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Title: The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 04, No. 23, September, 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. 23, September, 1859" ***

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No painter of this age has made so deep an impression on the popular
mind of America as Ary Scheffer. Few, if any other contemporary artists
are domesticated at our firesides, and known and loved in our remotest
villages and towns. Only a small number, indeed, of his original works
have been exhibited here,--yet engravings from them are not only
familiar to every person of acknowledged taste and culture, but are dear
to the hearts of many who scarcely know the artist's name. Young maidens
delight in their tender pathos, and the suffering heart is consoled and
elevated by their pure and lofty religious aspiration. An effect so
great must have an adequate and peculiar cause; and we shall not have
far to seek for it, but shall find it in the aim and character of the
artist. Scheffer has two prominent qualities, by which he has won his
place in the popular estimation. The first is his sentiment. His works
are full of simple, tender pathos. His pictures always tell their story,
first to the eye, next to the heart and soul of the beholder. His
admirable knowledge of composition is always subordinate to expression.
His meaning is not merely historical or poetical, but is true to life
and every-day experience. "Mignon regrettant sa Patrie" is felt and
appreciated by those who have never sung,

    "Kennst du das Land wo die Citronen

and "Faust" and "Margaret" tell their story to all who have felt life's
struggles and temptations, whether they have read them in Goethe's
version or not. Added to this power of pathos and sentiment is the deep
religious feeling which pervades every work of his pencil, whatever be
its outward form. His religion is of no dogma or sect, but the inflowing
of a life which makes all things holy and full of infinite meaning.
Whether he paint the legends of the Catholic Church, as in "St.
Augustine" and "St. Monica," or illustrate the life-poem of the
Protestant Goethe, or tell a simple story of childhood, the same
feelings are kindled, in our heart's faith in God, love to man, the sure
hope of immortality. It is this genuine and earnest religion of humanity
which has made his works familiar to every lover of Art and sentiment,
and given us a feeling of personal love and reverence for the made

It is now nearly a year since his labors on earth terminated, and yet no
adequate account of his life and labors has appeared. It is very
difficult to satisfy the craving desire to know more of the personal
life and character of him who has been a household friend so long. Yet
it is rather the privilege of succeeding generations, than of
contemporaries, to draw aside the veil from the sanctuary, and to behold
the works of a man in his greatest art,--the art of life. But the cold
waters of the Atlantic, like the river of Death, make the person of a
European artist sacred to us; and it is hard for us to realize that
those whom we have surrounded with a halo of classic reverence were
partakers of the daily jar and turmoil of our busy age,--that the good
physician who tended our sick children so faithfully had lived in
familiar intercourse with Goethe, and might have listened to the first
performance of those symphonies of Beethoven which seem to us as eternal
as the mountains. Losing the effluence of his personal presence, which
his neighbors and countrymen enjoyed, we demand the privilege of
posterity to hear and tell all that can be told of him. We can wait
fifty years more for a biography of Allston, because something of his
gracious presence yet lingers among us; but we can touch Scheffer only
with the burin or the pen. So we shall throw in our mite to fill up this
chasm. A few gleanings from current French literature, a few anecdotes
familiarly told of the great artist, and the vivid recollection of one
short interview are all the aids we can summon to enable our readers to
call up in their own minds a living image which will answer to the name
that has so long been familiar to our lips and dear to our hearts.

Ary Scheffer was born about the year 1795, in the town of Dordrecht, in
Holland; but, as at that period Holland belonged to the French Empire,
the child was entitled by birth to those privileges of a French citizen
which opened to him important advantages in his artistic career. French
by this accident of birth, and still more so by his education and long
residence at Paris, he yet always retained traces of his Teutonic origin
in the form of his head, in his general appearance, and in his earnest
and religious character. He always cherished a warm affection for his
native land.

Many distinguished artists have been the sons of painters or designers
of superior note. Raffaello, Albert Dürer, Alonzo Cano, Vandyck, Luca
Giordano are familiar instances. It seems as if the accumulation of two
generations of talent were necessary to produce the fine flower of
genius. The father of Ary Scheffer was an artist of considerable
ability, and promised to become an eminent painter, when he was cut off
by an early death. He left a widow, many unfinished pictures, and three
sons, yet very young. The character of the mother we infer only from her
influence on her son, from the devoted affection he bore to her, and
from the wisdom with which she guided his early education; but these
show her to have been a true woman,--brave, loving, and always loyal to
the highest. The three sons all lived to middle age, and all became
distinguished men. Ary, the eldest, very early gave unequivocal signs of
his future destiny. His countrymen still remember a large picture
painted by him at Amsterdam when only twelve years old, indicating
extraordinary talent, even at that early age. His mother did not,
however, overrate this boyish success, as stamping him a prodigy, but
regarded it only as a motive for giving him a thorough artistic
education. He went, accordingly, to Paris, and entered the _atelier_ of
Guérin, the teacher then most in vogue.

It was in the latter days of the Empire that Ary Scheffer commenced his
studies,--a period of great stagnation in Art. The whole force of the
popular mind had for many years been turned to politics and war; and if
French Art had striven to emancipate itself from slavish dependence on
the Greek, it still clung to the Roman models, which are far less
inspiring. "The autocrat David, with his correct, but soulless
compositions, was more absolute than his master, the Emperor." Only in
the Saloon of 1819 did the Revolution, which had already affected every
other department of thought and life, reach the _ateliers_. It commenced
in that of Guérin. The very weakness of the master, who himself halted
between two opinions, left the pupils in freedom to pursue their own
course. Scheffer did not esteem this a fortunate circumstance for
himself. His own nature was too strong and living to be crushed by a
severe master or exact study, and he felt the want of that thorough
early training which would have saved him much struggle in after life.
He used to speak of Ingres as such a teacher as he would have chosen for
himself. From the pupil of David, the admirer of Michel Angelo, the
conservator of the sacred traditions of Art, the student might learn all
the treasured wisdom of antiquity,--while the influences around him, and
his own genius, would impel him towards prophesying the hope of the
future. His favorite companions of the _atelier_ at this time were
Eugène Delacroix and Géricault. Delacroix ranks among the greatest
living French artists; and if death early closed the brilliant career of
Géricault, it has not yet shrouded his name in oblivion. The trio made
their first appearance together in the Saloon of 1819. Géricault sent
his "Wreck of the Medusa," Delacroix "The Barque of Dante," and Ary
Scheffer "The Citizens of Calais."[1]

The works of these friends may be considered as the commencement of the
modern French school of Art, still so little known, and so ill
appreciated by us, but which is really an expression of the new ideas of
Art and Humanity which have agitated France to its centre for half a
century. Their hour of triumph has not yet come; but as the poet sings
most touchingly of his love, neither when he rejoices in its happy
consummation, nor in the hour of utter despair, but when doubt still
tempers hope,--so does the artist labor with prophetic zeal to express
those sentiments of humanity and brotherhood which are not yet organized
into institutions. A careless eye might have perceived little departure
from the old models in these pictures, but a keener one would have
already discovered that Scheffer and his friends worked with a different
aim from that of their predecessors. Not merely to paint a well-composed
picture on a classical theme, but to give expression to thought and
feeling, was now the object. "The Wreck of the Medusa" of Géricault is
full of earnest, if niggling life. Delacroix has followed his own bent
with such independent zeal as has made him the object of intense
admiration to some, of bitter hatred to others. But Ary Scheffer has
taken his rank at the head of the Spiritualist school, and has awakened
a wider love and obtained a fuller appreciation than either of them. The
spirit which found in them its first expression is continually
increasing in power, and developing into richer life. The living artists
of France are the exponents of her genuine Christian democracy.

"The entire collection of Rosa Bonheur's works," says a French writer,
"might be called the Hymn to Labor. Here she shows us the ploughing,
there the reaping, farther on the gathering in of the hay, then of the
harvests, elsewhere the vintage,--always and everywhere labor." Edouard
Frère, in his scenes from humble life, which the skilful lithographer
places within the means of all, represents the incidents of domestic
existence among the poor. "The Prayer at the Mother's Knee," "The Woman
at her Ironing Table," "The Child shelling Peas," "The Walk to School
amid Rain and Sleet," are all charming idyls of every-day life. With yet
greater skill and deeper pathos does the peasant Millet tell the story
of his neighbors. The washerwomen, as the sun sets upon their labors,
and they go wearily homeward; the digger, at his lonely task, who can
pause but an instant to wipe the sweat from his brow; the sewing-women
bending over their work, while every nerve and muscle are strained by
the unremitting toil; the girl tending her geese; the woman her
cows:--such are the subjects of his masterly pencil. Do not all these
facts point to the realization of Christian democracy? If the king is
now but the servant of the people, so the artist who is royal in the
kingdom of the mind finds his true glory in serving humanity. What a
change from the classic subjects or monkish legends which occupied the
pencils of David and his greater predecessors, Le Sueur and Poussin!

And yet those students of the antique have done French Art good service;
they have furnished it with admirable tools, so that to them we are
indebted for the thorough drawing, the masterly knowledge, which render
Paris the great school for all beginners in Art. Such men as we have
named do not scorn the past, but use it in the service of the present.
While Scheffer always subordinated the material part of Art to its
expression, he was never afraid of knowing too much, but often regretted
the loss of valuable time in youth from incompetent instruction.

Encouraged by the success of his first essay, Scheffer continued to
paint a series of small pictures, representing simple and affecting
scenes from common life, some of which are familiar to all. "The
Soldier's Widow," "The Conscript's Return," "The Orphans at their
Mother's Tomb," "The Sister of Charity," "The Fishermen before a Storm,"
"The Burning of the Farm," and "The Scene of the Invasion in 1814," are
titles which give an idea of the range of his subjects and the tenor of
his thoughts at this time. The French have long excelled in the art of
composition. It is this quality which gives the greatest value to the
works of Le Sueur and Poussin. Scheffer possessed this power in a
remarkable degree, but it was united to a directness and truth of
feeling which made his art the perfection of natural expression. A very
charming little engraving, entitled "The Lost Children," which appeared
in "The Token" for 1830, is probably from a picture of this period. A
little boy and girl are lost in a wood. Wearied with their fruitless
attempts to find a path, the boy has at length sunk down upon a log and
buried his face in his hands; while the little girl, still patient,
still hopeful, stands, with folded hands, looking earnestly into the
wood, with a sweet, sad look of anxiety, but not of despair. The
contrast in the expression of the two figures is very touching and very
true to Nature;--the boy was hopeful so long as his own exertions
offered a chance of escape, but the courage of the girl appears when
earthly hope is most dim and faint. The sweet unconsciousness of this
early picture has hardly been surpassed by any subsequent work.
"Naturalness and the charm of composition," says a French critic, "are
the secrets of Scheffer's success in these early pictures, to which may
be added a third,--the distinction of the type of his faces, and
especially of his female heads,--a kind of suave and melancholy ideal,
which gave so new a stamp to his works."

These small pictures were very successful in winning popular favor; but
this success, far from intoxicating the young artist, only opened his
eyes to his own faults. He applied himself diligently to repairing the
deficiencies which he recognized in his work, by severe studies and
labors. He knew the danger of working too long on small-sized pictures,
in which faults may be so easily hidden. About the year 1826 he turned
resolutely from his "pretty jewels," as he called them, and commenced
his "Femmes Suliotes," on a large canvas, with figures the size of life.
M. Vitet describes the appearance of the canvas when Scheffer had
already spent eight days "in the fire of his first thought." It seemed
to him rather like a vision than a picture, as he saw the dim outlines
of those heroic women, who cast themselves from the rock to escape
slavery by death. He confesses that the finished picture never moved him
as did the sketch. Three years earlier Scheffer had sent to the Saloon
of 1824, in company with three or four small pictures, a large picture
of Gaston de Foix after the Battle of Ravenna. It was a sombre picture,
painted with that lavish use of pigment and that unrestrained freedom
which distinguished the innovators of that day. The new school were in
raptures, and claimed Scheffer as belonging to them. The public judged
less favorably; "they admired the noble head of Gaston de Foix, but,
uninterested in the remainder of the picture, they turned off to look at
'The Soldier's Widow.'" Scheffer did not listen to his flatterers; but,
remembering Michel Angelo's words to the young sculptor, "The light of
the public square will test its value," he believed in the verdict of
the people, and never again painted in the same manner. It was one of
his peculiar merits, that, although open to conviction, and ready to try
a new path which seemed to offer itself, he was also ready to turn from
it when he found it leading him astray. "Les Femmes Suliotes" did not
seem to have been designed by the same hand or with the same pencil as
the "Gaston de Foix." The first sketch was particularly
pleasing,--already clear and harmonious in color, although rather low in
tone. Many counselled him to leave the picture, thus. "No," said
Scheffer, "I did not take a large canvas merely to increase the size of
my figures and to paint large in water-colors, but to give greater truth
and thoroughness to my forms." In 1827 this picture was exhibited with
ample success, and the critics were forced to acknowledge the great
improvement in his style, although he had not entirely escaped from the
influence of his companions, and some violent contrasts of color mar the
general effect. The picture is now in the Luxembourg Gallery.

M. Vitet divides Scheffer's artistic life into three portions: that in
which he painted subjects from simple life; that devoted to poetic
subjects; and the last, or distinctively religious period. These
divisions cannot, of course, be very sharply drawn, but may help us to
understand the progress of his mind; and "Les Femmes Suliotes" will mark
the transition from the first to the second period. Turning from the
simple scenes of domestic sorrow, he now sought inspiration in
literature. The vigorous and hearty Northern Muse especially won his
favor; yet the greatest Italian poet was also his earnest study. Goethe,
Schiller, Byron, Dante, all furnished subjects for his pencil. The story
of Faust and Margaret took such hold of his imagination that it pursued
him for nearly thirty years. Their forms appeared before him in new
attitudes and situations almost to his last hour, so that, in the midst
of his labors on religious pictures, he seized his pencils to paint yet
another Faust, another Margaret. Nor can we wonder at this absorbing
interest, when we reflect on the profound significance and touching
pathos of this theme, which may wear a hundred faces, and touch every
chord of the human heart. It is intellect and passion, in contrast with
innocence and faith; it is natural and spontaneous love, thwarted by
convention and circumstance; it is condemnation before men, and
forgiveness before God; it is the ideal and the worldly; it is an
epitome of human life,--love, joy, sorrow, sin,--birth, life, death, and
the sure hope of resurrection. How pregnant with expression was it to a
mind like Scheffer's, where the intellectual, the affectional, and the
spiritual natures were so nicely blended! He first painted "Margaret at
her Wheel," in 1831,--accompanied by a "Faust tormented by Doubt." These
were two simple heads, each by itself, like a portrait, but with all the
fine perception of character which constitutes an ideal work. Next he
painted "Margaret at Church." Here other figures fill up the canvas; but
the touching expression of the young girl, whose soul is just beginning
to be torn by the yet new joy of her love and the bitter consciousness
of her lost innocence, fills the mind of the spectator. This is the
most inspired and the most touching of all the pictures; it strikes the
key-note of the whole story; it is the meeting of the young girl's own
ideal world of pure thought with the outward world. The sense of guilt
comes from the reflection in the thoughts of those about her; and where
all before was peace and love, now come discord and agony;--she has
eaten of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, and is already cast out
of her paradise. "Margaret on the Sabbath," "Margaret going out of
Church," and "Margaret walking in the Garden," are all charming idyls,
but have less expression. The last picture, painted just before
Scheffer's death, and soon to be engraved, represents "Margaret at the
Fountain." "It is full of expression, and paints the joy and pain of
love still struggling in the young girl's heart, while conscience begins
to make its chiding voice heard."

The "Mignons" are the best known of all Scheffer's works of this period.
The youngest one, "Mignon regrettant sa Patrie," is the most
satisfactory in its simple, unconscious expression. The wonderful child
stands in the most natural attitude, absorbed in her own thought, and
struggling to recall those dim memories, floating in beauty before her
mind, which seem almost to belong to a previous state of existence.
There is less of the weird and fantastic than Goethe has given to
her,--but the central, deep nature is beautifully reproduced. "Mignon
aspirant au Ciel," although full of spiritual beauty, is a little more
constrained; the longing after her heavenly home is less naturally
expressed than her childish regret; the pose is a little mannered; and
the feeling is more conscious, but less deep. "Mignon with the Old
Harper" is far less interesting; the old man's head does not express
that mixture of inspiration and insanity, the result of a life of love,
misery, and wrong, which Goethe has portrayed in this strange character.

A very different picture, painted at this period, is peculiarly
interesting to us as our first acquaintance among Scheffer's works. An
excellent copy or duplicate of it belongs to the Boston Athenæum. The
original is in the Luxembourg at Paris. The subject is taken from
Schiller's ballad of "Count Eberhard." After the victory in which his
son has fallen, though the old Count has said to those who would have
paused to mourn his death, "My son is like another man; on, comrades, to
the foe!"--yet now he sits alone in his tent and looks upon the dead
body of his child. The silent grief of the stern old man is very
touching. This sorrow, so contrary to Nature, when old age stands by the
grave of youth, always moves the deepest feeling; and Scheffer, in the
noble old man and the brave and beautiful boy before him, has given it
its simplest and most appropriate expression. This picture was painted
in 1834. At that period Scheffer was engaged in some experiments in
color, and this sad subject led him to employ the dark tints of
Rembrandt. In 1850 he painted a duplicate of it, lighter and more
agreeable in tone. He painted "The Giaour" and "Medora," from Byron,
which pictures we have never seen. The wayward and morbid Muse of the
English Lord does not seem to us a fit inspiration for the pure pencil
of Scheffer.

The well-known composition of "Francesca da Rimini" may well conclude
our brief notice of the pictures of this second epoch. M. Vitet regards
it as the most harmonious and complete of all his works; but we think it
has taken less hold on the popular heart than the "Mignons" and
"Margaret." Yet it is a work of great skill and beauty. The difficult
theme is managed with that moderation and good taste which recognize the
true limits of the art. The crowd of spirits which Dante so powerfully
describes as driven by the wind without rest are only dimly seen in the
background. The horrors of hell are shown only in the anguish of those
faces, in the despairing languor of the attitude, which not even mutual
love can lighten. The love which made them one in guilt, one in
condemnation, is stronger than death, stronger than hell; but it cannot
bring peace and joy to these souls shut out from heaven and God.

    "Se fosse amico il Re dell' universo,
    Noi pregheremmo."

But even prayer is denied to him who feels that he has not God for a
friend. There is no mark of physical torture; it is pure spiritual
suffering,--restless, aimless weariness,--the loss of hope; it is
death,--and love demands life. How strangely appropriate is this
punishment of spirits driven hither and thither by the winds, with no
hope of rest, to those who reject the firm anchorage of duty and
principle, and allow themselves to float at the mercy of their impulses
and passions! The overpowering compassion and sympathy of the poets is
shown in their earnest faces. Neither here, nor in the well-known "Dante
and Beatrice," which is too familiar to need description, does Scheffer
quite do justice to our ideal of the sublime poet of Heaven and Hell;
but neither do the portraits which remain of him. The picture was first
exhibited in 1835. As it had suffered very much in 1850, Scheffer
painted a repetition of it, with a few slight alterations, in which,
however, his progress in his art during twenty years was very evident.
This copy is very far superior to the engraving.

About this period Scheffer seems to have wandered a little from the true
mission of Art, and to have esteemed it her province to represent
abstract theological truths. His religious feeling seems to have become
morbid, and his natural melancholy intensified. The death of his wife,
and consequent loneliness, may have given this ascetic tinge to his
feelings. But we must acknowledge, if it were so, that the sorrow which
oppressed did not embitter his heart, and that a brave and humane spirit
appears even in those works which have the least artistic merit to
recommend them. The "Christus Consolator" is the best known of this
class of pictures. It is cold, abstract, and inharmonious; but its
religious spirit and the beautiful truth which it expresses have won for
it a welcome which it seems hardly to merit. Yet it has touching beauty
in the separate figures. The woman who leans so trustingly on her
Saviour's arm has a very high and holy face, whose type we recognize in
more than one of his pictures; and the mother and her dead child form a
very touching group. But the various persons are not connected by any
common story or mutual relation, and we feel a want of unity in the
whole work. Perhaps the strongest tribute to its power of expression is
the story, that religious publishers found it necessary to blot out the
figure of the slave who takes his place among the recipients of Christ's
blessing, in order to fit their reprint for a Southern market. As a
companion to it, he painted the "Christus Remunerator," which is less
interesting. To this same class of pictures we should probably refer
"The Lamentations of Earth to Heaven," which we have never seen, but
which is thus described by M. Anatole de la Lorge:--

"There are also treasures of disappointed pleasure and of bitterness in
this picture of 'The Lamentations of Earth to Heaven,'--dim symbol of
human suffering. How does one, in the presence of this poem, feel filled
with the spirit of St. Augustine, the nothingness of what we call joy,
happiness, glory, here below,--delights of a moment, which at most only
aid us to traverse in a dream this valley of tears! Certain pages of
'The City of God,' funeral prayers of Bossuet, can alone serve us for a
comparison, in order to express the effect produced upon those who have
visited this _chef d'oeuvre_ in Ary Scheffer's _atelier_. Before
producing it, the artist must have thought long, suffered long; for each
stroke of the pencil seems to hide a grief, each figure speaks to you in
passing, and utters a complaint, a sigh, a prayer,--sad echoes of the
despair of life! The religious tendency of the thinker is here fully
shown; his poetic sympathy, his aspirations, his dreams, have found a
free course. We must mark, also, with what freedom his lamentations
spring from the ground, to carry even to the feet of the Creator the
overwhelming weight of earthly woe. Ary Scheffer's picture is like the
epitaph destined some day for the obsequies of the world; it breathes of
death, and has the sombre harmony of the Miserere. And nevertheless,--a
strange thing!--this dreaming painter, who seizes and afflicts us, is
the same man who at the same time reassures and consoles us,--without
doubt, because by dint of spiritualizing our thoughts he raises them
above our sufferings, by showing the consoling light of eternity to
those whom he would sever from the deceitful joys of earth."

If the picture be not overcolored by the critic's eye, we must believe
this to be the culmination of the morbidly spiritualistic tendency which
we meet in Scheffer's works. Yet it never exists unrelieved by redeeming
qualities. Many will remember the original picture of the "Dead Christ,"
which was exhibited here by an Art Union about ten years ago. The
engraving gives but a faint idea of the touching expression of the whole
group. The deathly pallor of the corpse was in strange harmony with the
face of the mother which bent over it, her whole being dissolved in
grief and love. No picture of this scene recalls to us more fully the
simple account in the Gospels. The cold, wan color of the whole scene
seems like that gray pall which a public grief will draw across the sky,
even when the meridian sun is shining in its glory. We have seen such
days even in Boston. No wonder that darkness covered the land to the
believing disciples even until the ninth hour.

His "St. Monica," which appeared in 1846, met with great success. "Ruth
and Naomi" is yet unknown to us, but it seems to be a subject specially
adapted to his powers. Of those works which he produced within the last
twelve years, very few are yet engraved. When thus placed before the
public, we believe the popular estimate of Scheffer will be raised even
higher than at present.

His pictures of Christ are of very superior merit. His representation of
the person of Jesus was not formal and conventional, but fresh in
expression and feeling, and full of touching pathos and sentiment. He
has neither the youthful beauty with which the Italians represent him,
nor the worn and wasted features which the early Germans often gave him,
but a thoughtful, earnest, tender beauty. The predominant expression is
the love and tenderness born of suffering. Three of his finest
representations of the life of Jesus of Nazareth are, "The Christ
weeping over Jerusalem," the "Ecce Homo," and "The Temptation." The last
is as original in design and composition; it is noble in expression. The
two figures stand on the summit of a mountain, and the calm, still air
around them gives a wonderful sense of height and solitude. You almost
feel the frost of the high, rare atmosphere. Satan is a very powerful
figure,--not the vulgar devil, but the determined will, the unsanctified
power. The figure of Christ is simple and expressive,--even the flow of
the drapery being full of significance and beauty. Another composition
of great beauty represents a group of souls rising from earth, and
soaring upwards to heaven. The highest ones are already rejoicing in the
heavenly light, while those below seem scarcely awakened from the sleep
of death. The whole picture is full of aspiration; everything seems
mounting upwards.

Scheffer also painted a few pictures which can hardly be called his own.
Such are "The Battle of Tolbiac," and "Charlemagne dictating his
Statutes." These were painted by the command of Louis Philippe, who was
his constant friend and patron. The young princes were his pupils; and
Scheffer was careful to form them to better taste than that of the
citizen monarch who has lined Versailles with poor pictures. For the
King he painted "The Battle of Tolbiac," and we can only regret the time
which was thus wasted; _but for his pupils_ he designed "Francesca da
Rimini" and the "Mignons."

A few masterly portraits by Scheffer's hand indicate his power of
reproducing individual character. Among these we may name that of his
mother, which is said to be his finest work,--one of the Queen,--a
picture of Lamennais,--and another of Emilia Manin, to which we shall
again refer. He occasionally modelled a bust, and sometimes engaged in
literary labor, contributing some valuable articles on Art to "La Revue

It would be impossible for us to analyze or even enumerate all of
Scheffer's works. They are scattered throughout France and Holland, and
a few have found their way to this country. Most of the engravings from
his pictures are too well known to require description; and we feel that
we have said enough to justify our placing Scheffer in the high rank
which we claim for him. Engravings give us a juster idea of the French
than of the Dutch or Italian artists; for their merit is rather in
design and composition than in color. We agree with M. Vitet, that color
need not be a prominent excellence in a work of high spiritual beauty,
and that it should always be toned to a complete harmony with the
prevailing feeling of the picture. In this aspect we look upon the cold
color of the "Dead Christ" as hardly a defect; it is in keeping with the
sad solemnity of the scene. But if color should not be so brilliant as
to overpower the expression of form and sentiment, still less should it
be so inharmonious as to distract the mind from it, as is sometimes the
case with Scheffer. The "Dante and Beatrice" is a familiar instance. We
can see no reason why Beatrice should be dressed in disagreeable pink,
and Dante in brick-red. Surely, such color is neither agreeable to the
eye nor harmonious with the expression of the scene. This defect in
color has led many to prefer the engravings to Scheffer's original
pictures; but no copy can quite reproduce the nice touches of thought
and feeling given by the master's hand. Color is supposed by many to
belong mainly to the representation of physical beauty; but has not
Allston proved to us that the most subtile and delicate harmonies of
color may be united with ethereal grace and spiritual beauty? Compare
his "Beatrice" with that of Scheffer. But, in truth, the whole spiritual
relation of color is yet but dimly understood; and there are, perhaps,
influences in the climate and organization of the French nation which
have rendered them inferior in this department of Art. Allowing this
deduction--a great one, certainly,--still, if the expression of the
highest thoughts in the most beautiful forms be the true aim of Art,
Scheffer must rank among the very first painters of his age. Delaroche
may surpass him in strength and vigor of conception, and in thorough
modelling and execution; but Scheffer has taken a deeper hold of the
feelings, and has risen into a higher spiritual region.

It has been reproachfully said that Scheffer is the painter for pretty
women, for poets, and for lovers. The reproach is also a eulogium, since
he must thus meet the demand of the human soul in its highest and finest
development. Others have accused him of morbid sensibility. There is
reason for the charge. He has not the full, round, healthy, development
which belongs to the perfect type of Art. Compare the "St. Cecilia" of
Scheffer--this single figure, with such womanly depth of feeling, such
lofty inspiration, yet so sad--with the joyous and almost girlish grace
of Raphael's representation of the same subject, and we feel at once the
height and the limitation of Scheffer's genius. There is always pathos,
always suffering; we cannot recall a single subject, unless it be the
group of rising spirits, in which struggle and sorrow do not form the

    "In all your music, one pathetic minor
        Your ears shall cross;
    And all fair sights shall mind you of diviner,
        With sense of loss."

This is one view of human life, but it is a transitional and imperfect
one,--neither that of the first healthy unconsciousness of childhood,
nor of the full consciousness of a soul which has risen to that height
of divine wisdom which feels the meaning of all suffering, of all life.
The music of Beethoven expresses the struggle, the contest, the
sufferings of humanity, as Art has never done before; but it always
contains an eternal prophecy, rather than a mournful regret,--and in the
last triumphant symphony it swells onward and upward, until at last it
bursts forth in all the freedom and gush of song, and its theme is "The
Hymn to Joy." How much the fatherless home of Scheffer's childhood, how
much his own desolated life, when his beloved companion was so early
taken from his side, may have had to do with this melancholy cast of
thought, or how far it belonged to his delicate physical constitution,
we are not prepared to say. It becomes less prominent in his later
compositions, "as faith became stronger and sight clearer"; and perhaps
in those pictures yet unknown to us we may find still brighter omens of
the new life of rest and joy into which he has entered.

If we turn from Scheffer's works to his life, our task is no less
grateful and pleasing. The admiration and affection which his countrymen
express for his character surpass even what they feel for his works. He
was a noble, generous, active, benevolent friend of humanity. He gave
freely to all who were in need, counsel, money, advice, personal care,
and love. Young artists found him ever ready to help them. "He gave
them," says M. Vitet, "home, _atelier_, material, sympathy,--whatever
they needed." Another writer, M. Anatole de la Lorge, said of him, while
yet living,--"Ary Scheffer has the rare good luck not to be exclusive.
His heart can pity every suffering as fully as his pencil can portray
it. A faithful and intimate friend of a now fallen dynasty, (that of
Orléans,) proud, even distrustful towards men in power, indifferent to
their opinion, inaccessible to their offers, Ary Scheffer, in his
original individuality, is one of the most independent and most
honorable political men of our country. His studio is the rendezvous of
all opinions, provided they are honest,--of all religions, provided they
are sincere. There each one is received, not according to the habit
which he wears, as the ancient proverb says, but according to the mind
(_esprit_) which he has shown. We say mind, but it is heart that we
should say; for Ary Scheffer seems to us to estimate the latter more
highly than the former. His whole life proves it." Always an ardent
friend of liberty, he was also a lover of law and order, and he rendered
good service in their preservation in the capital during the Revolution
of 1848, for which, he received honorable distinction.

The same writer quoted above gives an interesting description of his
meeting with Ary Scheffer in the sick-room and by the death-bed of an
Italian refugee, Emilia Manin. A young Venetian girl, full of devotion
to her country and her proscribed father, she supported her exile with
all a woman's courage, buoyed up by the hope of returning to her
country, redeemed from its misery. She is described as possessing
extraordinary powers of mind and great beauty of person. There were no
questions, however sublime or abstract, which she did not treat with a
surprising depth and sagacity. "Her speech, ordinarily timid and feeble,
became emphatic and stirring; her great, dreamy eyes suddenly acquired
unequalled energy; she spoke of the misfortunes of her country in terms
so moving as to draw tears from our eyes." But the body which contained
this burning soul was very frail, "and the poor Emilia, the silent
martyr, turned her head upon her pillow, and took her first hour of
repose. When no longer able to speak, she had traced with a trembling
hand on a paper these last words,--'Oh, Venice! I shall never see thee
more!' She yet retained the position in which she drew her last breath,
when Ary Scheffer came, as Tintoret formerly came to the bedside of his
daughter, to retrace, with a hand unsteady through emotion, the features
of Emilia Manin. This holy image, snatched by genius from death, is one
of the most admirable works we have ever seen. She lies there, extended
and cold,--the poor child!--in that peace unknown to the life which she
had lived in the body. It is, indeed, the intelligent brow from which
the inspiration of her soul seemed to speak. It is the delicate mouth
and the pale lips, which, never uttering a murmur, betrayed the
celestial goodness of her heart. In truth, it would have been difficult
to hide our emotion, in recognizing--thanks to the pure devotion of the
painter--the touching features of this innocent victim, whom we had
known, loved, and venerated during her life. Some hours later, we again
found Ary Scheffer sustaining with us the tottering steps of Manin upon
the freshly removed earth which was soon to cover the coffin of his

By the same loving and faithful hand were traced the features of the
Abbé de Lamennais, a name so dear to those who live in the hope of new
progress and liberty for humanity. "At the moment," says M. de la Lorge,
"when death was yet tearing this great genius from the earth, the pencil
of the artist restored him, in some sense alive, in the midst of us all,
his friends, his disciples, his admirers. Hereafter, thanks to the
indefatigable devotion of Ary Scheffer, we shall be permitted to see
again the meagre visage, the burning eyes, the sad and energetic
features of the Breton Apostle."

Into the domestic life of Scheffer it is not at present our privilege to
enter. Some near friend--the brother, the daughter, the wife--may,
perhaps, hereafter, lift the veil from the sacred spot, and reveal him
to us in those relations which most deeply affect and most truly express
a man's inmost nature. We close this notice with some slight sketch of
his life in the _atelier_.

None could enter this room without a feeling of reverence and
sacredness. In the failing light of a November afternoon, all was
subdued to a quiet and religious tone. Large and commodious in size, it
was filled with objects of the deepest interest. Nothing was in
disorder; there was no smoke, no unnecessary litter; yet everywhere
little sketches or hints of pictures were perceptible among the casts,
which one longed to bring forth into the light. A few portraits
especially dear to him--best of all, that of his mother--were on the
walls; a few casts of the finest statues--among others, that of the
Venus de Milo--around the room. His last copy of the "Francesca da
Rimini," and the original picture of "The Three Marys," and the yet
unfinished "Temptation on the Mount," were all there. On the easel stood
the picture of the "Group of Spirits ascending to Heaven." Such was the
aspect of this celebrated _atelier_, as we saw it in 1854. But "the
greatest thing in the room was the master of it." Ary Scheffer was then
about sixty years of age, but was still healthy and fresh in appearance.
His face was rather German than French, and bore the stamp of purity and
goodness in every line; but the eyes especially had the fire of genius
tempered by gentleness and love. It was a face which satisfied you at
once, answering to all you could ask of the painter of "Mignon," and the
"Christus Consolator." His manner was quiet and reserved, but courteous.
Unconscious modesty was the peculiar charm of his appearance. One of our
party said that he reminded him strongly of Allston. It was a reverend
presence, which forbade common topics, and strangers thus meeting had
few words to say. As we turned away, we knew that we should never meet
again on earth; but we had gained a new life, and we had beheld, as it
were, the face of an angel.

Two American artists stood with us in that room: one a fair young girl,
whose purity of soul was mirrored in her beautiful face, who had gone to
Paris to continue her studies in an art which she loved as she did her
life; the other, a man of mature age, whose high and reverent genius has
always met with a loving and faithful appreciation among his countrymen,
which does them as much honor as it did him. The young girl lay down to
die amid her labors, and her frail body rests amid the flowers and trees
of Montmartre; the grown man came home but to bid farewell to home,
friends, and life; the great artist whom we met to honor has gone home
too. A threefold halo of sanctity rests on that room to us.

To those who shared the privilege of Scheffer's friendship this room was
endeared by hours of the richest social enjoyment. His liberal
hospitality welcomed all ranks and all classes. It is related that Louis
Philippe once sat waiting for him in the _atelier_, and answered a knock
at the door. The visitor was delivering his messages to him, when the
artist returned, and was somewhat surprised to find his royal friend
playing the part of _concierge_. "It was not rare to meet in this
_atelier_ the great men of finance, who counted themselves among his
most passionate admirers." Here was conversation, not without gayety,
but without loud laughter or revelry. Scheffer was very fond of music of
the highest order. He was a generous patron of musicians, and loved to
listen to music while he was engaged in painting. His friends sometimes
held an extemporaneous concert in his room, without preparation,
programme, or audience. Think of listening to an _andante_ of Mozart's,
played in that room! "Music doubled her power, and painting seemed
illuminated." Beethoven was his favorite composer; his lofty genius
harmonized with, and satisfied the longings of, Scheffer's aspiring

Ary Scheffer was a personal friend of the Orléans family. He was,
however, an ardent lover of liberty; and his hospitalities were free to
all shades of opinion. He did not forsake this family when their star
went down. Hearing of the death of Hélène, the Duchess of Orléans, he
hastened to England, to pay a last tribute of love and respect to her
memory. The English climate had always been ungenial to him. He took a
severe cold, which proved fatal in its results. He died soon after his
return to Paris, on the 16th of June, 1858. Sadly as the news of his
death struck upon our hearts, it seemed no great change for him to die.
So pure and holy was his life, so spiritual his whole nature, so lofty
his aspirations, that it seemed as if

    "He might to Heaven from Paradise go,
    As from one room to another."

Ary Scheffer was twice married. His first wife died early. Many years
after her death he again married,--very happily, as we have heard. He
leaves behind him one daughter, who is also an artist. Under her loving
care, we trust every relic of his artistic labors and every trait of his
personal life will be faithfully preserved.

Both his brothers lived to middle age. One, of whom we know little but
that M. Vitet calls him "a distinguished man," died in 1855. The only
surviving brother, Henri, is also a painter, of considerable reputation.
He is a thorough and accomplished draughtsman, and a superior teacher.
His _atelier_ is one of the few in Paris which are open to women, and
several American ladies have enjoyed its advantages.

We have spoken of Scheffer's love for his native country. By his will he
bequeathed to his native town of Dordrecht "the portrait of Sir J.
Reynolds, by Scheffer; a dog lying down, life-size, by the same; a copy
of the picture of the 'Christus Remunerator,' on pasteboard, of the size
of the original in England; a copy of the 'Christus Consolator,'--both
by himself: also, his own statue, in plaster; his own bust, by his
daughter; and the Virgin and Infant Jesus, by himself." The town of
Dordrecht proposes to erect a statue in commemoration of the fame of the
great artist.

It is too early to assign to Ary Scheffer the rank which he will finally
occupy in the new era of French Art which is coeval with his labors. He
will always stand as the companion of Ingres and Delaroche and
Géricault; and if his successors surpass him even in his own path, they
will owe much to him who helped to open the way. He lived through times
of trouble, when a man's faith in humanity might well be shaken, yet he
remained no less a believer in and lover of mankind. Brighter days for
France may lead her artists to a healthier and freer development; but
they can never be more single-hearted, true, and loving than Ary

[1] This picture is now in the Louvre. It is a composition of
great dramatic power. Mrs. Stowe gives a graphic description of the
effect it produced upon her, in her "Sunny Memories of Sunny Lands."


We have all, in our days of atlases and "the use of the globes," been
made aware of the fact, that off the southern shore of Massachusetts
lies a long and narrow island, called Martha's Vineyard, one of the many
defences thrown out by the beleaguered New England coast against its
untiring foe, the Atlantic.

But how many are those who know more than this? How many have visited
it, inquired into its traditions, classified its curiosities, mineral,
saline, and human? How many have seen Gay Head and the Gay-Head Indians?
Not many, truly; and yet the island is well worth a visit, and will
repay the tourist better for his time and labor than any jaded, glaring,
seaside watering-place, with its barrack of white hotel, and its crowd
of idle people.

In the first place, the delicious suggestiveness of the name,--Martha's
Vineyard! At once we ask, Who was Martha? and how did she use her
vineyard? Was she the thrifty wife of some old Puritan proprietor of
untamed acres?--and did she fancy the wild grapes of this little island,
fuller of flavor, and sweeter for the manufacture of her jellies and
home-made wine, than those which grew elsewhere?--and did she come in
the vintage season, with her children and her friends, to gather in the
rich purple clusters, bearing them back as did the Israelitish spies, to
show the fatness of the promised land?

It was one of the fairest days of the Indian summer, when Caleb, Mysie,
and the Baron (a young gentleman four years old) set gayly forth to
explore this new and almost unknown region.

The first stage of their journey was New Bedford; and at the neat and
quiet hotel where they spent the night, Caleb ascertained that the
steamer "Eagle's Wing" would leave its wharf, bound to the Vineyard.

Pending this event, the trio wandered about the quiet wharves,
inspecting the shipping, and saturating themselves with nautical odors
and information. They discovered that whaleships are not the leviathans
of the deep which Mysie had supposed them, being very rarely of a
thousand tons, and averaging five hundred. They were informed that
whaling has ceased to be a profitable occupation to any but the officers
of the ships, the owners frequently making only enough to repay their
outlay from a voyage which has brought the captain and first mate
several thousand dollars each.

Every member of a whaleship's crew, from the captain down to the
cabin-boy, is paid, not fixed wages, but a "lay," or share of the
profits of the voyage. Formerly, these "lays" were so graduated, that
the chief advantage of the expedition was to the owners; but, of late
years, matters have altered, so that now it is not uncommon for the
captain to receive a twelfth, tenth, or even eighth of the entire
profit, and the other officers in proportion.

The attention of our travellers was now directed to numerous squares and
plateaus of great black objects buried in seaweed; these, they were
informed, were casks of oil, stored in this manner instead of in
warehouses, as less liable to leakage.

It was also asserted, as a fact, that the sperm whale, alarmed at the
untiring rigor of his assailants, has almost disappeared from the
navigable waters, retreating to the fastnesses of the Frozen Ocean,
where he is still pursued, although at the greatest peril, by the
dauntless New Bedford, Nantucket, and Vineyard whalemen, who, as the
narrator proudly stated, have, time and again, come out unscathed from
the perils under which Franklin and his crew succumbed. Many a man now
walks the streets of these seaports who has conversed with the Esquimaux
last in company with that ill-fated crew.

Full-fed with maritime and oleaginous lore, our travellers at last
embarked upon the "Eagle's Wing," bound down the Vineyard Sound. As the
steamer gained its offing, the view of New Bedford was very picturesque,
reminding one of Boston seated at the head of her beautiful bay. The
passage through the islands, though not long, is intricate, requiring
skilful pilotage; and as the boat passed through the channel called
Wood's Hole, certain feeble-minded sisters were positive that all on
board were bound to immediate destruction; and, in truth, the reefs,
between which the channel lies, approach too closely to leave much room
for steering. The perils of the vasty deep, however, were finally
surmounted, and the steamer made fast to its wharf at Holmes's Hole, one
of the two principal ports of Martha's Vineyard.

Our trio disembarked, and found themselves at once the subjects of
fierce contention to no less than three aspirants for the honor of
conveying them and their luggage to their point of destination. One of
these, called Dave, was a grave, saturnine Yankee, his hands in the
pockets of his black trousers, his costume further exhibiting the
national livery of black dress coat, black satin waistcoat and necktie,
cow-hide boots, and stiff, shiny hat, very much upon the back of his
head. The languid and independent offers of this individual were,
however, quite drowned by the flood of vociferous overtures from his two
rivals,--an original youth, about eighteen years old, and a man, or
rather mannikin, who, judging by his face, might be in his fiftieth,
and, by his back, in his tenth year.

Mannikin first succeeded in gaining the attention of Caleb,--the efforts
of Mysie, meanwhile, barely sufficing to restrain the Baron from
plunging over the side of the wharf, in his anxiety to witness the
departure of the steamboat. Mannikin, asserting earnestly that he had a
"good conveyance" close at hand, danced around the group with vehement
gesticulations, intended to strike despair into the souls of his two
adversaries, who, nevertheless, retained their ground,--Dave lounging in
the middle distance, a grim smile of derision upon his face, and Youth
dodging in with loud offers of service, wherever Mannikin left a point

Caleb, at last, demanding to see the "good conveyance," was led away to
the head of the wharf, when Youth at once seized the opportunity to rush
in, and breathlessly inquire of Mysie,--

"Wher' ye goin', Ma'am? Wher' ye want to be kerried?"

"We are going to Gay-Head Light-house; but my"--

"Ga'ed Light? I kin kerry ye there fust-rate, and cheap too;--kerry ye
there for two dollars!"

"My husband has already spoken"--

"Wat! t' ole Ransom? Wy, he a'n't got nothin' but a weelbarry." And
Caleb, returning at the same moment with a somewhat perplexed air,
corroborated this statement by saying,--

"This man has no carriage, but will get us one in a short time."

"But this boy," retorted Mysie, "says he has a carriage, and will carry
us to Gay Head for two dollars."

"You hear that, ole feller?--they're a-goin' with me!" crowed triumphant
Youth at disconcerted Mannikin, who nevertheless rapidly proceeded to
pile the luggage upon his barrow and trundle it away.

This _coup d'état_ was checked by Caleb, but afterward allowed, upon
discovering that Youth's carriage was still reposing in his father's
stable, "jist up here"; and Mannikin was consoled by being allowed to
earn a quarter of a dollar by transporting the luggage to that
destination. The procession at once set forth, including Dave, who
strolled in the rear, softly whistling, and apparently totally
unconcerned, yet all the while alive with feline watchfulness.

Arrived at the stable, the travellers were requested to wait there while
Youth went to find his father and "borry a wip."

At these last words, a "subtle smile, foreboding triumph," broke over
Dave's composed features, as he muttered,--

"Reckin you'll need one 'fore you reach Ga'ed Light."

The coast clear, Dave became a little more communicative, expatiated
upon the dangers and discomforts of the road, the incapacity of Youth's
horse, and the improbability that his father would ratify the bargain,
concluding by offering to "do the job himself in good shape for four
dollars," which offer was held in abeyance until we should learn the
result of Youth's interview with his father.

In the mean time, a matron suddenly made her appearance in the barn,
with a hospitable entreaty that "the woman and child" would come up to
the house and warm themselves; and Caleb strongly advocating the Idea,
Mysie and the Baron proceeded houseward.

About half-way they encountered Paterfamilias, hastening with Youth
toward the barn, and to him Matron at once recapitulated the affair,
concluding with mentioning the stipulated price. At this Pater turned,
with thunderous brow, toward Youth; but Matron interposed, with womanly

"You can do jest as you like, you know, about lettin' him go; but Dave's
in the barn."

"Dave in my barn! Wat in thunder's he doin' there? Yes, go, boy,--go for
nothin', if they ask you to, sooner than let that"--

The rest of the sentence was lost in the distance. But Mysie, following
her guide to the house, felt quite sure of their conveyance; and, in
fact, barely sufficient time elapsed for the hostess to possess herself
of the leading facts in her guests' history, before the carriage was
announced, and our travellers hastened down the lane, and found there
awaiting them the evident model of the Autocrat's "One-Hoss Shay," in
its last five years of senility;--to this was attached a quadruped who
immediately reminded Mysie of a long-forgotten conundrum.

"What was the first created animal?"

_Ans._ "Shay-'oss."

Holding him ostentatiously by the head stood Youth, the "borried" whip
flourished in his right hand, as he invited his passengers to seat
themselves without reference to him.

This being done and the seat pretty thoroughly filled, Youth perched
himself upon a bag and valise, which filled the front of the vehicle,
and the journey commenced.

That ride! The first mile was not passed before the meaning of Dave's
malicious smile, at mention of a whip, became painfully apparent; for
never was weapon more perseveringly used, or with so little result, the
cunning old beast falling into a jog-trot at the commencement, from
which no amount of vociferation or whipping could move him.

"I wouldn't hurry him so much," interposed Mysie, her compassion
aroused both for beast and Youth. "I don't like to see a horse whipped
so much."

"Oh, you see, Ma'am, he's so used to it, he won't go noways without it;
feels kind o' lonesome, I 'xpect. It don't hurt him none, nuther; his
skin's got so thick an' tough, that he wouldn't know, if you was to put
bilin' tar on him."

"Do you feed your horse on oats, much?" inquired Caleb, gravely, after a
long and observant silence.

"No, Sir, we darsn't give him no oats, 'cause he'd be sure to run away;
doos sometimes, as it is."

"I don't think you need fear it to-day," replied Caleb, quietly, as he
settled himself into the corner, in the vain hope of a nap; but Youth
was now loquaciously inclined.

"Reck'n Dave was disappinted," said he, with a chuckle. "He meant to
kerry ye himself; but soon's I see him round, I says to myself, says I,
'Ole Chick, you sha'n't come it this time, if I go for nothin'.'"

"Competition is the soul of trade," drowsily murmured Caleb; but as
Youth turned to inquire, "Whossay?" the bag upon which he was seated,
and upon which, in the enjoyment of his triumph, he had been wriggling
somewhat too vivaciously, suddenly gave way, and a pair of snow-white
hose came tumbling out. They were at once caught and held admiringly up
by Youth, with the ingenuous remark,--

"How wite them looks! An' if you'll blieve it, mine was jest as clean
yis'day mornin',--an' now you look at 'em!" To facilitate which
inspection, the speaker conscientiously drew up his corduroys, so as
fully to display a pair of home-knit socks, which certainly had wofully
deteriorated from the condition ascribed to them "yis'day mornin'."

"You see, I went clammin' las' night," pursued Youth; "an' that's death
on clo's."

"What's clammin'?" inquired the Baron, changing the subject with
unconscious tact, and quite surprised at the admiring kiss bestowed upon
him by his mother, while Youth, readjusting his corduroys, replied with

"Clammin'? Wy, clammin's goin' arter clams; didn't ye never eat no

"N-o, I don't think I ever did," replied the Baron, reflectively. "Is it
like ice-cream?"

"Well, I never eat none o' that, so I dunno," was the reply; and Youth
and Child, each regarding the other with wondering pity, relapsed into

Having now passed from the township of Holmes's Hole into Tisbury, the
road lay through what would have been an oak forest, except that none of
the trees exceeded some four feet in height,--Youth affirming this to be
their mature growth, and that no larger ones had grown since the forest
was cleared by the original settlers. A few miles more were slowly
passed, and Mysie began to look hopefully from every eminence for a
sight of the light-house, when she was stunned by the information, that
they were then entering Chilmark, and were "'bout half-way."

Caleb, with an exclamation of disgust, leaped from "the shay," and
accomplished the remaining ten miles, wrathfully, on foot,--while Mysie,
wrapping her feminine patience about her as a mantle, resigned herself
to endurance; but Youth, noticing, perhaps, her weary and disconsolate
expression, applied himself sedulously to the task of entertaining her;
and, as a light and airy way of opening the conversation, inquired,--

"Was you pooty sick aboard the boat?"

"Not at all."

"That's curous! Women 'most alluz is,--'specially wen it's so ruffly as
it is to-day. Was bubby sick any?"


"Wa-al, that's very fortnit, for I don't blieve he'll be sick wen he
grows up an' goes walin'. It's pooty tryin', the fust two or three weeks
out, ginerally. How young is he a-goin' to begin?"

"I do not think he will ever go to sea."

"Not a-goin' to sea? Wy, his father's a captain, I 'xpect; a'n't he?"


"Mate, then, a'n't he?"

"He is not a sailor at all."

"Ha'n't never ben to sea?"


Oh, the look of wide-mouthed astonishment which took possession of
Youth's hitherto vacant features, at thus encountering a strong-looking
man, in the prime of life, who had never been to sea, and a healthy,
sturdy boy, whose parents did not mean that he ever should! He had no
more to say; every faculty was, for at least an hour, devoted to the
contemplation of these _lusus naturæ_, thus presented to his vision.

At last, the road, which had long been in a condition of ominous
second-childhood, suddenly died a natural death at the foot of a steep
hill, where a rail-fence presented itself as a barrier to farther
progress. The bars were soon removed by Youth, who triumphantly
announced, as Cha-os walked slowly through the opening thus presented,--

"Now we're on Ga'ed, an' I'll run along and take down the next bars, if
you kin drive. Git along, Tom,--you ha'n't got nothin' but two feathers
ahind you now."

"How far is it to the Light-house?" inquired Mysie, faintly.

"Ony 'bout four mild," was the discouraging reply, as Youth "loped" on
in advance.

"Four mild!" and such miles! The only road, a faint track in the grass,
now undiscernible in the gathering gloom, now on the slope of steep
hills marked by deep gullies worn by the impetuous autumn rains, and
down which the poor old "shay" jerked along in a series of bumps and
jolts threatening to demolish at once that patriarchal vehicle and the
bones of its occupants.

At last, however, from the top of one of these declivities, the
brilliant, flashing light of the long-watched-for Pharos greeted Mysie's
despairing eyes, and woke new hopes of warmth, rest, and shelter. But
never did bewildering _ignisfatuus_ retire more persistently from the
pursuit of unwary traveller than did that Light-house from the occupants
of that creaking "shay"; and it was not till total darkness had settled
upon the earth that they reached its door, and discovered, by the
lamplight streaming out, that Caleb stood in the entrance, awaiting
their arrival.

As the chaise stopped, he came forward and lifted the stiff and weary
forms of "the woman and child" to the ground, and delivered them to the
guidance of the hostess.

The first aspect of affairs was somewhat discouraging,--the parlor into
which they were ushered being without fire and but dimly lighted, the
bedroom not yet prepared for toilet purposes, and the hostess, as she
averred, entirely unprepared for company.

Left alone in the dreary parlor, Caleb subsided into moody silence, and
Mysie into tears, upon which the Baron followed suit, and produced such
a ludicrous state of affairs, that the sobs which had evoked his changed
to an irrepressible laugh, in which all parties soon joined. This
pleasant frame of mind was speedily encouraged and augmented, first, by
water and towels _ad libitum_, and then by an introduction to the
dining-room, in whose ample grate now roared a fire, of what our
travellers were informed was peat,--an article supplying, in the absence
of all other indigenous fuel, nearly every chimney upon the island.

A good cup of tea and a substantial supper prepared the trio to accept
the invitation of the excellent Mr. F. (the chief keeper, and their
host) to go up with him "into the Light."

And now our travellers suddenly found that they had made a pilgrimage
unawares. They had come to the island for sea-air and pebbles, to shoot
ducks, see the Indians, and find out who Martha was, and had come to the
Light-house, as the only "white" dwelling upon the Head,--the rest
being all occupied by the descendants of the red men,--and now found
themselves applauded by their host for having "come so far to see our
Light;--not so far as some, either," continued he, "for we have had
visitors from every part of the Union,--even from Florida; every one who
understands such things is so anxious to see it."

"Why, is it different from common light-houses?" carelessly inquired

"Don't you know? Haven't you come on purpose to see it?" asked the
keeper, in astonishment,--and then proceeded to explain, that this is
the famous Fresnel light, the identical structure exhibited at the great
Exposition at Paris, bought there by an agent of the United States, and
shipped by him to America.

Owing, however, to some inexplicable blunder, its arrival was not made
known to the proper authorities,--and the papers which should have
accompanied it being lost or not delivered, no one at the custom-house
knew what the huge case contained. It was deposited in a bonded
warehouse during the legal interval, but, never having been claimed, was
then sold, still unexamined, to the highest bidder. He soon identified
his purchase, and proceeded to make his own profit out of it,--the
consequence being that government at last discovered that the Fresnel
light had been some two years in this country, and was then upon
exhibition, if the President and cabinet would like to take a peep. The
particulars of the bargain which ensued did not transpire, but it
resulted in the lantern being repacked and reshipped to Gay Head, its
original destination.

While hearing this little history, the party were breathlessly climbing
three steep iron staircases, the last of which ended at a trap-door,
giving admittance to the clock-room, where the keeper generally sits;
from here another ladder-like staircase leads up into the lantern.
Arrived at the top, the Baron screamed with delight at the gorgeous
spectacle before him.

The lamp (into the four concentric wicks of which a continual and
superabundant supply of oil is forced by a species of clock-work,
causing a flame of dazzling brilliancy) is surrounded by a revolving
cover, about eight feet high by four or five in diameter, and in shape
like the hand-glasses with which gardeners cover tender plants, or the
shades which one sees over fancy clocks and articles of _bijouterie_.
This cover is composed of over six hundred pieces of glass, arranged in
a complicated and scientific system of lenses and prisms, very difficult
to comprehend, but very beautiful in the result; for every ray of light
from that brilliant flame is shivered into a thousand glittering arrows,
reflected, refracted, tinted with all the rainbow hues, and finally
projected through the clear plate-glass windows of the lantern with all
the force and brilliancy of a hundred rays. If any one cares to
understand more clearly the why and the how, let him either go and see
for himself or read about it in Brande's Encyclopædia. Mysie and the
Baron were content to bask ignorantly in the glittering, ever-changing,
ever-flowing flood of light, dreaming of Fairy Land, and careless of
philosophy. Only so much heed did they give to the outer world as always
to place themselves upon the landward side of the lantern, lest
unwittingly their forms should hide one ray of the blessed light from
those for whose good it was put there.

Caleb, meanwhile, sat with his host in the clock-room, smoking many a
meerschaum, and listening to the keeper's talk about his beautiful
charge,--a pet as well as a duty with him, obviously.

With the same fond pride with which a mother affects to complain of the
care she lavishes upon her darling child would the old man speak of the
time necessary to keep his six hundred lenses clear and spotless, each
one being rubbed daily with softest doeskin saturated with _rouge_, to
keep the windows of the lantern free from constantly accumulating saline
incrustations,--of the care with which the lamp, when burning, must be
watched, lest intrusive fly or miller should drown in the great
reservoir of oil and be drawn into the air-passages. This duty, and the
necessity of winding up the "clock" (which forces the oil up into the
wick) every half-hour, require a constant watch to be kept through the
night, which is divided between the chief and two assistant keepers.

The morning after their arrival, our travellers, strong with the vigor
of the young day, set forth to explore the cliffs, bidding adieu to
original Youth, who, standing ready to depart, beside his horse, was
carolling the following ditty in glorification of his native town:--

    "Ga'ed Light is out o' sight,
        Menemshee Crik is sandy,
    Holmes's Hole's a pooty place,
        An' Oldtown Pint's onhandy."

(Oldtown being synonymous with Edgartown, the rival seaport.)

Leaving this young patriot to his national anthem, a walk of a few
hundred feet through deep sword-edged grass brought our explorers to the
edge of a cliff, down which they gazed with awe-hushed breath. Below
them, at a depth of a hundred and fifty feet, the thunderous waves beat
upon the foot of the cliff over whose brink they peered, and which,
stern and impassive as it had stood for ages, frowned back with the mute
strength of endurance upon the furious, eager waves, which now and again
dashed themselves fiercely against its front, only to be flung back
shattered into a thousand glittering fragments.

The cliffs themselves are very curious and beautiful, being composed of
red and black ochre, the largest cliff showing the one color on its
northern and the other on its southern face. The forms are
various,--some showing a sheer descent, with no vestige of earth or
vegetation, their faces seamed with scars won in the elemental war which
they have so long withstood. In other spots the cliff has been rent into
sharp pinnacles, varied and beautiful in hue.

One spot, in particular, which became Mysie's favorite resort, was at
once singular and beautiful in its conformation. About three feet above
the water's edge lay a level plateau, its floor of loose, sandy, black
conglomerate, abounding in sparkling bits of quartz and sulphate of
iron; beneath this lay a bed of beautifully marbled and variegated clay,
its edge showing all along the black border of the plateau like the
brilliant wreath with which a brunette binds her dusky hair. Blocks of
this clay, fallen upon the beach, and wet with every flowing wave, lay
glistening in the sunlight and looking like--

"Castile soap, mamma," suggested the Baron, as Mysie was describing the
scene in his presence, and hesitated for a simile.

At the back of the terrace, which, in its widest part, measured some
fifty feet, rose suddenly and sharply the pinnacled cliffs, some snowy
white, some black, some deep red, and others a cold gray. At either hand
they extended quite down to the water's edge, so that, seated upon the
plateau, nothing met the eye but ocean, sky, and cliffs; no work of man
struck a discordant note in the grand harmony of these three simple,
mighty elements of creation.

Mysie sometimes took a book here with her, but it was not a place to
read in; the scene crushed and dwarfed human thoughts and words to
nothingness; and to repeat to the ocean himself what had been said of
him by the loftiest even of poets seemed tame and impertinent.

These cliffs extend about a mile along the shore, and then suddenly give
place to a broad sandy beach, behind which lies a level, desolate moor,
treeless, shrubless, and barren of all vegetation, save coarse grass and
weeds, and a profusion of stunted dog-roses, which, in their season,
must throw a rare and singular charm over their sterile home.

The beach, though smooth and even, is not flat, like those of Nantasket,
Nahant, and Newport, but shelves rapidly down; and there is a belief
among the islanders, that a short distance out it terminates suddenly at
the brow of a submarine precipice, beyond which are no soundings.

Owing to the sharp declivity of the beach, the rollers break with great
force, and the surf is very high. At one point is grouped a cluster of
rocks, half in the water, half on the beach, among which, as the tide
comes in, the waves break with furious force, dashing high over the
outermost barrier, and then plunging and leaping forward, like a troop
of wild horses, their white manes flung high in air, as they leap
forward over one and another of the obstacles in their path.

Perched upon the crest of one of these half-submerged rocks, watching
the mad waves fling themselves exhausted at her feet, it was Mysie's
delight to sit, enjoying the half danger of her position, and retreating
only when the waters had many times closed behind her throne, leaving,
in their momentary absence, but a wet and slippery path back to the

Along this beach, too, lay the road to Squipnocket, a pond famed for its
immense flocks of wild geese and ducks,--fame shared by Menemshee Creek
and Pond, as well as several others of similar aboriginal titles.

To these repaired, almost daily, Caleb, accompanied by one or another of
his host's five sons; and the result of their efforts with the gun was
no inconsiderable addition to the table at Ga'ed Light.

But greatest of all the wonders at the Head are the Fossil Cliffs.

A short time after the arrival of our travellers, their hostess inquired
if they had yet found any fossils. Mysie frankly confessed that they did
not know there were any to find, which was evidently as great a surprise
to Mrs. F. as their ignorance of the Fresnel light had been to her
husband. She at once offered the services of her daughter Clarissa as
guide and assistant, and gave glowing accounts of the treasures to be
found. The offer was gladly accepted; and Clarissa, a merry little romp,
about twelve years old, soon made her appearance, armed with a pickaxe,
hoe, and basket.

Thus laden, and in the teeth of a shrewd northeast wind, the little
barefooted pioneer led the way directly over the brow of a cliff, which,
had Mysie been alone, she would have pronounced entirely impracticable.
Now, however, fired with a lofty emulation, she silently followed her
guide, grasping, however, at every shrub and protection with somewhat
convulsive energy.

"Here's a good place," announced Clarissa, pausing where a shelf of
gravelly rock afforded tolerable foothold. "Professor Hitchcock told
father that in here were strata of the tertiary formation, and there's
where we get the fossils."

"But how do you come at the tertiary formation through all this sand and
gravel?" asked Mysie, aghast at the prospect.

"Oh, dig; that's why I brought the pick and hoe; we must dig a hole
about a foot deep, and then we shall come to the stuff that has the
fossils in it. You may have the hoe, and I'll take the pick, 'cause
that's the hardest."

"Then let me have it; I am stronger than you," exclaimed Mysie, suddenly
roused to enthusiasm at the idea of "picking" her way into the tertiary
formation of the earth, and exhuming its fossilized remains.

Seizing the pickaxe, she aimed a mighty blow at the clay and gravel
conglomerate before her; but the instrument, falling wide of its
intended mark, struck upon a rock, and sent such a jarring thrill up
both her arms and such a tingle to her fingers' ends as suddenly
quenched her antiquarian zeal, and reminded her of a frightful account
she once read of a convent of nuns captured by some brutal potentate,
who forced them to mend his highways by breaking stones upon them with
very heavy hammers; and the historian mentioned, as a common
occurrence, that, when any sister dislocated her shoulder, one of her
comrades would set it, and the sufferer would then resume her labors.

Mysie, having this warning before her eyes, and being doubtful of
Clarissa's surgical abilities, concluded to postpone her researches, and
proposed to her companion to fill the basket with shells and pebbles
from the beach, to which cowardly proposition Clarissa yielded but a
reluctant consent.

The next day, however, Mr. F. and Caleb, learning the result of the
fossil-search, offered to apply their more efficient skill and strength
to a new attempt in the same direction; and, with high hopes for the
result, Mysie, still accompanied by Clarissa, proceeded to another
portion of the cliffs, where a low, wedge-shaped promontory, shadowed by
beetling crags, was, as Mr. F. confidently stated, "sure for teeth."

The pickaxe, in the sinewy arms of its owner, soon dislodged great cakes
of the upper deposit and laid bare a stratum of olive-green clay, which
was announced to be a fossil-bed. Lumps of this clay being broken off
and crumbled up, proved indeed rich in deposit. They found sharks'
teeth, the edges still sharply serrated, firmly set in pieces of the
jawbone,--whales' teeth,--vertebrae of various species,--fragments of
bone, great and small,--several species of shell-fish, among which
chiefly abounded a kind called quahaug,--and many nondescript fragments,
not easily classified. One of these was a little bone closely resembling
the tibia of a child's leg, and may have belonged to some antediluvian
infant lost at sea, (if Noah's ancestors were mariners,) or perhaps
drowned in the Deluge,--for Mr. F. quoted an eminent geologist who has
visited the Vineyard, and who supposed these remains to have been
brought here by that mighty Flood-tide. Another _savant_, however,
supposes the island to have been thrown up from the sea by volcanic
action; and that the fossils, now imbedded in cliffs a hundred feet
high, were once deposited upon the bed of the ocean. There is certainly
a great amount of conglomerate, which has evidently been fused by
intense heat; and masses of rock, sea-pebbles, sand, and iron-ore are
now as firmly integrated as a piece of granite.

However, the fossils came; here they certainly are; many of them perfect
in form, and light and porous to the eye, but all hard and heavy as
stone to the touch. Teeth, which are considered the most valuable of all
the remains, are sometimes found as wide as a man's hand, and weighing
several pounds; but Mysie was quite content with the more insignificant
weight of those which filled her basket, especially when an immense
reticulated paving-stone was added, which Mr. F. pronounced to be a
whale's vertebra. She then was induced to trust the precious collection
to Caleb's care, the more willingly that the ascent of the cliffs was
now to be attempted. This was easily and quickly accomplished by Mr. F.
and his little son, by going to the right spot before beginning to
climb; but Mysie declaring that the ascent was quite practicable where
they were, Caleb and Clarissa felt bound in honor to accompany her. For
some distance, all went very well,--the face of the cliff presuming
slight inequalities of surface, which answered for foot-and hand-holds,
and not being very steep; but suddenly Mysie, the leader of the group,
arriving within about three feet of the top, found the rock above her so
smooth as to give no possible foothold by which she might reach the
strong, coarse grass which nodded tauntingly to her over the brink.

Clinging closely to the face of the cliff, she turned her head to
announce to Caleb that she could not go on, and, in turning, looked
down. Before this she had felt no fear, only perplexity; but the sight
of those cruel rocks below,--the hollow booming of the waves, as they
lashed the foot of the cliff,--the consciousness that a fall of a
hundred feet awaited her, should she let go her hold,--all this struck
terror to Mysie's heart; and while a heavy, confused noise came
throbbing and ringing through her head, she shut her eyes, and fancied
she had seen her last of earth.

In an instant Caleb was beside her,--his arm about her, holding her
safely where she was; but to continue was impossible for either.

"Ho! Mr. F.!" shouted Caleb; "come this way, will you, and give my wife
your hand? She is a little frightened, and can't go on."

Presently a stout arm and hand appeared from among that nodding, mocking
grass, and a cheery voice exclaimed,--

"Here, my dear lady, take right hold, strong;--you can't pull me
over,--not if you try to."

Unclasping, with some difficulty, her fingers from the rock, into which
they seemed to have grown, Mysie grasped the proffered hand, and the
next moment was safe upon the turf.

"Oh, my good gracious!" muttered the kind old man; but whether the
exclamation was caused by Mysie's face, pale, no doubt, by the effort
necessary to raise her half-fainting figure, or by the idea of the peril
in which she had been, did not appear.

Clarissa, calm and equable, was next passed up by Caleb, who, declining
the proffered hand, drew himself up, by a firm grasp upon the rocky
scarp of the cliff.

"Guess you was scart some then, wa'n't you?" inquired Clarissa, as the
party walked homeward.

"Oh, no!" replied Mysie, quickly. "But I could not get over the top of
the cliff alone,--it was so steep."

"Oh, that was the matter?" drawled the child, with a sidelong glance of
her sharp black eyes.

The northeast wind which went fossilizing with Mysie and Clara on their
first excursion was the precursor of a furious storm of rain and wind,
ranking, according to the dictum of experienced weatherseers, as little
inferior to that famous one in which fell the Minot's Ledge Light-house.

As the gale reached its height, it was a sight at once terrible and
beautiful, to watch, standing in the lantern, the goaded sea, whose
foam-capped waves could plainly be seen at the horizon line, breaking
here and there upon sunken rocks, over which in their playful moods they
scarcely rippled, but on which they now dashed with such white fury as
to make them discernible, even through the darkness of night. One long,
low ridge of submarine rocks, around which seethed a perpetual caldron,
was called the Devil's Bridge; but when erected, or for what purpose,
tradition failed to state.

Never, surely, did the wind rave about a peaceful inland dwelling as it
did about that lonely light-house for two long nights. It roared, it
howled, it shrieked, it whistled; it drew back to gather strength, and
then rushed to the attack with such mad fury, that the strong, young
light-house, whose frame was all of iron and stone, shrunk trembling
before it, and the children in their beds screamed aloud for fear. But
through all and beyond all, the calm, strong light sent out its
piercing, warning rays into the black night; and who can tell what
sinner it may that night have prevented from crossing the Devil's Bridge
to the world which lies beyond?

There was but one wreck during the storm, so far as our travellers
heard; and in this the lives were saved. Two men, caught out in a
fishing-smack, finding that their little vessel was foundering, betook
themselves to their small boat; but this filled more rapidly than they
could bale it; and they had just given themselves up for lost, when
their signals of distress were observed on board the light-ship
stationed near Newport, which sent a life-boat to their assistance, and
rescued them just as their little boat went to pieces.

When Mysie heard this occurrence mentioned, as they were journeying
homeward, it recalled to her mind a little incident of the day
succeeding the storm.

Walking with Clara upon the beach, they saw borne toward them, on the
crest of a mighty wave, a square beam of wood, bent at an obtuse angle,
which Clara at once pronounced to be the knee from some large boat, and,
rushing dauntlessly into the water, the energetic little maid battled
with the wave for its unwieldy toy, and finally dragged it triumphantly
out upon the beach, and beyond the reach of the wave, only wishing that
she had "a piece of chalk to make father's mark upon it." Failing the
chalk, she rushed off home for "father and one of the boys," who soon
bestowed the prize in a place of safety.

Mysie at first wondered considerably that persons should take so much
trouble for a piece of wood, but ceased to do so when she remembered
that on the whole island could not probably be found a tree of a foot in
diameter, and that everything like board or joist at the light-house
must be brought by sea to Holmes's Hole, Edgartown, or Menemshee, and
thence carted over _that_ road to Gay Head, becoming, by the time it
reached "the Light," not a common necessary, but an expensive luxury.
She was not, therefore, surprised at being accompanied in her next walk
along the beach by quite a little party of wreckers, who, joyfully
seizing every chip which the waves tossed within their reach,
accumulated at last a very respectable pile of drift-wood.

"It would be a good thing for you, if the schooner "Mary Ann" should go
to pieces off here," remarked Mysie to Clara, who had become her
constant attendant.

"Why?" inquired she, expectantly.

"On account of her cargo. When hailed by another ship, and asked his
name, the captain replied,--

    'I'm Jonathan Homer, master and owner
        Of the schooner Mary Ann;
    She comes from Pank-a-tank, laden with oak plank,
        And bound to Surinam.'"

"Did he _really_ say so?" asked Clara, sharply.

"I don't know," said Mysie, laughing; "but that's what I heard about it
when I was a little girl."

While the storm continued too violent for out-of-door exercise, Mysie
cultivated an acquaintance with a remarkably pleasant and intelligent
lady who fortunately was making a visit at the light-house. She had been
for many years a resident of the Vineyard, and had taken great interest
in its history, both past and present. From her Mysie derived much
curious and interesting information.

It seems that the island was first discovered by a certain Thomas
Mayhew, who, voyaging with others to settle in the Plymouth Colony
during its early days, was driven by stress of weather into a safe and
commodious bay, now Edgartown harbor, but then seen and used for the
first time by white men. The storm over, his companions prepared to
resume their voyage; but Mayhew, seeing the land fair and pleasant to
look upon, decided to remain there, and landed with whoever in the ship
belonged to him.

He, of course, found the land in the hands of its original possessors, a
small and peaceful tribe of Indians, living quietly upon their own
island, and having very little communication with their neighbors. With
them Thomas Mayhew bargained for what land he wanted, selecting it in
what is now the town of Chilmark, and paying for it, to the satisfaction
of all parties, with an old soldier's coat which happened to be among
his possessions.

In process of time, one of his sons, named Experience, having been
educated for the purpose in England, returned to his father's home as a
missionary to the kind and hospitable savages among whom he dwelt. So
prosperous were the labors of himself, and afterward of his son
Zachariah, that in a journal, kept by the latter, it is mentioned that
there were then upon the island twelve thousand "praying Indians."

Experience Mayhew is still spoken of as "the great Indian missionary,"
and the house in which he lived was still standing a few years since
upon the farm of Mr. Hancock in Chilmark.

The island is to this day full of Mayhews of every degree,--so far, at
least, as distinctions of rank have obtained among this isolated and
primitive people.

When Massachusetts erected herself into a State, and included the
Vineyard within her bounds, it was divided into the townships of
Edgartown, (or Oldtown,) Holmes's Hole, Tisbury, and Chilmark, and the
district of Gay Head, which last, with the island of Chip-a-quid-dick,
off Edgartown, and a small tract of land in Tisbury, named
Christian-town, were made over in perpetuity to the Indians who chose to
remain. They have not the power of alienating any portion of this
territory, nor may any white man build or dwell there. If, however, one
of the tribe marry out of the community, the alien husband or wife may
come to live with the native spouse so long as the marriage continues;
and the Indians have taken advantage of this permission to intermarry
with the negroes, until there is not one pure-blooded descendant of the
original stock remaining, and its physiognomy and complexion are in most
cases undistinguishable in the combination of the two races.

Gay Head contains eleven hundred acres, seven of which are the
birthright of every Indian child; but it is not generally divided by
fences, the cattle of the whole tribe grazing together in amicable
companionship. Much of the value of the property lies in the
cranberry-meadows, which are large and productive, and in the beds of
rich peat. A great deal of the soil, however, is valuable for
cultivation, although but little used, as the majority of the men follow
the example of their white co-islanders, and plough the sea instead of
the land. They make excellent seamen, and sometimes rise to the rank of
officers, although few white sailors are sufficiently liberal in their
views to approve of being commanded by "a nigger," as they persist in
calling these half-breeds.

The wigwams, which, no doubt, were at first erected here, have given
place to neat and substantial frame buildings, as comfortable,
apparently, as those in many New England villages. There is also a
nice-looking Baptist church, of which denomination almost every adult is
a member. Near this is a parsonage, occupied until lately by a white
clergyman; but the spirit of Experience Mayhew is not common in these
days; and his successor, finding the parish lonely and uncongenial,
removed to a pleasanter one,--his pulpit being now filled by a preacher
from among the Indians themselves.

Mysie took occasion to call at one of these _quasi_ wigwams, soon after
her arrival, but could discern only one aboriginal vestige in either
inhabitants or customs. This existed in the shape of a dish of
succotash, (corn and beans boiled together,) which the good woman was
preparing for breakfast,--very possibly in ignorance that her ancestors
had cooked and eaten and named the compound ages before the white
intruders ever saw their shore.

Mysie pursued her morning walk in a somewhat melancholy mood. It is a
sad and dreary sight to behold a nation in decay; saddest when the fall
is from so slight an elevation as that on which the savage stood. Greece
and Rome, falling into old age, proudly boast, "Men cannot say I did not
_have_ the crown"; each shows undying, unsurpassable achievements of her
day of power and strength,--each, if she live no longer in the sight of
the world, is sure of dwelling forever in its memory. But the
aboriginal, when his simple routine of life is broken up by the
intrusion of a people more powerful, more wicked, and more wise than
himself, is incapable of exchanging his own purely physical ambitions
and pursuits for the intellectual and cultivated life belonging to the
better class of his conquerors, while his wild and sensuous nature
grasps eagerly at the new forms of vice which follow in their train.
Civilization to the savage destroys his own existence, and gives him no
better one,--destroys it irremediably and forever. The life sufficient
for himself and for the day is not that which stretches its hand into
the future and sets its mark on ages not yet born; it dies and is
forgotten,--forgotten even by the descendants of those who lived it.

Some of the Indian names still survive; and Mysie's indignation was
roused, when a descendant of the Mayhews, pointing out the hamlets of
Menemshee and Nashaquitsa, (commonly called Quitsy,) added,

"But them's only nicknames given by the colored folks; it's all Chilmark
by rights."

"I suppose they are the names used by the ancestors of these Indians,
before a white man ever saw the island,--are they not?" inquired she,
somewhat dryly.

"Like enough, like enough," replied the other, carelessly, and not in
the least appreciating the rebuke.

From the lady before referred to Mysie received an answer to her
oft-repeated question,--

"Is there any tradition how the island received its name?"

"Oh, yes," was the unexpected and welcome answer. "All the islands near
here were granted by the King of England to a gentleman whose name is
forgotten; but he had four daughters, among whom he divided his new

"This one, remarkable then, as now, in a degree, for its abundance of
wild grapes, he gave to Martha as her Vineyard.

"The group to the north, consisting of Pennikeese, Cuttyhunk, Nashawena,
Naushon, Pasqui, and Punkatasset, are called the Elizabeth Islands, from
the daughter who inherited them.

"That little island to the southwest of us was Naomi's portion. It is
now called Noman's Land, and is remarkable only for the fine quality of
the codfish caught and cured there.

"The strangest of all, however, was the name given to the island
selected by Ann, which was first called Nan-took-it, and is now known as

"Thank Heaven, that I at last know something about Martha!" ejaculated

       *       *       *       *       *

At length, every corner filled with _specimens_, every face deeply
imbrowned by sun and wind, and the Baron with only the ghost of a pair
of shoes to his feet, our travellers set their faces homeward,--Caleb
resolving to renew his acquaintance with the birds at some future
period, his imagination having been quite inflamed by the accounts of
plover and grouse to be found here in their season. The latter, however,
are very strictly protected by law during most of the season, on account
of the rapidity with which they were disappearing. They are identical
with the prairie-fowl, so common at the West, and are said to be
delicious eating.

Desirous to improve their minds and manners by as much travel as
possible, the trio resolved to leave the island by the way of Edgartown,
the terminus of the steamboat route. Bidding adieu to their kind and
obliging host and hostess, the twelve children, and the pleasant new
friend, they set out, upon the most charming of all autumn days, for
Edgartown, fully prepared to be dazzled by its beauty and confounded by
its magnificence.

"Edgartown is a much finer place than Holmes's Hole, I understand,"
remarked Caleb to their driver.

"Well, I dunno; it's some bigger," was the reply.

"But it is a better sort of place, I am told; people from Edgartown
don't seem to think much of Holmes's Hole."

"No, nor the Holmes's Hole folks don't think much of Oldtown; it's
pretty much according to who you talk to, which place is called the
handsomest, I reckon."

"Athens or Rome, London or Paris, Oldtown or Holmes's Hole, Mysie,"
murmured Caleb, as their driver stopped to reply to the driver of "a
team," who was anxious to know when he was "a-goin' to butcher agin."

Edgartown proved to be a pretty little seaside town, with some handsome
wooden houses, a little bank, and a very nice tavern, at which the
travellers received very satisfactory entertainment. The next day,
reembarking upon the "Eagle's Wing," they soon reached New Bedford.


    The day that brightens half the earth
        Is night to half. Ah, sweet!
    One's mourning is another's mirth;--
You wear your bright years like a crown,--
While mine, dead garlands, tangle down
        In chains about my feet.

    The breeze which wakes the folded flower
        Sweeps dead leaves from the tree;--
    So partial Time, as hour by hour
He tells the rapid years,--cheu!
Brings bloom and beauty still to you,
        But leaves his blight with me.

    The rain which calls the violet up
        Out of the moistened mould
    Shatters the wind-flower's fragile cup;--
For even Nature has her pets,
And, favoring the new, forgets
        To love and spare the old.

    The shower which makes the bud a rose
        Beats off the lilac-bloom.
    I am a lilac,--so life goes,--
A lilac that has outlived May;--
You are a blush-rose. Welladay!
        I pass, and give you room!


What did the Eleusinia mean? Perhaps, reader, you think the question of
little interest. "The Eleusinia! Why, Lobeck made that little matter
clear long ago; and there was Porphyry, who told us that the whole thing
was only an illustration of the Platonic philosophy. St. Croix, too,--he
made the affair as clear as day!"

But the question is not so easily settled, my friend; and I insist upon
it that you _have_ an interest in it. Were I to ask you the meaning of
Freemasonry, you would think _that_ of importance; you could not utter
the name without wonder; and it may be that there is even more wonder in
it than you suspect,--though you be an arch-mason yourself. But in sight
of Eleusis, freemasonry sinks into insignificance. For, of all races,
the Grecian was the most mysterious; and, of all Grecian mysteries, the
Eleusinia were _the_ mysteries _par excellence_. They must certainly
have meant something to Greece,--something more than can ever be
adequately known to us. A farce is soon over; but the Eleusinia reached
from the mythic Eumolpus to Theodosius the Great,--nearly two thousand
years. Think you that all Athens, every fifth year, for more than sixty
generations, went to Eleusis to witness and take part in a sham?

But, reader, let _us_ go to Eleusis, and see, for ourselves, this great
festival. Suppose it to be the 15th of September, B.C. 411, Anno Mundi
3593 (though we would not make oath to that). It is a fine morning at
Athens, and every one is astir, for it is the day of assembling together
at Eleusis. Then, for company, we shall have Plato, now eighteen years
old, Sophocles, an old man of eighty-four, Euripides, at sixty-nine, and
Aristophanes, at forty-five. Socrates, who has his peculiar notions
about things, is not one of the initiated, but will go with us, if we
ask him. These are the _élite_ of Athens. Then there are the Sophists
and their young disciples, and the vast crowd of the Athenian people.
Some of the oldest among them may have seen and heard the "Prometheus
Vinctus"; certainly very many of them have seen "Antigone," and
"Oedipus," and "Electra"; and all of them have heard the Rhapsodists.
Great wonders have they seen and heard, which, in their appeal to the
heart, transcend all the wonders of this nineteenth century. Not more
fatal to the poor Indian was modern civilization, bringing swift ruin to
his wigwam and transforming his hunting-grounds into the sites of
populous cities, than modern improvements would have been to the Greek.
Modern strategy! What a subject for Homer would the siege of Troy have
been, had it consisted of a series of pitched battles with rifles!
Railways, steamboats, and telegraphs, annihilating space and time, would
also have annihilated the Argonautic expedition and the wanderings of
Ulysses. There would have been little fear, in a modern steamship, of
the Sirens' song; one whistle would have broken the charm. A modern
steamship might have borne Ulysses to Hades,--but it would never have
brought him back, as his own ship did. And now do you think a ride to
Eleusis by railway to-day would strike this Athenian populace, to say
nothing of the philosophers and poets we have along with us?

But they are thinking of Eleusis, and not of the way to Eleusis; so that
we may as well keep our suggestion to ourselves,--also those pious
admonitions which we were just about to administer to our companions on
heathenish superstitions. A strange fascination these Athenians have;
and before we are aware, _our_ thoughts, too, are centred in Eleusis,
whither are tending, not Athens only, but vast multitudes from all
Greece. Their movement is tumultuous; but it is a tumult of natural
enthusiasm, and not of Bacchic frenzy. If Athens be, as Milton calls
her, "the eye of Greece," surely Eleusis must be its heart!

There are nine days of the festival. This first is the day of the
_agurmos_, ([Greek: agyrmos],) or assembling together the flux of
Grecian life into the secret chambers of its Eleusinian heart. To-morrow
is the day of purification; then, "To the sea, all ye that are
initiated!" ([Greek: Alade, mystai!]) lest any come with the stain of
impurity to the mysteries of God. The third day is the day of
sacrifices, that the heart also may be made pure, when are offered
barley from the fields of Eleusis and a mullet. All other sacrifices may
be tasted; but _this_ is for Demeter alone, and not to be touched by
mortal lips. On the fourth day, we join the procession bearing the
sacred basket of the goddess, filled with curious symbols, grains of
salt, carded wool, sesame, pomegranates, and poppies,--symbols of the
gifts of our Great Mother and of her mighty sorrow. On the night of the
fifth, we are lost in the hurrying tumult of the torch-light
processions. Then there is the sixth day, the great day of all, when
from Athens the statue of Iacchus (Bacchus) is borne, crowned with
myrtle, tumultuously through the sacred gate, along the sacred way,
halting by the sacred fig-tree, (all sacred, mark you, from Eleusinian
associations,) where the procession rests, and then moves on to the
bridge over the Cephissus, where again it rests, and where the
expression of the wildest grief gives place to the trifling farce,--even
as Demeter, in the midst of her grief, smiled at the levity of Iambe in
the palace of Celeus. Through the "mystical entrance" we enter Eleusis.
On the seventh day, games are celebrated; and to the victor is given a
measure of barley,--as it were a gift direct from the hand of the
goddess. The eighth is sacred to Aesculapius, the Divine Physician, who
heals all diseases; and in the evening is performed the initiatory

Let us enter the mystic temple and be initiated,--though it must be
supposed that a year ago we were initiated into the Lesser Mysteries at
Agræ. ("_Certamen enim,--et præludium certaminis; et mysteria sunt quæ
præcedunt mysteria_.") We must have been _mystæ_ (veiled) before we can
become _epoptæ_ (seers); in plain English, we must have shut our eyes to
all else before we can behold the mysteries. Crowned with myrtle, we
enter with the other _mystæ_ into the vestibule of the temple,--blind as
yet, but the Hierophant within will soon open our eyes.

But first,--for here we must do nothing rashly,--first we must wash in
this holy water; for it is with pure hands and a pure heart that we are
bidden to enter the most sacred inclosure. Then, led into the presence
of the Hierophant, he reads to us, from a book of stone, things which we
must not divulge on pain of death. Let it suffice that they fit the
place and the occasion; and though you might laugh at them, if they were
spoken outside, still you seem very far from that mood now, as you hear
the words of the old man (for old he always was) and look upon the
revealed symbols. And very far indeed are you from ridicule, when
Demeter seals, by her own peculiar utterances and signals, by vivid
coruscations of light, and cloud piled upon cloud, all that we have seen
and heard from her sacred priest; and when, finally, the light of a
serene wonder fills the temple, and we see the pure fields of Elysium
and hear the choirs of the Blessed;--then, not merely by external
seeming or philosophic interpretation, but in real fact, does the
Hierophant become the Creator and Revealer of all things; the Sun is but
his torch-bearer, the Moon his attendant at the altar, and Hermes his
mystic herald. But the final word has been uttered: "_Conx Ompax_." The
rite is consummated, and we are _epoptæ_ forever!

One day more, and the Eleusinia themselves are completed. As in the
beginning by lustration and sacrifices we conciliated the favor of the
gods, so now by libation we finally commend ourselves to their care.
Thus did the Greeks begin all things with lustration and end with
libation, each day, each feast,--all their solemn treaties, their
ceremonies, and sacred festivals. But, like all else Eleusinian, this
libation must be _sui generis_, emptied from two bowls,--the one toward
the East, the other toward the West. Thus is finished this Epos, or, as
Clemens Alexandrinus calls it, the "mystical drama" of the Eleusinia.

Now, reader, you have seen the Mysteries. And what do they mean? Let us
take care lest we deceive ourselves, as many before us have done, by
merely _looking_ at the Eleusinia.

Oh, this everlasting staring! This it is that leads us astray. That old
stargazer, with whom Aesop has made us acquainted, deserved, indeed, to
fall into the well, no less for his profanity than his stupidity. Yet
this same star-gazing it is that we miscall reflection. Thus, in our
blank wonder at Nature, in our naked analysis of her life, expressed
through long lists of genera and species and mathematical calculations,
as if we were calling off the roll of creation, or as if her depth of
meaning rested in her vast orbs and incalculable velocities,--in all
this we fail of her real mystery.

To mere external seeming, the Eleusinia point to Demeter for their
interpretation. To _her_ are they consecrated,--of her grief are they
commemorative; out of reverence to her do the _mystæ_ purify themselves
by lustration and by the sacrifice that may not be tasted; she it is who
is symbolized, in the procession of the basket, as our Great Mother,
through the salt, wool, and sesame, which point to her bountiful
gifts,--while by the poppies and pomegranates it is hinted that she
nourishes in her heart some profound sorrow: by the former, that she
seeks to bury this sorrow in eternal oblivion,--by the latter, that it
must be eternally reiterated. The procession of the torches defines the
sorrow; and by this wild, despairing search in the darkness do we know
that her daughter Proserpine, plucking flowers in the fields of light,
has been snatched by ruthless Pluto to the realm of the Invisible. Then
by the procession of Iacchus we learn that divine aid has come to the
despairing Demeter; by the coming of, Aesculapius shall all her wounds
be healed; and the change in the evening from the _mystæ_ to _epoptæ_ is
because that now to Demeter, the cycle of her grief being accomplished,
the ways of Jove are made plain,--even his permission of violence from
unseen hands; to _her_ also is the final libation.

But the story of the stolen Proserpina is itself an afterthought, a
fable invented to explain the Mysteries; and, however much it may have
modified them in detail, certainly could not have been their ground. Nor
is the sorrowing Demeter herself adequate to the solution. For the
Eleusinia are older than Eleusis,--older than Demeter, even the Demeter
of Thrace,--certainly as old as Isis, who was to Egypt what Demeter was
to Greece,--the Great Mother[2] of a thousand names, who also had _her_
endlessly repeated sorrow for the loss of Osiris, and in honor of whom
the Egyptians held an annual festival. Thus we only remove the mystery
back to the very verge of myth itself; and we must either give up the
solution or take a different course. But perhaps Isis will reveal
herself, and at the same time unveil the Mysteries. Let us read her
tablet: "I am all that, has been, all that is, all that is to be; and
the veil which is over my face no mortal hand hath ever raised!" Now,
reader, would it not be strange, if, in solving _her_ mystery, we should
also solve the Sphinx's riddle? But so it is. This is the Sphinx in her
eldest shape,--this Isis of a thousand names; and the answer to her
ever-recurring riddle is always the same. In the Human Spirit is
infolded whatsoever has been, is, or shall be; and mortality cannot
reveal it!

Not to Demeter, then, nor even to Isis, do the Eleusinia primarily
point, but to the human heart. We no longer look at them; henceforth
they are within us. Long has this mystic mother, the wonder of the
world, waited for the revelation of her face. Let us draw aside the
veil, (not by mortal hand,--it moves at your will,) and listen:--

"I am the First and the Last,--mother of gods and men. As deep as is my
mystery, so deep is my sorrow. For, lo! all generations are mine. But
the fairest fruit of my Holy Garden was plucked by my mortal children;
since which, Apollo among men and Artemis among women have raged with
their fearful arrows. My fairest children, whom I have brought forth and
nourished in the light, have been stolen by the children of darkness. By
the Flood they were taken; and I wandered forty days and forty nights
upon the waters, ere again I saw the face of the earth. Then, wherever I
went, I brought joy; at Cyprus the grasses sprang up beneath my feet,
the golden-filleted Horæ crowned me with a wreath of gold and clothed me
in immortal robes. Then, also, was renewed my grief; for Adonis, whom I
had chosen, was slain in the chase and carried to Hades. Six months I
wept his loss, when he rose again and I triumphed. Thus in Egypt I
mourned for Osiris, for Atys in Phrygia, and for Proserpina at
Eleusis,--all of whom passed to the underworld, were restored for a
season, and then retaken. Thus is my sorrow repeated without end. All
things are taken from me. Night treads upon the heels of Day, the
desolation of Winter wastes the fair fruit of Summer, and Death walks in
the ways of Life with inexorable claims. But at the last, through Him,
my First-begotten and my Best-beloved, who also died and descended into
Hades, and the third day rose again,--through Him, having ceased from
wandering, I shall triumph in Infinite Joy!"

_That_, reader, is not so difficult to translate into human language.
Thus, from the beginning to the end of the world, do these Mysteries,
under various names, shadow forth the great problem of human life, which
problem, as being fundamental, must be religious, the same that is
shadowed forth in Nature and Revelation, namely: man's sin, and his
redemption from sin,--his great loss, his infinite error, and his final

Sorrow, so strong a sense of which pervaded these Mysteries that it was
the name (Achtheia) by which Demeter was known to her mystic
worshippers,--_human_ sorrow it was which veiled the eyelids; toward
which veiling (or _muesis_) the lotus about the head of Isis and the
poppy in the hand of Demeter distinctly point. Hence the _mystæ_, whom
the reader must suppose to have closed their eyes to all without
them,--even to Nature, except as in sympathy she mirrors forth the
central sorrow of their hearts. But this same sorrow and its mighty
work, veiled from all mortal vision, shut out by very necessity from any
sympathy save that of God, is a preparation for a purer vision,--a
second initiation, in which the eyes shall be reopened and the _mystæ_
become _epoptæ_; and of such significance was this higher vision to the
Greek, that it was a synonyme for the highest earthly happiness and a
foretaste of Elysium.

As this vision of the _epoptæ_ was the vision of real faith, so the
_muesis_, or veiling of the _mystæ_, was no mere affectation of
mysticism. Not so easily could be set aside this weight of sorrow upon
the eyelids, which, notwithstanding that, leading to self, it leads to
wandering, leads also through Divine aid to that peace which passeth
all understanding. Thus were the Hebrews led out of Egyptian bondage
through wanderings in the Wilderness to the Promised Land. Even thus,
through rites and ceremonies which to us are hieroglyphics hard to be
deciphered, which are known only as shrouded in infinite sorrow,--as
dimly shadowing forth some wild search in darkness and some final
resurrection into light,--through these, many from Egypt and India and
Scythia, from Scandinavia and from the aboriginal forests of America,
have for unnumbered ages passed from a world of bewildering error to the
heaven of their hopes. To the eye of sense and to shallow infidelity,
this may seem absurd; but the foolishness of man is the wisdom of God to
the salvation of His erring children. Happy, indeed, are the initiated!
Blessed are the poor in spirit, the Pariah, and the slave,--all they
whose eyes are veiled with overshadowing sorrow! for only thus is
revealed the glory of human life!

There are many things, kind reader, which, in our senseless staring, we
may call the signs of human weakness, but which, by a higher
interpretation, become revelations of human power. The gross and
pitiable features of the world are dissolved and clarified, when by an
impassioned sympathy we can penetrate to the heart of things. We are
about to pity the ragged vesture, the feeble knees, and the beseeching
hand of poverty, and the cries of the oppressed and the weary; but, at a
thought, Pity is slain by Reverence. We are ready to cry out against the
sluggish movement of the world and its lazy flux of life; but before the
satire is spoken, we are fascinated by an undercurrent of this same
world, earnest and full toward its sure goal,--of which, indeed, we only
dream; but "the dream is from God,"[3] and surer than sight. There is a
profounder calm than appears to the eye, in the quiet cottages scattered
up and down among the peaceful valleys; the rest of death is more
untroubled than the marble face which it leaves as its visible symbol;
and sleep, "the minor mystery of death," ([Greek: hypnos ta mikra tou
thanutou mystêria][4]) has a deeper significance than is revealed in any
external token. So what is sneeringly called the credulity of human
nature is its holy faith, and, in spite of all the hard facts which you
may charge upon it, is the glory of man. It introduces us into that
region where "nothing is unexpected, nothing impossible."[5] It was the
glory of our childhood, and by it childhood is made immortal. Myth
herself is ever a child,--a genuine child of the earth, indeed,--but
received among men as the child of Heaven.

Upon the slightest material basis have been constructed myths and
miracles and fairy-tales without number; and so it must ever be. Thus
man asserts his own inherent strength of imagination and faith over
against the external fact. Whatsoever is facile to Imagination is also
facile to Faith. Easy, therefore, in our thoughts, is the transition
from the Cinder-wench in the ashes to the Cinderella of the palace; easy
the apotheosis of the slave, and the passage from the weary earth to the
fields of Elysium and the Isles of the Blessed.

This flight of the Imagination, this vision of Faith,--_these_, reader,
are only for the _epoptæ_. It matters not, that, by naked analysis, you
can prove that the palaces of our fancy and the temples of our faith are
but the baseless fabric of a dream. It may be that the greater part of
life is made up of dreams, and that wakefulness is merely incidental as
a relief to the picture. It may be, indeed, in the last analysis, that
the _ideal_ is the highest, if not the only _real_.

For the sensible, palpable fact can, by the nature of things, exist for
us only in the Present. But, my dear reader, it is just here, in this
Present, that the tenure by which we have hold upon life is the most
frail and shadowy. For, by the strictest analysis, _there is no
Present_. The formula, _It is_, even before we can give it utterance, by
some subtile chemistry of logic, is resolved into _It was_ and _It
shall be_. Thus by our analysis do we retreat into the ideal. In the
deepest reflection, all that we call external is only the material basis
upon which our dreams are built; and the sleep that surrounds life
swallows up life,--all but a dim wreck of matter, floating this way and
that, and forever evanishing from sight. Complete the analysis, and we
lose even the shadow of the external Present, and only the Past and the
Future are left us as our sure inheritance. This is the first
initiation,--the veiling of the eyes to the external. But, as _epoptæ_,
by the synthesis of this Past and Future in a living nature, we obtain a
higher, an ideal Present, comprehending within itself all that can be
real for us within us or without. This is the second initiation, in
which is unveiled to us the Present as a new birth from our own life.

Thus the great problem of Idealism is symbolically solved in the
Eleusinia. For us there is nothing real except as we _realize_ it. Let
it be that myriads have walked upon the earth before us,--that each race
and generation has wrought its change and left its monumental record
upon pillar and pyramid and obelisk; set aside the ruin which Time has
wrought both upon the change and the record, levelling the cities and
temples of men, diminishing the shadows of the Pyramids, and rendering
more shadowy the names and memories of heroes,--obliterating even its
own ruin;--set aside this oblivion of Time, still there would be
hieroglyphics,--still to us all that comes from this abyss of Time
behind us, or from the abyss of Space around us, must be but dim and
evanescent imagery and empty reverberation of sound, except as, becoming
a part of our own life, by a new birth, it receives shape and
significance. Nothing can be unveiled to us till it is born of us. Thus
the _epoptæ_ are both creators and interpreters. Strength of knowledge
and strength of purpose, lying at the foundation of our own nature,
become also the measure of our interpretation of all Nature. Therefore
in each successive cycle of human history, as we realize more completely
the great Ideal, our appreciation of the Past increases, and our hope of
the Future. The difference lies not in the _data_ of history, but in
what we make of the _data_.

We cannot see too clearly that the great problem of life, in Philosophy,
Art, or Religion, is essentially the same from the beginning. Like
Nature, indeed, it repeats itself under various external phases, in
different ages and under different skies. History whispers from her
antediluvian lips of a race of giants; so does the earth reveal mammoths
and stupendous forests. But the wonder neither of Man nor of Nature was
greater then than now. We say much, too, of Progress. But the progress
does not consist in a change of the fundamental problem of the race; we
have only learned to use our material so that we effect our changes more
readily, and write our record with a finer touch and in clearer outline.
The progress is in the facility and elaboration, and may be measured in
Space and Time; but the Ideal is ever the same and immeasurable. Homer
is hard to read; but when once you have read him you have read all
poetry. Or suppose that Orpheus, instead of striving with his mythic
brother Cheiron, were to engage in a musical contest with Mozart, and
you, reader? were to adjudge the prize. Undoubtedly you would give the
palm to Mozart. Not that Mozart is the better musician; the difficulty
is all in your ear, my friend. If you could only hear the nice
vibrations of the "golden shell," you might reverse your decision.

So in Religion; the central idea, if you can only discern it, is ever
the same. She no longer, indeed, looks with the bewildered gaze of her
childhood to the mountains and rivers, to the sun, moon, and stars, for
aid. In the fulness of time the veil is rent in twain, and she looks
beyond with a clearer eye to the surer signs that are visible of her
unspeakable glory. But the longing of her heart is ever the same.

What remains to us of ancient systems of faith is, for the most part,
mere name and shadow. It is even more difficult for us to realize to
ourselves a single ceremony of Grecian worship,--for instance, a dance
in honor of Apollo,--in its subtile meaning, than it would be to
appreciate the "Prometheus" of Æschylus. This ignorance leads oftentimes
to the most shocking profanation; and from mere lack of vision we
ridicule much that should call forth our reverence.

Thus many Christian writers have sought to throw ridicule upon the
Eleusinia. But we must remember, that, to Greece, throughout her whole
history, they presented a well-defined system of faith,--that,
essentially, they even served the function of a church by their inherent
idea of divine discipline and purification and the hope which they ever
held out of future resurrection and glory. Why, then, you ask, if they
were so pure and full of meaning, why was not such a man as Socrates one
of the Initiated? The reason, reader, was simply this: What the
Eleusinia furnished to Greece, that Socrates furnished to himself. That
man who could stand stock-still a whole day, lost in silent
contemplation, what was the need to him of the Eleusinian veil? The most
self-sufficient man in all Greece, who could find the way directly to
himself and to the mystery and responsibility of his own will without
the medium of external rites, to whom there were the ever-present
intimations of his strange Divinity,--what need to him of the Eleusinian
revealings or their sublime self-intuition ([Greek: autopsia])? He had
his own separate tragedy also. And when with his last words he requested
that a cock be sacrificed to Æsculapius, that, reader, was to indicate
that to him had come the eighth day of the drama, in which the Great
Physician brings deliverance,--and in the evening of which there should
be the final unveiling of the eyes in the presence of the Great

Such were the Eleusinia of Greece. But what do they mean to us? We have
already hinted at their connection with the Sphinx's riddle. It is
through this connection that they receive their most general
significance; for this riddle is the riddle of the race, and the problem
which it involves can be adequately realized only in the life of the
race. To Greece, as peculiarly sensitive to all that is tragical, the
Sphinx connected her questions most intimately with human sorrow, either
in the individual or the household.

"Who is it," thus the riddle ran, "who is it that in the morning creeps
upon all-fours, touching the earth in complete dependence,--and at noon,
grown into the fulness of beauty and strength, walks erect with his face
toward heaven,--but at the going down of the sun, returns again to his
original frailty and dependence?"

This, answered Oedipus, is Man; and most fearfully did he realize it in
his own life! In the mysteries of the Eleusinia there is the same
prominence of human sorrow,--only here the Sphinx propounds her riddle
in its religious phase; and in the change from the _mystæ_ to the
_epoptæ_, in the revelation of the central self, was the great problem
symbolically realized.

Greece had her reckoning; and to her eye the Sphinx long ago seemed to
plunge herself headlong into precipitate destruction. But this strange
lady is ever reappearing with her awful alternative: they who cannot
solve her riddle must die. It is no trifling account, reader, which we
have with this lady. For now her riddle has grown to fearful
proportions, connecting itself with the rise and fall of empires, with
the dim realm of superstition, with vast systems of philosophy and
faith. And the answer is always the same: "That which hath been is that
which shall be; and that which hath been is named already,--and it is
known that it is Man."

What is it that shall explain the difference between our map of the
world and that of Sesostris or Anaximander? Geological deposits, the
washing away of mountains, and the change of river-courses are certainly
but trifling in such an account. But an Argonautic expedition, a Trojan
siege, a Jewish exodus, Nomadic invasions, and the names of Hanno,
Cæsar, William the Conqueror, and Columbus, suggest an explanation. It
is the flux of human life which must account for the flowing outline of
the earth's geography. As with the terrestrial, so with the celestial.
The heavens change by a subtiler movement than the precession of the
equinoxes. In Job, "Behold the height of the stars, how high they are!"
but to Homer they bathe in the Western seas; while to us, they are again
removed to an incalculable distance,--but at the same time so near,
that, in our hopes, they are the many mansions of our Father's house,
the stepping-stones to our everlasting rest.

But there is also another map, reader, more shadowy in its outline, of
an invisible region, neither of the heavens nor of the earth,--but
having vague relations to each, with a secret history of its own, of
which now and then strange tales and traditions are softly whispered in
our ear,--where each of us has been, though no two ever tell the same
story of their wanderings. Strange to say, each one calls all other
tales superstitions and old-wives' fables; but observe, he always
trembles when he tells his own. But they are all true; there is not one
old-wife's fable on the list. Necromancers have had private interviews
with visitors who had no right to be seen this side the Styx. The Witch
of Endor and the raising of Samuel were literal facts. Above all others,
the Nemesis and Eumenides were facts not to be withstood. And,
philosophize as we may, ghosts have been seen at dead of night, and not
always under the conduct of Mercury;[6] even the Salem witchcraft was
very far from being a humbug. They are all true,--the gibbering ghost,
the riding hag, the enchantment of wizards, and all the miracles of
magic, none of which we have ever seen with the eye, but all of which we
believe at heart. But who is it that weirdly draws aside the dark
curtain? Who is this mystic lady, ever weaving at her loom,--weaving
long ago, and weaving yet,--singing with unutterable sadness, as she
interweaves with her web all the sorrows and shadowy fears that ever
were or that ever shall be? We know, indeed, that she weaves the web of
Fate and the curtain of the Invisible; for we have seen her work. We
know, too, that she alone can show the many-colored web or draw aside
the dark curtain; for we have seen her revelations. But who is _she_?

Ay, reader, the Sphinx puts close questions now and then; but there is
only one answer that can satisfy her or avert death. This person,--the
only real mystery which can exist for you,--of all things the most
familiar, and at the same the most unfamiliar,--is yourself! You need
not speak in whispers. It is true, this lady has a golden quiver as well
as a golden distaff; but her arrows are all for those who cannot solve
her riddle.

Protagoras, then, was right; and, looking back through these twenty-two
centuries, we nod assent to his grand proposition: "Man is the measure
of all things,--of the possible, how it is,--of the impossible, how it
is not." In the individual life are laid the foundations of the
universe, and upon each individual artist depend the symmetry and
meaning of the constructed whole. This Master-Artist it is who holds the
keys of life and death; and whatsoever he shall bind or loose in his
consciousness shall be bound or loosed throughout the universe. Apart
from him, Nature is resolved into an intangible, shapeless vanity of
silence and darkness,--without a name, and, in fact, no Nature at all.
To man, all Nature must be human in some soul. God himself is worshipped
under a human phase; and it is here that Christianity, the flower of all
Faith, furnishes the highest answer and realization of this world-riddle
of the Sphinx,--here that it rests its eternal Truth, even as here it
secures its unfailing appeal to the human heart!

The process by which any nature is _realized_ is the process by which it
is _humanized_. Thus are all things given to us for an inheritance. Let
it be, that, apart from us, the universe sinks into insignificance and
nothingness; _to_ us it is a royal possession; and we are all kings,
with a dominion as unlimited as our desire. _Ubi Cæsar, ibi Roma!_ Rome
is the world; and each man, if he will, is Cæsar.

_If he will_;--ay, there's the rub! In the strength of his will lie
glory and absolute sway. But if he fail, then becomes evident the
frailty of his tenure,--"he is a king of shreds and patches!"

Here is the crying treachery; and thus it happens that there are slaves
and craven hearts. This is the profound pathos of history, (for the
Sphinx has always more or less of sadness in her face,) which enters so
inevitably into all human triumphs. The monuments of Egypt, the palaces
and tombs of her kings,--revelations of the strength of will,--also by
inevitable suggestions call to our remembrance successive generations of
slaves and their endless toil. Morn after morn, at sunrise, for
thousands of years, did Memnon breathe forth his music, that his name
might be remembered upon the earth; but his music was the swell of a
broken harp, and his name was whispered in mournful silence! Among the
embalmed dead, in urn-burials, in the midst of catacombs, and among the
graves upon our hillsides and in our valleys, there lurks the same sad
mockery. Surely "purple Death and the strong Fates do conquer us!"
Strangely, in vast solitudes, comes over us a sense of desolation, when
even the faintest adumbrations of life seem lost in the inertia of
mortality. In all pomp lurks the pomp of funeral; and we do now and then
pay homage to the grim skeleton king who sways this dusty earth,--yea,
who sways our hearts of dust!

But it is only when we yield that we are conquered. "The daemon shall
not choose us, _but we shall choose our daemon_."[7] It is only when we
lose hold of our royal inheritance that Time is seen with his scythe and
the heritage becomes a waste.

This is the failure, the central loss, over which Achtheia mourns. Happy
are the _epoptæ_ who know this, who have looked the Sphinx in the face,
and escaped death! They are the seers, they the heroes!

But "_Conx Ompax_!"

And now, like good Grecians, let us make the double libation to our
lady,--toward the East and toward the West. That is an important point,
reader; for thus is recognized the intimate connection which our lady
has with the movements of Nature, in which her life is mirrored,--
especially with the rising, the ongoing, and the waning of the day; and
you remember that this also was the relief of the Sphinx's riddle,--this
same movement from the rising to the setting sun. But prominently, as in
all worship, are our eyes turned toward the East,--toward the
resurrection. In the tomb of Memnon, at Thebes, are wrought two series
of paintings; in the one, through successive stages, the sun is
represented in his course from the East to the West,--and in the other
is represented, through various stages, his return to the Orient. It was
to this Orient that the old king looked, awaiting his regeneration.

Thus, reader, in all nations,--by no mere superstition, but by a
glorious symbolism of Faith,--do the children of the earth lay them down
in their last sleep with their faces to the East.

[2] The worship of this Great Mother is not more wonderful for
its antiquity in time than for its prevalence as regards space. To the
Hindu she was the Lady Isani. She was the Ceres of Roman mythology, the
Cybele of Phrygia and Lydia, and the Disa of the North. According to
Tacitus, (_Germania_, c. 9,) she was worshipped by the ancient Suevi.
She was worshipped by the Muscovite, and representations of her are
found upon the sacred drums of the Laplanders. She swayed the ancient
world, from its southeast corner in India to Scandinavia in the
northwest; and everywhere she is the "Mater Dolorosa." And who is it,
reader, that in the Christian world struggles for life and power under
the name of the Holy Virgin, and through the sad features of the

[3] _Iliad_, I. 63.

[4] Euripides.

[5] Archilochus.

[6] This function of Mercury, as Psycho-Pompos, or conductor of
departed souls to Hades, is often misunderstood. He was a Pompos not so
much for the safety of the dead (though that was an important
consideration) as for the peace of the living. The Greeks had an
overwhelming fear of the dead, as is evident from the propitiatory rites
to their shades; hence the necessity of putting them under strict
charge,--even against their will. (Horace, I. Ode xxiv. 15.) All
Mercury's qualifications point to this office, by which he defends the
living against the invasions of the dead. Hence his craft and
agility;--for who so fleet and subtle as a ghost?

[7] Plato's _Republic_, at the close.




Mary returned to the house with her basket of warm, fresh eggs, which
she set down mournfully upon the table. In her heart there was one
conscious want and yearning, and that was to go to the friends of him
she had lost,--to go to his mother. The first impulse of bereavement is
to stretch out the hands towards what was nearest and dearest to the

Her dove came fluttering down out of the tree, and settled on her hand,
and began asking in his dumb way to be noticed. Mary stroked his white
feathers, and bent her head down over them till they were wet with
tears. "Oh, birdie, you live, but he is gone!" she said. Then suddenly
putting it gently from her, and going near and throwing her arms around
her mother's neck,--"Mother," she said, "I want to go up to Cousin
Ellen's." (This was the familiar name by which she always called Mrs.
Marvyn.) "Can't you go with me, mother?"

"My daughter, I have thought of it. I hurried about my baking this
morning, and sent word to Mr. Jenkyns that he needn't come to see about
the chimney, because I expected to go as soon as breakfast should be out
of the way. So, hurry, now, boil some eggs, and get on the cold beef and
potatoes; for I see Solomon and Amaziah coming in with the milk. They'll
want their breakfast immediately."

The breakfast for the hired men was soon arranged on the table, and Mary
sat down to preside while her mother was going on with her
baking,--introducing various loaves of white and brown bread into the
capacious oven by means of a long iron shovel, and discoursing at
intervals with Solomon, with regard to the different farming operations
which he had in hand for the day.

Solomon was a tall, large-boned man, brawny and angular; with a face
tanned by the sun, and graven with those considerate lines which New
England so early writes on the faces of her sons. He was reputed an
oracle in matters of agriculture and cattle, and, like oracles
generally, was prudently sparing of his responses. Amaziah was one of
those uncouth over-grown boys of eighteen whose physical bulk appears to
have so suddenly developed that the soul has more matter than she has
learned to recognize, so that the hapless individual is always awkwardly
conscious of too much limb; and in Amaziah's case, this consciousness
grew particularly distressing when Mary was in the room. He liked to
have her there, he said,--"but, somehow, she was so white and pretty,
she made him feel sort o' awful-like."

Of course, as such poor mortals always do, he must, on this particular
morning, blunder into precisely the wrong subject.

"S'pose you've heerd the news that Jeduthun Pettibone brought home in
the 'Flying Scud,' 'bout the wreck o' the 'Monsoon'; it's an awful
providence, that 'ar' is,--a'n't it? Why, Jeduthun says she jest crushed
like an egg-shell";--and with that Amaziah illustrated the fact by
crushing an egg in his great brown hand.

Mary did not answer. She could not grow any paler than she was before; a
dreadful curiosity came over her, but her lips could frame no question.
Amaziah went on:--

"Ye see, the cap'en he got killed with a spar when the blow fust come
on, and Jim Marvyn he commanded; and Jeduthun says that he seemed to
have the spirit of ten men in him; he worked and he watched, and he was
everywhere at once, and he kep' 'em all up for three days, till finally
they lost their rudder, and went drivin' right onto the rocks. When,
they come in sight, he come up on deck, and says he, 'Well, my boys,
we're headin' right into eternity,' says he, 'and our chances for this
world a'n't worth mentionin', any on us; but we'll all have one try for
our lives. Boys, I've tried to do my duty by you and the ship,--but
God's will be done! All I have to ask now is, that, if any of you git to
shore, you'll find my mother and tell her I died thinkin' of her and
father and my dear friends.' That was the last Jeduthun saw of him; for
in a few minutes more the ship struck, and then it was every man for
himself. Laws! Jeduthun says there couldn't nobody have stood beatin'
agin them rocks, unless they was all leather and inger-rubber like him.
Why, he says the waves would take strong men and jest crush 'em against
the rocks like smashin' a pie-plate!"

Here Mary's paleness became livid; she made a hasty motion to rise from
the table, and Solomon trod on the foot of the narrator.

"You seem to forget that friends and relations has feelin's," he said,
as Mary hastily went into her own room.

Amaziah, suddenly awakened to the fact that he had been trespassing, sat
with mouth half open and a stupefied look of perplexity on his face for
a moment, and then, rising hastily, said, "Well, Sol, I guess I'll go
an' yoke up the steers."

At eight o'clock all the morning toils were over, the wide kitchen cool
and still, and the one-horse wagon standing at the door, into which
climbed Mary, her mother, and the Doctor; for, though invested with no
spiritual authority, and charged with no ritual or form for hours of
affliction, the religion of New England always expects her minister as a
first visitor in every house of mourning.

The ride was a sorrowful and silent one. The Doctor, propped upon his
cane, seemed to reflect deeply.

"Have you been at all conversant with the exercises of our young
friend's mind on the subject of religion?" he asked.

Mrs. Scudder did not at first reply. The remembrance of James's last
letter flashed over her mind, and she felt the vibration of the frail
child beside her, in whom every nerve was quivering. After a moment, she
said,--"It does not become us to judge the spiritual state of any one.
James's mind was in an unsettled way when he left; but who can say what
wonders may have been effected by divine grace since then?"

This conversation fell on the soul of Mary like the sound of clods
falling on a coffin to the ear of one buried alive;--she heard it with a
dull, smothering sense of suffocation. _That_ question to be
raised?--and about one, too, for whom she could have given her own soul?
At this moment she felt how idle is the mere hope or promise of personal
salvation made to one who has passed beyond the life of self, and struck
deep the roots of his existence in others. She did not utter a
word;--how could she? A doubt,--the faintest shadow of a doubt,--in such
a case, falls on the soul with the weight of mountain certainty; and in
that short ride she felt what an infinite pain may be locked in one
small, silent breast.

The wagon drew up to the house of mourning. Cato stood at the gate, and
came forward, officiously, to help them out. "Mass'r and Missis will be
glad to see you," he said. "It's a drefful stroke has come upon 'em."

Candace appeared at the door. There was a majesty of sorrow in her
bearing, as she received them. She said not a word, but pointed with her
finger towards the inner room; but as Mary lifted up her faded, weary
face to hers, her whole soul seemed to heave towards her like a billow,
and she took her up in her arms and broke forth into sobbing, and,
carrying her in, as if she had been a child, set her down in the inner
room and sat down beside her.

Mrs. Marvyn and her husband sat together, holding each other's hands,
the open Bible between them. For a few moments nothing was to be heard
but sobs and unrestrained weeping, and then all kneeled down to pray.

After they rose up, Mr. Zebedee Marvyn stood for a moment thoughtfully,
and then said,--"If it had pleased the Lord to give me a sure evidence
of my son's salvation, I could have given him up with all my heart; but
now, whatever there may be, I have seen none." He stood in an attitude
of hopeless, heart-smitten dejection, which contrasted painfully with
his usual upright carriage and the firm lines of his face.

Mrs. Marvyn started as if a sword had pierced her, passed her arm round
Mary's waist, with a strong, nervous clasp, unlike her usual calm self,
and said,--"Stay with me, daughter, to-day!--stay with me!"

"Mary can stay as long as you wish, cousin," said Mrs. Scudder; "we have
nothing to call her home."

"_Come_ with me!" said Mrs. Marvyn to Mary, opening an adjoining door
into her bedroom, and drawing her in with a sort of suppressed
vehemence,--"I want you!--I must have you!"

"Mrs. Marvyn's state alarms me," said her husband, looking
apprehensively after her when the door was closed; "she has not shed any
tears, nor slept any, since she heard this news. You know that her mind
has been in a peculiar and unhappy state with regard to religious things
for many years. I was in hopes she might feel free to open her exercises
of mind to the Doctor."

"Perhaps she will feel more freedom with Mary," said the Doctor. "There
is no healing for such troubles except in unconditional submission to
Infinite Wisdom and Goodness. The Lord reigneth, and will at last bring
infinite good out of evil, whether _our_ small portion of existence be
included or not."

After a few moments more of conference, Mrs. Scudder and the Doctor
departed, leaving Mary alone in the house of mourning.


We have said before, what we now repeat, that it is impossible to write
a story of New England life and manners for superficial thought or
shallow feeling. They who would fully understand the springs which moved
the characters with whom we now associate must go down with us to the
very depths.

Never was there a community where the roots of common life shot down so
deeply, and were so intensely grappled around things sublime and
eternal. The founders of it were a body of confessors and martyrs, who
turned their backs on the whole glory of the visible, to found in the
wilderness a republic of which the God of Heaven and Earth should be the
sovereign power. For the first hundred years grew this community, shut
out by a fathomless ocean from the existing world, and divided by an
antagonism not less deep from all the reigning ideas of nominal

In a community thus unworldly must have arisen a mode of thought,
energetic, original, and sublime. The leaders of thought and feeling
were the ministry, and we boldly assert that the spectacle of the early
ministry of New England was one to which the world gives no parallel.
Living an intense, earnest, practical life, mostly tilling the earth
with their own hands, they yet carried on the most startling and
original religious investigations with a simplicity that might have been
deemed audacious, were it not so reverential. All old issues relating to
government, religion, ritual, and forms of church organization having
for them passed away, they went straight to the heart of things, and
boldly confronted the problem of universal being. They had come out from
the world as witnesses to the most solemn and sacred of human rights.
They had accustomed themselves boldly to challenge and dispute all sham
pretensions and idolatries of past ages,--to question the right of kings
in the State, and of prelates in the Church; and now they turned the
same bold inquiries towards the Eternal Throne, and threw down their
glove in the lists as authorized defenders of every mystery in the
Eternal Government. The task they proposed to themselves was that of
reconciling the most tremendous facts of sin and evil, present and
eternal, with those conceptions of Infinite Power and Benevolence which
their own strong and generous natures enabled them so vividly to
realize. In the intervals of planting and harvesting, they were busy
with the toils of adjusting the laws of a universe. Solemnly simple,
they made long journeys in their old one-horse chaises, to settle with
each other some nice point of celestial jurisprudence, and to compare
their maps of the Infinite. Their letters to each other form a
literature altogether unique. Hopkins sends to Edwards the younger his
scheme of the universe, in which he starts with the proposition, that
God is infinitely above all obligations of any kind to his creatures.
Edwards replies with the brusque comment,--"This is wrong; God has no
more right to injure a creature than a creature has to injure God"; and
each probably about that time preached a sermon on his own views, which
was discussed by every farmer, in intervals of plough and hoe, by every
woman and girl, at loom, spinning-wheel, or wash-tub. New England was
one vast sea, surging from depths to heights with thought and discussion
on the most insoluble of mysteries. And it is to be added, that no man
or woman accepted any theory or speculation simply _as_ theory or
speculation; all was profoundly real and vital,--a foundation on which
actual life was based with intensest earnestness.

The views of human existence which resulted from this course of training
were gloomy enough to oppress any heart which did not rise above them by
triumphant faith or sink below them by brutish insensibility; for they
included every moral problem of natural or revealed religion, divested
of all those softening poetries and tender draperies which forms,
ceremonies, and rituals had thrown around them in other parts and ages
of Christendom. The human race, without exception, coming into existence
"under God's wrath and curse," with a nature so fatally disordered,
that, although perfect free agents, men were infallibly certain to do
nothing to Divine acceptance until regenerated by the supernatural aid
of God's Spirit,--this aid being given only to a certain decreed number
of the human race, the rest, with enough free agency to make them
responsible, but without this indispensable assistance exposed to the
malignant assaults of evil spirits versed in every art of temptation,
were sure to fall hopelessly into perdition. The standard of what
constituted a true regeneration, as presented in such treatises as
Edwards on the Affections, and others of the times, made this change to
be something so high, disinterested, and superhuman, so removed from all
natural and common habits and feelings, that the most earnest and
devoted, whose whole life had been a constant travail of endeavor, a
tissue of almost unearthly disinterestedness, often lived and died with
only a glimmering hope of its attainment.

According to any views then entertained of the evidences of a true
regeneration, the number of the whole human race who could be supposed
as yet to have received this grace was so small, that, as to any
numerical valuation, it must have been expressed as an infinitesimal.
Dr. Hopkins in many places distinctly recognizes the fact, that the
greater part of the human race, up to his time, had been eternally
lost,--and boldly assumes the ground, that this amount of sin and
suffering, being the best and most necessary means of the greatest final
amount of happiness, was not merely permitted, but distinctly chosen,
decreed, and provided for, as essential in the schemes of Infinite
Benevolence. He held that this decree not only _permitted_ each
individual act of sin, but also took measures to make it certain,
though, by an exercise of infinite skill, it accomplished this result
without violating human free agency.

The preaching of those times was animated by an unflinching consistency
which never shrank from carrying an idea to its remotest logical verge.
The sufferings of the lost were not kept from view, but proclaimed with
a terrible power. Dr. Hopkins boldly asserts, that "all the use which
God will have for them is to suffer; this is all the end they can
answer; therefore all their faculties, and their whole capacities, will
be employed and used for this end.... The body can by omnipotence be
made capable of suffering the greatest imaginable pain, without
producing dissolution, or abating the least degree of life or
sensibility.... One way in which God will show his power in the
punishment of the wicked will be in strengthening and upholding their
bodies and souls in torments which otherwise would be intolerable."

The sermons preached by President Edwards on this subject are so
terrific in their refined poetry of torture, that very few persons of
quick sensibility could read them through without agony; and it is
related, that, when, in those calm and tender tones which never rose to
passionate enunciation, he read these discourses, the house was often
filled with shrieks and waitings, and that a brother minister once laid
hold of his skirts, exclaiming, in an involuntary agony, "Oh! Mr.
Edwards! Mr. Edwards! is God not a God of mercy?"

Not that these men were indifferent or insensible to the dread words
they spoke; their whole lives and deportment bore thrilling witness to
their sincerity. Edwards set apart special days of fasting, in view of
the dreadful doom of the lost, in which he was wont to walk the floor,
weeping and wringing his hands. Hopkins fasted every Saturday. David
Brainerd gave up every refinement of civilized life to weep and pray at
the feet of hardened savages, if by any means he might save _one_. All,
by lives of eminent purity and earnestness, gave awful weight and
sanction to their words.

If we add to this statement the fact, that it was always proposed to
every inquiring soul, as an evidence of regeneration, that it should
truly and heartily accept all the ways of God thus declared right and
lovely, and from the heart submit to Him as the only just and good, it
will be seen what materials of tremendous internal conflict and
agitation were all the while working in every bosom. Almost all the
histories of religious experience of those times relate paroxysms of
opposition to God and fierce rebellion, expressed in language which
appalls the very soul,--followed, at length, by mysterious elevations of
faith and reactions of confiding love, the result of Divine
interposition, which carried the soul far above the region of the
intellect, into that of direct spiritual intuition.

President Edwards records that he was once in this state of
enmity,--that the facts of the Divine administration seemed horrible to
him,--and that this opposition was overcome by no course of reasoning,
but by an "_inward and sweet sense_," which came to him once when
walking alone in the fields, and, looking up into the blue sky, he saw
the blending of the Divine majesty with a calm, sweet, and almost
infinite meekness.

The piety which grew up under such a system was, of necessity,
energetic,--it was the uprousing of the whole energy of the human soul,
pierced and wrenched and probed from her lowest depths to her topmost
heights with every awful life-force possible to existence. He whose
faith in God came clear through these terrible tests would be sure never
to know greater ones. He might certainly challenge earth or heaven,
things present or things to come, to swerve him from this grand

But it is to be conceded, that these systems, so admirable in relation
to the energy, earnestness, and acuteness of their authors, when
received as absolute truth, and as a basis of actual life, had, on minds
of a certain class, the effect of a slow poison, producing life-habits
of morbid action very different from any which ever followed the simple
reading of the Bible. They differ from the New Testament as the living
embrace of a friend does from his lifeless body, mapped out under the
knife of the anatomical demonstrator;--every nerve and muscle is there,
but to a sensitive spirit there is the very chill of death in the

All systems that deal with the infinite are, besides, exposed to danger
from small, unsuspected admixtures of human error, which become deadly
when carried to such vast results. The smallest speck of earth's dust,
in the focus of an infinite lens, appears magnified among the heavenly
orbs as a frightful monster.

Thus it happened, that, while strong spirits walked, palm-crowned, with
victorious hymns, along these sublime paths, feebler and more sensitive
ones lay along the track, bleeding away in life-long despair. Fearful to
them were the shadows that lay over the cradle and the grave. The mother
clasped her babe to her bosom, and looked with shuddering to the awful
coming trial of free agency, with its terrible responsibilities and
risks, and, as she thought of the infinite chances against her beloved,
almost wished it might die in infancy. But when the stroke of death
came, and some young, thoughtless head was laid suddenly low, who can
say what silent anguish of loving hearts sounded the dread depths of
eternity with the awful question, _Where_?

In no other time or place of Christendom have so fearful issues been
presented to the mind. Some church interposed its protecting shield; the
Christian born and baptized child was supposed in some wise rescued from
the curse of the fall, and related to the great redemption,--to be a
member of Christ's family, and, if ever so sinful, still infolded in
some vague sphere of hope and protection. Augustine solaced the dread
anxieties of trembling love by prayers offered for the dead, in times
when the Church above and on earth presented itself to the eye of the
mourner as a great assembly with one accord lifting interceding hands
for the parted soul.

But the clear logic and intense individualism of New England deepened
the problems of the Augustinian faith, while they swept away all those
softening provisions so earnestly clasped to the throbbing heart of that
great poet of theology. No rite, no form, no paternal relation, no faith
or prayer of church, earthly or heavenly, interposed the slightest
shield between the trembling spirit and Eternal Justice. The individual
entered eternity alone, as if he had no interceding relation in the

This, then, was the awful dread which was constantly underlying life.
This it was which caused the tolling bell in green hollows and lonely
dells to be a sound which shook the soul and searched the heart with
fearful questions. And this it was that was lying with mountain weight
on the soul of the mother, too keenly agonized to feel that doubt in
such a case was any less a torture than the most dreadful certainty.

Hers was a nature more reasoning than creative and poetic; and whatever
she believed bound her mind in strictest chains to its logical results.
She delighted in the regions of mathematical knowledge, and walked them
as a native home; but the commerce with abstract certainties fitted her
mind still more to be stiffened and enchained by glacial reasonings, in
regions where spiritual intuitions are as necessary as wings to birds.

Mary was by nature of the class who never reason abstractly, whose
intellections all begin in the heart, which sends them colored with its
warm life-tint to the brain. Her perceptions of the same subjects were
as different from Mrs. Marvyn's as his who revels only in color from his
who is busy with the dry details of mere outline. The one mind was
arranged like a map, and the other like a picture. In all the system
which had been explained to her, her mind selected points on which it
seized with intense sympathy, which it dwelt upon and expanded till all
else fell away. The sublimity of disinterested benevolence,--the harmony
and order of a system tending in its final results to infinite
happiness,--the goodness of God,--the love of a self-sacrificing
Redeemer,--were all so many glorious pictures, which she revolved in her
mind with small care for their logical relations.

Mrs. Marvyn had never, in all the course of their intimacy, opened her
mouth to Mary on the subject of religion. It was not an uncommon
incident of those times for persons of great elevation and purity of
character to be familiarly known and spoken of as living under a cloud
of religious gloom; and it was simply regarded as one more mysterious
instance of the workings of that infinite decree which denied to them
the special illumination of the Spirit.

When Mrs. Marvyn had drawn Mary with her into her room, she seemed like
a person almost in frenzy. She shut and bolted the door, drew her to the
foot of the bed, and, throwing her arms round her, rested her hot and
throbbing forehead on her shoulder. She pressed her thin hand over her
eyes, and then, suddenly drawing back, looked her in the face as one
resolved to speak something long suppressed. Her soft brown eyes had a
flash of despairing wildness in them, like that of a hunted animal
turning in its death-struggle on its pursuer.

"Mary," she said, "I can't help it,--don't mind what I say, but I must
speak or die! Mary, I cannot, will not, be resigned!--it is all hard,
unjust, cruel!--to all eternity I will say so! To me there is no
goodness, no justice, no mercy in anything! Life seems to me the most
tremendous doom that can be inflicted on a helpless being! _What had we
done_, that it should be sent upon us? Why were we made to love so, to
hope so,--our hearts so full of feeling, and all the laws of Nature
marching over us,--never stopping for our agony? Why, we can suffer so
in this life that we had better never have been born!

"But, Mary, think what a moment life is! think of those awful ages of
eternity! and then think of all God's power and knowledge used on the
lost to make them suffer! think that all but the merest fragment of
mankind have gone into this,--are in it now! The number of the elect is
so small we can scarce count them for anything! Think what noble minds,
what warm, generous hearts, what splendid natures are wrecked and thrown
away by thousands and tens of thousands! How we love each other! how our
hearts weave into each other! how more than glad we should be to die for
each other! And all this ends--O God, how must it end?--Mary! it isn't
_my_ sorrow only! What right have I to mourn? Is _my_ son any better
than any other mother's son? Thousands of thousands, whose mothers loved
them as I love mine, are gone there!--Oh, my wedding-day! Why did they
rejoice? Brides should wear mourning,--the bells should toll for every
wedding; every new family is built over this awful pit of despair, and
only one in a thousand escapes!"

Pale, aghast, horror-stricken, Mary stood dumb, as one who in the dark
and storm sees by the sudden glare of lightning a chasm yawning under
foot. It was amazement and dimness of anguish;--the dreadful words
struck on the very centre where her soul rested. She felt as if the
point of a wedge were being driven between her life and her life's
life,--between her and her God. She clasped her hands instinctively on
her bosom, as if to hold there some cherished image, and said in a
piercing voice of supplication, "_My_ God! _my_ God! oh, where art

Mrs. Marvyn walked up and down the room with a vivid spot of red in each
cheek and a baleful fire in her eyes, talking in rapid soliloquy,
scarcely regarding her listener, absorbed in her own enkindled thoughts.

"Dr. Hopkins says that this is all best,--better than it would have been
in any other possible way,--that God _chose_ it because it was for a
greater final good,--that He not only chose it, but took means to make
it certain,--that He ordains every sin, and does all that is necessary
to make it certain,--that He creates the vessels of wrath and fits them
for destruction, and that He has an infinite knowledge by which He can
do it without violating their free agency.--So much the worse! What a
use of infinite knowledge What if men should do so? What if a father
should take means to make it certain that his poor little child should
be an abandoned wretch, without violating his free agency? So much the
worse, I say!--They say He does this so that He may show to all
eternity, by their example, the evil nature of sin and its consequences!
This is all that the greater part of the human race have been used for
yet; and it is all right, because an overplus of infinite happiness is
yet to be wrought out by it!--It is _not_ right! No possible amount of
good to ever so many can make it right to deprave ever so
few;--happiness and misery cannot be measured so! I never can think it
right,--never!--Yet they say our salvation depends on our loving
God,--loving Him better than ourselves,--loving Him better than our
dearest friends.--It is impossible!--it is contrary to the laws of my
nature! I can never love God! I can never praise Him!--I am lost! lost!
lost! And what is worse, I cannot redeem my friends! Oh, I _could_
suffer forever,--how willingly!--if I could save _him_!--But oh,
eternity, eternity! Frightful, unspeakable woe! No end!--no bottom!--no
shore!--no hope!--O God! O God!"

Mrs. Marvyn's eyes grew wilder,--she walked the door, wringing her
hands,--and her words, mingled with shrieks and moans, became whirling
and confused, as when in autumn a storm drives the leaves in dizzy

Mary was alarmed,--the ecstasy of despair was just verging on insanity.
She rushed out and called Mr. Marvyn.

"Oh! come in! do! quick!--I'm afraid her mind is going!" she said.

"It is what I feared," he said, rising from where he sat reading his
great Bible, with an air of heartbroken dejection. "Since she heard this
news, she has not slept nor shed a tear. The Lord hath covered us with a
cloud in the day of his fierce anger."

He came into the room, and tried to take his wife into his arms. She
pushed him violently back, her eyes glistening with a fierce light.
"Leave me alone!" she said,--"I am a lost spirit!"

These words were uttered in a shriek that went through Mary's heart like
an arrow.

At this moment, Candace, who had been anxiously listening at the door
for an hour past, suddenly burst into the room.

"Lor' bress ye, Squire Marvyn, we won't hab her goin' on dis yer way,"
she said. "Do talk _gospel_ to her, can't ye?--ef you can't, I will."

"Come, ye poor little lamb," she said, walking straight up to Mrs.
Marvyn, "come to ole Candace!"--and with that she gathered the pale form
to her bosom, and sat down and began rocking her, as if she had been a
babe. "Honey, darlin', ye a'n't right,--dar's a drefful mistake
somewhar," she said. "Why, de Lord a'n't like what ye tink,--He _loves_
ye, honey! Why, jes' feel how _I_ loves ye,--poor ole black
Candace,--an' I a'n't better'n Him as made me! Who was it wore de crown
o' thorns, lamb?--who was it sweat great drops o' blood?--who was it
said, 'Father, forgive dem'? Say, honey!--wasn't it de Lord dat made
ye?--Dar, dar, now ye'r' cryin'!--cry away, and ease yer poor little
heart! He died for Mass'r Jim,--loved him and _died_ for him,--jes' give
up his sweet, precious body and soul for him on de cross! Laws, jes'
_leave_ him in Jesus' hands! Why, honey, dar's de very print o' de nails
in his hands now!"

The flood-gates were rent; and healing sobs and tears shook the frail
form, as a faded lily shakes under the soft rains of summer. All in the
room wept together.

"Now, honey," said Candace, after a pause of some minutes, "I knows our
Doctor's a mighty good man, an' larned,--an' in fair weather I ha'n't
no 'bjection to yer hearin' all about dese yer great an' mighty tings
he's got to say. But, honey, dey won't do for you now; sick folks
mus'n't hab strong meat; an' times like dese, dar jest a'n't but one
ting to come to, an' dat ar's _Jesus_. Jes' come right down to whar poor
ole black Candace has to stay allers,--it's a good place, darlin'! _Look
right at Jesus_. Tell ye, honey, ye can't live no other way now. Don't
ye 'member how He looked on His mother, when she stood faintin' an'
tremblin' under de cross, jes' like you? He knows all about mothers'
hearts; He won't break yours. It was jes' 'cause He know'd we'd come
into straits like dis yer, dat he went through all dese tings,--Him, de
Lord o' Glory! Is dis Him you was a-talkin' about?--Him you can't love?
Look at Him, an' see ef you can't. Look an' see what He is!--don't ask
no questions, and don't go to no reasonin's,--jes' look at _Him_,
hangin' dar, so sweet and patient, on de cross! All dey could do
couldn't stop his lovin' 'em; he prayed for 'em wid all de breath he
had. Dar's a God you can love, a'n't dar? Candace loves Him,--poor, ole,
foolish, black, wicked Candace,--and she knows He loves her,"--and here
Candace broke down into torrents of weeping.

They laid the mother, faint and weary, on her bed, and beneath the
shadow of that suffering cross came down a healing sleep on those weary

"Honey," said Candace, mysteriously, after she had drawn Mary out of the
room, "don't ye go for to troublin' yer mind wid dis yer. I'm clar
Mass'r James is one o' de 'lect; and I'm clar dar's consid'able more o'
de 'lect dan people tink. Why, Jesus didn't die for nothin',--all dat
love a'n't gwine to be wasted. De 'lect is more'n you or I knows, honey!
Dar's de _Spirit_,--He'll give it to 'em; and ef Mass'r James _is_
called an' took, depend upon it de Lord has got him ready,--course He
has,--so don't ye go to layin' on yer poor heart what no mortal creetur
can live under; 'cause, as we's got to live in dis yer world, it's quite
clar de Lord must ha' fixed it so we _can_; and ef tings was as some
folks suppose, why, we _couldn't_ live, and dar wouldn't be no sense in
anyting dat goes on."

The sudden shock of these scenes was followed, in Mrs. Marvyn's case, by
a low, lingering fever. Her room was darkened, and she lay on her bed, a
pale, suffering form, with scarcely the ability to raise her hand. The
shimmering twilight of the sick-room fell on white napkins, spread over
stands, where constantly appeared new vials, big and little, as the
physician, made his daily visit, and prescribed now this drug and now
that, for a wound that had struck through the soul.

Mary remained many days at the white house, because, to the invalid, no
step, no voice, no hand was like hers. We see her there now, as she sits
in the glimmering by the bed-curtains,--her head a little drooped, as
droops a snowdrop over a grave;--one ray of light from a round hole in
the closed shutters falls on her smooth-parted hair, her small hands are
clasped on her knees, her mouth has lines of sad compression, and in her
eyes are infinite questionings.


When Mrs. Marvyn began to amend, Mary returned to the home cottage, and
resumed the details of her industrious and quiet life.

Between her and her two best friends had fallen a curtain of silence.
The subject that filled all her thoughts could not be named between
them. The Doctor often looked at her pale cheeks and drooping form with
a face of honest sorrow, and heaved deep sighs as she passed; but he did
not find any power within himself by which he could approach her. When
he would speak, and she turned her sad, patient eyes so gently on him,
the words went back again to his heart, and there, taking a second
thought, spread upward wing in prayer.

Mrs. Scudder sometimes came to her room after she was gone to bed, and
found her weeping; and when gently she urged her to sleep, she would
wipe her eyes so patiently and turn her head with such obedient
sweetness, that her mother's heart utterly failed her. For hours Mary
sat in her room with James's last letter spread out before her. How
anxiously had she studied every word and phrase in it, weighing them to
see if the hope of eternal life were in them! How she dwelt on those
last promises! Had he kept them? Ah! to die without one word more! Would
no angel tell her?--would not the loving God, who knew all, just whisper
one word? He must have read the little Bible! What had he thought? What
did he feel in that awful hour when he felt himself drifting on to that
fearful eternity? Perhaps he had been regenerated,--perhaps there had
been a sudden change;--who knows?--she had read of such
things;--_perhaps_--Ah, in that perhaps lies a world of anguish! Love
will not hear of it. Love _dies_ for certainty. Against an uncertainty
who can brace the soul? We put all our forces of faith and prayer
against it, and it goes down just as a buoy sinks in the water, and the
next moment it is up again. The soul fatigues itself with efforts which
come and go in waves; and when with laborious care she has adjusted all
things in the light of hope, back flows the tide, and sweeps all away.
In such struggles life spends itself fast; an inward wound does not
carry one deathward more surely than this worst wound of the soul. God
has made us so mercifully that there is no _certainty_, however
dreadful, to which life-forces do not in time adjust themselves,--but to
uncertainty there is no possible adjustment. Where is he? Oh, question
of questions!--question which we suppress, but which a power of infinite
force still urges on the soul, who feels a part of herself torn away.

Mary sat at her window in evening hours, and watched the slanting
sunbeams through the green blades of grass, and thought one year ago he
stood there, with his well-knit, manly form, his bright eye, his buoyant
hope, his victorious mastery of life! And where was he now? Was his
heart as sick, longing for her, as hers for him? Was he looking back to
earth and its joys with pangs of unutterable regret? or had a divine
power interpenetrated his soul, and lighted there the flame of a
celestial love which bore him far above earth? If he were among the
lost, in what age of eternity could she ever be blessed? Could Christ be
happy, if those who were one with Him were sinful and accursed? and
could Christ's own loved ones be happy, when those with whom they have
exchanged being, in whom they live and feel, are as wandering stars, for
whom is reserved the mist of darkness forever? She had been taught that
the agonies of the lost would be forever in sight of the saints, without
abating in the least their eternal joys; nay, that they would find in it
increasing motives to praise and adoration. Could it be so? Would the
last act of the great Bridegroom of the Church be to strike from the
heart of his purified Bride those yearnings of self-devoting love which
His whole example had taught her, and in which she reflected, as in a
glass, His own nature? If not, is there not some provision by which
those roots of deathless love which Christ's betrothed ones strike into
other hearts shall have a divine, redeeming power? Question vital as
life-blood to ten thousand hearts,--fathers, mothers, wives,
husbands,--to all who feel the infinite sacredness of love!

After the first interview with Mrs. Marvyn, the subject which had so
agitated them was not renewed. She had risen at last from her sick-bed,
as thin and shadowy as a faded moon after sunrise. Candace often shook
her head mournfully, as her eyes followed her about her dally tasks.
Once only, with Mary, she alluded to the conversation which had passed
between them;--it was one day when they were together, spinning, in the
north upper room that looked out upon the sea. It was a glorious day. A
ship was coming in under full sail, with white gleaming wings. Mrs.
Marvyn watched it a few moments,--the gay creature, so full of exultant
life,--and then smothered down an inward groan, and Mary thought she
heard her saying, "Thy will be done!"

"Mary," she said, gently, "I hope you will forget all I said to you that
dreadful day. It had to be said, or I should have died. Mary, I begin to
think that it is not best to stretch our minds with reasonings where we
are so limited, where we can know so little. I am quite sure there must
be dreadful mistakes somewhere.

"It seems to me irreverent and shocking that a child should oppose a
father, or a creature its Creator. I never should have done it, only
that, where direct questions are presented to the judgment, one cannot
help judging. If one is required to praise a being as just and good, one
must judge of his actions by some standard of right,--and we have no
standard but such as our Creator has placed in us. I have been told it
was my duty to attend to these subjects, and I have tried to,--and the
result has been that the facts presented seem wholly irreconcilable with
any notions of justice or mercy that I am able to form. If these be the
facts, I can only say that my nature is made entirely opposed to them.
If I followed the standard of right they present, and acted according to
my small mortal powers on the same principles, I should be a very bad
person. Any father, who should make such use of power over his children
as they say the Deity does with regard to us, would be looked upon as a
monster by our very imperfect moral sense. Yet I cannot say that the
facts are not so. When I heard the Doctor's sermons on 'Sin a Necessary
Means of the Greatest Good,' I could not extricate myself from the

"I have thought, in desperate moments, of giving up the Bible itself.
But what do I gain? Do I not see the same difficulty in Nature? I see
everywhere a Being whose main ends seem to be beneficent, but whose good
purposes are worked out at terrible expense of suffering, and apparently
by the total sacrifice of myriads of sensitive creatures. I see
unflinching order, general good-will, but no sympathy, no mercy. Storms,
earthquakes, volcanoes, sickness, death, go on without regarding us.
Everywhere I see the most hopeless, unrelieved suffering,--and for aught
I see, it may be eternal. Immortality is a dreadful chance, and I would
rather never have been.--The Doctor's dreadful system is, I confess,
much like the laws of Nature,--about what one might reason out from

"There is but just one thing remaining, and that is, as Candace said,
the cross of Christ. If God so loved us,--if He died for us,--greater
love hath no man than this. It seems to me that love is shown here in
the two highest forms possible to our comprehension. We see a Being who
gives himself for us,--and more than that, harder than that, a Being who
consents to the suffering of a dearer than self. Mary, I feel that I
must love more, to give up one of my children to suffer, than to consent
to suffer myself. There is a world of comfort to me in the words, 'He
that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall
he not with him also freely give us all things?' These words speak to my
heart. I can interpret them by my own nature, and I rest on them. If
there is a fathomless mystery of sin and sorrow, there is a deeper
mystery of God's love. So, Mary, I try Candace's way,--I look at
Christ,--I pray to Him. If he that hath seen Him hath seen the Father,
it is enough. I rest there,--I wait. What I know not now I shall know

Mary kept all things and pondered them in her heart. She could speak to
no one,--not to her mother, nor to her spiritual guide; for had she not
passed to a region beyond theirs? As well might those on the hither side
of mortality instruct the souls gone beyond the veil as souls outside a
great affliction guide those who are struggling in it. That is a mighty
baptism, and only Christ can go down with us into those waters.

Mrs. Scudder and the Doctor only marked that she was more than ever
conscientious in every duty, and that she brought to life's daily
realities something of the calmness and disengagedness of one whose soul
has been wrenched by a mighty shock from all moorings here below. Hopes
did not excite, fears did not alarm her; life had no force strong enough
to awaken a thrill within; and the only subjects on which she ever spoke
with any degree of ardor were religious subjects.

One who should have seen moving about the daily ministrations of the
cottage a pale girl, whose steps were firm, whose eye was calm, whose
hands were ever busy, would scarce imagine that through that silent
heart were passing tides of thought that measured a universe; but it was
even so. Through that one gap of sorrow flowed in the whole awful
mystery of existence, and silently, as she spun and sewed, she thought
over and over again all that she had ever been taught, and compared and
revolved it by the light of a dawning inward revelation.

Sorrow is the great birth-agony of immortal powers,--sorrow is the great
searcher and revealer of hearts, the great test of truth; for Plato has
wisely said, sorrow will not endure sophisms,--all shams and unrealities
melt in the fire of that awful furnace. Sorrow reveals forces in
ourselves we never dreamed of. The soul, a bound and sleeping prisoner,
hears her knock on her cell-door, and wakens. Oh, how narrow the walls!
oh, how close and dark the grated window! how the long useless wings
beat against the impassable barriers! Where are we? What is this prison?
What is beyond? Oh for more air, more light! When will the door be
opened? The soul seems to itself to widen and deepen; it trembles at its
own dreadful forces; it gathers up in waves that break with wailing only
to flow back into the everlasting void. The calmest and most centred
natures are sometimes thrown by the shock of a great sorrow into a
tumultuous amazement. All things are changed. The earth no longer seems
solid, the skies no longer secure; a deep abyss seems underlying every
joyous scene of life. The soul, struck with this awful inspiration, is a
mournful Cassandra; she sees blood on every threshold, and shudders in
the midst of mirth and festival with the weight of a terrible wisdom.

Who shall dare be glad any more, that has once seen the frail
foundations on which love and joy are built? Our brighter hours, have
they only been weaving a network of agonizing remembrances for this day
of bereavement? The heart is pierced with every past joy, with every
hope of its ignorant prosperity. Behind every scale in music, the gayest
and cheeriest, the grandest, the most triumphant, lies its dark relative
minor; the notes are the same, but the change of a semitone changes all
to gloom;--all our gayest hours are tunes that have a modulation into
these dreary keys ever possible; at any moment the key-note may be

The firmest, best-prepared natures are often beside themselves with
astonishment and dismay, when they are called to this dread initiation.
They thought it a very happy world before,--a glorious universe. Now it
is darkened with the shadow of insoluble mysteries. Why this everlasting
tramp of inevitable laws on quivering life? If the wheels must roll, why
must the crushed be so living and sensitive?

And yet sorrow is godlike, sorrow is grand and great, sorrow is wise and
farseeing. Our own instinctive valuations, the intense sympathy which we
give to the tragedy which God has inwoven into the laws of Nature, show
us that it is with no slavish dread, no cowardly shrinking, that we
should approach her divine mysteries. What are the natures that cannot
suffer? Who values them? From the fat oyster, over which the silver
tide rises and falls without one pulse upon its fleshy ear, to the hero
who stands with quivering nerve parting with wife and child and home for
country and God, all the way up is an ascending scale, marked by
increasing power to suffer; and when we look to the Head of all being,
up through principalities and powers and princedoms, with dazzling
orders and celestial blazonry, to behold by what emblem the Infinite
Sovereign chooses to reveal himself, we behold, in the midst of the
throne, "a lamb as it had been slain."

Sorrow is divine. Sorrow is reigning on the throne of the universe, and
the crown of all crowns has been one of thorns. There have been many
books that treat of the mystery of sorrow, but only one that bids us
glory in tribulation, and count it all joy when we fall into divers
afflictions, that so we may be associated with that great fellowship of
suffering of which the Incarnate God is the head, and through which He
is carrying a redemptive conflict to a glorious victory over evil. If we
suffer with Him, we shall also reign with Him.

Even in the very making up of our physical nature, God puts suggestions
of such a result. "Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the
morning." There are victorious powers in our nature which are all the
while working for us in our deepest pain. It is said, that, after the
sufferings of the rack, there ensues a period in which the simple repose
from torture produces a beatific trance; it is the reaction of Nature,
asserting the benignant intentions of her Creator. So, after great
mental conflicts and agonies must come a reaction, and the Divine
Spirit, co-working with our spirit, seizes the favorable moment, and,
interpenetrating natural laws with a celestial vitality, carries up the
soul to joys beyond the ordinary possibilities of mortality.

It is said that gardeners, sometimes, when they would bring a rose to
richer flowering, deprive it, for a season, of light and moisture.
Silent and dark it stands, dropping one fading leaf after another, and
seeming to go down patiently to death. But when every leaf is dropped,
and the plant stands stripped to the uttermost, a new life is even then
working in the buds, from which shall spring a tender foliage and a
brighter wealth of flowers. So, often in celestial gardening, every leaf
of earthly joy must drop, before a new and divine bloom visits the soul.

Gradually, as months passed away, the floods grew still; the mighty
rushes of the inner tides ceased to dash. There came first a delicious
calmness, and then a celestial inner clearness, in which the soul seemed
to lie quiet as an untroubled ocean, reflecting heaven. Then came the
fulness of mysterious communion given to the pure in heart,--that advent
of the Comforter in the soul, teaching all things and bringing all
things to remembrance; and Mary moved in a world transfigured by a
celestial radiance. Her face, so long mournfully calm, like some
chiselled statue of Patience, now wore a radiance, as when one places a
light behind some alabaster screen sculptured with mysterious and holy
emblems, and words of strange sweetness broke from her, as if one should
hear snatches of music from a door suddenly opened in heaven. Something
wise and strong and sacred gave an involuntary impression of awe in her
looks and words;--it was not the childlike loveliness of early days,
looking with dovelike, ignorant eyes on sin and sorrow; but the
victorious sweetness of that great multitude who have come out of great
tribulation, having washed their robes and made them white in the blood
of the Lamb. In her eyes there was that nameless depth that one sees
with awe in the Sistine Madonna,--eyes that have measured infinite
sorrow and looked through it to an infinite peace.

"My dear Madam," said the Doctor to Mrs. Scudder, "I cannot but think
that there must be some uncommonly gracious exercises passing in the
mind of your daughter; for I observe, that, though she is not inclined
to conversation, she seems to be much in prayer; and I have, of late,
felt the sense of a Divine Presence with her in a most unusual degree.
Has she opened her mind to you?"

"Mary was always a silent girl," said Mrs. Scudder, "and not given to
speaking of her own feelings; indeed, until she gave you an account of
her spiritual state, on joining the church, I never knew what her
exercises were. Hers is a most singular case. I never knew the time when
she did not seem to love God more than anything else. It has disturbed
me sometimes,--because I did not know but it might be mere natural
sensibility, instead of gracious affection."

"Do not disturb yourself, Madam," said the Doctor. "The Spirit worketh
when, where, and how He will; and, undoubtedly, there have been cases
where His operations commence exceedingly early. Mr. Edwards relates a
case of a young person who experienced a marked conversion when three
years of age; and Jeremiah was called from the womb. (Jeremiah, i. 5.)
In all cases we must test the quality of the evidence without relation
to the time of its commencement. I do not generally lay much stress on
our impressions, which are often uncertain and delusive; yet I have had
an impression that the Lord would be pleased to make some singular
manifestations of His grace through this young person. In the economy of
grace there is neither male nor female; and Peter says (Acts, ii. 17)
that the Spirit of the Lord shall be poured out and your sons and your
daughters shall prophesy. Yet if we consider that the Son of God, as to
his human nature, was made of a woman, it leads us to see that in
matters of grace God sets a special value on woman's nature and designs
to put special honor upon it. Accordingly, there have been in the
Church, in all ages, holy women who have received the Spirit and been
called to a ministration in the things of God,--such as Deborah, Huldah,
and Anna, the prophetess. In our own days, most uncommon manifestations
of divine grace have been given to holy women. It was my privilege to be
in the family of President Edwards at a time when Northampton was
specially visited, and his wife seemed and spoke more like a glorified
spirit than a mortal woman,--and multitudes flocked to the house to hear
her wonderful words. She seemed to have such a sense of the Divine love
as was almost beyond the powers of nature to endure. Just to speak the
words, 'Our Father who art in heaven,' would overcome her with such a
manifestation that she would become cold and almost faint; and though
she uttered much, yet she told us that the divinest things she saw could
not be spoken. These things could not be fanaticism, for she was a
person of a singular evenness of nature, and of great skill and
discretion in temporal matters, and of an exceeding humility, sweetness,
and quietness of disposition."

"I have observed of late," said Mrs. Scudder, "that, in our praying
circles, Mary seemed much carried out of herself, and often as if she
would speak, and with difficulty holding herself back. I have not urged
her, because I thought it best to wait till she should feel full

"Therein you do rightly, Madam," said the Doctor; "but I am persuaded
you will hear from her yet."

It came at length, the hour of utterance. And one day, in a praying
circle of the women of the church, all were startled by the clear silver
tones of one who sat among them and spoke with the unconscious
simplicity of an angel child, calling God her Father, and speaking of an
ineffable union in Christ, binding all things together in one, and
making all complete in Him. She spoke of a love passing
knowledge,--passing all love of lovers or of mothers,--a love forever
spending, yet never spent,--a love ever pierced and bleeding, yet ever
constant and triumphant, rejoicing with infinite joy to bear in its own
body the sins and sorrows of a universe,--conquering, victorious love,
rejoicing to endure, panting to give, and offering its whole self with
an infinite joyfulness for our salvation. And when, kneeling, she
poured out her soul in prayer, her words seemed so many winged angels,
musical with unearthly harpings of an untold blessedness. They who heard
her had the sensation of rising in the air, of feeling a celestial light
and warmth, descending into their souls; and when, rising, she stood
silent and with downcast drooping eyelids, there were tears in all eyes,
and a hush in all movements as she passed, as if something celestial
were passing out.

Miss Prissy came rushing homeward, to hold a private congratulatory talk
with the Doctor and Mrs. Scudder, while Mary was tranquilly setting the
tea-table and cutting bread for supper.

"To see her now, certainly," said Miss Prissy, "moving round so
thoughtful, not forgetting anything, and doing everything so calm, you
wouldn't 'a' thought it could be her that spoke those blessed words and
made that prayer! Well, certainly, that prayer seemed to take us all
right up and put us down in heaven! and when I opened my eyes, and saw
the roses and asparagus-bushes on the manteltree-piece, I had to ask
myself, 'Where have I been?' Oh, Miss Scudder, her afflictions have been
sanctified to her!--and really, when I see her going on so, I feel she
can't be long for us. They say, dying grace is for dying hours; and I'm
sure this seems more like dying grace than anything that I ever yet

"She is a precious gift," said the Doctor; "let us thank the Lord for
his grace through her. She has evidently had a manifestation of the
Beloved, and feedeth among the lilies (Canticles, vi. 3); and we will
not question the Lord's further dispensations concerning her."

"Certainly," said Miss Prissy, briskly, "it's never best to borrow
trouble; 'sufficient unto the day' is enough, to be sure.--And now, Miss
Scudder, I thought I'd just take a look at that dove-colored silk of
yours to-night, to see what would have to be done with it, because I
must make every minute tell; and you know I lose half a day every week
for the prayer-meeting. Though I ought not to say I lose it, either; for
I was telling Miss General Wilcox I wouldn't give up that meeting for
bags and bags of gold. She wanted me to come and sew for her one
Wednesday, and says I, 'Miss Wilcox, I'm poor and have to live by my
work, but I a'n't so poor but what I have some comforts, and I can't
give up my prayer-meeting for any money,--for you see, if one gets a
little lift there, it makes all the work go lighter,--but then I have to
be particular to save up every scrap and end of time."

Mrs. Scudder and Miss Prissy crossed the kitchen and entered the
bedroom, and soon had the dove-colored silk under consideration.

"Well, Miss Scudder," said Miss Prissy, after mature investigation,
"here's a broad hem, not cut at all on the edge, as I see, and that
might be turned down, and so cut off the worn spot up by the waist,--and
then, if it is turned, it will look every bit and grain as well as a new
silk;--I'll sit right down now and go to ripping. I put my ripping-knife
into my pocket when I put on this dress to go to prayer-meeting,
because, says I to myself, there'll be something to do at Miss Scudder's
to-night. You just get an iron to the fire, and we'll have it all ripped
and pressed out before dark."

Miss Prissy seated herself at the open window, as cheery as a fresh
apple-blossom, and began busily plying her knife, looking at the garment
she was ripping with an astute air, as if she were about to circumvent
it into being a new dress by some surprising act of legerdemain. Mrs.
Scudder walked to the looking-glass and began changing her bonnet cap
for a tea-table one.

Miss Prissy, after a while, commenced in a mysterious tone.

"Miss Scudder, I know folks like me shouldn't have their eyes open too
wide, but then I can't help noticing some things. Did you see the
Doctor's face when we was talking to him about Mary? Why, he colored all
up and the tears came into his eyes. It's my belief that that blessed
man worships the ground she treads on. I don't mean _worships_,
either,--'cause that would be wicked, and he's too good a man to make a
graven image of anything,--but it's clear to see that there a'n't
anybody in the world like Mary to him. I always did think so; but I used
to think Mary was such a little poppet--that she'd do better for--Well,
you know, I thought about some younger man;--but, laws, now I see how
she rises up to be ahead of everybody, and is so kind of solemn-like. I
can't but see the leadings of Providence. What a minister's wife she'd
be, Miss Scudder!--why, all the ladies coming out of prayer-meeting were
speaking of it. You see, they want the Doctor to get married;--it seems
more comfortable-like to have ministers married; one feels more free to
open their exercises of mind; and as Miss Deacon Twitchel said to
me,--'If the Lord had made a woman o' purpose, as he did for Adam, he
wouldn't have made her a bit different from Mary Scudder.' Why, the
oldest of us would follow her lead,--'cause she goes before us without
knowing it."

"I feel that the Lord has greatly blessed me in such a child," said Mrs.
Scudder, "and I feel disposed to wait the leadings of Providence."

"Just exactly," said Miss Prissy, giving a shake to her silk; "and as
Miss Twitchel said, in this case every providence seems to p'int. I felt
dreadfully for her along six months back; but now I see how she's been
brought out, I begin to see that things are for the best, perhaps, after
all. I can't help feeling that Jim Marvyn is gone to heaven, poor
fellow! His father is a deacon,--and such a good man!--and Jim, though
he did make a great laugh wherever he went, and sometimes laughed where
he hadn't ought to, was a noble-hearted fellow. Now, to be sure, as the
Doctor says, 'amiable instincts a'n't true holiness'; but then they are
better than unamiable ones, like Simeon Brown's. I do think, if that man
is a Christian, he is a dreadful ugly one; he snapped me short up about
my change, when he settled with me last Tuesday; and if I hadn't felt
that it was a sinful rising, I should have told him I'd never put foot
in his house again; I'm glad, for my part, he's gone out of our church.
Now Jim Marvyn was like a prince to poor people; and I remember once his
mother told him to settle with me, and he gave me 'most double, and
wouldn't let me make change. 'Confound it all, Miss Prissy,' says he, 'I
wouldn't stitch as you do from morning to night for double that money.'
Now I know we can't do anything to recommend ourselves to the Lord, but
then I can't help feeling some sorts of folks must be by nature more
pleasing to Him than others. David was a man after God's own heart, and
he was a generous, whole-souled fellow, like Jim Marvyn, though he did
get carried away by his spirits sometimes and do wrong things; and so I
hope the Lord saw fit to make Jim one of the elect. We don't ever know
what God's grace has done for folks. I think a great many are converted
when we know nothing about it, as Miss Twitchel told poor old Miss
Tyrel, who was mourning about her son, a dreadful wild boy, who was
killed falling from mast-head; she says, that from the mast-head to the
deck was time enough for divine grace to do the work."

"I have always had a trembling hope for poor James," said Mrs.
Scudder,--"not on account of any of his good deeds or amiable traits,
because election is without foresight of any good works,--but I felt he
was a child of the covenant, at least by the father's side, and I hope
the Lord has heard his prayer. These are dark providences; the world is
full of them; and all we can do is to have faith that the Lord will
bring infinite good out of finite evil, and make everything better than
if the evil had not happened. That's what our good Doctor is always
repeating; and we must try to rejoice, in view of the happiness of the
universe, without considering whether we or our friends are to be
included in it or not."

"Well, dear me!" said Miss Prissy, "I hope, if that is necessary, it
will please the Lord to give it to me; for I don't seem to find any
powers in me to get up to it. But all's for the best, at any rate,--and
that's a comfort."

Just at this moment Mary's clear voice at the door announced that tea
was on the table.

"Coming, this very minute," said Miss Prissy, bustling up and pulling
off her spectacles. Then, running across the room, she shut the door
mysteriously, and turned to Mrs. Scudder with the air of an impending
secret. Miss Prissy was subject to sudden impulses of confidence, in
which she was so very cautious that not the thickest oak-plank door
seemed secure enough, and her voice dropped to its lowest key. The most
important and critical words were entirely omitted, or supplied by a
knowing wink and a slight stamp of the foot.

In this mood she now approached Mrs. Scudder, and, holding up her hand
on the door-side to prevent consequences, if, after all she should be
betrayed into a loud word, she said, "I thought I'd just say, Miss
Scudder, that, in case Mary should ---- the Doctor,--in case, you know,
there should be a ---- in the house, you _must_ just contrive it so as
to give me a month's notice, so that I could give you a whole fortnight
to fix her up as such a good man's ---- ought to be. Now I know how
spiritually-minded our blessed Doctor is; but, bless you, Ma'am, he's
got eyes. I tell you, Miss Scudder, these men, the best of 'em, _feel_
what's what, though they don't _know_ much. I saw the Doctor look at
Mary that night I dressed her for the wedding-party. I tell you he'd
like to have his wife look pretty well, and he'll get up some blessed
text or other about it, just as he did that night about being brought
unto the king in raiment of needle-work. That is an encouraging thought
to us sewing-women.

"But this thing was spoken of after the meeting. Miss Twitchel and Miss
Jones were talking about it; and they all say that there would be the
best setting-out got for her that was ever seen in Newport, if it should
happen. Why, there's reason in it. She ought to have at least two real
good India silks that will stand alone,--and you'll see she'll have 'em,
too; you let me alone for that; and I was thinking, as I lay awake last
night, of a new way of making up, that you will say is just the sweetest
that ever you did see. And Miss Jones was saying that she hoped there
wouldn't anything happen without her knowing it, because her husband's
sister in Philadelphia has sent her a new receipt for cake, and she has
tried it and it came out beautifully, and she says she'll send some in."

All the time that this stream was flowing, Mrs. Scudder stood with the
properly reserved air of a discreet matron, who leaves all such matters
to Providence, and is not supposed unduly to anticipate the future; and,
in reply, she warmly pressed Miss Prissy's hand, and remarked, that no
one could tell what a day might bring forth,--and other general
observations on the uncertainty of mortal prospects, which form a
becoming shield when people do not wish to say more exactly what they
are thinking of.

[To be continued.]


The Mourner lies in the solemn room
    Where his Dead hath lately lain;
And in the drear, oppressive gloom,
Death-pallid with the dying moon,
    There pass before his brain,
In blended visions manifold,
The present and the days of old.

Fair falls the snow on her grave to-day,
    Shrouding her sleep sublime;
But he sees in the sunny far-away
None among maidens so fair and gay
    As she in her sweet spring-time:
Where the song and the sport and the revel be,
None among maidens so fair as she.

He marks where the perfect crescent dips
    Above the heaven of her eyes,
Her beamy hair in soft eclipse,
The red enchantment of her lips,
    And all the grace that lies
Dreaming in her neck's pure curve,
With its regal lift and its swanlike swerve.

In pictures which are forever joys,
    She cometh to him once more:
Once, with her dainty foot a-poise,
She drives the bird with a merry noise
    From her lifted battledoor,
And tosses back, with impatient air,
The ruffled glory of her hair;--

Then gayly draping a painted doll,
    To please an eager child;
Or pacing athwart a stately hall;
Or kneeling at dewy evenfall,
    When clouds are crimson-piled,
And all the hushed and scented air
Is tremulous with the voice of prayer;--

Or standing mute and rapture-bound
    The while her sisters sing;
From voice and lute there floats around
A golden confluence of sound,
    Spreading in fairy ring;
And with a beautiful grace and glow
Her head sways to the music's flow.

One night of nights in lustrous June,
    She walks with him alone;
Through silver glidings of the moon
The runnels purl a dreamy tune;
    His arm is round her thrown:
But looks and sounds far lovelier
Thrill on his trancéd soul from her.

And then that rounded bliss, increased
    To one consummate hour!
The marriage-robe, the stoléd priest,
The kisses when the rite hath ceased,
    And with her heart's rich dower
She standeth by his shielding side,
His wedded wife and his own bright bride!

And then the sacred influence
    That flushed her flower to prime!
Through Love's divine omnipotence
She ripened to a mother once,
    But once, and for all time:
No higher heaven on him smiled
Than that young mother and her child.

Then all the pleasant household scenes
    Through all the latter years!
No murky shadow intervenes,--
Her gentle aspect only leans
    Through the soft mist of tears;
Her sweet, warm smile, her welkin glance,--
There is no speech nor utterance.

O angel form, O darling face,
    Slow fading from the shore!
O brave, true heart, whose warmest place
Was his alone by Love's sweet grace,
    Still, still, forevermore!
And now he lonely lieth, broken-hearted;
For all the grace and glory have departed.

Snow-cold in sculptured calm she lies,
    Apparelled saintly white;
On her sealed lips no sweet replies,
And the blue splendor of her eyes
    Gone down in dreamless night;
All empery of Death expressed
In that inexorable rest!

Now leave this fair and holy Thing
    Alone with God's dear grace!
Her grave is but the entering
Beneath the shadow of His wing,
    Her trusty hiding-place,
Till, in the grand, sweet Dawn, at last,
This tyranny be overpast.



I have not told you how Can Grande took leave of the Isle of Rogues, as
one of our party christened the fair Queen of the Antilles. I could not
tell you how he loathed the goings on at Havana, how hateful he found
the Spaniards, and how villainous the American hotel-keepers. His
superlatives of censure were in such constant employment that they began
to have a threadbare sound before he left us; and as he has it in
prospective to run the gantlet of all the inn-keepers on the continent
of Europe, to say nothing of farther lands, where inn-keepers would be a
relief, there is no knowing what exhaustion his powers in this sort may
undergo before he reaches us again. He may break down into weak,
compliant good-nature, and never be able to abuse anybody again, as long
as he lives. In that case, his past life and his future, taken together,
will make a very respectable average. But the climate really did not
suit him, the company did not satisfy him, and there came a moment when
he said, "I can bear it no longer!" and we answered, "Go in peace!"

It now becomes me to speak of Sobrina, who has long been on a temperance
footing, and who forgets even to blush when the former toddy is
mentioned, though she still shudders at the remembrance of sour-sop. She
is the business-man of the party; and while philosophy and highest
considerations occupy the others, with an occasional squabble over
virtue and the rights of man, she changes lodgings, hires carts,
transports baggage, and, knowing half-a-dozen words of Spanish, makes
herself clearly comprehensible to everybody. We have found a Spanish
steamer for Can Grande; but she rows thither in a boat and secures his
passage and state-room. The noontide sun is hot upon the waters, but her
zeal is hotter still. Now she has made a curious bargain with her
boatmen, by which they are to convey the whole party to the steamer on
the fourth day.

"What did you tell them?" we asked.

"I said, _tres noches_ (three nights) and _un dia_, (one day,) and then
took out my watch and showed them five o'clock on it, and pointed to the
boat and to myself. They understood, perfectly."

And so, in truth, they did; for, going to the wharf on the day and at
the hour appointed, we found the boatmen in waiting, with eager faces.
But here a new difficulty presented itself;--the runner of our hotel, a
rascal German, whose Cuban life has sharpened his wits and blunted his
conscience, insisted that the hiring of boats for the lodgers was one of
his (many) perquisites, and that before his sovereign prerogative all
other agreements were null and void.--N.B. There was always something
experimentative about this man's wickedness. He felt that he did not
know how far men might be gulled, or the point where they would be
likely to resist. This was a fault of youth. With increasing years and
experience he will become bolder and more skilful, and bids fair, we
should say, to become one of the most dexterous operators known in his
peculiar line. On the present occasion, he did not heed the piteous
pleadings of the disappointed boatmen, nor Sobrina's explanations, nor
Can Grande's arguments. But when the whole five of us fixed upon him our
mild and scornful eyes, something within him gave way. He felt a little
bit of the moral pressure of Boston, and feebly broke down, saying, "You
better do as you like, then," and so the point was carried.

A pleasant run brought us to the side of the steamer. It was dusk
already as we ascended her steep gangway, and from that to darkness
there is, at this season, but the interval of a breath. Dusk, too, were
our thoughts, at parting from Can Grande, the mighty, the vehement, the
great fighter. How were we to miss his deep music, here and at home!
With his assistance we had made a very respectable band; now we were to
be only a wandering drum and fife,--the fife particularly shrill, and
the drum particularly solemn. Well, we went below, and examined the
little den where Can Grande was to pass the other seven days of his
tropical voyaging. The berths were arranged the wrong way,--across, not
along, the vessel,--and we foresaw that his head would go up and his
feet down, and _vice versâ_, with every movement of the steamer, and our
weak brains reeled at the bare thought of what he was to suffer. He,
good soul, meanwhile, was thinking of his supper, and wondering if he
could get tea, coffee, and chocolate, a toasted roll, and the touch of
cold ham which an invalid loves. And we beheld, and they were bringing
up the side of the vessel trays of delicious pastry, and festoons of
fowls, with more literal butcher's meat. And we said, "There will be no
famine on board. Make the most of your supper, Can Grande; for it will
be the last of earth to you, for some time to come." And now came
silence, and tears, and last embraces; we slipped down the gangway into
our little craft, and, looking up, saw, bending above us, between the
slouched hat and the silver beard, the eyes that we can never forget,
that seemed to drop back in the darkness with the solemnity of a last
farewell. We went home, and the drum hung himself gloomily on his peg,
and the little fife _shut up_ for the remainder of the evening.

Has Mr. Dana described the Dominica, I wonder? Well, if he has, I cannot
help it. He never can have eaten so many ices there as I have, nor
passed so many patient hours amid the screeching, chattering, and
devouring, which make it most like a cage of strange birds, or the
monkey department in the Jardin des Plantes.--_Mem._ I always observed
that the monkeys just mentioned seemed far more mirthful than their
brethren in the London Zoölogical Gardens. They form themselves, so to
speak, on a livelier model, and feel themselves more at home with their

But the Dominica. You know, probably, that it is the great _café_ of
Havana. All the day long it is full of people of all nations, sipping
ices, chocolate, and so on; and all night long, also, up to the to me
very questionable hour when its patrons go home and its _garçons_ go to
bed. We often found it a welcome refuge at noon, when the _douche_ of
sunlight on one's _cervix_ bewilders the faculties, and confuses one's
principles of gravitation, toleration, etc., etc. You enter from the
Tophet of the street, and the intolerable glare is at once softened to a
sort of golden shadow. The floor is of stone; in the midst trickles a
tiny fountain with golden network; all other available space is crowded
with marble tables, square or round; and they, in turn, are scarcely
visible for the swarm of black-coats that gather round them. The smoke
of innumerable cigars gives a Rembrandtic tinge to the depths of the
picture, and the rows and groups of nodding Panama hats are like very
dull flower-beds. In the company, of course, the Spanish-Cuban element
largely predominates; yet here and there the sharper English breaks upon
the ear.

"Yes, I went to that plantation; but they have only one thousand boxes
of sugar, and we want three thousand for our operation."

A Yankee, you say. Yes, certainly; and turning, you see the tall, strong
Philadelphian from our hotel, who calls for everything by its right
name, and always says, "_Mas! mas!_" when the waiter helps him to ice.
Some one near us is speaking a fuller English, with a richer "_r_" and
deeper intonation. See there! that is our own jolly captain, Brownless
of ours, the King of the "Karnak"; and going up to the British lion, we
shake the noble beast heartily by the paw.

The people about us are imbibing a variety of cooling liquids. Our turn
comes at last. The _garçon_ who says, "I speke Aingliss," brings us
each a delicious orange _granizada_, a sort of half-frozen water-ice,
familiar to Italy, but unknown in America. It is ice in the first
enthusiasm of freezing,--condensed, not hardened. Promoting its
liquefaction with the spoon, you enjoy it through the mediation of a
straw. The unskilful make strange noises and gurglings through this
_tenuis avena_; but to those who have not forgotten the accomplishment
of suction, as acquired at an early period of existence, the _modus in
quo_ is easy and agreeable.

You will hardly weary of watching the groups that come and go and sit
and talk in this dreamy place. If you are a lady, every black eye
directs its full, tiresome stare at your face, no matter how plain that
face may be. But you have learned before this to consider those eyes as
so many black dots, so many marks of wonder with no sentence attached;
and so you coolly pursue your philosophizing in your corner, strong in
the support of a companion, who, though deeply humanitarian and
peaceful, would not hesitate to punch any number of Spanish heads that
should be necessary for the maintenance of your comfort and his dignity.

The scene is occasionally varied by the appearance of a beggar-woman,
got up in great decency, and with a wonderful air of pinched and faded
gentility. She wears an old shawl upon her head, but it is as nicely
folded as an aristocratic mantilla; her feet are cased in the linen
slippers worn by the poorer classes, but there are no unsavory rags and
dirt about her. "That good walk of yours, friend," I thought, "does not
look like starvation." Yet, if over there were a moment when one's heart
should soften towards an imposing fellow-creature, it is when one is in
the midst of the orange _granizada_. The beggar circles slowly and
mournfully round all the marble tables in turn, holding out her hand to
each, as the plate is offered at a church collection. She is not
importunate; but, looking in each one's face, seems to divine whether he
will give or no. A Yankee, sitting with a Spaniard, offers her his
cigar. The Spaniard gravely pushes the cigar away, and gives her a

More pertinacious is the seller of lottery-tickets, male or female, who
has more at stake, and must run the risk of your displeasure for the
chance of your custom. Even in your bed you are hardly safe from the
ticket-vender. You stand at your window, and he, waiting in the street,
perceives you, and with nods, winks, and showing of his wares endeavors
to establish a communication with you. Or you stop and wait somewhere in
your _volante_, and in the twinkling of an eye the wretch is at your
side to bear you company till you drive off again. At the Dominica he is
especially persevering, and stands and waits with as much zeal as if he
knew the saintly line of Milton. Like the beggar, however, he is
discriminative in the choice of his victims, and persecutes the stony
Yankee less than the oily Spaniard, whose inbred superstitions force him
to believe in luck.

Very strange stories do they tell about the trade in
lottery-tickets,--strange, at least, to us, who consider them the folly
of follies. Here, as in Italy, the lotteries are under the care of the
State, and their administration is as careful and important as that of
any other branch of finance. They are a regular and even reputable mode
of investment. The wealthy commercial houses all own tickets, sometimes
keeping the same number for years, but more frequently changing after
each unsuccessful experiment. A French gentleman in Havana assured me
that his tickets had already cost him seven thousand dollars. "And now,"
said he, "I cannot withdraw, for I cannot lose what I have already paid.
The number has not been up once in eight years; its turn must come soon.
If I were to sell my ticket, some one would be sure to draw the great
prize with it the week after." This, perhaps, is not very unlike the
calculations of business risks most in vogue in our great cities. A
single ticket costs an ounce (seventeen dollars); but you are constantly
offered fractions, to an eighth or a sixteenth. There are ticket-brokers
who accommodate the poorer classes with interests to the amount of ten
cents, and so on. Thus, for them, the lottery replaces the savings-bank,
with entire uncertainty of any return, and the demoralizing process of
expectation thrown into the bargain. The negroes invest a good deal of
money in this way, and we heard in Matanzas a curious anecdote on this
head. A number of negroes, putting their means together, had
commissioned a ticket-broker to purchase and hold for them a certain
ticket. After long waiting and paying up, news came to Matanzas that the
ticket had drawn the $100,000 prize. The owners of the negroes were in
despair at this intelligence. "Now my cook will buy himself," says one;
"my _calesero_ will be free," says another; and so on. The poor slaves
ran, of course, in great agitation, to get their money. But, lo! the
office was shut up. The rascal broker had absconded. He had never run
the risk of purchasing the ticket; but had coolly appropriated this and
similar investments to his own use, preferring the bird in the hand to
the whole aviary of possibilities. He was never heard of more; but
should he ever turn up anywhere, I commend him as the fittest subject
for Lynch-law on record.

Well, as I have told you, all these golden chances wait for you at the
Dominica, and many Americans buy, and look very foolish when they
acknowledge it. The Nassauese all bought largely during their short
stay; and even their little children held up with exultation their
fragments of tickets, all good for something, and bad for something,

If you visit the Dominica in the evening, you find the same crowd, only
with a sprinkling of women, oftenest of your own country, in audacious
bonnets, and with voices and laughter which bring the black eyes upon
them for a time. If it be Sunday evening, you will see here and there
groups of ladies in full ball-dress, fresh from the Paseo, the _volante_
waiting for them outside. All is then at its gayest and busiest; but
your favorite waiter, with disappointment in his eyes, will tell you
that there is "_no mas_" of your favorite _granizada_, and will persuade
you to take, I know not what nauseous substitute in its place; for all
ices are not good at the Dominica, and some are (excuse the word) nasty.
People sit and sip, prolonging their pleasures with dilatory spoon and
indefatigable tongue. Group follows group; but the Spaniards are what I
should call heavy sitters, and tarry long over their ice or chocolate.
The waiter invariably brings to every table a chafing-dish with a
burning coal, which will light a cigar long after its outer glow has
subsided into ashy white. Some humans retain this kindling
power;--_vide_ Ninon and the ancient Goethe;--it is the heart of fire,
not the flame of beauty, that does it. When one goes home, tired, at ten
or eleven, the company shows no sign of thinning, nor does one imagine
how the ground is ever cleared, so as to allow an interval of sleep
between the last ice at night and the first coffee in the morning. It is
the universal _siesta_ which makes the Cubans so bright and fresh in the
evening. With all this, their habits are sober, and the evening
refreshment always light. No suppers are eaten here; and it is even held
dangerous to take fruit as late as eight o'clock, P.M.

The Dominica has still another aspect to you, when you go there in the
character of a citizen and head of family to order West India sweetmeats
for home-consumption. You utter the magic word _dulces_, and are shown
with respect into the establishment across the way, where a neat
steam-engine is in full operation, tended by blacks and whites, stripped
above the waist, and with no superfluous clothing below it. Here they
grind the chocolate, and make the famous preserves, of which a list is
shown you, with prices affixed. As you will probably lose some minutes
in perplexity as to which are best for you to order, let me tell you
that the guava jelly and marmalade are first among them, and there is no
second. You may throw in a little pine-apple, mamey, lime, and
cocoa-plum; but the guava is the thing, and, in case of a long run on
the tea-table, will give the most effectual support. The limes used to
be famous in our youth; but in these days they make them hard and tough.
The marmalade of bitter oranges is one of the most useful of Southern
preserves; but I do not remember it on the list of the Dominica. Having
given your order, let me further advise you to remain, if practicable,
and see it fulfilled; as you will find, otherwise, divers trifling
discrepancies between the bill and the goods as delivered, which, though
of course purely accidental, will all be, somehow, to the Dominica's
advantage, and not to yours. If you are in moderate circumstances, order
eight or ten dollars' worth; if affluent, twenty or thirty dollars'
worth; if rash and extravagant, you may rise even to sixty dollars; but
you will find in such an outlay food for repentance. One word in your
ear: do not buy the syrups, for they are made with very bad sugar, and
have no savor of the fruits they represent.

And this is all I can tell about the Dominica, which I recommend to all
of you for refreshment and amusement. We have nothing like it in New
York or Boston,--our _salons_ of the same description having in them
much more to eat and much less to see. As I look back upon it, the place
assumes a deeply Moorish aspect. I see the fountain, the golden light,
the dark faces, and intense black eyes, a little softened by the
comforting distance. Oh! to sit there for one hour, and help the
garçon's bad English, and be pestered by the beggar, and tormented by
the ticket-vender, and support the battery of the wondering looks, which
make it sin for you, a woman, to be abroad by day! Is there any
purgatory which does not grow lovely as you remember it? Would not a man
be hanged twice, if he could?

[To be continued.]


[Continued from the July Number.]



It was late when Zelma Burleigh returned to the Grange. As she stole
softly into the hall, she startled an Italian greyhound, which was lying
asleep on a mat near the door. As he sprang up, the little silver bells
on his collar tinkled out his master's secret;--Sir Harry Willerton was
still in the drawing-room with Bessie.

As Zelma passed up to her chamber, she said to herself bitterly,--"Thus
openly and fearlessly can the rich and well-born woo and be wooed, while
such as we must steal away to happiness as to crime, and plight our vows
under the chill and shadow of night!" But the next moment she felt that
there was about her love a piquant sense of peril and lawlessness, a
wild flavor infinitely more to her taste than would be any prudent,
commendable affection grown in drawing-rooms, nourished by
conventionalism, and propped by social fitness; and remembering the
manly beauty and brilliant parts of her lover, she felt that she would
not exchange him for the proudest noble of the realm.

After a time Bessie came stealing up from the drawing-room, and lay
down by her cousin's side, softly, for fear of waking her; and all night
long Bessie's secret curled about her smiling mouth, and quivered
through the lids of her shut eyes, and overran her red lips in murmurs
of happy dreams; but Zelma's secret burned like slow fire in her deepest
heart. Bessie dreamed of merry games and quiet rambles and country
_fêtes_ with the gay Sir Harry; but Zelma, when at last she slept,
dreamed of wandering with her adventurous lover from province to
province,--then of playing Juliet to his Romeo before a vast
metropolitan audience.

Days went on, and Bessie's pure, transparent nature, a lily-bud of
sweetest womanhood, seemed unconsciously revealing itself, leaf by leaf,
to all the world, and blooming out its beautiful innermost life; but
Zelma's secret still smouldered in her shut heart, never by any chance
flaming up to her lips in words. Her month assumed a look of rigid
resolution, almost of desperation; and her eyes shone with a hard,
diamond-like brilliancy, fitful, but never soft or tearful. Her manner
grew more and more moody and constrained, till even her matter-of-fact
uncle and aunt, good easy souls, and her absorbed cousin, became curious
and anxious. The little elfish black pony was in more frequent request
than ever; for his mistress now went out at any hour that suited her
whim, in any weather, chose the loneliest by-ways, and rode furiously.
Often, at evening, she ascended a dark gorge of the western hills and
plunged down on the other side, as though in hot pursuit of the setting
sun; and at length there came a report from the gossiping post-mistress
of a little village over there, that she came for letters, which she
duly received, addressed in a dashing, manly hand. This story, coming to
the ears of Roger Burleigh, quickened his dull suspicions that
"something was wrong with that poor girl"; and just as he was getting
positive and peremptory, and Bessie perplexed and alarmed, Zelma

For several days there were anxious inquiries and vain searches in every
direction,--storming, weeping, and sleeplessness in the Squire's usually
happy household; and then came a letter, whose Scottish post-mark
revealed much of the mystery. It was from Zelma, telling that she had
left the Grange forever, and become the wife of "Mr. Bury, the strolling
player"; and saying that she had taken this step of her own free will,
knowing it to be a fatal, unpardonable sin against caste, and that it
would set a great gulf between her and her respectable relatives. Yet,
she asked, had not a gulf of _feeling_, as deep and wide, ever separated
their hearts from the gypsy's daughter? and was it not better and more
honest to break the weak social ties of protection and dependence which
had stretched like wild vines across the chasm to hide it from the
world? She then bade them all an abrupt and final farewell It was a
letter brief, cold, and curt, almost to insolence; but beneath her new
name, which was dashed off with somewhat of a dramatic flourish, there
appeared hurriedly scrawled in pencil a woman's postscript, containing
the real soul of the letter, a passionate burst of feeling, a bitter cry
of long-repressed, sorrowful tenderness. It implored forgiveness for any
pain she might ever have given them, for any disgrace she might ever
bring upon them,--it thanked and blessed them for past kindness, and
humbly prayed for them the choicest gifts and the most loving protection
of Heaven. This postscript was signed "Zelle,"--the orphan's childish
and pet name at the Grange, which she now put off with the peace and
purity of maidenhood and domestic life.

When it was known how Zelma Burleigh had fled, and with whom, the
neighboring gentry were duly shocked and scandalized. The village
gossips declared that they had always foreseen some such fate for "that
strange girl," and sagely prophesied that the master of Willerton Hall
would abandon all thought of an alliance with a family whose escutcheon
had suffered so severely. But they counted on the baronet, not on the
man,--and so, for once, were mistaken.

As for honest Roger Burleigh, he was beside himself with amazement and
indignation at the folly and ingratitude of his niece and the
measureless presumption of "that infernal puppy of a play-actor," as he
denominated Zelma's clever husband.

As he was one day talking over the sad affair with his friend Sir Harry,
who best succeeded in soothing him down, he inveighed against all actors
and actresses in the strongest terms of aversion and contempt, giving
free expression to the violent provincial prejudice of his time against
players of all degrees.

"But, my dear Sir," interrupted the young Baronet, "your niece has not
become an actress,--only the wife of a promising actor."

"No,--but she will be one yet. She's stage-struck now, more than
anything else; and mark my words,--that villain will have her on the
boards before the year's end, and live by her ranting. Why, you see, Sir
Harry, strolling is in the blood, and must out, I suppose. The girl, as
you may have heard, is half gypsy. My brother, Captain Burleigh, was a
sad scamp, and actually married a Spanish Zincala! He was drunk at the
time, we have the consolation to believe, or he could never have so far
belied his good old English blood, dissipated dog as he was. To be sure,
she saved his life once, and really was a beautiful, devoted creature,
by all accounts; and if Zelma had done no worse than she,--run away with
any poor devil, provided only he were a gentleman,--or if she had gone
off vagabondizing with one of her mother's people, it would not have
been so infamous an affair as it is; she might still have been accounted
an honest woman;--but, my God, Sir Harry, a strolling player!"

Mrs. Burleigh was but a dutiful echo of her husband's prejudices, and
gave up her hapless niece as lost beyond redemption; but Bessie, though
she grieved more than either, suffered from no sense of humiliation, and
allowed no virtuous anger, no injurious doubts, to enter her blessed
little heart. Yet she missed her lost companion, her strong friend, and,
still vine-like in her instincts, turned wholly to the new support,--to
one who submitted himself gladly to the sweet inthralment, and felt all
the grander for the luscious weight and tendril-like clasp. And so Love
came to pretty Bessie's heart "with healing in his wings."

       *       *       *       *       *

Unspeakable was the dismay of Mr. Bury at finding that a very modest
amount of personal property was all that his runaway wife could hope to
receive from her relatives,--that she was utterly portionless, her
father having more than exhausted the patrimony of a younger son. He had
supposed, from Zelma's apparently honorable position in the household of
her uncle, that she was, if not an heiress, at least respectably
dowered. Had he been better informed, it is doubtful whether,
improvident and enamored as he was, he would have ruralized and
practicalized Romeo in the lane of Burleigh Grange. Zelma herself, too
unworldly to suspect that self-interest had anything to do with her
conquest, never alluded to her lack of dowry till it was too late. Then
both manly shame and manly passion (for the actor loved her in his way,
which was by no means her way, or the way of any large, loyal nature)
restrained all unbecoming expression of chagrin and disappointment,--
which yet sunk into his heart, and prepared the not uncongenial coil for
a goodly crop of suspicion, jealousy, alienation, aversion, and all
manner of domestic infelicities.

We cannot follow Zelma step by step, in her precarious and wandering
life, for the six months succeeding her marriage. It was a life not
altogether distasteful to her. She was not enough of a fine lady to be
dismayed or humiliated by its straits and shifts of poverty, by its
isolation and ostracism; while there was something in its alternations
of want and profusion, in its piquant contrasts of real and mimic life,
in its excitement, action, and change, which had a peculiar charm for
her wild and restless spirit. But from many of the associations of the
stage, from nearly all actors and actresses, and from all green-room
loungers, she instinctively recoiled, and held herself haughtily aloof
from the motley little world behind the scenes,--apparently by no
effort, but as sphered apart by the atmosphere of refinement and
superiority which enveloped her. Yet she almost constantly accompanied
her husband to rehearsal and play, where, for a time, her presence was
grateful both to the pride and a more amiable passion of her mercurial
lord. But the sight of that shy, shadowy figure haunting the wings, of
those keen, critical eyes ever following the business of the stage, at
last grew irksome to him, and he would fain have persuaded her to remain
quietly at their lodgings, whilst he was attending to his professional
duties. But no, she would go with him,--not for pleasure, or even
affection, but, as she always avowed, for artistic purposes. That she
had cherished, ever since her marriage, the plan of adopting her
husband's profession, she had never concealed from him. He usually
laughed, in his gay, supercilious way, when she spoke of this purpose,
or lightly patted her grand head and declared her to be a wilful,
unpractical enthusiast,--too much a child of Nature to attempt an art of
any kind,--born to _live_ and _be_ poetry, not to declaim it,--to
inspire genius, not to embody it,--a Muse, not a Sibyl.

Once, when she was more than usually earnest in pleading for her
plan,--not merely on the strength of her own deep, prophetic conviction
of her fitness for a dramatic career, but on the ground of an urgent and
bitter necessity for exertion on her part, to ward off actual
destitution and suffering,--he exclaimed, somewhat impatiently,--"Why,
Zelma, it is an impossibility, almost an absurdity, you urge! You could
never make an actress. You are too hopelessly natural, erratic, and
impulsive. You would follow no teaching implicitly, but, when you saw
fit, would trample on conventionalities and venerable stage-traditions.
You would set up the standard of revolt against the ancient canons of
Art, and flout it in the faces of the critics, and--_fail_,--ay, fail,
in spite of your great, staring eyes, the tragic weight of your brows,
and the fiery swell of your nostril."

"I should certainly tread my own ways on the boards, as elsewhere,"
replied Zelma, quietly,--"move and act from the central force, the
instinct and inspiration of Nature,--letting the passion of my part work
itself out in its own gestures, postures, looks, and tones,--falling
short of, or going beyond, mere stage-traditions. With all due deference
for authorities, this would be my art, as it has been the art of all
truly great actors. I shall certainly not adopt my husband's profession
without his consent,--but I shall never cease importuning him for that

Lawrence "laughed a laugh of merry scorn," and left her to her solitary
studies and the patient nursing of her purpose.

It was finally, for Zelma's sake, through the unsolicited influence of
Sir Harry Willerton, that "Mr. Lawrence Bury, Tragedian," attained to a
high point in a provincial actor's ambition,--a London engagement.

After a disheartening period of waiting and idleness, during which he
and his wife made actual face-to-face acquaintance with want, and both
came near playing their parts in the high-tragedy of starvation in a
garret, he made his first appearance before the audience of Covent
Garden, in the part of Mercutio. He was young, shapely, handsome, and
clever,--full of flash and dash, and, above all, _new_. He had chosen
well his part,--Mercutio,--that graceful frolic of fancy, which less
requires sustained intellectual power than the exaltation of animal
spirits,--that brief sunburst of life, that brilliant bubble of
character, which reflects, for a moment, a world of beauty and sparkle,
and dies in a flash of wit, yet leaves on the mind a want, a tender
regret, which follow one through all the storm and woe of the tragedy.

So it was little wonder, perhaps, that he achieved a decided success,
though incomparably greater artists had failed where he triumphed, and
that, in spite of the doubtful looks and faint praise of the critics, he
became at once a public favorite,--the fashion, the rage. Ladies of the
highest _ton_ condescended to admire and applaud, and hailed as a
benefactor the creator of a new sensation.

Very soon the young actor's aspiring soul rose above all secondary
parts, dropped Mercutio and Horatio for Romeo and Hamlet, and had not
the sense to see that he was getting utterly out of his element, dashing
with silken sails into the tempest of tragedy, soaring on Icarian wings
over its profoundest deeps and into the height and heat of its intensest

Yet with the young, the unthinking, the eager, the curious, it was then
as it is now and ever shall be,--confidence easily passed for genius,
and presumption for power. Tributes of admiration and envy poured in
upon him,--anonymous missives, tender and daring, odorous with the
atmosphere of luxurious boudoirs, and coarse scrawls, scented with
orange-peel and lamp-smoke, and seeming to hiss with the sibilant
whisper of green-room spite; and the young actor, valuing alike the
sentiments, kindly or malign, which ministered to his egoism,
intoxicated with the first foamy draught of fame, grew careless,
freakish, and arrogant, as all suddenly adopted pets of the public are
likely to do.

At length Mr. Bury played before Royalty, and Royalty was heard to say
to Nobility in attendance,--"What!--Who is he? Where did he come from?
How old is he? Not quite equal to Garrick yet, but clever,--eh, my

This gracious royal criticism, being duly reported and printed, removed
the last let to aristocratic favor; fast young bloods of the highest
nobility did not acorn to shake off their perfumes and air their profane
vocabulary in the green-room, offering snuff and the incense of flattery
together to the Tamerlane, the Romeo, or the Lord Hamlet of the night.

Happily, with the actor's fame rose his salary; and as both rose, the
actor and his wife descended from their lofty attic-room--into whose one
window the stars looked with, it seemed to Zelma, a startling
nearness--to respectable lodgings on the second floor.

It was during this first London season that the manager of Covent
Garden, himself an actor, remarked the rare capabilities of Zelma's
face, voice, and figure for the stage, and in a matter-of-fact business
way spoke of them to her husband. The leading actor looked annoyed, and
sought to change the subject of conversation; but as the wife's dreamy
eyes flashed with sudden splendor, revealing the true dramatic fire, the
manager returned upon him with his artistic convictions and practical
arguments, and at length wrung from him most reluctant consent that
Zelma, after the necessary study, should make a trial of her powers.

Though well over the first summer-warmth of his romantic passion,
Lawrence Bury had not yet grown so utterly cold toward his beautiful
wife that he could see that trial approach without some slight
sympathetic dread; but his miserable egoism forbade him to wish her
success; in his secret heart he even hoped that an utter, irretrievable
failure would wither at once and forever her pretty artistic

Zelma chose for her _début_ the part of Zara in "The Mourning
Bride,"--not out of any love for the character, which was too stormy,
vicious, and revengeful to engage her sympathies,--but because it was
rapid, vehement, sharply defined, and, if realized at all, she said,
would put her, by its very fierceness and wickedness, too far out of
herself for failure,--sweep her through the play like a whirlwind, and
give her no time to droop. It had for her heart, moreover, a peculiar
charm of association, as her first play,--as that in which she had first
beheld the hero of her dreams, "the god of her idolatry," before whom
she yet bowed, but as with eyes cast down or veiled, not in reverence,
but from a chill, unavowed fear of beholding the very common clay of
which he was fashioned.

The awful night of the _début_ arrived, as doomsday will come at last;
and after having been elaborately arrayed for her part by a gossiping
tire-woman, who _would_ chatter incessantly, relating, for the
encouragement of the _débutante_, tale after tale of stage-fright,
swoons, and failure,--after having been plumed, powdered, and most
reluctantly rouged, the rose of nineteen summers having suddenly paled
on her cheek, Zelma was silently conducted from her dressing-room by her
husband, who, as Osmyn, took his stand with her, the guards, and
attendants at the left wing, awaiting the summons to the presence of
King Manuel. As they were listening to the last tender bleating of
Almeria, the same pretty actress whom Zelma had seen as Zara at Arden,
and the gruff responses of her sire, an eager whisper ran through the
group;--the King and Queen had entered the royal box! This was quite
unexpected, and Zelma was aghast. Involuntarily, she stretched out her
hand and grasped that of her husband;--as she did so, the rattle of the
chains on her wrist betrayed her. The attendants looked round and
smiled;--Lawrence frowned and turned away, with a boy's pettishness. He
had been more than usually moody that day; but Zelma had believed him
troubled for her sake, and even now interpreted his unkindness as
nervous anxiety.

The next moment, everything, even he, was forgotten; for she stood, she
hardly knew how, upon the stage, receiving and mechanically
acknowledging a great burst of generous British applause.

It was a greeting less complaisant and patronizing than is usually given
to _débutantes_. Zelma's youthful charms, heightened by her sumptuous
dress, took her audience by surprise, and, while voice and action
delayed, made for her friends and favor, and bribed judgment with

King Manuel receives his captives with a courteous speech,--only a few
lines; but, during their reading, through what a lifetime of fear, of
pain, of unimaginable horrors passed Zelma! Stage-fright, that waking
nightmare of _débutantes_, clutched her at once, petrifying, while it
tortured her. The house seemed to surge around her, the stage to rock
under her feet. She fancied she heard low, elfish laughter behind the
scenes, and already the hiss of the critics seemed to sing in her
reeling brain. A thousand eyes pierced her through and through,--seemed
to see how the frightened blood had shrunk away from its mask of rouge
and hidden in her heart,--how that poor childish heart fluttered and
palpitated,--how near the hot tears were to the glazed eyeballs,--how
fast the black, obliterating shadows were creeping over the records of
memory,--how the first instinct of fear, a blind impulse to flight, was
maddening her.

She raised her eyes to the royal box, where sat a stout, middle-aged
man, with a dull, good-humored face, a star and ribbon on his breast,
and by his side a woman, ample and motherly, with an ugly tuft of
feathers on her head, and a diamond tiara, which lit up her heavy Dutch
features like a torch. The King, the Queen!

Just at this moment, his Majesty was in gracious converse with a lady on
his right, a foreign princess, of an ancient, unpronounceable title,--a
thin, colorless head and form, overloaded with immemorial
family-jewels,--a mere frame of a woman, to hang brilliants upon. She
was one shine and shiver of diamonds, from head to foot;--she palpitated
light, like a glow-worm. Her Majesty, meanwhile, was regaling herself
from a jewelled snuff-box, and talking affably over her shoulder to her
favorite mistress of the robes, the fearful Schwellenberg.

But Zelma, looking through the transfiguring atmosphere of loyalty,
beheld the royal group encompassed by all the ideal splendor and
sacredness of majesty;--over their very commonplace heads towered the
airy crowns of a hundred regal ancestors, piled round on round, and
glimmering away into the clouds.

Ere she turned her fascinated eyes away from the august sight, her cue
was given. She started, and struggled to speak, but her lips clung
together. There was a dull roar and whirl in her brain, as of a vortex
of waters. In piteous appealing she looked into the face of her husband,
and caught on his lips a strange, faint smile of mingled pity and
exultation. It stung her like a lash! Instantly she was herself, or
rather Zara, a captive, but every inch a queen, and delivered herself
calmly and proudly, though with a little tremble of her past agitation
in her voice,--a thrill of womanly feeling, which felt its way at once
to the hearts of her audience.

The first act, however, afforded her so little scope for acting, that
she left the stage unassured of her own success. There was doubt before
and behind the curtain. The critics had given no certain sign,--the
general applause might have been merely an involuntary tribute to youth
and beauty. Actors and actresses hung back,--even the friendly manager
was guarded in his congratulations. But in the second act the
_débutante_ put an end to this dubious state of things,--at least, so
far as her audience was concerned. "The Captive Queen" took captive all,
save that stern row of critics,--the indomitable, the incorruptible.
Their awful judgment still hung suspended over her head.

In a scene with Osmyn Zelma first revealed her tragic power. In her
fitful tenderness, in the passionate reproaches which she stormed upon
him, in her entreaties and imprecations, she was the poet's ideal, and
more. She dashed into the crude and sketchy character bold strokes of
Nature and illuminative gleams of genius, all her own.

Mr. Bury, as Osmyn, was cold and unsympathetic, avoided the eye of Zara,
and was even more tender than was "set down in the book" to Almeria.

"How well he acts his part!" said to herself the generous Zelma.

"How anxiety for his wife dashes his spirit!" said the charitable

At the close of this act the manager grasped Zelma's hand, and spoke of
her success as certain. She thanked him with an absent air, and gazed
about her wistfully. Surely her husband should have been the first to
give her joy. But he did not come forward. She shrank away to her
dressing-room, and waited for him vainly till she knew he was on the
stage, where she next met him in the great prison-scene.

In this scene, some bitterness of feeling--the first sharp pangs of
jealousy--gave, unconsciously to herself, a terrible vitality and
reality to her acting. She filled the stage with the electrical
atmosphere of her genius. Waxen Almeria, who was to have gone out as she
entered, received a shock of it, and stood for a moment transfixed. Even
Osmyn kindled out of his stony coldness, and gazed with awe and
irrepressible admiration at this new revelation of that strange,
profound creature he had called "wife." She, so late a shy woodland
nymph, stealing to his embrace,--now an angered goddess, blazing before
him, calling down upon him the lightnings of Olympus, with all the world
to see him shrink and shrivel into nothingness! And all this power and
passion, overtopping his utmost reach of art, outsoaring his wildest
aspirations, he had wooed, fondled, and protected! At first he was
overwhelmed with amazement; he could hardly have been more so, had a
volcano broken out through his hearth-stone; but soon, under the fierce
storm of Zara's taunts and reproaches, a sullen rage took possession of
him. He could not separate the actress from the wife,--and the wife
seemed in open, disloyal revolt. Every burst of applause from the
audience was an insult to him; and he felt a mad desire to oppose, to
defy them all, to assert a master's right over that frenzied woman, to
grasp her by the arm and drag her from the stage before their eyes!

This scene closes with a memorable speech:--

    "Vile and ingrate! too late thou shalt repent
    The base injustice thou hast done my love!
    Ay, thou shalt know, spite of thy past distress,
    And all the evils thou so long hast mourned,
    Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned,
    Nor hell a fury like a woman scorned!"

Zelma gave these lines as no pre-Siddonian actress had ever given
them,--with a certain _sublimity_ of rage, the ire of an immortal,--and
swept off the scene before a wild tumult of applause, led by the
vanquished critics. It followed her, surge on surge, to her
dressing-room, whither she hastily retreated through a crowd of players
and green-room _habitués_.

That sudden tempest shook even the royal box. The King, who a short time
before had been observed to nod, not shaking his "ambrosial locks" in
Jove-like approval, but somnolently, started up, exclaiming, "What!
what! what's that?"--and the Queen--took snuff.

In her dressing-room Zelma waited for her husband. "Surely he will come
now," she said.

She had already put off the tragedy-queen; she was again the loving
wife, yearning for one proud smile, one tender word, one straining
embrace. The tempest outside the curtain still rolled in upon her, as
she sat alone, drooping and sad, a spent thunder-cloud. The sound
brought her no sense of triumph; she only looked around her drearily,
like a frightened child, and called, "Lawrence!"

Instead of him came the manager. She must go before the curtain; the
audience would not be denied.

Lawrence led her out,--holding her hot, trembling fingers in his cold,
nerveless hand, a moody frown on his brow, and his lips writhing with a
forced smile.

As Zelma bent and smiled in modest acknowledgment of renewed applause,
led by royalty itself,--her aspirations so speedily fulfilled, her
genius so early crowned,--even at that supreme moment, the grief of the
woman would have outweighed the triumph of the artist, and saddened all
those plaudits into knell-like sounds, could she have known that the
miserable fiends of envy and jealousy had grasped her husband's heart
and torn it out of her possession forever.

In the death-scene, where the full tide of womanly feeling, which has
been driven out of Zara's heart by the volcanic shocks of fierce
passions, comes pouring back with whelming force, Zelma lost none of her
power, but won new laurels, bedewed with tears from "eyes unused to

Zara dies by her own hand, clinging to the headless body of King Manuel,
believing it to be Osmyn's. Zelma gave the concluding lines of her part
brokenly, in a tone of almost childlike lamenting, with piteous murmurs
and penitent caresses:--

    "Cold, cold!--my veins are icicles and frost!
    Cover us close, or I shall chill his breast,
    And fright him from my arms!--See! see! he slides
    Still farther from me! Look! he hides his face!
    I cannot feel it!--quite beyond my reach!--Ah,
    now he's gone, and all is dark!"

With that last desolate moan of a proud and stormy spirit, sobbing
itself into the death-quiet, a visible shudder crept through the house.
Even the King threw himself back in his royal chair with an
uncomfortable sort of "ahem!" as though choking with an emotion of
common humanity; and the Queen--forgot to take snuff.

       *       *       *       *       *

From the night of her triumphant _début_, the life of the actress ran in
the full sunlight of public favor; but the life of the woman crept away
into the shadow,--not of that quiet and repose so grateful to the true
artist, but of domestic discomfort and jealous estrangement.

Nobly self-forgetful always, Zelma, in the first hour of success,
feeling, in spite of herself, the pettiness and egoism of her husband's
nature, with a sense of humiliation in which it seemed her very soul
blushed, offered to renounce forever the career on which she had just
entered. Mr. Bury, however, angrily refused to accept the sacrifice,
though she pressed it upon him, at last, as a "peace-offering," on her
knees, and weeping like a penitent. "It is too late," he said, bitterly.
"The deed is done. You are mine no longer,--you belong to the public;--I
wish you joy of your fickle master."

From that time Zelma went her own ways, calm and self-reliant outwardly,
but inwardly tortured with a host of womanly griefs and regrets, a
helpless sense of wrong and desolation. She flew to her beautiful art
for consolation, flinging herself, with a sort of desperate abandonment,
out of her own life of monotonous misery into the varied sorrows of the
characters she personated. For her the cup of fame was not mantling with
the wine of delight which reddens the lips and "maketh glad the heart."
The costly pearl she had dissolved in it had not sweetened the draught;
but it was intoxicating, and she drank it with feverish avidity.

But for Lawrence Bury, his powers flagged and failed in the unnatural
rivalship; his acting grew more and more cold and mechanical. He became
more than ever subject to moods and caprices, and rapidly lost favor
with the public, till at last he was regarded only as the husband of the
popular actress,--then, merely tolerated for her sake. He fell, or
rather flung himself, into a life of reckless dissipation and
profligacy, and sunk so low that he scrupled not to accept from his
wife, and squander on base pleasures, money won by the genius for which
he hated her. Many were the nights when Zelma returned from the
playhouse to her cheerless lodgings, exhausted, dispirited, and alone,
to walk her chamber till the morning, wrestling with real terrors and
sorrows, the homely distresses of the heart, hard, absolute,
unrelieved,--to which the tragic agonies she had been representing
seemed but child's play.

At length, finding himself at the lowest ebb of theatrical favor, and
hating horribly the scene of his humiliating defeat, Mr. Bury resolved
to return to his old strolling life in the provinces. Making at the same
moment the first announcement of his going and his hurried adieux to
Zelma, who heard his last cold words in dumb dismay, with little show of
emotion, but with heavy grief and dread presentiments at her heart, he
departed. He was accompanied by the fair actress with whom he played
first parts at Arden,--but now, green-room gossip said, not in a merely
professional association. This story was brought to Zelma; but her
bitter cup was full without it. With a noble blindness, the fanaticism
of wifely faith, she rejected it utterly. "He is weak, misguided, mad,"
she said, "but not so basely false as that. He must run his wild,
wretched course awhile longer,--it seems necessary for him; but he will
return at last,--surely he will,--sorrowful, repentant, 'in his right
mind,' himself and mine once more. He cannot weary out God's patience
and my love."

After the first shock of her desertion was past, Zelma was conscious of
a sense of relief from a weight of daily recurring care and humiliation,
the torture of an unloving presence, chill and ungenial as arctic
sunlight. Even in the cold blank of his absence there was something
grateful to her bruised heart, like the balm of darkness to suffering
eyes. Her art was now all in all to her,--the strong-winged passion,
which lifted her out of herself and her sorrows. She was studying Juliet
for the first time. She had been playing for more than a year before she
could be prevailed upon to attempt a Shakspearian character, restrained
by a profound modesty from exercising her crude powers upon one of those
grand creations.

When, at length, she made choice of Juliet, what study was hers!--how
reverent! how loving! how glad!--the perfect service of the spirit! She
shut out the world of London from her sight, from her thoughts, till it
seemed lost in one of its own fogs. The air, the sky, the passion, the
poetry of Italy were above and around her. Again she revelled in that
wondrous garden of love and poesy, with a background of graves,
solemnizing joy. Now her fancy flitted, on swift, unresting wing, from
beauty to beauty,--now settled, bee-like, on some rich, half-hidden
thought, and hung upon it, sucking out its most sweet and secret heart
of meaning. She steeped her soul in the delicious romance, the summer
warmth, the moonlight, the sighs and tears of the play. She went from
the closet to the stage, not brain-weary and pale with thought, but
fresh, tender, and virginal,--not like one who had committed the _part_
of Juliet, but one whom Juliet possessed in every part. She seemed to
bear about her an atmosphere of poetry and love, the subtile spirit of
that marvellous play. There was no air of study, not the faintest taint
of the midnight oil;--like a gatherer of roses from some garden of
Cashmere, or a peasant-girl from the vintage, she brought only odors
from her toil,--the sweets of the fancy, a flavor of the passion she had
made her own.

On her first night in this play, Zelma was startled by recognizing among
the audience the once familiar faces of her uncle Roger, her cousin
Bessie, and Sir Harry Willerton. They had all come up to London to draw
up the papers and purchase the _trousseau_ for the wedding, which would
have taken place a year sooner, but for the death of Bessie's mother.

Squire Burleigh had been entrapped by his daughter and her lover into
coming to the play,--he being in utter ignorance as to whom he was to
see in the part of Juliet. When he recognized his niece in the ball-room
scene, he was shocked, and even angry. He started up, impetuously, to
leave the house; and it was only by the united entreaties of Bessie and
Sir Harry that he was persuaded to stay. As the play went on, however,
his sympathies became enlisted, in spite of his prejudices. Gradually
his heart melted toward the fair offender, and irrepressible tears of
admiration and pity welled up to his kindly blue eyes. He watched the
progress of the drama with an almost breathless interest while she was
before him, but grew listless and indifferent whenever she left the
stage. The passion of Romeo, the philosophy of the Friar, the quaint
garrulousness of the Nurse, the trenchant wit of Mercutio were alike
without charm for him.

But though thus lost in the fortunes and sorrows of the heroine of the
play, the dramatic illusion was far from complete for him. It was not
Juliet,--it was Zelma, the wild, misguided, lost, but still beloved
child of his poor brother; and in his bewildered brain her sad story was
strangely complicated with that of the hapless girl of Verona. When she
swallowed the sleeping-draught, he shrank and shuddered at the horrible
pictures conjured up by her frenzied fancy; and in the last woful scene,
he forgot himself, the play, the audience, everything but her, the
forlorn gypsy child, the shy and lonely little girl whom long years ago
he had taken on his knee, and smoothed down her tangled black hair, as
he might have smoothed the plumage of an eaglet, struggling and
palpitating under his hand, and glancing up sideways, with fierce and
frightened eyes,--and now, when he saw her about to plunge the cruel
blade into her breast, he leaped to his feet and electrified the house
by calling out, in a tone of agonized entreaty,--"Don't, Zelle! for
God's sake, don't! Leave this, and come home with us,--home to the

It was a great proof of Mrs. Bury's presence of mind and command over
her emotions, that she was not visibly discomposed by this strange and
touching appeal, or by the laughter and applause it called forth, but
finished her sad part, and was Juliet to the last.

When, obeying the stormy summons of the audience, the lovers arose from
the dead, and glided ghost-like before the curtain, Zelma, really pale
with the passion and woe of her part, glanced eagerly at the box in
which she had beheld her friends;--it was empty. The worthy Squire,
overcome with confusion at the exposure he had made of his weakness and
simplicity, had hurried from the theatre, willingly accompanied by his
daughter and Sir Harry.

On the following day, sweet Bessie Burleigh, with the consent, at the
request even, of her father, sought out her famous cousin, bearing terms
of reconciliation and proffers of renewed affection.

The actress was alone. She had just risen from her late breakfast, and
was in a morning costume,--careless, but not untidy. She looked languid
and jaded; the beautiful light of young love, which the night before had
shone with a soft, lambent flame in every glance, seemed to have burned
itself out in her hollow eyes, or to have been quenched in tears.

She flung herself on her cousin's breast with a laugh of pure joy and a
child's quick impulse of lovingness; but almost immediately drew herself
back, as with a sudden sense of having leaned across a chasm in the
embrace. But Bessie, guessing her feeling, clung about her very
tenderly, calling her pet names, smoothing her hair and kissing her wan
cheek till she almost kissed back its faded roses. And infinite good she
did poor Zelma.

Bessie--dear, simple heart!--was no diplomatist; she did not creep
stealthily toward her object, but dashed at it at once.

"I am come, dearest Zelle, to win you home," she said. "You cannot think
how lonely it is at the Grange, now that dear mamma is gone; and
by-and-by it will be yet more lonely,--at least, for poor papa. He loves
you still, though he was angry with you at first,--and he longs to have
you come back, and to make it all up with you. Oh, I am sure, you must
be weary of this life,--or rather, this mockery of life, this prolonged
fever dream, this playing with passion and pain! It is killing you! Why,
you look worn and anxious and sad as death by daylight, though you do
bloom out strangely bright and beautiful on the stage. So, dear, come
into the country, and rest and renew your life."

Zelma opened her superb eyes in amazement, and her cheek kindled with a
little flush of displeasure; yet she answered playfully,--"What! would
you resolve 'the new star of the drama' into nebulousness and
nothingness again? Remember my art, sweet Coz; I am a priestess sworn to
its altar."

"But, surely," replied Bessie, ingenuously, "you will not live on thus
alone, unprotected, a mark for suspicion and calumny; for they say--they
say that your husband has deserted you."

"Mr. Bury is absent, fulfilling a professional engagement. I shall await
his return here," replied Zelma, haughtily.

Bessie blushed deeply and was silent. So, too, was the actress, for some
moments; then, softened almost to tears, half closing her eyes, and
letting her fancy float away like thistle-down over town and country,
upland, valley, and moor, she said softly,--"Dear Burleigh Grange, how
lovely it must be now! What a verdurous twilight reigns under the old
elms of the avenue!--in what a passion of bloom the roses are unfolding
to the sun, these warm May-days! How the honeysuckles drip with sweet
dews! how thickly the shed hawthorn-blossoms lie on the grass of the
long lane, rolling in little drifts before the wind! And the birds,--do
the same birds come back to nest in their old places about the Grange, I

"Yes," answered Bessie, smiling; "I think all the birds have come back,
save one, the dearest of them all, who fled away in the night-time. Her
nest is empty still. Oh, Zelle, do you remember our pleasant little
chamber in the turret? I could not stay there when you were gone. It is
the stillest, loneliest place in all the house now. Even your pet hound
refuses to enter it."

"Now, my Cousin, you are really cruel," said Zelma, the tears at last
forcing their way through her reluctant eyelids. "When I left Burleigh
Grange, I went like Eve from Paradise,--_forever_."

"Ah, but Cousin dear, there is no terrible angel with a flaming sword
guarding the gates of the Grange against you."

"Yes, the angel of its peace and ancient honor," said the actress; then
added, pleasantly, "and he is backed by a mighty ogre, _Respectability_.
No, no, Bessie, I can never go back to my old home, or my old self; it
is quite impossible. But you and my uncle are very good to ask me.
Heaven bless you for that! And, dear, when you are Lady Willerton, a
proud wife, and, if God please, a happy mother, put me away from your
thoughts, if I trouble you. Rest in the safe haven of home, anchored in
content, and do not vex yourself about the poor waif afloat on wild,
unknown seas. It is not worth while."

So Bessie Burleigh was obliged to abandon her dear, impracticable plan;
and the cousins parted forever, though neither thought or meant it then.
Bessie returned to Arden, married the master of Willerton Hall, and slid
into the easy grooves of a happy, luxurious country-life; while Zelma
rode for a few proud years on the topmost swell of popular favor,--then
suddenly passed away beyond the horizon of London life, and so, as it
were, out of the world.

One dreary November night, after having revealed new powers and won new
honors by her first personation of Belvedera, Zelma went home to find on
her table a brief, business-like letter from the manager of a theatre at
Walton, a town in the North, stating that Mr. Lawrence Bury had died
suddenly at that place of a violent, inflammatory disease, brought on,
it was to be feared, by some excesses to which he had been addicted. The
theatrical wardrobe of the deceased (of small value) had been retained
in payment for expenses of illness and burial; his private papers were
at the disposal of the widow. Deceased had been buried in the parish
church-yard of Walton. This was all.

Zelma had abruptly dismissed her maid, that she might read quite
unobserved a letter which she suspected brought news from her husband;
so she was quite alone throughout that fearful night. What fierce,
face-to-face wrestlings with grief and remorse were hers! What sweet,
torturing memories of love, of estrangement, of loss! What visions of
_him_, torn with the agonies, wild with the terrors of death, calling
her name in vain imploring or with angry imprecations!--of him, so
young, so sinful, dragged struggling toward the abyss of mystery and
night, wrenched, as it were, out of life, with all its passions hot at
his heart!

Hour after hour she sat at her table, grasping the fatal letter, still
as death, and all but as cold. She yet wore the last dress of Belvedera,
and was half enveloped by the black cloud of her dishevelled hair; but
the simulated frenzy, which so late had drawn shuddering sighs from a
thousand hearts, was succeeded by a silent, stony despair, infinitely
more terrible. A sense of hopeless desolation and abandonment settled
upon her soul; the distances of universes seemed to separate her from
the dead. But to this suddenly succeeded a chill, awful sense of a
presence, wrapped in silence and mystery, melting through all material
barriers, treading on the impalpable air, not "looking ancient kindness
on her pain," but lowering amid the shadows of her chamber, stern,
perturbed, unreconciled. All these lonely horrors, these wild griefs,
unrelieved by human sympathy or companionship, by even the unconscious
comfort which flows in the breathing of a near sleeper, crowded and
pressed upon her brain, and seemed to touch her veins with frost and

For long weeks, Zelma lay ill, with a slow, baffling fever. Her mind,
torn from its moorings, went wandering, wandering, over a vast sea of
troubled dreams,--now creeping on through weary stretches of calm, now
plunging into the heart of tempests and tossed upon mountainous surges,
now touching momently at islands of light, now wrecked upon black,
desert shores.

All was strange, vague, and terrible, at first; but gradually there
stole back upon her her own life of womanhood and Art,--its scenes and
changes, its struggles, temptations, and triumphs, its brief joy and
long sorrow, all shaken and confused together, but still familiar. Now
the faces of her audiences seemed to throng upon her, packing her room
from floor to ceiling, darkening the light, sucking up all the air, and
again piercing her through and through with their cold, merciless gaze.
Now the characters she had personated grouped themselves around her bed,
all distinct, yet duplicates and multiplications of herself, mocking her
with her own voice, and glaring at her with her own eyes. Now pleasant
summer-scenes at Burleigh Grange brightened the dull walls, and a memory
of the long lane in the white prime of its hawthorn bloom flowed like a
river of fragrance through her chamber. Then there strode in upon her a
form of beauty and terror, and held her by the passion and gloom of his
eye,--and with him crept in a chill and heavy air, like an exhalation
from the rank turf of neglected graves.

       *       *       *       *       *

Zelma recovered from this illness, if it could be called a recovery, to
a state of only tolerable physical health, and a condition of pitiable
mental apathy and languor. She turned with a half-weary, half-petulant
distaste from her former pursuits and pleasures, and abandoned her
profession with a sort of terror,--feeling that its mockery of sorrows,
such as had fallen so crushingly on her unchastened heart, would madden
her utterly. But neither could she endure again the constraint and
conventionalities of English private life; she had died to her art, and
she glided, like a phantom, out of her country, and out of the thoughts
of the public, in whose breath she had lived, for whose pleasure she had
toiled, often from the hidden force of her own sorrows, the elements of
all tragedy seething in her secret heart.

Year after year she lived a wandering, out-of-the-way life on the
Continent. It was said that she went to Spain, sought out her mother's
wild kindred, and dwelt with them, making their life her life, their
ways her ways, shrinking neither from sun-glare nor tempest, privation
nor peril. But, at length, tired of wandering and satiated with
adventure, she flung off the Zincala, returned to England, and even
returned, forsworn, to her art, as all do, or long to do, who have once
embraced it from a genuine passion.

She made no effort to obtain an engagement at Covent Garden; for her,
that stage was haunted by a presence more gloomy than Hamlet, more
dreadful than the Ghost. Nor did she seek to tread, with her free,
unpractised step, the classic boards of Drury Lane,--where Garrick, the
_Grand Monarque_ of the Drama, though now toward the end of his reign,
ruled with jealous, despotic sway,--but modestly and quietly appeared at
a minor theatre, seeming, to such play-goers as remembered her brief,
brilliant career and sudden disappearance, like the Muse of Tragedy
returned from the shades.

She was kindly received, both for her own sake, and because of the
pleasant memories which the sight of her, pale, slender, and sad-eyed,
yet beautiful still, revived. Those who had once sworn by her swore by
her still, and were loath to admit even to themselves that her early
style of acting--easy, flowing, impulsive, the natural translation in
action of a strong and imaginative nature--must remain what, in the long
absence of the actress, it had become, a beautiful tradition of the
stage,--that her present personations were wanting in force and
spontaneity,--that they were efforts, rather than inspirations,--were
marked by a weary tension of thought,--were careful, but not composed,
roughened by unsteady strokes of genius, freshly furrowed with labor.

Mrs. Bury made a grave mistake in choosing for her second _début_ her
great part of Juliet; for she had outlived the possibility of playing it
as she played it at that period of her life when her soul readily melted
in the divine glow of youthful passion and flowed into the character,
taking its perfect shape, rounded and smooth and fair. Through long
years of sorrow and unrest, she had now to toil back to that golden
time,--and there was a sort of sharpness and haggardness about her
acting, a singular tone of weariness, broken by starts and bursts of
almost preternatural power. Except in scenes and sentiments of pathos,
where she had lost nothing, the last, fine, evanishing tints, the
delicate aroma of the character, were wanting in her personation. It was
touched with autumnal shadows,--it was comparatively hard and dry, not
from any inartistic misapprehension of the poet's ideal, but because the
fountain of youth in Zelma's own soul ran low, and was choked by the
dead violets which once sweetened its waters.

She felt all this bitterly that night, ere the play was over; and though
her audience generously applauded and old friends congratulated her, she
never played Juliet again.

Yet, even in the darker and sterner parts, in which she was once so
famous, she was hardly more successful now. In losing her bloom and
youthful fulness of form, she had not gained that statuesque repose, or
that refined essence of physical power and energy, which sometimes
belongs to slenderness and pallor. She was often strangely agitated and
unnerved when the occasion called most for calm, sustained power,--at
times, glancing around wildly and piteously, like a haunted creature.
Her passion was fitful and strained,--the fire of rage flickered in her
eye, her relaxed lips quivered out curses, her hand shook with the
dagger and spilled the poison. Her sorrows, real and imaginary, seemed
to have broken her spirit with her heart.

But in anything weird and supernatural, awful with vague, unearthly
terrors, she was greater than ever. Whenever, in her part of Lady
Macbeth, she came to the sleep-walking scene, that shadowy neutral
ground between death and life, where the perturbed, burdened spirit
moans out its secret agony, she gave startling token of the genius which
had electrified and awed her audiences of old. A solemn stillness
pervaded the house; every eye followed the ghost-like gliding of her
form, every ear hung upon the voice whose tones could sound the most
mysterious and awful depths of human grief and despair.

       *       *       *       *       *

It was during the first season of her reappearance that Mrs. Bury went
to Drury Lane, on an off-night, to witness one of the latest efforts of
Garrick as Richard the Third. He was, as usual, terribly great in the
part; but, in spite of his overwhelming power, Zelma found herself
watching the Lady Anne of the night with a strange, fascinated interest.
This part, of too secondary and negative a character for the display of
high dramatic powers, even in an actress who should be perfect mistress
of herself, was borne by a young and beautiful woman, new to the London
stage, though of some provincial reputation, who on this occasion was
distressingly nervous and ill-assured. She had to contend not only with
stage-fright, but Garrick-fright. "She met Roscius in all his terrors,"
and shrank from the encounter. The fierce lightnings of his dreadful
eyes seemed to shrivel and paralyze her; even his demoniac cunning and
persuasiveness filled her with mortal fear. Her voice shook with a
pathetic tremor, became hoarse and almost inaudible; her eyes sank, or
wandered wildly; her brow was bathed with the sweat of a secret agony;
she might have given way utterly under the paralyzing spell, had not
some sudden inspiration of genius or love, a prophetic thrill of power,
or a memory of her unwearied babe, come to nerve, to upbear her. She
roused, and went through her part with some flickering flashes of
spirit, and through all her painful embarrassment was stately and
graceful by the regal necessity of her beauty. The event was not
success,--was but a shade better than utter failure; and when, soon
after, that beautiful woman dropped out of London dramatic life, few
were they who missed her enough to ask whither she had gone.

But Zelma, whose sad, searching eyes saw deeper than the eyes of
critics, recognized from the first her grand, long-sought ideal in the
fair unknown, whose name had appeared on the play-bills in small,
deprecating type, under the overwhelming capitals of "MR.
GARRICK"--"_Mrs. Siddons_." She looked upon that frightened and fragile
woman with prophetic reverence and noble admiration: and as she walked
her lonely chamber that night, she said to herself, somewhat sadly, but
not bitterly,--"The true light of the English drama has arisen at last.
'Out, out, brief candle!'"

       *       *       *       *       *

Season after season, year after year, Zelma continued to play in London,
but never again with the fame, the homage, the flatteries and triumphs
of a great actress. All these she saw at last accorded to her noble
rival. Mrs. Bury had shone very acceptably in a doubtful dramatic
period,--first as an inspired, impassioned enthusiast, and after as a
conscientious artist, subdued and saddened, yet always careful and
earnest; but, like many another lesser light, she was destined to be
lost sight of in the long, splendid day of the Kembles.

Yet once again the spirit of unrest, the nomadic instinct, came back
upon Zelma Bury,--haunted her heart and stirred in her blood till she
could resist no longer, but, joining a company for a provincial tour,
left London.

The health of the actress had been long declining, under the almost
unsuspected attacks of a slow, insidious disease. She was more weak and
ill than she would confess, even to herself; she wanted change, she
said, only change. She never dreamed of rest. Week after week she
travelled,--never tarrying long enough In one place to weary of it,--the
peaceful sights and sounds of rural life tranquillizing and refreshing
her soul, as the clear expanse of its sky, the green of its woods and
parks, the daisied swell of its downs refreshed and soothed her eye,
tired of striking forever against dull brick walls and struggling with
smoke and fog.

Then May came round,--the haunted month of all the year for her. The
hawthorn-hedges burst into flower,--the high-ways and by-paths and lanes
became Milky Ways of bloom, and all England was once more veined with

They were in the North, when one morning Zelma was startled by hearing
the manager say that the next night they should play at Walton. It was
there that Lawrence Bury died; it was there he slept, in the stranger's
unvisited grave. She would seek out that grave and sink on it, as on the
breast of one beloved, though long estranged. It would cool the dull,
ceaseless fever of her heart to press it against the cold mound, and to
whisper into the rank grass her faithful remembrance, her forgiveness,
her unconquerable love.

But it was late when the players reached Walton; and, after the
necessary arrangements for the evening were concluded, Zelma found that
she had no time for a pilgrimage to the parish churchyard. She could see
it from a window of her lodgings;--it was high-walled, dark and damp,
crowded with quaint, mossy tomb-stones, and brooded over by immemorial
yews. In the deepening, misty twilight, there was something awful in the
spot. It was easy to fancy unquiet spectres lurking in its gloomy
shadows, waiting for the night Yet Zelma's heart yearned toward it, and
she murmured softly, as she turned away, "Wait for me, love!"

The play, on this night, was "The Fair Penitent." In the character of
Calista Mrs. Bury had always been accounted great, though it was
distasteful to her. Indeed, for the entire play she expressed only
contempt and aversion; yet she played her part in it faithfully and
carefully, as she performed all professional tasks.

In reading this tragedy now, one is at a loss to understand how such
trash could have been tolerated at the very time of the revival of a
pure dramatic literature,--how such an unsavored broth of sentiment,
such a meagre hash of heroics, could have been relished, even when
served by Kembles, after the rich, varied, Olympian banquets of

The argument is briefly this:--

Calista, daughter of Sciolto, is betrothed to Altamount, a young lord,
favored by Sciolto. Altamount has a friend, Horatio, and an enemy,
Lothario, secretly the lover and seducer of Calista, whose dishonor is
discovered by Horatio, shortly after her marriage with Altamount, to
whom he reveals it. Calista denies the charge, with fierce indignation
and scorn; and the young husband believes her and discredits his friend.
But the fourth act brings the guilt of Calista and the villany of
Lothario fully to light. Lothario is killed by the injured husband,
Sciolto goes mad with shame and rage, and Calista falls into a state of
despair and penitence.

The fifth act opens with Sciolto's elaborate preparations for vengeance
on his daughter. The stage directions for this scene are,--

    ["A room hung with black: on one side Lothario's
        body on a bier; on the other a table,
        with a skull and other bones, a book, and a
        lamp on it. Calista is discovered on a couch,
        in black, her hair hanging loose and disordered.
        After soft music, she rises and comes

She takes the book from the table, but, finding it the pious prosing of
some "lazy, dull, luxurious gownsman," flings it aside. She examines the
cross-bones curiously, lays her hand on the skull, soliloquizing upon
mortality, somewhat in the strain of Hamlet; then peers into the coffin
of Lothario, beholds his pale visage, "grim with clotted blood," and the
stern, unwinking stare of his dead eyes. Sciolto enters and bids her
prepare to die; but while she stands meek and unresisting before him,
his heart fails him; he rushes out, and is shortly after killed by
Lothario's faction. Calista then dies by her own hand, leaving Altamount
desperate and despairing.

Poor Calista is neither a lovely nor a lofty character; but there is
something almost grand in her fierce pride, in her defiant _hauteur_, in
her mighty struggle with shame. Mrs. Siddons made the part terribly
impressive. Mrs. Bury softened it somewhat, giving it a womanly dignity
and pathos that would seem foreign and almost impossible to the

       *       *       *       *       *

When Zelma entered her dressing-room, on that first night at Walton, she
found on her table a small spray of hawthorn-blossoms.

"How came these flowers here?" she asked, in a hurried, startled tone.

"I placed them there," replied her little maid, Susan, half-frightened
by the strange agitation of her mistress. "I plucked the sprig in our
landlady's garden; for I remembered that you loved hawthorn-blossoms,
and used often to buy them in Covent-Garden Market."

"Ah, yes; thank you, Susan. I do indeed love them, and I will wear them

As she said this, she placed the flowers in her bosom,--but, the little
maid noticed, not as an ornament, but quite out of sight, where her
close bodice would crush them against her heart.

During the first acts of the play, Zelma was languid, absent, and more
unequal than usual. A strange sense of evil, a vague foreboding, haunted
her. It was in vain that she said to herself, "What have I, a lonely,
disappointed woman, loveless and joyless, to fear of misfortune
more,--since death itself were welcome as change, and doubly welcome as
rest?" The nameless fear still clung to her, sending cold thrills along
her veins, fiercely grasping and holding her palpitating heart.

When, in the last act, reclining on her sombre couch, she waited through
the playing of the "soft music," there came to her a little season of
respite and calm. Tender thoughts, and sweet, wild fancies of other days
revisited her. The wilted hawthorn-blossoms in her bosom seemed to
revive and to pour forth volumes of fragrance, which enveloped her like
an atmosphere; and as she rose and advanced slowly toward the
foot-lights, winking dimly like funeral lamps amid the gloom of the
scene, it strangely seemed to her that she was going down the long,
sweet lane of Burleigh Grange. The magic of that perfume, and something
of kindred sweetness in the sad, wailing music, brought old times and
scenes before her with preternatural distinctness. Then she became
conscious of a _something_ making still darker and deeper the gloomy
shadows cast by the black hangings of the scene,--a presence, not
palpable or visible to the senses, but terribly real to the finer
perceptions of the spirit,--a presence unearthly, yet familiar and
commanding, persistent, resistless, unappeasable,--moving as she moved,
pausing as she paused, clutching at her hands, and searching after her
eyes. The air about her seemed heavy with a brooding horror which sought
to resolve itself into shape,--the dread mystery of life in death
waiting to be revealed. Her own soul seemed groping and beating against
the veil which hides the unseen; she gasped, she trembled, and great
drops, like the distillation of the last mortal anguish, burst from her

She was roused by a murmur of applause from the audience. She was acting
so well! Nerving herself by an almost superhuman effort, her
phantom-haunted soul standing at bay, she approached the table, and
began, in a voice but slightly broken, the reading of her melancholy
soliloquy. But, as she laid her hand on the skull, she gave a wild start
of horror,--not at the touch of the cold, smooth bone, nor at the blank,
black stare of the eyeless sockets, but at finding beneath her hand a
mass of soft, curling hair, damp, as with night-dew!--at beholding eyes
with "speculation" in them,--ay, with human passions, luminous and
full,--eyes that now yearned with love, now burned with hate,--ah, God!
the eyes of Lawrence Bury!

With a shrill, frenzied shriek, Zelma sprang back and stood for a moment
shuddering and crouching in a mute agony of fear. Then she burst into
wild cries of grief and passionate entreaty, stretching her tremulous
hands into the void air, in piteous imploring.

"She has gone mad! Take her away!" shouted the excited audience; but
before any one could reach her, she had fallen on the stage in strong

The actors raised her and bore her out; and as they did so, a little
stream of blood was seen to bubble from her lips. A medical man, who
happened to be present, having proffered his services, was hurried
behind the scenes to where the sufferer lay, on a rude couch in the
green-room, surrounded by the frightened players, and wept over by her
faithful little maid.

The audience lingered awhile within sound of the fitful, frenzied cries
of the dying actress, and then dispersed in dismay and confusion.

Zelma remained for some hours convulsed and delirious; but toward
morning she sank into a deep, swoon-like sleep of utter exhaustion. She
awoke from this, quite sane and calm, but marble-white and cold,--the
work of death all done, it seemed, save the dashing out of the sad, wild
light yet burning in her sunken eyes. But the bright red blood no longer
oozed from her lips, and they told her she was better. She gave no heed
to the assurance, but, somewhat in her old, quick, decisive way, called
for the manager. Scarcely had he reached her side, when she began to
question him eagerly, though in hoarse, failing tones, in regard to the
skull used in the play of the preceding night. The manager had procured
it of the sexton, he said, and knew nothing more of it.

She sent for the sexton. He came,--a man "of the earth, earthy,"--a man
with a grave-ward stoop and a strange uneven gait, caught in forty
years' stumbling over mounds. A smell of turf and mould, an odor of
mortality, went before him.

He approached the couch of the actress, and looked down upon her with a
curious, professional look, as though he were peering into a face newly
coffined or freshly exhumed; but when Zelma fixed her live eyes upon
him, angry and threatening, and asked, in abrupt, yet solemn tones,
"Whose was that skull you brought for me last night?" he fell back with
an exclamation of surprise and terror. As soon as he could collect
himself sufficiently, he replied, that, to the best of his knowledge,
the skull had belonged to a poor play-actor, who had died in the parish
some sixteen or, it might be, eighteen years before; and compelled by
the merciless inquisition of those eyes, fixed and stern, though
dilating with horror, he added, that, if his memory served him well, the
player's name was _Bury_.

A strong shudder shivered through the poor woman's frame at this
confirmation of the awful revealment of the previous night; but she
replied calmly, though with added sternness,--"He was my husband. How
dared you disturb his bones? Are you a ghoul, that you burrow among
graves and steal from the dead?"

The poor man eagerly denied being anything so inhuman. The skull had
rolled into a grave he had been digging by the side of the almost
forgotten grave of the poor player; and, as the manager had bespoken one
for the play, he had thought it no harm to furnish him this. But he
would put it back carefully into its place that very day.

"See that you do it, man, if you value the repose of your own soul!"
said Zelma, with an awful impressiveness, raising herself on one elbow
and looking him out of the room.

When he was gone, she sunk back and murmured, partly to herself, partly
to her little maid, who wept through all, the more that she did not
understand,--"I knew it was so; it was needless to ask. Well, 'tis well;
he will forgive me, now that I come when he calls me, accomplishing to
the utmost my vow. He will make peace with me, when I take my old place
at his side,--when my head shall lie as low as his,--when he sees that
all the laurels have dropped away,--when he sees the sorrow shining
through the dark of my hair in rifts of silver."

After a little time she grew restless, and would return to her lodgings.

As the doctor and her attendant were about placing her in a sedan-chair
to bear her away, a strange desire seized her to behold the theatre and
tread the boards once more. They conducted her to the centre of the
stage, and seated her on the black couch of Calista. There they left her
quite alone for a while, and stood back where they could observe without
disturbing her. They saw her gaze about her dreamily and mournfully;
then she seemed to be recalling and reciting some favorite part. To
their surprise, the tones of her voice were clear and resonant once
more; and when she had ceased speaking, she rose and walked toward them,
slowly, but firmly, turning once or twice to bow proudly and solemnly to
an invisible audience. Just before she reached them, she suddenly
pressed her hand on her heart, and the next instant felt forward into
the arms of her maid. The young girl could not support the weight--the
_dead_ weight, and sank with it to the floor. Zelma had made her last



So you are already mending, my dear fellow? Can it be that my modest
epistle has done so much service? Are you like those invalids in Central
Africa, who, when the medicine itself is not accessible, straightway
swallow the written prescription as a substitute, inwardly digest it,
and recover? No,--I think you have tested the actual _materia medica_
recommended. I hear of you from all directions, walking up hills in the
mornings and down hills in the afternoons, skimming round in wherries
like a rather unsteady water-spider, blistering your hands upon
gymnastic bars, receiving severe contusions on your nose from
cricket-balls, shaking up and down on hard-trotting horses, and making
the most startling innovations in respect to eating, sleeping, and
bathing. Like all our countrymen, you are plunging from one extreme to
the other. Undoubtedly, you will soon make yourself sick again; but your
present extreme is the safer of the two. Time works many miracles; it
has made Louis Napoleon espouse the cause of liberty, and it may yet
make you reasonable.

After all, that advice of mine, which is thought to have benefited you
so greatly, was simply that which Dr. Abernethy used to give his
patients: "Don't come to me,--go buy a skipping-rope." If you can only
guard against excesses, and keep the skipping-rope in operation, there
are yet hopes for you. Only remember that it is equally important to
preserve health as to attain it, and it needs much the same regimen. Do
not be like that Lord Russell in Spence's Anecdotes, who only went
hunting for the sake of an appetite, and who, the moment he felt any
sensation of vitality in the epigastrium, used to turn short round,
exclaiming, "I have found it!" and ride home from the finest chase. It
was the same Lord Russell, by the way, who, when he met a beggar and was
implored to give him something, because he was almost famished with
hunger, called him a happy dog, and envied him too much to relieve him.
From some recent remarks of your boarding-house hostess, my friend, I am
led to suppose that you are now almost as well off, in point of
appetite, as if you were a beggar; and I wish to keep you so.

How much the spirits rise with health! A family of children is a very
different sight to a healthy man and to a dyspeptic. What pleasure you
now take in yours! You are going to live more in their manner and for
their sakes, henceforward, you tell me. You are to enter upon business
again, but in a more moderate way; you are to live in a pleasant little
suburban cottage, with fresh air, a horse-railroad, and good schools.
For I am startled to find that your interest In your offspring, like
that of most American parents, culminates in the school-room. This
important matter you have neglected long enough, you think, foolishly
absorbed in making money for them. Now they shall have money enough, to
be sure, but wisdom in plenty. Angelina shall walk in silk attire, and
knowledge have to spare. To which school shall you send her? you ask me,
with something of the old careworn expression, pulling six different
prospectuses from your pocket. Put them away, Dolorosus; I know the
needs of Angelina, and I can answer instantly. Send the girl, for the
present at least, to that school whose daily hours of session are the
shortest, and whose recess-times and vacations are of the most
formidable length.

No, anxious parent, I am not joking. I am more anxious for your children
than you are. On the faith of an ex-teacher and ex-school-committee-
man,--for what respectable middle-aged American man but has passed
through both these spheres of uncomfortable usefulness?--I am terribly
in earnest. Upon this point asserted,--that the merit of an American
school, at least so far as Angelina is concerned, is in inverse ratio to
the time given to study,--I will lay down incontrovertible propositions.

Sir Walter Scott, according to Carlyle, was the only perfectly healthy
literary man who ever lived,--in fact, the one suitable text, he says,
for a sermon on health. You may wonder, Dolorosus, what Sir Walter Scott
has to do with Angelina, except to supply her with novel-reading, and
with passages for impassioned recitation, at the twilight hour, from the
"Lady of the Lake." But that same Scott has left one remark on record
which may yet save the lives and reasons of greater men than himself,
more gifted women (if that were possible) than Angelina, if we can only
accept it with the deference to which that same healthiness of his
entitles it. He gave it as his deliberate opinion, in conversation with
Basil Hall, that five and a half hours form the limit of healthful
mental labor for a mature person. "This I reckon very good work for a
man," he said,--adding, "I can very seldom reach six hours a day; and I
reckon that what is written after five or six hours' hard mental labor
is not good for much." This he said in the fulness of his magnificent
strength, and when he was producing, with astounding rapidity, those
pages of delight over which every new generation still hangs enchanted.

He did not mean, of course, that this was the maximum of possible mental
labor, but only of wise and desirable labor. In later life, driven by
terrible pecuniary involvements, he himself worked far more than this.
Southey, his contemporary, worked far more,--writing, in 1814, "I cannot
get through more than at present, unless I give up sleep, or the little
exercise I take (walking a mile and back, after breakfast); and, that
hour excepted, and my meals, (barely the meals, for I remain not one
minute after them,) the pen or the book is always in my hand." Our own
time and country afford a yet more astonishing instance. Theodore
Parker, to my certain knowledge, has often spent in his study from
twelve to seventeen hours daily, for weeks together. But the result in
all these cases has sadly proved the supremacy of the laws which were
defied; and the nobler the victim, the more tremendous the warning

Let us return, then, from the practice of Scott's ruined days to the
principles of his sound ones. Supposing his estimate to be correct, and
five and a half hours to be a reasonable limit for the day's work of a
mature brain, it is evident that even this must be altogether too much
for an immature one. "To suppose the youthful brain," says the recent
admirable report by Dr. Ray, of the Providence Insane Hospital, "to be
capable of an amount of work which is considered an ample allowance to
an adult brain is simply absurd, and the attempt to carry this fully
into effect must necessarily be dangerous to the health and efficacy of
the organ." It would be wrong, therefore, to deduct less than a
half-hour from Scott's estimate, for even the oldest pupils in our
highest schools; leaving five hours as the limit of real mental effort
for them, and reducing this, for all younger pupils, very much farther.

It is vain to suggest, at this point, that the application of Scott's
estimate is not fair, because the mental labor of our schools is
different in quality from his, and therefore less exhausting. It differs
only in being more exhausting. To the robust and affluent mind of the
novelist, composition was not, of itself, exceedingly fatiguing; we know
this from his own testimony; he was able, moreover, to select his own
subject, keep his own hours, and arrange all his own conditions of
labor. And on the other hand, when we consider what energy and genius
have for years been brought to bear upon the perfecting of our
educational methods,--how thoroughly our best schools are now graded
and systematized, until each day's lessons become a Procrustes-bed to
which all must fit themselves,--how stimulating the apparatus of prizes
and applauses, how crushing the penalties of reproof and
degradation,--when we reflect, that it is the ideal of every school,
that the whole faculties of every scholar should be concentrated upon
every lesson and every recitation from beginning to end, and that
anything short of this is considered partial failure,--it is not
exaggeration to say, that the daily tension of brain demanded of
children in our best schools is altogether severer, while it lasts, than
that upon which Scott based his estimate. But Scott is not the only
authority in the case; let us ask the physiologists.

So said Horace Mann, before us, in the days when the Massachusetts
school system was in process of formation. He asked the physiologists,
in 1840, and in his next Report printed the answers of three of the most
eminent. The late Dr. Woodward, of Worcester, promptly said, that
children under eight should never be confined more than one hour at a
time, nor more than four hours a day; and that, if any child showed
alarming symptoms of precocity, it should be taken from school
altogether. Dr. James Jackson, of Boston, allowed the children four
hours' schooling in winter and five in summer, but only one hour at a
time, and heartily expressed his "detestation of the practice of giving
young children lessons to learn at home." Dr. S. G. Howe, reasoning
elaborately on the whole subject, said, that children under eight should
not be confined more than half an hour at a time,--"by following which
rule, with long recesses, they can study four hours daily"; children
between eight and fourteen should not be confined more than
three-quarters of an hour at a time, having the last quarter of each
hour for exercise in the playground,--and he allowed six hours of school
in winter, or seven in summer, solely on condition of this deduction of
twenty-five per cent, for recesses.

Indeed, the one thing about which doctors do _not_ disagree is the
destructive effect of premature or excessive mental labor. I can quote
you medical authority for and against every maxim of dietetics beyond
the very simplest; but I defy you to find one man who ever begged,
borrowed, or stole the title of M.D., and yet abused those two honorary
letters by asserting, under their cover, that a child could safely study
as much as a man, or that a man could safely study more than six hours a
day. Most of the intelligent men in the profession would probably admit,
with Scott, that even that is too large an allowance in maturity for
vigorous work of the brain.

Taking, then, five hours as the reasonable daily limit of mental effort
for children of eight to fourteen years, and one hour as the longest
time of continuous confinement, (it was a standing rule of the Jesuits,
by the way, that no pupil should study more than two hours without
relaxation,) the important question now recurs, To what school shall we
send Angelina?

Shall we send her, for instance, to Dothegirls' Hall? At that seminary
of useful knowledge, I find by careful inquiry that the daily
performance is as follows, at least in summer. The pupils rise at or
before five, A.M.; at any rate, they study from five to seven, two
hours. From seven to eight they breakfast. From eight to two they are in
the schoolroom, six consecutive hours. From two to three they dine. From
three to five they are "allowed" to walk or take other exercise,--that
is, if it is pleasant weather, and if they feel the spirit for it, and
if the time is not all used up in sewing, writing letters, school
politics, and all the small miscellaneous duties of existence, for which
no other moment is provided during day or night. From five to six they
study; from six to seven comes the tea-table; from seven to nine study
again; then bed and (at least for the stupid ones) sleep.

Eleven solid hours of study each day, Dolorosus! Eight for sleep, three
for meals, two during which out-door exercise is "allowed." There is no
mistake about this statement; I wish there were. I have not imagined it;
who could have done so, short of Milton and Dante, who were versed in
the exploration of kindred regions of torment? But as I cannot expect
the general public to believe the statement, even if you do,--and as
this letter, like my previous one, may accidentally find its way into
print,--and as I cannot refer to those who have personally attended the
school, since they probably die off too fast to be summoned as
witnesses,--I will come down to a rather milder statement, and see if
you will believe that.

Shall we send her, then, to the famous New York school of Mrs.
Destructive? This is recently noticed as follows in the "Household
Journal":--"Of this most admirable school, for faithful and well-bred
system of education, we have long intended to speak approvingly; but in
the following extract from the circular the truth is more expressively
given:--'From September to April the time of rising is a quarter before
seven o'clock, and from April to July half an hour earlier; then
breakfast; after which, from eight to nine o'clock, study,--the school
opening at nine o'clock, with reading the Scriptures and prayer. From
nine until half past twelve, the recitations succeed one another, with
occasional short intervals of rest. From half past twelve to one,
recreation and lunch. From one to three o'clock, at which hour the
school closes, the studies are exclusively in the French language....
From three to four o'clock in the winter, but later in the summer,
exercise in the open air. There are also opportunities for exercise
several times in the day, at short intervals, which cannot easily be
explained. From a quarter past four to five o'clock, study; then dinner,
and soon after, tea. From seven to nine, two hours of study; immediately
after which all retire for the night, and lights in the sleeping
apartments must be extinguished at half past nine.'" You have summed up
the total already, Dolorosus; I see it on your lips;--nine--hours--
and--a quarter of study, and one solitary hour for exercise, not
counting those inexplicable "short intervals which cannot easily be

You will be pleased to hear that I have had an opportunity of witnessing
the brilliant results of Mrs. Destructive's system, in the case of my
charming little neighbor, Fanny Carroll. She has lately returned from a
stay of one year under that fashionable roof. In most respects, I was
assured, the results of the school were all that could be desired; the
mother informed me, with delight, that the child now spoke French like
an angel from Paris, and handled her silver fork like a seraph from the
skies. You may well suppose that I hastened to call upon her; for the
gay little creature was always a great pet of mine, and I always quoted
her with delight, as a proof that bloom and strength were not
monopolized by English girls. In the parlor I found the mother closeted
with the family physician. Soon, Fanny, aged sixteen, glided in,--a pale
spectre, exquisite in costume, unexceptionable in manners, looking in
all respects like an exceedingly used-up belle of five-and-twenty. "What
were you just saying that some of my Fanny's symptoms were, Doctor?"
asked the languid mother, as if longing for a second taste of some
dainty morsel. The courteous physician dropped them into her eager palm,
like sugar-plums, one by one: "Vertigo, headache, neuralgic pains, and
general debility." The mother sighed once genteelly at me, and then
again, quite sincerely, to herself;--but I never yet saw an habitual
invalid who did not seem to take a secret satisfaction in finding her
child to be a chip of the old block, though block and chip were both
wofully decayed. However, nothing is now said of Miss Carroll's
returning to school; and the other day I actually saw her dashing
through the lane on the family pony, with a tinge of the old brightness
in her cheeks. I ventured to inquire of her, soon after, if she had
finished her education; and she replied, with a slight tinge of satire,
that she studied regularly every day, at various "short intervals,
which could not easily be explained."

Five hours a day the safe limit for study, Dolorosus, and these terrible
schools quietly put into their programmes nine, ten, eleven hours; and
the deluded parents think they have out-manoeuvred the laws of Nature,
and made a better bargain with Time. But these are private, exclusive
schools, you may say, for especially favored children. We cannot afford
to have most of the rising generation murdered so expensively; and in
our public schools, at least, one thinks there may be some relaxation of
this tremendous strain. Besides, physiological reformers had the making
of our public system. "A man without high health," said Horace Mann, "is
as much at war with Nature as a guilty soul is at war with the spirit of
God." Look first at our Normal Schools, therefore, and see how finely
their theory, also, presents this same lofty view.

"Those who have had much to do with students, especially with the female
portion," said a Normal School Report a few years since, "well know the
sort of martyr-spirit that extensively prevails,--how ready they often
are to sacrifice everything for the sake of a good lesson,--how false
are their notions of true economy in mental labor, ... sacrificing their
physical natures most unscrupulously to their intellectual. Indeed, so
strong had this passion for abuse become [in this institution], that no
study of the laws of the physical organization, no warning, no painful
experiences of their own or of their associates, were sufficient to
overcome their readiness for self-sacrifice." And it appears, that, in
consequence of this state of things, circulars were sent to all
boarding-houses in the village, laying down stringent rules to prevent
the young ladies from exceeding the prescribed amount of study.

Now turn from theory to practice. What was this "prescribed amount of
study" which these desperate young females persisted in exceeding in
this model school? It began with an hour's study before daylight (in
winter),--a thing most dangerous to eyesight, as multitudes have found
to their cost. Then from eight to half past two, from four to half past
five, from seven to nine,--with one or two slight recesses. Ten hours
and three quarters daily, Dolorosus! as surely as you are a living
sinner, and as surely as the Board of Education who framed that
programme were sinners likewise. I believe that some Normal Schools have
learned more moderation now; but I know also what forlorn wrecks of
womanhood have been strewed along their melancholy history, thus far;
and at what incalculable cost their successes have been purchased.

But it is premature to contemplate this form of martyrdom, for Angelina,
who has to run the gantlet of our common schools and high schools first.
Let us consider her prospects in these, carrying with us that blessed
maxim, five hours' study a day,--"Nature loves the number five," as
Emerson judiciously remarks,--for our aegis against the wiles of

The year 1854 is memorable for a bomb-shell then thrown into the midst
of the triumphant school-system of Boston, in the form of a solemn
protest by the city physician against the ruinous manner in which the
children were overworked. Fact, feeling, and physiology were brought to
bear, with much tact and energy, and the one special point of assault
was the practice of imposing out-of-school studies, beyond the habitual
six hours of session. A committee of inquiry was appointed. They
interrogated the grammar-school teachers. The innocent and unsuspecting
teachers were amazed at the suggestion of any excess. Most of them
promptly replied, in writing, that "they had never heard of any
complaints on this subject from parents or guardians"; that "most of the
masters were watchful upon the matter"; that "none of them _pressed_
out-of-school studies"; while "the general opinion appeared to be, that
a moderate amount of out-of-school study was both necessary for the
prescribed course of study and wholesome in its influence on character
and habits." They suggested that "commonly the ill health that might
exist arose from other causes than excessive study"; one attributed it
to the use of confectionery, another to fashionable parties, another to
the practice of "chewing pitch,"--anything, everything, rather than
admit that American children of fourteen could possibly be damaged by
working only two hours day _more_ than Walter Scott.

However, the committee thought differently. At any rate, they fancied
that they had more immediate control over the school-hours than they
could exercise over the propensity of young girls for confectionery, or
over the improprieties of small boys who, yet immature for tobacco,
touched pitch and were defiled. So by their influence was passed that
immortal Section 7 of Chapter V. of the School Regulations,--the Magna
Charta of childish liberty, so far as it goes, and the only safeguard
which renders it prudent to rear a family within the limits of Boston:--

"In assigning lessons to boys to be studied out of school-hours, the
instructors shall not assign a longer lesson than a boy of good capacity
can acquire by an hour's study; but no out-of-school lessons shall be
assigned to girls, nor shall the lessons to be studied in school be so
long as to require a scholar of ordinary capacity to study out of school
in order to learn them."

It appears that since that epoch this rule has "generally" been
observed, "though many of the teachers would prefer a different
practice." "The rule is regarded by some as an uncomfortable
restriction, which without, adequate reason (!) retards the progress of
pupils." "A majority of our teachers would consider the permission to
assign lessons for study at home to be a decided advantage and
privilege." So say the later reports of the committee.

Fortunately for Angelina and the junior members of the house of
Dolorosus, you are not now directly dependent upon Boston regulations. I
mention them only because they represent a contest which is inevitable
in every large town in the United States where the public-school system
is sufficiently perfected to be dangerous. It is simply the question,
whether children can bear more brain-work than men can. Physiology,
speaking through my humble voice, (the personification may remind you of
the days when men began poems with "Inoculation, heavenly maid!")
shrieks loudly for five hours as the utmost limit, and four hours as far
more reasonable than six. But even the comparatively moderate "friends
of education" still claim the contrary. Mr. Bishop, the worthy
Superintendent of Schools in Boston, says, (Report, 1855,) "The time
daily allotted to studies may very properly be extended to seven hours a
day for young persons over fifteen years of age"; and the Secretary of
the Massachusetts Board of Education, in his recent volume, seems to
think it a great concession to limit the period for younger pupils to

And we must not forget, that, frame regulations as we may, the tendency
will always be to overrun them. In the report of the Boston
sub-committee to which I have referred, it was expressly admitted that
the restrictions recommended "would not alone remedy the evil, or do
much toward it; there would still be much, and with the ambitious too
much, studying out of school." They ascribed the real difficulty "to the
general arrangements of our schools, and to the strong pressure from
various causes urging the pupils to intense application and the masters
to encourage it," and said that this "could only be met by some general
changes introduced by general legislation." Some few of the masters had
previously admitted the same thing: "The pressure from without, the
expectations of the committee, the wishes of the parents, the ambition
of the pupils, and an exacting public sentiment, do tend to stimulate
many to excessive application, both in and out of school."

This admits the same fact, in a different form. If these children have
half their vitality taken out of them for life by premature and
excessive brain-work, it makes no difference whether it is done in the
form of direct taxation or of indirect,--whether they are compelled to
it by authority or allured into it by excitement and emulation. If a
horse breaks a blood-vessel by running too hard, it is no matter whether
he was goaded by whip and spur, or ingeniously coaxed by the Hibernian
method of a lock of hay tied six inches before his nose. The method is
nothing,--it is the pace which kills. Probably the fact is, that for
every extra hour directly required by the teacher, another is indirectly
extorted in addition by the general stimulus of the school. The best
scholars put on the added hour, because they are the best,--and the
inferior scholars, because they are not the best. In either case the
excess is destructive in its tendency, and the only refuge for
individuals is to be found in a combination of fortunate dulness with
happy indifference to shame. But is it desirable, my friend, to
construct our school-system on such a basis that safety and health shall
be monopolized by the stupid and the shameless?

Is this magnificent system of public instruction, the glory of the
world, to turn out merely a vast machine for grinding down Young
America, just as the system of middle-men, similarly organized, has
ground down the Irish peasantry? Look at it! as now arranged, committees
are responsible to the public, teachers to committees, pupils to
teachers,--all pledged to extract a maximum crop from childish brains.
Each is responsible to the authority next above him for a certain
amount, and must get it out of the victim next below him. Constant
improvements in machinery perfect and expedite the work; improved gauges
and metres (in the form of examinations) compute the comparative yield
to a nicety, and allow no evasion. The child cannot spare an hour, for
he must keep up with the other children; the teacher dares not relax,
for he must keep up with the other schools; the committees must only
stimulate, not check, for the eyes of the editors are upon them, and the
municipal glory is at stake: every one of these, from highest to lowest,
has his appointed place in the tread-mill and must keep step with the
rest; and only once a year, at the summer vacation, the vast machine
stops, and the poor remains of childish brain and body are taken out and
handed to anxious parents (like you, Dolorosus):--"Here, most worthy
tax-payer, is the dilapidated residue of your beloved Angelina; take her
to the sea-shore for a few weeks, and make the most of her."

Do not you know that foreigners, coming from the contemplation of races
less precociously intellectual, see the danger we are in, if we do not?
I was struck by the sudden disappointment of an enthusiastic English
teacher, (Mr. Calthrop,) who visited the New York schools the other day
and got a little behind the scenes. "If I wanted a stranger to believe
that the Millennium was not far off," he said, "I would take him to some
of those grand ward-schools in New York, where able heads are trained by
the thousand. I spent four or five days in doing little else than going
through these truly wonderful schools. I staid more than three hours in
one of them, wondering at all I saw, admiring the stately order, the
unbroken discipline of the whole arrangements, and the wonderful
quickness and intelligence of the scholars. That same evening I went to
see a friend, whose daughter, a child of thirteen, was at one of these
schools. I examined her, and found that the little girl could hold her
own with many of larger growth. 'Did she go to school to-day?' asked I.
'No,' was the answer, 'she has not been for some time, as she was
beginning to get quite a serious curvature of the spine; so now she goes
regularly to a gymnastic doctor!'"

I am sure that we have all had the same experience. How exciting it was,
last year, to be sure, to see Angelina at the grammar-school
examination, multiplying mentally 351,426 by 236,145, and announcing the
result in two minutes and thirteen seconds as 82,987,492,770! I
remember how you stood trembling as she staggered under the monstrous
load, and how your cheek hung out the red flag of parental exultation
when she can out safe. But when I looked at her colorless visage, sharp
features, and shiny consumptive skin, I groaned inwardly. It seemed as
if that crop of figures, like the innumerable florets of the whiteweed,
now overspreading your paternal farm, were exhausting the last vitality
from a shallow soil. What a pity it is that the Deity gave to these
children of ours bodies as well as brains! How it interferes with
thorough instruction in the languages and the sciences! You remember the
negro-trader in "Uncle Tom," who sighs for a lot of negroes specially
constructed for his convenience, with the souls left out? Could not some
of our school-committees take measures to secure the companion set,
possessing merely the brains, and with the troublesome bodies
conveniently omitted?

The truth is, that we Americans, having overcome all other obstacles to
universal education of the people, have thought to overcome even the
limitations imposed by the laws of Nature; and so we were going
triumphantly on, when the ruined health of our children suddenly brought
us to a stand. Now we suddenly discover, that, in the absence of
Inquisitions, and other unpleasant Old-World tortures, our school-houses
have taken their place. We have outgrown war, we think; and yet we have
not outgrown a form of contest which is undeniably more sanguinary,
since one-half the community actually die, under present arrangements,
before they are old enough to see a battle-field,--that is, before the
age of eighteen. It is an actual fact, that, if you can only keep
Angelina alive up to that birthday, even if she be an ignoramus, she
will at least have accomplished the feat of surviving half her
contemporaries. Can there be no Peace Society to check this terrific
carnage? Dolorosus, rather than have a child of mine die, as I have
recently heard of a child's dying, insane from sheer overwork, and
raving of algebra, I would have her come no nearer to the splendors of
science than the man in the French play, who brings away from school
only the general impression that two and two make five for a creditor
and three for a debtor.

De Quincey wrote a treatise on "Murder considered as one of the Fine
Arts," and it is certainly the fine art which receives most attention in
our schools. "So far as the body is concerned," said Horace Mann of
these institutions, "they provide for all the natural tendencies to
physical ease and inactivity as carefully as though paleness and
languor, muscular enervation and debility, were held to be constituent
elements in national beauty." With this denial of the body on one side,
with this tremendous stimulus of brain on the other, and with a delicate
and nervous national organization to begin with, the result is
inevitable. Boys hold out better than girls, partly because they are not
so docile in school, partly because they are allowed to be more active
out of it, and so have more recuperative power. But who has not seen
some delicate girl, after five consecutive hours spent over French and
Latin and Algebra, come home to swallow an indigestible dinner, and
straightway settle down again to spend literally every waking hour out
of the twenty-four in study, save those scanty meal-times,--protracting
the labor, it may be, far into the night, till the weary eyes close
unwillingly over the slate or the lexicon,--then to bed, to be vexed by
troubled dreams, instead of being wrapt in the sunny slumber of
childhood,--waking unrefreshed, to be reproached by parents and friends
with the nervous irritability which this detestable routine has created?

For I aver that parents are more exacting than even teachers. It is
outrageous to heap it all upon the pedagogues, as if they were the only
apostolical successors of him whom Charles Lamb lauded "the much
calumniated good King Herod." Indeed, teachers have no objection to
educating the bodies of their small subjects, if they can only be as
well paid for it as for educating their intellects. But, until recently,
they have never been allowed to put the bodies into the bill. And as
charity begins at home, even in a physiological sense,--and as their own
children's bodies required bread and butter,--they naturally postponed
all regard for the physical education of their pupils until the thing
acquired a marketable value. Now that the change is taking place, every
schoolmaster in the land gladly adapts himself to it, and hastens to
insert in his advertisement, "Especial attention given to physical
education." But what good does this do, so long as parents are not
willing that time enough should be deducted from the ordinary tasks to
make the athletic apparatus available,--so long as it is regarded as a
merit in pupils to take time from their plays and give it to extra
studies,--so long as we exult over an inactive and studious child, as
Dr. Beattie did over his, that "exploits of strength, dexterity, and
speed" "to him no vanity or joy could bring," and then almost die of
despair, like Dr. Beattie, because such a child dies before us? With
girls it is far worse. "Girls, during childhood, are liable to no
diseases distinct from those of boys," says Salzmann, "except the
disease of education." What mother in decent society, I ask you, who is
not delighted to have her little girl devote even Wednesday and Saturday
afternoons to additional tasks in drawing or music, rather than run the
risk of having her make a noise somewhere, or possibly even soil her
dress? Papa himself will far more readily appropriate ten dollars to
this additional confinement than five to the gymnasium or the
riding-school. And so, beset with snares on every hand, the poor little
well-educated thing can only pray the prayer recorded of a despairing
child, brought up in the best society,--that she might "die and go to
heaven and play with the Irish children on Saturday afternoons."

And the Sunday Schools coöperate with the week-day seminaries in the
pious work of destruction. Dolorosus, are all your small neighbors hard
at work in committing to memory Scripture texts for a wager,--I have an
impression, however, that they call it a prize,--consisting of one
Bible? In my circle of society the excitement runs high. At any
tea-drinking, you may hear the ladies discussing the comparative points
and prospects of their various little Ellens and Harriets, with shrill
eagerness; while their husbands, on the other side of the room, are
debating the merits of Ethan Allen and Flora Temple, the famous
trotting-horses, who are soon expected to try their speed on our
"Agricultural Ground." Each horse, and each girl, appears to have
enthusiastic backers, though the Sunday-School excitement has the
advantage of lasting longer. From inquiry, I find the state of the field
to be about as follows:--Fanny Hastings, who won the prize last year, is
not to be entered for it again; she damaged her memory by the process,
her teacher tells me, so that she can now scarcely fix the simplest
lesson in her mind. Carry Blake had got up to five thousand verses, but
had such terrible headaches that her mother compelled her to stop, some
weeks ago; the texts have all vanished from her brain, but the headache
unfortunately still lingers. Nelly Sanborn has reached six thousand,
although her anxious father long since tried to buy her off by offering
her a new Bible twice as handsome as the prize one: but what did she
care for that? she said; she had handsome Bibles already, but she had no
intention of being beaten by Ella Prentiss. Poor child, we see no chance
for her; for Ella has it all her own way; she has made up a score of
seven thousand one hundred texts, and it is only three days to the fatal
Sunday. Between ourselves, I think Nelly does her work more fairly; for
Ella has a marvellous ingenuity in picking out easy verses, like Jack
Horner's plums, and valuing every sacred sentence, not by its subject,
but by its shortness. Still, she is bound to win.

"How is her health this summer?" I asked her mother, the other day.

"Well, her verses weigh on her," said the good woman, solemnly.

And here I pledge you my word, Dolorosus, that to every one of these
statements I might append, as Miss Edgeworth does to every particularly
tough story,--"_N.B. This is a fact._" I will only add that our
Sunday-School Superintendent, who is a physician, told me that he had as
strong objections to the whole thing as I could have; but that it was no
use talking; all the other schools did it, and ours must; emulation was
the order of the day. "Besides," he added, with that sort of cheerful
hopelessness peculiar to his profession, "the boys are not trying for
the prize much, this year; and as for the girls, they would probably
lose their health very soon, at any rate, and may as well devote it to a
sacred cause."

Do not misunderstand me. The supposed object in this case is a good one,
just as the object in week-day schools is a good one,--to communicate
valuable knowledge and develop the powers of the mind. The defect in
policy, in both cases, appears to be, that it totally defeats its own
aim, renders the employments hateful that should be delightful, and
sacrifices the whole powers, so far as its influence goes, without any
equivalent. All excess defeats itself. As a grown man can work more in
ten hours than in fifteen, taking a series of days together, so a child
can make more substantial mental progress in five hours daily than in
ten. Your child's mind is not an earthen jar, to be filled by pouring
into it; it is a delicate plant, to be wisely and healthfully reared;
and your wife might as well attempt to enrich her mignonette-bed by
laying a Greek Lexicon upon it as try to cultivate that young nature by
a topdressing of Encyclopædias. I use the word on high authority.
"Courage, my boy!" wrote Lord Chatham to his son, "only the Encyclopædia
to learn!"--and the cruel diseases of a lifetime repaid Pitt for the
forcing. I do not object to the severest _quality_ of study for boys or
girls;--while their brains work, let them work in earnest. But I do
object to this immoderate and terrific _quantity_. Cut down every
school, public and private, to five hours' total work _per diem_ for the
oldest children, and four for the younger ones, and they will accomplish
more in the end than you ever saw them do in six or seven. Only give
little enough at a time, and some freshness to do it with, and you may,
if you like, send Angelina to any school, and put her through the whole
programme of the last educational prospectus sent to me,--"Philology,
Pantology, Orthology, Aristology, and Linguistics."

For what is the end to be desired? Is it to exhibit a prodigy, or to
rear a noble and symmetrical specimen of a human being? Because Socrates
taught that a boy who has learned to speak is not too small for the
sciences,--because Tiberius delivered his father's funeral oration at
the age of nine, and Marcus Aurelius put on the philosophic gown at
twelve, and Cicero wrote a treatise on the art of speaking at
thirteen,--because Lipsius is said to have composed a work the day he
was born, meaning, say the commentators, that he began a new life at the
age of ten,--because the learned Licetus, who was brought into the world
so feeble as to be baked up to maturity in an oven, sent forth from that
receptacle, like a loaf of bread, a treatise called
"Gonopsychanthropologia,"--is it, therefore, indispensably necessary,
Dolorosus, that all your pale little offspring shall imitate these?
Spare these innocents! it is not their fault that they are your
children,--so do not visit it upon them so severely. Turn, Angelina,
ever dear, and out of a little childish recreation we will yet extract a
great deal of maturer wisdom for you, if we can only bring this deluded
parent to his senses.

To change the sweet privilege of childhood into weary days and restless
nights,--to darken its pure associations, which for many are the sole
light that ever brings them back from sin and despair to the heaven of
their infancy,--to banish those reveries of innocent fancy which even
noisy boyhood knows, and which are the appointed guardians of its purity
before conscience wakes,--to abolish its moments of priceless idleness,
saturated with sunshine, blissful, aimless moments, when every angel is
near,--to bring insanity, once the terrible prerogative of maturer life,
down into the summer region of childhood, with blight and ruin;--all
this is the work of our folly, Dolorosus, of our miserable ambition to
have our unconscious little ones begin, in their very infancy, the race
of desperate ambition, which has, we admit, exhausted prematurely the
lives of their parents.

The worst danger of it is, that the moral is written at the end of the
fable, not the beginning. The organization in youth is so dangerously
elastic, that the result of these intellectual excesses is not seen
until years after. When some young girl incurs spinal disease for life
from some slight fall which she ought not to have felt for an hour, or
some businessman breaks down in the prime of his years from some
trifling over-anxiety which should have left no trace behind, the
popular verdict may be, "Mysterious Providence"; but the wiser observer
sees the retribution for the folly of those misspent days which
enfeebled the childish constitution, instead of ripening it. One of the
most admirable passages in the Report of Dr. Ray, already mentioned, is
that in which he explains, that, though hard study at school is rarely
the immediate cause of insanity, it is the most frequent of its ulterior
causes, except hereditary tendencies. "It diminishes the conservative
power of the animal economy to such a degree, that attacks of disease,
which otherwise would have passed off safely, destroy life almost before
danger is anticipated. Every intelligent physician understands, that,
other things being equal, the chances of recovery are far less in the
studious, highly intellectual child than in one of an opposite
description. The immediate mischief may have seemed slight, but the
brain is left in a condition of peculiar impressibility, which renders
it morbidly sensitive to every adverse influence."

Indeed, here is precisely the weakness of our whole national training
thus far,--brilliant immediate results, instead of wise delays. The life
of the average American is a very hasty breakfast, a magnificent
luncheon, a dyspeptic dinner, and no supper. Our masculine energy is
like our feminine beauty, bright and evanescent. As enthusiastic
travellers inform us that there are in every American village a dozen,
girls of sixteen who are prettier than any English hamlet of the same
size can produce, so the same village undoubtedly possesses a dozen very
young men who, tried by the same standard, are "smarter" than their
English peers. Come again fifteen years after, when the Englishmen and
Englishwomen are reported to be just in their prime, and, lo! those
lovely girls are sallow old women, and the boys are worn-out men,--with
fire left in them, it may be, but fuel gone,--retired from active
business, very likely, and just waiting for consumption to carry them
off, as one waits for the omnibus.

To say that this should be amended is to say little. Either it must be
amended, or the American race fails;--there is no middle ground. If we
fail, (which I do not expect, I assure you,) we fail disastrously. If we
succeed, if we bring up our vital and muscular developments into due
proportion with our nervous energy, we shall have a race of men and
women such as the world never saw. Dolorosus, when in the course of
human events you are next invited to give a Fourth-of-July Oration,
grasp at the opportunity, and take for your subject "Health." Tell your
audience, when you rise to the accustomed flowers of rhetoric as the day
wears on, that Health is the central luminary, of which all the stars
that spangle the proud flag of our common country are but satellites;
and close with a hint to the plumed emblem of our nation, (pointing to
the stuffed one which will probably be exhibited on the platform,) that
she should not henceforward confine her energies to the hatching of
short-lived eaglets, but endeavor rather to educate a few full-grown

As I take it, Nature said, some years since,--"Thus far the English is
my best race; but we have had Englishmen enough; now for another turning
of the globe, and a step farther. We need something with a little more
buoyancy than the Englishman; let us lighten the ship, even at the risk
of a little peril in the process. Put in one drop more of nervous fluid
and make the American." With that drop, a new range of promise opened on
the human race, and a lighter, finer, more highly organized type of
mankind was born. But the promise must be fulfilled through unequalled
dangers. With the new drop came new intoxication, new ardors, passions,
ambitions, hopes, reactions, and despairs,--more daring, more invention,
more disease, more insanity,--forgetfulness, at first, of the old,
wholesome traditions of living, recklessness of sin and saleratus, loss
of refreshing sleep and of the power of play. To surmount all this, we
have got to fight the good fight, I assure you, Dolorosus. Nature is yet
pledged to produce that finer type, and if we miss it, she will leave us
to decay, like our predecessors,--whirl the globe over once more, and
choose a new place for a new experiment.


It is not often that I trouble the readers of the "Atlantic Monthly." I
should not trouble them now, but for the importunities of my wife, who
"feels to insist" that a duty to society is unfulfilled, till I have
told why I had to have a double, and how he undid me. She is sure, she
says, that intelligent persons cannot understand that pressure upon
public servants which alone drives any man into the employment of a
double. And while I fear she thinks, at the bottom of her heart, that my
fortunes will never be remade, she has a faint hope, that, as another
Rasselas, I may teach a lesson to future publics, from which they may
profit, though we die. Owing to the behaviour of my double, or, if you
please, to that public pressure which compelled me to employ him, I have
plenty of leisure to write this communication.

I am, or rather was, a minister, of the Sandemanian connection. I was
settled in the active, wide-awake town of Naguadavick, on one of the
finest water-powers in Maine. We used to call it a Western town in the
heart of the civilization of New England. A charming place it was and
is. A spirited, brave young parish had I; and it seemed as if we might
have all "the joy of eventful living" to our hearts' content.

Alas! how little we knew on the day of my ordination, and in those
halcyon moments of our first housekeeping! To be the confidential friend
in a hundred families in the town,--cutting the social trifle, as my
friend Haliburton says, "from the top of the whipped-syllabub to the
bottom of the sponge-cake, which is the foundation,"--to keep abreast of
the thought of the age in one's study, and to do one's best on Sunday to
interweave that thought with the active life of an active town, and to
inspirit both and make both infinite by glimpses of the Eternal Glory,
seemed such an exquisite forelock into one's life! Enough to do, and all
so real and so grand! If this vision could only have lasted!

The truth is, that this vision was not in itself a delusion, nor,
indeed, half bright enough. If one could only have been left to do his
own business, the vision would have accomplished itself and brought out
new paraheliacal visions, each as bright as the original. The misery was
and is, as we found out, I and Polly, before long, that, besides the
vision, and besides the usual human and finite failures in life, (such
as breaking the old pitcher that came over in the "Mayflower," and
putting into the fire the Alpenstock with which her father climbed Mont
Blanc,)--besides these, I say, (imitating the style of Robinson Crusoe,)
there were pitch-forked in on us a great rowen-heap of humbugs, banded
down from some unknown seed-time, in which we were expected, and I
chiefly, to fulfil certain public functions before the community, of the
character of those fulfilled by the third row of supernumeraries who
stand behind the Sepoys in the spectacle of the "Cataract of the
Ganges." They were the duties, in a word, which one performs as member
of one or another social class or subdivision, wholly distinct from what
one does as A. by himself A. What invisible power put these functions on
me, it would be very hard to tell. But such power there was and is. And
I had not been at work a year before I found I was living two lives, one
real and one merely functional,--for two sets of people, one my parish,
whom I loved, and the other a vague public, for whom I did not care two
straws. All this was in a vague notion, which everybody had and has,
that this second life would eventually bring out some great results,
unknown at present, to somebody somewhere.

Crazed by this duality of life, I first read Dr. Wigan on the "Duality
of the Brain," hoping that I could train one side of my head to do these
outside jobs, and the other to do my intimate and real duties. For
Richard Greenough once told me, that, in studying for the statue of
Franklin, he found that the left side of the great man's face was
philosophic and reflective, and the right side funny and smiling. If you
will go and look at the bronze statue, you will find he has repeated
this observation there for posterity. The eastern profile is the
portrait of the statesman Franklin, the western of Poor Richard. But Dr.
Wigan does not go into these niceties of this subject, and I failed. It
was then, that, on my wife's suggestion, I resolved to look out for a

I was, at first, singularly successful. We happened to be recreating at
Stafford Springs that summer. We rode out one day, for one of the
relaxations of that watering-place, to the great Monsonpon House. We
were passing through one of the large halls, when my destiny was
fulfilled! I saw my man!

He was not shaven. He had on no spectacles. He was dressed in a green
baize roundabout and faded blue overalls, worn sadly at the knee. But I
saw at once that he was of my height, five feet four and a half. He had
black hair, worn off by his hat. So have and have not I. He stooped in
walking. So do I. His hands were large, and mine. And--choicest gift of
Fate in all--he had, not "a strawberry-mark on his left arm," but a cut
from a juvenile brickbat over his right eye, slightly affecting the play
of that eyebrow. Reader, so have I!--My fate was sealed!

A word with Mr. Holley, one of the inspectors, settled the whole thing.
It proved that this Dennis Shea was a harmless, amiable fellow, of the
class known as shiftless, who had scaled his fate by marrying a dumb
wife, who was at that moment ironing in the laundry. Before I left
Stafford, I had hired both for five years. We had applied to Judge
Pynchon, then the probate judge at Springfield, to change the name of
Dennis Shea to Frederic Ingham. We had explained to the Judge, what was
the precise truth, that an eccentric gentleman wished to adopt Dennis
under this new name into his family. It never occurred to him that
Dennis might be more than fourteen years old. And thus, to shorten this
preface, when we returned at night to my parsonage at Naguadavick, there
entered Mrs. Ingham, her new dumb laundress, myself, who am Mr. Frederic
Ingham, and my double, who was Mr. Frederic Ingham by as good right as

Oh, the fun we had the next morning in shaving his beard to my pattern,
cutting his hair to match mine, and teaching him how to wear and how to
take off gold-bowed spectacles! Really, they were electro-plate, and the
glass was plain (for the poor fellow's eyes were excellent). Then in
four successive afternoons I taught, him four speeches. I had found
these would be quite enough for the supernumerary-Sepoy line of life,
and it was well for me they were. For though he was good-natured, he was
very shiftless, and it was, as our national proverb says, "like pulling
teeth" to teach him. But at the end of the next week he could say, with
quite my easy and frisky air,--

1. "Very well, thank you. And you?" This for an answer to casual

2. "I am very glad you liked it."

3. "There has been so much said, and, on the whole, so well said, that I
will not occupy the time."

4. "I agree, in general, with my friend the other side of the room."

At first I had a feeling that I was going to be at great cost for
clothing him. But it proved, of course, at once, that, whenever he was
out, I should be at home. And I went, during the bright period of his
success, to so few of those awful pageants which require a black
dress-coat and what the ungodly call, after Mr. Dickens, a white choker,
that in the happy retreat of my own dressing-gowns and jackets my days
went by as happily and cheaply as those of another Thalaba. And Polly
declares there was never a year when the tailoring cost so little. He
lived (Dennis, not Thalaba) in his wife's room over the kitchen. He had
orders never to show himself at that window. When he appeared in the
front of the house, I retired to my sanctissimum and my dressing-gown.
In short, the Dutchman and his wife, in the old weather-box, had not
less to do with each other than he and I. He made the furnace-fire and
split the wood before daylight; then he went to sleep again, and slept
late; then came for orders, with a red silk bandanna tied round his
head, with his overalls on, and his dress-coat and spectacles off. If we
happened to be interrupted, no one guessed that he was Frederic Ingham
as well as I; and, in the neighborhood, there grew up an impression that
the minister's Irishman worked day-times in the factory-village at New
Coventry. After I had given him his orders, I never saw him till the
next day.

I launched him by sending him to a meeting of the Enlightenment Board.
The Enlightenment Board consists of seventy-four members, of whom
sixty-seven are necessary to form a quorum. One becomes a member under
the regulations laid down in old Judge Dudley's will. I became one by
being ordained pastor of a church in Naguadavick. You see you cannot
help yourself, if you would. At this particular time we had had four
successive meetings, averaging four hours each,--wholly occupied in
whipping in a quorum. At the first only eleven men were present; at the
next, by force of three circulars, twenty-seven; at the third, thanks to
two days canvassing by Auchmuty and myself, begging men to come, we had
sixty. Half the others were In Europe. But without a quorum we could do
nothing. All the rest of us waited grimly for our four hours, and
adjourned without any action. At the fourth meeting we had flagged, and
only got fifty-nine together. But on the first appearance of my
double,--whom I sent on this fatal Monday to the fifth meeting,--he was
the sixty-seventh man who entered the room. He was greeted with a storm
of applause! The poor fellow had missed his way,--read the street signs
ill though his spectacles, (very ill, in fact, without them,)--and had
not dared to inquire. He entered the room,--finding the president and
secretary holding to their chairs two judges of the Supreme Court, who
were also members _ex officio_, and were begging leave to go away. On
his entrance all was changed. _Presto_, the by-laws were amended, and
the Western property was given away. Nobody stopped to converse with
him. He voted, as I had charged him to do, in every instance, with the
minority. I won new laurels as a man of sense, though a little
unpunctual,--and Dennis, _alias_ Ingham, returned to the parsonage,
astonished to see with how little wisdom the world is governed. He cut a
few of my parishioners in the street; but he had his glasses off, and I
am known to be near-sighted. Eventually he recognized them more readily
than I.

I "set him again" at the exhibition of the New Coventry Academy; and
here he undertook a "speaking part,"--as, in my boyish, worldly days, I
remember the bills used to say of Mlle. Céleste. We are all trustees of
the New Coventry Academy; and there has lately been "a good deal of
feeling" because the Sandemanian trustees did not regularly attend the
exhibitions. It has been intimated, indeed, that the Sandemanians are
leaning towards Free-Will, and that we have, therefore, neglected these
semi-annual exhibitions, while there is no doubt that Auchmuty last year
went to Commencement at Waterville. Now the head master at New Coventry
is a real good fellow, who knows a Sanskrit root when he sees it, and
often cracks etymologies with me,--so that, in strictness, I ought to go
to their exhibitions. But think, reader, of sitting through three long
July days in that Academy chapel, following the programme from

    TUESDAY MORNING. _English Composition_.
    "SUNSHINE." Miss Jones.

round to

    Trio on Three Pianos. Duel from the Opera
    of "Midshipman Easy." _Marryatt_.

coming in at nine, Thursday evening! Think of this, reader, for men who
know the world is trying to go backward, and who would give their lives
if they could help it on! Well! The double had succeeded so well at the
Board, that I sent him to the Academy. (Shade of Plato, pardon!) He
arrived early on Tuesday, when, indeed, few but mothers and clergymen
are generally expected, and returned in the evening to us, covered with
honors. He had dined at the right hand of the chairman, and he spoke in
high terms of the repast. The chairman had expressed his interest in the
French conversation. "I am very glad you liked it," said Dennis; and the
poor chairman, abashed, supposed the accent had been wrong. At the end
of the day, the gentlemen present had been called upon for
speeches,--the Rev. Frederic Ingham first, as it happened; upon which
Dennis had risen, and had said, "There has been so much said, and, on
the whole, so well said, that I will not occupy the time." The girls
were delighted, because Dr. Dabney, the year before, had given them at
this occasion a scolding on impropriety of behavior at lyceum lectures.
They all declared Mr. Ingham was a love,--and _so_ handsome! (Dennis is
good-looking.) Three of them, with arms behind the others' waists,
followed him up to the wagon he rode home in; and a little girl with a
blue sash had been sent to give him a rosebud. After this _début_ in
speaking, he went to the exhibition for two days more, to the mutual
satisfaction of all concerned. Indeed, Polly reported that he had
pronounced the trustees' dinners of a higher grade than those of the
parsonage. When the next term began, I found six of the Academy girls
had obtained permission to come across the river and attend our church.
But this arrangement did not long continue.

After this he went to several Commencements for me, and ate the dinners
provided; he sat through three of our Quarterly Conventions for
me,--always voting judiciously, by the simple rule mentioned above, of
siding with the minority. And I, meanwhile, who had before been losing
caste among my friends, as holding myself aloof from the associations of
the body, began to rise in everybody's favor. "Ingham's a good
fellow,--always on hand"; "never talks much,--but does the right thing
at the right time"; "is not as unpunctual as he used to be,--he comes
early, and sits through to the end." "He has got over his old talkative
habit, too. I spoke to a friend of his about it once; and I think Ingham
took it kindly," etc., etc.

This voting power of Dennis was particularly valuable at the quarterly
meetings of the Proprietors of the Naguadavick Ferry. My wife inherited
from her father some shares in that enterprise, which is not yet fully
developed, though it doubtless will become a very valuable property. The
law of Maine then forbade stockholders to appear by proxy at such
meetings. Polly disliked to go, not being, in fact, a "hens'-rights
hen," and transferred her stock to me. I, after going once, disliked it
more than she. But Dennis went to the next meeting, and liked it very
much. He said the armchairs were good, the collation good, and the free
rides to stockholders pleasant. He was a little frightened when they
first took him upon one of the ferry-boats, but after two or three
quarterly meetings he became quite brave.

Thus far I never had any difficulty with him. Indeed, being of that type
which is called shiftless, he was only too happy to be told daily what
to do, and to be charged not to be forthputting or in any way original
in his discharge of that duty. He learned, however, to discriminate
between the lines of his life, and very much preferred these
stockholders' meetings and trustees' dinners and Commencement collations
to another set of occasions, from which he used to beg off most
piteously. Our excellent brother, Dr. Fillmore, had taken a notion at
this time that our Sandemanian churches needed more expression of mutual
sympathy. He insisted upon it that we were remiss. He said, that, if the
Bishop came to preach at Naguadavick, all the Episcopal clergy of the
neighborhood were present; if Dr. Pond came, all the Congregational
clergymen turned out to hear him; if Dr. Nichols, all the Unitarians;
and he thought we owed it to each other, that, whenever there was an
occasional service at a Sandemanian church, the other brethren should
all, if possible, attend. "It looked well," if nothing more. Now this
really meant that I had not been to hear one of Dr. Fillmore's lectures
on the Ethnology of Religion. He forgot that he did not hear one of my
course on the "Sandemanianism of Anselm." But I felt badly when he said
it; and afterwards I always made Dennis go to hear all the brethren
preach, when I was not preaching myself. This was what he took
exceptions to,--the only thing, as I said, which he ever did except to.
Now came the advantage of his long morning-nap, and of the green tea
with which Polly supplied the kitchen. But he would plead, so humbly, to
be let off, only from one or two! I never excepted him, however. I knew
the lectures were of value, and I thought it best he should be able to
keep the connection.

Polly is more rash than I am, as the reader has observed in the outset
of this memoir. She risked Dennis one night under the eyes of her own
sex. Governor Gorges had always been very kind to us; and when he gave
his great annual party to the town, asked us. I confess I hated to go. I
was deep in the new volume of Pfeiffer's "Mystics," which Haliburton had
just sent me from Boston. "But how rude," said Polly, "not to return the
Governor's civility and Mrs. Gorges's, when they will be sure to ask why
you are away!" Still I demurred, and at last she, with the wit of Eve
and of Semiramis conjoined, let me off by saying, that, if I would go in
with her, and sustain the initial conversations with the Governor and
the ladies staying there, she would risk Dennis for the rest of the
evening. And that was just what we did. She took Dennis in training all
that afternoon, instructed him in fashionable conversation, cautioned
him against the temptations of the supper-table,--and at nine in the
evening he drove us all down in the carryall. I made the grand
star-_entrée_ with Polly and the pretty Walton girls, who were staying
with us. We had put Dennis into a great rough top-coat, without his
glasses,--and the girls never dreamed, in the darkness, of looking at
him. He sat in the carriage, at the door, while we entered. I did the
agreeable to Mrs. Gorges, was introduced to her niece, Miss Fernanda,--I
complimented Judge Jeffries on his decision in the great case of
D'Aulnay _vs_. Laconia Mining Co.,--I stepped into the dressing-room for
a moment,--stepped out for another,--walked home, after a nod with
Dennis, and tying the horse to a pump;--and while I walked home, Mr.
Frederic Ingham, my double, stepped in through the library into the
Gorges's grand saloon.

Oh! Polly died of laughing as she told me of it at midnight! And even
here, where I have to teach my hands to hew the beech for stakes to
fence our cave, she dies of laughing as she recalls it,--and says that
single occasion was worth all we have paid for it. Gallant Eve that she
is! She joined Dennis at the library-door, and in an instant presented
him to Dr. Ochterlong, from Baltimore, who was on a visit in town, and
was talking with her, as Dennis came in. "Mr. Ingham would like to hear
what you were telling us about your success among the German
population." And Dennis bowed and said, in spite of a scowl from Polly,
"I'm very glad you liked it." But Dr. Ochterlong did not observe, and
plunged into the tide of explanation, Dennis listening like a
prime-minister, and bowing like a mandarin,--which is, I suppose, the
same thing. Polly declared it was just like Haliburton's Latin
conversation with the Hungarian minister, of which he is very fond of
telling. "_Quæne sit historia Reformationis in Ungariâ_?" quoth
Haliburton, after some thought. And his _confrère_ replied gallantly,
"_In seculo decimo tertio_," etc., etc., etc.; and from _decimo
tertio_[8] to the nineteenth century and a half lasted till the oysters
came. So was it that before Dr. Ochterlong came to the "success," or
near it, Governor Gorges came to Dennis and asked him to hand Mrs.
Jeffries down to supper, a request which he heard with great joy.

Polly was skipping round the room, I guess, gay as a lark. Auchmuty came
to her "in pity for poor Ingham," who was so bored by the stupid
pundit,--and Auchmuty could not understand why I stood it so long. But
when Dennis took Mrs. Jeffries down, Polly could not resist standing
near them. He was a little flustered, till the sight of the eatables and
drinkables gave him the same Mercian courage which it gave Diggory. A
little excited then, he attempted one or two of his speeches to the
Judge's lady. But little he knew how hard it was to get in even a
_promptu_ there edgewise. "Very well, I thank you," said he, after the
eating elements were adjusted; "and you?" And then did not he have to
hear about the mumps, and the measles, and arnica, and belladonna, and
chamomile-flower, and dodecathem, till she changed oysters for
salad,--and then about the old practice and the new, and what her sister
said, and what her sister's friend said, and what the physician to her
sister's friend said, and then what was said by the brother of the
sister of the physician of the friend of her sister, exactly as if it
had been in Ollendorff? There was a moment's pause, as she declined
Champagne. "I am very glad you liked it," said Dennis again, which he
never should have said, but to one who complimented a sermon. "Oh! you
are so sharp, Mr. Ingham! No! I never drink any wine at all,--except
sometimes in summer a little currant spirits,--from our own currants,
you know. My own mother,--that is, I call her my own mother, because,
you know, I do not remember," etc., etc., etc.; till they came to the
candied orange at the end of the feast,--when Dennis, rather confused,
thought he must say something, and tried No. 4,--"I agree, in general,
with my friend the other side of the room,"--which he never should have
said but at a public meeting. But Mrs. Jeffries, who never listens
expecting to understand, caught him up instantly with, "Well, I'm sure
my husband returns the compliment; he always agrees with you,--though we
do worship with the Methodists;--but you know, Mr. Ingham," etc., etc.,
etc., till the move was made up-stairs;--and as Dennis led her through
the hall, he was scarcely understood by any but Polly, as he said,
"There has been so much said, and, on the whole, so well said, that I
will not occupy the time."

His great resource the rest of the evening was, standing in the library,
carrying on animated conversations with one and another in much the same
way. Polly had initiated him in the mysteries of a discovery of mine,
that it is not necessary to finish your sentences in a crowd, but by a
sort of mumble, omitting sibilants and dentals. This, indeed, if your
words fail you, answers even in public extempore speech,--but better
where other talking is going on. Thus,--"We missed you at the Natural
History Society, Ingham." Ingham replies,--"I am very gligloglum, that
is, that you were mmmmm." By gradually dropping the voice, the
interlocutor is compelled to supply the answer. "Mrs. Ingham, I hope
your friend Augusta is better." Augusta has not been ill. Polly cannot
think of explaining, however, and answers,--"Thank you, Ma'am; she is
very rearason wewahwewoh," in lower and lower tones. And Mrs.
Throckmorton, who forgot the subject of which she spoke, as soon as she
asked the question, is quite satisfied. Dennis could see into the
card-room, and came to Polly to ask if he might not go and play
all-fours. But, of course, she sternly refused. At midnight they came
home delighted,--Polly, as I said, wild to tell me the story of victory;
only both the pretty Walton girls said,--"Cousin Frederic, you did not
come near me all the evening."

We always called him Dennis at home, for convenience, though his real
name was Frederic Ingham, as I have explained. When the election-day
came round, however, I found that by some accident there was only one
Frederic Ingham's name on the voting-list; and, as I was quite busy that
day in writing some foreign letters to Halle, I thought I would forego
my privilege of suffrage, and stay quietly at home, telling Dennis that
he might use the record on the voting-list and vote. I gave him a
ticket, which I told him he might use, if he liked to. That was that
very sharp election in Maine which the readers of the "Atlantic" so well
remember, and it had been intimated in public that the ministers would
do well not to appear at the polls. Of course, after that, we had to
appear by self or proxy. Still, Naguadavick was not then a city, and
this standing in a double queue at town-meeting several hours to vote
was a bore of the first water; and so, when I found that there was but
one Frederic Ingham on the list, and that one of us must give up, I
staid at home and finished the letters, (which, indeed, procured for
Fothergill his coveted appointment of Professor of Astronomy at
Leavenworth,) and I gave Dennis, as we called him, the chance. Something
in the matter gave a good deal of popularity to the Frederic Ingham
name; and at the adjourned election, next week, Frederic Ingham was
chosen to the legislature. Whether this was I or Dennis, I never really
knew. My friends seemed to think it was I; but I felt, that, as Dennis
had done the popular thing, he was entitled to the honor; so I sent him
to Augusta when the time came, and he took the oaths. And a very
valuable member he made. They appointed him on the Committee on
Parishes; but I wrote a letter for him, resigning, on the ground that he
took an interest in our claim to the stumpage in the minister's
sixteenths of Gore A, next No. 7, in the 10th Range. He never made any
speeches, and always voted with the minority, which was what he was sent
to do. He made me and himself a great many good friends, some of whom I
did not afterwards recognize as quickly as Dennis did my parishioners.
On one or two occasions, when there was wood to saw at home, I kept him
at home; but I took those occasions to go to Augusta myself. Finding
myself often in his vacant seat at these times, I watched the
proceedings with a good deal of care; and once was so much excited that
I delivered my somewhat celebrated speech on the Central School-District
question, a speech of which the "State of Maine" printed some extra
copies. I believe there is no formal rule permitting strangers to speak;
but no one objected.

Dennis himself, as I said, never spoke at all. But our experience this
session led me to think, that, if, by some such "general understanding"
as the reports speak of in legislation daily, every member of Congress
might leave a double to sit through those deadly sessions and answer to
roll-calls and do the legitimate party-voting, which appears stereotyped
in the regular list of Ashe, Bocock, Black, etc., we should gain
decidedly in working-power. As things stand, the saddest State prison I
ever visit is that Representatives' Chamber in Washington. If a man
leaves for an hour, twenty "correspondents" may be howling, "Where was
Mr. Pendergrast when the Oregon bill passed?" And if poor Pendergrast
stays there! Certainly, the worst use you can make of a man is to put
him in prison!

I know, indeed, that public men of the highest rank have resorted to
this expedient long ago. Dumas's novel of the "Iron Mask" turns on the
brutal imprisonment of Louis the Fourteenth's double. There seems little
doubt, in our own history, that it was the real General Pierce who shed
tears when the delegate from Lawrence explained to him the sufferings of
the people there,--and only General Pierce's double who had given the
orders for the assault on that town, which was invaded the next day. My
charming friend, George Withers, has, I am almost sure, a double, who
preaches his afternoon sermons for him. This is the reason that the
theology often varies so from that of the forenoon. But that double is
almost as charming as the original. Some of the most well-defined men,
who stand out most prominently on the background of history, are in this
way stereoscopic men, who owe their distinct relief to the slight
differences between the doubles. All this I know. My present suggestion
is simply the great extension of the system, so that all public
machine-work may be done by it.

But I see I loiter on my story, which is rushing to the plunge. Let me
stop an instant more, however, to recall, were it only to myself, that
charming year while all was yet well. After the double had become a
matter of course, for nearly twelve months before he undid me, what a
year it was! Full of active life, full of happy love, of the hardest
work, of the sweetest sleep, and the fulfilment of so many of the fresh
aspirations and dreams of boyhood! Dennis went to every school-committee
meeting, and sat through all those late wranglings which used to keep me
up till midnight and awake till morning. He attended all the lectures to
which foreign exiles sent me tickets begging me to come for the love of
Heaven and of Bohemia. He accepted and used all the tickets for charity
concerts which were sent to me. He appeared everywhere where it was
specially desirable that "our denomination," or "our party," or "our
class," or "our family," or "our street," or "our town," or "our
county," or "our State," should be fully represented. And I fell back to
that charming life which in boyhood one dreams of, when he supposes he
shall do his own duty and make his own sacrifices, without being tied up
with those of other people. My rusty Sanskrit, Arabic, Hebrew, Greek,
Latin, French, Italian, Spanish, German, and English began to take
polish. Heavens! how little I had done with them while I attended to my
_public_ duties! My calls on my parishioners became the friendly,
frequent, homelike sociabilities they were meant to be, instead of the
hard work of a man goaded to desperation by the sight of his lists of
arrears. And preaching! what a luxury preaching was when I had on
Sunday the whole result of an individual, personal week, from which to
speak to a people whom all that week I had been meeting as hand-to-hand
friend! I never tired on Sunday, and was in condition to leave the
sermon at home, if I chose, and preach it extempore, as all men should
do always. Indeed, I wonder, when I think that a sensible people, like
ours,--really more attached to their clergy than they were in the lost
days, when the Mathers and Nortons were noblemen,--should choose to
neutralize so much of their ministers' lives, and destroy so much of
their early training, by this undefined passion for seeing them in
public. It springs from our balancing of sects. If a spirited
Episcopalian takes an interest in the alms-house, and is put on the Poor
Board, every other denomination must have a minister there, lest the
poor-house be changed into St. Paul's Cathedral. If a Sandemanian is
chosen president of the Young Men's Library, there must be a Methodist
vice-president and a Baptist secretary. And if a Universalist
Sunday-School Convention collects five hundred delegates, the next
Congregationalist Sabbath-School Conference must be as large, "lest
'they'--whoever _they_ may be--should think 'we'--whoever _we_ may
be--are going down."

Freed from these necessities, that happy year, I began to know my wife
by sight. We saw each other sometimes. In those long mornings, when
Dennis was in the study explaining to map-peddlers that I had eleven
maps of Jerusalem already, and to school-book agents that I would see
them hanged before I would be bribed to introduce their textbooks into
the schools,--she and I were at work together, as in those old dreamy
days,--and in these of our log-cabin again. But all this could not
last,--and at length poor Dennis, my double, over-tasked in turn, undid

It was thus it happened.--There is an excellent fellow,--once a
minister,--I will call him Isaacs,--who deserves well of the world till
he dies, and after,--because he once, in, a real exigency, did the right
thing, in the right way, at the right time, as no other man could do it.
In the world's great football match, the ball by chance found him
loitering on the outside of the field; he closed with it, "camped" it,
charged it home,--yes, right through the other side,--not disturbed, not
frightened by his own success,--and breathless found himself a great
man,--as the Great Delta rang applause. But he did not find himself a
rich man; and the football has never come in his way again. From that
moment to this moment he has been of no use, that one can see, at all.
Still, for that great act we speak of Isaacs gratefully and remember him
kindly; and he forges on, hoping to meet the football somewhere again.
In that vague hope, he had arranged a "movement" for a general
organization of the human family into Debating-Clubs, County Societies,
State Unions, etc., etc., with a view of inducing all children to take
hold of the handles of their knives and forks, instead of the metal.
Children have bad habits in that way. The movement, of course, was
absurd; but we all did our best to forward, not it, but him. It came
time for the annual county-meeting on this subject to be held at
Naguadavick. Isaacs came round, good fellow! to arrange for it,--got the
town-hall, got the Governor to preside, (the saint!--he ought to have
triplet doubles provided him by law,) and then came to get me to speak.
"No," I said, "I would not speak, if ten Governors presided. I do not
believe in the enterprise. If I spoke, it should be to say children
should take hold of the prongs of the forks and the blades of the
knives. I would subscribe ten dollars, but I would not speak a mill." So
poor Isaacs went his way, sadly, to coax Auchmuty to speak, and
Delafield. I went out. Not long after, he came back, and told Polly that
they had promised to speak,--the Governor would speak,--and he himself
would close with the quarterly report, and some interesting anecdotes
regarding Miss Biffin's way of handling her knife and Mr. Nellis's way
of footing his fork. "Now if Mr. Ingham will only come and sit on the
platform, he need not say one word; but it will show well in the
paper,--it will show that the Sandemanians take as much interest in the
movement as the Armenians or the Mesopotamians, and will be a great
favor to me." Polly, good soul! was tempted, and she promised. She knew
Mrs. Isaacs was starving, and the babies,--she knew Dennis was at
home,--and she promised! Night came, and I returned. I heard her story.
I was sorry. I doubted. But Polly had promised to beg me, and I dared
all! I told Dennis to hold his peace, under all circumstances, and sent
him down.

It was not half an hour more before he returned, wild with
excitement,--in a perfect Irish fury,--which it was long before I
understood. But I knew at once that he had undone me!

What happened was this.--The audience got together, attracted by
Governor Gorges's name. There were a thousand people. Poor Gorges was
late from Augusta. They became impatient. He came in direct from the
train at last, really ignorant of the object of the meeting. He opened
it in the fewest possible words, and said other gentlemen were present
who would entertain them better than he. The audience were disappointed,
but waited. The Governor, prompted by Isaacs, said, "The Honorable Mr.
Delafield will address you." Delafield had forgotten the knives and
forks, and was playing the Ruy Lopez opening at the chess-club. "The
Rev. Mr. Auchmuty will address you." Auchmuty had promised to speak
late, and was at the school-committee. "I see Dr. Stearns in the hall;
perhaps he will say a word." Dr. Stearns said he had come to listen and
not to speak. The Governor and Isaacs whispered. The Governor looked at
Dennis, who was resplendent on the platform; but Isaacs, to give him his
due, shook his head. But the look was enough. A miserable lad, ill-bred,
who had once been in Boston, thought it would sound well to call for me,
and peeped out, "Ingham!" A few more wretches cried, "Ingham! Ingham!"
Still Isaacs was firm; but the Governor, anxious, indeed, to prevent a
row, knew I would say something, and said, "Our friend Mr. Ingham is
always prepared,--and though we had not relied upon him, he will say a
word, perhaps." Applause followed, which turned Dennis's head. He rose,
fluttered, and tried No. 3: "There has been so much said, and, on the
whole, so well said, that I will not longer occupy the time!" and sat
down, looking for his hat; for things seemed squally. But the people
cried, "Go on! go on!" and some applauded. Dennis, still confused, but
flattered by the applause, to which neither he nor I are used, rose
again, and this time tried No. 2: "I am very glad you liked it!" in a
sonorous, clear delivery. My best friends stared. All the people who did
not know me personally yelled with delight at the aspect of the evening;
the Governor was beside himself, and poor Isaacs thought he was undone!
Alas, it was I! A boy in the gallery cried in a loud tone, "It's all an
infernal humbug," just as Dennis, waving his hand, commanded silence,
and tried No. 4: "I agree, in general, with my friend the other side of
the room." The poor Governor doubted his senses, and crossed to stop
him,--not in time, however. The same gallery-boy shouted, "How's your
mother?"--and Dennis, now completely lost, tried, as his last shot, No.
1, vainly: "Very well, thank you; and you?"

I think I must have been undone already. But Dennis, like another
Lockhard, chose "to make sicker." The audience rose in a whirl of
amazement, rage, and sorrow. Some other impertinence, aimed at Dennis,
broke all restraint, and, in pure Irish, he delivered himself of an
address to the gallery, inviting any person who wished to fight to come
down and do so,--stating, that they were all dogs and cowards and the
sons of dogs and cowards,--that he would take any five of them
single-handed. "Shure, I have said all his Riverence and the Misthress
bade me say," cried he, in defiance; and, seizing the Governor's cane
from his hand, brandished it, quarterstaff fashion, above his head. He
was, indeed, got from the hall only with the greatest difficulty by the
Governor, the City Marshal, who had been called in, and the
Superintendent of my Sunday-School.

The universal impression, of course, was, that the Rev. Frederic Ingham
had lost all command of himself in some of those haunts of intoxication
which for fifteen years I have been laboring to destroy. Till this
moment, indeed, that is the impression in Naguadavick. This number of
the "Atlantic" will relieve from it a hundred friends of mine who have
been sadly wounded by that notion now for years;--but I shall not be
likely ever to show my head there again.

No! My double has undone me.

We left town at seven the next morning. I came to No. 9, in the Third
Range, and settled on the Minister's Lot. In the new towns in Maine, the
first settled minister has a gift of a hundred acres of land. I am the
first settled minister in No. 9. My wife and little Paulina are my
parish. We raise corn enough to live on in summer. We kill bear's meat
enough to carbonize it in winter. I work on steadily on my "Traces of
Sandemanianism in the Sixth and Seventh Centuries," which I hope to
persuade Phillips, Sampson, & Co. to publish next year. We are very
happy, but the world thinks we are undone.

[8] Which means, "In the thirteenth century," my dear little
bell-and-coral reader. You have rightly guessed that the question means,
"What is the history of the Reformation in Hungary?"


A star into our twilight fell,
    'Mong peasant homes in vales remote;
Men marvelled not till all the dell
    Was waked as by a bugle-note.

They wondered at the wild-eyed boy,
    And drank his song like draughts of wine;
And yet, amid their new-born joy,
    They bade him tend the herds and swine.

But he knew neither swine nor herds,--
    His shepherd soul was otherwhere;
The flocks he tended were the birds,
    And stars that fill the folds of air.

To sweeter song the wind would melt
    That fanned him with its perfumed wing;
Flowers thronged his path as if they felt
    The warm and flashing feet of Spring.

The brooklet flung its ringlets wide,
    And leapt to him, and kept his pace,--
Sang when he sang, and when he sighed,
    Turned up to him its starry face.

Through many a dawn and noon and night,
    The singing boy still kept his course;
For in his heart that meteor light
    Still burned with all its natal force.

He sang,--nor cherished thought of care,--
    As when, upon the garden-vine,
A blue-bird thrills the April air,
    Regardless of the herds and swine.

The children in their May-time plays,
    The maidens in their rosy hours,
And matrons in their autumn days,
    All heard and flung him praise or flowers.

And Age, to chimney-nooks beguiled,
    Caught the sweet music's tender closes,
And, gazing on the embers, smiled
    As on a bed of summer roses.

And many a heart, by hope forsook,
    Received his song through depths of pain,
As the dry channels of a brook
    The freshness of a summer rain.

But when he looked for house or bread,
    The stewards of earth's oil and wine
Shook sternly the reproving head,
    And bade him tend the herds and swine!

He strayed into the harvest plains,
    And 'mid the sultry windrows sung,
Till glowing girls and swarthy swains
    Caught music from his charmed tongue,--

Caught music that from heart to brain
    Went thrilling with delicious measure,
Till toil, which late had seemed a pain,
    Became a sweet Arcadian pleasure.

The farmer, at the day's decline,
    Sat listening till the eve was late;
Then, offering neither bread nor wine,
    Arose, and barred the outer gate,--

And said, "Would you have where to sleep
    On wholesome straw, good brother mine,
You need but plow, and sow, and reap,
    And daily tend the herds and swine."

The poet's locks shook out reply;
    He turned him gayly down the rill;
Yet left a light which shall not die,
    A sunshine on the farmer's sill.

He strewed the vale with flowers of song;
    He filled the homes with lighter grace,
Which round those hearth-stones lingered long,
    And still makes beautiful the place.

The country, hamlet, and the town
    Grew wiser, better, for his songs;--
The roaring city could not drown
    The voice that to the world belongs.

To beds of pain, to rooms of death,
    The soft and solemn music stole,
And soothed the dying with its breath,
    And passed into the mourner's soul.

And yet what was the poet's meed?
    Such, Bard of Alloway, was thine!
The soul that sings, the heart must bleed,
    Or tend the common herds and swine.

The nation heard his patriot lays,
    And rung them, like an anthem, round,
Till Freedom waved her branch of bays,
    Wherewith the world shall yet be crowned.

His war-songs fired the battle-host,
    His mottoes on their banners burned;
And when the foe had fled the coast,
    Wild with his songs the troops returned.

Then at the feast's triumphal board,
    His thrilling music cheered the wine;--
But when the singer asked reward,
    They pointed to the herds and swine.

"What! he a bard? Then bid him go
    And beg,--it is the poet's trade!
Dan Homer was the first to show
    The rank for which the bards were made!

"A living bard! What's he to us?
    A bard, to live, must first be dead!
And when he dies, we may discuss
    To whom belongs the poet's head!"

'Neath suns that burn, through storms that drench,
    He went, an outcast from his birth,
Still singing,--for they could not quench
    The fire that was not born of earth.

At last, behind cold prison-bars,
    By colder natures unforgiven,
His frail dust starved! but 'mid the stars
    His spirit found its native heaven.

Now, when a meteor-spark, forlorn,
    Descends upon its fiery wing,
I sigh to think a soul is born,
    Perchance, to suffer and to sing:--

Its own heart a consuming pyre
    Of flame, to brighten and refine:--
A singer, in the starry choir,
    That will not tend the herds and swine.



One of our boarders--perhaps more than one was concerned in it--sent in
some questions to me, the other day, which, trivial as some of them are,
I felt bound to answer.

1.--Whether a lady was ever known to write a letter covering only a
single page?

To this I answered, that there was a case on record where a lady had but
half a sheet of paper and no envelope; and being obliged to send through
the post-office, she _covered_ only one side of the paper (crosswise,
lengthwise, and diagonally).

2.--What constitutes a man a gentleman?

To this I gave several answers, adapted to particular classes of

a. Not trying to be a gentleman.

b. Self-respect underlying courtesy.

c. Knowledge and observance of the _fitness of things_ in social

d. £. _s.d._ (as many suppose.)

3.--Whether face or figure is most attractive in the female sex?

Answered in the following epigram, by a young man about town:--

    Quoth Tom, "Though fair her features be,
    it is her figure pleases me."
    "What may her figure be?" I cried.
    "_One hundred thousand_!" he replied.

When this was read to the boarders, the young man John said he should
like a chance to "step up" to a figger of that kind, if the girl was one
of the right sort.

The landlady said them that merried for money didn't deserve the
blessin' of a good wife. Money was a great thing when them that had it
made a good use of it. She had seen better days herself, and knew what
it was never to want for anything. One of her cousins merried a very
rich old gentleman, and she had heerd that he said he lived ten year
longer than if he'd staid by himself without anybody to take care of
him. There was nothin' like a wife for nussin' sick folks and them that
couldn't take care of themselves.

The young man John got off a little wink, and pointed slyly with his
thumb in the direction of our diminutive friend, for whom he seemed to
think this speech was intended.

If it was meant for him, he didn't appear to know that it was. Indeed,
he seems somewhat listless of late, except when the conversation falls
upon one of those larger topics that specially interest him, and then he
grows excited, speaks loud and fast, sometimes almost savagely,--and, I
have noticed once or twice, presses his left hand to his right side, as
if there were something that ached, or weighed, or throbbed in that

While he speaks in this way, the general conversation is interrupted,
and we all listen to him. Iris looks steadily in his face, and then he
will turn as if magnetized and meet the amber eyes with his own
melancholy gaze. I do believe that they have some kind of understanding
together, that they meet elsewhere than at our table, and that there is
a mystery, which is going to break upon us all of a sudden, involving
the relations of these two persons. From the very first, they have taken
to each other. The one thing they have in common is the heroic will. In
him, it shows itself in thinking his way straightforward, in doing
battle for "free trade and no right of search" on the high seas of
religious controversy, and especially in fighting the battles of his
crooked old city. In her, it is standing up for her little friend with
the most queenly disregard of the code of boarding-house etiquette.
People may say or look what they like,--she will have her way about this
sentiment of hers.

The poor relation is in a dreadful fidget whenever the little gentleman
says anything that interferes with her own infallibility. She seems to
think Faith must go with her face tied up, as if she had the
toothache,--and that if she opens her mouth to the quarter the wind
blows from, she will catch her "death o' cold."

The landlady herself came to him one day, as I have found out, and tried
to persuade him to hold his tongue.--The boarders was gettin'
uneasy,--she said,--and some of 'em would go, she mistrusted, if he
talked any more about things that belonged to the ministers to settle.
She was a poor woman, that had known better days, but all her livin'
depended on her boarders, and she was sure there wasn't any of 'em she
set so much by as she did by him; but there was them that never liked to
hear about such things, except on Sundays.

The little gentleman looked very smiling at the landlady, who smiled
even more cordially in return, and adjusted her cap-ribbon with an
unconscious movement,--a reminiscence of the long-past pairing-time,
when she had smoothed her locks and softened her voice, and won her mate
by these and other bird-like graces.--My dear Madam,--he said,--I will
remember your interests, and speak only of matters to which I am totally
indifferent.--I don't doubt he meant this; but a day or two after,
something stirred him up, and I heard his voice uttering itself aloud,

--It must be done, Sir!--he was saying,--it must be done! Our religion
has been Judaized, it has been Romanized, it has been Orientalized, it
has been Anglicized, and the time is at hand when it must be
AMERICANIZED! Now, Sir, you see what Americanizing is in politics;--it
means that a man shall have a vote because he is a man,--and shall vote
for whom he pleases, without his neighbor's interference. If he chooses
to vote for the Devil, that is his lookout;--perhaps he thinks the Devil
is better than the other candidates; and I don't doubt he's often right,
Sir! Just so a man's soul has a vote in the spiritual community; and it
doesn't do, Sir, or it won't do long, to call him "schismatic" and
"heretic" and those other wicked names that the old murderous
Inquisitors have left us to help along "peace and good-will to men"!

As long as you could catch a man and drop him into an _oubliette_, or
pull him out a few inches longer by machinery, or put a hot iron through
his tongue, or make him climb up a ladder and sit on a board at the top
of a stake so that he should be slowly broiled by the fire kindled round
it, there was some sense in these words; they led to something. But
since we have done with those tools, we had better give up those words.
I should like to see a Yankee advertisement like this!--(the little
gentleman laughed fiercely as he uttered the words,--)

--Patent thumb-screws, warranted to crush the bone in three turns.

--The cast-iron boot, with wedge and mallet,--only five dollars!

--The celebrated extension-rack, warranted to stretch a man six inches
in twenty minutes,--money returned, if it proves unsatisfactory.

I should like to see such an advertisement, I say, Sir! Now, what's the
use of using the words that belonged with the thumb-screws, and the
Blessed Virgin with the knives under her petticoats and sleeves and
bodice, and the _dry pan and gradual fire_, if we can't have the things
themselves, Sir? What's the use of _painting_ the fire round a poor
fellow, when you think it won't do to kindle one under him,--as they did
at Valencia or Valladolid, or wherever it was?

--What story is that?--I said.

Why,--he answered,--at the last _auto-da-fé_, in 1824 or '5, or
somewhere there,--it's a traveller's story, but a mighty knowing
traveller he is,--they had a "heretic" to use up according to the
statutes provided for the crime of private opinion. They couldn't quite
make up their minds to burn him, so they only _hung_ him in a hogshead
painted all over with flames!

No, Sir! when a man calls you names because you go to the ballot-box and
vote for your candidate, or because you say this or that is your
opinion, he forgets in which half of the world he was born, Sir! It
won't be long, Sir, before we have Americanized religion as we have
Americanized government; and then, Sir, every soul God sends into the
world will be good in the face of all men for just so much of His
"inspiration" as "giveth him understanding"!--None of my words, Sir!
none of my words!

--If Iris does not love this little gentleman, what does love look like
when one sees it? She follows him with her eyes, she leans over toward
him when he speaks, her face changes with the changes of his speech, so
that one might think it was with her as with Christabel,--

    That all her features were resigned
    To this sole image in her mind.

But she never looks at him with such intensity of devotion as when he
says anything about the soul and the soul's atmosphere, religion.

Women are twice as religious as men;--all the world knows that. Whether
they are any _better_, in the eyes of Absolute Justice, might be
questioned; for the additional religious element supplied by sex hardly
seems to be a matter of praise or blame. But in all common aspects they
are so much above us that we get most of our religion from them,--from
their teachings, from their example,--above all, from their pure

Now this poor little Iris had been talked to strangely in her childhood.
Especially she had been told that she hated all good things,--which
every sensible parent knows well enough is not true of a great many
children, to say the least. I have sometimes questioned whether many
libels on human nature had not been a natural consequence of the
celibacy of the clergy, which was enforced for so long a period.

The child had met this and some other equally encouraging statements as
to her spiritual conditions, early in life, and fought the battle of
spiritual independence prematurely, as many children do. If all she did
was hateful to God, what was the meaning of the approving or else the
disapproving conscience, when she had done "right" or "wrong"? No
"shoulder-striker" hits out straighter than a child with its logic. Why,
I can remember lying in my bed in the nursery and settling questions
which all that I have heard since and got out of books has never been
able to raise again. If a child does not assert itself in this way in
good season, it becomes just what its parents or teachers were, and is
no better than a plaster image.--How old was I at the time? I suppose
about 5823 years old,--that is, counting from Archbishop Usher's date of
the Creation, and adding the life of the race, whose accumulated
intelligence is a part of my inheritance, to my own. A good deal older
than Plato, you see, and much more experienced than my Lord Bacon and
most of the world's teachers.--Old books are books of the world's youth,
and new books are fruits of its age. How many of all these old folios
round me are like so many old cupels! The gold has passed out of them
long ago, but their pores are full of the dross with which it was

And so Iris--having thrown off that first lasso, which not only fetters,
but _chokes_ those whom it can hold, so that they give themselves up
trembling and breathless to the great soul-subduer, who has them by the
windpipe--had settled a brief creed for herself, in which love of the
neighbor, whom we have seen, was the first article, and love of the
Creator, whom we have not seen, grew out of this as its natural
development, being necessarily second in order of time to the first
unselfish emotions which we feel for the fellow-creatures who surround
us in our early years.

The child must have some place to worship. What would a young girl be
who never mingled her voice with the songs and prayers that rose all
around her with every returning day of rest? And Iris was free to
choose. Sometimes one and sometimes another would offer to carry her to
this or that place of worship; and when the doors were hospitably
opened, she would often go meekly in by herself. It was a curious fact,
that two churches as remote from each other in doctrine as could well be
divided her affections.

The Church of Saint Polycarp had very much the look of a Roman Catholic
chapel. I do not wish to run the risk of giving names to the
ecclesiastical furniture which gave it such a Romish aspect; but there
were pictures, and inscriptions in antiquated characters, and there were
reading-stands, and flowers on the altar, and other elegant
arrangements. Then there were boys to sing alternately in choirs
responsive to each other, and there was much bowing, with very loud
responding, and a long service and a short sermon, and a bag, such as
Judas used to hold in the old pictures, was carried round to receive
contributions. Everything was done not only "decently and in order,"
but, perhaps one might say, with a certain air of magnifying their
office on the part of the dignified clergymen, often two or three in
number. The music and the free welcome were grateful to Iris, and she
forgot her prejudices at the door of the chapel. For this was a church
with open doors, with seats for all classes and all colors alike,--a
church of zealous worshippers after their faith, of charitable and
serviceable men and women, one that took care of its children and never
forgot its poor, and whose people were much more occupied in looking out
for their own souls than in attacking the faith of their neighbors. In
its mode of worship there was a union of two qualities,--the taste and
refinement, which the educated require just as much in their churches as
else where, and the air of stateliness, almost of pomp, which impresses
the common worshipper, and is often not without its effect upon those
who think they hold outward forms as of little value. Under the
half-Romish aspect of the Church of Saint Polycarp, the young girl found
a devout and loving and singularly cheerful religious spirit. The
artistic sense, which betrayed itself in the dramatic proprieties of its
ritual, harmonized with her taste. The mingled murmur of the loud
responses, in those rhythmic phrases, so simple, yet so fervent, almost
as if every tenth heartbeat, instead of its dull _tic-tac_, articulated
itself as "Good Lord, deliver us!"--the sweet alternation of the two
choirs, as their holy song floated from side to side,--the keen young
voices rising like a flight of singing-birds that passes from one grove
to another, carrying its music with it back and forward,--why should she
not love these gracious outward signs of those inner harmonies which
none could deny made beautiful the lives of many of her
fellow-worshippers in the humble, yet not inelegant Chapel of Saint

The young Marylander, who was born and bred to that mode of worship, had
introduced her to the chapel, for which he did the honors for such of
our boarders as were not otherwise provided for. I saw them looking over
the same prayer-book one Sunday, and I could not help thinking that two
such young and handsome persons could hardly worship together in safety
for a great while. But they seemed to mind nothing but their
prayer-book. By-and-by the silken bag was handed round.--I don't believe
she will;--so awkward, you know;--besides, she only came by invitation.
There she is, with her hand in her pocket, though,--and sure enough, her
little bit of silver tinkled as it struck the coin beneath. God bless
her! she hasn't much to give; but her eye glistens when she gives it,
and that is all Heaven asks.--That was the first time I noticed these
young people together, and I am sure they behaved with the most charming
propriety,--in fact, there was one of our silent lady-boarders with
them, whose eyes would have kept Cupid and Psyche to their good
behavior. A day or two after this I noticed that the young gentleman had
left his seat, which you may remember was at the corner diagonal to that
of Iris, so that they have been as far removed from each other as they
could be at the table. His new seat is three or four places farther down
the table. Of course I made a romance out of this, at once. So stupid
not to see it! How could it be otherwise?--Did you speak, Madam? I beg
your pardon. (To my lady-reader.)

I never saw anything like the tenderness with which this young girl
treats her little deformed neighbor. If he were in the way of going to
church, I know she would follow him. But his worship, if any, is not
with the throng of men and women and staring children.

I, the Professor, on the other hand, am a regular church-goer. I should
go for various reasons, if I did not love it; but I am happy enough to
find great pleasure in the midst of devout multitudes, whether I can
accept all their creeds or not. One place of worship comes nearer than
the rest to my ideal standard, and to this it was that I carried our
young girl.

The Church of the Galileans, as it is called, is even humbler in outside
pretensions than the Church of Saint Polycarp. Like that, it is open to
all comers. The stranger who approaches it looks down a quiet street and
sees the plainest of chapels,--a kind of wooden tent, that owes whatever
grace it has to its pointed windows and the high, sharp roof,--traces,
both, of that upward movement of ecclesiastical architecture which
soared aloft in cathedral-spires, shooting into the sky as the spike of
a flowering aloe from the cluster of broad, sharp-wedged leaves below.
This suggestion of mediæval symbolism, aided by a minute turret in which
a hand-bell might have hung and found just room enough to turn over, was
all of outward show the small edifice could boast. Within there was very
little that pretended to be attractive. A small organ at one side, and a
plain pulpit, showed that the building was a church; but it was a church
reduced to its simplest expression.

Yet when the great and wise monarch of the East sat upon his throne, in
all the golden blaze of the spoils of Ophir and the freights of the navy
of Tarshish, his glory was not like that of this simple chapel in its
Sunday garniture. For the lilies of the field, in their season, and the
fairest flowers of the year, in due succession, were clustered every
Sunday morning over the preacher's desk. Slight, thin-tissued blossoms
of pink and blue and virgin white in early spring, then the
full-breasted and deep-hearted roses of summer, then the velvet-robed
crimson and yellow flowers of autumn, and in the winter delicate exotics
that grew under skies of glass in the false summers of our crystal
palaces without knowing that it was the dreadful winter of New England
which was rattling the doors and frosting the panes,--the whole year
told its history of life and growth and beauty from that simple desk.
There was always at least one good sermon,--this floral homily. There
was at least one good prayer,--that brief space when all were silent,
after the manner of the Friends at their devotions.

Here, too, Iris found an atmosphere of peace and love. The same gentle,
thoughtful faces, the same cheerful but reverential spirit, the same
quiet, the same life of active benevolence. But in all else how
different from the Church of Saint Polycarp! No clerical costume, no
ceremonial forms, no carefully trained choirs. A liturgy they have, to
be sure, which does not scruple to borrow from the time-honored manuals
of devotion, but also does not hesitate to change its expressions to its
own liking.

Perhaps the good people seem a little easy with each other;--they are
apt to nod cheerfully, and have even been known to whisper before the
minister came in. But it is a relief to get rid of that old
Sunday--no,--_Sabbath_ face, which suggests the idea that the first day
of the week is commemorative of some most mournful event. The truth is,
these people meet very much as a family does for its devotions, not
putting off their humanity in the least, considering it on the whole
quite a cheerful matter to come together for prayer and song and good
counsel from kind and wise lips. And if they are freer in their demeanor
than some very precise congregations, they have not the air of a worldly
set of people. Clearly they have _not_ come to advertise their tailors
and milliners, nor for the sake of exchanging criticisms on the literary
character of the sermon they may hear. There is no restlessness and no
restraint among this quiet, cheerful people. One thing that keeps them
calm and happy during the season so evidently trying to many
congregations is, that they join very generally in the singing. In this
way they get rid of that accumulated nervous force which escapes in all
sorts of fidgety movements, so that a minister trying to keep his
congregation still reminds one of a boy with his hand over the nose of a
pump which another boy is working,--this spirting impatience of the
people is so like the jets that find their way through his fingers, and
the grand rush out at the final Amen! has such a wonderful likeness to
the gush that takes place when the boy pulls his hand away, with such
immense relief, as it seems, to both the pump and the officiating

How sweet is this blending of all voices and all hearts in one common
song of praise! Some will sing a little loud, perhaps,--and now and then
an impatient chorister will get a syllable or two in advance, or an
enchanted singer so lose all thought of time and place in the luxury of
a closing cadence that he holds on to the last semibreve upon his
private responsibility; but how much more of the spirit of the old
Psalmist in the music of these imperfectly trained voices than in the
academic niceties of the paid performers who take our musical worship
out of our hands!

I am of the opinion that the creed of the Church of the Galileans is not
quite so precisely laid down as that of the Church of Saint Polycarp.
Yet I suspect, if one of the good people from each of those churches had
met over the bed of a suffering fellow-creature, or for the promotion of
any charitable object, they would have found they had more in common
than all the special beliefs or want of beliefs that separated them
would amount to. There are always many who believe that the fruits of a
tree afford a better test of its condition than a statement of the
composts with which it is dressed,--though the last has its meaning and
importance, no doubt.

Between these two churches, then, our young Iris divides her affections.
But I doubt if she listens to the preacher at either with more devotion
than she does to her little neighbor when he talks of these matters.

What does he believe? In the first place, there is some deep-rooted
disquiet lying at the bottom of his soul, which makes him very bitter
against all kinds of usurpation over the right of private judgment. Over
this seems to lie a certain tenderness for humanity in general, bred out
of life-long trial, I should say, but sharply streaked with fiery lines
of wrath at various individual acts of wrong, especially if they come in
an ecclesiastical shape, and recall to him the days when his mother's
great-grandmother was strangled on Witch Hill, with a text from the Old
Testament for her halter. With all this, he has a boundless belief in
the future of this experimental hemisphere, and especially in the
destiny of the free thought of its northeastern metropolis.

--A man can see further, Sir,--he said one day,--from the top of Boston
State-House, and see more that is worth seeing, than from all the
pyramids and turrets and steeples in all the places in the world! No
smoke, Sir; no fog, Sir; and a clean sweep from the Outer Light and the
sea beyond it to the New Hampshire mountains! Yes, Sir,--and there are
great truths that are higher than mountains and broader than seas, that
people are looking for from the tops of these hills of ours,--such as
the world never saw, though it might have seen them at Jerusalem, if its
eyes had been open!--Where do they have most crazy people? Tell me that,

I answered, that I had heard it said there were more in New England than
in most countries, perhaps more than in any part of the world.

Very good. Sir,--he answered.--When have there been most people killed
and wounded in the course of this century?

During the wars of the French Empire, no doubt,--I said.

That's it! that's it!--said the little gentleman;--where the battle of
intelligence is fought, there are most minds bruised and broken! We're
battling for a faith here, Sir.

The divinity-student remarked, that it was rather late in the world's
history for men to be looking out for a new faith.

I didn't say a new faith,--said the little gentleman;--old or new, it
can't help being different here in this American mind of ours from
anything that ever was before; the _people_ are new, Sir, and that makes
the difference. One load of corn goes to the sty, and makes the fat of
swine,--another goes to the farm-house, and becomes the muscle that
clothes the right arms of heroes. It isn't where a pawn stands on the
board that makes the difference, but what the game round it is when it
is on this or that square.

Can any man look round and see what Christian countries are now doing,
and how they are governed, and what is the general condition of society,
without seeing that Christianity is the flag under which the world
sails, and not the rudder that steers its course? No, Sir! There was a
great raft built about two thousand years ago,--call it an ark,
rather,--the world's great ark! big enough to hold all mankind, and made
to be launched right out into the open waves of life,--and here it has
been lying, one end on the shore and one end bobbing up and down in the
water, men fighting all the time as to who should be captain and who
should have the state-rooms, and throwing each other over the side
because they could not agree about the points of compass, but the great
vessel never gelling afloat with its freight of nations and their
rulers;--and now, Sir, there is and has been for this long time a fleet
of "heretic" lighters sailing out of Boston Bay, and they have been
saying, and they say now, and they mean to keep saying, "Pump out your
bilge-water, shovel over your loads of idle ballast, get out your old
rotten cargo, and we will carry it out into deep waters and sink it
where it will never be seen again; so shall the ark of the world's hope
float on the ocean, instead of sticking in the dock-mud where it is

It's a slow business, this of getting the ark launched. The Jordan
wasn't deep enough, and the Tiber wasn't deep enough, and the Rhone
wasn't deep enough, and the Thames wasn't deep enough,--and perhaps the
Charles isn't deep enough; but I don't feel sure of that, Sir, and I
love to hear the workmen knocking at the old blocks of tradition and
making the ways smooth with the oil of the Good Samaritan. I don't know,
Sir,--but I do think she stirs a little,--I do believe she slides;--and
when I think of what a work that is for the dear old three-breasted
mother of American liberty, I would not take all the glory of all the
greatest cities in the world for my birthright in the soil of little

--Some of us could not help smiling at this burst of local patriotism,
especially when it finished with the last two words.

And Iris smiled, too. But it was the radiant smile of pleasure which
always lights up her face when her little neighbor gets excited on the
great topics of progress in freedom and religion, and especially on the
part which, as he pleases himself with believing, his own city is to
take in that consummation of human development to which he looks

Presently she looked into his face with a changed expression,--the
anxiety of a mother that sees her child suffering.

You are not well,--she said.

I am never well,--he answered.--His eyes fell mechanically on the
death's-head ring he wore on his right hand. She took his hand as if it
had been a baby's, and turned the grim device so that it should be out
of sight. One slight, sad, slow movement of the head seemed to say, "The
death-symbol is still there!"

A very odd personage, to be sure! Seems to know what is going on,--reads
books, old and new,--has many recent publications sent him, they tell
me,--but, what is more curious, keeps up with the every-day affairs of
the world, too. Whether he hears everything that is said with
preternatural acuteness, or whether some confidential friend visits him
in a quiet way, is more than I can tell. I can make nothing more of the
noises I hear in his room than my old conjectures. The movements I
mention are less frequent, but I often hear the plaintive cry,--I
observe that it is rarely laughing of late;--I never have detected one
articulate word, but I never heard such tones from anything but a human

There has been, of late, a deference approaching to tenderness, on the
part of the boarders generally, so far as he is concerned. This is
doubtless owing to the air of suffering which seems to have saddened his
look of late. Either some passion is gnawing at him inwardly, or some
hidden disease is at work upon him.

--What's the matter with Little Boston?--said the young man John to me
one day.--There a'n't much of him, anyhow; but 't seems to me he looks
peakeder than ever. The old woman says he's in a bad way, 'n' wants a
nuss to take care of him. Them nusses that take care of old rich folks
marry 'em sometimes,--'n' they don't commonly live a great while after
that. _No, Sir!_ I don't see what he wants to die for, after he's taken
so much trouble to live in such poor accommodations as that crooked body
of his. I should like to know how his soul crawled into it, 'n' how it's
goin' to get out. What business has he to die, I should like to know?
Let Ma'am Allen (the gentleman with the _diamond_) die, if he likes, and
be (this is a family-magazine); but we a'n't goin' to have _him_ dyin'.
Not by a great sight. Can't do without him anyhow. A'n't it fun to hear
him blow off his steam?

I believe the young fellow would take it as a personal insult, if the
little gentleman should show any symptoms of quitting our table for a
better world.

--In the mean time, what with going to church in company with our young
lady, and taking every chance I could get to talk with her, I have found
myself becoming, I will not say intimate, but well acquainted with Miss
Iris. There is a certain frankness and directness about her that perhaps
belong to her artist nature. For, you see, the one thing that marks the
true artist is a clear perception and a firm, bold hand, in distinction
from that imperfect mental vision and uncertain touch which give us the
feeble pictures and the lumpy statues of the mere artisans on canvas or
in stone. A true artist, therefore, can hardly fail to have a sharp,
well-defined character. Besides this, many young girls have a strange
audacity blended with their instinctive delicacy. Even in physical
daring many of them are a match for boys; whereas you will find few
among mature women, and especially if they are mothers, who do not
confess, and not unfrequently proclaim, their timidity. One of these
young girls, as many of us hereabouts remember, climbed to the top of a
jagged, slippery rock lying out in the waves,--an ugly height to get up,
and a worse one to get down, even for a bold young fellow of sixteen.
Another was in the way of climbing tall trees for crows' nests,--and
crows generally know about how far boys can "shin up," and set their
household establishments above high-water-mark. Still another of these
young ladies I saw for the first time in an open boat, tossing on the
ocean ground-swell, a mile or two from shore, off a lonely island. She
lost all her daring, after she had some girls of her own to look out

Many blondes are very gentle, yielding in character, impressible,
unelastic. But the _positive_ blondes, with the golden tint running
through them, are often full of character. They come from those
deep-bosomed German women that Tacitus portrayed in such strong colors.
The _negative_ blondes, or those women whose tints have faded out as
their line of descent has become impoverished, are of various blood, and
in them the soul has often become pale with that blanching of the hair
and loss of color in the eyes which makes them approach the character of

I see in this young girl that union of strength and sensibility which,
when directed and impelled by the strong instinct so apt to accompany
this combination of active and passive capacity, we call _genius_. She
is not an accomplished artist, certainly, as yet; but there is always an
air in every careless figure she draws, as it were of upward
aspiration,--the _elan_ of John of Bologna's Mercury,--a lift to them,
as if they had on winged sandals, like the herald of the gods. I hear
her singing sometimes; and though she evidently is not trained, yet is
there a wild sweetness in her fitful and sometimes fantastic
melodies,--such as can come only from the inspiration of the
moment,--strangely enough, reminding me of those long passages I have
heard from my little neighbor's room, yet of different tone, and by no
means to be mistaken for those weird harmonies.

I cannot pretend to deny that I am interested in the girl. Alone,
unprotected, as I have seen so many young girls left in boarding-houses,
the centre of all the men's eyes that surround the table, watched with
jealous sharpness by every woman, most of all by that poor relation of
our landlady, who belongs to the class of women that like to catch
others in mischief when they are too mature for indiscretions, (as one
sees old rogues turn to thief-catchers,) one of Nature's _gendarmerie_,
clad in a complete suit of wrinkles, the cheapest coat-of-mail against
the shafts of the great little enemy,--so surrounded, Iris spans this
commonplace household-life of ours with her arch of beauty, as the
rainbow, whose name she borrows, looks down on a dreary pasture with its
feeding flocks and herds of indifferent animals.

These young girls that live in boarding-houses can do pretty much as
they will. The female _gendarmes_ are off guard occasionally. The
sitting-room has its solitary moments, when any two boarders who wish to
meet may come together accidentally, (_accidentally_, I said, Madam, and
I had not the slightest intention of Italicizing the word,) and discuss
the social or political questions of the day, or any other subject that
may prove interesting. Many charming conversations take place at the
foot of the stairs, or while one of the parties is holding the latch of
a door,--in the shadow of porticos, and especially on those outside
balconies which some of our Southern neighbors call "stoops," the most
charming places in the world when the moon is just right and the roses
and honeysuckles are in full blow,--as we used to think in eighteen
hundred and never mention it.

On such a balcony or "stoop," one evening, I walked with Iris. We were
on pretty good terms now, and I had coaxed her arm under mine,--my left
arm, of course. That leaves one's right arm free to defend the lovely
creature, if the rival--odious wretch!--attempt to ravish her from your
side. Likewise if one's heart should happen to beat a little, its mute
language will not be without its meaning, as you will perceive when the
arm you hold begins to tremble,--a circumstance like to occur, if you
happen to be a good-looking young fellow, and you two have the "stoop"
to yourselves.

We had it to ourselves that evening. The Koh-i-noor, as we called him,
was in a corner with our landlady's daughter. The young fellow John was
smoking out in the yard. The _gendarme_ was afraid of the evening air,
and kept inside. The young Marylander came to the door, looked out and
saw us walking together, gave his hat a pull over his forehead and
stalked off. I felt a slight spasm, as it were, in the arm I held, and
saw the girl's head turn over her shoulder for a second. What a kind
creature this is! She has no special interest in this youth, but she
does not like to see a young fellow going off because he feels as if he
were not wanted.

She had her locked drawing-book under her arm.--Let me take it,--I said.

She gave it to me to carry.

This is full of caricatures of all of us, I am sure,--said I.

She laughed, and said,--No,--not all of you.

I was there, of course?

Why, no,--she had never taken so much pains with me.

Then she would let me see the inside of it?

She would think of it.

Just as we parted, she took a little key from her pocket and handed it
to me.--This unlocks my naughty book,--she said,--you shall see it. I am
not afraid of you.

I don't know whether the last words exactly pleased me. At any rate, I
took the book and hurried with it to my room. I opened it, and saw, in a
few glances, that I held the heart of Iris in my hand.

       *       *       *       *       *

--I have no verses for you this month, except these few lines suggested
by the season.


Here! sweep these foolish leaves away,--
I will not crush my brains to-day!--
Look! are the southern curtains drawn?
Fetch me a fan, and so begone!

Not that,--the palm-tree's rustling leaf
Brought from a parching coral-reef!
Its breath is heated;--I would swing
The broad gray plumes,--the eagle's wing.

I hate these roses' feverish blood!--
Pluck me a half-blown lily-bud,
A long-stemmed lily from the lake,
Cold as a coiling water-snake.

Rain me sweet odors on the air,
And wheel me up my Indian chair,
And spread some book not overwise
Flat out before my sleepy eyes.

--Who knows it not,--this dead recoil
Of weary fibres stretched with toil,--
The pulse that flutters faint and low
When Summer's seething breezes blow?

O Nature! bare thy loving breast
And give thy child one hour of rest,--
One little hour to lie unseen
Beneath thy scarf of leafy green!

So, curtained by a singing pine,
Its murmuring voice shall blend with mine,
Till, lost in dreams, my faltering lay
In sweeter music dies away.


_Life and Liberty in America_: or Sketches of a Tour in the United
States and Canada in 1857-8. By CHARLES MACKAY, LL.D., F.S.A. London:
Smith, Elder, & Co. 1859.

"Let him come back and write a book about the 'Merrikins as'll pay all
his expenses and more, if he blows 'em up enough," urged Mr. Anthony
Weller, by way of climax to his scheme for Mr. Pickwick's liberation from
the Fleet Prison. Whether Mr. Dickens, in putting forth this suggestion
through one of his favorite characters, had or had not a view to
subsequent operations of his own, has long been a sore question among
his admirers on this side of the Atlantic. We believe that he had not;
and that such "blowing-up" as he imparted to the people of this country
was wholly unpremeditated and spontaneous, besides being of so harmless
a nature that the patriot of most uneasy virtue need have been nowise
distressed in consequence. The language can show few more amusing books
than the "American Notes," especially the serious parts thereof.

Mr. Dickens had plenty of objects besides his future self at which to
aim his satirical shot. At the time he discharged it, the literary
market of England was overstocked with books on America, the authors of
which had apparently tasked the best energies of their lungs in
incessant "blowings-up" of all that came within range of their breath.
Up to that period, though viewing America from various stand-points,
they had seldom failed to recognize this one essential element of
success. Since then, however, attempts have been made to satisfy the
prejudices of all sides,--in which the bitter and the sweet have been
deftly mingled, with the obvious belief that persons aggrieved, while
suffering from the authors' stings, would derive comfort from the
consciousness of accompanying honey. These hopes generally proved
fallacious, and the authors, falling to the ground between the two
stools of American sensitiveness and British asperity, were regarded in
the light of stern warnings by many of their successors, who straightway
became pitiless.

The critical works on America by English writers, published during the
last fifty years, may be numbered by hundreds. Of these, nearly half
have at different times been reprinted in this country. Most of them are
now unknown, having passed to that oblivion of letters from whose bourn
no short-sighted and narrow-minded traveller ever ought to return. The
annual harvest began to appear about a half-century ago, when little
more than descriptions of scenery and geographical statistics were
ventured upon,--although one quaint explorer, John Lambert, vouchsafed,
in 1810, some sketches of society, from which we learn, among other
interesting facts, that a species of Bloomerism pervaded New York, and
flourished on Broadway, even at that early day. Our visitors very soon
enlarged the sphere of their observations, and entered upon the widest
discussions of republican manners and morals. Slavery, as was to be
expected, received immediate attention. In the course of ten years,
"American Tours" had set in with such rigor, that one writer felt called
upon to apologize for adding another to the already profuse supply. This
was in 1818. For the next fifteen years, the principle of unlimited
mockery was quite faithfully observed. The Honorable De Roos, who made a
naval examination in 1826, and satisfied himself that the United States
could never be a maritime power,--Colonel Maxwell, who entered upon a
military investigation, and came to a similar conclusion respecting our
prospects as to army, and who gained great credit for independent
judgment by pronouncing Niagara a humbug,--Mrs. Kemble, frisky and
fragmentary, excepting when her father was concerned, and then filially
diffuse,--Mrs. Trollope, who refused to incumber herself with amiability
or veracity,--Mr. Lieber, who was principally troubled by a camp meeting
at which he assisted,--Miss Martineau, who retailed too much of the
gossip that had been decanted through the tunnel of her trumpet,--and
Captain Marryatt, who was simply clownish,--afford fair examples of the
style which dominated until about 1836 or 1837. Then works of a better
order began to appear. America received scientific attention. It had
been agriculturally worked up in 1818 by Cobbett, whose example was now
followed by Shirreff and others. In 1839, George Combe subjected us to
phrenological treatment, and had the frankness to acknowledge that it
was impossible for an individual to properly describe a great nation.
Afterwards came Lyell, the geologist, who did not, however, confine
himself to scientific research, but also analyzed the social deposits,
and ascertained that Slavery was triturable. The manufacturers of
gossip, meanwhile, had revolutionized the old system. Mr. Dickens blew
hot and cold, uniting extremes. Godley, in 1841, disavowed satire, and
was solemnly severe. Others evinced a similar disposition, but the
result was not triumphant. Alexander Mackay, in 1846, returned to
ridicule; and Alfred Bunn, a few years after, surpassed even Marryatt in
his flippant falsehood. Mr. Arthur Cunynghame, a Canadian officer,
entertained his friends, in 1850, with a dainty volume, in which the
first personal pronoun averaged one hundred to a page, and the manner of
which was as stiff as the ramrods of his regiment. Of our more recent
judges, the best remembered are Lady Emmeline Stuart Wortley who gave to
the world the details of her private experiences,--Mr. Chambers, of
whose book there is really nothing in particular to say,--Mr. Baxter,
who considered Peter Parley a shining light of American
literature,--Miss Murray, who sacrificed her interests at St. James's
upon the shrine of Antislavery,--Mr. Phillipps, scientific,--Mr.
Russell, agricultural,--Mr. Jobson, theological,--and Mr. Colley
Grattan, who may be termed the Sir Anthony Absolute of American censors,
insisting that the Lady Columbia shall be as ugly as he chooses, shall
have a hump on each shoulder, shall be as crooked as the crescent, and
so forth.

Last of all comes Mr. Charles Mackay's book. Before proceeding to the
few general words we have to say of it, let us look for a moment at a
question which he, like a number of his predecessors, has considered
with some attention. Why it is that the people of the United States
manifest such acute sensibility to the strictures of English writers,
and receive their criticisms with so much suspicion, Mr. Mackay is
unable fully to determine. He is forced to believe that it is only their
anxiety "to stand well in English opinion which causes them to wince";
particularly as "French and Germans may condemn, and nobody cares what
they say." This is but a part of the truth. Unquestionably, Americans
do, as Mr. Mackay says, "attach undue importance to what English
travellers may say"; but this does not account for the universal feeling
of mortification which follows the appearance of each new tourist's
story. Americans have not failed to observe, that, of the hundreds of
writers who come over, only a few of the most prominent of whom we have
mentioned above, not one in fifty is animated by a sincere impulse of
honest good-will. They have learned to mistrust them all, as triflers
with our reputation, if not predetermined calumniators. They have
witnessed over and over again the childish ignorance, the discourtesy,
the vulgar deceptions of this class of bookmakers. They are not blind to
these repeated struggles to digest a mass of mental food for years, in
days or weeks. They know their nation cannot be understood by these
chance viewers, feebly glancing through greenest spectacles, any more
than the Atlantic can be sounded with a seven-fathom line. They have
become familiar with the English traveller only to regard him with
contempt. Each new production has opened the old wound. Each new
announcement awakens only derisive expectations. As for "French and
Germans," with them it is very different; and Mr. Mackay ought to know
it. They commonly write, if not with comprehensive vision, at least with
integrity of purpose. The best works on America are by Frenchmen. What
Englishman has shown the sincerity and fairness of De Tocqueville or
Chevalier? Knowing, then, that absurd malice and a capacity for
microscopic investigation of superficial irregularities in a society not
yet defined are the principal, and in many cases the only,
qualifications deemed necessary to accomplish an English book on
America, is it matter for wonder that Americans should hesitate to kiss
the clumsy rods so liberally dispensed?

We hasten to say that Mr. Charles Mackay's "Life and Liberty in America"
is unusually free from the worst of these faults. Hasty judgments,
offences against taste, inaccuracies, occasional revelations of personal
pique it has; but it is not malicious. Sometimes it is even affecting in
its tenderness. It breathes a spirit of paternal regard. But it is,
perhaps, the dullest of books. If not "icily regular," it is "splendidly
null." The style is as oppressive as a London fog. It is marked, to use
the author's own words, by "elegant and drowsy stagnation." After the
first few pages, it is with weariness that we follow him. We are
inclined to think Mr. Mackay has written too much, Mr. Squeers had milk
for three of his pupils watered up to the necessities of five. Mr.
Mackay's experiences might have sustained him through a single small
volume, but he has diluted them to the requirements of two large ones.
This would injure the prospects of his work in America, but may not
interfere with them in England. Minute details of toilet agonies,
pecuniary miseries, laundry tribulations, and anxieties of appetite may
possess an interest abroad which we are unable to appreciate here. We
are not excited by the intelligence that Mr. Mackay had an altercation
with a negro servant on board a Sound steamer, because he could not have
lager-beer at table. Such things have been noticed before. We do not
shed a sympathetic tear over the two dollars which he once had to
disgorge in New York, in payment for a ride of two miles; nor do we
mourn for the numerous other dollars with which he reluctantly parted to
satisfy the rapacity of hack-drivers all over the Union. We do not
thrill with indignation, when we learn that he was, on a certain
occasion, swept by crinolines into the middle of Broadway. Neither are
we in any way stirred by such information as, that he, like an English
lord of whom he tells, was accustomed to eat oysters every night in New
York; or that he "was pervaded, permeated, steeped, and bathed in a
longing desire to behold Niagara," and that, when he beheld it, his
"feelings were not so much those of astonishment as of an overpowering
sense of Law"; or that a peddler in a railroad-car sold nine bottles of
quack medicine at a dollar a bottle; or that he had eight pages of
interview with a Baltimore madman, who proved his insanity by
perpetually calling Mr. Mackay the "Prince of the Poets of England." The
dreary solemnity with which these incidents are narrated renders them
doubly tedious. A flash of humor might enliven them, but we never see a
spark. Mr. Mackay's comic stories, too, of which there are not a few,
are most lamentable specimens of wit, suggesting forcibly the
poppy-seeds spoken of by Mr. Pillicoddy, which are soporific in
tendency, and which, if taken incessantly for a period of three weeks,
produce instant death.

Mr. Mackay's experiences were not of a startling character. He travelled
leisurely, and recorded discreetly. His blunders on a large scale are
not numerous; but of minor facts, he announces many which may be classed
among the remarkable discoveries of the season. He states that New York,
New Jersey,(!) and Brooklyn form one city; that Broadway, N.Y., is
decorated with elms, willows, and mountain-ashes, "drooping in green
beauty"; that persons with decent coats and clean shirts in Boston may
be safely put down as lecturers, Unitarian ministers, or poets; that
Maryland and Virginia are one commonwealth; that eighteen months before
every Presidential election, a cause of quarrel is made with England by
both the principal political parties, for the purpose of securing the
Irish rote; that measly pork is caused by too hasty insertion in brine
after killing, and consequent rapid fermentation; that the people of
the United States, unless they have travelled in Europe, are quite
unable to appreciate wit. [Mr. Mackay's wit? If so, certainly.] These
are but random pluckings from a rich blossoming.

The subject upon which the author has labored most earnestly is that of
Slavery. If the views he sets forth are the result of his own
investigation, he is entitled to credit for unusual exactness. There is
nothing new about them, to be sure; but there is also nothing absurd,
which is a great point. He maintains the argument against Slavery, that
it is to be practically considered in its injurious influences on the
white people of the Slave States, and, through them, on the nation at
large. When he undertakes an emotional view of the "institution," he
becomes feeble again. He thus describes his sensations while visiting a
slave-market in New Orleans:--"I entertained at that moment such a
hatred of slavery, that, had it been in my power to abolish it in an
instant off the face of the earth by the mere expression of my will,
slavery at that moment would have ceased to exist,"--an avowal which
will hardly be likely to confound the American people by its boldness.

The statistical information in these volumes is as accurate as that of
ordinary gazetteers. In most cases, the author appears to have drawn his
information from proper sources. The principal exceptions to this are
shown in one or two statements which he makes on the authority of his
Pylades, Colonel Fuller, and in his remarks upon Canada, which are
colored with excessive warmth. Mr. Mackay rests greater hopes upon the
future of Canada than upon that of the United States. He considers the
Canadians as the rivals in energy, enterprise, and industry of the
people of the United States. His testimony differs from that of Lord
Durham, who had good opportunities for knowing something about the
matter when he had charge of Canadian affairs, and who declared, that
"on the American side of the frontier all is activity and bustle," etc.,
"on the British side all seems waste and desolate."

Mr. Mackay gives correctly the most prominent names of American
literature, but his list of artists is very imperfect. The little that
he says about American music is all wrong. The first opera by an
American was produced in 1845; and it is not true that this is a
solitary example. Were it possible for us to pursue them, we should run
down more errors of this kind than a prudent man would have put into

Altogether, while we readily admit that Mr. Mackay has honestly, and, in
general, good-naturedly, performed his duty as an American chronicler,
renouncing in a great measure the old principle of "blowing-up," and
that his essays do not reek with ignorance, like those of many of his
predecessors, it is yet proper to say that he has achieved a stupendous
bore. His two volumes are to us a melancholy remembrance. Their life is
spiced with no variety. The same dead level of dry personal detail
speaks through each chapter; or if occasional relief is afforded, it is
"in liquid lines mellifluously bland," and prosier than all the rest.
The one source of amusement that the reader will discover is the
complacent self-confidence which no assumption of modesty can hide. "A
controversy had been raging for at least a week" in Philadelphia about
the author's letters in the "Illustrated London News." His defender was
"one of the most influential and best-conducted papers of the Union";
his assailant behaved "scurvily." We cannot lavish examples. This is the
type of a hundred. Mr. Mackay seems to expect that his Jeremiad on
tobacco-chewing and spitting will act in America as St. Patrick's spells
did on the vermin of Ireland. Unfortunately, it will not. Mr. Dickens
attempted the same thing in a much better manner,--excepting where Mr.
Mackay has copied him exactly, as he has once or twice,--and even the
novelist's efforts were fruitless. On the other hand, the main source of
annoyance will be found in the needless elevation of minute evils, and
the determination to form general judgments from isolated experiences.
But of this we do not much complain. Rome derived some benefit from the
cackling of a goose. Possibly we may be made in some respects a wiser
and a better nation through Mr. Mackay's influence. For ourselves,
however, if our aspirations ever turn toward a literary Paradise, we
shall pray that it may be one where travellers cease from troubling and
dull tourists are at rest.

       *       *       *       *       *

1. _The New and the Old_; or California and India in Romantic Aspects.
By J.W. PALMER, M.D. New York: Rudd & Carleton. 1859.

2. _Up and Down the Irawaddi_; being Passages of Adventure in the Burman
Empire. By the Same.

It has passed into a scornful proverb, that it needs good optics to see
what is not to be seen; and yet we should be inclined to say that the
first essential of a good traveller was to be gifted with eyesight of
precisely that kind. All his senses should be as delicate as eyes; and,
above all, he should be able to see with the fine eye of imagination,
compared with which all the other organs with which the mind grasps and
the memory holds are as clumsy as thumbs. The demand for this kind of
traveller and the opportunity for him increase as we learn more and more
minutely the dry facts and figures of the most inaccessible corners of
the earth's surface. There is no hope of another Ferdinand Mendez Pinto,
with his statistics of Dreamland, who makes no difficulty of impressing
"fourscore thousand rhinocerots" to draw the wagons of the King of
Tartary's army, or of killing eight hundred and fifty thousand men with
a flourish of his quill,--for what were a few ciphers to him, when his
inkhorn was full and all Christendom to be astonished?--but there is all
the more need of voyagers who give us something better than a census of
population, and who know of other exports from strange countries than
can be expressed by $----. Give us the traveller who makes us feel the
mystery of the Figure at Saïs, whose veil has a new meaning for every
beholder, rather than him who brings back a photograph of the uncovered
countenance, with its one unvarying granite story for all. There is one
glory of the Gazetteer with his fixed facts, and another of the Poet
with his variable quantities of fancy. The fixed fact may be unfixed
next year, like an almanac, but the hasty sketch of the true artist is
good forever.

Critics have a good-natured way of stigmatizing, for the initiated, all
poetry that is not poetry, by saying that it is "elegant," "harmonious,"
or, worse than all, "descriptive." This last commonly means that the
author has done for his readers precisely what they could do for
themselves,--that he has made a catalogue of the natural objects to be
found in a certain number of acres, which differs from the literary
efforts of an auctioneer only in this, that each line begins with a
capital and contains the same number of syllables. He counts the number
of cabbages in a field, of cows in a pasture, and tells us how many
times a squirrel ran up (or down) a given tree in a given time. He
informs us that the bark of the shagbark is shaggy, that the
sleep-at-noon slumbers at mid-day, that moss is apt to grow on fallen
tree-trunks in damp places,--treats us as the old alchemists do, who
give us a list of the materials out of which gold (if it had any moral
sense) would at once consent to be made, but somehow won't,--and leaves
us impressed with that very dead certainty, that things are so-and-so,
which is the result of verses that are only so-so.

Readers of the "Atlantic" need not be told that Dr. Palmer is not a
descriptive poet of this fashion. They have known how to appreciate his
sketches of East Indian life, so vivid, picturesque, and imaginative
that they could make "Griffins" feel twinges of liver-complaint, and so
true that we have heard them pronounced "incomparable" by men familiar
with India. Dr. Palmer is no mere describer; he sees with the eye of a
poet, touches only what is characteristic, and, while he seems to
surrender himself wholly to the Circe Imagination, retains the polished
coolness of the man of the world, and the _brownness_ of the man of the
nineteenth century. He not only knows how to observe, but how to
write,--both of them accomplishments rare enough in an age when
everybody is ready to contract for their display by the column. His
style is nervous and original, not harassingly pointed like a
chestnut-burr, but full of _esprit_ or wit diffused,--that Gallic leaven
which pervades whole sentences and paragraphs with an indefinable
lightness and palatableness. It is a thoroughly American style, too, a
little over-indifferent to tradition and convention, but quite free of
the _sic-semper-tyrannis_ swagger. Uncle Bull, who is just like his
nephew in thinking that he has a divine right to the world's oyster,
cannot swallow it properly till he has donned a white choker, and
refuses to be comforted when Jonathan disposes of it in his rapid way
with the shell for a platter. We confess that we prefer the
free-and-easy manner in its proper place to the diplomatic way of always
treating the reader with sentiments of the highest consideration, and
like a book all the more for having an Occidental flavor.

But it is not merely or chiefly as being among the cleverest and
liveliest of modern light literature that we value Dr. Palmer's books.
They have a true poetic value, and instruct as much as they entertain.
While he is telling us a San Francisco story, the truth of the
accessories and the skill with which they are grouped bring the
California of 1849 before us with unmatched vividness. We have been
getting knowledge and learning a deep moral without suspecting it, as if
by our own observation and experience. In the same way "Asirvadam the
Brahmin" is a prose poem that lets us into the secret of the Indian
revolt. It is seldom that we meet with volumes of more real power than
these, or whose force is so artistically masked under ease and
playfulness. We prefer the "Old" part of the book to the "New." It seems
to us to show a better style of handling. There is something of
melodrama in the style of the California stories,--a flavor of blue
lights and burnt cork. At the same time, we must admit that there is a
melodramatic taint in our American life:--witness the Sickles vulgarity.
Young America is _b'hoyish_ rather than boyish, and perhaps the "New"
may be all the truer to Nature for what we dislike in it.

"The New and the Old" is fittingly dedicated to the Autocrat of all the
Breakfast-Tables, than whom no man has done more to demonstrate that wit
and mirth are not incompatible with seriousness of purpose and
incisiveness of thought.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Napoleonic Ideas_. By Prince NAPOLEON LOUIS BONAPARTE. Translated by
JAMES A. DORR. New York: D. Appleton & Company. 1859.

This publication has at least that merit which is one of the first in
literature,--it is timely. Though we look upon the Emperor of the French
as a kind of imperial Jonathan Wild, it does not the less concern us to
make a true estimate of his intellectual capacity. Nothing is more
unwise than to assume that a man's brain must be limited because his
moral sense is small; yet no mistake is more common. Napoleon the Third
may play an important part in History, though by no possibility an
heroic one. In reading this little volume, one cannot fail to be struck
with the presence of mind and the absence of heart of which it gives
evidence. It is the advertisement of a charlatan, whose sole inheritance
is the right to manufacture the Napoleonic pill, and we read with
unavoidable distrust the vouchers of its wonderful efficacy. We do not
fancy the Bonapartist grape-cure, nor believe in it.

Mr. Dorr's translation is excellent. He understands French, and is able
to do it into English elegantly and accurately without any trace of
foreign idiom. This is no easy thing; for our general experience has
been that translators read French like Englishmen and write English like

       *       *       *       *       *

_Country Life_. By R. MORRIS COPELAND. Boston: John P. Jewett & Company.

In an article on "Farming Life in New England," published in a former
volume of the "Atlantic," a valued contributor drew attention to the
painful lack of beauty in the lives and homes of our rural population.
Some attempts were made to show that his statements were exaggerated;
but we are satisfied that they were true in all essential particulars.
The abolition of entails, (however wise in itself,) and the consequent
subdivision of estates, will always put country life, in the English
sense of the words, out of the question here. Our houses will continue
to be tents; trees, without ancestral associations, will be valued by
the cord; and that cumulative charm, the slow result of associations, of
the hereditary taste of many generations, must always be wanting. Age is
one of the prime elements of natural beauty; but among us the love of
what is new so predominates, that we have known the largest oak in a
county to be cut down by the selectmen to make room for a shanty
schoolhouse, simply because the tree was of "no account," being hollow
and gnarled, and otherwise delightfully picturesque. Our people are
singularly dead also to the value of beauty in public architecture; and
while they clear away a tree which the seasons have been two centuries
in building, they will put up with as little remorse a stone or brick
abomination that shall be a waking nightmare for a couple of centuries
to come. But selectmen are not chosen with reference to their knowledge
of Price or Ruskin.

Mr. Copeland's book is specially adapted to the conditions of a
community like ours. Its title might have been "Rural Æsthetics for Men
of Limited Means, or the Laws of Beauty considered in their Application
to Small Estates." It is a volume happily conceived and happily
executed, and meets a palpable and increasing want of our civilization.
Whatever adds grace to the daily lives of a people, and awakens in them
a perception of the beauty of outward Nature and its healthful reaction
on the nature of man,--whatever tends to make toil unsordid, and to put
it in relations of intelligent sympathy with the beautiful progression
of the seasons,--adds incalculably to the wealth of a country, though
the increase may not appear in the Report of the Secretary of the

Mr. Copeland's volume is calculated to do this, and his own
qualifications for the task he has undertaken are manifold. Chief among
them we should reckon a true enthusiasm for the cause he advocates, and
a hearty delight in out-of-doors-life. He writes with the zeal and
warmth of a reformer; but these are tempered by practical knowledge, and
such a respect for the useful as will not sacrifice it to the merely
pretty. His volume contains not only suggestions in landscape-gardening,
guided always by the true principle of making Nature our ally rather
than attempting to subdue her, but minute directions for the greenhouse,
grapery, conservatory, farm, and kitchen-garden. One may learn from it
how to plant whatever grows, and to care for it afterwards. Engravings
and plans make clear whatever needs illustration. The book has also the
special merit of _not_ being adapted to the meridian of Greenwich.

We do not always agree with Mr. Copeland; we dissent especially from his
prejudice against the noble horsechestnut-tree, with its grand
thunder-cloud of foliage, its bee-haunted cones of bloom, and its
polished fruit so uselessly useful to children,--Bushy Park is answer
enough on that score; but we cordially appreciate his taste and ability.
His book will justify a warm commendation. It is laid out on true
principles of landscape-farming. The stiff and square economical details
are relieved by passages of great beauty and picturesqueness. The
cockney who owns a snoring-privilege in the suburbs will be stimulated
to a sense of latent beauty in clouds and fields; and the farmer who
looks on the cosmic forces as mere motive-power for the wheels of his
money-mill will find the truth of the proverb, that more water runs over
the dam than the miller wots of, and learn that Nature is as lavish of
Beauty as she is frugal in Use. Even to the editor, whose only fields
are those of literature, and whose only leaves grow from a
composing-stick, the advent of a book like this is refreshing. It
enables him to lay out with a judicious economy the gardens attached to
his Spanish manor-houses, and to do his farming without risk of loss, in
the most charming way of all, (especially in July weather,)--by proxy.
Without leaving our study, we have already raised some astonishing
prize-vegetables, and our fat cattle have been approvingly mentioned in
the committee's report. We have found an afternoon's reading in Mr.
Copeland's book almost as good as owning that "place in the country"
which almost all men dream of as an ideal to be realized whenever their
visionary ship comes in.

       *       *       *       *       *

_High Life in New York_. By JONATHAN SLICK. Philadelphia: Peterson &

The advantages of a favorable introduction are very obvious. A person
who enters society fortified with eulogistic letters, giving assurance
of his trustworthiness, so far as respectability and good behavior are
concerned, is tolerably sure of a comfortable reception. But if, unable
to sustain the character his credentials ascribe to him, he immediately
begin to display bad manners, ignorance, and folly, he not only forfeits
the position to which he has gained accidental access, but also brings
discredit upon his too hasty indorser.

In literature it is not different. The collection of printed matter
which appears under the title of "High Life in New York" is accompanied
by a note, signed by the publishers, who are naturally supposed to know
something of the real value of the works they issue, in which "editors
are forewarned that it is a volume which, for downright drollery and
hearty humor, has never had its equal in the productions of any American
pen," and are otherwise admonished in various ways calculated to inspire
lofty expectations, and to fill the mind with exalted visions of coming
joy. But when it appears, on examination, that the book is as utterly
unworthy of these elaborate commendations as any book can possibly
be,--that it is from beginning to end nothing but a dead level of
stagnant verbiage, a desolate waste of dreary platitude,--the reader
cannot but regard the publishers' ardent expressions of approbation as
going quite beyond the license allowable in preliminary puffs.

"High Life in New York" represents a class of publications which has, of
late, in many ways, been set before the public with too great
liberality. The sole object seems to be to exhibit the "Yankee"
character in its traditional deformities of stupidity and
meanness,--otherwise denominated simplicity and shrewdness. Mr. Jonathan
Slick is in no respect different from the ordinary fabulous Yankee. An
illiterate clown he is, who, visiting New York, contrives by vice of
impudence, to interfere very seriously with certain conventionalities of
the metropolis. He overthrows, by his indomitable will, a great many
social follies. He eats soup with a knife and fork; wears no more than
one shirt a week; forces his way into ladies' chambers at unseemly
hours, to cure them of timidity; and introduces sundry other reforms,
all of which are recorded as evidences of glorious independence and a
true nobility of spirit. Sometimes he goes farther,--farther than we
care to follow him. It would be easy to show wherein he is offensive,
not to say disgusting; but we are not so disposed. It is not considered
necessary for the traveller who has dragged his way over a muddy road to
prove the nastiness of his pilgrimage by imparting the stain to our

In this book, as in most of its class, the Yankee dialect is employed
throughout, the author evidently believing that bad spelling and bad
grammar are the legitimate sources of New England humor. This shows that
he mistakes means for ends,--just as one who supposes that Mr. Merryman,
in the circus, must, of necessity, be funny, because he wears the motley
and his nose is painted red. The Yankee dialect is Mr. Jonathan Slick's
principal element of wit; his second is the onion. The book is redolent
of onions. That odorous vegetable breathes from every page. A woman
weeps, and onions are invoked to lend aromatic fragrance to a stale
comparison. In one place, onions and education are woven together by
some extraordinary rhetorical machinery; in another, religion is
glorified through the medium of the onion; until at last the narrative
seems to resolve itself into a nauseating nightmare, such as might
torture the brain of some unhappy dreamer in a bed of onions.

Why such works are ever written at all, it is difficult to imagine; but
how it is, that, when written, they find publishers, is inconceivable.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Great Auction-Sale of Slaves, at Savannah, Georgia_. New York:
Published by the American Anti-Slavery Society.

This little pamphlet, reprinted from the columns of the "New York
Tribune," possesses a double interest. It furnishes the best and most
minute description of an auction-sale of slaves that has ever been
published; and it admirably illustrates the enterprise and prompt energy
which often distinguish the journalism of America above that of any
other country.

The slave-sale of which it is a record took place on the second and
third days of March last, in the city of Savannah. For many reasons, it
had been looked forward to with more than usual interest. The position
of the owner, Mr. Pierce M. Butler, of Philadelphia, and the large
number (no less than four hundred and thirty-six) and superior quality
of the human chattels offered for sale, added to the importance of the
event. The "Tribune" had one of its best descriptive writers, Mr.
Mortimer Thomson, on the spot. The duty Mr. Thomson undertook was not
without danger; for a somewhat extensive notoriety as an _attaché_ of
the "Tribune" was not likely to insure him the most cordial reception at
the South. Had his presence been discovered, the temper of the people of
Savannah would speedily have betrayed itself; and had his purpose been
suspected, their wrath would assuredly have culminated in wreakages of a
nature unfavorable to his personal comfort. But with caution, and the
aid of Masonic influences, he escaped detection, and accomplished his
aim. The result of his observations was a report of considerable length,
in which every striking incident of the sale was narrated with accurate
fidelity. Although written mostly on the rail and against time, under
circumstances which would be fatal to the labors of any man not inured
by newspaper experience to all sorts of literary hardships, the style is
clear, distinct, and often eloquent. The scene and the transaction are
brought vividly to the reader's mind. The throng of eager
speculators,--the heavy-eyed and brutal drivers,--the sprightlier
representatives of Chivalry,--the unhappy slaves, abandoning hope as
they enter the mart, excepting in rare cases, where, grasping at straws,
they pray in trembling tones that their ties of love may remain
unsevered,--the operations of the sale,--the shrinking women, standing
submissively under the vile jests of the reckless crowd,--are portrayed
with all the emphasis of truth. One little episode in particular, the
love-story of Jeffrey and Dorcas, is a more affecting history than
romance can show.

The effect of this publication in the "Tribune" was prodigious. It was
widely circulated through all the journals of the North. The
Anti-Slavery Society preserved it in a pamphlet. The ire of a good
portion of the Southern journals was ludicrous to witness, and proved
how keenly the blow was felt. The report was republished in Great
Britain,--first in the London "Times," and subsequently, as a pamphlet,
in Edinburgh, in Glasgow, and in Belfast. In one publisher's
announcement, at least, it was advertised as "Greeley's Account of the
Great Slave-Sale."

       *       *       *       *       *

_Popular Tales from the Norse_. By GEORGE WEBBE DASENT, D.C.L. With an
Introductory Essay on the Origin and Diffusion of Popular Tales. New
York: D. Appleton & Co. 12mo. pp. lxix., 379.

The tales of which this volume presents the first English
translation--though, as regards some of them, hardly the first English
version--appear to have been collected about twenty or twenty-five years
ago. Two gentlemen, Messrs. Asbjörnsen and Moe, (the name of the first
of whom begets much confidence in his ability for the task,) went out
among the most unlettered and rudest of the common folk of Norway and
Sweden, and there, from the lips of old women and little children,
gathered these stories of the antique time. Of what age the stories are,
nobody knows,--those who listened to them in their childhood, to relate
them in turn in their declining years, least perhaps of all. For they
are a part of the inheritance common to all the races that have sprung
from the Asiatic ancestor, who, at periods the nearest of which is far
beyond the ken of history, and at intervals of centuries, sent off
descendants to find a resting-place in Europe; and it is one great
object, if not the principal object, of the original collectors and the
translator of these tales to exhibit in them a bond of union among all
European peoples.

Indeed, the tales in their present form may be regarded as examples in
point appended to the translator's Essay which opens the volume. For
they will add little to our stock of available stories, for either
youthful or adult reading. The best of them already are a part of our
nursery lore, and are known to the English race under forms better
adapted to English taste and sympathies than those under which they are
here presented; and nearly all of those that are exceptions to this
remark are unfitted for "home consumption," either by the objectionable
nature of their subjects, by the still more objectionable tendency of
their teaching, or by a yet more fatal demerit,--their lack of interest.
They are in some respects notably tame and puerile,--with a puerility
which is not childish simplicity, but a lack of inventive fancy, and
which exhibits itself in bald repetition. The giant, for instance,
always complains of a smell of Christian blood, and is always answered
by the formula, that a crow flew over the chimney and must have dropped
a bone down it; the hero almost always meets three old women, or three
Trolls, or three enchanted beasts or birds, of whom he in that case
always asks the same questions, receiving the same replies, _verbatim_.
There is a reason for this sameness, which is indicative of the rude
condition of the people among whom the tales have been perpetuated; but
the sameness palls none the less upon more cultivated minds. Mr. Dasent
characterizes these people as "an honest and manly race,--not the race
of the towns and cities, but of the dales and fells, free and unsubdued,
holding its own in a country where there are neither lords nor ladies,
but simple men and women. Brave men and fair women," etc. (p. lxviii.)
And he says of the tales, that in no other collection is "the general
tone so chaste, are the great principles of morality better worked out,
and right and wrong kept so steadily in sight." (p. lxii.) We cannot
agree with him in this appreciation of the moral tone of the stories,
many of which certainly speak ill for the honesty and manliness of the
race among which they have been for centuries cherished
household-treasures. For in a large proportion of those that have a
successful hero, he obtains his success either by lying or some kind of
deceit or treachery, by stealing, or by imposing upon the credulity or
feebleness of age; and of those in which the hero is himself victorious
over oppression, we are not able to recollect one which exhibits the
beauty of moderation and magnanimity, not to say of Christian charity
and forgiveness. Mr. Dasent mentions it as an admirable trait of the
tales, that, "in the midst of every difficulty and danger, arises that
old Norse feeling of making the best of everything and keeping a good
face to the foe." Certainly the heroes of these tales do make the best
of everything, but they are not at all scrupulous as to their way of
making it; and they do also keep a good face to the foe, when (often by
craft, theft, or violence) they have obtained some implement or other
gift of supernatural power which places their opponents entirely at
their mercy and with no risk to themselves. But of a manful contest on
equal terms, or of a victory obtained over tyrannous power by a union of
patience, boldness, and honest skill, or even by undegrading stratagem,
the collection affords no instance that we remember.

The story of Shortshanks may be taken as a fair, and even a favorable
example of the tone of these Norse tales. Shortshanks and King Sturdy
are twin brothers, who set out to seek their fortunes within a few
minutes of their birth, driven thereto by a precocious perception of the
_res angustæ domi_. They part at two roads almost immediately, and the
story follows the fortunes of Shortshanks, the younger; for in these
miniature romances the elder is, as usual, continually snubbed, and the
younger is always the great man. Shortshanks has not gone far before he
meets "an old crook-backed hag," who has only one eye; and he commences
his career by gouging out or "snapping up" the single comfort of this
helpless creature. To get her eye back again, she gives Shortshanks a
sword that will put a whole army to flight; and he, charmed with the
result of his first manoeuvre, puts it in practice successively upon two
other decrepit, half-blind women, who, to get their eyes again, give
him, one, a ship that can sail over fresh water and salt water and over
high hills and deep dales, the other, the art how to brew a hundred
lasts of malt at one strike. The ship takes him to the king's palace, on
arriving at which he puts his vessel in his pocket, when he summons his
craft to his aid, and gets a place in the king's kitchen to carry wood
and water for the maid. The king's daughter has for some inscrutable
reason been promised to three ogres, who come successively to fetch her;
and a certain Ritter Red professes to be man enough to rescue her, but
on the approach of the first ogre proves to be a coward and climbs a
tree. But Shortshanks slips off from his scullery; and having a weapon
which can put a whole army to flight by a single stroke, he is very
brave, and keeps a remarkably good face to the foe, giving him with his
tongue as good as he sends, and, laughing the ogres' dubs to scorn, cuts
off the ogrous heads, (there are five on the first individual, ten on
the second, and fifteen on the third,) and carries off much treasure
from the ships in which his foes came to fetch their victim. Ritter Red
descends, and takes the lungs and the tongues of the ogres, (though, as
the latter were thirty in number and of gigantic size, he must have had
trouble in carrying them,) and wishes to pass them off as evidence that
he is the deliverer of the princess, of which they would seem to have
been very satisfactory proof: but the gold, silver, and diamonds carry
the day; Shortshanks has the princess and half the kingdom, and Ritter
Red is thrown into a pit full of snakes,--on the French general's
principle, we suppose, who hung his cowards "_pour encourager les
autres_." But the king has another daughter, whom an ogre has carried
off to the bottom of the sea. Shortshanks discovers her while the ogre
is out looking for a man who can brew a hundred lasts of malt at one
strike. He finds the man at home, of course, and puts him to his task.
Shortshanks gets the ogre and all his kith and kin to help the brew, and
brews the wort so strong, that, on tasting it, they all fall down dead,
except one, an old woman, "who lay bed-ridden in the chimney-corner,"
and to her our hero carries his wort and kills her too. He then carries
off the treasure of the ogres, and gives this princess and the other
half of the kingdom to his brother Sturdy.

Now we have no particular fault to find with such stories as these, when
they are produced as characteristic specimens of the folk-lore of a
people; as such, they have a value beside their intrinsic interest;--but
when we are asked to receive them as part of the evidence that that
people is an honest and manly race, and as an acceptable addition to our
stock of household tales, we demur. The truth is, that the very worth of
these tales is to be found not only in the fact that they form a part of
the stock from which our own are derived, but in the other fact that
they represent that stock as it existed at an earlier and ruder stage of
humanitarian development. They were told by savage mothers to savage
children; and although some of them teach the few virtues common to
barbarism and civilization, they are filled with the glorification of
savage vice and crime;--deceit, theft, violence, even ruthless vengeance
upon a cruel parent, are constantly practised by the characters which
they hold up to favor. Such humor as they have, too, is of the coarsest
kind, and is expressed chiefly in rude practical jokes, or the bloody
overreaching of the poor thick-headed Trolls, who are the butts of the
stories and the victims of their heroes. There is good ethnological and
mythological reason why the Trolls should be butts and victims, it is
true; but that is not to the present purpose.

But although this judgment must be passed upon the collection,
considered merely as tales to be told and read at this stage of the
world's progress, there are several notable exceptions to it,--tales
which are based upon healthy instincts, and which appeal to sympathies
that are never entirely undeveloped in the breasts of human beings above
the grade of Bushmen, or in which the fun does not depend upon the
exhibition of unexpected modes of inflicting death, pain, or discomfort.
It is not, however, in these that we are to look for the chief
attraction and compensating value of the collection. Those are to be
found, as we have already hinted, in the relative aspects of the tales,
which the general reader might consider for a long time fruitlessly,
save for the help of Mr. Dasent's Introductory Essay. This is at once an
acute and learned commentary upon the tales themselves, and a thoroughly
elaborated monograph upon mythology in its ethnological relations. We
know no other essay upon this subject that is so comprehensive, so
compact, so clear, and so well adapted to interest intelligent readers
who have little previous knowledge on the subject, as Mr. Dasent's,
although, of necessity, it presents us with results, not processes. A
perusal of this Essay will give the intelligent and attentive reader so
just a general notion of the last results of philological and
ethnological investigation into the history of the origin and progress
of the Indo-European races, that he can listen with understanding to the
conversation of men who have made that subject their special study, and
appreciate, in a measure at least, the value of the many references to
it which he meets in the course of his miscellaneous reading. And should
he be led by the contagion of Mr. Dasent's intelligent enthusiasm to
desire a more intimate acquaintance with a topic which rarely fails to
fascinate those whose tastes lead them to enter at all upon it, he may
start from this Essay with hints as to the plan and purpose of his
reading which will save him much otherwise blind and fruitless labor.

This, however, is not all. It is but right also to say that the readers
whose religion is one of extreme orthodoxy, that is, who deem it their
bounden duty to believe exactly and literally as somebody else believed
before them,--such readers will find their orthodoxy often shocked by
the tales which Mr. Dasent has translated, and yet oftener and more
violently by conclusions which Mr. Dasent draws from a comparison of
these stories with others that bear the same relation to other races
which these do to the Norsemen. The man who believes that Hell is a
particular part of the universe, filled with flames and melted
brimstone, into which actual devils, with horns, hoofs, and tails, dip,
or are to dip, wicked people, whom, for greater convenience, they have
previously perforated with three-tined pitchforks,--such a man will be
puzzled by the story, "Why the Sea is Salt," and horrified with this
comment in Mr. Dasent's Essay:--

    "The North had its own notion on this point. Its mythology
    was not without its own dark powers; but though they, too,
    were ejected and dispossessed, they, according to that
    mythology, had rights of their own. To them belonged all the
    universe that had not been seized and reclaimed by the
    younger race of Odin and Æsir; and though this upstart
    dynasty, as the Frost-Giants in Æschylean phrase would have
    called it, well knew that Hel, one of this giant progeny, was
    fated to do them all mischief, and to outlive them, they took
    her and made her queen of Niflheim, and mistress over nine
    worlds. There, in a bitterly cold place, she received the
    souls of all who died of sickness or old age; care was her
    bed, hunger her dish, starvation her knife. Her walls were
    high and strong, and her bolts and bars huge. 'Half blue was
    her skin, and half the color of human flesh. A goddess easy
    to know, and in all things very stern and grim.' But though
    severe, she was not an evil spirit. She only received those
    who died as no Norseman wished to die. For those who fell on
    the gory battle-field, or sank beneath the waves, Valhalla
    was prepared, and endless mirth and bliss with Odin. Those
    went to Hel who were rather unfortunate than wicked, who died
    before they could be killed. But when Christianity came in
    and ejected Odin and his crew of false divinities, declaring
    them to be lying gods and demons, then Hel fell with the
    rest,--but, fulfilling her fate, outlived them. From a person
    she became a place; and all the Northern nations, from the
    Goth to the Norseman, agreed in believing Hell to be the
    abode of the Devil and his wicked spirits, the place prepared
    from the beginning for the everlasting torments of the
    damned. One curious fact connected with this explanation of
    Hell's origin will not escape the reader's attention. The
    Christian notion of Hell is that of a place of heat; for in
    the East, whence Christianity came, heat is often an
    intolerable torment,--and cold, on the other hand, everything
    that is pleasant and delightful. But to the dweller in the
    North heat brings with it sensations of joy and comfort, and
    life without fire has a dreary outlook; so their Hel ruled in
    a cold region, over those who were cowards by implication,
    while the mead-cup went round, and huge logs blazed and
    crackled, for the brave and beautiful who had dared to die on
    the field of battle. But under Christianity the extremes of
    heat and cold have met, and Hel, the cold, uncomfortable
    goddess, is now our Hell, where flames and fires abound, and
    where the devils abide in everlasting flame."

Still more will orthodoxy be shocked by Mr. Dasent's neglect to except
Christianity from the conclusion, (no new one, it need hardly be said,
to those who know anything of the subject,) that the mythologies or
personal histories of all religions have been evolved the one from the
other, or grafted the one upon the other,--and by his intimation, that
Christianity, keeping pure in its spirit and undiverted from its
purpose, has yet not hesitated to adapt its outward forms to the tough
popular traditions which it found deeply rooted in the soil where it
sought to grow, thus making itself "all things to all men, that it might
by all means save some."

It will be seen that this book is not milk for babes, but meat for
strong men. Among the tales are some--and those, perhaps, the most
interesting--which Mr. Dasent justly characterizes as "intensely
heathen," and yet in which the Saviour of the world or his apostles
appear as interlocutors or actors, which alone unfits the volume for the
book-table of the household room. We are led to insist upon this trait
of the collection the more, because the translator's choice of language
often seems to be the result of a desire to adapt himself to very
youthful readers,--though why should even they be led to believe that
such phrases as the following are correct by seeing them in
print?--"Tore it up like nothing"; "ran away like anything"; "it was no
good" [_i.e._ of no use]; "in all my born days"; "after a bit" [_i.e._ a
little while]; "she had to let him in, and when he was, he lay," etc.;
"the Giant got up cruelly early." These, and others like them, are
profusely scattered through the tales, apparently from the mistaken
notion that they have some idiomatic force. They jar upon the ear of the
reader who comes to them from Mr. Dasent's admirably written
Introductory Essay.

The book is one which we can heartily recommend to all who are
interested in popular traditions for their own sake, or in their
ethnological relations.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Love_, From the French of M.J. Michelet. Translated from the Fourth
Paris Edition, by J.W. Palmer, M.D., Author of "The New and The Old,"
"Up and Down the Irawaddi," etc.

M. Michelet perhaps longs, like Anacreon, to tell the story of the
Atrides and of Cadmus, but here we find him singing only of Love. It is
a surprise to us that the historian should have chosen this
subject;--the book itself is another surprise. It starts from a few
facts which it borrows from science, and out of them it builds a
poem,--a drama in five acts called _Books_, to disguise them. Two
characters figure chiefly on the stage,--a husband and a wife. The unity
of time is not very strictly kept, for the pair are traced from youth to
age, and even beyond their mortal years. Moral reflections and
occasional rhapsodies are wreathed about this physiological and
psychological love-drama.

Here, then, is a book with the most taking word in the language for its
title, and one of the most distinguished personages in contemporary
literature for its author. It has been extensively read in France, and
is attracting general notice in this country. Opinions are divided among
us concerning it; it is extravagantly praised, and hastily condemned.

On the whole, the book is destined, we believe, to do much more good
than harm. Admit all its high-flown sentimentalism to be
half-unconscious affectation, such as we pardon in writers of the Great
Nation,--admit that the author is wild and fanciful in many of his
statements, that he talks of a state of society of which it has been
said that the law is that a man shall hate his neighbor and love his
neighbor's wife,--admit all this and what lesser faults may be added to
them, its great lessons are on the side of humanity, and especially of
justice to woman, founded on a study of her organic and spiritual

_Woman is an invalid_. This is the first axiom, out of which flow the
precepts of care, bodily and mental, of tenderness, of consideration,
with which the book abounds. To show this, M. Michelet has recourse to
the investigations of the physiologists who during the present century
have studied the special conditions which according to the old axiom
make woman what she is. As nothing short of this can by any possibility
enable us to understand the feminine nature, we must not find fault with
some details not commonly thought adapted to the general reader. They
are given delicately, but they are given, and suggest a certain reserve
in introducing the book to the reading classes. Not only is woman an
invalid, but the _rhythmic character of her life_, "as if scanned by
Nature," is an element not to be neglected without total failure to read
her in health and in disease. There is a great deal relating to this
matter, some of it seeming fanciful and overwrought, but not more so
than the natures of many women. For woman herself is an hyperbole, and
the plainest statement of her condition is a figure of speech. Some of
those chapters that are written, as we might say, in hysteric
paragraphs, only more fitly express the extravagances which belong to
the nervous movements of the woman's nature.

_The husband must create the wife_. Much of the book is taken up with
the precepts by which this new birth of the woman is to be brought
about, M. Michelet's "entire affection" hateth those "nicer hands" winch
would refuse any, even the humblest offices. The husband should be at
once nurse and physician. He should regulate the food of the body, and
measure out the doses of mental nourishment. All this is kind and good
and affectionate; but there is just a suspicion excited that _Madame_
might become slightly _ennuyée_, if she were subjected to this minute
surveillance over her physical and spiritual hygiene. Everything must
depend on individual tendencies and aptitudes; we have known husbands
that were born for nurses,--and others, not less affectionate, that
worried more than they helped in that capacity.

We cannot follow M. Michelet through his study of the reaction of the
characters of the husband and wife upon each other, of the influence of
maternity on conjugal relations, of the languishing of love and its
rejuvenescence. Still less can we do more than remotely allude to those
chapters in which his model woman is represented as ready on the
slightest occasion to prove the name of her sex synonymous with frailty.
We really do not know what to make of such things. The cool calculations
of temptation as certain, and failure as probable,--the serious advice
not to strike a wife under any circumstances,--such words have literally
no meaning to most of our own American readers. Our women are educated
to self-reliance,--and our men are, at least, too busy for the trade of

In a word, this book was written for French people, and is adjusted to
the meridian of Paris. We must remember this always in reading it, and
also remember that a Frenchman does not think English any more than he
_talks_ it. We sometimes flatter ourselves with the idea that we as a
people are original in our tendency to extravagance of thought and
language. It is a conceit of ours. Remember Sterne's _perruquier_.

"'You may immerge it,' replied he, 'into the ocean, and it will stand.'

"'What a great scale is everything upon, in this city!' thought I. 'The
utmost stretch of an English periwig-maker's ideas could have gone no
farther than to have dipped it into a pail of water.'"

       *       *       *       *       *

How much such experiences as the following amount to we must leave to
the ecclesiastical bodies to settle.

"The Church is openly against her, [woman,] owing her a grudge for the
sin of Eve."

"It is very easy for us, educated in the religion of the indulgent God
of Nature, to look our common destiny in the face. But she, impressed
with the dogma of eternal punishment, though she may have received other
ideas from you, still, in her suffering and debility, has painful
foreshadowings of the future state."

But here are physiological statements which we take the liberty to
question on our own responsibility.

"A French girl of fifteen is as mature as an English one of eighteen."
What will Mr. Roberton of Manchester, who has exploded so many of our
fancies about the women of the East, say to this?

"A wound, for which the German woman would require surgical aid, in the
French woman cures itself." We must say of such an unproved assertion as
the French General said of the charge at Balaklava,--"_C'est magnifique,
mais ce n'est pas la_"--_médecine_.

"Generally, she [woman] is sick from love,--man, from indigestion." What
a pity Nature never makes such pretty epigrams with her facts as wits do
with their words!

We have enough, too, of that self-assertion which Carlyle and Ruskin and
some of our clerical neighbors have made us familiar with, and which
gives flavor to a work of genius. "I was worth more than my writings,
more than my discourses. I brought to this teaching of philosophy and
history a soul as yet entire,--a great freshness of mind, under forms
often subtle,--a true simplicity of heart," etc.

M. Michelet does not undervalue the importance of his work. He thinks he
has ruined the dancing-gardens by the startling revelations respecting
woman contained in his book. He announces a still greater triumph:--"I
believe I have effectually suppressed old women. They will no longer be
met with." M. Michelet has not seen the columns of some of our weekly

These are scales from the husk of his book, which, with all its
fantasies, is a generous plea for woman. Wise persons may safely read
it, though they be not Parisians.

The translation is, and is generally considered, excellent. We notice
two errors,--_Jerres_, instead of _Serres_,--and _would_, for _should_,
after the Scotch and Southern provincial fashion;--with some
questionable words, as _reliable_, for which we have Sir Robert Peel's
authority, which cannot make it as honest a word as _trustworthy_,--
_masculize_, which is at least intelligible,--and _fast_, used as
college-boys use it in their loose talk, but not with the meaning which
sober scholars are wont to give it. With these slight exceptions, the
translation appears to us singularly felicitous, notwithstanding the
task must have been very difficult, which Dr. Palmer has performed with
such rare success.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Farm-Drainage_. The Principles, Processes, and Effects of Draining
Land, with Wood, Stones, Ploughs, and Open Ditches, and especially with
Tiles; including Tables of Rainfall, Evaporation, Filtration,
Excavation, Capacity of Pipes; Cost, and Number to the Acre, of Tiles,
etc., etc.; and more than One Hundred Illustrations. By HENRY E. FRENCH.
New York: A.O. Moore & Co. 1859. 8vo. pp. 384.

We remember standing, thirty years ago, upon the cupola of a court-house
in New Jersey, and, while enjoying the whole panorama, being
particularly impressed with the superior fertility and luxuriance of one
farm on the outskirts of the town. We recollect further, that, on
inquiry, we found this farm to belong to a Judge of the Court of Common
Pleas, who also exercised the trade of a potter, and underdrained his
land with tile-drains. His neighbors attributed the improvement in his
farm to manure and tillage, and thought his attempts to introduce
tile-drains into use arose chiefly from his desire to make a market for
his tiles. Thirty years have made a great change; and a New Hampshire
Judge of the Court of Common Pleas gives us a book on Farm-Drainage
which tells us that in England twenty millions of dollars have been
loaned by the government to be used in underdraining with tile!

We believe that Judge French has given the first practical guide in
draining to the American farmer,--indeed, the first book professing to
be a complete practical guide to the farmers of any country. His right
to speak is derived from successful experiments of his own, from a visit
to European agriculturists, and from a personal correspondence with the
best drainage-engineers of England and America, as well as from the
study of all available magazines and journals. No one could handle the
subject in a more pleasant and lucid style; flashes of wit, and even of
humor, are sparkling through every chapter, but they never divert the
mind of the reader from the main purpose of elucidating the subject of
deep drainage. The title-page does not promise so much as the book
performs; and we feel confident that its reputation will increase, as
our farmers begin to understand the true effects of deep drainage on
upland, and seek for a guide in the improvement of their farms.

The rain-tables, furnished by Dr. E. Hobbs, of Waltham, afford some very
interesting statistics, by which our climate may be definitely compared
with that of our mother country. In England, they have about 156 rainy
days _per annum_, and we but 56. In England, one inch in 24 hours is
considered a great rain; but in New England six inches and seven-eighths
(6.88) has been known to fall in 24 hours. In England, the annual fall
is about 21,--in New England, 42 inches. The experiments on the
retention of water by the soil are also interesting; showing that
ordinary arable soil is capable of holding nearly six inches of water in
every foot of soil.

Not the least valuable portion of the book is a brief discussion of some
of the legal questions connected with drainage; the rights of
land-owners in running waters, and in reference to the water in the
soil; the rights of mill-owners and water-power companies; and the
subject of flowage, by which so many thousand acres of valuable arable
land are ruined to support unprofitable manufacturing companies. The
rights of agriculturists, and the interests of agriculture, demand the
care of our governments, and the hearty aid of our scientific men; and
we are glad to find a judge who, at least when off the bench, speaks
sound words in their behalf.

Agriculture in the Atlantic States is beginning to attract the attention
which its great importance demands. Thorough draining is, as yet, little
used among us, but a beginning has been made; and Judge French's book
will, doubtless, be of value in extension of the practice. If any reader
has not yet heard what thorough draining is, we would say, in brief,
that it consists in laying tile-pipes, from one and a half to three
inches in diameter, four feet under ground, at from twenty to sixty feet
apart, so inclined as to drain out of your ground all the water that may
be within three feet of the surface. This costs from $30 to $60 per
acre, and is in almost all kinds of arable land an excellent investment
of capital,--making the spring earlier, the land warmer, rain less
injurious, drought less severe, the crops better in quality and greater
in quantity. In short, thorough draining is, as our author says,
following Cromwell's advice, "trusting in Providence, but keeping the
powder dry."

       *       *       *       *       *

_The Novels of James Fenimore Cooper_. Illustrated with Steel Engravings
from Drawings by Darley. New York: W.A. Townsend & Co.

The British Museum, it is said, has accumulated over twenty-seven
thousand novels written since the publication of "Waverley." With the
general diffusion of education the ambition of authorship has had a
corresponding increase; and people who were not inspired to make rhymes,
nor learned enough to undertake history, philosophy, or science, as well
as those who despaired of success in essays, travels, or sermons, have
all thought themselves capable of representing human life in the form of
fiction. Very few of the twenty-seven thousand, probably, are wholly
destitute of merit. Each author has drawn what he saw, or knew, or did,
or imagined; and so has preserved something worthy, for those who live
upon his plane and see the world with his eyes. The difficulty is, that
the vision of most men is limited; they observe human nature only in a
few of its many aspects; they cannot so far lift themselves above the
trivial affairs around them as to take in the whole of humanity at a
glance. Even when rare types of character are presented to view, it is
only a genius who can for the time assimilate himself to them, and so
make their portraits life-like upon his canvas. In every old-fashioned
town there are models for new Dogberrys and Edie Ochiltrees; our
seaports have plenty of Bunsbys; every great city has its Becky Sharpe
and Major Pendennis. One has only to listen to a group of Irish laborers
in their unrestrained talk to find that the delicious _non sequitur_,
which is the charm of the grave-diggers' conversation in "Hamlet," is by
no means obsolete. But who can write such a colloquy? It would be
easier, we fancy, for a clever man to give a sketch of Lord Bacon, with
all his rapid and profound generalization, than to follow the slow and
tortuous mental processes of a clodhopper.

To secure the attention of his readers, the novelist must construct a
plot and create the characters whose movements shall produce the
designed catastrophe, and, by the incidents and dialogue, exhibit the
passions, the virtues, the aspirations, the weaknesses, and the villany
of human nature. It is needless to say that most characters in fiction
are as shadowy as Ossian's ghosts; the proof is, that, when the
incidents of the story have passed out of memory, the persons are
likewise forgotten. Of all the popular novelists, not more than half a
dozen have ever created characters that survive,--characters that are
felt to be "representative men." After Shakspeare and Scott, Dickens
comes first, unquestionably; although, in analysis, philosophy, force,
and purity of style, he is far inferior to Thackeray. Parson Adams will
not be forgotten, nor that gentle monogamist, the good Vicar of
Wakefield. But as for Bulwer, notwithstanding his wonderful art in
construction and the brilliancy of his style, who remembers a character
out of his novels, unless it be Doctor Riccabocca?

After this rather long preamble, let us hasten to say, that Cooper, in
spite of many and the most obvious faults, has succeeded in portraying a
few characters which stand out in bold relief,--and that his works,
after years of criticism and competition, still hold their place, on
both continents, among the most delightful novels in the language. Other
writers have appeared, with more culture, with more imagination, with
more spiritual insight, with more attractiveness of style; but
Leatherstocking, in the virgin forest, with the crafty, painted savage
retreating before him, and the far-distant hum of civilization following
his trail, is a creation which no reader ever can or would forget,--a
creation for which the merely accomplished writer would gladly exchange
all the fine sentences and word-pictures that he had ever put on paper.
It is also due to Cooper to say, that "The Pilot" was the first, and
still is the best, of nautical novels; we say this in fell recollection
of its trace of stupid heroines. The very air of the book is salt. As
you read, you hear the wind in the rigging,--a sound that one never
forgets. The form and motion of waves, the passing of distant ships, the
outlines of spars and cordage against the sky, the blue above and the
blue below, all the scenery of the sea, here for the first time found an
appreciative artist.

We have not space to mention these novels separately. We are glad to see
an edition which is worthy of the author's genius,--each volume graced
with the designs of Darley. The style in which the work has been issued
is creditable to the publishers, and cannot fail to be remunerative.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Ettore Fieramosca; or, the Challenge of Barletta_. The Struggles of an
Italian against Foreign Invaders and Foreign Protectors. By MASSIMO D'
AZEGLIO. Boston: Phillips, Sampson, & Co. 16mo.

The recent war led to the publication of a great number of books upon
the state of Italy and the relative positions of the contending powers;
now that the wave has receded, all these are left high and dry. This
novel, however, does not depend upon any transient interest in the
affairs of Italy for its success. As the production of an eminent
author, who is also one of the first of Italian statesmen, it demands a
respectful consideration. The condition of the country in the sixteenth
century presents a striking counterpart to that of the present year: two
foreign monarchs were at war in the Peninsula; and then, as now, it was
a question whether unhappy Italy had not as much to fear from her allies
as from her invaders.

The scene of the story is laid in the little town of Barletta, on the
Adriatic coast, in the present kingdom of Naples. The action turns upon
the fortunes of the day in a contest _à l'outrance_, wherein a dozen
French knights, the flower of the invading army, were met and vanquished
by an equal number of Italians, of whom the hero, Ettore Fieramosca, was
the chief. The English reader will not expect to find in this book any
of the traits with which he is familiar in the novels of our own
authors. There is little scenery-painting, few wayside reflections, and
no attempt at portraying the comic side of human nature, or even the
ordinary gayety of domestic life. The times did not suggest such topics;
and if they did, we suspect that the Italian novelists would turn from
such commonplace affairs to the more stirring events with which History
has been heretofore concerned. But the story before us has no lack of
incident. When the persons of the drama are fairly brought upon the
stage, the action begins at once; surprise follows surprise, plot is
matched by plot, until the fortunes of the actors are entwined
inextricably. The portraits of the famous Colonna and of the infamous
Cæsar Borgia (the latter being the arch "villain" of the story) are
drawn in sharp and decisive lines. The tournament which forms the scene
of the catastrophe is a brilliant picture, though not a pleasing one for
a Friend or a member of the Peace Society.

Of course the element of Love is not wanting; two golden threads run
through the crimsoned web; but whether they meet before Atropos comes
with the fatal shears, it is not best to say. When the modern
novel-reader can answer the momentous question, "Did they marry?" the
charm of the most exciting story, for him, is gone.

Aside from the interest which one feels in the changing fortunes of the
hero, the book is especially valuable for the light it throws upon that
period of Italian history, and upon the subtilties of Italian character.


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The Pilot. A Tale of the Sea. By J. Fenimore Cooper. Illustrated from
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1198. $12.00.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 04, No. 23, September, 1859" ***

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