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Title: The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 01, No. 04, February, 1858
Author: Various
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 01, No. 04, February, 1858" ***

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       *       *       *       *       *

VOL. I.--FEBRUARY, 1858.--NO. IV.

       *       *       *       *       *


The _crucial_ fact, in this epoch of commercial catastrophes, is not the
stoppage of Smith, Jones, and Robinson,--nor the suspension of specie
payments by a greater or less number of banks,--but the paralysis of the
trade of the civilized globe. We have had presented to us, within the
last quarter, the remarkable, though by no means novel, spectacle of
a sudden overthrow of business,--in the United States, in England, in
France, and over the greater part of the Continent.

At a period of profound and almost universal peace,--when there had been
no marked deficit in the productiveness of industry, when there had
been no extraordinary dissipation of its results by waste and
extravagance,--when no pestilence or famine or dark rumor of civil
revolution had benumbed its energies,--when the needs for its enterprise
were seemingly as active and stimulating as ever,--all its habitual
functions are arrested, and shocks of disaster run along the ground
from Chicago to Constantinople, toppling down innumerable well-built
structures, like the shock of some gigantic earthquake.

Everybody is of course struck by these phenomena, and everybody has
his own way of accounting for them; it will not, therefore, appear
presumptuous in us to offer a word on the common theme. Let it be
premised, however, that we do not undertake a scientific solution of
the problem, but only a suggestion or two as to what the problem itself
really is. In a difficult or complicated case, a great deal is often
accomplished when the terms of it are clearly stated.

It is not enough, in considering the effects before us, to say that
they are the results of a panic. No doubt there has been a panic, a
contagious consternation, spreading itself over the commercial world,
and strewing the earth with innumerable wrecks of fortune; but that
accounts for nothing, and simply describes a symptom. What is the cause
of the panic itself? These daring Yankees, who are in the habit of
braving the wildest tempests on every sea, these sturdy English, who
march into the mouths of devouring cannon without a throb, these gallant
Frenchmen, who laugh as they scale the Malakoff in the midst of belching
fires, are not the men to run like sheep before an imaginary terror.
When a whole nation of such drop their arms and scatter panic-stricken,
there must be something behind the panic; there must be something
formidable in it, some real and present danger threatening a very
positive evil, and not a mere sympathetic and groundless alarm.

Neither do we conceive it as sufficiently expressing or explaining the
whole facts of the case, to say that the currency has been deranged.
There has been unquestionably a great derangement of the currency; but
this may have been an effect rather than a cause of the more general
disturbance; or, again, it may have been only one cause out of many
causes. In an article in the first number of this magazine, the
financial fluctuations in this country are ascribed to the alternate
inflation and collapse of our factitious paper-money. Adopting the
prevalent theory, that the universal use of specie in the regulation
of the international trade of the world determines for each nation the
amount of its metallic treasure, it was there argued that any redundant
local circulation of paper must raise the level of local prices above
the legitimate specie over exports; which imports can be paid for only
in specie,--the very basis of the inordinate local circulation. Of
course, then, there is a rapid contraction in the issue of notes, and an
inevitable and wide-spread rupture of the usual relations of trade. But
although this view is true in principle, and particularly true in its
application to the United States, where trade floats almost exclusively
upon a paper ocean, it is yet an elementary and local view;--local, as
not comprising the state of facts in England and France; and elementary,
inasmuch as it omits all reference to the possibility of a great
deficiency of money.[A] In France, as we know, the currency is almost
entirely metallic, while in England it is metallic so far as the lesser
exchanges of commerce are concerned; there is an obvious impropriety,
therefore, in extending to the financial difficulties of those nations a
theory founded upon a peculiarity in the position of our own.

[Footnote A: A failure of one half the cotton or wheat crop, we suspect,
would play a considerable part among "the prices," whatever the state of
the note circulation.]

If, however, it be alleged that the disturbances there are only a
reaction from the disturbances here, we must say that that point is
not clear, and Brother Jonathan may be exaggerating his commercial
importance. The ties of all the maritime nations are growing more and
more intimate every year, and the trouble of one is getting to be more
and more the trouble of the others in consequence; but as yet any
unsettled balance of American trade, compared with the whole trade of
those nations, is but as the drop in the bucket. John Bull, with a
productive industry of five thousand millions of dollars a year, and
Johnny Crapaud, with an industry only less, are not both to be
thrown flat on their backs by the failure of a few millions of money
remittances from Jonathan. The houses immediately engaged in the
American trade will suffer, and others again immediately dependent upon
them; but the disturbing shock, as it spreads through the widening
circle of the national trade, will very soon be dissipated and lost in
its immensity. That is, it will be lost, if trade there is itself sound,
and not tottering under the same or similar conditions of weakness
which produced the original default in this country; in which event,
we submit, our troubles are to be considered as the mere accidental
occasion of the more general downfall,--while the real cause is to be
sought in the internal state of the foreign nations. Accordingly, let
any one read the late exposures of the methods in which business is
transacted among the Glasgow banks, the London discount-houses, and the
speculators of the French Bourse, and he will see at a glance that we
Americans have no right to assume and ought not to be charged with the
entire responsibility of this stupendous syncope. Our bankruptcy has
aggravated, as our restoration will relieve the general effects; but the
vicious currency on this side the water, whatever domestic sins it
may have to answer for, cannot properly be made the scapegoat for the
offences of the other side of the water. The disasters abroad have
occurred under conditions of currency differing in many respects from
our own, and we believe that if there had been no troubles in America,
there would still have been considerable troubles in England and France,
as, indeed, the financial writers of both these countries long ago
predicted from the local signs.

The same train of remark may be applied to those who impute the existing
embarrassments to our want of a protective tariff; for, granting that to
be an adequate explanation of our own difficulties, it is not therefore
an adequate explanation of those in Europe. The external characteristics
of the phenomena before us are everywhere pretty much the same,
namely,--a prosperous trade gradually slackening, an increasing demand
for money, depreciation and sacrifice of securities, numerous failures,
disappearance of gold, panic, and the complete stagnation of every
branch of labor; and it should seem that the cause or causes to be
assigned for them ought also to be everywhere pretty much the same. At
any rate, no local cause is in itself to be regarded as sufficient,
unless it can be shown that such local cause has a universal operation.
But who will undertake to contend that the absence of a protective
system here is enough to prostrate both Great Britain and France,--the
nations which the same theory supposes to have been chiefly benefited
by such deficiency? The scheme of free trade is often denounced by its
opponents as British free trade; but we respectfully suggest that if its
operations lead to so serious a destruction of British interests as
is now alleged, the phrase is at least a misnomer. No! as the
characteristics of the crisis are common to the United States, England,
and France, so the causes of that crisis are to be sought in something
which is also common to the United States, England, and France.

Now the one thing common to all these nations, and to all commercial
nations, is the universal use of Credit, in the transactions of
business. We conceive, therefore, that the existing condition of things
may be most correctly and comprehensively described as a suspension of
credit, and the consequent pressure for payment of immense masses of
outstanding debt. This, we say, is the central fact, common to all the
nations; and the solution of it, as a problem, is to be sought in some
vice or disturbing element common to the general system, and not in any
local incident or cause.

Credit has gained so enormous an extension within the last two
centuries, that it may almost be pronounced the distinctive feature
of modern times. It existed, undoubtedly, in ancient days,--for its
correlative, Debt, existed; and we know, that, among the Jews, Moses
enacted a sponging law, which was to be carried into effect every fifty
years; that Solon, among the Greeks, began his administration with the
_Seisachtheia_, or relief-laws, designed to rescue the poor borrowers
from their overbearing creditors; and that the usurers were a
numerous class at Rome, where also the Patrician houses were immense
debtor-prisons. But in ancient times, when the chief source of wealth
(aside from conquest and confiscation by the State) was the labor of
slaves, and the principal exchanges were effected either by direct
barter or the coined metals, the system of credit could not have been
very complicated or general. As for the lending of money on interest, it
appears to have been looked at askance by most of the ancients; and the
prejudice against it continued, under the fostering care of the Church,
far down into the Middle Ages. With the emancipation of the towns,
however, with the splendid development of the Italian republics, with
the noble commercial triumphs of the cities of the Hansa, credit was
recovered from the hands of the Jews, and began a career of rapid and
beneficent expansion. It was in an especial manner promoted by the
magnificent prospects unfolded to colonial and mining enterprise in the
discovery of the New World, by the stimulus and the facilities afforded
to industrial skill by the researches of natural science, and by the
emancipation won for all the activities of the human mind through the
free principles of the Reformation. Thus, by degrees, credit came to
intervene in nearly every operation of commerce and of social exchange,
from the small daily dealings of the mechanic at the shop, to the larger
wholesale transactions of merchant with merchant, and to the prodigious
expenditures and debts of imperial governments. Credit by note of hand,
credit by book account, credit by mortgages and hypothecations, credit
by bills of exchange, credit by certificates of stock, credit by
bank-notes and post-notes, credit by exchequer and treasury drafts,
credit, in short, in a thousand ways, enters into trade, filling up all
its channels, turning all its wheels, freighting all its ships, coming
down from the past, pervading the present, hovering over the future,
reaching every nook and affecting every man and woman in the civilized

Such is the extent of credit; but let it be remarked in connection,
that, in all these innumerable and multifarious forms of it, in all the
stupendous interchanges of Mine and Thine, the ultimate reference is to
one sole standard of value, which is the value of the precious metals.
The civilized world has adopted these as the universal solvent of
its vast masses of obligation. It is assumed that some standard is
indispensable; it is asserted to be the imperative duty of governments,
if they would not make their exactions of taxes arbitrary, unequal, and
oppressive,--if they would render the dealings of individuals mutual and
just,--if they would preserve the property and labor of their subjects
from the merciless caprices of the powerful, and keep society from
reverting to a more or less barbarous state,--to supply a fixed and
equable money-measure; and the majority of the governments have selected
gold and silver as the best. As seemingly less changeable in quantity
and value than anything else, as imperishable, as portable, as
divisible, as both convenient and safe, the precious metals challenge
superiority over every other product; and accordingly every contract
and every debt is resolvable into gold and silver. From this fact, the
reader will see at once the prodigious significance of those materials
in the economy of trade, and the prime necessity that they should be
not only uniform in value, but so equally distributed that they may be
easily attainable when needed. Every change in their value is a virtual
change in the value of the vast variety of obligations which are
measured and liquidated by them; and every apprehension of their
scarcity or disappearance, by whatever cause excited, is an apprehension
of embarrassment on the part of all those who have debts to pay or to

But it happens that this standard is not an accurate standard. It does
not _stand_, while other things alone move, but moves itself; its value
is changeable,--fluctuating from time to time according to the relation
of supply and demand, and from place to place according to the
perturbations of the trade of the world. Moreover, its very preeminence
of function--the universality and the durability of its worth--renders it
peculiarly sensitive to accidental influences, or to influences outside
of the usual workings of trade. A great war or revolution occurring
anywhere, the loss by tempests or frosts of an important staple, such
as wheat or cotton, the fall and reaction consequent upon some great
speculative excitement, are all likely to produce enormous drains or
sequestrations of this valuable material. When the revolt of 1848 broke
out in Italy, every particle of specie disappeared as effectually as if
it had been thrown into the Adriatic or the mouth of Vesuvius; when
the corn crop failed in England in 1846, the Bank of England lost ten
millions of dollars in gold in less than nine days, and the country five
times that in about a month; and in our own late experiences, with three
hundred millions of gold among the people, we have seen it so put away,
that no charm or bait could allure it from its hiding-places.

Need we go any farther, then, than these simple truths, to lay our
finger on the primal fact which underlies all financial embarrassments
and panics? The mass of the transactions in commerce rests upon credit;
the solvent of that credit is gold; and gold has not only a sliding
scale of value, but is apt to disappear when most wanted. While business
is moving on in the ordinary way, it is more than ample for every
purpose; but the moment any event arises, such as a rapidly falling
market, inducing hurried sales, or a drain of specie, disturbing the
general confidence, everybody gets apprehensive, everybody calls upon
everybody for payment, and everybody puts everybody off,--till a feeling
of _sauve qui peut_ becomes universal.

If there were no currency anywhere but a metallic currency, this
liability to sudden revulsions would still hang over trade, provided
credit and paper tokens of credit continued to be the media of
exchanges; and the instinctive or experimental perception of this truth,
combined with other motives, is what has led men to their various
attempts to provide a money substitute for gold and silver. Lycurgus, in
Sparta, found it, as he supposed, in stamped leather; but modern wisdom
has preferred paper. The degree of success attained by Lycurgus we do
not know; but of the success of the moderns we do know, by some one
hundred and fifty years of recurring disaster. There are some steeds
that cannot be ridden; they are so fractious and intractable, that, put
whom you will upon their back, he is thrown, and invent what snaffle or
breaking-bit you may, they will not be held to an equable or moderate
pace. And of this sort, judging by the past attempts, is Paper Money.
All the ingenuity and efforts of the most skillful trainers of the Old
World, and of the most cunning jockeys of the New, have been tasked in
vain to devise an effective discipline and curb for this impatient colt.
Paper Money either refuses to be ridden, and runs rampant away, or, if
any one succeed in mounting him for a time, he performs a journey like
that which Don Quixote took on the back of the famous Cavalino, or
Winged Horse. In imagination he ascended to the enchanted regions,--but
in reality he was only dragged through alternate gusts of fire and of
cold winds, to find the horse himself, in the end, a mere depository of
squibs and crackers.

Paper money has been issued, for the most part, on the one or the other
of two conditions, namely: as irredeemable, when it has been made to
rest on the vague obligation of some government to pay it some time or
other in property; or as convertible into gold and silver on demand. But
under both conditions it seems to have been impossible to preserve it
from excess and consequent depreciation. Nothing would appear to be
safer and sounder, on the face of it, than a money-obligation backed by
all the responsibility and property of a government; and yet we do not
recall a single instance in which an irredeemable government-money has
been issued, where it did not sooner or later swamp the government
beyond all hope of its redemption. No virtue of statesmanship is proof
against the temptation of creating money at will. Even where there has
been a nominal convertibility on demand of the bills of government
banks, they have worked badly in practice. In 1637, for instance, the
monarch of Sweden established the Bank of Stockholm; yet in a little
while its issues amounted to forty-eight millions of roubles, and their
depreciation to ninety-six per cent. In 1736, Denmark created the Bank
of Copenhagen; but within nine years from its foundation it suspended
redemptions altogether, and its notes were depreciated forty-six
per cent. We need not refer to the extraordinary issues of French
_assignats_, or of American continental money,--nor to the deluges
of paper which have fallen upon Russia and Austria. During all these
experiments, the sufferings of the people, according to the different
historians, were absolutely appalling. One of these experiments of
paper money, however, begun under the most promising auspices, and on a
professed basis of convertibility, was yet so stupendous and awful in
its effects, that it has taken its place as a Pharos in History, and is
never to be forgotten. We refer, of course, to the banking prodigalities
of the Regency of France, undertaken in connection with the scheme known
as Law's Mississippi Bubble,--although the Bank and the Bubble were not
essentially connected. We presume that our readers are acquainted with
the incidents, because all the modern historians have described them,
and because the more philosophical impute to them an active agency in
the origination of that moral corruption and lack of political principle
which hastened the advent of the great Revolution. Louis XIV. having
left behind him, as the price of his glory, a debt of about a thousand
millions of dollars, the French ministry, with a view to reduce it,
ordered a re-coinage of the louis-d'or. An edict was promulgated,
calling in the coin at sixteen livres, to be issued again at twenty; but
Law, an acute and enterprising Scotchman, suggested that the end might
be more happily accomplished by a project for a bank, which he carried
in his pocket. He proposed to buy up the old coin at a higher rate than
the mint allowed, and to pay for it in bank-notes. This project was so
successful that the Regent took it into his own hands, and then began
an issue of bills which literally intoxicated the whole of France.
No scenes of stock-jobbing, of gambling, of frenzied speculation, of
reckless excitement and licentiousness ever surpassed the scenes daily
enacted in the Rue Quincampoix; and when the bubble burst, the distress
was universal, heartrending, and frightful. With millions in their
pockets, says a contemporary memoir, many did not know where to get
a dinner; complaints and imprecations resounded on every side; some,
utterly ruined, killed themselves in despair; and mysterious rumors of
popular risings spread throughout Paris the terror of another expected
St. Bartholomew.

In this case the phenomena were the more striking because they were
gathered within a short compass of time, and took place among a people
proverbial for the versatility and extravagance of their impressions.
The French are an excitable race, who carry whatever they do or suffer
to the last extreme of theatrical effect; and for that reason it might
be supposed that the tremendous revulsions we have alluded to were owing
in part to national temperament. But similar effects have been wrought,
by similar causes, among the slower and cooler English, with whom
commercial disturbances have been as numerous and as disastrous as among
the French, only that they have been distributed over wider spaces of
time, and controlled by the more sluggish and conservative habits of the
nation. Some twenty years before Law made his approaches to the French
Regent, another Scotchman, William Patterson, had got the ear of
Macaulay's hero, William, and of his ministers, and laid the foundations
of the great Bank of England. It was chartered in 1694, on advances made
to the government; and gradually, under its auspices, the vast system of
English banking, which gives tone to that of the world, grew up. Let us
see with what results; they may be expressed in a few words: every ten
or fifteen years, a terrific commercial overturn, with intermediate
epochs of speculation, panic, and bankruptcy.

We cannot here go into a history of this bank, nor of the various causes
of its reverses; but we select from a brief chronological table, in its
own words, some of the principal events, which are also the events of
British trade and finance.

1694. The Bank went into operation.

1696. Bank suspended specie payments. Panic and failures.

1707. Threatened invasion of the Pretender. Run upon the Bank,--panic.
Government helped it through, by guarantying its bills at six per cent.

1714. The Pretender proclaimed in Scotland. Run upon the Bank,--panic.

1718-20. Time of the South-Sea Bubble. Reaction,--demand for
money,--Bank of England nearly swept away,--trade suspended,--nation
involved in suffering.

1744. Charles Edward sails for Scotland, and marches upon Derby. Panic.
Run upon the Bank,--is obliged to pay in sixpences, and to block its
doors, in order to gain time.

1772. Extensive failures and a monetary panic. The Bank maintains the
convertibility of its notes for several years, at an annual expense of

1793. War with France,--drain of gold,--Bank
contracts,--panic,--failures throughout the country,--universal
hoarding,--one hundred country banks stop,--notes as low as five pounds
first issued,--general fall of prices.

1796. An Order in Council suspends specie payment by the Bank.

1799. Numerous failures,--chiefly on the Continent. The pressure in
England relieved by an issue of Exchequer bills.

1807-9. Great speculations in flax, hemp, silk, wool, etc.

1810. Recoil of speculation,--extensive failures, and great demand for

1811. Parliament adopts a resolution declaring a one-pound note and a
shilling legal tender for a guinea.

1814-16. Heavy losses and bankruptcies,--failure of two hundred and
forty country banks,--the distress and suffering of the people compared
to that in France after the bursting of the Mississippi Scheme.

1819. Law passed for the resumption of specie payments in 1823,--after a
suspension of twenty-seven years.

1822. Great commercial depression throughout Europe,--agricultural
distress,--famine in Ireland.

1824. Speculations in scrips and shares of foreign loans and new
companies, to a fabulous amount.

1825. Recoil of the speculations,--run upon the banks,--seventy banks
stop,--a drain of gold exhausts the bullion of the Bank.

1826. Depression of trade,--government advances Exchequer bills to the

1832. A run for gold,--bullion in the Bank again alarmingly reduced.

1834-7. Jackson vs. Biddle in America produces considerable derangements
in England,--drain of gold,--great alternate contractions and
expansions,--severe mercantile distress.

1844. Renewal of the Bank Charter, limiting its issues,--great
speculations in railroad shares, to the amount of £500,000,000.

1845. Recoil of the speculations,--immense sacrifice of property.

1846. Drain of gold,--large importations of corn,--alarm.

1847. Drain of gold continues,--panic and universal mercantile
depression,--Bank refuses discounts,--forced sales of all kinds of
property,--the Bank Charter suspended.

1857. The experiences of 1847 repeated on a more injurious scale, with
another suspension of the Bank Charter Act.

Now this record does not show a brilliant success in banking; it does
not encourage the hopes of those who place great hopes in a national
institution; for the Bank of England is the highest result of the
financial sagacity and political wisdom of the first commercial nation
of the globe. A recognized ally of the government,--at the very centre
of the world's trade,--enjoying a large freedom of movement within its
sphere,--conducted by the most eminent merchants of the metropolis,
assisted by the advice of the most accomplished political
economists,--sanctioned and amended, from time to time, by the greatest
ministers, from Walpole to Peel,--it has had, from its position, its
power, and the talent at its command, every opportunity for doing
the best things that a bank could do; and yet behold this record of
periodical impotence! Its periodical mischiefs we leave out of the

In the United States, we have suffered from similarly recurring attacks
of financial epilepsy; we have tried every expedient, and we have failed
in each one; we have had three national banks; we have had thousands
of chartered banks, under an infinity of regulations and restrictions
against excesses and frauds; and we have had, as the appropriate
commentary, three tremendous cataclysms, in which the whole continent
was submerged in commercial ruin, besides a dozen lesser epochs of
trying vicissitude. The history of our trade has been that of an
incessant round of inflations and collapses; and the amount of rascality
and fraud perpetrated in connection with the banks, in order to defeat
the restrictions upon them, has no parallel but in the sponging-houses.
A Belgian philosopher, from the study of statistics, has deduced a
certain order in disorder,--or a law of periodicity in the recurrence of
murders, suicides, crimes, and illegitimate births; and it appears that
a similar regularity of irregularity might be easily detected in our
cyclic bank explosions.

With the sad experiences of other nations before us,--with the rocks of
danger standing high out of the water, and covered all over with the
fragments of former wrecks, we have yet persisted in following the old
wretched way. What a humiliating confession! what a comment on the
alleged practical discernment of this practical people! what a text
for radicals, socialists, and all sorts of Utopian dreamers! If the
mischiefs of these monetary aberrations were confined to a mere loss
of wealth,[B] which is proverbial for its winged uncertainty, we might
regard them as a seeming admonition of Providence against putting
too much trust in riches; but they are to be considered as something
infinitely worse than mere reverses of fortune: the disorders they
generate shake the very foundations of morals; and while shattering
the industry, they undermine the economy and frugality and rend the
integrity of mankind. We doubt whether any of the great forms of evil
incident to our imperfect civilization--the slave-trade, debauchery,
pauperism--cause more individual anguish or more public detriment than
these incessant revolutions in the value and tenure of property. Those
afflict limited classes alone, but these every class; they relax and
pervert the whole moral regimen of society; and if, as it is sometimes
alleged, the present age is more profoundly steeped in materialism
than any before,--if its enterprise is not simply more bold, but more
reckless and prodigal,--if the monitions of conscience have lost their
force in practical affairs, and the dictates of religion and honor alike
their sanctity, it is because of the uncertain principle, the gambling
spirit, the feverish eagerness, and the insane extravagance, which beset
the ways of traffic. Living in a world in which days of golden and
delusive dreams are rapidly succeeded by nights of monstrous nightmares
and miseries, society loses its grasp upon the realities of life, and
goes staggering blindly on towards a fatal degeneracy and dissolution.

[Footnote B: Yet this is not to be lightly estimated. Seaman, in his
_Progress of Nations_ says the direct losses by paper money, within the
last century and a half, have equalled $2,000,000,000.]

The question, then, is, whether this melancholy march of things should
be allowed to proceed, or whether we should strive to do better. Our
good sense, our moral sense, our progressive instincts, conspire with
our interests in proclaiming that we ought to do better; but how shall
we do better? "Why," reply the great Democratic doctors,--Mr. Buchanan,
the President, and Mr. Benton, the Nestor of the people,--"suppress the
issue of small bank-notes!" Well, that nostrum is not to be despised;
there would be some advantages in such a measure; it would, to a certain
extent, operate as a check upon the issues of the banks; it would
enlarge the specie basis, by confining the note circulation to the
larger dealers, and so exempt the poorer and laboring classes from the
chances of bank failures and suspensions. But if these gentlemen suppose
that the extrusion of small notes would be in any degree a remedy for
overtrading, or moderate in any degree the disastrous fluctuations of
which everybody complains, they have read the history of commerce only
in the most superficial manner. Speculations, overtrading, panics, money
convulsions, occur in countries where small notes are not tolerated,
just as they do in countries where they are; and they occur in both
without our being able to trace them always to the state of the
currency. The truth is, indeed, that nearly all the great catastrophes
of trade have occurred in times and places when and where there were no
small notes. Every one has heard of the tulip-mania of Holland,--when
the Dutchmen, nobles, farmers, mechanics, sailors, maid-servants, and
even chimney-sweeps and old-clothes-women, dabbled in bulbs,--when
immense fortunes were staked upon the growth of a root, and the whole
nation went mad about it, although there was never a bank nor a paper
florin yet in existence.[C] Every one has heard of the great South-Sea
Bubble in England, in 1719, when the stock of a company chartered simply
to trade in the South Seas rose in the course of a few weeks to the
extraordinary height of _eight hundred and ninety per cent.,_ and filled
all England with an epidemic frenzy of gambling, so that the recoil
ruined thousands upon thousands of persons, who dragged down with them
vast companies and institutions.[D] Yet there was not a banknote in
England, at that time, for less than twenty pounds, or nearly a hundred

[Footnote C: Mackay's _History of Popular Delusions._]

[Footnote D: Doubleday's _Financial History of England_, p. 93.]

More recent revulsions are still more to the point. In 1825, in England,
there were enormous speculations in joint-stock enterprises and foreign
loans. Some five hundred and thirty-two new companies were formed, with
a nominal capital of about $2,200,000,000, and Greek, Austrian, and
South American loans were negotiated, to the extent of $275,000,000.
Scarcely one of these companies or of these loans ever paid a dividend;
and the consequence was a general destruction of credit and property,
and a degree of distress which was compared to the terrible sufferings
inflicted by the Mississippi and the South-Sea Bubbles. Yet there
were no bank-notes in circulation in England under five pounds, or
twenty-five dollars. Again, our readers may recall the monstrous
overtrading in railroad shares in the years 1845-6. Projects involving
the investment of £500,000,000 were set on foot in a very little while;
the contagion of purchasing spread to all the provincial towns; the
traditionally staid and sober Englishman got as mad as a March hare
about them; Mr. Murdle reigned triumphant; and, in the end, the nation
had to pay for its delirium with another season of panic, misery, and
ruin. Yet during all this excitement there were not only no small notes
in circulation, but, what is most remarkable, there was no unusual
increase in the issues of the banks, of any kind.

Let us not hope too much, therefore, from the suppression of small
notes, should that scheme be carried into effect; let us not delude
ourselves with the expectation that it will prove a satisfactory remedy,
in any sense, for the periodical disease of the currency; for its
benefits, though probable, must be limited.[E] It is a remedy which
merely plays round the extremities of the disorder, without invading the
seat of it at all.

[Footnote E: It is very curious, that, while our leaders are in favor
of exorcising small notes, many of the French and English Liberals are
calling for an issue of them!]

We have endeavored, in the foregoing remarks, to point out (for our
limits do not allow us to expound) two things: first, that in the
universal modern use of credit as the medium of exchanges,--which credit
refers to a standard in itself fluctuating,--there is a liability to
certain critical derangements, when the machinery will be thrown out of
gear, if we may so speak, or when credit will dissolve in a vain longing
for cash; and, second, that in the paper-money substitutes which men
have devised as a provision against the consequences of this liability,
they have enormously aggravated, instead of counteracting or alleviating
the danger. But if these views be correct, the questions to be
determined by society are also two, namely: whether it be possible to
get rid of these aggravations; and whether credit itself may not be so
organized as to be self-sufficient and self-supporting, whatever the
vagaries of the standard. The suppression of small notes might have a
perceptible effect in lessening the aggravations of paper, but it would
not touch the more fundamental point, as to a stable organization
of credit. Yet it is in this direction, we are persuaded, that
all reformatory efforts must turn. Credit is the new principle of
trade,--the _nexus_ of modern society; but it has scarcely yet been
properly considered. While it has been shamefully _exploited_, as the
French say, it has never been scientifically constituted.

Neither will it be, under the influence of the old methods,--not until
legislators and politicians give over the business of tampering with the
currency,--till they give over the vain hope of "hedging the cuckoo," to
use Locke's figure,--and the principle of FREEDOM be allowed to adjust
this, as it has already adjusted equally important matters. Let the
governments adhere to their task of supplying a pure standard of the
precious metals, and of exacting it in the discharge of what is due
to them, if they please; but let them leave to the good sense, the
sagacity, and the self-interest of Commerce, under the guardianship of
just and equal laws, the task of using and regulating its own tokens
of credit. Our past experiments in the way of providing an artificial
currency are flagrant and undeniable failures; but as it is still
possible to deduce from them, as we believe, ample proof of the
principle, that the security, the economy, and the regularity of the
circulation have improved just in the degree in which the entire money
business has been opened to the healthful influences of unobstructed
trade,--so we infer that a still larger liberty would insure a still
more wholesome action of the system. The currency is rightly named _the
circulation_, and, like the great movements of blood in the human body,
depends upon a free inspiration of the air.

Under a larger freedom, we should expect Credit to be organized on a
basis of MUTUAL RESPONSIBILITY AND GUARANTY, which would afford a stable
and beautiful support to the great systolic and disastolic movements
of trade; that it would reduce all paper emissions to their legitimate
character as mere mercantile tokens, and liberate humanity from the
fearful debaucheries of a factitious money; and that Commerce, which
has been compelled hitherto to sit in the markets of the world, like
a courtesan at the gaming-table, with hot eye and panting chest and
painted cheeks, would be regenerated and improved, until it should
become, what it was meant to be, a beneficent goddess, pouring out to
all the nations from her horns of plenty the grateful harvests of the


  This is GOETHE, with a forehead
    Like the fabled front of Jove;
  In its massive lines the tokens
    More of majesty than love.

  This is SCHILLER, in whose features,
    With their passionate calm regard,
  We behold the true ideal
    Of the high heroic Bard,

  Whom the inward world of feeling
    And the outward world of sense
  To the endless labor summon,
    And the endless recompense.

  These are they, sublime and silent,
    From whose living lips have rung
  Words to be remembered ever
    In the noble German tongue:

  Thoughts whose inspiration, kindling
   Into loftiest speech or song,
  Still through all the listening ages
    Pours its torrent swift and strong.

  As to-day in sculptured marble
    Side by side the Poets stand,
  So they stood in life's great struggle,
    Side by side and hand to hand,

  In the ancient German city,
    Dowered with many a deathless name,
  Where they dwelt and toiled together,
    Sharing each the other's fame:

  One till evening's lengthening shadows
    Gently stilled his faltering lips,
  But the other's sun at noonday
    Shrouded in a swift eclipse.

  There their names are household treasures,
    And the simplest child you meet
  Guides you where the house of Goethe
    Fronts upon the quiet street;

  And, hard by, the modest mansion
    Where full many a heart has felt
  Memories uncounted clustering
    Round the words, "Here Schiller dwelt."

  In the churchyard both are buried,
    Straight beyond the narrow gate,
  In the mausoleum sleeping
    With Duke Charles in sculptured state.

  For the Monarch loved the Poets,
    Called them to him from afar,
  Wooed them near his court to linger,
    And the planets sought the star.

  He, his larger gifts of fortune
    With their larger fame to blend,
  Living, counted it an honor
    That they named him as their friend;

  Dreading to be all-forgotten,
    Still their greatness to divide,
  Dying, prayed to have his Poets
    Buried one on either side.

  But this suited not the gold-laced
    Ushers of the royal tomb,
  Where the princely House of Weimar
    Slumbered in majestic gloom.

  So they ranged the coffins justly,
    Each with fitting rank and stamp,
  And with shows of court precedence
    Mocked the grave's sepulchral damp.

  Fitly now the clownish sexton
    Narrow courtier-rules rebukes;
  First he shows the grave of Goethe,
    Schiller's next, and last--the Duke's.

  Vainly 'midst these truthful shadows
    Pride would daunt her painted wing;
  Here the Monarch waits in silence,
    And the Poet is the King!


Librarians are a singular class of men,--or rather, a class of singular
men. I choose the latter phrase, because I think that the singularities
do not arise from the employment, but characterize the men who are most
likely to gravitate toward it. A great philosopher, whom nobody knows,
once stated the Problem of Humanity thus: "There are two kinds of
people,--round people, and three-cornered people; and two kinds
of holes,--round holes, and three-cornered holes. All mysterious
providences, misfortunes, dispensations, evils, and wrong things
generally, are attributable to this cause, namely, that round people
get into three-cornered holes, and three-cornered people get into
round holes." The librarian is not only a three-cornered person, but a
many-cornered one,--a human polyhedron. And he is in his right place,--a
many-cornered man in a many-cornered hole; especially if the hole be
like that which I am thinking of,--an Historical Library.

The only bibliothecarian peculiarity in point at present is, a gift
to root up, (country boys, speaking of pigs, say _rootle_; it is more
onomatopoeian,) to rootle up the most obscure and useless pieces of
information; not, like Mr. Nadgett, to work them into a chain of
connected evidence for some actual purpose, but merely to know them, to
possess a record of them, either as found in some printed or manuscript
document, or as recorded by the librarian himself; and to keep the
record pickled away in some place where it will be as little likely as
possible to be found or read by anybody else.

So much concerning Librarians; a word now about Character.

Bad blood is hereditary. I don't mean scrofulous, but wicked blood.
Vicious tendencies pass down in a family, appearing in the most various
manifestations, until at last the evil of the race works its only
possible remedy, by resulting in its extinction. There is, in some
sense, an absolute unity amongst the successive generations of those of
one blood; at least, so much so that our feeling of poetical justice is
rather gratified than otherwise when the crimes of one are avenged, it
may be a century after, upon the person of another of the name. This was
the truth which underlay the vast gloomy fables of the ancient Fates,
and the stories of the inevitable destruction of the great ancient
houses of Greece. It is the same which the Indian feels when he revenges
upon one of the white race the wrongs inflicted by another. Succession
in time does not interfere with the stern promise of Jehovah to visit
the sins of the fathers upon the children.--The reader will see
presently how I have been led into this train of reflection.

My predecessor in office had a strong fancy for Numismatology. I have,
too; nobody would more enjoy a vast collection of coins; but, oddly
enough, I should prefer contemporary ones. He was simple and almost
penurious in personal expenditure; yet, besides a great collection of
books, he had, from his scanty income, got together, in the course of
a long life, a large and very valuable collection of coins and medals,
especially rich in gold. These coins lay--they do not now, for I assure
you I keep them pretty carefully out of sight latterly--luxuriously
imbedded in a neat case, among the great collection of antique objects,
weapons, ornaments, furniture, clothing, etc., which usually accumulate
within the precincts of an Historical Society's Library.

In the one under my charge there is an astonishing number of them; and
naturally, where the long series of the ancient Indian wars, and later
ones with civilized foes, form together so strong a strand in the thread
of our history, there is a very great number proportionally of warlike

I like to read old books, both _ex officio_ and _ex naturâ_. But I need
not enlarge upon this liking. For my part, however, they please me most
when I am wholly alone, in that deep silence which by listening you can
seem to hear, and in a place well furnished,--especially in such a place
as the Historical Library is, with many full bookshelves, and a great
multitude of ancient portraits, grim curiosities, and weapons of war.

It may be unfortunate to be sensitive, but I am. The few things that do
excite me excite me easily, and by virtue of the trooping together and
thronging on of the procession of my own imaginations, thus awakened, I
am prone to reveries of the most various complexion.

In one of the secret repositories where during his latter years
my venerable predecessor used with senile cunning to hide,
indiscriminately, the coins of the Romans and of the Yankees, rags,
bottles of rhubarb and magnesia, books, papers, and buttons, I had
found, one night, an ancient MS. I had been all the evening reading a
High-German Middle-Age volume, illustrated with wood-cuts, cut as with
a hatchet, and being, as per title-page, _Julius der erste Römische
Kayser, von seinen Kriegen_,--"Julius the first Roman Emperor, of his

Buried in the extraordinary adventures of the Kayser, not to be found
in any Roman historian, and full of quaint and ludicrous jumbles of the
ancient and the modern, I was suddenly stopped by finding that the last
folios were missing.

After a moment of ineffectual vexation, I bethought me of several
repositories in which I had seen portions of _débris_,--leaves, covers,
brazen bosses, and other _membra disjecta_; in one of these I might very
probably find the missing pages.

I fumbled through half a dozen; did not find what I sought, but did
find the aforesaid MS. I was interested at once by the close but clear
penmanship, and by the date, February 29, 1651/2; for this day, by
its numeral, would be in leap-year, according to old style, but not
according to new. How did they settle it? I asked; and what was to
determine for lovelorn maidens, whether they might or might not use the
privilege of the year?

I returned to my desk, and sat down to read; and, as I remember, the
heavy bell of the First Church, close by, just then struck eleven, and I
listened with pleasure to the long, mellow cadence of the reverberations
after each deliberate and solid stroke.

Beginning at the beginning, I read until past midnight. The contents,
after all, were not remarkable. It was a collection of copies of papers
relating to various matters of accounts and law, all pertaining to a
certain Beardsley family, of high and ancient fame in the Colony, and
afterwards in the State. Somewhat beyond the middle, however, I lighted
upon a document which attracted my more particular attention. It was a
transcript from the State Records, and, as the date showed, from a very
early volume of them, now missing from the office of the Secretary of
State. It immediately occurred to me that this volume was strongly
suspected to have been purloined by one Isaac Beardsley, an unscrupulous
man, of some influence, who used, for amusement, to potter about in
various antiquarian enterprises of no moment, but who had now been dead
for some fifteen years. I then also recollected that he had an only
child, a graceless gallows-bird of a son, who broke his father's heart,
then wasted his substance in riotous living, and, after being long a
disgrace and nuisance at home, had sunk out of sight amid the lowest
strata of vice and crime in New York.

The document was a complaint to the "Generall Court" against "Goodman
Joab Brice"--the complainant being designated by the honorable prefix of
"Mr."--"for y't hee, the s'd Goodman Brice, had sayd in y'e hearing of"
various persons mentioned, "and to the verry face of y'e s'd Mr. Isaac
Beardslie, y't y'e s'd Mr. Beardslie did grind y'e faces of the poor,
and had served him, the s'd Brice, worse than anie Turk w'd serve his
slaves; and this with fearfull and blasphemous curses, and prayres
that God would return evill upon the heads of this complaynant and his
children after him," etc.

The transcript was long, alleging various similar offences. Its perusal
recalled to my mind several hints and obscure allusions, and one or two
brief histories of the proceedings in this case, which may be found
in ancient books relating to the Colony. These proceedings between
Beardsley and Brice were famous in their day, and were thought little
creditable to the head of the Beardsley family. That he himself partook
of the general opinion is shown by the circumstance that the matter
was diligently hushed up in that day; and those most familiar with the
ancient records of the State averred, that upon the pages of the missing
volume was spread matter amply sufficient to account for its theft and
destruction by the late Col. Isaac Beardsley.

The details of this ancient quarrel have perished out of remembrance.
The chief substance of it was, however, a lawsuit which ended in the
rich man's obtaining possession of the poor man's land. Brice, a yeoman
of vindictive, obstinate, and fearless character, had insulted his
opponent, who was a magistrate, had threatened his life, and otherwise
so bore himself that his oppressor procured him to be whipped at the
cart's tail, and to be held to give large sureties for the peace, with
the alternative penalty of banishment. The bitter vehemence of Brice's
curses was remarkable even among the dry phrases of the complaint;
and tradition relates that his fearful imprecations even caused his
dignified opponent, the magistrate, to turn pale and tremble.

I was sure, too, that among the stores of the Library I had seen some
memorial of Brice as well as of Beardsley; but could not at the time
call up any remembrance more definite than an impression that this
memorial was something which had belonged to a descendant of Joab Brice,
who had been in his youth a soldier in the old French War, and later a
subaltern in the "State line" during the Revolution.

The Library room, in which I was reading, is a large, lofty hall, fitted
with dark bookcases, heavy and huge as if for giants, singularly perfect
in point of inconvenience and inaccessibility, and good only in that
they bore a certain architectural proportion to the great height and
expanse of the dark room. My desk was so placed that my back was toward
the entrance, which was the balustraded opening, in the Library floor,
of a wide staircase; and close at my side and before me were racks with
muskets and spears, cases of curiosities, and other appurtenances of the
room. It being now past the middle of the night, when sleep is heaviest,
the stillness was perfect. My two shaded lamps made a small sphere of
dusky yellow light, which I felt to be surrounded and, as it were,
compressed by the thick darkness, which I could easily fancy to be
something tangible and heavy, settling noiselessly down from beneath the
lofty arches of the roof. The ancient penmanship and curious contents
of the faded pages before me carried my thoughts backward into the old
Colonial times, with their rigid social distinctions, lofty manners,
and ill-concealed superstition; and I mused upon grim old magistrates,
wizened witches, stately dames, rugged Indian-fighters, and all
their strange doings and sayings in the ancient days, until, between
drowsiness and imagining, I fell into a tangled labyrinth of romance,
history, and reverie.

Then all at once I seemed half to awake, and fell into one of those fits
of foolish nervous apprehension to which many even of the coolest and
bravest are liable in deep solitude and darkness,--and if they, how much
more an excitable person like myself! My heart throbbed for no reason,
and, sitting with my head bowed down upon my hands, I fancied the most
impossible dangers,--of men taking aim at me with the antique firearms
out of the far dark corners, or casting heavy weights upon me through
the skylight overhead. How easily, I fancied, could it happen. Did not
the cellar-door open just now?

I half arose, almost frightened. I believe I should have taken an old
rapier and a light and gone to look, but for very shame. And besides,
there were two thick floors between me and the door, and that itself was
set in the heavy wall between the cellar of this wing of the building
and that under its main body; so that if it had been opened, I could not
have heard it. Accordingly I resumed my posture and my painful intense
musing. But now I could have almost sworn that I heard soft steps coming
up the staircase, and whispers floating upon the air of the great
solitary room:--_I did!_

But not soon enough. At the sound of a distinct, heavy footstep behind
me, I sprang up and turned about, but only to find myself pinioned by
one of the arms of a rough-looking, vicious-faced man, who pressed his
other hand tightly over my mouth. A confederate was busy at the case of

Although only a librarian, I have in my day been something of an
athlete; much more than the person who had rushed into so sudden an
intimacy reckoned upon. And I was pretty well strung up, too, with my
nonsensical fancies.

Being face to face with me, therefore, my assailant had mastered my
right arm, and was clasping my back with his left hand, while his right
was over my month. So driving back my left elbow, I struck him a sharp
and cruel blow in the right side, just above the hip-bone. It is a bad
place to strike; I would not hit there, unless unfairly attacked. The
sudden pain jerked a groan out of him, and surprised him into slackening
his hold; so that I wrenched myself loose, and gave him a straight,
heavy, right-hand hit in the nose, sending him reeling against the old
chest that came over in the Mayflower, which saved him from a fall.

At one and the same moment, both the thieves drew knives and made at me
together, and I, springing backwards, seized from the wooden rack of
weapons the first which my hand reached. It was a musket. Instinctively,
for there was no time to reason, I cocked, presented in a sort of
charge-bayonet attitude, the only one possible, and pulled trigger. The
old weapon went off with a deafening report, sending out a blinding
sheet of flame in the darkness. One thief fell headlong at my very feet;
the other, turning, fled blindly towards the staircase. I ought to have
caught him; but, in the unreflecting anger of the moment, coming up with
him at the stair-head, I struck at him with such good will and good
effect, that he fell down stairs faster than I cared to chase him in
the dark. Scrambling up at the bottom, he hurried out by the way he had
come, and fled; while I returned to my prisoner.

He was quite dead. The charge, a bullet, had passed in just above the
region of the heart, killing him instantly. I searched him, but found
only a knife, a little money, and some tobacco; nothing which could
identify him. He was well-made, middle-aged, and of a thoroughly vile
and repulsive countenance.

The necessary legal formalities were gone through as quickly and quietly
as possible, and the entrances by which the burglars had come in well
secured. They had evidently reconnoitred within and without the building
during the day, and selected a back way into the cellar, through which
they found no trouble in ascending to the Library.

Some days afterwards, I bethought me to examine the old musket. It was a
heavy, old-fashioned "queen's arm," with no unusual marks, as I thought;
but upon a silver plate, let into the hollow of the butt, I found,
coarsely and strongly engraved, "JOAB BRYCE, 1765."

Upon mentioning this circumstance to our Recording Secretary, and
wondering how the gun came to be loaded, he told me that the fault was
his. The weapon, he said, had been deposited in the Library by a son of
the old revolutionary soldier; and he added, that this son had informed
him that the old man, who seems to have inherited something of the
peculiar traits of his ancient race, having had this charge in his gun
at the conclusion of the siege of Yorktown, where he was present with
a New England regiment, had managed afterwards to avoid discharging or
drawing it, and had left it by will to his eldest son to be kept loaded
as it was; with the strange clause, that the charge "might sarve out a
Beardsley, if it couldn't a Britisher."

The depositor, the Secretary further told me, had religiously kept the
old gun, and, with a curious, simple strictness of adherence to the
spirit of his father's directions, had oiled the lock, picked the flint,
wired the touch-hole, and put in fresh priming, when he brought the
weapon to the Library.

"I meant to have unloaded it, of course," pursued the excellent
Secretary, "but it passed out of my mind."

A week or two afterwards, I found in one of those obscure columns of
"minion solid," in which the great New York papers embalm the memory of
their current metropolitan crime, the following notice:--

"We are informed that the burglar lately killed in an attempt to rob the
---- Historical Library has been found to be the notorious cracksman,
'Bill Young'; but that his real name was Isaac Beardsley."

       *       *       *       *       *


  In broad daylight, and at noon,
  Yesterday I saw the moon
  Sailing high, but faint and white,
  As a school-boy's paper kite.

  In broad daylight, yesterday,
  I read a poet's mystic lay;
  And it seemed to me at most
  As a phantom, or a ghost.

  But at length the feverish day
  Like a passion died away,
  And the night, serene and still,
  Fell on village, vale, and hill.

  Then the moon, in all her pride,
  Like a spirit glorified,
  Filled and overflowed the night
  With revelations of her light.

  And the poet's song again
  Passed like music through my brain;
  Night interpreted to me
  All its grace and mystery.


It is not surprising that pictures, with all their attraction for eye
and mind, are, to many honest and intelligent people, too much of a
riddle to be altogether pleasant. What with the oracular dicta of
self-constituted arbiters of taste, the discrepancies of popular writers
on Art, the jargon of connoisseurship, the vagaries of fashion, the
endless theories about color, style, chiaro 'scuro, composition, design,
imitation, nature, schools, etc., painting has become rather a subject
for the gratification of vanity and the exercise of pedantic dogmatism,
than a genuine source of enjoyment and culture, of sympathy and
satisfaction,--like music, literature, scenery, and other recognized
intellectual recreations. In these latter spheres it is not thought
presumptuous to assert and enjoy individual taste; the least independent
talkers will bravely advocate their favorite composer, describe the
landscape which has charmed or the book which has interested them; but
when a picture is the subject of discussion, few have the moral
courage to say what they think; there is a self-distrust of one's own
impressions and even convictions in regard to what is represented on
canvas, that never intervenes between thought and expression, where
ideas or sentiments are embodied in writing or in melody. Nor is this to
be ascribed wholly to the technicalities of pictorial art, in which so
few are deeply versed, but in a great measure to the incongruous and
irrelevant associations which have gradually overlaid and mystified a
subject in itself as open to the perception of a candid mind and healthy
senses as any other department of human knowledge. Half the want of
appreciation of pictures arises from ignorance, not of the principles
of Art, but of the elements of Nature. Good observers are rare. The
peasant's criticism upon Moreland's "Farm-yard"--that three pigs never
eat together without one foot at least in the trough--was a strict
inference from personal knowledge of the habits of the animal; so the
surgeon found a head of the Baptist untrue, because the skin was not
withdrawn somewhat from the line of decollation. These and similar
instances show that some knowledge of or interest in the thing
represented is essential to the appreciation of pictures. Sailors and
their wives crowded around Wilkie's "Chelsea Pensioners," when first
exhibited; French soldiers enjoy the minutiae of Vernet's battle-pieces;
a lover can judge of his betrothed's miniature; and the most unrefined
sportsman will point out the niceties of breed in one of Landseer's
dogs. To the want of correspondence so frequent between the subject of a
picture and the observer's experience may, therefore, be attributed no
small degree of the prevalent want of sympathy and confident judgment.
"Gang into an Exhibition," says the Ettrick Shepherd, "and only look at
a crowd o' cockneys, some with specs, and some wi' quizzing-glasses, and
faces without ae grain o' meaning in them o' ony kind whatsomever, a'
glowering, perhaps, at a picture o' ane o' Nature's maist fearfu' or
magnificent warks! What, I ask, could a Prince's-Street maister or
missy ken o' sic a wark mair than a red deer wad ken o' the inside o'
George's-Street Assembly-Rooms?"

The incidental associations of pictures link them to history, tradition,
and human character, in a manner which indefinitely enhances their
suggestiveness. Horace Walpole wove a standard collection of anecdotes
from the lives and works of painters. The frescoes of St. Mark's, at
Florence, have a peculiar significance to the spectator familiar with
Fra Angelico's life. One of the most pathetic and beautiful tragedies
in modern literature is that which a Danish poet elaborated from
Correggio's artist career. Lamb's great treasure was a print from Da
Vinci, which he called "My Beauty," and its exhibition to a literal
Scotchman gave rise to one of the richest jokes in Elia's record. The
pen-drawing Andre made of himself the night before his execution,--the
curtain painted in the space where Faliero's portrait should have been,
in the ducal palace at Venice,--and the head of Dante, discovered by Mr.
Kirkup, on the wall of the Bargello, at Florence,--convey impressions
far beyond the mere lines and hues they exhibit; each is a drama, a
destiny. And the hard but true lineaments of Holbein, the aërial grace
of Malbone's "Hours," Albert Durer's mediaeval sanctities, Overbeck's
conservative self-devotion, a market-place by Ostade, Reynolds's
"Strawberry Girl," one of Copley's colonial grandees in a New England
farmer's parlor, a cabinet gem by Greuze, a dog or sheep of Landseer's,
the misty depths of Turner's "Carthage," Domenichino's "Sibyl," Claude's
sunset, or Allston's "Rosalie,"--how much of eras in Art, events
in history, national tastes, and varieties of genius do they each
foreshadow and embalm! Even when no special beauty or skill is manifest,
the character of features transmitted by pictorial art, their antiquity
or historical significance, often lends a mystery and meaning to the
effigies of humanity. In the carved faces of old German church choirs
and altars, the existent facial peculiarities of race are curiously
evident; a Grecian life breathes from many a profile in the Elgin
marbles, and a sacred marvel invests the exhumed giants of Nineveh; in
the cartoons of Raphael, and the old Gobelin tapestries, are hints
of what is essential in the progress and the triumphs of painting.
Considered as a language, how definitely is the style of painters
associated with special forms of character and spheres of life! It is
this variety of human experience typified and illustrated on canvas,
that forms our chief obligations to the artist; through him our
perception of and acquaintance with our race, its individuality and
career, its phases and aspects, is indefinitely enlarged. "The greatest
benefit," says a late writer, "we owe to the artist, whether painter,
poet, or novelist, is the _extension of our sympathies_. Art is the
nearest thing to life; it is a mode of amplifying our experience and
extending our contact with our fellow-creatures beyond the bounds of our
personal lot."

The effect of a picture is increased by isolation and surprise. I never
realized the physiognomical traits of Madame de Maintenon, until
her portrait was encountered in a solitary country-house, of whose
drawing-room it was the sole ornament; and the romance of a miniature by
Malbone first came home to me, when an ancient dame, in the costume of
the last century, with trembling fingers drew one of her husband from
an antique cabinet, and descanted on the manly beauty of the deceased
original, and the graceful genius of the young and lamented artist.
Hazlitt wrote an ingenious essay on "A Portrait by Vandyck," which gives
us an adequate idea of what such a masterpiece is to the eye and mind
of genuine artistic perception and sympathy. Few sensations, or rather
sentiments, are more inextricably made up of pleasure and sadness than
that with which we contemplate (as is not infrequent in some old gallery
of Europe) a portrait which deeply interests or powerfully attracts
us, and whose history is irrevocably lost. A better homily on the
evanescence of human love and fame can scarcely be imagined: a face
alive with moral personality and human charms, such as win and warm
our stranger eyes, yet the name, subject, artist, owner, all lost in
oblivion! To pause before an interesting but "unknown portrait" is to
read an elegy as pathetic as Gray's.

The mechanical processes by which Nature is so closely imitated, and
the increase of which during the last few years is one of the most
remarkable facts in science, may at the first glance appear to have
lessened the marvellous in Art, by making available to all the exact
representation of still-life. But, when duly considered, the effect is
precisely the reverse; for exactly in proportion as we become familiar
with the mechanical production of the similitudes of natural and
artificial objects, do we instinctively demand higher powers of
conception, greater spiritual expression in the artist. The discovery
of Daguerre and its numerous improvements, and the unrivalled precision
attained by Photography, render exact imitation no longer a miracle of
crayon or palette; these must now create as well as reflect, invent and
harmonize as well as copy, bring out the soul of the individual and of
the landscape, or their achievements will be neglected in favor of
the fac-similes obtainable through sunshine and chemistry. The best
photographs of architecture, statuary, ruins, and, in some cases, of
celebrated pictures, are satisfactory to a degree which has banished
mediocre sketches, and even minutely finished but literal pictures.
Specimens of what is called "Nature-printing," which gives an impression
directly from the veined stone, the branching fern, or the sea-moss,
are so true to the details as to answer a scientific purpose; natural
objects are thus lithographed without the intervention of pencil or ink.
And these several discoveries have placed the results of mere imitative
art within reach of the mass; in other words, her prose language, that
which mechanical science can utter, is so universal, that her poetry,
that which must be conceived and expressed through individual genius,
the emanation of the soul, is more distinctly recognized and absolutely
demanded from the artist, in order to vindicate his claim to that title,
than ever before.

Perhaps, indeed, the scope which Painting offers to experimental,
individual, and prescriptive taste, the loyalty it invokes from the
conservative, the "infinite possibilities" it offers to the imaginative,
the intimacy it promotes with Nature and character, are the cause of
so much originality and attractiveness in its votaries. The Lives
of Painters abound in the characteristic, the adventurous, and the
romantic. Open Vasari, Walpole, or Cunningham, at random, and one is
sure to light upon something odd, genial, or exciting. One of the most
popular novelists of our day assured me, that, in his opinion, the
richest unworked vein for his craft, available in these days of
civilized uniformity, is artist-life at Rome, to one thoroughly
cognizant of its humors and aspirations, its interiors and vagrancies,
its self-denials and its resources. I have sometimes imagined what a
story the old white dog who so long frequented the Lepri and the Caffè
Greco, and attached himself so capriciously to the brother artists of
his deceased master, could have told, if blest with memory and language.
He had tasted the freedom and the zest of artist-life in Rome, and
scorned to follow trader or king. He preferred the odor of canvas and
oil to that of conservatories, and had more frolic and dainty morsels at
an _al fresco_ of the painters, in the Campagna, than the kitchen of an
Italian prince could furnish. His very name betokened good cheer, and
was pronounced after the manner of the pert waiters who complacently
enunciate a few words of English. _Bif-steck_ was a privileged dog; and
though occasionally made the subject of a practical joke, taught absurd
tricks, sent on fools' errands, and his white coat painted like a zebra,
these were but casual troubles; he was a sensible dog to despise them,
when he could enjoy such quaint companionship, behold such experiments
in color and drawing, serve as a model himself, and go on delicious
sketching excursions to Albano and Tivoli, besides inhaling
tobacco-smoke and hearing stale jests and love soliloquies _ad
infinitum_. I am of _Bif-steck's_ opinion. There is no such true,
earnest, humorous, and individual life, in these days of high
civilization, as that of your genuine painter; impoverished as it often
is, baffled in its aspirations, unregarded by the material and the
worldly, it often rears and keeps pure bright, genial natures whose
contact brings back the dreams of youth. It is pleasant, too, to
realize, in a great commercial city, that man "does not live by bread
alone," that fun is better than furniture, and a private resource of
nature more prolific of enjoyment than financial investments. It is rare
comfort, here, in the land of bustle and sunshine, to sit in a tempered
light and hear a man sing or improvise stories over his work, to behold
once more vagaries of costume, to let the eye rest upon pictorial
fragments of Italy,--the "old familiar faces" of Roman models, the
endeared outlines of Apennine hills, the _contadina_ bodice and the
brigand hat, until these objects revive to the heart all the romance of

The technicalities of Art, its refinements of style, its absolute
significance, are, indeed, as dependent for appreciation on a
special endowment as are mathematics; but the general and incidental
associations, in which is involved a world of poetry, may be enjoyed to
the full extent by those whose perception of form, sense of color,
and knowledge of the principles of sculpture, painting, music, and
architecture are notably deficient. It is a law of life and nature, that
truth and beauty, adequately represented, create and diffuse a limitless
element of wisdom and pleasure. Such memorials are talismanic, and
their influence is felt in all the higher and more permanent spheres of
thought and emotion; they are the gracious landmarks that guide humanity
above the commonplace and the material, along the "line of infinite
desires." Art, in its broad and permanent meaning, is a language,--the
language of sentiment, of character, of national impulse, of individual
genius; and for this reason it bears a lesson, a charm, or a sanction
to all,--even those least versed in its rules and least alive to its
special triumphs. Sir Walter Scott was no amateur, yet, through his
reverence for ancestry and his local attachments, portraiture and
architecture had for him a romantic interest. Sydney Smith was impatient
of galleries when he could talk with men and women, and made a practical
joke of buying pictures; yet Newton and Leslie elicited his best humor.
Talfourd cared little and knew less of the treasures of the Louvre, but
lingered there because it had been his friend Hazlitt's Elysium. Indeed,
there are constantly blended associations in the history of English
authors and artists; Reynolds is identified with Johnson and Goldsmith,
Smibert with Berkeley, Barry with Burke, Constable and Wilkie with Sir
George Beaumont, Haydon with Wordsworth, and Leslie with Irving; the
painters depict their friends of the pen, the latter celebrate in
verse or prose the artist's triumphs, and both intermingle thought and
sympathy; and from this contact of select intelligences of diverse
vocation has resulted the choicest wit and the most genial
companionship. If from special we turn to general associations, from
biography to history, the same prolific affinities are evident, whereby
the artist becomes an interpreter of life, and casts the halo of
romance over the stern features of reality. Hampton Court is the almost
breathing society of Charles the Second's reign; the Bodleian Gallery is
vivid with Britain's past intellectual life; the history of France is
pictured on the walls of Versailles; the luxury of color bred by the
sunsets of the Euganean hills, the waters of the Adriatic, the marbles
of San Marco, and the skies and atmosphere of Venice, are radiant on
the canvas of Titian, Tintoretto, and Paul Veronese; Michel Angelo has
embodied the soul of his era and the loftiest spirit of his country;
Salvator typified the half-savage picturesqueness, Neapolitan Claude the
atmospheric enchantments, Carlo Dolce the effeminate grace, Titian the
voluptuous energy, Guido the placid self-possession, and Raphael and
Correggio the religious sentiment of Italy; Watteau put on canvas the
_fête champêtre_; the peasant-life of Spain is pictured by Murillo,
her asceticism by the old religious limners; what English rustics were
before steam and railroads Gainsborough and Moreland reveal, Wilkie has
permanently symbolized Scotch shrewdness and domesticity, and Lawrence
framed and fixed the elegant shapes of a London drawing-room; and each
of these is a normal type and suggestive exemplar to the imagination,
a chapter of romance, a sequestration and initial token of the
characteristic and the historical, either of what has become traditional
or what is forever true.

The indirect service good artists have rendered by educating observation
has yet to be acknowledged. The Venetian painters cannot be even
superficially regarded, without developing the sense of color; nor the
Roman, without enlarging our cognizance of expression; nor the English,
without refining our perception of the evanescent effects in scenery.
Raphael has made infantile grace obvious to unmaternal eyes; Turner
opened to many a preoccupied vision the wonders of atmosphere; Constable
guided our perception of the casual phenomena of wind; Landseer, that
of the natural language of the brute creation; Lely, of the coiffure;
Michel Angelo, of physical grandeur; Rolfe, of fish; Gerard Dow, of
water; Cuyp, of meadows; Cooper, of cattle; Stanfield, of the sea; and
so on through every department of pictorial art. Insensibly these quiet
but persuasive teachers have made every phase and object of the material
world interesting, environed them with more or less of romance, by
such revelations of their latent beauty and meaning; so that, thus
instructed, the sunset and the pastoral landscape, the moss-grown arch
and the craggy seaside, the twilight grove and the swaying cornfield, an
old mill, a peasant, light and shade, form and feature, perspective
and anatomy, a smile, a gesture, a cloud, a waterfall, weather-stains,
leaves, deer,--every object in Nature, and every impress of the
elements, speaks more distinctly to the eye and more effectively to the

The vicissitudes which sometimes attend a picture or statue furnish no
inadequate materials for narrative interest. Amateur collectors can
unfold a tale in reference to their best acquisitions which outvies
fiction. Beckford's table-talk abounded in such reminiscences. An
American artist, who had resided long in Italy and made a study of old
pictures, caught sight at a shop-window in New Orleans of an "Ecce
Homo" so pathetic in expression as to arrest his steps and engross his
attention. Upon inquiry, he learned that it had been purchased of a
soldier fresh from Mexico, after the late war between that country and
the United States; he bought it for a trifle, carried it to Europe, and
soon authenticated it as an original Guercino, painted for the royal
chapel in Madrid, and sent thence by the government to a church in
Mexico, whence, after centuries, it had found its way, through the
accidents of war, to a pawnbroker's shop in Louisiana. A lady in one
of our eastern cities, wishing to possess, as a memorial, some article
which had belonged to a deceased neighbor, and not having the means,
at the public sale of her effects, to bid for an expensive piece of
furniture, contented herself with buying for a few shillings a familiar
chimney-screen. One day she discovered a glistening surface under the
flowered paper which covered it, and when this was torn away, there
stood revealed a picture of Jacob and Rebecca at the Well, by Paul
Veronese; doubtless thus concealed with a view to its secret removal
during the first French Revolution. The missing Charles First of
Velasquez was lately exhibited in this country, and the account its
possessor gives of the mode of its discovery and the obstacles which
attended the establishment of its legal ownership in England is a
remarkable illustration both of the tact of the connoisseur and the
mysteries of jurisprudence.

There is scarcely, indeed, an artist or a patron of art, of any
eminence, who has not his own "story of a picture." Like all things
of beauty and of fame, the very desire of possession which a painting
excites, and the interest it awakens, give rise to some costly
sacrifice, or incidental circumstance, which associates the prize with
human fortune and sentiment. I remember an anecdote of this kind told me
by a friend in Western New York.

"Waiting," said he, "in the little front-parlor of a house in the town
of C----, to transact some business with its occupant, I was attracted
by a clean sketch in oil that hung above the fireplace. It might have
escaped notice elsewhere, but traces of real skill in Art were too
uncommon in this region to be disregarded by any lover of her fruits.
The readiness to seize upon any casual source of interest, common
with those who "stand and wait" in a place where they are strangers,
doubtless had something to do with the careful attention I bestowed upon
this production. It was a very modest attempt,--a bit of landscape, with
two horses grazing and a man at work in the foreground. Quiet in tone,
and half-concealed by the shaded casement, it was only by degrees, and
to ward off the _ennui_ of a listless half-hour, that I gradually became
absorbed in its examination. There were some masterly lines, clever
arrangement, a true feeling, and a peculiar delicacy of treatment, that
implied the hand of a trained artist.

"My pleasant communion with the unknown was at last interrupted by the
entrance of my tardy man-of-business, but the instant our affair was
transacted I inquired about the sketch. It proved to be the work of
a young Englishman then residing in the neighborhood. I obtained his
address and sought his dwelling. He was scraping an old palette as we
entered, and advanced with it in one hand, while he saluted me with the
air of a gentleman and the simplicity of an honest man. He wore a linen
blouse, his collar was open, his hair long and dark, his complexion
pale, his eye thoughtful, and a settled expression of sweetness and
candor about the mouth made me feel, at a glance, that I had rightly
interpreted the sketch. I mentioned it as an apology for my intrusion,
and added, that a natural fondness for Art, and rare opportunities for
gratifying the taste, induced me to improve occasions like this with
alacrity. He seemed delighted to welcome such a visitor, as his life,
for several weeks, had been quite isolated. The retirement and agreeable
scenery of this inland town harmonized with his feelings; he was
unambitious, happy in his domestic relations, and had managed, from time
to time, to execute a portrait or dispose of a sketch, and thus subsist
in comfort; so that an accidental and temporary visit to this secluded
region had unconsciously lengthened into a whole summer's residence,--
partly to be ascribed to the kindness and easy terms of his good old
host, a thrifty farmer, whose wife, having no children of her own, doted
upon the painter's boy, and grieved at the mention of their departure. I
doubt if my new friend would have had the enterprise to migrate at all,
but for my urgency; but I soon discovered, that, with the improvidence
of his tribe, he had laid nothing by, and that he stood in need of
medical advice, and, after a long conversation, upon my engaging to
secure him an economical home and plenty of work in Utica, he promised
to remove thither in a month; and then becoming more cheerful, he
exhibited, one by one, the trophies of Art in his possession.

"Among them were a Moreland and a Gainsborough, some fine engravings
after Reynolds, prints, cartoons, and crayon heads by famous artists,
and two or three Hogarth proof-impressions; but the treasure which
riveted my gaze was a masterly head of such vigorous outline and
effective tints, that I immediately recognized the strong, free, bold
handling of Gilbert Stuart. 'That was given me,' said the gratified
painter, 'by the son of an Edinburgh physician, who, when a young
practitioner, had the good-fortune to call one day upon Stuart when he
was suffering from the effects of a fall. He had been thrown from a
vehicle and had broken his arm, which was so unskilfully set that
it became inflamed and swollen, and the clumsy surgeon talked of
amputation. Imagine the feeling of such an artist at the idea of losing
his right arm! The doctor's visit was not professional, but, seeing the
despondent mood of the invalid artist, he could not refrain the offer
of service. It was accepted, and proved successful, and the patient's
gratitude was unbounded. As the doctor refused pecuniary compensation,
Stuart insisted upon painting a likeness of his benefactor; and as
he worked under no common impulse, the result, as you see, was a

"A few weeks after this pleasant interview, I had established my
_protégé_ at Utica, and obtained him several commissions. But his
medical attendant pronounced his disease incurable; he lingered a
few months, conversing to the last, during the intervals of pain and
feebleness, with a resignation and intelligence quite endearing. When he
died, I advised his widow to preserve as long as possible the valuable
collection he had left, and with it she repaired to one of her kindred
in affluent circumstances, living fifty miles away. She endeavored to
force upon my acceptance one, at least, of her husband's cherished
pictures; but, knowing her poverty, I declined, only stipulating that if
ever she parted with the Stuart, I should have the privilege of taking
it at her own price.

"A year passed, and I was informed that many of her best things had
become the property of her relative, who, however, knew not how to
appreciate them. I commissioned a friend, who knew him, to purchase at
any cost the one I craved. He discovered that a native artist, who
had been employed to delineate the family, had obtained this work in
payment, and had it carefully enshrined in his studio at Syracuse. This
was Charles Elliot; and the possession of so excellent an original
by one of the best of our artists in this department explains his
subsequent triumphs in portraiture. He made a study of this trophy; it
inspired his pencil; from its contemplation he caught the secret of
color, the breadth and strength of execution, which have since placed
him among the first of American portrait-painters, especially for old
and characteristic heads. Thus, in the centre of Western New York, he
found his Academy, his Royal College, his Gallery and life-school, in
one adequate effort of Stuart's masterly hand; the offering of gratitude
became the model and the impulse whereby a farmer's son on the banks
of the Mohawk rose to the highest skill and eminence. But this was a
gradual process; and meantime it is easy to imagine what a treasure the
picture became in his estimation. It was only by degrees that his merit
gained upon public regard. His first visit to New York was a failure;
and after waiting many weeks in vain for a sitter, he was obliged to
pay his indulgent landlord with a note of hand, and return to the more
economical latitude of Syracuse. There he learned that a wealthy trader,
desirous of the _éclat_ of a connoisseur, was resolved to possess the
cherished portrait. Although poor, he was resolved never to part with
it; but the sagacious son of Mammon was too keen for him; discovering
his indebtedness, he bought the artist's note of the inn-keeper, and
levied an execution upon his effects. But genius is often more than a
match for worldly-wisdom. Elliot soon heard of the plot, and determined
to defeat it. He worked hard and secretly, until he had made so good a
copy that the most practised eye alone could detect the counterfeit; and
then concealing the original at his lodgings, he quietly awaited the
legal attachment. It was duly levied, the sale took place, and the
would-be amateur bought the familiar picture hanging in its accustomed
position, and then boasted in the market-place of the success of his
base scheme. Ere long one of Elliot's friends revealed the clever trick.
The enraged purchaser commenced a suit, and, although the painter
eventually retained the picture, the case was carried to the Supreme
Court, and he was condemned to pay costs. Ten years elapsed. The artist
became an acknowledged master, and prosperity followed his labors. No
one can mistake the rich tints and vigorous expression, the character
and color, which distinguish Elliot's portraits; but few imagine how
much he is indebted to the long possession and study of so invaluable an
original for these traits, moulded by his genius into so many admirable
representations of the loved, the venerable, and the honored, both
living and dead."

Another friend of mine, in exploring the more humble class of
boarding-houses in one of our large commercial towns, in search of an
unfortunate relation, found himself, while expecting the landlady,
absorbed in a portrait on the walls of a dingy back-parlor. The
furniture was of the most common description. A few smutched and faded
annuals, half-covered with dust, lay on the centre-table, beside an
old-fashioned astral lamp, a cracked porcelain vase of wax-flowers, a
yellow satin pincushion embroidered with tarnished gold-lace, and an
album of venerable hue filled with hyperbolic apostrophes to the charms
of some ancient beauty; which, with the dilapidated window-curtains, the
obsolete sideboard, the wooden effigy of a red-faced man with a spyglass
under his arm, and the cracked alabaster clock-case on the mantel, all
bespoke an impoverished establishment, so devoid of taste that the
beautiful and artistic portrait seemed to have found its way there by a
miracle. It represented a young and _spirituelle_ woman, in the
costume, so elegant in material and formal in mode, which Copley has
immortalized; in this instance, however, there was a French look about
the coiffure and robe. The eyes were bright with intelligence chastened
by sentiment, the features at once delicate and spirited, and altogether
the picture was one of those visions of blended youth, grace, sweetness,
and intellect, from which the fancy instinctively infers a tale of love,
genius, or sorrow, according to the mood of the spectator. Subdued by
his melancholy errand and discouraged by a long and vain search, my
friend, whose imagination was quite as excitable as his taste was
correct, soon wove a romance around the picture. It was evidently not
the work of a novice; it was as much out of place in this obscure
and inelegant domicil, as a diamond set in filigree, or a rose among
pigweed. How came it there? who was the original? what her history and
her fate? Her parentage and her nurture must have been refined; she must
have inspired love in the chivalric; perchance this was the last relic
of an illustrious exile, the last memorial of a princely house.

This reverie of conjecture was interrupted by the entrance of the
landlady. My friend had almost forgotten the object of his visit; and
when his anxious inquiries proved vain, he drew the loquacious hostess
into general conversation, in order to elicit the mystery of the
beautiful portrait. She was a robust, gray-haired woman, with whose
constitutional good-nature care had waged a long and partially
successful war. That indescribable air which speaks of better days was
visible at a glance; the remnants of bygone gentility were obvious in
her dress; she had the peculiar manner of one who had enjoyed social
consideration; and her language indicated familiarity with cultivated
society; yet the anxious expression habitual to her countenance, and
the bustling air of her vocation which quickly succeeded conversational
repose, hinted but too plainly straitened circumstances and daily toil.
But what struck her present curious visitor more than these casual
traits were the remains of great beauty in the still lovely contour of
the face, the refined lines of her mouth, and the depth and varied play
of the eyes. He was both sympathetic and ingenious, and ere long gained
the confidence of his auditor. The unfeigned interest and the true
perception he manifested in speaking of the portrait rendered him, in
its owner's estimation, worthy to know the story his own intuition had
so nearly divined. The original was Theodosia, the daughter of Aaron
Burr. His affection for her was the redeeming fact of his career and
character. Both were anomalous in our history. In an era remarkable for
patriotic self-sacrifice, he became infamous for treasonable ambition;
among a phalanx of statesmen illustrious for directness and integrity,
he pursued the tortuous path of perfidious intrigue; in a community
where the sanctities of domestic life were unusually revered, he bore
the stigma of unscrupulous libertinism. With the blood of his gallant
adversary and his country's idol on his hands, the penalties of debt and
treason hanging over him, the fertility of an acute intellect wasted on
vain expedients,--an outlaw, an adventurer, a plausible reasoner
with one sex and fascinating betrayer of the other, poor, bereaved,
contemned,--one holy, loyal sentiment lingered in his perverted
soul,--love for the fair, gifted, gentle being who called him father.
The only disinterested sympathy his letters breathe is for her; and the
feeling and sense of duty they manifest offer a remarkable contrast to
the parallel record of a life of unprincipled schemes, misused talents,
and heartless amours. As if to complete the tragic antithesis of
destiny, the beloved and gifted woman who thus shed an angelic ray upon
that dark career was soon after her father's return from Europe lost in
a storm at sea while on her way to visit him, thus meeting a fate which,
even at the distance of time, is remembered with pity. Her wretched
father bore with him, in all his wanderings and through all his
remorseful exile, her picture--emblem of filial love, of all that is
beautiful in the ministry of woman, and all that is terrible in human
fate. At length he lay dangerously ill in a garret. He had parted with
one after another of his articles of raiment, books, and trinkets,
to defray the expenses of a long illness; Theodosia's picture alone
remained; it hung beside him,--the one talisman of irreproachable
memory, of spotless love, and of undying sorrow; he resolved to die with
this sweet relic of the loved and lost in his possession; there his
sacrifices ended. Life seemed slowly ebbing; the underpaid physician
lagged in his visits; the importunate landlord threatened to send this
once dreaded partisan, favored guest, and successful lover to the
almshouse; when, as if the spell of woman's affection were spiritually
magnetic, one of the deserted old man's early victims--no other than
she who spoke--accidentally heard of his extremity, and, forgetting her
wrongs, urged by compassion and her remembrance of the past, sought
her betrayer, provided for his wants, and rescued him from impending
dissolution. In grateful recognition of her Christian kindness, he gave
her all he had to bestow,--Theodosia's portrait.

       *       *       *       *       *



Among the numerous philanthropic movements which have characterized the
nineteenth century, none, perhaps, are more deserving of praise than
those which have had for their object the improvement of the cretin and
the idiot, classes until recently considered as beyond the reach of
curative treatment.

The traveller, whom inclination or science may have led into the Canton
Valais, or Pays-de-Vaud, in Switzerland, or into the less frequented
regions of Savoy, Aosta, or Styria, impressed as he may be with the
beauty and grandeur of the scenery through which he passes, finds
himself startled also at the frightful deformity and degradation of the
inhabitants. By the roadside, basking in the sun, he beholds beings
whose appearance seems such a caricature upon humanity, that he is at a
loss to know whether to assign them a place among the human or the brute
creation. Unable to walk,--usually deaf and dumb,--with bleared eyes,
and head of disproportionate size,--brown, flabby, and leprous skin,--a
huge goitre descending from the throat and resting upon the breast,--an
abdomen enormously distended,--the lower limbs crooked, weak, and
ill-shaped,--without the power of utterance, or thoughts to utter,--and
generally incapable of seeing, not from defect of the visual organs, but
from want of capacity to fix the eye upon any object,--the cretin seems
beyond the reach of human sympathy or aid. In intelligence he is far
below the horse, the dog, the monkey, or even the swine; the only
instincts of his nature are hunger and lust, and even these are fitful
and irregular.

The number of these unfortunate beings in the mountainous districts of
Europe, and especially of Central and Southern Europe, is very great. In
several of the Swiss cantons they form from four to five per cent of
the population. In Rhenish Prussia, and in the Danubian provinces of
Austria, the number is still greater; in Styria, many villages of four
or five thousand inhabitants not having a single man capable of bearing
arms. In Würtemberg and Bavaria, in Savoy, Sardinia, the Alpine regions
of France, and the mountainous districts of Spain, the disease is very

The causes of so fearful a degeneration of body and mind are not
satisfactorily ascertained. Extreme poverty, impure air, filthiness of
person and dwelling, unwholesome diet, the use of water impregnated with
some of the magnesian salts, intemperance, (particularly in the use of
the cheap and vile brandy of Switzerland,) and the intermarriage of near
relatives and of those affected with goitre, have all been assigned, and
with apparently good reason; yet there are cases which are attributable
to none of these causes.

The disease is not, however, confined to Europe. It is prevalent also
in China and Chinese Tartary, in Thibet, along the base of the Himalaya
range in India, in Sumatra, in the vicinity of the Andes in South
America, in Mexico; and sporadic cases are found along the line of the
Alleghanies. It is said not to occur in Europe at a higher elevation
than four thousand feet above the sea level.

The derivation of the name is involved in some mystery; most writers
regarding it as a corruption of the French _Chrétien_, as indicative
of the incapacity of these unfortunate beings to commit sin. A
more probable theory, however, is that which deduces it from the
Grison-Romance _Cretira_, "creature."

The existence of this disease has long been known; references are made
to it by Pliny, as well as by some of the Roman writers in the second
century of the Christian era; and in the seventeenth and eighteenth
centuries its prevalence and causes were frequently discussed. Most of
the writers on the subject, however, considered the case of the poor
cretin as utterly hopeless; and the few who deemed a partial improvement
of his health, though not of his intellect, possible, merely suggested
some measures for that purpose, without making any effort to reduce them
to practice. It was reserved for a young physician of Zurich, Doctor
Louis Guggenbühl, whose practical benevolence was active enough to
overcome any repugnance he might feel to labors in behalf of a class so
degraded and apparently unpromising, to be the pioneer in an effort to
improve their physical, mental, and moral condition.

It is now twenty-one years since this noble philanthropist, then just
entering upon the duties of his profession, was first led by some
incidents occurring during a tour in the Bernese Alps to investigate the
condition of the cretin. For three years he devoted himself to the study
of the disease and the method of treating it. Two years of this period
were spent in the small village of Seruf, in the Canton Glarus, where he
was successful in restoring several to the use of their limbs. It was at
the end of this period, that, with a moral courage and devotion of which
history affords but few examples, Doctor Guggenbühl resolved to dedicate
his life to the elevation of the cretins from their degraded condition.
Consecrating his own property to the work, he asked assistance from the
Canton Bern in the purchase of land for a hospital, and received a
grant of six hundred francs ($120) for the work. His investigations had
satisfied him that an elevated and dry locality was desirable, and that
it was only the young who could be benefited. He accordingly purchased,
in 1840, a tract of about forty acres of land, comprising a portion of
the hill called the Abendberg, in the Canton Bern, above Interlachen.
The site of his Hospital buildings is about four thousand feet above the
sea, and one or two hundred feet below the summit of the hill; it is
well protected from the cold winds, and the soil is tolerably fertile.

There are few spots, even among the Alps, which can compare with the
Abendberg in beauty and grandeur of scenery. Doctor Guggenbühl was
led to select it as much for this reason as for its salubrity, in the
belief, which his subsequent experience has fully justified, that the
striking nobleness of the landscape would awaken, even in the torpid
mind of the cretin, that sense of the beautiful in Nature which would
materially aid in his intellectual culture.

On the southern slope of the Abendberg he erected his Hospital
buildings, plain, wooden structures, without ornament, but comfortable,
and well adapted to his purpose. Here he gathered about thirty cretin
children, mostly under ten years of age, and began his work.

To understand fully what was to be accomplished, in order to transform
the young cretin into an active, healthy child, it is necessary that we
should glance at his physical and mental condition, when placed under

Cretinism seems to be a combination of two diseases, the one physical,
the other mental. The physical disorder is akin to _Rachitis_, or
rickets, while the mental is substantially idiocy. The osseous
structure, deficient in the phosphate of lime, is unable to sustain the
weight of the body, and the cretin is thus incapacitated for active
motion; the muscles are soft and wasted; the skin dingy, cold, and
unhealthy; the appetite voracious; spasmodic and convulsed action
frequent; and the digestion imperfect and greatly disordered. The mind
seems to exist only in a germinal state; observation, memory, thought,
the power of combination, are all wanting. The external senses are so
torpid, that, for months perhaps, it is in vain to address either eye
or ear; nor is the sense of touch much more active. The cretin is
insensible to pain or annoyance, and seems to have as little sensation
as an oyster.

It was to the work of restoring these diseased and enfeebled bodies
to health, and of developing these germs of intellect, that Doctor
Guggenbühl addressed himself. For this purpose, pure air, enforced
exercise, the use of cold, warm, and vapor baths, of spirituous lotions
and frictions, a simple yet eminently nutritive diet, regular habits,
and the administration of those medicinal alternatives which would
give tone to the system, activity to the absorbents, and vigor to
the muscles, were the remedial measures adopted. As their strength
increased, they were led to practise the simpler gymnastic
exercises,--running, jumping, climbing, marching, the use of the
dumb-bells, etc.

The body thus partially invigorated, the culture of the mind was next to
be attempted,--a far more difficult task. The first step was, to teach
the child to speak; and as this implied the ability to hear, the ear,
hitherto dead to all sounds, must be impressed. For this purpose, sound
was communicated by speaking trumpets or other instruments, which should
force and fix the attention. The lips and vocal organs were then moulded
to imitate these sounds. The process was long and wearisome, often
occupying months, and even years; but in the end it was successful.
The eye was trained by the attraction of bright and varied colors,
and little by little simple ideas were communicated to the feeble
intellect,--great care being necessary, however, to proceed very slowly,
as the cretin is easily discouraged, and when once overtasked, will make
no further attempts to learn.

It was only by gaining the love of these poor creatures that they could
be led to make any progress; and at an early stage of their training,
Doctor Guggenbühl deemed it wise to infuse into their dawning minds the
knowledge and the love of a higher Being, to teach them something of the
power and goodness of God. The result, he assures us, has been highly
satisfactory; the mind, too feeble for earthly lore, too weak to grasp
the simplest facts of science, has yet comprehended something of the
love of the All-father, and lifted up to him its imperfect but plaintive
supplication. That the enthusiasm of this good man may have led him
to exaggerate somewhat the extent of the religious attainments of his
pupils is possible; but the experience of every teacher of the cretin or
the idiot has satisfactorily demonstrated that simple religious truths
are acquired by those who seem incapable of understanding the plainest
problems in arithmetic or the most elementary facts of science. God has
so willed it, that the mightiest intellect which strives unavailingly
to comprehend the wisdom and glory of his creation, and the feeblest
intelligence which knows only and instinctively his love, shall alike
find in that love their highest solace and delight.

The phenomena of Nature were next made the objects of instruction;
and to this the well-chosen position of the establishment largely
contributed. Sunshine and storm, the light clouds which mottled the sky
and the black heaps which foreboded the tempest, the lightning and the
rainbow, all in turn served to awaken the slumbering faculties, and to
rouse the torpid intellect to greater activity.

The next step was, to teach the cretin some knowledge of objects around
him, animate and inanimate, and of his relations to them. The exercise
of the senses followed, and gayly colored pictures were presented to the
eye, charming music to the ear, fragrant odors to the smell, and the
varieties of sweet, bitter, sour, and pungent substances to the taste.

When the perceptive faculties were thus trained, books were made to take
the place of object lessons; reading and writing were taught by long and
patient endeavor; the elements of arithmetic, of Scripture history, and
of geography were communicated; and mechanical instruction was imparted
at the same time.

Under this general routine of instruction, Dr. Guggenbühl has conducted
his establishment for seventeen years, often with limited means, and at
times struggling with debt, from which, more than once, kind English
friends, who have visited the Hospital, or become interested in the man,
during his occasional hasty visits to Great Britain, have relieved him.
His personal appearance is thus described by a friend who was on
terms of intimacy with him; the place is at one of Lord Rosse's
_conversazioni_. "Imagine in the crowd which swept through his
Lordship's suite of rooms a small, foreign-looking man, with features of
a Grecian cast, and long, shoulder-covering, black hair; look at
that man's face; there is a gentleness, an amiability combined with
intelligence, which wins you to him. His dress is peculiar in that crowd
of white cravats and acres of cambric shirt-fronts; black,
well-worn black, is his suit; but his waistcoat is of black
satin,--double-breasted, and buttoned closely up to the throat. It is
Dr. Guggenbühl, the mildest, the gentlest of men, but one of those calm,
reflecting minds that push on after a worthy object, undismayed by
difficulties, undeterred by ridicule or rebuff."

In his labors in behalf of the unfortunate class to whom he has devoted
himself, Dr. Guggenbühl has been assisted very greatly by the Protestant
Sisters of Charity, who, like the Catholic sisterhood, dedicate their
lives to offices of charity and love to the sick, the unfortunate, and
the erring.

Dr. Guggenbühl claims to have effected a perfect cure in about one third
of the cases which have been under his charge, by a treatment of from
three to six years' duration. The attainment of so large a measure of
success has been questioned by some who have visited the Hospital on the
Abendberg; and while a part of these critics were undoubtedly actuated
by a jealous and fault-finding disposition, it is not impossible that
the enthusiasm of the philanthropist may have led him to regard the
acquirements of his pupils as beyond what they really were.

A greater source of fallacy, however, is in the want of fixed standards
for estimating the comparative capacity of children affected with
cretinism, when placed under treatment, and the degree of intellectual
and physical development which constitutes a "perfect cure," in the
opinion of such men as Dr. Guggenbühl. It is a fact, which all who have
long had charge of either cretins or idiots well understand, that a
great degree of physical deformity and disorder, a strongly marked
rachitic condition of the body, complicated even with loss of hearing
and speech, may exist, while the intellectual powers are but slightly
affected; in other words, that a child may be in external appearance
a cretin, and even one of low grade, yet with a higher degree of
intellectual capacity than most cretins possess. On the other hand, the
bodily weakness and deformity may be slight, while the mental condition
is very low. In the former case, we might reasonably expect, on the
successful treatment of the rachitic symptoms, a rapid intellectual
development; the child would soon be able to pursue its studies in an
ordinary school, and a "perfect cure" would be effected. In the latter
case, though far more promising, apparently, at first, a longer course
of training would be requisite, and the most strenuous efforts on the
part of the teacher would not, in all probability, bring the pupil up to
the level of a respectable mediocrity.

From a great number of cases, narrated in the different Reports of Dr.
Guggenbühl before us, we select one as the type of a large class, in
which the development of the intellect seems to have been retarded by
the physical disorder, but proceeded regularly on the return of health.

"C. was four years old when she entered, with every symptom of confirmed
rachitic cretinism. Her nervous system was completely out of order, so
that the strongest electric shocks produced scarcely any effect on her
for some months. Aromatic baths, frictions, moderate exercise, a regimen
of meat and milk, were the means of restoring her. Her bones and muscles
grew so strong, that, in the course of a year, she could run and jump.
Her mind appeared to advance in proportion to her body, for she learned
to talk in French as well as in German. The life and spirits of her age
at length burst forth, and she was as gay and happy as she had before
been cross and disagreeable. She was particularly open-hearted, active,
kind, and cleanly. She learned to read, write, and cipher, to sew and
knit, and above all she loved to sing. It is now two years since she
left, and she continues quite well, and goes to school."

We think our readers will perceive that this was not a case of confirmed
intellectual degradation, but only of retarded mental development, the
result of diseased bodily condition. These diseases are distressing to
parents and friends, and he who succeeds in restoring them to health,
intelligence, and the enjoyment of life, accomplishes a great and good
work; but it does not necessarily follow that the cases where the mental
degeneration is as complete as the physical would as readily yield to
treatment; and we are driven to the conviction that the enthusiasm and
zeal of Dr. Guggenbühl have led him to exaggerate the measure of success
attained in these cases of low grade, and thus to excite hopes which
could never be fulfilled.[A]

[Footnote A: Dr. F. Kern, Superintendent of the Idiot School at
Gohlis, near Leipzig, in an article in the _Allgemeine Zeitschrift für
Psychiatrie_, published the present year, (1857,) states that he
examined a boy in the Abendberg Hospital in 1853, of whom Dr. Guggenbühl
had said, in his work _Upon the Cure of Cretinism_, published a few
months previously, that, "after the painstaking examination of Dr.
Naville, he was held to be capable of entering a training school for
teachers, in order to qualify himself for a teacher": Dr. Kern found
that he knew neither the day of the week or the mouth, nor his birthday,
nor his age.]

There are four other institutions in Germany devoted wholly or in part
to the treatment of cretins; they are located at Bendorf, Mariaberg,
Winterbach, and Hubertsburg. There are also two in Sardinia. All
together they may contain three hundred children. The success of these
institutions has not been equal to that of the Abendberg, although the
teachers seem to have been faithful and patient. The statistics of the
latest census of the countries of Central and Southern Europe render
it certain that those countries contain from seventy-five to eighty
thousand cretins, and as the cretin seldom passes his thirtieth year,
the number under ten years of age must exceed thirty thousand. The
provision for their training is, of course, entirely inadequate to their

The limited experience of the few institutions already established
warrants, we think, the conclusion, that too high expectations have been
raised in regard to the complete cure of cretinism; that only a
small proportion (cases in which the bodily disease is the principal
difficulty, and the mental deterioration slight) can be perfectly cured;
but that these institutions, regarded as hospitals for the treatment and
training of cretins, are in the highest degree important and beneficial;
and that, under proper care and medication, the physical symptoms of the
disease may be greatly diminished and in many cases entirely eradicated,
and the mental condition so far improved, that the patient shall be
able, under proper direction, to support himself wholly or in part by
his own labor. The hideous and repulsive condition of the body can
be cured; the mental deformity will yield less readily; yet in some
instances this, too, may disappear, and the cretin take his place with
his fellow-men.

Let us now turn our attention to another class, in whom, as a people, we
have a deeper interest; for though cretinism does undoubtedly exist in
the United States, yet the cases are but few; while idiocy is fearfully
prevalent throughout the country.

The possibility of improving the condition of the idiot is one of those
discoveries which will make the nineteenth century remarkable in the
annals of the future for its philanthropic spirit. Idiots have existed
in all ages, and have commonly vegetated through life in utter
wretchedness and degrading filth, concealed from public view.

During the early part of the present century, a few attempts were made
to instruct them; the earliest known being at the American Asylum for
the Deaf and Dumb, in Hartford, in 1818. In 1824, Dr. Belhomme, of
Paris, published an essay on the possibility of improving the condition
of idiots; and in 1828, a few were instructed for a short time at the
Bicêtre, one of the large insane hospitals of Paris. In 1831, M. Falret
attempted the same work at the Salpêtrière, another of the hospitals for
the insane in the same city. Neither of these efforts was continued long
in existence. In 1833, Dr. Voisin, a distinguished French physiologist
and phrenologist, attempted the organization of a school for idiots in
Paris. In 1839, aided by Dr. Leuret, he revived the School for Idiots in
the Bicêtre, subsequently under the charge of M. Vallée. The "Apostle to
the Idiots," however, to use a French expression, was Dr. Edward
Seguin. The friend and pupil of Itard, the celebrated surgeon and
philanthropist, he had in early youth entered into the views of his
master respecting the practicability of their instruction; and when,
during his last illness, Itard, with a philanthropy which triumphed over
the terrible pangs of disease, reminded him of the work which he had
himself longed to undertake, and urged him to devote his abilities to
it, the young physician accepted the sacred trust, and thenceforth
consecrated his life to the work of endeavoring to elevate the helpless
idiot in the scale of humanity.

Previous teachers of the imbecile had not attempted to master the
philosophy of idiocy. They had gone to work at hap-hazard, striking at
random, hoping somehow, they knew not exactly how, to get some ideas
into the mind of the patient, and, by exciting the faculty of imitation,
perhaps improve his condition. They succeeded in making him more
cleanly, and in inducing him to perform certain acts and exercises, as a
well-trained dog, monkey, or parrot might perform them.

Seguin adopted an entirely different course. By a long and careful
investigation he satisfied himself as to what idiocy consisted in,
and then adopted such measures as he deemed most judicious, for the
development of the intellect, and the elevation of the social, mental,
moral, and physical character of the idiot.

In his view idiocy is only a prolonged infancy, in which the infantile
grace and intelligence having passed away, there remains only the feeble
muscular development and mental weakness of that earliest stage of
growth. He proposes to follow Nature in his processes of treatment; to
invigorate the muscles by bathing and exercise, using some compulsion,
if necessary, to effect this; to fix the attention by bright colors,
strong contrasts, military manoeuvres, etc.; to strengthen and develope
the will, the imagination, the senses, and the imitative powers, by a
great variety of exercises; and at each step, to impress the mind with
moral principles. The mere acquisition of a few facts, more or less, and
the capacity to repeat these, parrot-like, he regards as an attainment
of very little consequence; the great object should be to make the child
do his own thinking, and this once attained, he will acquire facts as he
needs them.

Dr. Seguin met with a high degree of success in the instruction of
idiotic and imbecile children, and in 1846 published a treatise on the
treatment of idiocy, which will, for years to come, be the manual of
every teacher of this unfortunate class.

While Seguin was demonstrating the truth of his theory of instruction
at Paris, Herr Saegert, a teacher of deaf mutes at Berlin, having
attempted, unsuccessfully, the instruction of a deaf and dumb idiot, was
led to inquire into the reasons of his failure. Without any knowledge of
Seguin's labors, he arrived substantially at the same conclusions,
and devoted his leisure to medical study, in order to grapple more
successfully with the problem of the instruction of idiots. In 1840 he
commenced receiving idiotic pupils, and has maintained a school for them
in Berlin up to the present time. Herr Saegert is inclined to regard
idiocy as dependent upon the condition of the brain and nervous system,
to a greater extent, perhaps, than Dr. Seguin, and to rely upon
medication to some extent; though in his writings he professes to
consider it a condition, and not a disease.

The success of the efforts of Seguin and Saegert was soon reported
in other countries, and as early as 1846 excited the attention of
philanthropists in England and the United States. Schools for the
training of idiots were established, on a small scale at first, by some
benevolent ladies, at Bath, Brighton, and Lancaster, England. In
1847, an effort was made to establish an institution in some degree
commensurate with the wants of the unfortunate class for whom it
was intended. In this movement, Dr. John Conolly, the father of the
non-restraint system in the treatment of the insane, Rev. Dr. Andrew
Reed, Rev. Edwin Sidney, and Sir S.M. Peto have distinguished themselves
by their zeal and liberality. Extensive buildings were rented at
Highgate, near London, and at Colchester, for the accommodation of
idiotic pupils, while a strenuous and successful effort was made to
obtain the necessary funds for the erection of an asylum of great size.
The Royal Institution for Idiots, completed in 1856, has between four
hundred and five hundred beds, and is already nearly or quite full.
Essex Hall, at Colchester, has also been fitted up as a permanent
establishment for their instruction, and furnishes accommodation for
some two hundred more. Two small institutions, supported by private
beneficence, have also been organized in Scotland.

The British institutions have admitted, to a very considerable extent,
a class of pupils who are not properly idiots, but only persons of
imbecile purpose, or simply awkward, and of partially developed
intellects. Some of these, who have arrived even at the age of
twenty-five or thirty years, have been greatly benefited, and, after
two or three years' instruction, have left the institution with as much
intelligence, apparently, as most of those in the same walk of life.
This result is, and should be, a matter of great gratification to the
managers; but it is hardly just to regard success in such cases as cures
of idiocy. The greater part of the admissions to the Royal Institution
are from the pauper and poor laboring classes; and the simple
substitution of wholesome and sufficient food for a meagre and
innutritious diet is alone sufficient to effect a marked change in them.
The greater part of the pupils in that institution are instructed in
some of the simpler mechanic arts, and the Reports assure us that they
have generally acquired them with facility.

There can be no question of the benevolence of attempting the
restoration to society, and to active and useful life, of these
awkward, undeveloped, and backward youth,--of educating their hitherto
undeveloped faculties, of eradicating those habits which rendered them
disagreeable, and often almost unendurable; but these youths are not
idiots, and no such analogy exists between them and idiots as would
enable us to infer with certainty the successful treatment of the latter
from the comparatively rapid development of the former.

In our own country more satisfactory data exist for determining this
point. The movement for the instruction of idiots commenced almost
simultaneously in New York and Massachusetts. The first school for
idiots in this country was commenced at Barre, Massachusetts, by Dr.
H.B. Wilbur, in July, 1848; and the Massachusetts Experimental School,
by Dr. S.G. Howe, in October of the same year. There are now in the
United States six institutions for the instruction and training of this
unfortunate class, namely: the Massachusetts School, at South Boston,
still under the general superintendence of Dr. Howe; a private
institution for idiots, imbeciles, backward and eccentric children at
Barre, under the care of Dr. George Brown, being the one originally
founded by Dr. Wilbur; the New York State Asylum for Idiots, at
Syracuse, of which Dr. Wilbur is the superintendent; a private school
for idiots and imbeciles at Haerlem, N.Y., under the care of Mr. J.B.
Richards; the Pennsylvania Training School for Idiots, at Germantown,
Penn., under the care of Dr. Parish; and an Experimental School,
recently organized, at Columbus, Ohio, under an appropriation from the
State legislature, presided over by Dr. Patterson. Of these, only the
first three have had an experience sufficiently long to offer any
reliable results from which the success of idiot instruction can be

The solution of the question, whether the idiot can be elevated to the
standard of mediocrity, physically and intellectually, is not merely one
of interest to the psychologist, who seeks to ascertain the metes and
bounds of the mental capacity of the race; it is also of paramount
importance to the political economist, who wishes to determine the
productive force of the community, physical and intellectual; it is
of practical interest to the statesman, who seeks to know how large a
proportion of the population are necessarily dependent upon the state or
individuals for their support; it is a matter of pecuniary importance
to the tax-payer, who is naturally desirous of learning whether these
drones in the hive, who not only perform no labor themselves, but
require others to attend them, and who often, also, from their
imbecility, are made the tools and dupes of others in the commission of
crime, cannot be transformed into producers instead of consumers, and
become quiet and orderly citizens, instead of pests in the community.

The statistics of idiocy are necessarily imperfect. No United States
census or State enumeration is at all reliable; the idea of what
constitutes idiocy is so very vague, that one census-taker would report
_none_, in a district where another might find twenty. It is very seldom
the case that the friends or relatives of an idiot will admit that he
is more than a little eccentric; many of the worst cases in the
institutions for idiots were brought there by friends who protested that
they were not idiots, but only a little singular in their habits.

In Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Ohio, efforts have been made, by
correspondence with physicians and town officers, to obtain data from
which an approximate estimate might be attained. These efforts, though
not so satisfactory as could be desired, are yet sufficient to authorize
the conclusion that there are in those three States (and probably the
same figures would hold good for the rest of the Union) about one fifth
of one per cent. of the population who are idiots of low grade, and
about the same number who are of weak and imbecile intellect. This would
give us in the United States about fifty-two thousand idiots, and as
many more imbeciles. At the lowest estimate, the cost of supporting this
vast army of the unfortunate, beyond the trifling sum which a few of
them may be able to earn, is more than ten millions of dollars per
annum. Nor is this all, or even the worst feature of their case. The
greater part of them are without sense of shame, without any notions of
chastity or decency, and so weak in moral sense as to be the ready
tools and dupes of artful villains, and often themselves exhibit a
perverseness and malignity of character which render them dangerous
members of society. Their influence for evil, direct and indirect, no
man can estimate. The chaplains and other officers of our State prisons
and penitentiaries will testify that a large proportion of the inmates
of those establishments, though not idiots, are weak-minded and
imbecile; and it by no means a rare circumstance to find persons, who
should properly be under treatment as idiots, suffering the doom of the

Under these circumstances, the question, What can be done with this
unfortunate and helpless class? becomes one of great importance.

A careful examination of the institutions for their training in this
country and Europe, and an extended inquiry into their present condition
when not under instruction, have enabled us to arrive at the following

There is very little hope of any considerable permanent improvement of
the idiot, if not placed under training before his sixteenth year.
His habits may, indeed, be somewhat amended, and the mind temporarily
roused; but this improvement will seldom continue after he is removed
from the institution.

The existence of severe epilepsy, or other profound disease, is a
serious bar to success.

Of those not affected by epilepsy, who are brought under instruction in
childhood, from one third to one fourth may be so far improved as to
become capable of performing the ordinary duties of life with tolerable
fidelity and ability. They may acquire sufficient knowledge to be able
to read, to write, to understand the elementary facts of geography,
history, and arithmetic; they may be capable of writing a passable
letter; they may acquire a sufficient knowledge of farming, or of the
mechanic arts, to be able to work well and faithfully under appropriate
supervision; they may attain a sufficient knowledge of the government
and laws under which they live, to be qualified to exercise the
electoral franchise quite as well as many of those who do exercise it;
they may make such advances in morals, as to act with justice and honor
toward their fellow-men, and exhibit the influence of Christianity in
changing their degraded and wayward natures to purity, chastity, and

A larger class, probably one half of the whole, can be so much
benefited, as to become cleanly in their habits, quiet in their
deportment, capable, perhaps, of reading and writing, but not of
original composition, able to perform, with suitable supervision, many
kinds of work which require little close thought, and, under the care of
friends, of becoming happy and useful. This class, if neglected after
leaving the school, will be likely to relapse into some of their early
habits, but if properly cared for, may continue to improve.

A small number, and as frequently, perhaps, as otherwise, those
apparently the most promising at entering, will make little or no
progress. It cannot be predicted beforehand that such will be the result
of any case, for the most hopeless at entering have often made decided
advancement; but the fact remains, that no methods of instruction
yet adopted will _invariably_ develope the slumbering intellect, or
strengthen and correct the enfeebled or depraved will.

The institutions for the training of idiots should be greatly
multiplied, and should have a department for awkward, eccentric, and
backward children. The methods adopted would be of great benefit to
these, and would often call into activity intellects which might be
useful in their proper spheres.

We regard this great movement for the improvement of a class hitherto
considered so hopeless, as one of the most honorable and benevolent
enterprises of our time. It is yet in its infancy; but we hope to see,
ere many years have passed, in every State of our Union, asylums reared,
where these waifs of humanity shall be gathered, and such training
given them as may develope in the highest degree possible the hitherto
rudimentary faculties of their minds, and render them capable of
performing, in some humble measure, their part in the drama of life.

       *       *       *       *       *


  Oh, you are sick of self-love, Malvolio,
  And taste with a distempered appetite!  Shakspeare.

  Il doutait de tout, même de l'amour.--French Novel.

  Solvitur ambulando. Solutio Sophismatum.

       Flevit amores
  Non elaboratum ad pedem.--Horace.

  Over the great windy waters, and over the clear crested summits,
    Unto the sun and the sky, and unto the perfecter earth,
  Come, let us go,--to a land wherein gods of the old time wandered,
    Where every breath even now changes to ether divine.
  Come, let us go; though withal a voice whisper, "The world that we
      live in,
    Whithersoever we turn, still is the same narrow crib;
  'Tis but to prove limitation, and measure a cord, that we travel;
    Let who would 'scape and be free go to his chamber and think;
  'Tis but to change idle fancies for memories wilfully falser;
    'Tis but to go and have been."--Come, little bark, let us go!


    Dear Eustatio, I write that you may write me an answer,
  Or at the least to put us _en rapport_ with each other.
  Rome disappoints me much,--St. Peter's, perhaps, in especial;
  Only the Arch of Titus and view from the Lateran please me:
  This, however, perhaps, is the weather, which truly is horrid.
  Greece must be better, surely; and yet I am feeling so spiteful,
  That I could travel to Athens, to Delphi, and Troy, and Mount Sinai,
  Though but to see with my eyes that these are vanity also.

    Rome disappoints me much; I hardly as yet understand, but
  _Rubbishy_ seems the word that most exactly would suit it.
  All the foolish destructions, and all the sillier savings,
  All the incongruous things of past incompatible ages,
  Seem to be treasured up here to make fools of present and future.
  Would to Heaven the old Goths had made a cleaner sweep of it!
  Would to Heaven some new ones would come and destroy me these churches!
  However, one can live in Rome as also in London.
  Rome is better than London, because it is other than London.
  It is a blessing, no doubt, to be rid, at least for a time, of
  All one's friends and relations,--yourself (forgive me!) included,--
  All the _assujettissement_ of having been what one has been,
  What one thinks one is, or thinks that others suppose one;
  Yet, in despite of all, we turn like fools to the English.
  Vernon has been my fate; who is here the same that you knew him,--
  Making the tour, it seems, with friends of the name of Trevellyn.


    Rome disappoints me still; but I shrink and adapt myself to it.
  Somehow a tyrannous sense of a superincumbent oppression
  Still, wherever I go, accompanies ever, and makes me
  Feel like a tree (shall I say?) buried under a ruin of brick-work.
  Rome, believe me, my friend, is like its own Monte Testaceo,
  Merely a marvellous mass of broken and castaway wine-pots.
  Ye gods! what do I want with this rubbish of ages departed,
  Things that Nature abhors, the experiments that she has failed in?
  What do I think of the Forum? An archway and two or three pillars.
  Well, but St. Peter's? Alas, Bernini has filled it with sculpture!
  No one can cavil, I grant, at the size of the great Coliseum.
  Doubtless the notion of grand and capacious and massive amusement,
  This the old Romans had; but tell me, is this an idea?
  Yet of solidity much, but of splendor little is extant:
  "Brickwork I found thee, and marble I left thee!" their Emperor vaunted;
  "Marble I thought thee, and brickwork I find thee!" the Tourist may


  At last, dearest Louisa, I take up my pen to address you.
  Here we are, you see, with the seven-and-seventy boxes,
  Courier, Papa and Mamma, the children, and Mary and Susan:
  Here we all are at Rome, and delighted of course with St Peter's,
  And very pleasantly lodged in the famous Piazza di Spagna.
  Rome is a wonderful place, but Mary shall tell you about it;
  Not very gay, however; the English are mostly at Naples;
  There are the A.s, we hear, and most of the W. party.
  George, however, is come; did I tell you about his mustachios?
  Dear, I must really stop, for the carriage, they tell me, is waiting.
  Mary will finish; and Susan is writing, they say, to Sophia.
  Adieu, dearest Louise,--evermore your faithful Georgina.
  Who can a Mr. Claude be whom George has taken to be with?
  Very stupid, I think, but George says so _very_ clever.


  No, the Christian faith, as at any rate I understood it,
  With its humiliations and exaltations combining,
  Exaltations sublime, and yet diviner abasements,
  Aspirations from something most shameful here upon earth and
  In our poor selves to something most perfect above in the heavens,--
  No, the Christian faith, as I, at least, understood it,
  Is not here, O Rome, in any of these thy churches;
  Is not here, but in Freiberg, or Rheims, or Westminster Abbey.
  What in thy Dome I find, in all thy recenter efforts,
  Is a something, I think, more _rational_ far, more earthly,
  Actual, less ideal, devout not in scorn and refusal,
  But in a positive, calm, Stoic-Epicurean acceptance.
  This I begin to detect in St. Peter's and some of the churches,
  Mostly in all that I see of the sixteenth-century masters;
  Overlaid of course with infinite gauds and gewgaws,
  Innocent, playful follies, the toys and trinkets of childhood,
  Forced on maturer years, as the serious one thing essential,
  By the barbarian will of the rigid and ignorant Spaniard.


  Luther, they say, was unwise; like a half-taught German, he could not
  See that old follies were passing most tranquilly out of remembrance;
  Leo the Tenth was employing all efforts to clear out abuses;
  Jupiter, Juno, and Venus, Fine Arts, and Fine Letters, the Poets,
  Scholars, and Sculptors, and Painters, were quietly clearing away the
  Martyrs, and Virgins, and Saints, or at any rate Thomas Aquinas.
  He must forsooth make a fuss and distend his huge Wittenberg lungs, and
  Bring back Theology once yet again in a flood upon Europe:
  Lo, you, for forty days from the windows of heaven it fell; the
  Waters prevail on the earth yet more for a hundred and fifty;
  Are they abating at last? The doves that are sent to explore are
  Wearily fain to return, at the best with a leaflet of promise,--
  Fain to return, as they went, to the wandering wave-tost vessel,--
  Fain to reënter the roof which covers the clean and the unclean.
  Luther, they say, was unwise; he didn't see how things were going;
  Luther was foolish,--but, O great God! what call you Ignatius?
  O my tolerant soul, be still! but you talk of barbarians,
  Alaric, Attila, Genseric;--why, they came, they killed, they
  Ravaged, and went on their way; but these vile, tyrannous Spaniards,
  These are here still,--how long, O ye Heavens, in the country of Dante?
  These, that fanaticized Europe, which now can forget them, release not
  This, their choicest of prey, this Italy; here you can see them,--
  Here, with emasculate pupils and gimcrack churches of Gesu,
  Pseudo-learning and lies, confessional-boxes and postures,--
  Here, with metallic beliefs and regimental devotions,--
  Here, overcrusting with shame, perverting, defacing, debasing,
  Michael Angelo's dome, that had hung the Pantheon in heaven,
  Raphael's Joys and Graces, and thy clear stars, Galileo!


    Which of three Misses Trevellyn it is that Vernon shall marry
  Is not a thing to be known; for our friend's is one of those natures
  Which have their perfect delight in the general tender-domestic,
  So that he trifles with Mary's shawl, ties Susan's bonnet,
  Dances with all, but at home is most, they say, with Georgina,
  Who is, however, _too_ silly in my apprehension for Vernon.
  I, as before when I wrote, continue to see them a little;
  Not that I like them so much, or care a _bajocco_ for Vernon,
  But I am slow at Italian, have not many English acquaintance,
  And I am asked, in short, and am not good at excuses.
  Middle-class people these, bankers very likely, not wholly
  Pure of the taint of the shop; will at table d'hôte and restaurant
  Have their shilling's worth, their penny's pennyworth even:
  Neither man's aristocracy this, nor God's, God knoweth!
  Yet they are fairly descended, they give you to know, well connected;
  Doubtless somewhere in some neighborhood have, and careful to keep, some
  Threadbare-genteel relations, who in their turn are enchanted
  Grandly among county people to introduce at assemblies
  To the unpennied cadets our cousins with excellent fortunes.
  Neither man's aristocracy this, nor God's, God knoweth!


    Ah, what a shame, indeed, to abuse these most worthy people!
  Ah, what a sin to have sneered at their innocent rustic pretensions!
  Is it not laudable really, this reverent worship of station?
  Is it not fitting that wealth should tender this homage to culture?
  Is it not touching to witness these efforts, if little availing,
  Painfully made, to perform the old ritual service of manners?
  Shall not devotion atone for the absence of knowledge? and fervor
  Palliate, cover, the fault of a superstitious observance?
  Dear, dear, what have I said? but, alas, just now, like Iago,
  I can be nothing at all, if it is not critical wholly;
  So in fantastic height, in coxcomb exaltation,
  Here in the Garden I walk, can freely concede to the Maker
  That the works of his hand are all very good: his creatures,
  Beast of the field and fowl, he brings them before me; I name them;
  That which I name them, they are,--the bird, the beast, and the cattle.
  But for Adam,--alas, poor critical coxcomb Adam!
  But for Adam there is not found an help-meet for him.


  No, great Dome of Agrippa, thou art not Christian! canst not,
  Strip and replaster and daub and do what they will with thee, be so!
  Here underneath the great porch of colossal Corinthian columns,
  Here as I walk, do I dream of the Christian belfries above them;
  Or on a bench as I sit and abide for long hours, till thy whole vast
  Round grows dim as in dreams to my eyes, I repeople thy niches,
  Not with the Martyrs, and Saints, and Confessors, and Virgins,
      and children,
  But with the mightier forms of an older, austerer worship;
  And I recite to myself, how

            Eager for battle here
  Stood Vulcan, here matronal Juno,
    And with the bow to his shoulder faithful
  He who with pure dew laveth of Castaly
  His flowing locks, who holdeth of Lycia
  The oak forest and the wood that bore him,
    Delos and Patara's own Apollo.[A]

[Footnote A:

            Hic avidus stetit
  Vulcanus, hic matrona Juno, et
    Nunquam humero positurus arcum;
  Qui rore puro Castaliae lavat
  Crines solutos, qui Lyciae tenet
  Dumeta natalemque sylvum,
    Delius et Patareus Apollo.]


    Yet it is pleasant, I own it, to be in their company: pleasant,
  Whatever else it may be, to abide in the feminine presence.
  Pleasant, but wrong, will you say? But this happy, serene coexistence
  Is to some poor soft souls, I fear, a necessity simple,
  Meat and drink and life, and music, filling with sweetness,
  Thrilling with melody sweet, with harmonies strange overwhelming,
  All the long-silent strings of an awkward, meaningless fabric.
  Yet as for that, I could live, I believe, with children; to have those
  Pure and delicate forms encompassing, moving about you,
  This were enough, I could think; and truly with glad resignation
  Could from the dream of romance, from the fever of flushed adolescence,
  Look to escape and subside into peaceful avuncular functions.
  Nephews and nieces! alas, for as yet I have none! and, moreover,
  Mothers are jealous, I fear me, too often, too rightfully; fathers
  Think they have title exclusive to spoiling their own little darlings;
  And by the law of the land, in despite of Malthusian doctrine,
  No sort of proper provision is made for that most patriotic,
  Most meritorious subject, the childless and bachelor uncle.


    Ye, too, marvellous Twain, that erect on the Monte Cavallo
  Stand by your rearing steeds in the grace of your motionless movement,
  Stand with your upstretched arms and tranquil regardant faces,
  Stand as instinct with life in the might of immutable manhood,--
  O ye mighty and strange, ye ancient divine ones of Hellas,
  Are ye Christian too? to convert and redeem and renew you,
  Will the brief form have sufficed, that a Pope has set up on the apex
  Of the Egyptian stone that o'ertops you the Christian symbol?
  And ye, silent, supreme in serene and victorious marble,
  Ye that encircle the walls of the stately Vatican chambers,
  Juno and Ceres, Minerva, Apollo, the Muses and Bacchus,
  Ye unto whom far and near come posting the Christian pilgrims,
  Ye that are ranged in the halls of the mystic Christian pontiff,
  Are ye also baptized? are ye of the Kingdom of Heaven?
  Utter, O some one, the word that shall reconcile Ancient and Modern!
  Am I to turn me for this unto thee, great Chapel of Sixtus?


    These are the facts. The uncle, the elder brother, the squire, (a
  Little embarrassed, I fancy,) resides in a family place in
  Cornwall, of course. "Papa is in business," Mary informs me;
  He's a good sensible man, whatever his trade is. The mother
  Is--shall I call it fine?--herself she would tell you refined, and
  Greatly, I fear me, looks down on my bookish and maladroit manners;
  Somewhat affecteth the blue; would talk to me often of poets;
  Quotes, which I hate, Childe Harold; but also appreciates Wordsworth;
  Sometimes adventures on Schiller; and then to religion diverges;
  Questions me much about Oxford; and yet, in her loftiest flights, still
  Grates the fastidious ear with the slightly mercantile accent.

    Is it contemptible, Eustace,--I'm perfectly ready to think so,--
  Is it,--the horrible pleasure of pleasing inferior people?
  I am ashamed my own self; and yet true it is, if disgraceful,
  That for the first time in life I am living and moving with freedom.
  I, who never could talk to the people I meet with my uncle,--
  I, who have always failed,--I, trust me, can suit the Trevellyns;
  I, believe me,--great conquest,--am liked by the country bankers.
  And I am glad to be liked, and like in return very kindly.
  So it proceeds; _Laissez faire, laissez aller_,--such is the watchword.
  Well, I know there are thousands as pretty and hundreds as pleasant,
  Girls by the dozen as good, and girls in abundance with polish
  Higher and manners more perfect than Susan or Mary Trevellyn.
  Well, I know, after all, it is only juxtaposition,--
  Juxtaposition, in short; and what is juxtaposition?


    But I am in for it now,--_laissez faire_, of a truth, _laissez aller_.
  Yes, I am going,--I feel it, I feel and cannot recall it,--
  Fusing with this thing and that, entering into all sorts of relations,
  Tying I know not what ties, which, whatever they are, I know one thing,
  Will and must, woe is me, be one day painfully broken,--
  Broken with painful remorses, with shrinkings of soul, and relentings,
  Foolish delays, more foolish evasions, most foolish renewals.
  But I am in for it now,--I have quitted the ship of Ulysses;
  Yet on my lips is the _moly_, medicinal, offered of Hermes.
  I have passed into the precinct, the labyrinth closes around me,
  Path into path rounding slyly; I pace slowly on, and the fancy,
  Struggling awhile to sustain the long sequences, weary, bewildered,
  Fain must collapse in despair; I yield, I am lost and know nothing;
  Yet in my bosom unbroken remaineth the clue; I shall use it.
  Lo, with the rope on my loins I descend through the fissure; I sink, yet
  Inly secure in the strength of invisible arms up above me;
  Still, wheresoever I swing, wherever to shore, or to shelf, or
  Floor of cavern untrodden, shell-sprinkled, enchanting, I know I
  Yet shall one time feel the strong cord tighten about me,--
  Feel it, relentless, upbear me from spots I would rest in; and though the
  Rope sway wildly, I faint, crags wound me, from crag unto crag re-
  Bounding, or, wide in the void, I die ten deaths ere the end, I
  Yet shall plant firm foot on the broad lofty spaces I quit, shall
  Feel underneath me again the great massy strengths of abstraction,
  Look yet abroad from the height o'er the sea whose salt wave I
      have tasted.


    DEAREST LOUISA,--Inquire, if you please, about Mr. Claude -----.
  He has been once at R., and remembers meeting the H.s.
  Harriet L., perhaps, may be able to tell you about him.
  It is an awkward youth, but still with very good manners;
  Not without prospects, we hear; and, George says, highly connected.
  Georgy declares it absurd, but Mamma is alarmed and insists he has
  Taken up strange opinions and may be turning a Papist.
  Certainly once he spoke of a daily service he went to.
  "Where?" we asked, and he laughed and answered, "At the Pantheon."
  This was a temple, you know, and now is a Catholic church; and
  Though it is said that Mazzini has sold it for Protestant service,
  Yet I suppose the change can hardly as yet be effected.
  Adieu again,--evermore, my dearest, your loving Georgina.


    I am to tell you, you say, what I think of our last new acquaintance.
  Well, then, I think that George has a very fair right to be jealous.
  I do not like him much, though I do not dislike being with him.
  He is what people call, I suppose, a superior man, and
  Certainly seems so to me; but I think he is frightfully selfish.

       *       *       *       *       *

  Alba, thou findest me still, and, Alba, thou findest me ever,
    Now from the Capitol steps, now over Titus's Arch,
  Here from the large grassy spaces that spread from the Lateran portal,
    Towering o'er aqueduct lines lost in perspective between,
  Or from a Vatican window, or bridge, or the high Coliseum,
    Clear by the garlanded line cut of the Flavian ring.
  Beautiful can I not call thee, and yet thou hast power to o'ermaster,
    Power of mere beauty; in dreams, Alba, thou hauntest me still.
  Is it religion? I ask me; or is it a vain superstition?
    Slavery abject and gross? service, too feeble, of truth?
  Is it an idol I bow to, or is it a god that I worship?
    Do I sink back on the old, or do I soar from the mean?
  So through the city I wander and question, unsatisfied ever,
    Reverent so I accept, doubtful because I revere.

[To be continued.]

       *       *       *       *       *


On the tenth of May, 1857, I became the glad possessor of a tank capable
of holding thirteen or fourteen gallons of water. Its substantial frame
of well-seasoned oak, its stout plank bottom, lavishly covered with
cement, promised to resist alike the heat and dryness from without and
the wet within. The sides and ends, of double flint-glass, seemed to
invite the eye across their clearness. Its chosen site was at a south
window, so shaded by a wing of the house as to receive only the morning
sun for about two hours; and clustering vines overhung the window, so
that the beams fell in checkered light. All was now ready.

A few fragments of white quartz were arranged in rude imitation of ocean
recesses, and in their fissures were placed four or five small plants
of Enteromorpha and Corallina. Sand was strewn upon the bottom, to the
depth of two inches, and ten gallons of sea-water were then poured in.
This had been brought from one of the wharves, at high tide, twenty-four
hours previously, and twice drawn off with a siphon,--each time after
twelve hours' rest. It was not, however, perfectly translucent, and at
the end of a week was still cloudy. On the fifth day after the tank was
filled, I began to introduce the animals to their future home.

Ten Buccina were first put in possession, in the hope that they would
perform the part of gardeners to the young plants. On the sixth day,
seven Actinias were disposed upon the rock-work. On the seventh, a
Horsefoot (or, as our Southern neighbors call it, a King-Crab, though of
most unregal aspect) was allowed to make his burrow in the sand. On
the eighth day, four Hermit and Soldier Crabs and two Sand-Crabs were
invited to choose their several retreats. On the ninth, three fine
Sticklebacks and three Minnows were made free of the mimic ocean; and on
the tenth, an Eel and two Prawns.

All seemed well until the evening of the twelfth day, when a small white
cloud was seen rising from the bottom. The spot was searched for some
dead member of the new colony; but none was found, either there, or in
any other part of the tank.

Supposing that the impure gas might be generated by the decay of minute
creatures congregated in the cloudy corner, a lump of charcoal was tied
to a stone and sunk upon the spot. Next morning, the cloud had cleared
from around the charcoal, but slender wreaths of similar appearance were
rapidly rising from the sand in every other part of the Aquarium. The
fishes came oftener to the surface than they were wont, and all the
animals had lost vigor.

Aeration was resorted to, which was performed by dipping up the water,
and pouring it back in a thin stream from a height of several feet,
continuing the operation for ten minutes. This was repeated four or five
times during the day, and at night more charcoal was added. Some of the
pieces were sunk to the bottom, and others were suspended at different
depths in the water.

Two or three days passed in this way,--the putrescence kept in check by
the means used, but not entirely overcome. Meantime, though none of the
stock had died, there was less vitality than at first; especially each
morning, after seven or eight hours unaided by aeration.

Tired of what seemed an ineffectual struggle, I determined to leave the
Aquarium untouched for a day, and await the result. Accordingly, the
charcoal was withdrawn and aeration discontinued. The milky cloud
increased in density, and the whole mass of water became turbid. The
fishes kept constantly near the surface, swam languidly, and snatched
mouthfuls of atmospheric air. The Eel became bloodshot about the gills,
and, writhing, gasped for breath. The Soldier-Crabs hung listlessly
from their shells, and no longer went about in quest of food. Even the
Actinise shrunk to half their former size; and the Buccina, crawling
above the water, ranged themselves in a row upon the dry glass.

Disappointed, but not discouraged, I filled several shallow pans with
pure sea-water, clean sand, and fresh plants, and transferred to them my
suffering and wellnigh exhausted animals. A day restored them to their
normal condition, and now I was ready to begin my Aquarium anew.

But to what purpose should I begin anew? Would there not be the same
failure? What had been wrong?

At least two great faults were evident. First, in order to guard against
the possibility of a leak, the bottom and posts of the tank had been
covered with many coats of an alcoholic varnish. Now it was probable
that time enough had not elapsed between the several applications for
the thorough evaporation of the alcohol. Might not its gradual infusion
in the water have caused the death of the animalcula in such numbers as
to taint the whole by their decay?

The second fault was, strewing upon the surface of the sand a handful or
two of white powdered quartz, which, from having been pulverized in an
iron mortar, was so oxydized as to turn a deep yellow. This might have
poisoned the animalcula.

The first fault seemed to me the chief, but I proceeded to remedy both.
The whole contents of the tank being removed, it was thoroughly washed
on the inside, exposed for several days to the sun and air, and then
soaked for twelve hours in clean sea-water. This being thrown away, the
stones, scalded and well-washed, were restored, and clean sand, replaced
the old.

Water was drawn from the dock at high tide; but it was less clear now,
on the fourth of June, than that which had been got early in May. This
surprised me not a little; for, as I stood upon the wharf and looked
down into it just before sunset on the previous evening, I was struck
with its beautiful limpidity. Curious to see if its aspect remained
unaltered, I went to the same spot where I had stood the night before.
The tide was at the same height, but twelve hours had made a marvellous
change in the appearance of the water. Its sparkling clearness had given
way to greenness and turbidity, and no object could be seen a foot below
the surface. No storm had stirred its depths during the night,--why this
change? Conjecture was of no practical utility, and I returned home
satisfied that my fifteen gallons of water were as clear as any it was
then in my power to obtain. Covering the tub from the dust, I left it to
settle until sunset. Then the ever-useful siphon drew off two thirds of
it tolerably clear, leaving a thick green deposit upon the sides
and bottom of the vessel. Next day, it was again drawn off from the
sediment, (at this time, small in quantity,) and poured into the tank.
Several newly obtained plants of well-growing Enteromorpha and Corallina
were arranged among the stones, and the Aquarium was left at rest.
Gradually the water became nearly clear, but not perfectly so until
after the introduction of animals.

Eight days after it was filled, the Actinias were put in; on the ninth,
several small Mollusks; on the tenth, Crustacea; and on the eleventh and
twelfth, other varieties of the same types; but not until the fourteenth
day were fishes ventured upon.

Day by day the water grew clearer and clearer, until, at the end of
three weeks, it was beautifully translucent. Three more weeks passed,
during which the beauty of the Aquarium was much heightened by a
luxuriant growth of Confervae mingled with Enteromorpha, which together
covered all those parts of the stones which received a direct light.
The mimic rocks seemed draped in green velvet, and in the sunlight were
studded with pearly bubbles. There was, however, one blemish: the hungry
crabs had so nibbled the larger plants that it was deemed necessary to
renew them, in order to secure a sufficient supply of food and oxygen.
Accordingly, a fine specimen of Enteromorpha was added. It consisted of
five or six delicate fronds about five inches in length, and these soon
increased to treble their original number and twice their original size.
At the end of about two weeks, they suddenly became covered with a dull
bluish mould, at the same time ceasing to give out bubbles; and the
whole plant, instead of rising to the surface of the water as hitherto,
hung limp from the fissure where it was placed, and trailed upon the
sand. Coincidently, (was it consequently?) a greenish tinge pervaded the
water, speedily increasing in depth and opacity. In five days, no object
could be discerned six inches from the glass, and my beautiful Aquarium
was transformed to an unsightly ditch.

Yet the water was apparently pure, and the activity of its inhabitants
was in no wise lessened. What was this vexatious greenness? Was it
animal or vegetable? Was it the diffused spores of the perfected
Enteromorpha or of the rank Confervae upon the stones? If neither, what
was its cause?

Excess of light was the most obvious suggestion; and so it was supposed
that its exclusion might be a potent remedy. Therefore a double curtain
of glazed muslin was stretched across the window; and the tank, both top
and sides, wrapped in folds of paper. A week of darkness changed the
deep green to a dingy olive. But the experiment could not be continued.
The nightly admission of air by lifting the paper covering was
insufficient to maintain the imprisoned creatures. They were happy,
though captive, while in a mimic ocean, but miserable in a dark dungeon.
Languid and spiritless, they lay supine, or crawled listlessly and
aimlessly about. This would not do, and so light was again admitted
freely to all but one side of the tank; there, a screen of yellow paper
intercepted the direct rays of the sun, while upon the top they fell
through the foliage of a Clematis vine.

Three weeks more wrought a slight change for the better; but it was too
slight and too slow for my patience, or that of curious friends waiting
to see my Aquarium.

The second experiment had failed, and so once more the tank was emptied.
Two or three animals only had died; all the others gave evidence of
health. Again they were removed to other vessels, and again I began

Clean sand, clean stones, water drawn at high tide and carefully
decanted, three small plants of Ulva Latissima, with one clump of
Corallina Officinalis, made up the contents of the tank, when, on the
tenth of August, it was the third time filled. A sheet of yellow paper
was placed between the tank and the window, and it was left three days
at rest. At the end of that time, the water, which was beautifully clear
when introduced, had grown a little hazy, and, as the sunbeams fell
aslant it, the unaided eye could perceive a multitude of minute whitish
creatures darting forward and backward like a swarm of bees. Then five
Actinias were laid upon the rocks, to which they at once adhered,
spreading out their restless tentacles in busy seizure of the tiny prey.
In a week more the foggy appearance had ceased; but the clearness of the
water was marred by the slimy exudations from the Actinias. Knowing
that this matter was eaten by some of the Crustacea, five or six small
Soldier-Crabs were dropped in, which faithfully performed their allotted
labor. From this time, animals were added daily, until they had reached
to thirty in number. On the fifteenth of September, a fine specimen of
brown Chondrus Crispus was added, and on the thirtieth, a very large
frond of Ulva Latissima. A great portion of the Chondrus decayed at its
junction with the shell on which it grew, and fell off; but the Ulva
increased much in size, as well as in depth of color and firmness of

And now months have gone by, and at last my Aquarium is successful.
Fifty lively denizens now sport in the crystalline water and come at the
daily roll-call. Come with me and I will introduce them to you. A fig
for scientific nomenclature! you shall know them by their household

This Bernhard Crab in the front, so leisurely pushing away the sand
before him with his broad, flat claws, quietly enjoys the meal he finds,
undisturbed by fears of a failing supply. There is less of enterprise
than complacency in his character, and I call him Micawber, for he
is always expecting "something to turn up." Twice since March has he
changed his coat, and thrown off his tight boots and gloves for new
ones. The disrobing seemed to give him little trouble, though he sat
dozing at the door of his cell some hours after, as though fatigued by
the unusual effort. Very becoming is the new costume; and the red coat
is prettily relieved by the gray tint of his Diogenes-like dwelling.

There goes a military cousin of his, striding along, with his heavy
armor clattering against the glass as he walks. A pugnacious fellow is
that same soldier; and if he meet an opponent, you may see the tug of
war. Should he chance to prefer the other's shield to his own, he will
seize him in his burly arms, and shake him from under its protection.
Yet he is cautious withal; for though obliged to doff his own armor
before he can try that of his denuded foe, he retains hold of both until
satisfied with the trial. If he like the new mail, he will march off
with it; if not, he will array himself in his own again. Meanwhile the
vanquished combatant waits tremblingly the result of the examination,
glad to get possession of the rejected defence, be it which it may.

Yon dark little crab, with the bulky claws so gayly mottled with yellow
and black, lurks in that hole at the base of the cliff nearly all day
long. His name is 'Possum; for at the slightest sign of danger
he doubles up his claws like a dead spider, and lies in feigned

Speaking of spiders,--here are two Spider-Crabs, the very monkeys of
this aqueous menagerie. The small one climbing the post is Topsy. There
she is, sliding down again, and with headlong pace is now scampering
over yon yielding Anemone. Heedless of its hundred arms, so generally
dreaded and avoided, she jumps this way and that across its wide mouth;
and now, seated on its back, she snatches morsels from its shrinking
side. Now look at her sister sprite, Crazy Kate. Her head adorned with
a long plume of Coralline, she is tearing ribbon-like shreds from the
silky lettuce and hanging them upon her already fantastic person. Anon
she dances in mad glee, and next her arms are solemnly stretched upward
in grotesque similitude to one in prayer.

When she is hungry, she will, one by one, take off those weedy trophies
from her back and feed upon them.

Why do you start? That is not a sea-serpent winding from under the arch,
but only an innocent Eel. Yet innocent and tiny though it be, there is
something frightful about it. Its fixed, staring eye, its snake-like
stealthiness, bid you be on your guard. Sometimes it rises behind that
bushy Carrageen, and with high uplifted head peers over at me in such
a way that I am half afraid; it is so like the old pictures of Satan
tempting Eve.

Would you like to see an Actinia eat? I will drop a bit of raw oyster
upon its outspread disk. See with what eager start it closes its fingers
about the dainty viand, passing it along slowly, but surely, to its
now gaping mouth, while every nerve is vibrating with the anticipated
pleasure of the feast! That milk-white one is my favorite, and I call it
Una. Seated in modest contentment on that brown-stone seat, she upturns
her pure face to the mild light of evening; but folds her arms, and bows
her head, and veils herself, when the noon-day sun gazes too ardently
upon her.

This one in the rich salmon-colored robe has all our national propensity
for travelling. Wandering restlessly about, she never remains two days
on the same spot. Yesterday, she climbed the cliff, and sat looking off
upon the water nearly all day long. To-day, she has come down to the
sand, where, with base distended, as if in caricature of crinoline, she
perambulates the crowded thoroughfare.

Here is a semi-twin, one base and two trunks. Shall I call it Janus, for
its two faces? or will Chang-and-Eng best distinguish this dual unit?
Sometimes, one, with tentacles in-tucked and mouth sealed, seems dozing;
while his waking brother is busily waving his arms for food. At another
time, you may see them both folded together in sleep, like the Babes in
the Woods all bestrewn with leaves.

Ah, you should have seen my Amphitrite! She bore her plumy crown so
grandly, you would have said she was indeed the queen of Actiniae. But,
alas! she could not brook imprisonment, and, pining for the unwalled
grottoes of Poseidon, she drooped and died.

Behind that sheltering rock, and overhung with sea-weed, there is a
dark, deep cave, the chosen abode of Giant Grim. Push one of those
soldiers to the mouth of the den and wait the result. At the first
movement made by the unwitting trespasser on guarded ground, two long,
flexile rods are thrust out, reconnoitring right and left. Two huge
claws follow, lighted up by two great glaring eyes. At last the whole
creature emerges, seizes the intruder, and bears him swiftly away, far
beyond his jealously kept premises. With dogged mien he stalks gravely
back to his stronghold. You exclaim, "It is a Lobster!" A lobster truly;
but saw you ever a lobster with such presence before? Does he resemble
the poor bewildered crustaceans you have seen bunched together at a
fish-stall? Bears he any likeness to the innocent-looking edibles you
have seen lying on a dish, by boiling turned, like the morn, from black
to red?

Those ghost-like Prawns are near relatives of the giant. See them,
gliding so gracefully from under the arch, disappearing under the waving
Ulva, and floating into sight again from behind the cliff. At night, if
you look at them athwart a lighted candle, their eyes are seen to glow
like living rubies. As they row silently and swiftly towards you, you
might fancy each a fairy gondola, with gem-lighted prow.

A quick dashing startles you, and you see a Scallop rising to the top of
the water with zigzag jerks, and immediately sinking to the sand again,
on the side opposite that whence it started. There it rests with
expanded branchiae and moving cilia; a rude passer-by jostles it, and
with startled sensitiveness it shrinks from the outer world and hides
behind a stony mask.

The small, greenish, rough-coated creature, so like a flattened burr,
is an Echinus. It is hardly domiciliated, being a new-comer, and creeps
restlessly across the glass.

Under this sand-mound some one lies self-buried,--not dead, but only
hiding from the crowd in this bustling watering-place. He must learn
that there is no lasting retirement in Newport; so tap with a stick at
his lodging. With anger vexed, forth rushes the Swimming-Crab and dashes
away from the unwelcome visitor. As if he knew a bore to be the most
persistent of hunters, he plies his paddles with rapid beat until far
from his invaded chamber. His swimming is more like the fluttering of a
butterfly than the steady poise of a fish. Pretty as is his variegated
coat by day, it is far more beautiful by night; then his limbs shine
with metallic lustre, and every joint seems tinged with molten gold.

I could spend the day in showing you my Aquarium;--the merry antics
of the blithe Minnows; the slow wheeling of the less vivacious
Sticklebacks; the beautiful siphon of the Quahaug and the Clam; the
starry disk of the Serpula; the snug tent of the Limpet; the lithe
proboscis of the busy Buccinum; the erect and rapid march of his little
flesh-tinted cousin; the slow Horsefoot, balancing his huge umbrella as
he goes; the----But I cannot name them all.

Neither could you learn to know them at a single visit. Come and sit by
this indoor sea, day by day, and learn to love its people. Many a lesson
for good have they taught me. When weary and disheartened, the patient
perseverance of these undoubting beings has given me new impulses upward
and onward. Remembering that their sole guide is instinct, while mine is
the voice behind me, saying, "This is the way," I have risen with new
resolve to walk therein. Seeing the blind persistency with which some
straying zoöphyte has refused to follow other counsel than its own, I
have learned that self-reliance and strength of will are not, in higher
natures, virtues for gratulation, but, if unsanctified, faults to blush
for. Finding each creature here so fitted with organs and instincts for
the life it was meant to lead, I have considered that to me also is
given all that I ought to wish, more than I have ever rightly used.

New evidences are here disclosed to me of God's care for his creation,
deepening my faith in the fact that he is not merely the great First
Cause, but still the watchful Father. New revelations teach me of his
sympathy in our joys, as well as of his care for our necessities. The
Maker's love of the beautiful fills me with gladness, and I catch
new glimpses of those boundless regions where the perfection of his
conceptions has never been marred by sin; and where each of us who
may attain thereto shall find a fitting sphere for every energy, an
answering joy for every pure aspiration.

       *       *       *       *       *


The box of chessmen had been left open all night. That was a great
oversight! For everybody knows that the contending chessmen are but too
eager to fight their battles over again by mid-night, if a chance is
only allowed them.

It was at the Willows,--so called, not because the house is surrounded
by willows, but because a little clump of them hangs over the pond close
by. It is a pretty place, with its broad lawn in front of the door-way,
its winding avenue hidden from the road by high trees. It is a quiet
place, too; the sun rests gently on the green lawn, and the drooping
leaves of the willows hang heavily over the water.

No one would imagine what violent contests were going on under the still
roof, this very night. It was the night of the first of May. The moon
came silently out from the shadows; the trees were scarcely stirring.
The box of chessmen had been left on the balcony steps by the
drawing-room window, and the window, too, that warm night, had been left
open. So, one by one, all the chessmen came out to fight over again
their evening's battles.

It was a famously carved set of chessmen. The bishops wore their mitres,
the knights pranced on spirited steeds, the castles rested on the backs
of elephants,--even the pawns mimicked the private soldiers of an army.
The skilful carver had given to each piece, and each pawn, too, a
certain individuality. That night there had been a close contest. Two
well-matched players had guided the game, and it had ended with leaving
a deep irritation on the conquered side.

It was Isabella, the Queen of the Red Chessmen, who had been obliged to
yield. She was young and proud, and it was she, indeed, who held the
rule; for her father, the old Red King, had grown too imbecile to direct
affairs; he merely bore the name of sovereignty. And Isabella was loved
by knights, pawns, and all; the bishops were willing to die in her
cause, the castles would have crumbled to earth for her. Opposed to her,
stood the detested White Queen. All the Whites, of course, were despised
by her; but the haughty, self-sufficient queen angered her most.

The White Queen was reigning during the minority of her only son. The
White Prince had reached the age of nineteen, but the strong mind of
his mother had kept him always under restraint. A simple youth, he had
always yielded to her control. He was pure-hearted and gentle, but never
ventured to make a move of his own. He sought shelter under cover of his
castles, while his more energetic mother went forth at the head of his
army. She was dreaded by her subjects,--never loved by them. Her own
pawn, it is true, had ventured much for her sake, had often with his own
life redeemed her from captivity; but it was loyalty that bound even
him,--no warmer feeling of devotion or love.

The Queen Isabella was the first to come out from her prison.

"I will stay here no longer," she cried; "the blood of the Reds grows
pale in this inactivity."

She stood upon the marble steps; the May moon shone down upon her. She
listened a moment to a slight murmuring within the drawing-room window.
The Spanish lady, the Murillo-painted Spanish lady, had come down from
her frame that bound her against the wall. Just for this one night in
the year, she stepped out from the canvas to walk up and down the
rooms majestically. She would not exchange a word with anybody; nobody
understood her language. She could remember when Murillo looked at her,
watched over her, created her with his pencil. She could have nothing to
say to little paltry shepherdesses, and other articles of _virtù_, that
came into grace and motion just at this moment.

The Queen of the Red Chessmen turned away, down into the avenue. The May
moon shone upon her. Her feet trod upon unaccustomed ground; no black or
white square hemmed her in; she felt a new liberty.

"My poor old father!" she exclaimed, "I will leave him behind; better
let him slumber in an ignoble repose than wander over the board, a
laughing-stock for his enemies. We have been conquered,--the foolish
White Prince rules!"

A strange inspiration stole upon her; the breath of the May night
hovered over her; the May moon shone upon her. She could move without
waiting for the will of another; she was free. She passed down the
avenue; she had left her old prison behind.

Early in the morning,--it was just after sunrise,--the kind Doctor
Lester was driving home, after watching half the night out with a
patient. He passed the avenue to the Willows, but drew up his horse just
as he was leaving the entrance. He saw a young girl sitting under the
hedge. She was without any bonnet, in a red dress, fitting closely and
hanging heavily about her. She was so very beautiful, she looked so
strangely lost and out of place here at this early hour, that the Doctor
could not resist speaking to her.

"My child, how came you here?"

The young girl rose up, and looked round with uncertainty.

"Where am I?" she asked.

She was very tall and graceful, with an air of command, but with a
strange, wild look in her eyes.

"The young woman must be slightly insane," thought the Doctor; "but she
cannot have wandered far."

"Let me take you home," he said aloud. "Perhaps you come from the

"Oh, don't take me back there!" cried Isabella, "they will imprison me
again! I had rather be a slave than a conquered queen!"

"Decidedly insane!" thought the Doctor. "I must take her back to the

He persuaded the young girl to let him lift her into his chaise. She did
not resist him; but when he turned up the avenue, she leaned back in
despair. He was fortunate enough to find one of the servants up at the
house, just sweeping the steps of the hall-door. Getting out of his
chaise, he said confidentially to the servant,--

"I have brought back your young lady."

"Our young lady!" exclaimed the man, as the Doctor pointed out Isabella.

"Yes, she is a little insane, is she not?"

"She is not our young lady," answered the servant; "we have nobody
in the house just now, but Mr. and Mrs. Fogerty, and Mrs. Fogerty's
brother, the old geologist."

"Where did she come from?" inquired the Doctor.

"I never saw her before," said the servant, "and I certainly should
remember. There's some foreign folks live down in the cottage, by the
railroad; but they are not the like of her!"

The Doctor got into his chaise again, bewildered.

"My child," he said, "you must tell me where you came from."

"Oh, don't let me go back again!" said Isabella, clasping her hands
imploringly. "Think how hard it must be never to take a move of one's
own! to know how the game might be won, then see it lost through folly!
Oh, that last game, lost through utter weakness! There was that one
move! Why did he not push me down to the king's row? I might have
checkmated the White Prince, shut in by his own castles and pawns,--it
would have been a direct checkmate! Think of his folly! he stopped
to take the queen's pawn with his bishop, and within one move of a

"Quite insane!" repeated the Doctor. "But I must have my breakfast. She
seems quiet; I think I can keep her till after breakfast, and then I
must try and find where the poor child's friends live. I don't know what
Mrs. Lester will think of her."

They rode on. Isabella looked timidly round.

"You don't quite believe me," she said, at last. "It seems strange to

"It does," answered the Doctor, "seem very strange."

"Not stranger than to me," said Isabella,--"it is so very grand to me!
All this motion! Look down at that great field there, not cut up into
squares! If I only had my knights and squires there! I would be willing
to give her as good a field, too; but I would show her where the true
bravery lies. What a place for the castles, just to defend that pass!"

The Doctor whipped up his horse.

Mrs. Lester was a little surprised at the companion her husband had
brought home to breakfast with him.

"Who is it?" she whispered.

"That I don't know,--I shall have to find out," he answered, a little

"Where is her bonnet?" asked Mrs. Lester; this was the first absence of
conventionality she had noticed.

"You had better ask her," answered the Doctor.

But Mrs. Lester preferred leaving her guest in the parlor while she
questioned her husband. She was somewhat disturbed when she found he had
nothing more satisfactory to tell her.

"An insane girl! and what shall we do with her?" she asked.

"After breakfast I will make some inquiries about her," answered the

"And leave her alone with us? that will never do! You must take her away
directly,--at least to the Insane Asylum,--somewhere! What if she should
grow wild while you were gone? She might kill us all! I will go in and
tell her that she cannot stay here."

On returning to the parlor, she found Isabella looking dreamily out of
the window. As Mrs. Lester approached, she turned.

"You will let me stay with you a little while, will you not?"

She spoke in a quiet tone, with an air somewhat commanding. It imposed
upon nervous little Mrs. Lester. But she made a faint struggle.

"Perhaps you would rather go home," she said.

"I have no home now," said Isabella; "some time I may recover it; but my
throne has been usurped."

Mrs. Lester looked round in alarm, to see if the Doctor were near.

"Perhaps you had better come in to breakfast," she suggested.

She was glad to place the Doctor between herself and their new guest.

Celia Lester, the only daughter, came down stairs. She had heard that
her father had picked up a lost girl in the road. As she came down in
her clean morning dress, she expected to have to hold her skirts away
from some little squalid object of charity. She started when she saw the
elegant-looking young girl who sat at the table. There was something in
her air and manner that seemed to make the breakfast equipage, and the
furniture of the room about her, look a little mean and poor. Yet the
Doctor was very well off, and Mrs. Lester fancied she had everything
quite in style. Celia stole into her place, feeling small in the
presence of the stranger.

After breakfast, when the Doctor had somewhat refreshed himself by its
good cheer from his last night's fatigue, Isabella requested to speak
with him.

"Let me stay with you a little while," she asked, beseechingly; "I will
do everything for you that you desire. You shall teach me anything;--I
know I can learn all that you will show me, all that Mrs. Lester will
tell me."

"Perhaps so,--perhaps that will be best," answered the Doctor, "until
your friends inquire for you; then I must send you back to them."

"Very well, very well," said Isabella, relieved. "But I must tell you
they will not inquire for me. I see you will not believe my story. If
you only would listen to me, I could tell it all to you."

"That is the only condition I can make with you," answered the Doctor,
"that you will not tell your story,--that you will never even think of
it yourself. I am a physician. I know that it is not good for you to
dwell upon such things. Do not talk of them to me, nor to my wife or
daughter. Never speak of your story to any one who comes here. It will
be better for you."

"Better for me," said Isabella, dreamily, "that no one should know!
Perhaps so. I am, in truth, captive to the White Prince; and if he
should come and demand me,--I should be half afraid to try the risks of
another game."

"Stop, stop!" exclaimed the Doctor, "you are already forgetting the
condition. I shall be obliged to take you away to some retreat, unless
you promise me"----

"Oh, I will promise you anything." interrupted Isabella; "and you will
see that I can keep my promise."

Meanwhile Mrs. Lester and Celia had been holding a consultation.

"I think she must be some one in disguise," suggested Celia.

Celia was one of the most unromantic of persons. Both she and her mother
had passed their lives in an unvarying routine of duties. Neither of
them had ever found time from their sewing even to read. Celia had her
books of history laid out, that she meant to take up when she should get
through her work; but it seemed hopeless that this time would ever come.
It had never come to Mrs. Lester, and she was now fifty years old. Celia
had never read any novels. She had tried to read them, but never was
interested in them. So she had a vague idea of what romance was,
conceiving of it only as something quite different from her every-day
life. For this reason the unnatural event that was taking place this
very day was gradually appearing to her something possible and natural.
Because she knew there was such a thing as romance, and that it was
something quite beyond her comprehension, she was the more willing to
receive this event quietly from finding it incomprehensible.

"We can let her stay here to-day, at least," said Mrs. Lester. "We will
keep John at work in the front door-yard, in case we should want him.
And I will set Mrs. Anderson's boy to weeding in the border; we can call
him, if we should want to send for help."

She was quite ashamed of herself, when she had uttered these words, and
Isabella walked into the room, so composed, so refined in her manners.

"The Doctor says I may stay here a little while, if you will let me,"
said Isabella, as she took Mrs. Lester's hands.

"We will try to make you comfortable," replied Mrs. Lester.

"He says you will teach me many things,--I think he said, how to sew."

"How to sew! Was it possible she did not know how to sew?" Celia thought
to herself, "How many servants she must have had, never to have learned
how to sew, herself!"

And this occupation was directly provided, while the Doctor set forth
on his day's duties, and at the same time to inquire about the strange
apparition of the young girl. He was so convinced that there was a vein
of insanity about her, that he was very sure that questioning her only
excited her the more. Just as he had parted from her, some compunction
seized her, and she followed him to the door.

"There is my father," said she.

"Your father! where shall I find him?" asked the Doctor.

"Oh, he could not help me," she replied; "it is a long time since he
has been able to direct affairs. He has scarcely been conscious of my
presence, and will hardly feel my absence, his mind is so weak."

"But where can I find him?" persisted the Doctor.

"He did not come out," said Isabella; "the White Queen would not allow
it, indeed."

"Stop, stop!" exclaimed the Doctor, "we are on forbidden ground."

He drove away.

"So there is insanity in the family," he thought to himself. "I am quite
interested in this case. A new form of monomania! I should be quite
sorry to lose sight of it. I shall be loath to give her up to her

But he was not yet put to that test. No one could give him any light
with regard to the strange girl. He went first to the Willows, and found
there so much confusion that he could hardly persuade any one to listen
to his questions. Mrs. Fogerty's brother, the geologist, had been riding
that morning, and had fallen from his horse and broken his leg. The
Doctor arrived just in time to be of service in setting it. Then he must
linger some time to see that the old gentleman was comfortable, so that
he was obliged to stay nearly the whole morning. He was much amused at
the state of disturbance in which he left the family. The whole house
was in confusion, looking after some lost chessmen.

"There was nothing," said Mrs. Fogerty, apologetically, "that would
soothe her brother so much as a game of chess. That, perhaps, might keep
him quiet. He would be willing to play chess with Mr. Fogerty by the day
together. It was so strange! they had a game the night before, and now
some of the pieces could not be found. Her brother had lost the game,
and to-day he was so eager to take his revenge!"

"How absurd!" thought the Doctor; "what trifling things people interest
themselves in! Here is this old man more disturbed at losing his game of
chess than he is at breaking his leg! It is different in my profession,
where one deals with life and death. Here is this young girl's fate in
my hands, and they talk to me of the loss of a few paltry chessmen!"

The "foreign people" at the cottage knew nothing of Isabella. No one had
seen her the night before, or at any time. Dr. Lester even drove ten
miles to Dr. Giles's Retreat for the Insane, to see if it were possible
that a patient could have wandered away from there. Dr. Giles was deeply
interested in the account Dr. Lester gave. He would very gladly take
such a person under his care.

"No," said Dr. Lester, "I will wait awhile. I am interested in the young
girl. It is not impossible but that I shall in time find out from her,
by chance, perhaps, who her friends are, and where she came from. She
must have wandered away in some delirium of fever,--but it is very
strange, for she appears perfectly calm now. Yet I hardly know in what
state I shall find her."

He returned to find her very quiet and calm, learning from his wife
and daughter how to sew. She seemed deeply interested in this new
occupation, and had given all her time and thought to it. Celia and
her mother privately confided to the Doctor their admiration of their
strange guest. Her ways were so graceful and beautiful! all that she
said seemed so new and singular! The Doctor, before he went away, had
exhorted Mrs. Lester and Celia to ask her no questions about her former
life, and everything had gone on very smoothly. And everything went on
as smoothly for some weeks. Isabella seemed willing to be as silent as
the Doctor, upon all exciting subjects. She appeared to be quite taken
up with her sewing, much to Mrs. Lester's delight.

"She will turn out quite as good a seamstress as Celia," said she to the
Doctor. "She sews steadily all the time, and nothing seems to please her
so much as to finish a piece of work. She will be able to do much more
than her own sewing, and may prove quite a help to us."

"I shall be very glad," said the Doctor, "if anything can be a help, to
prevent you and Celia from working yourselves to death. I shall be glad
if you can ever have done with that eternal sewing. It is time that
Celia should do something about cultivating her mind."

"Celia's mind is so well regulated," interrupted Mrs. Lester.

"We won't discuss that," continued the Doctor,--"we never come to an
agreement there. I was going on to say that I am becoming so interested
in Isabella, that I feel towards her as if she were my own. If she is of
help to the family, that is very well,--it is the best thing for her to
be able to make herself of use. But I don't care to make any profit to
ourselves out of her help. Somehow I begin to think of her as belonging
to us. Certainly she belongs to nobody else. Let us treat her as our own
child. We have but one, yet God has given us means enough to care for
many more. I confess I should find it hard to give Isabella up to any
one else. I like to find her when I come home,--it is pleasant to look
at her."

"And I, too, love her," said Mrs. Lester. "I like to see her as she sits
quietly at her work."

So Isabella went on learning what it was to be one of the family, and
becoming, as Mrs. Lester remarked, a very experienced seamstress. She
seldom said anything as she sat at her work, but seemed quite occupied
with her sewing; while Mrs. Lester and Celia kept up a stream of
conversation, seldom addressing Isabella, as, indeed, they had few
topics in common.

One day, Celia and Isabella were sitting together.

"Have you always sewed?" asked Isabella.

"Oh, yes," answered Celia,--"since I was quite a child."

"And do you remember when you were a child?" asked Isabella, laying down
her work.

"Oh, yes, indeed," said Celia; "I used to make all my doll's dresses

"Your doll's dresses!" repeated Isabella.

"Oh, yes," replied Celia,--"I was not ashamed to play with dolls in that

"I should like to see some dolls," said Isabella.

"I will show you my large doll," said Celia; "I have always kept it,
because I fitted it out with such a nice set of clothes. And I keep it
for children to play with."

She brought her doll, and Isabella handled it and looked at it with

"So you dressed this, and played with it," said Isabella, inquiringly,
"and moved it about as one would move a piece at chess?"

Celia started at this word "chess." It was one of the forbidden words.
But Isabella went on:--

"Suppose this doll should suddenly have begun to speak, to move, and
walk round, would not you have liked it?"

"Oh, no!" exclaimed Celia. "What! a wooden thing speak and move! It
would have frightened me very much."

"Why should it not speak, if it has a mouth, and walk, if it has feet?"
asked Isabella.

"What foolish questions you ask!" exclaimed Celia, "of course it has not

"Oh, life,--that is it!" said Isabella. "Well, what is life?"

"Life! why it is what makes us live," answered Celia. "Of course you
know what life is."

"No, I don't know," said Isabella, "but I have been thinking about it
lately, while I have been sewing,--what it is."

"But you should not think, you should talk more, Isabella," said Celia.
"Mamma and I talk while we are at work, but you are always very silent."

"But you think sometimes?" asked Isabella.

"Not about such things," replied Celia. "I have to think about my work."

"But your father thinks, I suppose, when he comes home and sits in his
study alone?"

"Oh, he reads when he goes into his study,--he reads books and studies
them," said Celia.

"Do you know how to read?" asked Isabella.

"Do I know how to read!" cried Celia, angrily.

"Forgive me," said Isabella, quickly, "but I never saw you reading. I
thought perhaps--women are so different here!"

She did not finish her sentence, for she saw Celia was really angry. Yet
she had no idea of hurting her feelings. She had tried to accommodate
herself to her new circumstances. She had observed a great deal, and
had never been in the habit of asking questions. Celia was disturbed at
having it supposed that she did not know how to read; therefore it must
be a very important thing to know how to read, and she determined she
must learn. She applied to the Doctor. He was astonished at her entire
ignorance, but he was very glad to help her. Isabella gave herself up to
her reading, as she had done before to her sewing. The Doctor was now
the gainer. All the time he was away, Isabella sat in his study, poring
over her books; when he returned, she had a famous lesson to recite to
him. Then he began to tell her of books that he was interested in. He
made Celia come in, for a history class. It was such a pleasure to him
to find Isabella interested in what he could tell her of history!

"All this really happened," said Isabella to Celia once,--"these people
really lived!"

"Yes, but they died," responded Celia, in an indifferent tone,--"and
ever so long ago, too!"

"But did they die," asked Isabella, "if we can talk about them, and
imagine how they looked? They live for us as much as they did then."

"That I can't understand," said Celia. "My uncle saw Napoleon when he
was in Europe, long ago. But I never saw Napoleon. He is dead and gone
to me, just as much as Alexander the Great."

"Well, who does live, if Alexander the Great, if Napoleon, and Columbus
do not live?" asked Isabella, impatiently.

"Why, papa and mamma live," answered Celia, "and you"----

"And the butcher," interrupted Isabella, "because he brings you meat to
eat; and Mr. Spool, because he keeps the thread store. Thank you for
putting me in, too! Once"----

"Once!" answered Celia, in a dignified tone, "I suppose once you lived
in a grander circle, and it appears to you we have nobody better than
Mr. Spool and the butcher."

Isabella was silent, and thought of her "circle," her former circle.
The circle here was large enough, the circumference not very great, but
there were as many points in it as in a larger one. There were pleasant,
motherly Mrs. Gibbs, and her agreeable daughters,--the Gresham
boys, just in college,--the Misses Tarletan, fresh from a New York
boarding-school,--Mr. Lovell, the young minister,--and the old Misses
Pendleton, that made raspberry-jam,--together with Celia's particular
friends, Anna and Selina Mountfort, who had a great deal of talking with
Celia in private, but not a word to say to anybody in the parlor. All
these, with many others in the background, had been speculating upon the
riddle that Isabella presented,--"Who was she? and where did she come

Nobody found any satisfactory answer. Neither Celia nor her mother would
disclose anything. It is a great convenience in keeping a secret, not to
know what it is. One can't easily tell what one does not know.

"The Doctor really has a treasure in his wife and daughter," said Mrs.
Gibbs, "they keep his secrets so well! Neither of them will lisp a word
about this handsome Isabella."

"I have no doubt she is the daughter of an Italian refugee," said one of
the Misses Tarletan. "We saw a number of Italian refugees in New York."

This opinion became prevalent in the neighborhood. That Dr. Lester
should be willing to take charge of an unknown girl did not astonish
those who knew of his many charitable deeds. It was not more than he had
done for his cousin's child, who had no especial claim upon him. He had
adopted Lawrence Egerton, educated him, sent him to college, and was
giving him every advantage in his study of the law. In the end Lawrence
would probably marry Celia and the pretty property that the Doctor would
leave behind for his daughter.

"She is one of my patients," the Doctor would say, to any one who asked
him about her.

The tale that she was the daughter of an Italian refugee became more
rife after Isabella had begun to study Italian. She liked to have the
musical Italian words linger on her tongue. She quoted Italian poetry,
read Italian history. In conversation, she generally talked of the
present, rarely of the past or of the future. She listened with wonder
to those who had a talent for reminiscence. How rich their past must be,
that they should be willing to dwell in it! Her own she thought very
meagre. If she wanted to live in the past, it must be in the past of
great men, not in that of her own little self. So she read of great
painters and great artists, and because she read of them she talked of
them. Other people, in referring to bygone events, would say, "When I
was in Trenton last summer,"--"In Cuba the spring that we were there";
but Isabella would say, "When Raphael died, or when Dante lived."
Everybody liked to talk with her,--laughed with her at her enthusiasm.
There was something inspiring, too, in this enthusiasm; it compelled
attention, as her air and manner always attracted notice. By her side,
the style and elegance of the Misses Tarletan faded out; here was a moon
that quite extinguished the light of their little tapers. She became the
centre of admiration; the young girls admired her, as they are prone to
admire some one particular star. She never courted attention, but it was
always given.

"Isabella attracts everybody," said Celia to her mother. "Even the old
Mr. Spencers, who have never been touched by woman before, follow her,
and act just as she wills."

Little Celia, who had been quite a belle hitherto, sunk into the shade
by the side of the brilliant Isabella. Yet she followed willingly in the
sunny wake that Isabella left behind. She expanded somewhat, herself,
for she was quite ashamed to know nothing of all that Isabella talked
about so earnestly. The sewing gave place to a little reading, to Mrs.
Lester's horror. The Mountforts and the Gibbses met with Isabella and
Celia to read and study, and went into town with them to lectures and to

A winter passed away and another summer came. Still Isabella was at Dr.
Lester's; and with the lapse of time the harder did it become for the
Doctor to question her of her past history,--the more, too, was she
herself weaned from it.

The young people had been walking in the garden one evening.

"Let me sit by you here in the porch," said Lawrence Egerton to
Celia,--"I want rest, for body and spirit. I am always in a battle-field
when I am talking with Isabella. I must either fight with her or against
her. She insists on my fighting all the time. I have to keep my
weapons bright, ready for use, every moment. She will lead me, too, in
conversation, sends me here, orders me there. I feel like a poor knight
in chess, under the sway of a queen"----

"I don't know anything about chess," said Celia, curtly.

"It is a comfort to have you a little ignorant," said Lawrence. "Please
stay in bliss awhile. It is repose, it is refreshment. Isabella drags
one into the company of her heroes, and then one feels completely
ashamed not to be on more familiar terms with them all. Her Mazzinis,
her Tancreds, heroes false and true,--it makes no difference to
her,--put one into a whirl between history and story. What a row she
would make in Italy, if she went back there!"

"What could we do without her?" said Celia; "it was so quiet and
commonplace before she came!"

"That is the trouble," replied Lawrence, "Isabella won't let anything
remain commonplace. She pulls everything out of its place,--makes a hero
or heroine out of a piece of clay. I don't want to be in heroics all the
time. Even Homer's heroes ate their suppers comfortably. I think it was
a mistake in your father, bringing her here. Let her stay in her sphere
queening it, and leave us poor mortals to our bread and butter."

"You know you don't think so," expostulated Celia; "you worship her
shoe-tie, the hem of her garment."

"But I don't want to," said Lawrence,--"it is a compulsory worship. I
had rather be quiet."

"Lazy Lawrence!" cried Celia, "it is better for you. You would be
the first to miss Isabella. You would find us quite flat without her
brilliancy, and would be hunting after some other excitement."

"Perhaps so," said Lawrence. "But here she comes to goad us on again.
Queen Isabella, when do the bull-fights begin?"

"I wish I were Queen Isabella!" she exclaimed. "Have you read the last
accounts from Spain? I was reading them to the Doctor to-day. Nobody
knows what to do there. Only think what an opportunity for the Queen to
show herself a queen! Why will not she make of herself such a queen as
the great Isabella of Castile was?"

"I can't say," answered Lawrence.

"Queens rule in chess," said Horace Gresham. "I always wondered that the
king was made such a poor character there. He is not only ruled by his
cabinet, bishops, and knights, but his queen is by far the more warlike

"Whoever plays the game rules,--you or Mr. Egerton," said Isabella,
bitterly; "it is not the poor queen. She must yield to the power of the
moving hand. I suppose it is so with us women. We see a great aim before
us, but have not the power."

"Nonsense!" exclaimed Lawrence, "it is just the reverse. With some
women,--for I won't be personal,--the aim, as you call it, is very
small,--a poor amusement, another dress, a larger house"----

"You may stop," interrupted Isabella, "for you don't believe this. At
least, keep some of your flings for the women that deserve them; Celia
and I don't accept them."

"Then we'll talk of the last aim we were discussing,--the ride

The next winter was passed by Mrs. Lester, her daughter, and Isabella in
Cuba. Lawrence Egerton accompanied them thither, and the Doctor hoped to
go for them in the spring. They went on Mrs. Lester's account. She had
worn herself out with her household labors,--very uselessly, the Doctor
thought,--so he determined to send her away from them. Isabella and
Celia were very happy all this winter and spring. With Isabella Spanish
took the place of Italian studies. She liked talking in Spanish. They
made some friends among the residents, as well as among the strangers,
particularly the Americans. Of these last, they enjoyed most the society
of Mrs. Blanchard and her son, Otho, who were at the same hotel with

The opera, too, was a new delight to Isabella, and even Celia was
excited by it.

"It is a little too absurd, to see the dying scene of Romeo and Juliet
sung out in an opera!" remarked Lawrence Egerton, one morning; "all
the music of the spheres could not have made that scene, last night,
otherwise than supremely ridiculous."

"I am glad you did not sit by us, then," replied Celia; "Isabella and I
were crying."

"I dare say," said Lawrence. "I should be afraid to take you to see a
tragedy well acted. You would both be in hysterics before the killing
was over."

"I should be really afraid," said Celia, "to see Romeo and Juliet finely
performed. It would be too sad."

"It would be much better to end it up comfortably," said Lawrence. "Why
should not Juliet marry her Romeo in peace?"

"It would be impossible!" exclaimed Isabella,--"impossible to bring
together two such hostile families! Of course the result must be a

"In romances," answered Lawrence, "that may be necessary; but not in
real life."

"Why not in real life?" asked Isabella. "When two thunder-clouds meet,
there must be an explosion."

"But we don't have such hostile families arrayed against each other
now-a-days," said Lawrence. "The Bianchi and the Neri have died out;
unless the feud lives between the whites and the blacks of the present

"Are you sure that it has died out everywhere?" asked Isabella.

"Certainly not," said Otho Blanchard; "my mother, Bianca Bianco,
inherits her name from a long line of ancestry, and with it come its
hatreds as well as its loves."

"You speak like an Italian or Spaniard," said Lawrence. "We are
cold-blooded Yankees, and in our slow veins such passions do die out. I
should have taken you for an American from your name."

"It is our name Americanized; we have made Americans of ourselves, and
the Bianchi have become the Blanchards."

"The romance of the family, then," persisted Lawrence, "must needs
become Americanized too. If you were to meet with a lovely young lady of
the enemy's race, I think you would be willing to bury your sword in the
sheath for her sake."

"I hope I should not forget the honor of my family," said Otho. "I
certainly never could, as long as my mother lives; her feelings on the
subject are stronger even than mine."

"I cannot imagine the possibility of such feelings dying out," said
Isabella. "I cannot imagine such different elements amalgamating. It
would be like fire and water uniting. Then there would be no longer any
contest; the game of life would be over."

"Why will you make out life to be a battle always?" exclaimed Lawrence;
"won't you allow us any peace? I do not find such contests all the
time,--never, except when I am fighting with you."

"I had rather fight with you than against you," said Isabella, laughing.
"But when one is not striving, one is sleeping."

"That reminds me that it is time for our siesta," said Lawrence; "so we
need not fight any longer."

Afterwards Isabella and Celia were talking of their new friend Otho.

"He does not seem to me like a Spaniard," said Celia, "his complexion is
so light; then, too, his name sounds German."

"But his passions are quick," replied Isabella. "How he colored up when
he spoke of the honor of his family!"

"I wonder that you like him," said Celia; "when he is with his mother,
he hardly ventures to say his soul is his own."

"I don't like his mother," said Isabella; "her manner is too imperious
and unrefined, it appears to me. No wonder that Otho is ill at ease in
her presence. It is evident that her way of talking is not agreeable to
him. He is afraid that she will commit herself in some way."

"But he never stands up for himself," answered Celia; "he always yields
to her. Now I should not think you would like that."

"He yields because she is his mother," said Isabella; "and it would not
be becoming to contradict her."

"He yields to you, too," said Celia; "how happens that?"

"I hope he does not yield to me more than is becoming," answered
Isabella, laughing; "perhaps that is why I like him. After all, I don't
care to be always sparring, as I am with Lawrence Egerton. With Otho I
find that I agree wonderfully in many things. Neither of us yields to
the other, neither of us is obliged to convince the other."

"Now I should think you would find that stupid," said Celia. "What
becomes of this desire of yours never to rest, always to be struggling
after something?"

"We might strive together, we might struggle together," responded

She said this musingly, not in answer to Celia, but to her own
thoughts,--as she looked away, out from everything that surrounded her.
The passion for ruling had always been uppermost in her mind; suddenly
there dawned upon her the pleasure of being ruled. She became conscious
of the pleasure of conquering all things for the sake of giving all to
another. A new sense of peace stole upon her mind. Before, she had felt
herself alone, even in the midst of the kindness of the home that had
been given her. She had never dared to think or to speak of the past,
and as little of the future. She had gladly flung herself into the
details of every-day life. She had given her mind to the study of all
that it required. She loved the Doctor, because he was always leading
her on to fresh fields, always exciting her to a new knowledge. She
loved him, too, for himself, for his tenderness and kindness to her.
With Mrs. Lester and Celia she felt herself on a different footing. They
admired her, but they never came near her. She led them, and they were
always behind her.

With Otho she experienced a new feeling. He seemed, very much as she
did herself, out of place in the world just around him. He was a
foreigner,--was not yet acclimated to the society about him. He was
willing to talk of other things than every-day events. He did not talk
of "things," indeed, but he speculated, as though he lived a separate
life from that of mere eating and drinking. He was not content with what
seemed to every-day people possible, but was willing to believe that
there were things not dreamed of in their philosophy.

"It is a satisfaction," said Lawrence once to Celia, "that Isabella has
found somebody who will go high enough into the clouds to suit her.
Besides, it gives me a little repose."

"And a secret jealousy at the same time; is it not so?" asked Celia. "He
takes up too much of Isabella's time to please you."

"The reason he pleases her," said Lawrence, "is because he is more
womanly than manly, and she thinks women ought to rule the world. Now
if the world were made up of such as he, it would be very easily ruled.
Isabella loves power too well to like to see it in others. Look at her
when she is with Mrs. Blanchard! It is a splendid sight to see them

"How can you say so? I am always afraid of some outbreak."

These families were, however, so much drawn together, that, when the
Doctor came to summon his wife and daughter and Isabella home, Mrs.
Blanchard was anxious to accompany them to New England. She wondered if
it were not possible to find a country-seat somewhere near the Lesters,
that she could occupy for a time. The Doctor knew that the Willows was
to be vacant this spring. The Fogertys were all going to Europe, and
would be very willing to let their place.

So it was arranged after their return. The Fogertys left for Europe, and
Mrs. Blanchard took possession of the Willows. It was a pleasant walking
distance from the Lesters, but it was several weeks before Isabella made
her first visit there. She was averse to going into the house, but,
in company with Celia, Lawrence, and Otho, walked about the grounds.
Presently they stopped near a pretty fountain that was playing in the
midst of the garden.

"That is a pretty place for an Undine," said Otho.

"The idea of an Undine makes me shiver," said Lawrence. "Think what a
cold-blooded, unearthly being she would be!"

"Not after she had a soul!" exclaimed Isabella.

"An Undine with a soul!" cried Lawrence. "I conceive of them as
malicious spirits, who live and die as the bubbles of water rise and

"You talk as if there were such things as Undines," said Celia. "I
remember once trying to read the story of Undine, but I never could
finish it."

"It ends tragically," remarked Otho.

"Of course all such stories must," responded Lawrence; "of course it is
impossible to bring the natural and the unnatural together."

"That depends upon what you call the natural," said Otho.

"We should differ, I suppose," said Lawrence, "if we tried to explain
what we each call the natural. I fancy your 'real life' is different
from mine."

"Pictures of real life," said Isabella, "are sometimes pictures of
horses and dogs, sometimes of children playing, sometimes of fruits of
different seasons heaped upon one dish, sometimes of watermelons cut

"That is hardly your picture of real life," said Lawrence, laughing,--"a
watermelon cut open! I think you would rather choose the picture of the
Water Fairies from the Düsseldorf Gallery."

"Why not?" said Isabella. "The life we see must be very far from being
the only life that is."

"That is very true," answered Lawrence; "but let the fairies live their
life by themselves, while we live our life in our own way. Why should
they come to disturb our peace, since we cannot comprehend them, and
they certainly cannot comprehend us?"

"You do not think it well, then," said Isabella, stopping in their walk,
and looking down,--"you do not think it well that beings of different
natures should mingle?"

"I do not see how they can," replied Lawrence. "I am limited by my
senses; I can perceive only what they show me. Even my imagination can
picture to me only what my senses can paint."

"Your senses!" cried Otho, contemptuously,--"it is very true, as you
confess, you are limited by your senses. Is all this beauty around you
created merely for you--and the other insects about us? I have no doubt
it is filled with invisible life."

"Do let us go in!" said Celia. "This talk, just at twilight, under
the shade of this shrubbery, makes me shudder. I am not afraid of the
fairies. I never could read fairy stories when I was a child; they were
tiresome to me. But talking in this way makes one timid. There might be
strollers or thieves under all these hedges."

They went into the house, through the hall, and different apartments,
till they reached the drawing-room. Isabella stood transfixed upon the
threshold. It was all so familiar to her!--everything as she had known
it before! Over the mantelpiece hung the picture of the scornful Spanish
lady; a heavy bookcase stood in one corner; comfortable chairs and
couches were scattered round the room; beautiful landscapes against the
wall seemed like windows cut into foreign scenery. There was an air of
ease in the room, an old-fashioned sort of ease, such as the Fogertys
must have loved.

"It is a pretty room, is it not?" said Lawrence. "You look at it as if
it pleased you. How much more comfort there is about it than in the
fashionable parlors of the day! It is solid, substantial comfort."

"You look at it as if you had seen it before," said Otho to Isabella.
"Do you know the room impressed me in that way, too?"

"It is singular," said Lawrence, "the feeling, that 'all this has been
before,' that comes over one at times. I have heard it expressed by a
great many people."

"Have you, indeed, ever had this feeling?" asked Isabella.

"Certainly," replied Lawrence; "I say to myself sometimes, 'I have been
through all this before!' and I can almost go on to tell what is to come
next,--it seems so much a part of my past experience."

"It is strange it should be so with you,--and with you too," she said,
turning to Otho.

"Perhaps we are all more alike than we have thought," said Otho.

Otho's mother appeared, and the conversation took another turn.

Isabella did not go to the Willows again, until all the Lester family
were summoned there to a large party that Mrs. Blanchard gave. She
called it a house-warming, although she had been in the house some time.
It was a beautiful evening. A clear moonlight made it as brilliant
outside on the lawn as the lights made the house within. There was a
band of music stationed under the shrubbery, and those who chose could
dance. Those who were more romantic wandered away down the shaded walks,
and listened to the dripping of the fountain.

Lawrence and Isabella returned from a walk through the grounds, and
stopped a moment on the terrace in front of the house. Just then a dark
cloud appeared in the sky, threatening the moon. The wind, too, was
rising, and made a motion among the leaves of the trees.

"Do you remember," asked Lawrence, "that child's story of the Fisherman
and his Wife? how the fisherman went down to the sea-shore, and cried

    'O man of the sea,
    Come listen to me!
    For Alice, my wife,
    The plague of my life,
  Has sent me to beg a boon of thee!'

The sea muttered and roared;--do you remember? There was always something
impressive to me in the descriptions, in the old story, of the changes
in the sea, and of the tempest that rose up, more and more fearful, as
the fisherman's wife grew more ambitious and more and more grasping in
her desires, each time that the fisherman went down to the sea-shore. I
believe my first impression of the sea came from that. The coming on of
a storm is always associated with it. I always fancy that it is bringing
with it something beside the tempest,--that there is something ruinous
behind it."

"That is more fanciful than you usually are," said Isabella; "but, alas!
I cannot remember your story, for I never read it."

"That is where your education and Celia's was fearfully neglected," said
Lawrence; "you were not brought up on fairy stories and Mother Goose.
You have not needed the first, as Celia has; but Mother Goose would have
given a tone to your way of thinking, that is certainly wanting."

A little while afterwards, Isabella stood upon the balcony steps leading
from the drawing-room. Otho was with her. The threatening clouds had
driven almost every one into the house. There was distant thunder and
lightning; but through the cloud-rifts, now and then, the moonlight
streamed down. Isabella and Otho had been talking earnestly,--so
earnestly, that they were quite unobservant of the coming storm, of the
strange lurid light that hung around.

"It is strange that this should take place here!" said Isabella,--"that
just here I should learn that you love me! Strange that my destiny
should be completed in this spot!"

"And this spot has its strange associations with me," said Otho, "of
which I must some time speak to you. But now I can think only of the
present. Now, for the first time, do I feel what life is,--now that you
have promised to be mine!"

Otho was interrupted by a sudden cry. He turned to find his mother
standing behind him.

"You are here with Isabella! she has promised herself to you!" she
exclaimed. "It is a fatality, a terrible fatality! Listen, Isabella!
You are the Queen of the Red Chessmen; and he, Otho, is the King of the
White Chessmen,--and I, their Queen. Can there be two queens? Can there
be a marriage between two hostile families? Do you not see, if there
were a marriage between the Reds and the Whites, there were no game?
Look! I have found our old prison! The pieces would all be here,--but
we, we are missing! Would you return to the imprisonment of this poor
box,--to your old mimic life? No, my children, go back! Isabella, marry
this Lawrence Egerton, who loves you. You will find what life is, then.
Leave Otho, that he may find this same life also."

Isabella stood motionless.

"Otho, the White Prince! Alas! where is my hatred? But life without
him! Even stagnation were better! I must needs be captive to the White

She stretched out her hand to Otho. He seized it passionately. At this
moment there was a grand crash of thunder.

A gust of wind extinguished at once all the lights in the drawing-room.
The terrified guests hurried into the hall, into the other rooms.

"The lightning must have struck the house!" they exclaimed.

A heavy rain followed; then all was still. Everybody began to recover
his spirits. The servants relighted the candles. The drawing-room was
found untenanted. It was time to go; yet there was a constraint upon all
the party, who were eager to find their hostess and bid her good-bye.

But the hostess could not be found! Isabella and Otho, too, were
missing! The Doctor and Lawrence went everywhere, calling for them,
seeking them in the house, in the grounds. They were nowhere to be
found,--neither that night, nor the next day, nor ever afterwards!

The Doctor found in the balcony a box of chessmen fallen down. It was
nearly filled; but the red queen, and the white king and queen, were
lying at a little distance. In the box was the red king, his crown
fallen from his head, himself broken in pieces. The Doctor took up the
red queen, and carried it home.

"Are you crazy?" asked his wife. "What are you going to do with that red

But the Doctor placed the figure on his study-table, and often gazed at
it wistfully.

Whenever, afterwards, as was often the case, any one suggested a new
theory to account for the mysterious disappearance of Isabella and the
Blanchards, the Doctor looked at the carved image on his table and was

       *       *       *       *       *


  A wind came up out of the sea,
  And said, "O mists, make room for me!"

  It hailed the ships, and cried, "Sail on,
  Ye mariners! the night is gone!"

  And hurried landward far away,
  Crying, "Awake! it is the day!"

  It said unto the forest, "Shout!
  Hang all your leafy banners out!"

  It touched the wood-bird's folded wing,
  And said, "O bird, awake and sing!"

  And o'er the farms, "O chanticleer,
  Your clarion blow! the day is near!"

  It whispered to the fields of corn,
  "Bow down, and hail the coming morn!"

  It shouted through the belfry-tower,
  "Awake, O bell! proclaim the hour!"

  It crossed the churchyard with a sigh,
  And said, "Not yet! in quiet lie!"


Gossiping Mr. Pepys little imagined, when he wrote in his Diary,
September 25th, 1660, "I did send for a cup of tee, (a China drink,)
of which I never had drank before," that he had mentioned a beverage
destined to exert a world-wide influence on civilization, and in due
time gladden every heart in his country, from that of the Sovereign Lady
Victoria, down to humble Mrs. Miff with her "mortified bonnet." Reader,
if you wish some little information on the subjects of tea-growing,
gathering, curing, and shipping, you must come with us to China, in
spite of the war. We know how to elude the blockade, how to beard
Viceroy Yeh; and in one of the great _hongs_ on the Canton River we will
give you a short lecture on the virtues of Souchong and flowery Pekoe.

The native name of the article is _Cha_, although it has borne two or
three names among the Chinese,--in the fourth century being called
_Ming_. To botanists it is known as _Thea_, having many affinities with
the Camellia. It has long been a doubtful point whether or not two
species exist, producing the green and black teas. True, there are the
green-tea country and the black-tea region, hundreds of miles apart;
but the latest investigation goes to prove that there is really but one
plant. Mr. Robert Fortune, whose recent and interesting work, "The Tea
Countries of China and India," is familiar to many of our readers, has
not only had peculiar facilities for gaining a knowledge of tea as
grown in the Central Flowery Kingdom, but is, moreover, one of the most
scientific of English botanists. He maintains the "unity theory" of the
plant, and we are content to agree with him,--the differences in the
leaves being owing to climate, situation, soil, and other accidental
influences. The shrub is generally from three to six feet high, having
numerous branches and a very dense foliage. Its wood is hard and tough,
giving off a disagreeable smell when cut. The leaves are smooth,
shining, of a dark green color, and with notched edges; those of the
_Thea Bohea_, the black tea, being curled and oblong,--while those of
the _Thea viridis_, the green tea, are broader in proportion to their
length, but not so thick, and curled at the apex. The plant flowers
early in the spring, remaining in bloom about a month; and its seeds
ripen in December and January. According to Chinese authority, tea is
grown in nearly every province of the empire; but the greater part of
it is produced in four or five provinces, affording all that is shipped
from Canton. Very large quantities, however, are consumed by the
countries adjoining the western frontier, and Russia draws an immense
supply by caravans, all of which is the product of the northwest
provinces. The Bohea Hills, in Lat. 27° 47' North, and Long. 119° East,
distant about nine hundred miles from Canton, produce the finest kinds
of black tea; while the green teas are chiefly raised in another
province, several hundred miles farther north. The soil of many
plantations examined by Mr. Fortune is very thin and poor, in some
places little more than sand, such soil as would grow pines and scrub
oaks. The shrubs are generally planted on the slopes of hills, the
plants in many places not interfering with the cultivation of wheat and
other grain. They are always raised from seeds, which in the first place
are sown very thickly together, as many of them never shoot; and when
the young plants have attained the proper size they are transplanted
into the beds prepared for them, although in some cases the seeds are
sown in the proper situations without removal. Care is taken that the
plants be not overshadowed by large trees, and many superstitious
notions prevail as to the noxious influence of certain vegetables in the
vicinity. Although the shrub is very hardy, not being injured even by
snow, yet the weather has great influence on the quality of the leaves,
and many directions are given by Chinese authors with regard to the
proper care to be observed in the culture of the plant. Leaves are first
gathered from it when it is three years old, but it does not attain
its greatest size for six or seven,--thriving, according to care and
situation, from ten to twenty years.

The famous Bohea Hills are said to derive their name from two brothers,
Woo and E, the sons of a prince in ancient times, who refused to succeed
him, and came to reside among these mountains, where to this day the
people burn incense to their memory. Another legend states that the
people of this district were first taught the use of tea as a beverage
by a venerable man who suddenly appeared among them, holding a sprig in
his hand, from which he proposed that they should make a decoction
and drink it. On their doing so and approving the drink, he instantly

There is very great choice in the teas; connoisseurs being much more
particular in their taste than even the most fastidious wine-drinkers.
Purchasers inquire the position of the gardens from which the samples
were taken; teas from the summit of a hill, from the middle, and from
the base bearing different values. Some of the individual shrubs are
greatly prized; one being called the "egg-plant," growing in a deep
gully between two hills, and nourished by water which trickles from the
precipice. Another is appropriated exclusively to the imperial use, and
an officer is appointed every year to superintend the gathering and
curing. The produce of such plants is never sent to Canton, being
reserved entirely for the emperor and the grandees of the court, and
commanding enormous prices; the most valuable being said to be worth
one hundred and fifty dollars a pound, and the cheapest not less than
twenty-five dollars. There is said to be a very fine kind called "monkey
tea," from the fact that it grows upon heights inaccessible to man, and
that monkeys are therefore trained to pick it. For the truth of this
story I cannot vouch, and of course ask no one to believe it.

The picking of the leaf is frequently performed by a different class of
laborers from those who cultivate it; but the customs vary in different
places. There are four pickings in the course of the year,--the last
one, however, being considered a mere gleaning. The first is made as
early as the 15th of April, and sometimes sooner, when the delicate buds
appear and the foliage is just opening, being covered with a whitish
down. From this picking the finest kinds of tea are made, although the
quantity is small. The next gathering is technically called "second
spring," and takes place in the early part of June, when the branches
are well covered, producing the greatest quantity of leaves. The third
gathering, or "third spring," follows in about one month, when the
branches are again searched, the most common kinds of tea being the
result. The fourth gleaning is styled the "autumn dew"; but this is not
universally observed, as the leaves are now old and of very inferior
quality. These poorest sorts are sometimes clipped off with shears; but
the general mode of gathering is by hand, the leaves being laid lightly
on bamboo trays.

The curing of the leaf is of the utmost importance,--some kinds of tea
depending almost entirely for their value on the mode of preparation.
When the leaves are brought to the curing-houses, they are thinly spread
upon bamboo trays, and placed in the wind to dry until they become
somewhat soft; then, while lying on the trays, they are gently rubbed
and rolled many times. From the labor attending this process the tea is
called _kung foocha_, or "worked tea"; hence the English name of Congou.
When the leaves have been sufficiently worked they are ready for the
firing, an operation requiring the exercise of the greatest care. The
iron pan used in the process is made red hot, and the workman sprinkles
a handful of leaves upon it and waits until each leaf pops with a slight
noise, when he at once sweeps all out of the pan, lest they should be
burned, and then fires another handful. The leaves are then put into dry
baskets over a pan of coals. Care is taken, by laying ashes over the
fire, that no smoke shall ascend among the leaves, which are slowly
stirred with the hand until perfectly dry. The tea is then poured
into chests, and, when transported, placed in boxes enclosing leaden
canisters, and papered to keep out the dampness. In curing the finest
kinds of tea, such as Powchong, Pekoe, etc., not more than ten to twenty
leaves are fired in the pan at one time, and only a few pounds rolled
at once in the trays. As soon as cured, these fine teas are packed in
papers, two or three pounds in each, and stamped with the name of the
plantation and the date of curing.

Beside the hongs in Canton, which I shall presently speak of, there are
large buildings, styled "pack-houses," containing all the apparatus for
curing. Into these establishments foreigners are not readily admitted.
Two or three rows of furnaces are built in a large, airy apartment,
having a number of hemispherical iron pans inserted into the brick-work,
two pans being heated by one fire. Into these pans the rolled leaves are
thrown and stirred with the arm until too hot for the flesh to bear,
when they are swept out and laid on a table covered with matting, where
they are again rolled. The firing and rolling are sometimes repeated
three or four times, according to the state of the leaves. The rolling
is attended with some pain, as an acrid juice exudes from the leaves,
which acts upon the hands; and the whole operation of tea-curing and
packing is somewhat unpleasant, from the fine dust arising, and entering
the nose and mouth,--to prevent which, the workmen often cover the lower
part of the face with a cloth. The leaves are frequently tested, during
the process of curing, by pouring boiling water upon them; and their
strength and quality are judged of by the number of infusions that can
be made from the same leaves, as many as fifteen drawings being obtained
from the richest kinds.

Many persons have imagined that the peculiar effects of green tea upon
the nerves after drinking it, as well as its color, are owing to its
having been fired in copper pans, which is not the case, as no copper
instruments are used in its manufacture; but these effects are probably
due to the partial curing of the leaf, and its consequent retention of
many of the peculiar properties of the growing plant. The bloom upon the
cheaper kinds of green tea is produced by gypsum or Prussian blue;
and perhaps the effects alluded to are in some degree caused by these
minerals. Such teas are prepared entirely for exportation, the Chinese
themselves never drinking them.

Each foreign house employs an inspector or taster, whose business it is
to examine samples of all the teas submitted to the firm for purchase.
When a taster has a lot of teas to examine, several samples, selected
from various chests, being placed before him, he first of all takes up
a large handful and smells it repeatedly, then chews some of it, and
records his opinion in a huge folio, wherein are chronicled the merits
of every lot examined by him; and lastly, he puts small portions of the
various kinds into a great many little cups into which boiling water is
poured, and when the tea is drawn he takes a sip of the infusion. With
all due deference to his art, sometimes, when the taster does not know
exactly what to say of a sample, the book will bear witness that the
parcel has "a decided tea flavor." But the accuracy of good tasters is
really wonderful; they will classify and fix the true value of a chop
of teas beyond dispute, and the East India Company's tasters were
occasionally of eminent service in detecting frauds. A first-rate
tea-taster may make a fortune in a few years; but, from constantly
inhaling minute particles of the herb, the health is frequently ruined.

The teas which come to Canton are brought chiefly by water. Only
occasional land stages are used in transportation, the principal one
being the pass which crosses the Ineiling Mountain, in the north of
the Canton or Quang-tong Province, cut through at the beginning of the
eighth century. As every article of merchandise which goes through the
pass, either from the south or the north, is carried across on the
backs of men, several hundred thousand porters are here employed.
Many tortuous paths are cut over the mountain, and through them are
continually passing these poor creatures, condemned by poverty to
terrible fatigue, the work being so laborious that the generality of
them live but a short time. At certain intervals are little bamboo
sheds, where travellers rest on their journey, smoking a pipe and
drinking tea for refreshment; while at the summit of the pass is an
immense portal, or kind of triumphal arch, erected on the boundary line
of the two Provinces of Quang-tong and Kiang-si. The teas, securely
packed in chests wrapped in matting, are placed in the boats which ply
upon the rivers flowing from the tea countries into the Poyang Lake,
and after successive changes are at length brought to the foot of the
Ineiling Mountain, carried over it on the backs of men, and reshipped
on the south side of the pass. The boats in which the tea is brought to
Canton convey from five hundred to eight hundred chests each, and are
called chopboats by foreigners, from each lot of teas being called a
_chop_. They serve admirably for inland navigation, drawing but little
water, and are so rounded as to make it almost impossible to overset
one. A ledge is built upon each side of the boat for the trackers, who,
when the wind fails, collect in the bow, and, sticking long bamboo poles
into the bed of the stream, walk along the ledge to the stern, thus
propelling the barge, and repeating the operation as often as they
have traversed the length of the planks. A number of excise posts and
custom-houses are established along the route from the tea regions
to Canton, for the purpose of levying duties on the teas, none being
allowed to be sent to that city by coastwise voyages.

And now of the various kinds of black and green teas.--But, Reader, I
hear you cry, "Halt! halt! pray do not bore us with a dry catalogue of
the 'Padre Souchongs' and 'Twankays'; we know them already."--Then speak
for me, immortal Pindar Cockloft! crusty bachelor that thou art! who
hast told that tea and scandal are inseparable, and hast so wittily
described a gathering around the urn as

  "A convention of tattling, a tea-party hight,
  Which, like meeting of witches, is brewed up
       at night,
  Where each matron arrives fraught with tales
       of surprise,
  With knowing suspicion and doubtful surmise;
  Like the broomstick-whirled hags that appear
       in Macbeth,
  Each bearing some relic of venom or death,
  To stir up the toil and to double the trouble,
  That fire may burn, and that cauldron may
  The wives of our cits of inferior degree
  Will soak up repute in a little Bohea;
  The potion is vulgar, and vulgar the slang
  With which on their neighbors' defects they
  But the scandal improves,--a refinement in
  As our matrons are richer and rise to Souchong.
  With Hyson, a beverage that's still more refined,
  Our ladies of fashion enliven their mind,
  And by nods, innuendoes, and hints, and what
  Reputations and tea send together to pot;
  While madam in cambrics and laces arrayed,
  With her plate and her liveries in splendid
  Will drink in Imperial a friend at a sup,
  Or in Gunpowder blow them by dozens all

There, now, Reader, you have the best classification extant of teas; and
I will not detain you with any long descriptions of other kinds, seldom
heard of by Americans, such as the "Sparrow's Tongue," the "Black
Dragon," the "Dragon's Whiskers," the "Dragon's Pellet," the "Flowery
Fragrance," and the "Careful Firing."

Perhaps a notice of the great hongs will prove more interesting to you.
They stretch for miles along the Canton River, and in the busy season
are crammed with hundreds of thousands of chests, filled with the
fragrant herb. The hongs front upon the river, in order that cargo-boats
may approach them; but they have also another entrance at the end which
opens from the suburbs. Imagine a building twelve hundred feet long by
twenty to forty broad, and in some portions fifty feet high, built of
brick, of one story, here and there open to the sky, with the floor
as level as that of a ropewalk, and of such extent, that, to a person
standing at one end, forms at the other end appear dwarfed, and men seem
engaged in noiseless occupations: you have here the picture of a Chinese
hong. In these warehouses the tea is assorted, repacked, and then put
on board the chop-boats and sent down the river to the ships at their
anchorage off Whampoa. Here are enormous scales for weighing the chests;
here, where the light falls in from the roof, are tables placed for
superintendents, who carefully watch the workmen; farther off, are
foreigners inspecting a newly arrived chop; at the extreme end is the
little apartment where the tea merchant receives people upon business;
and through the high door beyond, we see the crowded river, and
chopboats waiting for cargoes. At the river end of the building a second
story is added, often fitted up with immense suites of beautiful rooms,
elegantly furnished, and abounding with rare and costly articles of
_virtù_. Here is a door leading higher still, out upon the roof, which
is flat. Below us is the river with its myriads of boats, visible as far
as the eye can reach, no less than eighty-four thousand belonging to
Canton alone. On our right is the public square, where of late stood the
foreign factories, now destroyed by the mob, while the flags of France,
England, and America have disappeared. On our left is another vista of
river life, the pagoda near Whampoa, and the forts of Dutch and French
Folly. In our rear is the immense city of Canton, and opposite to us,
across the river, lies the verdant island of Honan, with its villages,
its canals, and its great Buddhist temple. On descending, we find that a
servant has placed for us on a superb table in one of the pretty rooms
cups of delicious tea,--it being the custom in all the hongs to offer
the beverage to strangers at all times. A cup of the aromatic Oulong
will serve to steady our nerves for the completion of the tea-lecture.

The visitor will soon form some idea of the magnitude of the tea trade,
by going from one hong to another, and finding all of them filled with
chests, while armies of coolies are bringing in chops, sorting cargoes,
loading chop-boats, making leaden canisters, packing, and labelling
the packages. A heavy gate, with brilliant, figures painted on it, and
adorned with enormous lanterns, swings yawning open, and admits the
stranger. Just inside of the gate, at a little table, sits a man who
keeps count of the coolies, as they enter with chests of tea, and sees
that they do not carry any out except for good reasons. Looking down the
length of the hong, a busy scene presents itself. It is crammed with
big square chests just from the tea regions, and piled up to the roof.
Presently a string of coolies, stretching out like a flock of wild
geese, come past, and set down chests enough on the floor to cover half
an acre. These half-naked fellows are nimble workmen, and will unload a
boat full of tea in an incredibly short time. Very valuable as an animal
is the cooly: he is a Jack-at-all-trades; works at the scull of a boat,
or in a tea pack-house; bears a mandarin's sedan-chair, or sweeps out a
chamber. His ideas are as limited as his means, and nearly as much so
as his clothing; but he works all day without grumbling at his lot, is
cheerful, and seems to enjoy life, although he lives on a few cents a
day. He sleeps soundly at night, though his accommodations are such as
an American beggar would scorn. Any person visiting a hong will see on
the sides of the building, at a considerable elevation from the ground,
a number of shelves with divisions arranged like berths in a steamboat,
intended for beds, but consisting of rough boards with square
wooden blocks for pillows. Each one is enclosed with a coarse blue
mosquito-netting; and mounting to the apartments by a ladder, here the
coolies sleep the year round.

The teas are not generally brought to the hongs until sold. Before sale
they are stored in warehouses, chiefly on Honan Island, opposite the
city; but after disposal the large-sized chests are carried into the
hongs, where they are sorted and repacked into smaller boxes, according
to the wants of the purchaser. You will see different parts of the
floor covered with packages large and small, into which the coolies are
shaking teas. Each box contains a leaden canister, into some of which
the teas are loosely poured, while in others the herb is wrapped in
papers of half a pound weight, each stamped with Chinese characters. The
canister is then closed by a lid, and afterward securely fastened down
by the top of the chest. These canisters are made near at hand. Look
around, and a few rods off you will see three or four expert hands
turning the large sheets of the prepared metal into shape. Knowing the
required size, the operators have a cubic block placed on the metal
sheet, which, bending like paper, is folded over the block, assuming its
shape, and the edges of the canister are instantly soldered by a second
hand; a third, with the aid of another wooden form, prepares the lids;
and thus a knot of half a dozen workmen, keeping steadily at their
tasks, will make a large number of canisters in a day. Besides the
laborers who cultivate and those who cure the tea, and the porters
and boatmen who transport it, thousands are employed in different
occupations connected with the trade. Carpenters make the chests,
plumbers the leaden canisters, while painters adorn the boxes containing
the finer kinds of teas with brilliant flowers or grotesque scenes.

About the season of the arrival of the tea in Canton, the Chinese
dealers come to the foreign factories with "musters," or samples in nice
little tin canisters, with the names of the owners written on paper
pasted down the sides, and you can select such as you like. The
principal business is of course held with the tea merchants themselves,
not those who come from the North, but the Cantonese, while the minor
business of all the hongs is in a great measure conducted through the
"pursers," or foremen, who act between the Chinese and the foreigners,
bringing in the accounts to the shipping-houses, and receiving the
orders for cargoes. Give one of these men an order for tea and go to the
hong shortly afterward, you will find numbers of workmen employed for
you;--some bringing in the small boxes; others filling them, or, when
filled, fastened, papered, and covered with matting, securing them
firmly with ratans; others, finally, labelling them on the outer
covering,--the labels being printed with the name of the vessel, of the
tea merchant, of the tea, and of the Canton forwarding-house, also with
the initials of the purchaser, and the number of the lot. These labels
are printed rapidly, being cut by one set of hands to the proper size
for the use of the others who stamp them. All the types are carved in
blocks of wood, and the whole formed into a frame; then, in a little
space just large enough for work,--for the printer has no immense
establishment with signs on the outside of "Book and Job Printing,"--a
Chinaman will sit down, snatch up a paper in one hand, and stamp it
instantly with the wooden block letters, moistened with the coloring
mixture used in printing.

When the teas are fairly ready to be conveyed to the ships, heavy
cargo-boats are moored at the foot of the hong, their crews prepare
for the chop, and the coolies within the hong stand ready to carry the
chests. Every box is properly weighed, papered, and bound with split
ratan, the bill of the purchase has gone duly authenticated to the
foreign factory, and the teas bid farewell to their native soil. The
word is given, and each cooly, placing his two chests in the ropes
swinging from his shoulder-bar, lifts them from the ground, and with a
brisk walk conveys them on board the chop-boat, where they are carefully
stowed away. As they are carried out of the hong, a fellow stands ready,
and, as if about to stab the packages, thrusts at each one two sharp
sticks with red ends, leaving them jammed between the ratan and the
tea-box. One of these sticks is taken out when the chest leaves the
chop-boat, and the other when it reaches the deck of the vessel; and
as soon as one hundred chests are passed into the ship, the sticks
are counted and thus serve as tallies. Should the two bundles not
correspond, a chest is missing somewhere, and woe betide the blunderer!

In the busy season the chop-boats are seen pushing down the river with
every favorable tide. As for pushing against the tide, no Chinaman ever
thinks of such a thing, unless absolutely compelled, the value of time
being quite unknown in China. Coolly anchoring as soon as the tide is
adverse, the crew fall to playing cards until it is time to get under
way again. Nearly every chop-boat contains a whole family, father,
mother, and children,--sometimes an old grandparent, also, being
included in the domestic circle,--and all assist in working. At the
stern of the boat the wife has a little cooking-apparatus, and prepares
the cheap rice for the squad of eager gormandizers, who bolt it in huge
quantities without fear of indigestion. The family sit down to their
repast on the deck; the men keep an eye to windward and a hand on the
tiller; the mother knots the cord that goes around the baby's waist
into an iron ring, and, feeling secure against the bantling's falling
overboard, chats sociably, occasionally enforcing a mild reproof to a
vagabond son by a tap on the head with her chopstick. There is but one
dish, rice, of a very ordinary sort and of a pink color, but all seem to
thrive upon it. The meal over, the men smoke their pipes, and the wife
washes her cooking utensils with water drawn from the muddy river, and
then, strapping her infant to her back, overhauls the scanty wardrobe
and mends the ragged garments.

It is interesting to mark how accurately the chop-boat is brought
alongside of the ship for which it is destined. No matter how strong the
wind blows or the tide runs, the sails are trimmed as occasion requires,
and the big scull does its offices without ever the least mistake. The
boat running under the quarter scrapes along the edge, the ropes are
thrown, caught, and belayed, and the crew prepare for passing the cargo
into the vessel's hold. The stevedores who load the ships are very
active men. They have also good heads, and, measuring the length,
breadth, and height of the hold, calculate pretty accurately how many
chests the ship will carry, and the number of small boxes to be squeezed
into narrow places. When the hold is full the hatch is fastened down and
caulked, as exposure to the salt air injures the teas. The finest kinds
are so delicate, indeed, that they cannot be exported by sea; for,
however tightly sealed, they would deteriorate during the voyage. The
very superior flavor noticed by travellers in the tea used at St.
Petersburg is doubtless to be attributed in an important measure to its
overland transportation, and its consequent escape from dampness; the
large quantities consumed in Russia being, as before observed, all
carried from the northwest of China to Kiakhta, whence it is distributed
over the empire.

One of the most remarkable and interesting facts in the history of
commerce is the comparatively recent origin of the tea trade. The leaves
of the tea-plant were extensively used by the people of China and Japan
centuries before it was known to Western nations. This is the more
singular from the fact that the silks of China found their way to the
West at a very early period,--as early, at least, as the first century
of the Christian era,--while the use of tea in Europe dates back
only about two hundred years. The earliest notices of its use in the
countries where it is indigenous are found in the writings of the
Moorish historians and travellers, about the end of the eighth century,
at which time the Mahometans were freely allowed to visit China, and
travel through the empire as they pleased. Soliman, an Arabian merchant,
who visited China about A.D. 850, describes it under the name of _Sah_,
as being the favorite beverage of the people; and Ibn Batuta, A.D. 1323,
speaks of it as used for correcting the bad properties of water, and as
a medicine. Mandelslo, a German, who travelled in India, 1638-40, in
describing the customs of the European merchants at Surat, speaks of tea
as of something unfamiliar. The reasons he gives for drinking both it
and coffee are charmingly incongruous, as is generally the case when men
undertake to find some solemn excuse for doing what they like. "At our
ordinary meetings every day we took only _Thé_, which is commonly used
all over the Indies, not only among those of the Country, but among the
_Dutch_ and _English_, who take it as a Drug that cleanses the stomach
and digests the superfluous humours, by a temperate heat particular
thereto. The Persians, instead of _Thé_, drink their _Kahwa_, which
cools and abates the natural heat which _Thé_ preserves."[A] Of its
first introduction into Europe little is known. In 1517, King Emanuel of
Portugal sent a fleet of eight ships to China, and an embassy to Peking;
but it was not until after the formation of the Dutch East India
Company, in 1602, that the use of tea became known on the Continent, and
even then, although the Hollanders paid much attention to it, it made
its way slowly for many years. The first notice of it in England is
found in Pepys's "Diary," under date of September 25th, 1660,--as before
quoted. In 1664, the East India Company presented to the king, among
other "raretyes," 2 lb. 2 oz. of "thea"; and in 1667, they desire their
agent at Bantam to send "100 lb. waight of the best tey that he can
gett."[B] From this insignificant beginning the importation has grown
from year to year, until ninety million pounds went to Great Britain in
1856, forty million coming to the United States the same year.

[Footnote A: Mandelslo's _Voyages and Travels into the East Indies_, p.
18, ed. 1662.]

[Footnote B: Grant's _History of the East India Company_. London, 1813,
p. 76.]

The "Edinburgh Review," in an article on this subject, says: "The
progress of this famous plant has been somewhat like the progress of
_Truth_;--suspected at first, though very palatable to those who had the
courage to taste it; resisted as it encroached; abused as its popularity
seemed to spread; and establishing its triumph at last in cheering
the whole land, from the palace to the cottage, only by the slow and
resistless efforts of time and its own virtues."

Many substitutes for tea are in vogue among the Chinese, but in general
only the very lowest of the population are debarred the use of the
genuine article. Being the universal drink, it is found at all times in
every house. Few are so poor that a simmering tea-pot does not stand
ever filled for the visitor. It is invariably offered to strangers;
and any omission to do so is considered, and is usually intended, as a
slight. It appears to be preferred by the people to any other beverage,
even in the hottest weather; and while Americans in the heats of July
would gladly resort to ice-water or lemonade, the Chinaman will quench
his thirst with large draughts of boiling tea.

The Muse of China has not disdained to warble harmonious numbers in
praise of her favorite beverage. There is a celebrated ballad on
tea-picking, in thirty stanzas, sung by a young woman who goes from home
early in the day to work, and lightens her labors with song. I give a
few of the verses, distinctly informing the reader, at the same time,
that for the real sparkle and beauty of the poem he must consult the
Chinese original.

  "By earliest dawn I at my toilet only half-dress my hair
  And seizing my basket, pass the door, while yet the mist is thick.
  The little maids and graver dames, hand in hand winding along,
  Ask me, 'Which steep of Semglo do you climb to-day?'

  "In social couples, each to aid her fellow, we seize the tea twigs,
  And in low words urge one another, 'Don't delay!'
  Lest on the topmost bough the bud has now grown old,
  And lest with the morrow come the drizzling silky rain.

  "My curls and hair are all awry, my face is quite begrimed;
  In whose house lives the girl so ugly as your slave?
  'Tis only because that every day the tea I'm forced to pick;
  The soaking rains and driving winds have spoiled my former charms.

  "Each picking is with toilsome labor, but yet I shun it not;
  My maiden curls are all askew, my pearly fingers all benumbed;
  But I only wish our tea to be of a superfine kind,--
  To have it equal his 'Sparrow's Tongue' and their 'Dragon's Pellet.'

  "For a whole month where can I catch a single leisure day?
  For at the earliest dawn I go to pick, and not till dusk return;
  Till the deep midnight I'm still before the firing-pan.
  Will not labor like this my pearly complexion deface?

  "But if my face is lank, my mind is firmly fixed
  So to fire my golden buds they shall excel all beside.
  But how know I who'll put them into the gemmy cup?
  Who at leisure will with her taper fingers give them to the maid to

Will any one say, after this, that there is no poetry connected with

The theme, in truth, is replete with poetical associations, and of a
kind that we look in vain for in connection with any other potable.
Unlike the Anacreontic in praise of the grape,--song suggestive chiefly
of bacchanal revels and loose jollity,--the verse which extols "the cup
that cheers, but not inebriates," brings to mind home comforts and a
happy household. And not only have some of the "canonized bards" of
England celebrated its honors,--like Pope, in the "Rape of the Lock,"
when describing Hampton Court,--

  "There, thou great Anna, whom three realms obey,
  Dost sometimes counsel take, and sometimes _tea_,"--

but, if it be true that

  "Many are poets who have never penned
  Their inspiration,"

how many an unknown bard have we among us, who, at the close of a hard
day's work, tramps cheerily home, whistling,--

  "Molly, put the kettle on,
  We'll all have tea,"--

and thinking of a well-spread board, a simmering urn, a sweet wife, and
rosy-cheeked children, waiting his coming. Grave father of a family!
Your heart has grown cold and hard, if you have ceased to enjoy such
scenes. Young husband! cannot you remember the first time you hoped with
good reason, when, as you took leave after an afternoon call, a pair of
witching eyes looked into yours, and a sweet voice sounded sweeter, as
it timidly asked, "Won't you stay--_and take a cup of tea_?"


  Our vales are sweet with fern and rose,
    Our hills are maple-crowned;
  But not from them our fathers chose
    The village burying-ground.

  The dreariest spot in all the land
    To Death they set apart;
  With scanty grace from Nature's hand,
    And none from that of Art.

  A winding wall of mossy stone,
    Frost-flung and broken, lines
  A lonesome acre thinly grown
    With grass and wandering vines.

  Without the wall a birch-tree shows
    Its drooped and tasselled head;
  Within, a stag-horned sumach grows,
    Fern-leafed with spikes of red.

  There, sheep that graze the neighboring plain
    Like white ghosts come and go,
  The farm-horse drags his fetlock chain,
    The cow-bell tinkles slow.

  Low moans the river from its bed,
    The distant pines reply;
  Like mourners shrinking from the dead,
    They stand apart and sigh.

  Unshaded smites the summer sun,
    Unchecked the winter blast;
  The school-girl learns the place to shun,
    With glances backward cast.

  For thus our fathers testified--
    That he might read who ran--
  The emptiness of human pride,
    The nothingness of man.

  They dared not plant the grave with flowers,
    Nor dress the funeral sod,
  Where, with a love as deep as ours,
    They left their dead with God.

  The hard and thorny path they kept,
    From beauty turned aside;
  Nor missed they over those who slept
    The grace to life denied.

  Yet still the wilding flowers would blow,
    The golden leaves would fall,
  The seasons come, the seasons go.
    And God be good to all.

  Above the graves the blackberry hung
    In bloom and green its wreath,
  And harebells swung as if they rung
    The chimes of peace beneath.

  The beauty Nature loves to share,
    The gifts she hath for all,
  The common light, the common air,
    O'ercrept the graveyard's wall.

  It knew the glow of eventide,
    The sunrise and the noon,
  And glorified and sanctified
    It slept beneath the moon.

  With flowers or snow-flakes for its sod,
    Around the seasons ran,
  And evermore the love of God
    Rebuked the fear of man.

  We dwell with fears on either hand,
    Within a daily strife,
  And spectral problems waiting stand
    Before the gates of life.

  The doubts we vainly seek to solve,
    The truths we know, are one;
  The known and nameless stars revolve
    Around the Central Sun.

  And if we reap as we have sown,
    And take the dole we deal,
  The law of pain is love alone,
    The wounding is to heal.

  Unharmed from change to change we glide,
    We fall as in our dreams;
  The far-off terror, at our side,
    A smiling angel seems.

  Secure on God's all-tender heart
    Alike rest great and small;
  Why fear to lose our little part,
    When He is pledged for all?

  O fearful heart and troubled brain!
    Take hope and strength from this,--
  That Nature never hints in vain,
    Nor prophesies amiss.

  Her wild birds sing the same sweet stave,
    Her lights and airs are given,
  Alike, to playground and the grave,--
    And over both is Heaven.

       *       *       *       *       *



[I am so well pleased with my boarding-house that I intend to remain
there, perhaps for years. Of course I shall have a great many
conversations to report, and they will necessarily be of different tone
and on different subjects. The talks are like the breakfasts,--sometimes
dipped toast, and sometimes dry. You must take them as they come. How
can I do what all these letters ask me to? No. 1. wants serious and
earnest thought. No. 2. (letter smells of bad cigars) must have more
jokes; wants me to tell a "good storey" that he has copied out for me.
(I suppose two letters before the word "good" refer to some Doctor of
Divinity who told the story.) No. 3. (in female hand)--more poetry. No.
4. wants something that would be of use to a practical man.
(_Prahctical mahn_ he probably pronounces it.) No. 5. (gilt-edged,
sweet-scented)--"more sentiment,"--"heart's outpourings."----

My dear friends, one and all, I can do nothing but report such remarks
as I happen to have made at our breakfast-table. Their character will
depend on many accidents,--a good deal on the particular persons in
the company to whom they were addressed. It so happens that those
which follow were mainly intended for the divinity-student and the
school-mistress; though others, whom I need not mention, saw fit to
interfere, with more or less propriety, in the conversation. This is one
of my privileges as a talker; and of course, if I was not talking for
our whole company, I don't expect all the readers of this periodical to
be interested in my notes of what was said. Still, I think there may be
a few that will rather like this vein,--possibly prefer it to a livelier
one,--serious young men, and young women generally, in life's roseate
parenthesis from ---- years of age to ---- inclusive.

Another privilege of talking is to misquote.--Of course it wasn't
Proserpina that actually cut the yellow hair,--but _Iris_. It was the
former lady's regular business, but Dido had used herself ungenteelly,
and Madame d'Enfer stood firm on the point of etiquette. So the
bathycolpian Here--Juno, in Latin--sent down Iris instead. But I was
mightily pleased to see that one of the gentlemen that do the heavy
articles for this magazine misquoted Campbell's line without any excuse.
"Waft us _home_ the _message_" of course it ought to be. Will he be duly
grateful for the correction?]

----The more we study the body and the mind, the more we find both to be
governed, not _by_, but _according to_ laws, such as we observe in the
larger universe.--You think you know all about _walking_,--don't you,
now? Well, how do you suppose your lower limbs are held to
your body? They are sucked up by two cupping vessels,
("cotyloid"--cup-like-cavities,) and held there as long as you live, and
longer. At any rate, you think you move them backward and forward at
such a rate as your will determines, don't you? On the contrary, they
swing just as any other pendulums swing, at a fixed rate, determined by
their length. You can alter this by muscular power, as you can take hold
of the pendulum of a clock and make it move faster or slower; but your
ordinary gait is timed by the same mechanism as the movements of the
solar system.

[My friend, the Professor, told me all this, referring me to certain
German physiologists by the name of Weber for proof of the facts, which,
however, he said he had often verified. I appropriated it to my own use;
what can one do better than this, when one has a friend that tells him
anything worth remembering?

The Professor seems to think that man and the general powers of the
universe are in partnership. Some one was saying that it had cost nearly
half a million to move the Leviathan only so far as they had got it
already.--Why,--said the Professor,--they might have hired an EARTHQUAKE
for less money!]

Just as we find a mathematical rule at the bottom of many of the bodily
movements, just so thought may be supposed to have its regular cycles.
Such or such a thought comes round periodically, in its turn. Accidental
suggestions, however, so far interfere with the regular cycles, that we
may find them practically beyond our power of recognition. Take all this
for what it is worth, but at any rate you will agree that there are
certain particular thoughts that do not come up once a day, nor once a
week, but that a year would hardly go round without your having them
pass through your mind. Here is one that comes up at intervals in this
way. Some one speaks of it, and there is an instant and eager smile of
assent in the listener or listeners. Yes, indeed; they have often been
struck by it.

_All at once a conviction flashes through us that we have been in the
same precise circumstances as at the present instant, once or many times

O, dear, yes!--said one of the company,--everybody has had that feeling.

The landlady didn't know anything about such notions; it was an idee in
folks' heads, she expected.

The schoolmistress said, in a hesitating sort of way, that she knew the
feeling well, and didn't like to experience it; it made her think she
was a ghost, sometimes.

The young fellow whom they call John said he knew all about it; he had
just lighted a cheroot the other day, when a tremendous conviction all
at once came over him that he had done just that same thing ever so many
times before. I looked severely at him, and his countenance immediately
fell--_on the side toward me;_ I cannot answer for the other, for he can
wink and laugh with either half of his face without the other half's
knowing it.

----I have noticed--I went on to say--the following circumstances
connected with these sudden impressions. First, that the condition which
seems to be the duplicate of a former one is often very trivial,--one
that might have presented itself a hundred times. Secondly, that the
impression is very evanescent, and that it is rarely, if ever, recalled
by any voluntary effort, at least after any time has elapsed. Thirdly,
that there is a disinclination to record the circumstances, and a sense
of incapacity to reproduce the state of mind in words. Fourthly, I have
often felt that the duplicate condition had not only occurred once
before, but that it was familiar, and, as it seemed, habitual. Lastly, I
have had the same convictions in my dreams.

How do I account for it?--Why, there are several ways that I can
mention, and you may take your choice. The first is that which the
young lady hinted at;--that these flashes are sudden recollections of a
previous existence. I don't believe that; for I remember a poor student
I used to know told me he had such a conviction one day when he was
blacking his boots, and I can't think he had ever lived in another world
where they use Day and Martin.

Some think that Dr. Wigan's doctrine of the brain's being a double
organ, its hemispheres working together like the two eyes, accounts
for it. One of the hemispheres hangs fire, they suppose, and the small
interval between the perceptions of the nimble and the sluggish half
seems an indefinitely long period, and therefore the second perception
appears to be the copy of another, ever so old. But even allowing
the centre of perception to be double, I can see no good reason for
supposing this indefinite lengthening of the time, nor any analogy
that bears it out. It seems to me most likely that the coincidence of
circumstances is very partial, but that we take this partial resemblance
for identity, as we occasionally do resemblances of persons. A momentary
posture of circumstances is so far like some preceding one that
we accept it as exactly the same, just as we accost a stranger
occasionally, mistaking him for a friend. The apparent similarity may be
owing, perhaps, quite as much to the mental state at the time as to the
outward circumstances.

----Here is another of these curiously recurring remarks. I have said it
and heard it many times, and occasionally met with something like it in
books,--somewhere in Bulwer's novels, I think, and in one of the works
of Mr. Olmsted, I know.

_Memory, imagination, old sentiments and associations, are more readily
reached through the sense of SMELL than by almost any other channel._

Of course the particular odors which act upon each person's
susceptibilities differ.--O, yes! I will tell you some of mine.
The smell of _phosphorus_ is one of them. During a year or two of
adolescence I used to be dabbling in chemistry a good deal, and as about
that time I had my little aspirations and passions like another, some
of these things got mixed up with each other: orange-colored fumes
of nitrous acid, and visions as bright and transient; reddening
litmus-paper, and blushing cheeks;--_eheu!_

  "Soles occidere et redire possunt,"

but there is no reagent that will redden the faded roses of eighteen
hundred and----spare them! But, as I was saying, phosphorus fires this
train of associations in an instant; its luminous vapors with their
penetrating odor throw me into a trance; it comes to me in a double
sense "trailing clouds of glory." Only the confounded Vienna matches,
_ohne phosphor-geruch_, have worn my sensibilities a little.

Then there is the _marigold_. When I was of smallest dimensions, and
wont to ride impacted between the knees of fond parental pair, we would
sometimes cross the bridge to the next village-town and stop opposite a
low, brown, "gambrel-roofed" cottage. Out of it would come one Sally,
sister of its swarthy tenant, swarthy herself, shady-lipped, sad-voiced,
and, bending over her flower-bed, would gather a "posy," as she called
it, for the little boy. Sally lies in the churchyard with a slab of blue
slate at her head, lichen-crusted, and leaning a little within the last
few years. Cottage, garden-beds, posies, grenadier-like rows of seedling
onions,--stateliest of vegetables,--all are gone, but the breath of a
marigold brings them all back to me.

Perhaps the herb _everlasting_, the fragrant _immortelle_ of our autumn
fields, has the most suggestive odor to me of all those that set me
dreaming. I can hardly describe the strange thoughts and emotions that
come to me as I inhale the aroma of its pale, dry, rustling flowers. A
something it has of sepulchral spicery, as if it had been brought from
the core of some great pyramid, where it had lain on the breast of
a mummied Pharaoh. Something, too, of immortality in the sad, faint
sweetness lingering so long in its lifeless petals. Yet this does not
tell why it fills my eyes with tears and carries me in blissful thought
to the banks of asphodel that border the River of Life.

----I should not have talked so much about these personal
susceptibilities, if I had not a remark to make about them that I
believe is a new one. It is this. There may be a physical reason for
the strange connection between the sense of smell and the mind. The
olfactory nerve--so my friend, the Professor, tells me--is the only
one directly connected with the hemispheres of the brain, the parts in
which, as we have every reason to believe, the intellectual processes
are performed. To speak more truly, the olfactory "nerve" is not a nerve
at all, he says, but a part of the brain, in intimate connection with
its anterior lobes. Whether this anatomical arrangement is at the bottom
of the facts I have mentioned, I will not decide, but it is curious
enough to be worth remembering. Contrast the sense of taste, as a source
of suggestive impressions, with that of smell. Now the Professor assures
me that you will find the nerve of taste has no immediate connection
with the brain proper, but only with the prolongation of the spinal

[The old gentleman opposite did not pay much attention, I think, to this
hypothesis of mine. But while I was speaking about the sense of smell
he nestled about in his seat, and presently succeeded in getting out a
large red bandanna handkerchief. Then he lurched a little to the other
side, and after much tribulation at last extricated an ample round
snuff-box. I looked as he opened it and felt for the wonted pugil.
Moist rappee, and a Tonka-bean lying therein. I made the manual sign
understood of all mankind that use the precious dust, and presently my
brain, too, responded to the long unused stimulus.----O boys,--that
were,--actual papas and possible grandpapas,--some of you with crowns
like billiard-balls,--some in locks of sable silvered, and some
of silver sabled,--do you remember, as you doze over this, those
after-dinners at the Trois Frères, when the Scotch-plaided snuff-box
went round, and the dry Lundy-Foot tickled its way along into our happy
sensoria? Then it was that the Chambertin or the Clôt Vougêot came in,
slumbering in its straw cradle. And one among you,--do you remember how
he would have a bit of ice always in his Burgundy, and sit tinkling it
against the sides of the bubble-like glass, saying that he was hearing
the cow-bells as he used to hear them, when the deep-breathing kine
came home at twilight from the huckleberry pasture, in the old home a
thousand leagues towards the sunset?]

Ah, me! what strains and strophes of unwritten verse pulsate through my
soul when I open a certain closet in the ancient house where I was born!
On its shelves used to lie bundles of sweet-marjoram and pennyroyal and
lavender and mint and catnip; there apples were stored until their seeds
should grow black, which happy period there were sharp little milk-teeth
always ready to anticipate; there peaches lay in the dark, thinking of
the sunshine they had lost, until, like the hearts of saints that dream
of heaven in their sorrow, they grew fragrant as the breath of angels.
The odorous echo of a score of dead summers lingers yet in those dim

----Do I remember Byron's line about "striking the electric chain"?--To
be sure I do. I sometimes think the less the hint that stirs the
automatic machinery of association, the more easily this moves us. What
can be more trivial than that old story of opening the folio Shakspeare
that used to lie in some ancient English hall and finding the flakes of
Christmas pastry between its leaves, shut up in them perhaps a hundred
years ago? And, lo! as one looks on those poor relics of a bygone
generation, the universe changes in the twinkling of an eye; old George
the Second is back again, and the elder Pitt is coming into power, and
General Wolfe is a fine, promising young man, and over the Channel they
are pulling the Sieur Damiens to pieces with wild horses, and across the
Atlantic the Indians are tomahawking Hirams and Jonathans and Jonases at
Fort William Henry; all the dead people that have been in the dust so
long--even to the stout-armed cook that made the pastry--are alive
again; the planet unwinds a hundred of its luminous coils, and the
precession of the equinoxes is retraced on the dial of heaven! And all
this for a bit of pie-crust!

----I will thank you for that pie,--said the provoking young fellow whom
I have named repeatedly. He looked at it for a moment, and put his hands
to his eyes as if moved.--I was thinking,--he said, indistinctly----

----How? What is't?--said our landlady.

----I was thinking--said he--who was king of England when this old pie
was baked,--and it made me feel bad to think how long he must have been

[Our landlady is a decent body, poor, and a widow, of course; _celà va
sans dire_. She told me her story once; it was as if a grain of corn
that had been ground and bolted had tried to individualize itself by a
special narrative. There was the wooing and the wedding,--the start in
life,--the disappointment,--the children she had buried,--the struggle
against fate,--the dismantling of life, first of its small luxuries, and
then of its comforts,--the broken spirits,--the altered character of the
one on whom she leaned,--and at last the death that came and drew the
black curtain between her and all her earthly hopes.

I never laughed at my landlady after she had told me her story, but I
often cried,--not those pattering tears that run off the eaves upon our
neighbors' grounds, the _stillicidium_ of self-conscious sentiment, but
those which steal noiselessly through their conduits until they reach
the cisterns lying round about the heart; those tears that we weep
inwardly with unchanging features;--such I did shed for her often when
the imps of the boarding-house Inferno tugged at her soul with their
red-hot pincers.]

Young man,--I said,--the pasty you speak lightly of is not old, but
courtesy to those who labor to serve us, especially if they are of the
weaker sex, is very old, and yet well worth retaining. The pasty looks
to me as if it were tender, but I know that the hearts of women are so.
May I recommend to you the following caution, as a guide, whenever you
are dealing with a woman, or an artist, or a poet;--if you are handling
an editor or politician, it is superfluous advice. I take it from the
back of one of those little French toys which contain paste-board
figures moved by a small running stream of fine sand; Benjamin Franklin
will translate it for you: "_Quoiqu'elle soit très solidement montée, il
faut ne pas BRUTALISER la machine_."--I will thank you for the pie, if
you please.

[I took more of it than was good for me,--as much as 85°, I should
think,--and had an indigestion in consequence. While I was suffering
from it, I wrote some sadly desponding poems, and a theological essay
which took a very melancholy view of creation. When I got better I
labelled them all "Pie-crust," and laid them by as scarecrows and solemn
warnings. I have a number of books on my shelves that I should like
to label with some such title; but, as they have great names on their
title-pages,--Doctors of Divinity, some of them,--it wouldn't do.]

----My friend, the Professor, whom I have mentioned to you once or
twice, told me yesterday that somebody had been abusing him in some of
the journals of his calling. I told him that I didn't doubt he deserved
it; that I hoped he did deserve a little abuse occasionally, and would
for a number of years to come; that nobody could do anything to make
his neighbors wiser or better without being liable to abuse for it;
especially that people hated to have their little mistakes made fun of,
and perhaps he had been doing something of the kind.--The Professor
smiled.--Now, said I, hear what I am going to say. It will not take many
years to bring you to the period of life when men, at least the majority
of writing and talking men, do nothing but praise. Men, like peaches and
pears, grow sweet a little while before they begin to decay--I don't
know what it is,--whether a spontaneous change, mental or bodily, or
whether it is thorough experience of the thanklessness of critical
honesty,--but it is a fact, that most writers, except sour and
unsuccessful ones, tired of finding fault at about the time when they
are beginning to grow old. As a general thing, I would not give a great
deal for the fair words of a critic, if he is himself an author, over
fifty years of age. At thirty we are all trying to cut our names in big
letters upon the walls of this tenement of life; twenty years later we
have carved it, or shut up our jack-knives. Then we are ready to help
others, and care less to hinder any, because nobody's elbows are in our
way. So I am glad you have a little life left; you will be saccharine
enough in a few years.

----Some of the softening effects of advancing age have struck me very
much in what I have heard or seen here and elsewhere. I just now spoke
of the sweetening process that authors undergo. Do you know that in the
gradual passage from maturity to helplessness the harshest characters
sometimes have a period in which they are gentle and placid as young
children? I have heard it said, but I cannot be sponsor for its truth,
that the famous chieftain, Lochiel, was rocked in a cradle like a baby,
in his old age. An old man, whose studies had been of the severest
scholastic kind, used to love to hear little nursery-stories read over
and over to him. One who saw the Duke of Wellington in his last years
describes him as very gentle in his aspect and demeanor. I remember
a person of singularly stern and lofty bearing who became remarkably
gracious and easy in all his ways in the later period of his life.

And that leads me to say that men often remind me of pears in their way
of coming to maturity. Some are ripe at twenty, like human Jargonelles,
and must be made the most of, for their day is soon over. Some come
into their perfect condition late, like the autumn kinds, and they last
better than the summer fruit. And some, that, like the Winter-Nelis,
have been hard and uninviting until all the rest have had their season,
get their glow and perfume long after the frost and snow have done
their worst with the orchards. Beware of rash criticisms; the rough and
astringent fruit you condemn may be an autumn or a winter pear, and that
which you picked up beneath the same bough in August may have been only
its worm-eaten windfalls. Milton was a Saint-Germain with a graft of the
roseate Early-Catherine. Rich, juicy, lively, fragrant, russet-skinned
old Chaucer was an Easter-Beurré; the buds of a new summer were swelling
when he ripened.

----There is no power I envy so much--said the divinity-student--as that
of seeing analogies and making comparisons. I don't understand how it is
that some minds are continually coupling thoughts or objects that seem
not in the least related to each other, until all at once they are put
in a certain light, and you wonder that you did not always see that they
were as like as a pair of twins. It appears to me a sort of miraculous

[He is rather a nice young man, and I think has an appreciation of the
higher mental qualities remarkable for one of his years and training.
I try his head occasionally as housewives try eggs,--give it an
intellectual shake and hold it up to the light, so to speak, to see
if it has life in it, actual or potential, or only contains lifeless

You call it _miraculous_,--I replied,--tossing the expression with my
facial eminence, a little smartly, I fear.--Two men are walking by the
poly-phloesboean ocean, one of them having a small tin cup with which he
can scoop up a gill of sea-water when he will, and the other nothing but
his hands, which will hardly hold water at all,--and you call the tin
cup a miraculous possession!

It is the ocean that is the miracle, my infant apostle! Nothing is
clearer than that all things are in all things, and that just according
to the intensity and extension of our mental being we shall see the many
in the one and the one in the many. Did Sir Isaac think what he was
saying when he made _his_ speech about the ocean,--the child and the
pebbles, you know? Did he mean to speak slightingly of a pebble? Of
a spherical solid which stood sentinel over its compartment of space
before the stone that became the pyramids had grown solid, and has
watched it until now! A body which knows all the currents of force that
traverse the globe; which holds by invisible threads to the ring of
Saturn and the belt of Orion! A body from the contemplation of which an
archangel could infer the entire inorganic universe as the simplest of
corollaries! A throne of the all-pervading Deity, who has guided its
every atom since the rosary of heaven was strung with beaded stars!

So,--to return to _our_ walk by the ocean,--if all that poetry has
dreamed, all that insanity has raved, all that maddening narcotics have
driven through the brains of men, or smothered passion nursed in
the fancies of women,--if the dreams of colleges and convents and
boarding-schools,--if every human feeling that sighs, or smiles, or
curses, or shrieks, or groans, should bring all their innumerable
images, such as come with every hurried heart-beat,--the epic that held
them all, though its letters filled the zodiac, would be but a cupful
from the infinite ocean of similitudes and analogies that rolls through
the universe.

[The divinity-student honored himself by the way in which he received
this. He did not swallow it at once, neither did he reject it; but he
took it as a pickerel takes the bait, and carried it off with him to his
hole (in the fourth story) to deal with at his leisure.]

--Here is another remark made for his especial benefit.--There is a
natural tendency in many persons to run their adjectives together
in _triads_, as I have heard them called,--thus: He was honorable,
courteous, and brave; she was graceful, pleasing, and virtuous. Dr.
Johnson is famous for this; I think it was Bulwer who said you could
separate a paper in the "Rambler" into three distinct essays. Many
of our writers show the same tendency,--my friend, the Professor,
especially. Some think it is in humble imitation of Johnson,--some that
it is for the sake of the stately sound only. I don't think they get
to the bottom of it. It is, I suspect, an instinctive and involuntary
effort of the mind to present a thought or image with the _three
dimensions_ that belong to every solid,--an unconscious handling of an
idea as if it had length, breadth, and thickness. It is a great deal
easier to say this than to prove it, and a great deal easier to dispute
it than to disprove it. But mind this: the more we observe and study,
the wider we find the range of the automatic and instinctive principles
in body, mind, and morals, and the narrower the limits of the
self-determining conscious movement.

----I have often seen piano-forte players and singers make such strange
motions over their instruments or song-books that I wanted to laugh at
them. "Where did our friends pick up all these fine ecstatic airs?" I
would say to myself. Then I would remember My Lady in "Marriage a la
Mode," and amuse myself with thinking how affectation was the same thing
in Hogarth's time and in our own. But one day I bought me a Canary-bird
and hung him up in a cage at my window. By-and-by he found himself at
home, and began to pipe his little tunes; and there he was, sure enough,
swimming and waving about, with all the droopings and liftings and
languishing side-turnings of the head that I had laughed at. And now I
should like to ask, WHO taught him all this?--and me, through him, that
the foolish head was not the one swinging itself from side to side and
bowing and nodding over the music, but that other which was passing its
shallow and self-satisfied judgment on a creature made of finer clay
than the frame which carried that same head upon its shoulders?

----Do you want an image of the human will, or the self-determining
principle, as compared with its prearranged and impassable restrictions?
A drop of water, imprisoned in a crystal; you may see such a one in any
mineralogical collection. One little fluid particle in the crystalline
prism of the solid universe!

----Weaken moral obligations?--No, not weaken, but define them. When I
preach that sermon I spoke of the other day, I shall have to lay down
some principles not fully recognized in some of your text-books.

I should have to begin with one most formidable preliminary. You saw an
article the other day in one of the journals, perhaps, in which some old
Doctor or other said quietly that patients were very apt to be fools and
cowards. But a great many of the clergyman's patients are not only fools
and cowards, but also liars.

[Immense sensation at the table.--Sudden retirement of the angular
female in oxydated bombazine. Movement of adhesion--as they say in the
Chamber of Deputies--on the part of the young fellow they call John.
Falling of the old-gentleman-opposite's lower jaw--(gravitation is
beginning to get the better of him). Our landlady to Benjamin Franklin,
briskly,--Go to school right off, there's a good boy! Schoolmistress
curious,--takes a quick glance at divinity-student. Divinity-student
slightly flushed; draws his shoulders back a little, as if a big
falsehood--or truth--had hit him in the forehead. Myself calm.]

----I should not make such a speech as that, you know, without having
pretty substantial indorsers to fall back upon, in case my credit should
be disputed. Will you run up stairs, Benjamin Franklin, (for B.F. had
_not_ gone right off, of course,) and bring down a small volume from the
left upper corner of the right-hand shelves?

[Look at the precious little black, ribbed-backed, clean-typed,
vellum-papered 32mo. "DESIDERII ERASMI COLLOQUIA. Amstelodami. Typis
Ludovici Elzevirii. 1650." Various names written on title-page. Most
conspicuous this: Gul. Cookeson: E. Coll. Oum. Anim. 1725. Oxon.

----O William Cookeson, of All-Souls College, Oxford,--then writing as I
now write,--now in the dust, where I shall lie,--is this line all that
remains to thee of earthly remembrance? Thy name is at least once more
spoken by living men;--is it a pleasure to thee? Thou shalt share with
me my little draught of immortality,--its week, its month, its year,
whatever it may be,--and then we will go together into the solemn
archives of Oblivion's Uncatalogued Library!]

----If you think I have used rather strong language, I shall have
to read something to you out of the book of this keen and witty
scholar,--the great Erasmus,--who "laid the egg of the Reformation which
Luther hatched." Oh, you never read his _Naufragium_, or "Shipwreck,"
did you? Of course not; for, if you had, I don't think you would have
given me credit--or discredit--for entire originality in that speech
of mine. That men are cowards in the contemplation of futurity he
illustrates by the extraordinary antics of many on board the sinking
vessel; that they are fools, by their praying to the sea, and making
promises to bits of wood from the true cross, and all manner of similar
nonsense; that they are fools, cowards, and liars all at once, by this
story: I will put it into rough English for you,--"I couldn't help
laughing to hear one fellow bawling out, so that he might be sure to be
heard, a promise to Saint Christopher of Paris--the monstrous statue in
the great church there--that he would give him a wax taper as big as
himself. 'Mind what you promise!' said an acquaintance that stood near
him, poking him with his elbow; 'you couldn't pay for it, if you sold
all your things at auction.' 'Hold your tongue, you donkey!' said
the fellow,--but softly, so that Saint Christopher should not hear
him,--'do you think I'm in earnest? If I once get my foot on dry ground,
catch me giving him so much as a tallow candle!'"

Now, therefore, remembering that those who have been loudest in their
talk about the great subject of which we were speaking have not
necessarily been wise, brave, and true men, but, on the contrary, have
very often been wanting in one or two or all of the qualities these
words imply, I should expect to find a good many doctrines current in
the schools which I should be obliged to call foolish, cowardly, and

----So you would abuse other people's beliefs, Sir, and yet not tell us
your own creed!--said the divinity-student, coloring up with a spirit
for which I liked him all the better.

----I have a creed,--I replied;--none better, and none shorter. It is
told in two words,--the two first of the Paternoster. And when I say
these words I mean them. And when I compared the human will to a drop
in a crystal, and said I meant to _define_ moral obligations, and not
weaken them, this was what I intended to express: that the fluent,
self-determining power of human beings is a very strictly limited agency
in the universe. The chief planes of its enclosing solid are, of course,
organization, education, condition. Organization may reduce the power
of the will to nothing, as in some idiots; and from this zero the scale
mounts upwards by slight gradations. Education is only second to nature.
Imagine all the infants born this year in Boston and Timbuctoo to change
places! Condition does less, but "Give me neither poverty nor riches"
was the prayer of Agur, and with good reason. If there is any
improvement in modern theology, it is in getting out of the region
of pure abstractions and taking these every-day working forces into
account. The great theological question now heaving and throbbing in the
minds of Christian men is this:--

No, I won't talk about these things now. My remarks might be repeated,
and it would give my friends pain to see with what personal incivilities
I should be visited. Besides, what business has a mere boarder to be
talking about such things at a breakfast-table? Let him make puns. To
be sure, he was brought up among the Christian fathers, and learned his
alphabet out of a quarto "Concilium Tridentinum." He has also heard many
thousand theological lectures by men of various denominations; and it
is not at all to the credit of these teachers, if he is not fit by this
time to express an opinion on theological matters.

I know well enough that there are some of you who had a great deal
rather see me stand on my head than use it for any purpose of thought.
Does not my friend, the Professor, receive at least two letters a week,
requesting him to ..... .. ..... .. .. ...,--on the strength of some
youthful antic of his, which, no doubt, authorizes the intelligent
constituency of autograph-hunters to address him as a harlequin?

----Well, I can't be savage with you for wanting to laugh, and I like to
make you laugh, well enough, when I can. But then observe this: if the
sense of the ridiculous is one side of an impressible nature, it is very
well; but if that is all there is in a man, he had better have been an
ape at once, and so have stood at the head of his profession. Laughter
and tears are meant to turn the wheels of the same machinery of
sensibility; one is wind-power, and the other water-power; that is all.
I have often heard the Professor talk about hysterics as being Nature's
cleverest illustration of the reciprocal convertibility of the two
states of which these acts are the manifestations; but you may see it
every day in children; and if you want to choke with stifled tears at
sight of the transition, as it shows itself in older years, go and see
Mr. Blake play _Jesse Rural_.

It is a very dangerous thing for a literary man to indulge his love for
the ridiculous. People laugh _with_ him just long as he amuses them; but
if he attempts to be serious, they must still have their laugh, and so
they laugh _at_ him. There is in addition, however, a deeper reason for
this than would at first appear. Do you know that you feel a little
superior to every man who makes you laugh, whether by making faces or
verses? Are you aware that you have a pleasant sense of patronizing him,
when you condescend so far as to let him turn somersets, literal or
literary, for your royal delight? Now if a man can only be allowed to
stand on a dais, or raised platform, and look down on his neighbor
who is exerting his talent for him, oh, it is all right!--first-rate
performance!--and all the rest of the fine phrases. But if all at once
the performer asks the gentleman to come upon the floor, and, stepping
upon the platform, begins to talk down at him,--ah, that wasn't in the

I have never forgotten what happened when Sydney Smith--who, as
everybody knows, was an exceedingly sensible man, and a gentleman, every
inch of him--ventured to preach a sermon on the Duties of Royalty. The
"Quarterly," "so savage and tartarly," came down upon him in the most
contemptuous style, as "a joker of jokes," a "diner-out of the first
water," in one of his own phrases; sneering at him, insulting him, as
nothing but a toady of a court, sneaking behind the anonymous, would
ever have been mean enough to do to a man of his position and genius, or
to any decent person even. If I were giving advice to a young fellow of
talent, with two or three facets to his mind, I would tell him by all
means to keep his wit in the background until after he had made a
reputation by his more solid qualities. And so to an actor: _Hamlet_
first, and _Bob Logic_ afterwards, if you like; but don't think, as they
say poor Liston used to, that people will be ready to allow that you can
do anything great with _Macbeth's_ dagger after flourishing about with
_Paul Pry's_ umbrella. Do you know, too, that the majority of men look
upon all who challenge their attention,--for a while, at least,--as
beggars, and nuisances? They always try to get off as cheaply as they
can; and the cheapest of all things they can give a literary man--pardon
the forlorn pleasantry!--is the _funny_-bone. That is all very well so
far as it goes, but satisfies no man, and makes a good many angry, as I
told you on a former occasion.

----Oh, indeed, no! I am not ashamed to make you laugh, occasionally. I
think I could read you something I have in my desk that would probably make
you smile. Perhaps I will read it one of these days, if you are patient
with me when I am sentimental and reflective; not just now. The
ludicrous has its place in the universe; it is not a human invention,
but one of the Divine idea; illustrated in the practical jokes of
kittens and monkeys long before Aristophanes or Shakspeare. How curious
it is that we always consider solemnity and the absence of all gay
surprises and encounter of wits as essential to the idea of the future
life of those whom we thus deprive of half their faculties and then
call _blessed!_ There are not a few who, even in this life, seem to be
preparing themselves for that smileless eternity to which they look
forward, by banishing all gayety from their hearts and all joyousness
from their countenances. I meet one such in the street not unfrequently,
a person of intelligence and education, but who gives me (and all that
he passes) such a rayless and chilling look of recognition,--something
as if he were one of Heaven's assessors, come down to "doom" every
acquaintance he met,--that I have sometimes begun to sneeze on the spot,
and gone home with a violent cold, dating from that instant. I don't
doubt he would cut his kitten's tail off, if he caught her playing with
it. Please tell me, who taught her to play with it?

No, no!--give me a chance to talk to you, my fellow-boarders, and you
need not be afraid that I shall have any scruples about entertaining
you, if I can do it, as well as giving you some of my serious thoughts,
and perhaps my sadder fancies. I know nothing in English or any other
literature more admirable than that sentiment of Sir Thomas Browne:

----I find the great thing in this world is not so much where we stand,
as in what direction we are moving. To reach the port of heaven, we must
sail sometimes with the wind and sometimes against it,--but we must
sail, and not drift, nor lie at anchor. There is one very sad thing in
old friendships, to every mind that is really moving onward. It is this:
that one cannot help using his early friends as the seaman uses the log,
to mark his progress. Every now and then we throw an old schoolmate over
the stern with a string of thought tied to him, and look--I am afraid
with a kind of luxurious and sanctimonious compassion--to see the rate
at which the string reels off, while he lies there bobbing up and down,
poor fellow! and we are dashing along with the white foam and bright
sparkle at our bows;--the ruffled bosom of prosperity and progress, with
a sprig of diamonds stuck in it! But this is only the sentimental side
of the matter; for grow we must, if we outgrow all that we love.

Don't misunderstand that metaphor of heaving the log, I beg you. It is
merely a smart way of saying that we cannot avoid measuring our rate of
movement by those with whom we have long been in the habit of comparing
ourselves; and when they once become stationary, we can get our
reckoning from them with painful accuracy. We see just what we were
when they were our peers, and can strike the balance between that and
whatever we may feel ourselves to be now. No doubt we may sometimes be
mistaken. If we change our last simile to that very old and familiar one
of a fleet leaving the harbor and sailing in company for some distant
region, we can get what we want out of it. There is one of our
companions;--her streamers were torn into rags before she had got into
the open sea, then by and by her sails blew out of the ropes one after
another, the waves swept her deck, and as night came on we left her a
seeming wreck, as we flew under our pyramid of canvas. But lo! at
dawn she is still in sight,--it may be in advance of us. Some deep
ocean-current has been moving her on, strong, but silent,--yes, stronger
than these noisy winds that puff our sails until they are swollen as the
cheeks of jubilant cherubim. And when at last the black steam-tug with
the skeleton arms, that comes out of the mist sooner or later and takes
us all in tow, grapples her and goes off panting and groaning with her,
it is to that harbor where all wrecks are refitted, and where, alas! we,
towering in our pride, may never come.

So you will not think I mean to speak lightly of old friendships,
because we cannot help instituting comparisons between our present and
former selves by the aid of those who were what we were, but are not
what we are. Nothing strikes one more, in the race of life, than to see
how many give out in the first half of the course. "Commencement day"
always reminds me of the start for the "Derby," when the beautiful
high-bred three-year olds of the season are brought up for trial. That
day is the start, and life is the race. Here we are at Cambridge, and a
class is just "graduating." Poor Harry! he was to have been there too,
but he has paid forfeit; step out here into the grass back of the
church; ah! there it is:--


But this is the start, and here they are,--coats bright as silk, and
manes as smooth as _eau lustrale_ can make them. Some of the best of the
colts are pranced round, a few minutes each, to show their paces. What
is that old gentleman crying about? and the old lady by him, and the
three girls, all covering their eyes for? Oh, that is _their_ colt that
has just been trotted up on the stage. Do they really think those little
thin legs can do anything in such a slashing sweepstakes as is coming
off in these next forty years? Oh, this terrible gift of second-sight
that comes to some of us when we begin to look through the silvered
rings of the _arcus senilis_!

_Ten years gone_. First turn in the race. A few broken down; two or
three bolted. Several show in advance of the ruck. _Cassock_, a black
colt, seems to be ahead of the rest; those black colts commonly get the
start, I have noticed, of the others, in the first quarter. _Meteor_ has
pulled up.

_Twenty years_. Second corner turned. _Cassock_ has dropped from the
front, and _Judex_, an iron-gray, has the lead. But look! how they have
thinned out! Down flat,--five,--six,--how many? They lie still enough!
they will not get up again in this race, be very sure! And the rest
of them, what a "tailing off"! Anybody can see who is going to

_Thirty years_. Third corner turned. _Dices_, bright sorrel, ridden by
the fellow in a yellow jacket, begins to make play fast; is getting
to be the favorite with many. But who is that other one that has been
lengthening his stride from the first, and now shows close up to the
front? Don't you remember the quiet brown colt _Asteroid_, with the star
in his forehead? That is he; he is one of the sort that lasts; look out
for him! The black "colt," as we used to call him, is in the background,
taking it easy in a gentle trot. There is one they used to call _the
Filly_, on account of a certain feminine air he had; well up, you see;
the Filly is not to be despised, my boy!

_Forty years_. More dropping off,--but places much as before.

_Fifty years_. Race over. All that are on the course are coming in at a
walk; no more running. Who is ahead? Ahead? What! and the winning-post a
slab of white or gray stone standing out from that turf where there is
no more jockeying or straining for victory! Well, the world marks their
places in its betting-book; but be sure that these matter very little,
if they have run as well as they knew how!

----Did I not say to you a little while ago that the universe swam in an
ocean of similitudes and analogies? I will not quote Cowley, or Burns,
or Wordsworth, just now, to show you what thoughts were suggested to
them by the simplest natural objects, such as a flower or a leaf; but I
will read you a few lines, if you do not object, suggested by looking at
a section of one of those chambered shells to which is given the name
of Pearly Nautilus. We need not trouble ourselves about the distinction
between this and the Paper Nautilus, the _Argonauta_ of the ancients.
The name applied to both shows that each has long been compared to
a ship, as you may see more fully in Webster's Dictionary, or the
"Encyclopedia," to which he refers. If you will look into Roget's
Bridgewater Treatise, you will find a figure of one of these shells,
and a section of it. The last will show you the series of enlarging
compartments successively dwelt in by the animal that inhabits the
shell, which is built in a widening spiral. Can you find no lesson in


  This is the ship of pearl, which, poets feign,
    Sails the unshadowed main,--
    The venturous bark that flings
  On the sweet summer wind its purpled wings
  In gulfs enchanted, where the siren sings,
     And coral reefs lie bare,
  Where the cold sea-maids rise to sun their streaming hair.

  Its webs of living gauze no more unfurl;
    Wrecked is the ship of pearl!
    And every chambered cell,
  Where its dim dreaming life was wont to dwell,
  As the frail tenant shaped his growing shell,
    Before thee lies revealed,--
  Its irised ceiling rent, its sunless crypt unsealed!

  Year after year beheld the silent toil
    That spread his lustrous coil;
    Still, as the spiral grew,
  He left the past year's dwelling for the new,
  Stole with soft step its shining archway through,
    Built up its idle door,
  Stretched in his last-found home, and knew the old no more.

  Thanks for the heavenly message brought by thee,
    Child of the wandering sea,
    Cast from her lap, forlorn!
  From thy dead lips a clearer note is born
  Than ever Triton blew from wreathed horn!
    While on mine ear it rings,
  Through the deep caves of thought I hear a voice that sings:--

  Build thee more stately mansions, O my soul,
    As the swift seasons roll!
    Leave thy low-vaulted past!
  Let each new temple, nobler than the last,
  Shut thee from heaven with a dome more vast,
    Till thou at length art free,
  Leaving thine outgrown shell by life's unresting sea!

       *       *       *       *       *


Béranger is certainly the most popular poet there has ever been in
France; there was convincing proof of it at the time of and after
his death. He had not printed anything since 1833, the epoch when he
published the last collection of his poems; when he died, then, on the
16th of July, 1857, he had been silent twenty-four years. He had, it
is true, appeared for a moment in the National Assembly, after the
Revolution of February, 1848; but it was only to withdraw again almost
immediately and to resign his seat. In spite of this long silence and
this retirement, in which he seemed a little forgotten, no sooner did
the news of his last illness spread and it was known that his life was
in danger, than the interest, or we should rather say the anxiety, of
the public was awakened. In the ranks of the people, in the most humble
classes of society, everybody began inquiring about him and asking day
by day for news; his house was besieged by visitors; and as the danger
increased, the crowd gathered, restless, as if listening for his
last sigh. The government, in charging itself with his obsequies and
declaring that his funeral should be celebrated at the cost of the
State, may have been taking a wise precaution to prevent all pretext for
disturbance; but it responded also to a public and popular sentiment. At
sight of the honors paid to this simple poet, with as much distinction
as if he had been a Marshal of France,--at sight of that extraordinary
military pomp, (and in France military pomp is the great sign of
respectability, and has its place whenever it is desired to bestow
special honor,) no one among the laboring population was surprised, and
it seemed to all that Béranger received only what was his due.

And since that time there has been in the French journals nothing but
a succession of hymns to the memory of Béranger, hymns scarcely
interrupted by now and then some cooler and soberer judgments. People
have vied with each other in making known his good deeds done in secret,
his gifts,--we will not call them alms,--for when he gave, he did not
wish that it should have the character of alms, but of a generous,
brotherly help. Numbers of his private letters have been printed; and
one of his disciples has published recollections of his conversations,
under the title of _Mémoires de Béranger_. The same disciple, once a
simple artisan, a shoemaker, we believe, M. Savinien Lapointe, has
also composed _Le petit Évangile de la Jeunesse de Béranger_. M. de
Lamartine, in one of the numbers of his _Cours familier de Littérature_,
has devoted two hundred pages to an account of Béranger and a commentary
on him, and has recalled curious conversations which he had with him in
the most critical political circumstances of the Revolution of 1848. In
short, there has been a rivalry in developing and amplifying the
memory of the national songster, treating him as Socrates was once
treated,--bringing up all his apophthegms, reproducing the dialogues in
which he figured,--going even farther,--carrying him to the very borders
of legend, and evidently preparing to canonize in him one of the Saints
in the calendar of the future.

What is there solid in all this? How much is legitimate, and how much
excessive? Béranger himself seems to have wished to reduce things to
their right proportions, having left behind him ready for publication
two volumes: one being a collection of his last poems and songs; the
other an extended notice, detailing the decisive circumstances of his
poetic and political life, and entitled "My Biography."

The collection of his last songs, let us say it frankly, has not
answered expectation. In reading them, we feel that the poet has grown
old, that he is weary. He complains continually that he has no longer
any voice,--that the tree is dead,--that even the echo of the woods
answers only in prose,--that the source of song is dried up; and says,

  "If Time still make the clock run on,
  He makes it strike no longer."

And unhappily he is right. We find here and there pretty designs, short
felicitous passages, smiling bits of nature; but obscurity, stiffness of
expression, and the dragging in of Fancy by the hair continually mar the
reading and take away all its charm. Even the pieces most highly lauded
in advance, and which celebrate some of the most inspiring moments in
the life of Napoleon,--such as his Baptism, his Horoscope cast by a
Gypsy, and others,--have neither sparkle nor splendor. The prophet is
not intoxicated, and wants enthusiasm. On the theme of Napoleon, Victor
Hugo has done incomparably better; and as to the songs, properly so
called, of this last collection, there are at this moment in France
numerous song-writers (Pierre Dupont and Nadaud, for instance) who have
the ease, the spirit, and the brilliancy of youth, and who would be
able easily to triumph over this forced and difficult elevation of the
Remains of Béranger, if one chose to institute a comparison. We may well
say that youth is youth; to write verses, and especially songs, when one
is old, is to wish still to dance, still to mount a curvetting horse;
one gains no honor by the experiment. Anacreon, we know, succeeded; but
in French, with rhyme and refrain, (that double butterfly-chase,) it
seems to be more difficult.

But in prose, in the Autobiography, the entire Béranger, the Béranger of
the best period, the man of wit, freshness, and sense, is found again;
and it is pleasant to follow him in the story of his life, till now
imperfectly known. He was born at Paris, on the 19th of August, 1780;
and he glories in being a Parisian by birth, saying, that "Paris had not
to wait for the great Revolution of 1789 to be the city of liberty
and equality, the city where misfortune receives, perhaps, the most
sympathy." He came into the world in the house of a tailor, his good
old grandfather, in the Rue Montorgueil,--one of the noisiest of the
Parisian streets, famous for its _restaurants_ and the number of oysters
consumed in them. "Seeing me born," he says, "in one of the dirtiest and
noisiest streets, who would have thought that I should love the woods,
fields, flowers, and birds so much?" It is true that Béranger loved
them,--but he loved them always, as his poems show, like a Parisian and
child of the Rue Montorgueil. A pretty enclosure, as many flowers and
hedges as there are in the Closerie des Lilas, a little garden,
a courtyard surrounded by apple-trees, a path winding beside
wheat-fields,--these were enough for him. His Muse, we feel, has never
journeyed, never soared, never beheld its first horizon in the Alps, the
ocean, or the illimitable prairie. Lamartine, born in the country, amid
all the wealth of the old rural and patriarchal life, had a right to
oppose him, to put his own first instincts as poet in contrast with his,
and to say to him, "I was born among shepherds; but you, you were born
among citizens, among proletaries." Béranger loved the country as people
love it on a Sunday at Paris, in walks just without the suburbs. How
different from Burns, that other poet of the people, with whom he has
sometimes been compared! But, on the other hand, Béranger loved
the dweller in the city, the mechanic, the _ouvrier_, industrious,
intellectual, full of enthusiasm and also of imprudence, passionate,
with the heart of a soldier, and with free, adventurous ideas. He loved
him even in his faults, aided him in his poverty, consoled him with his
songs. Before all things he loved the street, and the street returned
his love.

His father was a careless, dissipated man, who had tried many
employments, and who strove to rise from the ranks of the people without
having the means. His mother was a pretty woman, a dress-maker, and
thorough _grisette_, whom his father married for her beauty, and who
left her husband six months after their marriage and never gave a
thought to her child. The little Béranger, born with difficulty and only
with the aid of instruments, put out to nurse in the neighborhood of
Auxerre, and forgotten for three years, was the object of no motherly
cares. He may be said never to have had a mother. His Muse always showed
traces of this privation of a mother's smile. The sentiment of home, of
family, is not merely absent from his poems,--it is sometimes shocked by

Returning to his grandparents in Paris, and afterwards sent to a school
in the Faubourg Saint-Antoine, where, on the 14th of July, 1789, he saw
the Bastille taken, he pursued his primary studies very irregularly. He
never learned Latin, a circumstance which always prejudiced him. Later
in life, he sometimes blushed at not knowing it, and yet mentioned the
fact so often as almost to make one believe he was proud of it. The
truth is, that this want of classical training must have been felt
more painfully by Béranger than it would have been by almost any other
person; for Béranger was a studied poet, full of combinations, of
allusion and artifice, even in his pleasantry,--a delicate poet,
moreover, of the school of Boileau and Horace.

The _pension_ in the Faubourg Saint-Antoine, even, was too much for the
narrow means of his father. He was taken away and sent to Péronne, in
Picardy, to an aunt who kept an inn in one of the suburbs, at the sign
of the Royal Sword. It was while he was with this excellent person, who
had a mind superior to her condition, that he began to form himself
by the reading of good French authors. His intelligence was not less
aroused by the spectacle of the events which were passing under his
eyes. The Terror, the invasion by the armies of the Coalition, the roar
of cannon, which could be heard at this frontier town, inspired him
with a patriotism which was always predominant in him, and which at all
decisive crises revived so strongly as even to silence and eclipse for
the moment other cherished sentiments which were only less dear.

"This love of country," said he, emphatically, "was the great, I should
say the only, passion of my life." It was this love which was his best
inspiration as poet,--love of country, and with it of equality. Out of
devotion to these great objects of his worship, he will even consent
that the statue of Liberty be sometimes veiled, when there is a
necessity for it. That France should be great and glorious, that she
should not cease to be democratic, and to advance toward a democracy
more and more equitable and favorable to all,--such were the aspirations
and the programme of Béranger. He goes so far as to say that in his
childhood he had an aversion, almost a hatred, for Voltaire, on account
of the insult to patriotism in his famous poem of _La Pucelle_; and that
afterwards, even while acknowledging all his admirable qualities and the
services he rendered to the cause of humanity, he could acquire only a
very faint taste for his writing. This is a striking singularity,
if Béranger does not exaggerate it a little; it is almost an
ingratitude,--for Voltaire is one of his nearest and most direct

There is, indeed, a third passion which disputes with those for country
and equality the heart of Béranger, and which he shares fully with
Voltaire,--the hatred, namely, we will not say of Christianity, but
of religious hypocrisy, of Jesuitic Tartufery. What Voltaire did in
innumerable pamphlets, _facetioe_, and philosophic diatribes, Béranger
did in songs. He gave a refrain, and with it popular currency to the
anti-clerical attacks and mockeries of Voltaire; he set them to his
violin and made them sing with the horsehair of his bow. Béranger was in
this respect only the minstrel of Voltaire.

Bold songs against hypocrites, the Reverend Fathers and the Tartufes, so
much in favor under the Restoration, and some which carry the attack yet
higher, and which sparkle with the very spirit of buffoonery, like _Le
Bâtard du Pape_; beautiful patriotic songs, like _Le vieux Drapeau_;
and beautiful songs of humanity and equality, like _Le vieux
Vagabond_;--these are the three chief branches which unite and
intertwine to make the poetic crown of Béranger in his best days,
and they had their root in passions which with him were profound and
living,--hatred of superstition, love of country, love of humanity and

His aunt at Péronne was superstitious, and during thunder-storms had
recourse to all kinds of expedients, such as signs of the cross,
holy-water, and the like. One day the lightning struck near the house
and knocked down young Béranger, who was standing on the door-step. He
was insensible for some time, and they thought him killed. His first
words, on recovering consciousness, were, "Well, what good did your
holy-water do?"

At Péronne he finished his very irregular course of study at a kind of
primary school founded by a philanthropic citizen. During the Directory,
attempts were made all over France to get up free institutions for the
young, on plans more or less reasonable or absurd, by men who had fed
upon Rousseau's _Émile_ and invented variations upon his system. On
leaving school, Béranger was placed with a printer in the city, where
he became a journeyman printer and compositor, which has occasioned
his being often compared to Franklin,--a comparison of which he is
not unworthy, in his love for the progress of the human race, and the
piquant and ingenious turn he knew how to give to good sense. From this
first employment as printer Béranger acquired and retained great nicety
in language and grammar. He insisted on it, in his counsels to the
young, more than seems natural in a poet of the people. He even
exaggerated its importance somewhat, and might seem a purist.

Béranger's father reappeared suddenly during the Directory and reclaimed
his son, whom he carried to Paris. The father had formed connections in
Brittany with the royalists. He had become steward of the household
of the Countess of Bourmont, mother of the famous Bourmont who was
afterwards Marshal of France and Minister of War. Bourmont himself, then
young, was living in Paris, in order the better to conspire for the
restoration of the Bourbons. The elder Béranger was neck-deep in these
intrigues, and was even prosecuted after the discovery of one of the
numerous conspiracies of the day, but acquitted for want of proof. He
was the banker and money-broker of the party,--a wretched banker enough!
The narrative of the son enables us to see what a miserable business
the father was engaged in. This near view of political intriguers, of
royalists driven to all manner of expedients and standing at bay, of
adventurers who did not shrink from the use of any means, not even the
infernal-machine, did not dispose the young man already imbued with
republican sentiments to change them, and this initiation into the
secrets of the party was not likely to inspire him with much respect for
the future Restoration. He had too early seen men and things behind the
scenes. His father, in consequence of his swindling transactions, made a
bankruptcy, which reduced the son to poverty and filled him with grief
and shame.

He was now twenty years old; he had courage and hope, and he already
wrote verses on all sorts of subjects,--serious, religious, epic, and
tragic. One day, when he was in especial distress, he made up a little
packet of his best verses and sent them to Lucien Bonaparte, with a
letter, in which he set forth his unhappy situation. Lucien loved
literature, and piqued himself on being author and poet. He was pleased
with the attempts of the young man, and made him a present of the salary
of a thousand or twelve hundred francs to which he was entitled as
member of the Institute. It was Béranger's first step out of the poverty
in which he had been plunged for several years, and he was indebted for
the benefit to a Bonaparte, and to the most republican Bonaparte of the
family. He was always especially grateful for it to Lucien, and somewhat
to the Bonapartes in general.

Receiving a small appointment in the bureau of the University through
the intervention of the Academician Arnault, a friend of Lucien
Bonaparte, Béranger lived gayly during the last six years of the Empire.
He managed to escape the conscription, and never shouldered a musket. He
reserved himself to sing of military glory at a later day, but had no
desire to share in it as soldier. He was elected into a singing club
called _The Cellar_, all of whose members were songwriters and good
fellows, presided over by Désaugiers, the lord of misrule and of jolly
minstrels. Béranger, after his admission to the _Caveau_, at first
contended with Désaugiers in his own style, but already a ground of
seriousness and thought showed through his gayety. He wrote at this
time his celebrated song of the _Roi d'Yvetot_, in which, while he
caricatured the little play-king, the king in the cotton nightcap, he
seemed to be slyly satirizing the great conquering Emperor himself.

The Empire fell, and Béranger hesitated for some time to take part
against the Bourbons. It was not till after the battle of Waterloo and
the return of Louis XVIII. under convoy of the allied armies, that he
began to feel the passion of patriotism blaze up anew within him and
dictate stinging songs which soon became darts of steel. Meanwhile he
wrote pretty songs, in which a slight sentiment of melancholy mingled
with and heightened the intoxication of wine and pleasure. _La bonne
Vieille_ is his _chef-d'oeuvre_ in this style. He arranged the design of
these little pieces carefully, sketching his subjects beforehand, and
herein belongs to the French school, that old classic school which left
nothing to chance. He composed his couplets slowly, even those
which seem the most easy. Commonly the song came to him through the
refrain;--he caught the butterfly by the wings;--when he had seized the
refrain, he finished at intervals, and put in the nicer shadings at
leisure. He wrote hardly ten songs a year at the time of his greatest
fecundity. It has since been remarked that they smell of the lamp here
and there; but at first no one had eyes except for the rose, the vine,
and the laurel.

The Bourbons, brought back for the second time in 1815, committed all
manner of blunders: they insulted the remains of the old _grande armée_;
they shot Marshal Ney and many others; a horrible royalist reaction
ensanguined the South of France. The Jesuit party insinuated itself at
Court, and assumed to govern as in the high times of the confessors of
Louis XIV. It was hoped to conquer the spirit of the Revolution, and to
drive modern France back to the days before 1789; hence thousands of
hateful things impossible to be realized, and thousands of ridiculous
ones. Towards 1820 the liberal opposition organized itself in the
Chambers and in the press. The Muse of Béranger came to its assistance
under the mask of gay raillery. He was the angry bee that stung flying,
and whose stings are not harmless; nay, he would fain have made them
mortal to the enemy. He hated even Louis XVIII., a king who was esteemed
tolerably wise, and more intelligent than his party. "I stick my pins,"
said Béranger, "into the calves of Louis XVIII." One must have seen
the fat king in small-clothes, his legs as big as posts and round as
pin-cushions, to appreciate all the point of the epigram.

Béranger had been very intimate since 1815 with the Deputy Manuel, a man
of sense and courage, but very hostile to the Bourbons, and who, for
words spoken from the Tribune, was expelled from the Chamber of Deputies
and declared incapable of reëlection. Though intimate with many
influential members of the opposition, such as Laffitte the banker, and
General Sebastiani, it was only with Manuel that Béranger perfectly
agreed. It is by his side, in the same tomb, that he now reposes in Père
la Chaise, and after the death of Manuel he always slept on the mattress
upon which his friend had breathed his last. Manuel and Béranger
were ultra-inimical to the Restoration. They believed that it was
irreconcilable with the modern spirit of France, with the common sense
of the new form of society, and they accordingly did their best to goad
and irritate it, never giving it any quarter. At certain times, other
opposition deputies, such as General Foy, would have advised a more
prudent course, which would not have rendered the Bourbons impossible
by attacking them so fiercely as to push them to extremes. However
this might have been, poetry is always more at home in excess than in
moderation. Béranger was all the more a poet at this period, that he was
more impassioned. The Bourbons and the Jesuits, his two most violent
antipathies, served him well, and made him write his best and most
spirited songs. Hence his great success. The people, who never perceive
nice shades of opinion, but love and hate absolutely, at once adopted
Béranger as the singer of its loves and hatreds, the avenger of the old
army, of national glory and freedom, and the inaugurator or prophet of
the future. The spirit prisoned in these little couplets, these tiny
bodies, is of amazing force, and has, one might almost say, a devilish
audacity. In larger compositions, breath would doubtless have failed the
poet,--the greater space would have been an injury to him. Even in songs
he has a constrained air sometimes, but this constraint gave him more
force. He produces the impression of superiority to his class.

Béranger had given up his little post at the University before declaring
open war against the government. He was before long indicted, and in
1822 condemned to several months' imprisonment, for having scandalized
the throne and the altar. His popularity became at once boundless; he
was sensible of it, and enjoyed it. "They are going to indict your
songs," said some one to him. "So much the better!" he replied,--"that
will gilt-edge them." He thought so well of this _gilding_, that in
1828, during the ministry of M. Martignac, a very moderate man and of a
conciliatory semi-liberalism, he found means to get indicted again and
to undergo a new condemnation, by attacks which some even of his friends
then thought untimely. Once again Béranger was impassioned; he declared
his enemies incurable and incorrigible; and soon came the ordinances of
July, 1830, and the Revolution in their train, to prove him right.

In 1830, at the moment when the Revolution took place, the popularity
of Béranger was at its height. His opinion was much deferred to in the
course taken during and after "the three great days." The intimate
friend of most of the chiefs of the opposition who were now in power,
of great influence with the young, and trusted by the people, it was
essential that he should not oppose the plan of making the Duke of
Orleans King. Béranger, in his Biography, speaks modestly of his part
in these movements. In his conversations he attributed a great deal to
himself. He loved to describe himself in the midst of the people who
surrounded the Hôtel of M. Laffitte, going and coming, listening to
each, consulted by all, and continually sent for by Laffitte, who was
confined to his armchair by a swollen foot. Seeing the hesitation
prolonged, he whispered in Laffitte's ear that it was time to decide,
for, if they did not take the Duke of Orleans for King pretty soon, the
Revolution was in danger of turning out an _émeute_. He gave this advice
simply as a patriot, for he was not of the Orleans party. When he came
out, his younger friends, the republicans, reproached him; but he
replied, "It is not a king I want, but only a plank to get over the
stream." He set the first example of disrespect for the plank he thought
so useful; indeed, the comparison itself is rather a contemptuous one.

He afterwards behaved, however, with great sense and wisdom. He declined
all offices and honors, considering his part as political songster at an
end. In 1833 he published a collection in which were remarked some songs
of a higher order, less partisan, and in which he foreshadowed a broader
and more peaceful democracy. After this he was silent, and as he was
continually visited and consulted, he resolved upon leaving Paris for
some years, in order to escape this annoyance. He went first to the
neighborhood of Tours, and then to Fontainebleau; but the free,
conversational life of Paris was too dear to him, and he returned to
live in seclusion, though always much visited by his troops of friends,
and much sought after. In leaving Paris during the first years of Louis
Philippe's reign, and _closing_, as he called it, _his consulting
office_, his chief aim was to escape the questions, solicitations, and
confidences of opposite parties, in all of which he continued to have
many friends who would gladly have brought him over to their way of
thinking. He did not wish to be any longer what he had been so
much,--a consulting politician; but he did not cease to be a practical
philosopher with a crowd of disciples, and a consulting democrat.
Chateaubriand, Lamennais, Lamartine,--the chiefs of parties at first
totally opposed to his own,--came to seek his friendship, and loved to
repose and refresh themselves in his conversation. He enjoyed, a
little mischievously, seeing one of them (Chateaubriand) lay aside his
royalism, another (Lamennais) abjure his Catholicism, and the third
(Lamartine) forget his former aristocracy, in visiting him. He looked
upon this, and justly, as a homage paid to the manners and spirit of the
age, of which he was the humble but inflexible representative.

When the Revolution of 1848 burst unexpectedly, he was not charmed
with it,--nay, it made him even a little sad. Less a republican than
a patriot, he saw immense danger for France, as he knew her, in the
establishment of the pure republican form. He was of opinion that it was
necessary to wear out the monarchy little by little,--that with time and
patience it would fall of itself; but he had to do with an impatient
people, and he lamented it. "We had a ladder to go down by," said he,
"and here we are jumping out of the window!" It was the same sentiment
of patriotism, mingled with a certain almost mystical enthusiasm for
the great personality of Napoleon, nourished and augmented with growing
years, which made him accept the events of 1851-2 and the new Empire.

The religion of Béranger, which was so anti-Catholic, and which seems
even to have dispensed with Christianity, reduced itself to a vague
Deism, which in principle had too much the air of a pleasantry. His
_Dieu des bonnes gens_, which he opposed to the God of the congregation
and the preachers, could not be taken seriously by any one.
Nevertheless, the poet, as he grew older, grew more and more attached
to this symbol of a Deity, indulgent before all else, but very real and
living, and in whom the poor and the suffering could put their trust.
What passed in the days preceding his death has been much discussed, and
many stories are told about it. He received, in fact, some visits from
the curate of the parish of Saint Elizabeth, in which he lived. This
curate had formerly officiated at Passy,--a little village near Paris,
where Béranger had resided,--and was already acquainted with the poet.
The conversations at these visits, according to the testimony of those
best informed, amounted to very little; and the last time the curate
came, just as he was going out, Béranger, already dying, said to
him, "Your profession gives you the right to bless me; I also bless
you;--pray for me, and for all the unfortunate!" The priest and the
old man exchanged blessings,--the benedictions of two honest men, and
nothing more.

Béranger had one rare quality, and it was fundamental with
him,--obligingness, readiness to perform kind offices, humanity carried
to the extent of Charity. He loved to busy himself for others. To some
one who said that time lay heavy on his hands, he answered, "Then you
have never occupied yourself about other people?" "Take more thought
of others than of yourself" was his maxim. And he did so occupy
himself,--not out of curiosity, but to aid, to succor with advice and
with deeds. His time belonged to everybody,--to the humblest, the
poorest, the first stranger who addressed him and told him his sorrows.
Out of a very small income (at most, four or five thousand francs a
year) he found means to give much. He loved, above all, to assist poor
artisans, men of the people, who appealed to him; and he did it always
without wounding the fibre of manhood in them. He loved everything that
wore a blouse. He had, even stronger than the love of liberty, the love
of equality, the great passion of the French.

He spent the last years of his life with an old friend of his youth by
the name of Madame Judith. This worthy person died a few months before
him, and he accompanied her remains to the church. He was seventy-seven
years old when he died.

Estimating and comparing chiefly literary and poetic merits, some
persons in France have been astonished that the obsequies of Béranger
should have been so magnificently celebrated, while, but a few months
before, the coffin of another poet, M. Alfred de Musset, had been
followed by a mere handful of mourners; yet M. de Musset was capable of
tones and flights which in inspiration and ardor surpassed the habitual
range of Béranger. Without attempting here to institute a comparison,
there is one thing essential to be remarked: in Béranger there was not
only a poet, but a man, and the man in him was more considerable than
the poet,--the reverse of what is the case with so many others. People
went to see him, after having heard his songs sung, to tell him how much
they had been applauded and enjoyed,--and, after the first compliments,
found that the poet was a man of sense, a good talker on all subjects,
interested in politics, a wonderful reasoner, with great knowledge
of men, and characterizing them delicately with a few fine and happy
touches. They became sincerely attached to him; they came again, and
delighted to draw out in talk that wisdom armed with epigram, that
experience full of agreeable counsels. His passions had been the talent
of the poet; his good sense gave authority to the man. Even by those
least willing to accept popular idols, Béranger will always be ranked as
one of the subtilest wits of the French school, and as something more
than this,--as one of the acutest servants of free human thought.


How runs the Hindoo saw? "Are we not to milk when there is a cow?" When
India is giving down generous streams of paragraphy to all the greedy
buckets of the press, shall we not hold our pretty pail under? As our
genial young friend, Ensign Isnob, of the "Sappies and Minors," would
say,--"I believe you, me boy!"

Then come with us to Cossitollah, and we'll have a tiffin of talk; some
cloves of adventure, with a capsicum or two of tragic story, shall stand
for the curry; the customs of the country may represent the familiar
rice; a whiff of freshness and fragrance from the Mofussil will be as
the mangoes and the dorians; in the piquancy and grotesqueness of the
first pure Orientalism that may come to hand we shall recognize the
curious chow-chow of the chutney; and as for the beer,--why, we will be
the beer ourselves.

"Kitmudgar, remove that scorpion from the punka, before it drops into
the Sahib's plate.--Hold, miscreant! who told you to kill it?

  "'Take it up tenderly,
  Lift it with care,--
  Fashioned so slenderly,
  Young, and so fair!'

"For know, O Kitmudgar, that there is one beauty of women, and another
beauty of scorpions; and if the beauty of scorpions be to thee as the
ugliness of women, the fault is in thy godless eye.

"'Only a crawling kafir,' sayest thou, O heathen! and straightway goest
about to stick a fork into a political symbol? Verily, the hapless
wretch shall be sacrificed unto Agnee, god of Fire, that a timely
warning may enter into thy purblind soul!

"Here, take this bottle of brandy,--'_Sahib_ brandy,' you
perceive,--genuine old 'London Dock,'--and pour a cordon of ardent
spirits on the table, to 'weave a circle round him thrice.' So! that's
for British Ascendency!

"Now drop your subjugated brother into the midst thereof. See how, in
his senseless, drunken rage, he wriggles and squirms,--then desperately
dashes, and venomously snaps! That's Indian Revolt!

"Quickly, now! light the train; so!--What think you of Anglo-Saxon
power and hereditary pride?

"Oho, my Kitmudgar! you begin to understand!--the living fable is not
lost on you!

"But watch your Great Mogul! Barrackpore, Meerut, Cawnpore, Lucknow,
Delhi,--five imposing plunges, but impotent; for at every point
the Sahib's fatal fire, fire, fire, fire, fire!--insurmountable,
all-subduing 'destiny'!

"Maimed, discomfited, dismayed, shivering, at wits' end, a crippled
wriggler, in the midst of the exulting flames,--there lies your Great

"But see!--the scorpion, brave wretch! with a gladiator's fortitude,
loosens the shameful coil in which its last agonies have twisted it,
fiercely erects its head once more, lashes defiantly with its tail, and
then--_click! click! click!--_stings itself to death.

"And with that ends our figure of speech; for only the pitifulness of
the defeat is the Great Mogul's; the sublimity of suicide is proper to
the scorpion alone.

"Take away the fable, Kitmudgar!"

I lay in bed this morning half an hour after the sun had risen, watching
my Parsee neighbor on his house-top, and thereby lost my drive on the
Esplanade. But I console myself with imagining that the pretty Chee-chee
spinster who comes every morning from Raneemoody Gully in a green
tonjon, and makes romantic eyes at me through the silk curtains, missed
the Boston gentleman with the gray moustache, and was lonesome.

My Parsee neighbor is quite as fat, but by no means as saucy, as ever.
Last week his youngest boy died,--little Kirsajee Samsajee Bonnarjee,
a contemplative young fire-worshipper, with eyes as profound as the
philosophy of Zoroaster. I saw the dismal procession depart from the
house, and my heart ached for the little Gheber.

Four awful creatures, that were like ghosts, clad all in white, solemnly
dumb and veiled, bore him away on an iron bier. When they arrived at the
drawbridge, great sheets of copper were spread before them, and they
crossed upon those; for wood is sacred to their adored Element, and the
touch of "them on whose shoulders the dead doth ride" would pollute it.

So they carried little Kirsajee to Golgotha, their Place of Skulls,
which is a dreary, treeless field, encompassed round about with a blank
wall; and they laid him naked in a stone trough on the edge of a great
pit, and left him there, betaking them, still solemnly veiled and mute,
to their homes again.

All but my Parsee neighbor; he went and sat him down, like Hagar in the
wilderness, over against the dead Kirsajee, "a good way off, as it were
a bowshot"; and he lifted up his voice, and wept for the lad that was
dead. But still he waited there, till the crows and the Brahminee kites
should come to perform the last horrid rites; for to Parsee custom the
sepulture most becoming to men and most acceptable to God is in the
stomachs of the fowls of the air, in the craws of ghoulish vultures and
sacrilegious crows.

And presently there came a great Pondicherry eagle, sniffing the feast
from afar; and he came alone. Swiftly sailing, poised on silent wings,
he circled over Golgotha, circle within circle, circle below circle,
over the child sleeping naked, over the father watching veiled.

One moment he flutters, as for a foothold on the pinnacle of his
purpose; then

        "Like a thunderbolt he falls."

Sitting solemnly on the breast of the dead boy, the "grim, ungainly,
gaunt, and ominous bird" peers with sidelong glance into his face,
gloating; and then--

Immediately my Parsee neighbor uprises in his place, throws aside his
veil, and, shouting, runs forward. The Pondicherry eagle soars screaming
to the clouds, and the sorrow-stricken Gheber bends over the dear
corpse. Is it Heaven or Hell? _the right eye or the left?_ Alas, the

He beats his breast, he falls upon his knees, and cries with frantic
gestures to the setting Sun; but the sullen god only draws a cloud
before his face, and leaves his poor worshipper to despair. Then my
Parsee neighbor arises and girds up his loins, muffles his haggard face
more closely than before, and with dishevelled beard, and chin sadly
sunk upon his breast, turning neither to the right hand nor to the left,
and meeting no man's gaze, wends silently homeward.

To-morrow he will take his wife and go to Bombay, to feed with
consecrated sandal-wood and oil the Sacred Flame the Magi brought from
Persia, when they were driven thence with all their people to Ormuz. But
the name of little Kirsajee will cross their lips no more; his memory is
a forbidden thing in the household; he is as if he never had been.

When Brahminee kite, and adjutant, and white-breasted crow have done
their ghoulish office on little Kirsajee, his bones shall lie bleaching
under the pitiless eye of his people's blazing god, till the rains
come, and fill the pit, and carry the waste of Gheber skeletons by
subterraneous sewers down to the sea. But the Pondicherry eagle took
the _left eye_ first; wherefore the most pious deeds of merit, to be
performed by my Parsee neighbor,--even a hospital for maimed dogs, or
feeding the Sacred Flame with great store of sandal-wood and precious
gums, or tilling the earth with a diligence equivalent to the efficacy
of ten thousand prayers,--can hardly suffice to save the soul of little
Kirsajee, the Forbidden!

       *       *       *       *       *

There is a blood-feud of three months' standing between two members of
our household.

One day, Lootee, the chuprassey's cat, took Tchoop, the khansamah's
monkey, unawares, as he was sunning himself on the house-top, and with
scratching and spitting, sudden and furious, so startled him, that he
threw himself over the parapet into the crowded Cossitollah, and would
have been killed by the fall, had he not chanced to alight on the
voluminous turban of a dandy hurkaru from the Mint. As it was, one of
his arms sustained a compound fracture, and his nerves suffered so
frightful a shock, that it was only by a miracle of surgery, and the
most patient nursing, that he was ever restored to his wonted agility
and sagacity.

But the day of retribution has arrived; Lootee has had kittens. There
were five of them in the original litter; but only one remains. Tchoop
tossed two of them from the house-top when no dandy hurkaru from the
Mint was below to soften the fall; the old adjutant-bird, that for three
years has stood on one leg on the Parsee's godown, gobbled up another as
it lay choked in the south veranda; while the dismayed sirdar found the
head of a fourth jammed inextricably in the neck of his sacred lotah,
wherewith he performs his pious ablutions every morning at the ghaut.

On the other hand, Lootee has made prize of about three inches of
Tehoop's tail, and displays it all over the house for a trophy.--It is a
blood-feud, fierce and implacable as any between Afghans, and there's no
knowing where it will all end.

In Europe the monkey is a cynic, in South America an overworked slave,
in Africa a citizen, but in India an imp,--I mean to the eye of
the Western stranger, for in the estimation of the native he is
mythologically a demigod, and socially a guest. At Ahmedabad, the
capital of Guzerat, there are certainly two--Mr. De Ward says
three--hospitals for sick and lame monkeys, who are therein provided
with salaried physicians, apothecaries, and nurses.

In the famous Hindoo epic, the "Ramayana" of Valmiki,--"by singing and
hearing which continually a man may attain to the highest state of
enjoyment, and be shortly admitted to fraternity with the gods,"--the
exploits of Hoonamunta, the Divine Monkey, are gravely related, with
a dramatic force and figurativeness that hold a street audience
spell-bound; but to the European imagination the childish drollery of
the plot is irrestistible.

Boodhir, the Earth, was beset by giants, demons, and chimeras dire; so
she besought Vishnu, with many tears, and vows of peculiar adoration,
to put forth his strength of arms and arts against her abominable
tormentors, and rout them utterly. The god was gracious; whence his nine
avatars, or incarnations,--as fish, as tortoise, as boar, as man-lion,
as dwarf Brahmin, as Pursuram,--the Brahmin-warrior who overthrew the
Kshatriya, or soldier-caste; the eighth avatar appeared in the person of
Krishna, and the ninth in that of Boodh.

But the seventh incarnation was the avatar of Rama, and it is this that
the "Ramayana" celebrates.

Vishnu proceeds to be born unto Doosurath, King of Ayodhya, (Oude,) as
the Prince Rama, or Ramchundra. Nothing remarkable occurs thereupon
until Rama has attained the marriageable age, when he espouses Seeta,
daughter of the King of Mithili.

Immediately old Mrs. Mithili, our hero's mother-in-law, being of an
intriguing turn of mind, applies herself to the amiable task of worrying
the poor old King of Ayodhya out of his crown or his life; and so well
does she succeed, that Doosurath, for the sake of peace and quietness,
would fain abdicate in favor of his son.

But Rama will have none of his royalty. Was it for bored kings and
mischief-making mothers-in-law, he asks, speaking with the ante-natal
memories of Vishnu, that he came among the sons of men? Not at all! he
has a mission, and he bides his time. For the present he will take his
wife Seeta, whose will is his, and go out into the wilderness, there to
build him a hut of bamboos and banian-boughs and palmyra-leaves, and
be--Seeta and he--two jolly yogees, that is, religious gypsies,--living
on grass-roots, wild rice, and white ants, and being dirty and devout to
their heart's content.

So they went; and for a little while they enjoyed, undisturbed,
their yogeeish ideas of a good time. But by-and-by tidings came to
Rawunna--the giant with ten heads and twice ten arms, that was King
of Lunka (Ceylon)--of the plots of Mrs. Mithili, the disgust of old
Doosurath, the distraction of the kingdom of Ayodhya, and the whimsical
adventure of Rama and Seeta.

And immediately Rawunna, the giant, is seized in all his heads and arms
with a great longing to know what manner of man this Rama may be, that
he should prefer the yogee's breech-cloth to the royal purple, a hut of
leaves, with only his Seeta, to a harem of a hundred wives, white ants
and paddy to the white camel's flesh and golden partridges of Ayodhya's
imperial repasts. Especially is he curious as to the charms of Seeta, as
to the mighty magic wherewithal she renders monogamy acceptable to an
Ayodhyan prince.

By Indra! he will see for himself! So, pleading exhaustion from the
cares of state, and ten headaches of trouble and dyspepsia, he announces
his intention to make an excursion a few hundred coss into the country
for the benefit of his health; and taking twenty carpet-bags in his
hands, he sets out, in his monstrous way, for Ayodhya, leaving his
kingdom in the care of a blue dwarf with an eye in the back of his neck.

With seven-coss strides he comes to Ayodhya, and straightway finds the
banian hut in the forest, where Rama dwells with Seeta in the devout
dirtiness of their jolly yogeery.

The god has gone abroad in search of a dinner, and is over the hills to
the sandy nullahs, where the white ants are fattest; while that greasy
Joan, Seeta, "doth keel the pot" at home.

Then Rawunna, the giant, assuming the shape of a pilgrim yogee rolling
to the Caves of Ellora,--with Gayntree, the mystical text, on his lips,
and the shadow of Siva's beard in his soul,--rolls to Rama's door, and
cries, "Alms, alms, in the name of the Destroyer!"

And Seeta comes forth, with water in a palm-leaf and grass-roots in the
fold of her saree; and when she beholds the false yogee her heart blooms
with pity, so that her smile is as the alighting of butterflies, and her
voice as the rustling of roses.

But, behold you, as she bends over the prostrate yogee, and, saying,
"Drink from the cup of Vishnu!" offers the crisp leaf to his dusty lips,
a great spasm of desire impels the impostor; and, flinging off the
yogee, he leaps erect, Rawunna, the Abhorred!

With ten mouths he kisses her; with twenty arms he clasps her; and away,
away to Lunka! while yet poor Seeta gasps with fear.

When Rama returned and found no Seeta, his soul was seized with a mighty
horror; and a blankness, like unto the mystery of Brahm, fell upon his
heart. He shed not a tear, but the sky wept floods; he uttered not a
groan, but Earth shook from her centre, and the mountains fell on their
faces. But Rama, stupefied, stood stock still where he was stricken, and
stared, till his eyelids stiffened, at the desolate hut, at the desolate

Then all the angels in heaven, who had witnessed the crime of Rawunna,
and his flight, passed into the forms of monkeys; and a million of them
made a monkey chain, that the rest of the celestial host might descend
into the banian-groves of Ayodhya. The tails glide swiftly through each
glowing hand, and quick as lightning on the trees they stand.

And Hoonamunta, their chief, prostrated himself before Rama, and said,
"Behold, my Lord, we are here! I and all my host are yours,--command

But Rama spoke not; he only stood where he was stricken, and stared at
his desolation.

Then Hoonamunta turned him to his host, and said, "Bide here till I
come, and be silent; break not the quiet of divine sorrow." And he went
forth with mighty bounds.

That night he came to Lunka. But the city slept; if Seeta yet lived,
she, too, was silent; no cry of sorrow rose on the night; no stir, as of
an unusual event, disturbed the stillness and the gloom.

So Hoonamunta took upon himself the form of a rat, and sped nimbly
through the huts of dwarfs and the towers of giants, through the
hiding-places of misery and the high seats of power, through the places
of trouble and the places of ease; till at last he came to an ivory
dome, hard by the silver palace of Rawanna, the Monstrous; and there lay
Seeta, buried in a profound trance of despair.

Hoonamunta bit, very tenderly, her slender white finger; but she stirred
not, she made no sign.

Then he whispered softly in her ear, "Rama comes!" and Seeta started
from her death-sleep, and sat erect; her eyes were open, and she cried,
"My Lord, I am here!"

So Hoonamunta spake to her, bidding her be of good cheer, for Brahm was
with her, and the Omnipotent Three,--bade her be of good heart and wait.
And Seeta's smile was as the alighting of many butterflies, and her
voice of murmured joy was as the rustling of all the roses of Ayodhya.

Then Hoonamunta took counsel with his cunning; and he said unto himself,
"I will arouse the sleepers; I will take the strength of the city; I
will count the heads of Rawunna, and the arms of him."

So straightway he resumed his monkey shape, and went forth into the
streets, by the tanks and through the bazaars, among the places of the
oppressed and the places of the powerful.

And he bit the ears of the Pariah dogs, so that they howled; he twisted
the tails of the Brahmin bulls, so that they rushed, bellowing, down to
the ghauts; he plucked the beards of gorged adjutants, till they snapped
their great beaks with a terrible clatter.

He made a great splashing in the tanks; he ran through the bazaars,
banging the gongs of the bell-makers, and smashing the brittle wares of
the potters; he tore holes in the roofs of houses, and threw down tiles
upon them that were buried in slumber; he cried with a loud voice,
"Siva, Siva, the Destroyer, cometh!"

So that the city awoke with a great outcry and a din, with all its
torches and all its dogs. And the multitude filled the streets, and the
compounds, and the open places round about the tanks; and all cried,
"Siva, Siva!"

But when they beheld Hoonamunta, how he tore off roofs, and pelted them
with tiles,--how he climbed to the tops of pagodas, and jangled the
sacred bells,--how he laid his shoulder to the city walls and overthrew
them, so that the noise of their fall was as the roar of the breakers on
the far-off coast of Lunka when the Typhoon blows,--then they cried,
"A demon! a fiend from the halls of Yama!" and they gave chase with a
mighty uproar,--the gooroos, and the yogees, and the jugglers going

Then Hoonamunta took counsel with his cunning; and he came down and
stood in the midst of the angry people, and asked, "What would you with
me? and where is this demon you pursue?"

But they cried, "Hear him, how he mocks us! Hear him, how he flouts us!"
and they dragged him into the presence of Rawunna, the king.

And when the giant would have questioned him, who he was, and whence
he came, and what his mission, he only mocked, and mimicked the
fee-faw-fumness of Rawunna's tones, and said, "Lo! This beggar goes
a-foot, but his words ride in a palanquin!"

And the king said, "I have been foolish, I have been weak, to waste
words on this kafir. Am not I a mighty monarch? Am not I a terrible
giant? Let him be cast out!"

And again Hoonamunta mocked him, saying, "His insanity is past! fetch
him the rice-pounder that he may gird himself! fetch him the gong that
he may cover his feet!"

And Hoonamunta would have sat on the throne, on Rawunna's right hand;
but Rawunna thrust him off, and cursed him.

So Hoonamunta took his tail in his hand, and pulled and pulled; and the
tail grew, and grew,--a fathom, a furlong, a whole coss.

And Hoonamunta coiled it on the floor, a lofty coil, on the right hand
of the throne, higher and higher, till it overlooked the golden cushion
of the king; and Hoonamunta laughed.

Then Rawunna turned him to his counsellors, and said, "What shall we do
with this audacious fellow?"

And with one voice all the counsellors cried, "Burn his tremendous

And the king commanded:--

  "Let all the dwarfs of Lunka
  Bring rags from near and far;
  Call all the dwarfs of Lunka
  To soak them all in tar!"

So they went, and brought as many rags as ten strong giants could lift,
and a thousand maunds of tar.

And they soaked the rags in the tar, even as Kawunna had commanded, and
bound them all at once on the tremendous tail of Hoonamunta.

And when they had done this, the king said, "Lead him forth, and light

And they led him forth into the great Midaun, hard by the triple pagoda;
and they lighted his tail with a torch. And immediately the flames
leaped to the skies, and the smoke filled all the city.

Then Hoonamunta broke away from his captors, and with a loud laugh
started on his fiery race,--over house-tops and hay-ricks, through close
bazaars and dry rice-fields, through the porticoes of palaces and the
porches of pagodas,--kindling a roaring conflagration as he went.

And all the people pursued him, screaming with fear, imploring
mercy, imploring pardon, crying, "Spare us, and we will make you our
high-priest! Spare us, and you shall be our king!"

But Hoonamunta staid not, till, having laid half the city in flames,
he ascended to the top of a lofty tower to survey his work with

Thither the great men of Lunka followed him,--the princes, and the
Brahmins, and the victorious chieftains, the strong giants, and the
cunning dwarfs.

And when they were all gathered underneath the tower, and in the porch
of it, he shook it, till it fell and crushed a thousand of the first

Then Hoonamunta sped away northward to Ayodhya, extinguishing his tail
in the sea as he went.

And when he came to where his army lay, he found them all waiting in
silence. When he entered the hut of Rama, the bereaved one still lay on
his face. But Hoonamunta spake softly in his ear: "My Lord, arise! for
Seeta calls you, and her heart sickens within her that you come not!"

Immediately Rama uprose, and stood erect, and all the god blazed in his
eyes; and he grew in the sight of Hoonamunta until his stature was
as the stature of Rawunna, the giant, and his countenance was as the
countenance of Indra, King of Heaven.

And he went forth, and stood at the head of Hoonamunta's monkey host,
and called for a sword; and when they gave him one, it became alive in
his hand, and was a sword of flame; and when they gave him a spear, lo!
it became his slave, flying whithersoever he bade it, and striking where
he listed.

So Rama and Hoonamunta, with all their monkey host, took up their march
for Lunka.

When they came to the sea (which is the Gulf of Manaar) there was no
bridge; but Rama mounted the back of Hoonamunta, and called to the host
to follow him; and all the monkeys leaped across.

Then immediately they fell upon Lunka; and Rama slew Rawunna, the
Monster, and rescued the delighted Seeta.

And now those three sit together on a throne in heaven,--Seeta, the
faithful wife, on the left hand of Rama,--and Hoonamunta on his right
hand, the shrewd and courageous friend.

Who would not be a monkey in Hindostan?

       *       *       *       *       *


  Oh, that last day in Lucknow fort!
    We knew that it was the last,
  That the enemy's lines crept surely on,
    And the end was coming fast.

  To yield to that foe was worse than death,
    And the men and we all worked on;
  It was one day more of smoke and roar,
    And then it would all be done.

  There was one of us, a corporal's wife,
    A fair, young, gentle thing,
  Wasted with fever in the siege,
    And her mind was wandering.

  She lay on the ground, in her Scottish plaid,
    And I took her head on my knee:
  "When my father comes hame frae the pleugh," she said,
    "Oh! then please wauken me."

  She slept like a child on her father's floor
    In the flecking of woodbine-shade,
  When the house-dog sprawls by the open door,
    And the mother's wheel is staid.

  It was smoke and roar and powder-stench,
    And hopeless waiting for death;
  And the soldier's wife, like a full-tired child,
    Seemed scarce to draw her breath.

  I sank to sleep; and I had my dream
    Of an English village-lane,
  And wall and garden;--but one wild scream
    Brought me back to the roar again.

  There Jessie Brown stood listening
    Till a sudden gladness broke
  All over her face, and she caught my hand
    And drew me near, as she spoke:--

  "The Hielanders! Oh! dinna ye hear
    The slogan far awa?
  The McGregor's? Oh! I ken it weel;
    It's the grandest o' them a'!

  "God bless thae bonny Hielanders!
    We're saved! we're saved!" she cried;
  And fell on her knees; and thanks to God
    Flowed forth like a full flood-tide.

  Along the battery-line her cry
    Had fallen among the men,
  And they started back;--they were there to die;
    But was life so near them, then?

  They listened for life; the rattling fire
    Far off, and the far-off roar,
  Were all; and the colonel shook his head,
    And they turned to their guns once more.

  But Jessie said, "The slogan's done;
    But winna ye hear it noo,
  _The Campbells are comin'_? It's no a dream;
    Our succors hae broken through!"

  We heard the roar and the rattle afar,
    But the pipes we could not hear;
  So the men plied their work of hopeless war,
    And knew that the end was near.

  It was not long ere it made its way,--
    A shrilling, ceaseless sound:
  It was no noise from the strife afar,
    Or the sappers under ground.

  It _was_ the pipes of the Highlanders!
    And now they played _Auld Lang Syne_;
  It came to our men like the voice of God,
    And they shouted along the line.

  And they wept and shook one another's hands,
    And the women sobbed in a crowd;
  And every one knelt down where he stood,
    And we all thanked God aloud.

  That happy time, when we welcomed them,
    Our men put Jessie first;
  And the general gave her his hand, and cheers
    Like a storm from the soldiers burst.

  And the pipers' ribbons and tartans streamed,
    Marching round and round our line;
  And our joyful cheers were broken with tears
    As the pipes played _Auld Lang Syne_.


Dr. Sprague, of Albany, has added to the literature of our country
two large octavo volumes, containing biographical accounts of the
Congregational clergy of New England, from its earliest settlement until
the year 1841. The book has been for the most part compiled from letters
furnished by different individuals, who, either through personal
knowledge or through tradition, had the most intimate acquaintance with
the subjects of which they wrote.

The characters here sketched, though perfectly individual, are in so
great a degree the result of peculiar political influences, that it
would be difficult to suppose their existence elsewhere than in New
England. We have therefore chosen this book as a kind of standpoint from
which to take a glance at the New England clergy and pulpit.

The earliest constitution of government in New England was a theocracy;
it was the realization of Arnold's idea of the identity of Church and
State. Under it the clergy had peculiar powers and privileges, which,
it is but fair to say, they turned to the advantage of the Commonwealth
more than has generally been the case with any privileged order.

A time, however, came when the democratic element, which these men
themselves had fostered, worked out its logical results, by depriving
them of all special immunities, and leaving them, like any other
citizens, to make their way by pure force of character, and to be rated,
like other men, simply for what they were and what they could do.

It is creditable to the intelligence and shrewdness of this body of
men that the more far-sighted among them received this change with
satisfaction; that they were such uncommonly fair logicians as to be
willing to accept the direct inference from principles which they had
been foremost to inculcate, and, like men of strong mind and clear
conscience, were not afraid to rest their claim to influence and
deference on the manfulness with which they should strive to deserve

Dr. Sprague's book contains pictures of life under both the old _régime_
and the new. The following extract from the venerable Josiah Quincy's
recollections of the Rev. Mr. French, of Andover, is interesting, as an
illustration of the olden times.

"Mrs. Dowse, my maternal aunt, has often related to me her pride
and delight at visiting at the Rev. Mr. Phillips', her paternal
grandfather's house, when a child; which was interesting as a statement
of the manners of those early times in Massachusetts, before the sceptre
of worldly power, which the first settlers of the Colony had placed in
the hands of the clergy, had been broken. The period was about between
1760 and the Revolution. The parsonage at Andover was situated about two
or three hundred rods from the meeting-house, which was three stories
high, of immense dimensions, far greater, I should think, than those of
any meeting-houses in these anti-church-going, degenerate times. It was
on a hill, slightly elevated above the parsonage, so that all the flock
could see the pastor as he issued from it.

"Before the time of service, the congregation gradually assembled in
early season, coming on foot or on horseback, the ladies behind their
lords or brothers or one another, on pillions, so that before the time
of service the whole space before the meeting-house was filled with a
waiting, respectful, and expecting multitude. At the moment of service
the pastor issued from his mansion with Bible and manuscript sermon
under his arm, with his wife leaning on one arm, flanked by his negro
man on his side, as his wife was by her negro woman, the little negroes
being distributed according to their sex by the side of their respective
parents. Then followed every other member of the family according to age
and rank, making often, with family visitants, somewhat of a formidable
procession. As soon as it appeared, the congregation, as if moved by one
spirit, began to move towards the door of the church; and before the
procession reached it, all were in their places.

"As soon as the pastor entered the church, the whole congregation
rose and stood until the pastor was in the pulpit and his family
seated,--until which was done the whole assembly continued standing. At
the close of the service the congregation stood until he and his family
had left the church, before any one moved towards the door.

"Forenoon and afternoon the same course of proceeding was had,
expressive of the reverential relation in which the people acknowledged
that they stood towards their clergyman.

"Such was the account given me by Mrs. Dowse in relation to times
previous to my birth, and which I relate as her narrative, and not
as part of my recollections. The procession from the parsonage, the
disappearance of the people on the appearance of the procession, and
that their pastor was received with every mark of decorum and respect,
I well remember, but of their rising at his entrance and standing after
the service until he had departed, I have no recollection; my time was
almost twenty years after that narrated by Mrs. Dowse. During that
period the Revolution had commenced."

Some might think it an advantage, if more of the decorum and reverence
of such a state of society had been preserved to our day; for this
respect paid to the minister was but part of a general and all-pervading
system. Children were more reverential to their parents, scholars to
their teachers, the people to their magistrates. A want of reverence
threatens now to become the besetting sin of America, whether young or

The clergy of New England have, as a body, been distinguished for a rare
union of the speculative and the practical. In both points they have
been so remarkable, that in observing the great development of either of
these qualities by itself one would naturally suppose that there was no
room for the other.

Generally speaking, they were rural pastors,--living on salaries so
small as to afford hardly a nominal support; and in order to bring up
their families and give their sons a college education, it was necessary
to understand fully the practical _savoir faire_. Accordingly, they
farmed and gardened, and often took young people into their families to
educate, and in these ways eked out a subsistence. It is related of the
venerable Moses Hallock, that he educated in his own family, during his
ministerial lifetime, three hundred young people, of whom thirty were
females. One hundred and thirty-two of these he fitted for college;
fifty became ministers, and six foreign missionaries.

Some of the clergy gained such an acquaintance with the practice of
medicine as to be able sometimes to unite the offices of physician of
the body and of the soul; and not unfrequently a general knowledge
of law enabled the pastor to be the worldly as well as the spiritual
counsellor of his people. A striking case in point is that of the
venerable Parson Eaton, who resided in a lonely seafaring district
on the coast of Maine, and preached to a congregation who lived the
amphibious life of farmers and fishermen. The town of Harpswell, where
he ministered,--

"is a narrow projection of ten miles southward into Casco Bay, on both
sides of which it comprises within its incorporated limits several
islands, some of them of considerable size and well inhabited. In his
pastoral visits and labors, the clergyman was often obliged to ride
several miles, and then cross the inlets of the sea, to preach a lecture
or to minister comfort or aid to some sick or suffering parishioner.
In addition to his clerical duties, Mr. Eaton, having experience and
discernment in the more common forms of disease, was generally applied
to in sickness; and he usually carried with him a lancet and the more
common and simple medicines. If a case was likely to baffle his skill,
he advised his patient to send for a regular physician. His admirable
sense, moreover, and his education fitted him to render aid and counsel
in matters of controversy; so that he often acted as an umpire, and
very often to the settling of disputes. Seldom did his people consult a
lawyer; and it is even said, that, at the time of his death, most of the
wills in the town were in his handwriting."

It is a singular thing, that the preaching and the bent of mind of a
set of men so intensely practical should have been at the same time
intensely speculative. Nowhere in the world, unless perhaps in Scotland,
have merely speculative questions excited the strong and engrossing
interest among the common people that they have in New England. Every
man, woman, and child was more or less a theologian. The minister, while
he ground his scythe or sharpened his axe or laid stone-fence, was
inwardly grinding and hammering on those problems of existence which are
as old as man, and which Christian and heathen have alike pondered.
The Germans call the whole New England theology rationalistic, in
distinction from traditional.

There are minds which are capable of receiving certain series of
theological propositions without even an effort at comparison,--without
a perception of contradiction or inconsequency,--without an effort at
harmonizing. Such, however, were not the New England ministers. With
them predestination _must_ be made to harmonize with freewill; the
Divine entire efficiency with human freedom; the existence of sin with
the Divine benevolence;--and at it they went with stout hearts, as men
work who are not in the habit of being balked in their undertakings.
Hence the Edwardses, the Hopkinses, the Emmonses, with all their various
schools and followers, who, leviathan-like, have made the theological
deep of New England to boil like a pot, and the agitation of whose
course remains to this day.

It is a mark of a shallow mind to scorn these theological wrestlings and
surgings; they have had in them something even sublime. They were always
bounded and steadied by the most profound reverence for God and his
word; and they have constituted in New England the strong mental
discipline needed by a people who were an absolute democracy. The
Sabbath teaching of New England has been a regular intellectual drill as
well as a devotional exercise; and if one does not see the advantage of
this, let him live awhile in France or Italy, and see the reason why,
with all their aspirations after liberty, there is no capability of
self-government in the masses; put the tiller of the Campagna, or
the vine-dresser of France, beside the theologically trained, keen,
thoughtful New England farmer, and see which is best fitted to
administer a government.

Another leading characteristic of the New England clergy was their great
freedom of original development. The volumes before us are full of
indications of the most racy individuality. There was no such thing as a
clerical mould or pattern; but each minister, particularly in the rural
districts, grew and flourished as freely and unconventionally as the
apple-trees in his own orchard, and was considered none the worse for
that, so long as he bore good fruit of the right sort. Thus we find
among them all stamps and kinds of men,--men of decorum and ceremony,
like Dr. Emmons and President Edwards, and men who, aiming after the
real, despised the form, kept no order, and revered no ceremony; yet all
flourished in peace, and were allowed to do their work in their own way.

We find here and there records of pleasant little encounters of humor
among them on these points. Parson Deane, of Portland, was a precise
man, and always appeared in the clerical regalia of the times, with
powdered wig, cocked hat, gown, bands. Parson Hemmenway went about with
just such clothes as he happened to find convenient, without the least
regard to the conventional order.

Being together on a council. Dr. Deane playfully remarked,--

"The ferryman, Brother Hemmenway, as we came over, hadn't the least idea
you were a clergyman. Now I am particular always to appear with my wig

"Precisely," said Dr. Hemmenway; "I know it is well to bestow more
abundant honor on the part that lacketh."

It is a curious illustration of the times and people to see how quietly
the personal eccentricities of a good minister were received.

One Mr. Moody, who flourished in the State of Maine, was one of
those born oddities whose growth of mind rejects every outward rule.
Brilliant, original, restless, he found it impossible to bring his
thoughts to march in the regular platoon and file of a properly written
sermon. It is told of him, that, moved by the admiration of his people
for the calm and orderly performances of one of his neighboring brethren
of the name of Emerson, he resolved to write a sermon in the same style.
After the usual introductory services, he began to read his performance,
but soon grew weary, stumbled disconsolately, and at last stopped,
exclaiming,--"Emerson must be Emerson, and Moody must be Moody! I feel
as if I had my head in a bag! You call Moody a rambling preacher;--it is
true enough; but his preaching will do to catch rambling sinners, and
you are all runaways from the Lord."

His clerical brethren at a meeting of the Association once undertook to
call him to account for his odd expressions and back-handed strokes. He
stepped into his study and produced a record of some twenty or thirty
cases of conversions which had resulted from some of his exceptional
sayings. As he read them over with the dates, they looked at each other
with surprise, and one of them very sensibly remarked, "If the Lord owns
Father Moody's oddities, we must let him take his own way."

His son, Joseph Moody, furnished the original incident which Hawthorne
has so exquisitely worked up in his story of "The Minister's Black
Veil." Being of a singularly nervous and melancholic temperament, he
actually for many years shrouded his face with a black handkerchief.
When reading a sermon he would lift this, but stood with his back to the
audience so that his face was concealed,--all which appears to have
been accepted by his people with sacred simplicity. He was known in the
neighborhood by the name of Handkerchief Moody.

It is recorded also of the venerable and eccentric Father Mills, of
Torringford, that, on the death of his much beloved wife, he was greatly
exercised as to how a minister who always dressed in black could
sufficiently express his devotion and respect for the departed by any
outward change of dress. At last he settled the question to his
own satisfaction, by substituting for his white wig a black silk
pocket-handkerchief, with which head-dress he officiated in all
simplicity during the usual term of mourning.

We think it one result of their great freedom from any strait-laced
conventional ideas, that no point of character is more frequently
noticed in the subjects of these sketches than wit and humor. New
England ministers never held it a sin to laugh; if they did, some of
them had a great deal to answer for; for they could scarce open their
mouths without dropping some provocation to a smile. An ecclesiastical
meeting was always a merry season; for there never were wanting quaint
images, humorous anecdotes, and sharp flashes of wit, and even the
driest and most metaphysical points of doctrine were often lit up and
illuminated by these corruscations.

A panel taken out of the house of the Rev. John Lowell, of Newbury, is
still preserved, representing the common style of an ecclesiastical
meeting in those days. The divines, each in full wig and gown, are
seated around a table, smoking their pipes, and above is the well-known
inscription: _In necessariis, Unitas: in non necessariis, Libertas: in
utrisque Charitas_.

In that delightfully naïve and simple journal of the Rev. Thomas Smith,
the first minister settled in Portland, Maine, in the year 1725, we find
the following entries.

"July 4, 1763. Mr. Brooks was ordained. A multitude of people from my
parish. A decent solemnity."

"January 16, 1765. Mr. Foxcroft was ordained at New Gloucester. We had a
pleasant journey home. Mr. L. was alert and kept us all merry. A jolly
ordination. We lost sight of decorum."

This Mr. L., by the by, who was so alert on this occasion, it appears by
a note, was Stephen Longfellow, the great-grandfather of the poet.
Those who enjoy the poet's acquaintance will probably testify that the
property of social alertness has not evaporated from the family in the
lapse of so many years.

It is recorded of Dr. Griffin, that, when President of the Andover
Theological Seminary, he convened the students at his room one evening,
and told them he had observed that they were all growing thin and
dyspeptical from a neglect of the exercise of Christian laughter, and he
insisted upon it that they should go through a company-drill in it then
and there. The Doctor was an immense man,--over six feet in height, with
great amplitude of chest and most magisterial manners. "Here," said he
to the first, "you must practise; now hear me!" and bursting out into a
sonorous laugh, he fairly obliged his pupils, one by one, to join, till
the whole were almost convulsed. "That will do for once," said the
Doctor, "and now mind you keep in practice!"

New England used to be full of traditions of the odd sayings of Dr.
Bellamy, one of the most powerful theologians and preachers of his
time. His humor, however, seems to have been wholly a social quality,
requiring to be struck out by the collision of conversation; for nothing
of the peculiar quaintness and wit ascribed to him appears in his
writings, which are in singularly simple, clear English. One or two of
his sayings circulated about us in our childhood. For example, when one
had built a fire of green wood, he exclaimed, "Warm me _here!_ I'd as
soon try to warm me by star-light on the north side of a tombstone!"
Speaking of the chapel-bell of Yale College, he said, "It was about as
good a bell as a fur cap with a sheep's tail in it."

A young minister, who had made himself conspicuous for a severe and
denunciatory style of preaching, came to him one day to inquire why he
did not have more success. "Why, man," said the Doctor, "can't you take
a lesson of the fisherman? How do you go to work, if you want to catch a
trout? You get a little hook and a fine line, you bait it carefully and
throw it in as gently as possible, and then you sit and wait and humor
your fish till you can get him ashore. Now you get a great cod-hook
and rope-line, and thrash it into the water, and bawl out, 'Bite or be

The Doctor himself gained such a reputation as an expert spiritual
fisherman, that some of his parishioners, like experienced old trout,
played shy of his hook, though never so skilfully baited.

"Why, Mr. A.," he said to an old farmer in his neighborhood, "they tell
me you are an Atheist. Don't you believe in the being of a God?"

"No!" said the man.

"But, Mr. A., let's look into this. You believe that the world around us
exists from some cause?"

"No, I don't!"

"Well, then, at any rate, you believe in your own existence?"

"No, I don't!"

"What! not believe that you exist yourself?"

"I tell you what, Doctor," said the man, "I a'n't going to be twitched
up by any of your syllogisms, and so I tell you I _don't_ believe
anything,--and I'm not going to believe anything!"

A collection of the table-talk of the clergy whose lives are sketched in
Dr. Sprague's volumes would be a rare fund of humor, shrewdness, genius,
and originality. We must say, however, that as nothing is so difficult
as to collect these sparkling emanations of conversation, the written
record which this work presents falls far below that traditional one
which floated about us in our earlier years. So much in wit and humor
depends on the electric flash, the relation of the idea to the attendant
circumstances, that people often remember only _how_ they have laughed,
and can no more reproduce the expression than they can daguerreotype the
heat-lightning of a July night.

The doctrine that a minister is to maintain some ethereal, unearthly
station, where, wrapt in divine contemplation, he is to regard with
indifference the actual struggles and realities of life, is a sickly
species of sentimentalism, the growth of modern refinement, and
altogether too moonshiny to have been comprehended by our stout-hearted
and very practical fathers. With all their excellences, they had nothing
sentimental about them; they were bent on reducing all things to
practical, manageable realities. They would not hear of churches, but
called them meeting-houses; they would not be called clergymen, but
_ministers_ or servants,--thereby signifying their calling to real,
tangible work among real men and things.

As we have already said, in the beginnings of New England, the Church
and State were identical, and the clergy _ex officio_ the main
counsellors and directors of the Commonwealth; and when this especial
prerogative was relinquished, they naturally retained something of the
bent it had given them.

An interesting portion of these sketches comprises the lives of
ministers during our Revolutionary struggle, showing how ardently and
manfully at that time the clergy headed the people. Many of them went
into the army as chaplains; one or two, more zealous still, even took up
temporal arms; while the greater number showered the enemy with sermons,
tracts, and pamphlets.

Some of the more zealous politicians among them did not scruple to bring
their sentiments even into the prayers of the church. We recollect
an anecdote of a stout Whig minister of New Haven, who, during the
occupation of the town by the British, was ordered to offer public
prayers for the King, which he did as follows: "O Lord, bless thy
servant, King George, and grant unto him wisdom; for thou knowest, O
Lord, _he needs it_."

So afterwards, in the time of the Embargo, Parson Eaton, of Harpswell, a
Federalist, is recorded to have introduced his prayer for the President
in a formula which might be recommended at the present day for the use
of the people of Kansas. "Forasmuch as thou hast commanded us to pray
for our enemies, we pray for the President of these United States, that
his heart may be turned to just counsels," etc.

This same Parson Eaton distinguished himself also for his patriotic
enthusiasm in Revolutionary times. When the British had burned Falmouth,
(Portland,) a messenger came to Harpswell to beat up for recruits to the
Continental forces. Not succeeding to his mind, he went to Parson Eaton,
one Sunday morning, and begged him to say something for him in the
course of the day's services. "It is my sacramental Sabbath," said the
valiant Doctor, "and I cannot. But at the going down of the sun I will
speak to my people." And accordingly, that very evening, Bible in hand,
on the green before the meeting-house, Dr. Eaton addressed the people,
denouncing the curse of Meroz on those who came not up to the help of
the country, and recruits flowed in abundantly.

The pastors of New England were always in their sphere moral reformers.
Profitable and popular sins, though countenanced by long-established
custom, were fearlessly attacked. No sight could be more impressive than
that of Dr. Hopkins--who with all his power of mind was never a popular
preacher, and who knew he was not popular--rising up in Newport pulpits
to testify against the slave-trade, then as reputable and profitable a
sin as slave-holding is now. He knew that Newport was the stronghold
of the practice, and that the probable consequence of his faithfulness
would be the loss of his pulpit and of his temporal support; but none
the less plainly and faithfully did he testify. Fond as he was of
doctrinal subtilties, keen as was his analysis of disinterested
benevolence, he did not, like some in our day, confine himself to
analyzing virtue in the abstract, but took upon himself the duty of
practicing it in the concrete without fear of consequences,--well
knowing that there is no logic like that of consistent action.

We should do injustice to our subject, if we did not add a testimony to
the peculiarly religious character and influence of the men of whom we
speak. Shrewd, practical, capable, as they were, in the affairs of this
life, perfectly natural and human as were their characters, still they
were in the best sense unworldly men. Religion was the deep underlying
stratum on which their whole life was built. Like the granite framework
of the earth, it sunk below all and rose above all else in their life.
No _Acta Sanctorum_ contain more pathetic pictures of simple and
all-absorbing godliness than were displayed by the subjects of these
sketches. However they may have differed among themselves as to the
metaphysical adjustment of the Calvinistic system, all agreed in so
presenting it as to make God all in all.

Doctor Arnold says it is necessary for the highest development of
the soul that it should have somewhere an object of entire reverence
enthroned above all possibility of doubt or criticism. Now a radically
democratic system, like that of New England, at once sweeps all
factitious reliances of this kind from the soul. No crown, no court,
no nobility, no ritual, no hierarchy,--the beautiful principles of
reverence and loyalty might have died out of the American heart, had not
these men by their religious teachings upborne it as on eagles' wings to
the footstool of the King Eternal, Immortal, Invisible. Hence we see why
what was commonly called among them the "Doctrine of Divine Sovereignty"
acquired so prominent a place in their preaching and their hearts. They
were men of deep reverence and profound loyalty of nature, from whom
every lower object for the repose of these qualities had been torn
away,--who concentrated on God alone those sentiments of faith and
fealty which in other lands are divided with Church and King. Hence,
more than that of any other clergy, their preaching contemplated God as
King and Ruler. Submission to him without condition, without limit,
they both preached and practised. _Unconditional submission_ was as
constantly on their lips God-ward as it was sparingly uttered man-ward.

No picture of the "good parson" that was ever drawn could exceed in
beauty that of the Rev. Jeremiah Hallock, whose life and manners had
that indescribable beauty, completeness, and sacredness, which religion
sometimes gives when shining out through a peculiarly congenial natural
temperament,--yet we must confess we are as much interested and
impressed with its effects in those wilder and more erratic
temperaments, such as Bellamy, Backus, and Moody, where genius and
passion were so combined as to lead to many inconsistencies. This book
is a record of how manfully many such men battled with themselves,
repairing the faults of their hasty and passionate hours by the true and
honest humility of their better ones, so that, as one has said of our
Pilgrim Fathers, we feel that they may have been endeared to God even by
their faults.

The pastoral labors of these ministers were abounding. Two and sometimes
three services on the Sabbath, and a weekly lecture, were only the
beginning of their labors. Multitudes of them held circuit meetings, to
the number of two or three a week, in the outskirts of their parishes;
besides which they labored conversationally from house to house with

Gradual, indefinite, insensible amelioration of character was not by any
means the only or the highest aim of their preaching. They sought to
make religion as definite and as real to men as their daily affairs, and
to bring them, as respects their spiritual history, to crises as marked
and decided as those to which men are brought in temporal matters.
They must become Christians now, today; the change must be immediate,
all-pervading, thorough.

Such a style of preaching, from men of such power, could not be without
corresponding results, especially as it was based always upon strong
logical appeals to the understanding. From it resulted, from time to
time, periods which are marked in these narratives as revivals of
religion,--seasons in which the cumulative force of the instructions and
power of the pastor, recognized by that gracious assistance on which he
always depended, reached a point of outward development that affected
the whole social atmosphere, and brought him into intimate and
confidential knowledge of the spiritual struggles of his flock.
The preaching of the pastor was then attuned and modified to these
disclosures, and his metaphysical system shaped and adapted to what he
perceived to be the real wants and weaknesses of the soul. Hence arose
modifications of theology,--often interfering with received theory, just
as a judicious physician's clinical practice varies from the book. Many
of the theological disputes which have agitated New England have arisen
in the honest effort to reconcile accepted forms of faith with the
observed phenomena and real needs of the soul in its struggles

       *       *       *       *       *


If it had been the avowed intention of the dominant party in this
country to disgust the people by a long and systematic course of
wrong-doing,--if it had wished to prove that it was indissolubly wedded
to injustice, inconsistency, and error, it could not have chosen a
better method of doing so than it has actually pursued, in the entire
management of the Kansas question. From the beginning to the end, that
has been both a blunder and a crime. Nothing more atrocious,--nothing
more perverse,--nothing more foolish, as a matter of policy,--and
we might add, but for the seriousness of the subject, nothing more
ludicrous,--has occurred in our history, than the attempt, which has now
been persisted in for several years, to force the evils of Slavery upon
a people who cannot and will not endure them.

We say, to force the evils of slavery upon an unwilling people,--because
such has been and is the only end of this protracted endeavor. The
authors of the scheme have scarcely shown the ordinary cunning of
rogues, which conceals its ulterior purposes. Disdaining the advice
of Mrs. Peachum to her daughter Polly, to be "somewhat nice" in her
deviations from virtue, they have advanced bravely and flagrantly to
their nefarious object. They have been reckless, defiant, aggressive;
but, unfortunately for them, they have not been sagacious. The thin
disguise of principle under which they masked their designs at the
outset--as it were a bit of oiled paper--was soon torn away; the plot
betrayed its inherent wickedness from step to step; the instruments
selected to execute it have one after another abandoned the task,
as quite impracticable for any honest mortal; and now these whilom
advocates of "Popular Sovereignty" stand exposed to the scorn and
derision of the country, as nothing less than what their opponents all
along declared them to be,--the sworn champions of Slavery-Extension.
All the movements and changes of their external policy find their
explication in the single phrase, the actual and the political
advancement of the interests of Slavery.

It is humiliating to an American citizen to cast his eyes back, even for
a moment, to the history of this Kansas plot,--humiliating in many ways;
but in none more so than in the revelation it makes of the depth
and extent of party-servility in the Northern mind. Throughout the
proceedings of the "Democracy" towards the unhappy settlers of Kansas,
it is difficult to place the finger on a single act of large, just, or
generous policy; every step in it appears to have developed some new
outrage or some new fraud; and yet, every step in it has also elicited
new shouts of approval from the echoing lieges and bondmen of "the
Party." We should willingly, therefore, turn away from the theme, but
that we believe the end is not yet come; a review of its past may
instruct us as to its future. For it is not always true, as Coleridge
says, that experience, like the stern-lights of a ship, illuminates only
the track it has left; the lights may be hung upon the bows, and the
spectator be enabled to discern, by means of them, no less, the way in
which it is going.

A "Territory," viewed in connection with the political system of
the United States, must be confessed to be a somewhat erratic and
embarrassing member. Few or no specific provisions are made for it in
the Organic Law, which applies primarily, and quite exclusively,
to "States." The word is mentioned there but once,--in the clause
empowering Congress to "make all needful rules and regulations
respecting the territory or other property belonging to the United
States,"--and here it occurs in a somewhat doubtful sense. Judging by
the mere letter or obvious import of the Constitution, the right of
acquiring and governing territory would seem to be a _casus omissus_, or
a power overlooked. Accordingly, Mr. Webster went so far as to assert
that the framers of it never contemplated its extension beyond the
original limits of the country;[A] but this we can scarcely believe of
men so far-seeing and sagacious. It were a better opinion, which
Mr. Benton has recently urged, that the acquisition and control of
territories are necessary incidents of the sovereign and proprietary
character of the government created by the Constitution.[B] But be
this as it may, whatever the theoretic origin of the right to acquire
territory,--whatever the origin of the right to govern it,--whether the
former be derived from the war-making power, which implies conquest, or
from the treaty-making power, which implies purchase,--and whether the
latter be derived from an express grant or is involved as necessary to
the execution of other grants, both questions were definitively settled
by long and universally accepted practice. Under the actual legislation
of Congress, running over a period of sixty years,--a legislation
sanctioned by all administrations, by all departments of the government,
by all the authorities of the individual States, by all statesmen of all
parties, and by frequent popular recognitions,--prescription has taken
the force of law, and that which might once be theoretically doubtful
became forever practically valid and legitimate.

[Footnote A: Works, Vol. V. p. 306.]

[Footnote B: See his late pamphlet on the Dred Scott decision, which
we may say, without adopting its conclusions, every statesman ought to

It was not till within the last few years that the right of Congress
over the Territories was questioned. Certain classes of politicians then
discovered that the whole of our past statesmanship had been a mistake,
and that the time had come to propound a new doctrine. No! they said, it
is not Congress, not the Federal Government, which is entitled to govern
the Territories, but the Territories themselves,--which means the
handful of their original occupants. The real sovereignty resides in
the squatters, and Squatter Sovereignty is the charm which dispels
all difficulties. Alas! it was rather like the ingredients mingled by
Macbeth's hags, only "a charm of powerful trouble." Overlooking the fact
that the Territories were Territories precisely because they were not
States, this absurd theory proposed to confer the highest character of
an organized political existence upon a society wholly inchoate. As
_land_, the Territories were the property of the United States, to be
disposed of and regulated by the will of Congress; as _collections of
men_, they were yet immature communities, having in reality no social
being, and in that light also wisely and benevolently subjected to the
will of Congress; but Squatter Sovereignty elevated them, _willy nilly_,
to an independent self-subsistence. They were declared full-formed and
fledged before they were out of the shell. A mere conglomeration of
emigrants, Indian traders, and half-breeds was invested with all the
functions of a mature and ripened civilization. Long ere there were
people enough in any Territory to furnish the officers of a regular
government,--before they possessed any of the apparatus of court-houses,
jails, legislative chambers, etc., essential to a regular
government,--before they lived near enough to each other, in fact,
to constitute a respectable town-meeting,--before they could pay the
expenses or gather the means of their own defence from the Indians,
these wonderful entities were held to be endowed with the right of
entering into the most complicated relations and of forming the most
important institutions for themselves,--and not only for themselves, but
for their posterity.

This puerile dogma was asserted ostensibly in the interest of Slavery,
in order to get rid of the power of Congress over that subject; but the
real source of it was the cowardice of those invertebrate and timorous
politicians who desired to evade the responsibility of expressing
opinions concerning this power. General Cass was the putative father of
it, and it might well have come from one of his pliancy and calibre; but
as Slavery itself, embodied in the person of Calhoun, scouted the feeble
bantling, there was soon no one so mean as to confess the paternity.
Abandoned of its begetters, Squatter Sovereignty wandered the streets
like a squalid and orphaned outcast, begging anybody and everybody to
take it in, and finding no creditable welcome anywhere.

Calhoun and his friends, no less anxious than Cass and his friends
to rescue Slavery from the discretion of Congress, though for other
reasons, contrived to find a more respectable excuse for such a policy.
As California and New Mexico--both free soil--had lately been acquired,
they contended that the moment new territories attached to the United
States, the same moment the Constitution attached to them; and inasmuch
as the Constitution guarantied the existence of Slavery, _presto_,
Slavery must be regarded as existing under it in the Territories! This,
we say, was more respectable ground than Squatter Sovereignty, because
it met the question more fairly in the face; yet, considered either as
dialectics or history, it was not one whit less absurd. We do not wonder
that Webster, and all the other sound lawyers of the nation, heard such
an announcement of Constitutional hermeneutics with utter surprise and
astonishment. It was enough to astound even the veriest tyro in the law.
The Constitution--and especially by all the premises of the State-Rights
school--is a mere compact between the States; it confers no powers but
delegated and enumerated powers, and such as are indispensable to the
execution of these; and nowhere is there a clause or letter in
it extending its operation beyond the States. Even in respect to
acknowledged powers, these are inoperative until carried into effect by
a special act of Congress; they have no vitality in themselves,--they
are only dead provisions or forms till Congress has breathed into them
the breath of life; and thence to argue that of their own energy they
may leap into or embrace the Territories is to argue that a corpse may
on its own motion rise and walk.

But granting this caoutchouc property, this migratory power, in the
Constitution, the inference that it would take Slavery with it is a
still more monstrous error than the original premises. Slavery as such
is not recognized or guarantied by the Federal Constitution. Whatever
the five slave-holding judges of the Supreme Court may seek to maintain,
they cannot upset the universal logic of the law, nor extinguish the
fundamental principles of our political system. Slavery exists only by
the local or municipal usage of the States in which it exists; it is
there universally defined as a right of property in man; whereas
the Constitution of the United States, in all its prohibitions and
provisions, designates and acts upon human beings only as persons.
Whatever their characters or relations under the laws of the States,
they are, under the Federal Constitution, MEN. Nowhere in that immortal
paper is there an iota or tittle which gives countenance to the idea
that human beings may be held as property. It speaks of "persons held to
service or labor," as apprentices, for instance,--and of persons other
than free, _i.e._ not politically citizens, as Indians and some negroes;
but it does not speak of Slaves or of Slavery; on the contrary, in every
part, it legislates for men solely as men. The laws of each State, and
the relations of the various inhabitants of each State, it of course
recognizes as valid within each State; but it recognizes them as resting
exclusively on the municipal authority of the State, and not on its own
authority. Against nothing did the framers of the Constitution more
strenuously contend than against the admission of any phrase sanctioning
the tenure of man as property. They refused even to allow of the use
of the word _servitude_, so much did they hate the thing; and Madison
expressed their almost unanimous sentiment when he exclaimed, "We intend
this Constitution to be THE GREAT CHARTER OF HUMAN LIBERTY to the unborn
millions who shall yet enjoy its protection, and who should not see that
such an institution as Slavery was ever known in our midst." In
that spirit was the instrument framed, and in that spirit was it
administered, while its framers lived.

Nevertheless, under the twofold pretence we have cited,--the one
reconciling the conscience with the cowardice of the North, and the
other conceding the arrogant pretensions of the South,--the negation
of the power of the central government over Slavery was carried into
effect. By a legislative hocus-pocus, known as the Compromise Measures
of 1850, Congress, contrary to the uniform tendency of bodies entrusted
with a discretion, vacated instead of enlarging its powers. Its
sovereign function of territorial legislation was abdicated, in favor of
that wretched and ragged pretender, Squatter Sovereignty; and silly or
misguided people everywhere, who professed to regard as dangerous that
political excitement and agitation which are the life of republics,
hailed the accession of King Log as a glorious triumph of legitimacy.
In the remanding of a delicate question from the central to a
local jurisdiction, in the conversion of a general into a topical
inflammation, they affected to see an end of the difficulty, a cure to
the disease. But no expectation could have been less wise. It was a
transfer, and a possible postponement, but not a settlement of the
trouble. Had they looked deeper, they would have discerned that the
dispute in regard to Slavery is involved in the very structure of our
government, which links two incompatible civilizations under the same
head, which compels a struggle for political power between the diverse
elements by the terms and conditions of their union, and which, if the
contest is suppressed at one time or place, forces it to break out
at another, and will force it to break out incessantly, until either
Freedom or Slavery has achieved a decisive triumph.

The principle of the non-interference of Congress with the Territories
once secured, there yet stood in the way of its universal application
the time-honored agreement called the Missouri Compromise. Down to
the year 1820, Congress had legislated to keep Slavery out of the
Territories; but at that disastrous era, a weak dread of civil
convulsion led to the surrender of a single State (Missouri) to this
evil,--under a solemn stipulation and warrant, however, that it should
never again be introduced north of a certain line. Originating with the
Slave-holders, and sustained by the Slave-holders, this compact was
sacredly respected by them for thirty-three years; it was respected
until they had got out of it all the advantages they could, and until
Freedom was about to reap _her_ advantages,--when they began to denounce
it as unconstitutional and void. A Northern Senator--whose conduct then
we shall not characterize, as he seems now to be growing weary of the
hard service into which he entered--was made the instrument of its
overthrow. That hallowed landmark, which had lifted its awful front
against the spread of Slavery for more than an entire generation, was
obliterated by a quibble, and the morning sun of the 22d of May, 1854,
rose for the last time "on the guarantied and certain liberties of
all the unsettled and unorganized region of the American Continent."
Everything there was of honor, of justice, of the love of truth and
liberty, in the heart of the nation, was smitten by this painful blow;
the common sense of security felt the wound; the consoling consciousness
that the faith of men might be relied upon was removed by it; and to the
general imagination, in fact, it seemed as if some mighty charm, which
had stayed the issue of untold calamities, were suddenly and wantonly

Thus, after the Constitution had been perverted in its fundamental
character,--after Congress had been despoiled of one of its most
important functions,--after a compact, made sacred by the faith,
the feelings, and the hopes of the third of a century, was torn in
pieces,--the road was clear for the organization of the Kansas and
Nebraska Territories. It was given out, amid jubilations which could not
have been louder, if they had been the spontaneous greetings of some
real triumph of principle, that henceforth and forever the inhabitants
of the Territories would be called to determine their "domestic
institutions" for themselves. Under this theory, and amid these shouts,
Kansas was opened for settlement; and it was scarcely opened, before it
became, as might have been expected, the battleground for the opposing
civilizations of the Union, to renew and fight out their long quarrel
upon. From every quarter of the land settlers rushed thither, to take
part in the wager of battle. They rushed thither, as individuals and as
associations, as Yankees and as Corn-crackers, as Blue Lodges and as
Emigrant Aid Societies; and most of them went, not only as it was their
right, but as it was their duty to do. Congress had invited them in; it
had abandoned legitimate legislation in order to substitute for it a
scramble between the first comers; and it had said to every man who knew
that Slavery was more than a simple local interest, that it was in fact
an element of the general political power, "Come and decide the issue

Whatever the consequences, therefore, the cowardly action of Congress
was the original cause. But what were the consequences? First,
a protracted anarchy and civil war among the several classes of
emigrants;--second, a murderous invasion of the Territory by the
borderers of a neighboring State, for the purpose of carrying the
elections against the _bonâ-fide_ settlers;--third, the establishment of
a system of terrorism, in which outrages having scarcely a parallel
on this continent were committed, with a view to suppress all protest
against the illegality of those elections, and to drive out settlers of
a particular class;--fourth, the commission of a spurious legislative
assembly, in the enforced absence of protests against the illegal
returns of votes;--fifth, the enactment of a series of laws for the
government of the Territory, the most tyrannical and bloody ever devised
for freemen,--laws which aimed a fatal blow at the four corner-stones of
a free commonwealth,--freedom of speech, of the press, of the jury, and
of suffrage;--sixth, the recognition of Slavery as an existing fact, and
the denunciation of penalties, as for felony, against every attempt
to question it in word or deed;--and, finally, the dismissal of the
Territorial Governor, (Reeder,) who had exhibited some signs of
self-respect and conscience in resisting these wicked schemes, and who
was compelled to fly the Territory in disguise, under a double menace of
public prosecution and private assassination.

These were the scenes of the first act, in a drama then commenced; and
those of the next were not unlike. A second Governor (Shannon) having
been procured,--a Governor chosen with a double fitness to the use,--on
the ground of his sympathy with whatever was vulgar in border-ruffian
habits and with whatever was obsequious in Presidential policy,--the
deliberate game of forcing the settlers to submit to the infamous
usurpation of the Missourians was opened. But, thank Heaven! those brave
and hardy pioneers would not submit! There was enough of the blood of
the Puritans and of the Revolutionary Sires coursing in their veins, to
make them feel that submission, under such circumstances, would have
been a base betrayal of liberty, a surrender of honor, and a sacrifice
of every honest sentiment of justice and self-respect. "Come," they said
to the marauders,--"come, hack this flesh from our limbs, and scatter
these bones to bleach with those of so many of our friends and brothers,
already strewn upon the unshorn and desolate fields,--but do not ask us
to submit to wrongs so daring or to frauds so foul!" The marauders took
them at their word, and hewed and hacked them with shameless cruelty;
yet, with a singular forbearance, the friends of freedom did not hastily
resent the outrages with which they had been visited. They loved
freedom, but they loved law too; and they proceeded in a legal and
peaceful spirit to procure the redress of their grievances,--in the
first place by an appeal to Congress, and in the second, by the
organization of a State government of their own. Both of these methods
they had an indisputable right to adopt; for the first is guarantied to
every citizen, even the meanest,--and the second, though informal, was
not illegal, and had, time and again, been sanctioned by the highest
political tribunals of the land.

Congress had dismissed the subject of Territorial Government; and here
it was again, in a more troublesome guise than it had ever before
assumed. The ghost of the murdered Banquo would not down at its bidding.
Nearly the entire session of 1856 was consumed in heated and virulent
debates on Kansas. The House, fresh from the affections of the people,
was disposed to do justice to the sufferers; it confirmed, by the
investigations of its committees, the verity of every complaint, and it
was not willing to allow a trivial technicality to stand in the way of
the great cause of truth and right. But the Senate was dogmatic
and hard,--full of whims, and scruples, and hair-splitting
difficulties,--ever straining at gnats and swallowing camels; of the few
there inclined to bear a manly part, one was overpowered by the club of
a bully, and the others by the despotism of numbers and of party drill.
As for the Executive, it was bound hand and foot to the Slave Power, and
had no option but to let loose its minions, its judges, its sheriffs,
its vagabonds, and its dragoons upon the poor Free-State men, whose only
crime was a refusal to submit to the most outrageous abuses. Their towns
were burned, their presses destroyed, their assemblies dispersed, and
their wives and children brutally insulted. The debauched and imbecile
Governor, who represented the Federal Power, hounded on the miscreants
of the border to the work of destruction, so long as he was able; but he
happily became in the end too weak even for this perfunctory labor; and
he gradually sank into deliquium, till his final withdrawal into
the obscurities whence he had emerged gave a momentary peace to the
distracted and baffled settlers.

We pass over the administration of Geary, the third of the Kansas
Governors,--a period in which the ravages of the marauders were
continued, but under meliorated circumstances. The great uprising of the
Northern masses, in the Presidential election, had impressed upon the
most desperate of the Pro-Slavery faction the necessity of a restrained
and moderated zeal. Geary went to the Territory with some desire to deal
justly with all parties. He fancied, from the promises made to him, that
he would be sustained in this honorable course by the President. It was
no part of his conception of his task, that he should be called upon
to screen assassins, to justify perjury. But he had reckoned without
knowledge of what he had undertaken. He was soon involved with the
self-styled judiciary of Kansas, whose especial favorites were the
promoters of outrage; his correspondence was intercepted, his plans
thwarted, his motives aspersed, his life menaced; and he resigned
his thankless charge, in a feeling of profound contempt and bitter
disappointment,--of contempt for the restless knot of villains who
circumvented all conciliatory action, and of disappointment towards
superiors at Washington who betrayed their promises of countenance and

With the advent of Mr. Buchanan to the Presidency a new era was
expected, because a new era had been plainly prescribed by the entire
course and spirit of the Presidential campaign. All through that heated
and violent contest, it was loudly promised on one side, as it was
loudly demanded on the other, that the affairs of Kansas should be
honestly and equitably administered. As the time had then come, in the
progress of population, when the Territory might be considered competent
to determine its political institutions,--the period of its immaturity
and pupilage being past,--the election turned upon the single issue of
Justice to Kansas. Mr. Buchanan and his party,--their conventions,
their orators, and their newspapers,--in order to quell the storm of
indignation swelling the Northern heart, were voluble in their pledges
of a fair field for a fair settlement of all its difficulties. In the
name of Popular Sovereignty,--or of the indisputable right of every
people, that is a people, to determine its political constitution for
itself,--they achieved a hard-won success. On no other ground could they
have met the gallant charge of their opponents, and on no other ground
did they retain their hold of the popular support. In his inaugural
address, Mr. Buchanan foreshadowed a complete and final adjustment of
every element of discord. He selected, for the accomplishment of his
policy, a statesman of national reputation, experienced in politics,
skilful in administration, and of well-known principles and proclivities
in the practical affairs of government. Mr. Walker accepted the place of
Territorial Governor, under the most urgent entreaties, and on repeated
and distinct pledges on the part of the President that the organization
of Kansas as a State should be unfettered and free. His personal
sympathies were strongly on the side of the party which had so long
ruled with truculent hand in the affairs of the Territory; but he was
none the less resolved that the fairly ascertained majority should have
its way.

Under assurances to that effect, the Free-State men, for the first time
since the great original fraud which had disfranchised them, consented
to enter into an electoral contest with their foes and oppressors.
The result was the return of a Free-State delegate to Congress, and a
Free-State legislature, by a majority which, after the rejection of a
series of patent and wretched frauds, was more than ten to one; and yet
the desperate game of conquest and usurpation was not closed. For, in
the mean time, a convention of delegates to frame a State Constitution
had been summoned to assemble at Lecompton. It was called by the old
spurious legislature, which represented Missouri, and not Kansas; it was
called by a legislature, which, even if not spurious, had no authority
for making such a call; it was called under provisions for a census
and registry of voters which in more than half the Territory were not
complied with; and it was elected by a small proportion of a small
minority, the Free-State men and others refusing to enter into a contest
under proceedings unauthorized at best, and as they believed illegal.
Let it be added, also, that a large number of its members were pledged
to submit the result of their doings to a vote of the people,--according
to what Mr. Buchanan, in his instructions to Governor Walker, and
Governor Walker himself, on the strength of those instructions, had
proclaimed as the policy of "the party."

This Convention, in the prosecution of its gratuitous task, devised the
scheme of a Constitution wholly in the interest of its members and of
the meagre minority they represented,--and so objectionable in many
respects, that not one in twenty of the voters of the Territory, as
Governor Walker informed the writer of this, could or would approve it.
Recognizing Slavery as an existing fact, and perpetuating it in
every event, it yet purported to submit the question of Slavery to a
determining vote of the people. This was, however, a mere pretence; for
the method proposed for getting at the sense of the people was nothing
but a pitiful juggle, according to which no one could vote on
the Slavery question who did not at the same time vote _for_ the
Constitution. No alternative or discretion was allowed to the citizens
whose Constitution it purported to be; if they voted at all on the vast
variety of subjects usually embraced in an organic law, they must vote
in favor of the measures concocted by the Convention. The entire conduct
of the election and the final adjudication of the returns, moreover,
were taken out of the hands of the officers, and from under the
operation of the laws, already established by the Territorial
authorities, to be vested exclusively in one of the Convention's own
creatures,--a reckless and unprincipled politician, whose whole previous
career had been an offence and a nuisance to the majority of the
inhabitants. Had the Convention been legitimately called and
legitimately chosen, this audacious abrogation of the Territorial laws
and of the functions of the Territorial officers would in itself have
been sufficient to vitiate its authority; but being neither legitimately
called, nor legitimately chosen, and outraging the sentiments of
nineteen twentieths of the community, the illegal election provided for
can be regarded only as the crowning atrocity of the long series of
atrocities to which Kansas has been subjected.

The most surprising thing, however, could anything surprise us in these
Kansas proceedings, is, that the President, eating all his former
promises, adopts the Lecompton Convention as a legitimate body, and
commends its swindling mode of submission as a "fair" test of the
popular will! Yet, it is sad to say, this is only following up the line
of precedents established from the beginning. The plot against the
freedom of Kansas was conceived in a Congressional breach of faith; it
was inaugurated by invasion, bloodshed, and civil war; it was prosecuted
for two years through a series of unexampled violences; and it would be
strange, if it had not been consummated at Lecompton and Washington by
a series of corresponding frauds. It seems to have been impossible to
touch the business without perpetrating some iniquity, great or small;
and Mr. Buchanan, cautious, circumspect, timorous, as he is, tumbles
into the fatal circle headlong.

And how do we know all this? Upon what kind and degree of evidence do we
rest these heavy accusations? Upon the hasty opinions of those who are
unfriendly to the principles and purposes of the dominant party? Not at
all; but upon the voluntary confessions of the distinguished and chosen
agents of that party, these agents being themselves eyewitnesses of the
facts to which they testify. For proof of the original invasion and
usurpation, with all its frauds and outrages, we appeal to the testimony
of Governor Reeder; for proof of the continued ravages and persistent
malignity of the border ruffians, we appeal to the testimony of Governor
Geary; and for proof of the illegal and swindling character of the
late Constitutional movement, we appeal to Governor Walker;--all these
witnesses being original friends of the Kansas-Nebraska bill and policy;
all the original coadjutors of the Slave Power; all its carefully
selected instruments; all strongly prejudiced at the outset against the
cause and the men of the Free-State Party; and yet, each one of them, as
soon as he has fairly entered the field of his operations, offering such
loud rebuke of the plans and projects of his own party as to provoke
his speedy removal!--no strength of party attachment, no pliability of
conscience, no hope of future favor, no dread of instant punishment,
being sufficient to prevent him from turning against his own masters and
colleagues! Even the Senators of the party catch the spirit of revolt;
and the very godfather of the Kansas scheme,--its most efficient
advocate,--the leading and organizing mind of it,--has become the
strongest opponent and bitterest denouncer of the policy which directs
its execution.

In this view of the case, may we not ask whether this base and cruel
attempt at subduing Kansas has not gone far enough? Have not the
circumstances shown that it is as impracticable as it is base and cruel?
Or are we to see the despotism of the New World as insanely obstinate as
the despotisms of the Old? Is there no warning, no instruction, to be
derived from the examples of those older nations? An eloquent historian
has recently depicted for us, in scenes which the memory can never lose,
the mad attempts of the House of Stuart to Romanize England, to the
loss of the most magnificent dominion the world ever saw; and another
historian, scarcely less eloquent, has drawn a series of fearfully
interesting pictures of the stern efforts of the Spaniards to impose
a detested State and a more detested Church upon the burghers of the
Netherlands. The spirit of James II., and the spirit of Philip II., was
the same spirit which is now striving to force Slavery and Slave Law
upon Kansas; and though the field of battle is narrower, and the scene
less conspicuous, the consequences of the struggle are hardly of less
moment. Kansas is the future seat of empire; she will yet give tone and
law to the entire West; and they who are fighting there, in behalf of
humanity and justice, do not fight for themselves alone, but for a large

       *       *       *       *       *


  The brave old Poets sing of nobler themes
  Than the weak griefs which haunt men's coward souls.
  The torrent of their lusty music rolls
  Not through dark valleys of distempered dreams,
  But murmurous pastures lit by sunny streams;
  Or, rushing from some mountain height of Thought,
  Swells to strange music, that our minds have sought
  Vainly to gather from the doubtful gleams
  Of our more gross perceptions. Oh, their strains
  Nerve and ennoble Manhood!--no shrill cry,
  Set to a treble, tells of querulous woe;
  Yet numbers deep-voiced as the mighty Main's
  Merge in the ringdove's plaining, or the sigh
  Of lovers whispering where sweet streamlets flow.



To speak of English Art was, ten years ago, to speak of something
formless, chaotic, indeed, so far as any order or organization of
principles was concerned,--a mass of individual results, felt out,
often, under the most glorious artistic inspiration, but much oftener
the expression of merely ignorant whim, or still more empty academic
knowledge,--a waste of uncultivated, unpruned brushwood, with here and
there a solitary tree towering into unapproachable and inexplicable
symmetry and beauty. Hogarth, Gainsborough, and Turner are great names
in Art-history; but to deduce their development from the English culture
of Art, one must use the same processes as in proving Cromwell to have
been called up by the loyalty of Englishmen. They towered the higher
from contempt for the abasement around them. If there was greatness in
measure in English Art, it was greatness subjected to tradition and
conventionalism. The three artists we have just named were the only
great freemen, in the realm of Art England had known down to the close
of the first half of the nineteenth century; and of these, Turner alone
has left his impress on the Art succeeding his.

With the commencement of the present half-century there began a
systematic movement in revolt from the degradation of Art in England,
which, unfortunately, so far as significance was concerned, assumed the
name of Pre-Raphaelitism. It extended itself rapidly, absorbing most of
the young painters of any force or earnestness, and attracting some who
already held high places in public esteem. Being something new, it
was sure of its full measure of derision while it was considered
unimportant, and of bitter and violent antagonism when it became evident
that it was strong enough to make its way. This hostility, beaten down
for the moment by the rhetoric of Ruskin and the inherent earnestness
of the new Art, is, however, as sure to prevail again as the English
character is at once conservative of old forms, reverential of
authorities, and subject to enthusiasms for new things, whose very
extravagance tends to reaction. If Pre-Raphaelitism now holds its own in
England, it is simply because it is neither thoroughly understood nor
completely defined. It is an absolutely revolutionary movement, and
must, therefore, be rejected by the English mind when seen as such,--and
this all the more certainly and speedily because Ruskin with his
imaginative enthusiasm has raised it to a higher position than it really
deserves at present. That cause is unfortunate which retains as its
advocate one whose rhetoric persuades all, while his logic convinces
none; and the too readily believing converts of his enthusiasm and
splendid diction, their sympathetic fire abated, revert with an
implacable bitterness to their former traditions. With all our respect
for Ruskin, we think that he has asserted many things, but proved next
to nothing. He has utterly misunderstood and misstated Pre-Raphaelitism,
which will thus be one day the weaker for his support.

But, pending this inevitable decline in favor at home, Pre-Raphaelitism
colonizes. During the past year, some lovers of Art in England organized
an association, having as its purpose the introduction of English Art to
the American public,--partly, it was to be expected, with the view of
opening this El Dorado to the English painter, but still more with the
desire to extend the knowledge of what was to them a new and important
revelation of Art. In its inception the plan was almost exclusively
Pre-Raphaelite, but extended itself, on after-consideration, so far as
to admit the worthiest artists of the conventional stamp. We have the
first fruits of the undertaking in an exhibition which has achieved a
success in New York, and which will probably visit the principal cities
of the Union before its return home in the spring to make way for a
second which will open in the autumn.

It is not as a collection of pictures merely that we purpose to notice
this exhibition. Out of nearly four hundred pictures, the great
proportion are mere conventionalisms,--many of them choice, but most of
them in no wise to be compared with the pictures of the same class by
French and German painters, since neither just drawing nor impressive
color redeems their inanity of conception. There are some curious
water-color drawings by Lance, remarkable mainly as forcibly painted,
some exquisite color-pieces by William Hunt, and a number of fine
examples of the matter-of-fact common-place which forms the great mass
of pictures in the London exhibitions. Two drawings deserve especial,
though brief, notice; one a coast bit by Copley Fielding,--a sultry,
hazy afternoon on the seashore, where sea and sky, distance and
foreground, are fused into one golden, slumberous silence, in which
neither wave laps nor breeze fans, and only the blinding sun moves,
sinking slowly down to where heaven and ocean mingle again in a happy
dream of their old unity before the waters under the firmament were
divided from the waters above the firmament, and the stranded ships lie
with sails drooping and listless on a beach from which the last tide
seems to have ebbed, leaving the ooze glistening and gleaming in the
sunlight,--a picture of rare sentiment and artistic refinement;--the
other is a waterfall by Nesfield,--a dreamy, careless, wayward plunge
of waters over ledge after ledge of massive rock, the merry cascade
enveloping itself in a robe of spray and mist, on the skirt of which
flashes the faintest vision of a rainbow, which wavers and flits,
almost, as you look at it, while the jets of foam plash up from the pool
at the foot of the fall, a tranquil pause of the waters in a depth of
uncertain blue, in which a suggestion of emerald flashes, and from
which they dance on in less frantic mood over the brown and water-worn
boulders to follow their further whims; everything that is most charming
and _spirituelle_ in the water-fall is given, and with a delicacy of
color and subtilty of execution fitting the subject. These are not the
only good drawings, but there is in them a simplicity and singleness
of purpose, a total subordination of all minor matters to the great
impression, which makes them points of poetic value in the collection.
There are some drawings by Finch, scarcely less noticeable for their
rendering of solemn twilight, tender and touching as the memory of a
loved one long dead. The water-color representation is, indeed, complete
and interesting; but we have only present use with five of these
drawings, by Turner, and from different stages of his progress.

Ruskin, in his pamphlet on Pre-Raphaelitism, has drawn such a comparison
between Turner and the Pre-Raphaelites as to make them only different
manifestations of the same spirit in Art. Nothing, it seems to us, could
be more mistaken than this; for, in all that concerns either the end of
Art or its paths of approach, its purposes or its methods, Turner and
the Pre-Raphaelites are diametrically opposed. Turner was intensely
subjective,--the Pre-Raphaelites are as intensely objective. There is
no evidence whatever in Turner's works that he ever made the slightest
attempt to reproduce Nature in such guise as the Pre-Raphaelites paint
her in; on the contrary, the early drawings of Turner are as inattentive
to absolute truth of detail as they could well be. His course of study
was one of memory. He commenced by expressing in his drawing such
palpable facts and truths as were most strongly retained, and in which
he conveyed the great impression of the scene, with the most complete
indifference to all facts not essential to the telling of his story.
From this, as his memory grew stronger and his perception more minute
and comprehensive, he widened his circle of ideas and facts, always
working from feeling rather than from what Nature set before him. His
mind thus sifting his perceptions, retaining always only those which
constituted the essential features of the impression, and with
a distinctness proportioned to their relative importance, there
necessarily resulted a subjective unity like that of an absolute
creation. The Pre-Raphaelites, on the other hand, endeavor to paint
everything that they see just as they see it; and doing this without
permitting the slightest liberty of choice to their feeling, where
they _have_ feeling, their Art is, of course, in all its early stages,
destitute of that singleness of purpose which marked Turner's works
from the beginning. Turner felt an emotion before Nature, and used the
objects from which he had received the emotion as symbols to
convey it again;--the Pre-Raphaelites look at Nature as full
of beautiful facts, and, like children amid the flowers, they
gather their hands full, "indifferent of worst or best," and when their
hands are full, crowd their laps and bosoms, and even drop some
already picked, to make room for others which beckon from their
stems,--insatiable with beauty. This is delightful,--but childlike,
nevertheless. Turner was, above all, an artist; with him Art stood
first, facts secondary;--with the Pre-Raphaelites it is the reverse; it
is far less important to them that their facts should be broadly stated
and in keeping in their pictures, than that they should be there and
comprehensible. To him a fact that was out of keeping was a nuisance,
and he treated it as such; while any falsehood that was in keeping was
as unhesitatingly admitted, if he needed it to strengthen the impression
of his picture. Turner would put a rainbow by the side of the sun, if he
wanted one there;--a Pre-Raphaelite would paint with a stop-watch, to
get the rainbow in the right place. In brief, Turner's was the purely
subjective method of study, a method fatal to any artist of the opposite
quality of mind;--that of the Pre-Raphaelites is the purely objective,
absolutely enslaving to a subjective artist, and no critic capable of
following out the first principles of Art to logical deductions could
confound the two. The one leads to a sentimental, the other to a
philosophic Art; and the only advice to be given to an artist as to his
choice of method is, that, until he knows that he can trust himself in
the liberty of the subjective, he had better remain in the discipline
of the objective. The fascination of the former, once felt, forbids all
return to the latter. If he be happy in the Pre-Raphaelite fidelity, let
him thank the Muse and tempt her no farther.

There can be no more valuable lesson in Art given than that series
of Turner drawings in the British collection, both as concerns its
progression in the individual and those subtile analogies between
painting (color) and music,--analogies often hinted at, but never, that
we are aware, fully followed out. Color bears the same relation to form
that sound does to language. If a painter sit down before Nature
and accurately match all her tints, we have an absolute but prosaic
rendering of her; and the analogy to this in music would be found in
a passage of ordinary conversational language written down, with its
inflections and pauses recorded in musical signs. Both are transcripts
of Nature, but neither is in any way poetic, or, strictly speaking,
artistic; we cannot, by any addition or refinement, make them so. Now
mark that in the two early drawings of Turner we have white and
black with only the slightest possible suggestion of blue in the
distance;--the corresponding form in language is verse, with its measure
of time for measure of space, and just so much inflection of voice as
these drawings have of tint,--enough not to be absolutely monotonous. We
have in both cases left the idea of mere imitation of Nature, and have
entered on Art. Verse grows naturally into music by simple increase of
the range of inflection, as Turner's color will grow more melodic and
finally harmonic. And in thus beginning Turner has placed his works
above the level of prosaic painting of Nature, just as verse is placed
above prose by the unanimous consent of mankind. From these simple
presages of Art we may diverge and follow his development as a poet by
his engravings, without ever making reference to him as a colorist. But
beside being a poet, he was a great color-composer. If, leaving poetry
as recited, we take the ballad, or poetry made fully melodic, we have
the single voice, passing through measured inflections and with measured
pauses. Correspondingly, the next in the series of Turner drawings, the
"Aysgarth Force," shows no attempt to give the real color of Nature, but
a single color governing the whole drawing, a golden brown passing in
shadow into its exact negative. There is an absolute tint, full, and
inflected through every shade of its tones to the bottom of the scale.
The strict analogy is broken in this case by a dash of delicate
gray-blue in the sky and gray-red in the figures, the slightest possible
accompaniment to his golden-brown melody; but these were not needed, and
we find earlier drawings which adhere to the strict monochrome. In the
drawing next in date, the "Hastings from the Sea," we have the further
step from monochrome to polychrome; we have the distinct trio, the
golden yellow in the sky, the blue in the sea, and the red in the
figures in the boats,--as in a vocal trio we have the only three
possible musical sounds of the human voice, the soprano, the basso,
and the falsetto of the child's voice. All these colors are distinctly
asserted and perfectly harmonized in a most exquisite play of tints, but
it is still no more like Nature than the trio in "I Puritani" is like
conversation. Turner never dreamed of painting _like_ Nature, and no
sane man ever saw or can see, in this world, Nature in the colors in
which he has painted her, any more than he will find men conducting
business in operatic notes.

One step farther, and we leave the analogy. In the "Swiss Valley," one
of his last works, we are from the first conscious that his harmonies
have run away with his theme. In Ole Bull's "Niagara" we have almost as
much of matter-of-fact Nature as in Turner's "Swiss Valley." The eye
untrained by study of Turner's works finds nothing but a blaze of color
with no intelligible object, just as we have, in opera, music of which
the words are inaudible;--both are there for practised ear and eye, but
in neither case as of primary importance. Turner has even gone farther,
and given us pictures of pure color, as in the illustration of Goethe's
theory of colors,--a _fantasie_ of the palette. And why shall Turner
not orchestrate color as well as Verdi sound? why not give us his
synchromies as well as Beethoven his symphonies? You prefer common
sense,--Harding and Fripp, Stanfield and Creswick? Well, suppose you
like better to hear some familiar voice talking of past times than to
hear "Robert le Diable" ever so well sung, or Hawthorne's prose better
than Browning's verse,--it proves nothing, save that you do not care for
music and poetry so well as some others do.

But after all, Turner was one of the old school of artists. Claude was
the first landscape painter of the line, Turner the last; subjective
poets both,--the one a child, the other a mighty man. But the poets
no longer govern the world as in times past; they give place to the
philosophers. The race is no longer content with its inspirations and
emotions, but must see and understand. The old school of Art was one of
sentiment, the new is one of fact; and out of that English mind from
whose seeming common-place level of untrained, unschooled intellect have
burst so many of the loftiest souls the world has known,--from that mind
more inspired in its want of academic greatness, more self-educated in
its wild liberty, than the best-trained nations of Europe, this new
school has fittingly had its origin.

We speak of it as a School, though yet in its rudiments, because it
has a distinctive character, a real purpose,--and because it is the
embodiment of the new-age spirit of truth-seeking, of the spirit of
science, rather than that of song. Among the pictures contributed to the
English exhibition by the Pre-Raphaelites, there are very few which do
not convey the distinct impression of a determined effort to realize
certain truths. There are few which succeed entirely; but this is so far
from astonishing, that we have only to think that the oldest of these
artists has hardly passed his first decade of recognized artistic
existence, and that their aims are new in Art, to wonder that so much of
fresh and subtile truth is given. There are two respects in which nearly
all the works of the school agree, and which have come to be regarded by
superficial students of Art as its characteristics, namely, that they
are very deficient in drawing and devoid of grace. Both deficiencies
are such as might have been expected from the circumstances. Young men
filled with earnestness and enthusiasm, and with an artistic purpose
full in view, will spend little time in acquiring academic excellences,
or trouble themselves much with methods or styles of drawing. They dash
at once to their purpose, and let technical excellence follow, as it
ought, in the train of the idea of their work. Of course they do not
compare, as draughtsmen and technists, with men who have spent years in
getting a knowledge of the proportions of the human figure, and the best
methods of applying color; but, on the other hand, they are safe from
that most alluring and fatal course of study which makes the subject
only a lay figure to display artistic capacity on. Of all the pictures
of the school, in the collection of which we speak, there is but one of
academic excellence in drawing,--the "King Lear" of Ford Madox Brown.
All the others have errors, and some of them to a ludicrous degree; but
wherever refined drawing is needed to convey the idea of the picture, no
school can furnish drawing more subtile and expressive. The head of
the "Light of the World" is worthy in this respect to be placed beside
Raphael and Da Vinci; and the "Ophelia" of Hughes, though inexcusably
incorrect in the figure, has a refinement of drawing in the face,
and especially in the lines of the open, chanting mouth, which no
draughtsman of the French school can equal. It is where the idea guides
the hand that the Pre-Raphaelites are triumphant; everywhere else they
fail. But this is a fault which will correct itself as they learn the
significance and value of things they do not now understand. They paint
well that which they love, and devotion grows and widens its sphere the
longer it endures, taking in, little by little, all things which bear
relation to the thought or thing it clings to; and the man who draws
because he has something to tell, and draws _that_ well, is certain
of finally drawing all things well. This very deficiency of
Pre-Raphaelitism, then, points to its true excellence, and indicates
that singleness of purpose which is an element in all true Art. The want
of grace, which is made almost a synonyme with Pre-Raphaelitism, has its
origin in the same resolute clinging to truth as the artist comprehends
it, and uncompromising determination to express it as perfectly as he
has the power,--a feeling which never permits him to think whether his
work be graceful, but whether it be just; so that his tremulous and
almost fearful conscientiousness--tremulous with desire to see all,
and fearful lest some line should wander by a hair's breadth from its
fullest expressiveness--makes him lose sight entirely of grace and
repose. No form that has the appearance of being painfully drawn
can ever be a graceful one; and so the Pre-Raphaelite, until he has
something of a master's facility and decision, can never be graceful.
The artist who prefers grace to truth will never be remarkable either
for grace or truth, while the one who clings to truth at all sacrifices
will finally reach the expression of the highest degree of beauty which
his soul is capable of conceiving; for the lines of highest beauty and
supremest truth are coincident. The Ideal meets the Actual finally in
the Real.

If there be one point of feeling in which the Pre-Raphaelites can be
said to be more than in all others antagonistic to the schools of
painting which preceded them, it would be that indicated by this
distinction,--that the new school is one which in all cases places truth
before beauty, while the old esteems beauty above truth. The tendency
of the one is towards a severe and truth-seeking Art, one in all its
characteristics essentially religious in the highest sense of the term,
holding truth dearer than all success in popular estimation, or than all
attractions of external beauty, reverent, self-forgetting, and humble
before Nature; that of the other is towards an Art Epicurean and
atheistic, holding the truth as something to be used or neglected at
its pleasure, and of no more value than falsehood which is equally
beautiful,--making Nature, indeed, something for weak men to lean on and
for superstitious men to be enslaved by. This distinction is radical; it
cuts the world of Art, as the equator does the earth, with an unswerving
line, on one side or the other of which every work of Art falls, and
which permits no neutral ground, no chance of compromise;--he who is not
for the truth is against it. We will not be so illiberal as to say that
Art lies only on one side of this line; to do so were to shut out works
which have given us exceeding delight;--so neither could we exclude
Epicurus and his philosophy from the company of doers of good;--but the
distinction is as inexorable as the line Christ drew between his and
those not his; it lies not in the product, which may be mixed good and
evil, but in the motive, which is indivisible.

Pre-Raphaelitism must take its position in the world as the beginning of
a new Art,--new in motive, new in methods, and new in the forms it puts
on. To like it or to dislike it is a matter of mental constitution.
The only mistake men can make about it is to consider it as a mature
expression of the spirit which animates it. Not one, probably not two
or three generations, perhaps not so many centuries, will see it in its
full growth. It is a childhood of Art, but a childhood of so huge a
portent that its maturity may well call out an expectation of awe.
In all its characteristics it is childlike,--in its intensity, its
humility, its untutored expressiveness, its marvellous instincts of
truth, and in its very profuseness of giving,--filling its caskets with
an unchoosing lavishness of pearl and pebble, rose and may-weed, all
treasures alike to its newly opened eyes, all so beautiful that there
can scarcely be choice among them.

To suppose that a revolution so complete as this could take place
without a bitter opposition would be an hypothesis without any
justification in the world's experience; for, be it in whatever sphere
or form, when a revolution comes, it offends all that is conservative
and reverential of tradition in the minds of men, and arouses an
apparently inexplicable hostility, the bitterness of which is not at all
proportionate to the interest felt by the individual in the subject of
the reform, but to his constitutional antipathy to all reform, to all
agitation. The conservative at heart hates the reformer because he
agitates, not because he disturbs him personally. This is clearly seen
in the hostility with which the new Art has been met in England, where
conservatism has built its strongest batteries in the way of invading
reform. For the moment, the English mind, bending in a surprised
deference to the stormy assault of the enthusiasts of the new school,
partly carried away by its characteristic admiration of the heroism of
their attack and the fiery eloquence of their champion, Ruskin, and
perhaps not quite assured of its final effect, forgets to unmask
its terrible artillery. But to upset the almost immovable English
conservatism, to teach the nation new ways of thought and feeling, in a
generation! Cromwell could not do it; and this wave of reform that
now surges up against those prejudices, more immovable than the white
cliffs of Albion, will break and mingle with the heaving sea again, as
did that of the republicanism of the Commonwealth, whose Protector never
sat in his seat of government more firmly than Ruskin now holds the
protectorate of Art in England. When political reform moved off to
American wildernesses for the life it could not preserve in England, it
but marked the course reform in Art must follow. The apparent ascendency
which it has obtained over the old system will as certainly turn out
to be temporary as there is logic in history; because an Art, like a
political system, to govern a nation, must be in accordance with its
character as a nation,--must, in fact, be the outgrowth of it. The only
unfailing line of kings and protectors is the people; with them is no
interregnum; and when the English people become fitted by intellectual
and moral progress to be protectors of a new and living Art, it will
return to them just as surely as republicanism will one day return from
its exile,--

  "And all their lands restored to them again,
  That were with it exiled."

The philosophic Art will find a soil free from Art-prejudices and open
to all seeds of truth; it will find quiet and liberty to grow, not
without enemies or struggles, but with no enemies that threaten its
safety, nor struggles greater than will strengthen it. The appreciation
and frank acceptance it has met on its first appearance here, the number
of earnest and intelligent adherents it has already found, are more
than its warmest friends hoped for so soon. But in England, while its
appreciating admirers will remain adherents to its principles, it will
pass out of existence as an independent form of Art, and the elements
of good in it will mingle with the Art of the nation, as a leaven
of nonconformity and radicalism, breeding agitations enough to keep
stagnation away and to secure a steady and irresistible progress. Its
truest devotees will remain in principle what they are, losing gradually
the external characteristics of the school as it is now known,--while
the great mass of its disciples, unthinking, impulsive, will sink back
into the ranks of the old school, carrying with them the strength they
have acquired by the severe training of the system, so that the whole of
English Art will be the better for Pre-Raphaelitism. But with Ruskin's
influence ceases the Commonwealth of Art; for Ruskin governs, not
represents, English feeling,--governs with a tyranny as absolute, an
authority as unquestioned, as did Oliver Cromwell.

Of the men now enlisted in the reform, few are of very great value
individually. Millais will probably be the first important recusant.
He is a man of quick growth, and his day of power is already past; the
reaction will find in him an ally of name, but he has no real greatness.
William Holman Hunt and Dante Rosetti are great imaginative artists, and
will leave their impress on the age. Ford Madox Brown, as a rational,
earnest painter, holds a noble and manly position. But then we have done
with great names. Much seed has sprung up on stony ground; but, having
little soil, when the sun shines, it will die. The slow growth is the
sure one.

       *       *       *       *       *


_History of the Republic of the United States of America, as traced in
the Writings of Alexander Hamilton and his Contemporaries_. By John C.
HAMILTON Vol. I. New York: D. Appleton & Co., Broadway. 1857.

Comic Histories have never been to our taste. The late Mr. Gilbert à
Beckett, we always thought, might have employed his _vis comica_, or
force of fun, better than in linking ludicrous images and incongruous
associations with the heroes of ancient and modern times. The department
of Comic Biography, we believe, has received few contributions, if any,
from the frolic quills of wicked wags. The cure, however, of this defect
in our literature, if any there be, may be looked upon as begun in the
work whose title stands at the head of this notice. The author, indeed,
had not the settled purpose of the facetious writers we have just
dispraised, of making game of the subject of his book, no more than he
has the wit and cleverness which half redeem their naughtinesses.
The absence of these latter qualities is supplied in his case by
the self-complacent good faith in which he puts forth his monstrous
assumptions and the stolid assurance with which he maintains them. But
the effect of his labors, as of theirs, is to throw an atmosphere of
ludicrous ideas around the memory of a great man, painful to all persons
of good taste and correct feelings.

Filial piety is a virtue to which much should be forgiven. And the son
of such a father as Alexander Hamilton might well be pardoned for even
an undue estimate of his services, if it were kept within the decent
bounds of moderate exaggeration. But when he undertakes to make his
father the incarnation of the Revolution and of the Republic, and to
concentrate all the glories of that heroic age in him as the nucleus
from which they radiate, he must pardon us, if we think, that, by long
contemplation of the object of his filial admiration, his mental sight
has become morbid and distorted, and sees things which are not to be
seen. Beginning his book with the assumption that Hamilton was the
first to conceive the idea, of "the Union of the People of the United
States,"--an assumption which we can by no means admit, though supported
(as we learn from a foot note) by the opinion of Mr. George Ticknor
Curtis,--the author proceeds "to trace in his life and writings the
history of the origin and, early policy of this GREAT REPUBLIC." Through
the whole volume, "THE REPUBLIC" stands rubric over the left hand page,
and "HAMILTON" over the right, and the identity of the two is sought to
be established from the beginning to the end. Now, deep as is the sense
we entertain of the services of Hamilton to his country, and scarcely
less than filial as is the veneration we have been taught from our
earliest days to feel for his memory, we must pronounce this pretension
to be as absurd and futile in itself as it is unjust and ungenerous to
the other great men of that pregnant period.

We do not know whether or not Mr. John C. Hamilton is of opinion, that,
had his illustrious father lived and died a trader in the island of
Nevis, the American Revolution would never have taken place, nor the
American Republic been founded; but he plainly considers that the
great contest began to assume its most momentous gravity from the time
Hamilton first entered upon the scene, as an haranguer at popular
meetings in New York, as a writer on the earnest topics of the day, as
a spectator of the broadside fired by the Asia on the Battery, as a
captain of artillery at White Plains, and especially as the aide-de-camp
and secretary of Washington. This part of the history of Hamilton, and
particularly the testimony about his selection by Washington for this
great confidence when scarcely twenty years of age, bears to his eminent
qualities, one would think, honor enough to satisfy the most pious of
sons. But from this moment, according to the innuendoes, if not the
broad assertion of Mr. Hamilton, Washington was chiefly of use to sign
the letters and papers prepared by his military secretary, and to carry
out the plans he had conceived. On the theatre of the world's history,
from this time forth, Washington is to be presented, like Mr. Punch on
the ledge of his show-box, squeaking and jerking as the strings are
pulled from below by the hand of his boy-aide-de-camp. He writes letters
to Congress, to all and singular the American Generals, to the British
Generals, to the Governors of States, and to all whom it may concern,
"over the signature of Washington," (which detestable Americanism Mr.
Hamilton invariably uses,) the whole credit of the correspondence being
coolly passed over to the account of the secretary! That Hamilton did
his duty excellently well there is no question, but it was a purely
ministerial one. He furnished the words and the sentences, but
Washington breathed into them the breath of their life. As well might
the confidential clerk of Mr. John Jacob Astor claim his estate, in
virtue of having written, under the direction of his principal, the
business letters by which it was acquired. If we are not mistaken, this
Mr. Hamilton some time since included Washington's Farewell Address in
the collection of his father's works. Perhaps Mr. Jefferson owes it to
the accidents of time and distance, that the Declaration of Independence
is not reclaimed as another of Hamilton's estrays. We forbear to
characterize this attempt to transfer the credit of the correspondence
of Washington from the heart to the hand, in the terms which we think it
deserves; for we apprehend the mere statement of the case will enable
every right-judging man to form a very competent opinion of it for

Though we cannot conscientiously say, judging from this book, that Mr.
Hamilton has inherited the literary skill of his father, it is very
clear that he is the faithful depositary of his political antipathies.
At the earliest possible moment the hereditary rancor against John Adams
bursts forth, and it bubbles up again whenever an opening occurs or can
be made. His patriotism, his temper, his manners, his courage, are
all in turn made the theme of bitter, and of what is meant for strong
denunciation. His journeys from Philadelphia to Braintree, though with
the permission of Congress, are "flights"; his not taking the direct
road, which would bring him in dangerous vicinity to the enemy, is a
proof of cowardice! His free expression of opinion as to the conduct
of the campaign in the Jerseys--made before the seal of success had
certified to its wisdom--was rancorous hostility to Washington, if not
absolute conspiracy against him; and so on to the end of the chapter.
As this volume only brings the history of the Republic, as contained in
that of Hamilton, then in the twenty-second year of his age, to 1779, we
tremble to think of what yet awaits the Second President, as the twain
in one grow together from the gristle into the bone. What we have here
we conceive to be the mere sockets of the gallows of fifty cubits'
height on which this New England Mordecai is to be hanged up as an
example to all malefactors of his class. We make no protest against this
summary procedure, if the Biographer of the Republic think it due to the
memory of his father; but we would submit that he has begun rather early
in the day to bind the victim doomed to deck the _feralia_ of his hero.

The literary execution of this book is not better than its substantial
merits deserve. The style is generally clumsy, often obscure, and
not unseldom harsh and inflated. Take an instance or two, picked out
absolutely at random.--"The disaffected, who held throughout the contest
the seaboard of the State in abeyance, driven forth, would have felt in
their wanderings there would be no parley with them." p. l27. Again, "It
became the policy of the Americans, while holding the enemy in check, to
draw him into separate detachments, in successive skirmishes to profit
of their superior aim and activity, and of their better knowledge of the
country, and to keep up its confidence by a system of short and gradual
retreats from fastness to fastness,--from river beyond river." p.
l29.--These sentences, taken at hap-hazard from two consecutive leaves,
are not unfair specimens of the literary merits of this intrepid attempt
to convert the history of the nation, at its most critical period, into
a collection of _Mémoires pour servir_ to the biography of General

We are very sure that Mr. Hamilton has undertaken a task for which he
has neither the necessary talent nor materials, and which can only end,
as it has begun, in a ridiculous failure. If we could hope that our
words would reach or influence him, we would entreat him to be content
with the proud heritage of fame which his father left to his children,
without seeking to increase it by encroachments on that left behind
them by his great contemporaries. The fame of Hamilton, indeed, is no
peculiar and personal property of his descendants. It belongs to us all,
and neither the malice of his enemies nor the foolish fondness of his
son can separate it from us. Notwithstanding the amusement we could not
help deriving from the perusal of this volume, and sure as we are that
the book must grow more and more diverting, in its way, as it goes on,
we cannot but feel that the entertainment will be dearly purchased
at the cost of even the shadow of just ridicule resting, even for a
moment, on so illustrious and venerable a name as that of ALEXANDER

_Parthenia: or the Last Days of Paganism_. By ELIZA BUCKMINSTER LEE,
Author of "Naomi," "Life of Jean Paul," "Lives of the Buckminsters,"
etc., etc. Boston: Ticknor & Fields. 1858. 12mo. pp. 420.

The true gauge of any civilization, whether of a race, a nation, or a
district, is to be found in the character and position of its women.
Slaves, toys, idols, companions, they rise with every ascending grade of
culture until they have won the natural place so long denied them. The
feminine string rings a true octave with the masculine, and makes a
perfect concord, when left to vibrate in its entire length. But the
lower forms of social humanity are constantly shortening it, and so
producing occasional harmonies at the expense of frequent discords.

We hold such a book as "Parthenia" to have a wide significance to all
who read thoughtfully. It is the work of a thoroughly cultivated woman,
who, in her nobleness of aim, in her generosity of sentiment, in her
purity of thought and style, may be considered a worthy representative
of our best type of educated womanhood. Mrs. Lee's former writings have
made her name honored and cherished in both hemispheres. Thomas Carlyle
said of her "Lives of the Buckminsters," "that it gave an insight into
the real life of the highest natures,"--"that it had given him a much
better account of character in New England than anything he had seen
since Franklin."

We hail a production like this, so scholarlike and serene, so remote
from the trivialities and vulgarities of ambitious book-makers, with
pleasure and pride. We are thankful--let us add in a whisper--for
a story, with love and woman in it, which does not rustle with
_crinoline_; that most useful of inventions for ladies with limited
outlines, and literary man-milliners with scanty brains; which has
filled more than half the space in our drawing-rooms, and nearly as
large a part of some of our periodicals, since the Goddesses of Grace
and of Dulness united to bestow the precious gift on Beauties and

A story deals with human nature and time. All that is truly human is
interesting, however abstractly stated; but it requires the _mordant_
of specific circumstance, involving some historical period, to make
it stain permanently. Everything that belongs to Time, as his private
property,--everything _temporary_, using that word in its ordinary
sense,--is uninteresting, except so far as it serves to fix the colors
of that humanity which we always love to contemplate. The statuary,
who cares nothing about Time, loves to drop his costuming, trumpery
altogether. The cheap story, written for the day, is dressed in all the
fashionable articles that can be laid upon it, like the revolving lady
in a shop window. The real story, which alone outlives the _modíste's_
bonnets and shawls, may drape itself as it pleases; for it does not
depend on its _peplos_, or _stola_, on its _stomacher_, or _basque_,--or
_crinoline_, for its effect.

"Parthenia" is a tale of the fourth century, but it tells the experience
of lofty souls in all centuries. The particular period chosen is one of
the deepest interest,--that of the conflict of expiring Paganism with
growing Christianity, under Julian the Apostate. Julian's character, as
drawn in the story, may be considered as a true historical study. The
"grand _conservative_ of the fourth century," as Mrs. Lee calls him, is
painted as a violent and arbitrary man, but always sincere and noble in
his delusions. He never loses our respect, and we admire as often as
pity him. When people, professing to believe that a few sestertia
invested in papyri and sent to their barbarian neighbors would be sure
to save hundreds or thousands of fellow-creatures from an eternity
of inconceivable agony, do, notwithstanding, expend great sums on
"snow-white mules and golden harness," to carry them to the Basilica,
or on any other selfish gratification whatsoever, we cannot wonder
that Julian, or anybody else, is ready to take up the pleasant "creed
outworn" which Wordsworth half yearns after in his famous sonnet, as
preferable to that base system of psychophagy prevailing in the church
of Antioch.

Parthenia, the heroine of the story, is drawn with great power and
feeling. She comes before us at first with the classic charms of an
Athenian beauty; she leaves us resplendent with the aureola of a
Christian saint. The change is gradually and naturally wrought; a
Christian maid-servant wins her love and reverence, and her proud and
restless heart finds peace in the simple faith taught by the little
slave, Areta.

We cannot in this brief notice follow the incidents of the tale, which
will be found full of interest. A remarkably graceful style and a
harmonious arrangement of scenery and incident make the chapters flow on
like a series of gliding pictures. The pleasure afforded by the beauty
of the story will, perhaps, be enough for most readers; but those
who read carefully will perceive that it furnishes matter for deep
reflection to the student of history and of theology.

_The Life of Michael Angelo Buonarotti, with Translations of many of his
Poems and Letters_. Also _Memoirs of Savonarola, Raphael, and Victoria
Colonna_. By JOHN S. HARFORD, Esq., D.C.L., F.R.S., etc., etc. 2 vols.
8vo. London. 1857.

Autobiographies are not the only memoirs in which there is scope for the
display of vanity. Some men flatter themselves by connecting their names
on a title-page with the name of some great character of the past.
Self-love quickens their admiration of their hero, and admiration for
their hero gratifies their self-love. Mr. Harford belongs to this class
of biographers. The title and the appearance of his volumes excite
expectations which acquaintance with them disappoints. The book is not a
mere harmless piece of literary presumption; it is a positive evil, as
cumbering ground which might be better occupied, and as giving such
authority as it may acquire to false views of Art and to numerous errors
of fact. There was need of a good biography of Michel Angelo, and Mr.
Harford has made a bad one. The defects of the book are both external
and essential. Mr. Harford's mind is of the commonplace order, and
incapable of a true appreciation either of the character or the works
of such a man as Michel Angelo. He has no sympathetic insight into the
depths of human nature. Nor has he the method and power of arrangement,
such as may often be found in otherwise second-rate biographers, which
might enable him to set forth the external facts of a life in such lucid
and intelligible order as to exhibit the force of circumstances and
position in moulding the character. His learning, of which there is a
considerable display, appears on examination shallow and superficial,
and his style of writing is often clumsy, and never elegant.

Michel Angelo, like all great men of genius, is the reflex and express
image of many of the ruling characteristics and tendencies of his time.
The strongest natures receive the strongest impressions, and the most
marked individuality pervades the character which is yet the clearest
and best defined type of its own age. The decline of religious faith,
the vagueness of the prevailing religious philosophy, and the approach
of the Reformation, are all to be predicated from the "Last Judgment" in
the Sistine Chapel; the impending fall of Art is to be read in the form
of the "Moses" of San Pietro in Vincoli; the luxury and pomp of the
Papal Court and Church are manifest in the architecture of St. Peter's,
whose dome is swollen with earthly pride; the ceiling of the Sistine
Chapel betrays the recoil toward heathenism from the vices and
corruptions that then hung round Christianity; and the Sacristy of San
Lorenzo is the saddest and grandest exhibition that those days afforded
of the infidelity into which the best men were forced.

Vasari and Condivi are the great providers of facts in relation to
Michel Angelo, and they have left little to be desired in this respect.
The garrulous fondness of Vasari leads him into delightful Boswellian
details, and gives us more than a mere outline narrative. Mr. Harford
has transferred much of Vasari's writing to his own pages, but has
succeeded in translating or mistranslating all vitality out of it.

Mr. Harford has attempted, by giving sketches of the chief characters of
Florence and of Rome during Michel Angelo's life, to show some of the
personal influences which most affected him. But his bricks all lie
separate; they are not built up with mortar that holds them together.
A superficial account of the Platonic Academy is inserted to show the
effect of the fashionable philosophy of Florence upon the youthful
artist; but it is so done that we learn little more from it than that
the Academy existed, that Michel Angelo was a member of it, and that he
wrote some poems in which some Platonic ideas are expressed. There is no
philosophic analysis of the individual Platonism which is apparent, not
only in his poems, but in some of his paintings,--no exhibition of its
connection with the other portions of his intellectual development.
Michel Angelo's ideas of beauty, of the relation of the arts, of the
connection between Art and Religion, deserve fuller investigation than
they have yet received. His tremendous power has exerted such a control
over sensitive, imaginative, and weak minds, that even his errors have
been accepted as models, and his false ideas as principles of authority.
Mr. Harford's book will do little to assist in the formation of a true
judgment upon these and similar points.

But we will not confine our notice to assertions; we will exhibit at
least some of the minor faults upon which our assertions are based,--for
it would demand larger space than we could give to enter upon the
illustration of the principal faults of the book. First, then, for
inaccuracies of statement,--which are the less to be excused, as Mr.
Harford had ample opportunity for correctness. For instance, in the
description of the tombs of the Medici, Mr. Harford writes of the famous
figures of Aurora and Twilight, Day and Night: "The four figures that
adorn the tombs are allegorical; and they are specially worthy of
notice, because they first set the example of connecting ornamental
appendages of this description with funereal monuments. Introduced by
so great an authority, this example was quickly followed throughout the
whole of Europe." The carelessness of this assertion is curious. The
custom of connecting allegorical figures with funereal monuments had
prevailed in Italy for a long time before Michel Angelo. Perhaps the
most striking and familiar instance, and one with which Mr. Harford must
have been acquainted, is that afforded by the tombs of the Scaligeri at
Verona, where, on the monument to Can Signorio, of the latter part of
the fourteenth century, appear Faith, Hope, Charity, Prudence, and other
allegorical figures.

Again, in speaking of the old basilica of St. Peter's, he speaks of the
unusual _Orientalism_ of this the principal church of Western Europe,
whose entrance is towards the _east_ and the altar to the _west_. Now
this _Orientalism_ is by no means unusual in the churches at Rome.
Indeed, it seems to have been the rule of building for the early
churches,--and Santa Maria Maggiore, San Giovanni Laterano, San
Sebastiano, San Clemente, and innumerable others, exhibit it in their
construction. The priest, officiating at the altar, which stood advanced
into the church, looked toward the east.

Again, Mr. Harford says, "The pencil of Giotto was employed by Benedict
XII. in the year 1340"; but he does not tell us how the pencil answered
the purpose for which it was employed in a hand other than its master's.
Giotto died in 1336.

Such are specimens of errors of statement. We can give but a
very few examples of the numerous mistranslations we have
marked,--mistranslations of such a nature as to throw a doubt over the
statements in every portion of the book. In a letter to Luca Martini,
thanking him for a copy of Varchi's commentary on one of his own
sonnets, Michel Angelo says: "Since I perceive by his words and praises
that I am esteemed by the author to be that which I am not, I pray you
to offer such words to him from me as befit such love, affection, and
courtesy." This Mr. Harford translates as follows: "And since I am
almost persuaded by the praises and commendations of its author to
imagine myself to be that which I am not, I must entreat you to convey
to him some expressions from me appropriate to such love, affection, and
courtesy."--Again, writing to Benvenuto Cellini, to express his pleasure
in a portrait bust of his execution, which he had just seen, he says:
"Bindo Altoviti took me to see it--I had great pleasure in it, but it
vexed me much that it was put in a bad light." Mr. Harford renders:
"Bindo Altoviti recently showed me his own portrait, which delighted
me, but he little understood me, for he had placed it in a very bad
light."[A]--Again, in another letter, Michel Angelo says: "Teaching him
that which I know that his father wished he should learn," which Mr.
Harford transforms into, "I will teach him all that I know, and all that
his father wished him to learn." Rather a considerable promise!--In
another letter, Mr. Harford makes Michel Angelo say, "I thank you for
everything you say on the subject, as far as I can foresee the future."
Michel Angelo did say: "For which news I thank you heartily," or, to
translate literally and to show the origin of Mr. Harford's error, "I
thank you as much as I know how I can,"--_quanto so e posso_.

[Footnote A: Here Mr. Harford shows his ignorance of the common Italian
idiom, _e' mi seppe molto male_,--"it vexed" or "displeased me much." He
tries to render the words literally, and makes nonsense.]

One would have supposed that a consciousness of an imperfect
acquaintance with the Italian language might at least have deterred
Mr. Harford from attempting poetical translations from it. But he has
notwithstanding rendered many of Michel Angelo's poems into English
verse. Of these poems Wordsworth said, "So much meaning has been put
by Michel Angelo into so little room, and that meaning sometimes so
excellent in itself, that I found the difficulty of translating him
insurmountable. I attempted at least fifteen of the sonnets, but could
not anywhere succeed." How Mr. Harford has succeeded where Wordsworth
failed, we will leave our readers to infer.

We wish that dissatisfaction with Mr. Harford's volumes might lead some
better qualified person to attempt the biography of Michael Angelo.

       *       *       *       *       *

*** The continuation of the story, "Akin by Marriage," is unavoidably
deferred, owing to the severe illness of the author. It will be resumed
as soon as his health shall permit.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 01, No. 04, February, 1858" ***

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