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Title: The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 01, No. 05, March, 1858
Author: Various
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 01, No. 05, March, 1858" ***

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       *       *       *       *       *

VOL. I--MARCH, 1858.--NO. V.

       *       *       *       *       *


  --------parti elette
  Di Roma, che son state cimitero
  Alla milizia che Pietro seguette.

  PARADISO, c. ix.

"Roma Sotterranea,"--the underground Rome of the dead,--the buried city
of graves. Sacred is the dust of its narrow streets. Blessed were those
who, having died for their faith, were laid to rest in its chambers.
_In pace_ is the epitaph that marks the places where they lie.
_In pace_ is the inscription which the imagination reads over the
entrance to the Christian Catacombs.

Full as the upper city is of great and precious memories, it possesses
none greater and more precious than those which belong to the city under
ground. Republican Rome had no braver heroes than Christian Rome. The
ground and motives of action were changed, but the courage and devotion
of earlier times did not surpass the courage and devotion of later
days,--while a new spirit displayed itself in new and unexampled deeds,
and a new and brighter glory shone from them over the world. But,
unhappily, the stories of the early Christian centuries were taken
possession of by a Church which has sought in them the means of
enhancing her claims and increasing her power; mingling with them
falsehoods and absurdities, cherishing the wildest and most unnatural
traditions, inventing fictitious miracles, dogmatizing on false
assertions, until reasonable and thoughtful religious men have turned
away from the history of the first Christians in Rome with a sensation
of disgust, and with despair at the apparently inextricable confusion of
fact and fable concerning them.

But within a few years the period to which these stories belong has
begun to be investigated with a new spirit, even at Rome itself, and in
the bosom of the Roman Church. It was no unreasonable expectation, that,
from a faithful and honest exploration of the catacombs, and examination
of the inscriptions and works of art in them or derived from them, more
light might be thrown upon the character, the faith, the feeling, and
the life of the early Christians at Rome, than from any other source
whatever. Results of unexpected interest have proved the justness of
this expectation.

These results are chiefly due to the labors of two Romans, one a priest
and the other a layman, the Padre Marchi, and the Cavaliere de Rossi,
who have devoted themselves with the utmost zeal and with great ability
to the task of exploration. The present Pope, stimulated by the efforts
of these scholars, established some years since a Commission of Sacred
Archeology for the express purpose of forwarding the investigations
in the catacombs; and the French government, soon after its military
occupation of Rome, likewise established a commission for the purpose of
conducting independent investigations in the same field.[A]

[Footnote A: In 1844, Padre Marchi published a series of numbers,
seventeen in all, of a work entitled _Monumenti delle Arti Cristiane
Primitive nella Metropol del Cristianesmo_. The numbers are in quarto,
and illustrated by many carefully executed plates. The work was never
completed; but it contains a vast amount of important information,
chiefly the result of Padre Marchi's own inquiries. The Cavaliere de
Rossi, still a young man, one of the most learned and accomplished
scholars of Italy, is engaged at present in editing all the Christian
inscriptions of the first six centuries. No part of this work has yet
appeared. He is the highest living authority on any question regarding
the catacombs. The work of the French Commission has been published at
Paris in the most magnificent style, in six imperial folio volumes,
under the title, _Catacombes de Rome_, etc., etc. _Par_ LOUIS PERRET.
_Ouvrage publié par Ordre et aux Frais du Gouvernement, sous la
Direction d'une Commission composée de_ MM. AMPERE, INGRES, MERIMÉE,
VITET. It consists of four volumes of elaborate colored plates of
architecture, mural paintings, and all works of art found in the
catacombs, with one volume of inscriptions, reduced in fac-simile from
the originals, and one volume of text. The work is of especial value as
regards the first period of Christian Art. Its chief defect is the want
of entire accuracy, in some instances, in its representations of the
mural paintings,--some outlines effaced in the original being filled out
in the copy, and some colors rendered too brightly. But notwithstanding
this defect, it is of first importance in illustrating the hitherto very
obscure history and character of early Christian Art.]

The Roman catacombs consist for the most part of a subterranean
labyrinth of passages, cut through the soft volcanic rock of the
Campagna, so narrow as rarely to admit of two persons walking abreast
easily, but here and there on either side opening into chambers of
varying size and form. The walls of the passages, through their whole
extent, are lined with narrow excavations, one above another, large
enough to admit of a body being placed in each; and where they remain
in their original condition, these excavations are closed in front by
tiles, or by a slab of marble cemented to the rock, and in most cases
bearing an inscription. Nor is the labyrinth composed of passages upon a
single level only; frequently there are several stories, connected with
each other by sloping ways.

There is no single circumstance, in relation to the catacombs, of more
striking and at first sight perplexing character than their vast extent.
About twenty different catacombs are now known and are more or less
open,--and a year is now hardly likely to pass without the discovery
of a new one; for the original number of underground cemeteries, as
ascertained from the early authorities, was nearly, if not quite, three
times this number. It is but a very few years since the entrance to the
famous catacomb of St. Callixtus, one of the most interesting of all,
was found by the Cavaliere de Rossi; and it was only in the spring
of 1855 that the buried church and catacomb of St. Alexander on the
Nomentan Way were brought to light. Earthquakes, floods, and neglect
have obliterated the openings of many of these ancient cemeteries,--and
the hollow soil of the Campagna is full "of hidden graves, which men
walk over without knowing where they are."

Each of the twelve great highways which ran from the gates of Rome was
bordered on either side, at a short distance from the city wall, by the
hidden Christian cemeteries. The only one of the catacombs of which even
a partial survey has been made is that of St. Agnes, of a portion of
which the Padre Marchi published a map in 1845. "It is calculated to
contain about an eighth part of that cemetery. The greatest length of
the portion thus measured is not more than seven hundred feet, and its
greatest width about five hundred and fifty; nevertheless, if we measure
all the streets that it contains, their united length scarcely falls
short of two English miles. This would give fifteen or sixteen miles for
all the streets in the cemetery of St. Agnes."[B] Taking this as a fair
average of the size of the catacombs, for some are larger and some
smaller, we must assign to the streets of graves already known a total
length of about three hundred miles, with a probability that the unknown
ones are at least of equal length. This conclusion appears startling,
when one thinks of the close arrangement of the lines of graves along
the walls of these passages. The height of the passages varies greatly,
and with it the number of graves, one above another; but the Padre
Marchi, who is competent authority, estimates the average number at ten,
that is, five on each side, for every seven feet,--which would give a
population of the dead, for the three hundred miles, of not less than
two millions and a quarter. No one who has visited the catacombs can
believe, surprising as this number may seem, that the Padre Marchi's
calculation is an extravagant one as to the number of graves in a given
space. We have ourselves counted eleven graves, one over another, on
each side of the passage, and there is no space lost between the head
of one grave and the foot of another. Everywhere there is economy of
space,--the economy of men working on a hard material, difficult to be
removed, and laboring in a confined space, with the need of haste.

[Footnote B: The foregoing extract is taken from a book by the Rev. J.
Spencer Northcote, called _The Roman Catacombs, or some Account of the
Burial-Places of the Early Christians in Rome_: London, 1857. It is the
best accessible manual in English,--the only one with any claims to
accuracy, and which contains the results of recent investigations. Mr.
Northcote is one of the learned band of converts from Oxford to Rome. A
Protestant may question some of the conclusions in his book, but not its
general fairness. Our own first introduction to the catacombs, in the
winter of 1856, was under Mr. Northcote's guidance, and much of our
knowledge of them was gained through him. Mr. Northcote estimates the
total length of the catacombs at nine hundred miles; we cannot but think
this too high.]

This question of the number of the dead in the catacombs opens the way
to many other curious questions. The length of time that the catacombs
were used as burial-places; the probability of others, beside
Christians, being buried in them; the number of Christians at Rome
during the first two centuries, in comparison with the total number
of the inhabitants of the city; and how far the public profession
of Christianity was attended with peril in ordinary times at Rome,
previously to the conversion of Constantine, so as to require secret and
hasty burial of the dead;--these are points demanding solution, but of
which we will take up only those relating immediately to the catacombs.

There can, of course, be no certainty with regard to the period when the
first Christian catacomb was begun at Rome,--but it was probably
within a few years after the first preaching of the Gospel there. The
Christians would naturally desire to separate themselves in burial from
the heathen, and to avoid everything having the semblance of pagan
rites. And what mode of sepulture so natural for them to adopt, in
the new and affecting circumstances of their lives, as that which was
already familiar to them in the account of the burial of their Lord?
They knew that he had been "wrapped in linen, and laid in a sepulchre
which was hewn out of a rock, and a stone had been rolled unto the door
of the sepulchre." They would be buried as he was. Moreover, there was
a general and ardent expectation among them of the second coming of the
Saviour; they believed it to be near at hand; and they believed also
that then the dead would be called from their graves, clothed once more
in their bodies, and that as Lazarus rose from the tomb at the voice of
his Master, so in that awful day when judgment should be passed upon the
earth their dead would rise at the call of the same beloved voice.

But there were, in all probability, other more direct, though not more
powerful reasons, which led them to the choice of this mode of burial.
We read that the Saviour was buried--at least, the phrase appears
applicable to the whole account of his entombment ... "as the manner
of the Jews is to bury." The Jewish population at Rome in the early
imperial times was very large. They clung, as Jews have clung wherever
they have been scattered, to the memories and to the customs of their
country,--and that they retained their ancient mode of sepulture was
curiously ascertained by Bosio, the first explorer of the catacombs.
In the year 1602, he discovered a catacomb on what is called Monte
Verde,--the southern extremity of the Janiculum, outside the walls of
Rome, near to the Porta Portese. This gate is in the Transtiberine
district, and in this quarter of Rome the Jews dwelt. The catacomb
resembled in its general form and arrangements those which were of
Christian origin;--but here no Christian emblem was found. On the
contrary, the only emblems and articles that Bosio describes as having
been seen were plainly of Jewish origin. The seven-branched candlestick
was painted on the wall; the word "Synagogue" was read on a portion of
a broken inscription and the whole catacomb had an air of meanness and
poverty which was appropriate to the condition of the mass of the Jews
at Rome. It seemed to be beyond doubt that it was a Jewish cemetery. In
the course of years, through the changes in the external condition and
the cultivation of Monte Verde, the access to this catacomb has been
lost. Padre Marchi made ineffectual efforts a few years since to find
an entrance to it, and Bosio's account still remains the only one that
exists concerning it. Supposing the Jews to have followed this mode of
interment at Rome, it would have been a strong motive for its adoption
by the early Christians. The first converts in Rome, as St. Paul's
Epistle shows, were, in great part, from among the Jews. The Gentile and
the Jewish Christians made one community, and the Gentiles adopted the
manner of the Jews in placing their dead, "wrapped in linen cloths, in
new tombs hewn out of the rock."

Believing, then, the catacombs to have been begun within a few years
after the first preaching of Christianity in Rome, there is abundant
evidence to prove that their construction was continued during the time
when the Church was persecuted or simply tolerated, and that they were
extended during a considerable time after Christianity became the
established creed of the empire. Indeed, several catacombs now known
were not begun until some time after Constantine's conversion.[C] They
continued to be used as burial-places certainly as late as the sixth
century. This use seems to have been given up at the time of the
frequent desolation of the land around the walls of Rome by the
incursions of barbarians, and the custom gradually discontinued was
never resumed. The catacombs then fell into neglect, were lost sight of,
and their very existence was almost forgotten. But during the first five
hundred years of our era they were the burial-places of a smaller or
greater portion of the citizens of Rome,--and as not a single church
of that time remains, they are, and contain in themselves, the most
important monuments that exist of the Christian history of Rome for all
that long period.

[Footnote C: For instance, about the middle of the fourth century, St.
Julius, then Pope, is said to have begun three. See Marchi's _Momumenti
delle Arti Cristiane_, p. 82.]

It has been much the fashion during the last two centuries, among a
certain class of critics hostile to the Roman Church, and sometimes
hostile to Christianity, to endeavor to throw doubts on the fact of
this immense amount of underground work having been accomplished by the
Christians. It has been said that the catacombs were in part the work of
the heathen, and that the Christians made use of excavations which they
found ready to their hand. Such and other similar assertions have been
put forward with great confidence; but there is one overwhelming
and complete answer to all such doubts,--a visit to the catacombs
themselves. No skepticism can stand against such arguments as are
presented there. Every pathway is distinctly the work of Christian
hands; the whole subterranean city is filled with a host of the
Christian dead. But there are other convincing proofs of the character
of their makers. These are of a curiously simple description, and are
due chiefly to the investigations of late years. Nine tenths of the
catacombs now known are cut through one of the volcanic rocks which
abound in the neighborhood of Rome. Of the three chief varieties of
volcanic rock that exist there, this is the only one which is of little
use for purposes of art or trade. It could not have been quarried for
profit. It would not have been quarried, therefore, by the Romans,
except for the purposes of burial,--and the only inscriptions and other
indications of the character of the occupants of these burial-places
prove that they were Christian.[D] They are very different from the
sepulchres of the great and rich families of Rome, who lined the Appian,
the Nomentan, and Flaminian Ways with their tombs, even now magnificent
in ruin; very different, too, from the _columbaria_, or pigeon-holes,
in which the ashes of the less wealthy were packed away; and still more
different from the sad undistinguished ditch that received the bodies of
the poor:--

  "Hoc miserae plebi stabat commune sepulcrum."

[Footnote D: The volcanic rocks are the _Tufa litoide_, very hard, and
used for paving and other such purposes; difficult to be quarried, and
unfit for graves on account of this difficulty. The _Tufi granulare_, a
soft, friable, coarse-grained rock, easily cut,--fitted for excavation.
It is in this that the catacombs are made. It is used for very few
purposes in Rome. One may now and then see some coarse filling-up of
walls done with it, or its square-cut blocks piled up as a fence. The
third is the _Pura pozzolana_,--which is the _Tufa granulare_ in a state
of compact sand, yielding to the print of the heel, dug like sand, and
used extensively in the unsurpassed mortar of the Roman buildings.]

It not unfrequently happens in the soil of the Campagna, that the vein
of harder rock in which the catacombs are quarried assumes the soft and
sandy character which belongs to it in a state of decomposition. The
ancient Romans dug this sand as the modern Romans do; and it seems
probable, from the fact that some of the catacombs open out into
_arenaria_, or sandpits, as in the case of the famous one of St. Agnes,
that the Christians, in time of persecution, when obliged to bury with
secresy, may have chosen a locality near some disused sandpit, or near a
sandpit belonging to one of their own number, for the easier concealment
of their work, and for the safer removal of the quarried tufa. In such
cases the tufa may have been broken down into the condition of sand for
removal. In later times, as the catacombs were extended, the tufa dug
out from one passage was carried into the old passages no longer used;
and thus, as the catacomb extended in one direction, it was closed up in
another, and the ancient graves were concealed. This is now one of the
great impediments in the way of modern exploration; and the same process
is being repeated at present; for the Church allows none of the earth or
stone to be removed that has been hallowed as the resting-place of the
martyrs, and thus, as one passage is now opened, another has to be
closed. The archaeologists may rebel, but the priests have their way.
The ancient filling up was, however, productive of one good result; it
preserved some of the graves from the rifling to which most were exposed
during the period of the desertion of the catacombs. Most of the graves
which are now found with their tiled or marble front complete, and with
the inscription of name or date upon them unbroken, are those which were
thus secluded.

But there is still another curious fact bearing upon the Christian
origin of the catacombs. They are in general situated on somewhat
elevated land, and always on land protected from the overflow of the
river, and from the drainage of the hills. The early traditions of the
Church preserve the names of many Christians who gave land for the
purpose,--a portion of their _vignas_, or their villas. The names of the
women Priscilla, Cyriaca, and Lucina are honored with such remembrance,
and are attached to three of the catacombs. Sometimes a piece of land
was thus occupied which was surrounded by property belonging to those
who were not Christian. This seems to have been the case, for instance,
in regard to the cemetery of St. Callixtus; for (and this is one of
the recent discoveries of the Cavaliere de Rossi) the paths of this
cemetery, crossing and recrossing in three, four, and five stages, are
all limited to a definite and confined area,--and this area is not
determined by the quality of the ground, but apparently by the limits of
the field overhead. There can be no other probable explanation of this
but that Christians would not extend their burial-place under land that
was not in their possession. Many other facts, as we shall see in other
connections, go to establish beyond the slightest doubt the Christian
origin and occupation of the catacombs.

Descending from the level of the ground by a flight of steps into one of
the narrow underground passages, one sees on either side, by the light
of the taper with which he is provided, range upon range of tombs cut,
as has been described, in the walls that border the pathway. Usually the
arrangement is careful, but with an indiscriminate mingling of larger
and smaller graves, as if they had been made one after another for young
and old, according as they might be brought for burial. Now and then a
system of regularity is introduced, as if the _fossor_, or digger, who
was a recognized officer of the early Church, had had the leisure for
preparing graves before they were needed. Here, there is a range of
little graves for the youngest children, so that all infants should be
laid together, then a range for older children, and then one for the
grown up. Sometimes, instead of a grave suitable for a single body, the
excavation is made deep enough into the rock to admit of two, three, or
four bodies being placed side by side,--family graves. And sometimes,
instead of the simple _loculus_, or coffin-like excavation, there is
an arch cut out of the tufa, and sunk back over the whole depth of the
grave, the outer side of which is not cut away, so that, instead of
being closed in front by a perpendicular slab of marble or by tiles, it
is covered on the top by a horizontal slab. Such a grave is called an
_arcosolium_, and its somewhat elaborate construction leads to the
conclusion that it was rarely used in the earliest period of the
catacombs[E]. The _arcosolia_ are usually wide enough for more than
one body; and it would seem, from inscriptions that have been found upon
their covering-slabs, that they were not infrequently prepared during
the lifetime of persons who had paid beforehand for their graves. It is
not improbable that the expenses of some one or more of the cemeteries
may have been borne by the richer members of the Christian community,
for the sake of their poorer brothers in the faith. The example of
Nicodemus was one that would be readily followed.

[Footnote E: There is one puzzling circumstance in the cemetery of S.
Domitilla. _All_ the graves in this cemetery are _arcosolia_, and yet
the date of construction is early. The Cavaliere de Rossi suggests that
the cemetery was begun at the expense of the Domitilla whose name it
bears, the niece of Domitian, previously to her banishment; that her
position enabled her to have it laid out from the beginning on a regular
plan, and to introduce this more expensive and elaborate form of
grave, which was continued for the sake of uniformity in the later

But beside the different forms of the graves, by which their general
character was varied, there were often personal marks of affection
and remembrance affixed to the narrow excavations, which give to the
catacombs their most peculiar and touching interest. The marble facing
of the tomb is engraved with a simple name or date; or where tiles take
the place of marble, the few words needed are scratched upon their hard
surface. It is not too much to say that we know more of the common faith
and feeling, of the sufferings and rejoicings of the Christians of the
first two centuries from these inscriptions than from all other sources
put together. In another paper we propose to treat more fully of them.
As we walk along the dark passage, the eye is caught by the gleam of a
little flake of glass fastened in the cement which once held the closing
slab before the long since rifled grave. We stop to look at it. It is a
broken bit from the bottom of a little jar (_ampulla_); but that little
glass jar once held the drops of a martyr's blood, which had been
carefully gathered up by those who learned from him how to die, and
placed here as a precious memorial of his faith. The name of the martyr
was perhaps never written on his grave; if it were ever there, it has
been lost for centuries; but the little dulled bit of glass, as it
catches the rays of the taper borne through the silent files of graves,
sparkles and gleams with a light and glory not of this world. There are
other graves in which martyrs have lain, where no such sign as this
appears, but in its place the rude scratching of a palm-branch upon the
rock or the plaster. It was the sign of victory, and he who lay within
had conquered. The great rudeness in the drawing of the palm, often as
if, while the mortar was still wet, the mason had made the lines upon it
with his trowel, is a striking indication of the state of feeling at the
time when the grave was made. There was no pomp or parade; possibly the
burial of him or of her who had died for the faith was in secret; those
who carried the corpse of their beloved to the tomb were, perhaps, in
this very act, preparing to follow his steps,--were, perhaps, preparing
themselves for his fate. Their thoughts were with their Lord, and with
his disciple who had just suffered for his sake,--with their Saviour who
was coming so soon. What matter to put a name on the tomb? They could
not forget where they had laid the torn and wearied limbs away. _In
pace_, they would write upon the stone; a palm branch should be marked
in the mortar, the sign of suffering and triumph. Their Lord would
remember his servant. Was not his blood crying to God from the ground?
And could they doubt that the Lord would also protect and avenge? In
those first days there was little thought of relics to be carried
away,--little thought of material suggestions to the dull imagination,
and pricks to the failing memory. The eternal truths of their religion
were too real to them; their faith was too sincere; their belief in the
actual union of heaven and earth, and of the presence of God with them
in the world, too absolute to allow them to feel the need of that lower
order of incitements which are the resort of superstition, ignorance,
and conventionalism in religion. In the earlier burials, no differences,
save the ampulla and the palm, or some equally slight sign,
distinguished the graves of the martyrs from those of other Christians.

It is not to be supposed that the normal state of the Christian
community in Rome, during the first three centuries, was that of
suffering and alarm. A period of persecution was the exception to long
courses of calm years. Undoubtedly, during most of the time, the faith
was professed under restraint, and possibly with a sense of insecurity
which rendered it attractive to ardent souls, and preserved something
of its first sincerity. It must be remembered that the first Christian
converts were mostly from among the poorer classes, and that, however
we might have admired their virtues, we might yet have been offended by
much that was coarse and unrefined in the external exhibitions of their
religion. The same features which accompany the religious manifestations
of the uncultivated in our own days, undoubtedly, with somewhat
different aspect, presented themselves at Rome. The enthusiasms,
the visions, the loud preaching and praying, the dull iteration and
reiteration of inspired truth till all the inspiration is driven out,
were all probably to be heard and witnessed in the early Christian days
at Rome. Not all the converts were saints,--and none of them were
such saints as the Catholic painters of the last three centuries have
prostituted Art and debased Religion in producing. The real St. Cecilia
stood in the beauty of holiness before the disciples at Rome far purer
and lovelier than Raphael has painted her. Domenichino has outraged
every feeling of devotion, every sense of truth, every sympathy for the
true suffering of the women who were cruelly murdered for their faith,
in his picture of the Martyrdom of St. Agnes. It is difficult to destroy
the effect that has been produced upon one's own heart by these and
innumerable other pictures of declining Art,--pictures honored by the
Roman Church of to-day,--and to bring up before one's imagination, in
vivid, natural, and probable outline, the life and form of the converts,
saints, and martyrs of the first centuries. If we could banish all
remembrance of all the churches and all the pictures contained in them,
built and painted, since the fourteenth century, we might hope to gain
some better view of the Christians who lived above the catacombs, and
were buried in them. It is from the catacombs that we must seek all that
is left to enable us to construct the image that we desire.

On other graves beside those of the martyrs there are often found some
little signs by which they could be easily recognized by the friends who
might wish to visit them again. Sometimes there is the impression of a
seal upon the mortar; sometimes a ring or coin is left fastened into
it; often a _terra-cotta_ lamp is set in the cement at the head of the
grave. Touching, tender memorials of love and piety! Few are left now in
the opened catacombs, but here and there one may be seen in its original
place,--the visible sign of the sorrow and the faith of those who
seventeen or eighteen centuries ago rested upon that support on which we
rest to-day, and found it, in hardest trial, unfailing.

But the galleries of the catacombs are not wholly occupied with graves.
Now and then they open on either side into chambers (_cubicula_) of
small dimension and of various form, scooped out of the rock, and
furnished with graves around their sides,--the burial-place arranged
beforehand for some large family, or for certain persons buried with
special honor. Other openings in the rock are designed for chapels, in
which the burial and other services of the Church were performed. These,
too, are of various sizes and forms; the largest of them would hold but
a small number of persons;[F] but not unfrequently two stand opposite
each other on the passage-way, as if one were for the men and the other
for the women who should be present at the services. Entering the chapel
through a narrow door whose threshold is on a level with the path, we
see at the opposite side a recess sunk in the rock, often semicircular,
like the apsis of a church, and in this recess an _arcosolium_,--which
served at the same time as the grave of a martyr and as the altar of the
little chapel. It seems, indeed, as if in many cases the chapel had been
formed not so much for the general purpose of holding religious service
within the catacombs, as for that of celebrating worship over the
remains of the martyr whose body had been transferred from its original
grave to this new tomb. It was thus that the custom, still prevalent
in the Roman Church, of requiring that some relics shall be contained
within an altar before it is held to be consecrated, probably began.
Perhaps it was with some reference to that portion of the Apocalypse in
which St. John says, "I saw under the altar the souls of them that were
slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held. And
they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true,
dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the
earth? And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was
said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until
their fellow-servants also and their brethren that should be killed as
they were should be fulfilled."[G] At any rate, these words must have
dwelt in the memories of the Christians who came to worship God in the
presence of the dead by whom they were surrounded in the catacombs. But
they knelt before the altar-tombs, not as before altars consecrated with
relics of saints, but as before altars dedicated to God and connected
with the memory of their own honored and beloved dead, whom he had
called from them into his holy presence.

[Footnote F: These chapels are generally about ten feet square. Some are
larger, and a few smaller than this.]

[Footnote G: Revelations, vi. 9-11. It seems probable that another
custom of the Roman Church took its rise in the catacombs,--that of
burning candles on the altar; a custom simple in its origin, now turned
into a form of superstition, and often abused to the profit of priests.]

It is impossible to ascertain the date at which these chapels were first
made; probably some time about the middle of the second century they
became common. In many of the catacombs they are very numerous, and it
is in them that the chief ornaments and decorations, and the paintings
which give to the catacombs an especial value and importance in the
history of Art, and which are among the most interesting illustrations
of the state of religious feeling and belief in the early centuries, are
found. Some of the chapels are known to be of comparatively late date,
of the fourth and perhaps of the fifth century. In several even of
earlier construction is found, in addition to the altar, a niche cut out
in the rock, or a ledge projecting from it, which seems to have been
intended to serve the place of the credence table, for holding the
articles used in the service of the altar, and at a later period for
receiving the elements before they were handed to the priest for
consecration. The earliest services in the catacombs were undoubtedly
those connected with the communion of the Lord's Supper. The mystery
of the mass and the puzzles of transubstantiation had not yet been
introduced among the believers; but all who had received baptism as
followers of Christ, all save those who had fallen away into open and
manifest sin, were admitted to partake of the Lord's Supper. Possibly
upon some occasions these chapels may have been filled with the sounds
of exhortation and lamentation. In the legends of the Roman Church we
read of large numbers of Christians being buried alive, in time of
persecution, in these underground chambers where they had assembled for
worship and for counsel. But we are not aware of any proof of the truth
of these stories having been discovered in recent times. This, and
many other questionable points in the history and in the uses of the
catacombs, may be solved by the investigations which are now proceeding;
and it is fortunate for the interests, not only of truth, but of
religion, that so learned and so honest-minded a man as the Cavaliere de
Rossi should have the direction of these explorations.

Few of the chapels that are to be seen now in the catacombs are in their
original condition. As time went on, and Christianity became a corrupt
and imperial religion, the simple truths which had sufficed for the
first Christians were succeeded by doctrines less plain, but more
adapted to touch cold and materialized imaginations, and to inflame dull
hearts. The worship of saints began, and was promoted by the heads of
the Church, who soon saw how it might be diverted to the purposes of
personal and ecclesiastical aggrandizement. Consequently the martyrs
were made into a hierarchy of saintly protectors of the strayed flock of
Christ, and round their graves in the catacombs sprang up a harvest of
tales, of visions, of miracles, and of superstitions. As the Church sank
lower and lower, as the need of a heavenly advocate with God was more
and more impressed upon the minds of the Christians of those days, the
idea seems to have arisen that neighborhood of burial to the grave of
some martyr might be an effectual way to secure the felicity of the
soul. Consequently we find in these chapels that the later Christians,
those perhaps of the fifth and sixth centuries, disregarding the
original arrangements, and having lost all respect for the Art, and all
reverence for the memorial pictures which made the walls precious, were
often accustomed to cut out graves in the walls above and around the
martyr's tomb, and as near as possible to it. The instances are numerous
in which pictures of the highest interest have been thus ruthlessly
defaced. No sacredness of subject could resist the force of the
superstition; and we remember one instance where, in a picture of which
the part that remains is of peculiar interest, the body of the Good
Shepherd has been cut through for the grave of a child,--so that only
the feet and a part of the head of the figure remain.

There is little reason for supposing, as has frequently been done, that
the catacombs, even in times of persecution, afforded shelter to any
large body of the faithful. Single, specially obnoxious, or timid
individuals, undoubtedly, from time to time, took refuge in them, and
may have remained within them for a considerable period. Such at least
is the story, which we see no reason to question, in regard to several
of the early Popes. But no large number of persons could have existed
within them. The closeness of the air would very soon have rendered life
insupportable; and supposing any considerable number had collected near
the outlet, where a supply of fresh air could have reached them, the
difficulty of obtaining food and of concealing their place of retreat
would have been in most instances insurmountable. The catacombs were
always places for the few, not for the many; for the few who followed
a body to the grave; for the few who dug the narrow, dark passages in
which not many could work; for the few who came to supply the needs of
some hunted and hidden friend; for the few who in better times assembled
to join in the service commemorating the last supper of their Lord.

It is difficult, as we have said before, to clear away the obscuring
fictions of the Roman Church from the entrance of the catacombs; but
doing this so far as with our present knowledge may be done, we find
ourselves entering upon paths that bring us into near connection and
neighborhood with the first followers of the founders of our faith at
Rome. The reality which is given to the lives of the Christians of the
first centuries by acquaintance with the memorials that they have left
of themselves here quickens our feeling for them into one almost of
personal sympathy. "Your obedience is come abroad unto all men," wrote
St. Paul to the first Christians of Rome. The record of that obedience
is in the catacombs. And in the vast labyrinth of obscure galleries one
beholds and enters into the spirit of the first followers of the Apostle
to the Gentiles.

[To be continued.]



  When oaken woods with buds are pink,
    And new-come birds each morning sing,--
  When fickle May on Summer's brink
    Pauses, and knows not which to fling,
  Whether fresh bud and bloom again,
  Or hoar-frost silvering hill and plain,--

  Then from the honeysuckle gray
    The oriole with experienced quest
  Twitches the fibrous bark away,
    The cordage of his hammock-nest,--
  Cheering his labor with a note
  Rich as the orange of his throat.

  High o'er the loud and dusty road
    The soft gray cup in safety swings,
  To brim ere August with its load
    Of downy breasts and throbbing wings,
  O'er which the friendly elm-tree heaves
  An emerald roof with sculptured eaves.

  Below, the noisy World drags by
    In the old way, because it must,--
  The bride with trouble in her eye,
    The mourner following hated dust:
  Thy duty, winged flame of Spring,
  Is but to love and fly and sing.

  Oh, happy life, to soar and sway
    Above the life by mortals led,
  Singing the merry months away,
    Master, not slave of daily bread,
  And, when the Autumn comes, to flee
  Wherever sunshine beckons thee!


  Like some lorn abbey now, the wood
    Stands roofless in the bitter air;
  In ruins on its floor is strewed
    The carven foliage quaint and rare,
  And homeless winds complain along
  The columned choir once thrilled with song.

  And thou, dear nest, whence joy and praise
    The thankful oriole used to pour,
  Swing'st empty while the north winds chase
    Their snowy swarms from Labrador:
  But, loyal to the happy past,
  I love thee still for what thou wast.

  Ah, when the Summer graces flee
    From other nests more dear than thou,
  And, where June crowded once, I see
    Only bare trunk and disleaved bough,
  When springs of life that gleamed and gushed
  Run chilled, and slower, and are hushed,--

  I'll think, that, like the birds of Spring,
    Our good goes not without repair,
  But only flies to soar and sing
    Far off in some diviner air,
  Where we shall find it in the calms
  Of that fair garden 'neath the palms.

       *       *       *       *       *


  Fear no more the heat o' the sun,
  Nor the furious winter's rages;
  Thou thine earthly task hast done.

The large tropical moon rose in full majesty over the Gulf of Mexico,
that beneath it rolled a weltering surge of silver, which broke upon the
level sand of the beach with a low, sullen roar, prophetic of storms to
come. To-night a south wind was heavily blowing over Gulf and prairie,
laden with salt odors of weed and grass, now and then crossed by a
strain of such perfume as only tropic breezes know,--a breath of heavy,
passionate sweetness from orange-groves and rose gardens, mixed with the
miasmatic sighs of rank forests, and mile on mile of tangled cane-brake,
where jewel-tinted snakes glitter and emit their own sickly-sweet odor,
and the deep blue bells of luxuriant vines wave from their dusky censers
steams of poisonous incense.

I endured the influence of all this as long as I dared, and then turned
my pony's head from the beach, and, loitering through the city's hot
streets, touched him into a gallop as the prairie opened before us, and
followed the preternatural, colossal shadow of horse and man east by the
moon across the dry dull grass and bitter yellow chamomile growth of
the sand, till I stopped at the office door of the Hospital, when,
consigning my horse to a servant, I commenced my nightly round of the

There were but few patients just now, for the fever had not yet made
its appearance, and until within a week the unwontedly clear and cool
atmosphere had done the work of the physician. Most of the sick were
doing well enough without me; some few needed and received attention;
and these disposed of, I betook myself to the last bed in one of the
long wards, quite apart from the others, which was occupied by a sailor,
a man originally from New England, whose hard life and continual
exposure to all climates and weathers had at length resulted in slow
tubercular consumption.

It was one of the rare cases of this disease not supervening upon an
original strumous diathesis, and, had it been properly cared for in the
beginning, might have been cured. Now there was no hope; but the case
being a peculiar and interesting one, I kept a faithful record of its
symptoms and progress for publication. Besides, I liked the man; rugged
and hardy by nature, it was curious to see what strange effects a long,
wasting, and painful disease produced upon him. At first he could not be
persuaded to be quiet; the muscular energies were still unaffected, and,
with continual hemorrhage from the lungs, he could not understand that
work or exercise could hurt him. But as the disease gained ground, its
characteristic languor unstrung his force; the hard and sinewy limbs
became attenuated and relaxed; his breath labored; a hectic fever burnt
in his veins like light flame every afternoon, and subsided into chilly
languor toward morning; profuse night-sweats increased the weakness; and
as he grew feebler, offering of course less resistance to the febrile
symptoms, they were exacerbated, till at times a slight delirium showed
itself; and so, without haste or delay, he "made for port," as he said.

His name was Eben Jackson, and the homely appellation was no way belied
by his aspect. He never could have been handsome, and now fifteen
years of rough-and-tumble life had left their stains and scars on his
weather-beaten visage, whose only notable features were the deep-set
eyes retreating under shaggy brows, that looked one through and through
with the keen glance of honest instinct; while a light tattooing of red
and blue on either cheek-bone added an element of the grotesque to his
homeliness. He was a natural and simple man, with whom conventionalities
and the world's scale went for nothing,--without vanity as without
guile.--But it is best to let him speak for himself. I found him that
night very feverish, yet not wild at all.

"Hullo, Doctor!" said he, "I'm all afire! I've ben thinkin' about my old
mother's humstead up to Simsbury, and the great big well to the back
door; how I used to tilt that 'are sweep up, of a hot day, till the
bucket went 'way down to the bottom and come up drippin' over,--such
cold, clear water! I swear, I'd give all Madagascar for a drink on't!"

I called the nurse to bring me a small basket of oranges I had sent out
in the morning, expressly for this patient, and squeezing the juice from
one of them on a little bit of ice, I held it to his lips, and he drank

"That's better for you than water, Jackson," said I.

"I dunno but 'tis, Doctor; I dunno but 'tis; but there a'n't nothin'
goes to the spot like that Simsbury water. You ha'n't never v'yaged to
them parts, have ye?"

"Bless you, yes, man! I was born and brought up in Hartford, just over
the mountain, and I've been to Simsbury, fishing, many a time."

"Good Lord! _You_ don't never desert a feller, ef the ship _is_ a-goin'
down!" fervently ejaculated Eben, looking up as he did sometimes in his
brief delirium, when he said the Lord's Prayer, and thought his mother
held his folded hands; but this was no delirious aspiration. He went

"You see, Doctor, I've had somethin' in the hold a good spell't I wanted
to break bulk on, but I didn't know as I ever was goin' to see a shipmet
agin; and now you've jined convoy jist in time, for Davy Jones's a'n't
fur off. Are you calculatin' to go North afore long?"

"Yes, I mean to go next spring," said I.

Jackson began to fumble with weak and trembling hands about his throat,
to undo his shirt-collar,--he would not let me help him,--and presently,
flushed and panting from the effort, he drew out a length of delicate
Panama chain fastened rudely together by a link of copper wire, and
suspended on it a little old-fashioned ring of reddish gold, twisted of
two wires, and holding a very small dark garnet. Jackson looked at it as
I have seen many a Catholic look at his reliquary in mortal sickness.

"Well," said he, "I've carried that 'are gimcrack nigh twenty long year
round my old scrag, and when I'm sunk I want you to take it off, Doctor.
Keep it safe till you go to Connecticut, and then some day take a tack
over to Simsbury. Don't ye go through the Gap, but go 'long out on
the turnpike over the mountain, and down t'other side to Avon, and so
nor'ard till jist arter you git into Simsbury town you see an old red
house 'longside o' the mountain, with a big ellum-tree afore the door,
and a stone well to the side on't. Go 'long in and ask for Hetty Buel,
and give her that 'are thing, and tell her where you got it, and that I
ha'n't never forgot to wish her well allus, though I couldn't write to

There was Eben Jackson's romance! It piqued my curiosity. The poor
fellow was wakeful and restless,--I knew he would not sleep, if I left
him,--and I encouraged him to go on talking.

"I will, Jackson, I promise you. But wouldn't it be better for you to
tell me something about where you have been all these long years? Your
friends will like to know."

His eye brightened; he was like all the rest of us, pleased with any
interest taken in him and his; he turned over on his pillow, and I
lifted him into a half-sitting position.

"That's ship-shape, Doctor! I don't know but what I had oughter spin a
yarn for you; I'm kinder on a watch to-night; and Hetty won't never know
what I did do, if I don't send home the log 'long 'i' the cargo.

"Well, you see I was born in them parts, down to Canton, where father
belonged; but mother was a Simsbury woman, and afore I was long-togged,
father he moved onter the old humstead up to Simsbury, when gran'ther
Peck died. Our farm was right 'longside o' Miss Buel's; you'll see't
when you go there; but there a'n't nobody there now. Mother died afore
I come away, and lies safe to the leeward o' Simsbury meetin'-house.
Father he got a stroke a spell back, and he couldn't farm it; so he sold
out and went West, to Parmely Larkum's, my sister's, to live. But I
guess the house is there, and that old well.--How etarnal hot it's
growin'! Doctor, give me a drink!

"Well, as I was tellin', I lived there next to Miss Buel's, and Hetty'n'
I went to deestrict-school together, up to the cross-roads. We used to
hev' ovens in the sand together, and roast apples an' ears of corn in
'em; and we used to build cubby-houses, and fix 'em out with broken
chiny and posies. I swan 't makes me feel curus when I think what
children du contrive to get pleased, and likewise riled about! One day I
rec'lect Hetty'd stepped onto my biggest clam-shell and broke it, and
I up and hit her a switch right across her pretty lips. Now you'd 'a'
thought she would cry and run, for she wasn't bigger than a baby, much;
but she jest come up and put her little fat arms round my neck, and

"'I'm so sorry, Eben!'

"And that's Hetty Buel! I declare I was beat, and I hav'n't never got
over bein' beat about that. So we growed up together, always out in the
woods between schools, huntin' checker-berries, and young winter-greens,
and prince's piney, and huckleberries, and saxifrax, and birch, and all
them woodsy things that children hanker arter; and by-'n'-by we got to
goin' to the 'Cademy; and when Hetty was seventeen she went in to
Hartford to her Aunt Smith's for a spell, to do chores, and get a little
Seminary larnin', and I went to work on the farm; and when she come
home, two year arter, she was growed to be a young woman, and though I
was five year older'n her, I was as sheepish a land-lubber as ever got
stuck a-goin' to the mast-head, whenever I sighted her.

"She wasn't very much for looks neither; she had black eyes, and she
was pretty behaved; but she wasn't no gret for beauty, anyhow, only
I thought the world of her, and so did her old grandmother;--for her
mother died when she wa'n't but two year old, and she lived to old Miss
Buel's 'cause her father had married agin away down to Jersey.

"Arter a spell I got over bein' so mighty sheepish about Hetty; her
ways was too kindly for me to keep on that tack. We took to goin' to
singin'-school together; then I always come home from quiltin'-parties
and conference-meetin's with her, because 'twas handy, bein' right next
door; and so it come about that I begun to think of settlin' down for
life, and that was the start of all my troubles. I couldn't take the
home farm; for 'twas such poor land, father could only jest make a live
out on't for him and me. Most of it was pastur', gravelly land, full of
mullens and stones; the rest was principally woodsy,--not hickory, nor
oak neither, but hemlock and white birches, that a'n't of no account
for timber nor firing, 'longside of the other trees. There was a little
strip of a medder-lot, and an orchard up on the mountain, where we used
to make redstreak cider that beat the Dutch; but we hadn't pastur' land
enough to keep more'n two cows, and altogether I knew 'twasn't any use
to think of bringin' a family on to't. So I wrote to Parmely's husband,
out West, to know about Government lands, and what I could do ef I was
to move out there and take an allotment; and gettin' an answer every way
favorable, I posted over to Miss Buel's one night arter milkin' to tell
Hetty. She was settin' on the south door-step, braidin' palm-leaf; and
her grandmother was knittin' in her old chair, a little back by the
window. Sometimes, a-lyin' here on my back, with my head full o' sounds,
and the hot wind and the salt sea-smell a-comin' in through the winders,
and the poor fellers groanin' overhead, I get clear away back to that
night, so cool and sweet; the air full of treely smells, dead leaves
like, and white-blows in the ma'sh below; and wood-robins singin' clear
fine whistles in the woods; and the big sweet-brier by the winder
all a-flowered out; and the drippin' little beads of dew on the
clover-heads; and the tinklin' sound of the mill-dam down to Squire
Turner's mill.

"I set down by Hetty; and the old woman bein' as deaf as a post, it was
as good as if I'd been there alone. So I mustered up my courage, that
was sinkin' down to my boots, and told Hetty my plans, and asked her to
go along. She never said nothin' for a minute; she flushed all up as red
as a rose, and I see her little fingers was shakin', and her eye-winkers
shiny and wet; but she spoke presently, and said,--

"'I can't, Eben!'

"I was shot betwixt wind and water then, I tell you, Doctor! 'Twa'n't
much to be said, but I've allers noticed afloat that real dangersome
squalls comes on still; there's a dumb kind of a time in the air, the
storm seems to be waitin' and holdin' its breath, and then a little
low whisper of wind,--a cat's paw we call't,--and then you get it real
'arnest. I'd rather she'd have taken on, and cried, and scolded, than
have said so still, 'I can't, Eben.'

"'Why not, Hetty?' says I.

"'I ought not to leave grandmother,' said she.

"I declare, I hadn't thought o' that! Miss Buel was a real infirm woman
without kith nor kin, exceptin' Hetty; for Jason Buel he'd died down to
Jersey long before; and she hadn't means. Hetty nigh about kept 'em both
since Miss Buel had grown too rheumatic to make cheese and see to the
hens and cows, as she used to. They didn't keep any men-folks now, nor
but one cow; Hetty milked her, and drove her to pastur', and fed the
chickens, and braided hats, and did chores. The farm was all sold off;
'twas poor land, and didn't fetch much; but what there was went to keep
'em in vittles and firin'. I guess Hetty 'arnt most of what they lived
on, arter all.

"'Well,' says I, after a spell of thinkin', 'can't she go along too,

"'Oh, no, Eben! she's too old; she never could get there, and she never
could live there. She says very often she wouldn't leave Simsbury for
gold untold; she was born here, and she's bound to die here. I know she
wouldn't go.'

"'Ask her, Hetty!'

"'No, it wouldn't be any use; it would only fret her always to think I
staid at home for her, and you know she can't do without me.'

"'No more can't I,' says I. 'Do you love her the best, Hetty?'

"I was kinder sorry I'd said that; for she grew real white, and I could
see by her throat she was chokin' to keep down somethin'. Finally she

"'That isn't for me to say, Eben. If it was right for me to go with you,
I should be glad to; but you know I can't leave grandmother.'

"Well, Doctor, I couldn't say no more. I got up to go. Hetty put down
her work and walked to the big ellum by the gate with me. I was most too
full to speak, but I catched her up and kissed her soft little tremblin'
lips, and her pretty eyes, and then I set off for home as if I was goin'
to be hanged.

"Young folks is obstreperous, Doctor. I've been a long spell away from
Hetty, and I don't know as I should take on so now. That night I never
slept. I lay kickin' and tumblin' all night, and before mornin' I'd
resolved to quit Simsbury, and go seek my fortin' beyond seas, hopin'
to come back to Hetty, arter all, with riches to take care on her right
there in the old place. You'd 'a' thought I might have had some kind of
feelin' for my old father, after seein' Hetty's faithful ways; but I was
a man and she was a woman, and I take it them is two different kind o'
craft. Men is allers for themselves first, an' Devil take the hindmost;
but women lives in other folks's lives, and ache, and work, and endure
all sorts of stress o' weather afore they'll quit the ship that's got
crew and passengers aboard.

"I never said nothin' to father,--I couldn't 'a' stood no jawin',--but
I made up my kit, an' next night slung it over my shoulder, and tramped
off. I couldn't have gone without biddin' Hetty goodbye; so I stopped
there, and told her what I was up to, and charged her to tell father.

"She tried her best to keep me to home, but I was sot in my way; so when
she found that out, she run up stairs an' got a little Bible, and made
me promise I'd read it sometimes, and then she pulled that 'are little
ring off her finger and give it to me to keep.

"'Eben,' says she, 'I wish you well always, and I sha'n't never forget

"And then she put up her face to me, as innocent as a baby, to kiss me
goodbye. I see she choked up when I said the word, though, and I said,
kinder laughin',--

"'I hope you'll get a better husband than me, Hetty!'

"I swear! she give me a look like the judgment-day, and stoopin'
down she pressed her lips onto that ring, and says she, 'That is my
weddin'-ring, Eben!' and goes into the house as still and white as a
ghost; and I never see her again, nor never shall.--Oh, Doctor! give me
a drink!"

I lifted the poor fellow, fevered and gasping, to an easier position,
and wet his hot lips with fresh orange-juice.

"Stop, now, Jackson!" said I, "you are tired."

"No, I a'n't, Doctor! No, I a'n't! I'm bound to finish now. But Lord
deliver us! look there! one of the Devil's own imps, I b'lieve!"

I looked on the little deal stand where I had set the candle, and there
stood one of the quaint, evil-looking insects that infest the island, a
praying Mantis. Raised up against the candle, with its fore-legs in the
attitude of supplication that gives it the name, its long green body
relieved on the white stearin, it was eyeing Jackson, with its head
turned first on one side and then on the other, in the most elvish and
preternatural way. Presently it moved upward, stuck one of its fore-legs
cautiously into the flame, burnt it of course and drew it back, eyed it,
first from one angle, then from another, with deliberate investigation,
and at length conveyed the injured member to its mouth and sucked it
steadily, resuming its stare of blank scrutiny at my patient, who did
not at all fancy the interest taken in him.

I could not help laughing at the strange manoeuvres of the creature,
familiar as I was with them.

"It is only one of our Texan bugs, Jackson," said I; "it is harmless

"It's got a pesky look, though, Doctor! I thought I'd seen enough curus
creturs in the Marquesas, but that beats all!"

Seeing the insect really irritated and annoyed him, I put it out of the
window, and turned the blinds closely to prevent its reëntrance, and he
went on with his story.

"So I tramped it to Hartford that night, got a lodgin' with a first
cousin I had there, worked my passage to Boston in a coaster, and after
hangin' about Long Wharf day in and day out for a week, I was driv' to
ship myself aboard of a whaler, the Lowisy Miles, Twist, cap'en; and I
writ from there to Hetty, so't she could know my bearin's so fur, and
tell my father.

"It would take a week, Doctor, to tell you what a rough-an'-tumble time
I had on that 'are whaler. There's a feller's writ a book about v'yagin'
afore the mast that'll give ye an idee on't; he had an eddication so't
he could set it off, and I fell foul of his book down to Valparaiso
more'n a year back, and I swear I wanted to shake hands with him. I
heerd he was gone ashore somewheres down to Boston, and hed cast anchor
for good. But I tell you he's a brick, and what he said's gospel truth.
I thought I'd got to hell afore my time when we see blue water. I didn't
have no peace exceptin' times when I was to the top, lookin' out for
spouters; then I'd get nigh about into the clouds that was allers
a-hangin' down close to the sea mornin' and night, all kinds of colors,
red an' purple an' white; and 'stead of thinkin' o' whales, I'd get my
head full o' Simsbury, and get a precious knock with the butt end of a
handspike when I come down, 'cause I'd never sighted a whale till arter
they see'd it on deck.

"We was bound to the South Seas after sperm whales, but we was eight
months gettin' there, and we took sech as we could find on the way.
The cap'en he scooted round into one port an' another arter his own
business,--down to Caraccas, into Rio; and when we'd rounded the Horn
and was nigh about dead of cold an' short rations, and hadn't killed but
three whales, we put into Valparaiso to get vittled, and there I laid
hold o' this little trinket of a chain, and spliced Hetty's ring on
to't, lest I should be stranded somewheres and get rid of it onawares.

"We cruised about in them seas a good year or more, with poor luck, and
the cap'en growin' more and more outrageous continually. Them waters
aren't like the Gulf, Doctor,--nor like the Northern Ocean, nohow; there
a'n't no choppin' seas there, but a great, long, everlasting lazy swell,
that goes rollin' and fallin' away like the toll of a big bell, in
endless blue rollers; and the trades blow through the sails like
singin', as warm and soft as if they blowed right out o' sunshiny
gardens; and the sky's as blue as summer all the time, only jest round
the dip on't there's allers a hull fleet o' hazy round-topped clouds, so
thin you can see the moon rise through 'em; and the waves go ripplin'
off the cut-water as peaceful as a mill-pond, day and night. Squalls
is sca'ce some times o' the year; but when there is one, I tell you a
feller hears thunder! The clouds settle right down onto the mast-head,
black and thick, like the settlin's of an ink-bottle; the lightnin'
hisses an' cuts fore and aft; and corposants come flightin' down onto
the boom or the top, gret balls o' light; and the wind roars louder than
the seas; and the rain comes down in spouts,--it don't fall fur enough
to drop; you'd think heaven and earth was come together, with hell
betwixt 'em;--and then it'll all clear up as quiet and calm as a
Simsbury Sunday; and you wouldn't know it could be squally, if 'twan't
for the sail that you hadn't had a chance to furl was drove to ribbons,
and here an' there a stout spar snapped like a cornstalk, or the
bulwarks stove by a heavy sea. There's queer things to be heerd, too, in
them parts: cries to wind'ard like a drowndin' man, and you can't never
find him; noises right under the keel; bells ringin' off the land like,
when you a'n't within five hundred miles of shore; and curus hails out
o' ghost-ships that sails agin' wind an' tide.--Strange! strange! I
declare for't! seems as though I heerd my old mother a-singin' Mear

I saw Jackson was getting excited, so I gave him a little soothing
draught and walked away to give the nurse some orders. But he made me
promise to return and hear the story out; so, after half an hour's
investigation of the wards, I came back and found him composed enough to
permit his resuming where he had left off.

"Howsomever, Doctor, there wa'n't no smooth sailin' nor fair weather
with the cap'en; 'twas always squally in his latitude, and I begun to
get mutinous and think of desartin'. About eighteen months arter we sot
sail from Valparaiso, I hadn't done somethin' I'd been ordered, or I'd
done it wrong, and Cap'en Twist come on deck, ragin' and roarin', with
a handspike in his fist, and let fly at my head. I see what was comin',
and put my arm up to fend it off; and gettin' the blow on my fore-arm,
it got broke acrost as quick as a wink, and I dropped. So they picked me
up, and havin' a mate aboard who knew some doctorin', I was spliced
and bound up, and put under hatches on the sick-list. I tell you I
was dog-tired them days, lyin' in my berth, hearin' the rats and mice
scuttle round the bulkheads and skitter over the floor. I couldn't do
nothin', and finally I bethought myself of Hetty's Bible and contrived
to get it out o' my chist,--and when I could get a bit of a glim I'd
read it. I'm a master-hand to remember things, and what I read over and
over in that 'are dog-hole of cabin never got clean out of my head, no,
nor never will; and when the Lord above calls all hands on deck to pass
muster, ef I'm ship-shape afore him, it'll be because I follered his
signals and l'arnt 'em out of that 'are log. But I didn't foller 'em
then, nor not for a plaguy long cruise yet!

"One day, as I laid there readin' by the light of a bit of tallow dip
the mate gave me, who should stick his head into the hole he called a
cabin, but old Twist! He'd got an idee I was shammin'; and when he saw
me with a book, he cussed, and swore, and raved, and finally hauled it
out o' my hand and flung it up through the hatchway clean and clear

"I tell ye, Doctor, if I'd 'a' had a sound arm, he'd 'a' gone after it;
but I had to take it out in ratin' at him, and that night my mind was
made up; I was bound to desart at the first land. And it come about that
a fortnight after my arm had jined, and I could haul shrouds agin, we
sighted the Marquesas, and bein' near about out o' water, the cap'en
laid his course for the nearest land, and by daybreak of the second day
we lay to in a small harbor, on the south side of an island where
ships wa'n't very prompt to go commonly. But old Twist didn't care for
cannibals nor wild beasts, when they stood in his way; and there wasn't
but half a cask of water aboard, and that a hog wouldn't 'a' drank, only
for the name on't. So we pulled ashore after some, and findin' a spring
near by, was takin' it out, hand over hand, as fast as we could bale it
up, when all of a sudden the mate see a bunch of feathers over a little
bush near by, and yelled out to run for our lives, the savages was come.

"Now I had made up my mind to run away from the ship that very day, and
all the while I'd been baling the water up I had been tryin' to lay my
course so as to get quit of the boat's crew, and be off; but natur' is
stronger than a man thinks. When I heerd the mate sing out, and see the
men begin to run, I turned and run too, full speed, down to the shore;
but my foot caught in some root or hole, I fell flat down, and hittin'
my head ag'inst a stone near by, I lay; good as dead; and when I come
to, the boat was gone, and the ship makin' all sail out of harbor, and
a crew of wild Indian women were a-lookin' at me as I've seen a set of
Simsbury women-folks look at a baboon in a caravan; but they treated me

"Findin' I was helpless, for I'd sprained my ankle in the fall, four of
'em picked me up, and carried me away to a hut, and tended me like a
baby; and when the men, who'd come over to that side of the island 'long
with 'em, and gone a-fishin', come back, I was safe enough; for women
are women all the world over, soft-hearted, kindly creturs, that like
anything that's in trouble, 'specially if they can give it a lift out
on't. So I was nursed, and fed, and finally taken over the ridge of
rocks that run acrost the island to their town of bamboo huts; and now
begun to look about me, for here I was, stranded, as one may say, out o'
sight o' land.

"Ships didn't never touch there, I knew by their ways, their wonderin'
and takin' sights at me. As for Cap'en Twist, he wouldn't come back for
his own father, unless he was short o' hands for whalin'. I was in for
life, no doubt on't; and I'd better look at the fair-weather side of the
thing. The island was as pretty a bit of land as ever lay betwixt sea
and sky; full of tall cocoa-nut palms, with broad, feathery tops, and
bunches of brown nuts; bananas hung in yellow clumps ready to drop off
at a touch; and big bread-fruit trees stood about everywhere, lookin' as
though a punkin-vine had climbed up into 'em and hung half-ripe punkins
off of every bough; beside lots of other trees that the natives set
great store by, and live on the fruit of 'em; and flyin' through all,
such pretty birds as you never see except in them parts; but one brown
thrasher'd beat the whole on 'em singin'; fact is, they run to feathers;
they don't sing none.

"It was as sightly a country as ever Adam and Eve had to themselves;
but it wa'n't home. Howsomever, after a while the savages took to me
mightily. I was allers handy with tools, and by good luck I'd come off
with two jack-knives and a loose awl in my jacket-pocket, so I could
beat 'em all at whittlin'; and I made figgers on their bows an'
pipe-stems, of things they never see,--roosters, and horses, Miss Buel's
old sleigh, and the Albany stage, driver'n' all, and our yoke of oxen
a-ploughin',--till nothin' would serve them but I should have a house o'
my own, and be married to their king's daughter; so I did.

"Well, Doctor, you kinder wonder I forgot Hetty Buel. I didn't forget
her, but I knew she wa'n't to be had anyhow; I thought I was in for
life; and Wailua was the prettiest little craft that ever you set eyes
on, as straight as a spar, and as kindly as a Christian; and besides, I
had to, or I'd have been killed, and broiled, and eaten, whether or no!
And then in that 'are latitude it a'n't just the way 'tis here; you
don't work; you get easy, and lazy, and sleepy; somethin' in the air
kind of hushes you up; it makes you sweat to think, and you're too hazy
to, if it didn't; and you don't care for nothing much but food and
drink. I hadn't no spunk left; so I married her after their fashion, and
I liked her well enough; and she was my wife, after all.

"I tell ye, Doctor, it goes a gret way with men-folks to think
anything's their'n, and nobody else's. But when I married her, I took
the chain with Hetty Buel's ring off my neck, and put 'em in a shell,
and buried the shell under my doorway. I couldn't have Wailua touch

"So there I lived fifteen long year, as it might be, in a kind of a
curus dream, doin' nothin' much, only that when I got to know the tongue
them savages spoke, little by little I got pretty much the steerin' o'
the hull crew, till by-'n'-by some of 'em got jealous, and plotted and
planned to kill me, because the king, Wailua's father, was gettin' old,
and they thought I wanted to be king when he died, and they couldn't
stan' that no way.

"Somehow or other Wailua got word of what was goin' on, and one night
she woke me out of sleep an' told me I must run for't, and she would
hide me safe till things took a turn. So I scratched up the shell with
Hetty's ring in't, and afore morning I was over t'other side of the
island, in a kind of a cave overlookin' the sea, near by to a grove of
bananas and mammee apples, and not fur from the harbor where I'd landed;
and safe enough, for nobody but Wailua knew the way to't.

"Well, the sixth day I sot in the porthole of that cave I see a sail in
the offing. I declare, I thought I should 'a' choked! I catched off my
tappa cloth and h'isted it on a pole, but the ship kep' on stiddy out
to sea. My heart beat up to my eyes, but I held on ag'inst hope, and I
declare I prayed; words come to me that I hadn't said since I was a boy
to Simsbury, and the Lord he heerd; for, as true as the compass, that
ship lay to, tacked, put in for the island, and afore night I was
aboard of the Lysander, a Salem whaler, with my mouth full of grog and
ship-biscuit, and my body in civilized toggery. I own I felt queer to go
away so and leave Wailua; but I knew 'twas gettin' her out of danger,
for the old king was just a-goin' to die, and if ever I'd have gone
back, we should both have been murdered. Besides, we didn't always
agree; she had to walk straighter than her wild natur' agreed with,
because she was my wife; and we hadn't no children to hold us together;
and I couldn't 'a' taken her aboard of the whaler, if she'd wanted to
go. I guess it was best; anyhow, so it was.

"But this wasn't to be the end of my v'yagin'. The Lysander foundered
just off Valparaiso; and though all hands was saved in the boats, when
we got to port there wasn't no craft there bound any nearer homeward
than an English merchant-ship, for Liverpool, by way of Madeira. So I
worked a passage to Funchal, and there I got aboard of a Southampton
steamer, bound for Cuba, that put in for coal. But when I come to Havana
I was nigh about tuckered out; for goin' round the Horn in the Lemon,
--that 'are English ship,--I'd ben on duty in all sorts o' weather; and
I'd lived lazy and warm so long I expect it was too tough for me, and
I was pestered with a hard cough, and spit blood, so't I was laid up a
long spell in the hospital at Havana. And there I kep' a-thinkin' over
Hetty's Bible, and I b'lieve I studied that 'are chart till I found out
the way to port, and made up my log all square for the owner; for I
knowed well enough where I was bound; but I did hanker to get home to
Simsbury afore shovin' off.

"Well, finally, there come into the harbor a Mystic ship that was
a-goin' down the Gulf for a New York owner. I'd known Seth Crane, the
cap'en of her, away back in old Simsbury times. He was an Avon boy; and
when I sighted that vessel's name, as I was crawlin' along the quay one
day, and, seein' she was Connecticut-built, boarded her, and see Seth, I
was old fool enough to cry right out,--I was so shaky. And Seth he
was about as scart as ef he'd seen the dead, havin' heerd up to Avon,
fifteen year ago nearly, that the Lowisy Miles had been run down off the
Sandwich Islands by a British man-of-war, and all hands lost, exceptin'
one o' the boys. However, he come to his bearin's after a while, and
told me about our folks, and how't Hetty Buel wasn't married, but
keepin' deestrict school, and her old grandmother alive yet.

"Well, I kinder heartened up, and agreed to take passage with
Seth.--Good Lord, Doctor! what's that?"

A peculiar and oppressive stillness had settled down on everything in
and out of the hospital while Jackson was going on with his story. I
noticed it only as the hush of a tropic midnight; but as he spoke,
I heard--apparently out on the prairie--a heavy jarring sound like
repeated blows, drawing nearer and nearer the building.

Jackson sprung upright on his pillows, the hectic passed from either
gaunt and sallow cheek, leaving the red and blue tattoo marks visible
in most ghastly distinctness, while the sweat poured in drops down his
hollow temples.

The noise drew still nearer. All the patients in the ward awoke and
quitted their beds, hastily. The noise was at hand,--blows of great
violence and power; and a certain malign rapidity shook the walls from
one end of the hospital to the other,--blow upon blow, like the fierce
attacks of a catapult, only with no like result. The nurse, a German
Catholic, fell on his knees and told his beads, glancing over his
shoulder in undisguised horror; the patients cowered together, groaning
and praying; and I could hear the stir and confusion in the ward below.
In less than a minute's space the singular sound passed through the
house, and in hollow, jarring echoes died out toward the bay.

I looked at Eben;--his jaw had fallen; his hands were rigid and locked
together; his eyes were rolled upward, fixed and glassy; a stream of
scarlet blood trickled over his gray beard from the corner of his
mouth;--he was dead! As I laid him back on the pillow and turned to
restore some quiet to the ward, a Norther came sweeping down the Gulf
like a rush of mad spirits; tore up the white crests of the sea and
flung them on the beach in thundering surf; burst through the heavy fog
that had trailed upon the moon's track and smothered the island in its
soft pestilent brooding; and in one mighty pouring out of cold pure
ether changed earth and sky from torrid to temperate zone.

Vainly did I endeavor to calm the terror of my patients, excited still
more by the elemental uproar without; vainly did I harangue them, in the
plainest terms to which science is reducible, on atmospheric vibrations,
acoustics, reverberations, and volcanic agencies; they insisted on some
supernatural power having produced the recent fearful sounds. Neither
common nor uncommon sense could prevail with them; and when they
discovered, by the appearance of the extra nurse I had sent for, to
perform the last offices for Jackson, that he was dead, a renewed
and irrepressible horror attacked them, and it was broad day before
composure or stillness was regained in any part of the building except
my own rooms, to which I betook myself as soon as possible, and slept
till sunrise, too soundly for any mystical visitation whatever to have
disturbed my rest.

The next day, in spite of the brief influence of the Norther, the first
case of yellow fever showed itself in the hospital; before night seven
had sickened, and one, already reduced by chronic disease, died. I had
hoped to bury Jackson decently, in the cemetery of the city, where his
vexed mortality might rest in peace under the oleanders and china-trees,
shut in by the hedge of Cherokee roses that guards the enclosure from
the prairie, a living wall of glassy green, strewn with ivory-white buds
and blossoms, fair and pure; but on applying for a burial-spot, the
city authorities, panic-stricken cowards that they were, denied me the
privilege even of a prairie grave, outside the cemetery hedge, for the
poor fellow. In vain did I represent that he had died of lingering
disease, and that nowise contagious; nothing moved them. It was enough
that there was yellow fever in the ward where he died. I was forthwith
strictly ordered to have all the dead from the hospital buried on the
sand-flats at the east end of the island.

What a place that is it is scarcely possible to describe. Wide and
dreary levels of sand, some four or five feet lower than the town,
and flooded by high tides; the only vegetation a scanty, dingy gray,
brittle, crackling growth,--bitter sandworts and the like; over and
through which the abominable tawny sand-crabs are constantly executing
diabolic waltzes on the tips of their eight legs, vanishing into the
ground like imps as you approach; curlews start from behind the loose
drifts of sand and float away with heartbroken cries seaward; little
sandpipers twitter plaintively, running through the weeds; and great,
sulky, gray cranes droop their motionless heads over the still salt
pools along the shore.

To this blank desolation I was forced to carry poor Jackson's body,
with that of the fever-patient, just at sunset. As the Dutchman who
officiated as hearse, sexton, bearer, and procession, stuck his spade
into the ground, and withdrew it full of crumbling shells and fine sand,
the hole it left filled with bitter black ooze. There, sunk in the ooze,
covered with the shifting sand, bewailed by the wild cries of sea-birds,
noteless and alone, I left Eben Jackson, and returned to the mass of
pestilence and wretchedness within the hospital walls.

In the spring I reached home safely. None but the resident on a Southern
sand-bank can fully appreciate the verdure and bloom of the North. The
great elms of my native town were full of tender buds, like a clinging
mist in their graceful branches; earlier trees were decked with little
leaves, deep-creased, and silvery with down; the wide river in a fluent
track of metallic lustre weltered through green meadows that on either
hand stretched far and wide; the rolling land beyond was spread out in
pastures, where the cattle luxuriated after the winter's stalling; and
on many a slope and plain the patient farmer turned up his heavy sods
and clay, to moulder in sun and air for seed-time and harvest; and the
beautiful valley that met the horizon on the north and south rolled away
eastward and westward to a low blue range of hills, that guarded it with
granite walls and bristling spears of hemlock and pine.

This is not my story; and if it were, I do not know that I should detail
my home-coming. It is enough to say, that I came after a five years'
absence, and found all that I had left nearly as I had left it;--how few
can say as much!

Various duties and some business arrangements kept me at work for six or
seven weeks, and it was June before I could fulfil my promise to Eben
Jackson. I took the venerable old horse and chaise that had carried my
father on his rounds for years, and made the best of my way out toward
Simsbury. I was alone, of course; even Cousin Lizzy, charming as five
years had made the little girl of thirteen whom I had left behind on
quitting home, was not invited to share my drive; there was something
too serious in the errand to endure the presence of a gay young lady.
But I was not lonely; the drive up Talcott Mountain, under the rude
portcullis of the toll-gate, through fragrant woods, by trickling
brooks, past huge boulders that scarce a wild vine dare cling to, with
its feeble, delicate tendrils, is all exquisite, and full of living
repose; and turning to descend the mountain, just where a brook drops
headlong with clattering leap into a steep black ravine, and comes out
over a tiny green meadow, sliding past great granite rocks, and bending
the grass-blades to a shining track, you see suddenly at your feet the
beautiful mountain valley of the Farmington river, trending away in hill
after hill,--rough granite ledges crowned with cedar and pine,--deep
ravines full of heaped rocks,--and here and there the formal white rows
of a manufacturing village, where Kühleborn is captured and forced to
turn water-wheels, and Undine picks cotton or grinds hardware, dammed
into utility.

Into this valley I plunged, and inquiring my way of many a prim farmer's
wife and white-headed school-boy, I edged my way northward under the
mountain side, and just before noon found myself beneath the "great
ellum," where, nearly twenty years ago, Eben Jackson and Hetty Buel had
said good-bye.

I tied my horse to the fence and walked up the worn footpath to the
door. Apparently no one was at home. Under this impression I knocked
vehemently, by way of making sure; and a weak, cracked voice at length
answered, "Come in!" There, by the window, perhaps the same where she
sat so long before, crouched in an old chair covered with calico, her
bent fingers striving with mechanical motion to knit a coarse stocking,
sat old Mrs. Buel. Age had worn to the extreme of attenuation a face
that must always have been hard-featured, and a few locks of snow-white
hair, straying from under the bandanna handkerchief of bright red and
orange that was tied over her cap and under her chin, added to the
old-world expression of her whole figure. She was very deaf; scarcely
could I make her comprehend that I wanted to see her grand-daughter; at
last she understood, and asked me to sit down till Hetty should come
from school; and before long, a tall, thin figure opened the gate and
came slowly up the path.

I had a good opportunity to observe the constant, dutiful, self-denying
Yankee girl,--girl no longer, now that twenty years of unrewarded
patience had lined her face with unmistakable graving. But I could not
agree with Eben's statement that she was not pretty; she must have been
so in her youth; even now there was beauty in her deep-set and heavily
fringed dark eyes, soft, tender, and serious, and in the noble and
pensive Greek outline of the brow and nose; her upper lip and chin were
too long to agree well with her little classic head, but they gave a
certain just and pure expression to the whole face, and to the large
thin-lipped mouth, flexible yet firm in its lines. It is true, her hair
was neither abundant, nor wanting in gleaming threads of gray; her skin
was freckled, sallow, and devoid of varying tint or freshness; her
figure angular and spare; her hands red with hard work; and her air at
once sad and shy;--still, Hetty Buel was a very lovely woman in my eyes,
though I doubt if Lizzy would have thought so.

I hardly knew how to approach the painful errand I had come on, and with
true masculine awkwardness I cut the matter short by drawing out from my
pocket-book the Panama chain and ring, and placing them in her hands.
Well as I thought I knew the New England character, I was not prepared
for so quiet a reception of this token as she gave it. With a steady
hand she untwisted the wire fastening of the chain, slipped the ring
off, and, bending her head, placed it reverently on the ring-finger of
her left hand;--brief, but potent ceremony; and over without preface or
comment, but over for all time.

Still holding the chain, she offered me a chair, and sat down
herself,--a little paler, a little more grave, than on entering.

"Will you tell me how and where he died, Sir?" said she,--evidently
having long considered the fact in her heart as a fact; probably having
heard Seth Crane's story of the Louisa Miles's loss.

I detailed my patient's tale as briefly and sympathetically as I knew
how. The episode of Wailua caused a little flushing of lip and cheek, a
little twisting of the ring, as if it were not to be worn, after all;
but as I told of his sacred care of the trinket for its giver's sake,
and the not unwilling forsaking of that island wife, the restless motion
passed away, and she listened quietly to the end; only once lifting her
left hand to her lips, and resting her head on it for a moment, as
I detailed the circumstances of his death, after supplying what was
wanting in his own story, from the time of his taking passage in Crane's
ship, to their touching at the island, expressly to leave him in the
Hospital, when a violent hemorrhage had disabled him from further

I was about to tell her I had seen him decently buried,--of course
omitting descriptions of the how and where,--when the grandmother, who
had been watching us with the impatient querulousness of age, hobbled
across the room to ask "what that 'are man was a-talkin' about."

Briefly and calmly, in the key long use had suited to her infirmity,
Hetty detailed the chief points of my story.

"Dew tell!" exclaimed the old woman; "Eben Jackson a'n't dead on dry
land, is he? Left means, eh?"

I walked away to the door, biting my lip. Hetty, for once, reddened to
the brow; but replaced her charge in the chair and followed me to the

"Good day, Sir," said she, offering me her hand,--and then slightly
hesitating,--"Grandmother is very old. I thank you, Sir! I thank you

As she turned and went toward the house, I saw the glitter of the Panama
chain about her thin and sallow throat, and, by the motion of her hands,
that she was retwisting the same wire fastening that Eben Jackson had
manufactured for it.

Five years after, last June, I went to Simsbury with a gay picnic party.
This time Lizzy was with me; indeed, she generally is now.

I detached myself from the rest, after we were fairly arranged for the
day, and wandered away alone to "Miss Buel's."

The house was closed, the path grassy, a sweetbrier bush had blown
across the door, and was gay with blossoms; all was still, dusty,
desolate. I could not be satisfied with this. The meeting-house was
as near as any neighbor's, and the graveyard would ask me no curious
questions; I entered it doubting; but there, "on the leeward side," near
to the grave of "Bethia Jackson, wife of John Eben Jackson," were two
new stones, one dated but a year later than the other, recording the
deaths of "Temperance Buel, aged 96," and "Hester Buel, aged 44."

       *       *       *       *       *




  Is it illusion? or does there a spirit from perfecter ages,
    Here, even yet, amid loss, change, and corruption, abide?
  Does there a spirit we know not, though seek, though we find,
    comprehend not,
    Here to entice and confuse, tempt and evade us, abide?
  Lives in the exquisite grace of the column disjointed and single,
    Haunts the rude masses of brick garlanded gayly with vine,
  E'en in the turret fantastic surviving that springs from the ruin,
    E'en in the people itself? Is it illusion or not?
  Is it illusion or not that attracteth the pilgrim Transalpine,
    Brings him a dullard and dunce hither to pry and to stare?
  Is it illusion or not that allures the barbarian stranger,
    Brings him with gold to the shrine, brings him in arms to the gate?


  What do the people say, and what does the government do?--you
  Ask, and I know not at all. Yet fortune will favor your hopes; and
  I, who avoided it all, am fated, it seems, to describe it.
  I, who nor meddle nor make in politics,--I, who sincerely
  Put not my trust in leagues nor any suffrage by ballot,
  Never predicted Parisian millenniums, never beheld a
  New Jerusalem coming down dressed like a bride out of heaven
  Right on the Place de la Concorde,--I, ne'ertheless, let me say it,
  Could in my soul of souls, this day, with the Gaul at the gates, shed
  One true tear for thee, thou poor little Roman republic!

  France, it is foully done! and you, my stupid old England,--
  You, who a twelvemonth ago said nations must choose for themselves, you
  Could not, of course, interfere,--you, now, when a nation has chosen--
  Pardon this folly! _The Times_ will, of course, have announced the
  Told you the news of to-day; and although it was slightly in error
  When it proclaimed as a fact the Apollo was sold to a Yankee,
  You may believe when it tells you the French are at Civita Vecchia.


  "Dulce" it is, and _"decorum"_ no doubt, for the country to fall,--to
  Offer one's blood an oblation to Freedom, and die for the Cause; yet
  Still, individual culture is also something, and no man
  Finds quite distinct the assurance that he of all others is called on,
  Or would be justified, even, in taking away from the world that
  Precious creature, himself. Nature sent him here to abide here;
  Else why sent him at all? Nature wants him still, it is likely.
  On the whole, we are meant to look after ourselves; it is certain
  Each has to eat for himself, digest for himself, and in general
  Care for his own dear life, and see to his own preservation;
  Nature's intentions, in most things uncertain, in this most plain and
  These, on the whole, I conjecture the Romans will follow, and I shall.

  So we cling to the rocks like limpets; Ocean may bluster,
  Over and under and round us; we open our shells to imbibe our
  Nourishment, close them again, and are safe, fulfilling the purpose
  Nature intended,--a wise one, of course, and a noble, we doubt not.
  Sweet it may be and decorous, perhaps, for the country to die; but,
  On the whole, we conclude the Romans won't do it, and I shan't.


  Will they fight? They say so. And will the French? I can hardly,
  Hardly think so; and yet--He is come, they say, to Palo,
  He is passed from Monterone, at Santa Severa
  He hath laid up his guns. But the Virgin, the Daughter of Roma,
  She hath despised thee and laughed thee to scorn,--the Daughter of Tiber
  She hath shaken her head and built barricades against thee!

  Will they fight? I believe it. Alas, 'tis ephemeral folly,
  Vain and ephemeral folly, of course, compared with pictures,
  Statues, and antique gems,--indeed: and yet indeed too,
  Yet methought, in broad day did I dream,--tell it not in St. James's,
  Whisper it not in thy courts, O Christ Church!--yet did I, waking,
  Dream of a cadence that sings, _Si tombent nos jeunes héros, la
  Terre en produit de nouveaux contre vous tous prêts à se battre;_
  Dreamt of great indignations and angers transcendental,
  Dreamt of a sword at my side and a battle-horse underneath me.


  Now supposing the French or the Neapolitan soldier
  Should by some evil chance come exploring the Maison Serny,
  (Where the family English are all to assemble for safety,)
  Am I prepared to lay down my life for the British female?
  Really, who knows? One has bowed and talked, till, little by little,
  All the natural heat has escaped of the chivalrous spirit.
  Oh, one conformed, of course; but one doesn't die for good manners,
  Stab or shoot, or be shot, by way of a graceful attention.
  No, if it should be at all, it should be on the barricades there;
  Should I incarnadine ever this inky pacifical finger,
  Sooner far should it be for this vapor of Italy's freedom,
  Sooner far by the side of the damned and dirty plebeians.

  Ah, for a child in the street I could strike; for the full-blown lady--
  Somehow, Eustace, alas, I have not felt the vocation.
  Yet these people of course will expect, as of course, my protection,
  Vernon in radiant arms stand forth for the lovely Georgina,
  And to appear, I suppose, were but common civility. Yes, and
  Truly I do not desire they should either be killed or offended.

  Oh, and of course you will say, "When the time comes, you will be ready."
  Ah, but before it comes, am I to presume it will be so?
  What I cannot feel now, am I to suppose that I shall feel?
  Am I not free to attend for the ripe and indubious instinct?
  Am I forbidden to wait for the clear and lawful perception?
  Is it the calling of man to surrender his knowledge and insight,
  For the mere venture of what may, perhaps, be the virtuous action?
  Must we, walking o'er earth, discerning a little, and hoping
  Some plain visible task shall yet for our hands be assigned us,--
  Must we abandon the future for fear of omitting the present,
  Quit our own fireside hopes at the alien call of a neighbor,
  To the mere possible shadow of Deity offer the victim?
  And is all this, my friend, but a weak and ignoble repining,
  Wholly unworthy the head or the heart of Your Own Correspondent?


  Yes, we are fighting at last, it appears. This morning, as usual,
  _Murray_, as usual, in hand, I enter the Caffè Nuovo;
  Seating myself with a sense as it were of a change in the weather,
  Not understanding, however, but thinking mostly of Murray,
  And, for to-day is their day, of the Campidoglio Marbles,
  _Caffè-latte!_ I call to the waiter,--and _Non c' è latte_,
  This is the answer he makes me, and this the sign of a battle.
  So I sit; and truly they seem to think any one else more
  Worthy than me of attention. I wait for my milkless _nero_,
  Free to observe undistracted all sorts and sizes of persons,
  Blending civilian and soldier in strangest costume, coming in, and
  Gulping in hottest haste, still standing, their coffee,--withdrawing
  Eagerly, jangling a sword on the steps, or jogging a musket
  Slung to the shoulder behind. They are fewer, moreover, than usual,
  Much, and silenter far; and so I begin to imagine
  Something is really afloat. Ere I leave, the Caffè is empty,
  Empty too the streets, in all its length the Corso
  Empty, and empty I see to my right and left the Condotti.

  Twelve o'clock, on the Pincian Hill, with lots of English,
  Germans, Americans, French,--the Frenchmen, too, are protected.
  So we stand in the sun, but afraid of a probable shower;
  So we stand and stare, and see, to the left of St. Peter's,
  Smoke, from the cannon, white,--but that is at intervals only,--
  Black, from a burning house, we suppose, by the Cavalleggieri;
  And we believe we discern some lines of men descending
  Down through the vineyard-slopes, and catch a bayonet gleaming.
  Every ten minutes, however,--in this there is no misconception,--
  Comes a great white puff from behind Michel Angelo's dome, and
  After a space the report of a real big gun,--not the Frenchman's?--
  That must be doing some work. And so we watch and conjecture.

  Shortly, an Englishman comes, who says he has been to St. Peter's,
  Seen the Piazza and troops, but that is all he can tell us;
  So we watch and sit, and, indeed, it begins to be tiresome.--
  All this smoke is outside; when it has come to the inside,
  It will be time, perhaps, to descend and retreat to our houses.

  Half-past one, or two. The report of small arms frequent,
  Sharp and savage indeed; that cannot all be for nothing:
  So we watch and wonder; but guessing is tiresome, very.
  Weary of wondering, watching, and guessing, and gossipping idly,
  Down I go, and pass through the quiet streets with the knots of
  National Guards patrolling and flags hanging out at the windows,
  English, American, Danish,--and, after offering to help an
  Irish family moving _en masse_ to the Maison Serny,
  After endeavoring idly to minister balm to the trembling
  Quinquagenarian fears of two lone British spinsters,
  Go to make sure of my dinner before the enemy enter.
  But by this there are signs of stragglers returning; and voices
  Talk, though you don't believe it, of guns and prisoners taken;
  And on the walls you read the first bulletin of the morning.--
  This is all that I saw, and all I know of the battle.


  Victory! Victory!--Yes! ah, yes, thou republican Zion,
  Truly the kings of the earth are gathered and gone by together;
  Doubtless they marvelled to witness such things, were astonished,
    and so forth.
  Victory! Victory! Victory!--Ah, but it is, believe me,
  Easier, easier far, to intone the chant of the martyr
  Than to indite any paean of any victory. Death may
  Sometimes be noble; but life, at the best, will appear an illusion,
  While the great pain is upon us, it is great; when it is over,
  Why, it is over. The smoke of the sacrifice rises to heaven,
  Of a sweet savor, no doubt, to somebody; but on the altar,
  Lo, there is nothing remaining but ashes and dirt and ill odor.

  So it stands, you perceive; the labial muscles, that swelled with
  Vehement evolution of yesterday Marseillaises,
  Articulations sublime of defiance and scorning, to-day col-
  Lapse and languidly mumble, while men and women and papers
  Scream and re-scream to each other the chorus of Victory. Well, but
  I am thankful they fought, and glad that the Frenchmen were beaten.


  So I have seen a man killed! An experience that, among others!
  Yes, I suppose I have; although I can hardly be certain,
  And in a court of justice could never declare I had seen it.
  But a man was killed, I am told, in a place where I saw
  Something; a man was killed, I am told, and I saw something.

  I was returning home from St. Peter's; Murray, as usual,
  Under my arm, I remember; had crossed the St. Angelo bridge; and
  Moving towards the Condotti, had got to the first barricade, when
  Gradually, thinking still of St. Peter's, I became conscious
  Of a sensation of movement opposing me,--tendency this way
  (Such as one fancies may be in a stream when the wave of the tide is
  Coming and not yet come,--a sort of poise and retention);
  So I turned, and, before I turned, caught sight of stragglers
  Heading a crowd, it is plain, that is coming behind that corner.
  Looking up, I see windows filled with heads; the Piazza,
  Into which you remember the Ponte St. Angelo enters,
  Since I passed, has thickened with curious groups; and now the
  Crowd is coming, has turned, has crossed that last barricade, is
  Here at my side. In the middle they drag at something. What is it?
  Ha! bare swords in the air, held up! There seem to be voices
  Pleading and hands putting back; official, perhaps; but the swords are
  Many, and bare in the air,--in the air! They descend! They are smiting,
  Hewing, chopping! At what? In the air once more upstretched! And
  Is it blood that's on them? Yes, certainly blood! Of whom, then?
  Over whom is the cry of this furor of exultation?

  While they are skipping and screaming, and dancing their caps on the
    points of
  Swords and bayonets, I to the outskirts back, and ask a
  Mercantile-seeming bystander, "What is it?" and he, looking always
  That way, makes me answer, "A Priest, who was trying to fly to
  The Neapolitan army,"--and thus explains the proceeding.

  You didn't see the dead man? No;--I began to be doubtful;
  I was in black myself, and didn't know what mightn't happen;--
  But a National Guard close by me, outside of the hubbub,
  Broke his sword with slashing a broad hat covered with dust,--and
  Passing away from the place with Murray under my arm, and
  Stooping, I saw through the legs of the people the legs of a body.

  You are the first, do you know, to whom I have mentioned the matter.
  Whom should I tell it to, else?--these girls?--the Heavens forbid it!--
  Quidnuncs at Monaldini's?--idlers upon the Pincian?

  If I rightly remember, it happened on that afternoon when
  Word of the nearer approach of a new Neapolitan army
  First was spread. I began to bethink me of Paris Septembers,
  Thought I could fancy the look of the old 'Ninety-two. On that evening,
  Three or four, or, it may be, five, of these people were slaughtered.
  Some declare they had, one of them, fired on a sentinel; others
  Say they were only escaping; a Priest, it is currently stated,
  Stabbed a National Guard on the very Piazza Colonna:
  History, Rumor of Rumors, I leave it to thee to determine!

  But I am thankful to say the government seems to have strength to
  Put it down; it has vanished, at least; the place is now peaceful.
  Through the Trastevere walking last night, at nine of the clock, I
  Found no sort of disorder; I crossed by the Island-bridges,
  So by the narrow streets to the Ponte Rotto, and onwards
  Thence, by the Temple of Vesta, away to the great Coliseum,
  Which at the full of the moon is an object worthy a visit.


  Only think, dearest Louisa, what fearful scenes we have witnessed!--

         *       *       *       *       *

  George has just seen Garibaldi, dressed up in a long white cloak, on
  Horseback, riding by, with his mounted negro behind him:
  This is a man, you know, who came from America with him,
  Out of the woods, I suppose, and uses a _lasso_ in fighting,
  Which is, I don't quite know, but a sort of noose, I imagine;
  This he throws on the heads of the enemy's men in a battle,
  Pulls them into his reach, and then most cruelly kills them:
  Mary does not believe, but we heard it from an Italian.

  Mary allows she was wrong about Mr. Claude _being selfish_;
  He was _most_ useful and kind on the terrible thirtieth of April.

  Do not write here any more; we are starting directly for Florence:
  We should be off to-morrow, if only Papa could get horses;
  All have been seized everywhere for the use of this dreadful Mazzini.


  Mary has seen thus far.--I am really so angry, Louisa,--
  Quite out of patience, my dearest! What can the man be intending?
  I am quite tired; and Mary, who might bring him to in a moment,
  Lets him go on as he likes, and neither will help nor dismiss him.


  It is most curious to see what a power a few calm words (in
  Merely a brief proclamation) appear to possess on the people.
  Order is perfect, and peace; the city is utterly tranquil;
  And one cannot conceive that this easy and _nonchalant_ crowd, that
  Flows like a quiet stream through street and market-place, entering
  Shady recesses and bays of church, _ostería_ and _caffè_,
  Could in a moment be changed to a flood as of molten lava,
  Boil into deadly wrath and wild homicidal delusion.

  Ah, 'tis an excellent race,--and even in old degradation,
  Under a rule that enforces to flattery, lying, and cheating,
  E'en under Pope and Priest, a nice and natural people.
  Oh, could they but be allowed this chance of redemption!--but clearly
  That is not likely to be. Meantime, notwithstanding all journals,
  Honor for once to the tongue and the pen of the eloquent writer!
  Honor to speech! and all honor to thee, thou noble Mazzini!


  I am in love, meantime, you think; no doubt, you would think so.
  I am in love, you say; with those letters, of course, you would say so.

  I am in love, you declare. I think not so; yet I grant you
  It is a pleasure, indeed, to converse with this girl. Oh, rare gift,
  Rare felicity, this! she can talk in a rational way, can
  Speak upon subjects that really are matters of mind and of thinking,
  Yet in perfection retain her simplicity; never, one moment,
  Never, however you urge it, however you tempt her, consents to
  Step from ideas and fancies and loving sensations to those vain
  Conscious understandings that vex the minds of man-kind.
  No, though she talk, it is music; her fingers desert not the keys; 'tis
  Song, though you hear in her song the articulate vocables sounded,
  Syllabled singly and sweetly the words of melodious meaning.


  Ah, let me look, let me watch, let me wait, unbiased, unprompted!
  Bid me not venture on aught that could alter or end what is present!
  Say not, Time flies, and occasion, that never returns, is departing!
  Drive me not out, ye ill angels with fiery swords, from my Eden,
  Waiting, and watching, and looking! Let love be its own inspiration!
  Shall not a voice, if a voice there must be, from the airs that environ,
  Yea, from the conscious heavens, without our knowledge or effort,
  Break into audible words? Let love be its own inspiration!


  Wherefore and how I am certain, I hardly can tell; but it is so.
  She doesn't like me, Eustace; I think she never will like me.
  Is it my fault, as it is my misfortune, my ways are not her ways?
  Is it my fault, that my habits and modes are dissimilar wholly?
  'Tis not her fault, 'tis her nature, her virtue, to misapprehend them:
  'Tis not her fault, 'tis her beautiful nature, not even to know me.
  Hopeless it seems,--yet I cannot, hopeless, determine to leave it:
  She goes,--therefore I go; she moves,--I move, not to lose her.


  Oh, 'tisn't manly, of course, 'tisn't manly, this method of wooing;
  'Tisn't the way very likely to win. For the woman, they tell you,
  Ever prefers the audacious, the wilful, the vehement hero;
  She has no heart for the timid, the sensitive soul; and for knowledge,--
  Knowledge, O ye gods!--when did they appreciate knowledge?
  Wherefore should they, either? I am sure I do not desire it.

  Ah, and I feel too, Eustace, she cares not a tittle about me!
  (Care about me, indeed! and do I really expect it?)
  But my manner offends; my ways are wholly repugnant;
  Every word that I utter estranges, hurts, and repels her;
  Every moment of bliss that I gain, in her exquisite presence,
  Slowly, surely, withdraws her, removes her, and severs her from me.
  Not that I care very much!--any way, I escape from the boy's own
  Folly, to which I am prone, of loving where it is easy.
  Yet, after all, my Eustace, I know but little about it.
  All I can say for myself, for present alike and for past, is,
  Mary Trevellyn, Eustace, is certainly worth your acquaintance.
  You couldn't come, I suppose, as far as Florence, to see her?


  * * * To-morrow we're starting for Florence,
  Truly rejoiced, you may guess, to escape from republican terrors;
  Sir. C. and Papa to escort us; we by _vettura_
  Through Siena, and Georgy to follow and join us by Leghorn.
  Then----Ah, what shall I say, my dearest? I tremble in thinking!
  You will imagine my feelings,--the blending of hope and of sorrow!
  How can I bear to abandon Papa and Mamma and my sisters?
  Dearest Louisa, indeed it is very alarming; but trust me
  Ever, whatever may change, to remain your loving Georgina.


  * * * "Do I like Mr. Claude any better?"
  I am to tell you,--and, "Pray, is it Susan or I that attract him?"
  This he never has told, but Georgina could certainly ask him.
  All I can say for myself is, alas! that he rather repels me.
  There! I think him agreeable, but also a little repulsive.
  So be content, dear Louisa; for one satisfactory marriage
  Surely will do in one year for the family you would establish,
  Neither Susan nor I shall afford you the joy of a second.


  Mr. Claude, you must know, is behaving a little bit better;
  He and Papa are great friends; but he really is too _shilly-shally_,--
  So unlike George! Yet I hope that the matter is going on fairly.
  I shall, however, get George, before he goes, to say something.
  Dearest Louisa, how delightful, to bring young people together!

         *       *       *       *       *

  Is it to Florence we follow, or are we to tarry yet longer,
    E'en amid clamor of arms, here in the city of old,
  Seeking from clamor of arms in the Past and the Arts to be hidden,
    Vainly 'mid Arts and the Past seeking our life to forget?

  Ah, fair shadow, scarce seen, go forth! for anon he shall follow,--
    He that beheld thee, anon, whither thou leadest, must go!
  Go, and the wise, loving Muse, she also will follow and find thee!
    She, should she linger in Rome, were not dissevered from thee!

[To be continued.]


I had been knocking about London, as the phrase goes, for more months
than I choose to mention, when, my purse presenting unmistakable
symptoms of a coming state of collapse, I began seriously to look about
me for the means of replenishing it. Luckily, I had not to wait long for
an opportunity. One morning, as I sat in the box of a coffee-room in
Holborn, running my eye over the advertisement columns of the "Times,"
I met with one which promised novelty, at least; I had had too much
experience in such matters to anticipate from it any very great
_pecuniary_ compensation. The said advertisement was to the effect,
that a gentleman who combined literary tastes with business habits was
required to edit a paper published in a town in South Wales; and it went
on to state, that application, personally or by letter, might be made to
the proprietor of the said journal at M----.

That I possessed some taste for literature I was well enough assured;
but as for my "business habits," perhaps the least said about them, the
better. This condition of candidateship, however, I quietly shirked,
while counting over my few remaining coins, scarcely more than
sufficient, after paying my landlady, to defray my expenses to M----,
some one hundred and sixty miles distant. Determining, then, to assume a
commercial virtue, though I had it not, I quitted the metropolis, and in
due time reached the land of leeks, with a light heart, and seven and
sixpence sterling in my pocket.

A queer little Welsh town was M----, with an androgynous population,--or
so it seemed to me, who had never before beheld women wearing men's hats
and coats, and men with head-coverings and other articles of apparel
of a very ambiguous description. It chanced to be market-day when I
arrived, so that I had a capital opportunity of observing the population
for whose edification my "literary tastes" were, I hoped, to be called
into requisition. But at the very outset a tremendous difficulty stared
me in the face. Nine out of every ten of the people I met or passed
spoke in a language that to me was as unintelligibly mysterious as the
cuneiform characters on Mr. Layard's Nineveh sculptures. It was a hard,
harsh, guttural dialect, which even those who were to the manner born
seemed to jerk out painfully and spasmodically from their lingual
organs. This was especially obvious during a bargain, where an excited
market-man was endeavoring to pass off a tough old gander as a tender
young goose, to some equally excited customer. It was dissonant enough
to _my_ ear, but I fancy it would have driven a sensitive Italian to
distraction. After listening to the horrible jargon for some time, I
could easily believe the story which poor William Maginn used to tell
with such unction, of the origin of the Welsh language. It was to this
effect.--When the Tower of Babel was being built, the workmen all spoke
one tongue. Just at the very instant when the "confusion" occurred, a
mason, trowel in hand, called for a brick. This his assistant was so
long in handing to him, that he incontinently flew into a towering
passion, and discharged from the said trowel a quantity of mortar, which
entered the other's windpipe just as he was stammering out an excuse.
The air, rushing through the poultice-like mixture, caused a spluttering
and gurgling, which, blending with the half-formed words, became that
language ever since known as Welsh.--I think it my duty to advise the
reader never to tell this anecdote to any descendants of Cadwallader,
who are peculiarly sensitive on the subject, and so hot-blooded, that it
is not at all unlikely the injudicious story-teller might be deprived of
any future opportunity of insulting the Ap-Shenkins, the Ap-Joneses, and
the race of very irascible Taffys in general.

I had, however, little time to study either language or character; so,
after a plain dinner at the Merlin's Head, the chief inn of the place, I
set out for the purpose of seeing the newspaper proprietor. Fortified by
a letter of introduction and some testimonials, I entered his shop,--he
was a bookseller and stationer,--and inquired for Mr. F----.

"That's my name," said a red-faced man behind the counter. I handed him
the introductory note, he glanced at it and then at me, thrust it into
his waistcoat pocket, and, as soon as he had served the customer with
whom he was engaged, led the way into a little room adjoining the place
of business.

Mr. F--- owned the newspaper; but, as he never ventured in a literary
way beyond reading proofs of advertisements, he was compelled to employ
an editor to do the leaders, select from the exchanges, prepare the
local news, and get up the reporting. He was, however, a practical
printer, and, in the main, a good fellow. After looking at my
testimonials and asking a few questions, my services were accepted,
and I was duly installed as editor of the "M---- Beacon," a small,
but rather influential county sheet. I ought to observe, that, as it
circulated chiefly in places where English was generally spoken, my
ignorance of Welsh was of but little importance, especially as the
foreman of the printing-office was a Cambrian, who could correct any
errors I might make in Taffy's orthography, which, prodigal as it is of
consonants and penurious of vowels, and, as it regards pronunciation,
embarrassing to the last degree, might drive Elihu Burritt back to his
smithy in an agony of despair.

Thus assisted, I got on tolerably well, though at first I made some
awful mistakes in the names of places mentioned by witnesses in courts
of justice and elsewhere. For instance, at the assizes, a man swore that
he resided at a place which he pronounced Monothosluin, and so I spelt
it in my report. "Cot pless me, Sur!--sure inteed, and you have
not spelt hur right," remarked Mr. Morgan, the foreman; and for my
edification he set it up thus,--_Mynyddysllwyn_. I almost turned my
tongue into a corkscrew, trying to speak the word as he did, and I
fairly gave up in despair. After that, I made it a rule, when I did
not know how to spell some unpronounceable word, to huddle a number of
consonants together in most admired disorder, and I was then usually
nearer correctness than if I had orthographized by ear.

I had been installed in the editorial chair some six months when Mr.
F---- informed me it was necessary I should visit Abergavenny, a town
some twenty-five miles distant, for the purpose of reporting the
proceedings at the CYMREIGGDDYON.

"And what the deuse is that?" I inquired.

I learned that it was a Triennial Musical Festival, so called,--at which
all the musical talent of Wales would be present; in short, that it was
a very grand occasion indeed, would be patronized by the aristocracy
of the Principality, and full reports of each of the three days'
proceedings were absolutely necessary.

Here again the Welsh difficulty started up; but as the Cymreiggddyon
would be quite a novelty, I determined to trust to Chance and
Circumstance,--two allies of mine who have gallantly aided me in many a
tough battle of literary life.

Remembering the words of Goldsmith,--"The young noble who is whirled
through Europe in his chariot sees society at a peculiar elevation, and
draws conclusions widely different from him who makes the grand tour on
foot," I determined to make my way to Abergavenny either by means of my
own legs or through the chance aid of those of a Welsh pony. So,
one bright morning, with stick in hand, knapsack on shoulder, and a
wandering artist for a companion, I started for the iron district,
as that part of Wales is termed. Wildly romantic were the roads we
traversed; and after having threaded many a glen, leaped frequent
torrents, ascended and descended mountains with impossible names, and
plodded wearily across dreary moors, glad enough were we to observe, in
the less thinly scattered cottages, indications of a town.

The clouds had been gathering ominously during the latter half of our
long day of travel,--and as the sun set blood-red behind a heavy bank of
vapor, it cast lurid reflections on large bodies of dense mist, which
sailed heavily athwart the crests of the mountains, with low, ragged,
trailing edges, that were too surely the precursors of a storm. Just
before the orb finally disappeared, its slant rays streamed through some
dark purple bars on the horizon's verge, and for an instant tinged the
opposite distant mountains with strange supernatural hues. The Blorenge
and the Sugar Loaf glowed like huge carbuncles, while the pale green
light which bathed their bases gleamed faintly like a setting of
aqua-marina. My artist companion incontinently fell into professional
raptures, and raved of "effect," and "Turner," and "Ruskin," heedless of
my advice that he had better hasten onward, lest night should overtake
us in that wild region, where sheep-tracks, scarcely visible even by
daylight, were our sole guides. At length, however, I managed to
start him, and on we stalked, the decreasing twilight and the distant
reverberations of thunder among the mountains hastening our steps, until
they became almost a trot.

But soon the trot declined once more into a walk, and a slow one
too,--for we entered a gloomy pass or gorge, whose rocky walls on either
side effectually excluded what little light yet lingered in the sky.
Cautiously picking our way, we slowly travelled on, until at length
we became sensible of a faint red flush in the narrow strip of sky
overhead. It seemed as though the sun had just wheeled back to give a
forgotten message to some starry-night-watcher,--or so my companion
intimated. But, unfortunately for his theory, the dull red glare
above us, which every moment deepened in intensity, was evidently
the reflection of earthly, not heavenly fire. I had seen too many
conflagrations to doubt that for an instant. Presently a dull, confused
sound fell on our ears, and at a sudden turn round an angle of our
mountain road we stood speechless as we gazed on a spectacle which
Milton might have conceived and Martin painted.

  "Far other light than that of day there shone
  Upon the wanderers entering Padalon,"

murmured the artist, as he gazed on the strange scene. And strange
indeed was it to our startled eyes. We stood on the end and summit of a
mountain spur, some two thousand feet above the valley, or rather basin,
below, from the centre of which burst forth a thousand fires, whose
dull roar--dulled by distance--was like "the noise of the sea on an
iron-bound shore." The extent of space covered by those strange, fierce
fires must have amounted to many acres,--in fact, did so, as we
afterwards ascertained,--and the effect produced by them may be
partially imagined when it is remembered that these flames were of all
hues, from rich ruby-red, to the pale lurid light of burning sulphur.
Fancy all the gems of Aladdin's Palace or Sinbad's Valley in fierce
flashing combustion, immensely magnified, and you may form some faint
idea of the scene in that Welsh valley.

Stretching out, like spokes of a gigantic wheel, from their fiery
centre, were huge embankments, like those of Titanic railways, whose
summits and sides, especially towards their extremities, glowed in
patches with all the hues of the rainbow. As I gazed wonderingly on one
of these,--a real mountain of light, far surpassing the Koh-i-Noor,--I
observed a dark figure gliding along its summit, pushing something
before it, like a black imp conveying an unfortunate soul from one part
of Tophet to another. At the extremity of the ridge the imp stopped, and
suddenly there shot down the steep, not a tortured ghost, but a shower
of radiant gems even more brilliant than those to which I have already

"What, in the name of all that's wonderful, is _that_?" said my friend,
Mr. Vandyke Brown; and I was also trying to account for the phenomena,
when a voice close to my ear--a voice which I was certain belonged
neither to Mr. B. nor myself--uttered the mysterious word,--


I looked round, and, sure enough, there stood a being who might very
easily be mistaken for a new arrival from the bottomless pit. Such,
however, it was evident he was not. Though he was black enough, in all
conscience, he had neither horns, hoof, nor tail, and he was redolent
rather of 'bacco than brimstone; a queer old hat, in the band of which
was stuck an unlighted candle, covered a mass of matted red hair; his
eyes were glaring and rimmed with red; and there was a gash in his face
where his mouth should have been. A loose flannel shirt, which had once
been red, a pair of indescribable trowsers, and thick-soled shoes,
completed his dress,--an attire which I at once recognized as that
common among the coal-miners of the district.

"'Deed and truth, Sur, they is cinder-heaps and slag from the
iron-works, Sur; and yon is Merthyr-Tydvil, sure."

Piloted by our dusky guide,--not exactly, though, like Campbell's
"_Morning_ brought by Night,"--we soon reached the town,--which is named
after a young lady of legendary times named Tydfil, a Christian martyr,
of which Merthyr-Tydvil is a corruption,--and made the best of our
way to the Bush Inn, where we treated our sable friend to some _cwrw
dach,--Anglicé_, strong ale; and after a hearty supper of Welsh rabbit,
which Tom Ingoldsby calls a "bunny without any bones," and "custard with
mustard,"--which, as made in the Principality, it much resembles,--I
took a stroll through the town. It was a dull-looking place enough, and
as dirty as dull; every house was built with dingy gray stones, without
any reference whatever to cleanliness or ventilation; and as to the
civilization of the inhabitants, I saw enough to convince me, that, to
see real barbarism, an Englishman need only visit that part of Great
Britain called Wales. It was eight in the evening, and the day-laborers
at the furnaces had just left work. The doors of all the cottages were
open, and, as I passed them, in almost every one was to be seen a
perfectly naked stalwart man rubbing himself down with a dirty rough
towel, while his wife and grown-up daughters or sisters, almost as nude
and filthy as himself, stood listlessly by, or prepared his supper.

Glad to escape from such disgusting objects, I hurried back to the Bush
and to bed. But not to rest, though; for during that long, miserable
night, the eternal rattle of machinery, clattering of hammers, whirling
of huge wheels, and roaring of blast-furnaces completely murdered sleep.
Never, for one instant, did these sounds cease,--nor do they, it is
said, the long year through; for if any accident happens at one of the
five great iron-works, there are four others which rest not day nor
night. Little, however, is this heeded by the people of Merthyr; _they_
are lulled to repose by the clatter of iron bars and the thumping of
trip-hammers, but are instantaneously awakened by the briefest intervals
of silence.

Glad enough was I, the next morning early, to cross an ink-black stream
and leave the town, and pleasant was it to breathe the free, fresh
mountain air, after inhaling the foul smoke of the iron-works. Towards
the close of the afternoon, after a delightful walk, a great portion
of it on the banks of the picturesque river Usk, we came in sight of
Abergavenny, where the Cymreiggddyon was to be held.

The first of the glorious three days was duly ushered in with the firing
of cannon, ringing of bells, and all kinds of extravagant jubilation.
It wasn't quite as noisy as a Fourth of July, but much more discordant.
Strings of flags were suspended across the streets,--flags with harps
of all sorts and sizes displayed thereon,--flags with Welsh mottoes,
English mottoes, Scotch mottoes, and no mottoes at all. In front of the
Town Hall was almost an acre of transparent painting,--meant, that is,
to be so after dark, but mournfully opaque and pictorially mysterious in
the full glare of sunshine. As far as I could make it out, it was the
full-length portrait--taken from life, no doubt--of an Ancient Welsh
Bard. He was depicted as a baldheaded, elderly gentleman, with upturned
eyes, apparently regarding with reverence a hole in an Indian-ink cloud
through which slanted a gamboge sunbeam, and having a white beard,
which streamed like a (horse-hair) "meteor on the troubled air." This
venerable minstrel was seated on a cairn of rude stones, his white robe
clasped at his throat and round his waist by golden brooches, and with a
harp, shaped like that of David in old Bible illustrations, resting on
the sward before him. In the background were some Druidical remains, by
way of audience; and the whole was surrounded by a botanical border,
consisting of leeks, oak-leaves, laurel, and mistletoe, which had a very
rare and agreeable effect. Nor were these hieroglyphical decorations
without a deep meaning to a Cambrian; for while the oak-leaf typified
the durability of Welsh minstrelsy, the mistletoe its mysterious origin,
and the laurel its reward, the national leek was pleasantly suggestive
of its usual culinary companions, Welsh mutton and toasted cheese.

As in America, so in Wales, almost every public matter is provocative of
a procession, and the proceedings of the Festival commenced with one. No
doubt, it was to the eyes of the many, who from scores of miles round
had travelled to witness it, a very imposing and serious demonstration;
but anything more ridiculously amusing it was never my good fortune to
see. I had, however, to keep all my fun to myself, for Welshmen are not
to be trifled with. Any one who wishes to be convinced of this need only
walk into a Welsh village, singing the old child-doggerel of

  "Taffy was a Welshman, Taffy was a thief,
  Taffy came to my house and stole a piece
    of beef," etc.,

and, my life on it, he will not leave it without striking proofs of
Welsh sensitiveness, and voluble illustrations of some Jenny Jones's
displeasure. By no means inclined to subject myself to such inconvenient
experiences, I prudently kept my eyes wide open and my mouth shut,--or
if I spoke, I merely asked questions, by which means I acquired
necessary information and passed off for a gratified stranger and an
admiring spectator.

All the resources of the town and its neighborhood, and indeed of the
county itself, had been exhausted to give due effect to the parade,
of which I regret to say that I cannot hope to give any adequate
description. All the usual elements of processions were to be seen.
Bands of music,--there were at least a dozen of them, all playing
different pieces at one and the same moment, which had a somewhat
distracting effect on those sensitively-eared people who weakly prefer
one air at a time and do not appreciate tuneful tornadoes. As the
procession went by at a brisk pace, it was curious enough to notice how
the last wailing notes of "A noble race was Shenkin," played by a band
in advance, blended with the brisk music of "My name's David Price, and
I'm come from Llangollen," performed by a company in the rear. In fact,
it was a genuine Welsh musical medley, and the daring genius who would
have occupied himself in "untwisting all the links which tied its hidden
soul of harmony," would have had about as difficult and distressing a
task as he who tried to make ropes out of sea-sand.

Of course, these bands were made up of divers instruments, but the
national harp was head and chief of them all, as might naturally have
been expected in such a place and at such a time. There were harps of
all sorts and shapes; some of the Welsh urchins had even Jews-harps
between their teeth. There were Irish harps, English harps, and Welsh
harps. There was no Caledonian harp, though; but a remarkably dirty
fellow in the procession seemed to be making up for the lack of one
stringed instrument by bringing another,--the Scotch fiddle!--on which
he perpetually played the tune of "God bless the gude Duke of Argyle!"
There were harps with one, two, and three sets of strings,--harps with
gold strings, silver strings, brass strings,--strings of cat-gut and
brass,--strings red, and brown, and white. I looked sharp for the "harp
of a thousand strings," but it was nowhere to be seen; and surmising
that such is only played on by the spirits of just men made perfect, I
ceased to search further for it in _that_ procession,--for though the
men composing it might be just enough, they were evidently a long way
from perfection. And when it is remembered that all these harps were
twang-twanging away furiously, and that their strings were being
swept over with no Bochsa fingers, few will wonder that I longed for
cotton-wool, and blessed the memory of Paganini, who had only one string
to his bow.

Harps, however, would be of little value, were there no bards to sing
and no minstrels to play. Walter Scott was decidedly wrong, when,
speaking of his minstrel, he says,--

  "The _last_ of all the bards was he."

Nonsense! I saw at least fifty in that procession,--regular, legitimate
bards,--each one having a bardic bald pate, a long white bardic beard,
flowing bardic robes, bardic sandals, a bardic harp in his hand, and an
ancient bardic name. There was Bard Alaw, Bard Llewellyn, Bard Ap-Tudor,
Bard Llyyddmunnddggynn, (pronounce it, if you can, Reader,--I can't,)
and I am afraid to say how many more, in face of the high poetical
authority I have just cited and refuted. Talk of the age of poetry
having passed away, when three-score and ten bards can be seen at one
time in a little Welsh town! These men of genius were headed by Bard
Alaw, whose unpoetical name, I almost hesitate to write it, was
Williams,--Taliesin Williams,--the Welsh given name alone redeeming it
from obscurity. I found, too, to my disenchantment, that all the other
bards were Joneses and Morgans, Pryces and Robertses, when they were met
in everyday life, before and after these festivals; and that they kept
shops, and carried on mechanical trades. Only fancy Bard Ap-Tudor
shaving you, or Bard Llyynnssllumpllyynn measuring you for a new pair of

After the bards and minstrels came the gentry of the county, the clergy,
and distinguished strangers, before and behind whom banners floated and
flags streamed. On many of these banners were fancy portraits of Saint
David, the Patron Saint of Wales, always with a harp in his hand. But
the Saint must have had a singularly varied expression of countenance,
or else his portrait-painters must have been mere block-heads, for no
two of their productions were alike. I saw smiling Davids, frowning
Davids, mild Davids, and ferocious Davids,--Davids with oblique eyes,
red noses, and cavernous mouths,--and Davids as blind as bats, or with
great goggle-orbs, aquiline nasal organs, blue at the tips, and lips
made for a lisp. One David had a brown Welsh wig on his head, and was
anachronistically attired in a snuff-colored coat, black small-clothes,
gray, coarse, worsted stockings, high-low boots, with buckles, and he
wore on his head a three-cornered hat, and used spectacles as big as
tea-saucers. On my remarking to a bystander, that I was not aware
knee-breeches were worn in the time of the ancient kings, I was
condescendingly informed that _this_ David was not the celebrated
Monarch-Minstrel, but a Mr. Pryce David, the founder of the
Cymreiggddyon Society. But the most amusing David was one depicted on a
banner carried in front of a company of barbers belonging to the order
of Odd Fellows. In that magnificent work of art David was represented
bewailing the death of Absalom, that unhappy young man being seen
hanging by his hair from a tree. Out of the mouth of David issued a
scroll, on which was inscribed the following touching verse:--

  "Oh, Absalom! Oh, Absalom!
    Oh, Absalom, my son!
  If thou hadst worn a good Welsh wig,
    Thou hadst not been undone!"

It was with no little trouble that I elbowed my way into the great
temporary hall where the exercises were to be held: but by dint of much
pressing forward, I at length reached the reporters' bench. Directly in
front was a raised platform, and on two sides of the tent galleries
had been erected for the bards and orators. On the platform table
were arranged prizes to be given for the best playing, singing, and
speaking,--and also for articles of domestic Welsh manufacture, such
as plaids, flannels, and the like. A large velvet and gilded chair was
placed on a daïs for the president, and on either side of this, seats
for ladies and visitors. In a very short time every corner of the
spacious area was crammed.

And a pretty and a cheerful spectacle was presented wherever the eye
turned. As in almost all other gatherings of the kind, the fair sex were
greatly in the majority; and during the interval which elapsed between
the opening of the doors and the beginning of business, the clatter of
female tongues was prodigious. The sex generally are voluble when in
crowds; but as for Welsh women, their loquacity was far beyond anything
of the kind I had ever conceived of. And there were some wonderfully
handsome specimens of girlhood, womanhood, and matronhood among that
great gathering; though I am compelled to admit that in Wales beauty
forms the exception, rather than the rule.

But the bards are in their places,--the front rows of either gallery;
the president has taken his seat; the leading ladies of the county are
in their chairs; and while the large audience are settling down into
their places, let us glance at two or three of the celebrities present.

On the foremost seat, to the right of the chairman, sits a lady who is
evidently a somebody, since all the gentlemen, on entering, pay her
especial respect. She is rather past the middle age, but has worn well;
her eye is still bright, her cheek fresh-colored, and her skin smooth.
Evidently she takes much interest in the proceedings,--and little
wonder,--for it is mainly owing to her exertions that the Festival
has not become one of the things that were. Her name? You may see it
embroidered in dahlias on yonder broad strip of white cotton, stretching
across the breadth of the hall, nearly over her head. These blossoms
form the letters and words, GWENNEN GWENT, or "The Bee of Gwent,"--Gwent
being the ancient name of that portion of Glamorgan. The title is apt
enough; for Lady Hall--that is her matter-of-fact name--is proverbially
one of the busiest of her sex in all that relates to the welfare of her
poorer neighbors. She is wife of Sir Benjamin Hall, member of Parliament
for the largest parish in London, St. Mary-le-bone, and whose
county residence is at Llanover Court, near Abergavenny. That tall,
aristocratic man near her is her husband; but he looks somewhat out of
place there. As a member of the House of Commons, he is prominent; but
evidently his present position is not at all to his taste.

On the left of the chairman is another lady, whose name is well known
in literary circles. She is not Welsh by birth, though she is so by
marriage,--she being united to one of the great iron-masters. She has a
large face, open and cheerful-looking, if not handsome. The forehead is
broad and white,--the eyes dark and lustrous. Formerly she was known to
the reading world as Lady Charlotte Lindsay; now she is Lady Charlotte
Guest; a woman than whom very few archaeologists are better acquainted
with the Welsh language and its ancient literature. She is the author of
that very learned work, "The Mabinogion," a collection of early Welsh
legends. This book was printed a few years since by the pale-faced,
intelligent-looking man who is standing behind her chair,--Mr. Rees,--a
printer in an obscure Welsh hamlet, named Llandovery. He has, with
perfect propriety, been termed the Welsh Elzevir; and certainly a finer
specimen of typography than that furnished by the "Mabinogion" can
scarcely be produced.

The chairman is a pompous old nobody. Him I need not describe. The
presiding and directing spirit of the place is a tall, slender gentleman
with snow-white hair, dark, flashing eyes, and a graceful bearing; it is
the Rev. Thomas Price, or, as his Welsh title has it, _Carnuhanawc_.
He is a thorough believer in the ultra-excellence of everything
Welsh,--Welsh music, Welsh flannels, Welsh scenery, Welsh mutton; and
so far as regards the latter, I am quite of his opinion. After a very
animated speech, he directs the competitors on the triple harp to stand
forward and begin a harmonious contest.

There are three,--an old blind man, a young man, and a girl some
fourteen years of age. Every one cheers the latter lustily, and "wishes
she may get it." So do I, of course; and I listen with great interest as
Miss Winifred Jenkins commences her performance, which she does without
blush or hesitation, and with quite an I-know-all-about-it sort of air.
I forget the particular piece the young lady played; but upon it she
extemporized so many variations, that long before she came to an ending
I had lost all remembrance of the text from which she had deduced her
melodious sermon. There was, I thought, more mechanical tact than
expression in her performance, but it was enthusiastically applauded for
all that; and with an awkward curtsy--much like Sydney Smith's little
servant-maid Bunch's "bobbing to the centre of the earth"--the
red-cheeked little harpist vanished.

Next came the young man; but several of the harp-strings at once snapped
in consequence of his fierce fingering, and he broke down amidst howls
of guttural disapprobation. So far as competition was concerned, he was,
in sporting parlance, nowhere!

The old blind gentleman followed, and I do not think that I ever
witnessed a more melancholy spectacle. Apollo playing on his stringed
instrument presents a very graceful appearance; but fancy a Welsh
Orpheus with a face all seamed and scarred by smallpox,--a short, fiery
button in the middle of his countenance, serving for a nose,--a mouth
awry and toothless,--and two long, dirty, bony hands, with claw-like
fingers tipped with dark crescents,--and I do not think the picture will
be a pleasant one. If the horrible-looking old fellow had concealed
his ghastly eyes by colored glasses, the effect would not have been so
disagreeable; but it was absolutely frightful to see him rolling his
head, as he played, and every now and then staring with the whites of
his eyes full in the faces of his unseen audience. At length, greatly
to my relief, he gave the last decisive twang, and was led away by his
wife. It is almost needless to say that the musical "Bunch" took the

"Penillionn Singing" was the next attraction. This was something like
an old English madrigal done into Welsh, and, as a specimen of
vocalization, pleasing enough,--as pleasing, that is, as Welsh singing
can be to an English ear; but how different from the soft, liquid
Italian trillings, the flexible English warblings, the melodious ballads
of Scotland, or the rollicking songs of Ireland! There was only one of
the many singers I heard at the Festival who at all charmed me, and that
was a little vocalist of much repute in Southern Wales for her bird-like
voice and brilliancy of execution. Her professional name was pretty
enough,--_Eos Vach Morganwg_,--"The Little Nightingale of Glamorgan."
Her renderings of some simple Welsh melodies were delicious; they as far
excelled the outpourings of the other singers as the compositions of
Mendelssohn or Bellini surpass a midnight feline concert. I have heard
Chinese singing, and have come to the conclusion, that, next to it,
Welsh prize-vocalism is the most ear-distracting thing imaginable.

So it went on; Welsh, Welsh, Welsh, nothing but Welsh, until I was
heartily sick of it. Then, the singing part of the performance being
concluded, the bardic portion of the business commenced. It was
conducted in this manner:--

The names of several subjects were written on separate slips of paper,
and these being placed in a box, each bard took one folded up and with
but brief preparation was expected to extemporize a poem on the theme he
had drawn. The contest speedily commenced, and to me this part of the
proceedings was far and away the most entertaining. Of course, being, as
I said, ignorant of the language, I could not understand the _matter_ of
the improvisations; but as for the _manner_, just imagine a mad North
American Indian, a howling and dancing Dervise, an excited Shaker, a
violent case of fever-and-ague, a New York auctioneer, and a pugilist
of the Tom Hyer school, all fused together, and you may form some faint
idea of a Welsh bard in the agony of inspiration. Such roaring,
such eye-rolling, such thumping of fists and stamping of feet, such
joint-dislocating action of the arms, such gyrations of the head, such
spasmodic jerkings--out of the language of the ancient Britons, I never
heard before, and fervently pray that I never may again. And, let it be
remembered, the grotesque costume of the bard wonderfully heightened the
effect. His long beard, made of tow, became matted with the saliva which
ran down upon it from the corners of his mouth; his make-believe
bald scalp was accidentally wiped to one side, as he mopped away the
perspiration from his forehead with a red cotton handkerchief; and a
nail in the gallery front catching his ancient robe, in a moment of
frenzy, a fearful rending sound indicated a solution of continuity, and
exposed a modern blue _un_bardic pair of breeches with bright brass
buttons beneath,--an incident in keeping with the sham nature of all the
proceedings. For a mortal half hour this exhibition lasted, and when
the impassioned speaker sat down, panting and perspiring, the multitude
stamped, clapped, and hallooed, and went into such paroxysms of frenzy,
that Bedlam broke loose could alone be compared with it.

During the three days the Festival lasted, such scenes as I have
described were repeated,--the only changes being in the persons of
the singers and spouters. Glad enough was I when all was over, and my
occupation as reporter gone, for that time at least. With the aid of
a Welsh friend I managed to make a highly florid report of the
proceedings, which occupied no less than eight columns of the "M----
Beacon." As several of the speakers were only too glad to give me, _sub
rosâ_, copies of their speeches in their native language, and as none
knew of the fact but ourselves, I gained no little reputation as an
accomplished Welsh scholar. The result of this was, that presents of
Welsh Bibles, hymn-books, histories, topographies, and the like, by the
score, were forwarded to me,--some out of respect for my talents as a
great Welsh linguist, others for review in the newspaper. I was neither
born to such greatness, nor did I ever achieve it; it was literally
thrust on me; so also were sundry joints of the delicious Liliputian
Welsh mutton, which latter I am not ashamed to say I thoroughly
understood, appreciated, and digested. The ancient _litter_-ature, I am
sorry to confess, I sold as waste paper, at so much per pound; but
to show that some lingering regard for at least two of Cambria's
institutions yet reigns in this ---- bosom, I am just about to begin
upon a Welsh rabbit, and wash it down with a pitcher of _cwrw dach_.


  There's a lodger lives on the first floor,
    (My lodgings are up in the garret,)
  At night and at morn he taketh a horn
    And calleth his neighbors to share it,--
  A horn so long, and a horn so strong,
    I wonder how they can bear it.

  I don't mean to say that he drinks,
    For that were a joke or a scandal;
  But, every one knows it, he night and day blows it;--
    I wish he'd blow out like a candle!
  His horn is so long, and he blows it so strong,
    He would make Handel fly off the handle.

  By taking a horn I don't hint
    That he swigs either rum, gin, or whiskey;
  It's _we_ who drink in his din worse than gin,
    His strains that attempt to be frisky,
  But are grievously sad.--A donkey, I add,
    Is as musical, braying in _his_ key.

  It's a puzzle to know what he's at;
    I could pity him, if it were madness:
  I never yet knew him to play a tune through,
    And it gives me more anger than sadness
  To hear his horn stutter and stammer to utter
    Its various abortions of badness.

  At his wide open window he stands,
    Overlooking his bit of a garden;
  One can see the great ass at one end of his brass
    Blaring out, never asking your pardon:
  This terrible blurting he thinks is not hurting,
    As long as his own ear-drums harden.

  He thinks, I've no doubt, it is sweet,
    While thus Time and Tune he is flaying;
  The little house-sparrows feel all through their marrows
    The jar and the fuss of his playing,--
  The windows all shaking, the babies all waking,
    The very dogs howling and baying.

  One note out of twenty he hits,
    And, cheered, blows _pianos_ like _fortes_.
  His time is his own. He goes sounding alone,
    (A sort of Columbus or Cortés,)
  On a perilous ocean, without any notion
    Whereabouts in the dim deep his port is.

  Like a man late from club, he has lost
    His key, and around stumbles moping,
  Touching this, trying that, now a sharp, now a flat,
    Till he strikes on the note he is hoping,
  And a terrible blare at the end of the air
    Shows he's got through at last with his groping.

  There,--he's finished,--at least, for a while;
    He is tired, or come to his senses;
  And out of his horn shakes the drops that were borne
    By the winds of his musical frenzies.
  There's a rest, thank our stars, of ninety-nine bars,
    Ere the tempest of sound recommences.

  When all the bad players are sent
    Where all their false notes are protested,
  I am sure that Old Nick will play him a trick,
    When his bad trump and he are arrested,
  And down in the regions of Discord's own legions
    His head with two French horns be crested.

       *       *       *       *       *


March, 1855.

Of all the letters of condolence I have received since my misfortune,
yours has consoled me most. It surprises me, I confess, that a far-away
cousin--of whom I only remember that she had the sweetest of earthly
smiles--should know better how to reach the heart of my grief and soothe
it into peace, than any nearest of kin or oldest of friends. But so it
has been, and therefore I feel that your more intimate acquaintance
would be something to interest me and keep my heart above despair.

My sister Catalina, my devoted nurse, says I must snatch at anything
likely to do that, as a drowning man catches at straws, or I shall
be overwhelmed by this calamity. But is it not too late? Am I not
overwhelmed? I feel that life is a revolting subject of contemplation in
my circumstances, a poor thing to look forward to. Death itself looks

Call up to your mind what I was, and what my circumstances were. I was
healthy and strong. I could run, and wrestle, and breast strong winds,
and cleave rough waters, and climb steep hills,--things I shall
henceforth be able only to remember,--yes, and to sigh to do again.

I was thoroughly educated for my profession. I was panting to fulfil its
duties and rise to its honors. I was beginning to make my way up. I
had gained one cause,--my first and last,--and my friends thought me
justified in entertaining the highest hopes.

It had always been an object of ambition with me to--well, I will
confess--to be popular in society; and I know I was not the
reverse.--So much, Mary, for what I was. Now see what I am.

I am, and shall forever be,--so the doctors tell me,--a miserable,
sickly, helpless being, without hope of health or independence. My
object in life can only be--to be comfortable, if possible, and not to
be an intolerable trial to those about me! Worth living for,--isn't it?

An athlete, eager and glowing in the race of life, transformed by a
thunder-bolt into a palsied and whining cripple for whom there is no
Pool of Bethesda,--that is what has befallen me!

I suppose you read the shocking details of the collision in the papers.
Catalina and I sat, of course, side by side in the cars. We had that day
met in New York, after a separation of years. She had just returned from
Europe. I went to meet and escort her home, and, as we whirled over the
Jersey sands, I told her of all my plans and hopes. She listened at
first with her usual lively interest; but as I went on, she looked me
full in the face with an air of exasperated endurance, as if what I
proposed to accomplish were beyond reason. I own that I was in a fool's
paradise of buoyant expectation. At last she interrupted me.

"Ah, yes! No doubt! You'll do those trifles, of course! And, perhaps,
among your other plans and intentions is that of living forever? It is
an easy thing to resolve upon;--better not stop short of it."

At this instant came the crash, and I knew nothing more until I heard
people remonstrating with Kate for persisting in trying to revive a dead
man, (myself,) while the blood was flowing profusely from her own wound.
I heard her indignantly deny that I was dead, and, with her customary
irritability, tell them that they ought to be ashamed of themselves for
saying so. They still insisted that I was "a perfect jelly," and could
not possibly survive, even if I came to consciousness. She contradicted
them energetically. Yet they pardoned, and liked her. They knew that a
fond heart keenly resents evil prophecies of its beloved ones. Besides,
whatever she does or says, people always like Kate.

After a physician arrived, it was found that the jellying of my flesh
was not the worst of it; for, in consequence of some injury to my spine,
my lower limbs were paralyzed. My sister, thank Heaven, had received
only a slight cut upon the forehead.

Of course I don't mean to bore you with a recital of all my sufferings
through those winter months. I don't ask your compassion for such
trifles as bodily pain; but for what I am, and must forever be in this
life, my own heart aches for pity. Let yours sympathize with it.

I thought to be so active, so useful, perhaps so distinguished as a man,
so blest as husband and father!--for you must know how from my boyhood
up I have craved, what I have never had, a home.

Now that I have been thrust out of active life and forced to make up my
mind to perfect passiveness, I have become a bugbear to myself. I cannot
endure the thought of ever being the peevish egotist, the exacting
tyrant, which men are apt to become when they are thrown upon woman's
love and long-suffering, as I am.

My only safeguard is, I believe, to keep up interests out of myself, and
I beg of you to help me. I believe implicitly in your expressed desire
to be of some service to me, and I ask you to undertake the troublesome
task of correspondence with a sick man, and almost a stranger. I will,
however, try to make you acquainted with myself and my surroundings, so
thoroughly that the latter difficulty will soon be obviated.

First, let me present my sister,--named Catalina,--called Kate, Catty,
or Lina, according to the fancy of the moment, or the degree of
sentimentality in the speaker. You have not seen her since she was a
child, so that, of course, you cannot imagine her as she is now. But you
know the circumstances in which our parents left us. You remember, that,
after living all his life in careless luxury, my father died penniless.
Our mother had secured her small fortune for Kate; and at her death,
just before my father's, she gave me--an infant a few weeks old--into my
sister's young arms, with full trust that I should be taken care of by
her. You know of all my obligations to her in my babyhood and for my
education, which she drudged at teaching for years to obtain for me. I
could never repay her for such devotion, but I hoped to make her forget
all her trials, and only retain the happy consciousness of having had
the making of such a famous man! I expected to place her in affluence,
at least.

And now what can I bring to her but grief and gray hairs? I am dependent
upon her for my daily bread; I occupy all her time, either in nursing or
sewing for me; I try her temper hourly with my sick-man's whims; and I
doom her to a future of care and economy. Yet I believe in my soul that
she blesses me every time she looks upon me!

Thackeray says women like to be martyrized. I hardly think it is the
pursuit of pleasure which leads them to self-denial. Men, at any rate,
do not often seek enjoyment in that form. If women do make choice of
such a class of delights, even instinctively, they need advance no other
claim to superiority over men. The higher the animal, the higher its

Kate the other day was asserting a wife's right to the control of her
own property, and incidentally advocating the equality of the sexes,--a
touchy point with her. I put in,--

"Tell me, then, Lina, why animals form stronger attachments to men than
to women. Your dog, your parrot, even your cat, already prefers me to
you. How can you account for it, unless by allowing that there is more
in us to respect and love?"

"I account for it," said she, with her most decided nod, "by affinity.
There is more affinity between you and brutes. It is the sons of God who
find the daughters of men fair. We draw angels from the skies;--even
your jealous, reluctant sex has borne witness to that."

"Pshaw! only those anomalous creatures, the poets. But please yourself
with such fancies; they encourage a pretty pride that becomes your sex.
Conscious forever of being your lords, we feel that the higher you raise
yourselves, the higher you place us. You can't help owning that angelic
woman-kind submits--and gladly--to us."

"Nonsense! conceited nonsense!"

"But _don't_ they?"

"Some do; but I do not."

"Why, all my life you have been to me a most devoted, obedient servant,

"Yes, I have my pets," she answered, "and I care for them. I am
housemaid to my bird; my cat makes her bed of my lap and my best silk
dress; I am purveyor to my dog, head-scratcher to my parrot, and so
forth. It is my pleasure to be kind. Higher natures always are so,--yes,
Charlie, even minutely solicitous for the welfare of the objects of
their care; for are not the very hairs of our head all numbered by the
Most Beneficent?"

She began in playful insolence, but ended with tearful eyes, and a
grateful, humble glow upon her face. Its like I had never seen before in
her rather imperious countenance. I gazed at her with interest. She
saw me, and was irritated to be caught with moistened eyes. She scorns
crying, like a man.

"Come, come!" said she, childishly and snappishly, "what are you looking

Of course you cannot have any idea of her personal appearance from
memory, and I will try to give you one by description.

Though over thirty, she is generally considered very handsome, and is
in the very prime of her beauty; for it is not of the fragile, delicate
order. She has jet-black, very abundant hair, hazel eyes, and a
complexion that is very fair, without being blonde. A bright, healthy
color in cheek and lip makes her look as fresh as a rose. Her nose is
the doubtful feature. It is--hum!--_Roman_, and some fastidious folks
think a _trifle_ too large. But I think it suits well her keen eyes
and slightly haughty mouth. She has fine hands, a tall figure, and an
independent "grand action," that is not wanting in grace, but is more
significant of prompt energy.

The study of woman is a new one to me. I often see Kate's friends
and gossips,--for I occupy the parlor as sick-room,--and I lie
philosophizing upon them by the hour, puzzling myself to solve the
problem of their idiosyncrasies. Lady Mary Wortley Montague said, that,
in all her travels, she had met with but two kinds of people,--men
and women. I begin to think that one sex will never be thoroughly
comprehended by the other, notwithstanding the desperate efforts the
novelists are making now-a-days. They all go upon the same plan. They
take some favorite woman, watch her habits keenly, dissect her, analyze
her very blood and marrow,--then patch her up again, and set her in
motion by galvanism. She stalks through three volumes and--drops dead.
I have seen Kate laugh herself almost into convulsions over the knowing
remarks upon the sex in Thackeray, Reade, and others. And I must confess
that the women I know resemble those of no writer but Shakspeare.

We take our revenge for this irritating incapacity by saying that
neither can women create ideal men at all resembling reality. But _halte
là!_ Was it not said at first that Rochester _must_ be a man's man? Is
not the little Professor Paul Emanuel an actual masculine creature?
Heathcliff was a fiend,--but a male fiend.

But where am I wandering? To come back to my sister. She is a fair
specimen of the quick, impulsive, frank class of women. She says she
belongs to the _genus irritabile_. She is easily excited to every good
emotion, and also to the nobler failings of anger, indignation, and
pride. But she is so far above any meanness or littleness, that she
don't know them when she sees them. They pass with her for what they are
not, and she is spared the humiliation of knowing what her species is
capable of. Kate's nature is very charming, but there is a gentler,
calmer order of beings in the sex. I once was greatly attracted by one
of them; and you, I think, belong to that order. However, I should not
class you with her,--for Kate says she was a "deceitful thing." She may
have been so, for aught I know; but I hold it as my creed, that
there are some women all softness, all gentleness, all purity, all
loveableness, and yet all strength of principle. Kate says, if there
are men all courage, all chivalry, all ardor, and all virtue, I may be

The Germans say, "Give the Devil a hair, and he will get your whole
head." Luckily it is the same with the good angels. I have seen a
hundred examples to prove it true. I will give the one nearest my heart.

Lina's generous aspiration at the birth of her baby brother was the
hair. Since then, the angel of generosity has drawn her on from one
self-denying deed to another, until he has possessed her utterly. Her
self-sacrifice was completed some weeks ago. I will tell you how,--for
her light shall not be hidden under a bushel.

When I arrived at this, her little cottage home, after the accident, it
was found impossible to get me up stairs. So I have since occupied the
parlor as my sick-room,--having converted a large airy china-closet into
a recess for a bed, and banished the dishes to the kitchen dresser.
During the day I occupy a soft hair-cloth-covered couch, and from it I
can command, not a view, but a hearing, of the two porches, the hall,
and the garden.

The day after my return was a soft, warm day; and though it was in
February, the windows were all open. I heard a light carriage drive up
to the front door, and supposing it to be the doctor, I awaited his
entrance with impatience. After some time I discovered that he was with
Kate in the garden, and I could hear their voices. I listened with all
my ears, that I might steal his true opinion of myself; for I concluded
that Kate was having a private consultation, and arranging plans by
which I was to be bolstered up with prepared accounts, and not told the
plain facts of the case. I had before suspected that they did not tell
me the worst. I could just catch my name now and then, but no more; and
I wished heartily that they were a little nearer the windows. They must
be, I thought, quite at the bottom of the garden. Suddenly I perceived
that the voice addressing my sister was one of impassioned persuasion,
and I heard the words, "Be calm and reasonable,"--"Not forever." Then
Kate said, with a burst of sobs, "Only in heaven."

"It is all over with me, then," I thought, aghast. But having settled
it, after a struggle, to be the best thing both for me and Kate, I began
to listen again. They were quite silent for some moments. Then I heard
sounds which surprised me,--low, loving tones,--and I desperately
wrenched myself upon my elbows to look out. The agony of such effort was
more tolerable than the agony of suspense. They were not far off, as I
supposed, but close under the window, standing in the little box-tree
arbor, screened from all eyes but mine; and no doubt Kate believed
herself safe enough from these, as I had never been capable of such
exertion since the accident. Their low tones had deceived me as to their

I was mistaken in another respect. It was not the doctor with Kate, but
a fine-looking man, whose emotion declared him her lover. His arm held
her, and hers rested upon his shoulder, as she looked up at him and
spoke earnestly. His face expressed the greatest alarm and grief. I do
not know where she found the resolution, while looking upon it, to do
what she did; for, Mary,--I can hardly bear to write it,--I heard her
forever renounce her love and happiness for my sake.

I might then have cried out against this self-sacrifice; but there is
something sacred in such an interview, and I could not thrust myself
upon it. I wish now that I had done so. But then I listened in
silence--grief-struck--to the rejection of him she loved,--to the
farewells. I saw the long-clasped hands severed with an effort and a
shudder; I saw my proud sister offer and give a kiss far more fervent
than that which she received in return;--for she felt that this was a
final parting, and her heart was full of love and sorrow; while in his
there lingered both hope and anger,--hope that I would recover, and
release her,--resentment because she could sacrifice him to me.

And yet, after the parting, Kate had but just turned from him, when a
change came over his countenance, at first of enthusiastic admiration,
then of a yet more burning pain. He walked quickly after her, caught her
in his arms, and dashing away tears, that they might not fall upon her
face, he kissed her passionately, and said, "It is hard that I must say
it, but you are right, Lina! Oh, my God! _must_ I lose such a woman?"

Kate, trembling, panting, stamped her foot and cried, "Go, go!--I cannot
stand it!--go!" Ah, Mary! that poor, pale face! He went. Kate made one
quick, terrified, instantly restrained motion of recall, which he did
not see; but I did, and I fainted with the pang it gave me.

When I recovered consciousness, I found my sister bending over me,
blaming herself for neglecting me for so long a time, and calling
herself a cruel, faithless nurse, with acute self-reproach!--There's
woman for you!

I told her what I had overheard, and protested against what she had
done. She said I must not talk now,--I was too ill; she would listen to
me to-morrow. The next day I broached the subject again, as she sat by
my side, reading the evening paper. She put her finger on a paragraph
and handed it to me. I read that one of the steamships had sailed
at twelve o'clock that day. "He is in it," Kate said, and left the
room.--He is in Europe by this time.

Helpless wretch that I am!

Are not Kate's whole head and heart, and all, under the dominion of
Heaven's best angels?


March, 1855.

And now, dear Mary, I intend to let you into our household affairs. This
illness has brought me one blessing,--a home. It has plunged me into the
bosom of domestic life, and I find things there exceedingly amusing.
Things commonplace to others are very novel and interesting to me, from
my long residence in hotels, and perfect ignorance of how the pot was
kept boiling from which my dinners came.

But before you enter the house, take a look at the outside, and let me
localize myself in your imagination. Bosky Dell is a compact little
place of ten acres, covered mostly with a dense grove, and cut into two
unequal parts by a brawling, rocky stream. The house--a little cottage,
draped with vines, and porched--sits on a slope, with an orchard on one
side, a tiny lawn bordered with flowers on another, the shade of
the grove darkening the windows of a third, and on the fourth a
kitchen-garden with strawberry-beds and grape-trellises. It is a pretty
little place, and full of cosy corners. My favorite one I must describe.

It is a porch on the south side of the house, between two projections.
Consequently both ends of it are closed; one, by the parlor wall, in
which there is a window,--and the other, by the kitchen window and wall.
It is quite shut in from winds, and the sun beams pleasantly upon it,
these chilly March days. There is just room enough for my couch, Kate's
rocking-chair, and a little table. Here we sit all the morning,--Kate
sewing, I reading, or watching the sailing clouds, the swelling
tree-buds in the grove, and the crocus-sprinkled grass, which is growing
greener every day.

Thus, while busy with me, Kate can still have an eye to her kitchen, and
we both enjoy the queer doings and sayings of our "culled help," Saide.
She became Kate's servant under an inducement which I will give in her
own words.

"Massy! Miss Catline, when _I_ does a pusson a good turn, seems like I
wants to keep on doin' 'em good turns. I didn't do so dreffle much
for you, but I jes got one chance to help you a bit, and seems like I
couldn't be satisfactioned to let you alone no more."--A novel reason to
hear given, but a true one in philosophy.

This "chance" was when my sister was attacked with cholera once, in the
first panic caused by it, of late years. All her friends had fled to the
country, and she was quite alone in a boarding-house. I was at college.
She would have been left to die alone, so great was the fear of the
disease, if Saide, who was cook in the establishment, had not boiled
over with indignation, and addressed her selfish mistress in this

"That ar' young lady's not to have no care, nohow, took of her, a'n't
she? She's to be lef' there a-sufferin' all alone that-a-way, is she? I
guess so too! Hnh! Now I'se gwine to nuss her, and I don't keer if you
don't know nothin' about _culining_, you must get yer own dinnas and
breakwusses and suppas. That's the plain English of it,--leastways till
she's well ag'in."

She devoted herself night and day to Kate for several weeks, and
then accompanied her to this house, as a matter of course. She is a
privileged personage. She often pops her head out of the kitchen window
to favor us with her remarks. As they always make us laugh, she
won't take reproofs upon that subject. Kate says her impertinence is
intolerable, but suffers it rather than resort to severity with her old
benefactress. I enjoy it.

She manages to turn her humor to account in various ways. I heard her

"Laws-a-me! Dere goes de best French-chayny gold-edged tureen all to
smash! Pieces not big enough to save! Laws now, do let me study how to
tell de folks, so's to set 'em larfin'. Dere's great 'casion to find
suthin' as 'll do it, 'cause dey thinks a heap o' dis yere ole chayny.
Mr. Charley now,--he's easy set off; but Miss Catline,--she takes
suthin' purty 'cute! Laws, I has to fly roun' to git dat studied out!"

Kate overheard this;--how could she scold?

Saide can never think unless she is "flyin' roun'"; and whenever there
is a great tumult in the kitchen, pans kicked about, tongs falling,
dishes rattling, and table shoved over the floor, something pretty good,
in the shape either of a _bonne-bouche_ or a _bon-mot_, is sure to turn

This morning there was a furious hubbub, that threatened to drown my
voice. Saide was evidently "flyin' roun'," and Kate, who could not hear
half that I read, got out of patience.

"What _is_ the matter?" she asked, raising the sash of the window.

"I on'y wants the currender, (colander,) Miss Catline,--dat's all,

"Well, does it take a whirlwind to produce it?"

"Oh, laws, Miss Catline! Don't be _dat_ funny now, don't!--yegh!
yegh!--I'se find it presentry. I'se on'y a little frustrated,
(flustered,) Miss, with de 'fusion, and I'se jes a-studyin'. Never
mind me, Miss,--dat's all, indeed it is,--and you'll have a fuss-rate
minch-pie for dinner. I guess so, too!--yegh! yegh!"--And so we had.

Kate's domestics stand in much awe of her, but feel at least equal love.
So that hers is a household kept in good order, with very little of the
vexation, annoyance, and care, I hear so many of her married friends
groaning about.


For a month nearly, Kate has forbidden my writing, and the first part of
this letter was not sent; so I will finish it now. My sister thought the
effort of holding a pen, in my recumbent position, was too wearying to
me; but now I am stronger, and can sit up supported by pillows. I hasten
to tell you of another most important addition to my comfort, which has
been made since I wrote last. I am so eager with the news, that I can
hardly hold a steady pen. Isn't this a fine state for a promising young
lawyer to be reduced to? He is wild with excitement, because some one
has given him a new go-cart!

Ben, the gardener, was that indulgent individual. He made for me, with
his own industrious hands, what he calls a "jaunting-car-r-r-r." It is a
large wheeled couch on springs. I am a house-prisoner no longer!

I think the first ride I took in it was the most exciting event of my
life. I was not exactly conscious of being mortally tired of looking
from the same porch, over the same garden, into the same grove, and up
to the same quarter of the heavens, for so many months; but when the
change came unexpectedly, it was _transporting_ happiness.

I suppose it may be so when we enter a future life. While here, we think
we do not want to go elsewhere,--even to a better land; but when we
reach that shore, we shall probably acknowledge it to be a lucky change.

Ben drew me carefully down the garden-path. I inhaled the breath of the
tulips and hyacinths, as we passed them. I longed to stay there in that
fairy land, for they brought back all the unspeakably rapturous feelings
of my boyhood. Strange that such delight, after we become men, never
visits us except in moments brief as lightning-flashes,--and then
generally only as a memory,--not, as when we were children, in the form
of a hope! When we are boys, and sudden joy stirs our hearts, we say,
"Oh, how grand life will be!" When we are men, and are thus moved, it
is, "Ah, how bright life was!"

Ben did not pause in the hyacinth-bed with me. He was anxious to prove
the excellence of his vehicle; so he dragged me on in it, until we had
nearly reached the boundary of our grounds, where the two tall, ragged
old cedar-trees marked the extreme point of the evergreen shrubbery,
and _the_ view of the neighborhood lies before us. He stopped there and

"Ye'll mappen like to look abroad a bit, and I'se go on to the
post-office. Miss Kathleen bid me put you here fornenst the landskip,
and then leave ye. She was greatly fashed at the coompany cooming just
then. I must go, Sir."

"All right, Ben. You need not hurry."

The fresh morning wind whisked up to me and kissed my face bewitchingly,
as Ben removed his tall, burly form from the narrow opening between the
two trees, and left me alone there in the shade, with nothing between me
and the view.

That moment revealed to me the joy of all liberated prisoners. My eyes
flew over the wide earth and the broad heavens. After a sweeping view of
both in their vast unity, I began to single out particulars. There lay
the village in the lap of the hills, in summer time "bosomed high in
tufted trees," but now only half veiled by the gauze-like green of the
budding foliage. The apple orchards, still white with blossoms, and
green with wheat or early grass, extended up the hills, and encroached
upon the dense brown forests. There was the little red brick turret
which crowned the village church, and my eye rested lovingly upon it.
Not that it was anything to me; but Kate and all the women I respect
love it, or what it stands for, and through them I hope to experience
that warm love of worship, and of the places dedicated to it, which
seems native to them, and much to be desired for us. I have cared little
for such things hitherto. Their beauty and happiness are just beginning
to dawn upon me.

          ----"Dear Jesus, can it be?
  Wait we till all things go from us or e'er we go to thee?
  Ay, sooth! We feel such strength in weal, thy love may seem
  But what are we in agony? _Dumb,_ if we cry not 'God!'"

Behind the village I can see the blue hazy line of a far-distant
horizon, as the valley opens in that direction. I know the sea lies
there, and sometimes I fancy that _mirage_ lifts its dark waters to my

In a wooded nook on my right stands the little brown mill, with its huge
wheel, and wide blue pond, and foamy waterfall. On that day I heard its
drone, and saw the geese bathing, and throwing up the bright sparkling
drops with their wings, until they fell like fountains.

On my left lay "a little lane serene," with stone fences half hid by

      ----"A little lane serene,
  Smooth-heaped from wall to wall with unbroken snows.
  Or in the summer blithe with lamb-cropped green,
  Save the one track, where naught more rude is seen
    Than the plump wain at even
  Bringing home four months' sunshine bound in sheaves."

I thought of those lines there and then, and they enhanced even the joy
of Nature. They tinged her for me with the magic colors of poetry.

When I had thus scrutinized earth, I looked up to heaven. It had been so
long shut from me by the network of the grove, that it was like escaping
from confining toils, to look straight into Heaven's face, with nothing
between, not even a cloud.

I have never seen a sweeter, calmer picture than that I gazed upon all
the morning, and for which the two huge old cedars formed a rugged, but
harmonious frame.

I have lived out of doors since. When it is cold, I am wrapped in a
wadded robe Kate has made for me,--a capital thing, loose, and warm, and
silky-soft. To an invalid with nerves all on edge, that is much. I never
found out, until Kate enveloped me in its luxurious folds, what it was
that rasped my feelings so, every morning, when I was dressed; I then
knew it must have been my flashy woollen dressing-gown. I envy women
their soft raiment, and I rather dread the day when I shall be compelled
to wear coats again. (Let me cheat myself, if I can.)


May, 1855.

You wish to know more of Ben. I am glad of it. You shall be immediately

He is a true Scot, tall and strong and sandy-haired, with quick gray
eyes, and a grave countenance, which relaxes only upon very great

Before I came here, he was known simply as a most careful, industrious,
silent, saving machine, which cared not a jot for anybody in particular,
but never wanted any spur to its own mechanical duty. It was never known
to do a turn of work not legitimately its own, though mathematically
exact in its proper office. But after I came here with my sister, a
helpless cripple, we found out that the mathematical machine was a man,
with a soft, beating heart. He was called upon to lift me from the
carriage, and he did it as tenderly as a woman. He took me up as a
mother lifts her child from the cradle, and I reposed passively in his
strong arms, with a feeling of perfect security and ease.

From that day to this, Ben has been a most devoted friend to me. He
watches for opportunities to do me kindnesses, and takes from his own
sacred time to make me comforts. He has had me in his arms a hundred
times, and carries me from bed to couch like a baby. I positively blush
in writing this to you. You have known me to be a man for years, and
here I am in arms again!

Ben's decent, well-controlled self-satisfaction, which almost amounts
to dignity, is gone like a puff of smoke, at the word "Shanghai." Poor
fellow! He once had the hen-fever badly, and he don't like to recall his

The first I knew of it was by his starting and changing color one day,
when I was reading the news from China to Kate in the garden, he being
engaged in tying up a rose-bush close by. Kate saw his confusion, and
smiled. Ben, catching the expression of her face, looked inconceivably
sheepish. He dropped his ball of twine, and was about to go away, but
thinking better of it, he suddenly turned and said, with a grin and a

"Ye'll be telling on me, Miss Kathleen! so I'se be aforehond wi' ye, and
let Mr. Charlie knaw the warst frae my ain confassion, if he will na
grudge me a quarter hour."

I signified my wish to hear, and with much difficulty and many questions
wrung from him his "confassion." Kate afterwards gave me her version,
and the facts were these:--

He persuaded Kate to let him buy a pair of Shanghais.

"But don't do it unless you are sure of its being worth while,"
Kate charged him; "because I can't afford to be making expensive

Ben counted out upon his fingers the numberless advantages.

"First, the valie o' the eggs for sale, (mony ane had fetched a dollar,)
forbye the ecawnomy in size for cooking, one shell handing the meat o'
twa common eggs. Second, the size o' the chickens for table, each hen
the weight o' a turkey. Third, for speculation. Let the neebors buy, and
she could realize sixty dollar on the brood o' twal' chicks; for they
fetched ten dollar the pair, and could be had for nae less onywheres.
Every hen wad hae twa broods at the smallest."

Kate doubted, but handed over the money. The next day she was awaked
from a nap on the parlor sofa by a most unearthly music. There was one
bar of four notes, first and third accepted; bar second, a _crescendo_
on a long swelled note, then a _decrescendo_ equally long.

"Why," she cried, "is that our little bull-calf practising singing? I
shall let Barnum know about him. He'll make my fortune!"

Ben knocked at the door, presented a radiant grin, and invited
inspection of his Shanghais. Kate went with him to the cellar. There
stood two feathered bipeds on their tip-toes, with their giraffe necks
stretched up to my sister's swinging shelf where the cream and butter
were kept. It spoke well for the size of their craws certainly, that,
during the two minutes Ben was away, they had each devoured a "print" of
butter, about half a pound!

"Saw ye ever the like o' thae birds, Miss Kathleen?" began Ben, proudly.

"My butter, my butter!" cried Kate.

Ben ran to the rescue, and having removed everything to the high shelf,
he came back, saying,--

"It was na their faut. I tak shame for not minding that they are so gay
tall. But did ye ever see the like o' yon rooster?"

Indeed, she never had! The frightful monster, with its bob-tail and
boa-constrictor neck! But she said nothing.

Ben named them the Emperor and Empress. They were not to be allowed to
walk with common fowls, and he soon had a large, airy house made for
them. He watched these creatures with incessant devotion, and one
morning he was beside himself with delight, for, by a most hideous
roaring on the part of the Emperor, and a vigorous cackling, which
Ben, very descriptively, called "scraughing," by the Empress, it was
announced that she had laid an egg!

Etiquette required Kate to call and admire this promise of royal
offspring, and she was surprised into genuine admiration when she saw
the prodigy. Her nose had to lower its scornful turn, her lips to relax
their skeptical twist. It was an egg indeed! Ben was nobly justified in
his purchase. His step was light that day. Kate heard him singing, over
and over again, a verse from an old song which he had brought with him
from the land o' cakes:--

  "I hae a hen wi' a happity leg,
  (Lass, gin ye loe me, tell me noo,)
  And ilka day she lays me an egg
  (And I canna come ilka day to woo!)"

Wooing any lass would, just now, have been quite as secondary an affair
with the singer as in the song,--a something _par parenthèse_.

But, alas! Ben's face was more dubious the next day, and before the week
was over it was yard-long. The Empress, after that one great effort,
laid no more eggs, but duly began her second duty, sitting. There was no
doubt that she meant to have but one chick,--out of rivalry, perhaps,
with the Pynchon hen. It was gratifying, perhaps, to have her so
aristocratic, but it was not exactly profitable as a speculation.

"Ben," said Kate, dryly, "I don't know that that egg was wonderfully
large, as it contained the whole brood!"

Poor Ben! That was not all. The clumsy, heavy Empress stepped upon her
egg, and broke it in the second week of its existence; but, faithful to
its memory, she refused to forego the duties of maternity, and would
persist in staying on her nest. As the season advanced, Ben lost hope
of the second brood he had counted upon. In short, his Empress had
the legitimate "hen-fever," and it carried her off, though Ben tried
numberless remedies in common use for vulgar fowls, such as pumping upon
her, whirling her by one leg, tying red flannel to her tail, and so
forth. Of course such indignities were fatal to royalty, and Ben gave up
all hopes of a pure race of Shanghais.

The Emperor was then set at liberty, and for one short half-hour
strutted like a giant-hero among the astounded hens. But no sooner did
the former old cock--who had game blood in him, repute said--return from
a distant excursion into the cornfields with his especial favorites
about him, and behold the mighty majesty of the monster, than his
pride and ire blazed up. He put his head low, ruffled out his long
neck-feathers, his eyes winked and snapped fire with rage, he set out
his wings, took a short run, and, throwing up his spurs with fury,
struck the stupid, staring Emperor a blow under the ear which laid him
low. Alas for royalty, opposed to force of will!

"And you had to pocket the loss, Kate?" I said.

"It was my gain," she replied. "Ben had always been dictatorial before;
but after that, I had only to smile to remind him of his fallibility,
and I have been mistress here ever since."

So far had I written when your welcome letter arrived. Kate found me
this morning sighing over it, pen in hand, ready to reply. She put on
her imperious look, and said she forbade my writing, if I grew
gloomy over it. She feared my letters were only the outpourings of a
disappointed spirit. Indulgence in grief she considered weak, foolish,
unprincipled, and egotistical.

"I can't help being egotistical," I replied, "when I see no one, and am
shut up in the 'little world of me,' as closely as mouse in trap. And
with myself for a subject, what can my letters be but melancholy?"

"Anybody can write amusing letters, if they choose," said Kate, reckless
both of fact and grammar.

"Unless I make fun of you, what else have I to laugh at?"

"Well, do! Make fun of me to your heart's content! Who cares?"

"You promise to laugh with us, and not be offended?"

"I promise not to be offended. My laughing depends upon your wit."

"There is no mirth left in me, Kate. I am convinced that I ought to say
with Jacques, ''Tis good to be sad, and say nothing.'"

"Then I shall answer as Rosalind did,--'Why, then, 'tis good to be a
post!' No, no, Charlie, do be merry. Or if you cannot, just now, at
least encourage 'a most humorous sadness,' and that will he the first
step to real mirth."

"I shall never be merry again, Lina, till you let me recall Mr. ----.
That care weighs me down, and I truly believe retards my recovery."

"Hush, Charlie!" she said, imperiously.

"Now, dear Kate, do not be obstinate. My position is too cruel. With the
alleviation of knowing your happiness secure, I could bear my lot. But
now it is intolerable, utterly!"

She was silent.

"You must give me that consolation."

"To say I would ever leave you, Charlie, while you are so helpless,
would be to tell a lie, for I could not do it. Mr. ---- is a civil
engineer. He is always travelling about. I should have no settled home
to take you to. How can you suppose I would abandon you? Do you think I
could find any happiness after doing it? Let us be silent about this."

"I will not, Kate. I am sure, that, besides being a selfish, it would
be a foolish thing to submit to you in this matter. I shall linger,
perhaps, until your youth is gone, and then have the pang, far worse
than any other I could suffer, of leaving you quite alone in the world.
Do listen to reason!"

She sat thinking. At last she said, "Well, wait one year."

"That would be nonsensical procrastination. Does not the doctor declare
that a year will not better my condition?"

"But he cannot be sure. And I promise you, Charlie, that, if Mr. ----
asks me then, I will think about it,--and if you are better, go with
him. More I will not promise."

"A year from last February, you mean?"--A pause.

"Encroacher! Yes, then."

"And you will write to him to say so?"

"Indeed! That would be pretty behavior!"

"But as you rejected him decidedly, he may form new"----She clapped her
hand upon my mouth.

"Dare to say it!" she cried.

I removed her hand, and said, eagerly, "Now, Kate, do not trifle. I must
have some certainty that I am not wrecking your happiness. I cannot
wait a year in suspense. I am a man. I have not the patience of your
incomprehensible sex."

"I have more than patience to support me, Charlie," she whispered. "He
insisted upon refusing to take a positive answer then, and said he
should return again next spring, to see if I were in the same mind. So
be at ease!"

I sighed, unsatisfied.

"I am sure he will come," she said, turning quite away, that I might not
dwell upon her warm blush.

"There is Ben with the horse. Are you ready?" she asked, glad to change
the subject.

I was always ready for that I had enjoyed the "jaunting-car-r-r"
so much, that my sister, resolved to gratify me further, had made
comfortable arrangements for longer excursions. I found that I could
sit up, if well supported by pillows; and so Kate had her "cabriolet"
brought out and repaired.

She had not the least idea of what a cabriolet might be, when she named
her vehicle so; but it sounded fine and foreign, and was a sort of witty
contrast to the misshapen affair it represented. It was indescribable
in form, but had qualities which recommended it to me. It was low,
wide-seated, high-backed, broad, and long. The front wheels turned
under, which was a lucky circumstance, as Kate was to be driver. Ben
could not be spared from his work, and I was out of the question.

We have a horse to match this unique affair, called "Old Soldier,"--an
excellent name for him; though, if Kate reads this remark, she will
take mortal offence at it. She calls the venerable fellow her charger,
because he makes such bold charges at the steep hills,--the only
occasions upon which the cunning beast ever exerts himself in the least,
well knowing that he will be instantly reined in. Kate has a horror of
going out of a walk, on either ascent or descent, because "up-hill is
such hard pulling, and down-hill so dangerous!"

Old Soldier can discern a grade of five feet to the mile of either. If I
did not know his history, (an old omnibus horse,) I should say he
must have practised surveying for years. He accommodates himself most
obligingly to his mistress's whims, and walks carefully most of the
time, except when he is ambitious of great praise at little cost, when
he makes the charges aforesaid.

"He is so considerate, usually!" Kate says; "he knows we don't like
tearing up and down hills; but now and then his spirit runs away with
him!"--I wish it would some day with us. No hope of it!

We stop every two miles to water the horse, and though we are
exceedingly moderate in our donations, we are a fortune to the hostlers.
I carry the purse, as Kate is quite occupied in holding the reins, and
keeping a sharp look-out that her charger don't run off. Not that he
ever showed a disposition that way,--being generally quite agreeable,
if we wish him to stand ever so long a time; but Kate says he is very
nervous, and he _might_ be startled, and then we _might_ find it
impossible to stop him,--a thing easy enough hitherto.

I am obliged to keep the purse in my hand all the time, there being such
frequent use for it. Kate says,--

"Give the man a half-dime, Charlie, if you can find one. A three-cent
piece looks mean, you know; and a fip mounts up so, it is rather
extravagant. That is the twelfth fip that man has had this week, and for
only holding up a bucket a half-minute at a time; for Soldier only takes
one swallow."

She will pay every time we stop, if it is six times a day.

"Shall I give the man a half-dollar at once," I ask, "and let that do
for a week?"

"No, indeed! How mean I should feel, sneaking off without paying!"

When the roadside shows a patch of tender grass, Kate eyes it, and
checks Soldier's pace. He knows what that means, and edges toward the
tempting herbage.

"Poor fellow!" his driver says,--"it is like our having to pass a plate
of peaches. Let him have a bite."

And so we wait while he grazes awhile. It is the same thing when we
cross a brook, and Soldier pauses in it to cool his feet and look at his
reflection in the water.

"Perhaps he wants a drink. We won't hurry him. We will let him see that
we can afford to wait."

If he had not come to that conclusion from the very start, he must have
believed human beings were miracles of patience and forbearance.

I could write a fine dissertation upon Kate's foolish fondness and her
blind indulgence. I could show that these are the great failings of her
sex, and prove how very much more rational _my_ sex would be in like
circumstances. But I find it too pleasant to be the recipient of such
favors myself just now, to find fault. Wait until I do not need woman's
tenderness, and then I'll abuse it famously. I will say then, that she
is weak, foolish, imprudent; I will say, she kills with kindness, spoils
with indulgence, and all that; but just now I will say nothing.

In one thing I think her kindness very sensible,--she uses no
check-rein. I think with Sir Francis Head, that all horses are handsomer
with their heads held as Nature pleases. I pity the poor creatures when
I see them turning to one side and the other, to find a little relief
in change of position. To restrain horses thus, who have heavy loads to
pull, is the height of folly, as a waste of power.

You take no interest in these remarks, perhaps; but treasure them. If
ever, Cousin Mary, you _drive a dray_, they will serve you.

[To be continued.]

       *       *       *       *       *


  Like a strain of wondrous music rising up in cloister dim,
  Through my life's unwritten measures thou dost steal, a glorious
  All the joys of earth and heaven in the singing meet, and flow
  Richer, sweeter, for the wailing of an undertone of woe.
  How I linger, how I listen for each mellow note that falls,
  Clear as chime of angels floating downward o'er the jasper walls!

  Every night, when winds are moaning round my chamber by the sea,
  Thine's the face that through the darkness latest looks with love at
  And I dream, ere thou departest, thou dost press thy lips to mine;--
  Then I sleep as slept the Immortals after draughts of Hebe's wine!
  And I clasp thee, out of slumber when the rosy day is born,
  As the soul, with rapture waking, clasps the resurrection morn.

  'Twas thy soul-wife, 'twas thy Psyche, one uplifted, radiant day,
  Thou didst call me;--how divinely on thy brow Love's glory lay!
  Thou my Cupid,--not the boy-god whom the Thespians did adore,
  But the man, so large, so noble, truer god than Venus bore.
  I thy Psyche;--yet what blackness in this thread of gold is wove!
  Thou canst never, never lead me, proud, before the throne of Jove!
  All the gods might toil to help thee through the longest summer
  Still would watch the fatal Sisters, spinning in the twilight gray;
  And their calm and silent faces, changeless looking through the
  From eternity, would answer, "Thou canst ne'er escape thy doom!"
  Couldst thou clasp me, couldst thou claim me, 'neath the soft
       Elysian skies,
  Then what music and what odor through their azure depths would rise!
  Roses all the Hours would scatter, every god would bring us joy,
  So, in perfect loving blended, bliss would never know alloy!

  O my heart! the vision changes; fades the soft celestial blue;
  Dies away the rapturous music, thrilling all my pulses through!
  Lone I sit within my chamber; storms are beating 'gainst the pane,
  And my tears are falling faster than the chill December rain;--
  Yet, though I am doomed to linger, joyless, on this earthly shore,
  Thou art Cupid!--I am Psyche!--we are wedded evermore!


"Would you like to spend a day at Horn and visit the _Rauhe Haus?_"
inquired my friend, Herr X., of me, one evening, as we sat on the bank
of the Inner Alster, in the city of Hamburg. I had already visited most
of the "lions" in and about Hamburg, and had found in Herr X. a most
intelligent and obliging cicerone. So I said, "Yes," without hesitation,
though knowing little more of the Rauhe Haus than that it was a reform
school of some kind.

"I will call for you in the morning," said my friend, as we parted for
the night.

The morning was clear and bright, and I had hardly despatched my
breakfast when Herr X. appeared with his carriage. Entering it without
delay, we were driven swiftly over the pavements, till we came to the
old city-wall, now forming a fine drive, when my friend, turning to the
coachman, said,--

"Go more slowly."

"The scenery in this vicinity we Hamburgers think very beautiful," he
continued, turning to me.

To my eye, accustomed to our New England hills, it was much too flat to
merit the appellation of beautiful, though Art had done what it could to
improve upon Nature; so I assented to his encomiums upon the landscape,
but, desirous of changing the subject, added,--

"This Rauhe Haus, where we are going, I know but little of; will you
give me its history?"

"Most willingly," he replied. "You must know that our immense commerce,
while it affords ample occupation for the enterprising and industrious,
draws hither also a large proportion of the idle, depraved, and vicious.
For many years, it was one of the most difficult questions with which
our Senate has had to grapple, to determine what should be done with
the hordes of vagrant children who swarmed about our quays, and were
harbored in the filthy dens which before the great fire of 1842 were so
abundant in the narrow streets. These children were ready for crime of
every description, and in audacity and hardihood far surpassed older

"In 1830, Dr. Wichern, then a young man of twenty-two, having completed
his theological studies at Göttingen and Berlin, returned home, and
began to devote himself to the religious instruction of the poor. He
established Sabbath-schools for these children, visited their parents
at their homes, and sought to bring them under better influences. He
succeeded in collecting some three or four hundred of them in his
Sabbath-schools; but he soon became convinced that they must be removed
from the evil influences to which they were subjected, before any
improvement could be hoped for in their morals. In 1832, he proposed
to a few friends, who had become interested in his labors, the
establishment of a House of Rescue for them. The suggestion met their
approval; but whence the means for founding such an institution were to
come none of them knew; their own resources were exceedingly limited,
and they had no wealthy friends to assist them.

"About this time, a gentleman with whom he was but slightly acquainted
brought him three hundred dollars, desiring that it should be expended
in aid of some new charitable institution. Soon after, a legacy of
$17,500 was left for founding a House of Rescue. Thus encouraged,
Wichern and his friends went forward. A cottage, roughly built and
thatched with straw, with a few acres of land, was for sale at Horn,
about four miles from the city, and its situation pleasing them, they
appropriated their legacy to the purchase of it. Hither, in November,
1833, Dr. Wichern removed with his mother, and took into his household,
adopting them as his own children, three of the worst boys he could find
in Hamburg. In the course of a few months he had increased the number to
twelve, all selected from the most degraded children of the city.

"His plan was the result of careful and mature deliberation. He saw that
these depraved and vicious children had never been brought under
the influence of a well-ordered family, and believing, that, in the
organization of the family, God had intended it as the best and most
efficient institution for training children in the ways of morality and
purity, he proposed to follow the Divine example. The children were
employed, at first, in improving the grounds, which had hitherto been
left without much care; the banks of a little stream, which flowed
past the cottage, were planted with trees; a fish-pond into which it
discharged its waters was transformed into a pretty sylvan lake; and the
barren and unproductive soil, by judicious cultivation, was brought into
a fertile condition.

"In 1834, the numerous applications he received, and the desire of
extending the usefulness of the institution, led him to erect another
building for the accommodation of a second family of boys. The work
upon it was almost wholly performed by his first pupils. I should have
remarked, that, during the first year, a high fence, which surrounded
the premises when they were purchased, was removed by the boys, by Dr.
Wichern's direction, as he desired to have _love_ the only bond by
which to retain them in his family. When the new house was finished and
dedicated, the original family moved into it, and were placed under
the charge of two young men from Switzerland, named Baumgärtner and

"Workshops for the employment of the boys soon became necessary, and
means were contributed for their erection. New pupils were offered,
either by their parents, or by the city authorities, and new families
were organized. These required more "house-fathers," as they were
called, and for their training a separate house was needed. Dr.
Wichern has been very successful in obtaining assistants of the right
description. They are young men of good education, generally versed in
some mechanical employment, and whose zeal for philanthropic effort
leads them to place themselves under training here, for three or four
years, without salary. They are greatly in demand all over Germany
for home missionaries and superintendents of prisons and reformatory
institutions. You have heard, I presume, of the Inner Mission?"

I assented, and he continued.

"These young men are its most active promoters. The philanthropy of
Wichern was not satisfied, until he had established also several
families of vagrant girls at his Rough House.--But see, we are
approaching our destination. This is the Rauhe Haus."

As he spoke, our carriage stopped. We alighted, and rarely has my eye
been greeted by a pleasanter scene. The grounds, comprising about
thirty-two acres, presented the appearance of a large landscape-garden.
The variety of choice forest-trees was very great, and mingled with them
were an abundance of fruit-trees, now laden with their golden treasures,
and a profusion of flowers of all hues. Two small lakes, whose borders
were fringed with the willow, the weeping-elm, and the alder, glittered
in the sunlight,--their finny inhabitants occasionally leaping in
the air, in joyous sport. Fourteen buildings were scattered over the
demesne,--one, by its spire, seeming to be devoted to purposes of

"Let us go to the Mutter-Haus," (Mother-House,) said my friend; "we
shall probably find Dr. Wichern there."

So saying, he led the way to a plain, neat building, situated nearly
centrally, though in the anterior portion of the grounds. This is Dr.
Wichern's private residence, and here he receives reports from the
Brothers, as the assistants are called, and gives advice to the pupils.
We were ushered into the superintendent's office, and found him a fine,
noble-looking man, with a clear, mild eye, and an expression of great
decision and energy. My friend introduced me, and Dr. Wichern welcomed
us both with great cordiality.

"Be seated for a moment, gentlemen," said he; "I am just finishing
the proofs of our _Fliegenle Blätter_," (Flying Leaves, a periodical
published at the Rauhe Haus,) "and will presently show you through our

We waited accordingly, interesting ourselves, meanwhile, with the
portraits of benefactors of the institution which decorated the walls.

In a few minutes Dr. Wichern rose, and merely saying, "I am at your
service, gentlemen," led the way to the original Rough House. It is
situated in the southeastern corner of the grounds, and is overshadowed
by one of the noblest chestnut-trees I have ever seen. The building is
old and very humble in appearance, but of considerable size. In addition
to accommodations for the House-Father and his family of twelve boys,
several of the Brothers of the Mission reside here, and there are also
rooms for a probationary department for new pupils.

"Here," said the Doctor, "we began the experiment whose results you see
around you. When, with my mother and sister and three of the worst boys
to be found in Hamburg, I removed to this house in 1833, there was need
of strong faith to foresee the results which God has wrought since that

"What were the means you found most successful in bringing these
turbulent and intractable spirits into subjection?" I inquired.

"Love, the affection of a parent for his children," was his reply.
"These wild, hardened boys were inaccessible to any emotion of fear;
they had never been treated with kindness or tenderness; and when they
found that there was no opportunity for the exercise of the defiant
spirit they had summoned to their aid, when they were told that all the
past of their lives was to be forgotten and never brought up against
them, and that here, away from temptation, they might enter upon a new
life, their sullen and intractable natures yielded, and they became
almost immediately docile and amiable."

"But," I asked, "is there not danger, that, when removed from these
comfortable homes, and subjected again to the iron gripe of poverty,
they will resume their old habits?"

"None of us know," replied Dr. Wichern, solemnly, "what we may be left
to do in the hour of temptation; but the danger is, nevertheless, not so
great as you think. Our children are fed and clothed like other peasant
children; they are not encouraged to hope for distinction, or an
elevated position in society; they are taught that poverty is not in
itself an evil, but, if borne in the right spirit, may be a blessing.
Our instruction is adapted to the same end; we do not instruct them
in studies above their rank in life; reading, writing, the elementary
principles of arithmetic, geography, some of the natural sciences, and
music, comprise the course of study. In the calling they select, we do
what we can to make them intelligent and competent. Our boys are much
sought for as apprentices by the farmers and artisans of the vicinity."

"Many of them, I suppose," said I, "had been guilty of petty thefts
before coming here; do you not find trouble from that propensity?"

"Very seldom; the perfect freedom from suspicion, and the confidence in
each other, which we have always maintained, make theft so mean a vice,
that no boy who has a spark of honor left will be guilty of it. In
the few instances which do occur, the moral sense of the family is
so strong, that the offender is entirely subdued by it. An incident,
illustrative of this, occurs to me. Early in our history, a number of
our boys undertook to erect a hut for some purpose. It was more than
half completed, and they were delighted with the idea of being able soon
to occupy it, when it was discovered that a single piece of timber,
contributed by one of the boys, had been obtained without leave. As soon
as this was known, one of the boys seized an axe, and demolished the
building, in the presence of the offender, the rest looking on and
approving; nor could they afterward be induced to go on with it. At
one time, several years since, there were two or three petty thefts
committed, (and a good deal of prevarication naturally followed,) mainly
by new pupils, of whom a considerable number had been admitted at once.
Finding ordinary reproof unavailing, I announced that family worship
would be suspended till the delinquents gave evidence of penitence. The
effect of this measure was far beyond my expectation. Many of the boys
would meet in little groups, in the huts, for prayers among themselves;
and ere long the offenders came humbly suing for pardon and the
resumption of worship."

During this conversation, we had left the Rough House and visited
the new Lodge, erected in 1853, for a family of boys and a circle of
Brothers, and the "Beehive," (_Bienenkorb,_) erected in 1841, in the
northeast corner of the grounds, the home of another family. Turning
westward, we came to the chapel, and a group of buildings connected with
it, including the school-rooms, the preparatory department for girls,
the library, dwellings for two families of girls, the kitchen,
store-rooms, and offices. It was the hour of recess, and from the
school-rooms rushed forth a joyous company of children, plainly clad,
and evidently belonging to the peasant class; but though the marks of
an early career of vice were stamped on many of their countenances, yet
there were not a few bright eyes, and intelligent, thoughtful faces.
Seeing Dr. Wichern, they came at once to him, with the impulsiveness of
childhood, but with so evident a sense of propriety and decorum, that I
would not but compare their conduct with that of many pupils in our best
schools, and not to the advantage of the latter. The Doctor received
them cordially, and had a kind word for each, generally in reference to
their improvement in behavior, or their influence over others.

"This," said he, turning to me, as a bright, blue-eyed, flaxen-haired
boy seized his hand, "is one of our peace boys."

I did not understand what he meant by the term, and said so.

"Our peace boys," he replied, "are selected from the most trustworthy
and exemplary of our pupils, to aid in superintending the others. They
have no authority to command, or even reprove; but only to counsel and
remind. To be selected for this duty is one of their highest rewards."

"There must be among so many boys," I remarked, "and particularly
those taken from such sources, a considerable number of
_born-destructives_,--children in whom the propensity to break, tear,
and destroy is almost ineradicable; how do you manage these?"

"In the earlier days of our experiment," he replied, "we had much
trouble from this source; but at last we hit upon the plan of allowing
each boy a certain sum of pocket-money, and deducting from this, in part
at least, the estimated value of whatever he destroyed. From the day
this rule was adopted all destructible articles seemed to have lost a
great part of their fragility."

"Do the pupils often run away?" I asked.

"Very seldom, of late years; formerly we were occasionally troubled in
that way. It was, of course, easy for them to do it, as no fences
or other methods of restraint were used,--our reliance being upon
affection, to retain them. If they made their escape, we usually sought
them out, and persuaded them to return, and they seldom repeated the
offence. Some years ago, one of our boys, who had repeatedly tried our
patience by his waywardness, ran away. I pursued him, found him, and
persuaded him to return. It was Christmas eve when we arrived, and this
festival was always celebrated in my mother's chamber. As we entered the
room, the children were singing the Christmas hymns. As he appeared,
they manifested strong disapprobation of his conduct. They were told
that they might decide among themselves how he should be punished. They
consulted together quietly for a few moments, and then one, who had
himself been forgiven some time before for a like fault, came forward,
and, bursting into tears, pleaded that the offender might be pardoned.
The rest joined in the petition, and, extending to him the hand of
fellowship, soon turned their festival into a season of rejoicing
over the returned prodigal. The pardon thus accorded was complete; no
subsequent reference was made to his misconduct; and the next day, to
show our confidence in him, a confidence which we never had occasion to
retract, we sent him on an errand to a considerable distance."

"How did they behave at the time of the great fire?" I inquired; "the
excitement must surely have reached you."

"No event in our whole history," answered Dr. Wichern, his fine
countenance lighting up as he spoke, "so fully satisfied me of the
success which had attended our labors, as their behavior on that
occasion. On the second day of the fire, the boys, some of whom had
relatives and friends in the burning district, became so much excited by
the intelligence brought by those who had escaped from the flames, that
they began to implore me to permit them to go and render assistance. I
feared, at first, the consequences of exposing them to the temptations
to escape and plunder by which they would be beset; but at length
permitted a company of twenty-two to go with me, on condition that
they would keep together as much as possible, and return with me at
an appointed time. They promised to do this, and they fulfilled their
promise to the letter. Their conduct was in the highest degree heroic;
they rushed into danger, for the sake of preserving lives and property,
with a coolness and bravery which put to shame the labors of the boldest
firemen; occasionally they would come to the place of rendezvous to
reassure their teacher, and then in a moment they were away again,
laboring as zealously as ever, and utterly refusing any compensation,
however urgently pressed upon them. When they returned home, another
band was sent out under the direction of one of the house-fathers, and
exerted themselves as faithfully as their predecessors had done. But
their sacrifices and toils did not end here. Among the thousands whom
that fearful conflagration left homeless, not a few came here for
shelter and food. With these our boys shared their meals, and gave up
to them their beds,--themselves sleeping upon the ground, and this for

I could not wonder at the enthusiasm of the good man over such deeds
as these on the part of boys whom he had rescued from a degradation of
which we can hardly form an idea. It was a triumph of which an angel
might have been proud.

I was desirous of learning something of the industrial occupations of
the pupils, and made some inquiries respecting them.

"A considerable portion of our boys," said Dr. Wichern, "are engaged in
agricultural, or rather, horticultural pursuits. As we practise spade
husbandry almost exclusively, and devote our grounds to gardening
purposes, we can furnish employment to quite a number. For those who
prefer mechanical pursuits, we have a printing-office, book-bindery,
stereotype-foundry, lithographing and wood-engraving establishment,
paint-shop, silk-weaving manufactory, and shoe-shop, as well as those
trades which are carried on for the most part out of doors, such as
masonry and carpentry. The girls are mostly employed in household
duties, and are in great demand as servants and assistants in the
households of our farmers."

Passing westward, we came next to the bakery and the farmer's residence,
catching a glimpse through the trees of the Fisherman's Hut, at a little
distance, near the bank of the larger of the two sylvan lakes on the
premises, where another family are gathered, and then approachd a large
building of more pretension than the rest.

"This," said Dr. Wichern, "is the home of the Brothers of our Inner
Mission, and the school-room for our boarding-school boys, the children
of respectable and often wealthy parents, who have proved intractable at

"What," I asked, "do you include in the term, Inner Mission?"

"I must take a round-about method of answering your inquiry. When we
found it necessary to form new families, our greatest difficulty was in
procuring suitable persons to become house-fathers of these families.
It was easy enough to obtain honest, intelligent men and women, who
possessed a fair education and a sufficient knowledge of some of the
mechanic arts for the situation; but we felt that much more than this
was necessary. We wanted men and women who would act a parent's part,
and perform a parent's duty to the children under their care; and these,
we found, must be trained for the place. We then began our circles of
Brothers, to furnish house-fathers and assistants for our families. We
required in the candidates for this office an irreproachable character;
that they should be free from physical defect, of good health and robust
constitution; that they should give evidence of piety, and of special
adaptation to this calling; that they should understand farming, or some
one of the trades practised in the establishment, or possess sufficient
mechanical talent to acquire a knowledge of them readily; that they
should have already a certain amount of education, and an amiable and
teachable disposition; and that they should be not under twenty years of
age, and exempt from military service."

"And do you find a sufficient number who can fulfil conditions so
strict?" I inquired.

"Candidates are never wanting," was his reply, "though the demand for
their services is large."

"What is your course of training?"

"Mainly practical; though we have a course of special instruction for
them, occupying twenty hours a week, in which, during their four years'
residence with us, they are taught sacred and profane history, German,
English, geography, vocal and instrumental music, and the science of
teaching. Instruction on religious subjects is also given throughout the
course. For the purpose of practical training, they are attached, at
first, to families as assistants, and after a period of apprenticeship
they undertake in rotation the direction. They teach the elementary
classes; visit the parents of the children, and report to them the
progress which their pupils have made; maintain a watchful supervision
over them, after they leave the Rauhe Haus; and assist in religious
instruction, and in the correspondence. By the system of monthly
rotation we have adopted, each Brother is brought in contact with all
the pupils, and is thus enabled to avail himself of the experience
acquired in each family."

"You spoke of a great demand for their services; I can easily imagine
that men so trained should be in demand; but what are the callings
they pursue after leaving you? for you need but a limited number as
house-fathers and teachers."

"The Inner Mission," he replied, "has a wide field of usefulness. It
furnishes directors and house-fathers for reform schools organized
on our plan, of which there are a number in Germany; overseers,
instructors, and assistants in agricultural and other schools; directors
and subordinate officers for prisons; directors, overseers, and
assistants in hospitals and infirmaries; city and home missionaries; and
missionaries to colonies of emigrants in America."

"What is your annual expenditure above the products of your farm and
workshops?" I asked.

"Somewhat less than fifty dollars a head for our entire population," was
the reply.

It was by this time high noon, and as we returned to the Mutter-Haus,
the benevolent superintendent insisted that we should remain and partake
with him of the mid-day meal. We complied, and presently were summoned
to the dining-hall, where we found a small circle of the Brothers, and
the two head teachers. After a brief but appropriate grace, we took our
seats, being introduced by the director.

"At supper all our teachers assemble here," said Dr. Wichern, "and with
them those children whose birthday it is; but at dinner the Brothers
remain with their own families."

The table was abundantly supplied with plain but wholesome food, and the
cheerful conversation which ensued gave evidence that the cares of their
position had not exerted a depressing influence on their spirits. Each
seemed thoroughly in love with his work, and in harmony with all the
rest. Dr. Wichern mentioned that I was from America.

"Have you," inquired one of the Brothers, "any institutions like this in
your country?"

"We have," I answered, "Reform Schools, Houses of Refuge, Juvenile
Asylums, and other reformatory institutions; but I am afraid I must say,
nothing like this. We are making progress, however, in Juvenile Reform,
and I hope that ere long we, too, may have a Rough House whose influence
shall pervade our country, as yours has done Central Europe."

"Dr. Wichern," inquired another, "have our friends visited the 'God's

[Footnote A: The German name of a grave-yard.]

"Not yet," was the reply; "but I will go thither with them after we have
dined, if they can remain so long."

We assented, and one of the Brothers remarked,--

"Our boys have taken especial pains to beautify that favorite spot, this

"This disposition to adorn the resting-place of the body, so common
among us, is becoming popular in your country, I believe," said our
host, courteously.

I replied, that it was,--that in our larger towns the place of burial
was generally rendered attractive, but that in the rural districts the
burying-grounds were yet neglected and unsightly; and ventured the
opinion, that this neglect might be partly traceable to the iconoclastic
tendencies of our Puritan ancestors.

Dr. Wichern thought not; the neglect of the earthly home of the dead
resulted from the prevalence of indifference to the glorious doctrine of
the Resurrection; and whatever a people might profess, he could not but
believe them infidel at heart, if they were entirely neglectful of the
resting-place of their dead.

The close of our repast precluded further discussion, and at our host's
invitation we accompanied him to the rural cemetery, where such of the
pupils and Brothers as died during their connection with the school were
buried. An English writer has very appropriately called the Rauhe Haus a
"Home among the Flowers"; but the title is far more appropriate to this
beautiful spot. Whatever a pure and exquisite taste could conceive as
becoming in a place consecrated to such a purpose, willing hands have
executed; and early every Sabbath morning, Dr. Wichern says, the pupils
resort hither to see that everything necessary is done to keep it in
perfect order. The air seemed almost heavy with the perfume of flowers;
and though the home of the living pupils of the Rauhe Haus is plain in
the extreme, the palace of their dead surpasses in splendor that of the
proudest of earthly monarchs. One could hardly help coveting such a

It was with reluctance that we at last turned our faces homeward, and
bade the excellent director farewell. The world has seen, in this
nineteenth century, few nobler spirits than his. Possessed of uncommon
intellect, he combines with it executive talent of no ordinary
character, and a capacity for labor which seems almost fabulous. His
duties as the head of the Inner Mission, whose scope comprises the
organization and management of reformatory institutions of all kinds,
throughout Germany, as well as efforts analogous to those of our city
missions, temperance societies, etc., might well be supposed to be
sufficient for one man; but these are supplementary to his labors as
director of the Rauhe Haus, and editor of the _Fliegende Blätter_, and
the other literature, by no means inconsiderable, of the Inner Mission.
Dr. Wichern is highly esteemed and possesses almost unbounded influence
throughout Germany; and that influence, potent as it is, even with the
princes and crowned heads of the German States, is uniformly exerted in
behalf of the poor, the unfortunate, the ignorant, and the degraded.
When the history of philanthropy shall be written, and the just meed
of commendation bestowed on the benefactors of humanity, how much more
exalted a place will he receive, in the memory and gratitude of the
world, than the perjured and audacious despot who, born the same year,
in the neighboring city of the Hague, has won his way to the throne of
France by deeds of selfishness and cruelty! Even to-day, who would not
rather be John Henry Wichern, the director of the Rauhe Haus at Horn,
than Louis Napoleon, emperor of France?

Would that on our own side of the Atlantic a Wichern might arise, whose
abilities should be sufficient to unite in one common purpose our
reformatory enterprises, and rescue from infamy and sin the tens of
thousands of children who now, apt scholars in crime, throng the
purlieus of vice in our large cities, and are already committing deeds
whose desperate wickedness might well cause hardened criminals to
shudder. The existence of a popular government depends, we are often
told, upon the intelligence and virtue of the people. What hope, then,
can we have of the perpetuity of our institutions, when those who are to
control them have become monsters of iniquity ere they have reached the
age of manhood?

The forces of Good and Evil are ever striving for the mastery in human
society. Happy is that philanthropist, and honored should he be with a
nation's gratitude, who can rescue these juvenile offenders from the
power of evil, and from the fearful suggestings of temptation and want,
and enlist them on the side of virtue and right! We rear monuments of
marble and bronze to those heroes who on the battle-field and in the
fierce assault have kept our nation's fame untarnished, and added new
laurels to the renown of our country's prowess; but more enduring than
marble, more lasting than brass, should be the monument reared to him
who, in the fierce contest with the powers of evil, shall rescue
the soul of the child from the grasp of the tempter, and change the
brutalized and degraded offspring of crime and lust into a youth of
generous, active, and noble impulses. But though earthly fame may be
denied to such a benefactor of his race, his record shall be on high;
and at that grand assize where all human actions shall be weighed, His
voice, whose philanthropy exceeded, infinitely, the noblest deeds of
benevolence of the sons of earth, shall be heard, saying to these humble
laborers in the vineyard of our God, "Friends, come up higher!"

Those who are interested in knowing what has been accomplished by the
reformatory institutions of Europe will find a full and entertaining
account of most of them in a volume recently published, entitled "Papers
on Preventive, Correctional, and Reformatory Institutions and Agencies
in Different Countries," by Henry Barnard, LL.D. Hartford: F.C.
Brownell, 1857. Dr. Barnard has done a good work in collecting these
valuable documents.


  Fond lover of the Ideal Fair,
  My soul, eluded everywhere,
  Is lapsed into a sweet despair.
  Perpetual pilgrim, seeking ever,
  Baffled, enamored, finding never;
  Each morn the cheerful chase renewing,
  Misled, bewildered, still pursuing;
  Not all my lavished years have bought
  One steadfast smile from her I sought,
  But sidelong glances, glimpsing light,
  A something far too fine for sight,
  Veiled voices, far off thridding strains,
  And precious agonies and pains:
  Not love, but only love's dear wound
  And exquisite unrest I found.

  At early morn I saw her pass
  The lone lake's blurred and quivering glass;
  Her trailing veil of amber mist
  The unbending beaded clover kissed;
  And straight I hasted to waylay
  Her coming by the willowy way;--
  But, swift companion of the Dawn,
  She left her footprints on the lawn,
  And, in arriving, she was gone.
  Alert I ranged the winding shore;
  Her luminous presence flashed before;
  The wild-rose and the daisies wet
  From her light touch were trembling yet;
  Faint smiled the conscious violet;
  Each bush and brier and rock betrayed
  Some tender sign her parting made;
  And when far on her flight I tracked
  To where the thunderous cataract
  O'er walls of foamy ledges broke,
  She vanished in the vapory smoke.

  To-night I pace this pallid floor,
  The sparkling waves curl up the shore,
  The August moon is flushed and full;
  The soft, low winds, the liquid lull,
  The whited, silent, misty realm,
  The wan-blue heaven, each ghostly elm,
  All these, her ministers, conspire
  To fill my bosom with the fire
  And sweet delirium of desire.
  Enchantress! leave thy sheeny height,
  Descend, be all mine own this night,
  Transfuse, enfold, entrance me quite!
  Or break thy spell, my heart restore,
  And disenchant me evermore!

       *       *       *       *       *


On the other side of the Atlantic there is a populous city called
Grandville. It is, as its name indicates, a great city,--but it is said
that it thinks itself a good deal greater than it really is. I meant to
say that Grandville was its original name, and the name by which even at
the present day it is called by its own citizens. But there are certain
wits, or it may be, vulgar people, who by some process have converted
this name into Grindwell.

I may be able, in the course of this sketch, to give a reason why so
sounding and aristocratic a name as Grandville has been changed into the
plebeian one of Grindwell. I might account for it by adducing
similar instances of changes in the names of cities through the bad
pronunciation and spelling of foreigners. For instance, the English
nickname Livorno Leghorn, the Germans insist on calling Venice Venedig,
and the French convert Washington into the Chinese word Voss-Hang-Tong.
And so it may be that the name Grindwell has originated among us
Americans simply from miscalling or misspelling the foreign name of

I incline to think, however, that there is a better reason for the name.

For a good many years Grandville has been famous for a great machine, of
a very curious construction, which is said to regulate the movements of
the whole city, and almost to convert the men, women, and children into
cranks, wheels, and pinions. As a model of this machine does not exist
in our Patent Office at Washington, I shall beg the reader's indulgence
while I attempt to give some account of it. It may be thought a very
curious affair, though I believe there is little about it that is
original or new. The idea of it was handed down from remote generations.

In America I know that many persons may consider the Grindwell Governing
Machine a humbug,--an obsolete, absurd, and tyrannous institution,
wholly unfitted to the nineteenth century. A machine that proposes to
think and act for the whole people, and which is rigidly opposed to the
people's thinking and acting for themselves, is likely to find little
favor among us. With us the doctrine is, that each one should think for
himself,--be an individual mind and will, and not the spoke of a wheel.
Every American voter or votress is allowed to keep his or her little
intellectual wind-mill, coffee-mill, pepper-mill, loom, steam-engine,
hand-organ, or whatever moral manufacturing or grinding apparatus he or
she likes. Each one may be his own Church or his own State, and yet be
none the less a good and useful citizen, and the union of the States be
in none the more danger. But it is not so in Grindwell. The rules of
the Grindwell machine allow no one to do his own grinding, unless his
mill-wheel is turned by the central governing power. He must allow the
big State machine to do everything,--he paying for it, of course. A
regular programme prescribes what he shall believe and say and do; and
any departure from this order is considered a violation of the laws, or
at least a reprehensible invasion of the time-honored customs of the

The Grindwell Governing Machine (though a patent has been taken out for
it in Europe, and it is thought everything of by royal heads and the
gilded flies that buzz about them) is really an old machine, nearly worn
out, and every now and then patched up and painted and varnished anew.
If a committee of our knowing Yankees were sent over to gain information
with regard to its actual condition, I am inclined to think they would
bring back a curious and not very favorable report. It wouldn't astonish
me, if they should pronounce the whole apparatus of the State rotten
from top to bottom, and only kept from falling to pieces by all sorts
of ingenious contrivances of an external and temporary nature,--here a
wheel, or pivot, or spring to be replaced,--there a prop or buttress to
be set up,--here a pipe choked up,--there a boiler burst,--and so on,
from one end of the works to the other. However, the machine keeps
a-going, and many persons think it works beautifully.

Everything is reduced to such perfect system in its operations, that the
necessity for individual opinion is almost superseded, and even
private consciences are laid upon the shelf,--just as people lay by an
antiquated timepiece that no winding-up or shaking can persuade into
marking the hours,--for have they not the clock on the Government
railroad station opposite, which they can at any time consult by
stepping to the window? For instance, individual honesty is set aside
and replaced by a system of rewards and punishments. Honesty is an
old-fashioned coat. The police, like a great sponge, absorbs the private
virtue. It says to conscience, "Stay there,--don't trouble yourself,--I
will act for you."

You drop your purse in the street. A rogue picks it up. In his private
conscience he says, "Honesty is a very good thing, perhaps, but it is by
no means the best policy,--it is simply no policy at all,--it is sheer
stupidity. What can be more politic than for me to pocket this windfall
and turn the corner quick?"--So preacheth his crooked fag-end of a
conscience, that _very, very_ small still voice, in very husky tones;
but he knows that a policeman, walking behind him, saw him pick up the
purse, which alters the case,--which, in fact, completely sets aside his
fag-end of a husky-voiced conscience, and makes virtue his necessity,
and necessity his virtue. External morality is hastily drawn on as
a decent overcoat to hide the tag-rags of his roguishness, while he
magnanimously restores the purse to the owner.

Jones left his umbrella in a cab one night. Discovering that he hadn't
it under his arm, he rushed after the cabman; but he was gone. Jones
had his number, however, and with it proceeded the next day to the
police-office, feeling sure that he would find his umbrella there. And
there, in a closet appropriated to articles left in hackney-coaches,--a
perfect limbo of canes, parasols, shawls, pocket-books, and
what-not,--he found it, ticketed and awaiting its lawful owner. The
explanation of which mystery is, that the cabmen in Grindwell are
strictly amenable to the police for any departure from the system which
provides for the security of private property, and a yearly reward is
given to those of the coach-driving fraternity who prove to be the most
faithful restorers of articles left in their carriages. Surely, the
result of system can no farther go than this,--that Monsieur Vaurien's
moral sense, like his opinions, should be absorbed and overruled by the
governing powers.

What a capital thing it is to have the great governmental head and
heart thinking and feeling for us! Why, even the little boys, on winter
afternoons, are restricted by the policemen from sliding on the ice
in the streets, for fear the impetuous little fellows should break or
dislocate some of their bones, and the hospital might have the expense
of setting them; so patriarchal a regard has the machine for its young

I might allude here to a special department of the machine, which once
had great power in overruling the thoughts and consciences of the
people, and which is still considered by some as not altogether
powerless. I refer to the Ecclesiastic department of the Grindwell
works. This was formerly the greatest labor-saving machinery ever
invented. But however powerful the operation of the Church machinery
upon the grandmothers and grandfathers of the modern Grindwellites, it
has certainly fallen greatly into disuse, and is kept a-going now more
for the sake of appearances than for any real efficacy. The most knowing
ones think it rather old-fashioned and cumbrous,--at any rate, not
comparable to the State machinery, either in its design or its mode of
operation. And as in these days of percussion-caps and Miniè rifles
we lay by an old matchlock or crossbow, using it only to ornament our
walls,--or as the powdered postilion with his horn and his boots is
superseded by the locomotive and the electric telegraph,--so the old
rusty Church wheels are removed into buildings apart from the daily life
of the people, where they seem to revolve harmlessly and without any
necessary connection with the State wheels.

Not that I mean to say that it works smoothly and well at all
times,--this Grindwell machine. How can such an old patched and
crumbling apparatus be expected always to work well? And how can you
hope to find, even in the most enslaved or routine-ridden community,
entire obedience to the will of the monarch and his satellites?
Unfortunately for the cause of order and quiet, there will always be
found certain tough lumps, in the shape of rebellious or non-conformist
men, which refuse to be melted in the strong solvents or ground up
in the swift mills of Absolutism. Government must look after these
impediments. If they are positively dangerous, they must be destroyed or
removed. If only suspected, or known to be powerless or inactive, they
must at least be watched.

And here, again, the machine of government shows a remarkable ingenuity
of organization.

For instance, it is said that there are pipes laid all along the
streets, like hose, leading from a central reservoir. Nobody knows
exactly what they are for; but if any one steps upon them, up spirts
something like a stream of gas, and takes the form of a _gendarme_,--and
the unlucky street-walker must pay dear for his carelessness. Telegraph
wires radiate like cobwebs from the chamber of the main-spring, and
carry intelligence of all that is going on in the houses and streets.
Man-traps are laid under the pavements,--sometimes they are secretly
introduced under your very table or bed,--and if anything is said
against that piece of machinery called the main-spring, or against the
head engineer, the trap will nab you and fly away with you, like the
spider that carried off Margery Mopp. If a number of people get together
to discuss the meaning of and the reasons for the existence of the
main-spring, or any of the big wheels immediately connected therewith,
the ground under them will sometimes give way, and they will suddenly
find themselves in unfurnished apartments not to their liking. And if
any one should be so rash as to put his hand on the wheels, he is cut to
pieces or strangled by the silent, incessant, fatal whirl of the engine.

The head engineer keeps his machine, and the city on which it acts, as
much in the dark as possible. He has a special horror of sunshine.
He seems to think that the sky is one great burning lens, and his
machine-rooms and the city a vast powder-magazine.

There are certain articles thought to be especially dangerous.
Newspapers are strictly forbidden,--unless first steeped in a tincture
of asbestos of a very dull color, expressly manufactured and supplied
by the Governing Machine. When properly saturated with the essence of
dulness and death, and brought down from a glaring white and black to a
decidedly ashy-gray neutral color, a few small newspapers are permitted
to be circulated, but with the greatest caution. They sometimes take
fire, it is said,--these journals,--when brought too near any brain
overcharged with electricity. Two or three times, it is said, the
Governing Machine has been put out of order by the newspapers and their
readers bringing too much electro-magnetism (or something like it) to
bear on parts of the works;--the machine had even taken fire and been
nearly burnt up, and the head engineer got so singed that he never dared
to take the management of the works again.

So it is thought that nothing is so unfavorable to the working of the
wheels as light, heat, electricity, magnetism, and, generally, all the
imponderable and uncatchable essences that float about in the air; and
these, it is thought, are generated and diffused by these villanous
newspapers. Certain kinds of books are also forbidden, as being electric
conductors. Most of the books allowed in the city of Grindwell are so
heavy, that they are thought to be usually non-conductors, and therefore
quite safe in the hands of the people.

It is at the city gates that most vigilance is required with regard to
the prohibited articles. There the poor fellows who keep the gates have
no rest night or day,--so many suspicious-looking boxes, bundles, bales,
and barrels claim admittance. Quantities of articles are arrested and
prevented from entering. Nothing that can in any way interfere with the
great machine can come in. Newspapers and books from other countries
are torn and burnt up. Speaking-trumpets, ear-trumpets, spectacles,
microscopes, spy-glasses, telescopes, and, generally, all instruments
and contrivances for extending the sphere of ordinary knowledge, are
very narrowly examined before they are admitted. The only trumpets
freely allowed are of a musical sort, fit to amuse the people,--the
only spectacles, green goggles to keep out the glare of truth's
sunshine,--the magnifying-glasses, those which exaggerate the
proportions of the imperial governor of the machinery. All sorts of
moral lightning-rods and telegraph-wires are arrested, and lie in great
piles outside the city walls.

But in spite of the utmost vigilance and care of the officers at the
gates and the sentinels on the thick walls, dangerous articles and
dangerous people will pass in. A man like Kossuth or Mazzini going
through would produce such a current of the electric fluid, that the
machine would be in great danger of combustion. Remonstrances were
sometimes sent to neighboring cities, to the effect that they should
keep their light and heat to themselves, and not be throwing such strong
_reflections_ into the weak eyes of the Grindwellites, and putting in
danger the governmental powder-magazine,--as the machine-offices were
sometimes called. An inundation or bad harvest, producing a famine among
the poor, causes great alarm, and the government officers have a time of
it, running about distributing alms, or raising money to keep down the
price of bread. Thousands of servants in livery, armed with terrific
instruments for the destruction of life, are kept standing on and around
the walls of the city, ready at a moment's notice to shoot down any one
who makes any movement or demonstration in a direction contrary to
the laws of the machine. And to support this great crowd of liveried
lackeys, the people are squeezed like sponges, till they furnish the
necessary money.

The respectable editors of the daily papers go about somewhat as the
dogs do in August, with muzzles on their mouths. They are prohibited
from printing more than a hundred words a day. Any reference to the
sunshine, or to any of the subtile and imponderable substances before
mentioned, is considered contrary to the order of the machine; to
compensate for which, there is great show of gaslight (under glass
covers) throughout the city. Gas and moonshine are the staple subjects
of conversation. Besides lighting the streets and shops, the chief
use of fire seems to be for cooking, lighting pipes and cigars, and
fireworks to amuse the working classes.

Great attention is paid to polishing and beautifying the outer case of
the machine, and the outer surface generally of the city of Grindwell.
Where any portion of the framework has fallen into dilapidation and
decay, the gaunt skeleton bones of the ruined structure are decked and
covered with leaves and flowers. Old rusty boilers that are on the verge
of bursting are newly painted, varnished, and labelled with letters
of gold. The main-spring, which has grown old and weak, is said to be
helped by the secret application of steam,--and the fires are fed with
huge bundles of worthless bank-bills and other paper promises. The noise
of the clanking piston and wheels is drowned by orchestras of music;
the roofs and sides of the machine buildings are covered all over with
roses; and the smell of smoke and machine oil is prevented by scattering
delicious perfumes. The minds of the populace are turned from the
precarious condition of things by all sorts of public amusements, such
as mask balls, theatres, operas, public gardens, etc.

But all this does not preserve some persons from the continual
apprehension that there will be one day a great and terrific explosion.
Some say the city is sleeping over volcanic fires, which will sooner or
later burst up from below and destroy or change the whole upper surface.
The actual state of things might be represented on canvas by a gaping,
laughing crowd pressing around a Punch-and-Judy exhibition in the
street, beneath a great ruined palace in the process of repairing, where
the rickety scaffolding, the loose stones and mortar, and in fact the
whole rotten building, may at any moment topple down upon their heads.

But while such grave thoughts are passing in the minds of some people, I
must relate one or two amusing scenes which lately occurred at the city

Travellers are not prohibited from going and coming; but on entering, it
is necessary to be sure that they bring with their passports and baggage
no prohibited or dangerous articles. A young man from our side of the
Atlantic, engaged in commerce, had been annoyed a good deal by the
gate-officers opening and searching his baggage. The next time he went
to Grindwell, he brought, besides his usual trunks and carpet-bags, a
rather large and very mysterious-looking box. After going through with
the trunks and bags, the officers took hold of this box.

"Gentlemen," said the young practical joker, "I have great objections
to having that box opened. Yet it contains, I assure you, nothing
contraband, nothing dangerous to the peace of the Grindwell government
or people. It is simply a toy I am taking to a friend's house as a
Christmas present to his little boy. If I open it, I fear I shall have
difficulty in arranging it again as neatly as I wish,--and it would be a
great disappointment to my little friend Auguste Henri, if he should not
find it neatly packed. It would show at once that it had been opened;
and children like to have their presents done up nicely, just as they
issued from the shop. Gentlemen, I shall take it as a great favor, if
you will let it pass."

"Sir," said the head officer, "it is impossible to grant the favor you
ask. The government is very strict. Many prohibited articles have lately
found their way in. We are determined to put a stop to it."

"Gentlemen," said the young man, "take hold of that box,--lift it. You
see how light it is; you see that there can be no contraband goods
there,--still less, anything dangerous. I pray you to let it pass."

"Impossible, Sir!" said the officer. "How do I know that there is
nothing dangerous there? The weight is nothing. Its lightness rather
makes it the more suspicious. Boxes like this are usually heavy. This is
something out of the usual course. I'm afraid there's electricity here.
Gentlemen officers, proceed to do your duty!"

So a crowd of custom-house officers gathered around the suspected box,
with their noses bent down over the lid, awaiting the opening. One of
them was about to proceed with hammer and chisel.

"Stop," said the young merchant, "I can save you a great deal of
trouble. I can open it in an instant. Allow me--by touching a little
spring here"--

As he said this, he pressed a secret spring on the side of the box.
No sooner was it done than, the lid was thrown back with sudden and
tremendous violence, as if by some living force, and up jumped a hideous
and shaggy monster which knocked the six custom-house officers flat on
their backs. It was an enormous Punchinello on springs, who had been
confined in the box like the Genie in the Arabian story, and by the
broad grin on his face he seemed delighted with his liberty and his
triumph over his inquisitors. The six officers lay stunned by the blow;
and while others ran up to see what was the matter, the young traveller
persuaded Mr. Punch back again into his box, and, shutting him down,
took advantage of the confusion to carry it off with the rest of his
baggage, and reach a cab in safety. When the officers recovered their
senses, the practical joker had escaped into the crowded city. They
could give no clear account of what had happened; but I verily believe
they thought that Lucifer himself had knocked them down, and was now let
loose in the city of Grindwell.

Another amusing incident occurred afterwards at the city gates. An
American lady, who was a great lover of Art, had purchased a bronze bust
of Plato somewhere on the Continent. She had it carefully boxed, and
took it along with her baggage. She got on very well until she reached
the city of Grindwell. Here she was stopped, of course, and her baggage
examined. Finding nothing contraband, they were about to let her pass,
when they came to the box containing the ancient philosopher's head.

"What's this?" they asked. "What's in this box, so heavy?"

"A bust," said the lady.

"A bust? so heavy? a bust in a lady's baggage?--Impossible!"

"I assure you, it is nothing but a bust."

"Pray, whose bust may it be, Madam?"

"The bust of Plato."

"Plato? Plato? Who's Plato? Is he an Italian?"

"He was a Greek philosopher."

"Why is it so heavy?"

"It is a bronze bust."

"We beg your pardon, Madam; but we fear there's something wrong here.
This Plato may be a conspirator,--a Carbonaro,--a member of some secret
society,--a red-republican,--a conductor of the electric fluid. How can
we answer for this Plato? We don't like this heavy box;--these very
heavy boxes are suspicious. Suppose it should be some infernal-machine.
Madam, we have our doubts. This box must be detained till full inquiries
are made."

There was no help for it. The box was detained. "It must be so, Plato!"
After waiting several hours, it was brought forward in presence of the
entire company of inquisitors, and cautiously opened. Seeing no Plato,
but only some sawdust, they grew still more suspicious. Having placed
the box on the ground, they all retired to a safe distance, as if
awaiting some explosion. They evidently took it for an infernal-machine.
In their eyes everything was a machine of some sort or other. After
waiting some time, and finding that it didn't burst, nor emit even
a smell of sulphur, the boldest man of the party approached it very
cautiously, and upset it with his foot and ran.

All this while the lady and her friends stood by, silent spectators
of this farce. The only danger of explosion was on their part, with
laughter at the whole scene. They contrived, however, to keep their
countenances, though less rigidly than the Greek philosopher in the box
did his.

When the custom-house officials found, that, though the box was upset,
nothing occurred, they grew more bold, and, approaching, saw a piece of
the bronze head peering above the sawdust. Then, for the first time,
they began to feel ashamed of themselves. So replacing the sawdust and
the cover, they allowed the box to pass into the city, and tried, by
avoiding to speak of the affair among themselves, to forget what donkeys
they had been.

The Grindwell government has many such alarms, and never appears
entirely at its ease. It is fully aware of the combustible nature of the
component parts of the Governing Machine. There is consequently great
outlay of means to insure its safety. An immense number of public spies
and functionaries are constantly employed in looking after the fires and
lights about the city. Heavy restrictions are laid on all substances
containing electricity, and great care is taken lest this subtile fluid
should condense in spots and take the form of lightning. Fortunately,
the unclouded sunshine seldom comes into Grindwell, else there would be
the same fears with regard to light.

So long as this perpetual surveillance is kept up, the machine seems to
work on well enough in the main; but the moment there is any remissness
on the part of the police,--bang! goes a small explosion somewhere,--or,
crack! a bit of the machinery,--and out rush the engineers with their
bags of cotton-wool or tow to stop up the chinks, or their bundles of
paper money to keep up the steam, or their buckets of oil and _soft
soap_ to pour upon the wheels.

One eccentric gentleman of my acquaintance persists in predicting
that any day there may be a general blow-up, and the whole concern,
engineers, financiers, priests, soldiers, and flunkies, all go to smash.
He evidently wishes to see it, though, as far as personal comfort goes,
one would rather be out of the way at such a time.

Most people seem to think, that, considering all things, the present
head engineer is about the best man that could be found for the post he
occupies. There are, however, a number of the Grindwell people--I can't
say how many, for they are afraid to speak--who feel more and more that
they are living in a stifled and altogether abnormal condition, and wish
for an indefinite supply of the light, heat, air, and electricity which
they see some of the neighboring cities enjoying.

What the result is to be no one can yet tell. We are such stuff as
dreams are made of, and our little life is rounded with--_a crust_;
some say, a very thin crust, such as might be got up by a skilful
_patissier_, and over which gilded court-flies, and even _scaraboei_,
may crawl with safety, but--which must inevitably cave in beneath the
boot-heels of a real, true, thinking man. We cannot forget that there
are measureless catacombs and caverns yawning beneath the streets and
houses of modern Grindwell.


Ever since the time of that dyspeptic heathen, Plotinus, the saints have
been "ashamed of their bodies." What is worse, they have usually had
reason for the shame. Of the four famous Latin fathers, Jerome describes
his own limbs as misshapen, his skin as squalid, his bones as scarcely
holding together; while Gregory the Great speaks in his Epistles of his
own large size, as contrasted with his weakness and infirmities.
Three of the four Greek fathers--Chrysostom, Basil, and Gregory of
Nazianzen--ruined their health early, and were wretched invalids for the
remainder of their days. Three only of the whole eight were able-bodied
men,--Ambrose, Augustine, and Athanasius; and the permanent influence of
these three has been far greater, for good or for evil, than that of all
the others put together.

Robust military saints there have doubtless been, in the Roman Catholic
Church: George, Michael, Sebastian, Eustace, Martin,--not to mention
Hubert the Hunter, and Christopher the Christian Hercules. But these
have always held a very secondary place in canonization. If we mistake
not, Maurice and his whole Theban legion were sainted together, to the
number of six thousand six hundred and sixty-six; doubtless they were
stalwart men, but there never yet has been a chapel erected to one of
them. The mediaeval type of sanctity was a strong soul in a weak body;
and it could be intensified either by strengthening the one or by
further debilitating the other. The glory lay in contrast, not in
combination. Yet, to do them justice, they conceded a strong and stately
beauty to their female saints,--Catherine, Agnes, Agatha, Barbara,
Cecilia, and the rest. It was reserved for the modern Pre-Raphaelites to
attempt the combination of a maximum of saintliness with a minimum of
pulmonary and digestive capacity.

But, indeed, from that day to this, the saints by spiritual laws have
usually been sinners against physical laws, and the artists have merely
followed the examples they found. Vasari records, that Carotto's
masterpiece of painting, "The Three Archangels," at Verona, was
criticized because the limbs of the angels were too slender, and
Carotto, true to his conventional standard, replied, "Then they will fly
the better." Saints have been flying to heaven for the same reason ever
since,--and have commonly flown very early.

Indeed, the earlier some such saints cast off their bodies the better,
they make so little use of them. Chittagutta, the Buddhist saint,
dwelt in a cave in Ceylon. His devout visitors one day remarked on the
miraculous beauty of the legendary paintings, representing scenes from
the life of Buddha, which adorned the walls. The holy man informed them,
that, during his sixty years' residence in the cave, he had been too
much absorbed in meditation to notice the existence of the paintings,
but he would take their word for it. And in this non-intercourse with
the visible world there has been an apostolical succession, from
Chittagutta, down to the Andover divinity-student who refused to join
his companions in their admiring gaze on that wonderful autumnal
landscape which spreads itself before the Seminary Hill in October, but
marched back into the Library, ejaculating, "Lord, turn thou mine eyes
from beholding vanity!"

It is to be reluctantly recorded, in fact, that the Protestant saints
have not ordinarily had much to boast of, in physical stamina, as
compared with the Roman Catholic. They have not got far beyond Plotinus.
We do not think it worth while to quote Calvin on this point, for he, as
everybody knows, was an invalid for his whole lifetime. But we do take
it hard, that the jovial Luther, in the midst of his ale and skittles,
should have deliberately censured Juvenal's _mens sana in corpore sano_,
as a pagan maxim!

If Saint Luther fails us, where are the advocates of the body to look
for comfort? Nothing this side of ancient Greece, we fear, will afford
adequate examples of the union of saintly souls and strong bodies.
Pythagoras the sage we doubt not to have been identical with Pythagoras
the inventor of pugilism, and he was, at any rate, (in the loving words
of Bentley,) "a lusty proper man, and built as it were to make a good
boxer." Cleanthes, whose sublime "Prayer" is, to our thinking, the
highest strain left of early piety, was a boxer likewise. Plato was a
famous wrestler, and Socrates was unequalled for his military
endurance. Nor was one of these, like their puny follower Plotinus, too
weak-sighted to revise his own manuscripts.

It would be tedious to analyze the causes of this modern deterioration
of the saints. The fact is clear. There is in the community an
impression that physical vigor and spiritual sanctity are incompatible.
We knew a young Orthodox divine who lost his parish by swimming the
Merrimac River, and another who was compelled to ask a dismissal in
consequence of vanquishing his most influential parishioner in a game
of ten-pins; it seemed to the beaten party very unclerical. We further
remember a match, in a certain sea-side bowling-alley, in which two
brothers, young divines, took part. The sides being made up, with the
exception of these two players, it was necessary to find places for
them also. The head of one side accordingly picked his man, on the
presumption (as he afterwards confessed) that the best preacher would
naturally be the worst bowler. The athletic capacity, he thought, would
be in inverse ratio to the sanctity. We are happy to add, that in this
case his hopes were signally disappointed. But it shows which way the
popular impression lies.

The poets have probably assisted In maintaining the delusion. How many
cases of consumption Wordsworth must have accelerated by his assertion,
that "the good die first"! Happily, he lived to disprove his own maxim.
We, too, repudiate it utterly. Professor Peirce has proved by statistics
that the best scholars in our colleges survive the rest; and we hold
that virtue, like intellect, tends to longevity. The experience of the
literary class shows that all excess is destructive, and that we need
the harmonious action of all the faculties. Of the brilliant roll of the
"young men of 1830," in Paris,--Balzac, Soulié, De Musset, De Bernard,
Sue, and their compeers,--it is said that nearly every one has already
perished, in the prime of life. What is the explanation? A stern one:
opium, tobacco, wine, and licentiousness. "All died of softening of the
brain or spinal marrow, or swelling of the heart." No doubt, many of
the noble and the pure were dying prematurely at the same time; but it
proceeded from the same essential cause: physical laws disobeyed and
bodies exhausted. The evil is, that what in the debauchee is condemned,
as suicide, is lauded in the devotee, as saintship. The _delirium
tremens_ of the drunkard conveys scarcely a sterner moral lesson than
the second childishness of the pure and abstemious Southey.

But, happily, times change, and saints with them. Our moral conceptions
are expanding to take in that "athletic virtue" of the Greeks, [Greek:
apetae gimnastikae] which Dr. Arnold, by precept and practice, defended.
The modern English "Broad Church" aims at breadth of shoulders, as well
as of doctrines. Kingsley paints his stalwart Philammons and Amyas
Leighs, and his critics charge him with laying down a new definition of
the saint, as a man who fears God and can walk a thousand miles in a
thousand hours. Our American saintship, also, is beginning to have
a body to it, a "Body of Divinity," indeed. Look at our three great
popular preachers. The vigor of the paternal blacksmith still swings the
sinewy arm of Beecher; Parker performed the labors, mental and physical,
of four able-bodied men, until even his great strength temporarily
yielded;--and if ever dyspepsia attack the burly frame of Chapin, we
fancy that dyspepsia will get the worst of it.

This is as it should be. One of the most potent causes of the
ill-concealed alienation between the clergy and the people, in our
community, is the supposed deficiency, on the part of the former, of
a vigorous, manly life. It must be confessed that our saints suffer
greatly from this moral and physical _anhaemia_, this bloodlessness,
which separates them, more effectually than a cloister, from the strong
life of the age. What satirists upon religion are those parents who say
of their pallid, puny, sedentary, lifeless, joyless little offspring,
"He is born for a minister," while the ruddy, the brave, and the
strong are as promptly assigned to a secular career! Never yet did an
ill-starred young saint waste his Saturday afternoons in preaching
sermons in the garret to his deluded little sisters and their dolls,
without living to repent it in maturity. These precocious little
sentimentalists wither away like blanched potato-plants in a cellar;
and then comes some vigorous youth from his out-door work or play, and
grasps the rudder of the age, as he grasped the oar, the bat, or the
plough-handle. We distrust the achievements of every saint without a
body; and really have hopes of the Cambridge Divinity School, since
hearing that it has organized a boat-club.

We speak especially of men, but the same principles apply to women.
The triumphs of Rosa Bonheur and Harriet Hosmer grew out of a free and
vigorous training, and they learned to delineate muscle by using it.

Everybody admires the physical training of military and naval schools.
But these same persons never seem to imagine that the body is worth
cultivating for any purpose, except to annihilate the bodies of others.
Yet it needs more training to preserve life than to destroy it. The
vocation of a literary man is far more perilous than that of a frontier
dragoon. The latter dies at most but once, by an Indian bullet; the
former dies daily, unless he be warned in time and take occasional
refuge in the saddle and the prairie with the dragoon. What battle-piece
is so pathetic as Browning's "Grammarian's Funeral"? Do not waste your
gymnastics on the West Point or Annapolis student, whose whole life will
be one of active exercise, but bring them into the professional schools
and the counting-rooms. Whatever may be the exceptional cases, the stern
truth remains, that the great deeds of the world can be more easily done
by illiterate men than by sickly ones. Wisely said Horace Mann, "All
through the life of a pure-minded but feeble-bodied man, his path is
lined with memory's gravestones, which mark the spots where noble
enterprises perished, for lack of physical vigor to embody them in
deeds." And yet more eloquently it has been said by a younger American
thinker, (D.A. Wasson,) "Intellect in a weak body is like gold in
a spent swimmer's pocket,--the richer he would be, under other
circumstances, by so much the greater his danger now."

Of course, the mind has immense control over physical endurance, and
every one knows that among soldiers, sailors, emigrants, and woodsmen,
the leaders, though more delicately nurtured, will often endure hardship
better than the followers,--"because," says Sir Philip Sidney, "they are
supported by the great appetites of honor." But for all these triumphs
of nervous power a reaction lies in store, as in the case of the
superhuman efforts often made by delicate women. And besides, there is
a point beyond which no mental heroism can ignore the body,--as, for
instance, in seasickness and toothache. Can virtue arrest consumption,
or self-devotion set free the agonized breath of asthma, or heroic
energy defy paralysis? More formidable still are those subtle results
of disease, which cannot be resisted, because their source is unseen.
Voltaire declared that the fate of a nation had often depended on the
good or bad digestion of a prime-minister; and Motley holds that the
gout of Charles V. changed the destinies of the world.

But so blinded, on these matters, is our accustomed mode of thought,
that Mr. Beecher's recent lecture on the Laws of Nature has been met
with strong objections from a portion of the religious press. These
newspapers agree in asserting that admiration of physical strength
belonged to the barbarous ages of the world. So it certainly did, and so
much the better for those ages. They had that one merit, at least; and
so surely as an exclusively intellectual civilization ignored it, the
arm of some robust barbarian prostrated that civilization at last. What
Sismondi says of courage is preëminently true of that bodily vigor which
it usually presupposes: that, although it is by no means the first
of virtues, its loss is more fatal than that of all others. "Were it
possible to unite the advantages of a perfect government with the
cowardice of a whole people, those advantages would be utterly
valueless, since they would be utterly without security."

Physical health is a necessary condition of all permanent success. To
the American people it has a stupendous importance because it is the
only attribute of power in which they are losing ground. Guaranty
us against physical degeneracy, and we can risk all other
perils,--financial crises, Slavery, Romanism, Mormonism, Border
Ruffians, and New York assassins; "domestic malice, foreign levy,
nothing" can daunt us. Guaranty us health, and Mrs. Stowe cannot
frighten us with all the prophecies of Dred; but when her sister
Catherine informs us that in all the vast female acquaintance of the
Beecher family there are not a dozen healthy women, we confess ourselves
a little tempted to despair of the republic.

The one drawback to satisfaction in our Public-School System is the
physical weakness which it reveals and helps to perpetuate. One seldom
notices a ruddy face in the school-room, without tracing it back to a
Transatlantic origin. The teacher of a large school in Canada went so
far as to declare to us, that she could recognize the children born this
side the line by their invariable appearance of ill-health joined with
intellectual precocity,--stamina wanting, and the place supplied by
equations. Look at a class of boys or girls in our Grammar Schools; a
glance along the line of their backs affords a study of geometrical
curves. You almost long to reverse the position of their heads, as Dante
has those of the false prophets, and thus improve their figures; the
rounded shoulders affording a vigorous chest, and the hollow chest an
excellent back.

There are statistics to show that the average length of human life is
increasing; but it is probable that this results from the diminution
of epidemic diseases, rather than from any general improvement in
_physique_. There are facts also to indicate an increase of size and
strength with advancing civilization. It is known that two men of middle
size were unable to find a suit of armor large enough among the sixty
sets owned by Sir Samuel Meyrick. It is also known that the strongest
American Indians cannot equal the average strength of wrist of
Europeans, or rival them in ordinary athletic feats. Indeed, it is
generally supposed that any physical deterioration is local, being
peculiar to the United States. Recently, however, we have read, with
great regret, in the "Englishwoman's Review," that "it is allowed by
all, that the appearance of the English peasant, in the present day,
is very different to [from] what it was fifty years ago; the robust,
healthy, hard-looking countrywoman or girl is as rare now as the pale,
delicate, nervous female of our times would have been a century ago."
And the writer proceeds to give alarming illustrations, based upon the
appearance of children in English schools, both in city and country.

We cannot speak for England, but certainly no one can visit Canada
without being struck with the spectacle of a more athletic race of
people than our own. On every side one sees rosy female faces and noble
manly figures. In the shop-windows, in winter weather, hang snow-shoes,
"gentlemen's and ladies' sizes." The street-corners inform you that the
members of the "Curling Club" are to meet to-day at "Dolly's," and the
"Montreal Fox-hounds" at St. Lawrence Hall to-morrow. And next day
comes off the annual steeple-chase, at the "Mile-End Course," ridden by
gentlemen of the city with their own horses; a scene, by the way, whose
exciting interest can scarcely be conceived by those accustomed only
to "trials of speed" at agricultural exhibitions. Everything indicates
out-door habits and athletic constitutions.

We are aware that we may be met with the distinction between a good idle
constitution and a good working constitution,--the latter of which often
belongs to persons who make no show of physical powers. But this only
means that there are different temperaments and types of physical
organization, while, within the limits of each, the distinction between
a healthy and a diseased condition still holds; and we insist on that

Still more specious is the claim of the Fourth-of-July orators, that,
health or no health, it is the sallow Americans, and not the robust
English, who are really leading the world. But this, again, is a
question of temperaments. The Englishman concedes the greater intensity,
but prefers a more solid and permanent power. It is the noble masonry
and vast canals of Montreal, against the Aladdin's palaces of Chicago.
"I observe," admits the Englishman, "that an American can accomplish
more, at a single effort, than any other man on earth; but I also
observe that he exhausts himself in the achievement. Kane, a delicate
invalid, astounds the world by his two Arctic winters,--and then dies in
tropical Cuba." The solution is simple; nervous energy is grand, and so
is muscular power; combine the two, and you move the world.

We shall assume, as admitted, therefore, the deficiency of physical
health in America, and the need of a great amendment. But into the
general question of cause and cure we do not propose to enter. In view
of the vast variety of special theories, and the inadequacy of any one,
(or any dozen,) we shall forbear. To our thinking, the best diagnosis
of the universal American disease is to be found in Andral's
famous description of the cholera: "Anatomical characteristics,
insufficient;--cause, mysterious;--nature, hypothetical;--symptoms,
characteristic;--diagnosis, easy;--_treatment, very doubtful_."

Every man must have his hobby, however, and it is a great deal to ride
only one hobby at a time. For the present we disavow all minor ones.
We forbear giving our pet arguments in defence of animal food, and in
opposition to tobacco, coffee, and india-rubbers. We will not criticize
the old-school physician whom we once knew, who boasted of not having
performed a thorough ablution for twenty-five years; nor will we
question the physiological orthodoxy of Miss Sedgwick's New England
artist, who represented the Goddess of Health with a pair of flannel
drawers on. Still less should we think of debating (or of tasting)
Kennedy's Medical Discovery, or R.R.R., or the Cow Pepsin. We know our
aim, and will pursue it with a single eye.

  "The wise for cure on _exercise_ depend,"

saith Dryden,--and that is our hobby.

A great physician has said, "I know not which is most indispensable
for the support of the frame,--food or exercise." But who, in this
community, really takes exercise? Even the mechanic commonly confines
himself to one set of muscles; the blacksmith acquires strength in his
right arm, and the dancing-master in his left leg. But the professional
or business man, what muscles has he at all? The tradition, that
Phidippides ran from Athens to Sparta, one hundred and twenty miles, in
two days, seems to us Americans as mythical as the Golden Fleece. Even
to ride sixty miles in a day, to walk thirty, to run five, or to swim
one, would cost most men among us a fit of illness, and many their
lives. Let any man test his physical condition, we will not say by
sawing his own cord of wood, but by an hour in the gymnasium or at
cricket, and his enfeebled muscular apparatus will groan with rheumatism
for a week. Or let him test the strength of his arms and chest by
raising and lowering himself a few times upon a horizontal bar, or
hanging by the arms to a rope, and he will probably agree with Galen
in pronouncing it _robustum validumque laborem_. Yet so manifestly are
these things within the reach of common constitutions, that a few weeks
or months of judicious practice will renovate his whole system, and the
most vigorous exercise will refresh him like a cold bath.

To a well-regulated frame, mere physical exertion, even for an
uninteresting object, is a great enjoyment, which is, of course,
enhanced by the excitement of games and sports. To almost every man
there is joy in the memory of these things; they are the happiest
associations of his boyhood. It does not occur to him, that he also
might be as happy as a boy, if he lived more like one. What do most men
know of the "wild joys of living," the daily zest and luxury of out-door
existence, in which every healthy boy beside them revels?--skating,
while the orange sky of sunset dies away over the delicate tracery of
gray branches, and the throbbing feet pause in their tingling motion,
and the frosty air is filled with the shrill sound of distant steel,
the resounding of the ice, and the echoes up the hillsides?--sailing,
beating up against a stiff breeze, with the waves thumping under the
bow, as if a dozen sea-gods had laid their heads together to resist
it?--climbing tall trees, where the higher foliage, closing around,
cures the dizziness which began below, and one feels as if he had left a
coward beneath and found a hero above?--the joyous hour of crowded life
in football or cricket?--the gallant glories of riding, and the jubilee
of swimming?

The charm which all have found in Tom Brown's "School Days at Rugby"
lies simply in this healthy boy's-life which it exhibits, and in the
recognition of physical culture, which is so novel to Americans. At
present, boys are annually sent across the Atlantic simply for bodily
training. But efforts after the same thing begin to creep in among
ourselves. A few Normal Schools have gymnasiums (rather neglected,
however); the "Mystic Hall Female Seminary" advertises riding-horses;
and we believe the new "Concord School" recognizes boating as an
incidental;--but these are all exceptional cases, and far between.
Faint and shadowy in our memory are certain ruined structures lingering
Stonehenge-like on the Cambridge "Delta,"--and mysterious pits
adjoining, into which Freshmen were decoyed to stumble, and of which
we find that vestiges still remain. Tradition spoke of Dr. Follen
and German gymnastics; but the beneficent exotic was transplanted
prematurely, and died. The only direct encouragement of athletic
exercises which stands out in our memory of academic life was a certain
inestimable shed on the "College Wharf," which was for a brief season
the paradise of swimmers, and which, after having been deliberately
arranged for their accommodation, was suddenly removed, the next season,
to make room for coal-bins. Manly sports were not positively discouraged
in our day,--but that was all.

Yet earlier reminiscences of the same beloved Cambridge suggest deeper
gratitude. Thanks to thee, W.W.,--first pioneer, in New England, of true
classical learning,--last wielder of the old English birch,--for the
manly British sympathy which encouraged to activity the bodies, as well
as the brains, of the numerous band of boys who played beneath the
stately elms of that pleasant play-ground! Who among modern pedagogues
can show such an example of vigorous pedestrianism in his youth as thou
in thine age? and who now grants half-holidays, unasked, for no other
reason than that the skating is good and the boys must use it while it

We cling still to the belief, that the Persian _curriculum_ of
studies--to ride, to shoot, and to speak the truth--is the better part
of a boy's education. As the urchin is undoubtedly physically safer for
having learned to turn a somerset and fire a gun, perilous though these
feats appear to mothers,--so his soul is made healthier, larger, freer,
stronger, by hours and days of manly exercise and copious draughts of
open air, at whatever risk of idle habits and bad companions. Even
if the balance is sometimes lost, and play prevails, what matter? We
rejoice to have been a schoolmate of him who wrote

  "The hours the idle schoolboy squandered
  The man would die ere he'd forget."

Only keep in a boy a pure and generous heart, and, whether he work or
play, his time can scarcely be wasted. Which really has done most for
the education of Boston,--Dixwell and Sherwin, or Sheridan and Braman?

Should it prove, however, that the cultivation of active exercises
diminishes the proportion of time given by children to study, we can
only view it as an added advantage. Every year confirms us in the
conviction, that our schools, public and private, systematically
overtask the brains of the rising generation. We all complain that Young
America grows to mental maturity too soon, and yet we all contribute
our share to continue the evil. It is but a few weeks since we saw the
warmest praises, in the New York newspapers, of a girl's school, in that
city, where the appointed hours of study amounted to nine and a quarter
daily, and the hours of exercise to a bare unit. Almost all the
Students' Manuals assume that American students need stimulus instead
of restraint, and urge them to multiply the hours of study and diminish
those of out-door amusements and of sleep, as if the great danger did
not lie that way already. When will parents and teachers learn to regard
mental precocity as a disaster to be shunned, instead of a glory to
be coveted? We could count up a dozen young men who have graduated at
Harvard College, during the last twenty years, with high honors, before
the age of eighteen; and we suppose that nearly every one of them has
lived to regret it. "Nature," says Tissot, in his Essay on the Health of
Men of Letters, "is unable successfully to carry on two rapid processes
at the same time. We attempt a prodigy, and the result is a fool." There
was a child in Languedoc who at six years was of the size of a large
man; of course, his mind was a vacuum. On the other hand, Jean Philippe
Baratier was a learned man in his eighth year, and died of apparent old
age at twenty. Both were monstrosities, and a healthy childhood would be
equidistant from either.

One invaluable merit of out-door sports is to be found in this, that
they afford the best cement for childish friendship. Their associations
outlive all others. There is many a man, now perchance hard and worldly,
whom we love to pass in the street simply because in meeting him we
meet spring flowers and autumn chestnuts, skates and cricket-balls,
cherry-birds and pickerel. There is an indescribable fascination in
the gradual transference of these childish companionships into maturer
relations. We love to encounter in the contests of manhood those whom we
first met at football, and to follow the profound thoughts of those who
always dived deeper, even in the river, than our efforts could attain.
There is a certain governor, of whom we personally can remember only,
that he found the Fresh Pond heronry, which we sought in vain; and
in memory the august sheriff of a neighboring county still skates in
victorious pursuit of us, (fit emblem of swift-footed justice!) on the
black ice of the same lovely lake. Our imagination crowns the Cambridge
poet, and the Cambridge sculptor, not with their later laurels, but with
the willows out of which they taught us to carve whistles, shriller than
any trump of fame, in the happy days when Mount Auburn was Sweet Auburn

Luckily, boy-nature is too strong for theory. And we admit, for the sake
of truth, that physical education is not so entirely neglected among us
as the absence of popular games would indicate. We suppose, that, if the
truth were told, this last fact proceeds partly from the greater freedom
of field-sports in this country. There are few New England boys who do
not become familiar with the rod or gun in childhood. We take it, that,
in the mother country, the monopoly of land interferes with this, and
that game laws, by a sort of spontaneous pun, tend to introduce games.

Again, the practice of match-playing is opposed to our habits, both as
a consumer of time and as partaking too much of gambling. Still, it is
done in the case of "firemen's musters," which are, we believe, a wholly
indigenous institution. We have known a very few cases where the young
men of neighboring country parishes have challenged each other to games
of base-ball, as is common in England; and there was, if we mistake not,
a recent match at football between the boys of the Fall River and
the New Bedford High Schools. And within a few years regattas and
cricket-matches have become common events. Still, these public
exhibitions are far from being a full exponent of the athletic habits of
our people; and there is really more going on among us than this meagre
"pentathlon" exhibits.

Again, a foreigner is apt to infer, from the more desultory and
unsystematized character of our out-door amusements, that we are less
addicted to them than we really are. But this belongs to the habit of
our nation, impatient, to a fault, of precedents and conventionalisms.
The English-born Frank Forrester complains of the total indifference
of our sportsmen to correct phraseology. We should say, he urges, "for
large flocks of wild fowl,--of swans, a _whiteness_,--of geese, a
_gaggle_,--of brent, a _gang_,--of duck, a _team_ or a _plump_,--of
widgeon, a _trip_,--of snipes, a _wisp_,--of larks, an _exaltation_.--The
young of grouse are _cheepers_,--of quail, _squeakers_,--of
wild duck, _flappers_." And yet, careless of these proprieties,
Young America goes "gunning" to good purpose. So with all
games. A college football-player reads with astonishment Tom Brown's
description of the very complicated performance which passes under that
name at Rugby. So cricket is simplified; it is hard to organize
an American club into the conventional distribution of point and
cover-point, long slip and short slip, but the players persist in
winning the game by the most heterodox grouping. This constitutional
independence has its good and evil results, in sports as elsewhere. It
is this which has created the American breed of trotting horses, and
which won the Cowes regatta by a mainsail as flat as a board.

But, so far as there is a deficiency in these respects among us, this
generation must not shrink from the responsibility. It is unfair
to charge it on the Puritans. They are not even answerable for
Massachusetts; for there is no doubt that athletic exercises, of some
sort, were far more generally practised in this community before the
Revolution than at present. A state of almost constant Indian warfare
then created an obvious demand for muscle and agility. At present there
is no such immediate necessity. And it has been supposed that a race of
shopkeepers, brokers, and lawyers could live without bodies. Now that
the terrible records of dyspepsia and paralysis are disproving this, we
may hope for a reaction in favor of bodily exercises. And when we once
begin the competition, there seems no reason why any other nation should
surpass us. The wide area of our country, and its variety of surface and
shore, offer a corresponding range of physical training. Take our coasts
and inland waters alone. It is one thing to steer a pleasure-boat with a
rudder, and another to steer a dory with an oar; one thing to paddle a
birch-canoe, and another to paddle a ducking-float; in a Charles River
club-boat, the post of honor is in the stern,--in a Penobscot _bateau_,
in the bow; and each of these experiences educates a different set of
muscles. Add to this the constitutional American receptiveness, which
welcomes new pursuits without distinction of origin,--unites German
gymnastics with English sports and sparring, and takes the red Indians
for instructors in paddling and running. With these various aptitudes,
we certainly ought to become a nation of athletes.

We have shown, that, in one way or another, American schoolboys obtain
active exercise. The same is true, in a very limited degree, even
of girls. They are occasionally, in our larger cities, sent to
gymnasiums,--the more the better. Dancing-schools are better than
nothing, though all the attendant circumstances are usually unfavorable.
A fashionable young lady is estimated to traverse her three hundred
miles a season on foot; and this needs training. But out-door exercise
for girls is terribly restricted, first by their costume, and secondly
by the remarks of Mrs. Grundy. All young female animals unquestionably
require as much motion as their brothers, and naturally make as much
noise; but what mother would not be shocked, in the case of her girl of
twelve, by one-tenth part the activity and uproar which are recognized
as being the breath of life to her twin brother? Still, there is a
change going on, which is tantamount to an admission that there is an
evil to be remedied. Twenty years ago, if we mistake not, it was by no
means considered "proper" for little girls to play with their hoops
and balls on Boston Common; and swimming and skating have hardly been
recognized as "ladylike" for half that period of time.

Still it is beyond question, that far more out-door exercise is
habitually taken by the female population of almost all European
countries than by our own. In the first place, the peasant women of all
other countries (a class non-existent here) are trained to active
labor from childhood; and what traveller has not seen, on foreign
mountain-paths, long rows of maidens ascending and descending the
difficult ways, bearing heavy burdens on their heads, and winning by the
exercise such a superb symmetry and grace of figure as were a new wonder
of the world to Cisatlantic eyes? Among the higher classes, physical
exercises take the place of these things. Miss Beecher glowingly
describes a Russian female seminary in which nine hundred girls of the
noblest families were being trained by Ling's system of calisthenics,
and her informant declared that she never beheld such an array of
girlish health and beauty. Englishwomen, again, have horsemanship and
pedestrianism, in which their ordinary feats appear to our healthy women
incredible. Thus, Mary Lamb writes to Miss Wordsworth, (both ladies
being between fifty and sixty,) "You say you can walk fifteen miles with
ease; that is exactly my stint, and more fatigues me"; and then speaks
pityingly of a delicate lady who could accomplish only "four or five
miles every third or fourth day, keeping very quiet between." How few
American ladies, in the fulness of their strength, (if female strength
among us has any fulness,) can surpass this English invalid!

But even among American men, how few carry athletic habits into manhood!
The great hindrance, no doubt, is absorption in business; and we observe
that this winter's hard times and consequent leisure have given a great
stimulus to outdoor sports. But in most places there is the further
obstacle, that a certain stigma of boyishness goes with them. So early
does this begin, that we remember, in our teens, to have been slightly
reproached with juvenility, because, though a Senior Sophister, we still
clung to football. Juvenility! We only wish we had the opportunity now.
Full-grown men are, of course, intended to take not only as much, but
far more active exercise than boys. Some physiologists go so far as
to demand six hours of out-door life daily; and it is absurd in us to
complain that we have not the healthy animal happiness of children,
while we forswear their simple sources of pleasure.

Most of the exercise habitually taken by men of sedentary pursuits is
in the form of walking. We believe its merits to be greatly overrated.
Walking is to real exercise what vegetable food is to animal; it
satisfies the appetite, but the nourishment is not sufficiently
concentrated to be invigorating. It takes a man out-doors, and it uses
his muscles, and therefore of course it is good; but it is not the best
kind of good. Walking, for walking's sake, becomes tedious. We must not
ignore the _play-impulse_ in human nature, which, according to Schiller,
is the foundation of all Art. In female boarding-schools, teachers
uniformly testify to the aversion of pupils to the prescribed walk.
Give them a sled, or a pair of skates, or a row-boat, or put them on
horseback, and they will protract the period of exercise till the
teacher in turn grumbles. Put them into a gymnasium, with an efficient
teacher, and they will soon require restraint, instead of urging.

Gymnastic exercises have two disadvantages: one, in being commonly
performed under cover (though this may sometimes prove an advantage as
well); another, in requiring apparatus, and at first a teacher. These
apart, perhaps no other form of exercise is so universally invigorating.
A teacher is required, less for the sake of stimulus than of precaution.
The tendency is almost always to dare too much; and there is also need
of a daily moderation in commencing exercises; for the wise pupil will
always prefer to supple his muscles by mild exercises and calisthenics,
before proceeding to harsher performances on the bars and ladders. With
this precaution, strains are easily avoided; even with this, the hand
will sometimes blister and the body ache, but perseverance will cure the
one and Russia Salve the other; and the invigorated life in every
limb will give a perpetual charm to those seemingly aimless leaps and
somersets. The feats once learned, a private gymnasium can easily be
constructed, of the simplest apparatus, and so daily used; though
nothing can wholly supply the stimulus afforded by a class in a public
institution, with a competent teacher. In summer, the whole thing can
partially be dispensed with; but we are really unable to imagine how any
person gets through the winter happily without a gymnasium.

For the favorite in-door exercise of dumb-bells we have little to say;
they are not an enlivening performance, nor do they task a variety of
muscles,--while they are apt to strain and fatigue them, if used with
energy. Far better, for a solitary exercise, is the Indian club, a
lineal descendant of that antique one in whose handle rare medicaments
were fabled to be concealed. The modern one is simply a rounded club,
weighing from four pounds upwards, according to the strength of the
pupil; grasping a pair of these by the handles, he learns a variety of
exercises, having always before him the feats of the marvellous Mr.
Harrison, whose praise is in the "Spirit of the Times," and whose
portrait adorns the back of Dr. Trall's Gymnastics. By the latest
bulletins, that gentleman measured forty-two and a half inches round the
chest, and employed clubs weighing no less than forty-seven pounds.

It may seem to our non-resistant friends to be going rather far, if we
should indulge our saints in taking boxing lessons; yet it is not long
since a New York clergyman saved his life in Broadway by the judicious
administration of a "cross-counter" or a "flying crook," and we have
not heard of his excommunication from the Church Militant. No doubt, a
laudable aversion prevails, in this country, to the English practices of
pugilism; yet it must be remembered that sparring is, by its very name,
a "science of self-defence"; and if a gentleman wishes to know how to
hold a rude antagonist at bay, in any emergency, and keep out of an
undignified scuffle, the means are most easily afforded him by the art,
which Pythagoras founded. Apart from this, boxing exercises every muscle
in the body, and gives a wonderful quickness to eye and hand. These same
remarks apply, though in a minor degree, to fencing also.

Billiards is a graceful game, and affords, in some respects, admirable
training, but is hardly to be classed among athletic exercises. Tenpins
afford, perhaps, the most popular form of exercise among us, and have
become almost a national game, and a good one, too, so far as it goes.
The English game of bowls is less entertaining, and is, indeed, rather a
sluggish sport, though it has the merit of being played in the open air.
The severer British sports, as tennis and rackets, are scarcely more
than names, to us Americans.

Passing now to outdoor exercises, (and no one should confine himself to
in-door ones,) we hold with the Thalesian school, and rank water first.
Vishnu Sarma gives, in his apologues, the characteristics of the fit
place for a wise man to live in, and enumerates among its necessities
first "a Rajah" and then "a river." Democrats as we are, we can dispense
with the first, but not with the second. A square mile even of pond
water is worth a year's schooling to any intelligent boy. A boat is a
kingdom. We personally own one,--a mere flat-bottomed "float," with a
centre-board. It has seen service,--it is eight years old,--has spent
two winters under the ice, and been fished in by boys every day for as
many summers. It grew at last so hopelessly leaky, that even the boys
disdained it. It cost seven dollars originally, and we would not sell it
to-day for seventeen. To own the poorest boat is better than hiring the
best. It is a link to Nature; without a boat, one is so much the less a

Sailing is of course delicious; it is as good as flying to steer
anything with wings of canvas, whether one stand by the wheel of a
clipper-ship, or by the clumsy stern-oar of a "gundalow." But rowing has
also its charms; and the Indian noiselessness of the paddle, beneath the
fringing branches of the Assabeth or Artichoke, puts one into Fairyland
at once, and Hiawatha's _cheemaun_ becomes a possible possession. Rowing
is peculiarly graceful and appropriate as a feminine exercise, and any
able-bodied girl can learn to handle one light oar at the first lesson,
and two at the second; this, at least, we demand of our own pupils.

Swimming has also a birdlike charm of motion. The novel element, the
free action, the abated drapery, give a sense of personal contact
with Nature which nothing else so fully bestows. No later triumph of
existence is so fascinating, perhaps, as that in which the boy first
wins his panting way across the deep gulf that severs one green bank
from another, (ten yards, perhaps,) and feels himself thenceforward lord
of the watery world. The Athenian phrase for a man who knew nothing was,
that he could "neither read nor swim." Yet there is a vast amount of
this ignorance; the majority of sailors, it is said, cannot swim a
stroke; and in a late lake disaster, many able-bodied men perished
by drowning, in calm water, only half a mile from shore. At our
watering-places it is rare to see a swimmer venture out more than a rod
or two, though this proceeds partly from the fear of sharks,--as if
sharks of the dangerous order were not far more afraid of the rocks
than the swimmers of being eaten. But the fact of the timidity is
unquestionable; and we were told by a certain clerical frequenter of a
watering-place, himself a robust swimmer, that he had never met but two
companions who would venture boldly out with him, both being ministers,
and one a distinguished Ex-President of Brown University. We place this
fact to the credit of the bodies of our saints.

But space forbids us thus to descant on the details of all active
exercises. Riding may be left to the eulogies of Mr. N.P. Willis, and
cricket to Mr. Lillywhite's "Guide." We will only say, in passing, that
it is pleasant to see the rapid spread of clubs for the latter game,
which a few years since was practised only by a few transplanted
Englishmen and Scotchmen; and it is pleasant also to observe the twin
growth of our indigenous American game of base-ball, whose briskness
and unceasing activity are perhaps more congenial, after all, to our
national character, than the comparative deliberation of cricket.
Football, bating its roughness, is the most glorious of all games to
those whose animal life is sufficiently vigorous to enjoy it. Skating is
just at present the fashion for ladies as well as gentlemen, and needs
no apostle; the open weather of the current winter has been unusually
favorable for its practice, and it is destined to become a permanent

A word, in passing, on the literature of athletic exercises; it is too
scanty to detain us long. Five hundred books, it is estimated, have been
written on the digestive organs, but we shall not speak of half a
dozen in connection with the muscular powers. The common Physiologies
recommend exercise in general terms, but seldom venture on details;
unhappily, they are written, for the most part, by men who have already
lost their own health, and are therefore useful as warnings rather than
examples. The first real book of gymnastics printed in this country, so
far as we know, was the work of the veteran Salzmann, translated and
published in Philadelphia, in 1802, and sometimes to be met with in
libraries,--an odd, desultory book, with many good reasonings and
suggestions, and quaint pictures of youths exercising in the old German
costume. Like Dr. Follen's gymnasium, at Cambridge, it was probably
transplanted too early, and produced no effect. Next came, in 1836, the
book which is still, after twenty years, the standard, so far as it
goes,--Walker's "Manly Exercises,"--a thoroughly English book, and
needing adaptation to our habits, but full of manly vigor, and
containing good and copious directions for skating, swimming, boating,
and horsemanship. The only later general treatise worth naming is Dr.
Trall's recently published "Family Gymnasium,"--a good book, yet not
good enough. On gymnastics proper it contains scarcely anything; and the
essays on rowing, riding, and skating are so meagre, that they might
almost as well have been omitted, though that on swimming is excellent.
The main body of the book is devoted to the subject of calisthenics,
and especially to Ling's system; all this is valuable for its novelty,
although we cannot imagine how a system so tediously elaborate and so
little interesting can ever be made very useful for American pupils.
Miss Beecher has an excellent essay on calisthenics, with very useful
figures, at the end of her "Physiology." And on proper gymnastic
exercises there is a little book so full and admirable, that it
atones for the defects of all the others,--"Paul Preston's
Gymnastics,"--nominally a child's book, but so spirited and graphic,
and entering so admirably into the whole extent of the subject, that it
ought to be reprinted and find ten thousand readers.

In our own remarks, we have purposely confined ourselves to those
physical exercises which partake most of the character of sports.
Field-sports alone we have omitted, because these are so often discussed
by abler hands. Mechanical and horticultural labors lie out of our
present province. So do the walks and labors of the artist and the man
of science. The out-door study of natural history alone is a vast
field, even yet very little entered upon. In how many American towns or
villages are to be found _local collections_ of natural objects, such as
every large town in Europe affords, and without which the foundations of
thorough knowledge cannot be laid? We can scarcely point to any. We have
innumerable fragmentary and aimless "Museums,"--collections of South-Sea
shells in inland villages, and of aboriginal remains in seaport
towns,--mere curiosity-shops, which no man confers any real benefit by
collecting; while the most ignorant person may be a true benefactor
to science by forming a cabinet, however scanty, of the animal and
vegetable productions of his own township. We have often heard Professor
Agassiz lament this waste of energy, and we would urge upon all our
readers to do their share to remedy the defect, while they invigorate
their bodies by the exercise which the effort will give, and the joyous
open-air life into which it will take them.

For, after all, the secret charm of all these sports and studies is
simply this,--that they bring us into more familiar intercourse
with Nature. They give us that _vitam sub divo_ in which the Roman
exulted,--those out-door days, which, say the Arabs, are not to be
reckoned in the length of life. Nay, to a true lover of the open air,
night beneath its curtain is as beautiful as day. We personally have
camped out under a variety of auspices,--before a fire of pine logs in
the forests of Maine, beside a blaze of faya-boughs on the steep side of
a foreign volcano, and beside no fire at all, (except a possible one
of Sharp's rifles,) in that domestic volcano, Kansas; and every such
remembrance is worth many nights of indoor slumber. We never found a
week in the year, nor an hour of day or night, which had not, in
the open air, its own special beauty. We will not say, with Reade's
Australians, that the only use of a house is to sleep in the lee of it;
but there is method in even that madness. As for rain, it is chiefly
formidable indoors. Lord Bacon used to ride with uncovered head in a
shower, and loved "to feel the spirit of the universe upon his brow";
and we once knew an enthusiastic hydropathic physician who loved to
expose himself in thunder-storms at midnight, without a shred of earthly
clothing between himself and the atmosphere. Some prudent persons may
possibly regard this as being rather an extreme, while yet their own
extreme of avoidance of every breath from heaven is really the more
extravagantly unreasonable of the two.

It is easy for the sentimentalist to say, "But if the object is, after
all, the enjoyment of Nature, why not go and enjoy her, without any
collateral aim?" Because it is the universal experience of man, that, if
we have a collateral aim, we enjoy her far more. He knows not the beauty
of the universe, who has not learned the subtile mystery, that Nature
loves to work on us by _indirections_. Astronomers say, that, when
observing with the naked eye, you see a star less clearly by looking
at it, than by looking at the next one. Margaret Fuller's fine saying
touches the same point,--"Nature will not be stared at." Go out merely
to enjoy her, and it seems a little tame, and you begin to suspect
yourself of affectation. We know persons who, after years of abstinence
from athletic sports or the pursuits of the naturalist or artist, have
resumed them, simply in order to restore to the woods and the sunsets
the zest of the old fascination. Go out under pretence of shooting on
the marshes or botanizing in the forests; study entomology, that most
fascinating, most neglected of all the branches of natural history; go
to paint a red maple-leaf in autumn, or watch a pickerel-line in winter;
meet Nature on the cricket ground or at the regatta; swim with her, ride
with her, run with her, and she gladly takes you back once more within
the horizon of her magic, and your heart of manhood is born again into
more than the fresh happiness of the boy.

       *       *       *       *       *


  Pride that sat on the beautiful brow,
    Scorn that lay in the arching lips,
  Will of the oak-grain, where are ye now?
    I may dare to touch her finger-tips!
  Deep, flaming eyes, ye are shallow enough;
    The steadiest fire burns out at last.
  Throw back the shutters,--the sky is rough,
    And the winds are high,--but the night is past.

  Mother, I speak with the voice of a man;
    Death is between us,--I stoop no more;
  And yet so dim is each new-born plan,
    I am feebler than ever I was before,--
  Feebler than when the western hill
    Faded away with its sunset gold.
  Mother, your voice seemed dark and chill,
    And your words made my young heart very cold.

  You talked of fame,--but my thoughts would stray
    To the brook that laughed across the lane;
  And of hopes for me,--but your hand's light play
    On my brow was ice to my shrinking brain;
  And you called me your son, your only son,--
    But I felt your eye on my tortured heart
  To and fro, like a spider, run,
    On a quivering web;--'twas a cruel art!

  But crueller, crueller far, the art
    Of the low, quick laugh that Memory hears!
  Mother, I lay my head on your heart;
    Has it throbbed even once these fifty years?
  Throbbed even once, by some strange heat thawed?
    It would then have warmed to her, poor thing,
  Who echoed your laugh with a cry!--O God,
    When in my soul will it cease to ring?

  Starlike her eyes were,--but yours were blind;
    Sweet her red lips,--but yours were curled;
  Pure her young heart,--but yours,--ah, you find
    This, mother, is not the only world!
  She came,--bright gleam of the dawning day;
    She went,--pale dream of the winding-sheet.
  Mother, they come to me and say
    Your headstone will almost touch her feet!

  You are walking now in a strange, dim land:
    Tell me, has pride gone with you there?
  Does a frail white form before you stand,
    And tremble to earth, beneath your stare?
  No, no!--she is strong in her pureness now,
    And Love to Power no more defers.
  I fear the roses will never grow
    On your lonely grave as they do on hers!

  But now from those lips one last, sad touch,--
    Kiss it is not, and has never been;
  In my boyhood's sleep I dreamed of such,
    And shuddered,--they were so cold and thin!
  There,--now cover the cold, white face,
    Whiter and colder than statue stone!
  Mother, you have a resting-place;
    But I am weary, and all alone!


[Footnote A: _The Life and Times of Aaron Burr._ By J. PARTON. New York:
Mason, Brothers. 1857.]

The life of Aaron Burr is an admirable subject for a biographer. He
belonged to a class of men, rare in America, who are remarkable, not so
much for their talents or their achievements, as for their adventures
and the vicissitudes of their fortunes. Europe has produced many such
men and women: political intriguers; royal favorites; adroit courtiers;
adventurers who carried their swords into every scene of danger;
courtesans who controlled the affairs of states; persevering schemers
who haunted the purlieus of courts, plotted treason in garrets, and
levied war in fine ladies' boudoirs.

In countries where all the social and political action is concentrated
around the throne, where a pretty woman may decide the policy of a
reign, a royal marriage plunge nations into war, and the disgrace of a
favorite cause the downfall of a party, such persons find an ample field
for the exercise of the arts upon which they depend for success. The
history and romance of Modern Europe are full of them; they crowd the
pages of Macaulay and Scott. But the full sunlight of our republican
life leaves no lurking-place for the mere trickster. Doubtless, selfish
purposes influence our statesmen, as well as the statesmen of other
countries; but such purposes cannot be accomplished here by the means
which effect them elsewhere. He who wishes to attract the attention of
a people must act publicly and with reference to practical matters; but
the ear of a monarch may be reached in private. Therefore there is a
certain monotony in the lives of most of our public men; they may be
read in the life of one. It is, generally, a simple story of a poor
youth, who was born in humble station, and who, by painful effort
in some useful occupation, rose slowly to distinguished place,--who
displayed high talents, and made an honorable use of them. Aaron Burr,
however, is an exception. His adventures, his striking relations with
the leading men of his time, his romantic enterprises, the crimes and
the talents which have been attributed to him, his sudden elevation, and
his protracted and agonizing humiliation have attached to his name a
strange and peculiar interest. Mr. Parton has done a good service in
recalling a character which had well-nigh passed out of popular thought,
though not entirely out of popular recollection.

As to the manner in which this service has been performed, it is
impossible to speak very highly. The book has evidently cost its author
great pains; it is filled with detail, and with considerable gossip
concerning the hero, which is piquant, and, if true, important. The
style is meant to be lively, and in some passages is pleasant enough;
but it is marked with a flippancy, which, after a few pages, becomes
very disagreeable. It abounds with the slang usually confined to
sporting papers. According to the author, a civil man is "as civil as an
orange," a well-dressed man is "got up regardless of expense," and an
unobserved action is done "on the sly." He affects the intense, and, in
his pages, newspapers "go rabid and foam personalities," are "ablaze
with victories" and "bristling with bulletins,"--the public is in a
"delirium,"--the politicians are "maddened,"--letters are written in
"hot haste," and proclamations "sent flying." He appears to be on terms
of intimacy with historical personages such as few writers are fortunate
enough to be admitted to. He approves a remark of George II. and
patronizingly exclaims, "Sensible King!" He has occasion to mention John
Adams, and salutes him thus: "Glorious, delightful, honest John Adams!
An American John Bull! The Comic Uncle of this exciting drama!" He then
calls him "a high-mettled game-cock," and says "he made a splendid show
of fight."

Such little foibles and vanities might easily be pardoned, if the book
had no more important defects. It professes to explain portions of
our history hitherto not perfectly understood, and it contains many
statements for the truth of which we must rely upon the good sense and
accuracy of the writer; yet it is full of errors, and often evinces a
disposition to exaggeration little calculated to produce confidence in
its reliability.

Our space will not permit us to point out all the mistakes which Mr.
Parton has made, and we will mention only a few which attracted our
attention upon the first perusal of his book. His hero was appointed
Lieutenant-Colonel when only twenty-one years of age, and the
author says that he was "the youngest man who held that rank in the
Revolutionary army, or who has ever held it in an army of the United
States." Alexander Hamilton and Brockholst Livingston both reached that
rank at twenty years of age.--Mr. Parton tells us that Burr's rise in
politics was more "rapid than that of any other man who has played a
conspicuous part in the affairs of the United States"; and that "in four
years after fairly entering the political arena, he was advanced,
first, to the highest honor of the bar, next, to a seat in the National
Council, and then, to a competition with Washington, Adams, Jefferson,
and Clinton, for the Presidency itself." He could hardly have crowded
more errors into a single paragraph. Burr never attained the highest
honor of the bar. His first appearance in politics was as a member of
the Legislature of New York, in 1784, when twenty-eight years old; five
years after, he was appointed Attorney-General; in 1791 he was elected
to the Senate of the United States; and in 1801, at the age of
forty-five, _seventeen_ years after he fairly entered public life, he
became Vice-President. Hamilton was a member of Congress at twenty-five,
and at thirty-two was Secretary of the Treasury; Jefferson wrote the
great Declaration when only thirty-two years old; and the present
Vice-President is a much younger man than Burr was when he reached that
station. The statement, that Burr was the rival of Washington and Adams
for the Presidency, is absurd. Under the Constitution, at that time,
each elector voted for two persons,--the candidate who received the
greatest number of votes (if a majority of the whole) being declared
President, and the one having the next highest number Vice-President.
In 1792, at which time Burr received one vote in the Electoral College,
_all_ the electors voted for Washington; consequently the vote for Burr,
upon the strength of which Mr. Parton makes his magnificent boast, was
palpably for the Vice-Presidency. In 1796, the Presidential candidates
were Adams and Jefferson, for one or the other of whom every elector
voted,--the votes for Burr, in this instance thirty in number, being, as
before, only for the Vice-Presidency. Even in 1800, when the votes for
Jefferson and Burr in the Electoral College were equal, it is notorious
that this equality was simply the result of their being supported on the
same ticket,--the former for the office of President, and the latter
for that of Vice-President. Mr. Parton says, that, in the House of
Representatives, Burr would have been elected on the first ballot, if a
majority would have sufficed; and that Mr. Jefferson never received more
than fifty-one votes in a House of one hundred and six members. Had he
taken the trouble to examine Gales's "Annals of Congress" for 1799-1801,
he would have found that the House consisted of one hundred and four
members, two seats being vacant; and that on the first ballot Jefferson
received fifty-five votes, a majority of six. We are several times told
that Robert R. Livingston was one of the framers of the Constitution.
Mr. Livingston was not a member of the Constitutional Convention; the
only person of the name in that body was William Livingston, Governor
of New Jersey.--Mr. Parton comes into conflict with other writers upon
matters affecting his hero, as to which he would have done well if he
had given his authority. Matthew L. Davis, Burr's first biographer and
intimate friend, says that Burr's grandfather was a German; Parton,
speaking of the family at the time of the birth of Burr's father,
says that it was Puritan and had flourished in New England for three
generations. Mr. Parton makes Burr a witness of a dramatic interview
between Mrs. Arnold and Mrs. Prevost shortly after the discovery of
Arnold's treason, the particulars of which Davis says Burr obtained from
the latter lady after she became his wife.--Our author is not consistent
in his own statements. Upon one page he describes Mrs. Prevost, about
the time of her marriage, as "the beautiful Mrs. Prevost"; a few pages
farther on he says she was "not beautiful, being past her prime." He
informs us that it is the fashion to underrate Jefferson, that the
polite circles and writers of the country have never sympathized with
him,--and in the very same paragraph he remarks that "Thomas Jefferson
has been for fifty years the victim of incessant eulogy."

This carelessness in reciting facts is associated with a certain
confusion of mind. Mr. Parton does not appear to have the power of
distinguishing between conflicting statements of the same thing. He
describes Hamilton as honest and generous, and then accuses him of
malignity and dishonorable intrigue. He says that Wilkinson, at that
time a general in the United States service, may have thought of
hastening the dissolution of the Union "without being in any sense a
traitor." How an officer can meditate the destruction of a government
which he has sworn to protect, and not be in any sense of the word a
traitor, will puzzle minds not educated in what the author calls "the
Burr school." But the most curious exhibition which Mr. Parton makes of
this mental and moral confusion occurs in a passage where he attempts to
prove his assertion, that "Burr has done the state some service, though
they know it not." This service, of which the state has continued so
obstinately ignorant, consists mainly in having invented filibustering,
and in having brought duelling into disgrace by killing Hamilton. "That
was a benefit," our moralist gravely remarks concerning this last claim
to gratitude. Certainly; just such a benefit as Captain Kidd conferred
upon the world; he brought piracy into disgrace by being hanged for it.
As to the invention of filibustering, we are hardly disposed to rank
Burr with Fulton and Morse for his valuable discovery; but perhaps
the shades of Lopez and De Boulbon, and the living "gray-eyed man of
destiny," will worship him as the founder of their order.

It is impossible to define Mr. Parton's opinion of his hero. It is not
very clear to himself. He is inclined to admire him, and is quite sure
that he has been harshly dealt with. In the Preface he intimates that it
is his purpose to exhibit Burr's good qualities,--for, as he says, "it
is the good in a man who goes astray that ought most to alarm and warn
his fellow-men." The converse of which proposition we suppose the author
thinks equally true, and that it is the evil in a man who does not go
astray which ought most to delight and attract his fellow-men. At the
end of the volume Mr. Parton makes a summary of Burr's character,--says
that he was too good for a politician, and not great enough for a
statesman,--that Nature meant him for a schoolmaster,--that he was a
useful Senator, an ideal Vice-President, and would have been a good
President,--and that, if his Mexican expedition had succeeded, he would
have run a career similar to that of Napoleon. We do not dare attack
this extraordinary eulogy. To describe a man as not great enough for
a statesman, yet fitted to make a good President, as a natural-born
schoolmaster and at the same time a Napoleon, argues a boldness of
conception which makes criticism dangerous.

Mr. Parton occasionally assumes an air of impartiality, and mildly
expresses his disapprobation of Burr's vices; but in every instance
where those vices were displayed he earnestly defends him. In the
contest with Jefferson, Parton insists that Burr acted honorably; in the
duel with Hamilton, Burr was the injured party; in his amours he was not
a bad man; so that, although we are told that Burr had faults, we look
in vain for any exhibition of them. In the cases where we have been
accustomed to think that his passions led him into crime, he either
displayed the strictest virtue, or, at most, sinned in so gentlemanlike
a manner, with so much kindness and generosity, as hardly to sin at all.

There are three ways of writing a biography: one is, to make a simple
narrative and leave the reader to form his own opinion; another, to
present the facts so as to illustrate the author's conception of his
hero's character; a third, and the most common way, to proceed like an
advocate, to suppress everything which can be suppressed, to sneer
at everything which cannot be answered, to put the most favorable
construction upon all dubious matters, and to throw the strongest light
upon every fortunate circumstance. Mr. Parton has tried all three modes,
and failed in all. He is an unskilful delineator of character, a poor
story-teller, and a worse advocate. His book, despite its spasmodic
style, lacks vigor. It indicates a want of firmness and precision of
thought. It leaves a mixed impression on the mind. We venture to say,
that two thirds of its readers will close the volume with an indefinite
contradictory opinion that Burr was a sort of villanous saint, and that
the other third, by no means the most inattentive readers, will not be
able to form any opinion whatever.

There are four periods or events in the life of Burr which are worthy of
attention: his career in the army; his political course and contest with
Jefferson; the duel; and the Mexican expedition. Upon the first and most
pleasing portion of his life we cannot dwell. He entered the service
shortly after the battle of Bunker Hill, and in two years rose to a
Lieutenant-Colonelcy. Though engaged in several important battles, he
did not have an opportunity to display great military talents, if he
possessed them. He was distinguished, but not more so than many other
young men. He resigned in the spring of 1779,--as he alleged, on account
of ill health, but more probably because the failure of the Lee and
Conway intrigue had disappointed his hopes of promotion.

As an indication of character, the most important circumstance of Burr's
military life was his quarrel with Washington. This difficulty is said
to have grown out of some scandalous affair in which Burr was engaged,
a belief which is strengthened by his intrigue with the beautiful and
unfortunate Margaret Moncrieffe a few months after. But aside from any
such cause, there was ground enough for difference in the characters of
the two men. Discipline compelled Washington to hold his subordinates at
a distance of implied, if not asserted inferiority; and Burr never met
a man to whom he thought himself inferior. Mr. Parton's explanation is,
that "Hamilton probably implanted a dislike for Burr in Washington's
breast." The only difficulty with this theory is one which the author's
suppositions often encounter,--it has no foundation in fact. At the
time that Burr was in Washington's family, Hamilton was probably not
acquainted with the General; he did not enter his staff until nine
months after Burr had left it.

Burr entered public life at the only period in our history when a man of
his stamp of mind could have played a conspicuous part. At the close
of the Revolution, in addition to the Tories, there were already two
political factions in New York. As early as 1777 the Whigs had divided
upon the election for Governor, and George Clinton was chosen over
Philip Schuyler. The division then created continued after the peace,
but the differences were, at first, purely personal. Schuyler was the
leader of a party made up of a few great families, most prominent among
which were the Van Rensselaers and Livingstons. The Van Rensselaers have
never been particularly distinguished except as the possessors of a
great estate; the Livingstons, on the other hand, second only to the
great Dutch family in wealth, far surpassed them in political power and
reputation. The Van Rensselaers and Schuylers were connected with the
Livingstons by marriage; and this powerful association, made more
powerful by the banishment of the wealthy inhabitants of New York city
and Long Island, was still further strengthened by the connection with
it of Alexander Hamilton, who married a daughter of Philip Schuyler, and
John Jay, who married a daughter of William Livingston. The Schuyler
faction excited that opposition which wealth and social and political
influence always excite. A party arose which was composed of men of
every condition and shade of opinion,--those who were galled by the
exclusiveness of the aristocracy,--those who had joined the opposition
to Washington,--the young men who had made their reputation during the
war and were eager for professional and political promotion,--and all
those who were converts to the new doctrines of government which the
dispute with England had originated. At the head of these was George
Clinton. Though a man of liberal education, and trained to a liberal
profession, he had not the showy and attractive accomplishments which
distinguished his rivals; but he possessed in an extraordinary degree
those more sturdy qualities of mind and character which, in a country
where distinction is in the gift of the people, are always generously
rewarded. He had great aptitude for business, a clear and rapid
judgment, and high physical and moral courage. He was faithful to his
friends, and though an unyielding, he was a magnanimous foe. At a time
when politics were looked upon almost wholly as the means of personal
and family aggrandizement, and the motives of party conduct such as flow
from the passions of men, he, more than any of his opponents, adhered to
a consistent and not illiberal theory of public action.

At the outset of his political career, Burr acted upon the policy which
always governed him. He attached himself closely to neither party. When
the political issues grew broader, he was careful not to connect himself
with any measure. He did not heartily oppose the abolition of the Tory
disabilities, nor the adoption of the Constitution. He was a Clintonian,
but not so decidedly as to prevent him from attempting to defeat
Clinton. With a few adherents, he stood between the two parties and
maintained a position where he could avail himself of any overtures
which might be made to him; yet he was careful to be so far identified
with one side as to be able to claim some political association whenever
it became necessary to do so. His success in this artful course was
remarkable. Nominally a Clintonian, in 1789 he supported Yates, and a
few months afterwards took office under Clinton. In 1791, while holding
a place under a Republican governor, he persuaded a Federal legislature
to send him to the Senate of the United States. In the Senate he sided
with the opposition, but so moderately that some Federalists were
willing to support him for Governor. The Republicans nominated him for
the Vice-Presidency, and shortly after, the Federalists in Congress,
almost in a body, voted for him for the Presidency. During all this
time, his name was not associated with any important measure except a
fraudulent banking-scheme in New York.

The occasion of his elevation to the Vice-Presidency is a perfect
illustration of the accidental circumstances and unimportant services to
which he was generally indebted for advancement. From the commencement
of the Presidential canvass of 1800, it was evident that the action of
New York would control the election. That State then had twelve votes
in the Electoral College; but the electors were chosen by the
Legislature,--not, as at present, by the people. The parties in New York
were nearly equal, and the result in the Legislature was very doubtful.
The city of New York sent twelve members to the Assembly, and usually
determined the political complexion of that body. Thus the contest in
the nation was narrowed down to a single city, and that not a large
one. This gave Burr a favorable field for the exercise of his peculiar
talents. His energy, tact, unscrupulousness, and art in conciliating the
hostile and animating the indifferent made him unequalled in political
finesse. He did not hesitate to use any means in his power. Some one in
his pay overheard the discussion in a Federal caucus, and revealed to
him the plans of his opponents. He had become unpopular, and had brought
odium upon his party by a corrupt speculation; he therefore declined
presenting his own name, and made a ticket comprehending the most
distinguished persons in the Republican ranks. George Clinton, Gen.
Gates, and Brockholst Livingston were placed at the head of it. The
most urgent solicitations were necessary to persuade these gentlemen to
consent to a nomination for places which were beneath their pretensions,
but Burr answered every objection and overcame every scruple. The
respectability of the candidates and the vigorous prosecution of the
canvass carried the city by a considerable majority, and insured the
election of Mr. Jefferson. Mr. Parton finds in this abundant material
for extravagant eulogy of Burr. But most people will be surprised to
learn that such services constituted a claim to the Vice-Presidency. If
being an adroit politician entitles a person to high office, there is
not a town in New York which cannot furnish half a dozen statesmen whose
exploits have been far more remarkable than Burr's.

Burr's nomination, however, was not solely due to his labors at this
election, but in part also to his subsequent address. The importance
of New York made it desirable to select the candidate for the
Vice-Presidency from that State. A caucus of the Republican members
of Congress directed Mr. Gallatin to ascertain who would be the most
acceptable candidate. He wrote to Commodore Nicholson, asking him to
discover the sentiments of the leading men in the State. The names of
Livingston, George Clinton, and Burr had been suggested. Livingston was
deaf, and Nicholson is said to have determined to recommend Clinton.
Burr, however, saw him afterwards, and persuaded him to substitute his
name instead of Clinton's in the letter which he had prepared to send
to Philadelphia. Col. Burr was accordingly placed upon the Republican

The tie vote between Jefferson and Burr, which unexpectedly occurred
in the Electoral College, has given rise to the assertion that Burr
endeavored to defeat Jefferson and secure his own election. Mr. Parton
devotes a chapter to the refutation of this charge, but does not succeed
in making a very strong argument. The evidence of Burr's treachery, is
as positive as from the nature of the case it can be. Of course, he made
no open pledges; it was unnecessary, and it would have been impolitic to
do so. The main fact cannot be denied, that for several weeks before and
after the election went to the House of Representatives, Burr was openly
supported by the Federalists in opposition to Jefferson. Burr knew it;
everybody knew it. Why was this support given? It will require plain
proof to satisfy any one who is familiar with the motives of political
action, that a party would have so earnestly advocated the election of
any man without good reason to suppose that he would make an adequate
return for its support. There was but one course which Burr, in honor,
could take; he should have peremptorily refused to permit his name to be
used. A word from him would have ended the matter; but that word was not
spoken. The evidence on the other side consists of some statements made
several years after, by parties concerned, which are by no means
so direct and unequivocal as might be wished,--and of a series
of depositions taken in some lawsuits instituted by Col. Burr to
investigate the truth of this charge. One circumstance, which seems to
have escaped the notice of our biographer, casts suspicion upon all
these documents. Burr applied to Samuel Smith, a United States Senator
from Maryland, for his testimony. Smith gives the following account of
the transaction:--"Col. Burr called on me. I told him that I had written
my deposition, and would have a fair copy made of it. He said, 'Trust
it to me and I will get Mr. ---- to copy it.' I did so, and, on his
returning it to me, _I found words not mine interpolated in the copy_."
It is not worth while to discuss a defence which was made out by

His election to the Vice-Presidency terminated Burr's official career.
He was deserted by his party, and denounced by the Republican press.
Burning with resentment, he turned upon his enemies, and, supported by
the Federalists, became a candidate for the Governorship of New York,
in opposition to the Republican nominee. Hamilton, who alone among the
Federal statesmen had openly opposed Burr during the contest for the
Presidency, again separated from his party, and earnestly denounced him.
Burr was defeated by an enormous majority. His disappointment and anger
at being again foiled by Hamilton prompted him to the most notorious and
unfortunate act of his life.

In speaking of his duel with Gen. Hamilton, we do not intend to judge
Col. Burr's conduct by the rules by which a more enlightened public
opinion now judges the duellist. He and his adversary acted according
to the custom of their time; by that standard let them be measured.
Mr. Parton thinks that the challenge was as "near an approach to
a reasonable and inevitable action as an action can be which is
intrinsically wrong and absurd." By this we understand him to say that
the course of Col. Burr was in accordance with the etiquette which then
governed men of the world in such affairs. We think differently.

During the election for Governor, Dr. Cooper, of Albany, heard Hamilton
declare that he was opposed to Burr, and made a public statement to that
effect. Gen. Schuyler denied the truth of this assertion, which Dr.
Cooper then reiterated in a published letter, saying that Hamilton and
Judge Kent had both characterized Burr as "a dangerous man, and one who
ought not to be trusted with the reins of government," and that "he
could detail a _still more despicable opinion_ which Gen. Hamilton had
expressed of Mr. Burr." Nearly two months after this letter was
written, Burr addressed a note to Hamilton asking for an unqualified
acknowledgment or denial of the use of any expression which would
justify Dr. Cooper's assertion. The dispute turned upon the words "more
despicable," and as to them there obviously were many difficulties.
Cooper thought that the expression, "a dangerous man and one who ought
not to be trusted with the reins of government," conveyed a despicable
opinion; but many persons might think that such language did not go
beyond the reasonable limits of political animadversion. Burr himself
made no objection to that particular phrase; he did not allude to it
except by way of explanation. The use of such language was common.
In his celebrated attack upon John Adams, Hamilton had spoken of Mr.
Jefferson as an "ineligible and dangerous candidate." The same words had
been publicly applied to Burr himself, two years before. He did not see
anything despicable in the opinion then expressed. A man may be unfit
for office from lack of capacity, and dangerous on account of his
principles. The most rigid construction of the Code of Honor has never
compelled a person to fight every fool whom he thought unworthy of
public station, and every demagogue whose views he considered unsound.
If Dr. Cooper, then, was able to discover a despicable opinion where
most people could find none, might he not have seen what he called a
_more despicable opinion_ in some remark equally innocent? Burr did not
ask what were the precise terms of the remark to which Cooper alluded;
he demanded that Hamilton should disavow Cooper's construction of that
expression. He took offence, not at what had been said, but at the
inference which another had drawn from what had been said. The
justification of such an inference devolved upon Cooper, not
Hamilton,--who by no rule of courtesy could be interrogated as to the
justice of another's opinions. These difficulties presented themselves
to the mind of Hamilton. He stated them in his reply, declared that he
was ready to answer for any precise or definite opinion which he had
expressed, but refused to explain the import which others had placed
upon his language. Unfortunately, the last line of his note contained
an intimation that he expected a challenge. Burr rudely retorted,
reiterating his demand in most insolent terms. The correspondence then
passed into the hands of Nathaniel Pendleton on the part of Hamilton,
and William P. Van Ness, a man of peculiar malignity of character, upon
the part of Burr. The responsibility of his position weighing upon
Hamilton's mind, before the final step was taken, he voluntarily stated
that the conversation with Dr. Cooper "related exclusively to political
topics, and did not attribute to Burr any instance of dishonorable
conduct," and again offered to explain any specific remark. This
generous, unusual, and, according to strict etiquette, unwarranted
proposition removed at once Burr's cause of complaint. Had he been
disposed to an honorable accommodation, he would have received
Hamilton's proposal in the spirit in which it was made. But, embarrassed
by this liberal offer, he at once changed his ground, abandoned Cooper's
remark, which had previously been the sole subject of discussion, and
peremptorily insisted that Gen. Hamilton should deny _ever_ having made
remarks from which inferences derogatory to him could fairly have been
drawn. This demand was plainly unjustifiable. No person would answer
such an interrogatory. It showed that Burr's desire was, not to satisfy
his honor, but to goad his adversary to the field. It establishes the
general charge, which Parton virtually admits, that it was not passion
excited by a recent insult which impelled him to revenge, but hatred
engendered during years of rivalry and stimulated by his late defeat.
Burr must long have known Hamilton's feelings towards him. Those
feelings had been freely expressed; and Burr's letters discover that he
was fully aware of the distrust and hostility with which he was regarded
by his political associates and opponents. A man has no claim to
satisfaction for an insult given years ago. The entire theory of the
duello makes it impossible for one to ask redress for an injury which he
has long permitted to go unredressed. The question being, not whether
the practice of duelling is wrong, but whether Burr was wrong according
to that practice, we have no difficulty in concluding that the challenge
was given upon vague and unjustifiable grounds, and that Gen. Hamilton
would have been excusable, if he had refused to meet him.

It may be said, that, if Hamilton accepted an improper challenge, he
should receive the same condemnation as the one who gave it. But, even
on general grounds, some qualification should be made in favor of
the challenged party. His is a different position from that of the
challenger. A sensitive man, though he think that he is improperly
questioned, may have some delicacy about making his own judgment the
rule of another's conduct. Besides, there were many considerations
peculiar to this case. The menacing tone of Burr's first note made it
evident that he meant to force the quarrel to a bloody issue. Hamilton,
jealous of his reputation for courage, could not run the risk of
appearing anxious to avoid a danger so apparent. Moreover, he was
conscious, that, during his life, he had said many things which might
give Burr cause for offence, and he was unwilling to avail himself of a
technical, though reasonable objection, to escape the consequences of
his own remarks. Neither could he apologize for what he still thought
was true. These considerations were doubly powerful with Hamilton. His
early manhood had been passed in camps; his early fame had been won
in the profession of arms. He was a man of the world. He had never
discountenanced duelling; he himself had been engaged in the affair
between Laurens and Lee; and a few years before, his own son had fallen
in a duel. Neither his education nor his professions nor his practice
could excuse him. It was too late to take shelter behind his general
disapproval of a custom which was recognized by his professional
brethren and had been countenanced by himself. It is true that he would
have shown a higher courage by braving an ignorant and brutal public
opinion, but it would be unjust to censure him for not showing a degree
of courage which no man of his day displayed. He and Burr are to be
measured by their own standard, not by ours; and tried by that test, it
is easy to see a difference between one who accepts and one who sends an
unjustifiable challenge; it is the difference which exists between an
error and a crime.

There was an interval of two weeks between the message and the meeting.
This was required by Hamilton to finish some important law business.
When he went to White Plains to try causes, he was in the habit of
staying at a friend's house. The last time he visited there, a few days
before his death, he said, upon leaving, "I shall probably never come
here again." During this period he invited Col. Wm. Smith, and his wife,
who was the only daughter of John Adams, to dine with him. Some rare old
Madeira which had been given to him was produced on this occasion, and
it was afterwards thought that it was his intention by this slight act
to express his desire to bury all personal differences between Mr. Adams
and himself. These, and various other little incidents, show that he
felt his death to be certain; yet all his business in court and out was
marked by his ordinary clearness and ability, all his intercourse with
his family and friends by his usual sweetness and cheerfulness of

On the Fourth of July, Hamilton and Burr met at the annual banquet of
the Society of Cincinnati. Hamilton presided. No one was afterwards able
to remember that his manner gave any indication of the dreadful event
which was so near at hand. He joined freely in the conversation and
badinage of such occasions, and towards the close of the feast sang
a song,--the only one he knew,--the ballad of the Drum. But many
remembered that Burr was silent and moody. He did not look towards
Hamilton until he began to sing, when he fixed his eyes upon him and
gazed intently at him until the song was ended.

Hamilton was living at the Grange, his country-seat, near
Manhattanville. The place is still unchanged. His office was in a small
house on Cedar Street, where he likewise found lodgings when necessary.
The night previous to the duel was passed there. We have been told by
an aged citizen of New York, that Hamilton was seen long after midnight
walking to and fro in front of the house.

During these last hours both parties wrote a few farewell lines. In no
act of their lives does the difference in the characters of Hamilton and
Burr show itself so distinctly as in these parting letters. Hamilton was
oppressed by the difficulties and responsibilities of his situation. His
duty to his creditors and his family forbade him rashly to expose a life
which was so valuable to them; his duty to his country forbade him to
leave so evil an example; he was not conscious of ill-will towards Col.
Burr; and his nature revolted at the thought of destroying human life in
a private quarrel. These thoughts, and the considerations of pride and
ambition which nevertheless controlled him, are beautifully expressed in
language which is full of pathos and manly dignity. He had made his
will the day before. He was distressed lest his estate should prove
insufficient to pay his debts, and, after committing their mother to
the filial protection of his children, he besought them, as his last
request, to vindicate his memory by making up any deficiency which might
occur. Burr's letters to Theodosia and her husband are mainly occupied
with directions as to the disposal of his property and papers. The
tone of them does not differ greatly from that of his ordinary
correspondence. They do not contain a word such as an affectionate
father or a patriotic citizen would have written at such a time. They
do not express a sentiment such as a generous and thoughtful man would
naturally feel on the eve of so momentous an occurrence. There are no
misgivings as to the propriety of his conduct, nor a whisper of regret
at the unfortunate circumstances which, as he professed to think,
compelled him to seek another's blood. He addressed to his daughter
a few lines of graceful compliment, and, in striking contrast with
Hamilton's injunction to his children, Burr's last request with regard
to Theodosia is, that she shall acquire a "critical knowledge of Latin,
English, and all branches of natural philosophy."

The combatants met on the 11th of July, 1804, at a place beneath the
heights of Weehawken, upon the New Jersey side of the Hudson,--the usual
resort, at that time, for such encounters. Burr fired the moment the
word was given, raising his arm deliberately and taking aim. The ball
struck Hamilton on the side, and, as he reeled under the blow, his
pistol was discharged into the air. "I should have shot him through the
heart," said Burr, afterwards, "but, at the moment I was about to fire,
my aim was confused by a vapor." Burr stepped forward with a gesture of
regret, when he saw his adversary fall; but his second hurried him from
the field, screening him with an umbrella from the recognition of the
surgeon and bargemen.

Hamilton was carried to the house of Mr. Bayard, in the suburbs of the
city. The news flew through the town, producing intense excitement.
Bulletins were posted at the Tontine, and changed with every new report.
Crowds soon gathered around Mr. Bayard's house, and in the grounds. So
deep was the feeling, that visitors were permitted to pass one by one
through the room where Gen. Hamilton was lying. From the first, there
was no hope of his recovery. This opinion of the most eminent surgeons
in the city was concurred in by the surgeons of two French frigates in
the harbor, who were consulted. Gen. Hamilton was a man of slight frame,
and a disorder, from which he had recently suffered, prevented the use
of the ordinary remedies. He retained his composure to the last; nor was
his fortitude disturbed until his seven children approached his bedside.
He gave them one look, and, closing his eyes, did not open them again
while they remained in the room. He expired at two o'clock on the day
after the duel.

He was not the only victim. His oldest daughter, a girl of twenty, whose
education he had carefully directed, and whose musical talents gave him
great pleasure, never recovered from the shock of her father's death.
In her disordered fancy, she visited by night the fatal ground at
Weehawken, and told her friends that she crossed the river and returned
before morning. Her mind soon gave way entirely; and only last spring
death released her from a total, though gentle insanity of fifty years'

The sudden and tragic death of Alexander Hamilton produced a universal
feeling of sympathy and sorrow. As the leader of the bar, the advocate
of the Constitution, the statesman who had given the law to American
commerce, the most accomplished soldier in the army, and connected
with the still recent glories of the Revolution,--his name had become
familiar to every ear, and was associated with every subject of popular
interest. His career was, in all respects, an extraordinary one. He came
here a stranger, without fortune or powerful family connections. While
yet a school-boy, he had borne a creditable part in the discussion of
public affairs. At an age when the ambition of most young soldiers
is satisfied, if, by the performance of their ordinary duties as
subalterns, they have attracted the regard of their superiors, he was
in a position of responsibility, and occupied with the most serious and
complicated matters of war. He was one of the youngest and at the
same time one of the most influential members of the Constitutional
Convention. To this distinction in affairs and arms he added equal
distinction at the bar. It will be difficult to find in our history, or
in that of England, an instance of such eminence in three departments of
action so distinct and dissimilar. Although it may he said of Hamilton,
that he had not the intuitive perception, which Jefferson possessed, of
the necessities imposed upon the country by its anomalous condition,
yet, as a statesman under an established government, he was surpassed
by no man of his generation. His talents were of the kind which most
attracts the sympathies and impresses the understandings of others. He
was a grave man, occupied with business affairs, but not unequal to
occasions which required the display of taste and eloquence. His solid
qualities of mind inspired universal confidence in the soundness of
his views upon all questions which were not the subject of political
dispute. There were many plain Republicans of that day who were firmly
attached to the principles which Jefferson advocated, but who thought
that Jefferson was a dreamer and an enthusiast, and that Hamilton was a
far safer man in the ordinary affairs of government.

The grief which the death of Hamilton caused in the nation reacted upon
Burr; and when the correspondence was published, a storm of condemnation
burst upon him. Indictments were found against him in New York and New
Jersey. In every pulpit, upon every platform, where the virtues and
services of Hamilton were celebrated, the features of his malignant foe
were displayed in dramatic contrast. He was compared to Richard III. and
Catiline, to Saul, and to the wretch who fired the temple of Diana. This
feeling was not confined to orators and clergymen, nor to this country.
It reached other communities, and was shared by men of the world like
Talleyrand, and retired students like Jeremy Bentham. The former, a few
years before his death, related to an American gentleman, that Burr, on
his arrival in Paris, in 1810, sent to him and requested an interview.
The French statesman could not well refuse to receive an American of
such distinction, with whom he was personally acquainted, and by whom
he had formerly been hospitably entertained, and told the gentleman
who brought the message,--"Say to Col. Burr, that I will receive him
to-morrow; but tell him also, that Gen. Hamilton's likeness always hangs
over my mantel." Burr did not call upon him. Talleyrand directed that
after his death the miniature should be sent to Hamilton's descendants,
with some newspaper scraps relating to him, which he had thrust into the
lining. When Burr was in England, he became intimate with Bentham. The
latter, in his "Memoirs and Correspondence," makes a brief allusion to
the acquaintance, in which the following passage occurs: "Burr gave me
an account of his duel with Hamilton. He was sure of being able to kill
him: _so I thought it little better than a murder_."

Previously to his retirement from the Vice-Presidency, in March, 1805,
Burr had formed the design of seeking a home in the Southwest. Little
more than a year before, Louisiana had been annexed, and then offered
a wide field to an ambitious man. Encouraged by some acquaintances, he
projected various political and financial speculations. In April, he
repaired to Pittsburg, and started upon a journey down the Ohio and
the Mississippi. On the way, curiosity led him to the house of Herman
Blennerhassett, and he thus accidentally made the acquaintance of a
man whose name has become historic by its association with his own.
Blennerhassett was an Irishman by birth; he had inherited a considerable
fortune, and was a man of education. Beguiled by the belief that in
the retirement of the American forests he would find the solitude most
congenial to the pursuit of his favorite studies, he purchased an island
in the Ohio River near the mouth of the Little Kanawha. He expended most
of his property in building a house and adorning his grounds. The house
was a plain wooden structure; and the shrubbery, in its best estate,
could hardly have excited the envy of Shenstone. Men of strong character
are not dependent upon certain conditions of climate and quiet for the
ability to accomplish their purposes. But Blennerhassett was not a man
of strong character; neither was he an exception to this rule. He was,
at the best, but an idle student; and his zeal for science never carried
him beyond a little desultory study of Astronomy and Botany and some
absurd experiments in Chemistry. His figure was awkward, his manners
were ungracious, and he was so near-sighted that he used to take a
servant hunting with him, to show him the game. His credulity and
want of worldly knowledge exposed him to the practices of the shrewd
frontiers-men among whom he lived. He soon became involved in debt, and
at the time of Burr's visit his situation made him a ready volunteer for
any enterprise which promised to repair his shattered fortunes. That the
enterprise was impracticable, and that he was unfit for it, only made it
more attractive to his imaginative and simple mind. The fancy of Wirt
has thrown a deceptive romance around the career of Blennerhassett, yet
there is enough of truth in the account of the misfortunes which Burr
brought upon him and his amiable wife to justify the sympathy with which
they have been regarded.

Soon after his arrival at New Orleans Burr seems to have formed bolder
designs. From this time we find in his correspondence, and that of his
friends, vague hints of some great undertaking. This proved to be a
project for an expedition against Mexico, and the establishment there
of an Empire which was to include the States west of the Alleghanies;
subsidiary to this, and connected with it, was a plan for the
colonization of a large tract of land upon the Washita.

It is difficult to believe that a design so absurd can have been
entertained by a man of common sense; yet it is certain that it was
seriously undertaken by Burr. His conduct in carrying it out furnishes
the best measure of his talents and a signal exhibition of his folly and
his vices. His high standing, his reputation as a soldier, attracted
the vulgar, and brought him into intercourse with the most intelligent
people of the Territory. The fascination of his manners, and the skill
in the arts of intrigue which long discipline had given him, enabled
him to sustain the impression which the prestige of his name everywhere
produced. The details of his political conduct could not have been
accurately known in a region so remote. The affair with Hamilton had not
injured his reputation in communities where such affairs were common
and often applauded. The circumstances of the time, to his superficial
glance, seemed to be encouraging. A large portion of the country had
lately passed under our flag;--many of the inhabitants spoke a foreign
language, and retained foreign customs and predilections;--the American
settlers were an adventurous race, and eager for an opportunity to
indulge their martial spirit;--Mexico was uneasy under the Spanish
yoke;--and some indications of a war between the United States and Spain
held out a faint hope that the initiatory steps of his enterprise might
be taken with the connivance of the government. To recruit an army among
the hardy citizens of Kentucky and Tennessee, to excite the jealousies
of the French in Louisiana, to subdue feeble and demoralized Mexico, and
create a new and stable empire, did not appear difficult to the sanguine
imagination of a man who was without means or powerful friends, and who
at no time had sufficient confidence in those with whom he was engaged
to fully inform them of his plans. But he pursued his purposes with a
tenacity which leaves no doubt of his sincerity, and an audacity and
unscrupulousness seldom equalled. A few whom he thought it safe to trust
were admitted to his secrets. Upon those in whom he did not dare to
confide he practised every species of deception. He told some, that his
intentions were approved by the government,--others, that his expedition
was against Mexico only, and that he was sure of foreign aid. He
represented to the honest, that he had bought lands, and wished to form
a colony and institute a new and better order of society; the ignorant
were deluded with a fanciful tale of Southern conquest, and a
magnificent empire, of which he was to be king, and Theodosia queen
after his death. So thoroughly was this deception carried out, that it
is difficult to determine who were actually engaged with him. Without
doubt, many acceded to his plans only because they did not knew what his
plans really were. He made rapid journeys from New Orleans to Natchez,
Nashville, Lexington, Louisville, and St. Louis. In the winter of 1805
he returned to Washington, and in the following summer again went
down the Ohio. Wherever he went, he threw out complaints against the
government,--charged it with imbecility,--boasted that with two hundred
men he could drive the President and Congress into the Potomac,--freely
prophesied a dissolution of the Union, and published in the local
journals articles pointing out the advantages which would result from a
separation of the Western from the Eastern States. Gen. Eaton had been
denounced in Congress, and had a claim against the government; Burr
tempted him with an opportunity to redress his wrongs and satisfy his
claim. Commodore Truxton had been struck from the Navy list; he offered
him a high command in the Mexican navy. He took every occasion to
flatter the vanity of the people; attended militia parades, and praised
the troops for their discipline and martial bearing. Large donations
of land were freely promised to recruits; men were enlisted;
Blennerhassett's Island was made the rendezvous; and provisions were
gathered there.

At length his movements began to cause some anxiety to the public
officers. The United States District Attorney attempted to indict him at
Frankfort, Kentucky, but the grand-jury refused to find a bill. Henry
Clay defended him in these proceedings, and in reference to his
connection with the case, Mr. Parton makes a characteristic display of
the spirit in which his book is written, and of his unfitness for the
ambitious task he has undertaken. He quotes the following passage from
Collins's "Historical Sketches of Kentucky":--"Before Mr. Clay took
any active part as the counsel of Burr, he required of him an explicit
disavowal, [avowal,] upon his honor, that he was engaged in no design
contrary to the laws and peace of the country. This pledge was
promptly given by Burr, in language the most broad, comprehensive, and
particular. He had no design, he said, to intermeddle with or disturb
the tranquillity of the United States, nor its territories, nor any part
of them. He had neither issued nor signed nor promised a commission to
any person for any purpose. He did not own a single musket, nor bayonet,
nor any single article of military stores,--nor did any other person
for him, by his authority or knowledge. His views had been explained
to several distinguished members of the administration, were well
understood and approved by the government. They were such as every man
of honor and every good citizen must approve." Upon this paragraph Mr.
Parton makes the following extraordinary comments:--"Mr. Clay, there is
reason to believe, went to his grave in the belief that each of these
assertions was an unmitigated falsehood, and the writer of the above
adduces them merely as remarkable instances of cool, impudent lying.
On the contrary, with one exception, all of Burr's allegations were
strictly true; and even that one was true in a _Burrian_ sense. He did
_not_ own any arms or military stores: by the terms of his engagement
with his recruits, every man was to join him armed, just as every
backwoodsman was armed whenever he went from home. He had _not_ issued
nor promised any commissions: the time had not come for that. Jefferson
and his cabinet undoubtedly knew his views and intentions, up to the
point where they ceased to be lawful."

To this miserable tissue of sophistry and misrepresentation the only
reply we have to make is, that Burr's statements were the unmitigated
falsehoods which Henry Clay believed them to be. For at that very time
stores were collected on Blennerhassett's Island; other persons were
bringing arms for Burr's service and with his knowledge; the winter
previous he had offered commissions to Eaton and Truxton; and a month
before this statement was made, his agent had arrived at Wilkinson's
camp with the direct proposition to that officer, that he should attack
the Spaniards, hurry his country into a war, and enter upon a career of
conquest which was to result in dismembering the Union. And yet Burr
solemnly declared upon his honor that he was engaged in no design
"contrary to the laws and peace of the country," and that "his
views were such as every man of honor and every good citizen must
approve,"--and Parton says these averments were true. We have no wish
to deal harshly with this writer; but such an impudent defence of a
palpable falsehood is a disgrace to American letters.

Every well-informed person knows the miserable issue of this
ill-contrived conspiracy. The only emotion which it now excites in the
student is wonder that the thought of it could ever have entered a sane
mind. A wilder or more chimerical scheme never disturbed the dreams of
a schoolboy; yet no one has ever pressed a reasonable undertaking with
more earnestness and confidence than Burr his visionary purpose. He
exhibited, throughout, an infatuation and a degree of incompetency for
great achievements, which would cover the enterprise with ridicule, were
it not for the misfortunes which it brought upon himself and others.

We do not desire to linger over the last period of Burr's life. His
deadliest foe could not have wished for him so terrible a punishment as
that which afflicted his long and ignominious old age.

In 1808 he went to Europe to obtain aid for his Mexican expedition.
While in England, he made another display of his adroitness and boldness
in falsehood. The English government became suspicious of him; whereupon
he had the hardihood to claim, that, although he had borne arms against
Great Britain and had held office in an independent state, he was still
a British subject. Mr. Parton says, that this "was an amusing instance
of Burr's lawyerlike audacity." Less partial judges will probably find a
harsher term to apply to it.

After his return to this country, Burr resumed his profession in New
York, but never regained his former position at the bar. The standard
of legal acquirements was higher than it had been in his youth, and
the obloquy which rested upon him excluded him from the respectable
departments of practice. During all this time, by far the longest period
of his professional life, he never displayed any signal ability. His
society was shunned,--or sought only by a few personal admirers, or by
the profligate and the curious. When seventy-eight years of age, he
wheedled Madame Jumel, an eccentric and wealthy widow, into a marriage.
On the bridal trip he obtained possession of some of her property, and
squandered it in an idle speculation. A continuance of such practices
led to a separation, and his wife afterwards made application for a
divorce, upon a charge which Mr. Parton says is now known to have been
false, but which we have reason to believe was true, and which was so
disgusting that we cannot even hint at it.

It is our duty to notice one chapter in this book, which, more than
anything else it contains, has given it notoriety. We refer to
its defence of, or, to speak more mildly, its apology for, Burr's
libertinism. All the faults of the author which we have had occasion
to notice, examples of which are scattered through the volume, are
concentrated in these few pages,--his inconsistency, his inaccuracy,
his disposition to draw inferences from facts which they directly
contradict, and to rely on evidence which has nothing to do with the
case in hand. He argues at great length upon the assumption, that Burr's
correspondence with women was unfit for publication, and then, in
contradiction to Burr's own positive declaration, asserts that there
were "no letters necessarily criminating ladies." To prove this, he
publishes two letters, one of which is an apology, written by Burr
in his seventy-fourth year, for having addressed a young woman in an
improper manner, and the other is a letter from a female, couched in
language much warmer than an innocent woman could use. Mr. Parton
attacks Davis because that writer stated that Burr left his
correspondence to be disposed of by him, and eulogizes his hero because
he ordered that the letters should be burned. To establish this
position, he quotes Burr's will, which directed Davis "to destroy, or
to deliver to all persons interested, such letters, as may, _in his
estimation_, be calculated to affect injuriously the feelings of
individuals against whom I have no complaint,"--thus giving Mr. Davis
all the discretionary power with which he claims to have been invested,
and making him the judge as to what letters should be destroyed. We
have no more space to expose Mr. Parton's blunders and sophistry. The
evidence of Burr's debauchery, of his heartless vanity, of his utter
disregard of the considerations which usually govern even the worst of
men, does not rest upon the admissions of Davis alone. Those who are
familiar with a scandalous book called the "Secret History of St.
Domingo," which consists of a series of letters addressed to Col. Burr
by Madame D'Auvergne, will need no further illustration of his influence
over women, nor of the character of those with whom he was most
intimately associated. The night before his duel with Hamilton, he
committed all the letters of his female correspondents to the care and
perusal of Theodosia, saying that she would "find in them something to
amuse, much to instruct, and more to forgive." When in Europe, he kept a
journal in which he recorded his various amorous adventures. This book,
as published, is one which no gentleman would place in the hands of a
lady, and the editor tells us that the most improper portions of the
diary have been expurgated; yet this journal was written, not to amuse
a scandal-loving public, not for purposes of gain, but for the private
perusal of Theodosia. What can be said of a man who could expose
the lascivious expressions of abandoned females and retail his own
debaucheries to a gentle and innocent woman, and that woman his own
daughter? The mere statement beggars invective. It shows a mind so
depraved as to be unconscious of its depravity.

The character of Burr is not difficult to analyze. His life was
consistent, and at the beginning a wise man might have foretold the
end. Our author complains that Burr's reputation has suffered from
the disposition to exaggerate his faults. This may be true; but it is
likewise true that he has been benefited by the same disposition to
exaggeration. A character is more dramatic which unites great talents
with great vices, and therefore he has been represented both as a worse
and a greater man than he really was. Burr cannot be called great in
any sense. His successes, such as they were, never appear to have been
obtained by high mental effort. He has left not a single measure, no
speech, no written discussion of the various important subjects that
came before him, to which one can point as an exhibition of superior
talents. A certain description of ability cannot be denied to him. He
did well whatever could be done by address, courage, and industry,
joined to moderate talents. His chief power lay in the fascination of
personal intercourse. His countenance was pleasing, and illuminated
by eyes of singular beauty and vivacity; his bearing was lofty; his
self-possession could not be disturbed; he had the tact of a woman, and
an intellect which was active and equal to all ordinary occasions. But
even in society his range was a narrow one, and he seems to have been
successful mainly because he avoided positive effort. It is usual to
speak of him as a remarkable conversationalist; but if by that term we
mean to describe, a person who is distinguished for his eloquence, grace
of expression, information, force and originality of thought, Burr was
not a good converser. A distinguished gentleman, who, while young,
was much noticed by Burr, being asked in what his personal attraction
consisted, replied, "In his manner of listening to you. He seemed to
give your thought so much value by the air with which he received it,
and to find so much more meaning in your words than you had intended.
No flattery was equal to it." We think that this anecdote reveals the
entire power of the man. He was strong through the weakness of others,
rather than in his own strength. Therefore he was most attractive to
young or inferior people. He was not on terms of intimacy with any
leading man of his time, unless it was Jeremy Bentham, and the precise
nature of their relations is not understood. The philosopher, who could
not then boast many disciples, was favorably disposed toward Burr,
because the latter had ordered a London bookseller to send him Bentham's
works as fast as they were published. Upon acquaintance, he must have
been pleased with a gentleman with whom he could have had no cause for
dispute, who could supply him with information as to new and interesting
forms of society and government, and whose adventurous and romantic
career differed so widely from his own life of study and thought.

Burr's conduct in his various public situations affords a perfect
measure of his abilities. As a soldier, he was brave, a good
disciplinarian, watchful of details, and an excellent executive officer.
At the head of a brigade he would have been useful; but he did not
possess the foresight, the breadth of mental vision, nor the magnetism
of nature awakening the enthusiasm of armies, which are necessary to a
great commander. He was an adroit lawyer, an adept in the fence of his
profession, skilful to avail himself of the errors of an opponent, and
to play upon the foibles of judge or jury; but he had not the faculty
for generalization and analysis, nor the nice discrimination in the
application of general principles to particular instances, which must be
combined in a great lawyer. He cannot by any figure of speech be called
a statesman. As a politician, he was one of the first to discover and
one of the most skilful in the use of those unworthy arts which have
brought the pursuit of politics into disrepute; but we doubt whether
he could have succeeded upon the broader field of the present day.
Perfectly competent to manage a single city, he would have failed in an
attempt to govern a party. His talents were well defined by Jefferson,
who spoke of him as a great man in little things, and a small man in
great things.

One of the qualities most frequently attributed to Burr is fortitude;
upon this characteristic his biographer frequently dwells. And
indeed, when one reads of the misfortunes which came upon him,--the
disappointments which he encountered,--his poverty abroad,--his terrible
afflictions, and dreary old age,--and how gallantly he bore up under
all,--unblenching, unmurmuring, struggling cheerfully and patiently to
the end,--one cannot repress a feeling of admiration for the courage
which endured so much misery, and of pity for the faults which brought
that misery upon him. Such a feeling would be justified, if we could
believe that fortitude was a positive trait in his character. That is
to say, if he had been properly sensible of the odium which covered
his name, and had really felt the sorrows which visited him,--if these
things had moved him as they do others, and he had still gone on calmly
and bravely to the end, hiding the wounds which tortured him, and giving
no sign of pain,--he would, indeed, have been worthy of admiration;
he would have been a hero. But we think it will appear, upon a closer
examination, that his fortitude was a negative, not a positive quality;
it was insensibility, not courage. He did not suffer, because he did not
feel. The emotional part of our nature he did not possess; at least, it
did not show itself in any of the forms which it usually takes,--in love
of country, or of kindred,--in the opinions which he professed, or in
the subjects which occupied his thoughts. The first act of his manhood
was to join in the resistance of his countrymen to foreign oppression.
But it was no love of liberty that urged him to arms. He went to the
camp at Cambridge from the mere love of adventure. The sacred spirit
which gave nobility to so many,--which transformed mechanics,
tradesmen, village lawyers, and plain country-gentlemen into statesmen,
philosophers, diplomatists, and great captains,--which united the
children of many races into one nation, and roused a simple people to
deeds of lofty heroism,--awakened no enthusiasm in him. He was in the
very flush of youth, yet to his most intimate friends he did not breathe
a word of even moderate interest in the cause for which he had drawn his
sword. His political life was passed during the first twenty years of
our national existence, when men's minds were exercised in the effort to
adapt one government to the various and apparently conflicting interests
of many communities widely separated by distance, climate, and ancient
differences; but these complicated and momentous subjects, so absorbing
to all thoughtful men, never weighed upon his mind. He was in Europe
when Napoleon was at the height of his power, when his armies swept
from the Danube to the Guadalquivir; but that strange story, which the
giddiest school-girl cannot read with divided attention, drew no remark
from his lips. It is said that he was fond of his daughter;--it was a
fondness of the head, not of the heart. He admired her because she was
beautiful and intelligent;--had she been plain and dull, he would not
have cared for her. He made no return for the affection, warm and
generous, which her noble heart lavished upon him, liberal as the
sunlight. Had that earnest love touched, for a single instant, a
responsive chord in his heart, he could never have written those foul,
foul words to make her blush at the record of her father's shame.
Nowhere does he express regret for the misfortunes which he brought
upon others,--the bereaved family of Hamilton,--the ruin of
Blennerhassett,--the victims of his passions and his ambition. He spoke
freely, as if they were indifferent matters, of things which most men
would have concealed. He laughed at his trial,--alluded to Hamilton as
"my friend Hamilton, whom I shot,"--and used to repeat some doggerel
lines upon the duel, which he had seen in a strolling exhibition. It is
said that he was courteous and amiable, and that he did many kind and
generous acts. His courtesy and amiability did not restrain him from
perfidy and debauchery; neither did he ever do a kind act when an unkind
one would have served his purposes better.

As we have seen, Mr. Parton has described Aaron Burr as suited to many
very incongruous conditions in life. If we were to select an epoch in
history and a form of society for which he was best adapted, we should
place him in France daring the Regency and the reign of Louis XV. There,
where a successful _bon-mot_ established a claim to office, and a
well-turned leg did more for a man than the best mind in Europe, Burr
would have risen to distinction. He might have shone in the literary
circles at Sceaux, and in the _petits soupers_ at the Palais Royal.
Among the wits, the _littérateurs_, the fashionable men and women of
the time, he would have found society congenial to his tastes, and
sufficient employment for his talents. He would have exhibited in his
own life and character their vices and their superficial virtues, their
extravagance, libertinism, and impiety, their politeness, courage,
and wit. He might have borne a distinguished part in the petty
statesmanship, the intriguing diplomacy, and the wild speculations of
that period. But here, among the stern rebels of the Revolution and the
practical statesmen of the early Republic, this trickster and shallow
politician, this visionary adventurer and boaster of ladies' favors, was
out of place. He has given to his country nothing except a pernicious
example. The full light, which shows us that his vices may have
been exaggerated, shows likewise that his talents have surely been
overestimated. The contrast which gave fascination to his career is
destroyed; and for a partial vindication of his character he will pay
the penalty which he would most have dreaded, that of being forgotten.

       *       *       *       *       *



A lyric conception--my friend, the Poet, said--hits me like a bullet in
the forehead. I have often had the blood drop from my cheeks when it
struck, and felt that I turned as white as death. Then comes a creeping
as of centipedes running down the spine,--then a gasp and a great jump
of the heart,--then a sudden flush and a beating in the vessels of the
head,--then a long sigh,--and the poem is written.

It is an impromptu, I suppose, then, if you write it so suddenly,--I

No,--said he,--far from it. I said written, but I did not say _copied_.
Every such poem has a soul and a body, and it is the body of it, or the
copy, that men read and publishers pay for. The soul of it is born in an
instant in the poet's soul. It comes to him a thought, tangled in the
meshes of a few sweet words,--words that have loved each other from the
cradle of the language, but have never been wedded until now. Whether it
will ever fully embody itself in a bridal train of a dozen stanzas or
not is uncertain; but it exists potentially from the instant that the
poet turns pale with it. It is enough to stun and scare anybody, to have
a hot thought come crashing into his brain, and ploughing up those
parallel ruts where the wagon trains of common ideas were jogging along
in their regular sequences of association. No wonder the ancients made
the poetical impulse wholly external. [Greek: Maenin aeide, Thea],
Goddess,--Muse,--divine afflatus,--something outside always. _I_ never
wrote any verses worth reading. I can't. I am too stupid. If I ever
copied any that were worth reading, I was only a medium.

[I was talking all this time to our boarders, you understand,--telling
them what this poet told me. The company listened rather attentively, I
thought, considering the literary character of the remarks.]

The old gentleman opposite all at once asked me if I ever read anything
better than Pope's "Essay on Man"? Had I ever perused McFingal? He was
fond of poetry when he was a boy,--his mother taught him to say many
little pieces,--he remembered one beautiful hymn;--and the old gentleman
began, in a clear, loud voice, for his years,--

  "The spacious firmament on high,
  With all the blue ethereal sky,
  And spangled heavens,"----

He stopped, as if startled by our silence, and a faint flush ran up
beneath the thin white hairs that fell upon his cheek. As I looked
round, I was reminded of a show I once saw at the Museum,--the Sleeping
Beauty, I think they called it. The old man's sudden breaking out in
this way turned every face towards him, and each kept his posture as if
changed to stone. Our Celtic Bridget, or Biddy, is not a foolish fat
scullion to burst out crying for a sentiment. She is of the serviceable,
red-handed, broad-and-high-shouldered type; one of those imported female
servants who are known in public by their amorphous style of person,
their stoop forwards, and a headlong and as it were precipitous
walk,--the waist plunging downwards into the rocking pelvis at every
heavy footfall. Bridget, constituted for action, not for emotion, was
about to deposit a plate heaped with something upon the table, when I
saw the coarse arm stretched by my shoulder arrested,--motionless as the
arm of a terra-cotta caryatid; she couldn't set the plate down while the
old gentleman was speaking!

He was quite silent after this, still wearing the slight flush on his
cheek. Don't ever think the poetry is dead in an old man because his
forehead is wrinkled, or that his manhood has left him when his hand
trembles! If they ever _were_ there, they _are_ there still!

By and by we got talking again.--Does a poet love the verses written
through him, do you think, Sir?--said the divinity-student.

So long as they are warm from his mind, carry any of his animal heat
about them, _I know_ he loves them,--I answered. When they have had time
to cool, he is more indifferent.

A good deal as it is with buckwheat cakes,--said the young fellow whom
they call John.

The last words, only, reached the ear of the economically organized
female in black bombazine.--Buckwheat is skerce and high,--she remarked.
[Must be a poor relation sponging on our landlady,--pays nothing,--so
she must stand by the guns and be ready to repel boarders.]

I liked the turn the conversation had taken, for I had some things I
wanted to say, and so, after waiting a minute, I began again.--I don't
think the poems I read you sometimes can be fairly appreciated, given to
you as they are in the green state.

----You don't know what I mean by the _green state?_ Well, then, I will
tell you. Certain things are good for nothing until they have been kept
a long while; and some are good for nothing until they have been long
kept and _used_. Of the first, wine is the illustrious and immortal
example. Of those which must be kept and used, I will name
three,--meerschaum pipes, violins, and poems. The meerschaum is but
a poor affair until it has burned a thousand offerings to the
cloud-compelling deities. It comes to us without complexion or flavor,
born of the sea-foam, like Aphrodite, but colorless as _pallida Mors_
herself. The fire is lighted in its central shrine, and gradually the
juices which the broad leaves of the Great Vegetable had sucked up from
an acre and curdled into a drachm are diffused through its thirsting
pores. First a discoloration, then a stain, and at last a rich, glowing,
umber tint spreading over the whole surface. Nature true to her old
brown autumnal hue, you see,--as true in the fire of the meerschaum
as in the sunshine of October! And then the cumulative wealth of its
fragrant reminiscences! he who inhales its vapors takes a thousand
whiffs in a single breath; and one cannot touch it without awakening
the old joys that hang around it, as the smell of flowers clings to the
dresses of the daughters of the house of Farina!

[Don't think I use a meerschaum myself, for _I do not_, though I have
owned a calumet since my childhood, which from a naked Pict (of the
Mohawk species) my grandsire won, together with a tomahawk and beaded
knife-sheath; paying for the lot with a bullet-mark on his right
cheek. On the maternal side I inherit the loveliest silver-mounted
tobacco-stopper you ever saw. It is a little box-wood Triton, carved
with charming liveliness and truth; I have often compared it to a figure
in Raphael's "Triumph of Galatea." It came to me in an ancient shagreen
case,--how old it is I do not know,--but it must have been made since
Sir Walter Raleigh's time. If you are curious, you shall see it any
day. Neither will I pretend that I am so unused to the more perishable
smoking contrivance, that a few whiffs would make me feel as if I lay
in a groundswell on the Bay of Biscay. I am not unacquainted with
that fusiform, spiral-wound bundle of chopped stems and miscellaneous
incombustibles, the cigar, so called, of the shops,--which to "draw"
asks the suction-power of a nursling infant Hercules, and to relish, the
leathery palate of an old Silenus. I do not advise you, young man, even
if my illustration strikes your fancy, to consecrate the flower of your
life to painting the bowl of a pipe, for, let me assure you, the stain
of a reverie-breeding narcotic may strike deeper than you think for. I
have seen the green leaf of early promise grow brown before its time
under such Nicotian regimen, and thought the umbered meerschaum was
dearly bought at the cost of a brain enfeebled and a will enslaved.]

Violins, too,--the sweet old Amati!--the divine Straduarius! Played on
by ancient maestros until the bow-hand lost its power and the flying
fingers stiffened. Bequeathed to the passionate young enthusiast, who
made it whisper his hidden love, and cry his inarticulate longings, and
scream his untold agonies, and wail his monotonous despair. Passed from
his dying hand to the cold _virtuoso_, who let it slumber in its case
for a generation, till, when his hoard was broken up, it came forth once
more and rode the stormy symphonies of royal orchestras, beneath
the rushing bow of their lord and leader. Into lonely prisons with
improvident artists; into convents from which arose, day and night, the
holy hymns with which its tones were blended; and back again to orgies
in which it learned to howl and laugh as if a legion of devils were shut
up in it; then again to the gentle _dilettante_ who calmed it down with
easy melodies until it answered him softly as in the days of the old
_maestros_. And so given into our hands, its pores all full of music;
stained, like the meerschaum, through and through, with the concentrated
hue and sweetness of all the harmonies that have kindled and faded on
its strings.

Now I tell you a poem must be kept _and used_, like a meerschaum, or a
violin. A poem is just as porous as the meerschaum;--the more porous
it is, the better. I mean to say that a genuine poem is capable of
absorbing an indefinite amount of the essence of our own humanity,--its
tenderness, its heroism, its regrets, its aspirations, so as to be
gradually stained through with a divine secondary color derived from
ourselves. So you see it must take time to bring the sentiment of a
poem into harmony with our nature, by staining ourselves through every
thought and image our being can penetrate.

Then again as to the mere music of a new poem; why, who can expect
anything more from that than from the music of a violin fresh from
the maker's hands? Now you know very well that there are no less than
fifty-eight different pieces in a violin. These pieces are strangers
to each other, and it takes a century, more or less, to make them
thoroughly acquainted. At last they learn to vibrate in harmony, and the
instrument becomes an organic whole, as if it were a great seed-capsule
that had grown from a garden-bed in Cremona, or elsewhere. Besides, the
wood is juicy and full of sap for fifty years or so, but at the end of
fifty or a hundred more gets tolerably dry and comparatively resonant.

Don't you see that all this is just as true of a poem? Counting each
word as a piece, there are more pieces in an average copy of verses than
in a violin. The poet has forced all these words together, and fastened
them, and they don't understand it at first. But let the poem be repeated
aloud and murmured over in the mind's muffled whisper often enough, and
at length the parts become knit together in such absolute solidarity
that you could not change a syllable without the whole world's crying
out against you for meddling with the harmonious fabric. Observe, too,
how the drying process takes place in the stuff of a poem just as in
that of a violin. Here is a Tyrolese fiddle that is just coming to its
hundredth birthday,--(Pedro Klauss, Tyroli, fecit, 1760,)--the sap is
pretty well out of it. And here is the song of an old poet whom Neaera

  "Nox erat, et coelo fulgebat Luna sereno
       Inter minora sidera,
  Cum tu magnorum numen laesura deorum
       In verba jurubas mea."

Don't you perceive the sonorousness of these old dead Latin phrases? Now
I tell you that every word fresh from the dictionary brings with it
a certain succulence; and though I cannot expect the sheets of the
"Pactolian," in which, as I told you, I sometimes print my verses,
to get so dry as the crisp papyrus that held those words of Horatius
Flaccus, yet you may be sure, that, while the sheets are damp, and while
the lines hold their sap, you can't fairly judge of my performances, and
that, if made of the true stuff, they will ring better after a while.

[There was silence for a brief space, after my somewhat elaborate
exposition of these self-evident analogies. Presently _a person_ turned
towards me--I do not choose to designate the individual--and said that
he rather expected my pieces had given pretty good "sahtisfahction."--I
had, up to this moment, considered this complimentary phrase as sacred
to the use of secretaries of lyceums, and, as it has been usually
accompanied by a small pecuniary testimonial, have acquired a certain
relish for this moderately tepid and unstimulating expression of
enthusiasm. But as a reward for gratuitous services, I confess I thought
it a little below that blood-heat standard which a man's breath ought to
have, whether silent, or vocal and articulate. I waited for a favorable
opportunity, however, before making the remarks which follow.]

----There are single expressions, as I have told you already, that fix
a man's position for you before you have done shaking hands with him.
Allow me to expand a little. There are several things, very slight in
themselves, yet implying other things not so unimportant. Thus, your
French servant has _dévalisé_ your premises and got caught. _Excusez_,
says the _sergent-de-ville_, as he politely relieves him of his upper
garments and displays his bust in the full daylight. Good shoulders
enough,--a little marked,--traces of smallpox, perhaps,--but
white....._Crac!_ from the _sergent-de-ville's_ broad palm on the white
shoulder! Now look! _Vogue la galère!_ Out comes the big red V--mark of
the hot iron;--he had blistered it out pretty nearly,--hadn't he?--the
old rascal VOLEUR, branded in the galleys at Marseilles! [Don't! What
if he has got something like this? nobody supposes I _invented_ such a

My man John, who used to drive two of those six equine females which I
told you I had owned,--for, look you, my friends, simple though I stand
here, I am one that has been driven in his "kerridge,"--not using that
term, as liberal shepherds do, for any battered old shabby-genteel
go-cart that has more than one wheel, but meaning thereby a four-wheeled
vehicle _with a pole_,--my man John, I say, was a retired soldier. He
retired unostentatiously, as many of Her Majesty's modest servants have
done before and since. John told me, that when an officer thinks he
recognizes one of these retiring heroes, and would know if he has really
been in the service, that he may restore him, if possible, to a grateful
country, he comes suddenly upon him, and says, sharply, "Strap!" If he
has ever worn the shoulder-strap, he has learned the reprimand for its
ill adjustment. The old word of command flashes through his muscles, and
his hand goes up in an instant to the place where the strap used to be.

[I was all the time preparing for my grand _coup_, you understand; but
I saw they were not quite ready for it, and so continued,--always in
illustration of the general principle I had laid down.]

Yes, odd things come out in ways that nobody thinks of. There was a
legend, that, when the Danish pirates made descents upon the English
coast, they caught a few Tartars occasionally, in the shape of Saxons,
that would not let them go,--on the contrary, insisted on their staying,
and, to make sure of it, treated them as Apollo treated Marsyas, or as
Bartholinus has treated a fellow-creature in his title-page, and, having
divested them of the one essential and perfectly fitting garment,
indispensable in the mildest climates, nailed the same on the
church-door as we do the banns of marriage, _in terrorem_.

[There was a laugh at this among some of the young folks; but as I
looked at our landlady, I saw that "the water stood in her eyes," as it
did in Christiana's when the interpreter asked her about the spider, and
that the school-mistress blushed, as Mercy did in the same conversation,
as you remember.]

That sounds like a cock-and-bull-story,--said the young fellow whom
they call John. I abstained from making Hamlet's remark to Horatio, and

Not long since, the church-wardens were repairing and beautifying an
old Saxon church in a certain English village, and among other things
thought the doors should be attended to. One of them particularly, the
front-door, looked very badly, crusted, as it were, and as if it would
be all the better for scraping. There happened to be a microscopist in
the village who had heard the old pirate story, and he took it into his
head to examine the crust on this door. There was no mistake about it;
it was a genuine historical document, of the Ziska drum-head
pattern,--a real _cutis humarca_, stripped from some old Scandinavian
filibuster,--and the legend was true.

My friend, the Professor, settled an important historical and financial
question once by the aid of an exceedingly minute fragment of a similar
document. Behind the pane of plate-glass which bore his name and title
burned a modest lamp, signifying to the passers-by that at all hours of
the night the slightest favors (or fevers) were welcome. A youth who
had freely partaken of the cup which cheers and likewise inebriates,
following a moth-like impulse very natural under the circumstances,
dashed his fist at the light and quenched the meek luminary,--breaking
through the plate-glass, of course, to reach it. Now I don't want to
go into _minutiae_ at table, you know, but a naked hand can no more go
through a pane of thick glass without leaving some of its cuticle,
to say the least, behind it, than a butterfly can go through a
sausage-machine without looking the worse for it. The Professor gathered
up the fragments of glass, and with them certain very minute but
entirely satisfactory documents which would have identified and hanged
any rogue in Christendom who had parted with them.--The historical
question, _Who did it_? and the financial question, _Who paid for it_?
were both settled before the new lamp was lighted the next evening.

You see, my friends, what immense conclusions, touching our lives,
our fortunes, and our sacred honor, may be reached by means of very
insignificant premises. This is eminently true of manners and forms of
speech; a movement or a phrase often tells you all you want to know
about a person. Thus, "How's your health?" (commonly pronounced
haälth)--instead of, How do you do? or, How are you? Or calling your
little dark entry a "hall," and your old rickety one-horse wagon a
"kerridge." Or telling a person who has been trying to please you that
he has given you pretty good "sahtisfahction." Or saying that you
"remember of" such a thing, or that you have been "stoppin'" at Deacon
Somebody's,--and other such expressions. One of my friends had a little
marble statuette of Cupid in the parlor of his country-house,--bow,
arrows, wings, and all complete. A visitor, indigenous to the region,
looking pensively at the figure, asked the lady of the house "if that
was a statoo of her deceased infant?" What a delicious, though somewhat
voluminous biography, social, educational, and aesthetic in that brief

[Please observe with what Machiavellian astuteness I smuggled in
the particular offence which it was my object to hold up to my
fellow-boarders, without too personal an attack on the individual at
whose door it lay.]

That was an exceedingly dull person who made the remark, _Ex pede
Herculem_. He might as well have said, "From a peck of apples you may
judge of the barrel." _Ex_ PEDE, to be sure! Read, instead, _Ex ungue
minimi digiti pedis, Herculem, ejusque patrem, matrem, avos et proavos,
filios, nepotes et pronepotes!_ Talk to me about your [Greek: dos pou
sto]! Tell me about Cuvier's getting up a megatherium from a tooth,
or Agassiz's drawing a portrait of an undiscovered fish from a single
scale! As the "O" revealed Giotto,--as the one word "moi" betrayed the
Stratford-atte-Bowe-taught Anglais,--so all a man's antecedents and
possibilities are summed up in a single utterance which gives at once
the gauge of his education and his mental organization.

Possibilities, Sir?--said the divinity-student; can't a man who says
_Haöw?_ arrive at distinction?

Sir,--I replied,--in a republic all things are possible. But the man
_with a future_ has almost of necessity sense enough to see that any
odious trick of speech or manners must be got rid of. Doesn't Sidney
Smith say that a public man in England never gets over a false quantity
uttered in early life? _Our_ public men are in little danger of this
fatal misstep, as few of them are in the habit of introducing Latin into
their speeches,--for good and sufficient reasons. But they are bound to
speak decent English,--unless, indeed, they are rough old campaigners,
like General Jackson or General Taylor; in which case, a few scars on
Priscian's head are pardoned to old fellows that have quite as many
on their own, and a constituency of thirty empires is not at all
particular, provided they do not swear in their Presidential Messages.

However, it is not for me to talk. I have made mistakes enough in
conversation and print. "Don't" for doesn't,--base misspelling of Clos
Vougeot, (I wish I saw the label on the bottle a little oftener,)--and
I don't know how many more. I never find them out until they are
stereotyped, and then I think they rarely escape me. I have no doubt
I shall make half a dozen slips before this breakfast is over, and
remember them all before another. How one does tremble with rage at his
own intense momentary stupidity about things he knows perfectly well,
and to think how he lays himself open to the impertinences of the
_captatores verborum_, those useful but humble scavengers of the
language, whose business it is to pick up what might offend or injure,
and remove it, hugging and feeding on it as they go! I don't want to
speak too slightingly of these verbal critics;--how can I, who am so
fond of talking about errors and vulgarisms of speech? Only there is
a difference between those clerical blunders which almost every man
commits, knowing better, and that habitual grossness or meanness of
speech which is unendurable to educated persons, from anybody that wears
silk or broadcloth.

[I write down the above remarks this morning, January 26th, making this
record of the date that nobody may think it was written in wrath, on
account of any particular grievance suffered from the invasion of any
individual _scarabaeus grammaticus_.]

----I wonder if anybody ever finds fault with anything I say at this
table when it is repeated? I hope they do, I am sure. I should be very
certain that I had said nothing of much significance, if they did not.

Did you never, in walking in the fields, come across a large flat stone,
which had lain, nobody knows how long, just where you found it, with the
grass forming a little hedge, as it were, all round it, close to its
edges,--and have you not, in obedience to a kind of feeling that told
you it had been lying there long enough, insinuated your stick or your
foot or your fingers under its edge and turned it over as a housewife
turns a cake, when she says to herself, "It's done brown enough by this
time"? What an odd revelation, and what an unforeseen and unpleasant
surprise to a small community, the very existence of which you had not
suspected, until the sudden dismay and scattering among its members
produced by your turning the old stone over! Blades of grass flattened
down, colorless, matted together, as if they had been bleached and
ironed; hideous crawling creatures, some of them coleopterous or
horny-shelled,--turtle-bugs one wants to call them; some of them softer,
but cunningly spread out and compressed like Lepine watches; (Nature
never loses a crack or a crevice, mind you, or a joint in a tavern
bedstead, but she always has one of her flat-pattern live timekeepers
to slide into it;) black, glossy crickets, with their long filaments
sticking out like the whips of four-horse stage-coaches; motionless,
slug-like creatures, larvae, perhaps, more horrible in their pulpy
stillness than even in the infernal wriggle of maturity! But no sooner
is the stone turned and the wholesome light of day let upon this
compressed and blinded community of creeping things, than all of them
that enjoy the luxury of legs--and some of them have a good many--rush
round wildly, butting each other and everything in their way, and end in
a general stampede for underground retreats from the region poisoned by
sunshine. _Next year_ you will find the grass growing tall and green
where the stone lay; the ground-bird builds her nest where the beetle
had his hole; the dandelion and the buttercup are growing there, and the
broad fans of insect-angels open and shut over their golden disks, as
the rhythmic waves of blissful consciousness pulsate through their
glorified being.

----The young fellow whom they call John saw fit to say, in his very
familiar way,--at which I do not choose to take offence, but which I
sometimes think it necessary to repress,--that I was coming it rather
strong on the butterflies.

No, I replied; there is meaning in each of those images,--the butterfly
as well as the others. The stone is ancient error. The grass is human
nature borne down and bleached of all its color by it. The shapes that
are found beneath are the crafty beings that thrive in darkness, and the
weaker organisms kept helpless by it. He who turns the stone over is
whosoever puts the staff of truth to the old lying incubus, no matter
whether he do it with a serious face or a laughing one. The next year
stands for the coming time. Then shall the nature which had lain
blanched and broken rise in its full stature and native hues in the
sunshine. Then shall God's minstrels build their nests in the hearts of
a new-born humanity. Then shall beauty--Divinity taking outlines and
color--light upon the souls of men as the butterfly, image of the
beatified spirit rising from the dust, soars from the shell that held a
poor grub, which would never have found wings, had not the stone been

You never need think you can turn over any old falsehood without a
terrible squirming and scattering of the horrid little population that
dwells under it.

----Every real thought on every real subject knocks the wind out of
somebody or other. As soon as his breath comes back, he very probably
begins to expend it in hard words. These are the best evidence a man
can have that he has said something it was time to say. Dr. Johnson was
disappointed in the effect of one of his pamphlets. "I think I have not
been attacked enough for it," he said;--"attack is the reaction; I never
think I have hit hard unless it rebounds."

----If a fellow attacked my opinions in print, would I reply? Not I. Do
you think I don't understand what my friend, the Professor, long ago
called _the hydrostatic paradox of controversy?_

Don't know what that means?--Well, I will tell you. You know, that, if
you had a bent tube, one arm of which was of the size of a pipe-stem,
and the other big enough to hold the ocean, water would stand at the
same height in one as in the other. Controversy equalizes fools and wise
men in the same way,--_and the fools know it._

----No, but I often read what they say about other people. There are
about a dozen phrases that all come tumbling along together, like the
tongs, and the shovel, and the poker, and the brush, and the bellows, in
one of those domestic avalanches that everybody knows. If you get one,
you get the whole lot.

What are they?--Oh, that depends a good deal on latitude and longitude.
Epithets follow the isothermal lines pretty accurately. Grouping them
in two families, one finds himself a clever, genial, witty, wise,
brilliant, sparkling, thoughtful, distinguished, celebrated, illustrious
scholar and perfect gentleman, and first writer of the age; or a
dull, foolish, wicked, pert, shallow, ignorant, insolent, traitorous,
black-hearted outcast, and disgrace to civilization.

What do I think determines the set of phrases a man gets?--Well,
I should say a set of influences something like these:--1st.
Relationships, political, religious, social, domestic. 2d. Oysters;
in the form of suppers given to gentlemen connected with criticism. I
believe in the school, the college, and the clergy; but my sovereign
logic for regulating public opinion--which means commonly the opinion
of half a dozen of the critical gentry--is the following: _Major
proposition._ Oysters _au naturel. Minor proposition._ The same
"scalloped." _Conclusion._ That ---- (here insert entertainer's name) is
clever, witty, wise, brilliant,--and the rest.

----No, it isn't exactly bribery. One man has oysters, and another
epithets. It is an exchange of hospitalities; one gives a "spread" on
linen, and the other on paper,--that is all. Don't you think you and I
should be apt to do just so, if we were in the critical line? I am sure
I couldn't resist the softening influences of hospitality. I don't like
to dine out, you know,--I dine so well at our own table, [our landlady
looked radiant,] and the company is so pleasant [a rustling movement of
satisfaction among the boarders]; but if I did partake of a man's
salt, with such additions as that article of food requires to make it
palatable, I could never abuse him, and if I had to speak of him, I
suppose I should hang my set of jingling epithets round him like a
string of sleigh-bells. Good feeling helps society to make liars of most
of us,--not absolute liars, but such careless handlers of truth that its
sharp corners get terribly rounded. I love truth as chiefest among the
virtues; I trust it runs in my blood; but I would never be a critic,
because I know I could not always tell it. I might write a criticism of
a book that happened to please me; that is another matter.

----Listen, Benjamin Franklin! This is for you, and such others of
tender age as you may tell it to.

When we are as yet small children, long before the time when those two
grown ladies offer us the choice of Hercules, there comes up to us a
youthful angel, holding in his right hand cubes like dice, and in his
left spheres like marbles. The cubes are of stainless ivory, and on
each is written in letters of gold--TRUTH. The spheres are veined and
streaked and spotted beneath, with a dark crimson flush above, where the
light falls on them, and in a certain aspect you can make out upon
every one of them the three letters L, I, E. The child to whom they
are offered very probably clutches at both. The spheres are the most
convenient things in the world; they roll with the least possible
impulse just where the child would have them. The cubes will not roll at
all; they have a great talent for standing still, and always keep right
side up. But very soon the young philosopher finds that things which
roll so easily are very apt to roll into the wrong corner, and to get
out of his way when he most wants them, while he always knows where to
find the others, which stay where they are left. Thus he learns--thus we
learn--to drop the streaked and speckled globes of falsehood and to hold
fast the white angular blocks of truth. But then comes Timidity, and
after her Good-nature, and last of all Polite-behavior, all insisting
that truth must _roll_ or nobody can do anything with it; and so the
first with her coarse rasp, and the second with her broad file, and the
third with her silken sleeve, do so round off and smooth and polish the
snow-white cubes of truth, that, when they have got a little dingy by
use, it becomes hard to tell them from the rolling spheres of falsehood.

The schoolmistress was polite enough to say that she was pleased with
this, and that she would read it to her little flock the next day. But
she should tell the children, she said, that there were better reasons
for truth than could be found in mere experience of its convenience and
the inconvenience of lying.

Yes,--I said,--but education always begins through the senses, and works
up to the idea of absolute right and wrong. The first thing
the child has to learn about this matter is, that lying is
unprofitable,--afterwards, that it is against the peace and dignity of
the universe.

----Do I think that the particular form of lying often seen in
newspapers, under the title, "From our Foreign Correspondent," does any
harm?--Why, no,--I don't know that it does. I suppose it doesn't really
deceive people any more than the "Arabian Nights" or "Gulliver's
Travels" do. Sometimes the writers compile too carelessly, though, and
mix up facts out of geographies, and stories out of the penny papers, so
as to mislead those who are desirous of information. I cut a piece
out of one of the papers, the other day, that contains a number of
improbabilities, and, I suspect, misstatements. I will send up and get
it for you, if you would like to hear it.--Ah, this is it; it is headed


"This island is now the property of the Stamford family,--having
been won, it is said, in a raffle, by Sir ---- Stamford, during the
stock-gambling mania of the South-Sea Scheme. The history of this
gentleman may be found in an interesting series of questions
(unfortunately not yet answered) contained in the 'Notes and Queries.'
This island is entirely surrounded by the ocean, which here contains a
large amount of saline substance, crystallizing in cubes remarkable for
their symmetry, and frequently displays on its surface, during calm
weather, the rainbow tints of the celebrated South-Sea bubbles. The
summers are oppressively hot, and the winters very probably cold; but
this fact cannot be ascertained precisely, as, for some peculiar reason,
the mercury in these latitudes never shrinks, as in more northern
regions, and thus the thermometer is rendered useless in winter.

"The principal vegetable productions of the island are the pepper tree
and the bread-fruit tree. Pepper being very abundantly produced, a
benevolent society was organized in London during the last century for
supplying the natives with vinegar and oysters, as an addition to that
delightful condiment. [Note received from Dr. D.P.] It is said, however
that, as the oysters were of the kind called _natives_ in England, the
natives of Sumatra, in obedience to a natural instinct refused to touch
them, and confined themselves entirely to the crew of the vessel in
which they were brought over. This information was received from one
of the oldest inhabitants, a native himself, and exceedingly fond of
missionaries. He is said also to be very skilful in the _cuisine_
peculiar to the island.

"During the season of gathering the pepper, the persons employed are
subject to various incommodities, the chief of which is violent and
long-continued sternutation or sneezing. Such is the vehemence of
these attacks, that the unfortunate subjects of them are often driven
backwards for great distances at immense speed, on the well-known
principle of the aeolipile. Not being able to see where they are going,
these poor creatures dash themselves to pieces against the rocks or are
precipitated over the cliffs, and thus many valuable lives are lost
annually. As, during the whole pepper-harvest, they feed exclusively on
this stimulant, they become exceedingly irritable. The smallest injury
is resented with ungovernable rage. A young man suffering from the
_pepper-fever_, as it is called, cudgelled another most severely for
appropriating a superannuated relative of trifling value, and was only
pacified by having a present made him of a pig of that peculiar species
of swine called the _Peccavi_ by the Catholic Jews, who, it is well
known, abstain from swine's flesh in imitation of the Mahometan

"The bread tree grows abundantly. Its branches are well known to Europe
and America under the familiar name of _maccaroni_ The smaller twigs
are called _vermicelli_. They have a decided animal flavor, as may be
observed in the soups containing them. Maccaroni, being tubular is
the favorite habitat of a very dangerous insect, which is rendered
peculiarly ferocious by being boiled. The government of the island,
therefore, never allows a stick of it to be exported without being
accompanied by a piston with which its cavity may at any time be
thoroughly swept out. These are commonly lost or stolen before the
maccaroni arrives among us. It therefore always contains many of these
insects, which, however, generally die of old age in the shops, so that
accidents from this source are comparatively rare.

"The fruit of the bread-tree consists principally of hot rolls. The
buttered-muffin variety is supposed to be a hybrid with the cocoa-nut
palm, the cream found on the milk of the cocoa-nut exuding from the
hybrid in the shape of butter, just as the ripe fruit is splitting, so
as to fit it for the tea-table, where it is commonly served up with

----There,--I don't want to read any more of it. You see that many of
these statements are highly improbable.--No, I shall not mention the
paper.--No, neither of them wrote it, though it reminds me of the style
of these popular writers. I think the fellow that wrote it must have
been reading some of their stories, and got them mixed up with his
history and geography. I don't suppose _he_ lies;--he sells it to the
editor, who knows how many squares off "Sumatra" is. The editor,
who sells it to the public----By the way, the papers have been very
civil--haven't they?--to the--the--what d'ye call it?--"Northern
Magazine"--isn't it?--got up by some of those Come-outers, down East, as
an organ for their local peculiarities.

----The Professor has been to see me. Came in, glorious, at about twelve
o'clock, last night. Said he had been with "the boys." On inquiry, found
that "the boys" were certain baldish and grayish old gentlemen that one
sees or hears of in various important stations of society. The Professor
is one of the same set, but he always talks as if he had been out of
college about ten years, whereas..... .... [Each of these dots was a
little nod, which the company understood, as the reader will, no doubt.]
He calls them sometimes "the boys," and sometimes "the old fellows."
Call him by the latter title, and see how he likes it.--Well, he came in
last night, glorious, as I was saying. Of course I don't mean vinously
exalted; he drinks little wine on such occasions, and is well known to
all the Johns and Patricks as the gentleman that always has indefinite
quantities of black tea to kill any extra glass of red claret he may
have swallowed. But the Professor says he always gets tipsy on old
memories at these gatherings. He was, I forget how many years old when
he went to the meeting; just turned of twenty now,--he said. He made
various youthful proposals to me, including a duet under the landlady's
daughter's window. He had just learned a trick, he said, of one of "the
boys," of getting a splendid bass out of a door-panel by rubbing it with
the palm of his hand,--offered to sing "The sky is bright," accompanying
himself on the front-door, if I would go down and help in the chorus.
Said there never was such a set of fellows as the old boys of the set he
has been with. Judges, mayors, Congress-men, Mr. Speakers, leaders in
science, clergymen better than famous, and famous too, poets by the
half-dozen, singers with voices like angels, financiers, wits, three of
the best laughers in the Commonwealth, engineers, agriculturists,--all
forms of talent and knowledge he pretended were represented in that
meeting. Then he began to quote Byron about Santa Croce, and maintained
that he could "furnish out creation" in all its details from that set
of his. He would like to have the whole boodle of them, (I remonstrated
against this word, but the Professor said it was a diabolish good word,
and he would have no other,) with their wives and children, shipwrecked
on a remote island, just to see how splendidly they would reorganize
society. They could build a city,--they have done it; make constitutions
and laws; establish churches and lyceums; teach and practise the healing
art; instruct in every department; found observatories; create commerce
and manufactures; write songs and hymns, and sing 'em, and make
instruments to accompany the songs with; lastly, publish a journal
almost as good as the "Northern Magazine," edited by the Come-outers.
There was nothing they were not up to, from a christening to a hanging;
the last, to be sure, could never be called for, unless some stranger
got in among them.

----I let the Professor talk as long as he liked; it didn't make much
difference to me whether it was all truth, or partly made up of pale
Sherry and similar elements. All at once he jumped up and said,--

Don't you want to hear what I just read to the boys?

I have had questions of a similar character asked me before,
occasionally. A man of iron mould might perhaps say, No! I am not a man
of iron mould, and said that I should be delighted.

The Professor then read--with that slightly sing-song cadence which is
observed to be common in poets reading their own verses--the following
stanzas; holding them at a focal distance of about two feet and a half,
with an occasional movement back or forward for better adjustment, the
appearance of which has been likened by some impertinent young folks
to that of the act of playing on the trombone. His eyesight was never
better; I have his word for it.


  Flash out a stream of blood-red wine!--
    For I would drink to other days;
  And brighter shall their memory shine,
    Seen flaming through its crimson blaze.
  The roses die, the summers fade;
    But every ghost of boyhood's dream
  By Nature's magic power is laid
    To sleep beneath this blood-red stream.

  It filled the purple grapes that lay
    And drank the splendors of the sun
  Where the long summer's cloudless day
    Is mirrored in the broad Garonne;
  It pictures still the bacchant shapes
    That saw their hoarded sunlight shed,--
  The maidens dancing on the grapes,--
    Their milk-white ankles splashed with red.

  Beneath these waves of crimson lie,
    In rosy fetters prisoned fast,
  Those flitting shapes that never die,
    The swift-winged visions of the past.
  Kiss but the crystal's mystic rim,
    Each shadow rends its flowery chain,
  Springs in a bubble from its brim,
    And walks the chambers of the brain.

  Poor Beauty! time and fortune's wrong
    No form nor feature may withstand,--
  Thy wrecks are scattered all along,
    Like emptied sea-shells on the sand;--
  Yet, sprinkled with this blushing rain,
    The dust restores each blooming girl,
  As if the sea-shells moved again
    Their glistening lips of pink and pearl.

  Here lies the home of school-boy life,
    With creaking stair and wind-swept hall,
  And, scarred by many a truant knife,
    Our old initials on the wall;
  Here rest--their keen vibrations mute--
    The shout of voices known so well,
  The ringing laugh, the wailing flute,
    The chiding of the sharp-tongued bell.

  Here, clad in burning robes, are laid
    Life's blossomed joys, untimely shed;
  And here those cherished forms have strayed
    We miss awhile, and call them dead.
  What wizard fills the maddening glass?
    What soil the enchanted clusters grew,
  That buried passions wake and pass
    In beaded drops of fiery dew?

  Nay, take the cup of blood-red wine,--
    Our hearts can boast a warmer glow,
  Filled from a vintage more divine,--
    Calmed, but not chilled by winter's snow!
  To-night the palest wave we sip
    Rich as the priceless draught shall be
  That wet the bride of Cana's lip,--
    The wedding wine of Galilee!


We are told--and, being philosophers, we will amuse ourselves by
believing--that there are towns in India, somewhere between Cape Comorin
and the Himalayas, wherein everything is _butcha_,--that is, "a little
chap"; where inhabitants and inhabited are alike in the estate of
urchins; where little Brahmins extort little offerings from little dupes
at the foot of little altars, and ring little bells, and blow little
horns, and pound little gongs, and mutter little rigmaroles before
stupid little Krishnas and Sivas and Vishnus, doing their little wooden
best to look solemn, mounted on little bulls or snakes, under little
canopies; where little Brahminee bulls, in all the little insolence of
their little sacred privileges, poke their little noses into the little
rice-baskets of pious little maidens in little bazaars, and help their
little selves to their little hearts' content, without "begging your
little pardons," or "by your little leaves"; where dirty little fakirs
and yogees hold their dirty little arms above their dirty little heads,
until their dirty little muscles are shrunk to dirty little rags, and
their dirty little finger-nails grow through the backs of their dirty
little hands,--or wear little ten-penny nails thrust through their
little tongues till they acquire little chronic impediments in their
decidedly dirty little speech,--or, by means of little hooks through the
little smalls-of-their-backs, circumgyrate from little _churruck_-posts
for the edification of infatuated little crowds and the honor of horrid
little goddesses; where plucky little widows perform their little
suttees for defunct little husbands, grilling on little funeral piles;
where mangy little Pariah dogs defile the little dinners of little
high-caste folks, by stealing hungry little sniffs from sacred little
pots; where omnivorous little adjutant-birds gobble up little glass
bottles, and bones, and little dead cats, and little old slippers, and
bits of little bricks, in front of little shops in little bazaars; where
vociferous little _circars_ are driving little bargains with obese
little _banyans_, and consequential little _chowkedars_--that is,
policemen--are bullying inoffensive little poor people, and calling them
_sooa-logue_,--that is, pigs;--where--where, in fine, everything in
heathen human-nature happens _butcha_, and the very fables with which
the little story-tellers entertain the little loafers on the corners of
the little streets, are full of _little_ giants and _little_ dwarfs. Let
us pursue the little idea, and talk _butcha_ to the end of this chapter.

When, in Calcutta, you have smitten the dry rock of your lonely life
with the magic rod of connubial love, and that well-spring of pleasure,
a new baby, has leaped up in the midst of your wilderness of exile, the
demonstration, if any, with which your servants will receive the glad
tidings, will depend wholly on the "denomination of the imbecile
offspring," as our eleëmosynary widow, Mrs. Diana Theodosia Comfort
Green, would call it. If it happen to be only a girl, there will be a
trace of pity in the silent salaam with which the grim _durwan_ salutes
you as you roll into your _palkee_ at the gate to proceed to the
_godowns_ where they are weighing the saltpetre and the gunny bags.
As he touches his forehead with his joined palms, he thinks of the
difference that color makes to the babivorous crocodiles of Ganges.
Perhaps your gray-beard circar, privileged by virtue of high caste
and faithful service, will take upon himself to condole with you:
"_Khodabund_" he will say, "better luck next time; Heaven is not always
with one's paternal hopes; let us trust that my lord may live to say it
might have been worse; let us pray that the _baba's_ bridal necklace may
be as gay as rubies and as light as lilies, and that she may die before
her husband."

But if to the existing number of your _suntoshums_--the jewels that
hang on the Mem Sahib's bosom--a man-child is added, ah, then there is
merry-making in the verandas, and happy salaaming on the stairs; and in
the fulness of his Hindoo Sary-Gampness, which counts the Sahib blessed
that hath "his quiver full of sich," he says, _Ap-ki kullejee kaisa
burri ho-jaga! Khodá rukho ki beebi-ka kullejee bhee itni burri
hoga,--Gurreeb-purwan!_ "How large my lord's liver is about to grow!
God grant to the Mem Sahib, my exalted lady, a liver likewise large,--O
favored protector of the poor!" The happiness and honors which should
follow upon the birth of a male child being figuratively comprehended in
that enlargement of the liver whence comes the good digestion for which
alone life is worth the living.

Many and grievous perils do environ baby-life by the Ganges,--perils of
_dry_ nurses, perils by wolves, perils by crocodiles, perils by the Evil
Eye, perils by kidnappers, perils by cobras, perils by devils.

You are living at one of the up-country stations, where the freer air of
the jungle imparts to babes and sucklings a voracious appetite. Besides
your own _dhye_, brought from Calcutta, there is not another wet-nurse
to be had, for love or money. Immediately Dhye strikes for higher wages.
The Baba Sahib, she says, has defiled her rice; yesterday he put
his foot into her curry; to-day he washes the monkey's tail in her
consecrated lotah. What shall she do? she has lost caste; the presents
to the Brahmins, that her reinstatement will cost her, will consume all
her earnings from the beginning. _Gurreeb-purwan_, O munificent and
merciful! what shall she do? She strikes for higher wages.--But you are
hard-hearted and hard-headed; you will not pay,--by Gunga, not another
pice! by Latchtmee, not one cowry more!--Oh, then she will leave; with
a heavy heart she will turn her back on the blessed baby; she will pour
dust upon her head before the Mem Sahib, at whose door her disgrace
shall lie, and she will return to her kindred.--Not she! the durwan,
grim and incorruptible, has his orders; she cannot pass the gate. Oho!
then immediately she dries up; no "fount," and Baby famishing. You try
ass's milk; it does not agree with Baby; besides, it costs a rupee a
pint. You try a goat; she does not agree with Baby, for she butts him
treacherously, and, leaping over his prostrate body, scampers, like
Leigh Hunt's pig in Smithfield Market, up all manner of figurative
streets. Then you send for Dhye, and say, "Milk, or I shave your head!"
Milk or death! And, lo, a miracle!--the "fount" again!--Baby is saved.

What was, then, the conjuration and the mighty magic? In the folds
of her _saree_ the _dhye_ conceals leaves of _chambeli_, the Indian
jessamine, roots of _dhallapee_, the jungle radish. She chews the
_chambeli_, and hungry Baby, struggling for the "fount," is insulted
with apples of Sodom; she swallows a portion of _dhallapee_, and he is
regaled as with the melting melons of Ceylon.

       *       *       *       *       *

Some fine afternoon your _ayah_ takes your little Johnny to stroll by
the river's bank,--to watch the green budgerows, as they glide, pulled
by singing _dandees_ (so the boatmen of Ganges are called) up to
Patna,--to watch the brown corpses, as they float silently down from
Benares. At night the ayah returns, wringing her hands. Where is your
merry darling? She knows not. _O Khodabund_, go ask the evil spirits! O
Sahib, go cry unto Gunga,--go accuse the greedy river, and say to the
envious waters, "Give back my boy!" She had left him sitting on a stone,
she says, counting the sailing corpses, while she went to find him a
blue-jay's nest among the rocks; when she returned to the stone,--no
Jonnee Sahib! "My golden image, who hath snatched him away? He that
skipped and hummed like a singing-top, where is he gone?"--A month after
that, your dandees capture a crocodile, and from his heathen maw recover
a familiar coral necklace with an inscription on the clasp,--"To Johnny,
on his birth-day." A pair of little silver bangles, whose jocund
jingling had once been happy household music to some poor Hindoo mother,
have kept the necklace company.

       *       *       *       *       *

Over against the gate of our compound the Baboo's walks are bright with
roses, and ixoras, and the creeping nagatallis; the Baboo's park is
shady with banians, and fragrant with sandal-trees, and imposing with
tall peepuls, and cool with sparkling fountains; and Chinna Tumbe, the
Little Brother, the brown apple of the Baboo's eye, plays among the
bamboos by the tank, just within the gate, and pelts the gold-fishes
with mango-seeds. Presently comes along a pleasant peddler, all the way
from Cabool, with a pretty bushy-tailed kitten of Persia in the hollow
of his arm, and a cunning little mungooz cracking nuts on his shoulder.
A score of tiny silver bells tinkle from a silken cord around Chinna
Tumbe's loins, and the silver whistle with which he calls his cockatoos
is suspended from his neck by a chain of gold. So the pleasant peddler
all the way from Cabool greets Chinna Tumbe merrily, saying, "See my
pretty kitten, that knows a hundred tricks! and see my brave mungooz,
that can kill cobras in fair fight! My Persian kitten for your silver
bells, Chinna Tumbe, and my cunning mungooz for your golden chain!" And
Chinna Tumbe laughs, and claps his hands, and dances for delight, and
all his silver bells jingle gleefully. And the pleasant peddler all the
way from Cabool says, "Step without the gate, Little Brother, if you
would see my pretty kitten play tricks; if you would stroke my cunning
mungooz, step without the gate; for I dare not pass within, lest my
lord, the Baboo of many lacs, should be angry." So Chinna Tumbe steps
out into the road, and the pleasant peddler all the way from Cabool sets
the Persian kitten on the ground, and rattles off some strange words,
that sound very funnily to the Little Brother; and immediately the
Persian kitten begins to run round after its bushy tail, faster and
faster, faster and faster, a ring of yellow light. And Chinna Tumbe
claps his hands, and cries, _Wah, wah!_ and he dances for delight, and
all his silver bells jingle gleefully. So the pleasant peddler addresses
other strange and funny words to the ring of yellow light, and instantly
it stands still, and quivers its bushy tail, and pants. Then the peddler
speaks to the cunning mungooz, which immediately leaps to the ground,
and sitting quite erect, with its broad tail curled over its back, like
a marabout feather, holds its paws together in the quaint manner of a
squirrel, and looks attentive. More of the peddler's funny conjuration,
and up springs the mungooz into the air, like a Birman's wicker
football, and, alighting on the kitten's back, clings close and fast.
Away fly kitten and mungooz,--away from the gate,--away from the Baboo's
walks, bright with ixoras and creeping nagatallis,--away from the
Baboo's park, shady with banians, and fragrant with sandal-trees, and
imposing with tall peepuls, and cool with sparkling fountains,--away
from the Baboo's home, away from the Baboo's heart, bereft thenceforth
forever! For Chinna Tumbe follows fast, crying, _Wah, wah!_ and clapping
his hands, and jingling gleefully all his silver bells,--follows across
the road, and through the bamboo hedge, and into the darkness and the
danger of the jungle; and the pleasant peddler all the way from Cabool
goes smiling after,--but, as he goes, what is it that he draws from
the breast of his dusty _coortee_? Only a slender, smooth cord, with a
slip-knot at the end of it.

Within the twelvemonth, in a stony nullah, hard by a clump of crooked
saul-trees, a mile away from the Baboo's gate, some jackals brought to
light the bones of a little child; and the deep grave from which they
dug them with their sharp, busy claws, bore marks of the mystic pick-axe
of Thuggee. But there were no tinkling bells, no chain of gold, no
silver whistle; and the cockatoos and the goldfishes knew Chinna Tumbe
no more.

When a name was bestowed on the Little Brother, the Brahmins wrote a
score of pretty words in rice, and set over each a lamp freshly trimmed,
and the name whose light burned brightest, with happy augury, was
"Chinna Tumbe." And when they had likewise inscribed the day of his
birth, and the name of his natal star, the proud and happy Baboo cried,
with a loud voice, three times, "Chinna Tumbe," and all the Brahmins
stretched forth their hands and pronounced _Asowadam_,--benediction.
Then they performed _arati_ about the child's head, to avert the Evil
Eye, describing mystic circles with lamps of rice-paste set on copper
salvers, with many pious incantations. But, spite of all, the Evil Eye
overtook Chinna Tumbe, when the pleasant peddler came all the way from
Cabool, with his bushy-tailed kitten, and his mungooz cracking nuts.

They do say the ghost of Chinna Tumbe walks,--that always at midnight,
when the Indian nightingale fills the Baboo's banian topes with her
lugubrious song, and the weird ulus hoot from the peepul tops, a child,
girt with silver bells, and followed by a Persian kitten and a mungooz,
shakes the Baboo's gate, blows upon a silver whistle, and cries, so
piteously, "Ayah! Ayah!"

       *       *       *       *       *

At Hurdwar, in the great fair, among jugglers and tumblers, horse-tamers
and snake-charmers, fakirs and pilgrims, I saw a small boy possessed
of a devil,--an authentic devil, as of yore, meet for miraculous
driving-out. In the midst of dire din, heathenish and
horrible,--dissonant jangle of zogees' bells, brain-rending blasts from
Brahmins' shells, strepent howling of opium-drunk devotees, delirious
pounding of tom-toms, brazen clangor of gongs,--a child of seven years,
that might, unpossessed, have been beautiful, sat under the shed of
a sort of curiosity-shop, among bangles and armlets, mouthpieces
for pipes, leaden idols, and Brahminical cords, and made infernal
faces,--his mouth foaming epileptically, his hair dishevelled and matted
with sudden sweat, his eyes blood-shot, his whole aspect diabolic. And
on the ground before the miserable lad were set dishes of rice mixed
with blood, carcasses of rams and cocks, handfuls of red flowers, and
ragged locks of human hair, wherewith the more miserable people sought
to appease the fell _bhuta_ that had set up his throne in that fair
soul. _Sack bat?_ It was even so. And as the possessed made spasmy fists
with his feet, clinching his toes strangely, and grinned, with his chin
between his knees, I solemnly wished for the presence of One who might
cry with the voice of authority, as erst in the land of the Gadarenes,
"Come out of the lad, thou unclean spirit!"

At the Hurdwar fair pretty little naked girls are exposed for sale, and
in their soft brown innocence appeal at once to the purity of your mind
and the tenderness of your heart. They come from Cashmere with the
shawls, or from Cabool with the kittens, or from the Punjaub with the
arms and shields.

       *       *       *       *       *

Very quaint are the little Miriams, Ruths, and Hannahs of the Jewish
houses in Bombay,--with their full trousers of blue satin and gold,
their boyish Fez caps of spangled red velvet, bound round with
party-colored turbans, their chin-bands of pearls, their coin chains,
their great gold bangles, and the jingling tassels of their long plaits.

Less interesting, because formal and inanimate, even to sulkiness,
are the prim little Parsee maidens, who often wear an "exercised"
expression, of a settled sort, as though they were weary of reflecting
on the hollowness of the world, and how their dolls are stuffed with
sawdust, and that Dakhma, the Tower of Silence, is the end of all

Then there are the regimental _babalogue_, the soldiers' children,
sturdiest and toughest of Anglo-Indian urchins,--affording, in their
brown cheeks and crisp muscles and boisterous ways, a consoling contrast
to the oh-call-it-pale-not-fairness, and the frailness, and premature
pensiveness of the little Civil Service.

And there is the half-caste child, the lisping chee-chee, or Eurasian,
grandiloquently so called, much given to sentimental minstrelsy,
juvenile polkas, early coquetry, and early beer, hot curries, loud
clothes, bad English, and fast pertness. I never think of them without
recalling a precocious ballad-screamer of eight years who was flourished
indispensably at every chee-chee hop in Chandernagore:

  "O lay me in a little pit,
  With a marvle thtone to cover it,
  And keearve thereon a turkle-dove,
  That the world may know I died for love!"

I left India in consequence of that child.

But for the true Anglo-Indian type of brat, at all points a complete
"torn-down," "dislikeable and rod-worthy," as Mrs. Mackenzie describes
it, there is nothing among nursery nuisances comparable to the
Civil-Service child of eight or ten years, whose father, a "Company's
Bad Bargain," in the Mint, or the Supreme Court, or the Marine Office,
draws _per mensem_ enough to set his brat up in the usual servile
surroundings of such small despots. Deriving the only education it ever
gets directly from its personal attendants, this young monster of bad
temper, bad manners, and bad language becomes precociously proficient in
overbearing ways, and voluble in Hindostanee Billingsgate, before it has
acquired enough of its ancestral tongue to frame the simplest sentence.
It bullies its _bhearer_; it bangs distractingly on the tom-tom; it
surfeits itself to an apoplectic point with pish-pash; it burns its
mouth with hot curry, and bawls; it indulges in horrid Hindostanee
songs, whereof the burden will not bear translation; it insults whatever
is most sacred to the caste attachments of its attendants; the Moab of
ayahs is its wash-pot, over an Edom of bhearers will it cast out its
shoe; it slaps the mouth of a gray-haired _khansaman_ with its slipper,
and dips its poodle's paws in a Mohammedan _kitmudgar's_ rice; it
calls a learned Pundit an _asal ulu_, an egregious owl; it says to
a high-caste _circar_, "Shut up, you pig!" and to an illustrious
_moonshee_, "_Hi, toom junglee-wallah!_" Whereat its fond mamma, to whom
Bengalee, Hindostanee, and Sanscrit are alike sealed books of Babel,
claps the hands of her heart, and crying, _Wah, wah!_ in all the
innocence of her philological deficiency, blesses the fine animal
spirits of her darling Hastings Clive.

"_Soono_, you _sooa_, _loom kis-wasti omara bukri_ not bring?" says
Hastings Clive, whose English is apt to figure among his Hindostanee
like Brahmins in a regiment of Sepoys,--that is, one Brahmin to every
twenty low-caste fellows.

_The Hon. Mrs. Wellesley Gough_.--Wellesley dear, _do_ listen to that
darling Hastings Clive, how sweetly he prattles! What _did_ he say then?
If one could _only_ learn that delightful Hindostanee, so that one could
converse with one's dear Hastings Clive! _Do_ tell me what he said.

_The Hon. Wellesley Gough, of the Company's Bad Bargains_.--Literally
interpreted, my dearest Maud, our darling Hastings Clive sweetly
remarked, "I say, you pig, why in thunder don't you fetch my goat into
the parlor?"

_The Hon. Mrs. Wellesley Gough, of the Hon. Mr. Wellesley Gough's Bad
Bargains_.--Oh, _isn't_ he clever?

_Hastings Clive_.--_Jou_, you _haremzeada_! _Bukri na munkta,

_The Hon. Wellesley Gough_.--My love, he says now, "Get out, you
good-for-nothing rascal! I don't want that goat here."

_The Hon. Mrs. Wellesley Gough_.--Oh, _isn't_ he clever?

What dreadful crime did you commit in another life, O illustrious
Moonshee, that you should fall now among such thieves as this horrid
Hastings Clive?

"Sahib, I know not. _Hum kia kurrenge? kismut hi_: What can I do? it is
my fate."

Hastings Clive has a queer assortment of pets, first of which are
the bushy-tailed Persian kittens, hereinbefore mentioned. When, in
Yankee-land, some lovelorn Zeekle is notoriously sweet upon any Huldy of
the rural maids,--when

  "His heart keeps goin' pitypat,
  And hern goes pity Zeekle,"--

when she is

  "All kind o' smily round the lips,
  And teary round the lashes,"--

it is usual to describe his condition by a feline figure; he is said
to "cuddle up to her like a sick kitten to a hot brick." But the sick
Oriental kitten, reversing the Occidental order of kitten things,
cuddles up to a water-monkey, and fondly embraces the refreshing
evaporation of its beaded bulb with all her paws and all her bushy tail.
The Persian kitten stands high in the favor of Hastings Clive.

Hastings Clive has a whole array of parroquets and hill-mainahs, which,
as they learned their small language from his peculiar scurrilous
practice, are but blackguard birds at best. He also rejoices in many
blue-jays, rescued from the Ganges, whereinto they were thrown as
offerings to the vengeful Doorga during the barbarous _pooja_ celebrated
in her name. Very proud, too, is Hastings Clive of his pigeons,--his
many-colored pigeons from Lucknow, Delhi, and Benares; an Oudean
bird-boy has trained them to the pretty sport of the Mohammedan princes,
and every afternoon he flies them from the house-top in flashing flocks,
for Hastings Clive's entertainment.

Hastings Clive has toys, the wooden and earthen toys for which Benares
was ever famous among Indian children,--nondescript animals, and as
non-descript idols,--little Brahminee bulls with bells, and artillery
camels, like those at Rohilcund and Agra,--Sahibs taking the air in
buggies, country-folk in hackeries, baba-logue in gig-topped ton-jons.
But much more various and entertaining, though frailer, are his Calcutta
toys, of paper, clay, and wax,--hunting-parties in bamboo howdahs, on
elephants a foot high, that move their trunks very cunningly,--avadavats
of clay, which flutter so naturally, suspended by hairs in bamboo cages,
that the cats destroy them quickly,--miniature palanquins, budgerows,
bungalows, and pagodas, all of paper,--figures in clay of the different
castes and callings, baboos, kitmudgars, washermen, barbers,
tailors, street-waterers, box-wallahs, (as the peddlers are called,)
nautch-girls, jugglers, sepoys, policemen, doorkeepers, dog-boys,--all
true to the life, in costume, attitude, and expression.

Statedly, on his birth-day, the Anglo-Indian child is treated to a
_kat-pootlee nautch_, and Hastings Clive has a birth-day every time he
conceives a longing for a puppet-show; so that our wilful young friend
may be said to be nine years, and about nineteen kat-pootlee nautches,

To make a birth-day for Hastings Clive, three or four _tamasha-wallahs_,
or show-fellows, are required; these, hired for a few rupees, come from
the nearest bazaar, bringing with them all the fantastic apparatus of a
kat-pootlee nautch, with its interludes of story-telling and jugglery.
A sheet, or table-cloth, or perhaps a painted drop-curtain, expressly
prepared, is hung between two pillars in the drawing-room, and reaches,
not to the floor, but to the tops of the miniature towers of a silver
palace, where some splendid Rajah, of fabulous wealth and power, is
about to hold a grand _durbar_, or levee. All the people, be they
illustrious personages or the common herd, who assist in the ceremony,
are puppets a span long, rudely constructed and coarsely painted, but
very faithful as to costume and manners, and most dexterously played
upon by the invisible tamasha-wallahs, whom the curtain conceals.

A silver throne having been wheeled out on the portico by manikin
bhearers, the manikin Rajah, attended by his manikin moonshee, and as
many manikin courtiers as the tamasha property-man can supply, comes
forth in his wooden way, and seats himself on the throne in wooden
state; a manikin _hookah-badar_, or pipe-server, and a manikin
_chattah-wallah_, or umbrella-bearer, take up their wooden position
behind, while a manikin _punkah-wallah_ fans, woodenly, his manikin
Highness, and the manikin courtiers dance wooden attendance around. Then
manikin ladies and gentlemen come on manikin elephants and horses and
camels, or in manikin palanquins, and alight with wooden dignity at the
foot of the palace stairs, taking their respective orders of wooden
precedence with wooden pomposities and humilities, and all the manikin
forms of the customary bore. The manikin courtiers trip woodenly
down the grand stairs to meet the manikin guests with little wooden
Orientalisms of compliment, and all the little wooden delicacies of
the season; and they conduct the manikin Sahibs and Beebees into
the presence of the manikin Rajah, who receives them with wooden
condescension and affability, and graciously reciprocates their wooden
salaams, inquiring woodenly into the health of all their manikin
friends, and hoping, with the utmost ligneous solicitude, that they have
had a pleasant wooden journey: and so on, manikin by manikin, to the
wooden end. Of course, much desultory tomtomry and wild troubadouring
behind the curtain make the occasion musical.

The audience is complete in all the picturesqueness of mixed baba-logue.
In the front row, chattering brown ayahs, gay with red sarees and
nose-rings, sit on the floor, holding in their laps pale, tender
babies, fair-haired and blue-eyed, lace-swaddled, coral-clasped, and
amber-studded. Behind these, on high chairs, are the striplings of three
years and upward, vociferous and kicking under the hand-punkahs of
their patient bhearers. Tall fellows are these bhearers, with fierce
moustaches, but gentle eyes,--a sort of nursery lions whom a little
child can lead. On each side are small chocolate-colored heathens, in a
sort of short chemises, silver-bangled as to their wrists and ankles,
and already with the caste-mark on the foreheads of some of them,--shy,
demure younglings, just learning all the awful significance of the word
_Sahib_, who have been brought from mysterious homes by fond ayahs, and
smuggled in through back-stairs influence, or boldly introduced by the
durwan under the glorifying patronage of that terrible Hastings Clive.

Back of all are Dhobee, the washerman, and Dirzce, the tailor, and
Mehter, the sweeper, and Mussalehee, the torch-boy, and Metranee, the
scullion,--and all the rest of the household riff-raffry. There is much
clapping of hands, and happy wah-wah-ing, wherefrom you conclude that
Hastings Clive's birth-day is at least one good result of his being born
at all.

The Sahib baba-logue have a lively share in several of the native
festivals. The Hoolee, for instance, is their high carnival of fun,
when they pelt their elders and each other with the red powder of the
_mhindee_, and repel laughing assaults with smart charges of rose-water
fired from busy little squirts. During the illumination of the Duwallee,
they receive from the servants presents of fantastic toys, and search
in the compounds by moonlight for the flower of the tree that never
blossoms, and for the soul of a snake, whence comes to the finder good
luck for the rest of his life.

These are the traditional sports of the baba-logue; but they are
ingenious in inventing others, wherein, from time to time, the imitative
faculty, of the native child especially, is tragically manifested.

When the Nawab, Shumsh-ud-deen, was hung at Delhi for hiring a _sowar_
to assassinate Mr. Fraser, the British Commissioner, the country
population round about were seized with the news as with the coming of
a dragon or a destroying army; and the British Lion was the Bogy, the
Black Douglas, in whose name poor _ryots'_ wives scared refractory brats
into trembling obedience. Not far from Delhi was a village school, where
were many small boys,--so many Asiatic frogs-in-a-well,--to whom "the
news of the day" was full of terrible portent. Once, when they were
tired of foot-ball, and the shuttlecock had grown heavy on their
hands, the cry was, "What shall we play next?" And one daring little
fellow--whose father had been to Delhi with his rent, and had told
how the Nawab met his _kismut_ (his fate) so quietly, that the
gold-embroidered slippers did not fall from his feet--cried, "Let us
play hanging the Nawab! and I will be the Nawab; and Kama, here, shall
be Kurreim Khan, the sowar; and Joota shall be Metcalfe Sahib, the
magistrate; and the rest of you shall be the sahibs, and the sepoys, and
the priests."

_Acha, acha!_--"Good, good!" they all cried. "Let us play the Nawab's
kismut! let us hang the Nawab! And Mungloo--he that is more clever than
all of us--he that is cunning as a Thug--Mungloo shall be the Nawab!"

So they began with the murder of the Commissioner; and he who personated
Kurreim Khan, the assassin, played so naturally, that he sent the
Commissioner screaming to his mother, with an arrow sticking in his
arm. Then they arrested Kurreim Khan, and his accomplice, Unnia, a
_mehwatti_, who turned king's evidence, and betrayed the sowar; and
having tried and condemned Kurreim Khan, they would have hung him on the
spot; but, being but a little fellow, he became alarmed at the serious
turn the sport was taking, although he had himself set so sharp an
example; so he took nimbly to his heels, and followed his young friend,
the Commissioner.

Then Unnia told how the Nawab had paid Kurreim Khan blood-money, because
Shumsh-ud-deen did so hate Fraser Sahib. Whereupon Metcalfe Sahib, a
little naked fellow, just the color of an old mahogany table, sent his
sepoys and had the Nawab dragged, in all his ragged breech-cloth glory,
to the bar of Sahib justice. In about three minutes, the Nawab was
condemned to die,--condemned to be hung by an outcast sweeper. But, in
consideration of his exalted rank, they consented that he should wear
his slippers, and ride to the place of execution, smoking his hookah;
and Mungloo acknowledged the Sahib's magnanimity by proudly inclining
his head, like a true Nawab, with a dignified "_Acha!"_ Then two members
of the court-martial, who lived nearest at hand, ran home, and quickly
returned, one with his father's slippers, the other with his mother's
hubble-bubble; and having tied the slippers, that were a world too big,
on Mungloo's little feet, and lighted the hubble-bubble, that he
might smoke, they mounted him on a buffalo, captured from the village
_hurkaru_, who happened, just in the nick of time, to come riding by, on
his way to Delhi, with the mail. And they led out the prisoner, smoking
his hubble-bubble,--and looking, as Metcalfe Sahib said of the real
Nawab, "as if he had been accustomed to be hanged every day of his
life,"--to the place of execution, an old saul-tree with low limbs.
Then, having taken the rope with which the hurkaru's mail-bag was lashed
to his buffalo, they slipped a noose over the Nawab's head, made the
other end fast to the lower limb of the saul-tree, and led away the

Little Mungloo, who was cunning as a Thug, acted with surprising talent;
in fact, some of the Sahibs thought he rather overdid his part, for he
dropped his hubble-bubble almost awkwardly, and even kicked,--which the
real Nawab had too much self-respect to do,--so that he sent one of
his slippers flying one way, and the other another. But he choked, and
gasped, and showed the whites of his eyes, and turned black in the face,
and shivered through all his frame, so very naturally, that his admiring
companions clapped their hands vehemently, and cried, _Wah, wah!_ with
all their little lungs. _Wah, wah!_ they screamed,--_Wah khoob tamasha
kurta hi! Phir kello, Mungloo! Bahoot ucchi-turri nuhkul, kurte ho
toom!_ "Bravo! Bravo! Such fun! Do it again, Mungloo,--do it again! it
takes you!" Certainly Mungloo did it to the life,--for he was dead.

       *       *       *       *       *

To conclude now with a specimen of the tales with which the native
story-tellers entertain little heathens on street-corners.

There was once a bastard boy, the son of a Brahmin's widow; and he was
excluded from a merry wedding-feast on account of his disgraceful birth.
With a heart full of bitterness, he prayed to Siva for comfort or
revenge; and Siva, taking pity on him, taught him the mystic _mantra_,
or incantation, called Bijaksharam,--_Shrum, hrim, craoom, hroom, hroo_.
So the boy went to the door of the apartment where the wedding guests
were regaling themselves and making merry; and he pronounced the mantra
backwards,--_Hroo, hroom, craoom, hrim, shrum_. Immediately the fish,
and the cucumbers, and the mangoes, and the pumplenoses took the shape
of toads, and jumped into the faces of the guests, and into their bosoms
and laps, and on the floor. Then the boy laughed so loud, that the
astonished guests knew it was he who had conjured them; so they went to
the door and let him in, and set him at the head of the table. Then the
boy was satisfied, and uttering the mantra aright, he conjured the toads
back into the dishes again; and they all lay down in their places, and
became fish, and cucumbers, and mangoes, and pumplenoses, just as if
nothing had happened.

Glory to Siva!


The promise of the autumn has not been fulfilled; instead of the
anticipated feasts, we have had but few concerts, and, as yet, no opera.
Some few noteworthy incidents have occurred, however, which we desire
to record. We pass over the ever welcome orchestral concerts, the quiet
pleasures of our delightful chamber music, and the inspiring four-part
singing of the Orpheus Club. Neither can we give the space to notice
fully the _début_ of a young singer,--a singer with a rare voice, full,
flexible, and sympathetic, and who, with culture in a _larger_ style,
and with maturity of power and feeling, will be a real acquisition to
our musical public. Few young performers know

  "How much grace, strength, and dignity lie in repose."

They dazzle us with pyrotechnics in the finale of _Com' e bello_ or _Qui
la voce_, but the simple feeling of _Vedrai carino_ is beyond their
grasp. Firmly sustained tones, careful phrasing, flowing grace in the
melody, and just, dramatic expression, are the great requisites; without
them the brilliant flourishes of a modern cadenza astonish only for a
brief period.

The appearance of Carl Formes in oratorio was something to be long
remembered. The Handel and Haydn Society brought out "Elijah" and "The
Creation" before immense audiences at the Music Hall. For the first
time we heard "Elijah" represented by a great artist, and not by a
sentimental, mock-heroic singer. He infused into the performance his own
intense personality. Every phrase was charged with his own feeling.
He thundered out the curses of Heaven upon idolaters; he prayed with
all-absorbing devotion to the "Lord God of Abraham"; he taunted the
baffled priests of Baal in grim and terrible scorn; he gently soothed
the anguish of the widow; and when his career was finished, he
reverently said, "It is enough; now take away my life!" The _music_
we had heard before; we had been rapt many a time while hearing the
magnificent choruses; but we never had known the dramatic power of the
composer as shown in the principal rôle.

"The Creation" was performed on the following evening. Its ever fresh
and cheerful melodies presented a fine contrast to the severely
intellectual style of "Elijah." In rendering purely melodic phrases,
Herr Formes was not so preëminent as in declamatory passages. Not always
strictly in tune, not specially graceful, slow in delivery, even beyond
the requirements of a dignified style, he impressed the audience rather
by the volume and richness of his tones and by a certain reserved force,
than by any unusual excellence in execution. Some one has said, that it
makes a great difference in the force of a sentence whether or not there
is a man behind it. This impression of a fulness of resources always
accompanied the efforts of Herr Formes; every phrase had meaning
or beauty, as he delivered it. Perhaps it is as idle to lament his
deficiencies, in comparison with artists like Belletti, for instance,
as to complain because the grand figures of Michel Angelo have not the
delicacy of finish that marks the sweetly insipid Venus de Medici. Of
the other solo performers in the oratorios it is not necessary for us to
speak, save to commend the fine voice and good style of Mrs. Harwood, a
rising singer, well known here, and whom the country, we hope, will know
in due time.

Another concert demands our attention, in which portions of a work by an
American composer were submitted to the test of public judgment. This we
must consider the most important musical event of the season; for great
singers, though surely not common among our English race, have not
been unknown; the ability to interpret God gives freely,--the power to
create, rarely. In any generation, probably not ten men arise who
write new melodies; of these, only a small proportion have either the
intellectual power or the aesthetic feeling to combine the subtile
elements of music into forms of lasting beauty. Most of them are
influenced by prevailing mannerisms, and their music is therefore
ephemeral, like the taste to which it ministers. Of all the composers
that have lived, probably not more than six or eight have attained to
an absolutely classic rank. These few are not in relations with any
temporary taste; their music might have been written to-day or a century
ago, and it will be as fresh a century hence. No one of the arts has had
fewer great masters. A new composer, therefore, has a right to claim our
attention. If, perchance, we discover that he has the gift of genius,
and is not merely a clever imitator, we cannot rejoice too much.

The work to which we allude is the opera "Omano,"--the libretto in
Italian by Signor Manetta, the music by Mr. L. H. Southard. We shall
not stop now to consider the question, whether American Art is to be
benefited by the production of operas in the Italian tongue; it is
enough to say, that, until we have native singers capable of rendering
a great dramatic work, singers who can give us in English the effects
which Grisi, Badiali, Mario, and Alboni produce in their own language,
we must be content with the existing state of things, and allow our
composers to write for those artists who can do justice to their
conceptions. We hope to live to hear operas in English; but meanwhile we
must have music, and, at present, the Italian stage is the only common

Mr. Southard's opera is founded upon Beckford's Oriental tale, "Vathek,"
with such alterations as are necessary to adapt it for representation.
We are told that the plot is full of dramatic situations, full of human
interest, and that its scenes appeal to all the faculties, ranging
through comedy, ballet, and melodrama, and leading to the awful Hall
of Eblis at last. The principal characters are the Caliph Omano,
_baritone_; Carathis, his mother, _mezzo soprano_; Hinda, a slave in his
harem, _soprano_; Rustam, her lover, _tenor_; and Albatros, _basso_,
a Mephistophelean spirit who tempts the Caliph on to his destruction.
Selections were made from this opera, and were performed by resident
artists, without the aid of stage effects or orchestral accompaniments.
Only the music was given, with as much of the harmony as could be played
on the grand piano by one pair of hands. There could be no severer test
than this. The music is generally Italian in form, especially in the
flowing grace of the _cantabile_ passages, and in the working up of the
climaxes. But we did not hear one of the stereotyped Italian cadenzas,
nor did we fall into old _ruts_ in following the harmonic progressions.
The orchestral figures--the framework on which the melodies are
supported--are new, ingenious, and beautiful. The duets, quartette,
and quintette show great command of resources and the utmost skill in
construction; we can hardly remember any concerted pieces in the modern
opera where the "working up" is more satisfactory, or the effect more
brilliant. How far the music exhibits an absolutely original vein of
melody, it is perhaps premature to say. No composer has ever been free
at first from the influence of the masters whom he most admired. To
mention no later instances, it is well known that Beethoven's early
works are all colored by his recollections of Mozart, and that his own
peculiar qualities were not clearly brought out until he had reached
the maturity of his powers. This seems to be the law in all the arts;
imitation first, self-development and originality afterwards. Happy
are those who do not stop in the first stage! It is certain that Mr.
Southard's music _pleased_, and that some of the most critical of the
audience were roused to a real enthusiasm. And it is to be borne in mind
that the music is cast in a grand mould; it has no prettiness; it is
either great in itself, or wears the semblance of greatness. On the
whole, we are inclined to think that the "Diarist" in Dwight's "Journal
of Music" was not extravagant in saying that no _first_ work since the
time of Beethoven has had so much of promise as the opera "Omano." We
shall look with great interest for its production upon the stage with
the proper accompaniments and scenic effects. It is due to the composer
that this should be done. If the music we heard had been performed by
a company of great artists in the Boston Theatre or in the Academy of
Music, it would have been received with tumultuous applause. The
singers on this occasion gained to themselves great credit by their
conscientious endeavors. They generously offered their services, and
sang with a heartiness that showed a warm interest in the work. One of
them, at least, Mrs. J. H. Long, would have established her reputation
as an accomplished artist, even if she had never appeared in public

We suppose our readers will agree with us in looking with eager delight
to the promise of a national school of music. Every nation must create
its own song. The passionate music of Italy electrifies our cooler
blood, but it does not adequately express all our feelings nor in any
way represent our character. We also find many of the compositions of
Germany so purely intellectual that they do not touch us until we have
_learned_ to like them. If we ever have a school of music, it will be in
harmony with our rapidly developing characteristics. But it must grow
up on our own soil; exotics never flourish long under strange skies. We
think that many things point to this country as the place where music
will achieve new triumphs. We are not bound by old traditions, we have
few prejudices to unlearn, and we are able to see merit in more than
one school. The same audience that becomes almost intoxicated with the
excitement of the Italian opera will listen with the fullest, serenest
pleasure to the majestic symphonies of Beethoven or to the sublime
choruses of Handel. The devotees of the various European schools have
none of this catholicity. A very accomplished Italian musician used
frankly to say, that a symphony always put him to sleep; and as for the
songs of Franz and other recent German composers, he would rather
hear the filing of saws with an accompaniment of wet fingers on a
window-pane. The Germans, on the other hand, have an equal contempt for
Italian music. For them, Donizetti is melodramatic, Bellini puerile
and silly, and even Rossini (who has written as many melodies as any
composer, save Mozart) is only fit to compose for hand-organs. The
American musical public can and do render to both schools the justice
they deny each other,--and this because we appreciate the aim and
direction of both. The tendency of modern German music is more and more
in what we might call a mathematical direction; the Teutonic listener
examines the structure of a movement as he would a geometrical
proposition; he notices the connection and dependence of the several
parts, and at the end, if he like it, he thinks Q.E.D.; his pleasure is
quiet, but sincere. The Italian, on the other hand, makes everything
subordinate to feeling; for him the music must sparkle with pleasure,
burn with passion, or lighten with rage; borne upon the tide of emotion,
the under-current of harmony is a matter of little moment; there may be
symmetry of structure, and learning in the treatment of themes; if so,
well; if not, their absence is not noticed as an essential defect.

For lyrical purposes the Italian style will always take the precedence,
because music must primarily be addressed to the feelings. But it may
happen, if ever we have great composers here in America, that to the
instinctive grace and beauty of this Southern school the magnificent
orchestral effects of the North may be added, and thereby a grander
and more perfect whole be produced. At least, we can continue to be
eclectic, and in due time we may develope music which, like Corinthian
brass, shall contain the valuable qualities of all the elements we

       *       *       *       *       *


_Biography of Elisha Kent Kane_. By WILLIAM ELDER. Philadelphia: Childs
& Peterson.

If Dr. Kane's character had not been free from any taint of imposture
and vainglory, and if his reputation had not been of that kind which can
be submitted to the austerest tests without being materially lessened, he
would have suffered much in having so frank and truthful a biographer as
Dr. Elder. Nobody could have been selected for the task who would have
worse performed the business of puffing, or the work of recognizing and
celebrating lofty traits of character and vigorous mental endowments
better. He is a friendly biographer,--and well he may be; for he
declares that his researches into Dr. Kane's private correspondence and
papers revealed not a line which, if published, would injure his fame.
It is, of course, impossible for so genuine a man as Dr. Elder to
refrain from hearty eulogium where not to praise is the sign of a
cynical rather than a critical spirit; but his panegyric has the
raciness and sincerity which proceed from the generous recognition of
merit, and never indicates that ominous falseness of feeling which the
simplest reader instinctively detects in the formal constructer of
complimentary sentences. Throughout the book, the biographer writes in
the spirit of that sound maxim which declares it to be as base to refuse
praise where it is due, as to give praise where it is not due; and we
think that few readers will be inclined to quarrel with him for the
quickness and depth of his sympathies with his hero, except that small
class of "knowing" minds who, mistaking disbelief in human probity for
acuteness of intellect, find a mischievous satisfaction in depressing
heroes into coxcombs, and resolving noble actions into ignoble motives.

We have been especially interested in the account given of Dr. Kane's
boyhood and early life. As a boy, he had too much force, originality,
and decided bias of nature to be what is called a "good boy,"--one of
those unfortunate children whose weakness of individuality passes for
moral excellence, and who give their guardians so little trouble in
the early development and so much trouble in the maturity of their
mediocrity. He would not learn what he did not like, and what he felt
would be of no use to him. He kept his memory free from all intellectual
information which could not be transmuted into intellectual ability. The
same daring, confidence, enterprise, and passion for action, which in
after life made him an explorer, were first expressed in that love of
mischief which vexes the hearts of parents and calls into exercise the
pedagogue's ferule. All arbitrary authority found him a resolute little
rebel. Dr. Elder furnishes some amusing instances of his audacity and
determination. Though smaller than other boys of his age, he possessed
"the clear advantage of that energy of nerve and that sort of twill in
the muscular texture which give tight little fellows more size than they
measure and more weight than they weigh." At school he had under his
charge a brother, two years younger than himself, who was once called up
by the master to be whipped. This disturbed Elisha's notions of justice
and his conceptions of the duties of a guardian, and, springing from his
seat, he exclaimed, "Don't whip him, he's such a little fellow!--whip
me!" The master, interpreting this to be mutiny, which really was
intended for fair compromise, answered, "I'll whip you, too, Sir!"
Strung for endurance, the sense of injustice changed his mood to
defiance, and such fight as he was able to make quickly converted the
discipline into a fracas, and Elisha left the school with marks which
required explanation.

In his eighteenth year he was prostrated by a disease which developed
into inflammation of the lining membrane of the heart, from which he
never recovered. The verdict of the physician was ever in his mind: "You
may fall at any time as suddenly as from [by] a musket-shot." His life
was afterwards, indeed, like the life of a soldier constantly under
fire. Instead of making him a valetudinary, this continual liability to
death aided to make him a hero. He acted in the spirit of his father's
advice,--"If you must die, die in harness." Dr. Elder proves that his
existence was prolonged by the hardihood which made him careless of
death. "The current of his life shows convincingly that incessant toil
and exposure was [were] a sound hygienic policy in his case. Naturally
his physical constitution was a case of coil springs, compacted till
they quivered with their own mobility; nervous disease had added its
irritability, and mental energy electrified them. It was doing or dying,
with him. And it was not a tyrant selfishness, a wild ambition, that
ruled his life, but a rare concurrence of mental aptitude, moral
impulse, and bodily necessity, that kept him incessant in adventure."
Nothing could damp this ardor. He contracted the peculiar disease of
every country and climate he visited, and was frequently on what seemed
his death-bed; but no experience of physical misery had any influence
in blunting his intellectual curiosity or impairing the energies of his
will. One of those elastic natures "who ever with a frolic welcome take
the thunder or the sunshine," his whole existence was wedded to action,
and he was always ready to suffer everything, if he could thereby do

We have no space to follow Dr. Elder in his minute and interesting
account of a life so short, yet so crowded with events, as that in which
the character of Dr. Kane was formed, manifested, and matured. The
character itself--so gentle and so persistent, so full at once of
self-reliance and reliance on Providence, so tender in affection and so
indomitable in fortitude--is now one of the moral possessions of the
country, worth more to it than any new invention which increases
its industrial productiveness or any new province which adds to its
territorial dominion. That must be a low view of utility which excludes
such a character from its list of useful things; for the great interest
of every nation is, to cherish and value whatever tends to prevent its
forces of intelligence and conscience from being weakened by idleness or
withheld by timidity and self-distrust; and certainly the example of Dr.
Kane will exert this wholesome influence, by the unmistakable directness
with which it gives the lie to that lazy or cowardly skepticism of the
powers of the will, which furnishes the excuse for thousands to slink
away from duty on the plea of inability to perform it. To the young men
of the country we especially commend this biography, in the full belief
that it will stimulate and stir to effort many a sensitive youth who
feels within himself the capacity to emulate the spirit which prompted
Dr. Kane's actions, if he cannot hope to rival their splendor and

_Beatrice Cenci_: A Historical Novel of the Sixteenth Century, by F.D.
GUERRAZZI. Translated from the Italian by Luigi Monti, A.M., Instructor
of Italian at Harvard University, Cambridge. New York: Rudd & Carleton,
310 Broadway. 1858. Two vols. in one. pp. 270 and 202.

Three contemporary Italians, Mariotti, (Gallenga,) Mazzini, and Ruffini,
have afforded extraordinary examples of entire mastery over the English
language in original composition, and Mr. Monti has attained an almost
equal success in the translation before us. We have remarked,
in reading it, a few solecisms and one or two trifling
mistranslations,--but none of them such as either to affect the
essential integrity of the version or to render it difficult for the
least intelligent reader to make out clearly the sense of the original.
We should not have alluded to them at all, had we not thought that they
redounded rather to the credit of the translator; for they seem to prove
that the work is entirely his own, and has not been subjected to that
supervision which any one of Mr. Monti's numerous friends would have
been glad to offer.

Guerrazzi, the author of the book, played a conspicuous part during the
Italian Revolution of 1848-9. An advocate, we believe, by profession,
he was one of the chiefs of the moderate liberal party in Tuscany, who,
after the breaking out of the Revolution, wished to avoid any sudden
overturn by carrying out such reforms as public sentiment demanded by
means of the existing powers and forms of government. As head of the
ministry called to inaugurate and administer the new Constitution
granted and sworn to by the Grand Duke, he became involuntarily the
Regent and in fact the Dictator of Tuscany, after the Grand Duke's
treacherous flight to Santo Stefano. There is no evidence that he abused
his power, or that he assumed any responsibilities not forced upon him
by the necessities of his position. Indeed, the best proof that he
did not is, that, after the Grand Duke had been forced again on his
unwilling subjects by the bayonets of his Austrian cousins, it was found
impossible to obtain Guerrazzi's conviction on a charge of high treason,
and that in a city garrisoned by Austrian soldiers and still under
martial law. He was, however, incarcerated for several years before
being brought to trial, and finally sentenced to fifteen years'
imprisonment. But even this was such an outrage on public opinion that
it was commuted to banishment. He is now living in exile near Genoa,
and enjoying those blessings of constitutional government which he had
desired to confer on his own country, and which we fervently hope may
survive the misguided assaults of a fanatic liberalism, and continue to
make Sardinia the centre of Italian hope, as it is the van of Italian

His "Beatrice Cenci" was written during his imprisonment; and there is
something fitting in the circumstance, that the work of an exile should
be translated by a countryman also driven from his native land in
consequence of his devotion to the idea of liberal and constitutional
government, and, like the author, sustaining himself unrepiningly by a
dignified and useful industry. It was also peculiarly fitting that the
translation should have appeared just at the moment when the genius of
Miss Hosmer had renewed the interest of her countrymen in the story of
Beatrice, and deepened their compassion for her undeserved misfortunes
by a statue so full of pathos and power.

Guerrazzi belongs to the extreme left of the school of historical
novelists. He is almost always at high pressure, and, in spite of
a certain force of thought and expression, is tinged decidedly and
sometimes unpleasantly with sentimentalism. He is so little of
an artist, that the story-teller is subordinated in him to the
propagandist, and his work is not so near his heart as the desire to
make a strong argument against the temporal power of the Papacy. He
interrupts his narrative too often with reflection and disquisition,
shows too much that fondness for the striking which is fatal to the
classic in expression, and rushes out of his way at a highly-colored
simile as certainly as a bull at scarlet. His characters talk much, and
yet develope themselves rather circumstantially than psychologically.

Yet, in spite of these defects, Guerrazzi has succeeded in so
intensifying the high lights and deep shadows of passion, pathos,
and horror in the story, as to make a very effective picture, of the
Caravaggio school. There is a curious parallel between the chapter where
Count Cenci is imprisoned in the cavern, and those scenes in Webster's
"Duchess of Malfy" where the Duchess is tortured by her brothers. The
resemblance is interesting on many accounts, and serves to confirm us in
a belief we have long entertained that Webster's peculiar power has been
overrated, and that the tendency to heap one nightmare horror on another
is something characteristic rather of the childhood than the maturity
of genius. There is no modern story which renews for us the woes of the
house of Tantalus so awfully as this of the Cenci, and it cannot fail
to be of absorbing interest, especially to those unfamiliar with its
ghastly details. Whether the theory which Guerrazzi assumes in order to
render probable the innocence of the Cenci be tenable or not we shall
not stop to discuss; it is enough that it serves to heighten the romance
and complicate the plot in a very effective manner.

We cannot leave the book without saying how much we were charmed with
the little episode of the old curate and his maid, and his ass Marco.
It seems to us that Guerrazzi in this chapter has come nearer to the
simplicity of nature than in any other part of the book, and we augur
favorably from it for his future escape from the perils of a too
ambitious style to the serenity of truer artistic development.

Of Mr. Monti's translation we can speak in high terms of commendation.
Success in writing a foreign language is a rare thing, and he has shown
a remarkable command of idiomatic expression. His familiarity with the
habits and proverbial phrases of his native country gives him, we
think, an advantage over any English translator, which more than
counterbalances the trifling inaccuracies of phraseology that here and
there betray the foreigner, and amount to nothing more than an accent,
which is not without its merit of piquancy. In one respect we think he
has acted with great discretion, namely, in now and then curtailing
the reflections which Guerrazzi has interpolated upon the story to
the manifest detriment of its interest and consecutiveness. If Signor
Guerrazzi should profit by these silent criticisms, it would be to his
advantage as an author.

_The Elements of Drawing; in three Letters to Beginners._ By JOHN RUSKIN.
With Illustrations drawn by the Author. 12mo. London. 1857.

The art of drawing may be called the art of learning to see,--and into
this art there is no guide to be compared with Mr. Ruskin. His own
admirable powers of sight and of expression have been cultivated by
long, patient, and laborious study.

He has learned not only how to see, but what to see, and how best to
represent what he sees. A teacher of the most advanced students of Art
and Nature, he offers himself now as a teacher of beginners; and this
little book of his contains a course of instruction admirably adapted
not only to teach drawing, but also to teach the object and end for
which it is worth while to learn to draw. "I would rather teach
drawing," says Mr. Ruskin, in his Preface, "that my pupils may learn to
love Nature, than teach the looking at Nature that they may learn
to draw." And no one can study Mr. Ruskin's book without gaining a
profounder sense of the infinite beauty and variety of Nature, and of
the unfathomable stores of her freely lavished riches,--or without
acquiring clearer perceptions of this beauty, and of its relations to
the Divine government and order of the world.

Mr. Ruskin's book is essentially a practical one. His long experience as
teacher of drawing in the Working-Men's College has given him knowledge
of and sympathy with the perplexities and difficulties of beginners.
It is a book for children of twelve or fourteen years old; and it is
especially fitted for circulation in district and school libraries. All
teachers of schools, in which drawing forms a part of the course, will
find invaluable hints and directions in it. In every case, the
English edition--which is easily obtainable, and at a very moderate
price--should be procured, not merely for the sake of the original
illustrations, but also as a mark of respect and gratitude to the

In an Appendix containing many wise and genial directions with regard to
"Things to be studied" is a passage concerning Books, which we quote for
its coincidence of opinion with our own views expressed in the January
Number, and for the sake of enforcing its recommendations.

"I cannot, of course, suggest the choice of your library to you; every
several mind needs different books; but there are some books which
we all need; and assuredly, if you read Homer,[A] Plato, Aeschylus,
Herodotus Dante,[B] Shakspeare, and Spenser, as much as you ought, you
will not require wide enlargement of shelves to right and left of them
for purposes of perpetual study. Among modern books, avoid generally
magazine and review literature,[C] Sometimes it may contain a useful
abridgment or a wholesome piece of criticism; but the chances are ten to
one it will either waste your time or mislead you.... Avoid especially
that class of literature which has a knowing tone; it is the most
poisonous of all. Every good book, or piece of book, is full of
admiration and awe; it may contain firm assertion or stern satire, but
it never sneers coldly nor asserts haughtily, and it always leads you to
reverence or love something with your whole heart.... A common book will
often give you much amusement, but it is only a noble book which will
give you dear friends. Remember, also, that it is of less importance to
you, in your earlier years, that the books you read should be clever,
than that they should be right; I do not mean oppressively or
repulsively instructive, but that the thoughts they express should be
just, and the feelings they excite generous. It is not necessary for
you to read the wittiest or the most suggestive books; it is better,
in general, to hear what is already known and may be simply said....
Certainly at present, and perhaps through all your life, your teachers
are wisest when they make you content in quiet virtue, and that
literature and art are best for you which point out, in common life and
familiar things, the objects for hopeful Labor and for humble love." pp.

[Footnote A: Chapman's, if not the original.]

[Footnote B: Cary's or Cayley's, if not the original. I do not know
which are the best translations of Plato. Herodotus and Aeschylus can
only be read in the original. It may seem strange that I name books like
these for "beginners"; but all the greatest books contain food for all
ages; and an intelligent and rightly bred youth or girl ought to enjoy
much, even in Plato, by the time they are fifteen or sixteen.]

[Footnote C: _The Atlantic Monthly_ was not in existence when Mr.
Ruskin wrote this condemnation of magazines. The saving word for it is

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 01, No. 05, March, 1858" ***

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