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Title: The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 01, No. 02, December, 1857
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 "The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 01, No. 02, December, 1857" ***

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ISSUE 2, DECEMBER, 1857***



VOL. I.--DECEMBER, 1857.--NO. II.





The only part of this ancient church which escaped destruction by fire
in 1771 was, most fortunately, the famous Brancacci chapel. Here are
the frescos by Masolino da Panicale, who died in the early part of the
fifteenth century,--the Preaching of Saint Peter, and the Healing of
the Sick. His scholar, Masaccio, (1402-1443,) continued the series,
the completion of which was entrusted to Filippino Lippi, son of Fra

No one can doubt that the hearty determination evinced by Masolino and
Masaccio to deal with actual life, to grapple to their souls the
visible forms of humanity, and to reproduce the types afterwards in
new, vivid, breathing combinations of dignity and intelligent action,
must have had an immense effect upon the course of Art. To judge by
the few and somewhat injured specimens of these masters which are
accessible, it is obvious that they had much more to do in forming the
great schools of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, than a painter
of such delicate, but limited genius as that of Fra Angelico could
possibly have. Certainly, the courage and accuracy exhibited in the
nude forms of Adam and Eve expelled from paradise, and the expressive
grace in the group of Saint Paul conversing with Saint Peter in
prison, where so much knowledge and power of action are combined with
so much beauty, all show an immense advance over the best works of the
preceding three quarters of a century.

Besides the great intrinsic merits of these paintings, the Brancacci
chapel is especially interesting from the direct and unquestionable
effect which it is known to have had upon younger painters. Here
Raphael and Michel Angelo, in their youth, and Benvenuto Cellini
passed many hours, copying and recopying what were then the first
masterpieces of painting, the traces of which study are distinctly
visible in their later productions; and here, too, according to
Cellini, the famous punch in the nose befell Buonarotti, by which his
well-known physiognomy acquired its marked peculiarity. Torregiani,
painter and sculptor of secondary importance, but a bully of the first
class,--a man who was in the habit of knocking about the artists whom
he could not equal, and of breaking both their models and their
heads,--had been accustomed to copy in the Brancacci chapel, among the
rest. He had been much annoyed, according to his own account, by
Michel Angelo's habit of laughing at the efforts of artists inferior
in skill to himself, and had determined to punish him. One day,
Buonarotti came into the chapel as usual, and whistled and sneered at
a copy which Torregiani was making. The aggrieved artist, a man of
large proportions, very truculent of aspect, with a loud voice and a
savage frown, sprang upon his critic, and dealt him such a blow upon
the nose, that the bone and cartilage yielded under his hand,
according to his own account, as if they had been made of
dough,--_"come se fosse stato un cialdone."_ This was when both
were very young men; but Torregiani, when relating the story many
years afterwards, always congratulated himself that Buonarotti would
bear the mark of the blow all his life. It may be added, that the
bully met a hard fate afterwards. Having executed a statue in Spain
for a grandee, he was very much outraged by receiving only thirty
scudi as his reward, and accordingly smashed the statue to pieces with
a sledge-hammer. In revenge, the Spaniard accused him of heresy, so
that the unlucky artist was condemned to the flames by the
Inquisition, and only escaped that horrible death by starving himself
in prison before the execution.



In the chapel of the Sassetti, in this church, is a good set of
frescos by Dominic Ghirlandaio, representing passages from the life of
Saint Francis. They are not so masterly as his compositions in the
Santa Maria Novella. Moreover, they are badly placed, badly lighted,
and badly injured. They are in a northwestern corner, where light
never comes that comes to all. The dramatic power and Flemish skill in
portraiture of the man are, however, very visible, even in the
darkness. No painter of his century approached him in animated
grouping and powerful physiognomizing. Dignified, noble, powerful, and
natural, he is the exact counterpart of Fra Angelico, among the
_Quattrocentisti_. Two great, distinct systems,--the shallow,
shrinking, timid, but rapturously devotional, piously sentimental
school, of which Beato Angelico was _facile princeps_, painfully
adventuring out of the close atmosphere of the _miniatori_ into
the broader light and more gairish colors of the actual, and falling
back, hesitating and distrustful; and the hardy, healthy, audacious
naturalists, wreaking strong and warm human emotions upon vigorous
expression and confident attitude;--these two widely separated streams
of Art, remote from each other in origin, and fed by various rills, in
their course through the century, were to meet in one ocean at its
close. This was then the fulness of perfection, the age of Angelo and
Raphael, Leonardo and Correggio.



Fra Beato Angelico, who was a brother of this Dominican house, has
filled nearly the whole monastery with the works of his
hand. Considering the date of his birth, 1387, and his conventual
life, he was hardly less wonderful than his wonderful epoch. Here is
the same convent, the same city; while instead merely of the works of
Cimabue, Giotto, and Orgagna, there are masterpieces by all the
painters who ever lived to study;--yet imagine the snuffy old monk who
will show you about the edifice, or any of his brethren, coming out
with a series of masterpieces! One might as well expect a new
Savonarola, who was likewise a friar in this establishment, to preach
against Pio Nono, and to get himself burned in the Piazza for his

In the old chapter-house is a very large, and for the angelic Frater a
very hazardous performance,--a Crucifixion. The heads here are full
of feeling and feebleness, except those of Mary Mother and Mary
Magdalen, which are both very touching and tender. There is, however,
an absolute impotence to reproduce the actual, to deal with groups of
humanity upon a liberal scale. There is his usual want of
discrimination, too, in physiognomy; for if the seraphic and
intellectual head of the penitent thief were transferred to the
shoulders of the Saviour in exchange for his own, no one could dispute
that it would be an improvement.

Up stairs is a very sweet Annunciation. The subdued, demure, somewhat
astonished joy of the Virgin is poetically rendered, both in face and
attitude, and the figure of the angel has much grace. A small, but
beautiful composition, the Coronation of the Virgin, is perhaps the
most impressive of the whole series.

Below is a series of frescos by a very second-rate artist,
Poccetti. Among them is a portrait of Savonarola; but as the reformer
was burned half a century before Poccetti was born, it has not even
the merit of authenticity. It was from this house that Savonarola was
taken to be imprisoned and executed in 1498. There seems something
unsatisfactory about Savonarola. One naturally sympathizes with the
bold denouncer of Alexander VI.; but there was a lack of benevolence
in his head and his heart. Without that anterior depression of the
sinciput, he could hardly have permitted two friends to walk into the
fire in his stead, as they were about to do in the stupendous and
horrible farce enacted in the Piazza Gran Duca. There was no lack of
self-esteem either in the man or his head. Without it, he would
scarcely have thought so highly of his rather washy scheme for
reorganizing the democratic government, and so very humbly of the
genius of Dante, Petrarch, and others, whose works he condemned to the
flames. A fraternal regard, too, for such great artists as Fra
Angelico and Fra Bartolommeo,--both members of his own convent, and
the latter a personal friend,--might have prevented his organizing
that famous holocaust of paintings, that wretched iconoclasm, by which
he signalized his brief period of popularity and power. In weighing,
gauging, and measuring such a man, one ought to remember, that if he
could have had his way and carried out all his schemes, he would have
abolished Borgianism certainly, and perhaps the papacy, but that he
would have substituted the rhapsodical reign of a single demagogue,
perpetually seeing visions and dreaming dreams for the direction of
his fellow-citizens, who were all to be governed by the hallucinations
of this puritan Mahomet.



The famous cemetery of the Medici, the Sagrestia Nuova, is a ponderous
and dismal toy. It is a huge mass of expensive, solemn, and insipid
magnificence, erected over the carcasses of as contemptible a family
as ever rioted above the earth, or rotted under it. The only man of
the race, Cosmo il Vecchio, who deserves any healthy admiration,
although he was the real assassin of Florentine and Italian freedom,
and has thus earned the nickname of _Pater Patriae,_ is not buried
here. The series of mighty dead begins with the infamous Cosmo, first
grand duke, the contemporary of Philip II. of Spain, and his
counterpart in character and crime. Then there is Ferdinando I., whose
most signal achievement was not eating the poisoned pie prepared by
the fair hands of Bianca Capello. There are other Ferdinandos, and
other Cosmos,--all grand-ducal and _pater-patrial,_ as Medici
should be.

The chapel is a vast lump of Florentine mosaic, octagonal, a hundred
feet or so in diameter, and about twice as high. The cupola has some
brand-new frescos, by Benvenuto. "Anthropophagi, whose heads do grow
beneath their shoulders," may enjoy these pictures upon domes. For
common mortals it is not agreeable to remain very long upside down,
even to contemplate masterpieces, which these certainly are not.

The walls of the chapel are all incrusted with gorgeous marbles and
precious stones, from malachite, porphyry, lapis-lazuli, chalcedony,
agate, to all the finer and more expensive gems which shone in Aaron's
ephod. When one considers that an ear-ring or a brooch, half an inch
long, of Florentine mosaic work, costs five or six dollars, and that
here is a great church of the same material and workmanship as a
breastpin, one may imagine it to have been somewhat expensive.

The Sagrestia Nuova was built by Michel Angelo, to hold his monuments
to Lorenzo de' Medici, duke of Urbino, and grandson of Lorenzo the
Magnificent, and to Julian de' Medici, son of Lorenzo Magnifico.

It is not edifying to think of the creative soul and plastic hands of
Buonarotti employed in rendering worship to such creatures. This
Lorenzo is chiefly known as having married Madeleine de Boulogne, and
as having died, as well as his wife, of a nameless disorder,
immediately after they had engendered the renowned Catharine de'
Medici, whose hideous life was worthy of its corrupt and poisoned

Did Michel Angelo look upon his subject as a purely imaginary one?
Surely he must have had some definite form before his mental vision;
for although sculpture cannot, like painting, tell an elaborate story,
still each figure must have a moral and a meaning, must show cause for
its existence, and indicate a possible function, or the mind of the
spectator is left empty and craving.

Here, at the tomb of Lorenzo, are three masterly figures. An heroic,
martial, deeply contemplative figure sits in grand repose. A
statesman, a sage, a patriot, a warrior, with countenance immersed in
solemn thought, and head supported and partly hidden by his hand, is
brooding over great recollections and mighty deeds. Was this Lorenzo,
the husband of Madeleine, the father of Catharine? Certainly the mind
at once dethrones him from his supremacy upon his own tomb, and
substitutes an Epaminondas, a Cromwell, a Washington,--what it
wills. 'Tis a godlike apparition, and need be called by no mortal
name. We feel unwilling to invade the repose of that majestic reverie
by vulgar invocation. The hero, nameless as he must ever remain, sits
there in no questionable shape, nor can we penetrate the sanctuary of
that marble soul. Till we can summon Michel, with his chisel, to add
the finishing strokes to the grave, silent face of the naked figure
reclining below the tomb, or to supply the lacking left hand to the
colossal form of female beauty sitting upon the opposite sepulchre, we
must continue to burst in ignorance. Sooner shall the ponderous
marble jaws of the tomb open, that Lorenzo may come forth to claim his
right to the trophy, than any admirer of human genius will doubt that
the shade of some real hero was present to the mind's eye of the
sculptor, when he tore these stately forms out of the enclosing rock.

A colossal hero sits, serene and solemn, upon a sepulchre. Beneath him
recline two vast mourning figures, one of each sex. One longs to
challenge converse with the male figure, with the unfinished
Sphinx-like face, who is stretched there at his harmonious length,
like an ancient river-god without his urn. There is nothing appalling
or chilling in his expression, nor does he seem to mourn without
hope. 'Tis a stately recumbent figure, of wonderful anatomy, without
any exaggeration of muscle, and, accordingly, his name is----Twilight!

Why Twilight should grieve at the tomb of Lorenzo, grandson of Lorenzo
Magnifico, any more than the grandfather would have done, does not
seem very clear, even to Twilight himself, who seems, after all, in a
very crepuscular state upon the subject. The mistiness is much aided
by the glimmering expression of his half-finished features.

But if Twilight should be pensive at the demise of Lorenzo, is there
any reason why Aurora should weep outright upon the same occasion?
This Aurora, however, weeping and stately, all nobleness and all
tears, is a magnificent creation, fashioned with the audacious
accuracy which has been granted to few modern sculptors. The figure
and face are most beautiful, and rise above all puny criticism; and as
one looks upon that sublime and wailing form, that noble and nameless
child of a divine genius, the flippant question dies on the lip, and
we seek not to disturb that passionate and beautiful image of woman's
grief by idle curiosity or useless speculation.

The monument, upon the opposite side, to Julian, third son of Lorenzo
Magnifico, is of very much the same character. Here are also two
mourning figures. One is a sleeping and wonderfully beautiful female
shape, colossal, in a position less adapted to repose than to the
display of the sculptor's power and her own perfections. This is
Night. A stupendously sculptured male figure, in a reclining attitude,
and exhibiting, I suppose, as much learning in his _torso_ as
does the famous figure in the Elgin marbles, strikes one as the most
triumphant statue of modern times.

The figure of Julian is not agreeable. The neck, long and twisted,
suggests an heroic ostrich in a Roman breastplate. The attitude, too,
is ungraceful. The hero sits with his knees projecting beyond the
perpendicular, so that his legs seem to be doubling under him, a
position deficient in grace and dignity.

It is superfluous to say that the spectator must invent for himself
the allegory which he may choose to see embodied in this stony
trio. It is not enough to be told the words of the charade,--Julian,
Night, Morning. One can never spell out the meaning by putting
together the group with the aid of such a key. Night is Night,
obviously, because she is asleep. For an equally profound reason, Day
is Day, because he is not asleep; and both, looked at in this vulgar
light, are creations as imaginative as Simon Snug, with his lantern,
representing moonshine. If the figures should arise and walk across
the chapel, changing places with the couple opposite them, as if in a
sepulchral quadrille, would the allegory become more intelligible?
Could not Day or Night move from Julian's monument, and take up the
same position at Lorenzo's tomb, or "Ninny's tomb," or any other tomb?
Was Lorenzo any more to Aurora than Julian, that she should weep for
him only?

Therefore one must invent for one's self the fable of those immortal
groups. Each spectator must pluck out, unaided, the heart of their
mystery. Those matchless colossal forms, which the foolish chroniclers
of the time have baptized Night and Morning, speak an unknown language
to the crowd. They are mute as Sphinx to souls which cannot supply the
music and the poetry which fell from their marble lips upon the ear of
him who created them.



The ancient residence of Cosmo Vecchio and his successors is a
magnificent example of that vast and terrible architecture peculiar to
Florence. This has always been a city, not of streets, but of
fortresses. Each block is one house, but a house of the size of a
citadel; while the corridors and apartments are like casemates and
bastions, so gloomy and savage is their expression. Ancient Florence,
the city of the twelfth and beginning of the thirteenth centuries, the
Florence of the nobles, the Florence of the Ghibellines, the Florence
in which nearly every house was a castle, with frowning towers
hundreds of feet high, machicolated battlements, donjon keeps,
oubliettes, and all other appurtenances of a feudal stronghold, exists
no longer. With the expulsion of the imperial faction, and the advent
of the municipal Guelphs,--that proudest, boldest, most successful,
and most unreasonable _bourgeoisie_ which ever assumed organized
life,--the nobles were curtailed of all their privileges. Their city
castles, too, were shorn of their towers, which were limited to just
so many ells, cloth measure, by the haughty shopkeepers who had
displaced the grandees. The first third of the thirteenth century--the
epoch of the memorable Buondelmonti street fight which lasted thirty
years--was the period in which this dreadful architecture was fixed
upon Florence. Then was the time in which the chains, fastened in
those huge rings which still dangle from the grim house-fronts, were
stretched across the street; thus enclosing and fettering a compact
mass of combatants in an iron embrace, while from the rare and narrow
murder-windows in the walls, and from the beetling roofs, descended
the hail of iron and stone and scalding pitch and red-hot coals to
refresh the struggling throng below.

After this epoch, and with the expiration of the imperial house of the
Hohenstaufen, the nobles here, as in Switzerland, sought to popularize
themselves, to become municipal.

  Der Adel steigt von seinen alten Burgen,
  Und schwört den Städten seinen Bürger-Eid,

said the prophetic old Attinghausen, in his dying moments. The change
was even more extraordinary in Florence. The expulsion of some of the
patrician families was absolute. Others were allowed to participate
with the plebeians in the struggle for civic honors, and for the
wealth earned in commerce, manufactures, and handicraft. It became a
severe and not uncommon punishment to degrade offending individuals or
families into the ranks of nobility, and thus deprive them of their
civil rights. Hundreds of low-born persons have, in a single day, been
declared noble, and thus disfranchised. And the example of Florence
was often followed by other cities.

The result was twofold upon the aristocracy. Those who municipalized
themselves became more enlightened, more lettered, more refined, and,
at the same time, less chivalrous and less martial than their
ancestors. The characters of buccaneer, land-pirate, knight-errant
could not be conveniently united with those of banker, exchange
broker, dealer in dry goods, and general commission agents.

The consequence was that the fighting business became a specialty, and
fell into the hands of private companies. Florence, like Venice, and
other Italian republics, jobbed her wars. The work was done by the
Hawkwoods, the Sforzas, the Bracciones, and other chiefs of the
celebrated free companies, black bands, lance societies, who
understood no other profession, but who were as accomplished in the
arts of their own guild as were any of the five major and seven minor
crafts into which the Florentine burgesses were divided.

This proved a bad thing for the liberties of Florence in the end. The
chieftains of these military clubs, usually from the lowest ranks,
with no capacity but for bloodshed, and no revenue but rapine, often
ended their career by obtaining the seigniory of some petty republic,
a small town, or a handful of hamlets, whose liberty they crushed with
their own iron, and with the gold obtained, in exchange for their
blood, from the city bankers. In the course of time such seigniories
often rolled together, and assumed a menacing shape to all who valued
municipal liberty. Sforza--whose peasant father threw his axe into a
tree, resolving, if it fell, to join, as a common soldier, the roving
band which had just invited him; if it adhered to the wood, to remain
at home a laboring hind--becomes Duke of Milan, and is encouraged in
his usurpation by Cosmo Vecchio, who still gives himself the airs of
first-citizen of Florence.

The serpent, the well-known cognizance of the Visconti, had already
coiled itself around all those fair and clustering cities which were
once the Lombard republics, and had poisoned their vigorous life. The
Ezzelinos, Carraras, Gonzagas, Scalas, had crushed the spirit of
liberty in the neighborhood of Venice. All this had been accomplished
by means of mercenary adventurers, guided only by the love of plunder;
while those two luxurious and stately republics--the one an oligarchy,
the other a democracy--looked on from their marble palaces, enjoying
the refreshing bloodshowers in which their own golden harvests were so
rapidly ripening.

Meanwhile a gigantic despotism was maturing, which was eventually to
crush the power, glory, wealth, and freedom of Italy.

This _palazzo_ of Cosmo the Elder is a good type of Florentine
architecture at its ultimate epoch, just as Cosmo himself was the
largest expression of the Florentine citizen in the last and over-ripe

The Medici family, unheard of in the thirteenth century, obscure and
plebeian in the middle of the fourteenth, and wealthy bankers and
leaders of the democratic party at its close, culminated in the early
part of the fifteenth in the person of Cosmo. The _Pater
Patriae,_--so called, because, having at last absorbed all the
authority, he could afford to affect some of the benignity of a
parent, and to treat his fellow-citizens, not as men, but as little
children,--the Father of his Country had acquired, by means of his
great fortune and large financial connections, an immense control over
the destinies of Florence and Italy. But he was still a private
citizen in externals. There was, at least, elevation of taste,
refinement of sentiment in Cosmo's conception of a great citizen. His
habits of life were elegant, but frugal. He built churches, palaces,
villas. He employed all the great architects of the age. He adorned
these edifices with masterpieces from the pencils and chisels of the
wonderful _Quattrocentisti_, whose productions alone would have
given Florence an immortal name in Art history. Yet he preserved a
perfect simplicity of equipage and apparel. In this regard, faithful
to the traditions of the republic, which his family had really changed
from a democracy to a ploutarchy, he had the good taste to scorn the
vulgar pomp of kings,--"the horses led, and grooms besmeared with
gold,"--all the theatrical paraphernalia and plebeian tinsel "which
dazzle the crowd and set them all agape"; but his expenditures were
those of an intellectual and accomplished oligarch. He was worthy, in
many respects, to be the chief of those haughty merchants and
manufacturers, who wielded more power, through the length of their
purses and the cultivation of their brains, than did all the
contemporaneous and illiterate barons of the rest of Christendom, by
dint of castle-storming and cattle-stealing.

In an age when other nobles were proud of being unable to write their
own names, or to read them when others wrote them, the great princes
and citizens of Florence protected and cultivated art, science, and
letters. Every citizen received a liberal education. Poets and
philosophers sat in the councils of the republic. Philosophy,
metaphysics, and the restoration of ancient learning occupied the
minds and diminished the revenues of its greater and inferior
burghers. In this respect, the Medici, and their abetters of the
fifteenth century, discharged a portion of the debt which they had
incurred to humanity. They robbed Italy of her freedom, but they gave
her back the philosophy of Plato. They reduced the generality of
Florentine citizens, who were once omnipotent, to a nullity; but they
had at least, the sense to cherish Donatello and Ghiberti,
Brunelleschi and Gozzoli, Ficino and Politian.

It is singular, too, with what comparatively small means the Medici
were enabled to do such great things. Cosmo, unquestionably the
greatest and most successful citizen that ever lived,--for he almost
rivalled Pericles in position, if not in talent, while he surpassed
him in good fortune,--was, during his lifetime, the virtual sovereign
of the most enlightened and wealthy and powerful republic that had
existed in modern times. He built the church of San Marco, the church
of San Lorenzo, the cloister of San Verdiano. On the hill of Fiesole he
erected a church and a convent. At Jerusalem he built a church and a
hospital for pilgrims. All this was for religion, the republic, and
the world. For himself he constructed four splendid villas, at
Careggi, Fiesole, Caffaggiolo, and Trebbio, and in the city the
magnificent palace in the Via Larga, now called the Riccardi.

In thirty-seven years, from 1434 to 1471, he and his successors
expended eight millions of francs (663,755 gold florins) in buildings
and charities,--a sum which may be represented by as many, or, as some
would reckon, twice as many, dollars at the present day. Nevertheless,
the income of Cosmo was never more than 600,000 francs, (50,000 gold
florins,) while his fortune was never thought to exceed three millions
of francs, or six hundred thousand dollars. Being invested in
commerce, his property yielded, and ought to have yielded, an income
of twenty _per cent_. Nevertheless, an inventory made in 1469
showed, that, after twenty-nine years, he left to his son Pietro a
fortune but just about equal in amount to that which he had himself
received from his father.

With six hundred thousand dollars for his whole capital, then, Cosmo
was able to play his magnificent part in the world's history; while
the Duke of Milan, son of the peasant Sforza, sometimes expended more
than that sum in a single year. So much difference was there between
the position and requirements of an educated and opulent
first-citizen, and a low-born military _parvenu_, whom, however,
Cosmo was most earnest to encourage and to strengthen in his designs
against the liberties of Lombardy.

This Riccardi palace, as Cosmo observed after his poor son Peter had
become bed-ridden with the gout, was a marvellously large mansion for
so small a family as one old man and one cripple. It is chiefly
interesting, now, for the frescos with which Benozzo Gozzoli has
adorned the chapel. The same cause which has preserved these beautiful
paintings so fresh, four centuries long, has unfortunately always
prevented their being seen to any advantage. The absence of light,
which has kept the colors from fading, is most provoking, when one
wishes to admire the works of a great master, whose productions are so

Gozzoli, who lived and worked through the middle of the fifteenth
century, is chiefly known by his large and graceful compositions in
the Pisan Campo Santo. These masterpieces are fast crumbling into
mildewed rubbish. He had as much vigor and audacity as Ghirlandaio,
with more grace and freshness of invention. He has, however, nothing
of his dramatic power. His genius is rather idyllic and
romantic. Although some of the figures in these Medici palace frescos
are thought to be family portraits, still they hardly seem very
lifelike. The subjects selected are a Nativity, and an Adoration of
the Magi. In the neighborhood of the window is a choir of angels
singing Hosanna, full of freshness and vernal grace. The long
procession of kings riding to pay their homage, "with tedious pomp and
rich retinue long," has given the artist an opportunity of exhibiting
more power in perspective and fore-shortening than one could expect at
that epoch. There are mules and horses, caparisoned and bedizened;
some led by grinning blackamoors, others ridden by showy kings,
effulgent in brocade, glittering spurs, and gleaming cuirasses. Here
are horsemen travelling straight towards the spectator,--there, a
group, in an exactly opposite direction, is forcing its way into the
picture,--while hunters with hound and horn are pursuing the stag on
the neighboring hills, and idle spectators stand around, gaping and
dazzled; all drawn with a free and accurate pencil, and colored with
much brilliancy;--a triumphant and masterly composition, hidden in a
dark corner of what has now become a great dusty building, filled with
public offices.



Here sits on her hill the weird old Etrurian nurse of Florence,
withered, superannuated, feeble, warming her palsied limbs in the sun,
and looking vacantly down upon the beautiful child whose cradle she
rocked. Fiesole is perhaps the oldest Italian city. The inhabitants of
middle and lower Italy were Pelasgians by origin, like the earlier
races of Greece. The Etrurians were an aboriginal stock,--that is to
say, as far as anything can be definitely stated regarding their
original establishment in the peninsula; for they, too, doubtless
came, at some remote epoch, from beyond the Altai mountains.

In their arts they seem to have been original,--at least, until at a
later period they began to imitate the culture of Greece. They were
the only ancient Italian people who had the art-capacity; and they
supplied the wants of royal Rome, just as Greece afterwards supplied
the republic and the empire with the far more elevated creations of
her plastic genius.

The great works undertaken by the Tarquins, if there ever were
Tarquins, were in the hands of Etrurian architects and sculptors. The
admirable system of subterranean drainage in Rome, by which the swampy
hollows among the seven hills were converted into stately streets, and
the stupendous _cloaca maxima_, the buried arches of which have
sustained for more than two thousand years, without flinching, the
weight of superincumbent Rome, were Etrurian performances, commenced
six centuries before Christ.

It would appear that this people had rather a tendency to the useful,
than to the beautiful. Unable to assimilate the elements of beauty and
grace furnished by more genial races, this mystic and vanished nation
was rather prone to the stupendously and minutely practical, than
devoted to the beautiful for its own sake.

At Fiesole, the vast Cyclopean walls, still fixed and firm as the
everlasting hills, in their parallelopipedal layers, attest the
grandeur of the ancient city. Here are walls built, probably, before
the foundation of Rome, and yet steadfast as the Apennines. There are
also a broken ring or two of an amphitheatre; for the Etrurians
preceded and instructed the Romans in gladiatorial shows. It is
suggestive to seat one's self upon these solid granite seats, where
twenty-five hundred years ago some grave Etrurian citizen, wrapped in
his mantle of Tyrrhenian purple, his straight-nosed wife at his side,
with serpent bracelet and enamelled brooch, and a hopeful family
clustering playfully at their knees, looked placidly on, while slaves
were baiting and butchering each other in the arena below.

The Duomo is an edifice of the Romanesque period, and contains some
masterpieces by Mino da Fiesole. On a fine day, however, the church is
too dismal, and the scene outside too glowing and golden, to permit
any compromise between nature and Mino. The view from the Franciscan
convent upon the brow of the hill, site of the ancient acropolis, is
on the whole the very best which can be obtained of Florence and the
Val d' Arno. All the verdurous, gently rolling hills which are heaped
about Firenze la bella are visible at once. There, stretched languidly
upon those piles of velvet cushions, reposes the luxurious, jewelled,
tiara-crowned city, like Cleopatra on her couch. Nothing, save an
Oriental or Italian city on the sea-coast, can present a more
beautiful picture. The hills are tossed about so softly, the sunshine
comes down in its golden shower so voluptuously, the yellow Arno moves
along its channel so noiselessly, the chains of villages, villas,
convents, and palaces are strung together with such a profuse and
careless grace, wreathing themselves from hill to hill, and around
every coigne of vantage, the forests of olive and the festoons of vine
are so poetical and suggestive, that we wonder not that civilized man
has found this an attractive abode for twenty-five centuries.

Florence is stone dead. 'Tis but a polished tortoise-shell, of which
the living inhabitant has long since crumbled to dust; but it still
gleams in the sun with wondrous radiance.

Just at your feet, as you stand on the convent terrace, is the Villa
Mozzi, where, not long ago, were found buried jars of Roman coins of
the republican era, hidden there by Catiline, at the epoch of his
memorable conspiracy. Upon the same spot was the favorite residence of
Lorenzo Magnifico; concerning whose probable ponderings, as he sat
upon his terrace, with his legs dangling over Florence, much may be
learned from the guide-book of the immortal Murray, so that he who
runs may read and philosophize.

Looking at Florence from the hill-top, one is more impressed than ever
with the appropriateness of its name. _The City of Flowers_ is
itself a flower, and, as you gaze upon it from a height, you see how
it opens from its calyx. The many bright villages, gay gardens,
palaces, and convents which encircle the city, are not to be regarded
separately, but as one whole. The germ and heart of Florence, the
compressed and half hidden Piazza, with its dome, campanile, and long,
slender towers, shooting forth like the stamens and pistils, is
closely folded and sombre, while the vast and beautiful corolla
spreads its brilliant and fragrant circumference, petal upon petal,
for miles and miles around.


It was two hours before dawn on Sunday, the memorable seventh of
October, 1571, when the fleet weighed anchor. The wind had become
lighter, but it was still contrary, and the galleys were indebted for
their progress much more to their oars than to their sails. By sunrise
they were abreast of the Curzolares, a cluster of huge rocks, or rocky
islets, which, on the north, defends the entrance of the Gulf of
Lepanto. The fleet moved laboriously along, while every eye was
strained to catch the first glimpse of the hostile navy. At length the
watch from the foretop of the _Real_ called out, "A sail!" and
soon after announced that the whole Ottoman fleet was in
sight. Several others, climbing up the rigging, confirmed his report;
and in a few moments more word was sent to the same effect by Andrew
Doria, who commanded on the right. There was no longer any doubt; and
Don John, ordering his pendant to be displayed at the mizzen-peak,
unfurled the great standard of the League, given by the pope, and
directed a gun to be fired, the signal for battle. The report, as it
ran along the rocky shores, fell cheerily on the ears of the
confederates, who, raising their eyes towards the consecrated banner,
filled the air with their shouts.

The principal captains now came on board the _Real_ to receive
the last orders of the commander-in-chief. Even at this late hour
there were some who ventured to intimate their doubts of the
expediency of engaging the enemy in a position where he had a decided
advantage. But Don John cut short the discussion. "Gentlemen," he
said, "this is the time for combat, not for counsel." He then
continued the dispositions he was making for the assault.

He had already given to each commander of a galley written
instructions as to the manner in which the line of battle was to be
formed, in case of meeting the enemy. The armada was now formed in
that order. It extended on a front of three miles. Far on the right a
squadron of sixty-four galleys was commanded by the Genoese, Andrew
Doria, a name of terror to the Moslems. The centre, or _battle_, as it
was called, consisting of sixty-three galleys, was led by John of
Austria, who was supported on the one side by Colonna, the
captain-general of the pope, and on the other by the Venetian
captain-general, Veniero. Immediately in the rear was the galley of
the _Comendador_ Requesens, who still remained near the person of his
former pupil; though a difference which arose between them on
the voyage, fortunately now healed, showed that the young
commander-in-chief was wholly independent of his teacher in the art of
war. The left wing was commanded by the noble Venetian, Barberigo,
whose vessels stretched along the Aetolian shore, which, to prevent his
being turned by the enemy, he approached as near as, in his ignorance
of the coast, he dared to venture. Finally, the reserve, consisting of
thirty-five galleys, was given to the brave Marquis of Santa Cruz,
with directions to act on any part where he thought his presence most
needed. The smaller craft, some of which had now arrived, seem to have
taken little part in the action, which was thus left to the galleys.

Each commander was to occupy so much space with his galley as to allow
room for manoeuvring it to advantage, and yet not enough to enable the
enemy to break the line. He was directed to single out his adversary,
to close at once with him, and board as soon as possible. The beaks
of the galleys were pronounced to be a hindrance rather than a help in
action. They were rarely strong enough to resist a shock from the
enemy; and they much interfered with the working and firing of the
guns. Don John had the beak of his vessel cut away; and the example
was speedily followed throughout the fleet, and, as it is said, with
eminently good effect. It may seem strange that this discovery should
have been reserved for the crisis of a battle.

When the officers had received their last instructions, they returned
to their respective vessels; and Don John, going on board of a light
frigate, passed rapidly through that part of the armada lying on his
right, while he commanded Requesens to do the same with the vessels on
his left. His object was to feel the temper of his men, and rouse
their mettle by a few words of encouragement. The Venetians he
reminded of their recent injuries. The hour for vengeance, he told
them, had arrived. To the Spaniards, and other confederates, he said,
"You have come to fight the battle of the Cross,--to conquer or
die. But whether you die or conquer, do your duty this day, and you
will secure a glorious immortality." His words were received with a
burst of enthusiasm which went to the heart of the commander, and
assured him that he could rely on his men in the hour of trial. On his
return to his vessel, he saw Veniero on his quarter-deck, and they
exchanged salutations in as friendly a manner as if no difference had
existed between them. At a time like this, both these brave men were
willing to forget all personal animosity, in a common feeling of
devotion to the great cause in which they were engaged.

The Ottoman fleet came on slowly and with difficulty. For, strange to
say, the wind, which had hitherto been adverse to the Christians,
after lulling for a time, suddenly shifted to the opposite quarter,
and blew in the face of the enemy. As the day advanced, moreover, the
sun, which had shone in the eyes of the confederates, gradually shot
its rays into those of the Moslems. Both circumstances were of good
omen to the Christians, and the first was regarded as nothing short of
a direct interposition of Heaven. Thus ploughing its way along, the
Turkish armament, as it came nearer into view, showed itself in
greater strength than had been anticipated by the allies. It consisted
of nearly two hundred and fifty royal galleys, most of them of the
largest class, besides a number of smaller vessels in the rear, which,
like those of the allies, appear scarcely to have come into
action. The men on board, including those of every description, were
computed at not less than a hundred and twenty thousand. The galleys
spread out, as usual with the Turks, in the form of a regular
half-moon, covering a wider extent of surface than the combined
fleets, which they somewhat exceeded in numbers. They presented,
indeed, as they drew nearer, a magnificent array, with their gilded
and gaudily painted prows, and their myriads of pennons and streamers
fluttering gayly in the breeze, while the rays of the morning sun
glanced on the polished scymitars of Damascus, and on the superb
aigrettes of jewels which sparkled in the turbans of the Ottoman

In the centre of the extended line, and directly opposite to the
station occupied by the captain-general of the League, was the huge
galley of Ali Pasha. The right of the armada was commanded by Mehemet
Siroco, viceroy of Egypt, a circumspect as well as courageous leader;
the left by Uluch Ali, dey of Algiers, the redoubtable corsair of the
Mediterranean. Ali Pasha had experienced a similar difficulty with Don
John, as several of his officers had strongly urged the inexpediency
of engaging so formidable an armament as that of the allies. But Ali,
like his rival, was young and ambitious. He had been sent by his
master to fight the enemy; and no remonstrances, not even those of
Mehemet Siroco, for whom he had great respect, could turn him from his

He had, moreover, received intelligence that the allied fleet was much
inferior in strength to what it proved. In this error he was
fortified by the first appearance of the Christians; for the extremity
of their left wing, commanded by Barberigo, stretching behind the
Aetolian shore, was hidden from his view. As he drew nearer, and saw
the whole extent of the Christian lines, it is said his countenance
fell. If so, he still did not abate one jot of his resolution. He
spoke to those around him with the same confidence as before of the
result of the battle. He urged his rowers to strain every effort. Ali
was a man of more humanity than often belonged to his nation. His
galley-slaves were all, or nearly all, Christian captives; and he
addressed them in this neat and pithy manner: "If your countrymen win
this day, Allah give you the benefit of it! Yet if I win it, you
shall have your freedom. If you feel that I do well by you, do then
the like by me."

As the Turkish admiral drew nearer, he made a change in his order of
battle by separating his wings farther from his centre, thus
conforming to the dispositions of the allies. Before he had come
within cannon-shot, he fired a gun by way of challenge to his
enemy. It was answered by another from the galley of John of
Austria. A second gun discharged by Ali was as promptly replied to by
the Christian commander. The distance between the two fleets was now
rapidly diminishing. At this solemn hour a death-like silence reigned
throughout the armament of the confederates. Men seemed to hold their
breath, as if absorbed in the expectation of some great
catastrophe. The day was magnificent. A light breeze, still adverse
to the Turks, played on the waters, somewhat fretted by contrary
winds. It was nearly noon; and as the sun, mounting through a
cloudless sky, rose to the zenith, he seemed to pause, as if to look
down on the beautiful scene, where the multitude of galleys, moving
over the water, showed like a holiday spectacle rather than a
preparation for mortal combat.

The illusion was soon dispelled by the fierce yells which rose on the
air from the Turkish armada. It was the customary war-cry with which
the Moslems entered into battle. Very different was the scene on board
of the Christian galleys. Don John might be there seen, armed
cap-a-pie, standing on the prow of the _Real_, anxiously awaiting
the coming conflict. In this conspicuous position, kneeling down, he
raised his eyes to heaven, and humbly prayed that the Almighty would
be with his people on that day. His example was speedily followed by
the whole fleet. Officers and men, all falling on their knees, and
turning their eyes to the consecrated banner which floated from the
_Real_, put up a petition like that of their commander. They
then received absolution from the priests, of whom there were some in
each vessel; and each man, as he rose to his feet, gathered new
strength from the assurance that the Lord of Hosts would fight on his

When the foremost vessels of the Turks had come within cannon-shot,
they opened a fire on the Christians. The firing soon ran along the
whole of the Turkish line, and was kept up without interruption as it
advanced. Don John gave orders for trumpet and atabal to sound the
signal for action; and a simultaneous discharge followed from such of
the guns in the combined fleet as could bear on the enemy. Don John
had caused the _galeazzas_ to be towed some half a mile ahead of
the fleet, where they might intercept the advance of the Turks. As the
latter came abreast of them, the huge galleys delivered their
broadsides right and left, and their heavy ordnance produced a
startling effect. Ali Pasha gave orders for his galleys to open on
either side, and pass without engaging these monsters of the deep, of
which he had had no experience. Even so their heavy guns did
considerable damage to the nearest vessels, and created some confusion
in the pasha's line of battle. They were, however, but unwieldy craft,
and, having accomplished their object, seem to have taken no further
part in the combat. The action began on the left wing of the allies,
which Mehemet Siroco was desirous of turning. This had been
anticipated by Barberigo, the Venetian admiral, who commanded in that
quarter. To prevent it, as we have seen, he lay with his vessels as
near the coast as he dared. Siroco, better acquainted with the
soundings, saw there was space enough for him to pass, and darting by
with all the speed that oars and wind could give him, he succeeded in
doubling on his enemy. Thus placed between two fires, the extreme of
the Christian left fought at terrible disadvantage. No less than eight
galleys went to the bottom. Several more were captured. The brave
Barberigo, throwing himself into the heat of the fight, without
availing himself of his defensive armor, was pierced in the eye by an
arrow, and though reluctant to leave the glory of the field to
another, was borne to his cabin. The combat still continued with
unabated fury on the part of the Venetians. They fought like men who
felt that the war was theirs, and who were animated not only by the
thirst for glory, but for revenge.

Far on the Christian right, a manoeuvre similar to that so
successfully executed by Siroco was attempted by Uluch Ali, the
viceroy of Algiers. Profiting by his superiority of numbers, he
endeavored to turn the right wing of the confederates. It was in this
quarter that Andrew Doria commanded. He also had foreseen this
movement of his enemy, and he succeeded in foiling it. It was a trial
of skill between the two most accomplished seamen in the
Mediterranean. Doria extended his line so far to the right, indeed,
to prevent being surrounded, that Don John was obliged to remind him
that he left the centre much too exposed. His dispositions were so far
unfortunate for himself that his own line was thus weakened and
afforded some vulnerable points to his assailant. These were soon
detected by the eagle eye of Uluch Ali; and like the king of birds
swooping on his prey, he fell on some galleys separated by a
considerable interval from their companions, and, sinking more than
one, carried off the great _Capitana_ of Malta in triumph as his

While the combat thus opened disastrously to the allies both on the
right and on the left, in the centre they may be said to have fought
with doubtful fortune. Don John had led his division gallantly
forward. But the object on which he was intent was an encounter with
Ali Pasha, the foe most worthy of his sword. The Turkish commander had
the same combat no less at heart. The galleys of both were easily
recognized, not only from their position, but from their superior size
and richer decoration. The one, moreover, displayed the holy banner
of the League; the other, the great Ottoman standard. This, like the
ancient standard of the caliphs, was held sacred in its character. It
was covered with texts from the Koran, emblazoned in letters of gold,
with the name of Allah inscribed upon it no less than twenty-eight
thousand nine hundred times. It was the banner of the Sultan, having
passed from father to son since the foundation of the imperial
dynasty, and was never seen in the field unless the Grand-Seignior or
his lieutenant was there in person.

Both the Christian and the Moslem chief urged on their rowers to the
top of their speed. Their galleys soon shot ahead of the rest of the
line, driven through the boiling surges as by the force of a tornado,
and closing with a shock that made every timber crack, and the two
vessels quiver to their very keels. So powerful, indeed, was the
impetus they received, that the pasha's galley, which was considerably
the larger and loftier of the two, was thrown so far upon its opponent
that the prow reached the fourth bench of rowers. As soon as the
vessels were disengaged from each other, and those on board had
recovered from the shock, the work of death began. Don John's chief
strength consisted in some three hundred Spanish arquebusiers, culled
from the flower of his infantry. Ali, on the other hand, was provided
with the like number of janissaries. He was also followed by a
smaller vessel, in which two hundred more were stationed as a _corps
de réserve_. He had, moreover, a hundred archers on board. The bow
was still much in use with the Turks, as with the other Moslems.

The pasha opened at once on his enemy a terrible fire of cannon and
musketry. It was returned with equal spirit, and much more effect; for
the Turkish marksmen were observed to shoot over the heads of their
adversaries. Their galley was unprovided with the defences which
protected the sides of the Spanish vessels; and the troops, huddled
together on their lofty prow, presented an easy mark to their enemies'
balls. But though numbers of them fell at every discharge, their
places were soon supplied by those in reserve. Their incessant fire,
moreover, wasted the strength of the Spaniards; and as both Christian
and Mussulman fought with indomitable spirit, it seemed doubtful to
which side the victory would incline.

The affair was made more complicated by the entrance of other parties
into the conflict. Both Ali and Don John were supported by some of the
most valiant captains in their fleets. Next to the Spanish commander,
as we have seen, were Colonna and the veteran Veniero, who, at the age
of seventy-six, performed feats of arms worthy of a paladin of
romance. Thus a little squadron of combatants gathered around the
principal leaders, who sometimes found themselves assailed by several
enemies at the same time. Still the chiefs did not lose sight of one
another, but beating off their inferior foes as well as they could,
each refusing to loosen his hold, clung with mortal grasp to his

Thus the fight raged along the whole extent of the entrance of the
Gulf of Lepanto. If the eye of the spectator could have penetrated the
cloud of smoke that enveloped the combatants, and have embraced the
whole scene at a glance, he would have beheld them broken up into
small detachments, engaged in conflict with one another, wholly
independently of the rest, and indeed ignorant of all that was doing
in other quarters. The volumes of vapor, rolling heavily over the
waters, effectually shut out from sight whatever was passing at any
considerable distance, unless when a fresher breeze dispelled the
smoke for a moment, or the flashes of the heavy guns threw a transient
gleam over the dark canopy of battle. The contest exhibited few of
those enlarged combinations and skilful manoeuvres to be expected in a
great naval encounter. It was rather an assemblage of petty actions,
resembling those on land. The galleys, grappling together, presented a
level arena, on which soldier and galley-slave fought hand to hand,
and the fate of the engagement was generally decided by boarding. As
in most hand-to-hand contests, there was an enormous waste of
life. The decks were loaded with corpses, Christian and Moslem lying
promiscuously together in the embrace of death. Instances are given
where every man on board was slain or wounded. It was a ghastly
spectacle, where blood flowed in rivulets down the sides of the
vessels, staining the waters of the Gulf for miles around.

It seemed as if some hurricane had swept over the sea, and covered it
with the wreck of the noble armaments which a moment before were so
proudly riding on its bosom. Little had they now to remind one of
their late magnificent array, with their hulls battered and defaced,
their masts and spars gone or fearfully splintered by the shot, their
canvas cut into shreds and floating wildly on the breeze, while
thousands of wounded and drowning men were clinging to the floating
fragments, and calling piteously for help. Such was the wild uproar
which had succeeded to the Sabbath-like stillness that two hours
before had reigned over these beautiful solitudes!

The left wing of the confederates, commanded by Barberigo, had been
sorely pressed by the Turks, as we have seen, at the beginning of the
fight. Barberigo himself had been mortally wounded. His line had been
turned. Several of his galleys had been sunk. But the Venetians
gathered courage from despair. By incredible efforts they succeeded in
beating off their enemies. They became the assailants in their
turn. Sword in hand, they carried one vessel after another. The
Capuchin, with uplifted crucifix, was seen to head the attack, and to
lead the boarders to the assault. The Christian galley-slaves, in some
instances, broke their fetters and joined their countrymen against
their masters. Fortunately, the vessel of Mehemet Siroco, the Moslem
admiral, was sunk; and though extricated from the water himself, it
was only to perish by the sword of his conqueror, Juan Contarini. The
Venetian could find no mercy for the Turk.

The fall of their commander gave the final blow to his
followers. Without further attempt to prolong the fight, they fled
before the avenging swords of the Venetians. Those nearest the land
endeavored to escape by running their vessels ashore, where they
abandoned them as prizes to the Christians. Yet many of the fugitives,
before gaining the shore, perished miserably in the waves. Barberigo,
the Venetian admiral, who was still lingering in agony, heard the
tidings of the enemy's defeat, and exclaiming, "I die contented," he
breathed his last.

Meanwhile the combat had been going forward in the centre between the
two commanders-in-chief, Don John and Ali Pasha, whose galleys blazed
with an incessant fire of artillery and musketry that enveloped them
like "a martyr's robe of flames." Both parties fought with equal
spirit, though not with equal fortune. Twice the Spaniards had boarded
their enemy, and both times they had been repulsed with loss. Still
their superiority in the use of their fire-arms would have given them
a decided advantage over their opponents, if the loss thus inflicted
had not been speedily repaired by fresh reinforcements. More than once
the contest between the two chieftains was interrupted by the arrival
of others to take part in the fray. They soon, however, returned to
one another, as if unwilling to waste their strength on a meaner
enemy. Through the whole engagement both commanders exposed themselves
to danger as freely as any common soldier. Even Philip must have
admitted that in such a contest it would have been difficult for his
brother to find with honor a place of safety. Don John received a
wound in the foot. It was a slight one, however, and he would not
allow it to be attended to till the action was over.

At length the men were mustered, and a third time the trumpets sounded
to the assault. It was more successful than those preceding. The
Spaniards threw themselves boldly into the Turkish galley. They were
met by the janissaries with the same spirit as before. Ali Pasha led
them on. Unfortunately, at this moment he was struck by a musket-ball
in the head, and stretched senseless on the gangway. His men fought
worthily of their ancient renown. But they missed the accustomed voice
of their commander. After a short, but ineffectual struggle against
the fiery impetuosity of the Spaniards, they were overpowered and
threw down their arms. The decks were loaded with the bodies of the
dead and the dying. Beneath these was discovered the Turkish
commander-in-chief, sorely wounded, but perhaps not mortally. He was
drawn forth by some Castilian soldiers, who, recognizing his person,
would at once have despatched him. But the wounded chief, having
rallied from the first effects of his blow, had presence of mind
enough to divert them from their purpose by pointing out the place
below where he had deposited his money and jewels, and they hastened
to profit by the disclosure before the treasure should fall into the
hands of their comrades.

Ali was not so successful with another soldier, who came up soon
after, brandishing his sword, and preparing to plunge it into the body
of the prostrate commander. It was in vain that the latter endeavored
to turn the ruffian from his purpose. He was a convict,--one of those
galley-slaves whom Don John had caused to be unchained from the oar,
and furnished with arms. He could not believe that any treasure would
be worth so much to him as the head of the pasha. Without further
hesitation he dealt him a blow which severed it from his shoulders.
Then returning to his galley, he laid the bloody trophy before Don
John. But he had miscalculated on his recompense. His commander gazed
on it with a look of pity mingled with horror. He may have thought of
the generous conduct of Ali to his Christian captives, and have felt
that he deserved a better fate. He coldly inquired "of what use such a
present could be to him," and then ordered it to be thrown into the
sea. Far from being obeyed, it is said the head was stuck on a pike
and raised aloft on board the captive galley. At the same time the
banner of the Crescent was pulled down, while that of the Cross run up
in its place proclaimed the downfall of the pasha.

The sight of the sacred ensign was welcomed by the Christians with a
shout of "Victory!" which rose high above the din of battle. The
tidings of the death of Ali soon passed from mouth to mouth, giving
fresh heart to the confederates, but falling like a knell on the ears
of the Moslems. Their confidence was gone. Their fire slackened. Their
efforts grew weaker and weaker. They were too far from shore to seek
an asylum there, like their comrades on the right. They had no
resource but to prolong the combat or to surrender. Most preferred the
latter. Many vessels were carried by boarding, others sunk by the
victorious Christians. Before four hours had elapsed, the centre, like
the right wing of the Moslems, might be said to be annihilated.

Still the fight was lingering on the right of the confederates, where,
it will be remembered, Uluch Ali, the Algerine chief, had profited by
Doria's error in extending his line so far as greatly to weaken
it. His adversary, attacking it on its most vulnerable quarter, had
succeeded, as we have seen, in capturing and destroying several
vessels, and would have inflicted still heavier losses on his enemy,
had it not been for the seasonable succor received from the Marquis of
Santa Cruz. This brave officer, who commanded the reserve, had already
been of much service to Don John, when the _Real_ was assailed by
several Turkish galleys at once, during his combat with Ali Pasha; the
Marquis having arrived at this juncture, and beating off the
assailants, one of whom he afterwards captured, the commander-in-chief
was enabled to resume his engagement with the pasha.

No sooner did Santa Cruz learn the critical situation of Doria, than,
supported by Cardona, general of the Sicilian squadron, he pushed
forward to his relief. Dashing into the midst of the _melée_,
they fell like a thunderbolt on the Algerine galleys. Few attempted to
withstand the shock. But in their haste to avoid it, they were
encountered by Doria and his Genoese. Thus beset on all sides, Uluch
Ali was compelled to abandon his prizes and provide for his own safety
by flight. He cut adrift the Maltese _Capitana_, which he had
lashed to his stern, and on which three hundred corpses attested the
desperate character of her defence. As tidings reached him of the
discomfiture of the centre and the death of his commander, he felt
that nothing remained but to make the best of his way from the fatal
scene of action, and save as many of his own ships as he could. And
there were no ships in the Turkish fleet superior to his, or manned by
men under more perfect discipline; for they were the famous corsairs
of the Mediterranean, who had been rocked from infancy on its waters.

Throwing out his signals for retreat, the Algerine was soon to be
seen, at the head of his squadron, standing towards the north, under
as much canvas as remained to him after the battle, and urged forward
through the deep by the whole strength of his oarsmen. Doria and Santa
Cruz followed quickly in his wake. But he was borne on the wings of
the wind, and soon distanced his pursuers. Don John, having disposed
of his own assailants, was coming to the support of Doria, and now
joined in the pursuit of the viceroy. A rocky headland, stretching far
into the sea, lay in the path of the fugitive, and his enemies hoped
to intercept him there. Some few of his vessels stranded on the
rocks. But the rest, near forty in number, standing more boldly out to
sea, safely doubled the promontory. Then quickening their flight,
they gradually faded from the horizon, their white sails, the last
thing visible, showing in the distance like a flock of Arctic sea-fowl
on their way to their native homes. The confederates explained the
inferior sailing of their own galleys by the circumstance of their
rowers, who had been allowed to bear arms in the fight, being crippled
by their wounds.

The battle had lasted more than four hours. The sky, which had been
almost without a cloud through the day, began now to be overcast, and
showed signs of a coming storm. Before seeking a place of shelter for
himself and his prizes, Don John reconnoitred the scene of action. He
met with several vessels in too damaged a state for further
service. These mostly belonging to the enemy, after saving what was of
any value on board, he ordered to be burnt. He selected the
neighboring port of Petala, as affording the most secure and
accessible harbor for the night. Before he had arrived there, the
tempest began to mutter and darkness was on the water. Yet the
darkness rendered the more visible the blazing wrecks, which, sending
up streams of fire mingled with showers of sparks, looked like
volcanoes on the deep.

Long and loud were the congratulations now paid to the young
commander-in-chief by his brave companions in arms, on the success of
the day. The hours passed blithely with officers and men, while they
recounted one to another their manifold achievements. But feelings of
gloom mingled with their gayety, as they gathered tidings of the loss
of friends who had bought this victory with their blood.

It was, indeed, a sanguinary battle, surpassing in this particular any
sea-fight of modern times. The loss fell much the most heavily on the
enemy. There is the usual discrepancy about numbers; but it may be
safe to estimate the Turkish loss at about twenty-four thousand slain,
and five thousand prisoners. But what gave most joy to the hearts of
the conquerors was the liberation of twelve thousand Christian
captives, who had been chained to the oar on board the Moslem galleys,
and who now came forth with tears streaming down their haggard cheeks,
to bless their deliverers.

The loss of the allies was comparatively small,--less than eight
thousand. That it was so much less than that of their enemies may be
referred in part to their superiority in the use of firearms; in part,
also, to their exclusive use of these, instead of employing bows and
arrows, weapons much less effective, but on which the Turks, like the
other Moslem nations, seem to have greatly relied. Lastly, the Turks
were the vanquished party, and in their heavier loss suffered the
almost invariable lot of the vanquished.

As to their armada, it may almost be said to have been
annihilated. Not more than forty galleys escaped, out of near two
hundred and fifty which had entered into the action. One hundred and
thirty were taken and divided among the conquerors. The remainder,
sunk or burned, were swallowed up by the waves. To counterbalance all
this, the confederates are said to have lost not more than fifteen
galleys, though a much larger number doubtless were rendered unfit for
service. This disparity affords good evidence of the inferiority of
the Turks in the construction of their vessels, as well as in the
nautical skill required to manage them. A large amount of booty, in
the form of gold, jewels, and brocade, was found on board several of
the prizes. The galley of the commander-in-chief alone is stated to
have contained one hundred and seventy thousand gold sequins,--a large
sum, but not large enough, it seems, to buy off his life.

The losses of the combatants cannot be fairly presented without taking
into the account the quality as well as the number of the slain. The
number of persons of consideration, both Christians and Moslems, who
embarked in the expedition, was very great. The roll of slaughter
showed that in the race of glory they gave little heed to their
personal safety. The officer second in command among the Venetians,
the commander-in-chief of the Turkish armament, and the commander of
its right wing, all fell in the battle. Many a high-born cavalier
closed at Lepanto a long career of honorable service. More than one,
on the other hand, dated the commencement of their career from this
day. Such was the case with Alexander Farnese, the young prince of
Parma. Though somewhat older than his uncle, John of Austria,
difference of birth had placed a wide distance in their conditions;
the one filling the post of commander-in-chief, the other only that of
a private adventurer. Yet even so he succeeded in winning great renown
by his achievements. The galley in which he sailed was lying, yard-arm
to yard-arm, alongside of a Turkish galley, with which it was hotly
engaged. In the midst of the action, the young Farnese sprang on board
of the enemy, and with his stout broadsword hewed down all who opposed
him, opening a path into which his comrades poured one after another;
and after a short, but murderous contest, he succeeded in carrying the
vessel. As Farnese's galley lay just astern of Don John's, the latter
could witness the achievement of his nephew, which filled him with an
admiration he did not affect to conceal. The intrepidity he displayed
on this occasion gave augury of his character in later life, when he
succeeded his uncle in command, and surpassed him in military renown.

Another youth was in that sea-fight, who, then humble and unknown, was
destined one day to win laurels of a purer and more enviable kind than
those which grow on the battle-field. This was Cervantes, who, at the
age of twenty-four, was serving on board the fleet as a common
soldier. He was confined to his bed by a fever; but, notwithstanding
the remonstrances of his captain, insisted, on the morning of the
action, not only on bearing arms, but on being stationed at the post
of danger. And well did he perform his duty there, as was shown by two
wounds on the breast, and another in the hand, by which he lost the
use of it. Fortunately, it was the left hand. The right yet remained,
to record those immortal productions which were to be familiar as
household words, not only in his own land, but in every quarter of the
civilized world.

A fierce storm of thunder and lightning raged for four-and-twenty
hours after the battle, during which the fleet rode safely at anchor
in the harbor of Petala. It remained there three days longer. Don John
profited by the time to visit the different galleys and ascertain
their condition. He informed himself of the conduct of the troops, and
was liberal of his praises to those who deserved them. With the sick
and the wounded he showed the greatest sympathy, endeavoring to
alleviate their sufferings, and furnishing them with whatever his
galley contained that could minister to their comfort. With so
generous and sympathetic a nature, it is not wonderful that he should
have established himself in the hearts of his soldiers.

But the proofs of this kindly temper were not confined to his own
followers. Among the prisoners were two sons of Ali, the Turkish
commander-in-chief. One was seventeen, the other only thirteen years
of age. Thus early had their father desired to initiate them in a
profession which, beyond all others, opened the way to eminence in
Turkey. They were not on board of his galley, and when they were
informed of his death, they were inconsolable. To this sorrow was now
to be added the doom of slavery.

As they were led into the presence of Don John, the youths prostrated
themselves on the deck of his vessel. But raising them up, he
affectionately embraced them. He said all he could to console them
under their troubles. He caused them to be treated with the
consideration due to their rank. His secretary, Juan de Soto,
surrendered his quarters to them. They were provided with the richest
apparel that could be found among the spoil. Their table was served
with the same delicacies as that of the commander-in-chief; and his
gentlemen of the chamber showed the same deference to them as to
himself. His kindness did not stop with these acts of chivalrous
courtesy. He received a letter from their sister Fatima, containing a
touching appeal to Don John's humanity, and soliciting the release of
her orphan brothers. He had sent a courier to give their friends in
Constantinople the assurance of their personal safety; "which," adds
the lady, "is held by all this court as an act of great
courtesy,--_gran gentilezza_; and there is no one here who does
not admire the goodness and magnanimity of your Highness."  She
enforced her petition with a rich present, for which she gracefully
apologized, as intended to express her own feelings, though far below
his deserts.

The young princes, in the division of the spoil, were assigned to the
pope. But Don John succeeded in obtaining their liberation.
Unfortunately, the elder died--of a broken heart, it is said--at
Naples. The younger was sent home, with three of his attendants, for
whom he had an especial regard. Don John declined the present, which
he gave to Fatima's brother. In a letter to the Turkish princess, he
remarked, that "he had done this, not because he undervalued her
beautiful gift, but because it had ever been the habit of his royal
ancestors freely to grant favors to those who stood in need of their
protection, but not to receive aught by way of recompense."


    A brook came stealing from the ground;
      You scarcely saw its silvery gleam
    Among the herbs that hung around
      The borders of that winding stream,--
      A pretty stream, a placid stream,
      A softly gliding, bashful stream.

    A breeze came wandering from the sky,
      Light as the whispers of a dream;
    He put the o'erhanging grasses by,
      And gayly stooped to kiss the stream,--
      The pretty stream, the flattered stream,
      The shy, yet unreluctant stream.

    The water, as the wind passed o'er,
      Shot upward many a glancing beam,
    Dimpled and quivered more and more,
      And tripped along a livelier stream,--
      The flattered stream, the simpering stream,
      The fond, delighted, silly stream.

    Away the airy wanderer flew
      To where the fields with blossoms teem,
    To sparkling springs and rivers blue,
      And left alone that little stream,--
      The flattered stream, the cheated stream,
      The sad, forsaken, lonely stream.

    That careless wind no more came back;
      He wanders yet the fields, I deem;
    But on its melancholy track
      Complaining went that little stream,--
      The cheated stream, the hopeless stream,
      The ever murmuring, moaning stream.


Don't open your eyes, Polder! You think I am going to tell you about
some of my Minnesota experiences; how I used to scamper over the
prairies on my Indian pony, and lie in wait for wild turkeys on the
edge of an oak opening. That is pretty sport, too, to creep under an
oak with low-hanging boughs, and in the silence of a glowing
autumn-day linger by the hour together in a trance of warm stillness,
watching the light tracery of shadow and sun on that smooth sward,
only now and then roused by the fleet rush of a deer through the wood,
or the brisk chatter of a plume-tailed squirrel, till one hears a
distant, sharp, clucking chuckle, and in an instant more pulls the
trigger, and upsets a grand old cock, every bronzed feather glittering
in the sunshine, and now splashed with scarlet blood, the delicate
underwing ground into down as he rolls and flutters; for the first
shot rarely kills at once with an amateur; there's too much
excitement. Splendid sport, that! but I'm not going into it
second-hand. I promised to tell you a story, now the skipper's fast,
and the night is too warm to think of sleep down in that wretched
bunk;--what another torture Dante might have lavished on his Inferno,
if he'd ever slept in a fishing-smack! No. The moonlight makes me
sentimental! Did I ever tell you about a month I spent up in
Centreville, the year I came home from Germany? That was
turkey-hunting with a vengeance!

You see, my pretty cousin Peggy married Peter Smith, who owns
paper-mills in Centreville, and has exiled herself into deep country
for life; a circumstance I disapprove, because I like Peggy, and
manufacturers always bore me, though Peter is a clever fellow enough;
but madam was an old flame of mine, and I have a lingering tenderness
for her yet. I wish she was nearer town. Just that year Peggy had
been very ill indeed, and Kate, her sister, had gone up to nurse
her. When I came home Peggy was getting better, and sent for me to
come up and make a visitation there in June. I hadn't seen Kate for
seven years,--not since she was thirteen; our education
intervened. She had gone through that grading process and come out. By
Jupiter! when she met me at the door of Smith's pretty,
English-looking cottage, I took my hat off, she was so like that
little Brazilian princess we used to see in the _cortége_ of the
court at Paris. What was her name? Never mind that! Kate had just
such large, expressive eyes, just such masses of shiny black hair,
just such a little nose,--turned up undeniably, but all the more
piquant. And her teeth! good gracious! she smiled like a flash of
lightning,--dark and sallow as she was. But she was cross, or stiff,
or something, to me for a long time. Peggy only appeared after dinner,
looking pale and lovely enough in her loose wrapper to make Peter act
excessively like----a young married man, and to make me wish myself at
an invisible distance, doing something beside picking up Kate's
things, that she always dropped on the floor whenever she sewed.
Peggy saw I was bored, so she requested me one day to walk down to the
poultry-yard and ask about her chickens; she pretended a great deal of
anxiety, and Peter had sprained his ankle.

"Kate will go with you," said she.

"No, she won't!" ejaculated that young woman.

"Thank you," said I, making a minuet bow, and off I went to the
farm-house. Such a pretty walk it was, too! through a thicket of
birches, down a little hill-side into a hollow full of hoary
chestnut-trees, across a bubbling, dancing brook, and you came out
upon the tiniest orchard in the world, a one-storied house with a red
porch, and a great sweet-brier bush thereby; while up the hill-side
behind stretched a high picket fence, enclosing huge trees, part of
the same brook I had crossed here dammed into a pond, and a
chicken-house of pretentious height and aspect,--one of those model
institutions that are the ruin of gentlemen-farmers and the delight of
women. I had to go into the farm-kitchen for the poultry-yard key.
The door stood open, and I stepped in cautiously, lest I should come
unaware upon some domestic scene not intended to be visible to the
naked eye. And a scene I did come upon, fit for Retzsch to
outline;--the cleanest kitchen, a dresser of white wood under one
window, and the farmer's daughter, Melinda Tucker, moulding bread
thereat in a ponderous tray; her deep red hair,--yes, it was red and
comely! of the deepest bay, full of gilded reflections, and
accompanied by the fair, rose-flushed skin, blue eyes, and scarlet
lips that belong to such hair,--which, as I began to say, was puckered
into a thousand curves trying to curl, and knotted strictly against a
pretty head, while her calico frock-sleeves were pinned-back to the
shoulders, baring such a dimpled pair of arms,--how they did fly up
and down in the tray! I stood still contemplating the picture, and
presently seeing her begin to strip the dough from her pink fingers
and mould it into a mass, I ventured to knock. If you had seen her
start and blush, Polder! But when she saw me, she grew as cool as you
please, and called her mother. Down came Mrs. Tucker, a talking
Yankee. You don't know what that is. Listen, then.

"Well, good day, sir! I'xpect it's Mister Greene, Miss Smith's
cousin. Well, you be! Don't favor her much though; she's kinder dark
complected. She ha'n't got round yet, hes she? Dew tell! She's
dre'ful delicate. I do'no' as ever I see a woman so sickly's she looks
ter be sence that 'ere fever. She's real spry when she's so's to be
crawlin',--I'xpect too spry to be 'hulsome. Well, he tells me you've
ben 'crost the water. 'Ta'n't jest like this over there, I
guess. Pretty sightly places they be though, a'n't they? I've seen
picturs in Melindy's jography, looks as ef 'twa'n't so woodsy over
there as 'tis in these parts, 'specially out West. He's got folks out
to Indianny, an' we sot out fur to go a-cousinin', five year back, an'
we got out there inter the dre'fullest woodsy region ever ye see,
where 'twa'n't trees, it was 'sketers; husband he couldn't see none
out of his eyes for a hull day, and I thought I should caterpillar
every time I heerd one of 'em toot; they sartainly was the beater-ee!"

"The key, if you please!" I meekly interposed. Mrs. Tucker was fast
stunning me!

"Law yis! Melindy, you go git that 'ere key; it's a-hangin' up'side o'
the lookin'glass in the back shed, under that bunch o' onions father
strung up yisterday. Got the bread sot to rise, hev ye? well, git
yer bunnet an' go out to the coop with Mr. Greene, 'n' show him the
turkeys an' the chickens, 'n' tell what dre'ful luck we hev hed. I
never did see sech luck! the crows they keep a-comin' an' snippin' up
the little creturs jest as soon's they're hatched; an' the old turkey
hen't sot under the grapevine she got two hen's eggs under her, 'n'
they come out fust, so she quit--"

Here I bolted out of the door, (a storm at sea did not deafen one like
that!) Melindy following, in silence such as our blessed New England
poet has immortalized,--silence that

    "--Like a poultice comes,
     To heal the blows of sound."

Indeed, I did not discover that Melindy could talk that day; she was
very silent, very incommunicative. I inspected the fowls, and tried to
look wise, but I perceived a strangled laugh twisting Melindy's face
when I innocently inquired if she found catnip of much benefit to the
little chickens; a natural question enough, for the yard was full of
it, and I had seen Hannah give it to the baby. (Hannah is my sister.)
I could only see two little turkeys,--both on the floor of the
second-story parlor in the chicken-house, both flat on their backs and
gasping. Melindy did not know what ailed them; so I picked them up,
slung them in my pocket-handkerchief, and took them home for Peggy to
manipulate. I heard Melindy chuckle as I walked off, swinging them;
and to be sure, when I brought the creatures in to Peggy, one of them
kicked and lay still, and the other gasped worse than ever.

"What can we do?" asked Peggy, in the most plaintive voice, as the
feeble "week! week!" of the little turkey was gasped out, more feebly
every time.

"Give it some whiskey-punch!" growled Peter, whose strict temperance
principles were shocked by the remedies prescribed for Peggy's ague.

"So I would," said Kate, demurely.

Now if Peggy had one trait more striking than another, it was her
perfect, simple faith in what people said; irony was a mystery to her;
lying, a myth,--something on a par with murder. She thought Kate meant
so; and reaching out for the pretty wicker-flask that contained her
daily ration of old Scotch whiskey, she dropped a little drop into a
spoon, diluted it with water, and was going to give it to the turkey
in all seriousness, when Kate exclaimed,--

"Peggy! when will you learn common sense? Who ever heard of giving
whiskey to a turkey?"

"Why, you told me to, Kate!"

"Oh, give it to the thing!" growled Peter; "it will die, of course."

"I shall give it!" said Peggy, resolutely; "it does _me_ good,
and I will try."

So I held the little creature up, while Peggy carefully tipped the
dose down its throat. How it choked, kicked, and began again with
"week! week!" when it meant "strong!" but it revived. Peggy held it in
the sun till it grew warm, gave it a drop more, fed it with
bread-crumbs from her own plate, and laid it on the south
window-sill. There it lay when we went to tea; when we came back, it
lay on the floor, dead; either it was tipsy, or it had tried its new
strength too soon, and, rolling off, had broken its neck! Poor Peggy!

There were six more hatched the next day, though, and I held many
consultations with Melindy about their welfare. Truth to tell, Kate
continued so cool to me, Peter's sprained ankle lasted so long, and
Peggy could so well spare me from the little matrimonial
_tête-à-têtes_ that I interrupted, (I believe they didn't mind
Kate!) that I took wonderfully to the chickens. Mrs. Tucker gave me
rye-bread and milk of the best; "father" instructed me in the
mysteries of cattle-driving; and Melindy, and Joe, and I, used to go
strawberrying, or after "posies," almost every day. Melindy was a very
pretty girl, and it was very good fun to see her blue eyes open and
her red lips laugh over my European experiences. Really, I began to be
of some importance at the farm-house, and to take airs upon myself, I
suppose; but I was not conscious of the fact at the time.

After a week or two, Melindy and I began to have bad luck with the
turkeys. I found two drenched and shivering, after a hail-and-thunder
storm, and setting them in a basket on the cooking-stove hearth, went
to help Melindy "dress her bow-pot," as she called arranging a vase of
flowers, and when I came back the little turkeys were singed; they
died a few hours after. Two more were trodden on by a great Shanghai
rooster, who was so tall he could not see where he set his feet down;
and of the remaining pair, one disappeared mysteriously,--supposed to
be rats; and one falling into the duck-pond, Melindy began to dry it
in her apron, and I went to help her; I thought, as I was rubbing the
thing down with the apron, while she held it, that I had found one of
her soft dimpled hands, and I gave the luckless turkey such a tender
pressure that it uttered a miserable squeak and departed this
life. Melindy all but cried. I laughed irresistibly. So there were no
more turkeys. Peggy began to wonder what they should do for the proper
Thanksgiving dinner, and Peter turned restlessly on his sofa, quite
convinced that everything was going to rack and ruin because he had a
sprained ankle.

"Can't we buy some young turkeys?"  timidly suggested Peggy.

"Of course, if one knew who had them to sell," retorted Peter.

"I know," said I; "Mrs. Amzi Peters, up on the hill over Taunton, has
got some."

"Who told you about Mrs. Peters's turkeys, Cousin Sam?" said Peggy,

"Melindy," said I, quite innocently.

Peter whistled, Peggy laughed, Kate darted a keen glance at me under
her long lashes.

"I know the way there," said mademoiselle, in a suspiciously bland
tone. "Can't you drive there with me, Cousin Sam, and get some more?"

"I shall be charmed," said I.

Peter rang the bell and ordered the horse to be ready in the
single-seated wagon, after dinner. I was going right down to the
farm-house to console Melindy, and take her a book she wanted to read,
for no fine lady of all my New York acquaintance enjoyed a good book
more than she did; but Cousin Kate asked me to wind some yarn for her,
and was so brilliant, so amiable, so altogether charming, I quite
forgot Melindy till dinner-time, and then, when that was over, there
was a basket to be found, and we were off,--turkey-hunting! Down
hill-sides overhung with tasselled chestnut-boughs; through pine-woods
where neither horse nor wagon intruded any noise of hoof or wheel upon
the odorous silence, as we rolled over the sand, past green meadows,
and sloping orchards; over little bright brooks that chattered
musically to the bobolinks on the fence-posts, and were echoed by
those sacerdotal gentlemen in such liquid, bubbling, rollicking,
uproarious bursts of singing as made one think of Anacreon's

    "Drunk with morning's dewy wine."

All these we passed, and at length drew up before Mrs. Peters's
house. I had been here before, on a strawberrying stroll with
Melindy,--(across lots it was not far,)--and having been asked in
then, and entertained the lady with a recital of some foreign exploit,
garnished for the occasion, of course she recognized me with clamorous

"Why how do yew do, Mister Greene? I declare I ha'n't done a-thinkin'
of that 'ere story you told us the day you was here, 'long o'
Melindy." (Kate gave an ominous little cough.) "I was a-tellin'
husband yesterday 't I never see sech a master hand for stories as you
be. Well, yis, we hev _got_ turkeys, young 'uns; but my stars! I
don't know no more where they be than nothin'; they've strayed away
into the woods, I guess, and I do'no' as the boys can skeer 'em up;
besides, the boys is to school; h'm--yis! Where did you and Melindy
go that day arter berries?"

"Up in the pine-lot, ma'am. You think you can't let us have the

"Dew tell ef you went up there! It's near about the sightliest place I
ever see. Well, no,--I don't see how's to ketch them turkeys. Miss
Bemont, she't lives over on Woodchuck Hill, she's got a lot o' little
turkeys in a coop; I guess you'd better go 'long over there, an' ef
you can't get none o' her'n, by that time our boys'll be to hum, an'
I'll set 'em arter our'n; they'll buckle right to; it's good sport
huntin' little turkeys; an' I guess you'll hev to stop, comin' home,
so's to let me know ef you'll hev 'em."

Off we drove. I stood in mortal fear of Mrs. Peters's tongue,--and
Kate's comments; but she did not make any; she was even more charming
than before. Presently we came to the pine-lot, where Melindy and I
had been, and I drew the reins. I wanted to see Kate's enjoyment of a
scene that Kensett or Church should have made immortal long ago:--a
wide stretch of hill and valley, quivering with cornfields, rolled
away in pasture lands, thick with sturdy woods, or dotted over with
old apple-trees, whose dense leaves caught the slant sunshine, glowing
on their tops, and deepening to a dark, velvety green below, and far,
far away, on the broad blue sky, the lurid splendors of a
thunder-cloud, capped with pearly summits, tower upon tower, sharply
defined against the pure ether, while in its purple base forked
lightnings sped to and fro, and revealed depths of waiting tempest
that could not yet descend. Kate looked on, and over the superb

"How magnificent!" was all she said, in a deep, low tone, her dark
cheek flushing with the words. Melindy and I had looked off there
together. "It's real good land to farm," had been the sweet little
rustic's comment. How charming are nature and simplicity!

Presently we came to Mrs. Bemont's, a brown house in a cluster of
maples; the door-yard full of chickens, turkeys, ducks, and
geese. Kate took the reins, and I knocked. Mrs. Bemont herself
appeared, wiping her red, puckered hands on a long brown towel.

"Can you let me have some of your young turkeys, ma'am?" said I,

"Well, I do'no';--want to eat 'em or raise 'em?"

"Both, I believe," was my meek answer.

"I do'no' 'bout lettin' on 'em go; 'ta'n't no gret good to sell 'em
after all the risks is over; they git their own livin' pretty much
now, an' they'll be wuth twice as much by'm'by."

"I suppose so; but Mrs. Smith's turkeys have all died, and she likes
to raise them."

"Dew tell, ef you han't come from Miss Peter Smith's! Well, she'd
oughter do gret things with that 'ere meetin'-'us o' her'n for the
chickens; it's kinder genteel-lookin', and I spose they've got means;
they've got ability. Gentility without ability I do despise; but where
't'a'n't so, 't'a'n't no matter; but I'xpect it don't ensure the
faowls none, doos it?"

"I rather think not," said I, laughing; "that is the reason we want
some of yours."

"Well, I should think you could hev some on 'em. What be you
calc'latin' to give?"

"Whatever you say. I do not know at all the market price."

"Good land! 't'a'n't never no use to try to dicker with city folks;
they a'n't use to't. I'xpect you can hev 'em for two York shillin'

"But how will you catch them?"

"Oh, I'll ketch 'em, easy!"

She went into the house and reappeared presently with a pan of Indian
meal and water, called the chickens, and in a moment they were all
crowding in and over the unexpected supper.

"Now you jes' take a bit o' string an' tie that 'ere turkey's legs
together; 'twon't stir, I'll ensure it!"

Strange to say, the innocent creature stood still and eat, while I
tied it up; all unconscious till it tumbled neck and heels into the
pan, producing a start and scatter of brief duration. Kate had left
the wagon, and was shaking with laughter over this extraordinary
goodness on the turkeys' part, and before long our basket was full of
struggling, kicking, squeaking things, "werry promiscuous," in
Mr. Weller's phrase. Mrs. Bemont was paid, and while she was giving me
the change,--

"Oh!" said she, "you're goin' right to Miss Tucker's, a'n't ye?--got
to drop the turkeys;--won't you tell Miss Tucker 't George is comin'
home tomorrer, an' he's ben to Californy. She know'd us allers, and
Melindy 'n' George used ter be dre'ful thick 'fore he went off, a good
spell back, when they was nigh about childern; so I guess you'd better
tell 'em."

"Confound these turkeys!" muttered I, as I jumped over the basket.

"Why?" said Kate, "I suspect they are confounded enough already!"

"They make such a noise, Kate!"

So they did; "week! week! week!"  all the way, like a colony from some
spring-waked pool.

    "Their song might be compared
    To the croaking of frogs in a pond!"

The drive was lovelier than before. The road crept and curled down
the hill, now covered from side to side with the interlacing boughs of
grand old chestnuts; now barriered on the edge of a ravine with broken
fragments and boulders of granite, garlanded by heavy vines; now
skirting orchards full of promise; and all the way companied by a tiny
brook, veiled deeply in alder and hazel thickets, and making in its
shadowy channel perpetual muffled music, like a child singing in the
twilight to reassure its half-fearful heart. Kate's face was softened
and full of rich expression; her pink ribbons threw a delicate tinge
of bloom upon the rounded cheek and pensive eyelid; the air was pure
balm, and a cool breath from the receding showers of the distant
thunderstorm just freshened the odors of wood and field. I began to
feel suspiciously that sentimental, but through it all came
persevering "week! week! week!" from the basket at my feet. Did I
make a fine remark on the beauties of nature, "Week!" echoed the
turkeys. Did Kate praise some tint or shape by the way, "Week! week!"
was the feeble response. Did we get deep in poetry, romance, or
metaphysics, through the most brilliant quotation, the sublimest
climax, the most acute distinction, came in "Week! week! week!" I
began to feel as if the old story of transmigration were true, and the
souls of half a dozen quaint and ancient satirists had got into the
turkeys. I could not endure it! Was I to be squeaked out of all my
wisdom, and knowledge, and device, after this fashion? Never! I
began, too, to discover a dawning smile upon Kate's face; she turned
her head away, and I placed the turkey-basket on my knees, hoping a
change of position might quiet its contents. Never was man more at
fault! they were no way stilled by my magnetism; on the contrary, they
threw their sarcastic utterances into my teeth, as it were, and shamed
me to my very face. I forgot entirely to go round by Mrs. Peters's. I
took a cross-road directly homeward; a pause--a lull--took place among
the turkeys.

"How sweet and mystical this hour is!"  said I to Kate, in a
high-flown manner; "it is indeed

   "'An hour when lips delay to speak,
    Oppressed with silence deep and pure;
    When passion pauses--'"

"Week! week! week!" chimed in those confounded turkeys. Kate burst
into a helpless fit of laughter. What could I do? I had to laugh
myself, since I must not choke the turkeys.

"Excuse me, Cousin Sam," said Kate, in a laughter-wearied tone, "I
could not help it; turkeys and sentimentality do not agree--always!"
adding the last word maliciously, as I sprang out to open the
farm-house gate, and disclosed Melindy, framed in the buttery window,
skimming milk; a picture worthy of Wilkie. I delivered over my
captives to Joe, and stalked into the kitchen to give Mrs. Bemont's
message. Melindy came out; but as soon as I began to tell her mother
where I got that message, Miss Melindy, with the _sang froid_ of
a duchess, turned back to her skimming,--or appeared to. I gained
nothing by that move.

Peggy and Peter received us benignly; so universal a solvent is
success, even in turkey-hunting! I meant to have gone down to the
farm-house after tea, and inquired about the safety of my prizes, but
Kate wanted to play chess. Peter couldn't, and Peggy wouldn't; I had
to, of course, and we played late. Kate had such pretty hands; long
taper fingers, rounded to the tiniest rosy points; no dimples, but
full muscles, firm and exquisitely moulded; and the dainty way in
which she handled her men was half the game to me;--I lost it; I
played wretchedly. The next day Kate went with me to see the turkeys;
so she did the day after. We were forgetting Melindy, I am afraid, for
it was a week before I remembered I had promised her a new magazine. I
recollected myself; then, with a sort of shame, rolled up the number,
and went off to the farm-house. It seems Kate was there, busy in the
garret, unpacking a bureau that had been stored there, with some of
Peggy's foreign purchases, for summer wear, in the drawers. I did not
know that. I found Melindy spreading yeast-cakes to dry on a table,
just by the north end of the house; a hop-vine in full blossom made a
sort of porch-roof over the window by which she stood.

"I've brought your book, Melindy," said I.

"Thank you, sir," returned she, crisply.

"How pretty you look to-day." condescendingly remarked I.

"I don't thank you for that, sir;--

    "'Praise to the face
      Is open disgrace!'"

was all the response.

"Why, Melindy! what makes you so cross?" inquired I, in a tone meant
to be tenderly reproachful,--in the mean time attempting to possess
myself of her hand; for, to be honest, Polder, I had been a little
sweet to the girl before Kate drove her out of my head. The hand was
snatched away. I tried indifference.

"How are the turkeys to-day. Melindy?"

Here Joe, an _enfant terrible,_ came upon the scene suddenly.

"Them turkeys eats a lot, Mister Greene. Melindy says there's one on
'em struts jes' like you, 'n' makes as much gabble."

"Gobble! gobble! gobble!" echoed an old turkey from somewhere; I
thought it was overhead, but I saw nothing. Melindy threw her apron
over her face and laughed till her arms grew red. I picked up my hat
and walked off. For three days I kept out of that part of the Smith
demesne, I assure you! Kate began to grow mocking and derisive; she
teased me from morning till night, and the more she teased me, the
more I adored her. I was getting desperate, when one Sunday night Kate
asked me to walk down to the farm-house with her after tea, as
Mrs. Tucker was sick, and she had something to take to her. We found
the old woman sitting up in the kitchen, and as full of talk as ever,
though an unlucky rheumatism kept her otherwise quiet.

"How do the turkeys come on, Mrs. Tucker?" said I, by way of

"Well, I declare, you han't heerd about them turkeys, hev ye? You see
they was doin' fine, and father he went off to salt for a spell, so's
to see'f 'twouldn't stop a complaint he's got,--I do'no' but it's a
spine in the back,--makes him kinder' faint by spells, so's he loses
his conscientiousness all to once; so he left the chickens 'n' things
for Melindy to boss, 'n' she got somethin' else into her head, 'n' she
left the door open one night, and them ten turkeys they up and run
away, I'xpect they took to the woods, 'fore Melindy brought to mind
how't she hadn't shut the door. She's set out fur to hunt 'em. I
shouldn't wonder'f she was out now, seein' it's arter sundown."

"She a'n't nuther!" roared the terrible Joe, from behind the door,
where he had retreated at my coming. "She's settin' on a flour-barrel
down by the well, an' George Bemont's a-huggin' on her"

Good gracious! what a slap Mrs. Tucker fetched that unlucky child,
with a long brown towel that hung at hand! and how he howled! while
Kate exploded with laughter, in spite of her struggles to keep quiet.

"He _is_ the dre'fullest boy!" whined Mrs. Tucker. "Melindy tells
how he sassed you 'tother day, Mr. Greene. I shall hev to tewtor that
boy; he's got to hev the rod, I guess!"

I bade Mrs. Tucker good night, for Kate was already out of the door,
and, before I knew what she was about, had taken a by-path in sight of
the well; and there, to be sure, sat Melindy, on a prostrate
flour-barrel that was rolled to the foot of the big apple-tree,
twirling her fingers in pretty embarrassment, and held on her insecure
perch by the stout arm of George Bemont, a handsome brown fellow,
evidently very well content just now.

"Pretty,--isn't it?" said Kate.

"Very,--quite pastoral," sniffed I.

We were sitting round the open door an hour after, listening to a
whippoorwill, and watching the slow moon rise over a hilly range just
east of Centreville, when that elvish little "week! week!" piped out
of the wood that lay behind the house.

"That is hopeful," said Kate; "I think Melindy and George must have
tracked the turkeys to their haunt, and scared them homeward."

"George--who?" said Peggy.

"George Bemont; it seems he is--what is your Connecticut
phrase?--sparkin' Melindy."

"I'm very glad; he is a clever fellow," said Peter.

"And she is such a very pretty girl," continued Peggy,--"so
intelligent and graceful; don't you think so, Sam?"

"Aw, yes, well enough for a rustic," said I, languidly. "I never could
endure red hair, though!"

Kate stopped on the door-sill; she had risen to go up stairs.

"Gobble! gobble! gobble!" mocked she. I had heard that once before!
Peter and Peggy roared;--they knew it all;--I was sold!

"Cure me of Kate Stevens?" Of course it did. I never saw her again
without wanting to fight shy, I was so sure of an allusion to
turkeys. No, I took the first down train. There are more pretty girls
in New York, twice over, than there are in Centreville, I console
myself; but, by George! Polder, Kate Stevens was charming!--Look out
there! don't meddle with the skipper's coils of rope! can't you sleep
on deck without a pillow?


There is no one of the royal heroes of England that enjoys a more
enviable reputation than the bold outlaw of Barnsdale and
Sherwood. His chance for a substantial immortality is at least as good
as that of stout Lion-Heart, wild Prince Hal, or merry Charles. His
fame began with the yeomanry full five hundred years ago, was
constantly increasing for two or three centuries, has extended to all
classes of society, and, with some changes of aspect, is as great as
ever. Bishops, sheriffs, and game-keepers, the only enemies he ever
had, have relinquished their ancient grudges, and Englishmen would be
almost as loath to surrender his exploits as any part of the national
glory. His free life in the woods, his unerring eye and strong arm,
his open hand and love of fair play, his never forgotten courtesy, his
respect for women and devotion to Mary, form a picture eminently
healthful and agreeable to the imagination, and commend him to the
hearty favor of all genial minds.

But securely established as Robin Hood is in popular esteem, his
historical position is by no means well ascertained, and his actual
existence has been a subject of shrewd doubt and discussion. "A tale
of Robin Hood" is an old proverb for the idlest of stories; yet all
the materials at our command for making up an opinion on these
questions are precisely of this description. They consist, that is to
say, of a few ballads of unknown antiquity. These ballads, or others
like them, are clearly the authority upon which the statements of the
earlier chroniclers who take notice of Robin Hood are founded. They
are also, to all appearance, the original source of the numerous and
wide-spread traditions concerning him; which, unless the contrary can
be shown, must be regarded, according to the almost universal rule in
such cases, as having been suggested by the very legends to which, in
the vulgar belief, they afford an irresistible confirmation.

Various periods, ranging from the time of Richard the First to near
the end of the reign of Edward the Second, have been selected by
different writers as the age of Robin Hood; but (excepting always the
most ancient ballads, which may possibly be placed within these
limits) no mention whatever is made of him in literature before the
latter half of the reign of Edward the Third. "Rhymes of Robin Hood"
are then spoken of by the author of "Piers Ploughman" (assigned to
about 1362) as better known to idle fellows than pious songs, and from
the manner of the allusion it is a just inference that such rhymes
were at that time no novelties. The next notice is in Wyntown's
Scottish Chronicle, written about 1420, where the following lines
occur--without any connection, and in the form of an entry--under the
year 1283:--

   "Lytil Jhon and Robyne Hude
    Wayth-men ware commendyd gude:
    In Yngil-wode and Barnysdale
    Thai oysyd all this tyme thare trawale."[1]

At last we encounter Robin Hood in what may be called history; first
of all in a passage of the "Scotichronicon," often quoted, and highly
curious as containing the earliest theory upon this subject. The
"Scotichronicon" was written partly by Fordun, canon of Aberdeen,
between 1377 and 1384, and partly by his pupil Bower, abbot of
St. Columba, about 1450. Fordun has the character of a man of judgment
and research, and any statement or opinion delivered by him would be
entitled to respect. Of Bower not so much can be said. He largely
interpolated the work of his master, and sometimes with the absurdest
fictions.[2] _Among his interpolations_, and forming, it is
important to observe, _no part of the original text_, is a
passage translated as follows. It is inserted immediately after
Fordun's account of the defeat of Simon de Montfort, and the
punishments inflicted on his adherents.

"At this time, [_sc_. 1266,] from the number of those who had
been deprived of their estates arose the celebrated bandit Robert
Hood, (with Little John and their accomplices,) whose achievements the
foolish vulgar delight to celebrate in comedies and tragedies, while
the ballads upon his adventures sung by the jesters and minstrels are
preferred to all others.

"Some things to his honor are also related, as appears from this. Once
on a time, when, having incurred the anger of the king and the prince,
he could hear mass nowhere but in Barnsdale, while he was devoutly
occupied with the service, (for this was his wont, nor would he ever
suffer it to be interrupted for the most pressing occasion,) he was
surprised by a certain sheriff and officers of the king, who had often
troubled him before, in the secret place in the woods where he was
engaged in worship as aforesaid. Some of his men, who had taken the
alarm, came to him and begged him to fly with all speed. This, out of
reverence for the host, which he was then most devoutly adoring, he
positively refused to do. But while the rest of his followers were
trembling for their lives, Robert, confiding in Him whom he
worshipped, fell on his enemies with a few who chanced to be with him,
and easily got the better of them; and having enriched himself with
their plunder and ransom, he was led from that time forth to hold
ministers of the church and masses in greater veneration than ever,
mindful of the common saying, that

    "'God hears the man who often hears the mass.'"

In another place Bower writes to the same effect: "In this year [1266]
the dispossessed barons of England and the royalists were engaged in
fierce hostilities. Among the former, Roger Mortimer occupied the
Welsh marches, and John Daynil the Isle of Ely. Robert Hood was now
living in outlawry among the woodland copses and thickets."

Mair, a Scottish writer of the first quarter of the sixteenth century,
the next historian who takes cognizance of our hero, and the only
other that requires any attention, has a passage which may be
considered in connection with the foregoing. In his "Historia Majoris
Britanniae" he remarks, under the reign of Richard the First: "About
this time [1189-99], as I conjecture, the notorious robbers, Robert
Hood of England and Little John, lurked in the woods, spoiling the
goods only of rich men. They slew nobody but those who attacked them,
or offered resistance in defence of their property. Robert maintained
by his plunder a hundred archers, so skilful in fight that four
hundred brave men feared to attack them. He suffered no woman to be
maltreated, and never robbed the poor, but assisted them abundantly
with the wealth which he took from abbots."

It appears, then, that contemporaneous history is absolutely silent
concerning Robin Hood; that, excepting the casual allusion in "Piers
Ploughman," he is first mentioned by a rhyming chronicler who wrote
one hundred years after the latest date at which he can possibly be
supposed to have lived, and then by two prose chroniclers who wrote
about one hundred and twenty-five years and two hundred years
respectively after that date; and it is further manifest that all
three of these chroniclers had no other authority for their statements
than traditional tales similar to those which have come down to our
day. When, therefore, Thierry, relying upon these chronicles and
kindred popular legends, unhesitatingly adopts the conjecture of Mair,
and describes Robin Hood as the hero of the Saxon serfs, the chief of
a troop of Saxon banditti, that continued, even to the reign of Coeur
de Lion, a determined resistance against the Norman invaders,[3]--and
when another able and plausible writer accepts and maintains, with
equal confidence, the hypothesis of Bower, and exhibits the renowned
outlaw as an adherent of Simon de Montfort, who, after the fatal
battle of Evesham, kept up a vigorous guerilla warfare against the
officers of the tyrant Henry the Third, and of his successor,[4] we
must regard these representations, which were conjectural three or
four centuries ago, as conjectures still, and even as arbitrary
conjectures, unless one or the other can be proved from the only
_authorities_ we have, the ballads, to have a peculiar intrinsic
probability. That neither of them possesses this intrinsic probability
may easily be shown; but first it will be advisable to notice another
theory, which is more plausibly founded on internal evidence, and
claims to be confirmed by documents of unimpeachable validity.

This theory has been propounded by the Rev. John Hunter, in one of his
"Critical and Historical Tracts."[5] Mr. Hunter admits that Robin
Hood "lives only as a hero of song"; that he is not found in authentic
contemporary chronicles; and that, when we find him mentioned in
history, "the information was derived from the ballads, and is not
independent of them or correlative with them." While making these
admissions, he accords a considerable degree of credibility to the
ballads, and particularly to the "Lytell Geste," the last two
_fits_ of which he regards as giving a tolerably accurate account
of real occurrences.

In this part of the story King Edward is represented as coming to
Nottingham to take Robin Hood. He traverses Lancashire and a part of
Yorkshire, and finds his forests nearly stripped of their deer, but
can get no trace of the author of these extensive depredations. At
last, by the advice of one of his foresters, assuming with several of
his knights the dress of a monk, he proceeds from Nottingham to
Sherwood, and there soon encounters the object of his search. He
submits to plunder as a matter of course, and then announces himself
as a messenger sent to invite Robin Hood to the royal presence. The
outlaw receives this message with great respect. There is no man in
the world, he says, whom he loves so much as his king. The monk is
invited to remain and dine; and after the repast an exhibition of
archery is ordered, in which a bad shot is to be punished by a buffet
from the hand of the chieftain. Robin, having himself once failed of
the mark, requests the monk to administer the penalty. He receives a
staggering blow, which rouses his suspicions, recognizes the king on
an attentive consideration of his countenance, entreats grace for
himself and his followers, and is freely pardoned on condition that he
and they shall enter into the king's service. To this he agrees, and
for fifteen months resides at court. At the end of this time he has
lost all his followers but two, and spent all his money, and feels
that he shall pine to death with sorrow in such a life. He returns
accordingly to the greenwood, collects his old followers around him,
and for twenty-two years maintains his independence in defiance of the
power of Edward.

Without asserting the literal verity of all the particulars of this
narrative, Mr. Hunter attempts to show that it contains a substratum
of fact. Edward the First, he informs us, was never in Lancashire
after he became king; and if Edward the Third was ever there at all,
it was not in the early years of his reign. But Edward the Second did
make one single progress in Lancashire, and this in the year 1323.
During this progress the king spent some time at Nottingham, and took
particular note of the condition of his forests, and among these of
the forest of Sherwood. Supposing now that the incidents detailed in
the "Lytell Geste" really took place at this time, Robin Hood must
have entered into the royal service before the end of the year
1353. It is a singular, and in the opinion of Mr. Hunter a very
pregnant coincidence, that in certain Exchequer documents, containing
accounts of expenses in the king's household, the name of Robyn Hode
(or Robert Hood) is found several times, beginning with the 24th of
March, 1324, among the "porters of the chamber" of the king. He
received, with Simon Hood and others, the wages of three pence a
day. In August of the following year Robin Hood suffers deduction from
his pay for non-attendance, his absences grow frequent, and on the 22d
of November he is discharged with a present of five shillings,
"_poar cas qil ne poait pluis travailler_."[6]

It remains still for Mr. Hunter to account for the existence of a band
of seven score of outlaws in the reign of Edward the Second, in or
about Yorkshire. The stormy and troublous reigns of the Plantagenets
make this a matter of no difficulty. Running his finger down the long
list of rebellions and commotions, he finds that early in 1322 England
was convulsed by the insurrection of Thomas, Earl of Lancaster, the
king's near relation, supported by many powerful noblemen. The Earl's
chief seat was the castle of Pontefract, in the West Riding of
Yorkshire. He is said to have been popular, and it would be a fair
inference that many of his troops were raised in this part of England.
King Edward easily got the better of the rebels, and took exemplary
vengeance upon them. Many of the leaders were at once put to death,
and the lives of all their partisans were in danger. Is it impossible,
then, asks Mr. Hunter, that some who had been in the army of the Earl
secreted themselves in the woods, and turned their skill in archery
against the king's subjects or the king's deer? "that these were the
men who for so long a time haunted Barnsdale and Sherwood, and that
Robin Hood was one of them, a chief amongst them, being really of a
rank originally somewhat superior to the rest?"

We have, then, three different hypotheses concerning Robin Hood: one
placing him in the reign of Richard the First, another in that of
Henry the Third, and the last under Edward the Second, and all
describing him as a political foe to the established government. To
all of these hypotheses there are two very obvious and decisive
objections. The first is, that Robin Hood, as already remarked, is not
so much as named in contemporary history. Whether as the unsubdued
leader of the Saxon peasantry, or insurgent against the tyranny of
Henry or Edward, it is inconceivable that we should not hear something
of him from the chroniclers. If, as Thierry says, "he had chosen
Hereward for his model," it is unexplained and inexplicable why his
historical fate has been so different from that of Hereward. The hero
of the Camp of Refuge fills an ample place in the annals of his day;
his achievements are also handed down in a prose romance, which
presents many points of resemblance to the ballads of Robin Hood. It
would have been no wonder, if the vulgar legends about Hereward had
utterly perished; but it is altogether anomalous that a popular
champion[7] who attained so extraordinary a notoriety in song, a man
living from one hundred to two hundred and fifty years later than
Hereward, should be passed over without one word of notice from any
authoritative historian.[8] That this would not be so we are most
fortunately able to demonstrate by reference to a real case which
furnishes a singularly exact parallel to the present,--that of the
famous outlaw, Adam Gordon. In the year 1267, says the continuator of
Matthew Paris, a soldier by the name of Adam Gordon, who had lost his
estates with other adherents of Simon de Montfort, and refused to seek
the mercy of the king, established himself with others in like
circumstances near a woody and tortuous road between the village of
Wilton and the castle of Farnham, from which position he made forays
into the country round about, directing his attacks especially against
those who were of the king's party. Prince Edward had heard much of
the prowess and honorable character of this man, and desired to have
some personal knowledge of him. He succeeded in surprising Gordon
with a superior force, and engaged him in single combat, forbidding
any of his own followers to interfere. They fought a long time, and
the prince was so filled with admiration of the courage and spirit of
his antagonist, that he promised him life and fortune on condition of
his surrendering. To these terms Gordon acceded, his estates were
restored, and Edward found him ever after an attached and faithful
servant.[9] The story is romantic, and yet Adam Gordon was not made
the subject of ballads. _Caruit vate sacro_. The contemporary
historians, however, all have a paragraph for him. He is celebrated
by Wikes, the Chronicle of Dunstaple, the Waverley Annals, and we know
not where else besides.

But these theories are open to an objection stronger even than the
silence of history. They are contradicted by the spirit of the
ballads. No line of these songs breathes political animosity. There is
no suggestion or reminiscence of wrong, from invading Norman, or from
the established sovereign. On the contrary, Robin loved no man in the
world so well as his king. What the tone of these ballads would have
been, had Robin Hood been any sort of partisan, we may judge from the
mournful and indignant strains which were poured out on the fall of De
Montfort. We should have heard of the fatal field of Hastings, of the
perfidy of Henry, of the sanguinary revenge of Edward,--and not of
matches at archery and encounters at quarter-staff, the plundering of
rich abbots and squabbles with the sheriff. The Robin Hood of our
ballads is neither patriot under ban, nor proscribed rebel. An outlaw
indeed he is, but an "outlaw for venyson," like Adam Bell, and one who
superadds to deer-stealing the irregularity of a genteel

Thus much of these conjectures in general. To recur to the particular
evidence by which Mr. Hunter's theory is supported, this consists
principally in the name of Robin Hood being found among the king's
servants shortly after Edward the Second returned from his visit to
the north of his dominions. But the value of this coincidence depends
entirely upon the rarity of the name.[10] Now Hood, as Mr. Hunter
himself remarks, is a well-established hereditary name in the reigns
of the Edwards. We find it very frequently in the indexes to the
Record Publications, and this although it does not belong to the
higher class of people. That Robert was an ordinary Christian name
requires no proof; and if it was, the combination of Robert Hood must
have been frequent also. We have taken no extraordinary pains to hunt
up this combination, for really the matter is altogether too trivial
to justify the expense of time; but since to some minds much may
depend on the coincidence in question, we will cite several Robin
Hoods in the reigns of the Edwards.

28th Ed. I. Robert Hood, a citizen of London, says Mr. Hunter,
supplied the king's household with beer.

30th Ed. I. Robert Hood is sued for three acres of pasture land in
Throckley, Northumberland. (_Rot. Orig. Abbrev._)

7th Ed. II. Robert Hood is surety for a burgess returned for
Lostwithiel, Cornwall. (_Parliamentary Writs_.)

9th Ed. II. Robert Hood is a citizen of Wakefield, Yorkshire, whom Mr.
Hunter (p. 47) "may be justly charged with carrying supposition too
far" in striving to identify with Robin the porter.

10th Ed. III. A Robert Hood, of Howden, York, is mentioned in the
_Calendarium Rot. Patent_.

Adding the Robin Hood of the 17th Ed. II. we have six persons of that
name mentioned within a period of less than forty years, and this
circumstance does not dispose us to receive with great favor any
argument that may be founded upon one individual case of its
occurrence. But there is no end to the absurdities which flow from
this supposition. We are to believe that the weak and timid prince,
that had severely punished his kinsman and his nobles, freely pardoned
a yeoman, who, after serving with the rebels, had for twenty months
made free with the king's deer and robbed on the highway,--and not
only pardoned him, but received him into service _near his
person_. We are further to believe that the man who had led so
daring and jovial a life, and had so generously dispensed the pillage
of opulent monks, willingly entered into this service, doffed his
Lincoln green for the Plantagenet plush, and _consented_ to be
enrolled among royal flunkies for three pence a day. And again,
admitting all this, we are finally obliged by Mr. Hunter's document to
concede that the stalworth archer (who, according to the ballad,
maintained himself two-and-twenty years in the wood) was worn out by
his duties as "proud porter" in less than two years, and was
discharged a superannuated lackey, with five shillings in his pocket,
_"poar cas qil ne poait pluis travailler"!_

To those who are well acquainted with ancient popular poetry the
adventure of King Edward and Robin Hood will seem the least eligible
portion of this circle of story for the foundation of an historical
theory. The ballad of King Edward and Robin Hood is but one version of
an extremely multiform legend, of which the tales of "King Edward and
the Shepherd" and "King Edward and the Hermit" are other specimens;
and any one who will take the trouble to examine will be convinced
that all these stories are one and the same thing, the personages
being varied for the sake of novelty, and the name of a recent or of
the reigning monarch substituted in successive ages for that of a

Rejecting, then, as nugatory, every attempt to assign Robin Hood a
definite position in history, what view shall we adopt? Are all these
traditions absolute fictions, and is he himself a pure creation of the
imagination? Might not the ballads under consideration have a basis in
the exploits of a real person, living in the forests, _somewhere_ and
_at some time?_ Or, denying individual existence to Robin Hood, and
particular truth to the adventures ascribed to him, may we not regard
him as the ideal of the outlaw class, a class so numerous in all the
countries of Europe in the Middle Ages? We are perfectly contented to
form no opinion upon the subject; but if compelled to express one, we
should say that this last supposition (which is no novelty) possessed
decidedly more likelihood than any other. Its plausibility will be
confirmed by attending to the apparent signification of the name Robin
Hood. The natural refuge and stronghold of the outlaw was the
woods. Hence he is termed by Latin writers _silvatious,_ by the
Normans _forestier_. The Anglo-Saxon robber or highwayman is called a
woodrover _wealdgenga,_ and the Norse word for outlaw is exactly
equivalent.[11] It has often been suggested that Robin Hood is a
corruption, or dialectic form, of Robin of the Wood; and when we
remember that _wood_ is pronounced _hood_ in some parts of
England,[12] (as _whoop_ is pronounced _hoop_ everywhere,) and that
the outlaw bears in so many languages a name descriptive of his
habitation, this notion will not seem an idle fancy.

Various circumstances, however, have disposed writers of learning to
look farther for a solution of the question before us. Mr. Wright
propounds an hypothesis that Robin Hood "one among the personages of
the early mythology of the Teutonic peoples"; and a German
scholar,[13] in an exceedingly interesting article which throws much
light on the history of English sports, has endeavored to show
specifically that he is in name and substance one with the god
Woden. The arguments by which these views are supported, though in
their present shape very far from convincing, are entitled to a
respectful consideration.

The most important of these arguments are those which are based on the
peculiar connection between Robin Hood and the month of
May. Mr. Wright has justly remarked, that either an express mention of
this month, or a vivid description of the season, in the older
ballads, shows that the feats of the hero were generally performed
during this part of the year. Thus, the adventure of "Robin Hood and
the Monk" befell on "a morning of May." "Robin Hood and the Potter"
and "Robin Hood and Guy of Gisborne" begin, like "Robin Hood and the
Monk," with a description of the season when leaves are long, blossoms
are shooting, and the small birds are singing; and this season, though
called summer, is at the same time spoken of as May in "Robin Hood and
the Monk," which, from the description there given, it needs must be.
The liberation of Cloudesly by Adam Bel and Clym of the Clough is also
achieved "on a merry morning of May."

Robin Hood is, moreover, intimately associated with the month of May
through the games which were celebrated at that time of the year. The
history of these games is unfortunately very defective, and hardly
extends farther back than the beginning of the sixteenth century. By
that time their primitive character seems to have been corrupted, or
at least their significance was so far forgotten, that distinct
pastimes and ceremonials were capriciously intermixed. At the
beginning of the sixteenth century the May sports in vogue were,
besides a contest of archery, four _pageants_,--the Kingham, or
election of a Lord and Lady of the May, otherwise called Summer King
and Queen, the Morris-Dance, the Hobby-Horse, and the "Robin Hood."
Though these pageants were diverse in their origin, they had, at the
epoch of which we write, begun to be confounded; and the Morris
exhibited a tendency to absorb and blend them all, as, from its
character, being a procession interspersed with dancing, it easily
might do. We shall hardly find the Morris pure and simple in the
English May-game; but from a comparison of the two earliest
representations which we have of this sport, the Flemish print given
by Douce in his "Illustrations of Shakspeare," and Tollett's
celebrated painted window, (described in Johnson and Steevens's
Shakspeare,) we may form an idea of what was essential and what
adventitious in the English spectacle. The Lady is evidently the
central personage in both. She is, we presume, the same as the Queen
of May, who is the oldest of all the characters in the May games, and
the apparent successor to the Goddess of Spring in the Roman
Floralia. In the English Morris she is called simply The Lady, or more
frequently Maid Marian, a name which, to our apprehension, means Lady
of the May, and nothing more.[14] A fool and a taborer seem also to
have been indispensable; but the other dancers had neither names nor
peculiar offices, and were unlimited in number. The Morris, then,
though it lost in allegorical significance, would gain considerably in
spirit and variety by combining with the other shows. Was it not
natural, therefore, and in fact inevitable, that the old favorites of
the populace, Robin Hood, Friar Tuck, and Little John, should in the
course of time displace three of the anonymous performers in the show?
This they had pretty effectually done at the beginning of the
sixteenth century; and the Lady, who had accepted the more precise
designation of Maid Marian, was after that generally regarded as the
consort of Robin Hood, though she sometimes appeared in the Morris
without him. In like manner, the Hobby-Horse was quite early adopted
into the Morris, of which it formed no original part, and at last even
a Dragon was annexed to the company. Under these circumstances we
cannot be surprised to find the principal performers in the May
pageants passing the one into the other,--to find the May King, whose
occupation was gone when the gallant outlaw had supplanted him in the
favor of the Lady, assuming the part of the Hobby-Horse,[15] Robin
Hood usurping the title of King of the May,[16] and the Hobby-Horse
entering into a contest with the Dragon, as St. George.

We feel obliged to regard this interchange of functions among the
characters in the English May-pageants as fortuitous, notwithstanding
the coincidence of the May King sometimes appearing on horseback in
Germany, and notwithstanding our conviction that Kuhn is right in
maintaining that the May King, the Hobby-Horse, and the Dragon-Slayer
are symbols of one mythical idea. This idea we are compelled by want
of space barely to state, with the certainty of doing injustice to the
learning and ingenuity with which the author has supported his
views. Kuhn has shown it to be extremely probable, first, that the
Christmas games, which both in Germany and England have a close
resemblance to those of Spring, are to be considered as a prelude to
the May sports, and that they both originally symbolized the victory
of Summer over Winter,[17] which, beginning at the winter solstice, is
completed in the second month of spring; secondly, that the conquering
Summer is represented by the May King, or by the Hobby-Horse (as also
by the Dragon-Slayer, whether St. George, Siegfried, Apollo, or the
Sanskrit Indras); and thirdly, that the Hobby-Horse in particular
represents the god Woden, who, as well as Mars [18] among the Romans,
is the god at once of Spring and of Victory.

The essential point, all this being admitted, is now to establish the
identity of Robin Hood and the Hobby-Horse. This we think we have
shown cannot be done by reasoning founded on the early history of the
games under consideration. Kuhn relies principally upon two modern
accounts of Christmas pageants. In one of these pageants there is
introduced a man on horseback, who carries in his hands a bow and
arrows. The other furnishes nothing peculiar except a name: the
ceremony is called a _hoodening,_ and the hobby-horse a
_hooden_. In the rider with bow and arrows Kuhn sees Robin Hood
and the Hobby-Horse, and in the name _hooden_ (which is explained
by the authority he quotes to mean wooden) he discovers a provincial
form of wooden, which connects the outlaw and the divinity.[19] It
will be generally agreed that these slender premises are totally
inadequate to support the weighty conclusion that is rested upon them.

Why the adventures of Robin Hood should be specially assigned, as they
are in the old ballads, to the month of May, remains unexplained. We
have no exquisite reason to offer, but we may perhaps find reason good
enough in the delicious stanzas with which some of these ballads

    "In summer when the shawès be sheen,
       And leavès be large and long,
     It is full merry in fair forèst
       To hear the fowlès song;
     To see the deer draw to the dale,
       And leave the hillès hee,
     And shadow them in the leavès green
       Under the green-wood tree."

The poetical character of the season affords all the explanation that
is required.

Nor need the occurrence of exhibitions of archery and of the Robin
Hood plays and pageants, at this time of the year, occasion any
difficulty. Repeated statutes, from the thirteenth to the sixteenth
century, enjoined practice with the bow, and ordered that the leisure
time of holidays should be employed for this purpose. Under Henry the
Eighth the custom was still kept up, and those who partook in this
exercise often gave it a spirit by assuming the style and character of
Robin Hood and his associates. In like manner the society of archers
in Elizabeth's time took the name of Arthur and his Knights; all which
was very natural then, and would be now. None of all the merrymakings
in merry England surpassed the May festival. The return of the sun
stimulated the populace to the accumulation of all sorts of
amusements. In addition to the traditional and appropriate sports of
the season, there were, as Stowe tells us, divers warlike shows, with
good archers, morris-dancers, and other devices for pastime all day
long, and towards evening stage-plays and bonfires in the streets. A
Play of Robin Hood was considered "very proper for a May-game"; but if
Robin Hood was peculiarly prominent in these entertainments, the
obvious reason would appear to be that he was the hero of that loved
green-wood to which all the world resorted, when the cold obstruction
of winter was broken up, "to do observance for a morn of May."

We do not, therefore, attribute much value to the theory of
Mr. Wright, that the May festival was, in its earliest form, "a
religious celebration, though, like such festivals in general, it
possessed a double character, that of a religious ceremony, and of an
opportunity for the performance of warlike games; that, at such
festivals, the songs would take the character of the amusements on the
occasion, and would most likely celebrate warlike deeds,--perhaps the
myths of the patron whom superstition supposed to preside over them;
that, as the character of the exercises changed, the attributes of the
patron would change also, and he who was once celebrated as working
wonders with his good axe or his elf-made sword might afterwards
assume the character of a skilful bowman; that the scene of his
actions would likewise change, and the person whose weapons were the
bane of dragons and giants, who sought them in the wildernesses they
infested, might become the enemy only of the sheriff and his officers,
under the 'grene-wode lefe.'"  It is unnecessary to point out that the
language we have quoted contains, beyond the statement that warlike
exercises were anciently combined with religious rites, a very
slightly founded surmise, and nothing more.

Another circumstance, which weighs much with Mr. Wright, goes but a
very little way with us in demonstrating the mythological character of
Robin Hood. This is the frequency with which his name is attached to
mounds, wells, and stones, such as in the popular creed are connected
with fairies, dwarfs, or giants. There is scarcely a county in England
which does not possess some monument of this description. "Cairns on
Blackdown in Somersetshire, and barrows near to Whitby in Yorkshire
and Ludlow in Shropshire, are termed Robin Hood's pricks or butts;
lofty natural eminences in Gloucestershire and Derbyshire are Robin
Hood's hills; a huge rock near Matlock is Robin Hood's Tor; ancient
boundary-stones, as in Lincolnshire, are Robin Hood's crosses; a
presumed loggan, or rocking-stone, in Yorkshire, is Robin Hood's
penny-stone; a fountain near Nottingham, another between Doncaster and
Wakefield, and one in Lancashire, are Robin Hood's wells; a cave in
Nottinghamshire is his stable; a rude natural rock in Hope Dale is his
chair; a chasm at Chatsworth is his leap; Blackstone Edge, in
Lancashire, is his bed."[20] In fact, his name bids fair to overrun
every remarkable object of the sort which has not been already
appropriated to King Arthur or the Devil; with the latter of whom, at
least, it is presumed, that, however ancient, he will not dispute

"The legends of the peasantry," quoth Mr. Wright, "are the shadows of
a very remote antiquity." This proposition, thus broadly stated, we
deny. Nothing is more deceptive than popular legends; and the
"legends" we speak of, if they are to bear that name, have no claim to
antiquity at all. They do not go beyond the ballads. They are palpably
of subsequent and comparatively recent origin. It was absolutely
impossible that they should arise while Robin Hood was a living
reality to the people. The archer of Sherwood who could barely stand
King Edward's buffet, and was felled by the Potter, was no man to be
playing with rocking-stones. This trick of naming must have begun in
the decline of his fame; for there was a time when his popularity
drooped, and his existence was just not doubted,--not elaborately
maintained by learned historians, and antiquarians deeply read in the
Public Records. And what do these names prove? The vulgar passion for
bestowing them is notorious and universal. We Americans are too young
to be well provided with heroes that might serve this purpose. We have
no imaginative peasantry to invent legends, no ignorant peasantry to
believe them. But we have the good fortune to possess the Devil in
common with the rest of the world; and we take it upon us to say, that
there is not a mountain district in the land, which has been opened to
summer travellers, where a "Devil's Bridge," a "Devil's Punch-bowl,"
or some object with the like designation, will not be pointed out.[21]

We have taken no notice of the later fortunes of Robin Hood in his
true and original character of a hero of romance. Towards the end of
the sixteenth century Anthony Munday attempted to revive the decaying
popularity of this king of good fellows, who had won all his honors as
a simple yeoman, by representing him in the play of "The Downfall of
Robert, Earl of Huntington" as a nobleman in disguise, outlawed by the
machinations of his steward. This pleasing and successful drama is
Robin's sole patent to that title of Earl of Huntington, in
confirmation of which Dr. Stukeley fabricated a pedigree that
transcends even the absurdities of heraldry, and some unknown forger
an epitaph beneath the skill of a Chatterton. Those who desire a full
acquaintance with the fabulous history of Robin Hood will seek it in
the well-known volumes of Ritson, or in those of his recent editor,
Gutch, who does not make up by superior discrimination for his
inferiority in other respects to that industrious antiquary.

[Footnote 1: A writer in the _Edinburgh Review_ (July, 1847,
p. 134) has cited an allusion to Robin Hood, of a date intermediate
between the passages from Wyntown and the one about to be cited from
Bower. In the year 1439, a petition was presented to Parliament
against one Piers Venables of Aston, in Derbyshire, "who having no
liflode, ne sufficeante of goodes, gadered and assembled unto him many
misdoers, beynge of his clothynge, and, in manere of insurrection,
wente into the wodes in that countrie, like as it hadde be _Robyn
Hude and his meyne_."--_Rot. Parl._ v. 16.]

[Footnote 2: "Legendis non raro incredilibibus aliisque plusquam
anilibus neniis."--Hearne, _Scotichronicon_, p. xxix.]

[Footnote 3: In his _Histoire de la Conquête de l'Angleterre par les
Normands_, livr. xi. Thierry was anticipated in his theory by
Barry, in a dissertation cited by Mr. Wright in his Essays: _Thèse
de Littérature sur les Vicissitudes et les Transformations du Cycle
populaire de Robin Hood_. Paris, 1832.]

[Footnote 4: _London, and Westminster Review_, vol. xxxiii. p. 424.]

[Footnote 5: No 4. _The Ballad Hero, Robin Hood_. June, 1852.]

[Footnote 6: Hunter, pp. 28, 35-38]

[Footnote 7: Mr. Hunter thinks it necessary to prove that it was
formerly a usage in England to celebrate real events in popular
song. We submit that it has been still more customary to celebrate
them in history, when they were of public importance. The case of
private and domestic stories is different.]

[Footnote 8: Most remarkable of all would this be, should we adopt the
views of Mr. Hunter, because we know, from the incidental testimony of
_Piers Ploughman_, that only forty years after the date fixed
upon for the outlaw's submission "rhymes of Robin Hood" were in the
mouth of every tavern lounger; and yet no chronicler can spare him a

[Footnote 9: Matthew Paris, London, 1640, p. 1002]

[Footnote 10: Mr. Hunter had previously instituted a similar argument
in the case of Adam Bell, and doubtless the reasoning might be
extended to Will Scathlock and Little John. With a little more
rummaging of old account-books we shall be enabled to "comprehend all
vagrom men." It is a pity that the Sheriff of Nottingham could not
have availed himself of the services of our "detective."]

[Footnote 11: See Wright's _Essays,_ ii. 207. "The name of
Witikind, the famous opponent of Charlemagne, who always fled before
his sight, concealed himself in the forests, and returned again in his
absence, is no more than _uitu chint,_ in Old High Dutch, and
signifies the _son of the wood,_ an appellation which he could
never have received at his birth, since it denotes an exile or
outlaw. Indeed, the name Witikind, though such a person seems to have
existed, appears to be the representative of all the defenders of his
country against the invaders."]

[Footnote 12: Thus, in Kent, the Hobby-Horse is called _hooden,_
i.e. wooden. It is curious that Orlando, in _As You Like It,_
(who represents the outlaw Gamelyn in the _Tale of Gamelyn,_ a
tale which clearly belongs to the cycle of Robin Hood,) should be the
son of Sir Rowland de Bois. Robin de Bois (says a writer in _Notes
and Queries,_ vi. 597) occurs in one of Sue's novels "as a
well-known mythical character, whose name is employed by French
mothers to frighten their children."]

[Footnote 13: Kuhn, in Haupt's _Zeitschrift für deutsches
Alterthum,_ v. 472. The idea of a northern myth will of course
excite the alarm of all sensible, patriotic Englishmen, (e.g. Mr.
Hunter, at page 3 of his tract,) and the bare suggestion of Woden will
be received, in the same quarters, with an explosion of scorn. And
yet we find the famous shot of Elgill, one of the mythical personages
of the Scandinavians, (and perhaps to be regarded as one of the forms
of Woden,) attributed in the ballad of _Adam Bel_ to William of
Cloudesly, who may be considered as Robin Hood under another name.]

[Footnote: 14. Unless importance is to be attached to
the consideration that May is the Virgin's

[Footnote 15: As in Tollett's window.]

[Footnote 16: In Lord Hailes's _Extracts from the Book of the
Universal Kirk._]

[Footnote 17: More openly exhibited in the mock battle between Summer
and Winter celebrated by the Scandinavians in honor of May, a custom
still retained in the Isle of Man, where the month is every year
ushered in with a contest between the Queen of Summer and the Queen of
Winter. (Brand's _Antiquities,_ by Ellis, i. 222, 257.) A similar
ceremony in Germany, occurring at Christmas, is noticed by Kuhn,
p. 478.]

[Footnote 18: Hence the spring begins with March. The connection with
Mars suggests a possible etymology for the Morris,--which is usually
explained, for want of something better, as a Morisco or Moorish
dance. There is some resemblance between the Morris and the Salic
dance. The Salic games are said to have been instituted by the Veian
king Morrius, a name pointing to Mars, the divinity of the
Salli.--Kuhn, 488-493.]

[Footnote 19: The name Robin also appears to Kuhn worthy of notice,
since the horseman in the May pageant is in some parts of Germany
called Ruprecht (Rupert, Robert).]

[Footnote 20: _Edinburgh Review,_ vol. 86, p. 123.]

[Footnote 21: See some sensible remarks in the _Gentleman's
Magazine_ for March, 1793, by D. H., that is, says the courteous
Ritson, by Gough, "the scurrilous and malignant editor of that
degraded publication."]


One of those violent, though shortlived storms, which occasionally
rage in southern climates, had blown all night in the neighborhood of
the little town of San Cipriano, situated in a wild valley of the
Apennines opening towards the sea. Under the olive-woods that cover
those steep hills lay the olive-berries strewed thick and wide; here
and there a branch heavy-laden with half-ripe fruit, torn by the blast
from its parent tree, stretched its prostrate length upon the
ground. An abundant premature harvest had fallen, but at present there
were no means of collecting it; for the deluging rains of the night
had soaked the ground, the grass, the dead leaves, the fruit itself,
and the rain was still falling heavily. If gathered in that state, the
olives are sure to rot.

_"Pazienza!"_ in such disasters exclaim the inhabitants of the
_Riviera_, with a melancholy shrug of the shoulders. And they
needs must have patience until the weather clears and the ground
dries, before they can secure such of the olives as may happily be

On the day we speak of, the 21st of December, 1852, the proprietors of
olive-grounds in San Cipriano wore very blank faces; they talked sadly
of the falling prices of the fruit and oil, and the olive-pickers
crossed their hands and looked vacantly at the gray sky.

In the spacious kitchen of Doctor Morani were assembled a body of
young rosy lasses in laced bodices, and short, bright-colored
petticoats, come down from the neighboring mountains for the
olive-gathering, much as Irish laborers cross over to England for the
hay-making season. These girls arrive in troops from their native
villages among the hills, carrying on their heads a sackful of the
flour of dried beans and a lesser quantity of dried chestnuts. They
offer their services to the inhabitants of the valley at the rate of
four pence English a day; about three pence less than the sum demanded
by the women of the place. But the pretty mountaineers ask, in
addition to their modest wages, a shelter for the night, a little
straw or hay for their beds, and a small daily portion of oil and salt
to season the bean-flour and chestnuts, which constitute their sole
food. They are then perfectly contented.

The old Doctor had hired several of these damsels to assist in getting
in his olive crop, with the customary additional compact to spin some
of the unwrought flax of the household when bad weather prevented
their out-of-door work, as well as regularly in the evening between
early dusk and bed-time. Happy those to whose lot it fell to be
employed by Dr. Morani! Besides not beating down their wages to the
utmost, it was the Doctor's wont, out of the exuberance of a
warm-hearted, joyous nature, unchilled even by his sixty winters, to
give to his serving men and maidens not only kind words and
encouraging looks, but also what made him perhaps still more popular,
humorous jokes and droll stories.

The Doctor, indeed, concealed something of the philosopher under the
garb of a wag. His quaint sayings and doings were frequently quoted
with great relish among this rural population. He had a way of his own
of shooting facts and truths into the uncultivated understandings of
these laborers,--facts and truths that never otherwise could have
penetrated so far; he feathered his philosophical or moral arrows with
a jest, and they stuck fast.

Signora Martina, his wife, was a good soul, and, though a strict
housewife, was yet not so thrifty but that she could allow a little of
her abundance to overflow on those in her service; and these crumbs
from her table added many delicious bits to the bean-flour
repasts. So, as we have said, happy the mountain girls taken into
Dr. Morani's service! But specially blest among the blest this year
were two sisters, to whom was allotted a bed, a real bed, to sleep
upon! How came they to be furnished with such a luxury? Why, this
season the Doctor had hired more than the usual number of pickers. The
outbuilding given them to sleep in was thus too small to accommodate
all, so two were taken into the house, and a diminutive closet,
generally used by the family as a bath-room, was turned into a
bed-room for the lucky couple. Now for a description of the bed. Over
the bath was placed an ironing-board, and upon this a mattress quite
as narrow, almost as hard, and far less smooth than the narrow plank
on which it lay. The width of the bed was just sufficient to admit the
two sisters, packed close, each lying on her side. As to turning, that
was simply out of the question; but "poor labor in sweet slumber
lock'd" lay from night till morning without once dreaming of change of

Signora Martina, the first day or two, expressed some fear lest they
might not rest well; but both girls averred they never in their lives
had known so luxurious a bed,--and never should again, unless their
good fortune brought them back another year to enjoy this sybarite
couch at Dr. Morani's.

Though irrelevant to our story, this short digression may serve to
illustrate the Arcadian simplicity of habits prevailing in these
mountainous districts, and affords one more illustration of the axiom,
not more trite than true, that human enjoyment and luxury are all

Well! the wet afternoon was wearing on, beguiled by the young girls as
best it might be, with the spindle and distaff, and incessant chatter
and laugh, save when they joined their voices in some popular
chant. Signora Martina was delivering fresh flax to the spinners;
Marietta, the maid, was busy about the fire, in provident forethought
for supper; and Beppo, a barefooted, weather-beaten individual, was
bringing in the wood he had been sawing this rainy day, which
interfered with his more usual business at that season. For Beppo was
one of the men whose task it was to climb the olive-trees and shake
down the olives for the women gathering below. He was distinguished
among many as a skilful and valiant climber; nor had his laurels been
earned without perils and wounds. Occasionally he fell, and
occasionally broke a bone or two,--episodes that had their
compensation. Beppo, then, on this particular rainy afternoon, came
in with a flat basket full of newly cut wood on his head, respectfully
saluted the _Padrona_, and, after throwing down his load in a
corner of the kitchen, leisurely turned his basket topsy-turvy, seated
himself upon it, and prepared to take his part in the general

At this moment the Doctor himself entered, his cloak and hat dripping.

"Heugh! heugh!" he exclaimed, in a voice of disgust, as his wife
helped him out of his covering; "what weather!"  He went towards the
fire, and spread out his hands to catch the heat of the glowing
embers, on which sat a saucepan. "Horrid weather! The wind played the
very mischief with us last night!"

"Many branches broken, Padrone?"  asked Beppo, eagerly.

"Branches, eh? Aye, aye; saw away; burn away; don't be afraid of a
supply failing," said the Doctor, dryly.

"Oh, Santa Maria!" sighed Signora Martina, in sad presentiment.

"Plenty of firewood, my dear soul, for two years," went on the
Doctor. "The big tree near the pigeon-house is head down, root up,
torn, smashed, prostrate, while good-for-nothing saplings are

"Oh Lord! such a tree! that never failed, bad year or good year, to
give us a sack of olives, and often more!" cried Signora Martina,
piteously. "More than three generations old it was!" And she began
actually to weep. "Oil selling for nothing, and the tree, the best of
trees, to be blown down!"

"Take care," said the Doctor, "take care of repining! Little
misfortunes are like a rash, which carries off bad humors from a too
robust body. Suppose the storm had laid my head low, and turned up my
toes; what then, eh, little girls?"  turning to the group of young
creatures standing with their eyes very wide open at the recital of
the misdeeds of the turbulent wind, and now as suddenly off into a
laugh at the image of the Doctor's decease so represented. "Ah! you
giggling set! Happy you that have no branches to be broken, and no
olive-pickers to pay! _Per Bacco!_ you are well off, if you only
knew it!"

He walked over to where his weeping wife sat, laid his hand on her
head, and stooping, kissed her brow. The girls laughed again.

"Be quiet, all of you! Do you think that only smooth brows and bright
cheeks ought to be kissed? Be good loving wives, and I promise you
your husbands will be blind to your wrinkles. I could not be happy
without the sight of this well-known face; it is the record of
happiness for me. I wish you all our luck, my dears!"

All simpered or laughed, and Martina's brow smoothed.

"Now I see that I can still make you smile at misfortune," continued
the Doctor, "I will tell you something comforting. As I came along, I
met Paolo, the olive-merchant, who offered me a franc more a sack than
he did to any one else, because he knows our olives are of a superior

Signora Martina smiled rather a grim smile at this compliment to her

"But I told him," went on Doctor Morani, with a certain look of pride,
"that we were not going to sell; we intended to make oil for
ourselves. And so we will, Martina, with the olives that have been
blown down, hoping the best for those still on the trees. Now let us
talk of something more pleasant. Pasqualina, suppose you tell us a
story; you are our best hand, I believe."

"I am sure, Signor Dottore, I have nothing worth your listening to,"
answered Pasqualina, blushing.

"Tell us about the ghost your uncle saw," suggested another of the

"A ghost!" cried the Doctor. "Any one here seen a ghost? I wish I
could have such a chance! What was it like?"

"I did not see it myself; I do but believe what my uncle told me,"
said Pasqualina, with a gravity that had a shade of resentment.

"If one is only to speak of what one has seen," urged the prompter of
the uncle's ghost-story, "tell the Padrone of the witch that bewitched
your sister."

"Ah! and so we have witches too?"  groaned the Doctor.

"As to that," resumed Pasqualina, with a dignified look, "I can't help
believing my own eyes, and those of all the people of our village."

"Well," exclaimed Doctor Morani, "let us hear all about the witch."

"You know, all of you," said Pasqualina, "what bad fits my sister had,
and how she was cured by the miraculous Madonna del Laghetto. So my
sister had no more fits, till Madalena, a spiteful old woman, and whom
everybody in the village knows to be a witch, mumbled some of her
spells and----"

"Hallo!" cried the Doctor, "do you mean that witches have more power
than the Madonna?"

"Oh! Signor Dottore, you put things so strangely! just listen to the
truth. So this old woman came and mumbled some of her spells, and then
my poor sister fell down again, and has since had fits as bad as
ever. But my father and brother were not going to take it so easily,
and they beat the bad old witch till she couldn't move, and had to be
carried to the hospital. I hope she may die, with all my heart I do!"

"You had better hope she will get well," observed the Doctor, coolly;
"for if she should happen to die, my good Pasqualina, it would be very
possible that your father and brother might be sent to the galleys."

Here Pasqualina set up a howl.

"Do not afflict yourself just now," resumed Doctor Morani; "for, with
all their good-will, they have not quite killed the woman. I saw her
myself at the hospital; she is getting better, and when cured, I shall
take care that she does not return among such a set of savages as
flourish in your village, Signorina Pasqualina. Excuse my
boldness,"--and the Doctor took off his skull-cap, in playful
obeisance to the young girl,--"only advise your family another time to
be less ready with their hands and their belief in every species of
absurdity. Did not Father Tommaso tell you but yesterday, that it was
not right to believe in ghosts or witches, save and except the
peculiar one or two it is his business to know about, and who lived
some thousand years ago? There have been none since, believe me."

"Strange things do happen, however," observed Signora Martina,
thoughtfully,--"things that neither priest nor lawyer can
explain. What was that thing which appeared, twenty years ago, on the
tower of San Ciprano?" The Signora's voice sent a shudder through all
the women present.

"A trick, and a stupid trick," persisted her husband.

"Not at all a trick, Doctor," said Martina, shaking her head.

"Did you see it yourself, Martina?"

"No; but I saw those who did with their own two blessed eyes."

"The Padrona is quite right," said Beppo, without leaving his
basket. "I, for one, saw it."

This assertion produced such a hubbub as sent the Doctor growling from
the room, and left Signora Martina at liberty to comply with the
general petition for the story.

"It was twenty-five years last Easter since Hans Reuter came to San
Cipriano with Carlo Boschi, the son of old Pietro, of our town. Carlo
had gone away three years before to seek his fortune. He went to
Switzerland, it seems, a distant country beyond the mountains, where
the language is different from ours, and where it is said"--(here
Martina lowered her voice)--"the people do not follow our holy
religion, and are called, therefore, Protestants and heretics. They
are industrious, notwithstanding, and clever in certain arts and
manufactures, and it was from some of them that Carlo learned the
watchmaking trade. After staying away three years, one fine day he
came back, bringing with him one of these Swiss, Hans Reuter; and the
two, being great friends, set up a shop together, where they made and
sold watches and jewelry. There was not business enough in San
Cipriano to maintain them, but they made it out by selling at
wholesale in the neighboring towns.

"For years all went smoothly with the partners, and their good luck
began to be wondered at, when one morning their shop was not open at
the usual hour. What was the matter? what had happened? there was
Carlo Boschi knocking and shouting to Hans, and all in vain. I must
tell you that Carlo lived elsewhere, and Hans had the care of the
premises at night, sleeping in a little room at the back of the
shop. The neighbors went out and advised Carlo to force the door. Very
well. When they got in, they found Hans bound hand and foot, and so
closely gagged that he was almost stifled. As soon as he could speak,
he said that just after he had shut up the previous evening, there
was a knock at the door. He had scarcely opened it, when he was seized
by two ruffians with blackened faces, who threw him down, gagged and
tied him, and then coolly proceeded to ransack every place, packed up
every bit of jewelry, every watch, and every piece of money, and then
decamped with their booty, locking the door on the outside. The
robbery took place on the third and last day of the Easter Fair,
exactly when there was the greatest noise and bustle from the breaking
up of booths, such an uproar of singing, brawling, and rolling of
carts, and such a stream of people going in every direction, as made
it easy for the thieves to escape detection. The police took a great
many depositions, and made a great fuss; but there the matter ended.

"To say the truth, it was like looking for a bird in a forest,
considering the number of strangers who had attended the fair;
besides, the police, you know, at that time, were too busy dogging and
hunting down Liberals to care for tracking only thieves. That,
however, is no business of mine or yours; and perhaps it would have
done no good to poor Hans, even if the criminals had been discovered.
He had got a great shock; he could not recover his spirits. Every one
felt for him, because he was a kind, sociable man, as well as
industrious; the only fault he had was being a Protestant. What that
was no one exactly knew; but it was a great sin and a great pity, it
seems. Sure it is that Hans never went to confession, or to the
communion. However, as time passed and brought no tidings of the
robbers, the poor man grew more thin and careworn every day. He would
talk for hours about Switzerland, about his own village, his father's
house, his parents and relations. He had left them so thoughtlessly,
he said, he had scarcely felt a regret; yet now a yearning grew within
him to look once more upon those dear faces, and the verdant mountains
of his country,--upon its cool, rushing streams, wide, green pastures,
and the cows that grazed on them. He used to tell us, that, when he
was alone, he heard their bells in the distance, and they seemed to
call him home. My husband did not like all this, and said Hans ought
to go at once, or it would be too late. But Hans delayed and delayed,
in the hope of recovering some of his stolen property, till one day he
was taken very ill and had to be carried to the hospital. The Doctor
attended him two or three times every day, and on the third was
summoned in a great hurry. Morani went and had a long conversation
with the poor dying fellow, and then Padre Michele of the Capuchin
Convent was sent for. It was some time before the good monk could be
found, and then it took still longer, he being old and very infirm,
before he could get to the hospital. When he did, it was too late;
poor Hans was dead.

"This was a sad business; for, if the Padre had come in time, at all
events Hans's soul would have been safe, and his body buried in
consecrated ground. My husband went to the Rector and told his
Reverence that Hans had renounced his errors, and had made a full
profession of the Catholic faith to him; but his Reverence shook his
head, and said that was not the same thing as if Padre Michele had
received Hans into the true fold. Then my husband said it was a pity
Hans should suffer because the Padre had been out of the way; but his
Reverence always answered, 'No,' and so 'No' it was. The clergy were
not to attend, and the body was to be put into the ground just as you
might bury a dog. What could my husband do more? So he went his way
to his patients. It happened that he had to see several, far in the
country, and so did not come home till late at night.

"You all know the tower which stands upon the green knoll high above
the town. It is a relic of very old times, when San Cipriano had
fortifications. It has been a ruin for more than a century,--a mere
shell, open to the sky, encircling a wide space of ground. A few days
before Hans's death, the Doctor had taken it into his head he would
like to hire this tower of the municipality, to which it belongs, to
make a garden within its walls. He had been to examine the place a
week previous, and had brought home the key of the gate, being
determined to take it. Now this very day after Hans died, and while my
husband was away on his round of country visits, the Syndic sent to
ask for the key, and I, thinking no harm, gave it. And now what do you
think the Syndic wanted the key for? Just to dig a hole for poor
Hans. Yes, the body was carried up there, and buried out of sight as
quickly as possible.

"When the Doctor came home he was in a mighty passion with
everybody;--with the Rector, for refusing Hans a place in the
burial-ground; with the Syndic, for allowing the tower to be used for
such a purpose; and most of all with me, for giving the key without
asking why or wherefore.

"However, what was done could not be undone, and so no more was said
about the matter. It might have been a week after, when some girls who
had set out before daylight to go to the wood for leaves, came back
much terrified, declaring they had seen an apparition on the tower
wall. Not one had dared to go on to the wood, but all ran back to the
town and spread the alarm. A dozen persons, at least, came to our
house to tell us about it, and I promise you my husband did not call
it a stupid trick, as he did today. He looked very grave, and
exclaimed, 'I don't wonder at it. No doubt it is poor Hans, who does
not like to lie in unconsecrated ground. Don't come to me,--it's none
of my business,--I have only to do with the living,--the dead belong
to the clergy,--this is the Rector's affair. If ever a ghost had a
right to walk, it is in such a case as this, when a poor, honest
fellow is denied Christian burial because an old monk's legs refuse to
carry him fast enough. Had Padre Michele been a younger man, all
would have been right.'

"There was quite a general commotion in the town, and at last, after a
day or two, some of the young men determined they would go and watch
the next night, to see if the thing appeared, or if it was mere
women's nonsense, and they went accordingly."

"I was one of the party," interrupted Beppo, taking the narrative out
of his Padrona's mouth, stirred by the high-wrought excitement of his
recollections. "I went with ten others, and I had a good loaded gun
with me. We hid ourselves behind some bushes, and watched and
watched. Nothing appeared, until the girls, who had agreed to come at
their usual hour for going to the wood, passed by; then, just at that
moment, I swear I saw it. I felt all,--I can't tell how,--a sort of
hot cold, and as if my legs were water. I don't know how I managed to
raise my gun,--I did it quite dreaming like; it went off with the
biggest noise ever a gun made, and the bullet must have gone through
the very head of the ghost, for it waved its thin arms fearfully. All
the rest ran away, but I could not move a peg. Then a terrible voice
roared out, 'I shall not forget thee, my friend! I will visit thee
again before thy last hour! Now begone!'"

Beppo ceased speaking, and a shuddering silence fell on the
listeners. Martina alone ventured on the awe-struck whisper of "What
was it like, Beppo?"

"A tall, white figure; its arms spread out like a cross,--so," replied
Beppo, rising from his basket, the better to personate the
ghost. "_Jesu Maria!_" he shrieked, "there it is! O Lord, have
mercy on us!"

And sure enough, standing against the door was a tall, white figure,
its arms spread out like the limbs of a cross. Screams, both shrill
and discordant, filled the room,--Martini, Beppo, Marietta, and the
girls tumbling and rushing about distraught with terror. Such a
mad-like scene! There was a trembling and a shaking of the white
figure for a moment, then down it went in a heap to the floor, and out
came the substantial proportions of Doctor Morani, looming formidable
in the dusky light of the expiring embers. The sound of his
well-known vigorous laugh resounded through the kitchen, as he flung a
bunch of pine branches on the fire. The next moment a bright flame
shot up, and the light as by magic brought the scared group to their
senses. Each looked into the faces of the others with an expression
of rising merriment struggling with ghastly fear, and first a
long-drawn breath of relief, and then a burst of laughter broke from

"What a fright you have given us, Padrone!" Beppo was the first to

"I hope so," replied the Doctor,--"it has only paid you off for the
one you gave me twenty years ago."

"I!--you!--but how, caro Padrone?"

"Ah! you haven't yet, I assure you, recognized your old acquaintance,
the identical ghost which you favored with a bullet. Would you like to
see it once more?"

"_Pazienza!_" exclaimed Beppo, "for once,--twice;--but three
times,--no, that is more than enough. I am satisfied with what I have

"Do you know what you have seen?"  resumed the Doctor. "Very well,
listen to me. When the Rector refused to let poor Hans lie in the same
ground with many of our townspeople who (God rest their souls!) had
lived scarcely so honest a life as he had done, I was far from
imagining that he was to be thrust into the tower, of all places in
the world, and just when it was well known I had bargained for
it. 'That's the way I am to be used, is it?' thought I. I'll play you
a trick, my friends, worth two of yours,--one that will make you glad
to give honest Hans hospitality in your churchyard.'

"I waited a few days, till the moon should rise late, so as to be
shining about one or two in the morning, the time when the girls set
off for the woods. I provided myself with a sheet, and took care to
be in the tower before midnight. I tied two long sticks together in
the shape of a cross, stuck my hat on the top, and threw the linen
over the whole; and a capital ghost it was. Then I got under the
drapery, pushing up the stick, so as to give the idea of a gigantic
human figure with extended arms. I had no fear of being discovered,
for the Syndic had the key still in his possession, and I had made
good my entrance through a gap in the wall sufficiently well concealed
by brambles. I suppose I need not tell you, young women, how brave
your mothers were. My ghostship heard of the young men's project, and
encouraged them, never thinking there was one among them so stupid as
to carry a gun to fight a ghost with; for how can you shoot a ghost,
when it has neither flesh nor blood? It was impossible to suspect any
one of being such a monstrous blockhead; so I was rather disagreeably
startled at hearing the crack of a gun, and feeling the tingling of a
bullet whizzing past my ear. You nearly made me into a real ghost,
friend Beppo; for I assure you, you are a capital shot. Ever since
that memorable aim, I have entertained the deepest respect for you as
a marksman; it was not your fault that I am here now to make this
confession. I ducked my head below the wall in case a volley was to
follow the signal gun. When I peeped again, there remained one
solitary figure before the tower, immovable as a stone pillar. O noble
Beppo, it was thou!

"'I must get rid of this fellow one way or other,' thought I, 'but not
by shaking my stick-covered sheet, or I shall have another bullet.' So
I raised myself breasthigh above the wall, made a trumpet of my hands,
and roared out the fearful promise I have kept this evening. As soon
as I saw my enemy's back, I left my station, and never played the
ghost again."

"A pretty folly for a man of forty!"  cried Signora Martina, still
smarting under her late fright. "Why, a boy would be well whipped for
such a trick. There's no knowing what to believe in a man like you, no
saying when you are in earnest or in fun."

After a moment's silence, the lady asked in a softer tone, "Now do
tell me, Morani, is it true that poor Hans recanted before he died?"

"My dear, if Padre Michele had been in time, we should have been sure
of the fact. You see the Rector did not think I knew enough of
theology to decide. I am a submissive child of the Church," replied
the husband. "As for the ghost, I took care to provide against
forgetting my folly. On the top shelf of the laboratory I hung up the
bullet-pierced hat; and the bullet itself I ticketed with the date and
kept in my desk. Who wants to see the ghost's hat?"--and the Doctor
drew a hat from under the sheet still lying on the floor, and
exhibited it to the curious eyes of all present, making them admire
the neat hole in it. The bullet itself he took out of his waistcoat
pocket, and holding it towards Beppo, asked, "Hadn't it a mark?"

"Yes, sir, I cut a cross on it," replied the abashed climber of
olive-trees; "and by all the Saints, there it is still! Pasqualina,
my girl," turning to her, "your uncle's ghost will turn out to be

"Bravo! Beppo," cried the Doctor.

"Knowing what you know by experience, suppose you hint to any one
inclined to spectre-shooting, that he runs the risk of killing a live
man, and having two ghosts on his hands,--the ghost of the poor devil
shot, and one of himself hanged for murder. As for you, young girls,
remember that when you go forth to meet the perils of dark mornings,
you are more likely to encounter dangers from flesh and blood than
from spirits."


[The _Milliorium Aureum,_ or Golden Mile-Stone, was a gilt marble
pillar in the Forum at Rome, from which, as a central point, the great
roads of the empire diverged through the several gates of the city,
and the distances were measured.]

    Leafless are the trees; their purple branches
    Spread themselves abroad, like reefs of coral
             Rising silent
    In the Red Sea of the winter sunset.

    From the hundred chimneys of the village,
    Like the Afreet in the Arabian story,
             Smoky columns
    Tower aloft into the air of amber.

    At the window winks the flickering fire-light;
    Here and there the lamps of evening glimmer,
             Social watch-fires,
    Answering one another through the darkness.

    On the hearth the lighted logs are glowing,
    And, like Ariel in the cloven pine-tree,
             For its freedom
    Groans and sighs the air imprisoned in them.

    By the fireside there are old men seated,
    Seeing ruined cities in the ashes,
             Asking sadly
    Of the Past what it can ne'er restore them.

    By the fireside there are youthful dreamers,
    Building castles fair with stately stairways,
             Asking blindly
    Of the Future what it cannot give them.

    By the fireside tragedies are acted
    In whose scenes appear two actors only,
             Wife and husband,
    And above them God, the sole spectator.

    By the fireside there are peace and comfort,
    Wives and children, with fair, thoughtful faces,
             Waiting, watching
    For a well-known footstep in the passage.

    Each man's chimney is his Golden Mile-Stone,--
    Is the central point from which he measures
             Every distance
    Through the gateways of the world around him.

    In his farthest wanderings still he sees it;
    Hears the talking flame, the answering night-wind,
             As he heard them
    When he sat with those who were, but are not.

    Happy he whom neither wealth nor fashion,
    Nor the march of the encroaching city,
             Drives an exile
    From the hearth of his ancestral homestead!

    We may build more splendid habitations,
    Fill our rooms with paintings and with sculptures,
             But we cannot
    Buy with gold the old associations.



I really believe some people save their bright thoughts, as being too
precious for conversation. What do you think an admiring friend said
the other day to one that was talking good things,--good enough to
print? "Why," said he, "you are wasting merchantable literature, a
cash article, at the rate, as nearly as I can tell, of fifty dollars
an hour."  The talker took him to the window and asked him to look out
and tell what he saw.

"Nothing but a very dusty street," he said, "and a man driving a
sprinkling-machine through it."

"Why don't you tell the man he is wasting that water? What would be
the state of the highways of life, if we did not drive our
_thought-sprinklers_ through them with the valves open,

"Besides, there is another thing about this talking, which you
forget. It shapes our thoughts for us;--the waves of conversation roll
them as the surf rolls the pebbles on the shore. Let me modify the
image a little. I rough out my thoughts in talk as an artist models in
clay. Spoken language is so plastic,--you can pat and coax, and spread
and shave, and rub out, and fill up, and stick on so easily, when you
work that soft material, that there is nothing like it for
modelling. Out of it come the shapes which you turn into marble or
bronze in your immortal books, if you happen to write such. Or, to use
another illustration, writing or printing is like shooting with a
rifle; you may hit your reader's mind, or miss it;--but talking is
like playing at a mark with the pipe of an engine; if it is within
reach, and you have time enough, you can't help hitting it."

The company agreed that this last illustration was of superior
excellence, or, in the phrase used by them, "Fust-rate."  I
acknowledged the compliment, but gently rebuked the expression.
"Fust-rate," "prime," "a prime article," "a superior piece
of goods," "a handsome garment," "a gent in a flowered vest,"--all
such expressions are final. They blast the lineage of him or her who
utters them, for generations up and down. There is one other phrase
which will soon come to be decisive of a man's social _status_, if it
is not already: "That tells the whole story." It is an expression
which vulgar and conceited people particularly affect, and which
well-meaning ones, who know better, catch from them. It is intended to
stop all debate, like the previous question in the General Court. Only
it don't; simply because "that" does not usually tell the whole, nor
one half of the whole story.

----It is an odd idea, that almost all our people have had a
professional education. To become a doctor a man must study some
three years and hear a thousand lectures, more or less. Just how much
study it takes to make a lawyer I cannot say, but probably not more
than this. Now most decent people hear one hundred lectures or sermons
(discourses) on theology every year,--and this, twenty, thirty, fifty
years together. They read a great many religious books besides. The
clergy, however, rarely hear any sermons except what they preach
themselves. A dull preacher might be conceived, therefore, to lapse
into a state of _quasi_ heathenism, simply for want of religious
instruction. And on the other hand, an attentive and intelligent
hearer, listening to a succession of wise teachers, might become
actually better educated in theology than any one of them. We are all
theological students, and more of us qualified as doctors of divinity
than have received degrees at any of the universities.

It is not strange, therefore, that very good people should often find
it difficult, if not impossible, to keep their attention fixed upon a
sermon treating feebly a subject which they have thought vigorously
about for years, and heard able men discuss scores of times. I have
often noticed, however, that a hopelessly dull discourse acts
_inductively_, as electricians would say, in developing strong
mental currents. I am ashamed to think with what accompaniments and
variations and _fioriture_ I have sometimes followed the droning
of a heavy speaker,--not willingly,--for my habit is reverential,--but
as a necessary result of a slight continuous impression on the senses
and the mind, which kept both in action without furnishing the food
they required to work upon. If you ever saw a crow with a king-bird
after him, you will get an image of a dull speaker and a lively
listener. The bird in sable plumage flaps heavily along his
straight-forward course, while the other sails round him, over him,
under him, leaves him, comes back again, tweaks out a black feather,
shoots away once more, never losing sight of him, and finally reaches
the crow's perch at the same time the crow does, having cut a perfect
labyrinth of loops and knots and spirals while the slow fowl was
painfully working from one end of his straight line to the other.

[I think these remarks were received rather coolly. A temporary
boarder from the country, consisting of a somewhat more than
middle-aged female, with a parchment forehead and a dry little
"frisette" shingling it, a sallow neck with a necklace of gold beads, a
black dress too rusty for recent grief, and contours in basso-rilievo,
left the table prematurely, and was reported to have been very
virulent about what I said. So I went to my good old minister, and
repeated the remarks, as nearly as I could remember them, to him. He
laughed good-naturedly, and said there was considerable truth in
them. He thought he could tell when people's minds were wandering, by
their looks. In the earlier years of his ministry he had sometimes
noticed this, when he was preaching;--very little of late
years. Sometimes, when his colleague was preaching, he observed this
kind of inattention; but after all, it was not so very unnatural. I
will say, by the way, that it is a rule I have long followed, to tell
my worst thoughts to my minister, and my best thoughts to the young
people I talk with.]

----I want to make a literary confession now, which I believe nobody
has made before me. You know very well that I write verses sometimes,
because I have read some of them at this table. (The company
assented,--two or three of them in a resigned sort of way, as I
thought, as if they supposed I had an epic in my pocket, and was going
to read half a dozen books or so for their benefit.)--I continued. Of
course I write some lines or passages which are better than others;
some which, compared with the others, might be called relatively
excellent. It is in the nature of things that I should consider these
relatively excellent lines or passages as absolutely good. So much
must be pardoned to humanity. Now I never wrote a "good" line in my
life, but the moment after it was written it seemed a hundred years
old. Very commonly I had a sudden conviction that I had seen it
somewhere. Possibly I may have sometimes unconsciously stolen it, but
I do not remember that I ever once detected any historical truth in
these sudden convictions of the antiquity of my new thought or
phrase. I have learned utterly to distrust them, and never allow them
to bully me out of a thought or line.

This is the philosophy of it. (Here the number of the company was
diminished by a small secession.) Any new formula which suddenly
emerges in our consciousness has its roots in long trains of thought;
it is virtually old when it first makes its appearance among the
recognized growths of our intellect. Any crystalline group of musical
words has had a long and still period to form in. Here is one theory.

But there is a larger law which perhaps comprehends these facts. It is
this. The rapidity with which ideas grow old in our memories is in a
direct ratio to the squares of their importance. Their apparent age
runs up miraculously, like the value of diamonds, as they increase in
magnitude. A great calamity, for instance, is as old as the trilobites
an hour after it has happened. It stains backward through all the
leaves we have turned over in the book of life, before its blot of
tears or of blood is dry on the page we are turning. For this we seem
to have lived; it was foreshadowed in dreams that we leaped out of in
the cold sweat of terror; in the "dissolving views" of dark
day-visions; all omens pointed to it; all paths led to it. After the
tossing half-forgetfulness of the first sleep that follows such an
event, it comes upon us afresh, as a surprise, at waking; in a few
moments it is old again,--old as eternity.

[I wish I had not said all this then and there. I might have known
better. The pale schoolmistress, in her mourning dress, was looking
at me, as I noticed, with a wild sort of expression. All at once the
blood dropped out of her cheeks as the mercury drops from a broken
barometer-tube, and she melted away from her seat like an image of
snow; a slung-shot could not have brought her down better. God forgive

After this little episode, I continued, to some few that remained
balancing teaspoons on the edges of cups, twirling knives, or tilting
upon the hind legs of their chairs until their heads reached the wall,
where they left gratuitous advertisements of various popular

When a person is suddenly thrust into any strange, new position of
trial, he finds the place fits him as if he had been measured for
it. He has committed a great crime, for instance, and is sent to the
State Prison. The traditions, prescriptions, limitations, privileges,
all the sharp conditions of his new life, stamp themselves upon his
consciousness as the signet on soft wax;--a single pressure is
enough. Let me strengthen the image a little. Did you ever happen to
see that most soft-spoken and velvet-handed steam-engine at the Mint?
The smooth piston slides backward and forward as a lady might slip her
delicate finger in and out of a ring. The engine lays one of
_its_ fingers calmly, but firmly, upon a bit of metal; it is a
coin now, and will remember that touch, and tell a new race about it,
when the date upon it is crusted over with twenty centuries. So it is
that a great silent-moving misery puts a new stamp on us in an hour or
a moment,--as sharp an impression as if it had taken half a lifetime
to engrave it.

It is awful to be in the hands of the wholesale professional dealers
in misfortune; undertakers and jailers magnetize you in a moment, and
you pass out of the individual life you were living into the
rhythmical movements of their horrible machinery. Do the worst thing
you can, or suffer the worst that can be thought of, you find yourself
in a category of humanity that stretches back as far as Cain, and with
an expert at your elbow that has studied your case all out beforehand,
and is waiting for you with his implements of hemp or mahogany. I
believe, if a man were to be burned in any of our cities to-morrow for
heresy, there would be found a master of ceremonies that knew just how
many fagots were necessary, and the best way of arranging the whole

----So we have not won the Good-wood cup; _au contraire_, we were
a "bad fifth," if not worse than that; and trying it again, and the
third time, has not yet bettered the matter. Now I am as patriotic as
any of my fellow-citizens,--too patriotic in fact, for I have got into
hot water by loving too much of my country; in short, if any man,
whose fighting weight is not more than eight stone four pounds,
disputes it, I am ready to discuss the point with him. I should have
gloried to see the stars and stripes in front at the finish. I love my
country, and I love horses. Stubbs's old mezzotint of Eclipse hangs
over my desk, and Herring's portrait of Plenipotentiary,--whom I saw
run at Epsom,--over my fireplace. Did I not elope from school to see
Revenge, and Prospect, and Little John, and Peacemaker run over the
race-course where now yon suburban village flourishes, in the year
eighteen hundred and ever-so-few? Though I never owned a horse, have I
not been the proprietor of six equine females, of which one was the
prettiest little "Morgin" that ever stepped? Listen, then, to an
opinion I have often expressed long before this venture of ours in
England. Horse-_racing_ is not a republican institution;
horse-_trotting_ is. Only very rich persons can keep race-horses,
and everybody knows they are kept mainly as gambling implements. All
that matter about blood and speed we won't discuss; we understand all
that; useful, very,--_of_ course,--great obligations to the
Godolphin "Arabian," and the rest. I say racing horses are
essentially gambling implements, as much as roulette tables. Now I am
not preaching at this moment; I may read you one of my sermons some
other morning; but I maintain that gambling, on the great scale, is
not republican. It belongs to two phases of society,--a cankered
over-civilization, such as exists in rich aristocracies, and the
reckless life of borderers and adventurers, or the semi-barbarism of a
civilization resolved into its primitive elements. Real republicanism
is stern and severe; its essence is not in forms of government, but in
the omnipotence of public opinion which grows out of it. This public
opinion cannot prevent gambling with dice or stocks, but it can and
does compel it to keep comparatively quiet. But horse-racing is the
most public way of gambling; and with all its immense attractions to
the sense and the feelings,--to which I plead very susceptible,--the
disguise is too thin that covers it, and everybody knows what it
means. Its supporters are the Southern gentry,--fine fellows, no
doubt, but not republicans exactly, as we understand the term,--a few
Northern millionnaires more or less thoroughly millioned, who do not
represent the real people, and the mob of sporting men, the best of
whom are commonly idlers, and the worst very bad neighbors to have
near one in a crowd, or to meet in a dark alley. In England, on the
other hand, with its aristocratic institutions, racing is a natural
growth enough; the passion for it spreads downwards through all
classes, from the Queen to the costermonger. London is like a shelled
corn-cob on the Derby day, and there is not a clerk who could raise
the money to hire a saddle with an old hack under it that can sit down
on his office-stool the next day without wincing.

Now just compare the racer with the trotter for a moment. The racer is
incidentally useful, but essentially something to bet upon, as much as
the thimble-rigger's "little joker." The trotter is essentially and
daily useful, and only incidentally a tool for sporting men.

What better reason do you want for the fact that the racer is most
cultivated and reaches his greatest perfection in England, and that
the trotting horses of America beat the world? And why should we have
expected that the pick--if it was the pick--of our few and far-between
racing stables should beat the pick of England and France? Throw over
the fallacious time-test, and there was nothing to show for it but a
natural kind of patriotic feeling, which we all have, with a
thoroughly provincial conceit, which some of us must plead guilty to.

We may beat yet. As an American, I hope we shall. As a moralist and
occasional sermonizer, I am not so anxious about it. Wherever the
trotting horse goes, he carries in his train brisk omnibuses, lively
bakers' carts, and therefore hot rolls, the jolly butcher's wagon, the
cheerful gig, the wholesome afternoon drive with wife and child,--all
the forms of moral excellence, except truth, which does not agree with
any kind of horse-flesh. The racer brings with him gambling, cursing,
swearing, drinking, the eating of oysters, and a distaste for mob-caps
and the middle-aged virtues.

And by the way, let me beg you not to call a _trotting match_ a
_race_, and not to speak of a "thorough-bred" as a "_blooded_" horse,
unless he has been recently phlebotomized. I consent to your saying
"blood horse," if you like. Also, if, next year, we send out Posterior
and Posterioress, the winners of the great national four-mile race in
7 18-1/2, and they happen to get beaten, pay your bets, and behave
like men and gentlemen about it, if you know how.

[I felt a great deal better after blowing off the ill-temper condensed
in the above paragraph. To brag little,--to show--well,--to crow
gently, if in luck,--to pay up, to own up, and to shut up, if beaten,
are the virtues of a sporting man, and I can't say that I think we
have shown them in any great perfection of late.]

----Apropos of horses. Do you know how important good jockeying is to
authors? Judicious management; letting the public see your animal
just enough, and not too much; holding him up hard when the market is
too full of him; letting him out at just the right buying intervals;
always gently feeling his mouth; never slacking and never jerking the
rein;--this is what I mean by jockeying.

----When an author has a number of books out, a cunning hand will keep
them all spinning, as Signor Blitz does his dinner-plates; fetching
each one up, as it begins to "wabble," by an advertisement, a puff, or
a quotation.

----Whenever the extracts from a living writer begin to multiply fast in
the papers, without obvious reason, there is a new book or a new
edition coming. The extracts are _ground-bait_.

----Literary life is full of curious phenomena. I don't know that there
is anything more noticeable than what we may call _conventional
reputations_. There is a tacit understanding in every community of
men of letters that they will not disturb the popular fallacy
respecting this or that electro-gilded celebrity. There are various
reasons for this forbearance: one is old; one is rich; one is
good-natured; one is such a favorite with the pit that it would not be
safe to hiss him from the manager's box. The venerable augurs of the
literary or scientific temple may smile faintly when one of the tribe
is mentioned; but the farce is in general kept up as well as the
Chinese comic scene of entreating and imploring a man to stay with
you, with the implied compact between you that he shall by no means
think of doing it. A poor wretch he must be who would wantonly sit
down on one of these bandbox reputations. A Prince-Rupert's-drop,
which is a tear of unannealed glass, lasts indefinitely, if you keep
it from meddling hands; but break its tail off, and it explodes and
resolves itself into powder. These celebrities I speak of are the
Prince-Rupert's-drops of the learned and polite world. See how the
papers treat them! What an array of pleasant kaleidoscopic phrases,
that can be arranged in ever so many charming patterns, is at their
service! How kind the "Critical Notices"--where small authorship
comes to pick up chips of praise, fragrant, sugary, and sappy--always
are to them! Well, life would be nothing without paper-credit and
other fictions; so let them pass current. Don't steal their chips;
don't puncture their swimming-bladders; don't come down on their
pasteboard boxes; don't break the ends of their brittle and unstable
reputations, you fellows who all feel sure that your names will be
household words a thousand years from now.

"A thousand years is a good while," said the old gentleman who sits
opposite, thoughtfully.

----Where have I been for the last three or four days? Down at the
Island, deer-shooting.--How many did I bag? I brought home one buck
shot.--The Island is where? No matter. It is the most splendid domain
that any man looks upon in these latitudes. Blue sea around it, and
running up into its heart, so that the little boat slumbers like a
baby in lap, while the tall ships are stripping naked to fight the
hurricane outside, and storm-stay-sails banging and flying in ribbons.
Trees, in stretches of miles; beeches, oaks, most numerous;--many of
them hung with moss, looking like bearded Druids; some coiled in the
clasp of huge, dark-stemmed grape-vines. Open patches where the sun
gets in and goes to sleep, and the winds come so finely
sifted that they are as soft as swan's down. Rocks scattered
about,--Stonehenge-like monoliths. Fresh-water lakes; one of them,
Mary's lake, crystal-clear, full of flashing pickerel lying under the
lily-pads like tigers in the jungle. Six pounds of ditto one morning
for breakfast. EGO _fecit_.

The divinity-student looked as if he would like to question my
Latin. No, sir, I said,--you need not trouble yourself. There is a
higher law in grammar, not to be put down by Andrews and
Stoddard. Then I went on.

Such hospitality as that island has seen there has not been the like
of in these our New England sovereignties. There is nothing in the
shape of kindness and courtesy that can make life beautiful, which has
not found its home in that ocean-principality. It has welcomed all who
were worthy of welcome, from the pale clergyman who came to breathe
the sea-air with its medicinal salt and iodine, to the great statesman
who turned his back on the affairs of empire, and smoothed his
Olympian forehead, and flashed his white teeth in merriment over
the long table, where his wit was the keenest and his story the best.

[I don't believe any man ever talked like that in this world. I don't
believe _I_ talked just so; but the fact is, in reporting one's
conversation, one cannot help _Blair_-ing it up more or less,
ironing out crumpled paragraphs, starching limp ones, and crimping and
plaiting a little sometimes; it is as natural as prinking at the

----How can a man help writing poetry in such a place? Everybody does
write poetry that goes there. In the state archives, kept in the
library of the Lord of the Isle, are whole volumes of unpublished
verse,--some by well-known hands, and others, quite as good, by the
last people you would think of as versifiers,--men who could pension
off all the genuine poets in the country, and buy ten acres of Boston
common, if it was for sale, with what they had left. Of course I had
to write my little copy of verses with the rest; here it is, if you
will hear me read it. When the sun is in the west, vessels sailing in
an easterly direction look bright or dark to one who observes them
from the north or south, according to the tack they are sailing
upon. Watching them from one of the windows of the great mansion, I
saw these perpetual changes, and moralized thus:--

  As I look from the isle, o'er its billows of green
    To the billows of foam-crested blue,
  Yon bark, that afar in the distance is seen,
    Half dreaming, my eyes will pursue:
  Now dark in the shadow, she scatters the spray
    As the chaff in the stroke of the flail;
  Now white as the sea-gull, she flies on her way,
    The sun gleaming bright on her sail.

  Yet her pilot is thinking of dangers to shun,--
    Of breakers that whiten and roar;
  How little he cares, if in shadow or sun
    They see him that gaze from the shore!
  He looks to the beacon that looms from the reef,
    To the rock that is under his lee,
  As he drifts on the blast, like a wind-wafted leaf,
    O'er the gulfs of the desolate sea.

  Thus drifting afar to the dim-vaulted caves
    Where life and its ventures are laid,
  The dreamers who gaze while we battle the waves
    May see us in sunshine or shade;
  Yet true to our course, though our shadow grow dark,
    We'll trim our broad sail as before,
  And stand by the rudder that governs the bark,
    Nor ask how we look from the shore!

----Insanity is often the logic of an accurate mind overtasked. Good
mental machinery ought to break its own wheels and levers, if anything
is thrust among them suddenly which tends to stop them or reverse
their motion. A weak mind does not accumulate force enough to hurt
itself; stupidity often saves a man from going mad. We frequently see
persons in insane hospitals, sent there in consequence of what are
called _religious_ mental disturbances. I confess that I think
better of them than of many who hold the same notions, and keep their
wits and appear to enjoy life very well, outside of the asylums. Any
decent person ought to go mad, if he really holds such or such
opinions. It is very much to his discredit in every point of view, if
he does not. What is the use of my saying what some of these opinions
are? Perhaps more than one of you hold such as I should think ought to
send you straight over to Somerville, if you have any logic in your
heads or any human feeling in your hearts. Anything that is brutal,
cruel, heathenish, that makes life hopeless for the most of mankind
and perhaps for entire races,--anything that assumes the necessity of
the extermination of instincts which were given to be regulated,--no
matter by what name you call it,--no matter whether a fakir, or a
monk, or a deacon believes it,--if received, ought to produce insanity
in every well-regulated mind. That condition becomes a normal one,
under the circumstances. I am very much ashamed of some people for
retaining their reason, when they know perfectly well that if they
were not the most stupid or the most selfish of human beings, they
would become _non-compotes_ at once.

[Nobody understood this but the theological student and the
schoolmistress. They looked intelligently at each other; but whether
they were thinking about my paradox or not, I am not clear.--It would
be natural enough. Stranger things have happened. Love and Death enter
boarding-houses without asking the price of board, or whether there is
room for them. Alas, these young people are poor and pallid! Love
_should_ be both rich and rosy, but _must_ be either rich or
rosy. Talk about military duty! What is that to the warfare of a
married maid-of-all-work, with the title of mistress, and an American
female constitution, which collapses just in the middle third of life,
and comes out vulcanised India-rubber, if it happen to live through
the period when health and strength are most wanted?]

----Have I ever acted in private theatricals? Often. I have
played the part of the "Poor Gentleman," before a great many
audiences,--more, I trust, than I shall ever face again. I did not
wear a stage-costume, nor a wig, nor moustaches of burnt cork; but I
was placarded and announced as a public performer, and at the proper
hour I came forward with the ballet-dancer's smile upon my
countenance, and made my bow and acted my part. I have seen my name
stuck up in letters so big that I was ashamed to show myself in the
place by daylight. I have gone to a town with a sober literary essay
in my pocket, and seen myself everywhere announced as the most
desperate of _buffos_,--one who was obliged to restrain himself
in the full exercise of his powers, from prudential considerations. I
have been through as many hardships as Ulysses, in the pursuit of my
histrionic vocation. I have travelled in cars until the conductors all
knew me like a brother. I have run off the rails, and stuck all night
in snowdrifts, and sat behind females that would have the window open
when one could not wink without his eyelids freezing together. Perhaps
I shall give you some of my experiences one of these days;--I will not
now, for I have something else for you.

Private theatricals, as I have figured in them in country
lyceum-halls, are one thing,--and private theatricals, as they may be
seen in certain gilded and frescoed saloons of our metropolis, are
another. Yes, it is pleasant to see real gentlemen and ladies, who do
not think it necessary to mouth, and rant, and stride, like most of
our stage heroes and heroines, in the characters which show off their
graces and talents; most of all to see a fresh, unrouged, unspoiled,
highbred young maiden, with a lithe figure, and a pleasant voice,
acting in those love-dramas that make us young again to look upon,
when real youth and beauty will play them for us.

----Of course I wrote the prologue I was asked to write. I did not see
the play, though. I knew there was a young lady in it, and that
somebody was in love with her, and she was in love with him, and
somebody (an old tutor, I believe) wanted to interfere, and, very
naturally, the young lady was too sharp for him. The play of course
ends charmingly; there is a general reconciliation, and all concerned
form a line and take each others' hands, as people always do after
they have made up their quarrels,--and then the curtain falls,--if it
does not stick, as it commonly does at private theatrical exhibitions,
in which case a boy is detailed to pull it down, which he does,
blushing violently.

Now, then, for my prologue. I am not going to change my caesuras and
cadences for anybody; so if you do not like the heroic, or iambic
trimeter brachycatalectic, you had better not wait to hear it.


A Prologue? Well, of course the ladies know;--

I have my doubts. No matter,--here we go!

    What is a Prologue? Let our Tutor teach:
    _Pro_ means beforehand; _logos_ stands for speech.
    'Tis like the harper's prelude on the strings,
    The prima donna's courtesy ere she sings;--
    Prologues in metre are to other _pros_
    As worsted stockings are to engine-hose.

    "The world's a stage,"--as Shakspeare said, one day;
    The stage a world--was what he meant to say.
    The outside world's a blunder, that is clear;
    The real world that Nature meant is here.
    Here every foundling finds its lost mamma;
    Each rogue, repentant, melts his stern papa;
    Misers relent, the spendthrift's debts are paid,
    The cheats are taken in the traps they laid;
    One after one the troubles all are past
    Till the fifth act comes right side up at last,
    When the young couple, old folks, rogues, and all,
    Join hands, so happy at the curtain's fall.
    --Here suffering virtue ever finds relief,
    And black-browed ruffians always come to grief.
    --When the lorn damsel, with a frantic screech,
    And cheeks as hueless as a brandy-peach,
    Cries, "Help, kyind Heaven!" and drops upon her knees
    On the green--baize,--beneath the (canvas) trees,--
    See to her side avenging Valor fly:--
    "Ha! Villain! Draw! Now, Terraitorr, yield or die!"
    --When the poor hero flounders in despair,
    Some dear lost uncle turns up millionnaire,--
    Clasps the young scapegrace with paternal joy,
    Sobs on his neck, "My boy! My Boy!! MY BOY!!!"

    Ours, then, sweet friends, the real world to-night
    Of love that conquers in disaster's spite.
    Ladies, attend! While woful cares and doubt
    Wrong the soft passion in the world without,
    Though fortune scowl, though prudence interfere,
    One thing is certain: Love will triumph here!

    Lords of creation, whom your ladies rule,--
    The world's great masters, when you're out of school,--
    Learn the brief moral of our evening's play:
    Man has his will,--but woman has her way!
    While man's dull spirit toils in smoke and fire,
    Woman's swift instinct threads the electric wire,--
    The magic bracelet stretched beneath the waves
    Beats the black giant with his score of slaves.
    All earthly powers confess your sovereign art
    But that one rebel,--woman's wilful heart.
    All foes you master; but a woman's wit
    Lets daylight through you ere you know you're hit.
    So, just to picture what her art can do,
    Hear an old story made as good as new.

    Rudolph, professor of the headsman's trade,
    Alike was famous for his arm and blade.
    One day a prisoner Justice had to kill
    Knelt at the block to test the artist's skill.
    Bare-armed, swart-visaged, gaunt, and shaggy-browed,
    Rudolph the headsman rose above the crowd.
    His falchion lightened with a sudden gleam,
    As the pike's armor flashes in the stream.
    He sheathed his blade; he turned as if to go;
    The victim knelt, still waiting for the blow.
    "Why strikest not? Perform thy murderous act,"
    The prisoner said. (His voice was slightly cracked.)
    "Friend, I _have_ struck," the artist straight replied;
    "Wait but one moment, and yourself decide."
    He held his snuff-box,--"Now then, if you please!"
    The prisoner sniffed, and, with a crashing sneeze,
    Off his head tumbled,--bowled along the floor,--
    Bounced down the steps;--the prisoner said no more!

    Woman! thy falchion is a glittering eye;
    If death lurks in it, oh, how sweet to die!
    Thou takest hearts as Rudolph took the head;
    We die with love, and never dream we're dead!

The prologue went off very well, as I hear. No alterations were
suggested by the lady to whom it was sent, for as far as I
know. Sometimes people criticize the poems one sends them, and
suggest all sorts of improvements. Who was that silly body that
wanted Burns to alter "Scots wha hae," so as to lengthen the last
line, thus?--

    "_Edward!_". Chains and slavery!

Here is a little poem I sent a short time since to a committee for a
certain celebration. I understood that it was to be a festive and
convivial occasion, and ordered myself accordingly. It seems the
president of the day was what is called a "teetotaller." I received a
note from him in the following words, containing the copy subjoined,
with the emendations annexed to it:

"Dear Sir,--Your poem gives good satisfaction to the committee. The
sentiments expressed with reference to liquor are not, however, those
generally entertained by this community. I have therefore consulted
the clergyman of this place, who has made some slight changes, which
he thinks will remove all objections, and keep the valuable portions
of the poem. Please to inform me of your charge for said poem. Our
means are limited, etc., etc., etc.

"Yours with respect."


  Come! fill a fresh bumper,--for why should we go

  While the  still reddens our cups as they flow?

  Pour out the  still bright with the sun,

  Till o'er the brimmed crystal the  shall run.

         half-ripened apples
  The  their life-dews have bled;

                    taste              sugar of lead
  How sweet is the  of the !

               rank poisons               _wines!!!_
  For summer's  lie hid in the 

                            stable-boys smoking long-nines.
  That were garnered by 

          scowl          howl           scoff          sneer
  Then a , and a , and a , and a ,

      strychnine and whiskey, and ratsbane and beer!

  In cellar, in pantry, in attic, in hall,

    Down, down, with the tyrant that masters us all!

The company said I had been shabbily treated, and advised me to charge
the committee double,--which I did. But as I never got my pay, I don't
know that it made much difference. I am a very particular person about
having all I write printed as I write it, I require to see a proof, a
revise, a re-revise, and a double re-revise, or fourth-proof rectified
impression of all my productions, especially verse. Manuscripts are
such puzzles! Why, I was reading some lines near the end of the last
number of this journal, when I came across one beginning

  "The _stream_ flashes by,"--

Now as no stream had been mentioned, I was perplexed to know what it
meant. It proved, on inquiry, to be only a misprint for "dream."
Think of it! No wonder so many poets die young.

I have nothing more to report at this time, except two pieces of
advice I gave to the young women at table. One relates to a vulgarism
of language, which I grieve to say is sometimes heard even from female
lips. The other is of more serious purport, and applies to such as
contemplate a change of condition,--matrimony, in fact.

--The woman who "calc'lates" is lost.

--Put not your trust in money, but put your money in trust.


THOMAS CARLYLE is a name which no man of this generation should
pronounce without respect; for it belongs to one of the high-priests
of modern literature, to whom all contemporary minds are indebted, and
by whose intellect and influence a new spiritual cultus has been
established in the realm of letters. It is yet impossible to estimate
either the present value or the remote issues of the work which he has
accomplished. We see that a revolution in all the departments of
thought, feeling, and literary enterprise has been silently achieved
amongst us, but we are yet ignorant of its full bearing, and of the
final goal to which it is hurrying us. One thing, however, is clear
respecting it: that it was not forced in the hot-bed of any possible
fanaticism, but that it grew fairly out of the soil, a genuine product
of the time and its circumstances. It was, indeed, a new manifestation
of the hidden forces and vitalities of what we call Protestantism,--an
assertion by the living soul of its right to be heard once more in a
world which seemed to ignore its existence, and had set up a ghastly
skeleton of dry bones for its oracle and God. It was that necessary
return to health, earnestness, and virtuous endeavor which Kreeshna
speaks of in the Hindoo Geeta: "Whenever vice and corruption have
sapped the foundations of the world, and men have lost their sense of
good and evil, I, Kreeshna, make myself manifest for the restoration
of order, and the establishment of justice, virtue, and piety." And so
this literary revolution, of which we are speaking, brought us from
frivolity to earnestness, from unbelief and all the dire negations
which it engenders, to a sublime faith in human duty and the
providence of God.

We have no room here to trace either the foreign or the native
influences which, operating as antagonism or as inspiration upon the
minds of Coleridge, Carlyle, and others, produced finally these great
and memorable results. It is but justice, however, to recognize
Coleridge as the pioneer of the new era. His fine metaphysical
intellect and grand imagination, nurtured and matured in the German
schools of philosophy and theology, reproduced the speculations of
their great thinkers in a form and coloring which could not fail to be
attractive to all seeking and sincere minds in England. The French
Revolution and the Encyclopedists had already prepared the ground for
the reception of new thought and revelation. Hence Coleridge, as
writer and speaker, drew towards his centre all the young and ardent
men of his time,--and among others, the subject of the present
article. Carlyle, however, does not seem to have profited much by the
spoken discourses of the master; and in his "Life of Sterling" he
gives an exceedingly graphic, cynical, and amusing account of the
oracular meetings at Highgate, where the philosopher sat in his great
easy-chair, surrounded by his disciples and devotees, uttering, amid
floods of unintelligible, mystic eloquence, those radiant thoughts and
startling truths which warrant his claim to genius, if not to
greatness. It is curious to observe how at this early period of
Carlyle's life, when all the talent and learning of England bowed at
these levees before the gigantic speculator and dreamer, he, perhaps
alone, stood aloof from the motley throng of worshippers,--_with_
them, but not _of_ them,--coolly analyzing every sentence
delivered by the oracle, and sufficiently learned in the divine lore
to separate the gold from the dross. What was good and productive he
was ready to recognize and assimilate; leaving the opium pomps and
splendors of the discourse, and all the Oriental imagery with which
the speaker decorated his bathos, to those who could find profit
therein. It is still more curious and sorrowful to see this great
Coleridge, endowed with such high gifts, of so various learning, and
possessing so marvellous and plastic a power over all the forms of
language, forsaking the true for the false inspiration, and relying
upon a vile drug to stimulate his large and lazy intellect into
action. Carlyle seems to have regarded him at this period as a sort of
fallen demigod; and although he sneers, with an almost Mephistophelean
distortion of visage, at the philosopher's half inarticulate drawling
of speech, at his snuffy, nasal utterance of the ever-recurring
"_omnject_" and "_sumnject_" yet gleams of sympathy and
affection, not unmixed with sorrow, appear here and there in what he
says concerning him. And indeed, although the immense fame of
Coleridge is scarcely warranted by his printed performances, he was,
nevertheless, worthy both of affection and homage. For whilst we pity
the weakness and disease of his moral nature, under the influence of
that dark and terribly enchanting weed, we cannot forget either his
personal amiabilities or the great service which he rendered to
letters and to society. Carlyle himself would be the last man to deny
this laurel to the brows of "the poet, the philosopher, and the
divine," as Charles Lamb calls him; and it is certain that the
thinking of Coleridge helped to fashion Carlyle's mind, and not
unlikely that it directed him to a profounder study of German writers
than he had hitherto given to them.

Coleridge had already formed a school both of divinity and
philosophy. He had his disciples, as well as those far-off gazers who
looked upon him with amazement and trembling, not knowing what to make
of the phenomenon, or whether to regard him as friend or foe to the
old dispensation and the established order of things. He had written
books and poems, preached Unitarian sermons, recanted, and preached
philosophy and Church-of-Englandism. To the dazzled eyes of all
ordinary mortals, content to chew the cud of parish sermons, and
swallow, Sunday after Sunday, the articles of common belief, he seemed
an eccentric comet. But a better astronomy recognized him as a fixed
star, for he was unmistakable by that fitting Few whose verdict is
both history and immortality.

But a greater than Coleridge, destined to assume a more commanding
position, and exercise a still wider power over the minds of his age,
arose in Thomas Carlyle. The son of a Scotch farmer, he had in his
youth a hard student's life of it, and many severe struggles to win
the education which is the groundwork of his greatness. His father was
a man of keen penetration, who saw into the heart of things, and
possessed such strong intellect and sterling common sense that the
country people said "he always hit the nail on the head and clinched
it." His mother was a good, pious woman, who loved the Bible, and
Luther's "Table Talk," and Luther,--walking humbly and sincerely
before God, her Heavenly Father. Carlyle was brought up in the
religion of his fathers and his country; and it is easy to see in his
writings how deep a root this solemn and earnest belief had struck
down into his mind and character. He readily confesses how much he
owes to his mother's early teaching, to her beautiful and beneficent
example of goodness and holiness; and he ever speaks of her with
affection and reverence. We once saw him at a friend's house take up a
folio edition of the "Table Talk" alluded to, and turn over the pages
with a gentle and loving hand, reading here and there his mother's
favorite passages,--now speaking of the great historic value of the
book, and again of its more private value, as his mother's constant
companion and solace. It was touching to see this pitiless intellect,
which had bruised and broken the idols of so many faiths, to which
Luther himself was recommended only by his bravery and self-reliance
and the grandeur of his aims,--it was touching, we say, and suggestive
also of many things, to behold the strong, stern man paying homage to
language whose spirit was dead to him, out of pure love for his dear
mother, and veneration also for the great heart in which that spirit
was once alive that fought so grand and terrible a battle. Carlyle
likes to talk of Luther, and, as his "Hero-Worship" shows, loves his
character. A great, fiery, angry gladiator, with something of the
bully in him,--as what controversialist has not, from Luther to
Erasmus, to Milton, to Carlyle himself?--a dread image-breaker,
implacable as Cromwell, but higher and nobler than he, with the
tenderness of a woman in his inmost heart, full of music, and glory,
and spirituality, and power; his speech genuine and idiomatic, not
battles only, but conquests; and all his highest, best, and gentlest
thoughts robed in the divine garments of religion and poetry;--such
was Luther, and as such Carlyle delights to behold him. Are they not
akin? We assuredly think so. For the blood of this aristocracy
refuses to mix with that of churls and bastards, and flows pure and
uncontaminated from century to century, descending in all its richness
and vigor from Piromis to Piromis. The ancient philosopher knew this
secret well enough when he said a Parthian and a Libyan might be
related, although they had no common parental blood; and that a man is
not necessarily my brother because he is born of the same womb.

We find that Carlyle in his student-life manifested many of those
strong moral characteristics which are the attributes of all his
heroes. An indomitable courage and persistency meet us everywhere in
his pages,--persistency, and also careful painstaking, and patience in
sifting facts and gathering results. He disciplined himself to this
end in early youth, and never allowed any study or work to conquer
him. Speaking to us once in private upon the necessity of persevering
effort in order to any kind of success in life, he said, "When I was a
student, I resolved to make myself master of Newton's 'Principia,' and
although I had not at that time knowledge enough of mathematics to
make the task other than a Hercules-labor to me, yet I read and
wrought unceasingly, through all obstructions and difficulties, until
I had accomplished it; and no Tamerlane conqueror ever felt half so
happy as I did when the terrible book lay subdued and vanquished
before me." This trifling anecdote is a key to Carlyle's character. To
achieve his object, he exhausts all the means within his command;
never shuffles through his work, but does it faithfully and sincerely,
with a man's heart and hand. This outward sincerity in the conduct of
his executive faculty has its counterpart in the inmost recesses of
his nature. We feel that this man and falsehood are impossible
companions, and our faith in his integrity is perfect and absolute.
Herein lies his power; and here also lies the power of all men who
have ever moved the world. For it is in the nature of truth to
conserve itself, whilst falsehood is centrifugal, and flies off into
inanity and nothingness. It is by the cardinal virtue of sincerity
alone--the truthfulness of deed to thought, of effect to cause--that
man and nature are sustained. God is truth; and he who is most
faithful to truth is not only likest to God, but is made a
participator in the divine nature. For without truth there is neither
power, vitality, nor permanence.

Carlyle was fortunate that he was comparatively poor, and never
tempted, therefore, as a student, to dissipate his fine talents in the
gay pursuits of university life. Not that there would have been any
likelihood of his running into the excesses of ordinary students, but
we are pleased and thankful to reflect that he suffered no kind of
loss or harm in those days of his novitiate. It is one of the many
consolations of poverty that it protects young men from snares and
vices to which the rich are exposed; and our poor student in his
garret was preserved faithful to his vocation, and laid up day by day
those stores of knowledge, experience, and heavenly wisdom which he
has since turned to so good account. It would be deeply interesting,
if we could learn the exact position of Carlyle's mind at this time,
with respect to those profound problems of human nature and destiny
which have occupied the greatest men in all ages, ceaselessly and
pertinaciously urging their dark and solemn questions, and refusing to
depart until their riddles were in some sort solved. That Carlyle was
haunted by these questions, and by the pitiless Sphinx herself who
guards the portals of life and death,--that he had to meet her face to
face, staring at him with her stony, passionless eyes,--that he had to
grapple and struggle with her for victory,--there are proofs abundant
in his writings. The details of the struggle, however, are not given
us; it is the result only that we know. But it is evident that the
progress of his mind from the bog-region of orthodoxy to the high
realms of thought and faith was a slow proceeding,--not rolled onward
as with the chariot-wheels of a fierce and sudden revolution, but
gradually developed in a long series of births, growths, and deaths.
The theological phraseology sticks to him, indeed, even to the present
time, although he puts it to new uses; and it acquires in his hands a
power and significance which it possessed only when, of old, it was
representative of the divine.

Carlyle was matured in solitude. Emerson found him, in the year 1833,
on the occasion of his first visit to England, living at
Craigenputtock, a farm in Nithsdale, far away from all civilization,
and "no one to talk to but the minister of the parish." He, good man,
could make but little of his solitary friend, and must many a time
have been startled out of his canonicals by the strange, alien
speeches which he heard. It is a pity that this minister had not had
some of the Boswell faculty in him, that he might have reported what
we should all be so glad to hear. Over that period of his life,
however, the curtain falls at present, to be lifted only, if ever, by
Carlyle himself. Through the want of companionship, he fell back
naturally upon books and his own thoughts. Here he wrote some of his
finest critical essays for the reviews, and that "rag of a book," as
he calls it, the "Life of Schiller." The essays show a catholic, but
conservative spirit, and are full of deep thought. They exhibit also
a profoundly philosophical mind, and a power of analysis which is
almost unique in letters. They are pervaded likewise by an earnestness
and solemnity which are perfectly Hebraic; and each performance is
presented in a style decorated with all the costly jewels of
imagination and fancy,--a style of far purer and more genuine English
than any of his subsequent writings, which are often marred, indeed,
by gross exaggerations, and still grosser violations of good taste and
the chastities of language. What made these writings, however, so
notable at the time, and so memorable since, was that sincerity and
deep religious feeling of the writer which we have already alluded
to. Here were new elements introduced into the current literature,
destined to revivify it, and to propagate themselves, as by seminal
vitality, in myriad minds and forms. These utterances were both
prophetic and creative, and took all sincere minds captive. Dry and
arid in comparison as Egyptian deserts, lay all around him the
writings of his contemporaries. No living waters flowed through them;
all was sand, and parch, and darkness. The contrast was immense: a
living soul and a dead corpse! Since the era of the Commonwealth,--the
holy, learned, intellectual, and earnest age of Taylor, Barrow,
Milton, Fuller,--no such pen of fire had wrought its miracles amongst
us. Writers spoke from the intellect, believed in the intellect, and
divorced it from the soul and the moral nature. Science, history,
ethics, religion, whenever treated of in literary form, were
mechanized, and shone not with any spiritual illumination. There was
abundance of lawyer-like ability,--but of genius, and its accompanying
divine afflatus, little. Carlyle is full of genius; and this is
evidenced not only by the fine aroma of his language, but by the
depths of his insight, his wondrous historical pictures,--living
cartoons of persons, events, and epochs, which he paints often in
single sentences,--and the rich mosaic of truths with which every page
of his writings is inlaid.

That German literature, with which at this time Carlyle had been more
or less acquainted for ten years, had done much to foster and develop
his genius there can be no doubt; although the book which first
created a storm in his mind, and awoke him to the consciousness of his
own abundant faculty, was the "Confessions" of Rousseau,--a fact which
is well worthy of record and remembrance. He speaks subsequently of
poor Jean Jacques with much sympathy and sorrow; not as the greatest
man of his time and country, but as the sincerest,--a smitten,
struggling spirit,--

  "An infant crying in the night,
  An infant crying for the light,
  And with no language but a cry."

From Rousseau, and his strange thoughts, and wild, ardent eloquence,
the transition to German literature was easy. Some one had told
Carlyle that he would find in this literature what he had so long
sought after,--truth and rest,--and he gladly learned the language,
and addressed himself to the study of its masters; with what success
all the world knows, for he has grafted their thoughts upon his own,
and whoever now speaks is more or less consciously impregnated by his
influence. Who the man was that sent Carlyle to them does not appear,
and so far as he is concerned it is of little moment to inquire; but
the fact constitutes the grand epoch in Carlyle's life, and his true
history dates from that period.

It was natural that he should be deeply moved on his introduction to
German literature. He went to it with an open and receptive nature,
and with an earnestness of purpose which could not fail to be
productive. Jean Paul, the beautiful!--the good man, and the wise
teacher, with poetic stuff in him sufficient to have floated an argosy
of modern writers,--this great, imaginative Jean Paul was for a long
time Carlyle's idol, whom he reverently and affectionately studied. He
has written a fine paper about him in his "Miscellanies," and we trace
his influence not only in Carlyle's thought and sentiment, but in the
very form of their utterance. He was, indeed, warped by him, at one
period, clear out of his orbit, and wrote as he inspired. The
dazzling sunbursts of Richter's imagination, however,--its gigantic
procession of imagery, moving along in sublime and magnificent marches
from earth to heaven, from heaven to earth,--the array, symbolism, and
embodiment of his manifold ideas, ceased in the end to enslave, though
they still captivated Carlyle's mind; and he turns from him to the
thinkers who deal with God's geometry, and penetrate into the abysses
of being,--to primordial Kant, and his behemoth brother, Fichte. Nor
does Hegel, or Schelling, or Schlegel, or Novalis escape his pursuit,
but he hunts them all down, and takes what is needful to him, out of
them, as his trophy. Schiller is his king of singers, although he does
not much admire his "Philosophical Letters," or his "Aesthetic
Letters." But his grandest modern man is the calm and plastic Goethe,
and the homage he renders him is worthy of a better and a holier
idol. Goethe's "Autobiography," in so far as it relates to his early
days, is a bad book; and Wordsworth might well say of the "Wilhelm
Meister," that "it was full of all manner of fornication, like the
crossing of flies in the air." Goethe, however, is not to be judged by
any fragmentary estimate of him, but as an intellectual whole; for he
represented the intellect, and grasped with his selfish and cosmical
mind all the provinces of thought, learning, art, science, and
government, for purely intellectual purposes. This entrance into, and
breaking up of, the minds of these distinguished persons was, however,
a fine discipline for Carlyle, who is fully aware of its value; and
whilst holding communion with these great men, who by their genius and
insight seemed to apprehend the essential truth of things at a glance,
it is not wonderful that he should have been so merciless in his
denunciations of the mere logic-ability of English writers, as he
shows himself in the essays of that period. Logic, useful as it is, as
a help to reasoning, is but the dead body of thought, as Novalis
designates it, and has no place in the inspired regions where the
prophets and the bards reside.

Carlyle's fame, however, had not reached its culminating point when
Emerson visited him. The English are a slow, unimpressionable people,
not given to hasty judgments, nor too much nor too sudden praise;
requiring first to take the true altitude of a man, to measure him by
severe tests; often grudging him his proper and natural advantages and
talents, buffeting and abusing him in a merciless and sometimes an
unreasoning and unreasonable manner, allowing him now and then,
however, a sunbeam for his consolation, until at last they come to a
settled understanding of him, and he is generously praised and abused
into the sanctuary of their worthies. This was not the case, however,
at present, with Carlyle; for although he had the highest recognitions
from some of those who constitute the flower and chivalry of England,
he was far better known and more widely read in America than in his
own country. Emerson, then a young man, with a great destiny before
him, was attracted by his writings, and carried a letter of
introduction to him at Craigenputtock. "He was tall and gaunt, with a
cliff-like brow; self-possessed, and holding his extraordinary powers
of conversation in easy command; clinging to his northern accent with
evident relish; full of lively anecdote, and with a streaming humor
which floated everything he looked upon." He is the same man, in his
best moods, in the year 1857, as he was in 1833. His person, except
that he stoops slightly, is tall, and very little changed. He is
thinner, and the once ruddy hues of his cheek are dying away like
faint streaks of light in the twilight sky of a summer evening. But he
is strong and hearty on the whole; although the excitement of
continuous writing keeps him in a perpetual fever, deranges his liver,
and makes him at times acrid and savage as a sick giant. Hence his
increased pugnacity of late,--his fierceness, and angry hammering of
all things sacred and profane. It is but physical and temporary,
however, all this, and does not affect his healthy and serene
moments. For no man lives who possesses greater kindness and
affection, or more good, noble, and humane qualities. All who know him
love him, although they may have much to pardon in him; not in a
social or moral sense, however, but in an intellectual one. His talk
is as rich as ever,--perhaps richer; for his mind has increased its
stores, and the old fire of geniality still burns in his great and
loving heart. Perhaps his conversation is better than his printed
discourse. We have never heard anything like it. It is all alive, as
if each word had a soul in it.

How characteristic is all that Emerson tells us of him in his "English
Traits"!--a book, by the way, concerning which no adequate word has
yet been spoken; the best book ever written upon England, and which no
brave young Englishman can read, and ever after commit either a mean
or a bad action. We are therefore doubly thankful to Emerson, both for
what he says of England, and for what he relates of Carlyle, whose
independent speech upon all subjects is one of his chief charms. He
reads "Blackwood," for example, and has enjoyed many a racy, vigorous
article in its pages; but it does not satisfy him, and he calls it
"Sand Magazine." "Fraser's" is a little better, but not good enough to
be worthy of a higher nomenclature than "Mud Magazine." Excessive
praise of any one's talents drives him into admiration of the parts of
his own learned pig, now wallowing in the stye. The best thing he knew
about America was that there a man could have meat for his labor. He
did not read Plato, and he disparaged Socrates. Mirabeau was a hero;
Gibbon the splendid bridge from the old world to the new. It is
interesting also to hear that "Tristram Shandy" was one of the first
books he read after "Robinson Crusoe," and that Robertson's "America"
was an early favorite. Rousseau's "Confessions" had discovered to him
that he was not a dunce. Speaking of English pauperism, he said that
government should direct poor men what to do. "Poor Irish folks come
wandering over these moors. My dame makes it a rule to give to every
son of Adam bread to eat, and supplies his wants to the next
house. But here are thousands of acres which might give them all meat,
and nobody to bid those poor Irish go to the moor and till it. They
burned the stacks, and so found a way to force the rich people to
attend to them." Here is the germ of his book on "Chartism." Emerson
and he talk of the immortality of the soul, seated on the hill-tops
near Old Criffel, and looking down "into Wordsworth's country."
Carlyle had the natural disinclination of every nimble spirit to
bruise itself against walls, and did not like to place himself where
no step can be taken; but he was honest and true, and cognizant of the
subtile links that bind ages together, and saw how every event affects
all the future. "Christ died on the tree; that built Dunscore Kirk
yonder; that brought you and me together. Time has only a relative

Such is Emerson's account of his first visit to our author, whose eyes
were already turned towards London as the heart of the world, whither
he subsequently went, and where he now abides.

From Craigenputtock, with its savage rocks and moorlands, its
sheepwalk solitudes, its isolation and distance from all the
advantages of civil and intellectual life, to London and the living
solitude of its unnumberable inhabitants, its activities, polity, and
world-wide ramifications of commerce, learning, science, literature,
and art, was a change of great magnitude, whose true proportions it
took time to estimate. Carlyle, however, was not afraid of the huge
mechanism of London life, but took to it bravely and kindly, and was
soon at home amidst the everlasting whirl and clamor, the roar and
thunder of its revolutions. For although a scholar, and bred in
seclusion, he was also a genuine man of the world, and well acquainted
with its rough ways and Plutonic wisdom. This knowledge, combined with
his strong "common sense,"--as poor Dr. Beattie calls it, fighting for
its supremacy with canine ferocity,--gave Carlyle high vantage-ground
in his writings. He could meet the world with its own weapons, and
was cunning enough at that fence, as the world was very shortly
sensible. He was saved, therefore, from the contumely which vulgar
minds are always ready to bestow upon saints and mystics who sit aloof
from them, high enthroned amidst the truths and solemnities of
God. The secluded and ascetic life of most scholars, highly favorable
as it undoubtedly is to contemplation and internal development, has
likewise its disadvantages, and puts them, as being undisciplined in
the ways of life, at great odds, when they come to the actual and
practical battle. A man should be armed at all points, and not subject
himself, like good George Fox, Jacob Behmen, and other holy men, to
the taunts of the mob, on account of any awkward gait, mannerism, or
ignorance of men and affairs. Paul had none of these absurdities about
him; but was an accomplished person, as well as a divine speaker. His
doctrine of being all things to all men, that he might win souls to
Christ, is, like good manners and politeness, a part of that mundane
philosophy which obtains in every society, both as theory and
performance; not, however, in its literal meaning, which would involve
all sorts of hypocrisy and lies as its accessories, but in the sense
of ability to meet all kinds of men on their own grounds and with
their own enginery of warfare.

Strength, whether of mind or body, is sure to command respect, even
though it be used against ourselves; for we Anglo-Saxons are all
pugilists. A man, therefore, who accredits his metal by the work he
accomplishes, will be readily enough heard when he comes to speak and
labor upon higher platforms. This was the case with Carlyle; and when
he published that new Book of Job, that weird and marvellous Pilgrim's
Progress of a modern cultivated soul, the "Sartor Resartus," in
"Fraser's Magazine," strange, wild, and incomprehensible as it was to
most men, they did not put it contemptuously aside, but pondered it,
laughed at it, trembled over it and its dread apocalyptical visions
and revelations, respecting its earnestness and eloquence, although
not comprehending what manner of writing it essentially was. Carlyle
enjoyed the perplexity of his readers and reviewers, neither of whom,
with the exception of men like Sterling, and a writer in one of the
Quarterlies, seemed to know what they were talking about when they
spoke of it. The criticisms upon it were exceedingly comical in many
instances, and the author put the most notable of these together, and
always alluded to them with roars of laughter. The book has never yet
received justice at the hands of any literary tribunal. It requires,
indeed, a large amount of culture to appreciate it, either as a work
of art, or as a living flame-painting of spiritual struggle and
revelation. In his previous writings he had insisted upon the
sacredness and infinite value of the human soul,--upon the wonder and
mystery of life, and its dread surroundings,--upon the divine
significance of the universe, with its star pomp, and overhanging
immensities,--and upon the primal necessity for each man to stand with
awe and reverence in this august and solemn presence, if he would hope
to receive any glimpses of its meaning, or live a true and divine life
in the world; and in the "Sartor" he has embodied and illustrated this
in the person and actions of his hero. He saw that religion had become
secular; that it was reduced to a mere Sunday holiday and Vanity Fair,
taking no vital hold of the lives of men, and radiating, therefore,
none of its blessed and beautiful influences about their feet and
ways; that human life itself, with all its adornments of beauty and
poetry, was in danger of paralysis and death; that love and faith,
truth, duty, and holiness, were fast losing their divine attributes in
the common estimation, and were hurrying downwards with tears and a
sad threnody into gloom and darkness. Carlyle saw all this, and knew
that it was the reaction of that intellectual idolatry which brought
the eighteenth century to a close; knew also that there was only one
remedy which could restore men to life and health,--namely, the
quickening once again of their spiritual nature. He felt, also, that
it was his mission to attempt this miracle; and hence the prophetic
fire and vehemence of his words. No man, and especially no earnest
man, can read him without feeling himself arrested as by the grip of a
giant,--without trembling before his stern questions, inculcations,
and admonitions. There is a God, O Man! and not a blind chance, as
governor of this world. Thy soul has infinite relations with this
God, which thou canst never realize in thy being, or manifest in thy
practical life, save by a devout reverence for him, and his
miraculous, awful universe. This reverence, this deep, abiding
religious feeling, is the only link which binds us to the
Infinite. That severed, broken, or destroyed, and man is an alien and
an orphan; lost to him forever is the key to all spiritual mystery, to
the hieroglyph of the soul, to the symbolism of nature, of time, and
of eternity. Such, as we understand it, is Carlyle's teaching. But
this is not all. Man is to be man in that high sense we have spoken
his robes of immortality around him, as if God had done with him for
all practical purposes, and he with God,--but for action,--action in a
world which is to prove his power, his beneficence, his usefulness.
That spiritual fashioning by the Great Fashioner of all things is so
ordained that we ourselves may become fashioners, workers, makers. For
it is given to no man to be an idle cumberer of the ground, but to
dig, and sow, and plant, and reap the fruits of his labor for the
garner. This is man's first duty, and the diviner he is the more
divinely will he execute it.

That such a gospel as this could find utterance in the pages of the
"Edinburgh Review" is curious enough; and it is scarcely less
surprising that the "Sartor Resartus" should make its first appearance
in the somewhat narrow and conservative pages of Fraser. Carlyle has
clearly written his own struggles in this book,--his struggles and his
conquests. From the "Everlasting No,"--that dreadful realm of
enchantment, where all the forms of nature are frozen forever in dumb
imprisonment and despair,--the great vaulted firmament no longer
serene and holy and loving as God's curtain for his children's
slumbers, but flaming in starry portents, and dropping down over the
earth like a funeral pall; through this region of life-semblance and
death-reality the lonely and aching pilgrim wanders,--questioning
without reply,--wailing, broken, self-consuming,--looking with eager
eyes for the waters of immortality, and finding nothing but pools of
salt and Marahs of bitterness. Herein is no Calvary, no
Cross-symbolism, by whose miraculous power he is relieved of his
infinite burden of sorrow, starting onward with hope and joy in his
heart; nor does he ever find his Calvary until the deeps of his
spiritual nature are broken up and flooded with celestial light, as he
knocks reverently at the portals of heaven for communion with his
Father who is in heaven. Then bursts upon him a new significance from
all things; he sees that the great world is but a fable of divine
truth, hiding its secrets from all but the initiated and the worthy,
and that faith, and trust, and worship are the cipher, which unlocks
them all. He thus arrives at the plains of heaven in the region of the
"Everlasting Yes." His own soul lies naked and resolved before
him,--its unspeakable greatness, its meaning, faculty, and
destiny. Work, and dutiful obedience to the laws of work, are the
outlets of his power; and herein he finds peace and rest to his soul.

That Carlyle is not only an earnest, but a profoundly religious man,
these attempted elucidations of his teachings will abundantly
show. His religion, however, is very far remote from what is called
religion in this day. He has no patience with second-hand
beliefs,--with articles of faith ready-made for the having.
Whatsoever is accepted by men because it is the tradition of their
fathers, and not a deep conviction arrived at by legitimate search, is
to him of no avail; and all merely historical and intellectual faith,
standing outside the man, and not absorbed in the life as a vital,
moving, and spiritual power, he places also amongst the chaff for
burning. This world is a serious world, and human life and business
are also serious matters,--not to be trifled with, nor cheated by
shams and hypocrisies, but to be dealt with in all truth, soberness,
and sincerity. No one can thus deal with it who is not himself
possessed of these qualities, and the result of a life is the test of
what virtue there is in it. False men leave no mark. It is truth
alone which does the masonry of the world,--which founds empires, and
builds cities, and establishes laws, commerce, and civilization. And
in private life the same law abides, indestructible as God. Carlyle's
teaching tends altogether in this direction; and whilst he belongs to
no church and no creed, he is tolerant of all, and of everything that
is heartily and unfeignedly believed in by his fellows. He is no
Catholic; and yet for years he read little else than the forty volumes
of the "Acta Sanctorum," and found, he says, all Christian history
there, and much of profane history. Neither is he a Mahometan; but he
nevertheless makes a hero of Mahomet, whom he loves for his Ishmaelite
fierceness, bravery, and religious sincerity,--and because he taught
deism, or the belief in one God, instead of the old polytheism, or the
belief in many gods,--and gave half the East his very good book,
called the Koran, for his followers to live and die by.

Whether this large catholicism, this worship of heroes, is the best of
what now remains of religion on earth is certainly questionable
enough; and if we regard it in no other light than merely as an
idolatry of persons, there is an easy answer ready for it. But
considering that religion is now so far dead that it consists in
little else than formalities, and that its divine truth is no longer
such to half the great world, which lies, indeed, in dire atrophy and
wickedness,--and if we further consider and agree that the awakened
human soul is the divinest thing on earth, and partakes of the divine
nature itself, and that its manifestations are also divine in
whomsoever it is embodied, we can see some apology for its adoption;
inasmuch as it is the divine likeness to which reverence and homage
are rendered, and not the person merely, but only so far as he is the
medium of its showing. Christianity, however, will assuredly survive,
although doubtless in a new form, preserving all the integrity of its
message,--and be once more faith and life to men, when the present
old, established, decaying cultus shall be venerated only as history.

Carlyle clings to the Christian formulary and the old Christian life
in spite of himself. He is almost fanatical in his attachment to the
mediaeval times,--to the ancient worship, its ceremonial, music, and
architecture, its monastic government, its saints and martyrs. And the
reason, as he shows in the "Past and Present," is, that all this array
of devotion, this pomp and ceremony, this music and painting, this
gorgeous and sublime architecture, this fasting and praying, were
_real_,--faithful manifestations of a religion which to that
people was truly genuine and holy. They who built the cathedrals of
Europe, adorned them with carvings, pictures, and those stately
windows with their storied illuminations which at this day are often
miracles of beauty and of art, were not frivolous modern
conventicle-builders, but poets as grand as Milton, and sculptors
whose genius might front that of Michel Angelo. It was no dead belief
in a dead religion which designed and executed these matchless
temples. Man and Religion were both alive in those days; and the
worship of God was so profound a prostration of the inmost spirit
before his majesty and glory, that the souls of the artists seem to
have been inspired, and to have received their archetypes in heavenly
visions. Such temples it is neither in the devotion nor the faculty of
the modern Western world to conceive or construct. Carlyle knows all
this, and he falls back in loving admiration upon those old times and
their worthies, despising the filigree materials of which the men of
to-day are for the most part composed. He revels in that picture of
monastic life, also, which is preserved in the record of Jocelyn de
Brakelonde. He sees all men at work there, each at his proper
vocation;--and he praises them, because they fear God and do their
duty. He finds them the same men, although with better and devouter
hearts, as we are at this day. Time makes no difference in this
verdant human nature, which shows ever the same in Catholic
monasteries as in Puritan meeting-houses. We have a wise preachment,
however, from that Past, to the Present, in Carlyle's book, which is
one of his best efforts, and contains isolated passages which for
wisdom and beauty, and chastity of utterance, he has never exceeded.

We have no space to speak here of all his books with anything like
critical integrity. The greatest amongst them, however, is, perhaps,
his "French Revolution, a History,"--which is no history, but a vivid
painting of characters and events as they moved along in tumultuous
procession. No one can appreciate this book who is not acquainted
with the history in its details beforehand. Emerson once related to us
a striking anecdote connected with this work, which gives us another
glimpse of Carlyle's character. He had just completed, after infinite
labor, one of the three volumes of his History, which he left exposed
on his study table when he went to bed. Next morning he sought in vain
for the manuscript, and had wellnigh concluded with Robert Hall, who
was once in a similar dilemma, that the Devil had run away with it,
when the servant-girl, on being questioned, confessed that she had
burnt it to kindle the fire. Carlyle neither stamped nor raved, but
sat down without a word and rewrote it.

In summing up the present results of Carlyle's labor, foolish men of
the world and small critics have not failed to ask what it all amounts
to,--what the great Demiurgus is aiming at in his weary battle of
life; and the question is significant enough,--one more proof of that
Egyptian darkness of vision which he is here to dispel. "He pulls down
the old," say they; "but what does he give us in place of it? Why does
he not strike out a system of his own? And after all, there is nothing
new in him." Such is the idle talk of the day, and such are the men
who either guide the people, or seek to guide them. Poor ignorant
souls! who do not know the beginning of the knowledge which Carlyle
teaches, nor its infinite importance to life and all its
concerns:--this, namely, as we have said before, that the soul should
first of all be wakened to the consciousness of its own miraculous
being, that it may be penetrated by the miracles of the universe, and
rise by aspiration and faith to the knowledge and worship of God, in
whom are all things; that this attitude of the soul, and its
accompanying wisdom, will beget the strength, purity, virtue, and
truth which can alone restore order and beauty upon the earth; that
all "systems," and mechanical, outward means and appliances to the
end, will but increase the Babel of confusion, as things unfitted to
it, and altogether extraneous and hopeless. "Systems!" It is living,
truthful men we want; these will make their own systems; and let those
who doubt the truth humbly watch and wait until it is manifest to
them, or go on their own arid and sorrowful ways in what peace they
can find there.

The catholic spirit of Carlyle's works cannot be better illustrated
than by the fact that he has received letters from all sorts and
conditions of men, Methodists and Shakers, Churchmen and Romanists,
Deists and Infidels, all claiming his fellowship, and thinking they
find their peculiarities of thought in him. This is owing partly,
perhaps, to the fact that in his earlier writings he masked his
sentiments both in Hebraic and Christian phraseology; and partly to
the lack of vision in his admirers, who could not distinguish a new
thought in an old garment. His "Cromwell" deceived not a few in this
respect; and we were once asked in earnest, by a man who should have
been better informed, if Carlyle was a Puritan. Whatever he may be
called, or believed to be, one thing is certain concerning him: that
he is a true and valiant man,--all out a man!--and that literature and
the world are deeply indebted to him. His mission, like that of Jeremy
Collier in a still baser age, was to purge our literature of its
falsehood, to recreate it, and to make men once more believe in the
divine, and live in it. So earnest a man has not appeared since the
days of Luther, nor any one whose thoughts are so suggestive,
germinal, and propagative. All our later writers are tinged with his
thought, and he has to answer for such men as Kingsley, Newman,
Froude, and others who will not answer for him, nor acknowledge him.

In private life Carlyle is amiable, and often high and beautiful in
his demeanor. He talks much, and, as we have said, well; impatient,
at times, of interruption, and at other times readily listening to
those who have anything to say. But he hates babblers, and cant, and
sham, and has no mercy for them, but sweeps them away in the whirlwind
and terror of his wrath. He receives distinguished men, in the
evening, at his house in Chelsea; but he rarely visits. He used
occasionally to grace the saloons of Lady Blessington, in the palmy
days of her life, when she attracted around her all noble and
beautiful persons, who were distinguished by their attainments in
literature, science, or art; but he rarely leaves his home now for
such a purpose. He is at present engaged in his "Life of Frederick the
Great," whom he will hardly make a hero of, and with whom, we learn,
he is already very heartily disgusted. The first volume will shortly

And now we must close this imperfect paper,--reserving for a future
occasion some personal reminiscences of him, which may prove both
interesting and illustrative.



I fear I have not what is called "a taste for flowers." To be sure, my
cottage home is half buried in tall shrubs, some of which are
flowering, and some are not. A giant woodbine has wrapped the whole
front in its rich green mantle; and the porch is roofed and the
windows curtained with luxuriant honeysuckles and climbing
wild-roses. But, though I have tried for it many times, I never yet
had a successful bed of flowers. My next neighbor, Mrs. Smith, is "a
lady of great taste"; and when she leads me proudly through her trim
alleys edged with box, and displays her hyacinths and tulips, her
heliotropes, cactuses, and gladioluses, her choice roses, "so
extremely double," and all the rare plants which adorn her parterre, I
conclude it must be that I have no taste at all. I beg her to save me
seeds and bulbs, get fresh directions for laying down, and
inoculating, grafting, and potting, and go home with my head full of
improvements. But the next summer comes round with no change, except
that the old denizens of the soil (like my maids and my children) have
grown more wild and audacious than ever, and I find no place for beds
of flowers. I must e'en give it up; I have no taste for flowers, in
the common sense of the words. In fact, they awaken in me no
sentiment, no associations, as they stand, marshalled for show, "in
beds and curious knots"; and I do not like the care of them.

Yet let me find these daughters of the early year in their native
haunts, scattered about on hillside and in woody dingle, half hidden
by green leaves, starting up like fairies in secluded nooks, nestling
at the root of some old tree, or leaning over to peep into some glassy
bit of water, and no heart thrills quicker than mine at the
sight. There they seem to me to enjoy a sweet wild life of their own;
nodding and smiling in the sunshine or verdant gloom, caring not to
see or to be seen. Some of the loveliest of my early recollections are
of rambles after flowers. There was a certain "little pink and yellow
flower" (so described to me by one of my young cousins) after which I
searched a whole summer with unabated eagerness. I was fairly haunted
by its ideal image. Henry von Ofterdingen never sought with intenser
desire for his wondrous blue flower, nor more vainly; for I never
found it. One day, this same cousin and myself, while wandering in
the woods, found ourselves on the summit of a little rocky precipice,
and at its foot, lo! in full bloom, a splendid variety of the orchis,
(a flower I had never seen before,) looking to my astonished eyes like
an enchanted princess in a fairy tale. With a scream of joy we both
sprang for the prize. Harriet seized it first, but after gazing at it
a moment with a quiet smile, presented it to me. "Kings may be blest,
but I was glorious!" I never felt so rich before or since.

But there was one flower,--and I must confess that I made acquaintance
with it in a garden, but at an age when I thought all things grew out
of the blessed earth of their own sweet will,--which, as it is the
first I remember to have loved, has maintained the right of priority
in my affections to this day. Nay, many an object of deep, absorbing
interest, more than one glowing friendship, has meantime passed away,
leaving no memorial but sad and bitter thoughts; while this wee flower
still lives and makes glad a little green nook in my heart. It was a
Button-Rose of the smallest species, the outspread blossom scarce
exceeding in size a shilling-piece. It stood in my grandfather's
garden,--that garden which, at my first sight of it, (I was then about
five years old,) seemed to me boundless in extent, and beautiful
beyond aught that I had seen or thought before. It was a large,
old-fashioned kitchen-garden, adorned and enriched, however, as then
the custom was, with flowers and fruit-trees. Several fine old
pear-trees and a few of the choicest varieties of plum and cherry were
scattered over it; currants and gooseberries lined the fences; the
main alley, running through its whole extent, was thickly bordered by
lilacs, syringas, and roses, with many showy flowers intermixed, and
terminated in a very pleasant grape-arbor. Behind this rose a steep
green hill covered with an apple-orchard, through which a little
thread of a footpath wound up to another arbor which stood on the
summit relieved against the sky. It was but little after sunrise, the
first morning of my visit, when I timidly opened the garden gate and
stood in full view of these glories. All was dewy, glittering,
fragrant, musical as a morn in Eden. For a while I stood still, in a
kind of enchantment. Venturing, at length, a few steps forward,
gazing eagerly from side to side, I was suddenly arrested by the most
marvellously beautiful object my eyes had ever seen,--no other than
the little Button-Rose of our story! So small, so perfect! It filled
my infant sense with its loveliness. It grew in a very pretty china
vase, as if more precious than the other flowers. Several blossoms
were fully expanded, and many tiny buds were showing their crimson
tips. As I stood lost in rapture over this little miracle of beauty, a
humming-bird, the smallest of its fairy tribe, darted into sight, and
hung for an instant, its ruby crest and green and golden plumage
flashing in the sun, over my new-found treasure. Were it not that the
emotions of a few such moments are stamped indelibly on the memory, we
should have no conception in maturer life of the intenseness of
childish enjoyment. Oh for one drop of that fresh morning dew, that
pure nectar of life, in which I then bathed with an unconscious bliss!
Methinks I would give many days of sober, thoughtful, _rational_
enjoyment for one hour of the eager rapture which thrilled my being as
I stood in that enchanted garden, gazing upon my little rose, and that
gay creature of the elements, that winged blossom, that living
fragment of a rainbow, that glanced and quivered and murmured over it.

But, dear as the Button-Rose is to my memory, I should hardly think of
obtruding it on the notice of others, were it not for a little tale of
human interest connected with it. While I yet stood motionless in the
ecstasy of my first wonder, a young man and woman entered the garden,
chatting and laughing in a very lively manner. The lady was my Aunt
Caroline, then in the fresh bloom of seventeen; the young man I had
never seen before. Seeing me standing alone in the walk, my aunt
called me; but as I shrunk away shy and blushing at sight of the
stranger, she came forward and took hold of my hand.

"This is our little Katy, Cousin Harry," said she, leading me towards

"Our little Katy's most obedient!"  replied he, taking off his
broad-brimmed straw hat, and making a flourishing bow nearly to the

"Don't be afraid of him, Katy dear; he's nobody," said my aunt,

At these encouraging words I glanced up at the merry pair, and thought
them almost as pretty as the rose and hummingbird. My Aunt Caroline's
beauty was of a somewhat peculiar character,--if beauty that can be
called which was rather spirit, brilliancy, geniality of expression,
than symmetrical mould of features. The large, full eye was of the
deepest violet hue; the finely arched forehead, a little too boldly
cast for feminine beauty, was shaded by masses of rich chestnut hair;
the mouth,--but who could describe that mouth? Even in repose, some
arch thought seemed ever at play among its changeful curves; and when
she spoke or laughed, its wonderful mobility and sweetness of
expression threw a perfect witchery over her face. She was quite
short, and, if the truth must be told, a little too stout in figure;
but this was in a great measure redeemed by a beautifully moulded
neck, on which her head turned with the quickness and grace of a wild
pigeon. Every motion was rapid and decided, and her whole aspect
beamed with genius, gayety, and a cordial friendliness, which took the
heart at first sight. And then, her voice, her laugh!--not so low as
Shakspeare commends in woman, but clear, musical, true-hearted, making
one glad like the song of the lark at sunrise.

Cousin Harry was a very tall, very pale, very black-haired and
black-eyed young gentleman, with a high, open brow, and a very
fascinating smile.

The remainder of the garden scene was to me but little more than dumb
show. Perhaps it was more vividly remembered for that very reason. I
recollect being busy filling a little basket with strawberries, while
I watched with a pleased, childish curiosity the two young people, as
they passed many times up and down the gravelled walk between the rows
of flowers. I was not far from the Button-Rose, and I had nearly
filled my basket, when my aunt came to the spot and stooped over the
little plant. Her face was towards me, and I saw several large tears
fall from her eyes upon the leaves. She broke off the most beautiful
blossom, and tying it up with some sprigs of mignonette, presented it
to Cousin Harry. They then left the garden.

The next day I heard it said that Cousin Harry was gone away. The
little rose was brought into the house and installed in the bow-window
of my aunt's room, where it was watched and tended by us both with the
greatest care.

Some time after this, the news came that Cousin Harry was married. The
next morning I missed my little favorite from the window. My aunt was
reading when I waked.

"Oh, Aunty!" I cried, "where is our little rose?"

"It was too much trouble, Katy," said she, quietly; "I have put it
into the garden."

"But isn't it going to stand in our window any more?"

"No, dear, I am tired of it."

"Oh, do bring it back! I will take the whole care of it," said I,
beginning to cry.

"Katy," said my aunt, taking me into her lap, and looking steadily,
but kindly, into my face, "listen to me. I do not wish to have that
rose in my room any more; and if you love me, you will never mention
it again."

Something in her manner prevented my uttering a word more in behalf of
the poor little exile. As soon as I was dressed, I ran down into the
garden to visit it. It looked very lonely, I thought; I could hardly
bear to leave it. The day following, it disappeared from the garden,
and old Nanny, the housemaid, told me that my aunt had given it
away. I never saw it again.

Thus ended my personal acquaintance with the little Button-Rose. But
that first strong impression on my fancy was indelible. The flower
still lived in my memory, surrounded by associations which gave it a
mystic charm. By degrees I ceased to miss it from the window; but that
strange garden scene grew more and more vivid, and became a cabinet
picture in one of the little inner chambers of memory, where I often
pondered it with a delicious sense of mystery. The rose and
humming-bird seemed to me the chief actors in the magic pantomime, and
they were some way connected with my dear Aunt Linny and the
black-eyed young man; but what it all meant was the great puzzle of my
busy little brain. It has sometimes been a matter of curious
speculation to me, what share that diminutive flower had in the
development of my mind and character. With it, so it seems to me,
began the first dawn of a conscious inner life. I can still recollect
with wonderful distinctness what I have thought and felt since that
date, while all the preceding years are vague and shadowy as an
ill-remembered dream. From them I can only conjure up, as it were, my
outward form,--a happy animal existence, with which scarce a feeling
of self is connected; but from the time when I bore a part in this
little fragment of a romance the current of identity flows on
unbroken. From that light waking touch, perchance, the whole
subsequent development took form and tone.--But, gentle reader, your
pardon! This is nothing to my story.


Ten years had slipped away, and I was now in my sixteenth year. Of
course, my little cabinet picture had been joined by many others. It
was now but one in an extensive gallery; and the modest little gem,
dimmed with dust, and hidden by larger pieces, had not been thought of
for many a day.

External circumstances had remained much the same with us; only one
great change, the death of my dear grandmother, having occurred in the
family. My aunt presided over her father's household, and the
admirable order and good taste which pervaded every department bore
witness how well she understood combining the elements of a home.

Aunt Linny, now twenty-seven years of age, had lost nothing of her
former attractiveness. The brilliant, impulsive girl had but ripened
into the still more lovely woman. Her cheek was not faded nor her eye
dimmed. There was the same frankness, the same heart in her glance,
her smile, the warm pressure of her hand, but tempered by experience,
reflection, and self-control. One felt that she could be loved and
trusted with the whole heart and judgment. Her personal attractions,
and yet more the charm of her sensible, genial, and racy conversation,
brought to our house many pleasant visitors, and made her the
sparkling centre of every circle into which she could be drawn. But it
was rarely that she could be beguiled from home; for, since her
mother's death, she had devoted herself heart and soul to her widowed

The relation between myself and my aunt was somewhat peculiar. Neither
of us having associates of our own age in the family, I had become her
companion, and even friend, to a degree which would have been
impossible in other circumstances. She had scarcely outgrown the
freshness and simplicity of childhood when I first came to live with
her, and my mind and feelings had expanded rapidly under the constant
stimulus of a nature so full of rich life; so that at the date I now
speak of, we lived together more as sisters than as aunt and niece. An
inexpressible charm rests on those days, when we read, wrote, rambled
together, shared the same room, and had every pleasure, every trouble
in common. All show of authority over me had gradually melted away;
but her influence with me was still unbounded, for I loved her with
the passionate earnestness of a first, full-hearted friendship.--But
to proceed with my story.

One sweet afternoon in early summer, we two were sitting alone. The
windows towards the garden were open, and the breath of lilacs and
roses stole in. I had been reading to her some verses of my own,
celebrating the praise of first love as an imperishable sentiment. My
fancy had just been crazed with the poetry of L.E.L., who was then
shining as the "bright particular star" in the literary heavens.

"The lines are very pretty," said my aunt, "but I trust it's only
poetizing, Kate; I should be sorry indeed to have you join the school
of romantic misses who think first love such a killing matter."

"But, Aunty," I cried, "what a horribly prosy, matter-of-fact affair
life would be in any other view! I believe poetry itself would become

"So, then, if a woman is disappointed in first love, she is bound to
die for the benefit of poetry!"

"But just think, Aunt Linny--if Ophelia, instead of going mad so
prettily, and dying in a way to break everybody's heart, had soberly
set herself to consider that there were as fine fish yet in the sea as
ever were caught, and that it was best, therefore, to cheer up and
wait for better times! Frightful!"

"Never trouble your little head, Kate, with fear that there will not
be Ophelias enough, as long as the world stands. But I wouldn't be
one, if I were you, unless I could bespeak a Shakspeare to do me into
poetry. That would be an inducement, I allow. How would you fancy
being a Sukey Fay, Kate?"

"Oh, the poor old wretch, with her rags and dirt and gin-bottle! Has
she a story?"

"Just as romantic a one as Ophelia, only she lacks a poet. But, in
sober truth, Katy, why is there not as true poetry in battling with
feeling as in yielding to it? To me there seems something far more
lofty and beautiful in bearing to live, under certain circumstances,
than in daring to die."

"If you only spoke experimentally, dear Aunty! Oh that Plato, or John
Milton, or Sir Philip Sydney would reappear, and lay all his genius
and glory at your feet! I wonder if you'd be of the same mind then!"

"And then, of course, this sublime suitor must die, or desert me, to
show how I would behave under the trial.--Katy," continued my aunt,
after a little pause, with a smile and slight blush, "I have half a
mind to tell you a little romance of my early days, when I was just
your age. It may be useful to you at this point of your life."

"Is it possible?" cried I,--"a romance of your early days! Quick, let
me hear!"

"I shouldn't have called it a romance, Katy; for as a story, it is
just nothing. It has no interest except as marking the beginning of
my education,--the education, I mean, of real life."

"But let me hear; there's some spice of poetry in it, I know."

"Well, then, it's like many another story of early fancy. In my
childhood I had a playmate. Our fathers' houses stood but a few rods
apart, and the families lived in habits of the closest intimacy. From
my earliest remembrance, the brave little boy, four years older than
I, was my sworn friend and protector; and as we increased in years, an
affection warm and frank as that of brother and sister grew up between
us. A love of nature and of poetry, and a certain earnestness and
enthusiasm of character, which separated us both from other children,
drew us closely together. At fifteen he left us to fit for college at
a distant school, and thenceforward he was at home only for brief
visits, till he was graduated with distinguished honor at the age of
twenty-one. During those six years of separation our relation to each
other had suffered no change. We had corresponded with tolerable
regularity, and I had felt a sister's pride in his talents and
literary honors. When, therefore, he returned home to recruit his
health, which had been seriously impaired by study and confinement, I
welcomed him with great joy, and with all the frankness of former

"Again we read, chatted, and rambled together. I found him unchanged
in character, but improved, cultivated, to a degree which delighted,
almost awed me. When he read our favorite authors with his rich,
musical voice, and descanted on their beauties with discriminating
taste and fervent poetic feeling, a new light fell on the
page. Through his eyes I learned to behold in nature a richness, a
grace, a harmony, a meaning, only vaguely felt before. It was as if I
had just received the key to a mysterious cipher, unlocking deep and
beautiful truths in earth and sea and sky, by which they were invested
with a life and splendor till now unseen. But it was his noble
sentiments, his generous human sympathies, his ardent aspirations
after honorable distinction to be won by toil and self-denial, which
woke my heart as by an electric touch. My own unshaped, half-conscious
aims and aspirations, stirred with life, took wing and soared with his
into the pure upper air. Ah! it was a bright, beautiful dream, Kate,
the life of those few months. I never once thought of love, nor of the
possibility of separation. All flowed so naturally from our life-long
intimacy, that I had not the slightest suspicion of the change which
had come over me. But the hour of waking was at hand. We had looked
forward to the settled summer weather for a marked improvement in his
health. But June had come and he still seemed very delicate. His
physician prescribed travelling and change of climate; and though his
high spirits had deceived me as to his real danger, I urged him to
go. He left us to visit an elder brother residing in one of the Middle
States. Ten years this very month!" added Aunt Linny, with an absent

"Ten years ago this very month," I exclaimed, "did my distinguished
self arrive at this venerable mansion. What a singular conjunction of
events! No doubt our horoscopes would reveal some strange entanglement
of destinies at this point. Perchance I, even I, was 'the star malign'
whose rising disturbed the harmonious movement of the spheres!"

"No doubt of it; the birth of a mouse once caused an earthquake, you

"But could I have seen him? Did I arrive before he had left?"

"Oh, yes, very likely; but of course you can have no recollection of
him, such a chit as you were then."

"What was his name?" I cried, eagerly. A long-silent chord of memory
began to give forth a vague, uncertain murmur.

"Oh, no matter, Kate. I would a little rather you shouldn't know. It
doesn't affect the moral of the story, which was all I had in view in
relating it."

"A plague take the moral, Aunty! The romance is what I want; and
what's that without 'the magic of a name'?"

"Excuse me."

"Tell me his Christian name, then,--just for a peg to hang my ideas
on; that is, if it's meat for romance. If it is Isaac or Jonathan, you
needn't mention it."

"Well, then, you tease,--I called him Cousin Harry."

"Cousin Harry!" I screamed, starting forward, and staring at her with
eyes wide open.

"Yes; but what ails you, child? You glare upon me like a maniac."

"Hush! hush! don't speak!" said I.

As I sunk back, in a sort of dream, into the rocking-chair in which I
had been idling, the garden caught my eye through the open window. The
gate overarched with honeysuckle, the long alley with its fragrant
flowering border, the grape arbor, the steep green hill behind, lay
before me in the still, rich beauty of June. In a twinkling, memory
had swept the dust from my little cabinet picture, and let in upon it
a sudden light. The ten intervening years vanished like a dream, and
that long-forgotten garden scene started up, vivid as in the hour when
it actually passed before my eyes. The clue to that mystery which had
so spellbound my childish fancy was at length found. I sat for a time
in silence, lost in a delicious, confused reverie.

"The Button-Rose was a gift from him, then?" were my first words.

"What, Kate?" said Aunt Linny, now opening her large blue eyes with a
strange look.

"Did you give away the flower-pot too? That was so pretty! Whom did
you give it to?"

"Incredible!" she exclaimed, coloring, and with the strongest
expression of surprise. "Truly, little pitchers have not been

"But the wonderful humming-bird, Aunty! What had that to do with it?"

"Kate," said my aunt, "you talk like one in sleep. Wake up, and let me
know what all this means."

"I see it all now!" I rattled on, more to myself than her. "First
young love,--parting gift,--Cousin Harry proves fickle,--Aunt Linny
banishes the Button-Rose from her window,--takes to books, and
educating naughty nieces, and doing good to everybody,--'bearing to
live,' as more heroic than 'daring to die,'--in ten years gets so that
she can speak of it with composure, as a lesson to romantic
girls. So?"

"Even so, Katy!" she replied, quietly; "and to that early
disappointment I owe more than to anything that ever befell me."

She said this with a smile; but her voice trembled a little, and I
perceived that a soft dew had gathered over her eyes. By an
irresistible impulse I rose, and stealing softly behind her, clasped
my arms round her neck, and kissing her forehead whispered, "Forgive
me, sweet Aunty!"

"Not a bit of harm, Katy," she replied, drawing me down for a warm
kiss. "But what a gypsy you must be," she added, in her usually
lively tone, "to have trudged along so many years with this precious
little bundle, and said never a word to anybody!"

"I've not thought of it myself, these ever so many years," said I,
"and it seems like witchwork that it should all have come to me at
this moment."

I then related to her my childish reminiscences and speculations,
which amused her not a little. Her hearty, mirthful zest showed that
the theme was not a disquieting one. I now begged her to proceed with
her story.

"But stay a moment," said I; "let me fetch our garden bonnets, that we
may enjoy it in the very scene of the romance."

"Ah, Kate, you are bent on making a heroine of me!" was the reply, as
she took her seat in the grape arbor; "but there are really no
materials. I shall finish in fifteen minutes by my watch, and you'll
drop me as an Ophelia, I venture to say. Cousin Harry had left us, as
I told you, to visit his brother. For some months his letters were
very frequent, and as the time approached for his return they grew
increasingly cheerful, and--Katy, I cannot but excuse myself in part,
when I recall the magic charm of those letters. But no matter; all of
a sudden they ceased, and for several weeks not a word was heard from
him by his own family. At length, when my anxiety had become wellnigh
intolerable, there came a brief letter to his father, announcing his
marriage with the sister of his brother's wife, and his decision to
enter into business with his brother."

"Did you know anything of the young lady?"

"He had once or twice mentioned her in his letters as a beautiful,
amiable creature, whose education had been shamefully neglected. Her
kindness to him in his illness and loneliness, added to her natural
charms, won his heart, no doubt many a wise man has been caught in
that snare."

"But what base conduct towards you!"

"Not at all, my dear! My dream had suffused his words with its own
coloring,--that was all. As soon as reason could make her voice heard,
I acquitted him of all blame. His feelings towards me had been those
of a brother,--no more."

"But why, then, did he cease to write? why not share his new
happiness with so dear a friend?"

"That was not unnatural, after what he had said of the young lady's
deficiencies. Probably the awkwardness of the thing led him to defer
writing from time to time, till he had become so absorbed in his
domestic relations and his business, that he had ceased to think of
it. Life's early dewdrops often exhale in that way, Kate!"

"Then life is a hateful stupidity!"

"Yes; if it could be morning all day, and childhood could outlast our
whole lives, it would be very charming. But life has jewels that don't
exhale, Kate, but sparkle brightest in the hottest sun. These lie
deep in the earth, and to dig them out requires more than a child's
strength of heart and arm. One must be well inured to toil and weather
before he can win these treasures; but when once he wears these in his
bosom he doesn't sigh for dewdrops."

"Well, let me hear how you were inured."

"The news of this marriage revealed to me, as by a flash of lightning,
my whole inner world of feeling. When I knew that he was forever lost,
I first knew what he had become to me. The pangs of disappointment, of
self-humiliation,--I hardly know which were the stronger,--were like
poisoned arrows in my heart. It was my first trouble, and I had to
bear it in silence and alone. Not for worlds would I have had it
guessed that I had cherished an unreturned affection, and it would
have killed me to hear him blamed. Towards him I had, in my most
secret heart, no emotion of resentment or reproach. A feeling of
dreary loss, of a long, weary life from which all the flowers had
vanished, a sort of tender self-pity, filled my heart. It is not worth
while to detail the whole process by which I gradually forced myself
out of this miserable state. One thing helped me much. As soon as the
first bitterness of my heart was passed, I saw clearly that the
indulgence of such a sentiment towards one who was now the husband of
another could not be innocent. It must not be merely concealed; it
must be torn up, root and branch. With this steadily before my mind
as the central point of my efforts, I worked my way step by
step. First came the removal of the numerous little mementos of those
happy days in dreamland, the sight of which softened my heart into
weakness and vain regret. Next I threw aside my favorite works of
imagination and feeling, and for two years read scarcely a book which
did not severely task my mind. I devoted myself more to my mother, and
interested myself in the poor and sick. Last, not least, I resolved on
taking the whole charge of your education, Katy; and of my various
specifics, I think I would recommend the training of such an elf as
the 'sovereignest remedy' for first love. The luxuriant growth of your
character interested, stimulated, kept me perpetually on the alert. I
soon began to work _con amore_ at this task; my spirits caught at
times the contagious gayety of yours; my poor heart was refreshed by
your warm childish love. In short, I began to live again. But, ah!
dear Kate, it was a long, stern conflict. Many, many months, yes,
years, passed by, ere those troubled waters became clear and
still. But I held firmly on my way, and the full reward came at
last. By degrees I had created within and around me a new world of
interest and activity, in which this little whirlpool of morbid
feeling became an insignificant point. I was conscious of the birth of
new energies, of a bolder and steadier sweep of thought, of fuller
sympathies, of that settled quiet and harmony of soul which are to be
gained only in the school of self-discipline. That dream of my youth
now lies like a soft cloud far off in the horizon, beautiful with the
morning tints of memory, but casting no shadow."

She paused; then added, in a lively tone: "Well, Kate, the fifteen
minutes are not out, and yet my story is done. Think you now it would
really have been better to go a-swinging on a willow-tree over a pond,
and so have made a good poetical end?"

"Oh, I am so glad you were not such a goose as to make a swan of
yourself, like poor Ophelia!" said I, throwing my arms around her, and
giving her half a dozen kisses. "But tell me truly, was I indeed such
a blessing to you, 'the very cherubim that did preserve thee'? To
think of the repentance I have wasted over my childish naughtiness,
when it was all inspired by your good angel! I shall take heed to this

"Do so, Kate, and your good angel will doubtless inspire in me a
suitable response."

"But tell me now, Aunt Linny, who the living man was. Was he a real

"I may as well tell you, Kate, or you will get it from your
'familiar.' You have heard of our rich cousin in Cuba, Henry

"Oh, yes; I have heard grandfather speak of him. So, then, he was
Cousin Harry! I should like one chance at his hair, for all his
goodness. Did you ever meet again?"

"Never. His father's family soon removed to a distant place, so that
there was no necessity for visiting the old home. But I have always
heard him spoken of as an upright merchant and a cultivated and
generous man. He has resided several years in Cuba. A year or two
since, he went to Europe for his wife's health, and there she
died. Rumor now reports him as about to become the husband of an
Englishwoman of high connections. I should be very glad to see him
once more.--But come now, Kate, let's have a decennial celebration of
our two anniversaries. Lay the tea-table in the grape arbor, and then
invite grandpapa to a feast of strawberries and cream."

I hastily ornamented our rural banquet-hall with long branches of
roses and honeysuckles in full bloom, stuck into the leafy roof. As we
sat chatting and laughing over our simple treat, a humming-bird darted
several times in and out. "A messenger!" whispered I to Aunt
Linny. "Depend upon it, Cousin Harry didn't marry the English lady."


The next morning I slept late. Fancy had all night been busy,
combining her old and new materials into many a wild shape. After my
aunt had risen at her usual early hour, I fell into one of those balmy
morning-naps which make up for a whole night's unrest. I dreamed
still, but the visions floated by with that sweet changeful play which
soothes rather than fatigues the brain. The principal objects were
always the same; but the combination shifted every instant, as by the
turn of a kaleidoscope. At length they arranged themselves in a
lovely miniature scene in a convex mirror. There bloomed the little
Button-Rose in the centre, and above it the humming-bird glanced and
murmured, and now and then darted his slender bill deep into the bosom
of the flowers. With hands clasped above this central object, as if
exchanging vows upon an altar, stood the young human pair. Of a
sudden, old Cornelius Agrippa was in the room, robed in a black
scholar's-gown, over which his snowy beard descended nearly to his
knees. Stretching forth a long white wand, he touched the picture, and
immediately a wedding procession began to move out of the magic
crystal, the figures, as they emerged, assuming the size of
life. First tripped a numerous train of white-robed little maidens,
scattering flowers; then came a priest in surplice and bands, holding
before him a great open service-book; after him, the bridal pair,
attended by their friends. But by an odd trick of fancy, the
bridegroom, who looked very stately and happy, appeared with the china
flower-pot containing the Button-Rose balanced on the end of his nose!
Awaked by my own laughter at this comical sight, I opened my eyes and
found Aunt Linny sitting on the bedside and laughing with me.

"I should have waked you before, Katy," said she, "if you had not
seemed to be enjoying yourself so much. Come, unfold your dream. I
presume it will save me the trouble of telling you the contents of
this wonderful epistle which I hold in my hand."

"It's from Cousin Harry! Huzza!"  cried I, springing up to snatch it.

But she held it out of my reach. "Softly! good Mistress
Fortuneteller," said she. "Read me the letter without seeing it, and
then I shall know that you can tell the interpretation thereof."

"Of course it's from Cousin Harry. That's what the humming-bird came
to say last night. As for the contents,--he's not married,--his heart
turns to the sister-friend of his youth,--he yearns to look into her
lustrous orbs once more,--she alone, he finds, is the completion of
his _'Ich'_. He hastens across the dark blue sea; soon will she
behold him at her feet."

"Alas, poor gypsy, thou hast lost thy silver penny this time. The
letter is indeed from Cousin Harry, and that of itself is one of
life's wonders. But it is addressed with all propriety to his
'venerable uncle.' He arrived from Europe a month since, and being now
on a tour for health and pleasure, proposes to make a hasty call on
his relatives and visit the old homestead. He brings his bride with
him. Now, Kate, be stirring; they will be here to-night, and we must
look our prettiest."

"The hateful, prosy man! I'll not do anything to make his visit
agreeable," said I, pettishly.

"Why, Kate, what are you conjuring up in your foolish little noddle?"

"Oh, I supposed an _éclaircissement_ would come round somehow,
and we should finish the romance in style."

"Why, Kate, do you really wish to get rid of me?"

"No, indeed! I wouldn't have you accept his old withered heart for the
world. But I wanted you to have the triumph of rejecting it. 'Indeed,
my dear cousin,'--thus you should have said,--'I shall always be
interested in you as a kinsman, but I can never love you.'"

"Kate is crazed!" she exclaimed, in a voice of despair. "Why, dear
child, there is not a shadow of foundation for this nonsense. I am
heartily glad at the thought of seeing my cousin once more, and all
the gladder that he brings a wife with him. Will you read the letter?"

I read it twice, and then asked,--"Where does he mention his wife?"

"Why, there,--don't you see? 'I shall bring with me a young lady,
whom, though a stranger and a foreigner, I trust you will be pleased
to welcome.' Isn't that plain?"

The inference seemed sufficiently natural; but the slight uncertainty
was the basis of many entertaining dreams through the day. I resolved
to hold fast my faith in romance till the last moment. Towards
evening, when the parlors and guest-chambers had received the last
touches, when the silver had been polished, the sponge-cake and tarts
baked, and our own toilette made,--when, in short, nothing remained to
be done, my excitement and impatience rose to the highest pitch. I
ran repeatedly down the avenue, and finally mounted with a
pocket-telescope to the top of the house for a more extensive survey.

"See you aught, Sister Annie?"  called my aunt from below.

"Nothing yet, good Fatima!--spin out thy prayers a little
longer. Stay! a cloud of dust, a horseman!--no doubt an outrider
hastening on to announce his approach. Ah! he passes, the stupid
clown! Another! Nay, that was only a Derby wagon; the stars forbid
that our deliverer should come in a Derby! But now, hush! there's a
_bonâ fide_ barouche, two black horses, black driver and
all. Almost at the turn! O gentle Ethiopian, tarry! this is the
castle! Go, then, false man! Fatima, thy last hope is past! No, they
stop! the gentleman looks out! he waves his hand this way! Aunt
Linny, 'tis he! the carriage is coming up the avenue!" So saying, I
threw down the telescope and flew to her room.

"You are right, Kate, it must be he," said she, glancing through the
window, and then following me quietly down stairs.

The carriage stopped, and we all went down the steps to receive our
long absent relative. A tall, pale gentleman in black sprang out and
came hurriedly towards us. He looked much older than I had expected;
but the next instant the flash of his black eye, and the eloquent
smile which lighted up his pensive countenance as with a sunbeam,
brought back the Cousin Harry of ten years ago. He returned my
grandfather's truly paternal greeting with the most affectionate
cordiality; but with scarce a reply to my aunt's frank welcome, gave
her his arm, and made a movement towards the house.

"But, cousin," said she, smiling, "what gem have you there, hidden in
the carriage, too precious to be seen? We have a place in our hearts
for the fair stranger, I assure you."

"Ah, poor thing! I had quite forgotten her," said he, coloring and
laughing, as he turned towards the carriage.

Aunt Linny and I exchanged mirthful glances at this treatment of a
bride; but the next instant he had lifted out and led towards us a
small female personage, who, when her green veil was thrown aside,
proved to be a lovely girl of some seven or eight years.

"Permit me," said he, smiling, "to present Miss Caroline Morrison,
'sole daughter of my house and heart.'"

"But the stranger, the foreign lady?"  inquired Aunt Linny, as she
kissed and welcomed the child.

"Why, this is she,--this young Cuban! Whom else did you look for?"
was the reply, in a tone of surprise, and, as it seemed to me, of
slight vexation.

"We expected a lady with a few more years on her head," interposed
grandpapa; "but the little pet is just as welcome. There, Katy, this
curly-pate will answer as well as a wax doll for you."

The dear old gentleman could never realize that I was grown up to be a
woman. Of course, I was now introduced in due form, and we went
together up the steps.

"How pleasant, how familiar all things look!" said our visitor,
pausing and gazing round him. "Why, uncle, you must have had your
house, and yourself, and everything about you insured against old
age. Nothing has changed except to improve. I see the very picture I
carried with me ten years ago."

The tears stood in my grandfather's eyes. "You have forgotten one
great change, dear nephew," said he; "against that we could find no

"How could I forget?" was the answer, in a low tone, full of feeling,
his own eyes filling with moisture. "My dear aunt! I shed many tears
with and for you, when I heard of her death." He looked extremely
amiable at this moment; I knew that I should love him.

My aunt smiled through her tears, and said, very sweetly, "The thought
of her should cheer, and not cloud our meeting. Her presence never
brought me sorrow, nor does her remembrance. Come, dear," she added,
cheerfully, taking the child's hand, "come in and rest your poor
little tired self. Kate, find the white kitten for her. A prettier one
you never saw in France or Cuba, Miss Carrie,--that's what papa calls
you, I suppose?"

"It used to be my name," said the little smiler; "but papa always
calls me Linny now, because he thinks it sweeter."

       *       *       *       *       *

"What say you to the humming-bird now?" I whispered to my aunt, as we
were a moment alone in the tea-room.

"Kate, I wish you were fifty miles off at this moment! It was no good
angel that deluded me into telling you that foolish tale last
evening. Indeed, Kate," added she, earnestly, "you will seriously
compromise me, if you are not more careful. Promise me that you will
not make one more allusion of this kind, even to me, while they

"But I may give you just a look, now and then?"

"Do you wish me to repent having trusted you, Kate?"

"I promise, aunty,--by my faith in first love!"

"Nonsense! Go, call them to tea."


Our kinsman had been easily persuaded to remain with us a week, and a
charming week it had been to all of us. He had visited all the West
India Islands, and the most interesting portions of England and the
Continent. My grandfather, who, as the commander of his own
merchant-ship, had formerly visited many foreign countries, was
delighted to refresh his recollections of distant scenes, and to live
over again his adventures by sea and land. The conversation of our
guest with his uncle was richly instructive and entertaining; for he
had a lively appreciation of national and individual character, and
could illustrate them by a world of amusing anecdote. The old
veteran's early fondness for his nephew revived in full force, and his
enjoyment was alloyed only by the dread of a new separation. "What
shall I do when you are gone, Harry!" was his frequent exclamation;
and then he would sigh and shake his head, and wish he had one son

But the richest treat for my aunt and me was reserved till the late
evening, when the dear patriarch had retired to rest. Those warm,
balmy nights on the piazza, with the moonlight quivering through the
vines, and turning the terraced lawn with fantastic mixture of light
and shadow into a fairy scene, while the cultivated traveller
discoursed of all things beautiful in nature and art, were full of
witchery. Mont Blanc at sunrise, the wild scenery of the Simplon, the
exhumed streets of Pompeii, the Colosseum by moonlight, those wondrous
galleries of painting and sculpture of which I had read as I had read
of the palace of Aladdin and the gardens of the genii,--the living man
before me had seen all these! I looked upon him as an ambassador from
the world of poetry. But even this interested me less than the tone of
high and manly sentiment by which his conversation was pervaded, the
feeling reminiscences of endeared friendships formed in those far-off
lands, the brief glimpses of deep sorrows bravely borne; and I watched
with a sweet, sly pleasure my aunt's quiet surrender to the old spell.

"It makes me very happy, Kate," said she one day, "to have found my
cousin and friend again. I am glad to feel that friendships springing
from the pure and good feelings of the heart are not so transient as I
have sometimes been tempted to think them. They may be buried for
years under a drift of new interests; but give them air, and they will
live again."

"What is that remark of Byron about young ladies' friendship? Take
care, take care!" said I, shaking my head, gravely; "receive the
warning of a calm observer!"

"Oh, no, Kate! this visit is but a little green oasis in the
desert. In a day or two we shall separate, probably forever; but both,
I doubt not, will be happier through life for this brief reunion. His
plan is to make his future residence in France."

At the end of the week our kinsman left us for a fortnight's visit to
the metropolis. Intending to give us a call on his return south, he
willingly complied with our desire to leave his little girl with
us. As we were sitting together in my aunt's room after his departure,
the child brought her a small packet which her father had intrusted to
her. "I believe," said the little smiler, "he said it was a story for
you to read. Won't you please to read it to me?" She took it with a
look of surprise and curiosity, and immediately opened it and began to
read. But her color soon began to vary, her hand trembled, and
presently laying down the sheets in her lap, she sat lost in thought.

"It seems a moving story!" I remarked, dryly.

"Kate, this is the strangest affair!--But I can't tell you now; I must
read it first alone."

She left the room, and I heard the key turn in the lock as she entered
another chamber. In about an hour she came out very composedly, and
said nothing more on the subject.

After our little guest was asleep at night, I could restrain myself no
longer. "You are treating me shabbily, aunty," said I. "See if I am
ever a good girl again to please you!"

"You shall know it all, Katy; I only wished to think it over first by
myself. There, take the letter; but make no note or comment till I
mention it again."

       *       *       *       *       *

The letter of Cousin Harry seemed to me rather matter-of-fact, I must
confess, till near the end, where he spoke of a little nosegay which
he enclosed, and which would speak to her of dear old times.

"But where is the nosegay, aunty?"

With a beautiful flush, as if the sunset of that vanished day were
reddening the sky of memory, she drew a small packet from her bosom,
and in it I found a withered rose-bud tied up with a shrivelled sprig
of mignonette.

I am afraid that my Aunt Linny's answer was a great deal more proper
than I should have wished; and yet, with all its emphatic expressions
of duty towards her father and the impossibility of leaving him, there
must have been something between the lines which I could not read. I
have since discovered that all such epistles have their real meaning
concealed in some kind of more rarefied sympathetic ink, which betrays
itself only under the burning hands of a lover.

"So, then," said Aunt Linny, as she was sealing this letter, "you see,
Katy, that your romance has come to an untimely end."

I turned round her averted face with both my hands, and looked in her
eyes till she blushed and laughed in spite of herself.

"My knowledge of symptoms is not large," said I, "but I have a
conviction that his health will now endure a northern climate."

"Let's talk no more of this!" said she, putting me aside with a gentle
gravity, which checked my nonsense. But as I was unable to detect in
her, on this or the following day, the slightest depression of
spirits, I shrewdly guessed that our anticipations of the result were
not very dissimilar.

The next return post brought, not the expected letter, but our hero
himself. I was really amazed at the change in his appearance. Erect,
elastic, his face radiant with expression, he looked years younger
than at his first arrival. I caught Aunt Linny's eloquent glance of
surprise and pleasure as they met. For a moment the bridal pair of my
dream stood living before me; then vanished even more suddenly than
that fancy show of the old magician. When we again met, two or three
hours after, my aunt's serene smile and dewy eyes told me that all was

       *       *       *       *       *

In a month the wedding took place, and the "happy pair" started off on
a few weeks' excursion. As I was helping my aunt exchange her bridal
for her travelling attire, I whispered, "What say you to my doctrine
of first love, aunty?"

"That it finds its best refutation in my experience. No, believe me,
dearest Katy, the true jewel of life is a spirit that can rule itself,
that can subject even the strongest, dearest impulses to reason and
duty. Without it, indeed," she added, with a soft earnestness,
"affection towards the worthiest object becomes an unworthy
sentiment--And besides, Kate,"--here her eye gleamed with girlish
mirth--"you see, if I had made love my all, I should have missed it
all. Not even Cousin Harry's constancy would have been proof against a
withered, whining, sentimental old maid."

"Well, you will allow that it's a great paradox, aunty! If you believe
in my doctrine, it turns out a mere delusion; if you don't believe in
it, 'tis sure to come true."

"Take care, then, and disbelieve in it with all your might!" said she,
laughing, and kissing me, as we left her room,--my room alone
henceforth. A shadow seemed to fill it, as she passed the threshold.


Among our summer birds, the vast majority are but transient visitors,
born and bred far to the northward, and returning thither every
year. The North, then, is their proper domicile, their legal "place of
residence," which they have never renounced, but only temporarily
desert, for special reasons. Their sojourn with us, or farther south,
is merely an exile by stress of climate, like the flitting of the
Southern planters from the rice-fields to the mountains in summer, or
the pleasure tour or watering-place visit customary with the citizens
of Boston and New York.

The lower orders, such as the humming-bird with his insect-like
stomach and sucking-tube, and so on up through the warblers and
flycatchers, more strictly bound by the necessities of their life,
closely follow the sun,--while the upper-ten-thousand, the robins,
cedar-birds, sparrows, etc., like man, omnivorous in their diet and
their attendant _chevaliers d'industrie_, the rapacious birds,
allow themselves greater latitude, and go and come occasionally at all
seasons, though in general tending to the south in winter and north in
summer. But precedence before all is due to permanent residents, with
whom our intercourse is not of this transitory and fair-weather
sort. Such are the crow, the blue jay, the chickadee, the partridge,
and the quail, who may be called regular inhabitants, though perhaps
all of them wander occasionally from one district to another. Besides
these, perhaps some of the hawks and owls remain here throughout the
year. But the species I have named are the only ones that occur to me
as equally numerous at all seasons in the immediate vicinity of
Boston, and never out of town, whether you take the census in May or
in January.

In spite of our uninterrupted acquaintance with them, however, there
are still many of the nearest questions concerning these birds for
which I find no sufficient answers. Even to the first question--How do
they get their living?--there are only vague replies in the books.

There is the crow, for example. I have seen crows in the neighborhood
of Boston every week of the year, and in not very different
numbers. My friend the ornithologist said to me last winter, "You will
see that they will be off as soon as the ground is well covered with
snow." But on the contrary, when the snow came, and after it had lain
deep on the fields for many days, I saw more than before,--probably
because they found it easier to get food in the neighborhood of the
houses and cultivated grounds.

A crow must require certainly half a pound of animal food, or its
equivalent, daily, in order to keep from starving. Yet they not only
do not starve that I hear of, but seem to keep in as good case in
winter as in summer, though what they find to eat is not immediately
apparent. The vague traditional suggestion of "carrion," as of dead
horses and the like, does not help us much. Some scraps doubtless may
be left lying about, but any reliable stores of this kind are hardly
to be looked for in this neighborhood. A few scattered kernels of
corn, perhaps on a pinch a few berries, he may pick up; though I
suspect the crow is somewhat human in his tastes, and, besides animal
food, affects only the cereals. The frogs are deep in the mud. Now
and then a squirrel or a mouse may be had; but they are mostly dozing
in their holes. As for larger game, rabbits and the like, the crow is
hardly nimble enough for them, nor are his claws well adapted for
seizing; anything of this kind he will scarcely get, except as the
leavings of the weasel or skunk. These he will not refuse; for though
he is of a different species from the carrion crow of Europe, with
whom he was formerly confounded, yet he is of similar, though perhaps
less extreme, tastes as to his food. But when the ground is freshly
covered with snow, all supplies of this sort would seem to be cut off,
for the time at least. Yet who ever found a starved crow, or even saw
one driven by hunger from any of his accustomed caution? He is ever
the same alert, vivacious, harsh-tongued wanderer over the white
fields as over the summer meadows.

A partial solution of the mystery is to be found in the habit which
the bird has in common with most of the crow kind, of depositing any
surplus food in a place of safety for future use. A tame crow that I
saw last year was constantly employed in this way. As soon as his
hunger was satisfied, if a piece of meat was given to him, he flew off
to some remote spot, and there covered it up with twigs and leaves. I
was told that the woods were full of these caches of his. Bits of
bread and the like he was too well-fed to care much about, but he
would generally go through the form of covering them, at your very
feet, with a little rubbish, not taking the trouble to hide them.
Meanwhile his hunting went on as if he still had his living to get,
and he would watch for field-mice, or come flying in from the woods
with a squirrel swinging from his claws, either for variety's sake, or
because he had really forgotten the stores he had laid up. Scattered
magazines of this kind, established in times of accidental plenty, may
render life during our winters possible to the crow.

But why should he give himself so much trouble to subsist here, when a
few hours' work with those broad wings would bear him to a land of
tropical abundance? The crow, it seems, is not a mere eating and
drinking machine, drawn hither and thither by the balance of supply
and demand, but has his motives of another sort. Is it, perhaps, some
local attachment, so that a crow hatched in Brookline, for example,
would be more loath than another to quit that neighborhood,--a sort of
crow patriotism, akin to that which keeps the Greenlanders slowly
starving of cold and hunger on that awful coast of theirs.

It is not probable, however, that the crow allows himself to suffer
much from these causes; he is far too knowing for that, and shows his
position at the head of the bird kind by an almost total emancipation
from scruples and prejudices, and by the facility with which he adapts
himself to special cases. Instinct works by formulas, which, as it
were, make up the animal, so that the ant and the bee are atoms of
incarnate constructiveness and acquisitiveness, and nothing else. And
as intelligence, when its action is too narrowly concentrated, whether
upon pin-making or money-making, tends to degenerate into mere
instinct,--so instinct, when it begins to compare, and to except, and
to vary its action according to circumstances, shows itself in the act
of passing into intelligence. This marks the superiority of the crow
over birds it often resembles in its actions. Most birds are
wary. The crow is wary, and something more. Other shy birds, for
instance ducks, avoid every strange object. The crow considers whether
there be anything dangerous in the strangeness. An ordinary scarecrow
will not keep our crow from anything worth a little risk. He fathoms
the scarecrow, compares its behavior, under various circumstances,
with that of the usual wearer of its garments, and decides to take the
risk. To protect his corn, the farmer takes advantage of this very
discursiveness, and stretches round the field a simple line, nothing
in itself, but hinting at some undeveloped mischief which the bird
cannot penetrate.

Again, the crow is sometimes looked upon as a mere marauder; but this
description also is much too narrow for him. He is anxious only for
his dinner, and swallows seed-corn and noxious grubs with perfect
impartiality. He is not a mere pirate, living by plunder alone, but
rather like the old Phoenician sea-farer, indifferently honest or
robber as occasion serves,--and robber not from fierceness of
disposition, but merely from utter unscrupulousness as to means.

This is shown in his docility. A hawk or an eagle is never tamed, but
a crow is more easily and completely tamable than the gentlest
singing-bird. The one I have just spoken of, though hardly six months
from the nest, would allow himself to be handled by his owner, and
would suffer even a stranger to touch him. When I first came near the
house, he greeted me with a suppressed caw, and flew along some
hundred yards just over my head, looking down, first with one eye and
then with the other, to get a complete view of the stranger. Next
morning I became aware, when but half awake, of a sort of mewing sound
in the neighborhood, and at last looking around, I saw through the
window, which opened to the floor, my new acquaintance perched on the
porch roof, which was at the same level, turning his head from side to
side, and eyeing me through the glass with divers queer contortions
and gesticulations, reminding me of some odd, old, dried-up French
dancing-master, and with a varied succession of croakings, now high,
now low, evidently bent upon attracting my attention. When he had
succeeded, he flew off with loud, joyous caws to the top of the house,
where I heard him rolling nuts or acorns from the ridge, and flying to
catch them before they fell off.

Their independence of seasons is shown also in their habit of
associating in about equal numbers throughout the year. In the spring
the flocks are more noticeable, hovering about some grove of pines,
flying straight up in the air and swooping down again with an
uninterrupted cawing,--seemingly a sort of crow ball, with a view to
match-making. Afterwards they become more silent, and apparently more
solitary, but still fly out to their feeding-grounds morning and
evening; and if you sit down in the woods near one of their nests, the
uneasy choking chuckle, ending at last in the outright cawing of the
disturbed owner, will generally be answered from every point, and crow
after crow come edging up from tree to tree to see what is the matter.

Though all of the crow tribe are notorious for their harsh voices, yet
if the power of mimicry be considered as a mark of superiority, the
crow has claims to high rank in this department also. The closest
imitators of the human voice are birds of this family: for instance,
the Mino bird. Our crow also is a vocal mimic, and that not in the
matter-of-course way of the mocking-bird, but, as it were, more
individual and spontaneous. He is not merely an imitator of the human
voice, like the parrots, (and a better one as regards tone,) nor of
other birds, like the thrushes, but combines both. The tame crow
already mentioned very readily undertook extempore imitations of
words, and with considerable success. I once heard a crow imitate the
warbling of a small bird, in a tone so entirely at variance with his
ordinary voice, that, though assured by one who had heard him before,
that it was a crow and nothing else, it was only on the clearest proof
that I could satisfy myself of the fact. It seemed to be quite an
original and individual performance.

The blue jay is a near relative of the crow, and, like him,
omnivorous, harsh-voiced, predaceous, a robber of birds' nests; so
that if you hear the robins during their nesting-time making an
unusual clamor about the house, the chances are you will get a glimpse
of this brilliant marauder, sneaking away with a troop of them in
pursuit. His usual voice is a harsh scream, but he has some low
flute-like notes not without melody. The presence of a hawk, or more
particularly an owl in the woods, is often made known by the screaming
of the jays, who flock together about him with ever-increasing noise,
like a troop of jackals about a lion, pressing in upon him closer and
closer in a paroxysm of excitement, while the owl, thus taken at
disadvantage, sidles along his bough seeking concealment, and at
length softly flaps off to some more undisturbed retreat.

The blue jay is a shy bird, but he is enough of a crow to take a risk
where anything is to be had for it, and in winter will come close to
the house for food. In his choice of a nesting-place he seems at first
sight to show less than his usual caution; for, though the nest is a
very conspicuous one, it is generally made in a pine sapling not far
from the ground, and often on a path or other opening in the
woods. But perhaps, in the somewhat remote situations where he builds,
the danger is less from below than from birds of prey sailing
overhead. I once found a blue jay's nest on a path in the woods
somewhat frequented by me, but not often trodden by any one else, and
passed it twice on different days, and saw the bird sitting, but took
some pains not to alarm her. The next time, and the next, she was not
there; and on examination I found the nest empty, though with no marks
of having been robbed. There was not time for the eggs to have
hatched, and it was plain, that, finding herself observed, she had
carried them off.

As a general thing, the severity of our winters does not seem much to
affect the birds that stay with us. I have found chickadees and some
of the smaller sparrows apparently frozen to death, but the
extravasation of blood usual in such cases leaves us in doubt whether
some accident may not have first disabled the bird; and if dead birds
are more often found in winter than in summer, it may be only that the
body keeps longer, and, from the absence of grass and leaves, and the
white covering of the ground, is more readily seen. At all events,
such specimens are not usually emaciated, and sometimes they are in
remarkably good case, which, considering the rapid circulation and the
corresponding waste of the body, shows that the cold had not affected
their activity and their power of obtaining food.

The truth is, that birds are remarkably well guarded against cold by
their quick circulation, their dense covering of down and feathers,
and the ease with which they can protect their extremities. The
chickadee is never so lively as in clear, cold weather;--not that he
is absolutely insensible to cold; for on those days, rare in this
neighborhood, when the mercury falls to fifteen degrees or more below
zero, the chickadee shows by his behavior that he, too, feels it to be
an exceptional state of things. Of such a morning I have seen a small
flock of them collected on the sunny side of a thick hemlock, rather
silent and quiet, with ruffled plumage, like balls of gray fur,
waiting, with an occasional chirp, for the sun's rays to begin to warm
them up, and meanwhile not depressed, but only a little sobered in
their deportment, and ready, if the cold continued, to get used to
that too.

The matter of food-supply during the winter for the smaller birds is
more easily understood than in the case of the crow. The seeds of
grasses and the taller summer flowers, and of the birches, alders, and
maples, furnish supplies that are not interfered with by cold or snow;
also the buds of various trees and shrubs,--for the buds do not first
come into existence in the spring, as our city friends suppose, but
are to be found all winter. Nor is insect-life suspended at this
season to the extent that a careless observer might suppose. A sunny,
sheltered nook, at any time during the winter, will show you a variety
of two-winged flies, and several species of spiders, often in
considerable abundance, and as brisk as ever. And the numbers of eggs,
and larvae, and of the lurking tenants of crevices in tree-bark and
dead wood, may be guessed by the incessant and assuredly not aimless
activity of the chickadees and gold-crests and their associates.

This winter activity of the birds ought to be taken into account by
those who accuse them of mischief-doing in summer. In winter, at
least, no mischief can be done; there is no fruit to steal; and even
sap-sucking, if such a practice at any time be not altogether
fabulous, certainly cannot be carried on now. Nothing can be destroyed
now except the farmer's enemies, or at best neutrals. Yet the birds
keep at work all the time.

The only bird that occurs to me as a proved sufferer from famine in
the winter is the quail. This is the most limited in its range of all
our birds. Not only does it not migrate, (or only exceptionally,) but
it does not even wander much,--the same covey keeping all the year,
and even year after year, to the same feeding-ground. Nor does it ever
seek its food upon trees, like the partridge, but solely upon the

The quail is our nearest representative of the common barn-yard
fowl. This it resembles in many respects, and among others, in its
habit of going a-foot, except when the covey crosses from one feeding
or roosting ground to another, or when the cock-bird mounts upon a
rail-fence or stone-wall to sound his call in the spring. This
persistence exposes the quail to hardship when the ground is covered
with snow, and the fruit of the skunk-cabbage and all the berries and
grain are inaccessible. He takes refuge at such times in the
smilax-thickets, whose dense, matted covering leaves an open
feeding-ground below. But a snowy winter always tells upon their
numbers in any neighborhood. Whole coveys are said to have been found
dead, frozen stiff, under the bush where they had huddled together for
warmth; and even before this extremity, their hardships lay them open
to their enemies, and the fox and the weasel, and the farmer's boy
with his box-trap, destroy them by wholesale. The deep snows of 1856
and 1857 have nearly exterminated them hereabouts; and I was told at
Vergennes, in Vermont, that there were quails there many years ago,
but that they had now entirely disappeared.

The appearance and disappearance of species within our experience
teach us that Nature's lists are not filled once for all, but that the
changes which geology shows in past ages continue into the
present. Sometimes we can trace the immediate cause, or rather
occasion, as in the case of the quail's congeners, the pinnated
grouse, and the wild turkey, both of them inhabitants of all parts of
the State in the early times. The pinnated grouse has been seen near
Boston within the present century, but is now exterminated, I believe,
except in Martha's Vineyard. The wild turkey was to be found not long
since in Berkshire, but probably it has become extinct there
too. Sometimes, for no reason that we can see, certain species forsake
their old abodes, as the purple martin, which within the last
quarter-century has receded some twenty miles from the seaboard,--or
appear where they were before unknown, as the cliff swallow, which was
first seen in the neighborhood of the Rocky Mountains, but within
about the same space of time has become as common hereabouts as any of
the genus. In examples so conspicuous the movement is obvious enough;
but in the case of rarer species, for instance, the olive-sided
flycatcher, who can tell whether, when first observed, it was new to
naturalists merely, or to this part of the country, or to the earth
generally? The distinction sometimes made in such cases between
accidental influences and the regular course of nature is a
superficial one. The regular course of nature is in itself a series of
accidental influences; that is, the particular occasion is subservient
to a general law with which it does not seem at first sight to have
any connection. A severe winter may be sufficient to kill the quails,
just as the ancient morass was sufficient to drown the mastodon. But
the question is, why these causes began to operate just at these
times. We may as well stop with the evident fact, that the unresting
circulation is forever going on in the universe.

But if the quail, who is here very near his northern limits, has a
hard time of it in the winter, and is threatened with such "removal"
as we treat the Indians to, his relative, the partridge, our other
gallinaceous or hen-like bird, is of a tougher fibre, as you see when
you come upon his star-like tracks across the path, eight or nine
inches apart, and struck sharp and deep in the snow, or closer
together among the bushes, where he stretched up for barberries or
buds, and ending on either side with a series of fine parallel cuts,
where the sharp-pointed quills struck the snow as he rose,--a picture
of vigor and success. He knows how to take care of himself, and to
find both food and shelter in the evergreens, when the snow lies fresh
upon the ground. There, in some sunny glade among the pines, he will
ensconce himself in the thickest branches, and whir off as you come
near, sailing down the opening with his body balancing from side to

The partridge is altogether a wilder and more solitary bird than the
quail, and does not frequent cultivated fields, nor make his nest in
the orchard, as the quail does, but prefers the shelf of some rocky
ledge under the shadow of the pines in remote woods. He is one of the
few birds found in the forest; for it is a mistake to suppose that
birds abound in the forest, or avoid the neighborhood of man. On the
contrary, you may pass days and weeks in our northern woods without
seeing more than half a dozen species, of which the partridge is
pretty sure to be one. All birds increase in numbers about
settlements,--even the crow, though he is a forest bird too. Hence,
no doubt, has arisen the notion that the crow (supposed to be of the
same species with the European) made his appearance in this country
first on the Atlantic coast, and gradually spread westward, passing
through the State of New York about the time of the Revolution. I was
told some years since by a resident of Chicago, that the quails had
increased eight-fold in that vicinity since he came there. The fact
is, that the bird population, like the human, in the absence of
counteracting causes, will continue to expand in precise ratio to the
supply of food. The partridge goes farther north than the quail, and
is found throughout the United States. With us he affects high and
rocky ground, but northward he keeps at a lower level. At the White
Mountains, the regions of this species and of the Canada grouse or
spruce partridge are as well defined in height as those of the maples
and the "black growth." Still farther north I have observed that our
partridge frequents the lowest marshy ground, thus equalizing his
climate in every latitude.

There are few of our land-birds that flock together in summer, and few
that are solitary in winter,--none that I recollect, except birds of
prey. And not only do birds of the same kind associate, but certain
species are almost always found together. Thus, the chickadee, the
golden-crested wren, the white-breasted nuthatch, and, less
constantly, the brown creeper and the downy woodpecker, form a little
winter clique, of which you do not often see one of the members
without one or more of the others. No sound in nature more cheery and
refreshing than the alternating calls of a little troop of this kind
echoing through the glades of the woods on a still, sunny day in
winter: the vivacious chatter of the chickadee, the slender, contented
pipe of the gold-crest, and the emphatic, business-like _hank_ of the
nuthatch, as they drift leisurely along from tree to tree. The winter
seems to be the season of holiday enjoyment to the chickadee, and he
is never so evidently and conspicuously contented as in very cold
weather. In summer he withdraws to the thickets, and becomes less
noisy and active. His plumage becomes dull, and his brisk note changes
to a fine, delicate _pee-peh-wy_, or oftenest a mere whisper. They are
so much less noticeable at this season that one might suppose they had
followed their gold-crest companions to the North, as some of them
doubtless do, but their nests are not uncommon with us. Fearless as
the chickadee is in winter,--so fearless, that, if you stand still, he
will alight upon your head or shoulder,--in summer he becomes cautious
about his nest, and will desert it, if much watched. They build here,
generally, in a partly decayed white-birch or apple-tree, excavating a
hole eighteen inches or two feet deep,--the chips being carefully
carried off a short distance, so as not to betray the workman,--and
lining the bottom of it with a felting of soft materials, generally
rabbits' fur, of which I have taken from one hole as much as could be
conveniently grasped with the hand.

Besides the species that we regularly count upon in winter, there are
more or less irregular visitors at this season, some of them summer
birds also,--as the purple finch, cedar-bird, gold-finch, robin, the
flicker, or pigeon woodpecker, and the yellow-bellied and hairy
woodpeckers. Others, again, linger on from the autumn, and sometimes
through the winter,--as the snow-bird, song-sparrow, tree-sparrow.
Still others are seen only in winter,--as the brown and shore larks,
the crossbills, redpolls, snow-buntings, pine grosbeak, and some of
the hawks and owls; and of these some are merely accidental,--as the
pine grosbeak, which in 1836 appeared here in great numbers in
October, and remained until May. This beautiful and gentle bird (a
sweet songster too) is doubtless a permanent resident within the
United States, for I have seen them at the White Mountains in
August. What impels them to these occasional wanderings it is
difficult to guess; it is obviously not mere stress of weather; for in
1836, as I have remarked, they came early in autumn and continued
resident until late in the spring; and their food, being mainly the
buds of resinous trees, must have been as easy to get elsewhere as
here. Their coming, like the crow's staying, is a mystery to us.

I have spoken only of the land-birds; but the position of our city, so
embraced by the sea, affords unusual opportunities for observing the
sea-birds also. All winter long, from the most crowded thoroughfares
of the city, any one, who has leisure enough to raise his eyes over
the level of the roofs to the tranquil air above, may see the gulls
passing to and fro between the harbor and the flats at the mouth of
Charles River. The gulls, and particularly that cosmopolite, the
herring gull, are met with in this neighborhood throughout the year,
though in summer most of them go farther north to breed. On a still,
sunny day in winter, you may see them high in the air over the river,
calmly soaring in wide circles, a hundred perhaps at a time, or
pluming themselves leisurely on the edge of a hole in the ice. When
the wind is violent from the west, they come in over the city from the
bay outside, strong-winged and undaunted, breasting the gale, now
high, now low, but always working to windward, until they reach the
shelter of the inland waters.

In the spring they come in greater numbers, and other species arrive:
the great saddle-back, from the similarity of coloring almost to be
mistaken for the white-headed eagle, as he sits among the broken ice
at the edge of the channel; and the beautiful little Bonaparte's gull.

The ducks, too, still resort to our rivermouth, in spite of the
railroads and the tall chimneys by which their old feeding-grounds are
surrounded. As long as the channel is open, you may see the
golden-eyes, or "whistlers," in extended lines, visible only as a row
of bright specks, as their white breasts rise and fall on the waves;
and farther than you can see them, you may hear the whistle of their
wings as they rise. Spring and fall the "black ducks" still come to
find the brackish waters which they like, and to fill their crops with
the seeds of the eel-grass and the mixed food of the flats. In the
late twilight you may sometimes catch sight of a flock speeding in,
silent and swift, over the Mill-dam, or hear their sonorous quacking
from their feeding-ground.

At least, these things were,--and not long since,--though I cannot
answer for a year or two back. The birds long retain the tradition of
the old places, and strive to keep their hold upon them; but we are
building them out year by year. The memory is still fresh of flocks of
teal by the "Green Stores" on the Neck; but the teal and the "Stores"
are gone, and perhaps the last black duck has quacked on the river,
and the last whistler taken his final flight. Some of us, who are not
yet old men, have killed "brown-backs" and "yellow-legs" on the
marshes that lie along to the west and south of the city, now cut up
by the railroads; and you may yet see from the cars an occasional
long-booted individual, whose hopes still live on the tales of the
past, stalking through the sedge with "superfluous gun," or patiently
watching his troop of one-legged wooden decoys.

The sea keeps its own climate, and keeps its highways open, after all
on the land is shut up by frost. The sea-birds, accordingly, seem to
lead an existence more independent of latitude and of seasons. In
midwinter, when the seashore watering-places are forsaken by men, you
may find Nahant or Nantasket Beach more thronged with bipeds of this
sort than by the featherless kind in summer. The Long Beach of Nahant
at that season is lined sometimes by an almost continuous flock of
sea-ducks, and a constant passing and repassing are kept up between
Lynn Bay and the surf outside.

Early of a winter's morning at Nantasket I once saw a flock of geese,
many hundreds in number, coming in from the Bay to cross the land in
their line of migration. They advanced with a vast, irregular front
extending far along the horizon, their multitudinous _honking_
softened into music by the distance. As they neared the beach the
clamor increased and the line broke up in apparent confusion, circling
round and round for some minutes in what seemed aimless
uncertainty. Gradually the cloud of birds resolved itself into a
number of open triangles, each of which with its deeper-voiced leader
took its way inland; as if they trusted to their general sense of
direction while flying over the water, but on coming to encounter the
dangers of the land, preferred to delegate the responsibility. This
done, all is left to the leader; if he is shot, it is said the whole
flock seem bewildered, and often alight without regard to place or to
their safety. The selection of the leader must therefore be a matter
of deliberation with them; and this, no doubt, was going on in the
flock I saw at Nantasket during their pause at the edge of the
beach. The leader is probably always an old bird. I have noticed
sometimes that his _honking_ is more steady and in a deeper tone,
and that it is answered in a higher key along the line.


For the first time in the history of the English dominion in India,
its power has been shaken from within its own possessions, and by its
own subjects. Whatever attacks have been made upon it heretofore have
been from without, and its career of conquest has been the result to
which they have led. But now no external enemy threatens it, and the
English in India have found themselves suddenly and unexpectedly
engaged in a hand-to-hand struggle with a portion of their subjects,
not so much for dominion as for life. There had been signs and
warnings, indeed, of the coming storm; but the feeling of security in
possession and the confidence of moral strength were so strong, that
the signs had been neglected and the warnings disregarded.

No one in our time has played the part of Cassandra with more
foresight and vehemence than the late Sir Charles Napier. He saw the
quarter in which the storm was gathering, and he affirmed that
it was at hand. In 1850, after a short period of service as
commander-in-chief of the forces in India, he resigned his place,
owing to a difference between himself and the government, and
immediately afterwards prepared a memoir in justification of his
course, accompanied with remarks upon the general administration of
affairs in that country. It was written with all his accustomed
clearness of mind, vigor of expression, and intensity of personal
feeling,--but it was not published until after his death, which took
place in 1853, when it appeared under the editorship of his brother,
Lieutenant-General Sir W.F.P. Napier, with the title of "Defects,
Civil and Military, of the Indian Government."  Its interest is
greatly enhanced when read by the light of recent events. It is in
great part occupied with a narrative of the exhibition of a mutinous
spirit which appeared in 1849 in some thirty Sepoy battalions, in
regard to a reduction of their pay, and of the means taken to check
and subdue it. On the third page is a sentence which read now is of
terrible import: "Mutiny with [among?]  the Sepoys is the _most_
formidable danger menacing our Indian empire." And a few pages farther
on occurs the following striking passage: "The ablest and most
experienced civil and military servants of the East India Company
consider mutiny as one of the greatest, if not _the_ greatest danger
threatening India,--a danger also that may come unexpectedly, and, if
the first symptoms be not carefully treated, with a power to shake

The anticipated mutiny has now come, its first symptoms were treated
with utter want of judgment, and its power is shaking the whole fabric
of the English rule in India.

One day toward the end of January last, a workman employed in the
magazine at Barrackpore, an important station about seventeen miles
from Calcutta, stopped to ask a Sepoy for some water from his
drinking-vessel. Being refused, because he was of low caste, and his
touch would defile the vessel, he said, with a sneer, "What caste are
you of, who bite pig's grease and cow's fat on your cartridges?"
Practice with the new Enfield rifle had just been introduced, and the
cartridges were greased for use in order not to foul the gun. The
rumor spread among the Sepoys that there was a trick played upon
them,--that this was but a device to pollute them and destroy their
caste, and the first step toward a general and forcible conversion of
the soldiers to Christianity. The groundlessness of the idea upon
which this alarm was founded afforded no hindrance to its ready
reception, nor was the absurdity of the design attributed to the
ruling powers apparent to the obscured and timid intellect of the
Sepoys. The consequences of loss of caste are so feared,--and are in
reality of so trying a nature,--that upon this point the sensitiveness
of the Sepoy is always extreme, and his suspicions are easily
aroused. Their superstitions and religious customs "interfere in many
strange ways with their military duties." "The brave men of the 35th
Native Infantry," says Sir Charles Napier, "lost caste because they
did their duty at Jelalabad; that is, they fought like soldiers, and
ate what could be had to sustain their strength for battle." But they
are under a double rule, of religious and of military discipline,--and
if the two come into conflict, the latter is likely to give way.

The discontent at Barrackpore soon manifested itself in ways not to be
mistaken. There were incendiary fires within the lines. It was
discovered that messengers had been sent to regiments at other
stations, with incitements to insubordination. The officer in command
at Barrackpore, General Hearsay, addressed the troops on parade,
explained to them that the cartridges were not prepared with the
obnoxious materials supposed, and set forth the groundlessness of
their suspicions. The address was well received at first, but had no
permanent effect. The ill-feeling spread to other troops and other
stations. The government seems to have taken no measure of precaution
in view of the impending trouble, and contented itself with
despatching telegraphic messages to the more distant stations, where
the new rifle-practice was being introduced, ordering that the native
troops were "to have no practice ammunition served out to them, but
only to watch the firing of the Europeans." On the 26th of February,
the 19th regiment, then stationed at Berhampore, refused to receive
the cartridges that were served out, and were prevented from open
violence only by the presence of a superior English force. After great
delay, it was determined that this regiment should be disbanded. The
authorities were not even yet alarmed; they were uneasy, but even
their uneasiness does not seem to have been shared by the majority of
the English residents in India. It was not until the 3d of April that
the sentence passed upon the 19th regiment was executed. The affair
was dallied with, and inefficiency and dilatoriness prevailed

But meanwhile the disaffection was spreading. The order for confining
the use of the new cartridges to the Europeans seems to have been
looked upon by the native regiments as a confirmation of their
suspicions with regard to them. The more daring and evil-disposed of
the soldiers stimulated the alarm, and roused the prejudices of their
more timid and unreasoning companions. No general plan of revolt
seems to have been formed, but the materials of discontent were
gradually being concentrated; the inflammable spirits of the Sepoys
were ready to burst into a blaze. Strong and judicious measures,
promptly put into action, might even now have allayed the excitement
and dissipated the danger. But the imbecile commander-in-chief was
enjoying himself and shirking care in the mountains; and Lord Canning
and his advisers at Calcutta seem to have preferred to allow to take
the initiative in their own way. Generally throughout Northern India
the common routine of affairs went on at the different stations, and
the ill-feeling and insubordination among the Sepoys scarcely
disturbed the established quiet and monotony of Anglo-Indian life.
But the storm was rising,--and the following extracts from a letter,
hitherto unpublished, written on the 30th of May, by an officer of
great distinction, and now in high command before Delhi, will show the
manner of its breaking.

"A fortnight ago no community in the world could have been living in
greater security of life and property than ours. Clouds there were
that indicated to thoughtful minds a coming storm, and in the most
dangerous quarter; but the actual outbreak was a matter of an hour,
and has fallen on us like a judgment from Heaven,--sudden,
irresistible as yet, terrible in its effects, and still spreading from
place to place. I dare say you may have observed among the Indian news
of late months, that here and there throughout the country mutinies of
native regiments had been taking place. They had, however, been
isolated cases, and the government thought it did enough to check the
spirit of disaffection by disbanding the corps involved. The failure
of the remedy was, however, complete, and, instead of having to deal
now with mutinies of separate regiments, we stand face to face with a
general mutiny of the Sepoy army of Bengal. To those who have thought
most deeply of the perils of the English empire in India this has
always seemed the monster one. It was thought to have been guarded
against by the strong ties of mercenary interest that bound the army
to the state, and there was, probably, but one class of feelings that
would have been strong enough to have broken these ties,--those,
namely, of religious sympathy or prejudice. The overt ground of the
general mutiny was offence to caste feelings, given by the
introduction into the army of certain cartridges said to have been
prepared with hog's lard and cow's fat. The men must bite off the ends
of these cartridges; so the Mahometans are defiled by the unclean
animal, and the Hindoos by the contact of the dead cow. Of course the
cartridges are _not_ prepared as stated, and they form the mere
handle for designing men to work with. They are, I believe, equally
innocent of lard and fat; but that a general dread of being
Christianized has by some means or other been created is without
doubt, though there is still much that is mysterious in the process by
which it has been instilled into the Sepoy mind, and I question if the
government itself has any accurate information on the subject.

"It was on the 10th of the present month [May] that the outburst of
the mutinous spirit took place in our own neighborhood,--at
Meerut. The immediate cause was the punishment of eighty-five troopers
of the 3d Light Cavalry, who had refused to use the obnoxious
cartridges, and had been sentenced by a native court-martial to ten
years' imprisonment. On Saturday, the 9th, the men were put in irons,
in presence of their comrades, and marched off to jail. On Sunday,
the 10th, just at the time of evening service, the mutiny broke
out. Three regiments left their lines, fell upon every European, man,
woman, or child, they met or could find, murdered them all, burnt half
the houses in the station, and, after working such a night of mischief
and horror as devils might have delighted in, marched off to Delhi
_en masse_, where three other regiments ripe for mutiny were
stationed. On the junction of the two brigades, the horrors of Meerut
were repeated in the imperial city, and every European who could be
found was massacred with revolting barbarity. In fact, the spirit was
that of a servile war. Annihilation of the ruling race was felt to be
the only chance of safety or impunity; so no one of the ruling race
was spared. Many, however, effected their escape, and, after all sorts
of perils and sufferings, succeeded in reaching military stations
containing European troops. * * *

"From the crisis of the mutiny our local anxieties have lessened. The
country round is in utter confusion. Bands of robbers are murdering
and plundering defenceless people. Civil government has practically
ceased from the land. The most loathsome irresolution and incapacity
have been exhibited in some of the highest quarters. A full month will
elapse before the mutineers are checked by any organized resistance.
A force is, or is supposed to be, marching on Delhi; but the outbreak
occurred on the 10th of May, and this day is the first of June, and
Delhi has seen no British colors and heard no British guns as
yet. * * *

"As to the empire, it will be all the stronger after this storm. It is
not five or six thousand mutinous mercenaries, or ten times the
number, that will change the destiny of England in India. Though we
small fragments of the great machine may fall at our posts, there is
that vitality in the English people that will bound stronger against
misfortunes, and build up the damaged fabric anew."

So far the letter from which we have quoted.--It was not until the 8th
of June that an English force appeared before the walls of Delhi. For
four weeks the mutineers had been left in undisturbed possession of
the city, a possession which was of incalculable advantage to them by
adding to their moral strength the prestige of a name which has always
been associated with the sceptre of Indian empire. The masters of
Delhi are the masters not only of a city, but of a deeply rooted
tradition of supremacy. The delay had told. Almost every day in the
latter half of May was marked by a new mutiny in different military
stations, widely separated from each other, throughout the
North-Western Provinces and Bengal. The tidings of the possession of
Delhi by the mutineers stimulated the daring madness of regiments that
had been touched by disaffection. Some mutinied from mere panic, some
from bitterness of hate. Some fled away quietly with their arms, to
join the force that had now swelled to an army in the city of the
Great Moghul; some repeated the atrocities of Meerut, and set up a
separate standard of revolt, to which all the disaffected and all the
worst characters of the district flocked, to gratify their lust for
revenge of real or fancied wrongs, or their baser passions for plunder
and unmeaning cruelty. The malignity of a subtle, acute,
semi-civilized race, unrestrained by law or by moral feeling, broke
out in its most frightful forms. Cowardice possessed of strength never
wreaked more horrible sufferings upon its victims, and the bloody and
barbarous annals of Indian history show no more bloody and barbarous

The course of English life in those stations where the worst cruelties
and the bitterest sufferings have been inflicted on the unhappy
Europeans has been for a long time so peaceful and undisturbed, it has
gone on for the most part in such pleasant and easy quiet and with
such absolute security, that the agony of sudden alarm and unwarned
violence has added its bitterness to the overwhelming horror. It is
not as in border settlements, where the inhabitants choose their lot
knowing that they are exposed to the incursions of savage
enemies,--but it is as if on a night in one of the most peaceful of
long-settled towns, troops of men, with a sort of civilization that
renders their attack worse than that of savages, should be let loose
to work their worst will of lust and cruelty. The details are too
recent, too horrible, and as yet too broken and irregular, to be
recounted here.

Although, at the first sally of the mutineers from Delhi against the
force that had at length arrived, a considerable advantage was gained
by the Europeans, this advantage was followed up by no decisive
blow. The number of troops was too small to attempt an assault against
an army of thirty thousand men, each man of whom was a trained
soldier. The English force was unprovided with any sufficient siege
battery. It could do little more than encamp, throw up intrenchments
for its own defence, and wait for attacks to be made upon it,--attacks
which it usually repulsed with great loss to the attackers. The month
of June is the hottest month of the year at Delhi; the average height
of the thermometer being 92°. There, in such weather, the force must
sit still, watch the pouring in of reinforcements and supplies to the
city which it was too small to invest, and hear from day to day fresh
tidings of disaster and revolt on every hand,--tidings of evil which
there could scarcely be any hope of checking, until this central point
of the mutiny had fallen before the British arms. A position more
dispiriting can scarcely be imagined; and to all these causes for
despondency were added the incompetency and fatuity of the Indian
government, and the procrastination of the home government in the
forwarding of the necessary reinforcements.

Delhi has been often besieged, but seldom has a siege been laid to it
that at first sight would have appeared more desperate than this. The
city is strong in its artificial defences, and Nature lends her force
to the native troops within the walls. If they could hold out through
the summer, September was likely to be as great a general for them as
the famous two upon whom the Czar relied in the Crimea. A wall of gray
stone, strengthened by the modern science of English engineers, and
nearly seven miles in circumference, surrounds the city upon three
sides, while the fourth is defended by a wide offset of the Jumna, and
by a portion of the high, embattled, red stone wall of the palace,
which almost equals the city wall in strength, and is itself more than
a mile in length. Few cities in the East present a more striking
aspect from without. Over the battlements of the walls rise the
slender minarets and shining domes of the mosques, the pavilions and
the towers of the gates, the balustraded roofs of the higher and finer
houses, the light foliage of acacias, and the dark crests of tall
date-palms. It is a new city, only two hundred and twenty-six years
old. Shah Jehan, its founder, was fond of splendor in building, was
lavish of expense, and was eager to make his city imperial in
appearance as in name. The great mosque that he built here is the
noblest and most beautiful in all India. His palace might be set in
comparison with that of Aladdin; it was the fulfilment of an Oriental
voluptuary's dream. All that Eastern taste could devise of beauty,
that Eastern lavishness could fancy of adornment, or voluptuousness
demand of luxury, was brought together and displayed here. But its day
of splendor was not long; and now, instead of furnishing a home to a
court, which, if wicked, was at least magnificent, it is the abode of
demoralized pensioners, who, having lost the reality, retain the pride
and the vices of power. For years it has been utterly given over to
dirt and to decay. Its beautiful halls and chambers, rich with marbles
and mosaics, its "Pearl" _musjid_, its delicious gardens, its
shady summer-houses, its fountains, and all its walks and
pleasure-grounds, are neglected, abused, and occupied by the filthy
retainers of an effete court.

The city stands partly on the sandy border of the river, partly on a
low range of rocks. With its suburbs it may contain about one hundred
and sixty thousand inhabitants, a little more than half of whom are
Hindoos, and the remainder nominally Mahometans, in creed. Around the
wall stretches a wide, barren, irregular plain, covered, mile after
mile, with the ruins of earlier Delhis, and the tombs of the great or
the rich men of the Mahometan dynasty. There is no other such
monumental plain as this in the world. It is as full of traditions and
historic memories as of ruins; and in this respect, as in many others,
Delhi bears a striking resemblance to Rome,--for the Roman Campagna is
the only field which in its crowd of memories may be compared with it,
and the imperial city of India holds in the Mahometan mind much the
same place that Rome occupies in that of the Christian.

Before these pages are printed it is not unlikely that the news of the
fall of Delhi will have reached us. The troops of the besiegers
amounted in the middle of August to about five thousand five hundred
men. Other troops near them, and reinforcements on the way, may by the
end of the month have increased their force to ten thousand. At the
last accounts a siege train was expected to arrive on the 3d of
September, and an assault might be made very shortly afterwards. But
September is an unhealthy month, and there may be delays. _Dehli
door ust_,--"Delhi is far off,"--is a favorite Indian proverb. But
the chances are in favor of its being now in British hands.[1]
With its fall the war will be virtually ended,--for the reconquest of
the disturbed territories will be a matter of little difficulty, when
undertaken with the aid of the twenty thousand English troops who will
arrive in India before the end of the year.

The settlement of the country, after these long disturbances, cannot
be expected to take place at once; civil government has been too much
interrupted to resume immediately its ordinary operation. But as this
great revolt has had in very small degree the character of a popular
rising, and as the vast mass of natives are in general not
discontented with the English rule, order will be reëstablished with
comparative rapidity, and the course of life will before many months
resume much of its accustomed aspect.

The struggle of the trained and ambitious classes against the English
power will but have served to confirm it. The revolt overcome, the
last great danger menacing English security in India will have
disappeared. England will have learnt much from the trials she has had
to pass through, and that essential changes will take place within a
few years in the constitution of the Indian government there can be no
doubt. But it is to be remembered that for the past thirty years,
English rule in India has been, with all its defects, an enlightened
and beneficent rule. The crimes with which it has been charged, the
crimes of which it has been guilty, are small in amount, compared with
the good it has effected. Moreover, they are not the result of
inherent vices in the system of government, so much as of the
character of exceptional individuals employed to carry out that
system, and of the native character itself.--But on these points we do
not propose now to enter.

If the close of this revolt be not stained with retaliating cruelties,
if English soldiers remember mercy, then the whole history of this
time will be a proud addition to the annals of England. For though it
will display the incompetency and the folly of her governments, it
will show how these were remedied by the energy and spirit of
individuals; it will tell of the daring and gallantry of her men, of
their patient endurance, of their undaunted courage, and it will tell,
too, with a voice full of tears, of the sorrows, and of the brave and
tender hearts, and of the unshaken religious faith supporting them to
the end, of the women who died in the hands of their enemies. The
names of Havelock and Lawrence will be reckoned in the list of
England's worthies, and the story of the garrison of Cawnpore will be
treasured up forever among England's saddest and most touching

[Footnote 1: It is earnestly to be hoped that the officers in command
of the British force will not yield to the savage suggestions and
incitements of the English press, with regard to the fate of
Delhi. The tone of feeling which has been shown in many quarters in
England has been utterly disgraceful. Indiscriminate cruelty and
brutality are no fitting vengeance for the Hindoo and Mussulman
barbarities. The sack of Delhi and the massacre of its people would
bring the English conquerors down to the level of the conquered. Great
sins cry out for great punishments,--but let the punishment fall on
the guilty, and not involve the innocent. The strength of English rule
in India must be in her justice, in her severity,--but not in the
force and irresistible violence of her passions. To destroy the city
would be to destroy one of the great ornaments of her empire,--to
murder the people would be to commence the new period of her rule with
a revolting crime.

"For five days," says the historian, "Tamerlane remained a tranquil
spectator of the sack and conflagration of Delhi and the massacre of
its inhabitants, while he was celebrating a feast in honor of his
victory. When the troops were wearied with slaughter, and nothing was
left to plunder, he gave orders for the prosecution of his march, and
on the day of his departure he offered up to the Divine Majesty the
sincere and humble tribute of grateful praise."

"It is said that Nadir Shah, during the massacre that he had
commanded, sat in gloomy silence in the little mosque of
Rokn-u-doulah, which stands at the present day in the Great
Bazaar. Here the Emperor and his nobles at length took courage to
present themselves. They stood before him with downcast eyes, until
Nadir commanded them to speak, when the Emperor burst into tears and
entreated Nadir to spare his subjects."]


    Of all the rides since the birth of time,
    Told in story or sung in rhyme,--
    On Apuleius's Golden Ass,
    Or one-eyed Calendar's horse of brass,
    Witch astride of a human hack,
    Islam's prophet on Al-Borák,--
    The strangest ride that ever was sped
    Was Ireson's out from Marblehead!
          Old Floyd Ireson, for his hard heart,
          Tarred and feathered and carried in a cart
            By the women of Marblehead!

    Body of turkey, head of owl,
    Wings a-droop like a rained-on fowl,
    Feathered and ruffled in every part,
    Captain Ireson stood in the cart.
    Scores of women, old and young,
    Strong of muscle, and glib of tongue,
    Pushed and pulled up the rocky lane,
    Shouting and singing the shrill refrain:
          "Here's Flud Oirson, fur his horrd horrt,
          Torr'd an' futherr'd an' corr'd in a corrt
            By the women o' Morble'ead!"

    Girls in bloom of cheek and lips,
    Wrinkled scolds with hands on hips,
    Wild-eyed, free-limbed, such as chase
    Bacchus round some antique vase,
    Brief of skirt, with ankles bare,
    Loose of kerchief and loose of hair,
    With conch-shells blowing and fish-horns' twang,
    Over and over the Maenads sang:
          "Here's Flud Oirson, fur his horrd horrt,
          Torr'd an' futherr'd an' corr'd in a corrt
            By the women o' Morble'ead!"

    Small pity for him!--He sailed away
    From a leaking ship in Chaleur Bay,--
    Sailed away from a sinking wreck,
    With his own town's-people on her deck!
    "Lay by! lay by!" they called to him.
    Back he answered, "Sink or swim!
    Brag of your catch of fish again!"
    And off he sailed through the fog and rain!
          Old Floyd Ireson, for his hard heart,
          Tarred and feathered and carried in a cart
            By the women of Marblehead!

    Fathoms deep in dark Chaleur
    That wreck shall lie forevermore.
    Mother and sister, wife and maid,
    Looked from the rocks of Marblehead
    Over the moaning and rainy sea,
    Looked for the coming that might not be!
    What did the winds and the sea-birds say
    Of the cruel captain who sailed away?--
          Old Floyd Ireson, for his hard heart,
          Tarred and feathered and carried in a cart
             By the women of Marblehead!

    Through the street, on either side,
    Up flew windows, doors swung wide;
    Sharp-tongued spinsters, old wives gray,
    Treble lent the fish-horn's bray.
    Sea-worn grandsires, cripple-bound,
    Hulks of old sailors run aground,
    Shook head, and fist, and hat, and cane,
    And cracked with curses the hoarse refrain:
          "Here's Flud Oirson, fur his horrd horrt,
          Torr'd an' futherr'd an' corr'd in a corrt
            By the women o' Morble'ead!"

    Sweetly along the Salem road
    Bloom of orchard and lilac showed.
    Little the wicked skipper knew
    Of the fields so green and the sky so blue.
    Riding there in his sorry trim,
    Like an Indian idol glum and grim,
    Scarcely he seemed the sound to hear
    Of voices shouting far and near:
          "Here's Flud Oirson, fur his horrd horrt,
          Torr'd an' futherr'd an' corr'd in a corrt
            By the women o' Morble'ead!"

    "Hear me, neighbors!" at last he cried,--
    "What to me is this noisy ride?
    What is the shame that clothes the skin,
    To the nameless horror that lives within?
    Waking or sleeping, I see a wreck
    And hear a cry from a reeling deck!
    Hate me and curse me,--I only dread
    The hand of God and the face of the dead!"
          Said old Floyd Ireson, for his hard heart,
          Tarred and feathered and carried in a cart
            By the women of Marblehead!

    Then the wife of the skipper lost at sea
    Said, "God has touched him!--why should we?"
    Said an old wife mourning her only son,
    "Cut the rogue's tether and let him run!"
    So with soft relentings and rude excuse,
    Half scorn, half pity, they cut him loose,
    And gave him cloak to hide him in,
    And left him alone with his shame and sin.
          Poor Floyd Ireson, for his hard heart,
          Tarred and feathered and carried in a cart
            By the women of Marblehead!


I fell in with a humorist, on my travels, who had in his chamber a
cast of the Rondanini Medusa, and who assured me that the name which
that fine work of art bore in the catalogues was a misnomer, as he was
convinced that the sculptor who carved it intended it for Memory, the
mother of the Muses. In the conversation that followed, my new friend
made some extraordinary confessions. "Do you not see," he said, "the
penalty of learning, and that each of these scholars whom you have met
at S., though he were to be the last man, would, like the executioner
in Hood's poem, guillotine the last but one?" He added many lively
remarks, but his evident earnestness engaged my attention, and, in the
weeks that followed, we became better acquainted. He had great
abilities, a genial temper, and no vices; but he had one defect,--he
could not speak in the tone of the people. There was some paralysis on
his will, that, when he met men on common terms, he spoke weakly, and
from the point, like a flighty girl. His consciousness of the fault
made it worse. He envied every daysman and drover in the tavern their
manly speech. He coveted Mirabeau's _don terrible de la
familiarité_, believing that he whose sympathy goes lowest is the
man from whom kings have the most to fear. For himself, he declared
that he could not get enough alone to write a letter to a friend. He
left the city; he hid himself in pastures. The solitary river was not
solitary enough; the sun and moon put him out. When he bought a house,
the first thing he did was to plant trees. He could not enough conceal
himself. Set a hedge here; set oaks there,--trees behind trees; above
all, set evergreens, for they will keep a secret all the year
round. The most agreeable compliment you could pay him was, to say
that you had not observed him in a house or a street where you had met
him. Whilst he suffered at being seen where he was, he consoled
himself with the delicious thought of the inconceivable number of
places where he was not. All he wished of his tailor was, to provide
that sober mean of color and cut which would never detain the eye for
a moment. He went to Vienna, to Smyrna, to London. In all the variety
of costumes, a carnival, a kaleidoscope of clothes, to his horror he
could never discover a man in the street who wore anything like his
own dress. He would have given his soul for the ring of Gyges. His
dismay at his visibility had blunted the fears of mortality. "Do you
think," he said, "I am in such great terror of being shot,--I, who am
only waiting to shuffle off my corporeal jacket, to slip away into the
back stars, and put diameters of the solar system and sidereal orbits
between me and all souls,--there to wear out ages in solitude, and
forget memory itself, if it be possible?" He had a remorse running to
despair of his social _gaucheries_, and walked miles and miles to
get the twitchings out of his face, the starts and shrugs out of his
arms and shoulders. "God may forgive sins," he said, "but awkwardness
has no forgiveness in heaven or earth." He admired in Newton, not so
much his theory of the moon, as his letter to Collins, in which he
forbade him to insert his name with the solution of the problem in the
"Philosophical Transactions": "It would perhaps increase my
acquaintance, the thing which I chiefly study to decline."

These conversations led me somewhat later to the knowledge of similar
cases, existing elsewhere, and to the discovery that they are not of
very infrequent occurrence. Few substances are found pure in
nature. Those constitutions which can bear in open day the rough
dealing of the world must be of that mean and average structure,--such
as iron and salt, atmospheric air, and water. But there are metals,
like potassium and sodium, which, to be kept pure, must be kept under
naphtha. Such are the talents determined on some specialty, which a
culminating civilization fosters in the heart of great cities and in
royal chambers. Nature protects her own work. To the culture of the
world, an Archimedes, a Newton is indispensable; so she guards them by
a certain aridity. If these had been good fellows, fond of dancing,
Port, and clubs, we should have had no "Theory of the Sphere," and no
"Principia." They had that necessity of isolation which genius
feels. Each must stand on his glass tripod, if he would keep his
electricity. Even Swedenborg, whose theory of the universe is based on
affection, and who reprobates to weariness the danger and vice of pure
intellect, is constrained to make an extraordinary exception: "There
are also angels who do not live consociated, but separate, house and
house; these dwell in the midst of heaven, because they are the best
of angels."

We have known many fine geniuses have that imperfection that they
cannot do anything useful, not so much as write one clean
sentence. 'Tis worse, and tragic, that no man is fit for society who
has fine traits. At a distance, he is admired; but bring him hand to
hand, he is a cripple. One protects himself by solitude, and one by
courtesy, and one by an acid, worldly manner,--each concealing how he
can the thinness of his skin and his incapacity for strict
association. But there is no remedy that can reach the heart of the
disease, but either habits of self-reliance that should go in practice
to making the man independent of the human race, or else a religion of
love. Now he hardly seems entitled to marry; for how can he protect a
woman, who cannot protect himself?

We pray to be conventional. But the wary Heaven takes care you shall
not be, if there is anything good in you. Dante was very bad company,
and was never invited to dinner. Michel Angelo had a sad, sour time of
it. The ministers of beauty are rarely beautiful in coaches and
saloons. Columbus discovered no isle or key so lonely as himself. Yet
each of these potentates saw well the reason of his exclusion.
Solitary was he? Why, yes; but his society was limited only
by the amount of brain Nature appropriated in that age to carry on the
government of the world. "If I stay," said Dante, when there was
question of going to Rome, "who will go? and if I go, who will stay?"

But the necessity of solitude is deeper than we have said, and is
organic. I have seen many a philosopher whose world is large enough
for only one person. He affects to be a good companion; but we are
still surprising his secret, that he means and needs to impose his
system on all the rest. The determination of each is _from_ all
the others, like that of each tree up into free space. 'Tis no wonder,
when each has his whole head, our societies should be so small. Like
President Tyler, our party falls from us every day, and we must ride
in a sulky at last. Dear heart! take it sadly home to thee, there is
no coöperation. We begin with friendships, and all our youth is a
reconnoitring and recruiting of the holy fraternity that shall combine
for the salvation of men. But so the remoter stars seem a nebula of
united light, yet there is no group which a telescope will not
resolve, and the dearest friends are separated by impassable
gulfs. The coöperation is involuntary, and is put upon us by the
Genius of Life, who reserves this as a part of his prerogative. 'Tis
fine for us to talk: we sit and muse, and are serene, and complete;
but the moment we meet with anybody, each becomes a fraction.

Though the stuff of tragedy and of romances is in a moral union of two
superior persons, whose confidence in each other for long years, out
of sight, and in sight, and against all appearances, is at last
justified by victorious proof of probity to gods and men, causing
joyful emotions, tears, and glory,--though there be for heroes this
_moral union_, yet they, too, are as far off as ever from an
intellectual union, and the moral union is for comparatively low and
external purposes, like the coöperation of a ship's company, or of a
fire-club. But how insular and pathetically solitary are all the
people we know! Nor dare they tell what they think of each other, when
they meet in the street. We have a fine right, to be sure, to taunt
men of the world with superficial and treacherous courtesies!

Such is the tragic necessity which strict science finds underneath our
domestic and neighborly life, irresistibly driving each adult soul as
with whips into the desert, and making our warm covenants sentimental
and momentary. We must infer that the ends of thought were
peremptory, if they were to be secured at such ruinous cost. They are
deeper than can be told, and belong to the immensities and
eternities. They reach down to that depth where society itself
originates and disappears,--where the question is, Which is first, man
or men?--where the individual is lost in his source.

But this banishment to the rocks and echoes no metaphysics can make
right or tolerable. This result is so against nature, such a
half-view, that it must be corrected by a common sense and
experience. "A man is born by the side of his father, and there he
remains."  A man must be clothed with society, or we shall feel a
certain bareness and poverty, as of a displaced and unfurnished
member. He is to be dressed in arts and institutions, as well as
body-garments. Now and then a man exquisitely made can live alone,
and must but coop up most men, and you undo them. "The king lived and
ate in his hall with men, and understood men," said Selden. When a
young barrister said to the late Mr. Mason, "I keep my chamber to read
law." "Read law!" replied the veteran, "'tis in the courtroom you
must read law." Nor is the rule otherwise for literature. If you would
learn to write, 'tis in the street you must learn it. Both for the
vehicle and for the aims of fine arts, you must frequent the public
square. The people, and not the college, is the writer's home. A
scholar is a candle, which the love and desire of all men will
light. Never his lands or his rents, but the power to charm the
disguised soul that sits veiled under this bearded and that rosy
visage is his rent and ration. His products are as needful as those of
the baker or the weaver. Society cannot do without cultivated men. As
soon as the first wants are satisfied, the higher wants become

'Tis hard to mesmerize ourselves, to whip our own top; but through
sympathy we are capable of energy and endurance. Concert exasperates
people to a certain fury of performance they can rarely reach
alone. Here is the use of society: it is so easy with the great to be
great! so easy to come up to an existing standard!--as easy as it is
to the lover to swim to his maiden, through waves so grim before. The
benefits of affection are immense; and the one event which never loses
its romance is the alighting of superior persons at our gate.

It by no means follows that we are not fit for society, because
_soirées_ are tedious, and because the _soirée_ finds us
tedious. A backwoodsman, who had been sent to the university, told
me, that when he heard the best-bred young men at the law-school talk
together, he reckoned himself a boor; but whenever he caught them
apart, and had one to himself alone, then they were the boors, and he
the better man. And if we recall the rare hours when we encountered
the best persons, we then found ourselves, and then first society
seemed to exist. That was society, though in the transom of a brig,
or on the Florida Keys.

A cold, sluggish blood thinks it has not facts enough to the purpose,
and must decline its turn in the conversation. But they who speak have
no more,--have less. 'Tis not new facts that avail, but the heat to
dissolve everybody's facts. Heat puts you in right relation with
magazines of facts. The capital defect of cold, arid natures is the
want of animal spirits. They seem a power incredible, as if God
should raise the dead. The recluse witnesses what others perform by
their aid with a kind of fear. It is as much out of his possibility,
as the prowess of Coeur-de-Lion, or an Irishman's day's work on the
railroad. 'Tis said, the present and the future are always
rivals. Animal spirits constitute the power of the present, and their
feats are like the structure of a pyramid. Their result is a lord, a
general, or a boon-companion. Before these, what a base mendicant is
Memory with his leathern badge! But this genial heat is latent in all
constitutions, and is disengaged only by the friction of society. As
Bacon said of manners, "To obtain them, it only needs not to despise
them," so we say of animal spirits, that they are the spontaneous
product of health and of a social habit. "For behavior, men learn it,
as they take diseases, one of another."

But the people are to be taken in very small doses. If solitude is
proud, so is society vulgar. In society, high advantages are set down
to the individual as disadvantages. We sink as easily as we rise,
through sympathy. So many men whom I know are degraded by their
sympathies, their native aims being high enough, but their relation
all too tender to the gross people about them. Men cannot afford to
live together on their merits, and they adjust themselves by their
demerits,--by their love of gossip, or sheer tolerance and animal
good-nature. They untune and dissipate the brave aspirant.

The remedy is, to reinforce each of these moods from the
other. Conversation will not corrupt us, if we come to the assembly in
our own garb and speech, and with the energy of health to select what
is ours and reject what is not. Society we must have; but let it be
society, and not exchanging news, or eating from the same dish. Is it
society to sit in one of your chairs? I cannot go to the houses of my
nearest relatives, because I do not wish to be alone. Society exists
by chemical affinity, and not otherwise.

Put any company of people together with freedom for conversation, and
a rapid self-distribution takes place into sets and pairs. The best
are accused of exclusiveness. It would be more true to say, they
separate as oil from water, as children from old people, without love
or hatred in the matter, each seeking his like; and any interference
with the affinities would produce constraint and suffocation. All
conversation is a magnetic experiment. I know that my friend can talk
eloquently; you know that he cannot articulate a sentence: we have
seen him in different company. Assort your party, or invite none. Put
Stubbs and Byron, Quintilian and Aunt Miriam, into pairs, and you make
them all wretched. 'Tis an extempore Sing-Sing built in a
parlor. Leave them to seek their own mates, and they will be as merry
as sparrows.

A higher civility will reëstablish in our customs a certain reverence
which we have lost. What to do with these brisk young men who break
through all fences, and make themselves at home in every house? I find
out in an instant if my companion does not want me, and ropes cannot
hold me when my welcome is gone. One would think that the affinities
would pronounce themselves with a surer reciprocity.

Here again, as so often, Nature delights to put us between extreme
antagonisms, and our safety is in the skill with which we keep the
diagonal line. Solitude is impracticable, and society fatal. We must
keep our head in the one, and our hands in the other. The conditions
are met, if we keep our independence, yet do not lose our
sympathy. These wonderful horses need to be driven by fine hands. We
require such a solitude as shall hold us to its revelations when we
are in the street and in palaces; for most men are cowed in society,
and say good things to you in private, but will not stand to them in
public. But let us not be the victims of words. Society and solitude
are deceptive names. It is not the circumstance of seeing more or
fewer people, but the readiness of sympathy, that imports; and a sound
mind will derive its principles from insight, with ever a purer ascent
to the sufficient and absolute right, and will accept society as the
natural element in which they are to be applied.




When little Helen was not far from nine years old, her mother, (as she
had learned to call Mrs. Bugbee,) whose health for a long time had
been failing, fell sick and took to her bed. Sometimes, for a brief
space, she would seem to mend a little; and a council of doctors,
convened to consider her case,--though each member differed from all
the others touching the nature of her malady,--unanimously declared
she would ultimately recover. But her disease, whatever it was, proved
to be her mortal illness; for the very next night she came suddenly to
her end. Her loss was a heavy one, especially to her own household.
She had always been a quiet person, of rather pensive humor, whose
native diffidence caused her to shrink from observation; and after
Amelia's death she was rarely seen abroad, except at meeting, on
Sundays, or when she went to visit the poor, the sick, or the
grief-stricken. It was at home that her worth was most apparent;
for plain domestic virtues, such as hers, seldom gain wide
distinction. Her children's sorrow was deep and lasting, and the badge
of mourning which her husband wore for many months after her death was
a truthful symbol of unaffected grief. From the beginning, he was
warmly attached to his wife, whose affection for him was very great
indeed. It would have been strange if he had been unhappy, when she,
who made his tastes her study, also made it the business of her life
to please him. Besides, his cheerful temper enabled him to make light
of more grievous misfortunes than the getting of a loving wife and
thrifty helpmeet ten years older than himself.

When a widower, like the Doctor, is but fifty, with the look of a much
younger man, people are apt to talk about the chances of his marrying
again. Before Mrs. Bugbee had been dead a twelve-month, rumors were as
plenty as blackberries that the Doctor had been seen, late on Sunday
evenings, leaving this house, or that house, the dwelling-place of
some marriageable lady; and if he had finally espoused all whom the
gossips reported he was going to marry, he would have had as many
wives as any Turkish pasha or Mormon elder. It was doubtless true that
he called at certain places more frequently than had been his custom
in Mrs. Bugbee's lifetime. This, he assured Cornelia, to whom the
reports I have mentioned occasioned some uneasiness, was because he
was more often summoned to attend, in a professional way, at those
places, than he had ever been of old; which was true enough, I dare
say, for more spinsters and widows were taken ailing about this time
than had ever been ill at once before. Be that as it may, certain
arrangements which the Doctor presently made in his domestic affairs
did not seem to foretoken an immediate change of condition.

Miss Statira Blake, whom the Doctor engaged as housekeeper, was the
youngest daughter of an honest shoemaker, who formerly flourished at
Belfield Green, where he was noted for industry, a fondness for
reading, a tenacious memory, a ready wit, and a fluent tongue. In
politics he was a radical, and in religion a schismatic. The little
knot of Presbyterian Federalist magnates, who used to assemble at the
tavern to discuss affairs of church and state over mugs of flip and
tumblers of sling, regarded him with feelings of terror and
aversion. The doughty little cobbler made nothing of attacking them
single-handed, and putting them utterly to rout; for he was a dabster
at debate, and entertained as strong a liking for polemics as for
books. Nay, he was a thorn in the side of the parson himself, for
whom he used to lie in wait with knotty questions,--snares set to
entrap the worthy divine, in the hope of beguiling him into a
controversy respecting some abstruse point of doctrine, in which the
cobbler, who had every verse of the Bible at his tongue's end, was not
apt to come off second best.

But one day, Tommy Blake, being at a raising where plenty of liquor
was furnished, (as the fashion used to be,) slipped and fell from a
high beam, and was carried home groaning with a skinful of broken
bones. He died the next day, poor man, and his bedridden widow
survived the shock of witnessing his dreadful agonies and death but a
very little while. Her daughters, two young girls, were left destitute
and friendless. But Major Bugbee, to whom the cobbler's wife had been
remotely akin, and who was at that time first selectman of the town,
took the orphans with him to his house, where they tarried till he
found good places for them. Roxana, the elder girl, went to live with
a reputable farmer's wife, whose only son she afterwards
married. Statira remained under the shelter of the good Major's
hospitable roof much longer than her sister did, and would have been
welcome to stay, but she was not one of those who like to eat the
bread of dependence. With the approval of the selectmen, she bound
herself an indentured apprentice to Billy Tuthill, the little lame
tailor, for whom she worked faithfully four years, until she had
served out her time and was mistress of her trade, even to the
recondite mystery of cutting a double-breasted swallow-tail coat by
rule and measure. Then, at eighteen, she set up business for herself,
going from house to house as her customers required, working by the
day. Her services were speedily in great demand, and she was never out
of employment. Many a worthy citizen of Belfield well remembers his
first jacket-and-trowsers, the handiwork of Tira Blake. The Sunday
breeches of half the farmers who came to meeting used to be the
product of her skilful labor. Thus for many years (refusing meanwhile
several good offers of marriage) she continued to ply her needle and
shears, working steadily and cheerfully in her vocation, earning good
wages and spending but little, until the thrifty sempstress was
counted well to do, and held in esteem according. Sometimes, when she
got weary, and thought a change of labor would do her good, she would
engage with some lucky dame to help do housework for a month or
two. She was a famous hand at pickling, preserving, and making all
manner of toothsome knick-knacks and dainties. Nor was she deficient
in the pleasure walks of the culinary art. Betsey Pratt, the
tavernkeeper's wife, a special crony of Statira's, used always to send
for her whenever she was in straits, or when, on some grand occasion,
a dinner or supper was to be prepared and served up in more than
ordinary style. So learned was she in all the devices of the pantry
and kitchen, that many a young woman in the parish would have given
half her setting-out, and her whole store of printed cookery-books, to
know by heart Tira Blake's unwritten lore of rules and recipes. So,
wherever she went, she was welcome, albeit not a few stood in fear of
her; for though, when well treated, she was as good-humored as a
kitten, when provoked, especially by a slight or affront, her wrath
was dangerous. Her tongue was sharper than her needle, and her
pickles were not more piquant than her sarcastic wit. Tira, the older
people used to remark, was Tommy Blake's own daughter; and truly, she
did inherit many of her father's qualities, both good and bad, and not
a few of his crotchets and opinions. In fine, she was a shrewd,
sensible, Yankee old maid, who, as she herself was wont to say, was as
well able to take care of 'number one' as e'er a man in town.

Statira never forgot Major Bugbee's kindness to her in her lonely
orphanhood. She preserved for him and for every member of his family
a grateful affection; but her special favorite was James, the Doctor's
brother, who was a little younger than she, and who repaid this
partiality with hearty good-will and esteem. When he grew up and
married, his house became one of Statira's homes; the other being at
her sister's house, which was too remote from Belfield Green to be at
all times convenient. So she had rooms, which she called alike her
own, at both these places, in each of which she kept a part of her
wardrobe and a portion of her other goods and chattels. The children
of both families called her Aunt Statira, but, if the truth were
known, she loved little Frank Bugbee, James's only son, better than
she did the whole brood of her sister Roxy's flaxen-pated
offspring. Nay, she loved him better than all the world besides.
Statira used to call James her right-hand man, asking for his advice
in every matter of importance, and usually acting in accordance with
it. So, when Doctor Bugbee invited her to take charge of his household
affairs, Cornelia joining in the request with earnest importunity, she
did not at once return a favorable reply, though strongly inclined
thereto, but waited until she had consulted James and his wife, who
advised her to accept the proffered trust, giving many sound and
excellent reasons why she ought to do so.

Accordingly, a few months after Mrs. Bugbee's death, Statira began to
sway the sceptre where she had once found refuge from the poor-house;
for though Cornelia remained the titular mistress of the mansion,
Statira was the actual ruler, invested with all the real power.
Cornelia gladly resigned into her more experienced hands the reins of
government, and betook herself to occupations more congenial to her
tastes than housekeeping. Whenever, afterwards, she made a languid
offer to perform some light domestic duty, Statira was accustomed to
reply in such wise that the most perfect concord was maintained
between them. "No, my dear," the latter would say, "do you just leave
these things to me. If there a'n't help enough in the house to do the
work, your pa'll get 'em; and as for overseein', one's better than
two." But sometimes, when little Helen proffered her assistance, Tira
let the child try her hand, taking great pains to instruct her in
housewifery, warmly praising her successful essays, and finding
excuses for every failure. It was not long before a cordial friendship
subsisted between the teacher and her pupil.

The Doctor, of course, experienced great contentment at beholding his
children made happy, his house well kept and ordered, his table spread
with plentiful supplies of savory victuals, and all his domestic
concerns managed with sagacity and prudence, by one upon whose
goodwill and ability to promote his welfare he could rely with
implicit confidence. Even the servants shared in the general
satisfaction; for though, under Tira's vigorous rule, no task or duty
could be safely shunned or slighted, she proved a kind and even an
indulgent mistress to those who showed themselves worthy of her
favor. Old Violet, the mother of Dinah, the little black girl
elsewhere mentioned, yielded at once to Tira Blake the same respectful
obedience that she and her ancestors, for more than a century in due
succession, had been wont to render only to dames of the ancient
Bugbee line. Dinah herself, now a well-grown damsel, black, but
comely, who, during Cornelia's maladministration, had been suffered to
follow too much the devices and desires of her own heart, setting at
naught alike the entreaties and reproofs of her mistress and her
mother's angry scoldings,--even Dinah submitted without a murmur to
Tira's wholesome authority, and abandoned all her evil courses.
Bildad Royce, a crotchety hired-man, whom the Doctor kept to do the
chores and till the garden, albeit at first inclined to be captious,
accorded to the new housekeeper the meed of his approbation.

"I like her well enough to hope she'll stay, mum," quoth he, in reply
to an inquisitive neighbor. "And for my part, Miss Prouty," he added,
nodding and winking at his questioner, "I'd like to see it fixed so
she'd alwus stay; and if the Doctor _doos_ think he can't do no
better'n to have her bimeby, when the time comes, who's a right to say
a word agin it?"

"Goodness me!" exclaimed the unwary Mrs. Prouty,--"do you mean to say
you think he's got any idea of such a thing, Bildad?"

"Yes, I _don't_ mean to say I think he's got any idee of sich a thing,
Bildad," replied Bildad himself, who took great delight in mystifying
people, and who sometimes, in order to express the most unqualified
negation, was accustomed to employ this apparently ambiguous form of
speech. "I said for _my_ part, Miss Prouty,--for _my_ part. As for the
Doctor, he'll prob'bly have his own notions, and foller 'em."

Besides these already mentioned, there was another person, who sat so
often at the Doctor's board and spent so many hours beneath his roof,
that, for the nonce, I shall reckon her among his family. Indeed,
Laura Stebbins was almost as much at home in the Bugbee mansion as at
the parsonage, and she used to regard the Doctor and his wife with an
affection quite filial in kind and very ardent in degree. For this she
had abundant reason, the good couple always treating her with the
utmost kindness, frequently making her presents of clothes and things
which she needed, besides gifts of less use and value. These tokens of
her friends' good-will she used to receive with many sprightly
demonstrations of thankfulness; sometimes, in her transports of
gratitude, distributing between the Doctor and his wife a number of
delicious kisses, and telling the latter that her husband was the best
and most generous of men. After Mrs. Bugbee's death, the Doctor's
manner, as was to be expected, became more grave and sober, and he
very wisely thought proper to treat Laura with a kindness less
familiar than before, which perceiving with the quickness of her sex,
she also practised a like reserve. But notwithstanding this prudent
change in his demeanor, his good-will for Laura was in no wise
abated. At all events, the friendship between Cornelia and Laura
suffered no decay or diminution. Indeed, it increased in fervency and
strength. For Laura, having finished her course of study at the
Belfield Academy, had now more time to devote to Cornelia than when
she had had lessons to get and recitations to attend. The parsonage
stood next to the Bugbee mansion, and in the paling between the two
gardens there was a wicket, through which Cornelia, Laura, and Helen
used to run to and fro a dozen times a day. The females of the
Doctor's family made nothing of scudding, bareheaded, across to the
parsonage by this convenient back-way, and bolting into the kitchen
without so much as knocking at the door; and Laura's habits at the
Bugbee mansion were still more familiar. Mrs. Jaynes, though not the
most affable of womankind, gave this close intimacy much favor and
encouragement; for she bore in mind that Cornelia's father was the
richest and most influential member of her husband's church and

At first, Laura was a little shy of the plain-spoken old maid, for
whose person, manners, and opinions she had often heard Mrs. Jaynes
express, in private, a most bitter dislike. But Statira had been
regnant in the Bugbee mansion less than a week, when Laura began to
make timid advances towards a mutual good understanding, of which for
a while Statira affected to take no heed; for having formed a
resolution to maintain a strict reserve towards every inmate of the
parsonage, she was not disposed to break it so soon, even in favor of
Laura, whose winsome overtures she found it difficult to resist.

"If it wa'n't for her bein' Miss Jaynes's sister," said she, one day,
to Cornelia, who had been praising her friend,--"if it wa'n't for that
one thing, I should like her remarkable well,--a good deal more'n

"Pray, what have you got such a spite against the Jayneses for?" asked

"What do you mean by askin' such a question as that, Cornele?" said
Tira, in a tone of stern reproof. "Who's got a spite against 'em? Not
I, by a good deal! As for the parson himself, he's a well-meanin' man,
and does as near right as he knows how. If you could say as much as
that for everybody, there wouldn't be any need of parsons any more."

"But you don't like Mrs. Jaynes," persisted Cornelia.

"I ha'n't got a spite against her, Cornele,--though, I confess, I
don't love the woman," replied Statira. "But I always treat her well;
though, to be sure, I don't curchy so low and keep smilin' so much as
most folks do, when they meet a minister's wife and have talk with
her. Even when she comes here a-borrowin' things she knows will be
giv' to her when she asks for 'em, which makes it so near to beggin'
that she ought to be ashamed on't, which I only give to her because
it's your father's wish for me to do so, and the things are his'n; but
I always treat her well, Cornele."

"But why don't you like her, Tira?"  asked Helen.

"My dear, I'll tell you," said Statira; "for I don't want you to think
I'm set against any person unreasonable and without cause. You see
Miss Jaynes is a nateral-born beggar. I don't say it with any
ill-will, but it's a fact. She takes to beggin' as naterally as a
goslin' takes to a puddle; and when she first come to town she
commenced a-beggin', and has kep' it up ever since. She used to tackle
me the same as she does everybody else, askin' me to give somethin' to
this, and to that, and to t'other pet humbug of her'n, but I never
would do it; and when she found she could'nt worry me into it, like
the rest of 'em, it set her very bitter against me; and I heard of her
tellin' I'd treated her with rudeness, which I'd always treated her
civilly, only when I said 'No,' she found coaxin' and palaverin'
wouldn't stir me. So it went on for a year or two, till, one fall, I
was stayin' here to your ma's,--Cornele, I guess you remember the
time,--helpin' of her make up her quinces and apples. We was jest in
the midst of bilin' cider, with one biler on the stove and the biggest
brass kittle full in the fireplace, when in comes boltin' Miss Jaynes,
dressed up as fine as a fiddle. She set right down in the kitchen, and
your ma rolled her sleeves down and took off her apurn, lookin' kind
o' het and worried. After a few words, Miss Jaynes took a paper out
of her pocket, and says she to your ma, 'Miss Bugbee,' says she, 'I'm
a just startin' forth on the Lord's business, and I come to you as the
helpmate and pardner of one of his richest stewards in this
vineyard.'--'What is it now?' says your ma, lookin' out of one eye at
the brass kittle, and speakin' more impatient than I ever heard her
speak to a minister's wife before. Well, I can't spend time to tell
all that Miss Jaynes said in answer, but it seemed some of the big
folks in New York had started a new society, and its object was to
provide, as near as ever I could find out, such kind of necessary
notions for indigent young men studyin' to be ministers as they
couldn't well afford to buy for themselves,--such as steel-bowed specs
for the near-sighted ones, and white cravats, black silk gloves, and
linen-cambric handkerchiefs for 'em all,--in order, as Miss Jaynes
said, these young fellers might keep up a respectable appearance, and
not give a chance for the world's people to get a contemptible idee of
the ministry, on account of the shabby looks of the young men that had
laid out to foller that holy callin'. She said it was a cause that
ought to lay near the heart of every evangelical Christian man, and
especially the women. 'We mothers in Israel,' says Miss Jaynes, 'ought
to feel for these young Davids that have gone forth to give battle to
the Goliaths of sin that are a-stalkin' and struttin' round all over
the land.'  She said the society was goin' to be a great institution,
with an office to New York, with an executive committee and three
secretaries in attendance there, and was a-goin' to employ a great
number of clergymen, out of a parish, to travel as agents collecting
funds; 'but,' says she, 'I've a better tack for collectin' than most
people, and I've concluded to canvass this town myself for donations
to this noble and worthy cause; and I've come to you, Miss Bugbee,'
says she, 'to lead off with your accustomed liberality.'--Well, what
does your ma do, but go into her room, to her draw, I suppose, and
fetch out a five-dollar bill, and give it to Miss Jaynes, which I'd
'a' had to work a week, stitchin' from mornin' to night, to have earnt
that five-dollar bill; though, of course, your ma had a right to burn
it up, if she'd 'a' been a mind to; only it made me ache to see it go
so, when there was thousands of poor starvin' ragged orphans needin'
it so bad. All to once Miss Jaynes wheeled and spoke to me: 'Well,
Miss Tira,' says she, 'can I have a dollar from you?'--'No, ma'am,'
says I.--'I supposed not,' says she; which would have been sassy in
anybody but the parson's wife. But I held my tongue, and out she went,
takin' no more notice of me than she did of Vi'let, nor half so
much,--for I see her kind o' look towards the old woman, as if she was
half a mind to ask her for a fourpence-ha'penny. Well, that was the
last on't for a spell, until after New Year's. I was stayin' then at
your Uncle James's, and one afternoon your ma sent for your Aunt
Eunice and me to come over and take tea. So we went over, and there
was several of the neighbors invited in,--Squire Bramhall's wife, and
them your ma used to go with most, and amongst the rest, of course,
Miss Jaynes. There had just before that been a donation party, New
Year's night, to the parson's, and the Dorcas Society had bought Miss
Jaynes a nice new Brussels carpet for her parlor, all cut and fitted
and made up. In the course of the afternoon Miss Bramhall spoke and
asked if the new carpet was put down, and if it fitted well. 'Oh,
beautiful!' says she, 'it fits the room like a glove; somebody must
have had pretty good eyes to took the measure so correct, and I not
know anything what was a-comin'; and I hope,' says she, 'ladies,
you'll take an early opportunity to drop in and see it; for there
a'n't one of you but what I'm under obligation to for this touchin'
token of your love,' (that's what she called it,)--'except,' says she,
of a sudden, 'except Miss Blake, whom, really, I hadn't noticed
before!'--I tell ye, Cornele, my ebenezer was up at this; for you
can't tell how mean and spiteful she spoke and looked, pretendin' as
if I was so insignificant a critter she hadn't taken notice of my
bein' there before, which, to be sure, she hadn't even bid me good
afternoon; and for my part, I hadn't put myself forward among such
women as was there, though I didn't feel beneath 'em, nor they didn't
think so, except Miss Jaynes.--Then she went on. 'Miss Blake,' says
she, 'I believe didn't mean no slight for not helpin' towards the
carpet; for she never gives to anything, as I know of,' says
she. 'I've often asked her for various objects, and have been as often
refused. The last time,' says she, 'I did expect to get somethin'; for
I asked only for a dollar to that noble society for providin' young
men, a-strugglin' to prepare themselves for usefulness in the
ministry, with some of the common necessaries of life, but she refused
me. I expect,' says she, a-sneerin' in such a way that I couldn't
stand it any longer, 'I expect Miss Blake is a-savin' all her money to
buy her settin'-out and furniture with; for I suppose,' says she,
lookin' more spiteful than ever, 'I suppose Miss Blake thinks that as
long as there's life there's hope for a husband.'--I happen to know
what all the ladies thought of this speech, for every one of 'em
afterwards told me; but, if you'll believe me, one or two of the
youngest of 'em kind of pretended to smile at the joke on't, when Miss
Jaynes looked round as if she expected 'em to laugh; for she thought,
I suppose, I was really and truly no account, bein' a cobbler's
daughter and a tailoress,--and that when the minister's wife insulted
me, I dars'n't reply, and all hands would stand by and applaud. But
she found out her mistake, and she begun to think so, when she see how
grave your ma and all the rest of the older ladies looked, for they
knew what was comin'. I'd bit my lips up till now, and held in out of
respect to the place and the company, but I thought it was due to
myself to speak at last. Says I, 'Miss Jaynes, I've always treated you
with civility and the respect due to your place; though I own I ha'n't
felt free to give my hard-earned wages away to objects I didn't know
much about, when, with my limited means, I could find places to bestow
what little I could spare without huntin' 'em up. I don't mean to
boast,' says I, 'of my benevolence, and I don't have gilt-framed
diplomas hung up in my room to certify to it, to be seen and read of
all men, as the manner of some is,--but,' says I, 'I _will_ say
that I've given this year twenty-five dollars to the Orphan Asylum, to
Hartford, and I've a five-dollar gold-piece in my puss,' says I, 'that
I can spare, and will give that more to the same charity, for the
privilege of tellin' before these ladies, that heard me accused of
being stingy, why I don't give to you when you ask me to, and
especially why I didn't give the last time you asked me. I would like
to tell why I didn't help sew in the Dorcas Society, to buy the new
carpet,' says I, 'but I don't want to hurt anybody's feelin's that
ha'n't hurt mine, and I'll forbear.'--By this time Miss Jaynes was
pale as a sheet. 'I'm sure,' says she, 'I don't care why you don't
choose to give, and I don't suppose any one else does. It's your own
affair,' says she, 'and you a'n't compelled to give unless you're a
mind to.'--'You should have thought of that before you twitted me,'
says I, 'before all this company.'--'Oh, Tira, never mind,' says Miss
Bramhall, 'let it all go!' But up spoke your Aunt Eunice, and says
she, 'It's no more than fair to hear Tira's reasons, after what's been

"Good!" said little Helen; "hurrah for Aunt Eunice!"

"And your ma," resumed Statira, "I knew by her looks she was on my
side, though, it bein' her own house, she felt less free to say as
much as your Aunt Eunice did.--'In the first place,' says I, 'if I did
want to keep my money to buy furniture with, in case I should get a
husband, I expect I've a right to, for 'ta'n't likely,' says I, 'I
shall be lucky enough to have my carpets giv' to me. But that wa'n't
the reason I didn't put my name down for a dollar on that
subscription. One reason was, I knew the upshot on't would be that
somebody would be put up to suggestin' that the money should go for a
life-membership in the society for Miss Jaynes,' says I; 'and I don't
like to encourage anybody in goin' round beggin' for money to buy her
own promotion to a high seat in the synagogue.'--You ought to seen
Miss Jaynes's face then! It was redder'n any beet, for I'd hit the
nail square on the head, as it happened, and the ladies could scurcely
keep from smilin'.--'Then,' says I, 'I shouldn't be my father's
daughter, if I'd give a cent for a preacher that isn't smart enough to
get his own livin' and pay for his own clothes and eddication. To ask
poor women to pay for an able-bodied man's expenses,' says I, 'seems
to me like turnin' the thing wrong end foremost. A young feller that
a'n't smart enough to find himself in victuals and clothes won't be of
much help in the Lord's vineyard,' says I."

"And what did Mrs. Jaynes say?" asked little Helen, when Tira finally
came to a pause.

"Well, really, my dear," replied Miss Blake, "the woman had nothin' to
say, and so she said it. When I got through my speech I handed the
five-dollar gold-piece to your Aunt Eunice, to send to the Asylum, and
that ended it; for just then Dinah come in and said tea was ready, and
we all went out. It was rather stiff for a while, and after tea we all
went home; and for three long years Miss Jaynes never opened her face
to me, until I came here to live, this time. Now she finds it's for
her interest to make up, and so she tries to be as good as pie. But
though I mean to be civil, I'm no hypocrite, and I can't be all honey
and cream to them I don't like; and besides, it a'n't right to be."

"But you ought not to blame Laura because her sister affronted you,"
said Helen.

"I know that, my dear," replied Miss Blake; "and if I've hurt the
girl's feelin's, I'm sorry for't. She's tried hard to be friends with
me, but I've pushed her off; for, not bein' much acquainted, I was
jealous, at first, that Miss Jaynes had put her up to it, to try to
get round me in some way."

"Never!" cried Cornelia,--"my Laura is incapable of such baseness!"

"Well," said Statira, smiling, "come to know her, I guess you can't
find much guile in her, that's a fact. If I did her wrong by
mistrustin' her without cause, I'll try to make amends. It a'n't in me
to speak ha'sh even to a dog, if the critter looks up into my face and
wags his tail in honest good-nater. And I'll say this for Laura
Stebbins, anyhow, if she _is_ Miss Jaynes's sister,--she's got
the most takin' ways of 'most any grown-up person I ever see."

The reflection is painful to a generous mind, that, by harboring
unjust suspicions of another, one has been led to repel friendly
advances with indifference or disdain. In order to assuage some
remorseful pangs, Miss Blake began from this time to treat Laura with
distinguished favor. On the other hand, Laura, delighted at this
pleasant change in Miss Blake's demeanor, sought frequent
opportunities of testifying her joy and gratitude. In this manner an
intimacy began, which ripened at length into a firm and enduring
friendship. Laura soon commenced the practice of applying to her more
experienced friend for advice and direction in almost every matter,
great or small, and of confiding to her trust divers secrets and
confessions which she would never have ventured to repose even in
Cornelia's faithful bosom. This prudent habit Tira encouraged.

"I know, my dear," said she, one day, "I know what it is to be almost
alone in the world, and what a comfort it is to have somebody you can
rely on to tell your griefs and troubles to, and, as it were, get 'em
to help you bear 'em. So, my dear child, whenever you want to get my
notions on any point, just come right straight to me, if you feel like
it. I may not be able to give you the best advice, for I a'n't so
wise as you seem to think I be; however, I ha'n't lived nigh fifty
years in the world for naught, I trust, and without havin' learnt some
things worth knowin'; and though my counsel mayn't be worth much,
still you shall have the best I can give."

"Oh, thank you, thank you!" cried Laura, with such a burst of
passionate emotion that Miss Blake's eyes watered at the sight of
it. "My dear, dear, dear good friend! you don't know how glad I shall
be, if you will let me do as you say, and tell me what to do, and
scold me, and admonish and warn me! Oh, it will be such happiness to
have somebody to tell all my _real_ secrets and troubles to! I do
so need such a friend sometimes!"

"Don't I know it, you poor dear?" said Miss Blake, wiping her
eyes. "Ha'n't I been through the same straits myself? None but them
that's been a young gal themselves, an orphan without a mother to
confide in and to warn and guide 'em, knows what it is. But I do, my
dear; and though I shall be a pretty poor substitute for an own
mother, I'll do the best I can."

"Tira," said Laura, with a tearful and blushing cheek held up to the
good spinster's, "kiss me, won't you?--you never have."

"My dear," said Miss Blake, preparing to comply with this request by
wiping her lips with her apron, "you see I a'n't one of the kissin'
sort, and I scurcely ever kiss a grown-up person; but here's my hand,
and here's a kiss,"--with an old-fashioned smack that might have been
heard in the next room,--"for a token that you may always come to me
as freely as if I was your mother, relyin' upon my givin' you my
honest advice and opinion concernin' any affair that you may ask for
counsel upon. And furthermore, as girls naterally have a wish that the
very things they need some one to direct 'em the most in sha'n't be
known except by them they tell the secret to, I promise you, my dear,
that I'll be as close as a freemason concernin' any privacy that you
may trust me with, about any offer or courtin' matter of any kind."

"Oh, I shall never have any such secrets," said Laura, blushing; "my
sister never lets the beaux come to see me, you know. I'm going to be
an old maid."

"Well, perhaps you will be," said Miss Blake; "only they gen'ally
don't make old maids of such lookin' girls as you be."

But though Miss Blake took Laura into favor, she was by no means
inclined to do the same by Mrs. Jaynes, who, having found to her cost
that the ill-will of the humble sempstress was not to be lightly
contemned, was now plainly anxious to conciliate her. But Statira was
proof against all the wheedling and flattery of the parson's wife,
behaving towards her always with the same cool civility, and with
great self-control,--using none of the frequent opportunities afforded
her to make some taunt, or fling, or reproachful allusion to
Mrs. Jaynes's former conduct. Once, to be sure, when urged by the
parson's wife and a committee of the Dorcas Society to invite that
respectable body to convene at the Bugbee mansion for labor and
refreshment, Statira returned a reply so plainly spoken that it was
deemed rude and ungracious.

"Cornelia is mistress of this house, Miss Jaynes," said she, "and if
she belonged to your society, and wanted to have its weekly meetin's
here in turn, I'd do my best to give 'em somethin' good to eat and
drink. But as she has left the matter to me, I say 'No,' without any
misgivin' or doubt; and for fear I may be called stingy or unsociable,
I'll tell the reason why I say so,--and besides, it's due to you to
tell it. There's poor women, even in this town, put to it to get
employment by which they can earn bread for themselves and their
children. They can't go out to do housework, for they've got young
ones too little to carry with 'em, and maybe a whole family of
'em. Takin' in sewin' is their only resource. Well, ma'am, for ladies,
well-to-do and rich, to get together, under pretence of good works and
charity, and take away work from these poor women, by offerin' to do
it cheaper, underbiddin' of 'em for jobs, which I've known the thing
to be done, and then settin' over their ill-gotten tasks, sewin', and
gabblin' slander all the afternoon, to get money to buy velvet
pulpit-cushions or gilt chandeliers with, or to help pay some
missionary's passage to the Tongoo Islands, is, in my opinion, a
humbug, and, what's worse, a downright breach of the Golden Rule. At
any rate, with my notions, it would be hypocrisy in me to join in, and
that's why I don't invite the society here. I don't know but I have
spoke too strong; if so, I'm sorry; but I've had to earn my own
livin', ever since I was a girl, with my needle, and I know how hard
the lot of them is that have to do so too. Besides, I can't help
thinkin', what, perhaps, you never thought of, yourselves, ladies,
that every person, who, while they can just as well turn their hands
to other business, yet, for their own whim, or pleasure, or
convenience, or profit, chooses to do work, of which there a'n't
enough now in the world to keep in employment them that must get such
work to do, or else beg, or sin, or starve,--when I think, I say, that
every such person helps some poor cretur into the grave, or the jail,
or a place worse than both, I feel that strong talk isn't out of
place; and I've known this very Dorcas Society to send to Hartford and
get shirts to make, under price, and spend their blood-money
afterwards to buy a new carpet for the minister's parlor. That was a
fact, Miss Jaynes, though perhaps it wa'n't polite in me to speak
on't; and so for fear of worse, I'll say no more."

When this speech of his housekeeper came to the Doctor's ears, he
expressed so warm an approval of its sentiments, that several who
heard him began to be confirmed in suspicions they had previously
entertained, the nature of which may be inferred from a remark which
Mrs. Prouty confided to the ear of a trusty friend and crony. "Now do
you mind what I say, Miss Baker," said she, shaking her snuffy
forefinger in Mrs. Baker's face; "Doctor Bugbee'll marry Tira Blake
yet. Now do you just stick a pin there."

But the revolving seasons twice went their annual round, the great
weeping-willow-tree in the burying-ground twice put forth its tender
foliage in the early spring, and twice in autumn strewed with yellow
leaves the mound of Mrs. Bugbee's grave, while the predictions of
many, who, like Mrs. Prouty, had foretold the Doctor's second wedding,
still remained without fulfilment. Nay, at the end of two years after
his wife's death, Doctor Bugbee seemed to be no more disposed to
matrimony than in the first days of his bereavement. There were, to be
sure, floating on the current of village gossip, certain rumors that
he was soon to take a second wife; but as none of these reports agreed
touching the name of the lady, each contradicted all the others, and
so none were of much account. Besides, there was nothing in the
Doctor's appearance or behavior that seemed to warrant any of these
idle stories. It is the way with many hopeful widowers (as everybody
knows) to become, after an interval of decorous sadness, more brisk
and gay than even in their youthful days; bestowing unusual care upon
their attire and the adornment of their persons, and endeavoring, by a
courteous and gallant demeanor towards every unmarried lady, to
signify the great esteem in which they hold the female sex. But these
signs, and all others which betoken an ardent desire to win the
favor of the fair, were wanting in the Doctor's aspect and
deportment. Though, as my reader knows, he was by nature a man of
lively temper, he was now grown more sedate than he had ever been
before; and instead of attiring himself more sprucely than of old, he
neglected his apparel to such a degree, that, although few would have
noticed the untidy change, Statira was filled with continual alarms,
lest some invidious housewife should perceive it, and lay the blame at
her door. Except when called abroad to perform some professional duty,
he spent his time at home, although his family observed that he
secluded himself in his office, among his books and gallipots, more
than had been his wont, and that he sometimes indulged in moods of
silent abstraction, which had never been noticed in his manner until
of late. But these changes of demeanor seemed to betoken an enduring
sorrow for the loss of his wife, rather than to indicate a desire or
an intention to choose a successor to her. My readers, therefore, will
not be surprised to learn, by a plain averment of the simple truth,
that not one of all the score of ladies, whose names had been coupled
with his own, would Doctor Bugbee have married, if he could, and that
to none of them had he ever given any good reason for believing that
she stood especially high in his esteem.

              [To be continued in the next Number.]


Wise men of every name and nation, whether poets, philosophers,
statesmen, or divines, have been trying to explain the puzzles of
human condition, since the world began. For three thousand years, at
least, they have been at this problem, and it is far enough from being
solved yet. Its anomalies seem to have been expressly contrived by
Nature to elude our curiosity and defy our cunning. And no part of it
has she arranged so craftily as that web of institutions, habits,
manners, and customs, in which we find ourselves enmeshed as soon as
we begin to have any perception at all, and which, slight and almost
invisible as it may seem, it is so hard to struggle with and so
impossible to break through. It may be true, according to the poetical
Platonism of Wordsworth, that "heaven lies about us in our infancy";
but we very soon leave it far behind us, and, as we approach manhood,
sadly discover that we have grown up into a jurisdiction of a very
different kind.

In almost every region of the earth, indeed, it is literally true that
"shades of the prison-house begin to close upon the growing boy." As
his faculties develope, he becomes more and more conscious of the
deepening shadows, as well as of the grim walls that cast them on his
soul, and his opening intelligence is earliest exercised in divining
who built them first, and why they exist at all. The infant Chinese,
the baby Calmuck, the suckling Hottentot, we must suppose, rest
unconsciously in the calm of the heaven from which they, too, have
emigrated, as well as the sturdy new-born Briton, or the freest and
most independent little Yankee that is native and to the manner born
of this great country of our own. But all alike grow gradually into a
consciousness of walls, which, though invisible, are none the less
impassable, and of chains, though light as air, yet stronger than
brass or iron. And everywhere is the machinery ready, though different
in its frame and operation in different torture-chambers, to crush out
the budding skepticism, and to mould the mind into the monotonous
decency of general conformity. Foe or Fetish, King or Kaiser, Deity
itself or the vicegerents it has appointed in its stead, are
answerable for it all. God himself has looked upon it, and it is very
good, and there is no appeal from that approval of the Heavenly

In almost every country in the world this deification of institutions
has been promoted by their antiquity. As nobody can remember when they
were not, and as no authentic records exist of their first
establishment, their genealogy can be traced direct to Heaven without
danger of positive disproof. Thus royal races and hereditary
aristocracies and privileged priesthoods established themselves so
firmly in the opinion of Europe, as well as of Asia, and still retain
so much of their _prestige_ there, notwithstanding the turnings
and overturnings of the last two centuries. This northern half of the
great American continent, however, seems to have been kept back by
Nature as a _tabula rasa_, a clean blackboard, on which the great
problem of civil government might be worked out, without any of the
incongruous drawbacks which have cast perplexity and despair upon
those who have undertaken its solution in the elder world. All the
elements of the demonstration were of the most favorable
nature. Settled by races who had inherited or achieved whatever of
constitutional liberty existed in the world, with no hereditary
monarch, or governing oligarchy, or established religion on the soil,
with every opportunity to avoid all the vices and to better all the
virtues of the old polities, the era before which all history had been
appointed to prepare the way seemed to have arrived, when the just
relations of personal liberty and civil government were to be
established forever.

And how magnificent the field on which the trophy of this final
victory of a true civilization was to be erected! No empire or
kingdom, at least since imperial Rome perished from the earth, ever
unrolled a surface so vast and so variegated, so manifold in its
fertilities and so various in its aspects of beauty and
sublimity. From the Northern wastes, where the hunter and the trapper
pursue by force or guile the fur-bearing animals, to the ever-perfumed
latitudes of the lemon and the myrtle,--from the stormy Atlantic,
where the skiff of the fisherman rocks fearlessly under the menace of
beetling crags amid the foam of angry breakers, to where the solemn
surge of the Pacific pours itself around our Western continent, boon
Nature has spread out fields which ask only the magic touch of Labor
to wave with every harvest and blush with every fruitage. Majestic
forests crown the hills, asking to be transformed into homes for man
on the solid earth, or into the moving miracles in which he flies on
wings of wind or flame over the ocean to the ends of the
earth. Exhaustless mineral treasures offer themselves to his hand,
scarce hidden beneath the soil, or lying carelessly upon the
surface,--coal, and lead, and copper, and the "all-worshipped ore" of
gold itself; while quarries, reaching to the centre, from many a
rugged hill-top, barren of all beside, court the architect and the
sculptor, ready to give shape to their dreams of beauty in the palace
or in the statue.

The soil, too, is fitted by the influences of every sky for the
production of every harvest that can bring food, comfort, wealth, and
luxury to man. Every family of the grasses, every cereal that can
strengthen the heart, every fruit that can delight the taste, every
fibre that can be woven into raiment or persuaded into the thousand
shapes of human necessity, asks but a gentle solicitation to pour its
abundance bounteously into the bosom of the husbandman. And men have
multiplied under conditions thus auspicious to life, until they swarm
on the Atlantic slope, are fast filling up the great valley of the
Mississippi, and gradually flow over upon the descent towards the
Pacific. The three millions, who formed the population of the Thirteen
States that set the British empire at defiance, have grown up into a
nation of nearly, if not quite, ten times that strength, within the
duration of active lives not yet finished. And in freedom from
unmanageable debt, in abundance and certainty of revenue, in the
materials for naval armaments, in the elements of which armies are
made up, in everything that goes to form national wealth, power, and
strength, the United States, it would seem, even as they are now,
might stand against the world in arms, or in the arts of peace. Are
not these results proofs irrefragable of the wisdom of the government
under which they have come to pass?

When the eyes of the thoughtful inquirer turn from the general
prospect of the national greatness and strength, to the geographical
divisions of the country, to examine the relative proportions of these
gifts contributed by each, he begins to be aware that there are
anomalies in the moral and political condition even of this youngest
of nations, not unlike what have perplexed him in his observation of
her elder sisters. He beholds the Southern region, embracing within
its circuit three hundred thousand more square miles than the domain
of the North, dowered with a soil incomparably more fertile, watered
by mighty rivers fit to float the argosies of the world, placed nearer
the sun and canopied by more propitious skies, with every element of
prosperity and wealth showered upon it with Nature's fullest and most
unwithdrawing hand, and sees, that, notwithstanding all this, the
share of public wealth and strength drawn thence is almost
inappreciable by the side of what is poured into the common stock by
the strenuous sterility of the North. With every opportunity and means
that Nature can supply for commerce, with navigable rivers searching
its remotest corners, with admirable harbors in which the navies of
the world might ride, with the chief articles of export for its staple
productions, it still depends upon its Northern partner to fetch and
carry all that it produces, and the little that it consumes. Possessed
of all the raw materials of manufactures and the arts, its inhabitants
look to the North for everything they need from the cradle to the
coffin. Essentially agricultural in its constitution, with every
blessing Nature can bestow upon it, the gross value of all its
productions is less by millions than that of the simple grass of the
field gathered into Northern barns. With all the means and materials
of wealth, the South is poor. With every advantage for gathering
strength and self-reliance, it is weak and dependent.--Why this
difference between the two?

The _why_ is not far to seek. It is to be found in the reward
which Labor bestows on those that pay it due reverence in the one
case, and the punishment it inflicts on those offering it outrage and
insult in the other. All wealth proceeding forth from Labor, the land
where it is honored and its ministers respected and rewarded must
needs rejoice in the greatest abundance of its gifts. Where, on the
contrary, its exercise is regarded as the badge of dishonor and the
vile office of the refuse and offscouring of the race, its largess
must be proportionably meagre and scanty. The key of the enigma is to
be found in the constitution of human nature. A man in fetters cannot
do the task-work that one whose limbs are unshackled looks upon as a
pastime. A man urged by the prospect of winning an improved condition
for himself and his children by the skill of his brain and the
industry of his hand must needs achieve results such as no fear of
torture can extort from one denied the holy stimulus of hope. Hence
the difference so often noticed between tracts lying side by side,
separated only by a river or an imaginary line; on one side of which,
thrift and comfort and gathering wealth, growing villages, smiling
farms, convenient habitations, school-houses, and churches make the
landscape beautiful; while on the other, slovenly husbandry,
dilapidated mansions, sordid huts, perilous wastes, horrible roads,
the rare spire, and rarer village school betray all the nakedness of
the land. It is the magic of motive that calls forth all this wealth
and beauty to bless the most sterile soil stirred by willing and
intelligent labor; while the reversing of that spell scatters squalor
and poverty and misery over lands endowed by Nature with the highest
fertility, spreading their leprous infection from the laborer to his
lord. All this is in strict accordance with the laws of God, as
expounded by man in his books on political economy.

Not so, however, with the stranger phenomenon to be discerned
inextricably connected with this anomaly, but not, apparently,
naturally and inevitably flowing from it. That the denial of his
natural and civil rights to the laborer who sows and reaps the
harvests of the Southern country should be avenged upon his enslaver
in the scanty yielding of the earth, and in the unthrift, the vices,
and the wretchedness which are the only crops that spring
spontaneously from soil blasted by slavery, is nothing strange. It is
only the statement of the truism in moral and in political economy,
that true prosperity can never grow up from wrong and wickedness. That
pauperism, and ignorance, and vice, that reckless habits, and debasing
customs, and barbarous manners should come of an organized degradation
of labor, and of cruelty and injustice crystallized into an
institution, is an inevitable necessity, and strictly according to the
nature of things. But that the stronger half of the nation should
suffer the weaker to rule over it in virtue of its weakness, that the
richer region should submit to the political tyranny of its
impoverished moiety because of that very poverty, is indeed a marvel
and a mystery. That the intelligent, educated, and civilized portion
of a race should consent to the sway of their ignorant, illiterate,
and barbarian companions in the commonwealth, and this by reason of
that uncouth barbarism, is an astonishment, and should be a hissing to
all beholders everywhere. It would be so to ourselves, were we not so
used to the fact, had it not so grown into our essence and ingrained
itself with our nature as to seem a vital organism of our being. Of
all the anomalies in morals and in politics which the history of
civilized man affords, this is surely the most abnormous and the most

The entire history of the United States is but the record of the
evidence of this fact. What event in our annals is there that Slavery
has not set her brand upon it to mark it as her own? In the very
moment of the nation's birth, like the evil fairy of the nursery tale,
she was present to curse it with her fatal words. The spell then wound
up has gone on increasing in power, until the scanty formulas which
seemed in those days of infancy as if they would fade out of the
parchment into which they had been foisted, and leave no trace that
they ever were, have blotted out all beside, and statesmen and judges
read nothing there but the awful and all-pervading name of Slavery.
Once intrenched among the institutions of the country, this baleful
power has advanced from one position to another, never losing ground,
but establishing itself at each successive point more impregnably than
before, until it has us at an advantage that encourages it to demand
the surrender of our rights, our self-respect, and our honor. What was
once whispered in the secret chamber of council is now proclaimed upon
the housetops; what was once done by indirection and guile is now
carried with the high hand, in the face of day, at the mouth of the
cannon and by the edge of the sabre of the nation. Doctrines and
designs which a few years since could find no mouthpiece out of a
bar-room, or the piratical den of a filibuster, are now clothed with
power by the authentic response of the bench of our highest
judicatory, and obsequiously iterated from the oracular recesses of
the National Palace.

And the events which now fill the scene are but due successors in the
train that has swept over the stage ever since the nineteenth century
opened the procession with the purchase of Louisiana. The acquisition
of that vast territory, important as it was in a national point of
view,--but coveted by the South mainly as the fruitful mother of
slave-holding States, and for the precedent it established, that the
Constitution was a barrier only to what should impede, never to what
might promote, the interests of Slavery,--was the first great stride
she made as she stalked to her design. The admission of Missouri as a
slaveholding State, granted after a struggle that shook American
society to the centre, and then only on the memorable promises now
broken to the ear as well as to the hope, was the next vantage-ground
seized and maintained. The nearly contemporary purchase of Florida,
though in design and in effect as revolutionary an action as that of
Louisiana, excited comparatively little opposition. It was but the
following up of an acknowledged victory by the Slave Power. The long
and bloody wars in her miserable swamps, waged against the
humanity of savages that gave shelter to the fugitives from her
tyranny,--slave-hunts, merely, on a national scale and at the common
expense,--followed next in the march of events. Then Texas loomed in
the distance, and, after years of gradual approach and covert
advances, was first wrested from Mexico. Slavery next indissolubly
chained to her, and then, by a _coup d'état_ of astonishing impudence,
was added, by a flourish of John Tyler's pen, in the very article of
his political dissolution, to "the Area of Freedom!" Next came the war
with Mexico, lying in its pretences, bloody in its conduct, triumphant
in its results, for it won vast regions suitable for Slavery now, and
taught the way to win larger conquests when her ever-hungry maw should
crave them. What need to recount the Fugitive-Slave Bill, and the
other "Compromises" of 1850? or to recite the base repeal of the
Missouri Compromise, showing the slaveholder's regard for promises to
be as sacred as that of a pettifogger for justice or of a dicer for an
oath? or to point to the plains of Kansas, red with the blood of her
sons and blackened with the cinders of her towns, while the President
of the United States held the sword of the nation at her throat to
compel her to submission?

Success, perpetual and transcendent, such as has always waited on
Slavery in all her attempts to mould the history of the country and to
compel the course of its events to do her bidding, naturally excites a
measure of curiosity if not of admiration, in the mind of every
observer. Have the slave-owners thus gone on from victory to victory
and from strength to strength by reason of their multitude, of their
wealth, of their public services, of their intelligence, of their
wisdom, of their genius, or of their virtue? Success in gigantic
crime sometimes implies a strength and energy which compel a kind of
respect even from those that hate it most. The right supremacy of the
power that thus sways our destiny clearly does not reside in the
overwhelming numbers of those that bear rule. The entire sum of all
who have any direct connection with Slavery, as owners or hirers, is
less than THREE HUNDRED AND FIFTY THOUSAND,--not half as many as the
inhabitants of the single city of New York! And yet even this number
exaggerates the numerical force of the dominant element in our
affairs. To approximate to the true result, it would be fair to strike
from the gross sum those owning or employing less than ten slaves, in
order to arrive at the number of slave-owners who really compose the
ruling influence of the nation. This would leave but a small fraction
over NINETY THOUSAND, men, women, and children, owning slaves enough
to unite them in a common interest. And from this should be deducted
the women and minors, actually owning slaves in their own right, but
who have no voice in public affairs. These taken away, and the
absentees flying to Europe or the North from the moral contaminations
and material discomforts inseparable from Slavery, and not much more
than FIFTY THOUSAND voting men will remain to represent this mighty
and all-controlling power!--a fact as astounding as it is

Oligarchies are nothing new in the history of the world. The
government of the many by the few is the rule, and not the exception,
in the politics of the times that have been and of those that now
are. But the concentration of the power that determines the policy,
makes the laws, and appoints the ministers of a mighty nation, in the
hands of less than the five-hundredth part of its members, is an
improvement on the essence of the elder aristocracies; while the
usurpation of the title of the Model Republic and of the Pattern
Democracy, under which we offer ourselves to the admiration and
imitation of less happy nations, is certainly a refinement on their

This prerogative of power, too, is elsewhere conceded by the multitude
to their rulers generally for some especial fitness, real or
imaginary, for the office they have assumed. Some services of their
own or of their ancestors to the state, some superiority, natural or
acquired, of parts or skill, at least some specialty of high culture
and elegant breeding, a quick sense of honor, a jealousy of insult to
the public, an impatience of personal stain,--some or all of these
qualities, appealing to the gratitude or to the imagination of the
masses, have usually been supposed to inhere in the class they permit
to rule over them. By virtue of some or all of these things, its
members have had allowed to them their privileges and their
precedency, their rights of exemption and of preeminence, their voice
potential in the councils of the state, and their claim to be foremost
in its defence in the hour of its danger. Some ray of imagination
there is, which, falling on the knightly shields and heraldic devices
that symbolize their conceded superiority, at least dazzles the eyes
and delights the fancy of the crowd, so as to blind them to the
inhering vices and essential fallacies of the Order to whose will they

But no such consolations of delusion remain to us, as we stand face to
face with the Power which holds our destinies in its hand. None of
these blear illusions can cheat our eyes with any such false
presentments. No antiquity hallows, no public services consecrate, no
gifts of lofty culture adorn, no graces of noble breeding embellish
the coarse and sordid oligarchy that gives law to us. And in the
blighting shadow of Slavery letters die and art cannot live. What book
has the South ever given to the libraries of the world? What work of
art has she ever added to its galleries? What artist has she produced
that did not instinctively fly, like Allston, to regions in which
genius could breathe and art was possible? What statesman has she
reared, since Jefferson died and Madison ceased to write, save those
intrepid discoverers who have taught that Slavery is the corner-stone
of republican institutions, and the vital element of Freedom herself?
What divine, excepting the godly men whose theologic skill has
attained to the doctrine that Slavery is of the essence of the Gospel
of Jesus Christ? What moralist, besides those ethic doctors who teach
that it is according to the Divine Justice that the stronger race
should strip the weaker of every civil, social, and moral right? The
unrighteous partiality, extorted by the threats of Carolina and
Georgia in 1788, which gives them a disproportionate representation
because of their property in men, and the unity of interest which
makes them always act in behalf of Slavery as one man, have made them
thus omnipotent. The North, distracted by a thousand interests, has
always been at the mercy of whatever barbarian chief in the capital
could throw his slave whip into the trembling scale of party. The
government having been always, since this century began, at least, the
creature and the tool of the slaveholders, the whole patronage of the
nation, and the treasury filled chiefly by Northern commerce, have
been at their command to help manipulate and mould plastic Northern
consciences into practicable shapes. When the slave interest,
consisting, at its own largest account of itself, of less than THREE
HUNDRED AND FIFTY THOUSAND souls, has _thirty_ members of the
Senate, while the free-labor interest, consisting of at least
_thirty-two_, and when the former has a delegation of some score
of members to represent its slaves in the House, besides its own fair
proportion, can we marvel that it has achieved the mastery over us,
which is written in black and bloody characters on so many pages of
our history?

Such having been the absolute sway Slavery has exercised over the
facts of our history, what has been its influence upon the characters
of the men with whom it has had to do? Of all the productions of a
nation, its men are what prove its quality the most surely. How have
the men of America stood this test? Have those in the high places,
they who have been called to wait at the altar before all the people,
maintained the dignity of character and secured the general reverence
which marked and waited upon their predecessors in the days of our
small things? The population of the United States has multiplied
itself nearly tenfold, while its wealth has increased in a still
greater proportion, since the peace of 'Eighty-Three. Have the
Representative Men of the nation been made or maintained great and
magnanimous, too? Or is that other anomaly, which has so perplexed the
curious foreigner, an admitted fact, that in proportion as the country
has waxed great and powerful, its public men have dwindled from giants
in the last century to dwarfs in this? Alas, to ask the question is to
answer it. Compare Franklin, and Adams, and Jay, met at Paris to
negotiate the treaty of peace which was to seal the recognition of
their country as an equal sister in the family of nations, with
Buchanan, and Soulé, and Mason, convened at Ostend to plot the larceny
of Cuba! Sages and lawgivers, consulting for the welfare of a world
and a race, on the one hand, and buccaneers conspiring for the pillage
of a sugar-island on the other!

What men, too, did not Washington and Adams call around them in the
Cabinet!--how representative of great ideas! how historical! how
immortal! How many of our readers can name the names of their
successors of the present day? Inflated obscurities, bloated
insignificances, who knows or cares whence they came or what they are?
We know whose bidding they were appointed to obey, and what manner of
work they are ready to perform. And shall we dare extend our profane
comparisons even higher than the Cabinet? Shall we bring the shadowy
majesty of Washington's august idea alongside the microscopic
realities of to-day? Let us be more merciful, and take our departure
from the middle term between the Old and the New, occupied by Andrew
Jackson, whose iron will and doggedness of purpose give definite
character, if not awful dignity, to his image. In his time, the Slave
Power, though always the secret spring which set events in motion,
began to let its workings be seen more openly than ever before. And
from his time forward, what a graduated line of still diminishing
shadows have glided successively through the portals of the White
House! From Van Buren to Tyler, from Tyler to Polk, from Polk to
Fillmore, from Fillmore to Pierce! "Fine by degrees and beautifully
less," until it at last reached the vanishing point!

The baleful influence thus ever shed by Slavery on our national
history and our public men has not yet spent its malignant forces. It
has, indeed, reached a height which a few years ago it was thought the
wildest fanaticism to predict; but its fatal power will not be stayed
in the mid-sweep of its career. The Ordinance of 1787 torn to shreds
and scattered to the winds,--the line drawn in 1820, which the
slaveholders plighted their faith Slavery should never overstep,
insolently as well as infamously obliterated,--Slavery presiding in
the Cabinet, seated on the Supreme Bench, absolute in the halls of
Congress,--no man can say what shape its next aggression may not take
to itself. A direct attack on the freedom of the press and the liberty
of speech at the North, where alone either exists, were no more
incredible than the later insolences of its tyranny. The battle not
yet over in Kansas, for the compulsory establishment of Slavery there
by the interposition of the Federal arm, will be renewed in every
Territory as it is ripening into a State. Already warning voices are
heard in the air, presaging such a conflict in Oregon. Parasites
everywhere instinctively feel that a zeal for the establishment of
Slavery where it has been abolished, or its introduction where it had
been prohibited, is the highest recommendation to the Executive favor.
The rehabilitation of the African slave-trade is seriously proposed
and will be furiously urged, and nothing can hinder its accomplishment
but its interference with the domestic manufactures of the breeding
Slave States. The pirate Walker is already mustering his forces for
another incursion into Nicaragua, and rumors are rife that General
Houston designs wresting yet another Texas from Mexico. Mighty events
are at hand, even at the door; and the mission of them all will be to
fix Slavery firmly and forever on the throne of this nation.

Is the success of this conspiracy to be final and eternal? Are the
States which name themselves, in simplicity or in irony, the Free
States, to be always the satrapies of a central power like this? Are
we forever to submit to be cheated out of our national rights by an
oligarchy as despicable as it is detestable, because it clothes itself
in the forms of democracy, and allows us the ceremonies of choice, the
name of power, and the permission to register the edicts of the
sovereign? We, who broke the sceptre of King George, and set our feet
on the supremacy of the British Parliament, surrender ourselves, bound
hand and foot in bonds of our own weaving, into the hands of the
slaveholding Philistines! We, who scorned the rule of the aristocracy
of English acres, submit without a murmur, or with an ineffectual
resistance, to the aristocracy of American flesh and blood! Is our
spirit effectually broken? is the brand of meanness and compromise
burnt in uneffaceably upon our souls? and are we never to be roused,
by any indignities, to fervent resentment and effectual resistance?
The answer to these grave questions lies with ourselves alone. One
hundred thousand, or three hundred thousand men, however crafty and
unscrupulous, cannot forever keep under their rule more than twenty
millions, as much their superiors in wealth and intelligence as in
numbers, except by their own consent. If the growing millions are to
be driven with cartwhips along the pathway of their history by the
dwindling thousands, they have none to blame for it but themselves.
If they like to have their laws framed and expounded, their presidents
appointed, their foreign policy dictated, their domestic interests
tampered with, their war and peace made for them, their national fame
and personal honor tarnished, and the lie given to all their boastings
before the old despotisms, by this insignificant fraction of their
number,--scarcely visible to the naked eye in the assembly of the
whole people,--none can gainsay or resist their pleasure.

But will the many always thus submit themselves to the domination of
the few? We believe that the days of this ignominious subjection are
already numbered. Signs in heaven and on earth tell us that one of
those movements has begun to be felt in the Northern mind, which
perplex tyrannies everywhere with the fear of change. The insults and
wrongs so long heaped upon the North by the South begin to be
felt. The torpid giant moves uneasily beneath his mountain-load of
indignities. The people of the North begin to feel that they support a
government for the benefit of their natural enemies; for, of all
antipathies, that of slave labor to free is the most deadly and
irreconcilable. There never was a time when the relations of the North
and the South, as complicated by Slavery, were so well understood and
so deeply resented as now. In fields, in farmhouses, and in workshops,
there is a spirit aroused which can never be laid or exorcised till it
has done its task. We see its work in the great uprising of the Free
States against the Slave States in the late national election. Though
trickery and corruption cheated it of its end, the thunder of its
protest struck terror into the hearts of the tyrants. We hear its
echo, as it comes back from the Slave States themselves, in the
exceeding bitter cry of the whites for deliverance from the bondage
which the slavery of the blacks has brought upon them also. We
discern the confession of its might in the very extravagances and
violences of the Slave Power. It is its conscious and admitted
weakness that has made Texas and Mexico and Cuba, and our own
Northwestern territory, necessary to be devoured. It is desperation,
and not strength, that has made the bludgeon and the bowie-knife
integral parts of the national legislation. It has the American
Government, the American Press, and the American Church, in its
national organizations, on its side; but the Humanity and the
Christianity of the Nation and the World abhor and execrate it. They
that be against it are more than they that be for it.

It rages, for its time is short. And its rage is the fiercer because
of the symptoms of rebellion against its despotism which it discerns
among the white men of the South, who from poverty or from principle
have no share in its sway. When we speak of the South as
distinguished from the North by elements of inherent hostility, we
speak only of the governing faction, and not of the millions of
nominally free men who are scarcely less its thralls than the black
slaves themselves. This unhappy class of our countrymen are the first
to feel the blight which Slavery spreads around it, because they are
the nearest to its noxious power. The subjects of no European
despotism are under a closer _espionage,_ or a more organized
system of terrorism, than are they. The slaveholders, having the
wealth, and nearly all the education that the South can boast of,
employ these mighty instruments of power to create the public
sentiment and to control the public affairs of their region, so as
best to secure their own supremacy. No word of dissent to the
institutions under which they live, no syllable of dissatisfaction,
even, with any of the excesses they stimulate, can be breathed in
safety. A Christian minister in Tennessee relates an act of fiendish
cruelty inflicted upon a slave by one of the members of his church,
and he is forced to leave his charge, if not to fly the
country. Another in South Carolina presumes to express in conversation
his disapprobation of the murderous assault of Brooks on Senator
Sumner, and his pastoral relations are broken up on the instant, as if
he had been guilty of gross crime or flagrant heresy. Professor
Hedrick, in North Carolina, ventures to utter a preference for the
Northern candidate in the last presidential campaign, and he is
summarily ejected from his chair, and virtually banished from his
native State. Mr. Underwood, of Virginia, dares to attend the
convention of the party he preferred, and he is forbidden to return to
his home on pain of death. The blackness of darkness and the stillness
of death are thus forced to brood over that land which God formed so
fair, and made to be so happy.

That such a tyranny should excite an antagonistic spirit of resistance
is inevitable from the constitution of man and the character of
God. The sporadic cases of protest and of resistance to the
slaveholding aristocracy, which lift themselves occasionally above the
dead level of the surrounding despotism, are representative
cases. They stand for much more than their single selves. They prove
that there is a wide-spread spirit of discontent, informing great
regions of the slave-land, which must one day find or force an
opportunity of making itself heard and felt. This we have just seen in
the great movement in Missouri, the very nursing-mother of
Border-Ruffianism itself, which narrowly missed making Emancipation
the policy of the majority of the voters there. Such a result is the
product of no sudden culture. It must have been long and slowly
growing up. And how could it be otherwise? There must be intelligence
enough among the non-slaveholding whites to see the difference there
is between themselves and persons of the same condition in the Free
States. Why can they have no free schools? Why is it necessary that a
missionary society be formed at the North to furnish them with such
ministers as the slave-master can approve? Why can they not support
their own ministers, and have a Gospel of Free Labor preached to them,
if they choose? Why are they hindered from taking such newspapers as
they please? Why are they subjected to a censorship of the press,
which dictates to them what they may or may not read, and which
punishes booksellers with exile and ruin for keeping for sale what
they want to buy? Why must Northern publishers expurgate and
emasculate the literature of the world before it is permitted to reach
them? Why is it that the value of acres increases in a geometrical
ratio, as they stretch away towards the North Star from the frontier
of Slavery? These questions must suggest their sufficient answer to
thousands of hearts, and be preparing the way for the insurrection of
which the slaveholders stand in the deadliest fear,--that of the
whites at their gates, who can do with them and their institutions
what seems to them good, when once they know their power, and choose
to put it forth. The unity of interest of the non-slaveholders of the
South with the people of the Free States is perfect, and it must one
day combine them in a unity of action.

The exact time when the millions of the North and of the South shall
rise upon this puny mastership, and snatch from its hands the control
of their own affairs, we cannot tell,--nor yet the authentic shape
which that righteous insurrection will take unto itself. But we know
that when the great body of any nation is thoroughly aroused, and
fully in earnest to abate a mischief or to right a wrong, nothing can
resist its energy or defeat its purpose. It will provide the way, when
its will is once thoroughly excited. Men look out upon the world they
live in, and it seems as if a change for the better were hopeless and
impossible. The great statesmen, the eminent divines, the reverend
judges, the learned lawyers, the wealthy landholders and merchants are
all leagued together to repel innovation. But the earth still moves
in its orbit around the sun; decay and change and death pursue their
inevitable course; the child is born and grows up; the strong man
grows old and dies; the law of flux and efflux never ceases, and lo!
ere men are aware of it, all things have become new. Fresh eyes look
upon the world, and it is changed. Where are now Calhoun, and Clay,
and Webster? Where will shortly be Cass, and Buchanan, and Benton, and
their like? Vanished from the stage of affairs, if not from the face
of Nature. Who are to take their places? God knows. But we know that
the school in which men are now in training for the arena is very
different from the one which formed the past and passing generations
of politicians. Great ideas are abroad, challenging the encounter of
youth. Angels wrestle with the men of this generation, as with the
Patriarch of old, and it is our own fault if a blessing be not
extorted ere they take their flight. Principles, like those which in
the earlier days of the republic elevated men into statesmen, are now
again in the field, chasing the policies which have dwarfed their sons
into politicians. These things are portentous of change,--perhaps
sudden, but, however delayed, inevitable.

And this change, whatever the outward shape in which it may incarnate
itself, in the fulness of time, will come of changed ideas, opinions,
and feelings in the general mind and heart. All institutions, even
those of the oldest of despotisms, exist by the permission and consent
of those who live under them. Change the ideas of the thronging
multitudes by the banks of the Neva, or on the shores of the
Bosphorus, and they will be changed into Republicans and Christians in
the twinkling of an eye. Not merely the Kingdom of Heaven, but the
kingdoms of this world, are within us. Ideas are their substance;
institutions and customs but the shadows they cast into the visible
sphere. Mould the substance anew, and the projected shadow must
represent the altered shape within. Hence the dread despots feel, and
none more than the petty despots of the plantation, of whatever may
throw the light of intelligence across the mental sight of their
slaves. Men endure the ills they have, either because they think them
blessings, or because they fear lest, should they seek to fly them, it
might be to others that they know not of. The present Bonaparte holds
France in a chain because she is willing that he should. Let her but
breathe upon the padlock, and, like that in the fable, it will fade
into air, and he and his dynasty will vanish with it. So the people of
the North submit to the domination of the South because they are used
to it, and are doubtful as to what may replace it. Whenever the
millions, North and South, whom Slavery grinds under her heel, shall
be resolutely minded that her usurpation shall cease, it will
disappear, and forever. As soon as the stone is thrown the giant will
die, and men will marvel that they endured him so long. But this can
only come to pass by virtue of a change yet to be wrought in the
hearts and minds of men. Ideas everywhere are royal;--here they are
imperial. It is the great office of genius, and eloquence, and sacred
function, and conspicuous station, and personal influence to herald
their approach and to prepare the way before them, that they may
assert their state and give holy laws to the listening nation. Thus a
glorious form and pressure may be given to the coming age. Thus the
ideal of a true republic, of a government of laws made and executed by
the people, of which bards have sung and prophets dreamed, and for
which martyrs have suffered and heroes died, may yet be possible to
us, and the great experiment of this Western World be indeed a Model,
instead of a Warning to the nations.


    Oft round my hall of portraiture I gaze,
    By Memory reared, the artist wise and holy,
    From stainless quarries of deep-buried days.
    There, as I muse in soothing melancholy,
    Your faces glow in more than mortal youth,
    Companions of my prime, now vanished wholly,--
    The loud, impetuous boy, the low-voiced maiden.
    Ah, never master that drew mortal breath
    Can match thy portraits, just and generous Death,
    Whose brush with sweet regretful tints is laden!
    Thou paintest that which struggled here below
    Half understood, or understood for woe,
    And, with a sweet forewarning,
    Mak'st round the sacred front an aureole glow
    Woven of that light that rose on Easter morning.


_Homoeopathic Domestic Physician_, etc., etc. By J. H. PULTE,
M.D., Author of "Woman's Medical Guide," etc. Twenty-fourth
thousand. Cincinnati: Moore, Wilstach, Keys, & Co. London: James Epps,
170, Piccadilly, 1857.

Of course the reader understands the following notice to be written by
a venerable practitioner, who carries a gold-headed cane, and does not
believe in any medical authority later than Sydenham. Listen to him,
then, and remember that if anything in the way of answer, or
remonstrance, or controversial advertisement is sent to the
head-quarters of this periodical, it will go directly into the basket,
which, entering, a manuscript leaves all hope behind. The "old salts"
of the "Atlantic" do not go for non-committal and neutrality, or any
of that kind of nonsense. Our oracle with the gold stick must have
the ground to himself, or keep his wisdom for another set of
readers. A quarrel between "Senex" and "Fairplay" would be amusing,
but expensive. We have no space for it; and the old gentleman, though
he can use his cane smartly for one of his age, positively declines
the game of single-stick. Hear him.

--The book mentioned above lies before us with its valves open,
helpless as an oyster on its shell, inviting the critical pungent, the
professional acid, and the judicial impaling trident. We will be
merciful. This fat little literary mollusk is well-conditioned, of
fair aspect, and seemingly good of its kind. Twenty-four thousand
individuals,--we have its title-page as authority,--more or less
lineal descendants of Solomon, have become the fortunate possessors of
this plethoric guide to earthly immortality. They might have done
worse; for the work is well printed, well arranged, and
typographically creditable to the great publishing-house which honors
Cincinnati by its intelligent enterprise. The purchasers have done
very wisely in buying a book which will not hurt their eyes. Mr. Otis
Clapp, bibliopolist, has the work, and will be pleased to supply it to
an indefinite number of the family above referred to.

--Men live in the immediate neighborhood of a great menagerie, the
doors of which are always open. The beasts of prey that come out are
called diseases. They feed upon us, and between their teeth we must
all pass sooner or later,--all but a few, who are otherwise taken care
of. When these animals attack a man, most of them give him a scratch
or a bite, and let him go. Some hold on a little while; some are
carried about for weeks or months, until the carrier drops down, or
they drop off. By and by one is sure to come along that drags down the
strongest, and makes an end of him.

Most people know little or nothing of these beasts, until all at once
they find themselves attacked by one of them. They are therefore
liable to be frightened by those that are not dangerous, and careless
with those that are destructive. They do not know what will soothe,
and what will exasperate them. They do not even know the dens of many
of them, though they are close to their own dwellings.

A physician is one that has lived among these beasts, and studied
their aspects and habits. He knows them all well, and looks them in
the face, and lays his hand on their backs daily. They seem, as it
were, to know him, and to greet him with such _risus sardonicus_
as they can muster. He knows that his friends and himself have all
got to be eaten up at last by them, and his friends have the same
belief. Yet they want him near them at all times, and with them when
they are set upon by any of these their natural enemies. He goes,
knowing pretty well what he can do and what he cannot.

He can talk to them in a quiet and sensible way about these terrible
beings, concerning which they are so ignorant, and liable to harbor
such foolish fancies. He can frighten away some of the lesser kind of
animals with certain ill-smelling preparations he carries about
him. Once in a while he can draw the teeth of some of the biggest, or
throttle them. He can point out their dens, and so keep many from
falling into their jaws.

This is a great deal to promise or perform, but it is not all that is
expected of him. Sick people are very apt to be both fools and
cowards. Many of them confess the fact in the frankest possible
way. If you doubt it, ask the next dentist about the wisdom and
courage of average manhood under the dispensation of a bad tooth. As a
tooth is to a liver, so are the dentists' patients to the doctors', in
the want of the two excellences above mentioned.

Those not over-wise human beings called patients are frequently a
little unreasonable. They come with a small scratch, which Nature
will heal very nicely in a few days, and insist on its being closed at
once with some kind of joiner's glue. They want their little coughs
cured, so that they may breathe at their ease, when they have no lungs
left that are worth mentioning. They would have called in Luke the
physician to John the Baptist, when his head was in the charger, and
asked for a balsam that would cure cuts. This kind of thing cannot be
done. But it is very profitable to lie about it, and say that it can
be done. The people who make a business of this lying, and profiting
by it, are called quacks.

--But as patients wish to believe in all manner of "cures," and as all
doctors love to believe in the power of their remedies and as nothing
is more open to self-deception than medical experience, the whole
matter of therapeutics has always been made a great deal more of than
the case would justify. It has been an inflated currency,--fifty
pretences on paper, to one fact of true, ringing metal.

Many of the older books are full of absurd nostrums. A century ago,
Huxham gave messes to his patients containing more than four hundred
ingredients. Remedies were ordered that must have been suggested by
the imagination; things odious, abominable, unmentionable; flesh of
vipers, powder of dead men's bones, and other horrors, best mused in
expressive silence. Go to the little book of Robert Boyle,--wise man,
philosopher, revered of cures for the most formidable diseases, many
of them of this fantastic character, that disease should seem to have
been a thing that one could turn off at will, like gas or water in our
houses. Only there were rather too many specifics in those days. For
if one has "an excellent approved remedy" that never fails, it seems
unnecessary to print a list of twenty others for the same
purpose. This is wanton excess; it is gilding the golden pill, and
throwing fresh perfume on the Mistura Assafoetidae.

As the observation of nature has extended, and as mankind have
approached the state of only _semi_-barbarism in which they now
exist, there has been an improvement. The materia medica has been
weeded; much that was worthless and revolting has been thrown
overboard; simplicity has been introduced into prescriptions; and the
whole business of _drugging_ the sick has undergone a most
salutary reform. The great fact has been practically recognized, that
the movements of life in disease obey laws which, under the
circumstances, are on the whole salutary, and only require a limited
and occasional interference by any special disturbing agents. The list
of specifics has been reduced to a very brief catalogue, and the
delusion which had exaggerated the power of drugging for so many
generations has been tempered down by sound and systematic

Homoeopathy came, and with one harlequin bound leaped out of its
century backwards into the region of quagmires and fogs and mirages,
from which true medical science was painfully emerging. All the
trumpery of exploded pharmacopoeias was revived under new names. Even
the domain of the loathsome has been recently invaded, and simpletons
are told in the book before us to swallow serpents' poison; nay, it is
said that the _pediculis capitis_ is actually prescribed in
infusion,--hunted down in his capillary forest, and transferred to the
digestive organs of those he once fed upon.

It falsely alleged one axiom as the basis of existing medical
practice, namely, _Contraria contrarüs curantur_,--"Contraries
are cured by contraries." No such principle was ever acted upon,
exclusively, as the basis of medical practice. The man who does not
admit it as _one_ of the principles of practice would, on
_medical_ principles, refuse a drop of cold water to cool the
tongue of Dives in fiery torments. The only unconditional principle
ever recognized by medical science has been, that diseases are to be
treated by the remedies that experience shows to be useful. The
universal use of both _cold_ and _hot_ external and internal
remedies in various inflammatory states puts the garrote at once on
the babbling throat of the senseless assertion of the homaeopathists,
and stultifies for all time the nickname "allopathy."

It falsely alleged a second axiom, _Similia similibus
curantur_,--"Like is cured by like,"--as the basis of its own
practice; for it does not keep to any such rule, as every page of the
book before us abundantly shows.

It subjected credulous mankind to the last of indignities, in forcing
it to listen to that doctrine of infinitesimals and potencies which is
at once the most epigrammatic of paradoxes, and the crowning exploit
of pseudo-scientific audacity.

It proceeded to prove itself true by juggling statistics; some of the
most famous of which, we may remark, are very well shown up by
Professor Worthington Hooker, in a recent essay. And having done all
these things, it sat down in the shadow of a brazen bust of its
founder, and invited mankind to join in the Barmecide feast it had
spread on the coffin of Science; who, however, proved not to have been
buried in it,--indeed, not to have been buried at all.

Of course, it had, and has, a certain success. Its infinitesimal
treatment being a nullity, patients are never hurt by drugs, _when
it is adhered to_. It pleases the imagination. It is image-worship,
relic-wearing, holy-water-sprinkling, transferred from the spiritual
world to that of the body. Poets accept it; sensitive and spiritual
women become sisters of charity in its service. It does not offend the
palate, and so spares the nursery those scenes of single combat in
which infants were wont to yield at length to the pressure of the
spoon and the imminence of asphyxia. It gives the ignorant, who have
such an inveterate itch for dabbling in physic, a book and a doll's
medicine-chest, and lets them play doctors and doctresses without fear
of having to call in the coroner. And just so long as unskilful and
untaught people cannot tell coincidences from cause and effect in
medical practice,--which to do, the wise and experienced know how
difficult!--so long it will have plenty of "facts" to fall back
upon. Who can blame a man for being satisfied with the argument, "I
was ill, and am well,--great is Hahnemann!"? Only this argument serves
all impostors and impositions. It is not of much value, but it is
irresistible, and therefore quackery is immortal.

Homaeopathy is one of its many phases; the most imaginative, the most
elegant, and, it is fair to say, the least noxious in its direct
agencies. "It is melancholy,"--we use the recent words of the
world-honored physician of the Queen's household, Sir John
Forbes,--"to be forced to make admissions in favor of a system so
utterly false and despicable as Homaeopathy." Yet we must own that it
may have been indirectly useful, as the older farce of the weapon
ointment certainly was, in teaching medical practitioners to place
more reliance upon nature. Most scientific men see through its
deceptions at a glance. It may be practised by shrewd men and by
honest ones; rarely, it must be feared, by those who are both shrewd
and honest. As a psychological experiment on the weakness of
cultivated minds, it is the best trick of the century.

--Here the old gentleman took his cane and walked out to cool himself.


It is an old remark of Lessing, often repeated, but nevertheless true,
that Frenchmen, as a general rule, are sadly deficient in the mental
powers suited to _objective_ observation, and therefore eminently
disqualified for reliable reports of travels. Among the host of French
writing travellers or travelling writers, on whatever foreign
countries, there have always been very few who looked at foreign
countries, nations, institutions, and achievements, with anything like
fairness of judgment and capacity of understanding. For an average
Frenchman, Molière's renowned juxtaposition of

    "Paris, la cour, le monde, l'univers,"

is a gospel down to this day; and no country can so justly complain of
being constantly misunderstood and misrepresented by French tourists
as ours. The more difficult it is for a Frenchman not to glance
through colored spectacles from the Palais Royal at whatever does not
belong to "the Great Nation," the more praise those few of them
deserve who give to the world correct and impartial impressions of
travel and reliable ethnological works.

Such is the case with two works which we are glad to recommend to our
readers. The first is

_La Norwège_, par LOUIS ENAULT. Paris: Hachette. 1857.

Norway, though a member of the European family, with a population once
so influential in the world's history, is comparatively the least
known of all civilized countries to the world at large, and what
little we know of it is of a very recent date,--Stephens's and Leopold
von Buch's works being not much more than a quarter of a century old,
while Bayard Taylor's lively sketches in the "New York Tribune" are
almost wet still, and not yet complete. The latter and M. Enault's
book, when compared with each other, leave not the slightest doubt
that each observes carefully and conscientiously in his own way, that
both possess peculiar gifts for studying and describing correctly what
there is worth studying and describing in this _terra incognita_, and
that we can rely on both. Mr. Taylor is more picturesque, lively,
fascinating, and drastic; M. Enault more thorough, quiet, and reserved
in the expression of his opinions. The parts seem to be
interchanged,--the Frenchman exhibiting more of the Anglo-Saxon, the
American more of the French genius; but both confirm each other's
statements admirably, and should be read side by side. If our readers
wish to make themselves thoroughly acquainted with the workings of the
laws and institutions, with the statistical, economical, and
geographical facts, the society and manners, the later history and
future prospects of Norway, they will find here a work trustworthy in
every respect.

_Les Anglais et l'Inde_, avec Notes, Pièces justificatives et
Tableaux statistiques, par E. DE VALBEZEN. Paris. 1857.

This is no narrative of travel, though evidently written by one who
has been for a considerable time an eyewitness of Indian affairs, and
by a man of acute mind and quick and comprehensive perception,
thoroughly versed in the history and condition of India. It is a
treatise on all those topics bearing upon the present political,
social, and commercial state of things there, beginning with the
exposition of the English governmental institutions there existing,
describing the country, its productions and resources, its various
populations, its social relations, its agriculture, commerce, and
wealth, and concluding with statistical and other documents in support
of the author's statements. It gives a nearly systematical and
complete picture of Indian affairs, enabling the reader to understand
the present situation of the country and its foreign rulers, and to
form a judgment on all corresponding topics. The style is classical,
though somewhat concise and epigrammatic, giving proof everywhere of a
mind that forms its own conclusions and takes independent,
statesmanlike views. The author refrains from obtruding his own
opinions on the reader, leaving things to speak for themselves. He is
not ostensibly antagonistic to the English, as we should expect from a
true Frenchman,--is no cordial hater of "_perfide Albion_." You
cannot, from his book, with any show of reason, infer that he is a
Jesuit, a French missionary, a merchant, a governmental employé, or a
simple traveller; but you feel instinctively that he is wide-awake,
shrewd, and reserved, and that you may trust his reports in the
main. He refers, for proof of his statements, mostly to English
documents, and does not try to preoccupy your mind. Particularly
noteworthy is what he says of the political economy of India; he
controverts effectively the prevailing opinion that it is the richest
country in the world,--showing its real poverty, in spite of its great
natural resources, and the almost hopeless task of improving these
resources. For the American merchant this is a very readable book,
warning him to refrain from too hastily investing his capital and
enterprise in Indian commerce,--India being the most insecure of all
countries for foreign commercial undertakings; and in general, there
are so many entirely new and startling revelations in it, that, to any
one interested in Indian matters, it well repays reading.

_Histoire de la Révolution Française_, (1789-1799,) Par
THÉOD. H. BARRAU. Paris: Hachette. 1857.

We cannot vouch that we have here a new, original history of this
important epoch, based on an independent study of historical sources;
but it is the very first history of the French Revolution we have
known, not written in a partisan spirit, and bent on falsifying the
facts in order to make political capital or to flatter national
prejudices. It bears no evidence of any tendency whatever,--perhaps
only because, with its more than five hundred pages, it is too short
for that.

_Histoire de France au XVI. Siècle_, par MICHÉLET. Tom. 10.
_Henri IV. et Richelieu_.

Michélet is too well known as a truly Republican historiographer and
truly humane and noble writer, and the former volumes of this history
have been too long before the public, to require for this volume a
particular recommendation. It begins with the last _décade_ of the
sixteenth century, and concludes with the year 1626. We are no
particular admirers of Michélet's historical style and method of
delineation, but we acknowledge his sense of historical justice, his
unprejudiced mind, and his Republicanism, even when treating a subject
so delicate, and so dear to Frenchmen, as Henry IV. Doing justice to
whatever was really admirable in the character of this much beloved
king, he overthrows a good many superstitious ideas current concerning
him even down to our days. He shows that the Utopian, though
benevolent project, ascribed to Henry, of establishing an everlasting
peace by revising the map of Europe and constituting a political
equilibrium between the several European powers, never in fact existed
in the king's mind, nor even in Sully's, whom he equally divests of
much unfounded glory and fictitious greatness. No doubt, but for his
fickleness and inconsistency, Henry could have done a good deal toward
realizing such ideas and reforming European politics; but it is saying
too much for Henry's influence on the popular opinions of Europe, to
affirm, what Michélet gives us to understand, that he could have
combined the nations of Europe against all their depraved rulers

_La Liberté_, par ÉMILE DE GIRARDIN. Paris. 1857.

This book contains a discussion between the author and M. de
Lourdoueix, ex-editor of the "Gazette de France," written in the form
of letters, on the various topics connected with the notion of
Liberty. Girardin is, no doubt, the most genial of all living French
writers on Socialism and Politics. He belongs neither to the fanatical
school of Communists and Social Equalizers by force and "_par ordre
da Mufti_," nor to the class of pliable tools of Imperial or Royal
Autocracy. He is the only writer who, in the face of the prevailing
restrictions upon the press in France, dares to speak out his whole
mind, and to preach the Age of Reason in Politics and in the Social
System. He is full of new ideas, which should, we think, be very
attractive to American readers; and it is, indeed, strange that his
writings are so little read and reviewed on this side of the
ocean. His ideas on general education, on the total extinction of
authority or government, on the abolition of public punishments of
every kind, on the doing away with standing armies, war, and tyranny,
and on making the State a great Assurance Company against all
imaginable misfortunes and their consequences, are a fair index of the
best philosophemes of the European mind since the last Revolution. We
do not say that we approve every one of his issues and conclusions,
but we insist most earnestly, that this book and similar ones, bearing
testimony to what the political and social thinkers of the day in
Europe are revolving in their minds, should be read and reviewed under
the light of American institutions and ideas. The reader enjoys in the
present book the great advantage of seeing the ideas of the Social
Reformers discussed _pro_ and _contra_,--M. Lourdoueix being
their obstinate adversary.

_Mémoires de M. Joseph Prudhomme_, par HENRI MONNIER. 2
vols. Paris. 1857.

This is not what is commonly called _mémoires_,--to wit,
historical recollections modified by the subjective impressions of
eyewitnesses to the past; it is rather a novel or romance in the form
of _mémoires_, ridiculing the predominant _bourgeoisie_ of
the Old World, and sketching the whole life of a _bourgeois_,
from infancy to green old age. For readers, who, through travel in
Europe and acquaintance with French literature and tastes, are enabled
to understand the many nice allusions contained in this novel, it is a
very entertaining book.

1. _Kraft und Stoff_. By G. BÜCHNER. Fourth edition. 1857.

2. _Materie und Geist_. By the same. 1857.

It is certainly a remarkable sign of the times, that a book treating
of purely scientific matters,--physiological facts and ideas,--like
the first of these, of which the second is the complement, should in a
very few years have attained to its fourth edition in Germany. All
those works on Natural Science, by Alexander von Humboldt, Oersted, Du
Bois-Raymond, Cotta, Vogt, Moleschott, Büchner, Rossmässler, Ule,
Müller, and others, which have appeared since the Revolution of 1848,
uniting a more popular and intelligible style with a purely scientific
treatment of the matter-of-fact, irrespective of the religious and
political dogmas that conflict with the results of natural science,
have met with decided success in Germany and France. They are
extensively read and appreciated, even by the less educated and
learned classes. Among these works, that of Büchner ranks high, and
it is therefore strange that we have seen it hitherto reviewed in no
American journal. This may serve us as an excuse for noticing this
fourth edition, though it is little improved over the former ones. It
exhibits the last results of the science of physiology, in a
scientific, but rather popular method of exposition. There is quite a
hive of new ideas and intuitions contained in it,--ideas conflicting,
it is true, with many received dogmas, and irreconcilable with
orthodoxy; but it is of no use to shut our eyes to these ideas, as
though the danger threatening from this side could be averted by
imitating the policy of the ostrich. They should be faced and
examined; the danger is far greater from ignoring them. It is
impossible that ideas, largely entertained and cultivated by a nation
so expert in thinking, so versed in science and literature as the
Germans, should have no interest for the great, intelligent American
public. Natural Science may be said to form, at present, an integral
portion of the religion of the Germans. It is, at least, a matter of
ethnological and historical interest to learn in what regions of
thought and speculation our German contemporaries are at home, and
wherein they find their mental happiness and delight.

_Die deutsche komische und humoristische Dichtung seit Beginn des
16. Jahrhunderts bis auf unsere Zeit_. Von IGNAZ HUB. Nürnberg:
Ebner. 1857.

Two volumes of this interesting work are coming out at the same
time,--one containing the second of the five parts into which the
prose anthology is divided, with comical and humorous pieces from the
sixteenth century, (for instance, extracts from "Fortunatus," the
"Historia" of Dr. J. Faust, "Die Schildbürger," Desid, Erasmus's
"Gespräche," etc.,)--the other containing a collection of poetry of
the same kind, belonging to the present century, and forming part of
the third volume, with pieces by Uhland, Eichendorff, Rückert,
Sapphir, Wm. Müller, Immermann, Palten, Hoffmann, Kopisch, Heine,
Lenau, Möricke, Grün, Wackernagel, and many others. The anthology is
accompanied with biographical and historical notes, and explanations
of provincialisms and such words as to the American reader of German
would be likely to be otherwise unintelligible; so that he may thus,
without too much trouble, satisfactorily enjoy this treasury of
entertainment. The Germans may well be proud of such literary riches,
in which England alone surpasses them.

_Thüringer Naturen, Charakter-und Sittenbilder in
Erzählungen_. Von OTTO LUDWIG. Erster Band. _Die Heiterethei und
ihr Widerspiel_. Frankfurt. 1857.

This is one of the numerous imitations of the celebrated
"Dorfgeschichten," by Berthold Auerbach. The latter introduced, in a
time of literary poverty, a wide range of new subjects for epical
treatment,--the life of German peasants, with their simple, healthy,
vigorous natures undepraved by a spurious civilization. In painting
these sinewy figures, full of a character of their own, he was very
felicitous, had an enormous success, and drew a host of less gifted
followers after him. Herr Ludwig is one of these. We shall not despair
of his becoming, at some future time, a second Auerbach; but he is not
one yet. There is, in this work, too much spreading out and
extenuation of a material which, in itself not very rich and varied,
requires great skill to mould into an epic form. But the author has a
remarkable power of drawing true, lifelike characters, and developing
them psychologically. It is refreshing to see that the German literary
taste is becoming gradually more _realistic,_ pure, and natural,
turning its back on the romantic school of the French.

_May Carols._ By AUBREY DE VERE. London.

The name of Aubrey de Vere has for some years past been familiar to
the lovers of poetry, as that of a scholarly and genial poet. His
successive volumes have shown a steady growth in poetic power and
elevation of spirit. While gaining a firmer mastery over the
instruments of poetry he has struck from them a deeper, fuller, and
more significant tone. In this his last volume, which has lately
appeared, his verse is brought completely into the service of the
Church. The "May Carols" are poems celebrating the Virgin Mary in her
month of May. For that month, and for the Roman church, Mr. De Vere
has done in this volume what Keble did for the festivals of the year,
and the English church, in his "Christian Year." Catholicism in
England has produced no poet since the days of Crashaw so sincere in
his piety, so sweet in his melody, so pure in spirit as De Vere. And
the volume is not for Roman Catholic readers alone. Others may be
touched by its religious fervor, and charmed with its beauties of
description or of feeling. It is full and redolent of spring. The
sweetness of the May air flows through many of its verses,--of that
season when

    Trees, that from winter's gray eclipse
      Of late but pushed their topmost plume,
    Or felt with green-touched finger-tips
      For spring, their perfect robes assume.

    While, vague no more, the mountains stand
      With quivering line or hazy hue;
    But drawn with finer, firmer, hand,
      And settling into deeper blue.

Mr. De Vere is an exquisite student of nature, with fine perceptions
that have been finely cultivated. Take this picture of the lark:--

    From his cold nest the skylark springs;
      Sings, pauses, sings; shoots up anew;
    Attains his topmost height, and sings
      Quiescent in his vault of blue.

And here is a description of the later spring:--

    Brow-bound with myrtle and with gold,
      Spring, sacred now from blasts and blights,
    Lifts in a firm, untrembling hold
      Her chalice of fulfilled delights.

    Confirmed around her queenly lip
      The smile late wavering, on she moves;
    And seems through deepening tides to step
      Of steadier joys and larger loves.

The little volume contains many passages such as these. We have space
to quote but one of the poems complete, to show the manner in which
Mr. De Vere unites the real, the symbolic, and the external, with the
spiritual. Like most of his poems, it is marked by artistic finish and
grace, and many of the lines have a natural beauty of unsought
alliteration and assonance.

    When all the breathless woods aloof
      Lie hushed in noontide's deep repose
    The dove, sun-warmed on yonder roof,
      With what a grave content she coos!

    One note for her! Deep streams run smooth:
      The ecstatic song of transience tells.
    O, what a depth of loving truth
      In thy divine contentment dwells!

    All day with down-dropt lids I sat
      In trance; the present scene foregone.
    When Hesper rose, on Ararat,
      Methought, not English hills, he shone.

    Back to the Ark, the waters o'er,
      The primal dove pursued her flight:
    A branch of that blest tree she bore
      Which feeds the Church with holy light.

    I heard her rustling through the air
      With sliding plume,--no sound beside,
    Save the sea-sobbings everywhere,
      And sighs of the subsiding tide.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 01, No. 02, December, 1857" ***

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