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

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[Note: The Table of Contents was added by the transcriber. Footnotes
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_DECEMBER, 1885._

  A TOBACCO PLANTATION by PHILIP A. BRUCE.                           533


  COOKHAM DEAN by MARGARET BERTHA WRIGHT.                            549

  BIRDS OF A TEXAN WINTER by EDWARD C. BRUCE.                        558

  THE FERRYMAN'S FEE by MARGARET VANDEGRIFT.                         566

  "WHAT DO I WISH FOR YOU?" by CARLOTTA PERRY.                       580



  THE SUBSTITUTE by JAMES PAYN.                                      601

  NEW YORK LIBRARIES by CHARLES BURR TODD.                           611

  THE DRAMA IN THE NURSERY by NORMAN PEARSON.                        623

    "The Man Who Laughs." by C.P.W.                                  627
    Why We Forget Names by XENOS CLARK.                              629
    A Reminiscence of Harriet Martineau by F.C.M.                    631

  LITERATURE OF THE DAY.                                             633
    Illustrated Books.                                               634


In the following article I propose to give some account of a typical
tobacco-plantation in Virginia and the life of its negro laborers as I
have observed it from day to day and season to season. Although it is
restricted to narrow local bounds and runs in the line of exacting
routine, that life is yet varied and eventful in its way. The negro
stands so much apart to himself, in spite of all transforming
influences, that everything relating to him seems unique and almost
foreign. Even now, when emancipation has done so much to improve his
condition, his social and economic status still presents peculiar and
anomalous aspects; and in no part of the South is this more notably the
case than in the southern counties of Virginia, which, before the late
war, were the principal seat of slavery in the State, and where to-day
the blacks far outnumber the whites. This section has always been an
important tobacco-region; and this is the explanation of its teeming
negro population, for tobacco requires as much and as continuous work as
cotton. There were many hundreds of slaves on the large plantations, and
their descendants have bred with great rapidity and show little
inclination to emigrate from the neighborhoods where they were born.
Some few, by hoarding their wages, have been able to buy land; but for
the most part the soil is still held by its former owners, who
superintend the cultivation of it themselves or rent it out at low rates
to tenants. The negroes are still the chief laborers in the fields and
artisans in the workshops; and, excepting that they are no longer
chattels that can be sold at will, their lives move in the same grooves
as under the old order of things. Their occupations and amusements are
the same. As yet there has been no increase in the physical comforts of
their situation, and but little change in their general character; but
this is the first period of transformation, when it is difficult to
detect and to follow the modifications that are really taking place.

Every large tobacco-plantation is an important community in itself, and
the social and economic condition of the negro can be observed there as
freely and studied with as much thoroughness as if a wide area of
country were considered for a similar purpose. In the diversity of its
soils and crops and in the variety of its population and modes of life
it bears almost the same relation to the county in which it lies that
the county bears to its section. Indeed, no community could be more
complete in itself, or less dependent upon the outside world. In an
emergency, the inhabitants of one of these large plantations could
supply themselves by their own skill and ingenuity with everything that
they now obtain from abroad; and if cut off from all other associations,
the society which they themselves form would satisfy their desire for
companionship; for not only would its members be numerous and
representative of every shade of character and disposition, but they
would also be bound together by ties of blood and marriage as well as of
interest and mutual affection. Similar tasks and relaxations create in
them a similarity of tastes. The social position of all is identical,
for there are no classes among them, the only line of social division
being drawn upon differences of age; and they are paid the same wages
and possess the same small amount of property. They are attached to the
soil by like local associations, which vary as much as the plantation
varies in surface here and there. Each plantation of any great extent is
like that part of the country, both in its general aspect and its
leading features, just as the employments and amusements of its
population, if numerous, are found reflected in the social life of the
whole of the same section.

The particular plantation to which I shall so often allude in this
article as the scene of the observations here recorded, like most of the
tobacco-plantations in Virginia, covers a broad expanse of land,
including in one body many thousand acres, remarkable for many
differences of soil and for a varied configuration. It is partly made up
of steep hills that roll upon each other in close succession, partly it
is high and level upland that sweeps back to the wooded horizon from the
open low-grounds contiguous to the river that winds along its southern
border. At least one-half of it is in forest, in which oak, cedar,
poplar, and hickory grow in abundance and reach a great height and size.
The soil of the lowlands is very fertile, for it is enriched every few
years by an inundation that leaves behind a heavy deposit; that of the
uplands, on the other hand, is comparatively poor, but it is fertilized
annually with the droppings of the stables and pens. Patches of new
grounds are opened every year in the woods, the timber being cleared
away for the purpose of planting tobacco in the mould of the decayed
leaves, while many old fields are abandoned to pine and broom-straw or
turned into pastures for cattle.

The principal crops are tobacco, wheat, corn, and hay, but the first is
by far the most important, both from its quantity and its value.
Everything else is really subordinate to it. The soils of the uplands
and lowlands are adapted to very different varieties of this staple.
That which grows in the rich loam of the bottoms is known as "shipping
tobacco," because it is chiefly consumed abroad, as it bears
transportation in the rough state without injury to its quality.
"Working tobacco" is the name which is given to the variety that
flourishes on the hills; and this is used in the manufacture of brands
of chewing- and smoking-tobacco to meet the domestic as well as the
foreign demand. There is a third variety which grows in small quantities
on the plantation,--namely, "yellow tobacco," so called from the golden
color of the plant as it approaches ripeness; and this tint is not only
retained, but also heightened, when it has been cured, at which time it
is as light in weight as so much snuff. This variety is principally used
as a wrapper for bundles of the inferior kinds, and is prepared for the
market by a very tedious and expensive process; but the trouble thus
entailed and the money spent have their compensation in the very high
prices which it always brings in the market.

The fields where tobacco has been cultivated during the previous summer
are sown in wheat in the autumn, unless they are new grounds, when the
rotation of crops is tobacco for two years in succession, followed in
the third year by wheat, and in the fourth by tobacco again. The soil is
then laid under the same rule of tillage as land that has been worked
for many seasons. As a result of this necessity for rotation, much wheat
is raised on the plantation, although the threshing of it interferes
very seriously with the attention which the tobacco requires at a very
critical period of its growth. The greater part of the low-grounds is
planted in Indian corn, the return in a good year being very large; and
even when there has been a drought, the general average in quantity and
quality falls short very little. The soil here is so fertile that
tobacco planted in it grows too coarse in its fibre, while the cost of
cultivating it is so high that the planter is reluctant to run the risk
of an overflow of the river, which destroys a crop at any stage in a few
hours. Although corn is very much injured by the same cause, it is not
rendered wholly useless, for it can be thrown to stock even when it is
unfit to be ground into meal. At a certain season the fields of this
grain along the river present a beautiful aspect, the mass of deep green
flecked by the white tops of the stalks resembling, at a distance,
level, unruffled waters; but sometimes a freshet descends upon it and
obliterates it from sight, the whole broad plain being then like a
highly-discolored lake, with rafts of planks and uprooted trees floating
upon its surface.

The general plantation is divided into three plantations of equal
extent, each tract being made up of several thousand acres of land; each
has its own overseer, and he has under him a band of laborers who are
never called away to work elsewhere, and who have all their possessions
around them. Each division has its stables, teams, and implements, and
its expenses and profits are entered in a separate account. In short,
the different divisions of the general plantation are conducted as if
they belonged to several persons instead of to one alone.

It is the duty of the overseer of each division to remain with his
laborers, however employed, and to overlook what they are doing. He sees
that the teams are well fed, the stock in good condition and in their
own bounds, the fences intact, and the implements sheltered from the
weather. He must hire additional hands when they are needed, and
discharge those guilty of serious delinquencies. His position is one of
responsibility, but at the same time of many advantages; for he is given
a comfortable house for his private use, with a garden, a smoke-house, a
store-room, and a stable,--a horse being furnished him to enable him to
get from one locality to another on the plantation under his charge with
ease and rapidity; and he is also supplied with rations for himself and
family every month. The social class to which he belongs is below the
highest,--namely, that of the planter,--and above that of the whites of
meanest condition. Formerly one of the three overseers on the plantation
which I am now describing was a colored man who had been a slave before
the war, a foreman in the field afterward, and was then promoted, in
consequence of his efficiency, to the responsible position which I have
named. He was a man of unusual intelligence, and gave the highest
satisfaction. His mind was almost painfully directed to the performance
of his duties, and the only fault that could be found with him was an
occasional inclination to be too severe with his own race. Very
naturally, he was looked up to by the latter as successful and
prosperous, and his influence in consequence was very great. Unlike most
of his fellows, he was given to hoarding what he earned, and in a few
years was able to buy a plantation of his own; and there he is now
engaged in cultivating his own land.

There is a population of about four hundred negroes on the three
divisions of the plantation, this number including both sexes and every
age and shade of color. All of the older set, with few exceptions, were
the slaves of their employer, and did not leave him even in the restless
and excited hour of their emancipation. Born on the place, they have
spent the whole of their long lives there, and consider it to be as much
their home as it is that of its owner. In fact, the negroes here are
remote from those influences that lead so many others to migrate. The
plantation is eighteen miles from a railroad and forty from a town, and
is set down in a very sparsely settled country that has been only
partially cleared of its forests. It has a teeming population of its
own, which satisfies the social instincts of its inhabitants as much as
if they were collected together in a small town. In consequence of all
these facts, and in spite of the new state of things which the war
produced, there survives in its confines something of that baronial
spirit which we observe on a landed estate in England at the present
day, where every man, woman, and child is accustomed to think of the
landlord as the fountain-head of power and benefits. A similar spirit of
loyal subordination prevails particularly among the oldest inhabitants
of the plantation, who were once the absolute chattels of its owner, and
who look upon that fact as creating an obligation in him to support them
in their decrepitude. Being too far in the sere and yellow leaf to work,
they are provided every month with enough rations to meet their wants,
and in total idleness they calmly await the inevitable hour when their
bones will be laid beside those of their fathers. There are few more
picturesque figures than are many of these old negroes, who passed the
heyday of their strength before they were freed, and who, born in
slavery, survived to a new era only to find themselves in the last
stages of old age. They are regarded by their race with as much
veneration as if they were invested with the authority of prophets and
seers. Some of them, in spite of their years, act occasionally as
preachers, and are listened to with awe and trepidation as they lift up
their trembling voices in exhortation or denunciation. As travellers
from a distant past, it is interesting to observe them sitting with bent
backs and hands resting on their sticks in the door-ways of their cabins
on bright days in summer, or by the warm firesides in winter, while
members of younger generations talk around them or play about their

The negro laborers marry in early life, and the size of their families
is often remarkable, the ratio of increase being, perhaps, greater with
them than with the families of the white laborers on the same
plantation, and the mortality among their children as small, for the
latter have an abundance of wholesome food, are well sheltered from cold
and dampness, and have good medical attendance. As soon as they are able
to walk so far, they are sent to the public school, which is situated on
the borders of the plantation, where they have a teacher of their own
race to instruct them, and they continue to attend until they are old
enough to work in the fields and stables. They are then employed there
at fair wages, which, until they come of age or marry, are appropriated
by their parents; and in consequence of this many of the young men seek
positions on the railroads or in the towns before they reach their
majority, in order that they may secure and enjoy the compensation of
their own labor. In a few years, however, the greater number wander back
and offer themselves as hands, are engaged, and establish homes of their

Tobacco being a staple that requires work of some kind throughout the
whole of the year, a large force of laborers are hired for that length
of time. It is not like wheat, in the cultivation and manipulation of
which more energy is put forth at one season than at another, as, for
instance, when it is harvested or threshed. A certain number of laborers
are engaged on the plantation on the 1st of January, who contract to
remain at definite wages during the following twelve months. Whoever
leaves without consent violates a distinct agreement, under which he is
liable in the courts, if it were worth the time and expense to subject
him to the law. He is paid every month by an order on a firm of
merchants who rent a store that belongs to the owner of the plantation
and is situated on one of its divisions; and this order he can convert
into money, merchandise, or groceries, as he chooses, or he gives it up
in settlement of debts which he has previously made there in
anticipation of his wages. The credit of each man is accurately gauged,
and he is allowed to deal freely to a certain amount, but not beyond;
and this restriction puts a very wholesome check upon the natural
extravagance of his disposition.

On each division of the plantation there is a settlement where the
negroes live with their families. The houses of the "quarters," as the
settlement is called, are large weather-boarded cabins. In each there is
a spacious room below and a cramped garret above, which is used both as
a bedroom and a lumber-room, while the apartment on the first floor is
chamber, kitchen, and parlor in one, and there most of the inmates,
children as well as adults, sleep at night. The furniture is of a very
durable but rude character, consisting of a bed, several cots, tables
and cupboards, and half a dozen or more rough chairs of domestic
manufacture, while a few pictures, cut from illuminated Sunday books or
from illustrated papers, adorn the whitewashed walls. The brick
fire-place is so wide and open that the fire not only warms the room,
but lights it up so well that no candle or lamp is needed. The negroes
are always kept supplied with wood, and they use it with extravagance on
cold nights, when they often stretch themselves at full length on the
hearth-stone and sleep as calmly in the fierce glare as in the summer
shade, or nap and nod in their chairs until day, only rising from time
to time to throw on another log to revive the declining flames. They
like to gossip and relate tales under its comfortable influence, and it
is associated in their minds with the most pleasing side of their lives.
Those who can read con over the texts of their well-worn Bibles in its
light, while those who have a mechanical turn, as, for instance, for
weaving willow or white-oak baskets or making fish-traps or chairs, take
advantage of its illumination to carry on their work.

Each householder has his garden, either in front or behind his dwelling,
according to the greater fertility of the soil, and here he raises every
variety of vegetable in profusion: sweet and Irish potatoes, tomatoes,
beets, peas, onions, cabbages, and melons grow there in sufficient
abundance to supply many tables. Of these, cabbage is most valued, for
it can be stored away for consumption in winter, and is as fresh at that
season as when it is first cut. Around the houses peach-trees of a very
common variety have been planted, and these bear fruit even when the
buds of rarer varieties elsewhere have been nipped, both because they
are more hardy and because they are near enough to be protected by the
cloud of smoke that is always issuing from the chimneys. Every
householder is allowed to fatten two hogs of his own, the sty, for fear
of thieves, being erected in such close proximity to his dwelling that
the odor is most offensive with the wind in a certain quarter, and, one
would think, most unwholesome; but his family do not seem to suffer
either in health or in comfort. Every cabin has its hen-house, from
which an abundant supply of eggs is drawn, which find a ready sale at
the plantation store; and in spring the chickens are a source of
considerable income to the negroes. Their fare is occasionally varied by
an opossum caught in the woods, or a hare trapped in the fields; but
they much prefer corn bread and bacon as regular fare to anything else.
They dislike wheat bread, as too light and unsatisfying, and they always
grumble when flour is measured out to them instead of meal. Coffee is a
luxury used only on Sunday. The table is set off by a few china plates
and cups, but there are no dishes, the meat being served in the utensil
in which it is cooked. On working-days breakfast and dinner are carried
to the hands in the fields by a boy who has collected at the different
houses the tin buckets containing these meals.

The hands are as busy in winter as during any other part of the year.
Much of their time is then taken up in manipulating the tobacco, which
has been stored away in one large barn, and preparing it for market, the
first step toward which is to strip the leaves from the stalk and then
carefully separate those of an inferior from those of a superior
quality. Although there are many grades, the negroes are able to
distinguish them at a glance and assort them accordingly. They are not
engaged in this work of selection continuously from day to day, but at
intervals, for they can handle the tobacco only when the weather is damp
enough to moisten the leaf, otherwise it is so brittle that it would
crack and fall to pieces under their touch. They like this work, for the
barn is kept very comfortable by large stoves, they do not have to move
from their seats, and they can all sit very sociably together, talking,
laughing, and singing. It contrasts very agreeably with other work which
they are called upon to do at this season,--namely, the grubbing of new
grounds, from which they shrink with unconcealed repugnance, for outside
of a mine there is no kind of labor more arduous or exacting. The land
cleared is that from which the original forest has been cut, leaving
stumps thickly scattered over the surface, from which a heavy
scrub-growth springs up. Active, quick, and industrious as the negroes
may be in the tobacco-, corn-, or wheat fields, they show here great
indolence, and move forward very slowly with their hoes, axes, and
picks, piling up, as they advance, masses of roots, saplings, stumps,
and brush, which, when dry, are set on fire and consumed. The soil
exposed is a rich but thin loam of decayed leaves, in which tobacco
grows with luxuriance.

In February or March the laborers prepare the plant-patch, the initial
step in the production of a crop that remains on their hands at least
twelve months before it is ready for market. They select a spot in the
depths of the woods where the soil is very fertile from the accumulated
mould, and they then cut away the trees and underbrush until a clean
open surface, square in shape and about forty yards from angle to angle,
is left, surrounded on all sides by the forest. Having piled up great
masses of logs over the whole of this surface, they set them on fire at
one end of the patch, and these are allowed to burn until all have been
consumed, the object being to get the ash which is deposited, and which
is very rich in certain constituents of the tobacco-plant and is
especially conducive to its growth. The ploughmen then come and break up
the ground, hoers carefully pulverize every clod, and the seed is sown,
a mere handful being sufficient for a great extent of soil. The laborers
afterward cover the surface of the patch with bushes, and it is left
without further protection. In a short time the tobacco-plant springs up
in indescribable profusion, and in a few weeks it is in a condition to
be transferred to the fields.

Before this is done, however, the seed-corn has begun to sprout in the
ground. The first cry of the whippoorwill is the signal for planting
this cereal. The grains are dropped from the hand at regular intervals,
both men and women joining in this work; and they all move slowly along
together, the men bearing the corn in small bags, the women holding it
in their aprons. The wide low-grounds at this season expand to the
horizon without anything to obstruct the vision, a clear, unbroken sweep
of purple ploughed land. The laborers are visible far off, those who
drop the grains walking in a line ahead, the hoers following close
behind to cover up the seed. Still farther in the rear come the harrows,
that level all inequalities in the surface and crush the clods. Flocks
of crows wheel in the air above the scene, or stalk at a safe distance
on the ploughed ground. Blackbirds, which have now returned from the
South, sing in chorus on the adjacent ditch-banks, mingling their harsh
notes with the lively songs of myriads of bobolinks, while high overhead
whistles the plover. The newly-sprung grass paints the road-side a lush
green, the leaves are budding on weed and spray, and over all there hang
the exhilarating influences of spring.

As soon as the hands have planted the corn, they begin transplanting the
tobacco, which they find a more tedious task, for they can only
transfer the slips to the fields when the air is surcharged with
moisture and the ground is wet; otherwise the slips will wither on the
way or perish in the hill without taking root. But if the weather is
favorable they flourish from the hour they are thrust into the ground.
It takes the laborers but a short time to plant many acres; and when
their work is done the fields look as bare as before. The original
leaves soon die, but from the healthy stalk new ones shoot out and
expand very rapidly. The soil has been very highly fertilized with guano
and very carefully ploughed, so that every condition is favorable to the
growth of the plant if there is an abundance of rain. At a later period
it passes through a drought very well, being a hardy plant that recovers
even after it has wilted; but very frequently in its early stages the
laborers are compelled to haul water in casks from the streams to save
it from destruction.

The most jovial operation of the year to the hands is the wheat-harvest
in June; but the introduction of the mechanical reaper has taken away
something of its peculiar character. Much of the grain, however, is
still cut down with the cradle. The strongest negro always leads the
dozen or more mowers, and thus incites his fellows to keep closely in
his wake. As they move along, they sing, and the sound, sonorous and not
unmelodious, is echoed far and wide among the hills. Behind them follows
a band of men and women, who gather the grain into shocks or tie it in

After the harvest is over, the time of the laborers is given up entirely
to the tobacco, which has now grown to a fair size. Their first task is
to "sucker" it,--that is, cut away the shoots that spring up at the
intersection of each leaf and the stalk, and which if left to grow would
absorb half the strength of the plant. They also examine the leaves very
carefully, to destroy the eggs and young of the tobacco-fly. Day after
day they go over the same fields, finding newly-laid eggs and
newly-hatched young where only twelve hours before they brushed their
counterparts off to be trampled under foot. As the tobacco ripens, it
becomes brittle to the touch and is covered with dark yellow spots, and
when this appearance is still further developed the time for cutting has
arrived, which generally is in the first month of autumn, and always
before frost, which is as fatal to this as to every other weed. The
plant is now about three feet in height, with eight or nine large
leaves, the stalk having been broken off at the top in the second stage
of its growth. On the appointed day a dozen or more men with coarse
knives split the stalk of each plant straight down its middle to within
half a foot of the ground. They then strike the plant from the hill and
lay it on one side. The leaves soon shrink under the rays of the sun and
fall. One of the laborers who follow the cutters then takes it up and
places it with nine or ten other plants on a stick, which is thrust
through the angle formed by the two halves of the plant separated from
each other except at one end. It is deposited with the rest in an open
ox-cart and transported to the barn. In the barn poles have been
arranged in tiers from bottom to top to support the sticks; and when the
building is full of tobacco the laborer in charge ignites the logs that
fill parallel trenches in the dirt floor, and a high rate of temperature
is soon produced, and is maintained for several days, during which a
watch is kept to replenish the flames and prevent a conflagration. As
soon as the tobacco has changed from a deep green to a light brown, it
is removed on a wet day to the general barn. The same process of curing
is going on in many barns on the same plantation, and occasionally one
is burned down; for the tobacco is very inflammable, a stray spark from
below being sufficient to set the whole on fire.

The principal work of the autumn is the gathering of the ripe corn. A
band of men go ahead and pull the ears from the stalks and throw them at
intervals of thirty yards into loose piles and another band following
behind them at a distance pick the ears up and pitch them into the
ox-carts, which, when fully loaded, return to the granary, around which
the corn is soon massed in long and high rows. When the whole crop has
been got in, a moonlight night is selected for stripping off the shucks;
and this is a gay occasion with the negroes, for they are allowed as
much whiskey as they can carry under their belts. The leading clown
among them is deputed to mount the pile and sing, while the rest sit
below and work. As he ends each verse, they reply in a chorus that can
be heard miles away through the clear, still, frosty air. Their songs
are the ancient ditties of the plantation, and are humorous or pathetic
in sound rather than in sense. And yet even to an educated ear they have
a certain interest, like everything, however trivial, connected with
this strange race.

Such, in general outline, are the tasks of the laborers on the
plantation during the four seasons of the year. It is beyond question
that they do their work thoroughly. It makes no difference how deep the
low-ground mud is, or how rough the surface, or how lowering the
weather, they go forward with cheerfulness and alacrity. Nothing can
repress or dampen their spirits. How often I have heard them as they
returned through the dusk, after hoeing or ploughing the whole day,
singing in a strain as gay and spontaneous as if they were just going
forth in the freshness of a vernal morning! Their sociable disposition
is displayed even in the fields, for they like to work in bands, in
order that they may converse and joke together. This companionableness
is one of the most conspicuous traits of their character. Even the
strict patrolling of slavery-times could not prevent them from running
together at night; and now that they are free to go where they choose,
they will put themselves to much trouble to gratify their love of
association with their fellows. One reason why a large plantation is so
popular with them is that the number of its inhabitants offers the most
varied opportunities of social enjoyment.

Sunday is the principal day on which the negroes exchange visits. There
is a settlement, as I have mentioned, on each division of the plantation
which I am now describing, and, although these settlements are situated
at some distance apart, this is not considered to be a serious
inconvenience. At every hour on Sunday, if the day is fair, men and
women, in couples or small parties, neatly and becomingly dressed, are
seen moving along the chief thoroughfare on their way to call on their
friends. The women are decked in gay calicoes, often further adorned
with bunches of wild flowers plucked by the road-side; while the men are
clothed in suits which they have bought at the "store," and they
frequently wear cheap jewelry which they have purchased at the same
establishment. The dandies in the younger set flourish canes and assume
all the languishing airs that distinguish the callow fops of the white
race. Many visitors are received at the most popular houses, and they
are observed sitting with the families of their hosts and hostesses
under the shade of the trees until a late hour of the afternoon. Some
pass from cabin to cabin, not stopping long at any one, but finding a
cordial welcome everywhere. Some linger very late, and make their way
back by the light of the moon. As they move along the low-ground road
their voices can be heard very distinctly from the hills above as they
talk and laugh together; and sometimes they vary the monotony of their
walk by singing a hymn, the sound of which is borne very far on the
bosom of the silence, and is sweet and soft in its cadence, mellowed as
it is by the distance and idealized by the nocturnal hour.

There are two church-edifices on the plantation, one of which is used
during the week as a public school, but the other was built expressly
for religious worship. Both are plain but comfortable structures, the
outer and inner walls of which have been whitewashed and the blinds
painted a dark green. Around them are wide yards, carefully swept;
otherwise their neighborhoods are rather forbidding, on account of the
silence and darkness of the forests in which they are situated, the only
proof of their connection with the world at large being the roads which
run by their doors. The pulpit of one is filled by a white preacher of
Northern birth and education, who removed to this section after the war;
and the only objection that can be urged against him is that he often
holds religious revivals at the time when the tobacco-worm is most
active in ravaging the ripening plant. The negroes who have to walk
several miles after their work is over to get to his church are kept up
till a late hour of night and in a state of high excitement, and are so
overcome with fatigue the following day that they dawdle over their
tasks. These revivals are also celebrated at the other church, but
always in proper season; for the minister there is not only sound and
orthodox in his doctrines, but he is also a planter on his own account,
and, therefore, able to understand that the interests of religion and
tobacco ought not to be brought into conflict.

Many parties are given every year, and they are attended by several
hundred negroes of both sexes, who have come from the different
"quarters," and even from other plantations in the vicinity. The owner
of the plantation always supplies an abundance of provisions--a sheep or
beef, flour and meal--for the feast that celebrates the general housing
of the crops, which is to the laborers what the harvest-supper is to the
peasantry of England. The year, with its varied labors and large
results, lies behind them, the wheat, tobacco, and corn have all been
gathered in, their hard work is done, and though in a few weeks the old
routine will begin again, they are now oblivious of it all. Hour after
hour they continue to dance, a new array of fresh performers taking the
place of those who are exhausted, and then the regular beating of their
feet on the floor can be heard at a considerable distance, with a dull,
monotonous sound, varied only by the hum of voices or noise of laughter
or the shrill notes of the musical instruments. These are the banjo and
accordion, the former being the favorite, perhaps because it is more
intimately associated with the social traditions of the negroes. Their
best performers play very skilfully on both, and indulge in as much
ecstatic by-play as musicians of the most famous schools. They throw
themselves into many strange contortions as they touch the strings or
keys, swaying from side to side, or rocking their bodies backward and
forward till the head almost reaches the floor, or leaning over the
instrument and addressing it in caressing terms. They accompany their
playing with their voices, but their _répertoire_ is limited to a few
songs, which generally consist in mere repetition of a few notes. All
their airs have been handed down from remote generations. Their words
deal with the ordinary incidents of the negro's life, and embody his
narrow hopes and aspirations, but they are rarely connected narratives.
As a rule, they are broken lines without relevancy or coherence, while
the choruses are so many meaningless syllables. The negroes seem to
derive no pleasure from music outside of those songs and airs which they
have so often heard at their own hearthstones, and which have come down
to them from their ancestors.

The Christmas holidays, extending from the 25th of December to the 2d of
January, are a period of entire suspension of labor on the plantation.
In anticipation of their arrival, a large quantity of fire-wood is
hauled from the forests and piled up around the cabins; but the negroes
spend very little of this interval of leisure in their own homes, unless
a bad spell of weather has set in and continues. They are either out in
the open air or at the "store." This latter serves the purpose of a
club, and is a very popular resort. Even at other times of the year it
is always packed at night; but during the Christmas holidays it is full
to overflowing in the day-time. At this gay season the fires are kept
burning very fiercely; the Sunday suits and dresses are worn every day;
the tables are covered with more abundant fare of the plainer as well
as rarer sort. All visitors are received with increased hospitality, and
work of every kind that usually goes on in the precincts of the dwelling
is, if possible, deferred until the opening of the new year. Many
strange faces are now seen on the plantation, and many faces that were
once familiar, but whose owners have removed elsewhere. The negro is as
closely bound in affection to the scenes of his childhood as the white
man, and he thinks that he has certain rights there of which absence
even cannot deprive him, although he may have left for permanent
settlement at a distance. When he dies elsewhere he is always anxious in
his last hours that his body shall be brought back and buried in the old
graveyard of the plantation where he was born and where he grew up to
manhood. And when he comes back to the well-known localities for a brief
stay, he feels as if he were at home again in the house of his fathers,
where he has an absolute and inalienable right to be.



We had "done" Brussels after the approved fashion,--had faithfully
visited the churches, palaces, museums, theatres, galleries, monuments,
and boulevards, had duly admired the beautiful windows and the exquisite
wood-carvings of the grand old cathedral of St. Gudule, the tower and
tapestry and frescos and façade of the magnificent Hôtel-de-Ville, the
stately halls and the gilded dome of the immense new Courts of Justice,
and the consummate beauty of the Bourse, had diligently sought out the
naïve boy-fountain, and had made the usual excursion to Waterloo.

This delightful task being conscientiously discharged, we proposed to
devote our last day in the beautiful Belgian capital to the
accomplishment of one of the cherished projects of our lives,--the
searching out of the localities associated with Charlotte Bronté's
unhappy school-life here, which she has so graphically portrayed. For
our purpose no guide was available, or needful, for the topography and
local coloring of "Villette" and "The Professor" are as vivid and
unmistakable as in the best work of Dickens himself. Proceeding from St.
Gudule, by the little street at the back of the cathedral, to the Rue
Royale, and a short distance along that grand thoroughfare, we reached
the park and a locality familiar to Miss Bronté's readers. Seated in
this lovely pleasure-ground, the gift of the empress Maria Theresa, with
its cool shade all about us, we noted the long avenues and the paths
winding amid stalwart trees and verdant shrubbery, the dark foliage
ineffectually veiling the gleaming statuary and the sheen of bright
fountains, "the stone basin with its clear depth, the thick-planted
trees which framed this tremulous and rippled mirror," the groups of
happy people filling the seats in secluded nooks or loitering in the
cool mazes and listening to the music,--we noted all this, and felt that
Miss Bronté had revealed it to us long ago. It was across this park that
Lucy Snowe was piloted from the bureau of the diligence by the
chivalrous stranger, Dr. John, on the night when she, despoiled,
helpless, and solitary, arrived in Brussels. She found the park deserted
and dark, the paths miry, the water "dripping from its trees." "In the
double gloom of tree and fog she could not see her guide, and could only
follow his tread" in the darkness. We recalled another scene under these
same tail trees, on a night when the iron gateway was "spanned by a
naming arch of massed stars." The park was a "forest with sparks of
purple and ruby and golden fire gemming the foliage," and Lucy, driven
from her couch by mental torture, wandered unrecognized amid the gay
throng at the midnight concert of the Festival of the Martyrs and looked
upon her lover, her friends the Brettons, and the secret junta of her
enemies, Madame Beck, Madame Walravens, and Père Silas.

The sense of familiarity with the vicinage grew as we observed our
surroundings. Facing us, at the extremity of the park, was the
unpretentious palace of the king, in the small square across the Rue
Royale at our right was the statue of General Béliard, and we knew that
just behind it we should find the Rue Fossette and Charlotte Bronté's
_pensionnat_, for Crimsworth, "The Professor," standing by the statue,
had "looked down a great staircase" to the door-way of the school, and
poor Lucy, on that forlorn first night in "Villette," to avoid the
insolence of a pair of ruffians, had hastened down a flight of steps from
the Rue Royale, and had come, not to the inn she sought, but to the
_pensionnat_ of Madame Beck.

From the statue we descended, by a quadruple series of wide stone
stairs, into a narrow street, old-fashioned and clean, quiet and
secluded in the very heart of the great city,--the Rue d'Isabelle,--and
just opposite the foot of the steps we came to the wide door of a
spacious, quadrangular, stuccoed old mansion, with a bit of foliage
showing over a high wall at one side. A bright plate embellishes the
door and bears the inscription,


A Latin inscription in the wall of the house shows it to have been given
to the Guild of Royal Archers by the Infanta Isabelle early in the
seventeenth century. Long before that the garden had been the orchard
and herbary of a convent and the Hospital for the Poor.

We were detained at the door long enough to remember Lucy standing
there, trembling and anxious, awaiting admission, and then we too were
"let in by a _bonne_ in a smart cap,"--apparently a fit successor to the
Rosine of forty years ago,--and entered the corridor. This is paved with
blocks of black and white marble and has painted walls. It extends
through the entire depth of the house, and at its farther extremity an
open door afforded us a glimpse of the garden.

We were ushered into the little _salon_ at the left of the passage,--the
one often mentioned in "Villette,"--and here we made known our wish to
see the garden and class-rooms, and met with a prompt refusal from the
neat _portresse_. We tried diplomacy (also lucre) with her, without
avail: it was the _grandes vacances_, the ladies were out, M. Héger was
engaged, we could not be gratified,--unless, indeed, we were patrons of
the school. At this juncture a portly, ruddy-faced lady of middle age
and most courteous of speech and manner appeared, and, addressing us in
faultless English, introduced herself as Mademoiselle Héger,
co-directress of the _pensionnat_, and "wholly at our service." In
response to our apologies for the intrusion and explanations of the
desire which had prompted it, we received complaisant assurances of
welcome; yet the manner of our kind entertainer indicated that she did
not appreciate, much less share in, our admiration and enthusiasm for
Charlotte Bronté and her books. In the subsequent conversation it
appeared that Mademoiselle and her family hold decided opinions upon the
subject,--something more than mere lack of admiration. She was familiar
with the novels, and thought that, while they exhibit a talent certainly
not above mediocrity, they reflect the injustice, the untruthfulness,
and the ingratitude of their creator. We were obliged to confess to
ourselves that the family have apparent reason for this view, when we
reflected that in the books Miss Bronté has assailed their religion and
disparaged the school and the character of the teachers and pupils, has
depicted Madame Héger in the odious duad of Madame Beck and Mademoiselle
Reuter, has represented M. Héger as the scheming and deceitful M. Pelet
and the preposterous M. Paul, Lucy Snowe's lover, that this lover was
the husband of Madame Héger, and father of the family of children to
whom Lucy was at first _bonne d'enfants_, and that possibly the daughter
she has described as the thieving, vicious Désirée--"that tadpole,
Désirée Beck"--was this very lady now so politely entertaining us. To
all this add the significant fact that "Villette" is an autobiographical
novel, which "records the most vivid passages in Miss Bronté's own sad
heart's history," not a few of the incidents being "literal transcripts"
from the darkest chapter of her own life, and the light which the
consideration of this fact throws upon her relations with members of the
family will help us to apprehend the stand-point from which the Hégers
judge Miss Bronté and her work, and to excuse, if not to justify, a
natural resentment against one who has presented them in a decidedly bad

_How_ bad we began to realize when, during the ensuing chat, we called
to mind just what she had written of them. As Madame Beck, Madame Héger
had been represented as lying, deceitful, and shameless, as heartless
and unscrupulous, as "watching and spying everywhere, peeping through
every keyhole, listening behind every door," as duplicating Lucy's keys
and secretly searching her bureau, as meanly abstracting her letters and
reading them to others, as immodestly laying herself out to entrap the
man to whom she had given her love unsought. In letters to her friend
Ellen, Miss Bronté complains that "Madame Héger never came near her" in
her loneliness and illness.

It was, obviously, some accession to the existing animosity between
herself and Madame Héger which precipitated Miss Bronté's final
departure from the _pensionnat_. Mrs. Gaskell ascribes their mutual
dislike to Charlotte's free expression of her aversion to the Catholic
Church, of which Madame Héger was a devotee, and hence "wounded in her
most cherished opinions;" but a later writer, in the "Westminster
Review," plainly intimates that Miss Bronté hated the woman who sat for
Madame Beck because marriage had given to _her_ the man whom Miss Bronté
loved, and that "Madame Beck had need to be a detective in her own
house." The recent death of Madame Héger has rendered the family, who
hold her now only as a sacred memory, more keenly sensitive than ever to
anything which would seem by implication to disparage her.

For himself it would appear that M. Héger has less cause for resentment,
for, although in "Villette" he (or his double) is pictured as "a waspish
little despot," as fiery and unreasonable, as "detestably ugly" in his
anger, closely resembling "a black and sallow tiger," as having an
"overmastering love of authority and public display," as basely playing
the spy and reading purloined letters, and in the Bronté epistles
Charlotte declares he is choleric and irritable, compels her to make her
French translations without a dictionary or grammar, and then has "his
eyes almost plucked out of his head" by the occasional English word she
is obliged to introduce, etc., yet all this is partially atoned for by
the warm praise she subsequently accords him for his goodness to her and
his "disinterested friendship," by the poignant regret she expresses at
parting with him,--perhaps wholly expiated by the high compliment she
pays him of making her heroine, Lucy, fall in love with him, or the
higher compliment it is suspected she paid him of falling in love with
him herself. One who reads the strange history of passion in "Villette,"
in conjunction with her letters, "will know more of the truth of her
stay in Brussels than if a dozen biographers had undertaken to tell the
whole tale."

Still, M. Héger can scarcely be pleased by the ludicrous figure he is
so often made to cut in the novels by having members of his school set
forth as stupid, animal, and inferior, "their principles rotten to the
core, steeped in systematic sensuality," by having his religion styled
"besotted papistry, a piece of childish humbug," and the like.

Something of the displeasure of the family was revealed in the course of
our conversation with Mademoiselle Héger, but the specific causes were
but cursorily touched upon. She could have no personal recollection of
the Brontés; her knowledge of them is derived from her parents and the
teachers,--presumably the "repulsive old maids" of Charlotte's letters.
One of the present teachers in the _pensionnat_ had been a classmate of
Charlotte's here. The Brontés had not been popular with the school.
Their "heretical" religion had something to do with this; but their
manifest avoidance of the other pupils during hours of recreation,
Mademoiselle thought, had been a more potent cause,--Emily, in
particular, not speaking with her school-mates or teachers except when
obliged to do so. The other pupils thought them of outlandish accent and
manners and ridiculously old to be at school at all,--being twenty-four
and twenty-six, and seeming even older. Their sombre and
grotesquely-ugly costumes were fruitful causes of mirth to the gay
young Belgian misses. The Brontés were not especially brilliant
students, and none of their companions had ever suspected that they were
geniuses. Of the two, Emily was considered to be, in most respects, the
more talented, but she was obstinate and opinionated. Some of the pupils
had been inclined to resist having Charlotte placed over them as
teacher, and may have been mutinous. After her return from Haworth she
taught English to M. Héger and his brother-in-law. M. Héger gave the
sisters private lessons in French without charge, and for some time
preserved their compositions, which Mrs. Gaskell copied. Mrs. Gaskell
visited the _pensionnat_ in quest of material for her biography of
Charlotte, and received all the aid M. Héger could afford: the
information thus obtained has, for the most part, we were told, been
fairly used. Miss Bronté's letters from Brussels, so freely quoted in
Mrs. Gaskell's "Life," were addressed to Miss Ellen Nussy, a familiar
friend of Charlotte's, whose signature we saw in the register at Haworth
Church as witness to Miss Bronté's marriage. The Hégers had no suspicion
that she had been so unhappy with them as these letters indicate, and
she had assigned a totally different reason for her sudden return to
England. She had been introduced to Madame Héger by Mrs. Jenkins, wife
of the then chaplain of the British Embassy at the Court of Belgium; she
had frequently visited that lady and other friends in Brussels,--among
them Mary and Martha Taylor and their relatives, and the family of a
Dr. ---- (_not_ Dr. John),--and therefore her life here need not
have been so lonely and desolate as it has been made to appear.

The Hégers usually have a few English pupils in the school, but have
never had an American.

Some American tourists had before called to look at the garden, but the
family are not pleased by the notoriety with which Miss Bronté has
invested it. However, Mademoiselle Héger kindly offered to conduct us
over any portion of the establishment we might care to see, and led the
way along the corridor, past the class-rooms and the _réfectoire_ on the
right, to the narrow, high-walled garden. We found it smaller than in
the time when Miss Bronté loitered here in weariness and solitude.
Mademoiselle Héger explained that, while the width remains the same, the
erection of class-rooms for the day-pupils has diminished the length by
some yards. Tall houses surround and shut it in on either side, making
it close and sombre, and the noises of the great city all about it
penetrate here only as a far-away murmur. There is a plat of verdant
turf in the centre, bordered by scant flowers and damp gravelled walks,
along which shrubs of evergreen and laurel are irregularly disposed. A
few seats are placed here and there within the shade, where, as in Miss
Bronté's time, the _externals_ eat the luncheon brought with them to the
school; and overlooking it all stand the great old pear-trees, whose
gnarled and deformed trunks are relics of the time of the hospital and
convent. Beyond these and along the gray wall which bounds the farther
side of the enclosure is the sheltered walk which was Miss Bronté's
favorite retreat,--the "_allée défendue_" of her novels. It is screened
by shrubs and perfumed by flowers, and, being secure from the intrusion
of pupils, we could well believe that Charlotte and her heroine found
here restful seclusion. The coolness and quiet and--more than all--the
throng of vivid associations which fill the place tempted us to linger.
The garden is not a spacious nor even a pretty one, and yet it seemed to
us singularly pleasing and familiar,--as if we were revisiting it after
an absence. Seated upon a rustic bench close at hand, possibly the very
one which Lucy Snowe had cleansed and "reclaimed from fungi and mould,"
how the memories came surging up into our minds! How often in the summer
twilight poor Charlotte had lingered here in restful solitude after the
day's burdens and trials with "stupid and impertinent" pupils! How
often, with weary feet and a dreary heart, she had paced this secluded
walk and thought, with longing almost insupportable, of the dear ones in
far-away Haworth parsonage! In this sheltered corner her other
self--Lucy Snowe--sat and listened to the distant chimes and thought
forbidden thoughts and cherished impossible hopes. Here she met and
talked with Dr. John. Deep beneath this "Methuselah of a pear-tree," the
one nearest the end of the alley, lies the imprisoned dust of the poor
young nun who was buried alive ages ago for some sin against her vow,
and whose perambulating ghost so disquieted poor Lucy. At the root of
this same tree one miserable night Lucy buried her precious letters, and
"meant also to bury a grief" and her great affection for Dr. John. Here
she had leant her brow against Methuselah's knotty trunk and uttered to
herself those brave words of renunciation which must have wrung her
heart: "Good-night, Dr. John; you are good, you are beautiful, _but you
are not mine_. Good-night, and God bless you!" Here she held pleasant
converse with M. Paul, and with him, spell-bound, saw the ghost of the
nun descend from the leafy shadows overhead and, sweeping close past
their wondering faces, disappear behind yonder screen of shrubbery into
the darkness of the summer night. By that tall tree next the class-rooms
the ghost was wont to ascend to meet its material sweetheart, Fanshawe,
in the great garret beneath yonder skylight,--the garret where Lucy
retired to read Dr. John's letter, and wherein M. Paul confined her to
learn her part in the vaudeville for Madame Beck's _fête_-day. In this
nook where we sat, Crimsworth, "The Professor," had walked and talked
with and almost made love to Mademoiselle Reuter, and from yonder window
overlooking the alley had seen that perfidious fair one in dalliance
with his employer, M. Pelet, beneath these pear-trees. From that window
M. Paul watched Lucy as she sat or walked in the _allée défendue_,
dogged by Madame Beck; from the same window were thrown the love-letters
which fell at Lucy's feet sitting here.

Leaves from the overhanging boughs were plucked for us as souvenirs of
the place; then, reverently traversing once more the narrow alley so
often traced in weariness by Charlotte Bronté, we turned away. From the
garden we entered the long and spacious class-room of the first and
second divisions. A movable partition divides it across the middle when
the classes are in session; the floor is of bare boards cleanly scoured.
There are long ranges of desks and benches upon either side, and a lane
through the middle leads up to a raised platform at the end of the room,
where the instructor's chair and desk are placed.

How quickly our fancy peopled the place! On these front seats sat the
gay and indocile Belgian girls. There, "in the last row, in the
quietest corner, sat Emily and Charlotte side by side, so absorbed in
their studies as to be insensible to anything about them;" and at the
same desk, "in the farthest seat of the farthest row," sat Mademoiselle
Henri during Crimsworth's English lessons. Here Lucy's desk was rummaged
by M. Paul and the tell-tale odor of cigars left behind. Here, after
school-hours, Miss Bronté taught M. Héger English, he taught her French,
and M. Paul taught Lucy arithmetic and (incidentally) love. This was the
scene of their _tête-à-têtes_, of his earnest efforts to persuade her
into his faith in the Church of Rome, of their ludicrous supper of
biscuit and baked apples, and of his final violent outbreak with Madame
Beck, when she literally thrust herself between him and his love. From
this platform Crimsworth and Lucy Snowe and Charlotte Bronté herself had
given instruction to pupils whose insubordination had first to be
confronted and overcome. Here M. Paul and M. Héger gave lectures upon
literature, and Paul delivered his spiteful tirade against the English
on the morning of his _fête_-day. Upon this desk were heaped his
bouquets that morning; from its smooth surface poor Lucy dislodged and
fractured his cherished spectacles; and here, _now_, seated in Paul's
chair, at Paul's desk, we saw and were presented to Paul Emanuel
himself,--M. Héger.

It was something more than curiosity which made us alert to note the
appearance and manner of this man, who has been so nearly associated
with Miss Bronté in an intercourse which colored her whole subsequent
life and determined her life work, who has been made the hero of her
best novels and has even been deemed the hero of her own heart's
romance; and yet we _were_ curious to know "what manner of man it is"
who has been so much as suspected of being honored with the love and
preference of the dainty Charlotte Bronté. During a short conversation
with him we had opportunity to observe that in person this "wise, good,
and religious" man must, at the time Miss Bronté knew him, have more
closely resembled M. Pelet of "The Professor" than any other of her
pen-portraits: indeed, after the lapse of more than forty years that
delineation still, for the most part, aptly applies to him. He is of
middle age, of rather spare habit of body; his face is fair and the
features pleasing and regular, the cheeks are thin and the mouth
flexible, the eyes--somewhat sunken--are of mild blue and of singularly
pleasant expression. We found him elderly, but not infirm; his
finely-shaped head is now fringed with white hair, and partial baldness
contributes an impressive reverence to his presence and tends to enhance
the intellectual effect of his wide brow. In repose his countenance
shows a hint of melancholy: as Miss Bronté has said, "his physiognomy is
_fine et spirituelle_;" one would hardly imagine it could ever resemble
the "visage of a black and sallow tiger." His voice is low and soft, his
bow still "very polite, not theatrical, scarcely French," his manner
_suave_ and courteous, his dress scrupulously neat. He accosted us in
the language Miss Bronté taught him forty years ago, and his accent and
diction do honor to her instruction. He was, at this time, engaged with
some patrons of the school, and, as his daughter had hinted that he was
averse to speaking of Miss Bronté, we soon took leave of him and were
shown through other parts of the school. The other class-rooms, used for
less advanced pupils, are smaller. In one of them, the third, Miss
Bronté had ruled as monitress after her return from Haworth. The large
dormitory of the _pensionnat_ was above the long class-room, and in the
time of the Brontés most of the boarders--about twenty in number--slept
here. Their cots were arranged along either side, and the position of
those occupied by the Brontés was pointed out to us at the extreme end
of the long room. It was here that Lucy suffered the horrors of
hypochondria, so graphically portrayed in "Villette," and found the
discarded costume of the spectral nun lying upon her bed, and here Miss
Bronté passed those nights of "dreary, wakeful misery" which Mrs.
Gaskell describes.

A long and rather narrow room in front of the class-rooms was shown us
as the _réfectoire_, where the Brontés, with the other boarders, took
their meals, presided over by M. and Madame Héger, and where, during the
evenings, the lessons for the ensuing days were prepared. Here were held
the evening prayers, which Charlotte used to avoid by escaping into the
garden. This, too, was the scene of M. Paul's whilom readings to
teachers and pupils, and of some of his spasms of petulance, which
readers of "Villette" will remember. From the _réfectoire_ we passed
again into the corridor, where we made our adieus to our affable
conductress. She gave us her card, and explained that, whereas this
establishment had formerly been both a _pensionnat_ and an _externat_,
having about seventy day-pupils and twenty boarders when Miss Bronté was
here, it is now, since the death of Madame Héger, used as a day-school
only,--the _pensionnat_ being at some little distance, in the Avenue
Louise, where Mademoiselle is a co-directress.

The genuine local color Miss Bronté gives in "Villette" enabled us to be
sure that we had found the sombre old church where Lucy, arrested in
passing by the sound of the bells, knelt upon the stone pavement,
passing thence into the confessional of Père Silas. Certain it is that
this old church lies upon the route she would naturally take in the walk
from the Rue d'Isabelle to the Protestant cemetery, which she had set
out to do that dark afternoon, and the narrow streets of picturesque old
houses which lie beyond the church correspond to those in which she was
lost. Certain, too, it is said to be that this incident is taken
directly from Miss Bronté's own experience. A writer in "Macmillan"
says, "During one of the long holidays, when her mind was restless and
disturbed, she found sympathy, if not peace, in the counsels of a priest
in the confessional, who pitied and soothed her troubled spirit without
attempting to enmesh it in the folds of Romanism."

Our way to the Protestant cemetery, a spot sadly familiar to Miss
Bronté, and the usual termination of her walks, lay past the site of the
Porte de Louvain and out to the hills a mile or so beyond the old city
limits. From our path we saw more than one tree-surrounded farm-house
which might have been the place of M. Paul's breakfast with his school,
and at least one old-fashioned manor-house, with green-tufted and
terraced lawns, which might have served Miss Bronté as the model for "La
Terrasse," the suburban home of the Brettons, and probably the temporary
abode of the Taylor sisters whom she visited here. From the cemetery are
beautiful vistas of farther lines of hills, of intervening valleys, of
farms and villas, and of the great city lying below. Miss Bronté has
well described this place: "Here, on pages of stone, of marble, and of
brass, are written names, dates, last tributes of pomp or love, in
English, French, German, and Latin." There are stone crosses all about,
and great thickets of roses and yew-trees,--"cypresses that stand
straight and mute, and willows that hang low and still;" and there are
"dim garlands of everlasting flowers."

Here "The Professor" found his long-sought sweetheart kneeling at a
new-made grave, under these overhanging trees. And here _we_ found the
shrine of poor Charlotte Bronté's many weary pilgrimages hither,--the
burial-place of her friend and schoolmate Martha Taylor, the Jessy Yorke
of "Shirley," the spot where, under "green sod and a gray marble
headstone, cold, coffined, solitary, Jessy sleeps below."



For a long time "the Dean" had had a certain familiarity for us. We
heard it continually spoken of among our artist friends, and had even
come to recognize many of its picturesque features as we came across
them in our usual studio-haunts and in the exhibitions. We seemed to
know those green, billowy swells at sight, as well as the thatched and
tiled roofs and old-fashioned gardens, the swinging barred gates and
stagnant, goose-tormented pools,--even the coarse-limbed rustics in
weather-beaten "store-clothes," picturesque only in mellow fadedness.

We knew all this; yet, when we set eyes and feet upon Cookham Dean for
the first time, behold, the half had not been told us! We had directed
many a letter to Cookham Dean, and knew them to have been duly delivered
by a bucolic postman on a tricycle. But a hundred canvases, and almost
as many tongues, had failed to tell us of the sunny slopes and shadowy
glades, the sylvan lanes and ribbon-like roads, the old stone inn with
open porch and sign swinging from lofty post set across the way, as
Italian campanile stand away from their churches, all coming under the
name of "Cookham Dean," although that "Dean," properly speaking, is only
their geographical and artistic centre.

Long before we reached _Ye Hutte_ from Cookham station--Ye Hutte set
amid bushy and climbing roses upon a prominent knoll of the many-knolled
Dean--we ceased to wonder that our picturesque imaginings of the region
we were passing through had been so various. Artists were before us,
artists behind us, artists on every side of us, two sketching-umbrellas
glinting like great tropical flowers in a corn-field, another like a
huge daisy in the dim vista of a long lane.

"C---- lodges in that red cottage, B---- in the next one, H---- in this
tumble-down farm-house, the L----s in that row of laborers' cottages,
the D----s in the inn," said Mona, tripping lightly over well-known
names, whose most accustomed place is in the exhibition catalogues.

Through the open windows of a hideous brick row, built to hold as many
laborers' families all the year round and as many Bohemian summer
artists as can crowd therein, we caught glimpses of tapestries worth
their weight in gold. One well-known artist has taken possession of the
end of this uncomely row, intended for a supply-shop to the
neighborhood. This shop is his studio, which he has filled with
treasures of Japanese art. As a Cookhamite assured us, "Mr. C---- goes
in for the _Japanesque_;" and he screens the large display-windows
intended for cheese, raisins, and potted meats with smiling mandarins
and narrow-eyed houris under octopus-like trees.

At the rear of the same "Row" we recognized a broad-hatted figure once
familiar to us in the Quartier Latin and the artistic _auberges_ of the
Forest of Fontainebleau. The very personification of _insouciance_ and
_laissez-aller_, he whose tiny bedroom-studio up-stairs ran riot with
color caught among California mountains, in cool gray France and
ochreous England, was bending the whole force of his mind to sketching a
pouter pigeon preening itself upon a barrel.

Still another of the ugly cottages, cursed by artists but inhabited by
them, was hired at ten pounds a year by two young landscapists. A
charwoman came every morning to quell the mad riots in which the
household gods (or demons) diurnally engaged, but at all other times the
landscapists manoeuvred for themselves. That the domestic manoeuvring of
young landscapists is not always _toute rose_ we saw reason later to
believe. For not once, twice, nor yet so seldom as a dozen times, have
we seen these young manoeuvrers begin to dine at four, when shadows
were growing too long upon field, thicket, and stream, only to finish we
knew not when, so late into darkness was that "finish" projected. We
could see one of the diners passing along the road from the public
house, an eighth of a mile away, at four, with the _pièce de résistance_
of the meal in an ample dish enveloped in a towel. Ten minutes later the
other rushes by, contrariwise of direction, in pursuit of beer and the
forgotten bread. A little later, and a scudding white dust-cloud in the
road informs us that one of the dining 'scapists flees breathlessly
vinegar- or salt-ward. Still another five minutes, and the other diner
hies him in chase of the white scud, calling vigorously to it that there
is no butter for the rice, no sugar for the fruit.

We saw at once that this Berkshire corner abounds more in dulcet and
sylvan landscape bits than in picturesque motifs for those who paint
_genre_. The peasants have a certain inchoate picturesqueness, as of
beings roughly evolved from the life of this fair material nature, and
sometimes, in silhouette against dun-gray skies and amid rugged fields,
give one vague feeling of Millet's pathos of peasant life and labor. The
yokel himself, however,--and particularly _herself_,--seems determined
to deny all poetic and picturesque relations, by clothing himself--and
herself--in coarse, shop-made rubbish, in battered, _démodé_ town-hats
and flounced gowns from Petticoat Lane.

From certain points of the "Dean" the distances are dreamy and wide,
with high horizon-lines touching wooded hills and shutting the Thames
into a middle distance toward which a hundred little hills either
descend abruptly or decline gently upon broad green meadows. Nature here
smiles, not with pure pagan blitheness, but with a tenderer grace, as of
a soul grown human and fraught with countless memories of man's smiles
and tears, his hard, bitter labor, his sins, sorrows, and longings. But
it is very tender, and not even the wildest storm-effects raise the
landscape to any expression of tragic grandeur, but only suede its fair
hues and soft outlines to the wan pathos peculiar to English moorlands.

_Ye Hutte_ is a misnomer for the extraordinary establishment, studio and
domicile combined, at which we dismounted. It is not a _hut_, and
neither in architectural motive nor the artistic proclivities of its
inmates has it aught to do with the centuries when our English tongue
was otherwise written or spoken than it is to-day. Ye Hutte is a vast,
barn-like building, plain and bare save for an inviting vine-grown porch
vaguely Gothic in reminiscence, although nondescript in fact. It was
erected by some dissenting society for public worship: hence its
interior is one immense vaulted room, with cathedral-like windows and
choir-gallery across one end. "The body of the house," to speak
ecclesiastically, is cumbered with easels and the usual chaotic
_impedimenta_ of painters. The choir, ascended by a ladder, holds three
tiny cot-beds, while beneath the choir and concealed by beautiful
draperies are stored the domestic and culinary paraphernalia,--pots,
pans, brushes, dishes, and, above all, the multiplicity of petroleum- and
spirit-stoves in which the Bohemian artistic soul delights. Ye Hutte is
an artist's studio, and its name may be found in all the exhibition
catalogues, for several generations of painters drift through it every
year. As one inmate rushes off to the Continent, the sea-shore, or the
mountains, another takes his place. Yet Ye Hutte holds scant place in
its real owner's esteem compared with that larger studio owned by all
the Dean artists in common, where all their summer's work is done, and
which is parquetted with grain-field gold and meadow emerald, walled
with rainbow horizons, and roofed with azure festooned with spun silk.
Ye Hutte is better appreciated as evening rendezvous for the
palette-bearing hosts, both male and female, who, sunbrowned and tired,
partake there of restful social converse as well as of the hospitable
cup that cheers. Evening after evening, by twos and threes, they sit in
the moonlight under the silver-touched vines and dewy blossoms of the
porch, listening to the far-away cry of night-birds, the murmur of
drowsy bells upon cattle stirring in sleep, or of human voices idealized
by remoteness into faint haunting music, while before them white light
touches the wooded heights of Cliefden,--distant heights full of
picturesque mystery and passionate history,--touches and idealizes into
a semblance of poetic realism the sham ruins of Hedsor, and spreads a
pearly sheen over the unseen Valley of the Shadow of Light through which
winds the quiet Thames.

To the usual artistic circle of Ye Hutte is often added a not
uncongenial element from the outside world, sometimes even from within
the borders of Philistia. Story-tellers, moved by the subtile magnetism
of the artistic creative faculty, whether of brush, chisel, or pen, come
up sometimes from London, bringing with them an atmosphere of
publishers' offices, of romance in high and low life, of professional
gossip and criticism. Often a stalwart bicyclist rolls up from the
capital, bringing with him such a breeze from the world of newspapers,
theatres, and crack restaurants that Ye Hutte straightway determines to
order some weekly journal, waxes ardent for flesh-pots other than of
Cookham, and resolves upon having a Lyceum twice a week when the Dean
shall be swept by the blasts and St. John's Wood studios swallow us up
for the winter.

The Dean is little favored of the ordinary fashionable visitor, for whom
artistic accommodations are quite too scantily luxurious. Now and then,
for the sake of the river, a rustic cot is taken for a few weeks by a
party of boating-people. Then the quaint, old-fashioned gardens blossom
with a sudden luxuriance of striped tents and flaming umbrellas, while
bright women in many-hued boating-costumes flit among cabbages and
onions like curious tropical birds and butterflies. As a rule, however,
the Dean is abandoned to its usual rustic population and to artists,
numbers of the latter remaining all winter in the haunts whence the
majority of their kind have flown.

The social and artistic peculiarities of the Dean are, of course, too
many to be specified. In a collection of various nationalities, many of
whose number have drifted like thistledown hither and yon over the fair
earth, how could it well be otherwise? It may be observed, however, that
here, as everywhere else in this right little tight little isle, where
habit is the very antithesis of the airy license of "Abroad," it is
_not_, as it is in the artistic haunts of the Continent, _en règle_ to
vaunt one's self on the paucity of one's shekels or to acknowledge
acquaintance with the Medici's pills in their modern form of the Three
Golden Balls.

Once upon a time, in a Barbizon _auberge_, a certain famous artist and
incorrigible Bohemian brought down the table by describing an incident
of his releasing a friend's valuables from durance.

"The moment I turned in at the Mont de Piété," he said, "_my_ watch took
fright, and stopped ticking on the spot."

That same Bohemian, after years of the Latin Quarter and Mont de Piété,
found himself one summer on the Dean. One evening at the porch of Ye
Hutte he met a lively group of painters and paintresses, just returned
from corn-field and meadow.

During the short halt the Bohemian's watch was so largely and frequently
_en évidence_ as to attract attention.

"Yes," he said, with colossal, adamantine impudence, "I've just got it
back from a two-years' visit to 'my uncle'."

Only a few evenings later the same party met again in the same spot.

"What time is it, Mr. S----?" asked Sophia Primrose, amiably disposed to
resuscitate a forlorn joke.

A mammoth blush submerged the luckless Bohemian. For Dean propriety was
already becoming engrafted upon Continental habit, and he crimsoned at
having to confess what once he would have proclaimed upon the
house-top,--that his watch was again with his "uncle."

Probably nine-tenths of the Continental artists who are not entirely
beyond the dread of yet eating "mad cow" travel third-class. But Dean
artists, however they may travel when out of England, generally slip
quietly away from the sight of their acquaintances when their tickets
are other than at least second. Our Bohemian was once presented with a
second-class ticket to London. As he scrambled in upon the unwonted
luxury of cushioned seats, he saw familiar faces blushing furiously.

"The first time we ever travelled second-class in our lives," murmured

"I too," responded the cheeky Bohemian.

Another difference between Dean Bohemianism and Continental is
characteristic of the whole race whose land this is. Whereas artists in
France, Italy, and Germany are of gregarious habit and gather for their
summers in rural inns, where they form a community by themselves, the
Dean artist sets up his own vine and fig-tree and has a temporary home,
if ever so small and mean. The farm-houses and cottages of the Dean are
filled with lodgers, all dining at separate tables and living as aloof
from each other as the true Briton always lives. There are advantages in
this aloofness, but it certainly lacks the _camaraderie_, the jolly
good-fellowship, of those picturesque _auberges_ and _osterie_ where
twenty or thirty of one calling are gathered together under one roof,
meeting daily at table, where artistic criticism is pungent and free,
artistic assistance ungrudging, tales of artistic experience and
adventure racy, the atmosphere stimulative to the spreading out of every
artistic theory possible to the sane and insane mind.

In one of these Continental _auberges_ rough boards a foot in width ran
in one unbroken line round the four sides of the _salle-à-manger_. These
boards were perhaps hazily intended for seats, but their real office
was to hold all the artistic rubbish--smashed color-tubes, broken
stretchers, ragged canvases, discarded palettes, disreputable paint-rags
and oil-tubes--the _auberge_ possessed. But every sunset, as the stream
of artists set in from forest and field, the boards came into other
service. All the work of the day was ranged upon them along the wall,
and while the painters sat at meat comment and criticism grew rampant,
every canvas coming in for its share. That many good lessons were given
and taken in this wise _va sans dire_. That also artistic progress was
punctuated not unseldom with "_bêtise_," "_imbécile_," "_nom du chien_,"
"you're a goose," and "you're another," goes equally without saying to
all who know the unrestraint of artistic Bohemia and the usual attitude
of the human mind under criticism.

The walls of this _salle-à-manger_ were--and are--arranged with panels,
in which _messieurs les artistes_ exercised their skill. It is a marked
peculiarity of these artistic communities that no branch of art is so
popular as caricature. Sometimes these caricatures are amiable,
sometimes the reverse. Thus, when a certain blithe widow was represented
colossally upon the wall with a little man in her eye, the likenesses
were so good and the truth of the caricature so palpable that the widow
herself was moved to as quick laughter as the others. But when American
Palmer worked all day upon a panel to create a sunny sea laughing
radiantly back at a sunny sky, while fantastic lateen-sailed craft
floated like bits of jewelled color between, it was mean, to say the
least, of Scotch Willie to take advantage of the American's departure
and paint out those fairy boats, filling their places with horrible
bloated corpses, floating upon the bright water like a nightmare upon
innocent sleep.

It was in this same _auberge_ that our landlady made this piteous
supplication: "Caricature each other on the walls, _messieurs et
mesdames, si vous voulez_; make portrait busts of the bread and
figurines of the potatoes, and decorate the plates in whatever style of
art you please; but don't, _je vous en supplie_, don't blacken the
table-cloths before they are three days old."

Alas! this was eloquence lost; for, at that very dinner, conversation
chancing to turn upon the subtile malignity of Fanny Matilda's smiles,
Fanny Matilda being there present, in less time than it takes to tell it
twenty crayon smiles writhed and wriggled upon the spick-span cloth.

"_Mon Dieu! mon Dieu_!" moaned Madame. "And only yesterday every
handkerchief upon the line came in bearing the noses of _messieurs et

Aloofly though the Deanite lives, he is not altogether an unsocial
being. Neither are his domestic habits always as invisible to the finite
eye as he perhaps intends them to be. Tent-life has scant privacy, and
the circumscribed accommodation of the Dean leads to frequent "slopping
over" into cloth annexes.

Opposite our windows a certain painter spent no inconsiderable time in
the peak-roofed tent upon the grass-plot. There the young
foreign-looking wife, in scarlet _birette_ and jaunty petticoats just
touching high boot-tops, with long, flowing hair, as bright and
effective as any pictured _vivandière_, made tea and coffee over a
petroleum-stove, laid the table, sat at her sewing, posed for her
husband, received her callers, as charming a gypsy picture as ever
brightened canvas.

For the very best of reasons, we were not 'cyclists, although in a
country set with 'cycles as the fields with flowers or the sky with

For reasons equally good, we were not boatists, although the watery way
from Oxford to the sea flowed so near our door, and our village was one
of the gayest head-quarters not only of the fresh-water navy, whose arms
are flashing oars and whose oaths are of the universities, but equally
that of regiments of painters, whose arms are sketching-umbrellas and
easels and who swear not at all,--or at least not to feminine hearing.

Our lodgings were among the artists in the region farther back from the
river than that monopolized by the boating-people. We were back among
the sunny slopes and smiling meadows, the red-tiled farm-houses and
dusky lanes, of the still primitive natives of the region, while the
navy covered the shining river by day and overran the river-side
hostelries by night.

Our lodgings were not picturesque, if truth must be told, although
surrounded by picturesqueness as by a garment,--a circular cloak of it,
so to say. We had the chief rooms of a staring new and square brick
cottage, glaring with white walls inside, shutterless outside, majestic
with a bow-window too high to look from except upon one's legs, owned by
my Lady H----'s gardener, and elegantly named "Ethel Cottage," as a
stucco plaque in its frieze bore witness. We should have preferred
accommodations in any of the ivy-grown, steep-roofed cots about us, or
in the old stone inn, with its peaked porch, where honest yokels quaffed
nutty ale and a sign-board creaked and groaned from its gibbet across
the road. But we had come too late in the painting-season for any other
than Hobson's choice: the tidbits of grime and squalor were all taken,
and we must e'en content ourselves to be mocked and reviled for the
philistinism of our domestic establishing, or else hie us hence where
artists were not and Ethel Cottages as yet unknown.

But where, tell me where, are not artists in England? And where, tell me
where, do artists gather in squads that Ethel Cottages do not spring up
like the tents of an army with banners? For even painters must eat and
be lodged, the aboriginal habitations are not of elastic capacity, the
inns are of feeble digestion, and the third summer of an artistic
invasion is sure to find "Ethels" and "Mabels" in red brick and stunning
whitewash, and, like our row of laborers' cottages, cursed by artists,
but inhabited by them.

It was a _soulagement_ of our æsthetic discomfort that so long as we
remained hidden within it we never realized our own hideousness. Now and
then we saw the ugly squareness of our afternoon shadow upon our
aristocratically-gravelled front yard, but ordinarily we saw only dreamy
distances melting into piny duskiness against the far-off sky, the
serpent-like windings of the tranquil river, upon which its navy looked
like dust-motes, fair fields of golden grain, and the farm-houses and
cottages which looked upon our blank brickness with admiration and
wondered why we were despised of our less beautifully housed kind, when
our forks were four-pronged and of silvery seeming and our floors
carpeted to our sybaritic feet. It was only when we returned to our
Ethel after long tramps over the country-side, from a four-miles-distant
Norman tower or a ten-miles-away pre-Reformation abbey, now stable or
granary, that we figuratively beat our breasts and tore our hair because
Fate had not made us _real_ tramps, privileged to sleep in
pre-Reformation stables or 'neath pre-Reformation stars, rather than the
imitation tramps we were, wedded to the habits but loathing the aspect
of red-faced, staring Ethels.

What would we not have given for an invitation to pass a time, as Miss
Muloch was, in one of those Thames monsters concerning which she wrote
her fascinating pages, "A Week in a House-Boat"! We could scarce catch a
glimpse of the river upon our tramps--and it was our constant silvery
accompaniment, as the treble to a part-song--without coming across these
ungraceful, unwieldy creatures, seeming like bloated denizens of depths
below come to bask upon the surface. Hundreds of them dot the river
between Teddington and Oxford: once we counted ten between Ethel and the
wooded island whither we rowed every Sunday to dine from ponderous
hampers upon a huge tree-stump. Many of them are owned and occupied by
artists, who have them towed by horses up and down the river every week
or two, or moor them for months in one place while painting
river-scenery. Some are inhabited by maniacal fishermen, who sit day
after day all day long at the end of poles protruding from front or
back doors or bedroom windows. Some are inhabited by Londoners in whom
primeval instincts for air, space, sunshine, and liberty break out every
summer from under the thick crust of modern habits and conventions and
cause them to breathe, as we did, not angelical aspirations, but "I want
to be a gypsy."

Some of these house-boats are miracles of microscopic luxury, doll-like
bedrooms and dining-rooms for pygmies. In some, also, marvels of
culinary skill are evolved in pocket-space by French _chefs_ who spend
their days creating the banquets to which the boaters invite their
_convives_ at evening, when the cold river-mists have driven the navy
into harbor for the night. Others are much simpler in construction and
furnishing, and the inhabitants live largely upon tinned and potted
viands and such light cooking as comes within the possibilities of
oil-stoves and fires of fagots on the banks. Still others--and we often
saw their lordly and corpulent owners reading the "Times" upon the
handkerchief space which serves for porch or piazza before their front
doors--move up and down the river from crack hotel to cracker, taking no
note of picturesque "bits" or of mooring-places where Paradise seems
come down to lodge between Berks and Bucks, caring naught that at this
point four exquisite churches and two interesting manor-houses are
within tramping-distance, at that a feudal castle and the fairest inland
picture that England and nature can offer their lovers, caring only that
at the "King" the trout are the best cooked on the whole river, at the
"Queen" the chops are divine, while at the "Prince" the _perdrix aux
truffes_ are worth mooring there a week for. These house-boaters are
generally accompanied by garish wives and daughters, who spend their
time in the streets of the town where they chance to be moored,--and
they seldom are moored elsewhere than at the larger towns,--exchanging
greetings and chatting with such acquaintances as they there meet, or
idling up and down the river in the luxurious small boats of their
river-made friends. This type of house-boater himself is generally
spoken of in brisk naval asides as a "duffer," the kitchen of his boat
is a wine-closet, and, to look at him poring for hours over his paper,
one may well believe that time is heavy on his hands and that he arrives
during every summer vacation at depths of mortal ennui where "nothing
new is, and nothing true is, and no matter!"

Americans personally unacquainted with England can form little idea of
the extent to which physical culture is carried here, and the universal
summer madness for athletic sports and out-of-door amusements. The
equable climate, never too hot, never too cold, for river-pull or
cricket, is Albion's advantage in this respect over almost all the rest
of the world, and particularly over our fervid and freezing clime. Even
although this is pious England, where the gin-shops cannot open after
the noon of Sunday until the bells ring for the evening service and
"Pub" and church spring open and alight simultaneously, even in pious
England Sunday is the day of all the week on which the river takes on
its merriest aspect, and from the multitudes of familiar faces and
frequency of friendly greetings reminds one of Regent Street and the
Parks. All prosperous and proper London--the amusement is too costly for
'Arry--seems to float itself upon Thames water that day, coming up forty
land-miles from the metropolis to do so. Boats are furiously in demand,
every picnic nook is pre-empted from earliest morning, the river-side
tea-gardens are thronged, the inns are depleted of men and women in
yachting-costumes, and the locks are jammed as full as they can be of
highly-draped boats, gayly-dressed women, and circus-costumed men, the
whole scene gayer, brighter, more fantastic than any Venetian carnival
since the days of the most sumptuous of the Adriatic doges.

One or two real Venetian gondolas are kept at that river-reach where we
spent our summer. The owner of the principal one is an English nobleman
who lived long in Italy and whose twelve daughters were born there. It
is a sight to see those twelve beautiful sisters, from six years of age
to twenty-four, poled down the river to church every Sunday morning by a
swarthy and veritable Venetian gondolier. Whether or not that
hearse-like craft has sacred associations in the minds of the twelve
maidens all in a row, or whether its grimness and want of swiftness seem
out of place amid the carnival brilliancy of Sunday afternoon, it is
certain that it is never used except for church-going, and the maidens
appear later in the day each in her own swift little canoe, or two or
three sisters together in a larger one, darting to and fro, hither and
yon, with almost incredible swiftness, almost more like winged thoughts
than like even swallows on the wing. The gabled and ivy-wreathed
Elizabethan manor-house which is the summer home of the maidens stands
but a few rods from the river's bank. Here, amidst decorous shrubbery,
upon smooth shaven and rolled turf, where marble vases overflow with
gorgeous flowers, sit Pater and Mater among their dozens of guests. Some
of the gentlemen are in correct morning dress, some in boating-costumes,
and some in that last stage of unclothedness or first of clothedness
which is the English bathing-dress. In their striped tights on land
these last look exactly like saw-dust and rope ring clowns, but when
they dive into the water from that well-bred lawn and dart in wild
pursuit of the maidens, who beat them off with oars from climbing into
the canoes, amid shouts of aquatic and terrestrial laughter, one would
almost swear they were neither the clowns they looked a moment ago, nor
yet the English gentlemen they really are, but fantastic mermen bent
upon carrying earth-brides back with them into their cool native depths
beneath the bright water.

That is what it looks like. But a single glimpse into those cool dappled
depths, where the sunny water is shoal enough to show bottom, reveals,
alas! how little mermaiden and romantic those depths are. For London
does not disport itself every Sunday on the Thames without leaving ample
traces of that disporting. We see those traces gleaming and glooming
there,--empty beer- and wine-bottles, devitalized sardine-boxes, osseous
remains of fish, flesh, and fowl, scooped cheese-rinds, egg-shells, the
buttons of defrauded raiment, and the parted rims of much-snatched-at
and vigorously-squabbled-for straw hats.

A favorite boating-trip is from Teddington up to Oxford, or _vice
versa_, spending a week or two on the way, and stopping at river-side
inns at night. In the season these inns are full to overflowing, and the
roughest and smallest of water-side hamlets holds its accommodations at
lofty premiums. A number of public pleasure-steamers and many private
steam-launches ply up and down, making the whole trip in two or three
days, drawing up at night at towns, and by day provoking curses both
loud and deep by the swash of their tidal waves against the liliputian
navy. Many of the merry boating-parties of men and women seek only
sleeping-accommodations at the inns, and do their own cooking upon bosky
islands, on the wooded or sunny banks of the river, by means of
kerosene- or charcoal-stoves and tiny tents. How appetizingly we have
thus smelt the broiling steak and grilled chop done to a turn even in a
camp frying-pan, as we tramped along the river heights and looked down
upon chatting groups below! How like airs of Araby the Blest the odors
of steaming coffee! how more stimulating than breath of fair Spice Isles
the pungent incense of hissing onions!

As a consequence of this return of Nature's children to Nature's breast,
the _genii loci_, the sylvan sprites, are all frightened inland from the
borders of the beautiful river. Except here and there where huge boards
threaten trespassers and announce that landing is forbidden upon this
Private Property, wild flowers will not grow, the grass looks trampled
and dim, the soft summer zephyrs play among empty paper bags and
relics of grocers' parcels, with sound and sentiment vastly unlike their
natural music among green, waving leaves. The river is spoiled for the
poet and the dreamer, and even the artist must choose his bits with
care. Hyde Park and Piccadilly have come up to the Thames; and what does
Hyde Park care for the poetry of dreaming nature, or what the
river-madmen for aught else than glorious expansion of muscle and
strengthening of sinew and the godlike sense of largeness and lightness
which comes with that strengthening and expanding?

Gliding up and down the river, one would suppose all London had taken to
boats. But we as trampists came to other conclusions as we pegged along
the white Berkshire highways, smooth and even as parquetted floors, day
after day. There the bicycle holds its own, and more too, being largely
adopted not only by genuine 'cyclists, but by others as well whose only
interest is to cover the ground as quickly as possible,--amateur
photographers lashed all over with apparatus, artists shapelessly ditto,
and pastoral postmen square-backed with letter-pouches. Women
tricyclists are only less numerous, and the dignity and modesty must be
crude indeed that find objections to this manner of feminine
peregrination. The costume is simple and plain,--close-fitting upper
garments, without fuss of furbelow, and plain close skirts, met at the
ankles by high buttoned boots. A lady's seat upon a tricycle is far less
conspicuous than upon a horse, her bodily motion is less, and the
movement of her feet scarcely more than is necessary to run a
sewing-machine. She sits at her ease in a perfectly lady-like manner,
and flies over the ground like a courser of the desert, if she pleases,
or rolls quietly and smoothly along, chatting easily with the
pedestrians who amble at her side.

Lady tricyclists attract no attention whatever in Oxford Street. Imagine
one flying down Broadway!

As trampists our femininely-encumbered party in those delicious English
days considered fourteen quotidian miles not discreditable to us,
particularly when taking into consideration the bleats and baas and
whimpering laggardness with which we returned from three-mile excursions
during the first few days we were in the tramping-line. By degrees we
thus explored the whole country within a radius of seven miles of Ethel.
With this we were content, yea, even proud; for did not many of our
boating women-neighbors grumble even at their walk to the river and
declare they would rather row five miles than walk one? We were proud,
for we knew every church, every picturesque cottage and ruin, within our
radius, while our aquatic friends knew only those bordering the river.
We were proud--until, ah me! until that desolate day when a merrily,
merrily flying squad swooped down upon us and declared they had 'cycled
every inch of the _twenty-mile_ periphery of which Ethel's neighboring
church tower was the centre!

That cutting down of our pedal pride resulted in our subscribing to a
daily paper. Every morning before stretching out to our regular day's
tramp we had been wont to trot through dewy lanes, over stiles, and
across subtly-colored turnip- and cabbage-fields, to purchase in the town
of M---- a luxury not to be had in our own hamlet,--the "Daily News."
Rain or shine, that trot must be trotted, for there were those among us
who would have tramped sulkily all day and sniffed the sniff of wrath at
ivied church and thatched cottage were the acid of their natures not
made frothy and light by the alkali of their morning paper. It had never
occurred to us, not even when we camped beneath wayside shade around our
sandwiches and ale or in some stiff and dim inn-parlor and listened to
the reading of the "News," that in reality the town of M----, and not
the brickhood of Ethel, was thus the centre of all our ambulatory
circumferences. It had never before dawned upon us that we thus added
three uncounted miles to our fourteen diurnally counted ones. What
astonishment at our own pedometric weakness of calculation! What disgust
to find our periphery thus three whole miles smaller than it need have

The next day we subscribed to the "News," and walked nine miles as the
bee flies from the front door of Ethel even unto the ruins of Medmenham.
And we vowed by all our plaster gods and painted goddesses that another
summer we would tramp no more. We would 'cycle.

A mile away from Ethel is the village proper of Cookham. It is a sleepy
town, save in the boating-season; and whoever enters the post-office in
any season finds it empty and inhospitable. Raps upon a tightly-closed
inner door call a woman attendant from rattling sewing or noisy gossip
of the invisible penetralia; and as soon as the business is done the
inhospitable door swings shut again in the stranger's face.

Cookham houses are quaint, often timbered, frequently ivy-grown from
basement to roof. One imagines them assuming a half-sullen air at this
yearly breaking of their dreamy repose by incursions of parti-colored
hordes for whom life seems to hold but two supreme objects,--boats and

The most picturesque feature of the place is the old church, set amid
tombs whose mossy and time-gnawed cherubs have exchanged grins for two
hundred years and more. The old flint tower is grave and grim, but
softened by a wonderful centuries old ivy in a veil of living green. A
pathetic interest to artists hallows the venerable church-yard. Here
sleeps Frederick Walker, a genius cut off before his meridian, and
resting now amid his kindred in a lowly grave, over which the Thames
waters surge every spring, leaving the grave all the rest of the year
the sadder for its cold soddenness and for the humid mildew and decay
eating already into the headstone, as yet but twelve years old. In the
church itself is Thorneycroft's mural tablet to the dead artist, a
portrait head of him who was born almost within the old church's shadow,
and whose pencil dealt always so lovingly with the poetic aspects of his
native region.



White of Selborne was, on the whole, tolerably content to plunge his
swallows, or a good proportion of them, into the mud and deposit them
for the winter at the bottom of a pond. Professionally conservative, as
a fine old Church-of-England clergyman, though constitutionally
sceptical, as became one of the earliest of really observant
naturalists, he was loath to break flatly with the consensus of
contemporary opinion, rustic and philosophic, and found a _modus
vivendi_ in the theory that a great many, perhaps a majority, of the
swifts and barn-swallows did go to Africa. He had seen them organizing
their emigration-parties and holding noisy debate over the best time to
start and the best route to take. The sea-part of the travel was of
trifling length, and baiting-places were plenty in France, Spain, and
Italy. Sometimes, such was their power of wing, they were known to take
the outside route and strike boldly across the Bay of Biscay, for they
had alighted on vessels. Probably the worthy old man was reluctant to
wrench from the rural mind a harmless remnant of superstition,--if
superstition it might be called, in view of the fact that sundry
saurians and chelonians, held by classifiers to be superior in rank to
birds, do hibernate under water, and that, more marvellous than all, the
quarrymen of his day, like those of ours, insisted that living frogs
occasionally sprang from under their chisel, leaving an unchallengeable
impress in the immemorial rock. It must indeed have been up-hill work to
extinguish the old belief in the minds of men who had seen the
water-ouzel pattering in perfect ease and comfort along the floor of the
pellucid pool, and who had heard from their fisher friends from the
north coast of the gannets that were drawn up in the herring-nets.

Most of us, even _color chi sanno_, like to retain a spice of mystery in
our mental food. It may constitute no part of the nutriment, and may
often be deleterious, but it meets a want, somehow or other, and wants,
however undefinable, must be recognized. It is a spur that titillates
the absorbent surfaces and helps to keep them in action. It is a craving
that the race is never going to outlive, and that will afford occupation
and subsistence to a considerable class of its most intelligent and
respectable members until the year one million, as it has done since the
year one. The great mass of us like to see the absolute reign of reason
tempered by the incomprehensible, and are ever ready to lend a kindly
ear to men and things that humor that liking.

Where do all the birds, myriads in number and scores in species, go when
they leave the North in the winter? A small minority lags, not
superfluous, for we are delighted to have them, but in a subdued,
pinched, and hand-to-mouth mode of existence in marked contrast to their
summer life and perceptibly marring the pleasure of their society. They
flock around our homes and assume a mendicant air that is a little
depressing. Unlike the featherless tramps, they pay very well for their
dole; but we should prefer them, as we do our other friends, to be
independent, and that although we know they are but winter friends and
will coolly turn their backs upon us as soon as the weather permits. The
spryest and least dependent of them all, the snow-bird, who sports
perpetual full dress, jerks at us his expressive tail and is off at the
first thaw, black coat, white vest, and all. No tropics or sub-tropics
for him. He can stand our climate and our company with a certain
condescending tolerance so long as we keep the temperature not too much
above zero, but grows contemptuous when Fahrenheit grows effeminate and
forty. Nothing for it then but to cool off his thin and unprotected legs
and toes in the snows of Canada. "The white North hath his" heart. Our
winter is his summer. There is nothing in his anatomy to explain this
idiosyncrasy. His physical construction closely resembles that of his
insessorial brethren, most of whom go when he comes. He has no
discoverable provision against cold. Adaptation to environment does not
seem to cover his case. It does not cover his legs. They remain
unfeathered. We shudder to see his translucent little tarsi on top of
the snow, which he obviously prefers as a stand-point to bare spots
where the snow has been blown away. Compared with the ptarmigan and the
snowy owl, or even the ruffed grouse, all so well blanketed, he suggests
a survival of the unfittest.

The movements of this tough little anti-Darwinian are overlapped by the
bluebird and the robin,--our robin, best entitled to the name, inasmuch
as it is accorded him by fifty-odd millions against thirty millions who
give it to the redbreast,--who are usually with him long before he gets
away. They never move very far southward, but watch the cantonments of
Frost, ready to advance the moment his outposts are drawn in and signs
appear of evacuation. Their climate, indeed, is determined in winter
rather by altitude than by latitude. The low swamps and pineries that
skirt tide-water in the Middle States furnish them a retreat. Thence
they scatter themselves over the tertiary plain as it widens southward
beneath the granite bench that divides all the great rivers south of the
Hudson into an upper and a lower reach. Detachments of them extend their
tour to the Gulf. Readers of "A Subaltern on the Campaign of New Orleans
in 1814-15" will recall his mention of the assemblage of robins hopping
over the Chalmette sward that were the first living inhabitants to
welcome the weary invaders on emerging from the palmetto marshes. They
can hardly be said to reach the particular region of which we propose to
speak, both species, the bluebird especially, being almost strangers to

Other species, the cardinal grosbeak among them, may be said to stop,
as it were, just out of hearing, the echo of their song slumbering in
the thin, keen air, ready to swell again into unmistakable reality.
Between these stubborn fugitives and those who follow the butterflies to
the tropics there is a wide variety in the extent of travel in which our
winged compatriots indulge.

Quadrupeds, whose movements are less speedy and more limited, have to
adapt themselves to the Northern winter as best they may. Hard and long
training has made them less the creatures of climate than their
feathered associates, who might themselves in many cases have learned
perforce to stay where they were reared but for possessing the light and
agile wings which woo them to wander. We may fancy Bruin, with his
passion for sweet mast and luscious fruits, eying with envy the martin
and the wild fowl as they sweep over his head to the teeming Southland,
and wondering, as he huddles shivering into his snowy lair, why Nature
should be so partial in her gifts. The call of the trumpeting swan, the
bugler crane, and the Canada goose falls idly upon his ear. To their
breezy challenge, "A new home,--who'll follow?" he cannot respond.

Let us join this tide of travel and move sunward with some of those who
take through-tickets. We can easily keep up with them now. Steam is not
slower than wings,--often faster. Sitting at ease, yet moved by iron
muscles, we can time the coursers of the air. A few decades ago, when
this familiar motor was a new thing comparatively, we could not do so.
At the jog of twenty miles an hour, even the sparrow could pass us on a
short stretch, and the dawdling crow soon left us in the rear. Our gain
upon their time is so recent that the birds have not yet fully realized
it. Unaccustomed to being beaten by anything _on earth_, they will skim
along abreast of a train till, to their unspeakable, or at least
unspoken, wonderment, they find that what they are fleeing from is
fleeing from them. One morning last winter I was speeding eastward to
the Crescent City, the freshest of my memories a struggle at Houston
with one of those breakfasts which so atrociously distinguish the reign
of the magnate who is said to supply under contract all the meals of the
Southern railway-restaurants, and who, "if ever fondest prayer for
others' woe avail on high," will certainly be booked, with the vote of
some of his victims, for a post-mundane berth a good deal warmer than
his coffee and more sulphurous than his eggs. Afar off to the right the
sun was rounding up from the Gulf and clearing the haze from his broad,
red face, the better to look abroad over the glistening prairie and see
if the silhouetted pines and cattle were where he had left them the day
before. Glancing to the left, which was my side of the car, I became
aware of a large bird suspended in the air, not motionless, for his
wings were doing their best, but to all appearance as stationary as the
scattered trees and cattle, and about fifteen yards distant. Every
feature and marking of the "chicken," or pinnated grouse, was as
distinct to the eye as though, instead of making thirty-two miles an
hour, he were posing for his photograph. For full two hundred yards he
sustained the race, until, finding that his competitor had the better
wind, he gave it up and shot suddenly into the sedge. How much longer
the match had lasted I could not say. He must have got up near the
engine--of course losing some time in the act of rising--and fallen back
gradually to my place, which was in a rear car. But when a schedule for
birds comes to be framed, it is safe to set down _Tetrao cupido_ at
about the speed above named. Timed from a rail-car, that is; for, looked
at over a gun, he seems to move five times as fast. The double-barrel is
a powerful binocular.

Steam, then, soon carries us to the resort of the lost truants, who have
travelled with the lines of longitude by guides and tracks over that
invisible road as unerring as those of the railway. We shall find them
in close companionship with friends unknown in our latitude, whose
abiding-places are at the South, as those left behind are fixed dwellers
at the North.

From the window at which I sit on this morning late in January and this
parallel of thirty degrees,--window open, as well as the door, for no
norther is on duty to-day,--I see flocks of our familiar redwings,
cowbirds, and blackbirds, all mingled together as though the hard and
fast lines of species had been obliterated and made as meaningless as
the concededly evanescent shades of variety, trooping busily over the
lawn and blackening the leafless China-trees. But they have a crony
never seen by us. This is the crow-blackbird of the South, or jackdaw as
it is wrongly called, otherwise known as the boat-tailed grackle, from
his over-allowance of rudder that pulls him side-wise and ruins his
dead-reckoning when a wind is on. His wife is a sober-looking lady in a
suit of steel-gray, and the pair are quite conspicuous among their
winter guests. The latter are far less shy than we are accustomed to
find them, a majority being young in their first season and with little
or no experience of human guile. No one cares to shoot them, in the
abundance of larger game, and the absence of stones from the fat
prairie-soil places them out of danger from the small boy. Their only
foe is the hawk, who levies blackmail on them as coolly and regularly as
any other plumed cateran. Partly, perhaps, by reason of this outside
pressure, they are cheek by jowl with the poultry,--the cow-bunting,
which is the pet prey of the hawk, following them into the back porch
and insisting sometimes on breakfasting with Tray,--or rather with
Legion, for that is the name of the Texas dog. In this familiarity they
are approached, though not equalled, by that more home-staying bird the
meadow-lark, who is here a dweller of the lawn and garden and adds his
mellow whistle to the orchestra of the mocking-bird. This so-called lark
is classed by most naturalists among the starlings, as are two of the
blackbirds, which two he resembles in some of his habits, but not in
migrating, being about as much of a continental as any other biped
American. Nor is he like his cousins in changes of dress. Out of a dozen
of the latter that may be brought down at a shot, you will scarcely find
three exactly alike. They moult at the South, and the young pass
gradually into adult plumage. The male redwing, up to his first autumn,
is hardly distinguishable in dress from his mother. Here he dons his
epaulettes, beginning with the threadbare worsted yellow of the private,
and rising in grade to the rich scarlet and gold of the officer fully
commissioned to flame upon the marsh and carry havoc among its humblest

A month or two hence, the plover, as shy in his Northern haunts as the
lark, will, in three species, be as much at home upon the lawn. Youth
and inexperience must, as in the case of the other birds, be one
explanation of this unwonted familiarity. Among other reasons is the
abundance of food, under a mild sky, with but rare frosts to bind the
earth and no snows to cover it. The temperature of an average winter day
is 60° or 65°. A norther is apt to blow three or four times in the
season, and it brings the mercury down to freezing-point or some degrees
lower. After the two or three days of its duration, the first warm
morning covers the walks and most other bare parts of the soil with
worm-casts,--revealing the larders of the smaller birds. At an average,
too, of four or five places in an acre one notices a hillock two or
three feet in diameter tipped with a yellowish spot that deepens into
orange and broadens as the air grows warm. These erections are the work
of ants, the emergence of which intelligent insects in greater or less
numbers, according to the temperature, causes the coloring which we
observe. Intelligent we cannot help terming a creature so remarkable in
its various species for the evidences of calculation furnished by its
habits of life,--evidences nowhere better worth studying than among the
leaf-cutting, slave-holding, and shade-planting ants of Texas; but we
are sometimes tempted to deny the character to this particular species
when we perceive the utter indifference to safety with which it selects
a site for its communistic abode. One of these is located in the middle
of the principal (sandy and unpaved) street of a village, within twenty
steps of the railroad-track, and subject to the impact of wheels and
mule-, ox-, or horse-hoof many times an hour; yet the semblance of a
dwelling is maintained, and the little tawny cloud comes up smiling
whenever the sun allows, asking no other permission. These ant-hills, I
am persuaded, supply a foundation to certain tufts of low trees which
spring up in dampish places where the spring fires have less sweep. The
hillocks are well drained, as appears from their composition of clear
gravel, a material of which you will find more in one of them than on a
surface of many feet around; and you may see the sweeter grasses
gradually mantling them, these being followed by herbage of larger
growth, which, accumulating humors at their roots, bourgeon into
arborescence, until, one vegetable entity shouldered into substance and
thrift by another, the nucleus built by our tiny red friends has
broadened into a tree-clad knoll. The mezquit, not many years ago
confined for the most part to the arid region beyond the Nueces, is
spreading eastward, and the clumps of it which begin to skirt the
original copses here may be supposed to owe their first foothold to the
ant. This humble promoter of forestry is duly appreciated, if only as a
viand, by his neighbors. Full-grown, and still more in the larval stage,
he is esteemed by them as both a toothsome and a beaksome bit. He--or,
more numerously, she, if we insist on sex and decline the more
practically correct _it_--forms thus the lowest term in an ascending
series of animal life that grows out of the ant-hill like the tree. So
much may one such settlement in a rood of ground do for the maintenance
of organic existence.

A still more diffused, perhaps, if less productive, source of life
exists in another burrower and mound-builder, the crawfish. Unlike the
ant, which likes to drain, he is an advocate of irrigation. In this art
he can give our well-diggers odds in the game. His genius for striking
water is wonderful. On the dryest parts of the prairie, miles from any
permanent stream, his ejections of mud may be found. Shallow or deep,
his borings always reach water. He is always at home, but less
accessible to callers than the ant. To the smaller birds he is forbidden
fruit. In wet weather, when his vestibule is shallow, the sand-hill
crane may burglarize him, or even get a snap judgment on him at the
front door. The bill of the great curlew cannot be sent in so
effectively, not being so rightly drawn; but that bird, more common in
the season than anywhere else away from the coast, finds plenty of other
food. He is not here in the winter. His place just now is filled by the
jacksnipe, which flutters up from every boggy place and comes to bag in
a condition anything but suggestive of short commons. The snipe's
terrestrial surface lies two and a half inches beneath ours. At that
distance he strikes hard pan; but it is margin enough for his
operations, and he is not often caught among the shorts. Gourmands
assure us that he lives "by suction," and that there is consequently no
harm in eating his trail. There is comfort in this creed, whatever may
be our private belief in the substantiality of what the bird absorbs;
and we cheerfully eat, after the suggestion of Paul, "asking no
questions," the while tacitly assuring ourselves, like old Fuller with
the strawberry, that a better bird might doubtless have been made, but
as certainly never was. For game flavor not even the partridge (Bob
White), also exceptionally abundant here, is his superior.

But think, ye snow-bound, of the state of things implied in this
embarrassment of riches,--of a mid-winter table balanced between such a
choice, or, better, balanced by the adoption of both, one at each end!
Nor would this be near telling the whole story. Excluding fur and
sticking to feather, we have a wide range beyond. The larger birds we
may begin on, very moderately, with crane-steak, a transverse section
of our stately but distant friend the sand-hill. That is the form in
which he is thought to appear to best advantage. By the time you have
circumvented him by circumscribing him in the gradually narrowing
circuit of a buggy,--for stalking him, unless in higher grass than is
common at this season, is but vexation of spirit,--you will feel vicious
enough to eat him in any shape. His brother, the beautiful white bugler,
you will hardly meet at dinner, he being the shyest of his kind. A
Canada goose--not the tough and fishy bird of the Northern coast, but
grain- and grass-fed from fledging-time--is tender, delicate, and
everyway presentable. From the back upper gallery that looks upon the
prairie you are likely to see a company or battalion of his brethren,
their long black necks and white ties "dressing" capitally in line, and
their invisible legs doing the goose-step as the inventors of that
classic manoeuvre ought to do it. This bird seems to affect the
_militaire_ in all his movements. What can be more regular than the
wedge, like that so common in tactical history, in which he begins his
march, moving in "a column of attack upon the pole"? Even when startled
and put to flight, he goes off smoothly and quietly, company-front. In
foraging he is strictly systematic, and never forgets to set sentinels.
We cannot fail to respect him while doing him the last honors. Of not
inferior claim is his prairie chum and remote cousin the mallard. They
are not often in close companionship, though I have seen a dozen and a
half of each rise from the border and the bosom of a pond forty yards
across,--one loving the open, and the other taking repose, if not food,
upon the water. That there should be ponds upon these prairies is as
striking to one accustomed to hill and dale as that so unpromising a
surface should so teem with life. The prairie is as flat as if cast like
plate-glass and rolled out,--only the table is slightly tilted toward
the Gulf at the rate of two or three hundred feet in a hundred miles. At
night you may see the head-light of an engine fifteen miles away, like
a low star that you wonder does not rise. It grows slowly in size, a
Sirius, a Venus, a moon, as though the earth had stopped rotating and
adopted a direct motion toward the heavenly bodies. Early on fine
mornings the horizon gets tired, as it were, of being suppressed, and
looms up in a mirage, with an outfit of imaged trees and hills reflected
in an imaginary lake,--a pictured protest of Nature against monotony.
There are local depressions, nevertheless, which you would not believe
in but for the shallow little ponds which fill them and which are
indicated from a distance at this season by the lead-colored grass that
veils them and conceals their glitter. And there are longer swells,
begotten of drainage, sometimes of eight or ten feet in a mile, which
deceive you, as you advance, into the expectation of a grand prospect
when once you shall have got to the top of them. That, practically, you
never do. Arrived at what seems to be the crest of a ridge, you see
nothing but more flat. The eye, in despair, gives, when you come in
sight of it, an inclination to the water. The pond-surface ceases to be
horizontal. The principle of gravitation stands contradicted

The most frequent vedette of these miniature lakes is the
heron,--usually the blue, sometimes the larger white, the latter a most
beautiful bird. Yet neither is common. Still rarer in such situations is
the bittern, the Timon of birds, the rushes being seldom high enough to
afford him the strict concealment he likes. The mallard has to be his
own sentinel, as a rule. He does not depend on these ponds for food,
and, like other wild creatures, he reserves his chief vigilance for
feeding-time. They are places of repose, at mid-day and at night, for
the ducks of this and two or three other species, notably the blue- and
green-winged teal, which at other times haunt the clumps of oak and
pecan that skirt the sparse streams and their summer-dry affluents,
where nuts and acorns in great variety, those of the live-oak being very
sweet, supply unfailing winter provision. The thickets of ilex that
shade off these wooded reaches into the treeless prairie are the resort
of many partridges. You are led back into the open ground by another
game-bird, the pinnated grouse, the widest ranger of its genus, but at
the North disappearing only less rapidly than the buffalo. As yet his
most destructive foe in this region is perhaps the hawk, although he is
raided from the timber by the opossum, raccoon, and three species of
cat, while on the open his nest has marked attractions for the skunk and
probably the coyote. He has survived these dumb discouragers so long,
and the heat at his proper season is so trying to his human foe, that he
may long find a refuge here and proudly lead forth his young Texans for
scores of Augusts. He and his family will often quietly walk off while
the panting pointer seeks the shade of the wagon and the gunner cools
off under the heavy felt sombrero that is here found to be the best
headgear for summer. A very moderate game-law, well executed, would
sustain this fine bird indefinitely in the struggle for existence. But
law of any kind seems a foreign idea on these sea-like primeval plains.
It is like thinking of a parliament in the Pleiocene, or of a
court-house on the Grand Banks.

Any transcendentalist who wishes to furbish up his philosophic furniture
will find this a good workshop for the purpose. There is ample room for
any school, positive or negative,--plenty of cloud-land for all
conceits. Kant could have picked up pure reason among the crowds of
simply reasoning creatures who have possessed the scene since long
before the brain of man was created. Covies of immemorial Thoreaus
bivouac under those hazy woods, and pre-glacial Emersons are circling
overhead. The problem of successfully living they have all solved. What
more have any of us done? The greatest good of the greatest number they
unpresumingly display as a practically triumphant principle; and the
greatest number is not by any means with them, any more than with us,
number one. Had it been, they would all have been extinct long ago.
Nature may be "red with tooth and claw," but not suicidally so. It is to
quite a peaceable, if not wholly loving, world that she invites us. And
just here we can see so much of it; we can study it so broadly and so
freely. Concord and Walden dwindle into the microscopic. It was under
precisely such a sun as this, in a warm, dry atmosphere, on a nearly
treeless soil, that the Stagyrite did all the thinking of sixty
generations. Could he have done it in an overcoat and muffler, with a
chronic catarrh?

If, impatient of a host of inarticulate instructors, we prefer communing
with our kind and falling back on human story, some of that, too, is at
hand. Half a century ago, to a year, a short string of forlorn and
forlorn-looking people crossed the prairie close by, from west to east,
from the Colorado to the Brazos. The head of it was Sam Houston's
"army," three or four hundred strong, with all its _matériel_ in one
wagon. The rest consisted of the débris of all the Anglo-American
settlements, women, children, cows, and what poor household stuff could
be moved. Slowly ferrying the Brazos, and as slowly making its way down
the left bank, picking up as it went the rest of the homesteads and some
more fighting-men, it turned to the right at the head of the estuary.
Then the little column, strengthened with some sea-borne supplies and
relieved of its wards, turned to face its pursuers. These were twice its
numbers, with four or five thousand reserves some days behind.
Generalship was given the go-by on both sides, the _cul-de-sac_ of San
Jacinto being closed at both ends. Thirty minutes of noise and smoke,
and the empire of Cortez and Montezuma was split in two. Clio nibbed
another quill, steel pens not having then been invented. The gray geese
who might have supplied it recomposed themselves on the prairie, and all
the rest of their feathered friends followed their example, as the
military interlude melted away and left them their ancient solitary

Of the feathered spectators of the scene we have episodically glanced
at, the most interested were those constant supervisors, the vultures.
Of these there are three species, one of which--the Mexican vulture--is
but an occasional visitor. The other two--the black vulture and the
turkey-buzzard--are monopolists in their peculiar line. They constitute
here, as generally throughout the warmer parts of the continent and its
islands, the recognized sanitary police. No law protects them, but they
do not need it. They are too useful not to command that popular sympathy
which is the higher law. The flocks and herds upon a thousand plains are
theirs. Every norther that freezes and every drought that starves some
of the wandering cattle and sheep brings to them provision. The
railroads also, not less than the winds of heaven, are their friends,
the fatal cow-catcher being an ever-busy caterer. The buzzards are, of
course, under such circumstances, warm advocates of internal improvement
and welcome the opening of every new railway. Their ardor in this
respect, however, has of late years been damped by the building of wire
fences along the track, an interference with vested rights and an
assault upon the hoary claims of infant industries against which in
their solemn assemblies they doubtless often condole with each other.
Unfortunately for their cause, they cannot lobby.

Somehow, there seems to be always a wag or clown among each group of
animals,--some one species in which the amusing or the grotesque is
prominent. Among these clownish fellows I should class the black
vulture, or john-crow. He is not a crow at all, but gets that name
probably because so historic a tribe as Corvus must have some
representative, and the real crow, so common at the North, is one of the
few birds that are not much seen in this quarter. John unites in his
ways at once fuss and business. He alternates oddly between bustle and
gravity. Seated stately and motionless for hours on a leafless tree, he
will suddenly, as if struck by a new idea, start off on a tour that
might have been dictated by telegram. He does not sail and circle like
his friend and comrade, never being distracted by soaring pretensions,
but goes straight to his object. His flight is a regular succession of
short flaps, with quiescent intervals between the series. The flaps are
usually four, sometimes five or six. I am sure he counts them. You have
seen a pursy gentleman in black hurrying along the street and tapping
his boot with a cane, as though keeping time. Fancy this gentleman in
the air, dressed in feathers, his coat-skirt sheared off alarmingly
short and square, and looking like a cherub in jet, all head and
wings,--although John is not exactly a cherub in his habits. A white
spot on each wing adds a bit of the harlequin to his style.

Were I to seek a "funny man" among the quadrupeds, I should name another
dweller of the Southwestern prairies, the jack-rabbit,--John II. let us
call him. Nobody ever gets quite accustomed to the preternatural ears of
this hare. In proportion they are to those of others of the Leporidæ
nearly what the ears of the mule are to those of the horse. When this
bit of bad drawing, as big as a fawn and weighing ten pounds or so,
jumps up before you and bounds away at railroad speed, he makes you rub
your eyes. You expect the apparition to disappear like other
apparitions, especially as it moves off with vast rapidity. But it does
not. As suddenly as it started it is transformed into a prong like an
immense letter V, projecting in perfect stillness from the grass a
hundred yards off. You advance, and the same proceeding is repeated.
Jack is obviously deep in guns, and knows the difference in power
between a muzzle- and a breech-loader, if he has not ascertained, indeed,
what number shot you have in your cartridge. He varies his distance
according to these contingencies. Only, he has not as yet learned to
gauge the greyhound: that dog is frequently kept for his benefit.

A special endowment of this immediate locality is a large and permanent
sheet of water, three or four miles by one, which bears, and deserves,
the name of Eagle Lake. For, though overhung by no cliffs or lofty
pines, it is far more the haunt of eagles, of both the bald and the gray
species, than most tarns possessing those appendages of the romantic.
Its dense fringe of fine trees, among them live-oaks a single one of
which would make the fortune of an average city park, can well spare the
Conifers. They are all hung with Spanish moss, a feature which conflicts
with the impression of lack of moisture conveyed by the light ashen
color of the bark and short annual growth of many of the smaller trees.
Here and there tiny inlets are overhung with undergrowth which supplies
a safe nesting-place to a multitude of birds of many kinds. The surface
of the lake I have never seen free from ducks of one species or another,
and generally of half a dozen. Almost the whole family, if we except the
canvas-back and the red-head, visit it at one or another period. One
item in their bill of fare is the nut of the water-lily, the receptacles
of which, resembling the rose of a watering-pot, dot the shallows in
great quantity. The green, cable-like roots of this plant are afloat,
forming at some points heavy windrows. Some say they are torn up from
the bottom by the alligators; but it is more probable that they are
loosened and broken by the continual tugging of the divers. The
alligators are not vegetarians, and they are not using their snouts much
at this season. The young shoots of the Nymphæa are doubtless tempting
food, as those of the Vallisneria are on the Chesapeake and the North
Carolina sounds. Sustenance may be drawn also from the roots of the
rushes and reeds which cover with their yellow stems and leaves many
acres of the lake, and are thronged now by several species of small

Hawks, of course, are always in sight, and that in astonishing variety,
from the osprey down to two or three varieties of the sparrow-hawk. A
monograph on the Raptores of Eagle Lake would be a most comprehensive
work. The osprey, notwithstanding the abundance of his scaly prey, is
not common: probably the field is too limited for him. Ducks are the
attraction of the other large species. In summer, ducks are rather
secondary among the water-birds, the ibis, water-turkey, and flamingo
imparting a tropical character to the scene that somewhat obscures the
more familiar forms. There is even a survival here of birds that have
nearly disappeared from the American fauna,--the paroquet, once so
common in the Mississippi Valley as far north as the Ohio, being
sometimes seen, and, if I mistake not, a second species of humming-bird
straying north by way of Mexico.

From where we stand, under a canopy of rich green leaves, looking out
upon the sunny water through a banian-like colonnade of mighty trunks
and hanging vines, the pearly moss tempering the light like jalousies,
summer seems but a relative idea. Fly-catchers flit back and forth,
barn-swallows and sand-martins skim the lake, and an occasional splash
or ripple at our feet shows that humbler life is getting astir. The
highest life, or what modest man calls such, we have all to ourselves.
Yet not quite; for there is visible yonder, beneath the outer tip of a
live-oak which we have found to stretch and droop twenty-four paces from
the seven-foot trunk, a little fleet of canoes. They belong to the
professional fisherman whose too tarry nets are quite an encumbrance
for some yards of the sandy beach, and whose well may be noticed about a
rifle-shot out from the shore. More than that, though Piscator is
absent, some one is inspecting his boats. In fact,--and it _is simple
fact_, and I am not smuggling in a bit of padding in the shape of
sentiment,--two persons become perceptible, both with their backs
towards us, now and studiedly all the time. One, a man, chooses a boat
after trying several, and, with similar show of unavoidable delay, is
cushioning the seats with carefully-arranged moss in four times the
necessary quantity. During this absorbing process he rips one of his
cuffs, or tears off a button from it, or smears it with the tar that
besets the boat and its oars. This calamity supplies the lady, a neat
young person, with a pretext for occupation, and she uses it to the
fullest and most affectionate extent. It is growing late, and unless we
relieve the couple of our obviously detected presence we shall deprive
them of their Sunday-afternoon row. That it is a row with the stream we
find ten days later, when their wedding becomes the sensation of the
little village.

The old, old story! how pat it comes in! How could it have failed to
come in, when the talk is of birds?




"I am going," said the professor to his friend Miss Eldridge, "to marry
a young woman whose mind I can mould."

Somebody was uncharitable enough to say that he couldn't possibly make
it any mouldier than his own. This was a slander. In the high dry Greek
atmosphere which surrounded and enclosed his mind, mould, which requires
dampness before it can exist, was an impossibility.

When an engagement is announced, it is almost invariably followed by one
question, with a variable termination. The dear five hundred friends
exclaim, with uplifted hands,--

"What could have possessed him," or "her"?

In the present case the latter termination was adopted, with but one
dissenting voice: Miss Christina Eldridge said, in low, shocked tones,
"Alas that a man of his simply colossal mind should have been ensnared
by a pretty face, whose soulless beauty will depart in a few short

The professor would have been very indignant had any one ventured to
suggest to him that the pretty face had anything to do with it. He
imagined himself entirely above and beyond such flimsy considerations.
Yet it is sadly doubtful whether an example in long division, on a
smeared slate, brought to him with tears and faltering accents by Miss
Christina, would have produced the effect which followed when Miss
Rosamond May betrayed her shameful ignorance by handing him the slate
and saying forlornly, "I've done it seven times, and it comes out
differently wrong every time. Can _you_ see what's the matter?" and two
wet blue eyes looked into his through his spectacles, with an expression
which said plainly, "You are my last and only hope."

She was standing by the massive marble-topped table which was the
central feature of the parlor of their boarding-house. One plump
hand--with dimples where the knuckles should have been--rested upon the
unresponsive marble, in the other she held the slate. She was a teacher
of some of the lowest classes in Miss Christina Eldridge's academy for
young ladies, and only Miss Christina knew the almost fathomless depths
of her ignorance.

But her father had been a professor, and a widower; and shortly before
he died he had manifested an appreciation of the stately principal
which, but for his untimely death,--he was only seventy,--might have
expanded into "that perfect union of souls" for which her disciplined
heart secretly pined.

So when it was first whispered, and then exclaimed, that Professor May
had left nothing, absolutely nothing, for his daughter but a very small
life-insurance premium and the furniture of their rented house, with a
little old-fashioned jewelry and silverware of the smallest possible
intrinsic value, Miss Christina called upon Miss May and told her that,
if she would accept it, there was a vacancy in the academy, with a
salary of two hundred dollars a year and board, but not lodging.

"And if you remain with me, my dear, as I hope you will, I can give you
a room next year, after the new wing is added; and, meanwhile, I know of
a vacant room, at two dollars a week, in a highly-respectable

"You are very kind," replied Rosamond, in a quivering voice. "But indeed
I am afraid I don't know enough to teach even the very little girls. So
I'm afraid you'd better get somebody else. Don't you think you had?"

"No," said Miss Christina, patting the useless little hand which lay on
her lap. "You will only be obliged to hear spelling- and reading-lessons,
and teach the class of little girls who have not gone beyond the first
four rules of arithmetic, and perhaps you will help them to play on
their holidays: you could impart an element of refinement to their
recreations more readily than an older teacher could."

"Is _that_ all?" exclaimed Rosamond, almost cheerfully. "Oh, I can
easily do that much. I love little girls. I will be so good to all the
homesick ones. When shall I come?"

"As soon as you can, my dear," replied Miss Christina.

In a few weeks Rosamond had settled into the routine of her new
life,--going every morning to the academy, where she spent the day in
hearing lessons, binding up broken hearts, playing heartily with her
scholars in the intermissions, and being idolized by them in each of her
various capacities. She did not forget her father, but it was impossible
for her sweet and childlike nature to remain in mourning long.

Professor Silex had felt a profound pity for his old friend's daughter,
and had come down out of the clouds long enough to express it in
scholarly terms and to offer any assistance in his power. They met
sometimes on the stairs and in the dreary parlor, and his eyes beamed
with such a friendly light upon her over the top of his spectacles that
she began to tell him her small troubles and to ask his advice in a
manner which sometimes completely took his breath away. He had never had
a sister, his mother died before his remembrance, and he had been
brought up by two elderly aunts. Fancy, then, his consternation when he
was suddenly and beseechingly asked, "Oh, Professor Silex, _would_ you
get a little felt bonnet, if you were me, or one of those lovely
wide-brimmed beaver hats? The hats are a dollar more; but they _are_ so
lovely and so becoming!"

"My dear child," stammered the professor, "have you no female friend
with whom you can consult? I am profoundly ignorant. Miss Eldridge--"

"She says to get the felt," pouted the dear child; "just because it's
cheaper. And papa used always to advise me, when I asked him, to get
what I liked best." The blue eyes filled, as they still did at the
mention of her father.

"My dear," said the professor hurriedly,--they were standing on the
first landing, and he heard the feet of students coming down the
stairs,--"I should advise you, by all means, to get the--the one you
like best. Excuse my haste, but I--I have a class."

She was wearing the beaver when she next met him, and she beamed with
smiles as she called his attention to it. He looked at her more seeingly
than he had yet done, and a feeling like a very slight electric shock
penetrated his brain.

"See!" she cried gayly. "It _is_ becoming, isn't it?"

"It is, indeed," he answered cordially. "And I should think it would be
quite--quite warm,--there is so much of it, and it looks so soft."

"I told Miss Eldridge you advised me to get it," continued she
triumphantly, "and she didn't say another word."

The professor was aghast. He felt a warm wave stealing over his face.
This must be stopped, and at once. Fancy his class, his brother
professors, getting hold of such a rare bit of gossip! But he would not
hurt her feelings. She was so young, so innocent, and her frank blue
eyes were so like those of his dead friend.

"My child," he said softly, "you honor me by your confidence; but may
I--might I ask you, when you seek my advice upon subjects--ah--not
congruous to my age and profession, not to repeat the result of our
conferences? With thoughtless people it might in some slight measure be
considered derogatory to my professional dignity. Not that I think it
so," he hastily added. "All that concerns you is of great, of heartfelt
interest to me."

"I didn't tell anybody but Miss Eldridge," said the culprit penitently;
"and I know she won't repeat it; and I'll never do so any more, if
you'll let me come to you with my foolish little troubles. It seems
something like having papa again."

Now, why this touching tribute should have irritated the professor who
can say? He was startled, shocked, at the irritation, and he strove to
banish all trace of it from his voice and manner as he said, gravely and
kindly, "Continue to come to me with your troubles, my dear, if I can
afford you either help or comfort."

A few days passed, and she waylaid him again. Her pretty face was pale,
and her soft yellow hair was pushed back from her forehead, showing the
blue veins in her temples.

"I don't know what I shall do," she said, in a troubled voice. "Those
children have caught up with me in arithmetic, and by next week they'll
be ahead of me; and I feel as if I oughtn't to take Miss Eldridge's
money if I can't do all she engaged me for. What would _you_ do if you
were me?"

"Could you not prepare yourself by study, and so keep in advance of your
little pupils?" he inquired kindly.

"I don't believe I could," she replied despondently. "I tried to do the
sums that came next, last night, and they wouldn't come right, all I
could do; and I got a headache besides."

"I have an hour to spare," said the professor, pulling out his watch:
"perhaps, if you will bring me your book and slate, I can elucidate the
rule which is perplexing you."

"Oh, will you _really_?" she exclaimed, a radiant smile lighting up her
troubled face. "I'll bring them right away. How kind, how _very_ kind
you are, to bother with my sums, when you have so much Greek in your
head!" And, obeying an impulse, as she so often did, she caught his hand
in both her own and kissed it heartily. Then she skimmed across the
parlor, and he heard her child's voice "lilting lightly up the" stairs
as he stood--in a position suggestive of Mrs. Jarley's wax-works--gazing
fixedly at the hand which she had kissed.

"She regards me as a father," he said to himself severely. "Am I going
mad? Or becoming childish? No; I am only sixty. But, even if it were
possible, it would be base, unmanly, to take advantage of her
loneliness, her gratitude. No, I will be firm."

So, when the offending "example" was handed to him, with the
above-quoted touching statement as to its total depravity, he looked
only at the slate. Gently and patiently, as if to a little child, he
pointed out the errors and expounded the rule, amply rewarded by her
joyful exclamation, "Oh, I see _exactly_ how it's done, now! You do
explain things beautifully. I really think I could have learned a good
deal if I'd had a teacher like you when I went to school."

"Come to me whenever your lessons perplex you, my dear," he answered,
still looking at the slate; "come freely, as if--as if I were your

"Ah, how kind, how good you are to me!" she cried, seizing his slender,
wrinkled hand and holding it between her soft palms. "How glad papa must
be to know it! It almost seems like having him again. Must you go?

And, innocently, as if to her father, she held up her face for a kiss.

The professor turned red, turned pale, hesitated, faltered, and then
kissed her reverently on her forehead,--or, if the truth must be told,
on her soft, frizzled hair, which, according to the fashion of the day,
hung almost over her eyes.

Two evenings in the week after this were devoted to arithmetic. The
professor was firm--as a rule; but when her joyous "Oh, I see _exactly_
how it's done, now!" followed his patient reiteration of rules and
explanations, how could he help rewarding himself by a glance at the
glowing face? how could he keep his eyes permanently fixed upon that
stony-hearted slate?

So it went on through the winter and spring, till it was nearing the
time for the summer vacation. The professor knew only too well that
Rosamond had been invited to spend it with some distant
cousins,--distant in both senses of the word,--and that on her return
she would be swallowed up by the academy and would brighten the dingy
boarding-house no more. How could he bear it? His arid, silent life had
never had a song in it before. Must the song die out in silence?

When the last evening came, and when, realizing the long separation
before them, she once more held up her face for a kiss, with trembling
lips and blue eyes swimming in tears, as she told him how she should
miss him, how she did not see what she should do without him, his
hardly-won firmness was as chaff before the wind. He implored her to
marry him; he told her of the beautiful home he would make for her.

"For I am rich, Rosamond," he said hurriedly, before, in her surprise,
she could speak. "I have not cared for money, and I believe I have a
great deal. You shall do what you will with it, and with me. We will
travel: you shall see the Old World, with all its wonders. And I will
shield you: you shall never know a trouble or a care that I can take on
myself; for--I love you."

Then, as she remained silent, too much astonished to speak, he said

"You _do_ love me a little? You could not come to me as you do, with all
your little cares and perplexities, if you did not: could you?"

"But I came just so to papa," she said, finding voice at last; and her
childish face grew perplexed and troubled.

The professor had no answer for that. He hid his face in his hands. In a
moment her arms were about his neck, her kisses were falling on his

"You have been so good to me," she cried, "and I am making you unhappy,
ungrateful wretch that I am! Of course I love you; of course I will
marry you. Take away your hands and look at me--Paul!"

Ah, well! they tell in fairy-stories of the fountain of youth, and even
amid the briers of this work-a-day world it is found sometimes, I think,
by the divining-rod of Love. But many students gnashed their teeth, and,
as we have said, Miss Christina Eldridge alone, of all the dear five
hundred, said, "What possessed _him_?"


The summer vacation was over, and students, more or less reluctantly,
had returned to college and academy. The professor came back in a
brand-new and very becoming suit of clothes; his hair and beard had been
trimmed by a fashionable barber, and his old-fashioned high "stock"
exchanged for a modern scarf, in the centre of which gleamed a modern
scarf-pin. He ran lightly up the steps of the academy and inquired for
Miss May. Courtesy, as his uneasy conscience told him, dictated an
inquiry for Miss Eldridge also, but he compounded with conscience: he
would ask to see her after he had seen Rosamond.

"Why, how very nice you look! You are really handsome!" And the
dignified professor was turned about, as if he had been a graven image,
by two soft little hands, which he caught in his own, and--so forth.

She was very sure now that she loved him, as in a certain sense she did.
But she would not consent to an immediate marriage, nor to the building
of a miniature palace for her reception. She owed it to Miss Eldridge,
she said, to fulfil her engagement and not to go away just as she was
beginning to be really useful. And as for a house, would it not be
pleasanter to live in lodgings and be free to come and go as they would?
So his wishes, as usual, were deferred to hers. The long fall evenings
began, and he brought, at her request, carefully-selected "improving"
books, to be interrupted, as he read, by earnest questions, such as,--

"_Would_ you embroider this linen dress with its own color or a
contrasting one, if you were me?"

Spring came again, and the professor, looking ten years younger than he
had looked a year ago, brought to his "rose of all the world" a bunch of
the first May roses.

"Oh, the lovely, lovely things!" she exclaimed delightedly. "You shall
have two kisses for them, Paul. Where _did_ they come from, so early in

"From the south side of the wall of an old garden which I used to weed
when I was a boy."

"Will you take me there? Is it near here?" she asked eagerly.

"I will take you there," he answered, "some day; but it is not near
here: it is more than a hundred miles away."

"And you sent all that way for them just for me? How good, how kind you
are! There, I will take two of the half-blown ones for my hat, and two
for my neck, and one for your button-hole--oh, yes, you shall! Hold
still till I pin it. Now just see how nice you look! And the rest I will
put in this glass, and then Miss Christina can enjoy them too; she's so
kind, and I can't do anything for her. Oh, that makes me think! I have
to go across the river this afternoon to hunt up a dress-maker she told
me about, a delightfully cheap and good one, and she said you would know
if there were any way of crossing anywhere near ---- Street, the bridge
is so far from where I want to go. Is there?"

"Yes," he replied, "there's a rather uncertain way: an old fellow who
owns a boat lives close by there, and if he's at home he will be only
too glad to row you over for a few cents. It would not make your walk
much longer to go round that way first and see. I have often crossed in
his boat, and I like to talk with him: he's an original character."

"Oh, that is charming!" she said delightedly. "Can't you come too? You
can sit and talk with him while I'm talking to the dress-maker."

"I wish I could," he answered, "but I promised to meet the president in
the college library at four, and--bless me! it only wants ten minutes of
it now. Try to get back by sunset, dear: the evenings are chilly yet."

"Yes, I will; I'm going right away," she said, with the deference to his
least wish which so often gave him a heartache. "You'll be in this
evening? Of course you will. Thank you so very, very much for the

She watched him go down the steps, waving her hand to him as she closed
the door, and then, with the roses still in her hat and at her throat,
walked toward the river-bank, whispering a gay little song to herself.
It was such a bright day! she was so glad "the winter was over and
gone!" how good and kind everybody was! how grateful she ought to be!


"I wish," said Mr. Symington bitterly, "that I could find a commodious
desert island containing a first-class college and not a single girl. I
would have the island fortified, and death by slow torture inflicted
upon any woman who managed--as some of them would, in spite of all
precautions--to effect a landing."

"But the married girls are so stupid, my dear boy," ejaculated his
room-mate, Mr. Fielding. "You must admit that, if one must have either,
the single ones are decidedly preferable, or at least the young single

"Don't try to be funny," said Symington savagely: "you only succeed in
being weak. I have"--and he pulled out a note-book and glared at its
contents--"an engagement to take two to a concert this evening, other
two to a tennis-match on Saturday, and another one out rowing this
afternoon. And it's time for me to go now."

"It strikes me _you've_ been pretty middling weak," commented Fielding.
"Either that, or you're yarning tremendously about its being a bore: you
can take your choice."

"I leave it with you," said Symington wearily. "That Glover girl is
probably cooling her heels on the bank, and I must go."

"Alas, my brother! it is long since one of those Glover girls captured

The victim was a little late for his engagement, but no indignant Glover
girl lay in wait for him. The bank, green with the first soft grass of
spring, was deserted. Had she come and gone? He arranged himself
comfortably in the boat and began to sing, the balmy air and the
surroundings suggesting his song,--

    Oh, hoi-ye-ho, ho-ye-ho, who's for the ferry?

and went through the first verse, beginning softly, but unconsciously
raising his voice as he went on, until, as he came to the second, he was
singing very audibly indeed, and Rosamond, standing on the bank, looking
uncertainly about her for the old boatman, was in time to hear,

    She'd a rose in her bonnet, and, oh, she looked sweet
    As the little pink flower that grows in the wheat,
    With her cheeks like a rose and her lips like a cherry,--
    "And sure and you're welcome to Twickenham town."

The curious feeling which makes one aware of being looked at caused him
to turn and look up as he finished the verse, and he longed for the
self-possession of his room-mate as he vainly struggled to think of
something to say which should not be utterly inane. He felt himself
blushing, but he was well aware that a blush on his sunburned face was
not so charmingly becoming as it was to the vision on the bank. It was
she who spoke at last, with the ghost of a smile accompanying her

"I beg your pardon," she said, "but I was told that I should probably
find an old man here who would row me across. Do you know where he's

"He is--that is--I think--I believe he's gone to dinner," stammered this
usually inflexible advocate of truth.

And it did not occur to Rosamond to suggest that between four and five
in the afternoon was an unusual dinner-hour for a ferryman.

She looked very much disappointed, and turned as if to go.

"Won't you--may I--" eagerly stammered the youth, and added desperately,
"I'm here in his place," mentally explaining to an outraged conscience
that this was literally true, for was not his boat tied to a stake, and
must not that stake have been driven by the old man for _his_ boat? Dr.
Watts has told us that

    Sinners who grow old in sin
    Are hardened in their crimes,

and the hardening process must sometimes take place with fearful
rapidity, for when Rosamond, having guilelessly accepted the statement
and allowed the ferryman to help her to the broad cushioned seat in the
stern of the boat, asked innocently, "How much is it--for both ways, I
mean? for I want to come back, if you don't mind waiting a little," he
answered, with a look of becoming humility, "It is five cents, please."

"You mean for one way?" she inquired, as she fished a very small purse
up from the depths of her pocket.

And he, reflecting that two and a half cents for one way would have an
air of improbability about it, answered promptly, "Yes, if you please."

She opened her purse and introduced a thumb and finger, but she withdrew
them with a promptness and a look of horror upon her face which
suggested the presence of some noxious insect.

"You'll have to take me back, please," she said faintly. "I forgot to
put any money in my purse, and I've only just found it out."

"It is not of the least consequence," he began hurriedly, adding, in
business-like tones, "You can make it all right the next time, you know.
I suppose it will not be long before you cross again?"

"I don't know," she replied. "That depends upon whether or not I find--"
and then, remembering that the professor had gently cautioned her about
talking over her small affairs with any one but himself, she changed the
end of her sentence into "I have to. But I will bring you the money
to-morrow afternoon, if you will be here," she went on. "I am so ashamed
that I forgot it; and you're _very_ kind to trust me, when I'm such a
perfect stranger to you. Don't people ever cheat you?"

"Sometimes," replied the ferryman; "and I don't trust everybody. I go a
good deal by people's faces."

It did not seem to Rosamond that this remark required an answer, so she
sat silent, while his vigorous strokes sent the little boat swiftly
across the river, when he beached it, and, giving her his hand, helped
her to spring to dry ground. Then she said,--

"That's where I'm going,--that white house across the first street; and
I shall only be a few minutes."

"Don't hurry," he said, as she turned away. "I've nothing more to do
this evening after I take you back."

He really did forget for the moment the "other two" and the concert.

The blissful meditation which enwrapped him made the fifteen minutes of
her absence seem as five. She came down the bank, blushing and smiling.

"'And, oh, she looked sweet!'" mentally ejaculated the ferryman.

"Did I keep you long?" she said, as he helped her in. "I hurried as much
as I could. And if you, or the old man, will be here to-morrow at
half-past four, I should like to cross again: it saves me such a long
walk. And I'll be _sure_ to bring the money."

"You didn't keep me--that is, waiting--at all," he answered dreamily;
"and I'll be here at half-past four, sharp, to-morrow. You may depend on

"Very well," she said contentedly, as she settled herself among the
cushions, which in her absence he had arranged for her greater comfort,
adding, "What a very nice boat you have! I don't see how you keep it so
neat and fresh, taking so many people across, and being out, as I
suppose you must be, in all sorts of weather."

"It's a new boat," he said hurriedly, "and you're my first passenger.
Would you mind telling me your name?--your first name I mean, of
course?"--for the horrible idea occurred to him that she might think he
was anxious about his fare. "I haven't named her yet, and I thought,
perhaps, _as_ you're my first fare, you'd let me name her after
you,--for luck, you know."

"Is that considered lucky?" she asked innocently, "If it is, of course
you may. My name is Rosamond; but it seems to me that's rather long for
a boat. Suppose you call her the Rose. Papa--my father, I mean--used to
call me that oftener than Rosamond, and--one or two other people do

"I don't think Rosamond would be too long," he said thoughtfully, "but
it shall be as you wish, of course. I will have 'Rose' painted on the
stern, and I can call her Rosamond to myself. May I have one of your
roses, just to--to remember it by, till I can see the painter?"

"Why, yes, I suppose so." And she unfastened one of the two at her
throat, and handed it to him.

He placed it carefully in his pocket-book, which, as she observed with
some surprise, was of the finest Russia leather. Ferrying must be
profitable work, to provide the ferryman with such boats and

There was a brief silence, and then she said, "You were singing as I
came down the bank. Would you mind singing again? It sounds so pretty on
the water."

He made no answer in words, but presently his voice arose, softly at
first, and then with passionate fervor, and this time his song was,
"Oh, wert thou in the cauld blast!"

"Thank you; that was beautiful," said Rosamond calmly, as he finished
and the boat grazed the bank at one and the same moment. "What a good
voice you have! And you must have taken lessons, to sing so correctly:
haven't you?"

"Yes,--a few," he answered, springing from the boat and drawing it up on
the bank. She rose to follow him, but stopped short, with a little
exclamation of dismay.

"Why, this isn't where we ought to have landed!" she exclaimed. "It's a
place a mile farther down the river."

He looked very much confused.

"I have made some stupid blunder," he stammered. "I owe you a thousand
apologies, but I was singing, and I suppose I passed the landing without
noticing it. I will not keep you long, though. I can row back in ten

"I oughtn't to have asked you to sing when you were rowing," she said
remorsefully. "I'm so sorry you should have all that extra work."

"Oh, I don't mind that," he said, trying to speak coolly, "if the delay
won't incommode you."

"No," she said. "We shall be back before dark, and that will be time
enough. I _shouldn't_ like to have to walk home after dark."

Eager words rose to the ferryman's lips, but he wisely suppressed them,
bending to his oars till the little boat sprang through the water.

The sun dropped into the river, allowing the faintly-traced sickle of
the new moon to show, as the boat once more touched land,--at the right
place this time.

Rosamond tripped up the bank, with a friendly "Good-evening," and at the
top she met the professor. "Oh, how nice of you to come and meet me!"
she cried, slipping her hand through his arm. "It grows dark so quickly
after the sun goes down that I was beginning to be just a little

"I would have been here an hour ago," he said, "but the president kept
me. I called at Miss Eldridge's, thinking to find you returned, and
then, when she said you were still absent, I hurried down here, feeling
unaccountably disquieted. It was absurd, of course. But were you not
detained longer than you anticipated?"

"No, it wasn't absurd," she said, clasping her other hand over his arm
and giving it a little squeeze. The spring dusk had fallen around them
like a veil by this time, and they were still a little way from any
much-travelled street.

"It wasn't absurd _at all_," she repeated "there's nobody but you to
care whether I come in or go out, and I like you to be worried,--just a
little, I mean,--not enough to make you, really wretched. I've had the
funniest time! The old man wasn't there, and I was turning back, quite
disappointed, when a young man,--quite young, and very nice
looking,--who was singing in a foolish sort of way in a pretty little
boat tied to a stake, said he was there in the old boatman's place, and
asked me to go with him; and I went. At first I was puzzled, for he
looked like a gentleman in most respects, and I didn't think he could be
the son of the old man you told me about; but the longer I was with him
the more I saw that there was something queer about him. He was very
kind and polite, but had a sort of abrupt, startled manner, as if he
were afraid of something, and I came to the conclusion that he must be a
harmless insane person, and that they let him have the ferry because
there isn't anything else much that he could do. He had a most lovely
little boat, all cushioned at one end, and he rowed beautifully."

"But it was not safe," said the professor, in alarm. "If a man be ever
so slightly insane, there is no telling what form his insanity will
take: he might have imagined you to be inimical to him, and have thrown
you overboard." And Rosamond felt a nervous tremor through the arm upon
which she leaned. She laughed heartily.

"You'd not feel that way if you could see him, dear," she said. "He's
as gentle as a lamb, and a little sheepish into the bargain. And I
promised to let him row me over to-morrow afternoon at half-past four.
Indeed, there's no danger. The only really queer thing he did was to
carry me a mile down the river; and that was my fault, for I asked him
to sing again. He has a delightful voice, and he sang that song you like
so much,--'Oh, wert thou in the cauld blast!'--and while he was singing
he missed the landing. But he apologized, and rowed me back like
lightning: so it really didn't matter,--especially as you met me, like
the dear that you are."

If a member of the professor's class had used the figures of speech too
frequently employed by Rosamond, he would have received a dignified
rebuke for "hyperbolical and inelegant language;" but it never occurred
to the deluded man that anything but pearls of thought and diamonds of
speech could fall from those rosy lips.

"I prefer, however, that you should run no risk, however slight, my
Rose," said the professor, so gently that the words were more an
entreaty than a command.

"But I don't see how I can help it," she said, in dismayed tones, "for I
did such a dreadful thing that I shouldn't tell you of it if I hadn't
firmly made up my mind to tell you everything. I think
engaged--and--and--married people always ought to do that. I forgot to
take any money, and it was ten cents there and back, you know; and he
was so kind and polite about trusting me. I wanted him to take me back
as soon as I found it out, but he said he would trust me, that I could
bring it to him next time; and I promised to go to-morrow and pay him
for both trips at once: so, you see, I _must_."

"Very well," said the professor, after a moment's thought. "I do not
wish you to break your word, of course: so I will go with you. I can
have a little talk with this unfortunate young man while you are engaged
with your dress-maker, and perhaps his condition may be ameliorated. He
could surely engage in some more remunerative occupation than that which
he is at present pursuing; and there are institutions, you know, where
much light has been thrown upon darkened minds."

"How good, how kind you are!" she cried, her sweet eyes filling with
happy tears, unseen in the gathering darkness. "You're sure you've made
up your mind not to be disappointed when you find out just how foolish
and trifling I really am?" she asked timidly.

The professor's answer need not be recorded. It was satisfactory.

It is a curious thing that the "sixth sense," which draws our thoughts
to long-forgotten friends just before we hear from them, which leads our
eyes to meet other eyes fixed earnestly upon them, which enables people
to wake other people by staring at them, and does a variety of similar
things, admitted, but not accounted for, fails to warn the victims of
approaching fate. Serenely, blissfully, did Mr. Symington wend his way
to the bank on that golden afternoon. It had occurred to him to exchange
his faultless and too expensive boating-costume for a cheap jersey and
trousers; but he feared that this might excite suspicion: he had still
sense enough left to be aware that there had been no shadow of this in
the sweet blue eyes yesterday.

He had not sung

    She'd a rose in her bonnet, and, oh, she looked sweet!

more than five hundred times since the previous evening: so, by way of
variety, he was humming it softly to himself as he approached the bank.
He was a little early, of course. She had not come yet. So he dusted the
cushions, and sponged up a few drops of water from the bottom of the
boat, and then sat down to wait. He was not kept waiting long. He heard
voices approaching, then a clear, soft laugh, and she was there;
but--oh, retribution!--with her, supporting her on his arm, was
Professor Silex! Wild thoughts of leaping into the river and
swimming--under water--to the opposite bank passed through the brain of
this victim of his own duplicity; but he checked himself sternly,--he
was proposing to himself to act the part of a coward, and before her, of
all the world. No, he would face the music, were it the "Rogue's March"
itself. And then a faint, a very faint hope sprang up in his heart: the
professor was noted for his absent-mindedness: perhaps there would be no
recognition. Vain delusion.

"Your boatman has not kept his appointment," said the professor,
advancing inexorably down the bank; "but I see a member of my class--an
unusually promising young man--with whom I wish to speak. Will you
excuse me for a moment?"

Rosamond turned her puzzled face from one to the other, finally
ejaculating, "Why, _that's_ the ferryman!"

"There is some mistake here," said the professor, unaware of the
sternness of his tones.

They had continued to advance as they spoke, and the ferryman could not
avoid hearing the last words. He sprang from the boat and up the bank
with the expression of a whole forlorn hope storming an impregnable
fortress, and spoke before the professor could ask a question.

"I beg your pardon, Professor Silex," he said; "there is no mistake.
Miss--this lady, who is, I imagine, Miss May" (the professor bowed
gravely), "was looking yesterday for the old man who acts as ferryman
here sometimes. He was absent, and, seeing that Miss May seemed
disturbed, I volunteered to take his place. It gave me great pleasure to
be of even that small amount of use."

The professor's grave face relaxed into a smile. Memories of his youth
had of late been very present with him, and to them were added those of
Rosamond's estimate of the amateur boatman. He waved his hand
graciously; but, before he could speak, Rosamond indignantly exclaimed,
"But you told me it was ten cents, and that people sometimes cheated
you, and that you were here in that poor old man's place, and--oh, I
can't _think_ of all the--things you told me."

A burning blush scorched the face of the ferryman. This was speedy
judgment indeed. But his courage rose to the emergency. He met the blue
eyes steadily with his dark-brown ones as he said, "I told you no
untruths, Miss May. My boat was, literally speaking, in the place of
that which the old man actually keeps here: I knew it must be, because
there was only one stake. I have been cheated, frequently and
egregiously: few men of my age, I imagine, have not. And I have great
faith in physiognomy. You _were_ my first fare; and I meant to accept
the ten cents,--I assure you I did. If you can think of any of the other
'things,' I shall be happy to explain them."

"It's all sophistry," she began, with something very like a pout.

But the professor gently interrupted her: "Let us not judge a kind
action harshly. Mr. Symington meant only to relieve you from an annoying
dilemma, and he naturally concluded that this would be impossible should
he disclose his real name and position. It seems that he merely allowed
your inferences to go uncontradicted, and was, practically, most kind.
An introduction between you is now scarcely necessary; but I am glad
that you have met. But for the fact that a selection would have looked
invidious, I should have asked you ere this to permit me to bring Mr.
Symington to see you."

"And will you--may I?" asked the culprit eagerly, glancing from one to
the other.

"That must be as Miss May says," replied the professor, with a kind

And Rosamond, ashamed of her unwonted outburst, gave Mr. Louis Symington
her hand, saying penitently, "I was very rude just now, and unjust
besides: will you forgive me and come with the professor to see me?"

"With pleasure,--with the greatest pleasure," he answered eagerly. "And
you will let me row you across? You will not make me miserable by

Rosamond glanced at the professor.

"To be sure we will," he said cheerfully. "I shall be glad of the
opportunity for a little conversation with you while Miss May is
executing her errand."

So he rowed them across; and then, while Rosamond discussed plaits and
gores with the new dress-maker, he discoursed his best eloquence and
learning to the professor, with such good effect that the latter said to
Rosamond, as they walked home through the twilight, having been
persuaded to extend the row a little, "I am glad, dear, that this
opportunity of presenting young Symington to you without apparent
favoritism has arisen. He is a most promising young man, but a little
inclined, I fear, from what I hear of him in his social capacity, to be
frivolous. We may together exercise a restraining influence over him."

"I thought he talked most dreadfully sensibly," said Rosamond, laughing;
"but I like him, and I hope we shall see him often."

They did. He called at first with the professor, afterward, at odd
times,--never in the evening,--without him. He persuaded Rosamond to
continue her patronage of his boat. Sometimes the professor went,
sometimes he did not. Mr. Symington was frequently induced to sing when
they were upon the water, and once or twice Rosamond joined her voice to

The 30th of June had at last been appointed for the wedding-day. They
were to go to Europe at once, and spend the vacation travelling wherever
Rosamond's fancy should dictate. All through the winter she had
discussed their journey with the liveliest interest, sometimes making
and rejecting a dozen plans in one evening. But of late she had ceased
to speak of it unless the professor spoke first; and this, with the
gentle tact which he had always possessed, but which had wonderfully
developed of late, he soon ceased to do.

She was sometimes unwarrantably irritable with him now, but each little
fit of petulance was always followed by a disproportionate penitence
and remorse. At such times she hovered about him, eagerly anxious to
render him some of the small services which he found so sweet. But she
was paler and thinner than she had ever been, and Miss Christina
noticed, with a kindly anxiety which did her credit, that Rosamond ate
less and less.

May was gone. It was the first day of June,--and such a day! Trees and
shrubs were in that loveliest of all states,--that of a half-fulfilled
promise of loveliness. Rosamond felt the spell, and, in spite of all
that was in her heart, an unreasoning gladness took possession of her.
She danced down the path of the long garden behind the seminary and
danced back again, stopping to pick a handful of the first June roses.
It was early morning, and the professor stopped--as he often did--for a
moment's sight of her on his way from the dreary boarding-house to the
equally dreary college. She caught both his hands and held up her face
for a kiss. Then she fastened a rosebud in his button-hole.

"You are not to take that out until it withers, Paul," she said,
laughing and shaking a threatening finger at him. "Do you know what it
means,--a rosebud? I don't believe you do, for all your Greek. It means
'confession of love;' and I _do_ love you,--I do, I do."

"I know you do, my darling," he said gently; "and it shall stay
there--till it withers. But that will not be long. I stopped to tell you
that I cannot go with you this afternoon; but you must not disappoint
Mr. Symington. I met him just now, and told him I should be detained,
but that you would go."

"You had no right to say so without asking me first," she said sharply.
"I don't wish to go. I _won't_ go without you. There!"

He was silent, but his deep, kind eyes were fixed pityingly upon her
flushed, excited face.

She dropped it on his arm and burst into tears, and he stroked her hair
gently, as if she had been a little child and he a patient, loving
father. She raised her face presently, smiling, though her lips still

"Do you really and truly wish me to go with--this afternoon?"

It seemed to him that for a full minute he could not speak, but in
reality the pause was so brief that she did not notice it.

"Yes," he said quietly, "I really and truly do. It would not be fair to
disappoint Mr. Symington, after making the engagement."

"And can't you possibly go, dear?" she asked entreatingly.

I think only one man was ever known to pull the cord which set in motion
a guillotine that took off his own head. But there is much unknown, as
well as unwritten, history.

"Not without neglecting some work which I ought to do to-day," he said.

"I think you care more for your work sometimes than you do for me."
There was a little quaver in her voice as she spoke. "And I wish you'd
stop behaving as if I were your daughter. I don't know what ails you
this morning; but if you go on this way I shall call you Professor Silex
all the time. How would you like that?"

A passionate exclamation rose to his lips, and died there. A spasm of
bitter pain made his face for a moment hard and stern. Then he smiled,
and said gently, "I should not like it at all, as you know very well.
But I must go now, or I shall be late for my class. Good-by, dear
child." And, parting her soft, curling hair, he pressed a fatherly kiss
upon her forehead.

She threw her arms about his neck, crying, "No!--on my lips." And,
pressing an eager kiss upon his mouth, she added, "There! that is a
sealing, a fresh sealing, of our engagement; and I wish--oh, how I
wish!--that we were to be married to-morrow--to-day!"

The professor gently disengaged himself from her clinging arms, saying,
still with a smile, "But I thought the wedding-gown was still to make?
Good-by. I will come early this evening and hear all about the enchanted

For the expedition which had been planned by the three for that
afternoon was to explore a little island far down the river, farther
than any of them had yet gone.

Rosamond wore no roses when she went slowly down the bank that day,--not
even in her cheeks.

And when Louis Symington saw her coming alone, only the sunbrown on his
face concealed the sudden rush of blood from it to his heart.

"The professor could not come," she said hurriedly, "so he made me come
without him; that is--I mean--" And she stopped, confused.

"If you prefer to wait until he can go with us, pray do not hesitate to
say so," he replied stiffly, and pausing--with her hand in his--in the
act of helping her into the boat.

"Oh, I did not mean to say anything rude," she exclaimed penitently; and
she stepped across the seats to the cushioned end of the boat. "Of
course we will go; but perhaps--would you mind--couldn't we just take a
little row to-day, and save the island until the professor can go?"

"Certainly," he said, still in the same constrained tone; and, without
another word, he helped her to her place and arranged the cushions about

The silence lasted so long that she felt she could bear it no longer.

"Will you please sing something?" she said at last, desperately, "You
know you sang that first day; and it sounded so lovely on the water. Do
you remember?"

He looked at her fixedly for a moment. Then he said simply, "Yes, I
remember," and began at once to sing. But he did not sing "Twickenham
Ferry" to day. He would have given all he was worth, when he had sung
one line, if he could have changed it into a college song, a negro
melody,--anything. For this was what he found himself singing:

    "How can I bear to leave thee?
    One parting kiss I give thee,
    And then, whate'er befalls me,
    I go where Honor calls me."

She would not hide her face in her hands, but she might turn it away:
how was he to know that she was not watching with breathless interest
the young couple straying along the bank, arm closely linked in arm, in
the sweet June sunshine?

"Thank you," she said faintly, when the last trembling note had died
away: "that was--very pretty."

"I am glad you liked it," he said, with quiet irony in his tones.

And then there was another alarming pause. Anything was better than
that, and she began to talk almost at random, telling of various
laughable things which had occurred among her scholars, laughing
herself, somewhat shrilly, at the places where laughter was due.

He sat silent, unsmiling, through it all until they stepped from the
boat. Then he said, "It is really refreshing to see you in such good
spirits. I had always understood that even the happiest _fiancée_ was
somewhat pensive and melancholy as the day of fate drew near."

"You have no right to speak to me in that way,--in that tone," she
cried, with sudden heat.

He bowed low, saying, "Pardon me; I am only too well aware that I have
no rights of any kind so far as you are concerned. But it is impossible
to efface one's self entirely."

"Now you are angry with me," she said forlornly; "and I don't know what
I have done."

"I angry with _you_!" he cried. "Oh, Rosamond! Rosamond!"

"I am glad if you are not," she said,--"very glad; but I must go--the
professor--" And she sped up the bank before he could speak again.


The professor came early to the seminary that evening, but Rosamond was
ready for him, dressed in a gown of some soft white fabric which he had
noticed and praised. She had roses in her hair, at her throat, in her
belt, but the bright, soft color in her cheeks out-shone them all.

She began, almost as soon as they had exchanged greetings, to talk
about her father, asking the professor how long he had known him, and
what Dr. May had been like as a young man.

"Very shy and retiring," he replied. "I think that was the first link in
our friendship: we both disliked society, and finally made an agreement
with each other to decline all invitations and give up visiting. We
found that everything of the kind interfered materially with advancement
in our studies. But your father had already met your mother several
times when we made this agreement. Their tastes were very similar, and
her quiet, tranquil manner was extremely pleasant to him,--for, as you
know, he was somewhat nervous and excitable,--so he claimed an exception
in her favor; and, after two years of most pleasing intellectual
companionship, they were married. It was a rarely complete and happy

"And I suppose," said Rosamond, with a curious touch of resentment in
her voice, "that because he had never been like other young people, had
never cared for young friends and pleasant times, it did not occur to
him that I ought to have them? Oh, I don't see how he dared to rob me of
my rights,--of my youth, which could only come once, of all life and
pleasure and sunshine!"

"My dear," said the professor, looking very much startled and shocked,
"he had no thought of robbing you: he loved you far too tenderly for
that. You always seemed happy and bright, and you were very young when
he died. No doubt, had he lived until you were of an age to enter

But here she interrupted him with bitter self-reproaches.

"Oh, what have I said?" she cried. "He was all goodness, all love to me,
and I have dared to find fault with him! Oh, what a base, wicked girl I

A choking sob stopped her, but only one. She conquered the rest, and
made a forlorn attempt to change the subject.

"I had something to tell you to-night, dear child," said the professor,
when she was quiet again: "you seem tired, so I will make it as brief
as possible."

A startled look came into her eyes, and she was about to speak, when he

"Let me first say what is upon my mind, and then you shall have your
turn. I wished to tell you that I think we--I--have made a mistake. I am
too confirmed an old bachelor to fall into home ways and make a good
husband. I shall always love you as a dear young daughter, I shall ask
you to let me take in every way your father's place, but I think, if you
will let me off, that we will not have that wedding on the 30th of June,
my little girl."

She raised her eyes in wondering incredulity to his face. He was
smiling! He was speaking playfully! He was giving her back her freedom
with a light heart and a good will. Plainly, the relief would be as
great for him as for her. Laughing and crying in a breath, she clasped
her arms about his neck.

"Ah, how good you are! How I love you _now_!" she said, as soon as she
could speak. "All the time we have been engaged,--yes, even
before,--from the first I have longed to tell you that I would so much
rather be your daughter than your wife; but I thought it would be so
ungracious, after all your kindness to me. _Now_ we shall be happy; you
will see how happy I shall make you. And, oh, how good, how noble you
are to tell me, when, if you had not spoken,--yes, I should have married
you, dear father. I shall always call you father now: papa will not mind
it, I know."

The professor had nothing more to do or say after that until he rose to
go. But when she held up her glowing, sparkling face for his good-night
kiss, he once more parted the curls and kissed her on her forehead,
whereat she pouted a little, saying, with half-pretended displeasure,
"Papa didn't kiss my forehead: he kissed me _right_."

The professor passed his hand, which trembled a little, over her shining
hair, saying, with a paternal smile, "I shall kiss my daughter in the
way that best pleases me. I am going to be a very strict and exacting

She laughed gleefully, as if it were the best joke in the world, and her
merry "Good-night, dear father," followed him as he went out into the

He held Mr. Symington to his engagement to row Rosamond and himself to
the island, but he took with him a large canvas bag and a geological
hammer. And how, pray, could any one talk to, or even stand very near,
him, when he was pounding off bits of rock for specimens with such
energy that fragments flew in all directions? The sound of the hammer
ceased as soon as his companions had disappeared among the trees; they
were going to look for a spring, but, strangely enough, they did not
notice this. No need now for him to school his face, his voice, his
trembling hands. They found the spring.

And did my professor die of a broken heart, and leave a lock of
Rosamond's hair and a thrilling heart-history, in the shape of a
neatly-written journal, to proclaim to the world his sacrifice? No; that
was not his idea of a sacrifice. He burnt that very night each
token--and there were many--which he had so jealously cherished,--each
little, crookedly-written, careless note, and, last, the long bright
curl which, before her heart awoke, she had so freely given him.

It is true that there was a gradual but very perceptible change in him.
He had been indifferent formerly to the members of his class, excepting
from an intellectual stand point. Now he began to take an interest in
that part of their lives which lay outside his jurisdiction, to ask them
to his rooms of an evening, to walk with them and win their confidence.
Not one of them ever regretted that it had been bestowed.



    What do I wish for you? Such swift, keen pain
      As though all griefs that human hearts have known
      Were joined in one to wound and tear your own.
    Such joy as though all heaven had come again
    Into your earth, and tears that fall like rain,
      And all the roses that have ever blown,
      The sharpest thorn, the sceptre and the throne,
    The truest liberty, the captive's chain.

    Cruel, you say? Alas! I've only prayed
      Such fate for you as everywhere, above
    All others, women wish,--that unafraid
      They clasp in eager arms. So, little dove,
    I give you to the hawk. Nay, nay, upbraid
      Me not. Have you not longed for love?



I knew Charles Reade in England far back in "the days that are no more,"
and dined with him at the Garrick Club on the evening before I left
London for New York in 1860, when he gave me parting words of good
advice and asked me to write to him often. Then he added, "I am very
sorry you are going away, my dear boy; but perhaps you are doing a good
thing for yourself in getting out of this God-forsaken country. If I
were twenty years younger, and enjoyed the sea as you do, I might go
with you; but, if travel puts vitality into some men and kills others, I
should be one of the killed. What is one man's food is another's

He was my senior by more than twenty years, and no man that I have known
well was more calculated to inspire love and respect among his friends.
To know him personally, after only knowing him through his writings and
his tilts with those with whom he had "a crow to pick," was a
revelation. He had the reputation of being always "spoiling for a
fight," and the most touchy, crusty, and aggressive author of his time,
surpassing in this respect even Walter Savage Landor. But, though his
trenchant pen was sometimes made to do almost savage work, it was
generally in the chivalric exposure of some abuse or in the effort to
redress some grievous wrong. Then indeed he was fired with righteous
indignation. The cause had to be a just one, however, before he did
battle in its behalf, for no bold champion of the right ever had more
sterling honesty and sincerity in his character, or more common sense
and less quixotism.

His placid and genial manner and amiable characteristics in his
every-day home-life presented a striking contrast to his irritability
and indignation under a sense of injury; for whenever he considered
himself wronged or insulted his wrath boiled up with the suddenness of a
squall at sea. He resented a slight, real or imaginary, with unusual
outspokenness and vigor, and said, "I never forgive an injury or an
insult." But in this he may have done himself injustice. Generally, he
was one of the most sympathetic and even lovable of men, and his pure
and resolute manhood appeared in its truest light to those who knew him

While genial in disposition, he could not be called either mirthful or
jovial, and so could neither easily turn any unpleasant incident off
with a joke or be turned off by one. He needed a little more of the
easy-going good humor and freedom from anxiety that fat men are
popularly supposed to possess to break the force of collisions with the
world. Had he been more of an actor and less of a student in the drama
of life, he would have been less sensitive.

His conscientiousness and honesty of purpose were really admirable; and
rather than break a contract or disappoint any one to whom he had made a
promise he would subject himself to any amount of inconvenience. For
example, he would, whenever necessary, retire to Oxford and write
against time in order to have his manuscript ready for the printer when
wanted. Much, too, as he disliked burning the midnight oil or any kind
of night-work, and the strain that artificial light imposed upon his
eyes, he would write late in his rooms, or read up on subjects he was
writing about in the reading-room in the Radcliffe Library building till
it closed at ten P.M. He had, it will be seen, a high sense of duty, and
"business before pleasure" was a precept he never neglected.

In personal appearance Charles Reade, without being handsome, was
strongly built and fine-looking. He was about six feet in height,
broad-chested and well proportioned, and without any noticeable
physical peculiarity. His head was well set on his shoulders, and,
though not unusually small, might have been a trifle larger without
marring the symmetry of his figure.

His features were not massive, but prominent, strong, and regular, and
his large, keen, grayish-brown eyes were the windows of his mind,
through which he looked out upon the world with an expressive, eager,
and inquiring gaze, and through which those who conversed with him could
almost read his thoughts before he uttered them. He had a good broad
forehead, well-arched eyebrows, and straight, dark-brown hair, parted at
the side, which, like his entirely unshaven beard, he wore short until
late in life. In his dress and manner he was rather _négligé_ than
precise, and he bestowed little thought on his personal appearance or
what Mrs. Grundy might say. Taking him all in all, the champion of James
Lambert looked the lion-hearted hero that he was.

In his personal habits and tastes he was always simple, quiet, regular,
and he was strictly temperate. He had no liking for dissipation of any
kind. He found his pleasure in his work, as all true workers in the
pursuit for which they are best fitted always do. The proper care he
took of himself accounted in part for his well-developed muscular system
and his good health until within a few years of his death,
notwithstanding his studious and sedentary life.

Among literary men he had few intimates, and he was not connected with
any clique of authors or journalists. He thought this was one reason why
the London reviewers--whom he once styled "those asses the
critics"--were so unfriendly toward him. He was not of their set, and
some of them regarded him as a sort of literary Ishmael, who had his
hand raised against all his contemporaries, a quarrelsome and
cantankerous although very able man, and therefore to be ignored or sat
down upon whenever possible. He once said, "I don't know a man on the
press who would do me a favor. The press is a great engine, of course,
but its influence is vastly overrated. It has the credit of leading
public opinion, when it only follows it; and look at the
rag-tag-and-bobtail that contribute to it. Even the London 'Times' only
lives for a day. My books have made their way in spite of the press."

Speaking of publishers, he said, "They want all the fat, and they all
lie about their sales. Unless you have somebody in the press-room to
watch, it is almost impossible to find out how many copies of a book
they print. Then there is a detestable fashion about publishers. I had
to fight a very hard battle to get the public to take a novel published
by Trübner, simply because he was not known as a novel-publisher; but I
was determined not to let Bentley or any of his kidney have all the fat
any longer."

Trübner, I may mention, published for him on commission, and under this
arrangement he manufactured his own books and assumed all risks.

In the sense of humor and quick perception of the ludicrous he was
somewhat deficient, and he was too passionately in earnest and too
matter-of-fact about everything ever to attempt a joke, practical or
otherwise. Life to him was always a serious drama, calling for tireless
vigilance; and he watched all the details of its gradual unfolding with
constant anxiety and care, in so far as it concerned himself.

His love for the glamour of the stage led him often to the theatre; but
whenever he saw anything "murdered" there, especially one of his own
plays, it incensed him, and sometimes almost to fury. He loved
music,--not, as he said, the bray of trumpets and the squeak of fiddles,
but melody; and occasionally, seated at a piano, he sang, in a voice
sweet and low and full of pathos, some tender English ditty.

Charles Reade had a real talent for hard work, not that occasional
exclusive devotion to it during the throes of composition to which
Balzac gave himself up night and day to an extent that utterly isolated
him from the world for the time being, but steady, systematic, willing
labor,--a labor, I might say, of love, for he never begrudged it,--which
began every morning, when nothing special interfered with it, after a
nine-o'clock breakfast and continued until late in the afternoon. He was
too practical and methodical to work by fits and starts. Generally he
laid down his pen soon after four P.M.; but often he continued writing
till it was time to dress for dinner, which he took either at home or at
the Garrick Club, as the spirit moved him, except when he dined out,
which was not very often,--for, although he was most genial and social
in a quiet way among his intimates, he had no fondness for general
society or large dinner-parties. Yet his town residence, at No. 6 Bolton
Row, was not only at the West End, but in Mayfair, the best part of it;
and, although a bachelor to the end of his days, he kept house. He
afterwards resided at No. 6 Curzon Street, also in Mayfair, and then
took a house at No. 2 Albert Terrace, Knightsbridge, but gave it up not
long before his death, which occurred in Blomfield Terrace, Shepherd's
Bush, a London suburb.

"This capacity, this zest of yours for steady work," I once remarked to
him, "almost equals Sir Walter Scott's. With your encyclopædic,
classified, and indexed note-books and scrap-books, you are one of the
wonders of literature."

"Well," he replied, "these are the tools of my trade, and the time and
labor I spend on them are well invested." Then he went on to say of
literary composition, "Genius without labor, we all know, will not keep
the pot boiling. But I doubt whether one may not put too much labor into
his work as well as too little, and spend too much time in polishing.
Rough vigor often hits the nail better than the most studied and
polished sentences. It doesn't do to write above the heads or the tastes
of the people. I make it a rule to put a little good and a little bad
into every page I write, and in that way I am likely to suit the taste
of the average reader. The average reader is no fool, neither is he an
embodiment of all the knowledge, wit, and wisdom in the world."

He valued success as a dramatic author more highly than as a novelist,
and was always yearning for some great triumph on the stage. In this
respect he was like Bulwer Lytton, who once said to me, "I think more of
my poems and 'The Lady of Lyons' and 'Richelieu' than of all my novels,
from 'Pelham' to 'What will he do with it?'" (which was the last he had
then written). "A poet's fame is lasting, a novelist's is comparatively
ephemeral." Moved by a similar sentiment, Reade once said, "The most
famous name in English literature and all literature is a dramatist's;
and what pygmies Fielding and Smollett, and all the modern novelists,
from Dickens, the head and front of them, down to that milk-and-water
specimen of mediocrity, Anthony Trollope, seem beside him!"[1]

He had little taste for poetry, because of his strong preference for
prose as a vehicle of thought and expression. He, however, greatly
admired Byron, Shelley, and Scott, and paid a passing compliment to
Swinburne, except as to the too fiery amatory ardor of his first poems;
but he considered Tennyson, with all his polish, little better than a
versifier, and said his plays of "Dora" and "The Cup" would have been
"nice enough as spectacles without words." For those great masters of
prose fiction and dramatic art, Victor Hugo and Dumas _père_, he had
unbounded admiration, and of the former in particular he always spoke
with enthusiasm as the literary giant of his age, and to him,
notwithstanding his extravagances, assigned the first place among
literary Frenchmen. Dumas he ranked second, except as a dramatist; and
here he believed him to be without a superior among his contemporaries.

For several years after I came to New York Charles Reade and I kept up a
close friendly correspondence, and he sent me proof-sheets of "The
Cloister and the Hearth" in advance of its publication in England, so
that the American reprint of the work might appear simultaneously
therewith, which it did through my arrangements with Rudd & Carleton. He
also sent me two of his own plays,--"Nobs and Snobs" and "It is Never
Too Late to Mend," drawn from his novel of that name,--in the hope that
the managers of some of the American theatres would produce them; but,
notwithstanding their author's fame, their own superior merit, and my
personal efforts, the expectation was disappointed, owing, as Mr. Reade
said, to their preferring to steal rather than to buy plays,--a charge
only too well sustained by the facts. Another play, written by a friend
of his, that he sent me, met with a like reception.

The first letter I received from Charles Reade after my arrival in New
York ran thus:

"6 BOLTON ROW, MAYFAIR, July 14 [1860].

"Dear Cornwallis,--I was much pleased to hear from you, and to find you
were one of the editors of the 'New York Herald.' A young man of talent
like you ought to succeed, when so many muffs roll in one clover-field
all their days.

"Not to be behindhand in co-operating with your fortunes, I called on
Trübner at once about your Japanese letters....

"If you will be my prime minister and battle the sharps for me over
there, I shall be very glad. I am much obliged by your advice and
friendly information. Pray continue to keep me _au fait_.

"My forthcoming work, 'The Eighth Commandment,' is a treatise. It is
partly autobiographical. You shall have a copy....

"I should take it very kindly of you if you would buy for me any copies
(I don't care if the collection should grow to a bushel of them, or a
sack) of any American papers containing characteristic
matter,--melodramas, trials, anything spicy and more fully reported than
in the 'Weekly Tribune,' which I take in. Don't be afraid to lay out
money for me in this way, which I will duly repay; only please write on
the margin what the paper contains that is curious. You see I am not
very modest in making use of you. You do the same with me. You will find
I shall not forget you.

"Yours, very sincerely,

In a letter dated February 8, 1861, he wrote me, "Your London publishers
sent me a copy of your narrative of your tour with the Prince of Wales"
("Royalty in the New World, or The Prince of Wales in America"), "which
I have read with much pleasure....

"I have on hand just now one or two transactions which require so much
intelligence, firmness, and friendly feeling to bring them to a
successful issue that, as far as I am concerned, I would naturally much
rather profit by your kind offer than risk matters so delicate in busy,
careless, and uninventive hands. I will, therefore, take you at your
word, and make you my plenipotentiary.

"I produced some time ago a short story, called 'A Good Fight,' in 'Once
a Week.' I am now building on the basis of that short tale a large and
very important mediæval novel in three volumes" ("The Cloister and the
Hearth"), "full of incident, character, and research. Naturally, I do
not like to take nothing for manuscript for, say, seven hundred pages at
least of fresh and good matter. But here pinches the shoe.... Please not
to show this to any publisher, but only the enclosed, with which you can
take the field as my plenipotentiary. I think this affair will tax your
generalship. I shall be grateful in proportion as you can steer my bark
safe through the shoals. Shall be glad to have a line from you by
return, and will send a part of the sheets out in a fortnight. I think
you may speak with confidence of this work as likely to produce some
sensation in England."

In July he wrote, "You had better agree with them" (Rudd & Carleton)
"for twenty per cent., and let me take care of you, or I foresee you
will get nothing for your trouble. I only want fifteen for myself, and a
_true return_ of the copies sold. That is where we poor authors are
done. Will you look to that? I have placed five pounds to your
credit,--this with the double object of enabling you to buy me an
American scrap-book or two (no poetry, for God's sake!) of
newspaper-cuttings, and also to reimburse a number of little expenses
you have been at for me and too liberal to mention."

On September 12, 1861, he wrote, "I send you herewith the first
instalment of early sheets of my new novel. The title is 'The Cloister
and the Hearth.' I am ashamed to say the work will contain fifteen
hundred of these pages. If you are out of it, I will take fifteen per
cent.; if you are in it, twelve. But I look to you to secure a genuine
return, for that is the difficulty with these publishers. There is
considerable competition among publishers here to have the book, and I
am only hanging back to get you out the sheets. Now you know the number
of pages (for the work is written), it would be advisable to set up

On September 26, 1861, he wrote, "As we shall certainly come out next
week, I shall be in considerable anxiety until I hear from you that all
the instalments sent by me have safely arrived and are in type. To
secure despatch, I have sent them all by post, and, owing to the
greediness of the United States government, it has cost me five pounds.
I do not for a moment suppose the work will sell well during the civil
war; but it is none the less important to occupy the shops with it, and
then perhaps on the return of peace and the fine arts it will not be
pirated away from us. I hope I have been sufficiently explicit to make
you master of this book's destiny."

On October 18, 1861, he wrote, "We have now been out a fortnight, and,
as it is my greatest success, we are gone coons if you are not out by
this time."

A week later his uneasiness had been allayed by a letter from me
announcing the publication of the work in New York, and he wrote, "I
think you have done very well, considering the complicated difficulties
you have had to contend against in this particular transaction. The
work is quite the rage here, I assure you. We sold the first edition (a
thousand) at one pound eleven shillings and sixpence in one fortnight
from date of publication, and have already orders for over two hundred
of the second at same price, which we are now printing.

"I will this day place in S. Low's hands for you the manuscript of 'Nobs
and Snobs,' a successful play of mine, luckily unpublished. Treat with a
New York manager or a Boston manager for this on these terms. Sell them
the sole use of it in one city only for ten dollars per night of
representation, the play not to be locked up or shelved, but to return
to you at the conclusion of the run."

Then follows a "sketch of agreement" to be made with managers; for in
all business-matters he was extremely particular, and sometimes
needlessly anxious about trifles.

In the same letter he went on to remark, "I say ten dollars as being
enough and not a halfpenny too much. It is all I ask. If you can get
fifteen dollars on these terms, pocket the balance. But never sell the
provincial right to a New York manager. It is worth a great deal more
than the New York right, properly worked. It is no use showing it to
Laura Keene. I spoke to her in England about it.

"With many thanks for your zeal and intelligence, and hoping that we may
contrive, somehow or other, one day or other to make a hit together, I
am yours, etc."

On November 19, 1861, he wrote, "Now for your book. Trübner is
fair-dealing, but powerless as a publisher. All the pushing is done by
me. I have had a long and hard fight to get the public here to buy a
novel published by him, and could hardly recommend another to go through
it. If done on commission and by Trübner, I could take it under my wing
in the advertisements.

"Next week I expect to plead the great case of Reade _v._ Conquest"
(manager of the Grecian Theatre, London) "in the Court of Common Pleas.
If I win, I shall bring out my drama 'Never Too Late to Mend' and send
it out to you to deal with. Please collect Yankee critiques (on 'The
Cloister and the Hearth') for me; the more the better."

On November 1, 1861, he wrote, "I send you 'Saunders & Otley's Monthly,'
containing an elaborate review of 'The Cloister,' etc. I don't know the
writer, but he seems to be no fool. I do hope, my dear fellow, you will
watch the printers closely, and so get me some money, for I am weighed
down by _law-expenses_,--Reade _v._ Bentley, Reade _v._ Lacy, Reade _v._
Conquest,--all in defence of my own. And don't trust the play above
twenty-four hours out of your own hand. Theatricals are awful liars and
thieves. I co-operate by writing to Ticknors and H---- not to pirate you
if they wish to remain on business terms with me. Second edition all but
gone; third goes to press Monday. Everybody says it is my best book."

On the next day he wrote, "I am a careful man, and counted every page I
sent you, and sealed and posted them with my own hand. I am quite
satisfied with the agreement with Rudd & Carleton, if there is to be no
false printer's return. The only thing that makes me a little uneasy is
your apparent confidence that they could not cheat us out of twenty
thousand dollars by this means if extraordinary vigilance were not used.
They can, and will, with as little remorse as a Newgate thief would,
unless singular precautions are used. If I was there I would have a
secret agent in the printing-house to note each order, its date and
amount, in writing. The plates being yours, you have, in fact, a legal
right to inspect the printer's books. But this is valueless. The printer
would cook his books to please the publisher. You can have no conception
of the villany done under all these sharing agreements. But forewarned
forearmed. Think of some way of baffling this invariable fraud. Ask a
knowing printer some way. Do anything but underrate the danger.

"The importance of the work not being the least foreseen, I believe
Rudd & Carleton have 'The Cloister' all to themselves.... Every American
who has seen Ticknors' returns assures me they are false, and
ridiculously so. It goes against my heart to believe it, but everybody
is seldom wrong. My opinion is they will all make a false return if they
can. _Verbum sap._ And now, my dear boy, let me thank you for all the
trouble you have taken in this complicated affair, and assure you that
if I am anxious for a just return it is partly in order that I may be in
a position to take care of _you_. For I am sure if _I_ don't nobody else

"'Nobs and Snobs,' a play, has gone out in Low's parcel. If the managers
will be quick, you can make this copyright by not calling it 'Honor
before Titles'" (the sub-title under which it had been copyrighted in
England). "Then, to bind the thing together, I write a different
conclusion to the second act, and send it you enclosed. It is hasty, but
it will do; and if you can get Jem Wallack to play Pierre, he will do
wonders with the change from drunkenness to sobriety and then to
incipient madness. The only stage directions required will occur at once
to you. Drop should fall on Pierre with a ghastly look, like a man
turned to stone, between the two females. I now close, wishing us both
success in this attempt to open new veins of ore. I have other plays in
manuscript, and one in progress."

On November 9 he wrote under a misapprehension of the terms of an
agreement about which I had written to him, and evinced his usual
anxiety and impatience when anything seemed to go wrong. If, said he,
this and that happens, "Rudd & Carleton can swindle us out of every
dollar. I confess this stipulation terrifies me. If you have not done
so, for God's sake draw a written agreement in these terms. I shall pass
a period of great anxiety until I hear from you. But, for heaven's sake,
a written agreement, or you will never get one halfpenny. These fears
seem ungracious, after all the trouble you have taken. But it is a most
dangerous situation, and not to be remained in a day or an hour. Draw
on Rudd & Carleton as soon as ever you can."

On the 9th of December following he had heard from me again, and found
he was mistaken. He wrote, "I am in receipt of your last, which is very
encouraging. You were quite right to do as you did. Give Rudd & Carleton
no loop-hole. They will soon owe us a good round sum, and will writhe
like Proteus to escape paying it."

On January 17, 1862, he wrote, "It puts me in some little doubt whether
to take your book 'Pilgrims of Fashion' to Trübner or Low. Low will sell
more copies if he tries, but he will charge more percentage, and I shall
not be able to creep you in among my own advertisements. However, you
give me discretion, and I shall look to your advantage as well as I can.
To-day I had to argue the great case of Reade _v._ Conquest. I argued it
in person. Judgment is deferred. The court raised no grave objections to
my reasoning, but many to the conclusions of defendant's counsel: so it
looks pretty well.

"As to 'Nobs and Snobs,' I know the theatrical managers: they will not
deal except with thieves, if they can help it. Keep it ten years, if
necessary, till some theatre will play it. You will find that all those
reasons they have given you will disappear the moment it is played in
England, and then the game will be to steal it. Copyright it in your
name and mine, if a manuscript can be so protected, and I will enter it
here in my name and yours.

"Considering the terrible financial crisis impending over the United
States, I feel sad misgivings as to my poor 'Cloister.' It would indeed
be a relief if the next mail would bring me a remittance,--not out of
your pocket, but by way of discount from the publishers. I am much
burdened with lawsuits and the outlay, without immediate return, of
publishing four editions" (of "The Cloister and the Hearth"). "Will you
think of this, and try them, if not done already? Many thanks for the
scrap-book and for making one. Mind and classify yours. You will never
regret it. Dickens and Thackeray both offer liberally to me for a serial
story." (Dickens then edited "All the Year Bound," and Thackeray "The
Cornhill Magazine.")

On January 27, 1862, he wrote, "The theatrical managers are all liars
and thieves. The reason they decline my play is, they hope to get it by
stealing it. They will play it fast enough the moment it has been
brought out here and they can get it without paying a shilling for it.
Your only plan is to let them know it shall never come into their hands

In a letter undated, but written in the same month, he wrote, "My next
story" ("Very Hard Cash"). "This is a matter of considerable importance.
It is to come out first in 'All the Year Round,' and, foreseeing a
difficulty in America, I have protected myself in that country by a
stringent clause. The English publishers bind themselves to furnish me
very early sheets and not to furnish them to any other person but my
agent. This and another clause enable me to offer the consecutive early
sheets to a paper or periodical, and the complete work in advance on
that to a book-publisher. I am quite content with three hundred pounds
for the periodical, but ask five per cent. on the book. It will be a
three-volume novel,--a story of the day, with love, money, fighting,
manoeuvring, medicine, religion, adventures by sea and land, and some
extraordinary revelations of fact clothed in the garb of fiction. In
short, unless I deceive myself, it will make a stir. Please to settle
this one way or other, and let me know. I wrote to this effect to
Messrs. Harper. Will you be kind enough to place this before them? If
they consent, you can conclude with them at once."

Messrs. Harper Brothers had always dealt very generously and courteously
toward Mr. Reade, and they were offered "The Cloister and the Hearth" in
the first instance, but did not feel willing to pay as high a royalty as
Messrs. Rudd & Carleton did, in the then depressed condition of the
book-trade and in view of their having previously published and paid
for "A Good Fight," and hence the agreement made with the latter firm.
They evinced a spirit of kind forbearance in refraining from printing a
rival edition of the work, and Mr. Reade remained on very friendly terms
with them to the end of his days.

On February 13, 1862, he wrote from Magdalen College, Oxford, "I have
defeated Conquest, and am just concluding the greatest drama I ever
wrote,--viz., my own version of 'Never Too Late to Mend.' I will send
you out a copy in manuscript, and hold back for publication. But I fear
you will find that no amount of general reputation or particular merit
of the composition offered will ever open the door of a Yankee theatre
to a dramatic inventor. The managers are 'fences,' or receivers of
stolen goods. They would rather steal and lose money than buy and make
it. However, we will give the blackguards a trial."

On March 22, 1862, he wrote, "Only yesterday I wrote to you in
considerable alarm and anxiety. This anxiety has been happily removed by
the arrival of your letter enclosing a draft for the amount and Rudd &
Carleton's account up to date. I think you showed great judgment in the
middle course you have taken by accepting their figures _on account_.
All that remains now is to suspect them and to watch them and get what
evidence is attainable. The printers are better than the binders for
that, if accessible. But I know by experience the heads of the
printing-house will league with the publisher to hoodwink the author. I
have little doubt they have sold more than appear on the account."

On March 7, 1862, he wrote, "Many thanks, my dear fellow, for your zeal;
rely on it, I will not be backward in pushing your interests here, and
we will have a success or two together on both sides of the Atlantic. I
mean soon to have a publishing organ completely devoted to my views, and
then, if you will look out sharp for the best American books and serial
stories, I think we could put a good deal of money into your hands in
return for judgment, expedition, and zeal."

On March 28, 1862, he wrote, "You are advertised with me this week in
the 'Saturday' and 'London' Reviews. Next week you will be in the
'Athenæum,' 'Times,' 'Post,' and other dailies. The cross-column
advertisements in 'Athenæum' cost thirty shillings, 'Literary Gazette'
fifteen shillings, and so on. You will see at once this could not have
been done except by junction. I propose to bind in maroon cloth, like
'The Cloister:' it looks very handsome. I congratulate you on being a
publicist. Political disturbances are bad for books, but journals thrive
on them. Do not give up the search for scrap-books, especially
classified ones."

He wrote me on April 2, 1862, "This will probably reach you before my
great original drama 'It is Never Too Late to Mend,' which has gone by a
slower conveyance. When you receive, please take it to Miss Kean" (Laura
Keene), "and with it the enclosed page. You will tell her that, as this
is by far the most important drama I have ever written, and entirely
original, I wish her to have the refusal, and, if she will not do it
herself, I hope she will advise you how to place it. Here in England we
are at the dead-lock. The provincial theatres and the second-class
theatres are pestering me daily for it. But I will not allow it to be
produced except at a first-class theatre. I have wrested it by four
actions in law and equity from the hands of pirates, and now they shall
smart for pirating me. At the present time, therefore, any American
manager who may have the sense and honesty to treat with me will be
quite secure from the competition of English copies. I have licked old
Conquest, and the lawyers are now fighting tooth and nail over the
costs. The judges gave me one hundred and sixty pounds damages, but, as
I lost the demurrer with costs, the balance will doubtless be small.
But, if the pecuniary result is small, the victory over the pirates and
the venal part of the press is great."

He wrote on May 30, 1862, "As for writing a short story on the spur, it
is a thing I never could do in my life. My success in literature is
owing to my throwing my whole soul into the one thing I am doing. And at
present I am over head and ears in the story for Dickens" ("Very Hard
Cash"). "Write to me often. The grand mistake of friends at a distance
is not corresponding frequently enough. Thus the threads of business are
broken, as well as the silken threads of sentiment. Thanks about the
drama" ("It is Never Too Late to Mend"). "I have but faint hopes. It is
the best thing I ever wrote of any kind, and therefore I fear no manager
will ever have brains to take it."

On June 20, 1862, he wrote of his forthcoming story, "Between ourselves,
the story" ("Very Hard Cash") "will be worth as many thousands as I have
asked hundreds. I suppose they think I am an idiot, or else that I have
no idea of the value of my works in the United States. I put 6 Bolton
Row" (the usual address on his letters) "because that is the safest
address for you to write to; but in reality I have been for the last
month, and still am, buried in Oxford, working hard upon the story. My
advice to you is to enter into no literary speculations during this
frightful war. Upon its conclusion, by working in concert, we might do
something considerable together."

On August 5, 1862, he wrote from Magdalen College, where he was to
remain until the 1st of October, "I shall be truly thankful if you
postpone your venture till peace is re-established. I am quite sure that
a new weekly started now would inevitably fail. You could not print the
war as Leslie and Harper do, and who cares for the still small voice of
literature and fiction amongst the braying of trumpets and the roll of
drums? Do the right thing at the right time, my boy: that is how hits
are made. If you will postpone till a convenient season, I will work
with you and will hold myself free of all engagements in order to do so.
I am myself accumulating subjects with a similar view, and we might do
something more than a serial story, though a serial story must always be
the mainspring of success."

He wrote on September 6, 1862, "I am glad you have varied your project
by purchasing an established monthly" ("The Knickerbocker Magazine")
"instead of starting a new weekly. I will form no new engagements nor
promise early sheets without first consulting you. I will look out for
you, and as soon as my large story is completed will try if I cannot do
something for you myself."

On the 29th of June, 1863, he wrote, "I am much pleased with your
'Knickerbocker Magazine,' and cannot too much admire your energy and
versatility. Take notice, I recommended you Miss Braddon's works while
they were to be had for a song. 'Lost and Saved,' by Mrs. Norton, will
make you a good deal of money if you venture boldly on it and publish
it. It is out-and-out the best new thing, and rather American. If you
hear of any scrap-books containing copious extracts from American
papers, I am open to purchase at a fair price, especially if the
extracts are miscellaneous and dated, and, above all, if classified. I
shall, also be grateful if you will tell me whether there is not a
journal that reports trials, and send me a specimen. Command me whenever
you think I can be of an atom of use to you."

Charles Reade's letters were always highly characteristic of him. In
these he mentally photographed himself, for he always wrote with candid
unreserve, whether to friend or foe, and he liked to talk with the pen.
Both by nature and education he was fitted for a quiet, studious,
scholarly life, and with pen and paper and books he was always at home.
He liked, too, at intervals the cloister-like life he led at Magdalen
College. With nothing to disturb him in his studies and his work, with
glimpses of bright green turf and umbrageous recesses and gray old
buildings with oriel windows that were there before England saw the Wars
of the Roses, his environment was picturesque, and his bursar's cap and
gown became him well, yet seemed to remove him still further from the
busy world and suggest some ecclesiastical figure of the fifteenth
century. He was a D.C.L., and known as Dr. Reade in the college, just as
if he had never written a novel or a play and had been untrumpeted by

There, in his rooms on "Staircase No. 2," with "Dr. Reade" over the
door, he labored _con amore_. Indeed, he was amid more congenial
surroundings and more truly in his element in the atmosphere of the
ancient university than in London or anywhere else. By both nature and
habit he was more fitted to enjoy the cloister than the hearth, although
he by no means undervalued the pleasures of society and domestic life.
The children of his brain--his own works--seemed to be the only ones he
cared for; and, loving and feeling proud of his literary family, he was
mentally satisfied. Yet no man was a keener observer of home-life, and
his portraiture of women and analysis of female character, although
unvarying as to types, were singularly true and penetrating. His
Fellowship was the principal cause of his never marrying, the next most
important one being that he was always wedded to his pen; and
literature, like law, is a jealous mistress. He had some idea of this
kind when he said, "An author married is an author marred,"--an
adaptation from Shakespeare, who was ungallant enough to say, "A young
man married is a man that's marred." But a good and suitable wife would
have given _éclat_ to his social life.

His splendid courage and the manliness of his character always commanded
admiration, and his hatred of injustice and wrong, cant and hypocrisy,
was in harmony with the nobility and passionate earnestness of his
nature. He was the friend of the workingman, the poor, and the
oppressed; and he exposed the abuses of jails and lunatic-asylums and
trades-unions, and much besides, in the interest of humanity and as a
disinterested philanthropist. He fought, too, the battles of his
fellow-authors on the copyright questions with the same tremendous
energy that he displayed in his struggles for practical reform in other
directions; and as a practical reformer through his novels he, like
Dickens, accomplished a great deal of good. When moved by strong
impulses in this direction, he seemed indeed to write with a quivering
pen, dipped not in ink, but in fire and gall and blood, and to imbue
what he wrote with his own vital force and magnetic spirit.

Measuring his literary stature at a glance, it must, however, be
admitted that, notwithstanding his high average of excellence, he was a
very uneven writer, and hence between his worst and his best work there
is a wide distance in point of merit. But the best of his writings as
well deserves immortality as anything ever penned in fiction. Although
inferior to them in some respects, he was superior in epigrammatic
descriptive power to the most famous of his English and French
contemporaries, and particularly in his descriptions of what he had
never seen or experienced, but only read about. Take, for instance, his
Australian scenes in "It is Never Too Late to Mend," where the effect of
the song of the English skylark in the gold-diggings is told with
touching brevity and pathos. Yet all his information concerning
Australia had been gained by reading newspaper correspondence and books
on that country. He made no secret of this, and said in substance, as
frankly as he spoke of his scrap-books, "I read these to save me from
the usual trick of describing a bit of England and calling it the
antipodes." He could infuse life into the dry figures of a blue-book;
but in the mere portraiture of ordinary conventional society manners,
free from the sway of strong passions and emotions, he did not greatly
excel writers of far inferior ability. He had the graphic simplicity and
realism of De Foe in describing places he had never seen; and as the
historian of a country or a period in which he felt interested he would
have been unusually brilliant, for he was an adept in picturesque
condensation, and knew how to improve upon his originals and use them
without copying a word. He was a master of vigorous English.



We have left the golden hills and laughing valleys of Tuscany behind us
as we approach that desert part of it where the gray chalk cliffs
stretch out into the Maremma in long narrow tongues of rock, not far
from Siena. A frightful convulsion of nature in prehistoric times rent
the solid rock, seaming it with chasms so wide and deep that the region
is almost depopulated, not only because man can with difficulty find
room for the sole of his foot, but because the gases which lie over the
Maremma in vapors thick enough to destroy life in a single night rise up
to the top of these cliffs and reduce the dwellers there to fever-worn
shadows. Even the scattered olive-trees that have taken root in the thin
layer of soil are of the same hue, and the few clumps of cypresses add
to the pallor of the scene with their dark funereal shafts. The only bit
of color is where a cluster of low red-washed houses have found room for
their scanty foundations on a knot of rock where several chasms
converge. Where the sides of the chasms slope gently enough to admit of
being terraced, vineyards are planted, which yield famous wines, the red
Aleatico and the white Vino Santo, rivalling in quality the Monte
Pulciano, which grows only a short distance away. Farther down in the
depths thickets of scrub oak and wild vines form oases that are
invisible unless one is standing on the brink.

The epithet "God-forsaken," so often applied to regions like this,
would, however, be inappropriate here, for in God's name the locality is
famous. On a promontory whose sides fall down in sheer precipices all
about, except where a narrow neck of rock connects it with the net-work
of cliffs, is a vast monastery, the Mother Abbey of the Olivetani. In
1313 a noble of Siena, Bernardo Tolomei, in the midst of a life of
literary distinctions and pleasures, received, it is said, the grace of
God. He was struck blind, and in his prayers vowed if he recovered his
sight to embrace a life of penitence. It was the divine will that his
vows should be fulfilled, and his sight was immediately restored. Two
friends of the noblest Italian families, the Patrizzi and Piccolomini,
joined him in leaving the world to become hermits in the desert. The
chalky cliffs overhanging the Maremma on Bernardo's estates were
selected as a fitting retreat: here they dug grottoes in the sides of a
precipice and lived on roots and water. They were soon followed by so
many penitents as to form a community requiring a government, and, the
necessity of this being made plain to them through a vision, in which
Bernardo saw a silver ladder suspended between heaven and earth, on
which white-robed monks were ascending accompanied by angels, he was
urged to go to Avignon and obtain an audience of the Pope, who gave to
the community the rule of St. Benedict.

For a century the friars labored in building their convent to
accommodate the needs of their ever-increasing numbers: the one vast
cloister was not enough, and another was added; the primitive chapel was
enlarged into a stately church, and the abbey walls were extended until,
enclosing the garden, they covered the entire promontory. Then they
ceased from their labors, and began to establish other monasteries and
send out swarms from the mother-hive to fill them, until the executive
and administrative ability to govern a small kingdom had to be supplied
from their numbers, and manual work had to give way to mental.

Another century found the abbey governed by men of culture and lovers of
the fine arts; and the celebrated painted cloister, the intarsia-work,
and the wooden sculptures, which now attract so many visitors, date from
that time. Nearly all the movable works of art, the pictures,
illuminated missals, and precious manuscripts, were confiscated at the
time of the first suppression under Napoleon, in 1810; and whatever else
could be carried off went in 1866, when the religious orders were
suppressed by the Italian government, to embellish the museums. Still,
the empty cloister, with Signorelli's and Sodoma's frescos on the walls,
Fra Giovanni of Verona's intarsia-work in the church, and the solitary
monastery itself, so silent after centuries of activity, have an
inexpressible charm, and travellers who undertake a pilgrimage hither
can never forget their impressions.

On a sunny autumn afternoon three ladies left Siena in a light wagon,
and drove over the gray upland, which was shrouded in a pale blue mist,
through the picturesque hamlet of Buonconvento. Here they changed their
horse and left the Roman highway for the road cut in the rocks five
centuries ago by the monks of Monte Oliveto. These pious men understood
little of engineering, of the art of throwing bridges across ravines.
Their road simply followed the course pointed out by nature, winding in
serpentine folds through the labyrinth of chasms which begin at

It was toward evening when the party drove over a narrow bridge across a
half-filled moat, and under the arch of a massive crenellated tower
whose unguarded gates stood wide open. A hundred years ago they would
have found the portcullis drawn, and, being women, if they had attempted
to force an entrance would have been excommunicated, for until the
suppression no woman's foot was allowed across this threshold. The tower
was built as a protection against bandits, and the grated windows which
give it a sinister look to-day lighted the cells of refractory brothers,
placed here to catch the eye of novices as they entered the outer portal
and serve as a silent warning.

The convent was still invisible, and our three visitors were speculating
on what they would find at the end of the grass-grown _allée_ bordered
with cypresses, when they saw, in a ravine below, a white-robed figure
hastening toward them.

"That must be the Padre Abbate," one of them exclaimed. "I hope he has
received our padre's letter telling of our coming, for it would be worse
than an attack of the bandits of old, our falling upon him at this hour
on a Saturday evening without any warning."

They had alighted in front of the church when the padre arrived quite
out of breath,--a tall, stately old man, with white hair flowing over
the turned-back cowl of his spotless white robe. If they had known
nothing of him before, his courtly manner and easy reception would have
revealed his noble lineage.

"Be welcome, be welcome, my daughters, to the lonely Thebaid. I have
received the padre's letter, and am happy to receive his friends as my
honored guests for a month, if you can support the solitude so long," he
added, smiling. "And, now, which is the signora, and which the Signorina
Giulia and the Signorina Margherita?"

"I am the signora," said one of the three, laughing, the last one would
have suspected of being a matron. She had lost her husband at twenty,
and her four years of European travel had been a seeking after
forgetfulness, until she had grown to be satisfied with the
companionship of two gentle women artists, who, absorbed in their
vocation, walked in God's ways and were blessed with peace and

After each had found her place and name in the padre's pure, soft Tuscan
accent, he led the way to the convent door, apologizing for the meagre
hospitality he could offer them. "Would the signore like some bread and
wine before supper?" What could they know of the hours in an abbey,
where it was an almost unheard-of distinction to be received as personal
guests, tourists in general having their own refectory set apart for
them during their stay? and so they declined. They had by this time
reached a low, arched side-door, which grated on its hinges after the
padre had turned the huge key in the rusty lock and opened it. They
entered a wide stone vestibule, and found themselves opposite another
arched door set in arabesque stone carvings: the flags echoed under
their feet as they turned to the right and traversed a low, vaulted
passage that ended in an open cloister. An arched gallery ran round the
four sides, held up by slender, dark stone pillars, above which was a
row of small arched cell windows. The court was paved with flags, and in
the centre was a well, divested of pulley and rope. An impression of
melancholy began to weigh upon the guests, when a great shaggy dog came
springing toward them, barking. The padre quieted him with, "Down, Piro!
down!" adding, "He is very good, though his manner is a little rough: he
is not used to ladies. But he will not be so impolite again, I am sure."

"Oh, I hope he will," said Julia: "it is delightful to see him bound
about here, where it is so strange and quiet."

They traversed one side of the gallery, another low, vaulted corridor,
and came to another cloister, with painted walls, more arches, more
columns, lighter and more graceful, above which, around the three sides,
were two rows this time of cell windows; a beautiful open vaulted
gallery filled the third side, and was carried up through the second
story. Here was another well, out of which ivy-branches had grown and
twined until the curb was one mass of dark-green, shining vines lying on
a bed of moss. Presently they came to a broad stone staircase, at the
head of which "_Silenzio_" was written over an archway that led into a
corridor so long and wide as to seem a world of empty space; on either
side was an unending row of doors, all of them closed.

On many of the doors were inscriptions in Latin: eight, one after the
other, were marked, "_Visitator primus, secundus_," etc.

"These are our quarters, then," said Julia. "But are only eight visitors
allowed at a time?"

The padre laughed at the question. "These rooms were intended for the
visitors appointed to attend our general convocations, at which eight
hundred of our order met here every three years to elect a new general
and discuss our welfare; but the necessity for such visitors has passed
away with our existence. I can remember when all these cells were
filled; and there are three hundred on this floor, and as many more
above. You are surprised, I see, at the number of doors: there are so
many because each cell has its anteroom, where we studied and meditated
and prayed."

They stopped at length before a door marked "_Rev. Pater Vicar.
Generalis_," which was at the end of the corridor. Unlocking the door,
the padre invited them in.

"One of you will be lodged here, and, if you are not too tired, we will
look at your other quarters before you sit down to rest."

So saying, he led the way through five rooms, unlocked a door at the
farther end, conducted them across another corridor of the same
dimensions as the firsthand unlocked another door; when, suddenly
recollecting himself, he said, "You will not be afraid to be separated?
There is nothing here to disturb you,--nothing but these cats; and I
will see that they do not annoy you."

Then the ladies noticed for the first time in the growing darkness four
cats, which turned out to be the padre's bodyguard, attending him
wherever he went. Of course they were not afraid: they were only sorry
to put their kind host to so much trouble. And so they proceeded to
inspect a small cell with a bed and praying-stool and tripod with a
basin for all the furniture. The anteroom had a table and chair, and an
engraving or two on the walls. Next to this cell was another just like
it, for which they agreed to draw lots, and then went to the padre's
anteroom for a book which he said would tell all about the history of
the abbey.

Such masses of keys as were everywhere in this room made it a perfect
curiosity,--keys for every one of the cells on this floor and above, for
the refectories, church, offices, etc., below, for rooms enough to
accommodate the emperor Charles V. and his suite of two thousand men
for a night, festooned in bunches around the walls,--so that in the dusk
the room seemed lined with curious bas-reliefs in steel. Piles of books
were heaped on the table with surgical instruments, medicine-bottles,
and bags of dried seeds.

After this inspection in the twilight, they went back to the padre
vicar's _salon_ to rest, when their host took leave of them to give
orders to Beppo about the rooms and to send a light. Then they sank into
what seats they could find, and tried to collect themselves.

Presently a low knock was heard, the door was pushed open, and a tall,
dark youth in sandals and white apron came in, with "_Buona sera,
signore_," and left a lucerna--the graceful brass Tuscan lamp, with
three branches for oil and wick--on the table. A large room with two
windows now became visible, with a sofa, chairs, a table, and
white-tiled stove, and many engravings on the white walls.

At nine o'clock the prospect of supper was almost too faint to be
entertained, and the signora was just opening her mouth to say, "Of
course the padre has forgotten all about us," when they heard in the
distance a faint footstep approaching, and the padre appeared with a
taper in one hand and a magnificent red silk coverlet in the other. "For
the signora's bed," he explained, and went to leave it in the bedroom.
Then he came and sat down, apologizing for having left them so long, and
commenced what would have been for his listeners a most interesting
conversation if it had been after supper. He told how he had been there
thirty years,--first as student, then as frate, and finally as abbot.
Since 1866 he had been alone with two monks. To-morrow he would show
them the cell just above their heads, which he had occupied seventeen
years in silence, except when he had permission to speak. Suddenly,
looking at his watch, he said, "It is half-past nine o'clock, and no
doubt you are now hungry." And, no one gainsaying the supposition, he
relighted his taper and led the way to the refectory. The shadows all
about were black and mysterious enough, but they were too tired to be
troubled about them, and were already half-way down a staircase, when
the signora looked back, and, if she had not seized the balustrade,
would have fallen; for standing at the head of the staircase was a white
figure, holding a taper above a cowled head, out of which a pair of dark
eyes was looking at her steadfastly. The padre's voice, calling out,
"Signora, you are left in the dark," reassured her and gave her courage
to turn and run down to join the others, who were disappearing through a
low door. This led into what seemed an immense hall, judging from the
echoes. They passed by heavy stone columns supporting a ceiling in round
Romanesque arches on their way toward the one spot of light which came
from a lucerna that stood on one end of a very long table spread for
supper. They were looking around bewildered for their places, when they
were not a little startled to hear the padre say, "Signore, this is Fra
Lorenzo, my son in the Lord." The signora was of course the least
surprised, for she recognized her apparition. They received a silent
salutation from a young spiritual-looking monk, with the handsomest
face, they afterward agreed, they had ever seen. The four cats, Piro,
and another shaggy monster of a dog completed the company and shared the
visitors' supper, preferring their soup and chicken to the
Saturday-evening fare of the monks of boiled beans and olive oil. The
strangely-mixed party found much to interest each other, and, as the
signora laughed once or twice merrily over the division of the
chicken-bones between the dogs and the cats, she found Fra Lorenzo's
eyes fixed upon her with a look of wonder; at other times he kept his
eyes on his plate and uttered not a word. The chicken was followed by
figs and peaches, cheese and Vino Santo, which the signora drank out of
a tall glass with the arms of the order engraved on it.

When they returned to their _salon_, the padre followed them to say,
"You were surprised at Fra Lorenzo's appearance,--I think a little
startled, too. He is gentle and good as an angel, and this is the first
time he ever inspired fear in any one,--poor boy! He is my nephew, and I
have had him with me ever since his infancy, when his parents died. I am
his guardian, and have made him a priest and Benedictine as the best
thing I could do for him, although his rank and talents would enable him
to play a distinguished _rôle_ in the world. But, thanks be to God, he
is a devout follower of Christ, and a most useful one. He is now
twenty-five years of age; and I do not think we have a better decipherer
of manuscripts in the Church than he, since he is conversant with most
of the Oriental tongues, although so young. I sometimes fear God will
visit me for bestowing too much affection upon the boy. I strive against
it, but he remains the light of my eyes. If it be a sin, God forgive

As the signora was putting out the light at her bedside, her eyes fell
upon the basin of holy water hanging above it. She wondered who had
dipped his fingers last in it, and if any one had ever before slept in
that bed without first kneeling before the ivory crucifix above the
praying-stool. And with these conjectures she fell asleep. It seemed to
her that she had been lying there only a short time when she heard a
distant door open and shut softly, then another and another, all the way
down the corridor, until the sound seemed very near; then a breath of
wind struck her cheek, which came through the outer door of her boudoir,
which she had forgotten to lock, and which some one had just opened. She
was on the point of springing out of bed to try to reach the door of the
bedroom before any one could enter, when a monk came through and stopped
at the foot of her bed. His cowl was drawn so far down over his eyes
that the point of it stood straight up above his head. His hands were
crossed over his breast, under his white robe; when, drawing his right
one out and pointing his bony finger, he said, "You heretic, what are
you doing here?" Without waiting for an answer, he passed on, and
another took his place, repeating the question. This was the beginning
of a procession of all the monks who had ever been in the monastery.
From time to time one particularly old and gaunt left the line and came
and sat down by the bedside, until there were eight, four on each side
of it. After a while Fra Lorenzo came walking with the others. He looked
at her with his melancholy eyes and made a motion to stop, but the friar
behind gave him a push and forced him forward. His low voice came to her
as he was passing through the door: "I would sprinkle you with the holy
water if I could, signora: but you see I must obey my superiors." Then
the procession ended, and she was left alone with the eight, one of whom
said to her, "Now you must go down to the crypt under the church, to be
judged for your presumption." And as they rose to seize her, she found
they were skeletons. In her effort to escape from them she awoke,
trembling in every fibre. Her waking sensations were scarcely less
terrible than her dream, for she shook so that she imagined some one was
pulling at the bedclothes. The strain could be borne no longer, and with
a spring she sat up, and her hand touched the silk coverlet. It was like
the hand of a friend. She thought of the padre, of his angelic goodness.
How could she be afraid here, where he was sovereign priest? Still, she
must satisfy herself about the door: so, lighting the lamp, she went
through all the rooms, and found both the outer doors locked. She was
again putting out the light, when a prolonged cry sounded outside the
window. It flashed through her mind that she had read somewhere that
brigands repeat the cry of wild birds as a signal when making an attack.
Perhaps a whole band was preparing to come in upon her through the
windows she had forgotten to examine. There is no knowing to what
desperate fancies her fevered imagination might have tortured her, if a
whole chorus of hoots had not commenced. So, concluding that if they
were not real owls, but men with evil intentions so stupid as to make so
much noise, they were not worth lying awake for, she resolutely turned
over and went to sleep, and only awoke as the convent-bell was ringing
for mass.

As she opened the windows and looked across the ravine to the gray rocks
beyond, the scene was so peaceful, such a reproachful commentary upon
the troubled night, that she concluded to keep silent about it. And
then, since neither her friends nor the coffee presented themselves, she
set to work to examine the engravings. The first one her eye fell upon
made her start, look again, and finally climb up on the bed and lift it
off the rusty nail, covering herself with dust in the operation, and
carry it to the window. "Yes," she said finally, after having examined
it and the text, a mixture of Latin and old Italian, very thoroughly,
"it is the same, the very same: this discovery would compensate for a
whole series of nights such as I have just been through." And, putting
it down, she ran to her travelling-bag and drew from its depths a very
small painting on copper, and compared them. Hearing just then her
friends at the door, she ran to open it with both pictures in her hands.
"What do you think? I have made a discovery. Look! My picture on copper,
which Pippo in Siena found in the little dark antiquary-shop after his
brother's death and sold to me for sixty cents, is the same as this old
engraving of the famous Annunciation picture in the Church of the
Santissima Annunziata in Florence, which is only unveiled in times of
national calamity. You know, the people believe it was painted by
angels. Here, you see, the text says it was revered in 1252, the artist
being unknown. I knew the original of my picture must be very old, for
Mary is saying in this Latin scroll coming out of her mouth, 'Behold,
the servant of the Lord,' and only the earliest painters, unable to
express their idea by the vivacity of their figures, made their mission
apparent by the scrolls coming from their mouths." They were still
examining the engraving, when the padre came to take coffee with them
and to ask if they would go down to mass, which would commence in a few
minutes. There was only time for him to say that he hoped the owls had
not disturbed them, adding, as they were on their way to the church,
"They are our bane, devouring the chickens and keeping us awake. It is a
never-ending, but perhaps needful, discipline."

Fra Lorenzo was officiating at the altar as they entered the large
church, before a small number of peasants, the women making a
picturesque group in their light flowered bodices and their red
petticoats visible from beneath their tucked-up gowns, and their gay
cotton handkerchiefs knotted about their heads, since no woman's head
may be uncovered in the Catholic Church.

The padre came soon to escort them about the church, and "to show them
what little had been left," he said, pointing to the empty chapels. They
found enough, however, to fill them with admiration in dear, good Fra
Giovanni of Verona's marqueterie-work in the backs of the stalls, which
extended the whole length of the long church, as is customary in
monasteries where the monks are the sole participants at the holy
offices. "While Fra Giovanni was here as one of our order," the padre
explained, "he finished the stalls which are now in the cathedral of
Siena. They were taken from us in 1813. After we were allowed to come
back, we asked to have our stalls replaced by those in a monastery in
Siena which was being torn down, and so these stalls were sent us: they
are by Fra Giovanni's own hand. He has never been equalled in this kind
of work, for which he invented the staining of the woods to produce
light and shade, and perfected the perspective which Brunelleschi
invented while resting from his labors on the Florentine dome. The
different Italian cities on the hill-sides, the vistas down the long
streets, with palaces and churches on either side, half-open missals,
Biblical musical instruments, rolls of manuscript music, birds in gay
plumage, all perfectly represented in minute pieces of wood, excite the
wonder of every one whose privilege it is to examine them at leisure."

As on their way to the cloister they passed through the sacristy, once
heaped with vessels of gold and silver, embroidered vestures, ivory and
ebony sculptures, and splendid illuminated missals, now bare and empty,
the padre said sorrowfully, "Only the walls are left to the guardianship
of these feeble hands, which must soon give up their trust." When,
however, they emerged into the cloister he brightened up, saying, "Here
you will have enough to occupy you the whole month;" and the two artists
of the party drew a breath of satisfaction at finding themselves at last
before the object of their pilgrimage,--the frescos of Signorelli and
Sodoma, representing scenes in the life of St. Benedict, which they were
going to copy. They walked slowly found the four sides, lingering where
Signorelli's deeper sentiment gave them cause for study. He was called
to Monte Oliveto first, and painted only one wall. It was only after
three years that the young unknown Bazzi was summoned, and in an
incredibly short time he completed the other three with his fanciful
creations, as graceful and airy as his character was light and
frivolous. His beautiful faces and figures came from his heart; his
brain had little to do with his work, as, without the evidence of sight
of it, the name given to him by the public--Sodoma, meaning
arch-fool--would indicate. Signorelli, on the contrary, had his ideal in
his brain, and labored to reproduce it; and his efforts are graver and
more elevated. It is to be lamented that his mineral paints have changed
their colors in many places from white to black, and that his green
trees have become blue.

The padre had studied these frescos so thoroughly as to discover that
Sodoma had sometimes spent only three days on a fresco, by tracing the
joinings where the fresh plaster had been applied, which had to be
finished before it dried. This gifted, careless painter had the habit of
scratching out his heads, if they did not please him, with the handle of
his brush; and thus some of them appear to us in the nineteenth century,
four hundred years after.

They spent the rest of the day here. Fra Lorenzo joined them at dinner,
and in the evening they walked with the padre beyond the tower to see
the spires of the Siena cathedral through the lovely poisonous blue
mist. On the way back they stopped in the tangled, overgrown garden at
the foot of the tower, which had once been filled with rare medicinal
plants, and peeped into the deserted pharmacy in the lower story, where
the shelves were still filled with rare old pottery jars with the three
mounts and cross and olive-branches upon them. "I am the only physician
now," said the padre, "and must have my medicines nearer home." In
walking over the rocks the visitors noticed, to their surprise, that,
instead of being barren, they were covered with the thick growth of a
short plant, which, like the chameleon, had made itself invisible by
turning gray like the rock. In answer to their inquiries they learned
that it was the absinthe plant, belonging to the same family as the
Swiss plant from which the liquor is made that is eating up the brains
of the French nation; but here it forms the harmless food of the sheep,
and from their milk the famous creta cheese is made,--"called creta from
the rock, which means in English chalk, I think," continued the padre.
"You have noticed its pungent taste at table, have you not?" The ladies
hastened to repair their omission, for it is so celebrated that they
ought to have said something about it. After age has hardened and
mellowed it, no cheese in Italy is so highly esteemed.

They went, too, to see how the young eucalyptus-trees were
flourishing,--the object of the padre's great solicitude. "We cannot
sleep with our windows open, on account of the bad air, and I have been
corresponding with the Father Trappists in the Roman Campagna about the
cultivation of these trees as a purifier, and am most anxious as to the
result. If I could reduce the fever among the poor people about here, I
should be more content to leave them when my summons comes."

The owls were flying above them in the cypresses as they neared the
convent, and came swooping down above their heads as the padre imitated
their melancholy hoot. Seeing Beppo in the distance, he called to him to
go for the guns. Whether owls merit to be the symbol of wisdom or no,
they flew away in ever wider circles as soon as the guns and dogs
appeared, and could not be decoyed back. The last rays of light lit up
the gun-barrels as the party went in at the heavy door: the clashing
sound of the bolt and chains, the yelping of the dogs, the guns
glistening in the glimmer of light which came in through the cloister,
made a scene which must often have had its counterparts in the feudal
keeps of the Middle Ages, when the robber knights returned with their

After supper they went to see a marvel of concealed treasure stored away
in one of the upper cells,--priestly robes and altar-cloths shimmering
in gold and silver: some of these robes were more beautiful than any
they had seen in the treasuries of Rome. Pure gold they were, wrought in
emblems of divinity. "These are presents to the monastery from our
family," said Fra Lorenzo. "These simpler ones, embroidered with the
silk flowers, are Fra Giorgio's work. He is now away from the convent,
and I am sorry he cannot hear you admire his robes." It was midnight
before the glittering heap was folded away, and the night which followed
was one of sound repose.

Next morning the signora was leaning over the brink of the ivy-crowned
well, trying to reach a spray twined thick with moss that grew in a
crevice of the stones just beyond her reach. "Signora," a low voice
said, "you ought not to lean so far: you might fall in, and the water is
very deep. What is it you want? Let me get it for you." And Fra Lorenzo,
following her direction, drew up the spray sparkling with moisture.

"It is beautiful enough for a crown for a god," said she, twining it
together at the ends. "Will you let me turn you into Apollo for a
moment?" And, without thinking, she let it fall lightly on his head.
"No Apollo was ever so beautiful," she involuntarily exclaimed. "If only
you had a lyre!"

The action, not the admiration, was reprehensible. She was a woman of
the world, and should have thought; and this she realized as her eyes
fell upon his face, where a revelation was unfolding itself. There was
something in this life which he had never thought about, never dreamed
of; and the light which shone out of his dark eyes was deeper than that
of wonder. She would have given the world to take back her
thoughtlessness, for she felt she had given an angel to eat of the
forbidden fruit.

The signora was a good woman, with all her worldly knowledge, but a
subtile charm of expression and manner made her a very beautiful woman
at times, and this moment, unfortunately for two good persons, was one
of these. She was just reaching for the crown, when the padre came into
the cloister and stopped with amazement as his eye fell on the group.
"Fra Lorenzo," said he, after a moment, "you are sent for to go to
Casale Montalcino: Giuseppe is dying; and you will stay there until the
last offices are finished."

The young monk seemed under a spell which he shook off with difficulty.
"I go, padre," he said, and started.

As he passed before the padre, the latter reached for the crown and
threw it into the well, saying, "This beseemeth little a tonsured head."
Then he turned to the signora and asked her if she had examined the
fresco just behind them. "It is worth much study," he went on, "for many
reasons. The subject enabled Sodoma to throw more expression into it
than usual. You see, St. Benedict is resisting the temptation his
enemies prepared for him in introducing these beautiful women secretly
into the monastery. Being so completely a man of God, he overcame the
evil one without an effort; but it is not given to us all to overcome as
he did, and a zephyr from the outer world may waft us an evil which must
be atoned for by long penitence in our lonely cells. Not that I liken
you to a tempter," he added, seeing her confusion and distress: "you
have only forgotten that we are servants of God and must think of
nothing but our duty in serving him."

"Oh, padre, I would give everything if I had not forgotten it! You must
think of me as a good woman, for indeed I deserve it."

"I do think of you as such, and am sure the lesson will not be
forgotten," was the crumb of comfort upon which she fed all the rest of
the day and for several days following, during which Fra Lorenzo had not
reappeared. The fountain-scene had not been mentioned to her friends, so
one day at dinner Margaret said, "Do the offices for the dead generally
require so much time, that Lorenzo does not return?"

"Fra Lorenzo is here," was the answer. "He was only absent one night. He
is very much occupied: that is why you do not see him."

The next day they were to be shown the library, and at the hour set the
signora went to the padre's reception-room to see if he were ready. He
was just reaching for the key, when a peasant appeared, his hand
bleeding from a cut which had nearly dissevered the thumb. This
necessitated a delay, and the padre went down with him to the
dispensary. "While you are waiting," he said, "perhaps you would like to
go up into the pavilion, where you can look over the Maremma to the sea.
Go up that stair," and he pointed to the end of a corridor, "to the
first landing, then turn to the left."

As she went up the stair her eye was caught by a carved ceiling at the
top of it. "I suppose I ought to go that far," she thought, and up she
went, until she found herself in a room frescoed with portraits of the
distinguished men of the order. In the middle of one wall was a
magnificently-carved folding-door, with fruits and flowers and twining
foliage with rare birds sitting among the tendrils. She was examining
these details, when she discovered that the door was ajar. A slight
push, and she was in a large, beautiful hall, where three lofty vaulted
aisles were supported by slender marble columns with richly-carved
capitals. At the end of the centre aisle a staircase in the form of a
horseshoe led to a gallery. The walls up-stairs and down, sparsely
filled with books, told her she was in the library.

"It will be all the same to the padre," she thought, "if I wait here
instead of in the pavilion," and she was half-way down the hall, her
eyes glued to the shelves, when she came suddenly upon Fra Lorenzo
sitting before a table covered with manuscripts in the niche of a deep
window. He must have been aware of her presence from the first, for his
eyes were fixed upon her with a look of intense expectancy.

"I was thinking of you, signora, and you come to me," was his strange

She felt she must be composed at any cost: so she said, in as easy a
tone as she could command, "I should like to know what resemblance there
is between me and these dusty old manuscripts, that you think of me as
you copy them. You are copying them, are you not?"

"No, signora, I do nothing: you are always between me and my work. Why
did you look at me so at the fountain? But no; forgive me: I was
thinking of you before that. From the first evening in the refectory
your laugh has been ringing in my heart. You seemed to me like a
beautiful light in the shadows of our old hall."

She was moving quickly away, when he reached after her and touched her
sleeve. "You are not angry?"

"No," she answered. "I would only remind you that you belong to God in
body and soul, and when you think of me you commit a deadly sin, for
which never-ending penance can scarcely atone."

"Signora, you are right. The penance does so little for me now. All
night long I was before the crucifix in the church, and while I prayed I
felt better; but when morning came and I thought of the long, lonely
years I must spend here sinning against God and finding no rest, with
you always in my heart--What can I do? You are good; tell me what I can

The pain of this innocent, beautiful life was a weight too heavy for
her to bear, and she felt herself giving way under it. "Pray," she
stammered,--"pray for us both, for we must never meet again." She
reached the door, went down the stair, and, turning mechanically to the
right, found herself at last in the pavilion, where she leaned against
the parapet and looked into space. She had lost the capacity of

It was fortunate the padre was so long delayed, for when he came up at
last with the signorine she had so far recovered herself as to be
standing upright, apparently absorbed in the view.

"I don't wonder this view has made you speechless," her friends called
out. "It is simply glorious."

"Yes," said the padre: "on these cliffs we seem on the brink of
eternity; down there among the morasses of the Maremma man cannot stay
his feet; and beyond is the sea."

"How beautiful the thought," said Julia, "that good men dying here have
no longer need to stay their feet! One step from these cliffs, and they
must be in heaven."

"Who knows, who knows," sighed the padre, "if any of us have found it
so? But now let us go to the library."

The signora followed them, since she could not do otherwise. They
stopped before the carved door, which the padre said was undoubtedly Fra
Giovanni's own work, and he pointed out the details of the beautiful
workmanship. At length he opened the door, which the signora felt sure
she had not closed. One glance around the hall showed her it was empty.

The padre was too much occupied with his emotions over the
scantily-supplied shelves, and the ladies with their surprise and
admiration, to notice her excited condition, which she at length
succeeded in quieting enough to hear the padre say, "They have taken our
precious manuscripts from us, dating as far back as the eleventh
century. Many of our order had spent their lives translating and copying
manuscripts, and our greatest loss is here. Fra Lorenzo is just now
translating some Latin chronicles of our first history into Italian. You
can see by his beautiful handwriting that he is a worthy disciple of his
learned predecessors. But how is this?"--as he searched among the rolls
of yellow parchment. "I see he has not yet commenced it." The old man
looked troubled, and, turning from the table, went on: "These carved
depositories for the choral-books, and the frescos at the head of the
stairs, are about all you can admire here now, except the architecture
of the hall."

The padre was very silent at dinner. He only said, noticing that the
signora ate nothing, "This will not do, my daughter. You look ill. You
must eat something, or I shall have two patients on my hands."

"Who is the other?" asked Margaret and Julia in a breath.

"Fra Lorenzo."

The signora longed to speak with him in private. She must go away at
once, but she must speak with him before she said anything to her
friends. All the afternoon she watched for an opportunity, but found
none. At length, when it was growing dark, she went to walk in the
corridor, hoping to meet him. She had come to the open gallery looking
into the cloister. Here she would wait for him; and, leaning against the
open-work railing, she looked down. A white figure was walking to and
fro. Finally it came to the well and looked into it. Now another white
figure emerged from the shadows, and, laying an arm around the first,
led it gently away out of sight. Then her overstrained nerves gave way,
and she fainted.

When she recovered her senses she found herself in bed. The padre and
her friends were talking in whispers in the next room, but the former's
voice came to her distinctly. He was saying, "Now you know all. You must
take her away as soon as possible."

A year after, in Naples, the ladies received these few lines from the
padre: "God in his infinite mercy has taken my son to himself."




MR. NATHANIEL NOKES, _a Retired Wine-Merchant_.

MR. CHARLES NOKES, _his Nephew_.

MR. ROBINSON, MR. SPONGE, MR. RASPER, _Friends of Mr. Nokes the Elder_.


SUSAN, _Housemaid at the Hotel of the Four Seasons_.



SCENE I.--_A handsome first-floor apartment in the Hotel of the Four
Seasons, Paris. Outside the window, the court-yard, with fountain, and
little trees in large pots._

     _Enter MR. NATHANIEL NOKES, with a small book in his hand, very
     smartly dressed, but in great haste, and with his shirt-collar much
     dishevelled. [Rings the bell violently.]_

What's the good of these confounded French phrase-books? Who wants to
know how to ask for artichoke soup, or how far it is to Dijon? I want a
button sewn on my shirt-collar, and there's not one word about that.

     _Enter Waiter_.

_Nokes._ Hi! what's-your-name! _Voulez-vous--avoir--la--bonté--de--_[I'm
always civil and very distinct, but, somehow, I can never make myself
understood.] I am going to be married, my good man; to be married--_tout
de suite_--immediately, and there is no time to change my--my _chemise
d'homme_. [Come, he'll understand _that_.] I want this button--button,
button, button sewn on. Here, here--_here_. [_Points to his throat._]
Don't you see, you fool? [He thinks I want him to cut my throat. I shall
never be in time at the Legation!] Idiot! Dolt! Send _Susan_, Susan, _à
moi_, to me--or I'll kick you into the court-yard. [_Exit Waiter, with

_Nokes [alone]._ And this is what they call a highly-civilized country!
Talk of "a strong government" at home: what's the use of its being
strong, if it can't make foreigners speak our language? What's the good
of missionary enterprise, when here's a Christian man, within twelve
hours of London, who can't get a shirt-button sewn on for want of the
Parisian accent? I said "button, button, button," plain enough, I'm
sure; and a button's a button all the world over. If it had not been for
that excellent Susan, the English chambermaid, I should have perished in
this place, of what the coroner's inquests call "want of the necessaries
of life." All depends, as every one knows, on a man's shirt-button: if
_that_ goes wrong, everything goes, and one's attire is a wreck. But I
suppose after to-day my wife will see to that,--though she is a
Montmorenci. Constance de Montmorenci, that's her name: she's descended
(she says) from a Constable of France. It's a more English-seeming name
than _gendarme_, and I like her for that; but I am afraid we shan't have
much in common--except my property. She don't speak English very
fluently: she called me "my dove" the other day, instead of "my duck,"
which is ridiculous. She is not twenty, and I am over sixty,--which is
perhaps also ridiculous.

Well, it's all Charles's fault, not mine. If he chooses to go and marry
a beggar-girl without my consent, he must take the consequences,--if
there are a dozen of them,--and support them how he can. "If you persist
in this wicked and perverse resolve," said I, "_I'll_ marry also, before
the year's out." And now I'm going to do it,--if I can only get this
shirt-button sewn on. He shall not have a penny of what I have to leave
behind me. The little Nokes-Montmorencis shall have it all. She's a most
accomplished creature is Constance. Sings, they tell me,--for it's not
in English, so I don't understand it,--divinely; plays ditto; draws
ditto. Speaks every language (except English) with equal facility
and--Thank goodness, here's Susan.

     _Enter SUSAN, with housemaid's broom._

_Susan._ What do you please to want, sir?

_Nokes._ _You_, Susan; you, first of all, and then a shirt-button. I
have not five minutes to spare. My bride is probably already at the
Embassy, expressing her impatience in various continental tongues.
_Vite_,--look sharp, Susan. [_Aside._] Admirable woman!--she carries
buttons about with her. I wonder whether the Montmorenci will do
that.--Take care!--don't run the needle into me!

_Susan._ You must not talk, sir, or else I can't help it. Please to hold
your head up a little higher.

_Nokes._ I shall do that when I've married the Montmorenci. [_She pricks
him._] Oh! oh!

_Susan._ I'm sure I hope as you'll be happy with her, sir; but you seem
so fond of old England that I doubt whether you ought not to have chosen
your wife from your native land. It seems a pity to be marrying in such
haste, just because your poor nephew--_pray_ don't speak, sir, or I
shall certainly run the needle into you--just because Mr. Charles has
gone and wedded the girl of his choice.

_Nokes [passionately]._ Hold your tongue, Susan! [_She pricks him
again._] Oh! oh!

_Susan._ There, sir, I told you what would happen. All I say is, I hope
you may not marry in haste to repent at leisure. A fortnight is such a
very short time to have known a lady before making her your bride.
There, sir; I think the button will keep on now.

_Nokes._ Then I'm off, Susan. But, before I go, I must express my thanks
to you for looking after me so attentively in this place. Here's a
five-pound note for you. [_Aside_] I could almost find it in my heart to
give her a kiss; but perhaps the Montmorenci wouldn't like it.

_Susan [gratefully]._ Oh, thank you, sir. May all happiness attend you,
sir! and when you're married yourself, sir, don't be too hard upon that
poor nephew of yours--

_Nokes [angrily]._ Be quiet. [_Exit hastily._]

_Susan [alone]._ Now, there's as kind-hearted an old gentleman as ever
lived,--and as good a one, too, if it was not for pigheadedness and
tantrums. The idea of a five-pound note merely for helping him to get
his victuals! He's been just like a baby in this 'ere 'otel, and I've
been a mother to him. He couldn't 'a' got a drop o' milk if it hadn't
been for me. Poor dear old soul! What a pity it is he should have such a
temper! He is taking a wife to-day solely to keep a hasty word uttered
agen his nephew and heir. Mademoiselle Constance de Montmorenci! ah,
I've heard of her before to-day. Nanette, the head-chambermaid here, was
once her lady's-maid. _She's_ known her for more than a fortnight.
Constance is a fine name, but it ain't quite the same as Constancy. Poor
Mr. Nokes! What a mistake it was in him to drive all thoughts of
matrimony off to the last, and then to come to Paris--of all places--to
do it! What a curious thing is sympathy! He met her in the tidal train,
and they were taken ill together on board the steamboat; that's how it
came about. Poor old soul! He deserves a better fate. [_Takes her broom
and leans on it reflectively._] Heigh-ho! His honest English face was
pleasant to look upon in this here outlandish spot; and none has been so
kind to me since my poor missis died and left me under this roof,
without money enough to pay my passage back to England. I was glad
enough to take service here; for why should I go back to a country where
there is not a soul to welcome me? And yet I should like to see dear old
England again, too. [_Tumult without. Mr. Nokes is seen rushing madly up
the court-yard. Tumult in the passage; French and English voices at high
pitch. Nokes without:_ Idiots! Frog-eaters! What is it I want? Nothing!
nothing but to see France sunk in the sea!]

     _Enter NOKES (dishevelled and purple with passion, with an open
     letter in his hand; bangs the door behind him)._

_Susan._ What is the matter, sir?

_Nokes._ Everything is the matter. You see this lily-white waistcoat;
you see these matrimonial does [_points to his trousers_], these
polished-leather boots, which are at this moment pinching me most
confoundedly, though I don't feel it, because I'm in such a passion:
well, they have been put on for nothing. I've been made a fool of by the
Montmorenci. But if there's justice in heaven,--that is, in Paris,--if
there's law in France, and blighted hopes are compensated in this
country as they are at home, the hussy shall smart for it. Directly I'm
married myself, I'll bring an action against her for breach of promise.

_Susan._ Married yourself, sir?

_Nokes._ Of course I'm going to be married,--at once,
immediately,--within the week. There's only a week left to the end of
the year. Do you suppose--does my nephew Charles suppose--no, for he
knows me better--that I am not going to keep my word? that because the
Montmorenci has played me false at the eleventh hour I am going to
remain a bachelor for seven days longer? Never, Susan, never! [_Walks
hastily up and down the room._]

_Susan._ Lor, sir, do pray be a little quiet, I am sure if any young
woman was to see you in this state she must be uncommonly courageous to
take charge of such a husband. Do, pray, tell me what has happened.

_Nokes._ Nothing has happened. That's what I complain of. Just as I
drove up to the Legation this letter was handed to me. It is from the
brother of the Montmorenci, and is supposed to be written in the English
tongue. He regrets that matters between Mademoiselle his sister and
myself have been advanced with such precipitation.

_Susan._ Well, sir, you _were_ rather in a hurry about it, I must say.

_Nokes._ Hurry! I was in nothing of the sort. We were in the same boat
together for hours. We suffered agonies in company. And, besides, I had
only three weeks at farthest to waste in making love to anybody. And now
I've only one week,--all because this woman did not know her own mind.

_Susan._ How so, sir?

_Nokes._ Why, it seems she loves somebody else better. Her brother tells
me--confound his impudence!--that this is only natural. At the same
time, he allows I have some cause to complain, and therefore offers me
the opportunity of a personal combat with what he is pleased to call the
peculiar weapon of my countrymen, the pistol. Now, I should have said
the peculiar weapon of my country was the umbrella. That is certainly
the instrument I should choose if I were compelled to engage in mortal
strife. But the idea of being shot in the liver in reparation for one's
matrimonial injuries! To be laid up in that way when there is only a
week left in which to woo and win another Mrs. Nokes! But what am I to
do now? How am I to find a respectable young woman to take me at so
short a notice?

_Susan._ There isn't many of that sort in Paris, sir, even if you gave
'em longer.

_Nokes._ Just so. Come, you're a sensible, good girl, and have helped me
out of several difficulties; now, do you think you can help me out of
this one?

_Susan [demurely]._ Have you got an almanac about you, sir?

_Nokes._ An almanac? Of course I have. I have given up the wine-trade,
but I have not given up the habit so essential to business-men of
carrying an almanac in my breast-pocket. Here it is.

_Susan [takes almanac and looks through it attentively]._ No, sir
[_sighs_], it won't do.

_Nokes._ What won't do? What did you expect to find that _would_ do--in
an almanac--in such a crisis as this?

_Susan._ Well, sir [_casting down her eyes_], I was looking to see if it
was leap-year; but it isn't.

_Nokes._ What! You were going to offer to fill the place of the
Montmorenci. You impudent little hussy! [_Aside_] Gad, she's uncommonly
pretty, though. Prettier than the other. I noticed that when she was
sewing on my shirt-button; only I didn't think it right, under the
circumstances, to dwell upon the idea. But there can't be any harm in it

_Susan [sobbing]._ I am afraid I have made you angry with me, Mr. Nokes.
I was only in fun, but I see now that it was taking a liberty.

_Nokes [very tenderly and chucking her under the chin]._ We should never
take liberties, Susan. [_Kisses her._] Never. But don't cry, or you'll
make your eyes red; and I rather like your eyes. [_Aside_] I didn't like
to dwell upon the idea before, but she has got remarkably pretty eyes.
It's a dreadful come-down from the Montmorenci, to be sure: still, one
must marry _somebody_--within seven days. But then, again, I've written
such flaming accounts of the other one to all my friends. I've asked
Sponge and Rasper and Robinson to come down, and see us after the
honeymoon at "the Tamarisks," my little place near Dover. And they are
all eager to hear her sing and play, and to see her beautiful sketches
in oil--Can _you_ sing, and play, and sketch in oil, Susan?

_Susan [gravely]._ I don't know, sir; I never tried.

_Nokes [aside]._ Then there's her hands. The Montmorenci's, as I wrote
to Rasper, were like the driven snow; and Susan's--though I didn't like
to dwell upon the idea--are more like snow on the second day, in London.
To be sure she will have nothing to do as Mrs. Nokes except to wash 'em.
Then she can speak French like a native, or at least what will seem to
Robinson and the others like a native. Upon my life, I think I might do
worse. But then, again, she'll have relatives,--awful relatives, whom I
shall have to buy off, or, worse, who will _not_ be bought off. It's
certainly a dreadful come-down. Susan [_hesitatingly_], Susan dear, what
is your name?

_Susan._ Montem, sir; Susan Montem.

_Nokes [aside]._ By Jove! why, that's half-way to Montmorenci. It's not
at all a bad name. But then what's the good of that if she's going to
change it for Nokes? Oh, Montem, is it, Susan? And is your papa--your

_Susan [sorrowfully]._ No, sir.

_Nokes._ That's capital!--I mean I'm _so_ sorry. Poor girl! Your
father's dead, is he? You're sure he's dead?

_Susan [with her pocket-handkerchief to her eyes]._ Quite sure, sir.

_Nokes._ And your mamma,--your excellent mamma,--she's alive, at all

_Susan._ No, sir; I am an orphan.

_Nokes [aside]._ How delightful! I love orphans. I'm an orphan myself.
Ah, but then she's sure to have brothers and sisters,--pipe-smoking,
gin-drinking brothers, and sisters who will have married idle mechanics,
with executions in their houses every quarter-day. Susan, my dear, how
many brothers and sisters have you?

_Susan [sorrowfully]._ I have none, sir. When my dear missis died I was
left quite alone in the world.

_Nokes._ I'm charmed to hear it [_embracing her_], adorable young woman!
[_Bell rings without._] What are they pulling that bell about for?
Confound them, it makes me nervous.

_Susan [meekly]._ I think they're wanting me, sir: you see, sir, I'm
neglecting my work.

_Nokes [kissing her]._ No, you're not, Susan [_kisses her again_]: quite
the contrary. So your name's Montem,--at present,--is it? How came that

_Susan._ Well, sir, I was left a foundling in the parish workhouse, at
Salthill, near Eton. Nobody knew anything about me, and as I made my
appearance there one Montem day, the board of guardians named me Montem.

_Nokes._ And how came you to be chambermaid at this hotel?

_Susan [seriously]._ It was through good Mr. Woodward, the curate at
Salthill, that it happened, sir: he was my benefactor through life.
Always kind to me at the workhouse, where he was chaplain, he got me a
situation, as soon as I was old enough, with a lady. I lived with her
first as housemaid, and then as her personal attendant, till she died
under this roof.

_Nokes [aside]._ I don't wonder at that.

_Susan._ The people of the hotel here wanted an English chambermaid, and
offered me the place, which, since my benefactor the clergyman was dead,
I accepted thankfully.

_Nokes._ Poor girl! poor girl! [_Pats Susan's head._] There, there! your
feelings do you the greatest credit; but don't cry, because it makes
your eyes red. Now, look here, Susan; there's only one thing more. You
are very soft-hearted, I perceive, and it must be distinctly understood
between us that you need never intercede with me in favor of that
scoundrel Charles. I won't have it. You wouldn't succeed, of course, but
if I ever happen to get fond of you--I mean foolishly fond of you, of
course--your importunity might be annoying. When you are once my wife,
however, and keeping your own carriage, I confidently expect that you
will behave as other people do in that station of life, and show no
weakness in favor of your poor relations.

_Susan._ I will endeavor, sir, in case you are so good as to marry a
humble girl like me, to do my dooty and please you in every way.

_Nokes._ That's well said, Susan. [_Kisses her._] You _have_ pleased me
in a good many ways already. [_Aside_] I must say, though I didn't like
to dwell upon the idea before--[_Tremendous ringing of bells, and sudden
appearance of the mistress of the hotel. Tableau._]

_Mistress of the hotel [to Nokes]._ _O vieux polisson!_ [_To Susan_]
_Coquine abominable!_

_Nokes [to Susan]._ What is this lunatic raving about?

_Susan._ She remarks that I haven't finished my work on the second

_Nokes [impatiently]._ Tell her to go to--the ground floor. Tell her you
are going to be married to me within the week, and order a
wedding-breakfast--for two--immediately.

_Susan [aside]._ I can never tell her that, for she is a Frenchwoman,
and wouldn't believe it. I'll tell her something more melodramatic.
I'll say that Mr. Nokes is my father, who has suddenly recognized and
discovered his long-lost child.--_Madame, c'est mon père longtemps
absent, qui vous en prie d'accepter ses remerciments pour votre bonté à
son enfant._

_Mistress of the hotel [all smiles, and with both hands outstretched]._
Milor, I do congratulate you. Fortunate Susan! You will nevare forget to
recommend de hotel?

_Nokes._ Thank you, thank you; you're a sensible old woman. [_Aside_]
She evidently sees no absurd disproportion in our years.--Breakfast,
breakfast!--_déjeûner à la_ what-do-you-call-it! _champagne!_
[_Exit landlady, smiling and bowing_.]

_Nokes._ In the mean time, Susan, put on your bonnet and let's go out
to--whatever they call Doctors' Commons here--and order a special
license. [_Susan goes._] Stop a bit, Susan; you forget something.
[_Kisses her._] [_Aside_] I did not like to dwell upon the idea before,
but she's got a most uncommon pretty mouth.

SCENE II.--_Drawing-room at the Tamarisks. Garden and Sea in the
distance. Grand piano, harp, sketch-book; and huge portfolio._

_Nokes [less gayly attired: solus]._ Gad, I feel rather nervous. There's
Sponge, and Rasper, and Robinson, all coming down by the mid-day train
to lunch with me and my new wife,--the Montmorenci, as they imagine.
It's impossible that Susan can keep up such a delusion, and especially
as she insists on talking English. She says her _French_ is so vulgar.
But there! I don't care how she talks or what she talks, bless her.
Everything sounds well from those charming lips. She's a kind-hearted,
good girl, and worth eight hundred dozen (as I should say if I hadn't
left the wine-trade) of the other one. There was something wrong about
that Montmorenci vintage, for all her sparkle; corked or something. Now,
my Susan's _all_ good,--good the second day, good the third day, good
every day. She's like port--all the better for keeping; and she's not
like port--because there's no crustiness about her. She's a deuced
clever woman. To hear her talk broken English when the squire's wife
called here the other day was as good as a play. Everybody hereabouts
believes she's a Frenchwoman; but then they're all country-people, and
they'll believe anything. Sponge and Rasper and Robinson are all London
born,--especially Rasper,--and London people believe nothing. They
only give credit.

     _Enter SUSAN, in an in-door morning dress, but gloved._

_Nokes._ Well, my darling, have you screwed your courage up to meet
these three gentlemen? Upon my life, I think it would be better if I
told them at once that I had been jilted, and instead of the Montmorenci
had found The Substitute infinitely preferable to the original; for I'm
sure I _have_, Susan [_fondly_].

_Susan [holding up her finger]._ Constance, if you please, my dear. I'm
continually correcting that little mistake of yours. How can I possibly
keep up my dignity as a Montmorenci while you are always calling me

_Nokes._ Then why keep it up at all, my dear? Why not stand at once upon
your merits, which I am sure are quite sufficient? Of course it would be
a little come-down for _me_ just at first; but that's no matter.

_Susan._ My good, kind husband! [_Kisses his forehead._] No, dear; let
me first show your friends that you have no cause to be ashamed of me.
It will be much easier to do that if they think I am a born lady.
Appearances do such a deal in the world.

_Nokes._ Yes, my dear, I've noticed that in the wine-trade. If you were
to sell cider at eighty shillings a dozen, it would be considered
uncommon good tipple by the customer who bought it. Tell them Madeira
has been twice to China--twice to China [_chuckles to himself_]--and how
they smack their lips! That reminds me, by the bye [_seriously_], of
another set of appearances, Susan, which we have to guard against,--the
pretence and show of poverty. You must learn to steel your heart against
_that_, my dear. There's that nephew of mine been writing one of his
persistent and appealing letters again. He adjures me to have pity, if
not upon him, at all events upon his innocent Clara. But she ought not
to have been his innocent Clara, and so I've told him. She ought not to
have been his Clara at all. Now, do you remember your solemn promise to
me about that young man?

_Susan [sighing]._ Yes, sir, I remember.

_Nokes [angrily]._ Why do you call me "sir," Susan?

_Susan._ Because when you look so stern and talk so severely you don't
seem to be the same good, kind-hearted husband that I know you are. I'll
keep my promise, sir, not to hold out my hand to your unfortunate
nephew, but please don't let us talk about it. It makes me feel less
reverence, less respect, and even less gratitude, sir,--it does,
indeed,--since your very generosity toward me has made me the instrument
of punishment, and--as I feel--of wrong. I have been poor myself, and
what must that young couple think of my never answering their touching
letter, put in my hands as I first crossed this threshold?

_Nokes [testily]._ Touching letter, indeed! Any begging-letter impostor
would have written as good a one. It's all humbug, Susan. Mrs. Charles
would like to see you whipped, if I know women. And as for my
nephew--[_Noises of wheels heard, and bell rings._] But there's the
front-door bell. Here are our visitors from town. Had you not better
leave the room for a minute or two, to wash those tears away? It would
never do, you know, to exhibit a Montmorenci with red eyes. [_Exit

_Nokes [solus]._ That's the only matter about which my dear Susan and I
are ever likely to fall out,--the extending what she calls the hand of
forgiveness to Charles and his wife, just because they've got a baby.
I'll never do it if they have twelve. I said to myself I wouldn't when
he wrote to me about this marriage, and I always keep my word.

     _Enter SPONGE, RASPER, and ROBINSON._

_Nokes [shaking hands with all]._ Welcome, my friends, welcome to the

_Robinson._ Thank ye, Nokes, thank ye. But how changed we are at the
Tamarisks! [_Pointing to the piano and portfolio._] I mean how changed
we are for the better! ain't we, Sponge? ain't we, Rasper?

_Sponge [fawningly]._ It was always a charming retreat, but we now see
everywhere, in addition to its former beauties, the magical influence of
a female hand.

_Rasper [vulgarly]._ Yes; no doubt of that. Directly I saw the new
coach-house, I said, "By Jove, that's Mrs. N----'s doing! _She'll_ spend
his money for him, will Mrs. N----."

_Nokes [annoyed]._ You were very good, I'm sure.

_Sponge._ But it is here, within-doors, my dear Nokes, that the great
transformation-scene has been effected. Pianos, harpsichords,
sketch-books,--these all bespeak the presence of lovely and accomplished

_Robinson._ May we venture to peep into this portfolio, my good
fellow?--that is, if the contents have the interest for us that we
believe them to have. It holds Mrs. Nokes's sketches, I presume.

_Nokes._ Yes, yes; they are her sketches and nobody else's. [_Aside_]
Certainly they are, for I bought them for her in Piccadilly.--But here
she comes to answer for herself. [_Enter SUSAN._] Sus--I mean Constance,
my dear, let me introduce to you three friends of my bachelor days, Mr.
Sponge, Mr. Rasper, Mr. Robinson.

_Susan [speaking broken English]._ Gentlemens, I am mos glad to see you.
My husband--hees friends are mai friends.

_Rasper [aside]._ She's devilish civil. If she had been English I
should almost think she was afraid of us.

_Sponge [bowing]._ You are most kind, madam. The noble are always kind.
[_Aside to Nokes._] She's all blood, my dear fellow.

_Nokes [looking toward her in alarm]._ What? Where?

_Sponge._ No, no; don't misunderstand me. I mean she's all high birth.
If I had met your wife anywhere--in an omnibus, for instance--and only
heard her speak, I should have exclaimed, "There's a Montmorenci!"

_Nokes [pleased]._ Should you really, now, my dear Sponge? Well, that
shows you are a man of discernment.

_Robinson [to Susan]._ It is such a real pleasure to us, Mrs. Nokes,
that you speak English. We were afraid we should find it difficult to
converse with you. Sponge is the only one of us who understands--

_Sponge._ Yes, madam, we did fear that since no other tongue is spoken
in courts and camps--or, at all events, in courts--we should have some
difficulty in following your ideas. But you speak English like a native.

_Susan [emphatically]._ I believe you. [_Recollecting and correcting
herself_] Dat is, I do trai mai best. It please my _mari_--my what ees
it?--my husband. He don't talk French heemself--not mooch.

_Nokes._ Well, I don't think you should quite say that, my dear. I could
always make myself understood abroad, you know, though my accent is
perhaps a little anglicized.

_Susan [laughing]._ Rayther so.

[_Guests exchange looks of astonishment._]

_Nokes [with precipation]._ My dear, what an expression! The fact is, my
friends, that madame has a young brother--Count Maximilian de
Montmorenci--at school in England, and what she knows of our language
she has mainly acquired from him. The consequence is, she occasionally
talks--in point of fact--slang.

_Susan [in broken English]._ Cherk the tinklare, coot your luckies, whos
your hattar? [_To Rasper_] Have your moder sold her mangle?

[_NOKES, SPONGE, and ROBINSON roar with laughter._]

_Rasper [aside]._ Confound that Nokes! He must have told her about my
family. [_With indignation_] Madam, I--[_Points by accident to the

_Susan._ What? you weesh to see mai sketch? Oh, yas! [_Opens the
portfolio; the three guests crowd round it. Nokes comes down to the

_Nokes [aside]._ I wish they'd take their lunch and go away. They put me
in a profuse perspiration. I know they'll find her out.

_Robinson [with a sketch-book in his hand]._ Beautiful!

_Sponge [looking over his shoulder on tiptoe]._ Exquisite! most lovely!
it's what I call perfection.

_Rasper._ First-rate--only I've seen something like it before. [_Aside_]
If I haven't seen that in some print-shop. I'll be hanged. [_Blows._]

_Susan._ Ha! ha! you halve seen eet beefore, Mr.--_Gasper_? Think of
that, my husband,--Mr. Gasper has seen it beefore!

_Nokes [laughing uncomfortably]._ Ha! ha! What a funny idea!

_Rasper [obstinately]._ But I _have_, though; and in a shop-window, too.

_Susan [delightedly]._ That is superbe, magnifique! I am so happy, _so_
proud! My husband, they have copied this leetle work of mine in London!

[_ROBINSON and SPONGE clap their hands applaudingly._]

_Rasper [shakes his head; aside]._ Dashed if I don't believe it's a
chromolithograph! [_To Nokes_] I say, Nokes, you wrote to us in such
raptures about your wife's hands. Why does she keep her gloves on?

_Nokes [confused]._ Keep her gloves on? You mean why does she wear them
in-doors? Well, the fact is, the Montmorencis always do it. It's been a
family peculiarity for centuries,--like the Banshee. And, besides, she
does it to keep her hands delicate: they're just like roses--I mean
_white_ roses,--if you could only see 'em. But then she always wears

_Rasper [grunts disapproval]._ Then I suppose it's no use asking her to
give us a tune on the piano?

_Nokes [hastily]._ Not a bit, not a bit; of course not; and, besides, we
shall have lunch directly.

_Susan [approaching them]._ What is dat, Mr. Gasper? Did you not ask for
a leetle music? What you like for me to play?

_Nokes [aside to Susan]._ How can you be such a fool? Why, this is
suicide! [_To Rasper_] My dear fellow, my wife would be delighted, but
the fact is the piano is out of order. The tuner is coming to-morrow.

_Susan [seats herself at the piano]._ My dear husband, it weel do very
well. He only said we must note "thomp, thomp" until he had seen it; dat
is all. Now, gentlemens, what would you like?

_Sponge [with an armful of music-books]._ Nay, madam, what will you do
us the favor to choose? [_Aside_] There is nothing I love so much in
this world as turning over the leaves of a music-book for a lady of

_Susan._ Ah, I am so sorry, because I do only play by de ear, here
[_points to her ear_]. But what would you like, gentlemens? Handel,
Mozart, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, _it is all exactly de same to me_.

_Robinson._ Oh, then, pray let us have Mendelssohn,--one of those
exquisite Songs without Words of his.

_Susan._ Yas? with plaisir. I like dose songs best myself,--de songs
without words.

_Nokes [aside, despairingly]._ It's impossible she can get out of this.
Now we shall have an _éclaircissement_, an exposure, an explosion.

_Susan [strikes piano violently with both hands, and a string breaks
with a loud report]._ Ah, _quel dommage!_ How stupide, too, when he told
me not to "thomp, thomp"! I am so sorry, gentlemens! I did hope to give
you a song, but I cannot sing without an accompaniment.

_Rasper [maliciously]._ There's the harp, ma'am,--unless its strings
are in the same unsatisfactory state as those of the piano.

_Susan [with affected delight]._ What, you play de harp, Mr. Gasper? I
_am_ so glad, because I do not play it yet myself: I am only learning.
Come, I shall sing, and you shall play upon de harp.

_Rasper [angrily]._ I play the harp, madam! what rubbish! of course I

_Sponge [eagerly]._ But _I_ can, just a little,--just enough to
accompany one of Mrs. Nokes's charming songs. [_Brings the harp down to
the front, and sits down to it, trying the strings._]

_Nokes [aside]._ The nasty little accomplished beast! He'll ruin
everything. Susan is at her wits' end. [_Aside to Susan_] What on earth
are we to do now?

     _Enter SERVANT._

[_In stentorian tones_] Luncheon is on the table! [_Then, approaching
Susan, he adds, in lower but distinct tones_] A lady wishes to see you,
madam, upon very particular business.

_Susan [surprised]._ A lady! what lady?

_Nokes [to Susan, aside and impatiently]._ Never mind _what_ lady; see
her at once, whoever she is: it will be an excuse for getting away from
these people.--My wife is engaged for the present, my good friends, so
we'll sit down to lunch without her.

[_All bow and leave the room, receiving in return from Susan a stately
courtesy. Nokes, the last to leave, kisses his hand to her_.] Adorable
Susan, you have conquered, you remain in possession of the field; but
you must not risk another engagement. I will see to that. Champagne
shall do its work on Rasper--_Gasper_.

     _Enter MRS. CHARLES NOKES, neatly but cheaply attired. SUSAN rises,
     bows, and looks toward her interrogatively._

_Mrs. Charles Nokes._ I did not send in my name, madam, because I feared
it would but prejudice you against your visitor. I am Charles's--that
is, your husband's niece by marriage; not a near relation to yourself,
you might say, if you wished to be unkind,--which [_with earnestness_] I
do not think you do.

_Susan [distressed, but endeavoring to remain firm]._ Oh, but I do,
ma'am. I wish to be as hard as a stone. [Aside] Only I can't. What a
pretty, modest young creature she is!

_Mrs. C.N._ The poor give you no such severe character, madam; and,
taking courage by their report, and being poor myself, and, alas! having
been the innocent cause of making others poor, I have ventured hither.

_Susan [aside]._ Oh, I wish she wouldn't! I can't stand this. There's
something in her face, too, that reminds me--but there! have I not
promised my husband to be brutal and unfeeling? [_Aloud_] Madame, I am
sorry, but I have noting for you. Mr. Noke, mai husband, he tell me dat
hees nephew is very foolish, weeked _jeune homme_--

_Mrs. C.N. [interrupting]._ Foolish, madam, he may have been, nay, he
was, to fall in love with a poor orphan like myself, who had nothing to
give him _but_ my love,--but not wicked. He has a noble heart. His
sorrow is not upon his own account, but for his wife and child. He has
bent his proud spirit twice to entreat his uncle's forgiveness, but in
vain. And now _I_ have come to appeal to _you_,--though you are not of
my own country,--a woman to a woman.

_Susan [aside]._ Dear heart alive! I'm melting like a tallow candle.

_Mrs. C.N._ I was a poor Berkshire curate's daughter--

_Susan [interrupting hastily]._ A _what_? [_Recollecting herself._] A
poor _curé_'s daughter--yas, yas--in Berkishire, _qu'est-ce que c'est_

_Mrs. C.N._ It is in the south of England, madam. We were poor, I say,
and I had been used to straits, even before my poor father died. But my
husband has been always accustomed to luxury and comfort, and now that
poverty has come suddenly upon us--

_Susan [interrupting with emotion, but still speaking broken English.]_
Were you considaired like your fader?

_Mrs. C.N._ Yes, madam, very like.

_Susan [anxiously and tremblingly]._ What was his name?

_Mrs. C.N._ Woodward, madam. He was curate of Salthill, near Eton.

_Susan [throwing herself at her feet and kissing her hands]._ Why,
you're Miss Clara! and I'm Susan,--Susan Montem, to whom he was so kind
and noble [_sobbing_]. I'm no more a Montmorenci than you are,--nor half
as much. I'm a workhouse orphan, and--and--your aunt by marriage.
[_Aside, and clasping her hands_]. Oh, what _can_ I do to help them?
what _can_ I do?

_Mrs. C.N. [fervently]._ I thank heaven. There is genuine gratitude in
your kind face. I remember you now, though I am sure I should never have
recognized you, Susan.

_Susan._ I dare say not, Miss Clara [_rising and wiping her eyes_]. Fine
feathers make fine birds. Lor, how I should like to have a talk with you
about old times! But there, we've got something else to do first.
Where's your good husband?

_Mrs. C.N._ In the garden, hiding in the laurel-bed, with Chickabiddy.
That's our baby, you know.

[_Carriage heard departing; they listen. Enter Mr. Nokes, slightly
elevated with champagne, and not perceiving Mrs. C.N._]

_Nokes._ Hurrah, my dear! they're off, all three of them,--all five of
them, for each of them sees two of the others; they have no notion that
your name is Susan--[_sees Mrs. C.N._] I mean Constance. [_Aside_] Oh,
Lor! just as I thought we'd weathered the storm, too, and got into still

_Susan [gravely]._ She knows all about it, husband. That lady is the
daughter of my benefactor, Mr. Woodward, to whom I owed everything on
earth till I met you.

_Nokes [with enthusiasm, and holding out both hands]._ The deuce she is!
I am most uncommonly glad to see you, ma'am, under this roof. [_Aside to
Susan_] She don't look very prosperous, Susan: if there's anything that
money can get for her, I'll see she has it; mind that.

_Susan [aloud]._ She is poor, sir, and much in need of home and friends.

_Nokes [to Mrs. C.N.]._ Then you have found them here, ma'am. You're a
fixture at "the Tamarisks" for life, if it so pleases you.

_Mrs. C.N._ You are most kind, sir, but I have a husband and one
_little_ child.

_Nokes._ Never mind that: he'll grow. There's room here for you and your
husband and the little child, even if he does grow. Where are they? Show
them up.

_Mrs. C.N. runs to window and calls, "Charles, Charles."_

_Nokes [aside]._ I think I've had quite as much champagne as is good for
me; just enough; the golden mean.

     _Enter CHARLES with baby, which he holds at full stretch of his

_Nokes [indignantly]._ You young scoundrel! How dare you show your face
in this house?

_Mrs. C.N. [interfering]._ You sent for him, sir.

_Nokes._ I sent for nothing of the sort. I sent for your husband.

_Mrs. C.N._ That is my husband, sir, and our little child. You promised
us an asylum for life under your roof; and I am certain you will keep
your word.

_Nokes [to Susan, endeavoring to be severe]._ Now, this is all _your_
fault; and yet you promised me never to interfere on behalf of these

_Susan_. Nor _did_ I, my dear husband. You have done it all yourself.

_Nokes [aside]._ It was all that last glass of champagne.

_Charles [giving up the baby to his wife, and coming up with
outstretched hand to his uncle]._ Come, sir, pray forgive me. I could
not enjoy your favors without your forgiveness, believe me.

_Nokes [holding out his hand unwillingly]._ There. [_Aside_] How _could_
I be such a fool, knowing so well what champagne is made of?--Well, sir,
if you have regained your place here, remember it has all happened
through your aunt's goodness. Let nobody ever show any of their airs to
my Susan.

_Charles and his wife [together]._ We shall never forget her kindness,

_Nokes._ Mind you don't, then. For, you see, it's to her own
disadvantage, since when I die--and supposing I have forgiven you--the
child that has to grow will inherit everything, and Susan only have a
life-interest in it.

_Charles [hopefully]._ I don't see that, sir. Why shouldn't you have
children of your own?

_Nokes [complacently]._ True, true. Why shouldn't we? I didn't like to
dwell upon the idea before, but why shouldn't we? At all events, Susan
[_comes forward with Susan_], I am sure I shall never repent having shot
at the pigeon--I mean, having wooed the Montmorenci, but won THE



New York has been accused of being purely commercial in tone, and there
was a period in her history when she must have pleaded guilty to the
indictment. That day, however, is past: she has now many
interests--scientific, artistic, literary, musical--as influential as
that mentioned, though not perhaps numerically so important. Of the fine
arts the city is the acknowledged New World centre, and it is fast
forming a literary circle as noteworthy as that of any other capital.
The latter owes its existence in part, no doubt, to the great
publishing-houses, but has been attracted chiefly by the facilities for
research afforded by those great storehouses of learning, the city
libraries. Few old residents are aware of the literary wealth stored in
these depositories, or of the extent to which they are consulted by
scholars and by writers generally.

There are four large libraries in the city whose interest is almost
purely literary,--the Society, the Astor, the Lenox, and the Historical
Society's,--one both literary and popular,--the Mercantile,--one
interesting as being the outcome of a great trades' guild,--the
Apprentices',--and one purely popular,--the Free Circulating Library.
There are others, of course, but the above are such as from their
character and history seem best calculated for treatment in a magazine
paper. The oldest of these is the Society Library, which is located in
its own commodious fire-proof building at No. 67 University Place. This
library is perhaps the oldest in the United States: its origin dates
back to the year 1700, when, Lord Bellamont being governor and New York
a police-precinct of five thousand inhabitants, the worthy burghers
founded the Public Library. For many years it seems to have flourished
in the slow, dignified way peculiar to Knickerbocker institutions. In
1729 it received an accession in the library of the Rev. Dr. Millington,
rector of Newington, England, which was bequeathed to the Society for
the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, and by it transferred to
the New York Public Library. The institution remained under the care of
the city until 1754, when a company of gentlemen formed an association
to enhance its usefulness by bringing it under private control. They
collected a number of books, and on application the Public Library was
incorporated with these, and the whole placed under the care of trustees
chosen by the shareholders. Believing that "a public library would be
very useful as well as ornamental to the city," and also advantageous to
"our intended college," the shareholders agreed to pay "five pounds each
on the first day of May, and ten shillings each on every first of May
forever thereafter." Subscribers had the right to take out one book at a
time by depositing one-third more than the value of it with the
library-keeper. Rights could be alienated or bequeathed "like any other
chattel." No person, even if he owned several shares, could have more
than one vote, nor could a part of a subscription-right entitle the
holder to any privileges. By 1772 the Society had increased to such an
extent that it was thought best to incorporate it, and a charter was
secured from the crown. In its preamble seven "esquires," two
"merchants," two "gentlemen," and one "physician" appear as petitioners,
and fifty-six gentlemen, with one lady, Mrs. Anne Waddel, are named
members of the corporation. The style of the latter was changed to the
"New York Society Library," and the usual corporate privileges were
granted, including the right to purchase and hold real estate of the
yearly value of one thousand pounds sterling. The Society is practically
working under this charter to-day, the legislature of New York having
confirmed it in 1789. The earliest printed catalogue known to be in
existence was issued about 1758: it gives the titles of nine hundred and
twenty-two volumes, with a list of members, one hundred and eighteen in
all. A second catalogue followed in 1761. During the Revolution many of
the volumes were scattered or destroyed. The first catalogue printed
after the war enumerates five thousand volumes; these had increased in
1813 to thirteen thousand, in 1838 to twenty-five thousand, and the
present number is estimated at seventy-five thousand. Down to 1795 the
library was housed in the City Hall, and during the sessions of Congress
was used by that body as a Congressional Library. Its first building was
erected in 1795, in Nassau Street, opposite the Middle Dutch Church,
and here the library remained until 1836, when, its premises becoming in
demand for business purposes, it was sold, and the Society purchased a
lot on the corner of Broadway and Leonard Street. A building was
completed on this lot in 1840, and the library removed thither from the
rooms of the Mechanics' Society in Chambers Street, where it had been
placed on the sale of its property in 1836. In 1853 a third removal was
made, to the Bible House, its property on Broadway being again swallowed
up by the advancing tide of business. In the same year its present
property on University Place was purchased, on which, two years later,
in 1855, the commodious building which it now occupies was erected, the
Society taking possession in May, 1856. Many features of the Society
Library are unique, to be met with, perhaps, in no other organization of
the kind in the world. Many of its members hold shares that have
descended to them from father to son from the time of the first
founders. The annual dues are placed at such a figure (ten dollars) as
practically to debar people with slender purses. The scholar, however,
may have the range of its treasures on paying a fee of twenty-five
cents, and the stranger may enjoy the use of the library for one month
on being introduced by a member. The market value of a share is now one
hundred and fifty dollars, with the annual dues of ten dollars commuted,
but shares may be purchased for twenty-five dollars, subject to the
annual dues. The library proper occupies the whole of the second floor.
On the first floor, besides the large hall, is a well-lighted
drawing-room, filled with periodicals in all languages, a ladies'
parlor, and a conversation-room. The library-room is a large, airy,
well-lighted apartment, with a series of artistic alcoves ranged about
two of its sides. Here are to be found the Winthrop Collection,
comprising some three hundred curious and ancient tomes, chiefly in
Latin, which formed a part of the library of John Winthrop, "the founder
of Connecticut," the De Peyster Alcove, containing one thousand
volumes, very full in special subjects, the Hammond Library, collected
by a Newport scholar, comprising some eighteen hundred quaint and
curious volumes, and a collection of over six hundred rare and costly
works on art contained in the John C. Green Alcove. This last alcove,
which was fitted up and presented to the library by Mr. Robert Lenox
Kennedy as a memorial of Mr. and Mrs. John C. Green, benefactors of the
Society, is an artistic gem. The sides and ceilings are finished in hard
woods by Marcotte, after designs by the architect, Sidney Stratton.
Opposite the entrance is a memorial window, its centre-pin representing
two female figures,--Knowledge and Prudence,--with the four great poets,
Homer, Virgil, Dante, and Chaucer, in the corners. On the east wall is a
portrait of Mr. Green by Madrazo, and on the west a tablet with an
inscription informing the visitor that, the library having received a
donation of fifty thousand dollars from the estate of John Cleve Green,
the trustees had placed the tablet as a memento of this munificence.
There are books in this alcove not to be duplicated in European
libraries. A work on Russian antiquities, for instance, containing
beautifully-colored lithographs of the Russian crown-jewels, royal
robes, ecclesiastical vestments, and the like, cannot be found, it is
said, either in Paris or London. The scope of the collection may be seen
by a glance at the catalogue, whose departments embrace architecture,
art-study, anatomy, biography, book-illustration, cathedrals and
churches, costumes, decorative, domestic, and industrial art, heraldry,
painting, and picturesque art.

It is a coincidence merely, but nearly all the great libraries of the
city are grouped within a block or two of Astor Place, making that short
thoroughfare the scholarly centre of the town. In its immediate
vicinity, on the corner of Second Avenue and Eleventh Street, stands the
fire-proof building of the New York Historical Society, whose library
and collection of paintings and relics form one of the features of the
city. This Society dates back to the year 1804, when Egbert Benson, De
Witt Clinton, Rev. William Linn, Rev. Samuel Miller, Rev. John N. Abeel,
Rev. John M. Mason, Dr. David Hosack, Anthony Bleecker, Samuel Bayard,
Peter G. Stuyvesant, and John Pintard, met by appointment at the City
Hall and agreed to form a society "the principal design of which should
be to collect and preserve whatever might relate to the natural, civil,
or ecclesiastical history of the United States in general and of the
State of New York in particular." Active measures were at once taken for
the formation of a library and museum, special committees being
appointed for the purpose. The range of the collection embraced books,
manuscripts, statistics, newspapers, pictures, antiquities, medals,
coins, and specimens in natural history. The Society made the usual
number of removals before being finally established as a householder.
From 1804 to 1809 it met in the old City Hall, from 1809 to 1816 in the
Government House, from 1816 to 1832 in the New York Institution, from
1832 to 1837 in Remsen's Building, Broadway, from 1837 to 1841 in the
Stuyvesant Institute, from 1841 to 1857 in the New York University, and
at length, after surmounting many pecuniary obstacles, celebrated its
fifty-third anniversary by taking possession of its present structure.
Meantime, the efforts of the library committees had resulted in a
collection of Americana of exceeding interest and value, the nucleus of
the present library. In its one specialty this library is believed to be
unrivalled. The Society has issued some twenty-four volumes of its own
publications, in addition to numerous essays and addresses. Besides
these, its library contains some seventy-three thousand volumes of
printed works, chiefly Americana, many of them relating to the Indians
and obscure early colonial history. Eight hundred and eleven genealogies
of American families--the fountain-head of the national history--are a
feature of the collection. The library also possesses one of the best
sets of Congressional documents extant, also complete sets of State and
city documents. There are four thousand volumes of newspapers, beginning
with the first journal published in America,--the "Boston News-Letter"
of 1704,--and comprising a complete record to the present day. There are
also tons of pamphlets and "broadsides," and several hundred copies of
the inflammatory hand-bills posted on the trees and fences of New York
during the Revolution. The library is also rich in old family letters
and documents containing much curious and interesting history. The
Society is very conservative in its ways,--more so than most
institutions of the kind. Theoretically, its stores of information can
be drawn on by members only, but, as a general thing, properly
accredited scholars, non-residents, have little difficulty in gaining
access to them, provided the material sought is not elsewhere

Lafayette Place is a wide, quiet thoroughfare, a few blocks in extent,
opening into Astor Place on the north. On the left, a few doors from the
latter street, stands the Astor Library, in some respects one of the
noteworthy libraries of the world. John Jacob Astor died March 29, 1848,
leaving a will which contained a codicil in these words: "Desiring to
render a public benefit to the city of New York, and to contribute to
the advancement of useful knowledge and the general good of society, I
do by this codicil appoint four hundred thousand dollars out of my
residuary estate to the establishment of a public library in the city of
New York." The instrument then proceeded to give specific directions as
to how the money was to be applied: first, in the erection of a suitable
building; second, in supplying the same with books, maps, charts,
models, drawings, paintings, engravings, casts, statues, furniture, and
other things appropriate to a library upon the most ample scale and
liberal character; and, third, in maintaining and upholding the
buildings and other property, and in paying the necessary expenses of
the care of the same, and the salaries of the persons connected with
the library, said library to be accessible at all reasonable hours and
times for general use, free of expense, and subject only to such
conditions as the trustees may exact. It was further provided that its
affairs should be managed by eleven trustees, "selected from the
different liberal professions and employments of life and the classes of
educated men." The mayor was also to be a trustee by virtue of his
office. The entire fund was vested in this board, with power to expend
and invest moneys, and to appoint, direct, control, and remove the
superintendent, librarian, and others employed about the library. The
first trustees were named in the will, and Washington Irving was chosen

Dr. Joseph G. Cogswell, who it is said first suggested the idea of a
library to Mr. Astor, was appointed first superintendent and despatched
to Europe to purchase books, which he succeeded in doing to the best
advantage, the political disturbances of 1848 having thrown many
valuable libraries on the market. Meantime, a building had been
commenced on the east side of Lafayette Place, on a lot sixty-five feet
front by one hundred and twenty deep; but as the books arrived before
this was completed they were placed temporarily in a hired house in Bond
Street. The new building, which was opened January 9, 1854, was in the
Byzantine style, after the design by Alexander Saeltzer, the lower story
being of brownstone and the two upper stories of red brick. The main
hall or library-room, beginning on the second floor, was carried up
through two stories and lighted by a large skylight in the roof. Around
the sides of this room were built two tiers of alcoves capable of
holding about one hundred thousand books. The library opened on the date
mentioned with about eighty thousand volumes, devoted chiefly to
science, history, art, and kindred topics, the trustees agreeing with
the superintendent that the design of the founder could only be carried
out and the "advancement of knowledge" and "general good of society" be
best secured by making the new library one of reference only.

In October, 1855, Mr. William B. Astor, son of the founder, conveyed to
the trustees the lot, eighty feet front by one hundred and twenty deep,
adjoining the library on the north, and proceeded to erect upon it an
addition similar in all respects to the existing structure, the library
thus enlarged being opened September 1, 1859, with one hundred and ten
thousand volumes on its shelves. The addition led to a rearrangement of
the material, the old hall being devoted to science and the industrial
arts, and the new to history and general literature. In 1866 Mr. Astor
further signified his interest in the library by a gift of fifty
thousand dollars, twenty thousand dollars of it to be expended in the
purchase of books, and on his death in 1875 left it a bequest of two
hundred and forty-nine thousand dollars. In 1879 Mr. John Jacob Astor,
grandson of the founder, added to this enduring monument of his family
by building a second addition, seventy-five feet front and one hundred
and twenty feet deep, on the lot adjoining on the north, making the
entire building two hundred feet front by one hundred deep. At the same
time an additional story was placed on the Middle Hall, and a new
entrance and stairway constructed. The enlarged building, the present
Astor Library, was opened in October, 1881, with two hundred thousand
volumes and a shelf-capacity of three hundred thousand. Its present
contents are estimated at two hundred and twenty thousand volumes,
exclusive of pamphlets. The shelves are ranged in alcoves extending
around the sides of the three main halls and subdivided into sections of
six shelves each, each section being designated by a numeral. Each shelf
is designated by a letter of the alphabet, beginning at the bottom with
A. The alcoves have no distinguishing mark, the books being arranged
therein by subjects which the distributing librarian is expected to
carry in his mind. The first catalogue, in four volumes, was compiled by
Dr. Cogswell and printed in 1861. This was followed in 1866 by an index
of subjects from the same hand. Recently a catalogue in continuation of
Dr. Cogswell's, bringing the work down to the end of 1880, has been
prepared, and is being printed at the Riverside Press, Boston. The
current card catalogue is arranged on the dictionary plan, giving author
and subject under one alphabet. Opposite each title is written the
number of the alcove and the letter designating the shelf. By the
regulations the reader is required to find the title of the book desired
in the catalogue, write it with the number and letter on a slip of paper
provided for the purpose, and give it to the distributing librarian, who
despatches one of his boy Mercuries to the shelf designated for the
work. More often than not, however, the reader asks directly for the
book desired, without consulting the catalogue, and it is rarely that
the librarian cannot from memory direct his messenger to the section and
shelf containing it. In the matter of theft and mutilation of books the
library depends largely on the honor of readers, although some
safeguards are provided. All readers are required to enter their names
and addresses in a book, and the volume on being given out is charged to
them, to be checked off on its return: it would be difficult, too, for a
thief to purloin books without being detected by the employees or the
porter in the vestibule. Yet books are stolen occasionally. In June,
1881, a four-volume work by Bentley on "Medicinal Plants," valued at
sixty dollars, was taken from the library. It was soon missed, and
search made for it without avail. A few weeks later, however, it was
discovered by the principal librarian in a Broadway book-stall and

Few strangers in the city depart without paying a visit to the Astor
Library, and it is one of the few lions of the city that do not
disappoint. The main entrance is approached by two flights of stone
steps, from the north and south, leading to a brownstone platform
enclosed by the same material. From this, broad door-ways give entrance
to the vestibule, sixty feet by forty, paved in black and white marble,
and wainscoted four feet above the floor with beautifully variegated
marble from Vermont. The panelled ceiling is elaborately frescoed, as
well as the upper part of the walls. Busts of the sages and heroes of
antiquity adorn the hall. From the vestibule a stairway of white marble,
with massive newels of variegated marble, leads up to the library
proper. The visitor enters this in the centre of Middle Hall. Before
him, separated by a balustrade, are the desks and tables of the
distributing librarian and his assistants. The ladies' reading-room is
in the rear. On the left and right arched passages give access to the
North and South Halls, in which the main reading-rooms are situated. The
ceiling above is the skylight of the roof, and the alcoves, filled with
the wealth of learning of all ages and peoples, rise on either hand
quite to the ceiling. At long, green-covered tables, ranged in two
parallel lines through the halls, are seated the readers, in themselves
an interesting study. Scientists, artists, literary men, special
students, inventors, and _dilettante_ loungers make up the company. They
come with the opening of the doors at nine in the morning, and remain,
some of them, until they close at five in the evening. There are daily
desertions from their ranks, but always new-comers enough to fill the
gaps. Their wants are as various as their conditions. This well-dressed,
self-respectful mechanic wishes to consult the patent-office reports of
various countries, in which the library is rich. His long-haired Saxon
neighbor is poring over a Chinese manuscript, German scholars being the
only ones so far who have attacked the fine collection of Chinese and
Japanese works in the library. Next him is a _dilettante_ reader
languidly poring over "Lothair:" were the trustees to fill their shelves
with trashy fiction, readers of his class would soon crowd out the more
earnest workers. Here is a student with the thirty or more volumes of
the "New England Historic Genealogical Register" piled before him,
flanked on one side by the huge volumes of Burke's "Peerage" and on the
other by Walford's "County Families." There are many readers of this
class, the library's department of Genealogy and Heraldry being well
filled. There is a lady here and there at the tables working with a male
companion, but, as a rule, they are to be found at the ladies' tables in
the Middle Hall. There seem to be but two classes of readers here,--the
lady in silken attire, engaged in looking out some item of family
history or question of decorative art, and the brisk business-like
literary lady, seeking material for story or sketch. Any student or
literary worker who can show to the satisfaction of one of the trustees
that he is engaged in work requiring free access to the library receives
a card from the superintendent which admits him to the alcoves and
places all the treasures of the library at his command. A register is
placed near the distributing librarian's desk, in which on entering each
visitor to the alcove is required to sign his name, and in this register
each year is accumulated a roll of autographs of which any institution
might be proud. Famous scholars, scientists, authors, journalists,
poets, artists, and divines, both of this country and of Europe, are
included in the lists.

Of its treasures of literary and artistic interest it is impossible to
give categorical details. Perhaps the library prizes most the
magnificent elephant folio edition, in four volumes, of Audubon's "Birds
and Quadrupeds of North America," with its colored plates, heavy paper,
and general air of sumptuousness. The work is rare as well as
magnificent, and, though the library does not set a price upon its
books, it is known that three thousand dollars would not replace a
missing copy. In an adjoining alcove is an equally sumptuous but more
ancient volume, the Antiphonale, or mammoth manuscript of the chants for
the Christian year. This volume was used at the coronation of Charles
X., King of France. The covers of this huge folio are bound with brass,
beautiful illuminations by Le Brun adorn its title-pages, and then
follows, in huge black characters, the music of the chants. In its
immediate vicinity are many of the treasures of the library,--Zahn's
great work on Pompeii, three volumes of very large folios, containing
splendidly-colored frescos from the walls of the dead city; Sylvester's
elaborate work of "Fac-Similes of the Illuminated Manuscripts of the
Middle Ages," in four large folios; and also Count Bastard's great work
on the same, seeming more sumptuous in gold, silver, and colors. Another
notable work is Count Littar's "Genealogies of Celebrated Italian
Families," in ten folio volumes, emblazoned in gold, and illustrated
with richly-colored portraits finished like ivory miniatures. There are
whole galleries of European art,--Versailles, Florence, Spain, the
Vatican, Nash's Portfolio of Colored Pictures of Windsor Castle and
Palace, the Royal Pitti Gallery, Munich, Dresden, and others. A work on
the "Archæology of the Bosphorus," presented by the Emperor of Russia to
the library, is in three folio volumes, printed on thick vellum paper,
with two folding maps and ninety-four illuminated plates: but two
hundred copies of the book were printed, for presentation solely. Other
notable gifts are the publications of the Royal Danish Academy of
Sciences, in seventeen volumes, catalogue of antiquities, chiefly
British, at Alnwick Castle, and one of Egyptian antiquities at the same,
from the Duke of Northumberland, a complete file of the "Liberator,"
from Mr. Wendell Phillips, numerous works on Oriental art, from the
imperial governments of Japan and China, and many thousand folio volumes
of Parliamentary papers and British patents, from the British
government. Of its Orientalia and its department of Egyptology the
library is especially proud. The latter so good an authority as
Professor Seyffarth pronounces second only to that of the British

In addition to the large collection of costly books of art with which
this library is enriched, there are some of the rarest manuscripts and
earliest printed books to be seen kept in glass cases in the Middle
Hall. Among these may be mentioned the superbly illuminated manuscript of
the ninth century entitled "Evangelistarium,"--one of the finest
existing productions of the revival of learning under Charlemagne; the
"Sarum Missal," a richly-emblazoned manuscript of the tenth century;
some choice Greek and Latin codices once belonging to the library of
Pope Pius VI.; and the Persian manuscripts recently acquired, which
formerly were in the library of the Mogul emperors at Delhi, bearing the
stamp of Shah Akbar and Shah Jehan. The writing is by the famous
calligrapher Sultan Alee Meshedee (896 A.H., or 1518 A.D.).

There is as great a popular misconception of the character and purpose
of the Lenox Library as of the Astor. The two are like and yet
unlike,--alike in the rich treasures which they contain, but quite
unlike in their scope and purposes. In reality the Lenox is a museum of
art rather than a library: its books are, with few exceptions, rarities,
"first editions," illuminated manuscripts, specimens showing the advance
of the typographic art from the beginning, books of artistic interest,
and works not to be found in this country, and sometimes not in Europe.
Its collection of paintings and sculpture is important as well as its
literary treasures. It is not a library of general reference, though
many of its works will be sought by scholars for the value of their
contents: it is, in short, a private art-gallery and library thrown open
at stated times and under certain restrictions to the public. The
library owes its existence to the munificence of Mr. James Lenox, a
wealthy and educated gentleman of New York, who determined to establish
permanently in his native city his fine collection of manuscripts,
printed books, engravings and maps, statuary, paintings, drawings, and
other works of art, by giving the land and money necessary to provide a
building and a permanent fund for the maintenance of the same. In
January, 1870, the legislature of New York passed an act "creating a
body corporate by the name and style of 'The Trustees of the Lenox
Library.'" Nine trustees were named, and these gentlemen organized by
electing Mr. Lenox president and Mr. A.B. Belknap secretary. In the
succeeding March Mr. Lenox conveyed to the trustees three hundred
thousand dollars in stocks of the county of New York and bonds and
mortgage securities, and also the ten lots of land fronting on Fifth
Avenue on which the library-building now stands. One hundred thousand
dollars were set apart for the formation of a permanent fund, and two
hundred thousand dollars for a building-fund. Contracts for a
library-building were made early In 1872, and work on it was begun in
May of the same year,--the structure being finished in 1875. It has a
frontage of one hundred and ninety-two feet on Fifth Avenue, overlooking
the Park, and a depth of one hundred and fourteen feet on both
Seventieth and Seventy-first Streets. The general plan is that of a
central structure connecting two turreted wings which enclose a spacious
entrance-court. From the court the visitor enters a grand hall or
vestibule, from which every part of the building is reached. At either
end is a spacious library-room. Stone stairways lead from each end of
the vestibule to the mezzanine, or half-story, and the second-story
landings. From the latter one enters the principal gallery, ninety-six
by twenty-four, devoted to sculpture, and opening on the east into the
picture-gallery. At either end of the hall of sculpture are library- and
reading-rooms similar to those on the first floor. The stairway on the
north continues the ascent to an attic or third-floor gallery. The
building throughout is fitted up in a style befitting a shrine of the
arts. The first-floor library-rooms are one hundred and eight feet long
by thirty feet wide and twenty-four feet high, with level ceilings,
beautifully panelled and corniced. The sides of the hall of sculpture
are divided by five arcades, resting on piers decorated with niches,
pilasters, and other architectural ornaments; the ceiling has deep
panels resting on and supported by the pilasters; the walls are
wainscoted in oak to the height of the niches. The picture-gallery is
forty by fifty-six, well lighted from above by three large skylights.
Iron book-cases, with a capacity for eighty thousand volumes, are
arranged in two tiers on the sides of the galleries. The whole structure
is as nearly fire-proof as it could possibly be made, and its massive
walls and stone towers make it one of the prominent architectural
features of the avenue. While the building was in progress, several
benefactions of interest had accrued to the library. Mr. Lenox had given
an additional one hundred thousand dollars, and in 1872 one hundred
thousand dollars more, and Mr. Felix Astoin had promised to bestow his
fine collection of some five thousand rare French works. On the 15th of
January, 1877, the first exhibition of paintings and sculptures was
opened to the public, and continued on two days of the week to the end
of the year, and on the 1st of the following December an apartment for
the exhibition of rare works and manuscripts was also opened to the
public. Fifteen thousand people visited the library during this first
year, thus indicating the popular appreciation of a collection of this
kind. In 1881 nineteen thousand eight hundred and thirty-three
admission-tickets were issued,--the largest number of visitors on any
one day being eleven hundred, on the anniversary of Washington's

The scope and objects of this unique institution are so admirably set
forth by the trustees in their report to the legislature for 1881 that
we append an extract. "The library," they observe, "differs from most
public libraries. It is not a great general library intended in its
endowment and present equipment for the use of readers in all or most of
the departments of human knowledge.... Beyond its special collections it
should be regarded as supplementary to others more general and numerous
and directly adapted to popular use. It is not like the British Museum,
but rather like the Grenville collection in the British Museum, or
perhaps still more like the house and museum of Sir John Soane in
Lincoln's Inn's Fields, in London, both lasting monuments of the
learning and liberality of their honored founders. Thus, while the
library does not profess to be a general or universal collection of all
the knowledge stored up in the world of books, it is absolutely without
a peer or a rival here in the special collections to which the generous
taste and liberal scholarship of its founder devoted his best gifts of
intellectual ability and ample resources of fortune. It represents the
favorite studies of a lifetime consecrated after due offices of religion
and charity to the choicest pursuits of literature and art. It would be
difficult to estimate the value or importance of these marvellous
treasures, whose exhibition hitherto only in part has challenged the
admiration of all scholars and given a new impulse to those studies for
which they furnish an apparatus before unseen in America.... The
countless myriads of volumes produced in the past four centuries of
printing with movable types have left in all the libraries of all the
nations comparatively few monuments, or even memorials, of so many
eager, patient, or weary generations of men whose works have followed
them when they have rested from their labors. The Lenox Library was
established for the public exhibition and scholarly use of some of the
most rare and precious of such monuments and memorials of the
typographic art and the historic past as have escaped the wreck and been
preserved to this day. That exhibition and use must be governed by
regulations which will insure to the fullest extent the security and
preservation of the treasures intrusted to our care, in the enforcement
of which the trustees anticipate the sympathy and co-operation of all
scholars and men of letters, through whose use and labors alone the
public at large must chiefly derive real and permanent benefit from this
and all similar institutions." The "regulations" adopted by the trustees
for the preservation of their treasures do not seem unreasonable.
Admission is by ticket, which may be procured of the librarian by
addressing him by mail. We have space for but the briefest possible
glimpses at these treasures. The chief rarities in typography are found
in the north and south libraries on the first floor. In "first editions"
it would be difficult to say whether the library prides itself most on
its Bibles, its Miltoniana, or its Shakesperiana. In Bibles the whole
art of printing with movable types is fully portrayed, the series
beginning with the "Mazarin," or Gutenberg, Bible, the first book ever
printed with movable types. There are Bibles in all languages. There is
the first complete edition of the New Testament in Greek ever published,
its title-page dated Basle, 1516. In a glass case in the north library
are the four huge "Polyglot" Bibles, marvels of typography, known as the
Complutensian, Antwerp, Paris, and English Polyglots. In the same case
repose the Codex Sinaiticus, Codex Alexandrinus, and Codex
Vaticanus,--three great folios, in the original Greek and Hebrew, sacred
to scholars as the works on which all authority for the Scriptures
rests. Tyndale's New Testament, the first ever printed on English
ground, dated London, 1536, is here, and that rare copy of the King
James version known as the "Wicked Bible." In this copy the printer, as
a satire on the age, omitted the word "not" from the seventh
commandment, and for this piece of waggery was heavily fined, the money
going, it is said, to establish the first Greek press ever erected at
Oxford. Among its "first editions" the library has that of Homer, 1488,
and that of Dante, 1472. The Milton collection deserves special notice:
in addition to the first editions of the poet's various works, it
contains a folio volume of letters and documents pertaining to Milton
and his family, with autograph manuscripts giving exceedingly
interesting details of the poet's private life and fortunes. One of
these is a long original letter from Milton himself to his friend Carlo
Dati, the Florentine, with the latter's reply; there are also three
receipts or releases signed by Milton's three daughters, Anne Milton,
Mary Milton, and Deborah Clarke, a bond from Elizabeth Milton, his
widow, to one Randle Timmis, and several other agreements and
assignments, with the autographs of attesting witnesses. In folio
editions of Shakespeare, and in commentaries, glossaries, and
dissertations, the library is also exceedingly rich. Its collection of
Americana is the wonder and delight of scholars. We must mention the
first publication of the printed letter of Columbus, one in each of its
four editions, giving the first account of his discoveries in the West,
with three autograph letters of Diego Columbus, his son; the
"Cosmographia Introductio," printed at St. Dié, 1507,--the first book in
which a suggestion of the name "America" occurs; and also the first map,
printed in 1520, in which the name appears. Here is the first American
book printed,--a Mexican work, dated 1543-44; the Bay Psalm-Book, 1640,
the first work printed in New England; and the first book printed in New
York,--the Laws of the Province, by Bradford, issued in 1691: the
Puritan evidently placing the gospel first, and the Knickerbocker the

Leaving the typographical treasures of the library, we ascend the broad
marble stairway to the floor above, for a brief glance at the paintings
and statuary. In the hall devoted to sculpture are many noble and
beautiful works of art in marble, the most noticeable perhaps being
Powers's "Il Penseroso," the bust of Washington and the "Babes in the
Wood" by Crawford, and the statue of Lincoln by Ball. In the
picture-gallery on the east are a hundred and fifty subjects. On the
south wall hangs a canvas which is at once recognized as the
masterpiece. It is Munkácsy's "Blind Milton dictating 'Paradise Lost' to
his Daughters." This painting is fitly supported on one side by a
portrait of Milton owned for many years by Charles Lamb, and on the
other by a copy of Lely's fine portrait of Cromwell.

The Mercantile is the popular library of the city; in no sense a public
library, however, for the student or stranger must advance a pretty
liberal entrance-fee before he can avail himself of its benefits. This
institution is a pleasing example of what can be done by many hands,
even though there be little in them: it has reached its present
proportions without endowment or State aid, chiefly through the steady,
continuous efforts of the merchants' clerks of the city. They have
always managed it, one generation succeeding another, and they have in
it to-day the largest circulating library in America. Mr. William Wood,
a benevolent gentleman who devoted many of his later years to improving
the condition of clerks, apprentices, and sailors, is regarded as the
founder. Mr. Wood was a native of Boston, and in business there during
early life, but later removed to London. After distributing much dole to
the poor of that city, he founded a library for clerks in Liverpool, and
subsequently one in Boston, the latter being the first of its kind in
this country. The various mercantile libraries at Albany, Philadelphia,
New Orleans, and other places are said to have been founded on the plan
of this. In 1820 Mr. Wood began interesting the merchants' clerks of New
York in the project of a library for themselves. The first meeting to
consider it was held at the Tontine Coffee-House, in Wall Street, on
November 9 of that year; and at an adjourned meeting on the 27th of the
same month a constitution was formed and officers elected. The young men
contributed a little money for the purchase of books, the merchants
more, many books were begged or purchased by Mr. Wood, and on the 12th
of February, 1821, the library was formally opened, with seven hundred
volumes, in an upper room at No. 49 Fulton Street. The first librarian
was Mr. John Thompson, who received, it is remembered, one hundred and
fifty dollars a year as salary. It was not long before the library, like
its fellows, began its migrations up town, Harpers' Building, on Cliff
Street, being its second abode. This removal occurred in 1826, and the
association had then become so strong that it was able to open a
reading-room in connection with its library. Old readers remember that
there were four weekly newspapers and seven magazines in this first
reading-room. Its membership at that time numbered twelve hundred, there
were four thousand four hundred volumes on its shelves, and its annual
income amounted to seventeen hundred and fifty dollars.

In 1828 the library was desirous of building: many of the merchants and
substantial men of the city were willing to aid it, but doubted the
wisdom of trusting such large property interests to the management of
young men. They formed, therefore, the Clinton Hall Association, to hold
and control real estate for the benefit of the library, with fund shares
of one hundred dollars each. The first year thirty-three thousand five
hundred dollars had been subscribed, and the corporation began erecting
the first Clinton Hall, at the corner of Nassau and Beekman Streets.
Here the library remained for nearly a score of years, or until 1853,
when a brisk agitation was begun for its removal up-town. A small but
determined party favored its removal. The more conservative objected. At
length, in January, 1853, the question was put to the vote, and lost by
a large majority. But while the excitement was still at its height it
was learned that the association had sold Clinton Hall and had purchased
the old Italian Opera-House in Astor Place. Here, in May, 1855, the
library opened, and here it has since remained, although for several
years past the question of a farther removal up-town has been agitated.
The constitution of this excellent institution provides that it shall be
composed of three classes of members,--active, subscribing, and
honorary. Any person engaged on a salary as clerk may become an active
member, if approved by the board of directors, on subscribing to the
constitution and paying an initiation-fee of one dollar, and two dollars
for the first six months, his regular dues thereafter being two dollars
semi-annually, in advance. Active members only may vote or hold office.
Subscribing members may become such by a payment of five dollars
annually or three dollars semi-annually. Persons of distinction may be
elected honorary members by a vote of three-fourths of the members of
the board of direction. The board of direction is composed of a
president, vice-president, treasurer, secretary, and eight directors,
the former elected annually, the directors four for one year and four
for two years. There is also a book committee, which reports one month
previous to each annual meeting. From the last annual report of the
board it appears that in April, 1883, there were 198,858 books in the
library. The total number of members at the same time was 3136, and the
honorary members (71), the editors using the library (54), and the
Clinton Hall stockholders (1701) swelled the total number of those
availing themselves of its privileges to 4962. The total circulation for
the year was 112,375 volumes, of which 27,549 were distributed from the
branch office, No. 2 Liberty Place, and 1695 books were delivered by
messengers at members' residences. In 1870 the circulation was 234,120,
the large falling off--over one-half--being due to the era of cheap
books. The department of fiction, of course, suffers most. This in 1870
formed about seventy per cent. of the circulation. In 1883 the number of
works of fiction circulated was 53,937,--not quite fifty per cent.

To gain a fair idea of the popularity of the library one should spend a
mid-winter Saturday afternoon and evening with the librarian and his
busy assistants. Early in the afternoon numbers of young ladies leave
the shopping and fashionable thoroughfares up-town and throng the
library-room. The attendants, all young men, work with increased
animation under the stimulus. Books fly from counter to alcoves and
return, messenger-boys dart hither and thither, the fair patrons thumb
the catalogues and chatter in sad defiance of the rules. They are long
in making their selections, and appeal for aid to the librarians. But
the last of this class of visitors departs before the six-o'clock
dinner or tea, and the attendants have a respite for an hour. At seven
the real rush begins, with the advent of the clerks and other patrons
employed in store or office during the day, each intent on supplying
himself with reading-matter for the next day. From this hour until the
closing at nine the librarians are as busy as bees: there is a continual
running from counter to alcove and from gallery to gallery. In some of
the reports of the librarian interesting data are given of the tastes of
readers and the popularity of books. Fiction, as we have seen, leads;
but there is a growing taste for scientific and historical works.
Buckle, Mill, and Macaulay are favorites, and Tyndall, Huxley, and
Lubbock have many readers. The theft of its books is a serious drain on
the library each year, but the destruction of its rare and valuable
works of reference is still more provoking. Common gratitude, it might
seem, would deter persons admitted to the privileges of its alcoves from
injuring its property. What shall we think, then, of the vandals who
during the past year twice cut out the article on political economy in
"Appletons' Cyclopædia," so mutilated Thomson's "Cyclopædia of the
Useful Arts" as to render it valueless, and bore off bodily Storer's
"Dictionary of the Solubilities," the second volume of the new edition
of the "Encyclopædia Britannica," Andrews's "Latin Dictionary," and
several other valuable works?

There is a library in the city, the Apprentices', on Sixteenth Street,
whose existence is hardly known even to New-Yorkers, which is
exceedingly interesting to the student as an instance of the good a
trades' union may accomplish when its energies are rightly directed.
Here is a library of about sixty thousand volumes, with a supplementary
reference library of forty thousand seven hundred and fifty works, and a
well-equipped reading-room, free of debt, and free to its patrons, and
all the result of the well-directed efforts of the "Society of Mechanics
and Tradesmen." This society first organized for charitable purposes in
1792, receiving its first charter on the 14th of March of that year. In
January, 1821, its charter was amended, the society being empowered to
support a school for the education of the children of its deceased and
indigent members and for the establishment of an "Apprentices' Library
for the use of the apprentices of mechanics in the City of New York." A
small library had been opened the year before at 12 Chambers Street, and
there the library remained, constantly growing in number of volumes and
patrons, till 1835, when it was removed to the old High-School Building,
at 472 Broadway, which the society about that time purchased. It
remained there until 1878, when it followed the march of population
up-town, removing to its present spacious and convenient rooms in
Mechanics' Hall, in Sixteenth Street. Strange as it may seem, the
Apprentices' is the nearest approach to a public library on a large
scale that the city can boast. It is absolutely free to males up to the
age of eighteen; after that age it is required of the beneficiaries that
they be engaged in some mechanical employment. Ladies who are engaged in
any legitimate occupation may partake of its benefits. Books are loaned,
the applicants, besides meeting the above conditions, being only
required to furnish a guarantor. The total circulation of this excellent
institution for 1881-82 was 164,100 volumes, and its beneficial
influence on the class reached may be imagined. It is nevertheless a
class library; and the fact still remains that New York, with her vast
wealth and her splendid public and private charities, has yet to endow
the great public library which will place within reach of her citizens
the literary wealth of the ages. There is scarcely a disease, it is
said, but has its richly-endowed hospital in the city, the number of
eleemosynary institutions is legion, but the establishment of a public
library, which is usually the first care of a free, rich, intelligent
community, has been unaccountably neglected. The subject is now
receiving the earnest thought of the best people of the city.
Considerable difference of opinion exists as to the best method of
founding and supporting such an institution. Some argue that this should
be done by the city alone, holding that the self-respecting workingman
and workingwoman will never patronize a free library instituted solely
by private charity. Others urge that such an institution to be
successful should be free from city control and entirely the result of
private munificence. The latter gentlemen have added to the cogency of
their arguments by a practical demonstration. Early in 1880 they
organized on a small scale a free circulating library which should exist
solely by the benefactions of the public, with the object of furnishing
free reading at their homes to the people. The general plan adopted was
a central library, with branches in the various wards, by this means
bringing the centres of distribution within easy reach of the city's
homes. The success of the institution has been such that its development
should be carefully followed. It began operations by leasing two rooms
of the old mansion, No. 36 Bond Street, and in March, 1880, "moved in,"
opening with a few hundred volumes donated chiefly from the libraries of
its projectors. The first month--March--1044 volumes were circulated. By
October this had grown to 4212. The next year--1881-82--the circulation
reached 69,280, and it continued to increase until in 1883 it reached
81,233,--an increase of nearly 10,000 over the preceding year. In May,
1883, the library was removed to the comfortable and roomy building, No.
49 Bond Street, which had been purchased and fitted up for it by the
trustees. Early in December, 1884, the Ottendorfer Library, at 135
Second Avenue, the first of the projected branch libraries, was opened
with 8819 volumes, 4784 of which were in English and 4035 in German, the
whole, with the library building, being the gift of Mr. Oswald
Ottendorfer, of New York. The branch proved equally popular, having
circulated during the past year--1885--97,000 volumes, while the
circulation of the main library has increased to 104,000 volumes, the
combined circulation of both libraries exceeding that of any other in
the city. The percentage of loss has been only one book for 31,768
circulated. The report of the treasurer shows that the annual expenses
of the library--about twelve thousand dollars--have been met by
voluntary contributions, and that it has a permanent fund of about
thirty-two thousand dollars besides its books. These figures prove that
libraries of this character will be appreciated, and used by the people.
The library committee say, in their last report, that after four years'
experience they feel competent to begin the establishment of branch
libraries, and observe that at least six of these centres of light and
intelligence should be opened in various quarters of the city. It is
understood that lack of funds alone prevents the institution from
entering on this wider field. When one considers the liberal and too
often indiscriminate charities of the metropolis, and reflects that the
need and utility of this excellent enterprise have been demonstrated, it
seems impossible that pecuniary obstacles will long be allowed to stand
in the way of its legitimate development.



A Darwinian might find evidence of the pedigree of our species in the
inherent taste for mimicry which we share, at all events, with the
anthropoid apes. This instinct of mimicry I take to be the humble
beginning from which dramatic art has sprung, and it appears in the
individual at a very early stage. Perhaps it is even expressed in the
first squalls of infancy, though this possibility has been overlooked
or obscured by philosophic pedantry. Now anent these squalls. Hegel
gravely declares that they indicate a revelation of the baby's exalted
nature (oh!), and are meant to inform the public that it feels itself
"permeated with the certitude" that it has a right to exact from the
external world the satisfaction of its needs. Michelet opines that the
squalls reveal the horror felt by the soul at being enslaved to nature.
Another writer regards them as an outburst of wrath on the part of the
baby at finding itself powerless against environing circumstances. Some
early theologians, on the other hand, pronounced squalling to be a proof
of innate wickedness; and this view strikes one as being much nearer the
mark. But none of these accounts are completely satisfactory. Innate
wickedness may supply the conception; it is the dramatic instinct that
suggests the means. Here is the real explanation of those yells which
embitter the life of a young father and drive the veteran into temporary
exile. It happens in this wise. The first aim of a baby--not yours,
madam; yours is well known to be an exception, but of other and common
babies--is to make itself as widely offensive as possible. The end,
indeed, is execrable, but the method is masterly. The baby has an _a
priori_ intuition that the note of the domestic cat is repulsive to the
ear of the human adult. Consequently, what does your baby do but betake
itself to a practical study of the caterwaul! After a few conscientious
rehearsals a creditable degree of perfection is usually reached, and a
series of excruciating performances are forthwith commenced, which last
with unbroken success until the stage arrives when correction becomes
possible. This process may check the child's taste for imitating the
lower animals in some of their less engaging peculiarities, but his
dramatic instincts will be diverted with a refreshing promptness to the
congenial subjects of parent or nurse.

No sooner is your son and heir invested with the full dignity of
knickerbockers than he begins to celebrate this rise in the social
scale by "playing at being papa." The author of "Vice Versa" has drawn
an amusing picture of the discomforts to papa which an exchange of
environment with his school-boy son might involve. But there is another
side to the question; and at Christmas-time, for instance, most papas
would probably be glad enough to exchange the joys and responsibilities
of paternity for the simple taste which can tackle plum-pudding and the
youthful digestion for which this delicacy has no terrors. However,
while it is impossible, or at least inexpedient, for papa to play at
being his own urchin, the latter is restrained by no considerations,
moral or otherwise, from attempting to personate his papa.

It is often said sententiously that the child is the father of the man.
In this case most of us should blush for our parentage. It will be
conceded at once (subject, of course, to special reservations in favor
of individual brats) that the baby is the most detestable of created
beings. But its physical impotence to some extent neutralizes its moral
baseness. In the child the deviltries of the baby are partially curbed,
but this loss is compensated for by superior bodily powers. Now, the
virtuous child--if such a conception can be framed--when representing
papa would delight to dwell on the better side of the paternal
character, the finer feelings, the flashes of genius, the sallies of
wit, the little touches of tenderness and romance, and so forth. Very
likely; but the actual child does just the reverse of this. Is there a
trivial weakness, a venial shortcoming, a microscopic spot of
imperfection anywhere? The ruthless little imp has marked it for his
own, and will infallibly reproduce it, certainly before your servants,
and possibly before your friends.

"Now we'll play at being in church," quoth Master George in lordly wise
to his little sisters. "I'm papa." Whereupon he will twist himself into
an unseemly tangle of legs and arms which is simply a barbarous travesty
of the attitude of studied grace with which you drink in the sermon in
the corner of your family pew.

"Master George, you mustn't," interposes the housemaid, in a tone of
faint rebuke, adding, however, with a thrill of generous appreciation,
"Law, 'ow funny the child is, and as like as like!" Applause is
delicious to every actor, and under its stimulus your first-born essays
a fresh flight. Above the laughter of the nurses and the admiring
shrieks of his sisters there rises a weird sound, as of a sucking pig
_in extremis_. Your son, my unfortunate friend, is attempting, with his
childish treble pipes, to formulate a masculine snore. This is a gross
calumny. You never--stop!--well, on one occasion perhaps--but then there
were extenuating circumstances. Very likely; but the child has grasped
the fact without the circumstances, and has framed his conclusion as a
universal proposition. It is a most improper induction, I admit; but
logic, like some other things, is not to be looked for in children.

Next comes mamma's turn. Perhaps she has weakly yielded on some occasion
to young hopeful's entreaties that he might come down to the kitchen
with her to order dinner. By the perverse luck that waits on poor
mortals, there happened on that very day to be a passage of arms between
mistress and cook. Rapidly forgotten by the principals, it has been
carefully stored up in the memory of the witness, who will subsequently
bestow an immense amount of misguided energy in teaching a young sister
to reproduce, with appropriate gesture and intonation, "Cook, I desire
that you will not speak to me in that way. I am extremely displeased
with you, and I shall acquaint your master with your conduct."

Small sisters, by the way, may be made to serve a variety of useful
purposes of a dramatic or semi-dramatic nature. They may safely be cast
for the unpleasant or uninteresting characters of the nursery drama.
They form convenient targets for the development of their brothers'
marksmanship; and they make excellent horses for their brothers to
drive, and, it may be added, for their brothers to flog.

When the subjects afforded by its immediate surroundings are exhausted,
Theatre Royal Nursery turns to fiction or history for materials. And
here, too, the perversity of childhood is displayed. It is not the
virtuous, the benevolent, the amiable, that your child delights to
imitate, but rather the tyrant and the destroyer, the ogre who subsists
in rude plenty on the peasantry of the neighborhood, or the dragon who
is restricted by taste or convention to one young lady _per diem_, till
the national stock is exhausted, or the inevitable knight turns up to
supply the proper dramatic finale.

The varied incident of the "Pilgrim's Progress," its romance, and the
weird fascination of its goblins and monsters, make it a favorite source
of dramatic adaptations. And here, if any man doubt the doctrine of
original sin, let him note the fierce competition among the youngsters
for the part of Apollyon, and put his doubts from him. With a little
care a great many scenes may be selected from this inimitable work.
Christian's entry into the haven of refuge in the early part of his
pilgrimage can be effectively reproduced in the nursery. It will be
remembered that the approach was commanded by a castle of Beelzebub's,
from which pilgrims were assailed by a shower of arrows. It is this that
gives the episode its charm. One child is of course obliged to sacrifice
his inclinations and personate Christian. The rest eagerly take service
under Beelzebub and become the persecuting garrison. The "properties"
required are of the simplest kind. The nursery sofa or settee--a
position of great natural strength--is further fortified with chairs and
other furniture to represent the stronghold of the enemy. Christian
should be equipped with a wide-awake hat, a stick, and a great-coat
(papa's will do, or, better still, a visitor's), with a stool wrapped up
in a towel and slung over his shoulders to do duty as the bundle of
sins. He is then made to totter along to a "practical" gate (two chairs
are the right thing) at the far end of the room, while the hosts of
darkness hurl boots, balls, and other suitable missiles at him from the
sofa. Sometimes the original is faithfully copied, and bows and arrows
are employed; but this is, on the whole, a mistake: there is some chance
of Christian being really injured, and this, though of course no
objection in itself, is apt to provoke a summary interference by the
authorities. Christian's passage through the Valley of the Shadow of
Death is another favorite piece. Here, too, there are great
opportunities for an enterprising demon. It will be necessary, however,
for the success of the performance that Christian should abandon his
strictly defensive attitude in the narrative and lay about him with
sufficient energy to produce a general scrimmage.

"Robinson Crusoe" is a treasure-house of situations, some of which gain
a piquancy from the dash of the diabolical with which Crusoe's terrors
invested them. Even where this is wanting there is plenty of bloodshed
to take its place, and a happy combination of horrors is supplied by the
cannibal feast which Crusoe interrupts. The youngest member of the
troupe is, on the whole, the best victim; but, failing this, any pet
animal sufficiently lazy or good-tempered to endure the process makes a
tolerable substitute. "Masterman Ready," "The Swiss Family Robinson,"
and other cognate works, together with appropriate selections from
sacred and profane history, are adapted with a shamelessness which would
make a dramatic author's blood run cold.

Lions, tigers, and wild beasts generally are common objects of nursery
imitation, either from a genuine admiration of their qualities or from
the mysterious craving for locomotion on all-fours with which children
seem possessed. This branch of the art, however, struggles under some
difficulties. It has, of course, to contend with the undisguised
opposition of authority. This is hardly a matter for marvel, and perhaps
not even a matter for regret. A prudential regard for the knees of
puerile knickerbockers and the corresponding region of feminine frocks
may explain a good deal of parental discouragement in the matter; and
there is little public sympathy to counteract this, for it is felt that
the total decay of these mimes would not be a serious loss either to
dramatic art or to peace and quietness.

In one sense, no doubt, these amusements of childhood are matters of
little moment; but, in spite of their seeming triviality, they have a
genuine importance which should not be overlooked. The spontaneous
exhibitions of children at play often reveal latent tastes, tendencies,
or traits of character to one who is able to interpret them aright. If
this be so,--and it is no longer open to doubt,--it is clear that even
infant acting may furnish hints and assistance of the highest value to
an intelligent system of education. It is true, no doubt, that till
quite lately any such possibility was steadily ignored; but it is only
quite lately that anything like an intelligent system of early education
has been attempted. The idiosyncrasies of a child, instead of being
carefully observed, were either disregarded as meaningless or repressed
as being naughty. No greater mistake could be possible; and this at last
is beginning to be understood. The first struggles of a young
consciousness to express itself externally are nearly always eccentric,
and often seem perverse. But this is nothing more than we ought to
expect. The oddities of a child's conduct are in reality nothing else
than direct expressions of character, uncurbed by the conventions which
regulate the demeanor of adults, or direct revelations of some taste or
aptitude, which education may foster, but which neglect will hardly
crush. The world contains a woful number of human pegs thrust forcibly
into holes which do not fit them, and the world's work suffers
proportionately from this misapplication of energy. The mischief is
abundantly clear, but the remedy, if we do not shut our eyes to it, is
tolerably clear also. Just as this condition of things is largely due to
our unscientific neglect of variations in character and the wooden
system of education which this neglect has produced, so we may expect to
see its evils disappear by an abolition of the one and a reform of the
other. If the world be indeed a stage, with all humanity for its _corps
dramatique_ it must surely be well for the success of the performance
that the cast should take account of individual aptitudes, and that to
each player should be allotted the part which he can best support in the
great drama of Life.



"The Man who Laughs."

The degree of culture and good breeding which a man possesses may be
very correctly determined by the way he laughs. The primeval savage,
from whom we trace descent, was distinguished above everything else by
his demonstrativeness; and there is much in our present type of social
manners and conduct which betrays our barbarous origin. The brute-like
sounds that escape from the human throat in the exercise of laughter,
the coarse guffaw, the hoarse chuckle, and the high, cackling tones in
which many of the feminine half of the world express their sense of
amusement, attest very painfully the animal nature within us. It was
Emerson, I believe, who expressed a dislike of all loud laughter; and it
is difficult to imagine the scene or occasion which could draw from that
serene and even-minded philosopher a broader expression of amusement
than that conveyed in the "inscrutable smile" which Whipple describes as
his most characteristic feature. Yet Emerson was by no means wanting in
appreciation of the comic. On the contrary, he had an abiding sense of
humor, and it was this--a keen and lively perception of the grotesque,
derived as part of his Yankee inheritance--that kept him from uniting in
many of the extravagant reform movements of the day. Few of us, however,
even under the sanction of an Emerson, would wish to dispense with all
sound of laughter.

The memory of a friend's voice, in which certain laughing notes and
tones are inextricably mingled with the graver inflections of common
speech, is almost as dear as the vision of his countenance or the warm
pressure of his hand. Yet among such remembrances we hold others, of
those from whom the sound of open laughter is seldom heard, the absence
of which, however, denotes no diminished sense of the humorous and
amusing. A quick, responsive smile, a flash or glance of the eye, a
kindling countenance, serve as substitutes for true laughter, and we do
not miss the sound of that which is supplied in a finer and often truer

The freest, purest laughter is that of childhood, which is as
spontaneous as the song of birds. It is impossible that the laughter of
older people should retain this sound of perfect music. Knowledge of
life and the world has entered in to mar the natural harmonics of the
human voice, which not all the skill and efforts of the vocal culturists
can ever again restore. It is only those who in attaining the years and
stature of manhood have retained the nature of the child, its first
unconscious truth and simplicity, whose laughter is wholly pleasant to
hear. I recall the laugh of a friend which corresponds to this
description, a laugh as pure and melodious, as guiltless of premeditated
art or intention, as the notes of the rising lark; yet its owner is a
man of wide worldly experience. It is natural that I, who know my
friend so well, should find in this peculiarly happy laugh of his the
sign and test of that type of high, sincere manhood which he represents;
but it is a dangerous business, this attempting to define the character
and disposition of people by the turn of an eyelid, the curve of a lip,
or a particular vocal shade and inflection. Not only has Art learned to
imitate Nature very closely, but Nature herself plays many a trick upon
our credulity in matters of this kind. Upon a woman who owns no higher
motive than low and selfish cunning she bestows the musical tones of a
seraph, as she sheathes the sharp claws of all her feline progeny in
cases of softest fur. Rosamond Vincy is not the only example which might
be furnished, either in or out of print, in proof that a low, soft
voice, that excellent thing in woman, may have a wrongly persuasive
accent, luring to disappointment and death, like the Lorelei's song, to
which the harsh tones of the most strong-minded Xantippe are to be

Still, it does seem that, however right Shakespeare was when he said a
man may smile and smile and be a villain still, no real villain could
indulge in hearty, spontaneous laughter. Much smiling is one of the thin
disguises in which a certain kind of knavery seeks to hide itself, but
it is easy to conjecture that the low ruffian type of villain, like that
seen in Bill Sykes and Jonas Chuzzlewit, neither laughs nor smiles,
being as destitute of the courage to listen to the sound of its own
voice as of the wit that summons artifice to its aid in protection of
its guilty devices.

The ghastly effect of guilt laughing with constrained glee to hide
suspicion of itself from the eyes of innocence is vividly portrayed in
Irving's performance of "The Bells," in the scene where Mathias, by a
supreme effort of will, joins in Christian's laugh over the supposition
that it might have been his, the respected burgomaster's, limekiln in
which the body of the Polish Jew was burned. Genuine laughter must
spring from a pure and undefiled source. It may not always be of
tuneful quality, but it must at least contain the note of sincerity. I
have in mind the outbursts of deep-chested sound with which another
friend evinces his appreciation of a humorous remark or incident, a
laugh which many fastidious people would pronounce too hard and rough by
half, bending their heads and darting from under, as if suddenly
assailed by some rude nor'wester. But I like the pleasant shock bestowed
in those strong, breezy tones, and the feeling of rejuvenation and new
expectancy which it imparts.

Another laugh echoes in memory as I write, a girl's laugh this time, not
"idle and foolish and sweet," as such have been described, but clear,
and strong, and odd almost to the point of the ludicrous, yet charmingly
natural withal. A young woman's laugh is apt to begin at the highest
note, and, running down the scale, to end in a sigh of mingled relief
and exhaustion an octave or so lower down. This particular girl,
however, takes the other way, and, running her chromatic neatly up from
about middle C, pauses for a breath, and then astonishes her audience by
striking off two perfectly attuned notes several degrees higher up,
hitting her mark with the ease and deftness of a prima donna. So odd and
surprising a laugh is sure to be quickly infectious, and its owner is
never at a loss for company in her merriment, while a cheerful temper,
unclouded by a shade of envy or suspicion, is not in the least disturbed
by the knowledge that others are laughing at as well as with her.

The question of what we shall laugh at deserves more attention than our
manner of laughing. "There is nothing," says Goethe, "in which people
more betray their character than in what they find to laugh at," adding,
"The man of understanding finds almost everything ridiculous, the man of
thought scarcely anything." This last corresponds somewhat to a
sentiment found in Horace Walpole: "Life is a comedy to those who think,
a tragedy to those who feel."

With many people laughter seems to be an appetite, which grows by what
it feeds on, until all power of discrimination between the finer and the
more vulgar forms of wit is lost. Certain it is that the habit of
laughter is as easy to fall into as it is dangerous to all social
dignity. The muscles of the mouth have a natural upward curve,--a fact
which speaks well for the disposition of Mother Nature who made us, and
may also be held to signify that there are more things in the world
deserving our approval than our condemnation. But the hideous spectacle
presented in the contorted visage of Hugo's great character contains a
wholesome warning even for us of a later age; for there is a social
tyranny, almost as potent as the kingly despotism which ruled the world
centuries ago, that would fain shape the features of its victims after
one artificial pattern. We laugh too much, from which it necessarily
follows that we often laugh at the wrong things, a fault which betrays
intellectual weakness as well as moral cupidity. The determining quality
in true laughter lies in the degree of innocent mirth it gives
expression to; and when jealous satire, envy, or malice add their
dissonant note to its sound, its finest effect is destroyed and its
opportunity lost.


Why we Forget Names.

In the last years of his life the venerated Emerson lost his memory of
names. In instance of this many will remember the story told about him
when returning from the funeral of his friend Longfellow. Walking away
from the cemetery with his companion, he said, "That gentleman whose
funeral we have just attended was a sweet and beautiful soul, but I
cannot recall his name." The little anecdote has something very touching
about it,--the old man asking for the name of the life-long friend, "the
gentleman whose funeral we have just attended."

When I saw Mr. Emerson a year prior to his own death, this defect of
memory was very noticeable, and extended even to the names of common
objects, so that in talking he would use quaint, roundabout expressions
to supply the place of missing words. He would call a church, for
instance, "that building in the town where all the people go on Sunday."

This loss of memory of names is very common with old people, but it is
not confined to them. Almost every one has at some time experienced the
peculiar, the almost desperate, feeling of trying to recall a name that
will not come. It is at our tongue's end; we know just what sort of a
name it is; it begins with a _B_; yet did we try for a year it would not
come. One curious fact about the phenomenon is that it seems to be
contagious. If one person suddenly finds himself unable to recall a
name, the person with whom he is talking will stick at it also. The name
almost always gets the best of them, and they have to say, "Yes, I know
what you mean," and go on with their talk.

I have never seen an explanation of this name-forgetfulness; but it is
not difficult to find a reason for it. What needs explaining is that
names are so obstinate, and grow more obstinate the harder we try, while
other things we have forgotten and are trying to recall generally yield
themselves to our efforts. Moreover, in other cases of forgetfulness we
never experience that peculiar and most exasperating feature of
name-forgetfulness,--the feeling that we know the word perfectly well
all the time. This last fact, indeed, seems to show that we have not
forgotten the name at all, but have simply lost the clue to it.

Now, let us inquire why this clue is so hard to find. Scientific men who
study the human mind and make a business of explaining thought, emotion,
memory, and the like, have an expression which they use frequently, and
which sounds difficult, but which really it is very easy as well as
interesting to understand. They speak of the _association of ideas_. The
association of ideas means simply the fact which every one has noticed,
that one thing tends to call up another in the mind. When you recall a
certain sleigh-ride last winter, you remember that you put hot bricks
in the sleigh; and this reminds you that you were intending to heat a
warming-pan for the bed to-night; and the thought of warming the bed
makes you think of poor President Garfield's sickness, during which they
tried to cool his room with ice. Each of these thoughts (ideas) has
evidently called up another connected--associated--with it in some way.
This is the association of ideas: it is a law that governs almost all
our thinking, as any one may discover by going back over his own
thoughts. Perhaps an easier way to discover it will be to observe the
rapid talk of an afternoon caller on the family, and see how the
conversation skips from one subject to another which the last suggested,
and from that to another suggested by this, and so on.

Just this association of ideas it is which enables us to recall things
we have forgotten. Our ideas on any subject--say that sleigh-ride last
winter--resemble a lot of balls some distance apart in a room, but all
connected by strings. If there is any particular ball we cannot
find,--that is, some fact we cannot remember,--then if we pull the
neighboring balls it is likely that they by the connecting strings will
bring the missing ball into sight. To illustrate this, suppose that you
cannot remember the route of that sleigh-ride. You recall carefully all
the circumstances associated with the ride, in hopes that some one of
them will suggest the route that was taken. You think of your
companions, of the moon being full, of having borrowed extra robes, of
the hot bricks--Ah, there is a clue! The bricks were reheated somewhere.
Where was it? They were placed on a stove,--on a red-hot stove with a
loafers' foot-rail about it. That settles it. Such stoves are found only
in country grocery-stores; and now it all comes back to you. The ride
was by the hill road to Smith's Corners. It is as if there were a string
from the hot-bricks idea to the idea that the bricks were reheated, to
this necessarily being done on a stove, to the peculiar kind of stove it
was done on, to the only place in the neighborhood where such a stove
could be, to Smith's Corners; and this string has led you, like a clue,
to the fact you desired to remember.

We can now return to the question asked above: In trying to recall
names, why is it so difficult to find a clue? After what has been said,
the question can be put in a better form: Why does not the association
of ideas enable us to recall names as it does other things? The answer
is, that names (proper names) have very few associations, very few
strings, or clues, leading to them. It is easy to see this; for suppose
you moved away from the neighborhood of that sleigh-ride many years
before, and in thinking over past times find yourself unable to recall
the name of the Corners where the store stood. The place can be
remembered perfectly, and a thousand circumstances connected with it,
but they furnish no clue to the name: the circumstances might all remain
the same and the name be any other as well. The only association the
name has is with an indistinct memory of how it sounded. It was of two
words: the second was something like Hollow, or Cross roads, or
Crossing; the first began with an _S_. But it is vain to seek for it: no
clue leads to it. Were it the ride you sought to remember, many of its
details could be recalled, some of which might lead to the desired fact;
but a name has no details, and it is only possible to say of it that it
sounded so and so, if it is possible to say that.

It may be asked, how, then, is it that we do remember some names, as
those in use every day? Just as the multiplication-table is
remembered,--by force of familiarity. Constant repetition engraves them
in the mind. When in old age the vigor of the mind lessens, the
engraving wears out and names are hard to recall, since there is no
other clue to them than this engraved record.

There may be mentioned one slight help in recalling names when the case
is important or desperate. It consists in going back to the period when
the name was known and deliberately writing out a circumstantial
account of all the connected incidents, mentioning names of persons and
places whenever they can be remembered. If this is done in a casual way,
without thinking of the purpose in view,--as if one were sending a
gossipy letter of personal history to a friend,--the mind falls into an
automatic condition that may result in producing the desired name
itself. Every one must have observed that it is this automatic activity
of the mind, and not conscious effort, which recovers lost names most
successfully. We "think of them afterwards."


A Reminiscence of Harriet Martineau.

It is more than fifty years since I, a mere child, spent a summer with
my parents in a sandy young city of Indiana. Eight or nine hundred
souls, perhaps more, were already anchored within its borders. Chicago,
a lusty infant just over the line, her feet blackened with prairie mud,
made faces, called names, and ridiculed its soil and architecture.
Nevertheless it was a valiant little city, even though its streets were
rivers of shifting sand, through which "prairie-schooners" were
toilsomely dragged by heavy oxen or a string of chubby ponies,--these
last a gift from the coppery Indian to the country he was fast
forsaking. Clouds of clear grit drifted into open casements on every
passing breeze, or, if a gale arose, were driven through every crevice.
Our little city was cradled amid the shifting sand-hills on Michigan's
wave-beaten shore. Indeed, it had received the name of the grand old
lake in loving baptism, and was pluckily determined to wear it worthily.
Its buildings were wholly of wood, and hastily constructed, some not
entirely unpretentious, while others tilted on legs, as if in readiness
at shortest notice to take to their heels and skip away. In those early
days there was only the round yellow-bodied coach swinging on leathern
straps, or the heavy lumber-wagon, to accommodate the tide of travel
already setting westward. It was a daily delight to listen to the
inspiring toot of the driver's horn and the crack of his long whip, as,
with six steaming horses, he swung his dusty passengers in a final grand
flourish up to the hospitable door of the inn.

One memorable morning brought to the unique little town a literary
lion,--a woman of great heart, clear brain, and powerful pen,--in short,
Harriet Martineau. Her travelling companions were a professor, his
comely wife, and their eight-year-old son. The last-named was much
petted by Miss Martineau, and still flourishes in perennial youth on
many pages of her books of American travel. Michigan City felt honored
in its transient guest. The whisper that a real live author was among us
filled the inn hall with a changing throng eager to obtain a glimpse of
the celebrity. Not among the least of these were "the two little girls"
she mentions in her "Society in America," page 253. At breakfast the
party served their sharpened appetites quite like ordinary folk,--Miss
Martineau in thoughtful quiet, broken now and again by a brisk question
darted at the professor, who answered in a deliberate learned way that
was quite impressive. A shiver of disgust ruffled his plump features at
the absence of cream, which the host excused by the statement that, the
population having outgrown its flocks and herds, milk was held sacred to
the use of babes. Miss Martineau listened to the professor's complaints
with a twinkle of mirth in her eyes, while that indignant gentleman
vigorously applied himself to the solid edibles at hand. Shortly after
breakfast the strangers sallied forth in search of floral treasures,
over the low sand-hills stretching toward the lake (a spur of which
penetrated the main street), where in the face of the sandy drift
nestled a shanty quite like the "dug-out" of the timberless lands in
Kansas and New Mexico. The tomb-like structure, half buried in sand,
only its front being visible, seemed to afford Miss Martineau no end of
surprised amusement as she climbed to its submerged roof on her way to
the summit of the hill. A window-garden of tittering young women
merrily watched the progress of the quick-stepping Englishwoman, and,
really, there was some provocation to mirth, from their stand-point.
Anything approaching a _blanket_, plain, plaided, or striped, had never
disported itself before their astonished gaze as a part of feminine
apparel, except on the back of a grimy squaw. Of blanket-shawls, soon to
become a staple article of trade, the Western women had not then even
heard; and here was a civilized and cultivated creature enveloped in
what seemed to be a gay trophy wrested from the bed-furniture! Then,
too, the "only sweet thing" in bonnets was the demure "cottage,"
fashioned of fine straw, while the woman in view sported a coarse, pied
affair, whose turret-like crown and flaring brim pointed ambitiously
skyward. Stout boots completed the costume criticised and laughed over
by the merry maidens who yet stood in wholesome awe of the presence of
the wearer. With what a wealth of gorgeous wild flowers and plumy ferns
the pilgrims came laden on their return! Quoting from "Society in
America," page 253, Miss Martineau says, "The scene was like what I had
always fancied the Norway coast, but for the wild flowers, which grew
among the pines on the slope almost into the tide. I longed to spend an
entire day on this flowery and shadowy margin of the inland sea. I
plucked handfuls of pea-vine and other trailing flowers, which seemed to
run all over the ground."

Miss Martineau piled her treasures on a table and culled the specimens
worthy of pressing, and it seemed to pain her to reject the least
promising of her perishable plunder. She must have had a passion for
flowers, judging from the tenderness with which she handled the lovely
fronds and delicate petals under inspection, while her mouth was
continually open in admiring exclamation.

And now came what I still fondly remember as the _Musicale_. A little
comrade came in the twilight to sing songs with me. With arms
interlaced, we paced the upper hall, vociferously warbling as breath was
given us, when a door opened, and the gifted, dark-faced woman, with
kindly eyes, beamed out on us. "Come," she called, "come in here,
children, and sing your songs for me: I am very fond of music." Very
bashfully we signified our willingness to oblige,--indeed, we dared not
do otherwise,--and sidled into the room. Closing the door, our hostess
curled herself comfortably on a gayly-cushioned lounge, and proceeded to
adjust a serpent-like, squirming appendage to her ear. With an
encouraging nod, she bade us commence, closing her eyes meanwhile with
an air of expectant rapture. But the vibrating trumpet stirred our
foolish souls to explosive laughter, partially smothered in a
simultaneous strangled cough. Wondering at the double paroxysm and
subsequent hush of shame, she unclosed her eyes, softly murmuring,
"Don't be bashful nor afraid, my dears. I am very far from home, and you
can make me very happy, if you will. Pray begin at once, and then I will
also sing for you." Taking courage, we piped as bidden, rendering in a
childish way the strains of "Blue-Eyed Mary," "Comin' through the Rye,"
"I'd be a Butterfly," and "Auld Lang Syne," Our audience, with bright,
attentive looks, regarded the performance in pleased approval, softly
tapping time on her knee with a slender finger.

"Now it is my turn," said Miss Martineau. Straightening herself and
casting aside the trumpet, primly folding her hands and pursing her
mouth curiously, she began, in a high, quavering voice, a song whose
burden was the fixed objection on the part of a certain damsel to
forsaking the pleasures of the world for the seclusion and safety of a

    Now, is it not a pity such a pretty girl as I
    Should be sent to a nunnery to pine away and die?
    But I _won't_ be a nun,--- no, I _won't_ be a _nun_;
    I'm _so_ fond of _pleasure_ that I _cannot_ be a nun.

It is impossible to give an idea of the jerky style of the lady's
singing which so tickled our sensitive ears. At every repetition of the
refrain, Susy and I squeezed our locked fingers spasmodically in order
to suppress the unseemly laughter bubbling to our lips. At every
emphatic word she nodded at us merrily, thus adding to our inward

I like now, when picturing Harriet Martineau entertaining with noble
themes the men and women of letters she drew around her in England and
America, to remember, in connection with her strong, plain face and
brilliant intellect, the simple kindliness with which she once unbent to
a brace of little Hoosier maids in the "Far West."



"Louis Agassiz: His Life and Correspondence[A]." Edited by Elizabeth
Cary Agassiz. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin & Co.

The northeastern corner of the ancient Pays de Vaud, only part of which
is included in the modern canton, is little known to tourists. It lies
away from the chief lines of travel, and it has neither the magnificent
views that draw the visitor aside to Orbe nor the associations that
induce him to stop at Coppet or Clarens. Yet its breezy upland plains
and its quiet villages--some of them once populous and prosperous
towns--are not devoid of charm, or of the interest connected with
historical epochs and famous names. The "lone wall" and "lonelier
column" at Avenches date from the period when this was the Roman capital
of Helvetia. Morat still shows many a mark and relic of its siege by
Charles the Bold and of the overthrow of his forces by the Swiss.
Payerne was the birthplace, in 1779, of Jomini, the greatest of all
writers on military operations, whose precocious genius, while he was a
mere stripling and before he had witnessed any battles or manoeuvres,
penetrated the secret of Bonaparte's combinations and victorious
campaigns, which veteran commanders were watching with mere wonderment
and dismay. At Motiers, a few miles farther north, was born, in 1807,
Louis Agassiz, who at an equally early age displayed a like intuitive
comprehension of many of the workings of Nature, and who subsequently
became the chief exponent of the glacial theory and the highest
authority on the structure and classification of fishes. Each of these
two men gave his ripest powers and longest labors to a great country far
from their common home,--Jomini to Russia, Agassiz to the United States;
and, dissimilar as were their objects and pursuits, their intellectual
resemblance was fundamental. The pre-eminent quality of each was the
power of rapid generalization, of mastering and subordinating details,
of grasping and applying principles and laws. Agassiz differed as much
from an animal-loving collector like Frank Buckland, whose father was
one of his stanchest friends and co-workers, as Jomini differed from a
fighting general like Ney, to whom he suggested the movements that
resulted in the French victory at Bautzen. Switzerland is equally proud
of the great strategist and the great naturalist, but to Americans in
general the former is at the most a mere name, while the career of the
latter is an object of wide-spread and even national interest.

In the volumes before us the story of that career is clearly and
completely, yet concisely, set forth. Readers of biography who delight
mainly in social gossip may complain of the absence of everything of the
kind; but such matter neither belonged to the subject nor was required
for its elucidation. We are prone to draw a distinction between what we
call a man's personal life and the larger and more active part of his
existence, and to fancy that the clue to his character lies in some
minor idiosyncrasies, or in habits and tastes that were perhaps
accidentally formed. But every earnest worker reveals in his methods and
achievements not alone his intellectual capacities, but all the deep
and essential qualities of his nature. With Agassiz this was
conspicuously the case. The enthusiasm, the singleness of purpose, and
the indefatigable energy that constituted the _fond_, so to speak, of
his character were as open to view as the features of his countenance.
Hence the single and strong impression he produced on all with whom he
came in contact, the sympathy he so quickly kindled, and the
co-operation he so readily enlisted. It was easily perceived that he was
no self-seeker, that no thought of personal interest mingled with his
devotion to science, and that he was not more intent on absorbing
knowledge than desirous of diffusing it. No one has ever more fully and
happily blended the qualities of student and teacher, and it was in this
double capacity that he became so public and prominent a figure and
exerted so wide an influence in the country of his adoption.

Some men overcome obstacles and attain their ends by sheer persistency
of will, others by tact and persuasiveness, while there is a third
class, before whom the barred doors open as they are successively
approached, through what are called either fortunate accidents or
Providential interventions, but are seen, on closer inspection, to have
been the direct and natural effects of the force unconsciously exerted
by an harmonious combination of qualities. Agassiz's career was full of
such instances. The insistent desire of his parents, while stinting
themselves to secure his education, that he should adopt a bread-winning
profession, yielded, not to any urgent appeals or dogged display of
resolution, but to the proof given by his labors that he was choosing
more wisely for himself. Cuvier, without any request or expectation,
resigned to the neophyte who, after following in his footsteps, was
outstripping him in certain lines, drawings and notes prepared for his
own use. Humboldt, at a critical moment, saved him from the necessity
for abandoning his projects by an unsolicited loan, supplemented by many
further acts of assistance of a different kind. In England every
possible facility and aid was afforded to him as well by private
individuals as by public institutions. In America, men like Mr.
Nathaniel Thayer and Mr. John Anderson needed only in some chance way to
become acquainted with his plans to be ready to provide the means for
carrying them out. It was the same on all occasions. The United States
government, the Coast Survey, the legislature of Massachusetts, private
individuals throughout the country, showed a rare willingness, and even
eagerness, to forward his views. The man and the object were identified
in people's minds, and, as in all such cases, a feeling was roused and
an impulse generated which could have sprung from no other source.

The attractiveness and charm which everybody seems to have found in him
had perhaps the same origin. It does not appear that his nature was
peculiarly sympathetic, that it was through any unusual flow and warmth
of feeling toward others that he so quickly became the object of their
attachment or regard. Of course, we do not intend to intimate that he
was deficient in strength of affection or in the least degree cold or
unresponsive. But his "magnetism," to use the current word, lay in the
ardor and singleness of his devotion to science, not as an abstraction,
but as a potent agency in civilization, in the union of elevation with
enthusiasm, in an openness that seemed to reveal everything, yet nothing
that should have been hidden. Hence this biography, little as it deals
with purely personal matters, awakens an interest of precisely the same
kind as that which the living Agassiz was accustomed to excite. For the
student of comparative zoology or of glacial action all that is here
told about these subjects can have only an historical value. But no
reader can follow the successive steps of a career that was always in
the truest sense upward without being touched by that inspiring
influence which it constantly diffused, and which Americans, above all
others, have reason to hold in grateful remembrance.

Illustrated Books.

"The Sermon on the Mount." Boston: Roberts Brothers.

"Poems of Nature." By John Greenleaf Whittier. Illustrated from Nature
by Elbridge Kingsley. Boston and New York: Houghton, Mifflin & Co.

"Childe Harold's Pilgrimage." A Romaunt. By Lord Byron. Boston: Ticknor
& Co.

"The Last Leaf." Poem. By Oliver Wendell Holmes. Illustrated by George
Wharton Edwards and F. Hopkinson Smith. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin & Co.

"Pepper and Salt; or, Seasoning for Young Folks." Prepared by Howard
Pyle. New York: Harper & Brothers.

"Davy the Goblin; or, What Followed Reading 'Alice's Adventures in
Wonderland,'" By Charles E. Carryl. Boston; Ticknor & Co.

"Bric-à-Brac Stories." By Mrs. Burton Harrison. Illustrated by Walter
Crane. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons.

"Rudder Grange." By Frank R. Stockton. Illustrated by A.B. Frost. New
York: Charles Scribner's Sons.

In turning over the pictorial books of the season one experiences a
genuine pleasure in coming upon this illustrated edition of "The Sermon
on the Mount," which belongs to a high order of merit from its
satisfactory interpretation of the subject and the beauty of its general
design and careful detail. It is, of course, a modern performance, and
nothing is more characteristic of most modern art than that it does
consciously, from reminiscence and with a reaching after certain
effects, what was once done simply, intuitively, and from the urgency of
poetic feeling. A great difference must naturally exist not only in the
outward mode but in the spirit of a group of modern artists who set to
work to illuminate a sacred text, and that in which the task was
undertaken by cloistered monks in whose gray lives a longing for beauty,
for color, found expression only here. Thus one realizes that the
decorative borders--which one looks at over and over again in this
volume, and which actually satisfy the eye--do not represent the
artist's own actual dreams, but are founded instead upon the ecstatic
visions of Fra Angelico and others as they bent over their work in their
silent cells; but they are beautiful nevertheless, far transcend what is
merely decorative, and are full of imagination and feeling. In fact,
into this frame-work, which might have contained nothing beyond
conventional imitation, Mr. Smith has put vivid touches which show that
he has the faculty to conceive and the skill to handle which belong to
the true artist. It would be easy to instance several of these borders
as remarkably good in their way: that which surrounds the "Lord's
Prayer" suggests dazzling effects in jewelled glass. The book is made up
in a delightful way, with full-page pictures interspersed with vignettes
illustrating the text and set round with those richly-designed borders
to which we have alluded. Mr. Fenn's pictures of actual places in the
Holy Land, besides striking the key-note of veracity which puts us in a
mood to see the whole story under fresh lights, are full of beauty and
charm. We are inclined to like everything in the book, although in the
various ways in which the beatitudes are interpreted we are conscious of
some incongruities, and wish that certain illustrations had made way for
designs showing more unity of conception among the artists. For
instance, Mr. Church's introduction of a New England scene of
tomahawking Indians cannot be said to throw a flood of light upon the
meaning of "Blessed are they that are persecuted for righteousness'
sake." Mr. St. John Harper's pictures are a trifle obscure; but their
obscurity veils their want of pertinence and suggests subtilties that
flatter the imagination into fitting the application to suit itself. Any
mention of the book which failed to include Mr. Copeland's work on the
engrossed text would be altogether inadequate, for it is very perfect,
very beautiful, full of surprises and delightful quaintnesses, and helps
to make the book what it actually is, a complete whole, which really
answers our wishes of what an illustrated book should be.

Mr. Whittier's "Poems of Nature" make the felicitous occasion this year
for one of Messrs. Houghton & Mifflin's rich and attractive series of
their authors' selected works. An admirable etching of the poet faces
the title-page, and the poems, chiefly descriptive of New England
scenes, are illustrated by designs from nature, the work of a single
artist. That Mr. Kingsley is in sympathy with the poet, and that he is
an impassioned lover of nature and the various moods of nature, no one
can doubt, and the impression of truthfulness which his work produces on
the mind makes his pictures interesting and full of sentiment even when
they are not entirely successful. Perhaps he aims in general at rather
too large effects to bring them out vividly; for when the scene he
chooses is least composite he is at his best. "Deer Island Pines," for
example, and "The Merrimac" are excellent, and we find much charm in "A
Winter Scene" and in a Boughton-like "November Afternoon."

There is a certain temerity in undertaking to illustrate a work like
"Childe Harold," which, if it has been read at all, has aroused its own
distinct conceptions of scenery in the mind of its reader which must
make any ordinary pictures setting off familiar lines tame and insipid.
It is the triumph of art when the artist can bring out meanings and
beauties in the text hitherto undreamed of; but we acquit the artists of
the present book of any failure in that respect, for their intention
seems never to have gone beyond amiable commonplace. The little cuts are
all pleasant, trim, and, if not suggestive, at least not sufficiently
the reverse to be displeasing. The head-pieces to the cantos are
extremely good, and the two scenes "There is a pleasure in the pathless
woods" and "There is a rapture on the lonely shore" we like sufficiently
well to exempt them from the accusation of insipidity.

Happy the poet who lives to see one of the poems he carelessly flung off
in early youth come back to him in his old age in such a setting as is
here given to Dr. Holmes's "Last Leaf." "Just when it was written," the
author says in his delightful and characteristic "_Envoi_" to the
reader, "I cannot exactly say, nor in what paper or periodical it was
first published. It must have been written before April, 1833,"--that
is, when he was in the early twenties. The poem has always been a
favorite, its sentiment suggesting Lamb's "All, all are gone, the old
familiar faces." It must henceforth be ranked as a classic, for it is
the happy destiny of the two artists who have worked together to give it
this exquisite setting forth to make its actual worth clear to every
reader. They have put nothing into the lines which was not there
already, but they have shown fine insight in their choice of subjects
and in conveying delicate and far-reaching meanings. They have
subordinated--as designers do not invariably do--their instinctive
methods and capricious inclinations to a careful study of their subject.
The result is--instead of a pretty but chaotic decorativeness
interspersed with florid and meaningless exaggerations--a complete and
beautiful whole marred by no redundancy or incongruity. Their full play
of intelligence brought to bear upon the suggestions of the poet has
developed a series of pictures which give occasionally a delightful
sense of surprise at their grace and unexpectedness. For example, the
three which illustrate

    The mossy marbles rest
    On the lips that he has prest
      In their bloom

have absolutely a magical effect. Besides the full-page pictures,
etchings, and photo-gravures, the minor details of title-lines,
head- and tail-pieces, and the like, are executed in a way so pretty and
clever as to leave nothing to be desired. The rich quarto is sumptuously
bound, and, altogether, as a holiday gift-book the work has every
element of beauty and appropriateness.

"Pepper and Salt" is one of those brilliantly clever books for little
people which rouse a wonder as to whether the juvenile mind keeps pace
with the highly stimulated imaginative powers of modern artists and
finds solid entertainment in the richly-seasoned feast prepared for it.
There is plenty of humor and whim in this volume, in which many old
apologues appear in new shapes; wit, too, is to be found, and a
sprinkling of wisdom. Effective designs, droll, fantastic, and
invariably ingenious, set off the least of the poems and stories, and
make it as striking and attractive a quarto as will be found among the
young people's books this season.

"Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" gave a new stimulus to children's
literature, with its effective magic for youthful minds and its
brilliant success among all classes of readers. "Davy the Goblin" is one
of the many volumes which have been founded, so to say, on its idea and
been carried along by its impulse. Thus little can be said for the
actual originality of the book, although it deals in new combinations
and abounds in droll situations. It is well printed and illustrated, and
most children will be glad to have a new excursion into Wonderland.

Mrs. Burton Harrison's "Bric-à-Brac Stories," illustrated by Walter
Crane, make an attractive volume with a good deal of solid reading
within its covers. The stories are told with the _verve_ and skill of a
genuine story-teller, old themes are reset, and new material dexterously
worked in, with characters drawn from fairy- and dream-land, and, set off
by Mr. Crane's delightful drawings, the whole book is particularly

"Rudder Grange" is one of the books which it is essential to have always
with us, and we are glad to see the stories so well illustrated,
although the subject passes the domain of the artist, Mr. Stockton's
humor being of that delicate and elusive order which strikes the inward
and not the outward sense. "Pomona reading" in the wrecked canal-boat is
a droll contribution, and many of the cuts show that the artist is in
full harmony with the spirit of the author.


[Footnote 1: On another occasion he remarked of Trollope, "What drivel
the man writes! He is the very essence of the commonplace."]


[Note A: Original reads 'Corresponddence']

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Lippincott's Magazine, December, 1885" ***

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