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Title: Lippincott's Magazine, August, 1885
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, August, 1885" ***

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[Note: The Table of Contents was added by the transcriber.
Footnotes will be found at the end of the text.]



LIPPINCOTT'S MAGAZINE.

AUGUST, 1885.



TABLE OF CONTENTS.


ON THIS SIDE. by F.C. BAYLOR.
  VIII.

OUR VILLE. by MARGARET BERTHA WRIGHT.

THE PRIMITIVE COUPLE. by M.H. CATHERWOOD.
  I.     PARADISE.
  II.    FORBIDDEN FRUIT.
  III.   THE FLAMING SWORD.

PROBATION. by FLORENCE EARLE COATES.

THE PIONEERS OF THE SOUTHWEST. by EDMUND KIRKE.
  TWO PAPERS.    II.

A PLEASANT SPIRIT. by MARGARET VANDEGRIFT.

FISHING IN ELK RIVER. by TOBE HODGE.

ON A NOBLE CHARACTER MARRED BY LITTLENESS. by
    CHARLOTTE FISKE BATES.

THE SCOTTISH CROFTERS. by DAVID BENNETT KING.

MY FRIEND GEORGE RANDALL. by FRANK PARKE.

THE WOOD-THRUSH AT SUNSET. by MARY C. PECKHAM.

A FOREST BEAUTY. by MAURICE THOMPSON.

OUR MONTHLY GOSSIP.
  Daniel Webster's "Moods." by F.C.M.
  Feuds and Lynch-Law in the Southwest. by J.A.M.
  The Etymology of "Babe." by S.E.T.

LITERATURE OF THE DAY.

Recent Fiction.

FOOTNOTES.


       *       *       *       *       *



LIPPINCOTT'S MAGAZINE.


_AUGUST, 1885_.


       *       *       *       *       *



ON THIS SIDE.

VIII.


Not the least delightful of Sir Robert's qualities was his capacity for
enjoying most things that came in his way, and finding some interest in
all. When Mr. Ketchum joined him in the library, where he was jotting
down "the _sobriquets_ of the American States and cities," and told him
of the Niagara plan, his ruddy visage beamed with pleasure.

"A delightful idea. Capital," he said. "I suppose I can read up a bit
about it before we start, and not go there with my eyes shut.
Ni-a-ga-rah,--monstrously soft and pretty name. Isn't there something on
your shelves that would give me the information I want? But we can come
to that presently. Just now I want to find out, if I can, how these
nicknames came to be given. They must have originated in some great
popular movement, eh? I thought I saw my way, as, for example, the
'Empire State' and the 'Crescent City' and some others, but this 'Sucker
State,' now, and 'Buckeye' business,--what may that mean in plain
English?"

Mr. Ketchum shed what light he could on these interesting questions, and
Sir Robert thoughtfully ran his hands through his side-whiskers, while,
with an apologetic "One moment, I beg," or "Very odd, very; that must go
down verbatim," he entered the gist of Mr. Ketchum's queer remarks in
his note-book.

On the following morning he rose with Niagara in his soul. He had more
questions to ask at the breakfast-table than anybody could answer, and
was eager to be off. Mr. Ketchum, who had that week made no less than
fifty thousand dollars by a lucky investment, was in high spirits.
Captain Kendall, who had been allowed to join the party, was vastly
pleased by the prospect of another week in Ethel's society. Mrs. Sykes
was tired of Fairfield, and longed to be "on the move" again, as she
frankly said. So that, altogether, it was a merry company that finally
set off.

The very first view of "the ocean unbound" increased their pleasure to
enthusiasm. Mrs. Sykes, without reservation, admitted that it was "a
grand spot," and felt as though she were giving the place a certificate
when she added, "_Quite_ up to the mark." She was out on the Suspension
Bridge, making a sketch, as soon as she could get there; she took one
from every other spot about the place; and when tired of her pencil, she
stalked about with her hammer, chipping off bits of rock that promised
geological interest. But she found her greatest amusement in the brides
that "infested the place" (to quote from her letter to her sister
Caroline), indulged in much satirical comment on them, and, choosing one
foolish young rustic who was there as her text, wrote in her diary,
"American brides like to go from the altar to some large hotel, where
they can display their finery, wear their wedding-dresses every evening,
and attract as much attention as possible. The national passion for
display makes them delight in anything that renders them conspicuous, no
matter how vulgar that display may be. If one must have a fools'
paradise, generally known as a honeymoon, this is about as pleasant a
place as any other for it; and, as there are several runaway couples
stopping here, and the place is just on the border, this is doubtless
the American Gretna Green, where silly women and temporarily-infatuated
men can marry in haste, to repent at leisure."

Mr. Heathcote gave his camera enough to do, as may be imagined. He and
Sir Robert traced the Niagara River from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario, and
photographed it at every turn, made careful estimates of its length,
breadth, depth, the flow of currents, scale of descent to the mile, wear
of precipice, and time necessary for the river to retire from the falls
business altogether and meander tranquilly along on a level like other
rivers. They arrayed themselves in oil-skin suits and spent an
unconscionable time at the back of the Horseshoe Fall, roaring out
observations about it that were rarely heard, owing to the deafening
din, and had more than one narrow escape from tumbling into the water in
these expeditions. They carefully bottled some of it, which they
afterward carefully sealed with red wax and duly labelled, intending to
add it to a collection of similar phials which Sir Robert had made of
famous waters in many countries. They went over the mills and factories
in the neighborhood, and Sir Robert had long confabs with the managers,
of whom he asked permission to "jot down" the interesting facts
developed in the course of their conversations, surprising them by his
knowledge of mechanics and the subjects in hand.

"Man alive! what do you want with _those_?" said he to one of them, a
keen-faced young fellow, who was showing him the boiler-fires. He
pointed with his stick as he spoke, and rattled it briskly about the
brick-work by way of accompaniment as he went on: "Such a waste of
force, of money! downright stupidity! You don't want it. You don't need
it, any more than you need an hydraulic machine tacked to the back of
your trains. You have got water enough running past your very door to--"

"I've told that old fool Glass that a thousand times," broke in the
young man; "but if he wants to try and warm and light the world with a
gas-stove when the sun is up I guess it's no business of mine, though it
does rile me to see the power thrown away and good coal wasted. If I had
the capital, here's what _I_'d do. Here."

Seizing Sir Robert's stick, the enthusiast drew a fondly-loved ideal
mill in the coal-dust at his feet, while Sir Robert looked and listened,
differed, suggested, with keen interest, and Mr. Heathcote gave but
haughty and ignorant attention to the talk that followed.

"Yes, that's the way of it; but Glass has lived all his life with his
head in a bag, and he can't see it. I am surprised to see you take an
interest in it. Ever worked at it?" said the man in conclusion.

"A little," said Sir Robert affably, who could truthfully have said as
much of anything. "Who is this Glass?"

"Oh, he's the man that owns all this; the stupidest owl that ever lived.
I wish he could catch on like you. I'd like very well to work with you,"
was the reply.

"A bumptious fellow, that," commented Mr. Heathcote when they left.
"He'd 'like to work with you,' indeed!"

"A fellow with ideas. I'd like to work with him," replied his uncle;
"though he isn't burdened with respect for his employers."

Miss Noel meanwhile tied on her large straw hat, took her cane, basket,
trowel, tin box, and, followed by Parsons with her sketching-apparatus,
went off to hunt plants or wash in sketches, a most blissfully occupied
and preoccupied old lady.

To Mr. Ketchum's great amusement, Miss Noel, Mrs. Sykes, and Mr.
Heathcote all arrived at a particular spot within a few moments of each
other one morning, all alike prepared and determined to get the view it
commanded.

Miss Noel had said to Job _en route,_ "Do you think that I shall be able
to get a fly and drive about the country a bit? I should so like it. Are
they to be had there?"

And he had replied, "You will have some difficulty in _not_ taking 'a
fly' there, I guess. The hackmen would rather drive your dead body
around town for nothing than let you enjoy the luxury of walking about
unmolested. But I will see to all that."

Accordingly, a carriage had been placed at their disposal, and they had
taken some charming drives, in the course of which Parsons, occupying
the box on one occasion, was seen to be peering very curiously about
her.

"A great pity, is it not, Parsons, that we can't see all this in the
autumn, when the thickets of scarlet and gold are said to be so very
beautiful?" said Miss Noel, addressing her affably.

"Yes, mem," agreed Parsons. "And, if you please, mem, where are the
estates of the gentry, as I 'ave been lookin' for ever since we came
hover?"

"Not in this part," replied Miss Noel. "The red Indians were here not
very long since. You should really get a pin-cushion of their
descendants, those mild, dirty creatures that work in bark and beads.
Buy of one that has been baptized: one shouldn't encourage them to
remain heathens, you know. Your friends in England will like to see
something made by them; and they were once very powerful and spread all
over the country as far as--as--I really forget where; but I know they
were very wild and dreadful, and lived in wigwams, and wore moccasins."

"Oh, indeed, mem!" responded Parsons, impressed by the extent of her
mistress's information.

"A wigwam is three upright poles, such as the gypsies use for their
kettles, thatched with the leaves of the palm and the plantain," Miss
Noel went on. "Dear me! It is very odd! I certainly remember to have
read that; but perhaps I am getting back to the Southern Americans
again, which does so vex Robert. I wonder if one couldn't see a wigwam
for one's self? It can't be plantain, after all: there is none growing
about here."

She asked Mabel about this that evening, and the latter told her husband
how Miss Noel was always mixing up the two continents.

"I don't despair, Mabel. They will find this potato-patch of ours after
a while," he said good-humoredly.

But he was less amiable when Mrs. Sykes said at dinner next day, "I
should like to try your maize. Quite simply boiled, and eaten with
butter and salt, I am told it is quite good, really. I have heard that
the Duke of Slumborough thought it excellent."

"You don't say so! I am so glad to hear it! I shall make it generally
known as far as I can. Such things encourage us to go on trying to make
a nation of ourselves. It would have paralyzed all growth and
development in this country for twenty years if he had thought it
'nasty,'" said Job. "Foreigners can't be too particular how they express
their opinions about us. Over and over again we have come within an ace
of putting up the shutters and confessing that it was no use pretending
that we could go on independently having a country of our own, with
distinct institutions, peculiarities, customs, manners, and even
productions. It would be so much better and easier to turn ourselves
over to a syndicate of distinguished foreigners who would govern us
properly,--stamp out ice-water and hot rolls from the first, as unlawful
and not agreeing with the Constitution, give us cool summers, prevent
children from teething hard, make it a penal offence to talk through the
nose, and put a bunch of Bourbons in the White House, with a divine
right to all the canvas-back ducks in the country. There are so many
kings out of business now that they could easily give us a bankrupt one
to put on our trade dollar, or something really _sweet_ in emperors who
have seen better days. And a standing army of a hundred thousand men,
all drum-majors, in gorgeous uniforms, helmets, feathers, gold lace,
would certainly scare the Mexicans into caniptious and unconditional
surrender. The more I think of it, the more delightful it seems. It is
mere stupid obstinacy our people keeping up this farce of
self-government, when anybody can see that it is a perfect failure, and
that the country has no future whatever."

"Oh, you talk in that way; but I don't think you would really like it,"
said Mrs. Sykes. "Americans seem to think that they know everything:
they are above taking any hints from the Old World, and get as angry as
possible with me when I point out a few of the more glaring defects that
strike me."

"I am surprised at that. Our great complaint is that we can't get any
advice from Europeans. If we only had a little, even, we might in time
loom up as a fifth-rate power. But no: they leave us over here in this
wilderness without one word of counsel or criticism, or so much as a
suggestion, and they ought not to be surprised that we are going to the
dogs. What else can they expect?" said Mr. Ketchum.

"Husband, dear, you were very sharp with my cousin to-day, and it was
not like you to show temper,--at least, not temper exactly, but
vexation," said Mabel to him afterward in mild rebuke. "She has told me
that you quite detest the English, so that she wonders you should have
married me. And I said that you were far too intelligent and just to
cherish wrong feelings toward any people, much less my people."

"Well, if _she_ represented England I should drop England quietly over
the rapids some day when I could no longer stand her infernal
patronizing, impertinent airs, and rid the world of a nuisance," said
Mr. Ketchum, with energy. "Excuse my warmth, but that woman would poison
a prairie for me. Fortunately, I happen to know that she only represents
a class which neither Church nor State there has the authority to shoot,
_yet_, and I am not going to cry down white wool because there are black
sheep. Look at Sir Robert, and Miss Noel, and all the rest of them, how
different they are."

Captain Kendall certainly found Niagara delightful, for, owing to the
absorption of the party in their different pursuits, he was able to see
more of Ethel than he had ever done. He was so different from the men
she had known that he was a continual study to her. Instead of the
studied indifference, shy avoidance, shy advances, culminating in a
blunt and straightforward declaration of "intentions," which she would
have thought natural in an admirer, followed by transparent, honest
delight in the event of acceptance, or manly submission to the
inevitable in the event of rejection, Captain Kendall had surprised her
by liking her immediately, or at least by showing that he did, and
seeking her persistently, without any pretence of concealment. He talked
to her of politics, of social questions in the broadest sense, of books,
scientific discoveries, his travels, and the travels of others. He read
whole volumes of poetry to her. He discoursed by the hour on the manly
character, its faults, merits, peculiarities, and possibilities, and
then contrasted it with the womanly one, trait for trait, and it seemed
to her that women had never been praised so eloquently,
enthusiastically, copiously. At no time was he in the least choked by
his feelings or at a loss for a fresh word or sentiment. Such romance,
such ideality, such universality, as it were, she had never met. When
his admiration was most unbridled it seemed to be offered to her as the
representative of a sex entirely perfect and lovely. Everything in
heaven and earth, apparently, ministered to his passion and made him
talk all around the beloved subject with a wealth of simile and
suggestion that she had never dreamed of. But, if he gave full
expression to his agitated feelings in these ways, he was extremely
delicate, respectful, reserved, in others. He wrapped up his heart in so
many napkins, indeed, that, being a practical woman not extraordinarily
gifted in the matter of imagination, she frequently lost sight of it
altogether, and she sometimes failed to follow him in a broad road of
sentiment that (like the Western ones which Longfellow has described)
narrowed and narrowed until it disappeared, a mere thread, up a tree. If
he looked long, after one of these flights, at her sweet English face to
see what impression he had made, he was often forced to see that it was
not the one he had meant to make at all.

"Is anything amiss?" she asked once, in her cool, level tone, fixing
upon him her sincerely honest eyes. "Are there blacks on my nose?"
Although she had distinctly refused him at Kalsing, as became a girl
destitute of vanity and coquetry and attached to some one else, she had
not found him the less fluent, omnipresent, persuasive, at Niagara. It
was diverting to see them seated side by side on Goat Island, he waving
his hand toward the blue sky, apostrophizing the water, the foliage, the
clouds, and what not, in prose and verse, quite content if he but got a
quiet glance and assenting word now and then, she listening demurely in
a state of protestant satisfaction, her fair hair very dazzling in the
sunshine, an unvarying apple-blossom tint in her calm face, her fingers
tatting industriously not to waste the time outright. It was very
agreeable in a way, she told herself, but something must really be done
to get rid of the man. And so, one morning when they chanced to be
alone, and he was being unusually ethereal and beautiful in his remarks,
telling her that, as Byron had said, she would be "the morning star of
memory" for him, she broke in squarely, "That is all very nice; very
pretty, I am sure. But I do hope you quite understand that I have not
the least idea of marrying you. There is no use in going on like this,
you know, and you would have a right to reproach me if I kept silent and
led you to think that I was being won over by your fine speeches. You
see, you don't really want a star at all. You want a wife; though
military men, as a rule, are better off single. I do thank you heartily
for liking me for myself, and all that, and I shall always remember the
kind things you have done, and our acquaintance, but you must put me
quite out of your head as a wife. I should not suit you at all. You
would have to leave the American service, and I should hate feeling I
had tied you down, and I couldn't contribute a penny toward the
household expenses, and, altogether, we are much better apart. It would
not answer at all. So, thank you again for the honor you have conferred
upon me, and be--be rather more--like other people, won't you, for the
future? Auntie fancies that I am encouraging you, and is getting very
vexed about it. Perhaps you had better go away? Yes, that would be best,
I think."

Thus solicited, Captain Kendall went away, taking a mournfully-eloquent
farewell of Ethel, which she thought final; but in this she was
mistaken.

Our party did not linger long after this. Sir Robert met a titled
acquaintance, who inflamed his mind so much about Manitoba that he
decided to go to Canada at once, taking Miss Noel, Ethel, and Mr.
Heathcote; Mrs. Sykes had taken up on her first arrival with some New
York people, who asked her to visit them in the central part of the
State,--which disposed of her; Mabel was secretly longing to get back to
her "American child," as Mrs. Sykes called little Jared Ponsonby; and
they separated, with the understanding that they should meet again
before the English guests left the country, and with a warm liking for
each other, the Sykes not being represented in the pleasant covenants of
friendship formed.

"I am glad that we have not to bid Ketchum good-by here," said Sir
Robert. "Such a hearty, genial fellow! And how kind he has been to us!
His hospitality is the true one; not merely so much food and drink and
moneyed outlay for some social or selfish end, but the entertainment of
friends because they _are_ friends, with every possible care for their
pleasure and comfort, and the most unselfish willingness to do anything
that can contribute to either. I am afraid he would not find many such
hosts as himself with us. We entertain more than the Americans, but I do
not think we have as much of the real spirit of hospitality as a nation.
The relation between host and guest is less personal, there is little
sense of obligation, or rather sacredness, on either side, and the
convenience, interest, or amusement of the Amphitryon is more apt to be
considered, as a general thing, than the pleasure of the guest: at least
this has been growing more and more the case in the last twenty years,
as our society has broken away from old traditions and levelled all its
barriers, to the detriment of our social graces, not to speak of our
morals and manners. As for that charmingly gentle, sweet woman Mrs.
Ketchum, it is my opinion that we are not likely to improve on that type
of Englishwoman. A modest, simple, religious creature, a thorough
gentlewoman, and a devoted wife and mother. My cousin Guy Rathbone is
engaged to a specimen of a new variety,--one of the 'emancipated,'
forsooth; a woman who has a betting-book instead of a Bible and plays
cards all day Sunday. He tells me that she is wonderfully clever, and
that it is all he can do to keep her from running about the kingdom
delivering lectures on Agnosticism; as if one wanted one's wife to be a
trapesing, atheistical Punch-and-Judy! And the fellow seemed actually
pleased and flattered. He told me that she had 'an astonishing grasp of
such subjects' and was 'attracting a great deal of attention.' And I
told him that if I had a wife who attracted attention in such ways I
would lock her up until she came to her senses and the public had
forgotten her want of modesty and discretion. This ought to be called
the Age of Fireworks. The craze for notoriety is penetrating our very
almshouses, and every toothless old mumbler of ninety wants to get
himself palmed off as a centenarian in the papers and have a lot of
stuff printed about him."

"I see what you mean, Robert," said Miss Noel, "and it certainly cannot
be wholesome for women to thirst for excitement, and one would think a
lady would shrink from being conspicuous in any way; but things are very
much changed, as you say. And I agree with you in your estimate of the
Ketchums. She is a sweet young thing, and I heartily like him. Only
think! his last act was to send a great basket of fine fruits up to my
room, and quite an armful of railway-novels for the journey. Such
beautiful thought for our comfort as they have shown!"

"He is rather a good sort in some ways, but a very ignorant man. I
showed him some of my specimens the other day, and he thought them
granitic, when they were really Silurian mica schist of some kind," put
in Mrs. Sykes, who never could bear unqualified praise. "Still, on the
whole, the Americans are less ignorant than might have been expected."

"_I_ consider Mr. Ketchum a most kind, gentlemanly, sociable, clever
man," said Miss Noel, with an emphatic nod of her head to each
adjective, "geology or no geology. And I must say that it is very
ungrateful of you to speak of him so sneeringly always."

Sir Robert only waited to write the usual batch of letters, including a
last appeal to the editor of the "Columbia Eagle" to know whether he
intended to apologize for and publicly retract a certain article, and
asking "whether it was possible that any considerable or respectable
portion of the Americans could be so arbitrary, illiberal, and exclusive
as to wish to exclude the English from America." This done, he left for
Canada with his relatives. With his stay there we have nothing to do. It
consumed six weeks of exhaustive travel and study of Canadian conditions
and resources, resulting ultimately in the conclusion that Manitoba was
not the place he was looking for. The ladies, who had been left in
Montreal, were then taken for a short tour through the country, which
they all enjoyed, after which Sir Robert asked Miss Noel whether she
would be willing to take Ethel back to Niagara and wait there a
fortnight, or perhaps a little longer, while he and Mr. Heathcote came
back by way of New England and from there went down into Maryland and
Virginia, where, according to "a member of the Canadian Parliament,"
lands were to be had for a song.

"A fortnight? I could spend a twelve-month there," exclaimed she. "Had
it not been that I was ashamed to insist upon being let off this
journey, I should have stopped there as it was."

To Niagara the aunt and niece and Parsons went, as agreed, and there
they found Mr. Bates wandering languidly about the place in chronic
discontent with everything for not being something else. He had burned a
good deal of incense on Ethel's shrine when she was at Kalsing, and now
hailed their advent with some approach to enthusiasm, and attached
himself to their suite, _vice_ Captain Kendall, retired. He liked to be
seen with them, thought the views from the Canadian side were "deucedly
fine," was cruelly affected by the advertisements in the neighborhood,
which he denounced as "dreadfully American," trickled out much feeble
criticism of and acid comment on his surroundings, gave utterance to
fervent wishes that he was "abrard," and in his own unpleasant way gave
Ethel to understand that she might make a fellow-countryman happy by
becoming Mrs. Samuel Bates if she liked to avail herself of a golden
opportunity. "I would live in England, you know. I am really far more at
home there than here," said the expatriated suitor. "I have been taken
for an Englishman as often as three times in one week, do you know.
Curious, isn't it? I ought to be down in Kent now, visiting Lady
Simpson, a great friend of mine, who has asked me there again and again.
You would like her if you knew her. She is quite the great lady down
there."

"A foolish little man, and evidently a great snob, or else rather daft
upon some points," Ethel reported to her aunt. "And such a dull,
discontented creature, with all his money!" Ethel had some trials of her
own just then, and it was no great felicity to listen to Mr. Bates's
endless complaints, nor could she spare much sympathy for the sufferings
of the exile of Tecumseh, with his rose-leaf sensibilities, inanities,
absurdities.

Meanwhile, the young gentleman who was indirectly responsible for many a
sad thought of two charming girls that we know of--and who shall say how
many more?--was enjoying as much happiness as ever fell to any man in
the capacity of ardent sportsman. He had joined the duke and his party
at St. Louis, and from there they had gone "well away from anywhere," as
he said in describing his adventures to Mr. Heathcote. He had at last
reached the ideal spot of all his wildest imaginations and most
cherished hopes,--"the wild part,"--really the great prairies, about two
hundred miles west of the Mississippi and east of the Rockies. The dream
of his life was being fulfilled. He related, in a style not conspicuous
for literary merit, but very well suited to the simple annals of the
rich, how, having first procured guides, tents, ambulances,
camp-equipage, they had pushed on briskly to a military fort, where,
having made friends with "a pleasant, gentlemanly set of fellows," the
commanding officer, "a friendly old buffer," had courteously given them
an escort to protect them from "those dirty, treacherous brutes, the
Indians." Not a joy was wanting in this crowning bliss. The guide was "a
wonderful chap named Big-Foot Williams, so called by the Indians, good
all around from knocking over a rabbit to tackling a grizzly," with an
amazing knowledge of woodcraft, "a nose like a bloodhound, an eye as
cool as a toad's." No special mention was made of his ear; but the first
time he got off his horse and applied it to the earth, listening for
the tramp of distant hoofs in a hushed silence, one bosom could hardly
hold all the rapture that filled Mr. Ramsay's figurative cup up to the
brim. And the tales he told of savageness long drawn out were as dew to
the parched herb, greedily absorbed at every pore. A portrait of "Black
Eagle," a noted chief, was given when they got among the Indians,--"a
great hulking slugger of a savage, awfully interesting, long, reaching
step, magnificent muscles, snake eye, could thrash us all in turn if he
liked. The best of the lot."

Even the noble red man was not insensible to the charms of this
graceful, handsome young athlete who smiled at them perpetually and
said, "_Amigo! amigo_!" at short intervals,--a phrase suggested by the
redoubtable Williams and varied occasionally by a prefix of his own,
"_Muchee amigo_!" The way in which he tested the elasticity of their
bows, inspected their guns, the game they had killed, the other natural
objects about them, aroused a certain sympathy, perhaps. At any rate,
they were soon teaching him their mode of using the most picturesquely
murderous of all weapons, and Black Eagle offered, through the
interpreter, to give him a mustang and a fine wolf-skin. The pony was
declined, the skin accepted, a _quid pro quo_ being bestowed on the
chief in the shape of one of Mr. Ramsay's breech-loaders, a gift that
made the snake eyes glitter. But what earthly return can be made for
some friendly offices? Could a thousand guns be considered as an
adequate payment for the delirious thrill that Mr. Ramsay felt when he
shot an arrow straight through the neck of a big buffalo, and, wheeling,
galloped madly away, like the hero of one of his favorite stories? Was
not the duke, who "knew a thing or two about shooting" and had hunted
the noble bison in Lithuania, almost as much delighted as though he had
done it himself? Is it any wonder that these intoxicating pleasures were
all-sufficient for the time to Mr. Ramsay? Perhaps Thekla would have
been forgotten by her Max, and Romeo would never have sighed and died
for love of Juliet, if those interesting lovers had ceased from wooing
and gone a-hunting of the buffalo instead. Not the most deadly and cruel
pangs of the most unfortunate attachment could have taken away all the
zest from such an occupation, provided they had had what the Mexican
journals call the "_corazon de los sportsmans_." Youth, strength,
courage, skill, exercised in a vagabondage that has all the nomadic
charm without any of its drawbacks, are apt to sponge the old figures
off the slate of life, leaving a teary smear, perhaps, to show where
they have been, and room for fresh problems. At night over the camp-fire
Mr. Ramsay gave a few pensive thoughts to the girl who regularly put two
handkerchiefs under her pillow to receive the tears that welled out
copiously when she was at last alone and unobserved after a day of
virtuous hypocrisy. Poor child! The pain was very real, and the tears
were bitter and salty enough, though they were to be dried in due time.
If he had known of them, perhaps he might have kept awake a little
longer; but when he wasn't sleepy he was hungry, and when he wasn't
hungry he was tired, and when he wasn't tired he was too actively
employed to think of anything but the business in hand. Happily, at
five-and-twenty it is perfectly possible to postpone being miserable
until a more convenient season; and, though he would have denied it
emphatically afterward, he certainly thought only occasionally of Bijou
at this period, and of Ethel not at all.

Miss Noel heard very regularly from Mrs. Sykes all this while; and that
energetic traveller had not been idle. She had made her new friends
"take her about tremendously," she said. She had seen all the large
towns in that part of the country, and thought them "very ugly and
monotonously commonplace, but prosperous-looking,--like the
inhabitants." The scenery she had found "far too uninteresting to repay
the bother of sketching it." But she had made a few pictures of "the
views most cracked up in the White Mountains,"--where she had been,--"a
sort of second-hand Switzerland of a place; really nothing after the
Himalayas, but made a great fuss over by the Americans." She described
with withering scorn a drive she took there.

"We came suddenly one day upon a party in a kind of Cheap-Jack van," she
wrote,--"gayly-dressed people, tricked off in smart finery, and larking
like a lot of Ramsgate tradesmen on the public road. One of the impudent
creatures made a trumpet of his great ugly fist and spelt out the name
of the hotel at which they were stopping, and then put his hand to his
ear, as if to listen for the response. Expecting _me_ to tell _them_
anything about myself! But I flatter myself that I was a match for them.
I just got out my umbrella and shot it up in their very faces as we
passed, in a way not to be mistaken. And--would you believe it?--the
rude wretches called out, 'The shower is over now! and 'What's the price
of starch?' and roared with laughing." A highly-colored description of "a
visit to a great Dissenting stronghold, Marbury Park," followed: "I was
immensely curious to see one of these characteristic national
exhibitions of hysteria, ignorance, superstition, and immorality, called
a 'camp-meeting.' to which the Americans of all classes flock annually
by the thousands, so I quite insisted upon being taken to one, though my
friends would have got out of it if they could. I fancy they were very
ashamed of it; and they had need to be. I will not attempt to describe
it in detail here,--you will hear what I have said of it in my
diary,--but a more glaringly vulgar, intensely American performance you
can't fancy. I have made a number of sketches of the grounds, the tents
and tent-life, with the people bathing and dressing and all that in the
most exposed manner; of the pavilion, where the roaring and ranting is
done; and of the great revivalist who was holding forth when I got
there, and who had got such a red face and seemed so excited that it is
my belief he was _regularly screwed_, though my friends denied it, of
course. With such a preacher, you can 'realize,' as they say, what the
people were like. A regular Derby-day crowd having a religious
saturnalia,--that is what it is. It would not be allowed at home, I am
sure. Disgusting! One can't wonder at the state of society in America
when one sees what their religion is. An unpleasant incident occurred to
me while sketching in the pavilion, that shows what I have often pointed
out to you,--the radicalism and odious impertinence of this people. I
was just putting the finishing-touches to my picture of the Rev. (?)
'Galusha Wickers' (the revivalist: such names as these Americans have!),
when I heard a voice behind me saying, 'Lor! Why, that's splendid!
perfectly splendid! Well, I declare, you've got him to a t. Lemmy see.'
And, if you please, a hand was thrust over my shoulder and the sketch
seized, without so much as a 'By your leave.' Can you fancy a more
unwarrantable, insufferable liberty? But they are all alike over here. I
turned about, and saw a woman who was examining the reverend revivalist
with much satisfaction. 'Well, you _have_ got him, to be sure,' she
said, returning my angry glance with one of admiration, and quite
unabashed. 'What'll you take for it? I've sat under him for five years;
and for taking texteses from one end of the Bible to the other, and
leading in prayer, and filling the mourners' bench in five minutes, I
will say he hasn't got his equal in the universe. He's got a towering
intellect, I tell you. I'll give you fifty cents for this, if you'll
color it up nice for me and throw in a frame.' Of course I took the
picture away from the brazen creature and told her what I thought of her
conduct. 'Well, you air techy,' she said, and walked off leisurely."
Before closing her letter, Mrs. Sykes remarked of her hostess, "Quite
good for nothing physically, and absurdly romantic. She has been abroad
a good deal, and bores me dreadfully with her European reminiscences.
She is always talking in a foolish, rapturous sort of way about 'dear
Melrose,' or 'noble Tintern Abbey,' or 'enchanting Warwick Castle;' and
she has read simply libraries of books about England, and puts me
through a sort of examination about dozens of places and events, as
though I could carry all England about in my head. I really know less of
it than of most other countries: there is nothing to be got by running
about it. If one knew every foot of it, everybody would think it a
matter of course; but to be able to talk of Siam and the Fiji Islands,
Cambodia and Alaska, and the like, is really an advantage in society.
One gets the name of being a great traveller, and all that, and is asked
about tremendously and taken up to a wonderful extent. I know a man that
didn't wish to go to the trouble and expense of rambling all over the
world, and wanted the reputation of having done it, so he went into
lodgings at intervals near the British Museum and got all the books that
were to be had about a particular country, and, having read them, would
come back to the West End and give out that he had been there. It
answered beautifully for a while, and he was by way of being asked to
become a Fellow of the Royal Geographical, and was thought quite an
authority and wonderfully clever; but somehow he got found out, which
must have been a nuisance and spoiled everything. I can see that these
people consider it quite an honor to have me visit them, all because of
my having been around the world, I dare say. And of course I have let
them see that I know who is who and what is what. They are imploring me
to stay on; but I told them yesterday that it wouldn't suit my book at
all to stay over two weeks longer, when I had seen all there was to see.
That young Ramsay seems to be enjoying himself out there among those
nasty savages; and, as hunting is about the only thing he is fit for, he
had best stay out there altogether."

The unwritten history of Mrs. Sykes's visit to Marbury Park would have
been more interesting than the account she gave. She took with her a
camp-chair, which she placed in any and every spot that suited her or
commanded the pictorial situations which she wished to make her own
permanently. To the horror and surprise of her friends, she plumped it
down immediately in front of Mr. Wickers (after marching past an immense
congregation), and, wholly unembarrassed by her conspicuous position,
settled herself comfortably, took out her block and pencil, and
proceeded to jot down that worthy's features line upon line, as though
he had been a newly-imported animal at the "Zoo" on exhibition, paying
no attention to the precept upon precept he was trying to impress upon
his audience.

She walked all over the place repeatedly, went poking and prying into
such tents as she chanced to find empty, nor considered this an
essential requisite to the conferring of this honor. When less sociably
inclined, she established herself outside, close at hand, and in this
way made those valuable observations and spirited drawings which
subsequently enriched her diary and delighted a discerning British
public. But this is anticipating. When she tired of New York, she wrote
to Sir Robert that she wished to give as much time as possible to the
Mormons, and would leave at once for Salt Lake City, where she would
busy herself in laying bare the domestic system as it really existed,
and hold herself in readiness to join the party again when they should
arrive there _en route_ to the Yosemite.

Sir Robert, being an heroic creature, felt that he could bear this
temporary separation with fortitude, and, being about to start for
Boston when he got the news, forthwith threw himself upon the New
England States in a frenzied search for all the information to be had
about them,--their exact geographical position, by whom discovered, when
settled, climate, productions, population, principal towns and rivers.
He studied three maps of the region as he rattled along in the
south-bound train, and devoted the rest of the time to getting an
outline of its history: so that his nephew found him but an indifferent
companion.

"I suppose there are authorized maps and charts, geographical,
hydrographical, and topographical, issued by the government, and to be
seen at the libraries. I must get a look at them at once. These are
amateur productions, the work of irresponsible men, contradicting each
other in important particulars as to the relative positions of places,
and inaccurate in many respects, as I find by comparison," he said,
emerging from a prolonged study of his authorities. "You don't seem to
take much interest in all this. You should be at the pains to inform
yourself upon every possible point in connection with this country, or
any other in which you may find yourself; else why travel at all?"

Mr. Heathcote, not having his uncle's thirst for information, was
reading a French novel at the time, and did not attempt to defend his
position, knowing it probably to be indefensible.

Before getting to Boston the air turned very chill, and a fine,
penetrating rain set in that for a while disturbed the student of
American history with visions of rheumatism. "God bless my soul! I shall
be laid by the heels here for weeks. Damp is the one thing that I can't
stand up against. And I have not left my coat out!" he exclaimed,
tugging anxiously at his side-whiskers and annoyed to find how dependent
he had grown on his valet. "What shall I do? Ah! I have an idea. Damp.
What resists it and is practically water-proof? _Newspapers_!" With this
he stood up, seized the "Times" supplement, made a hole in the middle of
the central fold, and put it over his head. "Now I have improvised a
South-American _serape_" he observed, in a tone that betrayed the
pleasure it gave him to exercise his ingenuity. He then took two other
sheets and successively wrapped them around his legs, after the fashion
in vogue among gardeners intent upon protecting valuable plants from the
rigors of winter. This done, he smoothed down the _serape_, which showed
a volatile tendency to blow up a good deal, and, with a brief comment to
the effect that "oilskin or india-rubber could not be better," and no
staring about him to observe the effect of his action on the passengers,
replaced his hat, sat down, picked up his book again, readjusted his
eye-glasses, and went on with the episode he had been reading aloud to
his nephew, who, mildly bored by King Philip's war, was mildly amused by
the spectacle the baronet presented, and surprised to see that their
fellow-travellers thought it an excellent joke. A loud "Haw! haw!" and
many convulsive titters testified their appreciation of the absurd
contrast between Sir Robert's highly-respectable head, his grave,
absorbed air, and the remarkable way in which he was finished off below
the ears; but he read on and on, in his round, agreeable voice,
unconscious of the effect he was producing, until the train came to the
final stop, when Mr. Porter and a very dignified, rigid style of friend
came into the car to look for him.

"My dear Porter, I am delighted to see you, and I shall be with you in
one moment. I shall then have ceased to be a grub and have become a most
beautiful butterfly, ready to fly away home with you as soon as ever you
like," he called out in greeting, and in a twinkling had torn off his
wrappers, and stood there a revealed acquaintance, carefully collecting
his "traps," and beaming cheerfully even upon the friend, who had not
come to a pantomime and showed that he disapproved of harlequins in
private life.

Mr. Porter, however, was all cordiality, and very speedily transferred
his guests to his own house in the vicinity of Boston.

The season was not the one for gaining a fair idea of the society of the
city and neighborhood; but if all the people who were away at the
sea-side and the mountains were half as charming as those left behind
and invited by Mr. Porter, to meet his friends, it is certain that Sir
Robert lost a great deal. On the other hand, it is equally certain that
if they had been at home Sir Robert would most likely be there now, and
this chronicle of his travels would end here. As it was, he found
something novel and agreeable at every step, a fresh interest every hour
of his stay. He began at the beginning, and promptly found out what kind
of soil the city was built on, went on to consider such questions as
drainage, elevation, water-supply, wharves, quays, bridges, and worked
up to libraries, museums, public and private collections of pictures,
and what not. He ordered three pictures of Boston artists,--two autumnal
scenes, and an interior, a negro cabin, with an hilarious sable group
variously employed, called "Christmas in the Quarters." Then the
questions of fisheries, maritime traffic, coast and harbor defences,
light-houses, the ship-building interests, life-saving associations, and
railway systems, pressed for investigation, to say nothing of the mills
and manufactories, wages of operatives, trades-unions, trade problems,
and all the pros and cons of free trade _versus_ protective tariff. Over
these he pondered and pored until all hours every night; and the diary
had now to be girt about with two stout rubber bands to keep it from
scattering instructive leaflets about promiscuously and prematurely. And
by day there were sites literary, historical, or generally interesting
to be visited, engagements with many friends to keep, endless
occupations apparently.

There was so much to see and do that the place was delightful to him,
and he certainly made himself vastly agreeable in return to such of its
inhabitants as came in his way.

"I have added to my circle some very valuable acquaintances, whom I
shall hope to retain as friends," he wrote to England, "notably a
medical man who confirms my germ-propagation theory of the 'vomito,'
which is now raging in the Southern part of the States (I had it, you
remember, on the west coast of Africa, and studied it in the
Barbadoes),--an exceptionally clever man, and, like all such men,
inclined to be eccentric. I think I was never more surprised than to
come upon him the other day in a side-street, where he was positively
having his boots polished _in public_ by a ragged gamin who offered to
'shine' me for a 'dime.' He behaved sensibly about it,--betrayed no
embarrassment, though he must have felt excessively annoyed, made no
apologies, and only remarked that he had been out in the country, and
did not wish to be taken for a miller in the town.

"I was led to believe before coming here that I should not be able to
tell that Boston was not an English town. It did not so impress me on a
surface-view, but it was not long before I recognized that the warp and
woof of the social fabric is that of our looms, though the pattern is a
little different,--a good sort of stuff, I think, warranted _to wash_
and wear. The variation, such as it is, tried by what I call my
differential nationometer, gives to the place its own peculiar,
delightful quality." The rigid gentleman, who was a great deal at the
Porters', was rather inclined to insist upon the great purity and beauty
of his English, to which he repeatedly invited attention, and, as Mr.
Ramsay would have said, "went in for" certain philological refinements
which Sir Robert had never heard before, and thoroughly disliked. But as
there are more Scotchmen in London than in Edinburgh, and better oranges
can be bought for less money in New York than in New Orleans, so it may
be that if you want to find really superior English you must leave
England altogether,--abandon it to its defective but firmly-rooted
_patois_, and seek in more classic shades for the well--spring of Saxon
undefiled. But Sir Robert was not inclined to do this. There were limits
to his liberality and spirit of investigation. When the rigid gentleman
instanced certain words to which he gave a pronunciation that made them
bear small resemblance to the same words as spoken by any class of
people laboring under the disadvantage of having been born and bred in
England, Sir Robert got impatient, and testily dismissed the subject
with, "Oh, come, now! I can stand a good deal, but I can't stand being
told that we don't know how to speak English in England." Something,
however, must be pardoned to a foreigner. If Sir Robert would not
consent to set Emerson a little higher than the angels, as some other
Bostonians could have wished, and had never so much as heard of Thoreau
and other American celebrities not wholly insignificant, he had an
immense admiration for Longfellow, and could spout "Hiawatha" or
"Evangeline" with the best, associated Hawthorne with something besides
his own hedges in the month of May, and was eager to be taken out to
Beverly Farms, that he might "do himself the honor to call upon" the
wisest, wittiest, least-dreaded, and best-loved of Autocrats. When the
day fixed for his departure came, he was still revelling in what the
Historical Society of Massachusetts had to show him, and actually
stayed over a day that he might see the finest collection of cacti in
the country, and at last tore himself away with much difficulty and
lively regrets, carrying with him a collection of Indian curiosities
given him by Mr. Porter, whom he considered to have behaved "most
handsomely" in making him such a present. "I can't rob you outright, my
dear fellow. I feel a cut-purse, almost, when I think of taking all
these valuable and deeply-interesting objects illustrative of the life
and civilization of the aborigines," he said. "Give me duplicates, if
you will be so generous, but nothing unique, I insist." He finally
accepted one gem in the collection,--a towering structure of feathers
that formed "a most delightful head-dress, quite irresistibly
fascinating," tried it on before a mirror that gave back faithfully the
comical reflection, and incidentally delivered a lecture on the
head-ornaments of many savage and civilized nations of every age, though
not at all in the style of the famous Mr. Barlow.

Mr. Heathcote at least was not sorry to find that they were, as he said.
"booked for Baltimore." The image of the beautiful Miss Bascombe had not
been effaced. Perhaps he had photographed it by some private process on
his heart with the lover's camera, which takes rather idealized but very
charming pictures, some of which never fade. At all events, there it
was, very distinct and very lovely, and always hung on the line in his
mental picture-gallery. It was positively with trepidation that he
presented himself before her very soon after his arrival; and an
undeniable blush "mantled" his cheek--if a blush can be said with any
propriety to mantle the male cheek--- when he marched into the
drawing-room, where she was doing a dainty bit of embroidery, and with
much simplicity and directness said, "You said I might come, you know,
and I have come; and I begged of Ethel to come too, but she could not
leave my aunt," before he had so much as shaken hands. Of course no
well-regulated and well-bred young woman--and Miss Bascombe was
both--ever permits herself to remember any man until she is engaged to
him; but she need not forget one that has impressed her agreeably. Miss
Bascombe had not forgotten the handsome Englishman she had met at Jenny
De Witt's, nor the little lecture she had given him on the duties of
brothers to sisters, and it did not strike her that his inaugural
address was at all eccentric or mysterious. He had been told what he
ought to do; he had tried to do it, as was quite right and proper. He
deserved some reward. And he got it,--though only as an encouragement to
abstract virtue, of course. The young lady was pleased to be friendly,
gracious, charming. Her mother came in presently, was equally friendly
and gracious, and almost as charming. Her father came home to dinner,
and was friendly too, and hearty, and very hospitable. Her brothers were
friendliest of all. He knew quite well that he had no claim on them,
that he had not saved the life of any member of the family or laid them
under any sort of obligation, individually or collectively, and no
reception could have seemed more special and dangerously cordial, yet no
anxieties oppressed, no fears distracted him. The weight of excessive
eligibility suddenly slipped off him, like the albatross from the neck
of the Ancient Mariner, leaving him a thankful and a happy man, and in
a week he had established himself firmly at the Bascombes', declined to
accompany his uncle to Virginia, and definitely settled in his own mind
that he would take the step matrimonial,--the step from the sublime
to--well, not always the ridiculous. With this resolution he naturally
thought that the greatest obstacle to success had been removed; but he
was soon disillusionized. He had already come to see that American girls
were very much in the habit of being gracious to everybody, and saying
pretty and pleasant things, with no thought of an hereafter; also that
they did not live with St. George's, Hanover Square, or its American
equivalent, Trinity Church, New York, stamped on the mental retina. Miss
Bascombe was "very nice" to him, he told himself, but she was quite as
nice to a dozen other men. She was uniformly kind, courteous, agreeable,
to every one who came to the house. Her cordiality to him meant nothing
whatever. Yes, he was quite free,--free as air; he saw that plainly, and
perversely longed to assume the fetters he had so long and so skilfully
avoided. What was the use of having serious intentions when not the
slightest notice was taken of the most compromising behavior? It was
true that he was perfectly at liberty to see more of Edith than an
Englishman ever does of any woman not related to him, and to say and do
a thousand things any one of which at home would have necessitated a
proposal or instant flight. But no importance whatever seemed to be
attached to them here, and he was utterly at a loss how to make his
seriousness felt. Yet it was quite clear that if there was to be any
wooing done, he would have to do it,--go every step of the way himself,
with no assistance from Miss Bascombe. "How on earth am I to show her
that I care for her?" he thought. "Other men send her dozens of
bouquets, and box after box of expensive sweets, and loads of books, and
music without end, and they come to see her continually, and take her
about everywhere, and are entirely devoted to her. I wonder what
fellows over here do when they are serious? How do they make themselves
understood when they go on in this way habitually? It is a most
extraordinary state of affairs! And neither party seems to feel in the
least compromised by it. There is that fellow Clinch, who fairly lives
at the Bascombes', and when I asked her if she was engaged to him she
said, 'Engaged to George Clinch? What an idea! _No_. What put that in
your head? He is a nice fellow, and I like him immensely, but there's
nothing of that sort between us. What made you think there was? And when
I explained, she said, 'Oh, _that's_ nothing! He is just as nice to lots
of other girls.' And when I suggested to him that he was attached to
her, he said, 'Edith Bascombe? Oh, no! She is a great friend of mine,
and a charming girl, but I have never thought of that, nor has she. I go
there a good deal, but I have never paid her any marked attention.' No
marked attention, indeed! Nothing seems to mean anything here: it is
worse than being in England, where everything means something. No, it
isn't, either. I vow that when I am at the Clintons' in Surrey I
scarcely dare offer the girls so much as a muffin, and if I ask the
carroty one, Beatrice, the simplest question, she blushes and stammers
as if I were proposing out of hand. But what am I to do? I can't sing
and take to serenading Edith on moonlit nights with a guitar and a blue
ribbon around my neck. I can't push her into the river that I may pull
her out again. I dare say there is nothing for it but to adopt the
American method,--enter with about fifty others for a sort of
sentimental steeple-chase, elbow or knock every other fellow out of the
way in the running, work awfully hard to please the girl, and get in by
half a length, if one wins at all. There is no feeling sure of her until
one is coming back from the altar, evidently."

Some of his conversations with Edith were certainly anything but
encouraging. At other times he felt morally sure that she shared that
derangement of the bivalvular organ technically defined as "a muscular
viscus which is the primary instrument of the blood's motion," whose
worst pains are said to be worth more than the greatest pleasures. He
was very much in earnest, and entirely straightforward, There were no
balancing indecisions now, but the most downright affirmation of
preference. His little speeches were not veiled in rosy clouds of
metaphor and poetry and distant allusions, like Captain Kendall's, nor
did they flow out in an unfailing stream of romantic eloquence, like
that gifted warrior's. They were so honest and so clumsy, indeed, that
Edith could not help laughing at them merrily sometimes, to his great
discomfiture, consisting as they did chiefly of such statements as, "You
know that I am most awfully fond of you. I was tremendously hard hit
from the first. If you don't believe me, you can ask Ramsay. I told him
all about it. You aren't in the least like any other girl that I have
ever known, except Mrs. De Witt a little. I suppose you know that I
would have married her at the dropping of a hat if I could have done so.
But that is all over now. I care an awful lot for you now, and shall be
quite frightfully cut up if you won't have anything to say to me,--I
shall, really. I have got quite wrapped up in you, upon my word. And I
shall be intensely glad and proud if you will consent to be my wife."

When Edith failed to take such speeches as these seriously, poor Mr.
Heathcote was quite beside himself, and, in reply to her bantering
accusations as to his being "a great flirt" and not "really meaning one
word that he said," opposed either burly negation or a deeply-vexed
silence. They looked at so many things differently that they found a
piquant interest in discussing every subject that came up.

"There go May Dunbar and Fred Beach," she said to him one Sunday as they
were coming home from church. "Isn't he handsome? They have been engaged
_three years_. Did you ever hear of such constancy?"

"Do you call that constancy? Why, if a fellow can't wait three years for
a lovely girl like that, he must be a poor stick. Why, my uncle
Montgomery was engaged to his wife seventeen years, while he went out to
India and shook the pagoda-tree, after which he came back, paid all his
father's debts, and they married and went into the house they had picked
out before he sailed," said Mr. Heathcote.

"Good gracious! what a time! I hope the poor things were happy at last.
Were they?" asked Edith.

"H-m--pretty well. He is a rather fiery, tyrannical old party. She
doesn't get her own way to hurt," he replied.

"I have heard that Englishwomen give way to the men in everything and
are always, voluntarily or involuntarily, sacrificed to them. It must be
so bad for both," said Edith sweetly.

"Oh, you go in for woman's rights and that sort of thing, I suppose," he
said, in a tone of annoyance.

"Indeed I don't do anything of the kind," replied she, with warmth. "If
I did, I should be aping the men when I wasn't sneering at them. But I
respect your sex most when they most deserve to be respected, and I
don't see anything to admire in a selfish, tyrannical man that is always
imposing his will, opinions, and wishes upon the ladies of his household
and expects to be the first consideration from the cradle to the grave
because he happens to be a man."

"But he is the head of his house. He ought to get his own way, if
anybody does, and, if he is not a coward, he will, too," said Mr.
Heathcote rather hotly. "Would you have a man a molly-coddle, tied to
his wife's apron-string, and not daring to call his soul his own?"

"Not at all," replied Edith. "It is the cowards that are the tyrants.
'The bravest are the tenderest, the loving are the daring,' as our
American poet says. And women have souls of their own, except in the
East. Why shouldn't _they_ be the first consideration and do as they
please, pray? They are the weaker, the more delicate and daintily bred.
If there is any pampering and spoiling to be done, they should be the
objects of it. And as to rights, there is no divine right of way given
to man, that I know of. I don't believe in that sort of thing at all. Of
course no reasonable woman wants or expects everybody to kootoo before
her and everything to give way to her."

"And no gentleman fails to show a proper respect for his wife's wishes
and comfort, not to mention her happiness," said Mr. Heathcote. "But of
course that sort of thing is only to be found in America. Englishmen are
all selfish, and tyrants, and domestic monsters, I know."

"I didn't say anything of the kind," replied Edith quickly, her cheeks
pink with excitement. "I don't know anything about Englishmen or the
domestic system of England, and I never expect to. But, if what I have
heard is true, it is a system that tends to make men mortally selfish;
and selfish people, whether they are men or women, and whether they know
it or not, are _all_ monsters. But I apologize for my remarks, and, as I
am not interested in the subject _in the least_, we will talk of
something else, if you please."

This very feminine conclusion, delivered loftily and with sudden
reserve, left Mr. Heathcote in anything but an agreeable frame of mind,
and for an hour or two made him doubt the wisdom of international
marriages; but this mood passed away, and he remained a fixture at the
_maison_ Bascombe, where the very postman came to know him and
generously sympathized with the malady from which he was suffering. Nor
was this the only house in which he was made very welcome. Baltimore is
one of many American cities that suffer from the vague but painful
accusation of being "provincial;" but, admitting this dreadful charge,
it has social, gastronomic, and other charms of its own that ought to
compensate for the absence of that doubtful good, cosmopolitanism. Mr.
Heathcote certainly found no fault with it, and did not miss the
population, pauperism, or other institutions of Paris, London, or
Vienna. On the contrary, he took very kindly to the pretty place, and
heartily liked the people. There was nothing oppressive or ostentatious
in the attentions he received, but just the cordiality, grace, and charm
of an old-established society of most refined traditions, perfect
_savoir-vivre_, and chronic hospitality.

"You are making a Baltimorean of me, you are so awfully kind to me," he
would say, pronouncing the _a_ in Bal as he would have done in sal; but
the truth was that he had become primarily a Bascomite and only very
incidentally a Baltimorean. The city counts hundreds of such converts
every year. He was so happy and entirely content that he would have
quite forgotten what it was to be bored just at this period but for
certain individuals,--a boastful, disagreeable Irishman, who fastened
upon him apparently for no other reason than that he might abuse England
at great length and talk of his own valor, accomplishments, and
"paddygree" (as he very properly called the record that established his
connection with Brian Boroo and Irish kings generally), and a lady who
seemed to take the most astounding, unquenchable interest in the English
nobility, as more than one lady had seemed to him to do, to his great
annoyance.

"I don't know a bit about them, I assure you," he said to her; "but I
have the 'Peerage.' If you would like to see that, I will send it you
with pleasure."

This only diverted her conversation into a different but equally
distasteful channel,--the great distinction and antiquity of her own
family. It really seemed as though she had a dread of Mr. Heathcote's
leaving the country with some wrong impression on this important subject
and was determined that he should be put in possession of all the
information she had or imagined herself to have about it. She talked to
him about it so much that the poor man was at incredible pains to keep
out of her way.

"I don't care a brass copper about her," he complained to Edith; "and
if the family has been producing women like her as long as she says, and
is going on at it, all I can say is that it is a pity they have lasted
this long, and the sooner they die out the better. What do I care about
her family, pray? I never heard as much about family in all my life, I
give you my word, as I have done since I came to America. The stories
told me are something wonderful,--all about the two brothers that left
England, and all that, you know. They seem all to have come away in
pairs, like the animals in the ark. I said to one fellow that was
beginning with those two brothers, '_Couldn't you make it three_, don't
you think?' And you'll not believe me, but I speak quite without
exaggeration, when I say that one woman out in Raising assured me
gravely that she was descended from the houses of York and Lancaster!"

"_She didn't!"_ exclaimed Edith. "That is, if she did, she must have
been _crazy_; and I won't have you going back to England and giving
false impressions of us by repeating such stories. Promise me that you
will never repeat it there."

"Oh, that's all right," he replied soothingly. "It's an extreme case, I
grant, and I'll say no more about it if it vexes you, but it is a true
tale all the same. Howe was her name, I remember; and I felt like
saying,--I'll eat my hand if I understand Howe this can possibly
be,'--that's in the Bab Ballads,--but I didn't."

Sir Robert had small opportunity of making acquaintance with Baltimore.
He was very eager to get down into Virginia, and stayed there but two
days. On the second of these he attended a gentleman's dinner-party, the
annual mile-stone of a military society composed of men who had worn the
gray and marked the well-known tendency of tempus to fugit in this
agreeable fashion. Their ex-enemies of the blue were also there, but not
in the original overwhelming numbers, and the battle was now to one
party, now to the other, the race to the best _raconteur_, rivers of
champagne flowed instead of brave blood, and the smoke of cannon was
exchanged for that of Havanas. Sir Robert's face beamed more and more
brightly as the evening wore on, and reminiscences, anecdotes, stories,
jests, songs, were fluently and cleverly poured out in rapid succession
by the hilarious company. The fun was at its height, when he suddenly
leaned forward with his body at an insinuating angle and smilingly
addressed an officer opposite: "You must really let me say that I have
been delighted by all that I have heard here to-night, and appreciate
the compliment you have paid me in permitting me to join you. And now I
am going to ask a great favor. Could you, would you, give me some idea
of 'the rebel yell,' as it was called? We heard so much about that. I am
most curious to hear it. It is always spoken of as perfectly terrifying,
almost unearthly."

The gentleman whom he addressed looked down the table and rapped to call
attention to what he had to say: "Boys, this English gentleman is asking
whether we can't give him some idea of what the rebel yell is like. What
do you say? If our Federal friends are afraid, they can get under the
table, where they will be perfectly safe, and a good deal more
comfortable than they used to be behind trees or in baggage-wagons," he
called out.


A hearty laugh followed, and, their blood having got bubbles in it by
this time, a general assenting murmur was heard.

The next instant a shriek, sky-rending, blood-curdling, savage beyond
description, went up,--a truly terrific yell in peace, and enough to
create a panic, one would think, in the Old Guard in time of war.

"Thank you, thank you. _I am entirely satisfied"_ said Sir Robert, in a
comically rueful tone, as soon as he could say anything for the uproar.
"I never imagined anything like it, never. Where did you get it? Who
invented it? Is it an adaptation of some war-cry of the North American
Indians? It sounds like what one would fancy their cries might be,
doesn't it? It has got all the beasts of the forest in it; and I confess
that I for one, would have fled before it and stayed in the wagons as
long as there was the slightest danger of hearing it. By Jove! it must
have been heard in Boston when given in Virginia. It is curious how very
ancient the practice of--"

But the company heard no more of curious practices, for their yell had
been heard, if not in Boston, in a far more remarkable quarter,--namely,
by the police, who now rushed in, prepared to club, arrest, and carry
off any and all disorderly and dreadful disturbers of the peace.

If Sir Robert had been in any danger of being murdered, all experience
goes to show that no policeman could have been found before the
following morning, and then only in the remotest part of the city. As he
was merely being wined, dined, and amused, quite a formidable body of
these devoted but easily-misled guardians of respectability and
innocence poured into the room, where at first they could see nothing
for the smoke. Matters were explained, they were invited to "take
something" before they went, and took it, and, quite placated, filed out
into the passage again, and from thence into the street.

Sir Robert sat up late that night, or rather began early on the
following day, to copy the stories he had most relished into the diary,
and do what justice he could to "the rebel yell," and, having added an
admirably discriminating chapter on "the present political situation in
the States," concluded with, "How striking is the good sense, the good
feeling, that both the conquerors and the conquered have shown, on the
whole! In other countries, how often has a war far less bloody and
protracted left in its wake evils far greater than the original one, in
guerilla warfare, murders, ceaseless revolt, and smouldering hatred
lasting for centuries on one side, and centuries of tyranny, oppression,
executions, confiscations, on the other! A brave and fine race this, not
made of the stuff that goes to keep up vendettas, shoot landlords, blow
up rulers, assassinate enemies. They can fight as well as any, and they
have shown that they can forgive better than most,--taken together, true
manliness. It may be that they are influenced by a consideration which
is said to be always present to an American,--'Will it pay?' and of
course so practical a people as this see that anarchy doesn't pay; but I
would rather attribute their conduct to nobler, more generous motives,
and in doing this seem to myself to be doing them no more than justice."

     F.C. BAYLOR.

[TO BE CONCLUDED.]



OUR VILLE.


The picturesqueness of France in our day is confined almost exclusively
to its humble life. The Renaissance and the Revolution swept away in
most parts of the country moated castle, abbaye, grange, and chateau, to
replace them with luxurious but conventional piles and ruins humbly
restored and humbly inhabited. Many a farmhouse with unkempt _cour_
and dishevelled _pelouse_ is the relic of a turreted château,
stables are often desecrated churches, seigneurial _colombiers_
shelter swine, and battlemented portals to fortified walls serve, as
does the one of our ville, to house hideously-uniformed _douaniers_
watching the luggage of arriving travellers.

Our ville was never an aristocratic one, and to this day very few of our
names are preceded by the idealizing particle _de_. We have an
ancient history, however,--so ancient that all historians place our
origin at _un temps trèsrecule_. We had houses and walls when Rouen
yonder was a marsh, and we saw Havre spring up like a mushroom only two
little centuries and a half ago. Besieged and taken, burned and ravaged,
alternately by Protestant and Catholic, no wonder our ville has not even
ruins to show that we are older than the fifteen hundreds. Still,
ancient though we are, we have always been a ville of humble
folk,--hardy sailors, brave fishers, and thrifty bourgeois,--and to-day,
as always, our highest families buy and sell and build their philistine
homes back toward the _côte_, while our humble ones picturesquely
haunt the _quais_.

The town is exquisitely situated at the foot of abrupt _côtes_,
just where the broad and tranquil river shudders with mysterious deep
heavings and meets its dolphin-hued death in the all-devouring sea. Away
off in the shimmering distance is the second seaport city of France. On
still days,--and our gray or golden Norman days are almost always
still,--faint muffled sounds of life, the throbbing of factories, the
farewell boom of cannon from ships setting forth across the Atlantic,
even the musical notes of the Angelus, float across the water to us as
dreamily vague as perhaps our earth-throbs and passion-pulses reach a
world beyond the clouds. This city is our metropolis, with which we are
connected by small steamers crossing to and fro with the tide, and where
all our shopping is done, our own ville being too thoroughly limited and
_roturier_ in taste to merit many of our shekels.

In fact, such of our shopping as is done in our ville is in the quaint
marketplace, where black house-walls are beetling and bent, and
Sainte-Cathérine's ancient wooden tower stands the whole width of the
Place away from its Gothic church. Here we bargain and chaffer with
towering _bonnets blancs_ for peasant pottery and faïence,
paintable half-worn stuffs, and delicious ancestral odds and ends of
broken peasant households.

We have many streets over which wide eaves meet, and within which
twilight dwells at noonday. Some of the hand-wide streets run straight
up the _côte_, and are a succession of steep stairs climbing beside
crouching, timber-skeletoned houses perforated by narrow windows opening
upon vistas of shadow. Others seem only to run down from the _côte_
to the sea as steeply as black planks set against a high building. Upon
the very apex of the _côte_, visible miles away at sea, lives our
richest citizen. His house smiles serenely modern even if only
pseudo-classic contempt on all the quaint duskiness and irregularity
below, and is pillared, corniced, entablatured, and friezed, with lines
severely straight, although the building itself is as round as any
mediæval campanile and surmounted with a Gothic bell-turret, while the
entrance-gate is turreted, machicolated, castellated, like the
fortress-castles of the Goths.

Lower down the _côte_, convent walls raise themselves above
red-tiled and lichen-grown roofs. In one of these convents, behind
eyeless grim walls, are hidden cloistered nuns; from others the Sisters
go freely forth upon errands of both business and mercy. The convent of
cloisters, Couvent des Augustines, is passing rich, and has houses and
lands to let. Once upon a time an _Américaine_ coveted one of these
picturesque houses. She entered the convent and interviewed the
business-manager, a veiled nun behind close bars.

"Madame may occupy the house," said _ma Soeur_, "by paying five
hundred francs a year, by observing every fast and feast of the Church,
by attending either matins or vespers every day, and by attending
confession and partaking of the holy sacrament every month."

Madame is a zealous Catholic, therefore the terms, although peculiar,
did not seem too severe. She was about to remove into the house, when,
lo! she received word that, it having come to the knowledge of the
convent that the husband of Madame was a heretic, he could not be
allowed to occupy any tenement of the Communauté.

Although this cloistered sisterhood is vowed to perpetual seclusion,
once a year even heretics may gaze upon their pale faces. This annual
occasion is the prize-day of the school they teach, when the school-room
is decorated with white cloth and paper roses, the _curés_ of
neighboring parishes and the Maire of our ville, with invited
distinguished guests, occupy the platform, and the floor below is free
to everybody furnished with invitation-cards.

I had always longed to enter these prison-like walls and gaze from my
tempestuous distance upon those peaceful lives set apart from earth's
rush and turmoil in a fair and blessed haven of the Lord. I longed to
see those pure visionaries, pale spouses of Christ, and read upon
illumined faces the unspeakable rapture of mystic union with the Lamb of
God.

Monsieur le Docteur S----, our family physician, is also physician of
the convent.

"You will see nobody," he said, remarking my sentimental curiosity
concerning cloistered nuns,--"you will see nobody but a lot of
lace-mending and stocking-knitting old maids who failed to get
husbands."

I had already heard queer stories of our old doctor's forty years of
attendance upon the convent, and I was not so easily discouraged. I was
especially anxious to see the Mother Superior, having many times heard
the story of her flight in slippers and dressing-gown from the
breakfast-table to bury herself forever within the walls that have held
her now these twenty-five years. In all these years her unforgiving
father has never seen her face, nor she his, although they live within
stone's throw of each other.

"Know about him? of course she does," answered Victoire to my question.
"She knows all about him, and more too. Do you suppose there is an item
of news in the whole town that those cloistered nuns do not hear? If you
had been educated by them, as we were, and pumped dry every day as to
what went on in our own and our neighbors' families, you would not ask
that question."

Victoire and I penetrated into the convent that very same day. We
followed a crowd of women, _paysannes_ and _citoyennes_, into
a sunny court paved with large stones and arched by the noontide sky,
but unsoftened by tree or flower, and surrounded by the open windows of
dormitories. Over the threshold we had just crossed the nuns pass but
once after their vows,--pass outward, feet foremost, deaf and unseeing,
to a closer, darker home than even their cloistered one. Some of them
have seen nothing beyond their convent walls for forty years, while one
has here worn away sixty years.

_Sixty years_ without one single glimpse of sweet dawn or fair
sunset, without one single vision of the sea in winter majesty of storm
or summer glory! _Sixty years_ without sound of lisping music
running through tall grass, without one single whisper of the æolian
pines, or glimpse of blooming orchards against pure skies! _Sixty
years_!

Beside me in the school-room sat a buxom peasant-woman, who, as a little
girl crowned with a gaudy tinsel wreath descended from the platform,
confidentially informed me, "_C'est ma fille._ She has taken the
prize for good conduct, and there isn't a worse _coquine_ in our
whole commune."

I saw the pale visionaries, a circle of black-robed figures, with
dead-white bands, like coffin-cerements, across their brows. I saw them
almost unanimously fat, with pendulous jowls and black and broken teeth,
as remote from any expression of mystic fervors and spiritual espousals
as could be well imagined, _"Vieilles commères_!" grunted my
_paysanne,_ who was evidently neither amiable nor saintly.

Mother Mary-of-the-Angels, once Elise Gautier, was short, fat, and
bustling, with large round-eyed spectacles upon her nose, and the pasty
complexion and premature flaccid wrinkles that come with long seclusion
from sunshine and exercise. She marched about like one who had chosen
Martha's rather than Mary's manner of serving her Lord, and we saw her
chat a full half-hour with the wife of the Maire, bowing, smiling,
gesticulating meantime with all the florid grace of a French woman of
the world.

"The Maire's wife was her former intimate friend," whispered Victoire.
"See how much younger and healthier she looks than the Mother Superior,
and how much happier. _On dit_ that it was chagrin at the marriage
of this friend that caused Élise Gautier to desert her widowed father
and dependent little brothers and sisters to bury herself in a convent."

A more interesting story than Élise Gautier's is told in our ville. Some
years ago a nun left the Couvent des Augustines in open day, passing out
from the central door in her nun's garb, and meeting there a
foreign-looking man accompanied by a posse of gendarmes. The couple,
followed by a half-hooting, half-cheering mob, drove directly to the
hôtel-de-ville, where they were united in marriage. Then they went away
from our ville, where both were born, to the husband's home in Spain.
When those convent doors had closed upon her, a quarter of a century
before, and the lovers believed themselves eternally separated, she was
a lovely girl of twenty, he a bright youth of twenty-five. She passed
away from his despairing sight, fair and fresh as a spring flower, with
beautiful golden hair and violet eyes; she came out from that fatal
portal a woman of forty-five, stout, spectacled, with faded, thin hair
beneath her nun's cowl, to meet a portly gray-haired man of fifty, in
whom not even love's eye could detect the faintest vestige of the
slender bright-eyed lover of her youth.

The unhappy Laure had been forced to unwilling vows to keep her from
this beggarly lover, and, when he fled to Spain, both became dead to our
ville for long years. Twenty-two years after Laure became Soeur Angelica
it was known in the convent that the machinery of the civil law, which
had only lately forbidden eternal religious vows, had been set in motion
to secure her release; but it remained a mystery who the spring of the
movement was, her parents having long been dead. Soeur Angelica herself
seemed almost more terrified than otherwise at the knowledge, for every
conventual influence was brought to bear upon her morbid conscience to
assure her that eternal damnation follows broken vows. It seems,
however, that amid all her spiritual stress she never confessed, even to
her spiritual director, what desecration had come upon that dovecote by
her constant correspondence with the lover of her youth, now a wealthy
wine-merchant in Spain. When she left the convent, some of these
love-letters were left behind; and to this day those scandalized doves,
to whom Soeur Angelica is forever a lost soul, wonder futilely how those
emissaries of Satan penetrated their holy walls.

"How _did_ they, do you suppose?" I asked.

Victoire and Clarice smiled curiously, while Émile, with an expression
savoring of paganism and pig-tails, squinted obliquely toward our
doctor.

"_Nous n'en savons rien_" they answered me.

The social amusements of our ville are few, as must naturally be the
case in a provincial town ruled by the Draconian law that a _jeune
fille à marier_ must be no more than an animated puppet, while
_jeunes gens_ must have their coarse fling before they are fit for
refined society. Occasionally an ambulant theatrical troupe gives an
entertainment in our little theatre. Once a year Talbot comes, during
vacation at the Francais, and gives us "L'Avare" or "Le Roi s'amuse;"
but such are small events, to our provincial taste, compared with the
vaulting and grimacing of the more frequent English and American circus
troupes in our Place Thiers.

Perhaps the chief distraction of our young people is going to early
mass, whither our young ladies go accompanied by _bonnes_, Maman
having not yet emerged from the French mamma's chrysalis condition of
morning crimping-pins, petticoat and short gown, and list slippers. The
_bonnes_ who thus serve as chaperons are often as young as or even
younger than the demoiselles whose virginal modesty they are supposed to
protect. That they are anything more than a mere form of guardian, a
figment of the social fiction that a young French girl never leaves her
mother's side till she goes to her husband's, it is unnecessary to
observe. Human nature, especially French human nature, is human nature
all the world over, and Romeo will woo and Juliet be won during early
mass or twilight vespers as well as from a balcony, in spite of all the
Montagues and Capulets. Girl-chaperons are oftener in sympathy with
ardent daughters than with worldly mothers, while even the oldest and
most sedate of French _bonnes_ are malleable to other influences
than those of their legitimate employers. It was across our river,
yonder from whence the sound of the Angelus comes across the summer
water like the music of dreams, that Balzac's Modest Mignon carried on
her intrigues of hifalutin gush, by means of a facile _bonne_, with
a man whom she had never seen, and who deceived her by personating the
poet she wished him to be. Modest Mignons are not rare in our ville, and
the Gothic vaults of Saint-Léonard and the pillared aisles of
Sainte-Cathérine witness almost as many little intrigues, as many
heart-beats and blushes, as does "evenin' meetin'" in our own bucolic
regions.

Désirée, our _femme-de-chambre,_ before she came to us, lived in a
wealthy _roturier_ family.

"It was a good place, and I was sorry to lose it when Mademoiselle
Eugénie was married," said she. "The little gifts the _jeunes gens_
slipped into my panier as I came with mademoiselle from mass almost
equalled my wages. Mademoiselle had a good _dot_ as well as beauty,
and _ces jeunes gens_ expected to lose nothing by what they gave
me. Mademoiselle herself often said, 'Désirée, walk a few steps behind
me, and, while I keep my eyes upon the pavement, tell me all the young
men who turn to look after me. If you hear any of them say, "_Comme
elle est jolie!_" (How pretty she is!) you shall have my _batiste
mouchoirs_.'"

On Sunday afternoons all the bourgeois world of our ville disports
itself upon the jetty. Not only then do all the mothers of the town with
daughters "to marry" bring those daughters to the weekly matrimonial
mart, but many of the mothers and chaperons of the near country round
about come in from rural _propriété_ and rustic _chalet_ to
exhibit their candidates. The method of procedure is eminently French,
of course, and eminently naïve, as even the intrigues and machinations
of Balzac's _bourgeoisie_, although intended as marvels of finesse,
seem so often naïveté itself to our blunter and less-plotting minds. The
mothers and daughters, or chaperons and charges, walk slowly arm in arm
up and down one side the jetty, facing the counter-current of young men
and men not young who have not lost interest in feminine attractions.
Back and forth, back and forth, for hours, move the two separate
streams, never for one instant commingling, each discussing the other's
prospects, characters, appearance, and, above all, _dots_ and
_rentes_, till twilight falls and all the world goes home to
dinner.

Once upon a time a retired man of business came to our ville,
accompanied by his son. He was one of the class known in England as
"Commys," and so obnoxious in France as _commis-voyageurs._ He
stopped at the Cheval Blanc, and in conversation with mine host inquired
if it might chance that some café-keeper in the town desired to sell his
café and marry his daughter. Monsieur Brissom mentioned to him our
café-keepers blessed with marriageable daughters, and "Commy" made the
rounds among them, announcing that he had a son whom he wished to marry
to some charming demoiselle _dot_ed with a café. One of the
café-keepers had "_précisément votre affaire_." It was arranged
that Mademoiselle Clothilde should be promenaded by her mother the next
Sunday on the jetty, where the young man should join the
counter-current, and thus each take observations of the other.

As said, so done. Monsieur Henri and Mademoiselle Clothilde declared
themselves enchanted with each other.

"_Très-bien_," said the reflective parents. "Now fall in love as
fast as ever you please."

Monsieur and mademoiselle not only "fell," but plunged.

Two weeks afterward, however, the papas fell out. Cafétier exacted more
than Commis could promise, and Commis declared Mademoiselle Clothilde
_pas grand' chose_: her eyebrows were too white, and her toes
turned in.

The marriage was declared "off," and the young people were ordered to
fall out of love the quickest possible.

"Too late!" they cried.

"You have seen each other but four times."

"Quite enough," declared the lovers.

"You shall not marry," shouted the parents.

"We _will_!" screamed their offspring.

Nevertheless they could not, for the French law gives almost absolute
power to parents. Mademoiselle would have no _dot_ unless her
father chose to give her one, and no French marriage is legal without
paternal consent or the almost disgraceful expedient of _sommations
respectueuses_. Mademoiselle threatened to enter a convent. Cafétier
assured her that no convent opens cordial doors to _dot_less girls.

Juliet was ready to defy all the Capulets when she had seen Romeo but
once; Corinne was ready to fling all her laurels at Oswald's feet at
their second interview; Rosamond Vincy planned her house-furnishing
during her second meeting with Lydgate; even Dorothea Brooke felt a
"trembling hope" the very next day after her first sight of Mr.
Casaubon. How, then, could one expect poor Clothilde to yield up her
undersized, thin-moustached, and very unheroic-looking Henri, having
seen him _four_ times?

There was one way out of her troubles,--that to which Alphonse Daudet's
and André Theuriet's people gravitate as needles to their pole. She
walked one dark midnight upon the jetty alone. Nobody saw the end; but
the next Sunday, three weeks to a day from the one when the two had
countermarched in matrimonial procession, Mademoiselle Clothilde was
laid in her grave.

The whole French social system revolves around the _dot_.

"How dare you speak to my father so!" I once heard a daughter reproach
her mother. "How dare you, who brought him no _dot_!"

"It is a pity Madame Marais has no more influence in her family," I
heard remarked in a social company. "It is a pity, for she is a good
woman, and her husband and sons are all going to the bad."

"Yes, it is a pity," answered another; "but, then, what else can she
expect? She brought no _dot_ into the family."

Once upon a time a young man made a friendly call upon a family in our
ville, he a distant relative of the family. He sat in the _salon_
with mother and daughter, when suddenly the mother was called away a
moment. When she returned, not more than two minutes later,--horror!
_she could not enter the room!_ In closing the door she had somehow
disarranged the handles; screws had dropped out and could not be found;
the knob would not turn. What a situation! A young girl shut up in a
locked room with a young man! What a scandal if the story got out in the
town! and what could the poor, distracted mamma do to release her
daughter from that damning situation without the knowledge of the
servants? She dared not even summon a locksmith, for locksmith tongues
are free; and who would not shoot out the lip at poor Jeanne, hearing
the miserable story at breakfast-tables to-morrow?

"You must marry Jeanne, _mon cousin_," cried mamma through the
keyhole.

"Impossible, _ma cousine_. You know I am _fiancé_," laughed
he.

Nevertheless he did!

For when papa heard that Jeanne had remained two whole hours shut up
with Cousin Pierre in a brilliantly-lighted _salon_, with a frantic
mother at the keyhole and all the servants grinning upon their knees
searching for the missing screws, he added twenty thousand francs to her
_dot_ on the spot, and Pierre wrote to his other _fiancée_ that he had
"changed his intentions."

"Mamma's _tapage_ was too funny," laughed Madame Pierre, telling me
this story herself. "Pierre and I laughed well on our side of the door,
although we were careful not to let maman hear us. For we had often been
alone together before when _nobody knew it_."

Which makes all the difference in the world in our ville, as well as
elsewhere.

Pierre's funny experience did not end with his betrothal. In relating
the adventure which follows, I wish it distinctly to be understood that
I do it in all respect, admiration, and reverence for the Church which
is the mother of all Churches calling themselves Christian. The Holy
Roman Catholic Church is no less holy that her servants are so often
base and vile and that her livery is so often stolen to serve evil in.
What wickedness and hypocrisy have we not in our own Protestant clergy,
and without even the tremendous excuse for it which the conditions of
European society give for the occasional levity of its priesthood! In
France the Church is a recognized profession, to which parents destine
and for which they educate their sons without waiting for them to
exhibit any special bias toward a religious life. In spite of
themselves, many young men are even forced into the priesthood, not only
by strong family influence, but through having been educated so as to be
absolutely unfitted for any other walk of life. With us the priesthood
is a matter of deliberate and perfectly voluntary choice, and he who
wears it as a cloak is ten thousand times the hypocrite his Catholic
brother is.

It happened that our _curé_ of Saint-Étienne was a jolly good
fellow, somewhat given to wine-bibbing, and much given to Rabelaisian
stories. He was also hail-fellow-well-met with Pierre, and Pierre, like
most of the young men of France, prided himself upon his entire freedom
from the "superstitious." Père Duhaut lived by teaching and preaching.

In France the church sacrament of marriage cannot be performed unless
both the contracting parties furnish certificates of having made
confession within three weeks. To secure his certificate it would be
necessary for Pierre to confess to the _curé_ of Saint-Étienne,
Père Duhaut.

"_I_ confess to Duhaut!" he laughed in our house. "I'll
be--what's-his-named first. Old Duhaut might as well confess to me. I
shall simply give him six francs and get my certificate without any more
ado, just as the other fellows get theirs."

That very afternoon Père Duhaut took tea with us, and Émile was mean
enough to betray Pierre's intentions.

"We'll see," said our _curé_.

The next day Pierre passed our windows. He bowed gayly, and called up
that he was going for his six francs' worth of ante-nuptial absolution.
An hour later he passed again, but he did not look up. In the evening
Père Duhaut came, bursting with laughter.

"Ask Pierre how he got his certificate," he guffawed. Then he told us
the story. Pierre, it seems, had offered the six francs, which offer the
confessor had rejected with scorn.

"In to the confessional," he cried, "and make your confession like a
penitent!"

"I'll make it fifteen," grinned Pierre.

"Not for a thousand. In! _in_!"

"Come, now, Duhaut, this is all humbug. You know I'm not penitent, and
I'll be---- if I'll confess to you."

Without more words, the burly priest seized the recalcitrant and grabbed
him by the neck, trying to force him into the confession-box. Pierre
resisted, and, as the _curé_ told us bursting with laughter, the
two wrestled and waltzed half around the church. Finally Pierre was
brought to his knees.

"_Eh bien, allez_! What am I to confess?" he grumbled.

"Every sin you have committed since your last confession."

How malicious was Père Duhaut in this! for he knew Pierre had not kept
the observances of the Church since he left home at seventeen, and had
not been an anchorite either.

"I'll make it an even hundred," begged the now exasperated yet humbled
Pierre. "Come, now, do be reasonable; that's a jolly old boy."

"Confess! confess!" roared the confessor, dealing the kneeling
impenitent a sounding cuff on the ear.

"Ask Pierre how he got his certificate," roared Père Duhaut.
"_Demandez-lui! Demandez-lui!_"

But we never did.

Until his grave received him, only a few weeks ago, a marked character
of our ville was a stooping old man, of a ghastly paleness, noted
through all the region for avarice and for speaking every one of his
many languages each with worse accent than the other. His Spanish
sounded like German, his German had the strongest possible American
accent, his English was vividly Teutonic, and after forty years of
marriage his Norman wife never ceased to mock at his atrociously-mouthed
French. He was wine-merchant and banker combined, and, though his social
position was among the best in our bourgeoise ville, all the world
smiled with the knowledge that the rich old _banquier_, whose nose
had a strong Hebraic curve, delivered his own merchandise at night from
under his long coat, in order to escape the tax on every bottle of wine
transported from one domicile to another.

The stately gate-post of "Père S----'s" pretentious and philistine
mansion is decorated with the coats-of-arms of several nations.
England's is there, Germany's, Spain's, Portugal's, as well as our own
Eagle; while upon days when our own exiled hearts beat most proudly--4th
of July and 22d of February--our star-spangled banner floats from his
roof-top as well as from our own, the only two, of course, in our ville.
Our ville, so important to us, has scarcely an existence for our home
government, and administrative changes there float over us like clouds
of heaven, without touching us in their changefulness. Thus Père S----,
though so courteous and cordial to Americans, has been long years
forgotten at Washington, whence every living servitor of the
administration that appointed him our consul here has long since passed
away forever. He was born in Pennsylvania, of German parents, nearly
eighty years ago. He received his appointment in 1837, and held it
through fourteen administrations since Van Buren, without ever returning
to America, till he faded away one little month ago and was buried in
the parish cemetery of Saint-Léonard by a Lutheran pastor brought over
for the occasion from Havre. No church-bells tolled for his death, and
the street-children did not go on their way singing, as they always do,
to the sound of funeral bells.

"_Viens, corps, ta fosse t'attend!_" for Pere S---- was a heretic,
and could not have slept in consecrated ground had he died before the
République Française removed religious restrictions from all
burial-places. All the consular corps in all the region round about
followed the old man to his long home, all our public buildings hung
their flags half-mast high, all our little world told queer stories of
the dead old man. But our own hearts grew tender with thoughts of this
life finished at fourscore years with its longing of almost half a
century unfulfilled. "Philip Nolan" we often called the old man, who
sometimes said to us, with yearning, pathetic voice,--

"I am an American; I am here only till I make my fortune. When I am rich
enough I shall go _Home_. I shall die and be buried at Home,--when
I am rich enough."

Temperament is Fate. Père S----'s temperament of Harpagon fated him to
die as he had lived,--a man without a country.

     MARGARET BERTHA WRIGHT.



THE PRIMITIVE COUPLE.

I.

PARADISE.


The island in Magog Lake was like a world by itself. Though there were
but fifteen or twenty acres of land in it, that land was so diversified
by dense woods, rocks, verdant open spots, and smooth shore-rims that it
seemed many places in one.

Adam's tent was set in the arena of an amphitheatre of hills, upon
close, smooth sward sloping down to the lake-margin of milk-white sand.
Beyond the lake stood up a picture as heavenly to man's vision as the
New Jerusalem appearing in the clouds.

This was a mountain bounded at the base by two spurs of the lake, and
clothed by a plumage of woods, except upon spaces near the centre of its
slope. Here green fields disclosed themselves and two farm-houses were
nested, basking in the light of a sky which deepened and deepened
through infinite blues.

Though it was high noon, dew yet remained upon the abundance of ferns
and rock-mosses on those heights around the camp. The tent stood open at
both ends, framing a triangular bit of lake-water and shore. Within it
were a table piled with books, an oval mirror hung over a toilet-stand,
garments suspended along a line, a small square rug overlying the sward,
and camp-chairs.

The two cots had been stripped of their blankets--which were out sunning
upon a pole--and set in the thickest shade, and upon one of these cots
Eva was stretched out, having a pillow under her head. Her dress was of
a green woollen stuff, and barely reached the instep of her low shoes. A
mighty bunch of trailing ferns, starred with furry azure flowers and
ox-eyed daisies, was fastened from her neck to her girdle. She had drawn
her broad sun-hat partly over the bewitching mystery of her eyes and
forehead, to keep the sky-glow at bay, but left space enough through
which to search the whole visible world, and her face was smiling with
pure joy. To be alive beside Lake Magog was sufficient; and she was both
alive and beloved.

She thought within herself how indescribable all this beauty was. A
pleasant wind smelling of world-old fern-loam fanned her. There were
neither mosquitoes nor flies to sting, and, had there been, Adam was
provided with a bottle of pennyroyal oil, wherewith he would anoint her
face and hands, kissing any lump planted there before he came to the
rescue.

Eva felt sure she never wanted to go back to civilization again. Days
and days of shining weather, fog-or dew-drenched in the morning,
wine-colored or opaline in the evening; cool, starry nights, so cool, so
dense with woods-shade that they drove her to hide her head in the
blankets under Adam's arm; glowing noons, when the world swam in
ecstasy; long pulls at the oars from point to point of this magic lake,
she holding the trolling-line at the stern of the boat, her husband
sometimes resting and leaning forward to get her smile at nearer range
upon his face; plunges into the warm lake-water in the afternoon when
time stood still in a trance of satisfaction:--what a honeymoon she was
having! Why should it ever end? There were responsible folks enough to
carry the world's work forward. Two people might be allowed to spend
their lives in paradise, if a change of seasons could only be prevented.
Anyhow, Eva was soaking up present joy. She half closed her eyes, and
whispered fragmentary words, feeling that her heart was a censer of
incense, swinging off clouds of thanksgiving at every beat.

Adam came from the spring with a dripping pail. A fret-work of cool
drops stood all over the tin surface, even when he set the pail beside
his heated stove. That water had been filtered through moss and pebbles
and chilled by overlaced boughs until its nature was glacial.

The cooking-stove stood quite apart from the tent, under a tree. Blue
woodsmoke escaped from its pipe and straight-way disappeared. A covered
pot was already steaming, and Adam filled and put the kettle to boil.
Not far from the stove was a stationary table, made of boards fastened
upon posts. The potato-cellar and the cold-chest were boxes sunk in the
ground. Some dippers, griddles, and pans hung upon nails driven in the
tree.

Adam spread the table with a red cloth, brought chairs from the tent,
and came and leaned over Eva's cot. He was a sandy-haired, blue-eyed,
hardy-looking Scotchman, gentlemanly in his carriage, and bearing upon
his visible character the stamp of Edinbro' colleges and of Calvinistic
sincerity. He wore the Highland cap or bonnet, a belted blouse,
knickerbockers, long gray stockings, and heavy-soled shoes.

"Well, Mrs. Macgregor," said Adam, giving the name a joyful burr in his
throat, "my sweethairt. I must have a look of your eyes before you taste
a bit of my baked muskalunge."

"Well, Mr. Macgregor. And will I get up and set the table and help put
on dinner?"

"No, my darling. It's all ready,--or all but a bit of fixing."

"I am so happy," said Eva, "so lazy and happy, it doesn't seem fair to
the rest of the world."

"There is at this time no rest of the world," responded Adam. "Nothing
has been created but an island and one man and woman. Do you belaive
me?"

"I would if I didn't see those farm-houses, and the boats occasionally
coming and going on the lake; yes, and if you didn't have to row across
there for butter and milk, and to Magog village for other supplies."

"That's a mere illusion. We live here on ambrosial distillations from
the rocks and muskalunge from the lake. I never came to Canada from old
Glazka town, and never saw Loch Achray, or Loch Lomond, or any body of
water save this, since I was created in God's image without any
knowledge of the catechism. And let me see a mon set foot on this
strond!"

"Oh, you inhospitable creature!"

"I but said let me see him."

"Yes, but I know what you meant. You meant you didn't want anybody."

"My wants are all satisfied, thank God," said Adam, lifting his cap. "I
have you, and the breath o' life, and the camp-outfit."

"And the mountains, and the lake, and the rocks, and the woods," added
Eva. "I never could have believed there were such sublime things in the
world if I hadn't seen them."

"Neither could I," owned the Scotchman. "Especially such a sublime thing
as me wife."

Eva struck at him, restraining her palm from bringing more than a pat
upon his cheek.

"How your little hand makes me tremble!" said Adam, drawing his breath
from chest-depths. "Will I ever grow to glimpse at you without having
the blood spurt quick from me hairt, or to touch you without this
faintness o' joy? And don't mock me wi' your eyes, bonnie wee one, for
it's bonnie wee one you'll be to me when you're a fat auld woman the
size of yonder mountain. And _that_ changes the laughter in your eyes."

"I didn't suppose you ever _could_ call me a fat old woman."

"I'll be an auld man then meself, me fiery locks powthered with ashes,
and my auld knees knocking one at the ither," laughed Adam.

    "But hand in hand we'll go,"
sang Eva,
    "And sleep thegither at the foot,
    Joh--n Ander--son, my jo--o."

"Oh, don't!" said Adam, with a sudden grasp on her wrist. "My God! one
must go first; and I could naither leave you nor close these eyes of
yours." He put his other hand across his eyelids, his lower features
wincing. "Sweetheart," said Adam, removing it, and taking her head
between his palms, "for what we have already received the Lord make us
duly thankful. And shut up about the rest. And there's grace said for
dinner: excepting I didn't uncover me head. Excuse me bonnet."

"Take off your ridiculous bonnet," said Eva, emerging from the eclipse
of a long kiss, "and drag me out of my web. If I am to be your helpmeet,
make me help."

"You naidn't lift a finger, my darling. I don't afford and won't have a
sairvant in the camp, so I should sairve you myself."

Passing over this argument, Eva crept up on the stretcher and had him
lift her to the ground. Her shape was very slender and elegant, and when
the two passed each an arm across the other's back to walk together
school-girl fashion, Adam's grasp sloped far downward. She did not quite
reach his shoulder.

They made coffee, and served up their dinner in various pieces of
pottery. The baked muskalunge was portioned upon two plates and
surrounded with stewed potato. Potatoes with scorched jackets, enclosing
their own utmost fragrance, also came out of the ashes. Adam poured
coffee for Eva into a fragile china cup, and coffee for himself into a
tin pint-measure. The sugar was in a glass fruit-jar, and the cream came
directly off a pan in the cold-box. They had pressed beef in slices,
chow-chow through the neck of the bottle, apricot jam in a little white
pot, baker's rolls, and a cracked platter heaped with wild strawberries.
Around the second point of Magog Island, down one whole stony hill-side,
those strawberries grew too thick for stepping. The hugest, most deadly
sweet of cultivated berries could not match them. You ate in them the
light of the sky and the ancient life of the mountain.

"I never was so hungry at home," said Eva, accepting a finely-done bit
of fish with which her lord fed her as a nestling. "Perhaps things taste
better eaten out of unmatched crockery and under a roof of leaves. I
wouldn't have a plate different in the whole camp."

"Nor would I," said Adam.

She looked across at the mountain-panorama, for, though stationary, it
was also forever changing, and the light of intense and burning noon was
different from the humid veil of morning.

"And yonder goes a sail," she tacked to the end of her
mountain-observations.

"Heaven speed it!" responded Adam, carrying his cup for a second filling
to the coffee-pot on the stove. "Will ye have a drop more?"

"Indeed, yes. I don't know how many drops more I shall drink. We get so
fierce and reckless about our victuals. Will it be the spirit of the old
counterfeiters who used to inhabit this island entering into us?"
suggested Eva, using the English-Canadian idiom of the western
provinces.

"Without doot. It was their custom never to let a body leave this strond
alive, and they can only hairm us by making us eat oursels to death."

"Nearly a hundred years ago, wasn't it, they lived here and made
counterfeit money and drew silly folks in to buy it of them? When I hear
the rocks all over this island sounding hollow like muffled drumming
under our feet, I scare myself thinking that gang may be hid hereabouts
yet and may come and peep into the tent some night."

"Behind them all the army of bones they drowned in Magog watther or
buried in the island," laughed Adam. "It's not for a few old ghosts we'd
take up our pans and kettles and move out of the Gairden of Eden. I'll
keep you safe from the counterfeiters, my darling, never fear."

"You said heaven speed that sail yonder; but the man has taken it down
and is rowing in here."

"Then he's an impudent loon. Who asked him?"

"The sight of our tent, very likely. And maybe it will be some friend of
ours, stopping at the Magog House. He wears a white helmet-hat; and
isn't that a yachting-suit of white flannel?"

"He comes clothed as an angel of light," said Adam.

They both watched the figure and the boat growing larger in perspective.
Features formed in the blur under the rower's hat; his individuality
sprung suddenly from a shape which a moment ago might have been any
man's.

"Oh, Adam, it will be Louis Satanette from Toronto," exclaimed Eva.

"And what's a Toronto man doing away up on Lake Magog?"

"What will a Glasgow man be doing away off here on Lake Magog?"

"Camping with his wife, and getting more religion than ever was taught
in the creeds."

"I'm not so sure of that, then."

"Because I don't love a Frenchman?"

"A French-Canadian. And a member of Parliament, too. Think of that at
his age! They say in Toronto he is one of the most promising men in the
provinces."

"Can he spear a salmon with a gaff, and does he know a pairch from a
lunge? And he couldn't be a Macgregor, anyhow, if he was first man in
Canada."

Eva laughed, and, forming her lips into a kiss, slyly impressed the same
upon the air, as if it could reach Adam through some invisible pneumatic
tube. He was not ashamed to make a return in kind; and, the boat being
now within their bay, they went down to the sand to meet it.



II.

FORBIDDEN FRUIT.


In spotless procession the days moved along until that morning on which
Adam dreamed his dream. He waked up trembling with joy and feeling the
tears run down his face. His watch ticked like the beating of a pulse
under his pillow, and he kept time to its rhythm with whispered words no
human ear would ever hear him utter with such rapture.

He had dreamed of breasting oceans and groping through darkness after
his wife until he was ready to die. Then, while he lay helpless, she
came to him and lifted him up in her arms. There was perfect and
unearthly union between them. His happiness became awful. He woke up
shaken by it as by a hand of infinite power.

Instead of turning toward her, he was still. Such experiences cannot be
told. The tongue falters and words limp when we try to repeat them to
the one beloved. A divine shame keeps us silent. Perhaps the glory of
that perfect love puts a halo around our common thoughts and actions for
days afterward, but no man or woman can fitly say, "I was in heaven with
you, my other soul, and the gladness was so mighty that I cried
helplessly long after I woke."

Adam kept his sleeve across his eyes. He had risked his life in many an
adventure without changing a pulse-beat, but now he was an infant in the
grasp of emotion.

When at last he cast a furtive glance at Eva's cot, she was not there.
She often slipped out in the early morning to drench herself with dew.
Once he had discovered her stooping on the sand, washing soiled clothes
in the lake. She clapped and rubbed the garments between soap and her
little fists. The sun was just coming up in the far northeast. Shapes of
mist gyrated slowly upward in the distance, and all the morning birds
were rushing about, full of eager business. Eva stopped her humming song
when she saw him, and laughed over her unusual employment. The first
time she ever washed clothes in her life she wanted to have Magog for
her tub and accomplish the labor on a vast and princess-like scale. Adam
helped her spread the wet things on bushes, and they both marvelled at
the bleached dazzle which the sun gave to those garments.

He did not move from the cot, hoping awhile that she might come in,
dew-footed, and yet kiss him. That clear shining of the face which one
sometimes observes in pure-minded devotees, or in young mothers over
their firstborn, gave him a look of nobility in the pallid shadow of the
tent.

He thought of all their days on the island, and, incidentally, of Louis
Satanette's frequent comings. The Frenchman was a beautiful, versatile
fellow. He sailed a boat, he swam, he fished knowingly, he sang like an
angel, leaning his head back against a tree to let the moonlight touch
up his ivory face and silky moustache and eyebrows. He had firm,
marble-white fingers, nicely veined, on which reckless exposure to sun
and wind had no effect, and the kindliest blue eyes that ever beamed
equal esteem upon man and woman. Sometimes this Satanette came in a
blue-flannel suit, the collar turned well back from the throat, and in a
broad straw hat wound with pink and white tarlatan. He looked like a
flower,--if any flower ever expressed along with its beauty the powerful
nerve of manliness.

Frequently he sailed out from Magog House and stayed all night on the
island, slinging his own hammock between trees. Then he and Adam rose
early and trolled for lunge in deep water under the cliff. In the
afternoon they all plunged into the lake, Eva swimming like a
cardinal-flower afloat. Adam was careful to keep near her, and finally
to help her into the boat, where she sat with her scarlet bathing-dress
shining in the sun and her drenched hair curling in an arch around her
face.

All these days flashed before Adam while he put a slow foot out on the
tent-rug.

There was nobody about the camp when he had made his morning toilet and
unclosed the tent-flaps, so he built a fire in the stove, hung the
bedding to sun, and set out the cots. A blueness which was not humid
filtered itself through the air everywhere, and fold upon fold of it
seemed rising from invisible censers on the mainland.

Eva hailed him from the lake. She came rowing across the sun's track.
The water was fresh and blue, glittering like millions of alternately
dull and burnished scales.

Adam drew the boat in and lifted her out, more tenderly but with more
reticence than usual.

"You don't know where I have been, laddie," exclaimed Eva. "Look at all
the fern and broken bushes in the boat; and I have my pocket sagged
down with gold-streaked quartz. I went around to the other side of the
island, where the counterfeiters' hole is, to look into it while the
morning sun on the lake threw a reflection."

"There's nothing wonderful to be seen there."

"How will we know that? The rocks sound hollow all about, and there may
be a great cavern full of counterfeiters' relics. Oh, Adam, I saw Louis
Satanette's sail!"

"He comes early this morn."

"I think he has been camping by himself over on the lake-shore. He says
we'll explore the counterfeiters' hole, and let us go directly after
breakfast."

"What is it worth the exploring?" said Adam. "Four rocks set on end, and
you crawl in on your hands and knees, look at the dark, and back out
again. It's but a burrow, and ends against the hill's heart of rock.
I've to row across yonder for the eggs and butter and milk."

The smoke rising from different points on the mainland kept sifting and
sifting until at high noon the air was pearl-gray. As if there was not
enough shadow betwixt him and the sun, Adam sat in his boat at the foot
of the cliff, where brown glooms never rose quite off the water. He
looked down until sight could pierce no farther, and, though a fish or
two glided in beautiful curves beneath his eye, he had no hook dropped
in as his excuse for loitering.

The eggs and butter and milk for which he had rowed across the lake were
covered with green leaves under one of the boat-benches.

Straight above him, mass on mass, rose those protruding ribs of the
earth, the rocks. He lay back in the boat's stern and gazed at their
summit of pinetrees and ferns. Bunches of gigantic ferns sprouted from
every crevice, and not a leaf of the array but was worth half a
lifetime's study. Yet Adam's eye wandered aimlessly over it all, as if
it gave him no pleasure. Nor did he seem to wish that a little figure
would bend from the summit, half swallowed in greenness and made a
vegetable mermaid from the waist downward, to call to him. He was so
haggard the freckles stood in bold relief upon his face and neck.

The hiss of a boat and the sound of row-locks failed to move him from
his listless attitude. He did, however, turn his eyes and set his jaws
in the direction of the passing oarsman. Louis Satanette was all in
white flannel, and flush-faced like a cream-pink rose with pleasant
exhilaration. He held his oars poised and let his boat run slowly past
Adam.

"What have you the matter?" he exclaimed, with sincere anxiety.

"Oh, it's naught," said Adam. "I'm just weary, weary."

"You have been gone a very, very long time," said Louis, using the
double Canadian adjective. "Mrs. Macgregor is on the lookout."

Adam thought of her when she was _not_ on the lookout. He also thought
of her tidying things about the camp in the morning, and singing as he
pulled from the bay. Perhaps she was on another sort of lookout then.

"I'll go in presently," he muttered.

"Beg pardon?" said Louis Satanette, bending forward, and giving the
upward inflection to that graceful Canadian phrase which asks a
repetition while implying that the fault is with the hearer.

"I said I'd go in presently. There's no hurry."

"Allow me to take you in," said Louis. "You have approached too close
to the altars of the sylvan gods, and their sacrificial smoke has
overcome you. Don't you see it rising everywhere from the woods?"

"The sylvan gods are none of my clan," remarked Adam, shifting his
position impatiently, "and it's little I know of them. There's a graat
dail of ignorance consailed aboot my pairson."

Louis Satanette laughed with enjoyment:

"Well, _au revoir_. I will put up my sail when I turn the points. It
will be a long run up the lakes, with this haze hanging and not wind
enough to lift it."

"Good-day to ye," responded Adam. "We'll likely shift camp before you're
this way."

"In so short a time?" exclaimed Louis.

"In so lang a time. I'm soul-sick of it. It's lone; it's heavy. The
fine's too great for the pleasure of the feight. Look, now,--there were
two rough laddies up Glazka way, in my country, and they came to fists
aboot a sweethairt, the fools. But when they are stripped and ready, one
hits the table wi's hond, and says he, 'Ay, Georgie, I'm wullin' to
feight ye, but wha's goin' to pay the fine?'"

Louis Satanette laughed again, but as if he did not know just what was
meant."

"It's a cautious mon, is the Scotchmon," said Adam, "but no' so slow,
after all."

"Oh, never slow!" said Louis. "Very, very fast indeed, to leave this
paradise in the midst of the summer."

"'Farewell to lovely Loch Achray,'" sighed Adam:
    "Where shall we find, in any land,
    So lone a lake, so sweet a strand?"

Louis made a sign of adieu and dipped his oars.

"It's only _au revoir_," said he, shooting past. "Be very, very far from
parting with Magog too early."

"'So lone a lake, so sweet a strand,'" repeated Adam, dropping his head
back against the stern.

He did not move while the sound of the other's oars died away behind
him. He did not move while the afternoon shadows spread far over the
water.

The long Canadian twilight advanced stage by stage. First, all Magog
flushed, as if a repetition of the old miracle had turned it to wine.
Then innumerable night-hawks uttered their four musical notes in endless
succession, upon the heights, down in the woods, from the mainland
mountain. The north star became discernible almost overhead. Then, with
slow and irregular strokes, Adam pulled away from the cliff, and brought
his keel to grate the sand in front of his tent.

Eva was sitting there on a rock, huddling a shawl around her.

"Oh, Adam Macgregor!" she began, in a low voice, "and do you condescend
to bring your wraith back to me at last?"

"It's nothing but my wraith," said Adam, lifting his eggs and butter and
milk, and stepping from the boat. "The mon in me died aboot noon."

Eva walked along by his side to the cool-box, where he deposited his
load.

"What is the matter with you, laddie, that you look and talk so
strangely?"

"Oh, naught," said Adam, turning and facing her. "I but saw you kissing
Louis Satanette on the hill to-day."



III.


THE FLAMING SWORD.

The changes which passed over her face were half concealed by the
twilight. She was grieved, indignant, and frightened, but over all other
expressions lurked the mischievous mirth of a bad child.

"I meant to tell you about it," she said.

"Hearken," said Adam, with a fierce stare. "I've stayed out on the lake
all day, and I'm quiet. At first I wasn't. But when he came by I gave
him nothing but a good word."

"I wish you'd scolded him instead of me," said Eva, propping her back
against the table and puckering her lips.

"_He_ did naught," said Adam, "but what any man would do that got lave.
It's you that gave him lave that are to blame."

"Don't be so serious about a little thing," put forth Eva. "We just
walked over to the counterfeiters' hole, and coming back we picked
strawberries, and he teased me like a girl, and caught hold of me and
kissed me. We've been such good friends in camp. I think it's this easy,
wild life made me do it."

"She'll blame the very sky over her instead of taking blame to
herself," ground out Adam from between his jaws. "I sat in me boat
below and saw you arch your head and look at him ways that I remember.
My God! why did you make this woman so false, and yet so sweet that a
mon canna help loving her in spite o' his teeth?"

"Because I'd die if folks didn't love me," burst out Eva, with a sob.
"And if men can't help loving me, what do you blame me for?"

"What right have you to breathe such a word when you're married to me?"

"But I'm not used to being married yet," pleaded Eva. "And I forgot,
this once."

"It's once and for all," said Adam, "You'll never be to me what you were
before. Is it the English-Canadian way to bring up women to kiss every
comer?"

"I didn't kiss anybody but Louis Satanette," maintained Eva, "and I
didn't really _want_ to kiss _him_"

"Never mind," said Adam. "Don't trouble your butterfly soul about it."
And he turned away and walked toward the tent.

"I'll not love you if you say such awful things to me," she flashed
after him.

"Ye can't take the breeks off a Hielandman," he replied, facing about,
"Ye never loved me. Not as I loved you. And it's no loss I've met, if I
could but think it."

"Oh, Adam!" Now she ran forward and caught him around the waist. "Don't
be so hard with me. I know I am very bad, but I didn't mean to be."

Some faint perception of that coarse fibre within her was breaking with
horror through her face. She held to his hands after he had separated
her from his person and held her off.

"All that you do still has its effect on me," said the man, gazing
sternly at her. "I love ye; but I despise myself for loving ye. This
morn I adored ye with reverence; this night you're as a bit o' that
earth."

Eva let go his hands and sat down on the ground. As he made his
preparations in the tent he could not help seeing with compassion how
abjectly her figure drooped. All its flexible proud lines, were suddenly
gone. She was dazed by his treatment and by the light in which he put
her trifling. She sat motionless until Adam came out with one of the
cots in his arms.

"I'm to sleep upon the hill in the pine woods to-night," said he. "Go
into the tent, and I'll fasten the flaps. You shan't be scared by
anything."

"Let me get in the boat and leave the island, if you can't breathe the
same air with me," said Eva. staggering up.

"No, I can't breathe the same air with ye to-night, but ye'll go into
the tent," said Adam, with authority.

"I'll not stay there," she rebelled. "I'll follow you. You don't know
what may be on this island."

"There can be nothing worse than what I've seen," said Adam; "and that's
done all the hairm it can do."

"Oh, Adam, are we both crazy?" the small creature burst out, weeping as
if her heart would break. "Don't go away and leave me so. I am not real
bad in my heart, I know I am not; and if you would be a little patient
with me and help me, I shall get over my silly ways. There is something
in me, you can depend upon, if I _did_ do that foolish thing. And my
mother didn't live long enough to train me, Adam; remember that. Won't
you please kiss me? My heart is breaking."

He put down the cot and took her by the shoulders, trembling as he did
so from head to foot:

"My wife, I belaive what you say. I'd give all the days remaining to me
if I could strain ye against my breast with the feeling I had this morn.
But there comes that sight. I never shall see the hill again, I never
shall see a spot of this island again, without seeing your mouth kissing
another man. Go into the tent. God knows I'd die before hairm should
come to you. But not to-night can I stay beside you. Or kiss you."

He carried her into the tent and put her on her bed. She had made all
the night-preparations herself, placing the pillows on both cots and
turning back the sun-sweetened blankets.

Adam left her sobbing, buttoned the tent-flaps outside, and placed a
barricade of kettles and pans which could not be touched without
disturbing him on the hill. Then, taking up his own bed, he marched off
through the ferns, edging his burden among dense boughs as he ascended.

When he had made the joints of his couch creak with many uneasy
turnings, had clinched at leaves, and started up to return to the tent,
only to check himself in the act as often as he started, he lost
consciousness in uneasy dreams rather than fell asleep.

He was smothering, and yet could not open his lips to gasp for a breath
of air. Then he was drowning: he gulped in vast sheets of water upon his
lungs. An alarm sounded from Eva's barricade. He heard the pans and
kettles clanging and her own voice in screams which pierced him, yet he
could not move. A nightmare of heat enveloped him; the smothering
element pouring upon his lungs was not water, but smoke; and he knew if
no effort of will could move his body to her rescue he must be perishing
himself.

After these brief sensations his existence was as blank as the empty
void outside the worlds, until his ears began to throb like drums, and
he felt water, like the tears he had shed in the morning, running all
over his face. Eva held him in her arms, and alternately kissed his head
and drenched it from the lake.

Moreover, he was in the boat, outside the bay, and their island glowed
like a furnace before his dazzled eyes.

Those pine woods where he had gone to sleep were roaring up toward
heaven in a column of fire. The tent was burning, all its interior
illuminated until every object showed its minutest lines. He thought he
saw some of Eva's dark hairs in an upturned hair-brush on the
wash-stand.

Fire ran along the cliff-edge and dropped hissing brands into the lake.
Old moss logs and pine-trees dry as tinder sent out sickening heat. The
light ran like a flash up the tree over their stove, and in an instant
its crown was wavering with flames. The grass itself caught here and
there, and in whatever direction the eye turned, new fires as
instantaneously sprang out to meet it.

Stumps blazed up like lighted altars, or like huge gas-jets suddenly
turned on. Adam saw one log lying endwise downhill, one side of which
was crumbling into coals of fierce and tremulous heat, while from the
other side still sprung unsinged a delicate tuft of ferns.

The smoke was driving straight upward in a quivering current, and in
Lake Magog's depths another island seemed to be on fire.

Sublime as the sight was, all these details impressed themselves on the
man in an instant, and he turned his face directly up toward the woman.

"Darling, your face looks blistered," said Adam.

"It feels blistered," replied Eva. "I'll put some water on it, now that
you've caught your breath again. I thought I could not get you out from
those burning trees."

"But you dragged me down the hill?"

"Yes, and then dipped you in the lake and pushed off with you in the
boat. I don't know how I did it. But here we are together."

Adam bathed her face carefully himself, and held her tight in his arms.
The unspeakable love of which he had dreamed, and the heat of the
burning island, seemed welding them together without other sign than the
fact.

Not a word was sighed out for forgiveness on either side. They held each
other and floated back into the lake. Adam took an oar and occasionally
paddled, without wholly releasing his hold of Eva.

"Don't you remember our fish's nest?" she whispered beside his neck. "I
wonder if the slim little silver thing is swimming around over the
gravel hollow, frightened by all this glare? I hope those overhanging
bushes won't catch fire and drop coals on her; for she's a silly
thing,--she might not want to dart out in deep water and lose her
unhatched family."

Adam smiled into his wife's eyes. He was quite singed, but did not know
it.

"Ay, burn," he spoke out exultantly, apostrophizing the island. "Burn up
our first home and all. It's worth it. We're the other side o' the world
of fire now. We've passed through it, and are afloat on the sea of
glass."

     M. H. CATHERWOOD.



PROBATION.


Full slow to part with her best gifts is Fate:
  The choicest fruitage comes not with the spring,
But still for summer's mellowing touch must wait,
  For storms and tears that seasoned excellence bring;
And Love doth fix his joyfullest estate
  In hearts that have been hushed 'neath Sorrow's brooding wing.
Youth sues to Fame: she coldly answers, "Toil!"
  He sighs for Nature's treasures: with reserve
Responds the goddess, "Woo them from the soil."
  Then fervently he cries, "Thee will I serve,--
Thee only, blissful Love." With proud recoil
  The heavenly boy replies, "To serve me well--deserve."

     FLORENCE EARLE COATES.



THE PIONEERS OF THE SOUTHWEST.

TWO PAPERS. II.


The route of Robertson lay over the great Indian war-path, which led, in
a southwesterly direction, from the valley of Virginia to the Cherokee
towns on the lower Tennessee, not far from the present city of
Chattanooga. He would, however, turn aside at the Tellico and visit
Echota, which was the home of the principal chiefs. While he is pursuing
his perilous way, it may be as well to glance for a moment at the people
among whom he is going at so much hazard.

The Cherokees were the mountaineers of aboriginal America, and, like
most mountaineers, had an intense love of country and a keen
appreciation of the beautiful in nature, as is shown by the poetical
names they have bequeathed to their rivers and mountains. They were
physically a fine race of men, tall and athletic, of great bravery and
superior natural intelligence. It was their military prowess alone that
enabled them to hold possession of the country they occupied against the
many warlike tribes by whom they were surrounded.

They had no considerable cities, or even villages, but dwelt in
scattered townships in the vicinity of some stream where fish and game
were found in abundance. A number of these towns, bearing the musical
names of Tallassee, Tamotee, Chilhowee, Citico, Tennassee, and Echota,
were at this time located upon the rich lowlands lying between the
Tellico and Little Tennessee Rivers. These towns contained a population,
in men, women, and children, estimated at from seven to eight thousand,
of whom perhaps twelve hundred were warriors. These were known as the
Ottari (or "among the mountains") Cherokees.

About the same number, near the head-waters of the Savannah, in the
great highland belt between the Blue Ridge and the Smoky Mountains, were
styled the Erati (or "in the valley") Cherokees. Another body (among
whom were many Creeks), nearly as large, and much more lawless than
either of the others, occupied towns lower down the Tennessee and in the
vicinity of Lookout Mountain. These, from their residence near the
stream of that name, were known as the Chickamaugas.

These various bodies were one people, governed by an Archimagus, or
King, who, with a supreme council of chiefs, which sat at Echota,
decided all important questions in peace or war. Under him were the
half-or vice-king and the several chiefs who governed the scattered
townships and together composed the supreme council. In them was lodged
the temporal power. Spiritual authority was of a far more despotic form
and character. It was vested in one person, styled the Beloved man or
woman of the tribe, who, over a people so superstitious as the
Cherokees, held a control that was wellnigh absolute. This person was
generally of superior intelligence, who, like the famous Prophet of the
Shawnees, officiated as physician, prophet, and intercessor with the
invisible powers; and, by virtue of the supernatural authority which he
claimed, he often by a single word decided the most important questions,
even when opposed by the king and the principal chiefs.

Echota was located on the northern bank of the Tellico, about five miles
from the ruins of Fort Loudon, and thirty southwest from the present
city of Knoxville. It was the Cherokee City of Refuge. Once within its
bounds, an open foe, or even a red-handed criminal, could dwell in peace
and security. The danger to an enemy was in going and returning. It is
related that an Englishman who, in self-defence, once slew a Cherokee,
fled to this sacred city to escape the vengeance of the kindred of his
victim. He was treated here with such kindness that after a time he
thought it safe to leave his asylum. The Indians warned him against the
danger, but he left, and on the following morning his body was found on
the outskirts of the town, pierced through and through with a score of
arrows.

About two hundred cabins and wigwams, scattered, with some order but at
wide intervals, along the bank of the river, composed the village. The
cabins, like those of the white settlers, were square and built of logs;
the wigwams were conical, with a frame of slender poles gathered
together at the top and covered with buffalo-robes, dressed and smoked
to render them impervious to the weather. An opening at the side formed
the entrance, and over it was hung a buffalo-hide, which served as a
door. The fire was built in the centre of the lodge, and directly
overhead was an aperture to let out the smoke. Here the women performed
culinary operations, except in warm weather, when such employments were
carried on outside in the open air. At night the occupants of the lodge
spread their skins and buffalo-robes on the ground, and then men, women,
and children, stretching themselves upon them, went to sleep, with their
feet to the fire. By day the robes were rolled into mats and made to
serve as seats. A lodge of ordinary size would comfortably house a dozen
persons; but two families never occupied one domicile, and, the
Cherokees seldom having a numerous progeny, not more than five or six
persons were often tenants of a single wigwam.

These rude dwellings were mostly strung along the two sides of a wide
avenue, which was shaded here and there with large oaks and poplars and
trodden hard with the feet of men and horses. At the back of each lodge
was a small patch of cleared land, where the women and the negro slaves
(stolen from the white settlers over the mountains) cultivated beans,
corn, and potatoes, and occasionally some such fruits as apples, pears,
and plums. All labor was performed by the women and slaves, as it was
considered beneath the dignity of an Indian brave to follow any
occupation but that of killing, either wild beasts in the hunt or
enemies in war. The house-lots were without fences, and not an enclosure
could be seen in the whole settlement, cattle and horses being left to
roam at large in the woods and openings.

In the centre of Echota, occupying a wide opening, was a circular,
tower-shaped structure, some twenty feet high and ninety in
circumference. It was rudely built of stout poles, plastered with clay,
and had a roof of the same material sloping down to broad eaves, which
effectually protected the walls from moisture. It had a wide entrance,
protected by two large buffalo-hides hung so as to meet together in the
middle. There were no windows, but an aperture in the roof, shielded by
a flap of skins a few feet above the opening, let out the smoke and
admitted just enough light to dissipate a portion of the gloom that
always shrouded the interior. Low benches, neatly made of cane, were
ranged around the circumference of the room. This was the great
council-house of the Cherokees. Here they met to celebrate the
green-corn dance and their other national ceremonials; and here the king
and half-king and the princes and head-men of the various towns
consulted together on important occasions, such as making peace or
declaring war.

At the time of which I write, several of the log cabins of Echota were
occupied by traders, adventurous white men who, tempted by the profit of
the traffic with the Cherokees, had been led to a more or less constant
residence among them. Their cabins contained their stock in
trade,--traps, guns, powder and lead, hatchets, looking-glasses,
"stroud," beads, scarlet cloth, and other trinkets, articles generally
of small cost, but highly prized by the red-men, and for which they gave
in exchange peltries of great value. The trade was one of slow returns,
but of great profits to the trader. And it was of about equal advantage
to the Indian; for with the trap or rifle he had gotten for a few skins
he was able to secure more game in a day than his bow and arrow and rude
"dead-fall" would procure for him in a month of toilsome hunting. The
traders were therefore held in high esteem among the Cherokees, who
encouraged their living and even marrying among them. In fact, such
alliances were deemed highly honorable, and were often sought by the
daughters of the most distinguished chiefs. Consequently, among the
trader's other chattels would often be found a dusky mate and a
half-dozen half-breed children; and this, too, when he had already a
wife and family somewhere in the white settlements.

These traders were an important class in the early history of the
country. Of necessity well acquainted with the various routes traversing
the Indian territory, and with the state of feeling among the savages,
and passing frequently to and fro between the Indian towns and the white
settlements, they were often enabled to warn the whites of intended
attacks, and to guide such hostile parties as invaded the Cherokee
territory. Though often natives of North Carolina or Virginia, and in
sympathy with the colonists, they were, if prudent of speech and
behavior, allowed to remain unmolested in the Indian towns, even when
the warriors were singing the war-song and brandishing the war-club on
the eve of an intended massacre of the settlers.

Living in Echota at this time was one of this class who, on account of
his great services to the colonists, is deserving of special mention.
His name was Isaac Thomas, and he is said to have been a native of
Virginia. He is described as a man about forty years of age, over six
feet in height, straight, long-limbed, and wiry, and with a frame so
steeled by twenty years of mountain-life that he could endure any
conceivable hardship. His features were strongly marked and regular, and
they wore an habitual expression of comic gravity; but on occasion his
dark, deep-set eye had been known to light up with a look of
unconquerable pluck and determination. He wore moccasins and
hunting-shirt of buckskin, and his face, neck, and hands, from long
exposure, had grown to be of the same color as that material. His
coolness and intrepidity had been shown on many occasions, and these
qualities, together with his immense strength, had secured him high
esteem among the Cherokees, who, like all uncivilized people, set the
highest value upon personal courage and physical prowess. It is related
that shortly before the massacre at Fort Loudon he interfered in a
desperate feud between two Cherokee braves who had drawn their tomahawks
to hew each other in pieces. Stepping between them, he wrenched the
weapons from their hands, and then, both setting upon him at once, he
cooled their heated valor by lifting one after the other into the air
and gently tossing him into the Tellico. Subsequently, one of these
braves saved his life at the Loudon massacre, at the imminent risk of
his own. If I were writing fiction, I might make of this man an
interesting character: as it is, it will be seen that facts hereinafter
related will fully justify the length of this description.

A wigwam, larger and more pretentious than most of the others in Echota,
stood a little apart from the rest, and not far from the council-house.
Like the others, it had a frame of poles covered with tanned skins; but
it was distinguished from them by a singular "totem,"--an otter in the
coils of a water-snake. Its interior was furnished with a sort of rude
splendor. The floor was carpeted with buffalo-hides and panther-skins,
and round the walls were hung eagles' tails, and the peltries of the
fox, the wolf, the badger, the otter, and other wild animals. From a
pole in the centre was suspended a small bag,--the mysterious
medicine-bag of the occupant. She was a woman who to this day is held in
grateful remembrance by many of the descendants of the early settlers
beyond the Alleghanies. Her personal appearance is lost to tradition,
but it is said to have been queenly and commanding. She was more than
the queen, she was the prophetess and Beloved Woman, of the Cherokees.

At this time she is supposed to have been about thirty-five years of
age. Her father was an English officer named Ward, but her mother was of
the "blood royal," a sister of the reigning half-king Atta-Culla-Culla.
The records we have of her are scanty, as they are of all her people,
but enough has come down to us to show that she had a kind heart and a
sense of justice keen enough to recognize the rights of even her
enemies. She must have possessed very strong traits of character to
exercise as she did almost autocratic control over the fierce and
wellnigh untamable Cherokees when she was known to sympathize with and
befriend their enemies the white settlers. Not long before the time of
which I am writing, she had saved the lives of two whites,--Jeremiah
Jack and William Rankin,--who had come into collision with a party of
Cherokees; and subsequently she performed many similar services to the
frontier people.

Other wigwams as imposing as that of Nancy Ward, and not far from the
council-house, were the habitations of the head-king Oconostota, the
half-king Atta-Culla-Culla, and the prince of Echota, Savanuca,
otherwise called the Raven. Of these men it will be necessary to say
more hereafter: here I need only remark that they have now gathered in
the council-house, with many of the principal warriors and head-men of
the Ottari Cherokees, and that the present fate of civilization in the
Southwest is hanging on their deliberations.

They are of a gigantic race, and none of those at this conclave, except
Atta-Culla-Culla, are less than six feet in height "without their
moccasins." Squatted as they are gravely around the council-fire, they
present a most picturesque appearance. Among them are the
Bread-Slave-Catcher, noted for his exploits in stealing negroes; the
Tennassee Warrior, prince of the town of that name; Noon-Day, a
wide-awake brave; Bloody Fellow, whose subsequent exploits will show the
appropriateness of his name; Old Tassell, a wise and reasonably just
old man, afterward Archimagus; and John Watts, a promising young
half-breed, destined to achieve eminence in slaughtering white people.

As one after another of them rises to speak, the rest, with downcast
eyes and cloudy visages, listen with silent gravity, only now and then
expressing assent by a solitary "Ugh!"

There is strong, though suppressed, passion among them; but it is
passion under the control of reason. Whatever they decide to do will be
done without haste, and after a careful weighing of all the
consequences. In the midst of their deliberations the rapid tread of a
horse's feet is heard coming up the long avenue. The horseman halts
before the council-house, and soon the buffalo-hide parts in twain, and
a tall young warrior, decorated with eagles' feathers and half clad in
the highest style of Cherokee fashion, enters the door-way. He stands
silent, motionless, not moving a pace beyond the entrance, till
Oconostota, raising his eyes and lifting his huge form into an erect
posture, bids him speak and make known his errand.

The young brave explains that the chief of the pale-faces has come down
the great war-path to an outlying town to see the head-men of the
Ottari. The warriors have detained him till they can know the will of
their father the Archimagus.

The answer is brief: "Let him come. Oconostota will hear him."

And now an hour goes by, during which these grave chiefs sit as silent
and motionless as if keeping watch around a sepulchre. At its close the
tramp of a body of horsemen is heard, and soon Robertson, escorted by a
score of painted warriors, enters the council-chamber. Like the rest,
the new-comers are of fine physical proportions; and, as the others rise
to their feet and all form in a circle about him, Robertson, who stands
only five feet nine inches and is not so robust as in later years, seems
like a pygmy among giants. Yet he is as cool, as collected, as
apparently unconscious of danger, as if every one of those painted
savages (when aroused, red devils) was his near friend or
blood-relation. The chiefs glance at him, and then at one another, with
as much wonderment in their eyes as was ever seen in the eyes of a
Cherokee. They know he is but one man and they twelve hundred, and that
by their law of retaliation his life is forfeit; and yet he stands
there, a look of singular power on his face, as if not they but he were
master of the situation. They have seen physical bravery; but this is
moral courage, which, when a man has a great purpose, lifts him above
all personal considerations and makes his life no more to him than the
bauble he wears upon his finger.

Robertson waits for the others to speak, and there is a short pause
before the old chief breaks the silence. Then, extending his hand to
Robertson, he says, "Our white brother is welcome. We have eaten of his
venison and drunk of his fire-water. He is welcome. Let him speak.
Oconostota will listen."

The white man returns cordially the grasp of the Indian; and then, still
standing, while all about him seat themselves on the ground, he makes
known the object of his coming. I regret I cannot give here his exact
answer, for all who read this would wish to know the very words he used
on this momentous occasion. No doubt they were, like all he said, terse,
pithy, and in such scriptural phrase as was with him so habitual. I know
only the substance of what he said, and it was as follows: that the
young brave had been killed by one not belonging to the Watauga
community; that the murderer had fled, but when apprehended would be
dealt with as his crime deserved; and he added that he and his
companion-settlers had come into the country desiring to live in peace
with all men, but more especially with their near neighbors the brave
Cherokees, with whom they should always endeavor to cultivate relations
of friendliness and good-fellowship.

The Indians heard him at first with silent gravity, but, as he went on,
their feelings warmed to him, and found vent in a few expressive
"Ughs!" and when he closed, the old Archimagus rose, and, turning to the
chiefs, said, "What our white brother says is like the truth. What say
my brothers? are not his words good?"

The response was, "They are good."

A general hand-shaking followed; and then they all pressed Robertson to
remain with them and partake of their hospitality. Though extremely
anxious to return at once with the peaceful tidings, he did so, and thus
converted possible enemies into positive friends; and the friendship
thus formed was not broken till the outbreak of the Revolution.

While Robertson had been away, Sevier had not been idle. He had put
Watauga into the best possible state of defence. With the surprising
energy that was characteristic of him, he had built a fort and gathered
every white settler into it or safe within range of its muskets. His
force was not a hundred strong; but if Robertson had been safely out of
the savage hold, he might have enjoyed a visit from Oconostota and his
twelve hundred Ottari warriors.

The fort was planned by Sevier, who had no military training except such
as he had received under his patron and friend Lord Dunmore. Though rude
and hastily built, it was a model of military architecture, and in the
construction of it Sevier displayed such a genius for war as readily
accounts for his subsequent achievements.

It was located on Gap Creek, about half a mile northeast of the Watauga,
upon a gentle knoll, from about which the trees, and even stumps, were
carefully cleared, to prevent their sheltering a lurking enemy. The
buildings have now altogether crumbled away; but the spot is still
identified by a few graves and a large locust-tree,--then a slender
sapling, now a burly patriarch, which has remained to our day to point
out the spot where occurred the first conflict between civilization and
savagery in the new empire beyond the Alleghanies. For the conflict was
between those two forces; and the forts along the frontier--of which
this at Watauga was the original and model--were the forerunners of
civilization,--the "voice crying in the wilderness," announcing the
reign of peace which was to follow.

The fort covered a parallelogram of about an acre, and was built of log
cabins placed at intervals along the four sides, the logs notched
closely together, so that the walls were bullet-proof. One side of the
cabins formed the exterior of the fort, and the spaces between them were
filled with palisades of heavy timber, eight feet long, sharpened at the
ends, and set firmly into the ground. At each of the angles was a
block-house, about twenty feet square and two stories high, the upper
story projecting about two feet beyond the lower, so as to command the
sides of the fort and enable the besieged to repel a close attack or any
attempt to set fire to the buildings. Port-holes were placed at suitable
distances. There were two wide gate-ways, constructed to open quickly to
permit a sudden sally or the speedy rescue of outside fugitives. On one
of these was a lookout station, which commanded a wide view of the
surrounding country. The various buildings would comfortably house two
hundred people, but on an emergency a much larger number might find
shelter within the enclosure.

The fort was admirably adapted to its design, and, properly manned,
would repel any attack of fire-arms in the hands of such desultory
warriors as the Indians. In the arithmetic of the frontier it came to be
adopted as a rule that one white man behind a wall of logs was a match
for twenty-five Indians in the open field; and subsequent events showed
this to have been not a vainglorious reckoning.

There were much older men at Watauga than either Sevier or
Robertson,--one of whom was now only twenty-eight and the other
thirty,--but they had from the first been recognized as natural leaders.
These two events--the building of the fort and the Cherokee mission,
which displayed Sevier's uncommon military genius and Robertson's
ability and address as a negotiator--elevated them still higher in the
regard of their associates, and at once the cares and responsibilities
of leadership in both civil and military affairs were thrust upon them.
But Sevier, with a modesty which he showed throughout his whole career,
whenever it was necessary that one should take precedence of the other,
always insisted upon Robertson's having the higher position; and so it
was that in the military company which was now formed Sevier, who had
served as a captain under Dunmore, was made lieutenant, while Robertson
was appointed captain.

The Watauga community had been till now living under no organized
government. This worked very well so long as the newly-arriving
immigrants were of the class which is "a law unto itself;" but when
another class came in,--men fleeing from debt in the older settlements
or hoping on the remote and inaccessible frontier to escape the penalty
of their crimes,--some organization which should have the sanction of
the whole body of settlers became necessary. Therefore, speaking in the
language of Sevier, they, "by consent of the people, formed a court,
taking the Virginia laws as a guide, as near as the situation of affairs
would admit."

The settlers met in convention at the fort, and selected thirteen of
their number to draft articles of association for the management of the
colony. From these thirteen, five (among whom were Sevier and Robertson)
were chosen commissioners, and to them was given power to adjudicate
upon all matters of controversy and to adopt and direct all measures
having a bearing upon the peace, safety, good order, and well-being of
the community. By them, in the language of the articles, "all things
were to be settled."

These articles of association were the first compact of civil government
anywhere west of the Alleghanies. They were adopted in 1772, three years
prior to the association formed for Kentucky "under the great elm-tree
outside of the fort at Boonesboro." The simple government thus
established was sufficient to secure good order in the colony for
several years following.

Now ensued four more years of uninterrupted peace and prosperity, during
which the settlement increased greatly in numbers and extended its
borders in all directions. The Indians, true to their pledges to
Robertson, continued friendly, though suffering frequently from the
depredations of lawless white men from the old settlements. These were
reckless, desperate characters, who had fled from the order and law of
established society to find freedom for unbridled license in the new
community. Driven out by the Watauga settlers, they herded together in
the wilderness, where they subsisted by hunting and fishing and preying
upon the now peaceable Cherokees. They were an annoyance to both the
peaceable white man and the red; but at length, when the Indians showed
feelings of hostility, they became a barrier between the savages and the
industrious cultivators of the soil, and thus unintentionally
contributed to the well-being of the Watauga community.

No event materially affecting the interests of the colony occurred
during the four years following Robertson's visit to the Cherokees at
Echota. The battles of Lexington and Concord had been fought, but the
shot which was "heard round the world" did not echo till months
afterward in that secluded hamlet on the Watauga. But when it did
reverberate amid those old woods, every backwoodsman sprang to his feet
and asked to be enrolled to rush to the rescue of his countrymen on the
seaboard. His patriotism was not stimulated by British oppression, for
he was beyond the reach of the "king's minions." He had no grievances to
complain of, for he drank no tea, used no stamps, and never saw a
tax-gatherer. It was the "glorious cause of liberty," as Sevier
expressed it, which called them all to arms to do battle for freedom and
their countrymen.

"A company of fine riflemen was accordingly enlisted, and embodied at
the expense and risque of their private fortunes, to act in defence of
the common cause on the sea-shore."[001] But before the volunteers could
be despatched over the mountains it became apparent that their services
would be needed at home for the defence of the frontier against the
Indians.

Through the trader Isaac Thomas it soon became known to the settlers
that Cameron, the British agent, was among the Cherokees, endeavoring to
incite them to hostilities against the Americans. At first the Indians
resisted the enticements--the hopes of spoil and plunder and the
recovery of their hunting-grounds--which Cameron held out to them. They
could not understand how men of the same race and language could be at
war with one another. It was never so known in Indian tradition. But
soon--late in 1775--an event occurred which showed that the virus spread
among them by the crafty Scotchman had begun to work, at least with the
younger braves, and that it might at any moment break out among the
whole nation. A trader named Andrew Grear, who lived at Watauga, had
been at Echota. He had disposed of his wares, and was about to return
with the furs he had taken in exchange, when he perceived signs of
hostile feeling among some of the young warriors, and on his return,
fearing an ambuscade on the great war-path, he left it before he reached
the crossing at the French Broad, and went homeward by a less-frequented
trail along the Nolachucky. Two other traders, named Boyd and Dagget,
who left Echota on the following day, pursued the usual route, and were
waylaid and murdered at a small stream which has ever since borne the
name of Boyd's Creek. In a few days their bodies were found, only half
concealed in the shallow water; and as the tidings flew among the
scattered settlements they excited universal alarm and indignation.

The settlers had been so long at peace with the Cherokees that they had
been lulled into a false security; but, the savage having once tasted
blood, they knew his appetite would "grow by what it fed on," and they
prepared for a deadly struggle with an enemy of more than twenty times
their number. The fort at Watauga was at once put into a state of
efficient defence, smaller forts were erected in the centre of every
scattered settlement, and a larger one was built on the frontier, near
the confluence of the north and south forks of the Holston River, to
protect the more remote settlements. This last was called Fort Patrick
Henry, in honor of the patriotic governor of Virginia. The one at
Watauga received the name of Fort Lee.

All the able-bodied males sixteen years of age and over were enrolled,
put under competent officers, and drilled for the coming struggle. But
the winter passed without any further act of hostility on the part of
the disaffected Cherokees. The older chiefs, true to their pledges to
Robertson, still held back, and were able to restrain the younger
braves, who thirsted for the conflict from a passion for the excitement
and glory they could find only in battle.

Nancy Ward was in the secrets of the Cherokee leaders, and every word
uttered in their councils she faithfully repeated to the trader Isaac
Thomas, who conveyed the intelligence personally or by trusty messengers
to Sevier and Robertson at Watauga. Thus the settlers were enabled to
circumvent the machinations of Cameron until a more powerful enemy
appeared among the Cherokees in the spring of 1776. This was John
Stuart, British superintendent of Southern Indian affairs, a man of
great address and ability, and universally known and beloved among all
the Southwestern tribes. Fifteen years before, his life had been saved
at the Fort Loudon massacre by Atta-Culla-Culla, and a friendship had
then been contracted between them which now secured the influence of the
half-king in plunging the Cherokees into hostilities with the settlers.

The plan of operations had been concerted between Stuart and the
British commander-in-chief, General Gage. It was for a universal rising
among the Creeks, Chickasaws, Cherokees, and Shawnees, who were to
invade the frontiers of Georgia, Virginia, and the Carolinas, while
simultaneously a large military and naval force under Sir Peter Parker
descended upon the Southern seaboard and captured Charleston. It was
also intended to enlist the co-operation of such inhabitants of the back
settlements as were known to be favorable to the British. Thus the
feeble colonists were to be not only encircled by a cordon of fire, but
a conflagration was to be lighted which should consume every patriot's
dwelling. It was an able but pitiless and bloodthirsty plan, for it
would let loose upon the settler every savage atrocity and make his
worst foes those of his own household. If successful, it would have
strangled in fire and blood the spirit of independence in the Southern
colonies.

That it did not succeed seems to us, who know the means employed to
thwart it, little short of a miracle. Those means were the four hundred
and forty-five raw militia under Moultrie, who, behind a pile of
palmetto logs, on the 28th of June, 1776, repulsed Sir Peter Parker in
his attack on Sullivan's Island in the harbor of Charleston, South
Carolina, and the two hundred and ten "over-mountain men," under Sevier,
Robertson, and Isaac Shelby, who beat back, on the 20th and 21st of
July, the Cherokee invasion of the western frontier.

As early as the 30th of May, Sevier and Robertson were apprised by their
faithful friend Nancy Ward of the intended attack, and at once they sent
messengers to Colonel Preston, of the Virginia Committee of Safety, for
an additional supply of powder and lead and a reinforcement of such men
as could be spared from home-service. One hundred pounds of powder and
twice as much lead, and one hundred militiamen, were despatched in
answer to the summons. The powder and lead were distributed among the
stations, and the hundred men were sent to strengthen the garrison of
Fort Patrick Henry, the most exposed position on the frontier. The
entire force of the settlers was now two hundred and ten, forty of whom
were at Watauga under Sevier and Robertson, the remainder at and near
Fort Patrick Henry under no less than six militia captains, no one of
whom was bound to obey the command of any of the others. This
many-headed authority would doubtless have worked disastrously to the
loosely-jointed force had there not been in it as a volunteer a young
man of twenty-five who in the moment of supreme danger seized the
absolute command and rallied the men to victory. His name was Isaac
Shelby, and this was the first act in a long career in the whole of
which "he deserved well of his country."

Thus, from the 30th of May till the 11th of July the settlers slept with
their rifles in their hands, expecting every night to hear the Indian
war-whoop, and every day to receive some messenger from Nancy Ward with
tidings that the warriors were on the march for the settlements. At last
the messengers came,--four of them at once,--as we may see from the
following letter, in which Sevier announces their arrival to the
Committee of Safety of Fincastle County, Virginia:

     "FORT LEE, July 11, 1776.

     DEAR GENTLEMEN,--Isaac Thomas, William Falling, Jarot Williams, and
     one more, have this moment come in, by making their escape from the
     Indians, and say six hundred Indians and whites were to start for
     this fort, and intend to drive the country up to New River before
     they return.

     JOHN SEVIER."

He says nothing of the feeble fort and his slender garrison of only
forty men; he shows no sign of fear, nor does he ask for aid in the
great peril. The letter is characteristic of the man, and it displays
that utter fearlessness which, with other great qualities, made him the
hero of the Border. The details of the information brought by Thomas to
Sevier and Robertson showed how truthfully Nancy Ward had previously
reported to them the secret designs of the Cherokees. The whole nation
was about to set out upon the war-path. With the Creeks they were to
make a descent upon Georgia, and with the Shawnees, Mingoes, and
Delawares upon Kentucky and the exposed parts of Virginia, while seven
hundred chosen Ottari warriors were to fall upon the settlers on the
Watauga, Holston, and Nolachucky. This last force was to be divided into
two bodies of three hundred and fifty each, one of which, under
Oconostota, was to attack Fort Watauga; the other, under Dragging-Canoe,
head-chief of the Chickamaugas, was to attempt the capture of Fort
Patrick Henry, which they supposed to be still defended by only about
seventy men. But the two bodies were to act together, the one supporting
the other in case it should be found that the settlers were better
prepared for defence than was anticipated. The preparation for the
expedition Thomas had himself seen: its object and the points of attack
he had learned from Nancy Ward, who had come to his cabin at midnight on
the 7th of July and urged his immediate departure. He had delayed
setting out till the following night, to impart his information to
William Falling and Jarot and Isaac Williams, men who could be trusted,
and who he proposed should set out at the same time, but by different
routes, to warn the settlements, so that in case one or more of them was
waylaid and killed the others might have a chance to get through in
safety. However, at the last moment the British agent Cameron had
himself disclosed the purpose of the expedition to Falling and the two
brothers Williams, and detailed them with a Captain Guest to go along
with the Indians as far as the Nolachucky, when they were to scatter
among the settlements and warn any "king's men" to join the Indians or
to wear a certain badge by which they would be known and protected in
any attack from the savages. These men had set out with the Indians, but
had escaped from them during the night of the 8th, and all had arrived
at Watauga in safety.

Thomas and Falling were despatched at once with the tidings into
Virginia, the two Williamses were sent to warn the garrison at Fort
Patrick Henry, and then the little force at Watauga furbished up their
rifles and waited in grim expectation the coming of Oconostota.

But the garrison at Fort Patrick Henry was the first to have tidings
from the Cherokees. Only a few men were at the fort, the rest being
scattered among the outlying stations, but all were within
supporting-distance. On the 19th of July the scouts came in and reported
that a large body of Indians was only about twenty miles away and
marching directly upon the garrison. Runners were at once despatched to
bring in the scattered forces, and by nightfall the one hundred and
seventy were gathered at the fort, ready to meet the enemy. Then a
council of war was held by the six militia captains to determine upon
the best plan of action. Some were in favor of awaiting the attack of
the savages behind the walls of the fort, but one of them, William
Cocke, who afterward became honorably conspicuous in the history of
Tennessee, proposed the bolder course of encountering the enemy in the
open field. If they did not, he contended that the Indians, passing them
on the flank, would fall on and butcher the defenceless women of the
settlements in their rear.

It was a step of extreme boldness, for they supposed they would
encounter the whole body of seven hundred Cherokees; but it was
unanimously agreed to, and early on the following morning the little
army, with flankers and an advance guard of twelve men, marched out to
meet the enemy. They had not gone far when the advance guard came upon a
force of about twenty Indians. The latter fled, and the whites pursued
for several miles, the main body following close upon the heels of the
advance, but without coming upon any considerable force of the enemy.
Then, being in a country favorable to an ambuscade, and the evening
coming on, they held a council and decided to return to the fort.

They had not gone upward of a mile when a large force of the enemy
appeared in their rear. The whites wheeled about at once, and were
forming into line, when the whole body of Indians rushed upon them with
great fury, shouting, "The Unacas are running! Come on! scalp them!"
They attacked simultaneously the centre and left flank of the whites;
and then was seen the hazard of going into battle with a many-headed
commander. For a moment all was confusion, and the companies in
attempting to form in the face of the impetuous attack were being
broken, when Isaac Shelby rushed to the front and ordered each company a
few steps to the rear, where they should reform, while he, with
Lieutenant Moore, Robert Edmiston, and John Morrison, and a private
named John Findlay,--in all five men,--should meet the onset of the
savages. Instantly the six captains obeyed the command, recognizing in
the volunteer of twenty-five their natural leader, and then the battle
became general. The Indians attacked furiously, and for a few moments
those five men bore the brunt of the assault. With his own hand Robert
Edmiston slew six of the more forward of the enemy, Morrison nearly as
many, and then Moore became engaged in a desperate hand-to-hand fight
with an herculean chieftain of the Cherokees. They were a few paces in
advance of the main body, and, as if by common consent, the firing was
partly suspended on both sides to await the issue of the conflict.
"Moore had shot the chief, wounding him in the knee, but not so badly as
to prevent him from standing. Moore advanced toward him, and the Indian
threw his tomahawk, but missed him. Moore sprung at him with his large
butcher-knife drawn, which the Indian caught by the blade and attempted
to wrest from the hand of his antagonist. Holding on with desperate
tenacity to the knife, both clinched with their left hands. A scuffle
ensued, in which the Indian was thrown to the ground, his right hand
being nearly dissevered, and bleeding profusely. Moore, still holding
the handle of his knife in the right hand, succeeded with the other in
disengaging his own tomahawk from his belt, and ended the strife by
sinking it in the skull of the Indian. Until this conflict was ended,
the Indians fought with unyielding spirit. After its issue became known,
they retreated."[002] "Our men pursued in a cautious manner, lest they
might be led into an ambuscade, hardly crediting their own senses that
so numerous a foe was completely routed. In this miracle of a battle we
had not a man killed, and only five wounded, who all recovered. But the
wounded of the enemy died till the whole loss in killed amounted to
upward of forty."[003]

As soon as this conflict was over, a horseman was sent off to Watauga
with tidings of the astonishing victory. "A great day's work in the
woods," was Sevier's remark when speaking subsequently of this battle.

Meanwhile, Oconostota, with his three hundred and fifty warriors, had
followed the trail along the Nolachucky, and on the morning of the 20th
had come upon the house of William Bean, the hospitable entertainer of
Robertson on his first visit to Watauga, Bean himself was at the fort,
to which had fled all the women and children in the settlement, but his
wife had preferred to remain at home. She had many friends among the
Indians, and she felt confident they would pass her without molestation.
She was mistaken. They took her captive, and removed her to their
station-camp on the Nolachucky. There a warrior pointed his rifle at
her, as if to fire; but Oconostota threw up the barrel and began to
question her as to the strength of the whites. She gave him misleading
replies, with which he appeared satisfied, for he soon told her she was
not to be killed, but taken to their towns to teach their women how to
manage a dairy.

Those at the fort knew that Oconostota was near by on the Nolachucky,
but he had deferred the attack so long that they concluded the wary and
cautious old chief was waiting to be reinforced by the body under
Dragging-Canoe, which had gone to attack Fort Patrick Henry. News had
reached them of Shelby's victory, and, as it would be some time before
the broken Cherokees could rally and join Oconostota, they were in no
apprehension of immediate danger. Accordingly, they went about their
usual vocations, and so it happened that a number of the women ventured
outside the fort as usual to milk the cows on the morning of the 21st of
July. Among them was one who was destined to occupy for many years the
position of the "first lady in Tennessee."

Her name was Catherine Sherrell, and she was the daughter of Samuel
Sherrell, one of the first settlers on the Watauga. In age she was
verging upon twenty, and she was tall, straight as an arrow, and lithe
as a hickory sapling. I know of no portrait of her in existence, but
tradition describes her as having dark eyes, flexible nostrils, regular
features, a clear, transparent skin, a neck like a swan, and a wealth of
wavy brown hair, which was a wonder to look at and was in striking
contrast to the whiteness of her complexion. A free life in the open air
had made her as supple as an eel and as agile as a deer. It was said
that, encumbered by her womanly raiment, she had been known to place one
hand upon a six-barred fence and clear it at a single bound. And now her
agility was to do her essential service.

While she and the other women, unconscious of danger, were "coaxing the
snowy fluid from the yielding udders of the kine," suddenly the
war-whoop sounded through the woods, and a band of yelling savages
rushed out upon them. Quick as thought the women turned and darted for
the gate of the fort; but the savages were close upon them in a
neck-and-neck race, and Kate, more remote than the rest, was cut off
from the entrance. Seeing her danger, Sevier and a dozen others opened
the gate and were about to rush out upon the savages, hundreds of whom
were now in front of the fort; but Robertson held them back, saying they
could not rescue her, and to go out would insure their own destruction.
At a glance Kate took in the situation. She could have no help from her
friends, and the tomahawk and scalping-knife were close behind her.
Instantly she turned, and, fleeter than a deer, made for a point in the
stockade some distance from the entrance. The palisades were eight feet
high, but with one bound she reached the top, and with another was over
the wall, falling into the arms of Sevier, who for the first time called
her his "bonnie Kate," his "brave girl for a foot-race." The other women
reached the entrance of the fort in safety.

Then the baffled savages opened fire, and for a full hour it rained
bullets upon the little enclosure. But the missiles fell harmless: not a
man was wounded. Driven by the light charges the Indians were accustomed
to use, the bullets simply bounded off from the thick logs and did no
damage. But it was not so with the fire of the besieged. The order was,
"Wait till you see the whites of your enemies' eyes, and then make sure
of your man." And so every one of those forty rifles did terrible
execution.

For twenty days the Indians hung about the fort, returning again and
again to the attack; but not a man who kept within the walls was even
wounded. It was not so with a man and a boy who, emboldened by a few
days' absence of the Indians, ventured outside to go down to the river.
The man was scalped on the spot; the boy was taken prisoner, and
subjected to a worse fate in one of the Indian villages. His name was
Moore, and he was a younger brother of the lieutenant who fought so
bravely in the battle near Fort Patrick Henry.

At last, baffled and dispirited, the Indians fell back to the Tellico.
They had lost about sixty killed and a larger number wounded, and they
had inflicted next to no damage upon the white settlers. They were
enraged beyond bounds and thirsting for vengeance. Only two prisoners
were in their power; but on them they resolved to wreak their extremest
tortures. Young Moore was taken to the village of his captor, high up in
the mountains, and there burned at a stake. A like fate was determined
upon for good Mrs. Bean, the kindly woman whose hospitable door had ever
been open to all, white man or Indian. Oconostota would not have her
die; but Dragging-Canoe insisted that she should be offered up as a
sacrifice to the _manes_ of his fallen warriors; and the head-king was
not powerful enough to prevent it.

She was taken to the summit of one of the burial-mounds,--those relics
of a forgotten race which are so numerous along the banks of the
Tellico. She was tied to a stake, the fagots were heaped about her, and
the fire was about to be lighted, when suddenly Nancy Ward appeared
among the crowd of savages and ordered a stay of the execution.
Dragging-Canoe was a powerful brave, but not powerful enough to combat
the will of this woman. Mrs. Bean was not only liberated, but sent back
with an honorable escort to her husband.

The village in which young Moore was executed was soon visited by Sevier
with a terrible retribution; and from that day for twenty years his name
was a terror among the Cherokees.

Before many months there was a wedding in the fort at Watauga. It was
that of John Sevier and the "bonnie Kate," famous to this day for
leaping stockades and six-barred fences. He lived to be twelve years
governor of Tennessee and the idol of a whole people. She shared all his
love and all his honors; but in her highest estate she was never ashamed
of her lowly days, and never tired of relating her desperate leap at
Watauga; and, even in her old age, she would merrily add, "I would make
it again--every day in the week--for such a husband."

     EDMUND KIRKE.



A PLEASANT SPIRIT.


It was drawing toward nine o'clock, and symptoms of closing for the
night were beginning to manifest themselves in Mr. Pegram's store. The
few among the nightly loungers there who had still a remnant of domestic
conscience left had already risen from boxes and "kags," and gathered up
the pound packages of sugar and coffee which had served as the pretext
for their coming, but which would not, alas! sufficiently account for
the length of their stay. The older stagers still sat composedly in the
seats of honor immediately surrounding the red-hot stove, and a look of
disapproval passed over their faces as Mr. Pegram, opening the door and
thereby letting in a blast of cold air upon their legs, proceeded to put
up the outside shutters.

"In a hurry to-night, ain't you, Pegram?" inquired Mr. Dickey, as the
proprietor returned, brushing flakes of snow from his coat and shivering
expressively.

"Well, not particular," replied Mr. Pegram, with a deliberation which
confirmed his words, "but it's pretty nigh nine, and Sally she ast me
not to be later _than_ nine to-night, for our hired girl's gone
home for a spell, and that makes it kind of lonesome for Sally: the baby
don't count for much, only when he cries, and I'll do him the justice to
say that isn't often."

"It's a new thing for Sally to be scary, ain't it?" queried Mr.
Crumlish, with an expression of mild surprise.

"Well, yes, I may say it is," admitted Mr. Pegram; "but, you know, we
had a kind of a warning, before we moved in, that all wasn't quite as it
should be, and, as bad luck would have it, there was a Boston paper come
round her new coat, with a story in it that laid out to be true, of
noises and appearances, and one thing and another, in a house right
there to Boston, and Sally she says to me, 'If they believe in them
things to Boston, where they don't believe in nothing they can't see and
handle, if all we hear's true, there must be something in it, and I only
wish I'd read that piece before we took the house.'

"I keep a-telling her we've neither seen nor heard nothing out of the
common, so far, but all she'll say to that is, 'That's no reason we
won't;' and sure enough it isn't, though I don't tell her so."

"But surely," said Mr. Birchard, the young schoolmaster, who boarded
with Mr. Dickey, "you don't believe any such trash as that account of a
haunted house in Boston?" There was a non-committal silence, and he went
on impatiently, "I could give you a dozen instances in which mysteries
of this kind, when they were energetically followed up, were proved to
be the results of the most simple and natural causes."

"Like enough, like enough, young man," said Uncle Jabez Snyder, in his
tremulous tones, "and mebbe some folks not a hunderd miles from here
could tell you another dozen that hadn't no natural causes."

"I should like very much to hear them," replied the young man, with an
exasperatingly incredulous smile.

"If Pegram here wasn't in such a durned hurry to turn us out and shet
up," said Mr. Dickey, with manifest irritation, "Uncle Jabez could tell
you all you want to hear."

Mr. Pegram looked disturbed. It was with him a fixed principle never to
disoblige a customer, and he saw that he was disobliging at least half a
dozen. On the other hand, he was not prepared to face his wife should he
so daringly disregard her wishes as to keep the store open half an hour
later than usual. He pondered for a few moments, and then his face
suddenly brightened, and he said, "If one of you gentlemen that passes
my house on your way home would undertake to put coal on the fire, put
the lights out, lock the door, and bring me the key, the store's at your
disposal till ten o'clock; and I'm only sorry I can't stay myself."

Two or three immediately volunteered, but as the schoolmaster and Mr.
Dickey were the only ones whose way lay directly past Mr. Pegram's door,
it was decided that they should divide the labors and honors between
them.

"I'd like you not to stop later _than_ ten," said Mr. Pegram
deprecatingly, as he buttoned his great-coat and drew his hat down over
his eyes, "for I have to be up so early, since that boy cleared out,
that I need to go to bed sooner than I mostly do."

Compliance with this modest request was readily promised, good-nights
were exchanged, and the lessened circle drew in more closely around the
stove, for several of the company had reluctantly decided that, all
things considered, it would be the better part of valor for them to go
when Mr. Pegram went.

There was a few minutes' silence, and then Mr. Dickey said impatiently,
"We're all ready, Uncle Jabez. Why don't you fire away, so's to be
through by ten o'clock?"

"I was a-thinkin' which one I'd best tell him," said Uncle Jabez mildly.
"They're all convincin' to a mind that's open to convincement, but I'd
like to pick out the one that's most so."

"There's the one about Alviry Pratt's grandfather," suggested Mr.
Crumlish encouragingly.

"No," mused the old man. "I've no doubt of that myself, but then it
didn't happen to me in person, and I've a notion he'd rather hear one
I've experienced than two I've heard tell of."

"Of course I would, Uncle Jabez," said Mr. Birchard kindly, but with an
amused twinkle in his eyes. "You take your own time: it's only just
struck nine, and there's no hurry at all."

"Supposin' I was to tell him that one about my first wife?" said the old
man presently, and with an inquiring look around the circle.

Several heads were nodded approvingly, and Mr. Crumlish said, "The very
one I'd 'a' chosen myself if you'd ast me."

Thus encouraged, Uncle Jabez, with a sort of deliberate promptness,
began: "We married very young, Lavina and me,--too young, some said, but
I never could see why, for I had a good farm, with health and strength
to carry it on, and she was a master-hand with butter and cheese. At any
rate, we thriv; and if we had plenty of children, there was plenty for
'em to eat, and they grew as fast as everything else did. She wasn't
what you'd fairly call handsome, Lavina wasn't, but she was
pleasant-appearin', very,--plump as a pa'tridge, with nice brown hair
and eyes and a clean-lookin' skin. But it was her smile in particular
that took me; and when she set in to laugh you couldn't no more' help
laughin' along with her than one bobolink can help laughin' back when he
hears another. She was the tenderest-hearted woman that ever breathed
the breath of life: she couldn't bear to hurt the feelin's of a cat, and
she'd go 'ithout a chicken-dinner any day sooner'n kill a chicken. As
time passed on and she begun to age a little, she grew stouter 'n'
stouter; but it didn't seem to worry her none. She'd puff and blow a
good bit when she went up-stairs, but she'd always laugh about it, and
say that when we was rich enough we'd put in an elevator, like they had
at a big hotel we saw once. It would suit her fine, she said, to set
down on a cushioned seat and be up-stairs afore she could git up again.
Now, you needn't think I'm wanderin' from the p'int," and Uncle Jabez
looked severely at Mr. Dickey, who was manifestly fidgeting. "All you
folks that have lived about here all your lives knew Lavina 'ithout my
tellin' you this; but Mr. Birchard he's a stranger in the neighborhood,
and it's needful to the understandin' of my story that he should know
just what sort of a woman she was,--or is, as I should say."

Mr. Dickey subsided, while Mr. Birchard tried to throw still more of an
expression of the deepest interest and attention into his face. He must
have succeeded, for the old man, going on with his story, fixed his eyes
more and more frequently upon those of the young one. They were large,
gentle, appealing blue eyes, with a mildly surprised expression, which
Mr. Birchard found exceedingly attractive. Whether or not the fact that
the youngest of Uncle Jabez's children, a daughter, had precisely
similar eyes, in any way accounted for the attraction, I leave to minds
more astute than my own.

"You may think," the narrator resumed, when he felt that he had settled
Mr. Dickey, "whether or not you'd miss a woman like that, when you'd
summered and wintered with her more'n forty year. She always said she
hoped she'd go sudden, for she was so heavy it would 'a' took three or
four of the common run of folks to lift her, and she dreaded a long
sickness. Well, she was took at her word. We was settin', as it might be
now, one on one side the fire, the other on t'other, in the big
easy-cheers that Samuel--that's our oldest son, and a good boy, if I do
say it--had sent us with the fust spare money he had. She'd been
laughin' and jokin', as she so often did, five minutes afore.
Gracie--she was a little thing then, and, bein' the youngest, a little
sassy and sp'iled, mebbe--had been on a trip to the city, and she'd
brought her ma a present of a shoe-buttoner with a handle a full foot
long.

"'There, ma,' she says, laughin' up in her mother's face; 'you was
complainin' about the distance it seemed to be to your feet: here's a
kind of a telegraft-pole to shorten it a little.'

"My, how we did laugh! And Lavina must needs try it right away, to
please Gracie; and she said it worked beautiful. But whether it was the
laughin' so much right on top of a hearty supper, or the bendin' down to
try her new toy, or both, she jest says, as natural as I'm speakin' now,
'Jabez, I'm a-goin'--' and then stopped. And when I looked up to see why
she didn't finish, she was gone, sure enough."

His voice broke, and he stopped abruptly. Mr. Birchard, without in the
least intending to do it, grasped his hand, and held it with
affectionate warmth for a moment.

"Thank you, young man, thank you kindly," said Uncle Jabez, recovering
his voice and shaking Mr. Birchard's hand heartily at the same moment.
"You've an uncommon feelin' heart for one so young.

"To say I was lonesome after she went don't say much; but time evens
things out after a while, or we couldn't stand it as long as we do.
Gracie she settled into a little woman all at once, as you may say, and
seemed older for a while than she does now. The rest was all married and
gone, but one boy,--a good boy, too. But they came around me, comfortin'
and helpin', though each one of 'em mourned her nigh as much as I did
myself; and after a while, as I said, I got used, in a manner, to doin'
'ithout her."

Here he made a long pause, with his eyes intently fixed upon the
darkness of the adjoining store-room. The heat from the stove had become
too great after the shutting of the shutters, and one of the men had
opened an inner door for ventilation.

Now, as one pair of eyes after another followed those of the old man,
there was a sort of subdued stir around the circle, and the
schoolmaster, to his intense disgust, caught himself looking hastily
over his shoulder,--the door being behind him.

Mr. Dickey broke the spell by suddenly rising, with the exclamation, "I
think we're cooled off about enough; and, as I'm a little rheumaticky
to-night, I'll shut that door, if you've none of you no objections."

There was a subdued murmur of assent, the door was closed, and Uncle
Jabez returned to the thread of his discourse:

"Lemme see: where was I? Oh, yes. You may think it a little strange,
now, but I didn't neither see nor hear tell of her for a full six
months. If I was makin' this story up, and anxious to make a _good_
story of it, you can see, if you're fair-minded, that I'd say she came
back right away. Now, wouldn't I be most likely to? Say?"

He appealed so directly to Mr. Birchard, pausing for a reply, that the
sceptic was obliged to answer in some way, and, with a curious sort of
reluctance, he said slowly, "Yes--I suppose--I'm sure you would."

This seemed to satisfy Uncle Jabez, and he went on with his story:

"I came home from town one stormy night, about six months after she
died, pretty well beat out,--entirely so, I may say. I'd been drivin'
some cattle into the city, and I'd had only a poor concern of a boy to
help me. The cattle was contrai-ry,--contrai-rier'n common; and I
remember thinkin', when the feller at the drove-yard handed me my check,
that I'd earned it pretty hard. That's the last about it I do remember.
I s'pose I must 'a' put it in my pocket-book, the same as usual; but I
rode home in a sort of a maze, I was so tired and drowsy, and I'd barely
sense enough to eat my supper and grease my boots afore I went to bed. I
had a bill to pay the next day, and I opened my pocket-book, quite
confident, to take out the check. It wasn't there. I always kep' a
number of papers in that pocket-book, and I thought at fust it had got
mislaid among 'em: so I turned everything out, and unfolded 'em one by
one, and poked my finger through a hole between the leather and the
linin', and made it a good deal bigger,--but that's neither here nor
there,--and before I was through I was certain sure of one thing,---
that wherever else that check was, it wasn't in that pocket-book. Then I
tried my pockets, one after the other,--four in my coat, four in my
overcoat, three in my vest, two in my pants: no, it wasn't in any of
them, and I begun to feel pretty queer, I can tell you. It was my only
sale of cattle for the season; I was dependin' on it to pay a bill and
buy one or two things for Gracie; and, anyhow, it's no fun to lose a
hunderd-dollar check and feel as if it must have been bewitched away
from you. I rode back to the drove-yard, though I wasn't more'n half
rested from the day before, and they said they'd stop payment on the
check and give me a chance to look right good for it, and if I couldn't
find it they'd draw me another. You see, they knowed me right well, and
they wasn't afraid I was tryin' to play any sort of a game on 'em.
Still, it wasn't a pleasant thing to have happen, for, say the best you
could of it, it argued that I'd lost a considerable share of my wits.
So, when I come home, I felt so kind of worried and down-hearted that I
couldn't half eat my supper; and that worried Gracie,--she was a
thin-skinned little critter, and if I didn't eat the same as usual she'd
always take it into her head there was something wrong with the
victuals. I fell asleep in my cheer right after supper, and slept till
nine o'clock; and then Gracie woke me, and ast me if I didn't think I'd
better go to bed. I said yes, I s'posed I had; but by that time I was
hungry, and I ast her what she had good in the pantry. She brightened up
wonderful at that,--though when I come to look closer at her I see she'd
been cryin',--and she said there was doughnuts, fresh fried that day,
and the best half of a mince pie. I told her that was all right so far
as it went, but I'd like somethin' a little solider to begin with: so
she found me a few slices of cold pork and one of her cowcumber pickles,
and I eat a right good supper. She picked at a piece of pie, by way of
keepin' me company, but she didn't eat much. Now, I tell you this, which
you may think isn't revelant to the subject, to let you see I went to
bed comfortable. We laughed and talked over our little supper, and
pretended we was city-folks, on our way home from the theater, gettin' a
fancy supper at Delmonico's. And I forgot all about the check for the
time bein', as slick and clean as if I'd never had it nor lost it. But,
nevertheless, when I went to sleep I begun to dream about it, and was to
the full as much worried in my dream as I was when I was awake. I seemed
to myself to be huntin' all over the house, in every hole and corner I
could think of, and sometimes I'd come on pieces of paper that looked so
like it outside I'd make sure I'd found it, and then when I opened 'em
they'd be ridickilous rhymes, 'ithout any sense to 'em; when all of a
sudden I heard Lavina's voice, as plain as you hear mine now. It seemed
to come from a good ways off just at first, callin' 'Father,'--she
always called me 'Father,' partly because she didn't like the name of
Jabez, and it is a humbly name, I'm free to confess,--and then again
nearer, 'Father;' and then again, as if it was right at the foot of the
stairs. And this time it went on to say, loud and plain, so's 't I could
hear every word, 'You look in the little black teapot on the top shelf
of the pantry, where I kep' the missionary money, and see what you'll
find.' And with that I heard her laugh; and I'd know Lavina's laugh
among a thousand. I was too dazed like to do it right away, and I must
'a' fell asleep while I was thinkin' about it, for when I woke up it was
broad daylight and Gracie was callin' to me to get up. But I hadn't
forgot a word that Lavina'd said, and I went for that teapot as quick as
I was dressed, and there was the check, sure enough, in good order and
condition!"

He paused to look round at his audience and see the effect of this
statement, and the schoolmaster took advantage of the pause to ask,
"Were you in the habit of putting money in that teapot for safe-keeping,
Uncle Jabez?"

"Young man, I was not," said Uncle Jabez emphatically, and evidently
annoyed both by the question and by the tone in which it was uttered.
"It was a little notion of Lavina's, and I'd never meddled with it, one
way or the other. But I'd left it be there after she died, because I
liked to look at it. I'd no more 'a' dreamed of puttin' that check in it
than I would of puttin' it into Gracie's work-box. But there it was, and
how it come there it wasn't vouchsafed me to know.

"I think it must have been a matter of three or four months after this,
though I wouldn't like to say too positive, that I fell into my first
and last lawsuit. A man I'd always counted a good neighbor made out he'd
found an old title-deed which give him a right to a smart slice off'n my
best meadow-land. It dated fifty years back, and old Peter Pinnell, that
was the only surveyor in the township at that time, made out he
recollected runnin' the lines; and when McKellop, the feller that
claimed the track, took old Pinnell over the ground, to see if he could
find any landmarks that would help to make the claim good, they found a
big pine-tree jest where they wanted to find it, and cut into it at the
right height to find a 'blaze,' if there was one. The rings was marked
as plain as the lines on a map, and when they'd cut through fifty, there
was the mark, sure enough, and McKellop's lawyer crowed ready to hurt
himself. I was a good deal cut down, I can tell you, for I could see
pretty well that it was goin' to turn the scale; and when supper-time
came, Gracie could hardly coax me to the table. I said no, I didn't feel
to be hungry; for I couldn't get that strip of meadow-land out of my
head. And it wasn't so much the value of the land, either, though I
couldn't well afford to lose it, as it was the idee of McKellop's
crowin' and cacklin' all over the neighborhood about it. But Gracie
looked so anxious and tired that I come to the table, jest to satisfy
her; and I found I was hungry, after all, for I'd been trampin' round
the farm most of the day, lookin' for some landmark or sign that would
prove my claim, that dated seventy years back. I recollect we had soused
pigs' feet for supper that night; and I don't think I ever tasted better
in my life. I eat pretty free of them, as I always did of anything I
liked, and we wound up with some of her canned peaches, that she'd got
out to coax me to eat, and cream on 'em 'most as thick as butter: she
had a skimmer with holes into it that she always skimmed the cream with
for our own use. She'd made as good a pot of coffee as I ever tasted.
And when I'd had all I wanted, I felt a good deal better, and I says to
her,--'I'll fret over it no more, Gracie: if it's his'n, let him take it
'ithout more words.'

"She read me a story out of the paper that made us both laugh right
hearty, and then a chapter, as usual, and then we went to bed. And all
come round jest as it did afore. I thought I was roamin' about the farm,
as I had been pretty nigh all day; but things was changed round,
somehow, and the further I went the more mixed up they got, till, jest
as I'd found the pine-tree, I heard Lavina's voice, the same as I'd done
afore,--first far, and then near,--sayin', 'Father;' and the third time
she said it, when it sounded close to, she went on to say, 'He's done
his cuttin', now do you do yours. You cut through twenty more rings, and
you'll find the blaze that marks _your_ survey. And then thank him
kindly for givin' you the idee. The smartest of folks is too smart for
themselves once in a while.' And with that she laughed her own jolly,
hearty laugh; but that was the last she said; and I laid there wonderin'
and thinkin' for a while, and then dropped off to sleep. But it was all
as clear as a bell in my head in the morning, and I had McKellop and old
Peter at the pine-tree by eight o'clock. I'd sharpened my axe good, I
can tell you, and it didn't take me long to cut through twenty more
rings, and there, sure enough, was the blaze; and if ever you see a
blue-lookin' man, that man was McKellop; for as soon as old Peter see
the blaze he recollected hearin' his father tell about the survey; he
recollected it particular because the old man was a good judge of
apple-jack, and he'd said that _my_ father'd gi'n him some of the
best, that day the survey was made, that he'd ever tasted. And Peter
said he reckoned he could find something about it in his father's books
and among some loose papers he had in a box. And, sure enough, he found
enough to make my claim as clear as a bell and make McKellop's as flat
as a pancake. Now, what do you think of _that_, hey?"

Once more the old man peered into Birchard's face, and the schoolmaster
answered one question with another, after the custom of the country:

"Did you ever know anything about the blazed tree before McKellop found
the blaze?"

"When I come to think it over, I found I did," said Uncle Jabez, falling
all unconscious into the trap set for him. "I hadn't no papers about it,
but my father had told me all the ins and outs of it when I was a boy,
and it had somehow gone out of my mind."

"Ah!" said the schoolmaster.

"I don't know what you mean by 'Ah' in this connection," said Uncle
Jabez, speaking with unwonted sharpness; "but if you're misdoubtin' what
I tell you I may as well shet up and go home."

"I don't doubt your word in the least, Uncle Jabez; I assure you I
don't," Mr. Birchard hastened to say. "And I'm deeply interested. I hope
you will go on and tell me all your experiences of this kind. I've heard
and read a good many ghost-stories; but in all of them the ghosts were
malicious creatures, who seemed to come back chiefly for the fun of
scaring people out of their wits. Yours is the first really benevolent
and well-meaning ghost of which I have ever heard; and it interests me
immensely; for I never could see why a person who was all goodness and
generosity while he--or she--was alive should turn into an unmitigated
nuisance after dying. I should think, if they must needs come back, they
might just as well be pleasant about it and make people glad to see--or
hear--them."

"That's exactly the view I've always taken," said Mr. Crumlish modestly;
"and one reason I've never felt to doubt any of Uncle Jabez's stories is
that all the ghosts he's ever seen or heard tell of have been
decent-behaving ghosts, that didn't come back just for the fun of
scaring people to death."

"That's so; that's so," said the old man, entirely mollified, and
hearing no note of sarcasm in the schoolmaster's rapidly-uttered
eloquence. "If any one of 'em was to behave ugly," he continued, "it
would shake my faith in the whole thing considerable; for I couldn't
bring myself to believe that anybody I've ever knowed could be so far
given over as to want to be ugly after dyin'."

"Well, now, I don't know," said Mr. Dickey argumentatively. "I
_hev_ knowed certain folks that it seems to me would stick to their
ugliness alive or dead, and, though I've never seen no appearances of
any kind, as I may say, I can believe jist as easy that some of 'em come
back for mischief as that others come back for good."

There was a few minutes' constrained silence after this remark. Mr.
Dickey's first wife had been what is popularly known as "a Tartar," and
there was a generally current rumor that as the last shovelful of earth
was patted down on her grave he had been heard to murmur, "Thanks be to
praise, she's quiet at last." The idea of her reappearance in her wonted
haunts was indeed a dismaying one, especially as Mr. Dickey had recently
married again, and, if the gossips knew anything about it, was repeating
much of his former painful experience. The silence, which was becoming
embarrassing, was finally broken by the schoolmaster.

"Had you any more experiences of the kind you have just related, Uncle
Jabez?" he asked, in tones of such deep respect and lively interest that
Uncle Jabez responded, with gratifying promptness,--

"Plenty, plenty, though perhaps them two that I've just told you was the
most strikin'. But it always seemed to me, after that first time, that
Lavina was on hand when anything went wrong or was likely to go wrong;
and ef I was to tell you all the scrapes she's kep' me out of and pulled
me out of, I should keep you settin' here all night. There was one
more," he continued, "that struck me a good deal at the time. It was
about money, like the fust one, in a different sort of way. It was
durin' those days when specie was so skurce and high that it was quite a
circumstance to get a piece of hard money. There come along a peddler in
a smart red wagon, with all sorts of women's trash packed into it, and
Gracie took it into her head to want some of his things. It happened to
be her birthday that day, and, as she didn't often pester me about
clothes, I told her to choose out what she wanted, up to five dollars'
worth, and, if the feller could change me a twenty-dollar note, I'd pay
for it. He jumped at it, sayin' he didn't count it any trouble at all to
give change, the way some storekeepers did, and that he always kep' a
lot on hand to oblige his customers. I will say for him that it seemed
to me he give Gracie an amazin' big five dollars' worth, and when he
come to make the change he handed out a ten-dollar gold piece, or what I
then took to be such, as easy as if he'd found it growin' on a bush, and
said nothin' whatever about the premium on it. Perhaps I'd ought to have
mentioned it, but it seemed to me it was his business more'n mine: so I
jest took it as if it was the most natural thing in life, and he went
off. I thought I might as well as not get the premium on it before it
went down the way folks said it was goin' to: so, after dinner, I
harnessed up, and drove down to the post-office,--it was kep' in the
drug-store then, the same as it is now,--and when I handed my gold piece
to the postmaster, which was also the druggist, and said I'd take a
quarter's worth of stamps, and I believed gold was worth a dollar
fifteen just now, he first smelt of it, and then bit it, and then poured
some stuff out'n a bottle onto it, and then handed it back to me with a
pityin' smile that somehow riled me more'n a little, and he says, says
he,--

"'Somebody's fooled you badly, Uncle Jabez. That coin's a counterfeit.
Do you happen to know where you got it?'

"'I know well enough,' I says, and I expect I spoke pretty mad, for I
_felt_ mad. 'I got it of a travellin' peddler, that's far enough
away by this time, and if you're sure it's bad I'm that much out of
pocket.' He seemed right concerned about it, and ast me if I hadn't no
clue that I could track the peddler by; but I couldn't think of any, and
I went home a good deal down in the mouth. But Gracie chirked me up, as
she always does, bless her! and she made me a Welsh rabbit for supper,
and some corn muffins, and a pot of good rich chocolate, by way of a
change, and we agreed that, as she'd a pretty big five dollars worth and
as the rest of the change was good, we'd say no more about it, for it
would be like lookin' for a needle in a hay-stack to try to track him.

"'Why, father,' she says, 'I don't so much as know his name: do you?'

"I told her no, I didn't; that if I'd heard his name I disremembered it,
but that I didn't think I'd heard it. And then that very night come
another visit from mother, and she told me all about it. She come the
way she always did, and when she spoke the last time, close to, as you
may say, she says,--

"'I wouldn't give up that ten dollars so easy, if I was you, father.
That peddler's name is Hanigan,--Elwood Hanigan,--and he'll be at the
State Fair to-morrow. Now, do you go, and you'll find his red wagon with
no trouble at all; and jest be right down firm with him, and tell him
that if he doesn't give you good money in place of the bad he foisted
off on you you'll show him up to the whole fair, and you'll see how glad
he'll be to settle it.'

"And with that she laughed jest as natural as life, and I heard no more
till Gracie knocked on my door in the morning."

"And did you go to the fair and find him and get your money back?" asked
Birchard, who was interested in spite of his scepticism.

"I did, jest that," replied Uncle Jabez. "I got off bright and early,
and, as luck would have it, I'd jest tied and blanketed my horse when
that wonderful smart red wagon come drivin' in at the gate. I waited
till he'd begun to pull his wares out and make a fine speech about 'em,
and then I jest walked up to him, cool and composed, and give him his
choice between payin' me good money for his bogus gold or hearin'
_me_ make a speech; and you may jest bet your best hat he paid up
quicker'n winkin'. Perhaps I'd ought to have warned folks ag'in' him as
it was, but I had a notion he'd save his tricks till he got to another
neighborhood; and it turned out I was right. He didn't give none of his
gold change out that day. But you can see for yourself that if it hadn't
been for Lavina he'd have come off winnin' horse in that race. That was
always the way when mother was about: she had more sense in her little
finger than I had in my whole body, and head too, for that matter."

"And you found that you really had not known the man's name until it was
conveyed to you in the manner in which you have described?" asked the
schoolmaster deferentially.

"Well, no," said Uncle Jabez. "When I saw his wagon the next day, I
remembered of readin' his name in gilt letters on the side, tacked to
some patent medicine he claimed to have invented; but I don't suppose
I'd ever thought of it again if mother hadn't told it to me so plain."

The schoolmaster said nothing. He had his own neat little theories
concerning all the manifestations which had been mentioned, but somehow
the old man's guileless belief had touched him, and he had no longer any
desire to shake it, even had it been possible to do so. But he could not
help probing the subject a little further: so presently he asked, "And
you've never spoken to her, never asked her if it were not possible for
you to see as well as hear her?"

"Young man," said Uncle Jabez kindly, but solemnly, "there's such a sin
as presumption, and there's some old sayin' or other about fools rushin'
in where angels fear to tread. If you try to grab too much at once,
you're apt to lose all. If it was meant for me to see mother as well as
hear her, I _should_ see her; and if I was to go to pryin' round
and tryin' to find out what's purposely hid from me, I make no doubt but
I should lose the little that's been vouchsafed to me. But I'd far
rather hear you ask questions like that than to have you throwin' doubt
on the whole business, as you seemed inclined to do at fust."

"Look here," said Mr. Dickey briskly, "do you know it's well on to
half-past ten? and we were to have the key at Pegram's by ten. I think
we'd better do what there is to do, and clear out of this as quick as we
know how, and mebbe some of us will wish before an hour's gone that we
had Uncle Jabez's knack at makin' out a good story."

"You speak for yourself, Dickey," said Mr. Crumlish good-naturedly.
"There's some of us that goes in and comes out, with nobody to care
which it is, nor how long we stay; but freedom has its drawbacks, as
well as other things."

The schoolmaster laughed at himself for striking a match as he turned
the last light out, but he felt moving through his brain a vague wish
that Uncle Jabez would break himself of that trick he had of gazing
fixedly at nothing, and that other trick of stopping suddenly in the
middle of a sentence to cock his head, as if he were hearing some
far-away, uncertain sound.

     MARGARET VANDEGRIFT.



FISHING IN ELK RIVER.


When a man has once absorbed into his system a love for fishing or
hunting, he is under the influence of an invisible power greater than
that of vaccine matter or the virus of rabies. The sporting-fever is the
veritable malady of St. Vitus, holding its victim forever on the go, as
game-seasons come, and so long as back and legs, eye and ear, can
wrestle with Time's infirmities. It breeds ambition, boasting, and
"yarns" to a proverbial extent, with a general disbelief in the possible
veracity of a brother sportsman, and an irresistible; desire to talk of
new and privately discovered sporting-heavens. The gold-seeker stakes
his claim, the "wild-catting" oil-borer boards up his lot, the inventor
patents his invention, and the author copyrights his brain-fruit; but
the sportsman crazily tells all he knows. So the secret gets out, and
the discoverer is robbed of his treasure and forced to seek new fields
for his rod and gun.

Colonel Bangem had enjoyed a year's sport among the unvisited preserves
of Elk River. Mrs. Bangem and Bess, their daughter, had shared his
pleasures and acquired his fondness for such of them as were within
feminine reach. Any ordinary man would have been perfectly satisfied
with such company and delights; but no, when the bass began to leap and
the salmon to flash their tails, the pressure was too great. His friends
the Doctor and the Professor were written to, and summoned to his find.
They came, the secret was too good to keep, and that is the way this
chronicle of their doings happens to be written.

No sooner was the invitation received than the Doctor eased his
conscience and delighted his patients by the regular professional
subterfuge of sending such of them as had money to the sea-shore, and
telling those who had not that they needed no medicine at present; the
Professor turned his classes over to an assistant on pretext of a sudden
bronchial attack, for which a dose of mountain-air was the prescribed
remedy. And so the two were whirled away on the Chesapeake and Ohio
Railroad across the renowned valley of Virginia and the eastern valley
steps of the Alleghany summits, past the gigantic basins where boil and
bubble springs curative of all human ills, down the wild boulder-tossed
waters and magnificent cañons of New River, around mountain-bases,
through tunnels, and out into the broad, beautiful fertility of the
Kanawha Valley, until the spires of Charleston revealed the last stage
of their railroad journey. When their train stopped, stalwart porters
relieved them of their baggage and deafened them with self-introductions
in stentorian tones: "Yere's your Hale House porter!" "I's de man fer
St. Albert's!"

"It's no wonder," said the Doctor, as he followed the sable guide from
the station to the river ferry, and looked across the Kanawha's busy
flow, covered with coal-barges, steamboats, and lumber-crafts, to
Charleston's long stretch of high-bank river front, "that Western rivers
get mad and rise against the deliberate insult of all the towns and
cities turning their backs to them. There is a mile of open front,
showing the cheerful faces of fine residences through handsome
shade-trees and over well-kept lawns; but here, where our ferry lands,
and where we see the city proper, stoops and kitchens, stove-pipes and
stairways, ash-piles and garbage-shoots, are stuck out in contempt of
the river's charms and the city's comeliness."

"Stove-pipes and stairways have to be put somewhere," said the
matter-of-fact Professor. "And the best way to turn dirty things is
toward the water."

The ferry-boat wheezed and coughed and sidled across the river to a
floating wharf, covered, as usual, with that portion of the population,
white and black, which has no interest in the arrival of trains, or
anything else, excepting meals at the time for them, but which manages
to live somehow by looking at other people working.

"Give me," said the Professor, "the value of the time which men spend in
gazing at what does not concern them, and, according to my estimate, I
could build a submarine railroad from New York to Liverpool in two years
and three months. What are those fellows doing with their huge barrels
on wheels backed into the river?"

"Dat is de Charleston water-works, boss," answered the grinning porter.
"Widout dem mules an' niggahs an' bar'ls dah wouldn't be 'nough water in
dis town to wet a chaw tobacky."

A winding macadamized road leads up the river bank to the main street
running parallel with it. There is a short cut by a rickety stairway,
but, as some steep climbing has to be done before reaching the lower
step, it is seldom used. These formerly led directly to the Hale House,
a fine brick building, which faced the river, with a commodious portico,
and offered the further attractions of a pleasant interior and an
excellent table; but now a blackened space marked its site, as though a
huge tooth had been drawn from the city's edge, for one morning a
neighboring boiler blew up, carrying the Hale House and much valuable
property with it, but leaving the owners of the boiler.

"Dat's where de Hale House was, boss, but it's done burned down. I's de
porter yit. When it's done builded ag'in I's gwine back dar. Dis time I
take you down to de St. Albert. I's used to yellin' Hale House porter so
many years dat St. Albert kind chokes me."

So to the St. Albert went the Doctor and Professor, where they met with
a home-like greeting from its popular host.

Wheeling was formerly the capital of West Virginia, but for good reasons
it was decided to move the seat of government from "that knot on the
Panhandle" to Charleston. A commodious building of brick and sandstone,
unchristened as to style of architecture, has been erected for the home
of the law-makers; and henceforth the city which started around the
little log fort built in 1786 by George Glendermon to afford protection
against Indians will be the seat of government for the great unfenced
State of West Virginia. Its business enterprise and thrift, its
excellent geographical and commercial position, its healthiness
notwithstanding its bad drainage, or rather no drainage, have induced a
growth almost phenomenal. Churches, factories, and commodious
storehouses have spread the town rapidly over the beautiful valley in
which it lies. The United States government has been lavish in its
expenditure upon a handsome building for court, custom, and post-office
purposes; and to it flock, especially when court is in session, as
motley an assortment of our race as ever assembled at legal mandate.
Moonshiners, and those who regard whiskey-making, selling, and drinking
as things that ought to be as free as the air of the mountain and
licenses as unheard-of impositions of a highly oppressive government,
that would "tax a feller for usin' up his own growin' uv corn," and
courts as "havin' a powerful sight uv curiosity, peekin' into other
fellers' business," afford ample opportunities for the exercise of
judicial authority.

A long mountaineer was before a dignified judge of the United States
Court for selling liquor without a license. He had bought a gallon at a
still,--as to the locality of which he professed profound
ignorance,--carried it thirty miles, and peddled it out to his
long-suffering and thirsty neighbors. Every native being a natural
informer, the story was soon told: arrest followed, a march of fifty
miles over the mountains, and a lengthy imprisonment before trial.
Following the advice of his assigned counsel, he pleaded guilty. Being
too poor to pay a fine, and having an unlimited family dependent upon
their own exertions,--which comprises the sum of parental responsibility
among the natives,--the judge released him on his own bail-bond, and
told him to go home. He deliberately put on his hat, walked up to his
honor, and said, "I say, jedge, I reckon you fellers 'ill give me 'nough
money to ride hum an' pay fer my grub, 'cause 'tain't fair, noway. You
fetched me clar down yere, footin' it the hull way, an' now you're
lettin' me off an' tellin' me to foot it back. 'Tain't fair, noway.
You-uns oughter pay me fer it." And he went off highly indignant at
having his modest request refused.

There is much of the primitive not outgrown as yet by Charleston: it has
put on a long-tailed coat over its round-about. The gossipy telephone
is ahead of the street-cars; gas-works supply private consumers, while
the citizens wade the unlighted streets by the glimmer of their own
lanterns; innumerable cows contest the right of pedestrians to the board
footways and what of pavement separates the mud-holes; an
ice-manufactory supplies coolness to water peddled about in barrels; the
officials outnumber the capacity of the jail; the ferry-facilities vary
from an unstable leaky bateau to a dirty, open-decked dynamite
steamboat, whose night-service is subject to the lung-capacity of the
traveller hallooing for it, and the fares to necessities and
circumstances; the fine brick improvements are flanked by frame
tinder-boxes; the offal of the city has not a single relieving sewer:
yet it is a beautiful, healthy place, and the chief city of the greatest
mineral-district in the world.

Our travellers breakfasted on delicious mountain mutton and vegetables
fresh from surrounding farms. Their host secured three men and a canoe
to carry them up Elk River to Colonel Bangem's camp, at the cost of one
dollar a day and "grub," or one dollar and a quarter a day if they found
themselves, with the moderate charge of fifty cents a day for the canoe.

When the time arrived for starting, the Professor was missing. Bells
were rung, servants were despatched to search the hotel for him, but he
was not to be found. The Doctor grew impatient, but restrained himself
until an uncoated countryman, who had just walked into town and was
ready for a talk, told him that he "seed a feller, thet wuz a stranger
in these parts, with a three-legged picter-gallery, chasin' a water-cart
a right smart ways back in the town, ez I come in."

"That's he," said the Doctor. "He is crazy after pictures. I'll give you
a dollar if you bring him to the hotel alive."

"Is he wicked?" asked the man.

"Generally," answered the Doctor, whose eyes began to twinkle; "but you
get hold of his picture-gallery and run for the hotel: he will follow
you. I often have to manage him that way."

"I'm minded to try coaxin' him in thet a-way fer a dollar. You jist take
keer uv my shoes, an' I'll hev him yer ez quick ez Tim Price kin foot
it, if he follers well an' hain't contrairy-like, holdin' back."

Tim Price relieved his feet of their encumbrances, and started. When his
tall, gaunt figure had disappeared around the corner, the Doctor grew
red in the face from an internal convulsion, and then exploded past all
concealment of his joke.

"If you gentlemen," he said to the by-standers, "want to see some fun,
just follow that man. I will stay here as judge whether the man brings
in the Professor or the Professor brings in the man."

A good joke would stop a funeral in Charleston. The hotel was cleared of
men in an instant to follow Tim and enjoy the hunt. Tim sighted the
Professor about a quarter of a mile back in the town, A darky driving a
water-cart was standing up on the shafts, thrashing his mule with the
ends of his driving-lines, and urging it, by voice and gesture, to the
highest mule-speed: "Git up! git up! you lazy old no-go! Git up! Don't
you see dat picter-feller tryin' to took you an' me an' de bar'l? Git
up! Wag yer ears an' switch yer tail. You're not gwine ter stan' still
an' keep yer eyes on de instrement fer no gallery-man to took, 'less
you's fix' up fer Sunday. Git up, you ole long-eared corn-eater!"

The Professor was keeping well up with the flying water-works. His hat
was stuck on the back of his head, he carried his camera with its tripod
spread ready for sudden action, and every step of his run was guided by
thoughts of proper distance, fixed focus, and determination to have the
water-works in his collection of instantaneous photographs. A turn in
the street gave the Professor his opportunity: he darted ahead, set his
camera, and took the whole show as it went galloping by, when he
reclined against a fence while making the street ring with his laugh.

Tim Price, who was watching his chance, saw that it had come. He grabbed
the camera, gave a yell of triumph, and faced for the home-run. He had
not an instant to lose. The Professor sprang for his precious
instrument. Tim's long legs carried him across the street, over a fence
into a cross-cut lot, and away for the hotel at a mountaineer's speed.
The Professor was small, but active as a cat. Where Tim jumped fences,
the Professor squirmed through them; where Tim took one long stride, the
Professor scored three short ones. Tim lost his hat, and the Professor
threw off his coat as he ran. The main street was reached without
perceptible decrease of distance between them; but there the pavements
were something Tim's bare feet were not used to catching on, and the
people something he was not used to dodging: he upset several, but
dashed on, with his pursuer gaining on his heels. Men, women, dogs, and
darkies turned out to witness the race or follow it. "Stop thief!" "Go
it, Tim!" "You're catching him, stranger!" "Foot it, little one!" were
cries that speeded the running. The Doctor stood waiting at the hotel
door, laughing, shaking, and red as a veritable Bacchus. Tim Price
banged the camera into him, whirled round suddenly, caught the Professor
as he dashed at him, and held him in his powerful arms, squirming like
an eel.

"Yere's your crazy man, stranger," said Tim, in slow, drawling tone. "I
tell you he kin jest p'intedly foot it. Thar hain't been such a run in
Kanoy County sence they stopped 'lectin' country fellers fer sheriff. I
reckon I've arned thet dollar. What shall I do with the leetle feller?"

The Professor was powerless, but lay in Tim's arms biting, kicking, and
curled up like a yellow-jacket interested with an enemy.

"Let him go," said the laughing Doctor. "He will stay with me now. He is
not dangerous when I am about. Set him on his feet."

No sooner was the Professor deposited on the pavement than he dealt Tim
a stinging blow which staggered him, and stood ready with trained
muscles set for defence.

"Look yere, leetle un," said Tim, coolly and with great self-restraint,
"'tain't fer the likes uv me to hit you, bein's you're a bit out in your
top, but I'll gin you another hug ef you do that ag'in; I will,
p'intedly."

In the good humor of the crowd, the mirth of the Doctor, and the
latter's possession of the camera the Professor scented a joke, and at
once saw his friend's hand in it. He joined in the laugh at his expense,
and lengthened his friend's face by saying, "The Doctor having had his
fun, he will now pay the bill at the bar for all of you: he pays all my
expenses: so walk in, gentlemen."

The laws of hospitality west of the Alleghanies do not permit any one to
decline an invitation, so the Doctor settled for the whole procession
and paid Tim Price his well-earned dollar.

"Captain," said Tim to the hotel-proprietor, who had joined the crowd,
"ef two fellers comes here from the East, one uv 'em ez round ez a
punkin an' red ez a flannel shirt an' bald ez a land-tortle, an' t'other
ez brown ez a mud-catty an' poor ez a razor-back hog, tell 'em I'm yere
to pilot 'em up Elk to Colonel Bangem's caliker tents. He said they were
ez green ez frogs, an' didn't know nothin' noway, an' fer me to take
keer uv 'em. He don't reckon they'll come tell to-morrow. One uv 'em's a
hoss-doctor, an' t'other's a perfessor uv religion, Colonel Bangem
telled me. I dunno whether the feller's a circuit-rider er a rale
preacher."

"That's the highly-illuminated pumpkin, my good man," said the
Professor, pointing to the Doctor, "and I am Colonel Bangem's spiritual
adviser. We got here a day sooner than we expected to."

"You don't say? May I never! An' the colonel never telled me nothin'
nohow 'bout any one uv you bein' crazy. Howdee? How do you like these
parts? Right smart town we've got yere, hain't it? I'll take keer uv
you. There hain't no man on Elk River kin take keer uv you better nor
Tim Price, ary time. I hain't much up to moon men, though. Thar's one
feller up my way thet gits kinder skeery at the full uv the moon; but I
hain't never tended him. I reckon I kin l'arn the job,--ez the ole boy
said when his marm set him to mindin' fleas off the cat."

Tim Price was the hunter, boatman, fisherman, yarn-spinner, and
character of his region, and Colonel Bangem's faithful ally in all his
sports: the latter had therefore sent him to meet his friends on their
arrival at Charleston, and he at once proceeded to take command of the
whole party as a matter of course.

"I footed it over the mountains, and sent my boat the river way. Hit
oughter be yere now: so we'll pack you men's tricks to the boats an'
p'int 'em up-stream. It 'ill be sundown afore we git thar."

The party started from the hotel, the procession followed to see them
off, and they were soon down the Kanawha and into the mouth of Elk at
the point of the town. Log rafts, huge barges, miles of railroad-ties,
laid-up steamers, peddling-boats, with their highly-colored storehouses,
fishermen's scows, floating homely cabins alive with bare-legged
children and idlers of the water-side, push-boats loaded to the edge of
the narrow gunwales with merchandise for delivery to stores and dwellers
far up the river, boats loaded with hoop-poles, grist, chickens, and the
"home-plunder" of some mover to civilization, coming down the river from
the mountain-clearing, and samples of every conceivable kind of the
river's outpour, were tied to the banks or lazily floating on the
currentless back-water from the Kanawha.

An old steamboat-captain once said of Elk that "it was the all-firedest
river God ever made,--fer it rises at both ends and runs both ways to
wunst." This is true, and is caused by the Kanawha, when rising, pouring
its water into the mouth of Elk and reversing its current for many
miles, while at the same time rain falls in the mountains, increasing
the latter river's depth and velocity. Flour-mills, iron-foundries,
saw-mills, woollen-mills, and barrel-factories extend their long wooden
slides down to the river's edge, to gather material for their
consumption. A railroad spans it with an iron trussed bridge, and the
demands of wagon and foot-travel are met by an airy one suspended by
cables from tower-like abutments on either side, both bridges swung high
in the air, out of reach of flood and of the smoke-stacks of passing
steam-craft.

A mile from the river's mouth, and just beyond the limits of Charleston,
is one of the finest sandstone-quarries in the world. The United States
government monopolizes most of its product in the construction of the
magnificent lock and shifting dams in course of erection on the Kanawha
to facilitate the transportation of coal from the immense deposits now
being mined to the great markets of the Ohio River. A little farther on,
the brown front of a timber dam and cribbed lock looks down upon a wild
swirl and rush of water; for through a cut gap in its centre Elk flows
unobstructed,--a penniless mob having made the opening one night that
their canoes might pass free and capitalists be encouraged to remove
such worthless stuff as money from the growing industries of the river.
Prior to this act of vandalism the water was backed by the dam for a
distance of fourteen miles, to Jarrett's Ford, making a halting-place
for rafts and logs, barges and floats, coming down from the vast forests
above when rains and snow-thaws raised the river and its tributaries;
but now a long stretch of boom catches what it can of Elk's commerce and
is a chartered parasite upon it.

Here at the old dam the mountains close in tightly upon the narrow
valley. Log cabins and a few simple frame houses nestle upon diminutive
farms; the wild beauty of shoal and eddy, bouldered channel and
lake-like stretches of pool, rocky walls and timber-clad peaks, begins
to charm the stranger and draw him on and on through scenery as
attractive as grand toss of mountains and delve of river can make it.

By dint of poling, pushing, rowing, and pulling, the boats were worked
over rapids and pools for almost a score of miles, to where the last
rays of the sun slid over a mountain-point and hit Colonel Bangem's hat
as it spun in the air by way of welcome, while the prows clove the water
of a lovely eddy lying in front of his camp. The meeting was that of old
friends, with the addition of a blush from Bess Bangem and its bright
reflection from the Professor's face.

Tim Price took the colonel to one side mysteriously, and whispered, "I
took keer uv the Perfessor my own self: he guv me a power uv trouble,
though. Shell I hitch him now, er let him run loose?"

"We'll turn him loose now, Tim; but if he takes to turning somersets,
catch him, loosen his collar, take off his boots, and throw him into the
river," was the colonel's sober reply.

Scientists nowadays set up Energy as the ancestor of everything, measure
the value of its descendants by the quantity they possess of the family
trait, and spend their time in showing how to utilize it for the good of
mankind in general. Professor Yarren was an apostle of Energy: it
absorbed him, filled him. From the weight of the sun to boiled potatoes,
from the spring of a tiger to the jump of a flea, from the might of
chemical disembodiment to opening an oyster, he calculated, advised, and
dilated upon it. He himself, was the epitome of Energy: in his size he
economized space, in his diet he ate for power, not quantity. To him
eating and sleeping were Energy's warehousemen; idleness was dry-rot,
moth, and mildew; laughing, talking, whistling, singing, somersets, and
fishing, never-to-be-neglected and in-constant-use safety-valves. He
regarded himself as an assimilator of everything that went into him, be
it food, sight, sound, or scent, and his perfection as such in exact
ratio to the product he derived from them. So when next morning he said
"Come on" to the Doctor, and Colonel Bangem, Mrs. Colonel Bangem, Bess
Bangem, and Martha, the mountain-maid, who were all standing in front of
the camp rigged for a day's fishing, he meant that one of Energy's
safety-valves was ready to blow off, and that further delay might be
dangerous to him.

In the Doctor, Energy was stored in bond as it were, subject to duties,
and only to be issued on certificate that it was wanted for use and
everything ready for it: therefore at the Professor's "Come on" he
calmly sat down on a log, filled his pipe, leisurely lighted it, and
good-humoredly remarked, "I am confident that one-half of what we call
life is spent in undoing what we have done, in lamenting the lack of
what we have forgotten, or going back after it: therefore I make it a
rule when everything seems ready for a start--especially when going
fishing--to sit five minutes in calm communion with my pipe, thinking
matters over. It insures against much discomfort from treacherous
memories and neglect."

As the Doctor whiffed at his pipe, he inventoried guns, tackle, lunch,
hammocks, air-cushions, gigs, frog-spears, and all other necessaries for
a day's sport on the river. The result was as he had prophesied,--many
things had been omitted. "Now," said he, when the five minutes were up,
"we might venture down the bank, which, rest assured, each member of
this party will have to climb up again after something left behind."

A motley little fleet awaited the party at the water's
edge,--square-ended, flat-bottomed punts, sharp-bowed bateaux, long,
graceful, dug-out canoes, and a commodious push-boat, with cabin and
awning, whose motive power was poles. Elk River craft are as abundant as
the log cabins on its banks, and their pilots are as numerous as the
inhabitants. Neither sex nor size is a disqualification, for, excepting
the trifling matter of being web-toed, all are provided from birth with
water-going properties, and, be it seed-time or harvest, the river has
the first claim upon them for all its varied sports and occupations. A
shot at mallard, black-head, butter-duck, loon, wild goose, or
blue-winged teal, as they follow the river's winds northward in the
spring-time, will stop the ploughs furrowing its fertile bottoms as far
as its echoes roll around mountain-juts, and cause the hands that held
the lines to grasp old-fashioned rifles for a chance at the winged
passers. When, later, woodcock seek its margins, gray snipe, kill-deer,
mud-hens, and plovers its narrow fens, the scythe will rest in the
half-mown field while its wielder "takes a crack at 'em." And when
autumn brings thousands of gray squirrels, flocks of wild pigeon and
water-fowl, to feed on its mast, no household obligation or out-door
profit will keep the natives from shooting, morning, noon, and night.

Some day in the near future a railroad will be built "up Elk," and then,
while commerce and civilization will get a lift, the loveliest of rivers
will be scarred; her trout-streams, carp-runs, bass-pools,
salmon-swirls, deer-licks, bear-dens, partridge-nestles, and
pheasant-covers will be overrun by sports-men, her magnificent mountains
will be scratched bald-headed by lumbermen, her laughing tributaries
will be saddened with saw-dust, and her queer, quaint, original
boat-pullers and "seng-diggers" will wear shoes in summer-time and coats
in winter, weather-board their log cabins, put glass in the windows and
partitions across the one room inside. Woods-meetings will creep into
churches, square sousing in the river will degenerate to the gentle
baptismal sprinkle; no picnics or barbecues will delight the inhabitants
with flying horses and fights, open fireplaces and sparking-benches will
give way to stoves and chairs, riding double on horseback, with fair
arms not afraid to hold tight against all dangers real or fancied, will
be a joy of the past, "bean-stringin's," "apple-parin's,"
"punkin-clippin's," "sass-bilin's," "sugar-camps," "cabin-raisin's,"
"log-rollin's," "bluin's," "tar-and-feathering," and "hangin's," will be
out-civilized, and the whole country will be spoiled.

"It looks like a good biting morning for bass," said Colonel Bangem,
while he was distributing the party properly among the boats. "But, in
spite of all signs, bass bite when they please. It is a sunny morning:
so use bright spoon-trolls, medium size. If the fish rise freely,
twenty-five feet of line is enough to have out on the stern lines; and,
as the ladies will use the poles, ten feet of line is enough for them.
Don't forget, Mrs. Bangem, to keep your troll spinning just outside the
swirl of the oar, and as near the surface of the water as possible. You
know you _will_ talk and forget all about it. Now we will start. If we
get separated and it grows cloudy, change your trolls for three-inch
'fairy minnows;' and if the wind ripples the water, let out from sixty
to eighty feet of line. Take the centre of the river, and you will haul
in salmon; for bass will not rise to a troll in the eddies when the
water is rough. Salmon will. Tim, take the lead with the Professor, that
the other men may see your stroke and course. In trolling, the oarsman
has as much to do with the success as the fisherman."

Off they went, three to a boat, the fishers seated in bow and stern, the
ladies in front with their fishing-poles, and the oarsman in his proper
place, rowing a slow, steady stroke, dipping true and silently just
fifty feet from bank, or sedge, or shelf of rock, steering outside of
snags and drift and where overhanging trees buried their shadows in the
water.

The boats had hardly reached their positions--two on each side of the
stream--when a shout from the Professor announced a catch, as hand over
hand he cautiously drew in the swerving line or held it taut, as the
diving fish sought the rocky bottom or the friendly refuge of a log
drift. With unvarying stroke Tim kept his boat in deep water, away from
entangling dangers. There was a flash in the air and a jingle of the
troll, as a fine bass shot out of the water to shake the barbs from his
open mouth; but the hooks held firm, and the taut line foiled the effort
to dislodge them. Down came the fish with a splash, to dart for the
boat at lightning speed and leap again for life; but this time no jingle
of troll announced his game. He leaped ahead to fall upon the line and
thus tear the hooks from their hold. Successful fishing depends upon two
things,--the presence of fish and knowing more than fish do. At the
instant of the fish's leap the Professor slackened his line: down came
the bass on a limber loop, defeated in his strategy and wearied by his
effort, to be hauled quickly to the boat's side and landed, wriggling
and tossing, at Tim Price's feet.

"You've cotched bass afore, Perfesser. You ez up to their ways ez a
mus'rat to a mussel, er a kingfisher to a minner," exclaimed Tim
admiringly, as he loosened the troll from a two-pound bass. "Hit's
p'intedly a pity you're out uv your head 'bout picters."

"Oh, I have one! I have one!--a fish! What kind is it?" screamed Bess
Bangem, who was the Professor's companion, as her light trout-pole bent
from a sudden tug, and the reel whirred as the line ran off.

"Stop him, hold on to him, wind him in, and I will tell you," answered
the Professor, laughing.

Bess was a practised hand, and loved the sport; but, woman-like, she
always paused to wonder what she had caught before proceeding to find
out.

"It will be the subject of a lecture for you, whatever it is," replied
Bess, with a saucy shake of her head, as she wound in the line and
guided the playing fish with well-managed pole. Her fine face flushed
with the excitement of the run and leap of her prey, as it came nearer
and nearer, until Tim slipped the landing-net quietly under it and
landed a beauty in the boat.

"Poor fellow! I wonder if I hurt him?" said Bess.

"Not much, if any," remarked the Professor. "I never was a fish, and
consequently never was foolish enough to jump at a bunch of hooks; but,
as the cartilage of a fish's mouth is almost nerveless, there is but
little pain from a hook diet. Bass, salmon, pike, and other gamey fish
will often keep on biting after they have been badly hooked."

"So will men," said Bess, as she threw her troll into the water to do
fresh duty.

"You're p'intedly keerect," said Tim Price. "I got the sack four times,
an' hed right smart mittens, afore I cotched a stayin' holt on my old
woman."

Shout after shout waked the mountain-echoes, as fish were held up in
triumph, and as the boats glided over the smooth water of the eddy.
Ahead was a mass of foam and a long dash of water down a shoal.

"Yere's where me and the colonel catches 'em lively when I pull him,"
said Martha to the Doctor. "They bite yere ez lively ez a stray pig in a
tater-patch. Whoop! I've got him! He pulls like a mule at a
hitchin'-rope. Keep your boat head to the current, Alec, an' pull hard,
er we'll drift down on him an' I'll lose him. Whoop! May I never! A
five-pounder! I'll slit him down the back an' brile him fer breakfast.
Whoop! In you come!"

The boatmen pulled hard against the fierce current at the foot of the
shoal, crossed and recrossed, circled, and at it again, until a score or
more of noble bass were hooked from the swirl, and Colonel Bangem led
the way up the rapids. Then the oarsmen leaped into the water and towed
the boats through the wild current, until the eddy at the top of it
allowed them to take oars again.

"Preacher, kin you paddle?" asked Tim Price of the Professor, as he
drained the water from his legs before getting into the boat. "Ef you
air a hand at it, take an oar an' paddle a bit astern: there'll be white
peerch an' red-hoss lyin' yere at the head uv the shore."

The Professor took an oar and paddled, while Tim Price poised himself in
the boat, spear in hand and the long rope from its slender shaft coiled
at his feet. He peered intently into the water as the boat moved slowly
along. Presently every muscle of him was set: he bent backward for a
cast, pointed his spear with steady hands to a spot in the river, and
quick as a flash it pierced the water until its ten-foot shaft was seen
no more. As quickly was it recovered by Tim's active hands catching the
flying line to haul it in; and on its prongs squirmed a monstrous fish
of the sucker tribe,--a red-horse,--pinned through and through by his
unerring aim.

Shoal and eddy, swirl and silent pool, yielded good sport and harvest,
as haunts of bass and salmon were entered and passed, until the inviting
mouth of Little Sandy Creek suggested rest for the boatmen and a stroll
for the fishers. A neat hotel, clean and well kept for so wild a region,
harbors lumbermen, rivermen, and those who love the rod and gun. There
are many such attractive centres along the banks of Elk, with charming
camping-grounds, where neighboring hospitality abounds, and chickens,
eggs, milk, corn, and bacon are abundant and cheap, and the finest
bass-and other fishing possible, from Queen's Shoal--four miles away--to
the old dam above Charleston. Above Queen's Shoal the region increases
in wildness and attractiveness for traveller or sportsman. Trout in
plenty find homes in the mountain-tributaries of Upper Elk; deer abound,
and all manner of smaller game. Where nature does her best work, man is
apt to do but little. Nature farms the Elk country.

Bright moonlight, the early morning after the sun is up, and from a
couple of hours after mid-day until the mountain-shadows strike the
water in the evening, are the best times to troll for bass. If so
minded, they will rise to a fly at such times in the rapids; but no
allurement excepting the troll will bring them to the surface in still
water. When the river is rising, or the water is clouded with mud or
drift, bass scorn all surface-diet; but the live minnow or crawfish,
hellgramite or fish-worm, will capture them on trout-line or hook
attached to the soul-absorbing bob. A clothes-line wire cable, furnished
with well-assorted hooks baited with cotton, dough, and cheese well
mixed together, and stretched in eddy-water when the river is muddy,
will give fine reward in carp, white perch, catfish, turtles, garfish,
and sweet revenge on the bait-stealing guana.

After nooning, lunch, and a quiet loaf, the party sped homeward with the
current, handling rods and trolls as salmon and bass demanded lively
attention. Shooting a rapid, and out into a deep pool at its foot, the
Doctor's boat struck a snag, and he, having a resisting power equal to
that of a billiard-ball, put his heels where his head had been, and
disappeared under the water, to pop up again instantly, sputtering and
spitting, like a jug full of yeast with a corn-cob stopper.

"Oh, Hickey! Whoop!" exclaimed Martha, as she went off in wild screams
of laughter. "Kin you swim?" she asked, with the coolness of the
mountain-maiden she was.

"No, no," sputtered the Doctor.

"I reckon you'll tow good. Jest gimme your han', an' keep your feet
down, an' me an' Alec 'ill tow you ashore to dreen. Hit's like you're
purty wet."

He was soon landed by the stalwart Martha and Alec, and, while he
attitudinized for draining, the Professor amused himself with taking an
instantaneous photograph.

"By gum! he mought hev drownded," said Tim Price to the Professor. "The
Doctor hain't a good shape fer towin', but he floats higher than any
craft of his length I ever seed on Elk River."

Just as the golden light of evening cast its sheen upon the river the
camp-tents came in sight, where a group of natives stood waiting the
arrival of the fishers to "hear what luck they'd hed."

Colonel Bangem and Bess carried off equal honors in greatest
count,--sixty-two bass and five salmon each. Martha, with her
five-pounder, was weight champion. Mrs. Bangem had the only blue pike.
The Professor claimed that, besides his twoscore fish, he had
illustrations enough for a comic annual; and the Doctor asserted that he
knew more about bass than any of them, for he had been down where they
lived, and was of the opinion that he had swallowed a couple.

Bess Bangem said to the Professor, as they went up the bank together, "I
had a great mind to count you in with my fish, to beat father; but I
caught you long ago, so it would not have been fair."

     TOBE HODGE.



ON A NOBLE CHARACTER MARRED BY LITTLENESS.


As Moscow's splendors trench on narrow lanes,
  The wonder, brimming every traveller's eyes,
To disappointment's sudden darkness wanes
  At finding meanness near such grandeur lies.

O human city! built on Moscow's plan,
  Thy great and little touch each other so,
Let me forbear, and, as an erring man,
  Make my approaches wisely, from below,

Hasting through all the narrow and the base
  Before I stand where all is high and vast:
After the dark, let glory light my face,
  Thy shining greatness break upon me _last_.

     CHARLOTTE FISKE BATES.



THE SCOTTISH CROFTERS.


It is hard to dispel the halo which poetry and romance have thrown about
the Scottish Highlander and see him simply as he appears in every-day
life. And indeed, all fiction aside, there is in his history and
character much that is most admirable and noble. On many a terrible
battle-field his courage has been unsurpassed. His brave and tireless
struggle for existence where both climate and soil are unfriendly is
equally worthy of respect. Then, too, his sterling honesty and
independence in speech and action and his high moral and religious
qualities combine to make him a valuable citizen.

Such considerations account in part for the interest which has been
excited in England by the claims of the Scottish crofters. There are,
however, other reasons why so much attention has of late been given to
their complaints. Their poverty and hardships have long been known in
England. The reports made by the Emigration Commissioners in 1841 and by
Sir John McNeil a few years later contain accounts of miserably small
and unproductive holdings, of wretched hovels for dwellings, of lack of
enterprise and interest in making improvements, of curtailment of
pasture, of high rents and insecurity of tenure, very similar to those
found on the pages of the report of the late Royal Commission. While in
this interval the condition of the crofters has but slightly, if at all,
improved, there has been a very considerable improvement in the
condition of the middle and lower classes of the people in other parts
of Scotland and in England. The masses of the people have better houses,
better food and clothing, while with the development of the school
system and the newspaper press general intelligence has greatly
increased. The accounts of the poverty and wretchedness of the crofters
now reach the public much more quickly and make a much deeper impression
on all classes than they did forty years ago. While these small farmers
are not numerous,--there are probably not more than four thousand
families in need of relief,--many of their kinsmen elsewhere have
acquired wealth and influence and have been able to plead their cause
with good effect. In this country "The Scottish Land League" has issued
in "The Cry of the Crofter" an eloquent plea for help to carry on the
agitation to a successful issue.

Another reason for the increased attention that has lately been given to
these claims is found in the rapidly-growing tendency to concede to the
landlord fewer and fewer and to the tenant more and more rights in the
land. The recent extension of the suffrage, giving votes to nearly two
millions of agricultural and other laborers, leads politicians to go as
far as possible in favoring new legislation in the interest of tenants
and laborers. The crofters' case has therefore come to be of special
interest as a part of the general land question which has of late
received so much attention from the English press and Parliament, and
which is pretty certain to be prominent for several years to come.

Those who are familiar only with the relations existing between landlord
and tenant in this country are naturally surprised to find the crofter
demanding that his landlord shall (1) give him the use of more land,
(2) reduce his rent, (3) pay him on leaving his holding for all his
improvements, and (4) not accept in his stead another tenant, even
though the latter may be anxious to take the holding at a higher figure
or turn him out for any other reason. In addition to all this, the
crofters demand that the government shall advance them money to enable
them to build suitable houses and improve and stock their farms. An
American tenant who should make such demands would be considered insane.
No such view of the crofters' claims, however, is taken in England and
Scotland.

What, then, are the grounds upon which these extensive claims are based?
Why should the crofter claim a right to have his holding enlarged and to
have the land at a lower rent than some one else may be willing to pay?
The reasons are to be found partly in his history, traditions, and
circumstances, and partly in the present tendency of the legislation and
discussions relating to the ownership and occupation of land.

Under the old clan system, to which the crofter is accustomed to trace
his claims, the land was owned by the chief and clansmen in common, and
allotments and reallotments were made from time to time to individual
clansmen, each of whom had a right to some portion of the land, while
the commons were very extensive. Rent or service was paid to the chief,
who had more or less control over the clan lands and often possessed an
estate in severalty, with many personal dependants. In many cases the
power of the chief was great and tyrannical, and many of the clansmen
were in a somewhat servile condition; but the more influential clansmen
seem sometimes to have retained permanent possession of their
allotments. Long ago sub-letting became common, and hard services were
often exacted of the sub-tenants, whose lot was frequently a most
unhappy one. The modern cottar, as well as the squatter, had his
representative in the dependant of the chief, or clansman, or in the
outlaw or vagrant member of another clan who came to build his rude
cabin wherever he could find a sheltered and unoccupied spot. No doubt
many of the sub-tenants, even where they held originally by base and
uncertain services and at the will of their superior, came in time, like
the English copyholder, to have a generally-recognized right to the
permanent possession of their holdings, while custom tended to fix the
character and quantity of their services. The population was not
numerous, and it was probably not difficult for every man to secure a
plot of land of some sort.

The crofters of to-day have lost for the most part the traditions of the
drawbacks and hardships of this ancient system, with its oppressive
services, to which many of their ancestors were subject, and have
commonly retained only the tradition of the right which every clansman
had to some portion of the clan lands. In 1745 the clan organizations
were abolished and the chiefs transformed into landlords and invested
with the fee-simple of the land. But, while changes were gradually made
on some estates in the direction of conformity to the English system,
most of the old customary rights of the people continued to be
recognized. The tenant was commonly allowed to occupy his holding from
year to year without interruption. Money rent gradually took the place
of service or rent in kind, but the amount exacted does not seem to have
been often increased arbitrarily. The rights of common, which were often
of great value, were respected.

The descendants and successors, however, of the old Scotch lairds did
not always display the same regard for prescriptive rights and usages.
In some cases the extravagance and bankruptcy of the old owners caused
the titles to pass to Englishmen, while in others the inheritors of the
estates were more and more inclined to insist upon their legal rights
and to introduce in the management of their property rules similar to
those in use in England. Early in the present century sheep-farming was
found to be profitable, and many large areas of glen and mountain were
cleared of the greater part of their population and converted into
sheep-farms. Many of the mountainous parts of Scotland are of little use
for agricultural purposes. Formerly the crofters used large tracts as
summer pastures for their small herds of inferior stock. By and by the
proprietors found that large droves of better breeds of sheep could be
kept on these mountain-pastures. The crofters were too poor to undertake
the management of the large sheep-farms into which it was apparently
most profitable to divide these mountain-lands, and sheep-farmers from
the south became the tenants. By introducing sheep-farming on a large
scale the landlords were able, they claimed, to use hundreds of
thousands of acres which before were of comparatively little value. The
large flocks of sheep could not, however, be kept without having the
lower slopes of the mountains on which to winter. It was these slopes
that the crofters commonly used for pasture, below which, in the straths
and glens, were their holdings and dwellings. The ruins of cottages, or
patches of green here and there where cottages stood, mark the sites of
many little holdings from which the crofters and their families were
turned out many years ago in order to make room for sheep-farms. The
proprietors sometimes recognized the rights of these native tenants, and
gave them new holdings in exchange for the old ones. The new crofts were
often nearer the sea, where the land was less favorable for grazing and
where the rights of common were less valuable, but the occupants had
better opportunities for supplementing their incomes from the land by
fishing and by gathering sea-weed for kelp, from which iodine was made.
There were, however, great numbers who were not supplied with new
crofts, but turned away from their old homes and left to shift for
themselves. Some of these, too poor to go elsewhere, built rude huts
wherever they could find a convenient spot, and thus increased the ranks
of the squatters. Others were allowed to share the already too small
holdings of their more fortunate brethren, while others, again, found
their way to the lowlands and cities of the south or to America. The
traditions of the hardships and sufferings endured by some of these
evicted crofters are still kept alive in the prosperous homes of their
children and grandchildren on this side of the Atlantic. The process of
clearing off the crofters went on for many years. In 1849 Hugh Miller,
in trying to arouse public sentiment against it, declared that, "while
the law is banishing its tens for terms of seven and fourteen
years,--the penalty of deep-dyed crimes,--irresponsible and infatuated
power is banishing its thousands for no crime whatever."

Lately, owing to foreign competition and the deterioration of the land
that has been used for many years as sheep-pastures, sheep-farming has
become much less profitable than formerly, and many large tenants have
in consequence given up their farms. The enthusiasm for deer-hunting
has, however, increased with the increase of wealth and leisure among
Englishmen, and immense tracts, amounting altogether to nearly two
millions of acres, have been turned into deer-forests, yielding, as a
rule, a slightly higher rent than was paid by the crofters and
sheep-farmers. Much of this land is either unfit for agricultural
purposes or could not at present be cultivated with profit. Some of it,
however, is fertile, or well suited for grazing, and greatly coveted by
the crofters. The deer and other game often destroy or injure the crops
of the adjoining holdings, and thus add to the troubles of the occupants
and increase their indignation at the land's being used to raise sheep
and "vermin" instead of men. Most Americans have had intimations of this
feeling through the accounts of the hostility that has been shown to our
countryman, Mr. Winans, whose deer-forest is said to cover two hundred
square miles. While evictions are much less common than they were two or
three generations ago, there has all along been a disposition on the
part of the proprietors to enclose in their sheep-farms and deer-forests
lands that were formerly tilled or used as commons by the crofters and
cottars. In comparison with the crofter of to-day the sub-tenant of a
hundred years ago had, as a rule, more land for tillage, a far wider
range of pasture for his stock, and "greater freedom in regard to the
natural produce of the river and moor."

Many of the crofters belong to families which have lived on the same
holdings for generations. It is a common experience everywhere that
long-continued use begets and fosters the feeling of ownership. This is
especially true when, as in the crofter's case, there is so much in the
history and traditions of the people and the property that tends to
establish a right of possession. Besides, the crofter, or one of his
ancestors, has in most cases built the house and made other
improvements: sometimes he has reclaimed the land itself and changed a
barren waste into a garden. The labor and money which he and his
ancestors have expended in improving the place seem to him to give him
an additional right to occupy it always. It is his holding and his home,
the home of his fathers and of his family. While he may be unable to
resist the power of his landlord, and may have no legal security for his
rights and interests, he regards the curtailment of his privileges or
the increase of his rent as unjust, and eviction as a terrible outrage.
"The extermination of the Highlanders," says one of their kinsmen, "has
been carried on for many years as systematically and persistently as
that of the North-American Indians.... Who can withhold sympathy as
whole families have turned to take a last look at the heavens red with
their burning homes? The poor people shed no tears, for there was in
their hearts that which stifled such signs of emotion: they were
absorbed in despair. They were forced away from that which was dear to
their hearts, and their patriotism was treated with contemptuous
mockery.... There are various ways in which the crime of murder is
perpetrated. There are killings which are effected by the unjust and
cruel denying of lands to our fellow-creatures to enable them to obtain
food and raiment."

The feeling of the crofters in regard to increase of rent and eviction
is very similar to that of the Irish tenantry. Very recently Mr. Parnell
uttered sentiments which both would accept as their own. "I trust," he
said, "that when any individual feels disposed to violate the divine
commandment by taking, under such circumstances, that which does not
belong to him, he will feel within him the promptings of patriotism and
religion, and that he will turn away from the temptation. Let him
remember that he is doing a great injustice to his country and his
class,--that though he may perhaps benefit materially for a while, yet
that ill-gotten gains will not prosper." Where crofters have been
evicted, or have had their privileges curtailed or their rent raised,
they and their descendants do not soon forget the grievance. Claims have
recently been made for lands which the crofters have not occupied for
two or three generations.

The Scotch landlords are not, as a rule, cruel or unjust. On the
contrary, some of them are exceedingly kind and generous to their
tenants, and have spent large sums of money in making improvements which
add greatly to the prosperity and comfort of those who live on their
estates. Many of them recognize the right of their tenants to occupy
their holdings without interruption so long as the rent is paid
regularly. The natural tendency, however, to insist upon their legal
rights and to make the most they can out of their estates has led to not
a few cases of hardship and injustice. A few such instances in a
community are talked over for years, and often seriously interfere with
the contentment and industry of many families. The traditions and
recollections of the many evictions which have occurred during this
century have often caused the motives of the best landlords to be
suspected and their most benevolent acts to be misunderstood by their
tenants. The crofter system has been an extremely bad one in many
respects. There cannot be much interest in making improvements where the
tenant must build the houses, fences, stables, etc., but has no
guarantee that he will not be turned out of his holding or have his rent
so increased as practically to compel him to leave the place. The
kindness and humanity of the landlords have in many instances mitigated
the worst evils of the system; but, while human nature remains as it is,
no matter how just and generous individual landlords may be, general
prosperity and contentment are impossible under the present
arrangements. The discontent and discouragement caused by the action of
the less kind and considerate landlords and agents frequently extend to
crofters who have no just grounds of complaint, and troubles and
hardships resulting from idleness or improvidence or other causes are
often attributed to the injustice of the laws or the cruelty of the
landlords.

The poverty of the crofter often renders his condition deplorable. His
holding and right of common have been curtailed by the landlord, or he
has sub-divided them among his sons or kinsmen, until it would be
impossible for the produce of the soil to sustain the population, even
if no rent whatever were charged. Some years ago he was able to increase
his income by gathering sea-weed for kelp; but latterly, since iodine
can be obtained more cheaply from other sources, the demand for this
product has ceased. In some places the fishing is valuable, enabling him
to supply his family with food for a part of the year, and bringing him
money besides. He is, however, often too poor to provide the necessary
boats and nets, while in many places the absence of good harbors and
landings is a most serious drawback to the fishing industry. Sometimes
he supplements his income by spending a few months of the year in the
low country and obtaining work there. In most cases, however, a large
part of his income must be derived from the land. If there were plenty
of employment to be had, the little holding would do very well as a
garden, and the stock which he could keep on the common would add
greatly to his comfort. As things now are, he must look chiefly to the
land both for his subsistence and his rent, and, with an unfruitful soil
and an unfriendly climate, he is often on the verge of want.

Still more wretched is the condition of the cottars and squatters. The
latter are in some places numerous and have taken up considerable
portions of land formerly used as common, thus interfering with the
rights of the crofters. They appropriate land and possess and pasture
stock, but pay no rent, obey no control, and scarcely recognize any
authority. The dwellings of this class and of some of the poorer
crofters are wretched in the extreme. A single apartment, with walls of
stone and mud, a floor of clay, a thatched roof, no windows, no chimney,
one low door furnishing an entrance for the occupants and a means of
ventilation and of escape for the smoke which rolls up black and thick
from the peat fire, furniture of the rudest imaginable sort, the
inhabitants--the human beings, the cows, the pigs, the sheep, and the
poultry--all crowded together in the miserable and filthy hut, make up a
picture which the most romantic and poetic associations can hardly
render pleasing to one accustomed to the comforts and refinements of
modern civilization. Of course many of the crofters live in greater
comfort, and some of the cottages are by no means unattractive. But the
Royal Commissioners say that the crofter's habitation is usually "of a
character that would imply physical and moral degradation in the eyes of
those who do not know how much decency, courtesy, virtue, and even
refinement survive amidst the sordid surroundings of a Highland hovel."
An Englishman who, on seeing these "sordid surroundings," was disposed
to compare the social and moral condition of the people to "the
barbarism of Egypt," was told that if he would ask one of the crofters,
in Gaelic or English, "What is the chief end of man?" he would soon see
the difference.

With such a history, such traditions, grievances, conditions, and
hardships, it is not strange that the crofter should be ready to join an
agitation that promised a remedy. Some of his grievances and claims have
been so similar to those of the Irish tenant that the legislation which
followed the violent agitation in Ireland has led him to hope for
relief-measures similar to those enacted for the Irish tenantry. The
Irish Land Act of 1870 recognized the tenant's right to the permanent
possession of his holding and to his improvements, by providing that on
being turned out by his landlord he should have compensation for
disturbance and for his improvements. It did not, however, secure him
against the landlord's so increasing his rent as practically to
appropriate his improvements and even force him to leave his holding
without any compensation. The Land Act of 1881 secured his interests by
establishing a court which should fix a fair rent, by giving him a right
to compensation for disturbance and for his improvements, and by
allowing him to sell his interests for the best price he can get for
them. It also enabled him to borrow from the government, at a low rate
of interest, three-fourths of the money necessary to purchase his
landlord's interest in the holding. This legal recognition and guarantee
of the Irish tenant's interests have led the crofter to hope that his
claims, based on better grounds, may also be conceded.

The changes recently made in the land laws of England and Scotland, and
the activity of the advocates of further and more radical changes, have
increased this hope. Progressive English statesmen have long looked with
disfavor upon entails and settlements, and there have been a number of
enactments providing for cutting off entails and increasing the power of
limited owners. The last and most important of these, the Settled
Estates Act, passed in 1882, gives the tenant for life power to sell any
portion of the estate except the family mansion, and thus thoroughly
undermines the principle upon which primogeniture and entails are
founded. Much land which has hitherto been so tied up that the limited
owners were either unable or unwilling to develop it can now be sold and
improved. New measures have been proposed to increase still further the
power of limited owners and to make the sale and transfer of land easier
and less expensive. Many able statesmen are advocates of these measures.
Mr. Goschen in a recent speech at Edinburgh urged the need of a
land-register by which transfers of land might be made almost as cheaply
and easily as transfers of consols. By such an arrangement, it is held,
many farmers of small capital will be enabled to buy their farms, and
the land of the country will thus be dispersed among a much larger
number of owners. There has also been a very marked tendency to enlarge
the rights and the authority of the tenant farmer. The Agricultural
Holdings Act of 1883 gives the tenant a right to compensation for
temporary and, on certain conditions, for permanent improvements, and
permits him in most cases, where he cannot have compensation, to remove
fixtures or buildings which he has erected, contrary to the old doctrine
that whatever is fixed to the soil becomes the property of the landlord.
The landlord's power to distrain for rent is greatly reduced: formerly
he could distrain for six years' rent, now he can distrain only for the
rent of one year, and he is required to give the tenant twelve instead
of six months' notice to quit. The tenant is therefore more secure than
formerly in the possession of his farm and in spending money and labor
in making improvements that will render it more productive. Other
changes are proposed, which will give him still more rights, greater
freedom in the management of the farm, and additional encouragement to
adopt the best methods of farming and invest his labor and money in
improvements. Many of the land reformers advocate the adoption of
measures similar to those that have been enacted for Ireland. It has for
some time been one of the declared purposes of the Farmers' Alliance to
secure a system of judicial rents for the tenant farmers of England. An
important conference lately held at Aberdeen and participated in by
representatives of both the English and Scottish Farmers' Alliances
adopted an outline of a land bill for England and Scotland, providing
for the establishment of a land court, fixing fair rents, fuller
compensation for improvements, and the free sale of the tenant's
interests.

The wretched condition of the dwellings of the agricultural laborers in
many parts of the country has attracted much attention, and plans for
bettering their condition have frequently been urged. Lately the
interest in the subject has increased, prominent statesmen on both sides
having espoused the cause. In view of the political power which the
recent extension of the suffrage has given to the agricultural laborers,
there is a general expectation that a measure will shortly be enacted
requiring the owner or occupier of the farm to give each laborer a plot
of ground "of a size that he and his family can cultivate without
impairing his efficiency as a wage-earner," at a rent fixed by
arbitration, and providing for a loan of money by the state for the
erection of a proper dwelling. The provisions of the Irish Land Act and
its amendment relating to laborers' cottages and allotments suggest the
lines along which legislation for the improvement of laborers' dwellings
in England and Scotland is likely to proceed.

Then there is the scheme for nationalizing the land, the state paying
the present owners no compensation, or a very small amount, and assuming
the chief functions now exercised by the landlords. No statesman has yet
ventured to advocate this scheme, but it has called forth a great deal
of discussion on the platform and in the newspapers and reviews, and has
captivated most of those who are inclined to adopt socialistic theories
of property. Mr. George himself has preached his favorite doctrine to
the crofters, whose views of their own rights in the land have led them
to look upon the plan with more favor than the English tenants. Others,
too, who have plans to advocate for giving tenants and laborers greater
rights have taken special pains to have their views presented to the
crofters, since the claims of the latter against the landlords seem to
rest upon so much stronger grounds than those of the English tenant.

The agitations for the reform of the land laws in Ireland and England,
and the utterances of the advocates of the various plans for increasing
the rights and privileges of the tenant, have led the crofters to dwell
upon their grievances until they have become thoroughly aroused. They
have in many cases refused to pay rent, have resisted eviction and
driven away officers who attempted to serve writs, have offered violence
to the persons or property of some of those who have ventured to take
the crofts of evicted tenants, and in some instances have taken forcible
possession of lands which they thought ought to be added to their
crofts. The government found it necessary a short time ago to send
gunboats with marines and extra police to some of the islands and
districts to restore the authority of the law. The crofters and their
friends are thoroughly organized, and seem likely to insist upon their
claims with the persistency that is characteristic of their race. It is
now generally conceded that some remedy must be provided for their
grievances and hardships.

The remedy that has been most frequently suggested, the only one
recommended by the Emigration Commissioners in 1841 and by Sir John
McNeil in 1852, is emigration. The crofting system, it has often been
urged, belongs to a bygone age; it survives only because of its
remoteness from the centres of civilization and the ruggedness of the
country; the implements used by the crofters are of the most primitive
sort, while their agricultural methods are "slovenly and unskilful to
the last degree." It is impossible for these small farmers, with their
crude implements and methods, to compete with the large farmers, who
have better land and use the most improved implements and methods.
Besides, many of the crofters are, and their ancestors for many
generations have been, "truly laborers, living chiefly by the wages of
labor, and holding crofts and lots for which they pay rents, not from
the produce of the land, but from wages." If they cannot find employment
within convenient distance of their present homes, the best and kindest
thing for them is to help them to go where there is a good demand for
labor and better opportunities for earning a decent livelihood. To
encourage them to stay on their little crofts, where they are frequently
on the verge of want, is unkind and very bad policy. One who has seen
the wretched hovels in which some of these crofter families live, the
small patches of unproductive land on which they try to subsist, the
hardships which they sometimes suffer, and the lack of opportunities for
bettering their condition in their native Highlands or islands, and who
knows how much has been accomplished by the enterprise and energy of
Highlanders in other parts of the world, can hardly help wishing that
they might all be helped to emigrate to countries where their industry
and economy would more certainly be rewarded, and where they would have
a fairer prospect for success in the struggle for life and advancement.
Many of them would undoubtedly be far better off if they could emigrate
under favorable conditions. The descendants of many of those who were
forced to leave their homes by "cruel and heartless Highland lairds,"
and who suffered terrible hardships in getting to this country and
founding new homes, have now attained such wealth and influence as they
could not possibly have acquired among their ancestral hills. The Royal
Commissioners recommended that the state should aid those who may be
willing to emigrate from certain islands and districts where the
population is apparently too great for the means of subsistence.

The crofters are, however, strongly attached to their native hills and
glens, and they claim that such laws can and ought to be enacted as will
enable them to live in comfort where they are. The present, it is urged,
is a particularly favorable time to establish prosperous small farmers
in many parts of the Highlands where sheep-farming has proved a failure.
The inhabitants of the coasts and islands are largely a seafaring
people. There is quite as much Norse as Celtic blood in the veins of
many of them, and the Norseman's love of the sea leads them naturally to
fishing or navigation. The herring-fisheries, with liberal encouragement
on the part of the government, might be made far more profitable to the
fishermen and to the nation. Besides, the seafaring people of the
Highlands and islands "constitute a natural basis for the naval defence
of the country, a sort of defence which cannot be extemporized, and
which in possible emergencies can hardly be overrated." At the present
time they "contribute four thousand four hundred and thirty-one men to
the Royal Naval Reserve,--a number equivalent to the crews of seven
armored war-steamers of the first class." It is surely desirable to
foster a population which has been a "nursery of good citizens and good
workers for the whole empire," and of the best sailors and soldiers for
the British navy and army. Public policy demands that every legitimate
means be used to better the condition of the crofters and cottars, and
to encourage them to remain in and develop the industries of their own
country, instead of abandoning it to sheep and deer. Private interests
must be made subordinate to the public good. Parliament may therefore
interfere with the rights of landed property when the interests of the
people and of the nation demand it, as they do in this case.

It was on some such grounds that the Royal Commissioners recommended
that restrictions be placed upon the further extension of deer-forests,
that the fishing interests should be aided by the government, that the
proprietors should be required to restore to the crofters lands formerly
used as common pastures, and to give them, under certain restrictions,
the use of more land, enlarging their holdings, and that in certain
cases they should be compelled to grant leases at rents fixed by
arbitration, and to give compensation for improvements. The government
is already helping the fishermen by constructing a new harbor and by
improving means of communication and transportation, and proposes to
greatly lighten taxation in the near future.

The bill which the late government introduced into Parliament does not
undertake to provide for aid to those who may wish to emigrate, or for
the compulsory restoration of common pasture, or for the enlargement of
the holdings. It does, however, propose to lend money on favorable terms
for stocking and improving enlarged or new holdings. As a convention of
landlords which was held at Aberdeen last January, and which represented
a large amount of land, resolved to increase the size of crofters'
holdings as suitable opportunities offered and when the tenants could
profitably occupy and stock the same, the demand for more land seems
likely to be conceded in many cases without compulsory legislation. The
bill defines a crofter to be a tenant from year to year of a holding of
which the rent is less than fifty pounds a year, and which is situated
in a crofting-parish. Every such crofter is to have security of tenure
so long as he pays his rent and complies with certain other conditions;
his rent is to be fixed by an official valuer or by arbitration, if he
and his landlord cannot agree in regard to it; he is to have
compensation, on quitting his holding, for all his improvements which
are suitable for the holding; and his heirs may inherit his interests,
although he may not sell or assign them. Such propositions seem radical
and calculated to interfere greatly with proprietary rights and the
freedom of contract. They are, however, but little more than statements
of the customs that already exist on some of the best estates. Just as
the government by the Irish Land Law Act (1881) took up the Ulster
tenant-right customs, gave them the force of law, and extended them to
all Ireland, it is proposed by this bill to give the sanction of law to
those customary rights which the crofters claim to have inherited from
former generations, and which have long been conceded by some of the
landlords.

Such a measure of relief will not make all the crofters contented and
prosperous. It will, however, give them security against being turned
out of their homes and against excessively high rents, and will
encourage them to spend their labor and money in improving their
holdings. If some assistance could be given to those who may wish to
emigrate from overcrowded districts, and if the government would make
liberal advances of money to promote the fishing industry, the prospect
that the discontent and destitution would disappear would be much
better. The relief proposed will, however, be thankfully received by
many of the crofters and their friends.

     DAVID BENNETT KING.



MY FRIEND GEORGE RANDALL.


Since his own days at the university George Randall had always had a
friend or two among the students who came after him. I remember how in
my Freshman year I used to see Tom Wayward going up the stairs in the
Academy of Music building to his office, and how I used to envy Billy
Wylde when I met him arm in arm with George on one of the campus malls.
It was occasionally whispered about that Randall's influence on these
young men was not of the very best, and that he used to have a
never-empty bottle of remarkably smooth whiskey in his closet, along
with old letter-files and brief-books; and it is undoubtedly true that
Perry Tomson and I used to consider George's friends as models in the
manner of smoking a pipe, or ordering whiskey-and-soda at Bertrand's to
give us an appetite for our mutton-chops or our _bifteck aux
pommes_, and in the delightful self-sufficiency with which in the
pleasant spring days they would cut recitations and loll on the grass
smoking cigarettes right under the nose, almost, of the professor. But
they are both married now, and settled down to respectable conventional
success; and Billy Wylde, as I happen to know, has repaid the money
which George lent him wherewith to finish his education in Germany. The
estimable matrons of Lincoln who made so much ado over George's ruining
these young men,--who had such bright intellects and might have been
expected to do something but for that dreadfully well read lawyer's
awful influence,--these women do not consider it worth their while now,
in the face of the facts as they have turned out, to remember their
predictions, but confine themselves to making their dismal prophecies
anew in regard to the three young fellows whom George has of late taken
up. But then I remember how they went on about Perry Tomson and me in
the early part of our Junior year, when we began to enjoy the favor of
George's friendship; and if their miserable croaking never does any
good, I fancy it will never work any very great harm: so one might as
well let them croak in peace. In fact, one would more easily dam the
waters of Niagara than stop them, and George, I know, doesn't care the
cork of an empty beer-bottle what they say of him.

I have never tried to analyze the influence for good George had over us,
or account for it in any way, nor do I care to. I have always considered
his friendship for me as one of the pleasantest and most profitable
experiences of my life in Lincoln. Perry and I were always more close
and loving friends, and cared for George with a silent but abiding sense
of gratitude in addition to the other sources of our affection for him,
after he showed us the boyish foolishness of our quarrel about Lucretia
Knowles. Of course I ought not to have grown angry at Perry's
good-natured cynicism; for how could he have imagined that I cared for
her? Though I sometimes think, even now, that Perry was indeed anxious
lest I should fall in love with her, and wanted to ridicule me out of
the notion, and I fear, in spite of his acquaintance, that he
disapproves of our engagement. I wonder if he will ever get over his
prejudice against women. The dear old fellow! if he would only consent
to know Lucretia better I am sure he would.

One night in the winter before we graduated, Perry and I went with
George to the Third House, which is a mock session of the legislature
that the political wags of the State take advantage of to display their
wit and quickness at repartee and ability to make artistic fools of
themselves. If it happens to be a year for the election of a senator, as
it was in this case, the different candidates are in turn made fun of
and held up to ridicule or approval; and the chief issues of the time
are handled without gloves in a way that is always amusing and often
worth while in showing the ridiculous nature of some of them. The Third
House is usually held on some evening during the first or second week of
the session, and is opened by the Speaker calling the house to order
with a thundering racket of the gavel--"made from the wood of trees
grown on the prairies of the State"--and announcing the squatter
governor. Since the State was a territory, this announcement, after due
formalities, has been followed by the statement that, as the squatter
governor is somewhat illiterate, his message will be read by his private
secretary. After this personage has read his score or more pages of
jokes, sarcastic allusions, and ridiculous recommendations, the
discussion of the message takes place, during which any one who thinks
of a bright remark may get up and fire it at the gallery; and many very
lame attempts pass for good wit, and much private spite goes for
harmless fooling.

George got us seats in the gallery next to old Billy Gait, the
bald-headed bachelor, who owns half a dozen houses which he rents for
fifty dollars a month each, and who lives on six hundred a year,
investing the surplus of his income every now and then in another house.
William, as usual, had a pretty girl at his elbow, and we heard him
telling her how he could never get interested in George Eliot's novels,
and how it beat him to know why he ever wrote such tedious books. The
young lady smiled over her fan at Randall, and said that she supposed
Mr. Eliot had a great deal of spare time on his hands, but of course he
had no business to employ it in writing tiresome novels.

George, who knew everybody, had a kindly greeting for all who were
within its reach, even for the tired-looking little school-teacher, who
had come out with her landlady's fifteen-year-old son as an escort and
in a little while had settled down to quiet enjoyment of the squatter
governor's message, approving with a quiet smile the grin that
occasionally spread over Perry's good-humored face. As for me, I was
made miserable from the start by seeing Lucretia Knowles in one of the
best seats on the floor, with a conceited fool of a
newspaper-correspondent at her side, whispering nonsense in her ear at
such a rate that she did nothing but laugh and turn her pretty head back
to speak with Mamie Jennings, her _fidus Achates_, and never once cast
her eyes toward the gallery. She has said since that she knew I was
there all the time, and that she didn't dare look at me, because I was
such a frightful picture of jealousy, with my fingers in my hair and my
elbow on the gallery railing, staring down on the floor as if I should
like to drop a bomb and annihilate the entire lot. It is all very well
to look back now and laugh and feel sorry for the curly-locked
journalist, who is writing letters from Mexico and trying to get over
the disappointment which the knowledge of our engagement gave him, but
it was very little fun for me at the time.

I turned away a dozen times, and swore inwardly that I wouldn't look
that way again, and after each resolve I would find my eyes glancing
from one person to another in Lu's vicinity, until finally they would
rest again on her. When I had declared for the thirteenth time that I
wouldn't contemplate her heartless flirting, I noticed George bow to
some one who had just come in at the gallery door. A young man from one
of the western counties was making a satirical speech in favor of the
woman's suffrage amendment, misquoting Tennyson's "Princess" and making
the gallery shake with laughter, at the time; but I noticed George's
face light up and his eyes sparkle with pleasure at the sight of the
new-comer. She was a beautiful lady, over thirty, I should say, with the
sweetest face, for a sad one, I had ever seen. Of course, in a certain
way I like Lucretia's style of beauty better; but Mrs. Herbert was
beautiful in a way, so far as the women I have ever seen are concerned,
peculiar to herself. She was rather slender, and had a calm, graceful
bearing that I somehow at once associated with purity and nobleness. She
was quite simply dressed, and had on a small widow's bonnet, with the
ribbons tied under her chin, while a charming little girl, whose hair
curled obstinately over her forehead, had hold of her hand.

I was somewhat surprised--I will not say disappointed exactly--to see
her lips break into a glad smile, though it made her face look all the
lovelier and sweeter, in reply to George's greeting; and when she came
toward us, as he beckoned her to do, every one immediately and gladly
made room for her to pass. Perry and I gave our seats to Mrs. Herbert
and her little girl; and I found myself speculating, as I leaned against
one of the pillars, on the difference of expression in the eyes of the
two, which were otherwise so much alike,--the same deep shade of brown,
the same soft look, the same lashes, and yet what a vast difference when
one thought of the combined effect of all these similar details. I spoke
to Perry of it, and he good-naturedly poked fun at me, saying I was
forever trying to see a romance or a history in people's eyes.

"Well, I suppose you will say she isn't even lovely," I exclaimed, with
impatience.

"I'm no judge," he replied, with exasperating carelessness; "but a
little too pale, I should say. I wish George hadn't introduced her to
me."

"Why?"

"Oh, it made me feel cheap to have to back into old Billy Gait's bony
legs and try to bow and shake hands before everybody,--in the eyes of
the assembled community, as Charley McWenn would say."

McWenn was the stupid block of a journalist,--for I do think him a
stupid block, in spite of his cleverness,--and I realized then that I
had forgotten for a moment all about Lucretia. I could not see her from
my new position, so I amused myself by imagining how she was carrying
on.

At last George and Mrs. Herbert rose up to go, and the former, as he
asked our forgiveness for leaving us, told us to come to his office when
we had enough of the Third House, and, if he wasn't there, to wait for
him. "We'll go over to Bertrand's and have some oysters," he said, with
his confidence-inspiring smile. I have always thought that if George had
not had so pleasant a smile and such a soulful laugh we should never
have been such friends.

We found him waiting for us at the foot of the Academy of Music stairs,
with a cigar in his mouth and one for each of us in his hand, and we
knew from experience that his case was filled with a reserve.

"It's a pleasant night, boys, isn't it?" he said, looking up at the
stars (wonderfully bright they were in the clear, cold atmosphere) as we
went, crunching the snow under our feet, along the deserted streets to
the little back-entrance we knew of to Bertrand's.

"Yes," said Perry; "but you missed the best thing of the whole circus by
leaving before Colonel Bouteille made his speech in favor of the
prohibition amendment." And he gave a _résumé_ of the colonel's
laughable sophistry for George's benefit,--and for mine as well, for I
had paid no attention to the old toper's remarks.

We could see the glimmer of lights behind the shutters of the faro-room
over Sudden's saloon and hear the rattle of the ivory counters as we
passed.

"Do you ever go up there?" asked George, interrupting Perry.

"Why, yes; sometimes," we answered.

"Play a little now and then? I suppose?"

"We don't like to loaf around such a place," said Perry rather grandly,
considering our circumstances, "without putting down a few dollars."

"That's all right," said George; "but once or twice is enough, boys.
After you have seen what the thing is like, keep away from the tiger.
She is a greedy beast, and always hungry; and of course you can't think
of sitting down at a poker-table with the professional players."

Direct advice was rather a new strain for Randall, and we were not
surprised when he dropped it abruptly as we filed into a little private
room at the restaurant.

"Yes, I fancy old Bouteille might have made a humorous speech," he said,
after ordering the oysters. "Three?" he added, looking at me, "or four?"

"Quarts?" I asked in reply.

George nodded.

"Two, I should say."

"Oh, bother!" exclaimed Perry. "We should only have to trouble the
waiter again."

So George ordered four bottles of beer.

"It's after ten o'clock, sir," said the waiter doubtfully. It is
needless to say that he was a new one.

"That's the reason we came here," answered George, with a calm manner of
assumption that dissipated the waiter's doubts while it evidently filled
him with remorse. "Where's Auguste?"

"He's gone to bed, sir; but I guess 'twill be all right." And the waiter
started to fetch the beer.

"I should think so," growled Perry.

"I suppose it is not good form to drink beer with oysters," I suggested
mildly.

"I don't know, I'm sure," said George.

"I suppose not," said Perry; "they go so well together. I hope it isn't,
at any rate: I like to do things that are bad form."

So I relapsed into silence, and my speculations about George's outbreak
against gambling, and Mrs. Herbert's beautiful face and sad eyes, and
Lucretia Knowles's wicked light-heartedness.

When we had finished eating and had opened the last bottle of beer, I
asked George, as he stopped his talk with Perry for a moment to relight
his cigar, who Mrs. Herbert was.

"She is the noblest and most unfortunate woman in the world," he
replied, "I will tell you her story some time, perhaps."

"Let us hear it now," I cried, looking at Perry with triumph.

"Yes, let us," said Perry, nothing to my surprise, for I knew his heart
was in the right place, if his ways were a little rough and
unimpressionable-like. "We have no recitations, no lectures, no
anything, to-morrow, and there is no one else in the restaurant but the
waiter, and he is asleep."

And, in fact, we could hear him snoring.

"No, I would rather not tell it here," George said simply; "but if you
will come with me to the office you shall hear it." And when we had
heard it we respected the feeling that had prompted him to consider even
the walls of such a place as unfit listeners. To be sure, it was a very
comfortable restaurant, where the waiters were always attentive and
skilful and the mutton-chops irreproachable, and many a pleasant evening
had we three had there over our cigars and Milwaukee, and sometimes a
bottle or two of claret. But so had Tom Hagard, the faro-dealer, and
Frank Sauter, who played poker over Sudden's, and Dick Bander, who got
his money from Madame Blank because he happened to be a swashing
slugger, and many another Tom, Dick, and Harry whose reputations were,
to say the least, questionable. Of course we never associated with such
characters, and plenty of estimable people besides ourselves frequented
Bertrand's. The place was not in bad odor at all, but merely a little
miscellaneous, and suited our plebeian fancies all the more on that
account. If young fellows want to be really comfortable in life, we
thought, and see a little at first hand just what sort of people make up
the world, they must not be too particular. So we used to sit down at
the next table to one where a gambler or a horse-jockey would perhaps be
seated, or a man of worse fame, and order our humble repast with a quiet
conscience and a strengthened determination never to become one among
such people. We would even see the gay flutter of skirts sometimes, as
the waiter entered one of the private rooms with an armful of dishes,
and hear the chatter and laughter of the wearers.

We did not wonder, therefore, at George's preference for his own office,
whose four walls had never looked down upon anything but innocent young
fellows smoking and talking whatever harmless nonsense came into their
heads, or playing chess or penny-ante, or upon his own generous thoughts
and solitary contemplations, or hard work on some intricate lawsuit. So
we aroused the sleeping waiter, and walked back to the Academy of Music
building in silence.

"It is rather a long story," said George, when we had at last made
ourselves comfortable, "and I have never told it before. I don't know
why I should tell it now, but somehow I want to. I felt this evening
after I left the Capitol that I would, and I asked leave of Mrs. Herbert
while we were walking to her home together. I knew she would let me: I
am the only friend, I suppose,--the only real friend, I mean, whom she
trusts and treats as an intimate friend,--that she has in the world. I
know I am the only person who knows the whole story of her sad life.

"When I was in the university," he slowly continued, holding his cigar
in the gas-jet and turning it over and over between his fingers, with an
evident air of collating his reminiscences, "Phil Kendall and I were
great friends. I don't know how we ever came to be so: it was natural, I
suppose, for us to like each other. I used to notice that he did not
associate much with the other fellows; and yet he was the best runner
and boxer in the class. He was the only fellow in the university who
could do the giant swing on the bar, and, though he had never taken
lessons, it was next to impossible for any one but Wayland, the
sub-professor in chemistry, to touch him with the foils. Somehow we were
drawn together, and before long were hardly ever apart. We used to get
out our Horace together, he with the pony and text and I with the
lexicon, for he was too impatient to hunt up the words. I believe you
study differently now."

"We still have the pony," said Perry.

"And we used to puzzle our heads together over Mechanics, for we didn't
have election as you do, and take long walks, and play chess, and get up
spreads in our room for nobody but us two. Not such elaborate affairs as
are called spreads now, but I warrant you they were fully as much
enjoyed. I fancy we were rather sentimental. We used to hold imaginary
conversations in the person of some favorite characters in fiction; but
we were very young and boyish."

Perry glanced at me sheepishly, but George went on without noticing:

"Phil's father lived here, and was proprietor of the only wholesale
grocery-store the town then boasted of. He had been captain of a
volunteer company in the war, and, I fancy, had a romance too. At any
rate, his wife had been dead since Phil was a little fellow in
knickerbockers; and not very long after her death a certain Mrs. Preston
had sent a little girl, about a year older than Phil, with a dying
charge to the captain to care for the friendless orphan for the sake of
their early love. No one but Grace could ever get anything out of the
old gentleman about her mother, and she never learned much. Mrs. Preston
had been unhappy at least, and perhaps miserable, in her marriage. We
always thought she had forsaken Mr. Kendall in their youth and made a
hasty marriage; but never a word was uttered by him about Grace's
father.

"I used to imagine Mr. Kendall cared more for his adopted daughter than
for his son, from what I saw of them, and I was at the house a good deal
with Phil. I am sure they were very affectionate; and it was only
natural that the melancholy old man--that is the way he always struck
me--should have loved the daughter of the woman who had deserted him and
then turned toward him in her hour of supreme need. It showed that her
trust and belief in him and his goodness had never really left her. And,
besides, Grace was always so airy and light-hearted,--nothing could put
her out of humor,--so kind and gentle, and as lovely as a flower. She is
a splendid-looking woman yet, but one can have no idea of what she was
in those days, from the sad-eyed Mrs. Herbert who smiles so rarely on
any one but her little girl. Nannie is going to make much such a young
lady as her mother was, but I don't believe she will ever be quite so
beautiful.

"Well, I was not long in discovering that Phil was in love with his
father's adopted daughter. I was never quite sure whether he knew it
himself at the time or not, but I could see easily enough that she
didn't dream of such a thing, nor the old captain either. They were so
much like brother and sister it used to make me feel wofully sorry for
Phil to see her throw her arms around his neck and kiss him for some
little kindness or other that he was always doing her: the difference of
mood in which the caress would be given from that in which Phil would
receive it was somehow always painful to me. Phil would never offer to
kiss her on his own account; and it is still a mystery to me why she
never discovered how he felt toward her until he became jealous. The
tenderness and gentle considerateness of his bearing were always so
marked that to a less innocent and pure nature, I fancy, it would have
been noticeable at once.

"When we were Juniors, Phil took her to a party one night, just after
Easter. The captain was a scrupulous Churchman, and Grace was always by
him in the pew. She had not been confirmed, however, and never said a
word to Phil and me about our persistency in staying away from church,
though the captain used to lecture Phil quite soberly about it. This
party was given at the house of one of the vestrymen, and they had
refreshments, and, after the rector had gone home, dancing. They called
it a sociable, and took up a collection for the ladies' aid society just
after the cake and coffee and whipped cream had been served. There was
where Grace first met George Herbert. He was a handsome young fellow,
well educated, a graduate of some Eastern college, clever and talented,
and his family in Rochester, New York, were considered very good people.
He had come to Lincoln to take a place on the 'Gazette,' and every one
thought him a young man of good parts and fair prospects.

"He made up to Grace from the start. They were laughing and talking
together all the evening on a little sofa, just large enough for two,
that stood in the bow-window. There was a little crowd of young people
around the two most of the time, and she was saying bright things to
them all, but never, I noticed, at the expense of young Herbert, who
made most of his remarks so low that no one but Grace could hear them.
She always smiled and often broke out into her musical laugh at what he
said; and when Phil, who had been trapped into a game of whist with some
old fogies, finally came back into the parlor and made his way to where
Grace was having such a happy time, she even launched a shaft or two of
her wit at him.

"I saw that the poor fellow was hurt: he turned away without answering,
though, and, coming over to where I was, sat down and began looking at
an album, trying hard all the time to hide his feelings. But in a moment
Grace was hanging over his shoulder, oblivious of her surroundings, and
lovingly begging his pardon if she had hurt him. I have sometimes
thought that Phil then fully realized for the first time how he cared
for her. The way in which her affection disregarded the presence of the
crowd smote him, I imagine, with something like despair. I saw him turn
pale and catch his breath, and I knew his laugh too well to be deceived,
as Grace was, when he made light of her self-accusations and declared
that than taking offence at her words nothing had been further from his
thoughts. This was in a sense true, of course, for ordinarily he would
have answered as light-heartedly almost as Grace herself; and it was
only the feeling of jealousy, unconscious perhaps, at any rate
irresistible, that gave her words undue--no, not that exactly, but
unusual influence over his feelings.

"For a while Phil acted as considerately as ever, and made himself
thoroughly agreeable to several young ladies, whereat Grace was highly
pleased and soon took up again her mood of gayety. But when Phil brought
her a plate and napkin and some things to eat, and found her and Herbert
already served and with mock gravity breaking a piece of cake together
on the stairs,--'they were only doing it,' Phil declared to me
afterward, 'that they might touch each other's hands,'--he lost his
head. He must have spoken very bitterly, else he would never have
aroused Grace's anger. I don't know what he said, except that he
complained about having come to such a thing as a church sociable, which
he despised, and, inasmuch as he had done it for the sake of her
enjoyment and pleasure, she might at least have shown him the same
politeness she would have accorded to any of the insufferable prigs whom
she seemed delighted to honor.

"Herbert started to reply, but Grace silenced him by a look, and said,
'We have been as brother and sister since childhood.' It was probably
well for Herbert's handsome face that he did not enter into a discussion
with Phil. They were both hot-tempered, and Phil had no scruples against
asking him out of doors, and would have been as cool in his manner and
as terrible in his strength as an iceberg.

"Grace led Phil away, and tried to tell him how she had not supposed he
would care; that she had imagined he would prefer to serve the young
lady with whom he had been talking; how she had never known him to put
such store by trivialities before; how 'at least we,' Phil told me,
bitterly quoting her words, 'at least we ought to be sure of each
other's hearts,' and did everything to pacify him. But he would listen
to nothing, and, coming to me, asked me to walk home with Grace, as he
was going away immediately. I imagined the trouble, and got him to admit
that he and Grace had said unkind words to each other. But he would say
nothing more about the matter till I found him in my room after it was
all over, when he raved about Grace until near morning, and cursed the
fate that had turned the bread of her kind affection for him into a
stone. 'How can I ever hope to win her love when she thinks that way of
me?' he would ask sorrowfully, after telling of some pure and loving
freedom she had taken. I was full of pity for the miserable fellow, but
I felt as if I ought to do all I could to discourage him. I was sure he
was right; he never could hope to, and I thought the sooner he learned
this, and to submit to it, the better it would be for him.

"I persuaded him not to leave the party in the height of his resentment,
though, and he was so quiet before the dancing that I began to hope he
would beg Grace's pardon and take her home repentantly and in peace. But
he insisted on my going and offering to dance with her the first set in
his place. She had already promised, she said, to dance it with Mr.
Herbert, and it was in vain that I told her she must look upon me as
acting for Phil, and advised her for his sake to excuse herself to
Herbert and dance with either Phil or myself. 'If Phil should come and
ask me himself on his knees I would not do it,' she declared, with
superb grandeur, 'He has acted wrong, and imputed to me the worst
motives for trivial things which I did unthinkingly even, and, heaven
knows, without deliberate calculation.'

"I saw it was no use to talk with her, and that in her present mood even
entreaty, to which she was usually so yielding, would be of no avail. I
felt very helpless and miserable about it, but I could do nothing. I saw
that Phil had made a grave mistake by accusing her of partiality for
Herbert, and that her acquaintance with him might possibly be forced
into a closer relation by Phil's jealousy. I kept away from him for a
while, and almost made Miss Scrawney think I had fallen in love with
her, in order to keep Phil from getting a word with me. At last,
however, just as the music began, he pulled my sleeve and asked in a
whisper if I wasn't going to take Grace out and dance with her.

"'She was already engaged,' I answered.

"'To whom?' said Phil. 'But there is no need to ask.' And at the moment,
indeed, almost as if in answer to his question, Grace entered the room
from the hall on Herbert's arm. I was afraid for an instant that Phil
would make a scene. The veins on his forehead swelled, and he started
forward as they passed within a few feet of where we were standing,
Grace smiling and talking to Herbert, apparently as oblivious of us as
if we had not been within a thousand miles of her; but he mastered the
impulse, whatever it was, and I have often speculated as to whether it
was to upbraid Grace or to strike Herbert.

"'Look at her, George,' he said, with a calmness that was belied by the
look in his eyes. 'You wouldn't think that three hours ago she had never
known him, would you? nor that we had lived in the same house since we
were no higher than that. Her mother, I know, did her best to break my
old man's heart, and I warrant you it was for some such worthless fool
as that, who wasn't fit to black the dear old fellow's boots. Poor old
dad! we shall be together in the boat: when I begin to handle hams and
barrelled sugar we will write ourselves 'Kendall & Son' with a
flourish.' And as we went up the stairs to get his coat and hat he told
me to stay and offer to go home with Grace. 'It wouldn't do for me to
leave her unless you do, George,' he said; 'but if she wants to go with
Herbert, let her; but she shall not say I went away and left her without
an escort.'

"I promised readily enough, and even hurried him away. There was no good
in his staying; in fact, I thought it better that he should leave; and
after he had gone I went to Grace. I managed the matter rather badly,
but I suppose the most consummate tact on my part would not have changed
things. I should have waited until I saw her alone, or until the party
was breaking up; but I went directly I saw they had stopped dancing. She
was leaning on the piano and letting Herbert fan her, and looking almost
too beautiful for real life as she turned her face toward him, flushed
with her exercise and beaming with excitement. There was something grand
to me in the expression of individuality and proud insistence that had
come to her so suddenly. It was no factitious strife of her nature
against the dependence of her position as an adopted daughter, I knew,
for she had never felt in the least but that she was perfectly free; it
was no caprice or stubbornness; it was merely her womanly assertion of
self and her unconscious protest against what she thought injustice. She
would not have believed from any one but Phil himself that he was in
love with her and jealous.

"'Phil has gone away,' I said bluntly, interrupting their talk. She
looked at me for a moment and raised her eyebrows slightly.

"'Has he?' was all she asked.

"'Yes: he was feeling badly,' I went on. 'He asked me to walk home with
you when you were ready to go. I thought I would tell you now, so you
would not be at a loss in case you should want to leave before the party
breaks up.'

"'You are very kind, I am sure, Mr. Kendall' (she usually called me
George), 'but I shall not want to go for ever so long yet. It was
needless for Phil to trouble you; he knew I should get home all
right,--but it was like him. I am awfully sorry to keep you waiting: I
know you are anxious to get back to your pipe and books.'

"Here Herbert said something with the appearance of speaking to us both;
but she only could hear what it was. I, however, imagined readily
enough.

"'Will you?' she answered him, in a pleased tone, and I fancied her
smile was grateful. 'Mr. Herbert is going to stay and dance a while
longer,' she went on, turning to me, 'and if he takes me home it will
not seem as if I were troubling any one too much, and--'

"'Very well, Miss Preston,' I interrupted, making my best bow; 'as you
like.' And when I saw the smile on Herbert's face I didn't wonder much
at the way Phil had felt. 'Let me bid you good-night,' I said, bowing
again, and started off.

"Grace followed me rapidly into the hall. 'Now, please don't you be
angry too, George,' she said, laying her hand on my arm.

"'I am not angry,' I said.

"'Do you think it right, George,' she asked earnestly,--and there was a
pleading look in her eyes,--'or manly to desert one's friends in
trouble?'

"'I am doing the best I know how,' said I, 'to be true to my friend.'

"'Oh, George, I am so sorry!' Her voice trembled, and all her
queenliness had gone. 'You must not go off this way. You don't blame me
as Phil does, do you? Wait, I will get my things, and you shall walk
home with me now. I will see Phil and tell him--'

"'He has gone to my room,' I said.

"'Well, I will wait till you bring him home. You must tell him I forgive
him,--or no, tell him I am sorry and ask his forgiveness. Oh, George, we
cannot be this way. Only think how sad it would make his father--and--'
There were tears on her lashes, and her lips were trembling piteously.
She put her hand to her throat and could not go on. God forgive me if I
was wrong,--and I know I was,--but I couldn't help it then,--I asked,
almost with a sneer, if she didn't dislike to slight her estimable
friend Mr. Herbert's kindness; and she turned away without a word, as if
regretting, from my unworthiness, the emotion she had shown.

"I was in very nearly as bad a state as Phil for a while. I told him
just how I had acted, and he was rather pleased than otherwise at my
cruelty. We tried hard to make ourselves believe that Grace had deserved
it, and to a certain extent succeeded.

"'She probably thought it was too high a price,' said Phil, 'when she
saw both of us going off offended, and she concluded not to give it.
But, then, it was just like her,' he added, in a kindlier spirit than
the natural interpretation of his words seemed to indicate.

"It was a month before either of us went to the house. The old captain
thought at first that we were going to the dogs, and, I think, kept up a
kind of watch over our movements. He came in one morning, after he had
concluded his suspicions were wrong, and made a sort of expiatory call.
He tried to tell us how he had judged us too harshly, but couldn't quite
bring himself to it, and, after a good many half-uttered remarks that
did honor to the old gentleman's heart, if they didn't prove him a cool
hand in such matters, he left us with an unspoken blessing and some
homely, sound advice to do as we liked, so long as we were manly and
honest.

"Within a week he was stricken with apoplexy on receiving news of some
serious losses, and was taken home without speaking. He died the next
morning just at sunrise, and Grace and Phil mingled their tears at his
bedside. He tried in vain to speak to them, and the pleased light in his
eyes as they took each other's hands and laid them, joined together, in
his, was the only sign he gave of having known there had been a
difference between them.

"Poor Grace! she was very miserable and lonely after that. Phil could
never bear to be with her after he had spoken. Her true kindness and
gentle, loving pity were misery to him. He made a noble effort to stay
by and watch over her, but he was hardly fit to take care of himself.
She never knew how small a share of what little was left of his father's
money he took with him to the mountains, but she realized why he went
without waiting for his degree, and sadly approved his resolution. She
always kept the growing attachment between her and Herbert from grating
on Phil as much as was in her power, but he could not help seeing it.
Though he never said anything even to me, it was plain that he had a
poor opinion of the young journalist; and Grace was very thankful to him
for all he did and suffered.

"She must have felt very much alone in the world after Phil left, and
the house certainly seemed empty and sad when I used to go there to see
her. There was no one but Grace and the housekeeper and an old
gentleman, a clerk in one of the State departments, to whom she had
rented rooms, partly for the money and partly to have a man in the
house. Herbert was with her whenever his work would permit, and there
was some talk about their intimacy among people who, even if they had
known her, were too base to have appreciated the fineness and truth and
purity of Grace's nature.

"I couldn't blame her for marrying Herbert,--which she did the fall
after I graduated. They certainly were very much in love, and Herbert
had borne himself creditably in every way. No one could have foreseen
that he would turn out so badly; and for a year or more after their
marriage they were as happy as birds in May. Grace was never
light-hearted, as when I first knew her,--no woman of worth and
tenderness would have been,--but still she was happily and sweetly
contented, completely bound up in her husband, thinking almost of
nothing but him, and caring for nothing but his love.

"When I came back from the law-school, I went to see them as soon as I
was settled. They had sold the house, and were living in a rented
cottage out in East Lincoln. Nannie, their baby, was quite if not more
than a year old then; and, though I had known that Grace would be a fond
mother, I was unprepared to see the way in which she seemed absolutely
to worship the child. I immediately asked myself if it meant that she
was not so happy with Herbert as she had been. I met him at tea, to
which Grace insisted on my staying. His dress was as neat and as
carefully arranged as ever, and he was cordial enough toward me; but he
did not kiss Grace when he came in, and hardly looked at the baby. He
laughed a good deal, and told several amusing incidents of his newspaper
experience. I noticed that his old habit of looking at one's chin or
cravat instead of at one's eyes when he spoke to one had grown upon him.
He excused himself soon after tea on the ground of having to be at the
office, and went away smoking a cigarette.

"Grace complained of the way in which his work kept him up nights. He
was never home until after midnight, she said, and sometimes not before
morning. She was afraid it was telling upon his health. 'You must come
and see me often. George.' she said, as she gave me her hand at parting.
'I see very little of my husband now, and, if it were not for Nannie, I
feel as if I should be almost unhappy. Then he would have to do some
other work, though he likes journalism so well.' That was the nearest
she ever came to complaining to me, though I soon knew that she had
plenty of cause. She was not entirely deceived by Herbert's assertions
and excuses. I learned before long, for I made a point of finding out,
that he was never obliged to be at the office after nine o'clock, that
he gambled and drank, and was looked on with unpleasant suspicions by
his employers, so that he might at any time find himself without a
position. He owned no property, and Grace's little patrimony had
disappeared, even to the money they had received for the house, without
leaving the slightest trace. Herbert's ill reputation was common
property in the town, and he and Grace went nowhere together. She had
even given up going to church, that she might be with him for a few
hours on Sundays; and now and then if he took her for a walk and pushed
the baby-carriage through the Capitol-grounds for an hour, she cared
more for it than for a whole stack of Mr. Gittner's sermons. She had no
friends at all, and but few acquaintances, and altogether had much to
bear up under. Right nobly she did it, too; never a word of complaint to
any one: I believe not even to herself would she admit that she was
treated basely.

"They kept on in this way for a year after I opened my office. I heard
from Phil now and then,--brief notes that he was alive and well,--and on
the 11th of June, the date of the old captain's death, Grace always
received a long letter from him, full of references to their childhood,
but telling little of himself. Herbert's reputation became worse and
worse, and he deserved all the evil that was said of him. The tradesmen
refused him credit, and the carpets and furniture of their little
cottage grew old and thread-bare and were not replaced. I have seen him
play pool at Sudden's for half a day at a dollar a game, and perhaps
lose his week's wages. He was hand in glove with the set that lurked
about the 'club-room' over the saloon, and almost any night could be
seen at the faro-table fingering his chips and checking off the cards on
his tally-sheet. Nobody but strangers would sit down to a game of poker
or casino with him: he had grown much too skilful. He was what they
called a 'very smooth player:' though I never heard of his being openly
accused of cheating.

"One of my first cases of consequence was to recover some money which
had been paid to some sharpers by an innocent young fellow from the East
for a worthless mine in Colorado. In connection with it I went to
Denver. Charlie Wayland, a brother of the chemistry professor, happened
to be on the same train. He owns the planing-mill down on Sixth Street
now, you know; but he was a wild young fellow then, and knew everything
that was going on. He intended to have a time, he said, while he was in
Denver; that was what he was going for. He went with me to the St.
James, where I had written Phil to meet me, if he could come down from
Boulder.

"Young Wayland had his time in the city, and I had finished my business
and was going to start back and leave him to enjoy by himself his trip
to Pike's Peak and the other sights of the State, considerably
disappointed at not having seen Phil, when he came in on us as I was
packing my grip-sack. He was rough and hardy as a bear, and had grown a
tremendous black beard: his heavy hand closed over mine till my knuckles
cracked. We were glad enough to see each other, and had plenty to talk
about. Of course I stayed over another day, and Wayland put off his trip
to Pike's Peak to keep us company, though we didn't care so much for his
presence as he seemed to think we did. But he gave us a little dinner at
Charpiot's, and I forgave his talkativeness for the sake of the
champagne, until he became excited by drinking too much of it and began
to talk about George Herbert. He was stating his system of morality,
which was, in effect,--and Charlie had acted up to it pretty well,--that
a fellow should go it when he was young, but when he was married he
ought to settle down.

"'Now, I can't stand a fellow like that Herbert,' he said; and for all
my kicks under the table he went on, 'It may be well enough for the
French, but I say in this country it's a devilish shame. He is a young
fellow in Lincoln, Mr. Kendall,--got a splendid wife, and a little baby,
one of the nicest women in the world, and thinks the world of him, and
he goes it with the boys as if he was one of 'em. He never goes home,
though, unless he is sober enough to keep himself straight; but I've
seen him bowling full many a time. Wine, women, and song, you know, and
all that; it may be well enough for us young bloods, but in a fellow of
his circumstances I say it's wrong, damn it! and he oughtn't to do it.'

"Now, I had told Phil that Grace was well and fairly happy. I had
thought it but just to sink my opinion and give Grace's own account of
herself and deliver her simple message without comment. 'Give Phil my
love,' she had said as I left her the night before I came away.

"'And how does this Herbert's wife take all this?' asked Phil of
Wayland.

"'Oh, she doesn't know all, I suppose. If she did, it would probably
kill her. My brother's wife says that if it were not for her child she
doesn't believe Mrs. Herbert would live very long, as it is.'

"'Her trouble is common talk, then?' observed Phil, sipping his wine and
avoiding my eyes.

"'Why, yes, to a certain extent; though she doesn't parade it, by any
means. In fact, she lives very much alone; no one ever sees her, hardly,
but George here, who is an old friend, you know. Maybe you used to know
her,' he added suddenly, coming to himself a little. 'Well, if you did,'
he went on, as Phil did not answer, 'you wouldn't know her now, they
say, for the lively, careless girl she was five or six years ago.' And
then he began to talk about the condition of the Chinese in Denver, and
how he had that morning seen one of them kicked off the sidewalk without
having given the least provocation.

"Phil said nothing further about the Herberts all evening, but just
before we separated for the night he asked me if I could let him have
some money. I unsuspectingly thanked my stars that I could, and told him
so.

"'Well, then,' he declared, 'I am going back to Lincoln with you
to-morrow.' And, in spite of all I could say, he did. He had his beard
shaved off, bought himself some civilized clothes, and made his
appearance with me on the streets of Lincoln as naturally as if he had
gone away but the day before. His life in the mountains had given him an
air of decision, a certain quiet energy and determination which
impressed one immediately with the sense of his being a man of strong
character, with a powerful will under perfect control. I grew to have so
much confidence in him that I thought his coming would somehow be a
benefit to Grace, though I could not see how; in fact, when I tried to
reason about it, I told myself exactly the contrary. But Phil seemed to
have such implicit confidence in himself, to be so self-sufficient and
so ready for any emergency, and altogether such a perfect man of action,
that he inspired belief and confidence in others.

"We met Herbert on our way up from the station: he was standing in front
of the 'Gazette' office, laughing and talking with Sudden's barkeeper.
He greeted Phil with cordiality, in spite of the latter's distant
bearing, and told him Grace would be greatly pleased at his arrival.

"'I suppose she will be glad to see me,' said Phil, as we passed on. And
she was glad, very glad, to see him, but she was far from being made
happy by his coming. I sent a note out to her, and Phil and I followed
shortly after. I did not watch their meeting,--I thought, somehow, that
no one ought to see it,--but I knew he took her in his arms; and when
she came out on the porch to bring me in there were tears in her eyes.

"We all sat and talked for a long while, Grace with her hand in Phil's
and her eyes on his face, when she was not looking anxiously after my
awkward attempts at caring for her baby; for of course Nannie had been
brought out almost the first thing. I think, from the way in which she
carefully avoided asking him his reasons for coming back, that she
divined what they were. I imagined that she blamed me as being the prime
cause; but there was nothing I could say to undeceive her. In fact, I
thought it better for her to believe so than to know the truth.

"'She is miserably unhappy, George,' said Phil gloomily, as we walked
away. 'But you were right not to tell me. I can do nothing to help her:
I cannot even openly sympathize with her. It would have been better to
have kept on thinking she was happy: there was a bitter kind of
satisfaction to me in that, but still it was a satisfaction.'

"Nevertheless Phil did not go back to the mountains. He stayed on here
for a month or more, dividing his time pretty equally between my office
and Grace's little parlor. He very seldom met Herbert. Now and then they
would be together at the cottage for half an hour, if Herbert happened
to come home while he was there, and when they met on the street they
would merely pass the time of day.

"One evening before going to supper I waited until after seven o'clock
for Phil to come in, and just as I had given him up, and was starting
away alone, he entered the office, looking pale as a ghost, and
evidently in great distress of spirit.

"'For God's sake, Phil, what is the matter?' I exclaimed, as he sank
upon the sofa and covered his face with his hands.

"'Go away, George: go away and leave me,' was all he said; then he got
up and began walking violently up and down the room. At last he came
near me and put his hand on my shoulder. 'I've killed her, George, I am
afraid; At least I have killed him right before her eyes, and she may
never get over it. I didn't mean to, George, you know that; but he came
home drunk, and I had gone to bid Grace good-by,--for I had made up my
mind, George, to leave to-morrow,--and he came in. We had been talking
of father, and Grace was very sad and wretched, and there were tears in
her eyes when she kissed me, just as he came in and saw us. She was
frightened at his brutality, and clung to me in terror, when he began
swearing in a torrent of passion and calling her the vilest of names. He
struck at us with his cane. If he had struck me he might yet have been
alive; but when I saw the great red welt on Grace's neck and heard her
cry out, I was wild, George. For an instant, I believe, I could have
stamped him into bits, and if it had been my last act on earth I could
not have helped striking him.'

"While he spoke, Phil stood with his hand on my shoulder, looking into
my eyes, as if he wanted me to judge him, as if he would read in my very
look whether I blamed him or not. I took his hand.

"'I thought you would understand,' he went on. 'I did not know I was
going to kill him, but I think I tried to: I struck him with all my
might, Grace threw herself between us and begged me not to hurt him
after he had fallen down, and took hold of my arm as if to hold me. But
when she saw the blood running from his temple, where he had struck it
on the window-sill, and how still and motionless he lay, she tried to go
to him, but could not for weakness and fainting. I carried her into Mrs.
Stanley's, and have not seen her since, but the doctor says she is very
ill. Herbert was dead when they went into the room after I told them
what had happened; and I suppose I had better give myself up to the
law.'

"You can have no idea how I felt to see my dearest friend in such a
position. And poor Grace!--it was much worse for her. I thought with
Phil that she might never survive the shock and misery of it all. But
she did, and came out, weak and broken down as she was, to give her
testimony at Phil's trial. We had no trouble in getting a jury to acquit
him, and he went back to Colorado without bidding Grace good-by,
although she would have seen him and was even anxious to do so. Some
persons here, mostly women, pretended to think that there had been more
cause for Herbert's jealousy than was generally supposed; but they
belonged to the sanctimonious, hypocritical custom-worshippers. All
really good people remembered what Herbert had been, and refused to see
in him a martyr or even a wronged man.

"After that Grace supported herself by dress-making and teaching music;
and some two years ago, when we heard that Phil had been killed by a
mine's caving in, and that he had left a little fortune to her and
Nannie, I, as his executor and her friend, induced her to take and use
it,--which she did, with simplicity and thankfulness and with her heart
full of pity and love for poor Phil. Yes, poor Phil! those five or six
years must have been full of misery to him, and he was probably thankful
when the end came. We never heard from him until after his death. There
was a letter that came to me with the will, that had been written long
before. None but they two know what was in it; and I, for one, do not
want to inquire."

George sat for a long while in silence, looking at the glowing coals in
the huge reservoir stove. Neither Perry nor I cared to interrupt his
revery. At last he roused himself.

"Well, boys," he said, "it is late: I think we had better go. It is all
over now, and life has gone on calmly for years. Other people have
forgotten that there ever were such persons as Phil or Herbert."

When Perry and I reached our room we found it was almost three o'clock.
George had walked with us to the door, and very little had been said
between us. I took a cigarette and lay down on the bed. "Perry," I said,
as he was lighting the gas.

"Sur to you," he answered, in a way he had of imitating a certain
barkeeper of our acquaintance.

"What do you think of George?"

"You know what I think of him as well as I do."

"Yes; but I mean in connection with this that he has told us."

"I think he acted just like himself all the way through."

"Don't you think he has been in love with Mrs. Herbert from the first?"

"Am I in the habit of imagining such nonsense?"

"You may think it nonsense," I answered, with the quiet fervor of
conviction, "but I am sure it is nothing but the real state of the
case."

"Bosh!" exclaimed Perry, throwing his boots into a corner; and therewith
the discussion closed.

About a week ago I had a letter from him, though, in which he recalled
this circumstance and acknowledged that I had been in the right. "They
are going to be married in the fall," he wrote. "I hope they may be
happy, and I suppose they will be; but I don't think Mrs. Herbert ought
to marry him unless she loves him; and I am fearful that she only thinks
to reward long years of faithful affection. George deserves more than
that." This was a good deal for Perry to manage to say. He usually keeps
as far away from such subjects as he well can,--which is partly the
reason, I think, that his opinion thereon is not greatly to be trusted.
As for me, I am sure George's wife will love him as much as he
deserves,--though this is almost an infinite amount,--and that she has
not been far from loving him from the beginning. I have bought a pair of
vases to send them; and I expect that Miss Lucretia Knowles will say,
when she learns how much they cost, that I was very extravagant. Not
that Lu is close or stingy at all; but she has promised to wait until I
have made a start in life, and is naturally impatient for me to get on
as rapidly as possible.

     FRANK PARKE.



THE WOOD-THRUSH AT SUNSET.


Lover of solitude,
  Poet and priest of nature's mysteries,
If but a step intrude,
  Thy oracle is mute, thy music dies.

Oft have I lightly wooed
  Sweet Poesy to give me pause of pain,
Oft in her singing mood
  Sought to surprise her haunt, and sought in vain.

And thou art shy as she,
  But mortal, or I had not found thy shrine,
To listen breathlessly
  If I may make thy hoarded secret mine.

Thy tender mottled breast,
  Dappled the color of our primal sod,
Now quick and song-possessed,
  Doth seem to hold the very joy of God,--

Joy hid from mortal quest
  Of bosky loves on silver-moonéd eves,
And the high-hearted best
  That swells thy throat with joy among the leaves.

Like the Muezzin's call
  From some high minaret when day is done,
Among the beeches tall
  Thy voice proclaims, "There is no God but one."

And but one Beauty, too,
  Of whose sweet synthesis we ever fail:
She flies if we pursue,
  Like thy swift wing down some dim intervale.

For thou art lightly gone;
  Gone is the flute-like note, the yearning strain,
And all the air forlorn
  Is breathless till it hear thy voice again.

But thou wilt not return;
  Thou hast the secret of thy joy to keep,
And other hearts must learn
  Thy tuneful message, ere the world may sleep,--

Sleep lulled by many a dream
  Of sylvan sounds that woo the ear in vain,
While still thy numbers seem
  To voice the pain of bliss, the bliss of pain.

     MARY C. PECKHAM.



A FOREST BEAUTY.


Last spring, or possibly it was early in June, I was walking, in company
with an intelligent farmer, through a bit of heavy forest that bordered
some fields of corn and wheat, when a golden, flame-like gleam from the
midst of the last year's leaves and twigs on the ground at my feet
attracted my sight. I stooped and picked up a large fragment of a flower
of the _Liriodendron Tulipifera_ which had been let fall by some
foraging squirrel from the dark-green and fragrant top of the giant tree
nearest us. Strange to say, my farmer friend, who owned the rich Indiana
soil in which the tree grew, did not know, until I told him, that the
"poplar," as he called the tulip-tree, bears flowers. For twenty years
he had owned this farm, during which time he had cut down acres of
forest for rails and lumber, without ever having discovered the gorgeous
blossom which to me is the finest mass of form and color to be seen in
our American woods. As I had a commission from an artist to procure a
spray of these blooms for her, I at once began to search the tree-top
with my eyes. The bole, or stem, rose sixty feet, tapering but slightly,
to where some heavy and gnarled limbs put forth, their extremities lost
in masses of peculiarly dark, rich foliage. At first I could distinguish
no flowers, but at length here and there a suppressed glow of orange
shot with a redder tinge showed through the dusky gloom of the leaves.
Lo! there they were, hundreds of them, over three inches in diameter,
bold, gaudy, rich, the best possible examples of nature's pristine
exuberance of force and color. Two gray squirrels were frisking about
among the highest sprays, and it was my good fortune that my friend
carried on his shoulder a forty-four-calibre rifle; for, though it was
death to the nimble little animals, it proved to be the instrument with
which I procured my coveted flowers. It suggested the probability that,
if bullets could fetch down squirrels from that tree-top, they might
also serve to clip off and let fall some of the finest clusters or
sprays of tulip. The experiment was tried, with excellent result. I made
the little artist glad with some of the grandest specimens I have ever
seen.

The tulip-tree is of such colossal size and it branches so high above
ground that it is little wonder few persons, even of those most used to
the woods, ever see its bloom, which is commonly enveloped in a mass of
large, dark leaves. These leaves are peculiarly outlined, having short
lobes at the sides and a truncated end, while the stem is slender, long,
and wire-like. The flower has six petals and three transparent sepals.
In its centre rises a pale-green cone surrounded by from eighteen to
thirty stamens. Sap-green, yellow of various shades, orange-vermilion,
and vague traces of some inimitable scarlet, are the colors curiously
blended together within and without the grand cup-shaped corolla. It is
Edgar Fawcett who draws an exquisite poetic parallel between the oriole
and the tulip,--albeit he evidently did not mean the flower of our
Liriodendron, which is nearer the oriole colors. The association of the
bird with the flower goes further than color, too; for the tulip-tree is
a favorite haunt of the orioles. Audubon, in the plates of his great
ornithological work, recognizes this by sketching the bird and some
rather flat and weak tulip-sprays together on the same sheet. I have
fancied that nature in some way favors this massing of colors by placing
the food of certain birds where their plumage will show to best
advantage on the one hand, or serve to render them invisible, on the
other, while they are feeding. The golden-winged woodpecker, the downy
woodpecker, the red-bellied woodpecker, and that grand bird the pileated
woodpecker, all seem to prefer the tulip-tree for their nesting-place,
pecking their holes into the rotten boughs, sometimes even piercing an
outer rim of the fragrant green wood in order to reach a hollow place. I
remember, when I was a boy, lying in a dark old wood in Kentucky and
watching a pileated woodpecker at work on a dead tulip-bough that seemed
to afford a great number of dainty morsels of food. There were streaks
of hard wood through the rotten, and whenever his great horny beak
struck one of these it would sound as loud and clear as the blow of a
carpenter's hammer. This fine bird is almost extinct now, having totally
disappeared from nine-tenths of the area of its former habitat. I never
see a tulip-tree without recollecting the wild, strangely-hilarious cry
of the _Hylotomus pileatus_; and I cannot help associating the
giant bloom, its strength of form and vigor of color, with the scarlet
crest and king-like bearing of the bird. The big trees of California
excepted, our tulip-bearing Liriodendron is the largest growth of the
North-American forests; for, while the plane-tree and the
liquidambar-(sweet-gum) tree sometimes measure more in diameter near the
ground, they are usually hollow, and consequently bulged there, while
the tulip springs boldly out of the ground a solid shaft of clear,
clean, and sweetly-fragrant wood, sixty or seventy feet of the bole
being often entirely without limbs, with an average diameter of from
three to five feet. I found a stump in Indiana nearly eight feet in
diameter (measured three feet above the ground), and a tree in Clarke
County, Kentucky, of about the same girth, tapering slowly to the first
branch, fifty-eight feet from the root.

In nearly all the Western and Southern States the tulip is generally
called poplar, and the lumber manufactured from it goes by the same
name, while in the East it is known as white-wood. The bark is very
thick and cork-like, exhaling an odor peculiarly pungent and agreeable;
the buds and tender twigs in the spring have a taste entirely individual
and unique, very pleasant to some persons, but quite repellent to
others. Gray squirrels and the young of the fox-squirrel eat the buds
and flowers as well as the cone-shaped fruit. Humming-birds and
bumble-bees in the blossoming-time make a dreamy booming among the
shadowy sprays. A saccharine, sticky substance, not unlike honey-dew,
may often be found in the hollows of the immense petals, in search of
which large black ants make pilgrimages from the root to the top of the
largest tulip-trees, patiently toiling for two or three hours over the
rough bark, among the bewildering wrinkles of which it is, a wonder how
the way is kept with such unerring certainty. I have calculated that in
making such a journey the ant does what is equivalent to a man's
pedestrian tour from New York City to the Adirondacks by the roughest
route, and all for a smack of wild honey! But the ant makes his long
excursion with neither alpenstock nor luncheon, and without sleeping or
even resting on the way.

The tulip-tree grows best in warm loam in which there is a mixture of
sand and vegetable mould superposed on clay and gravel. About its roots
you may find the lady-slipper and the dog-tooth violet, each in its
season. Its bark often bears the rarest lichens, and, near the ground,
short green moss as soft and thick as velvet. The poison-ivy and the
beautiful Virginia creeper like to clamber up the rough trunk, sometimes
clothing the huge tree from foot to top in a mantle of brown feelers and
glossy leaves. Seen at a distance, the tulip-tree and the
black-walnut-tree look very much alike; but upon approaching them the
superior symmetry and beauty of the former are at once discovered. The
leaves of the walnut are gracefully arranged, but they admit too much
light; while the tulip presents grand masses of dense foliage upheld by
knotty, big-veined branches, the perfect embodiment of vigor.

In the days of bee-hunting in the West, I may safely say that a majority
of bee-trees were tulips. I have found two of these wild Hyblas since I
began my studies for this paper; but the trees have become so valuable
that the bees are left unmolested with their humming and their honey. It
seems that no more appropriate place for a nest of these wild
nectar-brewers could be chosen than the hollow bough of a giant
tulip,--a den whose door is curtained with leaves and washed round with
odorous airs, where the superb flowers, with their wealth of golden
pollen and racy sweets, blaze out from the cool shadows above and
beneath. But the sly old 'coon, that miniature Bruin of our Western
woods, is a great lover of honey, and not at all a respecter of the
rights of wild bees. He is tireless in his efforts to reach every
deposit of waxy comb and amber distillation within the range of his keen
power of scent. The only honey that escapes him is that in a hollow too
small for him to enter and too deep for his fore-paws to reach the
bottom.

Poe, in his story of the Gold-Bug, falls into one of his characteristic
errors of conscience. The purposes of his plot required that a very
large and tall tree should be climbed, and, to be picturesque, a tulip
was chosen. But, in order to give a truthful air to the story, the
following minutely incorrect description is given: "In youth the
tulip-tree, or _Liriodendron Tulipiferum_, the most magnificent of
American foresters, has a trunk peculiarly smooth, and often rises to a
great height without lateral branches; but in its riper age the bark
becomes gnarled and uneven, while _many short limbs make their
appearance on the stem_" The italics are mine, and the sentence
italicized contains an unblushing libel upon the most beautiful of all
trees. Short branches never "appear on the stems" of old tulip-trees.
The bark, however, does grow rough and deeply seamed with age. I have
seen pieces of it six inches thick, which, when cut, showed a fine grain
with cloudy waves of rich brown color, not unlike the darkest mahogany.
But Poe, no matter how unconscionable his methods of art, had the true
artistic judgment, and he made the tulip-tree serve a picturesque turn
in the building of his fascinating story; though one would have had more
confidence in his descriptions of foliage if it had been May instead of
November.

The growth of the tulip-tree, under favorable circumstances, is strong
and rapid, and, when not crowded or shaded by older trees, it begins
flowering when from eighteen to twenty-five years old. The
blooming-season, according to the exigences of weather, begins from May
20 to June 10 in Indiana, and lasts about a week. The fruit following
the flower is a cone an inch and a half long and nearly an inch in
diameter at the base, of a greenish--yellow color, very pungent and
odorous, and full of germs like those of a pine-cone. The tree is easily
grown from the seed. Its roots are long, flexible, and tough, and when
young are pale yellow and of bitterish taste, but slightly flavored with
the stronger tulip individuality which characterizes the juice and sap
of the buds and the bark of the twigs. The leaves, as I have said, are
dark and rich, but their shape and color are not the half of their
beauty. There is a charm in their motion, be the wind ever so light,
that is indescribable. The rustle they make is not "sad" or "uncertain,"
but cheerful and forceful. The garments of some young giantess, such as
Baudelaire sings of, might make that rustling as she would run past one
in a land of colossal persons and things.

I have been surprised to find so little about the tulip-tree in our
literature. Our writers of prose and verse have not spared the magnolia
of the South, which is far inferior, both tree and flower, to our gaudy,
flaunting giantess of the West. Indeed, if I were an aesthete, and were
looking about me for a flower typical of a robust and perfect sentiment
of art, I should greedily seize upon the bloom of the tulip-tree. What a
"craze" for tulip borders and screens, tulip wallpapers and tulip
panel-carvings, I would set going in America! The colors, old gold,
orange, vermilion, and green,--the forms, gentle curves and classical
truncations, and all new and American, with a woodsy freshness and
fragrance in them. The leaves and flowers of the tulip-tree are so
simple and strong of outline that they need not be conventionalized for
decorative purposes. During the process of growth the leaves often take
on accidental shapes well suited to the variations required by the
designer. A wise artist, going into the woods to educate himself up to
the level of the tulip, could not fail to fill his sketch-books with
studies of the birds that haunt the tree, and especially such brilliant
ones as the red tanager, the five or six species of woodpecker, the
orioles, and the yellow-throated warbler. The Japanese artists give us
wonderful instances of the harmony between birds, flowers, and foliage;
not direct instances, it is true, but rather suggested ones, from which
large lessons might be learned by him who would carry the thought into
our woods with him in the light of a pure and safely-educated taste.
Take, for instance, the yellow-bellied woodpecker, with its red fore-top
and throat, its black and white lines, and its bright eyes, together
with its pale yellow shading of back and belly, and how well it would
"work in" with the tulip-leaves and flowers! Even its bill and feet
harmonize perfectly with the bark of the older twigs. So the
golden-wing, the tanager, and the orioles would bear their colors
harmoniously into any successful tulip design.

South of the Alleghany Mountains I have not found as fine specimens of
this tree as I have in Kentucky, Ohio, and Indiana. Everywhere the
saw-mills are fast making sad havoc. The walnut and the tulip are soon
to be no more as "trees with the trees in the forest." Those growing in
the almost inaccessible "pockets" of the Kentucky and Tennessee
mountains may linger for a half-century yet, but eventually all will be
gone from wherever a man and a saw can reach them.

The oak of England and the pine of Norway are not more typical than the
tulip-tree. The symmetry, vigor, and rich colors of our tree might
represent the force, freedom, and beauty of our government and our
social influences. If the American eagle is the bird of freedom, the
tulip is the tree of liberty,--strong, fragrant, giant-flowered,
flaunting, defiant, yet dignified and steadfast.

A very intelligent old man, who in his youth was a great bear- and
panther-hunter, has often told me how the black bear and the tawny
catamount used to choose the ample "forks" of the tulip-tree for their
retreats when pursued by his dogs. The raccoon has superseded the larger
game, and it was but a few weeks ago that I found one lying, like a
striped, fluffy ball of fur, in a crotch ninety feet above ground. "Our
white-wood" lumber has grown so valuable that no land-owner will allow
the trees to be cut by the hunter, and hence the old-fashioned
'coon-hunt has fallen among the things of the past, for it seems that
the 'coon is quite wise enough to choose for the place of his indwelling
the costliest tulip of the woods. I have already casually mentioned the
fact that the tulip-tree's bloom is scarcely known to exist by even
intelligent and well-informed Americans. Every one has heard of the
mimosa, the dogwood, the red-bud, and the magnolia, but not of the
tulip-bearing tree, with its incomparably bold, dashing, giantesque
flower, once so common in the great woods of our Western and Middle
States. I have not been able to formulate a good reason for this. Every
one whose attention is called to the flower at once goes into raptures
over its wild beauty and force of coloring, and wonders why poems have
not been written about it and legends built upon it. It is a grander
bloom than that which once, under the same name, nearly bankrupted
kingdoms, though it cannot be kept in pots and greenhouses. Its colors
are, like the idiosyncrasies of genius, as inimitable as they are
fascinating and elusive. Audubon was something of an artist, but his
tulip-blooms are utter failures. He could color an oriole, but not the
corolla of this queen of the woods. The most sympathetic and experienced
water-colorist will find himself at fault with those amber-rose,
orange-vermilion blushes, and those tender cloudings of yellow and
green. The stiff yet sensitive and fragile petals, the transparent
sepals, with their watery shades and delicate washing of olive-green,
the strong stamens and peculiarly marked central cone, are scarcely less
difficult. All the colors elude and mock the eager artist. While the
gamut of promising tints is being run, he looks, and, lo! the grand
tulip has shrivelled and faded. Again and again a fresh spray is fetched
in, but when the blooming-season is over he is still balked and
dissatisfied. The wild, Diana-like purity and the half-savage,
half-æsthetic grace have not wholly escaped him, but the color,--ah I
there is the disappointment.

I have always nursed a fancy that there is something essential to
perfect health in the bitters and sweets of buds and roots and gums and
resins of the primeval woods. Why does the bird keep, even in old age,
the same brilliancy of plumage and the same clearness of eye? Is it
because it gets the _elixir vitæ_ from the hidden reservoir of
nature? Be this as it may, there are times when I sincerely long for a
ball of liquidambar or a mouthful of pungent spring buds. The inner bark
of the tulip-tree has the wildest of all wild tastes, a peculiarly
grateful flavor when taken infinitesimally, something more savage than
sassafras or spice-wood, and full of all manner of bitter hints and
astringent threatenings: it has long been used as the very best
appetizer for horses in the early spring, and it is equally good for
man. The yellow-bellied woodpecker knows its value, taking it with head
jauntily awry and quiet wing-tremblings of delight. The squirrels get
the essence of it as they munch the pale leaf-buds, or later when they
bite the cones out of the flowers. The humming-birds and wild bees are
the favored ones, however, for they get the ultimate distillation of all
the racy and fragrant elements from root to bloom.

The Indians knew the value of the tulip-tree as well as its beauty.
Their most graceful pirogues were dug from its bole, and its odorous
bark served to roof their rude houses. No boat I have ever tried runs so
lightly as a well-made tulip pirogue, or dug-out, and nothing under
heaven is so utterly crank and treacherous. Many an unpremeditated
plunge into cold water has one caused me while out fishing or
duck-shooting on the mountain-streams of North Georgia. If you dare
stand up in one, the least waver from a perfect balance will send the
sensitive, skittish thing a rod from under your feet, which of course
leaves you standing on the water without the faith to keep you from
going under; and usually it is your head that you are standing on. But,
to return to our tree, I would like to see its merits as an ornamental
and shade tree duly recognized. If grown in the free air and sunlight,
it forms a heavy and beautifully-shaped top, on a smooth, bright bole,
and I think it might be forced to bloom about the fifteenth year. The
flowers of young, thrifty trees that have been left standing in open
fields are much larger, brighter, and more graceful than those of old
gnarled forest-trees, but the finest blooms I ever saw were on a giant
tulip in a thin wood of Indiana. A storm blew the tree down in the midst
of its flowering, and I chanced to see it an hour later. The whole great
top was yellow with the gaudy cups, each gleaming "like a flake of
fire," as Dr. Holmes says of the oriole. Some of them were nearly four
inches across. Last year a small tree, growing in a garden near where I
write, bloomed for the first time. It was about twenty years old. Its
flowers were paler and shallower than those gathered at the same time in
the woods. It may be that transplanting, or any sort of forcing or
cultivation, may cause the blooms to deteriorate in both shape and
color, but I am sure that plenty of light and air is necessary to their
best development.

In one way the tulip-tree is closely connected with the most picturesque
and interesting period of American development. I mean the period of
"hewed-log" houses. Here and there among the hills of Indiana, Ohio,
Kentucky, Tennessee, and the Carolinas, there remains one of those low,
heavy, lime-chinked structures, the best index of the first change from
frontier-life, with all its dangers and hardships, to the peace and
contentment of a broader liberty and an assured future. In fact, to my
mind, a house of hewed tulip-logs, with liberal stone chimneys and heavy
oaken doors, embowered in an old gnarled apple-and cherry-orchard,
always suggests a sort of simple honesty and hospitality long since
fallen into desuetude, but once the most marked characteristic of the
American people. It is hard to imagine any meanness or illiberality
being generated in such a house. Patriotism, domestic fidelity, and
spotless honesty used to sit before those broad fireplaces wherein the
hickory logs melted to snowy ashes. The men who hewed those logs "hewed
to the line" in more ways than one. Their words, like the bullets from
their flint-locked rifles, went straight to the point. The women, too,
they of the "big wheel" and the "little wheel," who carded and spun and
wove, though they may have been a trifle harsh and angular, were
diamond-pure and the mothers of vigorous offspring.

I often wonder if there may not be a perfectly explainable connection
between the decay or disappearance of the forests and the evaporation,
so to speak, of man's rugged sincerity and earnestness. Why should not
the simple ingredients that make up the worldly part of our souls and
bodies be found in all their purity where nature's reservoir has never
been disturbed or its contents tainted? Why may not the subtile force
that develops the immense tulip-tree and clothes it with such a starry
mantle have power also to invigorate and intensify the life of man? "I
was rocked in a poplar trough," was the politician's boast a generation
ago. Such a declaration might mean a great deal if the sturdy, towering
strength of the tree out of which the trough was dug could have been
absorbed by the embryo Congressman. The "oldest inhabitant" of every
Western neighborhood recollects the "sugar-trough" used in the
maple-sap-gathering season, ere the genuine "sugar-camp" had been
abandoned. Young tulip-trees about fifteen inches in diameter were cut
down and their boles sawed into lengths of three feet. These were split
in two, and made into troughs by hollowing the faces and charring them
over a fire. During the bright spring days of sugar-making the young
Western mother would wrap her sturdy babe in its blanket and put it in a
dry sugar-trough to sleep while she tended the boiling syrup. A man born
sixty years ago in the region of tulip-trees and sugar-camps was
probably cradled in a "poplar" trough; and there were those born who
would now be sixty years old if they had not in unwary infancy tumbled
into the enormous rainwater-troughs with which every well-regulated
house was furnished. I have seen one or two of these having a capacity
of fifty barrels dug from a single tulip bole. In such a pitfall some
budding Washington or Lincoln may have been whelmed without causing so
much as a ripple on the surface of history.

But, turning to take leave of my stately and blooming Western beauty, I
see that she is both a blonde and a brunette. She has all the dreamy,
languid grace of the South combined with the _verve_ and force of
the North. She is dark and she is fair, with blushing cheeks and dewy
lips, sound-hearted, strong, lofty, self-reliant, a true queen of the
woods, more stately than Diana, and more vigorous than Maid Marian.

     MAURICE THOMPSON.



OUR MONTHLY GOSSIP.

Daniel Webster's "Moods."


A late magazine-article treating of one of America's illustrious
dead--Daniel Webster--alluded to his well-known sombre moods, and the
gentle suasion by which his accomplished wife was enabled to shorten
their duration or dispel them entirely.

On an occasion well remembered, though the "chiel takin' notes" was but
a simple child, I myself was present when the grim, moody reticence of
the great orator converted fully twoscore ardent admirers into personal
foes.

During the summer of 1837, Mr. Webster, in pursuit of a Presidential
nomination, executed his famous tour through the Great West, at that
time embracing only the States of Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, and
Illinois. The first infant railway of the continent being yet in
swaddling-clothes, the journey was accomplished by private conveyance,
and the bumps and bruises stoically endured in probing bottomless pits
of prairie-mud, diversified by joltings over rude log-ways and intrusive
stumps, were but a part of the cruel price paid for a glittering prize
which in the end vanished before the aspirant like fairy gold. At
stations within reach of their personal influence, local politicians
flew to the side of the brilliant statesman with the beautiful fidelity
of steel to magnet: hence he was environed by a self-appointed escort of
obsequious men, constantly changing as he progressed.

"Our member" spared neither whip nor spur, and joined the triumphal
march at Chicago. Mr. Webster was then on the home-stretch, and it was
shortly after this date that the incident I describe occurred. It was a
time of wild Western speculation; towns and cities sprung into being as
buoyantly as soap-bubbles, and often proved as perishing. Major Morse
was president of a company which, perceiving a promising site for harbor
and town on the shore of Michigan, where yet the Indian charmed the
deer, secured a tract of land and proceeded to lay out an inviting town
of--corner-lots. The major's family occupied temporarily a wide log
house, with a rough "lean-to" of bright pine boards freshly cut at the
mill below. Outside, the dwelling was merely a hut of primitive pattern
nestling under the shade of a tall tree; inside, it presented a large
room divided by curtains into cooking-and sleeping-apartments,
surmounted by a stifling loft reached by the rungs of a permanent
perpendicular ladder. Savory odors of wild fowl and venison daily
drifted up the charred throat of its clay-daubed chimney, and by the
same route, whenever the rolling smoke permitted, children sitting about
the hearth took observations of the clouds and heavenly bodies,
according to the time of day. A narrow passage cut through the heart of
the old logs led into the fragrant "lean-to," where against the wall
rested a massive sideboard of dark mahogany, its top alight with glitter
of glass and silver, its inmost recesses redolent of the creature
comforts which the hospitality of the times demanded. Vases and meaner
crockery overflowed everywhere with the gorgeousness of blossoms daily
plucked from sandy slopes or the verge of the adjacent marsh. Bright
carpeting kindly hid the splintered floor, and pictures did like service
for the rough walls, while the whitest of muslin festooned the tiny
windows.

On the morning of the Occasion, cheerful sunshine filtered through the
quivering leaves of the big tree near the house, glorifying a late
breakfast-table, around which the family were gathering, when horses
driven in hot haste were reined up at the door. Stepping quickly forth,
the major found his hand clasped by "our member," who begged the
hospitalities of the house for the great Daniel Webster and suite, just
at hand. Despite political differences, the desired welcome was heartily
accorded, and with crucified appetites the family retired to give place
to the unbidden guests, who filed into the room bandying compliments
with their gay host. A kingly head, grandly set above powerful
shoulders, easily marked the man in whom the interest of the hour
centred. Strangely quiet amid the noisy group, he moved alone, nor waked
responsive even to his host, until a brighter sally than usual provoked
a grim kind of laughter. Then he suddenly aroused himself to new life,
joining with a burst of humor in the pleasantries of the feast. The
unexpected brightness of the cosy room was not lost on Mr. Webster, who,
on entering, paused at the threshold and glanced around in an
appreciative manner, while a deep, restful sigh escaped his weary soul.
The dreary drive through the wilderness lent an added charm to the
little oasis of civilized comfort thus encountered in the lonely
backwoods of a Western quarter-section.

News of the distinguished arrival speedily flew among the laborers
running the mill and constructing dwellings for the in-rushing
population. Tom and Bill of the hammer, and Mike and Patsey of the
spade, alike forsook their tools in order to witness the exit of a hero
from the major's door. They even hoped to receive some expression of
wisdom in golden words from lips used to the flow of stirring thought
and burning eloquence. Lounging patiently under the trees, the expectant
men listened to the clink and clatter of serving and the bursts of
merriment within. At the conclusion of the breakfast and the subsequent
chat, Mr. Webster asked for his hostess, to whom with great courtesy he
expressed his sense of "the kindness extended to the stranger in a
strange land," and, adieus being over, he approached the open door-way,
and looked strangely annoyed at the sight of a double line of
white-sleeved stalwart men who stood with bared heads awaiting his
appearance. Then a great _mood_ fell upon the _man_, with
never a gentle soul at hand to charm it away. Not a feature stirred in
recognition of the, voluntary homage rendered by the throng of humble
men,--men controlling the ballots so ardently desired and sought. With
hat pressed firmly over an ominously lowering brow, looking straight
before him with cavernous, tired eyes which seemed to observe nothing
whereon they rested, Webster walked through the hushed lines in grave
stateliness. The crowd was only waiting for a spark of encouragement to
shout itself hoarse in enthusiastic huzzahs. Eyes shone with suppressed
excitement, and strong hearts swelled with pride in the towering man
whose fame had surged like a tidal wave over the land. Yet with insolent
deliberation he mounted the step and seated himself in the waiting
carriage, giving no sign of having even noticed the flattering
demonstration made in his honor. The smiles, nods, and hand-clasps
expected of the chief were lavishly dispensed by his mortified
satellites, all of which availed not to smother the curses, loud and
deep, splitting the summer air, as the wheels disappeared in the forest.

"Begorra, thin," bawled Patsey, "it's mesilf ut'll niver vote fur this
big Yankee 'ristocrat, _inne_how. Ef he wuz a foine Irish jintleman,
now, er even a r'yal prince av the blud, there'd be no sinse in his
airs, bedad!"

Tom and Bill were less noisy in their just wrath, but it ran equally
deep: "He belongs to the party. But when Daniel comes up for
office--look out! We'll score a hard day's work against him, party or no
party!"

The major rose to the occasion. Being a bit of a politician and an
old-school Democrat, he could not resist the opportunity presented. With
a humorous air he sprang to the nearest stump and improvised an electric
little speech which sent the men back to labor, _madder_ if not
wiser voters.

With other living witnesses of the events narrated, often wondering over
the strangeness of the scene of long ago, I am truly glad at the
eleventh hour to find the solution of the problem in _moods_,
rather than in a snobbish pride unbefitting the greatness of the man.

     F.C.M.



Feuds and Lynch-Law in the Southwest.


A great deal has been said and written lately about feuds and lynch-law
in the districts around the lower Mississippi. The reports of recent
lynching there have probably been very much exaggerated; and it would
certainly be unfair to form a positive opinion about the matter without
a thorough knowledge of all the circumstances.

No one who visited that part of the country before the war could return
to it now without noticing the higher degree of order and the numerous
evidences of progress. But lynching law-breakers and resorting to the
knife or pistol to settle private disputes were once ordinary
occurrences there, and they were usually marked by a businesslike
coolness which gave them a distinctive character.

In the winter of 1853-54 I was clerk of a steamer owned in Wheeling. The
steamer was obliged to wait some time at Napoleon for a rise in the
Arkansas River to enable it to pass over the bar at the confluence of
that river with the Mississippi. Napoleon then had between three and
four hundred inhabitants, and was considered the worst place on the
Mississippi except Natchez-under-the-Hill. Some of the dwellings were of
considerable size, and, judging from their exterior, were kept in good
order. They were the residences of the few who belonged to the better
class, and who, to a certain extent, exercised control over their less
reputable townsmen.

We were treated very kindly by the citizens, and they declined any
return for their hospitality. We soon noticed that we were never invited
to visit any of them at their dwellings. At their places of business we
were cordially welcomed, and they seemed to take a great deal of
pleasure in giving us information and affording us any amusement in
their power.

Having some canned oysters among our stores, we twice invited a number
of our friends to an oyster-supper. Although our invitations included
their families, none but male guests attended. This, together with the
fact that we rarely saw any ladies on the street, seemed very strange to
us; but we made no comments, for we discovered very soon after our
arrival that it would not be prudent to ask questions about matters that
did not concern us. At church one Sunday night we noticed that all the
ladies present--composing nearly the whole of the congregation--were
dressed in black, and many of them were in deep mourning. This gave us
some idea as to the reason for their exclusiveness. Soon afterward a
murder occurred almost within my own sight. Two friends were standing on
the street and talking pleasantly to each other, when they were
approached by a man whom they did not know. Suddenly a second man came
close to the stranger, and, without saying a word, drew a pistol and
shot him dead. The murderer was instantly seized, bound, and placed in
the jail.

The jail was a square pen about thirty feet high, built of hewn logs,
without any opening except in the roof. This opening was only large
enough to admit one person at a time, and was protected by a heavy door.
The prisoner was forced by his captors to mount the roof by means of a
ladder, and then was lowered with a rope to the ground inside. The rope
was withdrawn, the door securely fastened, and he was caged, without any
possible means of escape, to await the verdict and sentence of the jury
summoned by "Judge Lynch."

The trial was very short. The facts were proven, and the verdict was
that the murderer should be severely whipped and made to leave the town
forthwith. The whipping was administered, and he left immediately
afterward.

Of course there was a good deal of excitement over this matter, and all
the male inhabitants collected to talk about it. The discussion extended
to some similar cases of recent occurrence and soon gave rise to angry
disputes. In a very short time pistols and knives were produced,
invitations to fight were given, and it seemed that blood would soon be
shed. By the interference, however, of some of the older and more
influential citizens, quiet was restored, and no one was injured. We
were afterward told that there was hardly a man in the crowd who had not
lost a father, brother, or near male relative by knife or pistol, either
in a supposed fair fight or by foul means.

At that time the hatred of negroes from "free States" was intense, while
those from "slave States" were treated kindly and regarded merely as
persons of an inferior race.

Some time before our arrival, a steamer belonging to Pittsburg had
stopped at Napoleon, and the colored steward went on shore to buy
provisions. While bargaining for them he became involved in a quarrel
with a white man and struck him. He was instantly seized, and would no
doubt have paid for his temerity with his life if some one in the crowd
had not exclaimed, "A live nigger's worth twenty dead ones! Let's sell
him!" This suggestion was adopted. In a very short time the unfortunate
steward was bound, mounted on a swift horse, and hurried away toward the
interior of the State. He was guarded by a party of mounted men, and in
less than a week's time he was working on a plantation as a slave for
life, with no prospect of communicating with his relatives or friends.

One morning the captain of the steamer and I saw a crowd collect, and on
approaching it we found a debate going on as to what should be done with
a large and well-dressed colored man, evidently under the influence of
liquor, who was seated on the ground with his arms and legs bound. He
had knocked one white man down and struck several others while they were
attempting to secure him. The crowd was undecided whether to give him a
good whipping for his offence or to send for his master (who lived on
the other side of the river, in Mississippi) and let him inflict the
punishment. Finally, the master was sent for. He soon appeared, and
stated that he had given his "_boy_" permission to come over to
Napoleon, and had also given him money to buy some things he wanted. He
was "a good boy," and had never been in trouble before, and if the
citizens of Napoleon would forgive him this time he, the master, would
guarantee that the boy should never visit Napoleon again. The master
also stated he would "stand drinks" for the whole crowd. This gave
general satisfaction. The drinks were taken, and the master and his
slave were enthusiastically escorted to their dug-out on the shore. Much
hand-shaking took place, in which the "boy" participated, and many
invitations were given to both to visit Napoleon again; after which they
rowed contentedly to their home.

     J.A.M.



The Etymology of "Babe."


In the latest English etymological dictionary, that by the Rev. W.W.
Skeat, we read under the word _babe_, "Instead of _babe_ being
formed from the infantine sound _ba_, it has been modified from
_maqui_, probably by infantine influences. _Baby_ is a diminutive
form."

_Maqui_ is Early Welsh for _son_, and those to whom Mr.
Skeat's modified _maqui_ seems absurd will be pleased to find its
absurdity indicated, if not proved, by a Greek author of the sixth
century.

The following passage in the seventy-sixth section of Damascius's "Life
of Isidorus" has escaped the notice of English etymologists generally:

"Hermias had a son (the elder of his philosopher sons) by Ædesia, and
one day, when the child was seven months old, Ædesia was playing with
him, as mothers do, calling him _bábion_ and _paidíon_,
speaking in diminutives. But Hermias overheard her, and was vexed, and
censured these childish diminutives, pronouncing an articulate
reprimand.... Now the Syrians, and especially those who dwell in
Damascus, call newborn children, and even those that have passed the
period of childhood, _bábia_, from the goddess _Babía_, whom
they worship."

What is _bábion_ but the English _baby_, what _bábia_ but
the English _babies?_ We can hardly suppose that our English words
are derived from Syriac words in use fourteen centuries ago, or that the
latter were "modified from _maqui_" by "infantine" or other
influences. We are therefore driven to the conclusion that they were
alike "formed from the infantine sound _ba_," unless we accept
Damascius's derivation from _Babía_.

Unfortunately, we know no more concerning this goddess than did the
learned John Selden, who, writing two hundred and twenty-odd years ago,
"De Dis Syris," says, on page 296 of that work, "I cannot conjecture
whether _Babía,_ who seems to have been reverenced among the
Syrians as goddess of childhood and youth, is identical with the Syrian
Venus or not, and I do not remember to have met with any mention of this
deity except in Damascius's Life of Isidorus."

Selden's memory was not at fault: the words _bábion, bábia_, and
_Babía_ occur only in the passage above quoted.

In the absence of other evidence than Damascius's own, we may well
question whether he has not inverted the etymological relation between
the goddess and the babies. Most divinities owe their names to the
attributes or functions imputed to them by their worshippers. It seems,
therefore, more probable that the Syrian protectress of babies owes her
name to the _bábia_ than that they were called _bábia_ in her
honor. If, however, we accept Damascius's theory of their relation, what
forbids us to conjecture that the goddess's name was itself "formed from
the infantine sound _ba_"? In any case, the little domestic scene
between the priggish father and the dandling mother is amusing and
instructive to parents as well as to etymologists.

     S.E.T.



LITERATURE OF THE DAY.


"The Russian Revolt: its Causes, Condition, and Prospects."
  By Edmund Noble.
  Boston: Houghton, Mifflin & Co.


The internal condition of Russia, though a matter of more than
speculative interest to its immediate neighbors, is not likely to become
what that of France has so often been,--a European question. The
institutions of other states will not be endangered by revolutionary
proceedings in the dominions of the Czar, nor will any oppression
exercised over his subjects be thought to justify foreign intervention.
Even Polish insurrections never led to any more active measures on the
part of the Western powers than delusive expressions of sympathy and
equally vain remonstrances. In these days, not Warsaw, but St.
Petersburg, is the centre of disaffection, and the ramifications extend
inland, their action stimulated, it may be, to some extent from external
sources, but incapable of sending back any impulse in return. Nihilism,
being based on the absence, real or supposed, of any political
institutions worth preserving in Russia, cannot spread to the
discontented populations of other countries. Even German socialism
cannot borrow weapons or resources from a nation which has no large
proletariat and whose industries are still in their infancy. In the
nature of its government, the character of its people, and the problems
it is called upon to solve, Russia stands, as she has always stood,
alone, neither furnishing examples to other nations nor able,
apparently, to copy those which other nations have set. The great
peculiarity of the revolutionary movement is not simply that it does not
proceed from the mass of the people,--which is a common case
enough,--but that it runs counter to their instincts and their needs and
rouses not their sympathy but their aversion. The peasants, who
constitute four-fifths of the population, have no motive for seeking to
overturn the government. Their material condition, since the abolition
of serfdom, is superior to that of the Italian peasantry, who enjoy the
fullest political rights. As members of the village communities, they
hold possession and will ultimately obtain absolute ownership of more
than half the soil of the country, excluding the domains of the state.
In the same capacity they exercise a degree of local autonomy greater
than that which is vested in the communes of France. They are separated
from the other classes by differences of education, of habits, and of
interests, while the autocracy that rules supreme over all is regarded
by them as the protecting power that is to redress their grievances and
fulfil all their aspirations. The discontent which has bred so many
conspiracies, and which aims at nothing less than the subversion of the
monarchy, is confined to a portion of the educated classes, and proceeds
from causes that affect only those classes. Among them alone is there
any perception of the wide and ever-increasing difference between the
Russian system of government and that of every other European country,
any craving for the exercise of political rights and the activity of
political life, any experience of the restrictions imposed on thought
and speech and the obstacles to the advancement and diffusion of
knowledge and ideas, any consciousness that the corrupt, vexatious, and
oppressive bureaucracy by which all affairs are administered is a direct
outgrowth of unlimited and irresponsible power. Nor are they united in
desiring to destroy, or even to modify, this system. Apart from those
who find in it the means of satisfying their personal interests and
ambitions, and the larger number in whom indolence and the love of ease
stifle all thought and aspiration, there are many who believe, with
reason, that the country is not ripe for the adoption of European
institutions, that the foundations on which to construct them do not yet
exist, and that any attempt to introduce them would lead only to
calamitous results; while there is even a large party which contends
that, far from needing them, Russia is happily situated in being exempt
from the struggles and the storms, the wars of classes and of factions,
that have attended the course of Western civilization, and in being left
free to work out her own development by original and more peaceful
methods. No doubt the great majority of thinking people feel the
necessity for some large measures of reform and look forward to the
establishment of a constitutional system and the gradual extension of
political freedom to the mass of the nation. But there is no evidence
that the revolutionary spirit has spread or excited sympathy in any such
degree as its audacity, its resoluteness, and the terror created by its
sinister achievements have seemed at times to indicate. The active
members of the propaganda are almost exclusively young persons, living
apart from their families, of scanty means and without conspicuous
ability. They belong to the lower ranks of the nobility, the rising
_bourgeois_ class, and, above all, that large body of necessitous
students, including many of the children of the ill-paid clergy, whom M.
Leroy-Beaulieu styles the "intellectual proletariat." Classical studies,
German metaphysics, and the scientific theories and discoveries of
recent years have had much to do with the fermentation that has led to
so many violent explosions, the universities have been the chief
_foci_ of agitation, and in the attempts to suppress it the
government has laid itself open to the reproach of making war upon
learning and seeking to stifle intellectual development.

Such is the view presented by recent French and English writers who have
made the condition of Russia a subject of minute investigation. Mr.
Noble deals more in generalizations than in details, and sets forth a
theory which it is difficult to reconcile with the facts and conclusions
derived from other sources. According to him, Russia is, and has been
from the first establishment of the imperial rule, in a state of chronic
revolt. This revolt is "the protest of eighty millions of people against
their continued employment as a barrier in the path of peaceful human
progress and national development." "It is not the educated classes
alone, but the masses,--peasant and artisan, land-owner and student,--of
whose aspirations, at least, it may be said, as it was said of the
earliest and freest Russians, '_Neminem ferant imperatorem_.'"
Before the rise of the empire "the Russians lived as freemen and happy."
They "enjoyed what, in a political sense, we are fairly entitled to
regard as the golden age of their national existence." The _veché_,
or popular assembly, "was from a picturesque point of view the grandest,
from an administrative point of view the simplest, and from a moral
point of view the most equitable form of government ever devised by
man." The autocracy, established by force, has encountered at all
periods a steady, if passive, opposition, as exemplified in the Raskol,
or separation of the "Old Believers" from the Orthodox Church, and in
the resistance offered to the innovations of Peter the Great: "in the
one as in the other case the popular revolt was against authority and
all that it represented." It is admitted that "among the peasants the
revolt must long remain in its passive stage.... Yet year by year,
partly owing to educational processes, partly owing to propaganda, even
the peasants are being won over to the growing battalions of
discontent." The autocracy is "doomed." "The forces that undermine it
are cumulative and relentless." Its "true policy is to spread its
dissolution--after the manner of certain financial operations--over a
number of years." "The method of the change is really not of importance.
The vital matter is that the reform shall at once concede and
practically apply the principle of popular self-government, granting at
the same time the fullest rights of free speech and public assembly."
Finally, "the Tsar and his advisers" are bidden to "beware," since "the
spectacle of this frightfully unequal struggle ... is not lost upon
Europe, or even upon America."

The horrible crudity, as we are fain to call it, of the notions thus
rhetorically set forth must be obvious to every reader acquainted with
the history of the rise and growth of states in general, however little
attention he may have given to those of Russia in particular. The
institutions of Russia differ fundamentally from those of other European
states. But the difference lies in historical conditions and
development, not in the principles underlying all human society. No
people has ever had a permanent government of its own resting solely or
chiefly on force. Wherever autocracy has acquired a firm footing, it has
done so by suppressing anarchy, establishing order and authority, and
securing national unity and independence. Nowhere has it fulfilled these
conditions more completely than in Russia. It grew up when the country
was lying prostrate under the Tartar domination, and it supplied the
impulse and the means by which that yoke was thrown off. It absorbed
petty principalities, extinguished their conflicting ambitions, and
consolidated their resources; checked the migrations of a nomad
population, and brought discordant races under a common rule; repelled
invasions to which, in its earlier disintegrated condition, the nation
must have succumbed, and built up an empire hardly less remarkable for
its cohesion and its strength than for the vastness of its territory. In
a word, it performed, more rapidly and thoroughly, the same work which
was accomplished by monarchy between the eighth and the fifteenth
century in Western Europe. If its methods were more analogous to those
of Eastern despotisms than of European sovereignties, if its excesses
were unrestrained and its power uncurbed, this is only saying that
Russia, instead of sharing in the heritage of Roman civilization and in
the mutual intercourse and common discipline through which the Western
communities were developed, was cut off from association with its more
fortunate kindred and subjected to influences from which they were, for
the most part, exempt. To hold up the crude democracy and turbulent
assemblies common in a primitive state of society as evidence that the
Russian people possessed at an early period of its history a beautifully
organized constitutional system; to contend that the most absolute
monarchy in existence has maintained itself for centuries, without
encountering a single serious insurrection, in a nation whose
distinguishing characteristic is its inability to endure a ruler; to
treat the introduction of a totally different and far more complex
system of government, the product elsewhere of elements that have no
existence in Russia, and of long struggles supplemented by violent
revolutions, as a thing that may be effected without danger or
difficulty, the "method" being "really not of importance,"--all this
strikes us as evincing a condition of mind that can only be regarded as
a survival from the period when the theories and illusions of the
eighteenth-century _philosophes_ had not yet been dissipated by the
French Revolution.



"A Naturalist's Wanderings in the Eastern Archipelago:
  A Narrative of Travel and Exploration from 1878 to 1883."
  By Henry O. Forbes, F.R.G.S.
  New York: Harper & Brothers.


Although a long succession of naturalists have done their best to
familiarize readers with the islands of the Eastern Archipelago, Mr.
Forbes's book is full not only of freshly-adjusted and classified facts,
but of curious and valuable details of his own discoveries. Even the
best-known islands of the group are so inexhaustible in every form of
animal and vegetable life that much remains for the patient gleaner
after Darwin and Wallace, who found here some of the most striking
illustrations of their deductions and theories, It is well known that
startling contrasts in the distribution of plants and animals are met
with in these islands, even when they lie side by side; and in no other
part of the world is the history of mutations of climate, of the law of
migrations, and of the changes of sea and land, so open and palpable to
the scientific observer. Mr. Forbes's object seems to have been to visit
those islands which offer the most striking deviations from the more
general type. His earlier explorations were made alone, but during the
last eighteen months he was accompanied by a brave woman who came out
from England to Batavia to be married to him at the close of 1881. It is
painful to read of the deadly ordeals of climate and the excessive
discomforts and privations to which this lady was exposed. Her diary,
kept at Dilly during her husband's absence, while she was ill, utterly
deserted, and in danger of a lonely and agonizing death, makes a
singular contrast to the record of Miss Bird and others of her sex who
seem to have triumphed over all the vicissitudes possible to women. To
the general reader Mr. Forbes's travels in Java, Sumatra, and the
Keeling Islands are far more satisfactory than in those less familiar,
like Timor and Buru. In the light of the terrible events of 1883,
everything connected with the islands lying on either side of the
Straits of Sunda is of the highest interest. Those appalling disasters
which swept away part of Sumatra and Java and altered the configuration
of the whole volcanic group surrounding Krakatoa took place only a few
weeks after Mr. and Mrs. Forbes sailed for home. This widespread
destruction seemed to the inhabitants the culmination of a series of
calamitous years of drought, wet, blight, bovine pestilence, and fever.
It was Mr. Forbes's fortune to be in Java during these bad seasons,
which, from combined causes, made it impossible for flowers to perfect
themselves and fructify. This circumstance was, however, useful to the
naturalist, offering him an opportunity for experiments in the
fertilization of orchids and other plants. The account of the Dutch
cinchona-plantations, which now furnish quinine of the best quality, is
full of interest.

Mr. Forbes's visit to the Cocos-Keeling Islands, in the Indian Ocean,
cannot be passed over. He was eager to visit a coral-reef, and this
atoll, stocked and planted only by the flotsam and jetsam of the seas,
the winds, and migrating birds, offers to the naturalist a most
delightful study; for here, progressing almost under his eyes, are the
phenomena which have made Bermuda and other coral groups. Little as the
Keeling Islands seem to offer in the way of secure habitation, they have
a population of some hundreds of people, presided over by their
energetic proprietor, Mr. Ross, who has planted the atoll thickly with
cocoanut palms. Gathering the nuts and expressing the oil is the chief
industry of the inhabitants, who are all taught to work and support
themselves in some useful way. No money is in circulation on the island:
a system of exchange and barter with agents in Batavia for necessary
products takes its place. This thriving little community has, however,
terrible forces to contend against. Darwin recounts the effects of an
earthquake which took place two years before his visit to the islands in
1836; a fierce cyclone brought ruin and devastation in 1862; and in 1876
a terrible experience of cyclone and earthquake almost swept away the
whole settlement. This was followed by a most singular phenomenon.
"About thirty-six hours after the cyclone," writes Mr. Forbes, "the
water on the eastern side of the lagoon was observed to be rising up
from below of a dark color. The color was of an inky hue, and its smell
'like that of rotten eggs.' ... Within twenty-four hours every fish,
coral, and mollusc in the part impregnated with this discoloring
substance--probably hydrosulphuric or carbonic acid died. So great was
the number of fish thrown on the beach, that it took three weeks of hard
work to bury them in a vast trench dug in the sand." Wherever this water
touched the growing coral-reef, it was blighted and killed. Darwin saw
similar "patches" of dead coral, and attributed them to some great fall
of the tide which had left the insects exposed to the light of the sun.
But it is probable that a similar submarine eruption had taken place
after the earthquake which preceded his visit to the Keeling Islands in
1836.



"Birds in the Bush."
  By Bradford Torrey.
  Boston: Houghton, Mifflin & Co.


We like the name of Mr. Torrey's book, which seems to carry with it a
practical reversal of the proverb that a bird in the hand is worth two
in the bush. For although in many ways it is a good and pleasant sign to
note the increase of amateur naturalists among us, we yet feel a dread
of an incursion of those lovers of classified collections, "each with
its Latin label on," who believe that in gaining stuffed specimens they
may best arrive at the charm and the mystery of that exquisite
phenomenon which we call bird-life. Mr. Torrey has no puerile ambitions
for birds in the hand, and a bird in the bush makes to his perception
holy ground, where he takes the shoes from off his feet and watches and
waits, feeling a delightful surprise in each piquant caprice of the
little songster. He tells the story of his experiences and impressions
simply and pleasantly, often utters a good thing without too much
emphasis, and yet more often says true things, which is more difficult
still. He is nowhere bookish, although he has read and can quote well if
need be. He reminds one occasionally of Emerson, oftener of Thoreau,
while his method is that of John Burroughs. His most careful studies are
perhaps of the birds on Boston Common and about Boston, but he writes
pleasantly and suggestively of those in the White Mountains. One likes
to be reminded that there are still bobolinks in the world, for they
have deserted many spots which they once favored. There used to be
meadows full of rocks, in each crevice of which nodded a scarlet
columbine, surrounded by grassy borders where wild strawberries grew
thickly, with hedge-rows running riot with blackberry, sumach, and
alder,--all reckless of utility and given over to lovely waste,--that
were vocal on June mornings with bobolinks, but where in these times one
might wait the whole day through and not hear a single note of the old
refrain. Our author finds them plentiful, however, at North Conway,
where, as he describes it, their "song dropped from above" while he sat
perched on a fence-rail looking at the snow-crowned Mount Washington
range.



"The Cruise of the Brooklyn.
  A Journal of the principal events of a three years' cruise in
  the U. S. Flag-Ship Brooklyn, in the South Atlantic Station,
  extending south of the Equator from Cape Horn east to the limits
  in the Indian Ocean on the seventieth meridian of east
  longitude. Descriptions of places in South America, Africa, and
  Madagascar, with details of the peculiar customs and industries
  of their inhabitants. The cruises of the other vessels of the
  American squadron, from November, 1881, to November, 1884."
  By W.H. Beehler, Lieut. U. S. Navy.
  Illustrated.
  Press of J.B. Lippincott Co. Philadelphia. 1885.


The copious information given on the title-page leaves little to be
supplied in regard to the subject-matter of this volume. The same
thoroughness is displayed in the narrative and descriptions, as well of
the incidents of the voyage and the details of shipboard life as of the
history, productions, and scenery of the various places visited. They
include, of course, no events or operations such as belong to the annals
of naval enterprise or maritime discovery, but, besides the ordinary
phases of service on foreign stations,--the interchange of courtesies
with the authorities, the routine of duty and discipline, and the
scarcely less regular round of amusements and festivities,--we have
interesting episodes, such as an account of the observations of the
transit of Venus at Santa Cruz, in Patagonia, the "Brooklyn" having been
detailed to take charge of the expedition sent out under Messrs. Very
and Wheeler. A visit to some of the ports of Madagascar soon after the
bombardment of Hovas gives occasion for a readable relation of the
internal revolutions and the transactions with European powers that have
given a pretext, if such it can be called, for the French claim to
exercise a protectorate over a portion of the island, the enforcement of
which will require, in our author's opinion, "an army of at least fifty
thousand men." Cape Town was a place of stay for several weeks on both
the outward and the homeward voyage, and in this connection the history
of the South African states and colonies, including the English wars and
imbroglios with the Boers and the Zulus, is given in detail; while the
necessity for touching at St. Helena furnished an opportunity for
repeating the tale of Napoleon's captivity, with particulars preserved
among "the traditions of the old inhabitants, not generally known."

It will be seen that Lieutenant Beehler made good use both of the means
of observation and of the leisure for study afforded by the "cruise." He
writes agreeably, and seems to have been careful in regard to the
sources from which he has gathered information. The book is beautifully
printed, and the illustrations are faithful but artistic renderings of
photographic views.



Recent Fiction.


"At the Red Glove."
  New York: Harper & Brothers.

"Upon a Cast."
  By Charlotte Dunning.
New York: Harper & Brothers.

"Down the Ravine."
  By Charles Egbert Craddock.
  Boston: Houghton, Mifflin & Co.

"By Shore and Sedge."
  By Bret Harte.
  Boston: Houghton, Mifflin & Co.

"At Love's Extremes."
  By Maurice Thompson.
  New York: Cassell & Co.


Although the scene of "At the Red Glove" is laid in Berne, it is a
typical French story of French people with French ideas and
characteristics, and it is French as well in the symmetry of its
arrangements and effects and its admirable technique. In point of fact,
Berne is a city where a German dialect is spoken, but among the lively
groups of _bourgeois_ who carry on this effective little drama a
prettier and politer language is in vogue. Madame Carouge, whose
personality is the pivot upon which the story revolves, is a native of
southern France, and is the proprietor of the Hôtel Beauregard. Her
husband, who married her as a mere child and carried her away from a
life of poverty and neglect, has died before the opening of the story
and bequeathed all his property to his young and handsome wife. "Ah, but
I do not owe him much," the beautiful woman said: "he has wasted my
youth. I am eight-and-twenty, and I have not yet begun to live." Thus
Madame Carouge as a widow sets out to realize the dreams she has dreamed
in the dull apathetic days of her long bondage. Although she is bent on
love and happiness, she is yet sensible and discreet, and manages the
Hôtel Beauregard with skill and tact, while secluding herself from
common eyes. Destiny, however, as if eager at last to work in her favor,
throws in her way a handsome young Swiss, Rudolf Engemann by name, a
bank-clerk, with whom she falls deeply in love. Everything is
progressing to Madame's content, when a little convent-girl, Marie
Peyrolles, comes to Berne to live with her old aunt, a glove-seller,
whose sign in the Spitalgasse gives the name to the story. It would be a
difficult matter to find a prettier piece of comedy than that which
ensues upon Marie's advent. It is all simple, spontaneous, and, on the
part of the actors, entirely serious, yet the effect is delightfully
humorous. Berne, with its quaint arcaded streets, its Alpine views, and
its suburban resorts, makes a capital background, and gives the group
free play to meet with all sorts of picturesque opportunities. The story
is told without any straining after climaxes, but with many felicitous
touches that enhance the effect of every picture and incident. In scene,
characters, and plot, "At the Red Glove" offers a brilliant opportunity
to the dramatist, and one is tempted to think that the story must have
been originally conceived and planned with reference to the stage.

"Upon a Cast" is also a very amusing little story, and turns on the
experiences of a couple of ladies who, with a longing for a quiet life,

    The world forgetting, by the world forgot,

settle on the North River in a town which, though called Newbroek, might
easily be identified as Poughkeepsie. Little counting upon this niche
outside the world becoming a centre of interest or a theatre of events,
the necessity of presenting their credentials to the social magnates of
the place does not occur to these ladies,--one the widow of a Prussian
officer, and the other her niece, who have returned to America after a
long residence abroad. They prefer to remain, as it were, incognito;
and, pried; into as the seclusion of the new-comers is by all the
curious, this reticence soon causes misconstructions and scandals. The
petty gossip, the solemnities of self-importance, and the Phariseeism of
a country neighborhood are very well portrayed, and, we fear, without
any especial exaggeration. The story is told with unflagging spirit, and
shows quick perceptions and a lively feeling for situations. Carol
Lester's friendship for Oliver Floyd while she is ignorant of the
existence of his wife is a flaw in the pleasantness; but "Upon a Cast"
is well worthy of a high place in the list of summer novels.

Although "Down the Ravine" belongs to the category of books for young
people, the story is too true to life in characters and incidents, and
too artistically handled, not to find appreciative readers of all ages.
In fact, we are inclined to discover in the book stronger indications of
the author's powers as a novelist than in anything she has hitherto
published. "Where the Battle was Fought," in spite of all its fine
scenes, had not the same sustained interest nor the same spontaneity.
The plot of the present story is excellent, and the characters act and
react on each other in a simple and natural way. The youthful Diceys,
with the faithful, loyal Birt at their head, are a capital study; and
from first to last the author has nowhere erred in truth or failed in
humor.

Taking into consideration the ease with which Mr. Bret Harte won his
laurels, and the belief which all his early admirers shared that here at
last was the great American novelist, who was to hold a distinctive
place in the world's literature, he has perhaps not fulfilled
expectations nor answered the demands upon his powers. The very
individuality of his work, its characteristic bias, has been, in point
of fact, a hinderance and an impediment. The unexpectedness of his first
stories, the enchanted surprise, like that of a new and delicious
vintage or a wonderful undiscovered chord in music,--these effects are
not easily made to recur with undiminished strength and charm. However,
one may generally find some bubbles of the old delightful elixir in Mr.
Harte's stories, and in this little group of them, regathered, we
believe, from English magazines, each is interesting in its way, and
each true to the author's typical idea, which is to discover to his
readers some heroic quality in unheroic human beings which transforms
their whole lives before our eyes.

Mr. Thompson on his title-page announces himself as the author of two
novels, "A Tallahassee Girl" and "His Second Campaign," both of which we
read with pleasure, and this impression led us to turn hopefully to a
third by the same hand. "At Love's Extremes" does not, however, take our
fancy. If the author undertook to discuss a complex problem seriously,
he has failed to make it clear or vital to the reader; and if the
various episodes of Colonel Reynolds's life are to be passed over as
mere slight deviations from the commonplace, we can only say that we
consider them too unpleasant and abhorrent to good taste to be imposed
upon us so lightly. There are also points of the story which seem to
mock the good sense of the reader. Has the author considered the state
of mind of a young widow who has heard that her husband has been
murdered in a street-brawl in Texas, who has mourned him for years, and
then, after yielding to the solicitations of a new suitor and promising
to marry him, learns from his own lips that it was his hand (although
the act was one of self-defence) which sent her husband to his tragic
death? Mr. Thompson seems to violate the sanctities and the proprieties
of womanhood in allowing the widow, after a faint interval of shock, to
pass over this fact as unimportant. This situation has, of course, its
famous precedent in the scene in which Gloster wooes and wins the Lady
Anne beside her murdered husband's bier; but that is tragedy, and we
moderns are, besides, more squeamish than the people of those mediæval
times. In this story the situation becomes more logical, even if more
absurd, after the return of the husband who was supposed to have been
murdered. With a good deal of effort to show powerful feeling, the
characters in the book are all automatons, who say and do nothing with
real thought or real passion. The vernacular of the mountaineers seems
to have been carefully studied, and is so thoroughly outlandish and so
devoid of fine expressions that we are inclined to believe it more
accurate than the poetic and musical dialects which it is the fashion to
impose upon our credulity. But it must be confessed that, with only his
own rude and pointless _patois_ in which to express himself, the
Southern cracker becomes painfully devoid of interest, to say nothing of
charm.



FOOTNOTES.


[001] John Sevier's Memorial to the North Carolina Legislature.

[002] J.G.M. Ramsay, "Annals of Tennessee."

[003] Haywood.


       *       *       *       *       *





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