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Title: The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 03, No. 16, February, 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. 16, February, 1859" ***

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THE

ATLANTIC MONTHLY.

A MAGAZINE OF LITERATURE, ART, AND POLITICS.

       *       *       *       *       *

VOL. III--FEBRUARY, 1859.--NO. XVI.

       *       *       *       *       *


OUGHT WOMEN TO LEARN THE ALPHABET?


Paris smiled, for an hour or two, in the year 1801, when, amidst
Napoleon's mighty projects for remodelling the religion and government
of his empire, the ironical satirist, Sylvain Maréchal, thrust in his
"Plan for a Law prohibiting the Alphabet to Women." Daring, keen,
sarcastic, learned, the little tract retains to-day so much of its
pungency, that we can hardly wonder at the honest simplicity of the
author's friend and biographer, Madame Gacon Dufour, who declared that
he must be partially insane, and proceeded to prove herself so by
replying to him. His proposed statute consists of eighty-two clauses,
and is fortified by a "whereas" of a hundred and thirteen weighty
reasons. He exhausts the range of history to show the frightful results
which have followed this taste of the fruit of the tree of knowledge;
quotes the Encyclopédie, to prove that the woman who knows the alphabet
has already lost a portion of her innocence; cites the opinion of
Molière, that any female who has unhappily learned anything in this line
should affect ignorance, when possible; asserts that knowledge rarely
makes men attractive, and females never; opines that women have no
occasion to peruse Ovid's "Art of Love," since they know it all in
advance; remarks that three-quarters of female authors are no better
than they should be; maintains that Madame Guion would have been far
more useful, had she been merely pretty and an ignoramus, such as Nature
made her,--that Ruth and Naomi could not read, and Boaz probably
would never have married into the family, had they possessed that
accomplishment,--that the Spartan women did not know the alphabet, nor
the Amazons, nor Penelope, nor Andromache, nor Lucretia, nor Joan of
Arc, nor Petrarch's Laura, nor the daughters of Charlemagne, nor the
three hundred and sixty-five wives of Mohammed;--but that Sappho and
Madame de Maintenon could read altogether too well, while the case of
Saint Brigitta, who brought forth twelve children and twelve books, was
clearly exceptional, and afforded no safe precedent.

We take it, that the brilliant Frenchman has touched the root of the
matter. Ought women to learn the alphabet? There the whole question
lies. Concede this little fulcrum, and Archimedea will move the world
before she has done with it; it becomes merely a question of time.
Resistance must be made here or nowhere. _Obsta principiis_. Woman must
be a subject or an equal; there is no middle ground. What if the Chinese
proverb should turn out to be, after all, the summit of wisdom,--"For
men, to cultivate virtue is knowledge; for women, to renounce knowledge
is virtue"?

No doubt, the progress of events is slow, like the working of the laws
of gravitation generally. Certainly, there has been but little change in
the legal position of woman since China was in its prime, until within
the last dozen years. Lawyers admit that the fundamental theory of
English and Oriental law is the same on this point: Man and wife are
one, and that one is the husband. It is the oldest of legal traditions.
When Blackstone declares that "the very being and existence of the woman
is suspended during the marriage," and American Kent echoes that "her
legal existence and authority are in a manner lost,"--when Petersdorff
asserts that "the husband has the right of imposing such corporeal
restraints as he may deem necessary," and Bacon that "the husband hath,
by law, power and dominion over his wife, and may keep her by force
within the bounds of duty, and may beat her, but not in a violent or
cruel manner,"[A]--when Mr. Justice Coleridge rules that the husband,
in certain cases, "has a right to confine his wife in his own
dwelling-house and restrain her from liberty for an indefinite time,"
and Baron Alderson sums it all up tersely, "The wife is only the
_servant_ of her husband,"--these high authorities simply reaffirm the
dogma of the Gentoo code, four thousand years old and more:--"A man,
both day and night, must keep his wife so much in subjection that she by
no means be mistress of her own actions. If the wife have her own free
will, notwithstanding she be of a superior caste, she will behave
amiss."

[Footnote A: It may be well to fortify this point by a racy extract from
that rare and amusing old book, the pioneer of its class, entitled "The
Lawes Resolutions of Women's Rights, or the Lawes Provision for Woman.
A Methodicall Collection of such Statutes and Customes, with the Cases,
Opinions, Arguments, and Points of Learning in the Law as doe properly
concern Women." London: A.D. 1632. pp. 404. 4to. The pithy sentences
lose immeasurably, however, by being removed from their original
black-letter setting.

"_Lib. III Sect. VII, The Baron may beate his Wife_.

"The rest followeth, Justice Brooke 12. H. 8. fo. 1. affirmeth plainly,
that if a man beat an out-law, a traitor, a Pagan, his villein, or his
wife, it is dispunishable, because by the Law Common these persons can
haue no action: God send Gentle women better sport, or better companie.

"But it seemeth to be very true, that there is some kind of castigation
which Law permits a Husband to vse; for if a woman be threatned by her
husband to bee beaten, mischieued, or slaine, Fitzherbert sets donne a
Writ which she may sve out of Chancery to compell him to finde surety of
honest behauiour toward her, and that he shall neither doe nor procure
to be done to her (marke I pray you) any bodily damage, otherwise then
appertaines to the office of a Husband for lawfull and reasonable
correction. See for this the new Nat. bre. fo. 80 f. & fo. 23S f.

"How farre that extendeth I cannot tell, but herein the sexe feminine is
at no very great disaduantage: for first for the lawfulnesse; If it be
in no other regard lawfull to beat a man's wife, then because the poore
wench can sve no other action for it, I pray why may not the Wife beat
the Husband againe, what action can he haue if she doe: where two
tenants in Common be on a horse, and one them will trauell and vse this
horse, hee may keepe it from his Companion a yeare two or three and so
be euen with him; so the actionlesse woman beaten by her Husband, hath
retaliation left to beate him againe, if she dare. If he come to the
Chancery or Justices in the Country of the peace against her, because
her recognizance alone will hardly bee taken, he were best be bound for
her, and then if he be beaten the second time, let him know the price of
it on God's name."]

Yet behind these unchanging institutions, a pressure has been for
centuries becoming concentrated, which, now that it has begun to act, is
threatening to overthrow them all. It has not yet operated very visibly
in the Old World, where (even in England) the majority of women have
not yet mastered the alphabet, and can not sign their own names in the
marriage-register. But in this country, the vast changes of the last
twelve years are already a matter of history. No trumpet has been
sounded, no earthquake felt, while State after State has ushered into
legal existence one half of the population within its borders. Every
Free State in the American Union, except perhaps Illinois and New
Jersey, has conceded to married women, in some form, the separate
control of property. Maine, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and
Pennsylvania have gone farther, and given them the control of their own
earnings,--given it wholly and directly, that is,--while New York
and other States have given it partially or indirectly. Legislative
committees in Ohio and Wisconsin have recommended, in printed reports,
the extension of the right of suffrage to women; Kentucky (like Canada)
has actually extended it, in certain educational matters, and a
Massachusetts legislative committee has suggested the same thing; while
the Kansas Constitutional Convention came within a dozen votes of
extending it without reserve, and expunging the word _male_ from the
Constitution. Surely, here and now, might poor M. Maréchal exclaim. The
bitter fruits of the original seed appear, and the sad question recurs,
whether women ought ever to have tasted of the alphabet.

Mr. Everett, perhaps without due caution, advocated, last summer, the
affirmative of this question. With his accustomed eloquence, he urged on
the attention of Suleiman Bey the fact of the equal participation of the
sexes in the public-school system of Boston, while omitting to explain
to him that the equality is of very recent standing. No doubt, the
eminent Oriental would have been pleased to hear that this public
administration of the alphabet to females, on any terms, is an
institution but little more than a half-century old in the city of
Boston. It is well established by the early deeds and documents that a
large proportion of Puritan women could not write their own names; and
in Boston especially, for a hundred and fifty years, the public schools
included boys only. In the year 1789, however, the notable discovery was
made, that the average attendance of pupils from April to October was
only one half of that reported for the remainder of the year. This was
an obvious waste of money and accommodations, and it was therefore
proposed that female pupils should be annually introduced during this
intermediate period. Accordingly, school-girls, like other flowers,
blossomed in summer only; and this state of things lasted, with
but slight modification, for some forty years, according to the
School-Superintendent's Third Report. It was not till 1828 that all
distinctions were abolished in the Boston Common Schools; in the High
Schools lingering far later, sole vestige of the "good old times,"
before a mistaken economy overthrew the wholesome doctrine of M. Sylvain
Maréchal, and let loose the alphabet among women.

It is true that Eve ruined us all, according to theology, without
knowing her letters. Still, there is something to be said in defence
of that venerable ancestress. The Veronese lady, Isotta Nogarola, five
hundred and thirty-six of whose learned letters were preserved by De
Thou, composed a dialogue on the question, Whether Adam or Eve had
committed the greater sin? But Ludovico Domenichi, in his "Dialogue on
the Nobleness of Women," maintains that Eve did not sin at all, because
she was not even created when Adam was told not to eat the apple. It is
"in Adam all died," he shrewdly says; nobody died in Eve;--which
looks plausible. Be that as it may, Eve's daughters are in danger of
swallowing a whole harvest of forbidden fruit, in these revolutionary
days, unless something be done to cut off the supply.

It has been seriously asserted that during the last half-century more
books have been written by women and about women than during all the
previous uncounted ages. It may be true; although, when we think of the
innumerable volumes of _Mémoires_ by Frenchwomen of the seventeenth and
eighteenth centuries,--each one justifying the existence of her own ten
volumes by the remark, that all her contemporaries were writing as
many,--we have our doubts. As to the increased multitude of general
treatises on the female sex, however,--its education, life, health,
diseases, charms, dress, deeds, sphere, rights, wrongs, work, wages,
encroachments, and idiosyncrasies generally,--there can be no doubt
whatever; and the poorest of these books recognizes a condition of
public sentiment which no other age ever dreamed of. Still, literary
history preserves the names of some reformers before the Reformation, in
this matter. There was Signora Moderata Fonte, the Venetian, who left a
book to be published after her death, in 1592, "Dei Meriti delle Donne."
There was her townswoman, Lucrezia Marinella, who followed ten years
after, with her essay, "La Nobilità e la Eccelenza delle Donne, con
Difetti e Mancamenti degli Domini,"--a comprehensive theme, truly! Then
followed the all-accomplished Anna Maria Schurman, in 1645, with her
"Dissertatio de Ingenii Muliebris ad Doctrinam et meliores Literas
Aptitudine," with a few miscellaneous letters appended, in Greek and
Hebrew. At last came boldly Jacquette Guillaume, in 1665, and threw down
the gauntlet in her title-page, "Les Dames Illustres; où par bonnes et
fortes Raisons il se prouve que le Sexe Feminin surpasse en toute Sorte
de Genre le Sexe Masculin"; and with her came Margaret Boufflet and a
host of others; and finally, in England, Mary Wollstonecraft, whose
famous book, formidable in its day, would seem rather conservative
now,--and in America, that pious and worthy dame, Mrs. H. Mather
Crocker, Cotton Mather's grandchild, who, in 1818, published the first
book on the "Rights of Woman" ever written on this side the Atlantic.

Meanwhile there have never been wanting men, and strong men, to echo
these appeals. From Cornelius Agrippa and his essay (1509) on the
excellence of woman and her preëminence over man, down to the first
youthful thesis of Agassiz, "Mens Feminae Viri Animo superior," there
has been a succession of voices crying in the wilderness. In England,
Anthony Gibson wrote a book, in 1599, called "A Woman's Woorth, defended
against all the Men in the World, proouing them to be more Perfect,
Excellent, and Absolute in all Vertuous Actions than any Man of what
Qualitie soever, _Interlarded with Poetry." Per contra,_ the learned
Acidalius published a book in Latin and afterwards in French, to prove
that women are not reasonable creatures. Modern theologians are at worst
merely sub-acid, and do not always say so, if they think so. Meanwhile
most persons have been content to leave the world to go on its old
course, in this matter as in others, and have thus acquiesced in that
stern judicial decree, with which Timon of Athens sums up all his curses
upon womankind,--"If there sit twelve women at the table, let a dozen of
them be--as they are."

Ancient or modern, nothing in any of these discussions is so valuable as
the fact of the discussion itself. There is no discussion where there is
no wrong. Nothing so indicates wrong as this morbid self-inspection. The
complaints are a perpetual protest, the defences a perpetual confession.
It is too late to ignore the question, and once opened, it can be
settled only on absolute and permanent principles. There is a wrong; but
where? Does woman already know too much, or too little? Was she created
for man's subject, or his equal? Shall she have the alphabet, or not?

Ancient mythology, which undertook to explain everything, easily
accounted for the social and political disabilities of woman. Goguet
quotes the story from St. Augustine, who got it from Varro. Cecrops,
building Athens, saw starting from the earth an olive-plant and a
fountain, side by side. The Delphic oracle said, that this indicated a
strife between Minerva and Neptune for the honor of giving a name to the
city, and that the people must decide between them. Cecrops thereupon
assembled the men, and the women also, who then had a right to vote; and
the result was that Minerva carried the election by a glorious majority
of one. Then Attica was overflowed and laid waste; of course the
citizens attributed the calamity to Neptune, and resolved to punish the
women. It was therefore determined that in future they should not vote,
nor should any child bear the name of its mother.

Thus easily did mythology explain all troublesome inconsistencies. But
it is much that it should even have recognized them, at so early an
epoch, as needing explanation. When we ask for a less symbolical
elucidation, it lies within our reach. At least, it is not hard to take
the first steps into the mystery. There are, to be sure, some flowers of
rhetoric in the way. The obstacle to the participation of woman in the
alphabet, or in any other privilege, has been thought by some to be the
fear of impairing her delicacy, or of destroying her domesticity, or of
confounding the distinction between the sexes. We think otherwise. These
have been plausible excuses; they have even been genuine, though minor,
anxieties. But the whole thing, we take it, had always one simple,
intelligible basis,--sheer contempt for the supposed intellectual
inferiority of woman. She was not to be taught, because she was not
worth teaching. The learned Acidalius, aforesaid, was in the majority.
According to Aristotle and the Peripatetics, woman was _animal
occasionatum_, as if a sort of monster and accidental production.
Mediaeval councils, charitably asserting her claims to the rank of
humanity, still pronounced her unfit for instruction. In the Hindoo
dramas, she did not even speak the same language with her master, but
used the dialect of slaves. When, in the sixteenth century, Françoise de
Saintonges wished to establish girls' schools in France, she was hooted
in the streets, and her father called together four doctors, learned in
the law, to decide whether she was not possessed by demons, to think of
educating women,--_pour s'assurer qu'instraire des femmes n'était pas un
oeuvre du démon_.

It was the same with political rights. The foundation of the Salic
Law was not any sentimental anxiety to guard female delicacy and
domesticity; it was, as stated by Froissart, a blunt, hearty contempt:
"The kingdom of France being too noble to be ruled by a woman." And
the same principle was reaffirmed for our own institutions, in rather
softened language, by Theophilus Parsons, in his famous defence of the
rights of Massachusetts _men_ (the "Essex Result," in 1778): "Women,
what age soever they are of, are not considered as having a sufficient
acquired discretion [to exercise the franchise]."

In harmony with this are the various maxims and _bon mots_ of eminent
men, in respect to women. Niebuhr thought he should not have educated a
girl well,--he should have made her know too much. Lessing said, "The
woman who thinks is like the man who puts on rouge, ridiculous."
Voltaire said, "Ideas are like beards; women and young men have none."
And witty Dr. Maginn carries to its extreme the atrocity: "We like to
hear a few words of sense from a woman, as we do from a parrot, because
they are so unexpected." Yet how can we wonder at these opinions, when
the saints have been severer than the sages? since the pious Fénelon
taught that true virgin delicacy was almost as incompatible with
learning as with vice,--and Dr. Channing complained, in his "Essay on
Exclusion and Denunciation," of "women forgetting the tenderness of
their sex" and arguing on theology.

Now this impression of feminine inferiority may be right or wrong, but
it obviously does a good deal towards explaining the facts it takes for
granted. If contempt does not originally cause failure, it perpetuates
it. Systematically discourage any individual or class, from birth to
death, and they learn, in nine cases out of ten, to acquiesce in their
degradation, if not to claim it as a crown of glory. If the Abbé Choisi
praised the Duchesse de Fontanges for being "beautiful as an angel and
silly as a goose," it was natural that all the young ladies of the court
should resolve to make up in folly what they wanted in charms. All
generations of women having been bred under the shadow of intellectual
contempt, they have of course done much to justify it. They have often
used only for frivolous purposes even the poor opportunities allowed
them. They have employed the alphabet, as Molière said, chiefly in
spelling the verb _Amo_. Their use of science has been like that of
Mlle. de Launay, who computed the decline in her lover's affection by
his abbreviation of their evening walk in the public square, preferring
to cross it rather than take the circuit,--"From which I inferred," she
says, "that his passion had diminished in the ratio between the diagonal
of a rectangular parallelogram and the sum of two adjacent sides."
And their conception, even of Art, has been too often on the scale
of Properzia de Rossi, who carved sixty-five heads on a walnut, the
smallest of all recorded symbols of woman's sphere.

All this might perhaps be overcome, if the social prejudice which
discourages woman would only reward proportionately those who surmount
the discouragement. The more obstacles the more glory, if society would
only pay in proportion to the labor; but it does not. Women, being
denied not merely the antecedent training which prepares for great
deeds, but the subsequent praise and compensation which follow them,
have been weakened in both directions. The career of eminent men
ordinarily begins with colleges and the memories of Miltiades, and ends
with fortune and fame; woman begins under discouragement, and ends
beneath the same. Single, she works with half-preparation and half-pay;
married, she puts name and wages into the keeping of her husband,
shrinks into John Smith's "lady" during life, and John Smith's "relict"
on her tombstone; and still the world wonders that her deeds, like her
opportunities, are inferior.

Evidently, then, the advocates of woman's claims--those who hold
that "the virtues of the man and the woman are the same," with
Antisthenes,--or that "the talent of the man and the woman is the same,"
with Socrates in Xenophon's "Banquet"--must be cautious lest they
attempt to prove too much. Of course, if women know as much as men
without schools and colleges, there is no need of admitting them to
these institutions. If they work as well on half-pay, it diminishes the
inducement to give them the other half. The safer position is, to claim
that they have done just enough to show what they might have done under
circumstances less discouraging. Take, for instance, the common remark,
that women have invented nothing. It is a valid answer, that the only
tools habitually needed by woman have been the needle, the spindle, and
the basket, and tradition reports that she herself invented all three.
In the same way it may be shown that the departments in which women have
equalled men have been the departments in which they have had equal
training, equal encouragement, and equal compensation,--as, for
instance, the theatre. Madame Lagrange, the _prima donna_, after years
of costly musical instruction, wins the zenith of professional success;
she receives, the newspapers affirm, sixty thousand dollars a year,
travelling-expenses for ten persons, country-houses, stables, and
liveries, besides an uncounted revenue of bracelets, bouquets, and
_billet-doux_. Of course, every young _débutante_ fancies the same thing
within her own reach, with only a brief stage-vista between. On the
stage there is no deduction for sex, and therefore woman has shown in
that sphere an equal genius. But every female common-school teacher in
the United States finds the enjoyment of her two hundred dollars a
year to be secretly embittered by the knowledge that the young
college-stripling in the next school-room is paid a thousand dollars for
work no harder or more responsible than her own,--and that, too, after
the whole pathway of education has been obstructed for her and smoothed
for him. These may be gross and carnal considerations; but Faith asks
her daily bread, and Fancy must be _fed_. We deny woman her fair share
of training, of encouragement, of remuneration, and then talk fine
nonsense about her instincts and her intuitions,--say sentimentally,
with the Oriental proverbialist, "Every book of knowledge is implanted
by nature in the heart of woman," and make the compliment a substitute
for the alphabet.

Nothing can be more absurd than to impose entirely distinct standards,
in this respect, on the two sexes, or to expect that woman, any more
than man, will accomplish anything great without due preparation and
adequate stimulus. Mrs. Patten, who navigated her husband's ship from
Cape Horn to California, would have failed in the effort, for all her
heroism, if she had not, unlike most of her sex, been taught to use her
Bowditch. Florence Nightingale, when she heard of the distresses in the
Crimea, did not, as most people imagine, rise up and say, "I am a woman,
ignorant, but intuitive, with very little sense or information, but
exceedingly sublime aspirations; my strength lies in my weakness; I can
do all things without knowing anything about them." Not at all.
During ten years she had been in hard training for precisely such
services,--had visited all the hospitals in London, Edinburgh, Dublin,
Paris, Lyons, Rome, Brussels, and Berlin.--had studied under the Sisters
of Charity, and been twice a nurse in the Protestant Institution at
Kaiserswerth. Therefore she did not merely carry to the Crimea a
woman's heart, as her stock in trade, but she knew the alphabet of
her profession better than the men around her. Of course, genius and
enthusiasm are, for both sexes, elements unforeseen and incalculable;
but, as a general rule, great achievements imply great preparations and
favorable conditions.

To disregard this truth is unreasonable in the abstract and cruel in its
consequences. If an extraordinary male gymnast can clear a height of ten
feet with the aid of a spring-board, it would be considered slightly
absurd to ask a woman to leap eleven feet without one; yet this is
precisely what society and the critics have always done. Training and
wages and social approbation are very elastic spring-boards, and the
whole course of history has seen these offered bounteously to one sex
and as sedulously withheld from the other. Let woman consent to be a
doll, and there was no finery so gorgeous, no baby-house so costly, but
she might aspire to share its lavish delights;--let her ask simply for
an equal chance to learn, to labor, and to live, and it was as if that
same doll should open its lips, and propound Euclid's forty-seventh
proposition. While we have all deplored the helpless position of
indigent women, and lamented that they had no alternative beyond the
needle, the wash-tub, the school-room, and the street, we have yet
resisted their admission into every new occupation, denied them
training, and cut their compensation down. Like Charles Lamb, who atoned
for coming late to the office in the morning by going away early in the
afternoon, we have, first, half educated women, and then, to restore
the balance, only half paid them. What innumerable obstacles have
been placed in the way of female physicians! what a complication of
difficulties has been encountered by female printers, engravers, and
designers! In London, Mr. Bennett was recently mobbed for lecturing to
women on watchmaking. In this country, we have known grave professors
to refuse to address lyceums which thought fit to employ an occasional
female lecturer. Mr. Comer states that it was "in the face of ridicule
and sneers" that he began to educate women as book-keepers, eight years
ago; and it is a little contemptible in the authoress of "A Woman's
Thoughts on Women" to revive the same satire now, when she must know
that in one half the retail shops in Paris her own sex rules the ledger,
and Mammon knows no Salic law.

We find, on investigation, what these considerations would lead us to
expect, that eminent women have commonly been more exceptional in their
training and position than even in their genius. They have excelled the
average of their own sex because they have had more of the ordinary
advantages of the other sex. Take any department of learning or skill;
take, for instance, the knowledge of languages, the universal alphabet,
philology.--On the great stairway, at Padua, stands the statue of Elena
Cornaro, professor of six languages in that once renowned university.
But Elena Cornaro was educated like a boy, by her father. On the great
door of the University of Bologna is inscribed the epitaph of Clotilda
Tambroni, the honored correspondent of Person, and the first Greek
scholar of Southern Europe in her day. But Clotilda Tambroni was
educated like a boy, by Emanuele Aponte.--How fine are those prefatory
words, "by a Right Reverend Prelate," to that pioneer book in
Anglo-Saxon lore, Elizabeth Elstob's grammar: "Our earthly possessions
are indeed our patrimony, as derived to us by the industry of our
fathers; but the language in which we speak is our mother-tongue, and
who so proper to play the critic in this as the females?" But this
particular female obtained the rudiments of her rare education from her
mother, before she was eight years old, in spite of much opposition from
her right reverend guardians.--Adelung, the highest authority, declares
that all modern philology is founded on the translation of a Russian
vocabulary into two hundred different dialects by Catherine II. But
Catherine shared, in childhood, the instructors of her brother, Prince
Frederick, and was subject to some reproach for learning, though a
girl, so much more rapidly than he did.--Christina of Sweden ironically
reproved Madame Dacier for her translation of Callimachus: "Such a
pretty girl as you are, are you not ashamed to be so learned?" But
Madame Dacier acquired Greek by contriving to do her embroidery in the
room where her father was teaching her stupid brother; and her queenly
critic had learned to read Thucydides, harder Greek than Callimachus,
before she was fourteen.--And so down to our own day, who knows how
many mute, inglorious Minervas may have perished unenlightened, while
Margaret Fuller and Elizabeth Barrett Browning were being educated "like
boys"?

This expression simply means that they had the most solid training which
the times afforded. Most persons would instantly take alarm at the very
words; that is, they have so little faith in the distinctions which
Nature has established, that they think, if you teach the alphabet, or
anything else, indiscriminately to both sexes, you annul all difference
between them. The common reasoning is thus: "Boys and girls are
acknowledged to be distinct beings. Now boys study Greek and algebra,
medicine and book-keeping. Therefore girls should not." As if one
should say: "Boys and girls are distinct beings. Now boys eat beef and
potatoes. Therefore, obviously, girls should not."

The analogy between physical and spiritual food is precisely in point.
The simple truth is, that, amid the vast range of human powers and
properties, the fact of sex is but one item. Vital and momentous in
itself, it does not constitute the whole organism, but only a small part
of it. The distinction of male and female is special, aimed at a certain
end; and apart from that end, it is, throughout all the kingdoms
of Nature, of minor importance. With but trifling exceptions, from
infusorial up to man, the female animal moves, breathes, looks, listens,
runs, flies, swims, pursues its food, eats it, digests it, in precisely
the same manner as the male; all instincts, all characteristics, are the
same, except as to the one solitary fact of parentage. Mr. Ten Broeck's
race-horses, Pryor and Prioress, were foaled alike, fed alike, trained
alike, and finally ran side by side, competing for the same prize. The
eagle is not checked in soaring by any consciousness of sex, nor asks
the sex of the timid hare, its quarry. Nature, for high purposes,
creates and guards the sexual distinction, but keeps it humbly
subordinate to still more important ones.

Now all this bears directly upon the alphabet. What sort of philosophy
is that which says, "John is a fool; Jane is a genius; nevertheless,
John, being a man, should learn, lead, make laws, make money; Jane,
being a woman, shall be ignorant, dependent, disfranchised, underpaid."
Of course, the time is past when one would state this so frankly, though
Comte comes quite near it, to say nothing of the Mormons; but this
formula really lies at the bottom of the reasoning one hears every day.
The answer is: Soul before sex. Give an equal chance, and let genius and
industry to the rest. _La carrière ouverte aux talens_. Every man for
himself, every woman for herself, and the alphabet for us all.

Thus far, our whole course of argument has been defensive and
explanatory. We have shown that woman's inferiority in special
achievements, so far as it exists, is a fact of small importance,
because it is merely a corollary from her historic position of
degradation. She has not excelled, because she has had no fair chance to
excel. Man, placing his foot upon her shoulder, has taunted her with not
rising. But the ulterior question remains behind,--How came she into
this attitude, originally? Explain the explanation, the logician fairly
demands. Granted that woman is weak because she has been systematically
degraded; but why was she degraded? This is a far deeper question,--one
to be met only by a profounder philosophy and a positive solution. We
are coming on ground almost wholly untrod, and must do the best we can.

We venture to assert, then, that woman's social inferiority, in
the past, has been, to a great extent, a legitimate thing. To all
appearance, history would have been impossible without it, just as it
would have been impossible without an epoch of war and slavery. It
is simply a matter of social progress, a part of the succession of
civilizations. The past has been, and inevitably, a period of ignorance,
of engrossing physical necessities, and of brute force,--not of
freedom, of philanthropy, and of culture. During that lower epoch, woman
was necessarily an inferior,--degraded by abject labor, even in time
of peace,--degraded uniformly by war, chivalry to the contrary
notwithstanding. Behind all the courtesies of Amadis and the Cid lay the
stern fact,--woman a child or a toy. The flattering troubadours chanted
her into a poet's paradise; but, alas! that kingdom of heaven suffered
violence, and the violent took it by force. The truth simply was, that
her time had not come. Physical strength must rule for a time, and she
was the weaker. She was very properly refused a feudal grant, because,
say "Les Coustumes de Normandie," she is not trained to war or policy:
_C'est l'homme ki se bast et ki conseille_. Other authorities put it
still more plainly: "A woman cannot serve the emperor or feudal lord in
war, on account of the decorum of her sex; nor assist him with advice,
because of her limited intellect; nor keep his counsel, owing to the
infirmity of her disposition." All which was, no doubt, in the majority
of cases, true, and the degradation of woman was simply a part of
a system, which has indeed had its day, but has bequeathed its
associations.

From this reign of force woman never freed herself by force. She could
not fight, or would not. Bohemian annals, indeed, record the legend of
a literal war between the sexes, in which the women's army was led by
Libussa and Wlasla, and which finally ended with the capture, by the
army of men, of Castle Dziewin, Maiden's Tower, whose ruins are still
visible near Prague. The armor of Libussa is still shown at Vienna, and
the guide calls attention to the long-peaked toes of steel, with which,
he avers, the tender Princess was wont to pierce the hearts of her
opponents, while careering through the battle. And there are abundant
instances in which women have fought side by side with men, and on equal
terms. The ancient British women mingled in the wars of their husbands,
and their princesses were trained to the use of arms in the Maiden's
Castle at Edinburgh and in the Isle of Skye. The Moorish wives and
maidens fought in defence of their European peninsula; and the
Portuguese women fought, on the same soil, against the armies of Philip
II. The king of Siam has at present a bodyguard of four hundred women;
they are armed with lance and rifle, are admirably disciplined, and
their commander (appointed after saving the king's life at a tiger-hunt)
ranks as one of the royal family and has ten elephants at her service.
When the all-conquering Dahomian army marched upon Abbeokuta, in 1851,
they numbered ten thousand men and six thousand women; the women were,
as usual, placed foremost in the assault, as being most reliable; and
of the eighteen hundred bodies left dead before the walls, the vast
majority were of women. The Hospital of the Invalides, in Paris, has
sheltered, for half a century, a fine specimen of a female soldier,
"Lieutenant Madame Bulan," now eighty-three years old, decorated by
Napoleon's own hand with the cross of the Legion of Honor, and credited
on the hospital books with "seven years' service,--seven campaigns,--
three wounds,--several times distinguished, especially in Corsica,
in defending a fort against the English." But these cases, though
interesting to the historian, are still exceptional, and the instinctive
repugnance they inspire is condemnatory, not of women, but of war.

The reason, then, for the long subjection of woman has been simply that
humanity was passing through its first epoch, and her full career was to
be reserved for the second. As the different races of man have appeared
successively upon the stage of history, so there has been an order
of succession of the sexes. Woman's appointed era, like that of the
Scandinavian tribes, was delayed, but not omitted. It is not merely
true that the empire of the past has belonged to man, but that it has
properly belonged to him; for it was an empire of the muscles, enlisting
at best but the lower powers of the understanding. There can be no
question that the present epoch is initiating an empire of the higher
reason, of arts, affections, aspirations; and for that epoch the genius
of woman has been reserved. The spirit of the age has always kept pace
with the facts, and outstripped the statutes. Till the fulness of time
came, woman was necessarily kept a slave to the spinning-wheel and the
needle; now higher work is ready, peace has brought invention to her
aid, and the mechanical means for her emancipation are ready also. No
use in releasing her, till man, with his strong arm, had worked out his
preliminary share in civilization. "Earth waits for her queen" was a
favorite motto of Margaret Fuller's; but it would be more correct to say
that the queen has waited for her earth, till it could be smoothed and
prepared for her occupancy. Now Cinderella may begin to think of putting
on her royal robes.

Everybody sees that the times are altering the whole material position
of woman; but most persons do not appear to see the inevitable social
and moral changes which are also involved. As has been already said, the
woman of ancient history was a slave to physical necessities, both in
war and peace. In war she could do too little, in peace she did too
much, under the material compulsions which controlled the world. How
could the Jews, for instance, elevate woman? They could not spare her
from the wool and the flax and the candle that goeth not out by night.
In Rome, when the bride first stepped across her threshold, they did
not ask her, Do you know the alphabet? they asked simply, Can you spin?
There was no higher epitaph than Queen Amalasontha's,--_Domum servavit,
lanam fecit_. In Boeotia, brides were conducted home in vehicles whose
wheels were burned at the door, in token that they were never to leave
the house again. Pythagoras instituted at Crotona an annual festival
for the distaff; Confucius, in China, did the same for the spindle; and
these celebrated not the freedom, but the serfdom, of woman.

And even into modern days this same tyrannical necessity has lingered.
"Go spin, you jades! go spin!" was the only answer vouchsafed by the
Earl of Pembroke to the twice-banished nuns of Wilton. And even now,
travellers agree that throughout civilized Europe, with the partial
exception of England and France, the profound absorption of the mass of
women in household labors renders their general elevation impossible.
But with us Americans, and in this age, when all these vast labors
are being more and more transferred to arms of brass and iron,--when
Rochester grinds the flour, and Lowell weaves the cloth, and the fire on
the hearth has gone into black retirement and mourning,--when the wiser
a virgin is, the less she has to do with oil in her lamp,--when the
needle has made its last dying speech and confession in the "Song of
the Shirt," and the sewing-machine has changed those doleful marches to
delightful measures,--how is it possible for the blindest to help seeing
that a new era is begun, and that the time has come for woman to learn
the alphabet?

Nobody asks for any abolition of domestic labor for women, any more than
of outdoor labor for men. Of course, most women will still continue to
be mainly occupied with the indoor care of their families, and most men
with their external support. All that is desirable for either sex is
such an economy of labor, in this respect, as shall leave some spare
time, to be appropriated in other directions. The argument against each
new emancipation of woman is precisely that always made against the
liberation of serfs and the enfranchisement of plebeians,--that the new
position will take them from their legitimate business. "How can he [or
she] get wisdom that holdeth the plough, [or the broom,]--whose talk
is of bullocks [or of babies]?" Yet the American farmer has already
emancipated himself from these fancied incompatibilities, and so will
the farmer's wife. In a nation where there is no leisure-class and no
peasantry, this whole theory of exclusion is an absurdity. We all have a
little leisure, and we must all make the most of it. If we will confine
large interests and duties to those who have nothing else to do, we must
go back to monarchy at once; if otherwise, then the alphabet, and its
consequences, must be open to woman as to man. Jean Paul says nobly, in
his "Levana," that, "before and after being a mother, a woman is a human
being, and neither maternal nor conjugal relation can supersede the
human responsibility, but must become its means and instrument." And it
is good to read the manly speech, on this subject, of John Quincy Adams,
quoted at length by his recent venerable biographer,--in which, after
fully defending the political petitions of the women of Plymouth,
he declares that "the correct principle is, that women are not only
justified, but exhibit the most exalted virtue, when they do depart from
the domestic circle, and enter on the concerns of their country, of
humanity, and of their God."

There are duties devolving on every human being,--duties not small or
few, but vast and varied,--which spring from home and private life, and
all their sweet relations. The support or care of the humblest household
is a function worthy of men, women, and angels, so far as it goes. From
these duties none must shrink, neither man nor woman; the loftiest
genius cannot ignore them; the sublimest charity must begin with them.
They are their own exceeding great reward, their self-sacrifice is
infinite joy, and the selfishness which discards them receives in return
loneliness and a desolate old age. Yet these, though the most tender and
intimate portion of human life, do not form its whole. It is given
to noble souls to crave other interests also, added spheres, not
necessarily alien from these,--larger knowledge, larger action
also,--duties, responsibilities, anxieties, dangers, all the aliment
that history has given to its heroes. Not home less, but humanity more.
When the high-born English lady in the Crimean hospital, ordered to a
post of almost certain death, only raised her hands to heaven and said,
"Thank God!" she did not renounce her true position as woman, she
claimed it. When the queen of James I. of Scotland, already immortalized
by him in stately verse, won a higher immortality by welcoming to her
fair bosom the daggers aimed at his,--when the Countess of Buchan hung
confined in her iron cage, outside Berwick Castle, in penalty for
crowning Robert the Bruce,--when the stainless soul of Joan of Arc met
God, like Moses, in a burning flame,--these things were as they should
be. Man must not monopolize these privileges of peril, birthright of
great souls. Serenades and compliments must not replace the nobler
hospitality which shares with woman the opportunity of martyrdom. Great
administrative duties also, cares of state, for which one should be born
gray-headed, how nobly do these sit upon a female brow! Each year adds
to the storied renown of Elizabeth of England, greatest sovereign of
the greatest of historic nations. Christina of Sweden, alone among the
crowned heads of Europe, (so says Voltaire,) sustained the dignity of
the throne against Richelieu and Mazarin. And they most assuredly
did not sacrifice their womanhood in the process; for her Britannic
Majesty's wardrobe included four thousand gowns,--and Mlle. de
Montpensier declares, that, when Christina had put on a wig of the
latest fashion, "she really looked extremely pretty." Should this
evidence of feminine attributes appear to some sterner intellects
frivolous and insufficient, it is, nevertheless, adapted to the level of
the style of argument it answers.

_Les races se féminisent_, said Buffon,--"The world is growing more
feminine." It is a compliment, whether the naturalist intended it or
not. Time has brought peace; peace, invention; and the poorest woman of
to-day is born to an inheritance such as her ancestors never dreamed of.
Previous attempts to confer on women social and political equality,--as
when Leopold, Grand Duke of Tuscany, made them magistrates, or when the
Hungarian revolutionists made them voters, or when our own New Jersey
tried the same experiment, in a guarded fashion, in early times, and
then revoked the privilege, because (as in the ancient fable) the women
voted the wrong way,--these things were premature, and valuable only as
concessions to a supposed principle. But in view of the rapid changes
now going on, he is a rash man who asserts the "Woman Question" to be
anything but a mere question of time. The fulcrum has been already
given, in the alphabet, and we must simply watch and see whether the
earth does not move.

In this present treatment of the subject, we have been more anxious to
assert broad principles than to work them out into the details of their
application. We only point out the plain fact: woman must be either
a subject or an equal; there is no other permanent ground. Every
concession to a supposed principle only involves the necessity of the
next concession for which that principle calls. Once yield the alphabet,
and we abandon the whole long theory of subjection and coverture; the
past is set aside, and we have nothing but abstractions to fall back
upon. Reasoning abstractly, it must be admitted that the argument has
been, thus far, entirely on the women's side, inasmuch as no man has yet
seriously tried to meet them with argument. It is an alarming feature of
this discussion, that it has reversed, very generally, the traditional
positions of the sexes: the women have had all the logic; and the most
intelligent men, when they have attempted the other side, have limited
themselves to satire and gossip. What rational woman, we ask, can be
convinced by the nonsense which is talked in ordinary society around
her,--as, that it is right to admit girls to common schools, and equally
right to exclude them from colleges,--that it is proper for a woman
to sing in public, but indelicate for her to speak in public,--that a
post-office box is an unexceptionable place to drop a bit of paper into,
but a ballot-box terribly dangerous? No cause in the world can keep
above water, sustained by such contradictions as these, too feeble and
slight to be dignified by the name of fallacies. Some persons profess to
think it impossible to reason with a woman, and they certainly show no
disposition to try the experiment.

But we must remember that all our American institutions are based on
consistency, or on nothing; all claim to be founded on the principles of
natural right, and when they quit those, they are lost. In all European
monarchies, it is the theory, that the mass of the people are children,
to be governed, not mature beings, to govern themselves. This is clearly
stated, and consistently applied. In the free states of this Union, we
have formally abandoned this theory for one half of the human race,
while for the other half it still flourishes in full force. The moment
the claims of woman are broached, the democrat becomes a monarchist.
What Americans commonly criticize in English statesmen, namely, that
they habitually evade all arguments based on natural right, and defend
every legal wrong on the ground that it works well in practice, is the
precise characteristic of our habitual view of woman. The perplexity
must be resolved somehow. We seldom meet a legislator who pretends to
deny that strict adherence to our own principles would place both sexes
in precisely equal positions before law and constitution, as well as in
school and society. But each has his special quibble to apply, showing
that in this case we must abandon all the general maxims to which we
have pledged ourselves, and hold only by precedent. Nay, he construes
even precedent with the most ingenious rigor; since the exclusion of
women from all direct contact with affairs can be made far more perfect
in a republic than is possible in a monarchy, where even sex is merged
in rank, and the female patrician may have far more power than the male
plebeian. But, as matters now stand among us, there is no aristocracy
but of sex: all men are born patrician, all women are legally plebeian;
all men are equal in having political power, and all women in having
none. This is a paradox so evident, and such an anomaly in human
progress, that it cannot last forever, without new discoveries in logic,
or else a deliberate return to M. Maréchal's theory concerning the
alphabet.

Meanwhile, as the newspapers say, we anxiously await further
developments. According to present appearances, the final adjustment
lies mainly in the hands of women themselves. Men can hardly be expected
to concede either rights or privileges more rapidly than they are
claimed, or to be truer to women than women are to each other. True, the
worst effect of a condition of inferiority is the weakness it leaves
behind it; even when we say, "Hands off!" the sufferer does not rise.
In such a case, there is but one counsel worth giving. More depends on
determination than even on ability. Will, not talent, governs the world.
From what pathway of eminence were women more traditionally excluded
than from the art of sculpture, in spite of _Non me Praxiteles fecit,
sed Anna Damer?_--yet Harriet Hosmer, in eight years, has trod its full
ascent. Who believed that a poetess could ever be more than an Annot
Lyle of the harp, to soothe with sweet melodies the leisure of her lord,
until in Elizabeth Barrett's hands the thing became a trumpet? Where
are gone the sneers with which army surgeons and parliamentary orators
opposed Mr. Sidney Herbert's first proposition to send Florence
Nightingale to the Crimea? In how many towns has the current of popular
prejuduce against female orators been reversed by one winning speech
from Lucy Stone! Where no logic can prevail, success silences. First
give woman, if you dare, the alphabet, then summon her to her career;
and though men, ignorant and prejudiced, may oppose its beginnings,
there is no danger but they will at last fling around her conquering
footsteps more lavish praises than ever greeted the opera's idol,--more
perfumed flowers than ever wooed, with intoxicating fragrance, the
fairest butterfly of the ball-room.



THE MORNING STREET.


  I walk alone the Morning Street,
  Filled with the silence strange and sweet:
  All seems as lone, as still, as dead,
  As if unnumbered years had fled,
  Letting the noisy Babel be
  Without a breath, a memory.
  The light wind walks with me, alone,
  Where the hot day like flame was blown;
  Where the wheels roared and dust was beat,
  The dew is in the Morning Street.

  Where are the restless throngs that pour
  Along this mighty corridor
  While the noon flames? the hurrying crowd
  Whose footsteps make the city loud?
  The myriad faces? hearts that beat
  No more in the deserted street?--
  Those footsteps, in their dream-land maze,
  Cross thresholds of forgotten days;
  Those faces brighten from the years
  In morning suns long set in tears;
  Those hearts--far in the Past they beat--
  Are singing in _their_ Morning Street.

  A city 'gainst the world's gray Prime,
  Lost in some desert, far from Time,
  Where noiseless Ages, gliding through,
  Have only sifted sands and dew,
  Were not more lone to one who first
  Upon its giant silence burst,
  Than this strange quiet, where the tide
  Of life, upheaved on either side,
  Hangs trembling, ready soon to beat
  With human waves the Morning Street.

  Ay, soon the glowing morning flood
  Pours through this charmèd solitude;
  All silent now, this Memnon-stone
  Will murmur to the rising sun;
  The busy life this vein shall beat,--
  The rush of wheels, the swarm of feet;
  The Arachne-threads of Purpose stream
  Unseen within the morning gleam;
  The Life will move, the Death be plain;
  The bridal throng, the funeral train,
  Together in the crowd will meet,
  And pass along the Morning Street.


       *       *       *       *       *



IN A CELLAR


I.


It was the day of Madame de St. Cyr's dinner, an event I never missed;
for, the mistress of a mansion in the Faubourg St. Germain, there still
lingered about her the exquisite grace and good-breeding peculiar to the
old _régime_, that insensibly communicates itself to the guests till
they move in an atmosphere of ease that constitutes the charm of home.
One was always sure of meeting desirable and well-assorted people here,
and a _contre-temps_ was impossible. Moreover, the house was not at the
command of all; and Madame de St. Cyr, with the daring strength which,
when found in a woman at all, should, to be endurable, be combined with
a sweet but firm restraint, rode rough-shod over the _parvenus_ of the
Empire, and was resolute enough to insulate herself even among the old
_noblesse_, who, as all the world knows, insulate themselves from the
rest of France. There were rare qualities in this woman, and were I to
have selected one who with an even hand should carry a snuffy candle
through a magazine of powder, my choice would have devolved upon her;
and she would have done it.

I often looked, and not unsuccessfully, to discern what heritage her
daughter had in these little affairs. Indeed, to one like myself
Delphine presented the worthier study. She wanted the airy charm of
manner, the suavity and tenderness of her mother,--a deficiency easily
to be pardoned in one of such delicate and extraordinary beauty. And
perhaps her face was the truest index of her mind; not that it ever
transparently displayed a genuine emotion,--Delphine was too well-bred
for that,--but the outline of her features had a keen, regular
precision, as if cut in a gem. Her exquisite color seldom varied, her
eyes were like blue steel, she was statue-like and stony. But had one
paused there, pronouncing her hard and impassive, he had committed an
error. She had no great capability for passion, but she was not to be
deceived; one metallic flash of her eye would cut like a sword through
the whole mesh of entanglements with which you had surrounded her; and
frequently, when alone with her, you perceived cool recesses in her
nature, sparkling and pleasant, which jealously guarded themselves from
a nearer approach. She was infinitely _spirituelle_; compared to her,
Madame herself was heavy.

At the first I had seen that Delphine must be the wife of a diplomate.
What diplomate? For a time asking myself the question seriously, I
decided in the negative, which did not, however, prevent Delphine from
fulfilling her destiny, since there were others. She was, after all,
like a draught of rich old wine, all fire and sweetness. These things
were not generally seen in her; I was more favored than many; and I
looked at her with pitiless perspicacious eyes. Nevertheless, I had not
the least advantage; it was, in fact, between us, diamond cut diamond,
--which, oddly enough, brings me back to my story.

Some years previously, I had been sent on a special mission to the
government at Paris, and having finally executed it, I resigned the
post, and resolved to make my residence there, since it is the only
place on earth where one can live. Every morning I half expect to see
the country, beyond the city, white with an encampment of the nations,
who, having peacefully flocked there over night, wait till the Rue St.
Honoré shall run out and greet them. It surprises me, sometimes, that
those pretending to civilization are content to remain at a distance.
What experience have they of life,--not to mention gayety and pleasure,
but of the great purpose of life,--society? Man evidently is gregarious;
Fourier's fables are founded on fact; we are nothing without our
opposites, our fellows, our lights and shadows, colors, relations,
combinations, our _point d'appui_, and our angle of sight. An isolated
man is immensurable; he is also unpicturesque, unnatural, untrue. He is
no longer the lord of Nature, animal and vegetable,--but Nature is the
lord of him; the trees, skies, flowers, predominate, and he is in as bad
taste as green and blue, or as an oyster in a vase of roses. The race
swings naturally to clusters. It being admitted, then, that society is
our normal state, where is it to be obtained in such perfection as at
Paris? Show me the urbanity, the generosity in trifles, better than
sacrifice, the incuriousness and freedom, the grace, and wit, and honor,
that will equal such as I find here. Morality,--we were not speaking
of it,--the intrusion is unnecessary; must that word with Anglo-Saxon
pertinacity dog us round the world? A hollow mask, which Vice now and
then lifts for a breath of air, I grant you this state may be called;
but since I find the vice elsewhere, countenance my preference for the
accompanying mask. But even this is vanishing; such drawing-rooms as
Mme. de St. Cyr's are less and less frequent. Yet, though the delightful
spell of the last century daily dissipates itself, and we are not now
what we were twenty years ago, still Paris is, and will be till the end
of time, for a cosmopolitan, the pivot on which the world revolves.

It was, then, as I have said, the day of Mme. de St. Cyr's dinner.
Punctually at the hour, I presented myself,--for I have always esteemed
it the least courtesy which a guest can render, that he should not cool
his hostess's dinner.

The usual choice company waited. There was the Marquis of G., the
ambassador from home, Col. Leigh, an attaché of that embassy, the
Spanish and Belgian ministers,--all of whom, with myself, completed a
diplomatic circle. There were also wits and artists, but no ladies whose
beauty exceeded that of the St. Cyrs. With nearly all of this assemblage
I held certain relations, so that I was immediately at ease--G. was the
only one whom, perhaps, I would rather not have met, although we were
the best of friends. They awaited but one, the Baron Stahl. Meanwhile
Delphine stood coolly taking the measurement of the Marquis of G., while
her mother entertained one and another guest with a low-toned flattery,
gentle interest, or lively narration, as the case might demand.

In a country where a _coup d'état_ was as easily given as a box on the
ear, we all attentively watched for the arrival of one who had been sent
from a neighboring empire to negotiate a loan for the tottering throne
of this. Nor was expectation kept long on guard. In a moment, "His
Excellency, the Baron Stahl!" was announced.

The exaggeration of his low bow to Mme. de St. Cyr, the gleam askance of
his black eye, the absurd simplicity of his dress, did not particularly
please me. A low forehead, straight black brows, a beardless cheek with
a fine color which gave him a fictitiously youthful appearance, were the
most striking traits of his face; his person was not to be found fault
with; but he boldly evinced his admiration for Delphine, and with a
wicked eye.

As we were introduced, he assured me, in pure English, that he had
pleasure in making the acquaintance of a gentleman whose services were
so distinguished.

I, in turn, assured him of my pleasure in meeting a gentleman who
appreciated them.

I had arrived at the house of Mme. de St. Cyr with a load on my mind,
which for four weeks had weighed there; but before I thus spoke, it
was lifted and gone. I had seen the Baron Stahl before, although not
previously aware of it; and now, as he bowed, talked my native tongue so
smoothly, drew a glove over the handsome hand upon whose first finger
shone the only incongruity of his attire, a broad gold ring, holding a
gaudy red stone,--as he stood smiling and expectant before me, a sudden
chain of events flashed through my mind, an instantaneous heat, like
lightning, welded them into logic. A great problem was resolved. For a
second, the breath seemed snatched from my lips; the next, a lighter,
freer man never trod in diplomatic shoes.

I really beg your pardon,--but perhaps from long usage, it has become
impossible for me to tell a straight story. It is absolutely necessary
to inform you of events already transpired.

In the first place, then, I, at this time, possessed a valet, the pink
of valets, an Englishman,--and not the less valuable to me in a foreign
capital, that, notwithstanding his long residence, he was utterly
unable to speak one word of French intelligibly. Reading and writing
it readily, his thick tongue could master scarcely a syllable. The
adroitness and perfection with which he performed the duties of his
place were unsurpassable. To a certain extent I was obliged to admit him
into my confidence; I was not at all in his. In dexterity and dispatch
he equalled the advertisements. He never condescended to don my cast-off
apparel, but, disposing of it, always arrayed himself in plain
but gentlemanly garments. These do not complete the list of Hay's
capabilities. He speculated. Respectable tenements in London called
him landlord; in the funds certain sums lay subject to his order; to a
profitable farm in Hants he contemplated future retirement; and passing
upon the Bourse, I have received a grave bow, and have left him in
conversation with an eminent capitalist respecting consols, drafts,
exchange, and other erudite mysteries, where I yet find myself in the
A B C. Thus not only was my valet a free-born Briton, but a landed
proprietor. If the Rothschilds blacked your boots or shaved your chin,
your emotions might be akin to mine. When this man, who had an interest
in the India traders, brought the hot water into my dressing-room, of a
morning, the Antipodes were tributary to me; to what extent might any
little irascibility of mine drive a depression in the market! and I
knew, as he brushed my hat, whether stocks rose or fell. In one respect,
I was essentially like our Saxon ancestors,--my servant was a villain.
If I had been merely a civilian, in any purely private capacity, having
leisure to attend to personal concerns in the midst of the delicate
specialties intrusted to me from the cabinet at home, the possession of
so inestimable a valet might have bullied me beyond endurance. As it
was, I found it rather agreeable than otherwise. He was tacitly my
secretary of finance.

Several years ago, a diamond of wonderful size and beauty, having
wandered from the East, fell into certain imperial coffers among
our Continental neighbors; and at the same time some extraordinary
intelligence, essential to the existence, so to speak, of that
government, reached a person there who fixed as its price this diamond.
After a while he obtained it, but, judging that prudence lay in
departure, took it to England, where it was purchased for an enormous
sum by the Duke of ----, as he will remain an unknown quantity, let
us say X. There are probably not a dozen such diamonds in the
world,--certainly not three in England. It rejoiced in such flowery
appellatives as the Sea of Splendor, the Moon of Milk; and, of course,
those who had been scarcely better than jewed out of it were determined
to obtain it again at all hazards;--they were never famous for
scrupulosity. The Duke of X. was aware of this, and, for a time, the gem
had lain idle, its glory muffled in a casket; but finally, on some grand
occasion, a few months prior to the period of which I have spoken above,
it was determined to set it in the Duchess's coronet. Accordingly, one
day, it was given by her son, the Marquis of G., into the hands of their
solicitor, who should deliver it to her Grace's jeweller. It lay in a
small shagreen case, and, before the Marquis left, the solicitor placed
the case in a flat leathern box, where lay a chain of most singular
workmanship, the clasp of which was deranged. This chain was very broad,
of a style known as the brick-work, but every brick was a tiny gem, set
in a delicate filigree linked with the next, and the whole rainbowed
lustrousness moving at your will, like the scales of some gorgeous
Egyptian serpent:--the solicitor was to take this also to the jeweller.
Having laid the box in his private desk, Ulster, his confidential clerk,
locked it, while he bowed the Marquis down. Returning immediately, the
solicitor took the flat box and drove to the jeweller's. He found the
latter so crowded with customers, it being the fashionable hour, as to
be unable to attend to him; he, however, took the solicitor into his
inner room, a dark fire-proof place, and there quickly deposited the box
within a safe, which stood inside another, like a Japanese puzzle, and
the solicitor, seeing the doors double-locked and secured, departed; the
other promising to attend to the matter on the morrow.

Early the next morning, the jeweller entered his dark room, and
proceeded to unlock the safe. This being concluded, and the inner one
also thrown open, he found the box in a last and entirely, as he had
always believed, secret compartment. Anxious to see this wonder, this
Eye of Morning, and Heart of Day, he eagerly loosened the band and
unclosed the box. It was empty. There was no chain there; the diamond
was missing. The sweat streamed from his forehead, his clothes were
saturated, he believed himself the victim of a delusion. Calling an
assistant, every article and nook in the dark room was examined. At
last, in an extremity of despair, he sent for the solicitor, who arrived
in a breath. The jeweller's alarm hardly equalled that of the other.
In his sudden dismay, he at first forgot the circumstances and dates
relating to the affair; afterward was doubtful. The Marquis of G. was
summoned, the police called in, the jeweller given into custody. Every
breath the solicitor continued to draw only built up his ruin. He
swallowed laudanum, but, by making it an overdose, frustrated his own
design. He was assured, on his recovery, that no suspicion attached to
him. The jeweller now asseverated that the diamond had never been
given to him; but though this was strictly true, the jeweller had,
nevertheless, committed perjury. Of course, whoever had the stone would
not attempt to dispose of it at present, and, though communications were
opened with the general European police, there was very little to work
upon. But by means of this last step the former possessors became aware
of its loss, and I make no doubt had their agents abroad immediately.

Meanwhile, the case hung here, complicated and tantalizing, when one
morning I woke in London. No sooner had G. heard of my arrival than he
called, and, relating the affair, requested my assistance. I confess
myself to have been interested,--foolishly so, I thought afterward; but
we all have our weaknesses, and diamonds were mine. In company with the
Marquis, I waited upon the solicitor, who entered into the few details
minutely, calling frequently upon Ulster, a young fresh-looking man, for
corroboration. We then drove to the jeweller's new quarters, took
him, under charge of the officers, to his place of business, where he
nervously showed me every point that could bear upon the subject, and
ended by exclaiming, that he was ruined, and all for a stone he had
never seen. I sat quietly for a few moments. It stood, then, thus:--G.
had given the thing to the solicitor, seen it put into the box, seen the
box put into the desk; but while the confidential clerk, Ulster, locked
the desk, the solicitor saw the Marquis to the door,--returning, took
the box, without opening it again, to the jeweller, who, in the hurry,
shut it up in his safe, also without opening it. The case was perfectly
clear. These mysterious things are always so simple! You know now, as
well as I, who took the diamond.

I did not choose to volunteer, but assented, on being desired. The
police and I were old friends; they had so often assisted me, that I was
not afraid to pay them in kind, and accordingly agreed to take charge of
the case, still retaining their aid, should I require it. The jeweller
was now restored to his occupation, although still subjected to a rigid
surveillance, and I instituted inquiries into the recent movements of
the young man Ulster. The case seemed to me to have been very blindly
conducted. But, though all that was brought to light concerning him in
London was perfectly fair and aboveboard, it was discovered that not
long since he had visited Paris,--on the solicitor's business, of
course, but gaining thereby an opportunity to transact any little
affairs of his own. This was fortunate; for if any one could do anything
in Paris, it was myself.

It is not often that I act as a detective. But one homogeneous to every
situation could hardly play a pleasanter part for once. I have thought
that our great masters in theory and practice, Machiavel and Talleyrand,
were hardly more, on a large scale.

I was about to return to Paris, but resolved to call previously on the
solicitor again. He welcomed me warmly, although my suspicions had not
been imparted to him, and, with a more cheerful heart than had lately
been habitual to him, entered into an animated conversation respecting
the great case of Biter _v._ Bit, then absorbing so much of the public
attention, frequently addressing Ulster, whose remarks were always
pertinent, brief, and clear. As I sat actively discussing the topic,
feeling no more interest in it than in the end of that cigar I just cut
off, and noting exactly every look and motion of the unfortunate youth,
I recollect the curious sentiment that filled me regarding him. What
injury had he done me, that I should pursue him with punishment? Me? I
am, and every individual is, integral with the commonwealth. It was
the commonwealth he had injured. Yet, even then, why was I the one to
administer justice? Why not continue with my coffee in the morning, my
kings and cabinets and national chess at noon, my opera at night, and
let the poor devil go? Why, but that justice is brought home to every
member of society,--that naked duty requires no shirking of such
responsibility,--that, had I failed here, the crime might, with reason,
lie at my door and multiply, the criminal increase himself?

Very possibly you will not unite with me; but these little catechisms
are, once in a while, indispensable, to vindicate one's course to
one's-self.

This Ulster was a handsome youth;--the rogues have generally all
the good looks. There was nothing else remarkable about him but his
quickness; he was perpetually on the alert; by constant activity, the
rust was never allowed to collect on his faculties; his sharpness was
distressing,--he appeared subject to a tense strain. Now his quill
scratched over the paper unconcernedly, while he could join as easily in
his master's conversation; nothing seemed to preoccupy him, or he held
a mind open at every point. It is pitiful to remember him that morning,
sitting quiet, unconscious, and free, utterly in the hands of that
mighty Inquisition, the Metropolitan Police, with its countless arms,
its cells and myrmidons in the remotest corners of the Continent, at the
mercy of so merciless a monster, and momently closer involved, like some
poor prey round which a spider spins its bewildering web. It was also
curious to observe the sudden suspicion that darkened his face at some
innocent remark,--the quick shrinking and intrenched retirement, the
manifest sting and rancor, as I touched his wound with a swift flash
of my slender weapon and sheathed it again, and, after the thrust,
the espionage, and the relief at believing it accidental. He had many
threads to gather up and hold;--little electric warnings along them must
have been constantly shocking him. He did that part well enough; it was
a mistake, to begin with; he needed prudence. At that time I owed this
Ulster nothing; now, however, I owe him a grudge, for some of the most
harassing hours of my life were occasioned me by him. But I shall not
cherish enmity on that account. With so promising a beginning, he will
graduate and take his degree from the loftiest altitude in his line.
Hemp is a narcotic; let it bring me forgetfulness.

In Paris I found it not difficult to trace such a person, since he was
both foreign and unaccustomed. It was ascertained that he had posted
several letters. A person of his description had been seen to drop a
letter, the superscription of which had been read by the one who picked
it up for him. This superscription was the address of the very person
who was likely to be the agent of the former possessors of the diamond,
and had attracted attention. After all,--you know the Secret Force,--it
was not so impossible to imagine what this letter contained, despite
of its cipher. Such a person also had been met among the Jews, and at
certain shops whose reputation was not of the clearest. He had called
once or twice on Mme. de St. Cyr, on business relative to a vineyard
adjoining her château in the Gironde, which she had sold to a
wine-merchant of England. I found a zest in the affair, as I pursued it.

We were now fairly at sea, but before long I found we were likely to
remain there; in fact, nothing of consequence eventuated. I began to
regret having taken the affair from the hands in which I had found it,
and one day, it being a gala or some insatiable saint's day, I was
riding, perplexed with that and other matters, and paying small
attention to the passing crowd. I was vexed and mortified, and had fully
decided to throw up the whole,--on such hairs do things hang,--when,
suddenly turning a corner, my bridle-reins became entangled in the
snaffle of another rider. I loosened them abstractedly, and not till it
was necessary to bow to my strange antagonist, on parting, did I glance
up. The person before me was evidently not accustomed to play the dandy;
he wore his clothes ill, sat his horse worse, and was uneasy in the
saddle. The unmistakable air of the _gamin_ was apparent beneath the
superficies of the gentleman. Conspicuous on his costume, and wound like
an order of merit upon his breast, glittered a chain, _the_ chain,--each
tiny brick-like gem spiked with a hundred sparks, and building a fabric
of sturdy probabilities with the celerity of the genii in constructing
Aladdin's palace. There, a cable to haul up the treasure, was the
chain;--where was the diamond? I need not tell you how I followed this
young friend, with what assiduity I kept him in sight, up and down, all
day long, till, weary at last of his fine sport, as I certainly was of
mine, he left his steed in stall and fared on his way a-foot. Still
pursuing, now I threaded quay and square, street and alley, till he
disappeared in a small shop, in one of those dark crowded lanes leading
eastward from the Pont Neuf, in the city. It was the sign of a _marchand
des armures_, and, having provided myself with those persuasive
arguments, a _sergent-de-ville_ and a _gendarme_, I entered.

A place more characteristic it would be impossible to find. Here were
piled bows of every material, ash, and horn, and tougher fibres, with
slackened strings, and among them peered a rusty clarion and battle-axe,
while the quivers that should have accompanied lay in a distant corner,
their arrows serving to pin long, dusty, torn banners to the wall.
Opposite the entrance, an archer in bronze hung on tiptoe, and levelled
a steel bow, whose piercing _flèche_ seemed sparkling with impatience to
spring from his finger and flesh itself in the heart of the intruder.
The hauberk and halberd, lance and casque, arquebuse and sword, were
suspended in friendly congeries; and fragments of costly stuff swept
from ceiling to floor, crushed and soiled by the heaps of rusty
firelocks, cutlasses, and gauntlets thrown upon them. In one place, a
little antique bust was half hid in the folds of some pennon, still
dyed with battle-stains; in another, scattered treasures of Dresden
and Sèvres brought the drawing-room into the campaign; and all around
bivouacked rifles, whose polished barrels glittered full of death,--
pistols, variously mounted, for an insurgent at the barricades, or for
a lost millionnaire at the gaming-table,--foils, with buttoned
bluntness,--and rapiers, whose even edges were viewless, as if filed
into air. Destruction lay everywhere, at the command of the owner of
this place, and, had he possessed a particle of vivacity, it would have
been hazardous to bow beneath his doorway. It did not, I must say, look
like a place where I should find a diamond. As the owner came forward, I
determined on my plan of action.

"You have, Sir," I said, handing him a bit of paper, on which were
scrawled some numbers, "a diamond in your possession, of such and so
many carats, size, and value, belonging to the Duke of X., and left with
you by an Englishman, Mr. Arthur Ulster. You will deliver it to me, if
you please."

"Monsieur!" exclaimed the man, lifting his hands, and surveying me with
the widest eyes I ever saw. "A diamond! In my possession! So immense a
thing! It is impossible. I have not even seen one of the kind. It is a
mistake. Jacques Noailles, the vender of jewels _en gros_, second door
below, must be the man. One should perceive that my business is with
arms, not diamonds. I have it not; it would ruin me."

Here he paused for a reply, but, meeting none, resumed. "M. Arthur
Ulster!--I have heard of no such person. I never spoke with an
Englishman. Bah! I detest them! I have no dealings with them. I repeat,
I have not your jewel. Do you wish anything more of me?"

His vehemence only convinced me of the truth of my suspicions.

"These heroics are out of place," I answered. "I demand the article in
question."

"Monsieur doubts me?" he asked, with a rueful face,--"questions my
word, which is incontrovertible?" Here he clapped his hand upon a
_couteau-de-chasse_ lying near, but, appearing to think better of it,
drew himself up, and, with a shower of nods flung at me, added, "I deny
your accusation!" I had not accused him.

"You are at too much pains to convict yourself. I charge you with
nothing," I said. "But this diamond must be surrendered."

"Monsieur is mad!" he exclaimed, "mad! he dreams! Do I look like one who
possesses such a trophy? Does my shop resemble a mine? Look about!
See! All that is here would not bring a hundredth part of its price. I
beseech Monsieur to believe me; he has mistaken the number, or has been
misinformed."

"We waste words. I know this diamond is here, as well as a costly
chain"--

"On my soul, on my life, on my honor," he cried, clasping his hands and
turning up his eyes, "there is here nothing of the kind. I do not deal
in gems. A little silk, a few weapons, a curiosity, a nicknack, comprise
my stock. I have not the diamond. I do not know the thing. I am poor. I
am honest. Suspicion destroys me!"

"As you will find, should I be longer troubled by your denials."

He was inflexible, and, having exhausted every artifice of innocence,
wiped the tears from his eyes,--oh, these French! life is their
theatre,--and remained quiet. It was getting dark. There was no gas in
the place; but in the pause a distant street-lamp swung its light dimly
round.

"Unless one desires to purchase, allow me to say that it is my hour for
closing," he remarked, blandly, rubbing his black-bearded chin.

"My time is valuable," I returned. "It is late and dark. When your
shop-boy lights up"----

"Pardon,--we do not light."

"Permit me, then, to perform that office for you. In this blaze you may
perceive my companions, whom you have not appeared to recognize."

So saying, I scratched a match upon the floor, and, as the
_sergent-de-ville_ and the _gendarme_ advanced, threw the light of the
blue spirt of sulphurous flame upon them. In a moment more the match
went out, and we remained in the demi-twilight of the distant lantern.
The _marchand des armures_ stood petrified and aghast. Had he seen the
imps of Satan in that instant, it could have had no greater effect.

"You have seen them?" I asked. "I regret to inconvenience you; but
unless this diamond is produced at once, my friends will put their seal
on your goods, your property will be confiscated, yourself in a dungeon.
In other words, I allow you five minutes; at the close of that time you
will have chosen between restitution and ruin."

He remained apparently lost in thought. He was a big, stout man, and
with one blow of his powerful fist could easily have settled me. It was
the last thing in his mind. At length he lifted his head,--"Rosalie!"
he called.

At the word, a light foot pattered along a stone floor within, and in a
moment a little woman stood in an arch raised by two steps from our own
level. Carrying a candle, she descended and tripped toward him. She was
not pretty, but sprightly and keen, as the perpetual attrition of life
must needs make her, and wore the everlasting grisette costume, which
displays the neatest of ankles, and whose cap is more becoming than
wreaths of garden millinery. I am too minute, I see, but it is second
nature. The two commenced a vigorous whispering amid sundry gestures and
glances. Suddenly the woman turned, and, laying the prettiest of little
hands on my sleeve, said, with a winning smile,--

"Is it a crime of _lèse-majesté_?"

This was a new idea, but might be useful.

"Not yet," I said; "two minutes more, and I will not answer for the
consequence."

Other whispers ensued.

"Monsieur," said the man, leaning on one arm over the counter, and
looking up in my face, with the most engaging frankness,--"it is true
that I have such a diamond; but it is not mine. It is left with me to be
delivered to the Baron Stahl, who comes as an agent from his court for
its purchase."

"Yes,--I know."

"He was to have paid me half a million francs,--not half its worth,--in
trust for the person who left it, who is not M. Arthur Ulster, but Mme.
de St. Cyr."

Madame de St. Cyr! How under the sun----No,--it could not be possible.
The case stood as it stood before. The rogue was in deeper water than I
had thought; he had merely employed Mme. de St. Cyr. I ran this over in
my mind, while I said, "Yes."

"Now, Sir," I continued, "you will state the terms of this transaction."

"With pleasure. For my trouble I was myself to receive patronage and
five thousand francs. The Baron is to be here directly, on other and
public business. _Reine du ciel_, Monsieur! how shall I meet him?"

"He is powerless in Paris; your fear is idle."

"True. There were no other terms."

"Nor papers?"

"The lady thought it safest to be without them. She took merely my
receipt, which the Baron Stahl will bring to me from her before
receiving this."

"I will trouble you for it now."

He bowed and shuffled away. At a glance from me, the _gendarme_ slipped
to the rear of the building, where three others were stationed at the
two exits in that direction, to caution them of the critical moment, and
returned. Ten minutes passed,--the merchant did not appear. If, after
all, he had made off with it! There had been the click of a bolt, the
half-stifled rattle of arms, as if a door had been opened and rapidly
closed again, but nothing more.

"I will see what detains my friend," said Mademoiselle, the little
woman.

We suffered her to withdraw. In a moment more a quick expostulation was
to be heard.

"They are there, the _gendarmes_, my little one! I should have run,
but they caught me, the villains! and replaced me in the house. _Oh,
sacre!_"--and rolling this word between his teeth, he came down and laid
a little box on the counter. I opened it. There was within a large,
glittering, curiously-cut piece of glass. I threw it aside.

"The diamond!" I exclaimed.

"Monsieur had it," he replied, stooping to pick up the glass with every
appearance of surprise and care.

"Do you mean to say you endeavored to escape with that bawble? Produce
the diamond instantly, or you shall hang as high as Haman!" I roared.

Whether he knew the individual in question or not, the threat was
efficient; he trembled and hesitated, and finally drew the identical
shagreen case from his bosom.

"I but jested," he said. "Monsieur will witness that I relinquish it
with reluctance."

"I will witness that you receive stolen goods!" I cried, in wrath.

He placed it in my hands.

"Oh!" he groaned, from the bottom of his heart, hanging his head, and
laying both hands on the counter before him,--"it pains, it grieves me
to part with it!"

"And the chain," I said.

"Monsieur did not demand that!"

"I demand it now."

In a moment, the chain also was given me.

"And now will Monsieur do me a favor? Will he inform me by what means he
ascertained these facts?"

I glanced at the _garçon_, who had probably supplied himself with
his master's finery illicitly;--he was the means;--we have some
generosity;--I thought I should prefer doing him the favor, and
declined.

I unclasped the shagreen case; the _sergent-de-ville_ and the _gendarme_
stole up and looked over my shoulder; the _garçon_ drew near with round
eyes; the little woman peeped across; the merchant, with tears streaming
over his face, gazed as if it had been a loadstone; finally, I looked
myself. There it lay, the glowing, resplendent thing! flashing in
affluence of splendor, throbbing and palpitant with life, drawing all
the light from the little woman's candle, from the sparkling armor
around, from the steel barbs, and the distant lantern, into its bosom.
It was scarcely so large as I had expected to see it, but more brilliant
than anything I could conceive of. I do not believe there is another
such in the world. One saw clearly that the Oriental superstition of the
sex of stones was no fable; this was essentially the female of diamonds,
the queen herself, the principle of life, the rejoicing creative force.
It was not radiant, as the term literally taken implies; it seemed
rather to retain its wealth,--instead of emitting its glorious rays,
to curl them back like the fringe of a madrepore, and lie there with
redoubled quivering scintillations, a mass of white magnificence, not
prismatic, but a vast milky lustre. I closed the case; on reopening it,
I could scarcely believe that the beautiful sleepless eye would again
flash upon me. I did not comprehend how it could afford such perpetual
richness, such sheets of lustre.

At last we compelled ourselves to be satisfied. I left the shop,
dismissed my attendants, and, fresh from the contemplation of this
miracle, again trod the dirty, reeking streets, crossed the bridge, with
its lights, its warehouses midway, its living torrents who poured on
unconscious of the beauty within their reach. The thought of their
ignorance of the treasure, not a dozen yards distant, has often made
me question if we all are not equally unaware of other and greater
processes of life, of more perfect, sublimed, and, as it were, spiritual
crystallizations going on invisibly about us. But had these been told of
the thing clutched in the hand of a passer, how many of them would have
known where to turn? and we,--are we any better?


II.


For a few days I carried the diamond about my person, and did not
mention its recovery even to my valet, who knew that I sought it, but
communicated only with the Marquis of G., who replied, that he would be
in Paris on a certain day, when I could safely deliver it to him.

It was now generally rumored that the neighboring government was about
to send us the Baron Stahl, ambassador concerning arrangements for a
loan to maintain the sinking monarchy in supremacy at Paris, the usual
synecdoche for France.

The weather being fine, I proceeded to call on Mme. de St. Cyr. She
received me in her boudoir, and on my way thither I could not but
observe the perfect quiet and cloistered seclusion that pervaded the
whole house,--the house itself seeming only an adjunct of the still
and sunny garden, of which one caught a glimpse through the long open
hall-windows beyond. This boudoir did not differ from others to which I
have been admitted: the same delicate shades; all the dainty appliances
of Art for beauty; the lavish profusion of _bijouterie_; and the usual
statuettes of innocence, to indicate, perhaps, the presence of that
commodity which might not be guessed at otherwise; and burning in a
silver cup, a rich perfume loaded the air with voluptuous sweetness.
Through a half-open door an inner boudoir was to be seen, which must
have been Delphine's; it looked like her; the prevailing hue was a soft
purple, or gray; a _prie-dieu_, a book-shelf, and desk, of a dark West
Indian wood, were just visible. There was but one picture,--a sad-eyed,
beautiful Fate. It was the type of her nation. I think she worshipped
it--And how apt is misfortune! to degenerate into Fate!--not that the
girl had ever experienced the former, but, dissatisfied with life, and
seeing no outlet, she accepted it stoically and waited till it should be
over. She needed to be aroused;--the station of an _ambassadrice_, which
I desired for her, might kindle the spark. There were no flowers, no
perfumes, no busts, in this ascetic place. Delphine herself, in some
faint rosy gauze, her fair hair streaming round her, as she lay on a
white-draped couch, half-risen on one arm, while she read the morning's
_feuilleton_, was the most perfect statuary of which a room could
boast,--illumined, as I saw her, by the gay beams that entered at the
loftily-arched window, broken only by the flickering of the vine-leaves
that clustered the curiously-latticed panes without. She resembled in
kind a Nymph or Aphrodite just bursting from the sea. Madame de St. Cyr
received me with _empressement_, and, so doing, closed the door of this
shrine. We spoke of various things,--of the court, the theatre, the
weather, the world,--skating lightly round the slender edges of her
secret, till finally she invited me to lunch with her in the garden.
Here, on a rustic table, stood wine and a few delicacies,--while, by
extending a hand, we could grasp the hanging pears and nectarines, still
warm to the lip and luscious with sunshine, as we disputed possession
with the envious wasp who had established a priority of claim.

"It is to be hoped," I said, sipping the _Haut-Brion_, whose fine and
brittle smack contrasted rarely with the delicious juiciness of the
fruit, "that you have laid in a supply of this treasure that neither
moth nor rust doth corrupt, before parting with that little gem in the
Gironde."

"Ah? You know, then, that I have sold it?"

"Yes," I replied. "I have the pleasure of Mr. Ulster's acquaintance."

"He arranged the terms for me," she said, with restraint,--adding, "I
could almost wish now that it had not been."

This was probably true; for the sum which she hoped to receive from
Ulster for standing sponsor to his jewel was possibly equal to the price
of her vineyard.

"It was indispensable at the time, this sale; I thought best to hazard
it on one more season.--If, after such advantages, Delphine will not
marry, why--it remains to retire into the country and end our days with
the barbarians!" she continued, shrugging her shoulders; "I have a house
there."

"But you will not be obliged to throw us all into despair by such a step
now," I replied.

She looked quickly, as if to see how nearly I had approached her
citadel,--then, finding in my face no expression but a complimentary
one, "No," she said, "I hope that my affairs have brightened a little.
One never knows what is in store."

Before long I had assured myself that Mme. de St. Cyr was not a party
to the theft, but had merely been hired by Ulster, who, discovering the
state of her affairs, had not, therefore, revealed his own,--and
this without in the least implying any knowledge on my part of the
transaction. Ulster must have seen the necessity of leaving the business
in the hands of a competent person, and Mme. de St. Cyr's financial
talent was patent. There were few ladies in Paris who would have
rejected the opportunity. Of these things I felt a tolerable certainty.

"We throng with foreigners," said Madame, archly, as I reached this
point. "Diplomates, too. The Baron Stahl arrives in a day."

"I have heard," I responded. "You are acquainted?"

"Alas! no," she said. "I knew his father well, though he himself is not
young. Indeed, the families thought once of intermarriage. But nothing
has been said on the subject for many years. His Excellency, I hear,
will strengthen himself at home by an alliance with the young Countess,
the natural daughter of the Emperor."

"He surely will never be so imprudent as to rivet his chain by such a
link!"

"It is impossible to compute the dice in those despotic countries," she
rejoined,--which was pretty well, considering the freedom enjoyed by
France at that period.

"It may be," I suggested, "that the Baron hopes to open this delicate
subject with you himself, Madame."

"It is unlikely," she said, sighing. "And for Delphine, should I tell
her his Excellency preferred scarlet, she would infallibly wear blue.
Imagine her, Monsieur, in fine scarlet, with a scarf of gold gauze, and
rustling grasses in that unruly gold hair of hers! She would be divine!"

The maternal instinct as we have it here at Paris confounds me. I do
not comprehend it. Here was a mother who did not particularly love her
child, who would not be inconsolable at her loss, would not ruin her own
complexion by care of her during illness, would send her through fire
and water and every torture to secure or maintain a desirable rank, who
yet would entangle herself deeply in intrigue, would not hesitate to
tarnish her own reputation, and would, in fact, raise heaven and earth
to--endow this child with a brilliant match. And Mme. de St. Cyr seemed
to regard Delphine, still further, as a cool matter of Art.

These little confidences, moreover, are provoking. They put you yourself
so entirely out of the question.

"Mlle. de St. Cyr's beauty is peerless," I said, slightly chagrined, and
at a loss. "If hearts were trumps, instead of diamonds!"

"We are poor," resumed Madame, pathetically. "Delphine is not an
heiress. Delphine is proud. She will not stoop to charm. Her coquetry is
that of an Amazon. Her kisses are arrows. She is Medusa!" And Madame,
her mother, shivered.

Here, with her hair knotted up and secured by a tiny dagger, her gauzy
drapery gathered in her arm, Delphine floated down the green alley
toward us, as if in a rosy cloud. But this soft aspect never could have
been more widely contradicted than by the stony repose and cutting calm
of her beautiful face.

"The Marquis of G.," said her mother, "he also arrives ambassador. Has
he talent? Is he brilliant? Wealthy, of course,--but _gauche_?"

Therewith I sketched for them the Marquis and his surroundings.

"It is charming," said Madame. "Delphine, do you attend?"

"And why?" asked Delphine, half concealing a yawn with her dazzling
hand. "It is wearisome; it matters not to me."

"But he will not go to marry himself in France," said her mother. "Oh,
these English." she added, with a laugh, "yourself, Monsieur, being
proof of it, will not mingle blood, lest the Channel should still flow
between the little red globules! You will go? but to return shortly?
You will dine with me soon? _Au revoir!_" and she gave me her hand
graciously, while Delphine bowed as if I were already gone, threw
herself into a garden-chair, and commenced pouring the wine on a stone
for a little tame snake which came out and lapped it.

Such women as Mme. de St. Cyr have a species of magnetism about them.
It is difficult to retain one's self-respect before them,--for no
other reason than that one is, at the moment, absorbed into their
individuality, and thinks and acts with them. Delphine must have had
a strong will, and perpetual antagonism did not weaken it. As for me,
Madame had, doubtless, reasons of her own for tearing aside these
customary bands of reserve,--reasons which, if you do not perceive, I
shall not enumerate.

"Have you met with anything further in your search, Sir?" asked my
valet, next morning.

"Oh, yes, Hay," I returned, in a very good humor,--"with great success.
You have assisted me so much, that I am sure I owe it to you to say that
I have found the diamond."

"Indeed, Sir, you are very kind. I have been interested, but my
assistance is not worth mentioning. I thought likely it might be, you
appeared so quiet."--The cunning dog!--"How did you find it, Sir, may I
ask?"

I briefly related the leading facts, since he had been aware of the
progress of the case to that point,--without, however, mentioning Mme.
de St. Cyr's name.

"And Monsieur did not inform me!" a French valet would have cried.

"You were prudent not to mention it, Sir," said Hay. "These walls must
have better ears than ordinary; for a family has moved in on the first
floor recently, whose actions are extremely suspicious. But is this
precious affair to be seen?"

I took it from an inner pocket and displayed it, having discarded the
shagreen case as inconvenient.

"His Excellency must return as he came," said I.

Hay's eyes sparkled.

"And do you carry it there, Sir?" he asked, with surprised, as I
restored it to my waistcoat-pocket.

"I shall take it to the bank," I said. "I do not like the
responsibility."

"It is very unsafe," was the warning of this cautious fellow. "Why, Sir!
any of these swells, these pickpockets, might meet you, run against
you,--so!" said Hay, suiting the action to the word, "and, with the
little sharp knife concealed in just such a ring as this I wear, give a
light tap, and there's a slit in your vest, Sir, but no diamond!"--and
instantly resuming his former respectful deportment, Hay handed me my
gloves and stick, and smoothed my hat.

"Nonsense!" I replied, drawing on the gloves, "I should like to see the
man who could be too quick for me. Any news from India, Hay?"

"None of consequence, Sir. The indigo crop is said to have failed, which
advances the figure of that on hand, so that one or two fortunes will be
made to-day. Your hat, Sir?--your lunettes? Here they are, Sir."

"Good morning, Hay."

"Good morning, Sir."

I descended the stairs, buttoning my gloves, paused a moment at the door
to look about, and proceeded down the street, which was not more than
usually thronged. At the bank I paused to assure myself that the diamond
was safe. My fingers caught in a singular slit. I started. As Hay had
prophesied, there was a fine longitudinal cut in my waistcoat, but the
pocket was empty. My God! the thing was gone. I never can forget the
blank nihility of all existence that dreadful moment when I stood
fumbling for what was not. Calm as I sit here and tell of it, I vow to
you a shiver courses through me at the very thought. I had circumvented
Stahl only to destroy myself. The diamond was lost again. My mind flew
like lightning over every chance, and a thousand started up like steel
spikes to snatch the bolt. For a moment I was stunned, but, never being
very subject to despair, on my recovery, which was almost at once, took
every measure that could be devised. Who had touched me? Whom had I met?
Through what streets had I come? In ten minutes the Prefect had the
matter in hand. My injunctions were strict privacy. I sincerely hoped
the mishap would not reach England; and if the diamond were not
recovered before the Marquis of G. arrived,--why, there was the Seine.
It is all very well to talk,--yet suicide is so French an affair, that
an Englishman does not take to it naturally, and, except in November,
the Seine is too cold and damp for comfort, but during that month I
suppose it does not greatly differ in these respects from our own
atmosphere.

A preternatural activity now possessed me. I slept none, ate little,
worked immoderately. I spared no efforts, for everything was at stake.
In the midst of all G. arrived. Hay also exerted himself to the utmost;
I promised him a hundred pounds, if I found it. He never told me that
he said how it would be, never intruded the state of the market, never
resented my irritating conduct, but watched me with narrow yet kind
solicitude, and frequently offered valuable suggestions, which, however,
as everything else did, led to nothing. I did not call on G., but in
a week or so his card was brought up one morning to me. "Deny me," I
groaned. It yet wanted a week of the day on which I had promised to
deliver him the diamond. Meanwhile the Baron Stahl had reached Paris,
but he still remained in private,--few had seen him.

The police were forever on the wrong track. To-day they stopped the old
Comptesse du Quesne and her jewels, at the Barrière; to-morrow, with
their long needles, they riddled a package of lace destined for the
Duchess of X. herself; the Secret Service was doubled; and to crown
all, a splendid new star of the testy Prince de Ligne was examined and
proclaimed to be paste,--the Prince swearing vengeance, if he could
discover the cause,--while half Paris must have been under arrest. My
own hotel was ransacked thoroughly,--Hay begging that his traps might be
included,--but nothing resulted, and I expected nothing, for, of course,
I could swear that the stone was in my pocket when I stepped into the
street. I confess I never was nearer madness,--every word and gesture
stung me like asps,--I walked on burning coals. Enduring all this
torment, I must yet meet my daily comrades, eat ices at Tortoni's,
stroll on the Boulevards, call on my acquaintance, with the same
equanimity as before. I believe I was equal to it. Only by contrast with
that blessed time when Ulster and diamonds were unknown, could I imagine
my past happiness, my present wretchedness. Rather than suffer it again,
I would be stretched on the rack till every bone in my skin was broken.
I cursed Mr. Arthur Ulster every hour in the day; myself, as well; and
even now the word diamond sends a cold blast to my heart. I often met my
friend the _marchand des armures_. It was his turn to triumph; I fancied
there must be a hang-dog kind of air about me, as about every sharp man
who has been outwitted. It wanted finally but two days of that on which
I was to deliver the diamond.

One midnight, armed with a dark lantern and a cloak, I was traversing
the streets alone,--unsuccessful, as usual, just now solitary, and
almost in despair. As I turned a corner, two men were but scarcely
visible a step before me. It was a badly-lighted part of the town.
Unseen and noiseless I followed. They spoke in low tones,--almost
whispers; or rather, one spoke,--the other seemed to nod assent.

"On the day but one after to-morrow," I heard spoken in English. Great
Heavens! was it possible? had I arrived at a clue? That was the day of
days for me. "You have given it, you say, in this billet,--I wish to be
exact, you see," continued the voice,--"to prevent detection, you
gave it, ten minutes after it came into your hands, to the butler of
Madame----," (here the speaker stumbled on the rough pavement, and I
lost the name,) "who," he continued, "will put it in the----" (a second
stumble acted like a hiccough) "cellar."

"Wine-cellar," I thought; "and what then?"

"In the----." A third stumble was followed by a round German oath. How
easy it is for me now to fill up the little blanks which that unhappy
pavement caused!

"You share your receipts with this butler. On the day I obtain it," he
added, and I now perceived his foreign accent, "I hand you one hundred
thousand francs; afterward, monthly payments till you have received the
stipulated sum. But how will this butler know me, in season to prevent a
mistake? Hem!--he might give it to the other!"

My hearing had been trained to such a degree that I would have promised
to overhear any given dialogue of the spirits themselves, but the
whisper that answered him eluded me. I caught nothing but a faint
sibillation. "Your ring?" was the rejoinder. "He shall be instructed to
recognize it? Very well. It is too large,--no, that will do, it fits the
first finger. There is nothing more. I am under infinite obligations,
Sir; they shall be remembered. Adieu!"

The two parted; which should I pursue? In desperation I turned my
lantern upon one, and illumined a face fresh with color, whose black
eyes sparkled askance after the retreating figure, under straight black
brows. In a moment more he was lost in a false _cul-de-sac_, and I found
it impossible to trace the other.

I was scarcely better off than before; but it seemed to me that I had
obtained something, and that now it was wisest to work this vein. "The
butler of Madame----." There were hundreds of thousands of Madames in
town. I might call on all, and be as old as the Wandering Jew at the
last call. The cellar. Wine-cellar, of course,--that came by a natural
connection with butler,--but whose? There was one under my own abode;
certainly I would explore it. Meanwhile, let us see the entertainments
for Wednesday. The Prefect had a list of these. For some I found I had
cards; I determined to allot a fraction of time to as many as possible;
my friends in the Secret Service would divide the labor. Among others,
Madame de St. Cyr gave a dinner, and, as she had been in the affair,
I determined not to neglect her on this occasion, although having no
definite idea of what had been, or plan of what should be done. I
decided not to speak of this occurrence to Hay, since it might only
bring him off some trail that he had struck.

Having been provided with keys, early on the following evening I entered
the wine-cellar, and, concealed in an empty cask that would have held a
dozen of me, waited for something to turn up. Really, when I think of
myself, a diplomate, a courtier, a man-about-town, curled in a dusty,
musty wine-barrel, I am moved with vexation and laughter. Nothing,
however, turned up,--and at length I retired, baffled. The next night
came,--no news, no identification of my black-browed man, no success;
but I felt certain that something must transpire in that cellar. I don't
know why I had pitched upon that one in particular, but, at an earlier
hour than on the previous night, I again donned the cask. A long time
must have elapsed; dead silence filled the spacious vaults, except where
now and then some Sillery cracked the air with a quick explosion, or
some newer wine bubbled round the bung of its barrel with a faint
effervescence. I had no intention of leaving this place till morning,
but it suddenly appeared like the most woful waste of time. The master
of this tremendous affair should be abroad and active; who knew what his
keen eyes might detect, what loss his absence might occasion in this
nick of time? And here he was, shut up and locked in a wine-cellar!
I began to be very nervous; I had already, with aid, searched every
crevice of the cellar; and now I thought it would be some consolation
to discover the thief, if I never regained the diamond. A distant clock
tolled midnight. There was a faint noise,--a mouse?--no, it was too
prolonged;--nor did it sound like the fiz of Champagne;--a great iron
door was turning on its hinges; a man with a lantern was entering;
another followed, and another. They seated themselves. In a few moments,
appearing one by one and at intervals, some thirty people were in the
cellar. Were they all to share in the proceeds of the diamond? With what
jaundiced eyes we behold things! I myself saw all that was only through
the lens of this diamond, of which not one of these men had ever heard.
As the lantern threw its feeble glimmer on this group, and I surveyed
them through my loophole, I thought I had never seen so wild and savage
a picture, such enormous shadows, such bold outline, such a startling
flash on the face of their leader, such light retreating up the
threatening arches. More resolute brows, more determined words, more
unshrinking hearts, I had not met. In fact, I found myself in the centre
of a conspiracy, a society as vindictive as the Jacobins, as unknown and
terrible as the Marianne of to-day. I was thunderstruck, too, at the
countenances on which the light fell,--men the loyalest in estimation,
ministers and senators, millionnaires who had no reason for discontent,
dandies whose reason was supposed to be devoted to their tailors, poets
and artists of generous aspiration and suspected tendencies, and
one woman,--Delphine de St. Cyr. Their plans were brave, their
determination lofty, their conclave serious and fine; yet as slowly they
shut up their hopes and fears in the black masks, one man bent toward
the lantern to adjust his. When he lifted his face before concealing it,
I recognized him also. I had met him frequently at the Bureau of Police;
he was, I believe, Secretary of the Secret Service.

I had no sympathy with these people. I had liberty enough myself, I was
well enough satisfied with the world, I did not care to revolutionize
France; but my heart rebelled at the mockery, as this traitor and
spy, this creature of a system by which I gained my fame, showed his
revolting face and veiled it again. And Delphine, what had she to do
with them? One by one, as they entered, they withdrew, and I was left
alone again. But all this was not my diamond.

Another hour elapsed. Again the door opened, and remained ajar. Some one
entered, whom I could not see. There was a pause,--then a rustle,--the
door creaked ever so little. "Art thou there?" lisped a shrill
whisper,--a woman, as I could guess.

"My angel, it is I," was returned, a semitone lower. She approached, he
advanced, and the consequence was a salute resonant as the smack with
which a Dutch burgomaster may be supposed to set down his mug. I was
prepared for anything. Ye gods! if it should be Delphine! But the base
suspicion was birth-strangled as they spoke again. The conversation
which now ensued between these lovers under difficulties was tender and
affecting beyond expression. I had felt guilty enough when an unwilling
auditor of the conspirators,--since, though one employs spies, one
does not therefore act that part one's-self, but on emergencies,--an
unwillingness which would not, however, prevent my turning to advantage
the information gained; but here, to listen to this rehearsal of woes
and blisses, this _ah mon Fernand_, this aria in an area, growing
momently more fervent, was too much. I overturned the cask, scrambled
upon my feet, and fled from the cellar, leaving the astounded lovers to
follow, while, agreeably to my instincts, and regardless of the diamond,
I escaped the embarrassing predicament.

At length it grew to be noon of the appointed day. Nothing had
transpired; all our labor was idle. I felt, nevertheless, more buoyant
than usual,--whether because I was now to put my fate to the test, or
that today was the one of which my black-browed man had spoken, and I
therefore entertained a presentiment of good-fortune, I cannot say. But
when, in unexceptionable toilet, I stood on Mme. de St. Cyr's steps,
my heart sunk. G. was doubtless already within, and I thought of the
_marchand des armures'_ exclamation, "Queen of Heaven, Monsieur! how
shall I meet him!" I was plunged at once into the profoundest gloom.
Why had I undertaken the business at all? This interference, this
good-humor, this readiness to oblige,--it would ruin me yet! I forswore
it, as Falstaff forswore honor. Why needed I to meddle in the _mêlée?_
Why--But I was no catechumen. Questions were useless now. My emotions
are not chronicled on my face, I flatter myself; and with my usual
repose I saluted our hostess. Greeting G. without any allusion to
the diamond, the absence of which allusion he received as a point of
etiquette, I was conversing with Mrs. Leigh, when the Baron Stahl was
announced. I turned to look at his Excellency. A glance electrified me.
There was my dark-browed man of the midnight streets. It must, then,
have been concerning the diamond that I had heard him speak. His
countenance, his eager, glittering eye, told that today was as eventful
to him as to me. If he were here, I could well afford to be. As he
addressed me in English, my certainty was confirmed; and the instant
in which I observed the ring, gaudy and coarse, upon his finger, made
confirmation doubly sure. I own I was surprised that anything could
induce the Baron to wear such an ornament. Here he was actually risking
his reputation as a man of taste, as an exquisite, a leader of _haut
ton_, a gentleman, by the detestable vulgarity of this ring. But why do
I speak so of the trinket? Do I not owe it a thrill of as fine joy as I
ever knew? Faith! it was not unfamiliar to me. It had been a daily sight
for years. In meeting the Baron Stahl I had found the diamond.

The Baron Stahl was, then, the thief? Not at all. My valet, as of course
you have been all along aware, was the thief.

The Marquis of G. took down Mme. de St. Cyr; Stahl preceded me, with
Delphine. As we sat at table, G. was at the right, I at the left of our
hostess. Next G. sat Delphine; below her, the Baron; so that we were
nearly _vis-a-vis_. I was now as fully convinced that Mme. de St. Cyr's
cellar was the one, as the day before I had been that the other was;
I longed to reach it. Hay had given the stone to a butler--doubtless
this--the moment of its theft; but, not being aware of Mme. de St.
Cyr's previous share in the adventure, had probably not afforded her
another. And thus I concluded her to be ignorant of the game we were
about to play; and I imagined, with the interest that one carries into a
romance, the little preliminary scene between the Baron and Madame that
must have already taken place, being charmed by the cheerfulness with
which she endured the loss of the promised reward.

As the Baron entered the dining-room. I saw him withdraw his glove, and
move the jewelled hand across his hair while passing the solemn butler,
who gave it a quick recognition;--the next moment we were seated. It was
a dinner _à la Russe_; that is, only wines were on the table, clustered
around a central ornament,--a bunch of tall silver rushes and
flag-leaves, on whose airy tip danced _fleurs-de-lis_ of frosted silver,
a design of Delphine's,--the dishes being on side-tables, from which
the guests were served as they signified their choice of the variety on
their cards. Our number not being large, and the custom so informal,
rendered it pleasant.

I had just finished my oysters and was pouring out a glass of Chablis,
when another plate was set before the Baron.

"His Excellency has no salt," murmured the butler,--at the same time
placing one beside him. A glance, at entrance, had taught me that most
of the service was uniform; this dainty little _salière_ I had noticed
on the buffet, solitary, and unlike the others. What a fool had I been!
Those gaps in the Baron's remarks caused by the paving-stones, how
easily were they to be supplied!

"Madame?"

Madame de St. Cyr.

"The cellar?"

A salt-cellar.

How quick the flash that enlightened me while I surveyed the _salière!_

"It is exquisite! Am I never to sit at your table but some new device
charms me?" I exclaimed. "Is it your design, Mademoiselle?" I said,
turning to Delphine.

Delphine, who had been ice to all the Baron's advances, only curled her
lip. "_Des babioles!_" she said.

"Yes, indeed," cried Mme. de St. Cyr, extending her hand for it. "But
none the less her taste. Is it not a fairy thing? A _Cellini!_ Observe
this curve, these lines! but one man could have drawn them!"--and she
held it for our scrutiny. It was a tiny hand and arm of ivory, parting
the foam of a wave and holding a golden shell, in which the salt seemed
to have crusted itself as if in some secretest ocean-hollow. I looked at
the Baron a moment; his eyes were fastened upon the _salière_, and all
the color had forsaken his cheeks,--his face counted his years. The
diamond was in that little shell. But how to obtain it? I had no novice
to deal with; nothing but delicate _finesse_ would answer.

"Permit me to examine it," I said. She passed it to her left hand for me
to take. The butler made a step forward.

"Meanwhile, Madame," said the Baron, smiling, "I have no salt."

The instinct of hospitality prevailed;--she was about to return it.
Might I do an awkward thing? Unhesitatingly. Reversing my glass, I
gave my arm a wider sweep than necessary, and, as it met her hand with
violence, the _salière_ fell. Before it touched the floor I caught it
There was still a pinch of salt left,--nothing more.

"A thousand pardons!" I said, and restored it to the Baron.

His Excellency beheld it with dismay; it was rare to see him bend over
and scrutinize it with starting eyes.

"Do you find there what Count Arnaklos begs in the song," asked
Delphine,--"the secret of the sea, Monsieur?"

He handed it to the butler, observing, "I find here no"----

"Salt, Monsieur?" replied the man, who did not doubt but all had gone
right, and replenished it.

Had one told me in the morning that no intricate manoeuvres, but a
simple blunder, would effect this, I might have met him in the Bois de
Boulogne.

"We will not quarrel," said my neighbor, lightly, with reference to the
popular superstition.

"Rather propitiate the offended deities by a crumb tossed over the
shoulder," added I.

"Over the left?" asked the Baron, to intimate his knowledge of another
idiom, together with a reproof for my _gaucherie_.

"_À gauche,--quelquefois c'est justement à droit_," I replied.

"Salt in any pottage," said Madame, a little uneasily, "is like surprise
in an individual; it brings out the flavor of every ingredient, so my
cook tells me."

"It is a preventive of palsy," I remarked, as the slight trembling of my
adversary's finger caught my eye.

"And I have noticed that a taste for it is peculiar to those who trace
their blood to Galitzin," continued Madame.

"Let us, therefore, elect a deputation to those mines near Cracow," said
Delphine.

"To our cousins, the slaves there?" laughed her mother.

"I must vote to lay your bill on the table, Mademoiselle," I rejoined.

"But with a _boule blanche_, Monsieur?"

"As the salt has been laid on the floor," said the Baron.

Meanwhile, as this light skirmishing proceeded, my sleeve and Mme. de
St. Cyr's dress were slightly powdered, but I had not seen the diamond.
The Baron, bolder than I, looked under the table, but made no discovery.
I was on the point of dropping my napkin to accomplish a similar
movement, when my accommodating neighbor dropped hers. To restore it, I
stooped. There it lay, large and glowing, the Sea of Splendor, the Moon
of Milk, the Torment of my Life, on the carpet, within half an inch of a
lady's slipper. Mademoiselle de St. Cyr's foot had prevented the Baron
from seeing it; now it moved and unconsciously covered it. All was as
I wished. I hastily restored the napkin, and looked steadily at
Delphine,--so steadily, that she perceived some meaning, as she had
already suspected a game. By my sign she understood me, pressed her foot
upon the stone and drew it nearer. In France we do not remain at table
until unfit for a lady's society,--we rise with them. Delphine needed to
drop neither napkin nor handkerchief; she composedly stooped and picked
up the stone, so quickly that no one saw what it was.

"And the diamond?" said the Baron to the butler, rapidly, as he passed.

"It was in the _salière!_" whispered the astonished creature.

In the drawing-room I sought the Marquis.

"To-day I was to surrender you your property," I said; "it is here."

"Do you know," he replied, "I thought I must have been mistaken?"

"Any of our volatile friends here might have been," I resumed; "for us
it is impossible. Concerning this, when you return to France, I will
relate the incidents; at present, there are those who will not hesitate
to take life to obtain its possession. The _diligence_ leaves in twenty
minutes; and if I owned the diamond, it should not leave me behind.
Moreover, who knows what a day may bring forth? To-morrow there may be
an _émeute_. Let me restore the thing as you withdraw."

The Marquis, who is not, after all, the Lion of England, pausing a
moment to transmit my words from his ear to his brain, did not afterward
delay to make inquiries or adieux, but went to seek Mme. de St. Cyr
and wish her goodnight, on his departure from Paris. As I awaited his
return, which I knew would not be immediate, Delphine left the Baron and
joined me.

"You beckoned me?" she asked.

"No, I did not."

"Nevertheless, I come by your desire, I am sure."

"Mademoiselle," I said, "I am not in the custom of doing favors; I have
forsworn them. But before you return me my jewel, I risk my head and
render one last one, and to you."

"Do not, Monsieur, at such price," she responded, with a slight mocking
motion of her hand.

"Delphine! those resolves, last night, in the cellar, were daring; they
were noble, yet they were useless."

She had not started, but a slight tremor ran over her person and
vanished while I spoke.

"They will be allowed to proceed no farther,--the axe is sharpened; for
the last man who adjusted his mask was a spy,--was the Secretary of the
Secret Service."

Delphine could not have grown paler than was usual with her of late. She
flashed her eye upon me.

"He was, it may be, Monsieur himself," she said.

"I do not claim the honor of that post."

"But you were there, nevertheless,--a spy!"

"Hush, Delphine! It would be absurd to quarrel. I was there for the
recovery of this stone, having heard that it was in a cellar,--which,
stupidly enough, I had insisted should be a wine-cellar."

"It was, then"----

"In a salt-cellar,--a blunder which, as you do not speak English, you
cannot comprehend. I never mix with treason, and did not wish to assist
at your pastimes. I speak now, that you may escape."

"If Monsieur betrays his friends, the police, why should I expect a
kinder fate?"

"When I use the police, they are my servants, not my friends. I simply
warn you, that, before sunrise, you will be safer travelling than
sleeping,--safer next week in Vienna than in Paris."

"Thank you! And the intelligence is the price of the diamond? If I had
not chanced to pick it up, my throat," and she clasped it with her
fingers, "had been no slenderer than the others?"

"Delphine, will you remember, should you have occasion to do so in
Vienna, that it is just possible for an Englishman to have affections,
and sentiments, and, in fact, sensations? that, with him, friendship can
be inviolate, and to betray it an impossibility? And even were it
not, I, Mademoiselle, have not the pleasure to be classed by you as a
friend."

"You err. I esteem Monsieur highly."

I was impressed by her coolness.

"Let me see if you comprehend the matter," I demanded.

"Perfectly. The arrest will be used to-night, the guillotine to-morrow."

"You will take immediate measures for flight?"

"No,--I do not see that life has value. I shall be the debtor of him who
takes it."

"A large debt. Delphine, I exact a promise of you. I do not care to have
endangered myself for nothing. It is not worth while to make your mother
unhappy. Life is not yours to throw away. I appeal to your magnanimity."

"'Affections, sentiments, sensations!'" she quoted. "Your own danger
for the affection,--it is an affair of the heart! Mme. de St. Cyr's
unhappiness,--there is the sentiment. You are angry, Monsieur,--that
must be the sensation."

"Delphine, I am waiting."

"Ah, well. You have mentioned Vienna, and why? Liberals are countenanced
there?"

"Not in the least. But Madame l'Ambassadrice will be countenanced."

"I do not know her."

"We are not apt to know ourselves."

"Monsieur, how idle are these cross-purposes!" she said, folding her
fan.

"Delphine," I continued, taking the fan, "tell me frankly which of these
two men you prefer,--the Marquis or his Excellency."

"The Marquis? He is antiphlogistic,--he is ice. Why should I freeze
myself? I am frozen now,--I need fire!"

Her eyes burned as she spoke, and a faint red flushed her cheek.

"Mademoiselle, you demonstrate to me that life has yet a value to you."

"I find no fire," she said, as the flush fell away.

"The Baron?"

"I do not affect him."

"You will conquer your prejudice in Vienna."

"I do not comprehend you, Monsieur;--you speak in riddles, which I do
not like."

"I will speak plainer. But first let me ask you for the diamond."

"The diamond? It is yours? How am I certified of it? I find it on the
floor; you say it was in my mother's _salière_; it is her affair, not
mine. No, Monsieur, I do not see that the thing is yours."

Certainly there was nothing to be done but to relate the story, which I
did, carefully omitting the Baron's name. At its conclusion, she placed
the prize in my hand.

"Pardon, Monsieur," she said; "without doubt you should receive it. And
this agent of the government,--one could turn him like hot iron in this
vice,--who was he?"

"The Baron Stahl."

All this time G. had been waiting on thorns, and, leaving her now, I
approached him, displayed for an instant the treasure on my palm, and
slipped it into his. It was done. I bade farewell to this Eye of Morning
and Heart of Day, this thing that had caused me such pain and perplexity
and pleasure, with less envy and more joy than I thought myself capable
of. The relief and buoyancy that seized me, as his hand closed upon it,
I shall not attempt to portray. An abdicated king was not freer.

The Marquis departed, and I, wandering round the _salon_, was next
stranded upon the Baron. He was yet hardly sure of himself. We talked
indifferently for a few moments, and then I ventured on the great loan.
He was, as became him, not communicative, but scarcely thought it would
be arranged. I then spoke of Delphine.

"She is superb!" said the Baron, staring at her boldly.

She stood opposite, and, in her white attire on the background of the
blue curtain, appeared like an impersonation of Greek genius relieved
upon the blue of an Athenian heaven. Her severe and classic outline,
her pallor, her downcast lids, her absorbed look, only heightened the
resemblance. Her reverie seemed to end abruptly, the same red stained
her cheek again, her lips curved in a proud smile, she raised her
glowing eyes and observed us regarding her. At too great distance to
hear our words, she quietly repaid our glances in the strength of her
new decision, and then, turning, began to entertain those next her with
an unwonted spirit.

"She has needed," I replied to the Baron, "but one thing,--to be
aroused, to be kindled. See, it is done! I have thought that a life of
cabinets and policy might achieve this, for her talent is second not
even to her beauty."

"It is unhappy that both should be wasted," said the Baron. "She, of
course, will never marry."

"Why not?"

"For various reasons."

"One?"

"She is poor."

"Which will not signify to your Excellency. Another?"

"She is too beautiful. One would fall in love with her. And to love
one's own wife--it is ridiculous!"

"Who should know?" I asked.

"All the world would suspect and laugh."

"Let those laugh that win."

"No,--she would never do as a wife; but then as"----

"But then in France we do not insult hospitality!"

The Baron transferred his gaze to me for a moment, then tapped his
snuff-box, and approached the circle round Delphine.

It was odd that we, the arch enemies of the hour, could speak without
the intervention of seconds; but I hoped that the Baron's conversation
might be diverting,--the Baron hoped that mine might be didactic.

They were very gay with Delphine. He leaned on the back of a chair and
listened. One spoke of the new gallery of the Tuileries, and the five
pavilions,--a remark which led us to architecture.

"We all build our own houses," said Delphine, at last, "and then
complain that they cramp us here, and the wind blows in there, while
the fault is not in the order, but in us, who increase here and shrink
there--without reason."

"You speak in metaphors," said the Baron.

"Precisely. A truth is often more visible veiled than nude."

"We should soon exhaust the orders," I interposed; "for who builds like
his neighbor?"

"Slight variations, Monsieur! Though we take such pains to conceal the
style, it is not difficult to tell the order of architecture chosen by
the builders in this room. My mother, for instance,--you perceive that
her pavilion would be the florid Gothic."

"Mademoiselle's is the Doric," I said.

"Has been," she murmured, with a quick glance.

"And mine, Mademoiselle?" asked the Baron, indifferently.

"Ah, Monsieur," she returned, looking serenely upon him, "when one has
all the winning cards in hand and yet loses the stake, we allot him _un
pavilion chinois"_--which was the polite way of dubbing him Court Fool.

The Baron's eyes fell. Vexation and alarm were visible on his contracted
brow. He stood in meditation for some time. It must have been evident to
him that Delphine knew of the recent occurrences,--that here in Paris
she could denounce him as the agent of a felony, the participant of a
theft. What might prevent it? Plainly but one thing: no woman would
denounce her husband. He had scarcely contemplated this step on arrival.

The guests were again scattered in groups round the room. I examined
an engraving on an adjacent table. Delphine reclined as lazily in a
_fauteuil_ as if her life did not hang in the balance. The Baron drew
near.

"Mademoiselle," said he, "you allotted me just now a cap and bells.
If two should wear it?--if I should invite another into my _pavilion
chinois_?--if I should propose to complete an alliance, desired by my
father, with the ancient family of St. Cyr?--if, in short, Mademoiselle,
I should request you to become my wife?"

"Eh, bien, Monsieur,--and if you should?" I heard her coolly reply.

But it was no longer any business of mine. I rose and sought Mme. de St.
Cyr, who, I thought, was slightly uneasy, perceiving some mystery to be
afloat. After a few words, I retired.

Archimedes, as perhaps you have never heard, needed only a lever to move
the world. Such a lever I had put into the hands of Delphine, with
which she might move, not indeed the grand globe, with its multiplied
attractions, relations, and affinities, but the lesser world of
circumstances, of friends and enemies, the circle of hopes, fears,
ambitions. There is no woman, as I believe, but could have used it.

The next day was scarcely so quiet in the city as usual. The great loan
had not been negotiated. Both the Baron Stahl and the English minister
had left Paris,--and there was a _coup d'état_.

But the Baron did not travel alone. There had been a ceremony at
midnight in the Church of St. Sulpice, and her Excellency the Baroness
Stahl, _née_ de St. Cyr, accompanied him.

It is a good many years since. I have seen the diamond in the Duchess
of X.'s coronet, at the drawing-room, often,--but I have never seen
Delphine. The Marquis begged me to retain the chain, and I gave myself
the pleasure of presenting it, through her mother, to the Baroness
Stahl. I hear, that, whenever she desires to effect any cherished object
which the Baron opposes, she has only to wear this chain, and effect it.
It appears to possess a magical power, and its potent spell enslaves the
Baron as the lamp and ring of Eastern tales enslaved the Afrites.

The life she leads has aroused her. She is no longer the impassive
Silence; she has found her fire. I hear of her as the charm of a
brilliant court, as the soul of a nation of intrigue. Of her beauty one
does not speak, but her talent is called prodigious. What impels me
to ask the idle question, If it were well to save her life for this?
Undoubtedly she fills a station which, in that empire, must be the
summit of a woman's ambition. Delphine's Liberty was not a principle,
but a dissatisfaction. The Baroness Stahl is vehement, is Imperialist,
is successful. While she lives, it is on the top of the wave; when she
dies,--ah! what business has Death in such a world?

As I said, I have never seen Delphine since her marriage. The beautiful
statuesque girl occupies a niche into which the blazing and magnificent
_intrigante_ cannot crowd. I do not wish to be disillusioned. She has
read me a riddle,--Delphine is my Sphinx.

       *       *       *       *       *

As for Mr. Hay,--I once said the Antipodes were tributary to me, not
thinking that I should ever become tributary to the Antipodes. But such
is the case; since, partly through my instrumentality, that enterprising
individual has been located in their vicinity, where diamonds are not to
be had for the asking, and the greatest rogue is not a Baron.

       *       *       *       *       *


HAMLET AT THE BOSTON.


  We sit before the row of evening lamps,
    Each in his chair,
  Forgetful of November dusks and damps,
    And wintry air.

  A little gulf of music intervenes,
    A bridge of sighs,
  Where still the cunning of the curtain screens
    Art's paradise.

  My thought transcends those viols' shrill delight,
    The booming bass,
  And towards the regions we shall view to-night
    Makes hurried pace:

  The painted castle, and the unneeded guard
    That ready stand;
  The harmless Ghost, that walks with helm unbarred
    And beckoning hand;

  And, beautiful as dreams of maidenhood,
    That doubt defy,
  Young Hamlet, with his forehead grief-subdued,
    And visioning eye.

  O fair dead world, that from thy grave awak'st
    A little while,
  And in our heart strange revolution mak'st
    With thy brief smile!

  O beauties vanished, fair lips magical,
    Heroic braves!
  O mighty hearts, that held the world in thrall!
    Come from your graves!

  The Poet sees you through a mist of tears,--
    Such depths divide
  Him, with the love and passion of his years,
    From you, inside!

  The Poet's heart attends your buskined feet,
    Your lofty strains,
  Till earth's rude touch dissolves that madness sweet,
    And life remains:

  Life that is something while the senses heed
    The spirit's call,
  Life that is nothing when our grosser need
    Engulfs it all.

  And thou, young hero of this mimic scene,
    In whose high breast
  A genius greater than thy life hath been
    Strangely comprest!

  Wear'st thou those glories draped about thy soul
    Thou dost present?
  And art thou by their feeling and control
    Thus eloquent?

  'Tis with no feigned power thou bind'st our sense,
    No shallow art;
  Sure, lavish Nature gave thee heritance
    Of Hamlet's heart!

  Thou dost control our fancies with a might
    So wild, so fond,
  We quarrel, passed thy circle of delight,
    With things beyond;

  Returning to the pillows rough with care,
    And vulgar food,
  Sad from the breath of that diviner air,
    That loftier mood.

  And there we leave thee, in thy misty tent
    Watching alone;
  While foes about thee gather imminent,
    To us scarce known.

  Oh, when the lights are quenched, the music hushed,
    The plaudits still,
  Heaven keep the fountain, whence the fair stream gushed,
    From choking ill!

  Let Shakspeare's soul, that wins the world from wrong,
    For thee avail,
  And not one holy maxim of his song
    Before thee fail!

  So, get thee to thy couch as unreproved
    As heroes blest;
  And all good angels, trusted in and loved,
    Attend thy rest!



EL LLANERO.


  De todos los Generales cual es el mejor?
  Es mi General José con su Guardia de Honor!


I.

THE HATO.


It is only within a century that the world has become habituated to
behold the birth of nations, and already the spectacle has grown too
common to attract more than transitory notice. In the sluggish days that
preceded the revolutionary efforts of our fathers, a nationality was
fixed, seemingly immutable, the growth of scarcely numbered ages, the
daughter of immemorial Time. A people then could place its hand upon its
title-deeds, and, looking back through half a score of centuries, trace
its gradual development from nothingness to power. To-day, on the
contrary,--to use a somewhat daring metaphor,--nations have become
autochthonous; they have repudiated the feeble processes of conception
and tutelage; they spring, armed and full-grown, from the forehead of
their progenitors, or rise, in sudden ripeness, from the soil.

Thousands must now be living, the citizens of prosperous states, who
can recall the days when they had entered upon manhood and yet the name
itself of their nation had no existence. How many, indeed, are still
among us, to whom nations owe the impetus that gave them birth!
Prominent, at least, among those who can lay claim to such distinction,
there still stands one whose career it were well, perhaps, to study. We
will endeavor to profit by a glance at it.

With this intent let us transport ourselves in imagination to the Llanos
or Plains of Venezuela. It is a region similar in some respects, widely
dissimilar in others, to the more celebrated Pampas of the regions to
the south. The wonderful plain, covering more than two hundred thousand
square miles, and forming the basin of the gigantic Orinoco, is a study
in itself. The stranger who descends upon the vast savanna from the
mountains that line and defend the coast is impressed with the momentary
belief, when his eye for the first time sweeps over the level immensity,
that he is again approaching the sea. From the hilly country through
which he has toiled, he beholds at his feet a limitless and dusky plain,
smooth as an ocean in repose, but undulating, like it, in gigantic
sweeps and curves. The Llanos that he sees spread out before him thus
are one huge and exuberant pasture. Like the Pampas of Buenos Ayres,
they are the support of myriads of roaming cattle; but, unlike them,
they are intersected by numerous rivers, and suffer rather from excess
than from lack of moisture. The Orinoco sweeps, in turbid magnificence,
from west to east, traversing their entire breadth; and its countless
tributaries seam in every direction the immense plain thus divided, and
frequently by their unmanageable floods turn it for thousands of miles
into a lake.

The dwellers in this region have a character no less distinctive than
that of the Plains themselves. At long intervals, sometimes scores of
miles apart, their habitations are established; but their home is the
saddle. Innumerable herds of cattle and of horses turn to account the
pasturage of the rich savanna; and the true Llanero exists only as
guardian or proprietor of these savage hosts. He is as much at home in
this trackless expanse of rank vegetation as the mariner navigating
a familiar sea. There are no roads in the Llanos; but he can gallop
unerringly to any given point, be it hundreds of miles away. There are
no boundaries to the huge estates; but he knows when the cattle he is
set to protect are grazing upon their own territory or upon that of a
neighbor. He leads a life in which the extremes of solitariness and of
activity are combined. Separated from his nearest neighbor by a journey
of half a day, visited only rarely at his _hato_ or farm-house by
some casual traveller, or by the itinerant Galician peddler, whom he
contemptuously denominates the _merca-chifles_, the silent horseman
lives wrapt up in ignorance of all but the care of the roving beasts
that are intrusted to his vigilance.

Let us glance somewhat more nearly at the Llanero in his home. If we
are able to obtain an elevated view of the savanna,--let us say, in the
Llanos which constitute the Province of Barinas, and through which the
Apure rolls its rapid current to swell the volume of the Orinoco,--we
shall observe, at distant intervals upon the plain, irregular groups
of palm-trees surmounting the wavy level of the grass. These isolated
clumps or groves, called _matas_ in the provincial idiom, form the
landmarks of the Venezuelan Plains; and in the neighborhood of each we
shall find the _hato_ or dwelling of a Llanero. The building, we shall
find in every case, is a roughly-constructed hut, consisting of a floor
raised a couple of feet above the spongy soil, and covered with a steep
roof of palm-branches, with perhaps a thatch composed of the leaves
of the same invaluable tree. A rough partition of mud-plastered twigs
divides the Llanero's dwelling into unequal apartments; the lesser being
reserved for the use of the females of the household, while the larger,
furnished with half-a-dozen hides, the skin of a jaguar, and a couple of
benches or stools ingeniously manufactured from bamboo, is the general
reception-room, sleeping-apartment, and workshop for the _hatero_, when
the floods are out, or when he takes a fancy at other times to shelter
his head beneath a roof. A few rods from the dwelling is the _corral_ or
cattle-pen, a large oval inclosure, into which, at irregular intervals,
he drives his herds for purposes of branding or enumeration; and near
the _corral_ two or three impatient horses, shackled with a thong
confining the forelegs, are grazing.

The cattle-farms or _hatos_ of the Plains are owned, for the most part,
by the Creole residents of the cities which dot their outskirts, but are
inhabited only by the semibarbarous _hateros_, who attend to the
few requirements of the stock, and slaughter the annual supply. The
_hatero_, although a descendant, and proud that he is so, of the Spanish
settlers, has much intermixture of Indian and negro blood in his
veins. Few of the Llaneros, indeed, could show a pedigree in which the
Castilian blood was not sorely attenuated and diluted with that of
half-a-dozen Indian or negro progenitors. He is born on the Llanos, as
were his ancestors for many generations; and he has no conception of a
land in which cattle-plains are unknown, and where the carcass of an
animal is of more value than the hide. His ideas are restricted to
his occupation, and his religious notions limited to the traditional
instruction handed down from the days when his forefathers lived amid
civilized men, or to the casual teaching of some fervent missionary, who
devotes himself to the spiritual welfare of these lonely dwellers on the
Plains. Eight or ten persons at the utmost form a _hato_, and suffice
for all the requirements of thousands of cattle. The women are as much
accustomed to solitude as the men, and spend their time in domestic
occupations, or in cultivating the little patch of ground upon which
their supply of maize and cassava is grown. The occasion of their
marriage is perhaps the only one of their visit to a town,--perhaps
their only opportunity of seeing a printed book. Men and women alike are
a simple, healthy, ignorant race, borrowing manners, dress, and dialect
rather from the Indian than from the Spanish stock.

Such as he is, nevertheless, and for the purposes which his existence
subserves, the true Llanero is indeed well placed in his peculiar
region. A man of middle stature, usually of broad and powerful build,
short-necked, with square head and narrow forehead, and with eyes that
would be black, if it were not for the fire that flickers in them with a
carbuncle-like intensity. From the hips upward the Llanero is straight
and well-proportioned; but his constant equitation curves and bandies
his legs in a manner plainly visible whenever he attempts to walk. His
distinctive costume consists of the _calzones_, or cotton breeches,
reaching a little below the knee, a tunic or smock-frock of the same
material, confined about his waist with a thong of leather, into which
he thrusts his formidable _machete_ or cutlass, and the inevitable
_poncho_, that many-colored blanket which the entire Spanish-American
race has adopted at the hands of the vanquished Indians, and which he
uses as cloak, as pillow, as bed, and sometimes as saddle. Boots he has
none, nor shoes; but perhaps he may fasten strips of raw hide to
his feet by way of sandals,--and a piece of raw hide covers, in all
probability, his head. He cares little for ornament, since there are so
few about him to admire display; and all his pride is concentrated in
the steed that bears him, the lasso that he can throw with such unerring
aim, and the heavy lance that he uses in driving his ferocious cattle,
or as a death-dealing weapon when he is called upon to take part in some
partisan warfare.

Upon his _hato_, perhaps, there are between one and two hundred thousand
head of cattle and horses, guarded here and there by isolated posts of
a nature similar to his own. The animals, savage from their birth, roam
the plain in droves of many hundreds, each herd commanded by two or
three bulls or stallions, whose authority is no less despotic than that
of the colonel of a Russian regiment. They sweep from feeding-ground to
feeding-ground, galloping eight or ten abreast, headed by scouts, and
suffering no human being or strange animal to cross their path. As the
dusky squadron hurries, like an incarnate whirlwind, from one point to
another, every one prudently withdraws from their irresistible advance;
and instances have occurred in which large bodies of troops, marching
across the Plains, have been scattered and routed by an accidental
charge of some such wild-eyed regiment. At certain intervals, _la
hierra_, the branding, takes place; when drove after drove are
dexterously compelled within the walls of the _corral_, and there
marked with the initials or cipher of the proprietor. This is the great
festival of the _hatero_, and he invites to it all his neighbors for
scores of leagues around. The bellowing cattle, the plunging steeds, the
excitement of lassoing some bull more refractory than usual, the hissing
of the iron as it sears the brand-mark deep into the animal's hide, all
these are elements of exquisite enjoyment to the unsophisticated Rarey
of the Plains. His great delight, on such occasions, is to display his
skill in lassoing an untamed colt, or in performing the feat called to
_colear_ a bull. He selects from the suspicious herd some fine young
three-year old, grazing somewhat apart from the main body, and creeps
silently towards it. Suddenly the lasso flies in snaky coils over the
head of the beast, and is drawn with strangulating tightness about its
neck. At the first plunge, a brother _hatero_ lassoes the animal's hind
legs, and it is permitted to rear and kick as frantically as it can,
until it drops to the ground exhausted and strangled. The Llanero
immediately approaches the prostrate colt, and deliberately beats its
head with a heavy bludgeon until it becomes quite senseless. He then
places his saddle upon its back, adjusts a murderous bit in its clammy
mouth, and seats himself firmly in the saddle at the moment when the
animal recovers strength enough to rise. The fearful plunges, the wild
bounds, the vicious attempts at biting, which ensue, are all in vain; in
a couple of days he subsides into a mere high-spirited trotter, whom one
can ride with ease after once effecting a mount.

The pastime of "tailing" a bull is somewhat singular. Two or three
horsemen single out an animal upon which to practise it, and secure a
lasso about its horns. Another lasso, deftly thrown about its hind legs,
is fastened to a tree, and the strongest of the party then seizes the
bellowing beast by its tail, which he twists until his victim falls over
on its side and is dispatched. The greatest dexterity is required in
this manoeuvre by all practising it, as the slacking of either lasso
enables the bull to turn upon his caudal persecutor, who is certain to
be gored to death. This, indeed, not unfrequently happens. But a Llanero
cares little for death. He faces it daily in his lonely converse with
thousands of intractable beasts, in his bath in the river swarming with
alligators,--in the swamp teeming with serpents, against whose poison
there is no antidote, and whose bite will destroy the life of a man in a
single hour. Content with the wild excitement of his daily round of duty
and recreation, with his meal of dried beef and cassava-cake, washed
down, it is likely, with a gourdful of _guarapo_, a species of rum, in
comparison with which the New England beverage is innocent and weak, and
with the occasional recurrence of some such turbulent festival as that
of the branding, he cares nothing for the future, and bestows no thought
upon the past. The Llanero may be called a happy man.


II.

EL ARAUSENSE.


Two years more than half a century ago there lived a Creole trader of
some wealth in the little town of Araure, in the province of Barinas,
upon the outskirts of the Llanos. Don José had a stalwart son, aged
about sixteen, whom he had trained to active usefulness amid the
monotonous ease of the torrid little municipality. Young Jose Antonio
had received, it is true, only a scanty education, but he could sign
his name, could verify a calculation, and had a shrewd, quick head for
business. The doctors-of-law, tolerably numerous even in little Araure,
pronounced him born for a jurist, and he was a godsend to the litigious
natives of the Captain-Generalcy. The hide-and-tallow merchants nodded
knowingly, as he passed them in the street with a good-humored _Àdios_,
and predicted great fortunes for the lad as a future man-of-business.
The Cura thought it a pity that he should prefer the society of the
dusky beauties of Araure to the more hallowed enjoyments of preparation
for a priestly life. And all the while quite other destinies were held
in store by Fate. The remissness of a mercantile correspondent of his
father altered the current of his life, and mightily influenced, even to
the present day, the fortunes of his country.

A sum was owing to Don José by a trader of Capudare, and he intrusted
his son with the task of collecting the debt. One fine day, in the
spring of 1807, the lad accordingly set out, in high spirits at his
important mission, armed with a brace of pistols and a cutlass, and
mounted on a trusty mule. The money was duly collected, but, as young
José Antonio journeyed home with it, a rumor of his precious charge was
spread, and he was beset in a lonely by-path by four highwaymen. The
pistols flashed from José's holsters, and one of the _churriones_ fell
the next moment with a bullet in his brain. Instantly presenting the
second pistol, which was not loaded, he advanced upon the remaining
three, who fell back in consternation, and fled, panic-stricken, from
the boy. José Antonio was left alone with the highwayman's corpse. It
was no light thing in Venezuela to commit a homicide without testimony
of innocence, and young José hastened homewards with his treasure, in a
state of trepidation far greater than any the living highwaymen could
have inspired. Even in his parents' dwelling, he dreaded, every moment,
the arrival of an order for his arrest, and to appease his groundless
anxiety his father shortly suggested that he should take refuge upon the
Llanos,--the Sherwood of Venezuelan Robin Hoods. The youth was delighted
with the idea, and engaged himself as herdsman in the service of Don
Manuel Pulido, a wealthy proprietor, whom he served so well that he was
very quickly advanced to a position of confidence and command. In a few
months the slayer of the _churrion_ had learned to smile at his recent
apprehensions; but the wild life of the _hato_ had already thrown around
him its subtle fascination, and the sprightly youth of Araure had become
a naturalized son of the Plains. Soon few were able like young José to
break an untried steed; few wielded more dexterously the lasso, or could
drive with more unerring force the jagged lance into the side of a
galloping bull. Clad in _poncho_ and _calzones_, he scoured the vast
plain of La Calzada, acquiring, at the same time with manual dexterity
and physical hardihood, the affections, still more important, of the
wild Llaneros with whom only he associated. The lad of eighteen,
scarcely two years a denizen of the Plains, possessed all the influence
and authority of the hoariest Llanero; and now the predictions ran
that this daring José Antonio would one day be the most successful
cattle-farmer in Venezuela!


III.

EL TEMBLOR.


We must leave young José among his comrades of the _hato_ for a while,
and glance at the contemporaneous doings of anointed heads, whose
destinies were strangely interwoven with his own.

Far away across the Atlantic, in the shadow of the Pyrenees, events had
been developing themselves to the consummation that should overturn a
splendid throne, shake Europe to its foundations, and electrify Spanish
America with a sympathetic current of revolution, flashing from the
pines of Oregon to the deserts of Patagonia.

The mysterious treachery of Bayonne was consummated. Joseph, brother
of Napoleon, reigned on the throne of which King Charles had been
perfidiously despoiled. Ferdinand, heir to the crown of Spain and the
Indies, had scarcely heard himself proclaimed as the seventh monarch of
that name, when he had resigned his kingly functions to a Regency, and
hastened into the snare which already held his father a captive on the
soil of France. The astounding intelligence arrived in different parts
of South America during the year 1808. The effect was everywhere alike.
One moment of utter bewilderment, an instant's reeling under the shock
of surprise, and then a magnificent outburst of loyalty from the
simple-hearted Creole population! _El Rey_, the King,--that almost
mythical sovereign, who was ignorantly adored as the personification of
wisdom and beneficence, no matter how cruelly Viceroys might misgovern,
or Captains-General oppress,--was it possible to conceive him a captive,
the signer of his own humiliation, the renouncer of his immemorial
rights? And Ferdinand, the young monarch of whom so little was known
and so much expected,--he, too, a voluntary prisoner, while a Frenchman
reigned in Madrid? This was news, indeed, to bewilder nations who
had hitherto remained content in infantile tutelage, unconscious,
undesirous, of the rights of men! Addresses, fervent with loyalty, were
dispatched to Spain, embodying vows of eternal affection towards the
King, and of detestation of Joseph, the usurper. French residents in
Venezuela were publicly execrated by the excited Creoles; the French
flag was insulted, and the French messengers were glad to escape with
their lives from the hands of the infuriated Colonists. No Spanish
monarch ever had a firmer hold upon the Indies than Ferdinand VII. when
Spain was lost to him in July and August, 1808.

But soon there came that inevitable question, first in the catechism of
all human society: Whom shall we obey? The King, whose hand had weighed
not over lightly these many years, an abdicated prisoner at Bayonne;
Ferdinand yielding his authority into the hand of a nameless Regency,
and his capital to the brother of the Corsican Emperor; Spain overrun
by two hundred thousand foreign troops; messengers at hand from Joseph,
from the Regency, from the Junta of the Asturias, from the Junta of
Seville, each alike asserting its right to authority over the Colonies,
as legitimate possessors of jurisdiction in Spain itself! The accession
of Joseph, in fact, gave a momentary independence to Spanish America,
and the royal governors were thrown upon their own resources for the
maintenance of their power. The Colonies were for the first time called
upon to provide for their own defence,--solicited, not commanded, to
obey; and they proved their loyalty by dispatching enormous sums in
gold and silver to the Junta at Cadiz, as well as by their eagerness
to ascertain in whom actually reposed the lawful government of Spain.
Gradually, however, the consciousness of their own entity stole over the
Venezuelans and New Granadians, and they bethought them of establishing
an administrative Junta of their own, until better times should dawn on
Spain. Blindly imprudent, the Viceroy violently opposed the project,
and with such troops as remained in the Colonies the first Juntas were
dispersed or massacred. Squabbles ensued, until the citizens of Caracas
quietly deposed the chief Colonial authorities, and appointed a
_Junta Suprema_ to administer affairs in the name of Ferdinand VII.
Intelligence of this step, however, was received with great alarm by the
sapient Junta of Cadiz, and a proclamation was launched, on the 31st of
August, 1810, declaring the Province of Caracas in a state of rigorous
blockade. A war of manifestoes ensued, until the Provinces became
enlightened as to their own importance and strength, and published, on
the 5th of July, 1811, the Declaration of their Independence. Scarcely
was this done when the Spanish Cortes offered liberal terms of
accommodation, but they were rejected. The nation, that in 1808 thought
it sweet to be subject, declared itself, three years later, for
unqualified independence. The ardent revolutionist, General Miranda,
was placed in command of some hastily-levied forces, and took the field
against the Spanish commander, Don Domingo Monteverde, who had assumed a
hostile attitude immediately after the Declaration.

It is only necessary here to say, that, after some hard-fought and
honorable fields, Miranda and his fellow-officers were completely
successful. All the principal cities were in the hands of the Patriots
before 1812 began. Monteverde, in January of that year, was cooped up in
the remote province of Guiana, and Coro on the sea-coast was also held
by his troops; but elsewhere the new Republic seemed fully established.
Already the point of Constitution-making--the crystallization-point of
republics--had been reached. The ports of Venezuela were for the first
time opened to foreign trade. Her inhabitants were no longer restricted
from the enjoyment of the fruits of their own industry. A gigantic
system of taxation had been brushed, like a spider's web, away.
Two-thirds of the Captain-Generalcy, in a word, were free.

There was little fear among any of the inhabitants of Caracas, in March,
1812, that they would again fall under the dominion of Spain. The
Carnival had been celebrated with greater joyousness than in any year
before; the proverbial gayety of the town was doubled during the
concluding festival of Shrove Tuesday; and Lent had scarcely thrown as
deep a shade as usual over the devoutest inhabitants of the city. Lent
drew to a close, and there was every prospect that Passion Week would
be succeeded by a season of rejoicing over impending defeats of the
Royalist _Goths_ in Coro and Guiana; and Passion Week came. Holy
Thursday fell on the 26th of March.

The solemn festival was ushered in with the most imposing rites of the
Church. In the great cathedral, which dwarfed all other buildings in the
Plaza, there was high mass that day. The famous bell clanged out to all
Caracas remembrance of the agony of our Lord. A silent multitude was
prostrated all day long before the gorgeous altar. Prelates and priests
and acolytes stood, splendid in vestments of purple and white and
gold, solemnly celebrating upon the steps of the sanctuary the holiest
mysteries of the Roman Catholic communion. Above and around, gigantic
tapers flared from candlesticks of beaten gold; and every little while,
the glorious anthems floated forth in majestic cadence, eddying in waves
of harmony about the colonnade that stretched in dusky perspective from
the great door to the altar, soaring above the distant arches, and
swelling upwards in floods of melody, until the vast concavity of the
vaulted nave was filled with a sea of sound. But a sultry heaviness
weighed with the incense upon the air. Elder citizens glanced uneasily
at one another, and the thoughts of many wandered anxiously from the
sacred building. Outside, the streets were empty. All Caracas was
engaged in public worship; and the white dwellings that inclosed the
Plaza, with its converging avenues, looked silently down upon deserted
pavements, echoing only now and then to the careless tread of a party of
negroes, or to the clattering heel of some undevout trooper. The sun had
a glow as of molten copper; the atmosphere was dense; but not a cloud
occupied the heavens. Towards evening the churches and the cathedral
were again emptied, and the throng of worshippers, streaming out into
the streets, prepared to witness the great religious procession that was
to close the ceremonies of the holy day. Still the declining sun glowed
with unnatural intensity of hue; and the evening breeze swept over the
town in unusually fitful and stormy gusts. The air seemed to be laden
with mysterious melancholy, to sigh with a hidden presage of some awful
calamity to come.

Of a sudden it came. A shudder, a tremor, a quivering shock ran, for
hundreds of miles simultaneously, through Venezuela. A groan, swelling
thunderously and threateningly into a hollow roar, burst from the
tortured earth, and swallowed up in its convulsive rumbling the shrieks
of an entire nation suddenly inwrapt in the shadow and agony of death.
For a moment,--as if a supernatural hand were painfully lifting it from
its inmost core,--the earth rocked and heaved through all Venezuela; and
then, almost before the awful exclamation, _El temblor!_ had time to
burst from the lips of that stricken nation, it bounded from the bonds
that held it, and in a moment was quaking, heaving, sliding, surging,
rolling, in awful semblance to the sea. Great gulfs opened and closed
their jaws, swallowing up and again belching forth dwellings, churches,
human beings, overtaken by instantaneous destruction.

A flash and a roar passed through the earth, and a jagged chasm followed
in its track, creating others in its rapid clash and close. Whole
cities shivered, tottered, reeled, and fell in spreading heaps of
undistinguishable ruin. In one minute and fifteen seconds, twenty
thousand human beings perished in Venezuela; and then the Earthquake of
Caracas ceased.

It was after four o'clock in the afternoon when the first subterranean
shock was felt; and long before five the agonized earth was still. Long
before five, the stupefied survivors stood slowly recovering their
faculties of speech and motion. Long before five, a piteous wail
ascended to heaven from fathers and husbands and wives and mothers,
desolately mourning the dead in the streets of Caracas, La Guayra,
Mérida, San Felipe, and Valencia. In this manner the Holy Thursday of
1812 drew toward its close. But the physical disasters consequent upon
the great earthquake were of insignificant import as compared with its
moral effect. Colonist and Spaniard had shared alike in suffering and
death during those dreadful moments; but the superstitious population
readily accepted the interpretation which an eager priesthood placed
upon the event, and bowed in the belief that they had suffered
the infliction in punishment of their rebellion against the King.
Nine-tenths of the clergy and monastic brotherhood inwardly hated
and feared the Revolution, and their practised tongues drew terrible
auguries for rebellious Venezuela from the recent throes and upheaval of
the earth. Preachers solemnly proclaimed the fact, that this, without
doubt, was a catastrophe akin to the memorable convulsion which once had
swallowed up Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, for mutiny against the Lord; and
the proximate wrath of God could be appeased only by a retrogression
into his chosen paths. The people listened to the fathers, and obeyed
trembling. Miranda, who had struggled against and overcome the material
power of his enemies, was impotent when confronted by spiritual terrors;
and after a few languid combats, his troops deserted, leaving Monteverde
to triumph once more in the assertion of Spanish authority over every
province of Venezuela. His headquarters were established at Caracas,
and there, as well as elsewhere, his troops revelled in the perfidious
torture and execution of their capitulated foes. During nearly two
years, Monteverde reigned in Venezuela.


IV.

GUERRA Á LA MUERTE!


Yet, towards the close of 1813, the star of liberty glimmered once
more from the summits of the Western Cordillera. During and after the
memorable earthquake, the city of Puerto Cabello, at that time held by
the Patriots, was under the command of a young colonel in the Republican
service, who had devoted a portion of his immense patrimonial wealth
to the culture of his intellectual powers in European travel, (not,
however, without subsequently applying a large share to the necessities
of his country,) and whose name was Simon Bolívar. The treachery of an
officer delivered the citadel of Puerto Cabello into the hands of some
Spanish prisoners who were there confined, and in June, 1812, Colonel
Bolívar was compelled to evacuate the town with all his force. While
Monteverde lorded it over his country, he took refuge in the neighboring
islands, and afterwards in New Granada, where he conceived the daring
project which freed Venezuela, and has perpetuated, with his name, the
simple but expressive title: Liberator, _Libertador_.

It is not our purpose here to follow the intrepid partisan in his
descent, with six hundred New Granadian adherents, from the Andes, upon
the astounded Spaniards. We cannot follow him, nor the generals whom
he created, in their marvellous marches, and still more marvellous
triumphs, during many succeeding years. Suffice it to say, that he
fell like a thunderbolt from a sunny sky upon the confident Royalist
troops,--that he defeated and routed them time after time, broke, with
his terrible lancers, upon encampments which believed him a hundred
miles away, and drove the Royal commanders, with varying success, from
one point to another of Venezuela. His watchword was, _Guerra á la
muerte_, "War unto death!" Every battle-ground became a shamble, every
flight a butchery. The system was inaugurated by his antagonists, who
cruelly slew eight Patriot officers, and eight citizens of Barinas,
shortly after the commencement of hostilities, under circumstances of
peculiar barbarity. Thenceforward Bolívar's men took no prisoners.

In the mean time, Wellington had driven the French across the Pyrenees,
and Ferdinand the Adored ruled once more in Madrid. Even now, judicious
management might have secured again the allegiance of the Colonies; but
the first action of Ferdinand was to vituperate his American subjects
as rebels, whom he commanded to lay down their arms at once; and on
the 18th of February, 1815, there sailed from Cadiz a stately armament
intended to enforce this peremptory order. Sixty-five vessels composed
the fleet, bearing six regiments of infantry, one of dragoons, the
Queen's hussars, artillery, sappers and miners, engineers, and eighteen
pieces of cannon, besides incalculable quantities of arms and munitions
of war. The expedition numbered fifteen thousand men, and was commanded
in chief by the famous soldier, General Don Pablo Morillo, the guerilla
champion, the opposer of the French.

On the 4th of April, this redoubtable army effected a landing; and once
more, all but an insignificant fraction of Venezuela fell under the hand
of Spain. The flood of successful rebellion was rolled back from the
coast, and Bolívar, with his dauntless partisans, was soon confined to
the Llanos, which stretch away in level immensity from the marshy banks
of the Orinoco, the Apure, and their tributaries.

Our readers have already been introduced to these Llanos, and have
beheld their wild inhabitants amid the monotonous avocations of a time
of peace. Let us now approach them while the "blood-red blossom of war"
blazes up from their torrid vegetation. Let us descend upon them at
night, here, at no great distance from the banks of the cayman-haunted
Apure, and we shall gaze upon a different scene. All around us, the
plain extends in the same desolate immensity that we noticed when we
looked upon it from the _hato_; still, as before, we see it covered with
a dense wilderness of reedy grasses that overtop the tallest trooper
in Morillo's army; as before, we notice the scattered palm-islands,
breaking here and there the uniformity of level; and hosts of cattle and
wild horses are still roaming over the plain.

Near a _mata_, or grove of palm-trees, there is a sound of merry voices
to-night. Fires are crackling here and there; huge strips of fresh beef
are roasting on wooden spits; the long grass has been trodden flat in
a wide circumference, and three or four rudely-constructed huts of
palm-branches close the scene on one side. Five hundred men are
collected here,--the élite of the liberators of Venezuela. Gathered
about their camp-fires, these troopers, who have ridden a hundred miles
since morning, are enjoying rest, refreshment, and recreation. But the
word trooper must not conjure up a vision of belted horsemen, rigid in
uniform, with clanking sabres, and helmets of brass. Of a far different
stamp are the figures reclining before us. These are improvised
warriors, _hateros_, cattle-farmers, who, grasping their lances and
lassos, have eagerly exchanged the monotony of pastoral life for the
wild excitement of the charge upon Spanish squadrons, and the ferocious
slaughter of fellow-men. No two of this invincible band are clad
alike. Here is a sergeant, wearing an old and dilapidated blanket
poncho-fashion, with the remains of a palm-leaf hat sheltering his head,
and with limbs which a pair of ragged _calzones_ make only a pretence of
covering. Yet over his left shoulder is slung a gorgeous hussar jacket,
which he wears with the greater pride since it belonged last night to a
lieutenant in the Queen's regiment, whom he slew in cold blood after the
fight! Next to him leans a private, bare-legged and bare-headed, wearing
only an old piece of carpet about his waist, a flannel shirt, and the
uniform coat of a Spanish officer, from which he has cut the right
sleeve in order to secure greater freedom for his arm. A third has made
himself a suit which Robinson Crusoe might have envied. Helmet, jerkin,
breeches, sandals, all have been cut from the same raw bull's hide! His
neighbor, a new recruit, still wears the national dress of his order,
which has not yet been tattered and torn from him by long service; and
he is the envy of the motley troop. But the lack of uniformity in no
wise detracts from valor, nor does it diminish the gayety of these
terrible lancers as they lie idly grouped about the flickering fires.
Half-a-dozen circles are absorbed in as many games at cards; others
are swallowing greedily some improvised fantastic tale; and some are
singing, in wild, irregular cadence, the favorite songs of the Plains.
Their example soon becomes contagious, and group after group chimes in
with the uproarious chant. Listen! From the farthest extremity of the
encampment comes a querying solo:--

"De todos los Generales cual es el valiente?"

and from five hundred throats the response is thundered:--

"Mi General Paez con toda su gente!"

Again the solo demands:--

"De todos los Generales cual es el major?"

and the tumultuous answer is vociferated:--

"Es mi General José con su guardia de honor!"

And who may be the valiant General, the General with his guard of honor,
excelling all the rest? This, we learn, is the guard of honor; the
General is José Antonio Paez, little José Antonio who killed the
highwayman and betook himself to cattle farming on the Plains! Now,
however, he is the famous Llanero chieftain, favorite champion of
Venezuela, brother-in-arms of Bolívar, who allows him, alone of all
the military leaders, the privilege of an especial body-guard. Since
1810,--for five years,--he has been fighting constantly in his country's
service, and has won himself fame while our eyes have been turned in
other directions. Look! he is standing there, at the entrance to his
hut, while the chorus yet echoes among the palm-branches. Scarcely of
middle stature, certainly not more than five feet four in height,--but
broad-shouldered, muscular, with a constitution of iron, equal to
perpetual exertion, capable of every fatigue. His countenance is open
and prepossessing, his features rounded, forehead square, eyes piercing
and intelligent. Like his men, he wears a motley garb,--part Spanish
uniform, part costume of the Llanos; and he leans upon a lance,
decorated with a black bannerol, which has carried death already to
innumerable Loyalist hearts. Thus José Antonio Paez stands before us, on
the banks of the Apure, in the twenty-fifth year of his age.

He has perhaps been hitherto too much neglected by us, and we must look
backwards in order to take up the thread of his career. At the very
first outbreak of insurrection in 1810, Paez took service as a volunteer
in the hastily-levied militia of Barinas, and was quickly promoted to
the post of sergeant in a corps of lancers. His influence and example
attracted multitudes of Llanero horsemen to the Revolutionary ranks,
but the calamitous period of the earthquake put an end to his military
service, and he returned, in 1812, to his pastoral post. Soon, however,
came news of Bolívar fighting from the mountains of New Granada; and in
1813 Paez was once more in the saddle, with the commission, this time,
of captain in the Patriot service. The Spaniards soon learned to dread
the fiery lancer of Barinas. They were never safe from his sudden
onslaught; and Puy, the commandant of the Province, rejoiced loudly when
an unlucky defeat placed the indefatigable _guerrillero_ in his power.
Paez was condemned to be shot, and was actually led out, with
other prisoners, to the place of execution; but a concatenation of
extraordinary accidents saved his life, and he escaped once more to the
head of his command. It was not long before he was brought in immediate
contact with the now famous Bolívar, and he rapidly rose to independent
command. In 1815, he was second only to the Liberator. Thousands of grim
Llaneros acknowledged no chieftain beside _el Tio Pepe_,--Uncle Joe.
When Morillo landed, in 1815, with his overwhelming force, only the
Llaneros of Paez held out for the Republic; everywhere else in Venezuela
the banner of Spain waved in triumph, but on the Plains of the Apure
there was neither submission nor peace. Yet, after a while, as the
victorious legions of Morillo flooded, in successive waves from the
coast, the level region of his refuge, Paez was compelled to evacuate
the Plains, and leave them to the invader. With a few hundred of his
horsemen he established himself on the Plains of New Granada. Scarcely
had he grown familiar with his new centre of action when the troops of
Morillo were turned westward for the purpose of curbing the rebellious
spirits in the neighboring Vice-Royalty,--when, quicker than thought,
Paez was once more over the mountains, and recovered by a sudden swoop
the Llanos of Barinas. Thenceforward, this region remained the surest
foothold of the revolution in Venezuela. Encircled with Spanish troops,
it remained, nevertheless, a practical republic in itself, and the
vast basin of the Orinoco was the cradle of Venezuelan freedom. The
Provisional Government consisted of a mere council of generals, who, in
1816, created Paez General and Supreme Chief of the Republic. A vast
stride from the _hatero's_ hut that we saw him inhabiting in 1808!

Paez resigned this dignity in favor of Bolívar in the following year,
contenting himself with his great military command. Surrounded by the
body-guard we have seen, through all the years 1816, 1817, and 1818, now
in Venezuela, now in New Granada, in the Plains to-day, in the mountains
to-morrow, enduring every privation, braving odds apparently the most
overwhelming, fighting pitched battles at midnight, and triumphantly
effecting surprises in the open day, he maintained alive, in the midst
of general discouragement, the cause he had espoused. Bolívar, the
Liberator, was meanwhile endeavoring to make head against the Spaniards
elsewhere, and gathered a considerable force in the interior province of
Guiana. In 1818, the vanguard of the British legion--troops browned by
the sun of Spain, who had marched with Wellington from Lisbon to the
Pyrenees, and who gladly accepted the offers of the Patriots when
Waterloo had put an end to European strife--sailed up the Orinoco, and
effected a junction with the assembled Patriot forces.

At this time, not only the whole of New Granada, but the entire
sea-coast of Venezuela and every important city in the Republic were
possessed by Morillo. Yet the Royalist cause made no progress. Morillo's
dominion was like that famous Haarlem lake which occupied so large an
extent of the lands of Holland; it might be great and threatening, but
barriers insurmountable, though unpretending, forbade its expansion, and
perseverance gradually succeeded in curtailing its limits. Whatever the
hand of Morillo covered, he possessed; but his authority ceased outside
the range of his guns. His men were growing weary of the struggle; few
reinforcements came from Spain; and the troops suffered frightfully,
through their constant fatigues and hardships. The war had become
that most terrible of all wars,--a deliberate system of surprises and
skirmishes. Paez here, Bolívar there, Monágas, Piar, Urdaneta, and a
score of other chieftains, at every vulnerable point, harassed, without
ceasing, the common foe.

In 1819, Bolívar set out upon that marvellous expedition across the
Andes in which, by marching one thousand miles and fighting three
pitched battles in somewhat less than eleven weeks, he finally liberated New
Granada, and secured a vast amount of Spanish treasure and munitions of
war. During his absence, Paez was left to keep Morillo in check on the
east of the Cordillera. His plan of operations was, to be everywhere,
and to do everything with his lancers. Venezuela clung with terrible
tenacity to the idea of freedom; and the Republic was converted into two
great camps, perpetually shifting their boundaries, yet ever presenting
the same features. Trade and commerce were at an end; the only business
thought of was that of war unto death. Death, everywhere; death, at all
times; death, in every shape. By the sword and the lance, by famine,
by drowning, by fire, decimated by fever, worn out by fatigue, the
Spaniards perished. When their convoys failed or were intercepted, it
was impossible to obtain food; no foraging-party dared venture forth
from the fortified encampment; it was necessary that an entire division
should march out into the Llanos, and seek for the nearest herd of
cattle. It not unfrequently happened, in these expeditions, that
the very cattle were enlisted on the Patriot side. Herds of several
thousands of the savage beasts were sometimes driven headlong upon the
Spanish lines, throwing them into confusion, and trampling or goring
great numbers to death. Close in the rear of the resistless herd then
charged the lancers of Paez, with the terrible black bannerol fluttering
in the van. Before the scattered Royalists have time to rally, they are
attacked in every direction by their merciless foes,--and in another
minute the battle is over, and the men of the Plains are out of sight!
Sometimes, too, a detachment traversing the savanna would notice with
affright a column of thin smoke stealing up into the sky a mile to
windward; and almost before the bugle or the drum could summon them
to arms, the flames would be seething and crackling around them, and
roaring away, in an ocean of fire, across the savanna beyond. And then,
in the rear of the flames, dashed the bloodthirsty lancers, and the
blackened embers of the grass turned red with the richness of Spanish
veins! No venture was too arduous for the Llanero chieftain. He
accomplished at one time an exploit in which only the multiplicity of
witnesses who have testified to the achievement permits us to believe.
San Fernando, an important town on the Apure, was strongly fortified,
and was held by the Spaniards as a potent means of annoying the Patriots
in any attempts they might make to cross the river. In order further to
defend the passage, six large river-boats, each containing a piece of
artillery, were anchored at a short distance below the only ford. But
it became necessary that the Apure should be crossed, and Paez quietly
undertook to secure the passage. With a few of his lancers, he rode to
the river-bank, and there gave the command, _Al agua, muchachos!_ "To
the water, boys!" which he was accustomed to use when ordering his men
to bathe. His meaning was at once apprehended. The men, stripping off
their upper clothing, and holding their swords under their arms, plunged
into the stream, shouting loudly to keep off the alligators, and partly
rode, partly swam, nearly half a mile towards the gun-boats. Only the
heads of horses and men were visible above the water, and the crews
of the gun-boats, after a single discharge, which wounded none of the
extraordinary attacking party, threw themselves into the river and made
the best of their way to San Fernando, where they alleged that it was
useless to contest possession of their charge with incarnate devils,
to whom water was the same us dry land, and who butchered all their
prisoners. The gun-boats were navigated in triumph to the Patriot camp,
and did excellent service in ferrying the troops across the Apure.


V.

LIBERTAD.


By the year 1820 the Revolutionists had for the third time perceptibly
gained ground, and Morillo's force, spread like a fan at the inland base
of the sierra, was gradually yielding to the unceasing pressure;--in a
word, the Patriots were at length driving their enemies into the sea.
Towards the close of 1820, Morillo opened negotiations with their
chiefs, and a suspension of hostilities was commenced on the 26th of
November, when the Spanish general gladly quitted the scene of his
fruitless efforts, and retired to Spain with the title of Count of
Carthagena, leaving Generals Morales and La Torre in authority behind
him. The armistice was not prolonged. The Congress of Colombia, as the
united republics of Venezuela and New Granada were then termed, demanded
unqualified independence as the price of peace; and in June--the Battle
Month--of 1821, Bolívar and Paez took up arms once more. The Spanish
troops were concentrated at the base of the mountains, with Valencia and
Caracas in their rear. Before them, the road wound westward, through
tortuous passes, towards Tinaquilla and Barinas, at the former of which
places Bolívar with his forces was now halting. Six thousand men were
in arms on either side; but the troops of the Republic, though ragged,
ill-fed, and badly armed, were flushed with the consciousness of success
and the presentiment of triumph, while those of Spain were dispirited,
worn out, and malcontent.

It was plain to the meanest trooper, however, that Carabobo must be
held; and on intelligence of the Patriot advance, the position, of
amazing strength, was resolutely occupied. It seemed, indeed, that a
regiment could defend such a pass with ease against an army. In order
to debouch upon the Plain of Carabobo, the Patriots must penetrate a
defile, forming a narrow and tortuous pass, the road through which was
a mere seam at the base of a deep ravine. This narrow passage, through
which, of necessity, Bolívar's troops must march in straggling line,
terminated abruptly in a basin or valley shut in by hills, except
upon the northeast, where it opened upon the boundless expanse of the
contested plain. At the mouth of this gorge La Torre lay with all
his force. Despite the unfavorable condition of his men, with whom,
moreover, he was not popular, the odds seemed overwhelmingly in his
favor. He stood on the defensive, in one of the strongest of military
positions, and well provided with artillery, while his adversary was to
struggle through a narrow valley in the face of his opponents, before
a single man could be made available. The mouth of this valley was
blockaded by the Spanish infantry, who stretched in silent lines from
side to side in the evening of the 23d of June. On either flank, the
hills were occupied by corps of riflemen, and the artillery was posted
at their base. No force, it appeared, could enter the beleaguered valley
and live. Bolívar commenced his passage through the defile on the
morning of the 24th, and halted in dismay as he reached the outlet. It
was too apparent that such a conflict as lay before him could not be
braved. At this moment Paez learned that a narrow side-path existed,
permitting the passage of a single file, which led, by a _détour_, to
the plain. It was one of those curious accidents on which the fate of
battles seems to hang; and after some hesitation, Bolívar permitted Paez
to venture the passage. Heading the famous Battalion of Apure, he at
once wheeled to the left, and commenced the toilsome march. One by one
the veterans struggled through the pass, but they were discovered by La
Torre before they issued upon the plain.

Although taken entirely by surprise, the Spaniards had time for a
partial change of front, and before the veterans of Apure had assembled
at the mouth of the pass, a volley of musketry rang out from the Spanish
lines, and the gleaming of bayonets told of a wall of steel across the
path. The scanty force of Paez, however, dashed from the ravine, and,
forming hastily, rushed upon the enemy. Four Royalist battalions
converged upon them, and they were crushed. They fell back, flying in
disorder, and the Spaniards were on the point of securing the pass,
when a shout arose before them that made the stoutest quail. With
one ever-memorable cheer, a long hurrah, which spoke of well-known
unconquerable determination, the British legion, less than eight hundred
strong, with their Colonel, John Ferrier, at their head, appeared at the
mouth of the ravine. Forming instantaneously and in perfect silence,
but with the accuracy of a regiment on parade, they threw forward their
bayonets, and knelt down, sedately, calmly, immovably, to confront
destruction. The remaining troops of Bolívar were in their rear,
traversing slowly the defile; and until they reached its mouth, that
living wall of Anglo-Saxon valor neither stirred nor blenched. Volley
after volley enfiladed their ranks, and, after each discharge, the mass
of men was smaller. Still their cool and ceaseless firing rolled death
into the ranks of the enemy, until at length the troops whom they had
saved from destruction rallied once more. Then, what remained of the
legion, headed by the two or three officers whose lives had been
marvellously preserved, rushed fiercely forward like an avenging flame,
and swept before them the affrighted Spaniards, wildly scattering at
the onslaught which it was impossible to withstand. In another moment,
eighty or ninety of the lancers of Paez issued from the ravine, and,
hurling themselves upon the broken enemy, turned the defeat into an
utter rout. La Torre's troops, with the exception of one regiment, fled
in disgraceful confusion, or perished by hundreds under the lances
of the implacable pursuers; and on the evening of the 24th of June,
Bolívar, encamped upon the Plain of Carabobo, laid his hand upon the
shoulder of José Antonio Paez, thenceforward General-in-chief of the
Armies of the Republic of Colombia!

Carabobo decided the War of Independence throughout South America. It
snapped the chain which held Venezuela down, and the Spaniards, hemmed
in for two years longer at Puerto Cabello, which place they defended
with honorable pertinacity, were finally expelled from the free Republic
in November, 1823. The city was taken by storm on the 7th of that month,
and on the 9th the citadel surrendered. General Calzada, the commandant,
with all his officers, and four hundred men, was shortly afterwards
shipped for Spain.

Here the career of the Llanero closes. A new and still more brilliant
avenue to distinction opens before Paez. At this, however, we can
scarcely glance. Our business has been to study him in the saddle,
wielding lasso and sword and lance; nor have we left ourselves room
for adequate allusion to his subsequent life as President and private
citizen, deliverer of his country, and exile in these Northern States.
Yet the record could not be called complete, unless we passed briefly in
review the vicissitudes of the past thirty years.

After the taking of Puerto Cabello, Paez administered the affairs of
Venezuela as Provisional Chief of the State, and held that office under
the Congress of Colombia, until the two republics were dissevered in
1830, when he was elected first President of Venezuela. Only partially
disturbed by a military insurrection, headed by the turbulent General
José T. Monágas, which was soon suppressed, the administration of Paez
was such as surprised all lookers-on in America and Europe. He displayed
administrative talents of a high order, with all the firmness and
resolution of a soldier, yet with all the business capacity and peaceful
proclivities of a civilian.

Laying down the Presidential office in 1834, he was again called upon
to assume it four years later, and until the close of 1842 Venezuela
prospered under his direction. The foreign and domestic debt was
liquidated by the products of national industry, and three millions of
dollars were left in the treasury on the accession to the Presidency
of General Soublette, in 1843. Honors had rained on the _ci-devant_
impetuous horseman, whose shout had once so frequently been the prelude
to slaughter and devastation. William the Fourth of England presented
General Paez, in 1837, with a sword of honor; Louis Philippe of France
invested him, in 1843, with the Grand Cordon of the Legion of Honor; and
two years later, there arrived from Oscar of Sweden the Cross of the
Military Order of the Sword.

But in 1850, and thenceforward, until 1858, José Antonio Paez trod the
streets of New York as an exile from his native land.

General José T. Monágas was elected President of Venezuela in 1848, and
created dissatisfaction by his course of action. Paez placed himself
at the head of an insurrectionary movement against him, and, being
defeated, was imprisoned in the city of Valencia. General Monágas,
influenced, it is probable, by feelings of ancient friendship, and
remembering the pardon extended to himself on a former similar occasion,
contented himself with a decree of exile against the captive veteran,
and Paez embarked for St. Thomas on the 24th of May, 1850. He passed
from St. Thomas to the United States.

All, whose memories extend so far back as the year 1850, remember the
ovation received in New York by the exiled chief. New York grants an
ovation to every one; and Monágas would, doubtless, have been received
with the same demonstration, had the breath of adverse fortune blown him
hither, instead of his antagonist.

After the first effervescence produced by the dropping of a notability
into the caldron of New York, the Llanero general was permitted to enjoy
his placid domesticity without molestation; and in a pleasant street,
far up-town among the Twenties, he lived in the midst of us for eight
quiet years. A curious serenity of evening, for a life so turbulent and
incarnadined in its beginning! How many of the thousands who were
wont to pass the stout old soldier, with his seamed forehead and gray
moustache, as he enjoyed his quiet stroll down Broadway, thought of him
as the lad of Araure, the horseman of Barinas, terror of the Spaniard,
victor of Carabobo, and President of Venezuela? But though retired and
unpretending in his exile, Paez was not neglected in New York; and the
procession which followed him, but a few weeks since, to the steamer
destined to bear him back to his native land,--a procession saddened, it
is true, by the feeble condition to which an accident had temporarily
reduced the chieftain,--showed that his solid worth was recognized and
honored.

Not yet, however, is it time for the summing-up of his history. The
exile of 1850 has been solicited to return to his country, and the
ninth anniversary of banishment may find him occupying once more the
Presidential chair. General Monágas having been deposed in March, 1858,
repeated invitations were dispatched, by the Provisional Government, to
Paez, entreating his return; and, after much cautious hesitation, he
resolved, in the following September, to comply with the request.
Subsequent events belong rather to the chronology of the day than to the
page of history we have thrown open here. Our task is at an end; the
career of the Llanero has been unfolded; we have placed ourselves in the
presence of the comrade of Bolívar, and have witnessed the rise of the
Venezuelan Republic.



BULLS AND BEARS.

[Continued.]


CHAPTER XI.

SHOWING AT WHAT COST OUR HERO ESCAPED DROWNING.


The boat lay at the wharf, a pretty little craft of six or eight tons,
with a mainsail and jib. It was a delightful afternoon; a gentle
westerly wind swept over a placid sea, and the sky was as clear as the
mirror that reflected its exquisite blue. Greenleaf and Miss Sandford
took their seats amidships, leaving the stern for the boatman. The
ropes were cast off, and the sailor was about stepping aboard, when it
was discovered that the fishing-lines had been left behind. Old Tarry
was dispatched to bring them, and he rolled off as fast as his habitual
gait allowed him. When he was fairly up the hill, Miss Sandford said,--

"You know how to sail a boat, don't you?"

"Yes," said Greenleaf, "I have frequently been out alone; but I thought
I would not take the responsibility of a more precious freight."

"It would be delightful to have a sail by ourselves."

"Charming, truly! Our salt-water friend may be a very estimable person,
but we should be freer to talk in his absence."

"Suppose you try it. I will sit here, and you take his place."

Greenleaf hesitated; the proposal was a tempting one, but he had no
great confidence in his own skill.

"The sea is like a pond," continued his companion. "We can sail out a
short distance, and then return for our pilot, if we like."

Greenleaf allowed himself to be persuaded. He shoved off the boat,
hoisted sail, and they were soon lightly skimming the waters of the bay.
They rounded the rocky point and stood for the eastward. Their boatman
soon appeared on the shore and made frantic gestures to no purpose; they
looked back and rather enjoyed his discomfiture.

Never did the sea have such a fascination for Greenleaf. He held the
rudder and drew the sheets with a feeling of proud mastery, deeper and
more exciting than the horseman feels on the back of his steed. These
first emotions, however, gradually lost their intensity, and he resigned
himself to the measureless content which the gentle motion, the bland
air, and the sunny sky inspired.

What had been the character of Miss Sandford's regard for Greenleaf
hitherto would he a difficult question to answer; it is doubtful whether
she knew, herself. She had been pleased with his conversation and
manners, flattered by his graceful and not too obsequious attentions,
and proud of his success in his art. Living upon the pleasures of the
day, without a thought of the future, she had never seriously reflected
upon the consequences of her flirtation, supposing that, as in every
former case, there would come a time of _ennui_ and coolness. Besides,
she had felt the force of her prudent sister-in-law's suggestion, that a
man without an estate would never be able to supply the necessities of a
woman of fashion. With all her _quasi_ advances a degree of reserve
was mingled, and she persuaded herself that she should never become
entangled beyond the power of retreat. But Greenleaf was not an easy
conquest. She was aware of her influence over him, and employed all her
arts to win and secure his devotion; as long as the least indifference
on his part remained, she was unsatisfied. But in this protracted effort
she had drifted unconsciously from her own firm anchorage. Day by day
his society had grown more and more necessary to her, and her habitual
caution was more and more neglected. The conduct of Greenleaf, without
any design on his part, had been such as to draw her on irresistibly,
until their positions had become reversed; she was now fascinated beyond
self-control, and without a thought of the future, while he was merely
agreeable, but inwardly cool and self-possessed. Still at times the
strange thrills returned as the soft light of her eyes fell upon him,
and the intoxication he felt at his first meeting with her again drowned
his senses in delight.

They did not talk very freely that summer's day. The heart when full
rarely pours itself out in words. A look, a pressure of the hand, or (if
such improprieties are to be imagined) a kiss, expresses the emotions
far better than the most glowing speech. It was enough for Marcia,
steeped in delicious languor, to sway with the rocking boat, to feel the
soft wind dallying with her hair, and to look with unutterable fondness
at her companion.

As long as the ceremonies of society are observed, and people are kept
asunder a room's distance, so that only the mind acts, and the senses
are in repose, reserve may keep up its barrier. Words lose their
electricity in passing through a cool tract of air, and Reason shows all
things in her own clear white light. But establish a magnetic circle by
contact, let hand rest in quivering hand, while eye looks into melting
eye, and Reason may as well resign her sway. When the nerves tingle,
the heart bounds, and the breath quickens, estates, honors, family,
prudence, are of little worth. The Grundys, male and female, may go
hang; the joy of the present so transcends all memory, so eclipses hope
even, that all else is forgotten.

The boat careened somewhat, and Marcia changed her seat to the opposite
side, quite near to Greenleaf. His right hand held the tiller,--his
left, quite unconsciously, it would seem, fell into her open palm. The
subtile influence ran through every fibre. What he said he did not know,
only that he verged towards the momentous subject, and committed himself
so far that he must either come plainly to the point or apologize and
withdraw as best he might. _Could_ he withdraw, while, as he held her
soft hand, that lambent fire played along his nerves? He did not give up
the hand.

Poor little Alice! Her picture in his breast-pocket no longer weighed
upon his heart.

The breeze freshened, the boat rose and fell with easy motion over the
whitening waves. The sun all at once was obscured. They looked behind
them; a heavy black cloud was rising rapidly in the west. Greenleaf put
the boat about, and, as it met the shock of the sea, they were covered
with spray. To go back in the wind's eye was clearly impossible; they
must beat up, and, hauling as close to the wind as possible, they stood
towards Swampscot. For a mile or two they held this course, and then
tacked. But making very little headway in that direction, the bow was
turned northward again. In coming about they shipped so much water, that
Marcia, though by no means a coward, screamed out, "We are lost!"
She flung herself into the bottom of the boat and laid her head in
Greenleaf's lap like a frightened child. He soothed her and denied that
there was danger; he did not venture to tack again, however, for fear of
being swamped, but determined to run northwardly along the coast in the
hope of getting ashore on some sandy beach before the fury of the storm
should come. The boat now careened so far that her gunwale was under
water; he saw that he must take in the mainsail. With some difficulty he
persuaded Marcia to hold the tiller while he let go the halliards. The
mainsail came down with a run, and the boat kept on with the jib only,
though of course at a slower rate. They were still two or three miles
from shore, and the storm increased momently. They saw Lynn Beach
without hope of gaining it, the wind driving them northward. Neither
could Greenleaf run into the little bay of Swampscot. In spite of his
efforts the boat shot by Phillips's Point, and he must therefore run
upon the rocks beyond the Point or make for Marblehead harbor. But the
latter was an untried and dangerous course for an inexperienced boatman,
and, grim as the coast looked, he was obliged to trust to its tender
mercies for the chance of getting ashore. The rain now fell in blinding
torrents and a blackness as of night brooded over the sea. Greenleaf
was utterly bewildered, but held on to the tiller with his aching,
stiffening hand, and strove to inspire his companion with courage. The
boat was "down by the head," on account of the wind's drawing the jib,
and rolled and plunged furiously. Behind were threatening billows, and
before were ragged, precipitous rocks, around which the surges boiled
and eddied. Greenleaf quailed as he neared the awful coast; his heart
stood still as he thought of the peril to a helpless woman in clambering
up those cliffs, even if she were not drowned before reaching them.
Every flash of lightning seemed to disclose some new horror. If life is
measured by sensations, he lived years of torture in the few minutes
during which he waited for the shock of the bows against the granite
wall. Marcia, fortunately, had become insensible, though her sobbing,
panting breath showed the extremity of terror that had pursued her as
long as consciousness remained. Nearer and nearer they come; an oar's
length, a step; they touch now! No, a wave careens the boat, and she
lightly grazes by. Now opens a cleft, perhaps wide enough for her to
enter. With helm hard down the bow sweeps round, and they float into a
narrow basin with high, perpendicular walls, opening only towards the
sea. When within this little harbor, the boat lodged on a shelving rock
and heeled over as the wave retreated. Greenleaf and his companion, who
had now recovered from her swoon, kept their places as though hanging at
the eaves of a house. They were safe from the fury of the storm without,
but there was no prospect of an immediate deliverance. The rock rose
sheer above them thirty or forty feet, and they were shut up as in the
bottom of a well. The waves dallied about the narrow entrance, shooting
by, meeting, or returning on the sweep of an eddy; but at intervals they
gathered their force, and, tumbling over each other, rushed in, dashing
the spray to the top of the basin, and completely drenching the luckless
voyagers. This, however, was not so serious a matter as it would have
been if their clothes had not been wet before in the heavy rain. The
tide slowly rose, and the boat floated higher and higher against the
rock, as the shadows began to settle over the gulf.

In spite of the peril they had encountered, and their present discomfort
and perplexity, Greenleaf now experienced an indescribable pleasure.
Marcia was exhausted with fatigue and terror, and rested her head upon
his shoulder. Unconsciously, he used the cheering, caressing tones which
the circumstances naturally prompted. It was an occasion to draw out
what was most manly, most tender, most chivalric in him. The pride of
the woman was gone, her artifices forgotten. In that hour she had looked
beyond the factitious distinctions of society; she had found herself
face to face with her companion without disguise, as spirit looks
upon spirit, and she felt herself drawn to him by the loyalty which a
superior nature inevitably inspires.

A slight movement of the boat caused Greenleaf to turn his head. Just
behind him there was a shelf not three feet above the gunwale; beyond
that was a second step, and still farther a winding fissure. After
measuring the distances again with his eye, to be sure that he should
raise no illusive hope, he pointed out to Marcia the way of escape.
Their conversation had naturally taken an affectionate turn, and
Greenleaf's delicate courtesy and hardly ambiguous words had raised
a tumult in her bosom which could no longer be repressed. She flung
herself into his arms, and with tears exclaimed,--

"Dear George, you have saved my life! It is yours! Take me!"

The rush of emotion swept away the last barrier; he yielded to the
impulse; he clasped her fondly in his arms and gave his heart and soul
to her keeping. Carefully he assisted her up by the way he had found,
and when at last they reached the top of the cliff, both fell on their
knees in gratitude to Heaven for their preservation. Then new embraces
and protestations. Rain and salt spray, hunger and fatigue, were of
little moment in that hour.

Near the cliff stood a gentleman's villa, and to that they now hastened
to procure dry clothing before returning home. They found the welcome
hospitality they expected, and after rest and refreshment started to
walk to Swampscot, where they could obtain a carriage for Nahant. But
at the gate they met Easelmann and Mrs. Sandford, who, alarmed at their
long absence, had driven in a barouche along the coast in hope of
hearing some tidings of the boat.

The wanderers were overwhelmed with congratulations, mingled with
deserved reproofs for their rashness in venturing forth without their
pilot. On the way home, Greenleaf told the story which the reader
already knows, omitting only some few passages. Easelmann turned and
said, with a meaning emphasis,--

"I thought so. I thought what would happen. You aren't drowned, to be
sure; but some people _can't_ be drowned; better for them, if they
could!"

Greenleaf made no reply to the _brusque_ sarcasm, but drew Marcia closer
to his side. He could not talk after such an adventure, especially while
in contact with the woman for whom he had risked so much.

Poor little Alice!


CHAPTER XII.

THE BEGINNING OF THE END.


The flurry in the money-market gradually increased to a storm.
Confidence was destroyed, and business at a stand. The daily bulletins
of failures formed the chief topic of conversation. The merchants and
bankers, especially those who held Western lands, Western securities, or
Western credits, went down one after another. Houses tumbled like a row
of bricks. No class was safe at a time when the relations of debtor and
creditor were so complicated and so universal. Stocks went down with a
run. Bullion was not disappointed in his calculations, and Fletcher, in
spite of his insane whims upon the subject of chances, proved himself
shrewd, vigilant, and energetic. Flushed with success, he made bolder
ventures, and the daily balances grew to be enormous. Within the first
fortnight, Bullion had given Fletcher notes for over five thousand
dollars as his share of the profits. The brokers, even, were astonished
at the silent but all-powerful influence that pressed upon the market,
bringing the best stocks down till they sold like damaged goods at a
sheriff's auction. But Tonsor, the lucky agent, kept his counsel.
Daily he attended the sales at the Board, with apparently exhaustless
resources, _bear_ing pitilessly, triumphantly, until the unlucky bulls
came to think the sight of his face was an ill omen.

Of all men, Sandford felt this steady, determined pressure most keenly.
To sustain the credit of those in whose affairs he was concerned, he was
obliged from time to time to put under the hammer stocks which had been
placed in his hands. Every sale showed the value of these securities
to be sinking, until it really seemed that they would come to be as
worthless as the old Continental currency. But neither he nor other
sufferers had any remedy;--stocks were worth only what they would bring;
prices must take care of themselves; and the calm, determined bids of
Tonsor were like the voice of Fate.

In his extremity, Sandford thought of Monroe, and remembering his own
personal responsibility for the sum he had received, he determined to
"hedge." So he sent for Monroe; he showed him the notes, all amply
secured, if any man's name could be said to give security.

"You see," said Sandford, "how careful I have been. Two good names on
every note. They may fail, it is true. So stocks may go for a song,
and universal bankruptcy follow. See, there is a note signed by Flint,
Steel, & Co., and indorsed by Lameduck, another by Kiteflyer and Co.,
indorsed by Burntwick, and this by Stearine & Star, indorsed by Bullion.
Every dollar will yield at least the eight per cent. I promised."

"The names are good, I should think.--as long as anybody is good," said
Monroe. "Still I should feel safer with a mortgage, or even with stocks;
for if these do go down, they will come up again."

"Stocks!" said Sandford, with an air of contempt. "There isn't a bank
that is worth _that_"--snapping his fingers. "They keep on their legs
only by sufferance; if put to the test, they could not redeem their
notes a day. The factories are worse yet,--rotten, hollow. Railroads,
--eaten up with bonds and mortgages."

"Well, perhaps you have done wisely. Time will show."

"I sent for you," said Sandford, "because I knew you must be anxious. I
gave you a part of the interest, you know. You'll take these notes? You
approve of my judgment?"

"I must, I suppose. Yes,--you can make the transfers to me, if you like.
They may as well remain with you, however."

Sandford drew a long breath with a sense of relief. If he were to be
hard pushed, these notes would serve for collateral securities.

Monroe left the office, not quite so cheerful as when he came. He
remembered his mother's regrets at the disposition of the money,--their
all. His own health had been failing. His relative, whom he went to see,
was dead; and now that his cousin had accepted his invitation to come
and live with him, he felt an increased solicitude about the future.

Sandford's main anxiety now was to provide for Stearine's note, which he
felt assured the promisor could not meet. He dared not let the loss fall
upon the Vortex until every expedient had been tried; for such an affair
would lead at once to an unwelcome investigation of the Company's
accounts. He determined first to see Bullion, to whom the note was due.
He found that gentleman cool, tranquil, and not at all frightened, as
he supposed he would be, at the idea of a protest. The truth was, that
Bullion had already made so much in his operations, that he could easily
"lift" the note; but as long as his capital was yielding such golden
returns, he was not disposed to use it in that way until obliged to do
so. Besides, he believed, from Sandford's anxiety, that he would
himself make an effort to raise the money elsewhere. He was quite easy,
therefore.

"Stearine must look out for his own paper; if he don't, he must go down.
If I have to pay it, I shall any way get a dividend out of him, and,
what is better, get a few days' time. Time _is_ money, these days."

There was no course for Sandford, then, but to sell or hypothecate the
shares of stock he held. Then the thought of the still falling prices
frightened him. The stocks he had to sell were already quoted far below
their usual price, and he, in common with all the street, had heard of
the secret irresistible influence that was bearing down upon the daily
sales. If Tonsor should come into market against him, the consequences
might be ruinous. It was out of the question for him to stand up against
any further serious depreciation.

To Tonsor he went, in the hope of persuading or buying him off from his
destructive course. As he entered the broker's door he saw Fletcher
hand over a package of bills, and just caught the words, "Forty-five
thousand." What was Fletcher doing? He remembered that he had not met
his old agent for some days, and he knew well that such a scheming brain
would not be idle in a time like this. A light flashed upon him. Was
Fletcher in the conspiracy? If _he_ knew and shared in the scheme, the
secret should be wrenched from him.

Mr. Sandford affected, therefore, to have come to see Fletcher only, and
drew him into a corner.

"Fletcher, what's in the wind? Don't Danforth & Co. do their own buying
and selling? They don't employ Tonsor, do they?"

"You don't expect me to tell their business, do you?"

"Well, no,--not exactly. I thought you might have dipped in on your own
account."

"That's a good joke. How should _I_ have the funds?"

"Any chances to invest, Fletcher? I'll give liberal commissions."

"Chances are plenty for those that have money."

Fletcher started as though he would return to his place of business. But
Sandford dropped his smooth and honeyed tone and spoke more decidedly.

"You can't blind me, Fletcher. You know what the bears are doing. They
are ruining everything, knocking down prices, destroying credit, using
what little money there is for speculation, thriving on the distress of
the public. It's no better than highway-robbery; and it's my belief you
are concerned in the plot."

"You had better go to the nobs, and not talk to me. You might as well
pitch into the tellers or messengers when the banks suspend payment."

"No,--I shan't let you off. The 'nobs,' as you call them, dare not be
seen in this matter; they will pocket the chestnuts, but they will get
some cat's-paw to rake them out of the ashes."

"Well, what are you going to do about it?"

Fletcher was astonished at his own temerity as soon as he had uttered
the words; but his prosperity and the support of Bullion had given him
some courage.

"Do? you scoundrel!" said Sandford, in a rage that rarely overtook him.
"What am I going to do? I'll break every bone in your skin, if you don't
give up this plot you are in. Do you _dare_ to set yourself to put _me_
down? Don't let any of your tools _dare_ to run my stocks! If you do,
I'll go to a magistrate and have you arrested."

"When I am arrested, my good Sir," said Fletcher, with a face pale as
death, but with lips firmly set, "I advise you to have your accounts
ready. For I shan't be in the jug a minute before you'll have to show
your papers and your cash-book to the Company."

Sandford staggered as though he had received a blow from a bruiser. He
gasped for breath,--turned pale, then red,--at length with difficulty
said, "You defy me, then? We shall see!"

"You have it;--I defy you, hate you, despise you! I have been your slave
long enough. Do your worst. But the instant you move, I promise you that
a man will look after you, d--d quick."

Sandford looked around. Tonsor was calmly counting the pile of
bank-notes before him. It was near eleven. This Board would soon
commence its session. He stepped into the street, slamming the door
after him.

"Pretty well, for a beginning!" said Fletcher, meditating, "a shot
betwixt wind and water. So much for Bullion's advice. Bullion is a
trump, and Sandford be hanged!"


CHAPTER XIII.

SED REVOCARE GRADUM!--


The fatigue, drenching, and terror of the unlucky day's sail produced
their natural effects upon a rather delicate constitution. Miss Sandford
was ill the following day, and, in spite of the doctors, a fever set in.
Her sister-in-law was assiduous in her attentions, and Greenleaf called
daily with inquiries and tender messages. While thus occupied, he had
little time to consider the real state of his feelings towards the new
love, still less to reflect upon his conduct towards the old. For the
first time in his life he became a coward. If he meant to abide by his
last engagement, honor should have led him to break the unwelcome news
to Alice as best he might, and extricate himself from his false and
embarrassing position. If he still loved the girl of his first choice,
and felt that his untruth to her was only the result of a transient,
sensuous passion, it was equally plain that he must resolutely break
away from the beautiful tempter. But he oscillated, pendulum-like,
between the two. When Marcia began to recover, and he was allowed to see
her in her chamber, the influence she had at first exerted returned upon
him with double force. In her helplessness, she appealed powerfully
to the chivalric sentiment which man feels towards the dependent; her
tones, softened by affection and tremulous from weakness, thrilled his
soul; and the touch of her hand was electric. When he returned to his
studio, as he thought of the trustful, unsuspecting, generous heart of
Alice, he was smitten with a pang of remorse too keen to be borne. He
tried to look at her picture, but the face was to him like the sight of
a reproving angel. He could not look steadily upon the placid features;
the calm eyes turned his heart to stone; the sweet mouth was an accuser
he dared not face. But when next he saw Marcia, all was forgotten; while
under her spell he could have braved the world, only too happy to live
and die for her.

For days this struggle continued. His art had no power to amuse him or
engross his thought. His friends were neglected,--Easelmann with the
rest. His enemy could not have wished to see him more completely
miserable. He knew that he must decide, must act; but whatever might be
his determination, he had a most painful duty to perform. Let him do
what he might, he must prove himself a villain. He loathed, detested
himself. Sometimes he was tempted to fly; but then he reflected that he
should in that way prove a scoundrel to two women instead of one. For
three weeks he had not written to Alice, and the last letter he had
received from her was now a month old. He took it from his pocket, where
it lay among the perfumed and tinted evidences of his unfaithfulness. It
was a simple thing, but how the gentle words smote upon his heart!

"MY DEAR GEORGE, (_her_ dear George!)--How I wish I could be with you,
to rejoice over your success! You are really a great artist, the papers
say, and are becoming famous! Not that I love you the more for that. If
you were still unknown to the world, still only a lover of beauty for
its own sake, and content with painting for your own pleasure, I am not
sure that I should not love you the more. But you will believe me, that
I am proud of your success. If I am ambitious, it is for you. I would
have the world see and know you as I do. Yet not as I do,--nobody can
do that. To the world you are a great painter. To me--ah, my dearest
George!--you are the noblest and truest heart that ever woman rested
upon. Nobody but me knows that. I shall be proud of the homage the world
gives you, because at the same time I shall say, 'That is my betrothed,
my husband, whom they praise; what his heart is, no woman knows but
me'"----

He could read no farther. His emotions were too powerful to be borne in
silence. He yielded, and, strong man as he was, bowed his head and wept.
The tears of childhood, and oftentimes the tears of woman, lie shallow;
they come at the first bidding of sorrow or sympathy. But it is no
common event, no common feeling, that prevails over man; nothing less
than a convulsion like an earthquake unseals the fountain of tears in
him. Whoever has seen the agony of a manly nature in groans and tears
and sobs has something to remember for a life-time.

It was a long night,--a night of unutterable suffering, struggle, and
doubt. The hours seemed shod with lead. Sleep seemed banished from the
universe. But with the coming of dawn the tempest was stilled. In the
clear light of day the path of duty seemed plain. He felt sure that in
his heart of hearts he loved Alice, and her only. He would go at once to
Marcia and tell her of his perfidy, implore the forgiveness of silence
and charity, and bid her farewell. When he had reached this conclusion
he became calm. As he looked out from his window, he saw the world awake
from slumber, and he shared in the gladness of Nature. He even rejoiced
in the prospect of deliverance from his wretched condition, although he
well knew the humiliation he must pass through to attain it. He waited
impatiently for the hour when he could present himself before Marcia,
own his duplicity, and take leave of her. He felt strong in his new
resolution. All vacillation was past. He could face any temptation
without one flutter of inconstancy towards his first-love.

Greenleaf was not the only one in the city with whom the night had
passed heavily. The cloud still hung over the mercantile world.
Failures, by dozens, were announced daily. Men heard the dismal
intelligence, as in time of pestilence they would hear the report of
the dead and dying. No business-man felt secure. No amount of property,
other than ready money, was any safeguard. Neighbor met neighbor,
asking, with doleful accent, "Where is this going to end?" The street,
at 'change hours, presented a crowd of haggard faces, furrowed
with care, their eyes fixed and despairing. Some looked white with
apprehension, some crushed and tearful, others stony, sullen, or
defiant. Whatever was bravest had been drawn out in manly
endeavor; whatever was most generous was excited to sympathy and
brotherly-kindness; whatever was most selfish was stimulated by the
fierce desire for self-preservation; whatever was most fiendish was
roused by blind rage and useless resentment. In the halcyon days of
plenty and prosperity men know little of each other; trade has its
accustomed way; balances are smoothly adjusted; notes are given and paid
with smiling faces; one would think that honor and manliness were the
commonest of qualities. Now, every man was put to the severest proof,
and showed the inborn and essential traits of his nature. Like a ship's
crew on a raft, alone on the ocean without provisions, they looked at
each other as they were. There, in their extremity, were to be seen
calm resignation, unmanly terror, moody despair, turbulent passion, and
stealthy, fiendish glances that blinked not at cannibalism itself.

Mr. Sandford, almost for the first time in his life, had been
rendered nervous with apprehension. To be sure, he was not one of the
"sleek-headed men that sleep o' nights"; he was always busy with some
scheme; but, heretofore, success had followed every plan, and he had
gone on with steadfast confidence. Now the keenest foresight was of
no avail; events defied calculation; misfortunes came without end and
without remedy. It was the moment of fate to him. He had gone to the
last verge, exhausted every resource, and, if there were not some help,
as unlooked for as a shower of gold from heaven, he must stop payment
--he, whose credit had been spotless and without limit, whose name in
the financial world was honor itself, whose influence had been a tower
of strength in every undertaking. It was not without a struggle that he
brought himself to look this inexorable fact in the face. Marcia and his
sister-in-law heard him as he paced the room through the night; they had
noticed his abstracted and downcast air the preceding evening; and at
breakfast the few words that escaped from between his firm-set lips were
sufficiently ominous. It was the first morning that Marcia had appeared
at the table, and in her feeble condition the apprehension of danger
was intense and overpowering. Mrs. Sandford tried in vain to change
the conversation, by significant glances towards the invalid; but the
brother was too much absorbed to notice anything outside of the gloomy
circle that hemmed him in. Muttering still of "ruin," "beggary," and
similar topics, so admirably adapted to cheer the convalescent, he
swallowed his breakfast like an animal, left the room without his usual
bland "good morning," and slammed the street-door after him.

A fit of hysterics was the natural consequence. The kind and sisterly
widow bore, rather than led, Marcia to an upper room, propped her with
pillows in an arm-chair, and employed every tender and womanly art to
soothe her excited nerves. Calmness came, but only with exhaustion.
The door-bell rang. Mrs. Sandford gave an inaudible direction to the
servant. But Marcia exclaimed, "It is George! I heard his step on the
pavement. I must see him. Let him in." Mrs. Sandford remonstrated to no
purpose, and then went to her own room.

It _was_ "George." He entered the room with a pale face, and a look
betokening both suffering and resolution. He was evidently struck by the
appearance of Miss Sandford, rightly judging that she was not able
to bear what he had come to tell her. He would have uttered a few
commonplace courtesies, and deferred his weighty communication to
another time. But Marcia's senses were preternaturally sharpened; weak
as a vine without its trellis, instinct seemed to guide her to clasp
by every tendril the support to which she had been wont to cling. She
noticed a certain uneasiness in Greenleaf's demeanor; ready to give
the worst interpretation to everything, she exclaimed, in a quick,
frightened manner, "George, dear George, what is the matter? You are
cold, you are distant. Are _you_ in trouble, too, like all the world?"

"Deeply in trouble," he answered gravely,--still standing, hat in hand.

"Trouble that I cannot soothe?"

"I am afraid not."

"And you won't tell me?"

"Not to-day."

"Then you don't love me."

Greenleaf was silent; his lips showing the emotion he strove to control.
Her voice took a more cheerful tone, as if she would assure herself,
and, with a faint smile, she said,--

"You are silent; but I am only childish. You do love me,--don't you,
George?"

"As much as I ever did."

A mean subterfuge; for though it was true, perhaps, to him, he knew it
was a falsehood to her. She attempted to rise from her chair; he sprang
to support her.

"You are so gloomy, reserved, to-day!" she continued.

Still Greenleaf was silent. He aided her to resume her seat; but when he
had done so, she detained him, seizing his arm and then his hand. His
heart beat rapidly, and he turned away his head to avoid the fond but
keen scrutiny of her eyes,--at the same time gently, but ineffectually,
attempting to free his hand. Once more he resolved, since the
conversation had taken such a turn, to risk the consequences, and
prepare her mind for a separation. But a sudden thought struck her, and,
before he could frame a sentence, she spoke:--

"You have heard bad news this morning?"

He shook his head.

"No,--I know you are not mercenary; I would not wrong you with the
suspicion."

"What suspicion, pray?" he asked, turning suddenly towards her.

"You have not heard?"

"I have heard nothing."

"Pity my foolishness. But my brother is in difficulty; he may fail;
perhaps has failed even now. Pray, don't chide me for my fears. All the
world goes with the rich and the prosperous."

"The world has very little company just now, then," said Greenleaf, with
a grim smile. "But assure yourself," he continued; "the dowry of my wife
is a matter I have never considered. _With the woman I love_," said he,
with deep emphasis, "honest poverty is what I do not dread."

Interpreting this fervent declaration in the natural way, Marcia reached
forth her arms with sudden fervor, drew him nearer, and covered his
forehead, lips, and cheeks with kisses. Every kiss fell like a spot
of mildew on his flesh; her caresses filled him with shame. Could he
undeceive her? In her feeble condition, the excitement into which she
had been thrown by her brother's danger was all she could bear. False as
his position was, heartless and empty as his soothing words and caresses
were, he must continue to wear the mask, and show himself as he was at
some time when she had no other trouble to weigh her down. Still she
chid his gloomy reserve, his absent air, and mechanical movements. Was
he weak, if under such influences his fixed resolves bent?--if his
nerves felt the old thrill?--if his voice took a softer tone?--and if
he parted from her with something of his former tenderness? He tried to
excuse himself to his conscience by the plea, that the deception once
begun must be kept up until it could be ended with safety. For he saw
that her heart was really bound up in him. She no longer kept up the
brilliant fence of repartee; she had abandoned all coquettish arts, and,
for once at least, was sincerely, fondly, even foolishly, in love. Home
he went, sadder than before, his conscience yet more aroused, and his
resolutions farther than ever from accomplishment.

Poor little Alice!


CHAPTER XIV.

EVERY MAN FOR HIMSELF.


Mr. Sandford walked towards his office, that fine autumn morning, in no
amiable mood. Nature seemed to protest against his angry violence; the
very stones of the pavement seemed to say,--"He need not thump us in
that way; _we_ can't pay his notes." The trees along Mount Vernon Street
rustled their leaves with a shudder, as he passed under them; they
dropped no benison upon a face which even the golden morning could not
lighten. "Let him stride on!" said they; "we shall be more cheerful in
company with the maids washing the sidewalks or taking out the children
(blessed darlings!) for an airing." Canaries ceased their songs in the
windows; urchins stopped their hoops and stood on the curbstones, eyeing
the gloomy man askance. When he passed the Granary Burying-Ground, he
saw a squirrel dart down a tree, and scamper over the old graves in
search of some one of his many stores; then rising on his haunches, he
munched the pea-nut which he had unearthed, (the gift of some schoolboy,
months ago,) as much as to say, "_We_ know how to look out for hard
times; but what have you done with _your_ pea-nuts, old fellow, that you
look so cross? Can't get 'em, eh? You should put 'em where you'll know
where they are." A whisk of his tail and he flew up the tree. The lesson
was lost upon the financier. At the office-door he met Bullion,--his
face a trifle more ruddy, his eye with a colder glitter, and his queer
eyebrow pointing with an odder significance.

"How are you, Sandford?"--A very short nod.--"Cool, this morning."--
Standing with his dumpy legs apart, he nibbled at the ivory head of his
cane.

"Mr. Bullion," said Sandford, "you must help me. You must lift that
note. Come, I know you can do it,--and I'll make it worth your while."

"Can't do it; you want a long extension, I s'pose."

"Say three or four months."

"Time is money, as I told you before. In four months, with forty
thousand dollars, I could--do pretty well," ending the sentence in a
lower tone, that indicated a desire to keep his first thought back.

"In a time like this, Mr. Bullion, it is the duty of every man to assist
his neighbor to the extent of his ability. If there is no forbearance,
no brotherly aid, how are the complicated settlements of a mad community
like this to be made? There is not money enough to pay what must be
paid."

The eyebrow was stiffly pointed as Bullion answered,--

"I do forbear. I must forbear. Stearine owes me; you indorse; you can't
pay, neither of you. I sha'n't get the money. I must go without."

It was an injured tone.

"Then why do you let it go to protest?"

"Only a form, Sandford. Usage of the mercantile world. Very irregular
not to do it. Sorry, but can't help it."

Mr. Sandford's patience was exhausted.

"It is my turn to-day, Bullion; I have no further resource; I am ruined.
You feel strong and look upon my distress in triumph. But your turn will
come. Mark my words. Within a fortnight I shall see you rushing down
State Street in despair; your property will be swept away with a flood,
and you will be a beggar,--as you deserve to be. Damn your stony heart!"

It was the first outburst of profanity from Mr. Sandford,--too
fastidious, usually, to allow himself the use of such expletives.

"Sorry to see you excited, Sandford. Best to keep temper. Guess you and
Fayerweather will raise the money. Pity Stearine hadn't wick enough in
him to stand alone. Rather a poor candle, he is,--he! he! Morning!"

The gray eyes twinkled, the eyebrow whisked, and the sturdy legs bore
the creditor away.

Entering the office, Mr. Sandford tried to assume a cheerful look. He
looked over the list of failures, in the "Independent," with something
of the interest which a patient in a hospital would feel when
overhearing the report from the dead-house. Was there no one of the bald
or grizzly-haired gentlemen who smiled so benignly whom he could ask for
aid? Not one; he knew their circumstances; they had no money at command;
all their property was locked up in investments. He thought of the many
chairmen and directors in benevolent associations with whom he was
connected. No,--they were either men of moderate means, or had some son
or nephew or brother in business whose credit they must uphold. How
gladly would he barter all his parchment testimonials for one good
"promise to pay"! He groaned almost audibly, and wondered how he could
pass the time till the close of bank-hours. The suspense was a torture
as keen as the calamity itself.

A visitor entered; it was Plotman. He came with a cheerful, even
exulting, look.

"Good news, Sandford!"

"News!" exclaimed Sandford, impetuously. "What news? How much?"

In his absent state he forgot that Plotman was not aware of his
thoughts, and associated good news only with an accommodation to serve
his present need. But his fluttering expectations were dashed to the
ground with the reply.

"'How much,' did you say? A clean majority over all. Your name stands at
the head of the ticket."

"I am obliged to you," replied Sandford, sadly, "but I don't think I can
accept the nomination."

"Well, that _is_ rather strong," said Plotman. "You'd best keep your
modesty for the papers; it's thrown away on me."

"I really can't bother with politics."

"Why in the Devil, then, did you lay your corns to get the place, and
make me all this trouble for nothing?"

"I am really sorry, Plotman; but, to tell you just how it is, I am so
much involved in this fearful monetary pressure that I have no time nor
heart for anything else."

"Confounded spooney!" muttered Plotman, between his teeth. "If I'd known
he was so weak in the knees. I'd have gone in for Spreadeagle, who
offered a handsome figure."

"Come in to-morrow, Plotman, and we'll talk about it. I can't think
about it now. I'll make all right with you."

Still muttering, the disappointed politician departed, leaving Sandford
in a deeper abyss than before. To prevent unwelcome visits, the latter
left word with his clerks that he could see no one whatever.

To wile away the time, he took out his cash-book and private papers.
There was about a thousand dollars in bank.

"It will be best to draw that," thought he, "for there's no knowing what
may happen."

And the office-boy was dispatched with a check for the amount.

"Let us see what other resources. There are Monroe's notes,--ten
thousand dollars. I can raise something on them. I'll borrow from
Tonsor, who seems to have funds enough."

He sent a clerk and succeeded in obtaining eight thousand dollars for
five days, by depositing the notes.

"If worst comes to worst, I have nine thousand to fall back upon. Now,
what next? Fletcher's note for five hundred, with the rather peculiar
admission at the beginning. I wonder, now, what he would give for this
little paper? Possibly he is in funds. He's a scheming devil and hasn't
been idle in this gale of wind. I'll send for him."

Fletcher entered with an air of confidence.

"Well, Mr. Sandford, you don't bear malice, I see. If you didn't want to
get a saucy answer, you shouldn't have threatened, the other day."

"You were hardly civil, Fletcher," said Sandford, gravely, "and rather
forgetful, besides. If I were you, I wouldn't bluster until a certain
piece of paper was safe in my possession."

"Do you suppose I ever forget that paper, or how you bullied it out of
me? But you know that at the time when I used that five hundred dollars,
I had money enough, and felt as sure of returning it the next day as you
do of paying the ten thousand you had of Monroe."

Sandford started.

"How did you know whose money I had?"

"Never mind. I hear a great many things. As I was saying, I didn't steal
the money, for you didn't miss it till I told you; and if I hadn't been
a coward and a fool to boot, I should never have signed that cursed
paper."

"I have it, though. The law calls it a confession of theft."

Fletcher winced.

"You have told me that often enough before. You needn't touch me on the
raw to make me remember it."

He waited, but Sandford made no reply. Fletcher continued:--

"Well, what is it? You've something on hand, or you wouldn't have sent
for me."

"You propose to pay sometime, I believe?"

"Of course, I do. I've offered to pay times enough, you know. I can get
the money in ten minutes."

"Can you! How much?"

"Why, the five hundred and interest."

"I rather think the document is worth more money."

"You'd take my heart's blood for it, I know. But you can't get any more
money than I have got."

"You were very ready in promising five hundred in ten minutes. It seems
to me that in an hour you might raise a larger sum."

"Do you suppose I am a capitalist?--that I own Fogarty, Danforth, and
Dot?"

"I'm sure, I can't tell. Stranger things have happened."

"I wonder if he suspects my connection with old Bullion?" thought
Fletcher.

"I'll make you a fair proposition, Fletcher. I need some money, for a
few days. Get me thirty thousand dollars for a week, say; I'll pay a
liberal interest and give up the paper."

"I can't do it. The figure is altogether above me. You don't want me to
rob my employers?"

"'Rob' is a hard word, Fletcher. No, I counsel no crime. You don't want
anything more to think of. But you may know some chance to borrow that
sum?"

Fletcher mused. "If Sandford comes to a man like me for such a sum, it
must be because he is devilish hard up; and if I get him the money, it
would likely be sunk. I can't do it."

"No, Mr. Sandford, it's out of the question. Everybody that has money
has twenty applications for every dollar."

"Then you'd rather see this paper in an officer's hands?"

Fletcher's face blanched and his knees shook, but he kept his resolution
in spite of his bodily tremor.

"I have been like a mouse cuffed between a cat's paws so long that I
don't care to run. If you mean to pounce up on me and finish me, go
ahead. I may as well die as to be always dreading it. But you'll please
remember what I said about overhauling your accounts."

Sandford found his man firmer than he had expected. He changed his
tactics.

"Fletcher, as you can't do what I want, how much will you give outright
for the little obligation? You shall have it for fifteen hundred
dollars. Come, now, that's reasonable."

"Reasonable as the fellow who puts a pistol to your head on a dark night
in the middle of Cambridge bridge."

"Tut, tut! Don't talk of highway-robbery! I think I am letting you off
cheap."

"How do you suppose I can raise fifteen hundred dollars?"

"That is your affair."

"You are as cruel as a bloodhound after a runaway nigger."

"I have once or twice remonstrated against your use of harsh words."

"What's the use of being mealy-mouthed? I owe you five hundred dollars.
Every dollar beyond that you get from me you rob me of; and it doesn't
matter whether it is a pistol or a writ that you threaten me with."

"You persist in a violent tone."

"I can't talk to suit you, and I shall stop. We shall never agree. I'll
tell you, though, what I will do. I'll give you a note, to-morrow, for a
thousand dollars, on short time, with a good name."

"Money, Fletcher!--money! I don't want any note."

"Well, I'll see what I can do. Perhaps I can get the money."

"And, Fletcher, I advise you to settle the affair to-day. It has stood
quite long enough. Just devote to-day to this little matter. Come in
before two,--not later than three, at any rate. Perhaps your employers
might advance it,--that is, rather than have their clerk compromised.
Suppose I lay the matter before them?"

Fletcher's rage broke out afresh. He gnashed his teeth and foamed at
the mouth. If he had had a weapon, it might have fared hard with his
oppressor. But his anger was inarticulate,--too mighty, too tumultuous,
for words. He left the office, his eyes glowing like a cat's, and his
fringy moustache trembling over his white teeth.

Mr. Sandford was somewhat exhilarated, and rubbed his smooth hands with
energy. "I think he'll come back," thought he. "Failure is inevitable.
Let it come! We must bear it as we can. And for a ruined man I don't
know of any consolation like a little ready money. Now to play my last
cards. These shares which I own in the Vortex are worth more to-day than
they are likely to be to-morrow. It would be a shame not to dispose of
them while they will bring something. Fayerweather and the others who
have agreed to buy at ninety per cent. are at the Board. I'll get a new
hand to take them in. They won't suspect, for they think Stearine's note
has been extended."

He called a junior clerk and dispatched the shares to a broker to be
sold for cash on account of whom it might concern. He then locked
himself in the back office to be free from troublesome visitors, keeping
a cautious lookout for Fletcher, whom he expected, and for the clerk
who was to bring the money. His chief anxiety was lest Mr. Fayerweather
should come before the sale was effected; and he was in a fever until
the money was brought to him. Through the window he saw his friends
Monroe, Bullion, and others, who called for him and were denied by his
order; he chose to remain unseen.

Fletcher did not return. In going out he met Bullion, and, telling him
that he had to pay Sandford a thousand dollars, asked for a part of the
money due him.

"Don't be a fool," replied that sturdy financier, "Sandford will fail
to-day, probably. That's the reason for his hurry to get the money. Let
him sweat. Keep your funds. You can pay his assignee any time these six
months to come."

It was near two o'clock. Mr. Sandford had in his pocket the proceeds of
the Vortex shares, the loan from Tensor, and his balance from bank,--a
comfortable sum altogether; and he thought it not prudent to risk the
whole by waiting for Fletcher, who, after all, might not come. So,
seeing the coast clear, he put on his surtout and walked out of the
front door with an unconcerned air.

The notary came with the inevitable protest. Mr. Fayerweather was the
astounded individual who received it. A sudden light broke upon him. He
was swindled. He took out the Vortex shares which he had just bought
by agreement, and, turning to the transfer-book, found that they were
Sandford's. The Secretary had weathered the President with a vengeance.

The lawyer to whom the protested note came happened to hold other claims
against Mr. Fayerweather and the Vortex, and, naturally judging that
the Company might be involved in the difficulties of its officers, he
commenced suit without a moment's delay. Ill news flies fast. In an hour
after the first writs were served, suit was brought by Tonsor and other
creditors, and the office was shut. The safe was found to hold nothing
more valuable than duplicates of policies, the Company's bank-account
was overdrawn, its stocks and bonds were sold or pledged, and its
available assets consisted of the office-furniture, a few reams of
paper, and half a dozen sticks of sealing-wax.

[To be continued.]

       *       *       *       *       *


"THE NEW LIFE" OF DANTE.

[Continued.]


II.


Were the author of the "Vita Nuova" unknown, its story of youth and
love would still possess a charm, as standing in the dawn of modern
literature,--the first book in which modern sentiment finds free
expression. It would be of interest, as contrasted with the later growth
of the sentimental element in literature, which speedily exhibits the
influence of factitious feeling, of self-conscious effort, and of
ambitious display. The sentiment of the "Vita Nuova" is separated by
the wide gulf that lies between simplicity and affectation from the
sentimentality of Petrarch's sonnets. But connected as it is with
Dante's life,--the first of that series of works in which truth,
intensity, and tenderness of feeling are displayed as in the writings of
no other man,--its interest no longer arises merely from itself and from
its place in literature, but becomes indissolubly united with that which
belongs by every claim to the "Divina Commedia" and to the life of
Dante.

When the "Vita Nuova" was completed, Dante was somewhat less than
twenty-eight years old. Beatrice had died between two and three years
before, in 1290; and he seems to have pleased himself after her loss
by recalling to his memory the sweet incidents of her life, and of her
influence upon himself. He begins with the words:--

"In that part of the book of my memory before which little can be
read is found a rubric which says: _Incipit Vita Nova_ ['The New Life
begins']. Under which rubric I find the words written which it is my
intention to copy into this little book,--if not all of them, at least
their meaning."

This introduction, short as it is, exhibits a characteristic trait of
Dante's mind, in the declaration of his intention to copy from the
book of his memory, or, in other words, to write the true records of
experience. Truth was the chief quality of his intellect, and upon
this, as upon an unshaken foundation, rest the marvellous power and
consistency of his imaginations. His heart spoke clearly, and he
interpreted its speech plainly in his words. His tendency to mysticism
often, indeed, led him into strange fancies; but these, though sometimes
obscure, are never vague. After these few words of preface, the story
begins:--

"Nine times now, since my birth, the heaven of light had turned almost
to the same point in its gyration, when first appeared before my eyes
the glorious lady of my mind, who was called Beatrice, by many who did
not know why they thus called her.[A] She had now been in this life so
long, that in its time the starred heaven had moved toward the east one
of the twelve parts of a degree;[B] so that about the beginning of her
ninth year she appeared to me, and I near the end of my ninth year saw
her. She appeared to me clothed in a most noble color, a becoming and
modest crimson, and she was girt and adorned in the style that suited
her extreme youth. At that instant, I say truly, the spirit of life,
which dwells in the most secret chamber of the heart, began to tremble
with such violence, that it appeared horribly in the least pulses,
and, trembling, said these words: _Ecce deus fortior me, qui veniens
dominabitur mihi!_ [Behold a god, stronger than I, who, coming, shall
rule me![C]]

[Footnote A: It may be that Dante here refers to the meaning of the name
Beatrice,--_She who renders happy. She who blesses._]

[Footnote B: According to the astronomy of the times, the sphere of the
stars moved from west to east one degree in a hundred years. The twelfth
of a degree was, therefore, eight and a half years. See the _Convito_,
Tratt. II. c. vi.]

[Footnote C: Compare with this passage Canzone x, st. 5, 6. Especially
the lines,

  "E, se 'l libro non erra,
  Lo spirito maggior tremò si forte,
  Che parve ben, che morte
  Per lui in questo mondo giunta fosse."

"And, if the book errs not, the chief spirit so greatly trembled, that
it plainly appeared that death for him had arrived in this world."

When Dante meets Beatrice in Purgatory, he says, referring to this
time,--and it is pleasant to note these connections between his earliest
and his latest works,--

  "Tosto che nella vista mi percosse
  L' alta virtù, che già m' avca trafitto
  Prima ch' io fuor di puerizia fosse."
               Canto xxx. l. 40-42.
]

"At that instant, the spirit of the soul, which dwells in the high
chamber to which all the spirits of the senses bring their perceptions,
began to marvel greatly, and, addressing the spirits of the sight, said
these words: _Apparuit jam beatitudo vestra._ [Now hath appeared your
bliss.] At that instant the natural spirit, which dwells in that part
where the nourishment is supplied, began to weep, and, weeping, said
these words: _Heu miser! quia frequenter impeditus ero deinceps._ [Woe
is me wretched! because frequently henceforth shall I be hindered.]

"From this time forward I say that Love lorded over my soul, which had
been thus quickly put at his disposal;[D] and he began to exercise
over me such control and such lordship, through the power which my
imagination gave to him, that I was obliged to perform completely all
his pleasure. He commanded me many times that I should seek to see this
youthful angel, so that I in my boyhood often went seeking her, and saw
her of such noble and praiseworthy deportment, that truly of her might
be said that saying of the poet Homer: 'She does not seem the daughter
of a mortal, but of God.' And it befell that her image, which stayed
constantly with me, inspired boldness in Love to hold lordship over me;
but it was of such noble virtue, that it never suffered that Love should
rule without the faithful counsel of Reason in those matters in which
such counsel could be useful."

[Footnote D: The text of the _Vita Nuova_ is often uncertain. Here, for
example, many authorities concur in the reading, "_la quale fu si tosto
a lui disponsata_," "which had been so quickly betrothed to him." But
we prefer to read "_disposta_," as being more in accordance with the
remainder of the figure concerning Love. Many other various readings
will be passed over without notice,--but a translation might be exposed
to the charge of inaccuracy, if it were judged by the text of any
special edition of the original, without comparison with others. The
text usually followed in these versions is that of Fraticelli.]

Such is the account which Dante gives of the beginning of his love for
Beatrice. The tenderness and purity of his passion are obscured, but not
concealed, by quaintness of expression and formality of learning. In
literary style the passage displays the uncertain hand of youth, and
in a translation something is lost of the charm of simplicity which
pervades the original. But in this passage the keynote of Dante's life
is struck.

Passing over many things, he says that exactly nine years were completed
after the above-described appearance of this most gentle lady, when it
happened that "she appeared before me clothed in purest white between
two noble ladies, and, passing along the street, she turned her eyes
toward that place where I stood very timidly, and, by her ineffable
courtesy, which is now rewarded in eternity, saluted me with such
virtue, that I seemed to behold all the bounds of bliss. The hour when
her most sweet salutation reached me was exactly the ninth of that day;
and since it was the first time that her words came to my ears, I felt
such great delight, that, as it were intoxicated, I turned away from the
crowd, and, betaking myself to the solitary place of my chamber, sat
myself down to think of this most courteous lady, and, thinking of her,
a sweet slumber came upon me, in which a marvellous vision appeared to
me." After describing this vision, he says, that, thinking of what had
appeared to him, he "proposed to bring it to the knowledge of many who
were famous poets at that time; and since I had already seen in myself
the art of speaking words in rhyme, I proposed to write a sonnet, in
which I would salute all the vassals of Love; and praying them to give
an interpretation of my vision, I wrote to them that which I had seen in
my slumber. And I began then this sonnet:--

  "To every captive soul and gentle heart
     Before whose sight may come the present
        word,
     That they may thereupon their thoughts
        impart,
     Be greeting in Love's name, who is their
        lord.

  "Now of those hours wellnigh one third had
        gone
     In which each star appears in heaven most
        bright,
     When on a sudden Love before me shone,
     To think upon whose being gives me fright.

  "Joyful seemed Love, and he was keeping
     My heart within his hands, while on his arm
     He held my Lady, covered o'er and sleeping.

  "Then waking her, he with this flaming heart
     Did humbly feed her, fearful of some harm.
     Sudden I saw him weep, and quick depart."

This sonnet is somewhat obscure in the details of its meaning, and
has little beauty, but it is of interest as being the earliest poetic
composition by Dante that has been preserved for us, and it is curious
as being the account of a vision. In our previous article on the "New
Life," we referred to the fact of this book being in great part composed
of the account of a series of visions, thus connecting itself in the
form of its imaginations with the great work of Dante's later years. As
a description of things unseen except by the inward eye, this sonnet
is bound in poetic connection to the nobler visions of the "Divina
Commedia." The private stamp of Dante's imagination is indelibly
impressed upon it.

He tells us that many answers were made to this sonnet, and "among those
who replied to it was he whom I call the first of my friends, and he
wrote a sonnet which began,

  'Thou seest in my opinion every worth.'

This was, as it were, the beginning of our friendship when he knew
that it was I who had sent these verses to him." This first of Dante's
friends was Guido Cavalcanti. Their friendship was of long duration,
beginning thus in Dante's nineteenth year, and ending only with Guido's
death, in 1300, when Dante was thirty-five years old. It may be taken as
a proof of its intimacy and of Dante's high regard for the genius of his
friend, that, when Dante, in his course through Hell, at Easter in 1300,
represents himself as being recognized by the father of Guido, the first
words of the old man to him are,

"If through this blind prison thou goest through loftiness of soul,
where is my son? oh, why is he not with thee?"[E]

[Footnote E: _Inferno_, x. 58-60.]

The sonnet of Guido, in reply to that sent him by Dante, has been
preserved, together with the replies by two other contemporary poets;
but Dante says of them all,--"The true meaning of my sonnet was not then
seen by any one, though now it is plain to the simplest."

After this vision, the poet, whose soul was wholly devoted to his most
gentle lady, was brought by Love into so frail a condition of health,
that his friends became anxious for him, and questioned him about that
which he most wished to conceal. Then he told them that it was Love
which had brought him to this pass. But when they asked him, "For whom
has Love thus wasted thee?" he looked at them smiling, and said nothing.

"One day it happened," he goes on to relate, "that this most gentle lady
sat where words concerning the Queen of Glory are heard, and I was in a
place from which I beheld my bliss. Between her and me in a direct line
sat a gentle lady of most pleasing aspect, who looked at me often,
wondering at my gaze, which seemed to terminate upon her; and many
observed her looks. So great attention, indeed, was paid to this, that
when I went out from the place I heard some one say, 'Behold how that
lady wastes the life of this man!'--and naming her, I heard that they
spoke of her who had been in the path of the straight line which,
parting from my most gentle Beatrice, had ended in my eyes." Then he
says he thought to make this lady serve as a screen for his real love,
and he did this so well that in a short time many persons fancied they
knew his secret. And in order to deceive them still more, he addressed
to this lady many trifles in rhyme, of which he will insert in this
account of his "New Life" only those which bear reference to Beatrice.

Some time after this, "it was the pleasure of the Lord of the Angels to
call to his glory a young and beautiful lady, who had been very lovely
in the city of Florence. And I saw her body lying without its soul,
surrounded by many ladies who wept grievously. Then remembering that I
had formerly seen her in company with that most gentle lady, I could not
restrain some tears; and, weeping, I proposed to say some words about
her death, as a return for that I had seen her sometimes with my lady."
Then, he says, he wrote two poems, of which we give the last, adding to
it his verbal comment, as an example of the style of commentary with
which he has accompanied all the poems of the "Vita Nuova":--

  "O villain Death, compassion's foe,
     The Mother from of old of woe,
     Inexorable judge severe,
     Thou givest sorrow for the heart to bear;
     Wherefore in grief I go,
     And blaming thee my very tongue outwear.

  "And if of every grace thou wouldst be
        bare,
     It only needs that I declare
     The guilt of this thy sinful blow,
     So that all those shall know,
     And each shall be thy foe,
     Who erst were nurtured with Love's tender
        care

  "For thou hast taken from the world the
         grace
     And virtue which are woman's praise,
     And in youth's gayest days
     The charm of loveliness thou dost deface.

  "Who is this lady is not to be told,
     Save as these qualities do make her known.
     He who deserves salvation may alone
     Have hope companionship with her to hold.

"This sonnet is divided into four parts.[F] In the first I address Death
by certain of her proper names; in the second, speaking to her, I tell
the reason why I am moved to blame her; in the third, I revile her; in
the fourth, I speak to a person undefined, although definite as regards
my intention. The second part begins at _Thou givest_; the third at _And
if of every grace_; the fourth at _He who deserves_."

[Footnote F: Dante calls this little poem a sonnet, although, strictly,
the name does not belong to it.]

After this, Dante tells of a journey he was forced to take, in the
direction of the city to which the lady who had afforded him the means
of disguising his real love had gone. He says, that, on the way, which
he calls the way of sighs, he met Love, who was sad in aspect, and clad
like a pilgrim, and that Love told him the name of another lady who must
thenceforth serve as his screen to conceal his secret. He goes on to
relate, that, after his return,[G] he sought out this lady, and made her
his defence so effectually, that many persons spoke of it beyond the
terms of courtesy, which weighed on him heavily. And on account of this
lying talk which defamed him greatly, he says that Beatrice, "the most
gentle lady, who was the enemy of all the vices, and the queen of
virtue, passing by a certain place, denied me her most sweet salute, in
which consisted all my bliss. And departing a little from the present
subject, I will declare that which her salutation effected within me.
I say, then, that, whenever she appeared, in my hope for her admirable
salutation I no longer had an enemy, for a flame of charity possessed
me which made me pardon every one who had done me wrong; and if at that
time any one had asked anything of me, my only answer would have been
_Love_, and my face would have been clothed with humility. And when she
was near to giving me a salutation, a spirit of Love, destroying all the
other spirits of the senses, drove out the feeble spirits of the sight,
and said to them, 'Go and do honor to your lady,' and he stayed in their
place. And whoever had wished to know Love might have done so by looking
at the trembling of my eyes."

[Footnote G: In his few words of introduction to the _Vita Nuova_, Dante
implies that he shall not copy out into his book all his compositions
relating to its subject. Some of the poems of this period, not included
in the _Vita Nuova_, have been preserved, and we propose to refer to
them in their appropriate places. Compare with this passage Sonnet
lxxix., _Poesie Liriche_, ed. Fraticelli,--

  "Se 'l bello aspetto non mi fosse tolto,"--

which was apparently written during Dante's absence from Beatrice.]

After the salutation which had been wont to bring to him a joy almost
beyond his capacity had been refused to him, Dante went weeping to his
chamber, where he could lament without being heard; and there he fell
asleep, crying like a little child who has been beaten. And in his sleep
he had a vision of Love, who entered into talk with him, and bade him
write a poem, adorned with sweet harmony, in which he should set forth
the truth and fidelity of his love for Beatrice, and should sue for her
pardon. Dante awoke at the ninth hour of the day, and at once began the
poem, of which the following is a portion. He personifies his poem, and
he bids it

  "Tell her,--'O Lady, this his heart is stayed
  On faithfulness so sure and firm,
  Save to serve you it has no other care:
  Early 'twas yours, and never has it strayed.'
  But if she trust not what thou dost affirm,
  Tell her to ask of Love, who will the truth declare;
  And at the end, beg her, with humble prayer,
  That she her pardon of its wrong would give;
  Then let her bid that I no longer live,
  And she shall see her servant quick obey."[H]

[Footnote H: Compare Canz. x. and xi.]

After this poem was finished, Dante describes what he calls "a battle of
thoughts" concerning Love within his mind, and then goes on to relate
that it happened one day that he was taken, by a friend who thought to
give him pleasure, to a feast at which many ladies were present. "They
were assembled," he says, "to attend a lady who was married that day,
and, according to the custom of the city, they bore her company at her
first sitting at table in the dwelling of her new husband." Dante,
believing thus to do pleasure to his friend, proposed to stand in
waiting upon these ladies. But at the moment of this intention he felt a
sudden tremor, which caused him to lean for support against a painting
which ran round the wall,[I] and, raising his eyes, he beheld Beatrice.
His confusion became apparent; and the ladies, not excepting Beatrice
herself, laughed at his strange appearance. Then his friend took him
from their presence, and having asked him what so ailed him, Dante
replied, "I have set my feet on that edge of life beyond which no man
can go with intent to return." Then leaving him, he went to the chamber
of tears, weeping and ashamed; and in his trouble he wrote a sonnet to
Beatrice, in which he says, that, if she had known the cause of his
trouble, he believes that she would have felt pity for him.[J]

[Footnote I: This is, perhaps, the earliest reference in modern
literature to the use of painting as a decoration for houses. It is
probable that it was a recent application of the art, and resulted from
the revival of interest in its works which accompanied the revival of
the art. We shall have occasion again to note a reference to painting.]

[Footnote J: To this period, apparently, belong Sonnets xxix. and xxx.
of the general collection. The last may not unlikely have been omitted
in the _Vita Nuova_ on account of the tenderness with which the death of
Beatrice had invested every memory of her, preventing the insertion of a
poem which might seem harsh in its expression:--

  "I curse the day on which I first beheld
  The light of thy betraying eyes."
]

The foregoing passage, like many others in the "Vita Nuova," is full of
the intense and exaggerated expressions of passionate feeling. But this
feeling is recorded with a frank simplicity which carries conviction
of the sincerity of emotion. It may be laughed at, but it cannot be
doubted. It is possible, though hardly probable, that the scene took
place at the wedding festival of Beatrice herself. She was married
sometime previous to 1287, and unless a reference to this event be
found here, no notice of it is taken by Dante in what he has written
concerning her. That the fact of her marriage changed in no degree the
feeling with which Dante regarded her is plain. His love was of no low
quality, to be altered by earthly circumstance. It was a love of the
soul. No change or separation that left the being untouched could part
him from it. To the marriage of true souls there was no impediment, and
he would admit none, in her being the wife of another. The qualities
which she possessed as a maiden belonged to her no less as a wife.

It was in the same year, probably, as that in which the "Vita Nuova" was
composed and published, that Dante himself was married to Gemma Donati.
There are stories that their married life was unhappy. But these stories
have not the weight of even contemporary gossip. Possibly they arose
from the fact of the long separation between Dante and his wife during
his exile. Boccaccio insinuates more than he asserts, and he concludes
a vague declamation about the miseries of married life with the words,
"Truly I do not affirm that these things happened to Dante, _for I do
not know_." Dante keeps utter silence in his works,--certainly giving no
reason to suppose that domestic trials were added to his other burdens.
One thing is known which deserves remembrance,--that, when, after some
years, a daughter was born to him, the name which she received was
Beatrice.

In the next few pages of the "Vita Nuova" Dante describes various
thoughts which came to his mind concerning his appearance when in
presence of his lady; but, passing over these, we come to a passage
which we give in full, as containing a delightful picture from Florence
in its old time, and many sentences of sweet and characteristic feeling.

"Many persons had now learned from my looks the secret of my heart. And
it happened that certain ladies, who well knew my heart, each of them
having witnessed many of my discomfitures, had assembled together,
taking pleasure in each other's company. And I, by chance passing near
them, was addressed by one of these gentle ladies. She who called to me
was very graceful in her speech, so that when I reached them, and saw
well that my most gentle lady was not with them, reassuring myself, I
saluted them, and asked what might be their pleasure. The ladies were
many, and some of them were laughing together, and others looked at me,
waiting for what I might say, while others spoke among themselves, and
one of them, turning her eyes toward me, and calling me by name, said,
'To what end dost thou love this lady, since thou canst not support her
presence? Tell us, for it is certain that the object of such a love must
be a very strange one.' And when she had said these words to me, not
only she, but all the others, began to attend in expectation of my
reply. Then I said to them, 'Ladies, the object of my love was, in
truth, the salutation of that lady of whom perhaps you speak; and in
that dwelt the bliss which was the end of all my desires. But since it
has pleased her to deny it to me, my lord Love, thanks be to him, has
placed all my bliss in that which cannot be taken from me.' Then these
ladies began to speak together, and, as we sometimes see rain falling
mingled with beautiful snow, so, it seemed to me, I saw their words
mingled with sighs. And after they had spoken for some time among
themselves, the same lady who had first spoken to me said to me, 'We
pray thee that thou wouldst tell us in what consists this thy bliss.'
And I, replying to her, said, 'In those words which speak my lady's
praise.' And she answered, 'If thou sayest truth in this, those words
which thou hast spoken concerning thine own condition must have been
written with another intention.'[K] Then I, thinking on these words,
and, as it were, ashamed of myself, departed from them, and went, saying
to myself, 'Since there is such bliss in those words which praise my
lady, why has my speech been of other things?' And I proposed to take
always for my subject, henceforward, the praise of this most gentle
lady. And thinking much on this, I seemed to myself to have taken too
lofty a subject for my power, so that I did not dare to begin. Thus
I delayed some days, with the desire to speak, and with a fear of
beginning.

[Footnote K: This refers to the sonnets Dante had written about his own
trouble and the conflict of his thoughts. It will be observed that the
words "speak" and "speech" are used in reference to poetic compositions.
In those days the poet was commonly called _il dicitore in rima_, "the
speaker in rhyme," or simply _il dicitore_.]

"Then it happened, that, walking along a road, at the side of which ran
a very clear stream, so great a wish to speak came to me, that I began
to think on the method I should observe; and I thought that to speak of
her would not be becoming, unless I addressed my words to ladies,--and
not to every lady, but only to those who are gentle, and not mere
women.[L] Then I say that my tongue spoke as if moved by its own accord,
and said, 'Ladies who have intelligence of Love.' These words I laid by
in my mind with great joy, thinking to take them for my beginning. And
returning to the city, after some days I began this Canzone:--[M]

[Footnote L: The epithet which Dante constantly applies to Beatrice is
"most gentle," _gentillisima_, while other ladies are called _gentile_,
"gentle." Here he makes the distinction between the _donna_ and the
_donna gentile_. The word is used with a signification similar to that
which it has in our own early literature, and fuller than that which it
now retains. It refers both to race, as in the phrase "of gentle birth,"
and to the qualities of character. "Gentleness means the same as
nobleness," says Dante, in the _Convito_; "and by nobleness is meant the
perfection of its own nature in anything." Tratt. iv. c. 14 16.

The delicacy and the dignity of meaning attaching to the word render it
an epithet especially appropriate to Beatrice, as implying all that is
loveliest in person and character. Its use in the _Vita Nuova_ is the
more to be remarked, as in the _Divina Commedia_ it is never applied to
Beatrice. Its appropriateness ceased with her earthly life, for there
was "another glory of the celestial body."]

[Footnote M: This Canzone is one of the most beautiful of Dante's minor
poems. We have preferred to give it in a literal translation, rather
than to attempt one in which the involved rhyme of the original should
be preserved, fearing lest this could not be done without sacrifice of
the meaning to the form. The original must be read by those who would
understand its grace of expression combined with its depth of feeling.
Dante himself prized this Canzone, and represents Buonagiunta da Lucca
in Purgatory as addressing him,--

  "Ma di s' io veggio qui colui che fuore
  Trasse le nuove rime, cominciando:
  _Donne, ch' avete intelletto d'Amore."

"But tell me if I see him who wrote the new rhymes, beginning, 'Ladies
who have intelligence of Love.'" _Purgat_. c. xxiv. l. 49-51.]

  "Ladies who have intelligence of Love,
  I of my lady wish with you to speak;
  Not that to tell her praise in full I think,
  But to discourse that I may ease my mind.

  "I say that when I think upon her worth,
  So sweet doth Love make himself feel to me,
  That if I then did not my courage lose,
  Speaking I would enamor all mankind.
  I do not wish so loftily to speak,
  Lest I should fail and fall through very fear.
  But of her gentle nature I will treat
  With lightest touch compared with her desert,
  Ladies and damsels bound to Love, with you;
  For unto others this may not be told.

  "An Angel cries aloud in tongue divine,
  And says, 'O Sire! in the world is seen
  A miracle in action, that proceeds
  From out a soul which far as here doth shine.'
  The Heavens, which have no other want, indeed,
  But that of her, demand her of her Lord,
  And every Saint doth for this favor beg;
  Only Compassion our part defends.
  What sayeth God? what of Madonna means?
  'O my delights, now be content in peace
  That, while I please, your hope should there remain
  Where dwelleth one who loss of her awaits,
  And who shall say in Hell to the condemned,
  I have beheld the hope of those in bliss.'"[N]

  [Footnote N: Note the reference implied in these words
  to the journey of Dante through Hell.]

  "My lady is desired in high heaven.
  Her virtues now will I make known to you.
  I say, whoso a gentle lady would appear
  Should go with her: for when she passeth by,
  Love casts a frost upon all villain hearts,
  So that their every thought doth freeze and die;
  And whoso bears to stay and look on her
  Will nobler thing become or else will die;
  And when one finds that he may worthy be
  To look on her, he doth his virtue prove:
  For then that comes to him which gives him health,
  And humbleth him till he forgets all wrong;
  And God hath given a still greater grace,
  That who hath spoke with her cannot end ill.

  "Love says of her, 'How can a mortal thing
  Be thus in every part adorned and pure?'
  Then, gazing on her, to himself he swears
  That God in her a creature new designs.
  Color of pearl doth clothe her, as it were,--
  Not in excess, but most becomingly.
  Whate'er of good Nature can make she is;
  And by her model Beauty proves itself.
  From out her eyes, wherever they may move,
  Spirits inflamed with love do issue forth,
  Which strike the eyes of whoso looks on her,
  And enter so that every heart they find.
  Love you behold depicted on her face,
  On which with fixed look no one can gaze.

  "I know, Canzone, thou wilt go to speak
  With many ladies, when I send thee forth;
  And now I bid thee, having bred thee up
  Like to a young and simple child of Love,
  That where thou goest thou shouldst praying say,
  'Teach me which way to go, for I am sent
  To her with praise of whom I am adorned.'
  And if thou wishest not to go in vain,
  Remain not there where villain folk may be;
  Endeavor, if thou mayst, to be acquaint
  Only with ladies, or with courteous men,
  Who thee will guide upon the quickest way.
  Love thou wilt find in company with her,
  And to them both commend me as thou shouldst."

After explaining, according to his custom, and marking the divisions of
this poem, Dante copies out a sonnet in which he answers the question of
one of his friends, who, he says, perhaps entertaining an expectation of
him beyond what was due, asked him, 'What is Love?' Many of the poets
of that time tried their hands in giving an answer to this difficult
question, and Dante begins his with confirming the opinion expressed by
one of them:--

  "Love is but one thing with the gentle heart,
  As in the saying of the sage we find."[O]

[Footnote O: it is probable that Dante refers to the first of a Canzone
by Guido Guinicelli, which says,

  "Within the gentle heart Love always stays,"

--a verse which he may have had still in his memory when he makes
Francesca da Rimini say, (_Inf_. v. 100,)

  "Love which by gentle heart is quickly learned."

For other definitions of Love as understood by the Italian poets of the
trecento, see Guido Cavalcanti's most famous and most obscure Canzone,
_Donna mi priega_; the sonnet (No. xlii.) falsely ascribed to Dante,
_Molti volendo dir che fosse Amore_; the sonnet by Jacopo da Lentino,
_Amore è un desio che vien dal core_; and many others.]

Another sonnet follows upon this, telling how this Love was awakened by
Beatrice and beginning with the exquisite praise,

  "Within her eyes my lady beareth Love,
  So that who looks on her is gentle made."[P]

[Footnote P: Compare with this Sonnet xl.,--

  "Dagli occhi della mia donna si muove."
]

Not many days after this, the father of Beatrice died.[Q] "And inasmuch
as it is the custom in the above-mentioned city for ladies to assemble
with ladies, and men with men, in such affliction, many ladies assembled
at the house where Beatrice was weeping piteously. And seeing certain of
them returning from her, I heard them speak of this most gentle lady,
how she was lamenting.... When these ladies had passed, I remained in
such grief that tears began to fall, and, putting my hands before my
eyes, I covered my face. And if it had not been that I expected to hear
further of her, for I stood near by where most of the ladies who came
from her passed, I should have hidden myself as soon as the tears
assailed me. While I still delayed, more ladies passed by, talking
together and saying, 'Who of us should ever be joyful after hearing this
lady speak so piteously?' After these others passed, who said, as they
went by, 'This one who is here weeps neither more nor less than if he
had seen her as we have.' And then others said of me, 'See! so overcome
is he, that he seems not himself.' And thus these ladies passing by, I
heard speech of her and of myself." And going away, after this, he wrote
two sonnets, telling of what he had seen and heard.[R]

[Footnote Q: Folco Portinari died December 31, 1289.]

[Footnote R: Compare with this passage Sonnet xlvi., which seems to have
been written on this occasion;--

  "Voi, donne, che pietoso atto mostrate,"

and Sonnet xlvii.,--

  "Onde venite voi, cosi pensose?"
]

It happened not long after this time that Dante was seized with grievous
illness, which reduced him to such a state of weakness that he lay as
one unable to move. And on the ninth day, suffering greatly, he thought
of his lady, and, reflecting on the frailty of life even at its best,
the thought struck him that even the most gentle Beatrice must at some
time die. And upon this, such consternation seized him that his fancy
began to wander, and, he says, "It seemed to me that I saw ladies, with
hair dishevelled, and marvellously sad, pass weeping by, and that I saw
the sun grow dark, so that the stars showed themselves of such a color
as to make me deem they wept. And it appeared to me that the birds as
they flew fell dead, and that there were great earthquakes. And struck
with wonder at this fantasy, and greatly alarmed, I imagined that a
friend came to me, who said, 'Dost thou not know? Thy admirable lady has
departed from this world.' Then I began to weep very piteously, and wept
not only in imagination, but with my eyes shedding real tears. Then I
imagined that I looked toward heaven, and it seemed to me that I saw a
multitude of angels who were returning upwards, having before them a
little cloud of exceeding whiteness. It seemed to me that these angels
sang gloriously, and that the words of their song were these: '_Osanna
in excelsis!_'--and other than these I did not hear.[S]

[Footnote S: In the _Divina Commedia_ frequent reference is made to the
singing of Osanna by the Angels. See _Purgat_. xi. 11; xxix. 51; _Par_.
vii. 1; xxviii. 94, 118; xxxii. 135; and especially viii. 28.]

"Then the heart in which abode such great love seemed to say to me, 'It
is true that our lady lies dead.' And thereupon I seemed to go to behold
the body in which that most noble and blessed soul had been. And the
erring fancy was so powerful that it showed to me this lady dead, and it
appeared to me that ladies were covering her head with a white veil, and
that her face had such an aspect of humility that it seemed to say, 'I
behold the beginning of peace.'"

Then Dante called upon Death to come to him; and when he had beheld in
his imagination the sad mysteries which are performed for the dead, he
seemed to return to his own chamber. And so strong was his imagining,
that, weeping, he said with his true voice, "O most beautiful soul! how
is he blessed who beholds thee!" Upon this, a young and gentle lady, who
was watching by his bed, thinking that he was grieving for his own pain,
began to weep; whereon other ladies who were in the chamber drew near
and roused him from his dream. Then they asked him by what he had been
troubled; and he told all that he had seen in fancy, keeping silence
only with regard to the name of Beatrice; and when, some time after, he
recovered from his illness, he wrote a poem which related his vision.

The next incident of his new life which Dante tells is one of a
different nature, and of pleasant character. One day he saw Love coming
to him full of joy; and his own heart became so joyful that it seemed to
him it could not be his heart, so changed was its condition. Then he saw
approaching him a lady of famous beauty, who had been the lady of his
first friend. Her name was Giovanna, but on account of her beauty she
was called Primavera, which means _Spring_. And with her was Beatrice.
Then Love, after they had passed, explained the hidden meaning of the
name Primavera, and said, that, by one considering subtilely, Beatrice
would be called _Love_, on account of the great resemblance she bore to
him. Then Dante, thinking over these things, wrote this sonnet to his
friend, believing that he still admired the beauty of this gentle
Primavera:--

  "An amorous spirit in my heart who lay
    I felt awaken from his slumber there;
    And then I saw Love come from far away,
    But scarce I knew him for his joyous air.

  "'Honor to me,' he said, 'think now to pay,'
    And all his words with smiles companioned were.
    Then as my lord awhile with me did stay,
    Along the way whence he appeared whilere

  "The Lady Joan and Lady Bice I see,
    Coming toward the place wherein I was;
    And the two marvels side by side did move.

  "Then, as my mind now tells it unto me,
    Love said, 'This one is Spring, and this, because
    She so resembleth me, is named Love.'"[T]

[Footnote T: See the charming Sonnet lii.:--

  "Guido vorrei che tu, e Lappo, ed io."
]

After this sonnet, Dante enters on a long and fanciful discourse on the
use of figurative language, to explain how he speaks of Love as if it
were not a mere notion of the intellect, but as if it had a corporeal
existence. There is much curious matter in this dissertation, and it is
one of the most striking examples that could be found of the youthful
character of the literature at the time in which Dante was writing, and
of the little familiarity which those in whose hands his book was likely
to fall possessed of the common forms of poetry, and of the style of the
ancient Latin poets.

Returning from this digression, he says: "This most gentle lady, of whom
there has been discourse in what precedes, reached such favor among the
people, that when she passed along the way persons ran to see her, which
gave me wonderful delight. And when she was near any one, such modesty
took possession of his heart, that he did not dare to raise his eyes or
to return her salutation; and to this, should any one doubt it, many,
as having experienced it, could bear witness for me. She, crowned and
clothed with humility, took her way, displaying no pride in that which
she saw and heard. Many, when she had passed, said, 'This is not a
woman; rather is she one of the most beautiful angels of heaven.' Others
said, 'She is a miracle. Blessed be the Lord who can perform such a
marvel!' I say that she showed herself so gentle and so full of all
beauties, that those who looked on her felt within themselves a delight
so pure and sweet that they could not smile; nor was there any who could
look at her and not feel need at first to sigh. These and more wonderful
things proceeded from her, marvellously and in reality. Wherefore I,
thinking on all this, proposed to say some words, in which I would
exhibit her marvellous and excellent influences, to the end that not
only those who might actually behold her, but also others, might know of
her whatever words could tell. Then I wrote this sonnet:--

  "So gentle and so modest doth appear
  My lady when she giveth her salute,
  That every tongue becometh trembling
     mute,
  Nor do the eyes to look upon her dare.

  "And though she hears her praises, she doth
     go
  Benignly clothèd with humility,
  And like a thing come down she seems
     to be
  From heaven to earth, a miracle to show.

  "So pleaseth she whoever cometh nigh,
  She gives the heart a sweetness through
     the eyes,
  Which none can understand who doth
     not prove.

  "And from her lip there seems indeed to move
  A spirit sweet and in Love's very guise,
  Which goeth saying to the soul, 'Ah,
     sigh!'"[U]

[Footnote U: Perhaps the spirit of the latter part of this sonnet may be
better conveyed by rendering thus:--

  "So pleaseth she all those approaching nigh
      her,
         *       *       *       *       *
  Which goeth saying to the soul, 'Aspire!'"

Compare the very beautiful Ballata vi. and Sonnet xlviii., beginning,

  "Di donne io vidi una gentile schiera."
]

With this incomparable sonnet we close that part of the "Vita Nuova"
which relates to the life of Beatrice. It fitly completes the golden
record of youth. Its tender lines are the epitaph of happy days, and in
them is found that mingled sweetness and sadness which in this world are
always the final expression of love. Its tone is that of the wind of
autumn sighing among the leaves of spring. Beneath its outward meaning
lies a prophecy of joy,--but that joy is to be reached only through the
gates of death.

       *       *       *       *       *


THE PHILTER.


  "A draught of water, maiden fair,"
    I said to the girl beside the well.
  Oh, sweet was the smile on her face of guile,
    As she gave me to drink,--that witch of hell!

  I drank, and sweet was the draught I drank,
    And thanked the giver, and still she smiled;
  And her smile like a curse on my spirit sank,
    Till my face grew wan, and my heart grew wild.

  And lo! the light from the day was gone,
    And gone was maiden, and gone was well:
  The dark instead, like a wall of stone,
    And rivers that roared through the dark, and fell.

  Was it the draught, or was it the smile,
    Or my own false heart? Ah, who shall tell?
  But the black waves beat at my weary feet,
    And sits at my side the witch of hell.



DID I?


"Giorno d'orrore."


Wheels rolled away in the distance; the corner of a gray cloak fluttered
where the drive turns down hill. From under the fore-wheel of Juggernaut
I struggled back to life with a great sob, that died before it sounded.
I looked about the library for some staff to help me to my feet again.
The porphyry vases were filled with gorgeous boughs, leaves of deep
scarlet, speckled, flushed, gold-spotted, rimmed with green, dashed with
orange, tawny and crimson, blood-sprinkled, faint clear amber; all hues
and combinations of color rioted and revelled in the crowded clusters.
To what hand but hers could so much beauty have gathered? to what eye
but hers did the magnificent secrets of Nature reveal themselves, so
that out of a whole forest her careless straying hand should bring only
its culminating glories, its most perfect results, whether of leaf or
flower or fruit. For in an urn of tintless alabaster, that had lain
centuries in the breathless dust and gloom of an Egyptian tomb, that
hand had set a sheaf of gentians, every fringed cup blue as the wild
river when a noon sky tints it, or as the vaulted azure of a June
midnight on the edge of the Milky Way,--a sheaf no Ceres owned, no
foodfull garner coveted, but the satiating aliment of beauty, fresh as
if God that hour had pronounced them good, and set his sign-manual upon
each delicate tremulous petal, that might have been sapphire, save for
its wistful translucence. And on the teapoy in the window stood two
dainty baskets of clean willow, in which we had that day brought home
chestnuts from the wood;--mine was full of nuts, but they were small and
angular and worm-eaten, as the fruitage of a wet season might well be;
hers scantily freighted, but every nut round, full, and glossy, perfect
from its cruel husk, a specimen, a type of its kind. And on the handle
of the basket hung a little kid glove. I looked at it closely; the
tiny finger-tops and oval nails had left light creases on the delicate
leather, and an indescribable perfume, in which violet predominated,
drove away the vile animal scent that pervades such gloves. I flung it
on the fire.

All about the room lay books that were not of my culling, from the oak
cases, whose every door stood ajar,--novels innumerable,--"The Arabian
Nights," Vaughan's "Silex Scintillans," with a scarlet leaf laid in
against "Peace," and "Tennyson" turned on its face at "Fatima," a heavy
volume of French moral philosophy, a Methodist hymn-book, Sir Thomas
Browne's "Hydriotaphia," and a gilded red-bound history of "Five Little
Pigs."

I rang the bell, and ordered all the books to be gathered up and put
into an old bookcase, long banished to a dark attic. I walked to the
fire and leaned my head against the mantel. The embers were all dead; in
the gray ashes was the print of a little foot, whose arched instep had
left no trace between the light track of the small heel and the deeper
impression that the slender toe had left. That footprint told the
secret of her airy motion,--that step so akin to flight, that on an
overhanging mountain-ledge I had more than once held my breath, looking
to see her extended wings float over the silent tree-tops below, or
longed to grasp her carelessly trailed shawl, that I might detain her
upon earth. To me the track had yet another language. An hour before,
as I stood there beside her, the bitter passion of a man solitary and
desperate shaking every faculty before the level rays of her scornful
eye, she had set her embroidered slipper in the ashes, and said,--"Look!
I leave a print there which the first breath of air shall dissipate;
all fire becomes ashes, and ashes blow away,"--and so left me. I stood
before the fire, that had been, still looking at that foot-mark; my
brain was stunned and stupid, my heart beat slow and loud; I knew
nothing, I felt nothing. I was nothing. Presently a bell rang.

The world is full of magicians, transformations, magnetic miracles,
juggling, chemical astonishments, moral gymnastics, hypocrisies, lies of
wonder,--but what is so strange, so marvellous, so inexplicable, as the
power of conventions? One minute found me tempting the blackness of
darkness, every idea astray and reeling, every emotion benumbed; the
next, a bell rang, and I went to the tea-table, sat in my own place,
answered my mother's questions, resumed the politenesses and habits of
daily life, seemed to be myself to those who had known me always,--ate,
drank, jested,--was a man,--no more the trodden ashes under a girl's
foot, no longer the sport of a girl's cool eye, no slave, no writhing
idolater under the car-wheel; and this lasted-half an hour! You have
seen the horses of Pharaoh following the glittering sand-track of the
Judaean host, walled in with curling beryl battlements, over whose
crests the white sea-foam dares no more laugh and threaten? You know
those curved necks clothed with strength, the bent head whose nostrils
flare with pride, the tossed and waving mane, the magnificent grace of
the nervous shoulder, the great, intelligent, expectant eyes? Suddenly
the roar of waves at the farther shore! Look at that head! strong and
quiet no more; terror erects the quivering ears; the nostril sinks and
contracts with fear; the eye glares and glances from side to side, mad
with prescient instinct; the corded veins that twist forkedly from the
lip upward swell to the utmost tension of the fine skin; that sweeping
mane rises in rough undulations, the forelock is tossed back, the
shoulder grows rigid with horror, the chest rises with a long indrawn
breath of dismay. Horrible beyond all horrid sounds, the yell of a horse
in mortal fear. Do you hear it? No,--it is a picture,--the picture of a
moment between one animal that sees the impending fate, and another that
has not yet caught it;--it is human that such moments interpose between
two oceans of agony, that man can momentarily control the rush of a sea
which the brute must yield to.--So the sea rushed back.

All night long, all the long night!--long as lifetimes are, measured
with slow-dropping arteries that drip away living blood. Once I watched
by a dying woman; wild October rains poured without, but all unheard; in
the dim-lit room, scented with quaint odors of lackered cases and chests
of camphor-wood, heavy with perfumes that failed to revive, and hushed
with whispers of hopeless comment, that delicate frame and angelic
face, which the innumerable lines of age could only exalt and sweeten,
shivered with the frosts of death; every breath was a sob; every sigh,
anguish; the terrible restlessness of the struggle between soul and body
in their parting writhed in every limb;--but there were no words other
than broken cries of prayer, only half-heard on earth, till at length
the tender, wistful eyes unclosed, and in a hoarse whisper, plaintive
beyond expression, full of a desolate and immortal weariness, bearing a
conviction of eternity and exhaustion that words cannot hope to utter,
she said, "Will it never be morning?" And so this night stayed its pace;
my room grew narrow and low; the ceiling pressed on my head; the walls
forever clasped me, yet receded ever as I paced the floor; the floor
fell in strange waves under me,--yet I walked steadily, up and down, up
and down! Still the night stayed. Fever set its hurried pulses fleeting
like wild-fire through every vein; a band of hot iron pressed above my
eyes;--but these were adjuncts; the curse consumed me within. In every
moment I heard those calm and fatal words, "I do not love you," sounding
clear and sweet through the dull leaden air of night,--an air full of
ghostly sounds, sighs about the casements, creaking stairs, taps at
the window, light sounds of feet in the long hall below; all falling
heedless on my ear, for my ghost walked and talked with me, a ghastly
reality, the galvanized corpse of a murdered life.

Still the night stayed. A weight of lead pressed on my brain and
concentrated it to frantic power; the months in which I had known her,
the only months I could call life, came back to me inch by inch, grain
by grain. I recalled our first meeting,--the sudden springing into
acquaintance,--the sympathetic power that had transfused those cold blue
eyes into depths of tenderness and pity,--the gay and genial manner that
aroused and charmed me,--the scornful lip that curled at the world for
its worldliness,--that fresh imagination, which, like the spirit of
frost, decked the commonest things with beauty; and I recalled those
early letters that had passed between us,--mine, insipid enough,--hers,
piquant, graphic, refined, tender, delicately passionate, sparkling,
full of lofty thought and profound feeling. Good God! could she not
have taken my heart, and wrung it, and thrown it away, under some more
commonplace pretext than the profaned name of Friendship? Her friend!
It is true I had called myself her friend; I had been strenuous in the
nomenclature to quiet my own conscience,--to satisfy her conventional
scruples; but had she no instinct to interpret the pretence? What friend
ever lived on every look, studied every phrase, watched every action and
expression, was so torn with jealousy and racked with doubt, bore
so humbly with caprices, and forgave every offence so instantly and
utterly,--nay, was scarce conscious that anything her soul entertained
could be an offence, could be wrong? Friendship!--ah, that deity is calm
and serene; that firm lip and pale cheek do not flush with apprehension
or quiver with passion; that tranquil eye does not shine with anything
but quiet tears. Rather call the dusky and dark-haired Twilight, whose
pensive face is limned against the western hills, by the name of that
fierce and fervid Noon that stands erect under the hot zenith, instinct
with the red blood of a thousand summers, casting her glittering tresses
abroad upon the south-wind, and holding in her hands the all-unfolded
rose of life. And if I was only her friend, was that a reason why she
should permit in me the thousand intimacies of look and caress that are
the novitiate of love? Was it a friend's calm duty to give me her tiny
hand to hold in mine, that I might fold and unfold the rosy fingers, and
explore the white dimples that were its ornamenting gems,--to rest her
tired head against my shoulder, even,--watching all day by the chair
where pain, life-long ministrant, held me on the rack?--was it only
friendly that she should press her soft little mouth to mine, and soothe
me into quiet as a mother soothes her last, her dearest child? No! no!
no! never could that be! She knew, she had known, that I loved her!
Deliberate cruelty outlined those lovely lips; every statue-like
moulding of that proud face told the hard and unrelenting nature of the
soul within. God forgive her!--the exclamation escaped me unaware, and
recoiled in a savage exultation that such treachery had no forgiveness
in heaven or on earth,--one gleam of desperate satisfaction in that
black night. But in its light, what new madness seized me? I had held
her stainless and holy, intact of evil or deceit; what was she now? My
whole brain reeled; the foundations were taken away; earth and heaven
met; even as when the West forges tempest and lightning-bolts upon its
melancholy hills, brooding and muttering hour by hour, till at length
the livid gloom rushes upward against sun and stars, and the blackening
sky shuts down upon the blackened earth, cowering at the shock, and the
torrents and flames are let loose upon their prey,--so an accumulated
storm of unutterable agony flung wave on wave above me, wrecked and
alone.

Still the night stayed; the black mass of forest that swept up the
hill-side stood in mystical gloom, in silence that could be felt; when
at once,--not suddenly,--as if the night could forbear no more, but
must utter some chord with the culmination of midnight horrors, a bird
uttered one sharp cry, desolate utterly, hopeless, concentred, as if a
keen blade parted its heart and the outraged life within remonstrated
and despaired,--despaired not of life, for still the note repeated its
monotone, but of death, of period to its pangs. That cry entered into my
brain; it was unjust of Nature so to taunt me, so to express where I was
speechless; yet I could not shut it out. A pitiful chill of flesh and
sense seized me; I was cold,--oh, how cold!--the fevered veins crept now
in sluggish ice; sharp thrills of shivering rigor racked me from head
to foot; pain had dulled its own capacity; wrapped in every covering my
room afforded, with blunted perceptions, and a dreadful consciousness of
lost vitality, which, even when I longed to die, appalled me with the
touch of death's likeness, I sunk on the floor,--and it was morning!

Morning! "a day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of
thick darkness, as the morning spread upon the mountains!" A pale sun
lit the earth, but earth and sky were black,--no sun touched me in heart
or eye; I saw nothing, felt nothing, but heavy and impenetrable gloom.
Yet again the ceremonies of life prevailed, and my real life slept
undiscovered. Whatever pallor or shadow lined my face was no stranger
there at that hour. The gray morning passed away; the village on the
hill sent down busy sounds of labor and cheer; flies buzzed on the sunny
pane, doors clicked and slammed in the house, fires crackled behind the
shining fire-dogs. I went to the library,--_the first breath of
air_ had--_dissipated it_! What a mockery! I went away,--out of the
house,--on, anywhere. Dry leaves rustled in my path and sent up a faint
aromatic breath as they were crushed in the undried dew; squirrels
chattered in the wood; here and there a dropping nut stirred the silence
with deliberate fall, or an unseen grouse whirred through the birches at
my approaching step. The way was trodden and led me by gradual slope and
native windings through the dull red oaks downward to the river. Once on
the path, a low cluster of sweet fern attracted me;--strange assertion
of human personality, that in the deepest grief a man knows and notices
the trivial features of Nature with microscopic fidelity! that the
veining of a leaf or the pencilling of a blossom will attract the eye
that no majesty or beauty of unwonted manifestation could light with
one appreciative spark! Is it that the injured and indignant soul
so vindicates its own essential and divine strength, and says,
unconsciously, to the most uncontrolled anguish, "There is in me a life
no mortal accident can invade; the breath of God is not altogether
extinct in any blast of man's devising; shake, torture, assault the
outer tenement,--darken its avenues with fire to stifle, and drench its
approaches with seas to drown,--there is that within that God alone can
vanquish,--yours is but a finite terror"? Half-crazed as I was, the
fern-bed attracted me, as I said, and I flung myself wearily down on the
leaves, whose healing and soothing odor stole up like a cloud all about
me; and I lay there in the sun, noting with pertinacious accuracy every
leaf or bloom that was within the range of sight,--the dark green leaves
of the wax-flower springing from their red stem, veined and threaded
with creamy white, stiff and quaint in form and growth,--the bending
sprays of goldenrod that bowed their light and brittle stems over me,
swaying gently to and fro in the gentle wind,--the tiny scarlet cups of
moss that held a little drop of dew brimming over their rims of fire, a
spark in the ashy gray moss-beds where they stood,--the shrinking and
wan wood-asters, branched out widely, but set with meagre bloom,--every
half-tint of the lichens, that scantily fed from the relentless granite
rock, yet clung to its stern face with fearless persistence,--the rough
seams and velvet green moss-tufts of the oak-trunks,--the light that
pierced the dingy hue of oak-leaves with vivid and informing crimson:
all these stamped themselves on my mind with inevitable minuteness; the
great wheel of Fate rolled over me, and I bore the marks even of its
ornamental rim; the grooves in its tire left traces of its track.

At length the minuteness of Nature oppressed me. The thousand odors,
spicy, acrid, aromatic, honeyed, that an autumnal dew expressed from
every herb, through that sense that is the slave of association,
recalled my youth, my boyhood, the free and careless hours I knew no
more, when, on just such mornings of hazy and splendid autumns, I had
just so lain on the fern-beds, heedless of every beauty that haunted the
woods, full of fresh life, rejoicing in dog and gun and rod as no man
ever rejoices in title-deeds or stocks or hoarded gold. The reminiscence
stung me to the quick; I could endure no more. Rising, I went on, and
through the oak-wood came to the brink of the river, and in a vague
weariness sat down upon the massive water-wall, and looked over into
the dark brown stream. It was deep below me; a little above were clear
shallows, where the water-spider pursued its toil of no result, and
cast upon the yellow sand beneath a shadow that was not a shadow, but,
refracted from the broken surface, spots of glittering light, clustered
like the diamonds of a brooch, separate, yet linked, and tremulously
bright. This, also, did I note; but below my feet the river flowed
darker and more deeply, darkness and depth broken only by the glancing
fins of little fishes, that slanted downward, catching a gleam as they
went. No other light pierced the sullen, apprehensive flood that rolled
past in tranquil gloom, leaden from the skies above, and without ripple
or fall to break its glassy quiet. Beside the wall grew a witch-hazel;
in my vague grasp at outside objects I saw it, full of wrinkled and
weird bloom, as if the golden fleece had strayed thereby, and caught
upon the ungainly twigs of the scragged bush, and left glittering curled
threads in flecked bunches scattered on every branch; the strange
spell-sweet odor of the flowers struck me before I saw them, and the
whole expression of their growth affected me with helpless admiration,
so brave as it was!--defying all Autumn to daunt the immortal Spring
ever surviving in its soul,--here, on October's edge, putting out its
freshness and perfume, as if seasons were an accident, and circumstance
a chimera,--as if will, good-will, will to be of strength and cheer,
were potent enough to laugh at Nature, and trust the God-given
consciousness within, whatever adverse fate ruled and triumphed without.
Not that all these ideas came to me then, else perhaps I had been spared
that morning's experience; but they entered my brain as lightning is
sometimes said to enter a tree and stamp some image from without
upon its heart, thereafter to be revealed by the hewing axe and the
persistent saw. No! I sat by the river and looked down into its dark
serenity, and again the horror of the past day swept over me with fresh
force. Could I live? The unswerving river lay before me; in its bed
nothing stirred; neither pang nor passion in those chill depths could
utter a cry; there she could not come; there was rest. I did not yield;
oh, no, I did not yield! I resisted,--passively. I laid hold upon the
eternal fact that there was a God; the blind and blank universe spun
about me; its pillars of support wavered like waterspouts; all that I
had ever believed or loved whirled up and down in one howling chaos,
and circled through all space in clouds of dust and floating atoms; but
through all I knew there was a God,--feel it I could not, neither did I
see nor did one of Nature's tongues spell me the lesson,--I only knew
it. And I did not, no, I did not rush before Him; but I lay at the
bottom of the river.

I have heard it said that drowning persons recall, as by a sudden
omniscience, all their past lives, as soon as the water closes above
them and the first shock of horror is past. It was not so with me. I
remembered nothing beyond the events of the past week; but, by some
strange action of the mind, as soon as the gasping sense of an unnatural
element passed away, my thoughts went forward. I became, as it were,
another man; and above me on the bank I saw calmly the stone where my
living double had left his cripple's cane, and thought to myself for one
sharp moment, "Fool!"--for I looked forward. _If I had not drowned_,
that was the key-note of the theme. Something that was me and was not me
rose up from the water-wall and went away,--a man racked and broken by
a great sorrow, it is true, but a man conscious of God. Life had turned
its darkest page for him, but there was the impassable fact that it was
the darkest; no further depths remained to dread; the worst had come,
and he looked it in the face and studied it; suffer he might, but
with full knowledge of every agony. Life had been wrecked, but living
remained. Calmly he took up the cripple's cane and went home; the
birds sang no song,--after tempests they do not sing until the sun
shines,--neither did the blossoms give him any greeting. Nature wastes
no trivialities on such grief; the mother, whose child comes in to her
broken-limbed and wounded, does not give it sugar-plums and kisses, but
waits in silence till the surgeon has done his kindly and appalling
office,--then, it may be, she sings her boy to sleep!

But this man took up life again and conquered it. Home grew about him
into serenity and cheer; as from the roots of a felled tree a thousand
verdant offshoots spring, tiny in stature, but fresh and vivid in
foliage, so out of this beheaded love arose a crowd of sweet affections
and tender services that made the fraternity of man seem possible, and
illustrated the pervasive care of God. He went out into life, and from
a heart wrung with all man can endure, and a brain tested in the fire,
spoke burning and fluent words of strength and consolation to hundreds
who, like him, had suffered, but were sinking under what he had borne.
And these words carried in them a reviving virtue. Men blessed him
silently, and women sang him in their hearts as they sing hymns of
prayer. Honors clustered about him as mosses to a rock; Fame relented,
and gave him an aureole in place of a crown; and Love, late, but sweeter
than sweet, like the last sun-ripened fruit of autumn, made honors and
fame alike endurable. This man conquered, and triumphed in the victory.

I held out my hand in that water and touched--a skeleton! What! had any
other man preceded me? I looked at it; it was the water-washed frame of
a horse,--brutes together! And death was at hand; the grasp tightened
on my breast with that acrid sense of weight and suffocation that the
redundant blood suffusing the lungs must needs produce. "The soul of the
brute goeth downward." Coward! what might not life have been? and I had
lost it!--lost it for the sting of a honey-bee!--for the contempt of a
woman! Every magnificent possibility, every immortal power, every hope
of a future, tantalizing in its grand mystery, all lost! What if that
sweeping star-seraph that men call a comet, speeding through heaven in
its lonely splendor, with nitent head, and pinions trailing with the
very swiftness and strength of its onward flight, should shudder from
its orbit, fling into star-strewn space its calm and awful glory, and
go crashing down into the fury and blackness of chaos, carrying with it
wrecks of horror, and the yelling fragments of spheres no longer choral,
but smitten with the lawless stroke of a creature regardless of its
Creator, an orb that made its solitary fate, and carried across the
order and the law of God ruin and wreck embodied?

And I had a soul;--I had flung it away; I had set my will up for my
destiny, and the one had worked out the other. But had I? When that
devilish suggestion came to me on the bank, did I entertain it? Have I
not said how I grasped at the great idea of a God, and held it with a
death-gripe in the midst of assault? How did I come in the water? I did
not plunge nor fall. No shock of horror chilled me; no remembrance of
a voluntary assent to the Tempter could I recall. I was there, it was
true; but was I guilty? Did I, in the eyes of any watching angel,
consciously cast my life, brittle and blind as it was, away in that
fashion? In the water, helpless now for any effort after upper air,
side by side with the fleshless anatomy of a brute, over-sailed by gray
fishes with speckled sides, whose broad, unwinking eyes glared at me
with maddening shine and stare,--oppressed, and almost struggling, yet
all unable to achieve the struggle with the curdling blood that gorged
every vein and air-cell with the hurried rush of death,--did I go out of
this life red with the sin of murder? Did I commit suicide?

Who knows?

       *       *       *       *       *


THE MINISTER'S WOOING.

[Continued.]


CHAPTER VI.

THE DOCTOR.


It is seldom that man and woman come together in intimate association,
unless influences are at work more subtile and mysterious than the
subjects of them dream. Even in cases where the strongest ruling force
of the two sexes seems out of the question, there is still something
peculiar and insidious in their relationship. A fatherly old gentleman,
who undertakes the care of a sprightly young girl, finds, to his
astonishment, that little Miss spins all sorts of cobwebs round him.
Grave professors and teachers cannot give lessons to their female pupils
just as they give them to the coarser sex, and more than once has the
fable of "Cadenus and Vanessa" been acted over by the most unlikely
performers.

The Doctor was a philosopher, a metaphysician, a philanthropist, and in
the highest and most earnest sense a minister of good on earth. The
New England clergy had no sentimental affectation of sanctity that
segregated them from wholesome human relations; and consequently our
good Doctor had always resolved, in a grave and thoughtful spirit, at a
suitable time in his worldly affairs, to choose unto himself a helpmeet.
Love, as treated of in romances, he held to be a foolish and profane
matter, unworthy the attention of a serious and reasonable creature. All
the language of poetry on this subject was to him an unknown tongue. He
contemplated the entrance on married life somewhat in this wise:--That
at a time and place suiting, he should look out unto himself a woman of
a pleasant countenance and of good repute, a zealous, earnest Christian,
and well skilled in the items of household management, whom accosting as
a stranger and pilgrim to a better life, he should loyally and lovingly
entreat, as Isaac did Rebekah, to come under the shadow of his tent and
be a helpmeet unto him in what yet remained of this mortal journey. But
straitened circumstances, and the unsettled times of the Revolution, in
which he had taken an earnest and zealous part, had delayed to a late
bachelorhood the fulfilment of this resolution.

When once received under the shadow of Mrs. Scudder's roof, and within
the provident sphere of her unfailing housekeeping, all material
necessity for an immediate choice was taken away; for he was exactly in
that situation dearest to every scholarly and thoughtful man, in which
all that pertained to the outward life appeared to rise under his hand
at the moment he wished for it without his knowing how or why.

He was not at the head of a prosperous church and society, rich and
well-to-do in the world,--but, as the pioneer leader of a new theology,
in a country where theology was the all-absorbing interest, he had to
breast the reaction that ever attends the advent of new ideas. His
pulpit talents, too, were unattractive. His early training had been
all logical, not in the least aesthetic; for, like the ministry of his
country generally, he had been trained always to think more of what he
should say than of how he should say it. Consequently, his style,
though not without a certain massive greatness, which always comes from
largeness of nature, had none of those attractions by which the common
masses are beguiled into thinking. He gave only the results of thought,
not its incipient processes; and the consequence was, that few could
follow him. In like manner, his religious teachings were characterized
by an ideality so high as quite to discourage ordinary virtue.

There is a ladder to heaven, whose base God has placed in human
affections, tender instincts, symbolic feelings, sacraments of love,
through which the soul rises higher and higher, refining as she goes,
till she outgrows the human, and changes, as she rises, into the image
of the divine. At the very top of this ladder, at the threshold of
paradise, blazes dazzling and crystalline that celestial grade where the
soul knows self no more, having learned, through a long experience of
devotion, how blest it is to lose herself in that eternal Love and
Beauty of which all earthly fairness and grandeur are but the dim type,
the distant shadow. This highest step, this saintly elevation, which but
few selectest spirits ever on earth attain, to raise the soul to which
the Eternal Father organized every relation of human existence and
strung every chord of human love, for which this world is one long
discipline, for which the soul's human education is constantly varied,
for which it is now torn by sorrow, now flooded by joy, to which all
its multiplied powers tend with upward hands of dumb and ignorant
aspiration,--this Ultima Thule of virtue had been seized upon by our
sage as the _all_ of religion. He knocked out every round of the ladder
but the highest, and then, pointing to its hopeless splendor, said to
the world, "Go up thither and be saved!"

Short of that absolute self-abnegation, that unconditional surrender to
the Infinite, there was nothing meritorious,--because, if _that_ were
commanded, every moment of refusal was rebellion. Every prayer, not
based on such consecration, he held to be an insult to the Divine
Majesty;--the reading of the Word, the conscientious conduct of life,
the performance of the duties of man to man, being, without this, the
deeds of a creature in conscious rebellion to its Eternal Sovereign,
were all vitiated and made void. Nothing was to be preached to the
sinner, but his ability and obligation to rise immediately to this
height.

It is not wonderful that teaching of this sort should seem to many
unendurable, and that the multitude should desert the preacher with the
cry, "This is an hard saying; who can hear it?" The young and gay were
wearied by the dryness of metaphysical discussions which to them were as
unintelligible as a statement of the last results of the mathematician
to the child commencing the multiplication-table. There remained around
him only a select circle,--shrewd, hard thinkers, who delighted
in metaphysical subtilties,--deep-hearted, devoted natures, who
sympathized with the unworldly purity of his life, his active
philanthropy and untiring benevolence,--courageous men, who admired his
independence of thought and freedom in breasting received opinion,--and
those unperceiving, dull, good people who are content to go to church
anywhere as convenience and circumstance may drift them,--people who
serve, among the keen feeling and thinking portion of the world, much
the same purpose as adipose matter in the human system, as a soft
cushion between the nerves of feeling and the muscles of activity.

There was something affecting in the pertinacity with which the good
Doctor persevered in saying his say to his discouraging minority of
hearers. His salary was small; his meeting-house, damaged during the
Revolutionary struggle, was dilapidated and forlorn,--fireless in
winter, and in summer admitting a flood of sun and dust through those
great windows which formed so principal a feature in those first efforts
of Puritan architecture.

Still, grand in his humility, he preached on,--and as a soldier never
asks why, but stands at apparently the most useless post, so he went on
from Sunday to Sunday, comforting himself with the reflection that no
one could think more meanly of his ministrations than he did himself. "I
am like Moses only in not being eloquent," he said, in his simplicity.
"My preaching is barren and dull, my voice is hard and harsh; but then
the Lord is a Sovereign, and may work through me. He fed Elijah once
through a raven, and he may feed some poor wandering soul through me."

The only mistake made by the good man was that of supposing that the
elaboration of theology was preaching the gospel. The gospel he was
preaching constantly, by his pure, unworldly living, by his visitations
to homes of poverty and sorrow, by his searching out of the lowly
African slaves, his teaching of those whom no one else in those days had
thought of teaching, and by the grand humanity, outrunning his age, in
which he protested against the then admitted system of slavery and the
slave-trade. But when, rising in the pulpit, he followed trains of
thought suited only to the desk of the theological lecture-room, he did
it blindly, following that law of self-development by which minds of a
certain amount of fervor _must_ utter what is in them, whether men will
hear or whether they will forbear.

But the place where our Doctor was happiest was his study. There he
explored, and wandered, and read, and thought, and lived a life as
wholly ideal and intellectual as heart could conceive.

And could _Love_ enter a reverend doctor's study, and find his way into
a heart empty and swept of all those shreds of poetry and romance in
which he usually finds the material of his incantations?

Even so;--but he came so thoughtfully, so reverently, with so wise
and cautious a footfall, that the good Doctor never even raised his
spectacles to see who was there. The first that he knew, poor man,
he was breathing an air of strange and subtile sweetness,--from what
paradise he never stopped his studies to inquire. He was like a great,
rugged elm, with all its lacings and archings of boughs and twigs, which
has stood cold and frozen against the metallic blue of winter sky,
forgetful of leaves, and patient in its bareness, calmly content in its
naked strength and crystalline definiteness of outline. But in April
there is a rising and stirring within the grand old monster,--a
whispering of knotted buds, a mounting of sap coursing ethereally from
bough to bough with a warm and gentle life; and though the old elm knows
it not, a new creation is at hand. Just so, ever since the good man had
lived at Mrs. Scudder's, and had the gentle Mary for his catechumen, a
richer life seemed to have colored his thoughts,--his mind seemed to
work with a pleasure as never before.

Whoever looked on the forehead of the good Doctor must have seen the
squareness of ideality giving marked effect to its outline. As yet
ideality had dealt only with the intellectual and invisible, leading to
subtile refinements of argument and exalted ideas of morals. But there
was lying in him, crude and unworked, a whole mine of those artistic
feelings and perceptions which are awakened and developed only by the
touch of beauty. Had he been born beneath the shadow of the great Duomo
of Florence, where Giotto's Campanile rises like the slender stalk of
a celestial lily, where varied marbles and rainbow-glass and gorgeous
paintings and lofty statuary call forth, even from childhood, the soul's
reminiscences of the bygone glories of its pristine state, his would
have been a soul as rounded and full in its sphere of faculties as that
of Da Vinci or Michel Angelo. But of all that he was as ignorant as a
child; and the first revelation of his dormant nature was to come to him
through the face of woman,--that work of the Mighty Master which is to
be found in all lands and ages.

What makes the love of a great mind something fearful in its inception
is that it is often the unsealing of a hitherto undeveloped portion of
a large and powerful being; the woman may or may not seem to other eyes
adequate to the effect produced, but the man cannot forget her, because
with her came a change which makes him forever a different being. So it
was with our friend. A woman it was that was destined to awaken in him
all that consciousness which music, painting, poetry awaken in more
evenly developed minds; and it is the silent breathing of her creative
presence that is even now creating him anew, while as yet he knows it
not.

He never thought, this good old soul, whether Mary were beautiful or
not; he never even knew that he looked at her; nor did he know why it
was that the truths of his theology, when uttered by her tongue, had
such a wondrous beauty as he never felt before. He did not know why it
was, that, when she silently sat by him, copying tangled manuscript for
the press, as she sometimes did, his whole study seemed so full of some
divine influence, as if, like St. Dorothea, she had worn in her bosom,
invisibly, the celestial roses of paradise. He recorded honestly in his
diary what marvellous freshness of spirit the Lord had given him, and
how he seemed to be uplifted in his communings with heaven, without once
thinking from the robes of what angel this sweetness had exhaled.

On Sundays, when he saw good Mrs. Jones asleep, and Simon Brown's hard,
sharp eyes, and Deacon Twitchel mournfully rocking to and fro, and his
wife handing fennel to keep the children awake, his eye glanced across
to the front gallery, where one earnest young face, ever kindling with
feeling and bright with intellect, followed on his way, and he felt
uplifted and comforted. On Sunday mornings, when Mary came out of her
little room, in clean white dress, with her singing-book and psalm-book
in her hands, her deep eyes solemn from recent prayer, he thought of
that fair and mystical bride, the Lamb's wife, whose union with her
Divine Redeemer in a future millennial age was a frequent and favorite
subject of his musings; yet he knew not that this celestial bride,
clothed in fine linen, clean and white, veiled in humility and meekness,
bore in his mind those earthly features. No, he never had dreamed of
that! But only after she had passed by, that mystical vision seemed to
him more radiant, more easy to be conceived.

It is said, that, if a grape-vine be planted in the neighborhood of a
well, its roots, running silently underground, wreathe themselves in
a net-work around the cold, clear waters, and the vine's putting on
outward greenness and unwonted clusters and fruit is all that tells
where every root and fibre of its being has been silently stealing. So
those loves are most fatal, most absorbing, in which, with unheeded
quietness, every thought and fibre of our life twines gradually around
some human soul, to us the unsuspected wellspring of our being. Fearful
it is, because so often the vine must be uprooted, and all its fibres
wrenched away; but till the hour of discovery comes, how is it
transfigured by a new and beautiful life!

There is nothing in life more beautiful than that trancelike quiet dawn
which precedes the rising of love in the soul. When the whole being
is pervaded imperceptibly and tranquilly by another being, and we are
happy, we know not and ask not why, the soul is then receiving all and
asking nothing. At a later day she becomes self-conscious, and then come
craving exactions, endless questions,--the whole world of the material
comes in with its hard counsels and consultations, and the beautiful
trance fades forever.

Of course, all this is not so to you, my good friends, who read it
without the most distant idea what it can mean; but there are people in
the world to whom it has meant and will mean much, and who will see in
the present happiness of our respectable friend something even ominous
and sorrowful.

It had not escaped the keen eye of the mother how quickly and innocently
the good Doctor was absorbed by her daughter, and thereupon had come
long trains of practical reflections.

The Doctor, though not popular indeed as a preacher, was a noted man in
his age. Her deceased husband had regarded him with something of the
same veneration which might have been accorded to a divine messenger,
and Mrs. Scudder had received and kept this veneration as a precious
legacy. Then, although not handsome, the Doctor had decidedly a grand
and imposing appearance. There was nothing common or insignificant about
him. Indeed, it had been said, that, when, just after the declaration of
peace, he walked through the town in the commemorative procession side
by side with General Washington, the minister, in the majesty of his
gown, bands, cocked hat, and full flowing wig, was thought by many to be
the more majestic and personable figure of the two.

In those days, the minister united in himself all those ideas of
superior position and cultivation with which the theocratic system of
the New England community had invested him. Mrs. Scudder's notions of
social rank could reach no higher than to place her daughter on the
throne of such preëminence.

Her Mary, she pondered, was no common girl. In those days, it was a rare
thing for young persons to devote themselves to religion or make any
professions of devout life. The church, or that body of people who
professed to have passed through a divine regeneration, was almost
entirely confined to middle-aged and elderly people, and it was looked
upon as a singular and unwonted call of divine grace when young persons
came forward to attach themselves to it. When Mary, therefore, at quite
an early age, in all the bloom of her youthful beauty, arose, according
to the simple and impressive New England rite, to consecrate herself
publicly to a religious life, and to join the company of professing
Christians, she was regarded with a species of deference amounting even
to awe. Had it not been for the childlike, unconscious simplicity of her
manners, the young people of her age would have shrunk away from her,
as from one entirely out of their line of thought and feeling; but a
certain natural and innocent playfulness and amiable self-forgetfulness
made her a general favorite.

Nevertheless, Mrs. Scudder knew no young man whom she deemed worthy to
have and hold a heart which she priced so highly. As to James, he stood
at double disadvantage, because, as her cousin's son, he had grown up
from childhood under her eye, and all those sins and iniquities into
which gay and adventurous youngsters will be falling had come to her
knowledge. She felt kindly to the youth; she wished him well; but as to
giving him her Mary!--the very suggestion made her dislike him. She was
quite sure he must have tried to beguile her,--he must have tampered
with her feelings, to arouse in her pure and well-ordered mind so much
emotion and devotedness as she had witnessed.

How encouraging a Providence, then, was it that he was gone to sea for
three years!--how fortunate that Mary had been prevented in any way from
committing herself with him!--how encouraging that the only man in those
parts, in the least fitted to appreciate her, seemed so greatly pleased
and absorbed in her society!--how easily might Mary's dutiful reverence
be changed to a warmer sentiment, when she should find that so great a
man could descend from his lofty thoughts to think of her!

In fact, before Mrs. Scudder had gone to sleep the first night after
James's departure, she had settled upon the house where the minister
and his young wife were to live, had reviewed the window-curtains and
bed-quilts for each room, and glanced complacently at an improved
receipt for wedding-cake which might be brought out to glorify a certain
occasion!


CHAPTER VII.

THE FRIENDS AND RELATIONS OF JAMES.


Mr. Zebedee Marvyn, the father of James, was the sample of an
individuality so purely the result of New England society and education,
that he must be embodied in our story as a representative man of the
times.

He owned a large farm in the immediate vicinity of Newport, which he
worked with his own hands and kept under the most careful cultivation.
He was a man past the middle of life, with a white head, a keen blue
eye, and a face graven deeply with the lines of energy and thought. His
was one of those clearly-cut minds which New England forms among her
farmers, as she forms quartz crystals in her mountains, by a sort of
gradual influence flowing through every pore of her soil and system.

His education, properly so called, had been merely that of those common
schools and academies with which the States are thickly sown, and which
are the springs of so much intellectual activity. Here he had learned
to think and to inquire,--a process which had not ceased with his
school-days. Though toiling daily with his sons and hired man in all the
minutiae of a farmer's life, he kept an observant eye on the field of
literature, and there was not a new publication heard of that he did
not immediately find means to add it to his yearly increasing stock of
books. In particular was he a well-read and careful theologian, and all
the controversial tracts, sermons, and books, with which then, as ever
since, New England has abounded, not only lay on his shelves, but had
his pencilled annotations, queries, and comments thickly scattered along
their margins. There was scarce an office of public trust which had not
at one time or another been filled by him. He was deacon of the church,
chairman of the school-committee, justice of the peace, had been twice
representative in the State legislature, and was in permanence a sort of
adviser-general in all cases between neighbor and neighbor. Among other
acquisitions, he had gained some knowledge of the general forms of law,
and his advice was often asked in preference to that of the regular
practitioners.

His dwelling was one of those large, square, white, green-blinded
mansions, cool, clean, and roomy, wherein the respectability of New
England in those days rejoiced. The windows were shaded by clumps of
lilacs; the deep yard with its white fence inclosed a sweep of clean,
short grass, and a few fruit-trees. Opposite the house was a small
blacksmith's-shed, which, of a wet day, was sparkling and lively with
bellows and ringing forge, while Mr. Zebedee and his sons were hammering
and pounding and putting in order anything that was out of the way in
farming-tools or establishments. Not unfrequently the latest scientific
work or the last tractate of theology lay open by his side, the contents
of which would be discussed with a neighbor or two as they entered; for,
to say the truth, many a neighbor, less forehanded and thrifty, felt the
benefit of this arrangement of Mr. Zebedee, and would drop in to see if
he "wouldn't just tighten that rivet," or "kind o' ease out that 'ere
brace," or "let a feller have a turn with his bellows, or a stroke or
two on his anvil,"--to all which the good man consented with a grave
obligingness. The fact was, that, as nothing in the establishment of
Mr. Marvyn was often broken or lost or out of place, he had frequent
applications to lend to those less fortunate persons, always to be
found, who supply their own lack of considerateness from the abundance
of their neighbors.

He who is known always to be in hand, and always obliging, in a
neighborhood, stands the chance sometimes of having nothing for himself.
Mr. Zebedee reflected quietly on this subject, taking it, as he did all
others, into grave and orderly consideration, and finally provided a
complete set of tools, which he kept for the purpose of lending; and
when any of these were lent, he told the next applicant quietly, that
the axe or the hoe was already out, and thus he reconciled the Scripture
which commanded him to "do good and lend" with that law of order which
was written in his nature.

Early in life Mr. Marvyn had married one of the handsomest girls of
his acquaintance, who had brought him a thriving and healthy family of
children, of whom James was the youngest. Mrs. Marvyn was, at this
time, a tall, sad-eyed, gentle-mannered woman, thoughtful, earnest,
deep-natured, though sparing in the matter of words. In all her
household arrangements, she had the same thrift and order which
characterized her husband; but hers was a mind of a finer and higher
stamp than his.

In her bed-room, near by her work-basket, stood a table covered with
books,--and so systematic were her household arrangements, that she
never any day missed her regular hours for reading. One who should have
looked over this table would have seen there how eager and hungry a mind
was hid behind the silent eyes of this quiet woman. History, biography,
mathematics, volumes of the encyclopaedia, poetry, novels, all alike
found their time and place there,--and while she pursued her household
labors, the busy, active soul within travelled cycles and cycles of
thought, few of which ever found expression in words. What might be that
marvellous music of the _Miserere_, of which she read, that it convulsed
crowds and drew groans and tears from the most obdurate? What might be
those wondrous pictures of Raphael and Leonardo da Vinci? What would it
be to see the Apollo, the Venus? What was the charm that enchanted the
old marbles,--charm untold and inconceivable to one who had never seen
even the slightest approach to a work of art? Then those glaciers of
Switzerland, that grand, unapproachable mixture of beauty and sublimity
in her mountains!--what would it be to one who could see it? Then what
were all those harmonies of which she read,--masses, fugues, symphonies?
Oh, could she once hear the Miserere of Mozart, just to know what music
was like! And the cathedrals, what were they? How wonderful they must
be, with their forests of arches, many-colored as autumn-woods with
painted glass, and the chants and anthems rolling down their long
aisles! On all these things she pondered quietly, as she sat often on
Sundays in the old staring, rattle-windowed meeting-house, and looked at
the uncouth old pulpit, and heard the choir faw-sol-la-ing or singing
fuguing tunes; but of all this she said nothing.

Sometimes, for days, her thoughts would turn from these subjects and be
absorbed in mathematical or metaphysical studies. "I have been following
that treatise on Optics for a week, and never understood it till
to-day," she once said to her husband. "I have found now that there has
been a mistake in drawing the diagrams. I have corrected it, and now the
demonstration is complete.--Dinah, take care, that wood is hickory, and
it takes only seven sticks of that size to heat the oven."

It is not to be supposed that a woman of this sort was an inattentive
listener to preaching so stimulating to the intellect as that of Dr. H.
No pair of eyes followed the web of his reasonings with a keener and
more anxious watchfulness than those sad, deep-set, hazel ones; and as
she was drawn along the train of its inevitable logic, a close observer
might have seen how the shadows deepened over them. For, while others
listened for the clearness of the thought, for the acuteness of the
argument, she listened as a soul wide, fine-strung, acute, repressed,
whose every fibre is a nerve, listens to the problem of its own
destiny,--listened as the mother of a family listens, to know what were
the possibilities, the probabilities, of this mysterious existence of
ours to herself and those dearer to her than herself.

The consequence of all her listening was a history of deep inward
sadness. That exultant joy, or that entire submission, with which others
seemed to view the scheme of the universe, as thus unfolded, did not
visit her mind. Everything to her seemed shrouded in gloom and mystery;
and that darkness she received as a token of unregeneracy, as a sign
that she was one of those who are destined, by a mysterious decree,
never to receive the light of the glorious gospel of Christ. Hence,
while her husband was a deacon of the church, she, for years, had sat
in her pew while the sacramental elements were distributed, a mournful
spectator. Punctilious in every duty, exact, reverential, she still
regarded herself as a child of wrath, an enemy to God, and an heir
of perdition; nor could she see any hope of remedy, except in the
sovereign, mysterious decree of an Infinite and Unknown Power, a mercy
for which she waited with the sickness of hope deferred.

Her children had grown up successively around her, intelligent and
exemplary. Her eldest son was mathematical professor in one of the
leading colleges of New England. Her second son, who jointly with his
father superintended the farm, was a man of wide literary culture and of
fine mathematical genius; and not unfrequently, on winter evenings, the
son, father, and mother worked together, by their kitchen fireside, over
the calculations for the almanac for the ensuing year, which the son had
been appointed to edit.

Everything in the family arrangements was marked by a sober precision, a
grave and quiet self-possession. There was little demonstrativeness of
affection between parents and children, brothers and sisters, though
great mutual affection and confidence. It was not pride, nor sternness,
but a sort of habitual shamefacedness, that kept far back in each soul
those feelings which are the most beautiful in their outcome; but
after a while, the habit became so fixed a nature, that a caressing or
affectionate expression could not have passed the lips of one to another
without a painful awkwardness. Love was understood, once for all, to be
the basis on which their life was built. Once for all, they loved each
other, and after that, the less said, the better. It had cost the
woman's heart of Mrs. Marvyn some pangs, in the earlier part of her
wedlock, to accept of this _once for all_, in place of those
daily outgushings which every woman desires should be like God's
loving-kindness, "new every morning"; but hers, too, was a nature
strongly inclining inward, and, after a few tremulous movements, the
needle of her soul settled, and her life-lot was accepted,--not as what
she would like or could conceive, but as a reasonable and good one. Life
was a picture painted in low, cool tones, but in perfect keeping; and
though another and brighter style might have pleased better, she did not
quarrel with this.

Into this steady, decorous, highly-respectable circle the youngest
child, James, made a formidable irruption. One sometimes sees launched
into a family-circle a child of so different a nature from all the rest,
that it might seem as if, like an aërolite, he had fallen out of another
sphere. All the other babies of the Marvyn family had been of that
orderly, contented sort who sleep till it is convenient to take them up,
and while awake suck their thumbs contentedly and look up with large,
round eyes at the ceiling when it is not convenient for their elders
and betters that they should do anything else. In farther advanced
childhood, they had been quiet and decorous children, who could be all
dressed and set up in chairs, like so many dolls, of a Sunday morning,
patiently awaiting the stroke of the church-bell to be carried out and
put into the wagon which took them over the two-miles' road to church.
Possessed of such tranquil, orderly, and exemplary young offshoots, Mrs.
Marvyn had been considered eminent for her "faculty" in bringing up
children.

But James was destined to put "faculty," and every other talent which
his mother possessed, to rout. He was an infant of moods and tenses, and
those not of any regular verb. He would cry of nights, and he would be
taken up of mornings, and he would not suck his thumb, nor a bundle of
caraway-seed tied in a rag and dipped in sweet milk, with which the good
gossips in vain endeavored to pacify him. He fought manfully with his
two great fat fists the battle of babyhood, utterly reversed all nursery
maxims, and reigned as baby over the whole prostrate household. When old
enough to run alone, his splendid black eyes and glossy rings of hair
were seen flashing and bobbing in every forbidden place and occupation.
Now trailing on his mother's gown, he assisted her in salting her butter
by throwing in small contributions of snuff or sugar, as the case might
be; and again, after one of those mysterious periods of silence which
are of most ominous significance in nursery experience, he would rise
from the demolition of her indigo-bag, showing a face ghastly with blue
streaks, and looking more like a gnome than the son of a respectable
mother. There was not a pitcher of any description of contents left
within reach of his little tiptoes and busy fingers that was not pulled
over upon his giddy head without in the least seeming to improve its
steadiness. In short, his mother remarked that she was thankful every
night when she had fairly gotten him into bed and asleep; James had
really got through one more day and killed neither himself nor any
one else. As a boy, the case was little better. He did not take to
study,--yawned over books, and cut out moulds for running anchors when
he should have been thinking of his columns of words in four syllables.
No mortal knew how he learned to read, for he never seemed to stop
running long enough to learn anything; and yet he did learn, and used
the talent in conning over travels, sea-voyages, and lives of heroes and
naval commanders. Spite of father, mother, and brother, he seemed
to possess the most extraordinary faculty of running up unsavory
acquaintances. He was hail-fellow well-met with every Tom and Jack and
Jim and Ben and Dick that strolled on the wharves, and astonished his
father with minutest particulars of every ship, schooner, and brig in
the harbor, together with biographical notes of the different Toms,
Dicks, and Harrys by whom they were worked.

There was but one member of the family that seemed to know at all what
to make of James, and that was their negro servant, Candace.

In those days, when domestic slavery prevailed in New England, it was
quite a different thing in its aspects from the same institution in
more southern latitudes. The hard soil, unyielding to any but the most
considerate culture, the thrifty, close, shrewd habits of the people,
and their untiring activity and industry, prevented, among the mass of
the people, any great reliance on slave labor. It was something foreign,
grotesque, and picturesque in a life of the most matter-of-fact
sameness; it was even as if one should see clusters of palm-trees
scattered here and there among Yankee wooden meeting-houses, or open
one's eyes on clumps of yellow-striped aloes growing among hardhack and
huckleberry bushes in the pastures.

Added to this, there were from the very first, in New England, serious
doubts in the minds of thoughtful and conscientious people in reference
to the lawfulness of slavery; and this scruple prevented many from
availing themselves of it, and proved a restraint on all, so that
nothing like plantation-life existed, and what servants were owned were
scattered among different families, of which they came to be regarded
and to regard themselves as a legitimate part and portion,--Mr. Marvyn,
as a man of substance, numbering two or three in his establishment,
among whom Candace reigned chief. The presence of these tropical
specimens of humanity, with their wide, joyous, rich physical abundance
of nature and their hearty _abandon_ of outward expression, was a relief
to the still clear-cut lines in which the picture of New England life
was drawn, which an artist must appreciate.

No race has ever shown such infinite and rich capabilities of adaptation
to varying soil and circumstances as the negro. Alike to them the snows
of Canada, the hard, rocky land of New England, with its set lines and
orderly ways, or the gorgeous profusion and loose abundance of the
Southern States. Sambo and Cuffy expand under them all. New England yet
preserves among her hills and valleys the lingering echoes of the jokes
and jollities of various sable worthies, who saw alike in orthodoxy
and heterodoxy, in Dr. This-side and Dr. That-side, only food for
more abundant merriment;--in fact, the minister of those days not
unfrequently had his black shadow, a sort of African Boswell, who
powdered his wig, brushed his boots, defended and patronized his
sermons, and strutted complacently about as if through virtue of his
blackness he had absorbed every ray of his master's dignity and wisdom.
In families, the presence of these exotics was a godsend to the
children, supplying from the abundant outwardness and demonstrativeness
of their nature that aliment of sympathy so dear to childhood, which the
repressed and quiet habits of New England education denied. Many and
many a New Englander counts among his pleasantest early recollections
the memory of some of these genial creatures, who by their warmth of
nature were the first and most potent mesmerisers of his childish mind.

Candace was a powerfully built, majestic black woman, corpulent, heavy,
with a swinging majesty of motion like that of a ship in a ground-swell.
Her shining black skin and glistening white teeth were indications of
perfect physical vigor which had never known a day's sickness; her
turban, of broad red and yellow bandanna stripes, had even a warm
tropical glow; and her ample skirts were always ready to be spread over
every childish transgression of her youngest pet and favorite, James.

She used to hold him entranced long winter-evenings, while she sat
knitting in the chimney-corner, and crooned to him strange, wild African
legends of the things that she had seen in her childhood and early
days,--for she had been stolen when about fifteen years of age;
and these weird, dreamy talks increased the fervor of his roving
imagination, and his desire to explore the wonders of the wide and
unknown world. When rebuked or chastised, it was she who had secret
bowels of mercy for him, and hid doughnuts in her ample bosom to be
secretly administered to him in mitigation of the sentence that sent him
supperless to bed; and many a triangle of pie, many a wedge of cake, had
conveyed to him surreptitious consolations which his more conscientious
mother longed, but dared not, to impart. In fact, these ministrations,
if suspected, were winked at by Mrs. Marvyn, for two reasons: first,
that mothers are generally glad of any loving-kindness to an erring boy,
which they are not responsible for; and second, that Candace was so set
in her ways and opinions that one might as well come in front of a ship
under full sail as endeavor to stop her in a matter where her heart was
engaged.

To be sure, she had her own private and special quarrels with "Massa
James" when he disputed any of her sovereign orders in the kitchen, and
would sometimes pursue him with uplifted rolling-pin and floury hands
when he had snatched a gingernut or cooky without suitable deference or
supplication, and would declare, roundly, that there "never was sich an
aggravatin' young un." But if, on the strength of this, any one
else ventured a reproof, Candace was immediately round on the other
side:--"Dat ar' chile gwin' to be spiled, 'cause dey's allers a-pickin'
on him;--he's well enough, on'y let him alone."

Well, under this miscellaneous assortment of influences,--through
the order and gravity and solemn monotone of life at home, with the
unceasing tick-tack of the clock forever resounding through clean,
empty-seeming rooms,--through the sea, ever shining, ever smiling,
dimpling, soliciting, like a magical charger who comes saddled and
bridled and offers to take you to fairyland,--through acquaintance with
all sorts of foreign, outlandish ragamuffins among the ships in the
harbor,--from disgust of slow-moving oxen, and long-drawn, endless
furrows round the fifteen-acre lot,--from misunderstandings with grave
elder brothers, and feeling somehow as if, he knew not why, he grieved
his mother all the time just by being what he was and couldn't help
being,--and, finally, by a bitter break with his father, in which came
that last wrench for an individual existence which some time or other
the young growing mind will give to old authority,--by all these united,
was the lot at length cast; for one evening James was missing at
supper, missing by the fireside, gone all night, not at home to
breakfast,--till, finally, a strange, weird, most heathenish-looking
cabin-boy, who had often been forbidden the premises by Mr. Marvyn,
brought in a letter, half-defiant, half-penitent, which announced that
James had sailed in the "Ariel" the evening before.

Mr. Zebedee Marvyn set his face as a flint, and said, "He went out from
us because he was not of us,"--whereat old Candace lifted her great
floury fist from the kneading-trough, and, shaking it like a large
snowball, said, "Oh, you go 'long, Massa Marvyn; ye'll live to count dat
ar' boy for de staff o' your old age yet, now I tell ye; got de makin'
o' ten or'nary men in him; kittles dat's full allers will bile over;
good yeast will blow out de cork,--lucky ef it don't bust de bottle.
Tell ye, der's angels has der hooks in sich, and when de Lord wants him
dey'll haul him in safe and sound." And Candace concluded her speech by
giving a lift to her whole batch of dough and flinging it down in the
trough with an emphasis that made the pewter on the dresser rattle.

This apparently irreverent way of expressing her mind, so contrary to
the deferential habits studiously inculcated in family discipline, had
grown to be so much a matter of course to all the family that nobody
ever thought of rebuking it. There was a sort of savage freedom about
her which they excused in right of her having been born and bred a
heathen, and of course not to be expected to come at once under the yoke
of civilization. In fact, you must all have noticed, my dear readers,
that there are some sorts of people for whom everybody turns out as they
would for a railroad-car, without stopping to ask why, and Candace was
one of them.

Moreover, Mr. Marvyn was not displeased with this defence of James,
as might be inferred from his mentioning it four or five times in the
course of the morning, to say how foolish it was,--wondering why it was
that Candace and everybody else got so infatuated with that boy,--and
ending, at last, after a long period of thought, with the remark, that
these poor African creatures often seemed to have a great deal of
shrewdness in them, and that he was often astonished at the penetration
that Candace showed.

At the end of the year James came home, more quiet and manly than he had
ever been known before,--so handsome with his sunburnt face, and his
keen, dark eyes, and glossy curls, that half the girls in the front
gallery lost their hearts the first Sunday he appeared in church. He was
tender as a woman to his mother, and followed her with his eyes, like a
lover, wherever she went; he made due and manly acknowledgments to his
father, but declared his fixed and settled intention to abide by the
profession he had chosen; and he brought home all sorts of strange
foreign gifts for every member of the household. Candace was glorified
with a flaming red and yellow turban of Moorish stuff, from Mogadore,
together with a pair of gorgeous yellow morocco slippers with peaked
toes, which, though there appeared no call to wear them in her common
course of life, she would put on her fat feet and contemplate with
daily satisfaction. She became increasingly strengthened thereby in the
conviction that the angels who had their hooks in Massa James's jacket
were already beginning to shorten the line.

[To be continued.]



THE PALM AND THE PINE.


  When Peter led the First Crusade,
  A Norseman wooed an Arab maid.

  He loved her lithe and palmy grace,
  And the dark beauty of her face:

  She loved his cheeks, so ruddy fair,
  His sunny eyes and yellow hair.

  He called: she left her father's tent;
  She followed whereso'er he went.

  She left the palms of Palestine
  To sit beneath the Norland pine.

  She sang the musky Orient strains
  Where Winter swept the snowy plains.

  Their natures met like night and morn
  What time the morning-star is born.

  The child that from their meeting grew
  Hung, like that star, between the two.

  The glossy night his mother shed
  From her long hair was on his head:

  But in its shade they saw arise
  The morning of his father's eyes.

  Beneath the Orient's tawny stain
  Wandered the Norseman's crimson vein:

  Beneath the Northern force was seen
  The Arab sense, alert and keen.

  His were the Viking's sinewy hands,
  The arching foot of Eastern lands.

  And in his soul conflicting strove
  Northern indifference, Southern love;

  The chastity of temperate blood,
  Impetuous passion's fiery flood;

  The settled faith that nothing shakes,
  The jealousy a breath awakes;

  The planning Reason's sober gaze,
  And Fancy's meteoric blaze.

  And stronger, as he grew to man,
  The contradicting natures ran,--

  As mingled streams from Etna flow,
  One born of fire, and one of snow.

  And one impelled, and one withheld,
  And one obeyed, and one rebelled.

  One gave him force, the other fire;
  This self-control, and that desire.

  One filled his heart with fierce unrest;
  With peace serene the other blessed.

  He knew the depth and knew the height,
  The bounds of darkness and of light;

  And who these far extremes has seen
  Must needs know all that lies between.

  So, with untaught, instinctive art,
  He read the myriad-natured heart.

  He met the men of many a land;
  They gave their souls into his hand;

  And none of them was long unknown:
  The hardest lesson was his own.

  But how he lived, and where, and when,
  It matters not to other men;

  For, as a fountain disappears,
  To gush again in later years,

  So natures lost again may rise
  After the lapse of centuries,--

  May track the hidden course of blood
  Through many a generation's flood,

  Till, on some unsuspected field,
  The latent lineage is revealed.

  The hearts that met in Palestine,
  And mingled 'neath the Norland pine.
  Still beat with double pulse in mine.



THE PROFESSOR AT THE BREAKFAST-TABLE.

WHAT HE SAID, WHAT HE HEARD, AND WHAT HE SAW.


Back again!--A turtle--which means a tortoise--is fond of his shell; but
if you put a live coal on his back, he crawls out of it. So the boys
say.

It is a libel on the turtle. He grows to his shell, and his shell is in
his body as much as his body is in his shell.--I don't think there
is one of our boarders quite so testudinous as I am. Nothing but a
combination of motives, more peremptory than the coal on the turtle's
back, could have got me to leave the shelter of my carapace; and after
memorable interviews, and kindest hospitalities, and grand sights, and
huge influx of patriotic pride,--for every American owns all America,--

  "Creation's heir,--the world, the world is"

his, if anybody's,--I come back with the feeling which a boned turkey
might experience, if, retaining his consciousness, he were allowed to
resume his skeleton.

Welcome, O Fighting Gladiator, and Recumbent Cleopatra, and Dying
Warrior, whose classic outlines (reproduced in the calcined mineral of
Lutetia) crown my loaded shelves! Welcome, ye triumphs of pictorial art
(repeated by the magic graver) that look down upon me from the walls of
my sacred cell! Vesalius, as Titian drew him, high-fronted, still-eyed,
thick-bearded, with signet-ring, as beseems a gentleman, with book and
carelessly-held eyeglass, marking him a scholar; thou, too, Jan Kuyper,
commonly called Jan Praktiseer, old man of a century and seven years
besides, father of twenty sons and two daughters cut in copper by
Houbraken, bought from a portfolio on one of the Paris _quais_; and ye
Three Trees of Rembrandt, black in shadow against the blaze of sunlight;
and thou Rosy Cottager of Sir Joshua,--thy roses hinted by the peppery
burin of Bartolozzi; ye, too, of lower grades in nature, yet not
unlovely nor unrenowned, Young Bull of Paulus Potter, and Sleeping Cat
of Cornelius Visscher; welcome once more to my eyes! The old books
look out from the shelves, and I seem to read on their backs something
besides their titles,--a kind of solemn greeting. The crimson carpet
flushes warm under my feet. The arm-chair hugs me; the swivel-chair
spins round with me, as if it were giddy with pleasure; the vast
recumbent _fauteuil_ stretches itself out under my weight, as one joyous
with food and wine stretches in after-dinner laughter.

The boarders were pleased to say that they were glad to get me back. One
of them ventured a compliment, namely,--that I talked as if I believed
what I said.--This was apparently considered something unusual, by its
being mentioned.

One who means to talk with entire sincerity,--I said,--always feels
himself in danger of two things, namely,--an affectation of bluntness,
like that of which Cornwall accuses Kent in "Lear," and actual rudeness.
What a man wants to do, in talking with a stranger, is to get and to
give as much of the best and most real life that belongs to the two
talkers as the time will let him. Life is short, and conversation apt to
run to mere words. Mr. Hue I think it is, who tells us some very good
stories about the way in which two Chinese gentlemen contrive to keep up
a long talk without saying a word which has any meaning in it. Something
like this is occasionally heard on this side of the Great Wall. The best
Chinese talkers I know are some pretty women whom I meet from time to
time. Pleasant, airy, complimentary, the little flakes of flattery
glimmering in their talk like the bits of gold-leaf in _eau-de-vie de
Dantzic_; their accents flowing on in a soft ripple,--never a wave,
and never a calm; words nicely fitted, but never a colored phrase or a
high-flavored epithet; they turn air into syllables so gracefully, that
we find meaning for the music they make as we find faces in the coals
and fairy palaces in the clouds. There is something very odd, though,
about this mechanical talk.

You have sometimes been in a train on the railroad when the engine was
detached a long way from the station you were approaching? Well, you
have noticed how quietly and rapidly the cars kept on, just as if the
locomotive were drawing them? Indeed, you would not have suspected that
you were travelling on the strength of a dead fact, if you had not seen
the engine running away from you on a side-track. Upon my conscience,
I believe some of these pretty women detach their minds entirely,
sometimes, from their talk,--and, what is more, that we never know the
difference. Their lips let off the fluty syllables just as their fingers
would sprinkle the music-drops from their pianos; unconscious habit
turns the phrase of thought into words just as it does that of music
into notes.--Well, they govern the world, for all that,--these
sweet-lipped women,--because beauty is the index of a larger fact than
wisdom.

----The Bombazine wanted an explanation.

Madam,--said I,--wisdom is the abstract of the past, but beauty is the
promise of the future.

----All this, however, is not what I was going to say. Here am I,
suppose, sealed--we will say at a dinner-table--alongside of an
intelligent Englishman. We look in each other's faces,--we exchange a
dozen words. One thing is settled: we mean not to offend each other,--to
be perfectly courteous,--more than courteous; for we are the entertainer
and the entertained, and cherish particularly amiable feelings to each
other. The claret is good; and if our blood reddens a little with its
warm crimson, we are none the less kind for it.

----I don't think people that talk over their victuals are like to say
anything very great, especially if they get their heads muddled with
strong drink before they begin jabberin'.

The Bombazine uttered this with a sugary sourness, as if the words had
been steeped in a solution of acetate of lead.--The boys of my time used
to call a hit like this a "side-winder."

----I must finish this woman.--

Madam,--I said,--the Great Teacher seems to have been fond of talking as
he sat at meat. Because this was a good while ago, in a far-off place,
you forget what the true fact of it was,--that those were real dinners,
where people were hungry and thirsty, and where you met a very
miscellaneous company. Probably there was a great deal of loose talk
among the guests; at any rate, there was always wine, we may believe.

Whatever may be the hygienic advantages or disadvantages of wine,--and
I for one, except for certain particular ends, believe in water, and, I
blush to say it, in black tea,--there is no doubt about its being the
grand specific against dull dinners. A score of people come together in
all moods of mind and body. The problem is, in the space of one hour,
more or less, to bring them all into the same condition of slightly
exalted life. Food alone is enough for one person, perhaps,--talk,
alone, for another; but the grand equalizer and fraternizer, which works
up the radiators to their maximum radiation, and the absorbents to their
maximum receptivity, is now just where it was when

  "The conscious water saw its Lord and
  blushed,"

--when six great vessels containing water, which seems to have been
carefully purified, so as to be ready for the marriage-feast, were
changed into the best of wine. I once wrote a song about wine, in which
I spoke so warmly of it, that I was afraid some would think it was
written _inter pocula_; whereas it was composed in the bosom of my
family, under the most tranquillizing domestic influences.

----The divinity-student turned towards me, looking mischievous.--Can
you tell me,--he said,--who wrote a song for a temperance celebration
once, of which the following is a verse?--

  Alas for the loved one, too gentle and fair
  The joys of the banquet to chasten and share!
  Her eye lost its light that his goblet might shine,
  And the rose of her cheek was dissolved in his wine!

_I_ did,--I answered.--What are you going to do about it?--I will tell
you another line I wrote long ago:--

  Don't be "consistent,"--but be simply _true_.

The longer I live, the more I am satisfied of two things: first, that
the truest lives are those that are cut rose-diamond-fashion, with many
facets answering to the many-planed aspects of the world about them;
secondly, that society is always trying in some way or other to grind
us down to a single flat surface. It is hard work to resist this
grinding-down action.--Now give me a chance. Better eternal and
universal abstinence than the brutalities of those days that made wives
and mothers and daughters and sisters blush for those whom they should
have honored, as they came reeling home from their debauches! Yet better
even excess than lying and hypocrisy; and if wine is upon all our
tables, let us praise it for its color and fragrance and social
tendency, so far as it deserves, and not hug a bottle in the closet and
pretend not to know the use of a wine-glass at a public dinner! I think
you will find that people who honestly mean to be true really contradict
themselves much more rarely than those who try to be "consistent." But
a great many things we say can be made to appear contradictory, simply
because they are partial views of a truth, and may often look unlike at
first, as a front view of a face and its profile often do.

Here is a distinguished divine, for whom I have great respect, for I owe
him a charming hour at one of our literary anniversaries, and he has
often spoken noble words; but he holds up a remark of my friend the
"Autocrat,"--which I grieve to say he twice misquotes, by omitting the
very word which gives it its significance,--the word _fluid_, intended
to typify the mobility of the restricted will,--holds it up, I say, as
if it attacked the reality of the self-determining principle, instead
of illustrating its limitations by an image. Now I will not explain any
farther, still less defend, and least of all attack, but simply quote
a few lines from one of my friend's poems, printed more than ten years
ago, and ask the distinguished gentleman where _he_ has ever asserted
more strongly or absolutely the independent will of the "subcreative
centre," as my heretical friend has elsewhere called man.

  --Thought, conscience, will, to make them all thy own
  He rent a pillar from the eternal throne!
  --Made in His image, thou must nobly dare
  The thorny crown of sovereignty to share.
  --Think not too meanly of thy low estate;
  Thou hast a choice; to choose is to create!

If he will look a little closely, he will see that the profile and the
full-face views of the will are both true and perfectly consistent.

Now let us come back, after this long digression, to the conversation
with the intelligent Englishman. We begin skirmishing with a few light
ideas,--testing for thoughts,--as our electro-chemical friend, De Sauty,
if there were such a person, would test for his current; trying a little
litmus-paper for acids, and then a slip of turmeric-paper for alkalies,
as chemists do with unknown compounds; flinging the lead, and looking
at the shells and sands it brings up to find out whether we are like
to keep in shallow water, or shall have to drop the deep-sea line;--in
short, seeing what we have to deal with. If the Englishman gets his
Hs pretty well placed, he comes from one of the higher grades of the
British social order, and we shall find him a good companion.

But, after all, here is a great fact between us. We belong to two
different civilizations, and, until we recognize what separates us, we
are talking like Pyramus and Thisbe,--without any hole in the wall to
talk through. Therefore, on the whole, if he were a superior fellow,
incapable of mistaking it for personal conceit, I think I would let out
the fact of the real American feeling about Old-World folks. They are
children to us in certain points of view. They are playing with toys we
have done with for whole generations. That silly little drum they are
always beating on, and the trumpet and the feather they make so much
noise and cut such a figure with, we have not quite outgrown, but play
with much less seriously and constantly than they do. Then there is a
whole museum of wigs, and masks, and lace-coats, and gold-sticks, and
grimaces, and phrases, which we laugh at, honestly, without affectation,
that are still used in the Old-World puppet-shows. I don't think we
on our part ever understand the Englishman's concentrated loyalty and
specialized reverence. But then we do think more of a man, as such,
(barring some little difficulties about race and complexion which the
Englishman will touch us on presently,) than any people that ever lived
did think of him. Our reverence is a great deal wider, if it is less
intense. We have caste among us, to some extent, it is true; but there
is never a collar on the American wolf-dog such as you often see on the
English mastiff, notwithstanding his robust, hearty individuality.

This confronting of two civilizations is always a grand sensation to me;
it is like cutting through the isthmus and letting the two oceans swim
into each other's laps. The trouble is, it is so difficult to let out
the whole American nature without its self-assertion seeming to take a
personal character. But I never enjoy the Englishman so much as when he
talks of church and king like Manco Capac among the Peruvians. Then you
get the real British flavor, which the cosmopolite Englishman loses. The
best conversation I have had with one of them for a long time, lively,
fluent, courteous, delightful, was a variation and illustrative
development in elegant phrases of the following short sentences.

_Englishman_.--Sir, your New-World civilization is barbarism.

_American_.--Sir, your Old-World development is infancy.

How much better this thorough interpenetration of ideas than a barren
interchange of courtesies, or a bush-fighting argument, in which each
man tries to cover as much of himself and expose as much of his opponent
as the tangled thicket of the disputed ground will let him!

----My thoughts flow in layers or strata, at least three deep. I follow
a slow person's talk, and keep a perfectly clear under-current of my own
beneath it. My friend the Autocrat has already made a similar remark.
Under both runs obscurely a consciousness belonging to a third train of
reflections, independent of the two others. I will try to write out a
mental movement in three parts.

A.--First part, or Mental Soprano,--thought follows a woman talking.

B.--Second part, or Mental Barytone,--my running accompaniment.

C.--Third part, or Mental Basso,--low grumble of an importunate
self-repeating idea.

A.--White lace, three skirts, looped with flowers, wreath of
apple-blossoms, gold bracelets, diamond pin and earrings, the most
delicious _berthe_ you ever saw, white satin slippers----

B.--Deuse take her! What a fool she is! Hear her chatter! (Look out of
window just here.--Two pages and a half of description, if it were
all written out, in one tenth of a second.)--Go ahead, old lady! (Eye
catches picture over fireplace.) There's that infernal family nose! Came
over in the "Mayflower" on the first old fool's face. Why don't they
wear a ring in it?

C.--You'll be late at lecture,--late at lecture,--late,--late,--late----

I observe that a deep layer of thought sometimes makes itself felt
through the superincumbent strata, thus:--The usual single or double
currents shall flow on, but there shall be an influence blending with
them, disturbing them in an obscure way, until all at once I say,--Oh,
there! I knew there was something troubling me,--and the thought which
had been working through comes up to the surface clear, definite, and
articulates itself,--a disagreeable duty, perhaps, or an unpleasant
recollection.

The inner world of thought and the outer world of events are alike in
this, that they are both brimful. There is no space between consecutive
thoughts or between the never-ending series of actions. All pack tight,
and mould their surfaces against each other, so that in the long run
there is a wonderful average uniformity in the forms of both thoughts
and actions,--just as you find that cylinders crowded all become
hexagonal prisms, and spheres pressed together are formed into regular
polyhedra.

Every event that a man would master must be mounted on the run, and no
man ever caught the reins of a thought except as it galloped by him. So,
to carry out, with another comparison, my remark about the layers of
thought, we may consider the mind, as it moves among thoughts or events,
like a circus-rider whirling round with a great troop of horses. He can
mount a fact or an idea, and guide it more or less completely, but he
cannot stop it. So, as I said in another way at the beginning, he can
stride two or three thoughts at once, but not break their steady walk,
trot, or gallop. He can only take his foot from the saddle of one
thought and put it on that of another.

----What is the saddle of a thought? Why, a word, of course.--Twenty
years after you have dismissed a thought, it suddenly wedges up to you
through the press, as if it had been steadily galloping round and round
all that time without a rider.

The will does not act in the interspaces of thought, for there are no
such interspaces, but simply steps from the back of one moving thought
upon that of another.

----I should like to ask,--said the divinity-student,--since we are
getting into metaphysics, how you can admit space, if all things are in
contact, and how you can admit time, if it is always _now_ to something.

--I will thank you for the dry toast,--was my answer.

----I wonder if you know this class of philosophers in books or
elsewhere. One of them makes his bow to the public, and exhibits an
unfortunate truth bandaged up so that it cannot stir hand or foot,--as
helpless, apparently, and unable to take care of itself, as an Egyptian
mummy. He then proceeds, with the air and method of a master, to take
off the bandages. Nothing can be neater than the way in which he does
it. But as he takes off layer after layer, the truth seems to grow
smaller and smaller, and some of its outlines begin to look like
something we have seen before. At last, when he has got them all off,
and the truth struts out naked, we recognize it as a diminutive and
familiar acquaintance whom we have known in the streets all our lives.
The fact is, the philosopher has coaxed the truth into his study and put
all those bandages on; of course it is not very hard for him to take
them off. Still, a great many people like to watch the process,--he does
it so neatly!

Dear! dear! I am ashamed to write and talk, sometimes, when I see how
those functions of the large-brained, thumb-opposing plantigrade are
abused by my fellow-vertebrates,--perhaps by myself. How they spar for
wind, instead of hitting from the shoulder!

----The young fellow called John arose and placed himself in a neat
fighting attitude.--Fetch on the fellah that makes them long words!--he
said,--and planted a straight hit with the right fist in the concave
palm of the left hand with a click like a cup and ball.--You small boy
there, hurry up that "Webster's Unabridged!"

The little gentleman with the malformation, before described, shocked
the propriety of the breakfast-table by a loud utterance of three words,
of which the two last were "Webster's Unabridged," and the first was an
emphatic monosyllable.--Beg pardon,--he added,--forgot myself. But let
us have an English dictionary, if we are to have any. I don't believe in
clipping the coin of the realm, Sir! If I put a weathercock on my house,
Sir, I want it to tell which way the wind blows up aloft,--off from the
prairies to the ocean, or off from the ocean to the prairies, or any
way it wants to blow! I don't want a weathercock with a winch in an old
gentleman's study that he can take hold of and turn, so that the vane
shall point west when the great wind overhead is blowing east with all
its might, Sir! Wait till we give you a dictionary, Sir! It takes Boston
to do that thing, Sir!

----Some folks think water can't run down-hill anywhere out of
Boston,--remarked the Koh-i-noor.

I don't know what _some folks think_ so well as I know what _some fools
say_,--rejoined Little Boston.--If importing most dry goods made the
best scholars, I dare say you would know where to look for 'em.--Mr.
Webster couldn't spell, Sir, or wouldn't spell, Sir,--at any rate, he
didn't spell; and the end of it was a fight between the owners of
some copyrights and the dignity of this noble language which we have
inherited from our English fathers,--language!--the blood of the soul,
Sir! into which our thoughts run and out of which they grow! We know
what a word is worth here in Boston. Young Sam Adams got up on the stage
at Commencement, out at Cambridge there, with his gown on, the Governor
and Council looking on in the name of his Majesty, King George the
Second, and the girls looking down out of the galleries, and taught
people how to spell a word that wasn't in the Colonial dictionaries!
_R-e, re, s-i-s, sis, t-a-n-c-e, tance, Resistance!_ That was in '43,
and it was a good many years before the Boston boys began spelling it
with their muskets;--but when they did begin, they spelt it so loud that
the old bedridden women in the English almshouses heard every syllable!
Yes, yes, yes,--it was a good while before those other two Boston boys
got the class so far along that it could spell those two hard words,
_Independence_ and _Union!_ I tell you what, there are a thousand lives,
aye, sometimes a million, go to get a new word into a language that is
worth speaking. We know what language means too well here in Boston to
play tricks with it. We never make a new word till we have made a new
thing or a new thought, Sir! When we shaped the new mould of this
continent, we had to make a few. When, by God's permission, we abrogated
the primal curse of maternity, we had to make a word or two. The
cutwater of this great Leviathan clipper, the OCCIDENTAL,--this
thirty-masted wind-and-steam wave-crusher,--must throw a little spray
over the human vocabulary as it splits the waters of a new world's
destiny!

He rose as he spoke, until his stature seemed to swell into the fair
human proportions. His feet must have been on the upper round of his
high chair;--that was the only way I could account for it.

Puts her through fust-rate,--said the young fellow whom the boarders
call John.

The venerable and kind-looking old gentleman who sits opposite said he
remembered Sam Adams as Governor. An old man in a brown coat. Saw him
take the Chair on Boston Common. Was a boy then, and remembers sitting
on the fence in front of the old Hancock house. Recollects he had a
glazed 'lection-bun, and sat eating it and looking down on to the
Common. Lalocks flowered late that year, and he got a great bunch off
from the bushes in the Hancock front-yard.

Them 'lection buns are no go,--said the young man John, so called.--I
know the trick. Give a fellah a fo'penny bun in the mornin', an' he
downs the whole of it. In about an hour it swells up in his stomach as
big as a football, and his feedin's sp'ilt for _that_ day. That's the
way to stop off a young one from eatin' up all the 'lection dinner.

Salem! Salem! not Boston,--shouted the little man.

But the Koh-i-noor laughed a great rasping laugh, and the boy
Benjamin Franklin looked sharp at his mother, as if he remembered the
bun-experiment as a part of his past personal history.

Little Boston was holding a fork in his left hand. He stabbed a boulder
of home-made bread with it, mechanically, and looked at it as if it
ought to shriek. It did not,--but he sat as if watching it.

----Language is a solemn thing,--I said.--It grows out of life,--out of
its agonies and ecstasies, its wants and its weariness. Every language
is a temple, in which the soul of those who speak it is enshrined.
Because time softens its outlines and rounds the sharp angles of its
cornices, shall a fellow take a pickaxe to help time? Let me tell you
what comes of meddling with things that can take care of themselves.--A
friend of mine had a watch given him, when he was a boy,--a "bull's
eye," with a loose silver case that came off like an oyster-shell from
its contents; you know them,--the cases that you hang on your thumb,
while the _core_ or the real watch lies in your hand as naked as a
peeled apple. Well, he began with taking off the case, and so on from
one liberty to another, until he got it fairly open, and there were the
works, as good as if they were alive,--crown-wheel, balance-wheel, and
all the rest. All right except one thing,--there was a confounded little
_hair_ had got tangled round the balance-wheel. So my young Solomon
got a pair of tweezers, and caught hold of the _hair_ very
nicely, and pulled it right out, without touching any of the
wheels,--when,--buzzzZZZ! and the watch had done up twenty-four hours in
double magnetic-telegraph time!--The English language was wound up to
run some thousands of years, I trust; but if everybody is to be pulling
at everything he thinks is a _hair_, our grandchildren will have to
make the discovery that it is a hair-_spring_, and the old Anglo-Norman
soul's-timekeeper will run down, as so many other dialects have done
before it. I can't stand this meddling any better than you, Sir. But
we have a great deal to be proud of in the lifelong labors of that old
lexicographer, and we mustn't be ungrateful. Besides, don't let us
deceive ourselves, the war of the dictionaries is only a disguised
rivalry of cities, colleges, and especially of publishers. After all,
the language will shape itself by larger forces than phonography and
dictionary-making. You may spade up the ocean as much as you like, and
harrow it afterwards, if you can,--but the moon will still lead the
tides, and the winds will form their surface.

----Do you know Richardson's Dictionary?--I said to my neighbor the
divinity-student.

Haöw?--said the divinity-student.--He colored, as he noticed on my face
a twitch in one of the muscles which tuck up the corner of the mouth,
(_zygomaticus major_,) and which I could not hold back from making a
little movement on its own account.

It was too late.--A country-boy, lassoed when he was a half-grown colt.
Just as good as a city-boy, and in some ways, perhaps, better,--but
caught a little too old not to carry some marks of his earlier ways of
life. Foreigners, who have talked a strange tongue half their lives,
return to the language of their childhood in their dying hours.
Gentlemen in fine linen, and scholars in large libraries, taken by
surprise, or in a careless moment, will sometimes let slip a word they
knew as boys in homespun and have not spoken since that time,--but it
lay there under all their culture. That is one way you may know the
country-boys after they have grown rich or celebrated; another is by the
odd old family names, particularly those of the Hebrew prophets, which
the good old people have saddled them with.

----Boston has enough of England about it to make a good English
dictionary,--said that fresh-looking youth whom I have mentioned as
sitting at the right upper corner of the table.

I turned and looked him full in the face,--for the pure, manly
intonations arrested me. The voice was youthful, but full of
character.--I suppose some persons have a peculiar susceptibility in the
matter of voice.--Hear this.

Not long after the American Revolution, a young lady was sitting in her
father's chaise in a street of this town of Boston. She overheard a
little girl talking or singing, and was mightily taken with the tones of
her voice. Nothing would satisfy her but she must have that little girl
come and live in her father's house. So the child came, being then nine
years old. Until her marriage she remained under the same roof with
the young lady. Her children became successively inmates of the lady's
dwelling; and now, _seventy_ years, or thereabouts, since the young lady
heard the child singing, one of that child's children and one of her
grandchildren are with her in that home, where she, no longer young,
except in heart, passes her peaceful days.--Three generations linked
together by so light a breath of accident!

I liked the sound of this youth's voice, I said, and his look when I
came to observe him a little more closely. His complexion had something
better than the bloom and freshness which had first attracted me;--it
had that diffused _tone_ which is a sure index of wholesome lusty life.
A fine liberal style of nature it seemed to be: hair crisped, moustache
springing thick and dark, head firmly planted, lips finished, as one
commonly sees them in gentlemen's families, a pupil well contracted, and
a mouth that opened frankly with a white flash of teeth that looked as
if they could serve him as they say Ethan Allen's used to serve their
owner,--to draw nails with. This is the kind of fellow to walk a
frigate's deck and bowl his broadsides into the "Gallant Thunderbomb,"
or any forty-portholed adventurer who would like to exchange a few tons
of iron compliments.--I don't know what put this into my head, for it
was not till some time afterward I learned the young fellow had been in
the naval school at Annapolis. Something had happened to change his plan
of life, and he was now studying engineering and architecture in Boston.

When the youth made the short remark which drew my attention to him, the
little deformed gentleman turned round and took a long look at him.

Good for the Boston boy!--he said.

I am not a Boston boy,--said the youth, smiling,--I am a Marylander.

I don't care where you come from,--we'll make a Boston man of you,--said
the little gentleman.--Pray, what part of Maryland did you come from,
and how shall I call you?

The poor youth had to speak pretty loud, as he was at the right upper
corner of the table, and Little Boston next the lower left-hand corner.
His face flushed a little, but he answered pleasantly,--telling who
he was, as if the little man's infirmity gave him a right to ask any
questions he wanted to.

Here is the place for you to sit,--said the little gentleman, pointing
to the vacant chair next his own, at the corner.

You're go'n' to have a young lady next you, if you wait till
to-morrow,--said the landlady to Little Boston.

He did not reply, but I had a fancy, that he changed color. It can't
be that _he_ has susceptibilities with reference to a contingent young
lady! It can't be that he has had experiences which make him sensitive!
Nature could not be quite so cruel as to set a heart throbbing in
that poor little cage of ribs! There is no use in wasting notes of
admiration. I must ask the landlady about him.

These are some of the facts she furnished.--Has not been long with her.
Brought a sight of furniture,--couldn't hardly get some of it up-stairs.
Hasn't seemed particularly attentive to the ladies. The Bombazine
(whom she calls Cousin something or other) has tried to enter into
conversation with him, but retired with the impression that he was
indifferent to ladies' society. Paid his bill the other day without
saying a word about it. Paid it in gold,--had a great heap of
twenty-dollar pieces. Hires her best room. Thinks he is a very nice
little man, but lives dreadful lonely up in his chamber. Wants the care
of some capable nuss. Never pitied anybody more in her life,--never see
a more interestin' person.

----My intention was, when I began making these notes, to let them
consist principally of conversations between myself and the other
boarders. So they will, very probably; but my curiosity is excited about
this little boarder of ours, and my reader must not be disappointed, if
I sometimes interrupt a discussion to give an account of whatever fact
or traits I may discover about him. It so happens that his room is
next to mine, and I have the opportunity of observing many of his ways
without any active movements of curiosity. That his room contains heavy
furniture, that he is a restless little body and is apt to be up late,
that he talks to himself, and keeps mainly to himself, is nearly all I
have found out.

One curious circumstance happened lately, which I mention without
drawing an absolute inference.--Being at the studio of a sculptor with
whom I am acquainted, the other day, I saw a remarkable cast of a _left
arm_. On my asking where the model came from, he said it was taken
direct from the arm of a _deformed person_, who had employed one of the
Italian moulders to make the cast. It was a curious case, it should
seem, of one beautiful limb upon a frame otherwise singularly
imperfect.--I have repeatedly noticed this little gentleman's use of his
left arm. Can he have furnished the model I saw at the sculptor's?

----So we are to have a new boarder to-morrow. I hope there will be
something pretty and pleasant about her. A woman with a creamy
voice, and finished in _alto rilievo_, would be a variety in the
boarding-house,--a little more marrow and a little less sinew than our
landlady and her daughter and the bombazine-clad female, all of whom are
of the turkey-drumstick style of organization. I don't mean that these
are our only female companions; but the rest being conversational
non-combatants, mostly still, sad feeders, who take in their food as
locomotives take in wood and water, and then wither away from the table
like blossoms that never come to fruit, I have not yet referred to them
as individuals.

I wonder what kind of a young person we shall see in that empty chair
to-morrow!

----I read this song to the boarders after breakfast the other morning.
It was written for our fellows;--you know who they are, of course.

THE BOYS.

  Has there any old fellow got mixed with the boys?
  If there has, take him out, without making a noise!
  Hang the Almanac's cheat and the Catalogue's spite!
  Old Time is a liar! We're twenty to-night!

  We're twenty! We're twenty! Who says we are more?
  He's tipsy,--young jackanapes!--show him the door!--
  "Gray temples at twenty?"--Yes! _white_, if we please;
  Where the snow-flakes fall thickest there's nothing can freeze!

  Was it snowing I spoke of? Excuse the mistake!
  Look close,--you will see not a sign of a flake;
  We want some new garlands for those we have shed,--
  And these are white roses in place of the red!

  We've a trick, we young fellows, you may have been told,
  Of talking (in public) as if we were old;--
  That boy we call "Doctor," and this we call "Judge";--
  It's a neat little fiction,--of course it's all fudge.

  That fellow's the "Speaker,"--the one on the right;
  "Mr. Mayor," my young one, how are you to-night?
  That's our "Member of Congress," we say when we chaff;
  There's the "Reverend"--What's his name?--don't make me laugh!

  That boy with the grave mathematical look
  Made believe he had written a wonderful book,
  And the ROYAL ACADEMY thought it was _true!_
  So they chose him right in; a good joke it was, too!

  There's a boy,--we pretend,--with a three-decker-brain,
  That could harness a team with a logical chain;
  When he spoke for our manhood in syllabled fire,
  We called him "The Justice," but now he's "The Squire."

  And there's a nice youngster of excellent pith,--
  Fate tried to conceal him by naming him Smith,--
  But he shouted a song for the brave and the free,--
  --Just read on his medal,--"My country,"--"of thee!"

  You hear that boy laughing?--You think he's all fun,--
  But the angels laugh, too, at the good he has done.
  The children laugh loud as they troop to his call,
  And the poor man that knows him laughs loudest of all!

  Yes, we're boys,--always playing with tongue or with pen,--
  And I sometimes have asked,--Shall we ever be men?
  Shall we always be youthful and laughing and gay,
  Till the last dear companion drops smiling away?

  Then here's to our boyhood, its gold and its gray!
  The stars of its Winter, the dews of its May!
  And when we have done with our life-lasting toys
  Dear Father, take care of thy children, the Boys!

       *       *       *       *       *


WHITE'S SHAKSPEARE.[A]

[Footnote A: _The Works of William Shakespeare_. Edited, etc., by
RICHARD GRANT WHITE. Vols. II., III., IV., and V. Boston: Little, Brown,
& Co. 1858]


(SECOND NOTICE.)

We doubt if posterity owe a greater debt to any two men living in 1623
than to the two obscure actors who in that year published the first
folio edition of Shakspeare's plays. But for them, it is more than
likely that such of his works as had remained to that time imprinted
would have been irrecoverably lost, and among them were "Julius Caesar,"
"The Tempest," and "Macbeth." But are we to believe them when they
assert that they present to us the plays which they reprinted from
stolen and surreptitious copies "cured and perfect of their limbs," and
those which are original in their edition "absolute in their numbers as
he [Shakspeare] conceived them"? Alas, we have read too many theatrical
announcements, have been taught too often that the value of the promise
was in an inverse ratio to the generosity of the exclamation-marks, too
easily to believe that! Nay, we have seen numberless processions of
healthy kine enter our native village unheralded save by the lusty
shouts of drovers, while a wretched calf, cursed by stepdame Nature with
two heads, was brought to us in a triumphal car, avant-couriered by
a band of music as abnormal as itself, and announced as the greatest
wonder of the age. If a double allowance of vituline brains deserve such
honor, there are few commentators on Shakspeare that would have gone
afoot, and the trumpets of Messieurs Heminge and Condell call up in our
minds too many monstrous and deformed associations.

What, then, is the value of the first folio as an authority? We are
inclined to think that Mr. Collier (for obvious reasons) underrates
it, and that Mr. White sometimes errs in the opposite direction. For
eighteen of the plays it is the only authority we have, and the only
one also for four others in their complete form. It is admitted that
in several instances Heminge and Condell reprinted the earlier quarto
impressions with a few changes, sometimes for the better and sometimes
for the worse; and it is most probable that copies of those editions
(whether surreptitious or not) had taken the place of the original
prompter's books, as being more convenient and legible. Even in these
cases it is not safe to conclude that all or even any of the variations
were made by the hand of Shakspeare himself. And where the players
printed from manuscript, is it likely to have been that of the author?
The probability is small that a writer so busy as Shakspeare must have
been during his productive period should have copied out their parts for
the actors, himself, or that one so indifferent as he seems to have been
to the mere literary fortunes of his works should have given any great
care to the correction of such copies, if made by others. The copies
exclusively in the hands of Heminge and Condell were, it is manifest,
in some cases, very imperfect, whether we account for the fact by the
burning of the Globe Theatre or by the necessary wear and tear of years,
and (what is worthy of notice) they are plainly more defective in some
parts than in others. "Measure for Measure" is an example of this, and
we are not satisfied with being told that its ruggedness of verse is
intentional, or that its obscurity is due to the fact that Shakspeare
grew more elliptical in his style as he grew older. Profounder in
thought he doubtless became; though, in a mind like his, we believe that
this would imply only a more absolute supremacy in expression. But, from
whatever original we suppose either the quartos or the first folio to
have been printed, it is more than questionable whether the
proof-sheets had the advantage of any revision other than that of the
printing-office. Steevens was of opinion that authors in the time of
Shakspeare never read their own proof-sheets; and Mr. Spedding, in his
recent edition of Bacon, comes independently to the same conclusion.[B]
We may be very sure that Heminge and Condell did not, as vicars, take
upon themselves a disagreeable task which the author would have been too
careless to assume.

[Footnote B: Vol. III. p. 348, _note_. He grounds his belief, not on the
misprinting of words, but on the misplacing of whole paragraphs. We were
struck with the same thing in the original edition of Chapman's _Biron's
Conspiracy and Tragedy_. One of the misprints which Mr. Spedding notices
affords both a hint and a warning to the conjectural emendator. In the
edition of _The Advancement of Learning_ printed in 1605 occurs the
word _dusinesse_. In a later edition this was conjecturally changed to
_business_; but the occurrence of _vertigine_ in the Latin translation
enables Mr. Spedding to print rightly, _dizziness_.]

Nevertheless, however strong a case may be made out against the Folio of
1623, whatever sins of omission we may lay to the charge of Heminge and
Condell, or of commission to that of the printers, it remains the only
text we have with any claims whatever to authenticity. It should be
deferred to as authority in all cases where it does not make Shakspeare
write bad sense, uncouth metre, or false grammar, of all which we
believe him to have been more supremely incapable than any other man who
ever wrote English. Yet we would not speak unkindly even of the blunders
of the Folio. They have put bread into the mouth of many an honest
editor, publisher, and printer, for the last century and a half; and he
who loves the comic side of human nature will find the serious notes of
a _variorum_ edition of Shakspeare as funny reading as the funny ones
are serious. Scarce a commentator of them all, for more than a hundred
years, but thought, as Alphonso of Castile did of Creation, that, if
he had only been at Shakspeare's elbow, he could have given valuable
advice; scarce one who did not know off-hand that there was never a
seaport in Bohemia,--as if Shakspeare's world were one which Mercator
could have projected; scarce one but was satisfied that his ten
finger-tips were a sufficient key to those astronomic wonders of poise
and counterpoise, of planetary law and cometary seeming-exception, in
his metres; scarce one but thought he could gauge like an ale-firkin
that intuition whose edging shallows may have been sounded, but
whose abysses, stretching down amid the sunless roots of Being and
Consciousness, mock the plummet; scarce one but could speak with
condescending approval of that prodigious intelligence so utterly
without congener that our baffled language must coin an adjective to
qualify it, and none is so audacious as to say Shakspearian of any
other. And yet, in the midst of our impatience, we cannot help thinking
also of how much healthy mental activity this one man has been the
occasion, how much good he has indirectly done to society by withdrawing
men to investigations and habits of thought that secluded them from
baser attractions, for how many he has enlarged the circle of study and
reflection; since there is nothing in history or politics, nothing in
art or science, nothing in physics or metaphysics, that is not sooner or
later taxed for his illustration. This is partially true of all great
minds, open and sensitive to truth and beauty through any large arc
of their circumference; but it is true in an unexampled sense of
Shakspeare, the vast round of whose balanced nature seems to have been
equatorial, and to have had a southward exposure and a summer sympathy
at every point, so that life, society, statecraft serve us at last but
as commentaries on him, and whatever we have gathered of thought, of
knowledge, and of experience, confronted with his marvellous page,
shrinks to a mere footnote, the stepping-stone to some hitherto
inaccessible verse. We admire in Homer the blind placid mirror of the
world's young manhood, the bard who escapes from his misfortune in poems
all memory, all life and bustle, adventure and picture; we revere in
Dante that compressed force of lifelong passion which could make a
private experience cosmopolitan in its reach and everlasting in its
significance; we respect in Goethe the Aristotelian poet, wise by
weariless observation, witty with intention, the stately _Geheimerrath_
of a provincial court in the empire of Nature. As we study these, we
seem in our limited way to penetrate into their consciousness and to
measure and master their methods;--but with Shakspeare it is just the
other way; the more we have familiarized ourselves with the operations
of our own consciousness, the more do we find, in reading him, that
he has been beforehand with us, and that, while we have been vainly
endeavoring to find the door of his being, he has searched every nook
and cranny of our own. While other poets and dramatists embody isolated
phases of character and work inward from the phenomenon to the special
law which it illustrates, he seems in some strange way unitary with
human nature itself, and his own soul to have been the law- and
life-giving power of which his creations are only the phenomena. We
justify or criticize the characters of other writers by our memory and
experience, and pronounce them natural or unnatural; but he seems to
have worked in the very stuff of which memory and experience are made,
and we recognize his truth to Nature by an innate and unacquired
sympathy, as if he alone possessed the secret of the "ideal form and
universal mould," and embodied generic types rather than individuals.
In this Cervantes alone has approached him; and Don Quixote and Sancho,
like the men and women of Shakspeare, are the contemporaries of
every generation, because they are not products of an artificial and
transitory society, but because they are animated by the primeval and
unchanging forces of that humanity which underlies and survives the
forever-fickle creeds and ceremonials of the parochial corners which we
who dwell in them sublimely call The World.

But the dropping of our _variorum_ volume upon the floor recalls us
from our reverie, and, as we pick it up, we ask ourselves sadly, Is it
fitting that we should have a Shakspeare according to plodding Malone
or coarse-minded Steevens, both of whom would have had the headache all
their lives after, could one of the Warwickshire plebeian's conceptions
have got into their brains and stretched them, and who would have hidden
under their bedclothes in a cold-sweat of terror, could they have
seen the awful vision of Macbeth as he saw it? No! and to every other
commentator who has wantonly tampered with the text, or obscured it
with his inky cloud of paraphrase, we feel inclined to apply the
quadrisyllable name of the brother of Agis, king of Sparta. Clearly, we
should be grateful to an editor who feels it his chief duty to scrape
away these barnacles from the brave old hull, to replace with the
original heart-of-oak the planks where these small but patient
terebrators have bored away the tough fibre to fill the gap with
sawdust!

This task Mr. White has undertaken, and, after such conscientious
examination of his work as the importance of it demands, after a painful
comparison, note by note, and reading by reading, of his edition with
those of Messrs. Knight, Collier, and Dyce, our opinion of his ability
and fitness for his task has been heightened and confirmed. Not that we
always agree with him,--not that we do not think that in respect of the
Folio text he has sometimes erred on the side of superstitious reverence
for it, and sometimes in too rashly abandoning it,--but, making all
due exceptions, we think that his edition is, in the phrase of our New
England fathers in Israel, for substance, scope, and aim, the best
hitherto published. The chief matter must in all cases be the text, and
the faults we find in him do not, as a general rule, affect that. Some
of them are faults which his own better judgment, we think, will lead
him to avoid in his forthcoming volumes; and in regard to some, he will
probably honestly disagree with us as to their being faults at all. No
conceivable edition of Shakspeare would satisfy all tastes;--sometimes
we have attached associations to received readings which make impartial
perception impossible; sometimes we have imparted our own meaning to
a passage by too steady pondering over it, just as in twilight an
inanimate thing will seem to move, if we look at it long, though the
wavering be truly in our own overstrained vision; sometimes our personal
temperament will insensibly warp our judgment;--but Mr. White has
generally shown so just a discrimination, that there are few instances
where we dissent, and in these a pencil will enable every one to edit
for himself. Any criticism of an edition of Shakspeare must necessarily
concern itself with seemingly insignificant matters, often with a
comma or a syllable,--and the danger is always of degenerating into a
captiousness and word-catching unworthy the lover of truth for its own
sake. We shall endeavor to be minute without being small.

Mr. White reserves for a first volume (not yet published) his notices
of Shakspeare's life, his remarks upon the text, and other general
introductory topics. In the second volume, he gives us an excellent copy
of the Droeshout portrait, the preliminary matter of the Folio of 1628,
with notices of the writers of commendatory verses thereto prefixed, and
of the principal actors who performed parts in Shakspeare's plays. We
notice particularly his discussion of the authorship of the verses
signed J.M.S. as a good example of the delicacy and acuteness of his
criticism. Though he has the great authority of Coleridge against him,
we think that he has constructed a very ingenious, strong, and even
convincing argument against the Milton theory. Each play is preceded
by an Introduction, remarkably well digested and condensed, giving an
account of the text, and of the sources from which Shakspeare helped
himself to plots or incidents. We cannot but commend highly the
self-restraint which marks these brief and pithy prefaces, and the
pertinency of every sentence to the matter in hand. The Germans, (to
whom we are undeniably indebted for the first philosophic appreciation
of the poet,) being debarred by their alienage from the tempting
parliament of verbal commentary and conflict, have made themselves such
ample amends by expatiations in the unfenced field of aesthetics and
of that constructive criticism which is too often confined to the
architecture of Castles in Spain, that we feel as if Dogberry had
charged us in relation to them with that hopelessly bewildering
commission to "_comprehend_ all vagrom men" which we have hitherto
considered applicable only to peripatetic lecturers. Mr. White wisely
and kindly leaves us to Shakspeare and our own imaginations,--two very
potent spells to conjure with,--and seems to be aware of the fact, that,
in its application to a creative mind like that of the great Poet, the
science of teleology may sometimes find itself as much at fault as it so
often is in attempting to fathom the designs of the Infinite Creator.
Rabelais solves the grave problem of the goodliness of Friar John's nose
by the comprehensive formula, "Because God willed it so"; and it is well
for us in most cases to enjoy Shakspeare in the same pious way,--to
smell a rose without bothering ourselves about its having been made
expressly to serve the turn of the essence-peddlers of Shiraz. We yield
the more credit to Mr. White's self-denial in this respect, because
his notes prove him to be capable of profound as well as delicate and
sympathetic exegesis. Shakspeare himself has left us a pregnant satire
on dogmatical and categorical esthetics (which commonly in discussion
soon lose their ceremonious tails and are reduced to the internecine dog
and cat of their bald first syllables) in the cloud-scene between Hamlet
and Polonius, suggesting exquisitely how futile is any attempt at a
cast-iron definition of those perpetually metamorphic impressions of the
beautiful, whose source is as much in the man who looks as in the thing
he sees. And elsewhere more directly,--Mr. White must allow us the old
reading for the sake of our illustration,--he has told us how

        "Affection,
  Master of passion, sways it to the mood
  Of what it likes or loathes."

We are glad to see, likewise, with what becoming indifference the matter
of Shakspeare's indebtedness to others is treated by Mr. White in his
Introductions. There are many commentators who seem to think they have
wormed themselves into the secret of the Master's inspiration when they
have discovered the sources of his plots. But what he took was by right
of eminent domain; and was he not to resuscitate a theme and make it
immortal, because some botcher had tried his hand upon it before, and
left it for stone-dead? Because he could not help throwing sizes, was he
to avoid the dice which for others would only come up ames-ace?

Up to the middle of 1854,[C] there had been published in England and on
the Continent eighty-eight complete editions of Shakspeare in English,
thirty-two in German, six in French, and five, more or less complete,
in Italian. Beside these, his works had been translated into Dutch,
(1778-82,) into Danish, (1807-28,) into Hungarian, (1824,) into Polish,
(1842,) and into Swedish (1847-51). The numerous American editions are
not reckoned in this statement; and, to give an adequate notion of the
extent of the Shakspeare-literature, we should add that the number of
separately-printed comments and other illustrative publications already
exceeds five hundred. No other poet except Dante has received such
appreciation,--and not even he, if we consider in Shakspeare's case the
greater bulk of the works and the difficulty of the language. After so
many people had used their best wit and had their say, could there be
any unconsidered trifle left for a new editor? Could the sharpest eyes
find more needles in this enormous haystack? We do not pretend to have
examined the whole of this polyglot library, nay, but for Herr Sillig,
we had never heard of most of the books in it, but we are tolerably
familiar with the more important English editions, and with some of the
German comments,[D] and we must say that the freshness of many of Mr.
White's observations struck us with very agreeable surprise. We are
not fond of off-hand opinions on any subject, much more on one so
multifarious and complex as this,--we are a great deal too ready with
them in America, and pronounce upon pictures and poems with a _b'hoyish_
nonchalance that would be amusing, were it not for its ill consequence
to Art,--but we love the expression of honest praise, of sifted and
considerate judgment, and we think that a laborious collation justifies
us in saying that in acute discrimination of aesthetic shades of
expression, and often of textual niceties, Mr. White is superior to any
previous editor.

[Footnote C: _Die Shakspere-Literatur bis Mitte_ 1854. Zusammengestellt
und herausgegeben von P.H. SILLIG. Leipzig. 1854.]

[Footnote D: Among which (setting aside a few remarks of Goethe) we are
inclined to value as highly us anything Tieck's _Essay on the Element of
the Wonderful in Shakspeare_.]

In proof of what we have said, we will refer to a few of the notes which
have particularly pleased us, and which show originality of view.

(_Tempest_, Act ii. Sc. 2.)

"'_Nor scrape_ trenchering, _nor wash, dish_.'

"Dryden, Theobald, Dyce, Halliwell, and Hudson would have 'trenchering'
a typographical error for 'trencher,' which they introduce into the
text. Surely they must all have forgotten that _Caliban_ was drunk,
and, after singing 'firing' and 'requiring,' would naturally sing
'trenchering.' There is a drunken swing in the original line which is
entirely lost in the precise, curtailed rhythm of--

  '_Nor scrape_ trencher, _nor wash dish_.'"

Other editors had retained "trenchering," but none, that we know, ever
gave so good a reason for it. Equally good is his justification of
himself for omitting Theobald's interpolation of "Did she nod?" in "Two
Gentlemen of Verona," Act i. Sc. 1. Other examples may be found in the
readings, "There is a lady of Verona here," (same play, Act iii. Sc. 1);
"Yet reason dares her _on_," (_Measure for Measure_, Act iv. Sc. 4);
"Hark, how the villain would _glose_ now," (same play, Act v. Sc. 1);
"The forced fallacy," (_Comedy of Errors_, Act ii. Sc. 1); in the note
on "Cupid is a good hare-finder," (_Much Ado_, Act i. Sc. 3); the
admirable note on "Examine those men," (same play, Act iii. Sc. 1); the
readings, "Out on thee! Seeming!" (same play, Act iv. Sc. 1); "For I
have only silent been," (ibid.); "Goodly Count-Confèct," and note, (same
play, Act iv. Sc. 2); the note on "I do beseech thee, remember thy
courtesy," (_Love's Labor's Lost_, Act v. Sc. 1); on "Mounsieur Cobweb,"
and "Help Cavalery Cobweb to scratch," (_Mid. Night's D_., Act iv. Sc.
1); on "Or in the night," etc. (same play, Act v. Sc. 1); on "Is sum of
nothing," (_Merchant of Venice_, Act iii. Sc. 2); on "Stays me here at
home unkept," (_As you like it_, Act i. Sc. 1); on "Unquestionable
spirit," (same play, Act iii. Sc. 2); on "Move the still-piecing air,"
(_All's Well_, etc., Act ii. Sc. 2); and on "What is not holy," (same
play, Act iv. Sc. 2). We have referred to a few only out of the many
instances that have attracted our notice, and these chiefly for their
bearing on what we have said of the editor's refinement of appreciation
and originality of view. The merely illustrative and explanatory notes
are also full and judicious, containing all that it is important the
reader should know, and a great deal which it will entertain him to
learn. In the Introductions to the several plays, too, we find many
_obiter dicta_ of Mr. White which are excellent in their clearness of
critical perception and conciseness of phrase. From that to the "Comedy
of Errors" we quote the following sentence:--

"Concerning the place and the period of the action of this play, it
seems that Shakspeare did not trouble himself to form a very accurate
idea. The Ephesus of "The Comedy of Errors" is much like the Bohemia of
"The Winter's Tale,"--a remote, unknown place, yet with a familiar and
imposing name, and therefore well suited to the purposes of one who, as
poet and dramatist, cared much for men and little for things, and to
whose perception the accidental was entirely eclipsed by the essential.
Anachronisms are scattered through it with a profusion which could only
be the result of entire indifference,--in fact, of an absolute want of
thought on the subject."--Vol. III. 189.

We think this could not be better said, if only we might supplant
"things" with the more precise word "facts"; for about _things_
Shakspeare was never careless. It is only that deciduous foliage of
facts which every generation leaves heaps of behind it dry, and dead,
that he rustles through with eyes so royally unconcerned. As a good
example of Mr. White's style, we should be inclined to cite the
Introduction to "Love's Labor's Lost," from which we detach this single
crystal:--

"It is ever the ambitious way of youthful genius to aim at novelty of
form in its first essays, while yet in treatment it falls unconsciously
into a vein of reminiscence; afterward it is apt to return to
established forms, and to show originality of treatment."

The temptation which too easily besets an editor of Shakspeare is to
differ, if possible, from everybody who has gone before him, though but
as between the N.E. and N.N.E. points in the circumference of a hair. We
do not find Mr. White guilty in this respect for what he has done, but
sometimes for what he has left undone in allowing the Folio text to
remain. The instance that has surprised us most is his not admitting
(_As You Like it_, Act iv. Sc. 1) the reading,--"The foolish _coroners_
of that age found it was Hero of Sestos," instead of the unmeaning one,
"_chroniclers_." He has been forced, for the sake of sense, to make some
changes in the Folio text which seem to us quite as violent, and we
cannot help thinking that the gain in aptness of phrase and coherence of
meaning would have justified him in doing as much here. He admits, in
his note on the passage, that the change is "very plausible"; but adds,
"If we can at will reduce a perfectly appropriate and uncorrupted word
of ten letters to one of eight, and strike out such marked letters as
_h_, _l_, and _e_, we may re-write Shakspeare at our pleasure." Mr.
White has already admitted that "_chroniclers_" is not _perfectly_
appropriate in admitting that the change is "very plausible"; and he has
no right to assume that the word is uncorrupted,--for that is the very
point in question. As to the disparity in the number of letters, no one
familiar with misprints will be surprised at it; and Mr. Spedding, in
the edition of Bacon already referred to, furnishes us with an example
of blunder[E] precisely the reverse, in which one word of eight letters
is given for two of ten, (_sciences_ for _six princess_,)--the printer
in both cases having set up his first impression of what the word was
for the word itself. Had this occurred in Shakspeare, instead of Bacon,
we should have had a series of _variorum_ notes like this:--

[Footnote E: Bacon's Works, by Ellis, Spedding, & Heath. Vol. III. p.
303, _note_.]

"That _sixpence_ was the word used by our author scarcely admits of
doubt. From a number of parallel passages we select the following:--

'Live on _sixpence_ a day, and earn it.'--_Abernethy_.

'I give thee sixpence? I will see thee and-so-forthed
first!'--_Canning_.

'Be shot for _sixpence_ on a battlefield.'--_Tennyson_.

'Half a crown, two shillings and _sixpence_.'--_Niemand's Dictionary_.

Moreover, we find our author using precisely the same word in the
'Midsummer Night's Dream':--

'Thus hath he lost sixpence a day during his life.'" JONES.

"Had the passage read '_two_ princes,' we might have thought it genuine;
since 'the two kings of Brentford' must have been familiar to our great
poet, and he was also likely to have that number deeply impressed on
his mind by the awful tragedy in the tower, (see _Richard the Third_,)
where, it is remarkable, precisely that number of royal offspring
suffered at the hands of the crook-backed tyrant. The citation from
Niemand's Dictionary, by the Rev. Mr. Jones, tells as much in favor of
_two princes_ as of _sixpence_; for how could the miseries of a divided
empire be more emphatically portrayed than in the striking, and, as it
seems to me, touching phrase, HALF _a crown?_ Could we in any way read
'_three_ princes,' we should find strong support in the tradition of
'the three kings of Cologne,' and in the Arabian story of the 'Three
Calenders.' The line quoted by Thomson, (Shakspeare, by Thomson, Vol.
X. p. 701.) 'Under which King Bezonian, speak or die!' (though we agree
with him in preferring his pointing to the ordinary and meaningless
'Under which King, Bezonian,' etc.) unhappily can throw no light on the
present passage till we know how many King Bezonians are intended,
and who they were. Perhaps we should read _Belzonian_, and suppose a
reference to the Egyptian monarchs whose tombs were first explored by
the intrepid Belzoni. The epithet would certainly be appropriate and in
Shakspeare's best manner; but among so many monarchs, a choice of two,
or even three, would be embarrassing and invidious." BROWN.

"As for the 'Three Calenders,' there can be no reasonable question that
Shakspeare was well acquainted with the story; for that he had travelled
extensively in the East I have proved in my 'Essay to show that Sir
Thomas Roe and William Shakspeare were identical'; and that he was
familiar with the Oriental languages must be apparent to any one who has
read my note on '_Concolinel_' (_Love's Labor's Lost_, Act iii. Sc. 1).
But that 'six princes' is the true reading is clear from the parallel
passage in "Richard the Third," which I am surprised that the usually
accurate Mr. Brown should have overlooked,--'Methinks there be Six
Richmonds in the field.'" ROBINSON.

"I was at first inclined to the opinion of the late Mr. Robinson, but
maturer consideration has caused me to agree with the eloquent and
erudite Jones. There is a definite meaning in the word _sixpence_; and
a similar error of the press in Lord Bacon's 'Advancement of Learning,'
where the context shows that _sixpences_ and not _sciences_ was the word
intended, leads me to suspect that the title of his _opus magnum_ should
be _De Augmentis Sixpenciarum_. Viewing the matter as a political
economist, such a topic would have been more worthy of the Lord
Chancellor of England; it would have been more in accordance with what
we know of the character of 'the meanest of mankind'; and the exquisite
humor of the title would tally precisely with what Ben Jonson tells us
in his 'Discoveries,' under the head _Dominus Verulamius_, that
'his language _(where he could spare or pass by a jest)_ was nobly
censorious.' Sir Thomas More had the same proneness to merriment,
a coincidence the more striking as both these great men were Lord
Chancellors. A comic stroke of this description would have been highly
attractive to a mind so constituted, and might easily escape the notice
of a printer, who was more likely to be intent upon the literal accuracy
of the Latin than on the watch for extraordinary flights of humor."
SMITH.

But we must return from our excursion into an imaginary _variorum_,
delightful because it requires no eyesight and no thought, to the more
serious duty of examining the notes of Mr. White. We have mentioned a
single instance in which we differ with him as to the propriety of a
fanatical adherence to the text of the Folio of 1623. We differ, because
we think that sense is not all that we have a right to expect from
Shakspeare,--that it is, indeed, merely the body in which his genius
creates a soul of meaning, nay, oftentimes a double one, exoteric and
esoteric, the _spiritus astralis_ and the _anima caelestis_. Had the
passage been in verse, where the change might have damaged the rhythm,
--had it been one of those ecstasies of Shakspearian imagination,
to tamper with which because _we_ could not understand it would be
Bottom-like presumption,--one of those tempests of passion where every
word reeks hot and sulphurous, like a thunderstone new-fallen,--in any
of these cases we should have agreed with Mr. White that to abstain was
a duty. But in a sentence of lightsome and careless prose, and where the
chances are great that the word to be changed is the accident of the
printer and not the choice of the author, we say, give us a text that is
true to the context and the aesthetic instinct rather than to the Folio,
even were that Pandora-box only half as full of manifest corruptions as
it is.

In the "Two Gentlemen of Verona," (Act iii. Sc. 1,) Mr. White prefers,
"She is not to be fasting in respect of her breath," to "She is not to
be _kissed_ fasting in respect of her breath,"--an emendation made by
Rowe,[F] and found also in Mr. Collier's Corrected Folio of 1632. We
cannot agree with him in a reading which seems to us to destroy all the
point of the passage.

[Footnote F: Mr. Dyce says the word supplied by Rowe was "fasting," a
manifest slip of the pen, and worth notice only as showing how easily
errors may be committed.]

In Dumain's ode, (_Love's Labor's Lost_, Act iv. Sc. 3,) beginning,

  "On a day, (alack the day!)
  Love, whose month is ever May,"

Mr. White chooses to read

  "Thou, for whom Jove would swear
  Juno but an Ethiop were,"

rather than accept Pope's suggestion of "ev'n Jove," or the far better
"great Jove" of Mr. Collier's Corrected Folio,--affirming that "the
quantity and accent proper to 'thou' make any addition to the line
superfluous." We should like to hear Mr. White read the verse as he
prints it. The result would be something of this kind:--

Thou-ou for whom Jove would swear,--

which would be like the 'bow-wow-wow before the Lord' of the old
country-choirs. To our ear it is quite out of the question; and,
moreover, we affirm that in dissyllabic (which we, for want of a better
name, call iambic and trochaic) measures the omission of a half-foot
is an impossibility, and all the more so when, as in this case, the
preceding syllable is strongly accented. Even had the poem been meant
for singing, which it was not, for Dumain reads it, the quantity would
be false, though the ear might more easily excuse it. Such an omission
would be not only possible, but sometimes very effective, in trisyllabic
measures,--as, for instance, in anapests like these,--

  "'Tis the middle of night by the castle clock,
  And the owls have awakened the crowing cock,"--

where iambs or spondees may take the place of the first or second foot
with no shock to the ear, though the change of rhythm be sensible
enough,--as

  'Tis th[)e] d[=e][=e]p midnight by the castle clock,
  And [)o]wls have awakened the crowing cock.

We quite agree with Mr. White and Mr. Knight in their hearty dislike of
the Steevens-system of versification, but we think that Coleridge (who,
although the best English metrist since Milton, often thought lazily and
talked loosely) has misled both of them in what he has said about the
pauses and retardations of verse. In that noblest of our verses, the
unrhymed iambic pentameter, two short or lightly-accented syllables
may often gracefully and effectively take the place of a long or
heavily-accented one; but great metrists contrive their pauses by the
artistic choice and position of their syllables, and not by leaving
them out. Metre is the solvent in which alone thought and emotion can
perfectly coalesce,--the thought confining the emotion within decorous
limitations of law, the emotion beguiling the thought into somewhat of
its own fluent grace and rebellious animation. That is ill metre which
does not read itself in the mouth of a man thoroughly penetrated with
the meaning of what he reads; and only a man as thoroughly possessed
of the meaning of what he writes can produce any metre that is not
sing-song. Not that we would have Shakspeare's metre tinkered where it
seems defective, but that we would not have palpable gaps defended as
intentional by the utterly unsatisfactory assumption of pauses and
retardations. Mr. White has in many cases wisely and properly made
halting verses perfect in their limbs by easy transpositions, and we
think he is perfectly right in refusing to interpolate a syllable, but
wrong in assuming that we have Shakspeare's metre where we have no metre
at all. We are not speaking of seeming irregularities, of lines broken
up by rapid dialogue or cut short by the gulp of voiceless passion, nor
do we forget that Shakspeare wrote for the tongue and not the eye, but
we do not believe he ever left an unmusical period. Especially is this
true of passages where the lyrical sentiment predominates, and we beg
Mr. White to reconsider whether we owe the reading

  "All overcanopied with luscious woodbine"
  (instead of _lush_)

to the printers of the Folio or to Shakspeare. Even if we accept
Steevens's "whereon" instead of "where" in the first verse of this
exquisite piece of melody, and read (as Mr. White does not)

  "I know a bank whereon the wild thyme grows,"

it leaves the peculiar _lilt_ of the metre unchanged. The varied
accentuation of the verses is striking; and would any one convince
himself of the variety of which this measure is capable, let him try to
read this passage, and the speech of Prospero, beginning "Ye elves of
hills," to the same tune. In the verses,

  "And ye that on the sands with printless foot
  Do chase the ebbing Neptune, | and do fly him
  When he comes back,"

observe how the pauses are contrived to echo the sense and give the
effect of flux and reflux. Versification was understood in that day as
never since, and no treatise on English verse so good, in all respects,
as that of Campion (1602) has ever been written. Coleridge learned from
him how to write his "Catullian hendeca-syllables," and did not better
his instruction.[G]

[Footnote G: For the comprehension of the laws of some of the lighter
measures, no book is so instructive as Mother Goose's Melodies. That
excellent lady was one of the best metrists the language has produced.]

In "Measure for Measure," (Act i. Sc. 1,) in this passage,--

    "what's open made
  To justice, that justice seizes: what knows the law
  That thieves do pass on thieves?"

does Mr. White believe the "that" and "what" are Shakspeare's? Does he
consider

  "To justice, that justice seizes: what knows the law"

an alexandrine,--and an alexandrine worthy of a student and admirer of
Spenser? Should we read it thus, we should dread Martial's sarcasm of,
_Sed male cum recitas_. We believe that Shakspeare wrote

    "What's open made
  To Justice, Justice seizes; knows the Law
  That thieve do pass on thieves?"

We have pointed out a passage or two where we think Mr. White follows
the Folio text too literally. Two instances we have noted where he has
altered, as we think, for the worse. The first is (_Tempest_, Act iii.
Sc. 3) where Mr. White reads,

  "You are three men of sin whom Destiny
  (That hath to instrument this lower world
  And what is in't) the never-surfeited sea
  Hath caused to belch you up,--and on this island
  Where man doth not inhabit; you 'mongst men
  Being most unfit to live. I have made you mad."

The Folio reads, "Hath caused to belch up you"; and Mr. White says in
his note, "The tautological repetition of the pronoun was a habit,
almost a custom, with the Elizabethan dramatists." This may be true,
(though we think the assertion rash,) but certainly never as in
this case. We think the Folio right, except in its punctuation. The
repetition of the "you" is emphatic, not tautological, and is demanded
by the whole meaning of the passage. Ariel is taunting the persons
she addresses, with the intention of angering them; and the "you" is
repeated, because those highly respectable men cannot at first bring
their minds to believe that such unsavory epithets are addressed to
them. We should punctuate thus, following the order of the words in the
Folio,--

  "Hath caused to belch up,--you! and on this island,
  Where man doth not inhabit;--you 'mongst men
  Being most unfit to live. I have made you mad."

In the "Comedy of Errors," (Act ii. Sc. 2,) Adriana, suspecting her
husband of unfaithfulness, says to him,--

  "For, if we two be one, and thou play false,
  I do digest the poison of thy flesh,
  Being strumpeted by thy contagion.
  Keep, then, fair league and truce with thy
       true bed;
  I live distained, thou undishonored."

Such is the reading of the Folio. Mr. White reads,

  "I live distained, thou one dishonored."

But we cannot help thinking that the true reading should be,

  "I live distained, though undishonored,"

which is a less forced construction, and coincides with the rest of the
passage,--"I am contaminate through thee, though in myself immaculate."

In "As You Like it," (Act ii. Sc. 3,) Mr. White (with the Folio and some
recent editors) calls the Duke's wrestler, "the _bonny_ priser of the
Duke." The common reading is "bony," which seems to us better, though
we believe _brawny_ to be the word intended. We likewise question
Mr. White's explanation of the word _priser_, which, he says, "is
prize-fighter, one who wins prizes." One who "fights for prizes" would
have been better; but we suspect that the word is more nearly akin
with the French _prise_ (in the sense of _venir aux prises_) than with
_prix_. We should prefer also "Aristotle's ethicks" (_Taming of the
Shrew_, Act i. Sc. 1) to the ordinary "Aristotle's checks," which is
retained by Mr. White. In "Much Ado about Nothing," (Act ii. Sc. 1,) we
have no doubt that Mr. Collier's corrector is right in reading "_sink_
apace," though Mr. White states authoritatively that Shakspeare would
not have so written. It is only fair to Mr. White, however, to say that
he is generally open-minded toward readings suggested by others, and
that he accepts nearly all those of Mr. Collier's Corrected Folio on
which honest lovers of Shakspeare would be likely to agree. In comparing
his notes with the text, our eye was caught by a verse in which there
seems so manifest a corruption that we shall venture to throw down the
discord-apple of a conjectural emendation. In the "Merchant of Venice,"
(Act iii. Sc. 2,) where Bassanio is making his choice among the caskets,
after a long speech about "outward shows" and "ornament," he is made to
say that ornament is,

                   "in a word,
  The seeming truth which cunning _times_ put on
  To entrap the wisest."

We find it hard to believe that _times_ is the right word here, and
strongly suspect that it has stolen the place of _tires_. The whole
previous tenor of the speech, and especially of the images immediately
preceding that in question, appears to demand such a word.

We have said, that we considered the style and matter of Mr. White's
notes excellent. Indeed, to the purely illustrative notes we should
hardly make an exception. There are two or three which we think in
questionable taste, and one where the temptation to say a sharp
thing has led the editor to vulgarize the admirable Benedick, and to
misinterpret the text in a way so unusual for him that it is worth a
comment. When Benedick's friends are discussing the symptoms which show
him to be in love, Claudio asks,

  "When was he wont to wash his face?"

Mr. White annotates thus:--

"That the benign effect of the tender passion upon _Benedick_ in this
regard should be so particularly noticed, requires, perhaps, the remark,
that in Shakspeare's time our race had not abandoned itself to that
reckless use of water, whether for ablution or potation, which has more
recently become one of its characteristic traits."

Now, if there could be any doubt that "wash" means _cosmetic_ here, the
next speech of Don Pedro ("Yea, or to _paint_ himself?") would remove
it. The gentlemen of all periods in history have been so near at least
to godliness as is implied in cleanliness. The very first direction in
the old German poem of "Tisch-zucht" is to wash before coming to table;
and in "Parzival," Gurnamanz specially inculcates on his catechumen the
social duty of always thoroughly cleansing himself on laying aside his
armor. Such instances could be multiplied without end.

In annotating Shakspeare, it would, perhaps, be asking too much of
an editor to give credit to its first finder for every scrap of
illustration. The immense mass of notes already existing may, perhaps,
be fairly looked upon as a kind of dictionary, open to every one,
and the use of which implies no indebtedness. Mr. White, in general,
indicates the source whence he has drawn, though we have sometimes found
him negligent in this respect. He says, in the Advertisement prefixed to
his second volume, "that in every case, where no such credit is
given for a restoration, a conjecture, or a quotation, the editor is
responsible for it; and as he is disinclined to the giving of much
prominence to claims of this sort, he has, in those cases, merely
remarked, that 'hitherto' the text has stood thus or so." We have not
been at the trouble of verifying every one of Mr. White's "hithertos,"
but we did so in two plays, and found in "Midsummer Night's Dream" four,
and in "Much Ado" two cases, where the reading claimed as a restoration
occurred also in Mr. Knight's excellent edition of 1842. These
oversights do not affect the correctness of Mr. White's text, but they
diminish our confidence in the accuracy of the collation to which he
lays claim.

The chief objection which we have to make against Mr. White's text is,
that he has perversely allowed it to continue disfigured by vulgarisms
of grammar and spelling. For example, he gives us _misconster_, and
says, "This is not a mis-spelling or loose spelling of 'misconstrue,'
but the old form of the word." Mr. Dyce insisted on the same
cacographical nicety in his "Remarks" on the editions of Mr. Collier and
Mr. Knight, but abandons it in his own with the artless admission that
_misconstrue_ also occurs in the Folio. In one of the Camden Society's
publications is a letter from Friar John Hylsey to Thomas Cromwell, in
which we find "As God is my jugge";[H] but we do not believe that _jug_
was an old form of _judge_, though a philological convict might fancy
that the former word was a derivative of the latter. Had the phrase
occurred in Shakspeare, we should have had somebody defending it as
tenderly poetical. We cannot but think it a sacrifice in Mr. White that
he has given up the _whatsomeres_ of the Folio. He does retain _puisny_
as the old form, but why not spell it _puisné_ and so indicate its
meaning? Mr. White informs us that "the grammatical form in use in
Shakspeare's day" was to have the verb govern a nominative case!
Accordingly, he perpetuates the following oversight of the poet or
blunder of the printer:--

[Footnote H: _Suppression of the Monasteries_, p. 13.]

            "What he is, indeed,
  More suits you to conceive, than _I_ to speak of."

Again, he says that _who_, as an objective case, "is in accordance with
the grammatical usage of Shakspeare's day," (Vol. II. p. 86,) and that,
"considering the unsettled state of minor grammatical relations in
Shakspeare's time," it is possible that he wrote _whom_ as a nominative
(Vol. V. p. 393). But the most extraordinary instance is where he makes
a nominative plural agree with a verb in the second person singular,
(Vol. III. p. 121,) and justifies it by saying that "such disagreements
... are not uncommon in Shakspeare's writings, and those of his
contemporaries." The passage reads as follows in Mr. White's edition:--

            "A breath thou art,
  Servile to all the skiey influences
  That dost this habitation where thou keep'st
  Hourly afflict."

Hanmer (mistaking the meaning) read _do_. Porson objected, on the ground
that it was _thou_ and not _influences_ which governed _dost_. Porson
was certainly right, and we wonder how any one could ever have
understood the passage in any other way. The mediaevals had as much
trouble in reconciling free-will with judicial astrology as we with the
divine foreknowledge. A passage in Dante, it appears to us, throws light
on the meaning of the Duke's speech:--

  "Lo cielo i vostri movimenti inizia;
  Non dico tutti; ma posto ch' io 'l dica
  Lume v' è dato a bene ed a malizia,
  E libero voler che, se fatica
  Nelle prime battaglie col ciel dura,
  Poi vince tutto se ben si notrica."

  _Purg._, Cant. xvi.

_Cielo_ is here used for the influence of the stars, as is clear from a
parallel passage in the "Convito." Accordingly, "Though servile to all
the skyey influences, it is thou, breath as thou art, that dost hourly
afflict thy body with the results of sin." But even if this be not the
meaning, is Mr. White correct in saying that _influence_ had no plural
at that time?[I] Had he forgotten "the sweet _influences_ of Pleiades"?
The word occurs in this form not only in our version of the Bible,
but in that of Cranmer, and in the "Breeches" Bible. So in Chapman's
"Byron's Conspiracy," (Ed. 1608, B. 3,)

  "Where the beames of starres have carv'd
  Their powerful _influences_."

[Footnote I: Mr. White cites Dr. Richardson, but the Doctor is not
always a safe guide.]

Mr. White repeatedly couples together the translators of the Bible and
Shakspeare, but he seems to have studied their grammar but carelessly.
"_Whom_ therefore ye ignorantly worship, _him_ declare I unto you," is a
case in point, and we ought never to forget our danger from that dusky
personage who goes about "seeking _whom_ he may devour." At a time
when correction of the press was so imperfect, one instance of true
construction should outweigh twenty false, and nothing could be easier
than the mistake of _who_ for _whom_, when the latter was written
_wh[=o]_. A glance at Ben Jonson's English Grammar is worth more than
all theorizing. Mr. White thinks it probable that Shakspeare understood
French, Latin, and Italian, but not--English!

The truth is, that, however forms of spelling varied, (as they must
where both writers and printers spelt phonographically,) the forms of
grammatical construction were as strict then as now. There were some
differences of usage, as where two nominatives coupled by a conjunction
severally governed the verb, and where certain nouns in the plural were
joined with a verb in the singular,--as _dealings, doings, tidings,
odds_, and as is still the case with _news_. It is not impossible that
the French termination in _esse_ helped to make the confusion. We have
in the opposite way made a plural of _riches_, which was once singular.
Some persons used the strong preterites, and some the weak,--some said
_snew, thew, sew_, and some _snowed, thawed, sowed_. Bishop Latimer
used the preterite _shew_, which Mr. Bartlett, in his "Dictionary of
Americanisms," pronounces to be the _shibboleth_ of Bostonians. But such
differences were orthoepic, and not syntactic.

We regret Mr. White's glossological excursions the more because they are
utterly supererogatory, and because they seem to imply a rashness of
conclusion which can very seldom be laid to his charge as respects the
text. He volunteers, without the least occasion for it, an opinion that
_abye_ and _abide_ are the same word, (which they are not,) suggests
that _vile_ and _vild_ (whose etymology, he says, is obscure) may
be related to the Anglo-Saxon _hyldan_, and tells us that _dom_ is
Anglo-Saxon for house. He pronounces _ex cathedrâ_ that _besides_ is
only a vulgar form of _beside_, though the question is still _sub
judice_, and though the language has contrived adverbial and
prepositional forms out of the distinction, as it has, in the case of
the compounds with _ward_ and _wards_, adverbial and adjectival ones.[J]
He declares that the distinction between _shall_ and _will_ was
imperfectly known in Shakspeare's time, though we believe it would not
be difficult to prove that the distinction was more perfect in some
respects than now. We the less value his opinion on these points as he
himself shows an incomplete perception of the difference between _would_
and _should_. (See Vol. V. pp. 114, 115, "We _would_ now say, 'all
liveliness,'" and "We _would_ now write, 'the traits of,'" etc.) He says
that the pronunciation _commandèment_ was already going out of use two
centuries and a half ago. Mr. Pegge speaks of it as a common Cockneyism
at the beginning of this century. Sometimes this hastiness, however,
affects the value of an elucidatory note, as where he tells us that a
principality is "an angel of the highest rank next to divinity" [deity],
and quotes St. Paul, breaking off the passage at the word in question.
But St. Paul goes on to say _powers_,--and there were, in fact, three
orders of angels above the principalities, the highest being the
Seraphim. An editor should be silent or correct, especially where there
is no need of saying anything.

[Footnote J: It is singular, if the _s_ be a corruption, that the
Germans should have fallen into the same in their _vorwärts_ and
_rückwärts_. We are inclined to conjecture the _s_ a genitival one,
supplying the place of a missing _of_ and _von_ respectively. We
formerly said, "of this side," "of that side," etc.; but the idiomatic
sense of _of_ is so entirely lost, that Mr. Craik (_English of
Shakspeare_) actually supposes _o'clock_ and _o'nights_ to be
contractions of "_on_ the clock," "_on_ nights," and that, although we
still say habitually, "_of_ late," "_of_ old." The French use of _de_,
and the Italian of _di_, is parallel. The Italians have also their
_avanti_ and _davante_, and no one forgets Dante's

  "Di quà, di là, di su, dí giù, gli mena."
]

But it is after Mr. White has been bitten by the _oestrum_ of
Shakspearian pronunciation that he becomes thoroughly contradictory of
himself, especially after he has taken up the notion that "Much Ado
about Nothing" is "Much Ado about Noting," and that the _th_ was
not sounded in the England of Shakspeare. After that, his theory of
rhetorical variety seems to become that of Geoffroy, "_dire, redire, et
se contredire_." First he tells us, (Vol. II. p. 94,) that "the old form
'murther' should be retained because it is etymologically correct, and
because it was the uniform orthography of the day, [a hasty assumption,]
_and the word was pronounced in accordance with it_." Next, (in order to
sustain his anti-_th_ theory,) he says, (Vol. III. p. 227,) that "the
last syllable of 'murder,' then written _mur_th_er_, _seems to have been
pronounced somewhat like the same syllable_ of the French _meurtre_."
He assures us (Vol. III. p. 340) that _raisin_ was pronounced as we now
pronounce _reason_, and adds, "The custom has not entirely passed
away." Certainly not, as any one who knows Thackeray's "Mulligan of
Ballymulligan" is aware. But Mr. White (having forgotten for a moment
his conclusion that _swears_ was anciently _sweers_) quotes (Vol. V. pp.
399-400) from the "Haven of Health" as follows:--"Among us in England
they be of two sorts, that is to say, great _Raysons_ and small
_Raysons_" (the Italics are our own). In "Love's Labor's Lost," he
spells Biron _Birone_, (Chapman spelt it _Byron_,) as being nearer the
supposed pronunciation of Shakspeare's day; but finding it rhyming with
_moon_, he is obliged also to assume that _moon_ was called _mown_, and
is severe on Mr. Fox for saying _Touloon_. He forgets that we have other
words of the same termination in English for whose pronunciation Mr. Fox
did not set the fashion. The French termination _on_ became _oon_ in
_bassoon, pontoon, balloon, galloon, spontoon, raccoon_, (Fr. _raton_,)
_Quiberoon, Cape Bretoon_, without any help from Mr. Fox. So also
_croon_ from (Fr.) _carogne_,--of which Dr. Richardson (following
Jamieson) gives a false etymology. The occurrence of _pontoon_ in
Blount's "Glossographia," published before Mr. Fox was born, shows the
tendency of the language.[K] Or did Mr. Fox invent the word _boon_?

[Footnote K: Let us remark, in passing, that the spellings "Berowne,"
"Petruchio," and "Borachio" are strong indications that the manuscript
copies of the plays in which they occur were dictated to an amanuensis.]

The pronunciation of words in Shakspeare's time is a matter of no
particular consequence, except that it may be made the basis of
conjectural emendation. This consideration gives the question some
importance, and, as error is one of those plants which propagate
themselves from the root, it is well to attempt its thorough eradication
at the outset.

Autolycus sings,--

  "If tinkers may have leave to live,
    And bear the sow-skin _bowget_;

  Then my account I well may give,
    And in the stocks _avouch it_."

Upon this Mr. White has the following note:--

"'The sow-skin bowget':--i.e. budget; the change of orthography being
made for the sake of the rhyme; about which our early writers, contrary
to the received opinion, were very particular. Even Ben Jonson, scholar
and grammarian as he was, did not hesitate to make radical changes in
orthography to obtain a perfect, in place of an imperfect rhyme. The
fact is important in the history of our language." (Vol. V. pp. 398-9.)

Readers of our older literature are familiar with what the early writers
of treatises on poetry say upon this subject, concerning which, under
the head of _licentia poetica_, they give some rather minute directions.
But we think Mr. White's expression "_radical_ changes" a little strong.
The insurmountable difficulty, however, in the way of forming a decided
judgment, is plain at the first glance. You have not, as Dr. Kitchener
would say, caught your hare; you have no standard. _Quis custodiet ipsos
custodes_? How shall you determine how your first word is pronounced?
and which of two rhyming words shall dominate the other? In the present
instance how do we know that _avouch_ was sounded as it is now? Its
being from the French would lead us to doubt it. And how do we know that
_bowget_ was not pronounced _boodget_, as it would be, according to Mr.
White, if spelt _budget_? Bishop Hall makes _fool_ rhyme with _cowl_.
That _ou_ was sometimes pronounced _oo_ is certain. Gill (of whom
_infra_) says that the _Boreales_ pronounced _wound, waund_, and _gown,
gaun_ or _geaun_.

Mr. White supposes that _ea_ was sounded like _ee_. We are inclined to
question it, and to think that here again the French element in our
language has made confusion. It is certain that _ea_ represents in many
words the French _e_ and _ai_,--as in _measure_ and _pleasure_. The
Irish, who were taught English by Anglo-Normans, persist in giving
the _ea_ its original sound (as _baste_ for _beast_); and we Northern
Yankees need not go five miles in any direction to hear _maysure_ and
_playsure_. How long did this pronunciation last in England? to how
many words did it extend? and did it infect any of Saxon root? It
is impossible to say. Was _beat_ called _bate_? One of Mr. White's
variations from the Folio is "bull-baiting" for "bold-beating." The
mistake could have arisen only from the identity in sound of the _ea_
in the one with _ai_ in the other. Butler, too, rhymes _drum-beat_ with
_combat_. But _beat_ is from the French. When we find _least_, (Saxon,)
then, rhyming with _feast_, (French,) and also with _best_, (Shakspeare
has _beast_ and _blest_,) which is more probable, that _best_ took the
sound of _beest_, or that we have a slightly imperfect rhyme, with the
[=a] somewhat shorter in one word than the other? We think the latter.
One of the very words adduced by Mr. White (_yeasty_) is spelt _yesty_
in the Folio. But will rhymes help us? Let us see. Sir Thomas Wyat
rhymes _heares_ and _hairs_; Sir Walter Raleigh, _teares_ and
_despairs_; Chapman, _tear_ (verb) with _ear_ and _appear_; Shakspeare,
_ear_ with _hair_ and _fear_, _tears_ with _hairs_, and _sea_ with
_play_; Bishop Hall, _years_ with _rehearse_ and _expires_, and _meales_
with _quailes_. Will Mr. White decide how the _ea_ was sounded? We think
the stronger case is made out for the [=a] than for the _ee_,--for
_swears_ as we now pronounce it, than for _sweers_; though we fear our
tired readers may be tempted to perform the ceremony implied by the verb
without much regard to its orthoëpy.

Mr. White tells us that _on_ and _one_ were pronounced alike, because
Speed puns upon their assonance. He inclines to the opinion that _o_ had
commonly the long sound, as in _tone_, and supposes both words to have
been pronounced like _own_. But was absolute identity in sound ever
necessary to a pun, especially in those simpler and happier days?
Puttenham, in his "English Poesy," gives as a specimen of the art in
those days a play upon the words _lubber_ and _lover_, appreciable
now only by Ethiopian minstrels, but interesting as showing that the
tendency of _b_ and _v_ to run together was more sensible then than
now.[L] But Shakspeare unfortunately rhymes _on_ with _man_, in which
case we must either give the one word the Scotch pronunciation of _mon_,
or Hibernicize the other into _ahn_. So we find _son_, which according
to Mr. White would be pronounced _sone_, coquetting with _sun_; and Dr.
Donne, who ought to have called himself Doane, was ignorant enough to
remain all his life Dr. Dunn. But the fact is, that rhymes are no safe
guides, for they were not so perfect as Mr. White would have us believe.
Shakspeare rhymed _broken_ with _open_, _sentinel_ with _kill_, and
_downs_ with _hounds_,--to go no farther. Did he, (dreadful thought!) in
that imperfect rhyme of _leap_ and _swept_, (_Merry Wives_,) call the
former _lape_ and the latter (_Yankicè_) _swep'_? This would jump with
Mr. White's often-recurring suggestion of the Elizabethanism of our
provincial dialect.

[Footnote L: Everybody remembers how Scaliger illustrated it in the case
of the Gascons,--_Felices, quibus vivere est bibere_.]

Mr. White speaks of the vowels as having had their "pure sound" in the
Elizabethan age. We are not sure if we understand him rightly; but have
they lost it? We English have the same vowel-sounds with other nations,
but indicate them by different signs. Slight changes in orthoëpy we
cannot account for, except by pleading the general issue of custom. Why
should _foot_ and _boot_ be sounded differently? Why _food_ and _good_?
Why should the Yankee mark the distinction between the two former words,
and blur it in the case of the latter, thereby incurring the awful
displeasure of the "Autocrat," who trusses him, falcon-like, before his
million readers and adorers? Why should the Frenchman call his wooden
shoe a _sabot_ and his old shoe a _savate_, both from the same root?
Alas, we must too often in philology take Rabelais's reason for Friar
John's nose! With regard to the pronunciation of the vowels in Queen
Bess's days, so much is probable,--that the _a_ in words from the French
had more of the _ah_ sound than now, if rhymes may be trusted. We find
_placed_ rhyming with _past_; we find the participle _saft_ formed
from _save_. One relic of this occurs to us as still surviving in
that _slang_ which preserves for us so many glossologic
treasures,--_chauffer_,--_to chafe_, (in the sense of angering,)--_to
chaff_. The same is true of our Yankee _ch[)a]mber, d[)a]nger_, and
_m[)a]nger_, cited by Mr. White.

If we have apprehended the bearing of Mr. White's quotation from
Butler's English Grammar, we think he has misapprehended Butler. We wish
he had not broken the extract off so short, with an _etc_. What did
Butler mean by "_oo_ short"? Mr. White draws the inference that _Puck_
was called _Pook_, and that, since it was made to rhyme with _luck_,
that word and "all of similar orthography" were pronounced with an _oo_.
Did our ancestors have no short _u_, answering somewhat to the sound of
that vowel in the French _un_? We have little doubt of it; and since Mr.
White repeats so often that we Yankees have retained the Elizabethan
words and sounds, may we not claim their pronunciation of _put_ (like
_but_) and _sut_ for _soot_, as relics of it? If they had it not, how
soon did it come into the language? Already we find Lord Herbert of
Cherbury using _pundonnore_, (_point d'honneur_,) which may supply Dr.
Richardson with the link he wants between _pun_ and _point_, for the
next edition of his Dictionary. Alexander Gill, head-master of St.
Paul's School and Milton's teacher, published his "Logonomia Anglica" in
1621, a book which throws more light on the contemporary pronunciation
of English than any other we know of. He makes three forms of _u_:
the _tenuis_, as in _use_,--the _crassa brevis_, as in _us_,--and the
_longa_, as in _ooze_. The Saxons had, doubtless, two sounds of _oo_,
a long and a short; and the Normans brought them a third in the French
liquid _u_, if they had it not before. We say _if_, because their organs
have boggled so at the sound in certain combinations, ending in such
wine-thick success as _piktcher, portraitcher_.

  "On earth's green _cinkcher_ fell a heavy _Jew_!"

That the _u_ had formerly, in many cases, the sound attributed to it by
Mr. White, we have no question; that it had that sound when Shakspeare
wrote "Midsummer Night's Dream," and in such words as _luck_, is not so
clear to us. We suspect that form of it was already retreating into the
provincial dialects, where it still survives.

Another of Mr. White's theories is that _moon_ was pronounced _mown_.
Perhaps it was; but, if so, it is singular that this pronunciation
is not found in any dialect of our language where almost every other
archaism is caught skulking. And why was it spelt _moon_? When did
_soon_ and _spoon_ take their present form and sound? That _oo_ was not
sounded like _o_ long is certain from Webbe's saying, that, to make
_poore_ and _doore_ rhyme with _more_, they must be written _pore_ and
_dore_. Mr. White says also that _shrew_ was pronounced _shrow_, and
cites as parallel cases _sew_ and _shew_. If New England authority be
worth anything, we have the old sound here in the pronunciation _soo_,
once universal, and according both with Saxon and Latin analogy.
Moreover, Bishop Hall rhymes _shew_ with _mew_ and _sue_; so that it
will not do to be positive.

We come now to the theory on which Mr. White lays the greatest stress,
and for being the first to broach which he even claims credit. That
credit we frankly concede him, and we shall discuss the point more fully
because there is definite and positive evidence about it, and because
we think we shall be able to convince even Mr. White himself that he is
wrong. This theory is, that the _th_ was sounded like _t_ in the
word _nothing_, and in various other words, at the beginning of the
seventeenth century. This certainly seems an unaccountable anomaly at
very first sight; for we know that two sounds of _th_ existed before
that period, and exist now. What singular frost was it that froze the
sound in a few words for a few years and left it fluent in all others?

Schoolmaster Gill, in his "Logonomia," already referred to, gives an
interesting and curious reason for the loss from our alphabet of the
Anglo-Saxon signs for the grave and acute _th_. He attributes it to the
fact, that, when Henry VII. invited Wynken de Word over from Germany
to print for the first time in English, the foreign fount of types was
necessarily wanting in signs to express those Saxon sounds. Accordingly,
the form _th_ was required to stand for both. For the Germans, he says,
call _thing, Ding_, and _father, Vater_.[M] In his alphabet he gives
_though_ and _thistle_ as expressing the two sounds, which is precisely
consonant with present usage. On page 152, speaking of the difficulties
of English pronunciation to a foreigner, he says, "Etenim si has quinque
voculas, _What think the chosen judges_? quid censent electi judices?
rectè protuleris, omnem loquendi difficultatem superâsti." Ben Jonson in
his Grammar gives similar examples, and speaks also of the loss of the
Saxon signs as having made a confusion. It is certain, then, at least,
that Shakspeare did not pronounce _thing, ting_,--or, if he did, that
others did not, as we shall presently show.

[Footnote M: Praefatio, p. 6. We abridge his statement.]

Most of Mr. White's arguments in support of his opinion are theoretic;
the examples by which he endeavors to sustain it tell, with one
exception, against him. That exception is his quoting from one of
Shakspeare's sonnets the rhyme _doting_ and _nothing_. But this proves
nothing (noting?); for we have already shown that Shakspeare, like all
his contemporaries, was often content with assonance, where identity
could not be had, in rhyming. Generally, indeed, the argument from
rhymes is like that of the Irishman who insisted that _full_ must be
pronounced like _dull_, because he found it rhyming with _b[)u]ll_. Mr.
White also brings forward the fact, that _moth_ is spelt _mote_, and
argues therefrom that the name of the Page Moth has hitherto been
misconceived. But how many _th_ sounds does he mean to rob us of? And
how was _moth_ really pronounced? Ben Jonson rhymes it with _sloth_ and
_cloth_; Herrick, with _cloth_. Alexander Gill tells us (p. 16) that it
was a Northern provincialism to pronounce _cloth_ long (like _both_),
and accordingly we are safe in believing that _moth_ was pronounced
precisely as it is now. Mr. White again endeavors to find support in the
fact that _Armado_ and _renegado_ are spelt _Armatho_ and _renegatho_
in the Folio. Of course they were, (just as the Italian _Petruccio_ and
_Boraccio_ are spelt _Petruchio_ and _Borachio_,) because, being
Spanish words, they were so pronounced. His argument from the frequent
substitution of _had_ for _hath_ is equally inconclusive, because we
may either suppose it a misprint, or, as is possible, a mistake of the
printer for the Anglo-Saxon sign for _th_, which, as many contractions
certainly did, may have survived in writing long after it was banished
from print, and which would be easily confounded with _d_. Can Mr.
White find an example of _dod_ for _doth_, where the word could not be
doubtful to the compositor? The inability of foreigners to pronounce the
_th_ was often made a source of fun on the stage. Puttenham speaks of
_dousand_ for _thousand_ as a vulgarism. Shakspeare himself makes Caius
say _dat_, and "by my _trot_"; and in Marston's "Dutch Courtezan," (Act
ii. Sc. 1,) we find Francischina, (a Dutch woman,) saying, "You have
brought mine love, mine honor, mine body, all to _noting_!"--to which
her interlocutrix answers, "To nothing!" It is plain that Marston did
not harden his _th_s into _t_s, nor suppose that his audience were in
the habit of doing so. How did Ben Jonson pronounce the word? He shall
answer for himself (_Vision of Delight_).--

  "Some that are proper find signify o'thing,
  And some another, and some that are _nothing_."

But perhaps he pronounced _thing, ting_? If _he_ did, Herrick as surely
did not, for he has

  "Maides should say, or virgins sing,
  Herrick keeps, as holds, _nothing_,"

where the accent divides the word into its original elements, and where
it is out of the question that he should lay the emphasis on a bit of
broken English. As to the _h_s which Mr. White adduces in such names as
_Anthony_ and such words as _authority_, they have no bearing on the
question, for those words are not English, and the _h_ in them is
perhaps only a trace of that tendency in _t_ to soften itself before
certain vowels and before _r_, as _d_ also does, with a slight sound of
_theta_, especially on the thick tongues of foreigners. Shakspeare makes
Fluellen say _athversary_; and the Latin _t_ was corrupted first to _d_
and then to _dth_ in Spanish. The _h_ here has not so much meaning as
the _h_ which has crept into _Bosporus_, for that is only the common
change of _p_ to _f_, corresponding to _v_ for _b_. So when Mr. White
reads _annotanize_ rather than _anatomize_, because the Folio has
_annothanize_, we might point him to Minsheu's "Spanish Dictionary,"
where, in the earlier editions, we find _anathomia_. In _lanthorn_,
another word adduced by Mr. White, the _h_ is a vulgarism of spelling
introduced to give meaning to a foreign word, the termination being
supposed to be derived from the material (horn) of which lanterns were
formerly made,--like _Bully Ruffian_ for _Bellerophon_ in our time, and
_Sir Piers Morgan_ for _Primaguet_ three centuries ago. As for _t'one_
and _t'other_, they should be _'tone_ and _'tother_, being elisions
for _that one_ and _that other_, relics of the Anglo-Saxon declinable
definite article, still used in Frisic.

We have been minute in criticizing this part of Mr. White's notes,
because we think his investigations misdirected, the results at which he
arrives mistaken, and because we hope to persuade him to keep a tighter
rein on his philological zeal in future. Even could he show what the
pronunciation of Shakspeare's day was, it is idle to encumber his
edition with such disquisitions, for we shall not find Shakspeare
clearer for not reading him in his and our mother-tongue. The field of
philology is famous for its mare's-nests; and, if imaginary eggs are
worth little, is it worth while brooding on imaginary chalk ones,
nest-eggs of delusion?

Life is short and Shakspeare long. We believe the pronunciation of
Shakspeare's day to have been so qualified with perfectly understood
provincialisms as to have allowed puns and rhymes impossible now. It is
not eighty years since you could tell the county[N] of every country
member of Parliament by his speech. Speculations like Mr. White's would
be better placed in a monograph by themselves. We have subjected his
volumes to a laborious examination such as few books receive, because
the text of Shakspeare is a matter of common and great concern, and
they have borne the trial, except in these few impertinent particulars,
admirably. Mr. Dyce and Mr. Singer are only dry commonplace-books of
illustrative quotations; Mr. Collier has not wholly recovered from his
"Corr. fo."-madness; Mr. Knight (with many eminent advantages as an
editor) is too diffuse; and we repeat our honest persuasion, that Mr.
White has thus far given us the best extant text, while the fulness of
his notes gives his edition almost the value of a _variorum_. We shall
look with great interest for his succeeding volumes.

[Footnote N: Mr. White is mistaken in thinking that to say "my country"
for "my county" was a peculiarity of Shallow. It was common in the last
century in England. He is wrong also in thinking that he was restoring a
characteristic vulgarism in _aleven_. Gabriel Harvey uses it, and says
there is no difference in sound between that and _a leaven_.]

       *       *       *       *       *

In the introductory part of this article, we said that it was doubtful
if Shakspeare had any conscious moral intention in his writings. We
meant only that he was purely and primarily poet. And while he was
an English poet in a sense that is true of no other, his method was
thoroughly Greek, yet with this remarkable difference,--that, while the
Greek dramatists took purely national themes and gave them a universal
interest by their mode of treatment, he took what may be called
cosmopolitan traditions, legends of human nature, and nationalized them,
by the infusion of his perfectly Anglican breadth of character and
solidity of understanding. Wonderful as his imagination and fancy are,
his perspicacity and artistic discretion are more so. This country
tradesman's son, coming up to London, could set high-bred wits, like
Beaumont, uncopiable lessons in drawing gentlemen such as are seen
nowhere else but on the canvas of Titian; he could take Ulysses away
from Homer and expand the shrewd and crafty islander into a statesman
whose words are the pith of history. But what makes him yet more
exceptional was his utterly unimpeachable judgment, and that poise of
character which enabled him to be at once the greatest of poets and so
unnoticeable a good citizen as to leave no incidents for biography. His
material was never far-sought; (it is still disputed whether the fullest
head of which we have record were cultivated beyond the range of
grammar-school precedent!) but he used it with a poetic instinct which
we cannot parallel, identified himself with it, yet remained always its
born and question-less master. He finds the Clown and Fool upon the
stage,--he makes them the tools of his pleasantry, his satire, and even
his pathos; he finds a fading rustic superstition, and shapes out of
it ideal Pucks, Titanias, and Ariels, in whose existence statesmen and
scholars believe forever. Always poet, he subjects all to the ends
of his art, and gives in Hamlet the churchyard-ghost, but with the
cothurnus on,--the messenger of God's revenge against murder; always
philosopher, he traces in Macbeth the metaphysics of apparitions,
painting the shadowy Banquo only on the o'erwrought brain of the
murderer, and staining the hand of his wife-accomplice (because she was
the more refined and higher nature) with the disgustful blood-spot that
is not there. We say he had no moral intention, for the reason, that,
as artist, it was not his to deal with the realities, but only with
the shows of things; yet, with a temperament so just, an insight so
inevitable as his, it was impossible that the moral reality, which
underlies the _mirage_ of the poet's vision, should not always be
suggested. His humor and satire are never of the destructive kind; what
he does in that way is suggestive only,--not breaking bubbles with
Thor's hammer, but puffing them away with the breath of a Clown, or
shivering them with the light laugh of a genial cynic. Men go about to
prove the existence of a God! Was it a bit of phosphorus, that brain
whose creations are so real, that, mixing with them, we feel as if we
ourselves were but fleeting magic-lantern shadows?

But higher even than the genius, we rate the character of this unique
man, and the grand impersonality of what he wrote. What has he told
us of himself? In our self-exploiting nineteenth century, with its
melancholy liver-complaint, how serene and high he seems! If he had
sorrows, he has made them the woof of everlasting consolation to his
kind; and if, as poets are wont to whine, the outward world was cold
to him, its biting air did but trace itself in loveliest frost-work of
fancy on the many windows of that self-centred and cheerful soul.

       *       *       *       *       *


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