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Title: The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 04, No. 21, July, 1859
Author: Various
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 04, No. 21, July, 1859" ***

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VOL. IV.--JULY, 1859.--NO. XXI.



"Nay, so far did he carry his obstinacy, that he absolutely invited a
professed Anti-Diluvian from the Gallic Empire, who illuminated the
whole country with his principles and his nose."--Salmagundi.

We lukewarm moderns can hardly conceive the degree of violence and
bitterness reached by party-feeling in the early years of the United
States Constitution. A Mississippi member of Congress listening to a
Freesoil speech is mild in demeanor and expression, if we compare his
ill-nature with the spiteful fury of his predecessors in legislation
sixty years ago. The same temper was visible throughout the land. Nobody
stood aloof. Two hostile camps were pitched over against each other, and
every man in Israel was to be found in his tent. Our great experiment
was a new one; on its success depended the personal welfare of every
citizen, and naturally every citizen was anxious to train up that
experiment in the way which promised to his reason or to his feelings
the best result.

The original Federalists of 1787 were in favor of effacing as much
as possible the boundary-lines of the Thirteen Colonies, and of
consolidating them into a new, united, and powerful people, under a
strong central government. The first Anti-Federalists were made up of
several sects: one branch, sincere republicans, were fearful that the
independence of the States was in danger, and that consolidation would
prepare the way for monarchy; another, small, but influential, still
entertained the wish for reunion with England, or, at least, for the
adoption of the English form of government,--and, hoping that the
dissensions of the old Confederation might lead to some such result,
drank the health of the Bishop of Osnaburg in good Madeira, and objected
to any system which might place matters upon a permanent republican
basis; and a third party, more numerous and noisy than either, who knew
by long experience that the secret of home popularity was to inspire
jealousy of the power of Congress, were unwilling to risk the loss of
personal consequence in this new scheme of centralization, and took good
care not to allow the old local prejudices and antipathies to slumber.
The two latter classes of patriots are well described by Franklin in his
"Comparison of the Ancient Jews with the Modern Anti-Federalists,"--a
humorous allegory, which may have suggested to the Senator from Ohio his
excellent conceit of the Israelite with Egyptian principles. "Many,"
wrote Franklin, "still retained an affection for Egypt, the land of
their nativity, and whenever they felt any inconvenience or hardship,
though the natural and unavoidable effect of their change of situation,
exclaimed against their leaders as the authors of their trouble,
and were not only for returning into Egypt, but for stoning their
deliverers.... Many of the chiefs thought the new Constitution might be
injurious to their particular interests,--that the profitable places
would be engrossed by the families and friends of Moses and Aaron, and
others, equally well born, excluded."

Time has decided this first point in favor of the Unionists. None of
the evils prophesied by their opponents have as yet appeared. The
independence of the individual States remains inviolate, and, although
the central executive has grown yearly more powerful, a monarchy
seems as remote as ever. Local distinctions are now little prized in
comparison with federal rank. It is not every man who can recollect the
name of the governor of his own State; very few can tell that of the
chief of the neighboring Commonwealth. The old boundaries have grown
more and more indistinct; and when we look at the present map of the
Union, we see only that broad black line known as Mason and Dixon's, on
one side of which are neatness, thrift, enterprise, and education,--and
on the other, whatever the natives of that region may please to call it.

After 1789, the old Egypt faction ceased to exist, except as grumblers;
but the States-Rights men, though obliged to acquiesce in the
Constitution, endeavored, by every means of "construction" their
ingenuity could furnish, to weaken and restrict the exercise and the
range of its power. The Federalists, on the other hand, held that want
of strength was the principal defect of the system, and were for adding
new buttresses to the Constitutional edifice. It is curious to remark
that neither party believed in the permanency of the Union. Then
came into use the mighty adjectives "constitutional" and
"unconstitutional,"--words of vast import, doing equally good service
to both parties in furnishing a word to express their opinion of the
measures they urged and of those they objected to. And then began to be
strained and frayed that much-abused piece of parchment which Thomas
Paine called the political Bible of the American people, and foolishly
thought indispensable to liberty in a representative government. "Ask an
American if a certain act be constitutional," says Paine, "he pulls out
his pocket volume, turns to page and verse, and gives you a correct
answer in a moment." Poor Mr. Paine! if you had lived fifty years
longer, you would have seen that paper constitutions, like the paper
money you despised so justly, depend upon honesty and confidence for
their value, and are at a sad discount in hard times of fraud and
corruption. Unprincipled men find means of evading the written agreement
upon their face by ingenious subterfuges or downright repudiation. An
arbitrary majority will construe the partnership articles to suit their
own interests, and _stat pro constitutione voluntas_. It is true that
the _litera scripta_ remains, but the meaning is found to vary with the

In 1791, when the two parties were fairly formed and openly pitted
against each other, a new element of discord had entered into politics,
which added the bitterness of class-feeling to the usual animosity of
contention. Society in the Middle and Southern States had been composed
of a few wealthy and influential families, and of a much more numerous
lower class who followed the lead of the great men. These lesser
citizens had now determined to set up for themselves, and had enlisted
in the ranks of the Anti-Federalists, who soon assumed the name and
style of Democrats, an epithet first bestowed upon them in derision, but
joyfully adopted,--one of the happiest hits in political nomenclature
ever made. _In hoc verbo vinces:_ In that word lay victory. If any one
be tempted, in this age, to repeat the stupid question, "What's in a
name?" let him be answered,--Everything: place, power, pelf, perhaps we
may add peculation. "The Barons of Virginia," chiefs of State-Rights,
who at home had been in favor of a governor and a senate for life, and
had little to fear from any lower class in their own neighborhood, saw
how much was to be gained by "taking the people into partnership," as
Herodotus phrases it, and commenced that alliance with the proletaries
of the North which has proved so profitable to Southern leaders. In New
England, the land of industry, self-control, and superior cultivation,
(for the American Parnassus was then in Connecticut, either in Hartford,
or on Litchfield Hill,) there was, comparatively speaking, no lower
class. The Eastern men, whose levelling spirit and equality of ranks
had been so much disliked and dreaded by the representatives from other
Colonies in the Ante-Revolutionary Congresses, had undergone little or
no social change by the war, and probably had at that period a more
correct idea of civil liberty and free government than any other people
on the face of the earth. General Charles Lee wrote to an English
friend, that the New-Englanders were the only Americans who really
understood the meaning of republicanism, and many years later De
Tocqueville came to nearly the same opinion:--_"C'est dans la Nouvelle
Angleterre que se sont combinées les deux ou trois idées principales,
qui aujourd'hui forment les bases de la théorie sociale des
États-Unis."_ In this region Federalism reigned supreme. The
New-Englanders desired a strong, honest, and intelligent government;
they thought, with John Adams, that "true equality is to do as you would
be done by," and agreed with Hamilton, that "a government in which every
man may aspire to any office was free enough for all purposes"; and
judging from what they saw at home, they looked upon Anti-Federalism not
only as erroneous in theory, but as disreputable in practice. "The name
of Democrat," writes a fierce old gentleman to his son, "is despised; it
is synonymous with infamy." Out of New England a greater social change
was going forward. Already appeared that impatience of all restraint
which is so alarming a symptom of our times. Every rogue, "who felt the
halter draw," wanted to know if it was for tyranny like this that the
Colonies had rebelled. "Such a monster of a government has seldom or
never been known on earth. A blessed Revolution, a blessed Revolution,
indeed!--_but farmers, mechanics, and laborers had no share in it._ We
are the asses who pay." This was the burden of the Democratic song.

But the real issue between the two parties, which underlay all their
proposed measures and professed principles, was the old struggle of
classes, modified of course by the time and the place. The Democrats
contended for perfect equality, political and social, and as little
power as possible in the central government so long as their party was
not in command. The Federalists, who held the reins, were for a strong
conservative administration, and a wholesome distinction of classes.
The two parties were not long in waiting for flags to rally around, and
fresh fields on which to fight. The French Revolution furnished both.
In its early stages it had excited a general sympathy in America; and,
indeed, so has every foreign insurrection, rebellion, or riot since, no
matter where or why it occurred, provided good use has been made of the
sacred words Revolution and Liberty. This cry has never been echoed in
this country without exciting a large body of men to mass-meetings,
dinners, and other public demonstrations, who do not stop to consider
what it means, or whether, in the immediate instance, it has any meaning
at all. John Adams said in his "Defence of American Constitutions," "Our
countrymen will never run delirious after a word or a name." Mr. Adams
was much mistaken. If, according to the Latin proverb, a word is
sufficient for a wise man, so, in another sense, it is all that is
needful for fools. But as the Revolution advanced in France towards
republicanism, the Federalists, who thought the English system, less the
king and the hereditary lords, the best scheme of government, began to
grow lukewarm. When it became evident that the New Era was to end in
bloodshed, instead of universal peace and good-will towards men,--that
the Rights of Man included murder, confiscation, and atheism,--that
the Sovereignty of the People meant the rule of King Mob, who seemed
determined to carry out to the letter Diderot's famous couplet,--

  "Et des boyaux du dernier prêtre
  Serrez le cou du dernier des rois,"--

then the adjective _French_ became in Federal mouths an epithet of
abhorrence and abuse; up went the flag of dear Old England, the defender
of the faith and of social order. The opposition party, on the contrary,
saw in the success of the French people, in their overthrow of kings
and nobles, a cheerful encouragement to their own struggle against the
aristocratic Federalists, and would allow no sanguinary irregularities
to divert their sympathy from the great Democratic triumph abroad. The
gay folds of the tricolor which floated over them seemed to shed upon
their heads a mild influence of that Gallic madness that led them into
absurdities we could not now believe, were they not on record. The
fashions, sartorial and social, of the French were affected; amiable
Yankees called each other _citizen_, invented the feminine _citess_,
and proposed changing our old calendar for the Ventose and Fructidor
arrangement of the one and indivisible republic. (We wish they had
adopted their admirable system of weights and measures.) Divines are
said to have offered up thanks to the Supreme Being for the success of
the good _Sans-culottes_. At all events, their victories were celebrated
by civic festivals and the discharge of cannon; the English flag was
burned as a sacrifice to the Goddess of Liberty; a French frigate took
a prize off the Capes of the Delaware, and sent her in to Philadelphia;
thousands of the populace crowded the wharves, and, when the British
colors were seen reversed, and the French flying over them, burst into
exulting hurras. When a report came that the Duke of York was a prisoner
and shown in a cage in Paris, all the bells of Philadelphia rang peals
of joy for the downfall of tyrants. Here is the story of a civic _fête_
given at Reading, in Massachusetts, which we extract from a newspaper of
the time as a specimen of the Gallo-Yankee absurdities perpetrated by
our grandfathers:--

"The day was ushered in by the ringing of the bells, and a salute of
fifteen discharges from a field-piece. The American flag waved in the
wind, and the flag of France over the British in inverted order. At noon
a large number of respectable citizens assembled at Citizen Raynor's,
and partook of an elegant entertainment. After dinner, Captain Emerson's
military company in uniform assembled and escorted the citizens to the
meeting-house, where an address pertinent to the occasion was delivered
by the Rev. Citizen Prentiss, and united prayers and praises were
offered to God, and several hymns and anthems were well sung; after
which they returned in procession to Citizen Raynor's, where three
farmers, with their frocks and utensils, and with a tree on their
shoulders, were escorted by the military company formed in a hollow
square to the Common, where the tree was planted in form, as an emblem
of freedom, and the Marseillaise Hymn was sung by a choir within a
circle round the tree. Major Boardman, by request, superintended the
business of the day, and directed the manoeuvres."

In the Gallic jargon then fashionable, England was "an insular Bastille
of slaves," and New England "the Vendée of America." On the other side,
the Federalists returned cheer for cheer,--looked with true British
contempt on the warlike struggles of the restless Frenchman,--chuckled
over the disasters which befell "his little popgun fleets,"--and damned
the Democrats for a pack of poor, dirty, blasphemous cutthroats. Hate
one another was the order of the day. The religious element, which
always exasperates dissension, was present. French Democrats had set
up the Goddess of Reason (in private life Mme. Momoro) as an object of
worship; American Democrats were accused of making Tom Paine's "Age of
Reason" their Bible; "Atheist" and "Infidel" were added to the epithets
which the Federalists discharged at their foes. So fierce and so general
was the quarrel on this European ground, that a distinguished foreigner,
then travelling in this country, said that he saw many French and
English, but scarcely ever met with an American. Weld, a more humble
tourist, put into his book, that in Norfolk, Virginia, he found half the
town ready to fight the other half on the French question. Meanwhile,
both French and English treated us with ill-disguised contempt,
and inflicted open outrages upon our commerce. But it made little
difference. One faction was willing to be kicked by England; and the
other took a pleasure in being _souffleté_ by France. The rival flags
were kept flying until the close of the war of 1812.

An outbreak of Democratic fury bordering upon treason took place, when
Senator Mason of Virginia violated the oath of secrecy, and sent a
copy of Jay's treaty with England to the "Aurora." Meetings passed
condemnatory resolutions expressed in no mild language. Jay was "a
slave, a traitor, a coward, who had bartered his country's liberties for
British gold." Mobs burned Jay in effigy, and pelted Alexander Hamilton.
At a public meeting in Philadelphia, Mr. Blair threw the treaty to the
crowd, and advised them to kick it to hell. They carried it on a pole
in procession, and burned it before the English minister's house. A
Democratic society in Richmond, Virginia, full of the true modern South
Carolina "sound and fury," gave public notice, that, if the treaty
entered into by "that damned arch traitor, John Jay, with the British
tyrant should be ratified, a petition will be presented to the next
General Assembly of Virginia praying that the said State may recede
from the Union, and be left under the government and protection of
one hundred thousand free and independent Virginians!" A meeting at
Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, resolved, "that it was weary of the tardiness
of Congress in not going to war with England, and that they were _almost
ready_ to wish for a state of revolution and the guillotine of France
for a short space, in order to punish the miscreants who enervate and
disgrace the government." Mr. Jefferson's opinion of the treaty is well
known from his rhetorical letter to Rutledge, which, in two or three
lines, contains the adjectives, _unnecessary, impolitic, dangerous,
dishonorable, disadvantageous, humiliating, disgraceful, improper,
monarchical, impeachable_. The Mazzei letter, written not long after the
ratification, displays the same bitter feeling.

The Federalists had a powerful ally in William Cobbett, who signed
himself Peter Porcupine, adopting for his literary _alias_ a nickname
bestowed by his enemies. This remarkable writer, who, like Paine,
figured in the political conflicts of two nations, must have come into
the world bristling with pugnacity. A more thorough game-cock never
crowed in the pit. He had been a private in the English army, came
to the United States about 1790, and taught French to Americans, and
English to Frenchmen, (to Talleyrand among others,) until 1794, when
the dogmatic Dr. Priestley arrived here, fresh from the scene of his
persecutions. The Doctor losing no time in laying his case before the
American public, Cobbett answered his publication, ridiculing it and the
Doctor's political career in a pamphlet which became immediately popular
with the Federalists. From that time until his departure for England, in
1800, Cobbett's pen was never idle. His "Little Plain English in Favor
of Mr. Jay's Treaty" was altogether the best thing published on that
side of the question. Cobbett had more than one point of resemblance to
Paine, the object of his early invective, but later of his unqualified
admiration. These two men were the best English pamphleteers of their
day. In shrewdness, in practical sense, Cobbett was fully Paine's equal.
He was as coarse and as pithy in expression, but with more wit, a better
education, more complete command of language, and a greater variety of
resources. Cobbett was a quicker and a harder hitter than Paine. His
personal courage gave him a great advantage in his warfaring life. In
1796, in the hottest of the French and English fight, the well-known
Porcupine opened a shop in Philadelphia. He filled his show-window with
all the prints of English kings, nobles, and generals he could collect,
and "then," he says, "I took down the shutters, and waited."

Party-feeling reached the boiling-point when Washington retired to Mount
Vernon. Mr. Adams, his successor, had none of that divinity which
hedged the Father of his Country to protect him. Under the former
administration, he had been, as Senator Grayson humorously called him,
"his superfluous Excellency," and out of the direct line of fire. He
could easily look down upon such melancholy squibs as Freneau's "Daddy
Vice" and "Duke of Braintree." But when raised above every other head by
his high office, he became a mark for the most bitter personal attacks.
Mr. Adams unfortunately thought too much about himself to be the
successful chief of a party. He allowed his warm feelings to divert
him from the main object and end of his followers. He was jealous of
Hamilton,--unwilling, in fact, to seem to be governed by the opinion of
any man, and half inclined to look for a reëlection outside of his own
party. Hamilton, the soul of the Federalists, mistrusted and disliked
Mr. Adams, and made the sad mistake of publishing his mistrust and
dislike. It must be confessed that the gentlemen who directed the
Administration party were no match as tacticians for such file-leaders
as Jefferson and Burr. Many of their pet measures were ill-judged, to
say the least. The provisional army furnished a fertile theme for fierce
declamation. The black cockade became the badge of the supporters of
government, so that in the streets one could tell at a glance whether
friend or foe was approaching. The Alien and Sedition Laws caused much
bitter feeling and did great damage to the Federalists. To read these
acts and the trials under them now excites somewhat of the feeling
with which we look upon some strange and clumsy engine of torture in a
mediaeval museum. How the temper of this people and their endurance of
legal inflictions have changed since then! There was Matthew Lyon, a
noted Democrat of Irish origin, who had published a letter charging the
President with "ridiculous pomp, idle parade, and selfish avarice." He
was found guilty of sedition, and sentenced to four months' imprisonment
and a fine of one thousand dollars. There was Cooper, an Englishman,
who fared equally ill for saying or writing that the President did not
possess sufficient capacity to fulfil the duties of his office. What
should we think of the sanity of James Buchanan, should he prosecute
and obtain a conviction against some Black-Republican Luther Baldwin of
1859, for wishing that the wad of a cannon, fired in his honor, might
strike an unmentionable part of his august person? What should we say,
if Horace Greeley were to be arrested on a warrant issued by the Supreme
Court of New York for a libel on Louis Napoleon, as was William Cobbett
by Judge McKean of Pennsylvania for a libel on the King of Spain?

Fiercer and more bitter waxed party-discord, and both sides did ample
injustice to one another. Mr. Jefferson wrote, that men who had been
intimate all their lives would cross the street and look the other way,
lest they should be obliged to touch their hats. And Gouverneur Morris
gives us a capital idea of the state of feeling when he says that a
looker-on, who took no part in affairs, felt like a sober man at a
dinner when the rest of the company were drunk. Civil war was often
talked of, and the threat of secession, which has become the rhetorical
staple of the South, produced solely for exportation to the North, to be
used there in manufacturing pro-slavery votes out of the timidity of men
of large means and little courage or perspicacity, was then freely
made by both divisions of the Union. Had we been of French or
Spanish descent, there would have been barricades, _coup-d'états,
pronunciamentos_; but the English race know better how to treat the
body-politic. They never apply the knife except for the most desperate
operations. But where hard words were so plenty, blows could not fail.
Duels were frequent, cudgellings not uncommon,--although as yet the
Senate-Chamber had not been selected as the fittest scene for the use
of the bludgeon. It is true that molasses-and-water was the beverage
allowed by Congress in those simple times, and that charged to

What terrible fellows our ancestors were for calling
names,--particularly the gentlemen of the press! If they had been
natives of the Island of Frozen Sounds, along the shore of which
Pantagruel and Panurge coasted, they would have stood up to their
chins in scurrilous epithets. The comical sketch of their rhetoric in
"Salmagundi" is literally true:--"Every day have these slangwhangers
made furious attacks on each other and upon their respective adherents,
discharging their heavy artillery, consisting of large sheets loaded
with scoundrel, villain, liar, rascal, numskull, nincompoop, dunderhead,
wiseacre, blockhead, jackass." As single words were not always explosive
enough to make a report equal to their feelings, they had recourse to
compounds;--"pert and prating popinjay," "hackneyed gutscraper," "maggot
of corruption," "toad on a dung-heap," "snivelling sophisticating
hound," are a few of the chain-shot which strike our eyes in turning
over the yellow faded files. They are all quiet now, those eager,
snarling editors of fifty years since, and mostly forgotten. Even the
ink which records their spiteful abuse is fading away;--

  "Dunne no more the halter dreads,
  The torrent of his lies to check,
  No gallows Cheetham's dreams invades,
  Nor lours o'er Holt's devoted neck."

Emerson's saying, that involuntarily we read history as superior beings,
is never so true as when we read history before it has been worked
up for the public, in the raw material of letters, pamphlets, and
newspapers. Feverish paragraphs, which once excited the enthusiasm of
one party and the fiercest opposition of the other, lie before us as
dead and as unmeaning as an Egyptian mummy. The passion which once
gave them life is gone. The objects which the writers considered
all-important we perceive to have been of no real significance even in
their day. We read on with a good-natured pity, akin to the feeling
which the gods of Epicurus might be supposed to experience when they
looked down upon foolish mortals,--and when we shut the book, go out
into our own world to fret, fume, and wrangle over things equally
transitory and frivolous.

When it became evident that the Administration party ran the risk of
being beaten in the election of 1800, their trumpeters sounded the
wildest notes of alarm. "People! how long will you remain blind? Awake!
be up and doing! If Mr. Jefferson is elected, the equal representation
of the small States in the Senate will be destroyed, the funding
system swept away, the navy abolished, all commerce and foreign trade
prohibited, and the fruits of the soil left to rot on the hands of the
farmer. The taxes will all fall on the landed interest, all the churches
will be overturned, none but Frenchmen employed by government, and
the monstrous system of liberty and equality, with all its horrid
consequences, as experienced in France and St. Domingo, will inevitably
be introduced." Thus they shouted, and no doubt many of the shouters
sincerely believed it all. Nevertheless, and in spite of these alarums,
the Revolution of '99, as Mr. Jefferson liked to call it, took place
without bloodshed, and in 1801 that gentleman mounted the throne.

After this struggle was over, the Federalists, some from conviction and
some from disgust at being beaten, gave up the country as lost. Worthy
New-Englanders, like Cabot, Fisher Ames, and Wolcott, had no longer
hope. They sank into the position of mere grumblers, with one leading
principle,--admiration of England, and a willingness to submit to any
insults which England in her haughtiness might please to inflict. "We
are sure," says the "Boston Democrat," "that George III. would find more
desperately devoted subjects in New England than in any part of his
dominions." The Democrats, of course, clung to their motto, "Whatever
is in France is right," and even accepted the arbitrary measures of
Bonaparte at home as a mere change of system, and abroad as forced upon
him by British pirates. It is curious to read the high Federalist papers
in the first days of their sorrow. In their contradictory fault-finding
sulkiness, they give some color of truth to Mr. Jefferson's accusation,
that the Federal leaders were seeking to establish a monarchy,--a charge
well known to be unfounded, as Washington said at the time. "What is the
use of celebrating the Fourth of July?" they asked. "Freedom is a stale,
narcotic topic. The Declaration of Independence a useless, if not an
odious libel upon a friendly nation connected with us by the silken band
of amity." Fenno, in his paper, said the Declaration was "a placard
of rebellion, a feeble production, in which the spirit of rebellion
prevailed over the love of order." Dennie, in the "Portfolio,"
anticipating Mr. Choate, called it "an incoherent accumulation of
indigestible and impracticable political dogmas, dangerous to the
peace of the world, and seditious in its local tendency, and, as a
composition, equally at variance with the laws of construction and the
laws of regular government." The Federalist opinion of the principles
of the Administration party was avowed with equal frankness in their
papers. "A democracy is the most absurd constitution, productive of
anarchy and mischief, which must always happen when the government of a
nation depends upon the caprice of the ignorant, harebrained vulgar. All
the miseries of men for a long series of years grew out of that infamous
mode of polity, a democracy; which is to be reckoned to be only the
corruption and degeneracy of a republic, and not to be ranked among the
legitimate forms of government. If it be not a legitimate government, we
owe it no allegiance. He is a blind man who does not see this truth; he
is a base man who will not assert it. Democratic power is tyranny, in
the principle, the beginning, the progress, and the end. It is on its
trial here, and the issue will be civil war, desolation, and anarchy."
These and other foolish excerpts were kept before their readers by the
"Aurora" and "Boston Chronicle," leading Democratic organs, and
served to sweeten their triumph and to seal the fate of the unlucky

The difference between the tone of these extracts and that of our
present journalists, when they touch upon the abstract principles of
government, may indicate to us the firm hold which the Democratic theory
has taken of our people. As that conquering party marched onward, the
opposition was forced to follow after, and to encamp upon the ground
their powerful enemy left behind him. To-day when we see gentlemen who
consider themselves Conservatives in the ranks of the Democrats, we may
suppose that the tour of the political circle is nearly completed.

A momentary lull had followed the storm of the election, when Mr.
Jefferson boldly threw down another "bone for the Federalists to gnaw."
He wrote to Thomas Paine, inviting him to America, and offering him a
passage home in a national vessel. "You will, in general, find us," he
added, "returned to sentiments worthy of former times; in these it will
be your glory to have steadily labored, and with as much effect as any
man living. That you may live long, to continue your useful labors and
reap the reward in the thankfulness of nations, is my sincere prayer.
Accept the assurance of my high esteem and affectionate attachment." Mr.
Jefferson went even farther. He openly announced his intention of giving
Paine an office, if there were one in his gift suitable for him. Now,
although Paine had been absent for many years, he had not been forgotten
by the Americans. The echo of the noise he made in England reached our
shores; and English echoes were more attentively listened to then even
than at present. His "Rights of Man" had been much read in this country.
Indeed, it was asserted, and upon pretty good authority, that Jefferson
himself, when Secretary of State, had advised and encouraged the
publication of an American edition as an antidote to the "Davila" of Mr.
Adams. Even the "Age of Reason" had obtained an immense circulation from
the great reputation of the author. It reminded the Rev. Mr. Goodrich,
and other Orthodox New-Englanders, of Milton's description of Death,--

  "Black it stood as night,
  Fierce as ten furies, terrible as hell."

Yet numbers of people, nothing frightened, would buy and read. "No
work," Dr. Francis tells us, "had a demand for readers comparable to
that of Paine. The 'Age of Reason,' on its first appearance in New York,
was printed as an orthodox book by orthodox publishers,--doubtless
deceived," the charitable Doctor adds, "by the vast renown which the
author of 'Common Sense' had obtained, and _by the prospects of sale_."
Paine's position in the French Convention, his long imprisonment,
poverty, slovenly habits, and fondness for drink, were all well
known and well talked over. William Cobbett, for one, never lost an
opportunity of dressing up Paine as a filthy monster. He wrote his
life for the sake of doing it more thoroughly. The following extract,
probably much relished at the time, will give some idea of the tone and
temper of this performance:--

"How Tom gets a living now, or what brothel he inhabits, I know not, nor
does it much signify. He has done all the mischief he can do in this
world; and whether his carcass is at last to be suffered to rot on
the earth, or to be dried in the air, is of very little consequence.
Whenever or wherever he breathes his last, he will excite neither sorrow
nor compassion; no friendly hand will close his eyes, not a groan will
be uttered, not a tear will be shed. Like Judas, he will be remembered
by posterity; men will learn to express all that is base, malignant,
treacherous, unnatural, and blasphemous by the single monosyllable of

Cobbett also wrote an _ante-mortem_ epitaph, a fit inscription for the
life he had composed. It ends thus:--

  "He is crammed in a dungeon and preaches up Reason;
  Blasphemes the Almighty, lives in filth like a hog;
  Is abandoned in death, and interred like a dog."

This brutal passage does not exaggerate the opinion of Paine's character
held by the good people of America. He was an object of horror
to them,--a rebel against government and against God,--a type of
Jacobinism, a type of Infidelity, and, with what seemed to them, no
doubt, a beautiful consistency, a type of all that was abandoned and
vile. Thomas Paine, a Massachusetts poet of _ci-devant_ celebrity,
petitioned the General Court for permission to call himself Robert Treat
Paine, on the ground that he had no Christian name. In New England,
Christianity and Federalism were looked upon as intimately connected,
and Democracy as a wicked thing, born of Tom Paine, Tom Jefferson, and
the Father of Lies. In this Trinity of Evil, Thomas Paine stood first.

During the struggle for the Presidency, Mr. Jefferson had been accused,
from every Federal stump, of the two unpardonable sins to Yankee
minds,--namely, that his notes could be bought for five shillings in the
pound, and that he did not believe in Revolution. Since his election, he
had been daily reminded of his religious short-comings by keen newspaper
attacks. He knew that he strengthened the hands of his enemies by
inviting home the Arch-Infidel. We are and were then a religious people,
in spite of the declaration in Mr. Adams's Tripolitan treaty that the
government of the United States was "not in any sense founded on the
Christian religion," and Paine could find few admirers in any class. Mr.
Jefferson, too, was well aware that the old man was broken, that the
fire had gone out of him, and that his presence in the United States
could be of no use whatever to the party. But he thought that Paine's
services in the Revolution had earned for him an asylum, and their old
acquaintance made him hasten to offer it. We think that the invitation
to Paine was one of the manliest acts of Jefferson's life.

When the matter became public, there arose a long, loud cry of abuse,
which rang from Massachusetts Bay to Washington City. Anarchy,
confusion, and the downfall of not only church, but state, were
declared to be the unavoidable consequences of Paine's return to our
shores,--that impious apostate! that Benedict Arnold, once useful, and
then a traitor! The "United States Gazette" had ten leaders on the text
of Tom Paine and Jefferson, "whose love of liberty was neither more
rational, generous, or social, than that of the wolf or the tiger." The
"New England Palladium" fairly shrieked:--"What! invite to the United
States that lying, drunken, brutal infidel, who rejoices in the
opportunity of basking and wallowing in the confusion, devastation,
bloodshed, rapine, and murder, in which his soul delights?" Why, even
the French called him the English orang-outang! He was exposed with a
monkey and a bear in a cage in Paris. In 1792, he was forbidden to haunt
the White-Bear Tavern in London. He subsisted for eight years on the
charity of booksellers, who employed him in the morning to correct
proofs; in the afternoon he was too drunk. He lodged in a cellar. He
helped the _poissardes_ to clean fish and open oysters. He lived in
misery, filth, and contempt. Not until Livingston went to France did any
respectable American call upon him. Livingston's attentions to him not
only astonished, but disgusted the First Consul, and gave him a very
mean opinion of Livingston's talents. The critical Mr. Dennie caused his
"Portfolio" to give forth this solemn strain: "If, during the present
season of national abasement, infatuation, folly, and vice, any portent
could surprise, sober men would be utterly confounded by an article
current in all our newspapers, that the loathsome Thomas Paine, a
drunken atheist and the scavenger of faction, is invited to return in
a national ship to America by the first magistrate of a free people.
A measure so enormously preposterous we cannot yet believe has been
adopted, and it would demand firmer nerves than those possessed by Mr.
Jefferson to hazard such an insult to the moral sense of the nation. If
that rebel rascal should come to preach from his Bible to our populace,
it would be time for every honest and insulted man of dignity to flee to
some Zoar as from another Sodom, to shake off the very dust of his feet
and to abandon America." "He is coming," wrote Noah Webster, ("the
mender and murderer of English,") "to publish in America the third part
of the 'Age of Reason.'" And the epigrammatists, such as they were,
tried their goose-quills on the subject:--

  "He passed his forces in review,
  Smith, Cheetham, Jones, Duane:
  'Dull rascals,--these will never do,'
  Quoth he,--'I'll send for Paine.'

  "Then from his darling den in France
  To tempt the wretch to come,
  He made Tom's brain with flattery dance
  And took the tax from rum."

The Administration editors held their tongues;--the religious side of
the question was too strong for them.

Paine was unable to accept the passage offered him in the frigate, and
returned in a merchant-vessel in the autumn of the next year (1802).
The excitement had not subsided. Early in October, the "Philadelphia
Gazette" announced that "a kind of tumultuous sensation was produced in
the city yesterday evening in consequence of the arrival of the ship
Benjamin Franklin from Havre. It was believed, for a few moments, that
the carcass of Thomas Paine was on board, and several individuals were
seen disgracing themselves by an impious joy. It was finally understood
that Paine had missed his passage by this vessel and was to sail in a
ship to New York. Under the New York news-head we perceive a vessel from
Havre reported. Infidels! hail the arrival of your high-priest!"

A few days later, the infidel Tom Paine, otherwise Mr. Paine, arrived
safely at Baltimore and proceeded thence to Washington. The journalists
gave tongue at once: "Fire! Age of Reason! Look at his nose! He drank
all the brandy in Baltimore in nine days! What a dirty fellow! Invited
home by a brother Tom! Let Jefferson and his blasphemous crony dangle
from the same gallows." The booksellers, quietly mindful of the
opportunity, got out an edition of his works in two volumes.

As soon as he was fairly on shore, Paine took sides with his host, and
commenced writing "Letters to the People of the United States." He
announced in them that he was a genuine Federalist,--not one of that
disguised faction which had arisen in America, and which, losing sight
of first principles, had begun to contemplate the people as hereditary
property: No wonder that the author of the "Rights of Man" was attacked
by this faction: His arrival was to them like the sight of water to
canine madness: He served them for a standing dish of abuse: The leaders
during the Reign of Terror in France and during the late despotism
in America were the same men in character; for how else was it to be
accounted for that he was persecuted by both at the same time? In every
part of the Union this faction was in the agonies of death, and, in
proportion as its fate approached, gnashed its teeth and struggled: He
should lose half his greatness when they ceased to lie. Mr. Adams, as
the late chief of this faction, met with harsh and derisive treatment in
these letters, and did not attempt to conceal his irritation in his own
later correspondence.

Paine's few defenders tried to back him with weak paragraphs in the
daily papers: His great talents, his generous services, "in spite of a
few indiscreet writings about religion," should make him an object of
interest and respect. The "Aurora's" own correspondent sent to his paper
a favorable sketch of Paine's appearance, manner, and conversation:
He was "proud to find a man whom he had admired free from the
contaminations of debauchery and the habits of inebriety which have been
so grossly and falsely sent abroad concerning him." But the enemy had
ten guns to Paine's one, and served them with all the fierceness of
party-hate. A shower of abusive missiles rattled incessantly about his
ears. However thick-skinned a man may be, and protected over all by the
_oes triplex_ of self-sufficiency, he cannot escape being wounded by
furious and incessant attacks. Paine felt keenly the neglect of his
former friends, who avoided him, when they did not openly cut him. Mr.
Jefferson, it is true, asked him to dinners, and invited the British
minister to meet him; at least, the indignant Anglo-Federal editors
said so. Perhaps he offered him an office. If he did, Paine refused it,
preferring "to serve as a disinterested volunteer." Poor old man! his
services were no longer of much use to anybody. The current of American
events had swept past him, leaving him stranded, a broken fragment of a
revolutionary wreck.

When the nine days of wonder had expired in Washington, and the
inhabitants had grown tired of staring at Paine and of pelting him with
abuse, he betook himself to New York. On his way thither, he met with an
adventure which shows the kind of martyrdom suffered by this political
and religious heretic. He had stopped at Bordentown, in New Jersey, to
look at a small place he owned there, and to visit an old friend and
correspondent, Colonel Kirkbride. When he departed, the Colonel drove
him over to Trenton to take the stage-coach. But in Trenton the Federal
and Religious party had the upperhand, and when Paine applied at the
booking-office for a seat to New York the agent refused to sell him one.
Moreover, a crowd collected about his lodgings, who groaned dismally
when he drove away with his friend, while a band of musicians, provided
for the occasion, played the Rogue's March.

Among the editorial celebrities of 1803, James Cheetham, in New York,
was almost as famous as Duane of the "Aurora." Cheetham, like many of
his contemporaries, Gray, Carpenter, Callender, and Duane himself, was
a British subject. He was a hatter in his native land; but a turn for
politics ruined his business and made expatriation convenient. In the
United States, he had become the editor of the "American Citizen," and
was at that time busily engaged in attacking the Federalists and Burr's
"Little Band," for their supposed attempt to elect Mr. Burr in the place
of Mr. Jefferson. To Cheetham, accordingly, Paine wrote, requesting him
to engage lodgings at Lovett's, afterwards the City Hotel. He sent for
Cheetham, on the evening of his arrival. The journalist obeyed the
summons immediately. This was the first interview between Paine and the
man who was to hang, draw, and quarter his memory in a biography. This
libellous performance was written shortly after Paine's death. It was
intended as a peace-offering to the English government. The ex-hatter
had made up his mind to return home, and he wished to prove the
sincerity of his conversion from radicalism by trampling on the remains
of its high-priest. So long as Cheetham remained in good standing with
the Democrats, Paine and he were fast friends; but when he became
heretical and schismatic on the Embargo question, some three or four
years later, and was formally read out of the party, Paine laid the rod
across his back with all his remaining strength. He had vigor enough
left, it seems, to make the "Citizen" smart, for Cheetham cuts and stabs
with a spite which shows that the work was as agreeable to his feelings
as useful to his plans. His reminiscences must be read _multis cum

In New York Paine enjoyed the same kind of second-rate ovation as in
Washington. A great number of persons called upon him, but mostly of the
laboring class of emigrants, who had heard of the "Rights of Man,"
and, feeling disposed to claim as many rights as possible in their new
country, looked with reverence upon the inventor of the system.
The Democratic leaders, with one or two exceptions, avoided Paine.
Respectabilities shunned him as a contamination. Grant Thorburn was
suspended from church-membership for shaking hands with him. To the boys
he was an object of curious attention; his nose was the burden of their

Cheetham carried round a subscription-list for a public dinner. Sixty or
seventy of Paine's admirers attended. It went off brilliantly, and was
duly reported in the "American Citizen." Then the effervescence of New
York curiosity subsided; Paine became an old story. He left Lovett's
Hotel for humble lodgings in the house of a free-thinking farrier.
Thenceforward the tale of his life is soon told. He went rarely to his
farm at New Rochelle; he disliked the country and the trouble of keeping
house; and a bullet which whizzed through his window one Christmas Eve,
narrowly missing his head, did not add agreeable associations to the
place. In the city he moved his quarters from one low boarding-house to
another, and generally managed to quarrel with the blacksmiths, bakers,
and butchers, his landlords. Unable to enjoy society suited to his
abilities and large experience of life, Paine called in low company to
help him bear the burden of existence. To the men who surrounded him,
his opinions on all subjects were conclusive, and his shrewd sayings
revelations. Among these respectful listeners, he had to fear neither
incredulity nor disputation. Like his friend Elihu Palmer, and the
celebrated Dr. Priestley, Paine would not tolerate contradiction.
To differ with him was, in his eyes, simply to be deficient in
understanding. He was like the French lady who naïvely told Dr.
Franklin, "_Je ne trouve que moi qui aie toujours raison_." Professing
to adore Reason, he was angry, if anybody reasoned with him. But herein
he was no exception to the general rule,--that we find no persons so
intolerant and illiberal as men professing liberal principles.

His occupation and amusement was to write for the papers articles of
a somewhat caustic and personal nature. Whatever subject occupied the
public mind interested Paine and provoked his remarks. He was bitter in
his attacks upon the Federalists and Burrites for attempting to jockey
Jefferson out of the Presidency. Later, when Burr was acquitted of
treason, Paine found fault with Chief-Justice Marshall for his rulings
during the trial, and gave him notice, that he (Marshall) was "a
suspected character." He also requested Dr. Mitchell, then United States
Senator for New York, to propose an amendment to the Constitution,
authorizing the President to remove a judge, on the address of a
majority of both houses of Congress, for reasonable cause, when
sufficient grounds for impeachment might not exist. General Miranda's
filibustering expedition against Caracas, a greater failure even than
the Lopez raid on Cuba, furnished Paine with a theme. He wrote a
sensible paper on the yellow fever, by request of Jefferson, and one or
two on his iron bridge. He was ardent in the defence of Mr. Jefferson's
pet scheme of a gun-boat navy, and ridiculed the idea of fortifying
New York. "The cheapest way," he said, "to fortify New York will be to
banish the scoundrels that infest it." The inhabitants of that city
would do well, if they could find an engineer to fortify their island in
this way.

When the Pennsylvanians called a Convention in 1805 to amend the
Constitution of the State, Paine addressed them at some length, giving
them a summary of his views on Government, Constitutions, and Charters.
The Creoles of Louisiana sent to Congress a memorial of their "rights,"
in which they included the importation of African slaves. Paine was
indignant at this perversion of his favorite specific for all political
ailments, and took the Franco-Americans soundly to task:--"How dare you
put up a petition to Heaven for such a power, without fearing to be
struck from the earth by its justice?" It is manifest that Paine could
not be a Democrat in good standing now. Mingled with these graver
topics were side-blows at the emissary Cullen, _alias_ Carpenter, an
Englishman, who edited a Federal paper,--replies to Cheetham, reprimands
to Cheetham, and threats to prosecute Cheetham for lying, "unless he
makes a public apology,"--and three letters to Governor Morgan Lewis,
who had incensed Paine by bringing an action for political libel against
a Mr. Thomas Farmer, laying his damages at one hundred thousand dollars.

Among his last productions were two memorials to the House of
Representatives. One can see in these papers that old age had weakened
his mind, and that harsh treatment had soured his feelings towards the
land of his adoption.

  "Ma république à jamais grande et libre,
  Cette terre d'amour et d'égalité,"

no longer seemed to him as lovely as when he composed these verses for
a Fourth-of-July dinner in Paris. He claimed compensation for his
services in Colonel Laurens's mission to France in 1781. For his works
he asked no reward. "All the civilized world knows," he writes, "I have
been of great service to the United States, and have generously given
away talents that would have made me a fortune. The country has been
benefited, and I make myself happy in the knowledge of it. It is,
however, proper for me to add, that the mere independence of America,
were it to have been followed by a system of government modelled after
the corrupt system of the English government, would not have interested
me with the unabated ardor it did." "It will be convenient to me to know
what Congress will decide on, because it will determine me, whether,
after so many years of generous services and that in the most perilous
times, and after seventy years of age, I shall continue in this country,
or offer my services to some other country. It will not be to England,
unless there should be a revolution."

The memorial was referred to the Committee on Claims. When Paine heard
of its fate, he addressed an indignant letter to the Speaker of the
House. "I know not who the Committee on Claims are; but if they were
men of younger standing than 'the times that tried men's souls,' and
consequently too young to know what the condition of the country was
at the time I published 'Common Sense,'--for I do not believe that
independence would have been declared, had it not been for the effect of
that work,--they are not capable of judging of the whole of the services
of Thomas Paine. If my memorial was referred to the Committee on Claims
for the purpose of losing it, it is unmanly policy. After so many years
of service, my heart grows cold towards America."

His heart was soon to grow cold to all the world. In the spring of 1809,
it became evident to Paine's attendants that his end was approaching. As
death drew near, the memories of early youth arose vividly in his
mind. He wished to be buried in the cemetery of the Quakers, in whose
principles his father had educated him. He sent for a leading member
of the sect to ask a resting-place for his body in their ground. The
request was refused.

When the news got abroad that the Arch-Infidel was dying, foolish old
women and kindred clergymen, who "knew no way to bring home a wandering
sheep but by worrying him to death," gathered together about his bed.
Even his physician joined in the hue-and-cry. It was a scene of the
Inquisition adapted to North America,--a Protestant _auto da fé_. The
victim lay helpless before his persecutors; the agonies of disease
supplied the place of rack and fagot. But nothing like a recantation
could be wrung from him. And so his tormentors left him alone to die,
and his freethinking smiths and cobblers rejoiced over his fidelity to
the cause.

He was buried on his farm at New Rochelle, according to his latest
wishes. "Thomas Paine. Author of 'Common Sense,'" the epitaph he had
fixed upon, was carved upon his tomb. A better one exists from an
unknown hand, which tells, in a jesting way, the secret of the sorrows
of his later life:--

  "Here lies Tom Paine, who wrote in liberty's defence,
  And in his 'Age of Reason' lost his 'Common Sense.'"

Ten years after, William Cobbett, who had left England in a fit of
political disgust and had settled himself on Long Island to raise
hogs and ruta-bagas, resolved to go home again. Cobbett had become an
admirer, almost a disciple of Paine. The "Constitution-grinder" of '96
was now "a truly great man, a truly philosophical politician, a mind as
far superior to Pitt and Burke as the light of a flambeau is superior to
that of a rush-light." Above all, Paine had been Cobbett's teacher on
financial questions. In 1803, Cobbett read his "Decline and Fall of the
English System," and then "saw the whole matter in its true light; and
neither pamphleteers nor speech-makers were after that able to raise a
momentary puzzle in his mind." Perhaps Cobbett thought he might excite a
sensation in England and rally about him the followers of Paine, or it
may be that he wished to repair the gross injustice he had done him by
some open act of adherence; at all events, he exhumed Paine's body and
took the bones home with him in 1819, with the avowed intention of
erecting a magnificent monument to his memory by subscription. In the
same manner, about two thousand two hundred and fifty years ago, the
bones of Theseus, the mythical hero of Democracy, were brought from
Skyros to Athens by some Attic [Greek: Kobbetaes]. The description
of the arrival in England we quote from a Liverpool journal of the
day:--"When his last trunk was opened at the Custom-House, Cobbett
observed to the surrounding spectators, who had assembled in great
numbers,--'Here are the bones of the late Thomas Paine.' This
declaration excited a visible sensation, and the crowd pressed forward
to see the contents of the package. Cobbett remarked,--'Great, indeed,
must that man have been whose very bones attract such attention!' The
officer took up the coffin-plate inscribed, 'Thomas Paine, Aged 72. Died
January 8, 1809,' and, having lifted up several of the bones, replaced
the whole and passed them. They have since been forwarded from this town
to London."

At a public dinner given to Cobbett in Liverpool, Paine was toasted as
"the Noble of Nature, the Child of the Lower Orders"; but the monument
was never raised, and no one knows where his bones found their last

Cobbett himself gained nothing by this resurrectionist performance,
except an additional couplet in the party-songs of the day:--

  "Let Cobbett of borough-corruption complain,
  And go to the De'il with the bones of Tom Paine."

The two were classed together by English Conservatives, as "pestilent
fellows" and "promoters of sedition."

It is now fifty years since Paine died; but the _nil de mortuis_ is no
rule in his case. The evil associations of his later days have pursued
him beyond the grave. A small and threadbare sect of "liberals," as they
call themselves,--men in whom want of skill, industry, and thrift has
produced the usual results,--have erected an altar to Thomas Paine,
and, on the anniversary of his birth, go through with a pointless
celebration, which passes unnoticed, unless in an out-of-the-way corner
of some newspaper. In this class of persons, irreligion is a mere form
of discontent. They have no other reason to give for the faith which
is not in them. They like to ascribe their want of success in life to
something out of joint in the thoughts and customs of society, rather
than to their own shortcomings or incapacity. In France, such persons
would be Socialists and _Rouges_; in this country, where the better
classes only have any reason to rebel, they cannot well conspire against
government, but attack religion instead, and pride themselves on their
exemption from prejudice. The "Age of Reason" is their manual. Its bold,
clear, simple statements they can understand; its shallowness they
are too ignorant to perceive; its coarseness is in unison with their
manners. Thus the author has become the Apostle of Free-thinking
tinkers and the Patron Saint of unwashed Infidelity.

To this generation at large, he is only an indistinct shadow,--a faint
reminiscence of a red nose,--an ill-flavored name, redolent of brandy
and of brimstone, his beverage in life and his well-earned punishment
in eternity, which suggests to the serious mind dirt, drunkenness, and
hopeless damnation. Mere worldlings call him "Tom Paine," in a tone
which combines derision and contempt. A bust of him, by Jarvis, in the
possession of the New York Historical Society, is kept under lock and
key, because it was defaced and defiled by visitors, while a dozen
other plaster worthies that decorate the institution remained intact.
Nevertheless, we suspect that most of our readers, if they cannot date
back to the first decade of the century, will find, when they sift their
information, that they have only a speaking acquaintance with Thomas
Paine, and can give no good reason for their dislike of him.

And it is not easy for the general reader to become intimate with him.
He will find him, of course, in Biographical Dictionaries, Directories
of the City of the Great Dead, which only tell you where men lived, and
what they did to deserve a place in the volume; but as to a life of him,
strictly speaking, there is none. Oldys and Cobbett tried to flay him
alive in pamphlets; Sherwin and Clio Rickman were prejudiced friends and
published only panegyrics. All are out of print and difficult to find.
Cheetham's work is a political libel; and the attempt of Mr. Vail of
the "Beacon" to canonize him in the "Infidel's Calendar," cannot be
recommended to intelligent persons. We might expect to meet with him in
those books of lives so common with us,--collections in which a certain
number of deceased gentlemen are bound up together, so resembling each
other in feature that one might suppose the narratives ground out by
some obituary-machine and labelled afterward to suit purchasers. Even
this "sign-post biography," as the "Quarterly" calls it, Paine has
escaped. He was not a marketable commodity. There was no demand for him
in polite circles. The implacable hand of outraged orthodoxy was against
him. Hence his memory has lain in the gutter. Even his friend Joel
Barlow left him out of the "Columbiad," to the great disgust of Clio
Rickman, who thought his name should have appeared in the Fifth Book
between Washington and Franklin. Surely Barlow might have found room for
him in the following "Epic List of Heroes":--

  "Wythe, Mason, Pendleton, with Henry joined,
  Rush, Rodney, Langdon, friends of humankind,
  Persuasive Dickinson, the farmer's boast,
  Recording Thompson, pride of all the host,
  Nash, Jay, the Livingstons, in council great,
  Rutledge and Laurens, held the rolls of fate."

But no! Neither author nor authorling liked to have his name seen in
company with Thomas Paine. And when a curious compiler has taken him up,
he has held him at arm's length, and, after eyeing him cautiously, has
dropped him like some unclean and noxious animal.

Sixty years ago, Paine's friends used to say, that, "in spite of some
indiscreet writings on the subject of religion," he deserved the respect
and thanks of Americans for his services. We think that he deserves
something more at the present day than this absolute neglect. There is
stuff enough in him for one volume at least. His career was wonderful,
even for the age of miraculous events he lived in. In America, he was a
Revolutionary hero of the first rank, who carried letters in his pocket
from George Washington, thanking him for his services. And he managed
besides to write his radical name in large letters in the History of
England and of France. As a mere literary workman, his productions
deserve notice. In mechanics, he invented and put up the first iron
bridge of large span in England; the boldness of the attempt still
excites the admiration of engineers. He may urge, too, another claim
to our attention. In the legion of "most remarkable men" these United
States have produced or imported, only three have achieved infamy:
Arnold, Burr, and Paine. What are Paine's titles to belong to this trio
of disreputables? Only these three: he wrote the "Age of Reason"; was a
Democrat, perhaps an unusually dirty one; and drank more brandy than was
good for him. The "Age of Reason" is a shallow deistical essay, in which
the author's opinions are set forth, it is true, in a most offensive and
irreverent style. As Dr. Hopkins wrote of Ethan Allen,--

  "One hand was clenched to batter noses,
  While t'other scrawled 'gainst Paul and Moses."

But who reads it now? On the other hand, no one who has studied Paine's
career can deny his honesty and his disinterestedness; and every
unprejudiced reader of his works must admit not merely his great ability
in urging his opinions, but that he sincerely believed all he wrote. Let
us, then, try to forget the carbuncled nose, the snuffy waistcoat, the
unorthodox sneer. We should wipe out his later years, cut his life short
at 1796, and take Paine when he wrote "Common Sense," Paine when he
lounged at the White Bear in Piccadilly, talking over with Horne Tooke
the answer to Mr. Burke's "Reflections," and Paine, when, as "foreign
benefactor of the species," he took his seat in the famous French

It would repay some capable author to dig him up, wash him, and show him
to the world as he was. A biography of him would embrace the history of
the struggle which established the new theory of politics in government.
He is the representative man of Democracy in both hemispheres,--a good
subject in the hands of a competent artist; and the time has arrived, we
think, when justice may be done him. As a general rule, it is yet too
soon to write the History of the United States since 1784. Half a
century has not been sufficient to wear out the bitter feeling excited
by the long struggle of Democrats and Federalists. Respectable
gentlemen, who, more pious than Aeneas, have undertaken to carry their
grandfathers' remains from the ruins of the past into the present era,
seem to be possessed with the same demon of discord that agitated the
deceased ancestors. The quarrels of the first twenty years of the
Constitution have become chronic ink-feuds in certain families. A
literary _vendetta_ is carried on to this day, and a stab with the steel
pen, or a shot from behind the safe cover of a periodical, is certain
to be received by any one of them who offers to his enemy the glorious
opportunity of a book. Where so much temper exists, impartial history is
out of the question.

Our authors, too, as a general rule, have inherited the political jargon
of the last century, and abound in "destiny of humanity," "inalienable
rights," "virtue of the sovereign people," "base and bloody despots,"
and all that sort of phrase, earnest and real enough once, but little
better than cant and twaddle now. They seem to take it for granted that
the question is settled, the rights of man accurately defined, the true
and only theory of government found,--and that he who doubts is blinded
by aristocratic prejudice or is a fool. We must say, nevertheless, that
Father Time has not yet had years enough to answer the great question of
governing which was proposed to him in 1789. Some of the developments
of our day may well make us doubt whether the last and perfect form,
or even theory, is the one we have chosen. "_Les monarchies absolues
avaient deshonoré le despotisme: prenons garde que les républiques
démocratiques ne le réhabilitent_." But Paine's part in the history of
this country after 1783 is of so small importance, that in a life of him
all such considerations may be safely waived. The democratic movement of
the last eighty years, be it a "finality," or only a phase of progress
towards a more perfect state, is the grand historical fact of modern
times, and Paine's name is intimately connected with it. One is always
ready to look with lenity on the partiality of a biographer,--whether he
urge the claims of his hero to a niche in the Valhalla of great men, or
act as the _Advocatus Diaboli_ to degrade his memory.



If any person, O my Bobus, had foretold that all these months would go
by before I should again address you, he would have exhibited prescient
talent great enough to establish twenty "mediums" in a flourishing
cabalistic business. Alas! they have been to me months of fathomless
distress, immensurate and immeasurable sorrow, and blank, blind, idiotic
indifference, even to books and friends, which, next to the nearest and
dearest, are the world's most priceless possession. But now that I have
a little thrown off the stupor, now that kindly Time has a little balmed
my cruel wounds, I come back to my books and to you,--to the _animi
remissionem_ of Cicero,--to these gentle sympathizers and faithful
solacements,--to old studies and ancient pursuits. There is a Latin
line, I know not whose, but Swift was fond of quoting it,--

  _"Vertiginosus, inops, surdus, male gratus amicis,"_--

which I have whispered to myself, with prophetic lips, in the long, long
watches of my lonesome nights. Do you remember--but who that has read
it does not?--that affecting letter, written upon the death of his
wife, by Sir James Mackintosh to Dr. Parr? "Such was she whom I have
lost; and I have lost her when her excellent natural sense was rapidly
improving, after eight years of struggle and distress had bound us fast
together and moulded our tempers to each other,--when a knowledge of
her worth had refined my youthful love into friendship, before age had
deprived it of much of its original ardor. I lost her, alas! (the choice
of my youth, and the partner of my misfortunes,) at a moment when I had
the prospect of her sharing my better days."

But if I am getting old, although perhaps prematurely, I must be casting
about for the _subsidia senectuti_. Swift wrote to Gay, that these
were "two or three servants about you and a convenient house"; justly
observing, that, "when a man grows hard to please, few people care
whether he be pleased or no"; and adding, sadly enough, "I should hardly
prevail to find one visitor, if I were not able to hire him with a
bottle of wine"; and so the sorrowful epistle concludes with the
sharpest grief of all: "My female friends, who could bear with me very
well a dozen years ago, have now forsaken me." It is odd that Montaigne
should have hit upon the wine also as among the _subsidia senectuti_;
although the sage Michael complains, as you will remember, that old men
do not relish their wine, or at least the first glass, because "the
palate is furred with phlegms." But I care little either for the liquor
or the lackeys, and not much, I fear, at present, for "the female
friends." I have, then, nothing left for it but to take violently to
books; for I doubt not I shall find almost any house convenient, and I
am sure of one at last which I can claim by a title not to be disturbed
by all the precedents of Cruise, and in which no mortal shall have a
contingent remainder.

To books, then, I betake myself,--to books, "the immortal children" of
"the understanding, courage, and abilities" of the wise and good,--ay!
and to inane, drivelling, doting books, the bastard progeny of vanity
and ignorance,--books over which one dawdles in an amusing dream and
pleasant spasm of amazement, and which teach us wisdom as tipsy Helots
taught the Spartan boys sobriety. Montaigne "never travelled without
books, either in peace or war"; and as I found them pleasant in happier
days, so I find them pleasant now. Of course, much of this omnivorous
reading is from habit, and, _invitâ Minervâ_, cannot be dignified by
the name of study,--that stiff, steady, persistent, uncompromising
application of the mind, by virtue of which alone the _Pons Asinorum_
can be crossed, and the Forty-Seventh Problem of Euclid--which I
entirely disbelieve--mastered.

I own to a prodigious respect, entertained since my Sophomore year at
the University, for those collegiate youth whose terribly hard study of
Bourdon and Legendre seems to have such a mollifying effect upon their
heads,--but, as the tradesmen say, that thing is "not in my line." I
would rather have a bundle of bad verses which have been consigned to
the pastry-cook. I suppose--for I have been told so upon good authority
--that, if "equals be taken from equals, the remainders are equal." I do
not see why they should not be, and, as a citizen of the United States
of America, the axiom seems to me to be entitled to respect. When a
youthful person, with a piece of chalk in his hand, before commencing
his artistic and scientific achievements upon the black-board, says:
"Let it be granted that a straight line may be drawn from any one point
to any other point," I invariably answer, "Of course,--by all manner of
means,"--although you know, dear Don, that, if I should put him upon
mathematical proof of the postulate, I might bother him hugely. But
when we come to the Fourteenth Proposition of Euclid's Data,--when I am
required to admit, that, "if a magnitude together with a given magnitude
has a given ratio to another magnitude, the excess of this other
magnitude above a given magnitude has a given ratio to the first
magnitude; and if the excess of a magnitude above a given magnitude has
a given ratio to another magnitude, this other magnitude together with a
given ratio to the first magnitude,"--I own to a slight confusion of
my intellectual faculties, and a perfect contempt for John Buteo and
Ptolemy. Then, there is Butler's "Analogy"; an excellent work it is, I
have been told,--a charming work to master,--quite a bulwark of our
faith; but as, in my growing days, it was explained to me, or rather was
not explained, before breakfast, by a truculent Doctor of Divinity, whom
I knew to be ugly and felt to be great, of course, the good Bishop and I
are not upon the best of terms.

I suppose that for drilling, training, and pipe-claying the human mind
all these things are necessary. I suppose, that, in our callow days, it
is proper that we should be birched and wear fetters upon our little,
bandy, sausage-like legs. But let me, now that I have come to man's
estate, flout my old pedagogues, and, playing truant at my will, dawdle
or labor, walk, skip, or run, go to my middle in quagmires, or climb to
the hill-tops, take liberties with the venerable, snub the respectable,
and keep the company of the disreputable,--dismiss the Archbishop
without reading his homily,--pass by a folio in twenty grenadier volumes
to greet a little black-coated, yellow-faced duodecimo,--speak to the
forlorn and forsaken, who have been doing dusty penance upon cloistered
shelves in silent alcoves for a century, with none so poor to do them
reverence,--read here one little catch which came from lips long ago
as silent as the clod which they are kissing, and there some forgotten
fragment of history, too insignificant to make its way into the world's
magnificent chronologies,--snapping up unconsidered trifles of
anecdote,--tasting some long-interred _bon-mot_ and relishing some
disentombed scandal,--pausing over the symphonic prose of Milton, only
to run, the next moment, to the Silenian ribaldry of Tom Brown the
younger,--and so keeping up a Saturnalia, in which goat-footed sylvans
mix with the maidens of Diana, and the party-colored jester shakes
his truncheon in the face of Plato. Only in this wild and promiscuous
license can we taste the genuine joys of true perusal.

I suppose, my dear friend, that, when you were younger and foolisher
than you now are, you were wont, after the reading of some dismal
work upon diet and health, to take long, constitutional walks. You
"toddled"--pardon the vulgar word!--so many miles out and so many miles
in, at just such a pace, in just the prescribed time, during hours fixed
as the Fates; and you wondered, when you came home to your Graham bread
and cold water, that you did not bring an appetite with you. You had
performed incredible pedestrian achievements, and were not hungry, but
simply weary. It is of small use to try to be good with malice prepense.
Nature is nothing, if not natural. If I am to read to any purpose,
I must read with a relish, and browse at will with the bridle off.
Sometimes I go into a library, the slow accretion of a couple of
centuries, or perhaps the mushroom growth from a rich man's grave, a
great collection magically convoked by the talisman of gold. At the
threshold, as I ardently enter, the flaming sword of regulation is
waving. Between me and the inviting shelves are fences of woven iron;
the bibliographic Cerberus is at his sentryship; when I want a full
draught, I must be content with driblets; and the impatient messengers
are sworn to bring me only a single volume at a time. To read in such a
hampered and limited way is not to read at all; and I go back, after
the first fret and worry are over, to the little collection upon my
garret-shelf, to greet again the old familiar pages. I leave the main
army behind,--"the lordly band of mighty folios," "the well-ordered
ranks of the quartos," "the light octavos," and "humbler duodecimos,"

  "The last new play, and frittered magazine,"--

for the sutlers and camp-followers, "pioneers and all," of the
grand army,--for the prizes, dirty, but curious, rescued from the
street-stall, or unearthed in a Nassau-Street cellar,--for the books
which I thumbed and dogs-eared in my youth.

I have, in my collection, a little Divinity, consisting mostly of quaint
Quaker books bequeathed to me by my grandmother,--a little Philosophy, a
little Physic, a little Law, a little History, a little Fiction, and a
deal of Nondescript stuff. Once, when the _res angusta domi_ had become
_angustissima_, a child of Israel was, in my sore estate, summoned to
inspect the dear, shabby colony, and to make his sordid aureat or argent
bid therefor. Well do I remember how his nose, which he could not,
if his worthless life had depended upon it, render _retroussé_, grew
sublimely curvilinear in its contempt, as his hawk-eyes estimated my
pitiful family. I will not name the sum which he offered, the ghoul, the
vampire, the anthropophagous jackal, the sneaking would-be incendiary
of my little Alexandrian, the circumcised Goth! He left me, like
Churchill's Scotch lassie, "pleased, but hungry"; and I found, as
Valentine did in Congreve's "Love for Love," "a page doubled down in
Epictetus which was a feast for an emperor."

I own, my excellent Robert, that a bad book is, to my taste, sometimes
vastly more refreshing than a good one. I do not wonder that Crabbe,
after he had so sadly failed in his medical studies, should have
anathematized the medical writers in this fine passage:--

  "Ye frigid tribe, on whom I waited long
  The tedious hours, and ne'er indulged in song!
  Ye first seducers of my easy heart,
  Who promised knowledge ye could not impart!
  Ye dull deluders, Truth's destructive foes!
  Ye Sons of Fiction, clad in stupid prose!
  Ye treacherous leaders, who, yourselves in doubt,
  Light up false fires, and send us far about!--
  Still may yon spider round your pages spin,
  Subtle and slow, her emblematic gin!
  Buried in dust and lost in silence dwell!
  Most potent, grave, and reverend friends,--farewell!"

I acknowledge the vigor of these lines, which nobody could have written
who had not been compelled, in the sunny summer-days, to bray drugs in a
mortar. Yet who does not like to read a medical book?--to pore over its
jargon, to muddle himself into a hypo, and to imagine himself afflicted
with the dreadful disease with the long Latin name, the meaning of which
he does not by any means comprehend? And did not the poems of our friend
Bavius Blunderbore, Esq., which were of "a low and moderate sort," cause
you to giggle yourself wellnigh into an asphyxy,--calf and coxcomb as
he was? Is not ----'s last novel a better antidote against melancholy,
stupendously absurd as it is, than foalfoot or plantain, featherfew or
savin, agrimony or saxifrage, or any other herb in old Robert Burton's
pharmacopoeia? I am afraid that we are a little wanting in gratitude,
when we shake our sides at the flaying of Marsyas by some Quarterly of
Apollo,--to the dis-cuticlcd, I mean. If he had not piped so stridently,
we should not have had half so much sport; yet small largess does the
miserable minstrel get for tooting tunelessly. Let us honor the brave
who fall in the battle of print. 'Twas a noble ambition, after all,
which caused our asinine friend to cloak himself in that cast leonine
skin. Who would be always reciting from a hornbook to Mistress Minerva?
What, I pray you, would become of the corn, if there were no scarecrows?
All honor to you, then, my looped and windowed sentinel, standing upon
the slope of Parnassus,--standing so patiently there, with your straw
bowels, doing yeoman-service, spite of the flouts and gibes and cocked
thumbs of Zoïlus and his sneering, snarling, verjuicy, captious
crew,--standing there, as stood the saline helpmate of Lot, to fright
our young men and virgins from the primrose-pitfalls of Poesy,--standing
there to warn them against the seductions of Phoebus, and to teach them
that it is better to hoe than to hum!

The truth is, that the good and clever and _polyphloisboic_ writers have
too long monopolized the attention of the world, so that the little,
well-intentioned, humble, and stupid plebeians of the guild have been
snubbed out of sight. Somebody--the name is not given, but I shrewdly
suspect Canon Smith--wrote to Sir James Mackintosh,--"Why do you not
write three volumes quarto? You only want this to be called the greatest
man of your time. People are all disposed to admit anything we say of
you, but I think it unsafe and indecent to put you so high without
something in quarto." This was, of course, half fun and half truth.
As there is, however, little need of setting the world on fire to
demonstrate some chemical theory, so it is possible that the flame of
culture may be cherished without kindling a conflagration, and truth
transmitted from sire to son without the construction of edificial
monsters too big for the knees, too abstruse for the brains, and too
great for the lifetime of humanity. I am not a very constant reader
of Mr. Robert Browning, but I own to many a pleasant grin over his
Sibrandus Schafnabrugensis dropped into the crevice of the plum-tree,
and afterward pitifully reclaimed, and carried to its snug niche with
the promise,--

  "A.'s book shall prop you up, B.'s shall cover you,
  Here's C. to be grave with, or D. to be gay;
  And with E. on each side, and F. right over you,
  Dry-rot at ease till the Judgment Day!"

How often, when one is roving through a library in search of adventures,
is he encountered by some inflated champion of huge proportions, who
turns out to be no better than a barber, after all! Gazing upon

  "That weight of wood, with leathern coat o'erlaid,
  Those ample clasps, of solid metal made,
  The close-pressed leaves, unloosed for many an age,
  The dull red edging of the well-filled page,
  On the broad back the stubborn ridges rolled,
  Where yet the title stands, in burnished gold,"--

what wisdom, what wit, what profundity, what vastness of knowledge,
what a grand gossip concerning all things, and more beside, did we
anticipate, only to find the promise broken, and a big impostor with no
more muscle than the black drone who fills the pipes and sentries the
seraglio of the Sophi or the Sultan! The big, burly beggars! For a
century nobody has read them, and therefore everybody has admitted them
to be great. They are bulky paradoxes, and find a good reputation in
neglect,--as some fools pass for philosophers by preserving a close
mouth and a grave countenance.

"Safe in themselves, the ponderous works remain."

It was a keen sense of this disproportion between size and sense which
barbed the sharpest arrows of Dr. Swift. Nobody ever imposed upon him
either by bigness or by bluster. "The Devil take stupidity," once cried
the Dean of St. Patrick's, "that it will not come in to supply the want
of philosophy!" So in the Introduction to "The Tale of a Tub," he, half
in jest and half in earnest, declares that "wisdom is like a cheese,
whereof to a judicious taste the maggots are the best." _Vive la
bagatelle!_ trembled upon his lips at the age of threescore; and he
amused himself with reading the most trifling books he could find, and
writing upon the most trifling subjects. Lord Bolingbroke wrote to him
to beg him "to put on his philosophical spectacles," and wrote with
but small success. Pope wrote to him, "to beg it of him, as a piece of
mercy, that he would not laugh at his gravity, but permit him to wear
the beard of a philosopher until he pulled it off and made a jest of it
himself." Old Weymouth, in the latter part of Anne's reign, said to
him, in his lordly Latin, "_Philosopha verba ignava opera,_" and Swift
frequently repeated the sarcasm. One cannot figure him as the "laughing
old man" of Anacreon, for there was certainly a dreadful dash of vinegar
in his composition; but if he did not hate hard enough, hit hard enough,
and weigh men, motives, and books, nicely enough to satisfy Dr. Johnson,
the Bolt-Courtier must have been a very leech of verjuice. There is a
passage in one of his letters to Pope,--I cannot just now put my hand
upon it,--in which he suggests, in rather coarse language, the subject
of "The Beggar's Opera" as a capital subject for their common friend,
Gay. And yet one can barely suppress a sigh at all this luxury of
levity, when he remembers that dreadful "_Ubi saeva indignatio ulterius
cor lacerare nequit_," and reflects upon the hope deferred which vented
itself in that stinging couplet,--

"In every court the parallel will hold; And kings, like private folks,
are bought and sold."

I remember a hack-writer,--and of such, I am afraid, is too exclusively
my literary kingdom,--who classified the vices which Swift smote so
fearfully in "The Voyage to the Houyhnhnms"; and the curious catalogue
contained "avarice, fraud, cheating, violence, rapine, extortion,
cruelty, oppression, tyranny, rancor, envy, malice, detraction,
hatred, revenge, murder, bribery, corruption, pimping, lying, perjury,
subornation, treachery, ingratitude, gaming, flattery, drunkenness,
gluttony, luxury, vanity, effeminacy, cowardice, pride, impudence,
hypocrisy, infidelity, blasphemy, idolatry, and innumerable other vices,
many of them the notorious characteristics of the bulk of humankind."
Delightful catalogue! How odd, indeed, that a man with such work to do
should not have sported with Amaryllis, or played with the tangles of
Neaera's hair,--should not have worn well-anointed love-locks and snowy
linen,--should, on the other hand, have bared his brawny arm, and sent
the hissing flail down swiftly upon the waled and blistered back of
Sham! How much better would it have been, if he had written a history,
in twelve elephantine volumes, of the rise, culmination, and decay of
the Empire of Barataria, which we would have gone to prison, the rack,
and the drop, with rapture rather than read!

How low seems Fielding, with his pot-house heroes, Tom Jones, Squire
Western, and Jonathan Wild, when we contrast them with the elegant,
cleanly-polished, and extremely proper Sir Charles Grandison! What a
coarse drab is Molly Seagrim, when juxtaposited with the princess of all
prudes, the indomitably virtuous Pamela! How childish was it of Cowper
to sing of sofas, poultry, rabbits, orchards, meadows, and barnyards!
How much more nobly employed was John Dryden in manufacturing a
brand-new, truculent, loud-voiced, massively-calved, ensiferous
Alexander! Who but an addle-headed sot would have wandered up and down
the lanes, like Morland, chalking out pigs and milkmaids, when he might
have been painting, like Barry, pictures, by the acre, of gods and
goddesses enacting incomprehensible allegories! Let us be respectable, O
my Bobus, and wear good coats and the best hats to be had for money or
upon credit; let us carefully conceal our connection with "The Gotham
Revolver," although the honest people who print it do give us our beer
and mutton; let us write great histories which nobody will read, engage
in tractations to which nobody will listen, build twelve-storied epics
which nobody will publish, and invent Gordian philosophies which nobody
can untie. Surely it is quite time for Minerva to have a general
house-cleaning, to put on a fresh smock, and to live cleanly. Rabelais
shall be washed, and Sterne sad-ironed into gravity; De Foe shall be
made as decorous as a tract; Mandeville shall be reburned, and we will
kindle the fire with half the leaves of this dry and yellow Montaigne.
Nobody shall approach the waters of Castaly save upon stilts; and
whoever may giggle, as he takes his physic, shall be put upon a
dreadfully plentiful allowance of Guieciardini for bread, and of the
poems of ----- ------- for water.

But, alas! Brother Bobus, where to begin our purification, and where to
end it? We may, like the curate in "Don Quixote," reprieve Amadis de
Gaul, but shall we, therefore, make Esplandian, "his lawful-begotten
son," a foundation for the funeral-pile we are to set a-blazing
presently? To be sure, there is sense in the observation of the good and
holy priest upon that memorable occasion. "This," said the barber, "is
Amadis of Greece; and it is my opinion that all those upon this side are
of the same family." "Then pitch them all into the yard," responded
the priest; "for, rather than miss the satisfaction of roasting Queen
Pintiquiniestra and the pastorals of Darinel the Shepherd and his damned
unintelligible speculations, I would burn my own father along with
them, if I found him playing at knight-errantry." So into the yard went
"Olivante de Laura, the nonsensical old blockhead," "rough and dull
Florismart of Hyrcania," "noble Don Platir," with nothing in him
"deserving a grain of pity," Bernardo del Carpio, and Roncesvalles, and
Palmerin de Oliva. What a delicious scene it is! The fussy barber, tired
of reading titles and proceeding to burn by wholesale, passing down
books in armfuls to the eager housekeeper, more ready to burn them than
ever she had been to weave the finest lace. And how charming is the hit
of the Curate! "Certainly, these cannot be books of knight-errantry,
they are too small; you'll find they are only poets,"--the supplication
of the niece that the singers should not be spared, lest her uncle, when
cured of his knight-errantry, should read them, become a shepherd,
and wander through forests and fields,--"nay, and what is more to be
dreaded, turn poet, which is said to be a disease absolutely incurable."
So down went "the longer poems" of Diana de Montemayor, the whole of
Salmantino, with the Iberian Shepherd and the Nymphs of Henares. The
impatience of the curate, who, completely worn out, orders all the rest
to be burned _á canga cerrada_, fitly rounds the chapter, and sends us
in good-humor from the _auto da fé_, while the poor knight is in his
bedchamber, all unconscious of the purification in progress, which, if
he had known it, mad as he was, would have made his madness starker
still, thrashing about with his sword, back-stroke and fore-stroke,
and, as Motteux translates it, "making a heavy bustle." 'Tis all droll
enough; especially when we find that the housekeeper made such clean
work of it in the evening, in spite of the good curate's reservations,
and burnt all the books, not only those in the yard, but all those that
were in the house; but I should think twice before I let Freston the
necromancer into any library with which I am acquainted.

Let us be gentle with the denizens of Fame's proud temple, no matter how
they came there. You remember, I suppose, Swift's couplet,--

  "Fame has but two gates,--a white and a black one;
  The worst they can say is I got in at the back one."

"I have nothing," wrote Pope to his friend Cromwell, "to say to you in
this latter; but I was resolved to write to tell you so. Why should not
I content myself with so many great examples of deep divines, profound
casuists, grave philosophers, who have written, not letters only, but
whole tomes and voluminous treatises about nothing? Why should a fellow
like me, who all his life does nothing, be ashamed to write nothing, and
that, too, to one who has nothing to do but read it?" And so, with "_ex
nihilo nil fit_," he laughingly ends his letter.

And now, while I am at it, I must quote a passage, somewhat germane,
from the very next letter, which Pope wrote to the same friend:--"You
talk of fame and glory, and of the great men of antiquity. Pray, tell
me, what are all your great dead men, but so many living letters? What a
vast reward is here for all the ink wasted by writers and all the blood
spilt by princes! There was in old time one Severus, a Roman Emperor. I
dare say you never called him by any other name in your life; and yet
in his days he was styled Lucius, Septimius, Severus, Pius, Pertinax,
Augustus, Parthicus, Adiabenicus, Arabicus, Maximus, and what not? What
a prodigious waste of letters has time made! What a number have here
dropped off, and left the poor surviving seven unattended! For my own
part, four are all I have to take care of; and I'll be judged by you, if
any man could live in less compass. Well, for the future, I'll drown
all high thoughts in the Lethe of cowslip-wine; as for fame, renown,
reputation, take 'em, critics! If ever I seek for immortality here, may
I be damn'd, for there's not much danger in a poet's being damn'd,--

  'Damnation follows death in other men,
  But your damn'd Poet lives and writes agen.'"

And so they do, even unto the present, otherwise blessed day. But, dear
old friend, is not this sublime sneering? and is there not an honest ray
or two of truth mingled here and there in the colder coruscations of
this wit? Of the sincerity of this repudiation and renunciation so
fashionable in the Pope circle I have nothing to say; but in certain
moods of the mind it is vastly entertaining, and cures one's melancholy
as cautery cures certain physical afflictions. It may be amusing for you
also to notice that Don Quixote's niece and Pope were of the same
mind. She called poetry "a catching and incurable disease," and Pope's
unfortunate Poet "lives and writes agen."

And, after all, Bobus, why should we not be tender with all the
gentlemen who crowd the catalogues and slumber upon the shelves? It may
be all very well for you or me, whose legend should be

  "Prandeo, poto, cano, ludo, lego, coeno, quiesco,"

to laugh at them; but who shall say that they did not do their best,
and, if they were stupid, pavonian, arrogant, self-sufficient, and
top-heavy, that they were not honestly so? I always liked that boast of
Flaccus about his "monument harder than brass." It is a cheerful sight
to see a poor devil of an author in his garret, snapping his fingers at
the critics. "No beggar," wrote Pope, "is so poor but he can keep a cur,
and no author so beggarly but he can keep a critic." And, after all,
abuse is pleasanter than contemptuous and silent neglect. I do honestly
believe, that, if it were not for a little too much false modesty, every
author, and especially the poets, would boldly and publicly anticipate
posthumous fame. Do you think that Sir Thomas Urquhart, when he wrote
his "[Greek: EKSKUBALAURON], or, The Discovery of a most Precious
Jewel," etc., fancied that the world would willingly let his
reverberating words faint into whispers, and, at last, into utter
silence?--his "metonymical, ironical, metaphorical, and synecdochal
instruments of elocution, in all their several kinds, artificially
affected, according to the nature of the subject, with emphatical
expressions in things of great concernment, with catachrestical in
matters of meaner moment; attended on each side respectively with
an epiplectic and exegetic modification, with hyperbolical, either
epitatically or hypocoristically, as the purpose required to be
elated or extenuated, they qualifying metaphors, and accompanied
with apostrophes; and, lastly, with allegories of all sorts, whether
apologal, affabulatory, parabolary, aenigmatic, or paroemial"? Would you
have thought that so much sesquipedality could die? Certainly the Knight
of Cromartie did not, and fully believing Posterity would feel an
interest in himself unaccorded to any one of his contemporaries, he
kindly and prudently appended the pedigree of the family of Urquharts,
preserving every step from Adam to himself. This may have been a vanity,
but after all it was a good sturdy one, worthy of a gentleman who could
not say "the sun was setting," but who could and did say "our occidental
rays of Phoebus were upon their turning oriental to the other hemisphere
of the terrestrial globe." Alas! poor Sir Thomas, who must needs babble
the foolish hopes which wiser men reticently keep cloistered in their
own bosoms! who confessed what every scribbler thinks, and so gets
laughed at,--as wantons are carried to the round-house for airing their
incontinent phraseology in the street, while Blowsalinda reads romances
in her chamber without blushing. Modesty is very well; but, after all,
do not the least self-sufficient of us hope for something more than the
dirty dollars,--for kindness, affection, loving perusal, and fostering
shelter, long after our brains have mouldered, and the light of our eyes
has been quenched, and our deft fingers have lost their cunning, and the
places that knew us have forgotten our mien and speech and port forever?
Very, very few of us can join in Sir Boyle Roche's blundering sneer at
posterity, and with the hope of immortality mingles a dread of utter
oblivion here. Will it not be consoling, standing close by the graves
which have been prepared for us, to leave the world some little legacy
of wisdom sedulously gleaned from the fields of the fading past,--some
intangible, but honest wealth, the not altogether worthless accumulation
of an humble, but earnest life,--something which may lighten the load of
a sad experience, illuminate the dark hours which as they have come to
all must come to all through all the ages, or at least divert without
debauching the mind of the idler, the trifler, and the macaroni? I
believe this ingenuous feeling to be very far removed from the wheezy
aspirations of windy ignorance, or the spasms for fame which afflict
with colic the bowels, empty and flatulent, of sheer scribblers and
dunces who take a mean advantage of the invention of printing. Let us
be tender of the honest gentlemen who, to quote Cervantes, "aim at
somewhat, but conclude nothing." I cannot smile at the hopes of the boy

  "That _he,_ for poor auld Scotland's sake,
  Some usefu' plan or beuk could make,
  Or sing a sang at least."

And while I am in a humor for quotation, I must give you this muscular
verse from Henry More's "Platonic Song of the Soul":--

  "Their rotten relics lurk close under ground;
  With living weight no sense or sympathy
  They have at all; nor hollow thundering sound
  Of roaring winds that cold mortality
  Can wake, ywrapt in sad Fatality:
  To horse's hoof that beats his grassie dore
  He answers not: the moon in silency
  Doth passe by night, and all bedew him o'er
  With her cold, humid rayes; but he feels not Heaven's power."

How we shiver in the icy, midnight moonbeams of the recluse of Christ's
College! How preciously golden seem the links of our universal
brotherhood, when the Fates are waving their dark wings around us, and
menace us with their sundering! I am not sure, my worthy Wagonero, that,
rather than see my own little cord finally cut, I would not consent to
be laughed at by a dozen generations, in the hope that it might happen
to me that the thirteenth, out of sheer weariness at the prolonged
lampooning, might grow pitiful at my purgatorial experiences, and so
betake itself to nursing and fondling me into repute, furnishing me
with half-a-dozen of those lynx-eyed commentators who would discern
innumerable beauties and veracities through the calfskin walls of
my beatified bantling. They might find, at last, that I had "the
gold-strung harp of Apollo" and played a "most excellent diapason,
celestial music of the spheres,"--hearing the harmony

  "As plainly as ever Pythagoras did,"

when "Venus the treble ran sweet division upon Saturn the bass."

Write for posterity! Pray, whom should we write for, in this age which
makes its own epic upon sounding anvils, and whose lyric is yelled from
the locomotive running a muck through forest and field and beside the
waters no longer still? Write poetry now, when noise has become normal,
and we are like the Egyptians, who never heard the roaring of the fall
of Nilus, because the racket was so familiar to them! The age "capers
in its own fee simple" and cries with the Host in "The Merry Devil of
Edmonton," "Away with punctilios and orthography!" Write poetry now!
Thank you, my ancient friend! "My fiddlestick cannot play without
rosin." To be sure, I am, like most minstrels, ready for an offer; and
should any lover of melody propose

  "Two hundred crowns, and twenty pounds a year
  For three good lives,"

I should not be slow in responding, "Cargo! hai Trincalo!" and in
presently getting into the best possible trim and tune. But the poet may
say now, with the Butler in the old play, "Mine are precious cabinets,
and must have precious jewels put into them; and I know you to be
merchants of stock-fish, dry meat, and not men for my market; then

Barrow said that "poetry was a kind of ingenious nonsense"; and I think,
that, deceived by the glut, the present time is very much of Barrow's
mind. But, courage, my music-making masters! Your warbling, if it be of
genuine quality, shall echo upon the other side of the hill which hides
the unborn years. Only be sure, the song be pure; and you may "give the
_fico_ to your adversaries." You may live in the hearts and upon the
lips of men and women yet unborn; and should the worst come, you may
figure in "The Bibliographer's Manual," with a star of honor
against your name, to indicate that you are exceedingly scarce and
proportionally valuable; rival collectors, with fury in their faces,
will run you up to a fabulous price at the auction, and you will at last
be put into free quarters for life in some shady alcove upon some lofty
shelf, with unlimited rations of dust, as you glide into a vermiculate
dotage. Why should you be faint-hearted, when the men of the stalls ask
such a breath-stretching price for the productions of William Whitehead,
Esq., who used to celebrate the birthdays of old George the Third after
this fashion:--

  "And shall the British lyre be mute,
  Nor thrill through all its trembling strings,
  With oaten reed and pastoral flute
  While every vale responsive rings?"

Ben Jonson called Inigo Jones Sir Lanthorn Leatherhead, but St. Paul's
still stands; and how many flies are there in the sparkling amber of
"The Dunciad"! Have the critics, poor birdling, torn your wings, and
mocked at your recording? I know, as Howell wrote to "Father Ben," that
"the fangs of a bear and the tusks of a wild-boar don't bite worse and
make deeper gashes than a goose-quill sometimes; no, not the badger
himself, who is said to be so tenacious of his bite that he will not
give over his hold until he feels his teeth meet and bone crack." I know
all about it, my minstrel boy! for have I not, in my day, given and
taken, and shouldered back again when I have been shouldered? Pray, do
not finger your eyes any longer! Screw your lyre up to concert pitch,
and go on with your stridulous performances! Neither you nor I know how
bad may be the taste of our grandchildren, or how high you may stand
when they have

  "Made prostitute and profligate the Muse."

If you cannot be a poet, be a poetaster; and if you cannot be that, be a
poetess, or "she-poet," as Johnson, in his big dictionary, defines the
word. So "gently take all that ungently comes," and hammer away as
sedulously as old Boileau. Somebody will, undoubtedly, in the next age,
relish your rinsings. A poet, you know, is a prophet. Console yourself
by vaticinating in the bower of your bed-chamber, as you count the feet
upon your fingers, your own immortality. If 'tis a delusion, 'tis a
cheap one, to which even a poet can afford to treat himself. Play with
and humor your life, till you fall asleep, and then the care will be
over! Meanwhile, you must be more stupid than I think, if you cannot
find somebody to give you your fodder of flattery. You need not blush,
for I know that you like it, and you need not be ashamed of liking it.
We all do,--we are all women in that regard; although the honestest man
to confess it that I ever heard of was Sir Godfrey Kneller, who said to
Pope, when he was painting his picture, "I can't do so well as I should
do, unless you flatter me a little; pray, flatter me, Mr. Pope! You know
I love to be flattered."

You see, my excellent Robert, that, by some hocus-pocus which I do not
exactly comprehend, myself, I have introduced a wheel within a wheel, a
letter within a letter, a play within a play, after the manner of
the old dramatists; and I beg you to make a note that the foregoing
admonitions and most sapient counsels are not addressed to you. You are
something of a philosopher; but you are not, like Mr. Stephen Duck,
"something of a philosopher _and_ something of a poet"; for I do not
believe, O fortunate youth, that you ever invoked the ten ladies _minus_
one in your life; and I shrewdly suspect, that, so far from knowing the
difference between a male and a female rhyme, you are unfamiliar with
the close family connection between "trees" and "breeze," or between
"love" and "dove." My episodical remarks are for the benefit of
young Dolce Pianissimo, who has taken, I am sorry to say, to gin,
shirt-collars prodigious, and the minor magazines, and whose friends are
standing aghast and despairing at his lunacy. But, after all, 'tis my
best irony quite thrown away; for the foolish boy will believe me quite
in earnest, and will still be making love to that jade, Mistress Fame,
although he knows well enough how many she has jilted. But as he grows
in stature, he may grow in sense. If you see him very savagely cut up
in "The Revolver," you will recognize the kindly hands which held the
bistoury, scalpel, and tenaculum, and the gentleman who wept while he

But I have long enough, I fear too long, tormented you with my drivel.
It must be your consolation, that, in spirit, you have been with me
to-night, as I have thought of the old days, pausing for a moment over
these mute but eloquent companions, to dream or to sigh, and then once
more turning the old familiar pages as I try to forget, for just a
little while, that dear familiar face. If something of indifference has
tinctured these hurried lines, if I have been unjust in my estimate of
the world's honors and the rewards of the Muses, you will forgive me,
if you will remember how the great Burke reduced the value of earthly
honors and emoluments to less than that of a peck of wheat. My fire is
gone out. My candle is flickering in the socket. There is light in the
cold, gray East. Good-morning, Don Bob!--good-morning!


  They sat and combed their beautiful hair,
  Their long, bright tresses, one by one,
  As they laughed and talked in the chamber there,
  After the revel was done.

  Idly they talked of waltz and quadrille,
  Idly they laughed, like other girls,
  Who over the fire, when all is still,
  Comb out their braids and curls.

  Robe of satin and Brussels lace,
  Knots of flowers and ribbons, too,
  Scattered about in every place,
  For the revel is through.

  And Maud and Madge in robes of white,
  The prettiest night-gowns under the sun,
  Stockingless, slipperless, sit in the night,
  For the revel is done,--

  Sit and comb their beautiful hair,
  Those wonderful waves of brown and gold,
  Till the fire is out in the chamber there,
  And the little bare feet are cold.

  Then out of the gathering winter chill,
  All out of the bitter St. Agnes weather,
  While the fire is out and the house is still,
  Maud and Madge together,--

  Maud and Madge in robes of white,
  The prettiest night-gowns under the sun,
  Curtained away from the chilly night,
  After the revel is done,--

  Float along in a splendid dream,
  To a golden gittern's tinkling tune,
  While a thousand lustres shimmering stream,
  In a palace's grand saloon.

  Flashing of jewels, and flutter of laces,
  Tropical odors sweeter than musk,
  Men and women with beautiful faces
  And eyes of tropical dusk,--

  And one face shining out like a star,
  One face haunting the dreams of each,
  And one voice, sweeter than others are,
  Breaking into silvery speech,--

  Telling, through lips of bearded bloom,
  An old, old story over again,
  As down the royal bannered room,
  To the golden gittern's strain,

  Two and two, they dreamily walk,
  While an unseen spirit walks beside,
  And, all unheard in the lovers' talk,
  He claimeth one for a bride.

  Oh, Maud and Madge, dream on together,
  With never a pang of jealous fear!
  For, ere the bitter St. Agnes weather
  Shall whiten another year,

  Robed for the bridal, and robed for the tomb,
  Braided brown hair, and golden tress,
  There'll be only one of you left for the bloom
  Of the bearded lips to press,--

  Only one for the bridal pearls,
  The robe of satin and Brussels lace,--
  Only one to blush through her curls
  At the sight of a lover's face.

  Oh, beautiful Madge, in your bridal white,
  For you the revel has just begun;
  But for her who sleeps in your arms to-night
  The revel of Life is done!

  But robed and crowned with your saintly bliss,
  Queen of heaven and bride of the sun,
  Oh, beautiful Maud, you'll never miss
  The kisses another hath won!


It is an interesting thought, that will occur to a contemplative mind,
that the world contained, from the time when it was a nebulous mass, all
the materials of the future individuals of the animate and inanimate
creation,--that the elaborate creatures of the vegetable and animal
kingdoms, as well as every mineral, were floating in amorphous masses
through space. Human beings, like genius that was condensed from vapor
at the rubbing of Aladdin's lamp, were diffused in gases, waiting the
touch of the Great Magician's wand to bring them into form and infuse
them with life. In all the distinct creations of God, from the time
when the waters first subsided and the dry land appeared, in everything
organized and inorganized, earth, air, sea, and their inhabitants, there
is no element which was not in existence when the earth was without form
and void.

Philosophers tell us that three hundred and fifty millions of years
elapsed after the globe began to solidify, before it was fitted for the
lowest plants. And more than one million years more were necessary,
after the first plants began to grow upon its young surface, to bring it
forward to the condition which the Divine Father deemed suitable for the
reception of man. If the days of Cain and Abel were the infancy of the
world,--as we have sometimes heard,--when will it come to maturity? Its
divisions of life cannot follow the plan of animated beings; for, with
an embryonic condition of an indefinite period, and an infancy of three
hundred and fifty millions of years, more or less, we can hardly expect
that it will really have begun to enjoy the freedom of adult life,
before the human race will have attained to its earthly limit of
perfectibility, or have so overstocked the surface of the globe as to
make it necessary to remove to some larger sphere.

It is curious, we say, to think that everything now on the earth or
composing its substance was present, though in far different form, at
the beginning,--that the Almighty gathered together in this part of
the universe all the materials out of which to create all the forms of
things which it was his pleasure to evolve here through all time,--that
in that nebulous mass were revolving, not only the gases which were at
last to combine in various manners and proportions to form the rocky
crust and the watery investment of the earth, but that in that dense and
noisome cloud floated also the elements of all the beautiful objects
that furnish the daily enchantments of life. Flowers and trees, birds
and fishes, locusts and mastodons, all things, from the tiniest
animalcule to man, were there, unmodelled, not even in embryo,--their
separate existences then only in the mind of God. There, Christian and
Saracen, Jew and Gentile, Caucasian and Negro, Hindoo and Pariah, all
the now heterogeneous natures which are as oil and water, were blended
in one common vapor.

Finally the condensation of all the gaseous elements began, and the
aëriform masses became liquid, and the waters,--what mineral waters
they were, when they were saturated with granite and marble, diamonds,
rubies, arsenic, and iron!--thus deposited by the vapor, left a gas
above them light enough to bear some faint resemblance to our air.
Still this atmosphere was surcharged with vapors which no lungs could
tolerate, whether of man or reptile; and other steps must be taken to
clear it of its unwholesome properties. Then did the Almighty will
introduce, one after another, the germs of plants,--first of all, the
lower orders, the ferns, which seek the shade, and the lichens, which
grow in damp and dark recesses, mosses, which cling to bare rocks,
living almost on air and water alone,--everything which needed not
bright sunlight to invigorate it nor soil to cling to. Year by year and
age by age did these humble plants extract their nourishment from the
murky vapors that shrouded the earth, and, after fashioning those gases
into a living tissue of stems and leaves, year after year did they die
and lay their remains upon the rocks, accumulating by slow steps a soil
which would in time be capable of giving holding-ground to mightier
plants. The trees came,--and gigantic they must have been; and every
species of tree, shrub, and herb now upon the earth, and of all animals
that walk, fly, or swim, was introduced before the creation of man.

It was as if the elements were too gross for the constitution of man,
when they were first collected from the nebulous mass,--as if they
needed to go through the intermediate forms of plants and animals,
passing in succession from one to another, before they could be
permitted to enter into the bodies of those beings who were to be in
God's likeness. But, in very truth, the elements were unaltered by their
many transmigrations. It was the divine act of God which caused every
plant to spring forth and gave birth to every living thing. Every seed
and every egg was at the first formed by Him. No sudden effort of man's
will, such as that by which Pygmalion was believed to have animated the
work of his chisel, nor any industrious current of electricity, passed
for uninterrupted weeks through the purest gum, and stimulated by the
enthusiasm of a Cross, can transform the worm to a breathing being, or
reach the human climax by slow steps, even if the first one be in the
humble form of a louse. When a new plant appeared, it was the hand of
God that formed the seed. When a new species of animal came upon the
earth, it was the same Power that created it. But the materials were not
new; "out of the dust of the earth" was man created.

Oxygen, Hydrogen, Carbon, and Nitrogen,--do not turn away from us,
gentle reader, we will not be grimly scientific, but a few of the terms
of science must be employed, even here,--these four elements are the
chief ingredients of all vegetable and animal structures. When separated
from their connections, three of them are gases; and the fourth, in
union with one of the others, is also a gas. In various combinations
they form literally the dust of the earth, they make rock and water,
vapor and air. In the hand of the Almighty, they are so many plastic
elements, that form now a plant of the lowliest condition, now a
magnificent oak, now a fish, and now a man. And the germ of each
organized being bequeathes to its offspring the power to reproduce its
likeness,--so that each succeeding generation is a repetition of its
predecessor. There is no change in plants and animals from the first;
the same materials in the same proportions that were selected by the
earliest trees for their composition are chosen now; and in form and
function the last animal is a precise copy of the first of his race.

If we attempt to trace a particle of matter, we shall find its
wanderings endless. Annihilation is a term which is not applicable to
material things. Matter is never destroyed; it rarely rests. Oxygen,
for instance, the most important constituent of our atmosphere, is the
combining element of all things, the medium of communication between the
kingdoms of Nature, the agent of the interchanges that are continually
taking place among all created things. Oxygen keeps life in man, by
combining with his blood at every inhalation; it is absorbed by flowers,
to be employed in the perfection of the fruit; many minerals are
incapable of the various uses of society, until oxygen has attacked and
united with them. It gives us lime and soda, the oil of vitriol, and
common salt; the mineral pigments in common use are impossible without
it; and the beautiful colors of our autumn leaves are due to the
combination of oxygen with their juices. It enters into all plans and
operations with a helping hand; animals and plants owe their lives to
it; but when the shadow of death begins to fall upon them, it is
as ready to aid in their destruction. Like calumny, which blackens
whatsoever is suspected, oxygen pounces upon the failing and completes
their ruin. The processes of fermentation and putrefaction cannot
commence in any substance, until it has first taken oxygen into
combination. Thus, cans of meat, hermetically sealed, with all the air
first carefully expelled, undergo no change so long as the air does not
get access to them. If the minutest opening remain, the oxygen of the
atmosphere combines with the contents of the can, and fermentation or
putrefaction follows. Rust, which takes the keen edge from the knife, is
only another name for oxydation: keep the knife bright, and no oxygen
dares touch it; but the slightest blemish is made a loophole for the
entrance of the ever-watchful enemy, who never again leaves it until its
destruction is complete.

All the elements have a great love of society; they cannot live alone;
they have their likes and their dislikes; they contract alliances which
endure for a time, but are dissolved in favor of stronger attractions.

We have mentioned the names of several natural elements. Let us see what
they are, and what they have to do with man and the kingdoms of Nature.
Beginning with man, let us see what becomes of him in course of time,
what physical metamorphoses he undergoes, to what vile but excellent
uses he is put.

That which forms the bone and muscle of a man this year may be upon his
own table in the shape of potatoes or peaches one summer later. When
Hamlet talked of turning the clay of Alexander into the bung of a
beer-barrel, he spoke the simple truth. In that great play, Shakspeare
appears to have had the transformations of material things much in his
mind; for we find him alluding, in several passages, to the reciprocity
which subsists between the elements of animate and inanimate things,
and between the different members of the same kingdom;--as when, in
conversation with the king about the dead Polonius, he makes Hamlet say,
"A man may fish with the worm that hath eat of a king, and eat the fish
that hath fed of the worm"; or where, over the grave of Ophelia, he
traces the two ancient heroes back to their mother earth, in words some
of which we have quoted.

The ancient mythology, which shadowed forth some truth in all its
fables, turned these facts of Nature to its purpose. The gods of
Greece, when they saw fit to remove a human being from life, sometimes
reproduced him in another form of beauty, without any intermediate
stages of decay. Apollo seemed to have a particular fancy for planting
the boys and girls whom he had loved where he might enjoy their fragrant
society. Thus, a boy named Cyparissus, who had the misfortune to kill a
favorite deer, was so unwilling to be consoled, that he besought Apollo
to make his mourning perpetual; and the kind god changed him into a
cypress, which is still a funereal tree. The modest virgin Daphne, who
succeeded in escaping the violence of his passion, was transformed into
a laurel, which is ever green and pure. And the sweet youth Hyacinthus,
beloved of Apollo, being accidentally killed by a quoit which the god
of day was throwing, that divinity, in his grief, caused those sweet
flowers which bear his name to spring from his blood, where it fell upon
the ground. It is only in the annihilation of the intervals of time
between different forms of existence that these old metamorphoses, which
Ovid relates, are fabulous. If our readers will bear us company a
few steps, through ways which shall have diversions enough to forbid
weariness, we will endeavor to satisfy them that these apparent fables
are very near to every-day truths. We must begin with some plain

The air which we expel from the lungs at every breath has a large
proportion of carbonic acid. Let a man be shut up in an air-tight room
for a day, and he will have changed nearly all the oxygen in it into
this carbonic acid, and rendered it unfit for animal life. Dogs, cats,
and birds would die in it. But, poisonous as it is to man and other
animals, it is a feast to plants. They want it all day and every day;
not in the night,--at that time they have a taste for oxygen. This
effete air, which men and animals exhale, so charged with carbonic acid,
the plants drink in through every pore. They take it from the mouth of
man, appropriate it to their daily uses, and in time render it back to
him mingled with other ingredients in wholesome fruit. Carbonic acid is
death when it combines with the blood,--as it does when we inhale
it; but not so when it enters the stomach in small quantities. One
inspiration of it is enough to make us dizzy,--as when we enter an old
well or stoop over a charcoal fire; but a draught of water fully
charged with it is exhilarating and refreshing, as we know by repeated
experiences at marble fountains that meet us on so many city-corners.

If plants had souls, they would be pure ones, since they can bear such
contamination and not be harmed,--nay, since even from such foul food
as we give them they can evolve results so beautiful. We give them our
cast-off and worn-out materials, and they return us the most beautiful
flowers and the most luscious fruits.

Beside carbonic acid, there are two other principal materials, which
are every day passing off in an effete state, though capable of being
transferred to the uses of plants. But when an animal dies, the whole
substance is then at Nature's disposal. We must set aside a great deal
of it for the ants and flies, who will help themselves in spite of us.
If any one has never seen a carcass rapidly disappearing under the
steady operations of the larvae of the flesh-fly, he has yet to learn
why some flies were made. The ants, too, carry it off in loads larger,
if not heavier, than themselves. But carcasses of animals may go to
decay, undisturbed by the ravages of these useful insects. That is, the
limited partnership of Oxygen, Hydrogen, & Co., under which they agreed
to carry on the operations of sheep, fox, or fish, having terminated
by the death of the animal, the partners make immediate use of their
liberty and go off in inorganic form in search of new engagements,
leaving sulphur, phosphorus, and the other subordinate elements of the
animal, to shift for themselves. They were in the employ of a sheep;
they will now carry on a man or an oak-tree, a colony of insects,
or something else. Under the form of carbonate of ammonia, the four
elements diffuse themselves through the air, or are absorbed by the
earth, and offer themselves at once to the roots and leaves of the
trees, as ready to go on with their vivifying operations as they were in
behalf of the animals. There are some plants which seem not to be left
to the chances of securing their nourishment from the carbonate of
ammonia that the air and the soil contain, but are contrived so as
to entrap living animals and hold them fast while they undergo
decomposition, so that all their gases may be absorbed by them alone.
Thus, "the little Sundew exudes a gluey secretion from the surface of
its leaves, which serves to attract and retain insects, the decay of
whose bodies seems to contribute to its existence." And the Dionaea,
or Venus's Fly-trap of the Southern States, has some leaves which fold
together upon any insect that alights upon their upper surface; and by
means of a row of long spines that fringes the leaves, they prevent his
escape. The more active the struggles of the captive, the closer grows
the hold of the leaf, and speedily destroys him. The plant appears to
derive nutriment from the decomposition of its victims. "Plants of this
kind, which have been kept in hot-houses in England, from which insects
were carefully excluded, have been observed to languish, but were
restored by placing little bits of meat upon their traps,--the decay of
these seeming to answer the same purpose."

The four elements already referred to are by no means all the material
ingredients of animal bodies. There are, also, phosphorus, lime,
magnesia, soda, sulphur, chlorine, and iron; and if you believe some
chemists, there is hardly a mineral in common use that may not be found
in the human body. We doubt, however, whether lead, arsenic, and silver
are there, without the intervention of the doctor.

What becomes of the phosphorus and the rest, when an animal dies? Oh,
they take up new business, too. They are as indispensable to the animal
frame as the four most prominent ingredients. We eat a great deal of
bread and meat, and a little salt,--but the little salt is as important
to continued life as the large bread. There is hardly a tissue in the
body from which phosphorus, in combination with lime, is absent; so that
the composition of lucifer-matches is by no means the most important
use of this element. The luminous appearance which some putrefying
substances, particularly fish, present at night, is due to the slow
combustion of phosphorus which takes place as this element escapes into
the air from the decomposing tissues.

The necessity for the steady supply of phosphorus and lime to the body
is the cause of the popularity of Mapes's superphosphate of lime as a
manure. The farmers who buy it, perhaps, do not know that their bones
and other parts are made of it, and that this is the reason they must
furnish it to their land; for between the land and the farmer's bones
are two or three other factories that require the same material. All
the farmer knows is, that his grass and his corn grow better for the
superphosphate. But what he has not thought of we will tell you,--that
man finds his phosphate of lime in the milk and meat of the cow, and she
finds her supply in the grass and corn, which look to the farmer to see
that their stock of this useful mineral compound does not fall short.
Thus in milk and meat and corn, which constitute so large a part of our
diet, we have always our phosphate of lime. There are many other sources
whence we can derive it, but these will do for the present. And thus,
when an animal dies and has no further use for his phosphate of lime, it
is washed into the soil around, after decomposition of the body has set
it free, and goes to make new grass and corn. Bone-earth (pounded bones)
is a common top-dressing for grass-lands.

A small proportion of sulphur is found in flesh and blood. We prove its
presence in the egg by common experience. An egg--from which it escapes
more easily than from flesh--discovers its presence by blackening
silver, as every housekeeper knows, whose social position is too high
for bone egg-spoons or too low for gold ones. This passion which sulphur
entertains for silver is very strong, as every one knows who has ever
been under that wholesome discipline which had its weekly recurrence at
the delightful institution of Dotheboy's Hall; and what Anglo-Saxon ever
grew up, innocent of that delectable vernal medicine to which we refer?
Has he not found all the silver change in his pocket grow black,
suggesting very unpleasant suspicions of bogus coin? The sulphur, being
more than is wanted in the economy of the system, has made its escape
through every pore in his skin, and, of course, fraternizes with the
silver on its way. But it was of the sulphur which is natural to the
body and always found there that we were speaking. When the animal
dies, and the vital forces give way to chemical affinities, when the
phosphorus and the rest take their departure, the sulphur, too, finds
itself occupation in new fields of duty.

Chlorine and sodium, two more of the elements of animal structures,
produce, in combination, common salt,--without which our food would be
so insipid, that we have the best evidence of its being a necessary
article of diet. The body has many uses for salt. It is found in the
tears, as we are informed by poets, who talk of "briny drops" and "saut,
saut tears"; though why there, unless to keep the lachrymal fluid from
spoiling, in those persons who bottle up their tears for a long time, we
cannot divine.

Perhaps we had better take the rest into consideration together,--the
magnesia and iron, and whatever other elements are found in the body.
Though some of them are there in minute quantities, the structure cannot
exist without them,--and for their constant and sufficient supply our
food must provide.

To see what becomes of all these materials after we have done with them,
we must extend our inquiries among the articles of ordinary diet and
ascertain from what sources we derive the several elements.

It has been sometimes believed that none but animal food contains all
the elements required for the support of life. Thanks to Liebig, we have
discovered that vegetable substances also, fruits, grains, and
roots, contain them all, and, in most cases, in very nearly the same
proportions as they are found in animals. We are not lecturing on
dietetics; therefore we will not pause to explain why, although either
bread or meat alone contains the various materials for flesh and bone,
it is better to combine them than to endeavor to subsist on one only.

Whither, then, go these elements when man has done with them? The answer
is,--All Nature wants them. Every plant is ready to drink them up, as
soon as they have taken forms which bring them within its reach. As
gases, they are inhaled by the leaves, or, dissolved in water, they
are drunk up by the roots. All plants have not the same appetites, and
therefore they can make an amicable division of the supply. Grasses and
grains want a large proportion of phosphate of lime, which they convert
into husks. Peas and beans have little use for nitrogen, and resign it
to others. Cabbages, cauliflowers, turnips, and celery appropriate a
large share of the sulphur.

The food of plants and that of animals have this great difference:
plants take their nourishment in inorganic form only; animals require
to have their food in organic form. That is, all the various
minerals, singly or combined, which compose the tissues of plants and
animals,--carbon, hydrogen, phosphorus, and the rest, which we have
already named,--are taken up by plants in mineral form alone. The food
of animals, on the other hand, consists always of organized forms. There
is no artificial process by which oxygen, carbon, and hydrogen can be
brought into a form suitable for the nourishment of animals. As oxygen,
carbon, and hydrogen, they are not food, will not sustain our life,
and human art cannot imitate their nutritious combinations. Artificial
fibrine and gluten (organic principles) transcend our power of
contrivance as far as the philosopher's stone eluded the grasp of the
alchemists. We know exactly how many equivalents of oxygen, hydrogen,
carbon, and nitrogen enter into the composition of each of the animal
elements; but we can no more imitate an organic element than we can form
a leaf. What we cannot do the vegetable world does for us. Thus we see
why it was necessary that the earth should be clothed with vegetation
before animals could be introduced. A field-mouse dies and decays, and
its elements are appropriated by the roots around its grave; and we
can easily imagine the next generations of mice, the children and
grandchildren of the deceased rodent, feasting off the tender bark which
was made out of the remains of their parent. The soil of our gardens and
the atmosphere above it are full of potential tomatoes, beans, corn,
potatoes, and cabbages,--even of peaches of the finest flavor, and
grapes whose aroma is transporting.

Plants, as well as animals, have their peculiar tastes. Cut off the
supply of phosphate of lime from a field of corn, and it will not grow.
You can easily do this by planting the same land with corn for three
or four successive years, and your crop will dwindle away to nothing,
unless you supply the ground every year with as much of the mineral as
the corn takes away from it. All plants have the power of selecting from
the soil the materials necessary to their growth; and if they do not
find them in the soil, they will not grow. It is now a familiar fact,
that, when an old forest of deciduous trees has been felled, evergreens
will spring up in their places. The old oaks, hickories, and beeches,
as any observer would discover, pass their last years in repose, simply
putting out their leaves and bearing a little fruit every year, but
making hardly any new wood. An oak may attain to nearly its full size,
in spread of branches, in its first two hundred years, and live for five
or six hundred years longer in a state of comparative rest. It seems to
grow no more, simply because it has exhausted too much of the material
for its nourishment from the ground around its roots. At least, we know,
that, when we have cut it down, not oaks, but pines, will germinate
in the same soil,--pines, which, having other necessities and taking
somewhat different food, find a supply in the ground, untouched by
their predecessor. Hence the rotation of crops, so much talked of by
agriculturists. Before the subject was so well understood, the ground
was allowed to lie fallow for a year or two, when the crops began to
grow small, that it might recover from the air the elements it had lost.
We now adopt the principle of rotation, and plant beans this year where
last year we put corn.

It is not merely that plants deprive themselves of their future support
by exhausting the neighboring earth of the elements they require. Some
of them put into the ground substances which are poisonous to themselves
or other plants. Thus, beans and peas pour out from their roots a very
notable amount of a certain gum which is not at all suited to their
own nourishment,--so that, if we plant beans in the same spot several
successive seasons, they thrive very poorly. But this gum appears to be
exactly the food for corn; if, therefore, we raise crops of beans and
corn alternately, they assist each other. Liebig gives the results of a
series of experiments illustrating the reciprocal actions of different
species of plants. Various seeds were sprouted in water, in order to
observe the nature of the excretions from their roots. It was found
"that the water in which plants of the family of the _Leguminosae_
(beans and peas) grew acquired a brown color, from the substance which
exuded from their roots. Plants of the same species, placed in water
impregnated with these excrements, were impeded in their growth, and
faded prematurely; whilst, on the contrary, corn-plants grew vigorously
in it, and the color of the water diminished sensibly, so that it
appeared as if a certain quantity of the excrements of the _Leguminosae_
had really been absorbed by the corn-plants." The oak, which is the
great laboratory of tannin, not only lays up stores of it in its bark
and leaves, but its roots discharge into the ground enough of it to tan
the rootlets of all plants that venture to put down their suction-hose
into the same region, and their spongioles are so effectually closed
by this process, that they can no longer perform their office, and the
plant that bears them dies. Plants whose roots ramify among the roots
of poppies become unwilling opium-eaters, from the exudation of this
narcotic principle into the ground, and are stunted, like the children
of Gin Lane.

The Aquarium furnishes a very interesting example of the mutual
dependence of the three natural kingdoms. Here, in a box holding a few
gallons of water and a little atmospheric air, is a miniature world,
secluded, and supplying its own wants. Its success depends on the number
and character of the animals and plants being so adapted as to secure
just the requisite amount of active growth to each to sustain the life
of the other: that the plants should be sufficient to support, by the
superfluities of their growth, the vegetarians among the animated tribes
that surround them; and that all the animal tribes of the aquarium,
whether subsisting upon the vegetables or on their smaller and weaker
fellow-creatures, should restore to the water in excrements the mineral
substances which will enable the plants to make good the daily loss
occasioned by the depredations of the sea-rovers that live upon them.
Thus an aquarium, its constituents once correctly adjusted, has all the
requisites for perpetuity; or rather, the only obstacle to its unlimited
continuance is, that it is a mortal, and not a Divine hand, that
controls its light and heat.

In the examination of the materials appropriated by plants from the
soil, we find that mineral substances are sometimes taken up in solution
in larger amount than the growth of the plant and the maturation of its
fruit require, and the excess is deposited again, in crystalline form
in the substance of the plant. If we cut across a stalk of the
garden rhubarb, we can see, with the aid of a microscope, the fine
needle-shaped crystals of oxalate of potash lying among the fibres of
the plant,--a provision for an extra supply of the oxalic acid which is
the source of the intense sourness of this vegetable. When the sap of
the sugar-maple is boiled down to the consistence of syrup and allowed
to stand, it sometimes deposits a considerable amount of sand; indeed,
this is probably always present in some degree, and justifies, perhaps,
the occasional complaint of the grittiness of maple-sugar. But it is a
native grit, and not chargeable upon the sugar-makers. It is nothing
less than flint, which the roots of the maple absorbed, while it was
dissolved in water in the soil. The sap, still holding the flint in
solution, flows out, clear as water, when the tree is tapped; but when
it is concentrated by boiling, the silicious mineral is deposited in
little crystals, so that the bottom of the pan appears to be covered
with sand. We could not select a more interesting example of the very
wide diffusion of some compound substances than this one of silicic
acid. It is found in the mineral and vegetable kingdoms. Being a
mineral, it cannot be appropriated to animal uses, without being
decomposed and transformed into an organic condition; but in the
numerous species of plants whose stalks require stiffening against
the winds,--in the grasses and canes, including all our grains, the
sugar-cane, and the bamboo,--a silicate (an actual flint) is taken up by
the roots and stored away in the stalks as a stiffener. The rough, sharp
edge of a blade of grass sometimes makes an ugly cut on one's finger by
means of the flint it contains. Silex is the chief ingredient in quartz
rock, which is so widely diffused over the earth, and enters into the
composition of most of the precious stones. The ruby, the emerald, the
topaz, the amethyst, chalcedony, carnelian, jasper, agate, and garnet,
and all the beautiful varieties of rock crystal, are mostly or entirely
silex. Glass is a compound of silex and pearlash. One who is curious in
such things may make glass out of a straw, by burning it and heating the
ashes with a blowpipe. A little globule of pure glass will form as the
ashes are consumed. The following curious instance, quoted by that
interesting physiologist, Dr. Carpenter, shows the same effect upon a
large scale. A melted mass of glassy substance was found on a meadow
between Mannheim and Heidelberg, in Germany, after a thunder-storm. It
was, at first, supposed to be a meteor; but, when chemically examined,
it proved to consist of silex, combined with potash,--in the form
in which it exists in grasses; and, upon further inquiry, it was
ascertained that a stack of hay had stood upon the spot, of which
nothing remained but the ashes, the whole having been ignited by the

There is nothing in Nature more striking to the novice than the first
suggestions of the various, and apparently contradictory, at least
unexpected, positions in which the same mineral is found. Now carbon is
one of the minerals whose exchanges are peculiarly interesting. Chemists
say that the diamond is the only instance in Nature of pure carbon:
it burns in oxygen under the influence of intense heat, and leaves no
ashes. Next to this--strange gradation!--is charcoal, which comes within
a very little of being a diamond. But just that little interval is
apparently so great, that none but a chemist would suspect there was
any relationship between them. Then come all those immense beds of coal
which compose one of the geological strata of the earth's crust, a
stratum that was formed before the appearance of the animated creation,
when the earth was clothed with a gigantic forest, whose mighty trunks
buried themselves with their fallen leaves, and became, in time, a
continuous bed of carbonaceous stone.

If we look at the vegetable and animal kingdoms, we find carbon entering
into the composition of every tissue. But there are certain tissues and
anatomical elements (as physicians say) which are formed largely of
carbon and have no nitrogen whatever. These are oils and fats and
everything related to them. What will be chiefly interesting, however,
to our readers, is the power of transformation of one of these
substances into another. Starch, gum, and sugar can all be changed into
fat. The explanation of it is in the fact, that these substances are all
chemically alike,--that is, they all have nearly the same proportions of
carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen, and no nitrogen; but by slight differences
in the combination of these elements, they exist in Nature as so many
distinct substances. Their approach to identity is further confirmed
by the fact, that starch can be made into gum, and either of them into
sugar, in the laboratory. The transformation of starch and gum into
sugar is also constantly going on in the ripening of fruits. When
country-dames make currant-jellies and currant-wine, they know very
well, that, if they allow the berries to get dead-ripe, their jelly will
not be so firm as when they seize an early opportunity and gather them
when first fully red. They may also have observed that jelly made late,
besides being less firm, is much more likely to candy. At first, the
currants contain hardly any sugar, but more gum and vegetable jelly
(glue); when dead-ripe, they have twelve times as much sugar as at
first, and the gum and glue are much diminished. The gummy and gluey
materials have been transformed into sugar. Every ripe fruit gives us
evidence of the same manufacture of sugar that has gone on under the
stimulus of the sun's rays; and in the greatest source of sugar, the
cane, the process is the same. A French physician, M. Bernard, has,
within the last twelve years, discovered that the liver of animals is
constantly making sugar out of all kinds of food, while the lungs are
all the time undoing the work of the liver and turning it back into its
chemical elements. And although, in the laboratory of the liver, it is
discovered that no alimentary substance is quite deficient in sweetness,
yet there, as elsewhere, starch and gum yield a far greater amount of it
than animal substances.

We have stated that starch and gum can be turned into sugar by art,--but
as no chemist has yet succeeded in imitating an animal substance, the
change of these three into fat takes place only in the body. There
are proofs enough within general observation, that one object of this
portion of our diet is the supply of fat. The Esquimaux fattens on his
diet of blubber and train-oil; the slaves on the sugar-plantations grow
fat in the boiling-season, when they live heartily on sugar; the Chinese
grow fat on an exclusively rice diet,--and rice is chiefly starch. But
one of the most interesting observations of the transformation of sugar
into a fat is that made by Huber upon bees. It was the discovery, that
bees make their wax out of honey, and not of pollen, as was formerly
believed. When Huber shut up some bees in a close hive, and kept them
supplied with pure honey or with sugar alone, they subsisted upon it,
and soon began to build the comb. Wax is a fat, and the honey which is
eaten by the bee is partly transformed into wax in his body. In about
twenty-four hours after his stomach has been filled with honey, thin
plates of wax appear on the scales of his abdomen, having oozed through
eight little openings in the scales and there hardened. Of this they
build their cells.

We have wandered far from the consideration of the propensity of certain
species of plants to take up special compound substances from the
earth; but the wide-spread silex, with which we set out, displayed so
interesting a field of observation, that it could not be resisted, and
encouraged a disposition to rove, which has been to us instructive and
entertaining. To return to plants,--we find they make use of compounds
for certain special ends; but, as we have seen, the whole vegetable
kingdom uses the eight or ten primitive elements which it has in common
with the animals, and out of these alone forms the infinite variety of
products which we derive from it for food and various economical
and aesthetical purposes. Among the many processes of Nature whose
contemplation fills us with ever new delight, this power of the
adaptation of a few means to an infinite number of ends is one of the
most enchanting. We endeavor to explain by chemical laws the reduction
of the materials which earth and air furnish, to a form in which they
can be appropriated by the tree; by endosmose and exosmose we think we
have overcome the obstacles to a clear comprehension of the circulation
of the sap; and by a cell-theory we believe we have explained the whole
growth of wood and leaves and fruit. But what microscope or what alembic
shall ever tell us why a collection of tubes and cells in one tree
creates the most wholesome and delicious fruit, while in another an
organization precisely similar, so far as we can discern, produces only
harsh and poisonous berries? why the acacia tribe elaborate their gum,
the pine family turpentine, the almond prussic acid, the sorrels oxalic
acid? why the tall calisaya-tree of the Andes deposits in its bark the
valuable medicine cinchona, and the oak, the hemlock, the tea-plant, and
many others, make use of similar repositories to lay up stores of
tannic acid? The numberless combinations of the same materials, and
the wonderful power which rests in a single seed to bring about with
unvarying uniformity its own distinct result, attest to us every day the
admirable wisdom and goodness of the Creator.

These regular, every-day transformations of material elements from rock
to tree, from tree to man, and back through a continual circuit, would
repay us for spending our leisure hours in studying it, with our own
eyes as well as with the eyes of others. The glance we have given is
sufficiently suggestive to turn the attention of our readers that way.
Before parting with them, however, we wish to make a few excursions
into the natural world, to follow out some of the more peculiar and
unexpected migrations of material atoms. Suppose we take a little
marble,--which, in chemical constitution, is carbonate of lime,--that
very marble, for instance, which forms the palaces of Venice, against
which the waters of the Mediterranean have dashed for so many centuries,
and have not dashed in vain. In their perpetual washing, they have worn
away the stone and carried off its particles,--an insignificant amount,
it is true, but, little as it is, it has not remained unused. For
that very carbonate of lime, which once shared the proud state of the
"glorious city in the sea," now helps to form the coarse shells of
oysters, or is embodied in the vast coral reefs that shoot out from the
islands of the West Indies, or is deposited year after year by dying
shell-fish, which are slowly carpeting the ocean-bed with their remains.
Much of this same Venice marble has doubtless been appropriated by
fishes from the sea-water which dissolved it, been transformed into
their bones, cast upon the soil of Italy, disintegrated, and imbibed by
the thirsty roots of forests in sight of the very walls from which it
parted. And who can say that parts of it do not now adorn the necks of
some Venetian dames, in coral, or more costly pearls? What says Ariel to
the orphaned Ferdinand?

  Full fathom five thy father lies;
  Of his bones are coral made;
  Those are pearls that were his eyes:
  Nothing of him that doth fade
  But doth suffer a sea-change
  Into something rich and strange.

This is but a hint of the mutability of created things. Marble,
sea-shells, the chalk-cliffs of Dover, the limestone fossils which
preserve for us animal forms of species long since extinct, the coral
formations that are stretching out in dangerous reefs in so many seas
of the tropics, are all identical in their chief ingredient, and, as
we see, are by natural processes and various accidents constantly
interchanging their positions.

It ought to be consoling to those who think a great deal of their
bodies, to reflect, that, if we may tend "to base uses," we may also
tend to very noble ones. In the course of their transmigrations, the
elements of a worthless individual may get into far better company than
they have before enjoyed,--may enter into brains that immortalize their
owner and redeem the errors of the old possessor. Whoever bases his
merit on a long line of ancestors who have nothing but a perpetuated
name to boast of, may be likened to the last of many successive tenants
of a house who have hired it for their temporary uses. The inheritance
of a brave spirit and a noble mind is a sufficient justification for a
reasonable pride; but not so with the heritage of materials which are
continually interchanging with the clod.

There need be nothing humiliating in such thoughts; the operations
of Nature are always admirable. But when the relics of humanity are
deliberately appropriated to such mechanical or scientific purposes
as we shall relate, before they have entirely lost their original (we
should say latest) form, then most men would look upon the act as
in some sort a desecration. With what holy horror would the ancient
Egyptians regard the economical uses to which their embalmed bodies were
appropriated a few centuries ago! In the words of Ambrose Paré, the
great surgeon of five French kings in the sixteenth century, is a full
account of the preparation and administration of "mummie,"--that is,
Egyptian mummies, powdered and made into pills and potions,--"to such
as have falne from high places or have beene otherwise bruised." The
learned physician enters his protest against the use of it, (which he
says is almost universal with the faculty,) as quite inefficacious and
disgusting. His disgust, however, arises principally from the fact that
the "mummie" prepared by the apothecaries must have been derived "from
the carcases of the basest people of Egypt; for the nobelmen and cheefe
of the province, so religiously addicted to the monuments of their
ancestors, would never suffer the bodyes of their friends and kindred to
be transported hither for filthy gaine and detested use."

If such traffic be base, what shall we say of some priests of Nicaragua,
who renovate their burial-grounds by exhuming the bones of the dead,
with the earth that surrounds them, and selling the mass to the
manufacturers of nitre? No sentiment of reverence for the sepulchres
of their fathers incites them to resist the inroads of foreign
pirates,--for they manufacture their fathers' bones into gunpowder.

Let us turn away from the revolting picture. The glimpses of Nature's
revolutions which we have enjoyed are more agreeable. We are no
advocates for any attempts of preserving the human body from
decomposition; that which will restore the beloved forms of friends
most readily to their primitive elements, and avert the possibility
of anything so dear remaining to excite our aversion or disgust, or
becoming a pestilential agent, we would cordially encourage. There can
be no doubt that use would soon render cremation as little disagreeable
to the feelings as consigning the precious remains to slow decay and
food for worms; and few will long be pained at the thought of mingling
at once with the common earth and air, and returning to usefulness in
other forms, after the soul has passed to heavenly spheres to enjoy the
blessings of immortal life.

       *       *       *       *       *


It is wonderful how Nature provides for the taking off and keeping down
of her monsters,--creatures that carry things only by force or fraud:
your foxes, wolves, and bears; your anacondas, tigers, and lions; and
your cunning or ferocious men of prey, of whom they are the types.
Storms may and must now and then rage and ravage, volcanoes must have
their destructive fits, and the darkness must do its mean and tyrannical
things while men are asleep; but calmness and sunshine triumph
immeasurably on the whole. Of the cubs of iniquity, only here and there
an individual escapes the crebrous perils of adolescence, develops into
the full beast, and occupies a sublime place in history; whereas the
genial men of sunshine, plenty as the fair days of summer, pass quietly
over from the ruby of life's morning to the sapphire of its evening, too
numerous to be written of or distinctly remembered. There are, it is
quite true, enough biographies of such in existence to read the world to
sleep by for ages. It can hardly keep awake at all, except over lives of
the other sort; hence, one of great and successful villany is a prize
for the scribe. In the dearth of such, let us content ourselves with
briefly noticing one of the multitude of abortive cubs, its villany
nipped--as Nature is wont to nip it--in the promising bud of its
tenderness. Many a flourishing young rogue suddenly disappears, and the
world never knows how or why. But it shall know, if it will heed our
one-story tale, how Chip Dartmouth of these parts was turned down
here,--albeit we cannot at present say whether he has since turned up

Our hero was baptized simply Chipworth, in compliment to a rich uncle,
who was expected on that account to remember him more largely in his
will,--as he probably did; for he soon left him a legacy of twenty
thousand dollars, on the express condition that it should accumulate
till he was of age, and then be used as a capital to set the young man
up in business. As the inheritance of kingdoms spoils kings, so this
little fortune, though Chip could not finger a mill of it during his
minority, all the while acted on him like a controlling magnet, inducing
a strong repellency to good advice and a general exaltation of views, so
that, when he came into possession of it, he was already a fast young
man in almost every respect. He had settled it as the maxim of his life
to gain fast and spend fast; and having had considerable opportunity to
spend before he had any to gain, he had on becoming a business man, some
secret deficits to make good before he could really be as rich as people
supposed him. As his deficits had not been made by daylight, so daylight
must have nothing to do in wiping them out; and hence darkness became
more congenial than its reverse to all his plans, and he studied, as he
thought, with singular success, the various tricks of blinding people
to the state of his finances, as well as of bettering it. While he was
supposed to be growing rich very rapidly, he really was doing so about
half as fast as everybody thought. Chip would not steal,--that was
vulgar. But he would take every possible advantage of other people by
keeping close his own counsels and pumping out theirs. He would slander
a piece of property and then buy it. He would monopolize on a short
market, and fill his purse by forestalling. Indeed, he was, altogether,
one of the keen, and greatly admired in business circles.

It was not easy for Chip to love any being but himself,--not even a
woman. But his smart figure, for which Nature and the tailors had done
their best, set the general female imagination into the most
lively action. Many were the dreams about him,--day-dreams and
night-dreams,--that were dreamed in front of all manner of little
filigree bird nest bonnets and under snowy nightcaps; and at the
slightest encouragement on his part, no doubt, the idea of himself which
had been manufactured in many minds would have been fallen in love with.
The reality certainly would not have been. Miss Millicent Hopkins wore
one of the caps set for Chip, and her he professed vehemently to love.
But she was the daughter of a millionnaire of a very set temper, who had
often said and sworn that his daughter should not have any man who had
not proved by more than mushroom or retail success in business that he
was able and likely to better her fortune. Miss Millicent must plainly
either be run away with, or fairly won on old Hopkins's plan of
wholesale, long-winded business success. Miss Millicent's good looks,
if they did not amount to beauty, did, nevertheless, add something to
the attractiveness of her vast pecuniary prospects. Chip had obtained
the young lady's decided favor without absolutely crossing the Rubicon
himself, for he had no notion of taking her without any of the funds her
father had to bestow. It was arranged between them that his paternal
consent should be asked, and the die or live of matrimony should depend
on that. But, with confidence, or what is sometimes called brass, enough
to put any sort of question, it was impossible for Chip Dartmouth to
state the case to old Mr. Hopkins as it was. Having obtained a private
interview, he grasped the old gentleman by the hand with an air as
familiar as it was apparently cordial.

"Ah! I am very glad to see you, Mr. Hopkins, for I have been thinking
what a fool I must be not to pay my addresses to Miss Millicent; and I
can take no steps, you know, without your consent."

"You can take none with it, Sir," was the emphatic reply of the severe
parent, with a sort of annihilating look. "I admire your prudence and
frankness, my young friend; but, till you show yourself a merchant, of
my own sort, I beg you will excuse me and my family from any of the
steps you contemplate. Good-morning, Sir,--good-morning!"

The showing-out was irresistible, leaving nothing more to be said.

Chip now resolved that he would double his diligence in making money,
out of spite to the father, if not love for the daughter. The old fogy's
wealth he would have at any rate, and Millicent with it, if possible, as
a sort of bonus. So, obtaining an interview with his fair intended and
intending, at the earliest moment, without revealing a hint of his own
diplomatic blunder, he told her that her father had refused his consent
to their union because his fortune was not sufficient, and she must not
expect to see him again till it was so, which he fancied would be in a
much shorter time than the old gentleman supposed.

Chip had not long to wait for a chance to strike the first blow in
carrying out his new resolution of fast trading. The day after his
memorable rebuff, he was sitting in the choky little counting-room of a
crammed commission-warehouse in India Street, musing and mousing over
the various schemes that occurred to his fertile brain for increasing
the profits of his business. He had already bought cotton pretty largely
on speculation. Should he monopolize further, make a grand rush in
stocks, or join the church and get large trust-funds into his hands on
the strength of his reputation for piety? All these and a hundred other
questions were getting rapidly and shrewdly discussed in his mind, when
a rather stubbed man, with a square, homely face and vinegar expression,
opened, or partly opened, the little glass door of the counting-room,
and, looking round it more greedily than hopefully, said,--

"You don't want the cargo of the 'Orion' at a bargain?"

"Can't say I do. But walk in, Captain Grant,--walk in!"

Captain Grant did walk in, though he said it was no use talking, if Chip
didn't want the cotton. Chip saw instinctively, in the sad, acid look of
his visitor, that he was anxious to sell, and could be made to take a
despondent view of the market. Taking him by the button, he said, rather

"I know, Captain, you ship-owners want to keep your ships at work at
something besides storage. But look there," pointing to the bales of
cotton filling the immense floor; "multiply that pile by four and add
the basements of two churches, and you see a reason why I should not buy
above the level of the market. Now, taking that into consideration, what
do you ask for your two hundred and fifty bales in the 'Orion?'"

"Seven cents."

"I know somebody who would feel rich, if he could sell at that,"
returned Chip, with a queer grin. "No, no, Captain Grant, that won't do
at all. Prices are sinking. If I should buy at that figure, every sign
of margin would fade out in a fortnight. I haven't five bales that have
been bought at any such price."

It was true, he had not; for they had been bought at seven-and-a-half
and eight.

"Well, I will say six-and-a-half at sixty days, to you," said the
humiliated Grant.

"My dear Sir," replied Chip, "you don't begin to tempt me. I must burn
all my foreign correspondence and forget the facts before I can begin to
look at anything beyond six cents and ninety days."

"Ninety days won't do," said Mr. Grant, tersely. "If we must sacrifice,
it must be for something a bank will look at, Mr. Dartmouth. But I want
the ship cleared, and if you will say six at two months for the whole,
it's a bargain, bad as it is for me."

"Not a bargain for me to be in a hurry about; but I'll think of it. Hold
on till to-morrow. But, on the whole, you needn't do that. It wouldn't
be an object."

"But I will do it, if you say so, till noon to-morrow."

"Better say five-and-three-fourths and have it done to-day," said Chip,
"for I may not give that to-morrow. But if you hold on, and I buy
anything at six, it shall be your lot."

Captain Grant, beginning to believe that he should, after all, sell a
little above the bottom of the market, took his leave for his home among
the Waltham hills, a little less grouty than when he entered.

That same night, Chip, after having dropped in at numerous resorts of
the fast men, in most of which somewhat of his conscience, such as it
was, dropped out, was proceeding homeward through Devonshire Street,
with the brightest of his wits still about him. It was a raw night, one
of the rawest ever got up by a belated equinoctial, with almost nothing
stirring in the streets but the wind, and the loose shutters and old
remnants of summer awnings left to its tender mercies. Aeolus, with
these simple instruments of sound, added to the many sharp corners of
city architecture, managed to get up something of a symphony, enough
almost to make up for the nocturnal cats, now retired to silence and the
snuggest attainable quarters. The hour was one of the short ones
ayont the twal, and sleep reigned everywhere except in the
daily-newspaper-offices and in the most fashionable of the grog-shops.
Besides Chip, the only living thing in Devonshire Street was a
thinly-clad stripling, with a little roll of yellowish tissue-paper in
his hand, knocking and shaking feebly at a door which grimly refused to
open. His powers of endurance were evidently giving way, and his grief
had become both vocal and fluent in the channel of his infant years.

"What's the matter, my boy?" asked Chip,--"locked out, hey?"

"No,--bo-hoo. No, Sir, the door's blowed to and froze up, and I can't
git this pos'crip' up to the office."

"Oh, oh! you're the telegraph-boy, are you?"

"Yes, Sir."

"Most froz'n, aren't you?"

"O-oo-oo, that I be, Sir."

Here a very bright idea struck Chip, and he inquired,--

"Is this all that's coming?"

"Boo-hoo. Yes, Sir. They've sent good-night once before, and this is the
pos'crip'. The wires is shut off now, and some of the papers is shut
off, too; for I've been to three before this, and can't git into nary
one on 'em."

"Never mind, my poor fellow; I belong up here. I'll take the sheets and
send 'em round to all the other papers that are open. Never mind; you
take that, and go right home to your mother."

"Thank you, Sir," said the shivering lad, and, giving up the yellow roll
and taking the loose coppers offered him in the quickest possible time,
he scampered off around the corner of Water Street and left Chip in
company with two temptations.

"Now," thought Chip, "it will be certainly a clean and gentlemanly
thing, if, after having relieved this poor little devil of his trouble
and responsibility, I should oblige the still poorer devil of a concern
up-stairs by giving 'em this postcript of foreign news, which, by
working so late, they will probably have exclusively. That would be most
truly honest, benevolent, and philanthropic. It would make at least one
newspaper my friend, and, on the whole, it is something of a temptation.
But let me see what it will cost."

Giving the black door a vigorous push, he entered, and by the gas-burner
on the first landing discovered that the postcript in his possession
gave the state of the Liverpool cotton-market a day later than the body
of the dispatch, which had already gone into type, and, what was more to
the purpose, announced a rise of a penny-and-a-half on the pound. Chip
clutched the gauzy sheets in his fist, closed the door as softly as
possible, and yielded himself a doomed captive to temptation number two.
Here was a little fortune on the cotton he had in store at any rate,
and, if he really had in his grasp all the news of the rise, he might
make by it a plump ten thousand dollars out of Captain Grant's "Orion."
But to this end he must be sure that not a lisp of the rise would be
published in the morning papers, and he must see Captain Grant and close
his bargain for the "Orion's" cargo before the wires should begin to
furnish additional news by the "Africa" to the evening papers. They
would not, after obtaining such news, lose a moment in parading it on
their bulletin-boards, and Captain Grant might get hold of it before
reaching the little counting-room in India Street. Chip, of course,
saw what to do, and did it. Waiting in one of the little
"meals-at-all-hours" saloons till he heard the churning of the
press-engines, he sallied out and bought of the overloaded carriers the
earliest copies of the morning papers, and made himself sure that the
foreign news did not disclose any change of the cotton-market. The
next thing was to transfer himself to Captain Grant's residence in
Waltham,--exactly whereabout in Waltham he did not know, but, of course,
he could easily find out,--and, without exciting the grouty old salt's
suspicions of false play, make sure of the cotton at his own price. On
the whole, he thought it safer, as well as cheaper, to use the early
train than to hire a special team.

Arrived in Waltham, to his great vexation, it appeared, after
much inquiry, that Captain Grant lived full three miles from the
station,--and what was worse, every omnibus, hack, buggy, and dog-cart
was engaged for a muster in one direction or a cattle-show in another.
Nothing on wheels could be hired at any price,--at least, none could be
found in an hour's search from one hotel or livery-stable to another.
Chip, whose sleepless night and meditated fraud had not left much of the
saint in him, swore the whole of Waltham as deep as the grimmest view of
predestination would allow. And he restrained himself from being still
more profane only lest his wrath should awaken inconvenient suspicions.
After all, there was one old tavern a little way out, where possibly a
one-horse affair could be raised. The Birch House was a sort of seedy,
dried-up, quiet, out-of-the-way inn, whose sign-post stood forth like a
window without sash, the rectangular ligneous picture of a man driving
cattle to Brighton having long ago been blown out of its lofty setting
and split to pieces by the fall. What was the use of replacing it? No
one was likely to call, who did not already know that the Widow Birch
still kept tavern there, and just how she kept it. It was doubtful if a
new sign would attract a single new customer. Indeed, since the advent
of railroads, a customer was not a common occurrence any way, though
there still remained a few that could be depended on, like the Canada
geese, in their season, and their custom was handsomely profitable. The
house, a white wooden one, with greenish blinds, had two low stories,
the first of which was nearly level with the ground. There was a broad,
low entry running through the middle, and on either side two rather
spacious square rooms. One of those in front had a well-sanded,
well-worn pine floor, with a very thirsty-looking counter across one
corner, supporting a sort of palisade that appeared to fortify nothing
at all,--a place, however, which had evidently been moist enough in
the olden times. In the other front room was a neat carpet, plain,
old-fashioned furniture, and a delightful little plantation of fresh and
cozy flower-pots, surrounding a vase full of gold-fishes, and overhung
by a bright-eyed, mellow-throated canary, the whole of that paradise
being doubtless under the watch and care of little Laura Birch. This was
the ladies' parlor,--the grand reception-room, also, of any genteel male
guest, should one for a wonder appear. Little Laura, however, was no
longer as little as she had been,--though just as innocent, and ten
times as bewitching to most people who knew her. You could not but
particularly wish her well, the moment her glad, hopeful, playful,
confiding, half-roguish eye met yours. With the most conscientious
resolution to make herself useful, under her mother's thrifty
administration, in the long, clean New England kitchen which stretched
away behind the square dining-room, interposed between it and the dry
bar-room, she had a taste for books and a passion for flowers, which
absorbed most of her thoughts, and gained her more chidings from her
mother for their untimely manifestations than her handiest services
gained thanks or any signs of grateful recognition. She and the flowers,
including the bird and the fishes, seemed to belong to the same
sisterhood. She had copied their fashion of dress and behavior, rather
than the Parisian or any imported style,--and so her art, being all
learned from Nature, was quite natural. On the very morning in question,
she was engaged in giving this little conservatory the benefit of her
thorough skill and affectionate regard, when good Dame Birch broke in
upon her with,--

"Why, Laury, what are you thinking about? It's always just so. Here is a
gentleman in the bar-room, and he's a'most sure to order breakfast, and
them eels isn't touched, and not a thing ready but cold victuals and
pie. Them eels would be so nice and genteel! and you know they won't

"But you didn't tell me to fry them now, mother," said Laura.

"But I told you to fix 'em all ready to fry."

"Well, mother," replied Laura, "I'll come as soon as these things are
set to rights. It won't do to leave them just so."

"Well, it's always just so," said the maternal Birch. "I must do it
myself, I see. Don't be all day, Laury,--now don't!"

She disappeared, muttering something about "them plaguy flower-pots."

In point of fact, Chip Dartmouth was all this while in the aforesaid dry
bar-room, engaged in an earnest colloquy with Frank Birch, a grown-up
son of the landlady, a youth just entered on the independent platform of
twenty-one, Laura being three years younger. Chip had arrived rather out
of breath and excited, having got decidedly ahead of the amenities
that would have been particularly expedient under the circumstances.
Approaching a door of the bar-room, which opened near its corner towards
the barn, and which stood open at the time, he descried Frank within
busily engaged mending harness.

"Hallo! young man, I say, hurry up that job, for I've no time to lose."

"Well, I'm glad on't," retorted Frank, hardly looking up from his work,
"for I ha'n't."

"Look here!" said Chip, entering, "you're the man I've been looking for.
I must have a ride to Captain Grant's, straight off, at your own price."

"Maybe you must, but I'm goin' to the Concord cattle-show, and Captain
Grant's is four miles out of the way. I can't think of goin' round, for
I shall be too late, any way."

"Never mind that, my young friend, if you 'r' 'n such a hurry, put on
the string and look to me for the damage."

"Maybe you can't pay it," replied Frank, looking rather scornful.

"The Devil!" exclaimed Chip, "are all the Waltham people born idiots?"

"No! some of 'em are born governors," said Frank, "and Boston people may
find it out one of these days."

On this, Landlady Birch intervened, taking the bar-room in her way from
the parlor to the kitchen.

"What is that you say, Frank? The gentleman can have as good a breakfast
here as he can have anywhere out of Boston, I'm sure, though I say it
myself. We don't have so many to cook for, and so, perhaps, we take a
little more pains, Sir,--ha! ha!"

And with that good Mrs. Birch put on a graciousness of smile worthy of
the most experienced female Boniface in Anglo-Saxondom.

"The gentleman don't want any breakfast, mother; he only wants a ride
round to Captain Grant's, and he ha'n't got the manners to ask for it,
like a gentleman;--he _must_ have it. I say he mus'n't in my buggy, for
I a'n't goin' that way."

"Why, son, the gentleman of course expects to pay for it."

"Yes, Madam," said Chip, "I am willing and expect to bleed freely."

_Frank_. "Well, I should like to know what you mean by that? _I_ don't
want your blood, or that of any other Boston squirt."

_Mrs. Birch (to Chip, after a reproving glance at Frank)_. "I think we
can accommodate you, Sir. The buggy is at the blacksmith's, and will be
done in half-an-hour. If you want, you can have breakfast while you are
waiting; and you will find a comfortable fire in the parlor to sit by,
at any rate."

With this, Mrs. Birch made her exit, to hurry matters on the cook-stove.

"There! that's her, all over!" grumbled Frank. "If she can sell a meal
of victuals, she don't care what becomes of me. But I'll let her know
the mare's mine, and the buggy's mine, all but the harness; and I tell
_you_, Sir, I'll see the mare drowned in Charles River and the buggy
split into kindling-wood, before you shall have a ride to Captain
Grant's this day."

"But here's a five-dollar-bill," quoth Chip, displaying a small handful
of banknotes.

_Frank_. "You may go to thunder with the whole of 'em! I tell you I've
set my foot down, and I won't take it up for my own mother,--and I'm
sure I won't for anything that ever was or will be under your clo'es."

With this, he jerked up the harness and went off to the barn, with an
air that convinced Chip that the controversy between mother and son was
not likely to be decided in his favor at a sufficiently early hour to
answer his purpose. But where else should he go, or what else should
he do? As he was a little more inclined now to bet on calmness than on
passion, he decided to take a seat in the parlor, and keep it, at
least, till he could dispose of his present doubt. Easily might he have
measured three miles over the Waltham hills, in the bracing morning-air,
with his own locomotive apparatus, while he had been looking in vain for
artificial conveyance. But if that plan had occurred to him at all at
first, it would have been dismissed with contempt as unbusinesslike. He
must not, by any possibility, appear to Captain Grant to be so madly
anxious to close the bargain. He did a little regret neglecting the
service of his own proper pegs, but it was now entirely too late to
walk, and he must ride, and at a good pace, too, or lose the entire
benefit of the news which the lightning had so singularly confided to
his honest hands. The feeling with which he flung himself into that
quiet, little, economical parlor was, probably, even more desperate than
Richard's, when he offered his kingdom for a horse. It was, in fact,
just the feeling, of all others in the world, to prevent a man's getting
a horse. Had he carried it into a pasture full of horses, it would have
prevented him from catching the tamest of them. But the good influences
of the Universe, that encourage and strengthen the noble martyrs of
truth and workers of good in their arduous labors, do sometimes also
help on villains to their bad ends. Never were troubled waters more
quickly smoothed with oil, never were the poles of a magnet more quickly
reversed, than Chip's rage and rancor abated after he entered that door.
Not that he relaxed his purpose at all, or felt any essential change of
his nature, but his temper was instantly turned the right side up
for success. He was, of course, unconscious of the cause,--for it is
certainly nothing wonderful, even in the neighborhood of Boston, to see
a neat Yankee lass, in her second or third best dress, putting things
to rights of a morning, with a snowy handkerchief over her head, its
corners drawn into a half-knot under her sweet chin, and some little
ruddy outposts on her cheeks, ready, on the slightest occasion, to
arouse a whole army of blushes. Laura had just given the finishing touch
to her flower culture, changed the water of her fishes, replenished the
seed-bucket of the canary, and was about leaving the room. Almost any
man would have been glad of an excuse to speak to her. Chip could have
made an excuse, if one had not been ready-made, that was to him very
important, as well as satisfactory.

"Miss Birch, I presume?"

"Yes, Sir," said Laura, with a curtsy, not quite so large as those that
grow in dancing schools, but, nevertheless, very pretty.

"Well, Miss Birch," said Chip, blandly advancing and taking her nice
little hand, half covered with her working-mitts,--whereat the
aforesaid outposts promptly did their duty,--"or shall I call you Miss
Susan Birch?"

"No, Sir, my name is Laura," said the girl, shrinking a little from a
contact which rather took her by surprise.

"Oh, Laura!--that is better yet," proceeded Chip. "Now, Miss Laura, I
have got myself into a terrible scrape; can you help me out of it?"

"I can't tell, indeed, Sir, till I know what it is," said Laura, with a
bright twinkle of reassurance.

"Well, it is this:--I have mortally offended your brother,--for so I
take him to be by his looks,--and I most sincerely repent it, for he
owns the only team left in Waltham. If I cannot hire that team for an
hour, I lose money enough to buy this house twice over. I want you to
reconcile us. Will you offer my apology and prevail on him to take this
and be my coachman for an hour?" asked Chip,--slipping a gold eagle
into her hand with the most winning expression at his command.

"Oh, yes, Sir,--I'm sure I'll try without that, Sir. He will be glad to
oblige you, when he knows how you need it," she said, offering to return
the coin.

"No, no, Miss Laura, I want to pay him well; and if you succeed,--why,
no money can pay _you_, Miss Laura; I don't profess to be rich enough to
do it."

Here the outposts gave another alarm, and again the hosts of the ruby
uniform were gathering hurriedly in their two muster-fields.

"Why, I will go and try, Sir," said Laura, so much confused by the
novelty and magnitude of the circumstances that she opened the
closet-door before opening the only one that led out of the room.

Fairly out of Chip's presence, she saw instantly and instinctively the
worthlessness of that gold eagle, however genuine, compared with her
sisterly love, in her mission to Frank. So she ran directly to her
mother in the long kitchen, and, planking the American eagle upon the
sloppy little table where the eels were rapidly getting dressed, said,--

"Why, mother, that gentleman wants to hire Frank to carry him to Captain
Grant's, and I'm sure he ought to go without hiring. I'll go right out
and see him."

"That's right, Laury; tell him he ought to be ashamed of himself!"

"Oh, no, mother, I won't tell him any such thing," said Laura,
laughingly, as she hopped and skipped towards the barn.

"Well, Frank, how's Nell Gwyn, this morning?" cheerily cried Laura to
Frank, who seemed to be getting his harness into a worse snarl, in his
grouty attempts to get it out of one.

"The mare's well enough, if she hadn't been insulted."

"Why, that's abominable, Frank! But let me get that snarl out."

"You get it out! You get out yourself, Laule."

"Why, that's all I'm good for, Frank; I always pick out the snarls in
the house, you know, and I should like to try it once in the barn."

"The tarnal old thing's bewitched, I believe," said Frank, allowing his
sister to interfere and quietly untwist and turn right side out the
various parts which he had put wrong by all sorts of torsion. "I'll
teach Boston chaps to know that there are some things they can't have
for money! When Nell and I have agreed to have a good time, we a'n't
goin' to be ordered off nor bought off;--we'll _have_ it."

"So _I_ say, Frank. But suppose _I_ wanted you to give _me_ a ride,

"Why, Laule, you know I would go to the North Pole with you. If Mam
would only let _you_ go to Concord with me, I'd wait till noon for you."

"Well, maybe she will, Frank. She wants you to carry that man to
Captain Grant's bad enough to let me go in the afternoon."

"But I told him I wouldn't carry him,--and, gol darn it, I won't!"

"Of course you won't carry him on his own account, or for the sake of
his money,--but for my sake perhaps you will."

"Well, Sis, perhaps I will. But, mind, before I do, Mam shall promise,
sartin sure, to let you go by half-past twelve o'clock, and not a minit

"Well, I'll see she does; you harness Nell, and get the buggy. The man
says he's sorry he spoke to you so. If he's carried to Captain Grant's
and back, I'll answer for it's being the best for all of us."

She was off to the house like a bird, and the rest of her diplomacy was
too simple and straightforward to need special record.

As the buggy was at the door before the table presented the savory
temptation of fried eels, Chip declined breakfast at present, but
decidedly promised to take it on his return. He dropped in on Captain
Grant, as he was careful to tell that gentleman, having had business in
Waltham that morning, and thinking he might perhaps save him a journey
to town. The ship-owner had just finished the news of the morning
papers, for which he had sent a messenger express to the post-office,
and said, after the cordial salutation which a rough sort of man always
gives in his own house,--

"Well, Mr. Dartmouth, I see the market is as close-reefed as ever.
Maybe you think I will sell at five and three-fourths to-day, but I've
concluded to make a floating warehouse of the 'Orion' for the winter,
rather than do that."

"I don't blame you for that, my friend; but in the present state of
advices, six at two months is the highest mill that will do. If you will
close the 'Orion's' cargo at that, I am your man."

"What I've said, I'll do, Sir, of course," said the tough old salt; "and
since you've taken the trouble to come out here and save my lame toes,
let's nail the bargain with a bottle of my old Madeira,--some of the
ripest this side of the herring-pond, I'll be bound."

"Not a drop, I thank you; for, besides being a teetotaller, Captain, I'm
behind time to-day, and must bid you good-morning."

"Well, Sir, I'm much obliged to you; the bill of sale shall be at your
counting-room directly; the clerk will receive the notes and deliver the
cotton. Good-morning, Sir,--good-morning!"

In truth, Chip had not the slightest objection to wine, as wine, even
had it not been the ripest on this continent; but, like any other
mitigated villain, he did not quite relish taking wine with the man he
was basely cheating. He would much rather partake of Ma'am Birch's fried
eels and coffee, especially if Laura Birch should, peradventure, be the
Hebe of such an ambrosial entertainment. She was not, however,--and the
disappointment considerably overclouded the commercial victory of the
morning. Madam Birch herself did the honors of whatever sort, while Chip
played a fantasia solo at the _table d'hôte_. The good lady enlarged
volubly on her destitution of help, and how, if she had any such as
we get now-a-days, they were more plague than profit,--how Laura was
getting ready to go with Frank to the cattle-show, and she herself was
likely to be the only living mortal in the house for the rest of the

"Such a son as you have is a fortune, Madam; and as for the daughter,
she is a gem, a genuine diamond, Madam."

"Ha! ha! do you really think so, Sir?" said the mother, evidently
gratified with the superlativeness of the compliment. "Well, they do say
children are jewels.--but I've found, Sir, they are pretty
troublesome and pretty costly jewels. Mine, as you say, are very good
children,--though Frank is pretty wilful, and Laury is always gettin'
her head above the clouds. Oh, dear! they want a great deal done for
'em,--and the more you do, the more you may do. Frank is bewitched to
sell out and go to Kansas or Californy, or, if he stays here, he must go
to college or be a merchant. And Laury, even she isn't contented; she
wants to be some sort of artist, make statters or picters,--or be a
milliner, at least. So you see I haven't a minute's peace of my life
with 'em."

Of course Chip saw it, and the more's the pity.

"All the better, Madam," said he. "Young America must go ahead. There's
nothing to be had without venturing. If I can ever be of service to
either of your children in forwarding their laudable ambition, I am sure
it will give me the greatest pleasure."

"You are very kind, Sir, but I only wish you could persuade 'em to let
well alone, and at least not try the world till they know more of it."

"Not touch the water till they have learned to swim, eh? That's not
quite so easy, Madam. Never fear; I'll be bound, a boy that can say _No_
like yours is perfectly safe anywhere; and as to Laura, why, Madam, I
never heard of an angel getting into difficulty in the wickedest of

"Our old minister, Parson Usher that was, used to say some of the Bible
angels fell,--and I am sure, Sir, the human angels have a worse chance.
They are about the only ones that run any risk at all."

"True, true enough, Ma'am, in one point of view. Too much care cannot be
taken to select the society in which young people are to move. In the
right society, such a girl as Laura would win homage on every side, and
make herself happy by making everybody else so."

"I believe you are right there, Sir," said Mrs. Birch, quite charmed
with such beautiful appreciation of what she felt to be Laura's
excellence; "and I don't wonder sometimes that she should be
discontented with the society she has here, poor girl!"

"When you see the sun begin to shine in the morning, you may be sure
enough it will keep rising all the forenoon," said Chip, with the air
of a great moral philosopher, conscious of having made a decided
impression. And suddenly recollecting how valuable was his time in town,
and that the train would be due in five minutes, he swallowed the last
of his coffee, paid his bill, told the landlady how happy he was to have
made her acquaintance and that of her interesting family, promised he
would never stop in Waltham without calling, and strode away.

The lightning flashed from a good many eyes in the telegraph-office when
the morning members of the associated press inquired why they had not
been served with the latest news,--why, in fact, the only item of any
significance was reserved for the evening papers of the day. Not a press
of all the indignant complainants was ready to admit that it had locked
up its forms and gone to bed before the wires had completed their task.
Very bitter paragraphs testified, the next day, that, in the opinion of
many sage and respectable editors, the wires had been tampered with
by speculators. The poor little half-frozen telegraph-boy was closely
catechized, first by the officers of the telegraph-company, and
afterwards by certain shrewd detectives, but no clue could be got to the
fine gentleman who so generously relieved him of his responsibility, and
no result followed, except his dismissal and the employment of another
lad of more ability and probably less innocence. Captain Grant was the
man most likely to have come to a discovery in the matter, and most
heartily did he curse his luck--his "usual luck"--of giving away a
fortune by selling a cargo a day too soon. But being kept at home
by uncomfortable toes, no suspicious mortal, such as abound in the
lounging-rooms of insurance-offices and other resorts of business-men in
town, happened ingeniously to put his suspicions on a scent, and he did
not come within a league of the thought that Chip Dartmouth could have
had anything to do with the strange and blamable conduct of the wires.
As he made no proclamation of his loss, and no other case of sale
during the abeyance of the news came to the knowledge of the parties
interested, the matter, greatly to Chip's comfort, fell into entire
oblivion before a fortnight had passed. The understanding was, that,
though great mischief might have been done, none had been,--and
that somebody had simply made waste-paper of the little yellow

For the first fortnight, Chip's nervousness, not to say conscience, very
much abated the pleasure of the many congratulations he received from
his friends, and from hundreds of people whom he had never before known
as his friends. He couldn't get through the streets any day without
meeting the solidest sort of men, with whom he had never exchanged
a word in his life, but whose faces were as familiar as that of the
Old-South clock, who took him by the hand quite warmly, and said,--

"Ah, Mr. Dartmouth, permit me to congratulate you on your good-fortune.
You have well deserved it. I like to see a young man like you make such
a ten-strike, especially when it comes in consequence of careful study
of the market."

The truth was, Chip had been playing a pretty hazardous game in the
cotton-market, chiefly at the risk of other parties; and the slice he
had so feloniously carved out of poor Captain Grant was quite small
compared with the gains he had managed to secure by thus venturing a
little of his own and a great deal of other people's money. The shrewd
minds in the secrets of the business world were not slow to see that
he must have realized at least a hundred thousand units of commercial
omnipotence by the operations of the first week after the rise.
Everybody was glad of an opportunity to speak to such a man. Even Mr.
Hopkins, immensely retired as he was, driving into State Street
about noon one genial day to receive a bank dividend or two, stepped
considerably out of his way, in walking from his low-hung turnout to the
door of one of the banks, in order to catch Mr. Dartmouth's notice, and
say to him, "Good-morning, Mr. Dartmouth! I hope you are very well,
Sir!" Chip recognized the salutation with a superb nod, but without the
accompaniment of any verbal rhetoric which was audible above the buzz of
the pavement; and the retired millionnaire passed on about his business.

"Ah!" thought Chip, "I am getting to be a merchant of the right sort, I
see,--and by the time he is ready to change that low-hung little chariot
for the hard, angular ebony with raven plumes, I shall be ready to step
into the other plump little vehicle, which is really so nice and cozy."

But we must leave Chip to the easy task of ballooning upward in public
estimation, with his well-inflated bank-account. He was, in fact,
reformed by his great commercial success to this extent, that his vices
had become of the most distinguished and unvulgar grade. He was now
courted by the highest artists in iniquity, and had the means of
accomplishing results that none but men who are known to be really rich
can command. He, therefore, now quitted all vulgar associations, and
determined not to outrage any of the virtues, except under varnish,
gilding, and polish that would keep everything perfectly respectable.
Let him trust to that as long as he can.

Don't talk of the solitude of a night in the primeval forests, however
far from the abodes of man;--the squirrels and the partridges may be
asleep then and there, but the katydids are awake, and, with the support
of contralto and barytone tree-toads, manage to keep up a concert which
cannot fail to impress on you a sense of familiar and friendly company.
Don't talk of the loneliness of a deserted and ruinous castle;--the
crickets have not left it, and, if you don't have a merry time with
their shrill jokes, it will be your own fault. But if you would have a
sense of being terribly alone, come from long residence in some quiet
country-home on the border of a quiet country-village, into the
hurry-skurry of a strange city, just after nightfall. Here is an
infinite brick-and-stone forest, stern, angular, almost leafless. Here
is a vast, indistinguishable wilderness of flitting human shapes, not
one of which takes half so much notice of you as a wild bush would.
Speak to one; it answers without the slightest emotion, and passes on.
Your presence is absolutely no more to any soul of them, provided they
have souls, than if you were so much perfectly familiar granite. You
feel, that, with such attention as you receive, such curiosity as you
excite, you must be there hundreds of years to be either recognized or

Had you been a stranger in Boston, one moist and rather showery
summer-evening, not a year after the events we have narrated, you might
have been recovered from the sense of loneliness we have described by
observing one pretty female figure hurrying along the crowded sidewalk
with a very large and replete satchel, and without any of the
_sang-froid_ which characterizes city pedestrianism. You might have
noticed that this one human being, like yourself, was evidently not at
home. Every glare of gas-light revealed a deeply-flushed face, eyes that
had been weeping and which were now flashing with a wild earnestness
and an altogether preternatural resolution. A gazelle, started by the
huntsman's pack, could not have thrown more piercing glances at every
avenue of escape than this excited girl did at every cross street, and
indeed at everything but the human faces that passed her. All of them
she shunned, with a look that seemed equally anxious to avoid the known
and the unknown. She should seem to have narrowly escaped some peril,
and was carrying with her a secret not to be confided to friend or
stranger, certainly not to either without due consideration. Had you
watched her, as the crowds of people, returning from the various evening
amusements, died away in the streets, you would have seen the deep
color of her cheeks die away also to deadly paleness; had you been
sufficiently clairvoyant, you might have seen how two charming rows of
pearls bit the blanched lips till the runaway blood came back into the
sad gashes, how the tears welled up again, and with them came relief and
fresh strength just as she was about to faint and drop in the street.
Then returned again the throb of indignant resolution, as her mind
recurred to the attempted ruin of her paradise by a disguised foe;
then succeeded shame and dread lest the friends she had left in her
childhood's rural home should know how differently from her fond
anticipations had turned out the first week of her sojourn in the great
city. She was most thoroughly resolved, that, if possible, they should
not know anything of the wreck of her long-cherished hopes till she had
found some foothold for new ones. She felt that she was a Yankee girl in
the metropolis of New England, with wit, skill, and endurance equal to
any employment that ever falls to the lot of Yankee women; but having
given up the only chance which had ever opened to her, how could she
find another? Were she of the other sex, or only disguised in the outer
integuments of it, with the trifling sum in her purse, she would get
lodgings at the next hotel, and seek suitable employment without
suspicion. In the wide wilderness of a city there was not an
acquaintance she did not dread to meet, in her present circumstances,
even worse than death itself, or, what is next door to it, a

The streets had emptied themselves of their rushing throngs, the patter
of feet and the murmur of voices had given place to measured individual
marches here and there, the dripping of cave-spouts and the flapping of
awnings could be heard tattling of showers past and future, and the last
organ-grinder had left the ungrateful city to its slumbers, when the
poor girl first became conscious that she had been lugging hither
and thither her entire outfit of wardrobe, valuables, and keepsakes.
Aggravated by fatigue, her indecision as to how she should dispose of
herself was gradually sinking into despair, and the official guardians
of the night, who had doubtless noticed her as she passed and repassed
through their beats, were beginning to make up their official minds,
generally and severally, that the case might by-and-by require their
benevolent interference, when she was startled by a female voice from

"Arrah, stop there, ye rinaway jade! I know ye by yer big bag, ye big
thafe, that ye are!"

Glad at any voice addressed to her, and gladder at this than if it had
been more familiar or more friendly, our forlorn maiden turned and said,
in the sweetest voice imaginable,--

"Oh, no, my friend, I am not a thief."

"Och, I beg your pardon, honey! I thought sure it was Bridget, that's
jist rin away wid a bagful of her misthress's clo'es and a hape o' mine,
and it's me that's bin all the way down to Pat Mahoney's in North Street
to git him to hunt her up; and the Blessed Mother forgive me, whin I
seen you in the dark, stalin' along like, wi' that bag, I thought it
was herself it was, sure. Och, ye're a swate lass, I see, now; but what
makes ye out this time o' night, dear?"

"Well, I'm too late for the train, you see, and I really don't know what
to do or where to go," said the Yankee girl, putting on the air natural
to such circumstances, with the readiness of her race.

"Och, I see, that's the mailing o' the bag, thin. Poor thing! ye jist
come along wid me. I'll lift the bag for ye, me darlint, an' I'll pit
clane sheets on Bridget's bed, and ye're welcome to slape there as long
as ye like; for the Blessed Mother knows it's powerful tired ye're
lookin', it is. I'm cook for more nor twinty years for the Hopkinses in
Bacon Street, and I can make ye jist as welcome in my quarthers as if it
was nobody but meself that owned it at all at all."

"Oh, my dear woman, I thank you kindly! That bag _was_ beginning to grow
heavy," replied the overjoyed outcast; and presently, with a ready eye
to business, she added, "And since Bridget is gone, who knows but I can
take her place? I came to the city on purpose to find something to do,
and I can do anything that is not dishonest."

"Och! the likes o' ye take her place? Niver a bit of it! Why! I see by
the gas-light ye're a leddy as iver was at all at all; and ye could
niver come in the shoes of sich a thafe as Bridget Maloney, as is gone,
and the Divil catch her!"

"No, no, not in her shoes to steal anything, I hope; but I can do
housework, sweep, make beds, sew, and make myself useful,--as I will
show, if I can have a trial."

"An' ye may well say that's a hape more nor _she_ iver could. But if
it's a thrial ye want, it's me that'll give't ye as soon as ye plase.
I'll answer for ye's to Misthress Millicent,--and that's what I niver
did for Bridget, and it's right glad I am of that. Now niver fear, me
darlint, it's a powerful good place, it is too, to thim as kapes the
right side o' Misthress Millicent; for she's the only daughter, and the
mother is dead and gone, poor soul!"

They were now approaching the opulent mansion over the _cuisine_ of
which our special police-woman had so long had the honor of presiding.
Almost delighted enough with her capture to forget, if not forgive, her
fugitive fellow-servant Bridget, the florid and fat Aunt Peggy Muldoony
hurried along as if the bag were a feather, her words flowing like a
spring flood, and introduced her charge at a postern-door into her own
house, as she called it. This was, in fact, a very comfortable and
somewhat spacious dwelling, which stood almost distinct in the rear of
the mansion in which the Hopkins family proper resided, so that there
should be ample accommodations for servants, and the steam of cooking
could not annoy the grand parlors. Here we might leave the beautiful
waif, so strangely picked up in the dark street, to the working of her
own genius. She had fallen into a place which had control of all the
chamber-work of a modern palace, with ample assistance. Aunt Peggy, her
guardian angel, at once instructed her in the routine of the duties, and
she very soon had occasion to wonder how the care of so many beautiful
flowers, vases, statues, pictures, and objects of splendor and taste,
not to speak of beds that the Queen of Sheba might have envied, could
have been committed to a domestic who could be tempted to run away with
a few hundred dollars' worth of silks and laces. The legal owner himself
could hardly enjoy his well-appointed paradise better than she did, in
keeping every leaf up to its highest beauty. It must require a pretty
strong dose of tyranny to drive her away, she thought.

But tyranny, if it were there, did not show itself. After a number of
serious, but vain attempts, on the part of Miss Millicent, to gratify
her curiosity by unravelling the mystery of her new servant, whose
industry, skill, and taste produced visible and very satisfactory
effects in every part of the mansion, she settled down to the
conclusion, that, finally, a treasure had fallen to her lot which it was
best for her to keep as carefully as possible and make the most of. She
could now smile and assume airs of great condescension when her worthy
female friends complained of careless, incompetent, and unfaithful
domestics, and have the pleasure of being teased in vain to know what
she did to be so well served.

The satisfaction of Miss Millicent at having found and attached to her
service a young woman of such superlative domestic genius and taste, who
seemed to be so thoroughly contented with her situation, was especially
enhanced by the fact, that her own marriage was approaching, an occasion
which any bride of good sense would wish to have free from the annoyance
of slack and untrustworthy Bridgets.

A few months after the period of which we have been speaking, the
long-expected event of the last paragraph was evidently on the eve of
accomplishment. There was sitting in the distinguished parlor of Mr.
Hopkins, himself, occupying an easy-chair of the most elaborate design
and costly materials. It had all manner of extensibilities,--conveniences
for reclining the trunk or any given limb at any possible
angle,--conveniences for sleeping, for writing, for reading,
for taking snuff,--and was, withal, a marvel of upholstery-workmanship
and substantial strength. Another still more exquisite combination
of rosewood, velvet, spiral springs, and cunning floral carving,
presenting a striking resemblance to that great ornament of
the English alphabet, the letter S, held Miss Millicent Hopkins, in
one curve, face to face with Mr. Chipworth Dartmouth, already known to
the reader, in the other. Near by the half-recumbent millionnaire, at a
little gem of a lady's writing-desk, sat Mr. Frank Sterling, the junior
partner of the distinguished law-firm of Trevor and Sterling, engaged in
reading to all the parties aforesaid a very ingenious and interesting
document, which he had drawn up, according to the general dictation of
Mr. Hopkins aforesaid. It was, in fact, a marriage-settlement, of which
the three beautifully engrossed copies were to be signed and sealed
by all the parties in interest, and each was to possess a copy. Frank
Sterling read over the paragraphs which settled enormous masses of funds
around the sacred altar where Hymen was so soon to apply his torch, with
great professional coolness, as well as commendable rapidity; but when
he came to the conclusion, and, looking at both father and daughter,
said, that all that remained, if the draught now met their approbation,
was, to have witnesses called in and add the signatures, he betrayed a
little personal feeling, which it behooves the reader to understand.

Frank Sterling, though one of the best fellows in the world, with a
joyous face, a bright eye, a hearty laugh, and the keenest possible
relish for everything beautiful and good, was a bachelor, because a mate
quite to his judgment and taste had never fallen in his way. With Mr.
Hopkins, he had been, for a year or two, a favorite lawyer. Professional
business had often brought him to the house, and at Miss Millicent's
parties he had often been a specially licensed guest. There had been a
time, he felt quite sure, when, if he had pushed a suit, he could have
put his name where that of Dartmouth stood in the marriage-settlement,
and, as he glanced at Miss Millicent, as she sat in the mellow light of
the purplish plate-glass of that superb parlor, she seemed so beautiful
and queenly that he almost wished he had done it. Was it quite fit that
such a woman should be thrown away upon one of the mere beasts of the
stock-market? The air with which Chip took his victory was so exactly
like that matter-of-course chuckle with which he would have tossed over
the proceeds of a shrewd bargain into his bank-account, that the young
lawyer's soul was shocked at it, and he almost wished he had prevented
such a shame. However, his discretion came to the rescue, and told him
he had done right in not linking his fortunes to a woman who, however
beautiful, was too passive in her character to make any man positively
happy. Had it been his ambition to spend his life in burning incense to
an exquisitely chiselled goddess, here was a chance, to be sure, where
he could have done it on a salary that would have satisfied a _pontifex
maximus_; but, with a fair share of the regard for money which
characterizes his profession, Mr. Sterling never could make up his mind
to become a suitor for the hand of Miss Millicent, nor get rid of the
notion that he was to bless and be blessed by some woman of positive
character and a taste for working out her own salvation in her own
way,--some woman who, not being made by her wealth, could not be unmade
by the loss of it. It was, therefore, only a momentary sense of choking
he experienced, as he laid the manuscripts on the leaf of Mr. Hopkins's
chair, and said,--

"Shall I ring the bell, Sir?"

"If you please, Mr. Sterling. Now, Millicent, dear, whose name shall
have the honor of standing as witness on this document? There is Aunt
Peggy,--is good at using pothooks, but not so good at making them. Her
mark won't exactly do."

"Why, father! I shall, of course, have my little favorite, Lucy
Green; her signature will be perfectly beautiful. And by the way, Mr.
Dartmouth, here is a thing I haven't thought of before. With this Lucy
of mine for an attendant, I am worth about twice as much as I should
have been without her, and yet no mention has been made of this in the

"Ha! ha!" said Chip. "Thought of in good time. Let Mr. Sterling add the
item at once. I am content."

"First, however, you shall see the good girl herself, Mr. Dartmouth,
and then we can have a postscript--or should I say a codicil?--on her
account. John, please say to Lucy, I wish her to come to me. After all
the stocks and bonds in the world, Mr. Dartmouth, our lives are what our
servants please to make them."

"True, indeed, my love; but the comfort is, if we are well stocked with
bonds of the right sort, servants that don't suit can be changed for
those that do."

"And the more changes, the worse, commonly;--an exception is so rare,
I dread nothing like change. The chance of improving a bad one is even
better, I think."

"I don't believe there is anything good in the flunkey line that money
won't buy. I have always found I could have anything I wanted, if I saw
fit to pay its price. Money, no matter what simpletons preach, money, my
dear, is"----

"Why, Lucy, what is the matter?" exclaimed Miss Millicent, with some
surprise and anxiety, as she saw the girl, who had just entered, instead
of advancing, awkwardly shrink on one side into a chair behind the door,
with a shudder, as if she had trod on a reptile. The next moment she was
at her side, earnestly whispering something in her ear, evidently an
explanation of the circumstances of the case, to which Lucy had hitherto
been an entire stranger.

"Pray, excuse me, Ma'am," was the girl's scarce audible response to some

"It is only to write your name, Lucy."

"Not to _such_ a paper, for the world!"

"Not to oblige me?"

"I would do anything, Ma'am, to oblige you, but that would not. Never!
never!" said the excited girl, catching another glimpse of Chip, who was
now looking obliquely at the whispering couple, and drumming with his
fingers on the rosewood of that part of the letter S from which his
intended had just risen, as if he were hurriedly beating a _reveille_
to rally his faltering impudence. "No, Ma'am;--it is too bad, it is too
bad, it is too"----Here her utterance became choked, her cheeks pallid
as death, and her form wilted and fell like a flower before the mower's
scythe. Millicent prevented the fall, while Sterling rang for water,
and Chip, peering about with more agitation than any one else, finally

"The girl must be sick;--better take her out."

The young lawyer, with the aid of a servant, did bear her to another
apartment, where, after the usual time and restoratives, she recovered
her consciousness, and the maiden blood again revealed tints that the
queen of flowers might envy. Chip and the millionnaire remained in the
parlor, while the others were taking care of the proposed witness, and
great was the anxiety of the former that their absence should not be
prolonged. Suddenly he recollected a forgotten engagement of great
importance, pulled out his watch, fidgeted, suggested that the lawyer
and Miss Millicent should be recalled, that the papers might be signed
before he went. Mr. Hopkins was of that opinion, and sent a servant to
call them. Miss Millicent came, but could not think of completing the
contract without the signature of her favorite domestic. Argument enough
was ready, but she was fortified by a sentiment that was more than a
match for it. Mr. Hopkins was all ready, and would have the matter
closed as soon as the lawyer arrived, affirming that his daughter would
have too much sense, at last, to stand out on such a trifle.

In the mean time, the supposed Miss Lucy having had time to collect her
scattered senses, there occurred the following dialogue between her and
Frank Sterling, whose curiosity, not to speak of any other interest, had
been thoroughly roused by the strange patient for whom he had just been
acting in a medical, rather than legal capacity.

_Frank_. "We are all right, now, I think, Miss Lucy,--and they are
waiting for us in the parlor, you know."

_Lucy_. "That paper must not be signed, Sir. If Miss Millicent knew what
I do about that man, he would be the last man in the world she would
think of for a husband."

_Frank_. "But he is one of the merchant princes,--respectable, of
course. What harm can you know of him?"

_Lucy_. "If he is not so great a villain as he might be, let him thank
my escape from Mrs. Farmthroy's the night I came here. If he is to be
at home here, I shall not be; but before I leave, I wish to restore him
what belongs to him. Excuse me a moment, Sir, and I will fetch it."

"A regular previous love-affair," thought Frank, and expected her
to return, bringing a small lot of erotic jewelry to be returned to
Chipworth, as the false-hearted donor thereof. Great was his surprise,
when, instead of that, she brought a small parcel or wad of yellowish
paper, variegated with certain scrawls of rapid writing, of the manifold

"Why, that," said Frank, after unfolding the half-dozen sheets, all of
the same tenor, "is a set of news-dispatches, and of a pretty ancient
date, too."

_Lucy_. "But it is his property, Sir; and though worthless itself, being
worth as much as he is, it may be valuable to him."

_Frank_. "Yes, yes. I begin to see. Cotton-Market. This reminds me of
the case of our client Grant. Why, pray, how did you come by these?"

_Lucy_. "Perhaps I ought not to tell you all. But if I may rely on your
honor as a gentleman, I will."

_Frank_. "As a gentleman, a man, and a lawyer, you may trust me that
every word shall be sacredly confidential."

_Lucy_. "Well, Sir, my name is not Lucy Green, but Laura Birch. My
mother keeps the Birch House in Waltham; and this man, whom you call a
merchant prince, came to my mother's the very day after the date on them
papers, and hired my brother to carry him to Captain Grant's. When he
took out his pocketbook to pay, which he did like a prince, perhaps,
he probably let these papers fall. At any rate, no one else could have
dropped them; and I saved them, thinking to give them to him when he
should call again. I have seen him but once since, at a place where,
through his interest, I supposed I had obtained a situation to learn the
milliner's trade. I needn't say why I did not return his property then.
If, now, I had in my possession even an old shoestring that had ever
been his, I would beg you to return it to him, and find out for me where
I can go never to see him."

_Frank_. "But I shall take care of these dispatches. There's a story
about these papers, I see. Here's a ray of daylight penetrating a dark
spot. Two links in the chain of circumstances, to say the least. Captain
Grant's unfortunate sale of cotton to Dartmouth just before the rise,
and the famous lost dispatch found on Dartmouth's track to Grant. Did
you see him have these papers, Miss Lucy--I beg your pardon--Miss

_Lucy_. "No, Sir; but I know he left them, just as well as if I had seen
them in his hands."

_Frank_. "True, true enough in fact, but not so good in law."

_Lucy_. "Is there anything by which the law can reach him, Sir? Oh, I
should be so glad, if the law could break off this match, even if it
cannot break his neck; and he deserves that, I am afraid, if ever a
villain did."

_Frank_. "Yes,--there's enough in this roll to banish such a fellow, if
not to hang him. And it shall be done, too."

_Lucy_. "And Miss Millicent be saved, too? Delightful!"

Sterling, with the roll of yellow paper in his fist, now returned to the
parlor, where Mr. Hopkins impatiently opened upon him, before he could
close the door.

"Well, Mr. Counsellor, we are all waiting for you. Mr. Dartmouth has
urgent business, and is in haste to go. We shall be holden in heavy
damages, if we detain him."

"He will be in more haste to go by-and-by, Sir. I have some papers here,
Sir, which make it necessary that this marriage-contract should stand
aside till some other matters can be settled, or at least explained. I
refer to these manifold dispatches, detailing the latest news of the
Liverpool cotton-market, by the fraudulent possession of which on the
part of somebody, a client of mine, Captain Grant of Waltham, was
cheated out of a small fortune. Perhaps Mr. Dartmouth knows who went to
Waltham one morning to close a bargain before the telegraph-news should
transpire. It is rather remarkable that certain lost dispatches should
have been found in that man's track."

Whether Chip Dartmouth heard three words of this harangue may be
doubted. The sight of that yellowish paper did the business for him. His
expression vibrated from that of a mad rattlesnake to that of a dog with
the most downcast extremities. At last he rushed to the door, saying he
"would stand no such nonsense."

"But you will have to stand it!"

Chip was gone. Mr. Hopkins was in a state of amazement; and Millicent,
if she did not swoon, seemed to herself in a trance. Neither of them
could see in the cause anything to account for the effect. How could a
merchant prince quail before so flimsy a piece of paper? Mr.
Sterling explained. Mr. Hopkins begged the matter might not be made
public,--above all things, that legal proceedings should be avoided.

"No," said Sterling,--"I shall punish him more effectually. The proof,
though strong as holy writ, would probably fail to convict him in court.
Therefore I shall let him off on these conditions: He shall disgorge to
Captain Grant his profits on that cotton with interest, relinquish Miss
Millicent's hand, if she so pleases, and, at any rate, relieve Boston of
his presence altogether and for good. He may do it as soon as he likes,
and as privately."

This course at once met the approbation of all parties, and was carried

What became of Squire Sterling, whether he married the mistress of that
mansion or her maid, this deponent saith not; though he doth say that he
did marry one of them, and had no cause to regret the same.

       *       *       *       *       *


  The wind ahead, the billows high,
  A whited wave, but sable sky,
  And many a league of tossing sea
  Between the hearts I love and me.

  The wind ahead: day after day
  These weary words the sailors say;
  To weeks the days are lengthened now,--
  Still mounts the surge to meet our prow.

  Through longing day and lingering night
  I still accuse Time's lagging flight,
  Or gaze out o'er the envious sea,
  That keeps the hearts I love from me.

  Yet, ah, how shallow is all grief!
  How instant is the deep relief!
  And what a hypocrite am I,
  To feign forlorn, to 'plain and sigh!

  The wind ahead? The wind is free!
  Forever more it favoreth me,--
  To shores of God still blowing fair,
  O'er seas of God my bark doth bear.

  This surging brine _I_ do not sail,
  This blast adverse is not my gale;
  'Tis here I only seem to be,
  But really sail another sea,--

  Another sea, pure sky its waves,
  Whose beauty hides no heaving graves,--
  A sea all haven, whereupon
  No hapless bark to wreck hath gone.

  The winds that o'er my ocean run
  Reach through all heavens beyond the sun;
  Through life and death, through fate, through time,
  Grand breaths of God, they sweep sublime.

  Eternal trades, they cannot veer,
  And, blowing, teach us how to steer;
  And well for him whose joy, whose care,
  Is but to keep before them fair.

  Oh, thou God's mariner, heart of mine,
  Spread canvas to the airs divine!
  Spread sail! and let thy Fortune be
  Forgotten in thy Destiny!

  For Destiny pursues us well,
  By sea, by land, through heaven or hell;
  It suffers Death alone to die,
  Bids Life all change and chance defy.

  Would earth's dark ocean suck thee down?
  Earth's ocean thou, O Life, shalt drown,
  Shalt flood it with thy finer wave,
  And, sepulchred, entomb thy grave!

  Life loveth life and good: then trust
  What most the spirit would, it must;
  Deep wishes, in the heart that be,
  Are blossoms of Necessity.

  A thread of Law runs through thy prayer,
  Stronger than iron cables are;
  And Love and Longing toward her goal
  Are pilots sweet to guide the Soul.

  So Life must live, and Soul must sail,
  And Unseen over Seen prevail,
  And all God's argosies come to shore,
  Let ocean smile, or rage and roar.

  And so, 'mid storm or calm, my bark
  With snowy wake still nears her mark;
  Cheerly the trades of being blow,
  And sweeping down the wind I go.


Among my letters is one from Dr. E.D. North, desiring me to furnish any
facts within my reach, relating to the scientific character and general
opinions of the late James G. Percival. This information Dr. North
proposed to incorporate into a memoir, to be prefixed to a new edition
of Percival's Poems. The biographer, with his task unfinished, has
followed the subject of his studies to the tomb.

Dr. North's request revived in me many recollections of Percival; and
finally led me to draw out the following sketch of him, as he appeared
to my eyes in those days when I saw him often, and sometimes shared his
pursuits. Vague and shadowy is the delineation, and to myself seems
little better than the reminiscence of a phantom or a dream. Percival's
life had few externalities,--he related himself to society by few points
of contact; and I have been compelled to paint him chiefly by glimpses
of his literary and interior existence.

My acquaintance with him grew out of some conversations on geological
topics, and commenced in 1828, when he was working on his translation of
Malte-Brun's Geography. The impression made on me by his singular person
and manners was vivid and indelible. Slender in form, rather above than
under the middle height, he had a narrow chest, and a peculiar stoop,
which was not in the back, but high up in the shoulders. His head,
without being large, was fine. His eyes were of a dark hazel, and
possessed uncommon expression. His nose, mouth, and chin were
symmetrically, if not elegantly formed, and came short of beauty
only because of that meagreness which marked his whole person. His
complexion, light without redness, inclined to sallow, and suggested a
temperament somewhat bilious. His dark brown hair had become thin above
the forehead, revealing to advantage that most striking feature of his
countenance. Taken all together, his appearance was that of a weak man,
of delicate constitution,--an appearance hardly justified by the fact;
for he endured fatigue and privation with remarkable stanchness.

Percival's face, when he was silent, was full of calm, serious
meditation; when speaking, it lighted up with thought, and became
noticeably expressive. He commonly talked in a mild, unimpassioned
undertone, but just above a whisper, letting his voice sink with rather
a pleasing cadence at the completion of each sentence. Even when most
animated, he used no gesture except a movement of the first and second
fingers of his right hand backward and forward across the palm of the
left, meantime following their monotonous unrest with his eyes, and
rarely meeting the gaze of his interlocutor. He would stand for hours,
when talking, his right elbow on a mantel-piece, if there was one near,
his fingers going through their strange palmistry; and in this manner,
never once stirring from his position, he would not unfrequently
protract his discourse till long past midnight. An inexhaustible,
undemonstrative, noiseless, passionless man, scarcely evident to you by
physical qualities, and impressing you, for the most part, as a creature
of pure intellect.

His wardrobe was remarkably inexpensive, consisting of little more than
a single plain suit, brown or gray, which he wore winter and summer,
until it became threadbare. He never used boots; and his shoes, though
carefully dusted, were never blacked. A most unpretending bow fastened
his cravat of colored cambric. For many years his only outer garment was
a brown camlet cloak, of very scanty proportions, thinly lined, and a
meagre protection against winter. His hat was worn for years before
being laid aside, and put you in mind of the prevailing mode by the law
of contrast only. He was never seen with gloves, and rarely with an
umbrella. The value of his entire wardrobe scarcely exceeded fifty
dollars; yet he was always neat, and appeared unconscious of any
peculiarity in his costume.

An accurate portrait of him at any period of his life can scarcely be
said to exist. His sensitive modesty seems to have made him unwilling to
let his features be exposed to the flaring notoriety of canvas. Once,
indeed, he allowed himself to be painted by Mr. George A. Flagg; but the
picture having been exhibited in the Trumbull Gallery of Yale
College, Percival's susceptibility took alarm, and he expressed
annoyance,--though whether dissatisfied with the portrait or its public
exposure I cannot say. The artist proposed certain alterations, and the
poet listened to him with seeming assent. The picture was taken back to
the studio; objectionable or questionable parts of it painted out; the
likeness destroyed for the purpose of correction; and Percival was to
give another sitting at his convenience. That was the last time he put
himself within painting reach of Mr. Flagg's easel.[A]

[Footnote A: I remember to have seen an excellent portrait of him, by
Alexander, in the studio of that artist, in the year 1825; but in whose
possession it now is, I am unable to say.]

In those days of our early acquaintance, he occupied two small chambers,
one of which fronted on the business part of Chapel Street (New Haven).
His books, already numerous, were piled in double tiers and in heaps
against the walls, covering the floors also, and barely leaving space
for his sleeping-cot, chair, and writing-table. His library was a
_sanctum_ to which the curious visitor hardly ever gained admittance. He
met even his friends at the door, and generally held his interviews
with them in the adjoining passage. Disinclined to borrow books, he
was especially averse to lending. Dr. Guhrauer's assertion respecting
Leibnitz, that "his library was numerous and valuable, and its possessor
had the peculiarity that he liked to worm in it alone, being very
reluctant to let any one see it," applies equally well to Percival.

He was rarely visible abroad except in his walks to and from the
country, whither he often resorted to pass not hours only, but
frequently entire days, in solitary wanderings,--partly for physical
exercise,--still more, perhaps, to study the botany, the geology, and
the minutest geographical features of the environs; for his restless
mind was perpetually observant, and could not be withheld from external
Nature, even by his poetic and philosophic meditation. In these
excursions, he often passed his fellow-mortals without noticing them. A
friend, if observed, he greeted with a slight nod, and possibly stopped
him for conversation. Once started on a subject, Percival rarely quitted
it until it was exhausted; and consequently these interviews sometimes
outlasted the leisure of his listener. You excused yourself, perhaps;
or you were called away by some one else; but you had only put off the
conclusion of the discourse, not escaped it. The next time Percival
encountered you, his first words were, "As I was saying,"--and taking
up the thread of his observations where it had been broken, he went
straight to the end.

The excellent bookstore of the late Hezekiah Howe, one of the best in
New England, and particularly rich in those rare and costly works
which form a bookworm's delight, was one of Percival's best-loved
lounging-places. He bought freely, and, when he could not buy, he was
welcome to peruse: He read with marvellous rapidity, skipping as if by
instinct everything that was unimportant; avoiding the rhetoric, the
commonplaces, the falsities; glancing only at what was new, what was
true, what was suggestive, he had a distinct object in view; but it was
not to amuse himself, nor to compare author with author; it was simply
to increase the sum of his own knowledge. Perhaps it was in these rapid
forays through unbought, uncut volumes, that he acquired his singular
habit of reading books, even his own, without subjecting them to the
paper-knife. People who wanted to see Percival and obtain his views on
special topics were accustomed to look for him at Mr. Howe's, and always
found him willing to pour forth his voluminous information.

His income at this time was derived solely from literary jobs, and was
understood to be very limited. What he earned he spent chiefly for
books, particularly for such as would assist him in perfecting that
striking monument of his varied and profound research, his new
translation and edition of Malte-Brun. For this labor the time had been
estimated, and the publishers had made him an allowance, which, if he
had worked like other men, would have amounted to eight dollars a
day. But Percival would let nothing go out of his hands imperfect; a
typographical error, even, I have heard him say, sometimes depressed
him like actual illness. He translated and revised so carefully, he
corrected so many errors and added so many footnotes, that his industry
actually devoured its own wages; and his eight dollars gradually
diminished to a diurnal fifty cents.

Percival made no merely ceremonial calls, few friendly visits, and
attended no parties. If he dropped in upon a family of his acquaintance,
he rarely addressed himself to a lady. Otherwise there was nothing
peculiar in his deportment; for, if silent, he was not embarrassed,--and
if he talked, it was without any appearance of self-consciousness.

Judging from his isolated habits, some persons supposed him
misanthropic. Let me give one instance of his good-nature. One of the
elder professors of Yale had fallen into a temporary misappreciation
with the students, who received his instructions, to say the least, with
an ill-concealed indifference. They whispered during his lectures,
and in other ways rendered themselves strenuously disagreeable to the
sensitive nerves of the professor. Indignant at such behavior toward
a worthy and learned man, who had been his own instructor, Percival
proposed a plan for stopping the annoyance. It was, that a number of old
graduates, professors, and others, himself being one, should attend
the lectures, listen to them with the respect they merited, and so,
if possible, bring the students to a sense of propriety and of the
advantages they were neglecting.

No, Percival was not a misanthrope. During an acquaintance of
twenty-five years, I never knew him do an act or utter a word which
could countenance this opinion. He indulged in no bitter remarks,
cherished no hatred of individuals, affected no scorn of his race; on
the contrary, he held large views concerning the noble destinies of
mankind, and expressed deep interest in its advancement toward greater
intelligence and virtue. The local affections he certainly had, for he
was gratified at the prosperity of his fellow-townsmen, proud of his
native State, and took a pleasure in defending her name from unjust
aspersions. Patriotic, too,--none more so,--he rejoiced in the welfare
of the whole country, knew its history thoroughly, and bestowed on
its military heroes, in particular, a lively appreciation, which was
singular, perhaps, in a man of such gentle habits and nature. I
cannot forget the excited pleasure with which we visited, when on the
geological survey of Connecticut, Putnam's Stairs at Horseneck, and
Putnam's Wolf-Den in Pomfret. At the latter place, Percival's enthusiasm
for the heroic hunter and warrior led him to carve his initials on a
rock at the entrance of the chasm. It was the only place during the tour
where he left a similar memorial.

American statesmen he admired scarcely less than American soldiers; nor
did he neglect any information within his reach concerning public
men and measures. It was singular to observe with what freedom from
excitement he discussed the most irritating phases of party,--speaking
of the men and events of his own day with as much philosophic calmness
as if they belonged to a previous century; not at all deceived, I
think, by the temporary notoriety and power which frequently attend the
political bustler,--quite positive, indeed, that many of our "great men"
were far inferior to multitudes in private life. Webster he respected
greatly, and used to regret that his fortune was not commensurate with
his tastes. Like a true poet, he believed devoutly in native genius,
considered it something inimitable and incommunicable, and worshipped it
whereever he found it.

Percival was indifferent and even disinclined to female society. There
is a common story that he had conceived an aversion to the whole sex
in consequence of a youthful disappointment in love. I know nothing
concerning this alleged chagrin, but I am confident that he cherished no
such antipathy. He never, in my hearing, said a hard thing of any woman,
or of the sex; and I remember distinctly the flattering and even poetic
appreciation with which he spoke of individual ladies. Of one who has
since become a distinguished authoress of the South, he said, that "her
conversation had as great an intellectual charm for him as that of any
scholar among his male acquaintances." Of a lady still resident in
New Haven, he observed, that "there was a mysterious beauty in her
thoughtful face and dark eyes which reminded him of a deep and limpid
forest-fountain." But although he did not hate women, he certainly was
disinclined to their society,--an oddity, I beg leave to say, in any
man, and a most surprising eccentricity in a poet. Constitutional
timidity may have founded this habit during youth; for, as I have
already observed, his modesty was sensitive and almost morbid. Then came
his multitudinous studies, which absorbed him utterly, and in which,
unfortunately for Percival, if not for the ladies, these last took so
little interest that conversation was not mutually desirable. A remark
he made to a scientific friend, who had just been married, will,
perhaps, throw some light on the subject. "How is this?" said he; "I
thought you were wedded to science." This was all the felicitation he
had to offer; and without asking for the bride, he plunged into the
discussion which was the object of the visit.

In 1835 commenced the geological survey of Connecticut, and I became
Percival's companion in labor. To him was intrusted the geology proper,
and to myself the mineralogy and its economical applications. During the
first season, we prosecuted our investigations together, travelling in
a one-horse wagon, which carried all our necessary implements, and
visiting, before the campaign ended, every parish in the State. Great
was the wonder our strange outfit and occupation excited in some rustic
neighborhoods; and very often were we called upon to enlighten the
popular mind with regard to our object and its uses. This was never a
pleasant task to Percival. He did not relish long confabulations with a
sovereign people somewhat ignorant of geology; and, moreover, his style
of describing our business was so peculiar, that it rarely failed to
transfer the curiosity to himself, and lead to tiresome delays. In New
Milford, an inquisitive farmer requested us, in a somewhat ungracious
manner, to give an account of ourselves. Percival replied, that we were
acting under a commission from the Governor to ascertain the useful
minerals of the State; whereupon our utilitarian friend immediately
demanded to be informed how the citizens at large, including himself,
were to be benefited by the undertaking,--putting question on question
in a fashion which was most pertinacious and almost impertinent.
Percival became impatient, and tried to hurry away. "I demand the
information," exclaimed the New Milfordite; "I demand it as my right.
You are only servants of the people; and you are paid, in part, at
least, out of my pocket." "I'll tell you what we'll do," said Percival;
"we can't stop, but we'll refund. Your portion of the geological
tax,--let me see,--it must be about two cents. We prefer handing you
this to encountering a further delay." Our agricultural friend and
master did not take the money, although he did the hint,--and in sulky
silence withdrew from our company.

Driving through the town of Warren, we stopped a farmer to inquire
the way to certain places in the vicinity. He gave us the information
sought, staring at us meanwhile with a benevolently inquisitive
expression, and, at last, volunteering the remark, that, if we wanted a
job, we had better stop at the factory in the hollow. We thanked him
for his goodness, and thought, perhaps, of Sedgewick geologizing by the
road-side, and getting a charitable half-crown flung at him by a noble
lady who was on her way to dine in his company at the house of a mutual

Let us grant here one brief parenthesis of respect and astonishment to
the scientific knowledge and philological acumen of a distinguished
graduate of Yale College, and member of Congress, whom we encountered
on our travels. Hearing us speak of mosaic granite, a rock occurring
in Woodbridge, to which we had given this name, from the checker-like
arrangement of its felspathic ingredient, he concluded that we
attributed its formation to the era of Moses, and asked Percival what
evidence he had for such an opinion. Small blame to him, perhaps, for
the blunder, but it seemed a very droll one to geologists.

In Greenwich, the extreme southwestern town of the State, we encountered
an incident to which my companion would sometimes refer with a slight
degree of merriment. In general, he was no joker, no anecdotist, and had
but a feeble appreciation of droll sayings or humorous matters of
any kind. But in Greenwich he heard a memorable phrase. Among the
tavern-loungers was a man who had evidently seen better days, and who,
either for that reason or because of the large amount of rum he had
swallowed, entertained a lofty opinion of himself, and discoursed _de
omnibus rebus_ in a most consequential fashion. He soon made himself a
sort of medium between ourselves and his fellow-loafers. Overhearing us
say that we wished to pass the New York frontier for the sake of tracing
out the strata then under examination, he proceeded with much pomposity
to declare to his deeply curious auditory, that "it was his opinion
that the Governor of the State should confer upon these gentlemen
_discretionary powers_ to pass the limits of Connecticut, whenever and
wherever, in the prosecution of their labors, the interests of science
required them so to do." After this, we rarely crossed the State line
but Percival observed, "We are now taking advantage of our discretionary

Of the few stories Percival told me, here is one. In one of our
country-places, a plain, shrewd townsman fell into chance conversation
with him, and entertained him with some account of a neighbor who had
been seized with a mania for high Art, and had let loose his frenzy upon
canvas in a deluge of oil-colors. If I mistake not, Percival was invited
to inspect these productions of untaught and perhaps unteachable genius.
They were vast attempts at historical scenes, in which the heads and
legs of heroes were visible, but played a very secondary part in the
interest, compared with a perfect tempest of drapery, which rolled in
ungovernable masses, like the clouds of a thunder-storm.

"What do you think of them?" inquired Percival.

"Well, I don't claim to be a judge of such things," replied his
cicerone; "but the fact is, (and I told the painter so,) that, when I
look at 'em, about the only thing I can think of is a resurrection of
old clothes."

In the town of Lebanon, an incident occurred which affected us rather
more seriously. Turning a corner suddenly, we came upon an old man
digging up cobble-stones by the road-side and breaking them in pieces
with an axe. "A brother-geologist," was our first impression. At that
moment the old man sprang toward us, the axe in one hand and half a
brick in the other, shouting eagerly,--

"I guess Mr. ----" (name indistinguishable) "will be glad to see you,

"For what?"

"Why, he has got several boxes of jewels; and I gave an advertisement in
the paper."

"Whose are they?"

"King Jerome's."

"And who is he?"

"The king of the world!" shouted the maniac, still advancing with a
menacing air, and so near the wagon by this time that he might almost
have hit Percival with his axe.

Without pausing to hear more about the jewels, a sudden blow to the
horse barely enabled us to escape the reach of our fellow-laborer before
he had time to use his axe on our own formations.

In the following year, when Percival was pursuing the survey by himself,
on horseback, some of the elements of this adventure were repeated,
but reversed after a very odd fashion. The late Dr. Carrington, of
Farmington, who told me the tale, being ten miles from home on a
professional excursion, drove up to a tavern and found himself welcomed
with extraordinary emphasis by the innkeeper. The Doctor was just the
person he wanted to see; the Doctor's opinion was very much needed about
that strange man out there; he wished the Doctor to have a talk with
him, and see whether he was crazy or not. The fellow had been there a
day or two, picking up stones about the lots; and some of the boys had
been sent to watch him, but could get nothing out of him. This morning
he wanted to go away, and ordered his horse; but the neighbors wouldn't
let it be brought up, for they said he was surely some mad chap who
had taken another man's horse. Thus talking, the landlord pointed out
Percival, surrounded by a group of villagers, who, quietly, and under
pretence of conversation, were holding him under a sort of arrest. The
Doctor rushed into the circle, addressed his friend Percival by name,
spoke of the survey, and thus satisfied the bystanders, who, guessing
their mistake, dispersed silently. No open remonstrance was needed,
and perhaps Percival never understood the adventure in which he thus
unconsciously formed the principal character.

While we were in Berlin, the native town of Percival, he related to me
several incidents of his earlier life. His father was discussing some
geographical question with a neighbor; and the future geologist, then
a boy of seven or eight, sat by listening until the ignorance of his
elders tempted him to speak. "Where did you learn that?" they asked,
in astonishment. With timid reluctance, he confessed that he had been
reading clandestinely Morse's large geography, of which there was a copy
in a society-library kept at his father's house. The book, he added, had
an indescribable attraction for him; and even at that almost infantile
age he was familiar with its contents. It was this reading of Morse,
perhaps, which determined his taste for those geographical studies
in which he subsequently became so distinguished. With him, as with
Humboldt and Guyot, geography was a term of wide signification. Far from
confining it to the names and boundaries of countries, seas, and lakes,
to the courses of rivers and the altitudes of mountains, he connected
with it meteorology, natural history, and the leading facts of human
history, ethnology, and archaeology. He knew London as thoroughly as
most Americans know New York or Philadelphia, and yet he had never
crossed the Atlantic.

An instance of the minuteness of his geographical information was
related to me by the Rev. Mr. Adam, a Scottish clergyman, long resident
at Benares, but subsequently settled over the Congregational Church in
Amherst, Massachusetts. On his way to visit me at New Haven, he met in
the stage-coach a countryman of his, who soon opened a controversy with
him respecting the course of a certain river in Scotland. The discussion
had continued for some time, when another passenger offered a suggestion
which opened the eyes of the debaters to the fact (not unfrequently the
case in such controversies) that they were both wrong. "How long since
you were there, Sir?" they asked; and the reply was, "I never was in
Scotland." "Who are you, Sir?" Mr. Adam wanted to ask, but kept the
question until he could put it to me. I did not feel much hesitation in
telling him that the stranger must have been Percival; and Percival it
was, as I afterwards learned by questioning him of the circumstance.

But we must return to Berlin, in order to hear one more of Percival's
stories. Passing a field, half a mile from his early home, he told an
incident connected with it, and related to his favorite study of natural
history. The field had belonged to his father, who, besides being the
physician of Berlin, indulged a taste for agriculture. Just before the
harvest season, it became palpable that this field, then waving with
wheat, was depredated upon to a wasteful extent by some unknown subjects
of the animal kingdom. Having watched for the pilferers in vain by
day, the proprietor resolved to mount guard by night, and accordingly
ambushed himself in the invaded territory. Near midnight, he saw his own
flock of geese, hitherto considered so trustworthy, approach silently
in single file, make their entry between the rails, and commence
transferring the wheat-crop into their own crops, after a ravenous
fashion. Having eaten their fill, they re-formed their column of march,
with a venerable gander at the head, and trudged silently homeward,
cautiously followed by their owner, who noticed, that, on regaining his
door-yard, they set up a vociferous cackle, such as he had repeatedly
heard from them before at about the same hour. It was a most evident
attempt to establish an _alibi_; it was as much as to say, "If you miss
any wheat, we didn't take it; we are honest birds, and stay at
home o'nights, Dr. Percival." The next morning, however, a general
decapitation overtook the flock of feathered hypocrites. "It was a
curious instance of the domestic goose reverting to its wild habit of
nocturnal feeding," remarked my narrator, dwelling characteristically
upon the natural-history aspect of the fact.

Percival was almost incapable of an irrelevancy. The survey was the
business in hand, and he rarely discoursed much of things disconnected
with it, except, perhaps, when we were retracing our routes, or when the
labors of the day were over. Of poets and poetry he was not inclined to
speak. I never heard him quote a line, either his own or another's, nor
indulge in a single poetic observation concerning the objects which
met us in our wanderings. Indeed, he confessed that he no longer felt
disposed to write verses, being satisfied that his productions were
not acceptable to the prevailing taste; although he admitted that he
composed a few stanzas occasionally, in order to make trial of some
unusual measure or new language. He told me that he had versified in
thirteen languages; and I have heard from others that he had imitated
all the Greek and German metres.

Of politics, foreign and domestic, he talked frequently, but always
philosophically and dispassionately, much as if he were speaking of
geological stratification. His views of humanity were deduced from a
most extensive survey of the race in all its historical and geographical
relations. He distinctly recognized the fact of its steady advance
from one stage to another, in accordance with a plan of intellectually
organic development, as marked as that detected by the geologist in
the gradual preparation of the earth for the abode of our species. The
slowness and seeming vacillation of man's upward movement could not
stagger his faith; for if it had taken thousands of ages to make earth
habitable, why should it not take thousands more to bring man to his
completeness? Equally free was he from misgiving on account of the
remaining presence of so much misery and wretchedness; for these he
considered as the indispensable stimuli to progress. Even war, he used
to say, is sometimes necessary to the welfare of nations, as sickness
and sorrow plainly are to that of individuals; although, to his moral
sense, the human authors of this scourge were no more admirable than the
devisers of any private calamity. Improvements in knowledge he regarded
as the only elements of real progress; and these he looked upon as true
germinal principles, bound up organically in the constitution of the
human soul. Indeed, that philosophical calmness which was characteristic
of him seemed to flow in some measure from his settled persuasion that
the same matchless wisdom and benevolence he recognized throughout
Nature wrought with a still higher providence and a more earnest love
for man and would make all things finally conduce to his welfare. It was
clear that he drew a profound tranquillity from the thought that he was
a part of the vast and harmonious whole.

Concerning his religious views he was exceedingly taciturn. He had no
taste for metaphysical or theological discussions, although his library
contained a large number of standard works on these subjects. Religion
itself he never alluded to but with the deepest respect. Talking to
me of Christianity, he quoted the observation of Goethe, that "it had
brought into the world a light never to be extinguished." He spoke of
Jesus with poetic, if not with Christian fervor. He contrasted his
teachings and deeds with the prevailing maxims and practice of the
people among whom he appeared, with the dead orthodoxy of its religious
teachers, and with the general ignorance and hypocrisy of the masses.
"Had I lived in such a state of society," he said, "I am certain that it
would have driven me mad."

He expressed an earnest esteem for the doctrines of the Evangelical
clergy, and even approved, though more moderately, the religious
awakenings which occur under their labors. He described to me, with
some particularity, a revival he had witnessed in his native town, when
young; and repeated some of the quaint exhortations of the lay brethren,
all in a manner perfectly serious, but calculated, perhaps, to leave the
impression, that such views of religion were not necessary to himself,
although they might be quite suited to the minds of others.

The rational theology he regarded as anti-poetic in influence, and of
very doubtful efficacy in working upon the masses. He appreciated,
however, the honesty and superior culture of the Unitarian scholars and
clergy of Boston, with many of whom he had been on terms as intimate as
his shyness accorded to any one.

He attended church but once with me while we were engaged in the survey.
We heard a discourse from a Rev. Dr. E----, upon the conduct of the
young ruler who inquired his duty of Christ. The speaker argued from the
sacred narrative a universal obligation to devote our possessions
to religious purposes,--and upheld, as an example to all men, the
self-devotion of a young missionary (then somewhat known) who had
despised a splendid fortune, offered him on condition of his remaining
at home, and had consecrated himself to the Christianization of Africa.

"How did you like the sermon?" I inquired of Percival.

"I consider it an animating and probably useful performance," he
replied; "but it does not accord with comprehensive conceptions of
humanity, inasmuch as its main inference was drawn from the exception,
and not from the rule. There always have been, and probably always
will be, men possessed of the self-immolating or martyr spirit. Such
instances are undoubtedly useful, and have my admiration; but they
cannot become general, and never were meant to be."

During the survey, we were invited to pass an evening in a family
remarkable for its musical talent, and I remember distinctly the evident
pleasure with which Percival listened to the chorus of organ tones and
rich cultivated voices. In general, however, his appreciation of music
was subordinate to his study of syllabic movement in versification; and
it was with reference chiefly to poetic measure, I have been told, that
he acquired what mastery he had over the accordion and guitar.

Percival's favorite topics, when evening came and we rested from our
stony labors, were the modern languages and the philosophy of universal
grammar. They seemed to have filled the niches in his heart, from which
he had banished, or tried to banish, the Muses. The subtile refinements
of Bopp were a perpetual luxury to him; he derived language from
language as easily as word from word; and, once started in the
intricacies of the Russian or the Basque, there was no predicting the
end of the discourse. Thus were thrown away, upon a solitary listener,
midnight lectures which would have done honor to the class-rooms of
Berlin or the Sorbonne. In looking at such an instance of intellectual
pleasure and acumen, as connected in no small degree with the study of
foreign languages, one cannot avoid associating together the unsolved
mystery of that discrepancy of tongues prevailing in different countries
with the disagreeing _floras_ and _faunas_ of the same regions,--each
diversity bearing alike the unmistakable marks of Omnipotent design for
the happiness and improvement of man.

The perfection of his memory was amazing. During the year following
the survey, when we had frequent occasion to compare recollections, I
observed that no circumstance of our labors was shadowy or incomplete
in his memory. He could refer to every trifling incident of the tour,
recall every road and path that we had followed, every field and ledge
that we had examined, particularize the day of the week on which we had
dined or supped at such a tavern, and mention the name of the landlord.
I asked him how he was able to remember such minutiae. He replied, that
it was his custom, on going to bed, to call up, in the darkness and
stillness, all the incidents of the day's experience, in their proper
order, and cause them to move before him like a diorama through a
spiritual morning, noon, and evening. "It has often appeared to me," he
said, "that in this purely mental process I see objects more distinctly
than I behold them in the reality."

But his memory doubtless gained an immense additional advantage from his
habitual seclusion, from his unconcern with the distracting customs of
society, and, most of all, from the imperturbable abstraction under
which he studied and observed. With him there was no blending of
collateral subjects, no permitted intrusion of things irrelevant or
trivial, so that the channels of his thoughts were always single,
deep, and traceable. It was a mental straightforwardness and
conscientiousness, as rare, perhaps, as moral rectitude itself.

In diet, Percival was the most abstemious person I ever knew. His health
was uniformly good,--the specimens of a geologist, when he collects them
himself, being as favorable to digestion and appetite as the pebbles to
a chicken; yet, I am persuaded, my companion in no case violated the
golden rule of leaving the table unsated. No matter how long had been
his fast, he showed no impatience of hunger, made no remark upon the
excellence of any dish, found fault with nothing, or, at most, only
seemed to miss drinkable coffee and good bread, articles seldom to be
met with in the country. He ate slowly, selecting his food with the
discrimination which ought to belong to a chemist or physiologist, and
then thought no more about it. Alcoholic drinks he never tasted, except
an occasional glass of wine, to which his attention perhaps had been
called on account of its age or superior excellence. Even then it
was not the flavor which interested him, so much as the history,
geographical and other.

Peculiar as he was in his own habits of diet, he offered no strictures
upon the practice of others, however different, unless it ran into
hurtful excesses. The maxim of Epictetus in the "Enchiridion," "Never
preach how others ought to eat, but eat you as becomes you," seemed to
be his rule. Indeed, Percival was one of those rare men who withhold
alike censure and praise respecting the minor matters of life. Not that
he was without opinions on such subjects; but, to obtain them, one was
forced to question him. On the whole, I do not think it would be going
too far to apply to him the above-named moralist's description of the
wise man:--"He reproves nobody, praises nobody, blames nobody, nor even
speaks of himself; if any one praises him, in his own mind he contemns
the flatterer; if any one reproves him, he looks with care that he be
not unsettled in the state of tranquillity that he has entered into.
All his desires depend on things within his power; he transfers all
his aversions to those things which Nature commands us to avoid. His
appetites are always moderate. He is indifferent whether he be thought
foolish or ignorant. He observes himself with the nicety of an enemy or
a spy, and looks on his own wishes as betrayers."

Percival's solitary habits, combined with the invariable seriousness
of his manner, led many persons to believe him melancholy, and even
disposed to suicide. He did, indeed, confess to me, that he sometimes
felt giddy on the edge of a precipice. This was his nearest approach, I
am confident, to the idea of self-destruction. While we were examining
the great iron furnaces of Salisbury, he told me that he was afraid of
walking near the throat of a chimney when in blast, and that more than
once he had turned and run from the lurid, murky orifice, lest a sudden
failure of self-control should cause him to reel into the consuming
abyss. No,--Percival neither felt nor expressed disgust with life.
On the contrary, he was strongly attached to it; the acquisition of
knowledge clothed it with inexpressible value; the longest day was ever
too short to fulfil his designs. Like the wise, laborious men of all
ages, he almost repined at the swiftness of the years. "I am amazed at
the flight of time," he said to me, on the arrival of his forty-second
birthday; "it seems only a year since I was thirty-two;--I have lost ten
years of my life."

Before entering upon the survey of Connecticut, he was not specially
devoted to any one branch of physics, although his tastes inclined him
most toward geology. While he could sympathize perfectly, he said, with
those who threw their whole force into a single study, he felt
himself attracted equally by the entire circle of Nature, and thought
omniscience a nobler object of ambition than any one science. He
admitted that the search after all knowledge is incompatible with
eminence in any particular department; but he believed that it affords
higher pleasure to the mind, and confers ability to do signal service
to mankind in pointing out the grand connections, the general laws, of

It is not, perhaps, widely known, that Percival was a well-informed
botanist. He studied this branch when a medical student under Professor
Ives, and assisted his instructor in laying out a small botanical
garden, the plants of which were arranged after the natural orders of
Jussieu. Soon after finishing his medical education, he gave a course of
lectures on botany in Charleston, South Carolina, before a very select
audience, composed mostly of Ladies. The only drawback to the lecturer's
success was his excessive timidity. As an evidence of the assiduity with
which he botanized, it may be mentioned that he had seen the _Geranium
Robertianum_ (a plant which nestles in the sunny clefts of our trap
mountains) in bloom, during every month of the year. One year he found
its blossoms in December, another in January, and so on, until the round
of the monthly calendar was completed.

Percival was an earnest advocate of popular education. He manifested
much interest in the first systematic attempt (at the instance of
Mr. James Brewster) to furnish the people of New Haven with popular
instruction in the form of lectures. At a public dinner, given by Mr.
Brewster, on the occasion of opening the building in which rooms had
been fitted up for these lectures, the late Mr. Skinner gave the toast,
"Our mechanics, the right arm of New Haven," and Percival followed with,
"Science, the right eye which directs the right arm of New Haven." He
believed most fully in the superiority of intelligent labor. He pointed
out cases in which a college-training had been connected with signal
eminence in mechanical invention, and said, that, according to his
observations, persons engaged in industrial pursuits usually succeeded
in proportion to the thoroughness of their education.

Percival himself gave a course of lectures, or rather, lessons, in New
Haven,--not in the building above mentioned, for his natural timidity
was too great to encounter a public audience, but in the theological
lecture-room of Yale College. They were on the German language, and
consisted chiefly of translations of prose and poetry into English,
intermingled with philosophical commentaries on the peculiarities of the
original. It was pure grammar; he did not talk German, and claimed no
acquaintance with the niceties of pronunciation; but all his listeners,
most of whom were graduates, were struck with his perfect mastery of the

Percival held one peculiar opinion concerning a branch of college
education. He objected to the modern practice of teaching the natural
sciences by means of a profusion of drawings, models, showy experiments,
and other expedients addressing the mind so strongly through the eye.
While these might be allowable in popular lectures, before audiences
lacking in early intellectual discipline, where amusement was a
consideration, and where without it the public ear could not be secured,
he thought that the collegian should study differently,--that his
understanding should be taxed severely, and that he should be inured,
from the first, to rigid attention, in order to a lasting remembrance
of the truths offered to him. It would be a useful exercise for the
instructor, he thought, to elucidate obscure phenomena and complicated
structures by words only, assisting himself, perhaps, occasionally, by
extemporaneous drawings. Such a course would inspire the scholar with
deference for his teacher, and confidence in his own ability to acquire
a similar grasp of the subject. While there is certainly some truth in
this opinion, it would not be difficult, perhaps, to invalidate its
general force. Why should the ear be the only admitted means of
acquiring knowledge? Nature, the greatest of teachers, does not judge
thus: she conveys half her wisdom to us by sight, instead of by faith;
she gives her first lessons to the infant through the eye. Would
Percival, in looking for his attentive audiences, have preferred a
congregation of blind men?

Speaking of literary composition, he said that he often took great pains
with his productions, shifting words and phrases in many ways, before
satisfying himself that he had attained the best form of expression; and
he assured me that these slowly elaborated passages were the very ones
in which he afterwards recognized the most ease and nature, and which
others supposed him to have thrown off carelessly. I asked him how it
was that children, in their unpremeditated way, expressed themselves
with so much directness and beauty. They have but a single idea to
present at a time, he said; they seize without hesitation on the first
words that offer for its expression, unperplexed by any such choice of
terms as would surely occur to maturer minds; and most important of
all, perhaps, they are wholly unembarrassed by limiting qualifications
arising from a fuller knowledge of the subject.

His prose style is a rare exemplification of classic severity and
perspicuousness. In each paragraph the ideas arrange themselves in
faultless connection, like the molecules of a crystal around its centre.
The sentences are not long, the construction is simple, the words are
English in its purity, without admixture of foreign phrase or idiom. But
the most striking peculiarity of his diction is the utter absence
of ornament; for Percival evidently held that the chief merits of
composition are clearness and directness. Poetic imagery, brilliant
climaxes and antitheses, fanciful or grotesque turns of expression, he
rejected as unfavorable to that simple truth for which he studied and
wrote. This dry, almost mathematical style, was no necessity with him;
few men, surely, have had at command a richer vocabulary, English and
foreign, than Percival; few could have adorned thought with more or
choicer garlands from the fields of knowledge and imagination.

To letter-writing he had a great aversion. I have never seen a letter
or note from him to which his signature was attached. The
autograph-fanciers, therefore, will find a scanty harvest when they come
to forage after the name of Percival. His handwriting corresponded in
some sense with his character. It was fine; the lines straight and
parallel; the letters completely formed, though without fulness of
curve; no flourishes, and no unnecessary prolongations of stroke, above
or below the general run of the line. There were few erasures, the
punctuation was perfect, and the manuscript was fit for the press as it
left his hand.

Literary criticism he rarely indulged in, being too disinclined to
praise or blame, and too intensely devoted to the acquisition of
positive knowledge. If he commented severely upon anything, it was
usually the slovenly diction of some of our State Surveys, or the
inaccuracies of translations from foreign languages.

His only published criticism, of which I am aware, was discharged at
a phrenological lecturer, whose extraordinary assumptions and
_ad-captandum_ style had excited his disgust. Percival did not reverence
the science of bumps, and believed, in the words of William Von
Humboldt, that "it is one of those discoveries which, when stripped of
all the _charlatanerie_ that surrounds them, will show but a very meagre
portion of truth." Dr. Barber, an Englishman, and a somewhat noted
teacher of elocution, having been converted to the phrenological faith,
delivered certain magniloquent lectures on the same to the citizens of
New Haven, and took pay therefor, after the manner of his sect. Percival
responded with a sharp newspaper pasquinade, entitled "A Lecture on
Nosology." At the head of the article was a wood-cut of a gigantic nose,
mapped out into faculties. "Gentlemen, the nose is the most prominent
feature in this bill," commenced the parody. "The nose is the true seat
of the mind; and therefore, gentlemen, Nosology, or the science of the
nose, is the true phrenology. He, who knows his nose, foreknows; for he
knows that which is before him. Therefore Nosology is the surest guide
to conduct. Whatever progress an individual may make, his nose is always
in advance. But society is only a congeries of individuals; consequently
its nose is always in advance,--therefore its proper guide. The nose,
rightly understood, will assuredly work wonders in the cause of
improvement; for it is always going ahead, always first in every
undertaking, always soonest at the goal. The ancients did not neglect
the nose. Look at their busts and statues! What magnification and
abduction in Jove! What insinuation and elongation in the Apollo!
Then [Greek: nous] (intellect) was surely the nose,--[Greek: gnosis]
(knowledge) noses,--[Greek: Minos] my nose. What intussusception, what
potation, and, as a necessary consequence, alas! what rubification! But
I have seen such noses. Beware of them!--they are bad noses,--very bad
noses, I assure you.... Do not, I pray you, consider me irreverent,
if I say that Nosology will prove highly favorable to the cause of
religion. This is indeed an awful subject, and I would not touch it on
slight grounds; but I sincerely believe that what I say is true.
Nosology will prove highly favorable to the cause of religion! Does
not the nose stand forth like a watchman on the walls of Zion, on the
look-out for all assailants? and when our faces are directed upwards in
devotion, does not the nose ascend the highest and most especially tend
heavenward?... Nosology is a manly science. It stands out in the open
light. It does not conceal itself behind scratches and periwigs,--nor
does it, like certain false teachers mentioned by St. Paul, go about
from house to house, leading astray silly women......Finally, gentlemen,
you may rest assured that Nosology will not gently submit to insult.
_Noli me tangere!_ Who ever endured a tweak of the nose? It will know
how to take vengeance. As Jupiter metamorphosed the inhospitable Lycians
into frogs, so its contemners will suddenly find themselves [Greek:

Percival has been thought over-tenacious of his opinions. He was
certainly very circumspect in changing them. I have witnessed, however,
several instances in which he yielded to the force of evidence in
the modification of his views. He seemed to recognize geology, in
particular, as a progressive science, in which new facts are constantly
accruing, and therefore compelling re-adaptations of our views. He felt,
indeed, in respect to all knowledge, the mathematics excepted, that
modifications of belief, in well-regulated minds, are unavoidable, as
the result of new information. Approach to higher truth through the
sciences he seemed to regard under the aspect of that of besiegers to a
beleaguered fortress. Principles and deductions, which were a boon and a
triumph for us yesterday, lose their value to-day, when a new parallel
of approach has been attained. He lost his interest in what was
abandoned, necessary as it had been to the present position, only in the
advantage of which, and its sure promise of what was still higher, he
allowed himself to rejoice.

But where evidence was wanting, he was never to be moved to a change by
any amount of importunity or temptation. This trait of character made
him somewhat impracticable as a collaborator, in the philological task
he was employed to perform under Dr. Noah Webster. Disagreements were to
have been anticipated from the striking contrasts in their minds.
They agreed in industry; but Webster was decided, practical, strongly
self-reliant, and always satisfied with doing the best that could
be done with the time and means at command. Percival was timid and
cautious, and, from the very breadth of his linguistic attainments,
undecided. He often craved more time for arriving at conclusions. When
he happened to differ from the great lexicographer, he would never yield
an iota of his ground. These differences led to an early rupture in
the engagement, almost before two letters of the alphabet had been
completed. He much preferred to relinquish a profitable undertaking to
going forward with it under circumstances not agreeable to his elevated
standard of literary accuracy and completeness. He felt that he could
live on bread and water, or even give up these, if necessary; but he
could not violate his convictions of what was true and right. He was a
perfect martyr to his literary and scientific conscientiousness.

He evinced the same spirit in respect to the geological survey. As his
mind was not satisfied, he would not make known his results to the
Legislature. They demanded the report, and he asked for an extension of
time. Thus he continued his labors from year to year, upon a stipend
scarcely adequate to cover his expenses. Instead, however, of nearing
the goal, he only receded from it. New difficulties met him in the work;
fresh questions arose, in the progress of geology itself, that called
for reëxaminations. His notes swelled to volumes, and his specimens
increased to thousands. He was in danger of being crushed under the
weight of his doubts and his materials. At last, the people clamored
for the end of the work. The Legislature became peremptory, and forced
Percival to acquiesce.

In 1842 (seven years from the commencement of the survey) he rendered an
octavo report of four hundred and ninety-five pages, in the introduction
to which he observes,--"I regret to say, I have not had the means
allowed me for additional investigations, nor even for a proper use of
my materials, either notes or specimens. The number of localities from
which I have collected specimens I have estimated at nearly eight
thousand; the records of dips and bearings are still more numerous.
The report which follows is but a hasty outline, written mainly from
recollection, with only occasional reference to my materials, and under
circumstances little calculated for cool consideration. It was written,
however, with an intention to state nothing of the truth or probability
of which I did not feel satisfied. None can regret more than I do its
imperfection; still I cannot but hope that it will contribute something
towards the solution of the problem of the highest practical as well as
scientific importance, the exact determination of the geological system
of the State."

Of this remarkable production it may very briefly be said, that it will
ever remain a monument to the scientific and literary powers of its
author. It describes every shade of variation in the different rocks,
and their exact distribution over the surface of the State. This it
accomplishes with a minuteness never before essayed in any similar work.
The closeness and brevity of his descriptions make it one of the dryest
productions ever issued on geological science, scarcely omitting the
work of Humboldt, in which he sought to represent the whole of geology
by algebraic symbols. Percival's work actually demands, and would richly
repay, a translation into the vernacular of descriptive geology,--the
language and mode of illustration employed by Murchison and Hitchcock.
In its present form, it is safe to say, it has never found a single
reader among the persons for whose benefit it was written.

It is no part of my plan to speak of his poetical reputation. This I
leave to others better able to do him justice. Indeed, he had nearly
abandoned poetical composition before our acquaintance began. But it is
safe, perhaps, to say here, that his writings have placed him among
the first of our national poets; and had he resumed this species of
composition, he could scarcely have failed of maintaining, in the
fullest manner, his poetic fame. He possessed all the qualities reckoned
essential to poetical excellence. We have already spoken of his
astonishing memory, a trait regarded of such importance to the poet by
the ancients as to have led them to call the Muses the daughters of this
mental faculty. His powers of abstraction and imagination were no less
remarkable,--while for extreme sensitiveness he was unsurpassed. His
judgment was clear, and his appreciation of language refined to the last
degree. His musical feeling, too, as well of time as of harmony, was
intense; while he had at command the universal stores of literature and

In closing these reminiscences, I cannot avoid noticing some of the
useful impressions exerted by Percival upon the literary community
amidst which he passed so large a portion of his life. To some the
influence of such a recluse will doubtless seem insignificant. The
reverse, however, I am persuaded, was the fact. Few students came to New
Haven without bringing with them, imprinted on their youthful memories,
some beautiful line of his poetry. Few had not heard of his universal
scholarship and profound learning. Next to an acquaintance with the
teachers from whom they expected to derive their educational training,
their curiosity led them to inquire for Percival. The sight of this
modest, shrinking individual, as the possessor of such mines of
intellectual wealth, it may well be understood, produced the deepest
interest. In him they recognized a man superior to the clamor of vulgar
gratification; his indifference to gain, to luxury, and every form of
display, his constant preference of the spiritual over the sensual, was
always an impressive example to them. The indigent student took fresh
courage as he saw in him to what a narrow compass exterior wants might
be reduced; the man of fashion and the fop stood abashed before the
simplicity of his dress and daily life. And wherever the spirit of
classic literature had been imbibed, and the capacity acquired of
perceiving the severe worth of the true philosopher, the inspection of
such a character, compared with the mere description of it in history,
was like the difference between a statue and a living, breathing man. As
at early dawn or in the gray twilight his slender form glided by, the
thoughtful and poetic scholar could scarce refrain from uttering to
himself,--"There goes Diogenes or Chrysippus! There goes one, by the
side of whom many a bustler in letters is only a worthless drone, many
an idolized celebrity a weak and pitiful sham!" Such a character as
Percival's, in the presence of a scholastic community, was a perpetual
incentive to industry and manliness; and although he rarely spoke in its
hearing, and has left us fewer published works than many others, still
I believe that thousands yet live to thank him for lessons derived from
the simple survey of his daily life.

Though there is little likelihood that his example of self-abnegation
and devotion to study will be followed by many of our youth,
nevertheless, the occurrence of such a model now and then in the
republic of letters constitutes a pleasing as well as useful
phenomenon,--if for no other reason, because it breaks in upon the
monotony of literary biography, and communicates a portion of that
picturesqueness to scholastic life which belongs to Nature in everything
else. That his course was fraught with happiness to himself cannot be
doubted; that it was beneficial also to his fellow-men is equally
true; and though he may be judged less leniently by minds incapable of
pronouncing that to be a character honorable in the sight of God or
man, which deviates from their own standard or creed,--to others, who
recognize the highest possible cultivation of the mental faculties and
unsullied purity of life as the noblest ends of our being, he will ever
occupy a position shared by few of mortal race.

       *       *       *       *       *




Who does not remember his first play?--the proudly concealed impatience
which seemed seething in the very blood,--the provoking coolness of old
play-goers,--the music that rather excited than soothed the fever
of expectation,--the mystery of mimic life that throbbed behind the
curtain,--the welcome tinkle of the prompter's bell,--the capricious
swaying to and fro of that mighty painted scroll,--its slow uplift,
revealing for an instant, perhaps, the twinkle of flying dancers' feet
and the shuffle of belated buskins? And then, the unveiled wonders
of that strange, new world of canvas and pasteboard and
trap-doors,--people, Nature, Art, and architecture, never before beheld,
and but faintly conceived of,--the magic of shifting scenes,--the
suddenness and awfulness of subterranean and aerial descents and
ascents,--the solemn stage-walk of the heroine,--the majestic strut
of the hero,--the princely sweep of velvet,--the illusive sparkle of
paste,--the rattle of Brobdignagian pearls,--the saucy tossing of pages'
plumes,--the smiles, the wiles, the astonishing bounds and bewildering
pirouettes of the dancing Houries,--the great sobs and small shrieks
of persecuted beauty,--the blighting smile of the villain,--the lofty
indifference of supernumeraries!

It was the first play of our heroine, Zelma Burleigh, and of her Cousin
Bessie. The morning before, a fragrant May morning, scores of summers
ago, Roger Burleigh, a stout Northumbrian Squire, had rolled himself,
in his ponderous way, into the snug family-parlor at the Grange, and
addressed his worthy dame with a bluff--

"Well, good wife, wouldn't like to go see the players to-night?"

Ere the good lady could collect herself to reply with the decorous
deliberateness becoming her years and station, an embroidery-frame at
her side was overturned, and there sprang eagerly forward a comely
young damsel of the pure Saxon stock, with eyes like England's
violets,--clear, dewy, and wide-awake,--cheeks and lips like its
rose-bloom, and hair which held tangled in close, golden folds its
fickle and flying sunshine.

"Ay, father!" she cried, "that we would! Zelma and I have never seen any
players, save the tumblers over at the Hall, on Sir Harry's birthday,
and we are in sad need of a little pleasuring."

"Who spoke to you, or of you, Mistress Bessie?" replied the Squire,
playfully. "And what is all your useless, chattering life but
pleasuring? The playhouse is but a perilous place for giddy-brained
lasses like you; but for once, harkee, for _once_, we'll venture on
taking you, if you'll promise to keep your silly head safe under the
mother-hen's wing."

"Not so close but that I can get a peep at the players now and then,"
said Bessie, archly. "They say there are some handsome young men and a
pretty woman or two among them. Eh, Zelma?"

"Handsome young men!--pretty women!" exclaimed the Squire, with an
explosive snort of contempt. "An arrant set of vagabonds and tramps,--of
ranting, strutting, apish creatures, with neither local habitations nor
names of their own. And what does Zelma know about them? Out with it,

The person thus addressed, without lifting the folds of a heavy
window-curtain which concealed her, replied in a quiet, though somewhat
haughty tone,--

"I saw them all, yesterday afternoon, on their way to Arden. I found
them near the entrance to our avenue. One of their carts had broken
down, and somebody was hurt. I dismounted to see if I could be of any
assistance. My pony pulled away from me and ran up the road. One of the
young men caught her for me. I told Cousin Bessie I thought him handsome
and proud enough for a lord. I think so still. That is all I know of the

"And, gad, that's enough! Take _you_ to the play, indeed! Why, we shall
have you strolling next, like your"--Here the Squire, for some reason
known to himself, suddenly paused and grew very red in the face. Dame
Margery took the word, and, in a tone meant to be severe, but which was
only dry, remarked,--

"Zelma is quite too young to go to the play."

"Just one week younger than my Cousin Bessie. So, please you, aunt, I
will wait a few days," was the quiet reply from the invisible.

"Right cleverly answered, lass!" said the Squire, with a good-humored
chuckle. "Well, we will try you, too, for once; but mind, if I find you
making eyes at any of the villains, I'll cut you off with a shilling."

"That is more than I look for from you, Uncle Roger," replied the
hitherto hidden speaker, emerging from the window-seat, holding in her
hand the fashionable and interminable novel of "Sir Charles Grandison."
As she spoke, she laughed lightly, but her voice was somewhat cold and
bitter, and there was in her laugh more of defiance than merriment.

"Oh, _don't_, Zella!" exclaimed the Squire, with a look of comic
deprecation,--"don't speak in that way to your old uncle! He's
blunt and rough-spoken, but he means kindly, and does kindly, in his
way,--don't he?"

"Yes, that he does!" said the young girl, frankly; "and I beg his pardon
for my pettishness."

Zelma Burleigh, as she stood thus, a faint, regretful smile softening
the habitual _hauteur_ of her face, was beautiful, and something more;
yet nobody in the country round about the Grange had ever dreamed of
calling her "a beauty." She was a tall, gracefully-formed girl, with
that strong, untamable character of figure and feature, and that
peculiar, sun-tinted, forest-shadowed hue of the skin, which betray the
slightest admixture of gypsy blood. In fact, Zelma Burleigh was the
fruit of a strange _mésalliance_ between the younger brother of the
Squire, a reckless, dissipated soldier of fortune, and a beautiful
Spanish Zineala, whom he met in a foreign campaign, and whom he could
not bind to himself by any tie less honorable than marriage. She was
said to be of Rommany blood-royal, and was actually disowned by her
tribe for _her mésalliance_. She followed the camp for a few years, the
willing, though sad and fast-fading slave of her Ishmaelitish lord,
himself the slave of lawless passions, yet not wholly depraved,
--fitfully tender and tyrannic,--and when, at last, he fell in some
inglorious skirmish, she buried him with her own hands, and wept and
fasted over his shallow grave till she died. There was a child, but she
had no look of the father to charm that poor, broken heart back to life;
she was left in the camp and became a little "Daughter of the Regiment."
At last, however, she was taken to England by a faithful comrade of the
dead soldier, who sought out her uncle and left her in his care, taking
leave of the frightened, clinging little creature with a grim, unspoken
tenderness, and a strange quiver of his gray moustache.

Roger Burleigh, after having made himself sure of the legitimacy of
the child, adopted the poor, wild thing, made her the companion of his
daughter, and honestly strove to treat her, at all times, with parental
care and affection.

Here, in the hospitable circle of an English home, the orphan alien
had grown up with her kinsfolk, but not of them,--proud, reticent,
ambitious, secretly hating the monotonous duties and pursuits, the
decorous forms and prescribed pleasures of the social and domestic life
around her. Nomadic and lawless instincts stirred in her blood; vague
longings for freedom and change, though in wandering, peril, and want,
sometimes filled her soul with the spirit of revolt and unrest.

In her bluff uncle's house all were kind, and one, at least, was fond.
Her Cousin Bessie, gay and tender heart, had found the southern exposure
of her nature, and had crept up it, and clambered over it, and clasped
it, and bloomed against it, and ripened on it, till nothing cold, hard,
or defiant could be seen on that side. And Zelma seemed well content to
be the sombre background and strong support of so much bloom, sweetness,
and graceful dependence.

Nothing could be more unlike than the two cousins. Bessie was small,
her form inclining to fulness, her face childlike in dimpled smiles and
innocent blushes,--betraying no lack of intellect, but most expressive
of a quiet, almost indolent amiability. Zelma was large, but lithe,
supple, and vigorous, with a pard-like freedom and elasticity of
movement,--dark, with a subdued and changing color,--the fluttering
signal of sudden emotion, not the stationary sign of robust health. She
had hair of a glistening blackness, which she wore turned back from a
strong, compact forehead, in the somewhat severe style which imperial
beauty has rendered classic in our time. Her eyes were of the Oriental
type,--full, heavy-lidded, ambushed in thick, black lashes,--themselves
dark and unfathomable as the long night of mystery which hangs over the
history of her wild and wandering race, those unsubduable, unseducible
children of Nature,--the voluntary Pariahs of the world. Sad were those
eyes always, but with a vague, uncommunicable sadness; soft they were in
times of quiet; beautiful and terrible they could be, with live gleams
of suddenly awakened passion.

With but one affection not poisoned by a sense of obligation and
condescension, and that a sentiment in which her intellect had little
share, a gentle, protective, household love, which quickened no daring
fancy, inspired no dream of freedom or power, Zelma's mind was driven
in upon itself, and out of the seclusion and triteness of her life
fashioned a fairy world of romance and beauty. With the high-wrought,
sentimental fictions of the day for her mental aliment, she grew more
and more distinct and apart from the actual, prosaic existences around
her; the smouldering fires of genius and ambition glowed out almost
fiercely at times, through the dark dream of her eyes, startling the
dullest apprehension, as she moved amid a narrow circle of country
gentry, the fox-hunting guests of her uncle, the prim gossips of her
aunt, the gay lovers and companions of her cousin, an unrecognized
heroine, an uncrowned tragedy-queen.

The small provincial town of Arden possessed no playhouse proper, but,
after a good deal of hesitation and discussion, the venerable Hall
of St. George, the glory of all Ardenites, had been accorded to the
players, "for a few nights only."

On the night of the first performance, Squire Burleigh and his family
arrived betimes, and took their places with some bustle and ceremony.

The master of Burleigh Grange appeared in the almost forgotten glory of
his court suit,--a coat of crimson velvet, a flowered waistcoat, satin
knee-breeches, and a sword at his side. The mistress wore an equally
memorable brocade, enormous bouquets thrown upon a silvery ground, so
stiff and shiny that it seemed a texture of ice and frozen flowers. Her
hair was cushioned and powdered; she looked comely and stately, and
wore her lustres well. The pretty Bessie was attired in maidenly
white muslin, an India fabric of marvellous fineness, with a sash and
streamers of blue, and the light fleecy curls of her hair unadorned save
by a slight pendent spray of jasmines. Her cousin's dress, though in
reality less costly, was more striking, being composed of materials and
colors which admirably harmonized with the darkness and richness of her
beauty. Her lustrous black hair was arranged as usual; but a wreath,
formed of some delicate vine hung thick with drooping scarlet blossoms,
ran like flowering flame around her head. Like the sumptuous exotic of
Zenobia, it was an ornament which seemed to bloom out of the character
of the woman.

Bessie cast about her bright, innocent looks of girlish curiosity, which
yet shrank from any chance encounter with the furtive glance or cool
stare of admiration. Zelma sat motionless and impassive. Her eyes
wandered naturally, but coldly, over the audience, seeming to take no
cognizance of any face, strange or familiar; but when they were lifted
above the crowd, to the old carved ceiling of the hall, or dropped upon
the beautiful hands which lay listlessly folded in her lap, the cold,
blank look she had set against the world went out of them. Then, in
their mystic depths of brooding, introverted thought, new spheres of
life, rarer, brighter, fairer, seemed rounding into form and dawning
like stars.

Mrs. Margery Burleigh sat with her face turned from the stage, to
dissemble the secret impatience with which she awaited the uprolling of
the curtain, and slowly waved to and fro a huge, flowered fan, which
charged the air with a heavy Indian perfume.

At length, soft, mournful music arose from the orchestra, and every
heart stirred to the premonitory waver and lift of the curtain. Slowly
it rose, and discovered a mourning apartment, with a lady in mourning,
sitting in a mourning chair, and attended by a mourning maid. The play
was Congreve's tragedy of "The Mourning Bride," one of the best of a
class of sentimental and stiltified dramatic productions which the
public of our great-grandfathers meekly accepted,--quaffing the frothy
small-beer of rant and affectation, in lieu of deep draughts of Nature
and passion, the rich, red wine of human life, poured generously
forth by the dramatists of a better era. The excesses of fashion then
prevailing, hoops, high heels, powder, and patches, were not more
essentially absurd and artificial than such representations of high-life
and high-tragedy.

"The Mourning Bride" contains a few situations in which real passion can
have play, some fine points and poetic passages, and its moral tone is
at least respectable,--not great things to say of a famous tragedy,
certainly, but they give it an honorable distinction over many plays of
its time. There figure in it one or two characters which can be made
interesting, and even impressive, by uncommon power in the actor; though
they were usually given, at the period of which I write, in a manner
sufficiently tame to suit the dullest of courts,--likely to disturb
neither my lord in his napping nor my lady in her prim flirting.

Zara, the Captive Queen, is beyond comparison the strong character of
this play. There is a spice and fire even in her wickedness, which
make her terribly attractive, and give her a more powerful hold on the
sympathies than the decorous and dolorous Almeria, for all her virtuous
sorrows and perplexities. Zara's passion is of the true Oriental type,
leaping from the extremes of love and hate with the fierceness and
rapidity of lightning.

It is a character in which several great actresses have distinguished
themselves,--chief among them Siddons. On the memorable night at Arden,
however, it was but wretchedly rendered by a tall, small-voiced,
flaxen-haired young woman, who stalked about the stage in high-heeled
shoes and prodigious hoops, and declaimed the most fiery passages with
an execrable drawl. The remainder of the company were barely passable as
strolling players, with the exception of the actor who personated Osmyn.
This was a young man named Bury, of respectable parentage and education,
it was said, and considerable reputation, though his aspiring buskin had
never yet trod the London boards. He was a handsome, shapely person,
with an assured, dashing manner, and a great amount of spirit and fire,
which usually passed with his audience, and always with himself, for

His voice was powerful and resonant, his elocution effective, if not
faultless, and his physical energy inexhaustible. Understanding and
managing perfectly his own resources, he produced upon most provincial
critics the impression of extraordinary power and promise, few
perceiving that he had already come into full possession of his dramatic

Only finely-trained ears could discover in this sounding, shining metal
the lack of the sharp, musical ring of the genuine coin. Young men grew
frantic in applause of his bold action, his stormy declamation,
his startling _tours de force_; while young women wondered, wept,
languished, and swooned. It was said, that, whenever he died in Romeo,
Pierre, or Zanga, numbers of his fair slain were borne out of the
playhouse, to be revived with difficulty by the application of salts and
the severing of stay-lacings.

But his effects, though so positive, were superficial and
evanescent,--audible, visible, and, as it were, physical. There was
always wanting that fine shock of genuine passion, striking home to
kindred passions in the breasts of his auditors, and sending through
every nerve a magnetic shiver of delight,--that subtile, mysterious
element of genius, playing like quick flame along the dullest lines of
the poet and charging them with its own life and fire.

In the virtuous, but negative character of Osmyn there was little room
for effective declamation; our actor was fain to content himself with
being interesting, through the misfortunes of the Prince of Valentia,
his woful lawful love, and the besettings of an unreturned passion. In
this he succeeded so well, that the feminine portion of his audience
grew tender with Almeria, and despairing with Zara.

In the first scene with Almeria, who was a shade worse than the Zara of
the night, the young actor indulged himself in a cool, comprehensive
glance at the house, over her fair shoulders. As his keen gaze swept
round the small aristocratic circle, it encountered and seemed
to recognize the face of Zelma Burleigh, now kindling with a new
enthusiasm, which was never wholly to die out of her breast. There was
something in the watchful, absorbed gaze of her great dark eyes so
unlike the wondering or languishing looks usually bent by women upon
the rising actor, that on the instant he was struck, pierced, by those
subtile shafts of light, to the heart he had believed till then vowed
alone to the love of his art and the schemes of a sleepless ambition.

Reluctantly he withdrew his regard from a face which bespoke a character
of singular originality and force, not wanting either in womanly pride
or tenderness,--a face in which beauty itself was so subordinate to
something higher, more ineffable, that one could scarcely define feature
or color through the illuminated and changeful atmosphere of soul which
hung about it,--the shadows of great thoughts, the light mists of dreamy
and evanescent fancy.

It was toward the close of the second act, when Sir Harry Willerton, of
Willerton Hall, entered his box, accompanied by three or four dashing
companions, who, it was soon whispered about, were titled young bloods
from London.

Sir Harry Willerton was a fresh, frank-looking young gallant,--fast,
from the fiery impulses of youth and a high spirit,--not pricked on by
vanity, nor goaded by low passions,--not heartless, not _blasé_,--the
only kind of a rake for whom reformation is possible or reclamation
worth the while.

Sir Harry was not fond of tragedy; and after five minutes' strained
attention to the players, he turned his eyes from the stage, and began
casting easy, good-humored glances of curiosity or recognition over
the audience. He bowed to all his neighbors with a kindly familiarity,
untainted by condescension, but most courteously, perhaps, to the party
from the Grange. He liked the bluff Squire heartily,--as who did not?
Then his eye--a laughing blue eye it was--rested and lingered, not on
the dark, dramatic face of Zelma, but on the pretty, girlish head of her

Bessie sat with her face partly averted from the baronet's gay party,
and her gaze fixed intently upon the stage. Sir Harry could only see
half the rose of one cheek, and the soft sweep of golden hair which
lightly shaded it; and feasting his fancy on that bit of fluctuating
color, entangled in the meshes of a tremulous screen of curls, he
settled himself to await the close of the act.

It was with a child's eager interest and pliant imagination that Bessie
looked and listened,--susceptible, credulous, unfastidious. To her,
the Osmyn of the night was radiant with all heroic qualities and manly
graces, the weakly simulated sorrow of Almeria brought real tears to her
eyes, and she drew her white shoulders forward with a shudder when
the wooden Zara kindled into cursing and jealous rage. Illusions most
transparent to others hoodwinked her senses; her willing fancy supplied
feeling, and even made up for deficiencies of art in the players, till
the mimic world before her became more real than reality.

Not so with Zelma. She was satisfied, even charmed, with the personation
of Osmyn; but, from the first, she could not abide either of the
heroines, who, each in her part, strove to outdo the other in mincing,
mouthing, attitudinizing, and all imaginable small sins against Nature
and Art. She saw at once, by the sure intuitions of genius, how
everything they did could be done better, and burned to do it. The part
of Almeria she soon dismissed from her thoughts, as mere milk-and-water;
but she saw that in that of Zara there was a stream of lava, though
dulled and crusted over by the coldness of the actress, which might
be made to sweep all before it. Her critical dissatisfaction with the
personation became, at last, little short of torture; there was an
involuntary lowering of her dark brows, a scornful quiver of her
spirited nostril, she bit her lip with angry impatience, and shrugged
her shoulders with irrepressible contempt.

In the great scene where Zara surprises Almeria in the cell of Osmyn,
it was astonishing how the flaxen-haired representative of the Captive
Queen managed to turn her fiery rain of curses into a little pattering
shower of womanish reproaches. It was really a masterly performance, in
its way.

At this point Zelma threw herself back in utter weariness and disgust,
exclaiming, audibly,--"Miserable!--most miserable." When, looking round,
she saw the traces of her cousin's innocent emotion, the flush and
tearfulness which bespoke her uncritical sympathy with passions so
unskilfully represented, she could not suppress a smile at such childish
simplicity. And yet this was also her first play.

The tragedy was succeeded by a farce, at which Bessie laughed as
heartily as she had wept a little while before, but which was utterly
distasteful to Zelma; and at an alarmingly late hour, for that quiet
community, the green curtain came heavily plunging down on the final
scene of all, and the audience dispersed to their homes.

On the day following, Sir Harry Willerton's guests returned to town,
but, to their surprise, unaccompanied by their host, who seemed to have
suddenly discovered that his presence was needed on his estate. So he
remained. Soon it was remarked that a singular intimacy had sprung
up between him and Squire Burleigh, with whom, at length, the larger
portion of his time was passed, either in following the hounds or dining
at the Grange. There were rumors and surmises that the attractions which
drew the young baronet to his bluff neighbor's hospitable hall were not
the Squire's hearty cheer, old wine, and older stories, but a pair of
shy, yet tender eyes,--red lips, that smiled a wordless welcome, and
sometimes pouted at a late coming,--cheeks whose blushes daily grew
warmer in love's ripening glow,--a voice whose tones daily grew deeper,
and seemed freighted with more delicious meanings.

There was little discussion as to which of the young ladies of the
Grange was the enchantress and the elect Lady Willerton.

"Surely," said the gossips, "it cannot be that gypsy niece of the
Squire, that odd, black-browed girl, who scours over the country in all
weathers, on that elfish black pony, with her hair flying,--for all the
world as though in search of her wild relations. No, the blood of the
Willertons would never run so low as that;--it must be sweet Miss
Bessie, and she is a match for a lord."

For once the gossips were right. But it is with the poor "Rommany girl,"
not with the heiress of Burleigh Grange, that we have to do.

On the morning succeeding the play, Zelma Burleigh, taking in her hand
an odd volume of Shakspeare, one of the few specimens of dramatic
literature which her uncle's scant library afforded, strolled down a
lonely lane, running back from the house, toward the high pasture-lands,
on which grazed and basked the wealthy Squire's goodly flocks and
herds. This was her favorite walk, as it was the most quiet, shaded,
out-of-the-way by-path on the estate. She now directed her steps to a
little rustic seat, almost hidden from view by the pendent branches
of an old willow-tree, and close under a hawthorn-hedge, now in full,
fragrant bloom. Here she seated herself, or rather flung herself down,
half languidly, half petulantly, an expression of _ennui_ and unrest
darkening her face,--the dusky traces of a sleepless night hanging
heavily about her eyes. She opened her book at the play of "Romeo and
Juliet," and began to read, not silently, nor yet aloud, but in a low,
dreamy tone, in which the sounds of Nature about her, the gurgle of a
brook behind the hedge, the sighing of the winds among the pendulous
branches of the willow, the silver shiver of the lance-like leaves, the
murmurous coming and going of bees, the loving duets of nest-building
birds, all seemed to mingle and merge. As she read, a new light seemed
to illumine the page, caught from her recent experience of dramatic
personation and scenic effects, limited and unsatisfactory though that
experience had been. In fancy, she floated over the stage, as the gay
young Juliet at the masquerade; then she caught sight of young Romeo,
and, lo! his face was that of the sentimental hero of the last night's
tragedy, but ennobled by the glow and dignity of genuine passion. In
fancy, she sat on the balcony, communing with night and the stars,--the
newly-risen star of love silvering all life for her. Then, leaning her
cheek upon her hand, she poured forth Juliet's impassioned apostrophe.
When she came to the passage,--

  "O Romeo, Romeo!--wherefore art thou Romeo?"

she was startled by a rustling of the leaves behind her. She paused and
looked round fearfully. A blackbird darted out of the hedge and away
over the fields. Zelma smiled at her own alarm, and read on, till she
reached the tender adjuration,--

  "Romeo, doff thy name;
  And for thy name, which is no part of thee,
  Take all myself!"

when,--suddenly, a fragrant shower of hawthorn-blossoms fell upon the
page before her, and the next instant there lightly vaulted over the
hedge at her side the hero of her secret thoughts, the young player,
Lawrence Bury! He stood before her, flushed and smiling, with his head
uncovered, and in an attitude of respectful homage; yet, with a look and
tone of tender, unmistakable meaning, took up the words of the play,--

  "I take thee at thy word.
  Call me but love, and I'll be new-baptized;
  Henceforth I never will be Romeo."

Poor Zelma did not have the presence of mind to greet this sudden
apparition of a lover in the apt words of her part,--

  "What man art thou, that, thus bescreened in night,
  So stumblest on my counsel?"

She had no words at all for the intruder, but, frightened and
bewildered, sprang from her seat and turned her face toward home, with a
startled bird's first impulse to flight. As she rose, her book slid from
her lap and fell among the daisies at her feet. The actor caught it up
and presented it to her, with the grace of a courtly knight restoring
the dropped glove of a princess, but, as he did so, exclaimed, in a
half-playful tone, looking at the volume rather than the lady,--

"I thank thee, O my master, for affording me so fair an excuse for mine

Then, assuming a more earnest manner, he proceeded to make excuses and
entreat pardon for the suddenness, informality, and presumption of his
appearance before her:--

"You know, Madam," he said,--"if, indeed, you are so unfortunate as
to know anything about us,--that we players are an impulsive,
unconventional class of beings, lawless and irresponsible, the Gypsies
of Art."

Here Zelma flushed and drew herself up, while a suspicious glance shot
from her eyes;--but the stranger seemed not to understand or perceive
it, for he went on quite innocently, and with increasing earnestness of
tone and manner:--

"I know I have been presuming, impertinent, audacious, in thus intruding
myself upon you, and acknowledge that you would be but severely just in
banishing me instantly from your bright presence, and in withdrawing
from me forever the light of your adorable eyes. Oh, those eyes!" he
continued, clasping his hands in an ecstasy of lover-like enthusiasm,
--"those wild, sweet orbs!--bewildering lights of love, dear as life,
but cruel as death!--can they not quicken, even as they slay? Oh, gentle
lady, be like her of Verona!--be gracious, be kind, or, at least, be
merciful, and do not banish me!--

  'For exile hath more terror in his look,
  Much more, than death; do not say banishment!'"

He paused, but did not remove his passionate looks from the young girl's
face,--looks which, though cast down, for he was much the taller of the
two, had the effect of most lowly and deprecating entreaty;--and then
there happened an event,--a very slight, common, natural event,--the
result more of girlish embarrassment than of any conscious emotion or
purpose, yet of incalculable importance at that moment, and, perhaps,
decisive of the fate of two human hearts,--Zelma smiled. It was a
quick, involuntary smile, which seemed to _escape_ from the firm lips
and half-averted eyes, flashed over the face, touched the cold features
with strange radiance, and then was gone,--and, in its place, the old
shadow of reserve and distrust, for the moment, darker than ever.

But to the adventurous lover that brief light had revealed his doubtful
way clear before him. He saw, with a thrill of exultation, that
henceforth he had really nothing to fear from such womanly defences as
he had counted on,--coldness, prejudice, disdain,--that all he had taken
for these were but unsubstantial shadows. Still he showed no premature
triumph in word or look, but remained silent and humble, waiting the
reply to his passionate appeal, as though life or death, in very truth,
were depending upon it. And Zelma spoke at last,--briefly and coldly,
but in a manner neither suspicious nor unfriendly. She herself, she
said, was unconventional, in her instincts, at least,--so could afford
to pardon somewhat of lawlessness in another,--especially, she added,
with a shy smile, in one whom Melpomene, rather than Cupid, had made
mad. Still she was not a Juliet, though he, for all she knew, might be
a Romeo; and only in lands verging on the tropics, or in the soul of a
poet, could a passion like that of the gentle Veronese spring up, bud,
and blossom, in a single night. As for her, the fogs of England, the
heavy chill of its social atmosphere, had obstructed the ripening
sunshine of romance and repressed the flowering of the heart--

"And kept your beautiful nature all the more pure and fresh!" exclaimed
Mr. Lawrence Bury, with real or well-assumed enthusiasm; but Zelma,
replying to his interruption only by a slight blush, went on to say,
that she had been taught that poetry, art, and romances were all idle
pastimes and perilous lures, unbecoming and unwholesome to a young
English gentlewoman, whose manifest destiny it was to tread the dull,
beaten track of domestic duty, with spirit chastened and conformed.
She had had, she would acknowledge, some aspirations and rebellious
repinings, some wild day-dreams of life of another sort; but it was best
that she should put these down,--yes, doubtless, best that she should
fall into her place in the ranks of duty and staid respectability,
and be a mere gentlewoman, like the rest.--Here a slight shrug of the
shoulders and curl of the lip contradicted her words,--yet, with a tone
of rigid determination, she added, that it was also best she should
cherish no tastes and form no associations which might distract her
imagination and further turn her heart from this virtuous resolution;
and therefore must she say farewell, firmly and finally, to the, she
doubted not, most worthy gentleman who had done her the honor to
entertain for her sentiments of such high consideration and romantic
devotion. She would not deny that his intrusion on her privacy had, at
first, startled and displeased her,--but she already accepted it as an
eccentricity of dramatic genius, a thoughtless offence, and, being, as
she trusted, at once the first and the last, pardonable. She wished him
happiness, fame, fortune,--and a very good morning! Then, with a wave
of the hand which would have done honor to Oldfield herself, she turned
and walked proudly up the lane.

Mr. Bury saw her depart silently, standing in a submissive, dejected
attitude, but with a quiet, supercilious smile lightly curling his
finely-cut lips; for did he not know that she would return to her haunt
the next day, and that he would be there to see?

And Zelma did return the next day,--persuading herself that she was
only acting naturally, and with proper dignity and independence. She
argued with herself that to abandon her favorite walk or avoid her usual
resting-place would be to confess, if not a fear of the stranger's
presuming and persistent suit, at least, a disturbing consciousness of
his proximity, and of the possibility of his braving her displeasure
by a second and unpardonable intrusion. No, she would live as she had
lived, freely, carelessly; she would go and come, ride and walk, just as
though nothing had happened,--for, indeed, nothing _had_ happened that
a woman of sense and pride should take cognizance of. So, after a
half-hour's strange hesitation, she took her book and went to the old
place. Longer than usual she sat there, idly and abstractedly turning
over the leaves of her Shakspeare, starting and flushing with every
chance sound that broke on the still, sweet air; yet no presumptuous
intruder disturbed her maiden meditations, and she rose wearily at last,
and walked slowly homeward, saying to herself, "It is well. I have
conquered," but feeling that nothing was well in life, or her own heart,
and that she was miserably defeated. Ah, little did she suspect that her
clouded, dissatisfied face had been keenly scanned by the very eyes she
dreaded, yet secretly longed to meet,--that her most unconscious sigh
of disappointment had been heard by her Romeo of the previous day, now
lying just behind the hedge, buried in the long brook-side grass, and
laughing to himself a very pleasant laugh of gratulation and triumph.

That night, the good Squire of Burleigh Grange relented from his
virtuous resolve, and took his wife, daughter, and niece to the play.

The piece was Howe's tragedy of "Tamerlane." Mr. Bury personated the
imperial Tartar, a noble _rôle_, which so well became him, costumes
and all, and brought him so much applause, that Zelma's heart was
effectually softened, and she even felt a regretful pride in having
received and rejected the homage of a man of such parts.

The next day, as the hour for her stroll arrived, she said to herself,
"I can surely take my walks in safety now,--_he_ will never come near me
more." So she went,--but, to her unspeakable confusion, she found
him, quietly seated in her little rustic bower, his head bared to
the sunshine, and his "Hyperion curls" tossed and tumbled about by
a frolicsome wind. He rose when the lady appeared, stammered out an
apology, bowed respectfully, and would have retired, but that Zelma,
feeling that she was the intruder this time, begged him to remain. She
thought herself, simple child! merely courteous and duly hospitable, in
giving this invitation; but the quick, eager ear of the actor and lover
heard, quivering through the assumed indifference and cold politeness
of her tones, the genuine impulse and ardent wish of her heart. So
he yielded and lingered, proffering apologies and exchanging polite

After a little time, Zelma, to prove her freedom from embarrassment or
suspicion, quietly seated herself on the rustic bench, giving, as she
did so, a regal spread to her ample skirts, that there might be no
vacant place beside her. The actor stood for a while before her, just
going, but never gone, talking gayly, but respectfully, on indifferent
topics,--till, at last, touching on some theme of deeper interest, and
apparently forgetting everything but it and the fair lady, who neither
expressed nor looked a desire to shorten the interview, he flung
himself, with what seemed a boy's natural impulse, upon the soft,
inviting turf, under the shade of the willow. There, reclining in the
attitude of Hamlet at the feet of Ophelia, he rambled on from subject
to subject, in a careless, graceful way, plucking up grass and picking
daisies to pieces, as he talked, giving every now and then, from beneath
the languid sweep of his heavy eyelashes, quick flashes of tender
meaning, as fitful and beautiful as the "heat-lightnings" of summer
twilights, and _apparently_ as harmless.

There was something so magnetic and contagious in this frank,
confiding manner, that Zelma, ere she was aware, grew unrestrained and
communicative in turn. One by one, the icicles of pride and reserve,
which a strange and ungenial atmosphere had hung around her affluent and
spontaneous nature, melted in the unwanted sunshine, dropped away from
her, and the quick bloom of a Southern heart revealed itself in
smiles and blushes. The divine poet whose volume she now held clasped
caressingly in both hands had prepared the way for this, by sending
through every vein and fibre of her being the sweet, subtile essence of
passionate thought,--the spring-tide of youth and love, which makes the
story of Romeo and Juliet glow and throb with immortal freshness and

So, at length, those two talked freely and pleasantly together. They
discussed the quiet rural scenery around them, the deep green valley of
Arden, shut in by an almost unbroken circle of hills, and Zelma told of
a peculiar silvery mist which sometimes floated over it, like the ghost
of the lake which, it was said, once filled it; they spoke of wood,
stream, moor, and waterfall, sunsets and moonlight and stars, poetry
and--love; floating slowly, and almost unconsciously, down the smooth
current of summer talk and youthful fancies, toward the ocean of all
their thoughts, whose mysterious murmurs already filled one heart at
least with a tender awe and a vague longing, which was yet half fear.

The next day, and the next, and every day while the players remained at
Arden, the two friends met by tacit agreement in the lane of Burleigh
Grange, and, gradually, Lawrence Bury became less the actor and more
the man, in the presence of a genuine woman, without affectation or
artifice, stage-rant or art-cant,--one from whose face the glare of the
foot-lights had not stricken the natural bloom, whose heart had never
burned with the feverish excitement of the stage, its insatiable
ambition, its animosities and exceeding fierce jealousies. For Zelma,
she grew more humble and simple and less exacting, the more she bestowed
from a "bounty boundless as the sea."

It was but a brief while, scarcely the lifetime of a rose,--the fragrant
snow of the hawthorn blossoms had not melted from the hedges since they
met,--and yet, in that little season, the deepest, divinest mystery of
human life had grown clear and familiar to their hearts, and was conned
as the simplest lesson of Nature.

To Zelma the romance and secrecy of this love had an inexpressible
charm. The Zincala in her nature revelled in its wildness and adventure,
in its crime against the respectable conventionalities she despised. She
had a keen pleasure in the very management and concealment to which she
was compelled;--her imagination, even more than her heart, was engaged
in hiding and guarding this charming mystery.

On the day succeeding her first interview with the young actor in the
lane, she had tried to beguile her _ennui_, while lingering in her
lonely bower, by curiously peering into the nest of a blackbird, deeply
hidden in the long grass at the foot of the hedge, and which she had
before discovered by the prophetic murmurs of the mother-bird. She found
five eggs in the nest. She took the little blue wonders in her hand,
and thought what lives of sinless joy, what raptures and loves, what
exultations of song and soaring slept in those tiny shells! Suddenly,
there was an alarmed cry and an anxious flutter of wings in the hedge
above her! She turned, and saw the mother-bird eyeing her askance. From
that day the lowly nest with its profaned treasures was forsaken, and
the world was the poorer in gladness and melody by five bird-lives of
joy and song that might have been.

So, had any luckless intruder chanced to discover Zelma's
trysting-place, thrown open to the world the hidden romance in which
she took such shy and secret delight, and handled in idle gossip the
delicate joys and fragile hopes of young love, it is more than likely
that she would have been frightened away from bower and lane, shocked
and disenchanted. But the preoccupation of her cousin and her own
eccentric and solitary habits prevented suspicion and inquiry,--no
unfriendly spy, no rude, untoward event, disturbed the quiet and
seclusion of this charmed scene of her wooing, where Nature, Romance,
and Poetry were in league with Love.

The players played out their engagement at Arden, with the usual
supplement, "A few nights only by special request," and were off to a
neighboring town. On their last night, after the play, Zelma met her
lover by moonlight, at the trysting-place in the lane, for a parting

It was there that the actor, doffing the jaunty hat which usually
crowned his "comely head," and, flinging himself on his knees before
his fair mistress, entreated her to rule his wayward heart, share his
precarious fortunes, and bear his humble name.

Poor Zelma, when in imagination she had rehearsed her betrothal scene,
had made her part something like this:--"And then will I extend my hand
with stately grace, and say to my kneeling knight, 'Arise!'--and after,
in such brief, gracious words as queens may use, (for is not every woman
beloved a queen?) pronounce his happy doom."

But when that scene in her life-drama came on, it was the woman, not the
tragedy-queen, that acted. Naturally and tenderly, like any simple girl,
she bent over her lover, laid her hand upon his head, and caressingly
smoothed back from his brow the straggling curls, damp with night-dew.
As she did so, every lock seemed to thrill to her touch, and to wake in
her soft, timorous fingers a thousand exquisite nerves that had never
stirred before. And then, with broken words and tears, and probing
questions and solemn adjurations, she plighted her vows, and sought to
bind to her heart forever a faith to which she trusted herself, alas!
too tremblingly.

The melodramatic lover was not content with a simple promise, though
wrung from the heart with sobs. "_Swear_ it to me!" he said, in a hoarse
stage-whisper; and Zelma, again laying her hand upon his head, and
looking starward, swore to be his, to command, to call, to hold,--in
life, in death, here, hereafter, evermore.

[To be continued.]

       *       *       *       *       *



Somewhat more than three-quarters of a century ago, George Steevens, the
acutest, and, perhaps, the most accomplished, but certainly the most
perverse and unreliable of Shakespeare's commentators and critics, wrote
thus of Shakespeare's life: "All that is known, with any degree
of certainty, concerning Shakespeare, is, that he was born at
Stratford-upon-Avon; married and had children there; went to London,
where he commenced actor,[A] and wrote poems and plays; returned to
Stratford, made his will, died, and was buried." From 1780, when this
was written, to the present day, the search after well-authenticated
particulars of Shakespeare's life has been kept up with a faithfulness
equal to that of Sir Palomides after the beast glatisaunt, and by as
many devotees and with as much hope of glory as in the quest for the
Sangreal. But the fortune of the paynim, rather than the virgin knight,
has fallen to all the members of the self-devoted band, and we
know little more of the man Shakespeare than was known by our
great-grandfathers. For, although there have been issued to us of the
present generation pamphlets professing to give new particulars of the
life of Shakespeare, and tomes with even more pretentious titles, from
all these there has been small satisfaction, save to those who can
persuade themselves, that, by knowing what Shakespeare might have done,
they know what he did, or that the reflex of his daily life is to
be found in documents inscribed on parchment, and beginning, "This
indenture made," etc., or "_Noverint universi per presentes_." It is
with no disrespect for the enthusiasm of Mr. Knight, and as little
disposition to underrate the laborious researches of Mr. Collier and Mr.
Halliwell, that we thus reiterate the assertion of the world's ignorance
of Shakespeare's life: nay, it is with a mingled thankfulness and
sorrowful sympathy that we contemplate them wasting the light of the
blessed sun (when it shines in England) and wearing out good eyes (or
better barnacles) in poring over sentences as musty as the parchments
on which they are written and as dry as the dust that covers them.
But although we gladly concede that these labors have resulted in the
diffusion of a knowledge of the times and the circumstances in
which Shakespeare lived, and in the unearthing of much interesting
illustration of his works from the mould of antiquity, we cannot accept
the documents which have been so plentifully produced and so pitilessly
printed,--the extracts from parish-registers and old account-books,--not
Shakespeare's,--the inventories, the last wills and testaments, the
leases, the deeds, the bonds, the declarations, pleas, replications,
rejoinders, surrejoinders, rebutters, and surrebutters,--as having aught
to do with the life of such a man as William Shakespeare. We hunger,
and we receive these husks; we open our months for bread, and break our
teeth against these stones. As to the law-pleadings, what have their
discords, in linked harshness long drawn out, to do with the life of
him whom his friends delighted to call Sweet Will? We wish that they at
least had been allowed to rest. Those who were parties to them have been
more than two centuries in their graves,--

  "Secure from worldly chances and mishaps.
  _There_ lurks no treason, _there_ no envy swells,
  _There_ grow no damned grudges; _there_ no storms,
  No noise, but silence and eternal sleep."

Why awaken the slumbering echoes of their living strife?

[Footnote A: _Commenced actor, commenced author, commenced tinker,
commenced tailor, commenced candlestick-maker:_--Elegant phraseology,
though we venture to think, hardly idiomatic or logical, which came into
vogue in England in the early part of the last century, and which,
as it is never uttered here by cultivated people, it may be proper to
remark, is there used by the best writers. Akin to it is another mode of
expression as commonly met with in English books and periodicals, e.g.,
"immediately he arrived at London he went upon the stage," meaning, as
soon as he arrived, etc., or, when he arrived at London, he immediately
went upon the stage. As far as our observation extends, Lord Macaulay,
alone of all Great-Britons, has neglected to add the latter lucid
construction to the graces of his style.]

Yet these very law-papers, in the reduplicated folds of which dead
quarrels lie embalmed in hideous and grotesque semblance of their living
shapes, their lifeblood dried that lent them all their little dignity,
their action and their glow, and exhaling only a faint, sickening
odor of the venom that has kept them from crumbling into
forgetfulness,--these law-papers are now held by some to have special
interest Shakespeare-ward, as having to do with a profession for which
he made preparatory studies, even if he did not enter upon its practice.
Yes, in spite of our alleged ignorance of Shakespeare's life, and
especially of the utter darkness which has been thought to rest upon the
years which intervened between his marriage in Stratford and his joining
the Lord Chamberlain's company of players in London, the question is,
now, whether the next historical novel may not begin in this wise:--



At the close of a lovely summer's day, two horsemen might have been seen
slowly pacing through the main street of Stratford-on-Avon. Attracting
no little attention from the group of loiterers around the market-cross,
they passed the White-Lion Inn, and, turning into Henley Street, soon
drew their bridles before a goodly cottage built of heavy timbers and
standing with one of its peaked gables to the street. On the door was a
shingle upon which was painted,

  Willm. Shakspere,

  Attornei at Lawe and Solicitor
  in Chancere.

One of the travellers--a grave man, whose head was sprinkled with the
snows of fifty winters--dismounted, and, approaching the door, knocked
at it with the steel hilt of his sword. He received no answer; but
presently the lattice opened above his head, and a sharp voice sharply

"Who knocks?"

"'Tis I, good wife!" replied the horseman. "Where is thy husband? I
would see him!"

"Oh, Master John a Combe, is it you? I knew you not. Neither know I
where that unthrift William is these two days. It was but three nights
gone that he went with Will Squele and Dick Burbage, one of the player
folk, to take a deer out of Sir Thomas Lucy's park, and, as Will's
ill-luck would have it, they were taken, as well as the deer, and there
was great ado. But Will--that's my Will--and Dick Burbage, brake from
the keepers in Sir Thomas' very hall, and got off; and that's the last
that has been heard of them; and here be I left a lone woman with these
three children, and----Be quiet, Hamnet! Would ye pour my supper ale
upon the hat of the worshipful Master John a Combe?"

"What! deer-stealing?" exclaimed John a Combe. "Is it thus that he apes
the follies of his betters? I had more hope of the lad, for he hath a
good heart and a quick engine; and I trusted that ere now he had
drawn the lease of my Wilmecote farm to Master Tilney here. But
deer-stealing!--like a lord's son, or a knight's at the least. Could not
the rifling of a rabbit-warren serve his turn? Deer-stealing! I fear me
he will come to nought!"

The speaker remounted, and soon the two horsemen might again have been
seen wending their way back through the deepening twilight.

       *       *       *       *       *

There are several points that would be novel in such a passage. Among
others, we would modestly indicate the incident of the two horsemen
as evincing some ingenuity, and as likely to charm the reader by its
freshness and originality. But one point, we must confess, is not
new, and that is the representation of Shakespeare as a lawyer. The
supposition, that the author of "Macbeth," "Hamlet," and "King Lear,"
was a bustling young attorney, is of respectable age, and has years
enough upon its beard, if not discretion. It has been brought forward
afresh by two members of the profession for which is claimed the honor
of having Shakespeare's name upon its roll,--William L. Rushton,
Esquire, a London Barrister, and John Campbell, Lord Chief Justice of
the Queen's Bench.[B] Lord Campbell, indeed, addressing himself to
Mr. John Payne Collier, says, (p. 21,) that this is a notion "first
suggested by Chalmers, and since countenanced by Malone, yourself, and
others." An assertion this which savors little of legal accuracy. For
Chalmers, so far from being the first to suggest that Shakespeare passed
his adolescent years in an attorney's office, was the first to sneer at
Malone for bringing forward that conjecture.[C] Malone, in his first
edition of Shakespeare's works, published in 1790, has this passage, in
the course of a discussion of the period when "Hamlet" was produced:--

"The comprehensive mind of our poet embraced almost every object of
Nature, every trade, every art, the manners of every description of men,
and the general language of almost every profession: but his knowledge
of legal terms is not such as might be acquired by the casual
observation of even his all-comprehending mind; it has the appearance of
_technical_ skill; and he is so fond of displaying it, on all occasions,
that I suspect he was early initiated in at least the forms of law, and
was employed, while he remained at Stratford, in the office of some
country attorney, who was at the same time a petty conveyancer, and
perhaps, also, the seneschal of some manor court."--Vol. I. Part I. p.

[Footnote B: _Shakespeare a Lawyer_. By William L. Rushton. 16mo. pp.
50. London: 1858.

_Shakespeare's Legal Acquirements Considered_. By John Lord Campbell,
LL.D., F.R.S.E. 12mo. pp. 117. London: 1859.]

[Footnote C: Into the trap so innocently set the London _Athenaeum_ thus
plunges headlong:--"Chalmers, we believe, first put Shakespeare in an
attorney's office. Malone _accepted the hint_."]

To this, Chalmers, some years after, (1797,) in his "Apology for the
Believers in the Shakespeare Papers which were exhibited in Norfolk
Street," (some contemptible forgeries, by a young scapegrace named
William Ireland, which should not have deceived an English scholar of
six months' standing,) made the following reply:--

"Mr. Malone places the aspiring poet 'in the office of some country
attorney, or the seneschal of some manor court'; and for this violation
of probability he produces many passages from his dramas to evince
Shakespeare's _technical skill_ in the _forms of law_. ...But was it not
the practice of the times, for other makers, like the bees tolling from
every flower the virtuous _sweets_, to gather from the thistles of the
law _the sweetest_ honey? Does not Spenser gather many a metaphor from
these weeds, that are most apt to grow in _fattest_ soil? Has not
Spenser his law-terms: his _capias, defeasance_, and _duresse_; his
_emparlance_; his _enure, essoyn_, and _escheat_; his _folkmote,
forestall_ and _gage_; his _livery_ and _seasin, wage_ and _waif_? It
will be said, however, that, whatever the learning of Spenser may have
gleaned, the law-books of that age were impervious to the illiterature
of Shakespeare. No: such an intellect, when employed on the drudgery of
a wool-stapler, who had been high-bailiff of Stratford-upon-Avon, might
have derived all that was necessary from a very few books; from Totell's
'Presidents,' 1572; from Pulton's 'Statutes,' 1578; and from the
'Lawier's Logike,' 1588. It is one of the axioms of the 'Flores Regii,'
that, To answer an improbable imagination is to fight against a
vanishing shadow."--p. 553.

And again, in his "Supplemental Apology," etc., 1799, Chalmers

"The biographers, without adequate proofs, have bound Shakespeare an
apprentice to some country attorney; as Mr. Malone has sent him without
sufficient warrant to the desk of some seneschal of a county court: but
these are obscurities that require other lights than conjecture and
assertion, which, by proving nothing, only establish disbelief."--p.

So much for Chalmers's having "first suggested" the theory, of which
Lord Campbell has undertaken the support. Surely his Lordship must have
been verifying Rosalind's assertion, that lawyers sleep between term and
term, or else he is guilty of having loosely made a direct assertion in
regard to a subject upon which he had not taken the trouble to inform
himself; although he professes (p. 10) to have "read nearly all that has
been written on Shakespeare's _ante-Londinensian_ life, and carefully
examined his writings with a view to obtain internal evidence as to his
education and breeding."

One exhibition of his Lordship's inaccuracy is surprising. Commenting
upon Falstaff's threat, "Woe to my Lord Chief Justice!" (2d _Henry_ IV.,
Act V., Sc. 4,) he remarks, (p. 73,) "Sir W. Gascoigne was _continued_
as Lord Chief Justice _in the new reign_; but, according to law and
custom, he was removable, and he no doubt expected to be removed, from
his office." Lord Campbell has yet to rival the fifth wife of the
missionary who wrote the lives of "her predecessors"; but surely _he_
should have known that the expectations which he attributes to Sir
William Gascoigne were not disappointed, and that (although the contrary
is generally believed) the object of Falstaff's menace was superseded
(by Sir William Hankford) March 29th, 1413, just eight days after the
prince whom he committed to prison came to the throne,--a removal the
promptness of which would satisfy the strictest disciplinarian in the
Democratic party. The Records show this; but his Lordship need not have
gone to them; he would have found it mentioned, and the authority cited,
by Tyler in his "Memoirs of Henry the Fifth."

And while we are considering the disparity between his Lordship's
performances and his pretensions, we may as well examine his fitness to
bring about a "fusion of Law and Literature," which he says, with some
reason, have, like Law and Equity, been too long kept apart in England.
We fear, that, whatever may be the excellence of his Lordship's
intentions, he must set himself seriously to the task of acquiring more
skill in the use of the English tongue, and a nicer discrimination
between processes of thought, before his writings will prove to be the
flux that promotes that fusion.

For, in the third paragraph of his letter, he says to Mr. Collier, "I
cannot refuse to communicate to you my _sentiments_ upon the subject,"
and in the following sentence adds, that this communication of his
"_sentiments_" will drive from his mind "the _recollection_ of the
wranglings of Westminster Hall." His Lordship probably meant to refer to
the communication of his _opinions_, for which word "sentiments" is
not usually substituted, except by gentlemen who remark with emphasis,
"Them's my sentiments"; and he also probably intended to allude to
the _memory_ of the wranglings of which he is professionally a
witness,--having forgotten, for a moment, that recollection is a purely
voluntary act, and not either a condition or a faculty of the mind.

Again, when his Lordship says, (p. 18,) "That during this interval (A.D.
1579 to 1586) he [Shakespeare] was merely an operative, earning his
bread by manual labor, in stitching gloves, sorting wool, or killing
calves, no sensible man can possibly _imagine_" we applaud the decision;
but can hardly do as much for the language in which it is expressed.
Lord Campbell quite surely meant to say that no man could possibly
_believe_, or _suppose_, or _assent to_ the proposition which he sets
forth; and when (on p. 26) he again says, "I do not _imagine_ that when
he [Shakespeare] went up to London, he carried a tragedy in his pocket,"
there can be no doubt that his Lordship meant to say, "I do not _think_
that when," etc. He should again have gathered from his Shakespearean
studies a lesson in the exact use of language, and have learned from the
lips of "that duke hight Theseus" that imagination has nothing to do
with assent to or dissent from a proposition, but that

  "The lunatic, the lover, and the poet
  Are of imagination all compact:
         *       *       *       *       *
  And, as imagination bodies forth
  The forms of things unknown, the poet's pen
  Turns them to shapes, and gives to airy nothing
  A local habitation and a name."

_A Midsummer Night's Dream_, Act V. Sc. 1.

We would not protract this finding of faults, and will only add, that,
when his Lordship says, (p. 116,) that Henry V. "astonished the world
with his universal _wisdom_" he entirely overlooks the fact, that wisdom
is a faculty of the mind, or, rather, a mode of intellectual action,
of which universality can no more be predicated than of folly, or of
honesty, or of muscular strength; and that it is not knowledge, or
at all like knowledge; which, indeed, is often acquired in a very
remarkable degree by persons eminent for unwisdom. Lord Campbell might
as well have said that Henry V. astonished the world with his universal
prowess in the battle-field.

The censure to which Mr. Rushton's pamphlet is occasionally open in
regard to style may properly be averted by the modesty of its tone and
its unpretending character.

But to pass from the manner to the matter of the learned gentlemen who
appear on behalf of Malone's theory. Lord Campbell, after stating, in
the introductory part of his letter, that in "The Two Gentlemen of
Verona," "Twelfth Night," "Julius Caesar," "Cymbeline," "Timon of
Athens," "The Tempest," "King Richard II.," "King Henry V.," "King Henry
VI., Part I.," "King Henry VI., Part III.," "King Richard III.," "King
Henry VIII.," "Pericles," and "Titus Andronicus,"--fourteen of the
thirty-seven dramas generally attributed to Shakespeare,--he finds
"nothing that fairly bears upon this controversy," goes on to produce
from the remaining plays, _seriatim_, such passages as in his judgment
do bear upon the question, and to remark upon them, thus isolated and
disconnected from each other. Mr. Rushton is more methodic and logical.
He does not merely quote or cite all the passages which he has noticed
in which legal terms occur, but brings together all such as contain the
same terms or refer to kindred proceedings or instruments; and he thus
presents his case with much more compactness and consequent strength
than results from Lord Campbell's loose and unmethodical mode of
treating the subject. We can arrive at the merits of the case on either
presentation only by an examination of some of the more important of the
passages cited.

Lord Campbell, as we have just seen, mentions "Henry VIII." as one of
the fourteen plays in which he has found nothing which relates to the
question in hand; but Mr. Rushton opens his batteries with the following
passage from the very play just named; and to most readers it will seem
a bomb of the largest dimensions, sent right into the citadel of his

  "_Suff_. Lord Cardinal, the king's further pleasure is,--
  Because all those things you have done of late
  By your power legatine within this kingdom
  Fall into compass of a _premunire_,--
  That therefore such a writ be sued against you,
  To forfeit, all your goods, lands, tenements,
  Chattels, and whatsoever, and to be
  Out of the king's protection:--this is my

_King Henry VIII_. Act iii. Sc. 2.

We shall first remark, that, in spite of his declaration as to "Henry
VIII.," Lord Campbell does cite and quote this very passage (p. 42);
and, indeed, he must have been as unappreciative as he seems to have
been inaccurate, had he failed to do so; for, upon its face, it is, with
one or two exceptions, the most important passage of the kind to be
found in Shakespeare's works. _Premunire_ is thus defined in an old
law-book which was accessible to Shakespeare:--

"Premunire is a writ, and it lieth where any man sueth any other in the
spirituall court for anything that is determinable in the King's
Court, and that is ordeined by certaine statutes, and great punishment
therefore ordeined, as it appeareth by the same statutes, viz., that
he shall be out of the King's protection, and that he be put in prison
without baile or mainprise till that he have made fine at the King's
will, and that his landes and goods shal be forfait, if he come not
within ij. moneths."--_Termes de la Ley_, 1595, fol. 144.

The object of the writ was to prevent the abuse of spiritual power. Now,
here is a law-term quite out of the common, which is used by Shakespeare
with a well-deployed knowledge of the power of the writ of which it is
the name. Must we, therefore, suppose that Shakespeare had obtained his
knowledge of the purpose and the power of this writ in the course
of professional reading or practice? If we looked no farther than
Shakespeare's page, such a supposition might seem to be warranted.
But if we turn to Michael Drayton's "Legend of Great Cromwell," first
published, we believe, in 1607, but certainly some years before "Henry
VIII." was written, and the subject of which figures in that play, we
find these lines,--

  "This Me to urge the _Premunire_ wonne,
  Ordain'd in matters dangerous and hie;
  In t' which the heedlesse Prelacie were runne
  That back into the Papacie did fie."

Ed. 1619, p. 382.

Here is the very phrase in question, used with a knowledge of its
meaning and of the functions of the writ hardly less remarkable than
that evinced in the passage from "Henry VIII.," though expressed in
a different manner, owing chiefly to the fact that Drayton wrote a
didactic poem and Shakespeare a drama. But Drayton is not known to have
been an attorney's clerk, nor has he been suspected, from his writings,
or any other cause, to have had any knowledge of the law. Both he and
Shakespeare, however, read the Chronicles. Reading men perused Hall's
and Holinshed's huge black-letter folios in Queen Elizabeth's time with
as much interest as they do Macaulay's or Prescott's elegant octavos in
the reign of her successor, Victoria. Shakespeare drew again and again
upon the former for the material of his historical plays; and in writing
"Henry VIII.," he adopted often the very language of the Chronicler. The
well-known description of Wolsey, which he puts into the mouth of Queen

  "He was a man
  Of an unbounded stomach, ever ranking
  Himself with princes; one that by suggestion
  Tith'd all the kingdom: Simony was fair play:
  His own opinion was his law: I' the presence
  He would say untruths; and be ever double,
  Both in his words and meaning; He was never,
  But where he meant to ruin, pitiful:
  His promises were, as he then was, mighty;
  But his performance, as he is now, nothing:
  Of his own body he was ill, and gave
  The clergy ill example,"--

is little more than the following paragraph from Holinshed put into

"This cardinal! (as you may perceive in this storie) was of a great
stomach, for he compted himselfe equall with princes, and by craftie
suggestion gat into his hands innumerable treasure: he forced little
on simonie, [i.e., regarded it as of little consequence,] and was not
pittifull, and stood affectionate in his owne opinion: in open presence
he would lie and saie untruth, and was double both in speach and
meaning: he would promise much and performe little: he was vicious of
his bodie, and gave the clergie evill example."--Ed. 1587, vol. iii. p.

Turning back from the page on which the Chronicler comments upon the
life of the dead prime-minister, to that on which he records his fall,
we find these passages:--

"In the meane time, the king, being informed that all those things that
the cardinall had doone by his _power legatine within this realme_ were
in the case of the _premunire_ and provision, caused his attornie,
Christopher Hales, to sue out a writ of premunire against him. ...After
this in the king's bench his matter for the premunire being called upon,
two atturneis which he had authorised by his warrant, signed with his
owne hand, confessed the action, and so had judgement to _forfeit all
his lands, tenements, goods, and cattels, and to be out of the king's
protection_."--Ib. p. 909.

If the reader will look back at the passage touching the premunire,
quoted above, he will see that these few lines from Raphael Holinshed
are somewhat fatal to an argument in favor of Shakespeare's "legal
acquirements," in so far as it rests in any degree upon the use of terms
or the knowledge displayed in that passage. Shakespeare and Drayton are
here in the same boat, though "not with the same sculls."

Before we shelve Holinshed,--for the good Raphael's folios are like
Falstaff in size, if not in wit, and, when once laid flat-long, require
levers to set them up on end again,--let us see if he cannot help us to
account for more of the "legalisms" that our Lord Chief Justice and
our barrister have "smelt out" in Shakespeare's historical plays. Mr.
Rushton quotes the following passages from "Richard II.":--

  "_York_. Is not Gaunt dead? and doth not
  Hereford live?

         *       *       *       *       *

  Take Hereford's rights away, and take from time
  His _charters_ and his _customary rights_;
  Let not to-morrow, then, ensue to-day:
  Be not thyself; for how art thou a king,
  But by fair sequence and succession?
  Now, afore God, (God forbid I say true!)
  If you do wrongfully seize Hereford's rights,
  Call in the _letters patents_ that he hath
  By his _attorneys-general_ to sue
  _His livery_, and deny his _offer'd homage_,
  You pluck a thousand dangers on your head."
  Act ii. Sc. I.

  "_Bol_. I am denied to _sue my livery_ here,
  And yet my _letters patents_ give me leave:
  My father's _goods are all distrain'd_ and sold;
  And these, and all, are all amiss employed.
  What would you have me do? I am a subject,
  And challenge law: _Attorneys are denied_ me;
  And therefore personally I lay my claim
  To my _inheritance_ of free descent."--_Ib_. Sc. 3.

And Lord Campbell, although he passes by these passages in "Richard
II.," quotes, as important, from a speech of Hotspur's in the "First
Part of Henry IV.," the following lines, which, it will be seen, refer
to the same act of oppression on the part of Richard II. towards

  "He came but to be Duke of Lancaster,
  To _sue his livery_ and beg his bread."
  Act iv. Sc. 3.

But, here again, Shakespeare, although he may have known more law than
Holinshed, or even Hall, who was a barrister, only used the law-terms
that he found in the paragraph which furnished him with the incident
that he dramatized. For, after recording the death of Gaunt, the
Chronicle goes on:--

"The death of this duke gave occasion of increasing more hatred in the
people of this realme toward the king; for he seized into his hands all
the rents and reuenues of his lands which ought to have descended vnto
the duke of Hereford by lawfull _inheritance_, in reuoking _his letters
patents_ which he had granted to him before, by virtue whereof he might
make his _attorneis generall_ to _sue liverie_ for him of any manner of
_inheritances_ or possessions that might from thencefoorth fall unto
him, and that his homage _might_ be respited with making reasonable
fine," etc.--HOLINSHED, Ed. 1587, p. 496.

The only legal phrase, however, in these passages of "Richard II," which
seems to imply very extraordinary legal knowledge, is the one repeated
in "Henry IV.,"--"sue his livery,"--which was the term applied to the
process by which, in the old feudal tenures, wards, whether of the king
or other guardian, on arriving at legal age, could compel a delivery
of their estates to them from their guardians. But hence it became a
metaphorical expression to mean merely the attainment of majority, and
in this sense seems to have been very generally understood and not
uncommonly used. See the following from an author who was no attorney or
attorney's clerk:--

  "If Cupid
  Shoot arrows of that weight, I'll swear devoutly
  H'as _sued his livery_ and is no more a boy."
  FLETCHER'S _Woman's Prize_, Act ii. Sc. 1.

And this, from the works of a divine:--

  "Our little Cupid hath _sued livery_
  And is no more in his minority."
  DONNE'S Eclogues, 1613.

Spenser, too, uses the phrase figuratively in another sense, in the
following passage,--which may be one of those which Chalmers had in
his eye, when, according to Lord Campbell, he "first suggested" that
Shakespeare was once an attorney's clerk:--

  "She gladly did of that same Babe accept,
  As of her owne by _liverey and seisin_;
  And having over it a litle wept,
  She bore it thence, and ever as her owne it kept."
  _Faërie Queene_, B. VI. C. iv. st. 37.

So, for an instance of the phrase "fee," which Lord Campbell notices as
one of those expressions and allusions which "crop out" in "Hamlet,"
"showing the substratum of law in the author's mind,"--

  "We go to gain a little patch of ground,
  That hath in it no profit but the name.
  To pay five ducats, five, I would not farm it;
  Nor will it yield to Norway or the Pole
  A ranker rate, should it be sold _in fee_,"--
  Act iv. Sc. 2.

and of which Mr. Rushton quotes several instances in its fuller form,
"fee simple,"--we have but to turn back a few stanzas in this same
canto of the "Faërie Queene," to find one in which the term is used with
the completest apprehension of its meaning:--

  "So is my lord now _seiz'd of_ all the land,
  As _in his fee_, with peaceable _estate_,
  And quietly doth hold it in his hand,
  Ne any dares with him for it debate."
  _Ib_. st. 30.

And in the next canto:--

  "Of which the greatest part is due to me,
  And heaven itself, by heritage _in fee_."
  _Ib._ C. vii. st. 15.

And in the first of these two passages from the "Faërie Queene," we have
two words, "seized" and "estate," intelligently and correctly used
in their purely legal sense, as Shakespeare himself uses them in the
following passages, which our Chief Justice and our barrister have both
passed by, as, indeed, they have passed many others equally worthy of

  "Did forfeit with his life all those his lands
  Which he stood _seiz'd of_ to the conqueror."
  _Hamlet_, Act i. Sc. 1.

  "The terms of our _estate_ may not endure
  Hazard so near us," etc.--_Ib_. Act iii. Sc. 3.

Among the most important passages cited by both our authors is one that
every reader of Shakespeare will recollect, when it is mentioned to
him,--Hamlet's speech over the skull in the grave-digging scene. But
although this speech is remarkable for the number of law-terms used in
it, only one of them seems to evince any recondite knowledge of the law.
This is the word "statutes," in the following sentence:--

  "This fellow might be in's time a buyer of
  land, with his statutes, his recognizances, his
  fines, his double vouchers, his recoveries."
  Act v. Sc. 1.

The general reader supposes, we believe, and very naturally, that here
"statutes" means laws, Acts of Parliament concerning real estate. But,
as Mr. Rushton remarks, (Malone having explained the term before him,)
"The statutes referred to by Hamlet are, doubtless, statutes merchant
and statutes staple." And "a statute merchant (so called from the 13th
Edward I., _De mercatoribus_) was a _bond_ acknowledged before one of
the clerks of the statutes merchant, and the mayor, etc., etc. A statute
staple, properly so called, was a _bond of record_, acknowledged before
the mayor of the staple," etc., etc.

Here we again have a law-term apparently so out of the ken of an
unprofessional writer, that it would seem to favor the Attorney and
Solicitor theory. But let us see if the knowledge which its use implies
was confined to Shakespeare among the dramatists of his time.

In Fletcher's "Noble Gentleman," a comedy, first performed in 1625, we
find a lady, sorely pushed for ready cash, crying out,--

  "Take up at any use: give bond, or land,
  Or mighty _statutes_, able by their strength
  To tie up my Samson, were he now alive."
  Act i. Sc. 1.

And in Middleton's "Family of Love," (where, by the way, the Free-Love
folk of our own day may find their peculiar notions set forth and made
the basis of the action, though the play was printed two hundred
and fifty years ago,) we find a female free-loveyer thus teaching a
mercantile brother of the family, that, although she has a sisterly
disregard for some worldly restraints, she yet keeps an eye on the main

"Tut, you are master Dryfab, the merchant; your skill is greater in
cony-skins and woolpacks than in gentlemen. His lands be _in statutes_:
you merchants were wont to be merchant staplers; but now gentlemen have
gotten up the trade; for there is not one gentleman amongst twenty but
his lands be engaged in twenty statutes staple."

Act i. Sc. 3.

And in the very first speech of the first scene of the same play, the
husband of this virtuous and careful dame says of the same "Gerardine,"
(who, as he is poor and a gentleman, it need hardly be said, is about
the only honest man in the piece,)--"His lands be _in statutes_." And
that poor debauchee, Robert Greene, who knew no more of law than he
might have derived from such limited, though authentic information as to
its powers over gentlemen who made debts without the intention of paying
them, as he may have received at frequent unsolicited interviews with a
sergeant or a bum-bailiff, has this passage in his "Quip for an Upstart
Courtier," 1592:--

"The mercer he followeth the young upstart gentleman that hath no
government of himself and feedeth his humour to go brave; he shall not
want silks, sattins, velvets to pranke abroad in his pompe; but with
this proviso, that he must bind over his land in a _statute merchant or
staple_; and so at last forfeit all unto the merciless mercer, and leave
himself never a foot of land in England."

Very profound legal studies, therefore, cannot be predicated of
Shakespeare on the ground of the knowledge which he has shown of this
peculiar kind of statute.

It is not surprising that both our legal Shakespearean commentators cite
the following passage from "As You Like It" in support of their theory;
for in it the word "extent" is used in a sense so purely technical, that
not one in a thousand of Shakespeare's lay readers now-a-days would
understand it without a note:--

  _Duke F._ Well, push him out of doors,
  And let my officers of such a nature
  _Make an extent_ upon his house and lands."
  Act iii. Sc. 1.

"Extent," as Mr. Rushton remarks, is directed to the sheriff to seize
and value lands and goods to the utmost extent; "an _extendi facias_" as
Lord Campbell authoritatively says, "applying to the house and lands
as a _fieri facias_ would apply to goods and chattels, or a _capias ad
satisfaciendum_ to the person." But that John Fletcher knew, as well
as my Lord Chief Justice, or Mr. Barrister Rushton, or even, perhaps,
William Shakespeare, all the woes that followed an extent, the elder
Mr. Weller at least would not have doubted, had he in the course of
his literary leisure fallen upon the following passage in "Wit Without
Money" (1630):--

  "_Val_ Mark me, widows
  Are long _extents_ in law upon men's livings,
  Upon their bodies' winding-sheets; they that enjoy 'em
  Lie but with dead men's monuments, and beget
  Only their own ill epitaphs."
  Act ii. Sc. 2.

George Wilkins, too, the obscure author of "The Miseries of Enforced
Marriage," uses the term with as full an understanding, though not with
so feeling an expression or so scandalous an illustration of it, in the
following passage from the fifth act of that play, which was produced
about 1605 or 1606:--

"They are usurers; they come yawning for money; and the sheriff with
them is come to serve an _extent_ upon your land, and then seize your
body by force of execution."

Another seemingly recondite law-phrase used by Shakespeare, which Lord
Campbell passes entirely by, though Mr. Rushton quotes three instances
of it, is "taken with the manner." This has nothing to do with good
manners or ill manners; but, in the words of the old law-book before

--"is when a theefe hath stollen and is followed with hue and crie and
taken, having that found about him which he stole;--that is called ye
maynour. And so we commonly use to saye, when wee finde one doing of an
unlawful act, that we tooke him with the maynour or manner."

_Termes de la Ley_, 1595, fol. 126, _b_.

Shakespeare, therefore, uses the phrase with perfect understanding, when
he makes Prince Hal say to Bardolph,--

  "O villain, thou stolest a cup of sack eighteen
  years ago, and wert _taken with the manner_,
  and ever since thou hast blush'd extempore."
  1 _Henry IV_.Act ii, Sc. 4.

But so Fletcher uses the same phrase, and as correctly, when he makes
Perez say to Estefania, in "Rule a Wife and Have a Wife,"--

  "How like a sheep-biting rogue, _taken i' the manner_,
  And ready for the halter, dost thou look
  now!"--Act v. Sc. 4.

But both Fletcher and Shakespeare, in their use of this phrase, unusual
as it now seems to us, have only exemplified the custom referred to by
our contemporary legal authority,--"And so we _commonly use to saye_,
when wee finde one doing of an unlawfull act, that we tooke him with the
maynour"; though this must doubtless be understood to refer to persons
of a certain degree of education and knowledge of the world.

It seems, then, that the application of legal phraseology to the
ordinary affairs of life was more common two hundred and fifty years ago
than now; though even now-a-days it is much more generally used in the
rural districts than persons who have not lived in them would suppose.
There law shares with agriculture the function of providing those
phrases of common conversation which, used figuratively at first, and
often with poetic feeling, soon pass into mere thought-saving formulas
of speech, and which in large cities are chiefly drawn from trade
and politics. And if in the use of the law-terms upon which we have
remarked, which are the more especially technical and remote from
the language of unprofessional life among all those which occur in
Shakespeare's works, he was not singular, but, as we have seen,
availed himself only of a knowledge which other contemporary poets and
playwrights possessed, how much more easily might we show that those
commoner legal words and phrases, to remarks upon Shakespeare's use of
which both the books before us (and especially Lord Campbell's) are
mainly devoted, "judgment," "fine," "these presents," "testament,"
"attorney," "arbitrator," "fees," "bond," "lease," "pleading," "arrest,"
"session," "mortgage," "vouchers," "indentures," "assault," "battery,"
"dower," "covenant," "distrain," "bail," "non-suit," etc., etc.,
etc.,--words which everybody understands,--are scattered through all the
literature of Shakespeare's time, and, indeed, of all time since there
were courts and suits at law!

Many of the passages which Lord Campbell cites as evidence of
Shakespeare's "legal acquirements" excite only a smile at the
self-delusion of the critic who could regard them for a moment in that
light. For instance, these lines in that most exquisite song in "Measure
for Measure;"--"Take, oh, take those lips away,"--

  "But my kisses bring again
  _Seals_ of love, but _seal'd_ in vain";--

and these from "Venus and Adonis,"--

  "Pure lips, sweet _seals_ in my soft lips imprinted,
  What bargains may I make, still to be _sealing_!"--

to which Mr. Rushton adds from "Hamlet,"--

  "A combination and a form, indeed,
  Where every god did seem to set his _seal_."

Act iii. Sc. 4.

  "Now must your conscience my acquittance
  _seal_."--Act iv. Sc. 7.

And because indentures and deeds and covenants are sealed, these
passages must be accepted as part of the evidence that Shakespeare
narrowly escaped being made Lord High Chancellor of England! It requires
all the learning and the logic of a Lord Chief Justice and a London
barrister to establish a connection between such premises and such a
conclusion. And if Shakespeare's lines smell of law, how strong is the
odor of parchment and red tape in these, from Drayton's Fourth Eclogue

  "Kindnesse againe with kindnesse was repay'd,
  _And with sweet kisses covenants were sealed_."

We ask pardon of the reader for the production of contemporary evidence,
that, in Shakespeare's day, a knowledge of the significance and binding
nature of a seal was not confined to him among poets; for surely a man
must be both a lawyer and a Shakespearean commentator to forget that the
use of seals is as old as the art of writing, and, perhaps, older, and
that the practice has furnished a figure of speech to poets from the
time when it was written, that out of the whirlwind Job heard, "It is
turned as clay to the _seal_," and probably from a period yet more

And is Lord Campbell really in earnest in the following grave and
precisely expressed opinion?

"In the next scene, [of "Othello,"] Shakespeare gives us a _very
distinct proof_ that he was acquainted with Admiralty law, as well as
with the procedure of Westminster Hall. Describing the feat of the Moor
in carrying off Desdemona against her father's consent, which might
either make or mar his fortune, according as the act might be sanctioned
or nullified, Iago observes,--

  "'Faith, he to-night hath hoarded a land carack:
  If it prove a _lawful prize_, he's made forever';

the trope indicating that _there would be a suit in the High Court of
Admiralty to determine the validity of the capture_"!--p. 91.

"Why did not his Lordship go farther, and decide, that, in the
figurative use of the term, "land carack," Shakespeare gave us very
distinct proof that he was acquainted with maritime life, and especially
with the carrying-trade between Spain and the West Indies? We
respectfully submit to the court the following passage from Middleton
and Rowley's "Changeling,"--first published in 1653, but written many
years before. Jasperino, seeing a lady, calls out,--

  "Yonder's another vessel: Ile _board_ her:
  if she be _lawfall prize, down goes her topsail."_
  Act i. Sig. B. 2.

And with it we submit the following points, and ask a decision in our
favor. First, That they, the said Middleton and Rowley, have furnished,
in the use of the phrase "lawful prize," in this passage, very distinct
proof that they were acquainted with Admiralty law. Second, That, in
the use of the other phrases, "board," and especially "down goes her
topsail," they have furnished yet stronger evidence that they had been
sailors on board armed vessels, and that the trope indicates, that, had
not the vessel or lady in question lowered her topsail or top-knot, she
would then and there have been put mercilessly to the sword.

But what shall we think of the acumen and the judgment of a Chief
Justice, a man of letters, and a man of the world, who brings forward
such passages as the following as part of the evidence bearing upon the
question of Shakespeare's legal acquirements?--

  "Come; fear not you; _good counsellors lack
  no clients._"
  _Measure for Measure_. Act i. Sc. 2.

  "One that _before the judgement_ carries poor
  souls to hell."
  _Comedy of Errors_. Act iv. Sc. 2.

  "Well, Time is the old _Justice_ that examines
  all such offenders,--and let Time try."
  _As You Like It_. Act iv. Sc. 1.

  "And that old common _arbitrator_, Time."
  _Troilus and Cressida_. Act iv. Sc. 5.

  "No cock of mine; you crow too like a _craven_."
  _Taming of the Shrew_. Act ii. Sc. 1.

  "Bestial oblivion or some _craven_ scruple."
  _Hamlet_. Act iv. Sc. 4.

By which last line, according to Lord Campbell, (p. 55,) "Shakespeare
shows that he was acquainted with _the law for regulating 'trials by

But to proceed with the passages quoted in evidence:--

  "Is not this a lamentable thing, that of the
  skin of an innocent lamb should be made
  _parchment_? that parchment, being _scribbled
  o'er_, should undo a man? Some say, the bee
  stings: but I say, 'tis the bee's _wax_; for I did
  but _seal_ once to a thing, and I was never mine
  own man since."--2 _Henry VI_. Act vi. Sc. 2.

Upon citing which, his Lordship exclaims,--

"Surely Shakespeare must have been employed to write _deeds_ on
_parchment_ in _courthand_, and to apply the _wax_ to them in the form
of _seals_. One does not understand how he should, on any other theory
of his bringing-up, have been acquainted _with these details_"!

One does not; but we submit to the court, that, if two were to lay their
heads together after the manner of Sydney Smith's vestrymen, they might
bring it about.

In aid of his Lordship's further studies, we make the following
suggestion. He doubtless knows that one of the earliest among our small
stock of traditions about Shakespeare is that recorded by Aubrey as
being derived from Stratford authority, that his father was a butcher,
and that "when he was a boy he exercised his father's trade, but when he
kill'd a calfe, he wold do it in a high style, and make a speech."
When his Lordship considers this old tradition in connection with the
following passage in one of Shakespeare's earliest plays,--

  "Who finds the heifer dead and bleeding fresh,
  And sees fast by a butcher with an axe,
  But will suspect 'twas he that made the

2 _Henry VI._ Act iii. Sc. 2.

how can he resist the conclusion, that, although the divine Williams may
not have run with "Forty," it is highly probable that he did kill
for Keyser? Let his Lordship also remember that other old tradition,
mentioned by Rowe, that John Shakespeare was "a considerable dealer
in wool," and that William, upon leaving school, "seems to have given
entirely into that way of living which his father proposed to him"; and
remember, also, this passage from another of Shakespeare's earliest

  "He is too picked, too spruce, too affected,
  too odd, as it were, too peregrinate, as I may
  call it...He draweth out the _thread of
  his verbosity finer than the staple of his argument._"
 --_Love's Labor's Lost_. Act v. Sc. 1.

Is there not a goodly part of the wool-stapler's craft, as well as of
the art of rhetoric, compressed into that one sentence by the hydraulic
power of Shakespeare's genius? Does it not show that he was initiated in
the mysteries of long and short staple before he wrote this, perhaps,
his earliest play? But look again at the following passage, also written
when his memory of his boyish days was freshest, and see the evidence
that _both_ these traditions were well founded:--

  "So, first, the harmless sheep doth yield _his fleece;_
  And, next, _his throat unto the butcher's knife."_

Could these lines have been written by a man who had not been both a
considerable dealer in wool, and a butcher who killed a calf in high
style and made a speech? Who can have a doubt about this matter, when he
appreciates rightly the following passage in "Hamlet," (Act v. Sc. 2,)
and is penetrated with the wisdom of two wise commentators upon it?--

  'Our indiscretion sometimes serves us well,
  When our deep plots do pall; and that should teach us
  There's a divinity that shapes our ends,
  Rough-hew them how we will.'

Dr. Farmer informs me that these words are merely technical. A wool-man,
butcher, and dealer in _skewers_ lately observed to him that his nephew
(an idle lad) could only _assist_ him in making them;--he could _rough
hew_ them, but I was obliged to shape their ends! To shape the ends of
wool-skewers, i.e., to _point_ them, requires a degree of skill; any one
can _rough-hew_ them. Whoever recollects the profession of Shakespeare's
father will admit that his son might be no stranger to such terms. "I have
frequently seen packages of wool pinn'd up with skewers."--STEEVENS.

Lucky wool-man, butcher, and dealer in skewers! to furnish at once a
comment upon the great philosophical tragedy and a proof that its author
and you were both of a trade! Fortunate Farmer, to have heard the story!
and most sagacious Steevens, to have penetrated its hidden meaning,
recollecting felicitously that you had seen packages of wool pinn'd up
with skewers! But, O wisest, highest-and-deepest-minded Shakespeare, to
have remembered, as you were propounding, Hamlet-wise, one of the great
unsolvable mysteries of life, the skewers that you, being an idle lad,
could but rough-hew, leaving to your careful father the skill-requiring
task to shape their ends!--ends without which they could not have bound
together the packages of wool with which you loaded the carts that
backed up to the door in Henley Street, or have penetrated the veal
of the calves that you killed in such a high style and with so much
eloquence, and which loaded the tray that you daily bore on your
shoulder to the kitchen-door of New Place, yet unsuspecting that you
were to become its master!

Yet we would not too strongly insist upon this evidence, that
Shakespeare in his boyhood served both as a butcher's and a
wool-stapler's apprentice; for we venture to think that we have
discovered evidence in his works that their author was a tailor. For, in
the first place, the word "tailor" occurs no less than thirty-five times
in his plays. [The reader is to suppose that we are able to record this
fact by an intimate acquaintance with every line that Shakespeare wrote,
and by a prodigious effort of memory, and not by reference to Mrs.
Clark's Concordance.] "Measures" occurs nearly thrice as often; "shears"
is found no less than six times; "thimble," three times; "goose," no
less than twenty-seven times!--and when we find, that, in all his
thirty-seven plays, the word "cabbage" occurs but once, and then with
the deliberate explanation that it means "worts" and is "good cabbage,"
may we not regard such reticence upon this tender point as a touching
confirmation of the truth of our theory? See, too, the comparison which
Shakespeare uses, when he desires to express the service to which
his favorite hero, Prince Hal, will put the manners of his wild

  "So, like gross terms,
  The Prince will, in the perfectness of time,
  Cast off his followers; and their memory
  Shall as a _pattern or a measure_ live
  By which his Grace must mete the lives of

  2 _Henry IV._, Act iv. Sc. 4.

And in writing one of his earliest plays, Shakespeare's mind seems to
have been still so impressed with memories of his former vocation, that
he made the outraged Valentine, as his severest censure of Proteus,
reproach him with being badly dressed:--

  "Ruffian, let go that rude, uncivil touch!
  Thou friend _of an ill fashion!_"

  Act v. Sc. 4.

Cleopatra, too, who, we may be sure from her conduct, was addicted to
very "low necks," after Antony's death becomes serious, and declares her
intention to have something "after the high Roman fashion." And what but
a reminiscence of the disgust which a tailor of talent has for mending
is it that breaks out in the Barons' defiant message to King John?--

  "The King hath dispossess'd himself of us;
  We will not line his thin bestained cloak."

  _King John_, Act iv. Sc. 3.

A memory, too, of the profuse adornment with which he had been called
upon to decorate some very tender youth's or miss's fashionable suit
intrudes itself even in his most thoughtful tragedy:--

  "The canker galls the infants of the Spring
  Too oft before their _buttons_ be disclos'd."

  _Hamlet_, Act i. Sc. 3.

In "Macbeth," desiring to pay the highest compliment to Macduff's
judgment and knowledge, he makes Lennox say,--

  "He is noble, wise, judicious, and best knows
  _The fits of the season_."--Act iv. Sc. 2.

Not the last fall or last spring style, be it observed, but that of the
season, which it is most necessary for the fashionable tailor to know.
In writing the first scene of the "Second Part of Henry IV.," his mind
was evidently crossed by the shade of some over-particular dandy,
whose fastidious nicety as to the set of his garments he had failed to
satisfy; for he makes Northumberland compare himself to a man who,

  "_Impatient of his fit_, breaks like a fire
  Out of his keeper's arms."

And yet we must not rely too much even upon evidence so strong and so
cumulative as this. For it would seem as if Shakespeare must have been
a publisher, and have known the anxiety attendant upon the delay of an
author not in high health to complete a work the first part of which has
been put into the printer's hands. Else, how are we to account for his
feeling use of this beautiful metaphor in "Twelfth Night"?

  "Lady, you are the cruell'st she alive,
  If you will lead these graces to the grave,
  And _leave the world no copy_."

  Act i. Sc. 5.

But this part of our subject expands before us, and we must stay our
hand. We merely offer these hints as our modest contribution to the
attempts to decide from phrases used in Shakespeare's works what were
his avocations before he became a playwright, and return to Lord
Campbell and Mr. Rushton.

When Malone, in 1790, broached his theory, that Shakespeare had been an
attorney's clerk, he cited in support of it twenty-four passages. Mr.
Rushton's pamphlet brings forward ninety-five, more or less; Lord
Campbell's book, one hundred and sixty. But, from what he has seen of
it, the reader will not be surprised at learning that a large number of
the passages cited by his Lordship must be thrown aside, as having no
bearing whatever on the question of Shakespeare's legal acquirements.
They evince no more legal knowledge, no greater familiarity with
legal phraseology, than is apparent in the ordinary conversation of
intelligent people generally, even at this day. Mr. Rushton, more
systematic than his Lordship, has been also more careful; and from the
pages of both we suppose that there might be selected a round hundred
of phrases which could be fairly considered as having been used by
Shakespeare with a consciousness of their original technicality and of
their legal purport. This is not quite in the proportion of three to
each of his thirty-seven plays; and if we reckon his sonnets and poems
according to their lines, (and both Mr. Rushton and Lord Campbell cite
from them,) the proportion falls to considerably less than three. But
Malone's twenty-four instances are of nearly as much value in the
consideration of the question as Lord Campbell's and Mr. Rushton's
hundred; for the latter gentlemen have added little to the strength,
though considerably to the number, of the array on the affirmative side
of the point in dispute; and we have seen, that, of the law-phrases
cited by them from Shakespeare's pages, the most recondite, as well
as the most common and simple, are to be found in the works of the
Chroniclers, whose very language Shakespeare used, and in those of the
playwrights his contemporaries.

Our new advocates of the old cause, however, quote two passages which,
from the freedom with which law-phrases are scattered through them, it
is worth while to reproduce here. The first is the well-known speech in
the grave-digging scene of "Hamlet":--

"_Ham_. There's another: Why may not that be the skull of a lawyer?
Where be his quiddits now, his quillets, his _cases_, his _tenures_, and
his tricks? why does he suffer this rude knave, now, to knock him about
the sconce with a dirty shovel, and will not tell him of his _action of
battery_? Humph! This fellow might be in's time a great buyer of land,
with his _statutes_, his _recognizances_, his _fines_, his _double
vouchers_, his _recoveries_: Is this the _fine_ of his _fines_, and the
_recovery_ of his _recoveries_, to have his fine pate full of fine dirt?
will his _vouchers_ vouch him no more of his _purchases_, and _double
ones_, too, than the length and breadth of a pair of _indentures_? The
very _conveyances_ of his lands will hardly lie in this box; and must
the _inheritor_ himself have no more? ha?"--Act v. Sc. 1.

The second is the following Sonnet, (No. 46,) not only the language,
but the very fundamental conceit of which, it will be seen, is purely

  "Mine Eye and Heart are at a mortal war
  How to divide the conquest of thy sight;
  Mine Eye my Heart thy picture's sight would _bar_,
  My Heart mine Eye the freedom of that right.
  My Heart doth _plead_ that thou in him dost lie
  (A closet never pierc'd with crystal eyes);
  But the _defendant_ doth that _plea_ deny,
  And says in him thy fair appearance lies.
  To 'cide this title is _impanelled_
  A _quest_ of thoughts, all tenants to the Heart,
  And by their _verdict_ is determined
  The clear Eye's _moiety_, and the dear Heart's part;
  As thus: Mine Eye's due is thine outward part,
  And my Heart's right, thine inward love of heart."

It would seem, indeed, as if passages like these must be received as
evidence that Shakespeare had more familiarity with legal phraseology,
if not a greater knowledge of it, than could have been acquired except
by habitual use in the course of professional occupation. But let us see
if he is peculiar even in this crowding of many law-terms into a single
brief passage. We turn to the very play open at our hand, from which
we have quoted before, (and which, by the way, we have not selected as
exceptional in this regard,) "The Miseries of Enforced Marriage," and
find the following passage in Act V.:--

  "_Doctor_. Now, Sir, from this your _oath and bond,_
  Faith's pledge and _seal_ of conscience, you have run,
  Broken all _contracts_, and _forfeiture_
  Justice hath now in _suit_ against your soul:
  Angels are made the _jurors_, who are _witnesses_
  Unto the _oath_ you took; and God himself,
  Maker of marriage, He that hath _seal'd the deed_,
  As a firm _lease_ unto you during life,
  _Sits now as Judge_ of your transgression:
  The world _informs against you_ with this voice.--
  If such sins reign, what mortals can rejoice?
  _Scarborow_. What then ensues to me?
  _Doctor_. A heavy _doom_, whose _execution's_
  Now _served upon_ your conscience," etc.
  p. 91, D.O.P., Ed. 1825.

Indeed, the hunting of a metaphor or a conceit into the ground is a
fault characteristic of Elizabethan literature, and one from which
Shakespeare's boldness, no less than his genius, was required to save
him; and we have seen already how common was the figurative use of
law-phrases among the poets and dramatists of his period. Hamlet's
speech and the Forty-sixth Sonnet cannot, therefore, be accepted as
evidence of his attorneyship, except in so far as they and like passages
may be regarded as giving some support to the opinion that Shakespeare
was but one of many in his time who abandoned law for letters.

For we object not so much to the conclusion at which Lord Campbell
arrives as to his mode of arriving at it. His method of investigation,
which is no method at all, but the mere noting of passages in the order
in which he found them in looking through Shakespeare's works, is the
rudest and least intelligent that could have been adopted; and his
inference, that, because Shakespeare makes Jack Cade lament that the
skin of an innocent lamb should be made parchment, and affirm that it is
not the bee, but the bee's wax, that stings, therefore he must have been
employed to write deeds on parchment and append wax to them in the form
of seals, is a fair specimen both of the acuteness and the logic which
his Lordship displays in this his latest effort to unite Law and

There are, however, very considerable grounds for the opinion that
Shakespeare had more than a layman's acquaintance with the technical
language of the law. For it must be admitted, in the first place, that
he exhibits a remarkable acquaintance with it. That other playwrights
and poets of his day manifest a like familiarity (as we have seen
they do) precludes us, indeed, from regarding the mere occurrence of
law-terms in his works as indications of early training proper to him
alone. But they who, on the strength of the not unfrequent occurrence
of legal phrases in many of the plays and much of the poetry of the
Elizabethan period, would maintain that Shakespeare's use of them
furnishes no basis for the opinion that he acquired his knowledge of
them professionally, must also assume and support the position, that, in
the case of contemporary dramatists and poets, this use of the technical
language of conveyancing and pleading also indicates no more than an
ordinary acquaintance with it, and that, in comparing his works with
theirs in this regard, we may assume the latter to have been produced by
men who had no professional acquaintance with the law; because, if
they had such professional acquaintance with legal phraseology, its
appearance in their works as well as in Shakespeare's would manifestly
strengthen rather than invalidate the conclusion, that his familiarity
with it was acquired as they acquired theirs. This position is, to
say the least, a very difficult one to maintain, and one which any
considerate student of Elizabethan literature would be very unwilling
to assume. For our ignorance of the personal life of Shakespeare is
remarkable only because he was Shakespeare; and we know little, if any,
more about the greater number of his literary contemporaries than we do
about him. It cannot even be safely presumed, for instance, that George
Wilkins, the author of the law-besprinkled passage just above quoted
from the "Miseries of Enforced Marriage," was not a practising attorney
or barrister before or even at the time when he wrote that play. On the
contrary, it is extremely probable, nay, quite certain, that he and many
other dramatic authors of the period when he flourished, (1600-1620,)
and of the whole Elizabethan period, (1575-1625,) were nestling
attorneys or barristers before they became full-fledged dramatists.

We are not without contemporary evidence upon this point. Thomas Nash,
friend to Robert Greene, a playwright, poet, and novelist, whose works
were in vogue just before Shakespeare wrote, in an "Epistle to the
Gentlemen Students of the Two Universities," with which, according to
the fashion of the time, he introduced Greene's "Menaphon" (1587)[D] to
the reader, has the following paragraph:--

[Footnote D: Lord Campbell gives the date 1589; but see Mr. Dyce's
indisputable authority. Greene's Works. Vol. I., pp. xxxvii. and ciii.]

"I will turn my back to my first text of studies of delight, and talk
a little in friendship with a few of our trivial translators. It is a
common practice, now-a-days, amongst a sort of shifting companions
that run through every art and thrive by none, to leave the trade of
Noverint, whereto they were born, and busy themselves with the endeavors
of art, that could scarcely Latinize their neck-verse, if they should
have need; yet English Seneca, read by candlelight, yields many good
sentences, as, _Blood is a beggar_, and so forth; and if you intreat
him fair in a frosty morning, he will afford you whole Hamlets,--I
should say, handfuls of tragical speeches. But, oh grief! _Tempus edax
rerum_,--what is that will last always? The sea, exhaled by drops,
will, in continuance, be dry; and Seneca, let blood line by line and
page by page, at length must needs die to our stage."

It has most unaccountably been assumed that this passage refers to
Shakespeare;[E] and it is even so cited by Lord Campbell himself,--to
our surprise, when we remember his professional training and experience
as a sifter of evidence. But, as far as regards its reference to a
leaving of law for literature, it is clearly of general application.
Nash says, "It is a _common practice_, now-a-days, amongst a sort of
shifting companions, etc., to leave the trade of _Noverint_, whereto
_they_ were born, and busy _themselves,"_ etc. By the trade of
_Noverint_ he meant that of an attorney. The term was not uncommonly
applied to members of that profession, because of the phrase, _Noverint
universi per presentes_, (Know all men by these presents,) with which
deeds, bonds, and many other legal instruments then began. And Nash's
testimony accords with what we know of the social and literary history
of the age. There was no regular army in Elizabeth's time; and the
younger sons of gentlemen and well-to-do yeomen, who received from their
fathers little more than an education and a very small allowance, and
who did not become either military or maritime adventurers, opening
their oyster with a sword, entered the Church or the profession of the
law in its higher or lower grade; and as at that period there was much
more demand for lawyers and much less for clergymen than there is now,
and the Church had ceased to be a stepping-stone to political power and
patronage, while the law had become more than ever before an avenue to
fame, to fortune, and to rank, by far the greater number of these young
gentlemen aspired to the woolsack. But then, as now, the early years of
professional life were seasons of sharp trial and bitter disappointment.
Necessity pressed sorely or pleasure wooed resistlessly, and the slender
purse wasted rapidly away while the young attorney or barrister awaited
the employment that did not come. He knew then, as now he knows, "the
rich man's scorn, the proud man's contumely"; nay, he felt, as now he
sometimes feels, the tooth of hunger gnawing through the principles and
firm resolves that partition a life of honor and self-respect from one
darkened by conscious loss of rectitude, if not by open shame. Happy,--
yet, perhaps, oh, unhappy,--he who now in such a strait can wield the
pen of a ready writer!--for the press, perchance, may afford him a
support which, though temporary and precarious, will hold him up until
he can stand upon more stable ground. But in the reigns of Good Queen
Bess and Gentle Jamie there was no press. There was, however, an
incessant demand for new plays. Play-going was the chief intellectual
recreation of that day for all classes, high and low. It filled the
place of our newspapers, our books, our lectures, our concerts, our
picture-seeing, and, in a great measure, of our social gatherings and
amusements, of whatever nature. It is hardly extravagant to say, that
there were then more new plays produced in London in a month than
there are now in Great Britain and the United States in a year. To
play-writing, then, the needy young attorney or barrister possessed
of literary talent turned his eyes at that day, as he does now to
journalism; and it is almost beyond a doubt, that, of the multitudinous
plays of that period which have survived and the thousands which have
perished, a large proportion were produced by the younger sons of
country gentlemen, who, after taking their degrees at Oxford or
Cambridge, or breaking away from those classic bounds ungraduated,
entered the Inns of Court, according to the custom of their day and
their condition. They wrote plays in Latin, and even in English, for
themselves to act; and they got the professional players to act popular
plays for them on festal days. What more natural, then, than that those
who had the ability and the need should seek to recruit their slender
means by supplying the constant demand for new plays? and how inevitable
that some of them, having been successful in their dramatic efforts,
should give themselves up to play-writing! As do the great, so will the
small. What the Inns-of-Court man did, the attorney would try to do. The
players, though they loved the patronage of a lord, were very democratic
in the matter of play-making. If a play filled the house, they did not
trouble themselves about the social or professional rank of him who
wrote it; and thus came about that "common practice" for "shifting
companions" to "leave the trade of Noverint" and "busy themselves with
the endeavors of art"; and hence it is that the plays of the period of
which we are writing have, in many passages, so strong a tinge of law.

[Footnote E: It seems clear, on the contrary, that Nash's object was to
sneer at Jasper Heywood, Alexander Nevil, John Studley, Thomas Nuce, and
Thomas Newton,--one or more of them,--whose _Seneca, his Tenne Tragedies
translated into Englysh_, was published in 1581. It is a very
grievous performance; and Shakespeare, who had read it thoroughly, made
sport of it in _A Midsummer Night's Dream._]

One reason for the regarding of Nash's sneer as especially directed
against Shakespeare is the occurrence in it of the phrase, "whole
_Hamlets_,--I should say, handfuls of tragical speeches," which has
been looked upon as an allusion to Shakespeare's great tragedy. But the
earliest edition of "Hamlet" known was published in 1603, and even this
is an imperfect and surreptitiously obtained copy of an early sketch of
the play. That Shakespeare had written this tragedy in 1586, when he was
but twenty-two years old, is improbable to the verge of impossibility;
and Nash's allusion, if, indeed, he meant a punning sneer at a play,
(which is not certain.) was, doubtless, to an old lost version of the
Danish tragedy upon which Shakespeare built his "Hamlet."

We have, then, direct contemporary testimony, that, at the period of
Shakespeare's entrance upon London life, it was a common practice for
those lawyers whom want of success or an unstable disposition impelled
to a change in their avocation to devote themselves to writing or
translating plays; and this statement is not only sustained by all that
we know of the customs of the time to which it refers, but is strongly
confirmed by the notably frequent occurrence of legal phrases in the
dramatic literature of that age.

But the question, then, arises,--and it is one which, under the
circumstances, must be answered,--To what must we attribute the fact,
that, of all the plays that have come down to us, written between 1580
and 1620, Shakespeare's are most noteworthy in this respect? For it is
true, that, among all the dramatic writers of that period, whose
works have survived, not one uses the phraseology of the law with the
frequency, the freedom, and the correctness of Shakespeare. Beaumont,
for instance, was a younger son of a Judge of the Common Pleas, and,
following the common routine that we have noticed, after leaving the
University, became an Inns-of-Court man, but soon abandoned law for
literature; his friend and associate, Fletcher, was the son of a bishop,
but had an uncle who was a lawyer and a diplomatist, and is himself
believed to have been of the Inns of Court. Rich gleanings of law-terms
might, therefore, be expected from the plays written by these
dramatists; yet it may safely be asserted, that from Shakespeare's
thirty-seven plays at least twice as many passages marked by legal
phraseology might be produced, as from the fifty-four written by
Beaumont and Fletcher, together or alone! a fact the great significance
of which is heightened by another,--that it is only the vocabulary of
the law to the use of which Shakespeare exhibits this proclivity. He
avails himself, it is true, of the peculiar language of the physician,
the divine, the husbandman, the soldier, and the sailor; but he uses
these only on very rare occasions, by way of description, comparison,
or illustration, when something in the scene or the subject in hand
suggests them. But the technical language of the law runs from his
pen as part of his vocabulary and parcel of his thought. The word
"purchase," for instance, which in ordinary use means to acquire by
giving value, in law applies to all legal modes of obtaining property,
except inheritance of descent. And the word in this peculiar and most
technical sense occurs five times in Shakespeare's thirty-seven plays,
but only in a single passage (if our memory and Mr. Dyce's notes serve
us) in the fifty-four plays of Beaumont and Fletcher. Equal, or greater,
is the comparative frequency with which Shakespeare uses other legal
phrases; and much wider is the disparity, in this regard, between him
and the other dramatic writers of his whole period,--Marlowe, Greene,
Peele, Kyd, Lilly, Chapman, Jonson, Middleton, Marston, Ford, Webster,
Massinger, and the undistinguished crowd.

These facts dispose in great measure of the plausible suggestion,
which has been made,--that, as the courts of law in Shakespeare's time
occupied public attention much more than they do at present, they having
then regulated "the season," as the sittings of Parliament (not then
frequent or stated) do now,[F] they would naturally be frequented by the
restless, inquiring spirits of the time, Shakespeare among them, and
that there he and his fellow-dramatists picked up the law-phrases which
they wove into their plays and poems. But if this view of the case were
the correct one, we should not find that disparity in the use of legal
phrases which we have just remarked. Shakespeare's genius would manifest
itself in the superior effect with which he used knowledge acquired in
this manner; but his _genius_ would not have led him to choose the
dry and affected phraseology of the law as the vehicle of his flowing
thought, and to use it so much oftener than any other of the numerous
dramatists of his time, to all of whom the courts were as open as to
him. And the suggestion which we are now considering fails in two other
most important respects. For we do not find either that Shakespeare's
use of legal phrases increased with his opportunities of frequenting
the courts of law, or that the law-phrases, his use of which is most
noteworthy and of most importance in the consideration of the question
before us, are those which he would have heard oftenest in the course of
the ordinary business of the courts in his day. To look at the latter
point first,--the law-terms used by Shakespeare are generally not those
which he would have heard in ordinary trials at _nisi prius_ or before
the King's Bench, but such as refer to the tenure or transfer of real
property, "fine and recovery," "statutes," "purchase," "indenture,"
"tenure," "double voucher," "fee simple," "fee farm," "remainder,"
"reversion," "dower," "forfeiture," etc., etc.; and it is important to
remember that suits about the title to real estate are very much rarer
in England than they are with us, and in England were very much rarer in
Shakespeare's time than they are now. Here we buy and sell houses and
lands almost as we trade in corn and cotton; but in England the transfer
of the title of a piece of real estate of any consequence is a serious
and comparatively rare occurrence, that makes great work for attorneys
and conveyancing counsel; and two hundred and fifty years ago the
facilities in this respect were very much less than they are now.
Shakespeare could hardly have picked up his conveyancer's jargon by
hanging round the courts of law; and we find,--to return to the first
objection,--that, in his early plays, written just after he arrived in
London, he uses this peculiar phraseology just as freely and with
as exact a knowledge as he displayed in after years, when (on the
supposition in question) he must have become much more familiar with it.
Shakespeare's earliest work that has reached us is, doubtless, to be
found in "King Henry the Sixth," "The Comedy of Errors," and "Love's
Labor's Lost." In the very earliest form of Part II. of the first-named
play, ("The First Part of the Contention betwixt the two Houses of York
and Lancaster," to which Shakespeare was doubtless a contributor, the
part of Cade being among his contributions,) we find him making Cade
declare, (Act iv. Sc. 7,) "Men shall hold of me _in capite_; and we
charge and command that wives be _as free as heart can wish or tongue
can tell_." Both the phrases that we have Italicized express tenures,
and very uncommon tenures of land. In the "Comedy of Errors," when
Dromio of Syracuse says, "There's no time for a man to recover his hair
that grows bald by nature," [Hear, O Rowland! and give ear, O Phalon!]
his master replies, "May he not do it by _fine and recovery?_" Fine and
recovery was a process by which, through a fictitious suit, a transfer
was made of the title in an entailed estate. In "Love's Labor's Lost,"
almost without a doubt the first comedy that Shakespeare wrote, on
Boyet's offering to kiss Maria, (Act ii. Sc. 1,) she declines the
salute, and says, "My lips are no common, though several they be." This
passage--an important one for his purpose--Lord Campbell has passed by,
as he has some others of nearly equal consequence. Maria's allusion is
plainly to tenancy in common by several (i.e., divided, distinct) title.
(See Coke upon Littleton, Lib. iii. Cap. iv. Sec. 292.) She means, that
her lips are several as being two, and (as she says in the next line)
as belonging in common to her fortunes and herself,--yet they were no
common pasture.

[Footnote F: Falstaff, for instance, speaks of "the wearing out of six
fashions, which is four terms or two actions."]

Here, then, is Shakespeare using the technical language of conveyancers
in his earliest works, and before he had had much opportunity to
haunt the courts of law in London, even could he have made such legal
acquirements in those schools. We find, too, that he uses law-terms in
general with frequency notably greater--in an excess of three or four
to one--than any of the other playwrights of his day, when so many
playwrights were or had been Noverints or of the Inns of Court; that
this excess is not observable with regard to his use of the vocabulary
peculiar to any other occupation or profession, even that of the actor,
which we know that he practised for many years; but that, on the
contrary, although he uses other technical language correctly, he avails
himself of that of any single art of occupation with great rarity,
and only upon special occasions. Lord Campbell remarks, as to the
correctness with which Shakespeare uses legal phrases,--and this is a
point upon which his Lordship speaks with authority,--that he is amazed
"by the accuracy and propriety with which they are introduced," and in
another place adds, that Shakespeare "uniformly lays down good law"; and
it is not necessary to be a Chief Justice of the Queen's Bench to know
that his Lordship is fully justified in assuring us that "there is
nothing [of the kind (?)] so dangerous as for one not of the craft to
tamper with our free-masonry." Remembering, then, that genius, though
it reveals general and even particular truths, and facilitates all
acquirement, does not impart facts or the knowledge of technical terms,
in what manner can we answer or set aside the question that we have
partly stated before,--How did it happen, that, in an age when it was
a common practice for young attorneys and barristers to leave their
profession and take to writing plays and poems, one playwright left upon
his works a stronger, clearer, sharper legal stamp than we can detect
upon those of any other, and that he used the very peculiar and, to a
layman, incomprehensible language of the law of real property, as it
then existed, in his very earliest plays, written soon after he, a raw,
rustic youth, bred in a retired village, arrived in London? How did
it happen that this playwright fell into the use of that technical
phraseology, the proper employment of which, more than any other,
demands special training, and that he availed himself of it with
apparent unconsciousness, not only so much oftener than any of his
contemporaries, but with such exact knowledge, that one who has passed
a long life in the professional employment of it, speaking as it
were officially from the eminent position which he has won,--Lord
Campbell,--declares, that,

"While novelists and dramatists are constantly making mistakes as to the
law of marriage, of wills, and of inheritance, to Shakespeare's law,
lavishly as he propounds it, there can neither be demurrer, nor bill of
exceptions, nor writ of error"?

Must we believe, that the man, who, among all the lawyer-playwrights of
his day, showed,--not, be it noticed, (as we are at present regarding
his works,) the profoundest knowledge of the great principles of law and
equity, although he did that too,--but the most complete mastery of
the technical phrases, the jargon, of the law and of its most abstruse
branch,--that relating to real estate,--and who used it very much the
oftenest of them all, and with an air of as entire unconsciousness as
if it were a part of the language of his daily life, making no mistakes
that can be detected by a learned professional critic,--must we believe
that this man was distinguished among those play-writing lawyers, not
only by his genius, but his _lack_ of particular acquaintance with the
law? Or shall we rather believe that the son of the High Bailiff of
Stratford, whose father was well-to-do in the world, and who was a
somewhat clever lad and ambitious withal, was allowed to commence his
studies for a profession for which his cleverness fitted him and by
which he might reasonably hope to rise at least to moderate wealth and
distinction, and that he continued these studies until his father's
loss of property, aided, perhaps, by some of those acts of youthful
indiscretion which clever lads as well as dull ones sometimes will
commit, threw him upon his own resources,--and that then, having
townsmen, perhaps fellow-students and playfellows, among the actors in
London, and having used his pen, as we may be sure he had, for other
purposes than engrossing and drawing precedents, he, like so many others
of his time, left his trade of Noverint and went up to the metropolis to
busy himself with endeavors of art? One of these conclusions is in the
face of reason, probability, and fact; the other in accordance with them

       *       *       *       *       *

But of how little real importance is it to establish the bare fact, that
Shakespeare was an attorney's clerk before he was an actor! Suppose
it proved, beyond a doubt,--what have we learned? Nothing peculiar to
Shakespeare; but merely what was equally true of thousands of other
young men, his contemporaries, and hundreds of thousands, if not
millions, of those of antecedent and succeeding generations. It has a
naked material relation to the other fact, that he uses legal phrases
oftener than any other dramatist or poet; but with his plastic power
over those grotesque and rugged modes of speech it has nought to do
whatever. That was his inborn mastery. Legal phrases did nothing for
him; but he much for them. Chance cast their uncouth forms around him,
and the golden overflow from the furnace of his glowing thought fell
upon them, glorifying and enshielding them forever. It would have been
the same with the lumber of any other craft; it was the same with that
of many others,--the difference being only of quantity, and not of kind.
How, then, would the certainty that he had been bred to the law help
us to the knowledge of Shakespeare's life, of what he did for himself,
thought for himself, how he joyed, how he suffered, what he was? Would
it help us to know what the Stratford boys thought of him and felt
toward him who was to write "Lear" and "Hamlet," or how the men of
London regarded him who was a-writing them? Not a whit. To prove the
fact would merely satisfy sheer aimless, fruitless curiosity; and it is
a source of some reasonable satisfaction to know that the very
people who would be most interested in the perusal of a biography of
Shakespeare made up of the relation of such facts are they who have
least right to know anything about him. Of the hundreds of thousands
of people who giggled through their senseless hour at the "American
Cousin,"--a play which, in language, in action, in character, presents
no semblance to human life or human creatures, as they are found on any
spot under the canopy, and which seems to have been written on the model
of the Interlude of "Pyramus and Thisbe," "for, in all the play, there
is not one word apt, one player fitted,"--of the people to whom this
play owed its monstrous success, and who, for that very reason, it is
safe to say, think Shakespeare a bore on the stage and off it, a goodly
number would eagerly buy and read a book that told them when he went to
bed and what he had for breakfast, and would pay a ready five-cent
piece for a picture of him as he appeared in the attorney's office, to
preserve as a companion to the equally veritable "portrait of the Hon.
Daniel E. Sickles, as he appeared in prison." Nay, it must be confessed,
that there are some Shakespearean enthusiasts ever dabbling and gabbling
about what they call Shakespeariana, who would give more for the pen
with which he engrossed a deed or wrote "Hamlet," than for the ability
to understand, better than they do or ever can, what he meant by that
mysterious tragedy. Biography has its charms and its uses; but it is not
by what we know of their bare external facts that

  "Lives of great men all remind us
  We can make our lives sublime,
  And departing leave behind us
  Footprints on the sands of time."

What the readers of Shakespeare, who are worthy to know aught of him,
long to know, would have been the same, had he been bred lawyer,
physician, soldier, or sailor. It is of his real life, not of its mere
accidents, that they crave a knowledge; and of that life, it is to be
feared, they will remain forever ignorant, unless he himself has written




We suppose the heroine of a novel, among other privileges and
immunities, has a prescriptive right to her own private boudoir, where,
as a French writer has it, "she appears like a lovely picture in its

Well, our little Mary is not without this luxury, and to its sacred
precincts we will give you this morning a ticket of admission. Know,
then, that the garret of this gambrel-roofed cottage had a projecting
window on the seaward side, which opened into an immensely large old
apple-tree, and was a look-out as leafy and secluded as a robin's nest.

Garrets are delicious places in any case, for people of thoughtful,
imaginative temperament. Who has not loved a garret in the twilight days
of childhood, with its endless stores of quaint, cast-off, suggestive
antiquity,--old worm-eaten chests,--rickety chairs,--boxes and casks
full of odd comminglings, out of which, with tiny, childish hands,
we fished wonderful hoards of fairy treasure? What peep-holes, and
hiding-places, and undiscoverable retreats we made to ourselves,--where
we sat rejoicing in our security, and bidding defiance to the vague,
distant cry which summoned us to school, or to some unsavory every-day
task! How deliciously the rain came pattering on the roof over our head,
or the red twilight streamed in at the window, while we sat snugly
ensconced over the delirious pages of some romance, which careful aunts
had packed away at the bottom of all things, to be sure we should never
read it! If you have anything, beloved friends, which you wish your
Charley or your Susie to be sure and read, pack it mysteriously away at
the bottom of a trunk of stimulating rubbish, in the darkest corner of
your garret;--in that case, if the book be at all readable, one that by
any possible chance can make its way into a young mind, you may be sure
that it will not only be read, but remembered to the longest day they
have to live.

Mrs. Katy Scudder's garret was not an exception to the general rule.
Those quaint little people who touch with so airy a grace all the lights
and shadows of great beams, bare rafters, and unplastered walls, had not
failed in their work there. Was there not there a grand easy-chair of
stamped-leather, minus two of its hinder legs, which had genealogical
associations through the Wilcoxes with the Vernons and through the
Vernons quite across the water with Old England? and was there not a
dusky picture, in an old tarnished frame, of a woman of whose tragic end
strange stories were whispered,--one of the sufferers in the time when
witches were unceremoniously helped out of the world, instead of being,
as now-a-days, helped to make their fortune in it by table-turning?

Yes, there were all these things, and many more which we will not stay
to recount, but bring you to the boudoir which Mary has constructed for
herself around the dormer-window which looks into the whispering old

The inclosure was formed by blankets and bed-spreads, which, by reason
of their antiquity, had been pensioned off to an undisturbed old age in
the garret,--not _common_ blankets or bed-spreads, either,--bought,
as you buy yours, out of a shop,--spun or woven by machinery, without
individuality or history. Every one of these curtains had its story. The
one on the right, nearest the window, and already falling into holes,
is a Chinese linen, and even now displays unfaded, quaint patterns of
sleepy-looking Chinamen, in conical hats, standing on the leaves of most
singular herbage, and with hands forever raised in act to strike bells,
which never are struck and never will be till the end of time. These,
Mrs. Katy Scudder had often instructed Mary, were brought from the
Indies by her great-great-grandfather, and were her grandmother's
wedding-curtains,--the grandmother who had blue eyes like hers and was
just about her height.

The next spread was spun and woven by Mrs. Katy's beloved Aunt
Eunice,--a mythical personage, of whom Mary gathered vague accounts that
she was disappointed in love, and that this very article was part of a
bridal outfit, prepared in vain, against the return of one from sea, who
never came back,--and she heard of how she sat wearily and patiently at
her work, this poor Aunt Eunice, month after month, starting every time
she heard the gate shut, every time she heard the tramp of a horse's
hoof, every time she heard the news of a sail in sight,--her color,
meanwhile, fading and fading as life and hope bled away at an inward
wound,--till at last she found comfort and reunion beyond the veil.

Next to this was a bed-quilt pieced in tiny blocks, none of them bigger
than a sixpence, containing, as Mrs. Katy said, pieces of the gowns of
all her grandmothers, aunts, cousins, and female relatives for years
back,--and mated to it was one of the blankets which had served Mrs.
Scudder's uncle in his bivouac at Valley Forge, when the American
soldiers went on the snows with bleeding feet, and had scarce anything
for daily bread except a morning message of patriotism and hope from
George Washington.

Such were the memories woven into the tapestry of our little boudoir.
Within, fronting the window, stands the large spinning-wheel, one end
adorned with a snowy pile of fleecy rolls,--and beside it, a reel and a
basket of skeins of yarn,--and open, with its face down on the beam of
the wheel, lay always a book, with which the intervals of work were

The dusky picture of which we have spoken hung against the rough wall in
one place, and in another appeared an old engraved head of one of the
Madonnas of Leonardo da Vinci, a picture which to Mary had a mysterious
interest, from the fact of its having been cast on shore after a furious
storm, and found like a waif lying in the sea-weed; and Mrs. Marvyn, who
had deciphered the signature, had not ceased exploring till she found
for her, in an Encyclopaedia, a life of that wonderful man, whose
greatness enlarges our ideas of what is possible to humanity,--and
Mary, pondering thereon, felt the Sea-worn picture as a constant vague

Here our heroine spun for hours and hours,--with intervals, when,
crouched on a low seat in the window, she pored over her book, and then,
returning again to her work, thought of what she had read to the lulling
burr of the sounding wheel.

By chance a robin had built its nest so that from her retreat she could
see the five little blue eggs, whenever the patient brooding mother
left them for a moment uncovered. And sometimes, as she sat in dreamy
reverie, resting her small, round arms on the window-sill, she fancied
that the little feathered watcher gave her familiar nods and winks of a
confidential nature,--cocking the small head first to one side and then
to the other, to get a better view of her gentle human neighbor.

I dare say it seems to you, reader, that we have travelled, in our
story, over a long space of time, because we have talked so much and
introduced so many personages and reflections; but, in fact, it is only
Wednesday week since James sailed, and the eggs which were brooded when
he went are still unhatched in the nest, and the apple-tree has changed
only in having now a majority of white blossoms over the pink buds.

This one week has been a critical one to our Mary;--in it, she has made
the great discovery, that she loves; and she has made her first step
into the gay world; and now she comes back to her retirement to think
the whole over by herself. It seems a dream to her, that she who sits
there now reeling yarn in her stuff petticoat and white short-gown is
the same who took the arm of Colonel Burr amid the blaze of wax-lights
and the sweep of silks and rustle of plumes. She wonders dreamily as
she remembers the dark, lovely face of the foreign Madame, so brilliant
under its powdered hair and flashing gems,--the sweet, foreign accents
of the voice,--the tiny, jewelled fan, with its glancing pictures and
sparkling tassels, whence exhaled vague and floating perfumes; then she
hears again that manly voice, softened to tones so seductive, and sees
those fine eyes with the tears in them, and wonders within herself that
_he_ could have kissed her hand with such veneration, as if she had been
a throned queen.

But here the sound of busy, pattering footsteps is heard on the old,
creaking staircase, and soon the bows of Miss Prissy's bonnet part the
folds of the boudoir drapery, and her merry, May-day face looks in.

"Well, really, Mary, how do you do, to be sure? You wonder to see me,
don't you? but I thought I must just run in, a minute, on my way up to
Miss Marvyn's. I promised her at least a half-a-day, though I didn't see
how I was to spare it,--for I tell Miss Wilcox I just run and run till
it does seem as if my feet would drop off; but I thought I must just
step in to say, that I, for my part, _do admire_ the Doctor more than
ever, and I was telling your mother we mus'n't mind too much what people
say. I 'most made Miss Wilcox angry, standing up for him; but I put it
right to her, and says I, 'Miss Wilcox, you know folks _must_ speak
what's on their mind,--in particular, ministers must; and you know, Miss
Wilcox,' I says, 'that the Doctor _is_ a good man, and lives up to his
teaching, if anybody in this world does, and gives away every dollar he
can lay hands on to those poor negroes, and works over 'em and teaches
'em as if they were his brothers'; and says I, 'Miss Wilcox, you know I
don't spare myself, night nor day, trying to please you and do your work
to give satisfaction; but when it comes to my conscience,' says I, 'Miss
Wilcox, you know I always must speak out, and if it was the last word I
had to say on my dying bed, I'd say that I think the Doctor is right.'
Why! what things he told about the slave-ships, and packing those poor
creatures so that they couldn't move nor breathe!--why, I declare, every
time I turned over and stretched in bed, I thought of it;--and says I,
'Miss Wilcox, I do believe that the judgments of God will come down on
us, if something a'n't done, and I shall always stand by the Doctor,'
says I;--and, if you'll believe me, just then I turned round and saw
the General; and the General, he just haw-hawed right out, and says he,
'Good for you, Miss Prissy! that's real grit,' says he, 'and I like you
better for it.'--Laws," added Miss Prissy, reflectively, "I sha'n't lose
by it, for Miss Wilcox knows she never can get anybody to do the work
for her that I will."

"Do you think," said Mary, "that there are a great many made angry?"

"Why, bless your heart, child, haven't you heard?--Why, there never was
such a talk in all Newport. Why, you know Mr. Simeon Brown is gone clear
off to Dr. Stiles; and Miss Brown, I was making up her plum-colored
satin o' Monday, and you ought to 'a' heard her talk. But, I tell you, I
fought her. She used to talk to me," said Miss Prissy, sinking her voice
to a mysterious whisper, "'cause I never could come to it to say that I
was willin' to be lost, if it was for the glory of God; and she always
told me folks could just bring their minds right up to anything they
knew they must; and I just got the tables turned on her, for they talked
and abused the Doctor till they fairly wore me out, and says I, 'Well,
Miss Brown, I'll give in, that you and Mr. Brown _do_ act up to
your principles; you certainly _act_ as if you were willing to be
damned';--and so do all those folks who will live on the blood and
groans of the poor Africans, as the Doctor said; and I should think, by
the way Newport people are making their money, that they were all pretty
willing to go that way,--though, whether it's for the glory of God, or
not, I'm doubting.--But you see, Mary," said Miss Prissy, sinking her
voice again to a solemn whisper, "I never was _clear_ on that point; it
always did seem to me a dreadful high place to come to, and it didn't
seem to be given to me; but I thought, perhaps, if it _was_ necessary,
it would be given, you know,--for the Lord always has been so good to
me that I've faith to believe that, and so I just say, 'The Lord is my
shepherd, I shall not want'";--and Miss Prissy hastily whisked a little
drop out of her blue eye with her handkerchief.

At this moment, Mrs. Scudder came into the boudoir with a face
expressive of some anxiety.

"I suppose Miss Prissy has told you," she said, "the news about the
Browns. That'll make a great falling off in the Doctor's salary; and I
feel for him, because I know it will come hard to him not to be able to
help and do, especially for these poor negroes, just when he will. But
then we must put everything on the most economical scale we can, and
just try, all of us, to make it up to him. I was speaking to Cousin
Zebedee about it, when he was down here, on Monday, and he is all
clear;--he has made out free papers for Candace and Cato and Dinah, and
they couldn't, one of 'em, be hired to leave him; and he says, from what
he's seen already, he has no doubt but they'll do enough more to pay for
their wages."

"Well," said Miss Prissy, "I haven't got anybody to care for but myself.
I was telling sister Elizabeth, one time, (she's married and got four
children,) that I could take a storm a good deal easier than she could,
'cause I hadn't near so many sails to pull down; and now, you just look
to me for the Doctor's shirts, 'cause, after this, they shall all come
in ready to put on, if I have to sit up till morning. And I hope, Miss
Scudder, you can trust me to make them; for if I do say it myself,
I a'n't afraid to do fine stitching 'longside of anybody,--and
hemstitching ruffles, too; and I haven't shown you yet that French
stitch I learned of the nuns;--but you just set your heart at rest about
the Doctor's shirts. I always thought," continued Miss Prissy, laughing,
"that I should have made a famous hand about getting up that tabernacle
in the wilderness, with the blue and the purple and fine-twined linen;
it's one of my favorite passages, that is;--different things, you know,
are useful to different people."

"Well," said Mrs. Scudder, "I see that it's our call to be a remnant
small and despised, but I hope we sha'n't shrink from it. I thought,
when I saw all those fashionable people go out Sunday, tossing their
heads and looking so scornful, that I hoped grace would be given me to
be faithful."

"And what does the Doctor say?" said Miss Prissy.

"He hasn't said a word; his mind seems to be very much lifted above all
these things."

"La, yes," said Miss Prissy, "that's one comfort; he'll never know where
his shirts come from; and besides that, Miss Scudder," she said, sinking
her voice to a whisper, "as you know, I haven't any children to provide
for,--though I was telling Elizabeth t'other day, when I was making up
frocks for her children, that I believed old maids, first and last, did
more providing for children than married women; but still I do contrive
to slip away a pound-note, now and then, in my little old silver teapot
that was given to me when they settled old Mrs. Simpson's property, (I
nursed her all through her last sickness, and laid her out with my own
hands,) and, as I was saying, if ever the Doctor should want money, you
just let me know."

"Thank you, Miss Prissy," said Mrs. Scudder; "we all know where your
heart is."

"And now," added Miss Prissy, "what do you suppose they say? Why, they
say Colonel Burr is struck dead in love with our Mary; and you know his
wife's dead, and he's a widower; and they do say that he'll get to be
the next President. Sakes alive! Well, Mary must be careful, if she
don't want to be carried off; for they do say that there can't any woman
resist him, that sees enough of him. Why, there's that poor French
woman, Madame----what do you call her, that's staying with the
Vernons?--they say she's over head and ears in love with him."

"But she's a married woman," said Mary; "it can't be possible!"

Mrs. Scudder looked reprovingly at Miss Prissy, and for a few moments
there was great shaking of heads and a whispered conference between
the two ladies, ending in Miss Prissy's going off, saying, as she went

"Well, if women will do so, I, for my part, can't blame the men."

In a few moments Miss Prissy rushed back as much discomposed as a
clucking hen who has seen a hawk.

"Well, Miss Scudder, what do you think? Here's Colonel Burr come to call
on the ladies!"

Mrs. Scudder's first movement, in common with all middle-aged
gentlewomen, was to put her hand to her head and reflect that she had
not on her best cap; and Mary looked down at her dimpled hands, which
were blue from the contact with mixed yarn she had just been spinning.

"Now I'll tell you what," said Miss Prissy,--"wasn't it lucky you had me
here? for I first saw him coming in at the gate, and I whipped in quick
as a wink and opened the best-room window-shutters, and then I was back
at the door, and he bowed to me as if I'd been a queen, and says he,
'Miss Prissy, how fresh you're looking this morning!' You see, I was in
working at the Vernons', but I never thought as he'd noticed me. And
then he inquired in the handsomest way for the ladies and the Doctor,
and so I took him into the parlor and settled him down, and then I ran
into the study, and you may depend upon it I flew round lively for a few
minutes. I got the Doctor's study-gown off, and got his best coat on,
and put on his wig for him, and started him up kinder lively,--you know
it takes me to get him down into this world,--and so there he's
in talking with him; and so you can just slip down and dress
yourselves,--easy as not."

Meanwhile Colonel Burr was entertaining the simple-minded Doctor with
all the grace of a young neophyte come to sit at the feet of superior
truth. There are some people who receive from Nature as a gift a sort of
graceful facility of sympathy, by which they incline to take on, for
the time being, the sentiments and opinions of those with whom they
converse, as the chameleon was fabled to change its hue with every
surrounding. Such are often supposed to be wilfully acting a part, as
exerting themselves to flatter and deceive, when in fact they are only
framed so sensitive to the sphere of mental emanation which surrounds
others that it would require an exertion not in some measure to
harmonize with it. In approaching others in conversation, they are like
a musician who joins a performer on an instrument,--it is impossible for
them to strike a discord; their very nature urges them to bring into
play faculties according in vibration with those which another is
exerting. It was as natural as possible for Burr to commence talking
with the Doctor on scenes and incidents in the family of President
Edwards, and his old tutor, Dr. Bellamy,--and thence to glide on to
the points of difference and agreement in theology, with a suavity and
deference which acted on the good man like a June sun on a budding
elm-tree. The Doctor was soon wide awake, talking with fervent animation
on the topic of disinterested benevolence,--Burr the mean while studying
him with the quiet interest of an observer of natural history, who sees
a new species developing before him. At all the best possible points he
interposed suggestive questions, and set up objections in the quietest
manner for the Doctor to knock down, smiling ever the while as a man may
who truly and genuinely does not care a sou for truth on any subject not
practically connected with his own schemes in life. He therefore gently
guided the Doctor to sail down the stream of his own thoughts till his
bark glided out into the smooth waters of the Millennium, on which, with
great simplicity, he gave his views at length.

It was just in the midst of this that Mary and her mother entered.
Burr interrupted the conversation to pay them the compliments of the
morning,--to inquire for their health, and hope they suffered no
inconvenience from their night-ride from the party; then, seeing the
Doctor still looking eager to go on, he contrived with gentle dexterity
to tie again the broken thread of conversation.

"Our excellent friend," he said, "was explaining to me his views of
a future Millennium. I assure you, ladies, that we sometimes find
ourselves in company which enables us to believe in the perfectibility
of the human species. We see family retreats, so unaffected, so charming
in their simplicity, where industry and piety so go hand in hand! One
has only to suppose all families such, to imagine a Millennium."

There was no disclaiming this compliment, because so delicately worded,
that, while perfectly clear to the internal sense, it was, in a manner,
veiled and unspoken.

Meanwhile, the Doctor, who sat ready to begin where he left off, turned
to his complaisant listener and resumed an exposition of the Apocalypse.

"To my mind, it is certain," he said, "as it is now three hundred years
since the fifth vial was poured out, there is good reason to suppose
that the sixth vial began to be poured out at the beginning of the last
century, and has been running for a hundred years or more, so that it is
run nearly out; the seventh and last vial will begin to run early in the
next century."

"You anticipate, then, no rest for the world for some time to come?"
said Burr.

"Certainly not," said the Doctor, definitively; "there will be no rest
from overturnings till He whose right it is shall come.

"The passage," he added, "concerning the drying up of the river
Euphrates, under the sixth vial, has a distinct reference, I think, to
the account in ancient writers of the taking of Babylon, and prefigures,
in like manner, that the resources of that modern Babylon, the Popish
power, shall continue to be drained off, as they have now been drying up
for a century or more, till, at last, there will come a sudden and final
downfall of that power. And after that will come the first triumphs of
truth and righteousness,--the marriage-supper of the Lamb."

"These investigations must undoubtedly possess a deep interest for you,
Sir," said Burr; "the hope of a future as well as the tradition of
a past age of gold seems to have been one of the most cherished
conceptions of the human breast."

"In those times," continued the Doctor, "the whole earth will be of one

"Which language, Sir, do you suppose will be considered worthy of such
preeminence?" inquired his listener.

"That will probably be decided by an amicable conference of all
nations," said the Doctor; "and the one universally considered most
valuable will be adopted; and the literature of all other nations being
translated into it, they will gradually drop all other tongues. Brother
Stiles thinks it will be the Hebrew. I am not clear on that point. The
Hebrew seems to me too inflexible, and not sufficiently copious. I do
not think," he added, after some consideration, "that it will be the
Hebrew tongue."

"I am most happy to hear it, Sir," said Burr, gravely; "I never felt
much attracted to that language. But, ladies," he added, starting up
with animation, "I must improve this fine weather to ask you to show
me the view of the sea from this little hill beyond your house, it is
evidently so fine;--I trust I am not intruding too far on your morning?"

"By no means, Sir," said Mrs. Scudder, rising; "we will go with you in a

And soon Colonel Burr, with one on either arm, was to be seen on the top
of the hill beyond the house,--the very one from which Mary, the week
before, had seen the retreating sail we all wot of. Hence, though
her companion contrived, with the adroitness of a practised man of
gallantry, to direct his words and looks as constantly to her as if
they had been in a _tête-a-tête_, and although nothing could be more
graceful, more delicately flattering, more engaging, still the little
heart kept equal poise; for where a true love has once bolted the door,
a false one serenades in vain under the window.

Some fine, instinctive perceptions of the real character of the man
beside her seemed to have dawned on Mary's mind in the conversation of
the morning;--she had felt the covert and subtile irony that lurked
beneath his polished smile, felt the utter want of faith or sympathy in
what she and her revered friend deemed holiest, and therefore there was
a calm dignity in her manner of receiving his attentions which rather
piqued and stimulated his curiosity. He had been wont to boast that he
could subdue any woman, if he could only see enough of her; in the first
interview in the garden, he had made her color come and go and brought
tears to her eyes in a manner that interested his fancy, and he could
not resist the impulse to experiment again. It was a new sensation
to him, to find himself quietly studied and calmly measured by those
thoughtful blue eyes; he felt, with his fine, instinctive tact, that
the soul within was infolded in some crystalline sphere of protection,
transparent, but adamantine, so that he could not touch it. What was
that secret poise, that calm, immutable centre on which she rested, that
made her, in her rustic simplicity, so unapproachable and so strong?

Burr remembered once finding in his grandfather's study, among a mass of
old letters, one in which that great man, in early youth, described his
future wife, then known to him only by distant report. With his keen
natural sense of everything fine and poetic, he had been struck with
this passage, as so beautifully expressing an ideal womanhood, that he
had in his earlier days copied it in his private _recueil_.

"They say," it ran, "that there is a young lady who is beloved of that
Great Being who made and rules the world, and that there are certain
seasons in which this Great Being, in some way or other invisible, comes
to her and fills her mind with such exceeding sweet delight, that she
hardly cares for anything except to meditate on him; that she expects,
after a while, to be received up where he is, to be raised up out of the
world and caught up into heaven, being assured that he loves her too
well to let her remain at a distance from him always. Therefore, if you
present all the world before her, with the richest of its treasures, she
disregards it. She has a strange sweetness in her mind, and singular
purity in her affections; and you could not persuade her to do anything
wrong or sinful, if you should give her all the world. She is of a
wonderful sweetness, calmness, and universal benevolence of mind,
especially after this great God has manifested himself to her mind. She
will sometimes go from place to place singing sweetly, and seems to be
always full of joy and pleasure; and no one knows for what. She loves to
be alone, walking in fields and groves, and seems to have some invisible
one always conversing with her."

A shadowy recollection of this description crossed his mind more than
once, as he looked into those calm and candid eyes. Was there, then, a
truth in that inner union of chosen souls with God, of which his mother
and her mother before her had borne meek witness,--their souls shining
out as sacred lamps through the alabaster walls of a temple?

But then, again, had he not logically met and demonstrated, to his own
satisfaction, the nullity of the religious dogmas on which New England
faith was based? There could be no such inner life, he said to
himself,--he had demonstrated it as an absurdity. What was it,
then,--this charm, so subtile and so strong, by which this fair child,
his inferior in age, cultivation, and knowledge of the world, held him
in a certain awe, and made him feel her spirit so unapproachable? His
curiosity was piqued. He felt stimulated to employ all his powers of
pleasing. He was determined, that, sooner or later, she should feel his

With Mrs. Scudder his success was immediate, she was completely won over
by the deferential manner with which he constantly referred himself
to her matronly judgments, and, on returning to the house, she warmly
pressed him to stay to dinner.

Burr accepted the invitation with a frank and almost boyish _abandon_,
declaring that he had not seen anything, for years, that so reminded him
of old times. He praised everything at table,--the smoking brown-bread,
the baked beans steaming from the oven, where they had been quietly
simmering during the morning walk, and the Indian pudding, with its
gelatinous softness, matured by long and patient brooding in the
motherly old oven. He declared that there was no style of living to be
compared with the simple, dignified order of a true New England home,
where servants were excluded, and everything came direct from the
polished and cultured hand of a lady. It realized the dreams of Arcadian
romance. A man, he declared, must be unworthy the name, who did not rise
to lofty sentiments and heroic deeds, when even his animal wants were
provided for by the ministrations of the most delicate and exalted
portion of the creation.

After dinner he would be taken into all the family interests. Gentle and
pliable as oil, he seemed to penetrate every joint of the _ménage_ by a
subtile and seductive sympathy. He was interested in the spinning, in
the weaving,--and in fact, nobody knows how it was done, but, before the
afternoon shadows had turned, he was sitting in the cracked arm-chair of
Mary's garret-boudoir, gravely giving judgment on several specimens of
her spinning, which Mrs. Scudder had presented to his notice.

With that ease with which he could at will glide into the character
of the superior and elder brother, he had, without seeming to ask
questions, drawn from Mary an account of her reading, her studies, her

"You read French, I presume?" he said to her, with easy negligence.

Mary colored deeply, and then, as one who recollects one's self,
answered, gravely,--

"No, Mr. Burr, I know no language but my own."

"But you should learn French, my child," said Burr, with that gentle
dictatorship which he could at times so gracefully assume.

"I should be delighted to learn," said Mary, "but have no opportunity."

"Yes," said Mrs. Scudder,--"Mary has always had a taste for study, and
would be glad to improve in any way."

"Pardon me, Madam, if I take the liberty of making a suggestion. There
is a most excellent man, the Abbé Léfon, now in Newport, driven here
by the political disturbances in France; he is anxious to obtain a few
scholars, and I am interested that he should succeed, for he is a most
worthy man."

"Is he a Roman Catholic?"

"He is, Madam; but there could be no manner of danger with a person so
admirably instructed as your daughter. If you please to see him, Madam,
I will call with him some time."

"Mrs. Marvyn will, perhaps, join me," said Mary. "She has been studying
French by herself for some time, in order to read a treatise on
astronomy, which she found in that language. I will go over to-morrow
and see her about it."

Before Colonel Burr departed, the Doctor requested him to step a moment
with him into his study. Burr, who had had frequent occasions during his
life to experience the sort of paternal freedom which the clergy of his
country took with him in right of his clerical descent, began to summon
together his faculties of address for the avoidance of a kind of
conversation which he was not disposed to meet. He was agreeably
disappointed, however, when, taking a paper from the table, and
presenting it to him, the Doctor said,--

"I feel myself, my dear Sir, under a burden of obligation for benefits
received from your family, so that I never see a member of it without
casting about in my own mind how I may in some measure express
my good-will towards him. You are aware that the papers of your
distinguished grandfather have fallen into my hands, and from them I
have taken the liberty to make a copy of those maxims by which he guided
a life which was a blessing to his country and to the world. May I
ask the favor that you will read them with attention? and if you find
anything contrary to right reason or sober sense, I shall be happy to
hear of it on a future occasion."

"Thank you, Doctor," said Burr, bowing. "I shall always be sensible of
the kindness of the motive which has led you to take this trouble on my
account. Believe me, Sir, I am truly obliged to you for it."

And thus the interview terminated.

That night, the Doctor, before retiring, offered fervent prayers for the
grandson of his revered master and friend, praying that his father's and
mother's God might bless him and make him a living stone in the Eternal

Meanwhile, the object of these prayers was sitting by a table in
dressing-gown and slippers, thinking over the events of the day. The
paper which Dr. H. had handed him contained the celebrated "Resolutions"
by which his ancestor led a life nobler than any mere dogmas
can possibly be. By its side lay a perfumed note from Madame de
Frontignac,--one of those womanly notes, so beautiful, so sacred in
themselves, but so mournful to a right-minded person who sees whither
they are tending. Burr opened and perused it,--laid it by,--opened the
document that the Doctor had given, and thoughtfully read the first of
the "Resolutions":--

"Resolved, That I will do whatsoever I think to be most to God's glory,
and my own good profit and pleasure _in the whole of my duration_,
without any consideration of time, whether now or never so many myriad
ages hence.

"Resolved, To do whatever I think to be my duty and most for the good
and advantage of mankind in general.

"Resolved, To do this, whatsoever difficulties I meet with, and how many
and how great soever."

Burr read the whole paper through attentively once or twice, and paused
thoughtfully over many parts of it. He sat for some time after, lost in
reflection; the paper dropped from his hand, and then followed one of
those long, deep seasons of fixed reverie, when the soul thinks by
pictures and goes over endless distances in moments. In him, originally,
every moral fatuity and sensibility was as keenly strung as in any
member of that remarkable family from which he was descended, and which
has, whether in good or ill, borne no common stamp. Two possible lives
flashed before his mind at that moment, rapidly as when a train sweeps
by with flashing lamps in the night. The life of worldly expediency, the
life of eternal rectitude,--the life of seventy years, and that life
eternal in which the event of death is no disturbance. Suddenly he
roused himself, picked up the paper, filed and dated it carefully, and
laid it by; and in that moment was renewed again that governing purpose
which sealed him, with all his beautiful capabilities, as the slave of
the fleeting and the temporary, which sent him at last, a shipwrecked
man, to a nameless, dishonored grave.

He took his pen and gave to a friend his own views of the events of the

"Mr. DEAR,----We are still in Newport, conjugating the verb
_s'ennuyer_, which I, for one, have put through all the moods and
tenses. _Pour passer le temps_, however, I have _la belle Française_ and
my sweet little Puritan. I visited there this morning. She lives with
her mother, a little walk out toward the seaside, in a cottage quite
prettily sequestered among blossoming apple-trees, and the great
hierarch of modern theology, Dr. H., keeps guard over them. No chance
here for any indiscretions, you see.

"By-the-by, the good Doctor astonished our _monde_ here on Sunday last,
by treating us to a solemn onslaught on slavery and the slave-trade. He
had all the chief captains and counsellors to hear him, and smote them
hip and thigh, and pursued them even unto Shur.

"He is one of those great, honest fellows, without the smallest notion
of the world we live in, who think, in dealing with men, that you must
go to work and prove the right or the wrong of a matter; just as if
anybody cared for that! Supposing he is right,--which appears very
probable to me,--what is he going to do about it? No moral argument,
since the world began, ever prevailed over twenty-five per cent. profit.

"However, he is the spiritual director of _la belle Puritaine_, and was
a resident in my grandfather's family, so I did the agreeable with
him as well as such an uncircumcised Ishmaelite could. I discoursed
theology,--sat with the most docile air possible while he explained to
me all the ins and outs in his system of the universe, past, present,
and future,--heard him dilate calmly on the Millennium, and expound
prophetic symbols, marching out before me his whole apocalyptic
menagerie of beasts and dragons with heads and horns innumerable, to all
which I gave edifying attention, taking occasion now and then to turn a
compliment in favor of the ladies,--never lost, you know.

"Really, he is a worthy old soul, and actually believes all these things
with his whole heart, attaching unheard-of importance to the most
abstract ideas, and embarking his whole being in his ideal view of
a grand Millennial _finale_ to the human race. I look at him and at
myself, and ask, Can human beings be made so unlike?

"My little Mary to-day was in a mood of 'sweet austere composure' quite
becoming to her style of beauty; her _naive nonchalance_ at times
is rather stimulating. What a contrast between her and _la belle
Française!_--all the difference that there is between a diamond and
a flower. I find the little thing has a cultivated mind, enriched by
reading, and more by a still, quaint habit of thinking, which is new and
charming. But a truce to this.

"I have seen our friends at last. We have had three or four meetings,
and are waiting to hear from Philadelphia,--matters are getting in
train. If Messrs. T. and S. dare to repeat what they said again, let me
know; they will find in me a man not to be trifled with. I shall be with
you in a week or ten days, at farthest. Meanwhile stand to your guns.

"Ever yours,



The next morning, before the early dews had yet dried off the grass,
Mary started to go and see her friend Mrs. Marvyn. It was one of those
charming, invigorating days, familiar to those of Newport experience,
when the sea lies shimmering and glittering in deep blue and gold,
and the sky above is firm and cloudless, and every breeze that comes
landward seems to bear health and energy upon its wings.

As Mary approached the house, she heard loud sounds of discussion from
the open kitchen-door, and, looking in, saw a rather original scene

Candace, armed with a long oven-shovel, stood before the open door of
the oven, whence she had just been removing an army of good things which
appeared ranged around on the dresser. Cato, in the undress of a red
flannel shirt and tow-cloth trousers, was cuddled, in a consoled and
protected attitude, in the corner of the wooden settle, with a mug of
flip in his hand, which Candace had prepared, and, calling him in from
his work, authoritatively ordered him to drink, on the showing that he
had kept her awake the night before with his cough, and she was sure he
was going to be sick. Of course, worse things may happen to a man than
to be vigorously taken care of by his wife, and Cato had a salutary
conviction of this fact, so that he resigned himself to his comfortable
corner and his flip with edifying serenity.

Opposite to Candace stood a well-built, corpulent negro man, dressed
with considerable care, and with the air of a person on excellent
terms with himself. This was no other than Digo, the house-servant and
factotum of Dr. Stiles, who considered himself as the guardian of his
master's estate, his title, his honor, his literary character, his
professional position, and his religious creed.

Digo was ready to assert before all the world, that one and all of these
were under his special protection, and that whoever had anything to say
to the contrary of any of these must expect to take issue with him. Digo
not only swallowed all his master's opinions whole, but seemed to have
the stomach of an ostrich in their digestion. He believed everything,
no matter what, the moment he understood that the Doctor held it. He
believed that Hebrew was the language of heaven,--that the ten tribes of
the Jews had reappeared in the North American Indians,--that there was
no such thing as disinterested benevolence, and that the doings of the
unregenerate had some value,--that slavery was a divine ordinance, and
that Dr. H. was a radical, who did more harm than good,--and, finally,
that there never was so great a man as Dr. Stiles; and as Dr. Stiles
belonged to him in the capacity of master, why, he, Digo, owned the
greatest man in America. Of course, as Candace held precisely similar
opinions in regard to Dr. H., the two never could meet without a
discharge of the opposite electricities. Digo had, it is true, come
ostensibly on a mere worldly errand from his mistress to Mrs. Marvyn,
who had promised to send her some turkeys' eggs, but he had inly
resolved with himself that he would give Candace his opinion,--that is,
what Dr. Stiles had said at dinner the day before about Doctor H.'s
Sunday's discourse. Dr. Stiles had not heard it, but Digo had. He had
felt it due to the responsibilities of his position to be present on so
very important an occasion.

Therefore, after receiving his eggs, he opened hostilities by remarking,
in a general way, that he had attended the Doctor's preaching on Sunday,
and that there was quite a crowded house. Candace immediately began
mentally to bristle her feathers like a hen who sees a hawk in the
distance, and responded with decision:--

"Den you _heard_ sometin', for once in your life!"

"I must say," said Digo, with suavity, "dat I can't give my 'proval to
such sentiments."

"More shame for you," said Candace, grimly. "_You_ a man, and not stan'
by your color, and flunk under to mean white ways! Ef you was _half_ a
man, your heart would 'a' bounded like a cannon-ball at dat ar' sermon."

"Dr. Stiles and me we talked it over after church," said Digo,--"and de
Doctor was of my 'pinion, dat Providence didn't intend"----

"Oh, you go long wid your Providence! Guess, ef white folks had let us
alone, Providence wouldn't trouble us."

"Well," said Digo, "Dr. Stiles is clear dat dis yer's a-fulfillin' de
prophecies and bringin' in de fulness of de Gentiles."

"Fulness of de fiddlesticks!" said Candace, irreverently. "Now what a
way dat ar' is of talkin'! Go look at one o' dem ships we come
over in,--sweatin' and groanin',--in de dark and dirt,--cryin' and
dyin',--howlin' for breath till de sweat run off us,--livin' and dead
chained together,--prayin' like de rich man in hell for a drop o' water
to cool our tongues! Call dat ar' a-bringin' de fulness of de Gentiles,
do ye? Ugh!"

And Candace ended with a guttural howl, and stood frowning and gloomy
over the top of her long kitchen-shovel, like a black Bellona leaning on
her spear of battle.

Digo recoiled a little, but stood too well in his own esteem to give up;
so he shifted his attack.

"Well, for my part, I must say I never was 'clined to your Doctor's
'pinions. Why, now, Dr. Stiles says, notin' couldn't be more absurd dan
what he says 'bout disinterested benevolence. _My_ Doctor says, dere
a'n't no such ting!"

"I should tink it's likely!" said Candace, drawing herself up with
superb disdain. "_Our_ Doctor knows dere _is_,--and why? 'cause he's got
it IN HERE," said she, giving her ample chest a knock which resounded
like the boom from a barrel.

"Candace," said Cato, gently, "you's gittin' too hot."

"Cato, you shut up!" said Candace, turning sharp round. "What did I make
you dat ar' flip for, 'cept you was so hoarse you oughtn' for to say a
word? Pootty business, you go to agitatin' _your_self wid dese yer! Ef
you wear out your poor old throat talkin', you may get de 'sumption; and
den what'd become o' me?"

Cato, thus lovingly pitched _hors-de-combat_, sipped the sweetened cup
in quietness of soul, while Candace returned to the charge.

"Now, I tell ye what," she said to Digo,--"jest 'cause you wear your
master's old coats and hats, you tink you must go in for all dese yer
old, mean, white 'pinions. A'n't ye 'shamed--you, a black man--to have
no more pluck and make cause wid de Egyptians? Now, 'ta'n't what my
Doctor gives me,--he never giv' me the snip of a finger-nail,--but it's
what he does for _mine;_ and when de poor critturs lands dar, tumbled
out like bales on de wharves, ha'n't dey seen his great cocked hat, like
a lighthouse, and his big eyes lookin' sort o' pitiful at 'em, as ef
he felt o' one blood wid 'em? Why, de very looks of de man is worth
everyting; and who ever thought o' doin' anyting for deir souls, or
cared ef dey had souls, till he begun it?"

"Well, at any rate," said Digo, brightening up, "I don't believe his
doctrine about de doings of de unregenerate,--it's quite clear he's
wrong dar."

"Who cares?" said Candace,--"generate or unregenerate, it's all one
to me. I believe a man dat _acts_ as he does. Him as stands up for de
poor,--him as pleads for de weak,--he's my man. I'll believe straight
through anyting he's a mind to put at me."

At this juncture, Mary's fair face appearing at the door put a stop to
the discussion.

"Bress _you_, Miss Mary! comin' here like a fresh June rose! it makes
a body's eyes dance in deir head! Come right in! I got Cato up from de
lot, 'cause he's rader poorly dis mornin'; his cough makes me a sight o'
concern; he's allers a-pullin' off his jacket de wrong time, or doin'
sometin' I tell him not to,--and it just keeps him hack, hack, hackin',
all de time."

During this speech, Cato stood meekly bowing, feeling that he was
being apologized for in the best possible manner; for long years of
instruction had fixed the idea in his mind, that he was an ignorant
sinner, who had not the smallest notion how to conduct himself in this
world, and that, if it were not for his wife's distinguishing grace, he
would long since have been in the shades of oblivion.

"Missis is spinnin' up in de north chamber," said Candace; "but I'll run
up and fetch her down."

Candace, who was about the size of a puncheon, was fond of this familiar
manner of representing her mode of ascending the stairs; but Mary,
suppressing a smile, said, "Oh, no, Candace! don't for the world disturb
her. I know just where she is." And before Candace could stop her,
Mary's light foot was on the top step of the staircase that led up from
the kitchen.

The north room was a large chamber, overlooking a splendid reach of
sea-prospect. A moving panorama of blue water and gliding sails was
unrolled before its three windows, so that stepping into the room gave
one an instant and breezy sense of expansion. Mrs. Marvyn was standing
at the large wheel, spinning wool,--a reel and basket of spools on her
side. Her large brown eyes had an eager joy in them when Mary entered;
but they seemed to calm down again, and she received her only with that
placid, sincere air which was her habit. Everything about this woman
showed an ardent soul, repressed by timidity and by a certain dumbness
in the faculties of outward expression; but her eyes had, at times,
that earnest, appealing language which is so pathetic in the silence of
inferior animals.--One sometimes sees such eyes, and wonders whether
the story they intimate will ever be spoken in mortal language.

Mary began eagerly detailing to her all that had interested her since
they last met:--the party,--her acquaintance with Burr,--his visit to
the cottage,--his inquiries into her education and reading,--and,
finally, the proposal, that they should study French together.

"My dear," said Mrs. Marvyn, "let us begin at once;--such an opportunity
is not to be lost. I studied a little with James, when he was last at

"With James?" said Mary, with an air of timid surprise.

"Yes,--the dear boy has become, what I never expected, quite a student.
He employs all his spare time now in reading and studying;--the second
mate is a Frenchman, and James has got so that he can both speak and
read. He is studying Spanish, too."

Ever since the last conversation with her mother on the subject of
James, Mary had felt a sort of guilty constraint when any one spoke
of him;--instead of answering frankly, as she once did, when anything
brought his name up, she fell at once into a grave, embarrassed silence.

Mrs. Marvyn was so constantly thinking of him, that it was difficult to
begin on any topic that did not in some manner or other knit itself into
the one ever present in her thoughts. None of the peculiar developments
of the female nature have a more exquisite vitality than the sentiment
of a frail, delicate, repressed, timid woman for a strong, manly,
generous son. There is her ideal expressed; there is the out-speaking
and out-acting of all she trembles to think, yet burns to say or do;
here is the hero that shall speak for her, the heart into which she has
poured hers, and that shall give to her tremulous and hidden aspirations
a strong and victorious expression. "I have gotten a _man_ from the
Lord," she says to herself; and each outburst of his manliness, his
vigor, his self-confidence, his superb vitality, fills her with a
strange, wondering pleasure, and she has a secret tenderness and pride
even in his wilfulness and waywardness. "What a creature he is!" she
says, when he flouts at sober argument and pitches all received opinions
hither and thither in the wild capriciousness of youthful paradox. She
looks grave and reproving; but he reads the concealed triumph in her
eyes,--he knows that in her heart she is full of admiration all
the time. First love of womanhood is something wonderful and
mysterious,--but in this second love it rises again, idealized and
refined; she loves the father and herself united and made one in this
young heir of life and hope.

Such was Mrs. Marvyn's still intense, passionate love for her son. Not
a tone of his manly voice, not a flash of his dark eyes, not one of the
deep, shadowy dimples that came and went as he laughed, not a ring of
his glossy black hair, that was not studied, got by heart, and dwelt on
in the inner shrine of her thoughts; he was the romance of her life. His
strong, daring nature carried her with it beyond those narrow, daily
bounds where her soul was weary of treading; and just as his voyages had
given to the trite prose of her _ménage_ a poetry of strange, foreign
perfumes, of quaint objects of interest, speaking of many a far-off
shore, so his mind and life were a constant channel of outreach through
which her soul held converse with the active and stirring world. Mrs.
Marvyn had known all the story of her son's love, and to no other woman
would she have been willing to resign him; but her love to Mary was so
deep, that she thought of his union with her more as gaining a daughter
than as losing a son. She would not speak of the subject; she knew the
feelings of Mary's mother; and the name of James fell so often from her
lips, simply because it was so ever-present in her heart that it could
not be helped.

Before Mary left, it was arranged that they should study together, and
that the lessons should be given alternately at each other's houses; and
with this understanding they parted.

[To be continued.]

       *       *       *       *       *



Our landlady's daughter is a young lady of some pretensions to
gentility. She wears her bonnet well back on her head, which is known by
all to be a mark of high breeding. She wears her trains very long, as
the great ladies do in Europe. To be sure, their dresses are so made
only to sweep the tapestried doors of châteaux and palaces; as those
odious aristocrats of the other side do not go draggling through the mud
in silks and satins, but, forsooth, must ride in coaches when they are
in full dress. It is true, that, considering various habits of the
American people, also the little accidents which the best-kept sidewalks
are liable to, a lady who has swept a mile of them is not exactly in
such a condition that one would care to be her neighbor. But then there
is no need of being so hard on these slight weaknesses of the poor, dear
women as our little deformed gentleman was the other day.

--There are no such women as the Boston women, Sir,--he said. Forty-two
degrees, north latitude, Rome, Sir, Boston, Sir! They had grand women in
old Rome, Sir,--and the women bore such men-children as never the world
saw before. And so it was here, Sir. I tell you, the revolution the
Boston boys started had to run in woman's milk before it ran in man's
blood, Sir!

But confound the make-believe women we have turned loose in our
streets!--where do _they_ come from? Not out of Boston parlors, I
trust. Why, there isn't a beast or a bird that would drag its tail
through the dirt in the way these creatures do their dresses. Because
a queen or a duchess wears long robes on great occasions, a
maid-of-all-work or a factory-girl thinks she must make herself a
nuisance by trailing through the street, picking up and carrying about
with her--pah! that's what I call getting vulgarity into your bones and
marrow. Making believe be what you are not is the essence of vulgarity.
Show over dirt is the one attribute of vulgar people. If any man can
walk behind one of these women and see what she rakes up as she goes,
and not feel squeamish, he has got a tough stomach. I wouldn't let one
of 'em into my room without serving 'em as David served Saul at the cave
in the wilderness,--cut off his skirts, Sir! cut off his skirts!

I suggested, that I had seen some pretty stylish ladies who offended in
the way he condemned.

Stylish _women_, I don't doubt,--said the little gentleman.--Don't tell
me that a true lady ever sacrifices the duty of keeping all about her
sweet and clean to the wish of making a vulgar show. I won't believe it
of a lady. There are some things that no fashion has any right to touch,
and cleanliness is one of those things. If a woman wishes to show that
her husband or her father has got money, which she wants and means to
spend, but doesn't know how, let her buy a yard or two of silk and pin
it to her dress when she goes out to walk, but let her unpin it before
she goes into the house;--there may be poor women that will think it
worth disinfecting. It is an insult to a respectable laundress to carry
such things into a house for her to deal with. I don't like the Bloomers
any too well,--in fact, I never saw but one, and she--or he, or
it--had a mob of boys after her, or whatever you call the creature, as
if she had been a----

The little gentleman stopped short,--flushed somewhat, and looked round
with that involuntary, suspicious glance which the subjects of any
bodily misfortune are very apt to cast round them. His eye wandered
over the company, none of whom, excepting myself and one other, had,
probably, noticed the movement. They fell at last on Iris,--his next
neighbor, you remember.

--We know in a moment, on looking suddenly at a person, if that person's
eyes have been fixed on us. Sometimes we are conscious of it _before_
we turn so as to see the person. Strange secrets of curiosity, of
impertinence, of malice, of love, leak out in this way. There is no need
of Mrs. Felix Lorraine's reflection in the mirror, to tell us that she
is plotting evil for us behind our backs. We know it, as we know by the
ominous stillness of a child that some mischief or other is going on. A
young girl betrays, in a moment, that her eyes have been feeding on the
face where you find them fixed, and not merely brushing over it with
their pencils of blue or brown light.

A certain involuntary adjustment assimilates us, you may also observe,
to that upon which we look. Roses redden the cheeks of her who stoops to
gather them, and buttercups turn little people's chins yellow. When we
look at a vast landscape, our chests expand as if we would enlarge to
fill it. When we examine a minute object, we naturally contract,
not only our foreheads, but all our dimensions. If I _see_ two
men wrestling, I wrestle too, with my limbs and features. When a
country-fellow comes upon the stage, you will see twenty faces in the
boxes putting on the bumpkin expression. There is no need of multiplying
instances to reach this generalization; every person and thing we look
upon puts its special mark upon us. If this is repeated often enough, we
get a permanent resemblance to it, or, at least, a fixed aspect which we
took from it. Husband and wife come to look alike at last, as has often
been noticed. It is a common saying of a jockey, that he is "all horse";
and I have often fancied that milkmen get a stiff, upright carriage,
and an angular movement of the arm, that remind one of a pump and the
working of its handle.

All this came in by accident, just because I happened to mention that
the little gentleman found that Iris had been looking at him with her
soul in her eyes, when his glance rested on her after wandering round
the company. What he thought, it is hard to say; but the shadow of
suspicion faded off from his face, and he looked calmly into the amber
eyes, resting his cheek upon the hand that wore the red jewel.

--If it were a possible thing,--women are such strange creatures! Is
there any trick that love and their own fancies do not play them? Just
see how they marry! A woman that gets hold of a bit of manhood is like
one of those Chinese wood-carvers who work on any odd, fantastic root
that comes to hand, and, if it is only bulbous above and bifurcated
below, will always contrive to make a man--such as he is--out of it. I
should like to see any kind of a man, distinguishable from a Gorilla,
that some good and even pretty woman could not shape a husband out of.

--A child,--yes, if you choose to call her so,--but such a child! Do you
know how Art brings all ages together?

There is no age to the angels and ideal human forms among which the
artist lives, and he shares their youth until his hand trembles and his
eye grows dim. The youthful painter talks of white-bearded Leonardo as
if he were a brother, and the veteran forgets that Raphael died at an
age to which his own is of patriarchal antiquity.

But why this lover of the beautiful should be so drawn to one whom
Nature has wronged so deeply seems hard to explain. Pity, I suppose.
They say that leads to love.

--I thought this matter over until I became excited and curious, and
determined to set myself more seriously at work to find out what was
going on in these wild hearts and where their passionate lives were
drifting. I say wild hearts and passionate lives, because I think I can
look through this seeming calmness of youth and this apparent feebleness
of organization, and see that Nature, whom it is very hard to cheat, is
only waiting as the sapper waits in his mine, knowing that all is in
readiness and the slow-match burning quietly down to the powder. He will
leave it by-and-by, and then it will take care of itself.

One need not wait to see the smoke coming through the roof of a house
and the flames breaking out of the windows to know that the building is
on fire. Hark! There is a quiet, steady, unobtrusive, crisp, not loud,
but very knowing little creeping crackle that is tolerably intelligible.
There is a whiff of something floating about, suggestive of toasting
shingles. Also a sharp pyroligneous-acid pungency in the air that stings
one's eyes. Let us get up and see what is going on.--Oh,--oh,--oh! do
you know what has got hold of you? It is the great red dragon that is
born of the little red eggs we call  _sparks_, with his hundred blowing
red manes, and his thousand lashing red tails, and his multitudinous red
eyes glaring at every crack and key-hole, and his countless red tongues
lapping the beams he is going to crunch presently, and his hot breath
warping the panels and cracking the glass and making old timber sweat
that had forgotten it was ever alive with sap. Run for your life! leap!
or you will be a cinder in five minutes, that nothing but a coroner
would take for the wreck of a human being!

If any gentleman will have the kindness to stop this run-away
comparison, I shall be much obliged to him. All I intended to say was,
that we need not wait for hearts to break out in flames to know that
they are full of combustibles and that a spark has got among them. I
don't pretend to say or know what it is that brings these two persons
together;--and when I say together, I only mean that there is an
evident affinity of some kind or other which makes their commonest
intercourse strangely significant, so that each seems to understand a
look or a word of the other. When the young girl laid her hand on the
little gentleman's arm,--which so greatly shocked the Model, you may
remember,--I saw that she had learned the lion-tamer's secret. She
masters him, and yet I can see she has a kind of awe of him, as the man
who goes into the cage has of the monster that he makes a baby of.

One of two things must happen. The first, is love, downright love, on
the part of this young girl, for the poor little misshapen man. You may
laugh, if you like. But women are apt to love the men who they think
have the largest capacity of loving;--and who can love like one that has
thirsted all his life long for the smile of youth and beauty, and seen
it fly his presence as the wave ebbed from the parched lips of him
whose fabled punishment is the perpetual type of human longing and
disappointment? What would become of _him_, if this fresh soul should
stoop upon him in her first young passion, as the flamingo drops out of
the sky upon some lonely and dark lagoon in the marshes of Cagliari,
with a flutter of scarlet feathers and a kindling of strange fires
in the shadowy waters that hold her burning image in their trembling

--Marry her, of course?--Why, no, not _of course_. I should think the
chance less, on the whole, that he would be willing to marry her than
she to marry him.

There is one other thing that might happen. If the interest he awakes in
her gets to be a deep one, and yet has nothing of love in it, she will
glance off from him into some great passion or other. All excitements
run to love in women of a certain--let us not say age, but youth. An
electrical current passing through a coil of wire makes a magnet of a
bar of iron lying within it, but not touching it. So a woman is turned
into a love-magnet by a tingling current of life running round her. I
should like to see one of them balanced on a pivot properly adjusted,
and watch if she did not turn so as to point north and south,--as she
would, if the love-currents are like those of the earth our mother.

Pray, do you happen to remember Wordsworth's "Boy of Windermere"? This
boy used to put his hands to his mouth, and shout aloud, mimicking the
hooting of the owls, who would answer him

  "with quivering peals,
  And long halloos and screams, and echoes loud
  Redoubled and redoubled."

When they failed to answer him, and he hung listening intently for
their voices, he would sometimes catch the faint sound of far distant
waterfalls, or the whole scene around him would imprint itself with new
force upon his perceptions.--Read the sonnet, if you please;--it is
Wordsworth all over,--trivial in subject, solemn in style, vivid in
description, prolix in detail, true metaphysically, but immensely
suggestive of "imagination," to use a mild term, when related as an
actual fact of a sprightly youngster.

All I want of it is to enforce the principle, that, when the door of the
soul is once opened to a guest, there is no knowing who will come in

--Our young girl keeps up her childish habit of sketching heads and
characters. Nobody is, I should think, more faithful and exact in the
drawing of the academical figures given her as lessons; but there is
a perpetual arabesque of fancies that run round the margin of her
drawings, and there is one book which I know she keeps to run riot
in, where, if anywhere, a shrewd eye would be most likely to read her
thoughts. This book of hers I mean to see, if I can get at it honorably.

I have never yet crossed the threshold of the little gentleman's
chamber. How he lives, when he once gets within it, I can only guess.
His hours are late, as I have said; often, on waking late in the night,
I see the light through cracks in his window-shutters on the wall of the
house opposite. If the times of witchcraft were not over, I should be
afraid to be so close a neighbor to a place from which there come such
strange noises. Sometimes it is the dragging of something heavy over the
floor, that makes me shiver to hear it,--it sounds so like what people
that kill other people have to do now and then. Occasionally I hear very
sweet strains of music,--whether of a wind or stringed instrument, or a
human voice, strange as it may seem, I have often tried to find out, but
through the partition I could not be quite sure. If I have not heard
a woman cry and moan, and then again laugh as though she would die
laughing, I have heard sounds so like them that--I am a fool to confess
it--I have covered my head with the bedclothes; for I have had a fancy
in my dreams, that I could hardly shake off when I woke up, about that
so-called witch that was his great-grandmother, or whatever it was,--a
sort of fancy that she visited the little gentleman,--a young woman
in old-fashioned dress, with a red ring round her white neck,--not a
necklace, but a dull stain.

Of course you don't suppose that I have any foolish superstitions about
the matter,--I, the Professor, who have seen enough to take all that
nonsense out of any man's head! It is not our beliefs that frighten us
half so much as our fancies. A man not only believes, but knows he runs
a risk, whenever he steps into a railroad car; but it doesn't worry him

On the other hand, carry that man across a pasture a little way from
some dreary country-village, and show him an old house where there were
strange deaths a good many years ago, and rumors of ugly spots on the
walls,--the old man hung himself in the garret, that is certain, and
ever since the country-people have called it "the haunted house,"--the
owners haven't been able to let it since the last tenants left on
account of the noises,--so it has fallen into sad decay, and the moss
grows on the rotten shingles of the roof, and the clapboards have turned
black, and the windows rattle like teeth that chatter with fear, and the
walls of the house begin to lean as if its knees were shaking,--take the
man who didn't mind the real risk of the cars to that old house, on some
dreary November evening, and ask him to sleep there alone,--how do you
think he will like it? He doesn't believe one word of ghosts,--but then
he knows, that, whether waking or sleeping, his imagination will people
the haunted chambers with ghastly images. It is not what we _believe_,
as I said before, that frightens us commonly, but what we _conceive_. A
principle that reaches a good way, if I am not mistaken. I say, then,
that, if these odd sounds coming from the little gentleman's chamber
sometimes make me nervous, so that I cannot get to sleep, it is not
because I suppose he is engaged in any unlawful or mysterious way. The
only wicked suggestion that ever came into my head was one that was
founded on the landlady's story of his having a pile of gold; it was a
ridiculous fancy; besides, I suspect the story of _sweating_ gold was
only one of the many fables got up to make the Jews odious and afford a
pretext for plundering them. As for the sound like a woman laughing and
crying, I never said it _was_ a woman's voice; for, in the first place,
I could only hear indistinctly; and, secondly, he may have an organ, or
some queer instrument or other, with what they call the _voce umana_
stop. If he moves his bed round to get out of draughts, or for any such
reason, there is nothing very frightful in that simple operation. Most
of our foolish conceits explain themselves in some such simple way. And
yet, for all that, I confess, that, when I woke up the other evening,
and heard, first a sweet complaining cry, and then footsteps, and then
the dragging sound,--nothing but his bed, I am quite sure,--I felt a
stirring in the roots of my hair as the feasters did in Keats's terrible
poem of "Lamia."

There is nothing very odd in my feeling nervous when I happen to lie
awake and get listening for sounds. Just keep your ears open any time
after midnight, when you are lying in bed in a lone attic of a dark
night. What horrid, strange, suggestive, unaccountable noises you will
hear! The _stillness_ of night is a vulgar error. All the dead things
seem to be alive. Crack! That is the old chest of drawers; you never
hear it crack in the daytime. Creak! There's a door ajar; _you know you
shut them all_. Where can that latch be that rattles so? Is anybody
trying it softly? or, worse than any _body_, is----? (Cold shiver.) Then
a sudden gust that jars all the windows;--very strange!--there does not
seem to be any wind about that it belongs to. When it stops, you hear
the worms boring in the powdery beams overhead. Then steps outside,--a
stray animal, no doubt. All right,--but a gentle moisture breaks out all
over you; and then something like a whistle or a cry,--another gust of
wind, perhaps; that accounts for the rustling that just made your heart
roll over and tumble about, so that it felt more like a live rat under
your ribs than a part of your own body; then a crash of something that
has fallen,--blown over, very like----_Pater noster, qui es in coelis!_
for you are damp and cold, and sitting bolt upright, and the bed
trembling so that the death-watch is frightened and has stopped ticking!

No,--night is an awful time for strange noises and secret doings. Who
ever dreamed, till one of our sleepless neighbors told us of it, of that
Walpurgis gathering of birds and beasts of prey,--foxes, and owls, and
crows, and eagles, that come from all the country round on moonshiny
nights to crunch the clams and muscles, and pick out the eyes of dead
fishes that the storm has thrown on Chelsea Beach? Our old mother Nature
has pleasant and cheery tones enough for us when she comes to us in her
dress of blue and gold over the eastern hill-tops; but when she follows
us up-stairs to our beds in her suit of black velvet and diamonds, every
creak of her sandals and every whisper of her lips is full of mystery
and fear.

You understand, then, distinctly, that I do not believe there is
anything about this singular little neighbor of mine which is as it
should not be. Probably a visit to his room would clear up all that has
puzzled me, and make me laugh at the notions which began, I suppose, in
nightmares, and ended by keeping my imagination at work so as almost to
make me uncomfortable at times. But it is not so easy to visit him as
some of our other boarders, for various reasons which I will not stop to
mention. I think some of them are rather pleased to get "the Professor"
under their ceilings.

The young man John, for instance, asked me to come up one day and try
some "old Burbon," which he said was A.1. On asking him what was the
number of his room, he answered, that it was forty-'leven, sky-parlor
floor, but that I shouldn't find it, if he didn't go ahead to show me
the way. I followed him to his _habitat_, being very willing to see in
what kind of warren he burrowed, and thinking I might pick up something
about the boarders who had excited my curiosity.

Mighty close quarters they were where the young man John bestowed
himself and his furniture; this last consisting of a bed, a chair,
a bureau, a trunk, and numerous pegs with coats and "pants" and
"vests,"--as he was in the habit of calling waistcoats and pantaloons or
trousers,--hanging up as if the owner had melted out of them. Several
prints were pinned up unframed,--among them that grand national
portrait-piece, "Barnum presenting Ossian E. Dodge to Jenny Lind," and a
picture of a famous trot, in which I admired anew the cabalistic air of
that imposing array of expressions, and especially the Italicized word,
"Dan Mace _names_ b. h. Major Slocum," and "Hiram Woodruff _names_ g. m.
Lady Smith." "Best three in five. Time: 2.40, 2.46, 2.50."

That set me thinking how very odd this matter of trotting horses is, as
an index of the mathematical exactness of the laws of living mechanism.
I saw Lady Suffolk trot a mile in 2.26. Flora Temple has done it in
2.24-1/2; and Ethan Allen is said to have done it in the same time.
Many horses have trotted their mile under 2.30; none that I remember in
public as low down in the twenties as 2.24. _Five seconds_, then, in
about a hundred and sixty is the whole range of the maxima of the
present race of trotting-horses. The same thing is seen in the running
of men. Many can run a mile in five minutes; but when one comes to the
fractions below, they taper down until somewhere about 4.30 the maximum
is reached. Averages of masses have been studied more than averages of
maxima and minima. We know from the Registrar-General's Reports, that a
certain number of children--say from one to two dozen--die every year in
England from drinking hot water out of spouts of teakettles. We know,
that, among suicides, women and men past a certain age almost never use
fire-arms. A woman who has made up her mind to die is still afraid of a
pistol or a gun. Or is it that the explosion would derange her costume?
I say, averages of masses we have; but our tables of maxima we owe
to the sporting men more than to the philosophers. The lesson their
experience teaches is, that Nature makes no leaps,--does nothing _per
saltum_. The greatest brain that ever lived, no doubt, was only a
small fraction of an idea ahead of the second best. Just look at the
chess-players. Leaving out the phenomenal exceptions, the nice
shades that separate the skilful ones show how closely their brains
approximate,--almost as closely as chronometers. Such a person is a
"_knight_-player,"--he must have that piece given him. Another must have
two pawns. Another, "pawn and two," or one pawn and two moves. Then
we find one who claims "pawn and move," holding himself, with this
fractional advantage, a match for one who would be pretty sure to beat
him playing even.--So much are minds alike; and you and I think we
are "peculiar,"--that Nature broke her jelly-mould after shaping our
cerebral convolutions! So I reflected, standing and looking at the

--I say, Governor,--broke in the young man John,--them hosses'll stay
jest as well, if you'll only set down. I've had 'em this year, and they
haven't stirred.--He spoke, and handed the chair towards me,--seating
himself, at the same time, on the end of the bed.

You have lived in this house some time?--I said,--with a note of
interrogation at the end of the statement.

Do I look as if I'd lost much flesh?--said he,--answering my question by

No,--said I;--for that matter, I think you do credit to "the bountifully
furnished table of the excellent lady who provides so liberally for the
company that meets around her hospitable board."

[The sentence in quotation-marks was from one of those disinterested
editorials in small type, which I suspect to have been furnished by
a friend of the landlady's, and paid for as an advertisement. This
impartial testimony to the superior qualities of the establishment and
its head attracted a number of applicants for admission, and a couple of
new boarders made a brief appearance at the table. One of them was
of the class of people who grumble if they don't get canvasbacks and
woodcocks every day, for three-fifty per week. The other was subject to
somnambulism, or walking in the night, when he ought to have been asleep
in his bed. In this state he walked into several of the boarders'
chambers, his eyes wide open, as is usual with somnambulists, and, from
some odd instinct or other, wishing to know what the hour was, got
together a number of their watches, for the purpose of comparing them,
as it would seem. Among them was a repeater, belonging to our young
Marylander. He happened to wake up while the somnambulist was in his
chamber, and, not knowing his infirmity, caught hold of him and gave him
a dreadful shaking, after which he tied his hands and feet, and then
went to sleep till morning, when he introduced him to a gentleman used
to taking care of such cases of somnambulism.]

If you, my reader, will please to skip backward, over this parenthesis,
you will come to our conversation,--which it has interrupted.

It a'n't the feed,--said the young man John,--it's the old woman's looks
when a fellah lays it in too strong. The feed's well enough. After geese
have got tough, 'n' turkeys have got strong, 'n' lamb's got old, 'n'
veal's pretty nigh beef, 'n' sparragrass's growin' tall 'n' slim 'n'
scattery about the head, 'n' green peas gettin' so big 'n' hard they'd
be dangerous if you fired 'em out of a revolver, we get hold of all them
delicacies of the season. But it's too much like feedin' on live folks
and devourin' widdah's substance, to lay yourself out in the eatin' way,
when a fellah's as hungry as the chap that said a turkey was too much
for one 'n' not enough for two. I can't help lookin' at the old woman.
Corned-beef-days she's tolerable calm. Roastin'-days she worries some,
'n' keeps a sharp eye on the chap that carves. But when there's anything
in the poultry line, it seems to hurt her feelin's so to see the knife
goin' into the breast and joints comin' to pieces, that there's no
comfort in eatin'. When I cut up an old fowl and help the boarders,
I always feel as if I ought to say, Won't you have a slice of
widdah?--instead of chicken.

The young man John fell into a train of reflections which ended in his
producing a Bologna sausage, a plate of "crackers," as we Boston folks
call certain biscuits, and the bottle of whiskey described as being A.1.

Under the influence of the crackers and sausage, he grew cordial and

It was time, I thought, to sound him as to those of our boarders who had
excited my curiosity.

What do you think of our young Iris?--I began.

Fust-rate little filly;--he said.--Pootiest and nicest little chap
I've seen since the schoolma'am left. Schoolma'am was a brown-haired
one,--eyes coffee-color. This one has got wine-colored eyes,--'n'
that's the reason they turn a fellah's head, I suppose.

This is a splendid blonde,--I said,--the other was a brunette. Which
style do you like best?

Which do I like best, boiled mutton or roast mutton?--said the young man
John. Like 'em both,--it a'n't the color of 'em makes the goodness. I've
been kind of lonely since schoolma'am went away. Used to like to look at
her. I never said anything particular to her, that I remember, but--

I don't know whether it was the cracker and sausage, or that the young
fellow's feet were treading on the hot ashes of some longing that had
not had time to cool, but his eye glistened as he stopped.

I suppose she wouldn't have looked at a fellah like me,--he said,--but I
come pretty near tryin'. If she had said, Yes, though, I shouldn't have
known what to have done with her. Can't marry a woman now-a-days till
you're so deaf you have to cock your head like a parrot to hear what she
says, and so long-sighted you can't see what she looks like nearer than

Here is another chance for you,--I said.--What do you want nicer than
such a young lady as Iris?

It's no use,--he answered.--I look at them girls and feel as the fellah
did when he missed catchin' the trout.--'To'od 'a' cost more butter to
cook him 'n' he's worth,--says the fellah.--Takes a whole piece o' goods
to cover a girl up now-a-days. I'd as lief undertake to keep a span of
elephants,--and take an ostrich to board, too,--as to marry one of 'em.
What's the use? Clerks and counter-jumpers a'n't anything. Sparragrass
and green peas a'n't for them,--not while they're young and tender.
Hossback-ridin' a'n't for them,--except once a year,--on Fast-day. And
marryin' a'n't for them. Sometimes a fellah feels lonely, and would
like to have a nice young woman, to tell her how lonely he feels. And
sometimes a fellah,--here the young man John looked very confidential,
and, perhaps, as if a little ashamed of his weakness,--sometimes a
fellah would like to have one o' them small young ones to trot on his
knee and push about in a little wagon,--a kind of a little Johnny, you
know;--it's odd enough, but, it seems to me, nobody can afford them
little articles, except the folks that are so rich they can buy
everything, and the folks that are so poor they don't want anything. It
makes nice boys of us young fellahs, no doubt! And it's pleasant to see
fine young girls sittin', like shopkeepers behind their goods, waitin',
and waitin', and waitin', 'n' no customers,--and the men lingerin' round
and lookin' at the goods, like folks that want to be customers, but
haven't got the money!

Do you think the deformed gentleman means to make love to Iris?--I said.

What! Little Boston ask that girl to marry him! Well, now, that's comin'
of it a little too strong. Yes, I guess she will marry him and carry
him round in a basket, like a lame bantam! Look here!--he said,
mysteriously;--one of the boarders swears there's a woman comes to see
him, and that he has heard her singin' and screechin'. I should like
to know what he's about in that den of his. He lays low 'n' keeps
dark,--and, I tell you, there's a good many of the boarders would like
to get into his chamber, but he don't seem to want 'em. Biddy could
tell somethin' about what she's seen when she's been to put his room
to rights. She's a Paddy 'n' a fool, but she knows enough to keep her
tongue still. All I know is, I saw her crossin' herself one day when she
came out of that room. She looked pale enough, 'n' I heard her mutterin'
somethin' or other about the Blessed Virgin. If it hadn't been for the
double doors to that chamber of his, I'd have had a squint inside before
this; but, somehow or other, it never seems to happen that they're both
open at once.

What do you think he employs himself about?--said I.

The young man John winked.

I waited patiently for the thought, of which this wink was the blossom,
to come to fruit in words.

I don't believe in witches,--said the young man John.

Nor I.

We were both silent for a few minutes.

--Did you ever see the young girl's drawing-books,--I said, presently.

All but one,--he answered;--she keeps a lock on that, and won't show it.
Ma'am Allen, (the young rogue sticks to that name, in speaking of the
gentleman with the _diamond_,) Ma'am Allen tried to peek into it one day
when she left it on the sideboard. "If you please," says she,--'n'
took it from him, 'n' gave him a look that made him curl up like a
caterpillar on a hot shovel. I only wished he hadn't, and had jest given
her a little saas, for I've been takin' boxin'-lessons, 'n' I've got a
new way of counterin' I want to try on to somebody.

--The end of all this was, that I came away from the young fellow's
room, feeling that there were two principal things that I had to live
for, for the next six weeks or six months, if it should take so long.
These were, to get a sight of the young girl's drawing-book, which I
suspected had her heart shut up in it, and to get a look into the little
gentleman's room.

I don't doubt you think it rather absurd that I should trouble myself
about these matters. You tell me, with some show of reason, that all I
shall find in the young girl's book will be some outlines of angels with
immense eyes, traceries of flowers, rural sketches, and caricatures,
among which I shall probably have the pleasure of seeing my own features
figuring. Very likely. But I'll tell you what _I_ think I shall find. If
this child has idealized the strange little bit of humanity over which
she seems to have spread her wings like a brooding dove,--if, in one of
those wild vagaries that passionate natures are so liable to, she has
fairly sprung upon him with her clasping nature, as the sea-flowers fold
about the first stray shell-fish that brushes their outspread tentacles,
depend upon it, I shall find the marks of it in this drawing-book of
hers,--if I can ever get a look at it,--fairly, of course, for I would
not play tricks to satisfy my curiosity.

Then, if I can get into this little gentleman's room under any fair
pretext, I shall, no doubt, satisfy myself in five minutes that he is
just like other people, and that there is no particular mystery about

The night after my visit to the young man John, I made all these and
many more reflections. It was about two o'clock in the morning,--bright
starlight,--so light that I could make out the time on my
alarm-clock,--when I woke up trembling and very moist. It was the heavy,
dragging sound, as I had often heard it before, that waked me. Presently
a window was softly closed. I had just begun to get over the agitation
with which we always awake from nightmare dreams, when I heard the sound
which seemed to me as of a woman's voice,--the clearest, purest soprano
which one could well conceive of. It was not loud, and I could not
distinguish a word, if it was a woman's voice; but there were recurring
phrases of sound and snatches of rhythm that reached me, which suggested
the idea of complaint, and sometimes, I thought, of passionate grief and
despair. It died away at last,--and then I heard the opening of a door,
followed by a low, monotonous sound, as of one talking,--and then
the closing of a door,--and presently the light on the opposite wall
disappeared and all was still for the night.

By George! this gets interesting,--I said, as I got out of bed for a
change of night-clothes.

I had this in my pocket the other day, but thought I wouldn't read it.
So I read it to the boarders instead, and print it to finish off this
record with.


  He sleeps not here; in hope and prayer
  His wandering flock had gone before,
  But he, the shepherd, might not share
  Their sorrows on the wintry shore.

  Before the Speedwell's anchor swung,
  Ere yet the Mayflower's sail was spread,
  While round his feet the Pilgrims clung,
  The pastor spake, and thus he said:--

  "Men, brethren, sisters, children dear!
  God calls you hence from over sea;
  Ye may not build by Haerlem Meer,
  Nor yet along the Zuyder-Zee.

  "Ye go to bear the saving word
  To tribes unnamed and shores untrod:
  Heed well the lessons ye have heard
  From those old teachers taught of God.

  "Yet think not unto them was lent
  All light for all the coming days,
  And Heaven's eternal wisdom spent
  In making straight the ancient ways.

  "The living fountain overflows
  For every flock, for every lamb,
  Nor heeds, though angry creeds oppose
  With Luther's dike or Calvin's dam."

  He spake; with lingering, long embrace,
  With tears of love and partings fond,
  They floated down the creeping Maas,
  Along the isle of Ysselmond.

  They passed the frowning towers of Briel,
  The "Hook of Holland's" shelf of sand,
  And grated soon with lifting keel
  The sullen shores of Fatherland.

  No home for these!--too well they knew
  The mitred king behind the throne;--
  The sails were set, the pennons flew,
  And westward ho! for worlds unknown.

 --And these were they who gave us birth,
  The Pilgrims of the sunset wave,
  Who won for us this virgin earth,
  And freedom with the soil they gave.

  The pastor slumbers by the Rhine,--
  In alien earth the exiles lie,--
  Their nameless graves our holiest shrine,
  His words our noblest battle-cry!

  Still cry them, and the world shall hear,
  Ye dwellers by the storm-swept sea!
  Ye _have_ not built by Haerlem Meer,
  Nor on the land-locked Zuyder-Zee!

       *       *       *       *       *



We Americans, amidst the confusion and stir of material interests, are
not inattentive to the progress of those claims whose growth is as
silent as that of the leaves around us, and whose values find no echo in
Wall Street.

With the spring there has bloomed in New York a flower of no common
beauty. All the fashion and influence there have been to hail this
growth of our soil at its cloistered home in Tenth Street. There is but
one opinion of the beauty and novelty of the stranger. It is of the
"Heart of the Andes," by Mr. Frederick E. Church, we speak. This artist,
now known for some years as he who has with most daring tracked to its
depths the witchery and wonder of our summer skies, and the results of
whose two visits to South America have ere this shown how sensitive and
sure the photograph of his memory is, gives us from the _trop-plein_ of
his souvenirs this last and crowning page.

We hold the merit and charm of Mr. Church's works to be, that they are
so American in feeling and treatment. What chiefly distinguishes America
from Europe, as the object of landscape, is, that Europe is the region
of "bits," of picturesque compositions, of sunflecked lanes, of nestling
villages, and castle-crowned steeps,--while with us everything is less
condensed, on a wider scale, and with vaster spaces.

Mr. Church has the eagle eye to measure this vastness. He loves a
wide expanse, a boundless horizon. He does not, gypsy-like, hide with
Gainsborough beneath a hedge, but his glance sweeps across a continent,
and no detail escapes him. This is what makes the "Andes" a really
marvellous picture. In intellectual grasp, clear and vivid apprehension
of what he wants and where to put it, we think Mr. Church without an
equal. Quite a characteristic of his is a love of detail and finish
without injury to breadth and general effect. You look into his picture
with an opera-glass as you would into the next field from an open
window. His power is not so much one of suggestion, an appeal to the
beauty and grandeur in yourself, as the ability to become a colorless
medium to beauty and grandeur from without; hence the impression is at
first hand, and such as Nature herself produces.

The world abounds in pictures where loving human faculty has lifted
ordinary motives into our sympathy; but where the subject is the
grandest landscape affluence of the world, effect, in the ordinary
sense, ceases to be of value. We need the thing, and no human ennobling
of it. In this picture we have it; no spectral cloud-pile, but a real
Chimborazo, with the hoar of eternity upon its scalp, looks down upon
the happy New-Yorker in his first May perspiration. And as the wind sets
east, no yellow hint at something warming, but whole dales and plains
still in the real sunshine, take the chill from off his heart. No wonder
he, his wife, and his quietly enthusiastic girls throng and sit there.
They are proud in their hearts of the handsome young painter. And well
they may be! Never has the New World sent so native a flavor to the Old.
Unlike so many others of our good artists, there is no saturation from
the past in Mr. Church. No souvenir of what once was warm and new in the
heart of Claude or Poussin ages the fresh work. It has a relish of our
soil; its almost Yankee knowingness, its placid, clear, intellectual
power, with its delicate sentiment and strong self-reliance, are ours;
we delightfully feel that it belongs to us, and that we are of it.

Such is the last great work of the New York school of landscape,--a
living school, and destined to long triumphs,--already appreciated and
nobly encouraged. Its members are men as individual and various in their
gifts, as they are harmonious and manly in their mutual recognition and

       *       *       *       *       *


_Love Me Little, Love Me Long._ By CHARLES READE, Author of "It is Never
too Late to Mend," "White Lies," etc. New York: Harper & Brothers. 1859.

This is the last, and in many respects the best, of Mr. Charles Reade's
literary achievements. Its popularity, we are informed, exceeds that of
any of his former works, excepting the first two published by him, "Peg
Woffington," and "Christie Johnstone," which a few years ago startled
the novel-reading world by their eccentricity of style, their
ingenious novelty of construction, and also by their freshness of
sentiment,--comet-books, pursuing one another in erratic orbits of
thought, now close upon the central light of Truth, now distantly remote
from it, but always brilliant, and generally leaving a sparkling train
of recollection behind. The author's subsequent productions, until the
present, have been less successful; some by reason of their positive
inferiority; some because of their extraordinary affectations of
expression, repelling the multitude, who do not choose to risk their
brains through unlimited pages of labyrinthine rhetoric; some, perhaps,
because of their doubtful paternity, evidences of French origin being
in many places discernible. Here, however, there appears a manifest
improvement. This story is exquisitely simple in conception, and the
narration is mostly full of ease and grace, although the unfolding of
the plot is less direct than might have been expected from an author who
professes so deep a regard for the dramatic order of development. There
is, for instance, an episodical chapter of upwards of thirty pages,
describing commercial England in a state of panic, which is very nearly
as appropriate as a disquisition on the Primary Rocks, or an inquiry
into the origin of the Cabala would be, but which is so palpably
introduced for the purpose of displaying the author's financial
erudition, that he feels himself called upon to apologize in a brief
preface for its intrusion. In the concluding chapters, too, the various
threads of interest are gathered together with very little artistic
compactness. The reader is disappointed at the tameness of the
culmination, compared with the vigor of the approach thereto. But
otherwise there is much to be charmed with, and not a little to admire.

Mr. Reade has renounced a good number of the odd fancies which at one
time pervaded him. We find no traces of the [Greek: stigmatophobia]
with which he was formerly afflicted. Nouns are wedded to obedient
adjectives, adverbs to their willing verbs, by the lawful mediation
of the recognized authorities of punctuation, the illegitimate and
licentious disregard of which, as recklessly manifested in "It is Never
too Late to Mend," indicated a disposition to entirely subvert
the established morals of the language. It is pleasant to see how
unreservedly Mr. Reade has abandoned his functions as apostle of
grammatical free-love. Of tricks of typography there are also fewer,
although these yet remain in an excess which good taste can hardly
sanction. We often find whole platoons of admiration-points stretching
out in line, to give extraordinary emphasis to sentences already
sufficiently forcible. We sometimes encounter extravagant varieties of
type, humorously intended, but the use of which seems a game hardly
worth Mr. Reade's candle, which certainly possesses enough illuminating
power of its own, without seeking additional refulgence by such
commonplace expedients.

In one of his pet peculiarities, the selection of a name for his work,
the author has surpassed himself. It is a good thing to have an imposing
name. In literature, as in society, a sounding title makes its way with
delicious freedom. But it is also well to see to it, that, in the matter
of title, some connection with the book to which it is applied shall be
maintained. We are accustomed to approach a title somewhat as we do a
finger-post,--not hoping that it will reveal the nature of the road we
are to follow, the character of the scenery we are to gaze upon, or the
general disposition of the impending population, but anticipating that
it will at least enable us to start in the right direction. Now every
reader of "Love me Little, Love me Long" is apt to consider himself or
herself justified in entertaining acrimonious sentiments towards Mr.
Reade for the non-fulfilment of his titular hint. If, in the process of
binding, the leaves of this story had accidentally found their way into
covers bearing other and various appellations, we imagine that very
little injury would have been done to the author's meaning or the
purchaser's understanding. It is, indeed, interesting to look forward
to the progress of Mr. Reade's ideas on the subject of titles. We have
already enjoyed a couple of pleasing nursery platitudes; perhaps it
would not be altogether out of order to expect in future a series
something like the following:--

  "Oh, Dear, What Can the Matter Be!!??!?!"
  "One, Two, Buckle My Shoe!"
  "Sing a Song of Sixpence, a Bag Full of Rye!"
  "Hiccory, Diccory, Dock!!!"
  etc., etc.

Let us not forget, in laughing at the author's weaknesses, to
acknowledge his strength. He shows in this work an inventive fancy equal
to that of any writer of light fiction in the English language, and
hardly surpassed by those of the French,--from which latter, it is
fair to suppose, much of his inspiration is drawn, since his style is
undisguisedly that of modern French romancers, though often made the
vehicle of thoughts far nobler than any they are wont to convey. His
portraits of character are capital, especially those of feminine
character, which are peculiarly vivid and _spirituels_. He represents
infantile imagination with Pre-Raphaelitic accuracy. And his
descriptions are frequently of enormous power. A story of a sailor's
perils on a whaling voyage is told in a manner almost as forcible
as that of the "frigate fight," by Walt. Whitman, and in a manner
strikingly similar, too. A night adventure in the English channel--a
pleasure excursion diverted by a storm from its original intention into
a life-and-death struggle--is related with unsurpassed effect. The whole
work is as sprightly and agreeable a love-story as any English writer
has produced,--always amusing, often flashing with genuine wit,
sometimes inspiring in its eloquent energy. And this ought to be
sufficient to secure the abundant success of any book of its class, and
to cause its successor to be awaited with interest.

_The Choral Harmony_. By B.F. BAKER and W.O. PERKINS. Boston: Phillips,
Sampson, & Co. pp. 378.

The great number of music-books published, and the immense editions
annually sold, are the best proof of the demand for variety on the part
of choirs and singing-societies. Nearly all the popular collections will
be found to have about the same proportions of the permanent and the
transient elements,--on the one hand, the old chorals and hymn-tunes
consecrated by centuries of solemn worship,--on the other, the
compositions and "arrangements" of the editors. Here and there a modern
tune strikes the public taste or sinks deeper to the heart, and it takes
its place thenceforward with the "Old Hundredth," with "Martyrs," and
"Mear"; but the greater number of these compositions are as ephemeral as
newspaper stories. Every conductor of a choir knows, however, that, to
maintain an interest among singers, it is necessary to give them new
music for practice, especially new pieces for the opening of public
worship,--that they will not improve while singing familiar tunes, any
more than children will read with proper expression lessons which have
become wearisome by repetition. Masses and oratorios are beyond the
capacity of all but the most cultivated singers; and we suppose that
the very prevalence of these collections which aim to please an average
order of taste may, after all, furnish to large numbers a pleasure which
the rigid classicists would deny them, without in any way filling the

This collection has a goodly number of the favorite old tunes, and they
are given with the harmonies to which the people are accustomed. The
new tunes are of various degrees of excellence, but most of them are
constructed with a due regard to form, and those which we take to be Mr.
Baker's are exceedingly well harmonized. There is an unusual number of
anthems, motets, etc.,--many of them at once solid and attractive. The
elementary portion contains a full and intelligible exposition of the
science. To those choirs who wish to increase their stock of music, and
to singing-societies who desire the opportunity of practising new and
brilliant anthems and sentences, the "Choral Harmony" may be commended,
as equal, at least, to any work of the kind now before the public.

_Seacliff: or the Mystery of the Westervelts_. By J.W. DE FOREST, Author
of "Oriental Acquaintance," "European Acquaintance," etc., etc. Boston:
Phillips, Sampson, & Co. pp. 466. 12mo.

This is a very readable novel, artful in plot, effective in
characterization, and brilliant in style. "The Mystery of the
Westervelts" is a mystery which excites the reader's curiosity at the
outset, and holds his pleased attention to the end. The incidents are so
contrived that the secret is not anticipated until it is unveiled, and
then the explanation is itself a surprise. The characters are generally
strongly conceived, skilfully discriminated, and happily combined. The
delineation of Mr. Westervelt, the father of the heroine, is especially
excellent. Irresolute in thought, impotent in will, and only
occasionally fretted by circumstances into a feeble activity, he is an
almost painfully accurate representation of a class of men who drift
through life without any power of self-direction. Mrs. Westervelt has
equal moral feebleness with less brain, and her character is a study in
practical psychology. Somerville, the villain of the piece, who unites
the disposition of Domitian to the manners of Chesterfield, is the
pitiless master of this female slave. The coquettish Mrs. Van Leer is
a prominent personage of the story; and her shallow malice and pretty
deviltries are most effectively represented. She is not only a flirt in
outward actions, but a flirt in soul, and her perfection in impertinence
almost rises to genius. All these characters betray patient meditation,
and the author's hold on them is rarely relaxed. A novel evincing so
much intellectual labor, written in a style of such careful elaboration,
and exhibiting so much skill in the development of the story, can
scarcely fail of a success commensurate with its merits.

_To Cuba and Back_. A Vacation Voyage. By R.H. DANA, JR., Author of "Two
Years before the Mast." Boston: Ticknor & Fields. 1859. pp. 288. 16mo.

It was, perhaps, a dangerous experiment for the author of a book of the
worldwide and continued popularity of "Two Years before the Mast" to
dare, with that almost unparalleled success still staring him in the
face, to tempt Fortune by giving to the public another book. But long
before this time, the thousands of copies that have left the shelves of
the publishers have attested a success scarcely second to that of Mr.
Dana's first venture. The elements of success, in both cases, are to be
found in every page of the books themselves. This "Vacation Voyage" has
not a dull page in it. Every reader reads it to the end. Every paragraph
has its own charm; every word is chosen with that quick instinct
that seizes upon the right word to describe the matter in hand which
characterizes Mr. Dana's forensic efforts, and places him so high on the
list of natural-born advocates,--which gives him the power of eloquence
at the bar, and a power scarcely less with the slower medium of the pen.
These Cuban sketches are real _stereographs_, and Cuba stands before you
as distinct and lifelike as words can make it. Single words, from Mr.
Dana's pen, are pregnant with great significance, and their meaning is
brought out by taking a little thought, as the leaves and sticks and
stones and pigmy men and women in the shady corners of the stereograph
are developed into the seeming proportions of real life, when the images
in the focus of the lenses of the stereoscope. We know of no modern book
of travels which gives one so vivid and fresh a picture, in many various
aspects, of the external nature, the people, the customs, the laws and
domestic institutions of a strange country, as does this little volume,
the off-hand product of a few days snatched from the engrossing cares of
the most active professional life. With a quick eye for the beauties of
landscape, a keen and lively perception of what is droll and amusing
in human nature, a warm heart, sympathizing readily where sympathy is
required, the various culture of the scholar, and the training of the
lawyer and politician, all well mixed with manly, straightforward,
Anglo-Saxon pluck, Mr. Dana has, in an eminent degree, all the best
qualities that should mark the traveller who undertakes to tell his
story to the world.

Some statistics, judiciously introduced, of the present government, and
of the institution of slavery and the slave-trade, with the author's
comments upon them, give a practical value to the book at this time for
all thinking and patriotic citizens, and make it one not only to be read
for an hour's entertainment, but carefully studied for the important
practical suggestions of its pages.

_Memoir of Theophilus Parsons_, Chief Justice of the Supreme Judicial
Court of Massachusetts; with Notices of some of his Contemporaries. By
his Son, THEOPHILUS PARSONS. Boston: Ticknor & Fields. 1859. pp. 476.

The division of the United States into so many wellnigh independent
republics, each with official rewards in its gift great enough to excite
and to satisfy a considerable ambition, makes fame a palpably provincial
thing in America. We say _palpably_, because the larger part of
contemporary fame is truly parochial everywhere; only we are apt to
overlook the fact when we measure by kingdoms or empires instead of
counties, and to fancy a stature for Palmerston or Persigny suitable to
the size of the stage on which they act. It seems a much finer thing to
be a Lord Chancellor in England than a Chief Justice in Massachusetts;
yet the same abilities which carried the chance-transplanted Boston boy,
Lyndhurst, to the woolsack, might, perhaps, had he remained in the land
of his birth, have found no higher goal than the bench of the Supreme
Court. Mr. Dickens laughed very fairly at the "remarkable men" of our
small towns; but England is full of just such little-greatness, with the
difference that one is proclaimed in the "Bungtown Tocsin" and the other
in the "Times." We must get a new phrase, and say that Mr. Brown was
immortal at the latest dates, and Mr. Jones a great man when the steamer
sailed. The small man in Europe is reflected to his contemporaries from
a magnifying mirror, while even the great men in America can be imaged
only in a diminishing one. If powers broaden with the breadth of
opportunity, if Occasion be the mother of greatness and not its tool,
the centralizing system of Europe should produce more eminent persons
than our distributive one. Certain it is that the character grows larger
in proportion to the size of the affairs with which it is habitually
concerned, and that a mind of more than common stature acquires an
habitual _stoop_, if forced to deal lifelong with little men and little

Even that German-silver kind of fame, Notoriety, can scarcely be had
here at a cheaper rate than a murder done in broad daylight of a Sunday;
and the only sure way of having one's name known to the utmost corners
of our empire is by achieving a continental _dis_repute. With a
metropolis planted in a crevice between Maryland and Virginia, and
stunted because its roots vainly seek healthy nourishment in a soil
impoverished by slavery, a paulopost future capital, the centre of
nothing, without literature, art, or so much as commerce,--we have no
recognized dispenser of national reputations like London or Paris. In a
country richer in humor, and among a people keener in the sense of it
than any other, we cannot produce a national satire or caricature,
because there is no butt visible to all parts of the country at once.
How many men at this moment know the names, much more the history or
personal appearance, of our cabinet ministers? But the joke of London or
Paris tickles all the ribs of England or France, and the intellectual
rushlight of those cities becomes a beacon, set upon such bushels, and
multiplied by the many-faced provincial reflector behind it. Meanwhile
New York and Boston wrangle about literary and social preëminence like
two schoolboys, each claiming to have something (he knows not exactly
what) vastly finer than the other at home. Let us hope that we shall
by-and-by develop a rivalry like that of the Italian cities, and that
the difficulty of fame beyond our own village may make us more content
with doing than desirous of the name of it. For, after all, History
herself is for the most part but the Muse of Little Peddlington, and
Athens raised the heaviest crop of laurels yet recorded on a few acres
of rock, without help from newspaper guano.

Theophilus Parsons was one of those men of whom surviving contemporaries
always say that he was the most gifted person they had ever known,
while yet they are able to produce but little tangible evidence of his
superiority. It is, no doubt, true that Memory's geese are always swans;
but in the case of a man like Parsons, where the testimony is so various
and concurrent, we cannot help believing that there must have been a
special force of character, a marked alertness and grasp of mind, to
justify the impression he left behind. With the exception of John
Adams, he was probably the most considerable man of his generation in
Massachusetts; and it is not merely the _caruit quia vate sacro_, but
the narrowness of his sphere of action, still further narrowed by the
technical nature of a profession in itself provincial, as compared
with many other fields for the display of intellectual power, that has
hindered him from receiving an amount of fame at all commensurate with
an ability so real and so various.

But the life of a strong man, lived no matter where, and perhaps all
the more if it have been isolated from the noisier events which make so
large a part of history, contains the best material of biography. Judge
Parsons was fortunate in a son capable of doing that well, which, even
if ill done, would have been interesting. A practised writer, the author
of two volumes of eloquent and thoughtful essays, Professor Parsons has
known how to select and arrange his matter with a due feeling of effect
and perspective. When he fails to do this, it is because here and there
the essayist has got the better of the biographer. We are not concerned
here, for example, to know Mr. Parsons's opinions about Slavery, and
we are sure that the sharp insight and decisive judgment of his father
would never have allowed him to be frightened by the now somewhat
weather-beaten scarecrow of danger to the Union.

In the earlier part of the Memoir we get some glimpses of
pre-Revolutionary life in New England, which we hope yet to see
illustrated more fully in its household aspects.[A] The father of
Parsons was precisely one of those country-clergymen who were "passing
rich on forty pounds a year." On a salary of two hundred and eighty
dollars, he brought up a family of seven children, three of whom he sent
to college, and kept a hospitable house.

[Footnote A: Mr. Elliott, in his _New England History_, has wisely
gathered many of those unconsidered trifles which are so important in
forming a just notion of the character of a population. We cannot but
wish that our town-historians, instead of giving so much space to idle
and often untrustworthy genealogies, and to descriptions of the "elegant
mansions" of Messrs. This and That, would do us the real service of
rescuing from inevitable oblivion the fleeting phases of household
scenery that help us to that biography of a people so much more
interesting than their annals. We would much rather know whether a man
wore homespun, a hundred years ago, than whether he was a descendant of
Rameses I.]

Of Parsons's college experiences we get less than we could desire;
but as he advances in life, we find his mind exercised by the great
political and social problem whose solution was to be the experiment of
Democracy at housekeeping for herself,--we see him influencing State
and even National politics, but always as a man who preferred attaining
the end to being known as the means,--and finally, as Chief Justice,
reforming the loose habits of the bar, intolerant of gabble, and leaving
the permanent impress of his energetic mind and impatient logic on the
Common Law of the country.

We know nothing more striking than the dying speech recorded in the
concluding chapter. At the end of a life so laborious and so useful, the
Judge, himself withdrawing to be judged, murmurs,--"Gentlemen of the
Jury, the facts of the case are in your hands. You will retire and
consider of your verdict." In this volume, the son has submitted the
facts of the case to a jury of posterity. His case will not be injured
by the modesty with which he has stated it. He has claimed less for his
father than one less near to him might have done. We think the verdict
must be, that this was a great man _marooned_ by Destiny on an
out-of-the-way corner of the world, where, however he might exert great
powers, there was no adequate field for that display of them which is
the necessary condition of fame.

Mr. Parsons has done a real service to our history and our letters in
this volume. Accompanying and illustrating his main topic, he has given
us excellent sketches of some other persons less eminent than his
father, sometimes from tradition and sometimes from his own impressions.
We hope in the next edition he will give us a supplementary chapter of
personal anecdotes, of which there is a large number that deserve to be
perpetuated in print, and which otherwise will die with the memories
in which they are now preserved. The strictly professional part of the
biography, illustrating the Chief Justice's more important decisions,
might also be advantageously enlarged.


Songs of the Church; or Psalms and Hymns of the Protestant Episcopal
Church, arranged consecutively to Appropriate Melodies; together with
a Full Set of Chants for each Season of the Christian Year. New York.
Delisser & Proctor. 12mo. pp. 453. $1.00.

Napoleonic Ideas. Des Idées Napoléoniennes, par Le Prince Napoléon Louis
Bonaparte. Brussels, 1839. Translated by James A. Dorr. New York. D.
Appleton & Co. 12mo. pp. 154. 50 cts.

The Art of Extempore Speaking. Hints for the Pulpit, the Senate, and the
Bar. By M. Bautain, Vicar-General and Professor at the Sorbonne, etc.,
etc. With Additions by a Member of the New York Bar. New York. Charles
Scribner. 12mo. pp. 304. $1.00.

The Atonement. Discourses and Treatises, by Edwards, Smalley, Maxey,
Emmons, Griffin, Burge, and Weeks. With an Introductory Essay by Edwards
A. Park, Abbot Professor of Christian Theology, Andover, Mass. Boston.
Congregational Board of Publication. 8vo. pp. 596. $2.00.

The Harp of a Thousand Strings, or Laughter for a Lifetime, etc., etc.
New York. Dick & Fitzgerald. 12mo. pp. 368. $1.00.

Life of George Washington. By Washington Irving. Vol. V. New York. G.P.
Putnam. 8vo. pp. 456. $2.00. 12mo. pp. 434. $1.50.

The Flounced Robe and What it Cost. By Harriet B. M'Keever.
Philadelphia. Lindsay & Blakiston. 18mo. pp. 114. 50 cts.

Anna Clayton, or the Inquirer after Truth. By Rev. Francis Marion
Dimmick, A.M. Philadelphia. Lindsay & Blakiston. 12mo. pp. 427. $1.25.

Public Records of the Colony of Connecticut, 1678-89. Hartford. Case,
Lockwood, & Co. 8vo. pp. 638. $3.00.

Studies, Stories, and Memoirs. By Mrs. Jameson. Boston. Ticknor &
Fields. 32mo. pp. 408. 75 cts.

An Essay on Intuitive Morals. Being an Attempt to Popularize Ethical
Science. Part I. Theory of Morals. First American Edition, with
Additions and Corrections by the Author. Boston. Crosby, Nichols, & Co.
12mo. pp. 279. $1.00.

The Poetical Works of James Gates Percival. With a Biographical Sketch.
2 vols. Boston. Ticknor & Fields. 32mo. pp. 402 and 517. $1.75.

The Life of General H. Havelock, K.C.B. By J.T. Headley. Illustrated.
New York. Charles Scribner. 12mo. pp. 375. $1.25.

The Christian Graces. A Series of Lectures on 2 Peter i.5-7. By Joseph
P. Thompson. New York. Sheldon & Co. 16mo. pp. 280. 50 cts.

Works of Michael de Montaigne. Comprising his Essays, Journey into
Italy, and Letters. With Notes from all the Commentators, Biographical
and Bibliographical Notices, etc. By W. Hazlitt. A New and Carefully
Revised Edition. Edited by O.W. Wight. 4 vols. New York. Derby &
Jackson. 12mo. $5.00.

The Limits of Religious Thought, Examined in Eight Lectures, delivered
before the University of Oxford in the Year 1858, on the Bampton
Foundation. By Henry Longueville Mansell, B.D., Reader in Moral and
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St. John's College. First American, from the Third London Edition. With
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*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 04, No. 21, July, 1859" ***

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