followed every direction given by him, even taking his arm
for support as they walked to the hotel. Having seen his patient to
the door of her room, professional delicacy prompted the doctor to
withdraw. As he bade her good-morning she became embarrassed,
hesitated a moment, then abruptly throwing open the door which gave
entrance to a parlor, she said with a suspicious quaver in her voice,
"Won't you come in? I must thank you, and papa must thank you."

"Not at all necessary," he replied lightly. "I will see you again if
you permit me, but I must go now."

"You are offended because I--No matter: it is best. Go, then;" and she
held out her hand, which he took, while her face became grave, almost
sad; or was it but the young man's fancy?

"She is a warm-hearted, impulsive, spoilt child," was Maurice's final
dictum as he left. "I must go now to Clare, to be warned or scolded
or lectured about her; but first a cigar. Query: when a man forgets
his morning cigar, what does it portend? There was a special
providence in the rain washing that hole. A pity for the poor girl,
but it gave me just the excuse I needed."

Maurice had been smoking for about an hour on the piazza when he was
accosted by a servant, who had the air of really trying to find some
one for whom he had been sent.

"Are you a doctor?" asked the man.

Grey nodded.

"They are waiting for you: come quick, please."

"I rather think you are mistaken: suppose you look up some one else?"

"Have been all about, sir. I can't get any one else. You'll do, I
think: won't you come? The governor is deuced easy with his money."

"That accounts for your eagerness to serve him. Well, I suppose I must
go and see about it."

He was taken, as he had anticipated, to Miss Lafitte's room. A
gentleman with very white hair and an anxious face was alone in the
parlor, who, introducing himself as Mr. Lafitte, repeated the
servant's question: "Are you a physician?"

"As much as a diploma and three years' practice can make me," answered
the young man.

"My daughter has had a severe fall," he explained: "she is suffering.
I hope you can relieve her."

"Excuse me when I tell you that I am here for absolute rest. Is it
possible to get another doctor?"

"No, we have tried. I beg that you will undertake the case without
further delay."

Maurice felt the position awkward. "On one condition," he answered
finally, at the same time giving his card: "that is, if the lady is
willing."

Perhaps the father was accustomed to the whims of his child, for he
did not appear surprised at the proviso, but immediately went to the
next room to inquire. In a moment the communicating door was opened
and the doctor invited to enter.

He found his patient very much excited--pulse high and cheeks
flushed. She did not wait for Mr. Lafitte to present him, but
commenced pettishly, "It would have been much better to stay when you
were here, instead of keeping me waiting so long. It is of no use to
resist. Oh what shall I do?"

"Your dress must be removed," said Dr. Grey briefly.

"I cannot put my arm back: I can't breathe. Do you think there could
be something broken in my lungs?"

"Not likely: do not talk so much. Some of the ladies in the house must
have valerian: I will beg a little for you. In the mean time your maid
can rip your dress on the shoulder and round the sleeve: it will then
come off without trouble."

"He is a fine doctor," said Jane as she quickly obeyed the directions.
"One of them quacks would have cut this good dress to pieces, and
never thought but it grew on a person without a seam. If he can save a
dress, he is safe to know how to save a life."

"We will not call it saving a life," replied Maurice entering. "Take
this and lie still while I prepare the bandages: it will soon be
over."

"You did hurt me fearfully," murmured Fay reproachfully when at last
the bone had been set.

"Not fearfully," he smiled. "Now sleep and forget it."

"Unless a doctor kills some one outright, he thinks it no operation at
all," she exclaimed with sudden change of mood. "Now, please don't
neglect me, but come often--twice a day until I am better."

On leaving Miss Lafitte the young man went to his cousin and told her
how he had become acquainted with the beauty.

"Well?"

"She is but a spoilt child, Clare."

"Infatuated," exclaimed the lady.

"Jealous," returned the gentleman.

The young doctor, though he had frequent opportunities of being with
his fair patient, soon chafed at a relation which, while it permitted
him to see her, prevented him from taking advantage of his intimacy.
The confidence with which she now treated him was an additional
grievance: she was too _friendly_. Her position toward the outside
world had also changed. Three, four, five weeks passed by, and had any
one gathered the opinions of the crowd who surrounded Miss Lafitte, he
would have heard but praise. Perhaps her capricious nature was tired
of seclusion, for at present she had smiles for all. Piquant, original
and clever, her popularity became as great as it was sudden, while she
was only invalid enough to enlist sympathy or exact attention. But in
one particular the girl had never varied--that of her rooted dislike
to Mrs. Felton.

One morning when Maurice was paying a professional visit, which
afforded his only chance of seeing her alone, he curiously asked,
"Miss Lafitte, what is the cause of your aversion to my cousin?"

She was silent a few moments, then with apparent irrelevancy said, "Do
you believe in premonitions?"

An emphatic "No" was the answer.

"Why should they not be true? Our thoughts arise from the same source
as our actions; or, rather, there must be a creative thought for every
separate act. Now, whether the act follows its producing impulse by
moments, days or years, the fact remains the same."

"So that a man can tell before he goes into battle whether he will be
brave or cowardly?"

"Certainly: we are conscious of our disposition, of our general manner
of thinking, and consequently can judge of our course of action."

"That would make life plane sailing.

"No, for though you know your own qualities, you can seldom force
events to fit them. As long as he can avoid danger the coward may be
brave, but if danger is thrust upon him, off he runs."

"Of course you have presentiments?" said he ironically.

"Yes."

"And they always come true?"

"Sooner or later. The time is indefinite, but the result is certain.

"Can you predict for others?"

"Not unless I love them: I can for my father. Either you must know a
person well, or have naturally a great deal of penetration, insight,
quick observation. Give it what name you please, it is the gift of
seers, by which they interpret the marks that character leaves upon
face and form."

"When you fall in love--"

"I shall not do that," she interrupted: "I have been warned."

"How? Tell me about it."

"I do not see as clearly as some: I only vaguely feel that a certain
occurrence will bring a certain catastrophe. If I love, I shall die."

"Nonsense! And is that the reason you avoided gentlemen's society?"

"Yes. I was afraid, really afraid;" and she made the expression
stronger by a slight shudder.

"And you are so no longer?" he questioned hopefully.

"After I knew you I saw there was no danger in simply being acquainted
with gentlemen."

Dr. Grey winced, and was silent for a time; then resumed
energetically: "I am glad you have told me this. What will you think
when I say that what you call presentiments are common to every
delicately organized person? They are purely physical; an indigestion,
a change in the weather or fatigue will cause them; a dose of medicine
or a night's repose will cure them. The brain becomes indisposed with
the rest of the body, but to allow such morbid fancies to influence
you is preposterous."

"They are prophetic: I have often proved it."

"Mere coincidences. My advice is to begin to fight them at once. In
regard to my cousin--"

"She has already brought me trouble. I knew it would be so when she
crossed my path the other day. Look at my accident."

"That might have happened to any one. Why did you run away from me?"

"It was an impulse I could not restrain."

"I hope the oracle has not been traducing me?"

"I have had no premonitions lately: when I was suffering I could
think of nothing. But you have been so kind it seems impossible you
should bring me harm."

"I would not for the world," he broke in earnestly.

"I am drifting blindly, and my mind misgives me that all is not right.
I may be walking toward danger unaware. I believe I am," she continued
dreamily, "but so long as I do not fall in love, nothing dreadful will
happen."

"You had better fall in love than become a monomaniac," exclaimed the
young man with more warmth than the occasion seemed to warrant. "If
your premonitions have ceased, it is evidence of an improved state of
health, and as your physician I forbid you to indulge in them."

"Doctors think they can treat everything," she said impatiently; then
continued in an explanatory tone: "I inherit my foreknowledge from my
mother, who was a gypsy celebrated in her tribe for reading the
future. You see that the faculty is hereditary with me, and a dose of
medicine will not cure it. My poor mother died at my birth: she was
very young and beautiful. My father was past forty when he married. I
have never spoken of it before, as he dislikes it to be mentioned. But
you look like a man who could keep a secret, and I want to prove that
I am not as foolish as you think."

Maurice saw it was useless to argue further: the delusion must be
firmly established to have caused this young creature to seclude
herself from general society for so long a period. The facts of her
parentage must have been imprudently confided to her when young, and
an imaginative temperament had done the rest. The secresy with which
she guarded these ideas served to strengthen them. He could only hope
that the life she was now leading would diminish their influence, or
perhaps totally destroy her singular belief. Maurice thought it would
be easy to wait for time to effect this change, but he had not counted
on jealousy.

It was, of all people, that rattlecap George Clifton. George was a
man who invariably attached himself where notoriety was to be
obtained, and since Miss Lafitte had become the rage he was her
shadow. Maurice, soon after this conversation, had discontinued his
professional visits. He wished gradually to make it evident to Fay
that his attentions had a deeper meaning. Besides, he was scarcely in
a state to coolly feel her pulse when he was ready to devour her hand
with kisses. The consequence of this change was that he seldom saw her
alone: he had less opportunity than ever of winning her affection, and
he was tormented by thinking that if she became cured of her eccentric
fancy, it would be to marry Clifton.

The doctor was a man of expedients. One evening, when on the shore
with Miss Lafitte at a little distance from a party of gay companions,
he spied one of those flat-bottomed boats which are a feature of the
place, and invited her to enter. Without a word he sent the tiny craft
far over the water, out of hearing, almost out of sight, when, resting
on his oars, he began: "I am glad to see you have entirely given up
your faith in premonitions, Miss Lafitte."

She was sitting, her hands lying idly in her lap, gazing dreamily at
the drifting clouds above. Without taking the trouble to change her
position, she asked, "How so?"

"You are in love with George Clifton."

"What an amount of penetration you have, Dr. Grey!"

"You are always with him."

"Why should I not be? he is the safest man I know."

"I hope your confidence is not misplaced." Maurice turned, and,
shading his face with his hand, looked at the setting sun, although he
would have required the eye of an eagle to enjoy its brilliancy. "She
acknowledges her preference," thought the young man bitterly, but in
the midst of the turmoil her words occasioned he heard her tranquilly
saying, "If I were with him a hundred years there would be no danger
of my falling in love with him."

Maurice gave a start that caused the water about the boat to dance,
but before he could enjoy in full the satisfaction of her last remark,
another fear suggested itself. "Perhaps you come with me for the same
reason," said he.

"You are my physician."

"I find to my cost that physicians are as capable of loving as other
men, but whether their love will be returned is another matter."

Emotion has its peculiar language. Though he strove to be calm, there
was a ring in his voice that was unusual, and Fay could not but notice
it. "Are you in love, doctor?" she asked gently. "I might help you if
I knew with whom it is. Could you tell me?"

Was it worth while to reply to so unconscious, so friendly, a question
by the truth? Why ask? What man, having gone so far, would be content
to stop? Letting his eyes speak for him, he met her innocent
questioning look by a long imploring gaze as he whispered, "You."

As he spoke the expression came over her face that he had noticed when
he had first crossed her path with Mrs. Felton: the color forsook her
cheeks, the dreamy composure of her attitude vanished, and she
murmured in a scared, helpless tone, "Do you want to kill me?"

"No, no: do not think that," he hastily replied. Then seeing the boat
had drifted behind a little island that hid them from view, he moved
and sat on the floor beside her. "Dear Fay, believe me there is no
reality in your foreknowledge. Such a thing is impossible. Love me,
Fay, and I will shield you from any evil that may happen. Do not let
those sick fancies mislead you: they are gone never to return."

"Take me home, take me home," she sobbed, covering her face with her
hands. "Oh why do you talk to me in this way? It is unkind. You know
it cannot be. I will not listen to another word. Take me home."

Dr. Grey was too wise to insist. Love had quickened his intuitions. He
would have liked to take her in his arms and chase this threatening
horror from her mind: he was eager to plead his cause, to assure her
of his devotion, but without a word he resumed his seat and obeyed.

The generosity shown in thus preferring her wishes to his own touched
Fay more than any pleading could have done. She was convinced of his
unselfishness, and her confidence in him remained unshaken. For some
time after the scene in the boat she was very shy; but seeing he
avoided the forbidden subject, and unconsciously growing each day
fonder of his society, she allowed herself to drift into that closer
intimacy which can have but one reason for its charm. Maurice saw and
rejoiced. If he had won her heart he felt sure of surmounting the
imaginary objection to his suit, and he resolved on a bold stroke.

One evening after a long walk they were seated on a huge table-rock
jutting from the shore into the water, nothing but the lake before
them, the sky above, the forest behind. "Is it not a matter of
surprise that you should still be living, Miss Lafitte? he asked,
concealing his trepidation under the appearance of raillery.

"Why?"

"Because you have been in love with me for several weeks."

Struck with the truth rather than the audacity of his assertion, she
looked down, pondering intently a little space; then, not considering
what the admission involved, she said in a choked voice, "You are
right."

"And it has not hurt you," he went on eagerly. "I cannot hurt you.
Won't you believe me?"

Another longer pause, and the words came trembling forth: "If it
_could_ be so!"

"It _is_ so. It has been already proved." He took her hand gently: she
permitted it to lie in his, and silence, the language of full hearts,
ministered between them.

She broke it finally by the whispered question, "You are quite, quite
sure that these warnings are not peculiar--that science can account
for them?"

"On my honor, yes."

"I want to believe--I do believe you. I will risk my life for you:
I--I--I love you, Maurice."

"My darling!"

She was very quiet, even sad, that evening. Conversation seemed an
effort, and after some vain attempts to shake off her depression she
hastily retired. After a long search Grey found her walking in one of
the alleys of the garden, and could perceive by her tones that she had
been weeping.

"In a very few days you will laugh at these pet superstitions. Do not
indulge this mood: come and walk," he said persuasively.

"You are cruel."

"Indeed it is for your good."

"Maurice, do you think we are justified in thus tempting Fate?"

He smiled at her as if she were a child: "I have no doubts."

Her eyes shone solemnly as she replied, "Then lead me, even to death."

"To life--to a happy life, dear Fay." He put her unresisting hand on
his arm and led her to the door of her room: "Sleep, my darling, and
to-morrow you will feel more tranquil."

The next day the young man congratulated himself: Fay was as bright as
if evil could never touch her. On passing him at the breakfast-table
she whispered, "I defy Fate."

But the struggle was not yet over: the old fear and the new love
fought a hard battle. A fortnight of these alternate lights and
shadows passed. In his presence the poor girl tried to put on a brave
face, but what she endured when alone could be seen in her loss of
flesh and color. Sometimes the doctor almost repented having brought
this misery upon her, but he comforted himself by looking forward to
the calm which must surely follow this storm.

One morning, Miss Lafitte not appearing at her usual time, Maurice
became alarmed. Fearing she might be ill, he went to her parlor to
inquire: his knock was responded to by Jane, who gave him a note
evidently written in expectation of his coming. It ran thus: "Meet me
this evening at seven on the rock that you know." Of course he knew
the place: it was where she had acknowledged her love.

As may be supposed, the young man was not late at the rendezvous, but
he found Fay already there, walking restlessly up and down the
contracted space.

"Sit down," she began in the peremptory tone of extreme emotion; then
clasping her hands as she stood before him, she said, "I wanted to see
you--"

"Not more than I wanted to see you," he interrupted lightly.

Without noticing his remark, she continued hurriedly, "I wish to say
that all between us is broken off."

"It is not: I won't submit." He made a motion to rise.

"Do not come near me," she cried with growing agitation. "You have
brought me my death. Oh, Maurice!"--here her voice sank
pathetically--"why did you make me love you? I shall die--nothing can
persuade me to believe otherwise--and it will be soon, soon, soon."

"How very unreasonable, dear Fay! You have long acknowledged your
love, yet nothing has happened."

"It is about to happen."

"Come and sit by me," he begged.

"Never again: it must be ended. All day this miserable feeling has
oppressed me. I have tried to shake it off, but cannot. It is a
warning--it is horrible. Death is near, close, close. I must cease
loving you or pay the penalty."

Her wan face presented such a picture of grief, her, voice expressed
such an excess of suffering, that Maurice felt his eyes grow dim.
Scarcely less moved than herself, he replied, "You cannot cease loving
me, dear, dear Fay, nor can I bear to lose you. Let us end this
struggle by an immediate marriage. You will then be calm--you will be
happy. I will go to your father at once and make the arrangements: he
will consent when I explain. There is a clergyman at the house, and a
midnight train for New York. Oh, my darling, do not hesitate: this
suspense is killing you. Can't you trust me, Fay?"

She listened eagerly: his voice seemed to soothe her. Seeing this, he
rose, and, still speaking words of love, approached her. Controlled
by, yet fearing, his influence, she slowly retreated as he advanced.
Suddenly he cried as if in agony, "Fay, come to me!"

She was standing on the brink of the rock with her back to the danger.
A moment she wavered: then Maurice could restrain himself no longer,
but, extending his arm, he rushed toward her.

A little step backward, a shy movement to yet delay the consent that
was already on her lips, a fall, a splash, and the waters of the lake
closed over the body of Fay Lafitte.

To save her or lose himself was the resolution of the doctor as he
leapt to the rescue. He was a good swimmer, and soon came to the
surface after the plunge, but the shadow of the rock retarded his
search. At last he found her, and then a new difficulty, that of
landing, presented itself. The shore was covered with a fringe of
impenetrable brushwood, which gave him the scantiest support, and it
was impossible to mount the face of the rock. Almost in despair, he
looked across the water, where he saw in the moonlight a fisherman's
boat. Slowly the little craft obeyed his repeated calls for help.
Sturdy arms relieved him of his insensible burden, while he, scarcely
taking time to climb beside her, hoarsely bade the men row for their
lives.

It is needless to describe the scene of confusion which followed on
their arrival at the hotel. The only practical man there was Dr.
Grey, who gave orders and applied remedies with desperate energy.
His persistence was rewarded: the veined lids opened, the white
lips parted, intelligence returned: she spoke, and Maurice
threw himself on his knees and bent over her that he might
catch the words. "My warning was true," she whispered slowly,
"but--I--am--willing--to--die--for--loving--you." Then perception faded
from those gentle eyes, breathing ceased, the muscles relaxed. Fay was
dead.

And the doctor?

He afterward married his cousin: she was so kind to him at the time of
his sad affliction.

ITA ANIOL PROKOP.



A SCENE IN THE CAMPAGNA.


You remember the Piazza della Bocca della Verità at Rome? No? Perhaps
it is too far away from the Piazza di Spagna and the stairs of the
Monte di Trinità, which may be taken to be the central points of
English or American Rome. Yet you must have passed by the Bocca della
Verità on your way to your drive on the Via Appia and the tomb of
Caecilia Metella. Do you not remember a large, shambling,
unkempt-looking open space, a sort of cross in appearance between the
_piazza_ of a city and a farmyard, a little after passing the remains
of the Teatro di Marcello, the grand old arches of which are now, in
the whirligig of Time's revenges, turned into blacksmiths' shops? The
piazza in question is nearly open on one side to the Tiber, on the
immediate bank of which stands that elegant little round temple, with
its colonnade of charming fluted pillars, which has from time out of
mind been known as the Temple of Vesta, though the designation, as
modern archaeologists tell us, is probably erroneous. All the world,
whether of those who have been at Rome or not, knows the Temple of
Vesta, for it is the prettiest, if not the grandest, of the legacies
to us of old pagan Rome, and it has been reproduced in little
drawing-room models by the thousand in every conceivable material.
Close to it, at one corner of the piazza, is the ancient and
half-ruinous house which is pointed out as the habitation of Cola di
Rienzi. It is altogether a strange-looking spot, that Piazza della
Bocca della Verità, standing as it does on the confines of what may
be called the inhabited part of Rome and that portion of the huge
space within the walls which still remains sacred to the past and its
memories and remains. But not the least strange thing about it is its
name--the _Piazza of the Mouth of Truth_! There is a story of some one
of the great doctors of the early ages of Christianity having taught
in the very ancient church which stands on the side of the piazza
farthest from the Tiber. Ay, to be sure, the name must come very
evidently thence. The "mouth of truth" was the mouth of that seraphic
or angelic or golden-tongued or other "doctor gentium," and the old
church and the piazza still preserve the memory of his eloquence. Not
a bit of it! Under the venerable-looking portico of this church there
is a huge colossal marble mask, with a gaping mouth in the middle of
it. There it lies, totally unconnected in any way with the various
other relics of the past around it--tombs and frescoes and
mosaics--and the stranger wonders what it is, and how it came there.
To the last question there is no reply. But in answer to the former,
tradition says that the Roman populace when affirming anything on oath
were wont to place their hands in the mouth of this mask as a form of
swearing, and hence the stone was called the "Bocca della Verità," and
has given its name to the piazza.

Well, it was while traversing this piazza a few days since with a
stranger friend, whom I was taking to visit the curious old church
above mentioned, that I received and returned the salutation of an
acquaintance whose appearance induced my companion to ask with some
little surprise who my friend was. The individual whose courteous
salutation had provoked the question was a horseman mounted on a
remarkably fine black mare. Whether, in consequence of some little
touch with the spur, or whether merely from high condition and high
spirits, the animal was curvetting and rearing and dancing about a
little as she crossed the piazza, and the perfect ease--and one may
say, indeed, elegance--of the rider's seat, and his consummate
mastery of the animal he bestrode, must have attracted the attention
and excited the admiration of any lover of horses and horsemanship. It
was abundantly evident that he was neither one of the "gentlemen
riders" who figure in the somewhat mild Roman steeple-chase races, nor
of those Nimrods from beyond the Alps who, mounted on such steeds as
Jarrett or Rannucci can supply them with, attend the "meets" of the
Roman hunt. The man in question was very unlike any of these; his
horse was quite as unlike any that such persons are wont to ride; and
his seat upon his horse and his mode of riding were yet more unlike
theirs. It was not the seat of a man accustomed to "go across the
country" and ride to hounds; and still less was it the seat of a
cavalry-man, the result of teaching in a military riding-school. It
was more like the seat (if the expression be permissible) of a
centaur. The rider and his steed seemed to be one organization and
governed by one and the same will.

But I must endeavor to give the reader an idea of the outward
appearance of my acquaintance. He wore a long horse-man's cloak of
dark-brown cloth, with a deep fur collar, which hung loosely from his
shoulders, and being entirely open in front displayed a scarlet
waistcoat ornamented with silver buttons beneath it, and thighs clad
in black velveteen breeches. His lower legs were cased in gaiters of a
very peculiar make. They were of light-brown colored leather, so made
as to present an altogether creaseless surface, and yet fitted to the
leg by numerous straps and buckles so closely that they exhibited the
handsome and well-formed limb beneath them almost as perfectly as a
silk stocking could have done. Below the ankle they closely clasped a
boot which was armed with a very severe spur. The rider wore a high
conical black felt hat--such a hat as is called, significently enough,
"un cappello de brigante," a brigand's hat. It had, moreover, a
scarlet ribbon around it, which added much to the brigand-like
picturesqueness of the figure. Yet my friend was by no means a
brigand, for all that. But the portion of his accoutrement which was
perhaps the most remarkable has not been mentioned yet. While managing
his reins, snaffle and curb, with excellent ease in his left hand, his
right held--not a whip or stick of any sort, but--a lance like a rod,
some seven or eight feet long, and armed at the end with a short iron
spike. This spike rested on the toe of his boot as he rode--an
attitude which, resembling that of a cavalier entering the tournament
lists, gave to the rod in question all the appearance of a knightly
lance. Yet there is in the recollection or the imagination of most
people another figure whom on the whole the rider in the Piazza della
Bocca della Verità would have been more likely to recall to their
minds--the mounted Arab of the desert. I hardly know why it should be
so. But there was a something about the general outline of the figure
draped in its cloak, and in the way in which the long slight lance was
held, that had an unmistakably Eastern look about it. There was a
certain air of dignity too about my friend which contributed to his
Arab-like appearance. Yet it was not exactly the dignity of the grave
and impassible Eastern man. It was a mixture of dignity and
jauntiness. There was a certain air of self-consciousness about the
man in the cloak and brigand's hat that told you clearly enough that
he knew he was riding remarkably well, and expected you to mark it
too. He would have been exceedingly unwilling that the glories of the
scarlet waistcoat with its silver buttons should have been eclipsed,
and he would have unmistakably fallen in his own esteem had the broad
scarlet ribbon been taken from his hat. The _pose_ and turn of his
well-shaped head on his shoulders provocatively challenged admiration,
and would have had a dash of insolence in them if the expression had
not been corrected by a pleasant smile, which showed a range of bright
white teeth beneath a jet-black moustache, and the good-humor of the
glance that tempered the frank roving boldness of the well-opened eye.
When it has been added that he was in the very prime of manhood, a
man of some thirty-five or thereabouts, I think that the reader will
be able to form a tolerably correct picture to himself of my
acquaintance, Nanni Silvani.

"And who and what is Nanni Silvani?" asked my companion when I had
categorically answered his question by stating the name of the rider
whose salutation I had returned.

"Nanni--or, more correctly, Signor Giovanni--Silvani is a _buttero_ of
the Roman Campagna," said I.

"And, pray, what may a 'buttero' be?" rejoined my Johnny Newcome,
looking back after the receding figure of the horseman with no little
curiosity.

"A buttero," I answered, "is one of the most peculiar and
characteristic products of that very peculiar region, the _Agro
Romano_."

The conditions under which the district around Rome is cultivated--or
rather possessed and left uncultivated--are entirely _sui
generis_--quite unlike anything else in the world. The vast undulating
plain called the Campagna is divided among very few proprietors in
comparison to its extent, who hold immense estates, which are more
profitable than the appearance of the country, smitten to all seeming
with a curse of desolation, would lead a stranger to suppose. These
huge properties are held mainly by the great Roman papal families and
by monastic corporations whose monasteries are within the city. In
either case the property is practically inalienable, and has been
passed from father to son for generations, or held by an undying
religious corporation in unchanging sameness for many generations.
Cultivation in the proper sense of the word is out of the question in
this region: the prevalence of the deadly malaria renders it
impossible. But the vast extent of the plain is wandered over by large
herds of half-wild cattle, in great part buffaloes, the produce of
which is turned to profit in large dairy and cheese-making
establishments, and by large droves of horses, from which a very
useful breed of animals is raised. The superintendence and care of
these is the work of the buttero. Large flocks of sheep and goats
also are fed upon the herbage of the Campagna. But the shepherds who
tend them are quite a different race of men from the buttero, and are
deemed, especially by himself, to hold a far inferior position in the
social scale. And, as is ever the case, social prejudice justifies
itself by producing the phenomenon it has declared to exist. The
shepherd of the Campagna, having long been deemed the very lowest of
the low, has become such in reality. Clad in the dried but untanned
skin of one of his flock, he has almost the appearance of a savage,
and, unless common fame belies him, he is the savage he looks. The
buttero looks down upon him from a very pinnacle of social elevation
in the eyes of every inhabitant of the towns and villages around Rome,
especially in those of the youthful female population. While the poor
shepherd, shaggy as his sheep, wild-looking as his goats, and savage
as his dogs, squalid, fever-stricken and yellow, spending long weeks
and even months in solitude amid the desolation of the Campagna,
saunters after his sauntering flock, crawling afoot, the gallant
buttero, in the saddle from morning to night, represents that
aristocracy which among all uncivilized races and in all uncivilized
times is the attribute of the mounted as distinguished from the
unmounted portion of mankind. And if this fact is recognized by the
generality of the world in which he lives, it is very specially
assumed to be undeniable by the buttero himself. There is always a
smack of the dandy about him. He is proud of his appearance, of his
horse and of his mastery over him. He knows that he is a picturesque
and striking figure, and the consciousness of the fact imparts a
something to his bearing that is calculated to make the most of it.
His manners and ways of life, too, are really more tinctured by
civilization than those of the rest of the rural population among whom
he lives. And this arises mainly from the fact that his occupations
bring him more and more frequently into contact with his superiors in
the social scale. The agricultural system prevailing in the district
around Rome differs markedly and essentially from that in use
generally in Tuscany. There the system of rent is almost unknown. The
present tiller of the soil occupies it on condition of rendering to
the landowner the half of the produce of it, and this arrangement is
conducted under the superintendence of a _fattore_. But the
widespreading possessions of a Roman landowner are for the most part
let to a speculator, who is termed a "mercante di campagna." The
commercial operations engaged in by these "merchants of the country"
are often very extensive, and many of them become very wealthy men. It
is hardly necessary to say that neither they nor their families live
on, or indeed in most cases near, the land from which they draw their
wealth. They are absentees, with a paramount excuse for being so. For
the vast plains over which their herds and flocks and droves wander
are for the most part scourged by the malaria to such an extent that
human life, or at all events human health, is incompatible with a
residence on them. The wealthy _mercante di campagna_ lives in Rome
therefore, and his wife and family take the lead in the rich, but not
in the aristocratic, circles of the society of the capital. One of
these men may be seen perhaps at a "meet" of the Roman hunt, mounted
on the best and most showy horse in the field, attended probably by a
smart groom leading a second (very needless) horse for his master's
use, or holding in readiness an elegant equipage for him to drive
himself back to the city at the termination of the day's sport. His
wife and daughters meanwhile are probably exhibiting themselves in the
Villa Borghese or on the Pincian Hill in the handsomest carriage and
with the most splendid horses in all the gay throng, and displaying
toilettes which throw into the shade the more sober style of those of
the duchesses, princesses and countesses whom they would so gladly,
but may not, salute as they pass them in their less brilliant
equipages. The balls, too, given in the Carnival by these men and
their wives will probably be the most splendid of the season, in so
far as the expenditure of money can ensure splendor, but they will
not be adorned by the diamonds of the old patrician families, nor will
it be possible for the givers of them to obtain access to the
sighed-for elysium of the halls of the historical palaces where those
diamonds are native. Between the two classes there is a great gulf
fixed, or perhaps it would be more accurately correct to say that
there _was_ such a great gulf fixed a year or two ago. The great gulf
exists still, but it is beginning gradually to be a little bridged
over. No doubt another twenty years will see it vanish altogether. But
enough has been said to indicate the social position of the mercante
di campagna as it was, and for the most part still is. But, fine
gentleman as he is, the wealthy speculator, if he would remain such,
is not always at the hunt or lounging in the Corso. He is often at the
_tenuta_ (or estate) from which his wealth is gathered, and on such
occasions spends long hours on horseback riding over wide extents of
country, and attended by the all-important buttero, sure to be mounted
on as good a horse as that which carries his employer, or perhaps a
better. Perhaps two or three of these functionaries are in attendance
upon him. And such excursions necessarily produce a degree of
companionship which would not result from attendance in any other
form. As riders the two men are on an equality for the nonce. The tone
of communication between the men is insensibly modified by the
circumstances of a colloquy between two persons on horseback. It
cannot be the same as that between a master sitting in his chair and a
servant standing hat in hand before him. And then how proudly does the
gallant buttero ride past the pariah shepherds tending their shaggy
flocks and seeming barely raised above them in intelligence!

All this tends, as may be supposed, to civilize the buttero to a
degree that he would not attain without it. He is, as has been
intimated, generally eminently self-conscious of his own advantages
and proud of his position. To the other elements which go to produce
this feeling may be added the pride of caste. Our buttero is probably
the son and the father of a race which follows the same occupation.
The knowledge and skill which are absolutely necessary to his
profession, and which are acquired no otherwise than traditionally,
have a tendency to produce this result. He grew up to be a buttero,
with a consummate knowledge of horses and horned cattle, and a sure
eye for the condition of the pastures from one to another district of
which the animals are constantly moving, under the eye of his father,
who put him on a half-broken colt almost as soon as he could walk. And
he is giving his son the same education. For a young buttero to marry
with a daughter of the despised shepherd class would be a mésalliance
not to be thought of. Nor would a marriage with the daughter of a
small artisan of the towns be deemed a very acceptable one. The
chances are that the young centaur marries a girl of his own centaur
breed, and all the prejudice and barriers of caste are thus propagated
and intensified. It must not be supposed that the buttero or his
family lives on the malaria-stricken plains which his occupation
requires him to be constantly riding over. The wretched shepherd is
constrained to do so, and sleeps in the vicinity of his flock,
finding, if he can, the shelter of a ruined tomb or of the broken arch
of an aqueduct, or even of a cave from which _pozzolana_ has been dug,
and strives to exorcise the malaria fiend by kindling a big fire and
sleeping with his head in the thick smoke of it. But the buttero, well
mounted, to whom it is a small matter to ride eight or ten miles to
his home every night, lives with his family either in Rome or in one
of the small towns on the slopes of the hills which enclose the
Campagna. And it is thus that these strikingly picturesque figures may
often be seen traversing the streets and _piazze_ of Rome, and
especially of those parts of it which lie on the far side of the Tiber
or to the southward of the Quirinal Hill and the Piazza di Venezia.
They are almost always handsome fellows, well grown, and striking
specimens of robust and manly vigor, probably by virtue of the lives
they lead, and of the similar lives the race from which they spring
have led before them; partly also, no doubt, from the fact that should
any son be born to a buttero who should not be thus happily endowed,
he could not think of following the ancestral occupation, but would
have to be weeded out from the race and seek his place in the towns,
where he would not become the father of degenerate _butteri_.

My friend Nanni Silvani was all that I have described the buttero to
be. He was indeed a very perfect specimen of his class; and if the
reader will allow me to tell him how I first came to be acquainted
with Nanni, the relation of the circumstances will at the same time
show him one of the most remarkable phases of the buttero's life, and
one of the most curiously characteristic scenes of Italian--and
especially Roman--life which it falls to the lot of foreign visitors
to witness.

It will be readily understood that the cattle, whether horned beasts
or horses, which wander from pasture to pasture over the vast extent
of the Campagna are liable to stray occasionally, and perhaps to
become mingled with the herds belonging to another proprietor. It is
necessary, therefore, that they should be _marked_; and this marking
is the occasion of a great and very remarkable festival and solemnity.
It is called _La Merca_, which is a Romanism for _La Marca_, the
"mark" or "marking" of the cattle. This operation takes place in the
spring, generally in May; and the mercante di campagna whose herds of
horned cattle, oxen, cows and buffaloes and droves of horses are to be
marked on a settled day invites all his friends and acquaintance to
come and see the operation. From what has already been said of the
social habits and status of the persons occupying that position, it
will be readily imagined that the company thus called together is
often a very numerous and sufficiently brilliant one. A good half of
the assemblage will in all probability belong to the more ornamental
sex. A liberally supplied picnic luncheon will not fail to complete
the pleasures of the day; and altogether the festival of the _merca_
of such or such a year will probably remain as an epoch in the
memories of many of those invited to be present. The carriages, the
horses, the light country gigs and conveyances of all kinds must be
ordered early in the pleasant May morning, for a drive (or ride) of
several miles across the Campagna is before us, and perhaps before the
spot appointed for the business in hand is reached a scramble across a
mile or so of open rolling ground impracticable for wheels. But
nothing can be more lovely than the views of the hills around Rome in
the fresh early hours of a May morning. Even the melancholy Campagna
puts on a look of brightness and smiles a pale smile for the nonce. We
soon overtake or are overtaken by other parties bound for the same
destination. All are chatting and laughing in high good spirits, for
the spectacle that awaits us is a favorite one with the Roman dames
and their attendant squires. There are very few, if any, foreigners
among the invited, partly because it hardly comes in their way to hear
anything about the merca and its specialties, or to make the
acquaintance of the hosts upon such occasions; partly and mainly
perhaps because they have almost all of them left Rome for the summer
before the season for these rural festivals commences.

At length we reach the ground. A large hollow in the undulating
surface of the Campagna, surrounded in great part by a steeply rising
bank, has been chosen as the scene of operations, in order to afford
as much vantage-ground as may be for the spectators. But other
accommodation than such as is afforded by Nature has been provided. A
range of seats of rough planks, something in the form of the grand
stand on a race-course, has been erected by the hospitable mercante di
campagna, who is busily engaged in receiving and seating his numerous
friends. Large droves of young horses, and still larger herds of
bullocks and buffaloes, are assembled in a neighboring yard. Before
taking our places on the range of seats we go to have a look at this
portion of the _dramatis personae_ in the coming spectacle--from the
_outside_, be it understood, of a high railed palisade, or
_stazzionata_, as this description of enclosure is called in the
language of the Roman Campagna. The appearance of the animals inside,
of the buffaloes especially, does not tempt one to make any nearer
acquaintance with them. The wild cattle of the Western prairies can
hardly look wilder or more savage. Whether the buffaloes are in
reality more savage in their temper than the other horned cattle, or
not, seems to be a doubtful question. Some of the herdsmen say they
are so: others deny it. Possibly the former may have the more
sensitive imaginations, for unquestionably the buffalo is a far more
terrible-looking fellow than his congener. His dark color and the form
of the vicious-looking, crumply horn in great part contribute to this.
But it seems to me that the expression of the eye produces the same
effect to a yet greater degree. The buffalo's eye is smaller than that
of the ordinary bull or cow, and often gleams out of the shaggy
thicket of black hair around it with a red glare that has something
truly diabolical in it. There may perhaps be collected in the yard and
in one or two enclosures near it some forty or fifty young horses, and
perhaps altogether from a hundred to a hundred and fifty head of
horned cattle. Lounging about around these enclosures, or looking on
while the last completing touches are given to the strong and high
railing which surrounds the space in front of the range of seats, are
several butteri and their aids, awaiting the master's signal for the
beginning of the day's work.

Altogether, the scene is a very strange one. The contact of the rural
and the city life, the elements of which meet in these countries so
rarely and mix so little and so unwillingly, seems strange and
incongruous. Nothing can be wilder than all the local surroundings of
the scene; nothing less town-like than the living things, human and
other, which are to enact their parts in it; nothing less rural,
nothing more completely of the town townish, than the assembled
company of spectators. Evidently, the individuals belonging to either
category look upon those of the other very little in the light of
fellow-creatures. In no country in the world is the division between
the town population and that of the country so wide as it is in Italy.
No one of either class seems to be struck by, or even to see, the
extreme beauty of the prospect from the spot on which we are standing.
It is a spot in the Campagna somewhat to the south-west of a line
drawn from the city to the base of the Alban Hills; and though the
place chosen for the operation of the merca is, as I have said, a
hollow, the generality of the immediate neighborhood is somewhat
higher than the level of the surrounding plain, and the eye is thus
enabled to wander far and wide over the Campagna--to the Alban Hills
southward; to the peak of Monte Cavo, where the early rays of the sun
are just touching with light the old gray walls of the convent on its
summit; to the large village of Rocca di Papa on its hillside a little
farther to the left; to the town of Grotto Ferrata on the lowest
instep of the hill, and more still to the left; and then Frascati,
with the heights of Tusculum above it; and thence to that wonderfully
beautiful opening in the range of hills where Preneste lies; and
beyond that, as we turn the delighted eye slowly round to the
eastward, the olive-rich hill of Tivoli, the woods that mark the
position of Hadrian's Villa, and the whole range of the Sabine Hills.
But little do the Roman dames care for the scene so fair. Their eyes
are all for matters nearer at hand. They are curiously scanning the
men who are going to be the heroes of the day--the butteri--some
sitting carelessly on their horses, some lounging around the
enclosure. And well aware are they in either case that they are the
cynosures of neighboring eyes, and the consciousness that they are so
is betrayed in every movement and every glance of their roving eyes.
Never did knights of old enter the lists, while the heralds reminded
them that bright eyes beheld their deeds, more stimulated to bear
themselves well in the coming contest than are these modern knights
of the Campagna to show their prowess in the ring which is to witness
a not less arduous and hardly less dangerous emprise.

At length the hospitably busy mercante di campagna has seated all his
guests, and the work of the day may begin. Some half dozen or so of
butteri and their aids enter the arena, which is thoroughly enclosed
on all sides by high and secure palisades. The long cloaks are
discarded now, as may be supposed. I hardly know when else the butteri
are to be seen without them or on foot. Now they are seen as succinct
as may be. Every muscle is braced up for the coming struggle, and
there may be observed something in the faces and bearing of the men
that indicates that the work in hand is not expected to be child's
play. They stand in a group in the middle of the enclosed space. The
day's work will begin with the most arduous part of it--with that
which needs all the fresh strength and address of the men--the marking
of the buffaloes. A young buffalo bull, not yet grown to his full
strength, but yet abundantly powerful enough to be a very formidable
antagonist, is driven into the arena, and the gate by which he has
entered is immediately closed behind him. Many a yearling of the more
domesticated breeds is a larger and heavier animal, and yet most men
would, if they were compelled to such a struggle, prefer to measure
their force against an animal of the latter class than against this
half-savage creature. He may be considered, indeed, to be wholly
savage, save in so far as he may be supposed to inherit from his
progenitors the nature of a race that man has more or less perfectly
subjected and compelled to labor. On first entering the arena he
tosses up his head and shakes the shaggy black locks of wiry hair from
before his small wicked-looking eyes, looks half alarmedly, half
defiantly around, and stamps three or four times with one fore foot on
the ground, partly, as it would seem, in wonder and doubt, and partly
in increasing anger. Then he trots slowly round the enclosure,
starting aside and shying as the bright colors of the ladies' dresses
(at safe distance behind the palisades) catch and offend his eye.
Evidently he is seeking an egress and escape from a scene which must
appear to him so wondrous and full of strange and unknown dangers. But
he has soon satisfied himself that there is no way out, that his
enemies have encompassed him about on every side. Then once again he
throws his shaggy head into the air, shaking his short thick curly
horns in a very menacing manner, and this time accompanying the action
with a loud bellow, the compound expression of fear, wonder and wrath.

Now, what has to be done is simply this--to seize him, throw him to
the ground on his side, then to impress the branding-iron on his
flank, and dismiss him to make way for another. Of course nothing
would be easier with properly contrived appliances and means than to
accomplish this with promptitude, safety to man and beast, without
struggle and without glory. But this would involve change of
habitudes, recourse to new methods, modern improvements, a confession
to the mind of the buttero that he was no longer able to do what his
fathers for many a generation had done before him. It would be to lose
the opportunity of exhibiting himself and his prowess on the great
festival of the year, together with those subsequent hours of repose
and reward for danger and fatigue endured which heroes of all ages,
from the quaffers of mead in the halls of Odin to the "food for
powder" around the vivandière's paniers, have never disdained. For
these sufficient reasons the merca is practiced still in the old way
in the Roman Campagna, and the victory of the man over the brute has
to be achieved by main force and dexterity. The buttero has not so
much as a lasso, or even a halter or a stick, to assist him in the
struggle. There is the beast with his horns, and there is the man with
his hands. Probably it might have been better to seize the creature
instantly on his entry into the arena, while he was under the
influence of his first bewilderment; and doubtless when the men have
got hot to their work, and the advancing sun warns them to get on
with it, the business will be more summarily despatched. But in the
first opening of the day's work a little show-off is indulged in. The
buffalo has ceased his trot round the railing, and stands head in air
as he bellows his defiance. That is the moment seized by the watchful
buttero for accepting the challenge. With a sudden spring at the
animal he seizes him by the horns, and with a sudden vigorous and
knowingly-applied wrench throws him to the ground on his side. Then
burst forth the plaudits from the well-dressed crowd, more heartily
bestowed perhaps by the ladies than by their kid-gloved cavaliers, who
are conscious that they could not have done so much to save their own
lives or those of the fair dames by their side. With the fall of the
beast to the ground the work is done. All the rest is without
difficulty, and is completed in a minute. Other men come forward and
apply the brand to the struggling but comparatively helpless brute,
who in the next minute finds himself free from his persecutors and at
liberty to trot off out of the enclosure.

Thus matters pass in a case where the buttero is master of his
business, where he is in his own best condition of muscular force and
activity, and where he is not matched against a beast of exceptional
strength. It frequently occurs, however, that all these conditions are
not fulfilled. Some men are cleverer at it than others. It will be
readily understood that, as in wrestling, the knack of the thing
counts for much, and sometimes, either from want of this or some other
circumstance of disadvantage, the struggle is prolonged. Man and beast
put forth their utmost strength. They sway backward and forward; the
ground becomes trampled into mud; the strong muscles of the creature's
brawny neck resist every effort of his enemy. Not a man of the group
within the area comes to the assistance of his comrade. They watch the
contest indeed with vigilant eyes, and should real danger to the man's
life ensue they are ready to throw themselves forward and overpower or
drive off the buffalo. But short of this the fight must be a duel. The
man must throw his beast, or be thrown. Not unfrequently, the latter
occurs; and then the city crowd, who were so loud in their plaudits of
the victor--cruel as their ancestors whose upturned thumbs condemned
the conquered gladiator in the Coliseum--are equally loud in their
hooting of the prostrate buttero. But only his self-love and
self-respect, and not his life, in these days pays the penalty. As he
falls worsted his fellows, watchful to prevent mischief, though
perhaps not sorry for a rival's discomfiture, rush forward and
overpower the conquering brute.

And this goes on until the assembled butteri and their aids have got
through their day's work and marked all the animals that were awaiting
the brand, and the merca for that year is finished. The citizens,
dames and dandies get them back to their carriages and to the city,
while the butteri, victors and vanquished alike, spend the night in
discussing the vicissitudes of the merca and worshiping Bacchus with
rites which in this most conservative of all lands two thousand years
have done but little to change.

T. ADOLPHUS TROLLOPE.



THREE FEATHERS.

BY WILLIAM BLACK, AUTHOR OF "A PRINCESS OF THULE."



CHAPTER XXXVI.

INTO CAPTIVITY.


Toward eleven o'clock that night Mrs. Rosewarne became somewhat
anxious about her girls, and asked her husband to go and meet them, or
to fetch them away if they were still at Mr. Trewhella's house.

"Can't they look after themselves?" said George Rosewarne. "I'll be
bound Mabyn can, any way. Let her alone to come back when she
pleases."

Then his wife began to fret, and as this made him uncomfortable, he
said he would walk up the road and meet them. He had no intention of
doing so, of course, but it was a good excuse for getting away from a
fidgety wife. He went outside into the clear starlight, and lounged
down to the small bridge beside the mill, contentedly smoking his
pipe.

There he encountered a farmer who was riding home a cob he had bought
that day at Launceston, and the farmer and he began to have a chat
about horses suggested by that circumstance. Oddly enough, their
random talk came round to young Trelyon.

"Your thoroughbreds won't do for this county," George Rosewarne was
saying, "to go flying a stone wall and breaking your neck. No, sir.
I'll tell you what sort of hunter I should like to have for these
parts. I'd have him half-bred, short in the leg, short in the pastern,
short in the back, a good sloping shoulder, broad in the chest and the
forehead, long in the belly, and just the least bit over fifteen
hands--eh, Mr. Thoms? I don't think beauty's of much consequence when
your neck's in question. Let him be as angular and ragged in the hips
as you like, so long's his ribs are well up to the hip-bone. Have you
seen that black horse that young Trelyon rides?"

"'Tis a noble beast, sir--a noble beast," the farmer said; and he
would probably have gone on to state what ideal animal had been
constructed by his lavish imagination had not a man come running up at
this moment, breathless and almost speechless.

"Rosewarne," stammered Mr. Roscorla, "a--a word with you! I want to
say--"

The farmer, seeing he was in the way, called out a careless good-night
and rode on.

"Well, what's the matter?" said George Rosewarne a little snappishly:
he did not like being worried by excitable people.

"Your daughters!" gasped Mr. Roscorla. "They've both run away--both of
them--this minute--with Trelyon! You'll have to ride after them.
They're straight away along the high-road."

"Both of them? The infernal young fools!" said Rosewarne. "Why the
devil didn't you stop them yourself?"

"How could I?" Roscorla said, amazed that the father took the flight
of his daughters with apparent equanimity. "You must make haste, Mr.
Rosewarne, or you'll never catch them."

"I've a good mind to let 'em go," said he sulkily as he walked over to
the stables of the inn. "The notion of a man having to set out on this
wild-goose chase at this time o' night! Run away, have they? and what
in all the world have they run away for?"

It occurred to him, however, that the sooner he got a horse saddled
and set out, the less distance he would have to go in pursuit; and
that consideration quickened his movements.

"What's it all about?" said he to Roscorla, who had followed him into
the stable.

"I suppose they mean a runaway match," said Mr. Roscorla, helping to
saddle George Rosewarne's cob, a famous trotter.

"It's that young devil's limb, Mabyn, I'll be bound," said the father.
"I wish to Heaven somebody would marry her!--I don't care who. She's
always up to some confounded mischief."

"No, no, no," Roscorla said: "it's Wenna he means to marry."

"Why, you were to have married Wenna?"

"Yes, but--"

"Then why didn't you? So she's run away, has she?" George Rosewarne
grinned: he saw how the matter lay.

"This is Mabyn's work, I know," said he as he put his foot in the
stirrup and sprang into the saddle. "You'd better go home, Roscorla.
Don't you say a word to anybody. You don't want the girl made a fool
of all through the place."

So George Rosewarne set out to bring back his daughters; not
galloping, as an anxious parent might, but going ahead with a long,
steady-going trot, which he knew would soon tell on Mrs. Trelyon's
over-fed and under-exercised horses.

"If they mean Plymouth," he was thinking, "as is most likely from
their taking the high-road, he'll give it them gently at first. And so
that young man wants to marry our Wenna? 'Twould be a fine match for
her; and yet she's worth all the money he's got--she's worth it every
farthing. I'd give him the other one cheap enough."

Pounding along a dark road, with the consciousness that the farther
you go the farther you've got to get back, and that the distance still
to be done is an indeterminate quantity, is agreeable to no one, but
it was especially vexatious to George Rosewarne, who liked to take
things quietly, and could not understand what all the fuss was about.
Why should he be sent on this mad chase at midnight? If anybody wanted
to marry either of the girls, why didn't he do so and say no more
about it? Rosewarne had been merely impatient and annoyed when he set
out, but the longer he rode, and the more he communed with himself,
the deeper grew his sense of the personal injury that had been done
him by this act of folly.

It was a very lonely ride indeed. There was not a human being abroad
at that hour. When he passed a few cottages from time to time the
windows were dark. Then they had just been putting down a lot of loose
stones at several parts of the road, which caused Mr. Rosewarne to
swear. "I'll bet a sovereign," said he to himself, "that old Job kept
them a quarter of an hour before he opened Paddock's Gate. I believe
the old fool goes to bed. Well, they've waked him up for me, any way."

There was some consolation in this surmise, which was well founded.
When Rosewarne reached the toll-bar there was at least a light in the
small house. He struck on the door with the handle of his riding-whip,
and called out, "Hi, hi! Job! Come out, you old fool!"

An old man with very bandy legs came hobbling out of the toll-house,
and went to open the gate, talking and muttering to himself: "Ay, ay!
so yü be agwoin' after the young uns, Maister Rosewarne? Ay, ay! yü'll
go up many a lane and by many a fuzzy 'ill, and acrass a bridge or
two, afore yü come up wi' 'en, Maister Rosewarne."

"Look sharp, Job!" said Rosewarne. "Carriage been through here
lately?"

"Ay, ay, Maister Rosewarne! 'tis a good half hour agone."

"A half hour, you idiot!" said Rosewarne, now in a thoroughly bad
temper. "You've been asleep and dreaming. Here, take your confounded
money!"

So he rode on again, not believing, of course, old Job's malicious
fabrication, but being rendered all the same a little uncomfortable by
it. Fortunately, the cob had not been out before that day.

More deep lanes, more high, open, windy spaces, more silent cottages,
more rough stones, and always the measured fall of the cob's feet and
the continued shining and throbbing of the stars overhead. At last,
far away ahead, on the top of a high incline, he caught sight of a
solitary point of ruddy fire, which presently disappeared. That, he
concluded, was the carriage he was pursuing going round a corner, and
showing only the one lamp as it turned into the lane. They were not so
far in front of him as he had supposed.

But how to overtake them? So soon as they heard the sound of his
horse would they dash onward at all risks, and have a race for it all
through the night? In that case George Rosewarne inwardly resolved
that they might go to Plymouth, or into the deep sea beyond, before he
would injure his favorite cob.

On the other hand, he could not bring them to a standstill by
threatening to shoot at his own daughters, even if he had had anything
with him that would look like a pistol. Should he have to rely, then,
on the moral terrors of a parent's authority? George Rosewarne was
inclined to laugh when he thought of his overawing in this fashion the
high spirit of his younger daughter.

By slow and sure degrees he gained on the fugitives, and as he could
now catch some sound of the rattling of the carriage-wheels, they must
also hear his horse's footfall. Were they trying to get away from him?
On the contrary, the carriage stopped altogether.

That was Harry Trelyon's decision. For some time back he had been
listening attentively. At length he said, "Don't you hear some one
riding back there?"

"Yes, I do," said Wenna, beginning to tremble.

"I suppose it is Mr. Roscorla coming after us," the young man said
coolly. "Now I think it would be a shame to drag the old gentleman
halfway down to Plymouth. He must have had a good spell already. Shall
I stop and persuade him to go back home to bed?"

"Oh no," said Mabyn, who was all for getting on at any risk.

"Oh no," Wenna said, fearing the result of an encounter between the
two men.

"I must stop," Trelyon said. "It's such precious hard lines on him. I
shall easily persuade him that he would be better at home."

So he pulled up the horses, and quietly waited by the roadside for a
few minutes. The unknown rider drew nearer and more near.

"That isn't Roscorla's pony," said Trelyon listening. "That's more
like your father's cob."

"My father!" said Wenna in a low voice.

"My darling, you needn't be afraid, whoever it is," Trelyon said.

"Certainly not," added Mabyn, who was far more uncomfortable than she
chose to appear. "Who can prevent us going on? They don't lock you up
in convents now-a-days. If it is Mr. Roscorla, you just let me talk to
him."

Their doubt on that head was soon set at rest. White Charley, with his
long swinging trot, soon brought George Rosewarne up to the side of
the phaeton, and the girls, long ere he had arrived, had recognized in
the gloom the tall figure of their father. Even Mabyn was a trifle
nervous.

But George Rosewarne--perhaps because he was a little pacified by
their having stopped--did not rage and fume as a father is expected to
do whose daughter has run away from him. As soon as he had pulled up
his horse he called out in a petulant tone, "Well! what the devil is
all this about?"

"I'll tell you, sir," said Trelyon, quite respectfully and quite
firmly: "I wished to marry your daughter Wenna--"

"And why couldn't you do that in Eglosilyan, instead of making a fool
of everybody all round?" Rosewarne said, still talking in an angry and
vexed way, as of one who had been personally injured.

"Oh, dada," Mabyn cried, "you don't know how it happened; but they
couldn't have got married there. There's that horrid old wretch, Mr.
Roscorla--and Wenna was quite a slave to him and afraid of him--and
the only way was to carry her away from him; and so--"

"Hold your tongue, Mabyn," her father said. "You'd drive a windmill
with your talk."

"But what she says is true enough," Trelyon said. "Roscorla has a
claim on her: this was my only chance, and I took it. Now look here,
Mr. Rosewarne: you've a right to be angry and all that--perhaps you
are--but what good will it do you to see Wenna left to marry
Roscorla?"

"What good will it do me?" said George Rosewarne pettishly. "I don't
care which of you she marries."

"Then you'll let us go on, dada?" Mabyn cried. "Will you come with us?
Oh, do come with us! We're only going to Plymouth."

Even the angry father could not withstand the absurdity of this
appeal. He burst into a roar of ill-tempered laughter. "I like that!"
he cried. "Asking a man to help his daughter to run away from his own
house! It's my impression, my young mistress, that you're at the
bottom of all this nonsense. Come, come! enough of it, Trelyon: be a
sensible fellow, and turn your horses round. Why, the notion of going
to Plymouth at this time o' night!"

Trelyon looked to his companion. She put her hand on his arm, and
said, in a trembling whisper, "Oh yes: pray let us go back."

"You know what you are going to, then?" said he coldly.

She trembled still more.

"Come, come," said her father: "you mustn't stop here all night. You
may thank me for preventing your becoming the talk of the whole
country."

"I shouldn't have minded that much," Mabyn said ruefully, and very
like to cry indeed, as the horses set out upon their journey back to
Eglosilyan.

It was not a pleasant journey for any of them--least of all for Wenna
Rosewarne, who, having been bewildered by one wild glimpse of liberty,
felt with terror and infinite sadness and despair the old manacles
closing round her life again. And what although the neighbors might
remain in ignorance of what she had done? She herself knew, and that
was enough.

"You think no one will know?" Mabyn called out spitefully to her
father. "Do you think old Job at the gate has lost either his tongue
or his nasty temper?"

"Leave Job to me," the father replied.

When they got to Paddock's Gate the old man had again to be roused,
and he came out grumbling.

"Well, you discontented old sinner!" Rosewarne called to him, "don't
you like having to earn a living?"

"A fine livin' to wait on folks that don't knaw their own mind, and
keep comin' and goin' along the road o' nights like a weaver's
shuttle. Hm!"

"Well, Job, you sha'n't suffer for it this time," Rosewarne said.
"I've won my bet. If you made fifty pounds by riding a few miles out,
what would you give the gatekeeper?"

Even that suggestion failed to inveigle Job into a better humor.

"Here's a sovereign for you, Job. Now go to bed. Good-night!"

How long the distance seemed to be ere they saw the lights of
Eglosilyan again! There were only one or two small points of red fire,
indeed, where the inn stood. The rest of the village was buried in
darkness.

"Oh, what will mother say?" Wenna said in a low voice to her sister.

"She will be very sorry we did not get away altogether," Mabyn
answered. "And of course it was Mr. Roscorla who spoiled it. Nobody
knew anything about it but himself. He must have run on to the inn and
told some one. Wasn't it mean, Wenna? Couldn't he see that he wasn't
wanted?"

"Are you talking of Mr. Roscorla?" Trelyon said: George Rosewarne was
a bit ahead at this moment. "I wish to goodness I had gagged him and
slung him below the phaeton. I knew he would be coming down there: I
expected him every moment. Why were you so late, Mabyn?"

"Oh, you needn't blame me, Mr. Trelyon," said Mabyn, rather hurt. "You
know I did everything I could for you."

"I know you did, Mabyn: I wish it had turned out better."

What was this, then, that Wenna heard as she sat there bewildered,
apprehensive and sad-hearted? Had her own sister joined in this league
to carry her off? It was not merely the audacity of young Trelyon that
had led to their meeting. But she was altogether too frightened and
wretched to be angry.

As they got down into Eglosilyan and turned the sharp corner over the
bridge they did not notice the figure of a man who had been concealing
himself in the darkness of a shed belonging to a slate-yard. So soon
as they passed he went some little way after them until, from the
bridge, he could see them stop at the door of the inn. Was it Mrs.
Rosewarne who came out of the glare, and with something like a cry of
delight caught her daughter in her arms? He watched the figures go
inside and the phaeton drive away up the hill; then, in the perfect
silence of the night, he turned and slowly made toward Basset Cottage.



CHAPTER XXXVII.

AN ANGRY INTERVIEW.


Next morning George Rosewarne was seated on the old oak bench in front
of the inn reading a newspaper. Happening to look up, he saw Mr.
Roscorla hurrying toward him over the bridge with no very pleasant
expression on his face. As he came nearer he saw that the man was
strangely excited. "I want to see your daughter alone," he said.

"You needn't speak as if I had tried to run away with her," Rosewarne
answered, with more good-nature than was his wont. "Well, go in-doors:
ask for her mother."

As Roscorla passed him there was a look in his eyes which rather
startled George Rosewarne.

"Is it possible," he asked himself, "that this elderly chap is really
badly in love with our Wenna?"

But another thought struck him. He suddenly jumped up, followed
Roscorla into the passage, where the latter was standing, and said to
him, "Don't you be too harsh with Wenna: she's only a girl, and they
are all alike." This hint, however discourteous in its terms, had some
significance as coming from a man who was six inches taller than Mr.
Roscorla.

Mr. Roscorla was shown into an empty room. He marched up and down,
looking at nothing. He was simply in an ungovernable rage. Wenna came
and shut the door behind her, and for a second or so he stared at her
as if expecting her to burst into passionate professions of remorse.
On the contrary, there was something more than calmness in her
appearance: there was the desperation of a hunted animal that is
driven to turn upon its pursuer in the mere agony of helplessness.

"Well," said he--for indeed his passion almost deprived him of his
power of speech--"what have you to say? Perhaps nothing. It is
nothing, perhaps, to a woman to be treacherous--to tell smooth lies to
your face and to go plotting against you behind your back. You have
nothing to say? You have nothing to say?"

"I have nothing to say," she said with some little sadness in her
voice, "that would excuse me, either to you or to myself: yes, I know
that. But--but I did not intentionally deceive you."

He turned away with an angry gesture.

"Indeed, indeed I did not," she said piteously. "I had mistaken my own
feelings--the temptation was too great. Oh, Mr. Roscorla, you need not
say harsh things of me, for indeed I think worse of myself than you
can do."

"And I suppose you want forgiveness now?" he added bitterly. "But I
have had enough of that. A woman pledges you her affection, promises
to marry you, professes to have no doubts as to the future; and all
the while she is secretly encouraging the attentions of a young
jackanapes who is playing with her and making a fool of her."

Wenna Rosewarne's cheeks began to burn red: a less angry man would
have taken warning.

"Yes, playing with her and making a fool of her. And for what? To pass
an idle time and make her the by-word of her neighbors."

"It is not true, it is not true," she said indignantly; and there was
a dangerous light in her eyes. "If he were here, you would not dare to
say such things to me--no, you would not dare."

"Perhaps you expect him to call after the pretty exploit of last
night?" asked Roscorla with a sneer.

"I do not," she said. "I hope I shall never see him again. It is--it
is only misery to every one." And here she broke down, in spite of
herself. Her anger gave way to a burst of tears.

"But what madness is this?" Roscorla cried. "You wish never to meet
him again, yet you are ready at a moment's notice to run away with
him, disgracing yourself and your family. You make promises about
never seeing him: you break them the instant you get the opportunity.
You profess that your girlish fancy for a barber's block of a fellow
has been got over; and then, as soon as one's back is turned, you
reveal your hypocrisy."

"Indeed I did not mean to deceive you," she said imploringly. "I did
believe that all that was over and gone. I thought it was a foolish
fancy."

"And now?" said he hotly.

"Oh, Mr. Roscorla, you ought to pity me instead of being angry with
me. I do love him: I cannot help it. You will not ask me to marry you?
See, I will undertake not to marry him--I will undertake never to see
him again--if only you will not ask me to keep my promise to you. How
can I? How can I?"

"Pity you! and these are the confessions you make!" he exclaimed.
"Why, are you not ashamed of yourself to say such things to me? And so
you would undertake not to marry him? I know what your undertakings
are worth."

He had struck her hard--his very hardest indeed--but she would not
suffer herself to reply, for she believed she deserved far more
punishment than he could inflict. All that she could hope for, all
that her whole nature cried out for, was that he should not think her
treacherous. She had not intentionally deceived him. She had not
planned that effort at escape. But when, in a hurried and pathetic
fashion, she endeavored to explain all this to him, he would not
listen. He angrily told her he knew well how women could gloss over
such matters. He was no schoolboy to be hoodwinked. It was not as if
she had had no warning: her conduct before had been bad enough, when
it was possible to overlook it on the score of carelessness, but now
it was such as would disgrace any woman who knew her honor was
concerned in holding to the word she had spoken.

"And what is he?" he cried, mad with wrath and jealousy. "An ignorant
booby! a ploughboy! a lout who has neither the manners of a gentleman
nor the education of a day-laborer."

"Yes, you may well say such things of him now," said she with her eyes
flashing, "when his back is turned. You would not say so if he were
here. But he--yes, if he were here--he would tell you what he thinks
of you, for he is a gentleman, and not a coward."

Angry as he was, Mr. Roscorla was astounded. The fire in her eyes, the
flush in her cheeks, the impetuosity of her voice--were these the
patient Wenna of old? But a girl betrays herself sometimes if she
happens to have to defend her lover.

"Oh it is shameful of you to say such things!" she said. "And you know
they are not true. There is not any one I have ever seen who is so
manly and frank and unselfish as Mr. Trelyon--not any one; and if I
have seen that, if I have admired it too much, well, that is a great
misfortune, and I have to suffer for it."

"To suffer? yes," said he bitterly. "That is a pretty form of
suffering that makes you plan a runaway marriage--a marriage that
would bring into your possession the largest estates in the north of
Cornwall. A very pretty form of suffering! May I ask when the
experiment is to be repeated?"

"You may insult me as you like--I am only a woman," she said.

"Insult you?" he cried with fresh vehemence. "Is it insult to speak
the truth? Yesterday forenoon, when I saw you, you were all smiles and
smoothness. When I spoke of our marriage you made no objection. But
all the same you knew that at night--"

"I did not know--I did not know," she said. "You ought to believe me
when I tell you I knew no more about it than you did. When I met him
there at night, it was all so sudden, so unexpected, I scarcely knew
what I said; but now--but now I have time to think. Oh, Mr. Roscorla,
don't think that I do not regret it. I will do anything you ask me--I
will promise what you please--indeed, I will undertake never to see
him again as long as I live in this world; only, you won't ask me to
keep my promise to you?"

He made no reply to this offer, for a step outside the door caused him
to mutter something very like an oath between his teeth. The door was
thrown open. Mabyn marched in, a little pale, but very erect.

"Mabyn, leave us alone for a moment or two," said Wenna, turning away
so as to hide the tears on her face.

"I will not. I want to speak a word or two to Mr. Roscorla."

"Mabyn, I want you to go away just now."

Mabyn went over to her sister and took her by the hand: "Wenna, dear,
go away to your own room. You've had quite enough--you are trembling
all over. I suppose he'll make me tremble next."

"Really, I think your interference is lather extraordinary, Miss
Mabyn," said Mr. Roscorla, striving to contain his rage.

"I beg your pardon," said Mabyn meekly. "I only want to say a word or
two. Wouldn't it be better here than before the servants?" With that
she led Wenna away. In a minute or two she returned.

Mr. Roscorla would rather have been shut up in a den with a hungry
tigress. "I am quite at your service," he said with a bitter irony. "I
suppose you have some very important communication to make,
considering the way in which you--"

"Interfered? Yes, it is time that I interfered," Mabyn said, still
quite calm and a trifle pale. "Mr. Roscorla, to be frank, I don't like
you, and perhaps I am not quite fair to you. I am only a young girl,
and don't know what the world would say about your relations with
Wenna. But Wenna is my sister, and I see she is wretched; and her
wretchedness--Well, that comes of her engagement to you."

She was standing before him with her eyes cast down, apparently
determined to be very moderate in her speech. But there was a cruel
frankness in her words which hurt Mr. Roscorla a good deal more than
any tempest of passion into which she might have worked herself. "Is
that all?" said he. "You have not startled me with any revelations."

"I was going to say," continued Mabyn, "that a gentleman who has
really a regard for a girl would not insist on her keeping a promise
which only rendered her unhappy. I don't see what you are to gain by
it. I suppose you--you expect Wenna to marry you? Well, I dare say if
you called on her to punish herself that way, she might do it. But
what good would that do you? Would you like to have a wife who was in
love with another man?"

"You have become quite logical, Miss Mabyn," said he, "and argument
suits you better than getting into a rage. And much of what you say is
quite true. You _are_ a very young girl. You don't know much of what
the world would say about anything. But being furnished with these
admirable convictions, did it never occur to you that you might not be
acting wisely in blundering into an affair of which you know nothing?"

The coldly sarcastic fashion in which he spoke threatened to disturb
Mabyn's forced equanimity. "Know nothing?" she said. "I know
everything about it, and I can see that my sister is miserable: that
is sufficient reason for my interference. Mr. Roscorla, you won't ask
her to marry you?"

Had the proud and passionate Mabyn condescended to make an appeal to
her ancient enemy? At last she raised her eyes, and they seemed to
plead for mercy.

"Come, come," he said, roughly: "I've had enough of all this sham
beseeching. I know what it means. Trelyon is a richer man than I am:
she has let her idle girlish notions go dreaming day-dreams, and so I
am expected to stand aside. There has been enough of this nonsense.
She is not a child; she knows what she undertook of her own free will;
and she knows she can get rid of this school-girl fancy directly if
she chooses. I, for one, won't help her to disgrace herself."

Mabyn began to breathe a little more quickly. She had tried to be
reasonable; she had even humbled herself and begged from him; now
there was a sensation in her chest as of some rising emotion that
demanded expression in quick words. "You will try to make her marry
you?" said she, looking him in the face.

"I will try to do nothing of the sort," said he. "She can do as she
likes. But she knows what an honorable woman would do."

"And I," said Mabyn, her temper at length quite getting the better of
her, "I know what an honorable man would do. He would refuse to bind a
girl to a promise which she fears. He would consider her happiness to
be of more importance than his comfort. Why, I don't believe you care
at all whether Wenna marries you or not: it is only you can't bear her
being married to the man she really does love. It is only envy, that's
what it is. Oh, I am ashamed to think there is a man alive who would
force a girl into becoming his wife on such terms!"

"There is certainly one considerable objection to my marrying your
sister," said he with great politeness. "The manners of some of her
relatives might prove embarrassing."

"Yes, that is true enough," Mabyn said with hot cheeks. "If ever I
became a relative of yours, my manners no doubt would embarrass you
very considerably. But I am not a relative of yours as yet, nor is my
sister."

"May I consider that you have said what you had to say?" said he,
taking up his hat.

Proud and angry, and at the same time mortified by her defeat, Mabyn
found herself speechless. He did not offer to shake hands with her. He
bowed to her in passing out. She made the least possible
acknowledgment, and then she was alone. Of course a hearty cry
followed. She felt she had done no good. She had determined to be
calm, whereas all the calmness had been on his side, and she had been
led into speaking in a manner which a discreet and well-bred young
lady would have shrunk from in horror. Mabyn sat still and sobbed,
partly in anger and partly in disappointment: she dared not even go
to tell her sister.

But Mr. Roscorla, as he went over the bridge again and went up to
Basset Cottage, had lost all his assumed coolness of judgment and
demeanor. He felt he had been tricked by Wenna and insulted by Mabyn,
while his rival had established a hold which it would be in vain for
him to seek to remove. He was in a passion of rage. He would not go
near Wenna again. He would at once set off for London, and enjoy
himself there while his holiday lasted: he would not write a word to
her; then, when the time arrived, he would set sail for Jamaica,
leaving her to her own conscience. He was suffering a good deal from
anger, envy and jealousy, but he was consoled by the thought that she
was suffering more. And he reflected, with some comfort to himself,
that she would scarcely so far demean herself as to marry Harry
Trelyon so long as she knew in her heart what he, Roscorla, would
think of her for so doing.



CHAPTER XXXVIII.

THE OLD, HALF-FORGOTTEN JOKE.


"Has he gone?" Wenna asked of her sister the next day.

"Yes, he has," Mabyn answered with a proud and revengeful face. "It
was quite true what Mrs. Cornish told me: I've no doubt she had her
instructions. He has just driven away to Launceston on his way to
London."

"Without a word?"

"Would you like to have had another string of arguments?" Mabyn said
impatiently. "Oh, Wenna, you don't know what mischief all this is
doing. You are awake all night, you cry half the day: what is to be
the end of it? You will work yourself into a fever."

"Yes, there must be an end of it," Wenna said with decision--"not for
myself alone, but for others. That is all the reparation I can make
now. No girl in all this country has ever acted so badly as I have
done: just look at the misery I have caused; but now--"

"There is one who is miserable because he loves you," Mabyn said.

"Do you think that Mr. Roscorla has no feelings? You are so unjust to
him! Well, it does not matter now: all this must come to an end.
Mabyn, I should like to see Mr. Trelyon, if just for one minute."

"What will you say to him, Wenna?" her sister said with a sudden fear.

"Something that it is necessary to say to him, and the sooner it is
over the better."

Mabyn rather dreaded the result of this interview; and yet, she
reflected to herself, here was an opportunity for Harry Trelyon to try
to win some promise from her sister. Better, in any case, that they
should meet than that Wenna should simply drive him away into
banishment without a word of explanation.

The meeting was easily arranged. On the next morning, long before
Wenna's daily round of duties had commenced, the two sisters left the
inn, and went over the bridge and out to the bold promontory of black
rock at the mouth of the harbor. There was nobody about. This October
morning was more like a summer day: the air was mild and still, the
blue sky without a cloud; the shining sea plashed around the rocks
with the soft murmuring noise of a July calm. It was on these rocks
long ago that Wenna Rosewarne had pledged herself to become the wife
of Mr. Roscorla; and at that time life had seemed to her, if not
brilliant and beautiful, at least grateful and peaceful. Now all the
peace had gone out of it.

"Oh, my darling!" Trelyon said when she advanced alone toward him--for
Mabyn had withdrawn--"it is so good of you to come! Wenna, what has
frightened you?"

He had seized both her hands in his, but she took them away again. For
one brief second her eyes had met his, and there was a sort of wistful
and despairing kindliness in them: then she stood before him, with her
face turned away from him, and her voice low and tremulous. "I did
wish to see you--for once, for the last time," she said. "If you had
gone away, you would have carried with you cruel thoughts of me. I
wish to ask your forgiveness--"

"My forgiveness?"

"Yes, for all that you may have suffered, and for all that may trouble
you in the future--not in the long future, but for the little time you
will remember what has taken place here. Mr. Trelyon, I--I did not
know. Indeed, it is all a mystery to me now, and a great misery." Her
lips began to quiver, but she controlled herself. "And surely it will
only be for a short time, if you think of it at all. You are
young--you have all the world before you. When you go away among other
people, and see all the different things that interest a young man,
you will soon forget whatever has happened here."

"And you say that to me," he said, "and you said the other night that
you loved me! It is nothing, then, for people who love each other to
go away and be consoled, and never see each other again?"

Again the lips quivered: he had no idea of the terrible effort that
was needed to keep this girl calm. "I did say that," she said.

"And it was true?" he broke in.

"It was true then--it is true now: that is all the misery of it," she
exclaimed, with tears starting to her eyes.

"And you talk of our being separated for ever!" he cried. "No, not if
I can help it. Mabyn has told me of all your scruples: they are not
worth looking at. I tell you you are no more bound to that man than
Mabyn is, and that isn't much. If he is such a mean hound as to insist
on your marrying him, then I will appeal to your father and mother,
and they must prevent him. Or I will go to him myself and settle the
matter in a shorter way."

"You cannot now," she said: "he has gone away. And what good would
that have done? I would never marry any man unless I could do so with
a clear and happy conscience; and if you--if you and Mabyn--see
nothing in my treatment of _him_ that is wrong, then that is very
strange; but I cannot acquit myself. No: I hope no woman will ever
treat you as I have treated him. Look at his position--an elderly man,
with few friends--he has not all the best of his life before him as
you have, or the good spirits of youth; and after he had gone away to
Jamaica, taking my promise with him--Oh, I am ashamed of myself when I
think on all that has happened!"

"Then you've no right to be," said he hotly. "It was the most natural
thing in the world--and he ought to have known it--that a young girl
who has been argued into engaging herself to an old man should
consider her being in love with another man as something of rather
more importance--of a good deal more importance, I should say. And his
suffering? He suffers no more than this lump of rock does. That is not
his way of thinking--to be bothered about anything. He may be angry,
yes--and vexed for the moment, as is natural--but if you think he is
going about the world with a load of agony on him, then you're quite
mistaken. And if he were, what good could you do by making yourself
miserable as well? Wenna, do be reasonable, now."

Had not another, on this very spot, prayed her to be reasonable? She
had yielded then. Mr. Roscorla's arguments were incontrovertible, and
she had shrinkingly accepted the inevitable conclusion. Now, young
Trelyon's representations and pleadings were far less cogent, but how
strongly her heart went with him!

"No," she said, as if she were shaking off the influence of the
tempter, "I must not listen to you. Yet you don't seem to think that
it costs me anything to ask you to bid me good-bye once and for all.
It should be less to you than to me. A girl thinks of these things
more than a man--she has little else to think of; he goes out into the
world and forgets. And you--you will go away, and you will become such
a man as all who know you will love to speak of and be proud of; and
some day you will come back; and if you like to come down to the inn,
then there will be one or two there glad to see you. Mr. Trelyon,
don't ask me to tell you why this should be so. I know it to be
right: my heart tells me. Now I will say good-bye to you."

"And when I come back to the inn, will you be there?" said he,
becoming rather pale. "No: you will be married to a man whom you will
hate."

"Indeed, no," she said, with her face flushing and her eyes cast down.
"How can that be after what has taken place? He could not ask me. All
that I begged of him before he went away was this--that he would not
ask me to marry him; and if only he would do that I promised never to
see you again--after bidding you good-bye, as I do now."

"And is that the arrangement?" said he rather roughly. "Are we to play
at dog in the manger? He is not to marry you himself, but he will not
let any other man marry you?"

"Surely he has some right to consideration," she said.

"Well, Wenna," said he, "if you've made up your mind, there's no more
to be said; but I think you are needlessly cruel."

"You won't say that, just as we are parting," she said in a low voice.
"Do you think it is nothing to me?"

He looked at her for a moment with a great sadness and compunction in
his eyes; then, moved by an uncontrollable impulse, he caught her in
his arms and kissed her on the lips. "Now," said he, with his face
white as death, "tell me that you will never marry any other man as
long as you live."

"Yes, I will say that," she said to him in a low voice and with a face
as white as his own.

"Swear it, then."

"I have said that I will never marry any other man than you," she
said, "and that is enough--for me. But as for you, why must you go
away thinking of such things? You will see some day what madness it
would have been; you will come some day and thank me for having told
you so; and then--and then--if anything should be mentioned about what
I said just now, you will laugh at the old, half-forgotten joke."

Well, there was no laughing at the joke just then, for the girl burst
into tears, and in the midst of that she hastily pressed his hand and
hurried away. He watched her go round the rocks, to the cleft leading
down to the harbor. There she was rejoined by her sister, and the two
of them went slowly along the path of broken slate, with the green
hill above, the blue water below, and the fair sunshine all around
them. Many a time he recalled afterward--and always with an increasing
weight at his heart--how sombre seemed to him that bright October day
and the picturesque opening of the coast leading in to Eglosilyan. For
it was the last glimpse of Wenna Rosewarne that he was to have for
many a day, and a sadder picture was never treasured up in a man's
memory.

"Oh, Wenna, what have you said to him that you tremble so?" Mabyn
asked.

"I have bid him good-bye--that is all."

"Not for always?"

"Yes, for always."

"And he is going away again, then?"

"Yes, as a young man should. Why should he stop here to make himself
wretched over impossible fancies? He will go out into the world, and
he has splendid health and spirits, and he will forget all this."

"And you--you are anxious to forget it all too?"

"Would it not be better? What good can come of dreaming? Well, I have
plenty of work to do: that is well."

Mabyn was very much inclined to cry: all her beautiful visions of the
future happiness of her sister had been rudely dispelled--all her
schemes and machinations had gone for nothing. There only remained to
her, in the way of consolation, the fact that Wenna still wore the
sapphire ring that Harry Trelyon had sent her.

"And what will his mother think of you?" said Mabyn as a last
argument, "when she finds you have sent him away altogether--to go
into the army and go abroad, and perhaps die of yellow fever, or be
shot by the Sepoys or Caffres?"

"She would have hated me if I had married him," said Wenna simply.

"Oh, Wenna, how dare you say such a thing?" Mabyn cried. "What do you
mean by it?"

"Would a lady in her position like her only son to marry the daughter
of an innkeeper?" Wenna asked rather indifferently: indeed, her
thoughts were elsewhere.

"I tell you there's no one in the world she loves like you--I can see
it every time she comes down for you--and she believes, and I believe
too, that you have changed Mr. Trelyon's way of talking and his manner
of treating people in such a fashion as no one would have considered
possible. Do you think she hasn't eyes? He is scarcely ever
impertinent now: when he is it is always in good-nature and never in
sulkiness. Look at his kindness to Mr. Trewhella's granddaughter, and
Mr. Trewhella a clergyman too! Did he ever use to take his mother out
for a drive? No, never. And of course she knows whom it is all owing
to; and if you would marry Mr. Trelyon, Wenna, I believe she would
worship you and think nothing good enough for you."

"Mabyn, I am going to ask something of you."

"Oh yes, I know what it is," her sister said. "I am not to speak any
more about your marriage with Mr. Trelyon. But I won't give you any
such promise, Wenna. I don't consider that that old man has any hold
on you."

Wenna said nothing, for at this moment they entered the house. Mabyn
went up with her sister to her room: then she stood undecided for a
moment; finally she said, "Wenna. if I've vexed you, I'm very sorry. I
won't speak of Mr. Trelyon if you don't wish it. But indeed, indeed,
you don't know how many people are anxious that you should be happy;
and you can't expect your own sister not to be as anxious as any one
else."

"Mabyn, you're a good girl," Wenna said, kissing her. "But I am rather
tired to-day: I think I shall lie down for a little while."

Mabyn uttered a sharp cry, for her sister had fallen back on a chair,
white and insensible. She hastily bathed her forehead with cold water,
she chafed her hands, she got hold of some smelling-salts. It was
only a faint, after all, and Wenna, having come to, said she would lie
down on the sofa for a few minutes. Mabyn said nothing to her mother
about all this, for it would have driven Mrs. Rosewarne wild with
anxiety, but she herself was rather disquieted with Wenna's
appearance, and she said to herself, with great bitterness of heart,
"If my sister falls ill, I know who has done that."



CHAPTER XXXIX.

NEW AMBITIONS.


Mr. Roscorla, having had few friends throughout his life, had
developed a most methodical habit of communing with himself on all
possible subjects, but more particularly, of course, upon his own
affairs. He used up his idle hours in defining his position with
regard to the people and things around him, and he was never afraid to
convince himself of the exact truth. He never tried to cheat himself
into the belief that he was more unselfish than might appear: if other
people thought so, good and well. He, at least, was not a hypocrite to
himself.

Now, he had not been gone above a couple of hours or so from
Eglosilyan when he discovered that he was not weighted with terrible
woes: on the contrary, he experienced a feeling of austere
satisfaction that he was leaving a good deal of trouble behind him. He
had been badly used, he had been righteously angry. It was right that
they who had thus used him badly should be punished. As for him, if
his grief did not trouble him much, that was a happy peculiarity of
his temperament which did not lessen their offence against him.

Most certainly he was not weighted with woe. He had a pleasant drive
in the morning over to Launceston; he smoked a cigarette or two in the
train; when he arrived at Plymouth he ordered a very nice luncheon at
the nearest hotel, and treated himself to a bottle of the best
Burgundy the waiter could recommend him. After that he got into a
smoking-carriage in the London express, he lit a large cigar, he
wrapped a thick rug round his legs, and settled himself down in peace
for the long journey. Now was an excellent time to find out exactly
how his affairs stood.

He was indeed very comfortable. Leaving Eglosilyan had not troubled
him. There was something in the knowledge that he was at last free
from all those exciting scenes which a quiet, middle-aged man, not
believing in romance, found trying to his nervous system. This brief
holiday in Eglosilyan had been anything but a pleasant one: was he
not, on the whole, glad to get away?

Then he recollected that the long-expected meeting with his betrothed
had not been so full of delight as he had anticipated. Was there not
just a trace of disappointment in the first shock of feeling at their
meeting? She was certainly not a handsome woman--such a one as he
might have preferred to introduce to his friends about Kensington in
the event of his going back to live in London.

Then he thought of old General Weekes. He felt a little ashamed of
himself for not having had the courage to tell the general and his
wife that he meant to marry one of the young ladies who had interested
them. Would it not be awkward, too, to have to introduce Wenna
Rosewarne to them in her new capacity?

That speculation carried him on to the question of his marriage. There
could be no doubt that his betrothed had become a little too fond of
the handsomest young man in the neighborhood. Perhaps that was
natural, but at all events she was now very much ashamed of what had
happened, and he might trust her to avoid Harry Trelyon in the future.
That having been secured, would not her thoughts naturally drift back
to the man to whom she had plighted a troth which was still formally
binding on her? Time was on his side. She would forget that young man:
she would be anxious, as soon as these temporary disturbances of her
affections were over, to atone for the past by her conduct in the
future. Girls had very strong notions about duty.

Well, he drove to his club, and finding one of the bed-rooms free, he
engaged it for a week, the longest time possible. He washed, dressed
and went down to dinner. To his great delight, the first man he saw
was old Sir Percy himself, who was writing out a very elaborate
_menu_, considering that he was ordering dinner for himself only. He
and Mr. Roscorla agreed to dine together.

Now, for some years back Mr. Roscorla in visiting his club had found
himself in a very isolated and uncomfortable position. Long ago he had
belonged to the younger set--to those reckless young fellows who were
not afraid to eat a hasty dinner, and then rush off to take a mother
and a couple of daughters to the theatre, returning at midnight to
some anchovy toast and a glass of Burgundy, followed by a couple of
hours of brandy-and-soda, cigars and billiards. But he had drifted
away from that set; indeed, they had disappeared, and he knew none of
their successors. On the other hand, he had never got into the ways of
the old-fogy set. Those stout old gentlemen who carefully drank
nothing but claret and seltzer, who took a quarter of an hour to write
out their dinner-bill, who spent the evening in playing whist, kept
very much to themselves. It was into this set that the old general now
introduced him. Mr. Roscorla had quite the air of a bashful young man
when he made one of a party of those ancients, who dined at the same
table each evening. He was almost ashamed to order a pint of champagne
for himself--it savored so much of youth. He was silent in the
presence of his seniors, and indeed they were garrulous enough to
cover his silence. Their talk was mostly of politics--not the politics
of the country, but the politics of office--of undersecretaries and
candidates for place. They seemed to look on the government of the
country as a sort of mechanical clock, which from time to time sent
out a few small figures, and from time to time took them in again; and
they showed an astonishing acquaintance with the internal and
intricate mechanism which produced these changes. Perhaps it was
because they were so busy in watching for changes on the face of the
clock that they seemed to forget the swinging onward of the great
world outside and the solemn march of the stars.

Most of those old gentlemen had lived their life--had done their share
of heavy dining and reckless drinking many years ago--and thus it was
they had come to drink seltzer and claret. But it appeared that it was
their custom after dinner to have the table-cover removed and some
port wine placed on the mahogany. Mr. Roscorla, who had felt as yet no
ugly sensations about his finger-joints, regarded this ceremony with
equanimity, but it was made the subject of some ominous joking on the
part of his companions. Then joking led to joking. There were no more
politics. Some very funny stories were told. Occasionally one or two
names were introduced, as of persons well known in London society,
though not of it; and Mr. Roscorla was surprised that he had never
heard these names before: you see how one becomes ignorant of the
world if one buries one's self down in Cornwall. Mr. Roscorla began to
take quite an interest in these celebrated people, in the price of
their ponies, and the diamonds they were understood to have worn at a
certain very singular ball. He was pleased to hear, too, of the manner
in which the aristocracy of England were resuming their ancient
patronage of the arts, for he was given to understand that a young
earl or baron could scarcely be considered a man of fashion unless he
owned a theatre.

On their way up to the card-room Mr. Roscorla and one of his venerable
companions went into the hall to get their cigar-cases from their
top-coat pockets. This elderly gentleman had been the governor of an
island in the Pacific: he had now been resident for many years in
England. He was on the directorate of one or two well-known commercial
companies; he had spoken at several meetings on the danger of
dissociating religion from education in the training of the young; in
short, he was a tower of respectability. On the present occasion he
had to pull out a muffler to get at his cigar-case, and with the
muffler came a small parcel tied up in tissue-paper.

"Neat, aren't they?" said he with a senile grin, showing Mr. Roscorla
the tips of a pair of pink satin slippers.

"Yes," said Mr. Roscorla: "I suppose they're for your daughter."

They went up to the card-room.

"I expect you'll teach us a lesson, Roscorla," said the old general.
"Gad! some of you West Indian fellows know the difference between a
ten and an ace."

"Last time I played cards," Roscorla said modestly, "I was lucky
enough to win forty-eight pounds,"

"Whew! We can't afford that sort of thing on this side of the
water--not if you happen to serve Her Majesty, any way. Come, let's
cut for partners."

There was but little talking, of course, during the card-playing: at
the end of it Mr. Roscorla found he had only lost half a sovereign.
Then everybody adjourned to a snug little smoking-room, to which only
members were admitted. This, to the neophyte, was the pleasantest part
of the evening. He seemed to hear of everything that was going on in
London, and a good deal more besides. He was behind the scenes of all
the commercial, social and political performances which were causing
the vulgar crowd to gape. He discovered the true history of the
hostility shown by So-and-so to the premier; he was told the little
scandal which caused Her Majesty to refuse to knight a certain
gentleman who had claims on the government; he heard what the duke
really did offer to the gamekeeper whose eye he had shot out, and the
language used by the keeper on the occasion; and he received such
information about the financial affairs of many a company as made him
wonder whether the final collapse of the commercial world were at
hand. He forgot that he had heard quite similar stories twenty years
before. Then they had been told by ingenuous youths full of the
importance of the information they had just acquired: now they were
told by garrulous old gentlemen, with a cynical laugh which was more
amusing than the hot-headed asseveration of the juniors. It was, on
the whole, a delightful evening, this first evening of his return to
club-life; and then it was so convenient to go up stairs to bed
instead of having to walk from the inn of Eglosilyan to Basset
Cottage.

Just before leaving, the old general took Roscorla aside, and said to
him, "Monstrous amusing fellows, eh?"

"Very."

"Just a word. Don't you let old Lewis lug you into any of his
companies: you understand?"

"There's not much fear of that," Mr. Roscorla said with a laugh. "I
haven't a brass farthing to invest."

"All you West Indians say that: however, so much the better. And
there's old Stratford, too: he's got some infernal India rubber
patent. Gad, sir! he knows no more about those commercial fellows than
the man in the moon; and they'll ruin him--mark my words, they'll ruin
him."

Roscorla was quite pleased to be advised. It made him feel young and
ingenuous. After all, the disparity in years between him and his late
companions was most obvious.

"And when are you coming to dine with us, eh?" the general said,
lighting a last cigar and getting his hat. "To-morrow night?--quiet
family party, you know: her ladyship'll be awfully glad to see you. Is
it a bargain? All right--seven: we're early folks. I say, you needn't
mention I dined here to-night: to tell you the truth, I'm supposed to
be looking after a company too, and precious busy about it. Mum's the
word, d'ye see?"

Really this plunge into a new sort of life was quite delightful. When
he went down to breakfast next morning, he was charmed with the order
and cleanliness of everything around him; the sunlight was shining in
at the large windows; there was a bright fire, in front of which he
stood and read the paper until his cutlets came. There was no croaking
of an old Cornish housekeeper over her bills--no necessity for seeing
if the grocer had been correct in his addition. Then there was a
slight difference between the cooking here and that which prevailed in
Basset Cottage.

In a comfortable frame of mind he leisurely walked down to Canon
street and announced himself to his partners. He sat for an hour or so
in a snug little parlor, talking over their joint venture and
describing all that had been done. There was indeed every ground for
hope, and he was pleased to hear them say that they were specially
obliged to him for having gone out to verify the reports that had been
sent home, and for his personal supervision while there. They hoped he
would draw on the joint association for a certain sum which should
represent the value of that supervision.

Now, if Mr. Roscorla had really been possessed at this moment of the
wealth to which he looked forward, he would not have taken so much
interest in it. He would have said to himself, "What is the life I am
to lead, now that I have this money? Having luncheon at the club,
walking in the Park in the afternoon, dining with a friend in the
evening, and playing whist or billiards, with the comfortless return
to my bachelor's chambers at night? Is that all that my money can give
me?"

But he had not the money. He looked forward to it, and it seemed to
him that it contained all the possibilities of happiness. Then he
would be free. No more stationary dragging out of existence in that
Cornish cottage. He would move about, he would enjoy life. He was
still younger than those jovial old fellows, who seemed to be happy
enough. When he thought of Wenna Rosewarne it was with the notion that
marriage very considerably hampers a man's freedom of action.

If a man were married, could he have a choice of thirty dishes for
luncheon? Could he have the first edition of the evening papers
brought him almost damp from the press? Then how pleasant it was to be
able to smoke a cigar and to write one or two letters at the same time
in a large and well-ventilated room! Mr. Roscorla did not fail to draw
on his partners for the sum they had mentioned: he was not short of
money, but he might as well gather the first few drops of the coming
shower.

He did not go up to walk in the Park, for he knew there would be
almost nobody there at that time of the year; but he walked up to Bond
street and bought a pair of dress-boots, after which he returned to
the club and played billiards with one of his companions of the
previous evening until it was time to dress for dinner.

The party at the general's was a sufficiently small one, for you
cannot ask any one to dinner at a few hours' notice, except it be a
merry and marriageable widow who has been told that she will meet an
elderly and marriageable bachelor. This complaisant lady was present;
and Mr. Roscorla found himself on his entrance being introduced to a
good-looking, buxom dame, who had a healthy, merry, roseate face, very
black eyes and hair, and a somewhat gorgeous dress. She was a trifle
demure at first, but her amiable shyness soon wore off, and she was
most kind to Mr. Roscorla. He, of course, had to take in Lady Weekes;
but Mrs. Seton-Willoughby sat opposite him, and, while keeping the
whole table amused with an account of her adventures in Galway,
appeared to address the narrative principally to the stranger.

"Oh, my dear Lady Weekes," she said, "I was so glad to get back to
Brighton! I thought I should have forgotten my own language, and taken
to war-paint and feathers, if I had remained much longer. And Brighton
is so delightful just now--just comfortably filled, without the
November crush having set in. Now, couldn't you persuade the general
to take you down for a few days? I am going down on Friday, and you
know how dreadful it is for a poor lone woman to be in a hotel,
especially with a maid who spends all her time in flirting with the
first-floor waiters. Now, won't you, dear? I assure you the ---- Hotel
is most charming--such freedom, and the pleasant parties they make up
in the drawing-room! I believe they have a ball two or three nights a
week just now."

"I should have thought you would have found the ---- rather quieter,"
said Mr. Roscorla, naming a good, old-fashioned house.

"Rather quieter?" said the widow, raising her eyebrows. "Yes, a good
deal quieter? About as quiet as a dissenting chapel. No, no: if one
means to have a little pleasure, why go to such a place as that? Now,
will you come and prove the truth of what I have told you?"

Mr. Roscorla looked alarmed, and even the solemn Lady Weekes had to
conceal a smile.

"Of course I mean you to persuade our friends here to come too," the
widow explained. "What a delightful frolic it would be--for a few
days, you know--to break away from London! Now, my dear, what do you
say?"

She turned to her hostess. That small and sombre person referred her
to the general. The general, on being appealed to, said he thought it
would be a capital joke; and would Mr. Roscorla go with them? Mr.
Roscorla, not seeing why he should not have a little frolic of this
sort, just like any one else, said he would. So they agreed to meet at
Victoria Station on the following Friday.

"Struck, eh?" said the old general when the two gentlemen were alone
after dinner. "Has she wounded you, eh? Gad, sir! that woman has eight
thousand pounds a year in the India Four per Cents. Would you believe
it? Would you believe that any man could have been such a fool as to
put such a fortune into India Four per Cents.?--with mortgages going
a-begging at six, and the marine insurance companies paying thirteen!
Well, my boy, what do you think of her? She was most uncommonly
attentive to you, that I'll swear: don't deny it--now, don't deny it.
Bless my soul! you marrying men are so sly there is no getting at you.
Well, what was I saying? Yes, yes--will she do? Eight thousand a year,
as I'm a living sinner!"

Mr. Roscorla was intensely flattered to have it even supposed that the
refusal of such a fortune was within his power.

"Well," said he, modestly and yet critically, "she's not quite my
style. I'm rather afraid of three-deckers. But she seems a very
good-natured sort of woman."

"Good-natured! Is that all you say? I can tell you, in my time men
were nothing so particular when there were eight thousand a year going
a-begging."

"Well, well," said Mr. Roscorla with a smile, "it is a very good joke.
When she marries, she'll marry a younger man than I am."

"Don't you be mistaken--don't you be mistaken!" the old general cried.
"You've made an impression--I'll swear you have; and I told her
ladyship you would."

"And what did Lady Weekes say?"

"Gad, sir! she said it would be a deuced good thing for both of you."

"She is very kind," said Mr. Roscorla, pleased at the notion of having
such a prize within reach, and yet not pleased that Lady Weekes should
have fancied this the sort of woman he would care to marry.

They went to Brighton, and a very pleasant time of it they had at the
big noisy hotel. The weather was delightful. Mrs. Seton-Willoughby was
excessively fond of riding: forenoon and afternoon they had their
excursions, with the pleasant little dinner of the evening to follow.
Was not this a charmed land into which the former hermit of Basset
Cottage was straying? Of course, he never dreamed for a moment of
marrying this widow: that was out of the question. She was just a
little too demonstrative--very clever and amusing for half an hour or
so, but too gigantic a blessing to be taken through life. It was the
mere possibility of marrying her, however, which attracted Mr.
Roscorla. He honestly believed, judging by her kindness to him, that
if he seriously tried he could get her to marry him--in other words,
that he might become possessed of eight thousand pounds a year. This
money, so to speak, was within his reach; and it was only now that he
was beginning to see that money could purchase many pleasures even for
the middle-aged. He made a great mistake in imagining, down in
Cornwall, that he had lived his life, and that he had but to look
forward to mild enjoyments, a peaceful wandering onward to the grave,
and the continual study of economy in domestic affairs. He was only
now beginning to live.

"And when are you coming back?" said the widow to him one evening when
they were all talking of his leaving England.

"That I don't know," he said.

"Of course," she said, "you don't mean to remain in the West Indies. I
suppose lots of people have to go there for some object or other, but
they always come back when it is attained."

"They come back to attain some other object here," said Mr. Roscorla.

"Then we'll soon find you that," the general burst in. "No man lives
out of England who can help it. Don't you find in this country enough
to satisfy you?"

"Indeed I do," Mr. Roscorla said, "especially within the last few
days. I have enjoyed myself enormously. I shall always have a friendly
recollection of Brighton."

"Are you going down to Cornwall before you leave?" Sir Percy asked.

"No," said he slowly.

"That isn't quite so cheerful as Brighton, eh?"

"Not quite."

He kept his word. He did not go back to Cornwall before leaving
England, nor did he send a single line or message to any one there. It
was with something of a proud indifference that he set sail, and also
with some notion that he was being amply revenged. For the rest, he
hated "scenes," and he had encountered quite enough of these during
his brief visit to Eglosilyan.



CHAPTER XL.

AN OLD LADY'S APOLOGY.


When Wenna heard that Mr. Roscorla had left England without even
bidding her good-bye by letter, she accepted the rebuke with
submission, and kept her own counsel. She went about her daily duties
with an unceasing industry: Mrs. Trelyon was astonished to see how she
seemed to find time for everything. The winter was coming on, and the
sewing club was in full activity, but even apart from the affairs of
that enterprise, Wenna Rosewarne seemed to be everywhere throughout
the village, to know everything, to be doing everything that prudent
help and friendly counsel could do. Mrs. Trelyon grew to love the girl
in her vague, wondering, simple fashion.

So the days and the weeks and the months went by, and the course of
life ran smoothly and quietly in the remote Cornish village.
Apparently there was nothing to indicate the presence of bitter
regrets, of crushed hopes, of patient despair; only Mabyn used to
watch her sister at times, and she fancied that Wenna's face was
growing thinner.

The Christmas festivities came on, and Mrs. Trelyon was pleased to
lend her protégée a helping hand in decorating the church. One evening
she said, "My dear Miss Wenna, I am going to ask you an impertinent
question. Could your family spare you on Christmas evening? Harry is
coming down from London: I am sure he would be so pleased to see you."

"Oh, thank you, Mrs. Trelyon," Wenna said, with just a little
nervousness. "You are very kind, but indeed I must be at home on
Christmas evening."

"Perhaps some other evening while he is here you will be able to come
up," said Mrs. Trelyon in her gentle way. "You know you ought to come
and see how your pupil is getting on. He writes me such nice letters
now; and I fancy he is working very hard at his studies, though he
says nothing about it."

"I am very glad to hear that," Wenna said in a low voice.

Trelyon did come to the Hall for a few days, but he kept away from the
village, and was seen by no one of the Rosewarnes. But on the
Christmas morning, Mabyn Rosewarne, being early about, was told that
Mrs. Trelyon's groom wished to see her, and, going down, she found the
man, with a basket before him.

"Please, miss, Mr. Trelyon's compliments, and would you take the
flowers out of the cotton-wool and give them to Miss Rosewarne?"

"Oh, won't I?" said Mabyn, opening the basket at once, and carefully
getting out a bouquet of camellias, snowdrops and sweet violets. "Just
you wait a minute, Jakes, for I've got a Christmas-box for you."

Mabyn went up stairs as rapidly as was consistent with the safety of
the flowers, and burst into her sister's room: "Oh, Wenna, look at
this! Do you know who sent them? Did you ever see anything so lovely?"

For a second the girl seemed almost frightened; then her eyes grew
troubled and moist, and she turned her head away. Mabyn put them
gently down and left the room without a word.

The Christmas and the New Year passed without any message from Mr.
Roscorla; and Mabyn, though she rebelled against the bondage in which
her sister was placed, was glad that she was not disturbed by angry
letters. About the middle of January, however, a brief note arrived
from Jamaica.

"I cannot let such a time go by," Mr. Roscorla wrote, "whatever may be
our relations, without sending you a friendly word. I do hope the new
year will bring you health and happiness, and that we shall in time
forget the angry manner in which we parted and all the circumstances
leading to it."

She wrote as brief a note in reply, at the end of which she hoped he
would forgive her for any pain he had suffered through her. Mabyn was
rejoiced to find that the correspondence--whether it was or was not
meant on his part to be an offer of reconciliation--stopped there.

And again the slow days went by until the world began to stir with the
new spring-time--the saddest time of the year to those who live much
in the past. Wenna was out and about a great deal, being continually
busy, but she no longer took those long walks by herself in which she
used to chat to the butterflies and the young lambs and the sea-gulls.
The fresh western breezes no longer caused her spirits to flow over
in careless gayety: she saw the new flowers springing out of the
earth, but it was of another spring-time she was thinking.

One day, later on in the year, Mrs. Trelyon sent down the wagonette
for her, with the request that she would come up to the Hall for a few
minutes. Wenna obeyed the summons, imagining that some business
connected with the sewing club claimed her attention. When she arrived
she found Mrs. Trelyon unable to express the gladness and gratitude
that filled her heart; for before her were certain London newspapers,
and, behold! Harry Trelyon's name was recorded there in certain lists
as having scored a sufficient number of marks in the examination to
entitle him to a first commission. It was no concern of hers that his
name was pretty far down in the list--enough that he had succeeded
somehow. And who was the worker of this miracle?--who but the shy,
sad-eyed girl standing beside her, whose face wore now a happier
expression than it had worn for many a day.

"And this is what he says," the proud mother continued, showing Wenna
a letter: '"It isn't much to boast of, for indeed you'll see by the
numbers that it was rather a narrow squeak: anyhow, I pulled through.
My old tutor is rather a speculative fellow, and he offered to bet me
fifty pounds his coaching would carry me through, which I took; so I
shall have to pay him that besides his fees. I must say he has earned
both: I don't think a more ignorant person than myself ever went to a
man to get crammed. I send you two newspapers: you might drop one at
the inn for Miss Rosewarne any time you are passing, or if you could
see her and tell her, perhaps that would be better.'"

Wenna was about as pleased and proud as Mrs. Trelyon was. "I knew he
could do it if he tried," she said quietly.

"And then," the mother went on to say, "when he has once joined there
will be no money wanting to help him to his promotion; and when he
comes back to settle down here, he will have some recognized rank and
profession, such as a man ought to have. Not that he will remain in
the army, for of course I should not like to part with him, and he
might be sent to Africa or Canada or the West Indies. _You_ know," she
added with a smile, "that it is not pleasant to have any one you care
for in the West Indies."

When Wenna got home again she told Mabyn. Strange to say, Mabyn did
not clap her hands for joy, as might have been expected.

"Wenna," said she, "what made him go into the army? Was it to show you
that he could pass an examination? or was it because he means to leave
England?"

"I do not know," said Wenna, looking down. "I hope he does not mean to
leave England." That was all she said.

Harry Trelyon was, however, about to leave England, though not because
he had been gazetted to a colonial regiment. He came down to inform
his mother that on the fifteenth of the month he would sail for
Jamaica; and then and there, for the first time, he told her the whole
story of his love for Wenna Rosewarne, of his determination to free
her somehow from the bonds that bound her, and, failing that, of the
revenge he meant to take. Mrs. Trelyon was amazed, angry and
beseeching in turns. At one moment she protested that it was madness
of her son to think of marrying Wenna Rosewarne; at another, she would
admit all that he said in praise of her, and would only implore him
not to leave England; or again she would hint that she would almost
herself go down to Wenna and beg her to marry him if only he gave up
this wild intention of his. He had never seen his mother so agitated,
but he reasoned gently with her, and remained firm to his purpose. Was
there half as much danger in taking a fortnight's trip in a
mail-steamer as in going from Southampton to Malta in a yacht, which
he had twice done with her consent?

"Why, if I had been ordered to join a regiment in China, you might
have some reason to complain," he said. "And I shall be as anxious as
you, mother, to get back again, for I mean to get up my drill
thoroughly as soon as I am attached. I have plenty of work before me."

"You're not looking well, Harry," said the mother.

"Of course not," said he cheerfully. "You don't catch one of those
geese at Strasburg looking specially lively when they tie it by the
leg and cram it; and that's what I've been going through of late. But
what better cure can there be than a sea-voyage?"

And so it came about that on a pleasant evening in October Mr.
Roscorla received a visit. He saw the young man come riding up the
acacia path, and he instantaneously guessed his mission. His own
resolve was taken as quickly.

"Bless my soul! is it you, Trelyon?" he cried with apparent delight.
"You mayn't believe it, but I am really glad to see you. I have been
going to write to you for many a day back. I'll send somebody for your
horse: come into the house."

The young man, having fastened up the bridle, followed his host. There
was a calm and business-like rather than a holiday look on his face.
"And what were you going to write to me about?" he asked.

"Oh, you know," said Roscorla good-naturedly. "You see, a man takes
very different views of life when he knocks about a bit. For my part,
I am more interested in my business now than in anything else of a
more tender character; and I may say that I hope to pay you back a
part of the money you lent me as soon as our accounts for this year
are made up. Well, about that other point: I don't see how I could
well return to England, to live permanently there, for a year or two
at the soonest; and--and, in fact, I have often wondered, now, whether
it wouldn't be better if I asked Miss Rosewarne to consider herself
finally free from that--from that engagement."

"Yes, I think it would be a great deal better," said Trelyon coldly.
"And perhaps you would kindly put your resolve into writing. I shall
take it back to Miss Rosewarne. Will you kindly do so now?"

"Why," said Roscorla rather sharply, "you don't take my proposal in a
very friendly way. I imagine I am doing you a good turn too. It is not
every man would do so in my position; for, after all, she treated me
very badly. However, we needn't go into that. I will write her a
letter, if you like--now, indeed, if you like; and won't you stop a
day or two here before going back to Kingston?"

Mr. Trelyon intimated that he would like to have the letter at once,
and that he would consider the invitation afterward. Roscorla, with a
good-humored shrug, sat down and wrote it, and then handed it to
Trelyon, open. As he did so he noticed that the young man was coolly
abstracting the cartridge from a small breech-loading pistol he held
in his hand. He put the cartridge in his waistcoat pocket and the
pistol in his coat pocket.

"Did you think we were savages out here, that you came armed?" said
Roscorla, rather pale, but smiling.

"I didn't know," said Trelyon.

       *       *       *       *       *

One morning there was a marriage in Eglosilyan, up there at the small
church on the bleak downs overlooking the wide sea. The spring-time
had come round again; there was a May-like mildness in the air; the
skies overhead were as blue as the great plain of the sea; and all the
beautiful green world was throbbing with the upspringing life of the
flowers. It was just like any other wedding, but for one little
incident. When the bride came out into the bewildering glare of the
sun, she vaguely knew that the path through the churchyard was lined
on both sides with children. Now, she was rather well known to the
children about, and they had come in a great number; and when she
passed down between them it appeared that the little folks had brought
vast heaps of primroses and violets in their aprons and in tiny
baskets, and they strewed her path with these flowers of the new
spring. Well, she burst into tears at this, and hastily leaving her
husband's arm for a moment, she caught up one of the least of the
children--a small, golden-haired girl of four--and kissed her. Then
she turned to her husband again, and was glad that he led her down to
the gale, for her eyes were so blinded with tears that she could not
see her way.

Nor did anything very remarkable occur at the wedding-breakfast. But
there was a garrulous old lady there with bright pink cheeks and
silvery hair; and she did not cease to prattle to the clergyman who
had officiated in the church, and who was seated next her. "Indeed,
Mr. Trewhella," she said confidentially, "I always said this is what
would come of it. Never any one of those Trelyons set his heart on a
girl but he got her; and what was the use of friends or relatives
fighting against it? Nay, I don't think there's any cause of
complaint--not I! She's a modest, nice, ladylike girl: she is indeed,
although she isn't so handsome as her sister. Dear, dear me! look at
that girl now! Won't she be a prize for some man? I declare I haven't
seen so handsome a girl for many a day. And, as I tell you, Mr.
Trewhella, it's no use trying to prevent it: if one of the Trelyons
falls in love with a girl, the girl's done for: she may as well give
in."

"If I may say so," observed the old clergyman, with a sly gallantry,
"you do not give the gentlemen of your family credit for the most
remarkable feature of their marriage connections. They seem to have
had always a very good idea of making an excellent choice."

The old lady was vastly pleased. "Ah, well," she said, with a shrewd
smile, "there were two or three who thought George Trelyon--that was
this young man's grandfather, you know--lucky enough, if one might
judge by the noise they made. Dear, dear! what a to-do there was when
we ran away! Why, don't you know, Mr. Trewhella, that I ran away from
a ball with him, and drove to Gretna Green with my ball-dress on, as
I'm a living woman? Such a ride it was!--why, when we got up to
Carlisle--"

But that story has been told before.



CAMP-FIRE LYRICS.

II.--NIGHT--LAKE HELEN.


  I lie in my red canoe
    On the water still and deep,
  And o'er me darkens the blue,
    And beneath the billows sleep,

  Till, between the stars o'erhead
    And those in the lake's embrace,
  I seem to float like the dead
    In the noiselessness of space.

  Betwixt two worlds I drift,
    A bodiless soul again--
  Between the still thoughts of God
    And those which belong to men;

  And out of the height above,
    And out of the deep below,
  A thought that is like a ghost
    Seems to gather and gain and grow,

  That now and for evermore
    This silence of death shall hold,
  While the nations fade and die
    And the countless years are rolled.

  But I turn the light canoe,
    And, darting across the night,
  Am glad of the paddles' noise
    And the camp-fire's honest light.

EDWARD KEARSLEY.

       *       *       *       *       *



MILL'S ESSAYS ON RELIGION.


An interest attaches to Mr. Mill's posthumous _Essays on Religion_
which is quite independent of their intrinsic value or importance. The
position of their author at the head of an active school of thinkers
gives them to a certain extent a representative character, while, in
connection with the curious account of his mental training presented
in his autobiography, they merit perhaps still closer attention as a
subject of psychological study. It is not, however, in this latter
light that we can undertake to examine them here. Our object is merely
to point out some of the fallacies and contradictions which might
escape the notice of a cursory reader, and which show with how
uncertain a step a philosopher who piqued himself on the clearness and
severity of his logic moves on ground where a stronger light than that
of reason was needed to irradiate his path.

The first essay is devoted to an examination of the ways of Nature as
unmodified by the voluntary agency of man. These the author finds
worthy of all abhorrence; and Nature in its purely physical aspect he
considers to be full of blemishes, which are patent to the eye of
modern science, and which "all but monkish quietists think it a
religious duty to amend." A competent master-workman with good
materials would not have turned out a world so "bunglingly" made, with
great patches of poisonous morass and arid desert unfit for human
habitation, with coal and other requisites for man's comfort stored
away out of sight, with the rivers all unbridged, and mountains and
other impediments thrown in the way of free locomotion. So far, then,
from its being man's duty to imitate Nature, as some have thought it
was, it is incumbent upon him to oppose her with all his powers,
because of her gross injustice in the realm of morals, and to remedy
her physical defects as far as lies in his power. On this view of
Nature our fathers were wiser in their generation than we when they
trimmed their trees into grotesque shapes and laid out their
landscapes in geometric lines; when in medicine they substituted the
lancet and unlimited mercury for the _vis medicatrix naturae_; when in
philosophy they dictated to Nature from their internal consciousness,
before Bacon introduced the heresy of induction; when in politics they
had a profound faith in statutes and none at all in statistics; when
in education they conscientiously rammed down the ologies at the point
of the ferule, in blissful ignorance of psychology. If Mr. Mill finds
it necessary to rail at Nature because she did not put coal on the top
of the ground and build bridges and dig wells for man's convenience,
why not call her a jade at once because she does not grow ready-made
clothing of the latest mode in sizes to suit, because the trees do not
bear hot rolls and coffee, and because Mr. Mill's philosophy is not an
intuition of the mind? He is less restrained in speaking of the moral
enormities of Nature. Altogether the most striking passage in the
book is his indictment of the Author of Nature, which is truly Satanic
in its audacity and hardly to be paralleled in literature for its
impiety; for it is impious even from Mr. Mill's standpoint, since he
admits that the weight of evidence tends to prove that Nature's Author
is both wise and good. We transcribe only some of his expressions:
"Nearly all things which men are hanged or imprisoned for doing to one
another are Nature's _every-day performances_;" she "has a hundred
hideous deaths" reserved for her victims, "such as the ingenious
cruelty of a Nabis or a Domitian never surpassed," which "she uses
with _the most supercilious disregard both of mercy and justice_;"
"she inflicts torture in _apparent wantonness_;" "everything which
_the worst men_ commit against life and property is perpetrated on a
larger scale by natural agents;" "Nature has noyades more fatal than
those of Carrier: her plague and cholera far surpass the poison-cups
of the Borgias." Such are a few of the impassioned and presumptuous
expressions which Mr. Mill allows himself to use in speaking of the
great mystery of human suffering, which others touch with reverence,
and do not dare to reprobate, since they cannot understand. His words
are as false as they are bold. Fierce and terrible as Nature is in
some of her aspects, it is not true that her _prevailing_ attitude is,
as here indicated, one of bitter hostility to the race she nourishes
on her bosom. If she were the monster here described, mankind would
long ago have perished under her persistent cruelties, and Mr. Mill's
profane cry would never have gone up to Heaven. Men will always regard
the world subjectively, and adjudge it happy or the reverse according
to their temperament or passing humor; but, if it be conceded--as it
is by Mr. Mill through his whole argument--that man is a moral
creature, with a true power of self-determination within certain
limits, and with sufficient intelligence to discern the laws of
Nature, and that therefore all the pain that man brings upon himself
by voluntary violation of discovered law is to be deducted from the
sum-total of human suffering to arrive at the amount that is
attributable to Nature, most men, if they are honest, will on
reflection admit that Nature brings to the great body of the human
family immeasurably more comfort, if not pleasure, than she does pain.
Take the senses, which are the sources of physical pleasure. How
seldom, comparatively, the eye is pained, while it rests with habitual
gratification upon the sky and landscape, and on the human form divine
when unmarred by vice! How rarely the taste is offended or the
appetite starved, while every meal, be it ever so simple, yields
enjoyment to the palate! The ear is regaled with the perpetual music
of wind and ocean and feathered minstrelsy, of childhood's voice and
the sweet converse of friends. So, too, Nature is a great laboratory
of delicate odors: the salt breath of the sea is like wine to the
sense; the summer air is freighted with delights, and every tree and
flower exhales fragrance: only where danger lurks does Nature assault
the nostrils with kindly warning. If it be objected that vast numbers
of the race live in cities where every sense is continually offended,
it is to be remembered that "man made the town," and is to be held
responsible for the unhappiness there resulting from his violations of
natural law. But even in cities Nature is more kind to man than he is
to himself, and dulls his faculties against the deformities and
discords of his own creating. From the sense of feeling it is probable
we receive more pain than pleasure, but by no means so much more as to
overbalance the great preponderance of delights coming through the
other avenues: a great part of such pain is cautionary, and much can
be avoided by voluntary action; and the stimulus thus given by the
wise severity of Nature begets that activity of the moral life from
which results the highest form of happiness. When we attempt to
estimate our mental and moral sufferings, it is impossible even to
approximate the proportion of them that are due to our voluntary
infringement of law; but, adding together all that spring from natural
sources and all that men bring upon themselves, the suffering is
still outweighed by the pleasure among the great mass of men.

But, however unfavorable a view we take of the condition of humanity,
it is gross exaggeration to say, "_There is no evidence whatever_ in
Nature for Divine justice, whatever standard of justice our ethical
opinions may lead us to recognize: ... there is _no shadow of justice_
in the general arrangements of Nature." Though many of Nature's
dealings with man appear to be unjust, by far the larger proportion of
them are graduated according to what seems, even to us, a standard of
strict equity. As Matthew Arnold puts it, there is a power in Nature
"which makes for righteousness." And every generation verifies the
words of the Preacher: "The righteous shall be recompensed _in the
earth_--much more the wicked and the sinner;" "as righteousness
_tendeth to life_, so he that pursueth evil _pursueth it to his own
death_." It was the reverent saying of that noblest of pagans, Marcus
Aurelius, that "if a man should have a feeling and a deeper insight
with respect to the things which are produced in the universe, there
is hardly anything that comes in the course of Nature which will not
seem to him to be in a manner disposed _so as to give pleasure_." When
that "deeper insight" comes, and the eyes of man's spiritual
understanding are opened, all appearance of injustice in Nature will
probably vanish.

If men were indeed as wretched as Mr. Mill describes them to be, and
had no fear of judgment and immortality--which Mr. Mill informs us are
probably but figments of the brain--why should they continue to endure
"the calamity of so long life"?

  'Twere best at once to sink to peace,
    Like birds the charming serpent draws--
    To drop head-foremost in the jaws
  Of vacant darkness, and to cease.

So men would begin to reason if this dark gospel of despair were ever
to gain currency; but, fortunately, it is only the morbid dream of a
closet philosopher, who fancied the world was upside down because he
could not unriddle it with his logical Rule of Three.

This representation of Nature is not only at variance with facts, but
inconsistent with Mr. Mill's own conclusions, as he reasons from
natural phenomena that the Creator is both wise and beneficent, but
that He is in some way hindered from fully accomplishing His kind
purposes. But if "_there is no evidence whatever for Divine justice_,
and _no shadow of justice_ in the general arrangements of Nature," the
reasonable inference is that its author is a being of infinite
malignity who is in some mysterious manner, for the present, prevented
from wreaking the full measure of his wrath upon mankind. From this
horrible thought Mr. Mill recoils, and, giving logic to the winds, he
trusts that

                God is love indeed,
    And love Creation's final law,
    Though Nature, red in tooth and claw
  With ravin, shrieks against his creed.

In the second essay Mr. Mill undertakes to prove the uselessness and
harmfulness of supernatural religion both to society and individuals,
and the sufficiency of human authority, of education and public
opinion to accomplish all the beneficial results usually accredited to
faith in a Divine Being. "Religion," he says, "by its intrinsic force,
... without the sanction superadded by public opinion, ... has never,
save in exceptional characters or in peculiar moods of mind, exercised
a very potent influence after the time had gone by in which Divine
agency was supposed habitually to employ temporal rewards and
punishments." Whatever application this statement may have to other
religions claiming a divine origin, it is entirely false of
Christianity. In its origin, _it_ certainly held out no temporal
bribes of any character. Its Founder expressly said to His disciples,
"In this world ye shall have tribulation." "Behold," He says, "I send
you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves"; "ye shall be hated of all
men for My sake"; "if any man will come after Me, let him deny
himself, and take up his cross and follow Me." His own life was one of
unparalleled contumely, and He told them they must not expect to fare
better than their Master. Nor did they. The majority of the apostles
met cruel deaths after lives of suffering. Paul, describing his
experience, speaks of his beatings and his perils among his countrymen
and the heathen, of his hunger and thirst and his cold and nakedness.
And his was only an extreme example of the common lot of the early
generations of Christians. Yet in the face of the hostility of the
whole Roman and Jewish world, manifested in the most cruel
persecutions, Christianity rapidly grew, gaining its most signal
triumphs, laying hold of the consciences and transforming the lives of
men. It was only when it came under the patronage of the civil
government, and the public opinion of the world was thrown in its
favor, and its peculiar doctrines became diluted with worldly policy,
that it began to lose its reforming influence--a fact which Mr. Mill
himself alludes to in his essay _On Liberty_. This experience has been
frequently repeated since the days of Constantine; so that history
fairly proves that Christianity does its peculiar work more
effectually _when it is dissociated from all human sanctions_, and
left to act solely by its intrinsic force. This is true not only of
the Church at large, but of individuals. Paul, Luther, à Kempis drew
their inspiration from the simple words of Christ, and owed next to
nothing to the opinions of the world about them. It has always been
direct contact with the life and precepts of the Founder of
Christianity that has fired the hearts and braced the spiritual
energies of the noblest Christians, who have been the reformers of
their times, braving the enmity of the world to instill a purer and a
loftier morality.

The illustrations, suggested first by Bentham, which Mr. Mill cites to
prove the worthlessness of the religious sanction--viz., the almost
universal breach of oaths where not enforced by law, and the
prevalence of male unchastity and the practice of dueling among
Christian communities--have no pertinency whatever to his argument,
since they only prove the predominance of religious infidelity and
indifference in countries nominally Christian, which no one denies;
while the exceptions to this rule, which occur almost wholly among
Christians, prove the very view he controverts. It is Christian
opinion making itself felt through legislation that is gradually
circumscribing the area of these vices.

Again, says Mr. Mill. "Because when men were still savage they would
not have received either moral or scientific truths unless they had
supposed them supernaturally imparted, does it follow they would now
give up moral truths any more than scientific because they believed
them to have no other origin than wise and noble human hearts?"
Overlooking the adroit introduction here of scientific truths as
having originally been on the same footing with moral truths--for
which we do not think there is any sufficient historic evidence--it is
competent to reply that the great mass of mankind are still in the
earlier stages of intellectual and moral development, even in the most
advanced countries; so that on grounds of utility it is important to
prolong, if possible, the supernatural sanctions of religion.
Although, as Mr. Mill believes, a moral truth once in the possession
of humanity may never be lost, it may yet have its influence suspended
through many generations, as in the Dark Ages, and thus the advance of
civilization be indefinitely retarded; and therefore the office of
religion in keeping morality operative among men is not to be
discarded. It is doubtless impossible to estimate with entire
correctness the relative value of the different forces that advance or
retard civilization, but we believe the weight of historic evidence
goes to prove that religious skepticism was the actual cause, as it
has always been the inevitable precursor, of national decay. Coleridge
in _The Friend_ quotes the historian Polybius as attributing the
strength of the Roman republic to the general reverence of the
invisible powers, _and the consequent horror in which the breaking of
an oath was held._ This he thought the _causa causarum_ of Roman
grandeur; and he attributed the ruin of the Greek states to the
frequency of perjury resulting from the atheism taught by the
Sophists. Goethe says somewhere that "all epochs in which faith has
prevailed have been the most heart-stirring and fruitful both as
regard contemporaries and posterity; whereas all epochs in which
unbelief obtains its miserable triumphs, even when they boast of some
apparent brilliancy, are not less surely doomed to speedy oblivion."
This assertion is notably true of the histories of Judea, Greece,
Rome, and Spain. And, _a priori_, it might be argued that the only
possible ground for that cordial unanimity of society upon fundamental
questions which is essential to a stable and highly developed
civilization is a common faith in some central rightful authority
competent to demand and enforce equal obedience from all classes; in
other words, faith in God. A band of savages might be held in a lax
social union by the common fear of some brawny chief, but in civilized
communities it is the real _divinity_ that doth hedge about the king
or other civil head that gives cohesion to the social mass. As a
political force, therefore, religion cannot be dispensed with.

Religion is not only useless, Mr. Mill proceeds, but "there is a very
real evil consequent on ascribing a supernatural origin to the
received maxims of morality. That origin consecrates the whole of
them, and protects them from being discussed and criticised." Such an
objection hardly comes with good grace from Mr. Mill, who spends his
strength to prove that a divine sanction has no efficacy when not
backed by human authority. Nor has such an objection, if it were true,
any application to the case till it is absolutely proved that _all_
religions are of human origin, or else that more harm results from
believing human systems divine than from believing one divine system
to be of human growth. Neither of these alternatives does he attempt
to establish, and he explicitly admits it is impossible to prove the
former. But the objection is not true. Human criticism has never been
backward to attack all systems of morality, despite the popular faith
in their divine origin. Christianity especially has had its historic
and intellectual and moral foundations attacked by able critics in
every century since its introduction on earth. But in the face of
every form of opposition it has made a steady progress, and
strengthened its hold upon the human heart and conscience as the world
has advanced in culture. It is to-day professed by a larger number of
disciples and with a more intelligent faith than at any other period
of its history. It is the dominant religion in those countries which
are in the van of human progress, whose political institutions are the
freest in the world, and whose inhabitants are the happiest and most
virtuous. And despite its insoluble mysteries it has always received
the assent of the highest intelligence to its divine origin. "My
faith," said De Quincey, "is that though a great man may, by a rare
possibility, be an infidel, an intellect of the highest order must
build on Christianity." And Bacon's testimony is to the same effect.
"It is only," he says, "when superficially tested that philosophy
leads away from God: deeper draughts of a thorough and real philosophy
bring us back to Him." And poor Tyndall, standing afar off in the
outer regions of pure intellect, hard by the

            ever-breaking shore
  That tumbles in the godless deep,

has recently been heard to murmur that in his loftiest moments the
promise and potency of matter give no response to the deepest cry of
the soul. And along the centuries stand the princes of thought, Paul,
Augustine, Bacon, Luther, Milton, Pascal, Kepler, Newton, Coleridge,
Faraday, Herschel, testifying to the impregnability of the
intellectual foundation of the Christian faith.

If Mr. Mill's arguments to prove the worthlessness of Christianity are
open to many objections, the reasons he offers for accepting his
substitute, the Religion of Humanity, are utterly baseless and
delusive. For faith in God he would have us adopt an ideal conception
of what human life can be made in the future, and sacrifice all our
present enjoyment to secure a realization of that conception ages
hence. This, says he, is a better religion than any belief respecting
the unseen powers. "If individual life is short, the life of the human
species is not." How does he know this? The dark demon of Nature he
has so vividly described may sweep away the puny race to-morrow by
some fell cataclysm; and it would be a blessing if she did in his
view. "If such an object," he continues, "appears small to a mind
accustomed to dream of infinite and eternal beatitudes, it will expand
into far other dimensions when these _baseless fancies_ shall have
receded into the past." But if we must feed our moral natures on
"baseless fancies," most men will prefer the Christian dogmas of
immortality, the infinite capacity of development of the human soul,
the brotherhood of the race and its vital union with its Creator, and
its perfectibility of human institutions and social conditions in this
life under the leavening influence of Christian principle, although
Mr. Mill may stigmatize them as grandiose and enervating dreams, to
his beggarly improved substitute, which appeals neither to our common
sense nor to our moral intuitions. Taking his own criterion, utility,
as the test of truth, his religion of humanity fails to establish
itself, for it postpones the happiness of each existing generation to
the fancied good of future generations which may never be born, and
this _ad infinitum_. On this part of his subject Mr. Mill is simply
fatuous, as when he speaks of our being sustained in this faith by the
approbation of the dead whom we venerate. But if Socrates and Howard
and Washington and Christ and Antoninus and Mrs. Mill are turned to
clay, as he says they probably are, it is nonsense to assert that he
is strengthened in the path of duty by a feeling that they would
sympathize with him if alive. It is the unconfessed hope of their
immortality that quickens him, if he is affected at all. Mr. Mill's
idolatry of his wife, like Buckle's love for his mother, was an
argument for the immortality of the soul which he does not seem to
have been able entirely to reject.

Mr. Mill never tires of calling Christianity a selfish religion, and
glorifies his substitute as free from this defect. But Mr. Fitzjames
Stephen, in his work entitled _Liberty, Equality, Fraternity_, has
clearly pointed out that Mr. Mill has only succeeded in duping himself
on this point. A man _cannot_ free himself from self-consideration.
Christianity indeed appeals to the innate desire of happiness, but
condemns the overweening and blind self-regard which cannot see that
the highest happiness of self flows from a just respect to the
selfhood of others and from the cultivation of the spiritual nature.
Love your neighbor _as_ yourself is the Christian precept; and it has
the advantage of being practicable, which Mr. Mill's has not.

Mr. Mill considerately says he will forbear to urge the moral
difficulties and perversions of the Christian revelation, "the
recognition, for example, of the object of highest worship in a being
who could make a hell." "Is it possible," he asks, "to adore such a
one without a frightful distortion of the standard of right and
wrong?" "Any other of the outrages to the most ordinary justice and
humanity involved in the common Christian conception of the moral
character of God sinks into insignificance beside this dreadful
idealization of wickedness. Most of them, too, are happily not so
unequivocally deducible from the very words of Christ." Yet this very
Personage, who, Mr. Mill says, implicitly believed and taught this
awful doctrine, presents, he confesses, the highest type of pure
morality the world has ever seen. Arguing from this phenomenon, the
more hideous the creed and the more torpid or sophisticated the
intellect, the higher the morality is likely to be.

In the last essay, _On Theism_, Mr. Mill examines the evidences in
Nature for the existence of God and for the immortality of the soul.
The argument from design he thinks establishes the probability of the
existence of an intelligent Creator of _limited power_; for "who," he
asks, "would have recourse to means if to attain his end his mere word
were sufficient?" It may be replied to this that it is as open to an
omnipotent being to accomplish his will through a long chain of
causes as by a fiat acting immediately. The recourse to intermediate
means does not of necessity prove a limitation of power. If the means
actually chosen are defective or bad, it may imply limitation of
wisdom or moral obliquity just as much as defect of power, and any
choice between these alternatives is entirely arbitrary from a logical
standpoint.

Monotheism, Mr. Mill asserts, is a natural product, requiring a
considerable amount of intellectual culture, but always appearing at a
certain stage of natural development. How, then, did it originate
among the Hebrews before they had emerged from barbarism, and fail to
appear among their highly civilized contemporaries, the Egyptians and
Assyrians? Christlieb is more correct than Mr. Mill, we think, when he
says that neither in ancient nor in modern times has it been possible
to find a nation which by its own unaided powers of thought has
arrived at a definite belief in one personal living God. And the
latest researches of ethnologists, as they may be found admirably
compiled by Mr. Tyler (himself an advocate of the development
hypothesis) in his _Primitive Culture_, substantiate this assertion.

Mr. Mill, in dealing with Kant's dictum, that the intuition of duty
implies a God of necessity, is foolish enough to say "that this
feeling of obligation rather _excludes_ than compels the belief in a
divine legislator;" which is a very discreditable piece of sophistry.

In closing this short review of these interesting essays we may be
permitted to quote a few of Mr. Mill's admissions, which, taken
together, almost amount to a confession of faith in the Christian
system, and which leave upon the mind the impression that this painful
groping of an earnest inquirer after the truth, and the closer
approximation he continually made to Christian dogma, would have
resulted, had he lived longer, in his adoption of that faith as
offering the hypothesis that best explains the perplexing phenomena of
the moral world.

"Experience," he says, "has abated the ardent hopes once entertained
of the regeneration of the human race by merely negative doctrine, by
the destruction of superstition." Here is a declaration of the need of
a system of positive truth.

Again, of the Christian revelation he says: "The sender of the alleged
message is not a sheer invention: there are grounds independent of the
message itself for belief in His reality.... It is moreover much to
the purpose to take notice that the very imperfection of the evidences
which natural theology can produce of the divine attributes removes
some of the chief stumbling-blocks to the belief of revelation." Here
is the _raison d'être_ of revelation.

This revelation, it should be borne in mind, in its method and
character bears a striking similarity to the natural world, from whose
Author it professes to come, as was long ago pointed out by Bishop
Butler, and recently with great cogency by Mr. Henry Rogers in his
most forcible work on the _Superhuman Origin of the Bible_.

Again: "A revelation cannot be proved unless by external
evidence--that is, by the evidence of supernatural facts." Here is an
assertion of the necessity of miracles.

Again: "Science contains nothing repugnant to the supposition that
every event which takes place results from a specific volition of the
presiding Power, provided this Power adheres in its particular
volitions to general laws laid down by itself;" which is the biblical
representation of the divine mode of action.

Again: "All the probabilities in case of a future life are that such
as we have been made, or have made ourselves before the change, such
we shall enter into the life hereafter;" which is the exact
declaration of Scripture.

Mr. Mill further helps the Christian cause by pointing out two flaws
in Hume's argument against miracles--viz., that the evidence of
experience to which its appeal is made is only negative evidence;
which is not conclusive, since facts of which there had been no
previous experience are often discovered and proved by positive
experience to be true; and secondly, the argument assumes that the
testimony of experience against miracles is undeviating and
indubitable, whereas the very thing asserted on the other side is that
there have been miracles, and that the testimony is not wholly on the
negative side.

No Christian can read the following tribute to the character of Christ
without sadness that the joy of a larger faith was rejected by its
author: "Whatever else may be taken away from us by rational
criticism, Christ is still left--a unique figure, not more unlike all
his precursors than all his followers, even those who had the direct
benefit of his teaching. About the life and sayings of Jesus there is
a stamp of personal originality, combined with profundity of insight,
... which must place the Prophet of Nazareth, even in the estimation
of those who have no belief in his inspiration, in the very first rank
of the men of sublime genius of whom our species can boast. When this
pre-eminent genius is combined with the qualities of probably the
greatest moral reformer and martyr to that mission who ever existed
upon earth, religion cannot be said to have made a bad choice in
pitching upon this man as the ideal representative and guide of
humanity; nor even now would it be easy even for an unbeliever to find
a better translation of the rule of virtue from the abstract into the
concrete than to endeavor so to live that Christ would approve our
life.... When to this we add that to the conception of the rational
critic it remains a possibility that Christ actually was what he
supposed himself to be, ... we may well conclude that the influences
of religion on the character which will remain after rational
criticism has done its utmost against the evidences of religion are
well worth preserving, and what they lack in direct strength as
compared with those of a firmer belief is more than compensated by the
greater truth and rectitude of the morality they sanction." The
confession of these last few lines refutes the whole of Mr. Mill's
elaborate argument on the worthlessness and immorality of that
religion which from his grave he lifts his sad and hollow voice to
overthrow.

LAWRENCE TURNBULL.



OUR MONTHLY GOSSIP.

WOMAN'S RIGHTS IN THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY.


  Not only we, the latest seed of Time--
            ... not only we that prate
  Of rights and wrongs, have loved the _women_ well.

Nearly a century and a half ago an English lady, out of patience with
the intolerable assumptions of the other sex, raised her voice in
behalf of her own. In 1793 there was published in London a pamphlet
entitled "_Woman not Inferior to Man, or a Short and Modest
Vindication of the Natural Right of the Fair Sex to a Perfect Equality
of Power, Dignity and Esteem with the Men_. By Sophia, a Person of
Quality." The title-page has a quotation from Rowe's _Fair Penitent_:

            How hard is the condition of our sex!
 --Through every state of life the slave of man!

       *       *       *       *       *

           Wherefore are we
  Born with souls, but to assert ourselves,
  Shake off this wild obedience they exact,
  And claim an equal empire o'er the world?

From such a title and such an epigraph one might expect the most
incendiary sentiments in the pages which follow, and that Sophia had
nothing less in view than to overthrow the usurper; but this she
disclaims: she has no intention, she avers, "to stir up any of my own
sex to revolt against the _men_, or to invert the present order of
things with regard to _government_ and _authority_" Her sole object
appears to be to bring men to a proper sense of their deficiencies and
the emptiness of their pretensions. But she is a person of admirable
dignity and discretion: it is not until the conclusion, when she has
not left them a leg to stand upon, that she magnanimously waives all
the advantages to accrue from their humiliation, and merely bids them
in future to know their true place. The composition is in every way
worthy of these elevated sentiments. Sophia need not have announced
herself a person of quality: there is evidence of it on every leaf of
her book. One recognizes the accomplished gentlewoman of a hundred
years ago, with her solid reading, her strong common sense, her sober
religious convictions, her household science. No doubt she loved fine
lace and old china; there are recondite internal proofs that she was
pretty; and on closing the book a far-off rustle of her brocade
reaches us as she makes her spreading curtsey. But we will let her
speak for herself a little. Her first position is certainly a strong
one: "If this haughty sex would have us believe they have a natural
right of superiority over us, why don't they prove their charter from
Nature by making use of reason to subdue themselves?... Were we to see
_men_ everywhere and at all times masters of themselves, and their
animal appetites in perfect subordination to their rational faculties,
we should have some color to think that Nature designed them as
masters to us." The doctrine of female inferiority she considers "a
vulgar though ancient error," observing that until very recent ages
the sun was believed to revolve round the earth, and the notion of the
antipodes was "a heresy in philosophy"--that to assert the equality of
the sexes now was no greater paradox than to advocate either of those
theories but a short time ago. "But," she continues, "who shall the
matter be tried by?" and here we suspect she has reached the root of
the difficulty. Both men and women, she admits, are too much
interested to be impartial judges; therefore she appeals to "rectified
reason" as umpire. She considers in order the various claims to
predominance which men have put forward, and confutes them one by one.
"Man concludes that all other creatures were made for him because he
was not created until all were in readiness for him:" even granting
that to be unanswerable, she says it only proves that men were made
for women, and not _vice versâ_: "they are our natural drudges.... Men
are magnified because they succeed in taming a tiger, an elephant or
such like animals;" therefore what rank must belong to woman, "who
spends years in training that _fiercer animal_, MAN?" She instances a
journeyman tailor she once saw belabor his wife with a neck of mutton,
"to make her know, as he said, her _sovereign lord and master_. And
this is perhaps as strong an argument as their sex is able to produce,
though conveyed, in a greasy light.... To stoop to regard for the
strutting things is not enough; to humor them more than we could
children with any tolerable decency is too little; they must be
served, forsooth!" It is grievous injustice to Sophia, but one almost
fancies one hears Madame George Sand. She allows that to please man
ought to be part of the sex's business if it were likely to succeed;
"but such is the fanatical composition of their natures that the more
pains is taken in endeavoring to please them, the less generally is
the labor successful; ... and surely _women_ were created by Heaven
for some better end than to labor in vain their whole life long." The
supercilious commendations of men are gall and wormwood to her: "Some,
more condescending, are gracious enough to confess that many _women_
have wit and conduct; but yet they are of opinion that even such of us
as are the most remarkable for either or both still betray something
which speaks the imbecility of our sex." She makes an excellent plea
forgiving women a thorough education, complaining that it is denied
them, and then they are charged with being superficial: "True
knowledge and solid learning cannot but make woman as well as man more
humble; ... and it must be owned that if a little superficial
knowledge has rendered some of our sex vain, it equally renders some
of theirs insupportable." With all the sex's frivolity, she adds,
women have not been found to spend their lives on mere _entia
rationis_ splitting hairs and weighing motes like the Schoolmen. She
concludes that men deprive women of education lest they should oust
them "from those public offices which they fill so miserably." She
handles her logic admirably, and exposes her adversaries for begging
the question and reasoning in a circle. Of course she enforces her
assertions by citing the women who have distinguished themselves in
every position of responsibility, military, political and
intellectual, and only refrains from multiplying instances because of
their number. Not to quote those alone who have filled chairs of
medicine with honor, she ingeniously remarks that the remedies classed
as "an old woman's recipe" are those oftenest prescribed, to the glory
of her sex, who by patience, humanity and observation have invented
without the help of Galen and Hippocrates an infinity of reliefs for
the sick which their adherents can neither improve nor disapprove. She
makes her final point on the question of moral superiority. It is
sometimes stated "that some _women_ have been more flagitious than any
_men_, but that in nowise redounds to the dishonor of our sex in
general. _The corruption of the best is ever the worst_: should we
grant this, ... it must be owned their number would at least balance
the account. I believe no one will deny but that at least upon the
most moderate computation there are a thousand _bad men_ to one _bad
woman_." She winds up by an appeal to her own sex in the very spirit
of Miss F.P. Cobbe, the sum of which is to adjure women, for their own
sakes, not to be silly.

How many contemporaries of George Selwyn had their eyes opened by this
clear statement of their demerits there are no means of ascertaining.
But Sophia raised up at least one furious antagonist, who replied by a
pamphlet called "MAN _Superior to_ WOMAN, _or a Vindication of Man's
Natural Right of Sovereign Authority over the Woman, containing a
Plain Confutation of the Fallacious Arguments of_ SOPHIA. By a
GENTLEMAN." The first thing to be noted is, that whereas Sophia said
her say in about fifty pages, the masculine reply covers seventy-eight
in smaller print. He opens by a "Dedication to the Ladies," beginning,
"Lovely creatures"--an exordium which any woman of spirit would
resent, the perfidy and disrepect of his intentions being obvious in
those words alone; and he continues in the tone of flippancy which was
to be expected. His arguments are weak in the extreme, and his satire
is pointless. The only hit is his scheme for a female university, with
Mrs. Manly and Mrs. Afra Behn in the chair of literature. His summary
of woman's character and occupations was given earlier, with more
brevity and wit, and no less truth, by Pope. To Sophia's historical
illustrations he opposes female types named Tremula, Bellnina,
Novilia, etc. But in truth the production is so excessively scurrilous
that one needs to remember that those were the times of Congreve and
Fielding to believe that the author could have the right to style
himself "A GENTLEMAN." We shudder with pity for poor Sophia, who had
such a mass of filth flung at her. But that decorous personage is not
disconcerted: she does not lose her head or her temper, but opens her
mouth with a freedom of speech which was the prerogative of an honest
woman in those days, and rejoins with a second pamphlet: "_Woman's
Superior Excellence over Man_" Her first thrust is to regret, in
behalf of the other sex, that neither Achilles nor Hector appears as
their champion, but Thersites. Either her adversary was silenced, or
the publishers considered that what he said was not worthy of
preservation, for no further words of his appear, so that in any case
she had the best of it. Her first pamphlet had a second edition in the
following year. Its memory was still alive in this century, for it was
quoted with respect by the _Retrospective Review_ for 1824 in a
learned article on the "Privileges of Woman," which deserves the
attention of those interested in the subject.

S.B.W.



THE TOMB OF LORENZO DE' MEDICI.


I wish to chronicle in the pages of _Lippincott's Magazine_ the record
of a scene that took place this spring in the Medicean chapel attached
to the church of San Lorenzo in Florence. It was in itself a
remarkable and memorable scene enough, but it was yet more important
as regards certain interesting points of history on which it throws a
very curious light, if it does not, as many persons will be inclined
to think, settle them definitively.

The little square marble chapel itself, which no visitor to Florence
will have forgotten, is admired as an architectural gem of Michael
Angelo, and is yet more celebrated as the shrine of some of his finest
works, especially the sitting statue of Lorenzo and the recumbent
statues of _Twilight_ and _Dawn_ on the tomb of Lorenzo. These two
grand figures, it will be remembered, repose on the arched canopy over
the tomb in such a position that, if not retained in their places by
some means adapted for that purpose, they would slide off the rounded
arch by their own weight. Now, it had been lately observed that the
statue of _Twilight_ was moving, and it was very reasonably judged to
be necessary that this should be looked to. The statue was therefore
carefully raised, and it was discovered that when the tomb of Lorenzo
had been opened to place in it the body of the murdered Alexander, his
(putative) son, the metal stanchion or peg by means of which Michael
Angelo had secured his statue in its place had been replaced by a
wooden one. This, in the course of the centuries which have since
elapsed had become decayed, and the statue might have fallen any day.
This being the case, it was thought well to raise the other statue,
that of the _Dawn_ also. But that was found to be as secure in its
place as the great artist had left it. But these superincumbent
statues having been thus lifted from off the sepulchre, it was
suggested that the opportunity should be taken to examine the contents
of the tomb.

There were several reasons which rendered such an examination
historically interesting and curious. A certain degree of doubt has
been cast--mainly by Grimm--on the question whether the tomb be in
fact that of Lorenzo, the father of Catherine de' Medici, the
celebrated queen of France--whether it be not rather that of Giuliano,
his uncle. For my part, I had always thought that there was little or
no foundation for the doubt. The main features of the story of
Alexander will probably be in the memory of the reader. The Florentine
republic and liberty were destroyed in 1527 by the united forces of
the traitor pope, the Medicean Clement VII., and Charles V., with the
understanding that this Alexander should marry Margaret, the emperor's
illegitimate daughter, and that Florence should become a dukedom to
dower the young couple withal. Who and what this Alexander was has
always been one of the puzzles of history. He was, tradition says,
very swarthy, and was generally believed to be the son of a Moorish
slave-mother. He was certainly illegitimate; and the question, Who was
his father? was always a doubtful one, though he has generally been
called the son of Lorenzo. I have elsewhere given at length reasons
for believing rather that whispered bit of scandal of the time which
declared the pope, Clement VII., to be his father. When Florence fell
he became duke, and reigned over the unhappy city for seven years, in
such sort that the murder of him in 1537 by his kinsman Lorenzino,
traitorously and cowardly done as the deed was, was deemed the act of
a patriot. The story of such a deed, done at midnight in a private
chamber, and never made the subject of legal investigation, of course
reaches subsequent generations enveloped in more or less of
uncertainty. Now, it was likely enough that the careful examination of
the remains in the tomb in question might throw light on sundry points
of Alexander's story.

In the first place, the identity of the tomb is now fixed beyond the
possibility of a doubt. It was known that the body of the murdered
Alexander was placed in the tomb of his putative father, Lorenzo. If,
therefore, the body of Alexander should be found in this sepulchre,
the tomb is proved to have been that of Lorenzo. When the lid of the
sarcophagus was raised, there accordingly were the two bodies
visible--one dressed in white, the other in black. It has been
assumed--and I think the assumption is abundantly justified, as will
presently be seen--that the skeleton in black is that of Lorenzo, and
the skeleton in white that of Alexander. The relative position of the
bodies was very singular. The heads were at opposite ends of the
sarcophagus, and the bodies were placed, not side by side, but each
between the legs of the other. One of the bodies, that of Lorenzo,
seemed when the lid of the sarcophagus was raised to be headless, but
on examination the skull was found under the breast of the black tunic
that covered the body. There can be little doubt that it became
detached when the body was moved for the purpose of placing that of
Alexander in the tomb. The white garment that clad the skeleton of
Alexander was an embroidered shirt ornamented with lace: the legs were
covered with white leggings. The skull of this skeleton had all the
teeth perfect when the sarcophagus was opened; but should the
curiosity of any future generation tempt the men of that day to peer
into this receptacle of the dust of tyrants, the skull of the murdered
Alexander will be found to be toothless. And all sorts of suppositions
and theories may be based on this singular fact, and credited, until
some antiquary of the period discovers in an ancient magazine
published at the period of a former examination of the sepulchre this
record, in which I am obliged to declare--with a blush for the decency
of the Florentines--that the teeth were all stolen by persons who were
permitted to be present at the opening of the tomb. A certain special
historical interest is attached to those teeth of the murdered man.
The story goes that when Lorenzino stabbed him as he slept on a bed in
Lorenzino's own house, to which he had been inveigled in the hope of
meeting there a certain lady, the wife of a Ginori of the time,
Alexander started up, and, seizing the thumb of the murderer between
his teeth, held him so firmly that he could not have escaped had not a
bravo whom he had hired to aid him come to his assistance. These,
then, were the teeth that held so well in the death-grip of their
owner! Some Florentine historically-minded virtuoso (!) appreciated
the significance of the fact, and stole them from the head some three
centuries and a half after that last bite of theirs. There were
several gaps in the range of teeth still remaining in the skull of
Alexander, which has appeared strange to some who remember that he
was only twenty-seven when he died. But I think that any medical man,
taking into consideration; the manner of his death, would find nothing
strange in the circumstance, but on the contrary a confirmation of the
truth of the facts which the chroniclers of the time have preserved
for us.

Perhaps, however, the most curious and interesting fact which the
opening of this tomb has ascertained is that testified to by the hair
still remaining on the skull which was that of Alexander. It is a
black curly hair of a coarse quality, such as a man of mixed black
blood may be supposed to have had. It is recorded that one of the
wounds given by the bravo Scoronconcolo, whom Lorenzino had hired to
assist him in the murder, and who ran up to complete the job when his
master was disabled by being fast held by the teeth of Alexander, was
a stab in the face. And of the truth of this tradition also the skull
of the murdered man still affords evidence; for on the left-hand side
of the face, a little below the socket of the eye, there is a mark in
the bone beneath the cheek which must have been made by the point of
the sword or dagger that inflicted the wound, and which shows that the
bravo Scoronconcolo's thrust must have been a shrewd one.

It will readily be supposed that the scene at the opening of the
sepulchre must have been a very impressive one. There, in that solemn
chapel of white and black marble which the genius of Michael Angelo
prepared for the repose of his sovereigns and patrons, with his
lifelike and immortal presentations of the forms of the dead who have
filled all story with their names, looking down on the deed with sad
and solemn faces, who would not, while thus forcing the prison-house
of the tomb to render up its terrible and long-concealed secrets, have
been deeply sensible of a feeling of awe and reverence? Even putting
aside all such sentiments as the contemplation of such a _memento
mori_ is usually found to inspire in most men, the purely scientific
historical inquirer must have felt the importance of the occasion, and
the great desirability of making the most in an historical point of
view of so rare an opportunity. I am sorry to be obliged to record
that the Florentines, so far as could be judged from their conduct and
bearing, felt nothing of all this. No one who knows them as well as I
do would have expected reverence from them under any possible or
imaginable circumstances; but one might have expected such due care
and decency of proceeding as would have sufficed to render the
examination of the remains as historically instructive as possible,
and to preserve the record for a future generation. But this was very
far from being the case. A learned professor of anatomy indeed
attended at the opening of the tomb, but instead of touching the
remains himself, or utilizing his science by handling them as they
ought to have been handled, he called a workman, and by him the bodies
were torn out from their resting-place in fragments. The clothes were
of course torn to pieces in the operation; the lace from the shirt of
Alexander was permitted to be stolen; and the same fate, as has been
stated, overtook his teeth. No sort of preparation had been made for
any possible examination of the remains to any good purpose. They were
laid out anyhow, as the phrase is, on a little marble bench in the
chapel. Those who remember the place will not need to be told how
perfect a sham any pretence of examination must have been under such
circumstances. When this pretence had been gone through, the bones
were cast back again into the marble sarcophagus by the workman,
"like"--as one eye-witness of the scene describes it--"the bones of
dogs." And when the same person looked into the sarcophagus after this
tossing back had been effected, he saw a mere confused heap of the
scattered bones of two skeletons undistinguishably mixed together. "I
cannot help," writes the same eye-witness, "expressing my sense of the
barbaric acts which I witnessed. Historic skeletons--the father of
Catherine de' Medici, the son-in-law of Charles V.; Florentine
nobles--one a duke of Florence, the other of Urbino--both bad enough
fellows, no doubt, but could any Communists have acted worse? Besides,
Communist mobs assert principles, and do these things in hot blood.
But this most monstrous outrage was committed coolly by pure stupidity
and the carelessness which cannot be moved by any consideration to
take any trouble that can by any possibility be avoided. Had they
turned up a quantity of the bones of animals to examine them, they
could not have done worse." It is fair to add that _some_ of the
organs of the Florentine press stigmatized the proceedings upon this
occasion as they deserved to be stigmatized.

T.A.T.



T.W. ROBERTSON.


The qualifications needed by the novelist and by the dramatist are at
once alike and unlike. Differing in manner rather than in matter, they
are rarely found united in one man. Scott, from whose novels many
stirring plays have been taken, was incapable of writing one himself;
Thackeray, even after he was the well-known author of _Vanity Fair_,
could not find a manager willing to produce his comedy; and
Thackeray's great master, Fielding, comparatively failed as a
dramatist, though Joseph Surface is Blifil and Charles Surface is Tom
Jones, and from the same work Colman derived his comedy of the
_Jealous Wife_, which holds the stage to this day. By dint of hard
work a man might make himself a novelist, but the dramatist, like the
poet, must be born. He who possesses the power of writing successfully
for the stage will surely show it in his first work. This theory
accounts for the signal success of the _Cantab_, a slight farce played
in 1861 at the London Strand Theatre. The material was weak and
worn-out, but the fun was not forced: it flowed naturally from the
situations. There was a freshness and a firmness about the little
piece which showed the hand of a young author capable of better
things. Three years later, Mr. Sothern, desiring a part diametrically
the opposite of Lord Dundreary, produced _David Garrick_, and in 1865
_Society_ made its first appearance on the stage of the Prince of
Wales's Theatre. Then T. W. Robertson stepped to the front rank of
living English dramatists.

The author had found his audience and his actors. The Prince of
Wales's Theatre was directed by a burlesque actress, and devoted to
light comedy and extravaganza: after that it gave up burlesque, merely
heightening the effect of the comedy and prolonging the programme by a
quiet farce. The company was small and strong, the theatre was well
managed, and plays were handsomely mounted. After the success of
_Society_ until Robertson's death its main reliance was upon his pen.
In 1866 _Ours_ was first produced, followed in 1867 by _Caste_. The
pieces of other authors, although carefully played and well mounted,
were uniform failures. Mr. Edmund Yates's _Tame Cats_, and Mr. Dion
Boucicault's _How She Loves Him!_ were each withdrawn after a run of a
very few nights, whereas _School Play_, an _M.P._ succeeded each other
with undisputed success. At the Haymarket Theatre _David Garrick_ was
followed by _Home_ and _Birth_.

The day was won, and the successful author could afford to rest on his
laurels. But he was ambitious and a hard worker; so he continued to
write and adapt. To counterbalance the good-fortune of _David Garrick_
and _Home_ at the Haymarket, and the series of six at the Prince of
Wales's Theatre, there was a list of failures--_Birth, Progress,
Dreams_ and _War_. But his comedies were far more successful than his
heavier plays: his belief in his power to construct good acting dramas
must have been sadly shaken by the total failure of _For Love_, the
_Shadow-Tree Shaft_ and the _Nightingale_. There can be no better
proof of their want of success than the fact that at a time when
American managers were eager for his comedies, not one of his dramas
was ever produced in the United States. But in spite of the
comparative failure of his later works, his death was felt to be the
loss of a dramatic author of some performance and of greater promise,

We have a way of nicknaming a new writer after one of his most
celebrated predecessors whom we imagine him to resemble, and then we
find fault with him for not having all the qualities of an author whom
he probably has no desire to imitate. False friends of T.W. Robertson
called him the "modern Sheridan." Few writers are more dissimilar.
Robertson in his dialogue and construction imitated the modern French
dramatists; Sheridan, the old English, Congreve, Farquhar and
Wycherley. Robertson especially delighted in love-scenes--there are
generally two at least in each of his comedies: I cannot remember one
in any of Sheridan's. The dialogue of the author of the _School for
Scandal_ is artificial and glittering--that of the author of _School_
is generally more natural, and always less brilliant. They have,
however, one point in common: they both practiced Molière's maxim, _Je
prends mon bien où je le trouve_. They both unhesitatingly
plagiarized. Robertson in particular easily assimilated foreign
matter. He turned _Le Dégel_ and _Les Ganaches_ of M. Sardou into _A
Rapid Thaw_ and _Progress_. _David Garrick_ was taken from _Dr.
Robin_, a French play, itself imitated from the German. _Home_ closely
follows _L'Aventurière_ of M. Émile Augier. Madame de Girardin's _La
Joie fait peur_, previously translated by Mr. G.H. Lewes as _Sunshine
through the Clouds_, gave Robertson the situation of the last act of
_War_: Mr. Dion Boucicault has since deftly adapted the same
delightful little piece under the name of _Kerry, or Night and
Morning_. The Cinderella-like plot of _School_ is taken from the
_Aschenbrödel_ of Roderick Benedix: the school examination was
suggested by a French vaudeville, _En classe, mesdemoiselles!_ The
part of Beau Farintosh is a weak revival of Garrick's Lord Chalkstone
and Colman and Garrick's Lord Ogleby; and the strong situation in the
fourth act is imitated from _Les Beaux Messieurs de Bois-Doré_ of
George Sand.

But Robertson is decidedly strongest when he walks without crutches.
His own original plays, _Society, Caste, Ours_, are by far his best. A
foreign support made him limp. Of all his adaptations, _home_ alone
is really good: most of the others failed. Although that cosmopolitan
mosaic _School_ has been the most successful of his pieces in
London--it has passed its five hundredth night--it is by no means the
best. Success is not necessarily a test of real merit. Evidently,
_School_ has the elements of popularity, although it is a very weak
piece, although it is full of foreign matter, and although it violates
that most necessary rule of dramatic art, declaring no play should
contain an effect, a line, a scene or an act which does not bear on
the end in view by developing either the characters or the action. The
entire second act, containing the farcical examination-scene, is
useless. Robertson again sinned in this way in the _Nightingale_:
although it had no effect on the plot, although it was entirely
unnecessary, he introduced a pretty tableau representing the heroine,
a lovely prima-donna, singing under the silver moonbeams in a boat
rocked to and fro by the waves.

I have before spoken of Robertson's fondness for love-scenes. There
are almost as many of them in one of his comedies as in one of Mr.
Anthony Trollope's novels. And they are generally very good. What can
be more delicious than the "spooning" in _Home_, if it is not the
billing and cooing in _Ours_? But what can be more commonplace or more
objectionable than the frequent remarks about love and Cupid scattered
through his plays? Tom Stylus says in _Society_, "Love is an awful
swindler--always drawing upon Hope, who never honors his drafts--a
sort of whining beggar, continually moved on by the maternal police.
But 'tis a weakness to which the wisest of us are subject--a kind of
manly measles which this flesh is heir to, particularly when the flesh
is heir to nothing else. Even I have felt the divine damnation--I mean
emanation. But the lady united herself to another, which was a very
good thing for me, and anything but a misfortune for her." This is
altogether false: no man could ever say such things seriously--at
least no man of sense would, and Tom Stylus is a man of sense. See,
too, this bit of dialogue in _Play_:

"AMANDA. You are a good girl, and will be rewarded some day with a
good man's love for this.

"ROSIE. I don't want it. I don't want anything to do with love. Love's
a nasty, naughty, wicked boy, and the sooner he's put in
convict-clothes and refused a ticket-of-leave, the better."

That is false too: the affected smartness of the wit does not suit the
situation; or, rather, as a writer in the _Athenaeum_ has said of a
similar speech, "it suits any occasion."

In this same _Play_, Mrs. Kin peck soliloquizes thus: "I fell into a
most unquiet sleep. I thought I saw Cliqueteaux, the old croupier, who
died of love for me--of that and a complication of other disorders. A
man that was a genius, with a wart on his nose. It was hereditary--the
genius, not the wart," etc. Now this may be "funny," but it is not
dramatic. It reminds one of the most forced passages of Artemas Ward's
generally fresh and unforced humor. But perhaps the worst instance in
all Robertson's play of this pitiful sacrifice of situation and
character to a petty "joke" is found in _Caste_. Sam Gerridge, a
gas-fitter and plumber, desiring to marry Polly, the daughter of
Eccles, a drunken old brute, tells him so, casually mentioning that to
prove his affection he will do anything he can in "the way of
spirituous liquor or tobacco." This captivates the heart of old
Eccles, who joins the hands of the young couple, saying with a drunken
leer, "Samuel Gerridge, she is thine. Samuel Gerridge, you shall be
'er 'usband! I don't know a gas_fitter_ man!" (The italics are in the
original).

These are but minor errors, however. The great fault in Robertson's
comedies is the lack of strong dramatic interest. There is no human
passion. There is no exhibition of human strength and human weakness.
There is little of that clash of character against character from
which results true comedy. But even if his characters are mere
empty-headed automata, even if his plays have not the literary value
of Mr. W.S. Gilbert's, even if his pieces have not the situations of
Sardou or the wit of Sheridan, he has a simple sweetness all his own.
And perhaps, after all, the greatest objection to him is the weakness
of his imitators. Success is always a schoolmaster. But it is not just
to hold Robertson responsible for the faults of Alberry or the
failings of the tea-cup-and-saucer school of comedy-writers.

J.B.M.



THE LETTERS OF A PRINCESS.


It is the fashion to decry French memoirs of court-life, and,
considering the quaint freedom of style which characterizes much of
this voluminous literature, it is not strange. Many of these memoirs,
original letters, etc. are exceedingly interesting, because of their
merciless unmasking of some of the sublime figure-heads of history;
notably the letters of Madame Charlotte Elizabeth of Bavaria, widow of
Monsieur, the only brother of Louis XIV. She always hated the French
manners, and longed for her native _sauer-kraut_ and sausages, which
to her taste were finer than all the luxuries and dainties of the
French cuisine. She was counted a severe moralist, and her tongue was
more dreaded than a bayonet-charge. To be sure, her enemies more than
hinted that her extraordinary virtue was trebly guarded by her
ugliness. On the latter subject she says herself, "I must be cruelly
ugly: I never had a passable feature. My eyes are little, my nose
short and big, my lips long and flat, my cheeks hanging, my face long,
my waist and my legs large, my stature short: sum-total, a little old
fright." But she was intelligent and witty, and that, in France at
least, goes a long way with a woman. She was also loyal and truthful.
No one doubted her word when once she had spoken. This makes her
testimony valuable, though many incidents circumspectly narrated by
her seem incredible. Of the young duchesse de Bourgogne, second
daughter of Louis XIV., she says: One of her amusements was to make
her lackeys drag her over the floor by her feet. It is to be presumed
that the duchess was a _very_ young person at this time.

Madame Charlotte's portrait of Marie Thérèse, queen of _Le Grand
Monarque_, is not very flattering: "Her teeth were black and broken,
and she ate immoderately of garlic and chocolate. She was very fond of
basset, but she never won, for she could never learn to play any game.
She ate long and very slowly, taking mouthfuls for a canary." The
diagnosis of the disease of which the queen died displays the popular
pathological lore of those times. Madame says: "She died of an abscess
on the arm, for which Fagon bled her. The humor entered and fell on
the heart: he then gave her an emetic to remove the humor, and this
suffocated her." La Valière, according to Madame Charlotte, was the
only woman who ever really loved the king. She limped a little, had
lovely eyes, irregular teeth, and was very neat in her person, while
Madame de Montespan was just the reverse.

Of Cardinal Richelieu we have a glimpse in madame's letters which his
biographers, generally at least, omit. She tells us that he used to
have violent fits of insanity, during which he would imagine that he
was a horse, jump over a billiard-table, kick his servants, neigh, and
make a fearful noise for an hour. His domestics would then get him
into bed, and after much sweating he would wake without the least
memory of what had passed. As "jumping over a billiard-table" might
appear an incredible feat, at least for an aged cardinal, it is proper
to remark that the billiard-tables of those times bore about the same
relation in size to our modern billiard-tables that the ancient
spinnet did to a grand pianoforte.



JAPANESE ART.


Some of our young ladies have a pretty art of constructing miniature
landscapes out of pebbles and mosses, strips of glistening paper for
brooks, little fuzzy pine sticks painted green for trees, and animals
and Swiss cottages from the toy-shop. Could these amateur artists once
see how the Japanese do this thing, they would abandon their mosses
and pebbles in despair. A late traveler in Japan says of one of these:
"It was a fairy-like landscape seen through a spy-glass reversed."
Some of the details were real trees dwarfed to pigmies by the art of
the Oriental florist. There were limpid lakes peopled with gold-fish;
grottos and summer-houses of exquisite finish draped with growing
verdure and large enough to shelter a small company of rabbits: lovely
walks winding through groves, lawns and by miniature parterres of
flowers, and finally, liliputian canals, spanned by elegant bridges
wide enough for the passage of a large rat.

       *       *       *       *       *

Among the "Notes" in the New York _Nation_ of May 6th is the
following:

"In the new edition of Prescott's complete works (Lippincott) we have
remarked that the introduction to _Charles V._, so admirable for the
time when it was written, is left untouched by the editor, not even
the notes giving any intimation of the great progress made in the
knowledge of the Middle Ages within the last hundred years. The editor
may have chosen to regard the work as a literary monument to be
preserved as it stands, and certainly it would require very extensive
if not entire recasting."

There would seem to be some misapprehension at the bottom of these
statements. No one, we believe, has ever undertaken to edit
Robertson's _History of Charles the Fifth_. Prescott appended to it a
long "Account of the Emperor's Life after his Abdication," and for
that reason it has been included in all subsequent editions of his
works. But no intimation has ever been given that the editor of
Prescott's histories had assumed the same office for Robertson. If any
one be engaged in editing _Charles the Fifth_, we can only wish him
joy of the task. We trust, however, he will not proceed on the plan
suggested by the _Nation_, of "recasting" the work in whole or in
part. Such a process could hardly be considered as proper treatment of
any literary production, which, whatever its demerits, should at least
be subjected to no worse perversions than those of dishonest or
incompetent criticism.



LITERATURE OF THE DAY.


Macready's Reminiscences, and Selections from his Diaries and Letters.
Edited by Sir Frederick Pollock, Bart., one of his Executors. New
York: Macmillan & Co.

It is probable that this book will excite a degree of disappointment
in many readers, who, knowing Macready's position outside his
profession, may naturally have expected to find in the record of his
life ample and interesting details of his intercourse, often amounting
to intimacy, with a great number of notable persons. This expectation
would without doubt have been gratified had the autobiography, which
occupies a third of the volume and covers about the same proportion of
the writer's theatrical career, been carried to its close. Macready
was not one of those men who spring to eminence at a bound: his powers
were gradually and slowly developed, and owing partly to this fact,
but partly also to unfavorable circumstances, the recognition of them
was tardy and grudging. For many years after his _début_ on the London
boards he, who at a later period was almost disparaged as a
pre-eminently intellectual actor, owed his chief successes to his
performance of melodramatic parts like Rob Roy and William Tell, for
which his mental as well as physical endowments were considered
especially to qualify him. When at length he had reached his full
maturity, he stood without a living rival as the representative of
leading Shakespearian characters; and maintaining this supremacy down
to his retirement from the stage, closed the line of great tragedians
and left a place which after the lapse of a quarter of a century still
remains unfilled. His high personal worth and his efforts to exalt and
purify the drama won him golden opinions from all sorts of men; and,
with the exception of Garrick, no actor probably ever mingled as
largely or came into as close relations with persons distinguished in
other and alien walks of life. Mere fashionable society he seems never
to have frequented, and his labors were too pressing and onerous to
allow of that continuous companionship with a chosen circle in which
men of letters or of science, however industrious, are generally able
to find relaxation. But he came in contact, at one time or another,
with most of the celebrated people of his day on both sides of the
Atlantic, his friendship was sought and prized by many of them, and
the occasional glimpses we get of them in his _Diaries_ are of a kind
to deepen our regret that the _Reminiscences_, in which the power of
skillfully elaborating his material is sufficiently evidenced, should
close abruptly just when the sources of its interest were becoming
wider and fuller.

But any loss from this cause of amusing anecdotes or graphic
descriptions of persons or scenes is more than made good by the far
higher value and stronger attraction of the book as the portraiture of
a striking character and a remarkable career. In this view the
_Diaries_ are not inferior in interest to the expanded narrative that
precedes them. Indeed, terse and concise as they generally are, they
have the advantage of presenting freshly and vividly the impressions
and reflections of the moment, and thus exhibiting the writer's mind
both in its habitual and exceptional states without reservation or
deliberate purpose. They do not, however, reveal any different image
from that which is presented in the autobiography: on the contrary,
they confirm the truthfulness and frank fidelity of the more conscious
self-delineation which is there attempted. There breathes, indeed,
through the whole book a tone of unaffected sincerity, the charm of
which cannot be overrated. Not only does every statement bear the
stamp of veracity, but there is an utter absence of artifice, of any
design, so to speak, upon the reader, which is as rare as it is
beautiful. Admiration and sympathy were needs of Macready's nature,
but he will have no jot of them beyond what he can fairly and
honorably claim. Least of all, will he exalt himself at the expense of
others. He pays no idle compliments, pours out no fulsome or insidious
eulogies, but he speaks of his rivals and his predecessors with the
warm appreciation of one who had felt the full influence of their
power, and who could never look on merit with an oblique eye. His
worship of Mrs. Siddons, as unparalleled in her genius, was life-long,
and his descriptions of her acting convey a more vivid idea of its
peculiar qualities and matchless effect than any others we can
remember to have read. Talma comes next in his regard as "the most
finished artist of his time, not below Kean in his most energetic
displays, and far above him in the refinement of his taste and the
extent of his research--equaling Kemble in dignity, unfettered by his
stiffness and formality." He says acutely of Kean that "when under the
impulse of his genius he seemed to _clutch_ the whole idea of the man,
... but if he missed the character in his first attempt at conception
he never could recover it by study." Of Kean, if of any actor, we
might have feared that his notices would be tinged with jealousy; but
not only does he render justice to his originality and "burning
energy," but his account of the only evening he ever spent in private
with "this extraordinary man" brings into full relief the charm of his
manners and personal qualities at a time when he was still unspoilt by
flattery and unenfeebled by dissipation. Sketches and criticisms more
or less complete are given of many other great performers, whom, it is
to be remembered, Macready had less opportunity of seeing in a variety
of parts than if he had not himself been a busy member of the
profession. He can censure as well as praise--less warmly, but not
less candidly. His verdict on Ristori, whom he saw after his
retirement, may not improbably appear harsh to her admirers, but we
should recommend them to ponder well before endeavoring to controvert
it.

It would, however, be difficult if not impossible to name a volume of
memoirs in which there is so little dispraise of individuals, such an
absence of what can be characterized as depreciation either in the way
of direct remark or of insinuation. There will be no call for
contradiction of any slurs upon character through perversion of facts
or the repetition of hearsay calumny in its pages. Nor does this seem
to proceed from either a mere distaste for the chatter of gossips or an
unwillingness to wound the feelings of survivors, though both these
traits are discernible enough. The strong and more pervading cause lay
in an instinctive nobility of nature which sought only what was
excellent and had no keen scent for blemishes or meannesses. There are
in his _Diaries_ many bitter reproaches and vehement denunciations, but
they are all directed against his own conduct. Like Orlando, he will
chide no breather in the world but himself, against whom he knows most
faults. He had the defects incidental to a sensitive organization, an
irritable temperament and an aspiring mind. He was apt to suspect
hostility where none existed, and to resent indignities that were never
intended. He confesses on one occasion at least to an unworthy elation
at the inferiority of a rival. Above all, he was unable to curb the
outbreaks of impatience and anger excited by negligence or
stupidity--outbreaks which were often sufficiently amusing to the
bystanders from the contrast between the old-fashioned violence of the
language and the refined tones and lofty bearing of the speaker. In
fact, so foreign were such displays to the dominant qualities of his
character, while yet so closely connected with the fine sense and
exacting spirit of the artist, that one is tempted to wish that he
could himself have viewed them with more indifference, accepting this
thorn in the flesh as a slight but irremediable misfortune, instead of
making it the constant subject of penitence and self-abasement. But
such a course would have been still more foreign to his nature, ever
aiming at perfection, moral and artistic, ever summoning his faculties
and actions to the stern inquest of conscience, and refusing to accept
the verdict of any lower tribunal. And the struggle had its reward in a
real if not complete victory. The weeds, if never wholly eradicated,
could not choke the nobler growth; the stream, if it retained its
turbid coloring, increased always in volume and majesty. The fine
qualities which might so easily have deteriorated remained unscathed.
His keen sense of justice and honor, his inborn candor and generosity,
his fervent love of virtue and goodness in their simplest and least
obtrusive exhibitions, his cordial admiration of true greatness,--these
and kindred traits never lost their freshness or force. Above all, he
retained throughout life that deep and exquisite tenderness of feeling
which formed the supreme charm of his character, as it did of his
acting, and to which it would not, we think, be easy to find a parallel
in a person of his own sex. It was not alone in his ardent family
affections--his fond recollections of the mother he lost in boyhood,
his devotion to his sister, wife and brother, his passionate love of
his children, or his anguish and abiding sorrow at every severance of
such ties--that this quality displayed itself. His sympathy with all
suffering, especially if conjoined with innocence and patient
endurance, was not only quick but strong. His eyes fill with tears at
the sight of a fellow-passenger in a mail-coach, a poor deformed boy,
who is carrying a basket of toys from one town to another, and he
shakes his hand at parting with a "God bless thee!" that comes direct
from the heart. It was strikingly characteristic of him that, with all
his intense ambition, his resolute desire--to use a phrase which we
have heard him apply to himself--"to rise above the crowd, and stand
when others fall," he chose for his wife a young provincial actress,
whom he had once chided for her inattention or inability, but whose
artlessness of manner, purity and sweetness of nature and aptness for
improvement so enlisted his sympathies that he constituted himself her
friend and guide until the death of her father and brother awakened a
still warmer solicitude, bringing with it the discovery that "love had
been the inspiration of all the counsel and assistance he had rendered
her." Nor is the noble frankness less noticeable with which he tells
of his sister's unconcealed disappointment on her first introduction to
the _fiancée_, whose person as well as mind he had so extolled in his
descriptions and whom happily she learned ere long to look at with his
eyes, so that the happiness and serenity of his home were destined to
be pure and undisturbed.

Within a few years after his marriage he fixed his abode at a short
distance from London, where the sight of open fields, of trees and
flowers, never failed to exercise its soothing and restorative
influence upon him. The love of Nature was a passion with him, and in
the record of his journeys--whether the few which he was able to make
for the sole purpose of pleasure or his many professional tours--his
notices of the scenery show how large was the enjoyment he derived
from this healthful source. When, too, he withdrew from public life,
it was to the neighborhood of a small town, remote from the former
scenes of his struggles and triumphs, but commanding a wide view over
a pleasing landscape. Here, as the friend who has edited this volume
tells us, "he devoted himself almost exclusively to labors of kindness
and usefulness; his charity was so extensive that, although his left
hand knew not what his right hand did, it was impossible that it
should escape observation even beyond the sphere of the recipients of
his bounty; and while thus engaged in relieving distress in the
neighborhood of his new home, he continued to remit money to old
pensioners elsewhere up to the day of his death.... But his great
interest was in the cause of education, especially among the poorer
classes, which he developed at the cost of incessant personal
exertion, and mainly at his own expense. He established a
night-school, which he conducted himself, and in which he was assisted
by voluntary teachers from among the gentlemen and tradesmen of the
town, who attended in turns, but he was himself never absent from his
post, except under very urgent necessity. After a time some of his
friends raised a subscription in order to relieve Macready of a part
of the burden which his own zeal in the cause had brought upon
himself. Yet, although his own contribution to it had not been ever
less than one hundred pounds a year [about a twelfth of his whole
income], he was so fond of the night-school that he accepted this aid
as a proof of the estimation in which his work was held, and as an
additional fund, but not in ease of his own payments." Such a close to
such a life will seem either a lame and impotent conclusion or a most
fitting and harmonious cadence, according to the point of view.

We have spoken chiefly of Macready's character as a man, which was so
attractive in itself, and is so faithfully and lucidly mirrored in
this record of his life, that the work may be commended to readers of
every class and ranked with the choicest specimens of biography. As
the record of an artistic career its interest is of course more
limited. Yet in this respect also its excellence is very great, and if
the art which Macready practiced with such assiduity and devotion,
though with no undue estimate of its value or importance, held a
higher place in the world's regard, the light which is here thrown on
its processes and requirements would be received as an inestimable
boon. But at least his example, the spirit in which he worked, is
worthy of the study and emulation of those who cultivate any art. In
none has excellence ever been achieved by deeper thought or more
unremitting labor. It would be absurd to question Macready's real
eminence, based on the judgment of critical audiences with whom great
acting was not a mere matter of tradition. But we may readily concede
that in natural endowments he fell short of the most illustrious of
his predecessors, that he lacked the intuitive grasp which he ascribes
to Mrs. Siddons and to Kean, and that he never reached the intensity
and complete _abandon_ which gave an overwhelming effect to their
highest performances. We may apply to his acting what Carlyle has so
justly said of the poetry of Schiller, that it "shows rather like a
partial than a universal gift--the labored product of certain
faculties rather than the spontaneous product of his whole nature."
There was always the perception of the natural limit of his
qualifications, instead of any suggestiveness of a boundless capacity.
His voice, though rich and musical and of extraordinary compass, had
not the sonorous roundness and the penetrating sweetness of the rarest
organs, and was subject to a tremulousness which, though often
pleasing, could not but be considered as a defect. His features,
though capable of great expression, had neither the beauty nor the
extraordinary mobility so desirable in an actor. His attitudes and
walk were graceful, picturesque, often superb, but not absolutely free
from conventionalism. Instead of bursting away, as Kean had done, from
the meshes of tradition, he had only expanded and attenuated them to
the utmost, and if they did not really cramp, they still appeared to
circumscribe Nature and truth. It is evident that without the most
persistent efforts he could never have triumphed over obstacles and
gained the highest rank in his profession. How ardent and
conscientious was the struggle a thousand details in this volume bear
testimony. Perhaps the most curious is the description given in a
letter written after his retirement of the methods he had practiced
for repressing exaggeration in gesture, utterance or facial
expression. "I would lie down on the floor, or stand straight against
a wall, or get my arms within a bandage, and, so pinned or confined,
repeat the most violent passages of _Othello, Lear, Hamlet, Macbeth_,
or whatever would require most energy and emotion; I would speak the
most passionate bursts of rage under the supposed constraint of
_whispering them_ in the ear of him of her to whom they were
addressed, thus keeping both voice and gesture in subjection to the
real impulse of the feeling.... I was obliged also to have frequent
recourse to the looking-glass, and had two or three large ones in my
room to reflect each view of the posture I might have fallen into,
besides being under the necessity of acting the passion close to a
glass to restrain the tendency to exaggerate its expression--which was
the most difficult of all--to repress the ready frown, and keep the
features, perhaps I should say the muscles, of the face undisturbed,
whilst intense passion would speak from the eye alone." If the
propriety of some of these exercises be questionable, there can be no
doubt that the general effect of such discipline was to correct the
acquired tendencies of his youth and to chasten his style until it
lacked nothing less than refinement.

All this concerned the _technique_ of his art. Its soul--the thoughts,
the feelings, the characters to be embodied by it--formed the subject
of deeper, more constant and more delightful meditation. Here at least
Macready was at no disadvantage in a comparison with the most
illustrious of his predecessors. Some there may have been who gave
more vividly the salient points of a character, or who, as in the case
of Kean's Othello, infused into their personations of some of the
grandest but least complex of Shakespeare's creations an intensity of
passion that defied all rivalry. But none ever brought to the study of
the poet the intellectual discernment, the sympathetic spirit, the
true and heartfelt devotion with which Macready ministered at his
shrine. Not his own part alone, but the whole play, including the
words and scenes omitted in representation, were imprinted in his
memory and continually revolved. The groundwork was thus laid in a
thorough knowledge of the _medium_, to use the expression of Taine,
applying it, however, not to mere external facts and circumstances,
but to that individuality of form, ideas and style which the great
dramatist has given to each of his works. Then the meaning and bearing
of every phrase received their share of light from the same general
source, and the performance was pervaded throughout by a consistency
and a subtle discrimination which rendered it a living commentary,
acting on the intellect through the emotions.

It is easy to understand why, in the great variety of Macready's
impersonations, none stood out by universal consent as indubitably the
greatest. To all he gave his unstinted devotion and the full measure
of his powers, and the choice was left to be determined mainly by the
peculiar taste of the spectator. Yet there were some which must be
recalled with especial vividness as best exemplifying the scope of his
genius and his general characteristics. Two of these parts, Werner and
Melantius, were not Shakespearian creations, but they were at least
devices of the poetical imagination, not of the mere playwright's
handiwork. In both we have the spectacle of a proud and sensitive but
open and loving nature blighted with dishonor and misery through the
crimes of one near in blood and cherished with an unsuspecting
affection. Here were conceptions that made no demands on his
imaginative power. He had not to transform himself into the
characters, but only to give free play to the springs of his own
nature. The grief, the passion, the sudden revulsions of feeling were
not mimetic displays: one could imagine no different expression of
them. He was Werner and Melantius because Werner and Melantius were
Macready.

Shakespeare's characters do not so adapt themselves to individual
idiosyncrasies. No man can hope to identify himself with them unless
he can give wings to his faculties and soar above the plane of his
actual emotions. Often, no doubt, apparent triumphs have been gained
by displays of histrionic power that owed little to the informing
spirit of the poet. But Macready has never been accused of seeking
such results: whatever his performances may have lacked, they were
always imbued with a fine intelligence which brought all the details
into harmony and kept the attention fixed on the conception of the
character. Thus in Macbeth, which was perhaps, on the whole, his most
perfect impersonation, every look and gesture, every intonation,
conveyed the idea of one who lived on the border-line of an invisible
world, to whom all shapes and actions were half phantasmal, for whom
clear vision and sober contemplation were impossible. All his
utterances were abrupt, all his movements hurried; a certain wildness,
not of mere mental agitation, but of a spirit nurtured on unrealities,
marked his manner and countenance throughout. In Hamlet there was the
drawback of a physical appearance unsuited to the part. Yet it was the
character which he had studied most profoundly, and in which, as we
remember him in it, he held the most complete sway over the minds and
feelings of his audiences. None of his performances, as may be
imagined, was so distinguished by its intellectuality, yet none was so
simply and irresistibly pathetic. The abstraction and self-communing
in the delivery of the famous soliloquy can never have been surpassed,
and were probably never equaled; and throughout the closet scene there
was a reality in the tenderness, the vehemence, and the awe which
held the spectators breathless and spellbound. "Beautiful Hamlet,
farewell, farewell!" are his closing words in recording his last
performance of the part. But this was no final parting: while memory
retained her seat in the mind of this great artist, this true and
loving servant of Shakespeare's genius, the matchless creations with
which he had so identified himself could never cease to be the
subjects of daily meditation. "On one occasion," we are told, "after
his powers had so much failed that it was long since he had been
capable of holding or reading a book to himself, he said he had been
reading _Hamlet_. On some surprise being expressed, he touched his
forehead, and said 'Here;' and when asked if he could recollect the
whole play, he replied, 'Yes, every word, every pause; and the very
pauses have eloquence.'"



Books Received


The Internal Mission of the Holy Ghost. By Henry Edward, Archbishop of
Westminster New York: D. & J. Sadlier.

Man and Beast Here and Hereafter. By Rev. J.G. Wood, M.A., F.L.S. New
York: George Routledge & Son.

Lakey's Village and Country Houses, comprising eighty-four pages of
Designs. New York: The Orange Judd Co.

Social Science and National Economy. By R.E. Thompson, M.A.
Philadelphia: Porter & Coates.

A Defence of the United States Patent System. By J.S. Perry. Boston:
James R. Osgood & Co.

Brief Biographies: English Statesmen. By T.W. Higginson. New York:
G.P. Putnam's Sons.

The Best Reading: Hints on the Selection of Books. New York: G.P.
Putnam's Sons.

How to Make a Living. By George C. Eggleston. New York: G.P. Putnam's
Sons.

Ralph Wilton's Weird: A Novel. By Mrs. Alexander. New York: Henry Holt
& Co.

Warrington's Manual. By William S. Robinson. Boston: Lee & Shepard.

Home Talks. By John H. Noyes. Published by the Oneida Community.

Spain and the Spaniards. By N.L. Thieblin. Boston: Lee & Shepard.

Social Pressure. By Sir Arthur Helps. Boston: Roberts Brothers.

In the Camargue. By Emily Bowles. Boston: Loring.





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