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Title: The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 02, No. 11, September, 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 02, No. 11, September, 1858" ***

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11, SEPTEMBER, 1858***


THE ATLANTIC MONTHLY.

A MAGAZINE OF LITERATURE, ART, AND POLITICS.

VOL. II.--SEPTEMBER, 1858.--NO. XI.



ELOQUENCE.

It is the doctrine of the popular music-masters, that whoever can
speak can sing. So, probably, every man is eloquent once in his life.
Our temperaments differ in capacity of heat, or we boil at different
degrees. One man is brought to the boiling point by the excitement of
conversation in the parlor. The waters, of course, are not very deep.
He has a two-inch enthusiasm, a pattypan ebullition. Another requires
the additional caloric of a multitude, and a public debate; a third
needs an antagonist, or a hot indignation; a fourth needs a
revolution; and a fifth, nothing less than the grandeur of absolute
ideas, the splendors and shades of Heaven and Hell.

But because every man is an orator, how long soever he may have been a
mute, an assembly of men is so much more susceptible. The eloquence of
one stimulates all the rest, some up to the speaking point, and all
others to a degree that makes them good receivers and conductors, and
they avenge themselves for their enforced silence by increased
loquacity on their return to the fireside.

The plight of these phlegmatic brains is better than that of those who
prematurely boil, and who impatiently break the silence before their
time. Our county conventions often exhibit a small-pot-soon-hot style
of eloquence. We are too much reminded of a medical experiment, where
a series of patients are taking nitrous-oxide gas. Each patient, in
turn, exhibits similar symptoms,--redness in the face, volubility,
violent gesticulation, delirious attitudes, occasional stamping, an
alarming loss of perception of the passage of time, a selfish
enjoyment of his sensations, and loss of perception of the sufferings
of the audience.

Plato says, that the punishment which the wise suffer, who refuse to
take part in the government, is, to live under the government of worse
men; and the like regret is suggested to all the auditors, as the
penalty of abstaining to speak, that they shall hear worse orators
than themselves.

But this lust to speak marks the universal feeling of the energy of
the engine, and the curiosity men feel to touch the springs. Of all
the musical instruments on which men play, a popular assembly is that
which has the largest compass and variety, and out of which, by genius
and study, the most wonderful effects can be drawn. An audience is not
a simple addition of the individuals that compose it. Their sympathy
gives them a certain social organism, which fills each member, in his
own degree, and most of all the orator, as a jar in a battery is
charged with the whole electricity of the battery. No one can survey
the face of an excited assembly, without being apprised of new
opportunity for painting in fire human thought, and being agitated to
agitate. How many orators sit mute there below! They come to get
justice done to that ear and intuition which no Chatham and no
Demosthenes has begun to satisfy.

The Welsh Triads say, "Many are the friends of the golden tongue." Who
can wonder at the attractiveness of Parliament, or of Congress, or the
bar, for our ambitious young men, when the highest bribes of society
are at the feet of the successful orator? He has his audience at his
devotion. All other fames must hush before his. He is the true
potentate; for they are not kings who sit on thrones, but they who
know how to govern. The definitions of eloquence describe its
attraction for young men. Antiphon the Rhamnusian, one of Plutarch's
ten orators, advertised in Athens, "that he would cure distempers of
the mind with words." No man has a prosperity so high or firm, but two
or three words can dishearten it. There is no calamity which right
words will not begin to redress. Isocrates described his art, as "the
power of magnifying what was small and diminishing what was
great";--an acute, but partial definition. Among the Spartans, the art
assumed a Spartan shape, namely, of the sharpest weapon. Socrates
says, "If any one wishes to converse with the meanest of the
Lacedaemonians, he will at first find him despicable in conversation;
but, when a proper opportunity offers, this same person, like a
skilful jaculator, will hurl a sentence worthy of attention, short and
contorted, so that he who converses with him will appear to be in no
respect superior to a boy." Plato's definition of rhetoric is, "the
art of ruling the minds of men." The Koran says, "A mountain may
change its place, but a man will not change his disposition";--yet the
end of eloquence is,--is it not?--to alter in a pair of hours, perhaps
in a half-hour's discourse, the convictions and habits of years. Young
men, too, are eager to enjoy this sense of added power and enlarged
sympathetic existence. The orator sees himself the organ of a
multitude, and concentrating their valors and powers:

  "But now the blood of twenty thousand men
  Blushed in my face."

That which he wishes, that which eloquence ought to reach, is, not a
particular skill in telling a story, or neatly summing up evidence, or
arguing logically, or dexterously addressing the prejudice of the
company; no, but a taking sovereign possession of the audience. Him we
call an artist, who shall play on an assembly of men as a master on
the keys of the piano,--who, seeing the people furious, shall soften
and compose them, shall draw them, when he will, to laughter and to
tears. Bring him to his audience, and, be they who they may, coarse or
refined, pleased or displeased, sulky or savage, with their opinions
in the keeping of a confessor, or with their opinions in their
bank-safes,--he will have them pleased and humored as he chooses; and
they shall carry and execute that which he bids them.

This is that despotism which poets have celebrated in the "Pied Piper
of Hamelin," whose music drew like the power of gravitation,--drew
soldiers and priests, traders and feasters, women and boys, rats and
mice; or that of the minstrel of Meudon, who made the pallbearers
dance around the bier. This is a power of many degrees, and requiring
in the orator a great range of faculty and experience, requiring a
large composite man, such as Nature rarely organizes, so that, in our
experience, we are forced to gather up the figure in fragments, here
one talent, and there another.

The audience is a constant metre of the orator. There are many
audiences in every public assembly, each one of which rules in turn.
If anything comic and coarse is spoken, you shall see the emergence of
the boys and rowdies, so loud and vivacious, that you might think the
house was filled with them. If new topics are started, graver and
higher, these roisters recede; a more chaste and wise attention takes
place. You would think the boys slept, and that the men have any
degree of profoundness. If the speaker utter a noble sentiment, the
attention deepens, a new and highest audience now listens, and the
audiences of the fun and of facts and of the understanding are all
silenced and awed. There is also something excellent in every
audience,--the capacity of virtue. They are ready to be beatified.
They know so much more than the orator,--and are so just! There is a
tablet there for every line he can inscribe, though he should mount to
the highest levels. Humble persons are conscious of new illumination;
narrow brows expand with enlarged affections: delicate spirits, long
unknown to themselves, masked and muffled in coarsest fortunes, who
now hear their own native language for the first time, and leap to
hear it. But all these several audiences, each above each, which
successively appear to greet the variety of style and topic, are
really composed out of the same persons; nay, sometimes the same
individual will take active part in them all, in turn.

This range of many powers in the consummate speaker and of many
audiences in one assembly leads us to consider the successive stages
of oratory.

Perhaps it is the lowest of the qualities of an orator, but it is, on
so many occasions, of chief importance,--a certain robust and radiant
physical health,--or, shall I say? great volumes of animal heat. When
each auditor feels himself to make too large a part of the assembly,
and shudders with cold at the thinness of the morning audience, and
with fear lest all will heavily fail through one bad speech, mere
energy and mellowness are then inestimable. Wisdom and learning would
be harsh and unwelcome, compared with a substantial cordial man, made
of milk, as we say, who is a house-warmer, with his obvious honesty
and good meaning, and a hue-and-cry style of harangue, which inundates
the assembly with a flood of animal spirits, and makes all safe and
secure, so that any and every sort of good speaking becomes at once
practicable. I do not rate this animal eloquence very highly, and yet,
as we must be fed and warmed before we can do any work well, even the
best, so is this semi-animal exuberance, like a good stove, of the
first necessity in a cold house.

Climate has much to do with it,--climate and race. Set a New Englander
to describe any accident which happened in his presence. What
hesitation and reserve in his narrative! He tells with difficulty some
particulars, and gets as fast as he can to the result, and, though he
cannot describe, hopes to suggest the whole scene. Now listen to a
poor Irish-woman recounting some experience of hers. Her speech flows
like a river,--so unconsidered, so humorous, so pathetic, such justice
done to all the parts! It is a true transubstantiation,--the fact
converted into speech, all warm and colored and alive, as it fell out.
Our Southern people are almost all speakers, and have every advantage
over the New England people, whose climate is so cold, that, 'tis said,
we do not like to open our mouths very wide. But neither can the
Southerner in the United States, nor the Irish, compare with the
lively inhabitant of the South of Europe. The traveller in Sicily
needs no gayer melodramatic exhibition than the _table d'hôte_ of his
inn will afford him, in the conversation of the joyous guests. They
mimic the voice and manner of the person they describe; they crow,
squeal, hiss, cackle, bark, and scream like mad, and, were it only by
the physical strength exerted in telling the story, keep the table in
unbounded excitement. But in every constitution some large degree of
animal vigor is necessary as material foundation for the higher
qualities of the art.

But eloquence must be attractive, or it is none. The virtue of books
is to be readable, and of orators to be interesting, and this is a
gift of Nature; as Demosthenes, the most laborious student in that
kind, signified his sense of this necessity when he wrote, "Good
Fortune," as his motto on his shield. As we know, the power of
discourse of certain individuals amounts to fascination, though it may
have no lasting effect. Some portion of this sugar must intermingle.
The right eloquence needs no bell to call the people together, and no
constable to keep them. It draws the children from their play, the old
from their arm-chairs, and the invalid from his warm chamber; it holds
the hearer fast, steals away his feet, that he shall not depart,--his
memory, that he shall not remember the most pressing affairs,--his
belief, that he shall not admit any opposing considerations. The
pictures we have of it in semi-barbarous ages, when it has some
advantages in the simpler habit of the people, show what it aims at.
It is said that the Khans, or story-tellers in Ispahan and other
cities of the East, attain a controlling power over their audience,
keeping them for many hours attentive to the most fanciful and
extravagant adventures. The whole world knows pretty well the style of
these improvisators, and how fascinating they are, in our translations
of the "Arabian Nights." Scheherzarade tells these stories to save her
life, and the delight of young Europe and young America in them proves
that she fairly earned it. And who does not remember in childhood some
white or black or yellow Scheherzarade, who, by that talent of telling
endless feats of fairies and magicians, and kings and queens, was more
dear and wonderful to a circle of children than any orator of England
or America is now? The more indolent and imaginative complexion of the
Eastern nations makes them much more impressible by these appeals to
the fancy.

These legends are only exaggerations of real occurrences, and every
literature contains these high compliments to the art of the orator
and the bard, from the Hebrew and the Greek down to the Scottish
Glenkindie, who

  --"harpit a fish out o' saut water,
    Or water out of a stone,
  Or milk out of a maiden's breast
    Who bairn had never none."

Homer specially delighted in drawing the same figure. For what is the
"Odyssey," but a history of the orator, in the largest style, carried
through a series of adventures furnishing brilliant opportunities to
his talent? See with what care and pleasure the poet brings him on the
stage. Helen is pointing out to Antenor, from a tower, the different
Grecian chiefs. "Antenor said: 'Tell me, dear child, who is that man,
shorter by a head than Agamemnon, yet he looks broader in his
shoulders and breast. His arms lie on the ground, but he, like a
leader, walks about the bands of the men. He seems to me like a
stately ram, who goes as a master of the flock.' Him answered Helen,
daughter of Jove: 'This is the wise Ulysses, son of Laertes, who was
reared in the state of craggy Ithaca, knowing all wiles and wise
counsels.' To her the prudent Antenor replied again: 'O woman, you
have spoken truly. For once the wise Ulysses came hither on an
embassy, with Menelaus, beloved by Mars. I received them, and
entertained them at my house. I became acquainted with the genius and
the prudent judgments of both. When they mixed with the assembled
Trojans and stood, the broad shoulders of Menelaus rose above the
other; but, both sitting, Ulysses was more majestic. When they
conversed, and interweaved stories and opinions with all; Menelaus
spoke succinctly, few but very sweet words, since he was not
talkative, nor superfluous in speech, and was the younger. But when
the wise Ulysses arose, and stood, and looked down, fixing his eyes on
the ground, and neither moved his sceptre backward nor forward, but
held it still, like an awkward person, you would say it was some angry
or foolish man; but when he sent his great voice forth out of his
breast, and his words fell like the winter snows, not then would any
mortal contend with Ulysses; and we, beholding, wondered not
afterwards so much at his aspect." [_Iliad_, III. 192.]

Thus he does not fail to arm Ulysses at first with this power of
overcoming all opposition by the blandishments of speech. Plutarch
tells us that Thucydides, when Archidamus, king of Sparta, asked him,
Which was the best wrestler, Pericles or he? replied, "When I throw
him, he says he was never down, and he persuades the very spectators
to believe him." Philip of Macedon said of Demosthenes, on hearing the
report of one of his orations, "Had I been there, he would have
persuaded me to take up arms against myself"; and Warren Hastings said
of Burke's speech on his impeachment, "As I listened to the orator, I
felt for more than half an hour as if I were the most culpable being
on earth."

In these examples, higher qualities have already entered; but the
power of detaining the ear by pleasing speech, and addressing the
fancy and imagination, often exists without higher merits. Thus
separated, as this fascination of discourse aims only at amusement,
though it be decisive in its momentary effect, it is yet a juggle, and
of no lasting power. It is heard like a band of music passing through
the streets, which converts all the passengers into poets, but is
forgotten as soon as it has turned the next corner; and unless this
oiled tongue could, in Oriental phrase, lick the sun and moon away, it
must take its place with opium and brandy. I know no remedy against it
but cotton-wool, or the wax which Ulysses stuffed into the ears of his
sailors to pass the Sirens safely.

There are all degrees of power, and the least are interesting, but
they must not be confounded. There is the glib tongue and cool
self-possession of the salesman in a large shop, which, as is well
known, overpower the prudence and resolution of housekeepers of both
sexes. There is a petty lawyer's fluency, which is sufficiently
impressive to him who is devoid of that talent, though it be, in so
many cases, nothing more than a facility of expressing with accuracy
and speed what everybody thinks and says more slowly, without new
information, or precision of thought,--but the same thing, neither
less nor more. It requires no special insight to edit one of our
country newspapers. Yet whoever can say off currently, sentence by
sentence, matter neither better nor worse than what is there printed,
will be very impressive to our easily-pleased population. These
talkers are that class who prosper like the celebrated schoolmaster,
by being only one lesson ahead of the pupil. Add a little sarcasm, and
prompt allusion to passing occurrences, and you have the mischievous
member of Congress. A spice of malice, a ruffian touch in his
rhetoric, will do him no harm with his audience. These accomplishments
are of the same kind, and only a degree higher than the coaxing of the
auctioneer, or the vituperative style well described in the
street-word "jawing." These kinds of public and private speaking have
their use and convenience to the practitioners; but we may say of such
collectively, that the habit of oratory is apt to disqualify them for
eloquence.

One of our statesmen said, "The curse of this country is eloquent
men." And one cannot wonder at the uneasiness sometimes manifested by
trained statesmen, with large experience of public affairs, when they
observe the disproportionate advantage suddenly given to oratory over
the most solid and accumulated public service. In a Senate or other
business committee, the solid result depends on a few men with working
talent. They know how to deal with the facts before them, to put
things into a practical shape, and they value men only as they can
forward the work. But some new man comes there, who has no capacity
for helping them at all, is insignificant, and nobody in the
committee, but has a talent for speaking. In the debate with open
doors, this precious person makes a speech, which is printed, and read
all over the Union, and he at once becomes famous, and takes the lead
in the public mind over all these executive men, who, of course, are
full of indignation to find one who has no tact or skill, and knows he
has none, put over them by means of this talking power which they
despise.

Leaving behind us these pretensions, better or worse, to come a little
nearer to the verity, eloquence is attractive as an example of the
magic of personal ascendency;--a total and resultant power,--rare,
because it requires a rich coincidence of powers, intellect, will,
sympathy, organs, and, over all, good-fortune in the cause. We have a
half-belief that the person is possible who can counterpoise all other
persons. We believe that there may be a man who is a match for
events,--one who never found his match,--against whom other men being
dashed are broken,--one of inexhaustible personal resources, who can
give you any odds and beat you. What we really wish for is a mind
equal to any exigency. You are safe in your rural district, or in the
city, in broad daylight, amidst the police, and under the eyes of a
hundred thousand people. But how is it on the Atlantic, in a storm? Do
you understand how to infuse your reason into men disabled by terror,
and to bring yourself off safe then?--how among thieves, or among an
infuriated populace, or among cannibals? Face to face with a
highwayman who has every temptation and opportunity for violence and
plunder, can you bring yourself off safe by your wit, exercised
through speech?--a problem easy enough to Caesar, or Napoleon.
Whenever a man of that stamp arrives, the highwayman has found a
master. What a difference between men in power of face! A man succeeds
because he has more power of eye than another, and so coaxes or
confounds him. The newspapers, every week, report the adventures of
some impudent swindler, who, by steadiness of carriage, duped those
who should have known better. Yet any swindlers we have known are
novices and bunglers, as is attested by their ill name. A greater
power of face would accomplish anything, and, with the rest of their
takings, take away the bad name. A greater power of carrying the thing
loftily, and with perfect assurance, would confound merchant, banker,
judge, men of influence and power, poet, and president, and might head
any party, unseat any sovereign, and abrogate any constitution in
Europe and America. It was said, that a man has at one step attained
vast power, who has renounced his moral sentiment, and settled it with
himself that he will no longer stick at anything. It was said of Sir
William Pepperel, one of the worthies of New England, that, "put him
where you might, he commanded, and saw what he willed come to pass."
Julius Caesar said to Metellus, when that tribune interfered to hinder
him from entering the Roman treasury, "Young man, it is easier for me
to put you to death than to say that I will"; and the youth yielded.
In earlier days, he was taken by pirates. What then? He threw himself
into their ship; established the most extraordinary intimacies; told
them stories; declaimed to them; if they did not applaud his speeches,
he threatened them with hanging,--which he performed afterwards,--and,
in a short time, was master of all on board. A man this is who cannot
be disconcerted, and so can never play his last card, but has a
reserve of power when he has hit his mark. With a serene face, he
subverts a kingdom. What is told of him is miraculous; it affects men
so. The confidence of men in him is lavish, and he changes the face of
the world, and histories, poems, and new philosophies arise to account
for him. A supreme commander over all his passions and affections; but
the secret of his ruling is higher than that. It is the power of
Nature running without impediment from the brain and will into the
hands. Men and women are his game. Where they are, he cannot be
without resource. "Whoso can speak well," said Luther, "is a man." It
was men of this stamp that the Grecian States used to ask of Sparta
for generals. They did not send to Lacedaemon for troops, but they
said, "Send us a commander"; and Pausanias, or Gylippus, or Brasidas,
or Agis, was despatched by the Ephors.

It is easy to illustrate this overpowering personality by these
examples of soldiers and kings; but there are men of the most peaceful
way of life, and peaceful principle, who are felt, wherever they go,
as sensibly as a July sun or a December frost,--men who, if they
speak, are heard, though they speak in a whisper,--who, when they act,
act effectually, and what they do is imitated: and these examples may
be found on very humble platforms, as well as on high ones.

In old countries, a high money-value is set on the services of men who
have achieved a personal distinction. He who has points to carry must
hire, not a skilful attorney, but a commanding person. A barrister in
England is reputed to have made twenty or thirty thousand pounds _per
annum_ in representing the claims of railroad companies before
committees of the House of Commons. His clients pay not so much for
legal as for manly accomplishments,--for courage, conduct, and a
commanding social position, which enable him to make their claims
heard and respected.

I know very well, that, among our cool and calculating people, where
every man mounts guard over himself, where heats and panics and
abandonments are quite out of the system, there is a good deal of
skepticism as to extraordinary influence. To talk of an overpowering
mind rouses the same jealousy and defiance which one may observe round
a table where anybody is recounting the marvellous anecdotes of
mesmerism. Each auditor puts a final stroke to the discourse by
exclaiming, "Can he mesmerize _me_?" So each man inquires if any
orator can change _his_ convictions.

But does any one suppose himself to be quite impregnable? Does he
think that not possibly a man may come to him who shall persuade him
out of his most settled determination?--for example, good sedate
citizen as he is, to make a fanatic of him? or, if he is penurious, to
squander money for some purpose he now least thinks of? or, if he is a
prudent, industrious person, to forsake his work, and give days and
weeks to a new interest? No, he defies any one, every one. Ah! he is
thinking of resistance, and of a different turn from his own. But what
if one should come of the same turn of mind as his own, and who sees
much farther on his own way than he? A man who has tastes like mine,
but in greater power, will rule me any day, and make me love my ruler.

Thus it is not powers of speech that we primarily consider under this
word Eloquence, but the power that, being present, gives them their
perfection, and, being absent, leaves them a merely superficial value.
Eloquence is the appropriate organ of the highest personal energy.
Personal ascendency may exist with or without adequate talent for its
expression. It is as surely felt as a mountain or a planet; but when
it is weaponed with a power of speech, it seems first to become truly
human, works actively in all directions, and supplies the imagination
with fine materials.

This circumstance enters into every consideration of the power of
orators, and is the key to all their effects. In the assembly, you
shall find the orator and the audience in perpetual balance, and the
predominance of either is indicated by the choice of topic. If the
talents for speaking exist, but not the strong personality, then there
are good speakers who perfectly receive and express the will of the
audience, and the commonest populace is flattered by hearing its low
mind returned to it with every ornament which happy talent can add.
But if there be personality in the orator, the face of things changes.
The audience is thrown into the attitude of pupil, follows like a
child its preceptor, and hears what he has to say. It is as if, amidst
the king's council at Madrid, Ximenes urged that an advantage might be
gained of France, and Mendoza that Flanders might be kept down, and
Columbus, being introduced, was interrogated whether his geographical
knowledge could aid the cabinet, and he can say nothing to one party
or to the other, but he can show how all Europe can be diminished and
reduced under the king by annexing to Spain a continent as large as
six or seven Europes.

This balance between the orator and the audience is expressed in what
is called the pertinence of the speaker. There is always a rivalry
between the orator and the occasion, between the demands of the hour
and the prepossession of the individual. The emergency which has
convened the meeting is usually of more importance than anything the
debaters have in their minds, and therefore becomes imperative to
them. But if one of them have anything of commanding necessity in his
heart, how speedily he will find vent for it, and with the applause of
the assembly! This balance is observed in the privatest intercourse.
Poor Tom never knew the time when the present occurrence was so
trivial that he could tell what was passing in his mind without being
checked for unseasonable speech; but let Bacon speak, and wise men
would rather listen, though the revolution of kingdoms was on foot. I
have heard it reported of an eloquent preacher, whose voice is not yet
forgotten in this city, that, on occasions of death or tragic
disaster, which overspread the congregation with gloom, he ascended
the pulpit with more than his usual alacrity, and, turning to his
favorite lessons of devout and jubilant thankfulness, "Let us praise
the Lord," carried audience, mourners, and mourning along with him,
and swept away all the impertinence of private sorrow with his
hosannas and songs of praise. Pepys says of Lord Clarendon, with whom
"he is mad in love," on his return from a conference, "I did never
observe how much easier a man do speak when he knows all the company
to be below him, than in him; for, though he spoke indeed excellent
well, yet his manner and freedom of doing it, as if he played with it,
and was informing only all the rest of the company, was mighty
pretty." [_Diary_, I. 469.]

This rivalry between the orator and the occasion is inevitable, and
the occasion always yields to the eminence of the speaker; for a great
man is the greatest of occasions. Of course, the interest of the
audience and of the orator conspire. It is well with them only when
his influence is complete; then only they are well pleased.
Especially, he consults his power by making instead of taking his
theme. If he should attempt to instruct the people in that which they
already know, he would fail; but, by making them wise in that which he
knows, he has the advantage of the assembly every moment. Napoleon's
tactics of marching on the angle of an army, and always presenting a
superiority of numbers, is the orator's secret also.

The several talents which the orator employs, the splendid weapons
which went to the equipment of Demosthenes, of AEchines, of Demades,
the natural orator, of Fox, of Pitt, of Patrick Henry, of Adams, of
Mirabeau, deserve a special enumeration. We must not quite omit to
name the principal pieces.

The orator, as we have seen, must be a substantial personality. Then,
first, he must have power of statement,--must have the fact, and know
how to tell it. In any knot of men conversing on any subject, the
person who knows most about it will have the ear of the company, if he
wishes it, and lead the conversation,--no matter what genius or
distinction other men there present may have; and in any public
assembly, him who has the facts, and can and will state them, people
will listen to, though he is otherwise ignorant, though he is hoarse
and ungraceful, though he stutters and screams.

In a court of justice, the audience are impartial; they really wish to
sift the statements, and know what the truth is. And, in the
examination of witnesses, there usually leap out, quite unexpectedly,
three or four stubborn words or phrases which are the pith and fate of
the business, which sink into the ear of all parties, and stick there,
and determine the cause. All the rest is repetition and qualifying;
and the court and the county have really come together to arrive at
these three or four memorable expressions, which betrayed the mind and
meaning of somebody.

In every company, the man with the fact is like the guide you hire to
lead your party up a mountain or through a difficult country. He may
not compare with any of the party in mind, or breeding, or courage, or
possessions, but he is much more important to the present need than
any of them. That is what we go to the court-house for,--the statement
of the fact, and the elimination of a general fact, the real relation
of all the parties; and it is the certainty with which, indifferently
in any affair that is well handled, the truth stares us in the face,
through all the disguises that are put upon it,--a piece of the
well-known human life,--that makes the interest of a court-room to the
intelligent spectator.

I remember, long ago, being attracted by the distinction of the
counsel, and the local importance of the cause, into the court-room.
The prisoner's counsel were the strongest and cunningest lawyers in
the Commonwealth. They drove the attorney for the State from corner to
corner, taking his reasons from under him, and reducing him to
silence, but not to submission. When hard-pressed, he revenged
himself, in his turn, on the judge, by requiring the court to define
what salvage was. The court, thus pushed, tried words, and said
everything it could think of to fill the time, supposing cases, and
describing duties of insurers, captains, pilots, and miscellaneous
sea-officers that are or might be,--like a schoolmaster puzzled by a
hard sum, who reads the context with emphasis. But all this flood not
serving the cuttle-fish to get away in, the horrible shark of the
district-attorney being still there, grimly awaiting with his "The
court must define,"--the poor court pleaded its inferiority. The
superior court must establish the law for this, and it read away
piteously the decisions of the Supreme Court, but read to those who
had no pity. The judge was forced at last to rule something, and the
lawyers saved their rogue under the fog of a definition. The parts
were so well cast and discriminated, that it was an interesting game
to watch. The government was well enough represented. It was stupid,
but it had a strong will and possession, and stood on that to the
last. The judge had a task beyond his preparation, yet his position
remained real; he was there to represent a great reality, the justice
of states, which we could well enough see beetling over his head, and
which his trifling talk nowise affected, and did not impede, since he
was entirely well-meaning.

The statement of the fact, however, sinks before the statement of the
law, which requires immeasurably higher powers, and is a rarest gift,
being in all great masters one and the same thing,--in lawyers,
nothing technical, but always some piece of common sense, alike
interesting to laymen as to clerks. Lord Mansfield's merit is the
merit of common sense. It is the same quality we admire in Aristotle,
Montaigne, Cervantes, or in Samuel Johnson, or Franklin. Its
application to law seems quite accidental. Each of Mansfield's famous
decisions contains a level sentence or two, which hit the mark. His
sentences are not always finished to the eye, but are finished to the
mind. The sentences are involved, but a solid proposition is set
forth, a true distinction is drawn. They come from and they go to the
sound human understanding; and I read, without surprise, that the
black-letter lawyers of the day sneered at his "equitable decisions,"
as if they were not also learned. This, indeed, is what speech is for,
to make the statement; and all that is called eloquence seems to me of
little use, for the most part, to those who have it, but inestimable
to such as have something to say.

Next to the knowledge of the fact and its law, is method, which
constitutes the genius and efficiency of all remarkable men. A crowd
of men go up to Faneuil Hall; they are all pretty well acquainted with
the object of the meeting; they have all read the facts in the same
newspapers. The orator possesses no information which his hearers have
not; yet he teaches them to see the thing with his eyes. By the new
placing, the circumstances acquire new solidity and worth. Every fact
gains consequence by his naming it, and trifles become important. His
expressions fix themselves in men's memories, and fly from mouth to
mouth. His mind has some new principle of order. Where he looks, all
things fly into their places. What will he say next? Let this man
speak, and this man only. By applying the habits of a higher style of
thought to the common affairs of this world, he introduces beauty and
magnificence wherever he goes. Such a power was Burke's, and of this
genius we have had some brilliant examples in our own political and
legal men.

Imagery. The orator must be, to a certain extent, a poet. We are such
imaginative creatures, that nothing so works on the human mind,
barbarous or civil, as a trope. Condense some daily experience into a
glowing symbol, and an audience is electrified. They feel as if they
already possessed some new right and power over a fact, which they can
detach, and so completely master in thought. It is a wonderful aid to
the memory, which carries away the image, and never loses it. A
popular assembly, like the House of Commons, or the French Chamber, or
the American Congress, is commanded by these two powers,--first by a
fact, then by skill of statement. Put the argument into a concrete
shape, into an image, some hard phrase, round and solid as a ball,
which they can see and handle and carry home with them, and the cause
is half won.

Statement, method, imagery, selection, tenacity of memory, power of
dealing with facts, of illuminating them, of sinking them by ridicule
or by diversion of the mind, rapid generalization, humor, pathos, are
keys which the orator holds; and yet these fine gifts are not
eloquence, and do often hinder a man's attainment of it. And if we
come to the heart of the mystery, perhaps we should say that the truly
eloquent man is a sane man with power to communicate his sanity. If
you arm the man with the extraordinary weapons of this art, give him a
grasp of facts, learning, quick fancy, sarcasm, splendid allusion,
interminable illustration,--all these talents, so potent and charming,
have an equal power to insnare and mislead the audience and the
orator. His talents are too much for him, his horses run away with
him; and people always perceive whether you drive, or whether the
horses take the bits in their teeth and run. But these talents are
quite something else when they are subordinated and serve him; and we
go to Washington, or to Westminster Hall, or might well go round the
world, to see a man who drives, and is not run away with,--a man who,
in prosecuting great designs, has an absolute command of the means of
representing his ideas, and uses them only to express these; placing
facts, placing men; amid the inconceivable levity of human beings,
never for an instant warped from his erectness. There is for every man
a statement possible of that truth which he is most unwilling to
receive,--a statement possible, so broad and so pungent, that he
cannot get away from it, but must either bend to it or die of it. Else
there would be no such word as eloquence, which means this. The
listener cannot hide from himself that something has been shown him
and the whole world, which he did not wish to see; and, as he cannot
dispose of it, it disposes of him. The history of public men and
affairs in America will readily furnish tragic examples of this fatal
force.

For the triumphs of the art somewhat more must still be required,
namely, a reinforcing of man from events, so as to give the double
force of reason and destiny. In transcendent eloquence, there was ever
some crisis in affairs, such as could deeply engage the man to the
cause he pleads, and draw all this wide power to a point. For the
explosions and eruptions, there must be accumulations of heat
somewhere, beds of ignited anthracite at the centre. And in cases
where profound conviction has been wrought, the eloquent man is he who
is no beautiful speaker, but who is inwardly drunk with a certain
belief. It agitates and tears him, and perhaps almost bereaves him of
the power of articulation. Then it rushes from him as in short, abrupt
screams, in torrents of meaning. The possession the subject has of his
mind is so entire, that it insures an order of expression which is the
order of Nature itself, and so the order of greatest force, and
inimitable by any art. And the main distinction between him and other
well-graced actors is the conviction, communicated by every word, that
his mind is contemplating a whole and inflamed by the contemplation of
the whole, and that the words and sentences uttered by him, however
admirable, fall from him as unregarded parts of that terrible whole
which he sees, and which he means that you shall see. Add to this
concentration a certain regnant calmness, which, in all the tumult,
never utters a premature syllable, but keeps the secret of its means
and method; and the orator stands before the people as a demoniacal
power to whose miracles they have no key. This terrible earnestness
makes good the ancient superstition of the hunter, that the bullet
will hit its mark, which is first dipped in the marksman's blood.

Eloquence must be grounded on the plainest narrative. Afterwards, it
may warm itself until it exhales symbols of every kind and color,
speaks only through the most poetic forms; but, first and last, it
must still be at bottom a biblical statement of fact. The orator is
thereby an orator, that he keeps his feet ever on a fact. Thus only is
he invincible. No gifts, no graces, no power of wit or learning or
illustration will make any amends for want of this. All audiences are
just to this point. Fame of voice or of rhetoric will carry people a
few times to hear a speaker, but they soon begin to ask, "What is he
driving at?" and if this man does not stand for anything, he will be
deserted. A good upholder of anything which they believe, a
fact-speaker of any kind, they will long follow; but a pause in the
speaker's own character is very properly a loss of attraction. The
preacher enumerates his classes of men, and I do not find my place
therein; I suspect, then, that no man does. Every thing is my cousin,
and whilst he speaks things, I feel that he is touching some of my
relations, and I am uneasy; but whilst he deals in words, we are
released from attention. If you would lift me, you must be on higher
ground. If you would liberate me, you must be free. If you would
correct my false view of facts,--hold up to me the same facts in the
true order of thought, and I cannot go back from the new conviction.

The power of Chatham, of Pericles, of Luther, rested on this strength
of character, which, because it did not and could not fear anybody,
made nothing of their antagonists, and became sometimes exquisitely
provoking and sometimes terrific to these.

We are slenderly furnished with anecdotes of these men, nor can we
help ourselves by those heavy books in which their discourses are
reported. Some of them were writers, like Burke; but most of them were
not, and no record at all adequate to their fame remains. Besides,
what is best is lost, the fiery life of the moment. But the conditions
for eloquence always exist. It is always dying out of famous places,
and appearing in corners. Wherever the polarities meet, wherever the
fresh moral sentiment, the instinct of freedom and duty, come in
direct opposition to fossil conservatism and the thirst of gain, the
spark will pass. The resistance to slavery in this country has been a
fruitful nursery of orators. The natural connection by which it drew
to itself a train of moral reforms, and the slight yet sufficient
party organization it offered, reinforced the city with new blood from
the woods and mountains. Wild men, John Baptists, Hermit Peters, John
Knoxes, utter the savage sentiment of Nature in the heart of
commercial capitals. They send us every year some piece of aboriginal
strength, some tough oak-stick of a man who is not to be silenced or
insulted or intimidated by a mob, because he is more mob than
they,--one who mobs the mob,--some sturdy countryman, on whom neither
money, nor politeness, nor hard words, nor eggs, nor blows, nor
brickbats, make any impression. He is fit to meet the bar-room wits
and bullies; he is a wit and a bully himself, and something more; he
is a graduate of the plough, and the stub-hoe, and the bush-whacker;
knows all the secrets of swamp and snow-bank, and has nothing to learn
of labor or poverty or the rough of farming. His hard head went
through in childhood the drill of Calvinism, with text and
mortification, so that he stands in the New England assembly a purer
bit of New England than any, and flings his sarcasms right and left.
He has not only the documents in his pocket to answer all cavils and
to prove all his positions, but he has the eternal reason in his head.
This man scornfully renounces your civil organizations,--county, or
city, or governor, or army,--is his own navy and artillery, judge and
jury, legislature and executive. He has learned his lessons in a
bitter school. Yet, if the pupil be of a texture to bear it, the best
university that can be recommended to a man of ideas is the gauntlet
of the mobs.

He who will train himself to mastery in this science of persuasion
must lay the emphasis of education, not on popular arts, but on
character and insight. Let him see that his speech is not differenced
from action; that, when he has spoken, he has not done nothing, nor
done wrong, but has cleared his own skirts, has engaged himself to
wholesome exertion. Let him look on opposition as opportunity. He
cannot be defeated or put down. There is a principle of resurrection
in him, an immortality of purpose. Men are averse and hostile, to give
value to their suffrages. It is not the people that are in fault for
not being convinced, but he that cannot convince them. He should mould
them, armed as he is with the reason and love which are also the core
of their nature. He is not to neutralize their opposition, but he is
to convert them into fiery apostles and publishers of the same wisdom.

The highest platform of eloquence is the moral sentiment. It is what
is called affirmative truth, and has the property of invigorating the
hearer; and it conveys a hint of our eternity, when he feels himself
addressed on grounds which will remain when everything else is taken,
and which have no trace of time or place or party. Everything hostile
is stricken down in the presence of the sentiments; their majesty is
felt by the most obdurate. It is observable, that, as soon as one acts
for large masses, the moral element will and must be allowed for, will
and must work; and the men least accustomed to appeal to these
sentiments invariably recall them when they address nations. Napoleon,
even, must accept and use it as he can.

It is only to these simple strokes that the highest power belongs,
when a weak human hand touches, point by point, the eternal beams and
rafters on which the whole structure of Nature and society is laid. In
this tossing sea of delusion, we feel with our feet the adamant; in
this dominion of chance, we find a principle of permanence. For I do
not accept that definition of Isocrates, that the office of his art is
to make the great small and the small great; but I esteem this to be
its perfection,--when the orator sees through all masks to the eternal
scale of truth, in such sort that he can hold up before the eyes of
men the fact of today steadily to that standard, thereby making the
great great and the small small,--which is the true way to astonish
and to reform mankind.

All the first orators of the world have been grave men, relying on
this reality. One thought the philosophers of Demosthenes's own time
found running through all his orations,--this, namely, that "virtue
secures its own success." "To stand on one's own feet" Heeren finds
the keynote to the discourses of Demosthenes, as of Chatham.

Eloquence, like every other art, rests on laws the most exact and
determinate. It is the best speech of the best soul. It may well stand
as the exponent of all that is grand and immortal in the mind. If it
do not so become an instrument, but aspires to be somewhat of itself,
and to glitter for show, it is false and weak. In its right exercise,
it is an elastic, unexhausted power,--who has sounded, who has
estimated it?--expanding with the expansion of our interests and
affections. Its great masters, whilst they valued every help to its
attainment, and thought no pains too great which contributed in any
manner to further it, and, resembling the Arabian warrior of fame, who
wore seventeen weapons in his belt, and in personal combat used them
all occasionally,--yet undervalued all means, never permitted any
talent, neither voice, rhythm, poetic power, anecdote, sarcasm, to
appear for show, but were grave men, who preferred their integrity to
their talent, and esteemed that object for which they toiled, whether
the prosperity of their country, or the laws, or a reformation, or
liberty of speech or of the press, or letters, or morals, as above the
whole world, and themselves also.

       *       *       *       *       *

THE KINLOCH ESTATE, AND HOW IT WAS SETTLED.

[Concluded.]


CHAPTER XII.

The disappearance of Lucy Ransom did not long remain a secret; it rang
through the town, and was accompanied by all sorts of rumors. Some
thought she had eloped; but the prevailing opinion was, that she had
been tempted into a fatal error, and then, in the frenzy of remorse
and shame, had destroyed herself, in order to hide her disgrace from
the world. Slight hints were now recalled by many of the poor girl's
acquaintance,--hints of love, unrequited and hopeless,--of base and
unfeeling treachery,--of remediless sorrow, appealing to the deepest
sympathy, and not the less because her heart found utterance in rude
and homely phrases. This idea of self-destruction gained the more
currency because no one had seen the least trace of the girl after the
twilight of the preceding night, and it was deemed improbable that she
could have made her way on foot the whole distance to the
railway-station without being seen by some one. And when it was
reported that a boy had found a shawl not far from the dam, the public
became so much aroused that it was determined to make a thorough
search. The pond and canal were dragged, and the bank of the river
carefully explored for miles below the town. The search was kept up
far into the night, the leaders being provided with pitch-pine
torches. At every bend, or eddy, or sand-bar, or fallen tree, where it
might be supposed that a drifting body would be stopped, the boldest
breathed faster, and started at the first glimpse of a white stone or
a peeled and bleached poplar-trunk, or other similar object, fearing
it might prove to be what they expected, yet dreaded to see. But it
was in vain. Lucy, whether alive or dead, was not to be found. Her
grandmother hobbled down to the village, moaning piteously; but she
could get little consolation, least of all from Mrs. Kinloch. This
incident made a lasting impression. The village boys, who remembered
the search with shuddering horror, avoided the river, and even Hugh
found means to persuade Mildred to give up the pleasant road on its
bank and take the hill district for their afternoon rides.

Meanwhile the time for the trial of the ejectment suit was rapidly
approaching, and it was difficult to say whether plaintiff or
defendant showed the more signs of anxiety. Mr. Hardwick's life seemed
to be bound up in his shop; it was dear to him in the memory of long
years of cheerful labor; it was his pride as well as his dependence;
he had grown old by its flaming forge, and he could never feel at home
in any other spot. "Young trees may be moved," he would say; "an old
one dies in transplanting." It was noticed by all his friends that the
stoop in his shoulders was more decided, his step less elastic, and
his ordinary flow of spirits checked.

Mrs. Kinloch, too, grew older unaccountably fast. Her soft brown hair
began to whiten, her features grew sharp, and her expression quick,
watchful, and intense. Upon being spoken to, she would start and
tremble in her whole frame; her cheeks would glow momentarily, and
then become waxen again.

Impatient at the slow progress of her son's wooing, and impelled now
by a new fear that all her plans might be frustrated, if Mildred
should happen to hear any rumor touching the cause of Lucy's
disappearance, Mrs. Kinloch proposed to herself to assist him more
openly than she had hitherto done--She was not aware that anything
implicating Hugh had been reported, but she knew enough of human
nature to be sure that some one would be peering into the mystery,--a
mystery which she divined by instinct, but had not herself dared to
explore. So, finding a favorable opportunity, she sat down beside
Mildred, determined to read the secret of her soul; for she made no
question that she could scan her, as she might the delicate machinery
of the French clock, noiselessly moving under its crystal cover.

Mildred shuddered unconsciously, as she felt her step-mother's thin
fingers gently smoothing the hair upon her temples; still more, as the
pale and quivering lips were pressed to her forehead. The caress was
not a feigned tenderness. Mrs. Kinloch really loved the girl, with
such love as she had to bestow; and if her manner had been latterly
abstracted or harsh, it was from preoccupation. She was soon satisfied
that the suspicion she dreaded had not found place in the girl's mind.
Leading the way by imperceptible approaches, she spoke in her softest
tones of her joy at Hugh's altered manners, her hopes of his future,
and especially of her desire to have him leave the navy and settle on
shore.

"How happy we might be, Hugh and we," she said, "if we could live here
in this comfortable home, and feel that nothing but death would break
up the circle! How much your dear father counted on the happiness in
store for him in growing old with his children around him!--and would
he not be rejoiced to see us cling together, bound by ties as strong
as life, and cherishing his memory by our mutual affection?"

Mildred replied in some commonplaces,--rather wondering at the vein of
sentiment, and in no way suspecting the object which her step-mother
had in view.

Mrs. Kinloch continued:--"Hugh needs some new attraction now to detain
him; he is tired of the sea, but he finds the village dull. He is just
of the age to think of looking for some romantic attachment; but you
know how few girls there are here whose manners and education are such
as to please a cultivated man."

Mildred grew uneasy, but remained silent. Mrs. Kinloch was every
moment more eager in her manner; a novice, waiting for the turn of the
cards in _rouge et noir_, would not have manifested a greater anxiety
as to the result. But the girl looked out of the window, and did not
see the compressed lips, dilated nostrils, and glittering eyes, that
gave such a contradiction to the bland words.

"Mildred, my daughter," she continued, "I have no secrets from
you,--least of all about matters that concern us both. Don't you see
what I would say? Don't you know what would make our circle complete,
inseparable? Pardon the boldness of a fond mother, whose only desire
is to see her children happy."

Mildred felt a tear dropping upon the hand which Mrs. Kinloch held
with a passionate grasp. She felt the powerful magnetism which the
woman exerted upon her, and she trembled, but still kept silent.

"It is for Hugh that I speak. He loves you. Has he not told you so?"

"I do not wish to talk with you about it," said Mildred.

"But I have a right, as his mother and your guardian, to know. I
should be wanting in my duty, if I suffered your happiness to be
perilled for want of a clear understanding between you. Hugh is proud
and sensitive, and you bashful and just the least foolish; so that you
are at cross purposes."

"Hugh fully understands my feelings towards him."

"You have given him encouragement?" she asked, eagerly.

"None whatever: it would have been wrong in me to do so."

"Wrong to love him! Why, he is your brother only in name."

"Wrong to encourage him in a love I do not and cannot return," replied
Mildred, with a mighty effort, at the same time disengaging her hand.

Mrs. Kinloch could not repress a feeling of admiration, even in her
despair, as she saw the clear, brave glance, the heightened color, and
the heaving bosom of the girl.

"But, in time, you may think differently," she said, almost piteously.

"I wished to be spared this pain, mother," Mildred replied, trembling
at her own boldness, "but you will not let me; and I must tell you,
kindly, but decidedly, that I never could marry Hugh under any
circumstances whatever."

Her mother did not wince at the rebuff, but followed on even closer.
"And why? Who is there more manly, well-educated, kindly, dutiful,
than Hugh?"

"I don't wish to analyze his character; probably we shouldn't
altogether agree in our judgment; but it is enough that I don't feel
in the least attracted by him, and that I could not love him, if he
were all that you imagine."

"Then you love another!" said Mrs. Kinloch, fiercely.

Mildred was excessively agitated; but, though her knees trembled, her
voice was clear and soft as it had been. "Yes, I do love another; and
I don't hesitate to avow it."

"That blacksmith's upstart?" in a still louder key.

"You mean Mark Davenport, probably, who deserves more respectful
language."

"Brought up in coal-dust,--the spoiled and forward pet of a foolish
old stutterer, who depends for his bread on his dirty work, and who,
if he had only his own, would have to leave even the hovel he works
in." It was fearful to see how these contemptuous words were hissed
out by the infuriated woman.

Mildred was courageous, but she had not passed through the discipline
that had developed her step-mother's faculties. So she burst into
tears, saying, amidst her sobs, that Mark was allowed by all who knew
him to be a young man of promise; that, for herself, she didn't care
how much coal-dust he had been through,--_that_ would wash off; that,
at any rate, she loved him, and would never marry anybody else.

Mrs. Kinloch began to consider. Anger had whirled her away once; a
second explosion might create an irreparable breach between them.

"Don't lay up what I have said, Mildred," she urged, in a mild voice.
"If I object to your choice, it is because I am proud of you and want
you to look high. You can marry whom you choose; no rank or station
need be considered above you. Come, don't cry, dear!"

But Mildred refused to be soothed. She could not sympathize with the
tropical nature, that smiled like sunshine at one moment, and the next
burst into the fury of a tornado. She pushed off the beseeching hand,
turned from the offered endearments, and, with reddened, tear-stained
face, left the room.

Hugh presently passed through the hall. "Well, mother," said he, "I
suppose you think you've done it now."

"Go about your business, you foolish boy!" she retorted. "Go and try
something that you do know about. You can snare a partridge, or shoot
a woodcock, perhaps!"


CHAPTER XIII.

Mildred had now no peace; after what had happened, she could not meet
Hugh and his mother with any composure. The scheming woman had risked
everything in the appeal she made to her daughter,--risked everything,
and lost. Nothing could restore harmony; neither could forget the
struggle and live the old quiet life. Mrs. Kinloch, always pursued by
anxiety, was one day full of courage, fruitful in plans and resources,
and the next day cast down into the pit of despair. Now she clung to
her first hope, believing that time, patience, kindness, would soften
Mildred's resolution; then, seeing the blank indifference with which
she treated Hugh, she racked her invention to provide other means of
attaining her end.

Again, the thought of her inexplicable loss came over her, and she was
frightened to madness; creeping chills alternating with cold sweats
tortured her. It was a mystery she could not penetrate. She could not
but implicate Lucy: but then Lucy might be in her grave. After every
circumstance had passed in review, her suspicions inevitably returned
and fastened upon her lawyer, Clamp. She almost wished he would come
to see her again; for he, being naturally sulky at his first
reception, had left the haughty woman severely alone. She determined
to send for him, on business, and then to try her fascinations upon
him, to draw him out, and see if he held her secret.

"Aha!" thought the Squire, as he received the message, "she comes to
her senses! Give a woman like Mrs. Kinloch time enough to consider,
and she will not turn her back on her true interest. O Theophilus, you
are not by any means a fool! Slow and steady, slow and steady you go!
Let the frisky woman _appear_ to have her way,--you will win in the
end!"

The wig and best suit were brushed anew, water was brought into
requisition for the visible portions of his person, and, with his most
engaging expression arranged upon his parchment face, he presented
himself before the widow.

There was a skirmish of small talk, during which Mr. Clamp was placid
and self-conscious, while his _vis-à-vis_, though smiling and
apparently at ease, was yet alert and excited,--darting furtive
glances, that would have startled him like flashes of sunlight
reflected from a mirror, if he had not been shielded by his own
self-complacency.

"You-have-sent-for-me-on-business,-I-believe," said the lawyer, in a
tone continuous and bland as a stream of honey.

"Yes, Sir; I have great confidence in your judgment, and I know that
you are devoted to the interests of our family. My poor husband always
esteemed you highly."

"Oh, Ma'am! you do me honor!"

"If I have not consulted you about our affairs of late, it is because
I have had troubles which I did not wish to burden you with."

"We all have our troubles, Mrs. Kinloch."

"They are very sad to bear,--but profitable, nevertheless.

"But I'm sure you must be wonderfully supported in your trials; I never
saw you looking better."

And truly, her thin and mobile lips were of a strangely bright coral,
and her usually wan cheeks wore a delicate flush, lending her a
beauty, not youthful, to be sure, but yet fascinating. One might
desire to see an eye less intense and restless, but he would rarely
see a woman of forty so charming.

"You notice my color," said Mrs. Kinloch, mournfully, and with a faint
smile; "it's only the effect of a headache. I am far enough from
well."

"Indeed!" was the sympathetic reply.

"I have met with a great loss, Mr. Clamp,--some papers of the greatest
importance. I was going to consult you about them."

"In which I got ahead of you," thought he.

"Now, ever since the disappearance of Lucy, I have thought she had
something to do with them. I never went to the secretary, but she was
sure to be spying about. And I believe she knew about my affairs as
well as I do myself."

"Or I," mentally ejaculated the lawyer,--meanwhile keeping as close as
an oyster.

She continued,--"As the girl was ignorant, and without any interest in
the matter more than that of curiosity, I am puzzled to account for
all this."

"'Tis strange, truly!"

"Yes, I'm sure she must be only the tool of some shrewder person."

"You alarm me! Who can it be?"

"Perhaps Mildred, or some one who is plotting for her. The Hardwicks,
you know, expect she will marry Mark Davenport."

"Do they, indeed? Well, now, that's a shrewd conjecture. Then you
think Lucy didn't drown herself?"

"She? By no means!"

"But what can I do in the matter, Mrs. Kinloch?"

"We must find Lucy, or else discover her confidant,"--looking fixedly
at him.

"Not very easy to do," said he, never once wincing under her scrutiny.

"Not easy for me. But those that hide can find. Nothing is beyond
search, if one really tries."

During this cross-examination, Mr. Clamp's premeditated gallantry had
been kept in the background; but he was determined not to let the
present opportunity pass by; he therefore turned the current of
conversation.

"You have not told me, Mrs. Kinloch, _what_ the loss is; so I cannot
judge of its importance. You don't wish to have any more repositories
of secrets than are necessary; but I think you will readily see that
our interests lie in the same direction. If the girl can be found and
the papers recovered by anybody, I am the one to do it. If that is
impossible, however, the next thing is to be prepared for what may
happen; in either emergency, you can hardly do better than to accept
my aid."

"Of course, I depend entirely upon you."

"We may as well understand each other," said the lawyer, forgetting
the wily ways by which he had intended to approach her. "I have
certain views, myself, which I think run parallel with yours; and if I
am able to carry you and your property safely through these
difficulties, I think you will not scruple to----

"To pay you to your heart's content," she broke in, quickly. "No, I
shall not scruple, unless you ask more than half the estate."

"I ask for nothing but yourself," said he, with sudden boldness.

"That is to say, you want the whole of it."

"Charming woman! don't, pray, compel me to talk in this language of
traffic. It is you I desire,--not the estate. If there is enough to
make you more comfortable than would be possible with my means, I
shall be happy for your sake."

Her lips writhed and her eyes shot fire. Should she breathe the scorn
she felt, and brave the worst? Or should she temporize? Time might
bring about a change, when she could safely send the mercenary suitor
back to his dusty and cobwebbed office.

"We do understand each other," she said, slowly. "This is a matter to
think of. I had never thought to marry again, and I cannot answer your
delicate proposal now. Let me have a week to consider."

"Couldn't we arrange the matter just as well now? I beg your pardon,
Ma'am, if I seem too bold."

"Oh, your youthful ardor and impetuosity! To be sure, one must forgive
the impatience of a lover in his first passion! But you must wait,
nevertheless."

Mr. Clamp laughed. It was a good joke, he thought.

"I must bid you good afternoon, Squire Clamp. I have made my headache
worse by talking on a subject I was not prepared for."

So Mr. Clamp was bowed out. He did not clearly understand her quick
and subtle movements, but he felt sure of his game in the end. The
scornful irony that had played about him like electricity he had not
felt.

When he was gone, the woman's worst enemy would have pitied her
distress. She believed more than ever that Clamp had used Lucy to
abstract her papers, and that he now would hold his power over her to
bring about the hated marriage. Her firmness gave way; she sank on the
sofa and wept like a child. Would that she might yet retreat! But no,
the way is closed up behind her. She must go on to her destiny.



CHAPTER XIV.

Mark Davenport was prosperous in all his undertakings. His position in
the school did not give much scope to his ambition, but the salary he
received was ample enough to pay his expenses, while the duties were
not so onerous as to engross all his time. All his leisure was given
to literary pursuits. He had many times thought he would relinquish
the drudgery of teaching, and support himself by his pen; but he
remembered the maxim of Scott,--that literature was a good staff, but
a poor crutch,--and he stuck to his school. As he grew into a
practised writer, he became connected with the staff of a daily
newspaper in the great city, furnishing leading articles when called
upon, and he soon acquired a position of influence among his
associates. He had maintained a correspondence with Mildred, and was
looking forward to the time when he should make a visit to his native
town, hoping then to be so well established in the world that he might
be able to bring her back with him as his bride. Every thought centred
in her. He coveted fame, wealth, position, only for her sake; and
stimulated by this thought, he had made exertions that would have
broken down a man less vigorous and less resolute.

He received a letter from Innisfield one day, after a long
interval,--so long that he had become uneasy, and imagined every kind
of evil as the cause of delay. He broke the seal; it was not from
Mildred, but from his cousin Lizzie. These were the contents:--

"My dear Mark,--I suppose you may have been anxious before this, at
not hearing from us; but the truth is, we have not had anything very
pleasant to write, and so have put off sending to you. Father is by no
means well or strong. The lawsuit, which is now likely to go wrong,
has troubled him very much. He has grown thin, he stoops as he walks
about, and by night he coughs terribly. I rarely hear him sing as he
used to. Then Squire Clamp has complained of him before the church,
and you know father is over-sensitive about his relations with 'the
brethren,'--even with those who are trying to ruin him. He is
melancholy enough. I hope he will be better, if he gets through his
difficulties; otherwise I am afraid to think of what may happen.

"You wonder, probably, at not getting a letter from Mildred. Don't be
surprised when I tell you that she has left home and is staying at Mr.
Alford's. Mrs. Kinloch has for a long time wanted her to marry that
hateful Hugh Branning, and became so violent about it that Mildred was
afraid of her. Lucy Ransom, who lived there, ran away a short time
ago, very mysteriously. It seems that the girl had stolen something
from the house, and, after Mildred had plumply refused to marry Hugh,
Mrs. Kinloch charged upon her that she had induced Lucy to steal the
papers or money, or whatever it was. Mrs. Kinloch acted so like an
insane woman, that Mildred would not stay in the house, but ran over
to Mr. Alford's, with only the clothes she wore. She passed by our
house yesterday and told me this hurriedly. I have heard, too, that
Squire Clamp is about to marry Mrs. Kinloch, and that he actually has
procured the license. It's a very strange affair.

"To fill out the account of disagreeable things,--last evening, in one
of the stores, people were talking of Lucy Ransom's fate, (as they
have been for weeks,) when Will Fenton, the cripple, said, 'he guessed
Hugh Branning could tell what had become of her, if he chose.' Hugh,
it seems, heard of the remark, and to-day he went with a dandyish
doctor, belonging to the navy, I believe, and beat the poor cripple
with a horsewhip, most shamefully. I think this violence has turned
suspicion against him.

"I am sorry not to have one pleasant thing to say, except that we all
love you as warmly as ever, and hope to see you soon here. Indeed,
Cousin Mark, I dread to write it,--but if you don't come soon, I think
you will see father only on his last bed.

   "Good-bye, dear Mark!
              Your Cousin,--LIZZIE."

We will waste no time in attempting to analyze Mark's conflicting
emotions, but follow him to Innisfield, whither he went the same day.
Great as was his desire to see his betrothed, from whom he had
received no letter for many weeks, he went first of all, where duty
and affection called, to see the dear old man who had been to him more
than a father.

Mr. Hardwick was sitting in the corner, but rose up with a new energy
as he heard the well-known voice. Mark was not prepared, even by his
cousin's foreboding letter, to see such a change as his uncle
exhibited;--the hollow eyes, the wasted cheeks, the bent figure, the
trembling hands, bore painful testimony to his enfeebled condition. He
held both of Mark's hands in his, and, while his eyes were dim in a
tear-mist, said, with a faltering voice, "Bless you, m-my boy! I'm
glad to see you once more. I thought I might hear my s-summons before
you'd come. You do remember your old uncle!"

Mark could not restrain himself, but wept outright. The old gentleman
sank into his chair, still clasping Mark's hands. Neither could speak,
but they looked towards each other an unutterable tenderness.

At length, controlling the tide of feeling, Mr. Hardwick
said,--"D-don't be cast down, Mark; these tears are not b-bitter, but
f-full of joy. Th-there, now, go and kiss your sister and Lizzie."

The girls appeared wiping their eyes, for they had left the room
overpowered; they greeted Mark affectionately, and then all sat down
about the hearth. Topics enough there were. Mark told of his pursuits
and prospects. The village gossip about the lost servant-girl, (of
whom Mark knew something, but had reasons for silence,) the
approaching marriage of Mrs. Kinloch, and the exile of the heiress
from her own home, were all discussed. After a reasonable time, Mark
excused himself and went to Mr. Alford's, pondering much on the
strange events that had perplexed the usually quiet village. He
reached the house, after a brief walk, and was met by Aunt Mercy, the
portly mistress, but with something less than her accustomed
cordiality.

"Miss Kinloch is not able to see company," she said, "and must be
excused."

Mark poured forth a torrent of questions, to which Mrs. Alford
listened, her broad features softening visibly; and at length, with an
apparent effort, she asked him "to come agin to-morrer or the day
arter."

The more Mark reflected on Mrs. Alford's behavior, the more he was
puzzled. Had Mildred denied him admission? His own betrothed refuse to
see him! No, he was sure she was sick; and besides, she could not have
heard of his coming. So he soothed himself. But the imps of suspicion
and jealousy still haunted him at intervals, and a more miserable man
than the usually buoyant and sanguine Mark it would be difficult to
find.

The next day, as soon as breakfast was over, Mark, though trying to
cheer up his uncle, was secretly longing for the hour when it would be
proper to present himself at Mr. Alford's. But time does move, albeit
with lagging pace to a lover, and in due season Mark was on his way.
Near the house he met the farmer, who greeted him heartily, and wished
him joy with a knowing smile. Mark took a freer breath; if there was
any difficulty, Mr. Alford certainly did not know it. But then it
occurred to him, that shy young ladies do not often make confidants of
elderly husbandmen in long blue frocks, and his spirits fell again.

Mr. Alford leaned against a fence and threshed his hands to keep them
warm, while he told Mark that "he had been with Mildred privately out
to the Probate Court,--that the case had been stated to the jedge, who
allowed, that, as she was above fourteen, she had a right to choose
her own guardeen,--that he, Alford, was to be put in, in place of the
Squire,--and that then, in his opinion, there would be an overhaulin'
so's to hev things set to rights."

Mark shook the hand of his good friend warmly, and commended his
shrewdness.

"But 'ta'n't best to stan' talkin' with an ol' feller like me," said
the farmer, "when you can do so much better. Jest look!"

Mark turned his head, and through the window of the house saw the
retreating figure of Mildred. He bounded across the yard, opened the
door without knocking, and rushed into the house. She had vanished: no
one was visible but Mrs. Alford, who was cutting up golden pumpkins in
long coils to dry.

"Come, Milly," said the good woman, "'ta'n't no use; he saw ye."

And Mildred appeared, coming slowly out of the buttery.

"Ye see, Mildred felt a little hurt about a letter; but I _knew_ there
was some mistake; so I wa'n't a-goin' to hev ye go off 'thout some
explanation."

"A letter?--explanation?" said Mark, thoroughly bewildered.

"Here it is," said Mildred, taking a letter from her pocket, still
looking down. Mark hastily took and opened it. The envelope bore
Mildred's address in a hand not unlike his own; the inclosure was a
letter from Mildred to himself, which he now saw for the first time.

"Mildred," said he, holding out his hands, "could you doubt me?"

She covered her face with her apron, but stood irresolute. He looked
again at the letter.

"Why, the clumsy trick, Mildred! This post-office stamp, 'New York,'
is not genuine. Just look! it is a palpable cheat, an imitation made
with a pen. The color did not spread, you see, as ink mixed with oil
does. This letter never left this village. I never saw it
before,--could not have seen it. Do you doubt me now, dear Mildred?"

Even if the evidence had been less convincing, the earnest, heartfelt
tone, the pleading look and gesture, would have satisfied a much more
exacting woman. She sprang towards her lover, and flung her arms about
his neck. The pent-up feeling of days and weeks rushed over her like a
flood, and the presence of Mrs. Alford was forgotten.

Mrs. Alford, it would seem, suddenly thought of something; for,
gathering herself up, she walked off as fast as the laws of
gravitation allowed, exclaiming,--"There! I never did see! Sech hens!
Allus a-flyin' into the kitchen. I wonder now who left that are door
open."

The frightened cackle of the hens, the rattling of pots and pans by
the assiduous housewife in the kitchen, were unheeded by the lovers,
"emparadised in one another's arms." The conversation took too wide a
range and embraced too many trivial details to be set down here. Only
this I may say: they both believed, (as every enamored couple
believes,) that, though other people might cherish the properest
affection for each other, yet no man or woman ever did or could
experience such intense and all-pervading emotion as now throbbed in
their breasts,--in fact, that they had been created to exemplify the
passion, which, before, poets had only imagined. Simple children! they
had only found out what hearts are made for!


CHAPTER XV.

The last picture was a pleasant relief in a rather sombre story,
therefore we prefer to commence a stormier scene in a new chapter.
Mark and Mildred were sitting cozily by the ample fireplace,--not at
opposite corners, you may believe,--when there was a warning _ahem!_
at the door, and the sound of feet "a-raspin' on the scraper." Mr.
Alford entered and said, "Milly, your step-mother's team is comin' up
the road." In a moment there was a bustle in the house, but before any
preparation could be made the carriage was at the gate, and Mrs.
Kinloch, accompanied by Squire Clamp, knocked at the door.

"Milly, you go into the kitchen with Mrs. Alford," said the farmer.
"I'll attend to matters for them."

"No, Mr. Alford," she answered; "you are very good, but I think I'll
stay and see them. Shan't I, Mark?"

Mrs. Kinloch and the lawyer entered. She had left off her mourning,
but looked as pale and thoughtful as ever. After the common
courtesies, brief and cool in this case, Mrs. Kinloch made known her
errand. She had been grieved that Mildred should have left her
father's house and remained so long with strangers, and she had now
come to beg her to return home. Mildred replied, that she had not left
home without cause, and that she had no intention of going back at
present. Mrs. Kinloch looked hurt, and said that this unusual conduct,
owing partly to the common and wicked prejudice against step-mothers,
had wounded her sorely, and she hoped Mildred would do her the simple
justice of returning to a mother who loved her, and would make every
sacrifice for her happiness. Mildred said she did not wish to go over
the ground again; she thought she understood the love that had been
shown her; and she did not desire any further sacrifices, such as she
had witnessed. The request was renewed in various forms, but to no
purpose. Then Squire Clamp interposed with great solemnity, saying,
that, if she had forgotten the respect and affection due to the mother
who had fostered her, she ought to know that the law had conferred
upon him, as her guardian, the authority of a father, and he begged
her not to give him the pain of exercising the control which it would
be his bounden duty to use.

Mr. Alford had been uneasy during this conversation, and broke in at
the first pause.

"Well, Square, I guess you'd best wait till 'bout next week-a-Thursday
afore you try to use your 'thority. Probate Court sets on Wednesday,
an' I guess that'll 'bout wind up your business as guardeen."

What a magazine of wrath that shot exploded! The lawyer was dumb for a
moment, but presently he and Mrs. Kinloch both found breath for their
indignation.

The woman turned first upon Mark. "This is your doing, Sir!"

"You do too much honor to my foresight," he replied. "I am heartily
glad that my good friend here was thoughtful enough and ready to
interfere for the protection of a fatherless girl."

"Insolence!" shouted the lawyer.

"The impertinent puppy!" chimed in the woman.

"Come, come!" said the farmer, "too loud talkin'!"

"Then you uphold this girl in her undutiful behavior, do you?" asked
Mrs. Kinloch.

"You are amenable to the statutes, Sir," said the Squire.

Mr. Alford rose to his feet. "Now you might jest as well get inter yer
kerridge an' drive back ter town," said he; "you won't make one o'
them hairs o' yourn black or white, Square, not by talkin' all day."

The lawyer settled his wig in a foaming rage. "Come, Mrs. Clamp," said
he, "we shall not remain here to be insulted. Let us go; I shall know
how to protect our property, our authority, and honor, from the
assault of adventurers and meddlers."

"I beg your pardon, Sir," said Mark, "but what was the appellation you
gave to the lady just now? You can call us what you like."

"Mrs. Clamp, Sir," he answered, with a portentous emphasis,--"Mrs.
Clamp,--united to me, Sir, this morning, by the Reverend Mr. Rook, in
the holy bands of matrimony."

They swept out of the house. Mildred sank to her chair as if stunned.
"O God!" she said, "_my_ mother and father!"

"Poor gal!" said Mr. Alford, "small comfort you'll hev in sich
parents. But cheer up; you won't need for friends."

She looked up through her tears at Mark's manly face, full now of
sympathy, and blessed the farmer for his words.

Mr. Alford, taking Mark aside, said, "You know about Lucy's runnin'
away, most likely. Wal, now, ef she could be found, there's no knowin'
what might happen; for it's my opinion she knows about Square
Kinloch's affairs. I thought mebbe you might 'a' seen her in York?"

Mark replied, that he did meet her in Broadway late one afternoon, and
that she looked as if she would speak; but that he hurried on, for the
flaunting style of her dress was not calculated to prepossess the
passers by.

"Good gracious! you don't say so! Seen her yourself? Now do you go
right back to York an' hunt her up--no matter what it costs."

"But my uncle?"

"We'll look arter him."

It was speedily determined, and Mark set out the same day. Meanwhile,
Mildred had promised to go and see Mr. Hardwick and endeavor to make
him cheerful.

"It beats all," said Mr. Alford to his wife. "Now 'f he _should_ find
that unfort'nate gal! Wal, wal, I begin to think the Lord does look
arter things some, even in this world."

We leave Squire Clamp and his new wife to their happiness; it would
not be well to lift the decent veil which drops over their household.
The dark, perchance guilty, past,--the stormy present, and the
retribution of the future,--let memory and conscience deal with them!


CHAPTER XVI.

Never was a little village in greater commotion than Innisfield after
Mark's departure. The succession of events had been such as to engage
the attention of the most indifferent. The mysterious exile of
Mildred, the failing health and spirits of the blacksmith, the new
rumors respecting the fate of Lucy, the sudden and unaccountable
marriage of Mrs. Kinloch, and her fruitless attempt to bring her
daughter back, were all discussed in every house, as well as in places
of public resort. Hugh Branning was soon convinced that the village
was no place for him. He had bravely horsewhipped a cripple, but he
could not stop the tongues of the whole parish, even if he could
protect himself from swift and extempore justice. He gathered his
clothes, and, after a long private conference with his mother, started
before daylight for the railway-station. As he does not appear on the
stage again, we may say here, that, not long after, during a financial
panic in New York, he made a fortune of nearly half a million dollars
by speculating in stocks. He used to tell his friends in after years
that he had "only five thousand to begin with,--the sole property left
him by his lamented parents." He has now a handsome mansion in the
Fifth Avenue, is a conspicuous member of the Rev. Dr. Holdfast's
church, and most zealous against the ill-timed discussions and
philanthropic vagaries of the day. What would he not give to forget
that slowly-moving figure, with swimming eyes, carrying a flaring
candle? How far along the years that feeble light was thrown! He never
went through the hall of his house at night without a shudder,
dreading to catch a glimpse of that sorrowing face.

It was on Tuesday evening, the night preceding the Probate Court to
which Squire Clamp had been cited. Nothing had been heard from Mark,
and his friends were much depressed. Mildred sat by Mr. Hardwick's
bedside, during the long hours, and read to him from his favorite
authors. About ten o'clock, just as the family were preparing to go to
bed, Mark drove up to the door. He was warmly welcomed, and at once
overwhelmed with questions. "Did he find Lucy?" "What did she know?"
"Why did she secrete herself?" To all these Mark merely replied, "I
found Lucy; how much I have accomplished I dare not say. But do you,
James, come with me. We will go up to old Mrs. Ransom's."

"Why, she's not there; she's gone to the poor-house."

"Broken down with old age and sorrow, I suppose. But I don't care to
see her now. Let us go to the old house; and meantime, you girls, go
to bed."

But they protested they should wait till he returned,--that they could
not sleep a wink until they knew the result.

Provided with a lantern, the young men set out. They found the hovel
nearly in ruins; for pilferers had taken such pieces as they could
strip off for firewood. Mark eagerly ripped up the floor near the
hearth. At the first flash of the light he saw a paper, dusty and
discolored. He seized and opened it. _It was the will of Mr. Kinloch,
duly signed and attested_. Lucy had not deceived him.

With hurried pace they returned to the village, scarcely stopping to
take breath until they reached Mr. Hardwick's house. It was no vain
hope, then! It was true! The schemes of the step-mother would be
frustrated. The odious control of Squire Clamp would end. Mark began
to read the will, then stopped, embraced his cousins and Mildred by
turns, then read again. He was beside himself with joy.

All were too much excited to sleep; and when the first transports of
surprise were over, they naturally inquired after the unfortunate
girl. He had found her, after great difficulty, in a miserable garret.
The surmises of the villagers were correct. She was ruined,
heart-broken. Dissipation, exposure, and all the frightful influences
of her wretched life had brought on a fever, and now, destitute and
forsaken, she was left by those who had made merchandise of her
beauty, to die. He learned from Lucy what she knew of the affair of
the will. She became satisfied, soon after Mr. Kinloch's death, that
some wrong was intended, and she watched her mistress. Then Squire
Clamp had induced her by threats and bribes to get for him the papers.
As she took them out of the desk, one, larger than the rest, and with
several seals, attracted her attention. She felt quite sure it was Mr.
Kinloch's will; so she secreted it and gave the lawyer the rest. The
Monday afternoon following, she took the will to her grandmother's and
put it under a plank in the floor. Squire Clamp, strangely enough,
chanced to stop just as she had hidden it. He gave her back the
papers, as she supposed, and she replaced them in the secretary. On
her way home she fell in with Hugh,--a day neither of them would ever
forget.

The lawyer, who had counted on an easy victory over Mr. Alford, was
greatly surprised, the next day, to see him accompanied by Mark, as he
came into court; he had not heard of the young man's return. Besides,
their unmistakable air of confidence and exultation caused him some
misgivings. But he was boldness itself, compared with his wife. Her
face was bloodless, her hands tremulous, and her expression like that
of one ready to faint. Imagine the horror with which she saw the
production of the will, and then the proof by the only surviving
witness, brought to court from his residence in a neighboring town!
The letters of administration were revoked, and Mr. Alford, one of the
executors, was appointed Mildred's guardian. Completely baffled, dumb
and despairing, Squire Clamp and his bride left the room and drove
homeward. A pleasant topic for conversation they had by the way, each
accusing the other of duplicity, treachery, and folly! The will
provided that she should receive an annuity of one thousand dollars
_during her widowhood_; so that the Squire, by wedding her, had a new
incumbrance without any addition to his resources; a bad bargain,
decidedly, he thought. She, on the other hand, had thrown away her
sure dependence, in the hope of retaining the control of the whole
estate; for when she consented to marry Clamp, she had no doubt that
he had possession of the will and would, of course, keep it concealed.
Seldom it is that _both_ parties to a transaction are so overreached.

The successful party stopped at Mr. Hardwick's that evening to
exchange congratulations. He, as well as Mildred and Mark, was
interested in the lost will; for Mr. Kinloch had mentioned the fact of
the unsettled boundary-line, and directed his executors to make a
clear title of the disputed tract to the blacksmith. The shop was his;
the boys, at all events, would be undisturbed. One provision in the
will greatly excited Mark's curiosity. The notes which he owed to the
estate were to be cancelled, and there was an unexplained reference to
his uncle Hardwick and to some occurrences of long ago. Mildred at
once recalled to mind her father's dying words,--his calling for Mr.
Hardwick, and his mention of the cabinet. She had often thought of her
search in its drawers, and of her finding the lock of sunny hair and
the dried flower. And the blacksmith now, when asked, shook his head
mournfully, and said, (as he had before,) "Sus-some time; nun-not
now!"


CHAPTER XVII.

The next day Mr. Alford came to town and advised Mark to marry
forthwith.

"I've ben thinkin' it over," he said, "and I b'lieve it's the best
thing to be done. You've got a tough customer to deal with, and it may
be some trouble to git all the property out of his hands. But when the
heiress is married, her husband can act for her to better advantage. I
guess I'll speak to Mr. Rook and have the 'fair 'tended to right
away."

Mark submitted the matter to Mildred, who blushed properly, and
thought it rather hasty. But Mr. Alford's clear reasoning prevailed,
and the time was appointed at once. Mark and Mr. Alford then went to
call upon the lawyer. They entered his office without knocking, and by
chance found him busy with the accounts and papers; they were
scattered over the table, and he was making computations. As soon as
he was aware of the presence of visitors, he made an effort to slide
the documents under some loose sheets of paper; but Mark knew the bold
hand at once, and without a word seized the papers and handed them to
Mr. Alford.

"Not very p'lite, Square, I know," said Mr. Alford, "but possession is
nine p'ints of the law, as I've heerd you say; and as you won't deny
the handwritin', I s'pose you don't question my right to these 'ere."

The rage of Mr. Clamp may be imagined.

"Good mornin', Square," said the triumphant executor. "When we've
looked over these affairs, we'll trouble you and the widder that was,
to 'count for what the schedool calls for."

The simple preparations for the wedding were soon made, and the
honest, great-hearted farmer had the pleasure of giving away the
bride. It was a joyful, but not a merry wedding; both had passed
through too many trials, and had too many recollections. And the
evident decline of Mr. Hardwick made Mark sad and apprehensive. But he
devoutly thanked God, as he clasped his bride to his bosom, for the
providence that had brought to him the fulfilment of his dearest
hopes.

Here we might stop, according to ancient custom, leaving our hero and
heroine to their happiness. But though a wedding is always an event of
interest, there are other things to be narrated before we have done
with our story.

Not long after, Mark called at the Kinloch house, then occupied by Mr.
Clamp; as a measure of precaution, he took Mr. Alford with him.
Mildred had never regained her wardrobe; everything that was dear to
her was still in her stepmother's keeping,--her father's picture, her
own mother's miniature, the silver cup she had used from infancy, and
all the elegant and tasteful articles that had accumulated in a house
in which no wish was left ungratified. Ever since the session of the
Probate Court, the house had been shut to visitors, if any there had
been. Mrs. Clamp had not been seen once out of doors. But after
waiting a time, Mark and his friend were admitted. As they entered the
house, the bare aspect of the rooms confirmed the rumors which Mark
had heard. Mrs. Clamp received them with a kind of sullen civility,
and, upon hearing the errand, replied,--

"Certainly, Mrs. Davenport can have her clothes. She need not have
sent more than one man to get them. Is that all?"

"Not quite," said Mark. "Perhaps you are not aware of the change which
the discovery of the will may make in your circumstances. I do not
speak of the punishment which the fraud merits, but of the rights
which are now vested in me. First, I am desired to ask after the
plate, jewels, furs, and wardrobe of the first Mrs. Kinloch."

Mrs. Clamp was silent. A word let fall by Lucy suddenly flashed into
Mark's mind, and he intimated to the haughty woman his purpose to go
into the east front-chamber.

"Fine gentlemen," she said at length, "to pry into a lady's private
apartment! You will not dare enter it without my permission!"

And she stood defiantly in the doorway. But, without parley, Mark and
Mr. Alford pushed by her and walked up the staircase, not heeding the
shout of Mr. Clamp, who had followed them to the house.

"It might seem mean," said Mark to Mr. Alford; "but I think you'll
agree presently, that it wasn't a case for ceremony."

He stripped the clothes from the bed. The pillows were stuffed with
valuable furs; fine linen and embroideries filled the bolsters. The
feather-sack contained dresses of rich and costly fabrics,--the styles
showing them to be at least twenty years old. And in the mattress were
stowed away the dinner and tea services of silver, together with
porcelain, crystal, and Bohemian ware.

"What a deal o' comfort a body could take in sleepin' on a bed stuffed
like this 'ere!" said Mr. Alford; "I sh'd think he'd dream of the
'Rabian Nights."

"After this, Madam," said Mark, upon returning to the hall, "you can
hardly expect any special lenity from me. The will allowed you an
annuity of one thousand dollars while you remained single; since you
are married your interest ceases, but you shall receive two hundred a
year. The house, however, belongs to my wife. Your husband there has a
home to which you can go."

"Yes," said the lawyer, "he _has_ a home, and won't be beholden to any
man for a roof to shelter his family."

The pride of the woman was still unbent. Though her cheek was blanched
and her lips were bitten blue, still she stood erect and her head
turned queenly as ever. The glance she threw to the man who called her
wife was enough to have pierced him. Turning to Mark, she said,--

"If you will come to-morrow,--or Monday, rather,--you can have
possession of the house and property. My own things can be easily
removed, and it will be a simple matter to make ready for new comers."

"I could keep them out of it a year, if I chose," said Mr. Clamp.

"But I do not choose," said she, with superb haughtiness.

"Wal, good mornin'," said Mr. Alford.

As they left the house, Mrs. Clamp sat down in the silent room.
Without, the wind whistled through the naked trees and whirled up
spiral columns of leaves; the river below was cased in ice; the
passers-by looked pinched with cold, and cast hurried glances over
their shoulders at the ill-fated house and the adjacent
burying-ground. Within, the commotion, the chill, the hurry, the
fright, were even more intense. What now remained to be done? Her son,
vanquished in love by a blacksmith's _protégé_, had fled, and left her
to meet her fate alone. The will had been discovered, and, as if by a
special interposition of Providence, the victim of her son's passions
had been the instrument of vengeance. The lawyer who had worked upon
her fears had proved unable to protect her. The estate was out of her
hands; the property with which she had hoped to escape from the hated
town and join her son was seized; she was a ruined, disgraced woman.
She had faced the battery of curious eyes, as she walked with the
husband she despised to the Sunday services; but what screen had she
now that her pride was humbled? The fearful struggle in the mind of
the lonely woman in the chill and silent room, who shall describe it?
She denied admission to the servants and her husband, and through the
long evening still sat by the darkening window, far into the dim and
gusty night.

Squire Clamp went to bed moody, if not enraged; but when, on waking,
he found his wife still absent, he became alarmed. Early in the
morning he tracked her through a light snow, that had sifted down
during the night, to the river-bank, at the bend where the current
keeps the ice from closing over. An hour after, some neighbors,
hastily summoned, made a search at the dam. One of them, crossing the
flume by Mr. Hardwick's shop, broke the newly-formed ice and there
found the drifting body of Mrs. Clamp. Her right hand, stretched out
stiff, was thrust against the floats of the water-wheel, as if, even
in death, she remembered her hate against the family whose fortune had
risen upon her overthrow!


CHAPTER XVIII.

Mark and Mr. Alford, after their disagreeable interview with the
Clamps, went to see Mr. Hardwick, whom they wished to congratulate. At
the door they were met by Lizzie, whose sad face said, "Hush!" Mark's
spirits fell instantly. "Is he worse?" he asked. A tear was the only
answer. He asked Mr. Alford to go for Mildred. "She has just come,"
said Lizzie.

They found Mr. Hardwick propped up in bed, whence he could look out of
the window. The church-spire rose on the one hand, and on the other
the chimney of the shop was seen above the trees on the river-bank. By
night the column of sparks had gladdened his eye, as he thought of the
cheerful industry of his sons. Mark tenderly pressed his uncle's hand,
and leaned over him with an affectionate, sorrowing interest.

"Der-don't take it to heart, my boy," said Mr. Hardwick. "I am very
h-happy."

"I am glad that the boys won't lose the shop," said Mark. "I see you
are looking out to the chimney."

"Yer-yes, it was thoughtful of Mr. Kinloch, and a special
Pr-Providence that the will was found."

"You know he mentioned his claim against me," said Mark; "that is
paid, and it doesn't matter; but I can't guess the reason for the
unusual kindness he has shown towards me."

The old man answered slowly, for his breathing was difficult and often
painful.

"It is an old story,--old as the dried f-flowers that Mildred told me
of,--but it had a f-fragrance once. Yer-your mother, Mark, was as
per-pretty a girl as you'd often see. Walter Kinloch ler-loved her,
and she him. He sailed to the Indies, an' some der-diff'culty
happened, so that the letters stopped. I d-don't know how 'twas. But
arter a while sh-she married your father. Mr. Kinloch, he m-married,
too; but I guess he nun-never forgot the girl of his choice."

Mark grasped his young wife's hand, at this tale of years gone by.

"The lock of hair and the rose were your mother's, then!" she
whispered. "Dear father! faithful, even in death, to his friends, and
to the memory of his first love! How much suffering and crime would
have been prevented, if he could only have uttered the words which his
heart prompted!"

"God forgive the woman!" said Mr. Hardwick, solemnly. None knew then
how much she had need of forgiveness, standing as she was on the brink
of that last fatal plunge!

Mr. Alford suggested that the fatigue of talking would wear upon the
enfeebled man, and advised that he should be left to get some rest, if
possible.

"To-morrow is S-Sabba'-day, ef I've counted right," said Mr. Hardwick.
"I sh-should like to see the sun on the st-heeple once more."

"Dear uncle, I hope you may see it a great many times. We must leave
you to rest."

"Good-night, mum-my children," he replied. "God b-bless you all! Let
me put my hands on your h-heads."

They knelt by his bedside, and he blessed them fervently. Mr. Alford
and Lizzie remained to attend upon him, and the others withdrew.

The night passed, how wearily! None could sleep, for through all the
air there was a presage of sorrow, a solemn "tingling silentness," to
which their senses were painfully alive. Who, that has passed the
interminable gloomy hours that preceded the departure of a loved and
venerated friend into the world of spirits, does not remember this
unutterable suspense, this fruitless struggle with eternal decrees,
this clinging of affection to the parting soul? What a sinking of the
heart even the recollection of such a scene produces!

The day dawned upon sleepless, tear-stained eyes. The dying man was
conscious, cheerful, and calmly breathing. In the adjoining room the
family sat beside the table on which was spread their untasted
breakfast.

The bell began to ring for meeting. Mr. Hardwick roused up at the
sound, and called for his children. He blessed them again, and placed
his hands on their bowed heads in turn. He thought of the psalms which
he had so often led, and he asked all to join in singing Billings's
"Jordan."

  "There is a land of pure delight,
    Where saints immortal reign;
  Infinite day excludes the night,
    And pleasures banish pain."

With faltering voices they sang the triumphal hymn. The old man's
eyes were fixed upon the steeple, which pointed upward through the
clear air, and shone in the golden light of the sun. He kept time with
a feeble movement, and once or twice essayed to raise his own wavering
voice. A smile of heavenly beauty played over his pallid features as
the music ceased,--a radiance like that crimson glow which covers the
mountain-top at dawn. He spoke almost inaudibly, as if in a trance;
then repeating with a musical flow the words of his favorite author,

  "Where the bright seraphim in burning row
  Their loud uplifted angel-trumpets blow,
  And the cherubic host in thousand choirs
  Touch their immortal harps of golden wires,
  With those just spirits that wear victorious palms
  Hymns devout and holy psalms
  Singing everlastingly,"--

his voice sank again, though it was easy to see that a prayer trembled
on his lips. As a strain of music fades into silence, his tones fell
away, fainter and fainter; and with the same seraphic light on his
countenance his breathing ceased.



THE BIRTH-MARK.

A.D. 12--.

  See, here it is, upon my breast,--
    The bloody image of a hand!
  On her white bosom it was pressed,
    Who should have nursed--you understand;--
  I never yet have named her name,
  Nor will I, till 'tis free from shame.

  The good old crone that tended me
    Through sickly childhood, lonely youth,
  Told me the story: so, you see,
    I know it is God's sacred truth,
  That holy lips and holy hands
  In secrecy had blessed the bands.

  And well he knew it, too,--the accursed!--
    To whom my grandsire gave his child
  With dying breath;--for from the first
    He saw, and tried to snare the wild
  And frightened love that thought to rest
  Its wings upon my father's breast.

  You may have seen him riding by,--
    This same Count Bernard, stern and cold;
  You know, then, how his creeping eye
    One's very soul in charm will hold.
  Snow-locks he wears, and gracious art;
  But hell is whiter than his heart.

  Well, as I said, the secret rite
    Had joined them, and the two were one;
  And so it chanced, one summer night,
    When the half-moon had set, and none
  But faint star-shadows on the grass
  Lay watching for his feet to pass,

  Led by the waiting light that gleamed
    From out one chamber-window, came
  The husband-lover;--soon they dreamed,--
    Her lips still murmuring his name
  In sleep,--while, as to guard her, fell
  His arm across her bosom's swell.

  The low wind shook the darkened pane,
    The far clock chimed along the hall,
  There came a moment's gust of rain,
    The swallow chirped a single call
  From his eaves'-nest, the elm-bough swayed
  Moaning;--they slumbered unafraid.

  Without a creak the chamber-door
    Crept open!--with a cat-like tread,
  Shading his lamp with hand that bore
    A dagger, came beside their bed
  The Count. His hair was tinged with gray:
  Gold locks brown-mixed before him lay.

  A thrust,--a groan,--a fearful scream,
    As from the peace of love's sweet rest
  She starts!--O God! what horrid dream
    Swells her bound eyeballs? From her breast
  Fall off the garments of the night,--
  A red hand strikes her bosom's white!

  She knew no more that passed; her ear
    Caught not the hurried cries,--the rush
  Of the scared household,--nor could hear
    The voice that broke the after-hush:--
  "There with her paramour she lay!
  He lies here!--carry her away!"

  The evening after I was born
    No roses on the bier were spread,
  As when for maids or mothers mourn
    Pure-hearted ones who love the dead;
  They buried her, so young, so fair,
  With hasty hands and scarce a prayer.

  Count Bernard gained the lands, while I,
    Cast forth, forgotten, thus have grown
  To manhood; for I could not die--
    I cannot die--till I atone
  For her great shame; and so you see
  I track him, and he flies from me.

  And one day soon my hand I'll lay
    Upon his arm, with lighter touch
  Than ladies use when in their play
    They tap you with their fans; yet such
  A thrill will freeze his every limb
  As if the dead were clutching him!

  I think that it would make you smile
    To see him kneel and hear him plead,--
  I leaning on my sword the while,
    With a half-laugh, to watch his need:--
  At last my good blade finds his heart,
  And then this red stain will depart.



RAMBLES IN AQUIDNECK.


I.

NEWPORT BEACH.

Newport has many beaches, each bearing a distinctive appellation. To
the one of which we are speaking rightfully belongs the name of
Easton; but it is more widely known by that of the town itself, and
still more familiarly to the residents as "The Beach." It lies east of
the city, a mile from the harbor, and is about half a mile in length.
Its form is that of the new moon, the horns pointing southward.

Let us go there now. No better time could be chosen by the naturalist,
for the tide will be at its lowest ebb. Descending Bath Road, the
beautiful crescent lies before us on the right,--Easton's Pond, with
its back-ground of farms, upon the left. There is no wind to-day to
break the surface of the standing water, and it gives back the dwarf
willows upon its banks and the houses on the hill-side with more than
Daguerrian fidelity. The broad ocean lies rocking in the sunshine, not
as one a-weary, but resting at his master's bidding, waiting to begin
anew the work he loves. In the horizon, the ships, motionless in the
calm, spread all sail to catch the expected breeze. The waves idly
chase each other to the shore, in childish strife to kiss first the
mother Earth.

Turning the sea-wall and crossing a bit of shingle on the right, we
stand upon the western extremity of the beach.

At our feet, a smooth, globular object, of the size of a crab-apple,
is lying half-buried in the sand. Taking it in your hand, you find it
to be a univalve shell, the inhabitant of which is concealed behind a
closely-fitting door, resembling a flake of undissolved glue.

It is a Natica. Place it gently in this pool and watch for a few
moments. Slowly and cautiously the horny operculum is pushed out,
turned back, and hidden beneath a thick fleshy mantle, which spreads
over half the shell. Two long tentacles appear upon its front, like
the horns of an ox, and it begins to glide along upon its one huge
foot.

Had you seen it thus at first, you could not have believed it possible
for so bulky a body to be retracted into so small a shell. Lift it
into the air, and a stream of water pours forth as it contracts.

Two kinds are common here, one of which has a more conical spire than
the other. The animals differ somewhat in other points, but both have
a cream-colored base, and a mantle of pale cream clouded with purple.
You may get them from half an inch to three inches in diameter. Take
them home and domesticate them, and you will see surprising things.

I kept one of middling size for many months. During two or three weeks
I wondered how he lived, for he was never seen to eat. He used to
climb to the top of the tank and slide down the slippery glass as
though it were a _montagne russe_. Then he would wander about upon the
bottom, ploughing deep furrows in the sand, and end by burrowing
beneath it. There he would stay whole days, entirely out of sight.

One morning I found him on his back, his body bent upward, with the
edge of the base turned in all round towards the centre. Did you ever
see an apple-dumpling before it was boiled, just as the cook was
pinching the dough together? Yes? Then you may imagine the appearance
of my Natica; but no greening pared and cored lay within that puckered
wrapper.

Two days passed with no visible change; but on the third day the
strange gasteropod unfolded both himself and the mystery. From his
long embrace fell the shell of a Mactra, nearly as broad as his own.
Near the hinge was a smooth, round hole, through which the poor Clam
had been sucked. Foot, stomach, siphon, muscles, all but a thin strip
of mantle, were gone. The problem of the Natica's existence was
solved, and the verification was found in more than one Buccinum minus
the animal,--the number of the latter victims being still an unknown
quantity.

Not in sport had Natty driven the plough, not in idleness had he
hollowed the sand. He sought his food in the furrow, and dug riches in
the mine.

Doubtless he killed the bivalve,--for until the time of its
disappearance it had been in full vigor,--but with what weapon? And
whereabouts in that soft bundle was hidden the wimble which bored the
hole?

A few days after, a Crab, of the size of a dime, died. Nat soon
learned the fact, and enveloped the crustacean as he had done the
mollusk. Thirty hours sufficed to drill through the Crab's
foundation-wall, and to abstract the unguarded treasure.

Every week some rifled Trivittatum tells a new tale of his felonious
deeds.

His last feat was worthy of a cannibal, for it was the savage act of
devouring a fellow-Natica. You might suppose that in this case the
trap-like operculum would afford an easy entrance to one familiar with
its use; but, true to his secret system, the burglar broke in as
before. How did he do this? Did he abrade the stone-work with flinty
sand until a hole was worn? Did he apply an acid to the limy wall
until it opened before him? Who can find the tools of the cunning
workman, or the laboratory where his corrodents are composed?

Some rods farther south, the shore is covered with smooth stones, and
there you may find the Limpet in great numbers. Patella is the Latin
name, but children call it Tent-Shell. Oval at the base, it slopes
upward to a point a little aside from the centre.

In this locality they are small, seldom more than an inch in length.
At first, you will not readily distinguish them, they are so nearly of
the color of the stones to which they are attached. This is one of
those Providential adjustments by which the weak are rendered as
secure as the strong. Slow in their movements, without offensive
weapons, their form and their coloring are their two great safeguards.
The stones to which they adhere are variegated with brown and purple
blotches of incipient Coralline, and the shells are beautifully
mottled with every shade of those colors. Some are lilac, heightening
nearly to crimson; others are dark chocolate and white, sharply
checkered.

Pebbles and Patella alike are half-covered with Confervae, and from
the top of the latter, fronds of Ulva are often found floating like
flags. I have one with a clump of Corallina rising from its apex, like
a coppice on the summit of a hill.

By atmospheric pressure, its union with the stone is so close that it
is not easy to pull it away without injury; but if you slip it along,
until by some slight inequality air is admitted beneath the hitherto
exhausted receiver, the little pneumatician is obliged to yield.

When turned upon its back, or resting against glass, the soft arms,
sprawling aimlessly about, and the bare, round head, give it the
appearance of an infant in a cradle, so that a tank well stocked with
them might be taken for a Liliputian foundling-hospital.

They are as innocent as they look, being vegetable-feeders, and
finding most of their sustenance in matters suspended in the water. A
friend of mine placed several upon the side of a vessel coated with
Conferva. In a few days, each industrious laborer had mowed round him
a circular space several times larger than himself.

They are not ambulatory, but remain on one spot for successive weeks,
perhaps longer.

Sometimes they raise the shell so as to allow a free circulation
beneath; but if some predatory Prawn draw near, the tent is lowered in
a twinkling, so as effectually to shut out the submarine Tartar.

Tread warily, or you will trip upon the slimy Fucus that fringes the
seaward side of every rock. This is one of the few Algae that grow
here in luxuriance. The slate has not the deep fissures necessary to
afford shelter to the more delicate kinds; and the heavy swell of the
sea drags them from their slight moorings. Therefore, though Ulva,
Chondrus, Cladophora, Enteromorpha, and as many more, are within our
reach, we will not stop to gather them; for Newport has other shores,
where we can get them in full perfection.

We will take some tufts of Corallina, however, for that is temptingly
fine. What a curious plant it is! Its root, a mere crustaceous disk,
and its fronds, depositing shelly matter upon their surface, bear so
strong a resemblance to the true Corals, that, until recently,
naturalists have thought it a zoophyte.

Here the plants are of a dull brick-red; but in less exposed
situations they are purple. If you wish them to live and increase, you
must chip off a bit of the rock on which they are growing. With a
chisel, or even a knife, you can do it without difficulty, for the
soft slate scales and crumbles under a slight blow.

For an herbarium, it ought to be gummed at once to the paper, for it
becomes so brittle, in drying, that it falls to pieces with the most
careful handling. In the air and light it fades white, but the
elegance of its pinnate branches will well repay any pains you may
bestow upon it.

If you have a lingering belief in its animal nature, steeping it in
acid will cause the carbonate of lime and your credulity to disappear
together, leaving the vegetable tissue clearly revealed.

Between low-water and the Cliff are hundreds of pools rich in
vegetable and animal life--Look at this one: it is a lakelet of
exquisite beauty. Bordered with the olive-colored Rock-Weed, fronds of
purple and green Laver rise from its limpid depths. Amphipods of
varied hue emerge from the clustering weeds, cleave the clear water
with easy swiftness, and hide beneath the opposite bank. Here a
graceful Annelid describes Hogarth's line of beauty upon the sandy
bottom. There another glides over the surface with sinuous course,
rowed by more oars than a Venetian galley, more brilliant in its
iridescence than the barge of Cleopatra, albeit

    "The poop was beaten gold,
  Purple the sails."

We loiter here, forgetful that we are only at the first end of the bow
along whose curve we propose to walk. Let us go on. The firm sand
affords pleasanter footing than the slippery stones we leave behind
us, but it seems bare of promise to the curiosity-hunter. Nevertheless
we will hunt, and quite at variance with my experience will it be, if
we return empty-handed.

Here is something already. Dark-colored, horny, flat, oblong, each
corner furnished with a wiry, thorn-like projection;--what is it? A
child tells you it is a Mermaid's Purse, and, giving the empty bag a
shake, you straightway conclude that the maids of the sea know "hard
times," as well as those of the land. But the Purse is not always so
light. Sometimes it is found to contain a most precious deposit, the
egg which is to produce a future fish.

These egg-cases belong to different members of the Ray family. I saw
one last winter, in which the inmate was fully developed. Should some
old seaman hear me, he might say that I am telling a "fish-story" in
good earnest. He might inform you furthermore, that the object in
question is "but a pod of sea-weed, and that he has seen hundreds of
them in the Gulf Stream." I cannot help it, neither do I question his
veracity. Notwithstanding, these two eyes of mine, in sound condition,
awake, and in broad day, did see the supposed pericarp, with one side
taken off, and did behold, lying within, as veritable a Raia as ever
was caught upon the New-England coast. Moreover, its countenance was
no more classical, in its minuteness, than that of its most ancient
ancestor in its hugeness.

Observe those bubbles trembling upon the edge of the wave. One is left
by the receding tide, and a nearer view shows it to be a jelly-like
globe, clearer than the crystal of Merlin. Dropped softly into a
vessel of water, at first it lies quiescent and almost invisible upon
the bottom. A moment after, it rises in quick undulations, flashing
prismatic tints with every motion. Again it rests, and we see that it
is banded by eight meridians, composed of square, overlapping plates.
It swims, and the plates become paddles, propelling the frail craft,--
prisms, dividing the sunbeams into rainbow hues. Suddenly two lines of
gossamer are dropped from unseen openings in its sides, and trailed
behind it as it goes. Twisting, lengthening, shortening, they are
drawn back and re-coiled within, and

      "The ethereal substance closed,
  Not long divisible."

This delicate wonder is the Cydippe. Though among the most charming of
marine creatures, none is more liable to be overlooked, owing to its
extreme subtilty. So unsubstantial and shadowy are they, that a lady,
on seeing them for the first time, declared them to be "the ghosts of
gooseberries." Indeed, you will find them ghost-like, if you attempt
to keep them, for they

      "Shrink in haste away
  And vanish from our sight."

The whole high-water line is strewn with the blanched and parted
valves of the Beach Clam. Here and there yellowish streaks appear upon
the gray sand, formed by the detritus of submarine shells. Among the
fragments are often found perfect specimens, some of them with the
living animal.

We can examine them as we go back, but now let us cross the "Creek."
It is a creek only by courtesy or an Americanism, at the present day;
but when those miles of fertile fields upon the north were
unreclaimed, the dank herbage hindered evaporation, and Easton's Pond
was fed by unfailing streams. Then the vast body of overflowing water
swept a deep channel, which the sea, rolling far up towards the pond,
widened and made permanent. Boats came from ships in the offing, and
followed its course to "Green End," with no fear of grounding; and
traditionary pirates there bestowed in secret caves their ill-gotten
gains.

Now, the Creek is a mere streamlet, and the flow of the tide is
restricted to its mouth. With our rubbers we may ford it dry-shod; but
if you choose to cross the bridge, we must wade through shifting sand,
and our walk will be the longer. In midsummer the bed is dry, and
almost obliterated by the drift. On the approach of autumnal rains,
the farmers plough a passage for the water, to prevent their lands
from being submerged.

On the east side, masses of conglomerate rock are strewn in wild
confusion. By the action of untold ages the connecting cement is worn
away from between the pebbles, leaving them prominent; and wherever
the attrition of the sea has loosened one from its bed, the hollow has
become the habitation of Mollusca and Algae.

Beyond that ponderous boulder are many dark recesses among the
overlying stones. Strip back your sleeve, thrust in your hand, and
grope carefully about. In this way I once grasped a prickly thing that
startled me. Drawing it to light, it proved to be an Echinus,
Sea-Urchin, or Sea-Egg. That one was not larger than a walnut, was
shaped like a _brioche_, and resembled a chestnut-burr. Its color was
a delicate green, verging to brown.

Much larger living Echini are found on this spot. There is a shell
now, more than two inches in diameter. It is wholly covered with
spines half an inch in length. Radiating from a common centre,
flexible at the base, they stand erect at right angles with the shell
when the Urchin is in health; but in disease or death order is lost,
and they lie across each other in great confusion. Their connection
with the shell is very remarkable, for it is by a ball-and-socket
joint,--the same articulation which gives the human hip its marvellous
liberty of action. Between them are five rows of minute holes, and, in
life, a transparent, hair-like foot is protruded from each, at the
pleasure of the owner. When disposed to change its situation, it
stretches forth those on the side towards which it would go, fixes
them by means of the sucker at the tip of each, and, simultaneously
withdrawing those in the rear, pulls itself along.

The mouth, placed in the centre of the base, is very large in
proportion to the size of the animal. It is formed of five shelly,
wedge-shaped pieces, each ending in a hard, triangular tooth. The
whole mouth is a conical box, called by naturalists "Aristotle's
lantern."

The shell is hardly thicker than that of a hen's egg, and is even more
fragile. When the spines are rubbed off, the brioche-like shape is
modified, and in place of the depression in the middle of the upper
side there is seen a slight prominence.

Mine was a very inoffensive creature. He occupied the same corner for
many weeks, and changed his place only when a different arrangement of
stones was made. He then wandered to a remote part of the tank and
chose a new abode. Both retreats were on the shady side of a stone
overhung with plants. There for months he quietly kept house, only
going up and down his hand-breadth of room once or twice a day.
Minding his own business without hurt to his neighbor, he dwelt in
unambitious tranquillity. Had he not fallen a victim to the most cruel
maltreatment, he might still adorn his humble station.

As he was sitting one evening at the door of his house, bending about
his lithe arms in the way he was wont, two itinerant Sticklebacks
chanced to pass that way. They paused, and, not seeing the necessity
for organs of which they had never known the use, they at once decided
on their removal.

In vain did the poor Hedgehog oppose them. With all the pertinacity of
ignorance, they maintained their certainty of his abnormal condition;
and with all the officiousness of quackery, they insisted upon
immediate amputation. Aided by two volunteer assistants, the self-made
surgeons cut off limb after limb before their reckless butchery could
be stopped.

At last I effected their dismissal. But their pitiable patient was too
far reduced for recovery. His exhausted system never rallied from the
shock, and he survived but a few days.

Alas! alas! that so exemplary a member of the community should have
perished through piscine empiricism!

How many things you have collected! Your well-filled basket attests
your industry and zeal, and suggests the fruitful question of the
novelist, "What will you do with it?" Will you throw its contents on
the sand, and go away satisfied with these imperfect glimpses of
sea-life? Will you take them home indeed, but consign them to a
crowded bowl, to die like the prisoners in the Black Hole of Calcutta?
Or will you give to each a roomy basin with water, and plants to keep
it pure?

This were well; and you could thus study their structure at leisure,
but not their habits. To know the character of an individual, you must
watch him among his fellows; you must observe his bearing to the
small; you must see how he demeans himself in presence of the great.
To do this, the surroundings must be such that none shall be conscious
of restraint, but that every one, with homely ease, may act out his
own peculiar nature. In short, you must make ready for them another
Atlantic, in all things but breadth like its grand prototype.

Nor is this a difficult undertaking. By following the advice of some
experienced person, you may avoid all those failures which are apt to
attend the experiments of a tyro. I will direct you to our pioneer in
aquarian science, Mr. Charles E. Hammett. He can furnish you with all
you want, give you most efficient aid, and add thereto a great amount
of practical information.

You need have no fears for the population of your colony; for in our
future walks we shall meet new objects of beauty and interest, and in
such variety and abundance that your only embarrassment will be which
to choose.

And now the ramble of to-day is ended. The "punctual sea" has risen,
and, waking his dreaming waves, he gives to them their several tasks.
Some, with gentle touch, lave the heated rock; these, swift of foot,
bring drink to the thirsty sand; those carry refreshing coolness to
the tepid pool. Charged with blessings come they all, and, singing
'mid their joyous labor, they join in a chorus of praise to their God
and our God; while from each of our hearts goes up the ready response,
"Thou, Lord, hast made me glad through thy works, and I will rejoice
in giving praise for the operations of thy hands!"



ANN POTTER'S LESSON.

My sister Mary Jane is older than I,--as much as four years. Father
died when we were both small, and didn't leave us much means beside
the farm. Mother was rather a weakly woman; she didn't feel as though
she could farm it for a living. It's hard work enough for a man to get
clothes and victuals off a farm in West Connecticut; it's up-hill work
always; and then a man can turn to, himself, to ploughin' and
mowin';--but a woman a'n't of no use, except to tell folks what to do;
and everybody knows it's no way to have a thing done, to send.

Mother talked it all over with Deacon Peters, and he counselled her to
sell off all the farm but the home-lot, which was sot out for an
orchard with young apple-trees, and had a garden-spot to one end of
it, close by the house. Mother calculated to raise potatoes and beans
and onions enough to last us the year round, and to take in sewin'
so's to get what few groceries we was goin' to want. We kept Old Red,
the best cow; there was pasture enough for her in the orchard, for the
trees wa'n't growed to be bearin' as yet, and we 'lotted a good deal
on milk to our house; besides, it saved butcher's meat.

Mother was a real pious woman, and she was a high-couraged woman too.
Old Miss Perrit, an old widder-woman that lived down by the bridge,
come up to see her the week after father died. I remember all about
it, though I wa'n't but ten years old; for when I see Miss Perrit
comin' up the road, with her slimpsy old veil hanging off from her
bumbazine bonnet, and her doleful look, (what Nancy Perrit used to
call "mother's company-face,") I kinder thought she was comin' to our
house; and she was allers so musical to me, I went in to the
back-door, and took up a towel I was hemmin', and set down in the
corner, all ready to let her in. It don't seem as if I could 'a' been
real distressed about father's dyin' when I could do so; but children
is just like spring weather, rainin' one hour and shinin' the next,
and it's the Lord's great mercy they be; if they begun to be feelin'
so early, there wouldn't be nothin' left to grow up. So pretty quick
Miss Perrit knocked, and I let her in. We hadn't got no spare room in
that house; there was the kitchen in front, and mother's bed-room, and
the buttery, and the little back-space opened out on't behind. Mother
was in the bed-room; so, while I called her, Miss Perrit set down in
the splint rockin'-chair that creaked awfully, and went to rockin'
back and forth, and sighin', till mother come in. "Good-day, Miss
Langdon!" says she, with a kind of a snuffle, "how _dew_ you dew? I
thought I'd come and see how you kep' up under this here affliction. I
rec'lect very well how I felt when husband died. It's a dreadful thing
to be left a widder in a hard world;--don't you find it out by this?"

I guess mother felt quite as bad as ever Miss Perrit did, for
everybody knew old Perrit treated his wife like a dumb brute while he
was alive, and died drunk; but she didn't say nothin'. I see her give
a kind of a swaller, and then she spoke up bright and strong.

"I don't think it is a hard world, Miss Perrit. I find folks kind and
helpful, beyond what I'd any right to look for. I try not to think
about my husband, any more than I can help, because I couldn't work,
if I did, and I've got to work. It's most helpful to think the Lord
made special promises to widows, and when I remember Him I a'n't
afeard."

Miss Perrit stopped rockin' a minute, and then she begun to creak the
chair and blow her nose again, and she said,--

"Well, I'm sure it's a great mercy to see anybody rise above their
trouble the way you do; but, law me! Miss Langdon, you a'n't got
through the fust pair o' bars on't yet. Folks is allers kinder
neighborly at the fust; they feel to help you right off, every way
they can,--but it don't stay put, they get tired on't; they blaze
right up like a white-birch-stick, an' then they go out all of a heap;
there's other folks die, and they don't remember you, and you're just
as bad off as though you wa'n't a widder."

Mother kind of smiled,--she couldn't help it; but she spoke up again
just as steady.

"I don't expect to depend on people, Miss Perrit, so long as I have my
health. I a'n't above takin' friendly help when I need to, but I mean
mostly to help myself. I can get work to take in, and when the girls
have got their schoolin' they will be big enough to help me. I am not
afraid but what I shall live and prosper, if I only keep my health."

"Hem, well!" whined out Miss Perrit. "I allers thought you was a
pretty mighty woman, Miss Langdon, and I'm glad to see you're so
high-minded; but you a'n't sure of your health, never. I used to be
real smart to what I am now, when Perrit was alive; but I took on so,
when he was brought home friz to death that it sp'iled my nerves; and
then I had to do so many chores out in the shed, I got cold and had
the dreadfullest rheumatiz! and when I'd got past the worst spell of
that and was quite folksy again, I slipped down on our door-step and
kinder wrenched my ankle, and ef't hadn't 'a' been for the neighbors,
I don't know but what Nancy and I should 'a' starved."

Mother did laugh this time. Miss Perrit had overshot the mark.

"So the neighbors were helpful, after all!" said she. "And if ever I
get sick, I shall be willin' to have help, Miss Perrit. I'm sure I
would take what I would give; I think givin' works two ways. I don't
feel afraid yet."

Miss Perrit groaned a little, and wiped her eyes, and got up to go
away. She hadn't never offered to help mother, and she went off to the
sewing-circle and told that Miss Langdon hadn't got no feelings at
all, and she b'lieved she'd just as soon beg for a livin' as not.
Polly Mariner, the tailoress, come and told mother all she said next
day, but mother only smiled, and set Polly to talkin' about the best
way to make over her old cloak. When she was gone, I begun to talk
about Miss Perrit, and I was real mad; but mother hushed me right up.

"It a'n't any matter, Ann," said she. "Her sayin' so don't make it so.
Miss Perrit's got a miserable disposition, and I'm sorry for her; a
mint of money wouldn't make her happy; she's a doleful Christian, she
don't take any comfort in anything, and I really do pity her."

And that was just the way mother took everything.

At first we couldn't sell the farm. It was down at the foot of
Torringford Hill, two good miles from meetin', and a mile from the
school-house; most of it was woodsy, and there wa'n't no great market
for wood about there. So for the first year Squire Potter took it on
shares, and, as he principally seeded it down to rye, why, we sold the
rye and got a little money, but 'twa'n't a great deal,--no more than
we wanted for clothes the next winter. Aunt Langdon sent us down a lot
of maple-sugar from Lee, and when we wanted molasses we made it out of
that. We didn't have to buy no great of groceries, for we could spin
and knit by fire-light, and, part of the land bein' piny woods, we had
a good lot of knots that were as bright as lamps for all we wanted.
Then we had a dozen chickens, and by pains and care they laid pretty
well, and the eggs were as good as gold. So we lived through the first
year after father died, pretty well.

Anybody that couldn't get along with mother and Major (I always called
Mary Jane "Major" when I was real little, and the name kind of stayed
by) couldn't get along with anybody. I was as happy as a cricket
whilst they were by, though, to speak truth, I wasn't naturally so
chirpy as they were; I took after father more, who was a kind of a
despondin' man, down-hearted, never thinkin' things could turn out
right, or that he was goin' to have any luck. That was my natur', and
mother see it, and fought ag'inst it like a real Bunker-Hiller; but
natur' is hard to root up, and there was always times when I wanted to
sulk away into a corner and think nobody wanted me, and that I was
poor and humbly, and had to work for my living.

I remember one time I'd gone up into my room before tea to have one of
them dismal fits. Miss Perrit had been in to see mother, and she'd
been tellin' over what luck Nancy'd had down to Hartford: how't she
had gone into a shop, and a young man had been struck with her good
looks, an' he'd turned out to be a master-shoemaker, and Nancy was
a-goin' to be married, and so on, a rigmarole as long as the moral
law,--windin' up with askin' mother why she didn't send us girls off
to try our luck, for Major was as old as Nance Perrit. I'd waited to
hear mother say, in her old bright way, that she couldn't afford it,
and she couldn't spare us, if she had the means, and then I flung up
into our room, that was a lean-to in the garret, with a winder in the
gable end, and there I set down by the winder with my chin on the
sill, and begun to wonder why we couldn't have as good luck as the
Perrits. After I'd got real miserable, I heerd a soft step comin' up
stairs, and Major come in and looked at me and then out of the winder.

"What's the matter of you, Anny?" said she.

"Nothing," says I, as sulky as you please.

"Nothing always means something," says Major, as pleasant as pie; and
then she scooched down on the floor and pulled my two hands away, and
looked me in the face as bright and honest as ever you see a dandelion
look out of the grass. "What is it, Anny? Spit it out, as John Potter
says; you'll feel better to free your mind."

"Well," says I, "Major, I'm tired of bad luck."

"Why, Anny! I didn't know as we'd had any. I'm sure, it's three years
since father died, and we have had enough to live on all that time,
and I've got my schooling, and we are all well; and just look at the
apple-trees,--all as pink as your frock with blossoms; that's good for
new cloaks next winter, Anny."

"'Ta'n't that, Major. I was thinkin' about Nancy Perrit. If we'd had
the luck to go to Hartford, may-be you'd have been as well off as she;
and then I'd have got work, too. And I wish I was as pretty as she is,
Major; it does seem too bad to be poor and humbly too."

I wonder she didn't laugh at me, but she was very feelin' for folks,
always. She put her head on the window-sill along of mine, and kinder
nestled up to me in her lovin' way, and said, softly,--

"I wouldn't quarrel with the Lord, Anny."

"Why, Major! you scare me! I haven't said nothing against the Lord.
What do you mean?" said I,--for I was touchy, real touchy.

"Well, dear, you see we've done all we can to help ourselves; and
what's over and above, that we can't help,--that is what the Lord
orders, a'n't it? and He made you, didn't He? You can't change your
face; and I'm glad of it, for it is Anny's face, and I wouldn't have
it changed a mite: there'll always be two people to think it's sightly
enough, and may-be more by-and-by; so I wouldn't quarrel with it, if I
was you."

Major's happy eyes always helped me. I looked at her and felt better.
She wasn't any better-lookin' than I; but she always was so chirk, and
smart, and neat, and pretty-behaved, that folks thought she was
handsome after they knowed her.

Well, after a spell, there was a railroad laid out up the valley, and
all the land thereabouts riz in price right away; and Squire Potter he
bought our farm on speculation, and give a good price for it; so't we
had two thousand dollars in the bank, and the house and lot, and the
barn, and the cow. By this time Major was twenty-two and I was
eighteen; and Squire Potter he'd left his house up on the hill, and
he'd bought out Miss Perrit's house, and added on to't, and moved down
not far from us, so's to be near the railroad-depot, for the sake of
bein' handy to the woods, for cuttin' and haulin' of them down to the
track. Twasn't very pleasant at first to see our dear old woods goin'
off to be burned that way; but Squire Potter's folks were such good
neighbors, we gained as much as we lost, and a sight more, for folks
are greatly better'n trees,--at least, clever folks.

There was a whole raft of the Potters, eight children of 'em all, some
too young to be mates for Major and me; but Mary Potter, and Reuben,
and Russell, they were along about as old as we were: Russell come
between Major and me; the other two was older.

We kinder kept to home always, Major and me, because we hadn't any
brothers to go out with us; so we were pretty shy of new friends at
first. But you couldn't help bein' friendly with the Potters, they was
such outspoken, kindly creturs, from the Squire down to little Hen.
And it was very handy for us, because now we could go to
singin'-schools and quiltin's, and such-like places, of an evenin';
and we had rather moped at home for want of such things,--at least I
had, and I should have been more moped only for Major's sweet ways.
She was always as contented as a honey-bee on a clover-head, for the
same reason, I guess.

Well, there was a good many good things come to us from the Potters'
movin' down; but by-and-by it seemed as though I was goin' to get the
bitter of it. I'd kept company pretty steady with Russell. I hadn't
give much thought to it, neither; I liked his ways, and he seemed to
give in to mine very natural, so't we got along together first-rate.
It didn't seem as though we'd ever been strangers, and I wasn't one to
make believe at stiffness when I didn't feel it. I told Russell pretty
much all I had to tell, and he was allers doin' for me and runnin'
after me jest as though he'd been my brother. I didn't know how much I
did think of him, till, after a while, he seemed to take a sight of
notice of Major. I can't say he ever stopped bein' clever to me, for
he didn't; but he seemed to have a kind of a hankerin' after Major all
the time. He'd take her off to walk with him; he'd dig up roots in the
woods for her posy-bed; he'd hold her skeins of yarn as patient as a
little dog; he'd get her books to read. Well, he'd done all this for
me; but when I see him doin' it for her, it was quite different; and
all to once I know'd what was the matter. I'd thought too much of
Russell Potter.

Oh, dear! those was dark times! I couldn't blame him; I knew well
enough Major was miles and miles better and sweeter and cleverer than
I was; I didn't wonder he liked her; but I couldn't feel as if he'd
done right by me. So I schooled myself considerable, talking to myself
for being jealous of Major. But 'twasn't all that;--the hardest of it
all was that I had to mistrust Russell. To be sure, he hadn't said
nothin' to me in round words; I couldn't ha' sued him; but he'd looked
and acted enough; and now,--dear me! I felt all wrung out and flung
away!

By-and-by Major begun to see somethin' was goin' wrong, and so did
Russell. She was as good as she could be to me, and had patience with
all my little pettish ways, and tried to make me friendly with
Russell; but I wouldn't. I took to hard work, and, what with cryin'
nights, and hard work all day, I got pretty well overdone. But it all
went on for about three months, till one day Russell come up behind
me, as I was layin' out some yarn to bleach down at the end of the
orchard, and asked me if I'd go down to Meriden with him next day, to
a pic-nic frolic, in the woods.

"No!" says I, as short as I could.

Russell looked as though I had slapped him. "Anny," says he, "what
have I done?"

I turned round to go away, and I catched my foot in a hank of yarn,
and down I come flat on to the ground, havin' sprained my ankle so bad
that Russell had to pick me up and carry me into the house like a
baby.

There was an end of Meriden for me; and he wouldn't go, either, but
come over and sat by me, and read to me, and somehow or other, I don't
remember just the words, he gave me to understand that--well--that he
wished I'd marry him.

It's about as tirin' to be real pleased with anything as it is to be
troubled, at first. I couldn't say anything to Russell; I just cried.
Major wasn't there; mother was dryin' apples out in the shed; so
Russell he didn't know what to do; he kind of hushed me up, and begged
of me not to cry, and said he'd come for his answer next day. So he
come, and I didn't say, "No," again. I don't believe I stopped to
think whether Major liked him. She would have thought of me, first
thing;--I believe she wouldn't have had him, if she'd thought I wanted
him. But I a'n't like Major; it come more natural to me to think about
myself; and besides, she was pious, and I wasn't. Russell was.

However, it turned out all right, for Major was 'most as pleased as I
was; and she told me, finally, that she'd known a long spell that
Russell liked me, and the reason he'd been hangin' round her so long
was, he'd been tellin' her his plans, and they'd worked out
considerable in their heads before she could feel as though he had a
good enough lookout to ask me to marry him.

That wasn't so pleasant to me, when I come to think of it; I thought
I'd ought to have been counselled with. But it was just like Major;
everybody come to her for a word of help or comfort, whether they took
her idee or not,--she had such feelin' for other folks's trouble.

I got over that little nub after a while; and then I was so pleased,
everything went smooth ag'in. I was goin' to be married in the spring;
and we were goin' straight out to Indiana, onto some wild land Squire
Potter owned out there, to clear it and settle it, and what Russell
cleared he was to have. So mother took some money out of the bank to
fit me out, and Major and I went down to Hartford to buy my things.

I said before, we wasn't either of us any great things to look at; but
it come about that one day I heerd somebody tell how we did look, and
I thought considerable about it then and afterwards. We was buyin'
some cotton to a store in the city, and I was lookin' about at all the
pretty things, and wonderin' why I was picked out to be poor when so
many folks was rich and had all they wanted, when presently I heerd a
lady in a silk gown say to another one, so low she thought I didn't
hear her,--"There are two nice-looking girls, Mrs. Carr."

"Hem,--yes," said the other one; "they look healthy and strong: the
oldest one has a lovely expression, both steady and sweet; the other
don't look happy."

I declare, that was a fact. I was sorry, too, for I'd got everything
in creation to make anybody happy, and now I was frettin' to be rich.
I thought I'd try to be like Major; but I expect it was mostly because
of the looks of it, for I forgot to try before long.

Well, in the spring we was married; and when I come to go away, Major
put a little red Bible into my trunk for a weddin' present; but I was
cryin' too hard to thank her. She swallowed down whatever choked her,
and begged of me not to cry so, lest Russell should take it hard that
I mourned to go with him. But just then I was thinkin' more of Major
and mother than I was of Russell; they'd kept me bright and cheery
always, and kept up my heart with their own good ways when I hadn't no
strength to do it for myself; and now I was goin' off alone with
Russell, and he wasn't very cheerful-dispositioned, and somehow my
courage give way all to once.

But I had to go; railroads don't wait for nobody; and what with the
long journey, and the new ways and things and people, I hadn't no time
to get real down once before we got to Indiana. After we left the boat
there was a spell of railroad, and then a long stage-ride to
Cumberton; and then we had to hire a big wagon and team, so's to get
us out to our claim, thirty miles west'ard of Cumberton. I hadn't no
time to feel real lonesome now, for all our things hed got to be
onpacked, and packed over ag'in in the wagon; some on 'em had to be
stored up, so's to come another time. We was two days gettin' to the
claim, the roads was so bad,--mostly what they call corduroy, but a
good stretch clear mud-holes. By the time we got to the end on't, I
was tired out, just fit to cry; and such a house as was waitin' for
us!--a real log shanty! I see Russell looked real beat when he see my
face; and I tried to brighten up; but I wished to my heart I was back
with mother forty times that night, if I did once. Then come the worst
of all, clutterin' everything right into that shanty; for our
frame-house wouldn't be done for two months, and there wa'n't scarce
room for what we'd brought, so't we couldn't think of sendin' for what
was stored to Cumberton. I didn't sleep none for two nights, because
of the whip-poor-wills that set on a tree close by, and called till
mornin' light; but after that I was too tired to lie awake.

Well, it was real lonesome, but it was all new at first, and Russell
was to work near by, so't I could see him, and oftentimes hear him
whistle; and I had the garden to make, round to the new house, for I
knew more about the plantin' of it than he did, 'specially my
posy-bed, and I had a good time gettin' new flowers out of the woods.
And the woods was real splendid,--great tall tulip-trees, as high as a
steeple and round as a quill, without any sort o' branches ever so fur
up, and the whole top full of the yeller tulips and the queer
snipped-lookin' shiny leaves, till they looked like great bow-pots on
sticks; then there's lots of other great trees, only they're all
mostly spindled up in them woods. But the flowers that grow round on
the ma'sh edges and in the clearin's do beat all.

So time passed along pretty glib till the frame-house was done, and
then we had to move in, and to get the things from Cumberton, and
begin to feel as though we were settled for good and all; and after
the newness had gone off, and the clearin' got so fur that I couldn't
see Russell no more, and nobody to look at, if I was never so
lonesome, then come a pretty hard spell. Everything about the house
was real handy, so't I'd get my work cleared away, and set down to sew
early; and them long summer-days that was still and hot, I'd set, and
set, never hearin' nothin' but the clock go "tick, tick, tick," (never
"tack," for a change,) and every now'n'then a great crash and roar in
the woods where he was choppin', that I knew was a tree; and I worked
myself up dreadfully when there was a longer spell 'n common come
betwixt the crashes, lest that Russell might 'a' been ketched under
the one that fell. And settin' so, and worryin' a good deal, day in
and day out, kinder broodin' over my troubles, and never thinkin'
about anybody but myself, I got to be of the idee that I was the
worst-off creature goin'. If I'd have stopped to think about Russell,
may-be I should have had some sort of pity for him, for he was jest as
lonesome as I, and I wasn't no kind of comfort to come home to,--'most
always cryin', or jest a-goin' to.

So the summer went along till 'twas nigh on to winter, and I wa'n't in
no better sperrits. And now I wa'n't real well, and I pined for
mother, and I pined for Major, and I'd have given all the honey and
buckwheat in Indiana for a loaf of mother's dry rye-bread and a drink
of spring-water. And finally I got so miserable, I wished I wa'n't
never married,--and I'd have wished I was dead, if 'twa'n't for bein'
doubtful where I'd go to, if I was. And worst of all, one day I got so
worked up I told Russell all that. I declare, he turned as white as a
turnip. I see I'd hurt him, and I'd have got over it in a minute and
told him so,--only he up with his axe and walked out of the door, and
never come home till night, and then I was too stubborn to speak to
him.

Well, things got worse, 'n' one day I was sewin' some things and
cryin' over 'em, when I heard a team come along by, and, before I
could get to the door, Russell come in, all red for joy, and says,--

"Who do you want to see most, Anny?"

Somehow the question kind of upset me;--I got choked, and then I bu'st
out a-cryin'.

"Oh, mother and Major!" says I; and I hadn't more'n spoke the word
before mother had both her good strong arms round me, and Major's real
cheery face was a-lookin' up at me from the little pine cricket, where
she'd sot down as nateral as life. Well, I _was_ glad, and so was
Russell, and the house seemed as shiny as a hang-bird's-nest, and
by-and-by the baby came;--but I had mother.

'Twas 'long about in March when I was sick, and by the end of April I
was well, and so's to be stirrin' round again. And mother and Major
begun to talk about goin' home; and I declare, my heart was up in my
mouth every time they spoke on't, and I begun to be miserable ag'in.
One day I was settin' beside of mother; Major was out in the garden,
fixin' up things, and settin' out a lot of blows she'd got in the
woods, and singin' away, and says I to mother,--

"What be I going to do, mother, without you and Major? I 'most died of
clear lonesomeness before you come!"

Mother laid down her knittin', and looked straight at me.

"I wish you'd got a little of Major's good cheer, Anny," says she.
"You haven't any call to be lonely here; it's a real good country, and
you've got a nice house, and the best of husbands, and a dear little
baby, and you'd oughter try to give up frettin'. I wish you was pious,
Anny; you wouldn't fault the Lord's goodness the way you do."

"Well, Major don't have nothin' to trouble her, mother," says I.
"She's all safe and pleasant to home; she a'n't homesick."

Mother spoke up pretty resolute:--

"There a'n't nobody in the world, Anny, but what has troubles. I
didn't calculate to tell you about Major's; but sence you lay her
lively ways to luck, may-be you'd better know 'em. She's been engaged
this six months to Reuben Potter, and he's goin' off in a slow
consumption; he won't never live to marry her, and she knows it."

"And she come away to see me, mother?"

"Yes, she did. I can't say I thought she need to, but Russell wrote
you was pinin' for both of us, and I didn't think you could get along
without me, but I told her to stay with Reuben, and I'd come on alone.
And says she, 'No, mother, you a'n't young and spry enough to go alone
so fur, and the Lord made you my mother and Anny my sister before I
picked out Reuben for myself. I can't never have any kin but you, and
I might have had somebody beside Reuben, though it don't seem likely
now; but he's got four sisters to take care of him, and he thinks and
I think it's what I ought to do; so I'm goin' with you.' So she come,
Anny; and you see how lively she keeps, just because she don't want to
dishearten you none. I don't know as you can blame her for kinder
hankerin' to get home."

I hadn't nothin' to say; I was beat. So mother she went on:--

"Fact is, Anny, Major's always a-thinkin' about other folks; it comes
kind of nateral to her, and then bein' pious helps it. I guess, dear,
when you get to thinkin' more about Russell an' the baby, you'll
forget some of your troubles. I hope the Lord won't have to give you
no harder lesson than lovin', to teach you Major's ways."

So, after that, I couldn't say no more to mother about stayin'; but
when they went away, I like to have cried myself sick,--only baby had
to be looked after, and I couldn't dodge her.

Bym-by we had letters from home; they got there all safe, and Reuben
wa'n't no worse, Major said;--ef't had been me wrote the letter, I
should have said he wa'n't no better!--And I fell back into the old
lonesome days, for baby slept mostly; and the summer come on extreme
hot; and in July, Russell, bein' forced to go to Cumberton on some
land business, left me to home with baby and the hired man,
calculatin' to be gone three days and two nights.

The first day he was away was dreadful sultry; the sun went down away
over the woods in a kind of a red-hot fog, and it seemed as though the
stars were dull and coppery at night; even the whip-poor-wills was too
hot to sing; nothin' but a doleful screech-owl quavered away, a half a
mile off, a good hour, steady. When it got to be mornin', it didn't
seem no cooler; there wa'n't a breath of wind, and the locusts in the
woods chittered as though they was fryin'. Our hired man was an old
Scotchman, by name Simon Grant; and when he'd got his breakfast, he
said he'd go down the clearin' and bring up a load of brush for me to
burn. So he drove off with the team, and, havin' cleared up the
dishes, I put baby to sleep, and took my pail to the barn to milk the
cow,--for we kept her in a kind of a home-lot like, a part that had
been cleared afore we come, lest she should stray away in the woods,
if we turned her loose; she was put in the barn, too, nights, for fear
some stray wild-cat or bear might come along and do her a harm. So I
let her into the yard, and was jest a-goin' to milk her when she begun
to snort and shake, and finally giv' the pail a kick, and set off,
full swing, for the fence to the lot. I looked round to see what was
a-comin', and there, about a quarter of a mile off, I see the most
curus thing I ever see before or since,--a cloud as black as ink in
the sky, and hangin' down from it a long spout like, something like an
elephant's trunk, and the whole world under it looked to be all beat
to dust. Before I could get my eyes off on't, or stir to run, I see it
was comin' as fast as a locomotive; I heerd a great roar and
rush,--first a hot wind, and then a cold one, and then a crash,--an'
'twas all as dark as death all round, and the roar appeared to be
a-passin' off.

I didn't know for quite a spell where I was. I was flat on my face,
and when I come to a little, I felt the grass against my cheek, and I
smelt the earth; but I couldn't move, no way; I couldn't turn over,
nor raise my head more'n two inches, nor draw myself up one. I was
comfortable so long as I laid still; but if I went to move, I
couldn't. It wasn't no use to wriggle; and when I'd settled that, I
jest went to work to figger out where I was and how I got there, and
the best I could make out was that the barn-roof had blowed off and
lighted right over me, jest so as not to hurt me, but so't I could'nt
move.

Well, there I lay. I knew baby was asleep in the trundle-bed, and
there wa'n't no fire in the house; but how did I know the house wa'n't
blowed down? I thought that as quick as a flash of lightnin'; it
kinder struck me; I couldn't even see, so as to be certain! I wasn't
naterally fond of children, but somehow one's own is different, and
baby was just gettin' big enough to be pretty; and there I lay,
feelin' about as bad as I could, but hangin' on to one hope,--that old
Simon, seein' the tornado, would come pretty soon to see where we was.

I lay still quite a spell, listenin'. Presently I heerd a low,
whimperin', pantin' noise, comin' nearer and nearer, and I knew it was
old Lu, a yeller hound of Simon's, that he'd set great store by,
because he brought him from the Old Country. I heerd the dog come
pretty near to where I was, and then stop, and give a long howl. I
tried to call him, but I was all choked up with dust, and for a while
I couldn't make no sound. Finally I called, "Lu! Lu! here, Sir!" and
if ever you heerd a dumb creature laugh, he barked a real laugh, and
come springin' along over towards me. I called ag'in, and he begun to
scratch and tear and pull,--at boards, I guessed, for it sounded like
that; but it wa'n't no use, he couldn't get at me, and he give up at
length and set down right over my head and give another howl, so long
and so dismal I thought I'd as lieves hear the bell a-tollin' my age.

Pretty soon, I heerd another sound,--the baby cryin'; and with that Lu
jumped off whatever 'twas that buried me up, and run. "At any rate,"
thinks I, "baby's alive." And then I bethought myself if 'twa'n't a
painter, after all; they scream jest like a baby, and there's a lot of
them, or there was then, right round in our woods; and Lu was dreadful
fond to hunt 'em; and he never took no notice of baby;--and I couldn't
stir to see!

Oh, dear! the sweat stood all over me! And there I lay, and Simon
didn't come, nor I didn't hear a mouse stir; the air was as still as
death, and I got nigh distracted. Seemed as if all my life riz right
up there in the dark and looked at me. Here I was, all helpless,
may-be never to get out alive; for Simon didn't come, and Russell was
gone away. I'd had a good home, and a kind husband, and all I could
ask; but I hadn't had a contented mind; I'd quarrelled with
Providence, 'cause I hadn't got everything,--and now I hadn't got
nothing. I see just as clear as daylight how I'd nussed up every
little trouble till it growed to a big one,--how I'd sp'ilt Russell's
life, and made him wretched,--how I'd been cross to him a great many
times when I had ought to have been a comfort; and now it was like
enough I shouldn't never see him again,--nor baby, nor mother, nor
Major. And how could I look the Lord in the face, if I did die? That
took all my strength out. I lay shakin' and chokin' with the idee, I
don't know how long; it kind of got hold of me and ground me down; it
was worse than all. I wished to gracious I didn't believe in hell; but
then it come to mind, What should I do in heaven, ef I was there? I
didn't love nothin' that folks in heaven love, except the baby; I
hadn't been suited with the Lord's will on earth, and 'twa'n't likely
I was goin' to like it any better in heaven; and I should be ashamed
to show my face where I didn't belong, neither by right nor by want. So
I lay. Presently I heerd in my mind this verse, that I'd learned years
back in Sabbath School,--

  "Wherefore He is able also to save them to
  the uttermost"--

there it stopped, but it was a plenty for me. I see at once there
wasn't no help anywhere else, and for once in my life I did pray, real
earnest, and--queer enough--not to get out, but to be made good. I
kind of forgot where I was, I see so complete what I was; but after a
while I did pray to live in the flesh; I wanted to make some amends to
Russell for pesterin' on him so.

It seemed to me as though I'd laid there two days. A rain finally come
on, with a good even-down pour, that washed in a little, and cooled my
hot head; and after it passed by I heerd one whip-poor-will singin',
so't I knew it was night. And pretty soon I heerd the tramp of a
horse's feet;--it come up; it stopped; I heerd Russell say out loud,
"O Lord!" and give a groan, and then I called to him. I declare, he
jumped!

So I got him to go look for baby first, because I could wait; and lo!
she was all safe in the trundle-bed, with Lu beside of her, both on
'em stretched out together, one of her little hands on his nose; and
when Russell looked in to the door she stirred a bit, and Lu licked
her hand to keep her quiet. It tells in the Bible about children's
angels always seein' the face of God, so's to know quick what to do
for 'em, I suppose; and I'm sure her'n got to her afore the tornado;
for though the house-roof had blowed off, and the chimbley tumbled
down, there wa'n't a splinter nor a brick on her bed, only close by
the head on't a great hunk of stone had fell down, and steadied up the
clothes-press from tumblin' right on top of her.

So then Russell rode over, six miles, to a neighbor's, and got two
men, and betwixt 'em all they pried up the beams of the barn, that had
blowed on to the roof and pinned it down over me, and then lifted up
the boards and got me out; and I wa'n't hurt, except a few bruises:
but after that day I begun to get gray hairs.

Well, Russell was pretty thankful, I b'lieve,--more so'n he need to be
for such a wife. We fixed up some kind of a shelter, but Lu howled so
all night we couldn't sleep. It seems Russell had seen the tornado to
Cumberton, and, judgin' from its course 'twould come past the
clearin', he didn't wait a minute, but saddled up and come off; but it
had crossed the road once or twice, so it was nigh about eleven
o'clock afore he got home; but it was broad moonlight. So I hadn't
been under the roof only about fifteen hours; but it seemed more.

In the mornin' Russell set out to find Simon, and I was so trembly I
couldn't bear to stay alone, and I went with him, he carryin' baby,
and Lu goin' before, as tickled as he could be. We went a long spell
through the woods, keepin' on the edge of the tornado's road; for't
had made a clean track about a quarter of a mile wide, and felled the
trees flat,--great tulips cut off as sharp as pipe-stems, oaks twisted
like dandelion-stems, and hickories curled right up in a heap.
Presently Lu give a bark, and then such a howl! and there was Simon,
dead enough; a big oak had blowed down, with the trunk right acrost
his legs above the knees, and smashed them almost off. 'Twas plain it
hadn't killed him to once, for the ground all about his head was tore
up as though he'd fought with it, and Russell said his teeth and hands
was full of grass and grit where he'd bit and tore, a-dyin' so hard. I
declare, I shan't never forget that sight! Seems as if my body was
full of little ice-spickles every time I think on't.

Well, Russell couldn't do nothin'; we had no chance to lift the tree,
so we went back to the house, and he rode away after neighbors; and
while he was gone, I had a long spell of thinkin'. Mother said she
hoped I wouldn't have no hard lesson to teach me Major's ways; but I
had got it, and I know I needed it, 'cause it did come so hard. I
b'lieve I was a better woman after that. I got to think more of other
folks's comfort than I did afore, and whenever I got goin' to be
dismal ag'in I used to try 'n' find somebody to help; it was a sure
cure.

When the neighbors come, Russell and they blasted and chopped the tree
off of Simon, and buried him under a big pine that we calculated not
to fell. Lu pined, and howled, and moaned for his master, till I got
him to look after baby now and then, when I was hangin' out clothes or
makin' garden, and he got to like her in the end on't near as well as
Simon.

After a while there come more settlers out our way, and we got a
church to go to; and the minister, Mr. Jones, he come to know if I was
a member, and when I said I wa'n't, he put in to know if I wasn't a
pious woman.

"Well," says I, "I don't know, Sir." So I up and told him all about
it, and how I had had a hard lesson; and he smiled once or twice, and
says he,--

"Your husband thinks you are a Christian, Sister Potter, don't he?"

"Yes, I do," says Russell, a-comin' in behind me to the door,--for
he'd just stepped out to get the minister a basket of plums. "I ha'n't
a doubt on't, Mr. Jones."

The minister looked at him, and I see he was kinder pleased.

"Well," says he, "I don't think there's much doubt of a woman's bein'
pious when she's pious to home; and I don't want no better testimony'n
yours, Mr. Potter. I shall admit you to full fellowship, sister, when
we have a church-meetin' next; for it's my belief you experienced
religion under that blowed-down barn."

And I guess I did.



LE MARAIS DU CYGNE.[1]

[1: The massacre of unarmed and unoffending men in Southern Kansas
took place near the Marais du Cygne of the French _voyageurs_.]

  A blush as of roses
    Where rose never grew!
  Great drops on the bunch-grass,
    But not of the dew!
  A taint in the sweet air
    For wild bees to shun!
  A stain that shall never
    Bleach out in the sun!

  Back, steed of the prairies!
    Sweet song-bird, fly back!
  Wheel hither, bald vulture!
    Gray wolf, call thy pack!
  The foul human vultures
    Have feasted and fled;
  The wolves of the Border
    Have crept from the dead.

  From the hearths of their cabins,
    The fields of their corn,
  Unwarned and unweaponed,
    The victims were torn,--
  By the whirlwind of murder
    Swooped up and swept on
  To the low, reedy fen-lands,
    The Marsh of the Swan.

  With a vain plea for mercy
    No stout knee was crooked;
  In the mouths of the rifles
    Right manly they looked.
  How paled the May sunshine,
    Green Marais du Cygne,
  When the death-smoke blew over
    Thy lonely ravine!

  In the homes of their rearing,
    Yet warm with their lives,
  Ye wait the dead only,
    Poor children and wives!
  Put out the red forge-fire,
    The smith shall not come;
  Unyoke the brown oxen,
    The ploughman lies dumb.

  Wind slow from the Swan's Marsh,
    O dreary death-train,
  With pressed lips as bloodless
    As lips of the slain!
  Kiss down the young eyelids,
    Smooth down the gray hairs;
  Let tears quench the curses
    That burn through your prayers.

  Strong man of the prairies,
    Mourn bitter and wild!
  Wail, desolate woman!
    Weep, fatherless child!
  But the grain of God springs up
    From ashes beneath,
  And the crown of His harvest
    Is life out of death.

  Not in vain on the dial
    The shade moves along
  To point the great contrasts
    Of right and of wrong:
  Free homes and free altars
    And fields of ripe food;
  The reeds of the Swan's Marsh,
    Whose bloom is of blood.

  On the lintels of Kansas
    That blood shall not dry;
  Henceforth the Bad Angel
    Shall harmless go by:
  Henceforth to the sunset,
    Unchecked on her way,
  Shall Liberty follow
    The march of the day.



YOUTH.

The ancient statue of Minerva, in the Villa Albani, was characterized
as the Goddess of Wisdom by an aged countenance. Phidias reformed this
idea, and gave to her beauty and youth. Previous artists had imitated
Nature too carelessly,--not deeply perceiving that wisdom and virtue,
striving in man to resist senescence and decay, must in a goddess
accomplish their purpose, and preserve her in perpetual bloom. Yet
even decay and disease are often ineffectual; the young soul gleams
through these impediments, and would be poorly expressed in figures of
age. Accepting, therefore, this ideal representation, age and wisdom
can never be companions; youth is wise, and age is imbecile.

Our childhood grows in value as we grow in years. It is to that time
that every one refers the influence which reaches to his present and
somehow moulds it. It may have been an insignificant circumstance,--a
word,--a book,--praise or reproof; but from it has flowed all that he
is. We should seem ridiculous in men's eyes, were we known to give
that importance to certain trifles which in our private and inmost
thought they really have. Each finds somewhat in his childhood
peculiar and remarkable, on which he loves to dwell. It gives him a
secret importance in his own eyes, and he bears it about with him as a
kind of inspiring genius. Intimations of his destiny, gathered from
early memories, float dimly before him, and are ever beckoning him on.
That which he really is no one knows save himself. His words and
actions do but inadequately reveal the being he is. We are all greater
than we seem to each other. The heart's deepest secrets will not be
told. The secret of the interest and delight we take in romances and
poetry is that they realize the expectations and hopes of youth. It is
the world we had painted and expected. He is unhappy who has never
known the eagerness of childish anticipation.

Full of anticipations, full of simple, sweet delights, are these
years, the most valuable of lifetime. Then wisdom and religion are
intuitive. But the child hastens to leave its beautiful time and
state, and watches its own growth with impatient eye. Soon he will
seek to return. The expectation of the future has been disappointed.
Manhood is not that free, powerful, and commanding state the
imagination had delineated. And the world, too, disappoints his hope.
He finds there things which none of his teachers ever hinted to him.
He beholds a universal system of compromise and conformity, and in a
fatal day he learns to compromise and conform. At eighteen the youth
requires much stricter truth of men than at twenty-four.

At twenty-four the prophecies of childhood and boyhood begin to be
fulfilled, the longings of the heart to be satisfied. He finds and
tastes that life which once seemed to him so full of satisfaction and
advantage. The inclination to speak in the first person passes away,
and his composition is less autobiographical. The claims of society
and friends begin to be respected. Solitude and musing are less sweet.
The morbid effusions of earlier years, once so precious, no longer
please. Now he regards most his unwritten thought. He uses fewer
adjectives and alliterations, more verbs and dogmatism. There was a
time when his genius was not domesticated, and he did his work
somewhat awkwardly, yet with a fervor prophetic of settled wisdom and
eloquence. The youth is almost too much in earnest. He aims at nothing
less than all knowledge, all wisdom, all power. Perchance the end of
all this is that he may discover his own proper work and tendency, and
learn to know himself from the revelations of his own nature in
universal nature.

For it is by this sign we choose companions and books. Not that they
are the best persons or the best thoughts; but some subtile affinity
attracts and invites as to another self. In the choosing of companions
there seems to be no choice at all. "We meet, we know not how or when;
and though we should remember the history, yet friendship has an
anterior history we know not of. We all have friends, but the one want
of the soul is a friend,--that other self, that one without whom man
is incomplete and but the opaque face of a planet. For such we
patiently wait and hope, knowing that when we become worthy of him,
continents, nor caste, nor opinion can separate us."

A like experience is known to the young man in his reading. 'Tis in
vain to advise as to reading; a higher power controls the matter. Of
course there are some books all must read, as every one learns the
alphabet and spelling-book; but his use and combination of them he
shall share with no one. Some spiritual power is ever drawing us
towards what we love. Thus in books one constantly meets his own idea,
his own feelings, even his most private ones, which he thought could
not be known or appreciated beyond his own bosom. Therefore he quickly
falls in love with those books that discover him to himself, and that
are the keepers of his secrets. Here is a part of himself written out
in immortal letters. Here is that thought long dimly haunting the
mind, but which never before found adequate expression. Here is a
memorable passage transcribed out of his experience.

The fascination of books consists in their revelations of the
half-conscious images of the reader's mind. There is a wonderful
likeness and coincidence in the thoughts of men. But not alone in
books does one meet his own image at every turn. He beholds himself
strewn in a thousand fragments throughout the world; and all his
culture is nothing but assimilation of himself to them, until he can
say with wise Ulysses, "I am a part of all that I have met."

Thus Nature compels the youth to seek every means of stimulating
himself to activity. He has learned that in periods of transition and
change fresh life flows in upon him, dilating the heart and disclosing
new realms of thought. He thanks the gods for every mood, Doric or
dithyrambic, for each new relation, for each new friend, and even for
his sorrows and misfortunes. Out of these comes the complete wisdom
which shall make old age but another more fair and perfect youth. Even
the face and form shall be fortified against time and fate. In the
physiognomy of age much personal history is revealed. The dimples and
folds of infancy have become the furrows of thought and care. Yet,
sometimes retaining their original beauty, they are an ornament, and
in them we read the record of deep thought and experience.

But the wrinkles of some old people are characterless; running in all
directions, appearing as though a finely-woven cloth had left its
impress upon the face, revealing a life aimless and idle, or
distracted by a thousand cross-purposes and weaknesses.

If now youth will permit us to look a little deeper into its heart, we
will attempt to celebrate that unpublished and vestal wisdom written
there. Age does us only indirect justice,--by the value it gives to
memory. It slights and forgets its own present. This day with its
trivialities dwindles and vanishes before the teeming hours wherein it
learned and felt and suffered;--so the circles, which are the tree's
memories of its own growth, are more distinct near the centre, where
its growth began, than in the outer and later development. Give age
the past, and let us be content with our legacy, which is the future.
Still shall youth cast one retrospective glance at the experience of
its nonage, ere it assumes its prerogative, and quite forgets it.

When the first surprise at the discovery of the faculties is over,
begins the era of experience. The aspiration conducting to experiment
has revealed the power or the inability. Henceforth the youth will
know his relations to the world. But as yet men are ignorant how it
stands between them. There has been only a closet performance, a
morning rehearsal. He sees the tribute to genius, to industry, to
birth, to fortune. At first he yields reluctantly to novitiate and
culture; he yearns for action. His masters tell him that the world is
coy, must be approached cautiously, and with something substantial in
the hand. The old bird will not be caught with chaff. He does not yet
understand the process of accumulation and transmutation. The fate of
the Danaides is his, and he draws long with a bottomless bucket. But
at last his incompetency can no further be concealed. Then he either
submits to the suggestions of despair and oblivion or bravely begins
his work. The exhilaration and satisfaction which he felt at his first
performances, in this hour of renunciation, are changed to bitterness
and disgust. He remembers the old oracle: "In the Bacchic procession
many carry the thyrsus, but few are inspired." The possibility of
ultimate failure threatens him more and more while he reflects; as the
chasm which you wish to leap grows impassable, if you measure and
deliberate. But the vivacity of youth preserves him from any permanent
misanthropy or doubt. Nature makes us blind where we should be injured
by seeing. We partake of the lead of Saturn, the activity of fire, the
forgetfulness of water. His academic praises console him, maugre his
depreciation of them. His little fame, the homage of his little world,
have in them the same sweetness as the reverberation of ages. Heaven
would show him his capacity for those things to which he aspires by
giving him an early and representative realization of them. It is a
happy confidence. Reality is tyrannous. Let him construe everything in
the poet's mood. He shall dream, and the day will have more
significance. Youth belongs to the Muse.

How the old men envy us! They wisely preclude us from their world,
since they know how it would bereave us of all that makes our state so
full of freedom and delight, and to them so suggestive of the past.

  "I remember, when I think,
  That my youth was half divine."

Thus the great have ever chosen young men for companions. Was it not
Plato who wished he were the heavens, that he might look down upon his
young companion with a thousand eyes? Thus they do homage to the gift
of youth, and by its presence contrive to nestle into its buoyant and
pure existence. If youth will enjoy itself virtuously with gymnastics,
with music, with friendship, with poetry, there will come no hours of
lamentation and repentance. They attend the imbecile and thoughtless.
These halcyon days will return to temper and grace the period of old
age; as upon the ripened peach reappear the hues of its early
blossoms.

Among his seniors the youth perceives a certain jealousy of him. They
pretend that all has been said and done. They awe him with their great
names. He has to learn, that, though Jew and Greek have spoken,
nevertheless he must reiterate and interpret to his own people and
generation. Perchance in the process something new will likewise be
added. Many things still wait an observer. Still is there infinite
hope and expectation, which youth must realize. In war, in peace, in
politics, in books, all eyes are turned to behold the rising of his
star.

Reluctantly does the youth yield to the claims of moderation and
reserve. Abandonment to an object has hitherto been his highest
wisdom. But in the pursuit of the most heroic friendship, or the most
sovereign passion, the youth discovers that a certain continence is
necessary. He cannot approach too closely; for that moment love is
changed into disgust and hate. He would drink the nectar to the lees.
This is one of Nature's limitations, and has many analogies; and he
who would never see the bottom of any cup, and always be possessed
with a divine hunger, must observe them. I remember how it piqued my
childish curiosity that the moon seemed always to retreat when I ran
towards her, and to pursue when I fled. It was a very significant
symbol. Stand a little apart, and things of their own accord will come
more than half-way. Nobody ever goes to meet a loafer. Self-centred,
domesticated persons attract. What would be the value of the heavens,
if we could bring the stars into our lap? They cannot be approached or
appropriated. Upon the highest mountain the horizon sinks you in a
valley, and far aloft in night and mystery gleam the retreating stars.

It must be remembered that indirect vision is much more delicate than
direct. Looking askance, with a certain oblique and upward glance,
constitutes the art and power of the poet; for so a gentle invitation
is offered the imagination to contribute its aid. We see clearest when
the eye is elongated and slightly curtained. Persons with round,
protuberant eyes are obliged to reduce their superfluous visual power
by artificial means. We subordinate the external organ in order to
liberate the inner eye of the mind. The musing, pensive Hindoos, who
have elongated eyes, look through the surface of things to their
essence, and call the world Illusion,--the illusory energy of Vishnu.

There is a vulgar trick of wishing to touch everything. But the
greatest caution is necessary, in beholding a statue or painting, not
to draw too near; and it is thus with every other beautiful thing.
Nature secretly writes, _Hands off!_--and men do but translate her
hieroglyph in their galleries and museums. The sense of touch is only
a provision against the loss of sight and hearing. We should cultivate
these, until, like the Scandinavian Heimdal, we can hear the trees and
the flowers grow, and see with Heraclitus the breathing of the stars.

The youth once loved Nature after this somewhat gross and material
fashion, for the berries she gave him, the flowers she wove in his
hair, and the brooks that drove his mimic mills. He chased the
butterfly, he climbed the trees, he would stand in the rain, paint his
cheeks with berry juice, dabble in the mud, and nothing was secure
from his prying fingers and curious eyes. He must touch and taste of
everything, and know every secret. But it eluded him; and he lay down
from his giddy chase, tired and unsatisfied, yet still anticipating
that the morning would reveal all. Later he approaches men and things
in a different mood. Experience has taught him so much. He begins to
feel the use of the past. Memory renders many present advantages as
nothing, and there is a rare and peculiar value to every reminiscence
that connects him with the years from which he is so fast receding.
The bower which his own hands wove from birch-trees and interwove with
green brakes, where at the noon-time he was wont to retreat from the
hot school-house, with the little maid of his choice, and beguile the
hour so happily, suggests a spell and charm to preserve him in
perpetual childhood.

       *       *       *       *       *


PINTAL.

In San Francisco, in 1849, on Dupont Street near Washington, a
wretched tent, patched together from mildewed and weather-worn sails,
was pitched on a hill-side lot, unsightly with sand and thorny bushes,
filthy cast-aways of clothing, worn-out boots, and broken bottles. The
forlorn loneliness of this poor abode, and the perfection of its
Californianness, in all the circumstances of exposure, frailness,
destitution, and dirt, were enough of themselves to make it an object
of interest to the not-too-busy passer; yet, to complete its pitiful
picturesqueness, Pathos had bestowed a case of miniatures and a
beautiful child. Beside the entrance of the tent a rough shingle was
fastened to the canvas, and against this hung an unpainted
picture-frame of pine, in humble counterpart of those gilded rosewood
signs which, at the doors of Daguerreotype galleries, display fancy
"specimens" to the goers-to-and-fro of Broadway. Attracted by an
object so novel in San Francisco then, I paused one morning, in my
walk officeward from the "Anglo-Saxon Dining-Saloon," to examine it.

There were six of them,--six dainty miniature portraits on ivory,
elaborately finished, and full of the finest marks of talent. The
whole were seemingly reproductions of but two heads, a lady's and a
child's,--the lady well fitted to be the mother of the child, which
might well have been divine. There were three studies of each; each
was presented in three characters, chosen as by an artist possessed of
a sentiment of sadness, some touching reminiscence.

In one picture, the lady--evidently English, a pensive blonde, with
large and most sweet blue eyes curtained by the longest lashes,
regular and refined features suggestive of pure blood, budding lips
full of sensibility, a chin and brow that showed intellect as well as
lineage, and cheeks touched with the young rose's tint--was as a
beautiful _debutante_, the flower of rich drawing-rooms, in her first
season: one white moss-rosebud in her smoothly-braided hair; her
dimpled, round, white shoulders left to their own adornment; and for
jewels, only one opal on her ripening bosom;--as much of her dress as
was shown was the simple white bodice of pure maidenhood.

In the next, she had passed an interval of trial, for her courage, her
patience, and her pride,--a very few years, perhaps, but enough to
bestow that haughty, defiant glance, and fix those matchless features
in an almost sneer. No longer was her fair head bowed, her eyes
downcast, in shrinking diffidence; but erect and commanding, she
looked some tyranny, or insolence, or malice, in the face, to look it
down. Jewels encircled her brow, and a bouquet of pearls was happy on
her fuller bosom.

Still a few years further on,--and how changed! "So have I seen a
rose," says that Shakspeare of the pulpit, old Jeremy Taylor, when it
has "bowed the head and broke its stalk; and at night, having lost
some of its leaves and all its beauty, it has fallen into the portion
of weeds and outworn faces." Alas, Farewell, and Nevermore sighed from
those hollow cheeks, those woebegone eyes, those pallid lips, that
willow-like long hair, and the sad vesture of the forsaken Dido.

So with the child. At first, a rosy, careless, curly-pate of three
years or so,--wonder-eyed and eager, all spring and joyance, and
beautiful as Love.

Then pale and pain-fretted, heavy-eyed and weary, feebly half-lying in
a great chair, still,--an unheeded locket scarce held by his thin
fingers, his forehead wrinkled with cruel twinges, the sweet bowed
lines of his lips twisted in whimpering puckers, the curls upon his
vein-traced temples unnaturally bright, as with clamminess,--a painful
picture for a mother's eyes!

But not tragic, like the last; for there the boy had grown. Nine years
had deepened for his clustered curls their hue of golden brown, and
set a seal of anxious thought upon the cold, pale surface of his
intellectual brow, and traced his mouth about with lines of a martyr's
resignation, and filled his profound eyes, dim as violets, with
foreboding speculation, making the lad seem a seer of his own sad
fate. Here, thought I, if I mistake not, is another melancholy chapter
in this San Franciscan romance. This painter learned his art of
Sorrow, and pitiless Experience has bestowed his style; he shall be
for my finding-out.

Home-sickness had marked me for its own one day. I sat alone in my
rude little office, conning over again for the hundredth time strange
chapters of a waif's experience,--reproducing auld-lang-syne, with all
its thronged streets and lonely forest-paths, its old familiar faces,
talks, and songs,--ingathering there, in the name of Love or
Friendship, forms that were dim and voices that were echoes; and many
an "alas," and "too late," and "it might have been," they brought
along with them.

  "Let this remembrance comfort me,--that when
  My heart seemed bursting,--like a restless wave
  That, swollen with fearful longing for the shore,
  Throws its strong life on the imagined bliss
  Of finding peace and undisturbed calm,--
  It fell on rocks and broke in many tears.

  "Else could I bear, on all days of the year,--
  Not now alone, this gentle summer night,
  When scythes are busy in the headed grass,
  And the full moon warms me to thoughtfulness,--
  This voice that haunts the desert of my soul:
  'It might have been!' Alas! 'It might have been!'"

I drew from my battered, weather-beaten sea-box sad store of old
letters, bethumbed and soiled,--an accusation in every one of them,
and small hope of forgiveness, save what the gentle dead might render.
There were pretty little portraits, too.--Ah, well! I put them back,
--a frown, or a shadow of reproachful sadness, on the picture of a
once loving and approving face is the hardest bitterness to bide, the
self-unsparing wanderer can know. Therefore I would fain let these
faces be turned from me,--all save one, a merry minx of maidenhood, of
careless heart, and laughing lips, and somewhat naughty eyes. It was a
steel engraving, not of the finest, torn from some Book of Beauty, or
other silly-sentimental keepsake of the literary catch-penny class,
brought all the way from home, and tenderly saved for the sake of its
strange by-chance resemblance to a smart little _lionne_ I had known
in Virginia, in the days when smart little _lionnes_ made me a sort of
puppy Cumming. The picture, unframed, and exposed to all the chances
of rough travel, had partaken of my share of foul weather and coarse
handling, and been spotted and smutched, and creased and torn, and
every way defaced. I had often wished that I might have a pretty
painting made from it, before it should be spoiled past copying. So
here, I thought, shall be my introduction to my fly-in-amber artist,
of the seedy tent and the romantic miniatures. So pocketing my
picture, I hied me forthwith to Dupont Street.

The tent seemed quite deserted. At first, I feared my rare bird had
flitted; I shook the bit of flying-jib that answered for a door, and
called to any one within, more than once, before an inmate stirred.
Then, so quietly that I had not heard his approach, a lad, of ten
perhaps, came to the entrance, and, timidly peering up into my face,
asked, "Is it my father you wish to see, Sir?"

How beautiful! how graceful! with what touching sweetness of voice!
how intellectual his expression, and how well-bred his air!--plainly a
gentleman's son, and the son of no common gentleman! Instinctively I
drew back a pace to compare him with the child of the "specimens."
Unquestionably the same,--there were the superior brow, the richly
clustered curls of golden brown, the painful lips, and the foreboding
eyes.

"If your father painted these pretty pictures, my boy,--yes, I would
be glad to see him, if he is within."

"He is not here at present, Sir; he went with my mother to the ship,
to bring away our things. But it is quite a long while since they
went; and I think they will return presently. Take a seat, Sir,
please."

I accepted the stool he offered,--a canvas one, made to "unship" and
fold together,--such a patent accommodation for tired "hurdies" as
amateur sketchers and promiscuous lovers of the picturesque in
landscape take with them on excursions. My accustomed eye took in at a
glance the poor furniture of that very Californian make-shift of a
shelter for fortune-seeking heads. There were chests, boxes, and
trunks, the usual complement, bestowed in every corner, as they could
best be got out of the way,--a small, rough table, on temporary legs,
and made, like the seats, to unship and be stowed,--several other of
the same canvas stools,--a battered chest of drawers, at present doing
the duty of a cupboard,--some kitchen utensils, and a few articles of
table furniture of the plainest delft. As for the kitchen, I had
noticed, as I passed, a portable furnace for charcoal, without, and at
the rear of the tent; it was plain they did their cooking in the open
air. On one side of the entrance, and near the top of the tent, a
small square had been cut from the canvas, and the sides framed with
slats of wood, making a sort of Rembrandtish skylight, through which
some scanty rays of barbaric glory fell on an easel, with its palette,
brushes, and paints. A canvas framed, on which the ground had been
laid, and the outline of a head already traced, was mounted on the
easel; other such frames, as if of finished portraits with their faces
turned to the wall, stood on the earthen floor, supported by a strip
of wood tacked to the tent-cloth near the bottom. On the floor, at the
foot of the easel, lay an artist's sketch-book. A part of the tent
behind was divided off from what, by way of melancholy jest, I may
call the reception-room, or the studio, by a rope stretched across,
from which were suspended a blanket, a travelling shawl, and a
voluminous, and evidently costly, Spanish cloak. Protruding beyond the
edge of this extemporaneous screen, I could see the footposts of an
iron bedstead, and the end of a large _poncho_, which served for a
counterpane.

"Will you amuse yourself with this sketch-book, please," said the
pretty lad, "till my father comes?"

"With pleasure, my boy,--if you are sure your father will not object."

"Oh, no, indeed, Sir! My father has told me I must always entertain
any gentlemen who may call when he is out,--that is, if he is to
return soon; and any one may look at this book;--it is only his
portfolio, in which he sketches whatever new or pretty things we see
on our travels; but there are some very nice pictures in
it,--landscapes, and houses, and people."

"Have you travelled much, then?"

"Oh, yes! we have been travelling ever since I can remember; we have
been far, and seen a great many strange sights, and some such queer
people!--There! that is our shepherd in Australia; isn't he funny? his
name was Dirk. I tied that blue ribbon round his straw hat, that seems
big enough for an umbrella. He looks as if he were laughing, doesn't
he? That's because I was there when my father sketched him; and he
made such droll faces, with his brown skin and his great grizzly
moustaches, when father told him he must make up a pleasant
expression, that it set me laughing,--for my father said he looked
like a Cape lion making love; and then Dirk would laugh too, and spoil
his pleasant expression; and father would scold; and it was so funny!
I loved Dirk very much, he was so good to me; he gave me a tame
kangaroo, and a black swan, and taught me to throw the boomerang; and
once, when he went to Sydney, he spent ever so much money to buy me a
silver bell for Lipse, my yellow lamb. I wonder if Dirk is living yet?
Do you think he is dead, Sir? I should be very much grieved, if he
were; for I promised I would come back to see him when I am a man."

--"_That_ is Dolores,--dear old Dolores! Isn't she fat?"

"Yes, and good, too, I should think, from the kind face she has. Who
was Dolores?"

"Ah! you never saw Dolores, did you? And you never heard her sing. She
was my Chilena nurse in Valparaiso; and she had a mother--oh, so very
old!--who lived in Santiago. We went once to see her; the other
Santiago--that was Dolores's son--drove us there in the _veloche_.
Wasn't it curious, his name should be the same as the city's? But he
was a bad boy, Santiago,--so mischievous! such a scamp! Father had to
whip him many times; and once the _vigilantes_ took him up, and would
have put him in the chain-gang, for cutting an American sailor with a
knife, in the Calle de San Francisco, if father had not paid five
ounces, and become security for his good behavior. But he ran away,
after all, and went as a common sailor in a nasty guano ship. Dolores
cried very much, and it was long before she would sing for me again.
Oh, she did know such delightful songs!--_Mi Niña_, and _Yo tengo Ojos
Negros_, and

  "'No quiero, no quiero casarme;
  Es mejor, es mejor soltera!'"

And the delightful little fellow merrily piped the whole of that "song
of pleasant glee," one of the most melodious and sauciest bits of
lyric coquetry to be found in Spanish.

"Ah," said he, "but I cannot sing it half so well as Dolores. She had
a beautiful guitar, with a blue ribbon, that her sweetheart gave her
before I was born, when she was young and very pretty;--he brought it
all the way from Acapulco."

--"And _that_ pretty girl is Juanita; she sold pine-apples and grapes
in the Almendral, and every night she would go with her guitar--it was
a very nice one, but did not cost near so much money as Dolores's--and
sing to the American gentlemen in the Star Hotel. My mother said she
was a naughty person, and that she did not dare tell where she got her
gold cross and those jet ear-rings. But I liked her very much, for all
that; and I'm sure she would not steal, for she used to give me a
fresh pine-apple every morning; and whenever her brother José came
down from Casa Blanca with the mules and the _pisco_, she sent me a
large melon and some lovely roses."

--"That is the house we lived in at Baltimore. It was painted white,
and there was a paling in front, and a dooryard with grass. We had
some honeysuckles on the porch;--there they are, and there's the
grape-vine. I had a dog-house, too, made to look like a church, and my
father promised to buy me a Newfoundland dog,--one of those great
hairy fellows, with brass collars, you know, that you can ride
on,--when he had sold a great many pictures, and made his fortune. But
we did not make our fortune in Baltimore, and I never got my dog; so
we came here to Tom Tiddler's ground, to pick up gold and silver. When
we are fixed, and get a new tent, my father is going to give me a
little spade and a cradle, to dig gold enough to buy a Newfoundland
dog with, and then I shall borrow a saw and make a dog-house, like the
one I had in Baltimore, out of that green chest. Charley Saunders
lived in that next house in the picture, and he had a martin-box, with
a steeple to it; but his father gave fencing-lessons, and was very
rich."

As the intelligent little fellow ran on with his pretty prattle, I was
diligently pursuing the lady and child of the specimens through the
sketches. On every leaf I encountered them, ever changing, yet always
the same. Here was the child by my side,--unquestionably the same;
though now I looked in vain for the anxious mouth and the foreboding
eyes in his face of careless, hopeful urchinhood. But who was the
other?--his mother, no doubt; and yet no trace of resemblance.

"And tell me, who is this beautiful lady, my lad,--here, and here, and
here, and here again? You see I recognize her always,--so lovely, and
so gentle-looking. Your mother?"

"Oh, no, Sir!" and he laughed,--"my mother is very different from
that. That is nobody,--only a fancy sketch."

"Only a fancy sketch!" So, then, I thought, my pretty entertainer,
confiding and communicative as you are, it is plain there are some
things you do not know, or will not tell.

"She is not any one we ever saw;--she never lived. My father made her
out of his own head, as I make stories sometimes; or he dreamed her,
or saw her in the fire. But he is very fond of her, I suppose, because
he made her himself,--just as I think my own stories prettier than any
true ones; and he's always drawing her, and drawing her, and drawing
her. I love her, too, very much,--she looks so natural, and has such
nice ways. Isn't it strange my father--but he's _so_ clever with his
pencil and brushes!--should be able to invent the Lady Angelica?
--that's her name. But my mother does not like her at all, and
gets out of patience with my father for painting so many of her.
Mamma says she has a stuck-up expression,--such a funny word,
'stuck-up'!--and does not look like a lady. Once I told mamma I was
sure she was only jealous, and she grew very angry, and made me cry;
so now I never speak of Lady Angelica before her. What makes me think
my father must have dreamed her is that I dreamed her once myself. I
thought she came to me in such a splendid dress, and told me that she
was not only a live lady, but my own mother, and that mamma was----
Hush! This is my father, Sir."

Wonderful! how the lad had changed!--like a phantom, the thoughtless
prattler was gone in a moment, and in his place stood the seer-boy of
the picture, the profound foreboding eyes fixed anxiously, earnestly,
on the singular man who at that moment entered: a singularly small
man, cheaply but tidily attired in black; even his shoes polished,--a
rare and dandyish indulgence in San Francisco, before the French
bootblacks inaugurated the sumptuary vanity of Day and Martin's lustre
on the stoop of the California Exchange, and made it a necessity no
less than diurnal ablutions; a well-preserved English hat on his head,
which, when he with a somewhat formal air removed it, discovered thin
black locks, beginning to part company with the crown of his head. In
his large, brown eyes an expression of moving melancholy was
established; a nervous tremulousness almost twitched his refined lips,
which, to my surprise, were not concealed by the universal
moustache,--indeed, the smooth chin and symmetrically trimmed
mutton-chop whiskers, in the orthodox English mode, showed that the
man shaved. His nose, slightly aquiline, was delicately cut, and his
nostrils fine; and he had small feet and hands, the latter remarkably
white and tender. As he stood before me, he was never at rest for an
instant, but changed his support from one leg to the other,--they were
slight as a young boy's,--and fumbled, as it were, with his feet; as I
have seen a distinguished medical lecturer, of Boston, gesticulate
with his toes. He played much with his whiskers, too, and his fingers
were often in his hair--as a fidgety and vulgar man would bite his
nails. From all of which I gathered that my new acquaintance was an
intensely nervous person,--very sensitive, of course, and no doubt
irritable.

He was accompanied by a--female, much taller than he, and as stalwart
as dear woman can be; an especially common-looking person, bungled as
to her dress, which was tawdry-fine, unseasonable for the place as
well as time, inappropriate to herself, inharmonious in its
composition, and every way most vilely put on; a clumsy and, as I
presently perceived, a loud person, whose face, still showing traces
of the coarse but decided beauty it must once have possessed, fell far
short of compensating for the complete gracelessness of her presence.

Her eyes had a bibulous quality, and the bright redness of her nose
vied vulgarly with the rusty redness of her cheeks. I suspected her
complexion of potations, but charitably let it off with--beer; for she
was, at first glance, English. As she jerked off her flaunting bonnet,
and dragged off her loud shawl, saluting me, as she did so, with an
overdone obeisance, she said, "This San Fanfrisko"--why would she, how
could she, always twist the decent name of the metropolis of the
Pacific into such an absurd shape?--"was a norrid 'ole; she happealed
to the gentleman,"--meaning me,--"didn't 'e find it a norrid 'ole,
habsolutely hawful?" And then she went clattering among tinware and
crockery, and snubbed the gentlemanly boy in a sort of tender
Billingsgate.

While she was thus gracefully employed, the agonized artist, his face
suffused with blushes and fairly ghastly with an enforced smile, was
painfully struggling to abstract himself, by changing the places of
things, shifting the position of his easel, prying in a lost way into
lumbered corners, and pretending to be in search of something,
--ingenious, but unable to disguise his chagrin. He pranced
with his legs, and tumbled his hair, and twitched at his whiskers more
than ever, as he said,--

"My dear," (and the boy had called her Mamma; so, then, it must be a
fancy sketch, after all,) "my dear, no doubt the gentleman is more a
cosmopolite than yourself, and blessed with more facility in adapting
himself to circumstances."

"You know, Madam," I came to his assistance, "we Americans have a
famous trick of living and enjoying a little in advance, of 'going
ahead' of the hour, as it were. We find in San Francisco rather what
it promises to be than what it is, and we take it at its word."

"Oh, pray, don't mention Americans! I positively 'ate the hodious
people. I confess I 'ave a hinsurmountable prejudice hagainst the
race; you are not haware that I am Hinglish. I think I might endure
heven San Fanfrisko, if it were not for the Americans. Are you an
American?"

Alternating between the pallor of rage and the flush of mortification,
her husband now turned, with a calmness that had something of
desperation in it, and saved me the trouble and the pain of replying,
by asking, in the frigid tone of one who resented my presence as the
cause of his shame,--

"Did you wish to see me on business, Sir? and have you been waiting
long?"

"The success with which your charming little boy has entertained me
has made the time seem very short. I could willingly have waited
longer."

That last remark was a mere _contretemps_. I did not mean to be as
severe as he evidently thought me, for he bowed haughtily and
resentfully.

I came at once to business,--drew from my pocket the engraving I had
brought,--"Could he copy that for me?"

"How?--in miniature or life-size?--ivory or canvas?"

"You are, then, a portrait-painter, also?--Ah! to be sure!" and I
glanced at the canvas on the easel.

"Certainly,--I prefer to make portraits."

"And in this case I should prefer to have one. Extravagant as the
vanity may seem, I am willing to indulge in it, for the sake of being
the first, in this land of primitive wants and fierce unrefinements,
to take a step in the direction of the Fine Arts,--unless you have had
calls upon your pencil already."

"None, Sir."

"Then to-morrow, if you please,--for I cannot remain longer at
present,--we will discuss my whim in detail."

"I shall be at your service, Sir."

"Good day, Madam! And you, my pretty lad, well met,--what is your
name?"

"Ferdy, Sir,--Ferdinand Pintal."

At that moment, his father, as if reminded of a neglected courtesy, or
a business form, handed me his card,--"Camillo Alvarez y Pintal."

"Thanks, then, Ferdy, for the pains you took to entertain me. You must
let me improve an acquaintance so pleasantly begun."

The boy's hand trembled as it lay in mine, and his eyes, fixed upon
his father's, wore again the ominous expression of the picture. He did
not speak, and his father took a step toward the door significantly.

But the doleful silence that might have attended my departure was
broken by a demonstration, "as per sample," from my country's fair and
gentle 'ater. "She 'oped I would not be hoffended by the freedom of
'er hobservations on my countrymen. I must hexcuse 'er Hinglish
bluntness; she was haware that she 'ad a somewhat hoff-'and way of
hexpressing 'er hemotions; but when she 'ated she 'ated, and it
relieved 'er to hout with it hat once. Certainly she would
never--bless 'er 'eart, no!--'ave taken me for an American; I was so
huncommonly genteel."

With my hand upon the region of my heart, as I had seen stars, when
called before the curtain on the proudest evening of their lives, give
anatomical expression to their overwhelming sense of the honor done
them, I backed off, hat in hand.

"Camillo Alvarez y Pintal," I read again, as I approached the Plaza.
"Can this man be Spanish, then? Surely not;--how could he have
acquired his excellent English, without a trace of foreign accent, or
the least eccentricity of idiom? His child, too, said nothing of that.
English, no doubt, of Spanish parentage; or,--oh, patience! I shall
know by-and-by, thanks to my merry Virginia jade, who shall be arrayed
in resplendent hues, and throned in a golden frame, if she but feed my
curiosity generously enough."

Next day, in the afternoon, having bustled through my daily programme
of business, I betook myself with curious pleasure to my appointment
with Pintal. To my regret, at first, I found him alone; but I derived
consolation from the assurance, that, wherever the engaging boy had
gone, his mother had accompanied him. Even more than at my first
visit, the artist was frigidly reserved and full of warning-off
politeness. With but a brief prelude of courteous commonplaces, he
called me to the business of my visit.

My picture, as I have said, was a fairly executed steel engraving,
taken from some one of the thousands of "Tokens," or "Keepsakes," or
"Amulets," or "Gems," or such like harmless giftbooks, with which
youths of tender sentiment remind preoccupied damsels of their careful
_penchants_. It represented an "airy, fairy Lilian" of eighteen, or
thereabouts, lolling coquettishly, fan in hand, in an antique,
high-backed chair, with "carven imageries," and a tasselled cushion.
She rejoiced in a profusion of brown ringlets, and her costume was
pretty and quaint,--a dainty chemisette, barred with narrow bands of
velvet, as though she had gone to Switzerland, or the South of Italy,
for the sentiment of her bodice,--sleeves quaintly puffed and
"slashed,"--the ample skirt looped up with rosettes and natty little
ends of ribbon; her feet beneath her petticoat, "like little mice,"
stole out, "as if they feared the light." Somewhere, among the many
editions of Dickens's works, I have seen a Dolly Varden that resembled
her.

It was agreed between us that she should be reproduced in a life-size
portrait, with such a distribution of rich colors as the subject
seemed to call for, as his fine taste might select, and his cunning
hand lay on. I sought to break down his reserve, and make myself
acceptable to him, by the display of a discreet geniality, and a
certain frankness, not falling into familiarity, which should seem to
proceed from sympathy, and a _bonhommie_, that, assured of its own
kindly purpose, would take no account of his almost angry distance.
The opportunity was auspicious, and I was on the alert to turn it to
account. I made a little story of the picture, and touched it with
romance. I told him of Virginia,--especially of that part of the State
in which this saucy little lady lived,--of its famous scenery, its
historic places, and the peculiar features of its society. I strove to
make the lady present to his mind's eye by dwelling on her certain
eccentricities, and helping my somewhat particular description of her
character with anecdotes, more or less pointed and amusing, especially
to so grave a foreigner, of her singular ready-wittedness and graceful
audacity. Then I had much to say about her little "ways" of attitude,
gesture, and expression, and some hints to offer for slight changes in
the finer lines of the face, and in the expression, which might make
the likeness more real to both of us, and, by getting up an interest
in him for the picture, procure his favorable impression for myself.

I had the gratification, as my experiment proceeded, to find that it
was by no means unsuccessful. His austerity appreciably relaxed, and
the kindly tone into which his few, but intelligent observations
gradually fell, was accompanied by an encouraging smile, when the
drift of our talk was light. Then I spoke of his child, and eagerly
praised the beauty, the intelligence, and sweet temper of the lad.
'Twas strange how little pleasure he seemed to derive from my sincere
expressions of admiration; indeed, the slight satisfaction he did
permit himself to manifest appeared in his words only, not at all in
his looks; for a shade of deep sadness fell at once upon his handsome
face, and his expression, so full of sensibility, assumed the cast of
anxiety and pain. "He thanked me for my eloquent praises of the boy,
and--not too partially, he hoped--believed that he deserved them all.
A prize of beauty and of love had fallen to him in his little Ferdy,
for which he would be grieved to seem ungrateful. But yet--but
yet--the responsibility, the anxiety, the ceaseless fretting care!
This fierce, unbroken city";--he spoke of it as though it were a
newly-lassoed and untamed mustang,--I liked the simile; "this lawless,
blasphemous, obscene, and dangerous community; these sights of
heartlessness and cruelty; these sounds of selfish, greedy contention;
the absence of all taste and culture,--no lines of beauty, no strains
of music, no tones of kindness, no gestures of gentleness and grace,
no delicate attentions, no ladies' presence, no social circle, no
books, no home, no church;--Good God! what a heathenish barbarism of
coarse instincts, and irreverence, and insulting equalities, and all
manner of gracelessnesses, to bring the dangerous impressionability of
fine childhood to! The boy was nervous, sensitive, of a spirit quick
to take alarms or hurts,--physically unprepared to wrestle with
arduous toil, privation, and exposure,--most apt for the teachings of
gentleness and taste. It was cruel to think--he could wish him dead
first--that his clean, white mind must become smeared and spotted
here, his well-tuned ear reconciled to loud discords, and his fine eye
at peace with deformity; but there was no help for it." And then, as
though he had suddenly detected in my face an expression of surprised
discovery, he said, "But I am sure I do not know how I came to say so
much, or let myself be tedious with sickly egotisms to a polite, but
indifferent, stranger. If you have gathered from them more than I
meant should appear, you will at least do me the justice to believe
that I have not been boasting of what I regard as a calamity."

I essayed to reassure him by urging upon his consideration the
manifest advantages of courage, self-reliance, ingenuity, quick and
economical application of resources, independence, and perseverance,
which his son, if well-trained, must derive from even those rude
surroundings,--at the same time granting the necessity of sleepless
vigilance and severe restraints. But he only shook his head sadly, and
said, "No doubt, no doubt; and I hope, Sir, the fault is in myself,
that I do not appreciate the force and value of all that."

The subject was so plainly full of a peculiar pain for him, he was so
ill at mind on this point, that I could not find it in my heart to
pursue it further at the cost of his feelings. So we talked of other
things: of gold, and the placers, and their unimpaired productiveness,
--of the prospects of the country, and of the character the
mineral element must stamp upon its politics, its commerce, and
its social system,--of San Francisco, and all the enchantments of its
sudden upspringing,--of Alcaldes and town-councils,--of hounds and
gamblers,--of real estate and projected improvements,--of canvas
houses, and iron houses, and fires,--of sudden fortunes, and as sudden
failures,--of speculations and markets, and the prices of clothing,
provisions, and labor,--of intemperance, disease, and hospitals,--of
brawls, murder, and suicide,--till we had exhausted all the
Californian budget; and then I bade him good day. He parted with me
with flattering reluctance, cordially shaking my hand and urging me to
repeat my visit in a few days, when he should be sufficiently forward
with the picture to admit me to a sight of it. I confessed my
impatience for the interval to pass; for my interest was now fully
awakened and very lively;--so well-informed and so polished a
gentleman, so accomplished and so fluent, so ill-starred and sad, so
every way a man with a history!

I saw much of Pintal after this, and he sometimes visited me at my
office. Impelled by increasing admiration and esteem, I succeeded by
the exercise of studious tact in ingratiating myself in his friendship
and confidence; he talked with freedom of his feelings and his
affairs; and although he had not yet admitted me to the knowledge of
his past, he evinced but little shyness in speaking of the present. At
our interviews in his tent I seldom met his wife; indeed, I suspected
him of contriving to keep her out of the way; for I was always told
she had just stepped out;--or if by chance I found her there, she was
never again vulgarly loquacious, but on some pretext or other at once
took herself away. On the other hand, the child was rarely
absent,--from which I argued that I was in favor; nor was his pretty
prattle, even his boldest communicativeness, harshly checked, save
when, as I guessed, he was approaching too near some forbidden theme.
Then a quick flash from his father's eye instantaneously imposed
silence upon him: as if that eye were an evil one, and there were a
malison in its glance, the whole demeanor of the child underwent at
once a magical change; the foreboding look took possession of his
beautiful eyes, the anxious lines appeared around his mouth, his lips
and chin became tremulous, his head drooped, he let fall my hand which
he was fond of holding as he talked, and quietly, penitently slunk
away; and though he might presently be recalled by his father's
kindliest tones, his brightness would not be restored that time.

This mysterious, severe understanding between the father and the child
affected me painfully; I was at a loss to surmise its nature, whence
it proceeded, or how it could be; for Ferdy evinced in his every word,
look, movement, an undivided fondness for his father. And in his
tender-proud allusions to the boy, at times let fall to me,--in the
anxious watchfulness with which he followed him with his eye, when an
interval of peace and comparative happiness had set childhood's spirit
free, and lent a degree of graceful gayety to all his motions,--I saw
the brimming measure of the father's love. Could it be but his
morbidly repellant pride, his jealous guarding of the domestic
privacies, his vigilant pacing up and down forever before the
close-drawn curtain of the heart?--was there no Bluebeard's chamber
there? No! Pride was all the matter,--pride was the Spartan fox that
tore the vitals of Pintal, while he but bit his lips, and bowed, and
passed.

Among the pictures in Pintal's tent was one which had in an especial
manner attracted my attention. It was a cabinet portrait, nearly
full-length, of a venerable gentleman, of grave but benevolent aspect,
and an air of imposing dignity. Care had evidently been taken to
render faithfully the somewhat remarkable vigor of his frame; his
iron-gray hair was cropped quite short, and he wore a heavy grizzled
moustache, but no other beard; the lines of his mouth were not severe,
and his eye was soft and gentle. But what made the portrait
particularly noticeable was the broad red ribbon of a noble order
crossing the breast, and a Maltese cross suspended from the neck by a
short chain of massive and curiously wrought links. I had many times
been on the point of asking the name of this singularly handsome and
distinguished-looking personage; but an instinctive feeling of
delicacy always deterred me.

One day I found little Ferdy alone, and singing merrily some pretty
Spanish song. I told him I was rejoiced to find him in such good
spirits, and asked him if he had not been having a jolly romp with the
American carpenter's son, who lived in the Chinese house close by. My
question seemed to afflict him with puzzled surprise;--he half smiled,
as if not quite sure but I might be jesting.

"Oh, no, indeed! I have never played with him; I do not know him; I
never play with any boys here. Oh, no, indeed!"

"But why not, Ferdy? What! a whole month in this tiresome tent, and
not make the acquaintance of your nearest neighbor,--such a sturdy,
hearty chunk of a fellow as that is?--I have no doubt he's
good-natured, too, for he's fat and funny, tough and independent.
Besides, he's a carpenter's son, you know; so there's a chance to
borrow a saw to make the dog-house with. Who knows but his father will
take a fancy to you,--I'm sure he is very likely to,--and make you a
church dog-house, steeple and all complete and painted, and much finer
than Charley Saunders's martin-box?"

"Oh, I should like to, so much! And perhaps he has a Newfoundlander
with a bushy tail and a brass collar,--that would be nicer than a
kangaroo. But--but"--looking comically bothered,--"I never knew a
carpenter's son in my life. I am sure my father would not give me
permission,--I am sure he would be very angry, if I asked him. Are
they not very disagreeable, that sort of boys? Don't they swear, and
tear their clothes, and fight, and sing vulgar songs, and tell lies,
and sit down in the middle of the street?"

Merciful Heaven! thought I,--here's a crying shame! here's an
interesting case for professors of moral hygiene! An apt, intelligent
little man, with an empty mind, and a by-no-means overloaded stomach,
I'll engage,--with a pride-paralyzed father, and a beer-bewitched
slattern of a mother,--with his living to get, in San Francisco, too,
and the world to make friends with,--who has never enjoyed the
peculiar advantages to be derived from the society of little dirty
boys, never been admitted to the felicity of popular songs, nor
exercised his pluck in a rough-and-tumble, nor ventilated himself in
wholesome "giddy, giddy, gout,"--to whom dirt-pies are a fable!

"Ferdy," said I, "I'll talk with your father myself. But tell me, now,
what makes you so happy to-day."

"My father got a letter this morning,"--a mail had just arrived; it
brought no smile or tear for me,--no parallelogram of tragedy or
comedy in stationery,--"such a pleasant one, from my uncle Miguel, at
Florence, in Italy, you know. He is well, and quite rich, my father
says; they have restored to him his property that he thought was all
lost forever, and they have made him a chevalier again. But I am sure
my father will tell you all about it, for he said he did hope you
would come to-day; and he is so happy and so kind!"

"They have made him a chevalier again," I wondered. "Your uncle Miguel
is your father's brother, then, Ferdy. And did you ever see him?"

Before he could reply, Pintal entered, stepping smartly, his color
heightened with happiness, his eyes full of an extraordinary elation.

"Ah! my dear Doctor, I am rejoiced to find you here; I have been
wishing for you. See! your picture is finished. Tell me if you like
it."

"Indeed, a work of beauty, Pintal."

"To me, too, it never looked so well before; but I see things with
glad eyes to-day. I have much to tell you. Ferdy, your mother is
dining at the restaurant; go join her. And when you have finished your
dinner, ask her to take you to walk. Say that I am engaged. Would you
not like to walk, my boy, and see how fast the new streets spring up?
When you return, you can tell me of all you saw."

The boy turned up his lovely face to be kissed, and for a moment hung
fondly on his father's neck. The poor painter's lips quivered, and his
eyes winked quickly. Then the lad took his cap, and without another
word went forth.

"I am happy to-day, Doctor,--Heaven save the mark! My happiness is so
much more than my share, that I shall insist, will ye, nill ye, on
your sharing it with me. I have a heart to open to somebody, and you
are the very man. So, sit you down, and bear with my egotism, for I
have a little tale to tell you, of who I am and how I came here. The
story is not so commonplace but that your kindness will find, here and
there, an interesting passage in it.

"I have seen that that picture,"--indicating the one I have last
described,--"attracted your attention, and that you were prevented
from questioning me about it only by delicacy. That is my father's
likeness. He was of English birth, the younger son of a rich Liverpool
merchant. An impulsive, romantic, adventurous boy, seized early with a
passion for seeing the world, his unimaginative, worldly-wise father,
practical and severe, kept him within narrow, fretting bounds, and
imposed harsh restraints upon him. When he was but sixteen years old,
he ran away from home, shipped before the mast, and, after several
long voyages, was discharged, at his own request, at Carthagena, where
he entered a shipping-house as clerk, and, having excellent mercantile
talents, was rapidly promoted.

"Meantime, through a sister, the only remaining child, except a
half-witted brother, he heard at long intervals from home. His father
remained strangely inexorable, fiercely forbade his return, and became
violent at the slightest mention of his name by his sister, or some
old and attached servant; he died without bequeathing his forgiveness,
or, of course, a single shilling. But the young man thrived with his
employers, whose business growing rapidly more and more prosperous,
and becoming widely extended, they transferred him to a branch house
at Malaga. Here he formed the acquaintance of the Don Francisco de
Zea-Bermudez, whose rising fortunes made his own.

"Zea-Bermudez was at that time engaged in large commercial operations.
Although, under the diligent and ambitious teaching of his famous
relative, the profound, sagacious, patriotic, bold, and gloriously
abused Jovellanos, he had become accomplished in politics, law, and
diplomacy, he seemed to be devoting himself for the present to large
speculations and the sudden acquisition of wealth, and to let the
state of the nation, the Cortes, and its schemes, alone.

"Only a young, beautiful, and accomplished sister shared his splendid
establishment in Malaga; and for her my father formed an engrossing
attachment, reciprocated in the fullest, almost simultaneously with
his friendship for her brother. Zea favored the suit of the
high-spirited and clever young Englishman, whose intelligence,
independence, and perseverance, to say nothing of his good looks and
his engaging manners, had quite won his heart. By policy, too, no less
than by pleasure, the match recommended itself to him;--my father
would make a famous junior-partner. So they were married under the
name of Pintal, bestowed upon his favorite English clerk by the
adventurous first patron at Carthagena, who had found the boy provided
with only a 'purser's name,' as sailors term it.

"I will not be so disrespectful to the memory of my distinguished
uncle, nor so rude toward your intelligence, my friend, as to presume
that you are not familiar with the main points of his history,--the
great strides he took, almost from that time, in a most influential
diplomatic career: the embassy to St. Petersburg, and the
Romanzoff-Bermudez treaty of amity and alliance in 1812, by which
Alexander acknowledged the legality of the ordinary and extraordinary
Cortes of Cadiz; the embassy to the Porte in 1821; his recall in 1823,
and extraordinary mission to the Court of St. James; his appointment
to lead the Ministry in 1824; my father's high place in the Treasury;
their joint efforts from this commanding position to counteract the
violence of the Apostolical party, to meet the large requisitions of
France, to cover the deficit of three hundred millions of reals, and
to restore the public credit; the insults of the Absolutists, and
their machinations to thwart his liberal and sagacious measures; his
efforts to resign, opposed by the King; the suppression of a
formidable Carlist conspiracy in 1825; the execution of Bessières, and
the 'ham-stringing' of Absolutist leaders; his dismissal from the
Ministry in October, 1825, Ferdinand yielding to the Apostolic storm;
the embassy to Dresden; his appointment as Minister at London.

"And here my story begins, for I was his Secretary of Legation then;
while my brother Miguel, younger than I, was _attaché_ at Paris, where
he had succeeded me, on my promotion,--a promotion that procured for
me congratulations for which I could with difficulty affect a decent
show of gratitude, for I knew too well what it meant. It was not the
enlightened, liberal Minister I had to deal with, but the hard, proud
uncle, full of expediencies, and calculating schemes for family
advancement, and the exaltation of a lately obscure name.

"In Paris I had been admitted first to the flattering friendship, and
then to the inmost heart of--of a most lovely young lady, as noble by
her character as by her lineage,"--and he glanced at the open
sketch-book.

"The Lady Angelica," I quietly said.

"Sir!" he exclaimed, quickly changing color, and assuming his most
frigid expression and manner. But as quickly, and before I could
speak, his sad smile and friendly tone returned, and he said,--

"Ah! I see,--Ferdy has been babbling of his visions and his dreams.
Yes, the Lady Angelica. 'Very charming,' my uncle granted, 'but very
poor; less of the angel and more of the heiress was desirable,' he
said,--'less heaven and more land. A decayed family was only a little
worse than an obscure one,--a poor knight not a whit more respectable
than a rich merchant. I must relinquish my little romance,--I had not
time for it; I had occupation enough for the scant leisure my family
duties'--and he laid stress on the words--'left me in the duties of my
post. He would endeavor to find arguments for the lady and employment
for me.'

"It was in vain for me to remonstrate,--I was too familiar with my
uncle's temper to waste my time and breath so. I would be silent, I
resolved, and pursue my honorable and gallant course without regard to
his scandalous schemes. I wrote to the 'Lady Angelica,'--since Ferdy's
name for her is so well chosen,--telling her all, giving her solemn
assurances of my unchangeable purpose toward her, and scorn of my
uncle's mercenary ambition. She replied very quietly: 'She, also, was
not without pride; she would come and see for herself';--and she came
at once.

"The family arrived in London in the evening. Within two hours I was
sent--after the fashion of an old-time courier, 'Ride! ride!
ride!--for your life! for your life! for your life!'--to Turin with
despatches, and sealed instructions for my own conduct, not to be
opened till I arrived; then I found my orders were, to remain at Turin
until it should be my uncle's pleasure to recall me.

"I had not been in Turin a month when a letter came from------the Lady
Angelica. 'It was her wish that all intercourse between us, by
interview or correspondence, should cease at once and forever. She
assumed this position of her own free will, and she was resolute to
maintain it. She trusted that I would not inquire obtrusively into her
motives,--she had no fear that I would doubt that they were worthy of
her. Her respect for me was unabated,--her faith in me perfect. I had
her blessing and her anxious prayers. I must go on my way in brave
silence and patience, nor ever for one moment be so weak as to fool
myself into a hope that she would change her purpose.'

"What should I do? I had no one to advise with; my mother, whose faith
in her brother's wisdom was sure, was in Madrid, and my father had
been dead some years. At first my heart was full of bitter curses, and
my uncle had not at his heels a heartier hater than I. Then came the
merely romantic thought, that this might be but a test she would put
me to,--that he might be innocent and ignorant of my misfortune. With
the thought I flung my heart into writing, and madly plied her with
one long, passionate letter after another. I got no answers; but by
his spies my uncle was apprised of all I did.

"About this time,--it was in 1832,--Zea-Bermudez was recalled to
Madrid in a grave crisis, and appointed to the administration of
foreign affairs. Ferdinand VII. was apparently approaching the end of
his reign and his life. The Apostolical party, exulting in their
strength, and confiding in those well-laid plans which, with mice and
men, 'gang aft agley,' imprudently showed their hand, and suffered
their favorite project to transpire; which was, to set aside the
ordinance by which the King had made null the Salic law, in favor of
his infant daughter, and to support the pretensions of the King's
brother, Carlos, to the throne.

"By this stupid flourish the Apostolical party threw themselves bound
at the feet of Zea. All of their persuasion who filled high places
under government were without ceremony removed, and their seats filled
by Liberals. Many of them did not escape without more crippling blows.
As for me, I looked on with indifference, or at most some philosophic
sneers. What had I to fear or care? In my uncle's estimation, my
politics had been always healthy, no doubt; and although he had on
more than one occasion hinted, with sarcastic wit, that such a
lady's-man must, of his devoir, be a 'gallant champion of the Salic
law,' and dropped something rude and ill-natured about my English
blood,--still, that was only in his dyspeptic moods; his temper was
sure to improve, I fancied, with his political and material digestion.

"But I deceived myself. When, in the name of the infant Queen,
Isabella Segunda, and in honor of the reestablishment of order and
public safety, the pleasant duty devolved upon Zea-Bermudez of
awarding approbation and encouragement to all the officers, from an
ambassador to the youngest _attaché_ of foreign legations, and
presenting them with tokens of the nation's happiness in the shape of
stars, and seals with heraldic devices, and curious chains of historic
significance, not even a paltry ribbon fell to my share, but only a
few curt lines of advice, 'to look well to my opinions, and be
modest,--obediently to discharge the duties prescribed to me, and
remember that presumption was a fault most intolerable in a young
gentleman so favored by chance as to be honored with the confidence of
government.'

"That exhausted the little patience I had left. Savagely I tore the
note into contemptible fragments, tossed into my travelling-boxes as
much of my wardrobe as happened to be at hand, consigned to a sealed
case my diplomatic instructions and all other documents pertaining to
my office, placed them in the hands of a confidential friend, Mr.
Ballard, the British Agent, and secretly took passage for England,
where, without losing an hour, I made the best of my way to the abode
of an ambitious cockney wine-merchant, to whose daughter I had not
been disagreeable in other days, and within a fortnight married her.
You have seen the lady, Sir," he said, eyeing me searchingly as he
spoke, with a sardonic smile,--the only ugly expression I ever saw him
wear.

"Certain title-deeds and certificates of stock, part of my father's
legacy, which, as if foreseeing the present emergency, I had brought
away with me, were easily converted into cash. I had then twenty
thousand sterling pounds, to which my father-in-law generously added
ten thousand more, by way of portion with his daughter.

"And now to what should I betake myself? I had small time to cast
about me, and was easy to please; any tolerably promising enterprise,
so the field of it were remote, would serve my purpose. The papers
were full of Australian speculations, the wonderful prosperity of the
several colonies there, the great fortunes suddenly made in wool.
Good! I would go to Australia, and be a gentle shepherd on an imposing
scale. But first I sought out my father's old friends, my Lords
Palmerston and Brougham, and the Bishop of Dublin, and besought the
aid of their wisdom. With but slight prudential hesitation they with
one accord approved my project. Observe: a first-rate Minister,
especially if he be a very busy one, always likes the plan that
pleases his young friend best,--that is, if it be not an affair of
State, and all the risks lie with his young friend. They would have
spoken of Turin and Zea-Bermudez; but I had been bred a diplomat and
knew how to stick to my point, which, this time, was wool. In another
fortnight I had sailed for Sydney with my shekels and my wife. But
first, and for the first time, I caused the announcement of my
marriage to appear in the principal papers of London, Paris, St.
Petersburg, and Madrid.

"Arrived in Australia, I at once made myself the proprietor of a
considerable farm, and stocked it abundantly with sheep. Speculation
had not yet burst itself, like the frog in the fable; and large
successes, as in water-lot and steamboat operations here, to-day, were
the rule. On the third anniversary of my landing at Sydney, I was
worth three hundred thousand pounds, and my commercial name was among
the best in the colony. Six months after that, the rot, the infernal
rot, had turned my thriving populous pastures into shambles for
carrion-mutton, and I had not sixpence of my own in the wide world. A
few of the more generous of my creditors left me a hundred pounds with
which to make my miserable way to some South American port on the
Pacific.

"So I chose Valparaiso, to paint miniatures, and teach English,
French, Italian, and German in. But earthquakes shook my poor house,
and the storm-fiend shook my soul with fear;--for skies in lightning
and thunder are to me as the panorama and hurly-burly of the Day of
Wrath, in all the stupid rushing to and fro and dazed stumbling of
Martin's great picture. I shall surely die by lightning; I have not
had that live shadow of a sky-reaching fear hanging over me, with its
black wings and awful mutterings, so long for nothing; in every flash
my eyes are scathed by the full blaze of hell. If I had been deaf and
blind, I might have lived in Valparaiso. As it was, I must go
somewhere where I need not sit all day and night stopping my ears and
with my face covered, fearing that the rocks would fall upon me too
soon.

"So, with my wife and the child,--we have had no other, thank God!--I
got round Cape Horn--Heaven knows how! I dare not think of that
time--to the United States. We were making for Boston; but the ship,
strained by long stress of heavy weather, sprung a leak, and we put in
at Baltimore. I was pleased with the place; it is picturesque, and has
a kindly look; and as all places were alike to me then, save by the
choice of a whim, I let go my weary anchor there.

"But the Baltimoreans only admired my pictures,--they did not buy
them; they only wondered at my polyglot accomplishment, and were
content with ringing silly-kind changes on an Encyclopaedic compliment
about the Admirable Crichton, and other well-educated personages, to
be found alphabetically embalmed in Conversations-Lexicons,--they did
not inquire into my system of teaching, or have quarterly knowledge of
my charges. So I fled from Baltimore, pretty speeches, and starvation,
to San Francisco, plain talk, and pure gold. And now--see here,
Sir!--I carry these always about with me, lest the pretty pickings of
this Tom Tiddler's ground should make my experience forget."

He drew from his pocket an "illuminated" card, bearing a likeness of
Queen Victoria, and a creased and soiled bit of yellow paper. The one
was, by royal favor, a complimentary pass to a reserved place in
Westminster Abbey, on the occasion of the coronation of her Britannic
Majesty, "For the Señor Camillo Alvarez y Pintal, Chevalier of the
Noble Order of the Cid, Secretary to His Catholic Majesty's Legation
near the Court of St. James,"--the other, a Sydney pawnbroker's ticket
for books pledged by "Mr. Camilla Allverris i Pintal." He held these
contrasted certificates of Fortune,--her mocking visiting-cards, when
she called on him in palace and in cabin,--one in each hand for a
moment; and bitterly smiling, and shaking his head, turned from one to
the other. Then suddenly he let them fall to the ground, and, burying
his face in his hands, was roughly shaken through all his frame by a
great gust of agony.

I laid my hand tenderly on his shoulder: "But, Pintal," I said,--"the
Lady Angelica,--tell me why she chose that course."

In a moment the man was fiercely aroused. "Ah, true! I had forgotten
that delectable passage in my story. Why, man, Bermudez went to her,
told her that my aspirations and my prospects were so and so,--faring,
brilliant,--that she, only she, stood in the way, an impassable
stumbling-block to my glorious advancement,--told her, (devil!) that,
with all my fine passion for her, he was aware that I was not without
embarrassment on this score,--appealed to her disinterested love, to
her pride,--don't you see?--to her pride."

"And where is she now, Pintal?"

No anger now, no flush of excitement;--the man, all softened as by an
angel's touch, arose, and, with clasped hands and eyes upturned
devoutly, smiled through big tears, and without a word answered me.

I, too, was silent. Whittier had not yet written,--

  "Of all sad words of tongue or pen
  The saddest are these: 'It might have been!'

  "Ah, well! for us all some sweet hope lies
  Deeply buried from human eyes;

  "And, in the hereafter, angels may
  Roll the stone from its grave away!"

Then Pintal paced briskly to and fro a few turns across the narrow
floor of his tent, and presently stopping, said,--his first
cheerfulness, with its unwonted smile, returning,--

"But I must tell you why I should be happy today. I have a letter from
my brother Miguel, who is Secretary to the Legation at the Porte. He
has leave of absence, and is happy with his dearest friends in
Florence. He shared my disgrace until lately, but bore it patiently;
and now is reinstated in his office and his honors, a large portion of
his property restored, which had been temporarily confiscated, while
he was under suspicion as a Carlist. He is authorized to offer me
pardon, and all these pretty things, if I will return and take a new
oath of allegiance."

"And you will accept, Pintal?"

"Why, in God's name, what do you take me for?--Pardon! I forgot
myself, Sir. Your question is a natural one. But no, I shall surely
not accept. Zea-Bermudez is dead, but there is a part of me which can
never die; and I am happy today because I feel that I am not so poor
as I thought I was."

Ferdy entered, alone. He went straight to his father and whispered
something in his ear,--about the mother, I suspected, for both
blushed, and Pintal said, with a vexed look,--"Ah, very well! never
mind that, my boy."

Then Ferdy threw off his cap and cloak, and, seating himself on a pile
of books at his father's feet, quietly rested his head upon his knee.
I observed that his face was vividly flushed, and his eyes looked
weary. I felt his pulse,--it indicated high fever; and to our anxious
questions he answered, that his head ached terribly, and he was "every
minute hot or cold." I persuaded him to go to bed at once, and left
anxious instructions for his treatment, for I saw that he was going to
be seriously ill.

In three days little Ferdy was with the Lady Angelica in heaven. He
died in my arms, of scarlet fever. In the delirium of his last moments
he saw _her_, and he departed with strange words on his lips: "I am
coming, Lady, I am coming!--my father will be ready presently!"

Some strangers from the neighborhood helped me to bury him; we laid
him near the grave of the First Lady; but very soon his pretty bones
were scattered, and there's a busy street there now.

Pintal, when I told him that the boy was dead, only bowed and smiled.
He did not go to the grave, he never again named the child, nor by the
least word or look confessed the change. But when, a little later, a
fire swept down Dupont Street and laid the poor tent in ashes,
spoiling the desolate house whose beautiful _lar_ had flitted,--when
his wife went moaning maudlinly among the yet warm ashes, and groping,
in mean misery, with a stick, for some charred nothing she would cheat
the Spoiler of, there was a dangerous quality in Pintal's look, as,
with folded arms and vacant eyes, he seemed to stare upon, yet not to
see, the shocking scene. Presently the woman, poking with the stick,
found something under the ashes. With her naked hands she greedily
dug it out;--it was a tin shaving-case. Another moment, and Pintal had
snatched it from her grasp, torn it open, and had a naked razor in his
hand. I wrested it from him, as he fairly foamed, and dragged him from
the place.

A few days after that, I took leave of them on board a merchant ship
bound for England, and with a heavy-hearted prayer sped them on their
way. On the voyage, as Pintal stood once, trembling in a storm, near
the mainmast, a flash of lightning transfixed him.--That was well! He
had been distinguished by his sorrows, and was worthy of that special
messenger.

       *       *       *       *       *

That picture,--it was the first and last he painted in California. I
kept it long, rejoicing in the admiration it excited, and only grieved
that the poor comfort of the praises I daily heard lavished upon it
could never reach him.

Once, when I was ill in Sacramento, my San Francisco house was burned,
but not before its contents had been removed. In the hopeless
scattering of furniture and trunks, this picture disappeared,--no one
knew whither. I sought it everywhere, and advertised for it, but in
vain. About a year afterward, I sailed for Honolulu. I had letters of
introduction to some young American merchants there, one of whom
hospitably made me his guest for several weeks. On the second day of
my stay with him, he was showing me over his house, where, hanging
against the wall in a spare room, I found,--not the Pintal picture,
but a Chinese copy of it, faithful in its every detail. There were the
several alterations I had suggested, and there the rich, warm colors
that Pintal's taste had chosen. Of course, it was a copy. No doubt, my
picture had been stolen at the fire, or found its way by mistake among
the "traps" of other people. Then it had been sold at auction,--some
Chinaman had bought it,--it had been shipped to Canton or Hong
Kong,--some one of the thousand "artists" of China Street or the
Victoria Road had copied it for the American market. A ship-load of
Chinese goods--Canton crape shawls, camphor-boxes, carved toys,
curiosities, and pictures--had been sold in Honolulu,--and here it
was.

       *       *       *       *       *


THE HOUSE THAT WAS JUST LIKE ITS NEIGHBORS.

    Oh, the houses are all alike, you know,--
    All the houses alike, in a row!
  You'll see a hat-stand in the hall,
  Against the painted and polished wall;
  And the threaded sunbeams softly fall
    On the long stairs, winding up, away
    Up to the garret, lone and gray:
  And you can hear, if you wait awhile,
  Odd little noises to make you smile;
  And minutes will be as long as a mile;--
    Just as they would in the house below,
    Were you in the entry waiting to go.

    Oh, the houses are all alike, you know,--
    All the houses alike, in a row!
  And the world swings sadly to and fro,--
  Mayhap the shining, but sure the woe!
  For in the sunlight the shadows grow
    Over the new name on the door,
    Over the face unseen before.
  Yet who shall number, by any art,
  The chasms that keep so wide apart
  The dancing step and the weary heart?
    Oh, who shall guess that the polished wall
    Is a headstone over his neighbor's hall?

    Yet the houses are just alike, you know,--
    All the houses alike, in a row!
  And solemn sounds are heard at night,
  And solemn forms shut out the light,
  And hideous thoughts the soul affright:
    Death and despair, in solemn state,
    In the silent, vaulted chambers wait;
  And up the stairs as your children go,
  Spectres follow them, to and fro,--
  Only a wall between them, oh!
    And the darkest demons, grinning, see
    The fairest angels that dwell with thee!

    For the houses are all alike, you know,--
    All the houses alike, in a row!
  My chariot waited, gold and gay:
  "I'll ride," I said, "to the woods to-day,--
  Out to the blithesome woods away,--
    Where the old trees, swaying thoughtfully,
    Watch the breeze and the shadow's glee."
  I smiled but once, with my joy elate,
  For a chariot stood at my neighbor's gate,--
  A grim old chariot, dark as fate.
    "Oh, where are you taking my neighbor?" I cried.
    And the gray old driver thus replied:--

    "Where the houses are all alike, you know,--
    Narrow houses, all in a row!
  Unto a populous city," he saith:
  "The road lies steep through the Vale of Death
  Oh, it makes the old steeds gasp for breath!
    There'll be a new name over the door,
    In a place where _he's_ never been before,--
  Where the neighbors never visit, they say,--
  Where the streets are echoless, night and day,
  And the children forget their childish play.
    And if you should live next door, I doubt
    If you'd ever hear what they were about
  Who lived in the next house in the row,--
  Though the houses are all alike, you know!"



DAPHNAIDES:


OR THE ENGLISH LAUREL, FROM CHAUCER TO TENNYSON.


[Concluded.]

Dorset was still Lord Chamberlain when the death of Shadwell placed
the laurel again at his disposal. Had he listened to Dryden, William
Congreve would have received it. Of all the throng of young gentlemen
who gathered about the chair of the old poet at Wills's, Congreve was
his prime favorite. That his advice was not heeded was long a matter
of pensive regret:--

  "Oh that your brows my laurel had sustained!
  Well had I been deposed, if you had reigned!
  The father had descended for the son;
  For only you are lineal to the throne.
  Thus, when the state one Edward did depose,
  A greater Edward in his room arose."[1]

The choice fell upon Nahum Tate:--

  "But now not I, but poetry is cursed;
  For Tom the Second reigns like Tom the First."

What particular quality recommended Tate we are not wholly able to
explain. Dryden alleges "charity" as the single impulse of the
appointment,--not the merit or aptitude of the candidate. But
throughout life Dorset continued to countenance Nahum, serving as
standing dedicatee of his works, and the prompter of several of them.
We have remarked the want of judgment which Lord Dorset exhibited in
his anxious patronage of the scholars and scribblers of his time,--a
trait which stood the Blackmores, Bradys, and Tates in good stead.

But there was still another reason why Tate was preferred to Congreve.
Dorset was too practised a courtier not to study the tastes of his
master to good purpose. A liking for the stage, or a lively sense of
poetic excellence, was not among the preferences of King William. The
Laureate was sub-purveyor of amusement for the court; but there was no
longer a court to amuse, and the King himself never once in his reign
entered a theatre. The piety of Queen Mary rendered her a rare
attendant at the play-house. Plays were therefore no longer wanted. A
playwright could not amuse. Congreve was a dramatist who had never
exhibited even passable talent for other forms of poetical
composition. But Tate's limited gifts, displayed to Dorset's
satisfaction in various encomiastic verses addressed to himself, were
fully equal to the exigencies of the office under the new order of
things; he was by profession a eulogist, not a dramatist. He was a
Tory; and the King was out of humor with the Whigs. He was
pretentiously moral and exemplary of life and pen, and so suited the
Queen. The duties of the office were conformed, as far as practicable,
to the royal tastes. Their scene was transferred from the play-house
to the church. On the anniversaries of the birthdays of the two
sovereigns, and upon New Year's day, the Laureate was expected to have
ready congratulatory odes befitting the occasion, set to music by the
royal organist, and sung after service in the Chapel Royal of St.
James. Similar duties were required when great victories were to be
celebrated, or national calamities to be deplored. In short, from
writing dramas to amuse a merry monarch and his courtiers, an office
not without dignity, the Laureate sunk into a hired writer of
adulatory odes; a change in which originated that prevalent contempt
for the laurel which descended from the era of Tate to that of
Southey.

And yet the odes were in no sense more thoroughly Pindaric than in the
circumstance of their flatteries being bought and paid for at a stated
market value. The triumphal lyrics of Pindar himself were very far
from being those spontaneous and enthusiastic tributes to the prowess
of his heroes, which the vulgar receive them for. Hear the painful
truth, as revealed by the Scholiast.[2] Pytheas of AEgina had
conquered in rough-and-tumble fight all antagonists in the Pancratium.
Casting about for the best means of perpetuating his fame, he found
the alternative to lie between a statuette to be erected in the temple
of the hero-god, or one of the odes of the learned Theban. Choosing
the latter, he proceeded to the poet's shop, cheapened the article,
and would have secured it without hesitation, had not the extortionate
bard demanded the sum of three drachmas,[3] nearly equal to half a
dollar, for the poem, and refused to bate a fraction. The disappointed
bargainer left, and was for some days decided in favor of the brazen
image, which could be had at half the price. But reflecting that what
Pindar would give for his money was a draft upon universal fame and
immortality, while the statue might presently be lost, or melted down,
or its identity destroyed, his final determination was in favor of the
ode,--a conclusion which time has justified. Nor was the Bard of the
Victors ashamed of his mercenary Muse. In the Second Isthmian Ode, we
find an elaborate justification of his practice of praising for
pay,--a practice, he admits, unknown to primitive poets, but rendered
inevitable, in his time, by the poverty of the craft, and the
degeneracy of the many, with whom, in the language of the Spartan
sage, "money made the man." With this Pindaric precedent, therefore,
for selling Pindaric verses, it is no wonder, if the children of the
Muse, in an age still more degenerate than that of their great
original, found ample excuse for dealing out their wares at the best
market. When such as Dryden and Pope lavished in preface and
dedication their encomiums upon wealth and power, and waited eagerly
for the golden guineas the bait might bring them, we have no right to
complain of the Tates and Eusdens for prostituting their neglected
Muses for a splendid sum certain _per annum_. Surely, if royalty, thus
periodically and mercenarily eulogized, were content, the poet might
well be so. And quite as certainly, the Laureate stipend never
extracted from poet panegyric more fulsome, ill-placed, and degrading,
than that which Laureate Dryden volunteered over the pall of Charles
II.[4]

Tate had been known as a hanger-on at the court of Charles, and as a
feeble versifier and pamphleteer of the Tory school, before an
alliance with Dryden gave him a certain degree of importance. The
first part of "Absalom and Achitophel," in 1681, convulsed the town
and angered the city. Men talked for a time of nothing else. Tate, who
was in the secret of its authorship, talked of it to Dryden, and urged
an extension of the poem. Were there not enough of Shaftesbury's brisk
boys running at large who deserved to be gibbeted? Were there not
enough Hebrew names in the two books of Samuel to name each as
appropriately as those already nomenclatured? But Dryden was
indisposed to undertake a continuation which must fall short of what
had been executed in the exact proportion that the characters left for
it were of minor consequence. He recommended the task to Tate. Tate,
flattered and nothing loath, accordingly sent to the press the second
part of "Absalom and Achitophel," embodying a contribution from Dryden
of two hundred lines, which are as plainly distinguishable from the
rest as a patch of cloth of gold upon cloth of frieze. The credit of
this first alliance proved so grateful to Nahum, that he never after
ventured upon literary enterprise without the aid of a similar
coalition. His genius was inherently parasitic. In conjunction with
Tory and Jesuit, he coalesced in the celebration of Castlemaine's
gaudy reception at Rome.

In conjunction with Nicholas Brady, he prepared that version of the
Psalms still appended to the English Book of Common Prayer. In
conjunction with Dryden and others, he translated Juvenal. In
conjunction with Lord Dorset, he edited a praiseworthy edition of the
poems of Sir John Davies, which might otherwise have been lost or
forgotten. In conjunction with Garth, he translated the
"Metamorphoses" of Ovid. And in conjunction with Dr. Blow, he prepared
those Pindaric flights which set King William asleep, and made
Godolphin ashamed that the deeds of Marlborough should be so
unworthily sung.

So long as he continued to enjoy the patronage of his liberal
Maecenas, Tate, with his aid, and these labors, and the income of his
office, contrived to maintain the state of a gentleman. But Dorset
died in 1706; the Laureate's dull heroics found no vent; and ere the
death of Queen Anne,--an event which he bewailed in the least
contemptible of his odes,--his revenues were contracted to the
official stipend. The accession of the house of Hanover, in 1714, was
the downfall of Toryism; and Tate was a Tory. His ruin was complete.
The Elector spared not the house of Pindar. The Laureate was stripped
of the wreath; his only income confiscated; and after struggling
feebly with fate in the form of implacable creditors, he took refuge
in the Old Mint, the resort of thieves and debtors, where in 1715 he
died,--it is said, of starvation. Alas, that the common lot of Grub
Street should have precedent in the person of laurelled royalty
itself!

The coronation of Laureate Rowe was simultaneous with that of George
I. His immediate claim to the honor dated back to the year 1702, when
his play of "Tamerlane" had caught the popular fancy, and proved of
vast service to the ministry at a critical moment in stimulating the
national antipathy to France. The effect was certainly not due to
artistic nicety or refinement. King William, as _Tamerlane_, was
invested with all virtues conceivable of a Tartar conqueror, united
with the graces of a primitive saint; while King Louis, as _Bajazet_,
fell little short of the perfections of Satan. These coarse daubs,
executed in the broadest style of the sign-post school of Art, so
gratified the mob, that for half a century their exhibition was called
for on the night of November the fifth. Rowe, moreover, belonged to
the straitest sect of Whiggery,--was so bigoted, indeed, as to decline
the acquaintance of a Tory, and in play and prologue missed no chance
of testifying devotion to liberal opinions.[5] His investiture with
the laurel was only another proof that at moments of revolution
extremists first rise to the surface. A man of affluent fortune, and
the recipient of redundant favors from the new ministry, Rowe enjoyed
the sunshine of life, while the dethroned Nahum starved in the Mint,
as the dethroned James starved at Rome. Had the dramatic tribute still
been exacted, there is little doubt that the author of the "Fair
Penitent," and of "Jane Shore," would have lent splendid lustre to his
office. His odes, however,--such, at least, as have been thought
worthy of preservation among his works,--are a prodigious improvement
upon the tenuity of his predecessor, and immeasurably superior in
poetical fire and elegance to those of any successor antecedent to
Warton.

For, following Nicholas Rowe, there were dark ages of Laureate
dulness,--a period redeemed by nothing, unless by the ridicule and
controversy to which the wearers of the leaf gave occasion. Rowe died
in the last days of 1718. The contest for the vacant place is presumed
to have been unusually active. John Sheffield, Duke of Buckinghamshire,
imitating Suckling's "Session of the Poets," brings all the
versifiers of the time into the canvas, and after humorously
dispatching one after another, not sparing himself, closes,--

  "At last, in rushed Eusden, and cried, 'Who shall have it,
  But I, the true Laureate, to whom the King gave it?'
  Apollo begged pardon, and granted his claim,
  But vowed, though, till then, he ne'er heard of his name."[6]

This Laurence Eusden was a scribbling parson, whose model in Art was
Sir Richard Blackmore, and whose morality was of the Puritanical
stripe. He had assisted Garth in his Ovid, assuming, doubtless upon
high moral grounds, the rendering of the impurest fables. He had
written odes to great people upon occasions more or less great,
therein exhibiting some ingenuity in varying the ordinary staple of
adulation. He had addressed an epithalamium to the Duke of Newcastle
upon his marriage with the Lady Henrietta Godolphin,--a tribute so
gratifying to his Grace, then Lord Chamberlain, as to secure the poet
the place of Rowe. Eusden's was doubtless the least honorable name as
yet associated with the laurel. His contemporaries allude to him with
uniform disdain. Cooke, the translator of Hesiod, tells us,--

  "Eusden, a laurelled bard, by fortune raised,
  By very few was read, by fewer praised,"

Pope, as cavalierly, in the "Dunciad":--

  "She saw old Prynne in restless Daniel shine,
  And Eusden eke out Blackmore's endless line."

Jacobs, in his "Lives of the Poets," speaks of him as a multifarious
writer of unreadable trash,--and names but few of his productions. The
truth was, Eusden, secluding himself at his rectory among the fens of
Lincolnshire, took no part in society, declined all association with
the polite circles of the metropolis, thus inviting attacks, from
which his talents were not respectable enough to screen him. That the
loftiest revelations of poetry were not required of the Laureate of
George I., who understood little or no English, there can be no
question. George II. was equally insensible to the Muses; and had the
annual lyrics been a mosaic of the merest gibberish, they would have
satisfied his earlier tastes as thoroughly as the odes of Collins or
Gray. A court, at which Pope and Swift, Young and Thomson were
strangers, had precisely that share of Augustan splendor which enabled
such as Eusden to shine lustrously.[7]

And so Eusden shone and wrote, and in the fulness of time--September,
1730--died and was buried; and his laurel others desired.[8] The
leading claimants were Richard Savage and Colley Cibber. The touching
story of Savage had won the heart of the Queen, and she had extracted
from the King the promise of the Laureateship for its hero. But in the
Minister, Sir Robert Walpole, Savage had an irreconcilable opponent.
The apprehension of exciting powerful enmities, if he elevated the
"Bastard" and his wrongs to so conspicuous a place, had, no doubt, an
influence with the shrewd statesman. Possibly, too, so keen and
practical a mind could not but entertain thorough contempt for the
man, who, with brains, thews, and sinews of his own, a fair education,
and as many golden opportunities of advancement as a reasonable being
could desire, should waste his days in profitless mendicancy at the
doors of great people, in whining endeavors to excite the sympathies
of the indifferent, in poem and petition, in beastly drunkenness, or,
if sober, in maudlin lamentations at the bitterness of his fortune. A
Falconbridge would have better suited the ministerial taste. At all
events, when his Majesty came to request the appointment of the
Queen's _protégé_, he found that the patent had already been made out
in the name of Cibber: and Cibber had to be Laureate. The disappointed
one raved, got drunk, sober again, and finally wrote an ode to her
Majesty, announcing himself as her "Volunteer Laureate," who should
repeat his congratulations upon each recurrence of her birthday. The
Queen, in pity, sent him fifty pounds, with a promise of an equal
amount for each of his annual verses. And although Cibber protested,
and ridiculed the new title, as no more sensible than "Volunteer Duke,
Marquis, or Prime Minister," still Savage adhered to it and the
pension tenaciously, sharing the Queen's favor with Stephen Duck, the
marvellous "Thresher,"[9] whose effusions were still more to her
taste. That the yearly fifty pounds were expended in inexcusable riot,
almost as soon as received, was a matter of course. Upon the demise of
Queen Caroline, in 1738, Savage experienced another proof of Walpole's
dislike. The pensions found upon her Majesty's private list were all
continued out of the exchequer, one excepted. The pension of Savage
was the exception. Right feelingly, therefore, might he mourn his
royal mistress, and vituperate the insensible minister; and that he
did both with some degree of animation, the few who still read his
poems will freely admit.

Colley Cibber had recommended himself to promotion by consistent
partisanship, and by two plays of fair merit and exceeding popularity.
"The Careless Husband" even Pope had praised; "The Nonjuror," an
adaptation of Molière's "Tartuffe," was one of the most successful
comedies of the period. The King had been delighted with it,--a
circumstance doubtless considered by Sir Robert in selecting a rival
for Savage. Cibber had likewise been the manager, time out of mind, of
Drury-Lane Theatre; and if now and then he had failed to recognize the
exact direction of popular taste,--as in the instance of the "Beggar's
Opera," which he rejected, and which, being accepted by Manager Rich
of Covent Garden, made Rich gay and Gay rich,--he was generally a
sound stage-tactician and judicious caterer. His career, however, had
not been so profitable that an additional hundred pounds should be a
thing of indifference; in fact, the sum seemed to be just what was
needed to enable him to forsake active duty on the stage,--for the
patent was no sooner signed than the veteran retired upon his laurels.

The annals of the Laureateship, during Cibber's reign, are without
incident.[10] The duties remained unchanged, and were performed, there
is no reason to doubt, to the contentment of the King and court.[11]
But the Laureate himself was peculiarly the object of sarcastic
satire. The standing causes were of course in operation: the envy of
rival poetasters, the dislike of political opponents, the enmities
originating in professional disputes and jealousies. Cibber's manners
had not been studied in the school of Chesterfield, although that
school was then open and flourishing. He was rude, presumptuous,
dogmatic. To superiors in rank he was grudgingly respectful; to equals
and inferiors, insupportably insolent. But when to these aggravating
traits he added the vanity of printing an autobiography, exposing a
thousand assailable points in his life and character, the temptation
was irresistible, and the whole population of Grub Street enlisted in
a crusade against him.[12] Fortunately, beneath the crust of insolence
and vanity, there was a substratum of genuine power in the Laureate's
make, which rendered him not only a match for these, but for even a
greater than these, the author of the "Dunciad." Pope's antipathy for
the truculent actor dated some distance back.

  Back to the 'Devil,' the last echoes roll,
  And 'Coll!' each butcher roars at Hockley-hole.

The latter accounts for it by telling, that at the first
representation of Gay's "Three Hours after Marriage," in 1717, where
one of the scenes was violently hissed, some angry words passed
between the irritated manager and Pope, who was behind the scenes, and
was erroneously supposed to have aided in the authorship. The odds of
a scolding match must have been all in favor of the blustering Cibber,
rather than of the nervous and timid Pope; but then the latter had a
faculty of hate, which his antagonist had not, and he exercised it
vigorously. The allusions to Cibber in his later poems are frequent.
Thus, in the "Epistle to Dr. Arbuthnot":--

  "And has not Colley still his Lord and whore?
  His butchers Henley? his freemasons Moore?"

And again:--

  "So humble he has knocked at Tibbald's door,
  Has drunk with Colley, nay, has rhymed for Moore."

And in the "Imitation of Horace," addressed to Lord Fortescue:--

  "Better be Cibber, I maintain it still,
  Than ridicule all taste, blaspheme, quadrille."

"The Dunciad," as originally published in 1728, had Lewis Theobald for
its hero. There was neither sense nor justice in the selection. Pope
hated Theobald for presuming to edit the plays of Shakspeare with
greatly more ability and acuteness than himself had brought to the
task. His dislike had no better foundation. Neither the works, the
character, nor the associations of the man authorized his elevation to
the throne of dulness. The disproportion between the subject and the
satire instantly impresses the reader. After the first explosion of
his malice, it impressed Pope; and anxious to redeem his error, he
sought diligently for some plan of dethroning Tibbald, and raising
another to the vacant seat. Cibber, in the mean time, was elevated to
the laurel, and that by statesmen whom it was the fate of Pope to
detest in secret, and yet not dare to attack in print. The Fourth Book
of the "Dunciad" appeared in 1742, and its attacks were mainly
levelled at the Laureate. The Laureate replied in a pamphlet,
deprecating the poet's injustice, and declaring his unconsciousness of
any provocation for these reiterated assaults. At the same time he
announced his determination to carry on the war in prose as long as
the satirist should wage it in verse,--pamphlet for poem, world
without end. Hostilities were now fairly established. Pope issued a
fresh edition of his satire complete. The change he had long coveted
he now made. The name of Cibber was substituted throughout for that of
Theobald, the portraiture remaining the same. Johnson properly
ridicules the absurdity of leaving the heavy traits of Theobald on the
canvas, and simply affixing the name of his mercurial contemporary
beneath; and, indeed, there is much reason to doubt whether the mean
jealousy which inspired the first "Dunciad," or the blundering rage
which disfigured the second, is in the worse taste. Cibber kept his
engagement, replying in pamphlet. The immediate victory was
unquestionably his. Morbidly sensitive to ridicule, Pope suffered
acutely. Richardson, who found him once with the Cibberine leaves in
his hand, declared his persuasion, from the spectacle of rage,
vexation, and mortification he witnessed, that the poet's death
resulted from the strokes of the Laureate. If so, we must concede him
to have been the victor who laid his adversary at his feet on the
field. Posterity, however, which listens only to the satirist, has
judged differently and unjustly.[13] Theobald, though of no original
talent, was certainly, in his generation, the most successful
illustrator of Shakspeare, and the first, though Rowe and Pope had
preceded him in the effort, who had brought a sound verbal criticism
to bear on the text. It is to his credit, that many of the most
ingenious emendations suggested in Mr. Collier's famous folio were
anticipated by this "king of the dunces"; and it must be owned, that
his edition is as far superior to Warburton's and Hanmer's, which were
not long after brought out with a deafening flourish of trumpets, as
the editions of Steevens and Malone are to his. Yet, prompted by the
"Dunciad," it is the fashion of literature to regard Theobald with
compassion, as a block-head and empiric. Cibber escapes but little
better, and yet he was a man of respectable talent, and played no
second-rate part in the literary history of the time.

As Laureate Cibber drew near the end of earthly things, a desire,
common to poetical as well as political potentates, possessed him,--a
desire to nominate a successor. In his case, indeed, the idea may have
been borrowed from "MacFlecknoe" or the "Dunciad." The Earl of
Chesterfield, during his administration in Ireland, had discovered a
rival to Ben Jonson in the person of a poetical bricklayer, one Henry
Jones, whom his Lordship carried with him to London, as a specimen of
the indigenous tribes of Erin. It was easier for this Jones to rhyme
in heroics than to handle a trowel or construct a chimney. He rhymed,
therefore, for the amusement and in honor of the polite circle of
which Stanhope was the centre; the fashionable world subscribed
magnificently for his volume of "Poems upon Several Occasions";[14]
his tragedy, "The Earl of Essex," in the composition of which his
patron is said to have shared, was universally applauded. Its
introduction to the stage was the work of Cibber; and Cibber, assisted
by Chesterfield, labored zealously to secure the author a reversion of
the laurel upon his own lamented demise.

The effort was unsuccessful. Cibber's death occurred in December,
1757. The administration of the elder Pitt, which had been restored
six months before, was insensible to the merits of the prodigious
bricklayer. The wreath was tendered to Thomas Gray. It would, no
doubt, have proved a grateful relief to royalty, obliged for
twenty-seven years to listen twice yearly, if not oftener, to the
monotonous felicitations of Colley, to hear in his stead the author of
the "Bard," of the "Progress of Poetry," of the "Ode at Eton College."
But the relief was denied it. Gray, ambitious only of the historical
chair at Cambridge, declined the laurel. In the mean time, the claims
of William Whitehead were earnestly advocated with the Lord
Chamberlain, by Lord and Lady Jersey, and by the Earl Harcourt. A
large vote in the House of Commons might be affected by a refusal.
Pitt, who cared nothing for the laurel, but much for the votes, gave
his assent, and Whitehead was appointed. Whitehead was the son of a
baker, and, as an eleëmosynary scholar at Winchester School, had won a
poetical prize offered to the students by Alexander Pope. Obtaining a
free scholarship at Cambridge, he became in due time a fellow of Clare
Hall, and subsequently tutor to the sons of Lord Jersey and Lord
Harcourt, with whom he made the tour of the Continent. Two of his
tragedies, "The Roman Father," and "Creüsa," met with more success
than they deserved. A volume of poems, not without merit, was given to
the press in 1756, and met with unusual favor through the exertions of
his two noble friends. That he was not a personal applicant for the
laurel, nor conscious of the movement in his behalf, he takes occasion
in one of his poems to state:--

  "Howe'er unworthily I wear the crown,
  unasked it came, and from a hand unknown."[15]

From the warm championship of his friends, and the commendations of
Mason, the friend of Gray, we infer that Whitehead was not destitute
of fine social qualities. His verse, which is of the only type current
a century ago, is elegantly smooth, and wearisomely tame,--nowhere
rising into striking or original beauties. Among his merits as a poet
modesty was not. His "Charge to the Poets," published in 1762, drew
upon him the wrath and ridicule of his fellow-verse-wrights, and
perhaps deservedly. Assuming, with amusing vanity, what, if ever true,
was only so a century before or a half-century after, that the laurel
was the emblem of supremacy in the realm of letters, and that it had
been granted him as a token of his matchless merit,--

  "Since my king and patron have thought fit
  To place me on the throne of modern wit,--"

he proceeds to read the subject throng a saucy lecture on their vices
and follies,--

  "As bishops to their clergy give their charge."

A good-natured dogmatism is the tone of the whole; but presumption and
dogmatism find no charity among the _genus irritabile_, and Whitehead
received no quarter. Small wits and great levelled their strokes at a
hide which self-conceit had happily rendered proof. The sturdiest
assailant was Charles Churchill. He never spares him,--

    "Who in the Laureate chair--
  By grace, not merit, planted there--
  In awkward pomp is seen to sit,
  And by his patent proves his wit;
  For favors of the great, we know,
  Can wit as well as rank bestow;
  And they who, without one pretension,
  Can get for fools a place or pension,
  Must able be supposed, of course,
  If reason is allowed due force,
  To give such qualities and grace
  As may equip them for the place.

    "But he who measures as he goes
  A mongrel kind of tinkling prose,
  And is too frugal to dispense
  At once both poetry and sense,--
  Who, from amidst his slumbering guards,
  Deals out a charge to subject bards,
  Where couplets after couplets creep,
  Propitious to the reign of sleep," etc.

Again, in the "Prophecy of Famine,"--

  "A form, by silken smile, and tone
  Dull and unvaried, for the Laureate known,
  Folly's chief friend, Decorum's eldest son,
  In every party found, and yet of none,
  This airy substance, this substantial shade."

And elsewhere he begs for

        "Some such draught...
  As makes a Whitehead's ode go down,
  Or slakes the feverette of Brown."

But satire disturbed not the calm equanimity of the pensioner and
placeman.

         "The laurel worn
  By poets in old time, but destined now
  In grief to wither on a Whitehead's brow,"

continued to fade there, until a whole generation of poets had passed
away. It was not until the middle of April, 1785, that Death made way
for a successor.

The suddenness of Whitehead's decease came near leaving a royal
birthday unsung,--an omission scarcely pardonable with one of George
the Third's methodical habits. An impromptu appointment had to be
made. It was made before the Laureate was buried. Thomas Warton, the
Professor of Poetry at Oxford, received the patent on the 30th of
April, and his ode, married to fitting music, was duly forthcoming on
the 24th of May. The selection of Warton was faultless. His lyrical
verse was the best of a vicious school; his sonnets, according to that
exquisite sonneteer, Sir Egerton Brydges, were the finest in the
language; his "History of English Poetry," of which three volumes had
appeared, displayed an intimate acquaintance with the early English
writers. Nor should we pass unnoticed his criticisms and annotations
upon Milton and Spenser, manifesting as they did the acutest
sensitiveness to the finest beauties of poetry. If the laurel implied
the premiership of living poets, Warton certainly deserved it. He was
a head and shoulders taller than his actual contemporaries.[16] He
stood in the gap between the old school and the new, between the dead
and the coming. Goldsmith and Johnson were no more; Cowper did not
print his "Task" until the autumn of 1785; Burns made his _début_
about the same moment; Rogers published his "Ode to Superstition" the
next year; the famous "Fourteen Sonnets" of Bowles came two years
later; while Wordsworth and Landor made their first appearance in
1793. Fortunate thus in time, Warton was equally fortunate in
politics. He was an Oxford Tory, a firm believer in divine right and
passive obedience, and a warm supporter of the new ministers. To the
King, it may be added, no nomination could have given greater
satisfaction. The official odes of Warton evince all the elegant
traits which characterize his other writings. Their refined taste and
exquisite modulation are admirable; while the matter is far less
sycophantic than was to be expected from so devout a monarchist. The
tender of the laurel certainly gratified him:--

  "Yet still one joy remains, that not obscure
  Nor useless all my vacant days have flowed,
  From youth's gay dawn to manhood's prime mature,
  Nor with the Muse's laurel unbestowed."[17]

And, like Southey, he was not indisposed to enhance the dignity of the
wreath by classing Chaucer and Spenser, as we have seen, among its
wearers. The genuine claims of Warton to respect probably saved him
from the customary attacks. Bating a few bungling thrusts amid the
doggerel of "Peter Pindar," he escaped scathless,--gaining, on the
other hand, a far more than ordinary proportion of poetical panegyric.

  "Affection and applause alike he shared;
  All loved the man, all venerate the bard:
  E'en Prejudice his fate afflicted hears,
  And lettered Envy sheds reluctant tears.
  Such worth the laurel could alone repay,
  Profaned by Cibber, and contemned by Gray;
  Yet hence its Breath shall new distinction claim,
  And, though it gave not, take from Warton fame."[18]

The last of Warton's odes was written in his last illness, and
performed three days after his death. Appositely enough, it was an
invocation to Health, meriting more than ordinary praise for eloquent
fervor. Warton died May 21st, 1790. The laurel was vacant for a month,
when Henry James Pye was gazetted. There was hardly a hungry placeman
in London who had not as just pretensions to the honor. What poetical
gifts he had displayed had been in school or college exercises. His
real claims consisted in having spent a fortune in electioneering for
ministers; and these claims being pressed with unusual urgency at the
moment of Warton's death, he was offered the Laureateship as
satisfaction in part.[19] He eagerly accepted it, and received the
balance two years later in the shape of a commission as Police
Magistrate of Middlesex. Thereafter, like Henry Fielding, or Gilbert
A'Beckett, he divided his days between penal law and polite
literature. His version of the "Poetics" of Aristotle, with
illustrations drawn liberally from recent authors, was perhaps
begotten of a natural wish to satisfy the public that qualifications
for the laurel were not wholly wanting. A barren devotion to the drama
was always his foible. It was freely indulged. With few exceptions,
his plays were affairs of partnership with Samuel James Arnold, a
writer of ephemeral popularity, whose tale of "The Haunted Island" was
wildly admired by readers of the intensely romantic school, but whose
tragedies, melodramas, comedies, farces, operas, are now forgotten. In
addition to these auxiliary labors, which ripened yearly, Pye tried
his hand at an epic,--the subject, King Alfred,--the plot and
treatment not greatly differing from those which Blackmore brought to
the same enterprise. The poem passed at once from the bookshop to the
trunk-maker,--not, however, before an American publisher was found
daring enough to reprint it. There are also to be mentioned
translations from Pindar, Horace, and other classics, for Sharpe's
edition of the British Poets, a collection to which he lent editorial
aid. "Poet Pye"[20] was fortunate in escaping contemporary wit and
satire. Gifford alluded to him, but Gifford's Toryism was security
that no Tory Court-Poet would be roughly handled. Byron passed him in
silence. The Smiths treated him as respectfully as they treated
anybody. Moore's wit at the expense of the Regent and his courtiers
had only found vent in the "Two-Penny Post-Bag" when Pye was gathered
to his predecessors.

That calamity occurred in August, 1813. With it ended the era of
birthday songs and New-Year's verses. The King was mad; his nativity
was therefore hardly a rational topic of rejoicing. The Prince Regent
had no taste for the solemn inanity of stipulated ode, the performance
of which only served to render insufferably tedious the services of
the two occasions in the year when imperative custom demanded his
attendance at the Chapel. Consultation was had with John Wilson
Croker, Secretary of the Admiralty. Croker's sharp common-sense at
once suggested the abolition of the Laureate duties, but the retention
of the office as a sinecure. Walter Scott, to whom the place was
offered, as the most popular of living poets, seconded the counsel of
Croker, but declined the appointment, as beneath the dignity of the
intended founder of a long line of border knights. He recommended
Southey. He had already recommended Southey to the "Quarterly," and
through the "Quarterly" to Croker, then and still its most brilliant
contributor; and this second instance of disinterested kindness was
equally efficacious. Southey was appointed. The tierce of Canary
ceased to be a perquisite of the office, the Laureate disclaiming it;
and instead of annual odes upon set occasions, such effusions as the
poet might choose to offer at the suggestion of passing events were to
be accepted as the sum of official duty. These were to be said or
read, not sung,--a change that completed the radical revolution of the
office.

However important the salary of a hundred pounds may have been to
Southey, it is very sure that the laurel seemed to infuse all its
noxious and poisonous juices into his literary character. His vanity,
like Whitehead's, led him to regard his chaplet as the reward of
unrivalled merit. His study-chair was glorified, and became a throne.
His supremacy in poetry was as indubitable as the king's supremacy in
matters ecclesiastical. He felt himself constrained to eliminate
utterly from his conscience whatever traces of early republicanism,
pantisocracy, and heresy still disfigured it; and to conform
unreservedly to the exactest requirements of high Toryism in politics
and high Churchism in religion. He was in the pay and formed a part of
the government; could he do else than toil mightily in his department
for the service of a master who had so sagaciously anticipated the
verdict of posterity, as to declare him, who was the least popular,
the greatest of living poets? He found it a duty to assume a rigid
censorship over as many of his Majesty's lieges as were addicted to
verse,--to enact the functions of minister of literary police,--to
reprehend the levity of Moore, the impiety of Byron, the democracy of
Leigh Hunt, the unhappy lapse of Hazlitt, the drunkenness of Lamb.
Assumptions so open to ridicule, and so disparaging to far abler men,
told as disadvantageously upon his fame as upon his character. He
became the butt of contemporary satire. Horace Smith, Moore, Shelley,
Byron, lampooned him savagely. The latter made him the hero of his
wicked "Vision of Judgment," and to him dedicated his "Don Juan." The
dedication was suppressed; but no chance offered in the body of that
profligate rhapsody to assail Bob Southey, that was not vigorously
employed. The self-content of the Laureate armed him, however, against
every thrust. Contempt he interpreted as envy of his sublime
elevation:--

  "Grin, Envy, through thy ragged mask of scorn!
  In honor it was given; with honor it is worn."

Of course such matchless self-complacency defied assault.

Southey's congratulatory odes appeared as often as public occasion
seemed to demand them. There were in rapid succession the "Ode to the
Regent," the "Carmen Triumphale," the "Pilgrimage to Waterloo," the
"Vision of Judgment," the "Carmen Nuptiale," the "Ode on the Death of
the Princess Charlotte." The "Quarterly" exalted them, one and all;
the "Edinburgh" poured upon them volleys of keen but ineffectual
ridicule. At last the Laureate desisted. The odes no longer appeared;
and during the long and dark closing years of his life, the only
production of the Laureate pen was the yearly signature to a receipt
for one hundred pounds sterling, official salary.

Robert Southey died in March, 1843. Sir Robert Peel, who had obliged
Wordsworth the year before, by transferring the post in the excise,
which he had so long held, to the poet's son, and substituting a
pension for its salary, testified further his respect for the Bard of
Rydal by tendering him the laurel. It was not to be refused. Had the
office been hampered with any demands upon the occupant for popular
lyric, in celebration of notable events, Wordsworth was certainly the
last man to place in it. His frigid nature was incapable of that
prompt enthusiasm, without which, poetry, especially poetry responsive
to some strong emotion momentarily agitating the popular heart, is
lifeless and worthless. Fortunately, there were no such exactions. The
office had risen from its once low estate to be a dignified sinecure.
As such, Wordsworth filled it; and, dying, left it without one
poetical evidence of having worn the wreath.

To him, in May, 1850, succeeded, who, as the most acceptable poet of
the day, could alone rightly succeed, Alfred Tennyson, the actual
Poet-Laureate. Not without opposition. There were those who endeavored
to extinguish the office, and hang up the laurel forever,--and to that
end brought pregnant argument to bear upon government. "The Times" was
more than usually decided in favor of the policy of extinguishment.
Give the salary, it was urged, as a pension to some deserving writer
of verse, whose necessities are exacting; but abolish a title degraded
by association with names and uses so unworthy, as to confer shame,
not honor, on the wearer. The laurel is presumed to be granted to the
ablest living English poet. What vocation have the Tite Barnacles,
red-tapists, vote-mongers, of Downing Street to discriminate and
determine this supreme poetical excellence, in regard to which the
nicest critics, or the most refined and appreciative reading public
may reasonably differ among themselves as widely as the stars? On the
other hand, it was argued, that the laurel had, from its last two
wearers, recovered its lost dignity. They had lent it honor, which it
could not fail to confer upon any survivor, however great his name.
If, then, the old odium had disappeared, why not retain the place for
the sake of the ancient worthies whom tradition had handed down as at
one time or another connected with it? There was rarely difficulty in
selecting from among contemporary poets one of preëminent talent,
whose elevation to the laurel would offend none of his fellows. There
was certainly no difficulty in the present case. There was palpable
evidence that Tennyson was by all admission the hierophant of his
order; and it would be time enough to dispense with the title when a
future occasion should be at a loss to decide among contending
candidates. The latter reasoning prevailed. Tennyson accepted the
laurel, and with it a self-imposed obligation to make occasional
acknowledgments for the gift.

The first opportunity presented itself in the issue of a fresh edition
of his poems, in 1851. To these he prefixed some noble verses,
dedicating the volumes to the Queen, and referring with as much
delicacy as modesty to his place and his predecessor:--

  "Victoria,--since your royal grace
  To one of less desert allows
  This laurel, greener from the brows
  Of him that uttered nothing base."--

The next occasion was of a different order. The hero of Waterloo ended
his long life in 1852, and a nation was in mourning. Then, if ever,
poets, whether laurelled or leafless, were called to give eloquent
utterance to the popular grief; and Tennyson, of all the poets, was
looked to for its highest expression. The Threnode of the Laureate was
duly forthcoming. The public was, as it had no right to be,
disappointed. Tennyson's Muse was ever a wild and wilful creature,
defiant of rules, and daringly insubordinate to arbitrary forms. It
could not, with the witling in the play, cap verses with any man. The
moment its tasks were dictated and the form prescribed, that moment
there was ground to expect the self-willed jade to play a jade's
trick, and leave us with no decent results of inspiration. For odes
and sonnets, and other such Procrustean moulds into which poetic
thought is at times cast, Tennyson had neither gift nor liking. When,
therefore, with the Duke's death, came a sudden demand upon his Muse,
and that in shape so solemn as to forbid, as the poet conceived, any
fanciful license of invention, the Pindaric form seemed inevitable;
and that form rendered a fair exhibition of the poet's peculiar genius
out of the question. Strapped up in prescription, and impelled to move
by official impulse, his Pegasus was as awkward as a cart-horse. And
yet men did him the justice to say that his failure out-topped the
success of others.

Far better--indeed, with the animating thrill of the war-trumpet--was
"The Charge of the Light Brigade," and simply because the topic
admitted of whatever novelty of treatment the bias of the bard might
devise. This is the Laureate's most successful attempt at strictly
popular composition. It proves him to possess the stuff of a Tyrtaeus
or a Körner,--something vastly more stirring and stimulating than the
usual staple of

  "The dry-tongued laurel's pattering talk."[21]

Howbeit, late may he have call for another war-song!

With the name of Tennyson we reach the term of our Laureate calendar.
Long ages and much perilously dry research must he traverse who shall
enlarge these outlines to the worthier proportions of history. Yet
will the labor not be wholly barren. It will bring him in contact with
all the famous of letters and poetry; he will fight over again
numberless quarrels of authors; he will soar in boundless Pindaric
flights, or sink, sooth to say, in unfathomed deeps of bathos. With
one moral he will be profoundly impressed: Of all the more splendid
results of genius which adorn our language and literature,--for the
literature of the English language is ours,--not one owes its
existence to the laurel; not one can be directly or indirectly traced
to royal encouragement, or the stimulus of salary or stipend. The
laurel, though ever green, and throwing out blossoms now and then of
notable promise, has borne no fruit. We might strike from the language
all that is ascribable solely to the honor and emolument of this
office, without inflicting a serious loss upon letters. The masques of
Jonson would be regretted; a few lines of Tennyson would be missed.
For the rest, we might readily console ourselves. It may certainly be
urged, that the laurel was designed rather as a reward than as a
provocative of merit; but the allegation has become true only within
the last half-century. Antecedently to Southey, it was the
consideration for which return in poetry was demanded,--in the first
instance, a return in dramatic poetry, and then in the formal lyric.
It was put forth as the stimulus to works good in their several kinds,
and it may be justly complained of for never having provoked any good
works. To represent it as a reward commensurate with the merits of
Wordsworth and Tennyson, or even of Southey, is to rate three
first-class names in modern poetry on a level with the names of those
third-rate "poetillos" who, during the eighteenth century, obtained
the same reward for two intolerable effusions yearly. Upon the whole,
therefore, we incline to the opinion that the laurel can no longer
confer honor or profit upon literature. Sack is palatable, and a
hundred pounds are eminently useful; but the arbitrary judgments of
queens and courtiers upon poetical issues are neither useful nor
palatable. The world may, in fact, contrive to content itself, should
King Alfred prove the last of the Laureates.

[Footnote 1: Schol. Vet. ad _Nem. Od._ 5.]

[Footnote 2: Commentators agree, we believe, that there was an error
as to the sum. But we tell the story as we find it.]

[Footnote 3: DRYDEN, _Epistle to Wm. Congreve_, 1693.]

[Footnote 4: The _Threnodia Augustalis_, 1685, where the eulogy is
equitably distributed between the dead Charles and the living James.]

[Footnote 5: Dr. Johnson tells the story of Rowe having applied to
Lord Oxford for promotion, and being asked whether he understood
Spanish. Elated with the prospect of an embassy to Madrid, Rowe
hurried home, shut himself up, and for months devoted himself to the
study of a language the possession of which was to make his fortune.
At length, he reappeared at the Minister's _levée_ and announced
himself a Spanish scholar. "Then," said Lord Oxford, shaking his hand
cordially, "let me congratulate you on your ability to enjoy _Don
Quixote_, in the original." Johnson seems to throw doubt on the story,
because Rowe would not even speak to a Tory, and certainly would not
apply to a Tory minister for advancement. But Oxford was once a Whig,
and was in office as such; and it was probably at that period the
incident occurred.]

[Footnote 6: Battle of the Poets, 1725.]

[Footnote 7:

  "Harmonious Cibber entertains
  The court with annual birthday strains,
  Whence Gay was banished in disgrace,
  Where Pope will never show his face,
  Where Young must torture his invention
  To flatter knaves, or lose his pension."

                                   SWIFT, _Poetry, a Rhapsody,_ 1733.]

[Footnote 8:

  "Know, Eusden thirsts no more for sack or praise;
  He sleeps among the dull of ancient days;
  Where wretched Withers, Ward, and Gildon rest,
  And high-born Howard, more majestic sire,
  With fool of quality completes the choir.
  Thou, Cibber! thou his laurel shalt support;
  Folly, my son, has still a friend at court."

                                        _Dunciad_, Bk. I.

Warburton, by-the-by, exculpates Eusden from any worse fault, as a
writer, than being too prolix and too prolific.--See Note to
_Dunciad_, Bk. II. 291.]

[Footnote 9: Duck stands at the head of the prodigious school in
English literature. All the poetical bricklayers, weavers, cobblers,
farmer's boys, shepherds, and basket-makers, who have since astonished
their day and generation, hail him as their general father.]

[Footnote 10: The antiquary may be pleased to know that the "Devil"
tavern in Fleet Street, the old haunt of the dramatists, was the place
where the choir of the Chapel Royal gathered to rehearse the Laureate
odes. Hence Pope, at the close of _Dunciad I._,

  "Then swells the Chapel-Royal throat;
  'God save King Cibber!' mounts in every note.
  Familiar White's 'God save King Colley!' cries;
  'God save King Colley!' Drury-Lane replies;"]

[Footnote 11:

  "On his own works with laurel crowned,
  Neatly and elegantly bound,--
  For this is one of many rules
  With writing Lords and laureate fools,
  And which forever must succeed
  With other Lords who cannot read,
  However destitute of wit,
  To make their works for bookcase fit,--
  Acknowledged master of those seats,
  Cibber his birthday odes repeats."

                                        CHURCHILL, _The Ghost_.]

[Footnote 12: Swift charges Colley with having wronged Grub Street, by
appropriating to himself all the money Britain designed for its
poets:--

  "Your portion, taking Britain round,
  Was just one annual hundred pound;
  Now not so much as in remainder,
  Since Cibber brought in an attainder,
  Forever fixed by right divine,
  A monarch's right, on Grub-Street line."

                                        _Poetry, a Rhapsody_, 1733.]

[Footnote 13: Whatever momentary benefit may result from satire, it is
clear that its influence in the long run is injurious to literature.
The satirist, like a malignant Archimago, creates a false medium,
through which posterity is obliged to look at his contemporaries,--a
medium which so refracts and distorts their images, that it is almost
out of the question to see them correctly. There is no rule, as in
astronomy, by which this refraction may be allowed for and corrected.]

[Footnote 14: London, 1749, 8vo.]

[Footnote 15: Charge to the Poets, 1762.]

[Footnote 16: If the reader cares to hear the best that can be said of
Thomas Warton, let him read the Life of Milton, prefixed by Sir
Egerton Brydges to his edition of the poet. If he has any curiosity to
hear the other side, let him read all that Ritson ever wrote, and Dr.
Charles Symnions, in the Life of Milton, prefixed to the standard
edition of the Prose Works, 1806. Symnions denies to Warton the
possession of taste, learning, or sense. Certainly, to an American,
the character of Joseph Warton, the brother of Thomas, is far more
amiable. Joseph was as liberal as his brother was bigoted. While
Thomas omits no chance of condemning Milton's republicanism, in his
notes to the Minor Poems, Joseph is always disposed to sympathize with
the poet. The same generous temper characterizes his commentary upon
Dryden.]

[Footnote 17: _Sonnet upon the River Lodon_.]

[Footnote 18: Dr. Huddersford's _Salmagundi_.]

[Footnote 19: One of the earlier poems of Alexander Wilson, the
ornithologist, was entitled, _The Laurel Disputed_, and was published
in 1791. We have not met with it; but we apprehend, from title and
date, that it is a _jeu d'esprit_, founded upon the recent
appointment. The poetry of Wilson was characterized by much original
humor.]

[Footnote 20:

  "Come to our _fête_, and show again
  That pea-green coat, thou pink of men!
  Which charmed all eyes, that last surveyed it;
  When Brummel's self inquired, 'Who made it?'
  When Cits came wondering from the East,
  And thought thee Poet Pye at least."
                                        _Two-Penny Post-Bag_, 1812.]

[Footnote 21: TENNYSON, _Maud_.]



WATER-LILIES.

The inconstant April mornings drop showers or sunbeams over the
glistening lake, while far beneath its surface a murky mass disengages
itself from the muddy bottom, and rises slowly through the waves. The
tasselled alder-branches droop above it; the last year's blackbird's
nest swings over it in the grapevine; the newly-opened Hepaticas and
Epigaeas on the neighboring bank peer down modestly to look for it;
the water-skater (Gerris) pauses on the surface near it, casting on
the shallow bottom the odd shadow of his feet, like three pairs of
boxing-gloves; the Notonecta, or water-boatman, rows round and round
it, sometimes on his breast, sometimes on his back; queer caddis-worms
trail their self-made homesteads of leaves or twigs beside it; the
Dytiscus, dorbug of the water, blunders clumsily against it; the
tadpole wriggles his stupid way to it, and rests upon it, meditating
of future frogdom; the passing wild-duck dives and nibbles at it; the
mink and musk-rat brush it with their soft fur; the spotted turtle
slides over it; the slow larvae of gauzy dragon-flies cling sleepily
to its sides and await their change: all these fair or uncouth
creatures feel, through the dim waves, the blessed longing of spring;
and yet not one of them dreams that within that murky mass there lies
a treasure too white and beautiful to be yet intrusted to the waves,
and that for many a day that bud must yearn toward the surface,
before, aspiring above it, as mortals to heaven, it meets the sunshine
with the answering beauty of the Water-Lily.

Days and weeks have passed away; the wild-duck has flown onward, to
dive for his luncheon in some remoter lake; the tadpoles have made
themselves legs, with which they have vanished; the caddis-worms have
sealed themselves up in their cylinders, and emerged again as winged
insects; the dragon-flies have crawled up the water-reeds, and,
clinging with heads upward, (not downward, as strangely described in a
late "North British Review,") have undergone the change which
symbolizes immortality; the world is transformed from spring to
summer; the lily-buds are opened into glossy leaf and radiant flower,
and we have come for the harvest.

We lodged, last night, in the old English phrase, "at the sign of the
Oak and Star." Wishing, not, indeed, like the ancient magicians, to
gather magic berry and bud before sunrise, but at least to see these
treasures of the lake in their morning hour, we camped last night on a
little island, which one tall tree almost covers with its branches,
while a dense undergrowth of young chestnuts and birches fills all the
intervening space, touching the water all around the circular,
shelving shore. Yesterday was hot, but the night was cool, and we
kindled a gypsy fire of twigs, less for warmth than for society. The
first gleam made the dark lonely islet into a cheering home, turned
the protecting tree to a starlit roof, and the chestnut-sprays to
illuminated walls. Lying beneath their shelter, every fresh flickering
of the fire kindled the leaves into brightness and banished into dark
interstices the lake and sky; then the fire died into embers, the
leaves faded into solid darkness in their turn, and water and heavens
showed light and close and near, until fresh twigs caught fire and the
blaze came up again. Rising to look forth, at intervals, during the
night,--for it is the worst feature of a night out-doors, that
sleeping seems such a waste of time,--we watched the hilly and wooded
shores of the lake sink into gloom and glimmer into dawn again, amid
the low plash of waters and the noises of the night.

Precisely at half-past three, a song-sparrow above our heads gave one
liquid trill, so inexpressibly sudden and delicious, that it seemed to
set to music every atom of freshness and fragrance that Nature held;
then the spell was broken, and the whole shore and lake were vocal
with song. Joining in this jubilee of morning, we were early in
motion; bathing and breakfast, though they seemed indisputably in
accordance with the instincts of the Universe, yet did not detain us
long, and we were promptly on our way to Lily Pond. Will the reader
join us?

It is one of those summer days when a veil of mist gradually burns
away before the intense sunshine, and the sultry morning only plays at
coolness, and that with its earliest visitors alone. But we are before
the sunlight, though not before the sunrise, and can watch the pretty
game of alternating mist and shine. Stray gleams of glory lend their
trailing magnificence to the tops of chestnut-trees, floating vapors
raise the outlines of the hills and make mystery of the wooded
islands, and, as we glide through the placid water, we can sing, with
the Chorus in the "Ion" of Euripides, "O immense and brilliant air,
resound with our cries of joy!"

Almost every town has its Lily Pond, dear to boys and maidens, and
partially equalizing, by its annual delights, the presence or absence
of other geographical advantages. Ours is accessible from the larger
lake only by taking the skiff over a narrow embankment, which protects
our fairyland by its presence, and eight distant factories by its dam.
Once beyond it, we are in a realm of dark Lethean water, utterly
unlike the sunny depths of the main lake. Hither the water-lilies have
retreated, to a domain of their own. Darker than these dark waves,
there stand in their bosom hundreds of submerged trees, and dismasted
roots still upright, spreading their vast, uncouth limbs like enormous
spiders beneath the surface. They are remnants of border wars with the
axe, vegetable Witheringtons, still fighting on their stumps, but
gradually sinking into the soft ooze, and ready, perhaps, when a score
of centuries has piled two more strata of similar remains in mud above
them, to furnish foundations for a newer New Orleans; that city having
been lately discovered to be thus supported.

The present decline in business is clear revenue to the water-lilies,
and these waters are higher than usual because the idle factories do
not draw them off. But we may notice, in observing the shores, that
peculiar charm of water, that, whether its quantity be greater or
less, its grace is the same; it makes its own boundary in lake or
river, and where its edge is, there seems the natural and permanent
margin. And the same natural fitness, without reference to mere
quantity, extends to its children. Before us lie islands and
continents of lilies, acres of charms, whole, vast, unbroken surfaces
of stainless whiteness. And yet, as we approach them, every islanded
cup that floats in lonely dignity, apart from the multitude, appears
as perfect in itself, couched in white expanded perfection, its
reflection taking a faint glory of pink that is scarcely perceptible
in the flower. As we glide gently among them, the air grows fragrant,
and a stray breeze flaps the leaves, as if to welcome us. Each
floating flower becomes suddenly a ship at anchor, or rather seems
beating up against the summer wind, in a regatta of blossoms.

Early as it is, the greater part of the flowers are already expanded.
Indeed, that experience of Thoreau's, of watching them open in the
first sunbeams, rank by rank, is not easily obtained, unless perhaps
in a narrow stream, where the beautiful slumberers are more regularly
marshalled. In our lake, at least, they open irregularly, though
rapidly. But, this morning, many linger as buds, while others peer up,
in half-expanded beauty, beneath the lifted leaves, frolicsome as
Pucks or baby-nymphs. As you raise the leaf, in such cases, it is
impossible not to imagine that a pair of tiny hands have upheld it, or
else that the pretty head will dip down again, and disappear. Others,
again, have expanded all but the inmost pair of white petals, and
these spring apart at the first touch of the finger on the stem. Some
spread vast vases of fragrance, six or seven inches in diameter, while
others are small and delicate, with petals like fine lace-work.
Smaller still, we sometimes pass a flotilla of infant leaves, an inch
in diameter. All these grow from the deep, dark water,--and the
blacker it is, the fairer their whiteness shows. But your eye follows
the stem often vainly into those sombre depths, and vainly seeks to
behold Sabrina fair, sitting with her twisted braids of lilies,
beneath the glassy, cool, but not translucent wave. Do not start,
when, in such an effort, only your own dreamy face looks back upon
you, beyond the gunwale of the reflected boat, and you find that you
float double, self and shadow.

Let us rest our paddles, and look round us, while the idle motion
sways our light skiff onward, now half-embayed among the lily-pads,
now lazily gliding over intervening gulfs. There is a great deal going
on in these waters and their fringing woods and meadows. All the
summer long, the pond is bordered with successive walls of flowers. In
early spring emerge the yellow catkins of the swamp-willow, first;
then the long tassels of the graceful alders expand and droop, till
they weep their yellow dust upon the water; then come the
birch-blossoms, more tardily; then the downy leaves and white clusters
of the medlar or shadbush (_Amelanchier Canadensis_ of Gray); these
dropping, the roseate chalices of the mountain-laurel open; as they
fade into melancholy brown, the sweet Azalea uncloses; and before its
last honeyed blossom has trailed down, dying, from the stem, the more
fragrant Clethra starts out above, the button-bush thrusts forth its
merry face amid wild roses, and the Clematis waves its sprays of
beauty. Mingled with these grow, lower, the spiraeas, white and pink,
yellow touch-me-not, fresh white arrowhead, bright blue vervain and
skullcap, dull snakehead, gay monkey-flower, coarse eupatoriums,
milk-weeds, golden-rods, asters, thistles, and a host beside. Beneath,
the brilliant scarlet cardinal-flower begins to palisade the moist
shores; and after its superb reflection has passed away from the
waters, the grotesque witch-hazel flares out its narrow yellow petals
amidst the October leaves, and so ends the floral year. There is not a
week during all these months, when one cannot stand in the boat and
wreathe garlands of blossoms from the shores.

These all crowd around the brink, and watch, day and night, the
opening and closing of the water-lilies. Meanwhile, upon the waters,
our queen keeps her chosen court, nor can one of these mere
land-loving blossoms touch the hem of her garment. In truth, she bears
no sister near her throne. There is but this one species among us,
_Nymphaea odorata_. The beautiful little rose-colored _Nymphaea
sanguinea_, which once adorned the Botanic Garden at Cambridge, was
merely an occasional variety of costume. She has, indeed, an English
half-sister, _Nymphaea alba_, less beautiful, less fragrant, but
keeping more fashionable hours,--not opening (according to Linnaeus)
till seven, nor closing till four. Her humble cousin, the yellow
Nuphar, keeps commonly aloof, as becomes a poor relation, though
created from the selfsame mud,--a fact which Hawthorne has beautifully
moralized. The prouder Nelumbium, a second-cousin, lineal descendant
of the sacred bean of Pythagoras, keeps aloof, through pride, not
humility, and dwells, like a sturdy democrat, in the Far West.

But, undisturbed, the water-lily keeps her fragrant court, with
few attendants. The tall pickerel-weed (Pontederia) is her
gentleman-usher, gorgeous in blue and gold through July, somewhat
rusty in August. The water-shield (Hydropeltis) is chief
maid-of-honor; she is a highborn lady, not without royal blood indeed,
but with rather a bend sinister; not precisely beautiful, but very
fastidious; encased over her whole person with a gelatinous covering,
literally a starched duenna. Sometimes she is suspected of conspiring
to drive her mistress from the throne; for we have observed certain
slow watercourses where the leaves of the water-lily have been almost
wholly replaced by the similar, but smaller, leaves of the
water-shield. More rarely seen is the slender Utricularia, a dainty
maiden, whose light feet scarce touch the water,--with the still more
delicate floating white Water-Ranunculus, and the shy Villarsia, whose
submerged flowers merely peep one day above the surface and then close
again forever. Then there are many humbler attendants, Potamogetons or
pond-weeds. And here float little emissaries from the dominions of
land; for the fallen florets of the Viburnum drift among the
lily-pads, with mast-like stamens erect, sprinkling the water with a
strange beauty, and cheating us with the promise of a new aquatic
flower.

These are the still life of this sequestered nook; but it is in fact a
crowded thoroughfare. No tropic jungle more swarms with busy existence
than these midsummer waters and their bushy banks. The warm and
humming air is filled with insect sounds, ranging from the murmur of
invisible gnats and midges, to the impetuous whirring of the great
Libellulae, large almost as swallows, and hawking high in air for
their food. Swift butterflies glance by, moths flutter, flies buzz,
grasshoppers and katydids pipe their shrill notes, sharp as the edges
of the sunbeams. Busy bees go humming past, straight as arrows,
express-freight-trains from one blossoming copse to another. Showy
wasps of many species fume uselessly about, in gallant uniforms,
wasting an immense deal of unnecessary anger on the sultry universe.
Graceful, stingless Sphexes and Ichneumon-flies emulate their bustle,
without their weapons. Delicate lady-birds come and go to the
milkweeds, spotted almost as regularly as if Nature had decided to
number the species, like policemen or hack-drivers, from one to
twenty. Elegant little Lepturae fly with them, so gay and airy, they
hardly seem like beetles. Phryganeae, (_nés_ caddisworms,) laceflies,
and long-tailed Ephemerae flutter more heavily by. On the large
alder-flowers clings the superb _Desmocerus palliatus_, beautiful as a
tropical insect, with his steel-blue armor and his golden cloak
(_pallium_) above his shoulders, grandest knight on this Field of the
Cloth of Gold. The countless fireflies which spangled the evening mist
now only crawl sleepily, daylight creatures, with the lustre buried in
their milky bodies. More wholly children of night, the soft, luxurious
Sphinxes (or hawk-moths) come not here; fine ladies of the insect
world, their home is among gardens and green-houses, late and languid
by day, but all night long upon the wing, dancing in the air with
unwearied muscles till long past midnight, and supping on honey at
last. They come not here; but the nobler butterflies soar above us,
stoop a moment to the water, and then with a few lazy wavings of their
sumptuous wings float far over the oak-trees to the woods they love.

All these hover near the water-lily; but its special parasites are an
elegant beetle (_Donacia metallica_) which keeps house permanently in
the flower, and a few smaller ones which tenant the surface of the
leaves,--larva, pupa, and perfect insect, forty feeding like one, and
each leading its whole earthly career on this floating island of
perishable verdure. The "beautiful blue damsel-flies" alight also in
multitudes among them, so fearless that they perch with equal
readiness on our boat or paddle, and so various that two adjacent
ponds will sometimes be haunted by two distinct sets of species. In
the water, among the leaves, little shining whirlwigs wheel round and
round, fifty joining in the dance, till, at the slightest alarm, they
whirl away to some safer ballroom, and renew the merriment. On every
floating log, as we approach it, there is a convention of turtles,
sitting in calm debate, like mailed barons, till, as we approach, they
plump into the water, and paddle away for some subaqueous Runnymede.
Beneath, the shy and stately pickerel vanishes at a glance, shoals of
minnows glide, black and bearded pouts frisk aimlessly, soft
water-lizards hang poised without motion, and slender pickerel-frogs
cease occasionally their submerged croaking, and, darting to the
surface with swift vertical strokes, gulp a mouthful of fresh air, and
down again to renew the moist soliloquy.

Time would fail us to tell of the feathered life around us,--the
blackbirds that build securely in these thickets, the stray swallows
that dip their wings in the quiet waters, and the kingfishers that
still bring, as the ancients fabled, halcyon days. Yonder stands,
against the shore, a bittern, motionless in that wreath of mist which
makes his long-legged person almost as dim as his far-off booming by
night. There poises a hawk, before sweeping down to some chosen bough
in the dense forest; and there fly a pair of blue-jays, screaming,
from tree to tree. As for wild quadrupeds, the race is almost passed
away. Far to the North, indeed, the great moose still browses on the
lily-pads, and the shy beaver nibbles them; but here the few lingering
four-footed creatures only haunt, but do not graze upon these floating
pastures. Eyes more favored than ours may yet chance to spy an otter
in this still place; there by the shore are the small footprints of a
mink; that dark thing disappearing in the waters, yonder, a soft mass
of drowned fur, is a "musquash." Later in the season, a mound of earth
will be his winter dwelling-place; and those myriad muscle-shells at
the water's edge are the remnant of his banquets,--once banquets for
the Indians, too.

But we must return to our lilies. There is no sense of wealth like
floating in this archipelago of white and green. The emotions of
avarice become almost demoralizing. Every flower bears a fragrant
California in its bosom, and you feel impoverished at the thought of
leaving one behind. But after the first half-hour of eager grasping,
one becomes fastidious, rather scorns those on which the wasps and
flies have alighted, and seeks only the stainless. But handle them
tenderly, as if you loved them. Do not grasp at the open flower as if
it were a peony or a hollyhock, for then it will come off, stalkless,
in your hand, and you will cast it blighted upon the water; but coil
your thumb and second finger affectionately around it, press the
extended forefinger firmly to the stem below, and with one steady pull
you will secure a long and delicate stalk, fit to twine around the
graceful head of your beloved, as the Hindoo goddess of beauty
encircled with a Lotus the brow of Rama.

Consider the lilies. All over our rural watercourses, at midsummer,
float these cups of snow. They are Nature's symbols of coolness. They
suggest to us the white garments of their Oriental worshippers. They
come with the white roses and prepare the way for the white lilies of
the garden. The white doe of Rylstone and Andrew Marvell's fawn might
fitly bathe amid their beauties. Yonder steep bank slopes down to the
lake-side, one solid mass of pale pink laurel, but, once upon the
water, a purer tint prevails. The pink fades into a lingering flush,
and the white creature floats peerless, set in green without and gold
within. That bright circle of stamens is the very ring with which
Doges once wedded the Adriatic, Venice has lost it, but it dropped
into the water-lily's bosom, and there it rests forever. So perfect in
form, so redundant in beauty, so delicate, so spotless, so
fragrant,--what presumptuous lover ever dared, in his most enamored
hour, to liken his mistress to a water-lily? No human Blanche or
Lilian was ever so fair as that.

The water-lily comes of an ancient and sacred family of white-robed
priests. They assisted at the most momentous religious ceremonies,
from the beginning of recorded time. The Egyptian Lotus was a sacred
plant; it was dedicated to Harpocrates and to the god Nofr
Atmoo,--Nofr meaning _good_, whence the name of our yellow lily,
Nuphar. But the true Egyptian flower was _Nymphaea Lotus_, though
_Nymphaea caerulea_, Moore's "blue water-lilies," can be traced on the
sculptures also. It was cultivated in tanks in the gardens; it was the
chief material for festal wreaths; a single bud hung over the forehead
of many a queenly dame; and the sculptures represent the weary flowers
as dropping from the heated hands of belles, in the later hours of the
feast. Rock softly on the waters, fair lilies! your Eastern kindred
have rocked on the stormier bosom of Cleopatra. The Egyptian Lotus
was, moreover, the emblem of the sacred Nile,--as the Hindoo species,
of the sacred Ganges; and both the one and the other was held the
symbol of the creation of the world from the waters. The sacred bull
Apis was wreathed with its garlands; there were niches for water, to
place it among tombs; it was carved in the capitals of columns; it was
represented on plates and vases; the sculptures show it in many sacred
uses, even as a burnt-offering; Isis holds it; and the god Nilus still
binds a wreath of water-lilies around the throne of Memnon.

From Egypt the Lotus was carried to Assyria, and Layard found it among
fir-cones and honeysuckles on the later sculptures of Nineveh. The
Greeks dedicated it to the nymphs, whence the name _Nymphaea_. Nor did
the Romans disregard it, though the Lotus to which Ovid's nymph Lotis
was changed, _servato nomine_, was a tree, and not a flower. Still
different a thing was the enchanted stem of the Lotus-eaters of
Herodotus, which prosaic botanists have reduced to the _Zizyphus
Lotus_ found by Mungo Park, translating also the yellow Lotus-dust
into a mere "farina, tasting like sweet gingerbread."

But in the Lotus of Hindostan we find our flower again, and the
Oriental sacred books are cool with water-lilies. Open the Vishnu
Purana at any page, and it is a _Sortes Lilianae_. The orb of the
earth is Lotus-shaped, and is upborne by the tusks of Vesava, as if he
had been sporting in a lake where the leaves and blossoms float.
Brahma, first incarnation of Vishnu, creator of the world, was born
from a Lotus; so was Sri or Lakshmu, the Hindoo Venus, goddess of
beauty and prosperity, protectress of womanhood, whose worship guards
the house from all danger. "Seated on a full-blown Lotus, and holding
a Lotus in her hand, the goddess Sri, radiant with beauty, rose from
the waves." The Lotus is the chief ornament of the subterranean Eden,
Patala, and the holy mountain Meru is thought to be shaped like its
seed-vessel, larger at summit than at base. When the heavenly Urvasi
fled from her earthly spouse, Purúvavas, he found her sporting with
four nymphs of heaven, in a lake beautified with the Lotus. When the
virtuous Prahlada was burned at the stake, he cried to his cruel
father, "The fire burneth me not, and all around I behold the face of
the sky, cool and fragrant with beds of Lotus-flowers!" Above all, the
graceful history of the transformations of Krishna is everywhere hung
with these fresh chaplets. Every successive maiden whom the deity
wooes is Lotus-eyed, Lotus-mouthed, or Lotus-cheeked, and the youthful
hero wears always a Lotus-wreath. Also "the clear sky was bright with
the autumnal moon, and the air fragrant with the perfume of the wild
water-lily, in whose buds the clustering bees were murmuring their
song."

Elsewhere we find fuller details. "In the primordial state of the
world, the rudimental universe, submerged in water, reposed on the
bosom of the Eternal. Brahma, the architect of the world, poised on a
Lotus-leaf, floated upon the waters, and all that he was able to
discern with his eight eyes was water and darkness. Amid scenes so
ungenial and dismal, the god sank into a profound reverie, when he
thus soliloquized: 'Who am I? Whence am I?' In this state of
abstraction Brahma continued during the period of a century and a half
of the gods, without apparent benefit or a solution of his inquiries,
a circumstance which caused him great uneasiness of mind." It is a
comfort, however, to know, that subsequently a voice came to him, on
which he rose, "seated himself upon the Lotus in an attitude of
contemplation, and reflected upon the Eternal, who soon appeared to
him in the form of a man with a thousand heads": a questionable
exchange for his Lotus-solitude.

This is Brahminism; but the other great form of Oriental religion has
carried the same fair symbol with it. One of the Bibles of the
Buddhists is named "The White Lotus of the Good Laer." A pious
Nepaulese bowed in reverence before a vase of lilies which perfumed
the study of Sir William Jones. At sunset in Thibet, the French
missionaries tell us, every inhabitant of every village prostrates
himself in the public square, and the holy invocation, "Oh, the gem in
the Lotus!" goes murmuring over hill and valley, like the sound of
many bees. It is no unmeaning phrase, but an utterance of ardent
desire to be absorbed into that Brahma whose emblem is the sacred
flower. The mystic formula or "mani" is imprinted on the pavement of
the streets, it floats on flags from the temples, and the wealthy
Buddhists maintain sculptor-missionaries, Old Mortalities of the
water-lily, who, wandering to distant lands, carve the blessed words
upon cliff and stone.

Having got thus far into Orientalism, we can hardly expect to get out
again without some slight entanglement in philology. Lily-pads. Whence
_pads_? No other leaf is identified with that singular monosyllable.
Has our floating Lotus-leaf any connection with padding, or with a
footpad? with the ambling pad of an abbot, or a paddle, or a paddock,
or a padlock? with many-domed Padua proud, or with St. Patrick? Is the
name derived from the Anglo-Saxon _paad_ or _petthian_, or the Greek
[Greek: pateo]? All the etymologists are silent; Tooke and Richardson
ignore the problem; and of the innumerable pamphlets in the Worcester
and Webster Controversy, loading the tables of school-committee-men,
not one ventures to grapple with the lily-pad.

But was there ever a philological trouble for which the Sanscrit could
not afford at least a conjectural cure? A dictionary of that extremely
venerable tongue is an ostrich's stomach, which can crack the hardest
etymological nut. The Sanscrit name for the Lotus is simply _Padma_.
The learned Brahmins call the Egyptian deities Padma Devi, or
Lotus-Gods; the second of the eighteen Hindoo Puranas is styled the
Padma Purana, because it treats of the "epoch when the world was a
golden Lotus"; and the sacred incantation which goes murmuring through
Thibet is "Om mani padme houm." It would be singular, if upon these
delicate floating leaves a fragment of our earliest vernacular has
been borne down to us, so that here the schoolboy is more learned than
the _savans_.

This lets us down easily to the more familiar uses of this plant
divine. By the Nile, in early days, the water-lily was good not merely
for devotion, but for diet. "From the seeds of the Lotus," said Pliny,
"the Egyptians make bread." The Hindoos still eat the seeds, roasted
in sand; also the stalks and roots. In South America, from the seeds
of the Victoria (_Nymphaea Victoria_, now _Victoria Regia_) a farina
is made, preferred to that of the finest wheat,--Bonpland even
suggesting to our reluctant imagination Victoria-pies. But the
European species are used, so far as we know, only in dyeing, and as
food (if the truth be told) of swine. Our own water-lily is rather
more powerful in its uses; the root contains tannin and gallic acid,
and a decoction of it "gives a black precipitate, with sulphate of
iron." It graciously consents to become an astringent, and a styptic,
and a poultice, and, banished from all other temples, still lingers in
those of AEsculapius.

The botanist also finds his special satisfactions in our flower. It
has some strange peculiarities of structure. So loose is the internal
distribution of its tissues, that it was for some time held doubtful
to which of the two great vegetable divisions, exogenous or
endogenous, it belonged. Its petals, moreover, furnish the best
example of the gradual transition of petals into stamens,
--illustrating that wonderful law of identity which is the
great discovery of modern science. Every child knows this peculiarity
of the water-lily, but the extent of it seems to vary with season and
locality, and sometimes one finds a succession of flowers almost
entirely free from this confusion of organs.

Our readers may not care to know that the order of Nymphaeaceae
"differs from Ranunculaceae in the consolidation of its carpels, from
Papaveraceae in the placentation not being parietal, and from
Nelumbiaceae in the want of a large truncated disc containing
monospermous achenia"; but they may like to know that the water-lily
has relations on land, in all gradations of society, from poppy to
magnolia, and yet does not conform its habits precisely to those of
any of them. Its great black roots, sometimes as large as a man's arm,
form a network at the bottom of the water. Its stem floats, an airy
four-celled tube, adapting itself to the depth, though never stiff in
shallows, like the stalk of the yellow lily: and it contracts and
curves when seed-time approaches, though not so ingeniously as the
spiral threads of the European Vallisneria, which uncoil to let the
flowers rise to the surface, and then cautiously retract, that the
seeds may ripen on the very bottom of the lake. The leaves show
beneath the magnifier beautiful adaptations of structure. They are
not, like those of land-plants, constructed with deep veins to receive
the rain and conduct it to the stem, but are smooth and glossy, and of
even surface. The leaves of land-vegetation have also thousands of
little breathing-pores, principally on the under side: the apple-leaf,
for instance, has twenty-four thousand to a square inch. But here they
are fewer; they are wholly on the upper side, and, whereas in other
cases they open or shut according to the moisture of the atmosphere,
here the greedy leaves, secure of moisture, scarcely deign to close
them. Nevertheless, even these give some recognition of hygrometric
necessities, and, though living on the water, and not merely
christened with dewdrops like other leaves, but baptized by immersion
all the time, they are yet known to suffer in drought and to take
pleasure in the rain.

We have spoken of the various kindred of the water-lily; but we must
not leave our fragrant subject without due mention of its most
magnificent, most lovely relative, at first claimed even as its twin
sister, and classed as a Nymphaea. We once lived near neighbor to a
Victoria Regia. Nothing, in the world of vegetable existence, has such
a human interest. The charm is not in the mere size of the plant,
which disappoints everybody, as Niagara does, when tried by that sole
standard. The leaves of the Victoria, indeed, attain a diameter of six
feet; the largest flowers, of twenty-three inches,--less than four
times the size of the largest of our water-lilies. But it is not the
mere looks of the Victoria, it is its life which fascinates. It is not
a thing merely of dimensions, nor merely of beauty, but a creature of
vitality and motion. Those vast leaves expand and change almost
visibly. They have been known to grow half an inch an hour, eight
inches a day. Rising one day from the water, a mere clenched mass of
yellow prickles, a leaf is transformed the next day to a crimson
salver, gorgeously tinted on its upturned rim. Then it spreads into a
raft of green, armed with long thorns, and supported by a frame-work
of ribs and cross-pieces, an inch thick, and so substantial, that the
Brazil Indians, while gathering the seed-vessels, place their young
children on the leaves;--_yrupe_, or water-platter, they call the
accommodating plant. But even these expanding leaves are not the glory
of the Victoria; the glory is in the opening of the flower.

We have sometimes looked in, for a passing moment, at the green-house,
its dwelling-place, during the period of flowering,--and then stayed
for more than an hour, unable to leave the fascinating scene. After
the strange flower-bud has reared its dark head from the placid tank,
moving it a little, uneasily, like some imprisoned water-creature, it
pauses for a moment in a sort of dumb despair. Then trembling again,
and collecting all its powers, it thrusts open, with an indignant
jerk, the rough calyx-leaves, and the beautiful disrobing begins. The
firm, white, central cone, first so closely infolded, quivers a
little, and swiftly, before your eyes, the first of the hundred petals
detaches its delicate edges, and springs back, opening towards the
water, while its white reflection opens to meet it from below. Many
moments of repose follow,--you watch,--another petal trembles,
detaches, springs open, and is still. Then another, and another, and
another. Each movement is so quiet, yet so decided, so living, so
human, that the radiant creature seems a Musidora of the water, and
you almost blush with a sense of guilt, in gazing on that peerless
privacy. As petal by petal slowly opens, there still stands the
central cone of snow, a glacier, an alp, a jungfrau, while each
avalanche of whiteness seems the last. Meanwhile, a strange rich odor
fills the air, and Nature seems to concentrate all fascinations and
claim all senses for this jubilee of her darling.

So pass the enchanted moments of the evening, till the fair thing
pauses at last, and remains for hours unchanged. In the morning, one
by one, those white petals close again, shutting all their beauty in,
and you watch through the short sleep for the period of waking. Can
this bright transfigured creature appear again, in the same chaste
beauty? Your fancy can scarcely trust it, fearing some disastrous
change; and your fancy is too true a prophet. Come again, after the
second day's opening, and you start at the transformation which one
hour has secretly produced. Can this be the virgin Victoria,--this
thing of crimson passion, this pile of pink and yellow, relaxed,
expanded, voluptuous, lolling languidly upon the water, never to rise
again? In this short time every tint of every petal is transformed; it
is gorgeous in beauty, but it is "Hebe turned to Magdalen."

But our rustic water-lily, our innocent Nymphaea, never claiming such
a hot-house glory, never drooping into such a blush, blooms on
placidly in the quiet waters, till she modestly folds her leaves for
the last time, and bows her head beneath the surface forever. Next
year she lives for us only in her children, fair and pure as herself.

Nay, not alone in them, but also in memory. The fair vision will not
fade from us, though the paddle has dipped its last crystal drop from
the waves, and the boat is drawn upon the shore. We may yet visit many
lovely and lonely places,--meadows thick with violet, or the homes of
the shy Rhodora, or those sloping forest-haunts where the slight
Linnaea hangs its twin-born heads,--but no scene will linger on our
vision like this annual Feast of the Lilies. On scorching mountains,
amid raw prairie-winds, or upon the regal ocean, the white pageant
shall come back to us again, with all the luxury of summer heats, and
all the fragrant coolness that can relieve them. We shall fancy
ourselves again among these fleets of anchored lilies,--again, like
Urvasi, sporting amid the Lake of Lotuses.

For that which is remembered is often more vivid than that which is
seen. The eye paints better in the presence, the heart in the absence,
of the object most dear. "He who longs after beautiful Nature can best
describe her," said Bettine; "he who is in the midst of her loveliness
can only lie down and enjoy." It enhances the truth of the poet's
verses, that he writes them in his study. Absence is the very air of
passion, and all the best description is _in memoriam_. As with our
human beloved, when the graceful presence is with us, we cannot
analyze or describe, but merely possess, and only after its departure
can it be portrayed by our yearning desires; so is it with Nature:
only in losing her do we gain the power to describe her, and we are
introduced to Art, as we are to Eternity, by the dropping away of our
companions.



FIFTY AND FIFTEEN.

  With gradual gleam the day was dawning,
    Some lingering stars were seen,
  When swung the garden-gate behind us,--
    He fifty, I fifteen.

  The high-topped chaise and old gray pony
    Stood waiting in the lane:
  Idly my father swayed the whip-lash,
    Lightly he held the rein.

  The stars went softly back to heaven,
    The night-fogs rolled away,
  And rims of gold and crowns of crimson
    Along the hill-tops lay.

  That morn, the fields, they surely never
    So fair an aspect wore;
  And never from the purple clover
    Such perfume rose before.

  O'er hills and low romantic valleys
    And flowery by-roads through,
  I sang my simplest songs, familiar,
    That he might sing them too.

  Our souls lay open to all pleasure,--
    No shadow came between;
  Two children, busy with their leisure,--
    He fifty, I fifteen.

       *       *       *       *       *

  As on my couch in languor, lonely,
    I weave beguiling rhyme,
  Comes back with strangely sweet remembrance
    That far-removed time.

  The slow-paced years have brought sad changes,
    That morn and this between;
  And now, on earth, my years are fifty,
    And his, in heaven, fifteen.



ILLINOIS IN SPRING-TIME: WITH A LOOK AT CHICAGO.

I remember very well, that, when I studied the "Arabian Nights," with
a devotion which I have since found it difficult to bestow on the
perusal of better books, the thing that most excited my imagination
was the enchanted locomotive carpet, granted by one of the amiable
genii to his favorite, to whom it gave the power of being in a moment
where nobody expected him, paying visits at the most unfashionable
hours, and making himself generally ubiquitous when interest or
curiosity prompted. The other wonders were none of them inexhaustible.
Donkeys that talked after their heads were cut off, just as well as
some donkeys do with them on,--old cats turned into beautiful
damsels,--birds that obligingly carried rings between parted
lovers,--one soon had enough of. Caves full of gold and silver, and
lighted by gems resplendent as the stars, were all very well, but soon
tired. After your imagination had selected a few rings and bracelets,
necklaces and tiaras, and carried off one or two chests full of gold,
what could it do with the rest,--especially as they might vanish or
turn to pebbles or hazel-nuts in your caskets?

But flying carpets! They could never tire. You seated yourself just in
the middle, in the easiest possible attitude, and at a wish you were
off, (not off the carpet, but off this work-a-day world,) careering
through sunny fields of air with the splendid buoyancy of the eagle,
steering your intelligent vehicle by a mere thought, and descending,
gently as a snow-flake, to garden-bower or palace-window, moonlit
kiosk or silent mountain-peak, as whim suggested or affairs urged.
This was magic indeed, and worthy the genii of any age.

The sense of reality with which I accepted this wonder of wonders has
furnished forth many a dream, sleeping and waking, since those days;
and it is no uncommon thing for me, even now, to be sailing through
the air, feeling its soft waves against my face, and the delicious
refreshment of the upper ether in my breast, only to wake as if I had
dropped into bed with a celerity that made the arrival upon earth
anything but pleasant. I am not sure but there is some reality in
these flights, after all. These aërial journeys may be foretastes of
those we shall make after we are freed from the incumbrance of
avoirdupois. I hope so, at least.

Yet there are good things of the kind here below, too. After all, what
were a magic carpet that could carry a single lucky wight,--at best,
but a species of heavenly sulky,--compared with a railroad train that
speeds along hundreds of men, women, and children, over land and
water, with any amount of heavy baggage, as well as a boundless extent
of crinoline? And if this equipage, gift of genii of our age, seem to
lack some of the celerity and secrecy which attended the voyagers of
the flying carpet, suppose we add the power of whispering to a friend
a thousand miles off the inmost thoughts of the heart, the most
desperate plans, the most dangerous secrets! Do not the two powers
united leave the carpet immeasurably behind?

Shakspeare is said, in those noted lines,--

  "Dear as the ruddy drops
  That visit this sad heart,"

to have anticipated the discovery of the circulation of the blood: did
not the writers of the Oriental stories foresee rail and telegraph,
and describe them in their own tropical style?

It is often said, that, although medical science leaves us pretty much
as it found us with regard to the days of the years of our pilgrimage,
and has as yet, with all its discoveries, done little towards
prolonging "this pleasing, anxious being," yet the material
improvements of our day do in effect lengthen mortal life for us. And
truly, what must Indian life have been worth, when it took a month to
cut down a tree with a stone hatchet, and when the shaping of a canoe
was the work of a year? When two hundred miles of travel consumed a
week's time, every two hundred miles' journey was worth a week's life;
and if we accept the idea of a certain celebrated character, (not
"Quintus Curtius," but Geoffrey Crayon, I believe,) that the time we
spend in journeying is just so much subtracted from our little span of
days, what a fearful loss of life must have resulted from our old
modes of locomotion! And yet we inconsiderately grumble at an
occasional smash-up! So easily are we spoiled!

There are grave doubts, however, in some minds, whether our present
celerity of travel be wholly a gain upon the old methods. It must
depend upon circumstances. If agreeable people virtually live longer
now, so do bores, cheats, slanderers, hypocrites, and people who eat
onions and chew tobacco; and the rail enables these to pursue their
victims with inevitable, fatal swiftness.

Some hold that the pleasure of travelling is even impaired by this
increase of speed. There is such a thing as fatal facility. As well
eat a condensed dinner, or hear a concert in one comprehensive crash,
ear-splitting and soul-confounding, as see miles of landscape at a
glance. Willis says, travelling on an English railway is equivalent to
having so many miles of green damask unrolled before your weary eyes.
And one may certainly have too much of a good thing.

But, instead of discussing railroads in general,--too grand a theme
for me,--let me say that nobody can persuade me it is not delightful
to fly over ground scarcely yet trodden by the foot of man; to
penetrate, with the most subtle resources of inventive art, the
recesses in which Nature has enshrined herself most privately,--her
dressing-room, as it were, where we find her in her freshness, before
man-milliners have marred her beauty by attempts at improvement. The
contrast between that miracle of art, a railroad-train at full speed,
and a wide, lonely prairie, or a dusky forest, leafless, chilly, and
silent,--save for the small tinkling of streams beginning to break
from their frosty limits,--is one of the most striking in all the wide
range of rural effects. It reminds me, though perhaps unaccountably to
some, of Browning's fine image,--

  "And ever and anon some bright white shaft
  Burnt through the pine-tree roof, here burnt
    and there,
  As if God's messenger through the close
    wood-screen
  Plunged and re-plunged his weapon at a venture."

Even where fields have begun to be tilled and houses and barns to be
built, the scared flying of domestic animals at sound of the terrific
visitor,--the resistless chariot of civilization with scythed axles
mowing down ignorance and prejudice as it whirls along,--tells a whole
story of change and wonder. We can almost see the shadows of the past
escaping into the dim woods, or flitting over the boundless prairie,
shivering at the fearful whistle, and seeking shelter from the wind of
our darting.

The season for this romantic pleasure of piercing primeval Nature on
the wings of subtilest Art is rapidly drawing to a close. How few
penetrable regions can we now find where the rail-car is a novelty!
The very cows and horses, in most places, know when to expect it, and
hardly vouchsafe a sidelong glance as they munch their green dinner. A
railroad to the Pacific may give excitement of this kind a somewhat
longer date, but those who would enjoy the sensation on routes already
in use must begin their explorings at once. There is no time to be
lost. If we much longer spend all our summers in beating the
changeless paths of the Old World, our chance for the fresh but
fleeting delight I have been speaking of will have passed by, never to
return. It were unwise to lose this, one of the few remaining avenues
to a new sensation. Europe will keep; but the prairies will not, the
woods will not, hardly the rivers. Already the flowery waving oceans
of Illinois begin to abound in ships, or what seem such,--houses
looming up from the horizon, like three-masters sometimes, sometimes
schooners, and again little tentative sloops. These are creeping
nearer and nearer together, filling and making commonplace those
lovely deserts where the imagination can still find wings, and
world-wearied thought a temporary repose. Where neighbors were once
out of beacon-sight, they are now within bell-sound; and however
pleasant this may be for the neighbors, it is not so good for the
traveller, especially the traveller who has seen Europe. Only think of
a virgin forest or prairie, after over-populated Belgium or finished
England! Europeans understand the thing, and invariably rush for the
prairies; but we Americans, however little we may have seen of either
world, care little for the wonders of our own. Yet, when we go abroad,
we cannot help blushing to acknowledge that we have not seen the most
striking features of our own country. I speak from experience. Scott,
describing the arid wastes of the Hebrides,--

  "Placed far amid the melancholy main,"

and swept bare by wintry-cold sea-breezes, said,--

  "Yes! 'twas sublime, but sad; the loneliness
   Loaded thy heart, the desert tired thine eye."

But how different the loneliness of a soft-waving prairie,--soft even
before the new grass springs; soft in outline, in coloring, in its
whispering silence! Nothing sad or harsh; no threat or repulsion; only
mild hope, and promise of ease and abundance. Whether the glad flames
sport amid the long dry grass of last year, or the plough turn up a
deep layer of the exhaustless soil, or flocks of prairie-chickens fly
up from every little valley, images of life, joy, and plenty belong to
the scene. The summer flowers are not more cheerful than the spring
blaze, the spring blackness of richness, or the spring whirr and
flutter. The sky is alive with the return of migratory birds, swinging
back and forth, as if hesitating where to choose, where all is good.
Frogs hold noisy jubilees, ("Anniversary Meetings," perhaps,)--very
hoarse, and no wonder, considering their damp lodging,--but singing,
in words more intelligible than those of the opera-choruses, "Winter's
gone! Spring's come! No, it isn't! Yes, it is!"--and the Ayes have it.
The woodpecker's hammer helps the field-music, wherever he can find a
tree. He seems to know the carpenter is coming, and he makes the most
of his brief season. All is life, movement, freedom, joy. Not on the
very Alps, where their black needles seem to dart into the blue
depths, or snow-fields to mingle with the clouds, is the immediate,
vital sympathy of Earth with Heaven more evident and striking.

The comparative ease with which prairie regions are prepared for the
advent of the great steam-car is exactly typical of the facilities
which they offer to other particulars of civilization. As the
smoothing of the prairie path, preparatory to railway speed, is but
short work, compared with the labor required in grading and levelling
mountainous tracts for the same purpose, so the introduction of all
that makes life desirable goes on with unexampled rapidity where the
land requires no felling of heavy timber to make it ready for the
plough, and where the soil is rich to such a depth that no man fears
any need of new fertilizing in his life-time or his son's. We observe
this difference everywhere in prairiedom; and it is perhaps this
thought, this close interweaving of marked outward aspect with great
human interests, that gives the prairie country its air of peculiar
cheerfulness. To man the earth was given; for him its use and its
beauty were created; it is his idea which endows it with expression,
whether savage or kindly. Rocks and mountains suggest the force
required to conquer difficulties, and the power with which the lord of
creation is endowed to subdue them; and the chief charm and interest
of such regions is derived, consciously or unconsciously, from this
suggestion. Prairie images are more domestic, quiet, leisurely. No
severe, wasting labor is demanded before corn and milk for wife and
little ones are wrung from reluctant clods. No danger is there of sons
or daughters being obliged to quit their homes and roam over foreign
lands for a precarious and beggarly subsistence. No prairie-boy will
ever carry about a hand-organ and a monkey, or see his sister yoked to
the plough, by the side of horse or ox. Blessed be God that there are
still places where grinding poverty is unfelt and unfeared! "Riches
fineless" belong to these deep, soft fields, and they become
picturesque by the thought, as the sea becomes so by the passing of a
ship, and the burning desert by the foot-print of a traveller or the
ashes of his fire.

It was in spring weather, neither cold nor warm, now and then shiny,
and again spattering with a heavy shower, or misty under a warm, slow
rain,--the snow still lying in little streaks under shady
ridges,--that I first saw the prairies of Illinois. Everybody--kind
everybody!--said, "Why didn't you come in June?" But I, not being a
bird of the air, who alone travels at full liberty, the world before
him where to choose and Providence his guide, cared not to answer this
friendly query, but promised to be interested in the spring aspect of
the prairies, after my fashion, as sincerely as more fastidious
travellers can be in the summer one. It is very well to be prepared
when company is expected, but friends may come at any time. "Brown
fields and pastures bare" have no terrors for me. Green is gayer, but
brown softer. Blue skies are not alone lovely; gray ones set them
off--Rain enhances shine. Mud, to be sure;--but then railroads are the
Napoleons of mud. Planks and platforms quench it completely. One may
travel through tenacious seas of it without smirching one's boot-heel.
There is even a feeling of triumph as we see it lying sulky and
impotent on either side, while we bowl along dry-shod. When Noah and
his family came out of the Ark, and found all "soft with the Deluge,"
it was very different. The prospect must have been discouraging. I
thought of it as we went through, or rather over, the prairies. But if
there had been in those days an Ararat Central, with good "incline"
and stationary engine, they need not have sent out dove or raven, but
might have started for home as soon as the rails shone in the sun and
they could get the Ark on wheels. It would have been well to move
carefully, to be sure; and it is odd to think what a journey they
might have had, now and then stopping or switching-off because of a
dead Mastodon across the track, or a panting Leviathan lashing out,
thirstily, with impertinent tail,--to say nothing of sadder sights and
impediments.

There were only pleasant reminiscences of the Great Deluge as we flew
along after a little one. Happy we! in a nicely-cushioned car,
berthed, curtained, and, better than all, furnished with the "best
society," _sans_ starch, _sans_ crinoline; the gentlemen sitting on
their hats as much as they pleased, and the ladies giving curls and
collars the go-by, all in tip-top humor to be pleased. I could imagine
but one improvement to our equipage,--that a steam-organ attached to
it should have played, very softly, Felicien David's lovely level
music of "The Desert," as we bowled along. There were long glittering
side-streams between us and the black or green prairie,--streams with
little ripples on their faces, as the breeze kissed them in passing,
and now and then a dimple, under the visit of a vagrant new-born
beetle. To call such shining waters mud or puddles did not accord with
the spirit of the hour; so we fancied them the "mirroring waters" of
the poet, and compared them to fertilizing Nile,--whose powers,
indeed, they share, to some extent. By their sides _ought_ to be
planted willows and poplars, and alders of half a dozen kinds, but are
not yet. All in good time. Thirsty trees would drink up superfluous
moisture, and in return save fuel by keeping off sweeping winds, and
money by diverting heavy snows, those Russian enemies to the Napoleon
rail, and by preserving embankments, to which nothing but interlacing
roots can give stability. Rows of trees bordering her railroads would
make Illinois look more like France, which in many respects she
already resembles.

The haze or _mirage_ of the prairies is wonderfully fantastic and
deceptive. The effect which seamen call _looming_ is one of the
commonest of its forms. This brings real but distant objects into
view, and dignifies them in size and color, till we can take a
farm-house for a white marble palace, and leafless woods with sunset
clouds behind them for enchanted gardens hung with golden fruit. But
the most gorgeous effects are, as is usual with air-castles, created
out of nothing,--that is, nothing more substantial than air, mist, and
sun- or moon- or star-beams. Fine times the imagination has, riding on
purple and crimson rays, and building Islands of the Blest among
vapors that have just risen from the turbid waters of the Mississippi!
No Loudon or Downing is invoked for the contriving or beautifying of
these villa-residences and this landscape-gardening. Genius comes with
inspiration, as inspiration does with genius; and we are our own
architects and draughtsmen, rioting at liberty with Nature's splendid
palette at our command, and no thought of rule or stint. Why should we
not, in solider things, derive more aid, like the poor little
"Marchioness" of Dickens, from this blessed power of imagination?
Those who do so are always laughed at as unpractical; but are they not
most truly practical, if they find and use the secret of gilding over,
and so making beautiful or tolerable, things in themselves mean or
sad?

Once upon a time, then, the great State of Illinois was all under
water;--at least, so say the learned and statistical. If you doubt it,
go count the distinctly-marked ridges in the so-called bluffs, and see
how many years or ages this modern deluge has been subsiding. Where
its remains once lay sweltering under the hot sun, and sucking miasms
from his beams, now spread great green expanses, wholesome and
fertile, making the best possible use of sunbeams, and offering, by
their aid, every earthly thing that men and animals need for their
bodily growth and sustenance, in almost fabulous abundance.

The colored map of Illinois, as given in a nice, new book, called,
"Illinois as it is," looks like a beautiful piece of silk, brocaded in
green (prairies) on a brownish ground (woodland tracts),--the surface
showing a nearly equal proportion of the two; while the swampy lands,
designated by dark blue,--in allusion, probably, to the occasional
state of mind of those who live near them,--take up a scarce
appreciable part of the space. Long, straggling "bluffs," on the banks
of the rivers, occupy still less room; but they make, on land and
paper, an agreeable variety. People thus far go to them only for the
mineral wealth with which they abound. It will be many years, yet,
before they will be thought worth farming; not because they would not
yield well, but because there is so much land that yields better.

Some parts of the State are hilly, and covered with the finest timber.
The scenery of these tracts is equal to any of the kind in the United
States; and much of it has been long under cultivation, having been
early chosen by Southern settlers, who have grown old upon the soil.
Here and there, on these beautiful highlands, we find ancient ladies,
bright-eyed and cheerful, who tell us they have occupied the selfsame
house--built, Kentucky-fashion, with chimney outside--for forty years
or so. The legends these good dames have to tell are, no doubt, quite
as interesting in their way as those which Sir Walter Scott used to
thread the wilds of Scotland to gather up; but we value them not.
By-and-by, posterity will anathematize us for letting our old national
stories die in blind contempt or sheer ignorance of their value.

The only thing to be found fault with in the landscape is the want of
great fields full of stumps. It does not seem like travelling in a new
country to see all smooth and ready for the plough. Trees are not here
looked upon as natural enemies; and so, where they grow, there they
stand, and wave triumphant over the field like victors' banners. No
finer trees grow anywhere, and one loves to see them so prized. Yet we
miss the dear old stumps. My heart leaps up when I behold hundreds of
them so close together that you can hardly get a plough between. Long,
long years ago, I have seen a dozen men toiling in one little cleared
spot, jollily engaged in burning them with huge fires of brush-wood,
chopping at them with desperate axes, and tearing the less tenacious
out by the roots, with a rude machine made on the principle of that
instrument by the aid of which the dentist revenges you on an
offending tooth. The country looks tame, at first, without these
characteristic ornaments, so suggestive of human occupancy. The ground
is excellently fertile where stumps have been, and association makes
us rather distrustful of its goodness where nothing but grass has ever
grown.

The prairies are not as flat in surface as one expects to find them.
Except in the scarcity of trees, their surface is very much like other
portions of what is considered the best farming land. There are great
tracts of what are called bushy prairies, covered with a thick growth
of hazel and sassafras, jessamine and honey-suckle, and abounding in
grape-vines. These tracts possess springs in abundance. The "islands"
so often alluded to by travellers are most picturesque and beautiful
features in the landscape. They must not be compared to oases, for
they are surrounded by anything but sterility; but they are the
evidence of springs, and generally of a slight rise in the ground, and
the timber upon them is of almost tropical luxuriance. Herds of deer
are feeding in their shade, the murmur of wild bees fills the air, and
the sweet vine-smell invites birds and insects of every brilliant
color. Prairie-chickens are in flocks everywhere, and the approach of
civilization scarcely ever disturbs them. No engine-driver in the
southern part of the State but has often seen deer startled by the
approach of his train, and many tell tales of more ferocious denizens
of the wilds. Buffalo have all long since disappeared; but what times
they must have had in this their paradise, before they went! On the
higher prairies the grass is of a superior quality, and its seed
almost like wheat. On those which are low and humid it grows rank and
tough, and sometimes so high that a man on horseback may pass through
it unobserved. The crowding of vegetation, owing to the over-fertility
of the soil, causes all to tend upward, so that most of the growth is
extra high, rather than spreading in breadth. In the very early
spring, the low grass is interspersed with quantities of violets,
strawberry-blossoms, and other delicate flowers. As the grass grows
taller, flowers of larger size and more brilliant hues diversify it,
till at length the whole is like a flowery forest, but destined to be
burnt over in the autumn, leaving their ashes to help forward the
splendid growth of their successors.

One of the marvels of this marvellous prairiedom, at the present hour,
is the taste and skill displayed in houses and gardens. One fancies a
"settler" in the Western wilds so occupied with thoughts of shelter
and sustenance as hardly to remember that a house must be
perpendicular to be safe, and a garden fenced before it is worth
planting. But every mile of our prairie-flight reminds us, that, where
no time and labor are to be consumed in felling trees and "toting"
logs to mill,--planks and joists, and such like, walking in, by rail,
all ready for the framing,--there is leisure for reflection and choice
as to form; and also, that, where fertility is the inevitable
attendant upon the first incision of the plough, _what_ we shall plant
and _how_ we shall plant it become the only topics for consideration.
Setting aside the merely temporary residences of the poorer class of
farmers,--houses sure to be replaced by palaces of pine-boards, at
least, before a great while, provided the owner does not "move West,"
or take to whiskey,--the cottages we catch glimpses of from
car-windows are pretty and well-planned, and some of them show even
better on the inside than on the out. I must forbear to enlarge on the
comfort and abundance of these dwellings, lest I trench upon private
matters; but I may mention, by way of illustrating my subject, and
somewhat as the painter introduces human figures into his picture to
give an idea of the height of a tower or the vastness of a cathedral,
that I have found an abundant and even elegant table, under frescoed
ceiling, in a cottage near the Illinois Central, and far south of the
mid-line of this wonderful State, so lately a seeming waste through
much of its extent.

And thus throughout. At one moment a bare expanse, looking
man-despised, if not God-forgotten,--and at the next, a smiling
village, with tasteful dwelling, fine shrubbery, great hotels, spires
pointing heavenward, and trees that look down with the conscious
dignity of old settlers, as if they had stood just so since the time
of good Father Marquette, that stout old missionary, who first planted
the holy cross in their shade, and, "after offering to the Mightiest
thanks and supplications, fell asleep to wake no more."

There are many interesting reminiscences or traditions of the early
European settlers of Illinois. After Father Marquette,--whom I always
seem to see in Hicks's sweet picture of a monk inscribing the name
JESU on the bark of a tree in the forest,--came La Salle, an emissary
of the great Colbert, under Louis XIV.; an explorer of many heroic
qualities, who has left in this whole region important traces of his
wanderings, and the memory of his bloody and cruel murder at the
impious hands of his own followers, who had not patience to endure to
the end. Counted as part of Florida, under Spanish rule, and part of
Louisiana, under that of the French,--falling into the hands of the
celebrated John Law, in the course of his bubble Mississippi scheme,
and afterwards ceded with Canada and Nova Scotia to the English,
Illinois was never Americanized until the peace of '83. The spongy
turf of her prairies bore the weight of many a fort, and drank the
blood of the slain in many a battle, when all around her was at peace.
The fertility of her soil and the comparative mildness of her climate
caused her to be eagerly contended for, as far back as 1673, when the
pioneers grew poetical under the inspiration of "a joy that could not
be expressed," as they passed her "broad plains, all garlanded with
majestic forests and checkered with illimitable prairies and island
groves." "We are Illinois," said the poor Indians to Father
Marquette,--meaning, in their language, "We are men." And the Jesuits
treated them as men; but by traders they soon began to be treated like
beasts; and of course--poor things!--they did their best to behave
accordingly. All the forts are ruins now; there is no longer occasion
for them. The Indians are nothing. There can scarcely be found the
slightest trace of their occupancy of these rich acres. Nations that
build nothing but uninscribed burial-places foreshadow their own
doom,--to return to the soil and be forgotten. But the mode of their
passing away is not, therefore, a matter of indifference.

On the stronger and more intelligent rests the responsibility of such
changes; and in the case of our Indians, it is certain that a load of
guilt, individual and national, rests somewhere. Necessity is no
Christian plea, "It must needs be that offences come, but woe to him
by whom the offence cometh!" The Indian and the negro shall rise up in
judgment against our rich and happy land, and condemn it for
inhumanity and selfishness. Have they not already done so? Blood and
treasure, poured out like water, have been the beginnings of
retribution in one case; a deeper and more vital punishment, such as
belongs to bosom-sins, awaits us in the other. Shall no penitence, no
sacrifice, attempt to avert it?

Illinois, level, fertile, joyous, took French rule very kindly. The
missionaries, who were physicians, schoolmasters, and artisans, as
well as preachers, lived among the people, instructed them in the arts
of life as well as in the ceremonies and spirit of the Catholic faith;
and natives and foreigners seem to have dwelt together in peace and
love. The French brought with them the regularity and neatness that
characterize their home-settlements, and the abundance in which they
lived enabled them to be public-spirited and to deal liberally even
with the Indians. They raised wheat in such plenty that Indian corn
was cultivated chiefly for provender, although they found the
_voyageurs_ glad to buy it as they passed back and forth on their
adventurous journeys. The remains of their houses show how
substantially they built; two or three modern sudden houses could be
made out of one old French picketed and porticoed cottage.

The appearance of an Illinois settler in those days was rather
picturesque than elegant,--substance before show being the principle
upon which it was planned. While the Indian still wore his paint and
feathers when he came to trade, the rural swain appeared in a _capote_
made of blanket, with a hood that served in cold weather instead of a
Leary, buck-skin overalls, moccasins of raw-hide, and, generally, only
a natural shock of Sampsonian locks between his head and the sun;
while his lady-love was satisfied with an outfit not very
different,--save that there is no tradition that she ever capped the
climax of ugliness by wearing Bloomers. There were gay colors for
holidays, no doubt; but not till 1830, we are told, did the genuine
Illinois settler adopt the commonplace dress of this imitative land.
What pity when people are in such haste to do away with everything
characteristic in costume!

Both sexes worked hard, bore rough weather without flinching, and
attended carefully to their religious duties; but, withal, they were
gay and joyous, ready for dance and frolic, and never so anxious to
make money that they forgot to make fun.

What must the ghosts of these primitive Christians think of their
successors, ploughing in broadcloth and beaver, wading through the mud
in patent-leather boots, and all the while wrinkled with anxiety,
gaunt with ambition, and grudging themselves three holidays a year!

Immigrants in time changed the character of the population as well as
its dress, and for a while there seems to have been something of a
jumble of elements, new laws conflicting with old habits, hungry
politicians preying upon a simple people, who only desired to be let
alone, and who, when they discovered some gross imposition, were
philosophical enough to call it, jokingly, being "greased and
swallowed." This anarchical condition resulted, as usual, in habits of
personal violence; and, at one time, an adverse vote was considered
matter for stabbing or gouging, and juries often dismissed
indictments, fearing private vengeance in case of a discharge of their
duty. They made a wide distinction, in murder trials, between him who
committed the crime in a passion and those who did the thing quietly;
so that you had only to walk up to the person who had offended you,
and shoot him in the open street, to feel tolerably sure of impunity.
In short, there seems to have prevailed, at that time, north of Mason
and Dixon's line, very much the same state of things that still
prevails south of it; but there was other leaven at work, and the good
sense of the people gradually got the better of this short-sighted
folly of violence.

It is reported as fact, by all writers on the earlier history of this
State, that the holding of courts was conducted very much in the style
reported of the back counties of Georgia and Alabama in our day. The
sheriff would go out into the court-yard and say to the people, "Come
in, boys,--the court is going to begin,"--or sometimes, "Our John is
going to open court now,"--the judge being just one of the "boys."

Judges did not like to take upon themselves the _onus_ of deciding
cases, but shared it with the jury as far as possible. One story, well
authenticated, runs thus: A certain judge, having to pass sentence of
death upon one of his neighbors, did it in the following form: "Mr.
Green, the jury in their verdict say you are guilty of murder, and the
law in that case says you are to be hung. Now I want you and all your
friends down on Indian Creek to know that it is not me that condemns
you, but the jury and the law. What time would you like to be hung,
Sir?" The poor man replied, that it made no difference to him; he
would rather the court should appoint a time. "Well, then, Mr. Green,"
says the judge, "the court will allow you four weeks' time to prepare
for death and settle up your business." It was here suggested by the
Attorney-General that it was usual in such cases for the court to
recapitulate the essential parts of the evidence, to set forth the
nature and enormity of the crime, and solemnly to exhort the prisoner
to repent and fit himself for the awful doom awaiting him. "Oh!" said
the judge, "Mr. Green understands all that as well as if I had
preached to him a month. Don't you, Mr. Green? You understand you're
to be hung this day four weeks?" "Yes, Sir," replied Mr. Green, and so
the matter ended.

One legal brilliant blazes on the forehead of youthful Illinois, in
the shape of a summary remedy for duelling. One of those heroes who
think it safer to appeal to chance than to logic in vindication of
tarnished honor, and who imagine the blood of a dead friend the only
salve to be relied on for the cure of wounded feelings, killed his
opponent in a duel. The law of Illinois very coolly hanged the
survivor; and from that time to this, other remedies have been found
for spiritual hurts, real or imaginary. Nobody has fancied it
necessary to fight with a noose round his neck. If ever capital
punishment were lawful, (which I confess I do not think it ever can
be,) it would be as a desperate remedy against this horrid relic of
mediaeval superstition and impiety, no wiser or more Christian than
the ordeal by burning ploughshares or poisoned wine. The rope in
judicial hands is certainly as lawful as the pistol in rash ones; so
the duellist has no reason to complain.

Some of the later days of Illinois, the days of Indian wars and Mormon
wars, pro-slavery wars and financial wars, are too red and black for
peaceful pages; and as they were incidental rather than
characteristic, they do not come within our narrow limits. There is
still too large an infusion of the cruel slavery spirit in the laws of
Illinois; but the immense tide of immigration will necessarily remedy
that, by overpowering the influence introduced over the southern
border. So nearly a Southern State was Illinois once considered to be,
that, in settling the northern boundary, it was deemed essential to
give her a portion of the lake-shore, that her interests might be at
least balanced. They have proved to be more than balanced by this wise
provision.

The little excuse there is in this favored region for a sordid
devotion to toil, a journey through the State, even at flying pace, is
sufficient to show. The fertility of the soil is the despair of
scientific farming. Who cares for rules, when he has only to drop a
seed and tread on it, to be sure of a hundred-fold return? Who talks
of succession of crops, when twelve burdens of wheat, taken from the
same soil in as many years, leave the ground black and ready for
another yield of almost equal abundance? An alluvial tract of about
three hundred thousand acres, near the Mississippi, has been
cultivated in Indian corn a hundred and fifty years,--indeed, ever
since the French occupation of Illinois. What of under-draining? Some
forty or fifty rivers threading the State, besides smaller streams
innumerable, always will do that, as soon as the Nilic floods of
spring have accomplished their work by floating to the surface the
finest part of the soil. Irrigation? You may now grow rice on one farm
and grapes on another, without travelling far between. It is true,
there must be an end to this universality of power and advantage, some
day; but nobody can see far enough ahead to feel afraid, and it is not
in the spirit of our time to think much about the good of our
grandchildren. "What has posterity done for me?" is the instinctive
question of the busy Westerner, as he sits down under vine and
fig-tree which his own hands have planted, to enjoy peace and plenty,
after suffering the inevitable hardships of pioneer life. You may tell
him he is not wise to scorn good rules; but he will reply, that he did
not come so far West, and begin life anew, for the sake of being wise,
but of making money, and that as rapidly as possible. He has forgotten
the care and economy learned among the cold and stony hills of New
England, and wants to do everything on a large scale. He likes to hear
of patent reapers, Briarean threshing-machines, and anything that will
save him most of the time and trouble of gathering in his heavy
crops,--but that is all. The growth of those crops he has nothing to
do with. That is provided for by Nature in Illinois; if it were not,
he would move "out West."

Stories of this boundless fertility are rife here. One pioneer told
us, that, when a fence is to be made and post-holes are wanted, it is
only necessary to drop beet-seed ten feet apart all around the field,
and, when the beet is ripe, you pull it up and your post-hole is
ready! To be sure, there was a twinkle in the corner of his eye as he
stated this novel and interesting fact; but, after all, the fertility
in question was not so extravagantly "poefied" by this _canard_ as
some may suppose. Our friend went on to state, that, in his district,
they had a kind of corn which produced from a single grain a dozen
stalks of twelve ears each; and not content with this, on _most_ of
the stalks you would find, somewhere near the top, a small calabash
full of shelled corn! To put the matter beyond doubt, he pulled a
handful of the corn from his pocket, which he invited us to plant, and
satisfy ourselves.

The reader has probably concluded, by this time, that beets and corn
are not the only enormous things grown in Illinois.

A friend told us, in perfectly good faith, that a tract of his, some
fourteen thousand acres, in the southern part of the State, contained
coal enough to warm the world, and more iron than that coal would
smelt,--salt enough for all time, and marble and rich metallic ores of
various kinds besides. In one region are found inexhaustible beds of
limestone, the smoke of whose burning fills the whole spring air, and
the crevices of whose formation make very pokerish-looking caves,
which young and adventurous ladies are fond of exploring; in another
we come to quantities of that snow-white porcelain clay of which some
people suppose themselves to have been originally formed, but which
has been, in a commercial point of view, hitherto a _desideratum_ in
these United States of ours. The people at Mound City (an aspiring
rival of Cairo, on the banks of the Ohio) are about building a factory
for the exploitation of this clay, not into ladies and gentlemen,
(unpopular articles here,) but into china-ware, the quality of which
will be indisputable.

One soon ceases wondering at the tropicality of the Illinoisian
imagination. Ali Baba's eye-straining experiences were poor, compared
to these every-day realities.

The "Open Sesame" in this case has been spoken through the
railroad-whistle. Railroads cannot make mines and quarries, and fat
soil and bounteous rivers; yet railroads have been the making of
Illinois. Nobody who has ever seen her spring roads, where there are
no rails, can ever question it. From the very fatness of her soil, the
greater part of the State must have been one Slough of Despond for
three quarters of the year, and her inhabitants strangers to each
other, if these iron arms had not drawn the people together and
bridged the gulfs for them. No roads but railroads could possibly have
threaded the State, a large and the best portion of whose surface is
absolutely devoid of timber, stone, gravel, or any other available
material. The prairies must have remained flowery deserts, visited as
a curiosity every year by strangers, but without dwellings for want of
wood. The vast quarries must, of course, have lain useless, for want
of transporting power,--our friend's coal and iron undisturbed,
waiting for an earthquake,--and the poetical pioneer's beets and
Indian corn unplanted, and therefore uncelebrated. Well may it be said
here, that iron is more valuable than gold. Population, agriculture,
the mechanic arts, literature, taste, civilization, in short, are all
magnetized by the beneficent rail, and follow wherever it leads. The
whole southern portion of Illinois has been nicknamed "Egypt,"
--whether because at its utmost point, on a dampish delta,
reposes the far-famed city of Cairo,--or whether, as wicked satirists
pretend, its denizens have been found, in certain particulars, rather
behind our times in intellectual light. Whatever may have been the
original excuse for the _sobriquet_, the derogatory one exists no
more. Light has penetrated, and darkness can reign no longer. Every
day, a fiery visitant, bearing the collective intelligence of the
whole world's doings and sayings, dashes through Egypt into Cairo,
giving off scintillations at every hamlet on the way,--and every day
the brilliant marvel returns, bringing northward, not only the good
things of the Ohio and Mississippi, but tropic _on-dits_ and oranges,
only a few hours old, to the citizens of Chicago, far "in advance of
the (New York) mail." With the rail comes the telegraph; and whispers
of the rise and fall of fancies and potatoes, of speculations and
elections, of the sale of corner-lots and the evasion of
bank-officers, are darting about in every direction over our heads, as
we unconsciously admire the sunset, or sketch a knot of rosy children
as they come trooping from a quaint school-house on the prairie edge.
Fancy the rail gone, and we have neither telegraph, nor school-house,
nor anything of all this but the sunset,--and even that we could not
be there to see in spring-time, at least, unless we could transmigrate
for the time into the relinquished forms of some of these aboriginal
bull-frogs, which grow to the nice size of two feet in length,
destined, no doubt, to receive the souls of habitual croakers
hereafter.

But if the railroads have been the making of the land, it is not to be
denied that the land has been the making of the railroads. Egyptian
minds they must have been, that grudged the tracts given by the United
States to the greatest of roads, the greatest road in the world.
Having bestowed a line of alternate sections on this immense
undertaking,--vital in importance, and impossible without such
aid,--the Government at once doubled the price of the intermediate
sections, _and sold them at the doubled price_, though they had been
years, and might have been ages, in market unsold, without means of
communication and building. Who, then, was the loser? Not the United
States; for they received for half the land just what they would
otherwise have received for the whole. Not the State; for it lays
hands on a good slice of the annual profits, not to speak of
incalculable benefits beside. Not the farmer, surely; for what would
his now high-priced land be worth, if the grand road were annihilated?
Not the bond-holder; for he receives a fair, full interest on his
money. Not the stock-holder; for he looks with eyes of faith toward a
great future. It was a sort of triangular or quadrangular or
pentangular bargain, in which all these parties were immensely
benefited. The traveller blesses such liberal policy, as he flies
along towards the land of oranges, or turns aside to measure mammoth
beets or weigh extra-supernal corn, to "bore" or to "prospect," to
pick at oölite and shale or to "peep and botanize" through an
inexhaustible Flora. The present writer has certainly reason to be
grateful,--not, alas! with that gushing warmth of feeling which the
owners of shares or bonds naturally experience,--but as an "'umble
individual" who could not have found material for this valuable
article, if certain gentlemen who do own the said shares had not been
very enterprising.

The man who may be said to have devised the land-basis for railroads
through unsettled tracts--a financier of unsurpassed sagacity, and
once the soul of commercial honor as well as intelligence--should not,
in his dishonored grave, and far beyond the reach of human scorn or
vengeance, be denied the credit of what he accomplished before the
fatal madness seized his soul and dragged him to perdition. Let it be
enough that his name has come to be an epithet of infamy in his land's
language. Let not the grandeur of his views, the intent with which he
set out, and the good he achieved, be lost in oblivion. Pride--"by
that sin fell the angels!"--cast him headlong down the irrecoverable
steep,--

  "And when he fell, he fell like Lucifer,"--

aye! like Wolsey and Bacon,--

  "Never to rise again!"

It is no sin to hope that the All-seeing eye discerned in those noble
undertakings and beneficent results the germ of wings that shall one
day bear him back to light and mercy. Let us, who benefit by his good
deeds, not insist on remembering only the evil!

Chicago, the Wondrous, sits amid her wealth, like a magnificent
sultana, half-reclining over a great oval mirror, supplied by that
lake of lakes, the fathomless Michigan. Perhaps the resemblance might
be unpoetically traced to particulars; for we are told by lotos-eating
travellers, that Oriental beauties, with all their splendor, are not
especially clean. Certain it is that our Occidental sultana dresses
her fair head with towers and spires, and hangs about her neck long
rows of gems in the shape of stately and elegant dwellings,--yet,
descending to her feet, we sink in mud and mire, or tumble unguardedly
into excavations set like traps for the unwary, or oust whole colonies
of rats from beneath plank walks where they have burrowed securely
ever since "improvements" began. At some seasons, indeed, there is no
mud; because the high winds from the lake or the prairies turn the mud
into dust, which blinds our eyes, fills our mouths, and makes us
Quakers in appearance and anything but saints in heart.
Chicago-walking resembles none but such as Christian encountered as he
fled from the City of Destruction; yet in this case the ills are those
of a City of _Con_struction.--sure to disappear as soon as the
builders find time to care for such trifles. Chicago people, it is
well known, walk with their heads in the clouds, and, naturally, do
not mind what happens to their feet. It is only strangers who exclaim,
and sometimes more than exclaim, at the dangers of the way. Cast-away
carriages lie along the road-side, like ships on Fire Island beach.
Nobody minds them. If you see a gentleman at a distance, progressing
slowly with a gliding or floundering pace, you conclude he has a horse
under him, and, perhaps, on nearer approach, you see bridle and
headstall. This is in early spring, while the frost is coming out of
the ground. As the season advances, the horse emerges, and you are
just getting a fair sight of him when the dust begins and he
disappears again. So say the scoffers, and those who would, but do
not, own any city-lots in that favored vicinity; and to the somewhat
heated mind of the traveller who encounters such things for the first
time, the story does not seem so very much exaggerated. Simple
wayfarers like myself, however, tell no such wicked tales of the
Garden City; but remember only her youth, her grandeur, her spirit,
her hospitality, her weight of cares, her immense achievements, and
her sure promise of future metropolitan splendors.

The vicinity of Chicago is all dotted with beautiful villa-residences.
To drive among them is like turning over a book of architectural
drawings,--so great is their variety, and so marked the taste which
prevails. Many of them are of the fine light-colored stone found in
the neighborhood, and their substantial excellence inspires a feeling
that all this prosperity is of no ephemeral character. People do not
build such country-houses until they feel settled and secure. The
lake-shore is of course the line of attraction, for it is the only
natural beauty of the place. But what trees! Several of the streets of
Chicago may easily become as beautiful drives as the far-famed Cascine
at Florence, and will be so before her population doubles
again,--which is giving but a short interval for the improvement. No
parks as yet, however. Land on the lake-shore is too precious, and the
flats west of the town are quite despised. Yet city parks do not
demand very unequal surface, and it would not require a very potent
landscape-gardener or an unheard-of amount of dollars to make a fine
driving-and riding-ground, where the new carriages of the fortunate
might be aired, and the fine horses of the gay exercised, during a
good part of the year.

To describe Chicago, one would need all the superlatives set in a row.
Grandest, flattest,--muddiest, dustiest,--hottest, coldest,--wettest,
driest,--farthest north, south, east, and west from other places,
consequently most central,--best harbor on Lake Michigan, worst harbor
and smallest river any great commercial city ever lived on,--most
elegant in architecture, meanest in hovel-propping,--wildest in
speculation, solidest in value,--proudest in self-esteem, loudest in
self-disparagement,--most lavish, most grasping,--most public-spirited
in some things, blindest and darkest on some points of highest
interest.

And some poor souls would doubtless add,--most fascinating, or most
desolate,--according as one goes there, gay and hopeful, to find
troops of prosperous friends, or, lonely and poor, with the distant
hope of bettering broken fortunes by struggling among the driving
thousands already there on the same errand. There is, perhaps, no
place in the world where it is more necessary to take a bright and
hopeful view of life, and none where this is more difficult. There is
too much at stake. Those who have visited Baden-Baden and her Kursaal
sisters in the height of the season need not be told that no
"church-face" ever equalled in solemnity the countenances of those who
surround the fatal tables, waiting for the stony lips of the croupier
to announce "_Noir perd_" or "_Rouge gagne_." At Chicago are a wider
table, higher stakes, more desperate throws, and Fate herself
presiding, or what seems Fate, at once partial and inexorable.

But, on this great scale, even success fails to bring smiles. The
winners sit "with hair on end at their own wonders," and half-fearing
that such golden showers have some illusion about them and may prove
fairy favors at last. Next to this fueling comes the thirst for more.
Enlarged means bring enlarged desires and ever-extending plans. The
repose and lightness of heart that were at first to be the reward of
success recede farther and farther into the dim distance, until at
last they are lost sight of entirely, confessed, with a sigh, to be
unattainable. How can people in this State wear cheerful countenances?
When one looks at the gay and social faces and habits of some little
German town, where are cultivated people, surrounded by the books and
pictures they love, with leisure enough for music and dancing and
tea-garden chat, for deep friendships and lofty musings, it would seem
as if our shrewd Yankee-land and its outcroppings at the West had not
yet found out everything worth knowing. Froissart's famous remark
about the English in France--"They take their pleasure sadly, after
their fashion"--may apply to the population of Chicago, and it will be
some time yet, I fancy, before they will take it very gayly.

At a little country-town, the other day, not within a thousand miles
of Chicago, a family about leaving for a distant place advertised
their movables for sale at auction. There was such a stir throughout
the settlement as called forth an expression of wonder from a
stranger. "Ah!" said a good lady, "auctions are the only gayety we
have here!"

Joking apart, there was a deep American truth in this seeming
_niaiserie_.

Chicago has, as we have said, with all her wealth, no public park or
other provision for out-door recreation. She has no gallery of Art, or
the beginning of one,--no establishment of music, no public
library,--no social institution whatever, except the church. Without
that blessed bond, her people would be absolute units, as independent
of each other as the grains of sand on the seashore, swept hither and
thither by the ocean winds.

But even before these words have found their way to the Garden City,
they will, perhaps, be inapplicable,--so rapid is progress at the
West. The people are like a great family moving into a new house.
There is so much sweeping and dusting to do, so much finding of places
for the furniture, so much time to spend in providing for breakfast,
dinner, and tea, lodging and washing, that nobody thinks of unpacking
the pictures, taking the books out of their boxes, or getting up
drives or riding-parties. All these come in good time, and will be the
better done for a little prudent delay.

There is, to the stranger, an appearance of extreme hurry in Chicago,
and the streets are very peculiar in not having a lady walking in
them. Day after day I traversed them, meeting crowds of men, who
looked like the representatives of every nation and tongue and
people,--and every class of society, from the greenest rustic, or the
most undisguised sharper, to the man of most serious respectability,
or him of highest _ton_. Yet one lady walking in the streets I saw
not; and when I say not one lady, I mean that I did not meet a woman
who seemed to claim that title, or any title much above that of an
ordinary domestic. Perhaps this is only a spring symptom, which passes
off when the mud dries up a little,--but it certainly gave a rather
forlorn or funereal aspect to the streets for the time.

There is, nevertheless, potent inspiration in the resolute and
occupied air of these crowds. Hardly any one stays long among them
without feeling a desire to share their excitement, and do something
towards the splendid future which is evidently beckoning them on.
Preparing the future! It is glorious business. No wonder it makes the
pulse quicken and the eye look as if it saw spirits. It may be said,
that in some sense we are all preparing the future; but in the West
there is a special meaning in the expression. In circumstances so new
and wondrous, first steps are all-important. Those who have been
providentially led to become early settlers have immense power for
good or evil. One can trace in many or most of our Western towns, and
even States, the spirit of their first influential citizens. Happy is
it for Chicago that she has been favored in this respect,--and to her
honor be it said, that she appreciates her benefactors. Of one
citizen, who has been for twenty years past doing the quiet and modest
work of a good genius in the city of his adoption, it is currently
said, that he has built a hundred miles of her streets,--and there is
no mark of respect and gratitude that she would not gladly show him.
Other citizens take the most faithful and disinterested care of her
schools; and to many she is indebted for an amount of liberality and
public spirit which is constantly increasing her enormous prosperity.
Happy the city which possesses such citizens! Happy the citizens who
have a city so nobly deserving of their best services!



AN EVENING WITH THE TELEGRAPH-WIRES.

My cousin Moses has made the discovery that he is a powerful
magnetizer.

Like many others who have newly come into possession of a small tract
in those mysterious, outlying, unexplored wildernesses of Nature,
which we call by so many names, but which as yet refuse to be defined
or classed, he has been naturally eager to commence operations, and
_exploit_ and farm it a little. He is making experiments on a narrow
border of his wild lands. He is a man of will and of strong
_physique_, with an inquiring and scientific turn of mind, which
inclines him chiefly to metaphysical studies. It is not to be wondered
at, that, having lately discovered that he possesses the mesmeric
gift, he should not sufficiently discriminate as to its application.
Later he will see that it is an agent not to be tampered with, and
never to be used on healthy subjects, but applied only to invalids.
To-day he is like a newly-armed knight-errant, bounding off on his
steed at sunrise, in search of adventures.

One afternoon, not long since, he was telling me of his extraordinary
successes with somnambulists and _somnoparlists_,--of old ladies cured
of nervous headaches and face-twitches, and of young ones put to sleep
at a distance from the magnetizer, dropping into a trance suddenly as
a bird struck by a gun-shot, simply by an act of his volition,--of
water turned into wine, and wine into brandy, to the somnambulic
taste,--and so on, till we got wandering into crooked by-paths of
physics and metaphysics, that seemed to lead us nowhere in
particular,--when I said, "Come, Cousin Moses, suppose you try it on
me, by way of experiment. But I have my doubts if you'll ever put me
to sleep."

My cousin yielded to my request with alacrity;--every subject for
mesmerism was for him legitimate;--and I relinquished myself to his
passes with the docility of a man about to be shaved.

The passes from the head downward were kept up perseveringly for half
an hour, without my experiencing any change, or manifesting the least
symptom of drowsiness. At last the charm began to work. I began to be
conscious of a singular trickling or creeping sensation following the
motion of his passes down my arms. My respiration grew short. I
experienced, however, no tendency to sleep, and my mind was perfectly
calm and unexcited. My cousin was satisfied with his experiment so
far, but we both concluded it had better end here. So he made the
reverse passes, in order to undo the knot he was beginning to tie in
my nerves. He did not, however, entirely succeed in untying it. I was
a healthy subject, and the magnetism continued to affect my nerves, in
spite of the untangling passes.

Soon after, I rose and took my leave. I was strangely excited, but it
was a purely physical, and not a mental excitement. Thinking that a
walk would quiet me, I went through street after street, until I
reached the outskirts of the city. It was a mild September evening.
The fine weather and the sight of the trees and fields tempted me to
continue my walk. It was near sunset, and I strolled on and on,
watching the purple gray and ruddy gold of the clouds, until I had got
fairly into the country.

As I rambled on, I was suddenly seized with a fancy to climb a tree
which stood by the roadside, and rest myself in a convenient notch
which I observed between two of the limbs. I was soon seated in among
the branches, with a canopy of leaves around and over me,--feeling, in
my still nervous condition, as I leaned my back against the mossy
bark, like a magnified tree-toad in clothes.

The air was balmy and fragrant, and against the amber of the western
sky rose and fell numberless little clouds of insects. The birds were
chirping and fluttering about me, and made their arrangements for
their night's lodging, in manifest dread of the clothed tree-toad who
had invaded their leafy premises.

The peculiar nervousness which had taken possession of me was now
passing off, to be replaced by a species of mental exaltation. I was
becoming conscious of something approaching semi-clairvoyance, and yet
not in the ordinary form. Sensation, emotion, thought were
intensified. The landscape around me was dotted with farm-houses,
pillowed in soft, dark clumps of trees. One by one, the lights began
to appear at the windows,--soft rising stars of home-joys. The
glorious September sunset was fading, but still resplendent in the
west. The landscape was pervaded with a deeper repose, the glowing
clouds with a diviner splendor than that which filled the eye. Then
thronging memories awoke. My remembrances of all my past life in the
crowded cities of America and Europe rose vividly before me. In the
long strata of solid gray clouds, where the sun had gone down, leaving
only a few vapory gold-fishes swimming in the clear spaces above, I
could fancy I saw the lonely Roman Campagna and the wondrous dome of
St. Peter's, as when first beheld on the horizon ten years ago. Then,
as from the slopes of San Miniato at sunset, gray, red-tiled Florence,
with its Boboli gardens, full of nightingales, its old towers and
cathedrals, and its soaring Giotto Campanile. Then Genoa, with its
terraces and marble palaces, and that huge statue of André Doria. Then
Naples, gleaming white in the eye of day over her pellucid depths of
sea. The golden days of Italy floated by me. Then came the memories,
glad or sad, of days that had passed in my own native land,--in the
very city that lay behind me,--the intimate communings with dear
friends,--the musical and the merry nights,--the trials, anxieties,
sorrows----

But all this is very egotistical and unnecessary. I merely meant to
say that I was in a peculiar, almost abnormal state of mind, that
evening. The spirit had, as it were, been drawn outwards, and perhaps
slightly dislocated, by those mesmeric passes of my cousin, and I had
not succeeded as yet in adjusting it quite satisfactorily in its old
bodily grooves and sockets. The condition I was in was not as pleasant
as I could have wished; for I was as alive to painful remembrances and
imaginations, as to pleasant ones. I seemed to myself like a revolving
lantern of a light-house,--now dark, now glowing with a fiery
radiance.

I asked myself, Is it that I have been blind and deaf and dull all my
life, and am just waking into real existence? or am I developing into
a _medium_,--Heaven forbid!--and the spirits pushing at some unguarded
portal of the nervous system, and striving to take possession? Shall I
hear raps and knockings when I return to my solitary chamber, and sit
a powerless beholder of damaged furniture, which the spirits will
never have the conscience to promise payment for, when my landlady's
bill comes in? (By the way, have the spirits _ever_ behaved like
gentlemen in this respect, and settled up fair and square for the
breakages they have indulged in by way of exemplifying the doctrine of
a future state?)

As I soliloquized thus, I was attracted by a low vibrating note among
the leaves. Looking through them, I saw, for the first time, that two
or three telegraph-wires, which I had observed skirting the road, ran
directly through the tree in which I was seated. It was a strange sort
of sound, that came in hurried jerks, as it were, accompanied with a
corresponding jerk of the wire.

A gigantic fancy flashed across me:--This State of New York is a great
guitar; yonder, at Albany, are the legislative pegs and screws; down
there in Manhattan Island is the great sounding-board; these iron
wires are the strings! The spirits are singing, perhaps, with their
heads up there in the sweet heavens and the rosy clouds,--and this
vibration of the wires is a sort of loose jangling accompaniment of
their unpractised hands on earth. The voice is always above the
strings.--This I thought in my semi-mesmeric condition, perhaps. I
soon laughed at my Brobdignagian nonsense, and said,--There is a
telegraphic despatch passing. Now if I could only find out what it
is!--that would be something new in science,--a discovery worth
knowing,--to be able to hear or feel the purport of a telegraphic
message, simply by touching the wire along which it runs!

So, regardless of any electric shock I might receive, I thrust out my
hand through the leaves of the tree, and boldly grasped the wire. The
jerks instantly were experienced in my elbow, and it was not long
before certain short sentences were conveyed, magnetically, to my
brain. In my amazement at the discovery, I almost dropped out of the
tree. However, I kept firm hold of the wire, and my sensorium made me
aware of something passing like this:--"Market active. Fair demand for
exchange. Transactions from five to ten thousand shares. Aristides
railroad-stock scarce. Rates of freight to Liverpool firm. Yours
respectfully, Grabber and Holdham."

Upon my word, said I, this is rather dry!--only a merchant! I expected
something better than this, to commence with.

The wire being now quiet, I fell into a musing upon the singular
discovery I had made,--and whether I should get anything from the
public or the government for revealing it. And then my thoughts
wandered across the Atlantic, and I remembered those long rows of
telegraphic wires in France, ruled along the tops of high
barrier-walls, and looking against the sky like immense
music-lines,--and those queer inverted-coffee-cup-like supports for
the wires, on the tall posts. Then I thought of music and coffee at
the Jardin Mabille. Then my fancy wandered down the Champs Elysées to
those multitudinous spider-web wires that radiate from the palace of
the Tuileries, where the Imperial spider sits plotting and weaving his
meshes around the liberties of France. Then I thought, What a thing
this discovery of mine would be for political conspirators,--to
reverse the whispering-gallery of Dionysius, and, instead of the
tyrant hearing the secrets of the people, the people hearing the
secrets of the tyrant! Then I thought of Robespierre, and Marat, and
Charlotte Corday, and Marie Antoinette,--then of Delaroche's and
Müller's pictures of the unfortunate Queen,--then of pictures in
general,--then of landscape-scenery,--till I almost fell into a doze,
when I was startled by a faint sound along the wire, as of a sigh,
like the first thrill of the AEolian harp in the evening wind. Another
message was passing. I reached my hand out to the iron thread. A
confused sadness began to oppress me. A mother's voice weeping over
her sick child pulsed along the wire. Her husband was far away. Her
little daughter lay very ill. "Come quick," said the voice. "I have
little hope; but if you were only here, I should be calmer. If she
must die, it would be such a comfort to have you here!"

I drew my hand away. I saw the whole scene too vividly. Who this
mother was I knew not; but the news of the death of a child whom I
knew and loved could not have affected me more strangely and keenly
than this semi-articulate sob which quivered along the iron airtrack,
in the silence of the evening, from one unknown--to another unknown.

I roused myself from my sadness, and thought I would descend the tree
and stroll home. The moon was up, and a pleasant walk before me, with
enough to meditate upon in the singular discovery I had made. I was
about to get down from my crotch in the tree, and was just reaching
out my dexter leg to feel if I could touch a bough below me, when a
low, wild shriek ran along the wire,--as when the wind-harp, above
referred to for illustration, is blown upon by some rude, sharp
northwester. In spite of myself, I touched the vibrating cord. The
message was brief and abrupt, like a sea-captain's command:--"Ship
Trinidad wrecked off Wildcat's Beach,--all hands lost,--no insurance!"

Do you recollect, when sitting alone sometimes in your room, at
midnight, in the month of November, how, after a lull in the blast,
the bleak wind will all at once seem to clutch at the windows, with a
demoniac howl that makes the house rock? Do you remember the
half-whistles and half-groans through the key-holes and crevices,--the
cries and shrieks that rise and fall,--the roaring in the
chimney,--the slamming of distant doors and shutters? Well, all this
seemed to be suggested in the ringing of the iron cord. The very
leaves, green and dewy, and the delicate branches, seemed to quiver as
the dreary message passed.

I thought,--This is a little too much! This old tree is getting to be
a very lugubrious spot. I don't want to hear any more such messages. I
almost wish I had never touched the wire. Strange! one reads such an
announcement in a newspaper very coolly;--why is it that I can't take
it coolly in a telegraphic despatch? We can read a thing with
indifference which we hear spoken with a shudder,--such prisoners are
we to our senses! I have had enough of this telegraphing. I sha'n't
close my eyes to-night, if I have any more of it.

I had now fairly got my foot on the branch below, and was slipping
myself gradually down, when the wire began to ring like a horn, and in
the merriest of strains. I paused and listened. I could fancy the
joyful barking of dogs in accompaniment. Ah, surely, this is some
sportsman,--"the hunter's call, to faun and dryad known." This smacks
of the bright sunshine and the green woods and the yellow fields. I
will stop and hear it.--It was just what I expected,--a jolly citizen
telegraphing his country friend to meet him with his guns and dogs at
such a place.

And immediately afterwards, in much the same key, came a musical note
and a message babbling of green fields, from a painter:--"I shall
leave town to-morrow. Meet me at Bullshornville at ten, A.M. Don't
forget to bring my field-easel, canvases, and the other traps."

If there is more of this music, I said, I think I shall stay. I love
the sportsmen and the artists, and am glad they are going to have a
good time. The weather promises well for them.

There was a little pause, and then a strain of perfect jubilation came
leaping along the wire, like the flying song of the bobolink over
tracts of blowing clover and apple-blossoms. I expected something very
rare,--a strain of poetry at least. It was only this:--"Mr. Grimkins,
Sir, we shall expect rooms for the bridal party at your hotel, on the
side overlooking the lake, if possible. Yours, P. Simpkins."

Ah, I said, that's all Greek to me,--poor, lonely bachelor that I am!
I wonder, by the way, if they ever wrote their love-letters by
telegraph.--But what is this coming? I am clearly getting back to my
normal condition:--"Miss Polly Wogg wishes to say that she has been
unable to procure the silk for Mrs. Papillon for less than five
dollars a yard."--Nonsense! I'm not in the dry-goods, nor millinery,
nor young-lady department.

And here was another:--"I have found an excellent school for Adolphus
in Birchville, near Mastersville Corners. Send him up without delay,
with all the school-books you can find."

And another,--important, very:--"I find that 'One touch of Nature
makes the whole world kin' is in 'Troilus and Cressida.' Don't send
the MS. without this correction."

But what's this, accompanied with a long, low whistle?--"The cars have
run off the track at Breakneck Hollow. Back your engine and wait for
further orders."

We are getting into the minor key again, I thought. Listen!--"Mr. S.
died last night. You must be here to-morrow, if possible, at the
opening of the will."

Well, said I, I have had plenty of despatches, and have expended
enough sympathy, for one night. I have been very mysteriously
affected,--how, I can't exactly tell. But who will ever believe my
evening's adventure? Who will not laugh at my pretended discovery?
Even my cousin Moses will be incredulous. I shall be at least looked
upon as a _medium_, and so settled.

And here allow me to remark,--Have you not observed how easily things
apparently difficult and mysterious are arranged in the popular
understanding by the use of certain stereotyped names applied to them?
Only give a name to a wonder, or an unclassified phenomenon, or even
an unsound notion, and you instantly clear away all the fog of
mystery. Let an unprincipled fellow call his views Latitudinarianism
or Longitudinarianism, he may, with a little adroitness, go for a
respectable and consistent member of some sect. A filibuster may pass
current under some such label as Political or Territorial
Extensionist;--the name is a long, decent overcoat for his shabby
ideas. So when wonderful phenomena in the nervous system are
observed,--when tables are smashed by invisible hands,--when people
see ghosts through stone walls, and know what is passing in the heart
of Africa,--how easily you unlock your wardrobe of terms and clap on
the back of every eccentric fact your ready-made phrase-coat,--Animal
Magnetism, Biology, Odic Force, Optical Illusion, Second Sight,
Spirits, and what not! It is a wonderful labor-saving and faith-saving
process. People say, "Oh, is that all?" and pass on complacently.
There are such explanatory labels to be met with everywhere. They save
a deal of trouble. All the shops keep these overcoats,--shops
ecclesiastical, medical, juridical, professional, political, social.

Now all I have to do is, not to go to the second-hand slop-shops for
the phrase-coat I need for my naked discovery, but look for some
unfamiliar robe,--some name more _recherché_, learned, and
transcendental than my neighbors sport,--and then I shall pass muster.
The classic togas seem to be the most imposing. The Germans, who weave
their names out of their indigenous Saxon roots, are much too _naïve_.
I will get a Greek Lexicon and set about it this very night.

After all, why should it be thought so improbable, in this age of
strange phenomena, that the ideas transmitted through the
electro-magnetic wire may be communicated to the brain,--especially
when there exist certain abnormal or semi-abnormal conditions of that
brain and its nerves? Is it not reasonable to suppose that all
magnetisms are one in essence? The singular experiences above related
seem to hint at the truth of such a view. If it be true that certain
delicately-organized persons have the power of telling the character
of others, who are entire strangers to them, simply by holding in
their hands letters written by those strangers, is it not full as much
within the scope of belief that there are those who, under certain
physical conditions, may detect the purport of an electro-magnetic
message,--that message being sent by vibrations of the wire through
the nerves to the brain? If all magnetisms are one in essence,--as I
am inclined to believe,--and if the nerves, the brain, and the mind
are so swayed by what we term animal magnetism, why not allow for the
strong probability of their being also, under certain conditions,
equally impressible by electro-magnetism? I put these questions to
scientific men; and I do not see why they should be answered by
silence or ridicule, merely because the whole subject is veiled in
mystery.

It may be asked,--How can an electro-magnetic message be communicated
to the mind, without a knowledge of the alphabet used by the
telegraphers? This question may seem a poser to some minds. But I
don't see that it raises any grave difficulty. I answer the question
by asking another:--How can persons in the somnambulic state read with
the tops of their heads?

Besides, I once had the telegraph alphabet explained to me by one of
the wire-operators,--though I have forgotten it,--and it is possible,
that, in my semi-mesmeric condition, the recollection revived, so that
I knew that such and such pulsations of the wire stood for such and
such letters.

But is there not a certain spiritual significance, also, in these
singular experiences here related?

We may safely lay down this doctrine,--a very old and much-thumbed
doctrine, but none the less true for all its dog-ears:--No man lives
for himself alone. He is related not only to the silent stars and the
singing-birds and the sunny landscape, but to every other human soul.
You say, This should not be stated so sermonically, but symbolically.
That is just what I have been doing in my narrative of the wires.

It gives one a great idea of human communion,--this power of sending
these spark-messages thousands of miles in a second. Far more
poetical, too,--is it not?--as well as more practical, than tying
billets under the wings of carrier-pigeons. It is removing so much
time and space out of the way,--those absorbents of spirits,--and
bringing mind into close contact with mind. But when one can read
these messages without the aid of machinery, by merely touching the
wires, how much greater does the symbol become!

All mankind are one. As some philosophers express it,--one great mind
includes us all. But then, as it would never do for all minds to be
literally one, any more than it would for all magnetisms to be
identical in their modes of manifestation, or for all the rivers,
creeks, and canals to flow together, so we have our natural barriers
and channels, our _propriums_, as the Swedish seer has it,--and so we
live and let live. We feel with others and think with others, but with
strict reservations. That evening among the wires, for instance,
brought me into wonderful intimate contact with a few of the joys and
sorrows of some of my fellow-beings; but an excess of such experiences
would interfere with our freedom and our happiness. It is our
self-hood, properly balanced, which constitutes our dignity, our
humanity. A certain degree, and a very considerable degree of
insulation is necessary, that individual life and mental equanimity
may go on.

But there may be a degree of insulation which is unbecoming a member
of the human family. It may become brutish,--or it may amount to the
ridiculous. In Paris, there was an old lady, of uncertain age, who
lived in the apartment beneath mine. I think I never saw her but
twice. She manifested her existence sometimes by complaining of the
romping of the children overhead, who called her the "bonne femme."
Why they gave her the name I don't know; for she seemed to have no
human ties in the world, and wasted her affections on a private
menagerie of parrots, canaries, and poodle-dogs. A few shocks of the
electric telegraph might have raised her out of her desert island, and
given her some glimpses of the great continents of human love and
sympathy.

A man who lives for himself alone sits on a sort of insulated glass
stool, with a _noli-me-tangere_ look at his fellow-men, and a
shivering dread of some electric shock from contact with them. He is a
non-conductor in relation to the great magnetic currents which run
pulsing along the invisible wires that connect one heart with another.
Preachers, philanthropists, and moralists are in the habit of saying
of such a person,--"How cold! how selfish! how unchristian!" I
sometimes fancy a citizen of the planet Venus, that social star of
evening and morning, might say,--"How absurd!" What a figure he cuts
there, sitting in solitary state upon his glass tripod,--in the middle
of a crowd of excited fellow-beings, hurried to and fro by their
passions and sympathies,--like an awkward country-bumpkin caught in
the midst of a gay crowd of polkers and waltzers at a ball,--or an
oyster bedded on a rock, with silver fishes playing rapid games of
hide and seek, love and hate, in the clear briny depths above and
beneath! If the angels ever look out of their sphere of intense
spiritual realities to indulge in a laugh, methinks such a lonely
tripod-sitter, cased over with his invulnerable, non-conducting cloak
and hood,--shrinking, dodging, or bracing himself up on the defensive,
as the crowd fans him with its rush or jostles up against him,--like
the man who fancied himself a teapot, and was forever warning people
not to come too near him,--might furnish a subject for a planetary
joke not unworthy of translation into the language of our dim earth.

One need not be a lonely bachelor, nor a lonely spinster, in order to
live alone. The loneliest are those who mingle with men bodily and yet
have no contact with them spiritually. There is no desert solitude
equal to that of a crowded city where you have no sympathies. I might
here quote Paris again, in illustration,--or, indeed, any foreign
city. A friend of mine had an _atelier_ once in the top of a house in
the Rue St. Honoré. He knew not a soul in the house nor in the
neighborhood. There was a German tailor below, who once made him a
pair of pantaloons,--so they were connected sartorically and
pecuniarily, and, when they met, recognized one another: and there was
the _concierge_ below, who knew when he came in and went out,--that
was all. All day long the deafened roar of carts and carriages, and
the muffled cry of the _marchands des légumes_, were faintly heard
from below. And in an adjoining room a female voice (my friend could
never tell whether child's or woman's, for he never saw any one)
overflowed in tones of endearment on some unresponding creature,--he
could never guess whether it was a baby, or a bird, or a cat, or a
dog, or a lizard, (the French have such pets sometimes,) or an
enchanted prince, like that poor half-marble fellow in the "Arabian
Nights." In that garret the painter experienced for six months the
perfection of Parisian solitude. Now I dare say he or I might have
found social sympathies, by hunting them up; but he didn't, and I dare
say he was to blame, as I should be in the same situation,--and I am
willing to place myself in the same category with the menagerie-loving
old lady, above referred to, omitting the feathered and canine pets.

As to my mesmerico-telegraphic discovery, it may pass for what it is
worth. I shall submit it at least to my cousin Moses, as soon as he
returns from the South. People may believe it or not. People may say
it may be of practical use, or not. I shall overhaul my terminologies,
and, with the "metaphysical aid" of my cousin, fit it with a
scientific name which shall overtop all the _ologies_.

Having dressed my new Fact in a respectable and scholarlike coat, I
shall let him take his chance with the judicious public,--and content
myself, for the present, with making him a sort of humble _colporteur_
of the valuable tract on Human Brotherhood of which I have herewith
furnished a few dry specimens.



THE AUTOCRAT OF THE BREAKFAST-TABLE.

EVERY MAN HIS OWN BOSWELL.

The company looked a little flustered one morning when I came in,--so
much so, that I inquired of my neighbor, the divinity-student, what
had been going on. It appears that the young fellow whom they call
John had taken advantage of my being a little late (I having been
rather longer than usual dressing that morning) to circulate several
questions involving a quibble or play upon words,--in short,
containing that indignity to the human understanding, condemned in the
passages from the distinguished moralist of the last century and the
illustrious historian of the present, which I cited on a former
occasion, and known as a _pun_. After breakfast, one of the boarders
handed me a small roll of paper containing some of the questions and
their answers. I subjoin two or three of them, to show what a tendency
there is to frivolity and meaningless talk in young persons of a
certain sort, when not restrained by the presence of more reflective
natures.--It was asked, "Why tertian and quartan fevers were like
certain short-lived insects." Some interesting physiological relation
would be naturally suggested. The inquirer blushes to find that the
answer is in the paltry equivocation, that they _skip_ a day or
two.--"Why an Englishman must go to the Continent to weaken his grog
or punch." The answer proves to have no relation whatever to the
temperance-movement, as no better reason is given than that
island--(or, as it is absurdly written, _ile and_) water won't
mix.--But when I came to the next question and its answer, I felt that
patience ceased to be a virtue. "Why an onion is like a piano" is a
query that a person of sensibility would be slow to propose; but that
in an educated community an individual could be found to answer it in
these words,--"Because it smell odious," _quasi_, it's melodious,--is
not credible, but too true. I can show you the paper.

Dear reader, I beg your pardon for repeating such things. I know most
conversations reported in books are altogether above such trivial
details, but folly will come up at every table as surely as purslain
and chickweed and sorrel will come up in gardens. This young fellow
ought to have talked philosophy, I know perfectly well; but he
didn't,--he made jokes.

I am willing,--I said,--to exercise your ingenuity in a rational and
contemplative manner.--No, I do not proscribe certain forms of
philosophical speculation which involve an approach to the absurd or
the ludicrous, such as you may find, for example, in the folio of the
Reverend Father Thomas Sanchez, in his famous tractate, "De Sancto
Matrimonio." I will therefore turn this levity of yours to profit by
reading you a rhymed problem, wrought out by my friend the Professor.


THE DEACON'S MASTERPIECE: OR THE WONDERFUL "ONE-HOSS-SHAY."

A LOGICAL STORY.

  Have you heard of the wonderful one-hoss-shay,
  That was built in such a logical way
  It ran a hundred years to a day,
  And then, of a sudden, it----ah, but stay,
  I'll tell you what happened without delay,
  Scaring the parson into fits,
  Frightening people out of their wits,--
  Have you ever heard of that, I say?

  Seventeen hundred and fifty-five.
  _Georgius Secundus_ was then alive,--
  Snuffy old drone from the German hive!
  That was the year when Lisbon-town
  Saw the earth open and gulp her down,
  And Braddock's army was done so brown,
  Left without a scalp to its crown.
  It was on the terrible Earthquake-day
  That the Deacon finished the one-hoss-shay.

  Now in building of chaises, I tell you what,
  There is always _somewhere_, a weakest spot,--
  In hub, tire, felloe, in spring or thill,
  In panel, or crossbar, or floor, or sill,
  In screw, bolt, thoroughbrace,--lurking still
  Find it somewhere you must and will,--
  Above or below, or within or without,--
  And that's the reason, beyond a doubt,
  A chaise _breaks down_, but doesn't _wear out_,

  But the Deacon swore (as Deacons do,
  With an "I dew vum," or an "I tell _yeou_,")
  He would build one shay to beat the taown
  'n' the keounty 'n' all the kentry raoun';
  It should be so built that it _couldn'_ break daown:
  --"Fur," said the Deacon, "'t's mighty plain
  Thut the weakes' place mus' stan' the strain;
  'n' the way t' fix it, uz I maintain,
    Is only jest
  To make that place uz strong uz the rest."

  So the Deacon inquired of the village folk
  Where he could find the strongest oak,
  That couldn't be split nor bent nor broke,--
  That was for spokes and floor and sills;
  He sent for lancewood to make the thills;
  The crossbars were ash, from the straightest trees;
  The panels of white-wood, that cuts like cheese,
  But lasts like iron for things like these;
  The hubs of logs from the "Settler's ellum,"--
  Last of its timber,--they couldn't sell 'em,--
  Never an axe had seen their chips,
  And the wedges flew from between their lips,
  Their blunt ends frizzled like celery-tips;
  Step and prop-iron, bolt and screw,
  Spring, tire, axle, and linchpin too,
  Steel of the finest, bright and blue;
  Thoroughbrace bison-skin, thick and wide;
  Boot, top, dasher, from tough old hide
  Found in the pit when the tanner died.
  That was the way he "put her through."--
  "There!" said the Deacon, "naow she'll dew!"

  Do! I tell you, I rather guess
  She was a wonder, and nothing less!
  Colts grew horses, beards turned gray,
  Deacon and deaconess dropped away,
  Children and grand-children--where were they?
  But there stood the stout old one-hoss-shay
  As fresh as on Lisbon-earthquake-day!

  EIGHTEEN HUNDRED;--it came and found
  The Deacon's Masterpiece strong and sound.
  Eighteen hundred increased by ten;--
  "Hahnsum kerridge" they called it then.
  Eighteen hundred and twenty came;--
  Running as usual; much the same.
  Thirty and forty at last arrive,
  And then come fifty, and FIFTY-FIVE.

  Little of all we value here
  Wakes on the morn of its hundredth year
  Without both feeling and looking queer.
  In fact, there's nothing that keeps its youth,
  So far as I know, but a tree and truth.
  (This is a moral that runs at large;
  Take it.--You're welcome--No extra charge.)

  FIRST OF NOVEMBER,--the Earthquake-day.--
  There are traces of age in the one-hoss-shay,
  A general flavor of mild decay,
  But nothing local, as one may say.
  There couldn't be,--for the Deacon's art
  Had made it so like in every part
  That there wasn't a chance for one to start.
  For the wheels were just as strong as the thills,
  And the floor was just as strong as the sills,
  And the panels just as strong as the floor,
  And the whippletree neither less nor more,
  And the back-crossbar as strong as the fore,
  And spring and axle and hub _encore_.
  And yet, _as a whole_, it is past a doubt
  In another hour it will be _worn out_!

  First of November, 'Fifty-five!
  This morning the parson takes a drive.
  Now, small boys, get out of the way!
  Here comes the wonderful one-hoss-shay,
  Drawn by a rat-tailed, ewe-necked bay.
  "Huddup!" said the parson.--Off went they.

  The parson was working his Sunday's text,--
  Had got to _fifthly_, and stopped perplexed
  At what the--Moses--was coming next.
  All at once the horse stood still,
  Close by the meet'n'-house on the hill.
  --First a shiver, and then a thrill,
  Then something decidedly like a spill,--
  And the parson was sitting upon a rock,
  At half-past nine by the meet'n'-house-clock,--
  Just the hour of the Earthquake-shock!
  --What do you think the parson found,
  When he got up and stared around?
  The poor old chaise in a heap or mound,
  As if it had been to the mill and ground!
  You see, of course, if you're not a dunce,
  How it went to pieces all at once,--
  All at once, and nothing first,--
  Just as bubbles do when they burst.

  End of the wonderful one-hoss-shay.
  Logic is logic. That's all I say.

--I think there is one habit,--I said to our company a day or two
afterwards,--worse than that of punning. It is the gradual
substitution of cant or flash terms for words which truly characterize
their objects. I have known several very genteel idiots whose whole
vocabulary had deliquesced into some half dozen expressions. All
things fell into one of two great categories,--_fast_ or _slow_. Man's
chief end was to be a _brick_. When the great calamities of life
overtook their friends, these last were spoken of as being _a good
deal cut up_. Nine-tenths of human existence were summed up in the
single word, _bore_. These expressions come to be the algebraic
symbols of minds which have grown too weak or indolent to
discriminate. They are the blank checks of intellectual
bankruptcy;--you may fill them up with what idea you like; it makes no
difference, for there are no funds in the treasury upon which they are
drawn. Colleges and good-for-nothing smoking-clubs are the places
where these conversational fungi spring up most luxuriantly. Don't
think I undervalue the proper use and application of a cant word or
phrase. It adds piquancy to conversation, as a mushroom does to a
sauce. But it is no better than a toadstool, odious to the sense and
poisonous to the intellect, when it spawns itself all over the talk of
men and youths capable of talking, as it sometimes does. As we hear
flash phraseology, it is commonly the dishwater from the washings of
English dandyism, school-boy or full-grown, wrung out of a
three-volume novel which had sopped it up, or decanted from the
pictured urn of Mr. Verdant Green, and diluted to suit the provincial
climate.

----The young fellow called John spoke up sharply and said, it was
"rum" to hear me "pitchin' into fellers" for "goin' it in the slang
line," when I used all the flash words myself just when I pleased.

----I replied with my usual forbearance.--Certainly, to give up the
algebraic symbol, because _a_ or _b_ is often a cover for ideal
nihility, would be unwise. I have heard a child laboring to express a
certain condition, involving a hitherto undescribed sensation, (as it
supposed,) all of which could have been sufficiently explained by
the participle--_bored_. I have seen a country-clergyman, with a
one-story intellect and a one-horse vocabulary, who has consumed his
valuable time (and mine) freely, in developing an opinion of a
brother-minister's discourse which would have been abundantly
characterized by a peach-down-lipped sophomore in the one
word--_slow_. Let us discriminate, and be shy of absolute
proscription. I am omniverbivorous by nature and training. Passing by
such words as are poisonous, I can swallow most others, and chew such
as I cannot swallow.

Dandies are not good for much, but they are good for something. They
invent or keep in circulation those conversational blank checks or
counters just spoken of, which intellectual capitalists may sometimes
find it worth their while to borrow of them. They are useful, too, in
keeping up the standard of dress, which, but for them, would
deteriorate, and become, what some old fools would have it, a matter
of convenience, and not of taste and art. Yes, I like dandies well
enough,--on one condition.

----What is that, Sir?--said the divinity-student.

----That they have pluck. I find that lies at the bottom of all true
dandyism. A little boy dressed up very fine, who puts his finger in
his mouth and takes to crying, if other boys make fun of him, looks
very silly. But if he turns red in the face and knotty in the fists,
and makes an example of the biggest of his assailants, throwing off
his fine Leghorn and his thickly-buttoned jacket, if necessary, to
consummate the act of justice, his small toggery takes on the
splendors of the crested helmet that frightened Astyanax. You remember
that the Duke said his dandy officers were his best officers. The
"Sunday blood," the super-superb sartorial equestrian of our annual
Fast-day, is not imposing or dangerous. But such fellows as Brummel
and D'Orsay and Byron are not to be snubbed quite so easily. Look out
for "la main de fer sous le gant de velours" (which I printed in
English the other day without quotation-marks, thinking whether any
_scarabaeus criticus_ would add this to his globe and roll in glory
with it into the newspapers,--which he didn't do it, in the charming
pleonasm of the London language, and therefore I claim the sole merit
of exposing the same). A good many powerful and dangerous people have
had a decided dash of dandyism about them. There was Alcibiades, the
"curled son of Clinias," an accomplished young man, but what would be
called a "swell" in these days. There was Aristoteles, a very
distinguished writer, of whom you have heard,--a philosopher, in
short, whom it took centuries to learn, centuries to unlearn, and is
now going to take a generation or more to learn over again. Regular
dandy, he was. So was Marcus Antonius: and though he lost his game, he
played for big stakes, and it wasn't his dandyism that spoiled his
chance. Petrarca was not to be despised as a scholar or a poet, but he
was one of the same sort. So was Sir Humphrey Davy; so was Lord
Palmerston, formerly, if I am not forgetful. Yes,--a dandy is good for
something as such; and dandies such as I was just speaking of have
rocked this planet like a cradle,--aye, and left it swinging to this
day.--Still, if I were you, I wouldn't go to the tailor's, on the
strength of these remarks, and run up a long bill which will render
pockets a superfluity in your next suit. _Elegans "nascitur, non
fit._" A man is born a dandy, as he is born a poet. There are heads
that can't wear hats; there are necks that can't fit cravats; there
are jaws that can't fill out collars--(Willis touched this last point
in one of his earlier ambrotypes, if I remember rightly); there are
_tournures_ nothing can humanize, and movements nothing can subdue to
the gracious suavity or elegant languor or stately serenity which
belong to different styles of dandyism.

We are forming an aristocracy, as you may observe, in this
country,--not a _gratiâ-Dei_, nor a _jure-divino_ one,--but a
_de-facto_ upper stratum of being, which floats over the turbid waves
of common life as the iridescent film you may have seen spreading over
the water about our wharves,--very splendid, though its origin may
have been tar, tallow, train-oil, or other such unctuous commodities.
I say, then, we are forming an aristocracy; and, transitory as its
individual life often is, it maintains itself tolerably, as a whole.
Of course, money is its corner-stone. But now observe this. Money kept
for two or three generations transforms a race,--I don't mean merely
in manners and hereditary culture, but in blood and bone. Money buys
air and sunshine, in which children grow up more kindly, of course,
than in close, back streets; it buys country-places to give them happy
and healthy summers, good nursing, good doctoring, and the best cuts
of beef and mutton. When the spring-chickens come to market----I beg
your pardon,--that is not what I was going to speak of. As the young
females of each successive season come on, the finest specimens among
them, other things being equal, are apt to attract those who can
afford the expensive luxury of beauty. The physical character of the
next generation rises in consequence. It is plain that certain
families have in this way acquired an elevated type of face and
figure, and that in a small circle of city-connections one may
sometimes find models of both sexes which one of the rural counties
would find it hard to match from all its townships put together.
Because there is a good deal of running down, of degeneration and
waste of life, among the richer classes, you must not overlook the
equally obvious fact I have just spoken of,--which in one or two
generations more will be, I think, much more patent than just now.

The weak point in our chryso-aristocracy is the same I have alluded to
in connection with cheap dandyism. Its thorough manhood, its
high-caste gallantry, are not so manifest as the plate-glass of its
windows and the more or less legitimate heraldry of its coach-panels.
It is very curious to observe of how small account military folks are
held among our Northern people. Our young men must gild their spurs,
but they need not win them. The equal division of property keeps the
younger sons of rich people above the necessity of military service.
Thus the army loses an element of refinement, and the moneyed upper
class forgets what it is to count heroism among its virtues. Still I
don't believe in any aristocracy without pluck as its backbone. Ours
may show it when the time comes, if it ever does come.

----These United States furnish the greatest market for intellectual
_green fruit_ of all the places in the world. I think so, at any rate.
The demand for intellectual labor is so enormous and the market so far
from nice, that young talent is apt to fare like unripe
gooseberries--get plucked to make a fool of. Think of a country which
buys eighty thousand copies of the "Proverbial Philosophy," while the
author's admiring countrymen have been buying twelve thousand! How can
one let his fruit hang in the sun until it gets fully ripe, while
there are eighty thousand such hungry mouths ready to swallow it and
proclaim its praises? Consequently, there never was such a collection
of crude pippins and half-grown windfalls as our native literature
displays among its fruits. There are literary green-groceries at every
corner, which will buy anything, from a button-pear to a pine-apple.
It takes a long apprenticeship to train a whole people to reading and
writing. The temptation of money and fame is too great for young
people. Do I not remember that glorious moment when the late Mr. ----
we won't say who,--editor of the ---- we won't say what, offered me
the sum of fifty cents _per_ double-columned quarto page for shaking
my young boughs over his foolscap apron? Was it not an intoxicating
vision of gold and glory? I should doubtless have revelled in its
wealth and splendor, but for learning the fact that the _fifty cents_
was to be considered a rhetorical embellishment, and by no means a
literal expression of past fact or present intention.

----Beware of making your moral staple consist of the negative
virtues. It is good to abstain, and teach others to abstain, from all
that is sinful or hurtful. But making a business of it leads to
emaciation of character, unless one feeds largely also on the more
nutritious diet of active sympathetic benevolence.

----I don't believe one word of what you are saying,--spoke up the
angular female in black bombazine.

I am sorry you disbelieve it, Madam,--I said, and added softly to my
next neighbor,--but you prove it.

The young fellow sitting near me winked; and the divinity-student
said, in an undertone,--_Optime dictum_.

Your talking Latin,--said I,--reminds me of an odd trick of one of my
old tutors. He read so much of that language, that his English half
turned into it. He got caught in town, one hot summer, in pretty close
quarters, and wrote, or began to write, a series of city pastorals.
Eclogues he called them, and meant to have published them by
subscription. I remember some of his verses, if you want to hear
them.--You, Sir, (addressing myself to the divinity-student,) and all
such as have been through college, or, what is the same thing,
received an honorary degree, will understand them without a
dictionary. The old man had a great deal to say about "aestivation,"
as he called it, in opposition, as one might say, to _hibernation_.
Intramural festivation, or town-life in summer, he would say, is a
peculiar form of suspended existence or semi-asphyxia. One wakes up
from it about the beginning of the last week in September. This is
what I remember of his poem:--

AESTIVATION.

_An Unpublished Poem, by my late Latin Tutor._

  In candent ire the solar splendor flames;
  The foles, languescent, pend from arid rances;
  His humid front the cive, anheling, wipes,
  And dreams of erring on ventiferous ripes.

  How dulce to vive occult to mortal eyes,
  Dorm on the herb with none to supervise,
  Carp the suave berries from the crescent vine,
  And bibe the flow from longicaudate kine!

  To me, alas! no verdurous visions come,
  Save yon exigous pool's conferva-scum,--
  No concave vast repeats the tender hue
  That laves my milk-jug with celestial blue!

  Me wretched! Let me curr to quercine shades!
  Effund your albid hausts, lactiferous maids!
  Oh, might I vole to some umbrageous clump,--
  Depart,--be off,--excede,--evade,--crump!

--I have lived by the sea-shore and by the mountains.--No, I am not
going to say which is best. The one where your place is is the best
for you. But this difference there is: you can domesticate mountains,
but the sea is _ferae naturae_. You may have a hut, or know the owner
of one, on the mountain-side; you see a light half-way up its ascent
in the evening, and you know there is a home, and you might share it.
You have noted certain trees, perhaps; you know the particular zone
where the hemlocks look so black in October, when the maples and
beeches have faded. All its reliefs and intaglios have electrotyped
themselves in the medallions that hang round the walls of your
memory's chamber.--The sea remembers nothing. It is feline. It licks
your feet,--its huge flanks purr very pleasantly for you; but it will
crack your bones and eat you, for all that, and wipe the crimsoned
foam from its jaws as if nothing had happened. The mountains give
their lost children berries and water; the sea mocks their thirst and
lets them die. The mountains have a grand, stupid, lovable
tranquillity; the sea has a fascinating, treacherous intelligence. The
mountains lie about like huge ruminants, their broad backs awful to
look upon, but safe to handle. The sea smooths its silver scales until
you cannot see their joints,--but their shining is that of a snake's
belly, after all.--In deeper suggestiveness I find as great a
difference. The mountains dwarf mankind and foreshorten the procession
of its long generations. The sea drowns out humanity and time; it has
no sympathy with either; for it belongs to eternity, and of that it
sings its monotonous song forever and ever.

Yet I should love to have a little box by the sea-shore. I should love
to gaze out on the wild feline element from a front window of my own,
just as I should love to look on a caged panther, and see it stretch
its shining length, and then curl over and lap its smooth sides, and
by-and-by begin to lash itself into rage and show its white teeth and
spring at its bars, and howl the cry of its mad, but, to me, harmless
fury.--And then,--to look at it with that inward eye,--who does not
love to shuffle off time and its concerns, at intervals,--to forget
who is President and who is Governor, what race he belongs to, what
language he speaks, which golden-headed nail of the firmament his
particular planetary system is hung upon, and listen to the great
liquid metronome as it beats its solemn measure, steadily swinging
when the solo or duet of human life began, and to swing just as
steadily after the human chorus has died out and man is a fossil on
its shores?

--What should decide one, in choosing a summer
residence?--Constitution, first of all. How much snow could you melt
in an hour, if you were planted in a hogshead of it? Comfort is
essential to enjoyment. All sensitive people should remember that
persons in easy circumstances suffer much more from cold in
summer--that is, the warm half of the year--than in winter, or the
other half. You must cut your climate to your constitution, as much as
your clothing to your shape. After this, consult your taste and
convenience. But if you would be happy in Berkshire, you must carry
mountains in your brain; and if you would enjoy Nahant, you must have
an ocean in your soul. Nature plays at dominos with you; you must
match her piece, or she will never give it up to you.

----The schoolmistress said, in rather a mischievous way, that she was
afraid some minds or souls would be a little crowded, if they took in
the Rocky Mountains or the Atlantic.

Have you ever read the little book called "The Stars and the
Earth?"--said I.--Have you seen the Declaration of Independence
photographed in a surface that a fly's foot would cover? The forms or
conditions of Time and Space, as Kant will tell you, are nothing in
themselves,--only our way of looking at things. You are right, I
think, however, in recognizing the category of Space as being quite as
applicable to minds as to the outer world. Every man of reflection is
vaguely conscious of an imperfectly-defined circle which is drawn
about his intellect. He has a perfectly clear sense that the fragments
of his intellectual circle include the curves of many other minds of
which he is cognizant. He often recognizes those as manifestly
concentric with his own, but of less radius. On the other hand, when
we find a portion of an arc outside of our own, we say it _intersects_
ours, but are very slow to confess or to see that it _circumscribes_
it. Every now and then a man's mind is stretched by a new idea or
sensation, and never shrinks back to its former dimensions. After
looking at the Alps, I felt that my mind had been stretched beyond the
limits of its elasticity, and fitted so loosely on my old ideas of
space that I had to spread these to fit it.

----If I thought I should ever see the Alps!--said the schoolmistress.

Perhaps you will, some time or other,--I said.

It is not very likely,--she answered.--I have had one or two
opportunities, but I had rather be anything than governess in a rich
family.

Proud, too, you little soft-voiced woman! Well, I can't say I like you
any the worse for it. How long will schoolkeeping take to kill you? Is
it possible the poor thing works with her needle, too? I don't like
those marks on the side of her forefinger.

_Tableau_. Chamouni. Mont Blanc in full view. Figures in the
foreground; two of them standing apart; one of them a gentleman
of----oh,--ah,--yes! the other a lady in a white cashmere, leaning on
his shoulder.--The ingenuous reader will understand that this was an
internal, private, personal, subjective diorama, seen for one instant
on the background of my own consciousness, and abolished into black
non-entity by the first question which recalled me to actual life, as
suddenly as if one of those iron shop-blinds (which I always pass at
dusk with a shiver, expecting to stumble over some poor but honest
shop-boy's head, just taken off by its sudden and unexpected descent,
and left outside upon the sidewalk) had come down "by the run."

----Should you like to hear what moderate wishes life brings one to at
last? I used to be very ambitious,--wasteful, extravagant, and
luxurious in all my fancies. Head too much in the "Arabian Nights."
Must have the lamp,--couldn't do without the ring. Exercise every
morning on the brazen horse. Plump down into castles as full of little
milk-white princesses as a nest is of young sparrows. All love me
dearly at once.--Charming idea of life, but too high-colored for the
reality. I have outgrown all this; my tastes have become exceedingly
primitive,--almost, perhaps, ascetic. We carry happiness into our
condition, but must not hope to find it there. I think you will be
willing to hear some lines which embody the subdued and limited
desires of my maturity.


CONTENTMENT.

  "Man wants but little here below."

  Little I ask; my wants are few;
    I only wish a hut of stone,
  (A _very plain_ brown stone will do,)
    That I may call my own:--
  And close at hand is such a one,
  In yonder street that fronts the sun.

  Plain food is quite enough for me;
    Three courses are as good as ten;--
  If Nature can subsist on three,
        Thank Heaven for three. Amen!
  I always thought cold victual nice;--
  My _choice_ would be vanilla-ice.

  I care not much for gold or land;--
    Give me a mortgage here and there,--
  Some good bank-stock,--some note of hand,
        Or trifling railroad share;--
  I only ask that Fortune send
  A _little_ more than I shall spend.

  Honors are silly toys, I know,
    And titles are but empty names;--
  I would, _perhaps_, be Plenipo,--
        But only near St. James;--
  I'm very sure I should not care
  To fill our Gubernator's chair.

  Jewels are baubles; 'tis a sin
    To care for such unfruitful things;--
  One good-sized diamond in a pin,--
        Some, _not so large_, in rings,--
  A ruby, and a pearl, or so,
  Will do for me;--I laugh at show.

  My dame should dress in cheap attire;
    (Good, heavy silks are never dear;)--
  I own perhaps I _might_ desire
        Some shawls of true cashmere,--
  Some marrowy crapes of China silk,
  Like wrinkled skins on scalded milk.

  I would not have the horse I drive
    So fast that folks must stop and stare;
  An easy gait--two, forty-five--
        Suits me; I do not care;--
  Perhaps, for just a _single spurt_,
  Some seconds less would do no hurt.

  Of pictures, I should like to own
    Titians and Raphaels three or four,--
  I love so much their style and tone,--
        One Turner, and no more
  (A landscape,--foreground golden dirt;
  The sunshine painted with a squirt).

  Of books but few,--some fifty score
    For daily use, and bound for wear;
  The rest upon an upper floor;--
        Some _little_ luxury _there_
  Of red morocco's gilded gleam,
  And vellum rich as country cream.

  Busts, cameos, gems,--such things as these,
    Which others often show for pride,
  _I_ value for their power to please,
        And selfish churls deride;--
  _One_ Stradivarius, I confess,
  _Two_ Meerschaums, I would fain possess.

  Wealth's wasteful tricks I will not learn,
    Nor ape the glittering upstart fool;--
  Shall not carved tables serve my turn,
        But _all_ must be of buhl?
  Give grasping pomp its double share,--
  I ask but _one_ recumbent chair.

  Thus humble let me live and die,
    Nor long for Midas' golden touch;
  If Heaven more generous gifts deny,
        I shall not miss them _much_.--
  Too grateful for the blessing lent
  Of simple tastes and mind content!


MY LAST WALK WITH THE SCHOOLMISTRESS.

(_A Parenthesis_.)

I can't say just how many walks she and I had taken together before
this one. I found the effect of going out every morning was decidedly
favorable on her health. Two pleasing dimples, the places for which
were just marked when she came, played, shadowy, in her freshening
cheeks when she smiled and nodded good-morning to me from the
schoolhouse-steps.

I am afraid I did the greater part of the talking. At any rate, if I
should try to report all that I said during the first half-dozen walks
we took together, I fear that I might receive a gentle hint from my
friends the publishers, that a separate volume, at my own risk and
expense, would be the proper method of bringing them before the
public.

--I would have a woman as true as Death. At the first real lie which
works from the heart outward, she should be tenderly chloroformed into
a better world, where she can have an angel for a governess, and feed
on strange fruits which will make her all over again, even to her
bones and marrow.--Whether gifted with the accident of beauty or not,
she should have been moulded in the rose-red clay of Love, before the
breath of life made a moving mortal of her. Love-capacity is a
congenital endowment; and I think, after a while, one gets to know the
warm-hued natures it belongs to from the pretty pipe-clay counterfeits
of it.--Proud she may be, in the sense of respecting herself; but
pride, in the sense of contemning others less gifted than herself,
deserves the two lowest circles of a vulgar woman's Inferno, where the
punishments are Small-pox and Bankruptcy.--She who nips off the end of
a brittle courtesy, as one breaks the tip of an icicle, to bestow upon
those whom she ought cordially and kindly to recognize, proclaims the
fact that she comes not merely of low blood, but of bad blood.
Consciousness of unquestioned position makes people gracious in proper
measure to all; but if a woman puts on airs with her real equals, she
has something about herself or her family she is ashamed of, or ought
to be. Middle, and more than middle-aged people, who know family
histories, generally see through it. An official of standing was rude
to me once. Oh, that is the maternal grandfather,--said a wise old
friend to me,--he was a boor.--Better too few words, from the woman we
love, than too many: while she is silent, Nature is working for her;
while she talks, she is working for herself.--Love is sparingly
soluble in the words of men; therefore they speak much of it; but one
syllable of woman's speech can dissolve more of it than a man's heart
can hold.

--Whether I said any or all of these things to the schoolmistress, or
not,--whether I stole them out of Lord Bacon,--whether I cribbed them
from Balzac,--whether I dipped them from the ocean of Tupperian
wisdom,--or whether I have just found them in my head, laid there by
that solemn fowl, Experience, (who, according to my observation,
cackles oftener than she drops real live eggs,) I cannot say. Wise men
have said more foolish things,--and foolish men, I don't doubt, have
said as wise things. Anyhow, the schoolmistress and I had pleasant
walks and long talks, all of which I do not feel bound to report.

--You are a stranger to me, Ma'am.--I don't doubt you would like to
know all I said to the schoolmistress.--I sha'n't do it;--I had rather
get the publishers to return the money you have invested in this.
Besides, I have forgotten a good deal of it. I shall tell only what I
like of what I remember.

--My idea was, in the first place, to search out the picturesque spots
which the city affords a sight of, to those who have eyes. I know a
good many, and it was a pleasure to look at them in company with my
young friend. There were the shrubs and flowers in the Franklin-Place
front-yards or borders; Commerce is just putting his granite foot upon
them. Then there are certain small seraglio-gardens, into which one
can get a peep through the crevices of high fences,--one in Myrtle
Street, or backing on it,--here and there one at the North and South
Ends. Then the great elms in Essex Street. Then the stately
horse-chestnuts in that vacant lot in Chambers Street, which hold
their outspread hands over your head, (as I said in my poem the other
day,) and look as if they were whispering, "May grace, mercy, and
peace be with you!"--and the rest of that benediction. Nay, there are
certain patches of ground, which, having lain neglected for a time,
Nature, who always has her pockets full of seeds, and holes in all her
pockets, has covered with hungry plebeian growths, which fight for
life with each other, until some of them get broad-leaved and
succulent, and you have a coarse vegetable tapestry which Raphael
would not have disdained to spread over the foreground of his
masterpiece. The Professor pretends that he found such a one in
Charles Street, which, in its dare-devil impudence of rough-and-tumble
vegetation, beat the pretty-behaved flower-beds of the Public Garden
as ignominiously as a group of young tatterdemalions playing
pitch-and-toss beats a row of Sunday-school-boys with their teacher at
their head.

But then the Professor has one of his burrows in that region, and puts
everything in high colors relating to it. That is his way about
everything.--I hold any man cheap,--he said,--of whom nothing stronger
can be uttered than that all his geese are swans.----How is that,
Professor?--said I;--I should have set you down for one of that
sort.--Sir,--said he,--I am proud to say, that Nature has so far
enriched me, that I cannot own so much as a _duck_ without seeing in
it as pretty a swan as ever swam the basin in the garden of the
Luxembourg. And the Professor showed the whites of his eyes devoutly,
like one returning thanks after a dinner of many courses.

I don't know anything sweeter than this leaking in of Nature through
all the cracks in the walls and floors of cities. You heap up a
million tons of hewn rocks on a square mile or two of earth which was
green once. The trees look down from the hill-sides and ask each
other, as they stand on tiptoe,--"What are these people about?" And
the small herbs at their feet look up and whisper back,--"We will go
and see." So the small herbs pack themselves up in the least possible
bundles, and wait until the wind steals to them at night and
whispers,--"Come with me." Then they go softly with it into the great
city,--one to a cleft in the pavement, one to a spout on the roof, one
to a seam in the marbles over a rich gentleman's bones, and one to the
grave without a stone where nothing but a man is buried,--and there
they grow, looking down on the generations of men from mouldy roofs,
looking up from between the less-trodden pavements, looking out
through iron cemetery-railings. Listen to them, when there is only a
light breath stirring, and you will hear them saying to each
other,--"Wait awhile!" The words run along the telegraph of those
narrow green lines that border the roads leading from the city, until
they reach the slope of the hills, and the trees repeat in low murmurs
to each other,--"Wait awhile!" By-and-by the flow of life in the
streets ebbs, and the old leafy inhabitants--the smaller tribes always
in front--saunter in, one by one, very careless seemingly, but very
tenacious, until they swarm so that the great stones gape from each
other with the crowding of their roots, and the feldspar begins to be
picked out of the granite to find them food. At last the trees take up
their solemn line of march, and never rest until they have encamped in
the market-place. Wait long enough and you will find an old doting oak
hugging a huge worn block in its yellow underground arms; that was the
corner-stone of the State-House. Oh, so patient she is, this
imperturbable Nature!

--Let us cry!--

But all this has nothing to do with my walks and talks with the
schoolmistress. I did not say that I would not tell you something
about them. Let me alone, and I shall talk to you more than I ought
to, probably. We never tell our secrets to people that pump for them.

Books we talked about, and education. It was her duty to know
something of these, and of course she did. Perhaps I was somewhat more
learned than she, but I found that the difference between her reading
and mine was like that of a man's and a woman's dusting a library. The
man flaps about with a bunch of feathers; the woman goes to work
softly with a cloth. She does not raise half the dust, nor fill her
own eyes and mouth with it,--but she goes into all the corners, and
attends to the leaves as much as the covers.--Books are the _negative_
pictures of thought, and the more sensitive the mind that receives
their images, the more nicely the finest lines are reproduced. A
woman, (of the right kind,) reading after a man, follows him as Ruth
followed the reapers of Boaz, and her gleanings are often the finest
of the wheat.

But it was in talking of Life that we came most nearly together. I
thought I knew something about that,--that I could speak or write
about it somewhat to the purpose.

To take up this fluid earthly being of ours as a sponge sucks up
water,--to be steeped and soaked in its realities as a hide fills its
pores lying seven years in a tan-pit,--to have winnowed every wave of
it as a mill-wheel works up the stream that runs through the flume
upon its float-boards,--to have curled up in the keenest spasms and
flattened out in the laxest languors of this breathing-sickness, which
keeps certain parcels of matter uneasy for three or four score
years,--to have fought all the devils and clasped all the angels of
its delirium,--and then, just at the point when the white-hot passions
have cooled down to cherry-red, plunge our experience into the
ice-cold stream of some human language or other, one might think would
end in a rhapsody with something of spring and temper in it. All this
I thought my power and province.

The schoolmistress had tried life, too. Once in a while one meets with
a single soul greater than all the living pageant that passes before
it. As the pale astronomer sits in his study with sunken eyes and thin
fingers, and weighs Uranus or Neptune as in a balance, so there are
meek, slight women who have weighed all that this planetary life can
offer, and hold it like a bauble in the palm of their slender hands.
This was one of them. Fortune had left her, sorrow had baptized her;
the routine of labor and the loneliness of almost friendless city-life
were before her. Yet, as I looked upon her tranquil face, gradually
regaining a cheerfulness that was often sprightly, as she became
interested in the various matters we talked about and places we
visited, I saw that eye and lip and every shifting lineament were made
for love,--unconscious of their sweet office as yet, and meeting the
cold aspect of Duty with the natural graces which were meant for the
reward of nothing less than the Great Passion.

----I never spoke one word of love to the schoolmistress in the course
of these pleasant walks. It seemed to me that we talked of everything
but love on that particular morning. There was, perhaps, a little more
timidity and hesitancy on my part than I have commonly shown among our
people at the boarding-house. In fact, I considered myself the master
at the breakfast-table; but, somehow, I could not command myself just
then so well as usual. The truth is, I had secured a passage to
Liverpool in the steamer which was to leave at noon,--with the
condition, however, of being released in case circumstances occurred
to detain me. The schoolmistress knew nothing about all this, of
course, as yet.

It was on the Common that we were walking. The _mall_, or boulevard of
our Common, you know, has various branches leading from it in
different directions. One of these runs downward from opposite Joy
Street southward across the whole length of the Common to Boylston
Street. We called it the long path, and were fond of it.

I felt very weak indeed (though of a tolerably robust habit) as we
came opposite the head of this path on that morning. I think I tried
to speak twice without making myself distinctly audible. At last I got
out the question,----Will you take the long path with me?--
Certainly,--said the schoolmistress,--with much pleasure.----Think,--I
said,--before you answer; if you take the long path with me now, I
shall interpret it that we are to part no more!----The schoolmistress
stepped back with a sudden movement, as if an arrow had struck her.
One of the long granite blocks used as seats was hard by,--the one you
may still see close by the Gingko-tree.----Pray, sit down,--I
said.----No, no,--she answered, softly,--I will walk the _long path_
with you!

----The old gentleman who sits opposite met us walking, arm in arm,
about the middle of the long path, and said, very charmingly,--"Good
morning, my dears!"



LITERARY NOTICES.

_The Life of John Fitch, the Inventor of the Steamboat_. By THOMPSON
WESTCOTT. Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott & Co.

What would not honest Sancho have given for a good biography of the
man who invented sleep? And will not the adventurous pleasure-tourist,
who has been jarred, jammed, roasted, coddled, and suffocated in a
railroad-car for a whole night, with two days to sandwich it, on being
deposited in an airy stateroom for the last two hundred miles of his
journey, think the man who invented the steamboat deserving of a
"first-rate" life? We well remember the time when nobody suspected
that person, whoever he might be,--and nobody much cared who he
was,--of any relationship to the individual whose memory Sancho
blessed, so great was the churning in the palaces that then floated.
But in our present boats this unpalace-like operation has been so
localized and mollified as to escape the notice of all but the
greenest and most inquisitive passengers. And now that we find the
luxury of travelling by water actually superior to that of staying at
home on land, we begin to feel a budding veneration for the man who
first found out that steam could be substituted, with such marvellous
advantage, for helpless dependence on the wind and miserable tugging
at oars and setting-poles. Who was he? What circumstances conspired to
shape his life and project it with so notable an aim? How did he look,
act, think, on all matters of human concernment? Here comes a book,
assuming in its title that one John Fitch, of whom his generation
seems not to have thought enough to paint his portrait, was the
inventor of the steamboat. It professes to be "The Life of John
Fitch"; but we are sorry to say it is rather a documentary argument to
prove that he was "the inventor of the steamboat." As an argument, it
is both needless and needlessly strong. We already knew to a certainty
that nobody could present a better claim to that honor than John
Fitch. True, the _idea_ did not wait for him. The engine could not
have been working a hundred years in the world without giving birth to
that. But till Watt invented it anew in 1782, by admitting the steam
alternately at both ends of the cylinder, it was too awkward and
clumsy to become a practical navigator. Moreover, though it could pump
admirably, it had not been taught to turn a crank. The French assert,
that experiments in steam-propulsion were made on the Seine, by Count
Auxiron and Perrier, in 1774, and on the Saone, by De Jouffroy, in
1782; but we know they led to no practical results, and the knowledge
of them probably did not, for some years, travel beyond the limits of
the French language. There is no satisfactory evidence that a boat was
ever moved by steam, within the boundaries of Anglo-Saxondom, before
John Fitch did it, on the 27th of July, 1786. His successful and every
way brilliant experiment on that occasion led directly to practical
results,--to wit, the formation of a company, embracing some of the
foremost men of Philadelphia, which built a small steam-packet for the
conveyance of passengers, and ran it during three summers, ending with
that of 1790. The company then failed, and broke poor Fitch's heart,
simply because the investment had not thus far proved lucrative, and
they were unwilling to make the further advances requisite to carry
out his moderate and reasonable plans. The only person who ever
claimed, in English, to have made a steamboat experiment before Fitch,
was James Rumsey, of Virginia, who, in 1788, published some testimony
to show that he had done it as early as April, 1786, that he had
broached the idea, _confidentially_, two years earlier, and that Fitch
_might_ have received it from one who violated his confidence. Fitch
promptly annihilated these pretences by a pamphlet, a reprint of which
maybe found in the Patent-Office Report for 1850. This, and a
contribution to Sparks's "American Biography," by Col. Charles
Whittlesey, of Ohio, seem quite sufficient to establish the historical
fact that John Fitch was the father of steam-navigation, whoever may
have been its prophets. Though the infant, with the royal blood of
both Neptune and Pluto in its veins, and a brand-new empire waiting to
crown it, fell into a seventeen years' swoon, during which Fitch died,
and the public at large forgot all that he had ever said or done, its
life did not become extinct. It was not created, but revived, by
Fulton, aided by the refreshing effusion of Chancellor Livingston's
money. We did not need a new book to make us more certain of these
facts, but we did need a more thorough biography of John Fitch, and,
with great respect for the industry and faithfulness of Mr. Westcott,
it is our opinion that we do still. He has demonstrated that the
materials for such a work are abundant, and a glance at the mortal
career of Fitch will show him to be an uncommonly interesting subject.

John Fitch was born in Windsor, Connecticut, in 1743. At the age of
five, while his father was absent from home, courting his stepmother,
he heroically extinguished a fire of blazing flax, which would
otherwise have consumed the house, and while he was smarting from his
burns was cruelly beaten by an elder brother, who misapprehended the
case of the little boy, very much as the world did that of the man he
became. The domestic discipline he encountered under the paternal roof
was of the severest New England pattern of those days, and between its
theology and its economy he grew out of shape, like a thrifty pumpkin
between two rocks. He loved to learn, but had few books and little
schooling. His taste tended to mechanism, and he was apprenticed to a
stingy clock-maker, who obliged him to work on his farm and kept him
ignorant of his trade. Getting his liberty at last, he set up
brass-founding, on a capital of twenty shillings, and made money at
it. Then he went into the manufacture of potash, in which he was less
successful. He married a wife who proved more caustic than the potash
and more than a match for his patience. He settled his affairs so as
to leave her all his little property in the most manageable shape, and
left her with two children, to seek a separate fortune in the wide
world. The war of the Revolution found him at Trenton, New Jersey, a
man of some substance, acquired as a silversmith and peddler of silver
and brass sleeve-buttons of his own manufacture. It made him an
officer and then an armorer in the Continental service. As a
fabricator of patriotic weapons, he incurred the displeasure of his
Methodist brethren by working on the Sabbath, and lost his orthodoxy
in his disgust at their rebukes. Towards the close of the Revolution,
getting poor in fact by getting rich in Continental money, he
endeavored to save himself by investing in Virginia land-warrants,
went to Kentucky as a surveyor, and became possessed of sixteen
hundred acres of that wilderness. On a second expedition down the
Ohio, early in 1782, he fell into the hands of the savages, in the
most melodramatic style, was led captive through the vast forests and
swamps to Detroit, had a very characteristic and remarkable
prison-experience under British authority at Prison Island, was
exchanged, and by a sea-voyage reached his home in Bucks County,
Pennsylvania, at the close of the same year. Immediately after the
establishment of peace, he formed a company to speculate in Ohio
lands, and made extensive surveys for the purpose of forestalling the
best locations. Mr. Westcott's book confuses this portion of his
chronology by misprinting two or three dates, on the 113th page. The
hopeful game was spoiled by unexpected measures of the Confederated
government; but Fitch's explorations had deeply impressed him with the
sublime character of the Western rivers, and when, in April, 1785, the
thought first struck him that steam could easily make them navigable
upwards as well as downwards, he cared no more for lands. He had
noticed the mechanical power of steam, but had never seen an engine,
and did not know that one existed out of his own brain. This is the
less wonderful, seeing there were only three then in America, and his
science extended only to arithmetic. When his minister showed him a
drawing of Newcomen's engine, in "Martin's Philosophy," he was
chagrined to find that his invention had been anticipated in regard to
the mode of producing the power, but he was confirmed in his belief of
its availability for navigation. With no better resources than a
blacksmith's shop could furnish, he set himself at work to make a
steam-engine to test his theory. His success is one of those wonders
of human ingenuity struggling with difficulties, moral, financial, and
physical combined, which deserve both a Homer and a Macaulay to
celebrate and record them. He was supposed by most people, and almost
by himself, to have gone crazy. If anything, at this day, is more
incredible than the feat which he accomplished, it is the derision
with which the public viewed his labors, decried his success, and
sneered at the rags which betokened the honesty of his poverty. To
every one who had brains capable of logic, he had demonstrated the
feasibility of his visions. But no amount of even physical
demonstration, then possible, could bring out the funds requisite to
pecuniary profit, against the head-wind of public scorn. It whistled
down his high hopes of fortune. At last, dropping the file and the
hammer, he took the pen, determined, that, if others must get rich by
his invention, he would at least save for himself the fame of it. The
result of his literary labors was an autobiography of great frankness
and detail, extending to several hundred pages, and embracing almost
every conceivable violation of standard English orthography, with
which he seems to have had very little acquaintance or sympathy. It
was placed under seal in the Philadelphia Library, not to be opened
for thirty years. At the expiration of that period, in 1823, the seal
was broken, and the quaint old manuscript, with the stamp of honest
truth on every word, stood ready to reveal what the world is but just
beginning to "want to know" about John Fitch. He afterwards went to
Europe to promote his steamboat interests,--to little purpose,
--wandered about a few years, settled in Bardstown, Kentucky,
made a model steamboat with a brass engine, drowned disappointment in
the drink of that country, and at last departed by his own will, two
years before the close of the last century. A life so full of truth
that is stranger than fiction ought not to be treated in the
Dry-as-dust style, quite so largely as Mr. Westcott has done it.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Life Beneath the Waters; or, The Aquarium in America_. Illustrated by
Plates and Wood-Cuts drawn from Life. By ARTHUR M. EDWARDS. New York:
1858.

This book has appeared since the notice in our July number of two
English works on the Aquarium. Like so many books by which our
literature is discredited, it is a work got up hastily to meet a
public demand, and is deficient in method, thoroughness, and accuracy.
There is much repetition in it, and the observations of its author
seem to have been limited to the waters around New York, and to have
extended over but a short period. In spite of these and other minor
defects, it may be recommended as containing much useful information
for those just beginning an aquarium and forming an acquaintance with
the sea.

We trust that a misprint in our former notice has not brought
disappointment to any of our readers, by leading them to expose their
aquaria to too much sunshine; for the sunshine should be "_not_
enough" (and not, as it was printed, "_hot_ enough") "to raise the
water to a temperature above that of the outer air."

       *       *       *       *       *

_The Exiles of Florida: or the Crimes committed by our Government
against the Maroons, who fled from South Carolina and other Slave
States, seeking Protection under Spanish Laws_. By JOSHUA R. GIDDINGS.
Columbus, Ohio: Follett, Foster, & Co. 1858.

A cruel story this, Mr. Giddings tells us. Too cruel, but too true. It
is full of pathetic and tragic interest, and melts and stirs the heart
at once with pity for the sufferers, and with anger, that sins not, at
their mean and ruthless oppressors. Every American citizen should read
it; for it is an indictment which recites crimes which have been
committed in his name, perpetrated by troops and officials in his
service, and all done at his expense. The whole nation is responsible
at the bar of the world and before the tribunal of posterity for these
atrocities, devised by members of its Cabinet and its Congress,
directed by its Presidents, and executed by its armies and its courts.
The cruelties of Alva in the Netherlands, which make the pen of Motley
glow as with fire as he tells them, the _dragonnades_ which scorched
over the fairest regions of France after the Revocation of the Edict
of Nantes, have a certain excuse, as being instigated by a sincere,
though misguided religious zeal. For Philip II. and Louis XIV. had, at
least, a fanatical belief that they were doing God service by those
holocausts of his children; while no motive inspired these massacres,
tortures, and banishments, but the most sordid rapacity and avarice,
the lowest and basest passions of the human breast.

And so carefully has the truth of this story been covered up with
lies, that, probably, very few indeed of the people of the Free States
have any just idea of the origin, character, and purposes of the
Seminole Wars, or of the character of the race against which they were
waged. And yet there is no episode in American history more full of
romantic interest, of heroic struggles, and of moving griefs. We have
been taught to believe that these wars were provoked by incursions of
the savages of Florida on the frontier, and, if the truth could not be
concealed, that an incidental motive of our war of extermination
against them was to be found in the sanctuary which the fugitive
slaves of the neighboring States found in their fastnesses. The
general impression has been, that these were mainly runaways of recent
date, who had made their escape from contemporary masters. How many of
our readers know that for more than three quarters of a century before
the purchase of Florida there had been a nation of negroes established
there, enjoying the wild freedom they loved, mingling and gradually
becoming identified with the Indians, who had made it their city of
refuge from slavery also? For the slaveholders of Carolina had no
scruples against enslaving Indians any more than Africans, until it
was discovered that the untamable nature of the red man made him an
unprofitable and a dangerous servant. These Indian slaves fled into
the wilderness, which is now the State of Georgia, pushing their way
even to the peninsula of Florida, and were followed, in their flight
and to their asylum, by many of their black companions in bondage. For
near seventy-five years this little nation lived happy and contented,
till the State of Georgia commenced the series of piratical incursions
into their country, then a Spanish dependency, from which they were
never afterwards free; the nation at last taking up the slaveholders'
quarrel and prosecuting it to the bitter and bloody end.

This whole story is told, and well told, by Mr. Giddings. And a most
touching picture it is. First, the original evasion of the slaves into
that peninsular wilderness, which they reclaimed as far as the supply
of their simple wants demanded. They planted, they hunted, they
multiplied their cattle, they intermarried with their Indian friends
and allies, their children and their children's children grew up
around them, knowing of slavery only by traditionary legend. The
original founders of the tribe passed away, and their sons and
grandsons possessed their corn-fields and their hunting-grounds in
peace. For many years no fears disturbed their security. Under the
Spanish rule they were safe and happy. Then comes the gradual
gathering of the cloud on the edges of their wilderness, its first
fitful and irregular flashes, till it closes over their heads and
bursts upon them in universal ruin and devastation. Their heroic
resistance to the invasion of the United States troops follows,
sublime from its very desperation. A more unequal contest was never
fought. On one side one of the mightiest powers on earth, with endless
stores of men and money at its beck,--and on the other a handful of
outcasts fighting for their homes, and the liberties, in no
metaphorical sense, of themselves, their wives, and their children,
and protracting the fight for as many years as the American Revolution
lasted.

Then succeeded the victory of Slavery, and the reduction to hopeless
bondage of multitudes who had been for generations free, on claim of
pretended descendants of imaginary owners, by the decision of petty
government-officials, without trial or real examination. More than
five hundred persons, some of them recent fugitives, but mostly men
born free, were thus reduced to slavery at a cost to us all of forty
millions of dollars, or eighty thousand dollars for each recovered
slave! Then comes their removal to the Cherokee lands, west of
Arkansas, under the pledge of the faith of the nation, plighted by
General Jessup, its authorized agent, that they should be sent to the
West, and settled in a village separate from the Seminole Indians, and
that, in the mean time, they should be protected, should not be
separated, "nor any of them be sold to white men or others." This,
however, was not a legitimate issue of a war waged solely for the
reduction of these exiles to slavery; and so the doubts of President
Polk as to the construction of this treaty were solved by Mr. John Y.
Mason, of Virginia, who was sandwiched in between two Free-State
Attorney-Generals for this single piece of dirty work, (of which
transaction see a most curious account, pp. 328-9 of this book,) and
who enlightened the Presidential mind by the information, that, though
the exiles were entitled to their freedom, under the treaty, and had a
right to remain in the towns assigned to them, "the Executive _could
not in any manner interfere to protect them_!"

The bordering Creeks, who by long slave-holding had sunk to the level
of the whites around them, longed to seize on these valuable
neighbors, and, indeed, they claimed rights of property in them as
fugitives in fact from themselves. The exiles were assured by the
President that they "_had the right to remain in their villages, free
from all interference or interruption from the Creeks_." Trusting to
the plighted word of the Head of the Nation, they built their huts and
planted their ground, and began again their little industries and
enjoyments.

But the sight of so many able-bodied negroes, belonging only to
themselves, and setting an evil example to the slaves in the spectacle
of an independent colony of blacks, was too tempting and too
irritating to be resisted. A slave-dealer appeared amongst the Creeks
and offered to pay one hundred dollars for every Floridian exile they
would seize and deliver to him,--he taking the risk of the title. Two
hundred armed Creek warriors made a foray into the colony and seized
all they could secure. They were repulsed, but carried their prisoners
with them and delivered them to the tempter, receiving the stipulated
pieces of silver for their reward. The Seminole agent had the
prisoners brought before the nearest Arkansas judge by Habeas Corpus,
and the whole matter was reviewed by this infamous magistrate, who
overruled the opinion of the Attorney-General as to their right to
reside in their villages, overrode the decision of the President,
repealed the treaty-stipulations, pronounced the title of the Creek
Indians, and consequently that of their vendee, legal and perfect, and
directed the kidnapped captives to be delivered up to the claimant! We
regret that Mr. Giddings has omitted the name of this wretch, and we
hope that in a future edition he will tell the world how to catalogue
this choice specimen in its collection of judicial monsters.

Then comes the last scene of this drama of exile. Finding that there
was no rest for the sole of their foot in the United States, these
peeled and hunted men resolved to turn their backs upon the country
that had thus cruelly entreated them, and to seek a new home within
the frontiers of Mexico. The sad procession began its march westward
by night, the warriors keeping themselves always in readiness for an
attack. The Creeks, finding that their prey had escaped them, went in
pursuit, but were bravely repulsed and fled, leaving their dead upon
the field,--the greatest disgrace that can befall, according to the
code of Indian honor. The exiles then pursued their march into Mexico
without further molestation. There, in a fertile and picturesque
region, they have established themselves and resumed the pursuits of
peaceful life. But they have not been permitted to live in peace even
there. At least one marauding party, in 1853, was organized in Texas,
and went in search of adventures towards the new settlement. Of the
particulars of the expedition we have no account. Only, it is known
that it returned without captives, and, as the Texan papers announcing
the fact admitted, "_with slightly diminished numbers_." How long they
will be permitted to dwell unmolested in their new homes no one can
say. Complaints are already abroad that the escape of slaves is
promoted by the existence of this colony, which receives and protects
them. And when the Government shall be ordered by its Slave-holding
Directory to add another portion of Mexico to the Area of Freedom,
these "outrages" will be sure to be found in the catalogue of
grievances to be redressed. Then they will have to dislodge again and
fly yet farther from before the face of their hereditary oppressors.

Mr. Giddings has done his task admirably well. It is worthy to be the
crowning work of his long life of public service. His style is of that
best kind which is never remarked upon, but serves as a clear medium
through which the events he portrays are seen without distortion or
exaggeration. He has done his country one more service in entire
consistency with those that have filled up the whole course of his
honorable and beneficent life. We have said that this is fit to be the
crowning work of Mr. Giddings's life; but we trust that it is far from
being the last that he will do for his country. A winter such as
rounds his days is fuller of life and promise than a century of vulgar
summers. He has won for himself an honorable and enduring place in the
hearts and memories of men by the fidelity to principle and the
unfaltering courage of his public course. Of the ignoble hundreds who
have flitted through the Capitol, since he first took his place there,

  "Heads without name, no more remembered,"

his is one of the two or three that are household words on the lips of
the nation. And it will so remain and be familiar in the mouths of
posterity, with a fame as pure as it is noble. The ear that hath _not_
heard him shall bless him, and the eye that hath _not_ seen him shall
give witness to him.

       *       *       *       *       *


OBITUARY.

The conductors of "The Atlantic" have the painful duty of announcing
to their readers the death of CALVIN W. PHILLEO, author of "Akin by
Marriage," published in the earlier numbers of this magazine. The plot
of the story was sketched at length, and in the brain of the writer it
was complete; but no hand save his own could give it life and form: it
must remain an unfinished work. The mind of Mr. Philleo was singularly
clear, his observation of nature and character sharp and
discriminating, and his feeling for beauty, in its more placid forms,
was intense and pervading. His previous work, "Twice Married," and the
various sketches of New England life, with which the readers of
magazine literature are familiar, are sufficient to give him a high
place among novelists. He was warm in his friendships, pure in life,
and his early death will be lamented by a wide circle of friends. _In
pace!_





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