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Title: The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 03, No. 15, January, 1859
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 03, No. 15, January, 1859" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.

15, JANUARY, 1859***





Bulls and Bears
Bundle of Old Letters, A

Calculus, The Differential and Integral
Charge with Prince Rupert
Charles Lamb and Sydney Smith
Coffee and Tea

Did I?

El Llanero

Gymnasium, The

Holbein and the Dance of Death

Illustrious Obscure, The
In a Cellar
In the Pines


Letter to a Dyspeptic, A
Lizzy Griswold's Thanksgiving

Men of the Sea
Minister's Wooing, The

New Life of Dante, The

Odds and Ends from the Old World
Olympus and Asgard
Ought Women to Learn the Alphabet?

Palfrey's and Arnold's Histories
Plea for the Fijians, A
Professor at the Breakfast-Table, The

Roba di Roma

Shakespeare's Art
Smollett, Some Unedited Memorials of
Stereoscope and Stereograph, The

Trip to Cuba, A
Two Sniffs

Utah Expedition, The

White's Shakspeare
Why did the Governess Faint?
Winter Birds, The


Achmed and his Mare
At Sea



Double-Headed Snake of Newbury, The

Hamlet at the Boston

Inscription for an Alms-Chest


Last Bird, The
Left Behind

Morning Street, The

Our Skater Belle

Palm and the Pine, The
Philter, The
Prayer for Life

Sphinx, The

Two Years After

Walker of the Snow, The
Waterfall, The


Allibone's Dictionary of Authors
Arabian Days' Entertainments
Avenger, The

Bacon, The Works of
Bryant, Durand's Portrait of
Bunsen's Gott in der Geschichte

Cotton's Illustrated Cabinet Atlas
Courtship of Miles Standish

Dexter's Street Thoughts
Duyckinck's Life of George Herbert

Emerson, Rowse's Portrait of
Ernest Carroll

Furness's Thoughts on the Life and Character of Jesus

Hamilton's Lecture on Metaphysics
Hymns of the Ages

Index to Catalogue of Boston City Library

Lytton, R.B., (Owen Meredith,) Poems by

Mathematical Monthly, The
Morgan's, Lady, Autobiography
Mothers and Infants, Nurses and Nursing
Mustee, The

Prescott's Philip II

Sawyer's New Testament
Seddon, Thomas, Memoir and Letters of
Sixty Years' Gleanings from Life's Harvest
Stratford Gallery, The
Symbols of the Capital

Trübner's Bibliographical Guide to American Literature

Vernon Grove

Whittier, Barry's Portrait of
Wilson's Conquest of Mexico




VOL. III.--JANUARY, 1859.--NO. XV.


How remote from the nineteenth century of the Christian era lies the
old Homeric world! By the magic of the Ionian minstrel's verse that
world is still visible to the inner eye. Through the clouds and murk of
twenty centuries and more, it is still possible to catch clear glimpses
of it, as it lies there in the golden sunshine of the ancient days. A
thousand objects nearer in the waste of past time are far more muffled,
opaque, and impervious to vision. As you enter it through the gates of
the "Ilias" and "Odusseia," you bid a glad adieu to the progress of the
age, to railroads and telegraph-wires, to cotton-spinning, (there might
have been some of that done, however, in some Nilotic Manchester or
Lowell,) to the diffusion of knowledge and the rights of man and
societies for the improvement of our race, to humanitarianism and
philanthropy, to science and mechanics, to the printing-press and
gunpowder, to industrialism, clipper-ships, power-looms, metaphysics,
geology, observatories, light-houses, and a myriad other things too
numerous for specification,--and you pass into a sunny region of
glorious sensualism, where there are no obstinate questionings of
outward things, where there are no blank misgivings of a creature
moving about in worlds not realized, no morbid self-accusings of a
morbid methodistic conscience. All there in that old world, lit "by the
strong vertical light" of Homer's genius, is healthful,
sharply-defined, tangible, definite, and sensualistic. Even the divine
powers, the gods themselves, are almost visible to the eyes of their
worshippers, as they revel in their mountain-propped halls on the far
summits of many-peaked Olympus, or lean voluptuously from their
celestial balconies and belvederes, soothed by the Apollonian lyre, the
Heban nectar, and the fragrant incense, which reeks up in purple clouds
from the shrines of windy Ilion, hollow Lacedaemon, Argos, Mycenae,
Athens, and the cities of the old Greek isles, with their shrine-capped
headlands. The outlooks and watch-towers of the chief deities were all
visible from the far streets and dwellings of their earthly
worshippers, in that clear, shining, Grecian atmosphere. Uranography
was then far better understood than geography, and the personages
composing the heavenly synod were almost as definitely known to the
Homeric men as their mortal acquaintances. The architect of the
Olympian palaces was surnamed Amphiguëeis, or the Halt. The Homeric
gods were men divinized with imperishable frames, glorious and immortal
sensualists, never visited by qualms of conscience, by headache, or
remorse, or debility, or wrinkles, or dyspepsia, however deep their
potations, however fiercely they indulged their appetites. Zeus, the
Grand Seignior or Sultan of Olympus and father of gods and men,
surpassed Turk and Mormon Elder in his uxoriousness and indiscriminate
concubinage. With Olympian goddess and lone terrestrial nymph and
deep-bosomed mortal lass of Hellas, the land of lovely women, as Homer
calls it, did he pursue his countless intrigues, which he sometimes had
the unblushing coolness and impudence to rehearse to his wedded wife,
Herè. His _list_ would have thrown Don Giovanni's entirely into the
shade. Herè, the queen of Olympus, called the Golden-Throned, the
Venerable, the Ox-Eyed, was a sort of celestial Queen Bess, the
undaunted she-Tudor, whose father, bluff Harry, was not a bad human
copy of Zeus himself, the Rejoicer in Thunder.

In that old Homeric heaven,--in those quiet seats of the gods of the
heroic world, which were never shaken by storm-wind, nor lashed by the
tempest that raved far below round the dwellings of wretched
mortals,--in those quiet abodes above the thunder, there was for the
most part nought but festal joy, music, choral dances, and emptying of
nectar-cups, interrupted now and then by descents into the low-lying
region of human life in quest of adventure, or on errands of divine
intervention in the affairs of men, for whom, on the whole, Zeus and
his court entertained sentiments of profound contempt. Once in a while
Zeus and all his courtiers went on a festal excursion to the land of
the blameless Ethiops, which lay somewhere over the ocean, where they
banqueted twelve days. Why such a special honor as this was shown to
these Ethiops is not explained. Within their borders were evidently the
summer resorts, Newport and Baden-Baden, frequented by the Olympians.
Only in great crises was the whole mythic host of the Grecian religion
summoned to meet in full forum on the heights of the immemorial
mountain. At such times, all the fountains, rivers, and groves of
Hellas were emptied of their guardian daemons, male and female, who
hastened to pay their homage to and receive their orders from the
Cloud-Gatherer, sitting on his throne, in his great skyey Capitolium,
and invested with all the pomp of mythic majesty, his ambrosial locks
smoothly combed and brushed by some Olympian _friseur_, his eagle
perched with ruffled plumes upon his fist, and everything else so
arranged as most forcibly to impress the country visitors and rural
incumbents with salutary awe for the occupant of their sky-Vatican.
Whether these last were compelled to salute the Jovine great toe with a
kiss is not recorded, there being no account extant of the ceremonial
and etiquette of Olympus. Whatever it was, doubtless it was rigidly
enforced; for the Thunderer, it would seem, had a Bastile, or lock-up,
with iron doors and a brazen threshold specially provided for
contumacious and disobedient gods.

Zeus, although he could claim supreme dominion under the law of
primogeniture, was originally only a coequal ruler with his two
brothers, Hades, king of the underworld, and Ennosigaeus, monarch of
the salt sea-foam. They were alike the sons and coequal heirs of
Kronos, or Time, and the Moerae, or Destinies, had parcelled out the
universe in three equal parts between them. But the position of Zeus in
his serene air-realm gave him the advantage over his two brothers,--as
the metropolitan situation of the Roman see in the capital of the world
gave its diocesan, who was originally nothing more than the peer of the
Bishops of Antioch, Alexandria, Carthage, and Constantinople, an
opportunity finally to assert and maintain a spiritual lordship. This
is a case exactly in point. It is certainly proper to illustrate a
theocratic usurpation by an hierarchic one. Zeus, with his eagle and
thunder and that earthquaking nod, was too strong for him of the
trident and him of the three-headed hound. The whole mythic host
regarded Jove's court as a place of final resort, of ultimate appeal.
He was recognized as the Supreme Father, Papa, or Pope, of the Greek
mythic realm. The nod of his immortal head was decisive. His azure
eyebrows and ambrosial hair were full of fate.

The wars of mortals in Hellas and Dardanland were matters of more
interest to the Olympian celestials than any other mere human
transactions. These occasioned partisanships, heartburnings, and
factions in the otherwise serene Olympian palaces. Even Father Zeus
himself acknowledged a bias for sacred Ilium and its king and people
over all the cities of terrestrial men beneath the sun and starry
heaven. In the ten-years' war at Troy, the Olympians were active
partisans upon both sides at times, now screening their favorites from
danger, and now even pitting themselves against combatants of more
vulnerable flesh and blood. But in the matter of vulnerability they
seem not to have enjoyed complete exemption, any more than did Milton's
angels. Although they ate not bread nor drank wine, still there was in
their veins a kind of ambrosial blood called _ichor_, which the prick
of a javelin or spear would cause to flow freely. Even Ares, the genius
of homicide and slaughter, was on one occasion at least wounded by a
mortal antagonist, and sent out of the melee badly punished, so that he
bellowed like a bull-calf, as he mounted on a dusty whirlwind to
Olympus. Over his misadventures while playing his own favorite game
certainly there were no tears to be shed; but when, prompted by
motherly tenderness, Aphrodite, the soft power of love,--she of the
Paphian boudoir, whose recesses were glowing with the breath of Sabaean
frankincense fumed by a hundred altars,--she at whose approach the
winds became hushed, and the clouds fled, and the daedal earth poured
forth sweet flowers,--when such a presence manifested herself on the
field of human strife on an errand of motherly affection, and attempted
to screen her bleeding son from the shafts of his foes with a fold of
her shining _peplum_, surely the audacious Grecian king should have
forborne, and, lowering his lance, should have turned his wrath
elsewhere. But no,--he pierced her skin with his spear, so that,
shrieking, she abandoned her child, and was driven, bleeding, to her
immortal homestead. The rash earth-born warrior knew not that he who
put his lance in rest against the immortals had but a short lease of
life to live, and that his bairns would never run to lisp their sire's
return, nor climb his knees the envied kiss to share.

Homer, in the first books of his "Ilias," permits us to glance into the
banqueting-hall of Olympus. The two regular pourers of nectar, to wit,
Hebe and Ganymede, are off duty. Hephaestus the Cripple has taken their
place; and as he halts about from guest to guest, inextinguishable
laughter arises among the gods at his awkward method of "passing the
rosy." His lameness was owing to that sunset fall on the isle of Lemnos
from the threshold of heaven. So, all day long, says the poet, they
revelled, Apollo and the Muses performing the part of a ballet-troop.
It is pleasing to learn that the Olympians kept early hours,
conforming, in this respect, to the rule of Poor Richard. Duly at set
of sun they betook themselves to their couches. Zeus himself slept, and
by his side Herè of the Golden Throne.

Who would wish to have lived a pagan under that old Olympian
dispensation, even though, like the dark-eyed Greek of the Atreidean
age, his fancy could have "fetched from the blazing chariot of the Sun
a beardless youth who touched a golden lyre and filled the illumined
groves with ravishment"?--even though, like him, he might in
myrtle-grove and lonely mountain-glen have had favors granted him even
by Idalian Aphrodite the Beautiful, and felt her warm breath glowing
upon his forehead, or been counselled by the blue-eyed Athene, or been
elevated to ample rule by Herè herself, Heaven's queen? That Greek
heaven was heartless, libidinous, and cold. It had no mild divinities
appointed to bind up the broken heart and assuage the grief of the
mourner. The weary and the heavy-laden had no celestial resource
amongst its immortal revellers and libertines, male and female. There
was no sympathy for mortal suffering amongst those divine sensualists.
They talked with contempt and unsympathizing ridicule of the woes of
the earthborn, of the brevity of mortal life, and of its miseries. A
boon, indeed, and a grateful exchange, was the Mother Mild of the Roman
Catholic Pantheon, the patroness of the broken-hearted, who inclines
her countenance graciously to the petitions of womanly anguish, for the
voluptuous Aphrodite, the haughty Juno, the Di-Vernonish Artemis, and
the lewd and wanton nymphs of forest, mountain, ocean, lake, and river.
Ceres alone, of the old female classic daemons, seemed to be endowed
with a truly womanly tenderness and regard for humankind. She, like the
Mater Dolorosa, is represented in the myths to have known bereavement
and sorrow, and she, therefore, could sympathize with the grief of
mothers sprung from Pyrrha's stem. Nay, she had envied them their
mortality, which enabled them to join their lost ones, who could not
come back to them, in the grave. Vainly she sought to descend into the
dark underworld to see her "young Persephone, transcendent queen of
shades." Not for her weary, wandering feet was a single one of the
thousand paths that lead downward to death. Her only consolation was in
the vernal flowers, which, springing from the dark earthly mould,
seemed to her to be

  "heralds from the dreary deep,
  Soft voices from the solemn streams,"

by whose shores, veiled in eternal twilight, wandered her sad child,
the queen of the realm of Dis, with its nine-fold river, gates of
adamant, and minarets of fire. The heartlessness of all the ethnic
deities, of whatever age or nation, is a noticeable feature, especially
when contrasted with the unfathomable pity of their Exterminator, who
wept over the chief city of his fatherland, and would have gathered it,
as a hen gathereth her chickens, under the wings of his love, though
its sons were seeking to compass his destruction. Those old ethnic
deities were cruel, inexorable, and relentless. They knew nothing of
mercy and forgiveness. They ministered no balm to human sorrow. The
daemons who wandered in human shape over the classic lands of old were
all fickle and malevolent. They oftentimes impelled their victims to
suicide. The ghouls that haunt the tombs and waste places of the
regions where they were once worshipped are their lineal descendants
and modern representatives. The vampires and pest-hags of the Levant
are their successors in malignity. The fair humanities of the old
religion were fair only in shape and exterior. The old pagan gods were
friendly only to kings, heroes, and grandees; they had no beatitude for
the poor and lowly. Human despair, under their dispensation, knew no
alleviation but a plunge from light and life into the underworld,
--rather than be monarch of which, the shade of Achilles avers,
in the "Odusseia," that it would prefer to be the hireling and
drudge of some poor earthly peasant. Elysium was only for a privileged

It has been said that the old ethnic creeds were the true religion
"growing wild,"--that the human soil was prepared by such kind of
spiritual crops and outgrowths, with their tares and weeds intermingled
with wheat, for the seed that was finally to be sown by the Divine
Sower,--that, erroneous as they were in a thousand respects, they were
genuine emanations of the religious nature in man, and as such not to
be stigmatized or harshly characterized,--that without them the human
soil could not have been made ready for the crop of unmixed truth. This
may be true of some of them, though surely not of the popular form of
the old Greek ethnic faith. Its deities were nothing better than the
passions of human nature projected upon ethereal heights, and
incarnated and made personal in undecaying demonic shapes,--not
conditioned and straitened like the bodies of man, but enjoying
perpetual youth and immunity from death in most cases, with permission
to take liberties with Space and Time greater even than are granted to
us by steam and telegraph-wires.

The vulgar Grecian polytheism was all material. It had no martyrs and
confessors. It was not worth dying for, as it was good for nothing to
live by. The religion of Hellas was the religion of sensualistic beauty
simply. It was just the worship for Pheidias and Praxiteles, for the
bard of Teos and the soft Catullus, for sensual poet, painter, and
sculptor. But "the blind old man of Scio's rocky isle," although we
gather most of our knowledge of Olympus and the Olympians from his
verse, was worthy of a loftier and purer heaven than the low one under
which he wandered from city to city, singing the tale of Troy divine,
and hymns and paeans to the gods. The good and the true were mere
metaphysical abstractions to the old Greek. What must he have been when
it would not have been safe for him to leave his wife alone with the
best and highest of his gods? The ancient Hellenes were morally most
vicious and depraved, even when compared with contemporary heathen
nations. The old Greek was large in brain, but not in heart. He had
created his gods in his own image, and they were--what they were. There
was no goodness in his religion, and we can tolerate it only as it is
developed in the Homeric rhapsodies, in the far-off fable-time of the
old world, and amongst men who were but partially self-conscious. In
that remote Homeric epoch it is tolerable, when cattle-stealing and war
were the chief employments of the ruling caste,--and we may add,
woman-stealing, into the bargain. "I did not come to fight against the
Trojans," says Achilles, "because I had suffered any grievance at their
hands. They never drove off my oxen and horses or stole my harvests in
rich-soiled Phthia, the nurse of heroes; for vale-darkening mountains
and a tumultuous sea separate us."

Into that old Homeric world we enter through the portals of the "Ilias"
and "Odusseia," and see the peaks of Olympus shining afar off in white
splendor like silvery clouds, not looking for or expecting either a
loftier or a purer heaven. Somewhere on the bounds of the dim
ocean-world we know that there is an exiled court, a faded sort of St.
Germain celestial dynasty, geologic gods, coevals of the old Silurian
strata,--to wit, Kronos, Rhea, Nox, _et al._ Here these old,
unsceptred, discrowned, and sky-fallen potentates "cogitate in their
watery ooze," and in "the shady sadness of vales,"--sometimes visited
by their successors for counsel or concealment, or for the purpose of
establishing harmony amongst them. The Sleep and Death of the Homeric
mythology were naturally gentle divinities,--sometimes lifting the
slain warrior from the field of his fame, and bearing him softly
through the air to his home and weeping kindred. This was a gracious
office. The saintly legends of the Roman Church have borrowed a hint
from this old Homeric fancy. One pleasant feature of the Homeric
battles is, that, when some blameless, great-souled champion falls, the
blind old bard interrupts the performances for a moment and takes his
reader with him away from the din and shouting of the battle,
following, as it were, the spirit of the fallen hero to his distant
abode, where sit his old father, his spouse, and children,--thus
throwing across the cloud of battle a sweet gleam of domestic, pastoral
life, to relieve its gloom. Homer, both in the "Ilias" and "Odusseia,"
gives his readers frequent glimpses into the halls of Olympus; for
messengers are continually flashing to and fro, like meteors, between
the throne of Zeus and the earth. Sometimes it is Hermes sandalled with
down; sometimes it is wind-footed Iris, who is winged with the emerald
plumes of the rainbow; and sometimes it is Oneiros, or a Dream, that
glides down to earth, hooded and veiled, through the shadow of night,
bearing the behests of Jove. But however often we are permitted to
return to the ambrosial homestead of the ever-living gods in the wake
of returning messengers, we always find it the same calm region, lifted
far up above the turbulence, the perturbations, the clouds and storms

  "That low spot which men call earth,"

--a glorious aërial Sans-Souci and house of pleasaunce.

It is curious that the atheistic Lucretius has given us a most glowing
description of the Olympian mansions; but perhaps the Olympus of the
Epicurean poet and philosopher is somewhat higher up and more
sublimated and etherealized than the Olympus of Homer and of the
popular faith. In a flash of poetic inspiration, he says, "The walls of
the universe are cloven. I see through the void inane. The splendor
(_numen_) of the gods appears, and the quiet seats which are not shaken
by storm-winds nor aspersed by rain-clouds; nor does the whitely
falling snow-flake, with its hoar rime, violate _their summery warmth_,
but an ever-cloudless ether laughs above them with widespread
radiance." Lucretius had all these lineaments of his Epicurean heaven
from old Homer. They are scattered up and down the "Ilias" and
"Odusseia" in the shape of _disjecta membra_. For instance, the Olympus
which he beholds through a chasm in the walls of the universe, towering
into the pure empyrean, has some of the features of Homer's island
Elysiums, the blissful abodes of mortal heroes who have been divinized
or translated. The Celtic island-valley of Avalon, the abode of King
Arthur, "with its orchard-lawns and bowery hollows," so exquisitely
alluded to by Tennyson, is a kindred spot with the Homeric Elysian
plain. Emerson says, "The race of gods, or those we erring own, are
shadows floating up and down in the still abodes." This is exactly the
meaning of Lucretius also. They are all air-cities, these seats of the
celestials, whatever be the creed,--summery, ethereal climes, fanned
with spice-winds and zephyrs. Meru, Kaf, Olympus, Elboorz,--they are
all alike. The ethnic superior daemons were well termed the powers of
the air. Upward into the far blue gazes the weary and longing saint and
devotee of every faith. Beyond the azure curtains of the sky, upward
into the pure realm, over the rain-cloud and the thunder and the silver
bars of the scirrhus, he places his quiet seats, his mansions of rest.

The German poet, Schiller, who was a worshipper of Art and sensualistic
beauty, and who regarded the sciences as the mere handmaids of Art,
exalting the aesthetic above the moral nature in man, quite naturally
regretted that he had not lived in the palmy days of the
anthropomorphic creed of Hellas, before the dirge of Pan was chanted in
the Isle of Naxos. His "Gods of Greek Land" is as fine a piece of
heathenish longing as could well be written at so late a day. His heart
was evidently far away from the century in which he lived, and pulsated
under that distant Grecian sky of which he somewhere speaks. For
artistic purposes the myths of Greece formed a glorious faith. Grace
and symmetry of form were theirs, and they satiated the eye with
outward loveliness; but to the deep fountains of feeling and sentiment,
such as a higher faith has unsealed in the heart, they never
penetrated. What a poor, narrow little world was that myth-haunted one
of the Grecian poet and sculptor, and even philosopher, compared with
the actual world which modern science is revealing from year to year!
What a puny affair was that Grecian sun, with its coachman's apparatus
of reins, fire-breathing nags, and golden car, which Schiller looks
back to, in the spirit of Mr. Weller, Senior, when compared with the
vast empyreal sphere and light-fountain of modern science, with its
retinue of planets, ships of space, freighted with souls! Science the
handmaid of Art! Well might the mere artist and worshipper of
anthropomorphic beauty shrink appalled, and sigh for a lodge under some
low Grecian heaven and in the bosom of some old myth-peopled Nature, as
he trembled before the apocalypses of modern sidereal science, which
has dropped its plummet to unimaginable depths through the nebulous
abysses of space, shoaled with systems of worlds as the sea is with its
finny droves. The Nature and the Physical Universe of the old ethnic
Greek formed only a little niche and recess, on the walls of which the
puny human image was easily reflected in beautiful and picturesque and
grotesque shadows, which were mistaken for gods. But the Nature and
Universe revealed by modern Christian science are too vast and profound
to mirror anything short of the image of the Omnipotent himself.

Still there is a period in the life of every imaginative youth, when he
is a pagan and worships in the old Homeric pantheon,--where self-denial
and penance were unknown, and where in grove and glen favored mortal
lover might hear the tread of "Aphrodite's glowing sandal." The
youthful poet may exclaim with Schiller,--

  "Art thou, fair world, no more?
  Return, thou virgin-bloom on Nature's face!
  Ah, only on the minstrel's magic shore
  Can we the footstep of sweet Fable trace!
  The meadows mourn for the old hallowing life;
  Vainly we search the earth of gods bereft;
  Where once the warm and living shapes were rife,
  Shadows alone are left!
  Cold, from the North, has gone
  Over the flowers the blast that chilled their May;
  And, to enrich the worship of the One,
  A universe of gods must pass away!
  Mourning, I search on yonder starry steeps,
  But thee, no more, Selene, there I see!
  And through the woods I call, and o'er the deeps,
  And--Echo answers me." [Bulwer's Translation.]

The Elysian beauty and melancholy grace which Wordsworth throws over
the shade of Alcestis were gleams borrowed from a better world than the
mythic Elysium. Neither Olympus nor Erebus disdained the pleasures of

Shakspeare, in his "Midsummer-Night's Dream," has mingled the
mythologies of Hellas and Scandinavia, of the North and the South,
making of them a sort of mythic _olla podrida_. He represents the tiny
elves and fays of the Gothic fairyland, span-long creatures of dew and
moonshine, the lieges of King Oberon, and of Titania, his queen, as
making an irruption from their haunted hillocks, woods, meres, meadows,
and fountains, in the North, into the olive-groves of Ilissus, and
dancing their ringlets in the ray of the Grecian Selene, the chaste,
cold huntress, and running by the triple Hecate's team, following the
shadow of Night round the earth. Strangely must have sounded the horns
of the Northern Elfland, "faintly blowing" in the woods of Hellas, as
Oberon and his grotesque court glanced along, "with bit and bridle
ringing," to bless the nuptials of Theseus with the bouncing Amazon.
Strangely must have looked the elfin footprints in the Attic green.
Across this Shakspearean plank, laid between Olympus and Asgard, or
more strictly Alfheim, we gladly pass from the sunny realm of Zeus into
that of his Northern counterpart, Odin, who ought to be dearer and more
familiar to his descendants than the Grecian Jove, though he is not.
The forms which throng Asgard may not be so sculpturesquely beautiful,
so definite, and fit to be copied in marble and bronze as those of
Olympus. There may be more vagueness of outline in the Scandinavian
abode of the gods, as of far-off blue skyey shapes, but it is more
cheerful and homelike. Pleasantly wave the evergreen boughs of the
Life-Tree, Yggdrasil, the mythic ash-tree of the old North, whose
leaves are green with an unwithering bloom that shall defy even the
fires of the final conflagration. Iduna, or Spring, sits in those
boughs with her apples of rejuvenescence, restoring the wasted strength
of the gods. In the shade of its topmost branches stands Asgard, the
abode of the Asen, who are called the Rafters of the World,--to wit,
Odin, Thor, Freir, and the other higher powers, male and female, of the
old Teutonic religion. In Asgard is Valhalla, the hall of elect heroes.
The roots of this mundane ash reach as far downwards as its branches do
upwards. Its roots, trunk, and branches together thrid the universe,
shooting Hela, the kingdom of death, Midgard, the abode of men, and
Asgard, the dwelling of the gods, like so many concentric rings.

This ash was a psychological and ontological plant. All the lore of
Plato and Kant and Fichte and Cousin was audible in the sigh of its
branches. Three Norns, Urt, Urgand, and Skuld, dwelt beneath it, so
that it comprehended time past, present, and future. The gods held
their councils beneath it. By one of its stems murmured the Fountain of
Mimir, in Niflheim or Mistland, from whose urn welled up the ocean and
the rivers of the earth. Odin had his outlook in its top, where kept
watch and ward the All-seeing Eye. In its boughs frisked and gambolled
a squirrel called _Busybody_, which carried gossip from bough to root
and back. The warm Urdar Fountain of the South, in which swam the sun
and moon in the shape of two swans, flowed by its celestial stem in
Asgard. A tree so much extended as this ash of course had its parasites
and _rodentia_ clinging to it and gnawing it; but the brave old ash
defied them all, and is to wave its skywide umbrage even over the ruins
of the universe, after the _dies irae_ shall have passed. So sings the
Voluspa. This tree is a worthy type of the Teutonic race, so green, so
vigorous, so all-embracing. We should expect to find the chief object
in the Northern myth-world a tree. The forest was ever dear to the sons
of the North, and many ancient Northern tribes used to hold their
councils and parliaments under the branches of some wide-spreading oak
or ash. Like its type, Yggdrasil, the Teutonic race seems to be
threading the earth with the roots of universal dominion, and, true to
hereditary instincts, it is belting the globe with its colonies,
planting it, as it were, with slips from the great Mundane Ash, and
throwing Bifröst bridges across oceans, in the shape of
telegraph-cables and steamships.

Asgard is a more homelike place than Olympus. Home and fireside, in
their true sense, are Teutonic institutions. Valhalla, the hall of
elect heroes, was appropriately shingled with golden shields. Guzzlers
of ale and drinkers of _lagerbier_ will be pleased to learn that this
Northern Valhalla was a sort of celestial beer-saloon, thus showing
that it was a genuine Teutonic paradise; for ale would surely be found
in such a region. In the "Prose Edda," Hor replies to Gangler--who is
asking him about the board and lodgings of the heroes who had gone to
Odin in Valhalla, and whether they had anything but water to drink--in
huge disdain, inquiring of Gangler whether he supposed that the
Allfather would invite kings and jarls and other great men, and give
them nothing to drink but water. How do things divine and supernatural,
when conceived of by man and cast in an earthly, finite mould,
necessarily assume human attributes and characteristics! Strong drinks,
the passion of the Northern races in all ages, are of course found in
their old mythic heaven, in their fabled Hereafter,--and even boar's
flesh also. The ancient Teuton could not have endured a heaven with
mere airy, unsubstantial joys. There must be celestial roasts of strong
meat for him, and flagons of his ancestral ale. His descendants to this
day never celebrate a great occasion without a huge feed and
corporation dinners, thus establishing their legitimate descent from
Teutonic stock. The Teutonic man ever led a life of vigorous action;
hence his keen appetite, whetted by the cold blasts of his native
North. What wonder, then, at the presence of sodden boar's flesh in his
ancient Elysium, and of a celestial goat whose teats yielded a strong
beverage? The Teuton liked not fasting and humiliation either in
Midgard or Asgard. He was ever carnivorous and eupeptic. We New
Englanders are perhaps the leanest of his descendants, because we have
forsaken too much the old ways and habits of the race, and given
ourselves too much to abstractions and transcendentalism. The old
Teuton abhorred the abstract. He loved the concrete, the substantial.
The races of Southern Europe, what are now called the Latin races, were
more temperate than the Teutonic, but they were far less brave, honest,
and manly. Their sensuality might not be so boisterous, but it was more
bestial and foul. Strength and manliness, and a blithe, cheery spirit,
were ever the badges of the Teuton. But though originally gross and
rough, he was capable of a smoother polish, of a glossier enamel, than
a more superficial, trivial nature. He was ever deeply thoughtful, and
capable of profounder moods of meditation than the lightly-moved
children of the South. Sighs, as from the boughs of Yggdrasil, ever
breathed through his poetry from of old. He was a smith, an artificer,
and a delver in mines from the beginning. The old Teutonic Pan was far
more musical and awe-inspiring than his Grecian counterpart The
Noon-spirit of the North was more wild than that of the South. How all
the ancient North was alive in its Troll-haunted hillocks, where
clanged the anvil of the faery hill-smith, and danced and banqueted the
Gnome and Troll,--and in its streams and springs, musical with the
harps of moist-haired Elle-women and mermaids, who, ethnic daemons
though they were, yet cherished a hope of salvation! The myth-spirits
of the North were more homely and domestic than those of the South, and
had a broader humor and livelier fancies. The Northern Elf-folk were
true natives of the soil, grotesque in costume and shape.

The Teuton of to-day is the lineal descendant of the old worshipper of
Thor. Miöllnir, the hammer of Thor, still survives in the gigantic
mechanisms of Watt, Fulton, and Stephenson. Thor embodied more Teutonic
attributes than Odin. The feats which Thor performed in that strange
city of Utgard, as they are related in the old "Prose Edda," were
prophetic of the future achievements of the race, of which he was a
chief god. Thor once went on a journey to Jötunheim, or Giant-land,--a
primitive outlying country, full of the enemies of the Asgard dynasty,
or cosmical deities. In the course of the journey, he lodged one night
with his two companions in what he supposed to be a huge hall, but
which turned out to be the glove of a giant named Skrymir, who was
asleep and snoring as loud as an earthquake, near by. When the giant
awoke, he said to Thor, who stood near,--"My name is Skrymir, but I
need not ask thy name, for I know that thou art the god Thor. But what
hast thou done with my glove?" Sure enough, on looking, Thor found that
he had put up that night in Skrymir's handshoe, or glove. The giant and
Thor breakfasted amicably together and went on their way till night,
when Skrymir gave up his wallet of provisions to Thor and his two
companions, and bade them supply themselves,--he meanwhile composing
himself to sleep, snoring so loudly that the forest trembled. Thor
could not undo the giant's wallet, and in his wrath he smote the
somnolent lubber with his mallet, a crushing blow. Skrymir simply
awoke, and inquired whether a leaf had not fallen upon his head from
the oak-tree under which he was lying. Conceive the chagrin and shame
of Thor at this question! A second time Thor let fly at the giant with
his mallet. This time it sank into his skull up to the handle, but with
no more satisfactory result. The giant merely inquired whether an acorn
had not dropped on his head, and wanted to know how Thor found himself,
whether he slept well or not; to which queries Thor muttered an answer,
and went away, determined to make a third and final effort with his
mallet, which had never failed him until then. About daybreak, as
Skrymir was taking his last snooze, Thor uplifted his hammer, clutching
it so fiercely that his knuckles became white. Down it came, with
terrific emphasis, crushing through Skrymir's cheek, up to the handle.
Skrymir sat up and inquired if there were not birds perched on the tree
under which he had been lodging; he thought he felt something dropping
on his head,--some moss belike. Alas for Thor and his weapon! For once
he found himself worsted, and his mightiest efforts regarded as mere
flea-bites; for Skrymir's talk about leaves and acorns and moss was
merely a sly piece of humor, levelled at poor crestfallen Thor, as he
afterwards acknowledged. After this incident, Thor and his two
companions, the peasant's children, Thjalfi and Röska, and Skrymir went
their ways, and came to the high-gated city of Utgard, which stood in
the middle of a plain, and was so lofty that Thor had to throw back his
head to see its pinnacles and domes. Now Thor was by no means small;
indeed, in Asgard, the city of the AEsir, he was regarded as a giant;
but here in Utgard Skrymir told him he had better not give himself any
airs, for the people of that city would not tolerate any assumption on
the part of such a mannikin!

Utgard-Loki, the king of the city, received Thor with the utmost
disdain, calling him a stripling, and asked him contemptuously what he
could do. Thor professed himself ready for a drinking-match. Whereupon
Utgard-Loki bade his cup-bearer bring the large horn which his
courtiers had to drain at a single draught, when they had broken any of
the established rules and regulations of his palace. Thor was thirsty,
and thought he could manage the horn without difficulty, although it
was somewhat of the largest. After a long, deep, and breathless pull
which he designed as a finisher, he set the horn down and found that
the liquor was not perceptibly lowered. Again he tried, with no better
result; and a third time, full of wrath and chagrin, he guzzled at its
contents, but found that the liquor still foamed near to the brim. He
gave back the horn in disgust. Then Utgard-Loki proposed to him the
childish exercise of lifting his cat. Thor put his hands under Tabby's
belly, and, lifting with all his might, could only raise one foot from
the floor. He was a very Gulliver in Brobdignag. As a last resort, he
proposed to retrieve his tarnished reputation by wrestling with some
Utgardian; whereupon the king turned into the ring his old nurse, Elli,
a poor toothless crone, who brought Thor to his knees, and would have
thrown him, had not the king interfered. Poor Thor! The next morning he
took breakfast in a sad state of mind, and owned himself a shamefully
used-up individual. The fact was, he had strayed unconsciously amongst
the old brute powers of primitive Nature, as he ought to have perceived
by the size of the kids they wore. He had done better than he was aware
of, however. The three blows of his hammer had fallen on nothing less
than a huge mountain, instead of a giant, and left three deep glens
dinted into its surface; the drinking-horn, which he had undertaken to
empty, was the sea itself, or an outlet of the sea, which he had
perceptibly lowered; while the cat was in reality the Midgard Serpent,
which enringed the world in its coils, and the toothless she-wrestler
was Old Age! What wonder that Thor was brought to his knees? On finding
himself thus made game of, Thor grew wroth, but had to go his ways, as
the city of Utgard had vanished into thin air, with its cloud-capped
towers and enormous citizens. Thor afterwards undertook to catch the
Midgard Serpent, using a bull's head for bait. The World-Snake took the
delicious morsel greedily, and, finding itself hooked, writhed and
struggled so that Thor thrust his feet through the bottom of his boat,
in his endeavors to land his prey.

There is a certain grotesque humor in Thor's adventures, which is
missed in his mythologic counterpart of the South, Hercules. It is the
old rich "world-humor" of the North, genial and broad, which still
lives in the creations of the later Teutonic Muse. The dints which Thor
made on the mountain-skull of Skrymir were types and forerunners of the
later feats of the Teutonic race, performed on the rough, shaggy,
wilderness face of this Western hemisphere, channelling it with watery
highways, tunnelling and levelling its mountains, and strewing its
surface with cities. The old Eddas and Voluspas of the North are full
of significant lore for the sons of the Northmen, wherever their lot is
cast. There they will find, that, in colonizing and humanizing the face
of the world, in zoning it with railroads and telegraph-wires, in
bridging its oceans with clipper-ships, and steamboats, and in weaving,
forging, and fabricating for it amid the clang of iron mechanisms, they
are only following out the original bent of the race, and travelling in
the wake of Thor the Hammerer.

While the Grecian and Roman myths are made familiar by our
school-books, it is to be regretted that the wild and glorious mythic
lore of our ancient kindred is neglected. To that you must go, if you
would learn whence came

      "the German's inward sight,
  And slow-sure Britain's secular might,"

and it may be added, the Anglo-American's unsurpassed practical energy,
skill, and invincible love of freedom. From the fountains of the
ash-tree Yggdrasil flowed these things. Some of the greatest of modern
Teutonic writers have gone back to these fountains, flowing in these
wild mythic wastes of the Past, and have drunk inspiration thence.
Percy, Scott, and Carlyle, by so doing, have infused new sap from the
old life-tree of their race into our modern English literature, which
had grown effete and stale from having had its veins injected with too
much cold, thin, watery Gallic fluid. Yes, Walter Scott heard the
innumerous leafy sigh of Yggdrasil's branches, and modulated his harp
thereby. Carlyle, too, has bathed in the three mystic fountains which
flow fast by its roots. In an especial manner has the German branch of
the Teuton kindred turned back to those old musical well-springs
bubbling up in the dim North, and they have been strengthened and
inspired by the pilgrimage. "Under the root, which stretches out
towards the Jötuns, there is Mimir's Well, in which Wisdom and Wit lie
hidden." Longfellow, too, has drunk of Mimir's Well, and hence the rare
charm and witchery of his "Evangeline," "Hiawatha," and "Golden
Legend." This well in the North is better than Castalian fount for the
children of the North.

How much more genial and lovable is Balder, the Northern Sun-god, than
his Grecian counterpart, the lord of the unerring bow, the Southern
genius of light, and poesy, and music! Balder dwelt in his palace of
Breidablick, or Broadview; and in the magical spring-time of the North,
when the fair maiden Iduna breathed into the blue air her genial
breath, he set imprisoned Nature free, and filled the sky with silvery
haze, and called home the stork and crane, summoning forth the tender
buds, and clothing the bare branches with delicate green. "Balder is
the mildest, the wisest, and the most eloquent of all the AEsir," says
the "Edda." A voice of wail went through the palaces of Asgard when
Balder was slain by the mistletoe dart. Hermod rode down to the kingdom
of Hela, or Death, to ransom the lost one. Meantime his body was set
adrift on a floating funeral pyre. Hermod would have succeeded in his
mission, had not Lok, the Spirit of Evil, interposed to thwart him. For
this, Lok was bound in prison, with cords made of the twisted
intestines of one of his own sons; and he will remain imprisoned until
the Twilight of the Gods, the consummation of all things.

On the shoulders of Odin, the supreme Scandinavian deity, sat two
ravens, whispering in his ears. These two ravens are called Hugin and
Munin, or Thought and Memory. These "stately ravens of the saintly days
of yore" flew, each day, all over the world, gathering "facts and
figures," doubtless for their August master. It is a beautiful fable,
and reminds one of Milton's "thoughts which wander through eternity."
The dove of the Ark, and the bird which perched on the shoulder of the
old Plutarchan hero Sertorius, are recalled by this Scandinavian

  "Hugin and Munin
  Each down take their flight
  Earth's fields over."

Nobler birds, these dark ravens of the Northern Jove, than the
bolt-bearing eagle of his Grecian brother. So much deeper, more
significant, and musical are the myths of the stern, dark, and tender
North than those of the bright and fickle South!

Notwithstanding that Valhalla was full of invincible heroes, and that
the celestial city of Asgard was the abode of the chief gods, still it
had a watchman who dwelt in a tower at the end of the Bridge Bifröst.
Heimdall was his name, and he was endowed with the sharpest ear and eye
that ever warder possessed. He could hear grass and wool grow with the
utmost distinctness. The AEsir, notwithstanding their supreme position,
had need of such a warder, with his Gjallar-horn, mightier than the
Paladin Astolfo's, that could make the universe reëcho to its blast.
The truth was, over even the high gods of Asgard hung a Doom which was
mightier than they. It was necessary for them to keep watch and ward,
therefore, for evil things were on their trail. There were vast,
mysterious, outlying regions beyond their sway: Niflheim or Mistland,
Muspellheim or Flameland, and Jötunheim, the abode of the old
earth-powers, matched with whom, even Thor, the strongest of the Asen,
was but a puny stripling. Over this old Scandinavian heaven, as over
all ethnic celestial abodes, the dark Destinies lorded it with
unquestioned sway. From the four corners of the world, at last, were to
fly the snow-flakes of the dread Fimbul, Winter, blotting the sun, and
moaning and drifting night and day. Three times was Winter to come and
go, bringing to men and gods "a storm-age, a wolf-age." Then cometh
Ragnarök, the Twilight of the Gods! Odin mounts his war-steed. The vast
ash Yggdrasil begins to shiver through all its height. The beatified
heroes of Valhalla, who have ever been on the watch for this dread era,
issue forth full of the old dauntless spirit of the North to meet the
dread agents of darkness and doom. Garm, the Moonhound, breaks loose,
and bays. "High bloweth Heimdall his horn aloft. Odin counselleth
Mimir's head." The battle joins. In short, the fiery baptism prophesied
in the dark scrolls of Stoic sage and Hebrew and Scandinavian scald
alike wraps the universe. The dwarfs wail in their mountain-clefts. All
is uproar and hissing conflagration.

  "Dimmed's now the sun;
  In ocean earth sinks;
  From the skies are cast
  The sparkling stars;
  Fire-reek rageth
  Around Time's nurse,
  And flickering flames
  With heaven itself shall play."

By "Time's nurse," in the foregoing lines from the "Voluspa," is meant
the Mundane Tree Yggdrasil, which shall survive unscathed, and wave
mournfully over the universal wreck. But in the "Edda" Hor tells
Gangler that "another earth shall appear, most lovely and verdant, with
pleasant fields, where the grain shall grow unsown. Vidar and Vali
shall survive. They shall dwell on the Plain of Ida, where Asgard
formerly stood. Thither shall come the sons of Thor, bringing with them
their father's mallet. Baldur and Hödur shall also repair thither from
the abode of Death. There shall they sit and converse together, and
call to mind their former knowledge and the perils they underwent."

Perhaps we might give the Eddaic Twilight of the Gods a more human and
strictly European interpretation. May it not also foreshadow the great
Armageddon struggle which is evidently impending between the Teutonic
races in Western Europe, with their Protestantism, free speech,
individual liberty, right of private judgment, and scorn of all
thraldom, both material and mental, on the one side, and the dark
powers of absolutism, repression, and irresponsible authority in church
and state, on the other? How Russia, the type of brute-force, presses
with crushing weight on intellectual Germany! Soon she will absorb the
old kingdoms of Scandinavia,--to wit, Sweden, Norway, and Denmark. On
the shores of Norway the ruler of the Sclavonic race will hang over
Scotland and England, like a bird of prey about to swoop upon his
victim. All despots and absolutists will array themselves under his
banner or be his auxiliaries. The old hierarchies will be banded with
him to crush out Protestantism, which is a plant of Teutonic growth.
Old Asia, with her rancor and despotic traditions, recognizes in the
Russian imperial rule a congenial rallying-point against the
progressive and hated Anglo-Saxonism and Protestantism of the West. A
decisive struggle is surely impending between freedom and absolutism,
between the bigoted adherents of the old faiths and the nations that
have cut loose from them. Perhaps this struggle may be prefigured in
the old Northern myth of the Twilight of the Gods.

All the old mythic cosmogonies are strangely suggestive and full of
mystic import,--that of Northern Odinism more than any other. In that
dim Niflheim, for instance, with its well-springs of the waters of the
upper world confusedly bubbling, and its metallic ore-veins, and dusk,
vaporous atmosphere, whence issued the old Nibelungen heroes of the
great Teutonic epos, there is much that is suggestive. May not one
discover in this old cosmogonic myth a dim hint of the nebular
hypothesis of creation, as it is called? Certainly, Niflheim, the
Mistland, and Muspellheim, the Flameland, commingled together, would
produce that hot, seething, nebulous fire-mist, out of which, the
physicists say, was evolved, by agglomeration and centrifugal and
centripetal attraction, our fair, harmonious system of worlds bounded
by outermost Neptune, thus far the Ultima Thule of the solar system.
Perhaps Asgard, translated from mythic into scientific language, means
the Zodiacal Light, and the Bridge Bifröst, the Milky Way.

How curious, to trace in the grotesque mythic cosmogonies of India,
Greece, and Scandinavia, modern geology, botany, chemistry, etc.,--the
vast and brutal giants of the Eddas and other old mythic scriptures
being recognized as impersonations of the forces of Nature! The old
mythic cosmogonists and the modern geologists and astronomers do not
differ amongst themselves so much, after all. The mythic physicists had
personal agents at work, in place of our simple elemental ones; the
result is the same. Take the mythic cosmogonies of ancient Greece,
Scandinavia, and India, and the geologies and astronomies of the
present day, and compare their pages, changing things personal into
things impersonal. The expulsion and banishment of the old shapeless
mundane deities by a new and more beautiful race of gods, the cosmical
divinities, the powers and rulers of an ordered world, are intelligible
enough when translated into our modern geological nomenclature. The
leaves of the Stone Book, as the rocky layers of the earth have been
called, and the blue hieroglyphic page of heaven, also, are more
intelligibly read by the aid of the mythic glosses of old religion, of
Saga, Rune, and Voluspa. They spell the telluric records aright in
their own peculiar language. The assaults of the Typhons and Jötuns
upon the celestial dynasty, and their attempts to scale the fiery
citadels of the gods by making ladders of mountains, indicate clearly
enough the different revolutions read by geology in the various strata
and rocky layers piled upon the primitive granite of the globe, the
bursting through of eruptions from the central fire, extruding and
uplifting mountains, and the subsidence of the ocean from one
ripple-marked sea-beach to another lower down. In those dim geologic
epochs, where annals are written on Mica Slate, Clay Slate, and
Silurian Systems, on Old Red Sandstones and New, on Primary and
Secondary Rocks and Tertiary Chalk-beds, there were topsy-turvyings
amongst the hills and gambollings and skippings of mountains, to which
the piling of Pelion upon Ossa was a mere cobblestone feat. Alps and
Apennines then played at leap-frog. Vast basaltic masses were
oftentimes extruded into the astonished air from the very heart and
core of the world. In truth, the old mythic cosmogonies of the ancient
East, South, and North are not a whit too grotesque in their
descriptions of the embryo earth, when it lay weltering in a sort of
uterine film, assuming form and regular lineaments.

There is nothing more drear, monstrous, wild, dark, and lonely in the
descriptions of the mythologic than of the scientific page. What more
wild and drear is there, even in Indian cosmogonic fable, than that
strange carbonigenous era of the globe, whose deposits, in the shape of
petrified forests, now keep us warm and cook our food, and whose relics
and souvenirs are pressed between the stone leaves of the secondary
rock for preservation by the Omnipotent Herbalist? Land and water were
then distinguishable,--but as yet there was no terrestrial animal,
nothing organic but radiata and molluscs, holly-footed and head-footed,
and other aquatic monstrosities, mailed, plated, and buckler-headed,
casting the shovel-nosed shark of the present Cosmos entirely into the
shade, in point of horned, toothed, and serrated horrors. These
amorphous creatures glided about in the seas, and vast sea-worms, or
centipedal asps, the parents of modern krakens and sea-serpents,
doubtless, accompanied them. There stood that unfinished world reeking
with charcoal fumes, its soft, fungous, cryptogamic vegetation
efflorescing with fierce luxuriance in that ghastly carbonic
atmosphere. Rudimental palms and pines of mushroom growth stood there
motionless, sending forth no soft and soul-like murmurs into the lurid
reek; for as yet leaves and flowers and blue skies and pure breezes
were not,--nothing but whiffs of mephitic and lethal vapor ascending,
as from a vast charcoal brazier. No lark or linnet or redbreast or
mocking-bird could live, much less warble, in those carbonic times. The
world, like a Mississippi steamer, was coaling, with an eye to the
needs of its future biped passengers. The embryotic earth was then
truly a Niflheim, or Mistland,--a dun, fuming region. Those were the
days, perhaps, when Nox reigned, and the great mundane egg was hatching
in the oven-like heat, from which the winged boy Eros leaped forth,
"his back glittering with golden plumes, and swift as eddying air." We
have it on good authority, that the Adirondack Mountains of New York,
and the Grampian Hills of Scotland, where Norval was to feed his
flocks, had already upheaved their bare backs from the boiling caldrons
of the sea, thus stealing a march on the Alps and many other more
famous mountains.

How opposite and remote from each other are the mythologic ages and the
nineteenth century! The critical and scientific spirit of the one is in
strange contrast with the credulous, blindly reverent spirit of the
other. Mythology delegated the government of the world to inferior
deities, the subjects of an omnipotent Fate or Necessity; while, to
show how extremes meet, mere science delegates it to chemical and
physiological agencies, and ends, like the mythic cosmogonies, in some
irrepressible spontaneous impulse of matter to develope itself in the
ever-changing forms of the visible universe. Myriads of gods were the
actors in "the rushing metamorphosis" of the old myth-haunted Nature;
while chemic and elemental forces perform the same parts in the
masquerade of the modern _Phasis_. Both mythology and science,
therefore, stick fast in secondary causes.

Myths are the religion of youth, and of primitive, unsophisticated
nations; while science may be called the religion of the mature man,
full of experience and immersed in the actual. The Positivism of Comte,
like the old myth-worship, sets up for its deity human nature
idealized, adorned with genius and virtue. The Positivist worships
virtuous human nature, conditioned and limited as it is; while the
Mythist worshipped it reflected on the outer world and endowed with
supernatural attributes, clothed with mist-caps and wishing-caps that
gave it dominion over space and time. The restless, glittering,
whimsical sprites of fairy mythology, that were believed of old to have
so large a share in shaping the course of Nature and of human life,
have vanished from the precincts of the schoolmaster at least. They
could not endure the clear eyebeam of Science, which has searched their
subterranean abodes, withering them up and metamorphosing them into
mere physiological forces. Reason and scientific investigation have no
patience with the things of faith and imagination. Our poets now have
to go back to the Past, to the standpoints of the old pagan bards.
Tennyson lives in the land of the Lotophagi, in the Arabian Nights of
the Bagdad of Caliph Haroun, and in the orchard lawns of King Arthur's
Avalon. So, too, Longfellow must inhale the golden legendary air of the
Past. The mere humanitarian bards, who try to make modern life trip to
the music of trochees, dactyles, and spondees, fail miserably.
Industrialism is not poetical. Our modern life expresses itself in
machines, in mathematical formulas, in statistics and with scientific
precision generally. Art and poetry are pursued in the spirit of past
ages, and concern themselves with the symbols, faiths, and ideal
creations of the Past.

It is true, however, that all past ages of the world are
contemporaneous in this age. For example, we have in this nineteenth
century the patriarchal age of the world still surviving in the desert
tents of the Arab,--while the mythic, anthropomorphic period is still
extant in Persia, China, and India, and even among the nations of the
West, in the rustic nooks and corners of the Roman Catholic countries
of Europe. But the existing nations, which still preserve that old
ethnic worship and the mediaeval superstitions, are mere lingerers and
camp-followers in the march of humankind. Under the ample skirts of the
Roman Church still cower and lurk the superstitions of the old ethnic
world, baptized to be sure, and called by new names. The Roman see has
ever had a lingering kindness for the fair humanities of old religion,
which live no longer in the faith of Protestant reason and free
inquiry. She compromised with them of old, and they have clung about
her waist ever since. She has put her uniform upon them, and made them
do service in her cause, and keep alive with their breath the fast
expiring embers of faith and imaginative credulity, which she so much
loves and commends. Like an equivocal and ambiguous nature, the old
Mother Church, as she is called, is upward fair and Christian, but
downward foul and ethnic. She attacks human nature on the side of the
heart, the senses, and those old instincts which Coleridge says bring
back the old names. Reason and intellection, sharpened by science, she
abhors; but so large a part of mankind still linger in the rear of the
vanguard nations, that she has yet a long lease of life to run, with
myriads of adherents to cling to her with fanatical tenacity,--nay,
with proselytes from amongst the poetical, the artistic, and
imaginative, who voluntarily prefer to the broad sunshine of science
the twilight gloom of her sanctuaries, in order there the better to woo
the old inspiration of art, superstitious faith, and poesy. The old
ethnic instincts of human nature are formidable auxiliaries of the
Mother Church. Puseyism would rehallow the saintly wells even of
Protestant, practical England, and send John Bull again on a pilgrimage
to the shrines of Canterbury and Walsingham. Compare a Yankee,
common-school-bred, and an Austrian peasant, if you would learn how the
twelfth and nineteenth centuries live together in the current year. The
one is self-reliant, helpful, and versatile, not freighted with any
old-world rubbish; while the other is abject, and blindly reverent, and
full of the old mythic imagination that is in strong contrast with the
keen common-sense of the Protestant, who dispels all twilight fantasies
with a laugh of utter incredulity. The one sees projected on the outer
world his own imaginings, now fair, now gloomy; while the other sees in
the world, land to be cut up into corner-lots for speculation, and
water for sawmills and cotton-mills, and to float clipper-ships and
steamers. The one is this-worldly; the other is other-worldly. The one
is armed and equipped at all points to deal with the Actual, to subdue
it and make the most of it; he aims for success and wealth, for
elegance, plenty, and comfort in his home;--while the other is
negligent, a frequenter of shrines, in all things too superstitious,
overlooking and slighting mere physical comfort, and content with
misery and dirt. The Romish peasant lives begirt by supernatural
beings, who demand a large share of his time and thoughts for their
service; while the thrifty Protestant artisan or agriculturist is a
practical naturalist, keeping his eye fixed on the main chance.
Brownson would have us believe that he is morally and spiritually the
inferior of the former. For this light of common day, which now shines
upon the world, the multiplication-table, and reading and writing, are
far better than amulet, rosary, and crucifix.

After all, this light of common day, which the bards and saints so much
condemn and disdain, when subjected to the microscopic and telescopic
ken of modern science, opens as large a field for wonder and for the
imagination to revel in as did the old marvels, fables, and fictions of
the Past. The True is beginning to be found as strange, nay, stranger
than the purely Imaginative and Mythic. The Beautiful and the Good will
yet be found to be as consistent with the strictly True and Actual,
with the plain Matter-of-Fact as it is called, as they have been, in
the heroic ages of human-achievement and endurance, with the glorious
cheats and delusions that nerved man to high emprise. The modern
scientific discoverer and inventor oftentimes finds himself engaged in
quests as strange as that of the Holy Grail of Round-Table fiction. To
the Past, with its mythic delusions, simplicity, and dense ignorance of
Nature, we can never return, any more than the mature man can shrink
into the fresh boy again. Nor is it to be regretted. The distant in
time, like the distant in space, wears a halo, a vague, blue
loveliness, which is all unreal. The tired wayfarer, who is weary with
the dust, the din, and stony footing of the Actual and the Present, may
sometimes fondly imagine, that, if he could return to the far Past, he
would find all smooth and golden there; but it is a pleasant delusion
of that glorious arch-cheat, the Imagination. Yet if we cannot go back
to the Past, we can march forward to a Future, which opens a deeper and
more wondrous and airier vista, with its magicians of the Actual
casting into shade the puny achievements of old necromancy and mythic

       *       *       *       *       *


Yes! I had, indeed, a glorious revenge! Other people have had home,
love, happiness; they have had fond caresses, tender cares, the bright
faces of children shining round the board. I had none of these; my
revenge has stood to me in place of them all. And it has stood well.

Love may change; loved ones may die; the fair-faced children may grow
up hard-hearted and ungrateful. But my revenge will not deceive or
disappoint me; it cannot change or pass away; it will last through Time
into Eternity.

I was left an orphan in early childhood. My father was an officer in
the American Navy; my mother a Spaniard. She was very beautiful, I
always heard; and her miniature, which my father's dying hand placed
about my neck, proclaimed her so. A pale, clear, olive tint, eyes of
thrilling blackness, long, lustrous hair, and a look of mingled
tenderness and melancholy made it, in my thought, the loveliest face
that mortal eyes could see.

My parents left me no fortune, and I fell to the care of my father's
only brother, a man of wealth and standing. I have no story to tell of
the bitterness of dependence,--of slights, and insult, and privation.
My uncle had married, somewhat late in life, a young and gentle woman;
when I was twelve years old she became the mother of twins,--two lovely
little girls. No one, unacquainted with the family history, could have
supposed that I was other than the elder sister of Florence and
Leonora. Every indulgence was granted me, every advantage of dress and
education bestowed upon me. So far as even I could see, my uncle and
aunt regarded me as their own child. Nor was I ungrateful, but repaid
them with a filial reverence and affection.

I did not inherit the fulness of my mother's beauty, but had yet some
traits of her,--the pale, clear skin, the large, black eyes, the glossy
and abundant hair. Here the resemblance ceased. I have heard my uncle
say,--how often!--"Your mother, Juanita, had the most perfect form I
ever saw, except in marble"; all Spanish women, indeed, he told me, had
a full, elastic roundness of shape and limb, rarely seen among our
spare and loose-built nation. I was American in form, at least,--slight
and stooping, with a certain awkwardness, partly to be imputed to my
rapid growth, partly to my shyness and reserve. I was insatiably fond
of reading, little attracted toward society. When my uncle's house, as
often happened, was full of gay company, I withdrew to my own room, and
read my favorite authors in its pleasant solitude. I was ill at ease
with lively, fashionable people,--very much at home with books. Thanks
to my uncle's care, I was well educated, even scholarly, for my age and
sex. My studious habits, far from being discouraged, were praised by
all the household, and I was looked upon as a prodigy of cleverness and

A widow lady, of the name of Haughton, came to live in the little
cottage near us when I was fifteen years old. She was well-born, but
poor, and had known many sorrows. My aunt, Mrs. Heywood, soon became
interested in her, and took pleasure in offering her those numerous
attentions which a wealthy neighbor can so easily bestow, and which are
so grateful to the recipient. Mrs. Haughton and her sons were frequent
guests at our house; and we, too, spent many pleasant hours in the
vine-covered porch of the cottage. I had few companions, and John and
William Haughton were very welcome to me. They were somewhat older than
I,--John twenty-two, and William two years younger; and I was thus just
able to escape regarding them with that profound contempt which the
girl of fifteen usually feels for "boys." After knowing them awhile I
felt how baseless such contempt would be; for they possessed a depth
and maturity of character rarely seen except in men of much experience.
John was grave and thoughtful; his livelier brother often said he had
come into the world some centuries too late,--that he was meant for an
Augustine or a Pascal, so studious was he, and so saintly. Do not fancy
that he was one of those stiff, bespectacled, pedantic youths who
cannot open their lips without a classic allusion or a Greek quotation;
nothing could be farther from the truth. He was quiet and retiring;
very few guessed how beneath that exterior, so unassuming, lay hid the
noblest aspirations, the most exalted thought. It was John I should
have loved.

But it was William who won my heart, even without an effort. I, the
pale, serious girl, loved with a wild idolatry the gay and careless
youth. Never, from that day till now, have I seen a man so perfect in
all manly beauty. Strength and symmetry were united in his tall,
athletic figure; his features were large, but nobly formed; his hair,
of a sunny hue, fell in rich masses over a broad, white brow. So might
Apollo have looked in the flush of his immortal youth.

At first I gazed at him only with the enthusiasm which his extreme
beauty might well awaken in the heart of a romantic maiden; then I grew
to see in the princely type of that beauty a reflection of his mind.
Did ever any fond fool so dote upon her Ideal as I on mine? All
generous thoughts, all noble deeds, seemed only the fit expression of
his nature. Then I came to mingle a reverence with my admiration. We
were friends; he talked to me much of his plans in life,--of the future
that lay before him. What an ambitious spirit burned within him!--a
godlike ambition I thought it then. And how my weak, womanish heart
thrilled with sympathy to his! With what pride I listened to his words!
with what fervor I joined in his longings!

There came a time when I trembled before him. I could no longer walk
calmly arm-in-arm with him under the linden-trees, hearkening joyfully.
I dared not lift my eyes to his face; I turned pale with suppressed
feeling, if he but spoke my name--Juanita--or took my hand in his for
friendly greeting. What a hand it was!--so white, and soft, and
shapely, yet so powerful! It was the right hand for him,--a fair and
delicate seeming, a cruel, hidden strength. When he spoke of the future
my heart cried out against it; it was intolerable to me. In its bright
triumphs I could have no part; thereto I could follow him only with my
love and tears. The present alone was mine, and to that I passionately
clung. For I never dreamed, you see, that he could love me.

My manner toward him changed; I was fitful and capricious. I dreaded,
above all things, that he should suspect my feelings. Sometimes I met
him coldly; sometimes I received his confidences with an indifferent
and weary air. This could not last.

One night--it was a little time before he left us--he begged me to walk
with him once more under the lindens. I made many excuses, but he
overruled them all. We left the brilliantly-lighted rooms and stood
beneath the solemn shadow of the trees. It was a warm, soft night; the
harvest moon shone down upon us; a south wind moaned among the
branches. We walked silently on till we reached a rustic seat, formed
of gnarled boughs fantastically bound together; here he made me sit
down and placed himself beside me.

"Juanita," he said, in a tone so soft, so thrillingly musical, that I
shall never forget it, "what has come between us? Are you no longer my

I tried to answer him, and could not; love and grief choked my

"Look at me," he said.

I looked. The moon shone full on his face; his eyes were bent on mine.
What a serpent-charm lurked in their treacherous blue depths! If,
looking at me thus, he had bidden me kill myself at his feet, I must
have done it.

"Juanita," he said, with a smile of conscious power, "you love me! But
why should that destroy our happiness?"

He held out his arms; I threw myself on his bosom in an agony of shame
and joy. Oh, Heaven! could it be possible that he loved me at last?

Long, long, we sat there in the moonlight, his arms around me, my hand
clasped in his. Poor hand! even by that faint radiance how dark and
thin it looked beside his, so white and rounded! How gloriously
beautiful was he! what a poor, pale shadow I! And yet he loved me! He
did not talk much of it; he spoke more of the future,--_our_ future. It
all lay before him, a bright, enchanted land, wherein we two should
walk together. We had not quite reached it, but we surely should, and
that ere long.

The steps toward it were prosaic enough, save as his imagination
brightened them. An early friend of his dead father, a distinguished
lawyer, wishing to further William's advancement in life, gave him the
opportunity of studying his profession with him,--offering him, at the
same time, a home in his own family. From these slender materials
William's fancy built air-castles the most magnificent. He would study
assiduously; with such a prize in view, he fondly said, his patience
would never weary. He felt within himself the consciousness of talent;
and talent and industry _must_ succeed. A bright career was before
him,--fame, fortune; and all were to be laid at my feet; all would be
valueless, if not shared with me.

"Ah, William," I asked, with a moment's sorrowful doubt, "are you sure
of that? Are you certain that it is not fame you look forward so
eagerly to possess, instead of me?"

"How _dare_ you say such a thing?" he answered, sternly. I did not mind
the sternness; there was love behind it.

"And what am I to do while you are thus winning gold and glory?" I
asked, at length.

"I will tell you, Juanita. In the first place, you are _not_ to waste
your time and spirits in long, romantic reveries, and vain pining
because we cannot be together."

"Indeed, I will not!" was my quick reply, though I colored deeply. I
was ashamed that he thought me in danger of loving him too well. "I
know you think me foolish and sentimental; but I assure you I will try
to be different, since you wish it."

"That is my own dear girl! You must go out,--you must see people,--you
must enjoy yourself. You must study, too; don't let your mind rust
because you are engaged. It will be quite time enough for that when we
are married."

"You need not be afraid; I shall always wish to please you, William,
and so I shall always endeavor to improve."

"Good child!" he said, laughing. "But you will not always be such an
obedient infant, Juanita. You will find out your power over me, and
then you will want to exercise it, just for the pleasure of seeing me
submit. You will be despotic about the veriest trifles, only to show me
that my will must bow to yours."

"That will never be! I have no will of my own, where you are concerned,
William. I only ask to know your wishes, that I may perform them."

"Is that indeed so?" he said, with a new tenderness of manner. "I am
very glad; for, to tell the truth, my love, I fear I should have little
patience with womanish caprices. I have reasons always for what I do
and for what I require, and I could not long love any one who opposed

Again I assured him that he need feel no such dread. How happy we
were!--yes, I believe he loved me enough then to be happy, even as I

It was so late before we thought of going in, that a messenger was sent
to seek us, and many a fine jest we had to encounter when we reached
the drawing-room.

The next day, William spoke to my uncle, who seemed to regard the
matter in a light very different from ours. He said, we were a mere boy
and girl, that years must elapse before we could marry, and by that
time we should very probably have outgrown our liking for each other;
still, if we chose, we might consider ourselves engaged; he did not
know that he had any objection to make. This manner of treating the
subject was not a flattering one; however, we had his consent,--and
that was the main point, after all.

So we were troth-plight; and William went forth on his career of labor
and success, and I remained at home, loving him, living for him,
striving to make my every act what he would have it. I went into
company as he had bidden me; I studied and improved myself; I grew
handsomer, too. All who saw me noticed and approved the alteration in
my appearance. I was no longer awkward and stooping; my manner had
acquired something of ease and gracefulness; a faint bloom tinged my
cheek and made my dark eyes brighter. I was truly happy in the change;
it seemed to render me a little more suited to him, who was so proudly,
so splendidly handsome.

I remembered what he had said too well to spend much time in
love-dreams; but my happiest moments were when I was alone, and could
think of him, read his letters, look at his picture, and fancy the
joyfulness of his return.

His letters!--there the change first showed itself. At first they were
all, and more than all, I could wish. I blushed to read the ardent
words, as I did when he had spoken them. But by-and-by there was a
different tone: I could not describe it; there was nothing to complain
of; and yet I felt--so surely!--that something was wrong. I never
thought of blaming him; I dreaded lest I had in some way wounded his
affection or his pride. I asked no explanation; I thought to do so
might annoy or vex him, for his was a peculiar nature. I only wrote to
him the more fondly,--strove more and more to show him how my whole
heart was his. But the change grew plainer as months passed on; and
some weeks before the time appointed for his return, the letters ceased

This conduct grieved me, certainly, yet I was more perplexed than
unhappy. It never occurred to me to doubt his love; I thought there
must be some mistake, some offence unwittingly given, and I looked to
his coming to clear away all doubt and trouble. But I longed so for
that coming!--it seemed as if the weeks would never end. I knew he
loved me; but I needed to hear him say it once more,--to have every
shadow dispelled, and nothing between us but the warmest affection and
fullest confidence.

In such a mood I met him. The house was full of guests, and I could not
bear to see him for the first time before so many eyes. I had watched,
as may well be believed, for his arrival, and a little before dark had
seen him enter his mother's house. He would surely come over soon; I
ran down the long walk, and paced up and down beneath the trees,
awaiting him. As soon as he came in sight I hastened toward him; he met
me kindly, but the change that had been in his letters was plainer yet
in his manner. It struck a chill to my heart.

"I suppose you have a house full of company, as usual," he remarked
presently, glancing at the brilliant windows.

"Yes, we have a number of friends staying with us. Will you go in and
see them? There are several whom you know."

"Thank you,--not to-night; I am not in the mood. And I have a good deal
to say to you, Juanita, that deeply concerns us both."

"Very well," I replied; "you had better tell me at once."

We walked on to the old garden-chair, and sat down as we had done that
memorable night. We were both silent,--I from disappointment and
apprehension. He, I suppose, was collecting himself for what he had to

"Juanita," he spoke at last, taking my hand in his, "I do not know how
you will receive what I am about to tell you. But this I wish you to
promise me: that you will believe I speak for our best happiness,
--yours as well as mine."

"Go on," was all my reply.

"A year ago," he continued, "we sat here as we do now, and, spite of
doubts and misgivings and a broken resolution, I was happier than I
shall ever be again. I had loved you from the first moment I saw you,
with a passion such as I shall never feel for any other woman. But I
knew that we were both poor; I knew that marriage in our circumstances
could only be disastrous. It would wear out your youth in servile
cares; it would cripple my energies; it might even, after a time,
change our love to disgust and aversion. And so, though I believed
myself not indifferent to you, I resolved never to speak of my love,
but to struggle against it, and root it out of my heart. You know how
differently it happened. Your changed manner, your averted looks, gave
me much pain. I feared to have offended you, or in some way forfeited
your esteem. I brought you here to ask an explanation. I said,
'Juanita, are you no longer my friend?' You know what followed; the
violence of your emotion showed me all. You remember?"

Did I not?--and was it not generous of him to remind me then?

"I saw you loved me, and the great joy of that knowledge made me forget
prudence, reason, everything. Afterwards, when alone, I tried to
justify to myself what I had done, and partially succeeded. I argued
that we were young and could wait; I dreamed, too, that my ardor could
outrun time, and grasp in youth the rewards of mature life. In that
hope I left you.

"Since then my views have greatly changed. I have seen something--not
much, it is true--of men and of life, and have found that it is an easy
thing to dream of success, but a long and difficult task to achieve it.
That I have talent it would be affectation to deny; but many a poor and
struggling lawyer is my equal. The best I can hope for, Juanita, is a
youth of severe toil and griping penury, with, perhaps, late in
life,--almost too late to enjoy it,--competence and an honorable name.
And even that is by no means secure; the labor and the poverty may last
my life long.

"You have been reared in the enjoyment of every luxury which wealth can
command. How could you bear to suffer privations, to perform menial
labors, to be stinted in dress, deprived of congenial society, obliged
to refrain from every amusement, because you were unable to afford the
expense? How should you like to have a grinding economy continually
pressing upon you, in every arrangement of your household, every detail
of your daily life? to have your best days pass in petty cares and
sayings, all your intellect expended in the effort to make your paltry
means do the greatest possible service?"

It was not a pleasant picture, but, harshly drawn as it was, I felt in
the fulness of my love that I could do all that, and more, for him. Oh,
yes! for him and with him I would have accepted any servitude, any
suffering. Yet a secret something withheld me from saying so; and how
glad I soon was that I had kept silence!

"You make no reply, Juanita," he said. "Well, I might put on a pretence
of disinterestedness, and say that I was unwilling to bind you to such
a fate, and therefore released you from your engagement. It would not
be altogether a pretence, for nothing could be more painful to me than
to see the brightness of your youth fading away in the life I have
described. But I think of myself, too; comforts, luxuries, indulgences,
I value highly. Since my father's death I have tasted enough of poverty
to know something of its bitterness; and to be doomed to it for life is
appalling to me. The sordid cares of narrow means are so distasteful,
that I cannot contemplate them with any degree of patience. After a day
of exhausting mental effort, to return to a dingy, ill-furnished
home,--to relieve professional labors by calculations about the
gas-bill or the butcher's account,--I shrink from such a miserable
prospect! I love the elegant, the high-bred, the tasteful, in women; I
am afraid even my love for you would alter, Juanita, to see you day by
day in coarse or shabby clothing, performing such offices as are only
suited to servants,--whom we could not afford to keep.

"I have thought of it a great deal, and it seems to me that it is
useless and hopeless, that it would be the wildest folly, to continue
our engagement. With our tastes and habits, we must seek in marriage
the means of comfort, the appliances of luxury. Others may find in it
the bewildering bliss we might have known, had fortune been favorable
to us; but, as it is, I think the best, the wisest, the happiest thing
we can do is--to part!"

Oh, Heaven! this from him!

"Still, Juanita, if you think otherwise," he went on after a moment's
pause,--"if you prefer to hold me to our engagement, I am ready to
fulfil it when you wish."

It was like a man to say this, and then to feel that he had acted
uprightly and honorably!

I said nothing for a time; I could not speak. All hell woke in my
heart. I knew then what lost spirits might feel,--grief, and wounded
pride, and rage, hatred, despair! In the midst of all I made a vow; and
I kept it well!

How I had loved this man!--with what a self-forgetting, adoring love!
He had been my thought, day and night. I would have done
anything,--sacrificed, suffered anything,--yes, sinned even,--to please
his lightest fancy. And he cast me coldly off because I had no
fortune!--trampled my heart into the dust because I was poor!

"You make no answer, Juanita," he said, at length.

"I am thinking," I replied, looking up and laughing slightly, "how to
say that I quite agree with you, and have been planning all day how I
should manage to tell you the very same thing."

Miserable falsehood! But I spoke it so coolly, that he was thoroughly
deceived. He never suspected the truth,--my deep love, my outraged

"It is just as you have said, William. We have elegant tastes, and no
means of gratifying them. What should we do together? Only make each
other miserable. You need a rich wife, I a rich husband, who can supply
us with the indulgences we demand. To secure these we can well make the
sacrifice of a few romantic fancies."

"I am glad you think so," he replied, yet somewhat absently.

"You must wait awhile for Florence," I continued; "she is four years
old, and twelve years hence you will yet be quite a personable
individual. And Florence will have a fortune worth waiting for, I
assure you. Or perhaps you have somebody more eligible already in view.
Come, William, be frank,--tell me all about it."

"I did not expect this levity, Juanita," he answered, severely. "You
must know that I have never thought of such a thing. And believe me,"
he said, in a tenderer tone, "that, among all the beautiful women I
have seen,--and some have not disdained to show me favor,--none ever
touched my heart for a moment. Had we any reasonable prospect of
happiness, I could never give you up; I love you better a thousand
times than anything in the world."

"Except yourself," I said, mockingly; and I looked at him with a
mischievous smile, while a storm of passion raged in my heart and my
brain seemed on fire. "Be it so! I do not complain of such a splendid
rival. But really, William, I cannot boast of constancy like yours,
even; though I suppose most people would consider that rather a poor,
flawed specimen. It hurt my dignity very much when Uncle Heywood called
our attachment a boy-and-girl affair; but I soon found that he knew
best about it. For a time I kept my love very warm and glowing; but it
was not long ere the distractions you bade me seek in society proved
more potent than I wished. I found there were other things to be
enjoyed than dreams of you, and even--shall I confess it? I can now, I
suppose--other people to be admired as well as you!"

"Indeed!" he said, with ill-concealed annoyance. "You had a great
talent for concealment, then; your letters showed no trace of the

"I know they didn't," I answered, laughing. "I hated very much to admit
even to myself that I had altered; it seemed, you know, so capricious
and childish,--in short, so far from romantic. I kept up the illusion
as long as I could; used to go off alone to read your letters, look at
your picture, and fancy I felt just as at first. Then when I sat down
to write, and remembered how handsome you were, and all that had
happened, the old feelings would come back, and for the time you were
all I cared for. But I am very glad we have had this explanation, and
understand each other. We shall both be happier for it."

I had a little taste of vengeance, even then, when I saw how his vanity
was wounded. He tried to look relieved,--I dare say he tried to feel
so,--but I question very much whether he was pleased with himself that
he had been so cool and philosophical. He did not wish to make me
wretched; but he had expected I would be so, as a matter of course. To
find me so comfortable under the infliction perplexed and disconcerted

"This will not make any coldness between us, I hope?" he said, at last.
"We will be friends still, dear Juanita?"

"Yes," I replied, "we will be friends, dear William. We are a great
deal more in our true relations thus than as lovers."

"And your uncle's family," he inquired,--"shall we explain all to

"There is no need of that," I answered, carelessly. "Let things pass.
After a time they will perhaps notice that there is a change, and I can
tell them that we are both tired of the engagement. They will ask no
further questions."

"Thank you," he said. "It will save me some embarrassment."

"Yes," I replied, looking at him steadily, "I think it would have been
a rather awkward topic for you to broach."

His eye fell before mine; through all the sophistry he had used, I
think some slight sense of the baseness of his conduct forced itself
upon his mind.

"Now I must return to the house," I said, rising; "will you not come
with me? My uncle and aunt will expect to see you, and Anna Gray is
here. You can make your first essay toward the rich match this

"Nonsense!" he said, impatiently, yet he accompanied me. I knew he did
not like to lose sight of me.

Never had I exerted myself so much to please any one, as I did that
night to charm and attract him;--not, indeed, by any marked attention;
that would have failed of its object. But I talked and danced; I
displayed for his benefit all that I had acquired of ease and manner
since he left. I saw his astonishment, that the pale, quiet girl who
was wont to sit in some corner, almost unnoticed, should now be the
life of that gay circle. I made him admire me most at the very moment
he had lost me forever,--and so far, all was well.

I went to my room that night a different creature. That place had been
a kind of sanctuary to me. By its vine-draped window I had loved to sit
and think of him, to read the books he liked, and fashion my mind to
what he could approve. But the spot which I had left, a hopeful and
loving girl, I returned to, a forsaken and revengeful woman. My whole
nature was wrought up to one purpose,--to repay him, to the last iota,
all he had made me suffer, all the humiliation, the despair. It was
strange how this purpose upbore and consoled me; for I needed
consolation. I hated him, yet I loved him fiercely, too; I despised
him, yet I knew no other man would ever touch my heart. He had been, he
always must be, everything to me,--the one object to which all my
thoughts tended, to which my every action was referred.

I took from a drawer his letters and his few love-gifts. The paper I
tore to fragments and threw into the empty fireplace. I lighted the
heap, and tossed the gifts, one after another, into the flame. Last of
all, I drew his portrait from my bosom. I gazed at it an instant,
pressed it to my lips. No,--I would not destroy this,--I would keep it
to remind me.

I remember thinking, as I watched the flickering flame, that this was
something like a witch's incantation. I smiled at the idea.

The next morning there was only a heap of light ashes left in the
grate. I pursued my purpose determinedly and with unflagging zeal. I
did not know exactly how it would be realized, but I felt sure I should
achieve it. My first care was to cultivate to the utmost every faculty
I possessed. My education had been hitherto of rather a substantial
order; I had few accomplishments. To these I turned my care. "What has
a woman," I thought, "to do with solid learning? It never tells in
society." I had observed the rapt attention with which William listened
to music. Hitherto I had been only a passable performer, such as any
girl of sixteen might be. But under the influence of this new motive I
studied diligently; the best masters were supplied me; and soon my
progress both astonished and delighted myself and all who heard me.

I have before said that a change for the better had taken place in my
person; this I strove by every means in my power to increase. I rode, I
walked, I plied the oars vigorously upon our little lake. My health
grew firm, my cheeks more blooming, my form fuller and majestic. I took
the greatest pains with my toilet. It was wonderful to see, day by day,
as I looked into the mirror, the alteration that care and taste could
effect in personal appearance. Could this erect, stately figure, with
its air of grace and distinction, be one with the thin, stooping form,
clad in careless, loose-fitting garb, which I so well remembered as
myself? Could that brilliant face, with its bands of shining hair, that
smile of easy self-confidence, belong to me? What, had become of the
pale, spiritless girl? My uncle sometimes asked the question, and,
looking at me with a fond, admiring glance, would say,--"You were made
for an empress, Juanita!" I knew then that I was beautiful, and
rejoiced in the knowledge; but no tinge of vanity mingled with the joy.
I cultivated my beauty, as I did my talents, for a purpose of which I
never lost sight.

It was now I learned for the first time that John Haughton loved me.
When it became generally understood that William and I were no longer
engaged, John came forward. I do not know what he, so good, so
high-minded, saw in me; but certainly he loved me with a true
affection. When he avowed it, a strange joy seized me; I felt that now
I held in my hand the key of William's destiny. Now I should not lose
my hold on him; we could not drift apart in the tide of life. As John's
bride, John's wife, there must always be an intimate connection between
us. So I yielded with well-feigned tenderness to my lover's suit,--only
stipulating, that, as some time must elapse before our marriage, no one
should know of our attachment,--not even William, or his mother,--nor,
on my part, any of my uncle's family. He made no objection; I believe
he even took a romantic pleasure in the concealment. He liked to see me
moving about in society, and to feel that there was a tie between us
that none dreamed of but ourselves. Poor John! he deserved better of
Fate than to be the tool of my revenge!

William came home, soon after our engagement, for his annual visit. He
was succeeding rather better than his dismal fancies had once
prognosticated. He was very often at our house,--very much my friend. I
saw through all that clearly enough; I knew he loved me a hundred-fold
more passionately than in our earlier days; and the knowledge was to me
as a cool draught to one who is perishing of thirst. I did all in my
power to enhance his love; I sang bewildering melodies to him; I talked
to him of the things he liked, and that roused his fine intellect to
the exercise of its powers. I rode with him, danced with him; nor did I
omit to let him see the admiration with which others of his sex
regarded me. I was well aware that a man values no jewel so highly as
that which in a brilliant setting calls forth the plaudits of the
crowd. I talked to him often of his prospects and hopes; his ambition,
all selfish as it was, fascinated me by its pride and daring. "Ah,
William!" I sometimes thought, "you made a deadly mistake when you cast
me off! You will never find another who can so enter, heart and soul,
into all your brilliant projects!"

He came to me, one morning, rather earlier than his wont. I was
reading, but laid aside my book to greet him.

"What have you there, Juanita? Some young-ladyish romance, I suppose."

"Not at all,--it is a very rational work; though I presume you will
laugh at it, because it contains a little sentiment,--you are grown so
hard and cold, of late."

"Do you think so?" he asked, with a look that belied the charge.

He took up the volume, and, glancing through it, read now and then a

"What say you to this, Juanita? 'If we are still able to love one who
has made us suffer, we love him more than ever.' Is that true to your

"No," I answered, for I liked at times to approach the topic which was
always uppermost in my mind, and to see his perfect unconsciousness of
it. "If any one had made me suffer, I should not stop to inquire
whether I were able to love him still or not; I should have but one
thought left,--revenge!"

"How very fierce!" he said, laughing. "And your idea of revenge
is--what? To stab him with your own white hand?"

"No!" I said, scornfully. "To kill a person you hate is, to my mind,
the most pitiful idea of vengeance. What! put him out of the world at
once? Not so! He should live," I said, fixing my eyes upon him,--"and
live to suffer,--and to remember, in his anguish, why he suffered, and
to whose hand he owed it!"

It was a hateful speech, and would have repelled most men; for my life
I dared not have made it before John. But I knew to whom I was talking,
and that he had no objection to a slight spice of _diablerie_.

"What curious glimpses of character you open to me now and then," he
said, thoughtfully. "Not very womanly, however."

"Womanly!" I cried. "I wonder what a man's notion of woman is! Some
soft, pulpy thing that thrives all the better for abuse? a spaniel that
loves you more, the more you beat it? a worm that grows and grows in
new rings as often as you cut it asunder? I wonder history has never
taught you better. Look at Judith with Holofernes,--Jael with
Sisera,--or if you want profane examples, Catherine de Medicis,
Mademoiselle de Brinvilliers, Charlotte Corday. There are women who
have formed a purpose, and gone on steadily toward its accomplishment,
even though, like that Roman girl,--Tullia was her name?--they had to
drive over a father's corpse to do it."

"You have known such, perhaps," said Richard.

"Yes," I answered, with, a gentle smile, "I have. They wished no harm,
it might be, to any one, but people stood in their way. It is as if you
were going to the arbor after grapes, and there were a swarm of ants in
the path. You have no malice against the ants, but you want the
grapes,--so you walk on, and they are crushed."

I was thinking of John and of his love, but William did not know that.
"You are a strange being!" he said, looking at me with a mixture of
admiration and distrust.

"Ah! Well, you see my race is somewhat anomalous,--a blending of the
Spaniard and the Yankee. Come, I will be all Spanish for a time; bring
me the guitar. Now let me sing you a _romance_."

I struck the tinkling chords, and began a sweet love-ditty. Fixing my
eyes on his, I made every word speak to his heart from mine. I saw his
color change, his eyes melt;--when the song ended, he was at my feet.

I know not what he said; I only know it was passion, burning and
intense. Oh, but it was balm both to my love and hate to hear him! I
let him go on as long as he would,--then I said, gently caressing his
bright hair,--

"You forget, dear William, all those lessons of prudence you taught me
not so very long ago."

He poured forth the most ardent protestations; he begged me to forget
all that cold and selfish reasoning. Long since he had wished to offer
me his hand, but feared lest I should repel him with scorn. Would I not
pardon his former ingratitude, and return his love?

"But you forget, my friend," I said, "that circumstances have not
altered, but only your way of viewing them; we must still be poor and
humble. Don't you remember all your eloquent picturings of the life we
should be obliged to lead? Don't you recollect the dull, dingy house,
the tired, worn-out wife in shabby clothing"----

"Oh, hush, Juanita! Do not recall those wretched follies! Besides,
circumstances have somewhat changed; I am not so very poor. My income,
though small, will be sufficient, if well-managed, to maintain us in
comfort and respectability."

"Comfort and respectability!" I exclaimed, with a shudder. "Oh,
William, can you imagine that such words apply to me? The indulgences
of wealth are necessary to me as the air I breathe. I suppose you would
be able to shield me from absolute suffering; but that is not enough.
Do not speak of this again, for both our sakes. And now, good friend,"
I added, in a lighter tone, "I advise you to get up as soon as may be;
we are liable to interruption at any time; and your position, though
admirable for a _tableau_, would be a trifle embarrassing for ordinary

He started to his feet, and would have left me in anger, but I recalled
him with a word. It was good to feel my power over this man who had
slighted and rejected me. Before we parted that day he had quite
forgiven me for refusing him and making him ridiculous; I thought a
little of the spaniel was transferred to him. I saw, too, he had a
hope, which I carefully forbore to contradict, that I preferred him to
any other, and would accept him, could he but win a fortune for me. And
so I sent him out into the world again, full of vain, feverish desires
after the impossible. I gave him all the pains of love without its
consolations. It was good, as far as it went.

John and I, meanwhile, got on very peacefully together. He was not
demonstrative, nor did he exact demonstration from me. I had promised
to marry him, and he trusted implicitly to my faith; while his love was
so reverent, his ideal of maiden delicacy so exalted, that I should
have suffered in his esteem, I verily believe, had my regard been shown
other than by a quiet tenderness of manner.

About this time my uncle's family went abroad. They wished me to
accompany them, but I steadily declined. When they pressed me for a
reason, I told them of my engagement to John, and that I was unwilling
to leave him for so long a time. The excuse was natural enough, and
they believed me; and it was arranged that during the period of their
absence I should remain with a sister of Mrs. Heywood.

The time passed on. I saw William frequently. Often he spoke to me of
his love, and I scarcely checked him; I liked to feed him with false
hopes, as once he had done to me. He did not speak again of marriage; I
knew his pride forbade it. I also knew that he believed I loved him,
and would wait for him.

I heard often from our travellers, and always in terms of kindness and
affection. At last their speedy return was announced; they were to sail
in the "Arctic," and we looked joyfully forward to the hour of their
arrival. Too soon came the news of the terrible disaster; a little
while of suspense, and the awful certainty became apparent. My kind,
indulgent uncle and all his family, whom I loved as I would my own
parents and sisters, were buried in the depths of the Atlantic.

I will not attempt to describe my grief; it has nothing to do with the
story that is written here. When, after a time, I came back to life and
its interests, a startling intelligence awaited me. My uncle had died
intestate; his wife and children had perished with him; as next of kin,
I was sole heir to his immense estate. When my mind fully took in the
meaning of all this I felt that a crisis was at hand. Day by day I
looked for William.

I had not long to wait. I was sitting by my window on a bright October
day, reading a book I loved well,--"Shirley," one of the three immortal
works of a genius fled too soon. As I read, I traced a likeness to my
own experience; Caroline was a curious study to me. I marvelled at her
meek, forgiving spirit; if I would not imitate, I did not condemn her.

Then I heard the gate-latch click; I looked out through the
vine-leaves, all scarlet with the glory of the season, and saw William
coming up the walk. I knew why he was there, and, still retaining the
volume in my hand, went down to meet him.

We walked out in the grounds; it was a perfect afternoon; all the
splendor of autumn, without a trace of its swift-coming decay. Gold,
crimson, and purple shone the forests through their softening haze; and
the royal hues were repeated on the mountain, reflected in the river.
The sky was cloudless and intensely blue; the sunlight fell, with red
glow, on the fading grass. A few late flowers of gorgeous hues yet
lingered in the beds and borders; and a sweet wind, that might have
come direct from paradise, sighed over all. William and I walked on,

At first we spoke of the terrible disaster and my loss; he could be
gentle when he chose, and now his tenderness and sympathy were like a
woman's. I almost forgot, in listening, what he was and had been to me.
I was reminded when he began to speak of ourselves; I recalled it
fully, when again, with all the power that passion and eloquence could
impart, he declared his love, and begged me to be his.

I looked at him; to my eye he seemed happy, hopeful, triumphant;
handsomer he could not be, and to me there was a strange fascination in
his lofty, masculine beauty. I felt then, what I had always known, that
I loved him even while I hated him, and for an instant I wavered. Life
with him! It looked above all things dear, desirable! But what! Show
such a weak, such a _womanish_ spirit? Give up my revenge at the very
moment that it was within my grasp,--the revenge I had lived for
through so many years? Never!--I recalled the night under the lindens,
and was myself again.

"Dear William," I said, gently, "you amaze and distress me. Such love
as a sister may give to an only brother you have long had from me. Why
ask for any other?"

"'A sister's love!'" he cried, impatiently. "I thought, Juanita, you
were above such paltry subterfuges! Is it as a brother I have loved you
all these long and weary years?"

"Perhaps not,--I cannot say. At any rate," I continued, gravely, "a
sisterly affection is all I can give you now."

"You are trifling with me, Juanita! Cease! It is unworthy of you."

He seized my hand, and clasped it to his breast. How wildly his heart
beat under my touch! I trembled from head to foot,--but I said, in a
cold voice, "You are a good actor, William!"

"You cannot look in my eyes and say you believe that charge," he

I essayed to do it,--but my glance fell before his, so ardent, so
tender. Spite of myself, my cheeks burned with blushes. Quietly I
withdrew my hand and said, "I am to be married to John in December."

Ah, but there was a change then! The flush and the triumph died out of
his face, as when a lamp is suddenly extinguished. Yet there was as
much indignation as grief in his voice when he said,--

"Heaven forgive you, Juanita! You have wilfully, cruelly deceived me!"

"Deceived you!" I replied, rising with dignity. "Make no accusation. If
deceived you were, you have simply your own vanity, your own folly, to
blame for whatever you may suffer."

"You have listened to my love, and encouraged me to hope"----

"Silence! I did love you once,--your cold heart can never guess how
well, how warmly. I would have loved on through trial and suffering
forever; no one could have made me believe anything against you;
nothing could have shaken my fidelity, or my faith in yours. It was
reserved for yourself to work my cure,--for your own lips to pronounce
the words that changed my love to cool contempt."

"Oh, Juanita," he cried, passionately, "will you always be so
vindictive? Will you forever remind me of that piece of insane folly?
Let it go,--it was a boy's whim, too silly to remember."

"You were no boy then," I answered. "You had a mature prudence,--a
careful thoughtfulness for self. Or if otherwise, in your case the
child was indeed father to the man."

"Your love is dead, then, I suppose?" he questioned, with a bitter

I handed him the book I had been reading. It was marked at these words:
"Love can excuse anything except meanness; but meanness kills love,
cripples even natural affection; without esteem, true love cannot

William raised his head with an air of proud defiance. "And in what
sense," he asked, "do such words apply to me?"

"You are strangely obtuse," I said. "You see no trace of yourself in
that passage--no trace of meanness in the man who cast off the
penniless orphan, with her whole heart full of love for him, yet pleads
so warmly with the rich heiress, when he knows she is pledged to

"You have said enough, Juanita," he replied, with concentrated passion.
"This is too much to bear, even from you, from whom I have already
endured so much. You _know_ you do not believe it."

"I _do_ believe it," was my firm reply. It was false, but what did I
care? It served my purpose.

"I might bid you remember," he said, "how I urged you to be mine when
my prospects had grown brighter, and you were poor as before. I might
appeal to the manner in which my suit has been urged for years, as a
proof of my innocence of this charge that you have brought against me.
But I disdain to plead my cause with so unwomanly a heart,--that
measures the baseness of others by what it knows of its own."

He went, and for a time I was left in doubt whether my victory had been
really achieved. Then I thought it all over, and was reassured. He
could not simulate those looks and tones,--no, nor that tumult of
feeling which had made his heart throb so wildly beneath my hand. He
loved me,--that was certain; and no matter how great his anger or his
indignation, my refusal must have cut him to the soul. And the charge I
had made would rankle, too. These thoughts were my comfort when John
told me, with grief and surprise, that his brother had joined the
Arctic expedition under Dr. Kane. I knew it was for no light cause he
would forsake the career just opening so brightly before him.

John and I were married in December, as had been our intention. We led
a quiet, but to him a happy, life. He often wondered at my content with
home and its seclusion, and owned what fears he had felt, before our
marriage, lest I, accustomed to gayety and excitement, should weary of
him, the thoughtful, book-loving man. It seemed he had made up his mind
to all manner of self-sacrifice in the way of accompanying me to
parties, and having guests at our own house. I did not exact much from
him; I cared little for the gay world in which William no longer moved.
I read with John his favorite books; I interested myself in the
sciences which he pursued with such enthusiasm. It was no part of my
plan to inflict unnecessary misery on any one, and I strove with all my
power to make happy the man whom I had chosen. I succeeded fully; and
when we sat on the piazza in the moonlight, my head resting on his
shoulder, my hand clasped in his, he would tell me how infinitely
dearer the wife had grown to be than even the lover's fancy had
portrayed her.

And my thoughts were far away from the bland airs and brightening moon
amid the frozen solitudes of the North. Where was William? what was he
doing? did he think of me? and how? What if he should perish there, and
we should never meet again? Life grew blank at the thought; I put it
resolutely away.

I had drunk of the cup of vengeance; it was sweet, but did not satisfy.
I longed for a fuller draught; but might it not be denied to my fevered
lips? Perhaps, amid the noble and disinterested toils of the
expedition, his heart would outgrow all love for me, and when we met
again I should see my power was gone. I pondered much on this; I
believed at last that the solitude, the isolation, would be not
unpropitious to me. From the little world of the ice-locked vessel his
thoughts would turn to the greater world he had left, and I should be
remembered. When he returned we should be much together. His mother was
dead; our house was the only place he could call his home. Not even for
me, I felt assured, would he cast off the love of his only brother. I
had not done with him yet. So quietly and composedly I awaited his

He came at last, and his manner when we met smote me with a strange
uneasiness. It was not the estrangement of a friend whom I had injured,
but the distant politeness of a stranger. Was my influence gone? I
determined to know, once for all. When we chanced to be alone a moment
I went to his side. "William," I asked, laying my hand on his arm, and
speaking in a tender, reproachful tone, "why do you treat me so?"

With a quick, decided motion, he removed my hand,--then looked down on
me with a smile. "'You are strangely obtuse,'" he said, quoting my own
words of two years before. "What can Mrs. Haughton desire from a base
fortune-hunter with whom she is unhappily connected by marriage, but a
humility that does not presume on the relationship?"

I saw a bold stroke was needed, and that I must stoop to conquer. "Oh,
William," I said, sorrowfully, "you called me vindictive once, but it
is you who are really so. I was unhappy, harassed, distracted

"Between what?"

"I do not know--I mean I cannot tell you," I stammered, with
well-feigned confusion. "Can you not forgive me, William? Often and
often, since you left me that day, I have wished to see you, and to
tell you how I repented my hasty and ungenerous words. Will you not
pardon me? Shall we not be friends again?"

"I am not vindictive," he said, more kindly,--"least of all toward you.
But I cannot see how you should desire the friendship of one whom you
regard as a mercenary hypocrite. When you can truthfully assure me that
you disbelieve that charge, then, and not till then, will I forgive you
and be your friend."

"Let it be now, then," I said, joyfully, holding out my hand. He did
not reject it;--we were reconciled.

William had come home ill; the hardships of the expedition and the
fearful cold of the Arctic Zone had been too much for him. The very
night of his return I noticed in his countenance a frequent flush
succeeded by a deadly pallor; my quick ear had caught, too, the sound
of a cough,--not frequent or prolonged, but deep and hollow. And now,
for the first time in my long and dreary toil, I saw the path clear and
the end in view.

Every one knows with what enthusiasm the returned travellers were
hailed. Amid the felicitations, the praises, the banquets, the varied
excitements of the time, William forgot his ill-health. When these were
over, he reopened his office, and prepared to enter once more on the
active duties of his profession. But he was unfit for it; John and I
both saw this, and urged him to abandon the attempt for the
present,--to stay with us, to enjoy rest, books, society, and not till
his health was fully reestablished undertake the prosecution of

"You forget, my good sister," he laughingly said to me one day,--(he
could jest on the subject now,)--"that I have not the fortune of our
John,--I did not marry an heiress, and I have my own way to make. I had
got up a few rounds of the ladder when an adverse fate dragged me down.
Being a free man once more, I must struggle up again as quickly as may

"Oh, for that matter," I returned, in the same tone, "I had some part,
perhaps, in the adverse fate you speak of; so it is but fair that I
should make you what recompense I can. I am an admirable nurse; and you
will gain time, if you will deliver yourself up to my care, and not go
back to Coke and Chitty till I give you leave. Seriously, William, I
fear you do not know how ill you are, and how unsafe it is for you to
go on with business."

He yielded without much persuasion, and came home to us. Those were
happy days. William and I were constantly together. I read to him, I
sung to him, and played chess with him; on mild days I drove him out in
my own little pony-carriage. Did he love me all this time? I could not
tell. Never by look or tone did he intimate that the old affection yet
lived in his heart. I fancied he felt as I with him,--perfect content
in my companionship, without a thought or wish beyond. We were made for
each other; our tastes, our habits of mind and feeling, fully
harmonized; had we been born brother and sister, we should have
preferred each other to all the world, and, remaining single for each
other's sakes, have passed our lives together.

So the time wore on, sweetly and placidly, and only I seemed to notice
the failure in our invalid; but I watched for it too keenly, too
closely, to be blinded. The occasional rallies of strength that gave
John such hope, and cheered William himself so greatly, did not deceive
me; I knew they were but the fluctuations of his malady. Changes in the
weather, or a damp east wind, did not account to me for his relapses; I
knew he was in the grasp of a fell, a fatal disease; it might let him
go awhile, give him a little respite, as a cat does the mouse she has
caught,--but he never could escape,--his doom was fixed.

But you may be sure I gave him no hint of it, and he never seemed to
suspect it for himself. One could not believe such blindness possible,
did we not see it verified in so many instances, year after year.

Often, now, I thought of a passage in an old book I used to read with
many a heart-quake in my girlish days. It ran thus:--"Perhaps we may
see you flattering yourself, through a long, lingering illness, that
you shall still recover, and putting off any serious reflection and
conversation for fear it should overset your spirits. And the cruel
kindness of friends and physicians, as if they were in league with
Satan to make the destruction of your soul as sure as possible, may,
perhaps, abet this fatal deceit." We had all the needed accessories:
the kind physician, anxious to amuse and fearful to alarm his
patient,--telling me always to keep up his spirits, to make him as
cheerful and happy as I could; and the cruel friends--I had not far to
seek for them.

For a time William came down-stairs every morning, and sat up during
the greater part of the day. Then he took to lying on the sofa for
hours together. At last, he did not rise till afternoon, and even then
was too much fatigued to sit up long. I prepared for his use a large
room on the south side of the house, with a smaller apartment within
it; to this we carried his favorite books and pictures, his easy-chair
and lounge. My piano stood in a recess; a guitar hung near it. When all
was finished, it looked homelike, pleasant; and we removed William to
it, one mild February day.

"This is a delightful room," he said, gazing about him. "How pleasant
the view from these windows will be as spring comes on!"

"You will not need it," I said, "by that time."

"I should be glad, if it were so," he replied; "but I am not quite so
sanguine as you are, Juanita."

He did not guess my meaning; how should he, amused, flattered, kept
along as he had been? To him, life, with all its activities, its
prizes, its pleasures, seemed but a little way removed; a few weeks or
months and he should be among them again. But I knew, when he entered
that room, that he never would go forth again till he was borne where
narrower walls and a lowlier roof should shut him in.

I had an alarm one day. "Juanita," said the invalid, when I had
arranged his pillows comfortably, and was about to begin the morning's
reading, "do not take the book we had yesterday. I wish you would read
to me in the Bible."

What did this mean? Was this proud, worldly-minded man going to humble
himself, and repent, and be forgiven? And was I to be defrauded thus of
my just revenge? Should he pass away to an eternal life of holiness and
joy,--while I, stained through him and for his sake with sins
innumerable, sank ever lower and lower in unending misery and despair?
Oh, I must stop this, if it were not yet too late.

"What!" I said, pretending to repress a smile, "are you getting alarmed
about yourself, William? Or is Saul really going to be found among the
prophets, after all?"

He colored, but made no reply. I opened the Bible and read two or three
of the shorter Psalms,--then, from the New Testament, a portion of the
Sermon on the Mount.

"It must have been very sweet," I observed, "for those who were able to
receive Jesus as the true Messiah, and his teachings as infallible, to
hear these words from his lips."

"And do you not so receive them?" William asked.

"We will not speak of that; my opinion is of no weight."

"But you must have thought much of these things," he persisted; "tell
me what result you have arrived at."

"Candidly, then," I said, "I have read and pondered much on what this
book contains. It seems to me, that, if it teaches anything, it clearly
teaches, that, no matter how we flatter ourselves that we are doing as
we choose, and carrying out our own designs and wishes, we are all the
time only fulfilling purposes that have been fixed from all eternity.
Since, then, we are the subjects of an Inexorable Will, which no
entreaties or acts of ours can alter or propitiate, what is there for
us to do but simply to bear as best we can what comes upon us? It is a
short creed."

"And a gloomy one," he said.

"You are right; a very gloomy one. If you can rationally adopt a
cheerfuller, pray, do it. I do not wish for any companion in mine."

There was silence for a time, and then I said, with affectionate
earnestness, "Dear William, why trouble yourself with these things in
your weak and exhausted state? Surely, the care of your health is
enough for you, now. By-and-by, when you have in some measure regained
your strength, look seriously into this subject, if you wish. It is an
important one for all. I am afraid I gave you an overdose of anodyne
last night, and am to blame for your low spirits of this morning. Own,
William," I said, smilingly, "that you were terribly hypped, and
fancied you never could recover."

He looked relieved as I spoke thus lightly. "I should find it sad to
die," he said. "Life looks bright to me even yet."

This man was a coward. He dreaded that struggle, that humiliation of
spirit, through which all must pass ere peace with Heaven is achieved.
Yet more, perhaps, he dreaded that deeper struggle which ensues when we
essay to tear Self from its throne in the heart, and place God thereon.
As he said, life looked bright to him; and all his plans and purposes
in life were for himself, his own advancement, his own well-being. It
would have been hard to make the change; and he thought it was not
necessary now, at least.

No more was said upon the subject. Our days went on as before. There
was a little music, some light reading, an occasional call from a
friend,--and long pauses of rest between all these. And slowly, but
surely, life failed, and the soul drew near its doom.

I knew now that he loved me still; he talked of it sometimes when he
woke suddenly, and did not at once remember where he was; I saw it,
too, in his look, his manner; but we never breathed it to each other,
and he did not think I knew.

One night there was a great change; physicians were summoned in haste;
there were hours of anxious watching. Toward morning he seemed a little
better, and I was left alone with him. He slumbered quietly, but when
he awoke there was a strange and solemn look in his face, such as I had
never seen before. I knew what it must mean.

"When Dr. Hammond comes, let me see him alone," he whispered.

I made no objection; nothing could frustrate my purpose now.

The physician came,--a kind old man, who had known us all from infancy.
He was closeted awhile with William; then he came out, looking deeply

"Go to him,--comfort him, if you can," he said.

"You have told him?" I asked.

"Yes,--he insisted upon hearing the truth, and I knew he had got where
it could make no difference. Poor fellow! it was a terrible blow."

I wanted a few moments for reflection; I sent John in my stead. I
locked myself in my own room, and tried to get the full weight of what
I was going to do. I was about to meet him who had rejected my heart's
best love, no longer in the flush and insolence of health and strength,
but doomed, dying,--with a dark, hopeless eternity stretching out
before his shuddering gaze. And when he turned to me in those last
awful moments for solace and affection, I was to tell him that the girl
he loved, the woman he adored, had since that one night kept the
purpose of vengeance hot in her heart,--that for years her sole study
had been to baffle and to wound him,--and that now, through all those
months that she had been beside him, that he had looked to her as
friend, helper, comforter, she had kept her deadly aim in view. _She_
had deceived him with false hopes of recovery; _she_ had turned again
to the world the thoughts which he would fain have fixed on heaven;
while he was loving her, she had hated him. She had darkened his life;
she had ruined his soul.

Oh, was not this a revenge worthy of the name?

I went to him. He was sitting in the great easy-chair, propped with
pillows; John had left the room, overcome by his feelings. Never shall
I forget that face,--the despair of those eyes.

I sat down by him and took his hand.

"The Doctor has told you?" I murmured.

"Yes,--and what is this world which I so soon must enter? I believe too
much to have one moment's peace in view of what is coming. Oh, why did
I not believe more before it was too late?"

I kept silence a few minutes; then I said,--

"Listen, William,--I have something to tell you."

He looked eagerly toward me;--perhaps he thought even then, poor dupe,
that it was some word of hope, that there was some chance for his

Then I told him all,--all,--my lifelong hatred, my cherished purpose.
Blank amazement was in the gaze that he turned upon me. I feared that
impending death had blunted his senses, and that he did not fully

"You will remember now what I once told you," I cried, with savage joy;
"for so surely as there is another world, in that world shall you live,
and live to suffer, and to remember in your anguish why you suffer, and
to whose hand you owe it."

He understood well enough now. "Fiend!" he exclaimed, with a look of
horror, and started to his feet. The effort, the emotion, were too
much. Blood gushed from his lips; a frightful spasm convulsed his
features; he fell back; he was gone!

Yes,--he was gone! And my life's work was complete!

I cannot tell what happened after that. I suppose they must have found
him, and laid him out, and buried him; but I remember nothing of it.
Since then I have lived in this great, gloomy house, with its barred
doors and windows. Never since I came here have I seen a face that I
knew. Maniacs are all about me; I meet them in the halls, the gardens;
sometimes I hear the fiercer sort raving and dashing about their cells.
But I do not feel afraid of them.

It is strange how they all fancy that the rest are mad, and they the
only sane ones. Some of them even go so far as to think that _I_ have
lost my reason. I heard one woman say, not long ago,--"Why, she has
been mad these twenty years! She never was married in her life; but she
believes all these things as if they were really so, and tells them
over to anybody who will listen to her."

Mad these twenty years! So young as I am, too! And I never married, and
all my wrongs a maniac's raving! I was angry at first, and would have
struck her; then I thought, "Poor thing! Why should I care? She does
not know what she is saying."

And I go about, seeing always before me that pallid, horror-stricken
face; and wishing sometimes--oh, how vainly!--that I had listened to
him that bright October day,--that I had been a happy wife, perchance a
happy mother. But no, no! I must not think thus. Once I look at it in
that way, my whole life becomes a terror, a remorse. I will not, must
not, have it so.

Then let me rejoice again, for I have had my revenge,--a great, a
glorious revenge!

       *       *       *       *       *


  It was the autumn of the year;
  The strawberry-leaves were red and sere;
  October's airs were fresh and chill,
  When, pausing on the windy hill,
  The hill that overlooks the sea,
  You talked confidingly to me,
  Me, whom your keen artistic sight
  Has not yet learned to read aright,
  Since I have veiled my heart from you,
  And loved you better than you knew.

  You told me of your toilsome past,
  The tardy honors won at last,
  The trials borne, the conquests gained,
  The longed-for boon of Fame attained:
  I knew that every victory
  But lifted you away from me,--
  That every step of high emprise
  But left me lowlier in your eyes;
  I watched the distance as it grew,
  And loved you better than you knew.

  You did not see the bitter trace
  Of anguish sweep across my face;
  You did not hear my proud heart beat
  Heavy and slow beneath your feet;
  You thought of triumphs still unwon,
  Of glorious deeds as yet undone;--
  And I, the while you talked to me,
  I watched the gulls float lonesomely
  Till lost amid the hungry blue,
  And loved you better than you knew.

  You walk the sunny side of Fate;
  The wise world smiles, and calls you great;
  The golden fruitage of success
  Drops at your feet in plenteousness;
  And you have blessings manifold,--
  Renown, and power, and friends, and gold;
  They build a wall between us twain
  Which may not be thrown down again;--
  Alas! for I, the long years through,
  Have loved you better than you knew.

  Your life's proud aim, your art's high truth
  Have kept the promise of your youth;
  And while you won the crown which now
  Breaks into bloom upon your brow,
  My soul cried strongly out to you
  Across the ocean's yearning blue,
  While, unremembered and afar,
  I watched you, as I watch a star
  Through darkness struggling into view,
  And loved you better than you knew.

  I used to dream, in all these years,
  Of patient faith and silent tears,--
  That Love's strong hand would put aside
  The barriers of place and pride,--
  Would reach the pathless darkness through,
  And draw me softly up to you.
  But that is past. If you should stray
  Beside my grave, some future day,
  Perchance the violets o'er my dust
  Will half betray their buried trust,
  And say, their blue eyes full of dew,
  "She loved you better than you knew."

       *       *       *       *       *


Facts, and figures representing facts, are recognized as stubborn
adversaries when arrayed singly in an argument; in aggregate, and in
generalizations drawn from aggregates, they are often unanswerable.

To the nervous reader it may seem a startling, and to the reformatory
one a melancholy fact, that every soul in these United States has
provided for him annually, and actually consumes, personally or by
proxy, between six and seven pounds of coffee, and a pound of tea;
while in Great Britain enough of these two luxuries is imported and
drunk to furnish every inhabitant, patrician or pauper, with over a
pound of the former, and two of the latter.

Coffee was brought to Western Europe, by way of Marseilles, in 1644,
and made its first appearance in London about 1652. In 1853, the
estimated consumption of coffee in Great Britain, according to official
returns, was thirty-five million pounds, and in the United States, one
hundred and seventy-five million pounds, a year.

Tea, in like manner, from its first importation into England by the
Dutch East India Company, early in the seventeenth century, and from a
consumption indicated by its price, being sixty shillings a pound, has
proportionately increased in national use, until, in 1854, the United
States imported and retained for home consumption twenty-five million
pounds, and England fifty-eight million pounds.

Two centuries have witnessed this almost incredible advance. The
consumption of coffee alone has increased, in the past twenty-five
years, at the rate of four _per cent. per annum_, throughout the world.

We pay annually for coffee fifteen millions of dollars, and for tea
seven millions. Twenty-two millions of dollars for articles which are
popularly accounted neither fuel, nor clothing, nor food!

"What a waste!" cries the reformer; "nearly a dollar apiece, from every
man, woman, and child throughout the country, spent on two useless

Is it a waste? Is it possible that we throw all this away, year after
year, in idle stimulation or sedation?

It is but too true, that the instinct, leading to the use of some form
of stimulant, appears to be universal in the human race. We call it an
instinct, since all men naturally search for stimulants, separately,
independently, and unceasingly,--because use renders their demands as
imperious as are those for food.

Next to alcohol and tobacco, coffee and tea have supplied more of the
needed excitement to mankind than any other stimulants; and, taking the
female sex into the account, they stand far above the two former
substances in the ratio of the numbers who use them.

In Turkey coffee is regarded as the essence of hospitality and the balm
of life. In China not only is tea the national beverage, but a large
part of the agricultural and laboring interest of the country is
engaged in its cultivation. Russia follows next in the almost universal
use of tea, as would naturally result from its proximity and the common
origin of a large part of its population. Western Europe employs both
coffee and tea largely, while France almost confines itself to the
former. The _cafés_ are more numerous, and have a more important social
bearing, than any other establishments in the cities of France. Great
Britain uses more tea than coffee. The former beverage is there thought
indispensable by all classes. The poor dine on half a loaf rather than
lose their cup of tea; just as the French peasant regards his
_demi-bouteille_ of Vin Bleu as the most important part of his meal.

Tea first roused the rebellion of these American Colonies; and tea made
many a half Tory among the elderly ladies of the Revolution. It has,
indeed, been regarded, and humorously described by the senior Weller,
as the indispensable comforter and friend of advanced female life. Dr.
Johnson was as noted for his fondness for tea as for his other excesses
at the table. Many sober minds make coffee and tea the _pis a tergo_ of
their daily intellectual labor; just as a few of greater imagination or
genius seek in opium the spur of their ephemeral efforts. In the United
States, the young imbibe them from their youth up; and it is quite as
possible that a part of the nation's nervousness may arise from this
cause, as it is probable that our wide-spread dyspepsia begins in the
use of badly-cooked solid food, immediately on the completion of the
first dentition.

All over this country we drink coffee and tea, morning and night; at
least, the majority of us do. They are expensive; their palpable
results to the senses are fleeting; they are reported innutritious;
nay, far worse, they are decried as positively unwholesome. Yet we
still use them, and no one has succeeded in leading a crusade against
them at all comparable with the onslaughts on other stimulants, made in
these temperance days. The fair sex raises its voice against tobacco
and other masculine sedatives, but clings pertinaciously to this

It becomes, then, an important question to decide whether the choice of
civilization is justified by experience or science,--and whether some
effect on the animal economy, ulterior to a merely soothing or
stimulant action, can be found to sanction the use of coffee and tea.
And this is a question in so far differing from that of other
stimulants, that it is not to be discussed with the moralist, but
solely with the economist and the sanitarian.

More even than us, economically, does it concern the overcrowded and
limited states of Europe, where labor is cheap, and the necessaries of
life absorb all the efforts, to decide whether so much of the earnings
of the poor is annually thrown away in idle stimulation.

It concerns us in a sanitary point of view, more than in any other way,
and more than any other people. We are rich, spare in habit, and of
untiring industry. We can afford luxurious indulgences, we are very
susceptible to nervous stimuli, and we overwork.

Our national habit is feeble. Debility is recognized as the prevailing
type of our diseases. Nervous exhaustion is met by recourse to all
kinds of stimulation. We are apt to think coffee and tea as harmless,
or rather as slow in their deleterious action, as any. Are they nothing

As debility marks the degeneration of our physical constitution, so
does a morbid sensitiveness at all earthly indulgence, a tendency to
reform things innocent, although useless, betray the weakness of the
moral health of our day. An ascetic spirit is abroad; our amateur
physiologists look rather to a mortification than an honest building-up
of the flesh. They prefer naked muscle to rounded outline, and seek
rather to test than to enjoy their bodies. Fearing to be Epicureans,
they become Spartans, as far as their feebler organizations will allow
them, and very successful Stoics, by the aid of Saxon will. By a faulty
logic, things which in excess are hurtful are denied a moderate use.
Habits innocent in themselves are to be cast aside, lest they induce
others which are injurious.

There is but little danger that Puritan antecedents and a New England
climate should tend to idle indulgence or Epicurean sloth. We think
there is a tendency to reform too far. We confess our preference for
the physique of Apollo to that of Hercules. We acknowledge an amiable
weakness for those bounties of Nature which soothe or comfort us or
renew our nervous energy, and which, we think, injure us no more than
our daily bread, if not immoderately used.

Science almost always finds some foundation in fact for popular
prejudices. For years, men have continued wasting their substance on
coffee and tea, insisting that they strengthened as well as comforted
them, in spite of the warnings of the sanitarian, who looked on them
solely as stimulants or sedatives, and of the economist, who bewailed
their extravagant cost.

Physiology, relying on organic chemistry, has at least justified by
experiment the choice of the civilized world. Coffee and tea had been
regarded by the physiologist and the physician as stimulants of the
nervous system, and to a less extent and secondarily of the
circulation, and that was all. To fulfil this object, and to answer the
endless craving for habitual excitants of the cerebral functions, they
had been admitted reluctantly to the diet of their patients, rather as
necessary evils than as positive goods. It was reserved for the
all-searching German mind to discover their better qualities; and it is
only within the last five years, that the self-sacrificing experiments
of Dr. Böcker of Bonn, and of Dr. Julius Lehmann, have raised them to
their proper place in dietetics, as "Accessory Foods." This term, which
we borrow from the remarkable work on "Digestion and its Derangements,"
by Dr. Thomas K. Chambers, of London, is only the slightest of the many
obligations which we hasten to acknowledge ourselves under to this
author, as will appear from citations in the course of this article.

The labors of earlier physiologists and chemists, as Carpenter, Liebig,
and Paget, had resulted in the classification of nutritive substances
under different heads, according to the purposes they served in the
physical economy. Perhaps the most convenient, though not an
unexceptionable division, is into the Saccharine, Oleaginous,
Albuminous, and Gelatinous groups. The first includes those substances
analogous in composition to sugar, being chemically composed of
hydrogen, carbon, and oxygen. Such are starch, gum, cellulose, and so
forth, which are almost identical in their ultimate composition, and
admit of ready conversion into sugar by a simple process of vital
chemistry. The oleaginous group comprises all oily matters, which are
even purer hydro-carbons than the first-mentioned class. The third, or
albuminous group, includes all substances closely allied to albumen,
and hence containing a large proportion of nitrogen in addition to the
other three elements. The last group consists also of nitrogenized
substances, which resemble gelatine in many of their characteristics.
The first two groups are called non-azotized, as they contain no
nitrogen; the last two, azotized, containing nitrogen. "All articles of
food that are to be employed in the production of heat must contain a
larger proportion of hydrogen than is sufficient to form water with the
oxygen that they contain, and none are appropriate for the maintenance
of any tissues (except the adipose) unless they contain nitrogen."
Hence the obvious restriction of the first two classes to the
heat-producing function, and of the last two (or azotized) to the
reparation of the tissues.

We have, then, the two natural divisions of calorifacient and plastic
foods: the one adapted to sustain the heat of the body, and enable us
to maintain a temperature independent of that of the medium we may be
in; the other to build up, repair, and preserve in their natural
proportions the various tissues, as the muscular, fibrous, osseous, or
nervous, which compose our frames. These two kinds of food we must have
in due proportion and quantity in order to live. Neither the animal nor
the vegetable kingdom furnishes the one to the exclusion of the other.
We derive our supplies of each from both. More than this, we consume
and appropriate certain incidental elements, which find their place and
use in the healthy system. Iron floats in our blood, sulphur lies
hidden in the hair and nails, phosphorus scintillates unseen in the
brain, lime compacts our bones, and fluorine sets the enamelled edges
of our teeth. At least one-third of all the known chemical elements
exist in some part of the human economy, and are taken into the stomach
hidden in our various articles of food. This would seem enough for
Nature's requirements. It is enough for all the brute creation. As men,
and as thinkers, we need something more.

In all the lower orders of creation the normal state is preserved.
Health is the rule, and sickness the rare exception. Demand and supply
are exactly balanced. The contraction of the voluntary muscles, and the
expenditure of nervous power consequent on locomotion, the temperate
use of the five senses, and the quiet, regular performance of the great
organic processes, limit the life and the waste of the creature. But
when the brain expands in the dome-like cranium of the human being, a
new and incessant call is made on the reparative forces. The nervous
system has its demands increased a hundred-fold. We think, and we
exhaust; we scheme, imagine, study, worry, and enjoy, and
proportionately we waste.

In the rude and primitive nations this holds good much less than among
civilized people. Yet even among them, the faculties whose possession
involves this loss have been ever exercised to repair it by artificial
means. In the busy life of to-day how much more is this the case!
Overworked brains and stomachs, underworked muscles and limbs, soon
derange the balance of supply and demand. We waste faster than
enfeebled digestion can well repair. We feel always a little depressed;
we restore the equilibrium temporarily by stimulation,--some with
alcohol and tobacco, others with coffee and tea. Now it is to these
last means of supply that the name has been given of "accessory foods."

"Accessories are those by whose use the moulting and renewing (that is,
the metamorphosis) of the organic structures are modified, so as best
to accommodate themselves to required circumstances. They may be
subdivided into those which _arrest_ and those which _increase_
metamorphosis." It is under the former class that are placed alcohol,
sugar, coffee, and tea. Again, says Dr. Chambers,--"Not satisfied with
the bare necessaries," (the common varieties of plastic and
calorifacient food,) "we find that our species chiefly are inclined by
a _soi-disant_ instinct to feed on a variety of articles the use of
which cannot be explained as above; they cannot be found in the
organism; they cannot, apparently, without complete disorganization, be
employed to build up the body. These may be considered as extra diet,
or called accessory foods..... These are what man does not want, if the
protracting from day to day his residence on earth be the sole object
of his feeding. He could live without them, grow without them, think,
after a fashion, without them. A baby does. Would he be wise to try and
imitate it?

"Thus, there is no question but that easily assimilable brown meat is
the proper food for those whose muscular system is subjected to the
waste arising from hard exercise; and if plenty of it is to be got, and
the digestive organs are in sufficiently good order to absorb enough to
supply the demand, it completely covers the deficiency. Water, under
these circumstances, is the best drink; and a 'total abstainer,' with
plenty of fresh meat, strong exercise, and a vigorous digestion, will
probably equal anybody in muscular development. But should the
digestion not be in such a typical condition, should the exercise be
oversevere and the victuals deficient, then the waste must be limited
by some arrester of metamorphosis; if it is not, the system suffers,
and the man is what is called 'overworked.'.... Intellectual labor also
exercises the demand for food, and at the same time, unfortunately,
injures the assimilating organs; so that, unless a judicious diet is
employed, waste occurs which cannot be replaced."

Waste, we may be told, is life, and the rapidity of change marks the
activity of the vital processes. True, if each particle consumed is at
once and adequately replaced. Beyond that point, let the balance once
tend to over-consumption, and we approach the confines of decay. Birds
live more and faster than men, and insects probably most of all; yet
many of the latter are ephemeral.

Every-day experience had long pointed to the recurring coincidence,
that, of the annual victims of pulmonary consumption, few were to be
found among the habitual consumers of ardent spirits. Science
volunteered the explanation, that alcohol supplied a hydro-carbonaceous
nutriment similar to that furnished by the cod-liver oil, which,
serving as fuel, spared the wasting of the tissues, just in proportion
to its own consumption and assimilation. Other aid it was supposed to
lend, by stimulating the function of nutrition to renewed energy. Later
investigations have proved that it exercises a yet more important
influence as an arrester of metamorphosis. It was on arriving at this
conclusion, that Dr. Böcker was led to institute a series of careful
experiments to determine the influence of water on the physical
economy, and the real value of salt, sugar, coffee, tea, and other
condiments, as articles of food. "The experimenter appears to have used
the utmost precision, and details so conscientiously the mode adopted
of making his estimates, that additional knowledge may perhaps alter
the conclusions drawn, but can never diminish the value of the
experiments." They are not open to the objections of mistaken
sensations, and honest, though ludicrous, misapprehension of fallible
symptoms, to which the testing of drugs homeopathically is liable, and
of which another instance has just occurred in London, in the "proving"
of the new medicinal agent, gonoine. They rather resemble in accuracy a
quantitative, as well as a qualitative, analysis. We will cite first
the experiments on tea, and quote from the interesting narrative of Dr.

"After Dr. Böcker had determined by some preliminary trials what
quantity of food and drink was just enough to satiate his appetite
without causing loss of weight to his body,--that is to say, was
sufficient to cover exactly the necessary outgoings of the
organism,--he proceeded to special experiments, in which, during
periods of twenty-four hours, he took the amount of victuals
ascertained by the former trials.

"The first set of the first series of experiments consists of seven
observations, of twenty-four hours' duration each, in the months of
July and August, with three barely sufficient meals _per diem_, in
quantities as nearly equal each day as could be managed, and only
spring-water to drink. The second set comprises the same number of
observations in August, September, and October, under similar
circumstances, except that infusion of tea, drunk cold, was taken
instead of plain water.

"Each day there are carefully recorded" qualitative and quantitative
analyses of the excretions,--estimates of "the amount of insensible
perspiration, and of expired carbonic acid,--the quickness of
respiration,--the beats of the pulse,--together with accurate notes of
the duration of bodily exercise in the open air, the loss of weight of
the whole body, the general feelings, and the circumstances,
thermometric, barometric, and meteoric, under which the observations
are taken.

"A second series of seventeen experiments of equal duration were made,
and at a different time of year, so as to answer the question, which
might arise, as to whether the season made any difference."

In these experiments similar observations and records are made as
previously, "under the three following circumstances, namely: while
taking tea as an ordinary drink, on the days immediately following the
leaving it off, and on other days when it was not taken."

"A third series, of four experiments, was also made during four fasts
of thirty-six hours each--two with water only, and two with tea to

"In the following particulars, all the three series so entirely
coincide, that the conclusions will be set down as general deductions
from the whole.

"Tea, in ordinary doses, has not any effect on the amount of carbonic
acid expired, the frequency of the respirations, or of the pulse."

Obviously, then, it is not with reference to the heat-producing
function that we can look upon tea as in any sense a nutriment; and if
it causes no saving of carbon, its effects must be sought in checking
some other waste, or in the less consumption of nitrogen. The pulse,
and hence the respiration, are unaltered; for the two great processes
of circulation and aëration of the blood are interdependent functions,
and have, in health, a definite ratio of activity one with the other.
As a nervous stimulant, tea in excess will, as we all know, produce an
exaltation of the action of the heart, amounting in some persons to a
painful and irregular palpitation. No such result seems to follow its
moderate use.

"The loss by perspiration is limited by tea."  This seems, at first,
contrary to common experience, as the sensible perspiration produced by
several cups of warm tea is a familiar fact to all tea-drinkers. That
this effect is wholly owing to the warmth of the mixture, it being
drunk usually in hot infusion or decoction, was pointed out long since
by Cullen. Tea limits perspiration, perhaps, by the astringent action
of the tannin which it contains,--of which more hereafter. What is
saved by limiting perspiration? Water, largely; carbonic acid, in
considerable amount; ammonia (a nitrogenized substance;) salts of soda,
potash and lime, and a trace of iron, all in quantities minute, to be
sure, but to be counted in the aggregate of arrest of metamorphosis.

But the great fact which establishes tea as an arrester of the change
of tissue is, that its use diminishes remarkably the amount of nitrogen
thrown off by the excretions, specially destined to remove that
element, when in excess, from the system. "We have before called
attention to the fact, that an indispensable component of plastic food,
by which alone the tissues are repaired, is nitrogen. By a
chemico-vital process, nitrogen builds up and is incorporated in the
tissues. Nitrogen, again, is one of the resulting components of the
change of tissue. This element forms a large part of the effete
particles which are rejected on accumulation from such change or waste.
That a less amount is excreted by the tea-drinker, when similar
quantities are ingested, the weight and plumpness of the body remaining
undiminished the while, is proof of the slower change of tissue which
takes place under the modifying influence of tea. The importance of
this effect we shall presently see.

"In the first series of experiments, the daily allowance of food,
though less copious on the tea days, was more nitrogenized, and
nitrogen also was taken in as theine. Yet, in spite of this, the
quantity thrown off in twenty-four hours was nearly a _gramme_ less
than on the water days. Still more strikingly is this shown in the days
of complete fast, when pure spring-water is seen to cause a greater
loss of nitrogen than infusion of tea, in spite of the supply of
nitrogen contained in the latter. The difference also is seen to exist
in spite of an increased amount of bodily exercise."

As final deductions from these experiments, there result, first, "that,
when the diet is sufficient, the body _is_ more likely to gain weight
when tea is taken than when not"; second, "that, when the diet is
_insufficient_, tea _limits_ very much _the loss of weight_ thereby

A set of experiments made by Dr. Lehmann are parallel with these. They
exhibit the effects of coffee on the excretion of phosphorus, chloride
of sodium, (common salt,) and nitrogen. If less full than Dr. Böcker's,
they appear to be equally accurate, and more complete in showing the
separate actions of the several constituents of coffee. It would be
tedious to the general reader to follow them in detail, and we shall
avail ourselves of the brief _resumé_ of Dr. Chambers.

"First,--Coffee produces on the organism two chief effects, which it is
very difficult to connect together,--namely, the raising the activity
of the vascular and nervous systems, and protracting remarkably the
decomposition of the tissues. Second,--that it is the reciprocal
modifications of the specific actions of the empyreumatic oil and
cafeine contained in the bean which call forth the stimulant effects of
coffee, and therefore those peculiarities of it which possess
importance in our eyes,--such as the rousing into new life the soul
prostrated by exertion, and especially the giving it greater
elasticity, and attuning it to meditation, and producing a general
feeling of comfort. Third,--that the protraction of metamorphic
decomposition which this beverage produces in the body is chiefly
caused by the empyreumatic oil, and that the cafeine only causes it
when it is taken in larger quantity than usual. Fourth,--that cafeine
(in excess) produces increased action of the heart, rigors, headache, a
peculiar inebriation, delirium, and so on. Fifth,--that the
empyreumatic oil (in excess) causes perspirations, augmented activity
of the understanding, which may end in irregular trains of thought,
restlessness, and incapacity for sleep."

It follows that both the active elements of the coffee-berry are
necessary to insure its grateful effects,--that the volatile and
odorous principle alone protracts decomposition,--and that careful
preparation in roasting and decocting are essential to secure the full
benefits of it as a beverage.

It would be difficult to overestimate the practical importance of these
results. They raise coffee and tea from the rank of stimulants to that
of food,--from idle luxuries to real agents of support and lengthening
of life. Henceforth the economist can hear of their increasing
consumption without a regret. The poor may indulge in them, not as
extravagant enjoyments, but practical goods. The cup of tea, which is
the sole luxury of their scanty meal, lessens the need for more solid
food; it satisfies the stomach, while it gladdens the heart. It saves
them, too, the waste of those nitrogenized articles of food which
require so much labor and forethought to procure. The flesh meats and
the cereals, which contain the largest amounts of this requisite of
organic life, are always the dearest articles of consumption. Certainly
it is not as positive nutriment that we recommend the use of coffee and
tea; for although they contain a relatively large amount of nitrogen,
that supply can be better taken in solid food. Their benefit is
two-fold. While they save more than enough of the waste of tissue to
justify their use as economical beverages, they supply a need of the
nervous system of no small importance. They cheer, refresh, and
console. They thus fill a place in the wants of humanity which common
articles of food cannot, inasmuch as they satisfy the cravings of the
spirit as well as of the flesh.

We have before attempted to show that the human race is liable to a
peculiar and constant waste from the development of the nervous system,
and that the body has to answer for the labor of the mind. At first
thought, we shall find it difficult to appreciate the endless vigilance
and activity of the brain. Like the other organisms which possess a
proper nervous system, man carries on the common organic processes of
life with a regularity and unfailing accuracy which seem to verge on
the mechanical forces, or to be, at least, automatic. All habitual
voluntary acts by repetition become almost automatic, or require no
perceptibly distinct impulse of the will. When we emerge from this
necessary field of labor, we come to those functions peculiar to the
proper brain. Here all is continual action. Thought, imagination, will,
the conflicting passions, language, and even articulation, claim their
first impulse from the nervous centre. The idlest reverie, as well as
the most profound study, taxes the brain. That distinguishing attribute
of man can almost never rest. In sleep, to be sure, we find a seeming
exception. Then only its inferior portion remains necessarily at work
to supervise the breathing function. Yet we know that we have often
dreamed,--while we do not know how often we fail to recall our dreams.
The duality of the cerebrum may also furnish a means of rest in all
trivial mental acts. Still, the great demands of the mind upon the
nervous tissues remain. And it is these losses which may be peculiarly
supplied by the nervous stimulants. Such are coffee and tea. Common
nutrition by common food, and particularly the adipose and phosphatic
varieties, nourishes nerve tissue, no doubt, as gluten and fibrine do
muscle. But the stimulants satisfy temporarily their pressing needs,
and enable them to continue their labors without exhaustion. Reacting
again upon the rest of the body, they invigorate the processes of
ordinary nutrition; for whatever rests or stimulates the nerve
proportionately refreshes and vitalizes the tissues which it supplies.

It would be curious and well worth while to follow out the peculiar
connection between the use of coffee and the excretion of phosphorus,
which has been before hinted at. Other experiments of Dr. Böcker prove
sugar to be a great saver of the phosphates, and hence of bone,--which
affords, at least, a very plausible reason for the instinctive fondness
of children for sweets, during the building portion of their lives.

In exhausting labors, long-continued exposure, and to insure
wakefulness, the uses of coffee and tea have long been practically
recognized by all classes. The sailor, the trapper, and the explorer
value them even above alcohol; and in high latitudes we are assured of
their importance in bracing the system to resist the rigors of the
Arctic winter.

There is of course, as in all human history, another side of this
picture. Abuse follows closely after use. The effects of the excessive
employment of nervous stimulants in shaking the nerves themselves, and
in impairing digestion, are too familiar to need description. Yet even
here abuse is not followed by those terrible penalties which await the
drunkard or the opium-eater. Idiosyncrasy, too, may forbid their use;
and this is not very rare. As strengtheners and comforters of the
average human system, however, they have no superiors, and none others
are so largely used.

It is a little singular that the active principles of coffee and tea
are probably identical,--no more so, however, than the marvellous
similarity of starch, gum, and sugar, or other chemical wonders. They
have been called cafeine and theine, respectively. They are azotized,
and contain quite a marked amount of nitrogen. Chemically, they consist
of carbon 19, hydrogen 10, nitrogen 4, oxygen 4. Some allowance is
therefore to be made for them as plastic food.

This peculiar principle (theine) is also found in the leaves of the
_Ilex Paraguayensis_, or Paraguay tea, used in South America, as a

  "Good black tea contains of theine from 2.00 to 2.13 per cent.
  Coffee-_leaves_ contain of theine from  1.15 to 1.25 per cent.
  Paraguay tea contains of theine from    1.01 to 1.23 per cent.
  The coffee-berry a mean of              1.00         per cent.

"Besides the theine and the essential oils, which latter give the aroma
of the plants, there is contained in both coffee and tea a certain
amount of difficultly soluble vegetable albumen, and in the latter,
especially, a large quantity of tannin. Roasting renders volatile the
essential oil of the coffee-berry. The tea-leaf, infused for a short
time, parts with its essential oil, and a small portion of alkaloid,
(theine,) a good deal of which is thrown away with the grounds. If it
stands too long, or is boiled, more indeed is got out of it, but an
astringent, disagreeable drink is the result. The boiling of coffee
extracts all its oil and alkaloid too, and, when it is drunk with the
grounds, allows the whole nutriment to be available. Even when
strained, it is clearly more economical than tea."

Roasted coffee is a powerful deodorizer, also. This fact is familiarly
illustrated by its use in bar-rooms; and it might be made available for
other purposes.

The cost and vast consumption of coffee and tea have made the
inducements to adulterate them very great. The most harmless form, is
the selling of coffee-grounds and old tea-leaves for fresh coffee and
tea. There is no security in buying coffee ready-ground; and we always
look at the neat little packages of it in the grocers' windows with a
shudder. Beans and peas we have certainly tasted in ground coffee. The
most fashionable adulteration, and one even openly vaunted as
economical and increasing the richness of the beverage, is with the
root of the wild endive, or chicory. Roasted and ground, it closely
resembles coffee. It contains, however, none of the virtues of the
latter, and has nothing to recommend it but its cheapness. The leaves
of the ash and the sloe are used to adulterate tea. They merely dilute
its virtues, without adding any that are worth the exchange.

The coffee-tree is a native of Ethiopia or Abyssinia. Bruce tells us
that the nomad tribes of that part of Africa carry with them, in
crossing deserts on hostile expeditions, only balls of pulverized
roasted coffee mixed with butter. One of these as large as a
billiard-ball keeps them, they say, in strength and spirits during a
whole day's fatigue, better than a loaf of bread or a meal of meat. The
Arabs gave the first written account of coffee, and first used it in
the liquid form. Burton, in his "Anatomy of Melancholy," mentions it as
early as 1621. "The Turks have a drink they call coffee, (for they use
no wine,)--so named of a berry as black as soot, and as bitter, which
they sip up as warm as they can suffer, because they find by experience
that that kind of drink, so used, helpeth digestion and procureth

The coffee-tree reaches a height of from six to twelve feet, and when
fully grown much resembles the apple-tree. Its leaves are green all the
year; and in almost all seasons, blossoms and green and ripe fruit may
be seen on the same tree at the same time. When the blossom falls,
there springs from it a small fruit, green at first, red when ripe, and
under its flesh, instead of a stone, is the bean or berry we call
coffee. "It has but recently become known by Europeans that the leaves
of the coffee-plant contain the same essential principle for which the
berries are so much valued. In Sumatra, the natives scarcely use
anything else. The leaves are cured like tea. And the tree will produce
leaves over a much larger _habitat_ than it will berries." Should the
decoction of the leaves prove as agreeable as that of the berry, we
shall have a much cheaper coffee; though it remains to be proved that
they contain the essential oil as well as the cafeine.

The coffees of Java, Ceylon, and Mocha are most esteemed. The
quantities produced are quite limited. Manila and Arabia together give
less than 4,500 tons. Cuba yields 5,000 tons _per annum_; St. Domingo,
18,000; Ceylon and the British East Indies, 16,000; Java, 60,000; and
Brazil, 142,000. Yet, in 1774, a Franciscan friar, named Villaso,
cultivated a single coffee-tree in the garden of the convent of San
Antonio, in Brazil. In the estimates for 1853, we find that Great
Britain consumes 17,500 tons; France, 21,500; Germany, (Zollverein),
58,000; and the United States, about 90,000 tons. It is worth remarking
how small is the comparative consumption of tea in France. The
importation of tea for 1840 was only 264,000 kilogrammes (less than
600,000 pounds).

In Asia, coffee is drunk in a thick farinaceous mixture. With us the
cup of coffee is valued by its clearness. We generally drink it with
sugar and milk. The French with their meals use it as we do,--but after
dinner, invariably without milk (_café noir_). And we would suggest to
the nervous and the dyspeptic, who do not want to resign the luxury of
coffee, or to whom its effects as an arrester of metamorphosis are
beneficial, that when drunk on a full stomach its effects upon the
nerves are much less felt than when taken fasting or with the meals.

In the consumption of tea the United States rank next to Great Britain.
Tea is the chief import from China into this country. The tea-plant
flourishes from the equator to the forty-fifth parallel of latitude;
though it grows best between the twenty-third and the twenty-fifth
parallels. Probably it can be successfully cultivated in our Southern
States. Mr. Fortune considers that all varieties of tea are derived
from the same plant. Other authorities say that there are two species,
the green and the black,--_Thea viridis_ and _Thea Bohea_. This point
is yet unsettled. Tea is grown in small, shrub-like plantations,
resembling vineyards. As it is a national beverage, certain localities
are as much valued for choice varieties as are the famous vintage-hills
and slopes of Southern France. The buds and the leaves are used; and
there are three harvestings,--in February, April, and June. The young,
unfolded buds of February furnish the "Youi" and "Soumlo," or "Imperial
Teas." These are the delicate "Young Hysons" which we are supposed to
buy sometimes, but most of which are consumed by the Mandarins.
Souchong, Congo, and Bohea mark the three stages of increasing size and
coarseness in the leaves. Black tea is of the lowest kind, with the
largest leaves. In gathering the choicer varieties, we are told on
credible authority that "each leaf is plucked separately; the hands are
gloved; the gatherer must abstain from gross food, and bathe several
times a day." Many differences in the flavor and color of green and
black teas are produced by art. Mr. Fortune says of green tea, that "it
has naturally no bloom on the leaf, and a much more natural color. It
is dyed with Prussian blue and gypsum. Probably no bad effects are
produced. There is no foundation for the suspicion that green tea owes
its verdure to an inflorescence acquired from plates of copper on which
it is curled or dried. The drying-pans are said to be invariably of
sheet-iron." We drink our tea with milk or sugar, or both, and always
in warm infusion. In Russia, it is drunk cold,--in China, pure; in Ava,
it is used as a pickle preserved in oil.

It would be improper not to notice, finally, the moral effect of
coffee- and tea-drinking. How much resort to stronger stimulants these
innocent beverages prevent can be judged only by the weakness of human
nature and the vast consumption of both.

       *       *       *       *       *


When the little white-headed country-boy of an inland farmstead lights
upon a book which shapes his course in life, five times out of six the
volume of his destiny will turn out to be "Robinson Crusoe." That
wonderful fiction is one of the servants of the sea,--a sort of
bailiff, which enters many a man's house and singles out and seizes the
tithe of his flock. Or rather, cunning old De Foe,--like Odusseus his
helmet, wherewith he detected the disguised Achilles among the
maids-of-honor,--by his magic book, summons to the service of the sea
its predestined ones. Why is it, but from a difference in blood and
soul, that the sea gets its own so surely? The farmer's sons grow up
about the fireside, do chores together, together range the woods for
squirrels, woodchucks, chestnuts, and sassafras, go to the same
"deestrick-school," and succeed to the same ambitions and hopes.
Reuben, the first-born, comes in due time to the care of the paternal
acres and oxen. Simeon, Dan, Judah, Benjamin, and the rest, grow up and
emigrate to Western clearings. Levi, it may be, pale, thoughtful Levi,
sees other fields "white to harvest," and struggles up through a New
England academy- and college-education, to find a seat in the
lecture-rooms of Andover, and to hope for a pulpit hereafter. But
Joseph, the pet and pride of the household,--what becomes of him?
Unlucky little duck! why could he not go "peeping" at the heels of the
maternal parent with his brother and sister biddies? Why must he be
born with webbed toes, and run at once to the wash-tub, there to make
nautical experiments with walnut-shells?

I know why the boys of a seaport-town take kindly to the water. All the
birds of the shore are something marine, and their table-flavor is apt
to be fishy. We youngsters, who were rocked to sleep with the roar of
the surf in our ears,--one wall of whose play-room was colored in blue
edged with white, in striking contrast with the peaceful green of the
three other sides,--who have many a night lain warm in bed and listened
to the distant roll of a sea-chorus and the swinging tramp of a dozen
jolly blue-jackets,--we whose greatest indulgence was a sail with Old
Card, _the_ boatman _par excellence_,--we who knew ships, as the
farmer's boy knows his oxen, before we had mastered the
multiplication-table,--it is not strange that we should take kindly to
salt water. So, too, all along the lovely "fiords" of Maine, in the
villages which cluster about the headlands of Essex, in the brown and
weather-mossed cottages which dot the white sands of Cape Cod, by the
southern shore of Long Island, wherever the sea and the land meet, the
boy grows up drawing into his lungs the salt air, which passes in
Nature's mysterious alchemy into his blood, so that he can never wholly
disown his birthright. But what is it that draws from the remote inland
the predestinate children of the deep?

Poor little Joseph! he tries to slip along with the others; but when
the holiday comes, instinct takes him straight to the mill-pond, there
to construct forbidden rafts and adventure contraband voyages. The
best-worn page of his Malte-Brun Geography is that which treats the
youthful student to a packet-passage to England. He can tell the names
of all islands, capes, and bays; but ask him the boundaries of Bohemia
or Saxony, the capitals of Western States, and down he goes to the foot
of the class. Thus it continues awhile, till, after a fracas at school,
or a neglected duty on the farm, or similar severance of the bonds of
home, Master Joe may be seen trudging along the dusty seaport-highway,
in a passion of tears, but with a resolute heart, and an ever-deepening
conviction that he must go on, and not back.

Then there is another class,--the poetical, dreamy adventurer, to whom
the sea beckons in every white Undine that rises along the beaches of a
moonlight night, to whom it calls in that mournful and magic undertone
heard only by those who love and listen. These do not often run away to
go to sea; they prefer to voyage genteelly in yachts or packet-ships,
and, if the impulse be very strong, will get a commission in the navy.
However, if circumstances compel a Tapleyan "coming out strong," they
will sometimes face their work, and that right nobly; for there is
nowhere that gentle blood so tells as at sea. The utter absence of all
sham or room for sham brings out true and noble qualities as well as
mean and selfish ones. For ordinary work, one man's muscle is as good
as another's. It is only when the time of trial comes,--when the
volunteers are called to man the boat that is to venture through the
wild seas to pick off the crew of a foundering wreck,--"when the
jerking, slatting sail overhead must be got in somehow," though topmast
and yard and sail may go any minute,--when the quailing mate or
frightened captain dares not _order_ men to all but certain death, and
still less dares to _lead_,--then it is, when the lives of all hang on
the heroism of one, that the good blood will assert itself.

Then there is the class who are _sent_ to sea,--scapegraces all. The
alternative is not unfrequently the one of which Dr. Johnson chose the
other side. The Doctor being _sans question_ a landsman, _he_ never
saw, we warrant, any resemblance to fore and main and mizzen in the
three spires of Litchfield. But the Doctor, not being a scamp, was not
compelled to choose. Many another is not so well off. Like little boys
who are sent to school, they learn what they learn from pretty much the
same motive. Sometimes they turn out good and gallant men; but not
often does it reform a man who is unfit for the shore to dispatch him
to sea. If there are any vices he does not carry with him, they are
commonly to be had dog- and dirt-cheap at the first port his ship

Then, last of all, there is a large and increasing class who _get_ to
sea. They fall into the calling, they cannot tell how; they continue in
it, they cannot tell why. Some have friends who would rescue them, if
they could; others have no friend, no home, no nationality even, the
pariahs of the sea, sullen, stupid, and broken-down, burnt-out shells
of men, which the belaying-pin of some brutal or passionate mate
crushes into sudden collapse, or which the hospital duly consigns to
the potter's field.

There is a popular idea of the sailor, which, beginning at the lowest
note of the gamut, with the theatrical and cheap-novelist mariner, runs
up its do-re-mi with authors, preachers, public speakers, reformers,
and legislators, but always in the wrong key. There is no use in making
up an ideal of any class; but if you must have one, let it be of an
extinct class. It does not much harm to construct horrible
plesiosaurians from the petrified scales we dig out of a coal-mine or
chalk-pit; but when it comes to idealizing the sea-serpent, who winters
at the Cape Verds and summers at Nahant, it is a serious matter. For
the love of Agassiz, give us true dimensions or none.

So, too, fancy Greeks and Romans may be ever preferable to the true
Aristophanic or Juvenalian article,--imaginary Cavaliers or Puritans
not at all hard to swallow,--but ideal sailors, why in the world must
we bear them, when we can get the originals so cheaply? When the
American "Beggar's Opera" was put upon the stage, "Mose" stepped
forward, the very impersonation of the Bowery. If it was low, it was at
least true, a social fact. But the stage sailor is not as near
probability as even the stage ship or the theatrical ocean. He is a
relic of the past,--a monstrous compound out of the imperfect gleanings
of the Wapping dramatists of the last century. Yet all those who deal
with this character of the sailor begin upon the same false notion. In
their eyes the seaman is a good-natured, unsophisticated, frank,
easy-going creature, perfectly reckless of money, very fond of his
calling, unhappy on shore, manly, noble-hearted, generous to a degree
inconceivable to landsmen. He is a child who needs to be put in
leading-strings the moment he comes over the side, lest he give way to
an unconquerable propensity of his to fry gold watches and devour
bank-notes, _à la sandwich_, with his bread and butter.

With this theory in view, all sorts of nice schemes are set forward for
the sailor, and endless are the dull and decorous substitutes for the
merriment or sociability of his favorite boarding-house, and wonderful
are the schemes which are to attract the nautical Hercules to choose
the austere virtue and neglect the rollicking and easy-going vice.
Beautiful on paper, admirable in reports, pathetic in speeches,--all
pictorial with anchors and cables and polar stars, with the light-house
of Duty and the shoals of Sin. But meanwhile the character of the
merchant-marine is daily deteriorating. More is done for the sailor now
by fifty times than was done fifty years ago; yet who will compare the
crews of 1858 with those of 1808?

There are many reasons for this change, and one is Science. That which
always makes the rich richer and the poor poorer, and which can be made
to restore the lost equilibrium in a higher civilization only by the
strong pressure of an enlightened Christianity, has been at work upon
the sea. Columbus sailed out of Palos in a very different looking craft
from the "Great Republic." The Vikings had small knowledge of taking a
lunar, and of chronometers set by Greenwich time. Sir Humphrey Gilbert,
when he so gallantly and piously reminded his crew that "heaven was as
near by sea as on land," was sitting in the stern of a craft hardly so
large as the long-boat of a modern merchantman. Yet the modern time
does not give us commanders such as were of old, still less such
seamen. Science has robbed the sea of its secret,--is every day bearing
away something of the old difficulties and dangers which made the
wisest head and the strongest arm so dear to their fellows, which gave
that inexpressible sense of brotherhood. Science has given us the
steamship,--it has destroyed the sailor. The age of discovery is
closing with this century. Up to the limits of the ice-fields, every
shore is mapped out, every shoal sounded. Not only does Science give
the fixed, but she is even transferring to her charts the variable
features of the deep,--the sliding current, the restless and veering

The personal qualities which were once needed for the sea-service are
fast passing away. The commander or the master needs no longer to lean
upon his men, or they to trust in him. He wants drudges, not
shipmates,--obedient, active drudges,--men who can be drilled to quick
execution of duty, even as in a machine the several parts. The navy is
manned after this pattern; but there is a touchstone which sharpens the
edge dulled with routine,--the touchstone of war. When the time comes
that the drum-tap calls to quarters, and the decks are strewn with
sand,--when with silence as of the grave, fore and aft, the frigate
moves stately and proud into the line of her adversaries' fire, then it
is that the officer and the man meet face to face, and the awful truth
of battle compels them to own their common brotherhood. The
merchant-service has few such exigencies. The greater the size of the
ship, the greater the number of the crew. The system of
shipping-offices and outfitters breaks up almost all the personal
contact between master and men. They come on board at the hour of
sailing. A gang of riggers, stevedores, or lightermen work the vessel
into the stream. A handful of boosy wretches are bundled into the
forecastle, and as many more rolled, dead-drunk, into their bunks, to
sleep off their last spree. The mates are set to the task of dragooning
into order the unruly mass. Half the men have spent their advance, and
mean to run as soon as the ship arrives. They intend to do as little as
they can,--to "soger," and shirk, and work against the ship all they
can. The captain cares only to make a quick passage and get what he can
out of the crew. Community of interest there is none. Brutal authority
is pitted against sullen discontent.

In the old days of the little white-headed farmer's boy's dreams, there
were discovery and trading-ships sailing into unknown seas, and finding
fairy islands never visited before. There were savages to trade
with,--to fight with, it might be. There were a thousand perils and
adventures that called for all the manly and ennobling qualities both
of generous command and loyal obedience. It was a point of honor to
stick by ship and captain while ship and captain remained to stick by;
for the success of a voyage depended on such mutual trust and help. But
now where is the sea's secret? There is hardly a square league of water
which has not been sailed over. Find an island large enough to land a
goat upon, and you will find it laid down in the charts,--and, if it be
only far enough south, a Stonington sealer at anchor under its lee, or
a New Bedford whaler's crew ashore picking up drift-wood. Where are the
old dangers of the sea? We are fast learning to calculate for the
storms, and to run from them. Steam-frigates have ended forever the
pirates of the Spanish Main. The long, low, black schooner, which could
sail dead to windward through the pages of the cheap "yellow-covers,"
and the likeness of which sported its skull and crossbones on the said
covers, is to be met with nowhere else. Neither the Isle of Pines nor
the numberless West India keys know her or her romantic commander any

The relations of trade, too, have changed with the changes of Science.
We were once gathered with the group of travellers who are wont to
smoke the cigar of peace beside the pilot-house of one of our noble
Sound steamers. As we rounded the Battery and sped swiftly up the East
River, the noblest avenue of New York, lined with the true palaces of
her merchant-princes,--an avenue which by its solid and truthful
architecture half atones for the flimsiness of its land structures,--as
we passed the ocean steamships lying at the "Hook," the sea-captains
about me began to talk of the American triumphs of speed. "They say to
the Englishmen now," said one, "that we're going to take the berths out
of the 'Pacific.'" (She had just made the then crack passage.) "When
the English fellows ask, 'What for?'--they say, 'Because Collins
intends to run her for a day-boat.'" This extravaganza raised a laugh;
but one of the older brethren shook his head solemnly and sadly. "It's
all very well," said he; "but what with a steamer twice a week, and
your telegraph to New Orleans, they know what's going on at Liverpool
as well as if they were at Prince's Dock. It don't pay now to lay a
week alongside the levee on the chance of five cents for cotton."

It was a text that suggested a long homily. The shipmaster was degraded
from his old position of the merchant's friend, confidential agent, and
often brother-merchant. He was to become a mere conductor, to take the
ship from port to port. No longer identified with the honor and success
of a great and princely house, with the old historic kings of the
Northwest Coast, or of Canton, or of Calcutta, he sinks into a mere
navigator, and a smuggler of Geneva watches or Trench embroideries.

We state facts. Thus much has Science done to deteriorate the men of
the sea. It has robbed them of all the noblest parts of their calling.
It has taken away the spirit of adventure, the love of enterprise, and
the manly spirit which braved unknown dangers. It has destroyed their
interest by its new-modelling of trade; it has divided labor, and is
constantly striving to solve the problem, How to work a ship without
requiring from the sailor any courage or head-work, or anything, in
short, but mere muscle. It interferes with the healthful relations of
officer and man. The docks of Liverpool are a magnificent work, but
they necessitate the driving of the seaman from his ship into an
atmosphere reeking with pollution. The steam-tugs of New York are a
wonderful convenience, but they help to further many a foul scheme of
the Cherry-Street crimps and land-sharks.

For all this Science owes a remedy. It must be in a scientific way. We
have indicated some of the leading causes of the decline of the
seaman's character. The facts are very patent. Step into any
shipping-office, or consult any sea-captain of your acquaintance, and
you will have full evidence of what we say.

The remedy must not be outside the difficulty. You may build "Bethels"
into which the sailor won't come, and "Homes" where he won't stay,
distribute ship-loads of tracts, and scatter Bibles broadcast, but you
will still have your work to do. The Bethel, the Home, and the Bible
are all right, but they are for the shore, and the sailor's home is on
the sea. It points an address prettily, no doubt, to picture a group of
pious sailors reading their Bibles aloud of a Sunday afternoon, and
entertaining each other with profound theological remarks, couched in
hazy nautical language. But what is the real truth of the case? It may
be a ship close-hauled, with Cape Horn under her lee,--all hands on
deck for twelve hours,--sleet, snow, and storm,--the slide over the
forecastle hatchway,--no light below by which to make out a line even
of the excellent type of the American Bible Society, and on deck a gale
blowing that would take the leaves bodily out of any book short of a
fifteenth-century folio,--this, with the men now reefing and now
shaking out topsails and every other thing, as the gale rages or lulls,
in the hope of working to windward of certain destruction.

The remedy, to be effectual, must touch the seaman's calling. It is of
no use to appeal to his better nature, if he hasn't any. If you make a
drudge and a beast of him, you can't do him much good by preaching at
him. The working of the present system is, that there are afloat a set
of fellows who are a sort of no-countrymen. Like the beach-combers of
the Pacific, they have neither country, home, nor friends, and are as
different from the old class of American sailors as the _condottiere_
from the loyal soldier. Let the navigation-laws be enforced first of
all, and see that the due proportion of the crews of every ship be
native-born. Let the custom-house protections be no longer the farce
they are,--where a man who talks of "awlin haft the main tack" is set
down as a native of Martha's Vineyard, and his messmate, who couldn't
say "peas" without betraying County Cork, is permitted to hail from the
interior of Pennsylvania. Let the ship-owners combine (it is for their
interest) to do away with the whole body of shipping-agents, middlemen,
and land-sharks. Jack will take his pleasure ashore,--you can't help
that; and perhaps so would you, Sir, after six months of "old horse"
and stony biscuit, with a leaky forecastle and a shorthanded crew. Jack
will take his pleasure, and that in ways we may all of us object to;
but, for Heaven's sake, break up a system of which the whole object is
to degrade the man into the mere hack of a set of shore harpies. Do not
leave him in the hands of those whom you are now permitting to combine
with you to clear him out as swiftly as possible, and then dispatch him
to sea. Let the captains ship their own crews on board the ship, and do
away with the system of advances. But, at any rate, do learn to treat
the sailor as if he were not altogether a fool. He has sense, plenty of
it, shrewd, strong, common sense, and more real gentlemanly feeling
than we on shore generally suppose, a good deal of faith, and certain
standing principles of sea-morality. But at the same time he has
prejudices and whims utterly unaccountable to men living on shore. He
will forfeit one or two hundred dollars of wages to run from a ship and
captain with which he can find no fault. He will ship the next day in a
worse craft for smaller wages. You cannot understand his impulses and
moods and grievances till you see them from a forecastle point of view.

It may be that Science will solve the riddle by casting aside the works
and improvements of a thousand years,--the "wave line," the spar, the
sail, and all,--and with them the men of the sea. It may be that
"Leviathans" will march unheedingly _through_ the mountain waves,--that
steam and the Winans's model will obliterate old inventions and labors
and triumphs. Blake and Raleigh and Frobisher and Dampier may be known
no more. The poetry and the mystery of the sea may perish altogether,
as they have in part. Out of the past looks a bronzed and manly face;
along the deck of a phantom-ship swings a square and well-knit form. I
hear, in memory, the ring of his cheerful voice. I see his alert and
prompt obedience, his self-respecting carriage, and I know him for the
man of the sea, who was with Hull in the "Constitution" and Porter in
the "Essex." I look for him now upon the broad decks of the magnificent
merchantmen that lie along the slips of New York, and in his place is a
lame and stunted, bloated and diseased wretch, spiritless, hopeless,
reckless. Has he knowledge of a seaman's duty? The dull sodden brain
can carry the customary orders of a ship's duty, but more than that it
cannot. Has he hopes of advancement? His horizon is bounded by the bar
and the brothel. A dog's life, a dog's berth, and a dog's death are his

The old illusion still prevails and has power over little towheaded
Joseph on the Berkshire interval. It will not prevail much longer. It
is fast yielding to the power of facts. The Joes of next year may run
from home in obedience to the planetary destiny which casts their
horoscope in Neptune, but they will not run to the forecastle. We shall
have officers and men of a different class,--the Spartan on the
quarter-deck, the Helot in the forecastle. We have it now. A story of
brutal wrong on shipboard startles the public. A mutiny breaks out in
the Mersey, and a mate is beaten to death, and we wonder why the
service is so demoralized. The story could be told by a glance at the
names upon the shipping-papers. The officers are American,--the men are
foreigners, blacks, Irish, Germans, non-descripts, but hopelessly
severed from the chances of the quarter-deck. The law may interpose a
strong arm, and keep the officer from violence, the men from mutiny. We
may enact a Draconian code which shall maintain a sullen and revengeful
order upon the seas, but all fellowship and mutual helpfulness are
gone. When the day of trial comes,--the wreck, the fire, the
leak,--subordination is lost, and every man scrambles for his own
selfish safety, leaving women and children to the flames and the waves.
Why is it that ships, dismasted, indeed, but light and staunch, are so
often found rolling abandoned on the seas? It is the daily incident of
our marine columns. I have been told by an old shipmaster, how, when he
was a young mate, his ship was dismasted on the Banks of Newfoundland,
on a voyage to Europe. The captain had been disabled and the vessel was
leaking. He came into command. But in those days men never dreamed of
leaving their ship till she was ready to leave them. They rigged
jury-masts, and, under short canvas and working at the pumps, brought
their craft to the mouth of Plymouth Harbor. The pilot demanded
salvage, and was refused leave to come on board. The mate had been into
that port before, was a good seaman and a sharp observer, and he took
his vessel safely to her anchorage himself, rather than burden his
owners with a heavy claim. Captains and mates will not now-a-days
follow that lead, because they cannot trust their men, because with
every emergency the _morale_ of the forecastle is utterly gone.

For all this there is of course no universal panacea. Nor do I believe
that legislation will much help the matter. The common-law of the seas,
well carried out by competent courts of admiralty, is better than many
statutes. For emergencies require extraordinary powers and a wide
discretion. There can be no divided rule in a ship. But if every man
know his place and his duty, and none overstep it, there will come
thereof successful and happy voyages. There must be discipline,
subordination, and law. The republican theory stops with the shore.
"Obey orders, though you break owners," is the Magna Charta of the
main. This can be well and wisely carried out only with some
homogeneity of the ship's company, with a community of feeling and a
community of interest. Everybody who has been off soundings knows, or
ought to know, the difference between things "done with a will" and
"sogering." If it be important on land to adjust the relations of
employer and employed, it is doubly important on the sea, where the
peril and the privation are great. For it is a hard life, a life of
unproductive toil, that oftenest shows no results while accomplishing
great ends. It cannot be made easy. The gale and the lee-shore are the
same as when the sea-kings of old dared them and did battle with them
in the heroic energy of their old Norse blood. The wet, the cold, the
exposure must be, since you cannot put a Chilson's furnace into a
ship's forecastle, nor wear India-rubbers and carry an umbrella when
you go aloft. But men will brave all such discomforts and the attendant
perils with a hearty delight, if you will train up the right spirit in
them. Better the worst night that ever darkened off Hatteras, than the
consumption-laden atmosphere of the starving journeyman-tailor's
garret, the slow inhalation of pulverized steel with which the
needle-maker draws his every breath! The sea's work makes a man, and
leaves him with his duty nobly done, a man at the last. Courage, loyal
obedience, patient endurance, the abnegation of selfishness,--these are
the lessons the sea teaches. Why must the shore make such diabolical
haste and try such fiendish ingenuity to undo them? The sea is pure and
free, the land is firm and stable,--but where they meet, the tide rises
and falls, leaving a little belt of sodden mud, of slippery, slimy
weeds, where the dead refuse of the sea is cast up to rot in the hot
sun. Something such is the welcome the men of the sea get from that
shore which they serve. Into this Serbonian bog between them and us we
let them flounder, instead of building out into their domain great and
noble piers and wharves, upon which they can land securely and come
among us.

Some years ago, a young scholar was led to step forth from his natural
sphere into the forecastle of a merchantman. No quarrel with the world,
no romantic fancy, drove him thither, but a plain common-sense purpose.
He saw what he saw fairly, and he has told the tale in a volume which,
for picturesque clearness, vigor, and manly truthfulness, will scarcely
find its equal this side the age of Elizabeth. He owed it to the sea,
for the sea gave him health, self-reliance, and fearlessness, and that
persistent energy which saved him from becoming that which elegant
tastes and native refinement make of too many of our young men, a mere
literary or social _dilettante_, and raised him up to be a champion of
right, a chivalrous defender of the oppressed, whose name has honored
his calling. His book was an effort in the right direction. By that we
of the land were brought nearer to those to whom this country owes so
much, its merchant-seamen. But we want more than the work, however
noble, of one man. We want the persistent and Christian interest in the
elevation of the seaman of every man who is connected with his calling.
We do not want a Miss-Nancyish nor Rosa-Matildan sentimentalism, but a
good, earnest, practical handling of the matter. We call our merchants
princes. If wealth and lavish expenditure make the prince, they are,
indeed, fit peers of Esterhazy or Lichtenstein. But the true princely
heart looks after the humblest of its subjects. When the poor of Lyons
were driven from their homes by the flooded Rhone, Louis Napoleon urged
his horse breast-deep into the tide to see with his own eyes that his
people were thoroughly rescued. The merchant whose clippers have coined
him gold should spare more than a passing thought upon the men who hung
over the yards and stood watchful at the wheel. England's earls can
afford to look after the toiling serfs in their collieries; the
patricians of New York and Boston might read as startling a page as
ever darkened a Parliamentary Blue-book, with a single glance into
Cherry and Ann Streets.

For a thousand years the Anglo-Saxon race has been sending its
contributions to the nation of the Men of the Sea. Ever since the
Welshman paddled his coracle across Caernarvon Bay, and Saxon Alfred
mused over the Danish galley wrecked upon his shore, each century has
been adding new names of fame to the Vikings' bead-roll. Is the list
full? has Valhalla no niche more for them? and must the men of the sea
pass away forever? If it must be so,--it must. _Che sarà sarà_. But if
there is no overruling Fate in this, but only the working of casual
causes, it is somebody's care that they be removed. In almost all
handicrafts and callings the last thirty years have wrought a vast and
rapid deterioration of the men who fill them. Machinery, the boasted
civilizer, is the true barbarizer. The sea has not escaped. Its men are
not what the men of old were. The question is, Can we let them go?--can
they be dispensed with among the elements of national greatness?

Passing fair is Venice, but she sits in lonely widowhood in the
deserted Adriatic. Amalfi crouches under her cliffs in the shame of her
poverty. The harbors of Tyre and Carthage are lonesome pools. They tell
their own story. When the men of the sea no longer find a home or a
welcome on the shore,--when they are driven to become the mere
hirelings who fight the battles of commerce, like other hirelings they
will serve beneath the flag where the pay and the provant are most
abundant. The vicissitudes of traffic are passing swift in these latter
days; and it does not lie beyond the reach of a possible future that
the great commercial capitals of the Atlantic coast may be called to
pause in their giddy race, even before they have rebuilded the
Quarantine Hospital, or laid the capstone of the pharos of Minot's

       *       *       *       *       *


  The song-sparrow has a joyous note,
    The brown thrush whistles bold and free;
  But my little singing-bird at home
      Sings a sweeter song to me.

  The cat-bird, at morn or evening, sings
    With liquid tones like gurgling water;
  But sweeter by far, to my fond ear,
      Is the voice of my little daughter.

  Four years and a half since she was born,
    The blackcaps piping cheerily,--
  And so, as she came in winter with them,
      She is called our Chicadee.

  She sings to her dolls, she sings alone,
    And singing round the house she goes,--
  Out-doors or within, her happy heart
      With a childlike song o'erflows.

  Her mother and I, though busy, hear,--
    With mingled pride and pleasure listening,--
  And thank the inspiring Giver of song,
      While a tear in our eye is glistening.

  Oh! many a bird of sweetest song
    I hear, when in woods or meads I roam;
  But sweeter by far than all, to me,
      Is my Chicadee at home.

       *       *       *       *       *



22,728, Five Hundred and Fifty-First St., }
New York, June 1, 1858.                   }

Dear Don Bobus,--I see that you have been Christian enough to send my
last letter to "The Atlantic Monthly," and that the editors of that
famous work have confirmed my opinion of their high taste by printing
it. Your disposition of my MSS. I do not quarrel with; although it must
be regarded in law as an illegal liberty, inasmuch as the Court of
Chancery has decided that a man does not part with property in his own
letters merely by sending them; but I ask permission to hint that your
conduct will acquire a certain graceful rotundity, if you will remit to
me in current funds the munificent sum of money which the whole-souled
and gentlemanly proprietors--pardon the verbal habits of my humble
calling!--have without doubt already remitted to you. _Pecunia prima
quaerenda, virtus post nummos_. Mind you, I do not expect to be as well
paid as Sannazarius.

"Who the deuse was he?" I hear you growling.

My dear Iberian friend, I really thought that you knew everything; but
I find that you have set up for an Admirable Crichton upon an
inadequate capital. Know, then, that a great many years ago
Sannazarius--never mind who he was,--I do not justly know,
myself--wrote an hexastich on the city of Venice, and sent it to the
potent Senators of that moist settlement. It was as follows:--

  "Viderat Adriacis Venetam Neptunus in undis
    Stare urbem et toti ponere jura mari.
  Nunc mihi Tarpeias quantumvis, Jupiter, arces,
    Objice, et ilia tui moenia Martis, ait;
  Sic Pelago Tibrim praefers; urbem aspice utramque,
    Illam homines dices, hanc posuisse deos."

Which may be liberally rendered thus:--

  When sea-faring Neptune saw Venice well-founded
    And stiffly coercing the Adrian main,
  The jolly tar cried, in a rapture unbounded:
    "Why, d--ash my eyes, Jove, but I have you again;
  You may boast of your city, and Mars of his walling;
    But while I'm afloat, I'll stick to it that mine
  Beats yours into rope-yarn in spite of your bawling,
    Just as snuffy old Tiber is flogged by the brine;
  And he who the difference cannot discern
  Is a lob-sided lubber from bowsprit to stern.

"Very free, indeed!" you will say. It might have been worse, if I had
staid at college a year or two longer, or if I had been elevated to a
place in the Triennial Catalogue,--thus:

  PAULUS POTTER, LL.D., S.T.D.; Barat.
  V. Gubernator, Lit. Hum. Prof.,
  e Cong., Praeses Rerumpub. Foed., A.B.
  Yal., M.D. Dart., D.D. Dart., P.D.
  V. Mon., etc., etc., etc.

I have put myself down _stelliger_, because it is certain, that, after
obtaining all the above honors, if not an inmate of the cold and silent
tomb, I should be false to my duties as a member of society, and a
nuisance to my fellow-creatures. The little anachronism of translating
after being translated you will also pardon; and talking of the tomb,
let us return to Sannazarius. I pray that your nicely noble nose may
not be offended by the tarry flavor of my version. You will find the
Latin in Howell's "Survey of Venice," 1651,--a book so thoroughly
useless, and so scarce withal, that I am sure it must be in your
library. By the way, as you have written travels in all parts of this
and other worlds, without so much as stirring from your arm-chair, and
have calmly and coolly published the same, I must quote to you the
rebuke of Howell, who says, "He would not have adventured upon the
remote, outlandish subject, had he not bin himself upon the place; had
he not had practicall conversation with the people of whom he writes."
This veracious person very properly dedicated his book to the saints in
Parliament assembled, many of whom had, soon after, ample leisure for
perusing the fat folio. Nor is it perfectly certain that you have read
the book, although you may own it; since it is your sublime pleasure to
collect books like Guiccardini's History, which somebody went to the
galleys rather than read through.

But let us return, my dear Bobus, to the money question. Know, then,
that the Sannazarian performance above quoted, so different from the
language of the malignant and turbaned Turks, filled with rapture the
first Senator and the second Senator and all the other Senators
mentioned in Act I., Scene 3, of "Othello," so that, in grand
committee, and, for all I know to the contrary, with Brabantio in the
chair, they voted to the worthy author a reward of three hundred
zechins, or, to state it cambistically in our own beloved Columbian
currency, $1,233.20,--this being the highest literary remuneration upon
record, if we except the untold sums lavished by "The New York Blotter"
upon the fascinating author of "Steel and Strychnine; or, the Dagger
and the Bowl." But as we have had enough of Sannazarius, let us leave
him with the gentle hope that his check was cashed in specie at the
Rialto Bank, and that he made a good use of the money.

Now, dear Don, in the great case of Virtue _vs_. Money, I appear for
the defendant. Confound Virtue, say I, and the whole tribe of the
Virtuous! I am as weary of both as was that sensible Athenian of
hearing Aristides called _The Just_; and if I had been there, and a
legal voter, I know into which box my humble oyster-shell would have
been plumped. Such was the vile, self-complacent habit of the
Athenians, that I suspect the best fellows then were not good fellows
at all. And what did the son of Lysimachus make by being recalled from
banishment? He died so poor, that he was buried at the public charge,
and left a couple of daughters as out-door pensioners upon public
charity. The Athenians, I aver, were a duncified race; and it would
have pleased me hugely to have been in the neighborhood when Alcibiades
rescinded his dog's charming tail,--a fine practical protest, although
unpleasant to the dog. Virtue may be well enough by way of variety; but
for a good, steady, permanent pleasure, commend me to Avarice! Yes, O
my Bobus, I, who was once, as to money, "still in motion of raging
waste," and, like Timon, "senseless of expense,"--I, who have many a
time borrowed cash of you with amiable recklessness, and have never
asked you to take it back again,--I, who have had many a race with the
constable, and have sometimes been overtaken,--I, who have in my callow
days spoken disrespectfully of Mammon in several charming copies of
verses,--I am waxing sordid. I am for the King of Lydia against Solon.
How do I know that the insolent Cyras was not blandished out of his
bloodthirsty intention of roasting his deposed brother by a little cash
which the son of Gyges had saved out of the wide, weltering wreck of
his wealth, and had concealed in his boots? Royal palms were not wholly
free from _pruritus_ even then. Why has this silly world still
persisted in putting long ears upon Midas? I do not know whether he
sang better or worse than Apollo; and I am sure it is much better, and
bespeaks more sense, to play the flute ill than to play it well. Depend
upon it, his Majesty of Phrygia has been very much abused by the
mythologists. With that particular skill of his, during an epidemic of
the _brevitas pecuniaria_, (_Angl._ shorts,) he would have been just
the person to coax into one's house of accompt, at five minutes before
two o'clock in the afternoon, to work a little involuntary
transmutation,--to change the coal-scuttle into ingots, and the ruler
into a great, gorged, glittering _rouleau_. So little would his
auricular eccentricity have hindered his welcome, that I verily believe
he would have been heartily received, if he had come with ensanguined
chaps straight from the pillory, and had left both ears nailed to the

Don't talk to me about filthy lucre! Pray, when would Sheikh Tâhâr,
that eminent Koordish saint, have become convinced that he was a great
sinner, if they had not carried about the contribution-boxes in the
little New England churches? Do you think it has cost nothing to
demonstrate to the widows of Scindiah the folly of _suttee_? Don't you
know that it has been an expensive work to persuade the Khonds of
Goomsoor to give up roasting each other in the name of Heaven? Very
fine is Epictetus,--but wilt he be your bail? Will Diogenes bring home
legs of mutton? Can you breakfast upon the simple fact that riches have
wings and use them? Can you lunch upon _vanitas vanitatum_? Are loaves
and fishes intrinsically wicked? As for Virtue, we have the opinion of
Horace himself, that it is viler than the vilest weed, without fortune
to support it. Poets, of all men, are supposed to live most easily upon
air; and yet, Don Bob, is not a fat poet, like Jamie Thomson, quite
likely, although plumper than beseems a bard, to be ten thousand times
healthier in his singing than my Lord Byron thinning himself upon cold
potatoes and vinegar? Do you think that Ovid cuts a very respectable
figure, blubbering on the Euxine shore and sending penitential letters
to Augustus and afterward to Tiberius? He was a poor puppy, and as well
deserved to have three wives as any sinner I ever heard of. Don't you
think, that, if the cities of Smyrna, Chios, Colophon, Salamis, Rhodes,
Argos, and Athens had given over disputing about the birthplace of the
author of the "Iliad" and other poems, and had "pooled in" a handsome
sum to send him to a blind asylum, it would have been a sensible
proceeding? Do you think Milton would have written less sublimely, if
he had been more prosperous? Do you think Otway choking, or Hudibras
Butler dying by inches of slow starvation, pleasant to look upon? Are
we to keep any terms with the thin-visaged jade, Poverty, after she has
broken down a great soul like John Dryden's? That is a very foolish
notion which has so long and so universally prevailed, that a poet
must, by the necessity of the case, be poor. David was reckoned an
eminent bard in his day, and he was a king; and Solomon, another sweet
singer, was a king also. Depend upon it, no man sings, or thinks, or,
if he be a man, works, the worse for being tolerably provided for in
basket and pocket-money.

Objectively considered, I say that there is not in this world a sadder
sight, one so touchingly suggestive of departed joys, departed never to
return, as a pocketbook, flat, planed, exenterated, crushed by the
elephantine foot of Fate,--nor is there one so ridiculous, inutile,
impertinent, possibly reproachful and disagreeably didactic. Think of
it, Don Bob,--for you in your day, as I in mine, have seen it. 'Tis so
much leather stripped from the innocent beast, and cured and colored
and polished and stamped to no purpose,--with a prodigious show of
empty compartments, like banquet-halls deserted. It has a clasp to
mount guard over nothing,--a clasp made of steel digged from the bowels
of the earth, and smelted and hammered and burnished, only to keep
watch and ward after the thief has made his visit leisurely. 'Tis an
egregious chaos. 'Tis an absurd vacuum. To make it still more
unpleasant, there are your memoranda. You are reminded that upon
Thursday last you purchased butter flavous, or chops rosy; but where is
hint, sign, direction, or instruction touching the purchase of either
upon Thursday next? How much would it have helped poor Belisarius, in
his sore estate, if he had kept a record of his household expenses, as
my friend Minimus does? By the same token, he sometimes makes odd
misentries, pious figurative fictions, in order to save the feelings of
Mrs. Minimus, who is auditor-general and comptroller of the household.
And speaking of Belisarius, just fancy the hard fate of that gallant
and decayed soldier! Figure him left naked by the master whom he had
served so well, crying out for a beggarly _obolus_! Now this, you must
know, was one of the least respectable coins of ancient times, being of
about the value of one farthing sterling. If the poor man had got his
battered old helmet full of them, the ponderous alms would not have
driven the wolf gaunt and grinning many paces from his squalid
home,--always admitting that he had any home, however squalid, to crawl
into at sunset. And how often he crouched and whined, white-headed and
bare-headed all day, and did not get a _lepton_ (which was, in value,
thirty-one three hundred thirty-sixths of an English farthing) for his
pains! 'Tis such a pitiful story, that I am truly glad that the eminent
German scholar, Nicotinus of Heidelberg, in his work upon the Greek
Particle, has pretty clearly shown (Vol. xxviii. pp. 2850 to 5945) that
the story may be regarded as a myth, illustrating the great, eternal,
and universal danger of ultimate seediness, in which the most
prosperous creatures live. And just think of Napoleon squabbling about
wine with Sir Hudson Lowe,--the hero of Areola, without courage enough
to hang himself. Now you will notice, my dear friend, that he did not
lose his dignity, until, with true British instinct, they took away his
cash, and even opened his letters to confiscate his remittances. He
should have hidden the imperial spoons in a secret pocket. He should,
at least, have saved a sixpence wherewithal to buy Mr. Alison.

You may think, dear Don, that my views are exceedingly sordid. I
readily admit that all the philosophy and poetry, and I suppose I must
add the morality, of the world are against me. I know that it is
prettier to turn up one's nose at ready cash. I have not found, indeed,
that for the poetical pauper, in his proper person, the world, whether
sentimental or stolid, has any deep reverence. Will old Jacob Plum, who
lives on an unapproachably high avenue,--his house front and his heart
of the same material,--and who made two mints of money in the patent
_poudrette_, come to my shabby little attic in Nassau Street, and ask
me to dinner simply because "The Samos (Ill.) Aristarchean" has spoken
with condescending blandness of my poems? I know that Miss Plum dotes
upon my productions. I know that she pictures me to herself as a
Corydon in sky-blue smalls and broad-brimmed straw hat, playing elegies
in five flats, or driving the silly sheep home through the evening
shades. Now, whatever else I may be, I am not that. I keep my
refinement for gala-days; I do not shave, because I would save
sixpences; I do not wear purple and fine linen. I should be a woful
disappointment to Mistress Plum: for I like beer with my beef, and a
heart-easing tug at my pipe afterwards; and as for the album, we should
never get along at all, for I have too much respect for poetry to write
it for nothing. But if I have not wholly escaped the shiftlessness and
improvidence of my vocation,--if I have never rightly comprehended the
noble maxim, "A penny saved is a penny gained," (which cannot in rigid
mathesis be true, because by saving the penny you miss the enjoyment:
that is, half-and-half, chops, or cheese, which the penny aforesaid
would purchase; so that the penny saved is no better than pebbles which
you may gather by the bushel upon any shore,)--if I like to haunt Old
Tom's, and talk of politics and poetry with the dear shabby set who
nightly gather there, and are so fraternally blind to the holes in each
other's coats,--why it is all a matter between myself and Mrs. Potter,
and perhaps the clock. We have a good, stout, manly supper,--no Apician
kickshaws, the triumphs of palate-science,--no nightingales' tongues,
no peacocks' brains, no French follies,--but just a rasher or so, in
its naked and elegant simplicity. Montaigne's cook, who treated of his
art with a settled countenance and magisterial gravity, would have
turned his nose skyward at our humble repast; and he would have cast
like scorn upon that to which Milton with such charming grace invited
his friend, in one of those matchless sonnets which make us weep to
think that the author did not write a hundred of them. But Montaigne's
cook may follow his first master, the late Cardinal Caraffa, to that
place where there will always be fire for his saucepans! The epicures
of Old Tom's would deal very crisply with that spit-bearing Italian, or
his shade, should it appear to them. We are not very polished, but most
of us could give hints to men richer than we can hope to be of a wiser
use of money than the world is in any danger of witnessing. There is
Old Sanders, the proof-reader,--"Illegitimate S." we call him,--who
knows where there is an exquisite black-letter Chaucer which he pants
to possess, and which he would possess, were it not for a fear of Mrs.
Sanders and a tender love of the little Sanderses. There is young
Smooch,--he who smashed the Fly-Gallery in "The Mahlstick" newspaper,
and was not for a moment taken in by the new Titian. There is
Crosshatch, who has the marvellous etching by Rembrandt, of which there
are only three copies in the world, and which he will not sell,--no,
Sir,--not to the British Museum. There is Mr. Brevier Lead, who has in
my time successively and successfully smitten and smashed all the
potentates, big and little, of Europe, and who has in his museum a
wooden model of the Alsop bomb. Give them money, and Sanders will
rebuild and refurnish the Alexandrian Library,--Smooch will bid every
young painter in America reset his palette and try again,--and Brevier
Lead will be fool enough to start a newspaper upon his own account,
and, while his purse holds out to bleed, will make it a good one. But
until all these high and mighty things happen,--until we come into our
property,--we must make the best of matters. I know a clever Broadway
publisher, who, if I were able to meet the expenses, would bring out my
minor poems in all the pomp of cream-laid paper, and with all the
circumstance of velvet binding, with illustrations by Darley, and with
favorable notices in all the newspapers. I should cut a fine figure,
metaphorically, if not arithmetically speaking; whereas my farthing
rush-light is now sputtering, clinkering, and guttering to waste, and
all because I have not a pair of silver snuffers. If you wish me to
move the world, produce your lever! Your wealthy bard has at least
audience; and if he cannot sing, he may thank his own hoarse throat,
and not the Destinies.

For myself, dear Don Bob, having come into my inheritance of oblivion
while living,--having in vain called upon Fame to sound the trumpet,
which I am sure is so obstinately plugged that it will never syllable
my name,--having resolutely determined to be nobody,--I do not waste my
sympathy upon myself, but generously bestow it upon a mob of fine
fellows in all ages, who deserved, but did not grasp, a better fortune.
All that live in human recollection are but a handful to the tribes
that have been forgotten. You will be kind enough, my sardonic friend,
to repress your sneers. I tell you that a great many worthy gentlemen
and ladies have been shouldered out of the Pantheon who deserved at
least a corner, and who would not while living have given sixpence to
insure immortality, so certain were they of monuments harder than
brass. The murrain among the poets is the severest. For, in the first
place, a fine butterfly may have a pin stuck through his stomach even
while living. There are Bavius and Maevius, who have been laughed at
since Virgil wrote his Third Eclogue. Now why does the world laugh?
What does the world know of either? They were stupid and malevolent,
were they? Pray, how do you know that they were? You have Virgil's word
for it. But how do you know that Virgil was just? It might have been
the east wind; it might have been an indigestion; it might have been
Virgil's vanity; it might have been all a mistake. When a man has once
been thoroughly laughed down, people take his stupidity for granted;
and although he may grow as wise as Solomon, living he is considered a
fool, dying he is regarded as a fool, and dead he is remembered as a
fool. Do you not suppose that very responsible folk were pilloried in
the "Dunciad"? My own opinion is, that a person must have had some
merit, or he would not have been put there at all. How many of those
who laugh at Dennis and Shadwell know anything of either? And let me
ask you if the Pope set had such a superabundance of heart, that you
would have been willing, with childlike confidence, to submit your own
verses to their criticism? For myself, I am free to say that I have no
patience with satirists. I never knew a just one. I never heard of a
fair one. They are a mean, malicious, murdering tribe,--they are a
supercilious, dogmatical, envious, suspicious company,--knocking down
their fellow-creatures in the name of Virtue for their own
gratification,--mere Mohawks, kept by family influence out of the

But of all Mohawks, Time is the fiercest. If I were upon the high road
to fame, if I had honestly determined to win immortality or perish in
the attempt, I should look upon the gentleman with no clothing except a
scanty forelock, and with no personal property save his scythe and
hour-glass, as my greatest enemy,--and I should behold the perpetual
efforts made to kill him with perfect complacency. This, I know, is not
regarded as a strictly moral act; for this murderer of murderers is
very much caressed by those who, in the name of Moses, would send a
poor devil to his hempen destiny for striking an unlucky blow. How
continually is it beaten upon the juvenile tympanum,--"Be careful of
Time,"--"Time is money,"--"Make much of Time"! Certainly, I do not know
what he has done to merit consideration so tender. The best that can be
said of old Edax Rerum is that he has an unfailing appetite, and is not
very fastidious about his provender,--and that, if he does take heavy
toll of the wheat, he also rids the world of no small amount of chaff.
But 'tis such a prodigious maw!

You think, Don Bob, that you know the name of every man who has
distinguished himself since the days of Deucalion and Pyrrha. Let us
see how much you know. I believe that in your day you had something to
do with the new edition of the Aldine Poets. I therefore ask you, in
the name of an outraged gentleman, who is too dead to say much for
himself, why you left out of the series my friend Mr. Robert Baston.
You have used Baston very ill. Baston was an English poet. Baston lived
in the fourteenth century, and wove verses in Nottingham. When proud
Edward went to Scotland, he took Baston along with him to sing his
victories. Unhappily, Bruce caged the bird, and compelled him to amend
his finest poems by striking out "Edward," wherever the name of that
revered monarch occurred, and inserting "Robert," which, as I have
said, he was obliged to do,--and a very ridiculous mess the process
must have made of Mr. Baston's productions. This is all I know of
Baston; but is not this enough to melt the toughest heart? No wonder he
prologued his piping after the following dismal fashion:--

  "In dreary verse my rhymes I make,
  Bewailing whilst such theme I take."

However, Baston was a monk of the Carmelite species, and I hope he bore
his agonies with religious bravery.

And now let us make a skip down to Charles Aleyn, _temp._ Charles I.
"of blessed memory." A Sidney collegian of Cambridge, he began life as
an usher in the celebrated school of Thomas Farnably,--another great
man of whom you never heard, O Don!--a famous school, in Goldsmith's
Rents, near Red-Cross Street, in the Parish of St. Giles, Cripplegate.
Those were stirring times; but Aleyn managed to write, before he died,
in 1640, a rousing great poem, intituled, "The Battailes of Crescey and
Poictiers, under the Fortunes and Valour of King Edward the Third of
that Name, and his Sonne, Edward, Prince of Wales, surnamed The Black."
8vo. 1633. Let me give you a taste of his quality, in the following
elaborate catalogue of the curiosities of a battle-field:--

  "Here a hand severed, there an ear was cropped;
  Here a chap fallen, and there an eye put out;
  Here was an arm lopped off, there a nose dropped;
  Here half a man, and there a less piece fought;
  Like to dismembered statues they did stand,
  Which had been mangled by Time's iron hand."

This is prosaic enough, and might have been written by a surgical
student; but this is better:--

  "The artificial wood of spears was wet
  With yet warm blood; and trembling in the wind,
  Did rattle like the thorns which Nature set
  On the rough hide of an armed porcupine;
  Or looked like the trees which dropped gore,
  Plucked from the tomb of slaughtered Polydore."

So much for Mr. Charles Aleyn.

But it is at the theatre, as you may well believe, that poets live and
die most like the blithesome grasshoppers. The poor players, marvellous
compounds of tin, feathers, and tiffany, fret but a brief hour; but the
playwright, less considered alive, is sooner defunct. I have not
Dodsley's Plays by me, but, if my memory does not deceive me, not one
of them keeps the stage; nor did dear Charles Lamb make many in love
with that huge heap in the British Museum. Alas! all these good people,
now grown so rusty, fusty, and forgotten, might have rolled under their
tongues, as a sweet morsel, those lines which civil Abraham Cowley sent
to Leviathan Hobbes:--

  "To things immortal Time can do no wrong;
  And that which never is to die forever must be young."

Alas! they had great first nights and glorious third nights,--lords and
ladies smiled and the groundlings were affable,--they lived in a
paradise of compliment and cash,--and then were no better off than the
garreteer who took his damnation comfortably early upon the first
night, and ran back to his den to whimper with mortification and to
tremble with cold. There is worthy Mr. Shakspeare, of whom an amiable
writer kindly said, in 1723,--"There is certainly a great deal of
entertainment in his comical Humors, and a pleasing and
well-distinguished variety in those characters which he thought fit to
meddle with. His images are indeed everywhere so lively, that the thing
he would represent stands full before you, and you possess every part
of it. His sentiments are great and natural, and his expression just,
and raised in proportion to the subject and occasion." You may laugh at
this as much as you please, Don Bob; but I think it quite as sensible
as many of the criticisms of Samuel Johnson, LL.D.,--as that one of
his, for instance, upon "Measure for Measure," which I never read
without a feeling of personal injury. I should like to know if it is
writing criticism to write,--"Of this play, the light or comic part is
very natural and pleasing; but the grave scenes, if a few passages be
excepted, have more labor than elegance." Now, if old Boltcourt had
written instead, as he might have done, if the fit had been on
him,--"Of this play, the heavy or tragic part is very natural and
pleasing; but the comic scenes, if a few passages be excepted, have
more labor than elegance,"--his remark would have been quite as
sonorous, and just a little nearer the truth. For my own part, I think
there is nothing finer in all Shakspeare than the interview between
Angelo and Isabella, in the Second Act, or that exquisite outburst of
the latter, afterward, "Not with fond shekels of the tested gold,"
which is a line the sugar of which you can sensibly taste as you read
it. Incledon used to wish that his old music-master could come down
from heaven to Norwich, and could take the coach up to London to hear
that d--d Jew sing,--referring thus civilly to the respectable John
Braham. I have sometimes wished that Shakspeare could make a similar
descent, and face his critics. Ah! how much he could tell us over a
single bottle of _Rosa Solis_ at some new "Mermaid" extemporized for
the occasion! What wild work would he make with the commentators long
before we had exhausted the ordinate cups! and how, after we had come
to the inordinate, would he be with difficulty prevented from marching
at once to break the windows of his latest glossator! If anything could
make one sick of "the next age," it would be the shabby treatment which
the Avonian has received. I do not wonder that the illustrious authors
of "Salmagundi" said,--"We bequeathe our first volume to future
generations,--and much good may it do them! Heaven grant they may be
able to read it!" Seeing that contemporary fame is the most
profitable,--that you can eat it, and drink it, and wear it upon your
back,--I own that it is the kind for which I have the most absolute
partiality. It is surely better to be spoken well of by your neighbors,
who do know you, than by those who do not know you, and who, if they
commend, may do so by sheer accident.

You never heard of Mr. Horden, of Charles Knipe, of Thomas Lupon, of
Edward Revet? Great men all, in their day! So there was Mr. John
Smith,--_clarum et venerabile nomen_!--who in 1677 wrote a comedy
called "Cytherea; or, the Enamoring Girdle." So there was Mr. Swinney,
who wrote one play called "The Quacks." So there was Mr. John Tutchin,
1685, who wrote "The Unfortunate Shepherd." So there is Mr. William
Smith, Mr. H. Smith, author of "The Princess of Parma," and Mr. Edmund
Smith, 1710, author of "Phedra and Hippolytus," who is buried in
Wiltshire, under a Latin inscription as long as my arm. There is Thomas
Yalden, D.D., 1690, who helped Dryden and Congreve in the translation
of Ovid, who wrote a Hymn to Morning, commencing vigorously thus:--

  "Parent of Day! whose beauteous beams of light
  Sprang from the darksome womb of night!"--

and who was a great friend of Addison, which is the best I know of him.
He might have been, like Sir Philip Sidney, "scholar, soldier, lover,
saint,"--for Doctors of Divinity have been all four,--but I declare
that I have told you all I have learned about him.

It is grievous to me, dear Bobus, a man of notorious gallantry, to find
that the ladies, after consenting to smirch their rosy fingers with
Erebean ink, are among the first who are discarded. If you will go into
the College Library, Mr. Sibley will show you a charming copy of the
works of Mrs. Behn, with a roguish, rakish, tempting little portrait of
the writer prefixed. Poor Mrs. Behn was a notability as well as a
notoriety in her day; and when I have great leisure for the work, I
mean to write her life and do her justice. The task would have been
worthy of De Foe; but, with a little help from you, I hope to do it
passably. Poor Aphra! poet, dramatist, intriguant strumpet! Worthy of
no better fate, take my benison of light laughter and of tears! Then
there is Mrs. Elizabeth Singer, who was living in 1723, who selected as
the subject of her work nothing less than the Creation, and who was a
woman of great religion. Her poem commences patronizingly thus:--

  "Hail! mighty Maker of the Universe!
  _My_ song shall still _thy_ glorious deeds rehearse.
  _Thy_ praise, whatever subject others choose,
  Shall be the lofty theme of _my_ aspiring Muse."

Elizabeth was a Somersetshire woman, a clothier's daughter; and if she
had thrown away her lyre and gone back to the distaff, I do not think
Parnassus would have broken its heart. Then there is our fair friend,
Mrs. Molesworth. Her father was a Right Honorable Irish peer of the
same name, who had some acquaintance, if not a friendlier connection,
with John Locke. Her Muse was rather high-skirted, as you may believe,
when you read this epitaph:--

  "O'er this marble drop a tear!
    Here lies fair Rosalinde;
  All mankind was pleased with her,
    And she with all mankind."

Let me introduce you to one more lady. This is Mrs. Wiseman, dear Don!
She was of "poor, but honest" parentage; and if she did wash the dishes
of Mr. Recorder Wright of Oxford, she did better than my Lady Hamilton
or my Lady Blessington of later times. Mrs. Wiseman read novels and
plays, and, of course, during the intervals of domestic drudgery, began
to write a drama, which she finished after she went to London. It was
of high-sounding title, for it was called, "Antiochus the Great; or,
the Fatal Relapse." Who relapsed so fatally--whether Antiochus with his
confidant, or his wife with her confidante, or Ptolemy Pater with his
confidant, or Epiphanes with his confidant--is more than I can tell.
Indeed, I am not sure that I know which Antiochus was honored by Mrs.
Wiseman's Muse. Whether it was Antiochus Soter, or Antiochus Theos, or
Antiochus the Great, or Antiochus the Epiphanous or Illustrious, or
Antiochus Eupator, or Antiochus Eutheus, or Antiochus Sidetes, or
Antiochus Grypus, or Antiochus Cyzenicus, or Antiochus Pius,--the
greatest rogue of the whole dynasty,--or Antiochus Asiaticus, who "used
up" the family entirely in Syria--is more than I can tell. Indeed,
Antiochus was such a favorite name with kings, that, without seeing the
play,--and I have not seen it,--I cannot inform you which Antiochus we
are talking about. Possibly it was the Antiochus who went into a fever
for the love of Stratonice; and if so, please to notice that this was
the wicked Antiochus Soter, the son of Selencus, and the scapegrace who
married his mother-in-law, by the advice of the family-doctor, while
his fond father stood tearfully by and gave away the bride. After such
a scandalous piece of business, I shall have nothing more to do with
the family, but shall gladly return to our talented friend, Mrs.
Wiseman. She brought out her work at the Theatre Royal in 1706, "with
applause"; and the play, I am glad to inform you, brought in money, so
that an enterprising young vintner, by the name of Holt, besought her
hand, and won it. With the profits of "Antiochus" they established a
tavern in Westminster, and the charming Wiseman with her own hand drew
pots of half-and-half, or mixed punch for the company. I should very
much like to see two-thirds of our many poet-_esses_ doing the same

But enough, probably too much, of this skimble-skamble! If you will
look into a copy of Dr. Johnson's Dictionary, (Worcester's edition,)
you will find the names of nearly a thousand English authors cited in
alphabetical order as authorities. Of these it is safe to say that not
more than one hundred are remembered by the general reader. Such is
Fame! Such is the jade who leads us up hill and down, through jungles
and morasses, into deep waters and into swamps, through thick weather
and thin, under blue skies and brown ones, in heat and in cold, hungry
and thirsty and ragged, and heart-sore and foot-sore, now hopeful and
now hopeless, now striding and now stumbling, now exultant and now
despairing, now singing, now sighing, and now swearing, up to her
dilapidated old temple. And when we get there, we find Dr. Beattie, in
a Scotch wig, washing the face of young Edwin! A man of your pounds
would be a fool to undertake the journey; but if you will be such a
fool, you must go without the company of

Your terrestrial friend,


       *       *       *       *       *



"At that season," says Boccaccio, in his Life of Dante, "when the
sweetness of heaven reclothes the earth with its adornments, and makes
it all smiling with flowers among the green leaves, it was the custom
in our city for the men and for the ladies to celebrate festivals in
their own streets in separate companies. Wherefore it happened, that,
among the rest, Folco Portinari, a man held in much honor in those
times among the citizens, had collected his neighbors at a feast in his
own house on the first of May. Among them was the before-named
Alighieri,--and, as little boys are wont to follow their fathers,
especially to festive places, Dante, whose ninth year was not yet
finished, accompanied him. It happened, that here, with others of his
age, of whom, both boys and girls, there were many at the house of the
entertainer, he gave himself to merry-making, after a childish fashion.
Among the crowd of children was a little daughter of Folco, whose name
was Bice,--though this was derived from her original name, which was
Beatrice. She was, perhaps, eight years old, a pretty little thing in a
childish way, very gentle and pleasing in her actions, and much more
sedate and modest in her manners and words than her youthful age
required. Beside this, she had very delicate features, admirably
proportioned, and full, in addition to their beauty, of such openness
and charm, that she was looked upon by many as a little angel. She
then, such as I depict her, or rather, far more beautiful, appeared at
this feast before the eyes of our Dante, not, I believe, for the first
time, but first with power to enamor him. And although still a child,
he received her image into his heart with such affection, that, from
that day forward, never, as long as he lived, did it leave him."[1]

It was partly from tradition, partly from the record which Dante
himself had left of it, that Boccaccio drew his account of this scene.
In the _Vita Nuova_, "The New Life," Dante has written the first part
of the history of that love which began at this festival, and which,
growing with his growth, became, not many years after, the controlling
passion of his life. Nothing is better or more commonly known about
Dante than his love for Beatrice; but the course of that love, its
relation to his external and public life, its moulding effect upon his
character, have not been clearly traced. The love which lasted from his
boyhood to his death, keeping his heart fresh, spite of the scorchings
of disappointment, with springs of perpetual solace,--the love which,
purified and spiritualized by the bitterness of separation and trial,
led him through the hard paths of Philosophy and up the steep ascents
of Faith, bringing him out of Hell and through Purgatory to the glories
of Paradise and the fulfilment of Hope,--such a love is not only a
spiritual experience, but it is also a discipline of character whose
results are exhibited in the continually renewed struggles of life.

The earthly story of this love, of its beginning, its irregular course,
its hopes and doubts, its exaltations and despairs, its sudden
interruption and transformation by death, is the story which the "Vita
Nuova" tells. The narrative is quaint, embroidered with conceits,
deficient in artistic completeness, but it has the _naiveté_ and
simplicity of youth, the charm of sincerity, the freedom of personal
confidence; and so long as there are lovers in the world, so long as
lovers are poets, so long will this first and tenderest love-story of
modern literature be read with appreciation and responsive sympathy.

But "The New Life" has an interest of another sort, and a claim, not
yet sufficiently acknowledged, upon all who would read the "Divina
Commedia" with fit appreciation, in that it contains the first hint of
the great poem itself, and furnishes for it a special, interior,
imaginative introduction, without the knowledge of which it is not
thoroughly to be understood. The character of Beatrice, as she appears
in the "Divina Commedia," the relation in which the poet stands to her,
the motive of the dedication of the poem to her honor and memory, and
many minor allusions, are all explained or illustrated by the aid of
the "Vita Nuova." Dante's works and life are interwoven as are those of
no other of the poets who have written for all time. No other has so
written his autobiography. With Dante, external impressions and
internal experiences--sights, actions, thoughts, emotions,
sufferings--were all fused into poetry as they passed into his soul.
Practical life and imaginative life were with him one and indissoluble.
Not only was the life of imagination as real to him as the life of
fact, but the life of fact was clothed upon by that of imagination; so
that, on the one hand, daily events and common circumstances became a
part of his spiritual experience in a far more intimate sense than is
the case with other men, while, on the other, his fancies and his
visions assumed the absoluteness and the literal existence of positive
external facts. The remotest flights of his imagination never carry him
where his sight becomes dim. His journey through the spiritual world
was no less real to him than his journeys between Florence and Rome, or
his wanderings between Verona and Ravenna. So absolute was his
imagination, that it often so far controls his reader as to make it
difficult not to believe that the poet beheld with his mortal eyes the
invisible scenes which he describes. Boccaccio relates, that, after
that part of the "Commedia" which treats of Hell had become famous it
happened one day in Verona, that Dante "passed before a door where
several women were sitting, and one of them, in a low voice, yet not so
but that she was well heard by him and his companion, said to another
woman: 'See that man who goes through Hell and comes back when he
pleases, and brings news of those who are down there!' And then one of
them replied simply: 'Indeed, what you say must be true; for do you not
see how his beard is crisped and his face brown with the heat and smoke
of it?'"[2]

From this close relation between his life and his works, the "Vita
Nuova" has a peculiar interest, as the earliest of Dante's writings,
and the most autobiographic of them in its form and intention. In it we
are brought into intimate personal relations with the poet. He trusts
himself to us with full and free confidence; but there is no derogation
from becoming manliness in his confessions. He draws the picture of a
portion of his youth, and lays bare its tenderest emotions; but he does
so with no morbid self-consciousness, and no affectation. Part of this
simplicity is due, undoubtedly, to the character of the times, part to
his own youthfulness, part to downright faith in his own genius. It was
the fashion for poets to tell of their loves; in following the fashion,
he not only gave expression to real feeling, but claimed his rank among
the poets, and set a new style, from which love-poetry was to take a
fresh date.

This first essay of his poetic powers exhibits the foundation upon
which his later life was built. The figure of Beatrice, which appears
veiled under the allegory, and indistinct in the bright cloud of the
mysticism of the "Divina Commedia," takes her place in life and on the
earth through the "Vita Nuova," as definitely as Dante himself. She is
no allegorized piece of humanity, no impersonation of attributes, but
an actual woman,--beautiful, modest, gentle, with companions only less
beautiful than herself,--the most delightful figure in the midst of the
picturesque life of Florence. She is seen smiling and weeping, walking
with stately maidenly decorum in the street, praying at the church,
merry at festivals, mourning at funerals; and her smiles and tears, her
gentleness, her reserve, all the sweet qualities of her life, and the
peace of her death, are told of with such tenderness and refinement,
such pathetic melancholy, such delicate purity, and such passionate
vehemence, that she remains and will always remain the loveliest and
most womanly woman of the Middle Ages,--at once absolutely real and
truly ideal.

It was in the year 1292, about two years after the death of Beatrice,
and when he himself was about twenty-seven years old, that Dante
collected into this _libretto d' amore_ the poems that he had written
during Beatrice's life, adding to them others relating to her written
after her death, and accompanying all with a narrative and commentary
in prose. The meaning of the name which he gave to the book, "La Vita
Nuova," has been the cause of elaborate discussion among the Italian
commentators. Literally "The New Life," it has been questioned whether
this phrase meant simply early life, or life made new by the first
experience and lasting influence of love. The latter interpretation
seems the most appropriate to Dante's turn of mind and to his condition
of feeling at the time when the little book appeared. To him it was the
record of that life which the presence of Beatrice had made new.[3]

But whatever be the true significance of the title, this "New Life" is
full not only of the youthfulness of its author, but of the fresh and
youthful spirit of the time. Italy, after going through a long period
of childhood, was now becoming conscious of the powers of maturity.
Society, (to borrow a fine figure from Lamennais,) like a river, which,
long lost in marshes, had at length regained its channel, after
stagnating for centuries, was now again rapidly advancing. Throughout
Italy there was a morning freshness, and the thrill and exhilaration of
conscious activity. Her imagination was roused by the revival of
ancient and now new learning, by the stories of travellers, by the
gains of commerce, by the excitements of religion and the alarms of
superstition. She was boastful, jealous, quarrelsome, lavish,
magnificent, full of fickleness,--exhibiting on all sides the
exuberance, the magnanimity, the folly of youth. After the long winter
of the Dark Ages, spring had come, and the earth was renewing its
beauty. And above all other cities in these days Florence was full of
the pride of life. Civil brawls had not yet reduced her to become an
easy prey for foreign conquerors. She was famous for wealth, and her
spirit had risen with prosperity. Many years before, one of the
Provençal troubadours, writing to his friend in verse, had
said,--"Friend Gaucelm, if you go to Tuscany, seek a shelter in the
noble city of the Florentines, which is named Florence. There all true
valor is found; there joy and song and love are perfect and adorned."
And if this were true in the earlier years of the thirteenth century,
it was still truer of its close; for much of early simplicity and
purity of manners had disappeared before the increasing luxury (_le
morbidezze d' Egitto_, as Boccaccio terms it) and the gathered wealth
of the city,--so that gayety and song more than ever abounded. "It is
to be noted," says Giovanni Villani, writing of this time, "it is to be
noted that Florence and her citizens were never in a happier
condition." The chroniclers tell of constant festivals and
celebrations. "In the year 1283, in the month of June, at the feast of
St. John, the city of Florence being in a happy and good state of
repose,--a tranquil and peaceable state, excellent for merchants and
artificers,--there was formed a company of a thousand men or more, all
clothed in white dresses, with a leader called the Lord of Love, who
devoted themselves to games and sports and dancing, going through the
city with trumpets and other instruments of joy and gladness, and
feasting often together. And this court lasted for two months, and was
the most noble and famous that ever was in Florence or in all Tuscany,
and many gentlemen came to it, and many rhymers,[4] and all were
welcomed and honorably cared for." Every year, the summer was opened
with May and June festivals. Florence was rejoicing in abundance and
beauty.[5] Nor was it only in passing gayeties that the cheerful and
liberal temper of the people was displayed.

The many great works of Art which were begun and carried on to
completion at this time show with what large spirit the whole city was
inspired, and under what strong influences of public feeling the early
life of Dante was led. Civil liberty and strength were producing their
legitimate results. Little republic as she was, Florence was great
enough for great undertakings. Never was there such a noble activity
within the narrow compass of her walls as from about 1265, when Dante
was born, to the end of the century. In these thirty-five years, the
stout walls and the tall tower of the Bargello were built, the grand
foundations of the Palazzo Vecchio and of the unrivalled Duomo were
laid, and both in one year; the Baptistery--_Il mio bel San
Giovanni_--was adorned with a new covering of marble; the churches of
Sta Maria Novella, of Or San Michele, (changed from its original
object,) and Sta Croce,--the finest churches even now in
Florence,--were all begun and carried far on to completion. Each new
work was at once the fruit and the seed of glorious energy. The small
city, of less than one hundred thousand inhabitants, the little
republic, not so large as Rhode Island or Delaware, was setting an
example which later and bigger and richer republics have not
followed.[6] It might well, indeed, be called a "new life" for
Florence, as well as for Dante. When it was determined to supply the
place of the old church of Santa Reparata with a new cathedral, a
decree was passed in words of memorable spirit: "Whereas it is the
highest interest of a people of illustrious origin so to proceed in its
affairs that men may perceive from its external works that its doings
are at once wise and magnanimous, it is therefore ordered, that
Arnolfo, architect of our commune, prepare the model or design for the
rebuilding of Santa Reparata, with such supreme and lavish magnificence
that neither the industry nor the capacity of man shall be able to
devise anything more grand or more beautiful; inasmuch as the most
judicious in this city have pronounced the opinion, in public and
private conferences, that no work of the commune should be undertaken,
unless the design be to make it correspondent with a heart which is of
the greatest nature, because composed of the spirit of many citizens
united together in one single will."[7] The records of few other cities
contain a decree so magnificent as this.

It would be strange, indeed, if the youthful book of one so sensitive
to external influences as Dante did not give evidence of sympathy with
such pervading emotion. And so apparent is this,--that one may say that
only at such a period, when strength of sentiment was finding vent in
all manner of free expression, was such a book possible. Confidence,
frankness, directness in the rendering of personal feeling are rare,
except in conditions of society when the emotional spirit is stronger
than the critical. The secret of the active power of the arts at this
time was the conscious or unconscious resort of those who practised
them to the springs of Nature, from which the streams of all true Art
proceed. Dante was the first of the moderns to seek Poetry at the same
fountain, and to free her from the chains of conventionality which had
long bound her. In this he shows his close relation to his times. It is
his fidelity to Nature which has made him a leader for all successive
generations. The "Vita Nuova" was the beginning of a new school of
poetry and of prose as completely as Giotto's O was the beginning of a
new school of painting.

The Italian poets, before Dante, may be broadly divided into two
classes. The first was that of the troubadours, writing in the
Provençal language, hardly to be distinguished from their
contemporaries of the South of France, giving expression in their
verses to the ideas of love, gallantry, and valor which formed the base
of the complex and artificial system of chivalry, repeating constantly
the same fancies and thoughts in similar formulas of words, without
scope or truth of imagination, with rare exhibitions of individual
feeling, with little regard for Nature. Ingenuity is more
characteristic of their poetry than force, subtilty more obvious in it
than beauty. The second and later class were poets who wrote in the
Italian tongue, but still under the influence of the poetic code which
had governed the compositions of their Provençal predecessors. Their
poetry is, for the most part, a faded copy of an unsubstantial
original,--an echo of sounds originally faint. Truth and poetry were
effectually divided. In the latter half of the thirteenth century,
however, a few poets appeared whose verses give evidence of some native
life, and are enlivened by a freer play of fancy and a greater
truthfulness of feeling. Guido Guinicelli, who died in 1276, when Dante
was eleven years old, and, a little later, Guido Cavalcanti, and some
few others, trusting more than had been done before to their own
inspiration, show themselves as the forerunners of a better day.[8] But
as, in painting, Margheritone and Cimabue, standing between the old and
the new styles, exhibit rather a vague striving than a fulfilled
attainment, so is it with these poets. There is little that is
distinguishingly individual in them. Love is still treated mostly as an
abstraction, and one poet might adopt the others' love-verses with few
changes of words for any manifest difference in them of personal

Not so with Dante. The "Vita Nuova," although retaining many ideas,
forms, and expressions derived from earlier poets, is his, and could be
the work of no other. Nor was he unaware of this difference between
himself and those that had gone before him, or ignorant of its nature.
In describing himself to Buonagiunta da Lucca in Purgatory, he says, "I
am one who, when Love breathes, mark, and according as he dictates
within, I report"; to which the poet of Lucca replies, "O brother, now
I see the knot which kept the Notary and Guittone and me back from that
sweet new style which now I hear. I see well how your pens have
followed close on the dictator, which truly was not the case with
ours."[9] As Love was the common theme of the verses from which
Buonagiunta drew his contrast, the difference between them lay plainly
in sincerity of feeling and truth of expression. The following close
upon the dictates of his heart was the distinguishing merit of Dante's
love-poetry over all that had preceded it and most of what has followed
it. There are, however, some among his earlier poems in which the
"sweet new style" is scarcely heard,--and others, of a later period, in
which the accustomed metaphysical and fanciful subtilties of the elder
poets are drawn out to an unwonted fineness. These were concessions to
a ruling mode,--concessions the more readily made, owing to their being
in complete harmony with the strong subtilizing and allegorizing
tendencies of Dante's own mind. Still, so far as he adopts the modes of
his predecessors in this first book of his, Dante surpasses them all in
their own way. He leaves them far behind him, and goes forward to open
new paths which he is to tread alone.

But there is yet another tendency of the times, to which Dante, in his
later works, has given the fullest and most characteristic expression,
and which exhibits itself curiously in the "Vita Nuova." Corresponding
with the new ardor for the arts, and in sympathy with it, was a newly
awakened and generally diffused ardor for learning, especially for the
various branches of philosophy. Science was leaving the cloister, in
which she had sat in dumb solitude, and coming out into the world. But
the limits and divisions of knowledge were not firmly marked. The
relations of learning to life were not clearly understood. The science
of mathematics was not yet so advanced as to bind philosophy to
exactness. The intellects of men were quickened by a new sense of
freedom, and stimulated by ardor of imagination. New worlds of
undiscovered knowledge loomed vaguely along the horizon. Philosophy
invaded the sphere of poetry, while, on the other hand, poetry gave its
form to much of the prevailing philosophy. To be a proper poet was not
only to be a writer of verses, but to be a master of learning.
Boccaccio describes Guido Cavalcanti as "one of the best logicians in
the world, and as a most excellent natural philosopher,"[10] but says
nothing of his poetry. Dante, more than any other man of his time,
resumed in himself the general zeal for knowledge. His genius had two
distinct, and yet often intermingling parts,--the poetic and the
scientific. No learning came amiss to him. He was born a scholar, as he
was born a poet,--and had he written not a single poem, he would still
be famous as the most profound student of his times. Far as he
surpassed his contemporaries in poetry, he was no less their superior
in the depth and the extent of his knowledge. And this double nature of
his genius is plainly shown in many parts of "The New Life." A youthful
incapacity to mark clearly the line between the work of the student and
the work of the poet is manifest in it. The display of his acquisitions
is curiously mingled with the narrative of his emotions. This is not to
be charged against him as pedantry. His love of learning partook of the
nature of passion; his judgment was not yet able, if indeed it ever
became able, to establish the division between the abstractions of the
intellect and the affections of the heart. And above all, his early
claim of honor as a poet was to be justified by his possession of the
fruits of study.

But there was also in Dante a quality of mind which led him to unite
the results of knowledge with poetry in a manner almost peculiar to
himself. He was essentially a mystic. The dark and hidden side of
things was not less present to his imagination than the visible and
plain. The range of human capacity in the comprehension of the
spiritual world was not then marked by as numerous boundary-stones of
failure as now limit the way. Impossibilities were sought for with the
same confident hope as realities. The alchemists and the astrologers
believed in the attainment of results as tangible and real as those
which travellers brought back from the marvellous and still unachieved
East. The mystical properties of numbers, the influence of the stars,
the powers of cordials and elixirs, the virtues of precious stones,
were received as established facts, and opened long vistas of discovery
before the student's eyes. Curiosity and speculative inquiry were
stimulated by wonder and fed by all the suggestions of heated fancies.
Dante, partaking to the full in the eager spirit of the times, sharing
all the ardor of the pursuit of knowledge, and with a spiritual insight
which led him into regions of mystery where no others ventured,
naturally connected the knowledge which opened the way for him with the
poetic imagination which cast light upon it. To him science was but
another name for poetry.

Much learning has been expended in the attempt to show that even the
doctrine of Love, which is displayed in "The New Life," is derived,
more or less directly, from the philosophy of Plato. It has been
supposed that this little autobiographic story, full of the most
intimate personal revelations, and glowing with a sincere passion, was
written on a preconceived basis of theory. A certain Platonic form of
expression, often covering ideas very far removed from those of Plato,
was common to the earlier, colder, and less truthful poets. Some
strains of such Platonism, derived from the poems of his predecessors,
are perhaps to be found in this first book of Dante's. But there is
nothing to show that he had deliberately adopted the teachings of the
ancient philosopher. It may well, indeed, be doubted if at the time of
its composition he had read any of Plato's works. Such Platonism as
exists in "The New Life" was of that unconscious kind which is shared
by every youth of thoughtful nature and sensitive temperament, who
makes of his beloved a type and image of divine beauty, and who by the
loveliness of the creature is led up to the perfection of the Creator.

The essential qualities of the "Vita Nuova," those which afford direct
illustration of Dante's character, as distinguished from those which
may be called youthful, or merely literary, or biographical, correspond
in striking measure with those of the "Divina Commedia." The earthly
Beatrice is exalted to the heavenly in the later poem; but the same
perfect purity and intensity of feeling with which she is reverently
regarded in the "Divina Commedia" is visible in scarcely less degree in
the earlier work. The imagination which makes the unseen seen, and the
unreal real, belongs alike to the one and to the other. The "Vita
Nuova" is chiefly occupied with a series of visions; the "Divina
Commedia" is one long vision. The sympathy with the spirit and impulses
of the time, which in the first reveals the youthful impressibility of
the poet, in the last discloses itself in maturer forms, in more
personal expressions. In the "Vita Nuova" it is a sympathy mastering
the natural spirit; in the "Divina Commedia" the sympathy is controlled
by the force of established character. The change is that from him who
follows to him who commands. It is the privilege of men of genius, not
only to give more than others to the world, but also to receive more
from it. Sympathy, in its full comprehensiveness, is the proof of the
strongest individuality. By as much as Dante or Shakspeare learnt of
and entered into the hearts of men, by so much was his own nature
strengthened and made peculiarly his own. The "Vita Nuova" shows the
first stages of that genius, the first proofs of that wide sympathy,
which at length resulted in the "Divine Comedy." It is like the first
blade of spring grass, rich with the promise of the golden harvest.

[Footnote 1: _Vita di Dante_. Milan, 1823, pp. 29, 30.]

[Footnote 2: _Vita di Dante_, p. 69.]

[Footnote 3: For _vita nova_ in the sense of _early life_, see
_Purgatory_, xxx. 115, with the comments of Landino and Benvenuto da
Imola; and for _età novella_ in a similar sense, see Canzone xviii. st.
6. Fraticelli, who supports this interpretation, gives these with other
examples, but none more to the point. Mr. Joseph Carrow, who had a
translation into English of the _Vita Nuova_, printed at Florence in
1840, entitles his book "The Early Life of Dante Allighieri." But as
giving probability to the meaning to which we incline, see Canzone x.
st. 5.

  "Lo giorno che costei nel mondo venne,
  Secondo che si trova
  Nel libro della mente che vien meno,
  La mia persona parvola sostenne
  Una passion nova."

  That day when she unto the world attained,
  As is found written true
  Within the book of my now sinking soul,
  Then by my childish nature was sustained
  A passion new.

In referring to Dante's Minor Poems, we shall refer to them as they
stand in the first volume of Fraticelli's edition of the _Opere Minore
al Dante_, Firenze, 1834. There is great need of a careful, critical
edition of the _Canzoniere_ of Dante, in which poems falsely ascribed
to him should no longer hold place among the genuine. But there is
little hope for this from Italy; for the race of Italian commentators
on Dante is, as a whole, more frivolous, more impertinent, and duller,
than that of English commentators on Shakespeare.]

[Footnote 4: The word in the original (Villani, Book vii. C. 89) is
_Giocolari_, the Italian form of the French _jongleur_,--the
appellation of those whose profession was to sing or recite the verses
of the troubadours or the romances of chivalry.]

[Footnote 5: See Boccaccio, _Decamerone_, Giorn. vi, Nov. 9, for an
entertaining picture of Florentine festivities.]

[Footnote 6: The feeling which moved Florence thus to build herself
into beauty was one shared by the other Italian republican cities at
this time. Venice, Verona, Pisa, Siena, Orvieto, were building or
adding to churches and palaces such as have never since been

[Footnote 7: Cicognara, _Storia della Scultura_, II. 147.]

[Footnote 8: Guido Guinicelli will always be less known by his own
verses than by Dante's calling him

  Of me and all those better others
  Who sweet chivalric lovelays formed."
                                _Purg._ xxvi. 97-99.

And Guido Cavalcanti, "he who took from this other Guido the praise of
speech," (_Purg._ xi. 97,) is more famous as Dante's friend than as a

[Footnote 9: _Purgatory_, xxiv. 53-60.]

[Footnote 10: _Decamerone_, Giorn. vi. Nov. 9. _Logician_ is here to be
understood in an extended sense, as the student of letters, or _arts_,
as they were then called, in general.]

       *       *       *       *       *


  The night is made for cooling shade,
    For silence, and for sleep;
  And when I was a child, I laid
  My hands upon my breast, and prayed,
    And sank to slumbers deep:
  Childlike as then, I lie to-night,
  And watch my lonely cabin light.

  Each movement of the swaying lamp
    Shows how the vessel reels:
  As o'er her deck the billows tramp,
  And all her timbers strain and cramp
    With every shock she feels,
  It starts and shudders, while it burns,
  And in its hingèd socket turns.

  Now swinging slow, and slanting low,
    It almost level lies;
  And yet I know, while to and fro
  I watch the seeming pendule go
    With restless fall and rise,
  The steady shaft is still upright,
  Poising its little globe of light.

  O hand of God! O lamp of peace!
    O promise of my soul!--
  Though weak, and tossed, and ill at ease,
  Amid the roar of smiting seas,
    The ship's convulsive roll,
  I own, with love and tender awe,
  Yon perfect type of faith and law!

  A heavenly trust my spirit calms,
    My soul is filled with light:
  The ocean sings his solemn psalms,
  The wild winds chant: I cross my palms,
    Happy as if, to-night,
  Under the cottage-roof, again
  I heard the soothing summer-rain.

       *       *       *       *       *





Mr. Sandford sat in his private room. Through the windows in front were
seen the same bald and grizzly heads that had for so many years given
respectability to the Vortex Company. The contemplation of the cheerful
office and the thought of its increasing prosperity seemed to give him
great satisfaction; for he rubbed his white and well-kept hands,
settled his staid cravat, smoothed his gravely decorous coat, and
looked the picture of placid content. He meditated, gently twirling his
watch-seal the while.

"Windham will be here presently, for my note admitted only of an answer
in person. A very useful person to have a call from is Windham; these
old gentlemen will put up their gold spectacles when he comes, and
won't think any the less of me for having such a visitor. I noticed
that Monroe was much impressed the other day. Then Bullion and Stearine
will drop in, I think,--both solid men, useful acquaintances. If
Plotman has only done what he promised, the thing will come round
right. I shall not seek office,--oh, no! I could not compromise my
position. But if the people thrust it upon me, I cannot refuse.
Citizenship has its duties as well as its privileges, and every man
must take his share of public responsibility. By-the-by, that's a
well-turned phrase; 'twill bear repeating. I'll make a note of it."

True enough, Mr. Windham called, and, after the trivial business-affair
was settled, he introduced the subject he was expected to speak on.

"We want men of character and business habits in public station, my
young friend, and I was rejoiced to-day to hear that it was proposed to
make you a Senator. We have had plenty of politicians,--men who trade
in honors and offices."

"I am sensible of the honor you mention," modestly replied Sandford,
"and should value highly the compliment of a nomination, particularly
coming from men like yourself, who have only the public welfare at
heart. But if I were to accept, I don't know how I could discharge my
duties. And besides, I am utterly without experience in political life,
and should very poorly fulfil the expectations that would be formed of

"Don't be too modest, Mr. Sandford. If you have not experience in
politics, all the better; for the ways to office have been foul enough
latterly. And as to business, we must arrange that. Your duties here
you could easily discharge, and we will get some other young man to
take your place in the charitable boards;--though we shall be
fortunate, if we find any one to make a worthy successor."

After a few words, the stately Mr. Windham bowed himself out, leaving
Sandford rubbing his hands with increased, but still gentle hilarity.

Mr. Bullion soon dropped in. He was a stout man, with a round, bald
head, short, sturdy legs, and a deep voice,--a weighty voice on
'Change, though, as its owner well knew,--the more, perhaps, because it
dealt chiefly in monosyllables.

"How are you, Sandford? Fine day. Anything doing? Money more in demand,
they say. Hope all is right; though it looks like a squall."

Mr. Sandford merely bowed, with an occasional "Ah!" or "Indeed!"

"How about politics?" Bullion continued. "Talk of sending you to the
Senate. Couldn't do better,--I mean the city couldn't; _you'd_ be a
d---d fool to go. Somebody has to, though. You as well as any. Can I
help you?"

"You rather surprise me. I had not thought of the honor."

Bullion turned his eye upon him,--a cool, gray eye, overhung by an
eyebrow that seemed under perfect muscular control; for the gray wisp
of hair grew pointed like a paint-brush, and had a queer motion of

"Oh, shy, I see! Just as well. Too forward is bad. We'll fix it. Good

And Bullion, sticking his hands in his pockets, went away with a
half-audible whistle, to look after his debtors, and draw in his
resources before the anticipated "squall" should come. Mr. Sandford had
lost the opportunity of making his carefully studied speech; but, as
Bullion had said, it was just as well.

Mr. Stearine came next,--a tall, thin man, with a large, bony frame,
and a bilious temperament. A smile played perpetually around his
loose mouth,--not a smile of frank good-humor, but of uneasy
self-consciousness. He smiled because it was necessary to do something;
and he had not the idea of what repose meant.

"You are going to the Senate, I hear," said the visitor.


"Oh, yes,--I've heard it from several. Mr. Windham approves it, and I
just heard Bullion speak of it. A solid man is Bullion; a man of few
words, but all his words tell; they drop like shot."

"Mr. Windham was good enough to speak of it to me to-day; but I haven't
made up my mind. In fact, it will be time enough when the nomination is
offered to me. By-the-way, Mr. Stearine, you were speaking the other
day of a little discount. If you want a thousand or two, I think I can
get it for you. Street rates are rather high, you know; but I will do
the best I can."

Mr. Stearine smiled again, as he had done every minute before, and
expressed his gratification.

"Let me have good paper on short time; it's not my money, and I must
consult the lender's views, you know. About one and a half per cent. a
month, I think; he may want one and three quarters, or two per
cent,--not more."

Mr. Stearine hoped his friend would obtain as favorable terms as he

"You'll have no trouble in meeting the larger note due, Bullion, on
which I am indorser?" said Sandford.

"None at all, I think," was the reply.

"Two birds with one stone," thought Sandford, after his friend's
departure. "A good investment, and the influence of a good man to boot.
Now to see Fletcher and learn how affairs are coming on. We'll make
that ten thousand fifteen before fall is over, if I am not mistaken."



It was the evening of a long day in summer. Mrs. Monroe had rolled up
her sewing and was waiting for her son. Tea was ready in the pleasant
east room, and the air of the house seemed to invite tranquillity and
repose. It was in a quiet street, away from the rattle of carriages,
and comparatively free from the multitudinous noises of a city. The
carts of milkmen and marketmen were the only vehicles that frequented
it. The narrow yard in the rear, with its fringe of grass, and the
proximity to the pavement in front, were the only things that would
have prevented one from thinking himself a dweller in the country. As
the clock struck six, Walter Monroe's step was heard at the
door;--other men might be delayed; he never. No seductions of billiards
or pleasant company ever kept him from the society of his mother. He
had varied sources of amusement, and many friends, attracted by his
genial temper and tried worth; but he never forgot that his mother
denied herself all intercourse with society, and was indifferent to
every pleasure out of the sphere of home. Nor did he meet her as a
matter of course; mindful of his mother's absorbing love, and heartily
returning it, he seemed always, upon entering the room, to have come
home as from a long absence. He kissed her fondly, asked concerning her
health and spirits, and how she had passed the day.

"The day is always long till you come, Walter. Tea is ready now, my
son. When you are rested, we will sit down."

"Ah, mother, you are cheerful to-day. I have brought you, besides the
papers, a new book, which we will commence presently."

"A thoughtful boy you are; but you haven't told me all, Walter. I see
something behind those eyes of yours."

"What telltales they must be! Well, I have a pretty present for you,--a
sweet picture I bought the other day, and which will come home
to-morrow, I fancy."

"Is that all? I shall be glad to see the picture, because you like it.
But you have something else on your mind."

"I see I never keep anything from you, mother. You seem to know my

"Well, what is it?"

"I have been thinking, mother, that our little property was hardly so
productive as it ought to be,--earning barely six per cent., while I
know that many of my friends are getting eight, and even ten."

"I am afraid that the extra interest is only to pay for the risk of
losing all."

"True, that is often the case; but I think we can make all safe."

"Well, what do you propose doing?"

"I have left it with Mr. Sandford, an acquaintance of mine, to invest
for me. He is secretary of an insurance company, and knows all the ways
of the money-lending world."

"It's a great risk, Walter, to trust our all."

"Not our all, mother. I have a salary, and, whatever may happen, we can
always depend on that. Besides, Mr. Sandford is a man of integrity and
credit. He has the unlimited confidence of the company, and I rely upon
him as I would upon myself."

"How has he invested it? Have you got the securities?"

"Not yet, mother. I have left the money on his note for the present;
and when he has found a good chance to loan it, he will give me the
mortgages or stocks, as the case may be. But come, mother, let us sit
down to tea. All is safe, I am sure; and to-morrow I will make you
satisfied with my prudent management."

When the simple meal was over, they sat in the twilight before the gas
was lighted. The moments passed rapidly in their free and loving
converse. Then the table was drawn out and the new book was opened.
Mrs. Monroe suddenly recollected something.

"Walter, my dear, a letter was left here to-day by the postman. As it
was directed to the street and number, it did not go to your box. Here
it is. I have read it; and rather sad news it brings. Cousin Augustus
is failing, so his daughter writes, and it is doubtful whether he ever
recovers. Poor child! I am sorry for her."

Walter took the letter and hastily read it.

"A modest, feeling, sensible little girl, I am sure. I have never seen
her, you know; but this letter is simple, touching, and womanly."

"A dear, good girl, I am sure. How lonely she must be!"

"Mother, I believe I'll go and see them. In time of trouble we should
forget ceremony. Cousin Augustus has never invited me, but I'll go and
see him. Won't you go, too?"

"Dear boy, I couldn't! The cars? Oh, never!"

Walter smiled. "You don't get over your prejudices. The cars are
perfectly safe, and more comfortable than coaches."

"I can't go; it's no use to coax me."

"I have but one thing to trouble me, mother,--and that is, that I can
never get you away from this spot."

"I'm very happy, Walter, and it's a very pleasant spot; why should I
wish to go?"

"How long since you have been down Washington Street?"

"Ten years, I think."

"And you have never seen the new theatre, nor the Music Hall?"


"Nor any of the new warehouses?"

"I don't want to see them."

"And you wouldn't go to church, if it were more than a stone's throw

"I am afraid not."

"How long since you were in a carriage?"

Her eyes filled with tears, but she made no reply.

"Forgive me, mother! I remember the time,--five years! and it seems
like yesterday when father"--

There was a silence which, for a time, neither cared to break.

"Well," said Walter, at length, "I shall have to go alone. To-morrow
morning I will arrange my business,--not forgetting our
securities,--and start in the afternoon train."

"Your father often spoke of Cousin Augustus and his lovely wife; I
wonder if the daughter has her mother's beauty?"

"I can't tell. I hope so. But don't look so inquiringly. I don't love a
woman in the world,--except you, mother. I shan't fall in love, even if
she is an angel."

"If Cousin Augustus should be worse,--should die, what will become of
the poor motherless child?"

"There are no nearer relatives than we, mother,--and we must give her a
home, if she will come."

"Certainly, Walter, we must not be hard-hearted."

Mrs. Monroe was charitable, kind, and motherly towards the distressed;
she felt the force of her son's generous sentiments. If it were her
Cousin Augustus himself who was to be sheltered, or his son, if he had
one,--or if the daughter were unattractive, a hoyden even, she would
cheerfully make any sacrifice in favor of hospitality. But she could
not repress a secret fear lest the beauty and innocence of the orphan
should appeal too strongly to Walter's heart. She knew the natural
destiny of agreeable young men; she acknowledged to herself that Walter
would sometime marry; but she put the time far off as an evil day, and
kept the subject under ban. None of her neighbors who had pretty
daughters were encouraged to visit her on intimate terms. She almost
frowned upon every winsome face that crossed her threshold when Walter
was at home. So absorbing was this feeling, that she was not aware of
its existence, but watched her son by a sort of instinct. Her conduct
was not the result of cool calculation, and, if it could have been
properly set before her generous, kindly heart, she would have been
shocked at her own fond selfishness.

So she sat and speculated, balancing between fear and hope. If Walter
built air-castles, was he to blame? At twenty-four, with a heart
untouched, with fresh susceptibilities, and a little romance withal, is
it to be wondered that his fancy drew such pleasing pictures of his

We will leave them to their quiet evening's enjoyment and follow
Greenleaf to the house of Mr. Sandford.



A small, but judiciously-selected company had assembled; all were
people of musical tastes, and most of them capable of sharing in the
performances. There were but few ladies; perhaps it did not suit the
mistress of the house to have the attentions of the gentlemen divided
among too many. Miss Sandford was undeniably queen of the evening; her
superb face and figure, and irreproachable toilet, never showed to
better advantage. And her easy manners, and ready, silvery words, would
have given a dangerous charm to a much plainer woman. She had a smile,
a welcome, and a compliment for each,--not seemingly studied, but
gracefully expressed, and sufficient to put the guests in the best
humor. Mrs. Sandford, less demonstrative in manner than her
sister-in-law, and less brilliant in conversation and personal
attractions, was yet a most winning, lovable woman,--a companion for a
summer ramble, or a quiet _tête-à-tête_, rather than a belle for a
drawing-room. Mr. Sandford was calmly conscious, full of subdued
spirits, cheerful and ready with all sorts of pleasant phrases. It is
not often that one sees such a manly, robust figure, such a handsome,
ingenuous face, and such an air of agreeable repose. Easelmann was
present, retiring as usual, but with an acute eye that lost nothing
while it seemed to be observing nothing. Greenleaf was decidedly the
lion. It was not merely his graceful person and regular features that
drew admiring glances upon him; the charm lay rather in an atmosphere
of intellect that surrounded him. His conversation, though by no means
faultless, was marked by an energy of phrase joined to an almost
womanly delicacy and taste. His was the "hand of steel," but clothed
with the "glove of velvet." Easelmann followed him with a look half
stealthy, half comical, as he saw the unusual vivacity of the reigning
beauty when in his immediate society. Her voice took instinctively a
softer and more musical tone; she showered her glances upon him,
dazzling and prismatic as the rays from her diamonds; she seemed
determined to captivate him without the tedious process of a siege.
And, in truth, he must have been an unimpressible man that could steel
himself against the influence of a woman who satisfied every critical
sense, who piqued all his pride, who stimulated all that was most manly
in his nature, and without apparent effort filled his bosom with an
exquisite intoxication.

The music commenced under Marcia's direction. There were piano solos
that were _not_ tedious,--full of melody and feeling, and with few of
the pyrotechnical displays which are too common in modern
virtuoso-playing; vocal duets and quartets from the Italian operas, and
from _Orfeo_ and other German masterpieces; and solos, if not equal to
the efforts of professional singers, highly creditable to amateurs, to
say the least. The auditors were enthusiastic in praise. Even Charles,
who came in late, declared the music "Vewy good, upon my
soul,--surpwizingly good!"

Greenleaf was listening to Marcia, with a pleased smile on his face,
when Mr. Sandford approached and interrupted them.

"You are proficient in more than one art, I see. You paint as well as
though you knew nothing of music, and yet you sing like a man who has
made it an exclusive study."

Greenleaf simply bowed.

"How do you come on with the picture?" Mr. Sandford continued.

"Very well, I believe."

"My dear Sir, make haste and finish it."

"I thought you were not in a hurry."

"Not in the least, my friend; but when you get that finished, you can
paint others, which I can probably dispose of for you."

"You are very kind."

"I speak as a business man," said Sandford, in a lower tone, at which
Marcia withdrew. "The arts fare badly in time of a money panic, and all
the pictures you can sell now will be clear gain."

"Are there signs of a panic?"

"Decidedly; the rates of interest are advancing daily, and no one knows
where it will end. Unless there is some relief in the market by Western
remittances, the distress will be wide-spread and severe."

"I am obliged to you for the hint. I have two or three pictures nearly

"I will look at them in a day or two, and try to find you purchasers."

Greenleaf expressed his thanks, warmly, and then walked towards Mrs.
Sandford, who was sitting alone at that moment.

"There is no knowing what Marcia may do," thought Sandford; "I have
never seen her when she appeared so much in earnest,--infatuated like a
candle-fly. I hope she won't be fool enough to marry a man without
money. These artists are poor sheep; they have to be taken care of like
so many children. At all events, it won't cost much to keep him at work
for the present. Meanwhile she may change her mind."

Greenleaf was soon engaged in conversation with Mrs. Sandford. She had
too much delicacy to flatter him upon his singing, but naturally turned
the current towards his art. Without depreciating his efforts or the
example of deservedly eminent American painters, she spoke with more
emphasis of the acknowledged masters; and as she dwelt with unaffected
enthusiasm upon the delight she had received from their immortal works,
his old desire to visit Europe came upon him with redoubled force.
There was a calm strength in her thoughts and manner that moved him
strangely. He saw in a new light his thoughtless devotion to pleasure,
and especially the foolish fascination into which he had been led by a
woman whom he could not marry and ought not to love. Mrs. Sandford did
not exhort, nor even advise; least of all did she allude to her
sister-in-law. Hers was only the influence of truth,--of broad ideas of
life and its noblest ends, presented with simplicity and a womanly tact
above all art. It seemed to Greenleaf the voice of an angel that he
heard, so promptly did his conscience respond. He listened with
heightening color and tense nerves; the delirious languor of amatory
music, and the delirium he had felt while under the spell of Marcia's
beauty, passed away. It seemed to him that he was lifted into a higher
plane, whence he saw before him the straight path of duty, leading away
from the tempting gardens of pleasure,--where he recognized immutable
principles, and became conscious that his true affinities were not with
those who came in contact only with his sensuous nature. He had never
understood himself until now.

A long meditation, the reader thinks; but, in reality, it was only an
electric current, awakening a series of related thoughts; as a flash of
lightning at night illumines at once a crowd of objects in a landscape,
which the mind perceives, but cannot follow in detail.

When, at length, Greenleaf looked up, he was astonished to find the
room silent, and himself with his companion in the focus of all eyes.
Marcia looked on with a curiosity in which there was perhaps a shade of
apprehension. Easelmann relieved the momentary embarrassment by walking
towards his friend, with a meaning glance, and taking a seat near Mrs.

"I can't allow this," said Easelmann. "You have had your share of Mrs.
Sandford's time. It is my turn. Besides, you will forget it all when
you cross the room."

"Trust me, I shall _never_ forget," said Greenleaf, with a marked
emphasis, and a grateful look towards the lovely widow.

"What's this? What's this?" said Easelmann, rapidly. "Insatiate
trifler, could not one suffice?"

"Oh, we understand each other, perfectly," said Mrs. Sandford, in a
placid tone.

"You do, eh? I should have interrupted you sooner. It might have saved
my peace of mind, and perhaps relieved some other anxieties I have
witnessed. But go, now!" Greenleaf turned away with a smile.

Marcia at once proposed a duet to conclude the entertainment,
--Rossini's _Mira bianca luna_,--a piece for which she had
reserved her force, and in which she could display the best
qualities of her voice and style. Greenleaf had a high and pure tenor
voice; he exerted himself to support her, and with some success; the
duet was a fitting close to a delightful and informal concert. But he
was thoroughly sobered; the effects he produced were from cool
deliberation, rather than the outbursts of an enthusiastic temper.
Earlier in the evening the tones and the glances of his companion would
have sent fiery thrills along his nerves and lifted him above all

In the buzz of voices that followed, Marcia commenced a lively colloquy
with Greenleaf, as though she desired to leave him under the
impressions with which the evening commenced. The amusements of summer
were discussed, the merits of watering-places and other fashionable
resorts, when Greenleaf accidentally mentioned that he and Easelmann
were going presently to Nahant.

"Delightful!" she exclaimed, "to enjoy the ocean and coast-scenery
after the rush of company has left! While the fashionable season lasts,
there is nothing but dress and gossip. You are wise to avoid it."

"I think so," he replied. "Neither my tastes nor my pursuits incline me
to mingle in what is termed fashionable society. It makes too large
demands upon one's time, to say nothing of the expense or the
unsatisfactory nature of its pleasures."

"I agree with you. So you are going to sketch. Would not you and Mr.
Easelmann like some company? You will not pore over your canvas _all_
day, surely."

"We should be delighted; _I_ should, certainly. And if you will look at
my friend's face just now, as he is talking to your beautiful
sister-in-law, you will see that he would not object."

"Do you think Lydia is _beautiful_?"
The tone was quiet, but the glance questioning.

"Not classically beautiful,--but one of the most lovely, engaging women
I ever met."

"Yes,--she is charming, truly. I don't think her strikingly handsome,
though; but tastes rarely agree, you know. I only asked to ascertain
your predilections."

"I understand," thought Greenleaf; but he made no further reply.

"Don't be surprised, if you see us before your stay is over,--that is,
if Lydia and I can induce Charles to go down with us. Henry is too
busy, I suppose."

Charles passed just then; he was endeavoring to form a cotillon,
declaring that talk was slow, and, now that the music was over, a dance
would be the thing.

"Charles, you will go to Nahant for a week,--won't you?"

"What! now?"

"In a day or two."

"Too cold, Sister Marcia; too late, altogether."

"But you were unwilling to go early in the season."

"Too early is as bad as too late; it is chilly there till the company
comes. No billiards, no hops, no pwetty girls, no sailing, no wides on
the beach, no pwomenades on the moonlight side of the piazza. No, my
deah, Nahant is stupid till the curwent sets that way."

"Southern visitors warm the coast like the Gulf Stream, I suppose,"
said Greenleaf.

"Pwecisely so,"--then, after the idea had reached his brain, adding,
"Vewy good, Mr. Gweenleaf! Vewy good!"

The soirée ended as all seasons of pleasure must, and without the dance
on which Charles had set his heart. The friends walked home together.
Greenleaf was rather silent, but Easelmann at last made him talk.

"What do you think of the beauty, now?" the elder asked.

"Still brilliant, bewitching, dangerous."

"You are not afraid of her?"

"Upon my soul, I believe I am."

"What has frightened you? What faults or defects have you seen?"

"Two. One is, she uses perfumes too freely. Stop that laugh of yours!
It's a trifling thing, but it is an indication. I don't like it."

"Fastidious man, what next? Has she more hairs on one eyebrow than the
other? Or did you see a freckle of the size of a fly's foot?"

"The second is in her manner, which, in spite of its ease and apparent
artlessness, has too much method in it. Her suavity is no more studied
than her raptures. She is frosted all over,--frosted like a cake, I
mean, and not with ice. And, to follow the image, I have no idea what
sort of a compound the tasteful confectionery covers."

"Well, if that is all, I think she has come out from under your
scrutiny pretty well. I should like to see the woman in whom you would
not find as many faults."

"If a man does not notice trifles, he will never learn much of
character. With women especially, one should be as observing as a Huron
on the trail of an enemy."

"Ferocious hunter, who supposed there were so many wiles in your simple

"Odd enough, there seemed to be a succession of warnings this evening.
I was dazzled at first, I own,--almost hopelessly smitten. But Sandford
gave me a jolt by bringing in business; he thinks there is to be a
smash, and advises me to make hay while the sun shines. Then I talked
with Mrs. Sandford."

"Now we come to the interesting part--to me!"

"But I shan't gratify you, you mouser! It is enough to say, that in a
few simple words, uttered, I am sure, without forethought, she placed
my frivolity before me, and then showed me what I might and ought to
be. I was like a grasshopper before, drunk with dew, and then sobered
by a plunge into a clear, cool spring. Besides, I have thought more
about your advice in regard to the lady, you dissembling old rascal!
For you know that in such matters you never mean what you say; and when
you counsel me to fall in love with a coquette, you only wish me to be
warned in time and make good my escape. If it were light enough, I
should see that grizzly moustache of yours curl like a cat's, this
minute. You can grin, you amiable Mephistopheles, but I know you! No,
my dear Easelmann, I am cured. I shall take hold of my pencils with new
energy. I will save money and go abroad, and----I had nearly forgotten
her! I will take a new look at my darling's sweet face in my pocket,
and, like Ulysses, I'll put wax into my ears when I meet the singing
Siren again."

"I hope your rustic _fiancée_ is not clairvoyant?"

"I hope not."

"If she is, she will cry her little eyes out to-night."

"Don't speak of it, I beg of you."

"You are getting lugubrious; we shall have to change the subject. Love
affects people in as many different ways as wine. Some are
exalted,--their feet spurn the earth, their heads are in the clouds;
some pugnacious, walking about with a chip on the shoulder; others are
stupidly happy,--their faces wearing a sickly smile that becomes
painful to look at; others again, like you, melancholy as a wailing
tenor in the last act of 'Lucia.' Like learning, a little draught of
love is dangerous; drink largely and be sober. The charmer will not
cast so powerful a spell upon you the next time, and you will come away
more tranquil."

There was just the least shade of sarcasm in the tone, and Greenleaf,
as usual, was a little puzzled. For Easelmann was a study,--always
agreeable, never untruthful, but fond of launching an idea like a
boomerang, to sweep away, apparently, but to return upon some
unexpected curve. His real meaning could not always be gathered from
any isolated sentence; and to strangers he was a living riddle. But
Greenleaf had passed the excitable period, and had lapsed into a state
of moody repentance and grim resolution.

"You need not tempt me," he said, "even if that were your object, which
I doubt, you sly fox! And if you mean only to pique my pride in order
to cure my inconstancy to my betrothed, I assure you it is quite
unnecessary. I shall have too much self-respect to place myself in the
way of temptation again."

"Now you are growing disagreeable; the virtuous resolutions of a
diner-out, on the headachy morning after, are never pleasant to hear.
There is so much implied! One does not like to follow the idea backward
to its naughty source. The penitent should keep his sermons and
soda-water to himself."

"Well, here we are at home. We have walked a mile, and yet it seems but
a furlong. If I were not so disagreeable as you say, we would take
another turn about the Common."

"Sleep will do you more good, my friend; and I think I'll go home. I
haven't smoked since dinner. Good night!"

Greenleaf went to his room, but not at once to sleep; his nerves were
still too tremulous. With the picture of Alice before him, he sat for
hours in a dreamy reverie; and when at last he went to bed, he placed
the miniature under his pillow.



John Fletcher lived in a small, but neat house at the South End.
Slender and youthful as he looked, he was not a bachelor, but had a
pretty, fragile-looking wife, to whom he was married when only nineteen
years of age. Such a union could have been brought about only by what
the world calls an indiscretion, or from an unreflecting, hasty
impulse. Girl as Mrs. Fletcher seemed to be, she was not without
prudence as a housekeeper; and as far as she could command her
inconstant temper, she made home attractive to her husband. But neither
of them had the weight of character to act as a counterpoise to the
vacillation of the other. It was not a sun and a planet, the one
wheeling about the other, nor yet were they double stars, revolving
about a centre common to both; their movements were like nothing so
much as the freaks of a couple of pith-balls electrically excited, at
one time drawn furiously together, and then capriciously repelling each
other. Their loves, caresses, spats, quarrels, poutings, and
reconciliations were as uncertain as the vagaries of the weather, as
little guided by sense or reason as the passions of early childhood. On
one subject they agreed at all times, and that was to pet and spoil
most thoroughly their infant daughter, a puny, weak-voiced,
slender-limbed, curly-haired child, with the least possible chance of
living to the age of womanhood.

Fletcher was confidential clerk to the great banking-house of Foggarty,
Danforth, and Dot. The senior partner rarely took any active part in
business, but left it to the management of Danforth and Dot. Danforth
had the active brain to plan, Dot the careful, cool faculty to execute.
Fletcher had a good salary,--so large that he could always reserve a
small margin for "outside operations," by which in one way or another
he generally contrived to lose.

The god he worshipped was Chance; by which I do not refer at all to any
theory of the creation of matter, but to the course and order of human
affairs. His drawers were full of old lottery-schemes; he did not long
buy tickets, because he was too shrewd; but he made endless
calculations upon the probability of drawing prizes,--provided the
tickets were really all sold, and the wheel fairly managed. A dice-box
was always at hand upon the mantel. He had portraits of celebrated
racers, both quadruped and biped, and he could tell the fastest time
ever made by either. His manipulation of cards was, as his friends
averred, one of the fine arts; and in all the games he had wrought out
problems of chances, and knew the probability of every contingency. A
stock-list was always tacked above his secretary, and another
constantly in his pocket. And this evening he had brought home a
revolving disk, having figures of various values engraved around its
edge, carefully poised, with a hair-spring pointer, like a hand on a

"What have you got, John?" asked his wife.

"Only a toy, a plaything, deary. See it spin!" and he gave the disk a

"But what is it _for_?"

"Oh, nothing in particular. I thought we could amuse ourselves in
turning it for the largest throws."

"Is that all? It is a heavy thing, and must have cost a good lot of

"Not much. Now see! You know I have tried to show you how chance rules
the world; and if you once get the chances in your favor, all is right.
Now suppose we take this wheel, and on the number 2,000 we paste
'Michigan Central,' 'Western' over 1,000, 'Vermont and Massachusetts'
over 500, 'Cary Improvement' over 400, and so on. Now, after a certain
number of revolutions, by keeping account, we get the chance of each
stock to come up."

"I don't understand."

"I don't suppose you do; you don't give your mind to it, as I do."

"But you know you had the same notion once about cards, and pasted the
names of the stocks on the court cards; and then you shuffled and cut
and dealt and turned up, night after night."

"Little doxy! small piece of property! you'd best attend to that baby,
and other matters that you know something about."

The "little doxy" felt strongly inclined to cry, but she kept back the
sobs and said, "You know, John, how sullen and almost hateful you were
before, when you were bewitched after those mean stocks. I don't think
you should meddle with such things; they are too big for you. Let the
rich fools gamble, if they want to; if _they_ lose, they can afford it,
and nobody cares but to laugh at them. Oh, John, you promised me you
wouldn't gamble any more."

"Well, I don't gamble. I haven't been to a faro bank for a year. I stay
away just to please you, although I know all the chances, and could
break the bank as easy as falling off a log."

"You don't gamble, you say, but you are uneasy till you put all your
money at risk on those paper things. I don't see the difference."

"You _needn't_ see the difference; nobody asked you to see the
difference. Gamble, indeed! there isn't a man on the street that
doesn't keep an eye on the paper things, as you call them."

"You see what I told you. You are cross. You like anything better (_a
sob_) than your poor (_another_) neglected wife."

The sobs now thickened into a cry, and, with streaming eyes, she picked
up the puny child and declared she was going to bed. To this proposal
the moody man emphatically assented. But as Mrs. Fletcher passed near
her husband, the child reached out its slender arms and caught hold of
him by his cravat, screaming, "Papa! papa! I stay, papa!"

"Let go!" roughly exclaimed the amiable father. But she held the
tighter, and shouted, "Papa! my papa!"

What sudden freak overcame his anger probably not even Fletcher himself
could tell. But, turning towards his wife, who was supporting the
child, whose little fingers still held him fast, his face cleared
instantly, and, with a sudden movement, he drew the surprised and
delighted woman down upon his knee, and loaded her with every form of
childish endearment. Her tears and sorrows vanished together, like the

"Little duck," said he, "if I were alone, I shouldn't care for any more
money. I know I can always take care of myself. But for your sake I
want to be independent,--rich, if you please. I want to be free. I want
to meet that wily, smooth, plausible, damned, respectable villain face
to face, and with as much money as he."

His eyes danced with a furious light and motion, and the fringy
moustache trembled over his thin and sensitive mouth. But in a moment
he repented the outbreak; for his wife's face blanched then, and the
tears leaped from her eyes.

"Oh, John," she exclaimed, "what is this awful secret? I know that
something is killing you. You mutter in sleep; you are sullen at times;
and then you break out in this dreadful way."

Fletcher meditated. "I can't tell her; 'twould kill her, and not do any
good either. No, one good streak of luck will set me up where I can
defy him. I'll grin and bear it."

"What is it, John? Tell your poor little wife!"

"Oh, nothing, my dear. I do some business for Sandford, who is apt to
be domineering,--that's all. To-day he provoked me, and when I am mad
it does me good to swear; it's as natural as lightning out of a black

"It may do _you_ good to swear, John; but it makes the cold chills run
over me. Why do you have anything to do with anybody that treats you
so? You are _so_ changed from what you were! Oh, John, something is
wrong, I know. Your face looks sharp and inquiring. You are thin and
uneasy. There's a wrinkle in your cheek, that used to be as smooth as a

She patted his face softly, as it rested on her shoulder; but he made
no reply save by an absent, half-audible whistle.

"You don't answer me, John, dear!"

"I've nothing especial to say, doxy,--only that I will wind up with
Sandford as soon as we finish the business in hand."

"The business in hand? Has he anything to do with Foggarty, Danforth,
and Dot?"

Fletcher was not skilful under cross-examination. So he simply
answered, "No," and then stopping her mouth with kisses, promised to
explain the matter another day.

"Well, John, I am tired; I think I'll take baby and go to bed. Don't
sit up and get blue over your troubles!"

As she left the room, Fletcher drew a long breath. What an accent of
despair was borne on that sigh! His busy brain was active in laying
plans which his vacillating will could never execute without help.
Often before, he had determined to confront Sandford and defy him; but
as often he had quailed before that self-possessed and imperious man.
What hope was there, then, for this timid, crouching man, as long as
the hand of his haughty master was outstretched in command? None!



The stringency of the money-market began to frighten even Mr. Sandford
who had been predicting a panic. There had been but few failures, and
those were generally of houses that ought to fail, being insolvent from
losses or mismanagement. Mr. Sandford studied over his sheet of bills
payable and receivable almost hourly. The amount intrusted to him by
Monroe had been loaned out; for which he was now very sorry, as the
rate of interest had nearly doubled since he made the last agreement.
This, however, was but a small item in his accounts; other transactions
of greater magnitude occupied his attention. As he looked over the
array of promisors and indorsers, he said to himself, "I am safe. If
these men fail, it will be because the universal bottom has dropped out
and chaos come again. If anybody is shaky, it is Stearine. He believes,
though, that Bullion will help him through, and extend that note.
Perhaps he will. Perhaps, again, he will have enough to do to keep on
his own legs. He fancies himself strong because he owns the most of the
Neversink Mills. But he doesn't know what I know, that Kerbstone, the
treasurer of the Mills, is in the street every day, looking like a
gambler when his last dollar is on the table. A few more turns of the
screw and down goes Kerbstone. Who knows that the Mills won't tumble,
too, and Bullion after them? _He_ may go hang; but we must look after
Stearine, and prop him, unnecessary. That twenty thousand is more than
we can afford to lose just now. Lucky, there he comes!"

Mr. Stearine entered, not with his usual smile, but with an expression
like that of a man trying to be jolly with the toothache. A short, but
dexterous cross-examination showed to Sandford, that, if the
twenty-thousand-dollar note could be extended over to better times,
Stearine was safe. But the note was soon due, and Bullion might be
unable or unwilling to renew; in which case, the Vortex would have to
meet it. That was a contingency to be provided against; for Mr.
Sandford did not intend that the public should know that the credit of
the Company had been used for private purposes by its officers. He
therefore called in Mr. Fayerweather, the President, and the affair was
talked over and settled between them.

"One thing more," said Sandford. "Suppose any one _should_ get wind of
this, and grow suspicious;--Bullion himself might be foolish enough to
let the cat out of the bag;--we might find the shares of the Vortex in
the market, and the bears running them down to an uncomfortable

"True enough. We must stop that."

"The only way is to keep a sharp lookout, and if any of the stock is
offered, to buy it up. Half a dozen of us can take all that will be
likely to come into market."

"How many shares do you own, Sandford?" asked Mr. Fayerweather, with a
quizzical look. "Is this a nice little scheme of yours to run them off
at par? It's a shrewd dodge."

"You do me wrong," said Sandford, with a look of wounded innocence. "I
merely want to sustain the credit of the Company."

"Oh, no doubt!" said the President.
"Well, we will agree, then, not to let the shares fall below ninety,
say. It would be suspicious, I think, to hold them higher than that,
when money is two and a half per cent. a month."

"Very well. You will see to this? Be careful what men you speak to."

Mr. Sandford, being left alone, bethought him of Monroe. He did not
wish to give him a statement of affairs; he had put him off once, and
must find some way to satisfy him. How was it to be done? The financier
meditated. "I have it," said he; "I'll send him a quarter's interest in
advance. That's as much as I can spare in these times, when interest
grows like those miraculous pumpkin-vines out West." He drew a check
for two hundred dollars, and dispatched it to Monroe by letter.

So Mr. Sandford had all things snug. The Vortex was going on under
close-reefed topsails. If the notes he held were paid as they matured,
he would have money for new operations; if not, he had arranged that
the debtors should be piloted over the bar and anchored in safely till
the storm should blow over. Everything was secured, as far as human
foresight could anticipate.

Mr. Sandford had now but little use for Fletcher's services, except to
look after his debtors,--to know who was "shinning" in the street, or
"kite-flying" with accommodation-paper. Still he did not admit the
agent into his confidence. But this active and scheming mind was not
long without employment. Mr. Bullion had seen him in frequent
communication with Sandford, and thereby formed a high opinion of his
shrewdness and tact; for he knew that Sandford was very wary in
selecting his associates. He sought Fletcher.

"Young man," said Bullion, pointing his wisp of an eyebrow at him, "do
you want a job? Few words and keep mum. Yes or no?"

"Yes," said Fletcher, decidedly.

"I like your pluck," said Bullion.

"It doesn't take much pluck to follow Mr. Bullion's lead."

"None of your nonsense. How do you know anything about me, or what I am
going to do? I may fail to-morrow,--God forbid!--but when the wind
comes, it's the tall trees that are knocked over."

Fletcher thought the comparison rather ludicrous for a man standing on
such remarkably short pegs, but he said nothing.

"I mean to sell a few shares of stock, and I want you to do the
business. I am not to be known in it."

Fletcher bowed, and asked what the stocks were.

"No matter; any you can sell to advantage. I haven't a share, but I
needn't tell you _that_ doesn't make any difference."

"Let me understand you clearly," said Fletcher.

"Sell under. For instance, take a stock that sells to-day at
ninety-four; offer to deliver it five days hence at ninety. To-morrow
offer it a peg lower, and so on, till the market is easier. When the
first contract is up, we shall get the stock at eighty-eight, or less,
perhaps,--deliver to the buyers, and pocket the difference."

"But it may not fall."

"It's bound to fall. People that hold stock _must_ sell to pay their
notes. Every day brings a fresh lot of shares to the hammer."

"But the bulls may corner you; they will try mightily to keep prices

"But they can't corner, I tell you; there are too many of them in
distress. Besides, we'll spread; we won't put all our eggs into one
basket. If I stuck to 'bearing' one stock, the holders might get all
the shares and break me by keeping them so that I couldn't comply with
my contracts. I shan't do it. I'll pitch into the 'fancies' mainly;
they are held by speculators, who must be short, and they'll come down
with a run."

"How deep shall I go in?"

"Fifty thousand, to begin with. However, there won't be many transfers
actually made; the bulls will merely pay the differences."

"Or else waddle out of the street lame ducks."

Bullion rubbed his hands, while his eyes shone with a colder glitter.

"Well, you are a bear, truly," said Fletcher, with unfeigned
admiration,--"a real Ursa Major."

"To be sure, I'm a bear. What's the use in being a bull in times like
these, to be skinned and sold for your hide and tallow?"

"The market is falling, and no mistake."

"Yes, and will fall lower. Stocks haven't been down since '37 so low as
you will see them a month from now."

Fletcher bowed----and waited. Bullion pointed the eyebrow again.

"You don't want to begin on an uncertainty. I see. Sharp. Proper
enough. I'll give you ten per cent. of the profits,--you to pay the
commissions. Each day's work to be set down, and at the end of each
week I'll give you a note for your share. That do? I thought it would.
I offer a liberal figure, for I think you know something, youngster.
Use your judgment, now. Consult me, of course; but mum's the word. If
any stock is pushed in, lay hold, and don't be afraid. The holders must
sell, and they must sacrifice. We'll skin 'em, by G--," said Bullion,
with an excitement that was rare in a cool, hard head like his. Then
thinking he had been too outspoken, he resumed his former concise

"All fair, you know. Bargain is a bargain. They must sell; we won't
buy, without we buy cheap; their loss, to be sure, but our gain. All
trade on the same plan. Seller gets the most he can; buyer pays only
what he must."

"That's it," said Fletcher. "Every man for himself in this world."

"Well, good morning, young man. Sharp's the word. Call at my office
this afternoon." And, with a queer sweep of the pointed eyebrow, he

What visions of opulence rose before Fletcher's fancy! He would now lay
the foundations of his fortune, and, perhaps, accomplish it. He would
become a power in State Street; and, best of all, he would escape from
his slavery to Sandford, and perhaps even patronize the haughty man he
had so long served. How to begin? He could not attend the sales at the
Brokers' Board in person, as he was not a member. Should he confide in
Danforth? No,--for, with his relations to the house, his own share in
the profits would be whittled down. He determined to employ Tonsor, an
old acquaintance, who would be glad to buy and sell for the regular
commissions. The preliminaries were speedily concluded, and a list of
stocks made out on which to operate. The excitement was almost too
great for Fletcher to bear. As he counted the piles of bank-bills on
his employers' counter, or stacked up heaps of coin, in his ordinary
business, he fancied himself another Ali Baba, in a cave to which he
had found the Open Sesame, and he could hardly contain himself till the
time should come when he should take possession of his unimaginable
wealth. He had built air-castles before, but never one so magnificent,
so real. He could have hugged Bullion, bear as he was.--We leave
Fletcher and his principal on the high road to success.



Greenleaf worked assiduously upon his landscapes, and, notwithstanding
the pressure in the money-market, was fortunate enough to dispose of
them to gentlemen whose incomes were not affected by the vicissitudes
of business. For this he was principally indebted to Sandford, who took
pains to bring his works to the notice of connoisseurs. But, with all
his success, the object of his ambition was as far off as at first.
Imperceptibly he had acquired expensive habits. He was not prodigal,
not extravagant; but, having a keen sense of the beautiful, he
gradually became more fastidious in dress, and in all those nameless
elegancies which seem of right to belong to the accomplished man, as to
the gentleman in easy circumstances. This desire for ease and luxury
did not conflict with simplicity; he seemed born for all the enjoyment
which the most cultivated society could bestow. He had the power to
spend the income of a fortune worthily; unhappily, he did not have it
to spend. He had written constantly to his betrothed, and when he told
her of the prices he had received for his pictures, he was at a loss
how to make her comprehend the new relations into which he had
grown,--to explain that he was practically as poor as when he first
came to the city. How could he assure her of his desire to end the
engagement in marriage, if he spoke of postponement now that he had an
income beyond his first expectations? Imperceptibly to himself, his
letters became more like intellectual conversations, or essays,
rather,--pleasant enough in themselves, but far different from the
simple and fervent epistles he wrote while the memory of Alice was
fresher. _She_ felt this, although she had not reasoned upon it, and
her sensitive womanly heart was full of vague forebodings.

Would he confess to himself, that, as he looked at her cherished
picture, another face, with a more brilliant air and a more dazzling
beauty, came between him and the silent image before him? Dared he to
think, that, in his frequent visits to Miss Sandford, the ties which
bound him to his betrothed were daily weakening?--that he found a charm
in the very caprices and waywardness of the new love, which the
unvarying constancy and placid affection of the old had never created?
The one put her heart unreservedly into his keeping; she knew nothing
of concealment, and he read her as he would an unsophisticated child;
there was not a nook or cranny in her heart, he thought, that he had
not explored. The other was full of surprises; she had as many phases
as an April day; and from mere curiosity, if from no other motive,
Greenleaf was piqued to follow on to understand her real character. The
apprehensions he felt at first wore away; he became accustomed to her
measured sentences and her apparently artificial manner. What seemed
affectation now became a natural expression. The secret influence she
exerted increased, and, at length, possessed him wholly while in her
company. It drew him as the moon draws the tides, silently,
unconsciously, but with a power he could not resist. It was only when
he was away from her that he could reason himself into a belief in his

Greenleaf and Easelmann were at Nahant at the close of the season. A
few straggling visitors only remained; the fashionable world had
returned to the city. The friends wandered over the rocky peninsula,
walked the long beach that leads to the main land, sketched the sea
from the shore, and the shore from the sea, and watched and transferred
the changing phases of Nature in sunshine and in storm. They were
fortunate enough to see one magnificent tempest, by which the ocean was
lashed into fury, breaking in thunder over the rugged coast-line, and
dashing spray sheer over the huge back of Egg Rock.

Miss Sandford's threat was carried into execution; the family came to
the hotel, and, for a week, Greenleaf and his friend were most devoted
in their attentions. Marcia was charmed with their sketches, and, with
a tact as delicate as it is rare, gave them time for their cherished
pursuits, and planned excursions only for their unemployed hours. They
collected colored mosses, star-fish, and other marine curiosities; they
sailed, fished, scampered over the rocks, drove over the beach at
twilight, sang, danced, and bowled. And when weary of active amusement,
they reclined on the grass and listened to the melancholy rote of the
sea,--the steady pulsations of its mighty heart.

Easelmann, with his usual raillery, congratulated his friend on his
prospects, and declared that the pupil was surpassing the teacher in
the beau's arts.

"Finely, Greenleaf! You are just coming to the interesting part of the
process. You are a little flushed, however,--not quite cool enough. A
wily adversary she is; if you allow your feelings to run away with you,
it's all up. She will hold the reins as coolly as you held your
trotting pony yesterday. Keep the bits out of your mouth, my boy."

"Don't trouble yourself. I shall keep cool. I am not going to make a
fool of myself by proposing."

"Oh, you aren't? We shall see. But she'll refuse you, and then you'll
come to your senses."

"I'm deusedly afraid she would accept me."

"The vanity of mankind! Don't tell me that women are vain. Every man
thinks himself irresistible,--that he has only to call, to have the
women come round him like colts around a farmer with a measure of corn.
Shake the kernels in your dish, and cry, 'Kerjock!' Perhaps she _will_

"I suppose you think, with Hosea Bigelow, that

  "''Ta'n't a knowin' kind o' cattle
   That is ketched with mouldy corn.'"

"I needn't tell you that Marcia Sandford is knowing,--too knowing to
let an enthusiastic lover relapse into a humdrum husband. You amuse her
now: for she likes to enjoy poetry and sentiment, dances, rides, and
rambles, in company with a man of fresh susceptibilities;--a good
phrase that, 'fresh susceptibilities.'--The instant you become serious
and ask her to marry you, the dream is over; she will hate you."

"Well, what is to become of a lady like this,--a creature you think too
bright, if not too good, for human nature's daily food?"

"An easy prophecy. The destiny of a pretty woman is to catch lovers."

"'The cat doth play, and after slay,'" said Greenleaf, laughing.

"Play while you can, my dear boy; if she _is_ a cat, you'll get the
final _coup_ soon enough. To finish the fortune-telling,--she will
continue her present delightful pursuits as long as youth and beauty
last; and the beauty will last a long time after the youth has gone.
She _may_ pick up some young man of fortune and marry him; but it is
not likely; the rich always marry the rich. Just this side of the
_blasé_ period, while still in the fulness of her charms, she will open
her battery of smiles upon some wealthy old widower and compel him to
place her at the head of his establishment. Then, with a secure
position and increased facilities, she will draw new throngs of
admirers, as long as she has power to fascinate, or until there are no
more fools left."

"A pleasing picture of domestic felicity for the husband!"

"Precisely what he deserves. When an old fool marries a young flirt, he
deserves to wear whatever honors she may bestow upon him."

"Do you remember how you artfully persuaded me into this intimacy? And
now you are making game of me for following your own suggestions."

"Me? I never suggest; I never persuade."

"You did, you crafty old fox! You advised me to fall in love with her."

"Did I? Well, I think now you have gone far enough. A sip from the cup
of enchantment is quite sufficient; you needn't swallow the whole of

"But people can't always control themselves. Can you trust yourself to
stop this side of insensibility, when you take ether? or be sure you
won't get drunk, if you commence the evening with a party of dissipated

"That will do, my friend. I know there are people who are fond of
confessing their weakness; don't you do it. Where is the supremacy of
mind and will, and all that nonsense, if a man can't amuse himself with
a clever woman's artifices without tumbling into the snare he is

"We'll see how you succeed with the charming widow,--whether the wise
man, when his own _jecur_ is pierced with the arrow, may not show it,
as well as other people. And by-the-by, you will have an excellent
opportunity for your experiment. Marcia and I are going to take a sail
this afternoon, and you can entertain Mrs. Sandford while we are gone."

Easelmann softly whistled.

[To be continued.]

       *       *       *       *       *



I intended to have signalized my first appearance by a certain large
statement, which I flatter myself is the nearest approach to a
universal formula of life yet promulgated at this breakfast-table. It
would have had a grand effect. For this purpose I fixed my eyes on a
certain divinity-student, with the intention of exchanging a few
phrases, and then forcing my picture-card, namely, _The great end of
being_.--I will thank you for the sugar,--I said.--Man is a dependent

It is a small favor to ask,--said the divinity-student,--and passed the
sugar to me.

--Life is a great bundle of little things,--I said.

The divinity-student smiled, as if that was the concluding epigram of
the sugar question.

You smile,--I said.--Perhaps life seems to you a little bundle of great

The divinity-student started a laugh, but suddenly reined it back with
a pull, as one throws a horse on his haunches.--Life is a great bundle
of great things,--he said.

(_Now, then_!) The great end of being, after all, is----

Hold on!--said my neighbor, a young fellow whose name seems to be John,
and nothing else,--for that is what they all call him,--hold on! the
Sculpin is go'n' to say somethin'.

Now the Sculpin (_Cottus Virginianus_) is a little water-beast which
pretends to consider itself a fish, and, under that pretext, hangs
about the piles upon which West-Boston Bridge is built, swallowing the
bait and hook intended for flounders. On being drawn from the water, it
exposes an immense head, a diminutive bony carcass, and a surface so
full of spines, ridges, ruffles, and frills, that the naturalists have
not been able to count them without quarrelling about the number, and
that the colored youth, whose sport they spoil, do not like to touch
them, and especially to tread on them, unless they happen to have shoes
on, to cover the thick white soles of their broad black feet.

When, therefore, I heard the young fellow's exclamation, I looked round
the table with curiosity to see what it meant. At the further end of it
I saw a head, and a small portion of a little deformed body, mounted on
a high chair, which brought the occupant up to a fair level enough for
him to get at his food. His whole appearance was so grotesque, I felt
for a minute as if there was a showman behind him who would pull him
down presently and put up Judy, or the hangman, or the Devil, or some
other wooden personage of the famous spectacle. I contrived to lose the
first part of his sentence, but what I heard began so:--

----by the Frog-Pond, when there were frogs in it, and the folks used
to come down from the tents on 'Lection and Independence days with
their pails to get water to make egg-pop with. Born in Boston; went to
school in Boston as long as the boys would let me.--The little man
groaned, turned, as if to look round, and went on.--Ran away from
school one day to see Phillips hung for killing Denegri with a
loggerhead. That was in flip days, when there were always two or three
loggerheads in the fire. I'm a Boston boy, I tell you,--born at North
End, and mean to be buried on Copps' Hill, with the good old
underground people,--the Worthylakes, and the rest of 'em. Yes,
Sir,--up on the old hill, where they buried Captain Daniel Malcolm in a
stone grave, ten feet deep, to keep him safe from the red-coats, in
those old times when the world was frozen up tight and there wasn't but
one spot open, and that was right over Faneuil Hall,--and black enough
it looked, I tell you! There's where my bones shall lie, Sir, and
rattle away when the big guns go off at the Navy Yard opposite! You
can't make me ashamed of the old place! Full of crooked little
streets;--I was born and used to run round in one of 'em----

----I should think so,--said that young man whom I hear them call
"John,"--softly, not meaning to be heard, nor to be cruel, but thinking
in a half-whisper, evidently.--I should think so; and got kinked up,
turnin' so many corners.--The little man did not hear what was said,
but went on,--

----full of crooked little streets; but I tell you Boston has opened,
and kept open, more turnpikes that lead straight to free thought and
free speech and free deeds than any other city of live men or dead
men,--I don't care how broad their streets are, nor how high their

----How high is Bosting meet'n'-house?--said a person with black
whiskers and imperial, a velvet waistcoat, a guard-chain rather _too_
massive, and a diamond pin so _very_ large that the most trusting
nature might confess an inward _suggestion_,--of course, nothing
amounting to a suspicion. For this is a gentleman from a great city,
and sits next to the landlady's daughter, who evidently believes in
him, and is the object of his especial attention.

How high?--said the little man.--As high as the first step of the
stairs that lead to the New Jerusalem. Isn't that high enough?

It is,--I said.--The great end of being is to harmonize man with the
order of things; and the church has been a good pitch-pipe, and may be
so still. But who shall tune the pitch-pipe? _Quis cus_----(On the
whole, as this quotation was not entirely new, and, being in a foreign
language, might not be familiar to all the boarders, I thought I would
not finish it.)

----Go to the Bible!--said a sharp voice from a sharp-faced,
sharp-eyed, sharp-elbowed, strenuous-looking woman in a black dress,
appearing as if it began as a piece of mourning and perpetuated itself
as a bit of economy.

You speak well, Madam,--I said;--yet there is room for a gloss or
commentary on what you say. "He who would bring back the wealth of the
Indies must carry out the wealth of the Indies." What you bring away
from the Bible depends to some extent on what you carry to it--Benjamin
Franklin! Be so good as to step up to my chamber and bring me down the
small uncovered pamphlet of twenty pages which you will find lying
under the "Cruden's Concordance." [The boy took a large bite, which
left a very perfect crescent in the slice of bread-and-butter he held,
and departed on his errand, with the portable fraction of his breakfast
to sustain him on the way.]

Here it is. "Go to the Bible. A Dissertation, etc., etc. By J.J.
Flournoy. Athens, Georgia. 1858."

Mr. Flournoy, Madam, has obeyed the precept which you have judiciously
delivered. You may be interested, Madam, to know what are the
conclusions at which Mr. J.J. Flournoy of Athens, Georgia, has arrived.
You shall hear, Madam. He has gone to the Bible, and he has come back
from the Bible, bringing a remedy for existing social evils, which, if
it is the real specific, as it professes to be, is of great interest to
humanity, and to the female part of humanity in particular. It is what
he calls _trigamy_, Madam, or the marrying of three wives, so that
"good old men" may be solaced at once by the companionship of the
wisdom of maturity, and of those less perfected but hardly less
engaging qualities which are found at an earlier period of life. He has
followed your precept, Madam; I hope you accept his conclusions.

The female boarder in black attire looked so puzzled, and, in fact,
"all abroad," after the delivery of this "counter" of mine, that I left
her to recover her wits, and went on with the conversation, which I was
beginning to get pretty well in hand.

But in the mean time I kept my eye on the female boarder to see what
effect I had produced. First, she was a little stunned at having her
argument knocked over. Secondly, she was a little shocked at the
tremendous character of the triple matrimonial suggestion. Thirdly.----
I don't like to say what I thought. Something seemed to have pleased
her fancy. Whether it was, that, if trigamy should come into fashion,
there would be three times as many chances to enjoy the luxury of
saying, "No!" is more than I can tell you. I may as well mention that
B.F. came to me after breakfast to borrow the pamphlet for "a
lady,"--one of the boarders, he said,--looking as if he had a secret he
wished to be relieved of.

----I continued.--If a human soul is necessarily to be trained up in
the faith of those from whom it inherits its body, why, there is the
end of all reason. If, sooner or later, every soul is to look for truth
with its own eyes, the first thing is to recognize that no presumption
in favor of any particular belief arises from the fact of our
inheriting it. Otherwise you would not give the Mahometan a fair chance
to become a convert to a better religion.

The second thing would be to depolarize every fixed religious idea in
the mind by changing the word which stands for it.----I don't know
what you mean by "depolarizing" an idea,--said the divinity-student.

I will tell you,--I said.--When a given symbol which represents a
thought has lain for a certain length of time in the mind, it undergoes
a change like that which rest in a certain position gives to iron. It
becomes magnetic in its relations,--it is traversed by strange forces
which did not belong to it. The word, and consequently the idea it
represents, is _polarized_.

The religious currency of mankind, in thought, in speech, and in print,
consists entirely of polarized words. Borrow one of these from another
language and religion, and you will find it leaves all its magnetism
behind it. Take that famous word, O'm, of the Hindoo mythology. Even a
priest cannot pronounce it without sin; and a holy Pundit would shut
his ears and run away from you in horror, if you should say it aloud.
What do you care for O'm? If you wanted to get the Pundit to look at
his religion fairly, you must first depolarize this and all similar
words for him. The argument for and against new translations of the
Bible really turns on this. Skepticism is afraid to trust its truths in
depolarized words, and so cries out against a new translation. I think,
myself, if every idea our Book contains could be shelled out of its old
symbol and put into a new, clean, unmagnetic word, we should have some
chance of reading it as philosophers, or wisdom-lovers, ought to read
it,--which we do not and cannot now, any more than a Hindoo can read
the "Gayatri" as a fair man and lover of truth should do. When society
has once fairly dissolved the New Testament, which it never has done
yet, it will perhaps crystallize it over again in new forms of

----I didn't know you was a settled minister over this parish,--said
the young fellow near me.

A sermon by a lay-preacher may be worth listening to,--I replied,
calmly.--It gives the _parallax_ of thought and feeling as they appear
to the observers from two very different points of view. If you wish to
get the distance of a heavenly body, you know that you must take two
observations from distant points of the earth's orbit,--in midsummer
and midwinter, for instance. To get the parallax of heavenly truths,
you must take an observation from the position of the laity as well as
of the clergy. Teachers and students of theology get a certain look,
certain conventional tones of voice, a clerical gait, a professional
neckcloth, and habits of mind as professional as their externals. They
are scholarly men and read Bacon, and know well enough what the "idols
of the tribe" are. Of course they have their false gods, as all men
that follow one exclusive calling are prone to do.--The clergy have
played the part of the fly-wheel in our modern civilization. They have
never suffered it to stop. They have often carried on its movement,
when other moving powers failed, by the momentum stored in their vast
body. Sometimes, too, they have kept it back by their _vis inertae_,
when its wheels were like to grind the bones of some old canonized
error into fertilizers for the soil that yields the bread of life. But
the mainspring of the world's onward religious movement is not in them,
nor in any one body of men, let me tell you. It is the people that
makes the clergy, and not the clergy that makes the people. Of course,
the profession reacts on its source with variable energy.--But there
never was a guild of dealers or a company of craftsmen that did not
need sharp looking after.

Our old friend, Dr. Holyoke, whom we gave the dinner to some time
since, must have known many people that saw the great bonfire in
Harvard College yard.

----Bonfire?--shrieked the little man.--The bonfire when Robert
Calef's book was burned?

The same,--I said,--when Robert Calef the Boston merchant's book was
burned in the yard of Harvard College, by order of Increase Mather,
President of the College and Minister of the Gospel. You remember the
old witchcraft revival of '92, and how stout Master Robert Calef,
trader, of Boston, had the pluck to tell the ministers and judges what
a set of fools and worse than fools they were--

Remember it?--said the little man.--I don't think I shall forget it, as
long as I can stretch this forefinger to point with, and see what it
wears.--There was a ring on it.

May I look at it?--I said.

Where it is,--said the little man;--it will never come off, till it
falls off from the bone in the darkness and in the dust.

He pushed the high chair on which he sat slightly back from the table,
and dropped himself, standing, to the floor,--his head being only a
little above the level of the table, as he stood. With pain and labor,
lifting one foot over the other, as a drummer handles his sticks, he
took a few steps from his place,--his motions and the dead beat of the
misshapen boots announcing to my practised eye and ear the malformation
which is called in learned language _talipes varus_, or inverted

Stop! stop!--I said,--let me come to you.

The little man hobbled back, and lifted himself by the left arm, with
an ease approaching to grace which surprised me, into his high chair. I
walked to his side, and he stretched out the forefinger of his right
hand, with the ring upon it. The ring had been put on long ago, and
could not pass the misshapen joint. It was one of those funeral rings
which used to be given to relatives and friends after the decease of
persons of any note or importance. Beneath a round bit of glass was a
death's head. Engraved on one side of this, "L.B. AEt. 22,"--on the
other, "Ob. 1692."

My grandmother's grandmother,--said the little man.--Hanged for a
witch. It doesn't seem a great while ago. I knew my grandmother, and
loved her. Her mother was daughter to the witch that Chief Justice
Sewall hanged and Cotton Mather delivered over to the Devil.--That was
Salem, though, and not Boston. No, not Boston. Robert Calef, the Boston
merchant, it was that blew them all to----

Never mind where he blew them to,--I said;--for the little man was
getting red in the face, and I didn't know what might come next.

This episode broke me up, as the jockeys say, out of my square
conversational trot; but I settled down to it again.

----A man that knows men, in the street, at their work, human nature in
its shirt-sleeves,--who makes bargains with deacons, instead of talking
over texts with them,--a man who has found out that there are plenty of
praying rogues and swearing saints in the world,--above all, who has
found out, by living into the pith and core of life, that all of thy
Deity which can be folded up between the sheets of any human book is to
the Deity of the firmament, of the strata, of the hot aortic flood of
throbbing human life, of this infinite, instantaneous consciousness in
which the soul's being consists,--an incandescent point in the filament
connecting the negative pole of a past eternity with the positive pole
of an eternity that is to come,--that all of the Deity which any human
book can hold is to this larger Deity of the working battery of the
universe only as the films in a book of gold-leaf are to the broad
seams and curdled lumps of ore that lie in unsunned mines and virgin
placers,----Oh!--I was saying that a man who lives out-of-doors, among
live people, gets some things into his head he might not find in the
index of his "Body of Divinity."

I tell you what,--the idea of the professions' digging a moat round
their close corporations, like that Japanese one at Jeddo, which you
could put Park-Street Church on the bottom of and look over the vane
from its side, and try to stretch another such spire across it without
spanning the chasm,--that idea, I say, is pretty nearly worn out. Now
when a civilization or a civilized custom falls into senile _dementia_,
there is commonly a judgment ripe for it, and it comes as plagues come,
from a breath,--as fires come, from a spark.

Here, look at medicine. Big wigs, gold-headed canes, Latin
prescriptions, shops full of abominations, recipes a yard long,
"curing" patients by drugging as sailors bring a wind by whistling,
selling lies at a guinea apiece,--a routine, in short, of giving
unfortunate sick people a mess of things either too odious to swallow
or too acrid to hold, or, if that were possible, both at once.

----You don't know what I mean, indignant and not unintelligent
country-practitioner? Then you don't know the history of medicine,--and
that is not my fault. But don't expose yourself in any outbreak of
eloquence; for, by the mortar in which Anaxagoras was pounded! I did
not bring home Schenckius and Forestus and Hildanus, and all the old
folios in calf and vellum I will show you, to be bullied by the
proprietor of a "Wood and Bache," and a shelf of peppered sheepskin
reprints by Philadelphia Editors. Besides, many of the profession and I
know a little something of each other, and you don't think I am such a
simpleton as to lose their good opinion by saying what the better heads
among them would condemn as unfair and untrue? Now mark how the great
plague came on the generation of drugging doctors, and in what form it

A scheming drug-vendor, (inventive genius,) an utterly untrustworthy
and incompetent observer, (profound searcher of Nature,) a shallow
dabbler in erudition, (sagacious scholar,) started the monstrous
fiction (founded the immortal system) of Homeopathy. I am very fair,
you see,--you can help yourself to either of these sets of phrases.

All the reason in the world would not have had so rapid and general an
effect on the public mind to disabuse it of the idea that a drug is a
good thing in itself, instead of being, as it is, a bad thing, as was
produced by the trick (system) of this German charlatan (theorist). Not
that the wiser part of the profession needed him to teach them; but the
routinists and their employers, the "general practitioners," who lived
by selling pills and mixtures, and their drug-consuming customers had
to recognize that people could get well, unpoisoned. These dumb cattle
would not learn it of themselves, and so the murrain of Homeopathy fell
on them.

----You don't know what plague has fallen on the practitioners of
theology? I will tell you, then. It is SPIRITUALISM. While some are
crying out against it as a delusion of the Devil, and some are laughing
at it as an hysteric folly, and some are getting angry with it as a
mere trick of interested or mischievous persons, Spiritualism is
quietly undermining the traditional ideas of the future state which
have been and are still accepted,--not merely in those who believe in
it, but in the general sentiment of the community, to a larger extent
than most good people seem to be aware of. It needn't be true, to do
this, any more than Homeopathy need, to do its work. The Spiritualists
have some pretty strong instincts to pry over, which no doubt have been
roughly handled by theologians at different times. And the Nemesis of
the pulpit comes, in a shape it little thought of, beginning with the
snap of a toe-joint, and ending with such a crack of old beliefs that
the roar of it is heard in all the ministers' studies of Christendom!
Sir, you cannot have people of cultivation, of pure character, sensible
enough in common things, large-hearted women, grave judges, shrewd
business-men, men of science, professing to be in communication with
the spiritual world and keeping up constant intercourse with it,
without its gradually reacting on the whole conception of that other
life. It is the folly of the world, constantly, which confounds its
wisdom. Not only out of the mouths of babes and sucklings, but out of
the mouths of fools and cheats, we may often get our truest lessons.
For the fool's judgment is a dog-vane that turns with a breath, and the
cheat watches the clouds and sets his weathercock by them,--so that one
shall often see by their pointing which way the winds of heaven are
blowing, when the slow-wheeling arrows and feathers of what we call the
Temples of Wisdom are turning to all points of the compass.

----Amen!--said the young fellow called John.--Ten minutes by the
watch. Those that are unanimous will please to signify by holding up
their left foot!

I looked this young man steadily in the face for about thirty seconds.
His countenance was as calm as that of a reposing infant. I think it
was simplicity, rather than mischief, with perhaps a youthful
playfulness, that led him to this outbreak. I have often noticed that
even quiet horses, on a sharp November morning, when their coats are
just beginning to get the winter roughness, will give little sportive
demi-kicks, with slight sudden elevation of the subsequent region of
the body, and a sharp short whinny,--by no means intending to put their
heels through the dasher, or to address the driver rudely, but feeling,
to use a familiar word, frisky. This, I think, is the physiological
condition of the young person, John. I noticed, however, what I should
call a _palpebral spasm_, affecting the eyelid and muscles of one side,
which, if it were intended for the facial gesture called a wink, might
lead me to suspect a disposition to be satirical on his part.

----Resuming the conversation, I remarked,--I am, _ex officio_, as a
Professor, a conservative. For I don't know any fruit that clings to
its tree so faithfully, not even a "froze-'n'-thaw" winter-apple, as a
Professor to the bough of which his chair is made. You can't shake him
off, and it is as much as you can do to pull him off. Hence, by a chain
of induction I need not unwind, he tends to conservatism generally.

But then, you know, if you are sailing the Atlantic, and all at once
find yourself in a current and the sea covered with weeds, and drop
your Fahrenheit over the side and find it eight or ten degrees higher
than in the ocean generally, there is no use in flying in the face of
facts and swearing there is no such thing as a Gulf-Stream, when you
are in it.

You can't keep gas in a bladder, and you can't keep knowledge tight in
a profession. Hydrogen will leak out, and air will leak in, through
India-rubber; and special knowledge will leak out, and general
knowledge will leak in, though a profession were covered with twenty
thicknesses of sheepskin diplomas. By Jove, Sir, till common sense is
well mixed up with medicine, and common manhood with theology, and
common honesty with law, _We the people_, Sir, some of us with
nutcrackers, and some of us with trip-hammers, and some of us with
pile-drivers, and some of us coming with a whish! like air-stones out
of a lunar volcano, will crash down on the lumps of nonsense in all of
them till we have made powder of them like Aaron's calf!

If to be a conservative is to let all the drains of thought choke up
and keep all the soul's windows down,--to shut out the sun from the
east and the wind from the west,--to let the rats run free in the
cellar, and the moths feed their fill in the chambers, and the spiders
weave their lace before the mirrors, till the soul's typhus is bred out
of our neglect, and we begin to snore in its coma or rave in its
delirium,--I, Sir, am a _bonnet-rouge_, a red-cap of the barricades, my
friends, rather than a conservative.

----Were you born in Boston, Sir?--said the little man,--looking eager
and excited.

I was not,--I replied.

It's a pity,--it's a pity,--said the little man;--it's the place to be
born in. But if you can't fix it so as to be born here, you can come
and live here. Old Ben Franklin, the father of American science and the
American Union, wasn't ashamed to be born here. Jim Otis, the father of
American Independence, bothered about in the Cape Cod marshes awhile,
but he came to Boston as soon as he got big enough. Joe Warren, the
first bloody ruffled-shirt of the Revolution, was as good as born here.
Parson Charming strolled along this way from Newport, and staid here.
Pity old Sam Hopkins hadn't come, too;--we'd have made a man of
him.--poor, dear, good old Christian heathen! There he lies, as
peaceful as a young baby, in the old burying-ground! I've stood on the
slab many a time. Meant well,--meant well. Juggernaut. Parson Charming
put a little oil on one linchpin, and slipped it out so softly, the
first thing they knew about it was the wheel of that side was down.
T'other fellow's at work now; but he makes more noise about it. When
the linchpin comes out on his side, there'll be a jerk, I tell you!
Some think it will spoil the old cart, and they pretend to say that
there are valuable things in it which may get hurt. Hope not,--hope
not. But this is the great Macadamizing place,--always cracking up

Cracking up Boston folks,--said the gentleman with the _diamond_-pin,
whom, for convenience' sake, I shall hereafter call the _Koh-i-noor_.

The little man turned round mechanically towards him, as Maelzel's Turk
used to turn, carrying his head slowly and horizontally, as if it went
by cogwheels.--Cracking up all sorts of things,--native and foreign
vermin included,--said the little man.

This remark was thought by some of us to have a hidden personal
application, and to afford a fair opening for a lively rejoinder, if
the Koh-i-noor had been so disposed. The little man uttered it with the
distinct wooden calmness with which the ingenious Turk used to exclaim,
_E-chec_! so that it _must_ have been heard. The party supposed to be
interested in the remark was, however, carrying a large
knife-blade-full of something to his mouth just then, which, no doubt,
interfered with the reply he would have made.

----My friend who used to board here was accustomed sometimes, in a
pleasant way, to call himself the _Autocrat_ of the table,--meaning, I
suppose, that he had it all his own way among the boarders. I think our
small boarder here is like to prove a refractory subject, if I
undertake to use the sceptre my friend meant to bequeathe me, too
magisterially. I won't deny that sometimes, on rare occasions, when I
have been in company with gentlemen who _preferred_ listening, I have
been guilty of the same kind of usurpation which my friend openly
justified. But I maintain, that I, the Professor, am a good listener.
If a man can tell me a fact which subtends an appreciable angle in the
horizon of thought, I am as receptive as the contribution-box in a
congregation of colored brethren. If, when I am exposing my
intellectual dry-goods, a man will begin a good story, I will have them
all in, and my shutters up, before he has got to the fifth "says he,"
and listen like a three-years' child, as the author of the "Old Sailor"
says. I had rather hear one of those grand elemental laughs from either
of our two Georges, (fictitious names, Sir or Madam,) or listen to one
of those old playbills of our College days, in which "Tom and Jerry"
("Thomas and Jeremiah," as the old Greek Professor was said to call it)
was announced to be brought on the stage with the whole force of the
Faculty, read by our Frederick, (no such person, of course,) than say
the best things I might by any chance find myself capable of saying. Of
course, if I come across a real thinker, a suggestive, acute,
illuminating, informing talker, I enjoy the luxury of sitting still for
a while as much as another.

Nobody talks much that doesn't say unwise things,--things he did not
mean to say; as no person plays much without striking a false note
sometimes. Talk, to me, is only spading up the ground for crops of
thought. I can't answer for what will turn up. If I could, it wouldn't
be talking, but "speaking my piece." Better, I think, the hearty
abandonment of one's self to the suggestions of the moment, at the risk
of an occasional slip of the tongue, perceived the instant it escapes,
but, just one syllable too late, than the royal reputation of never
saying a foolish thing.

----What shall I do with this little man?--There is only one thing to
do,--and that is, to let him talk when he will. The day of the
"Autocrat's" monologues is over.

----My friend,--said I to the young fellow whom, as I have said, the
boarders call "John,"--My friend,--I said, one morning, after
breakfast,--can you give me any information respecting the deformed
person who sits at the other end of the table?

What! the Sculpin?--said the young fellow.

The diminutive person, with angular curvature of the spine,--I
said,--and double _talipes varus_,--I beg your pardon,--with two

Is that long word what you call it when a fellah walks so?--said the
young man, making his fists revolve round an imaginary axis, as you may
have seen youth of tender age and limited pugilistic knowledge, when
they show how they would punish an adversary, themselves protected by
this rotating guard,--the middle knuckle, meantime, thumb-supported,
fiercely prominent, death-threatening.

It is,--said I.--But would you have the kindness to tell me if you know
anything about this deformed person?

About the Sculpin?--said the young fellow.

My good friend,--said I,--I am sure, by your countenance, you would not
hurt the feelings of one who has been hardly enough treated by Nature
to be spared by his fellows. Even in speaking of him to others, I could
wish that you might not employ a term which implies contempt for what
should inspire only pity.

A fellah's no business to be so----crooked,--said the young man called

Yes, yes,--I said, thoughtfully,--the strong hate the weak. It's all
right. The arrangement has reference to the race, and not to the
individual. Infirmity must be kicked out, or the stock run down.
Wholesale moral arrangements are so different from retail!--I
understand the instinct, my friend,--it is cosmic,--it is
planetary,--it is a conservative principle in creation.

The young fellow's face gradually lost its expression as I was
speaking, until it became as blank of vivid significance as the
countenance of a gingerbread rabbit with two currants in the place of
eyes. He had not taken my meaning.

Presently the intelligence came back with a snap that made him wink,
as he answered,--Jest so. All right. A 1. Put her through. That's the
way to talk. Did you speak to me, Sir?--Here the young man struck up
that well-known song which I think they used to sing at Masonic
festivals, beginning, "Aldiborontiphoscophornio, Where left you

I beg your pardon.--I said;--all I meant was, that men, as temporary
occupants of a permanent abode called human life, which is improved or
injured by occupancy, according to the style of tenant, have a natural
dislike to those who, if they live the life of the race as well as of
the individual, will leave lasting injurious effects upon the abode
spoken of, which is to be occupied by countless future generations.
This is the final cause of the underlying brute instinct which we have
in common with the herds.

----The gingerbread-rabbit expression was coming on so fast, that I
thought I must try again.--It's a pity that families are kept up, where
there are such hereditary infirmities. Still, let us treat this poor
man fairly, and not call him names. Do you know what his name is?

I know what the rest of 'em call him,--said the young fellow.--They
call him Little Boston. There's no harm in that, is there?

It is an honorable term,--I replied.--But why Little _Boston_, in a
place where most are Bostonians?

Because nobody else is quite so Boston all over as he is,--said the
young fellow.

"L.B. Ob. 1692."--Little Boston let him be, when we talk about him. The
ring he wears labels him well enough. There is stuff in the little man,
or he wouldn't stick so manfully by this crooked, crotchety old town.
Give him a chance.--You will drop the Sculpin, won't you?--I said to
the young fellow.

Drop him?--he answered,--I ha'n't took him up yet.

No, no,--the term,--I said,--the term. Don't call him so any more, if
you please. Call him Little Boston, if you like.

All right,--said the young fellow.--I wouldn't be hard on the poor

The word he used was objectionable in point of significance and of
grammar. It was a frequent termination of certain adjectives among the
Romans,--as of those designating a person following the sea, or given
to rural pursuits. It is classed by custom among the profane words;
why, it is hard to say,--but it is largely used in the street by those
who speak of their fellows in pity or in wrath.

I never heard the young fellow apply the name of the odious pretended
fish to the little man from that day forward.

----Here we are, then, at our boarding-house. First, myself, the
Professor, a little way from the head of the table, on the right,
looking down, where the Autocrat used to sit. At the further end site
the Landlady. At the head of the table, just now, the Koh-i-noor, or
the gentleman with the _diamond_. Opposite me is a Venerable Gentleman
with a bland countenance, who as yet has spoken little. The
Divinity-Student is my neighbor on the right,--and further down, that
Young Fellow of whom I have repeatedly spoken. The Landlady's Daughter
sits near the Koh-i-noor, as I said. The Poor Relation near the
Landlady. At the right upper corner is a fresh-looking youth of whose
name and history I have as yet learned nothing. Next the further
left-hand corner, looking down the table, sits the deformed person. The
chair at his side, occupying that corner, is empty. I need not
specially mention the other boarders, with the exception of Benjamin
Franklin, the landlady's son, who sits near his mother. We are a
tolerably assorted set,--difference enough and likeness enough; but
still it seems to me there is something wanting. The Landlady's
Daughter is the _prima donna_ in the way of feminine attractions. I am
not quite satisfied with this young lady. She wears more "jewelry," as
certain young ladies call their trinkets, than I care to see on a
person in her position. Her voice is strident, her laugh too much like
a giggle, and she has that foolish way of dancing and bobbing like a
quill-float with a "minnum" biting the hook below it, which one sees
and weeps over sometimes in persons of more pretensions. I can't help
hoping we shall put something into that empty chair yet which will add
the missing string to our social harp. I hear talk of a rare Miss who
is expected. Something in the school-girl way, I believe. We shall see.

----My friend who calls himself _The Autocrat_ has given me a caution
which I am going to repeat, with my comment upon it, for the benefit of
all concerned.

Professor,--said he, one day,--don't you think your brain will run dry
before a year's out, if you don't get the pump to help the cow? Let me
tell you what happened to me once. I put a little money into a bank,
and bought a checkbook, so that I might draw it as I wanted, in sums to
suit. Things went on nicely for a time; scratching with a pen was as
easy as rubbing Aladdin's Lamp; and my blank check-book seemed to be a
dictionary of possibilities, in which I could find all the synonymes of
happiness, and realize any one of them on the spot. A check came back
to me at last with these two words on it,--_No funds_. My checkbook was
a volume of waste-paper.

Now, Professor,--said he,--I have drawn something out of your bank, you
know; and just so sure as you keep drawing out your soul's currency
without making new deposits, the next thing will be, _No funds_,--and
then where will you be, my boy? These little bits of paper mean your
gold and your silver and your copper, Professor; and you will certainly
break up and go to pieces, if you don't hold on to your metallic basis.

There is something in that,--said I.--Only I rather think life can coin
thought somewhat faster than I can count it off in words. What if one
shall go round and dry up with soft napkins all the dew that falls of a
June evening on the leaves of his garden? Shall there be no more dew on
those leaves thereafter? Marry, yea,--many drops, large and round and
full of moonlight as those thou shalt have absterged!

Here am I, the Professor,--a man who has lived long enough to have
plucked the flowers of life and come to the berries,--which are not
always sad-colored, but sometimes golden-hued as the crocus of April,
or rosy-cheeked as the damask of June; a man who staggered against
books as a baby, and will totter against them, if he lives to
decrepitude; with a brain as full of tingling thoughts, such as they
are, as a limb which we call "asleep," because it is so particularly
awake, is of pricking points; presenting a key-board of nerve-pulps,
not as yet tanned or ossified, to the finger-touch of all outward
agencies; knowing something of the filmy threads of this web of life in
which we insects buzz awhile, waiting for the gray old spider to come
along; contented enough with daily realities, but twirling on his
finger the key of a private Bedlam of ideals; in knowledge feeding with
the fox oftener than with the stork,--loving better the breadth of a
fertilizing inundation than the depth of a narrow artesian well;
finding nothing too small for his contemplation in the markings of the
_grammatophora subtilissima_, and nothing too large in the movement of
the solar system towards the star Lambda of the constellation
Hercules;--and the question is, whether there is anything left for me,
the Professor, to suck out of creation, after my lively friend has had
his straw in the bunghole of the Universe!

A man's mental reactions with the atmosphere of life must go on,
whether he will or no, as between his blood and the air he breathes. As
to catching the residuum of the process, or what we call
_thought_,--the gaseous ashes of burned-out _thinking_,--the excretion
of mental respiration,--that will depend on many things, as, on having
a favorable intellectual temperature about one, and a fitting
receptacle.--I sow more thought-seeds in twenty-four hours' travel over
the desert-sand, along which my lonely consciousness paces day and
night, than I shall throw into soil where it will germinate, in a year.
All sorts of bodily and mental perturbations come between us and the
due projection of our thought. The pulse-like "fits of easy and
difficult transmission" seem to reach even the transparent medium
through which our souls are seen. We know our humanity by its often
intercepted rays, as we tell a revolving light from a star or meteor by
its constantly recurring obscuration.

An illustrious scholar once told me, that, in the first lecture he ever
delivered, he spoke but half his allotted time, and felt as if he had
told all he knew. Braham came forward once to sing one of his most
famous and familiar songs, and for his life could not recall the first
line of it;--he told his mishap to the audience, and they screamed it
at him in a chorus of a thousand voices. Milton could not write to suit
himself, except from the autumnal to the vernal equinox. One in the
clothing-business, who, there is reason to suspect, may have inherited,
by descent, the great poet's impressible temperament, let a customer
slip through his fingers one day without fitting him with a new garment.
"Ah!" said he to a friend of mine, who was standing by, "if it hadn't
been for that confounded headache of mine this morning, I'd have had a
coat on that man, in spite of himself, before he left the store." A
passing throb, only,--but it deranged the nice mechanism required to
persuade the accidental human being, _x_, into a given piece of
broadcloth, _a_.

We must take care not to confound this frequent difficulty of
transmission of our ideas with want of ideas. I suppose that a man's
mind does in time form a neutral salt with the elements in the universe
for which it has special elective affinities. In fact, I look upon a
library as a kind of mental chemist's shop, filled with the crystals of
all forms and hues which have come from the union of individual thought
with local circumstances or universal principles.

When a man has worked out his special affinities in this way, there is
an end of his genius as a real solvent. No more effervescence and
hissing tumult as he pours his sharp thought on the world's biting
alkaline unbeliefs! No more corrosion of the old monumental tablets
covered with lies! No more taking up of dull earths, and turning them,
first into clear solutions, and then into lustrous prisms!

I, the Professor, am very much like other men. I shall not find out
when I have used up my affinities. What a blessed thing it is, that
Nature, when she invented, manufactured, and patented her authors,
contrived to make critics out of the chips that were left! Painful as
the task is, they never fail to warn the author, in the most impressive
manner, of the probabilities of failure in what he has undertaken. Sad
as the necessity is to their delicate sensibilities, they never
hesitate to advertise him of the decline of his powers, and to press
upon him the propriety of retiring before he sinks into imbecility.
Trusting to their kind offices, I shall endeavor to fulfil----

_Bridget enters and begins clearing the table._

The following poem is my (the Professor's) only contribution to the
great department of Ocean-Cable literature. As all the poets of this
country will be engaged for the next six weeks in writing for the
premium offered by the Crystal-Palace Company for the Barns Centenary,
(so called, according to our Benjamin Franklin, because there will be
nary a cent for any of us,) poetry will be very scarce and dear.
Consumers may, consequently, be glad to take the present article,
which, by the aid of a Latin tutor and a Professor of Chemistry, will
be found intelligible to the educated classes.



_Professor. Blue-Nose._


  Tell me, O Provincial! speak, Ceruleo-Nasal!
  Lives there one De Sauty extant now among you
  Whispering Boanerges, son of silent thunder,
  Holding talk with nations?

  Is there a De Sauty ambulant on Tellus,
  Bifid-cleft like mortals, dormient in nightcap,
  Having sight, smell, hearing, food-receiving feature
  Three times daily patent?

  Breathes there such a being, O Ceruleo-Nasal?
  Or is he a _mythus_,--ancient word for "humbug,"--
  Such as Livy told about the wolf that wetnursed
  Romulus and Remus?

  Was he born of woman, this alleged De Sauty?
  Or a living product of galvanic action,
  Like the _acarus_ bred in Crosse's flint-solution?
  Speak, thou Cyano-Rhinal!


  Many things thou askest, jackknife-bearing stranger,
  Much-conjecturing mortal, pork-and-treacle-waster!
  Pretermit thy whittling, wheel thine ear-flap toward me,
  Thou shalt hear them answered.

  When the charge galvanic tingled through the cable,
  At the polar focus of the wire electric
  Suddenly appeared a white-faced man among us.
  Called himself "DE SAUTY."

  As the small opossum held in pouch maternal
  Grasps the nutrient organ whence the term _mammalia_,
  So the unknown stranger held the wire electric,
  Sucking in the current.

  When the current strengthened, bloomed the pale-faced stranger,--
  Took no drink nor victual, yet grew fat and rosy,--
  And from time to time, in sharp articulation,
  Said, "_All right!_ DE SAUTY."

  From the lonely station passed the utterance, spreading
  Through the pines and hemlocks to the groves of steeples,
  Till the land was filled with loud reverberations
  Of "_All right_! DE SAUTY."

  When the current slackened, drooped the mystic stranger,--
  Faded, faded, faded, as the shocks grew weaker,--
  Wasted to a shadow, with a hartshorn odor
  Of disintegration.

  Drops of deliquescence glistened on his forehead,
  Whitened round his feet the dust of efflorescence,
  Till one Monday morning, when the flow suspended,
  There was no De Sauty.

  Nothing but a cloud of elements organic,
  C.O.H.N. Ferrum, Chor. Flu. Sil. Potassa,
  Calc. Sod. Phosph. Mag. Sulphur, Mang.(?) Alumin.(?) Cuprum,(?)
  Such as man is made of.

  Born of stream galvanic, with it he had perished!
  There is no De Sauty now there is no current!
  Give us a new cable, then again we'll hear him
  Cry, "_All right!_ DE SAUTY."

       *       *       *       *       *





At the call of her mother, Mary hurried into the "best room," with a
strange discomposure of spirit she had never felt before. From
childhood, her love for James had been so deep, equable, and intense,
that it had never disturbed her with thrills and yearnings; it had
grown up in sisterly calmness, and, quietly expanding, had taken
possession of her whole nature, without her once dreaming of its power.
But this last interview seemed to have struck some great nerve of her
being,--and calm as she usually was, from habit, principle, and good
health, she shivered and trembled, as she heard his retreating
footsteps, and saw the orchard-grass fly back from under his feet. It
was as if each step trod on a nerve,--as if the very sound of the
rustling grass was stirring something living and sensitive in her soul.
And, strangest of all, a vague impression of guilt hovered over her.
_Had_ she done anything wrong? She did not ask him there; she had not
spoken love to him; no, she had only talked to him of his soul, and how
she would give hers for his,--oh, so willingly!--and that was not love;
it was only what Dr. H. said Christians must always feel.

"Child, what _have_ you been doing?" said Aunt Katy, who sat in full
flowing chintz petticoat and spotless dimity shortgown, with her
company knitting-work in her hands; "your cheeks are as red as peonies.
Have you been crying? What's the matter?"

"There is the Deacon's wife, mother," said Mary, turning confusedly,
and darting to the entry-door.

Enter Mrs. Twitchel,--a soft, pillowy little elderly lady, whose whole
air and dress reminded one of a sack of feathers tied in the middle
with a string. A large, comfortable pocket, hung upon the side,
disclosed her knitting-work ready for operation; and she zealously
cleansed herself with a checked handkerchief from the dust which had
accumulated during her ride in the old "one-hoss shay," answering the
hospitable salutation of Katy Scudder in that plaintive, motherly voice
which belongs to certain nice old ladies, who appear to live in a state
of mild chronic compassion for the sins and sorrows of this mortal life

"Why, yes, Miss Scudder, I'm pretty tol'able. I keep goin', and goin'.
That's my way. I's a-tellin' the Deacon, this-mornin', I didn't see how
I _was_ to come here this afternoon; but then I _did_ want to see Miss
Scudder and talk a little about that precious sermon, Sunday. How is
the Doctor? blessed man! Well, his reward must be great in heaven, if
not on earth, as I was a-tellin' the Deacon; and he says to me, says
he, 'Polly, we mustn't be man-worshippers.' There, dear," (_to Mary_,)
"don't trouble yourself about my bonnet; it a'n't my Sunday one, but I
thought 'twould do. Says I to Cerinthy Ann, 'Miss Scudder won't mind,
'cause her heart's set on better things.' I always like to drop a word
in season to Cerinthy Ann, 'cause she's clean took up with vanity and
dress. Oh, dear! oh, dear me! so different from your blessed daughter,
Miss Scudder! Well, it's a great blessin' to be called in one's youth,
like Samuel and Timothy; but then we doesn't know the Lord's ways.
Sometimes I gets clean discouraged with my children,--but then ag'in I
don't know; none on us does. Cerinthy Ann is one of the most master
hands to turn off work; she takes hold and goes along like a woman, and
nobody never knows when that gal finds the time to do all she does do;
and I don't know nothin' what I _should_ do without her. Deacon was
saying, if ever she was called, she'd be a Martha, and not a Mary; but
then she's dreadful opposed to the doctrines. Oh, dear me! oh, dear me!
Somehow they seem to rile her all up; and she was a-tellin' me
yesterday, when she was a-hangin' out clothes, that she never should
get reconciled to Decrees and 'Lection, 'cause she can't see, if things
is certain, how folks is to help 'emselves. Says I, 'Cerinthy Ann,
folks a'n't to help 'emselves; they's to submit unconditional.' And she
jest slammed down the clothes-basket and went into the house."

When Mrs. Twitchel began to talk, it flowed a steady stream, as when
one turns a faucet, that never ceases running till some hand turns it
back again; and the occasion that cut the flood short at present was
the entrance of Mrs. Brown.

Mr. Simeon Brown was a thriving shipowner of Newport, who lived in a
large house, owned several negro-servants and a span of horses, and
affected some state and style in his worldly appearance. A passion for
metaphysical Orthodoxy had drawn Simeon to the congregation of Dr. H.,
and his wife of course stood by right in a high place there. She was a
tall, angular, somewhat hard-favored body, dressed in a style rather
above the simple habits of her neighbors, and her whole air spoke the
great woman, who in right of her thousands expected to have her say in
all that was going on in the world, whether she understood it or not.

On her entrance, mild little Mrs. Twitchel fled from the cushioned
rocking-chair, and stood with the quivering air of one who feels she
has no business to be anywhere in the world, until Mrs. Brown's bonnet
was taken and she was seated, when Mrs. Twitchel subsided into a corner
and rattled her knitting-needles to conceal her emotion.

New England has been called the land of equality; but what land upon
earth is wholly so? Even the mites in a bit of cheese, naturalists say,
have great tumblings and strivings about position and rank; he who has
ten pounds will always be a nobleman to him who has but one, let him
strive as manfully as he may; and therefore let us forgive meek little
Mrs. Twitchel for melting into nothing in her own eyes when Mrs. Brown
came in, and let us forgive Mrs. Brown that she sat down in the
rocking-chair with an easy grandeur, as one who thought it her duty to
be affable and meant to be. It was, however, rather difficult for Mrs.
Brown, with her money, house, negroes, and all, to patronize Mrs. Katy
Scudder, who was one of those women whose natures seem to sit on
thrones, and who dispense patronage and favor by an inborn right and
aptitude, whatever be their social advantages. It was one of Mrs.
Brown's trials of life, this secret, strange quality in her neighbor,
who stood apparently so far below her in worldly goods. Even the quiet,
positive style of Mrs. Katy's knitting made her nervous; it was an
implication of independence of her sway; and though on the present
occasion every customary courtesy was bestowed, she still felt, as she
always did when Mrs. Katy's guest, a secret uneasiness. She mentally
contrasted the neat little parlor, with its white sanded floor and
muslin curtains, with her own grand front-room, which boasted the then
uncommon luxuries of Turkey carpet and Persian rug, and wondered if
Mrs. Katy did really feel as cool and easy in receiving her as she

You must not understand that this was what Mrs. Brown _supposed_
herself to be thinking about; oh, no! by no means! All the little, mean
work of our nature is generally done in a small dark closet just a
little back of the subject we are talking about, on which subject we
suppose ourselves of course to be thinking;--of course we are thinking
of it; how else could we talk about it?

The subject in discussion, and what Mrs. Brown supposed to be in her
own thoughts, was the last Sunday's sermon on the doctrine of entire
Disinterested Benevolence, in which good Doctor H. had proclaimed to
the citizens of Newport their duty of being so wholly absorbed in the
general good of the universe as even to acquiesce in their own final
and eternal destruction, if the greater good of the whole might thereby
be accomplished.

"Well, now, dear me!" said Mrs. Twitchel, while her knitting-needles
trotted contentedly to the mournful tone of her voice,--"I was tellin'
the Deacon, if we only could get there! Sometimes I think I get a
little way,--but then ag'in I don't know; but the Deacon he's quite
down,--he don't see no evidences in himself. Sometimes he says he don't
feel as if he ought to keep his place in the church,--but then ag'in he
don't know. He keeps a-turnin' and turnin' on't over in his mind, and
a-tryin' himself this way and that way; and he says he don't see
nothin' but what's selfish, no way.

"'Member one night last winter, after the Deacon got warm in bed, there
come a rap at the door; and who should it be but old Beulah Ward,
wantin' to see the Deacon?--'twas her boy she sent, and he said Beulah
was sick and hadn't no more wood nor candles. Now I know'd the Deacon
had carried that crittur half a cord of wood, if he had one stick,
since Thanksgivin', and I'd sent her two o' my best moulds of
candles,--nice ones that Cerinthy Ann run when we killed a crittur; but
nothin' would do but the Deacon must get right out his warm bed and
dress himself, and hitch up his team to carry over some wood to Beulah.
Says I, 'Father, you know you'll be down with the rheumatis for this;
besides, Beulah is real aggravatin'. I know she trades off what we send
her to the store for rum, and you never get no thanks. She 'xpects,
'cause we has done for her, we always must; and more we do, more we may
do.' And says he to me, says he, 'That's jest the way we sarves the
Lord, Polly; and what if He shouldn't hear us when we call on Him in
our troubles?' So I shet up; and the next day he was down with the
rheumatis. And Cerinthy Ann, says she, 'Well, father, _now_ I hope
you'll own you have got _some_ disinterested benevolence,' says she;
and the Deacon he thought it over a spell, and then he says, 'I'm
'fraid it's all selfish. I'm jest a-makin' a righteousness of it.' And
Cerinthy Ann she come out, declarin' that the best folks never had no
comfort in religion; and for her part she didn't mean to trouble her
head about it, but have jest as good a time as she could while she's
young, 'cause if she was 'lected to be saved she should be, and if she
wa'n't she couldn't help it, any how."

"Mr. Brown says he came onto Dr. H.'s ground years ago," said Mrs.
Brown, giving a nervous twitch to her yarn, and speaking in a sharp,
hard, didactic voice, which made little Mrs. Twitchel give a gentle
quiver, and look humble and apologetic. "Mr. Brown's a master thinker;
there's nothing pleases that man better than a hard doctrine; he says
you can't get 'em too hard for him. He don't find any difficulty in
bringing his mind up; he just reasons it out all plain; and he says,
people have no need to be in the dark; and that's _my_ opinion. 'If
folks know they ought to come up to anything, why _don't_ they?' he
says; and I say so too."

"Mr. Scudder used to say that it took great afflictions to bring his
mind to that place," said Mrs. Katy. "He used to say that an old
paper-maker told him once, that paper that was shaken only one way in
the making would tear across the other, and the best paper had to be
shaken every way; and so he said we couldn't tell, till we had been
turned and shaken and tried every way, where we should tear."

Mrs. Twitchel responded to this sentiment with a gentle series of
groans, such as were her general expression of approbation, swaying
herself backward and forward; while Mrs. Brown gave a sort of toss and
snort, and said that for her part she always thought people knew what
they did know,--but she guessed she was mistaken.

The conversation was here interrupted by the civilities attendant on
the reception of Mrs. Jones,--a broad, buxom, hearty soul, who had come
on horseback from a farm about three miles distant.

Smiling with rosy content, she presented Mrs. Katy a small pot of
golden butter,--the result of her forenoon's churning.

There are some people so evidently broadly and heartily of this world,
that their coming into a room always materializes the conversation. We
wish to be understood that we mean no disparaging reflection on such
persons;--they are as necessary to make up a world as cabbages to make
up a garden; the great healthy principles of cheerfulness and animal
life seem to exist in them in the gross; they are wedges and ingots of
solid, contented vitality. Certain kinds of virtues and Christian
graces thrive in such people as the first crop of corn does in the
bottom-lands of the Ohio. Mrs. Jones was a church-member, a regular
church-goer, and planted her comely person plump in front of Dr. H.
every Sunday, and listened to his searching and discriminating sermons
with broad, honest smiles of satisfaction. Those keen distinctions as
to motives, those awful warnings and urgent expostulations, which made
poor Deacon Twitchel weep, she listened to with great, round, satisfied
eyes, making to all, and after all, the same remark,--that it was good,
and she liked it, and the Doctor was a good man; and on the present
occasion, she announced her pot of butter as one fruit of her
reflections after the last discourse.

"You see," she said, "as I was a-settin' in the spring-house, this
mornin', a-workin' my butter, I says to Dinah,--'I'm goin' to carry a
pot of this down to Miss Scudder for the Doctor,--I got so much good
out of his Sunday's sermon. And Dinah she says to me, says she,--'Laws,
Miss Jones. I thought you was asleep, for sartin!' But I wasn't; only I
forgot to take any caraway-seed in the mornin', and so I kinder missed
it; you know it 'livens one up. But I never lost myself so but what I
kinder heerd him goin' on, on, sort o' like,--and it sounded _all_ sort
o' _good;_ and so I thought of the Doctor to-day."

"Well, I'm sure," said Aunt Katy, "this will be a treat; we all know
about your butter, Mrs. Jones. I sha'n't think of putting any of mine
on table to-night, I'm sure."

"Law, now don't!" said Mrs. Jones. "Why, you re'lly make me ashamed,
Miss Scudder. To be sure, folks does like our butter, and it always
fetches a pretty good price,--_he's_ very proud on't. I tell him he
oughtn't to be,--we oughtn't to be proud of anything."

And now Mrs. Katy, giving a look at the old clock, told Mary it was
time to set the tea-table; and forthwith there was a gentle movement of
expectancy. The little mahogany tea-table opened its brown wings, and
from a drawer came forth the snowy damask covering. It was etiquette,
on such occasions, to compliment every article of the establishment
successively, as it appeared; so the Deacon's wife began at the

"Well, I do declare, Miss Scudder beats us all in her table-cloths,"
she said, taking up a corner of the damask, admiringly; and Mrs. Jones
forthwith jumped up and seized the other corner.

"Why, this 'ere must have come from the Old Country. It's 'most the
beautiflest thing I ever did see."

"It's my own spinning," replied Mrs. Katy, with conscious dignity.
"There was an Irish weaver came to Newport the year before I was
married, who wove beautifully,--just the Old-Country patterns,--and I'd
been spinning some uncommonly fine flax then. I remember Mr. Scudder
used to read to me while I was spinning,"--and Aunt Katy looked afar,
as one whose thoughts are in the past, and dropped out the last words
with a little sigh, unconsciously, as to herself.

"Well, now, I must say," said Mrs. Jones, "this goes quite beyond me. I
thought I could spin some; but I sha'n't never dare to show mine."

"I'm sure, Mrs. Jones, your towels that you had out bleaching, this
spring, were wonderful," said Aunt Katy. "But I don't pretend to do
much now," she continued, straightening her trim figure. "I'm getting
old, you know; we must let the young folks take up these things. Mary
spins better now than I ever did. Mary, hand out those napkins."

And so Mary's napkins passed from hand to hand.

"Well, well," said Mrs. Twitchel to Mary, "it's easy to see that _your_
linen-chest will be pretty full by the time _he_ comes along; won't it,
Miss Jones?"--and Mrs. Twitchel looked pleasantly facetious, as elderly
ladies generally do, when suggesting such possibilities to younger

Mary was vexed to feel the blood boil up in her cheeks in a most
unexpected and provoking way at the suggestion; whereat Mrs. Twitchel
nodded knowingly at Mrs. Jones, and whispered something in a mysterious
aside, to which plump Mrs. Jones answered,--"Why, do tell! now I

"It's strange," said Mrs. Twitchel, taking up her parable again, in
such a plaintive tone that all knew something pathetic was coming,
"what mistakes some folks will make, a-fetchin' up girls. Now there's
your Mary, Miss Scudder,--why, there a'n't nothin' she can't do; but
law, I was down to Miss Skinner's, last week, a-watchin' with her, and
re'lly it 'most broke my heart to see her. Her mother was a most
amazin' smart woman; but she brought Suky up, for all the world, as if
she'd been a wax doll, to be kept in the drawer,--and sure enough, she
was a pretty cretur,--and now she's married, what is she? She ha'n't no
more idee how to take hold than nothin'. The poor child means well
enough, and she works so hard she most kills herself; but then she is
in the suds from mornin' till night,--she's one the sort whose work's
never done,--and poor George Skinner's clean discouraged."

"There's everything in _knowing how_," said Mrs. Katy. "Nobody ought to
be always working; it's a bad sign. I tell Mary,--'Always do up your
work in the forenoon.'--Girls must learn that. I never work afternoons,
after my dinner-dishes are got away; I never did and never would."

"Nor I, neither," chimed in Mrs. Jones and Mrs. Twitchel,--both anxious
to show themselves clear on this leading point of New England

"There's another thing I always tell Mary," said Mrs. Katy,
impressively. "'Never say there isn't time for a thing that ought to be
done. If a thing is _necessary_, why, life is long enough to find a
place for it. That's my doctrine. When anybody tells me they _can't
find_ time for this or that, I don't think much of 'em. I think they
don't know how to work,--that's all.'"

Here Mrs. Twitchel looked up from her knitting, with an apologetic
giggle, at Mrs. Brown.

"Law, now, there's Miss Brown, she don't know nothin' about it, 'cause
she's got her servants to every turn. I s'pose she thinks it queer to
hear us talkin' about our work. Miss Brown must have her time all to
herself. I was tellin' the Deacon the other day that she was a
privileged woman."

"I'm sure, those that have servants find work enough following 'em
'round," said Mrs. Brown,--who, like all other human beings, resented
the implication of not having as many trials in life as her neighbors.
"As to getting the work done up in the forenoon, that's a thing I never
can teach 'em; they'd rather not. Chloe likes to keep her work 'round,
and do it by snacks, any time, day or night, when the notion takes

"And it was just for that reason I never would have one of those
creatures 'round," said Mrs. Katy. "Mr. Scudder was principled against
buying negroes,--but if he had _not_ been, I should not have wanted any
of _their_ work. I know what's to be done, and most help is no help to
me. I want people to stand out of my way and let me get done. I've
tried keeping a girl once or twice, and I never worked so hard in my
life. When Mary and I do all ourselves, we can calculate everything to
a minute; and we get our time to sew and read and spin and visit, and
live just as we want to."

Here, again, Mrs. Brown looked uneasy. To what use was it that she was
rich and owned servants, when this Mordecai in her gate utterly
despised her prosperity? In her secret heart she thought Mrs. Katy must
be envious, and rather comforted herself on this view of the
subject,--sweetly unconscious of any inconsistency in the feeling with
her views of utter self-abnegation just announced.

Meanwhile the tea-table had been silently gathering on its snowy
plateau the delicate china, the golden butter, the loaf of faultless
cake, a plate of crullers or wonders, as a sort of sweet fried cake was
commonly called,--tea-rusks, light as a puff, and shining on top with a
varnish of egg,--jellies of apple and quince quivering in amber
clearness,--whitest and purest honey in the comb,--in short, everything
that could go to the getting-up of a most faultless tea.

"I don't see," said Mrs. Jones, resuming the gentle paeans of the
occasion, "how Miss Scudder's loaf-cake always comes out jest so. It
don't rise neither to one side nor t'other, but jest even all 'round;
and it a'n't white one side and burnt the other, but jest a good brown
all over; and it don't have no heavy streak in it."

"Jest what Cerinthy Ann was sayin', the other day," said Mrs. Twitchel.
"She says she can't never be sure how hers is a-comin' out. Do what she
can, it will be either too much or too little; but Miss Scudder's is
always jest so. 'Law,' says I, 'Cerinthy Ann, it's _faculty_,--that's
it;--them that has it has it, and them that hasn't--why, they've got to
work hard, and not do half so well, neither.'"

Mrs. Katy took all these praises as matter of course. Since she was
thirteen years old, she had never put her hand to anything that she had
not been held to do better than other folks, and therefore she accepted
her praises with the quiet repose and serenity of assured reputation;
though, of course, she used the usual polite disclaimers of "Oh, it's
nothing, nothing at all; I'm sure I don't know how I do it, and was not
aware it was so good,"--and so on. All which things are proper for
gentlewomen to observe in like cases, in every walk of life.

"Do you think the Deacon will be along soon?" said Mrs. Katy, when
Mary, returning from the kitchen, announced the important fact, that
the tea-kettle was boiling.

"Why, yes," said Mrs. Twitchel. "I'm a-lookin' for him every minute. He
told me, that he and the men should be plantin' up to the eight-acre
lot, but he'd keep the colt up there to come down on; and so I laid him
out a clean shirt, and says, 'Now, Father, you be sure and be there by
five, so that Miss Scudder may know when to put her tea a-drawin'.'
--There he is, I believe," she added, as a horse's tramp was
heard without, and, after a few moments, the desired Deacon entered.

He was a gentle, soft-spoken man, low, sinewy, thin, with black hair
showing lines and patches of silver. His keen, thoughtful, dark eye
marked the nervous and melancholic temperament. A mild and pensive
humility of manner seemed to brood over him, like the shadow of a
cloud. Everything in his dress, air, and motions indicated punctilious
exactness and accuracy, at times rising to the point of nervous

Immediately after the bustle of his entrance had subsided, Mr. Simeon
Brown followed. He was a tall, lank individual, with high cheek-bones,
thin, sharp features, small, keen, hard eyes, and large hands and feet.

Simeon was, as we have before remarked, a keen theologian, and had the
scent of a hound for a metaphysical distinction. True, he was a man of
business, being a thriving trader to the coast of Africa, whence he
imported negroes for the American market; and no man was held to
understand that branch of traffic better,--he having, in his earlier
days, commanded ships in the business, and thus learned it from the
root. In his private life, Simeon was severe and dictatorial. He was
one of that class of people who, of a freezing day, will plant
themselves directly between you and the fire, and there stand and argue
to prove that selfishness is the root of all moral evil. Simeon said he
always had thought so; and his neighbors sometimes supposed that nobody
could enjoy better experimental advantages for understanding the
subject. He was one of those men who suppose themselves submissive to
the Divine will, to the uttermost extent demanded by the extreme
theology of that day, simply because they have no nerves to feel, no
imagination to conceive what endless happiness or suffering is, and who
deal therefore with the great question of the salvation or damnation of
myriads as a problem of theological algebra, to be worked out by their
inevitable _x, y, z_.

But we must not spend too much time with our analysis of character, for
matters at the tea-table are drawing to a crisis. Mrs. Jones has
announced that she does not think "_he_" can come this afternoon, by
which significant mode of expression she conveyed the dutiful idea that
there was for her but one male person in the world. And now Mrs. Katy
says, "Mary, dear, knock at the Doctor's door and tell him that tea is

The Doctor was sitting in his shady study, in the room on the other
side of the little entry. The windows were dark and fragrant with the
shade and perfume of blossoming lilacs, whose tremulous shadow, mingled
with spots of afternoon sunlight, danced on the scattered papers of a
great writing-table covered with pamphlets and heavily-bound volumes of
theology, where the Doctor was sitting.

A man of gigantic proportions, over six feet in height, and built every
way with an amplitude corresponding to his height, sitting bent over
his writing, so absorbed that he did not hear the gentle sound of
Mary's entrance.

"Doctor," said the maiden, gently, "tea is ready."

No motion, no sound, except the quick racing of the pen over the paper.

"Doctor! Doctor!"--a little louder, and with another step into the
apartment,--"tea is ready."

The Doctor stretched his head forward to a paper which lay before him,
and responded in a low, murmuring voice, as reading something.

"Firstly,--if underived virtue be peculiar to the Deity, can it be the
duty of a creature to have it?"

Here a little waxen hand came with a very gentle tap on his huge
shoulder, and "Doctor, tea is ready," penetrated drowsily to the nerve
of his ear, as a sound heard in sleep. He rose suddenly with a start,
opened a pair of great blue eyes, which shone abstractedly under the
dome of a capacious and lofty forehead, and fixed them on the maiden,
who by this time was looking up rather archly, and yet with an attitude
of the most profound respect, while her venerated friend was assembling
together his earthly faculties.

"Tea is ready, if you please. Mother wished me to call you."

"Oh!--ah!--yes!--indeed!" he said, looking confusedly about, and
starting for the door, in his study-gown.

"If you please, Sir," said Mary, standing in his way, "would you not
like to put on your coat and wig?"

The Doctor gave a hurried glance at his study-gown, put his hand to his
head, which, in place of the ample curls of his full-bottomed wig, was
decked only with a very ordinary cap, and seemed to come at once to a
full comprehension. He smiled a kind of conscious, benignant smile,
which adorned his high cheek-bones and hard features as sunshine adorns
the side of a rock, and said, kindly, "Ah, well, child, I understand
now; I'll be out in a moment."

And Mary, sure that he was now on the right track, went back to the
tearoom with the announcement that the Doctor was coming.

In a few moments he entered, majestic and proper, in all the dignity of
full-bottomed, powdered wig, full, flowing coat, with ample cuffs,
silver knee- and shoe-buckles, as became the gravity and majesty of the
minister of those days.

He saluted all the company with a benignity which had a touch of the
majestic, and also of the rustic in it; for at heart the Doctor was a
bashful man,--that is, he had somewhere in his mental camp that
treacherous fellow whom John Bunyan anathematizes under the name of
Shame. The company rose on his entrance; the men bowed and the women
curtsied, and all remained standing while he addressed to each with
punctilious decorum those inquiries in regard to health and well-being
which preface a social interview. Then, at a dignified sign from Mrs.
Katy, he advanced to the table, and, all following his example, stood,
while, with one hand uplifted, he went through a devotional exercise
which, for length, more resembled a prayer than a grace,--after which
the company were seated.

"Well, Doctor," said Mr. Brown, who, as a householder of substance,
felt a conscious right to be first to open conversation with the
minister, "people are beginning to make a noise about your views. I was
talking with Deacon Timmins the other day down on the wharf, and he
said Dr. Stiles said that it was entirely new doctrine,--entirely
so,--and for his part he wanted the good old ways."

"They say so, do they?" said the Doctor, kindling up from an
abstraction into which he seemed to be gradually subsiding. "Well, let
them. I had rather publish _new_ divinity than any other, and the more
of it the better,--_if it be but true_. I should think it hardly worth
while to write, if I had nothing _new_ to say."

"Well," said Deacon Twitchel,--his meek face flushing with awe of his
minister,--"Doctor, there's all sorts of things said about you. Now the
other day I was at the mill with a load of corn, and while I was
a-waitin', Amariah Wadsworth came along with his'n; and so while we
were waitin', he says to me, 'Why, they say your minister is gettin' to
be an Armenian'; and he went on a-tellin' how old Ma'am Badger told him
that you interpreted some parts of Paul's Epistles clear on the
Armenian side. You know Ma'am Badger's a master-hand at doctrines, and
she's 'most an uncommon Calvinist."

"That does not frighten me at all," said the sturdy Doctor. "Supposing
I do interpret some texts like the Arminians. Can't Arminians have
anything right about them? Who wouldn't rather go with the Arminians
when they are _right_, than with the Calvinists when they are wrong?"

"That's it,--you've hit it, Doctor," said Simeon Brown. "That's what I
always say. I say, 'Don't he _prove_ it? and how are you going to
answer him?' That gravels 'em."

"Well," said Deacon Twitchel, "Brother Seth, you know Brother Seth,--he
says you deny depravity. He's all for imputation of Adam's sin, you
know; and I have long talks with Seth about it every time he comes to
see me; and he says, that, if we did not sin in Adam, it's givin' up
the whole ground altogether; and then he insists you're clean wrong
about the unregenerate doings."

"Not at all,--not in the least," said the Doctor, promptly.

"I wish Seth could talk with you sometime, Doctor. Along in the spring,
he was down helpin' me to lay stone fence,--it was when we was fencin'
off the south pastur' lot,--and we talked pretty nigh all day; and it
re'lly did seem to me that the longer we talked, the sotter Seth grew.
He's a master-hand at readin'; and when he heard that your remarks on
Dr. Mayhew had come out, Seth tackled up o' purpose and come up to
Newport to get them, and spent all his time, last winter, studyin' on
it and makin' his remarks; and I tell you, Sir, he's a tight fellow to
argue with. Why, that day, what with layin' stone wall and what with
arguin' with Seth, I come home quite beat out,--Miss Twitchel will

"That he was!" said his helpmeet. "I 'member, when he came home, says
I, 'Father, you seem clean used up'; and I stirred 'round lively like,
to get him his tea. But he jest went into the bedroom and laid down
afore supper; and I says to Cerinthy Ann, 'That's a thing I ha'n't seen
your father do since he was took with the typhus.' And Cerinthy Ann,
she said she knew 'twa'n't anything but them old doctrines,--that it
was always so when Uncle Seth come down. And after tea Father was
kinder chirked up a little, and he and Seth set by the fire, and was
a-beginnin' it ag'in, and I jest spoke out and said,--'Now, Seth, these
'ere things doesn't hurt you; but the Deacon is weakly, and if he gets
his mind riled after supper, he don't sleep none all night. So,' says
I, 'you'd better jest let matters stop where they be; 'cause,' says I,
''twon't make no difference, for to-night, which on ye's got the right
on't;--reckon the Lord 'll go on his own way without you; and we shall
find out, by'm-by, what that is.'"

"Mr. Scudder used to think a great deal on these points," said Mrs.
Katy, "and the last time he was home he wrote out his views. I haven't
ever shown them to you, Doctor; but I should be pleased to know what
you think of them."

"Mr. Scudder was a good man, with a clear head," said the Doctor; "and
I should be much pleased to see anything that he wrote."

A flush of gratified feeling passed over Mrs. Katy's face;--for one
flower laid on the shrine which we keep in our hearts for the dead is
worth more than any gift to our living selves.

We will not now pursue our party further, lest you, Reader, get more
theological tea than you can drink. We will not recount the numerous
nice points raised by Mr. Simeon Brown and adjusted by the Doctor,--and
how Simeon invariably declared, that that was the way in which he
disposed of them himself, and how he had thought it out ten years ago.

We will not relate, either, too minutely, how Mary changed color and
grew pale and red in quick succession, when Mr. Simeon Brown
incidentally remarked, that the "Monsoon" was going to set sail that
very afternoon, for her three-years' voyage. Nobody noticed it in the
busy amenities,--the sudden welling and ebbing of that one poor little

So we go,--so little knowing what we touch and what touches us as we
talk! We drop out a common piece of news,--"Mr. So-and-so is
dead,--Miss Such-a-one is married,--such a ship has sailed,"--and lo,
on our right hand or our left, some heart has sunk under the news
silently,--gone down in the great ocean of Fate, without even a bubble
rising to tell its drowning pang. And this--God help us!--is what we
call living!



Mary returned to the quietude of her room. The red of twilight had
faded, and the silver moon, round and fair, was rising behind the thick
boughs of the apple-trees. She sat down in the window, thoughtful and
sad, and listened to the crickets, whose ignorant jollity often sounds
as mournfully to us mortals as ours may to superior beings. There the
little hoarse, black wretches were scraping and creaking, as if life
and death were invented solely for their pleasure, and the world were
created only to give them a good time in it. Now and then a little wind
shivered among the boughs, and brought down a shower of white petals
which shimmered in the slant beams of the moonlight; and now a ray
touched some tall head of grass, and forthwith it blossomed into
silver, and stirred itself with a quiet joy, like a new-born saint just
awaking in paradise. And ever and anon came on the still air the soft
eternal pulsations of the distant sea, sound mournfulest, most
mysterious, of all the harpings of Nature. It was the sea,--the deep,
eternal sea,--the treacherous, soft, dreadful, inexplicable sea; and
_he_ was perhaps at this moment being borne away on it,--away,
away,--to what sorrows, to what temptations, to what dangers, she knew
not. She looked along the old, familiar, beaten path by which he came,
by which he went, and thought, "What if he never should come back?"
There was a little path through the orchard out to a small elevation in
the pasture-lot behind, whence the sea was distinctly visible, and Mary
had often used her low-silled window as a door when she wanted to pass
out thither; so now she stepped out, and, gathering her skirts back
from the dewy grass, walked thoughtfully along the path and gained the
hill. Newport harbor lay stretched out in the distance, with the rising
moon casting a long, wavering track of silver upon it; and vessels,
like silver-winged moths, were turning and shifting slowly to and fro
upon it, and one stately ship in full sail passing fairly out under her
white canvas, graceful as some grand, snowy bird. Mary's beating heart
told her that _there_ was passing away from her one who carried a
portion of her existence with him. She sat down under a lonely tree
that stood there, and, resting her elbow on her knee, followed the ship
with silent prayers, as it passed, like a graceful, cloudy dream, out
of her sight.

Then she thoughtfully retraced her way to her chamber; and as she was
entering, observed in the now clearer moonlight what she had not seen
before,--something white, like a letter, lying on the floor.
Immediately she struck a light, and there, sure enough, it was,--a
letter in James's handsome, dashing hand; and the little puss, before
she knew what she was about, actually kissed it, with a fervor which
would much have astonished the writer, could he at that moment have
been clairvoyant. But Mary felt as one who finds, in the emptiness
after a friend's death, an unexpected message or memento; and all alone
in the white, calm stillness of her little room her heart took sudden
possession of her. She opened the letter with trembling hands, and read
what of course we shall let you read. We got it out of a bundle of old,
smoky, yellow letters, years after all the parties concerned were gone
on the eternal journey beyond earth.


"I cannot leave you so. I have about two hundred things to say to you,
and it's a shame I could not have had longer to see you; but blessed be
ink and paper! I am writing and seeing to fifty things besides; so you
mustn't wonder if my letter has rather a confused appearance.

"I have been thinking that perhaps I gave you a wrong impression of
myself, this afternoon. I am going to speak to you from my heart, as if
I were confessing on my death-bed. Well, then, I do not confess to
being what is commonly called a bad young man. I should be willing that
men of the world generally, even strict ones, should look my life
through and know all about it. It is only in your presence, Mary, that
I feel that I am bad and low and shallow and mean, because you
represent to me a sphere higher and holier than any in which I have
ever moved, and stir up a sort of sighing and longing in my heart to
come towards it. In all countries, in all temptations, Mary, your image
has stood between me and low, gross vice. When I have been with fellows
roaring drunken, beastly songs,--suddenly I have seemed to see you as
you used to sit beside me in the singing-school, and your voice has
been like an angel's in my ear, and I have got up and gone out sick and
disgusted. Your face has risen up calm and white and still, between the
faces of poor lost creatures who know no better way of life than to
tempt us to sin. And sometimes, Mary, when I have seen girls that, had
they been cared for by good pious mothers, might have been like you, I
have felt as if I could cry for them. Poor women are abused all the
world over; and it's no wonder they turn round and revenge themselves
on us.

"No, I have not been bad, Mary, as the world calls badness. I have been
kept by you. But do you remember you told me once, that, when the snow
first fell and lay so dazzling and pure and soft, all about, you always
felt as if the spreads and window-curtains that seemed white before
were dirty? Well, it's just like that with me. Your presence makes me
feel that I am not pure,--that I am low and unworthy,--not worthy to
touch the hem of your garment. Your good Dr. H. spent a whole half-day,
the other Sunday, trying to tell us about the beauty of holiness; and
he cut, and pared, and peeled, and sliced, and told us what it wasn't,
and what was _like_ it, and wasn't; and then he built up an exact
definition, and fortified and bricked it up all round; and I thought to
myself that he'd better tell 'em to look at Mary Scudder, and they'd
understand all about it. That was what I was thinking when you talked
to me for looking at you in church instead of looking towards the
pulpit. It really made me laugh in myself to see what a good little
ignorant, unconscious way you had of looking up at the Doctor, as if he
knew more about that than you did.

"And now as to your Doctor that you think so much of, I like him for
certain things, in certain ways. He is a great, grand, large pattern of
a man,--a man who isn't afraid to think, and to speak anything he does
think; but then I do believe, if he would take a voyage round the world
in the forecastle of a whaler, he would know more about what to say to
people than he does now; it would certainly give him several new points
to be considered. Much of his preaching about men is as like live men
as Chinese pictures of trees and rocks and gardens,--no nearer the
reality than that. All I can say is, 'It isn't so; and you'd know it,
Sir, if you knew men.' He has got what they call a _system_--just so
many bricks put together just so; but it is too narrow to take in all I
see in my wanderings round this world of ours. Nobody that has a soul,
and goes round the world as I do, can help feeling it at times, and
thinking, as he sees all the races of men and their ways, who made
them, and what they were made for. To doubt the existence of a God
seems to me like a want of common sense. There is a Maker and a Ruler,
doubtless; but then, Mary, all this invisible world of religion is
unreal to me. I can see we must be good, somehow,--that if we are not,
we shall not be happy here or hereafter. As to all the metaphysics of
your good Doctor, you can't tell how they tire me. I'm not the sort of
person that they can touch. I must have real things,--real people;
abstractions are nothing to me. Then I think that he systematically
contradicts on one Sunday what he preaches on another. One Sunday he
tells us that God is the immediate efficient Author of every act of
will; the next he tells us that we are entire free agents. I see no
sense in it, and can't take the trouble to put it together. But then he
and you have something in you that I call religion,--something that
makes you _good_. When I see a man working away on an entirely honest,
unworldly, disinterested pattern, as he does, and when I see you, Mary,
as I said before, I should like at least to _be_ as you are, whether I
could believe as you do or not.

"How could you so care for me, and waste on one so unworthy of you such
love? Oh, Mary, some better man must win you; I never shall and never
can;--but then you must not quite forget me; you must be my friend, my
saint. If, through your prayers, your Bible, your friendship, you can
bring me to your state, I am willing to be brought there,--nay,
desirous. God has put the key of my soul into your hands.

"So, dear Mary, good-bye! Pray still for your naughty, loving


Mary read this letter, and re-read it, with more pain than pleasure. To
feel the immortality of a beloved soul hanging upon us, to feel that
its only communications with Heaven must be through us, is the most
solemn and touching thought that can pervade a mind. It was without one
particle of gratified vanity, with even a throb of pain, that she read
such exalted praises of herself from one blind to the glories of a far
higher loveliness.

Yet was she at that moment, unknown to herself, one of the great
company scattered through earth who are priests unto God,--ministering
between the Divine One, who has unveiled himself unto them, and those
who as yet stand in the outer courts of the great sanctuary of truth
and holiness. Many a heart, wrung, pierced, bleeding with the sins and
sorrows of earth, longing to depart, stands in this mournful and
beautiful ministry, but stands unconscious of the glory of the work in
which it waits and suffers. God's kings and priests are crowned with
thorns, walking the earth with bleeding feet, and comprehending not the
work they are performing.

Mary took from a drawer a small pocket-book, from which dropped a lock
of black hair,--a glossy curl, which seemed to have a sort of wicked,
wilful life in every shining ring, just as she had often seen it shake
naughtily on the owner's head. She felt a strange tenderness towards
the little wilful thing, and, as she leaned over it, made in her heart
a thousand fond apologies for every fault and error.

She was standing thus when Mrs. Scudder entered the room to see if her
daughter had yet retired.

"What are you doing there, Mary?" she said, as her eye fell on the
letter. "What is it you are reading?"

Mary felt herself grow pale; it was the first time in her whole life
that her mother had asked her a question that she was not from the
heart ready to answer. Her loyalty to her only parent had gone on
even-handed with that she gave to her God; she felt, somehow, that the
revelations of that afternoon had opened a gulf between them, and the
consciousness overpowered her.

Mrs. Scudder was astonished at her evident embarrassment, her
trembling, and paleness. She was a woman of prompt, imperative
temperament, and the slightest hesitation in rendering to her a full,
outspoken confidence had never before occurred in their intercourse.
Her child was the core of her heart, the apple of her eye, and intense
love is always near neighbor to anger; there was, therefore, an
involuntary flash from her eye and a heightening of her color, as she
said,--"Mary, are you concealing anything from your mother?"

In that moment, Mary had grown calm again. The wonted serene, balanced
nature had found its habitual poise, and she looked up innocently,
though with tears in her large, blue eyes, and said,--"No, mother,--I
have nothing that I do not mean to tell you fully. This letter came
from James Marvyn; he came here to see me this afternoon."

"Here?--when? I did not see him."

"After dinner. I was sitting here in the window, and suddenly he came
up behind me through the orchard-path."

Mrs. Katy sat down with a flushed cheek and a discomposed air; but Mary
seemed actually to bear her down by the candid clearness of the large,
blue eye which she turned on her, as she stood perfectly collected,
with her deadly pale face and a brilliant spot burning on each cheek.

"James came to say good-bye. He complained that he had not had a chance
to see me alone since he came home."

"And what should he want to see you alone for?" said Mrs. Scudder, in a
dry, disturbed tone.

"Mother,--everybody has things at times which they would like to say to
some one person alone," said Mary.

"Well, tell me what he said."

"I will try. In the first place, he said that he always had been free,
all his life, to run in and out of our house, and to wait on me like a

"Hum!" said Mrs. Scudder; "but he isn't your brother, for all that."

"Well, then, he wanted to know why you were so cold to him, and why you
never let him walk with me from meetings or see me alone, as we often
used to. And I told him why,--that we were not children now, and that
you thought it was not best; and then I talked with him about religion,
and tried to persuade him to attend to the concerns of his soul; and I
never felt so much hope for him as I do now."

Aunt Katy looked skeptical, and remarked,--"If he really felt a
disposition for religious instruction, Dr. H. could guide him much
better than you could."

"Yes,--so I told him, and I tried to persuade him to talk with Dr. H.;
but he was very unwilling. He said, I could have more influence over
him than anybody else,--that nobody could do him any good but me."

"Yes, yes,--I understand all that," said Aunt Katy,--"I have heard
young men say _that_ before, and I know just what it amounts to."

"But, mother, I do think James was moved very much, this afternoon. I
never heard him speak so seriously; he seemed really in earnest, and he
asked me to give him my Bible."

"Couldn't he read any Bible but yours?"

"Why, naturally, you know, mother, he would like my Bible better,
because it would put him in mind of me. He promised faithfully to read
it all through."

"And then, it seems, he wrote you a letter."

"Yes, mother."

Mary shrank from showing this letter, from the natural sense of honor
which makes us feel it indelicate to expose to an unsympathizing eye
the confidential outpourings of another heart; and then she felt quite
sure that there was no such intercessor for James in her mother's heart
as in her own. But over all this reluctance rose the determined force
of duty; and she handed the letter in silence to her mother.

Mrs. Scudder took it, laid it deliberately in her lap, and then began
searching in the pocket of her chintz petticoat for her spectacles.
These being found, she wiped them, accurately adjusted them, opened the
letter and spread it on her lap, brushing out its folds and
straightening it, that she might read with the greater ease. After this
she read it carefully and deliberately; and all this while there was
such a stillness, that the sound of the tall varnished clock in the
best room could be heard through the half-opened door.

After reading it with the most tiresome, torturing slowness, she rose,
and laying it on the table under Mary's eye, and pressing down her
finger on two lines in the letter, said, "Mary, have you told James
that you loved him?"

"Yes, mother, always. I always loved him, and he always knew it."

"But, Mary, this that he speaks of is something different. What has
passed between"--

"Why, mother, he was saying that we who were Christians drew to
ourselves and did not care for the salvation of our friends; and then I
told him how I had always prayed for him, and how I should be willing
even to give up my hopes in heaven, if he might be saved."

"Child,--what do you mean?"

"I mean, if only one of us two could go to heaven, I had rather it
should be him than me," said Mary.

"Oh, child! child!" said Mrs. Scudder, with a sort of groan,--"has it
gone with you so far as this? Poor child!--after all my care, you _are_
in love with this boy,--your heart is set on him."

"Mother, I am not. I never expect to see him much,--never expect to
marry him or anybody else;--only he seems to me to have so much more
life and soul and spirit than most people,--I think him so noble and
grand,--that is, that he _could_ be, if he were all he ought to
be,--that, somehow, I never think of myself in thinking of him, and his
salvation seems worth more than mine;--men can do so much more!--they
can live such splendid lives!--oh, a real noble man is so glorious!"

"And you would like to see him well married, would you not?" said Mrs.
Scudder, sending, with a true woman's aim, this keen arrow into the
midst of the cloud of enthusiasm which enveloped her daughter. "I
think," she added, "that Jane Spencer would make him an excellent

Mary was astonished at a strange, new pain that shot through her at
these words. She drew in her breath and turned herself uneasily, as one
who had literally felt a keen dividing blade piercing between soul and
spirit. Till this moment, she had never been conscious of herself; but
the shaft had torn the veil. She covered her face with her hands; the
hot blood flushed scarlet over neck and brow; at last, with a
beseeching look, she threw herself into her mother's arms.

"Oh, mother, mother, I am selfish, after all!"

Mrs. Scudder folded her silently to her heart, and said, "My daughter,
this is not at all what I wished it to be; I see how it is;--but then
you have been a good child; I don't blame you. We can't always help
ourselves. We don't always really know how we do feel. I didn't know,
for a long while, that I loved your father. I thought I was only
curious about him, because he had a strange way of treating me,
different from other men; but, one day, I remember, Julian Simons told
me that it was reported that his mother was making a match for him with
Susan Emery, and I was astonished to find how I felt. I saw him that
evening, and the moment he looked at me I saw it wasn't true; all at
once I knew something I never knew before,--and that was, that I should
be very unhappy, if he loved any one else better than me. But then, my
child, your father was a different man from James;--he was as much
better than I was as you are than James. I was a foolish, thoughtless
young thing then. I never should have been anything at all, but for
him. Somehow, when I loved him, I grew more serious, and then he always
guided and led me. Mary, your father was a wonderful man; he was one of
the sort that the world knows not of;--sometime I must show you his
letters. I always hoped, my daughter, that you would marry such a man."

"Don't speak of marrying, mother. I never shall marry."

"You certainly should not, unless you can marry in the Lord. Remember
the words, 'Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For
what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what
communion hath light with darkness? and what concord hath Christ with
Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?'"

"Mother, James is not an infidel."

"He certainly is an _unbeliever_, Mary, by his own confession;--but
then God is a Sovereign and hath mercy on whom He will. You do right to
pray for him; but if he does not come out on the Lord's side, you must
not let your heart mislead you. He is going to be gone three years, and
you must try to think as little of him as possible;--put your mind upon
your duties, like a good girl, and God will bless you. Don't believe
too much in your power over him;--young men, when they in love, will
promise anything, and really think they mean it; but nothing is a
saving change, except what is wrought in them by sovereign grace."

"But, mother, does not God use the love we have to each other as a
means of doing us good? Did you not say that it was by your love to
father that you first were led to think seriously?"

"That is true, my child," said Mrs. Scudder, who, like many of the rest
of the world, was surprised to meet her own words walking out on a
track where she had not expected them, but was yet too true of soul to
cut their acquaintance because they were not going the way of her
wishes. "Yes, all that is true; but yet, Mary, when one has but one
little ewe lamb in the world, one is jealous of it. I would give all
the world, if you had never seen James. It is dreadful enough for a
woman to love anybody as you can, but it is more to love a man of
unsettled character and no religion. But then the Lord appoints all our
goings; it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps;--I leave
you, my child, in His hands." And, with one solemn and long embrace,
the mother and daughter parted for the night.

It is impossible to write a story of New England life and manners for a
thoughtless, shallow-minded person. If we represent things as they are,
their intensity, their depth, their unworldly gravity and earnestness,
must inevitably repel lighter spirits, as the reverse pole of the
magnet drives off sticks and straws.

In no other country were the soul and the spiritual life ever such
intense realities, and everything contemplated so much (to use a
current New England phrase) "in reference to eternity." Mrs. Scudder
was a strong, clear-headed, practical woman. No one had a clearer
estimate of the material and outward life, or could more minutely
manage its smallest item; but then a tremendous, eternal future had so
weighed down and compacted the fibres of her very soul, that all
earthly things were but as dust in comparison to it. That her child
should be one elected to walk in white, to reign with Christ when earth
was a forgotten dream, was her one absorbing wish; and she looked on
all the events of life only with reference to this. The way of life was
narrow, the chances in favor of any child of Adam infinitely small; the
best, the most seemingly pure and fair, was by nature a child of wrath,
and could be saved only by a sovereign decree, by which it should be
plucked as a brand from the burning. Therefore it was, that, weighing
all things in one balance, there was the sincerity of her whole being
in the dread which she felt at the thought of her daughter's marriage
with an unbeliever.

Mrs. Scudder, after retiring to her room, took her Bible, in
preparation for her habitual nightly exercise of devotion, before going
to rest. She read and reread a chapter, scarce thinking what she was
reading,--aroused herself,--and then sat with the book in her hand in
deep thought. James Marvyn was her cousin's son, and she had a strong
feeling of respect and family attachment for his father. She had, too,
a real kindness for the young man, whom she regarded as a well-meaning,
wilful youngster; but that _he_ should touch her saint, her Mary, that
he should take from her the daughter who was her all, really embittered
her heart towards him.

"After all," she said to herself, "there are three years,--three years
in which there will be no letters, or perhaps only one or two,--and a
great deal may be done in three years, if one is wise";--and she felt
within herself an arousing of all the shrewd womanly and motherly tact
of her nature to meet this new emergency.

[To be continued.]

       *       *       *       *       *



It may be doubted whether any language be rich enough to maintain more
than one truly great poet,--and whether there be more than one period,
and that very short, in the life of a language, when such a phenomenon
as a great poet is possible. It may be reckoned one of the rarest
pieces of good-luck that ever fell to the share of a race, that (as was
true of Shakspeare) its most rhythmic genius, its acutest intellect,
its profoundest imagination, and its healthiest understanding should
have been combined in one man, and that he should have arrived at the
full development of his powers at the moment when the material in which
he was to work--that wonderful composite called English, the best
result of the confusion of tongues--was in its freshest perfection. The
English-speaking nations should build a monument to the misguided
enthusiasts of the Plain of Shinar; for, as the mixture of many bloods
seems to have made them the most vigorous of modern races, so has the
mingling of divers speeches given them a language which is perhaps the
noblest vehicle of poetic thought that ever existed.

Had Shakspeare been born fifty years earlier, he would have been
cramped by a book-language, not yet flexible enough for the demands of
rhythmic emotion, not yet sufficiently popularized for the natural and
familiar expression of supreme thought, not yet so rich in metaphysical
phrase as to render possible that ideal representation of the great
passions which is the aim and end of Art, not yet subdued by practice
and general consent to a definiteness of accentuation essential to ease
and congruity of metrical arrangement. Had he been born fifty years
later, his ripened manhood would have found itself in an England
absorbed and angry with the solution of political and religious
problems, from which his whole nature was averse, instead of in that
Elizabethan social system, ordered and planetary in its functions and
degrees as the angelic hierarchy of the Areopagite, where his
contemplative eye could crowd itself with various and brilliant
pictures, and whence his impartial brain--one lobe of which seems to
have been Normanly refined and the other Saxonly sagacious--could draw
its morals of courtly and worldly wisdom, its lessons of prudence and
magnanimity. In estimating Shakspeare, it should never be forgotten,
that, like Goethe, he was essentially observer and artist, and
incapable of partisanship. The passions, actions, sentiments, whose
character and results he delighted to watch and to reproduce, are those
of man in society as it existed; and it no more occurred to him to
question the right of that society to exist than to criticize the
divine ordination of the seasons. His business was with men as they
were, not with man as he ought to be,--with the human soul as it is
shaped or twisted into character by the complex experience of life, not
in its abstract essence, as something to be saved or lost. During the
first half of the seventeenth century, the centre of intellectual
interest was rather in the other world than in this, rather in the
region of thought and principle and conscience than in actual life. It
was a generation in which the poet was, and felt himself, out of place.
Sir Thomas Browne, our most imaginative mind since Shakspeare, found
breathing-room, for a time, among the "_O altitudines!_" of religious
speculation, but soon descended to occupy himself with the exactitudes
of science. Jeremy Taylor, who half a century earlier would have been
Fletcher's rival, compels his clipped fancy to the conventional
discipline of prose, (Maid Marian turned nun,) and waters his poetic
wine with doctrinal eloquence. Milton is saved from making total
shipwreck of his large-utteranced genius on the desolate Noman's Land
of a religious epic only by the lucky help of Satan and his colleagues,
with whom, as foiled rebels and republicans, he cannot conceal his
sympathy. As purely poet, Shakspeare would have come too late, had his
lot fallen in that generation. In mind and temperament too exoteric for
a mystic, his imagination could not have at once illustrated the
influence of his epoch and escaped from it, like that of Browne; the
equilibrium of his judgment, essential to him as an artist, but equally
removed from propagandism, whether as enthusiast or logician, would
have unfitted him for the pulpit; and his intellectual being was too
sensitive to the wonder and beauty of outward life and Nature to have
found satisfaction, as Milton's could, (and perhaps only by reason of
his blindness,) in a world peopled by purely imaginary figures. We
might fancy his becoming a great statesman, but he lacked the social
position which could have opened that career to him. What we mean, when
we say Shakspeare, is something inconceivable either during the reign
of Henry the Eighth or the Commonwealth, and which would have been
impossible after the Restoration.

All favorable stars seem to have been in conjunction at his nativity.
The Reformation had passed the period of its vinous fermentation, and
its clarified results remained as an element of intellectual impulse
and exhilaration; there were signs yet of the acetous and putrefactive
stages which were to follow in the victory and decline of Puritanism.
Old forms of belief and worship still lingered, all the more touching
to Fancy, perhaps, that they were homeless and attainted: the light of
skeptic day was baffled by depths of forest where superstitious shapes
still cowered, creatures of immemorial wonder, the raw material of
Imagination. The invention of printing, without yet vulgarizing
letters, had made the thought and history of the entire past
contemporaneous; while a crowd of translators put every man who could
read in inspiring contact with the select souls of all the centuries. A
new world was thus opened to intellectual adventure at the very time
when the keel of Columbus had turned the first daring furrow of
discovery in that unmeasured ocean which still girt the known earth
with a beckoning horizon of hope and conjecture, which was still fed by
rivers that flowed down out of primeval silences, and which still
washed the shores of Dreamland. Under a wise, cultivated, and
firm-handed monarch also, the national feeling of England grew rapidly
more homogeneous and intense, the rather as the womanhood of the
sovereign stimulated a more chivalric loyalty,--while the new religion,
of which she was the defender, helped to make England morally, as it
was geographically, insular to the continent of Europe.

If circumstances could ever make a great national poet, here were all
the elements mingled at melting-heat in the alembic, and the lucky
moment of projection was clearly come. If a great national poet could
ever avail himself of circumstances, this was the occasion,--and,
fortunately, Shakspeare was equal to it. Above all, we esteem it lucky
that he found words ready to his use, original and untarnished,--types
of thought whose sharp edges were unworn by repeated impressions. In
reading Hakluyt's Voyages, we are almost startled now and then to find
that even common sailors could not tell the story of their wanderings
without rising to an almost Odyssean strain, and habitually used a
diction that we should be glad to buy back from desuetude at any cost.
Those who look upon language only as anatomists of its structure, or
who regard it as only a means of conveying abstract truth from mind to
mind, as if it were so many algebraic formulae, are apt to overlook the
fact that its being alive is all that gives it poetic value. We do not
mean what is technically called a living language,--the contrivance,
hollow as a speaking-trumpet, by which breathing and moving bipeds,
even now, sailing o'er life's solemn main, are enabled to hail each
other and make known their mutual shortness of mental stores,--but one
that is still hot from the hearts and brains of a people, not hardened
yet, but moltenly ductile to new shapes of sharp and clear relief in
the moulds of new thought. So soon as a language has become literary,
so soon as there is a gap between the speech of books and that of life,
the language becomes, so far as poetry is concerned, almost as dead as
Latin, and (as in writing Latin verses) a mind in itself essentially
original becomes in the use of such a medium of utterance unconsciously
reminiscential and reflective, lunar and not solar, in expression and
even in thought. For words and thoughts have a much more intimate and
genetic relation, one with the other, than most men have any notion of;
and it is one thing to use our mother-tongue as if it belonged to us,
and another to be the puppets of an overmastering vocabulary. "Ye know
not," says Ascham, "what hurt ye do to Learning, that care not for
Words, but for Matter, and so make a Divorce betwixt the Tongue and the
Heart." _Lingua Toscana in bocca Romana_ is the Italian proverb; and
that of poets should be, _The tongue of the people in the mouth of the
scholar_. We intend here no assent to the early theory, or, at any
rate, practice, of Wordsworth, who confounded plebeian modes of thought
with rustic forms of phrase, and then atoned for his blunder by
absconding into a diction more Latinized than that of any poet of his

Shakspeare was doubly fortunate. Saxon by the father and Norman by the
mother, he was a representative Englishman. A country-boy, he learned
first the rough and ready English of his rustic mates, who knew how to
make nice verbs and adjectives curtsy to their needs. Going up to
London, he acquired the _lingua aulica_ precisely at the happiest
moment, just as it was becoming, in the strictest sense of the word,
_modern_,--just as it had recruited itself, by fresh impressments from
the Latin and Latinized languages, with new words to express the new
ideas of an enlarging intelligence which printing and translation were
fast making cosmopolitan, words which, in proportion to their novelty,
and to the fact that the mother-tongue and the foreign had not yet
wholly mingled, must have been used with a more exact appreciation of
their meaning.[2] It was in London, and chiefly by means of the stage,
that a thorough amalgamation of the Saxon, Norman, and scholarly
elements of English was brought about. Already, Puttenham, in his "Arte
of English Poesy," declares that the practice of the capital and the
country within sixty miles of it was the standard of correct diction,
the _jus et norma loquendi_. Already Spenser had almost recreated
English poetry,--and it is interesting to observe, that, scholar as he
was, the archaic words which he was at first over-fond of introducing
are often provincialisms of purely English original. Already Marlowe
had brought the English unrhymed pentameter (which had hitherto
justified but half its name, by being always blank and never verse) to
a perfection of melody, harmony, and variety which has never been
surpassed. Shakspeare, then, found a language already to a certain
extent _established_, but not yet fetlocked by dictionary- and
grammar-mongers,--a versification harmonized, but which had not yet
exhausted all its modulations, or been set in the stocks by critics who
deal judgment on refractory feet, that will dance to Orphean measures
of which their judges are insensible. That the language was established
is proved by its comparative uniformity as used by the dramatists, who
wrote for mixed audiences, as well as by Ben Jonson's satire upon
Marston's neologisms; that it at the same time admitted foreign words
to the rights of citizenship on easier terms than now is in good
measure equally true. What was of greater import, no arbitrary line had
been drawn between high words and low; vulgar then meant simply what
was common; poetry had not been aliened from the people by the
establishment of an Upper House of vocables, alone entitled to move in
the stately ceremonials of verse, and privileged from arrest while they
forever keep the promise of meaning to the ear and break it to the
sense. The hot conception of the poet had no time to cool while he was
debating the comparative respectability of this phrase or that; but he
snatched what word his instinct prompted, and saw no indiscretion in
making a king speak as his country-nurse might have taught him.[3] It
was Waller who first learned in France that to talk in rhyme alone
comported with the state of royalty. In the time of Shakspeare, the
living tongue resembled that tree which Father Hue saw in Tartary,
whose leaves were languaged,--and every hidden root of thought, every
subtilest fibre of feeling, was mated by new shoots and leafage of
expression, fed from those unseen sources in the common earth of human

The Cabalists had a notion, that whoever found out the mystic word for
anything attained to absolute mastery over that thing. The reverse of
this is certainly true of poetic expression; for he who is thoroughly
possessed of his thought, who imaginatively conceives an idea or image,
becomes master of the word that shall most amply and fitly utter it.
Heminge and Condell tell us, accordingly, that there was scarce a blot
in the manuscripts they received from Shakspeare; and this is the
natural corollary from the fact that such an imagination as his is as
unparalleled as the force, variety, and beauty of the phrase in which
it embodied itself.[4] We believe that Shakspeare, like all other great
poets, instinctively used the dialect which he found current, and that
his words are not more wrested from their ordinary meaning than
followed necessarily from the unwonted weight of thought or stress of
passion they were called on to support. He needed not to mask familiar
thoughts in the weeds of unfamiliar phraseology; for the life that was
in his mind could transfuse the language of every day with an
intelligent vivacity, that makes it seem lambent with fiery purpose,
and at each new reading a new creation. He could say with Dante, that
"no word had ever forced him to say what he would not, though he had
forced many a word to say what _it_ would not,"--but only in the sense,
that the mighty magic of his imagination had conjured out of it its
uttermost secret of power or pathos. He himself says, in one of his

  "Why is my verse so barren of new pride,
  So far from alteration and quick change?
  Why, with the time, do I not glance aside
  To new-found methods and to compounds strange?
  Why write I still all one, ever the same,
  And keep invention in a noted weed
  That every word doth almost tell my name?"

When we say that Shakspeare used the current language of his day, we
mean only that he habitually employed such language as was universally
comprehensible,--that he was not run away with by the hobby of any
theory as to the fitness of this or that component of English for
expressing certain thoughts or feelings. That the artistic value of a
choice and noble diction was quite as well understood in his day as in
ours is evident from the praises bestowed by his contemporaries on
Drayton, and by the epithet "well-languaged" applied to Daniel, whose
poetic style is as modern as that of Tennyson; but the endless
absurdities about the comparative merits of Saxon and Norman-French,
vented by persons incapable of distinguishing one tongue from the
other, were as yet unheard of. The influence of the Normans in
Romanizing our language has been vastly overrated. We find a principle
of _caste_ established in certain cases by the relation of producer and
consumer,--in others by the superior social standing of the conquering
race. Thus, _ox_, _sheep_, _calf_, _swine_, indicate the thing
produced; _beef_, _mutton_, _veal_, _pork_, the thing consumed.[5] It
is the same with the names of the various grains, and the product of
the cheaper kinds when ground,--as _oat-meal_, _barley-meal_,
_rye-meal_; while the generic term for the crop becomes _grain_, and
the meal of the variety used by the higher classes is turned into
_flour_. To _bury_ remains Saxon, because both high and low must be
hidden under ground at last; but as only the rich and noble could
afford any pomp in that sad office, we get the word _funeral_ from the
Norman. So also the serf went into a Saxon _grave_, the lord into a
Norman _tomb_. All the parts of armor are naturally named from the
French; the weapons of the people, as _sword_, _bow_, and the like,
continued Saxon. So _feather_ is Saxon; but as soon as it changes into
a _plume_ for the knight, it turns Norman,--and Latin when it is cut
into a _pen_ for the _clerk_. _Book_ is Saxon; but a number of books
collected together, as could be done only by the rich, makes a
_library_. _Darling_ would be murmured over many a _cradle_ in Saxon
_huts_; but _minion_ came into the language down the back stairs of the
Norman _palace_. In the same way, terms of law are Norman, and of the
Church, Latin. These are familiar examples. But hasty generalizers are
apt to overlook the fact, that the Saxon was never, to any great
extent, a literary language. Accordingly, it held its own very well in
the names of common things, but failed to answer the demands of complex
ideas derived from them. The author of "Piers Ploughman" wrote for the
people, Chaucer for the court. We open at random and count the Latin[6]
words in ten verses of the "Vision" and ten of Chaucer's "Romaunt of
the Rose," (a translation from the French,) and find the proportion to
be seven in the former and five in the latter.

The organs of the Saxon have always been unwilling and stiff in
learning languages. He acquired only about as many British words as we
have Indian ones, and we believe that more French and Latin was
introduced through the pen and the eye than through the tongue and the
ear. For obvious reasons, the question is one that must be settled by
reference to prose-writers, and not poets; and it is, we think, pretty
well settled that more words of Latin original were brought into the
language in the century between 1550 and 1650 than in the whole period
before or since,--and for the simple reason, that they were absolutely
needful to express new modes and combinations of thought.[7] The
language has gained immensely by the infusion, in richness of synonyme
and in the power of expressing nice shades of thought and feeling, but
more than all in light-footed polysyllables that trip singing to the
music of verse. There are certain cases, it is true, where the vulgar
Saxon word is refined, and the refined Latin vulgar, in poetry,--as in
_sweat_ and _perspiration_; but there are vastly more in which the
Latin bears the bell. Perhaps there might be a question between the old
English _again-rising_ and _resurrection_; but there can be no doubt
that _conscience_ is better than _inwit_, and _remorse_ than
_again-bite_. Should we translate the title of Wordsworth's famous ode,
"Intimations of Immortality," into "Hints of Deathlessness," it would
hiss like an angry gander. If, instead of Shakspeare's

               "Age cannot wither her,
  Nor custom stale her infinite variety,"

we should say, "her boundless manifoldness," the sentiment would suffer
in exact proportion with the music. What homebred English could ape the
high Roman fashion of such togated words as

   "The multitudinous sea incarnadine,"--

where the huddling epithet implies the tempest-tossed soul of the
speaker, and at the same time pictures the wallowing waste of ocean
more vividly than the famous phrase of AEschylus does its rippling
sunshine? Again, _sailor_ is less poetical than _mariner_, as Campbell
felt, when he wrote,

  "Ye mariners of England,"

and Coleridge, when he preferred

  "It was an ancient mariner"


  "It was an elderly seaman";

for it is as much the charm of poetry that it suggest a certain
remoteness and strangeness as familiarity; and it is essential not only
that we feel at once the meaning of the words in themselves, but also
their melodic meaning in relation to each other, and to the sympathetic
variety of the verse. A word once vulgarized can never be
rehabilitated. We might say now a _buxom_ lass, or that a chambermaid
was _buxom_, but we could not use the term, as Milton did, in its
original sense of _bowsome_,--that is, _lithe, gracefully bending_.[8]

But the secret of force in writing lies not in the pedigree of nouns
and adjectives and verbs, but in having something that you believe in
to say, and making the parts of speech vividly conscious of it. It is
when expression becomes an act of memory, instead of an unconscious
necessity, that diction takes the place of warm and hearty speech. It
is not safe to attribute special virtues (as Bosworth, for example,
does to the Saxon) to words of whatever derivation, at least in poetry.
Because Lear's "oak-cleaving thunderbolts," and "the all-dreaded
thunder-stone" in "Cymbeline" are so fine, we would not give up
Wilton's Virgilian "fulmined over Greece," where the verb in English
conveys at once the idea of flash and reverberation, but avoids that of
riving and shattering. In the experiments made for casting the great
bell for the Westminster Tower, it was found that the superstition
which attributed the remarkable sweetness and purity of tone in certain
old bells to the larger mixture of silver in their composition had no
foundation in fact. It was the cunning proportion in which the ordinary
metals were balanced against each other, the perfection of form, and
the nice gradations of thickness, that wrought the miracle. And it is
precisely so with the language of poetry. The genius of the poet will
tell him what word to use (else what use in his being poet at all?);
and even then, unless the proportion and form, whether of parts or
whole, be all that Art requires and the most sensitive taste finds
satisfaction in, he will have failed to make what shall vibrate through
all its parts with a silvery unison,--in other words, a poem.

We think the component parts of English were in the latter years of
Elizabeth thus exquisitely proportioned one to the other. Yet Bacon had
no faith in his mother-tongue, translating the works on which his fame
was to rest into what he called "the universal language," and affirming
that "English would bankrupt all our books." He was deemed a master of
it, nevertheless; and it is curious that Ben Jonson applies to him in
prose the same commendation which he gave Shakspeare in verse, saying,
that he "performed that in our tongue which may be compared or
preferred either to _insolent Greece or haughty Rome_"; and he adds
this pregnant sentence:--"In short, within his view and about his time
were all the wits born that could honor a language or help study. Now
things daily fall: wits grow downwards, eloquence grows backwards." Ben
had good reason for what he said of the wits. Not to speak of science,
of Galileo and Kepler, the sixteenth century was a spendthrift of
literary genius. An attack of immortality in a family might have been
looked for then as scarlet-fever would be now. Montaigne, Tasso, and
Cervantes were born within the same fourteen years; and in England,
while Spenser was still delving over the _propria que maribus_, and
Raleigh launching paper navies, Shakspeare was stretching his baby
hands for the moon, and the little Bacon, chewing on his coral, had
discovered that impenetrability was one quality of matter. It almost
takes one's breath away to think that "Hamlet" and the "Novum Organon"
were at the risk of teething and measles at the same time. But Ben was
right also in thinking that eloquence had grown backwards. He lived
long enough to see the language of verse become in a measure
traditionary and conventional. It was becoming so, partly from the
necessary order of events, partly because the most natural and intense
expression of feeling had been in so many ways satisfied and
exhausted,--but chiefly because there was no man left to whom, as to
Shakspeare, perfect conception gave perfection of phrase. Dante, among
modern poets, his only rival in condensed force, says, "Optimis
conceptionibus optima loquela conveniet; sed optimae conceptiones non
possunt esse nisi ubi scientia et ingenium est;... et sic non omnibus
versificantibus optima loquela convenit, cum plerique sine scientia et
ingenio versificantur."[9]

Shakspeare must have been quite as well aware of the provincialism of
English as Bacon was; but he knew that great poetry, being universal in
its appeal to human nature, can make any language classic, and that the
men whose appreciation is immortality will mine through any dialect to
get at an original soul. He had as much confidence in his homebred
speech as Bacon had want of it, and exclaims,--

  "Not marble nor the gilded monuments
  Of princes shall outlive this powerful rhyme."

He must have been perfectly conscious of his genius, and of the great
trust which he imposed upon his native tongue as embodier and
perpetuator of it. As he has avoided obscurities in his sonnets, he
would do so _a fortiori_ in his plays, both for the purpose of
immediate effect on the stage and of future appreciation. Clear
thinking makes clear writing, and he who has shown himself so eminently
capable of it in one case is not to be supposed to abdicate
intentionally in others. The difficult passages in the plays, then, are
to be regarded either as corruptions, or else as phenomena in the
natural history of Imagination, whose study will enable us to arrive at
a clearer theory and better understanding of it.

While we believe that our language had two periods of culmination in
poetic beauty,--one of nature, simplicity, and truth, in the ballads,
which deal only with narrative and feeling,--another of Art, (or Nature
as it is ideally reproduced through the imagination,) of stately
amplitude, of passionate intensity and elevation, in Spenser and the
greater dramatists,--and that Shakspeare made use of the latter as he
found it, we by no means intend to say that he did not enrich it, or
that any inferior man could have dipped the same words out of the great
poet's inkstand. But he enriched it only by the natural expansion and
exhilaration of which it was conscious, in yielding to the mastery of a
genius that could turn and wind it like a fiery Pegasus, making it feel
its life in every limb. He enriched it through that exquisite sense of
music, (never approached but by Marlowe,) to which it seemed to be
eagerly obedient, as if every word said to him,

  "_Bid me_ discourse, I will enchant thine ear,"--

as if every latent harmony revealed itself to him as the gold to
Brahma, when he walked over the earth where it was hidden, crying,
"Here am I, Lord! do with me what thou wilt!" That he used language
with that intimate possession of its meaning possible only to the most
vivid thought is doubtless true; but that he wantonly strained it from
its ordinary sense, that he found it too poor for his necessities, and
accordingly coined new phrases, or that, from haste or carelessness, he
violated any of its received proprieties, we do not believe. We have
said that it was fortunate for him that he came upon an age when our
language was at its best; but it was fortunate also for us, because our
costliest poetic phrase is put beyond reach of decay in the gleaming
precipitate in which it united itself with his thought.

We do not, therefore, agree with Mr. Matthew Arnold, that the
extravagance of thought and diction which characterizes much of our
modern poetry is traceable to the influence of Shakspeare. We see in it
only the futile effort of misguided persons to torture out of language
the secret of that inspiration which should be in themselves. We do not
find the extravagances in Shakspeare himself. We never saw a line in
any modern poet that reminded us of him, and will venture to assert
that it is only poets of the second class that find successful
imitators. And the reason seems to us a very plain one. The genius of
the great poet seeks repose in the expression of itself, and finds it
at last in style, which is the establishment of a perfect mutual
understanding between the worker and his material.[10] The secondary
intellect, on the other hand, seeks for excitement in expression, and
stimulates itself into mannerism, which is the wilful obtrusion of
self, as style is its unconscious abnegation. No poet of the first
class has ever left a school, because his imagination is
incommunicable; while, just as surely as the thermometer tells of the
neighborhood of an iceberg, you may detect the presence of a genius of
the second class in any generation by the influence of his mannerism,
for that, being an artificial thing, is capable of reproduction. Dante,
Shakspeare, Goethe, left no heirs either to the form or mode of their
expression; while Milton, Sterne, and Wordsworth left behind them whole
regiments uniformed with all their external characteristics. We do not
mean that great poetic geniuses may not have influenced thought,
(though we think it would be difficult to show how Shakspeare had done
so, directly and wilfully,) but that they have not infected
contemporaries or followers with mannerism.

That the propositions we have endeavored to establish have a direct
bearing in various ways upon the qualifications of whoever undertakes
to edit the works of Shakspeare will, we think, be apparent to those
who consider the matter. The hold which Shakspeare has acquired and
maintained upon minds so many and so various, in so many vital respects
utterly unsympathetic and even incapable of sympathy with his own, is
one of the most noteworthy phenomena in the history of literature. That
he has had the most inadequate of editors, that, as his own Falstaff
was the cause of the wit, so he has been the cause of the foolishness
that was in other men, (as where Malone ventured to discourse upon his
metres, and Dr. Johnson on his imagination,) must be apparent to every
one,--and also that his genius and its manifestations are so various,
that there is no commentator but has been able to illustrate him from
his own peculiar point of view or from the results of his own favorite
studies. But to show that he was a good common-lawyer, that he
understood the theory of colors, that he was an accurate botanist, a
master of the science of medicine, especially in its relation to mental
disease, a profound metaphysician, and of great experience and insight
in politics,--all these, while they may very well form the staple of
separate treatises, and prove, that, whatever the extent of his
learning, the range and accuracy of his knowledge were beyond precedent
or later parallel, are really outside the province of an editor.

That Shakspeare did not edit his own works must be attributed, we
suspect, to his premature death. That he should not have intended it is
inconceivable. That the "Tempest" was his latest work we have no doubt;
and perhaps it is not considering too nicely to conjecture a profound
personal meaning in it. Is it over-fanciful to think that in the master
Prospero we have the type of Imagination? in Ariel, of the
wonder-working and winged Fantasy? in Caliban, of the half-animal but
serviceable Understanding, tormented by Fancy and the unwilling slave
of Imagination? and that there is something of self-consciousness in
the breaking of Prospero's wand and burying his book,--a sort of sad
prophecy, based on self-knowledge of the nature of that man who, after
such thaumaturgy, could go down to Stratford and live there for years,
only collecting his dividends from the Globe Theatre, lending money on
mortgage, and leaning over his gate to chat and bandy quips with
neighbors? His thought had entered into every phase of human life and
thought, had embodied all of them in living creations;--had he found
all empty, and come at last to the belief that genius and its works
were as phantasmagoric as the rest, and that fame was as idle as the
rumor of the pit? However this may be, his works have come down to us
in a condition of manifest and admitted corruption in some portions,
while in others there is an obscurity which may be attributed either to
an idiosyncratic use of words and condensation of phrase, to a depth of
intuition for a proper coalescence with which ordinary language is
inadequate, to a concentration of passion in a focus that consumes the
lighter links which bind together the clauses of a sentence or of a
process of reasoning in common parlance, or to a sense of music which
mingles music and meaning without essentially confounding them. We
should demand for a perfect editor, then, first, a thorough
glossological knowledge of the English contemporary with Shakspeare;
second, enough logical acuteness of mind and metaphysical training to
enable him to follow recondite processes of thought; third, such a
conviction of the supremacy of his author as always to prefer his
thought to any theory of his own; fourth, a feeling for music, and so
much knowledge of the practice of other poets as to understand that
Shakspeare's versification differs from theirs as often in kind as in
degree; fifth, an acquaintance with the world as well as with books;
and last, what is, perhaps, of more importance than all, so great a
familiarity with the working of the imaginative faculty in general, and
of its peculiar operation in the mind of Shakspeare, as will prevent
his thinking a passage dark with excess of light, and enable him to
understand folly that the Gothic Shakspeare often superimposed upon the
slender column of a single word, that seems to twist under it, but does
not,--like the quaint shafts in cloisters,--a weight of meaning which
the modern architects of sentences would consider wholly unjustifiable
by correct principle.

It would be unreasonable to expect a union of all these qualifications
in a single man, but we think that Mr. White combines them in larger
proportion than any editor with whose labors we are acquainted. He has
an acuteness in tracing the finer fibres of thought worthy of the
keenest lawyer on the scent of a devious trail of circumstantial
evidence; he has a sincere desire to illustrate his author rather than
himself; he is a man of the world, as well as a scholar; he comprehends
the mastery of imagination, and that it is the essential element as
well of poetry as of profound thinking; a critic of music, he
appreciates the importance of rhythm as the higher mystery of
versification. The sum of his qualifications is large, and his work is
honorable to American letters.

Though our own studies have led us to somewhat intimate acquaintance
with Elizabethan literature, it is with some diffidence that we bring
the criticism of _dilettanti_ to bear upon the labors of five years of
serious investigation. We fortify ourselves, however, with Dr.
Johnson's dictum on the subject of Criticism:--"Why, no, Sir; this is
not just reasoning. You _may_ abuse a tragedy, though you cannot make
one. You may scold a carpenter who has made a bad table, though _you_
cannot make a table; it is not your trade to make tables." Not that we
intend to abuse Mr. White's edition of Shakspeare, but we shall speak
of what seem to us its merits and defects with the frankness which
alone justifies criticism.

We have spoken of Mr. White's remarkable qualifications. We shall now
state shortly what seem to us his faults. We think his very acumen
sometimes misleads him into fancying a meaning where none exists, or at
least none answerable to the clarity and precision of Shakspeare's
intellect; that he is too hasty in his conclusions as to the
pronunciation of words and the accuracy of rhymes in Shakspeare's day,
and that he has been seduced into them by what we cannot help thinking
a mistaken theory as to certain words, as _moth_ and _nothing_, for
example; that he shows, here and there, a glimpse of Americanism,
especially misplaced in an edition of the poet whose works do more than
anything else, perhaps, to maintain the sympathy of the English race;
and that his prejudice against the famous corrected folio of 1632 leads
him to speak slightingly of Mr. Colier, to whom all lovers of our early
literature are indebted, and who alone, in the controversy excited in
England by the publication of his anonymous corrector's emendations,
showed, under the most shameful provocation, the temper of a gentleman
and the self-respect of a scholar. But after all these deductions, we
remain of the opinion that Mr. White has given us the best edition
hitherto published, and we do not like him the less for an occasional
crotchet. For though Shakspeare himself seemed to think with regret
that the dirge of the hobby-horse had been sung, yet, as we ourselves
have given evidence, it is impossible for any one to write on this
subject without taking an occasional airing on one or more of those
imaginary steeds that stand at livery with no risk of eating off their
own heads. We shall take up the subject again in our next number, and
by extracts justify both our commendation and our criticisms of Mr.

[Footnote 1: _The Works of William Shakspeare_. Edited, etc., by
RICHARD GRANT WHITE. Vols. II., III., IV, and V. Boston: Little, Brown,
& Co. 1858.]

[Footnote 2: As where Ben Jonson is able to say,--"Men may securely
sin, but safely never."]

[Footnote 3: "Vulgarem locutionem appellamus eam quâ infantes
adsuefiunt ab adsistentibus cum primitus distinguere voces incipiunt:
vel, quod brevius dici potest, vulgarem locutionem asserimus _quam sine
omni regulâ, nutricem imitantes, accepimus_." Dante, _de Vulg.
Eloquio_, Lib. I. cap. i.]

[Footnote 4: Gray, himself a painful corrector, told Nicholls that
"nothing was done so well as at the first concoction,"--adding, as a
reason, "We think in words." Ben Jonson said, it was a pity Shakspeare
had not blotted more, for that he sometimes wrote nonsense,--and cited
in proof of it the verse

  "Caesar did never wrong but with just cause."

The last four words do not appear in the passage as it now stands, and
Professor Craik suggests that they were stricken out in consequence of
Jonson's criticism. This is very probable; but we suspect that the pen
that blotted them was in the hand of Master Heminge or his colleague.
The moral confusion in the idea was surely admirably characteristic of
the general who had just accomplished a successful _coup d'état_, the
condemnation of which he would fancy that he read in the face of every
honest man he met, and which he would therefore be forever indirectly

[Footnote 5: Scott, in _Ivanhoe_.]

[Footnote 6: We use the word _Latin_ here to express words derived
either mediately or immediately from that language.]

[Footnote 7: The prose of Chaucer (1390) and of Sir Thomas Malory
(translating from the French, 1470) is less Latinized than that of
Bacon, Browne, Taylor, or Milton. The glossary to Spenser's _Shepherd's
Calendar_ (1579) explains words of Teutonic and Romanic root in about
equal proportions. The parallel but independent development of Scotch
is not to be forgotten.]

[Footnote 8: We believe that for the last two centuries the Latin
radicals of English have been more familiar and homelike to those who
use them than the Teutonic. Even so accomplished a person as Professor
Craik, in his _English of Shakspeare_, derives _head_, through the
German _haupt_, from the Latin _caput_! We trust that its genealogy is
nobler, and that it is of kin with _coelum tueri_, rather than with the
Greek [Greek: kephalae], if Suidas be right in tracing the origin of
that to a word meaning _vacuity_. Mr. Craik suggests, also, that
_quick_ and _wicked_ may be etymologically identical, _because_ he
fancies a relationship between _busy_ and the German _böse_, though
_wicked_ is evidently the participial form of A.S. _wacan_, (German
_weichen_,) _to bend, to yield_, meaning _one who has given way to
temptation_, while _quick_ seems as clearly related to _wegan_, meaning
_to move_, a different word, even if radically the same. In the _London
Literary Gazette_ for Nov. 13, 1858, we find an extract from Miss
Millington's _Heraldry in History, Poetry, and Romance_, in which,
speaking of the motto of the Prince of Wales,--_De par Houmout ich
diene_,--she says, "The precise meaning of the former word [_Houmout_]
has not, I think, been ascertained." The word is plainly the German
_Hochmuth_, and the whole would read, _De par (Aus) Hochmuth ich
diene_,--"Out of magnanimity I serve." So entirely lost is the Saxon
meaning of the word _knave_, (A.S. _cnava_, German _knabe_,) that the
name _nauvie_, assumed by railway-laborers, has been transmogrified
into _navigator_. We believe that more people could tell why the month
of July was so called than could explain the origin of the names for
our days of the week, and that it is oftener the Saxon than the French
words in Chaucer that puzzle the modern reader.]

[Footnote 9: _De Vulgari Eloquio_, Lib. II. cap. i. _ad finem_. We
quote this treatise as Dante's, because the thoughts seem manifestly
his; though we believe that in its present form it is an abridgment by
some transcriber, who sometimes copies textually, and sometimes
substitutes his own language for that of the original.]

[Footnote 10: Pheidias said of one of his pupils that he had an
inspired thumb, because the modelling-clay yielded to its careless
sweep a grace of curve which it refused to the utmost pains of others.]

       *       *       *       *       *


_A History of Philip the Second, King of Spain_. By WILLIAM H.
PRESCOTT. Vol. III. Boston: Phillips, Sampson, & Co. 1858.

A cordial welcome from many quarters will greet this third instalment
of a work which promises, when completed, to be the most valuable
contribution to European history ever made by an American scholar. This
will in part be owing to the importance of the subject, which, though
professing to be the history of a single country and a single reign, is
in fact the great program of the politics of Christendom, and of more
than Christendom, during a period when the struggles of rival powers
and of hostile principles and creeds kept the world in agitation and
prolonged suspense,--when Romanism and Reform, the Crescent and the
Cross, despotic power and constitutional freedom, were contending for
mastery, and no government or nation could stand wholly aloof from a
contest in which the fate, not of empires alone, but of civilization,
was involved. Spain, during that period, was the bulwark of the Church
against the attacks of the Reformers, and the bulwark of Christendom
against the attacks of the Moslem. The power of Spain towered high
above that of every other monarchy; and this power was wielded with
absolute authority by the king. The Spanish nation was united and
animated by an intense, unwavering devotion to the ancient faith, which
was entwined with all the roots of the national life,--which was
Spanish, in fact, far more than it was Italian; and of this spirit
Philip the Second was the fitting representative, not merely from his
position, but from his education, his intellect, and his character.
Therefore it is that the historian of this single country and this
single reign, standing upon a central eminence, must survey and depict
the whole vast field of which we have spoken.

The materials for such a survey are abundant. But down to a very recent
period, the most valuable and authentic portion of them--letters of the
actors, records, written not from hearsay, but from personal knowledge,
documents of various kinds, private and official, that fill up the
hiatuses, correct the conjectures, establish the credibility, and give
a fresh meaning to the relations of the earlier writers--were neglected
or concealed, inaccessible, unexplored, all but unknown. Now these
hidden sources have been revealed. A flood of light streams back upon
that bygone age, filling every obscure nook, making legible and plain
what before could neither be read nor understood. Or rather, the effect
is such as when distant objects, seen dimly and confusedly with the
naked eye, are brought within the range of a powerful telescope, which
dissolves the seeming masses, and enables us to scrutinize each
separate form.

Glance for a moment through this instrument, so adjusted as to bear
upon a figure not undeserving of a closer study. Night has fallen on
the bleak and sombre scenery of the Sierra Guadarrama. The gray
outlines of the Escorial are scarcely distinguishable from those of the
dusky hills amid which it stands. No light is thrown forth from its
eleven thousand windows, save in this retreating angle formed by the
junction of the palace with the convent, or--to speak according to the
architect's symbolical design--of the "handle" with the "gridiron." The
apartment from which this feeble ray emerges is of small size,--not
more than sixteen feet square,--but having on two sides arched recesses
that somewhat increase its capacity. One of these alcoves contains a
bed, and a door opening into an adjoining oratory, which has immediate
communication with the chancel of the great church, so that an occupant
of the bed might, if supported in a sitting posture, have a view of the
high altar and witness the elevation of the host. This alcove is decked
with many little images of saints, which, with a few small pictures, of
rare beauty,--the subjects all of a religious character,--and two
cabinets of a curious, agate-colored marble, a product of the New
World,--are the only ornaments that relieve the extreme simplicity of
the apartment, with its plain white walls and floor of brick. The other
alcove is occupied by a writing-table, where sits, intent on the
employment that consumes by far the greater portion of his time, the
potent monarch of Spain, the "most pious and most prudent" Philip the
Second. A drowsy secretary, who waits for the completion of the
document which he is to copy, is his only attendant.

Does it not seem strange that ambassadors and nuncios should become
confused and lose all recollection of the addresses they had committed
to memory, in the presence of a prince whose exterior so ill accords
with the grandeur of his titles and the vastness of his power? His form
is below the middle height and very slender, the limbs having even an
attenuated look. The whole appearance is that of a man of delicate and
even feeble organization. The blonde complexion, the pale blue eyes,
and the light sandy hue--save where they are prematurely touched with
gray--of the hair, moustache, and short, pointed beard, all indicate
the Flemish origin of one who would fain be regarded as "wholly a
Spaniard." The protruding under-jaw is another proof of his descent
from the Burgundian rulers of the Netherlands. The expression of the
countenance, as we find on a closer inspection, is not so easy to
define. There is no variable play of light and shade upon the features,
no settled look of joy or sorrow, no trace of anger or of weariness. Is
it because the subject with which his pen is busied is too unimportant
to call forth any emotion in the writer? It may be a mere matter of
routine, connected with the regular business of his household or the
ordinary affairs of state. But if it be an answer to the dispatch from
Flanders giving information of the outburst of iconoclasm and
rebellion, or a subtly-conceived plan for the secret execution of
Montigny or the assassination of Escovedo, or an order for the
imprisonment--or the death--of the heir-apparent to the throne, you
shall perceive nothing in that face, unruffled as a mask, by which to
conjecture the sentiment or purpose of the mind. As little will he in
the presence of others exhibit any signs of agitation on the reception
of extraordinary news, or the occurrence of some great event. The fleet
which he sent out under his brother, John of Austria, in conjunction
with the Papal and Venetian armaments, to decide by a single blow the
long struggle with the Infidel,--all Europe awaiting the issue with
trembling anxiety and suspense,--has won a memorable and unexpected
victory, and destroyed forever the _prestige_ of the Moslem power. An
official, bursting with the intelligence, carries it to the king, who
is hearing a service in his private chapel. Without the slightest
change of countenance, Philip desires the priest, whose ear the
thrilling whisper has reached, and who stands open-mouthed, prepared to
burst forth at once into the _Te Deum_, to proceed with the service;
that ended, he orders appropriate thanks to be offered up.

As in triumph, so in disaster. The _armada_, which had been baptized
"Invincible," is destroyed. The great navy collected from many states,
equipped at the cost of an enormous treasure, manned with the choicest
troops of Spain and her subject dominions, lies scattered and wrecked
along the English shores, which it was sent forth to conquer. Again the
sympathies of Europe are excited to the highest pitch. Protestantism
triumphs; Catholicism despairs. He who had most at stake alone
preserves his calmness, on hearing that all is lost. He neither frowns
upon his unfortunate generals nor murmurs against Providence. Again he
orders thanks to be offered up, for those who have been rescued from
the general ruin,--for those, also, who in this holy enterprise have
lost their lives and joined eternal glory.

Neither does any private grief--the death of children, of a parent, or
of a wife--move him either to real or simulated agitation.[1] Nor will
intense physical suffering overpower this habitual stoicism. He has
seen unmoved the agony of many victims. He will himself endure the like
without any outward manifestation of pain. In yonder bed he will one
day suffer tortures surpassing those to which he has so often consigned
the heretic and the apostate Morisco; there he will expire amid horrors
that scarce ever before encompassed a death-bed;--but no groan will
reveal the weakness of the flesh; the soul, triumphant over nature,
will bear aloft her colors to the last, and plant them on the breach
through which she passes into the unknown eternity.

But while we have been thus discoursing, the king has finished his long
dispatch, and now hands it to the secretary. The latter, having vainly
struggled with his sleepiness, has at length begun to nod. Hearing his
name pronounced, he starts to his feet, takes the document, which is
not yet dry, to sand it, and, desirous to show by his alertness that he
has been all the time wide awake, empties over it--the contents of the
inkstand! Awkward individual!--there he stands, dumfounded and aghast.
His master quietly resumes his seat, procures fresh materials, and,
though it is long past midnight, begins his task anew with that
incomparable patience which is "his virtue."

The perfect equanimity on all occasions, which was the trait in
Philip's character that most impressed such of his contemporaries as
were neither his adherents nor his enemies,--for example, the Venetian
envoys at his court,--was not produced by a single stroke of Nature's
pencil, but had a three-fold origin. In the education which, from his
earliest years, had prepared him for the business of reigning, the
_alpha_, and the _omega_ of every lesson had been the word
"dissimulation." _Qui nescit dissimulare, nescit regnare_. By this
maxim it was not intended--at least, openly or cynically--to impress on
youthful royalty the duty and propriety of lying. All it professed to
inculcate was the necessity of wearing an habitual veil before the
mind, through which no thought or feeling should ever be discernible.
Every politician, in the sixteenth century, had learned that lesson.
William of Orange, the best and purest statesman of the age, was the
greatest of all masters in the art of dissimulation. In vain might
Granvelle strive to pry into that bosom, to learn whether its designs
were friendly or hostile to the plans of tyranny. Not till it was
extorted by events could the secret be discovered.

In the second place, Philip, as a Spaniard, and one whose manners were
to furnish a model for the Spanish court, had, of course, been trained
to that demeanor which was regarded in Spain as the distinctive mark of
high breeding. "All the nobles of this court," writes an Italian
contemporary, "though amazingly ignorant and unlettered, maintain a
certain haughty tranquillity of manner which they term _sosiego_."
Foreigners found it difficult to define a quality which differed as
much from the composure and self-possession everywhere characteristic
of the gentleman as Spartan endurance or Stoical apathy from ordinary
fortitude or self-control. It was a glacier-like repose, incrusting a
mountain of pride. The beams, that gilded, might not thaw it; the storm
did but harden and extend it. It yielded only to the inner fires of
arrogance and passion, bursting through, at times, with irrepressible

These occasional outbreaks were never witnessed in Philip.[2] He was
exempted from them by the third element which we proposed to notice,
and which, as nature takes precedence of habit, ought perhaps to have
been the first. A Spaniard by birth and education, a Spaniard in his
sympathies and in his tastes, he had inherited, nevertheless, some of
the peculiarities, intellectual as well as moral, of the other race to
which by his origin, and, as we have already said, by his physical
characteristics, he belonged. He had none of the more pleasing
qualities of the Netherlander; but he had the sluggish temper, the slow
but laborious mind. "He is phlegmatic as well from natural disposition
as from will," remarks an Italian contemporary. "This king," says
another Venetian minister, "is absolutely free from every kind of
passion." The word "passion" is here used in a strict, if not the most
correct sense. Philip could, perhaps, love; that he could hate is what
no one has ever ventured to dispute; but never did either feeling,
strong, persistent, indestructible, though it might be, rise in
turbulent waves around his soul. In religion he was a bigot,--not a
fanatic. "The tranquillity of my dominions and the security of my
crown," he said, "rest on an unqualified submission in all essential
points to the authority of the Holy See." In the same deliberate and
impressive style, not in that of a wild and reckless frenzy, is his
famous saying, "Better not to reign at all than to reign over
heretics." His course in all matters of government was in conformity
with the only chart by which he had been taught to steer. He boasted
that he was no innovator,--that he did but tread in the footsteps of
his father. Nor, though he ever kept his object steadily in view, did
he press towards it with undue haste. He was content that time should
smooth away the difficulties in his path. "Time and myself against any
other two" was not the maxim of a man who looked to effect great
changes or who felt himself in danger of being driven from his course
by the gusts of passion.

To a person of this character it mattered little, as far as the
essentials of existence were concerned, whether his life were passed
upon a throne or at an attorney's desk. In the latter situation, his
fondness for using the pen would well have qualified him for the
drudgery, his admirable patience would have been sufficiently
exercised, and the mischief he was able to do would have been on a more
contracted scale. On the throne, his labors, as his admirers tell us,
were those of "a poor clerk earning his bread," while his recreations
were those of a Jeronymite monk. His intercourse with mankind was
limited to the narrowest range of which his position would allow. Even
with his ministers he preferred to communicate in writing. When he went
abroad, it was in a carriage so constructed as to screen him entirely
from view, and to shut out the world from his observation. He always
entered Madrid after nightfall, and reached his palace by streets that
were the least frequented. He had an equally strong aversion to bodily
exercise. Such was his love of quiet and seclusion, that it was
commonly believed he waited only for a favorable opportunity to follow
the example of his father, resign his power and withdraw to a

In the volume before us are two chapters devoted to the character and
personal habits of Philip, a picture of his court, his method of
transacting business, his chief advisers, the machinery of his
government, and his relations with his subjects. As usually happens, it
is in details of a personal and biographical kind that the author's
investigations have been the most productive of new discoveries. It is
a question with some minds, whether such details are properly admitted
into history. The new luminary of moral and political science, the
Verulam of the nineteenth century, Mr. Henry Buckle, tells us that
biography forms no part of history, that individual character has
little or no effect in determining the course of the world's affairs,
and that the historian's proper business is to exhibit those general
laws, discoverable, by a strictly scientific process of investigation,
which act with controlling power upon human conduct and govern the
destinies of our race. We readily admit that the discovery of such laws
would exceed in importance every other having relation to man's present
sphere of existence; and we heartily wish that Mr. Buckle had made as
near an approach to the discovery as he confidently believes himself to
have done. But even had he, instead of crude theories, unwarranted
assumptions, and a most lively but fallacious train of reasoning,
presented us with a grand and solid philosophical work, a true _Novum
Organon_, he would still have left the department of literature which
he has so violently assailed in full possession of its present field.
Our curiosity in regard to the character and habits of the men who have
played conspicuous parts on the stage of history would have been not a
whit diminished. The interest which men feel in the study of human
character is, perhaps, the most common feeling that induces them to
read at all. It is to gratify that feeling that the great majority of
books are written. The mutual influences of mind upon mind--not the
influences of climate, food, the "aspects of Nature," thunder-storms,
earthquakes, and statistics--form, and will ever form, the great staple
of literature. Mr. Buckle's own book would not have been half so
entertaining as it is, if he had not, with the most natural
inconsistency, plentifully besprinkled his pages with biographical
details, some of which are not incorrect. Lord Macaulay, whom Mr.
Buckle is unable to eulogize with sufficient vehemence without a
ludicrous as well as irreverent application of Scriptural language, is
of all writers the most profuse in the description of individual
peculiarities, neatly doing up each separate man in a separate parcel
with an appropriate label, and dismissing half his personages, like
"ticket-of-leave men," with a "character," and nothing more.

In truth, while the office of the speculative philosopher is to explore
the principles that have the widest operation in the revolutions of
society, the office of the historian is to represent society as it
actually exists at any given period in all its various phenomena. The
_science_ of history has been first invented--at least, he tells us
so--by Mr. Buckle. The _art_ of history is older than Herodotus, older
than Moses, older than printed language. It is based, like every other
art, on certain truths, general and special, principles and facts; its
process, like that of every other art, is the Imagination, the creative
principle of genius, using these truths as its rules and its materials,
working by them and upon them, applying and idealizing them. That there
is such a thing as historical art has also, we know, been disputed. It
is one of the exceedingly strong convictions--he will not allow us to
call them opinions--entertained by the distinguished author of "Modern
Painters," and expressed by him in a lecture delivered at Edinburgh,
that past ages are to be studied only in the records which they have
themselves left,--letters, contemporary memoirs, and the like sources.
Works built upon these he calls "restorations," weak and servile
copies, from which the spirit of the original has fled. He accordingly
advises every one who would make himself really acquainted with the
manners and events of a former period to go at once to the
fountain-head and learn what that period said for itself in its own
dialect and style. It might be sufficient mildly to warn any person who
thinks of adopting this advice, that, unless the field of his intended
researches be very limited, or the amount of time which he proposes to
devote to the study very great, the result can scarcely be of a
satisfactory nature. But there is another answer to Mr. Ruskin, which
has more force when addressed to one so renowned as a critic and
exponent of Art. The eye of Genius seizes what escapes ordinary
observation. The province of Art is to _reveal_ Nature, to elucidate
her obscurities, to present her, not otherwise than as she _is_, but
more truthfully and more completely than she _appears_ to the common
eye. Of what use were landscape-painting, if it did not teach us how to
look for beauty in the real landscape? Who has not seen in a good
portrait an expression which he then for the first time recognized as
that which best represented the character of the original? When we
applaud the personations of a great actor, we exclaim, as the highest
praise, "How true to Nature!" We must, therefore, have seen before the
look and gesture, and heard the tone, which we thus acknowledge as
appropriate to the passion and the scene. And yet they had never
stamped themselves upon our minds, when witnessed in actual life, from
which the actor himself had copied them, with half that force and
vividness which they receive from his delineation. In like manner, the
historian--one to whom history is a genuine vocation--applies to the
facts with which he has to deal, to the evidence which he has to sift,
to the relations which he has to peruse, a faculty which shall detect a
meaning where the common reader would find none,--which shall conceive
a whole picture, a complete view, where another would see but
fragments,--which shall combine and reproduce in one distinct and
living image the relics of a past age, which lie broken, scattered, and
buried beneath the mounds of time. Such a work has Niebuhr performed
for early Roman history, and Michelet for the confused epochs of
mediaeval France. The spirit, instead of escaping in the process, was
for the first time made visible. The historian did not merely anatomize
the body of the Past, but with magic power summoned up its ghost.

It cannot be said that the claims of history have ever been disallowed
by the reading public. There is, indeed, no class of literature so
secure of receiving the attention which it demands. While the novelist
modestly confines himself to a brace of spare duodecimos, and, if his
story be somewhat extended, endeavors to conceal its length in the
smallness of the print, the historian unblushingly presents himself
with three, six, a dozen, nay, if he be a Frenchman or a German, with
forty huge tomes, and is more often taken to task for his omissions
than censured for the fulness of his narrative. It is respectable to
buy his volumes, and respectable to read them. We don't put them away
in corners, but give them the most conspicuous places on our shelves.
Strange to say, that kind of reading to which we were once driven as to
a task, which our fathers thought must be useful because it was so
dull, has of late outstripped every other branch in its attractiveness
to the mass. Nobody yawns over Carlyle; people set upon Macaulay as if
quite unconscious that they were about to be led into the labyrinths of
Whig and Tory politics; and gentlemen whirled along in railway-cars
bend over the pages of Prescott, and pronounce them as fascinating as
any romance. Stranger still, these modern historians excel their
predecessors as much in learning and depth of research as in dramatic
power, artistic arrangement and construction, and beauty and
picturesqueness of style. Compare the meagre array of references in the
foot-notes of Watson's "History of Philip the Second" with the
multitude of authorities cited by Mr. Prescott. It may be doubted,
whether any printed book, however rare or little known, which could
throw the least glimmer of light upon his subject, has been overlooked
or neglected by the last-mentioned author; while thousands of
manuscript pages, gathered from libraries and collections in almost
every part of Europe, have furnished him with some of his most curious
particulars and enabled him to clear up the mystery that shrouded many
portions of the subject.

We shall not attempt to determine the exact place that ought to be
assigned in an illustrious brotherhood to our American historian. The
country is justly proud of him, as one whose name is a household word
in many lands,--who has done more, perhaps, than any other of her
living writers, with the exception of Washington Irving, to obtain for
a still youthful literature the regard and attention of the world,--who
has helped to accomplish the prediction of Horace Walpole, that there
would one day be "a Thucydides at Boston and a Xenophon at New York"; a
prediction which seemed so fanciful, at the time it was made, (less
than two years before the declaration of Independence,) that the
prophet was fain to link its fulfilment with the contemporaneous visit
of a South American traveller to the deserted ruins of London.[4] His
writings have won favor with hosts of readers, and they have received
the homage of learned and profound inquirers, like Humboldt and Guizot.
They have merits that are recognizable at a glance, and they have also
merits that will bear the closest examination. They occupy a field in
which they have no compeers. They are the products of a fertile soil
and of laborious cultivation. The mere literary critic, accustomed to
dwell with even more attention on the form than on the substance of a
work, commends above all the admirable skill shown in the selection and
grouping of the incidents, the facile hand with which an obscure and
entangled theme is divested of its embarrassments, the frequent
brilliancy and picturesqueness of the narrative, the judicious mixture
of anecdote and reflection, and the harmony and clearness of the style.
These are the qualities which make Mr. Prescott's histories, with all
their solid learning and minute research, as pleasant reading as the
airiest of novels. And yet not these alone. A charm is felt in many a
sentence that has a deeper origin than in the intellect. No egotism
obtrudes itself upon our notice; but the subtile outflow of a generous
and candid spirit, of a genial and singularly healthy nature, wins for
the author a secure place in the affections of his readers.

The third volume of the "History of Philip the Second" is, we think,
superior to its predecessors. It contains, perhaps, no single scene
equal in elaborate and careful painting to the death of Count Egmont.
It has no chapter devoted to the elucidation of the darker passages in
Philip's personal history, like that which in a former volume traced to
a still doubtful end the unhappy career of Don Carlos, or such as will
doubtless, in a future volume, shed new light on that of Antonio Perez.
But there is a more continuous interest, arising from a greater unity
of subject. With the exception of the two chapters already referred to,
the narrative is taken up with the contest waged by the Spaniards
against those Moslem foes whom they hated with the hereditary hate of
centuries, the mingled hate that had grown out of diversity of
religion, an alien blood, and long arrears of vengeance. When that
contest was waged upon the sea or on a foreign soil, it was at least
mitigated by the ordinary rules of warfare. But on Spanish soil it knew
no restraint, no limitation but the complete effacement of the Moorish
population. The story of the Morisco Rebellion, which we remember to
have first read with absorbed attention in Dunham's meagre sketch, is
here related with a fulness of detail that exhausts the subject, and
leaves the mind informed both of causes and results. Yet the march of
the narrative is rapid and unchecked, from the first outbreak of the
revolt, when Aben-Farax, with a handful of followers, facing the
darkness of night and the blinding snow, penetrated into the streets of
Granada, shouting the cry so long unheard in air that had once been so
familiar with its sound, "There is no God but Allah, and Mahomet is the
prophet of God!"--through all the strange and terrible vicissitudes of
the deadly struggle that ensued, the frightful massacres, the wild
_guerrilla_ battles, the fiery onslaughts of the Spanish chivalry, the
stealthy surprises of the Moorish mountaineers,--down to the complete
suppression of the insurrection, the removal of the defeated race, the
overthrow and death of Aben-Aboo, "the little king of the Alpujarras,"
and the ghastly triumph in which his dead body, clothed in the robes of
royalty and supported upright on a horse, was led into the capital
where his ancestors had once reigned in peaceful splendor, after which
the head was cut off and set up in a cage above the wall, "the face
turned towards his native hills, which he had loved so well."

On such a theme, and in such localities, Mr. Prescott is more at home
than any other writer, American or European. His imagination, kindled
by long familiar associations, burns with a steady flame. The
characters are portrayed with a free and vigorous pencil, the contrast
between the Orientalism of the Spanish Arab and the sterner features of
the Spanish Goth being always strongly marked. The scenery, painted
with as much fidelity as truth, is sometimes brought before the eye by
minute description, and sometimes, with still happier effect, by
incidental touches,--an epithet or a simile, as appropriate as it is
suggestive. As we follow the route of Mundejar's army, the "frosty
peaks" of the Sierra Nevada are seen "glistening in the sun like
palisades of silver"; while terraces, scooped out along the rocky
mountain-side, are covered with "bright patches of variegated culture,
that hang like a garland round the gaunt Sierra." At their removal from
Granada, the remnant of what had once been a race of conquerors bid a
last farewell to their ancient homes just as "the morning light has
broken on the _red_ towers of the Alhambra"; and scattered over the
country in small and isolated masses, the presence of the exiles is
"sure to be revealed by the minute and elaborate culture of the
soil,--as the secret course of the mountain-stream is betrayed by the
brighter green of the meadow."

We had marked for quotation an admirable passage, in which our author
passes judgment on the policy of the Spanish government, its cruelty
and its mistakes. But want of space compels us here to take leave of a
book which we have not pretended to analyze, but to which we have
rendered sincere, though inadequate, praise.

[Footnote 1: "Sempre apparisce d'un volto e d'una temperatura medesima;
la qual cosa a chi, considerato gli accidenti che gli sono occorsi
delle morti dei figliuoli e delle mogli, ha fatto credere che fusse
crudele." _Relaz. Anon._ (1588.)]

[Footnote 2: None of the anecdotes in which Philip is represented as
giving way to violent bursts of anger will bear examination. Take, for
example, the story of his pent-up wrath having exploded against the
Prince of Orange, when he was quitting the Netherlands in 1559. The
Prince, it is said, who had accompanied him to the ship, endeavored to
convince him that the opposition to his measures, of which he
complained, had sprung from the Estates; on which the king, seizing
William's sleeve, and shaking it vehemently, exclaimed, "No, not the
Estates, but you,--you,--you!"--_No los Estados, ma vos,--vos,
--vos!_--using, say the original relator and the repeaters of
the story, a form of address, the second person plural, which in the
Spanish language is expressive of contempt. Now it is true that _vos_,
applied to an equal, would have been a solecism; but it is also true
that it was the _invariable_ form employed by the sovereign, even when
addressing a grandee or a prince of the Church. (See the _Papiers
d'État de Granvelle, passim_.) Moreover, the correspondence of the time
shows clearly that neither Philip nor Granvelle had as yet conceived
any deep suspicion of the Prince of Orange, much less had any of the
parties been so imprudent as to throw off the usual mask. The story is
first told by Aubéri, a writer of the seventeenth century, who had it
from his father, to whom it had been told by an anonymous eye-witness!]

[Footnote 3: _Relazione di Pigafetta._]

[Footnote 4: Walpole to Mason, Nov. 24, 1774.]

       *       *       *       *       *

_The Courtship of Miles Standish_. By HENRY WADSWORTH LONGFELLOW.
Boston: Ticknor & Fields. 1858.

The introduction and acclimatization of the _hexameter_ upon English
soil has been an affair of more than two centuries. The attempt was
first systematically made during the reign of Elizabeth, but the metre
remained a feeble exotic that scarcely burgeoned under glass. Gabriel
Harvey,--a kind of Don Adriano de Armado,--whose chief claim to
remembrance is, that he was the friend of Spenser, boasts that he was
the first to whom the notion of transplantation occurred. In his "Foure
Letters," (1592,) he says, "If I never deserve anye better
remembraunce, let mee rather be Epitaphed, the Inventour of the English
Hexameter, whome learned M. Stanihurst imitated in his Virgill, and
excellent Sir Phillip Sidney disdained not to follow in his Arcadia and
elsewhere." This claim of invention, however, seems to have been an
afterthought with Harvey, for, in the letters which passed between him
and Spenser in 1579, he speaks of himself more modestly as only a
collaborator with Sidney and others in the good work. The Earl of
Surrey is said to have been the first who wrote thus in English. The
most successful person, however, was William Webb, who translated two
of Virgil's Eclogues with a good deal of spirit and harmony. Ascham, in
his "Schoolmaster," (1570,) had already suggested the adoption of the
ancient hexameter by English poets; but Ascham (as afterwards Puttenham
in his "Art of Poesie") thought the number of monosyllabic words in
English an insuperable objection to verses in which there was a large
proportion of dactyles, and recommended, therefore, that a trial should
be made with iambics. Spenser, at Harvey's instance, seems to have
tried his hand at the new kind of verse. He says,--"I like your late
Englishe Hexameters so exceedingly well, that I also enure my penne
sometimes in that kinde.... For the onely or chiefest hardnesse, whych
seemeth, is in the Accente, which sometime gapeth, and, as it were,
yawneth ilfauouredly, coming shorte of that it should, and sometime
exceeding the measure of the Number, as in _Carpenter_; the middle
sillable being vsed shorte in Speache, when it shall be read long in
Verse, seemeth like a lame Gosling that draweth one legge after hir:
and _Heaven_, being used shorte as one sillable, when it is in Verse
stretched out with a _Diastole_, is like a lame dogge that holdes up
one legge. But it is to be wonne with Custome, and rough words must be
subdued with Vse. For why a God's name may not we, as else the Greekes,
have the kingdome of our owne Language, and measure our Accentes by the
Sounde, reserving the Quantitie to the Verse?" The amiable Edmonde
seems to be smiling in his sleeve as he writes this sentence. He
instinctively saw the absurdity of attempting to subdue English to
misunderstood laws of Latin quantities, which would, for example, make
the vowel in _debt_ long, in the teeth of use and wont.

We give a specimen of the hexameters which satisfied so entirely the
ear of Master Gabriel Harvey,--an ear that must have been long by
position, in virtue of its place on his head.

  "Not the like _Discourser_, for Tongue and head: to be fóund out;
  Not the like _resolute Man_, for great and serious áffayres;
  Not the like _Lynx_, to spie out secretes and priuities óf States;
  _Eyed_ like to _Argus, Earde_ like to _Mídas, Nosd_ like to _Naso_,
  Wingd like to _Mercury_, fitist of a Thousand for to be émployed."

And here are a few from "worthy M. Stanyhurst's" translation of the

  "Laocoon storming from Princelis Castel is hastning,
  And a far of beloing: What fond phantastical harebraine
  Madnesse hath enchaunted your wits, you townsmen unhappie?
  Weene you (blind hodipecks) the Greekish nauie returned,
  Or that their presents want craft? is subtil Vlissis
  So soone forgotten? My life for an haulf-pennie (Trojans)," etc.

Mr. Abraham Fraunce translates two verses of Heliodorus thus:--

  "Now had fyery Phlegon his dayes reuolution ended,
  And his snoring snowt with salt waues all to bee washed."

Witty Tom Nash was right enough when he called this kind of stuff,
"that drunken, staggering kinde of verse which is all vp hill and downe
hill, like the waye betwixt Stamford and Becchfeeld, and goes like a
horse plunging through the myre in the deep of winter, now soust up to
the saddle, and straight aloft on his tiptoes." It will be noticed that
his prose falls into a kind of tipsy hexameter. The attempt in England
at that time failed, but the controversy to which it gave rise was so
far useful that it called forth Samuel Daniel's "Defence of Ryme,"
(1603,) one of the noblest pieces of prose in the language. Hall also,
in his "Satires," condemned the heresy in some verses remarkable for
their grave beauty and strength.

The revival of the hexameter in modern poetry is due to Johann Heinrich
Voss, a man of genius, an admirable metrist, and, Schlegel's sneer to
the contrary notwithstanding, hitherto the best translator of Homer.
His "Odyssey," (1783,) his "Iliad," (1791,) and his "Luise," (1795,)
were confessedly Goethe's teachers in this kind of verse. The "Hermann
and Dorothea" of the latter (1798) was the first true poem written in
modern hexameters. From Germany, Southey imported that and other
classic metres into England, and we should be grateful to him, at
least, for having given the model for Canning's "Knifegrinder." The
exotic, however, again refused to take root, and for many years after
we have no example of English hexameters. It was universally conceded
that the temper of our language was unfriendly to them.

It remained for a man of true poetic genius to make them not only
tolerated, but popular. Longfellow's translation of "The Children of
the Lord's Supper" may have softened prejudice somewhat, but
"Evangeline," (1847,) though incumbered with too many descriptive
irrelevancies, was so full of beauty, pathos, and melody, that it made
converts by thousands to the hitherto ridiculed measure. More than
this, it made Longfellow at once the most popular of contemporary
English poets, Clough's "Bothie"--a poem whose singular merit has
hitherto failed of the wide appreciation it deserves--followed not long
after; and Kingsley's "Andromeda" is yet damp from the press.

While we acknowledge that the victory thus won by "Evangeline" is a
striking proof of the genius of the author, we confess that we have
never been able to overcome the feeling that the new metre is a
dangerous and deceitful one. It is too easy to write, and too uniform
for true pleasure in reading. Its ease sometimes leads Mr. Longfellow
into prose,--as in the verse

  "Combed and wattled gules and all the rest of the blazon,"--

and into a prosaic phraseology which has now and then infected his
style in other metres, as where he says

  "Spectral gleam their snow-white _dresses_,"--

using a word as essentially unpoetic as _surtout_ or _pea-jacket_. We
think one great danger of the hexameter is, that it gradually accustoms
the poet to be content with a certain regular recurrence of accented
sounds, to the neglect of the poetic value of language and intensity of

But while we frankly avow our infidelity as regards the metre, we as
frankly confess our admiration of the high qualities of "Miles
Standish." In construction we think it superior to "Evangeline"; the
narrative is more straightforward, and the characters are defined with
a firmer touch. It is a poem of wonderful picturesqueness, tenderness,
and simplicity, and the situations are all conceived with the truest
artistic feeling. Nothing can be better, to our thinking, than the
picture of Standish and Alden in the opening scene, tinged as it is
with a delicate humor, which the contrast between the thoughts and
characters of the two heightens almost to pathos. The pictures of
Priscilla spinning, and the bridal procession, are also masterly. We
feel charmed to see such exquisite imaginations conjured out of the
little old familiar anecdote of John Alden's vicarious wooing. We are
astonished, like the fisherman in the Arabian tale, that so much genius
could be contained in so small and leaden a casket. Those who cannot
associate sentiment with the fair Priscilla's maiden name of Mullins
may be consoled by hearing that it is only a corruption of the Huguenot
Desmoulins,--as Barnum is of the Norman Vernon.

Indifferent poets comfort themselves with the notion that contemporary
popularity is no test of merit, and that true poetry must always wait
for a new generation to do it justice. The theory is not true in any
general sense. With hardly an exception, the poetry that was ever to
receive a wide appreciation has received it at once. Popularity in
itself is no test of permanent literary fame, but the kind of it is and
always has been a very decided one. Mr. Longfellow has been greatly
popular because he so greatly deserved it. He has the secret of all the
great poets,--the power of expressing universal sentiments simply and
naturally. A false standard of criticism has obtained of late, which
brings a brick as a sample of the house, a line or two of condensed
expression as a gauge of the poem. But it is only the whole poem that
is a proof of the poem, and there are twenty fragmentary poets, for one
who is capable of simple and sustained beauty. Of this quality Mr.
Longfellow has given repeated and striking examples, and those critics
are strangely mistaken who think that what he does is easy to be done,
because he has the power to make it seem so. We think his chief fault
is a too great tendency to moralize, or rather, a distrust of his
readers, which leads him to point out the moral which he wishes to be
drawn from any special poem. We wish, for example, that the last two
stanzas could be cut off from "The Two Angels," a poem which, without
them, is as perfect as anything in the language.

Many of the pieces in this volume having already shone as captain
jewels in Mana's carcanet, need no comment from us; and we should,
perhaps, have avoided the delicate responsibility of criticizing one of
our most precious contributors, had it not been that we have seen some
very unfair attempts to depreciate Mr. Longfellow, and that, as it
seemed to us, for qualities which stamp him as a true and original
poet. The writer who appeals to more peculiar moods of mind, to more
complex or more esoteric motives of emotion, may be a greater favorite
with the few; but he whose verse is in sympathy with moods that are
human and not personal, with emotions that do not belong to periods in
the development of individual minds, but to all men in all years, wins
the gratitude and love of whoever can read the language which he makes
musical with solace and aspiration. The present volume, while it will
confirm Mr. Longfellow's claim to the high rank he has won among lyric
poets, deserves attention also as proving him to possess that faculty
of epic narration which is rarer than all others in the nineteenth
century. In our love of stimulants, and our numbness of taste, which
craves the red pepper of a biting vocabulary, we of the present
generation are apt to overlook this almost obsolete and unobtrusive
quality; but we doubt if, since Chaucer, we have had an example of more
purely objective narrative than in "The Courtship of Miles Standish."
Apart from its intrinsic beauty, this gives the poem a claim to higher
and more thoughtful consideration; and we feel sure that posterity will
confirm the verdict of the present in regard to a poet whose reputation
is due to no fleeting fancy, but to an instinctive recognition by the
public of that which charms now and charms always,--true power and
originality, without grimace and distortion; for Apollo, and not Milo,
is the artistic type of strength.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Thoughts on the Life and Character of Jesus of Nazareth_. By W.H.
FURNESS, Minister of the First Congregational Unitarian Church in
Philadelphia. Boston: Phillips, Sampson, & Co. 1859.

Here is a book, written, not for "orthodox believers," but for those
whom the orthodox creeds have wholly repelled from its subject. It is
quite distinct from three other books on the same general theme, by the
same author. It has, indeed, some objects in view, at which neither of
those books directly aimed.

It will overwhelm with horror such readers as may stumble upon it, who
do not know, till they meet it, that there is any view of Jesus Christ
but that which is presented in the widely circulated issues of the
Tract Society and similar institutions. Our attention has already been
called to one very absurd and unjust attack upon it, in a Philadelphia
paper, intended to catch the prejudices of such persons. But the views
by which we found this attack accompanied, in the same journal, led us
to suspect that some political prejudice against the author's
anti-slavery had more to do with the onslaught than any deeply seated
love of Orthodox Christianity. To another class of readers, who have
been wholly repelled from any interest in Jesus Christ, by whatever
misfortune of temperament or training, the careful study of these
"Thoughts" would be of incalculable value. We suppose this class of
readers, through the whole extent of our country, to be quite as large
as the first class we have named. To a third class, which is probably
as large as both the others put together, who are neither repelled nor
attracted by the received ecclesiastical statements regarding the
Saviour, but are willing to pass, without any real inquiry or any firm
opinion, his presence in the world, and his influence at this moment on
every event in modern life, the book might also have an immense value,
if it could be conceived that any thunder-clap could wake them from
that selfish and comfortable indifference as to the central point of
all the history, philosophy, life, and religion, in which they live.

We have no intention of entering into a discussion of the remarkable
and very clear views presented in this volume. We have only to say that
the author does not do himself justice when he asserts that there is no
system in its arrangement. It is a systematic work, leading carefully
along from point to point in the demonstration attempted. One may read
it through in an afternoon, and he will then have a very clear idea of
what the author thinks, which does not always happen when one has read
a book through. If he be one of the class of readers for whom it was
written, he will have, at the very least, a deeper interest in the
study of the life of Jesus of Nazareth than he had when he began. He
will have read a reply to Dr. Strauss, Mr. Parker, Dr. Feuerbach, and
Mr. Hittel, which, he will confess, is written in an appreciative and
candid spirit, quite different from that of some of the _ex-cathedra_
works of controversy, which have failed to annihilate these writers,
although they have taken so arrogant a tone. As we have said, we do not
attempt to analyze the argument or the statement of which we thus
speak. We have only to say that it is positive, and not
negative,--constructive, and not destructive,--reverent, and not
flippant,--courteous to opponents, and never denunciatory. These are
characteristics of a work of theology of which those can judge who do
not affect to be technical theologians. Had we to give our own views of
the matters presented in so interesting a form, we should not, of
course, attempt to condense our assent or our dissent with the author
into these columns; but where we differed or where we agreed, we should
gladly recognize his eagerness to be understood, his earnest hope to
find the truth, and his sympathy with all persons seeking
it,--qualities which we have not always found in our study of
theologians by profession.

In making the suggestion, however, that these "Thoughts" would be of
special value to those who have fallen into the habit of disbelieving
the Gospels, they hardly know why, we know that there is no more
probability that they will read a book with this title than there is
that young men should read "Letters to Young Men," or young women
should read "Letters to Young Women." We suppose that the unconverted
seldom read "Hints to the Unconverted," and that undecided fools never
read "Foster on Decision of Character." Recurring, then, to Mr.
Everett's story of the Guava jelly, which was recommended to invalids,
but would "not materially injure those who are well," we may add to
what we have said, that all readers of this volume will find valuable
suggestions in it for the enlightenment of the gospel narratives.
Theologians who differed fundamentally from Dr. Furness have been eager
to express their sense of the value of his "Jesus and his Biographers,"
as affording some of the most vivid and scenic representations in all
literature of that life which he has devoted all his studies to
illustrating. It does not fall in the way of this book to attempt many
such illustrations; but it is full of hints which all readers will
value as lightening up and making fresh their notion of Scripture.

Critically speaking, the most prominent fault in the book is the
occasional interpolation of matter not connected directly with its
argument. That argument is simply laid out. In the first part is the
direct plea of the author for the gospel narrative as a whole,
earnestly and effectively sustained. The second part examines Mr.
Theodore Parker's arguments against the truth of parts of it. The third
book discusses other objections. So far as this is done from the
author's leading point of view, the book is coherent and effective. But
occasionally there comes in a little piece of fanciful criticism on the
text, or a comment on some side-view or transaction, or the suggestion
of a probability or a possibility, which remind one of the thin
puerilities of the commentators whom Dr. Furness despises more than of
the general drift of his own discussion.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Vernon Grove; or Hearts as they are_. A Novel. New York: Rudd &

This volume makes a pleasant addition to the light reading of the day.
It is the more welcome as coming from a new field; for we believe that
the veil of secrecy with regard to its authorship has been so far blown
aside, that we shall be permitted to say, that, although it is written
by a lady of New England birth, it may be most properly claimed as a
part of the literature of South Carolina. It is a regular novel,
although a short one. It is an interesting story, of marked, but not
improbable incidents, involving a very few well-distinguished
characters, who fall into situations to display which requires nice
analysis of the mind and heart,--developed in graceful and flowing
narrative, enlivened by natural and spirited conversations. The
atmosphere of the book is one of refined taste and high culture. The
people in it, with scarce an exception, are people who mean to be good,
and who are handsome, polite, accomplished, and rich, or at least
surrounded by the conveniences and even luxuries of life. It is a
story, too, for the most part, of cultivated enjoyment. There are
sufferings and sorrows depicted in it, it is true; without them, it
would be no representation of real life, which it does not fail to be.
Some tears will undoubtedly be shed over it, but the sufferings and
sorrows are such that we feel they are, after all, leading to
happiness; and we are not made to dwell upon pictures of unnecessary
misery or unavailing misfortune. Let it not be supposed, however, that
we are speaking of a namby-pamby tale of the luxuries and successes of
what is called "high life," for this book has nothing of that
character. We mean only to point out, as far as we may, without
entering upon the story itself, that it tells of pleasant people, in
pleasant circumstances, among whom it is a pleasure to the reader for a
time to he. Many a novel "ends well" that keeps us in a shudder or a
"worry" from the beginning to the end. Here we see the enjoyment as we
go along. Indeed, a leading characteristic of "Vernon Grove" is the
extremely good taste with which it is conceived and written; and so we
no more meet with offensive descriptions of vulgar show and luxury than
we do with those of squalor or moral turpitude. It is a book marked by
a high tone of moral and religious as well as artistic and esthetic
culture. Without being made the vehicle of any set theories in
philosophy or Art, without (so far as we know) "inculcating" any
special moral axiom, it embodies much good teaching and suggestion with
regard to music and painting, and many worthy lessons for the mind and
heart. This is done, as it should be, by the apparently natural
development of the story itself. For, as we have said, the book is
really a novel, and will be read as a novel should be, for the story,
and not, in the first instance and with deliberation, with the critical
desire to find out what lessons it teaches or what sentiments it

The narrative covers a space of several years, but is so told that we
are furnished with details rather than generalities; and particular
scenes, events, and conversations are set forth vividly and minutely.
The descriptions of natural scenery, and of works of Art, many of which
come naturally into the story, show a cultivated and observant eye and
a command of judicious language. The characters are well developed,
and, with an unimportant exception, there is nothing introduced into
the book that is not necessary to the completion of the story. "Vernon
Grove" will commend itself to all readers who like works of fiction
that are lively and healthy too; and will give its author a high rank
among the lady-novelists of our day and country.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Arabian Days' Entertainments_. Translated from the German, by HERBERT
PELHAM CORTIS. Boston: Phillips, Sampson, & Co. 1858.

In this famous nineteenth century of ours, which prides itself on being
practical, and feeds voraciously on facts, and considers itself almost
above being amused, we for our part rejoice to greet such a book as
this. Our great-great-grandfathers, when they were boys, were happy in
having wise and good grandfathers who told them pleasant stories of
what never happened,--and who loved well to tell them, because they
were truly wise men, and knew what the child's mind relished and
fattened upon,--nay, and because, like all truly good men, they
themselves indulged a fond, secret, half-belief that these child's
stories of theirs were, if the truth could be got at, more than half
true. We should be sorry to believe that this good old life of
story-telling and story-hearing had utterly gone out. It belonged to an
age that only very foolish men and very vulgar men laugh at without

"We of the nineteenth century" have a certain way of our own, however,
of enjoying that most rarely fascinating class of literary productions
known as _stories_,--a critical, perhaps over-intellectual, way,--but
still sufficing, it is comfortable to know, to keep the story at very
near its ancient dignity in the realm of letters. Perhaps it is a true
sign of the perfect story, that it ministers at once to these two
unsympathizing mental appetites, and pleases completely, not only the
man, but his--by this aide--ever-so-great-grandfather, the child.

Everybody thinks first of the "Arabian Nights' Entertainments," when we
fall into such remarks as these,--that marvellous treasure, from which
the dreams of little boys have been furnished forth, and the pages of
great scholars gemmed with elegant illustration, ever since it was
first opened to Western eyes. With this book the title which Mr. Curtis
has so happily selected for his translation invites us to compare it;
and it is not too much praise to say that it can well stand the
comparison,--we mean as a selection of stories fascinating to old and
young. As to the matter of translation itself, the versions we have of
the "Arabian Nights" are notoriously bad. These stories, which Mr.
Curtis has laid all good children and all right-minded grown people
under perpetual obligation by thus collecting and presenting to them,
are the productions of a single German writer, and, with the exception
of three or four separately published in magazines, have, we believe,
never before been translated into English. They present some very
interesting points of contrast with the ever-famous book of Eastern
stories,--such as open some very tempting cross-views of the German and
the Eastern mind, which, for want of opportunity, we must pass by now.

The scenes of most of them are laid in the East,--of a few in Germany;
but the robust _method_ of the German story-writer is apparent in each.
We wish we could quote from one or two which have particularly charmed
us; but though this is impossible within any decent limits, we can at
least provoke the appetite of readers of all ages by the mere
displaying of such titles as these:--"The History of Caliph Stork";
"The Story of the Severed Hand"; "The Story of Little Muck"; "Nosey the
Dwarf"; "The Young Englishman"; "The Prophecy of the Silver Florin";
"The Cold Heart," etc. What prospects for winter evenings are here! And
while we can assure the adult reader that the promise which these
titles give of burlesque or humorous description, and bold, romantic
narrative, shall be more than kept, it may be well also to say, for the
comfort of those whom we hope to see buy the book for their children's
sake, that the stories in it are entirely free from certain objections
which may be fairly urged against the "Arabian Nights" as reading for
young people. The "Arabian Days" have nothing to be ashamed of in the
nature of their entertainments.

The translation itself is a performance in a high degree creditable,
not only to the German, but to the English, scholarship of Mr. Curtis.
We perceive scarcely any of that peculiar stiffness of style which
makes so many otherwise excellent translations painful to read,--the
stiffness as of one walking in new boots,--the result of dressing the
words of one language in the grammatical construction of another. Mr.
Curtis gives us the sentiment and wit and fancy and humor and oddity of
the German's stories, but in an English way. Indeed, his is manly and
graceful English, such as we hope we are not now by any means seeing
the last of.

To the right sort of reader, as _we_ consider him, of the "Arabian
Days," a word about the pictures (for observe, that the proper name for
the illustrations of a story-book is _pictures_) may be fitly spoken.

There are no less than sixteen very nice pictures to this
story-book,--well done, even for Mr. Hoppin, artistically, and well
conceived for the refreshing of the inner eye of him, her, or _it_ that
reads. And we must be permitted, also, who have read this book by
candle-light, as only such a book should be read, to congratulate the
readers who come after us upon the good type and good paper in which
the publishers have very properly produced it.

We hope and believe this publication will before long be given as a
boon to the rising generation, our second-cousins, across the water.
They, however, cannot have it (as we fully intend that certain small
bodies, but huge feeders on fiction, among our acquaintance, shall have
it) on Christmas morning,--the dear old festival, that, as we write, is
already near enough to warm our hearts with anticipation.

       *       *       *       *       *

_The Stratford Gallery: or the Shakspeare Sisterhood_. Comprising
Forty-five Ideal Portraits, described by HENRIETTA LEE PALMER.
Illustrated. New York: D. Appleton & Co.

This book is what it purports to be,--not a collection of elaborate
essays devoted to metaphysical analysis or to conjectural emendations
of doubtful lines,--but a series of ideal portraits of the women of
Shakspeare's plays. The reader may fancy himself led by an intelligent
cicerone who pauses before each picture and with well-chosen words
tells enough of the story to present the heroine, and then gives her
own conception of the character, with such hints concerning manners and
personal peculiarities as a careful study of the play may furnish. The
narrations are models of neatness and brevity, yet full enough to give
a clear understanding of the situation to any one unacquainted with it.
The creations of Shakspeare have a wonderful completeness and vitality;
and yet the elements of character are often mingled so subtilely that
the sharpest critics differ widely in their estimates. Nothing can be
more fascinating than to follow closely the great dramatist, picking
out from the dialogue a trait of form here, a whim of color there, and
at last combining them into an harmonious whole, with the truth of
outline, hue, and bearing preserved. Often as this has been done, there
is room still for new observers, provided they bring their own eyes to
the task, and do not depend upon the dim and warped lenses of the

It is very rarely that we meet with so fresh, so acute, and so
entertaining a student of Shakspeare as the author of this volume. Her
observations, whether invariably just or not, are generally taken from
a new stand-point. She is led to her conclusions rather by instinct
than by reason. She makes no apology for her judgments.

  "I have no reason but a woman's reason;
  I think her so because I think her so."

And it would not be strange, if womanly instinct were to prove
oftentimes a truer guide in following the waywardness or the apparent
contradictions of a woman's nature than the cold logical processes of
merely intellectual men.

To the heroines who are most truly _women_ the author's loyalty is pure
and intense. Imogen, the "chaste, ardent, devoted, beautiful"
wife,--Juliet, whose "ingenuousness and almost infantile simplicity"
endear her to all hearts,--Miranda, that most ethereal creation, type
of virgin innocence,--Cordelia, with her pure, filial devotion,--are
painted with loving, sympathetic tenderness.

Altogether, this is a book which any admirer of the poet may read with
pleasure; and especially to those who have not ventured to think wholly
for themselves it will prove a most useful and agreeable companion.

It is a matter of regret that the characters of the greatest of
dramatists should not have been embodied by the greatest of painters.
But no Michel Angelo, or Raphael, or Correggio, has illustrated these
wonderful creations; and the man who is capable of appreciating
Miranda, or Ophelia, or Desdemona, finds the ideal heads of the
painters, of our day at least, tame, vapid, and unsatisfactory. The
heroine, as imaged in his mind, is arrayed in a loveliness which limner
never compassed. We cannot promise our readers that the engravings in
this beautifully printed and richly bound volume will prove to be
exceptions to the usual rule. They are from designs by English
artists,--"Eminent Hands," in the popular phrase; the faces are often
quite striking and expressive, and, up to a certain point,
characteristic; moreover, they are smoothly finished, and will compare
favorably with those in fashionable gift-books. Without being in the
least degree examples of a high style of Art in its absolute sense,
they answer well the purpose for which they were designed. Indeed, if
they were more truly ideal, and, at the same time, more truly human,
they would doubtless be far less popular.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Ernest Carroll, or Artist-Life in Italy_. A Novel, in Three Parts.
Boston; Ticknor & Fields. 1858.

This book is not strictly of the kind which the Germans call the
Art-Novel, and yet we know not how else to class it. The author has
spun a somewhat improbable story as the thread for his reflections on
Art and his reminiscences of artists and travel. We confess that we
should have liked it better, had he made his book simply a record of
experience and reflection. But there are many admirable things in this
little volume, which is evidently the work of a person of refined
artistic culture and clear intelligence. Of especial value we reckon
the reminiscences of Allston and his methods; and it seems a little
singular, since the scene is laid chiefly in Florence and in 1847, that
we get nothing more satisfactory than a single anecdote about the elder
Greenough, whose life and works and thoroughly emancipated style of
thought have done more to honor American Art than those of any other
man, except Allston.

We rather regret that the author had not made his book more of a
journal, and recorded directly his own impressions, because he shows a
decided ability in bringing scenes before the eye of the reader. The
sketches of Doney's _Caffè_ and the Venetian _improvvisatore_ are
especially vivid; so is that of the old picture-dealer; though in all
we think some of the phrases might have been softened with advantage.
We enter our earnest protest also against the Ruskin chapter. The
scenes at Graefenberg are fresh, lively, and interesting. The book is
also enlivened by many entertaining anecdotes of living American
artists and _savans_, which are told with the skill of a practised
_raconteur_. We hope to hear from the author again, and in a form which
shall enable his knowledge and experience in matters of Art to have
freer play than the exigencies of a novel allow them, and in which his
abilities in the discussion of aesthetics shall have more scope given
them than that of the _obiter dicta_ in a story.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Hymns of the Ages_. Being Selections from the Lyra Catholica,
Apostolica, Germanica, and other Sources, with an Introduction by PROF.
F.D. HUNTINGTON. Boston: Phillips, Sampson, & Co. 1859. Square 8vo. pp.

In this exquisitely-printed volume the editors have collected specimens
of the devotional poetry of the Christian Church, including
translations from the Roman Breviary, as well as from German hymns,
with a few from English sources. There has been no attempt, evidently,
to conform to the requirements of any creed; the devout Catholic, as
well as the Episcopalian Churchman, will find here the favorite
aspirations, penitential strains, and ascriptions of praise, which have
been consecrated by generations of worshippers. To American readers the
collection will be substantially new, since hardly a dozen of the hymns
are to be found in the volumes in use in our churches. If it had been
the purpose of the editors to gather all the classic religious poetry,
to form a sacred anthology, it would have been necessary to print a
great number of the hymns in modern collections; and the volume would
in that case have lost in novelty what it gained in completeness.

Those who like to go back to the ancient forms of worship for
inspiration, who feel the force of association in the lyrics which have
come down from almost apostolic times, will find in this book an aid to
devotion and religious contemplation. With a little more care in
excluding strongly-marked doctrinal stanzas, the "Hymns of the Ages,"
if less characteristic, would have been more truly _catholic_, and
therefore acceptable to a larger portion of the Church Universal.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 03, No. 15, January, 1859" ***

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