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Title: The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 05, No. 27, January, 1860
Author: Various
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 05, No. 27, January, 1860" ***

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THE

ATLANTIC MONTHLY,

A MAGAZINE OF LITERATURE, ART, AND POLITICS.

VOL. V.--JANUARY, 1860.--NO. XXVII.



OUR ARTISTS IN ITALY.

HIRAM POWERS.


Antique Art, beside affording a standard by which the modern may be
measured, has the remarkable property-giving it a higher value--of
testing the genuineness of the Art-impulse.

Even to genius, that is, to the artist, a true Art-life is difficult
of attainment. In the midst of illumination, there is the mystery: the
subjective mystery, out of which issue the germs--like seeds floated
from unknown shores--of his imaginings; the objective mystery, which
yields to him, through obvious, yet unexplained harmonies, the means of
manifestation.

Behind the consciousness is the power; behind the power, that which
gives it worth and occupation.

To the artist definite foresight is denied. His life is full of
surprises at new necessities. When the present demand shall have been
fulfilled, what shall follow? Shall it be Madonna, or Laocoön? His
errand is like that of the commander who bears sealed instructions; and
he may drift for years, ere he knows wherefore. Thorwaldsen waited,
wandering by the Tiber a thousand days,--then in one, uttered his
immortal "Night."

Not even the severest self-examination will enable one in whom the
Art-impulse exists to understand thoroughly its aim and uses; yet to
approximate a clear perception of his own nature and that of the art to
which he is called is one of his first duties. What he is able to do,
required to do, and permitted to do, are questions of vital importance.

Possession of himself, of himself in the highest, will alone enable the
student in Art to solve the difficulties of his position. His habitual
consciousness must be made up of the noblest of all that has been
revealed to it; otherwise those fine intuitions, akin to the ancient
inspirations, through whose aid genius is informed of its privileges,
are impossible.

Therefore the foremost purpose of an artist should be to claim and take
possession of self. Somewhere within is his inheritance, and he must not
be hindered of it. Other men have other gifts,--gifts bestowed under
different conditions, and subject in a great degree to choice. Talent is
not fastidious. It is an instrumentality, and its aim is optional with
him who possesses it. Genius is exquisitely fastidious, and the man whom
it possesses must live its life, or no life.

In view of these considerations, the efforts of an artist to assume his
true position must be regarded with earnest interest, and importance
must be attached to that which aids him in attaining to his true plane.

Such aid may be, and is, derived from the influences of Italy. Of those
agencies which have a direct influence upon the action of the artist,
which serve to assist him in manifesting his idea and fulfilling his
purpose, mention will be made in connection with the works which have
been produced in Italian studios. They have less importance than that
great element related to the innermost of the artist's life,--to that
power of which we have spoken, making Art-action necessary.

It is not, however, exclusively antique Art which exercises this power
of elevation. Ancient Art may be a better term; as all great Art bears
a like relation to the student. In Florence the mediaeval influences
predominate. Rome exercises _its_ power through the medium of the
antique.

There is much Christian Art in Rome. Yet its effect is insignificant,
compared with that of the vast collection of Greek sculptures to be
found within its walls. Instinctively, as the vague yearnings and
prophecies of youth lift him in whom they quicken away from youth's
ordinary purposes and associations, his thought turns to that far city
where are gathered the achievements of those who were indeed the gods of
Hellas. To be there, and to demand from those eloquent lips the secret
of the golden age, is his dream and aim, and there shall be solved the
problem of his life.

But antique Art, waiting so patiently twenty centuries to afford aid to
the artist, waits also to sit in judgment upon his worth and acts. Woe
to him who cannot pass the ordeal of its power, and explain the enigma
of its speech!

Nothing can be more pitiful and sad than the condition of one who,
having been subjected to the influence of ancient Art, has not had the
ability to recognize or the earnestness of purpose essential to the
apprehension of the truths which it has for his soul instead of his
hands. But if, through truthfulness of aim, and a sense of the divine
nature of the errand to which he seems appointed, he reach the law
of Art, then henceforth its pursuit becomes the sign of life; if the
impulse bear him no farther than rules, then all he produces goes forth
as a proclamation of death. There is no middle path. Art is high or low:
high, if it be the profoundest life of an earnest man, uttering itself
in the _real_, even though it be awkwardly, and in violation of all
accepted methods of expression; low, if it be not such utterance, even
though consummate in obedience to the finest rules of all Art-science.
There can be no other way. The life is in the man, and not in the stone;
and no affectation of vitality can atone for the absence of that soul
which should have been breathed into existence from his own divine life.

As was said, possession of self is the only condition under which the
quantity and quality of the Art-impulse may be determined. It is only
when a man stands face to face with himself, in the stillness of his own
inner world, that his possibilities become apparent; and it is only when
conscious of these, and inspired by a just sense of their dignity, that
he can achieve that which shall be genuine success. _Once_ he must be
lifted away and isolated from worldly surroundings, relieved from all
objective influences, from the pressure of all human relations; once the
very memory of all these must be blotted out; once he must be alone.
This is possible to a Mendelssohn in the awful solitude of Beethoven's
"Sonate Pathétique," to a painter in the presence of Leonardo's "Last
Supper," and to a sculptor in the hushed halls of the Vatican.

But that which lifts the true artist above externals, the externals of
his own individual being, crushes the false, to whom the marble and the
paint are in themselves the ultimate.

This train of thought has been suggested by the fact of the dominion
which classic Art has acquired over sculptors, and by the influence of
the sixteenth and seventeenth century schools upon painters. It is due,
however, to our sculptors in Italy that credit should be given them
for having resisted the influence of forms, of the mere letter of the
classic, to a greater extent than the students of any other nation.
Whether or not they have been receptive of the spirit of the antique
remains to be seen.

American painters have been less fortunate. Too often the lessons of the
old masters, and especially those of the earliest, the Puritan Fathers
of Art, have been unheeded; or the rules and practices which served them
temporarily, subject to the phase of the ideal for the time uppermost,
have passed into permanent laws, to be obeyed under all conditions of
Art-utterance.

The United States have had within the last twenty years as many as
thirty sculptors and painters resident in Italy. At the beginning of the
present year ten sculpture studios in Rome and Florence were occupied
by Americans. We will speak of these artists in the order in which they
entered the profession of an art which they have served to develop
in this first period of its history in America. The eldest bears the
honored name of Hiram Powers.

Three parties have been remarkably unjust to this man,--namely, his
friends, his enemies, and himself.

Neither the artist nor his friends need feel solicitude for his fame.
The exact value of his excellence shall be estimated, and the height of
his genius fully recognized, when the right man comes. Other award than
that from an age on a level with his own life can be of small worth to
one who has attained to the true level of Art. Fame must come to him of
that vision which can pierce the external of his work and penetrate to
the presence of his very soul. His action must be traced to its finest
ideal motive,--as chemist-philosophers pursue the steps of analysis
until opaque matter is resolved to pure, ethereal elements. His fame
must be from such vision, and it will approach the universal just in
proportion as his pulse beats in unison with the heart of mankind.
Whatever may be an artist's plans, or those of his friends, in regard to
his valuation by the world, while he is living, ultimately he himself,
divested of all save his own individuality, must stand revealed.

Those who in other departments of action are necessarily governed
somewhat, or it may be entirely, by rules of conduct general in nature
and universal in application, may fail to receive or may escape justice.
They are to a great degree involuntary agents, and subject to the laws
of science, to the operations of which they are obliged to conform.
The private fact of the man is hidden by the public general truth. If,
however, the energies of the individual overtop the science, enabling
him to assert himself above the summit of its history, then is he
accessible to all generations, and can in no wise avoid or forfeit his
just fame.

In Art, this intimate relation of the result of action to the actor is
complete,--inasmuch as, to _be_ Art, to rise above being something
else, the shadow and mockery of Art, it must be of and from the man, a
spontaneity, a reflection, light for light, shade for shade, color for
color, of his entire being; and with this effect his will has little to
do. Therefore, unless he be an impostor, he need give himself no trouble
regarding his future. His works shall serve as a clue, produced century
after century, along which posterity shall feel its way back to his
studio and heart. No need of thought for _his_ morrow.

But for his to-day he may well be solicitous. If fame be his reflection,
he has also the shadow of himself, his reputation.

It is a great error to assume that these two effects are so related that
the augmentation of the one must increase the other, and as great a
mistake to confound the two. The truth is, that reputation and fame are
rarely coincident. They are not unfrequently in direct opposition,--so
much so, that some names, which the world cannot give up, have to
be filtered through a thick mass of years, to purify them of their
reputations, and leave them simply famous.

No name has suffered more than that of Powers. His friends, blind to the
laws which govern these matters, have wrought bravely to construct for
him a reputation commensurate with his vaguely imagined worth; but upon
his real worth they have evinced no desire to lay their foundation. No
accurate survey has been made of his abilities, no definite plan of
his artist-nature. Often a place has been demanded for his name in the
history of Art, and the first place too, because of his fine frank eye,
or the simplicity of his manners,--because his workmen cut the chain of
the Greek slave out of one piece of stone, or the marble of the statue
itself had no spot as big as a pin-head,--because he himself chooses to
rasp and scrape plaster, rather than model in plastic clay,--because he
tinkered up the "infernal regions" of the Cincinnati Museum years ago,
or spends his time now in making perforating-machines and perforated
files; in fine, for _any_ reason rather than for the right legitimate
one of artistic merit, they have demanded room for their favorite.

Even those who look deeper than this, appreciating Mr. Powers as
a gentleman, an ingenious mechanic, and a skillful manipulator in
sculpture, have been content or constrained to urge his claims to
attention upon false considerations. We have heard it gravely remarked,
as a matter of astonishment, that there were individuals--refined men,
apparently--who looked upon the Venus de' Medici as a finer work than
the Greek Slave. In the files of a New York paper may be found an
article, written by a highly cultivated man, in which Powers's busts are
asserted to be rather the effect of miracles than the results of _human_
effort. The spirit which has prompted these and many kindred expressions
cannot be too much deplored by those who love Art and know the artist.
It has succeeded in creating for him a reputation broad and remarkable,
but most unfortunate, because not his own, because not the reputation
which should have formed about his name here, as fame will yonder;
unfortunate, because, though broad, it is the breadth of an inverted
pyramid, which must naturally topple over of itself, and incumber his
path with ruins.

The false position in which Mr. Powers has been placed by his friends
has of course won him many enemies.

Bold, sincere, working enemies are highly useful in developing an
artist's character, especially if he be a law-abiding follower of the
art. But enemies must be dealers of fair blows, wagers of honorable
warfare; no assassin is worthy of the name of enemy. Sometimes, however,
those who are worthy of the name, and entitled to respect, may make
injudicious and unfair use of censure and invective. It is unwise, when
the necessity arises to set aside a worthless or an imperfect image, to
turn Iconoclast and demolish those surrounding it which are worthy of a
place in the temple. True criticism, for its own sake, if prompted by no
higher motive, deals justly.

The friends of Mr. Powers have, in their estimate of his ability, given
him credit for that which he does not possess, and claimed recognition
for merit unsupported by the value of his works. His enemies have
labored assiduously, not only to deprive the estimate of its unwarranted
quantity, but to overthrow the whole, and leave him merely a mechanic,
a dexterous mechanic, with small views, but large ambition, trying
to pass himself off as an artist. His busts are asserted to be
but more elaborate examples of his skill in the
"perforated-file-and-patent-punch" line.

But as the struggles to elevate this artist's reputation above its
proper level have proved signal failures, so the effort to depreciate
it must ultimately be defeated. Only one kind of injustice ever proves
irreparable wrong: that which a man exercises towards himself. Mr.
Powers _had_ a specialty.

So constituted that the most difficult executive operations are to him
but play and pleasure, he has also, to govern and inform this rare
organization, a broad, manly, and most genial human nature. This
combination decided the question of his proper mission, and in virtue of
it he has been enabled to model a series of most remarkable busts, the
true excellence of which must be recognized in spite of friends and
foes, and the epithets "miraculous" and "mechanical."

It is possible that the highest type of portrait-sculpture is beyond the
limit of this specialty; indeed, it is almost impossible that with the
elements constituting it there should be associated the still rarer
power to achieve the most exalted ideal Art; and such Art we believe the
highest portraiture to be.

A consummate representation of a man in his divinest development, the
last refined ideal of him _then_, would be indeed somewhat miraculous!

The world asks less. It claims to know of a man what the face of him
became under the influences of human, temporal relations. It wants
preserved of the statesman the statesman's face, of the merchant the
merchant's face; and this demand, when governed by a cultivated taste,
is a legitimate one,--as legitimate as is the demand for any history.
The public requires the image of the man whom the public knew, and
they regard as valuable that which can be received as a definite and
trustworthy statement of a great man, or of one whom it esteemed great.
It requires this, has a right to such information; and the generation
which fails to demand of its artists a true record of its prominent men
fails utterly in its duty. The bust of a man goes down to posterity, not
only the history which it is in itself, but as an interpreter of the
history of its age. Were it not for Art, an age would recede into the
unknown, to be recorded as dark, or into the shadowy world of myth.
Portraiture, more than aught else, serves to elucidate the tradition or
story of a people. How impossible to explain to the twentieth century
the bad mystery of our present, without the aid of Powers's head of
Calhoun, the less adequate bust of Stephen A. Douglas, and the one which
_should_ be modelled of Mr. Buchanan! A faithful delineation of the
features of some men is needful. We should be thankful for that black
frown of Nero, for the bald pate of Scipio, for those queer eyes of
Marius, and for the long neck of Cicero, as seen in the newly discovered
bust. These are the signs of the men, and explain them.

Mr. Powers has succeeded in reporting more accurately than any other
recent artist the physical facts of the individual face. From one of his
marbles we derive definite ideas of the human character of its subject,
what its ambition is, and what its weakness; what have been its loves
and its antipathies, its struggles and its victories, its joys and its
sorrows, may be revealed to him who has learned what the human face
becomes under the influence of these incessant forces. No mere _talent_
can accomplish such results. Behind all that kind of strength lies
the fact of peculiar sympathies, relating the artist to this phase of
Art-representation; and within certain limits, which should have been
undebatable, his rule was absolute.

The great mistake with Mr. Powers has been his oversight regarding these
limits. There has been debate, hesitation, and a continual wandering
away from the duties of his errand. Years have been devoted to those
ghosts of sculpture, allegorical figures; other years wasted in the
elaboration of machinery. Not that his ideal statues are worthless, or
fall short of great beauty and exquisite delicacy; not that his skill
as a mechanician is other than great. But the age cannot afford these
things, nor can the sculptor afford them. A year is too great a sum to
give for a statue of California. Better than that, the several portraits
of valued men which might have been acquired,--one bust, even, like
those which surprised and compelled the reverence of Thorwaldsen. Better
the perfected ability which would have given his country the Webster he
should and might have made than a hundred "Americas."

There are two considerations which may have misled Mr. Powers. One, a
pecuniary one, which he should have disposed of as did Agassiz, when
such was advanced to induce him to give lyceum lectures:--"Sir, I
cannot afford to make money!" The other may have been the weight of the
prevailing error that portrait-sculpture is a less honorable branch of
Art.

Less than what? The historical? What finer history than Titian's Paul
III., Raphael's Leo X., Albert Dürer's head of himself? What finer than
the Pericles, the Marcus Aurelius of the Capitol, the Demosthenes of the
Vatican, Chantrey's Scott, Houdon's Voltaire, Powers's Jackson?--Heroic?
what more heroic than the Lateran Sophocles, the Venetian Colleoni, or
Rauch's statue of Frederick the Great?--Poetical? What picture more
sweetly poetical than Raphael's head of himself in the Uffizi, or
Giotto's Dante in the Bargello? What _ideal_ statue surpasses in
poetical power Michel Angelo's De' Medici in the San Lorenzo Chapel?
What ideal head is more beautiful than the Townley Clytie of the British
Museum, or the Young Augustus of the Vatican? What grander than Da
Vinci's portrait of himself?

No,--when the sculptor has wrought the adequate representation of the
individual in its best estate, he may rest assured that he has achieved
"high Art."

Let us not be unjust to Mr. Powers's ideal works. In the qualities of
chasteness of conception, delicacy of treatment, temperate grace, and
that rarer, finer quality of dignified repose, they have not been
surpassed since the time of Greek Art. When the subject chosen has not
been foreign to the artist's nature, as in the "Eve," nor foreign to the
Art's province, as in the "California," his success has been very like a
triumph.

But the success has not been that which he was entitled to grasp; the
seeming triumph has precluded a real victory. We must believe that
the highest lessons of ancient Art have, in a great measure, been
unrecognized by Mr. Powers. The external has been studied. No man can
talk more justly of that exquisite line of the Venus de' Medici's temple
and cheek, or point out more discriminatingly the beauties of the Milo
statue, or detect more quickly the truths of the antique busts. He has
discovered, also, somewhat of the great secret of repose,--has perceived
that it is essential, in some wise, to all greatness in Art, more
particularly in his own department of sculpture. But beyond that simple
recognition of the fact, what? That repose is dependent on power to act,
and must be great in proportion to mightiness of power? No, he could not
have seen this; else had his Webster come to us less questionable in
intent, less remote in its merits from the massive self-possession of
the man.

For what Mr. Powers became before he left America he cannot be praised
too greatly. He carried with him to Europe just that knowledge of Nature
and that executive power which prepared him to take advantage of the aid
that all great Art was waiting to afford. Had he won "the large truth,"
he would have found the scope and purpose of his genius, as in America
he had found that of his talent. He would have seen his specialty to be
worthy of all reverence, for he would have attained to an appreciation
of the high possibilities of portrait-Art. There would have been
developed, under the influence of great principles, the power to make
_statues_ of great men,--colossal, instead of big,--reposeful, instead
of paralyzed,--grand, instead of arrogant,--statues worthy of the hand
that wrought the busts of Calhoun, Jackson, and Webster, worthy to rank
with the few mighty embodiments of power, the Sophocles, the Aristides,
and the Demosthenes. This he might have done; and this he may yet
accomplish.



THE AMBER GODS.


STORY FIRST.

_Flower o' the Peach._


We've some splendid old point-lace in our family, yellow and fragrant,
loose-meshed. It isn't every one has point at all; and of those who
have, it isn't every one can afford to wear it. I can. Why? Oh, because
it's in character. Besides, I admire point any way,--it's so becoming;
and then, you see, this amber! Now what is in finer unison, this old
point-lace, all tags and tangle and fibrous and bewildering, and this
amber, to which Heaven knows how many centuries, maybe, with all their
changes, brought perpetual particles of increase? I like yellow things,
you see.

To begin at the beginning. My name, you're aware, is Giorgione
Willoughby. Queer name for a girl! Yes; but before papa sowed his wild
oats, he was one afternoon in Fiesole, looking over Florence nestled
below, when some whim took him to go into a church there, a quiet place,
full of twilight and one great picture, nobody within but a girl and
her little slave,--the one watching her mistress, the other saying
dreadfully devout prayers on an amber rosary, and of course she didn't
see him, or didn't appear to. After he got there, he wondered what
on earth he came for, it was so dark and poky, and he began to feel
uncomfortably,--when all of a sudden a great ray of sunset dashed
through the window, and drowned the place in the splendor of the
illumined painting. Papa adores rich colors; and he might have been
satiated here, except that such things make you want more. It was a
Venus;--no, though, it couldn't have been a Venus in a church, could it?
Well, then, a Magdalen, I guess, or a Madonna, or something. I fancy the
man painted for himself, and christened for others. So, when I was born,
some years afterward, papa, gratefully remembering this dazzling little
vignette of his youth, was absurd enough to christen me Giorgione.
That's how I came by my identity; but the folks all call me Yone,--a
baby name.

I'm a blonde, you know,--none of your silver-washed things. I wouldn't
give a _fico_ for a girl with flaxen hair; she might as well be a wax
doll, and have her eyes moved by a wire; besides, they've no souls.
I imagine they were remnants at our creation, and somehow scrambled
together, and managed to get up a little life among themselves; but it's
good for nothing, and everybody sees through the pretence. They're glass
chips, and brittle shavings, slender pinkish scrids,--no name for them;
but just you say blonde, soft and slow and rolling,--it brings up
a brilliant, golden vitality, all manner of white and torrid
magnificences, and you see me! I've watched little bugs--gold
rose-chafers--lie steeping in the sun, till every atom of them must have
been searched with the warm radiance, and have felt, that, when they
reached that point, I was just like them, golden all through,--not dyed,
but created. Sunbeams like to follow me, I think. Now, when I stand in
one before this glass, infiltrated with the rich tinge, don't I look
like the spirit of it just stepped out for inspection? I seem to myself
like the complete incarnation of light, full, bounteous, overflowing,
and I wonder at and adore anything so beautiful; and the reflection
grows finer and deeper while I gaze, till I dare not do so any longer.
So, without more words, I'm a golden blonde. You see me now: not too
tall,--five feet four; not slight, or I couldn't have such perfect
roundings, such flexible moulding. Here's nothing of the spiny Diana and
Pallas, but Clytie or Isis speaks in such delicious curves. It don't
look like flesh and blood, does it? Can you possibly imagine it will
ever change? Oh!

Now see the face,--not small, either; lips with no particular outline,
but melting, and seeming as if they would stain yours, should you touch
them. No matter about the rest, except the eyes. Do you meet such eyes
often? You wouldn't open yours so, if you did. Note their color now,
before the ray goes. Yellow hazel? Not a bit of it! Some folks say
topaz, but they're fools. Nor sherry. There's a dark sardine base, but
over it real seas of light, clear light; there isn't any positive color;
and once when I was angry, I caught a glimpse of them in a mirror, and
they were quite white, perfectly colorless, only luminous. I looked like
a fiend, and, you may be sure, recovered my temper directly,--easiest
thing in the world, when you've motive enough. You see the pupil is
small, and that gives more expansion and force to the irides; but
sometimes in an evening, when I'm too gay, and a true damask settles in
the cheek, the pupil grows larger and crowds out the light, and under
these thick, brown lashes, these yellow-hazel eyes of yours, they are
dusky and purple and deep with flashes, like pansies lit by fire-flies,
and then common folks call them black. Be sure, I've never got such eyes
for nothing, any more than this hair. That is Lucrezia Borgian, spun
gold, and ought to take the world in its toils. I always wear these
thick, riotous curls round my temples and face; but the great braids
behind--oh, I'll uncoil them before my toilet is over.

Probably you felt all this before, but didn't know the secret of it.
Now, the traits being brought out, you perceive nothing wanting; the
thing is perfect, and you've a reason for it. Of course, with such an
organization, I'm not nervous. Nervous! I should as soon fancy a dish of
cream nervous. I am too rich for anything of the kind, permeated utterly
with a rare golden calm. Girls always suggest little similitudes to me:
there's that brunette beauty,--don't you taste mulled wine when you see
her? and thinking of yourself, did you ever feel green tea? and find me
in a crust of wild honey, the expressed essence of woods and flowers,
with its sweet satiety?--no, that's too cloying. I'm a deal more like
Mendelssohn's music,--what I know of it, for I can't distinguish
tunes,--you wouldn't suspect it,--but full harmonics delight me as they
do a wild beast; and so I'm like a certain adagio in B flat, that Papa
likes.

There now! you're perfectly shocked to hear me go on so about myself;
but you oughtn't to be. It isn't lawful for any one else, because praise
is intrusion; but if the rose please to open her heart to the moth, what
then? You know, too, I didn't make myself; it's no virtue to be so fair.
Louise couldn't speak so of herself: first place, because it wouldn't
be true; next place, she couldn't, if it were; and lastly, she made her
beauty by growing a soul in her eyes, I suppose,--what you call good.
I'm not good, of course; I wouldn't give a fig to be good. So
it's not vanity. It's on a far grander scale; a splendid
selfishness,--authorized, too; and papa and mamma brought me up to
worship beauty,--and there's the fifth commandment, you know.

Dear me! you think I'm never coming to the point. Well, here's this
rosary;--hand me the perfume-case first, please. Don't you love heavy
fragrances, faint with sweetness, ravishing juices of odor, heliotropes,
violets, water-lilies,--powerful attars and extracts, that snatch your
soul off your lips? Couldn't you live on rich scents, if they tried to
starve you? I could, or die on them: I don't know which would be best.
There! there's the amber rosary! You needn't speak; look at it!

Bah! is that all you've got to say? Why, observe the thing; turn it
over; hold it up to the window; count the beads,--long, oval, like some
seaweed bulbs, each an amulet. See the tint; it's very old; like clots
of sunshine,--aren't they? Now bring it near; see the carving, here
corrugated, there faceted, now sculptured into hideous, tiny, heathen
gods. You didn't notice that before! How difficult it must have been,
when amber is so friable! Here's one with a chessboard on his back, and
all his kings and queens and pawns slung round him. Here's another
with a torch, a flaming torch, its fire pouring out inverted. They are
grotesque enough;--but this, this is matchless: such a miniature woman,
one hand grasping the round rock behind, while she looks down into some
gulf, perhaps, beneath, and will let herself fall. Oh, you should see
_her_ with a magnifying-glass! You want to think of calm, satisfying
death, a mere exhalation, a voluntary slipping into another element?
There it is for you. They are all gods and goddesses. They are all here
but one; I've lost one, the knot of all, the love of the thing. Well!
wasn't it queer for a Catholic girl to have at prayer? Don't you wonder
where she got it? Ah! but don't you wonder where I got it? I'll tell
you.

Papa came in, one day, and with great mystery commenced unrolling,
and unrolling, and throwing tissue papers on the floor, and scraps of
colored wool; and Lu and I ran to him,--Lu stooping on her knees to look
up, I bending over his hands to look down. It was so mysterious! I began
to suspect it was diamonds for me, but knew I never could wear them, and
was dreadfully afraid that I was going to be tempted, when slowly, bead
by bead, came out this amber necklace. Lu fairly screamed; as for me, I
just drew breath after breath, without a word. Of course they were for
me;--I reached my hands for them.

"Oh, wait!" said papa. "Yone or Lu?"

"Now how absurd, papa!" I exclaimed. "Such things for Lu!"

"Why not?" asked Lu,--rather faintly now, for she knew I always carried
my point.

"The idea of you in amber, Lu! It's too foreign; no sympathy between
you!"

"Stop, stop!" said papa. "You shan't crowd little Lu out of them. What
do you want them for, Lu?"

"To wear," quavered Lu,--"like the balls the Roman ladies carried for
coolness."

"Well, then, you ought to have them. What do you want them for, Yone?"

"Oh, if Lu's going to have them, I _don't_ want them."

"But give a reason, child."

"Why, to wear, too,--to look at,--to have and to hold for better, for
worse,--to say my prayers on," for a bright idea struck me, "to say
my prayers on, like the Florence rosary." I knew that would finish the
thing.

"Like the Florence rosary?" said papa, in a sleepy voice. "Why, this
_is_ the Florence rosary."

Of course, when we knew that, we were both more crazy to obtain it.

"Oh, Sir," just fluttered Lu, "where did you get it?"

"I got it; the question is, Who's to have it?"

"I must and will, potential and imperative," I exclaimed, quite on fire.
"The nonsense of the thing! Girls with lucid eyes, like shadowy shallows
in quick brooks, can wear crystallizations. As for me, I can wear
only concretions and growths; emeralds and all their cousins would
be shockingly inharmonious on me; but you know, Lu, how I use Indian
spices, and scarlet and white berries and flowers, and little hearts and
notions of beautiful copal that Rose carved for you,--and I can wear
sandal-wood and ebony and pearls, and now this amber. But you, Lu,
you can wear every kind of precious stone, and you may have Aunt
Willoughby's rubies that she promised me; they are all in tone with you;
but I must have this."

"I don't think you're right," said Louise, rather soberly. "You strip
yourself of great advantages. But about the rubies, I don't want
anything so flaming, so you may keep them; and I don't care at all about
this. I think, Sir, on the whole, they belong to Yone for her name."

"So they do," said papa. "But not to be bought off! That's my little
Lu!"

And somehow Lu, who had been holding the rosary, was sitting on papa's
knee, as he half knelt on the floor, and the rosary was in my hand. And
then he produced a little kid box, and there lay inside a star with a
thread of gold for the forehead, circlets for wrist and throat, two
drops, and a ring. Oh, such beauties! You've never seen them.

"The other one shall have these. Aren't you sorry, Yone?" he said.

"Oh, no, indeed! I'd much rather have mine, though these are splendid.
What are they?"

"Aqua-marina," sighed Lu, in an agony of admiration.

"Dear, dear! how did you know?"

Lu blushed, I saw,--but I was too much absorbed with the jewels to
remark it.

"Oh, they are just like that ring on your hand! You don't want two rings
alike," I said. "Where did you get that ring, Lu?"

But Lu had no senses for anything beyond the casket.

If you know aqua-marina, you know something that's before every other
stone in the world. Why, it is as clear as light, white, limpid, dawn
light; sparkles slightly and seldom; looks like pure drops of water,
sea-water, scooped up and falling down again; just a thought of its
parent beryl green hovers round the edges; and it grows more lucent and
sweet to the centre, and there you lose yourself in some dream of vast
seas, a glory of unimagined oceans; and you say that it was crystallized
to any slow flute-like tune, each speck of it floating into file with
a musical grace, and carrying its sound with it. There! it's very
fanciful, but I'm always feeling the tune in aqua-marina, and trying to
find it,--but I shouldn't know it was a tune, if I did, I suppose. How
magnificent it would be, if every atom of creation sprang up and said
its one word of abracadabra, the secret of its existence, and fell
silent again. Oh, dear! you'd die, you know; but what a pow-wow! Then,
too, in aqua-marina proper, the setting is kept out of sight, and you
have the unalloyed stone with its sea-rims and its clearness and steady
sweetness. It wasn't the stone for Louise to wear; it belongs rather
to highly-nervous, excitable persons; and Lu is as calm as I, only so
different! There is something more pure and simple about it than about
anything else; others may flash and twinkle, but this just glows with an
unvarying power, is planetary and strong. It wears the moods of the sea,
too: once in a while a warm amethystine mist suffuses it like a blush;
sometimes a white morning fog breathes over it: you long to get into the
heart of it. That's the charm of gems, after all! You feel that they are
fashioned through dissimilar processes from yourself,--that there's a
mystery about them, mastering which would be like mastering a new life,
like having the freedom of other stars. I give them more personality
than I would a great white spirit. I like amber that way, because I know
how it was made, drinking the primeval weather, resinously beading each
grain of its rare wood, and dripping with a plash to filter through and
around the fallen cones below. In some former state I must have been a
fly embalmed in amber.

"Oh, Lu!" I said, "this amber's just the thing for me, such a great
noon creature! And as for you, you shall wear mamma's Mechlin and that
aqua-marina; and you'll look like a mer-queen just issuing from the
wine-dark deeps and glittering with shining water-spheres."

I never let Lu wear the point at all; she'd be ridiculous in it,--so
flimsy and open and unreserved; that's for me;--Mechlin, with its
whiter, closer, chaste web, suits her to a T.

I must tell you, first, how this rosary came about, any way. You know
we've a million of ancestors, and one of them, my great-grandfather, was
a sea-captain, and actually did bring home cargoes of slaves; but once
he fetched to his wife a little islander, an Asian imp, six years old,
and wilder than the wind. She spoke no word of English, and was full
of short shouts and screeches, like a thing of the woods. My
great-grandmother couldn't do a bit with her; she turned the house
topsy-turvy, cut the noses out of the old portraits, and chewed the
jewels out of the settings, killed the little home animals, spoiled the
dinners, pranced in the garden with Madam Willoughby's farthingale and
royal stiff brocades rustling yards behind,--this atom of a shrimp,--or
balanced herself with her heels in the air over the curb of the well,
scraped up the dead leaves under one corner of the house and fired
them,--a favorite occupation,--and if you left her stirring a mess in
the kitchen, you met her, perhaps, perched in the china-closet and
mumbling all manner of demoniacal prayers, twisting and writhing and
screaming over a string of amber gods that she had brought with her
and always wore. When winter came and the first snow, she was furious,
perfectly mad. One might as well have had a ball of fire in the house,
or chain-lightning; every nice old custom had been invaded, the ancient
quiet broken into a Bedlam of outlandish sounds, and as Captain
Willoughby was returning, his wife packed the sprite off with him,--to
cut, rip, and tear in New Holland, if she liked, but not in New
England,--and rejoiced herself that she would find that little brown
skin cuddled up in her best down beds and among her lavendered sheets no
more. She had learned but two words all that time,--Willoughby, and the
name of the town.

You may conjecture what heavenly peace came in when the Asian went out,
but there is no one to tell what havoc was wrought on board ship; in
fact, if there could have been such a thing as a witch, I should believe
that imp sunk them, for a stray Levantine brig picked her--still agile
as a monkey--from a wreck off the Cape de Verdes and carried her into
Leghorn, where she took--will you mind, if I say?--leg-bail, and
escaped from durance. What happened on her wanderings I'm sure is of
no consequence, till one night she turned up outside a Fiesolan villa,
scorched with malaria fevers and shaken to pieces with tertian and
quartan and all the rest of the agues. So, after having shaken almost to
death, she decided upon getting well; all the effervescence was gone;
she chose to remain with her beads in that family, a mysterious tame
servant, faithful, jealous, indefatigable. But she never grew; at ninety
she was of the height of a yard-stick,--and nothing could have been
finer than to have a dwarf in those old palaces, you know.

In my great-grandmother's home, however, the tradition of the Asian
sprite with her string of amber gods was handed down like a legend, and,
no one knowing what had been, they framed many a wild picture of the
Thing enchanting all her spirits from their beads about her, and calling
and singing and whistling up the winds with them till storm rolled round
the ship, and fierce fog and foam and drowning fell upon her capturers.
But they all believed, that, snatched from the wreck into islands of
Eastern archipelagoes, the vindictive child and her quieted gods might
yet be found. Of course my father knew this, and when that night in the
church he saw the girl saying such devout prayers on an amber rosary,
with a demure black slave so tiny and so old behind her, it flashed
back on him, and he would have spoken, if, just then, the ray had not
revealed the great painting, so that he forgot all about it, and when at
last he turned, they were gone. But my father had come back to America,
had sat down quietly in his elder brother's house, among the hills where
I am to live, and was thought to be a sedate young man and a good match,
till a freak took him that he must go back and find that girl in Italy.
How to do it, with no clue but an amber rosary? But do it he did,
stationing himself against a pillar in that identical church and
watching the worshippers, and not having long to wait before in she
came, with little Asian behind. Papa isn't in the least romantic; he is
one of those great fertilizing temperaments, golden hair and beard, and
hazel eyes, if you will. He's a splendid old fellow! It's absurd to
delight in one's father,--so bread-and-buttery,--but I can't help it.
He's far stronger than I; none of the little weak Italian traits that
streak me, like water in thick, syrupy wine. No,--he isn't in the least
romantic, but he says he was fated to this step, and could no more have
resisted than his heart could have refused to beat. When he spoke to the
devotee, little Asian made sundry belligerent demonstrations; but he
confronted her with the two words she had learned here, Willoughby and
the town's name. The dwarf became livid, seemed always after haunted by
a dreadful fear of him, pursued him with a rancorous hate, but could not
hinder his marriage. The Willoughbys are a cruel race. Her only revenge
was to take away the amber beads, which had long before been blessed
by the Pope for her young mistress, refusing herself to accompany my
mother, and declaring that neither should her charms ever cross the
water,--that all their blessing would be changed to banning, and that
bane would burn the bearer, should the salt-sea spray again dash round
them. But when, in process of Nature, the Asian died,--having become
classic through her longevity, taking length of days for length of
stature,--then the rosary belonged to mamma's sister, who by-and-by sent
it, with a parcel of other things, to papa for me. So I should have had
it at all events, you see;--papa is such a tease I The other things were
mamma's wedding-veil, that point there, which once was her mother's, and
some pearls.

I was born upon the sea, in a calm, far out of sight of land, under
sweltering suns; so, you know, I'm a cosmopolite, and have a right to
all my fantasies. Not that they are fantasies at all; on the contrary,
they are parts of my nature, and I couldn't be what I am without them,
or have one and not have all. Some girls go picking and scraping odds
and ends of ideas together, and by the time they are thirty get quite a
bundle of whims and crotchets on their backs; but they are all at sixes
and sevens, uneven and knotty like fagots, and won't lie compactly,
don't belong to them, and anybody might surprise them out of them. But
for me, you see, mine are harmonious, in my veins; I was born with them.
Not that I was always what I am now. Oh, bless your heart! plums and
nectarines, and luscious things that ripen and develop all their
rare juices, were green once, and so was I. Awkward, tumble-about,
near-sighted, till I was twenty, a real raw-head-and-bloody-bones to all
society; then mamma, who was never well in our diving-bell atmosphere,
was ordered to the West Indies, and papa said it was what I needed, and
I went, too,--and oh, how sea-sick! Were you ever? You forget all about
who you are, and have a vague notion of being Universal Disease. I have
heard of a kind of myopy that is biliousness, and when I reached the
islands my sight was as clear as my skin; all that tropical luxuriance
snatched me to itself at once, recognized me for kith and kin; and mamma
died, and I lived. We had accidents between wind and water, enough to
have made me considerate for others, Lu said; but I don't see that I'm
any less careful not to have my bones spilt in the flood than ever
I was. Slang? No,--poetry. But if your nature had such a wild, free
tendency as mine, and then were boxed up with proprieties and civilities
from year's end to year's end, may-be you, too, would escape now and
then in a bit of slang.

We always had a little boy to play with, Lu and I, or rather
Lu,--because, though he never took any dislike to me, he was absurdly
indifferent, while he followed Lu about with a painful devotion. I
didn't care, didn't know; and as I grew up and grew awkwarder, I was the
plague of their little lives. If Lu had been my sister instead of my
orphan cousin, as mamma was perpetually holding up to me, I should have
bothered them twenty times more; but when I got larger and began to be
really distasteful to his fine artistic perception, mamma had the sense
to keep me out of his way; and he was busy at his lessons, and didn't
come so much. But Lu just fitted him then, from the time he daubed
little adoring blotches of her face on every barn-door and paling, till
when his scrap-book was full of her in all fancies and conceits, and he
was old enough to go away and study Art. Then he came home occasionally,
and always saw us; but I generally contrived, on such occasions, to do
some frightful thing that shocked every nerve he had, and he avoided me
instinctively as he would an electric torpedo; but--do you believe?--I
never had an idea of such a thing, till, when sailing from the South,
so changed, I remembered things, and felt intuitively how it must have
been. Shortly after I went away, he visited Europe. I had been at home a
year, and now we heard he had returned; so for two years he hadn't seen
me. He had written a great deal to Lu,--brotherly letters they were,--he
is so peculiar,--determining not to give her the least intimation of
what he felt, if he did feel anything, till he was able to say all. And
now he had earned for himself a certain fame, a promise of greater; his
works sold; and if he pleased, he could marry. I merely presume this
might have been his thought; he never told me. A certain fame! But
that's nothing to what he will have. How can he paint gray, faint,
half-alive things now? He must abound in color,--be rich, exhaustless:
wild sea-sketches,--sunrise,--sunset,--mountain mists rolling in turbid
crimson masses, breaking in a milky spray of vapor round lofty peaks,
and letting out lonely glimpses of a melancholy moon,--South American
splendors,--pomps of fruit and blossom,--all this affluence of his
future life must flash from his pencils now. Not that he will paint
again directly. Do you suppose it possible that I should be given
him merely for a phase of wealth and light and color, and then
taken,--taken, in some dreadful way, to teach him the necessary and
inevitable result of such extravagant luxuriance? It makes me shiver.

It was that very noon when papa brought in the amber, that he came for
the first time since his return from Europe. He hadn't met Lu before. I
ran, because I was in my morning wrapper. Don't you see it there, that
cream-colored, undyed silk, with the dear palms and ferns swimming all
over it? And all my hair was just flung into a little black net that
Lu had made me; we both had run down as we were when we heard papa. I
scampered; but he saw only Lu; and grasped her hands. Then, of course, I
stopped on the baluster to look. They didn't say anything, only seemed
to be reading up for the two years in each other's eyes; but Lu dropped
her kid box, and as he stooped to pick it up, he held it, and then took
out the ring, looked at her and smiled, and put it on his own finger.
The one she had always worn was no more a mystery. He has such little
hands! they don't seem made for anything but slender crayons and
watercolors, as if oils would weigh them down with the pigment; but
there is a nervy strength about them that could almost bend an ash.

Papa's breezy voice blew through the room next minute, welcoming him;
and then he told Lu to put up her jewels, and order luncheon, at which,
of course, the other wanted to see the jewels nearer; and I couldn't
stand that, but slipped down and walked right in, lifting my amber, and
saying, "Oh, but this is what you must look at!"

He turned, somewhat slowly, with such a lovely indifference, and let his
eyes idly drop on me. He didn't look at the amber at all; he didn't look
at me; I seemed to fill his gaze without any action from him, for
he stood quiet and passive; my voice, too, seemed to wrap him in a
dream,--only an instant; though then I had reached him.

"You've not forgotten Yone," said papa, "who went persimmon and came
apricot?"

"I've not forgotten Yone," answered he, as if half asleep. "But who is
this?"

"Who is this?" echoed papa. "Why, this is my great West Indian magnolia,
my Cleopatra in light colors, my"----

"Hush, you silly man!"

"This is she," putting his hands on my shoulders,--"Miss Giorgione
Willoughby."

By this time he had found his manners.

"Miss Giorgione Willoughby," he said, with a cool bow, "I never knew
you."

"Very well, Sir," I retorted. "Now you and my father have settled the
question, know my amber!" and lifting it again, it got caught in that
curl.

I have good right to love my hair. What was there to do, when it snarled
in deeper every minute, but for him to help me? and then, at the
friction of our hands, the beads gave out slightly their pungent smell
that breathes all through the Arabian Nights, you know; and the perfumed
curls were brushing softly over his fingers, and I a little vexed and
flushed as the blind blew back and let in the sunshine and a roistering
wind;--why, it was all a pretty scene, to be felt then and remembered
afterward. Lu, I believe, saw at that instant how it would be, and moved
away to do as papa had asked; but no thought of it came to me.

"Well, if you can't clear the tangle," I said, "you can see the beads."

But while with delight he examined their curious fretting, he yet saw
me.

I am used to admiration now, certainly; it is my food; without it I
should die of inanition; but do you suppose I care any more for those
who give it to me than a Chinese idol does for--whoever swings incense
before it? Are you devoted to your butcher and milkman? We desire only
the unpossessed or unattainable, "something afar from the sphere of
our sorrow." But, though unconsciously, I may have been piqued by this
manner of his. It was new; not a word, not a glance; I believed it
was carelessness, and resolved--merely for the sake of conquering, I
fancied, too--to change all that. By-and-by the beads dropped out of the
curl, as if they had been possessed of mischief and had held there of
themselves. He caught them.

"Here, Circe," he said.

That was the time I was so angry; for, at the second, he meant all it
comprehended. He saw, I suppose, for he added at once,--

"Or what was the name of the Witch of Atlas,

  'The magic circle of whose voice and eyes
  All savage natures did imparadise?'"

I wonder what made me think him mocking me. Frequently since then he has
called me by that name.

"I don't know much about geography," I said. "Besides, these didn't come
from there. Little Asian--the imp of my name, you remember--owned them."

"Ah?" with the utmost apathy; and turning to my father, "I saw the
painting that enslaved you, Sir," he said.

"Yes, yes," said papa, gleefully. "And then why didn't you make me a
copy?"

"Why?" Here he glanced round the room, as if he weren't thinking at all
of the matter in hand. "The coloring is more than one can describe,
though faded. But I don't think you would like it so much now. Moreover,
Sir, I cannot make copies."

I stepped towards them, quite forgetful of my pride. "Can't?" I
exclaimed. "Oh, how splendid! Because then no other man comes between
you and Nature; your ideal hangs before you, and special glimpses open
and shut on you, glimpses which copyists never obtain."

"I don't think you are right," he said, coldly, his hands loosely
crossed behind him, leaning on the corner of the mantel, and looking
unconcernedly out of the window.

Wasn't it provoking? I remembered myself,--and remembered, too, that I
never had made a real exertion to procure anything, and it wasn't worth
while to begin then, beside not being my forte; things must come to me.
Just then Lu reentered, and one of the servants brought a tray, and we
had lunch. Then our visitor rose to go.

"No, no," said papa. "Stay the day out with the girls. It's Mayday, and
there are to be fireworks on the other bank to-night."

"Fireworks for Mayday?"

"Yes, to be sure. Wait and see."

"It would be so pleasant!" pleaded Lu.

"And a band, I forgot to mention. I have an engagement myself, so you'll
excuse me; but the girls will do the honors, and I shall meet you at
dinner."

So it was arranged. Papa went out. I curled up on a lounge,--for Lu
wouldn't have liked to be left, if I had liked to leave her,--and soon,
when he sat down by her quite across the room, I half shut my eyes and
pretended to sleep. He began to turn over her work-basket, taking up her
thimble, snipping at the thread with her scissors: I see now he wasn't
thinking about it, and was trying to recover what he considered a proper
state of feeling, but I fancied he was very gentle and tender, though I
couldn't hear what they said, and I never took the trouble to listen in
my life. In about five minutes I was tired of this playing 'possum, and
took my observations.

What is your idea of a Louise? Mine is dark eyes, dark hair, decided
features, pale, brown pale, with a mole on the left cheek,--and that's
Louise. Nothing striking, but pure and clear, and growing always better.

For him,--he's not one of those cliff-like men against whom you are
blown as a feather, I don't fancy that kind; I can stand of myself, rule
myself. He isn't small, though; no, he's tall enough, but all his frame
is delicate, held to earth by nothing but the cords of a strong will,
--very little body, very much soul. He, too, is pale, and has dark eyes
with violet darks in them. You don't call him beautiful in the least,
but you don't know him. I call him beauty itself, and I know him
thoroughly. A stranger might have thought, when I spoke of those copals
Rose carved, that Rose was some girl. But though he has a feminine
sensibility, like Correggio or Schubert, nobody could call him womanish.
"_Les races se féminisent_." Don't you remember Matthew Roydon's
Astrophill?

  "A sweet, attractive kind of grace,
  A full assurance given by looks,
  Continual comfort in a face."

I always think of that flame in an alabaster vase, when I see him; "one
sweet grace fed still with one sweet mind"; a countenance of another
sphere: that's Vaughan Rose. It provokes me that I can't paint him
myself, without other folk's words; but you see there's no natural image
of him in me, and so I can't throw it strongly on any canvas. As for his
manners, you've seen them;--now tell me, was there ever anything so
winning when he pleases, and always a most gracious courtesy in his
air, even when saying an insufferably uncivil thing? He has an art, a
science, of putting the unpleasant out of his sight, ignoring or looking
over it, which sometimes gives him an absent way; and that is because he
so delights in beauty; he seems to have woven a mist over his face then,
and to be shut in on his own inner loveliness; and many a woman thinks
he is perfectly devoted, when, very like, he is swinging over some
lonely Spanish sierra beneath the stars, or buried in noonday Brazilian
forests, half stifled with the fancied breath of every gorgeous blossom
of the zone. Till this time, it had been the perfection of form rather
than tint that had enthralled him; he had come home with severe ideas,
too severe; he needed me, you see.

But while looking at him and Lu, on that day, I didn't perceive half of
this, only felt annoyed at their behavior, and let them feel that I
was noticing them. There's nothing worse than that; it is a very
upas-breath, it puts on the brakes, and of course a chill and a
restraint overcame them till Mr. Dudley was announced.

"Dear! dear!" I exclaimed, getting upon my feet. "What ever shall we do,
Lu? I'm not dressed for him." And while I stood, Mr. Dudley came in.

Mr. Dudley didn't seem to mind whether I was dressed in cobweb or
sheet-iron; for he directed his looks and conversation so much to Lu,
that Rose came and sat on a stool before me and began to talk.

"Miss Willoughby"--

"Yone, please."

"But you are not Yone."

"Well, just as you choose. You were going to say?"

"Merely to ask how you liked the Islands."

"Oh, well enough."

"No more?" he said. "They wouldn't have broken your spell so, if that
had been all. Do you know I actually believe in enchantments now?"

I was indignant, but amused in spite of myself.

"Well," he continued, "why don't you say it? How impertinent am I? You
won't? Why don't you laugh, then?"

"Dear me!" I replied. "You are so much on the
'subtle-souled-psychologist' line, that there's no need of my speaking
at all."

"I can carry on all the dialogue? Then let _me_ say how you liked the
Islands."

"I shall do no such thing. I liked the West Indies because there is life
there; because the air is a firmament of balm, and you grow in it like
a flower in the sun; because the fierce heat and panting winds wake and
kindle all latent color, and fertilize every germ of delight that might
sleep here forever. That's why I liked them; and you knew it just as
well before as now."

"Yes; but I wanted to see if you knew it. So you think there is life
there in that dead Atlantis."

"Life of the elements, rain, hail, fire, and snow."

"Snow thrice bolted by the northern blast, I fancy, by which time it
becomes rather misty. Exaggerated snow."

"Everything there is an exaggeration. Coming here from England is like
stepping out of a fog into an almost exhausted receiver; but you've no
idea what light is, till you've been in those inland hills. You think a
blue sky the perfection of bliss? When you see a white sky, a dome of
colorless crystal, with purple swells of mountain heaving round you, and
a wilderness of golden greens royally languid below, while stretches of
a scarlet blaze, enough to ruin a weak constitution, flaunt from the
rank vines that lace every thicket, and the whole world, and you with
it, seems breaking into blossom,--why, then you know what light is and
can do. The very wind there by day is bright, now faint, now stinging,
and makes a low, wiry music through the loose sprays, as if they were
tense harp-strings. Nothing startles; all is like a grand composition
utterly wrought out. What a blessing it is that the blacks have been
imported there,--their swarthiness is in such consonance!"

"No; the native race was in better consonance. You are so enthusiastic,
it is pity you ever came away."

"Not at all. I didn't know anything about it till I came back."

"But a mere animal or vegetable life is not much. What was ever done in
the tropics?"

"Almost all the world's history,--wasn't it?"

"No, indeed; only the first, most trifling, and barbarian movements."

"At all events, you are full of blessedness in those climates, and that
is the end and aim of all action; and if Nature will do it for you,
there is no need of your interference. It is much better to be than
to do;--one is a strife, the other is possession."

"You mean being as the complete attainment? There is only one Being,
then. All the rest of us are"----

"Oh, dear me! that sounds like metaphysics! Don't!"

"So you see, you are not full of blessedness there."

"You ought to have been born in Abelard's time,--you've such a
disputatious spirit. That's I don't know how many times you have
contradicted me to-day."

"Pardon."

"I wonder if you are so easy with all women."

"I don't know many."

"I shall watch to see if you contradict Lu this way."

"I don't need. How absorbed she is! Mr. Dudley is 'interesting'?"

"I don't know. No. But then, Lu is a good girl, and he's her
minister,--a Delphic oracle. She thinks the sun and moon set somewhere
round Mr. Dudley. Oh! I mean to show him my amber."

And I tossed it into Lu's lap, saying,--

"Show it to Mr. Dudley, Lu,--and ask him if it isn't divine!"

Of course, he was shocked, and wouldn't go into ecstasies at all;
tripped on the adjective.

"There are gods enough in it to be divine," said Rose, taking it from
Lu's hand and bringing it back to me. "All those very Gnostic deities
who assisted at Creation. You are not afraid that the imprisoned things
work their spells upon you? The oracle declares it suits your cousin
best," he added, in a lower tone.

"All the oaf knows!" I responded. "I wish you'd admire it, Mr. Dudley.
Mr. Rose don't like amber,--handles it like nettles."

"No," said Rose, "I don't like amber."

"He prefers aqua-marina," I continued. "Lu, produce yours!" For she had
not heard him.

"Yes," said Mr. Dudley, rubbing his finger over his lip while he gazed,
"every one must prefer aqua-marina."

"Nonsense! It's no better than glass. I'd as soon wear a set of
window-panes. There's no expression in it. It isn't alive, like real
gems."

Mr. Dudley stared. Rose laughed.

"What a vindication of amber!" he said.

He was standing now, leaning against the mantel, just as he was before
lunch. Lu looked at him and smiled.

"Yone is exultant, because we both wanted the beads," she said. "I like
amber as much as she."

"Nothing near so much, Lu!"

"Why didn't you have them, then?" asked Rose, quickly.

"Oh, they belonged to Yone; and uncle gave me these, which I like
better. Amber is warm, and smells of the earth; but this is cool and
dewy, and"----

"Smells of heaven?" asked I, significantly.

Mr. Dudley began to fidget, for he saw no chance of finishing his
exposition.

"As I was saying, Miss Louisa," he began, in a different key.

I took my beads and wound them round my wrist. "You haven't as much eye
for color as a poppy-bee," I exclaimed, in a corresponding key, and
looking up at Rose.

"Unjust. I was thinking then how entirely they suited you."

"Thank you. Vastly complimentary from one who 'don't like amber'!"

"Nevertheless, you think so."

"Yes and no. Why don't you like it?"

"You mustn't ask me for my reasons. It is not merely disagreeable, but
hateful."

"And you've been beside me, like a Christian, all this time, and I had
it!"

"The perfume is acrid; I associate it with the lower jaw of St. Basil
the Great, styled a present of immense value, you remember,--being hard,
heavy, shining like gold, the teeth yet in it, and with a smell more
delightful than amber,"--making a mock shudder at the word.

"Oh, it is prejudice, then."

"Not in the least. It is antipathy. Besides, the thing is unnatural;
there is no existent cause for it. A bit that turns up on certain
sands,--here at home, for aught I know, as often as anywhere."

"Which means Nazareth. We must teach you, Sir, that there are some
things at home as rare as those abroad."

"I am taught," he said, very low, and without looking up.

"Just tell me, what is amber?"

"Fossil gum."

"Can you say those words and not like it? Don't it bring to you a
magnificent picture of the pristine world,--great seas and other
skies,--a world of accentuated crises, that sloughed off age after age,
and rose fresher from each plunge? Don't you see, or long to see, that
mysterious magic tree out of whose pores oozed this fine solidified
sunshine? What leaf did it have? what blossom? what great wind shivered
its branches? Was it a giant on a lonely coast, or thick low growth
blistered in ravines and dells? That's the witchery of amber,--that it
_has_ no cause,--that all the world grew to produce it,--may-be died
and gave no other sign,--that its tree, which must have been beautiful,
dropped all its fruits; and how bursting with juice must they have
been"----

"Unfortunately, coniferous."

"Be quiet. Stripped itself of all its lush luxuriance, and left for a
vestige only this little fester of its gashes."

"No, again," he once more interrupted. "I have seen remnants of the wood
and bark in a museum."

"Or has it hidden and compressed all its secret here?" I continued,
obliviously. "What if in some piece of amber an accidental seed were
sealed, we found, and planted, and brought back the lost aeons? What a
glorious world that must have been, where even the gum was so precious!"

"In a picture, yes. Necessary for this. But, my dear Miss Willoughby,
you convince me that the Amber Witch founded your family," he said,
having listened with an amused face. "Loveliest amber that ever the
sorrowing sea-birds have wept," he hummed. "There! isn't that kind of
stuff enough to make a man detest it?"

"Yes."

"And you are quite as bad in another way."

"Oh!"

"Just because, when we hold it in our hands, we hold also that furious
epoch where rioted all monsters and poisons,--where death fecundated
and life destroyed,--where superabundance demanded such existences, no
souls, but fiercest animal fire;--just for that I hate it."

"Why, then, is it fitted for me?"

He laughed again, but replied,--"The hues harmonize,--the substances;
you both are accidents; it suits your beauty."

So, then, it seemed I had beauty, after all.

"You mean that it harmonizes with me, because I am a symbol of its
period. If there had been women then, they would have been like me,--a
great creature without a soul, a"----

"Pray, don't finish the sentence. I can imagine that there is something
rich and voluptuous and sating about amber, its color, and its lustre,
and its scent; but for others, not for me. Yea, you have beauty, after
all," turning suddenly, and withering me with his eye,--"beauty, after
all, as you didn't _say_ just now.--Mr. Willoughby is in the garden. I
must go before he comes in, or he'll make me stay. There are some to
whom you can't say, No."

He stopped a minute, and now, without looking,--indeed, he looked
everywhere but at me, while we talked,--made a bow as if just seating
me from a waltz, and, with his eyes and his smile on Louise all the way
down the room, went out. Did you ever know such insolence?

[To be continued.]



SONG OF NATURE.


  Mine are the night and morning,
  The pits of air, the gulf of space,
  The sportive sun, the gibbous moon,
  The innumerable days.

  I hide in the blinding glory,
  I lurk in the pealing song,
  I rest on the pitch of the torrent,
  In death, new-born and strong.

  No numbers have counted my tallies,
  No tribes my house can fill,
  I sit by the shining Fount of life,
  And pour the deluge still.

  And ever by delicate powers
  Gathering along the centuries
  From race on race the fairest flowers,
  My wreath shall nothing miss.

  And many a thousand summers
  My apples ripened well,
  And light from meliorating stars
  With firmer glory fell.

  I wrote the past in characters
  Of rock and fire the scroll,
  The building in the coral sea,
  The planting of the coal.

  And thefts from satellites and rings
  And broken stars I drew,
  And out of spent and aged things
  I formed the world anew.

  What time the gods kept carnival,
  Tricked out in star and flower,
  And in cramp elf and saurian forms
  They swathed their too much power.

  Time and Thought were my surveyors,
  They laid their courses well,
  They boiled the sea, and baked the layers
  Of granite, marl, and shell.

  But him--the man-child glorious,
  Where tarries he the while?
  The rainbow shines his harbinger,
  The sunset gleams his smile.

  My boreal lights leap upward,
  Forthright my planets roll,
  And still the man-child is not born,
  The summit of the whole.

  Must time and tide forever run?
  Will never my winds go sleep in the West?
  Will never my wheels, which whirl the sun
  And satellites, have rest?

  Too much of donning and doffing,
  Too slow the rainbow fades;
  I weary of my robe of snow,
  My leaves, and my cascades.

  I tire of globes and races,
  Too long the game is played;
  What, without him, is summer's pomp,
  Or winter's frozen shade?

  I travail in pain for him,
  My creatures travail and wait;
  His couriers come by squadrons,
  He comes not to the gate.

  Twice I have moulded an image,
  And thrice outstretched my hand,
  Made one of day, and one of night,
  And one of the salt-sea-sand.

  I moulded kings and saviours,
  And bards o'er kings to rule;
  But fell the starry influence short,
  The cup was never full.

  Yet whirl the glowing wheels once more,
  And mix the bowl again,
  Seethe, Fate! the ancient elements,
  Heat, cold, dry, wet, and peace and pain

  Let war and trade and creeds and song
  Blend, ripen race on race,--
  The sunburnt world a man shall breed
  Of all the zones and countless days.

  No ray is dimmed, no atom worn,
  My oldest force is good as new,
  And the fresh rose on yonder thorn
  Gives back the bending heavens in dew.



NEMOPHILY


An earnest plea was once entered in Maga's pages for the bodies
of saints. Yet it is to be hoped that others not included in that
respectable class may have physical needs also, and it is to be feared
that they may not be above the necessity of a little of the same
invigorating tonic. For there are not a few on this continent of ours,
whom the _Avvocata del Diavolo_ would certainly expect to enter a _nolo
contendere_, who stand in much need of a healthy animalism. That these
sinners would be benefited by what Mr. Kingsley's critics call "muscular
Christianity" cannot be denied. For they are not sinners beyond all hope
of amendment, by any means; and their offences being rather against
the laws and light of Nature than against any of the commands of the
Decalogue, it is earnestly desired that they be brought within the pale
of promise, even if they never reach the sacred fane of canonization.

Indeed, at the outset, let there be a protest entered on behalf of the
sinner against this unnecessary pity of the saint. It is a part of that
false halo with which enthusiastic admiration (reckless of gilding and
ruinously prodigal of ochre) delights to endue the favored heads of the
_beati_. The saint himself countenances the folly, and meekly inclines
his head (sideways) to the rays. It is a part of the capital of the
calling to look interesting. The revered and reverend Charles Honeyman,
in the hands of that acute manager, Mr. Sherrick, was bidden to sit in
his pew at evening service and _cough_. A qualified consumption and a
moderate bronchitis are no bad substitutes for eloquence, learning, and
that indiscreet piety which is so careless of feminine favor as to
bring into the pulpit a robust person and to the dinner-table a healthy
appetite.

But the saint, if he have a reasonable sense of his pastoral duty, gets,
_malgré lui_, a very fair share of that open-air medicine which is
supposed to be the great lack of his profession. For if he be a
clergyman in a rural parish of tolerable extent and with no great
superfluity of wealth, he will not want for either air or exercise. The
George Herbert so situated finds by no means his whole round of duty in
the study. Old Mrs. Smith, sick and bedridden, lives a couple of miles
from the parsonage; but the thoughtless creature actually expects a
weekly visit and half-hour's reading of certain old familiar English
literature, and will remind her pastor of it, if the expected day pass
without his coming. Jones and his wife, who live in just the other
direction, are wantonly apt, upon the insufficient plea of a long walk,
to be missed from their wonted pew on a stormy Sunday, and must be
looked up. Little Mary Gray has not been to Sunday-school. Cause
suspected,--insufficient shoes. Bessy Bell, up the cross-road, quite
over beyond Beman's Farms, is likewise delinquent, from the opposite
want of a bonnet. Wilson, the cross-grained vestryman, has an idea,
which never fails by Saturday night to break out into a positive rush of
conviction, that the minister is neglecting his studies and "going to
Rome," if he doesn't in the course of the week go to Wilson and carry
him the Church papers and take a look at the Wilson prize-pigs. So good
Mr. Herbert never fails, in due attestation of his "abhorrence of the
Bishop of Rome and his detestable enormities," to foot it over the rocky
hill and down across the rickety little bridge and past the poor-house
farm, (where he stops on a little private business of his own, that
perhaps makes a few old hearts and certainly one old coat-pocket the
lighter,) and so on, a good piece, through the woods, to where Vestryman
Wilson is bending over the hoe or swinging the axe, and thinking the
while what an easy life the parson has of it.

Then Mr. Herbert gets the occasional tonic of a brisk walk over the
hard-beaten snow, of a moonlight winter's night. A walk-only think of
it!--over the crisp, crunching snow, to the distant outlying hamlet of
Paton's Corner, where a few are gathered in the little school-house to
hear him preach, and to give him the happy relief of a five-mile tramp
home again.

It is really doubtful if dumb-bells, a gymnasium, and a pickerel-back
racing-wherry would meet precisely the case of Mr. Herbert, however
desirable for city saints who have plenty of spare sixpences for the
omnibuses.

But the miserable sinner,--"where," as the shepherd exclaimed, to Mr.
Weller's indignation, "is the miserable sinner?" Keeping school,
keeping books, making books, standing behind counters when busy and on
street-corners when disengaged, doing anything or everything but taking
care of his precious body, and thereby giving his precious soul the
chance of being in very bad company, and following the fate of poor
Tray, and of the well-meaning stork in Dr. Aesop's fable. What shall he,
or rather, what can he, do with his leisure? For leisure more or less
almost every young man has,--and it is of young men, and especially of
the _very_ young men, that we are benevolently writing. If he dwell
in an inland town, the boat-club is hopeless,--and boat-clubs, though
capital things for the young gentlemen of Harvard and Yale and Trinity,
have also their drawbacks. One cannot always be ready to move in
complete unison with a dozen fellow-mortals. Pendennis is never ready
when the club are desirous to row; Newcome is perpetually anxious to
tempt the wave when the wave tempts nobody else. The gymnasium gets to
be a wearisome round of very mill-horse-like work, after the varieties
of possible dislocation of all one's bones have been exhausted. Climbing
ropes and poles with nothing but cobwebs at the top, and leaping horses
with only tan at the bottom, grow monotonous after six months' steady
dissipation thereat. Base-ball clubs do not always find desirable
commons, and the municipal fathers of the towns have a prejudice against
them in the streets. What shall youth, conscious of muscle and eager for
fresh air, do? Even the gloves are not fancy-free, but are very apt to
bring with them the slang of the ring and the beastly associations
of professional pugilism. Youth looks up to its teachers; but if its
teachers in the manly art be the Game-Chicken, the Pet, the Slasher,
youth, in learning to respect the brute strength of such men, will
hardly learn to respect itself.

But--and here lies the purport of this article--there is hardly a town
or village of New England which has not within a quarter of a mile of
its suburbs a patch of woodland or a strip of sandy beach. What is to
hinder the sinner, if he repent him of the foul air and cramped posture
of which he has been the victim, from a little pedestrianism? Do
American men and boys ever walk? Drive, it is known they do; they can
always get time for that. But to walk, certainly to scramble and to
climb, must be added by Mr. Phillips, in the new editions of his
exquisite and inexhaustible Lecture, to the catalogue of the "Lost
Arts."

Yet Nature never grows outworn,--is unwearied in the bounty which she
bestows on the seeker. I said a strip of sandy beach, just now. For that
I beg leave to refer the reader to Mr. Kingsley's fascinating "Glaucus,"
and to the delightful papers which appeared in "Blackwood" a year or two
ago. My business is with the woods and fields. Certainly some who read
my pages will have leisure to climb a stone wall now and then, and for
them the following sketches of New England wood-walks may serve to show
how much enjoyment may be got with but little outlay of appliances. Of
course the most tempting thing to seek is sport. But the gun and the
fishing-rod are useless in many towns, from the disappearance of all
worthy objects for their exercise. The birds are wild and shy; the trout
have been _coculus-indicused_ out of the mountain-brooks to supply
metropolitan hotel-tables and Delmonican larders. Let us go after more
attainable things. And first, being a true nemophilist, I protest
against botany. A flower worth a five-mile walk and a wet foot is worthy
of something better than dissection with the Linnaean classification,
afterward adding insult to injury. The botanist is not a discoverer; he
is only a pedant. He finds out nothing about the plant; he serves it
as we might fancy a monster doing, who should take this number of the
"Atlantic" and sit down, not to read it, not to inhale the delicate
fragrance of its thought, but to count its articles, examine their
titles, and, having compared them with the newspaper advertisement,
sweep the whole contentedly into the dust-heap. To study the plant, to
see how it gets its living, why it will grow on one side of a brook in
profusion, and yet refuse to seek the other bank, is not his care. It
is simply to see whether he can abuse its honest English or New-English
simplicity by calling it by one set or another of barbarous Latin and
Greek titles. Pray, my good Sir, does a man go to see the elephant only
to call him a pachydermatous quadruped?

But we are wasting time and shall never get into the woods. In the
winter wild you will hardly get far into them, except at the Christmas
season for greenery. Gathering this by deputy is poor business. It is
all very well, if you can do no better, to engage Mr. Brown to engage
some one else to bring in the needed spruce, fir, and hemlock with which
to obscure the fresco deformities of St. Boniface's; but it is far
better to hunt for them yourself. There is something intensely
delightful in the changes of the search; for it begins dull enough. You
start in the drear December weather, with a gray sky and leaden clouds
softly shaded in regular billows, like an India-ink ocean, overhead,
and a somewhat muddy lane before you. Then to pick one's way across the
plashy meadows, and, after a ticklish pass of jumping from one reedy
tussock to another, to get once more upon the firm soil, while the
grass, dry and crisp under your feet, gives a pleasant _whish, whish_,
as it does the duty of street-door-mat to your mud-beclogged sandals.
Now for the stone wall. On the other side are thick set the thorny
stalks of last summer's "high-bush" blackberries. A plunge and a
scramble take you through in comparative safety; and stopping only to
disengage your skirts from a too-fond bramble, you are in the woodland.
Thick-strewn the dead leaves lie under foot. What music there is in the
rustling murmur with which they greet your invading step! On, deeper and
deeper into the wood,--now dodging under the green and snaky cat-briers,
with their retractile thorns and vicious clinging grasp,--now dashing
along the woodman's paths,--now struggling among the opposing
underwood. At last a little sprig of feathery green catches the eye.
It is a tuft of moss. No,--it is the running ground-pine; and clearing
away, with both eager hands, leaves, sticks, moss, and all the fallen
_exuciae_ of the summertime, you tear up long wreaths of that most
graceful of evergreens. Then, in another quarter of the woodland, where
the underbrush has been killed by the denser shade, there rise the
exquisite fan-shaped plumes of the feather-pine, of deepest green, or
brown-golden with the pencil of the frost;--for cross or star or thick
festoon, there is nothing so beautiful. And again you are attracted
into the thickets of laurel, and wage fierce war upon the sturdy and
tenacious, yet brittle branches, till you are transformed into a walking
jack-o'-the-green. The holly of the English Christmas, all-besprent with
crimson drops, is hard to be found in New England, and you will have to
thread the courses of the brooks to seek the swamp-loving black alder,
which will furnish as brilliant a berry, but without the beautiful
thorny leaf. Only in one patch of woodland do I know of the holly. In
the southeastern corner of Massachusetts,--if you will take the trouble
to follow up a railroad-track for a couple of miles and then plunge
into the pine woods, you will come upon a few lonely, stunted scraps of
it. The warmer airs which the Gulf Stream sends upon that coast have,
it is said, something to do therewith. Of course, if I am wrong, the
botanists will take vengeance upon me; but I can only say what has been
said to me. We nemophilists are apt to be careless of solemn science and
go upon all sorts of uncertain tradition.

But "Christmas comes but once a year." After chancel and nave have been
duly adorned, and again disrobed against the coming sobrieties of Lent,
there are other temptations to the woods. Before the snow has wholly
vanished from the shelter of the wood-lots, the warm, hazy, wooing days
of April come upon us. On such a day,--how well in this snow-season I
remember it!--I have been lured out by the hope of the Mayflower, the
delicate _epigae repens_, miscalled the trailing arbutus. Up the rocky
hill-side, from whose top you catch glimpses of the far-off sparkling
sea, with a blue haze of island ranges belting it,--up among the rocks,
into warm, sheltered, sunny nooks, you go upon your quest. For the
Mayflower, though found in almost every township in New England, has
secret and unaccountable whims of its own,--will persist in blooming
in just one spot, where you ought not to expect it, and in avoiding all
likely places. Yet when you come to its traditionary habitat, it is not
there. Round and round we pace, hoping and despairing, till a faint,
most delicate odor, indescribably suggestive of woodland freshness,
catches the roused sense; or else one silvery star peeps out from under
an upturned birch-leaf. Then down on hands and knees; tear up brush to
right and left, the brown skeletons of the withered foliage. The ground
is white with stars. Some are touched with delicate pink, some creamy
white,--but all breathing out the evanescent secret of the early spring.
Such the children of Plymouth used to hang in garlands about the Pilgrim
stone, in honor of the never-to-be-forgotten name of the New England
Argo.

Later in the year come the beautiful blue violets, which are, I am sorry
to say, scentless. Yet their little white cousin, which delights in all
swampy places, is sometimes, in the first days of its appearing, more
regardful of the prime duty of all flowers. I have gathered tufts of
them which (botanists to the contrary notwithstanding) were wellnigh as
odorous as if reared in the sunniest Warwickshire lane; but, as with a
perfect specimen of the cast skin of a snake, such a boon is to be hoped
for only once in a lifetime. With the violets, the beautiful blush-bells
of the anemone come garlanded with their graceful leaves, plentifully
enough. But did the rambler ever find the sensitive fern, which resented
the intrusive hand with all Mimosa's coyness? I never did but once. I
have wooed many a delicate frond of all varieties of fern since, but
never one so conscious. Now, too, ere the trees come into leaf, is the
time to seek the boxwood, called, I hope improperly, by the ominous name
of the Southern dogwood. It is worth an afternoon's ramble to come upon
one of those trees, standing in an open glade of the forest, a pyramid
of white or cream-colored blossoms. Before a leaf is on the tree, it
clothes itself in this lovely livery, and at a little distance seems
like a snowy cloud rather than a shrub.

But with June comes the most exquisite of our New England wild-flowers,
the arethusa, or swamp-pink, as it is often styled, to the great
confusion of its delicate, high-born nature with the great, vulgar,
flaunting azalea. When June comes,--when the clethra is heaped with its
bee-beloved blossoms, and the grass is green and bright as never again
in the year, then the arethusa is to be sought. A most unaccountable
flower, of all shades, from pale pink to a deep purple, with a lovely
shape that I can liken to nothing so nearly as the _fleur-de-lis_ on
French escutcheons, it has a delicate, yet powerful, aromatic scent, as
if it were an estray from the tropics. One specimen, snowy white, I have
seen, and can tell you where to find another. You are to go out along
the President's highway, due northward from a certain seaport of
Massachusetts. Take the eastward turn at the little village which lies
at the head of its harbor, and so north again by the old Friends'
meeting-house, which looks in brown placidity away toward the distant
shipping and the wicked steeple-houses, into the which so many of its
lost lambs have been inveigled. Then be not tempted to strike off down
yonder lane, to see the curious old farm-house, relic of Colony times,
with its odd stone chimney, its projecting upper story and carved wooden
pendants, and its shingles all pierced into decorative hearts and
rounds. Its likeness is not in Barber's book,--no, nor its visible form,
I believe, (it is many a year since I went that way,) on earth. It
became a constellation long ago,--being translated to the stars. Keep on
with good heart along the highway ridge, whence you can look down on the
solemn, close-set, pine forest, which hides from you the windings of the
river, and the beautiful lakelet, where the water-lilies float in
the summer. Go on down the valley, past the old tavern,--relic
of stage-coaching days, the square, three-story, deserted-looking
tavern,--up again a couple of miles or so, till the river has dwindled
to a brook and then to a marsh. Here is the place of our seeking. For
under the shade of one of those huge granite rocks over which the thin
soil of ---- County is sprinkled, and which here and there have shaken
off the superincumbent dust in indignation at the presumption of man in
attempting to farm them,--under that rock--of course I shall not tell
you which--you will find the White Arethusa, if you are born under a
lucky star.

A little later, the crimson lady-slipper loves to spring up in pine
clearings, around the base of the wood-piles which the cutters have
stacked in the winter to season. To one born by the salt water there is
an especial forest delight in the pine woods. For that best-loved sound
of the ceaseless fall of plunging seas upon the beach comes to him
there. Many a time I have walked from Harvard's leafy shades and
cheerful halls out to the quiet of the Botanic Garden for the sake of
hearing the wind in the pine tree-tops. Shut your eyes, and the inward
vision sees once more the long line of sandy and shingly beaches, the
green curving-up of the surges tipped with dazzling foam,--sees the
motionless and blackened timbers of the wreck on the shore, the white
wings dipping and turning along the combing tops of the waves racing in
upon the sands,--sees the dry tufted beach-grass, and the wet, shining,
compact slope down which slides swiftly the under-tow. And what a
healthful exhilaration it is to breathe the balm-laden breath of the
pine forest, and to tread the elastic slippery-soft carpet of the fallen
spiny leaves! Here is the haunt of the lady-slipper, (_cypripedium_,)
a shy, rare flower, like a little sack delicately veined, with a faint
musky scent, and large-flapped leaves shading its flower.

In the hot July and August, the scarlet lobelia, the cardinal-flower, is
to be found. Never was cardinal so robed. If Herbert's rose, in poetic
hyperbole, with its "hue angry and brave, bids the rash gazer wipe his
eye," certainly such a bed of lobelia as I once saw on the road to
"Rollo's Camp" was anything but what the Scotch would call "a sight for
sair een." For the space of a dozen or twenty yards grew a patch of
absolutely nothing but lobelia. At a little distance it was like a
scarlet carpet flung out by the roadside. If you desire to twine the
threefold chord of color, as Mr. Ruskin calls it, I know of no lovelier
foil for the lobelia than the white orchis, which haunts the same marshy
spots. Those long spikes of feathery and balanced blossoms are the most
absolute white of anything in Nature. They positively insist upon the
very refinement of purity, as you look at them.

Did you ever see a pond-lily?--not the miserable draggled
green-and-mud-colored buds which enterprising boys bring into the cars
for sale; but the white water-lily, floating on the silent brooks, or
far out in the safe depths of the mill-ponds. The "Autocrat" knows what
pond-lilies are, having visited Prospero's Isle and seen the pink-tinged
sisterhood of a certain mere that lies embosomed in its hills. But to
know them, you must hunt for them,--tramp off to the distant stream, and
then, not stand on the bank and wish and sigh, but off hose and shoon,
and, careless of water-snake and snapping-turtle, wade in up to their
virgin bower, and bear off the dripping, fragrant prize. None but the
brave deserve--lady or lily.

But if the stream be too deep and wide, and the lilies are anchored far
out among their broad pads,--a floral Venice, with the blue spikes and
arrowy leaves of the pickerel-weed for campaniles and towers,--there
are yet "lilies of the field" over which you may profitably meditate,
remembering that Solomon Ben-David was not so arrayed. Two kinds there
are,--one like the tiger-lily of the gardens, the petals curled back
and showing the whole leopard-spotted corolla,--the other bell-shaped,
rarer, and growing one only on a stalk. Both are to be found in open
spaces, bush-grown fields, and airy, sunny spots. It is worth a hot and
dusty June walk to get into one of those nooks. You can spend days and
not exhaust the study which one little triangular bit of overgrown
pasture affords,--spend them, not as a naturalist in close, patient
study, because to such a one a square yard of moss is as exhaustless as
the forests of Guiana to a Waterton, but as a nemophilist, taking simple
delight in mere observation and individual discovery.

  "Many haps fall in the field
  Seldom seen by watchful eyes."

And so all sorts of curious ways are discoverable by the mere
wood-lounger. At one time your way is barred by the great portcullis of
the strong threaded web of the field spider, who sits like a porter in
king's livery of black and gold at his gate. Then you have a peep into
the winding maelström-funnel of another of the spider family. Poe must
have suffered metempsychosis into the body of a blue-bottle, when he
wrote his "Descent into the Maelström"; for such an insect, hanging
midway down that treacherous, sticky descent, and seeing Death creeping
up from the bottom to grasp him, might have a clear idea of what was
undergone by the fisherman of Lofoden.

Or, if one tire of the open meadows, and the sun be too hot, think of
the laurel groves,--not now, as in the Christmas-time, white with snow,
but white again with thousands on thousands of argent cups, loaded with
blossoms, meeting over your head in arches of flowery tracery, and one
solitary tree standing deep in the woods, like a frigate packed with her
silver canvas lying out to windward of the fleet of merchantmen she is
convoying. The cool laurel groves! Often as one sees that sight, it is
always with a fresh shock of pleasure to the frame.

Then, when autumn comes and the leaves change, there is still endless
variety for the little basket or botanical-case which swings lightly on
your arm or hangs across your shoulder. Owen Jones never devised any
ornaments for wall or niche one half so brilliant as the color of those
leaves which a dexterous hand will readily group upon a sheet of white
paper, where your eye may catch it, as, after achieving a successful
sentence, you look up from your study-table. Speaking of leaves, who
knows how large an oak-loaf will grow in this New England? I have just
sat down after measuring one gathered in a bit of copse hard by the town
of M----, a bit of copse which skirts a beautiful wild ravine, with a
superb hemlock and pine grove creeping down its steep bank. I have just
honestly measured my leaf, and it shows _fourteen_ inches in length by a
trifle of _nine and a half_ in breadth.

In the same ravine I found--and in any patch of woodland you may do the
like--a perfect treasury of mosses. A shallow tin box or a wooden bowl
filled with these and duly watered will give a winter-garden to
the smallest lodging. Sun and light are, as Mr. Toots says, of "no
consequence" to the moss family. But if one be above such trifles as
mosses, and with Young American loftiness aspire to full-grown trees,
there is still plenty to do in the most ordinary woodlands. After a
chapter of Mr. Ruskin upon Claude and Poussin and Turner, there is
nothing like going to the original documents. In default of the National
Gallery from London and the Pitti Palace from the other side of Arno,
which cannot be summoned into court at a moment's notice, we can solve
at least half the problem. Mr. Ruskin may or may not be right about the
Claudes; but it is very easy to see if he be right as to the trees. And
if we prove him right with his theory of branches and bark, we have a
fair presumption that he has eyes to see the alleged falsehoods in him
of Lorraine. Now here is a chance to do a little bit of Art-criticism
quite unexpensively. Discontented young gentlemen murmur about the
education of this people being too practical, unaesthetic, and all that,
and sigh for the culture which a foreign land only can give. But a man
who has no eye for Nature will hardly learn to love her at second-hand
through the mediation of canvas and colors. I should like very much to
be able to walk into a Turner Gallery once a week; but, for all that, I
would not give up a Connecticut Valley sunset, such as last summer could
be had for the looking at. Not Turner, even, could paint those level
shadows, all interfused with trembling light, that filled the hollows
of the hills across the river, and brought out their wavy contour, and
showed the depth and distance of the valley opening miles away. Could he
throw athwart the dark mirror of the sleeping water in the gorge, which
led the imprisoned river stealthily to the sea, the gliding snows of the
sails rosy-white that stole swan-like from behind the bluffs? Could he
bring down the rainbow till its hither abutment rested on the centre of
the stream in a transparent mist of driving rain, while its keystone was
lost in the stooping cloud above? Art is good, as well as long; but time
is also fleeting, and, not being millionnaires, with the luxury of a run
across the Atlantic at command, let us make what we can out of what we
have. It is very probable that architecture, too, is a sore subject to
aspiring Young America, who turns discontentedly from the stucco and
pine-plank tracery of the new cathedral of St. Aërian. But let Young
America go out to the meadows, and discover for himself a group of
young elms. There is one I know of, not unattainable by very moderate
pedestrianism from the same seaport before alluded to, where a most
exquisite arrangement of arches and tracery can be seen. Six or eight
elms, their long bending boughs clothed with thick, clinging leafage,
mingle their tops, forming a sort of vaulted roof, such as at the
intersection of nave and transepts occurs in every Gothic church which
has no central tower. More exquisite curves, better studies for a
healthy-minded and original architect, could hardly be found. The
interlacing branches are suggestive of tracery-patterns, not to be
outdone even in the flamboyant windows of York and Rouen. There is no
excuse for the squat, ugly, and stupid arches one sees in almost every
attempt at pointed architecture, when the elm-tree springs by every
riverside in the land.

But it is time to conclude our desultory rambles. It would be pleasant
to me to recall many another of my old haunts, spots which, perhaps,
were never called beautiful before now, and may not be again for many a
day. For they all lie in a very tame and prosaic country, nearly level,
the utmost elevation getting hardly a couple of hundred feet above
tidewater mark; a country with less natural beauty than belongs to most
New England towns,--bare, bleak, rocky, with stunted vegetation and
ungenial soil. Yet within its limits there are brooks and marshes and
copses and woodlands,--rocks over which the wild columbine hangs its
fuchsia-like pendants, and dells where nestle the earliest and sweetest
of the wood-flowerets.

And now to come back to the miserable sinner. As schoolboy, as
bank-clerk, as teacher, as worker in many ways, he has unemployed
leisure in the hours of daylight,--not so many as he should have,
perhaps, but still many hours in the course of the month. Shall he go to
the livery-stable, the bowling-alley, or the billiard-saloon? Not being
a saint, of course he can plead no high-toned sense of need of physical
culture, to warrant these indulgences. He goes because he likes it, gets
enjoyment, exercise, rest for a mind tasked to the full with the day's
work. This he ought to have; and if butting little ivory balls about or
propelling big wooden ones will give it him, let him have it, if so be
that it cannot be got otherwise. There is no contamination in the cue or
the ten-pin; but there is in the habits and associations of the places
where they are found. Let us not be maw-wormish about it, but tell the
truth as it is. The quasi-gambling principle upon which all such places
are conducted stimulates the love of hazard and makes way for the
betting propensity to become full-blown. Of course, one can bet, if one
have money; two lumps of sugar and a few flies will enable a man to lose
the fortune of the Rothschilds, if he will. That is not the question.
The billiard-saloons do educate men for the gambling-house, simply
because they cannot go to them without either losing their money or
winning their games. Beside that, the gaseous, dusty, confined, and
tobacco-scented air of those places is not to be compared with our free,
open, out-doors hills and meadows, for any hygienic purposes.

But, argument apart, there is a sad New England story, so often repeated
as to be almost wearisome, were it not so sad. It is of the fresh,
frank, honest-hearted boy, who may be seen behind many a bank-counter.
At first, so active, trustworthy, and trusted,--yet with the constant
temptation of unemployed time and energies demanding supply of action.
Little by little these are supplied,--supplied by the billiard-table
and its concomitants. It is the same story,--first, rumors, then
equivocation, then exposure. Perhaps a petty sum is all; but, to the
austere justice of banking, this is as bad, nay, worse than millions.
And then a brief paragraph in the newspaper, and one more ruined young
man, sulking beside the family-hearthstone, his father's shame, his
mother's unextinguishable sorrow,--a candidate for crime, if he have
power of mind and spirit to feel, or an imbecile dependant, if he have
not.

Now preaching, whether lay or clerical, will not do much to prevent
this, especially if it be pitched (as it commonly is) upon too high a
key. _Preventing_ means, or used to mean, when words had a meaning,
_getting beforehand with anything._ And if young Homespun have from the
outset something he likes better, he will not take to the ivory balls in
pleasant weather, and in rainy weather will be apt to prefer even quite
a stupid book to the board of green cloth. Therefore, boys, go,--and
girls, too, for that matter,--on flower and moss hunts!--and ye, dear
middle-aged people, send them, and go also upon the same! Find something
that will tempt you into the woods,--something neither berries nor
sassafras,--something which cannot be eaten or sold, but which will
simply give you a sense and a love of beauty. These pages have been
written to show that it lies at your very doors,--that nothing but stout
boots, an old coat or jacket, and an observant eye, is needed. When you
come to be saints, or even to be men, there will be plenty of active
work to do, if so be that you will only do it. Then, in careful regard
to your bodies, you may have hard-trotting (not fast-trotting) horses,
pickerel-backed boats, and a billiard-room over the stable,--if your
canonization seem to require it. But the saint, if he be true saint,
needs no such care. He will get work enough, hard, physical work, if
only in trotting up and down the steep stairs of tenant-houses, to keep
his digestion in tolerable order. It is only your pseudo-saint,
who cuddles himself for the pulpit and the platform, and keeps the
safety-valve down with midnight sittings while "rosining up" the
furnaces with strong coffee, that will come to grief by collapse of
flues. If a man, whether sinner or saint, will run races for the honor
of being the fastest boat in the river of popular favor, he must take
the consequences.

But for the poor, benighted, heathen sinner, desiring enjoyment that
shall be honest, cheap, satisfying, and attainable, I say, in the full
faith of the creed of Nemophily,--Get into the woods! No matter what
you expect to find there,--go and see what you can find. Don't walk for
"constitutionals," without an object at the end or on the way. Keep your
feet well shod and your eyes open. Bring home all the flowers and pretty
wood-growths you can, and you may find that you have been entertaining
angels unawares. Find out about them all you can yourself, and then (in
spite of a previous tirade against botany, be it said) go to BIGELOW'S
"PLANTS OF BOSTON" and learn more.



SUBSTANCE AND SHADOW.


A fatiguing journey up six long, winding flights of smoothly-waxed
stairs carried me to the door of the room I occupied in the Place ----.
But no matter for the name of the Place; no one, I am confident, will
visit Paris for the express purpose of satisfying himself that I am to
be depended upon, and that there is a house of so many stones in the
Place Maubert. Here I lived, _au premier au dessous du soleil_, in the
enjoyment of no end of fresh air, especially in winter, and a brilliant
prospect up and down the street and over the roofs of the houses across
the way, which reached from the Pantheon on the one side, to the peaked
roofs and factory-like chimneys of the Tuileries on the other, the dome
of the Hôtel des Invalides occupying the centre of the picture. I was
studying painting at that time,--learning to paint the much-admired
landscapes and figure-pieces which I produce with so much ease now and
dispose of with so little,--and, as a general thing, was busy, (though I
had my fits of abstraction, like other men of genius, during which I did
nothing but lie on my bed and smoke pipes over French novels, or join
parties of pleasure into the country or within the barriers,) through
the day, and often till late in the evening, in the atelier of one or
another of the most renowned artists of the city.

At the head of the last flight of stairs in this house was a narrow
passage-way in which I was always obliged to stop and recover my breath,
after finishing the one hundred and thirty-nine steps that led to
my paradise, before I could get my key into its lock; and into this
passage-way opened two doors, one of which, of course, belonged to my
room, and the other to some one's else. But who this some one else was I
was unable to find out. Was _it_--and how convenient a word is _ça_ in
such a case!--male or female? I was persuaded it must be a woman, and as
a woman I always used to think of her and speak of her, to myself,--and
I thought and spoke of her often enough. Of course, I could have settled
the question at once by knocking at her door and asking for a match, but
I scorned resorting to such weak subterfuges. But how quiet she was!
Occasionally, when, contrary to my usual custom, I took another nap
after waking in the morning, instead of going out for exercise and a
glimpse of early Paris street-life,--occasionally I used to hear her
moving about on the other side of the thin partition which separated
our rooms, as stealthily as though she feared she might disturb me. She
would light her charcoal-stove, and perhaps glide softly by my door and
down stairs, to return soon with the paper of coffee, the, bit of bread,
and the egg or two which were to serve her for breakfast, and now and
then she would sing to herself, but so gently that I never could hear
the words of her song, nor scarcely the air. An evil spirit put gimlets
into my head, but I shook them out like so much powder, and resolved to
be honorable, if I was an artist. I found, however, that my curiosity
was an abominable nuisance, that my morning walks were almost entirely
neglected, and that I could not bear to leave my room until I had heard
her go out and lock her door behind her. Every day, after her departure,
I resolved that she should not go out again without being seen by me,
and every time I attempted to follow her in such a way as to escape
detection I lost sight of her. I nearly fell into the street as I
attempted to reach far enough out of my window to see her as she came
out at the street-door.

At last, one morning, when it happened, that, just as I had finished
dressing myself and was ready to go out, she opened her door and ran
down stairs without closing it behind her, carried away by my curiosity,
I stepped out into the narrow passage-way and looked into her sanctuary.
The room was a smaller one than mine,--but how much neater! The muslin
curtains in her window were as white as snow; her wardrobe, which hung
against the wall, was protected from the dust by a linen cloth; the
floor shone like a mirror. Her canary hung in the window, and greeted me
with a perfect whirlwind of _roulades_ as I stepped into the room. Her
fire was burning briskly under a pot of water, which was just coming
to the boiling-point, and singing as gayly and almost as loudly as her
bird. Over the back of a chair was thrown the work she had been busied
with; and on the bed, almost hid by the curtains, was a pair of the
prettiest little blue garters I ever saw, even in Paris,--span-new they
were, and had evidently been bought no longer ago than the evening
before,--and some other articles of feminine apparel, which I will not
attempt to describe. I looked into her glass, I really believe, with the
hope of finding there a faint reflection of her face and figure. She
must have looked into it but a minute before going out. A book, like
a Testament, lay on the table. I knew I should find her name on the
fly-leaf, and was just on the point of satisfying myself with regard to
that particular when I heard her feet upon the stairs; and, with a start
which nearly carried away the curtains of her bed, I rushed from her
room into my own.

How my heart beat, after I had gently closed my door and was sitting
on the side of my bed, listening to the movements in the next room! It
didn't seem to me as though I had been guilty of a high misdemeanor,
and yet, though I had been prepared for her return, I was as much
discomposed as though I had been caught peeping.

So far from being satisfied with this resolution of my doubts with
regard to the sex of my neighbor, I now found myself more uneasy and
curious than before. Was she young and pretty and good? and what did she
do? and what was her name? My thoughts were perpetually running up those
six flights and stopping baffled at her close-shut door. I drew
ideal portraits of her, and introduced them into all my pictures as
pertinaciously as Rubens did his wives, and would often finish out an
accidental face in a study of rocks, much to my instructor's surprise
and my fellow-students' amusement. It was very remarkable, however,
that all these fancy sketches bore a striking resemblance to another
acquaintance of mine, who will shortly be introduced, and in whom, until
I moved into my now room, I had been exclusively interested,--so much
so, in fact, that----But I will not anticipate.

Most of my days were spent on the opposite side of the Seine; and, as
I crossed that river, by the Pont Royal, at about five o'clock, every
evening, on my way to the Laiterie, at which I usually took what I
called my dinner, I always stopped to buy a bunch of flowers, of violets
in their season, of a charming little flower-girl, who had her stand, on
the Quai Voltaire, and who, by the time my turn to be served came, had
usually disposed of nearly her whole stock. Every one who looked at her
bought of her. She possessed something that was more attractive even
than her beauty; though I question, if, without her glossy brown hair,
her soft, dark eyes, her glorious complexion, her round, dimpled cheek
and chin, her gentle winning smile, and her exquisite taste in dress--I
question, if, without all these, her quiet, modest demeanor and
unaffected simplicity and propriety would have attracted quite as much
attention as they always did.

I had not bought many bouquets of Thérèse before she began to recognize
me as I came up, and to greet me with a smile and a _"Bon jour,
Monsieur,"_ sweeter in tone and accent than any I had ever heard before.
What a voice hers was! Its tones were like those of a silver bell; and I
found that she always had my bunch of violets or heliotrope ready for me
by the time I reached her.

My frugal meal over, I was in the habit of visiting a neighboring
_café,_ where I read the papers, drank my evening cup of coffee, and, as
I smoked my cigar or pipe and twirled my posies in my fingers or held
them to my nose, would wonder who she was who sold them to me, if she
ever thought of those who bought them of her, and if she distinguished
me above her other customers. It seemed to me, that, if she had the same
angelic smile and happy greeting for them as she always bestowed upon
me, they must one and all be her slaves; and yet I couldn't decide
whether I really loved her or was only touched by a passing fancy for
her.

I looked forward, however, through the day, to my interview with her
with a great deal of impatience, and found myself making short cuts
in the long walk which led me to her. I used to arrange, on my way,
well-turned sentences with which to please her, and by which I expected
to startle her into some intimation of her feelings toward me. I was
angry that she was obliged to stand in so public a place, exposed to the
gaze and remarks of all who chose to stop and buy of her. In fine, I
was jealous, or rather was piqued, that she should receive all others
exactly as she received me, and almost flattered myself that necessity
forced her to meet them with the same sweet smile inclination led her to
bestow on me.

This was the state of affairs at the time I moved into my new lodgings,
before referred to, in the Place Maubert, and I was suffering these
mental torments for Thérèse's sake, when the appearance, or rather the
non-appearance, of my mysterious neighbor aggravated and complicated the
symptoms and converted my slow fever into an intermittent. I had called
my fair unknown Hermine;--the pronoun _she_, as it applied equally to
every individual of the female sex, and in the French language to many
things besides, soon became insufficient, and I took the liberty of
calling her Hermine. I was so ashamed of my foolish passion, that I
could not make up my mind even to question the porter at the door with
regard to her, nor to consult any of my better initiated acquaintances
as to the proper course to be pursued, but lived out a wretched
succession of days and nights of feverish anxiety and expectation,--of
what I knew not.

I was on my way over the Pont Royal, one evening, at my usual hour,
and was just coming in sight of my bewitching flower-merchant, when
a sudden, and, as I believed, a happy thought occurred to me, and I
resolved to put it into instant execution. I am sure I blushed and
stammered wofully as I asked for _two_ bunches of flowers instead of my
usual one, and I was confident, that, as she handed them to me without a
word, but with such a look, Thérèse's brow was shaded by something more
than the dark bands of her brown hair or the edge of her becoming cap,
and that her lip quivered rather with a suppressed sigh than with her
usual happy smile. I didn't stop to speak with her that night, but
hurried away towards my room, conscious--for I did not dare to look
behind me, or I am sure I should have relinquished my design--that her
large, sorrowful eyes were full of the tears she had kept back while I
had stood before her.

I reached my room as soon as possible, and, after assuring myself that
my neighbor was still absent, carefully inserted my second nosegay
into her keyhole, and rushed from the house as though I had committed
burglary.

I was very young then, very romantic, and wholly wanting in assurance.
I must have been, or I should never have regarded it as a crime, not
against myself, but others, that I was making my days miserable and my
nights sleepless on account of two young girls, one of whom I had never
seen, and the other of whom was merely a flower-merchant.

When I clambered up to my room late that night, the flowers were no
longer where I had put them. I had been torturing myself all the evening
with the thought that Hermine might have felt offended, and that I
should find them torn in pieces and thrown down at my door, or that she
would be waiting for me with a severe reprimand for my boldness and
impertinence. But I could find no trace of them, and went to sleep,
soothed by the conviction that they had been carefully put by in a glass
of water, or were occupying a place on her pillow by the side of her
dainty cheek. I feared to meet Thérèse's sorrowful face again the next
night, and was troubled so much by the thought of it through the day,
that I fairly deserted her that evening and bought my two bouquets
elsewhere. With one of these, which I had taken care should be of a
finer quality than before, I repeated my experiment of the preceding
night and with the same gratifying result. But the day after,
forgetting, until it was too late, that I had given Thérèse fair cause
to be seriously angry with me, habit carried me to my old resort again,
though I had fully determined to reach home by another way, and to
patronize, for the future, my new _bouquetière,_ who was not only old
and ugly, but of the masculine gender. Habit--and perhaps wish had
something to do with it--was too strong, however, and I found myself
turning down the Quai Voltaire at the customary hour the next evening.

Much to my surprise, and somewhat to my mortification, Thérèse greeted
me with her old sunny smile. Her _"Bon jour, Monsieur,"_ was as cordial
as ever; and it even seemed to me--and that didn't in the least tend to
compose me--that her eyes sparkled with an archness which I had never
seen in them before, and that her voice had in it a tinge of malice, as
she held out to me two of her finest bunches, saying,--

_"Est-ce que, Monsieur en desire deux encore ce soir?"_

I was very angry with her for being in such good-humor, and believe I
was anything but aimable or polite with her. Why did she not look
hurt or offended and reproach me for my desertion, instead of almost
disarming my senseless anger by her gentleness?

"It seems that Monsieur forgets his old friends, sometimes," she
continued, as I took the flowers she had been holding towards me, and
was fumbling in my pocket for the change.

"Forget!" I stammered; for the temper I found her in had so completely
ruffled mine, that I was hardly sufficiently master of myself to be able
to answer her at all,--"what makes you think I forget? Am I not here
this evening, as usual?"

"This evening, yes,--but last night you did not come; or were you here
too late to find me? I"----she paused, and, with her color a little
heightened, as though she had narrowly escaped making a disclosure,
looked another way,--"Monsieur must have bought his flowers elsewhere,
yesterday. Were they as fresh and sweet as mine?"

"But how do you know, Mademoiselle,"--I answered, after I had given
her a long opportunity to add what I had hoped would follow that
long-drawn-out "I"; (she was going to say, I was sure, that she had
waited for me to come as long as was possible;)--"How do you know that I
bought my flowers elsewhere, or that I bought any? And where can I find
finer ones than you give me?"

"Monsieur is kind enough to say so," she returned. "Can you excuse my
indiscretion? I only thought, that, as you never miss carrying a bunch
of flowers home with you, and sometimes two," she added, with a wicked
twinkle in the corner of her mouth, "you must have found some better
than mine, last night. But Monsieur will, of course, act his own
pleasure."

Thérèse had never appeared to me more charming than at that moment. I
wondered afterwards how I had been able to tear myself away from her,
and was almost angry that I had not thrown down my second bunch, had not
vowed to her that I would never desert her again, and had not confessed
that the pain I had suffered from my folly had more than equalled hers,
since I was never so happy as when I could be near and see her and hear
the music of her voice.

And this was my life, and these the pains I used to suffer. Two tender
passions held alternate possession of my fickle heart, and a constant
struggle was always waging between them for the mastery; and the
impossibility of deciding in favor of either of them, which to accept
and which deny, prevented my yielding to either. Thérèse, however, whose
real presence I could enjoy, upon whose delicious beauty I could feast
my eyes whenever the fancy seized me, and whose voice I could hear,
even when separated from her, possessed a fearful advantage over her
invisible rival, who maintained her position in my interest only by
preserving her incognito and maintaining my curiosity strained to the
highest pitch. My acquaintance with Thérèse became daily more intimate,
and was soon upon such a footing as seemed to authorize my asking her
to accompany me on a Sunday jaunt to one of the thousand resorts of
Parisian pleasure-seekers just beyond the barriers of the city.

She accepted,--of course she did,--and the matter was finally arranged
one Saturday evening for the next day. I was to find her at the house of
her aunt, who lived in my neighborhood, and who, to my surprise, turned
out to be the proprietress of the Laiterie I frequented. Here we were to
breakfast, and afterwards take the proper conveyance to our destination,
which I think was Belleville.

Sunday came, and with it came such weather as the gods seldom vouchsafe
to mortals who contemplate visiting the country. It was one of those
cloudless days in early June when all Nature, and yourself more
than anything else in Nature, seems as though it had been taking
Champagne,--not too warm, but sufficiently so to make out-of-door life a
luxury, and an excursion like ours into the country almost a necessity.

Thérèse, like everything else in Nature on that summer's day, was more
gloriously beautiful, in my eyes, than ever before. Hermine's ideal
beauty, and with it her chance of success, faded out from my memory like
an unfixed photograph, before this charming reality, and Thérèse ruled
supreme. She had dressed herself with a taste which surprised even
me, who had so long regarded her as irreproachable, as she was
unapproachable, in that particular; and the joy she felt at the thought
of a whole day's ramble in the country showed itself in every feature
of her countenance, in every movement, and in every tone of her voice.
There didn't live a prouder or a happier man than I was, as we made our
way arm in arm towards the Place Dauphine, where we were to take the
omnibus for Belleville.

We ran wild in the woods and fields all that day, we fed the fishes in
the ponds, we made ourselves dizzy on the seesaws and merry-go-rounds,
and at last, fairly tired out, and feeling desperately and most
unromantically hungry, turned into the neatest and least frequented
restaurant we could find and ordered our dinner.

Thérèse was no _gourmande_, luckily. Her tastes were simple and
harmonized admirably with my slender means. We dined, however, like
princes, and drank a bottle of _Château Margeaux_, instead of the _vin
ordinaire_, which was my ordinary wine. Thérèse's gayety had fairly
inoculated me, and, forgetting my usual reserve, we laughed and chatted
as noisily as a couple of children.

"Upon my word," cried I, as I caught sight of a bouquet of flowers in
the room we occupied, "what a couple of ninnies we have been! We have
forgotten to get any flowers to carry home with us. But I suppose you
see too many of them through the week to care for them to-day."

"Oh, no!" replied Thérèse. "I could never see too much of flowers;
and besides, you must have a bunch to carry home to Mademoiselle this
evening. She will never forgive you, if you neglect her to-day. And what
would she think or say, if she knew where you are now and whom you are
with? She is very fond of flowers,--when they come from you, I mean."

"Well," I stammered, and my face burned like fire. "What Mademoiselle?
And what makes you think that I make presents of the flowers I get of
you? I only get them for myself, and as an excuse for seeing you."

"_Ah! menteur_!" cried Thérèse, shaking her finger at me with mock
solemnity. "_Fi donc! c'est vilain._ Do you think I have no eyes, or
that you have none that speak as plainly as your mouth, and more truly?
You try to deceive me, Monsieur!" and the little hypocrite assumed so
injured and heart-broken an expression and tone, that I was almost wild
with remorse, and cursed the wretch who had placed the flowers in the
room, and myself for having noticed them. I should have been hurried
into I don't know what expressions of attachment to her and of
indifference towards every other individual of her sex, if she had not
prevented me by the following startling remark.

"I know to whom you give the flowers you value so much as coming from
me. It is to your next-door neighbor, who pleases you more than I do,
and whom you have known, perhaps, longer than you have me. Why didn't
you invite her, and not me, to come with you to-day? It would have been
better."

"Ah!" cried I, "do you know her? She told you about it? Why doesn't she
let me see her? Is her name Hermine?"

And almost before I knew it, I had told her the whole story of my
passion for my invisible neighbor.

Thérèse pouted, and turned her back. She put her handkerchief to her
face, and called me all sorts of hard names for having brought her there
to listen to the confession of my love for another; and turned a deaf
ear, or I thought she did, to my expostulations and my protestations
that I didn't really care for Hermine,--that it was only a passing
fancy, more curiosity than anything else,--and that I really loved no
one but her.

She began to relent at last, though I was half inclined to be sorry, for
her resentment became her even better than her good-humor.

"Well," she said, finally, "it is too tiresome to quarrel, and I will
forgive; for, although you say you have never seen Hermine,--(that is a
prettier name than Thérèse, isn't it?)--she has, perhaps, seen you, and
may really love you "--

"But I don't love her," I cried. "I don't want to love her. I don't want
to see her. Her name isn't Hermine, I know. I will never think of her
again, nor make a fool of myself by putting nose-gays into her keyhole,
if you will only not look so sober any more."

"She will be very sorry for that, I am sure," returned Thérèse, with a
smile I could not translate; "and she will miss them very much. I judge
her by myself. I always find a bunch at my door when I go home at
night"--

"You! You find flowers at your door? And who puts them there?" And I
took my turn at being provoked. "You haven't used me fairly, Thérèse, to
make me understand all this time that you cared for no one but me. There
is some one, then, whom you love and who loves you?"

"Oh, yes!" she answered, her whole face beaming with a pleasure which
made me feel like committing a murder or a suicide; "oh, yes! I believe
he does; he has almost told me so. And--and I know that I do. But he is
so droll! He is my next-door neighbor, and has never seen me yet, and
has never tried to, I believe; but he leaves a bunch of flowers at my
door every evening, and calls me--Hermine."

"Hermine! You Hermine? Hurrah!"

And before she could prevent me, I held her in my arms, and, in spite
of her struggles, had kissed her forehead, eyes, hair, nose, and lips
before she could extricate herself, and then went round the room in a
wild dance of perfect joy and relief.

"I knew I could love no one else, Thérèse-Hermine, or Hermine-Thérèse! I
knew there must be some good and sufficient reason for the unaccountable
attraction my neighbor was exercising over me. Why didn't you tell me
sooner, _méchante_? I suppose you never would have done so at all, if we
had not come out here to-day. Suppose I had not asked you to come with
me?"

"Wouldn't you have asked me?" she answered, with so much winning grace
and in such a pleading tone that I found myself obliged to repeat the
operation of a few lines above. "Wouldn't you have asked me? I don't
know what I should have done," she continued, sadly and thoughtfully.
"Oh, yes!" she exclaimed, jumping up and clapping her hands, while her
whole face was radiant with triumph. "Oh, yes! then I should have been
Hermine, and you would have asked her."

Two happier young people than Thérèse and myself never, I am confident,
returned by rail from a day's excursion in the country. Our happy faces,
our rapid talking, and our devotion to each other, which we took no
pains to conceal, attracted the attention of all about us,--and I heard
one father of a family, who was returning to Paris with a half score of
cross, tired, and crying children, whisper to his wife, as he pointed
towards us,--"That is a couple in their honey-moon, or else lovers; how
happy they are!"

And that is the way in which I stumbled into wedlock. How many others,
in their pursuit of what has seemed to them the substance, have failed
to discover, perhaps too late, that they were following a flitting
shadow,--while I, favored mortal, in my chase of a dream, stumbled upon
the greatest real good of my whole life!

       *       *       *       *       *


THROUGH THE FIELDS TO SAINT PETER'S.


  There's a by-road to Saint Peter's. First you swing across the Tiber
  In a ferry-boat that floats you in a minute from the crowd;
  Then through high-hedged lanes you saunter; then by fields and sunny
    pastures;
  And beyond, the wondrous dome uprises like a golden cloud.

  And this morning,--Easter morning,--while the streets were thronged
    with people,
  And all Rome moved toward the Apostle's temple by the usual way,
  I strolled by the fields and hedges,--stopping now to view the
    landscape,
  Now to sketch the lazy cattle in the April grass that lay.

  Galaxies of buttercups and daisies ran along the meadows,--
  Rosy flushes of red clover,--blossoming shrubs and sprouting vines;
  Overhead the larks were singing, heeding not the bells a-ringing,--
  Little knew they of the Pasqua, or the proud Saint Peter's shrines.

  Contadini, men and women, in their very best apparel,
  Trooping one behind another, chatted all along the roads;
  Boys were pitching quoits and coppers; old men in the sun were basking:
  In the festive smile of Heaven all laid aside their weary loads.

  Underneath an ancient portal, soon I passed into the city;
  Entered San Pietro's Square, now thronged with upward crowding forms;
  Past the Cardinals' gilded coaches, and the gorgeous scarlet lackeys,
  And the flashing files of soldiers, and black priests in gloomy swarms.

  All were moving to the temple. Push aside the ponderous curtain!
  Lo! the glorious heights of marble, melting in the golden dome,
  Where the grand mosaic pictures, veiled in warm and misty softness,
  Swim in faith's religious trances,--high above all heights of Rome.

  Grand as Pergolesi chantings, lovely as a dream of Titian,
  Tones and tints and chastened splendors wreathed and grouped in sweet
    accord;
  While through nave and transept pealing, soar and sink the choral
    voices,
  Telling of the death and glorious resurrection of the Lord.

  But, ah, fatal degradation for this temple of the nations!
  For the soul is never lifted by the accord of sights and sound;
  But yon priest in gold and satin, murmuring with his ghostly Latin,
  Drags it from its natural flights, and trails its plumage on the ground.

  And to-day the Pope is heading his whole army of gay puppets,
  And the great machinery round us moving with an extra show:
  Genuflexions, censers, mitres, mystic motions, candle-lighters,
  And the juggling show of relics to the crowd that gapes below,

  Till at last they show the Pontiff, a lay figure stuffed and tinselled;
  Under canopy and fan-plumes he is borne in splendor proud
  To a show-box of the temple overlooking the Piazza;
  There he gives his benediction to the long-expectant crowd.

  Benediction! while the people, blighted, cursed by superstition,
  Steeped in ignorance and darkness, taxed and starved, looks up and begs
  For a little light and freedom, for a little law and justice,--
  That at least the cup so bitter it may drain not to the dregs!

  Benediction! while old error keeps alive a nameless terror!
  Benediction! while the poison at each pore is entering deep,
  And the sap is slowly withered, and the wormy fruit is gathered,
  And a vampire sucks the life out while the soul is fanned asleep!

  Oh, the splendor gluts the senses, while the spirit pines and dwindles!
  Mother Church is but a dry-nurse, singing while her infant moans;
  While anon a cake or rattle gives a little half-oblivion,
  And the sweetness and the glitter mingle with her drowsy tones.

  But the infant moans and tosses with a nameless want and anguish,
  While, with coarse, unmeaning bushings, louder sings the hireling
    nurse,--
  Knows no better, in her dull and superannuated blindness,--
  Tries no potion,--seeks no nurture,--but consents to worse and worse.

  If such be thy ultimation, Church of infinite pretension,--
  Such within thy chosen garden be the flowers and fruits you bear,--
  Oh, give me the book of Nature, open wide to every creature,
  And the unconsecrated thoughts that spring like daisies everywhere!

  Send me to the woods and waters,--to the studio,--to the market!
  Give me simple conversation, books, arts, sports, and friends sincere!
  Let no priest be e'er my tutor! on my brow no label written!
  Coin or passport to salvation, rather none, than beg it here!

  Give me air, and not a prison,--love for Heart, and light for Reason!
  Let me walk no slave or bigot,--God's untrammelled, fearless child!
  Yield me rights each soul is born to,--rights not given and not taken,--
  Free to Cardinals and Princes and Campagna shepherds wild.

  Like these Roman fountains gushing clear and sweet in open spaces,
  Where the poorest beggar stoops to drink, and none can say him nay,--
  Let the Law, the Truth, be common, free to man and child and woman,
  Living waters for the souls that now in sickness waste away!

  Therefore are these fields far sweeter than yon temple of Saint Peter;
  Through this grander dome of azure God looks down and blesses all;
  In these fields the birds sing clearer, to the Eternal Heart are nearer,
  Than the sad monastic chants that yonder on my ears did fall.

  Never smiled Christ's holy Vicar on the heretic and sinner
  As this sun--true type of Godhead--smiles o'er all the peopled land!
  Sweeter smells this blowing clover than the perfume of the censer,
  And the touch of Spring is kinder than the Pontiff's jewelled hand!



THE EXPERIENCE OF SAMUEL ABSALOM, FILIBUSTER.

[Concluded.]


Some time after the departure of the riflemen, a detail of eight or nine
men from our company was ordered off towards the lake shore, and soon
afterward another smaller one to Potosí, a little village four or five
miles to the northward of Rivas, bearing orders to Captain Finney's
rangers, who had gone to scout in that direction. The rest of us ate
supper, and then lay listening for the boom of the little field-piece,
which should tell us that the rifles had met the enemy. But the
extraordinary toils and watchings of the last fortnight were too
overpowering, and we were all soon buried in dreamless sleep.

In an hour or two I was awakened by horses' feet clattering over the
stony pavement of the _portería_, or gateway to the square courtyard,
in one of whose surrounding corridors we usually slept,--on blankets,
cow-hides, or hard tiles, according as each man was able to furnish
himself. It was the party returning from their scout on the lake. They
unsaddled and fed their animals in the yard, and afterward set about
frying plantains and fresh stolen pork for supper. As they talked over
their provant in the room behind me, I caught most of their adventure,
without the discomfort of rising or asking questions. Near the lake they
had chased and captured some natives, whose behavior was suspicious and
showed no good-will toward the Americans. The officer of the party,
thinking them spies, had carried them part of the way to Rivas to be
examined; but, fortunately, perhaps, for the captives, he afterwards
relented and set them at liberty. They also talked of a small boy who
had peeped out of the bushes as they rode by, and shouted to them,
"_Quieren for Walker_?" (Are you for Walker?) and then adding
energetically, "_Yo no quiero filibustero god-damn!_" darted away out
of sight, before any one, who was so minded, could have shot the little
rebel.

"Be sure," said one of the men at supper,--a noted croaker and tried
coward, against whom I bear a private grudge,--"the boys have learned
this from the _old_ greasers; and we are going to have all the people of
Nicaragua to fight."

Later in the night, the other party, which had been sent to Potosí, came
in with panting mules, excited countenances, and one of their number
stained with blood from a wound on his thigh. They told us, that,
failing to find Captain Finney at Potosí, they had stretched their
orders, and gone forward to Obraja, unaware that it was occupied by the
enemy. At the entrance of the village, whilst riding on in complete
darkness, they were challenged suddenly in Spanish. Taken by surprise,
they replied in English, and, before they could turn their animals, were
stunned with the glare and crash of a musket-volley, a few feet ahead of
them. They recoiled, and fled with such precipitation that one of the
riders was tossed over his horse's head;--however, scrambling to his
feet, he found sense and good-luck to remount; and the whole party made
good their flight to Rivas, with no further damage than two slight
flesh-wounds,--one on the trooper, and one on his mule.

The excitement upon this arrival soon subsided, and I had again fallen
into unconsciousness, when a rough shake of the shoulder aroused me, and
the voice of the old sergeant dinned in my ear,--"Come here! saddle up!
saddle up! You are detailed for Obraja." In a few moments I was mounted,
and, with two others of the company, rode out of the gateway into the
street. There we found awaiting us a fourth horseman, charged with
orders for the riflemen at Obraja, and whom it was our duty to accompany
as guard.

After clearing Rivas, we clattered over the road at a fast pace, rousing
all the dogs at the _haciendas_ as we passed, and leaving them baying
behind us, until we came to where the Potosí road forked off to the
right; thenceforward, fearing an ambush, we rode slowly and with great
caution, stopping often to dismount and reconnoitre moon-lit fields
beyond the roadside hedges. At length, after passing a picket of our
riflemen, we came to a large _adobe_ house directly on the roadside,
where we found the main body of the detachment encamped and sleeping.
The house stood something under half a mile from Obraja, and was the
residence of that friendly alcalde who on the approach of the enemy
had removed with his family to Rivas, and placed General Walker on his
guard. As we rode into the yard, we had some ado to keep our horses
from treading on the sleeping soldiers, who lay scattered all round
the building, and also in its open corridor fronting toward Obraja.
Dismounting here, our courier went into the house to communicate with
Colonel O'Neal, the commander of the detachment,--leaving it to us
either to tie up, and lie where we were until morning, or pass farther
up the road, where Captain Finney's rangers were stationed. I chose to
go forward and hear the rangers' story, who, we were told, had had a
slight brush with the enemy in the beginning of the night.

After riding near quarter of a mile, I came to another _adobe_ building
on the roadside, occupied by a small party, and forming Colonel O'Neal's
advanced post, at the distance of four hundred yards or more from
Obraja. Here they told me that Captain Finney's company, whilst riding
into Obraja early in the night, had been hotly fired upon, and Captain
Finney himself was brought off struck in the breast, wounded mortally.
The riflemen had as yet made no attack, but awaited daylight. The number
of the enemy was not known; though rumor placed it between one thousand
and fifteen hundred. Whatever it was, they were apprehensive; for
throughout the night we heard them barricading the town with great hurry
and clatter; and it gave us sad discomfort to think that in the morning
there would be these walls to climb before our men could get at them. It
was the occasion of much bitter cursing that there should be delay until
this was accomplished, and of one man's protesting seriously that it
was, and had been, General Walker's endeavor, not to whip the greasers,
but to get as many Americans killed in Nicaragua as possible,--he
nourishing secret and implacable hatred against them for some cause.
However, I think this judgment weak and improbable, though plausible
enough from some points of view.

During the night there was some firing between our party and the enemy
from under cover in front, with some few wounds, and one man on our
side shot through the hat,--who thereupon, pulling off the injured
head-piece, and looking at it gravely, declared he would always
thenceforward wear his hat with a high crown; for, said he, had this one
been half an inch lower, the bullet must have struck the head:--which
drollery, in consideration of the circumstances, was allowed to pass for
an exceeding good stroke.

We passed a disturbed and rather uneasy night, fearful all the time of
being cut off or overwhelmed. But morning breaking at length, a party
of riflemen came up from Colonel O'Neal's camp below, and affairs were
immediately changed for the offensive. The riflemen moved forward
against the town, whilst the rangers were posted at several points along
the road to guard against surprise from the bushes. Among these latter
I took my stand. The squad which went forward could not have numbered
above sixty men, and was armed with Mississippi rifles only,--without
wheel-piece of any kind, or even bayonets. I took them for a party of
skirmishers, sent ahead to clear the way; yet they were not followed or
supported by any additional force that I saw then or afterwards.

As they passed up the road, I observed that the most listless and dead
amongst them were at length stirred up and thoroughly awake,--though not
with enthusiasm or martial impatience. Some seemed uneasy and careworn,
and glanced about nervously; had their countenances not been unalterably
yellow, they would certainly have been white. One fellow near the
rear was trembling sadly, and carried his rifle in an unreasonable
manner,--promising aimless discharges, and, perhaps, dodgings into the
bushes. But this one was excusable, and I may have slandered him; for
ague had shaken the life almost out of him so often that shaking
was become natural, and little else could be expected of him; and,
furthermore, a pale face or unsteady joints are not always weathercock
to a fainting spirit. In some constitutions these may come from other
emotions than fear; and it often happens that your most lamentable
shaker will stand you longer at the breach than the man of iron nerve,
with a white liver. I have seen such. However, the majority of these
were resolute and dangerous-looking men, and, though without any marks
of inordinate zeal, seemed willing enough to fight whatever appeared.
They held their rifles in the hand cocked, and, as they advanced, threw
their eyes sharply into the bushes on either side the road,--having
received orders to shoot the first greaser that showed himself, without
awaiting the word.

In a few moments after, the party having disappeared behind a turn of
the road, we suddenly heard the cracking of their rifles, mingled
with the deeper crash of more numerous musketry; and it was a vivid
sensation, new to me, that some of those bullets were surely finding
billets in the bodies of men. This seemed an encounter with a force
of the enemy outside of the town; and directly we thought, from the
movement of the noise, that our riflemen were driving them in. Then
there was a louder and more rapid volleying of musketry, which
completely drowned the rifles, and seemed to tell us that our men were
come in sight of the barricades. This lasted but a moment, when it was
succeeded by a scattered fire of fewer guns, and finally by irregular
volleys. We knew that our men had fallen back; and we had not once
thought it would be otherwise. Indeed, it had been a rarely preposterous
enemy who should allow himself to be driven from behind a rampart by
that handful of dispirited, men.

Whilst things were on this foot, the courier of last night came up with
his guard, having been sent by Colonel O'Neal, who had remained at the
alcalde's house below, to get news of the attacking party. As I was
still under his orders, I joined him, and rode forward towards the
combatants,--not without sundry misgivings, known to most men who are
about to enter a fray for the first time,--or the twentieth time,
perhaps, if the truth were confessed. We found the riflemen drawn up in
the road, protected by the raised side-bank and cactus-hedge from an
enemy concealed amongst some trees and bushes, a little distance to the
right of the road in front. Above the trees, within pistol-shot, was
visible the red roof of a church which stood on the _plaza_ of Obraja,
where were barricaded, as they said, over a thousand greaser soldiers.
All other sign of the town than this one roof was shut in from view by
the abundant foliage which embowered it. As we approached the riflemen,
we dismounted and led our horses, fearing to attract a shower from the
enemy, who lay in the bushes firing irregularly. The officer of the
party told us to report to Colonel O'Neal that he had advanced within
sight of the _plaza_, and, finding it strongly barricaded, and "swarming
with greasers," he held it folly to assail it with fifty men, and so had
retreated. He mentioned some loss,--very small for the noise that had
been made,--of which I remember the name of one Lieutenant Webster, shot
through the head. He charged us to ask Colonel O'Neal's permission to
fall back on the _adobe_ where we had passed the night, as the enemy
appeared to be moving around his right, and he was fearful of being
surrounded in the open road. But, directly after, seeing the enemy were
in earnest to cut him off, he concluded to fall back on the house upon
his own responsibility, and did so, and with the _adobe_ walls around
him probably felt secure enough against such an enemy.

We returned to the lower camp, and delivered our report to a
boyish-looking person, in unepauletted red flannel shirt, but who was
no other than Colonel O'Neal, the officer in command. He was popular
amongst his men, and reputed a brave and energetic officer. He probably
mistrusted from the first that his force was too small; and hence the
delay in the attack, and the dispatch of the little party of riflemen
merely to satisfy General Walker. Be that as it may, upon hearing our
report, he recalled the advanced party, and immediately sent off
to Rivas to say he could do nothing against the town without a
reinforcement.

In the mean time those of the men who were off guard lay about under
the trees and ate oranges, with which the alcalde's yard was stocked
plentifully, whilst such wounded as had been brought in were laid on the
floor of the house, and their wounds probed by the surgeon; whereupon,
being but young soldiers mostly, there arose loud outcries and dismal
bellowings. For my own part, I set about comforting my mule, who had
been under saddle since leaving Rivas. I unsaddled him, brought him an
armful of _tortilla_ corn from the alcalde's kitchen-loft, some water
from the well, and left him making merry as if he had nothing worse
ahead of him.

Some time after mid-day the rest of our company came out from Rivas, and
we immediately had orders to ride up the road and fire upon the enemy's
outpost,--which, as the riflemen had been withdrawn and our advanced
picket was now nearly half a mile from the town, promised to be a
service of some danger. Therefore one of our commissioned officers,
afterwards dismissed the service for cowardice, was here seized suddenly
with the colic,--so badly, that he was unable to ride with us at his
post. Other sick men being left in quarters at Rivas, we counted now but
little over twenty men,--armed with Mississippi or Sharpe's rifles, and
some of us with the revolvers we had brought from California. After
passing the _adobe_ building, garrisoned last night, but now empty, we
advanced with great care, our leader taking often the precaution to
dismount and peer with bared head over the cactus-hedge which crowned
the right-hand bank of the road and shut us in on that side completely.
At every turn of the road he repeated his reconnoissance, so that our
advance was very slow, giving a watchful enemy almost time to place an
ambush, if they had none ready prepared. It was as sweet a place for a
trap as greaser's heart could wish. On our right was the impenetrable
cactus-hedge, with an open space beyond, terminated at the distance of
a few yards by a wood or plantain-patch. On the left was another wood,
matted with tangled underbrush and vines which no horseman could
penetrate. On either side half a dozen men might couch in ambush and
shoot us down in perfect security.

We passed on, however, without disturbance, or sight of an enemy, until
we came nearly to the edge of the town and saw the glistening roof of
the church appear above the foliage,--where sat sundry carrion-loving
buzzards, elbowing each other, shuffling to and fro with outspread
wings, and chuckling, doubtless, over the promise of glorious times.
As we go on, suddenly heads appear over the bushes less than a hundred
yards in front, and we hear the vindictive whistle of Minié-balls above
us. Our leader, calling upon us to fire, began himself to blaze away
rapidly with his Colt's revolver. We huddled forward, with little care
for order, and delivered some dozen Mississippi and Sharpe's rifles.
There were nervous men in the crowd; for, after the discharge, dust
was flying from the road within thirty feet of us. However, some aimed
higher; and when we looked again, the heads had disappeared. One bold
greaser stepped out into the road and sent his Minié-ball singing
several yards above us, then darted back quickly, before any of us
could have him. We waited a moment to see others, but they seemed to be
satisfied;--and we were satisfied,--with prospect of a swarm bursting
out on us from the town; so, sinking spurs into our weary animals, we
made good pace back to the camp,--not without an alarm that a troop of
well-mounted lancers was behind us.

In the course of the afternoon, General Henningsen arrived, bringing a
fine brass howitzer, and a small reinforcement of infantry--as those
armed with rifled muskets and bayonets were called--and artillerymen;
and, after some hours' rest, he ordered a fresh attempt with the
howitzer, supported by somewhere near two hundred men. This party was
received with so fierce a fire at the barricade that they shrank back,
leaving the howitzer behind in the road,--so that the enemy were on the
point of capturing it, when a brave artilleryman touched off the piece,
loaded with grape-shot, almost in their faces, and, strewing the
earth with dead, sent the others flying back to the barricade. This
artilleryman told me that an old officer amongst the enemy stood his
ground alone after the discharge, and swore manfully at the fugitives,
but they were panic-struck and took no heed; and it was his assertion,
that, had a small part of the riflemen rallied and charged at this time,
they might have gone over the barricade without difficulty or hindrance.
As it was, the howitzer was scarcely brought off, and the attack failed
ingloriously. Whether this story of the artilleryman were true or false,
we heard in other ways, by general report, that the riflemen had behaved
badly, and quailed as the filibusters had scarcely done before; though,
after all, it will seem unreasonable to blame these two hundred or less,
disease-worn and spiritless men, for not whipping ten hundred out of a
barricaded town. It may be worth saying here, that, seeing things in
Nicaragua from a common soldier's befogged view-point, and having only
general rumor, or the tales of privates like myself, for parts of an
engagement where I was not present, I may easily make mistakes in
the numbers, and otherwise do Walker and his officers, or the enemy,
injustice. Yet I may be excused, since I am not attempting a history
of the war, but merely some account of my own experience, passive and
active.

Late in the evening our company assisted to carry some wounded to Rivas.
Amongst them was Captain Finney, mentioned before as the first man
struck by the enemy. He seemed to be a brave and uncommonly considerate
officer, and whilst being carried in on a chair, suffering with his
death-wound, he showed concern for his supporters, and insisted on
having them relieved upon the smallest sign of fatigue. He was taken to
the quarters of a friend, where he died a few days afterward. The other
wounded were carried to the hospital, and, finding no one there to take
charge of them, we left them to themselves, lying or sitting upon the
floor, dismal and uncared-for enough.

After dark we were again in the saddle and riding out to Obraja, in
charge of a commissary's party, with provisions for the detachment of
foot. But after getting a little way from the town, we were overtaken by
an order from General Walker, stopping the provisions, and directing us
to ride on and recall the detachment to Rivas; he having changed his
mind about dislodging the enemy at this tardy hour. We reached the camp
some hours into the night, and, after a little delay, calling in the
pickets, and securing some native women who lived in the vicinity, to
prevent their carrying word of our movement to the enemy, the detachment
commenced its retrograde march,--leaving the enemy victorious, and free
to go where they wished.

I remember, several times on this march, when the detachment had made
some temporary halt, seeing a grim-faced dog, of the terrier species,
trot along the line to the front of the column, where we rangers stood,
and then, satisfied seemingly that all was well ordered, turn himself
round and trot back to the rear again.

He did this with such a look and air, that it struck me he felt himself
in some way responsible for our party. He was, indeed, if the tales
current about him were true, the most remarkable character in all that
very variegated conglomerate of characters which made up the filibuster
army. He had appeared in the camp long before, coming, some said, from
the Costa Ricans, with whom he became disgusted on account of their bad
behavior in battle on several occasions when he was there to see. After
this desertion, if it were thus, he followed the Americans faithfully,
through good and bad fortune, retreat or victory; always going into
battle with them,--where he actually seemed to enjoy himself,--trotting
about amidst the whewing of bullets, the uptossing of turf, and the
outcries of wounded men, with calm heart, and tail erect,--envied by
the bravest even. On an occasion when General Walker was attacking the
Costa-Ricans in Rivas, the dog entered the _plaza_ ahead of the rest,
and, finding there one of his own species, he forthwith seized him, and
shook him, and put him to flight howling,--giving an omen so favorable,
that the greasers were driven out of the town with ease by the others.
Even his every-day life was sublime, and elevated above the habit of
vulgar dogs. He allowed no man to think himself his master, or attach
him individually by liberal feeding or kind treatment, but quartered
indiscriminately amongst the foot, sometimes with one company, sometimes
with another,--taking food from whoever gave it, but showing little
gratitude, and despising caresses or attempts at familiarity. He seemed,
indeed, to consider himself one amongst the rest,--one and somewhat, as
they say; and his sole apparent tie with his human friends seemed to
be the delight which he took in seeing them kill or killed. With this
_penchant_, it was said, he never missed a battle, and went out with
every detachment that left the camp to see that none should escape him
unaware.--But enough of him,--strange dog, or devil.

The withdrawal from Obraja was opposed, so rumor said, by Henningsen and
other officers; and it certainly had a most depressing effect upon the
men, whilst it elated the enemy correspondingly, giving them a degree of
confidence which they had never attained to before. It was agreed on
all hands, by all critics whom I heard, that, having once begun this
attempt, General Walker should have carried it through successfully,
even if it required his whole force. However, as only part of the
enemy's force was on land, the other part being supposed to be
still aboard the steamers or on the island, General Walker
possibly feared an attack on Rivas, should he send out a very large
detachment,--remembering, too vividly, a former blunder, when he left
Granada with all his army to attack the enemy at Masaya, and the enemy,
making a _détour_, came upon his camp in Granada, and destroyed
baggage, ammunition, and all it contained.

The next day the foot lay quiet in Rivas, and had rest. The rangers,
however, were in the saddle almost continuously, and, what with
foraging, broken sleep, and expeditions by day and night, those of us
who had garrisoned Virgin Bay were become worried nearly past grumbling.
On this day our own company rode out to Obraja, to visit the enemy's
picket again, and afterwards to San Jorge on the lake, to guard the
transportation of a row-boat thence to Rivas. The boat was one of those
borrowed from the vessels in San Juan harbor for the purpose of retaking
the steamers, and had been rowed up to San Jorge, and was now removed to
Rivas, to prevent its seizure by the enemy,--the garrison at Virgin
Bay having burnt the brig, and marched to Rivas, when the enemy first
appeared on land at Obraja. So that the whole American force (except
the crew of the little schooner in which General Walker and his fifty
original followers first came to Nicaragua, and which was lying at this
time in San Juan harbor) was now concentrated at Rivas; the enemy being
eight or nine miles behind them at Obraja, or on the lake with the two
steamers. As we rode through the town of San Jorge, the place seemed
almost deserted, and I remember lingering with others to haversack some
bunches of yellow plantains which hung in an empty house on the _plaza_.
The delay may have come near being fatal to us, for we heard afterwards
that we had been gone but a little while, when a troop of the enemy's
horse rode into the place, reconnoitred, and returned in the direction
in which they came. Their reconnoissance in San Jorge was explained soon
afterwards.

Some time in the last half of the night following, I was detailed, along
with a considerable detachment from two mounted companies, to ride on a
scout toward Obraja. On the outward ride I was but half-awake, and
my recollection of our course is confused: however, I think it was
somewhere between Potosí and Obraja that we came to a halt, and I was
aroused by some excitement in the party. Pickets were hastily posted
in several directions, whilst the officers gathered about some natives
awakened from a neighboring hut, and seemed to question them earnestly.
We soon heard that the enemy were on the road moving from Obraja, and
that a large force had a little while before passed this place going
eastward. The natives, prone to exaggeration, declared that this force
had been an hour in passing,--with baggage, eight pieces of cannon
mounted on ox-carts, several hundred pressed native Nicaraguans, tied
and guarded to prevent their running away, and a long train of women to
nurse the wounded. The Chamorristas, it seemed, had been around pressing
all the native men they could find into service against the Americans;
and whilst we were here, two, who had been hiding all day in the bushes
to avoid the conscription, came out and asked us to take them with us to
Rivas,--they preferring, if forced to take sides, to join _el valiente_
Walker.

This is the stripe of most Central American soldiers. The lower classes
are lazy and cowardly, little concerned about politics, and must
generally be impressed, let the cause of war be what it may. And I am
persuaded, that, since General Walker never harnessed them into his
service, as their own chiefs were doing perpetually, but let them swing
in their hammocks and eat their plantains, (provided they lived beyond
his forage-ground,) un-called-for, they were so far well satisfied with
his government. However, their sympathy, supposing he had it, were worth
little to him; since it takes a stronger impulsion than this to put them
in motion to do anything,--a strong pulling by the nose, indeed,--such
as their native rulers know how to apply.--But this is speculative, and
neither here nor there.

After getting all the information concerning the enemy that was to be
had from these people, the detachment returned to Rivas at a fast trot,
with the two friendly natives mounted behind, on such stronger animals
as were able to carry double burden. We all supposed, that, now the
enemy were again out of cover and on the open road, or, leastwise, in
the confusion of a new camp, there would be an immediate attack on them.
But General Walker followed his own head; and, after making our report,
we saw no stir, and heard nothing until morning,--when it was known that
the enemy were all moved into San Jorge, with only some two miles' space
between us. This place, being on the lake, was more convenient for
provisions, which were easily brought by the steamers from the island of
Ometepec and the towns and _haciendas_ along the shore,--and the enemy
had gained boldness to go there by our repulse at Obraja: or it may be
that the force at Obraja had come down from Granada by land, and so only
continued their march to San Jorge,--though the rumor was, that they had
landed from the lake, as I have said.

But be that as it may, time was given them to barricade at San Jorge,
till near the middle of the forenoon, and then Generals Henningsen and
Sanders were sent out with some four hundred riflemen and infantry to
drive them into the lake, which lay some few hundred yards behind them.
During the first part of the attack, our company remained in Rivas,
listening anxiously to the uproar at San Jorge,--every volley fired by
the combatants being borne distinctly to us by the east wind. For some
time there was a continuous rattle of musketry, with rapid detonations
of deeper-mouthed cannon,--at each roar shaking our suspended
hearts,--for we knew that our own men were using small arms only. After
a while this abated, grew irregular, and almost ceased. An order then
came for our company to mount and join the combatants. We galloped down
the broad and almost level highway which passes between Rivas and
San Jorge, bordered a great part of its length, on either side, by
cactus-hedges, broken at various intervals by the grassy by-lanes that
run out to the neighboring _haciendas_ or parallel roads. At places
where there is a slight elevation, the bottom of the road is worn
several feet below the level by the carts which ply between Rivas and
the lake. Opposite one of these, where the banks sloped at a sharp
angle, we came upon General Henningsen and a detachment of musketeers
resting on the right bank of the road, and halted beside them. The men
were sitting under the shade of an _adobe_, refreshing themselves with
oranges; and those in the nearest rank were close enough to hand us
fruit and keep their seats on the grass. Five or six hundred yards up
the road, the large church which stood on the _plaza_ of San Jorge, with
the door facing us, and a low wall of white stone running squarely from
its side across to the right, ended the vista between banks of green
foliage. Our view stretched across the _plaza_, which seemed to be empty
and unbarricaded; and I remember the painted door of the church beyond,
the red-tiled roof, the low, flanking wall of white stone, all dazily
trembling in the unsteady atmosphere radiating from the heated
road,--whilst a cloud of white smoke was sailing slowly away to the
west. It was a hot and tranquil scene. But I always think of it with the
same secret disgust with which the shipwrecked traveller looks upon the
placid ocean the day after the angry storm has passed over it; for it
was here I first saw the cruelty of a round shot.

When we came to a halt, there seemed to be a lull in the struggle, and
no enemy was anywhere visible, nor was firing heard from any direction.
The infantry, though within range of small arms from the town, were
concealed by the bushes, and the enemy were scarcely aware of their
presence. But when our company came galloping up the road, in full view,
their attention was aroused, and we had scarcely checked our animals and
exchanged a few words with the foot-soldiers, when a column of smoke
shot up from the wall in front.--"Now look out!" exclaimed some one.
I looked, but saw nothing to follow, and had turned my attention
elsewhere, when I heard a hissing noise, as of something rushing swiftly
past, and at the same time turf is thrown into the air, the horses start
aside in affright, and outcries of pain and terror assail the ear.
After a confused moment, I saw that the shot had struck in the line of
infantry a few feet on our right. One man, the drummer of the party, was
running about in the fluttered crowd with his hand hanging by a shred,
crying, "Cut it off! cut it off! D--your souls, why don't some of you
cut it off?" Another lay struggling on the ground, with the fleshy part
of his thighs torn abruptly off, calling upon some one for God's sake to
take him away from there. But the dismallest sight was a bloody shape,
with face to the ground, fingers clutching the grass with aimless
eagerness, and shivering silently with an invisible wound. Twisting
convulsively, it rolled down into the road under our horses' feet,--and
there this human form, which some call godlike, writhed and floundered
like a severed worm, and disguised itself in blood and dust.

But it is dangerous to look long upon the wounded; an old soldier never
rests his eye there; it is the greatest mistake of the raw one; and it
was well enough for some of us that our attention was timely drawn away
by alarm of another shot from the town. We spurred our horses up the
bank on the left; the foot-soldiers rushed behind the _adobe;_ and this
time the shot passed harmlessly down the road. Before another, General
Henningsen had ordered us all to move forward and get to cover. The foot
stopped in the right branch of a by-lane which crossed the road a little
way ahead. The rangers moved into the same lane,--but on the left, and
divided by the highway from the foot. Here we were entirely hidden from
the town by a belt of small trees and bushes. Nevertheless, the
enemy's round shot, tearing through the trees, still pursued, and the
Minié-balls, though thrown from smooth-bored guns, sang above and far
beyond us. At this place, as near as I recollect, above a dozen men were
killed and wounded,--most of them by that first round shot.

Our company shortly after was separated, and placed, for the most part,
as videttes, at various points near the town. Some hours after our
arrival, (which time was spent by the filibusters in drinking spirits
and resting from the late unsuccessful assault,--by the enemy in
barricading their position, and drinking spirits, perhaps, likewise,)
General Henningsen led an attack with part of the foot,--taking several
of us rangers along in the capacity of couriers, to ride off to Rivas at
any important turn of the fight and report to General Walker. The enemy
had taken position about the _plaza,_ in the church, and behind the
stone wall at its side, where they had by this time strengthened
themselves with barricades. They had cannon looking towards every
assailable point; and also on top of the church, in the cupola, they
had mounted a small piece, from which they threw grape against our men
advancing on any side. It proved a great source of annoyance throughout
the day. Their number was not certainly known, at least among the ranks,
but was rumored as high as two thousand men,--Costa-Ricans, Guatemalans,
and Chamorristas.

General Henningsen moved up by a straggling street, with an _adobe_ here
and there, and the intervals filled up with fruit-trees, bushes, and
cactus-hedges. Grape-shot, which may be the saddest thing, touching the
body, on earth, made miserable noise above us and miserable work among
us; and we couriers had leave to dismount and crawl nearer the ground.
General Henningsen gained respect from us by sitting his horse alone.
He was a soldier, it is said, from a boy, in European wars,--where this
were a feeble skirmish; yet he wore his life here, perhaps, more
loosely than in many a noisier battle. However, he seemed calm and easy
enough,--never moving his head, even slightly, when the shot whizzed
nearest him. General Walker, though a brave man, and cool in battle,
will nevertheless dodge when a bullet hisses him fiercely. So would
almost all his officers or soldiers, that I had an opportunity to
notice. Yet, after all, it is a mere trick of the nerves, and only
indicates familiarity and long service, or a deaf ear,--and not want of
self-possession or strength of heart. The advance at length became so
harassing that the party halted under cover on the roadside, whilst yet
some distance from the _plaza,_ and from this lodgment the couriers were
sent off to report progress at Rivas.

My post thenceforward was, with that of others, at the head of a lane
not far from the town, where we heard the voices of the combatants
and the whistling of balls, but could see nothing. After some hours'
comparative quiet, the drums began beating a charge again, and every gun
on the ground seemed awakened and doing its best. Then there was a loud,
heart-lifted shout, which rose above the din, and gave us too much joy;
and, a moment after, Colonel Casey, a hard-faced, one-armed man, spurred
past towards Rivas, saying, as he went, that our men were in the
_plaza,_ the greasers were running, and "we had 'em, sure as hell!" I
recollect some one observing, that it were of no use to believe Colonel
Casey, for he was the greatest liar in the army of Nicaragua. And
shortly after, the firing having ceased, another officer, Baldwin, I
think it was, came past and told us, with curses of vexation, that the
men had been checked, by command, in the heat of the assault, when the
greasers were already wavering,--and that the latter, recovering, had
rebarricaded so strongly, that we might now all go back to Rivas and
whistle.

However, this failure was not the end. Towards evening, another
detachment renewed the assault, and the uproar commenced again. It
seems, that, during the whole day, there was no simultaneous attack by
all the detachments. Now, it was the infantry who charged,--with the
riflemen in reserve, probably to prevent a rout, in case the enemy
pursued a repulse; then, it was the riflemen, with the infantry in
reserve; and so alternating through three or four charges;--so that
there never could have been more than a very contemptible force facing
the enemy at one time.

As it grew late, the wagons began to jolt past, removing the wounded to
Rivas. Some were drunk and merry in spite of their wounds; and their
laughter and drunken sport made strange concert with the cries and
curses of the others. I remember one man going by on foot, with a small
cut on the brow, from which blood was flowing copiously. He said the
wound was a mere scratch,--too slight to have sent him out of the fight,
had not the blood run down into his eyes and blinded him, preventing his
aim. Yet this small affair brought his death shortly afterwards. The
surgeons at Rivas gave him no care,--not so much as to wash his wound,
or have him wash it; and the climate is so malignant to strangers, that
the smallest cut, with the best care, heals only after long hesitation.

At length night came on, and our men drew off,--foiled at every attempt,
having sustained great loss, and, apparently, made little impression on
the enemy. They lay on their arms, however, in the outskirts, expecting
to renew the attack during the night; and, to assist at this, a party of
rangers had orders to leave their horses in quarters, and march on foot
to join the others. Quitting our horses with regret, we walked to San
Jorge, where the foot lay, awaiting the hour of attack. We found them
stomach-qualmed with hunger, weary of fighting, thoroughly disheartened,
and provoked against their officers. One told how an officer, whose duty
it was to lead the charge, took shelter behind an orange-tree no bigger
than his wrist, and shouted, "Go on, men! go on!" when he should
have been saying, "Come on!" and how another, become stupid with
_aguardiente_, had tried to force his men to a barricade, when their
cartridge-boxes were empty, and their unbayonetted arms useless.
There seemed also to have been slackness among the men; and some
were lamenting, that the First Rifles were not what they used to
be;--anciently they only wanted to _see_ the greasers; to-day they were
found taking to the bushes. They all agreed that no great number of the
enemy had been killed,--whilst the filibusters, they doubted, must
have lost nearly one-third of their men and many of their best
officers;--among the number I recollect Major Dusenbury, highly praised.

There was one affair, however, over which they crowed and took fierce
satisfaction. They told it thus:--A detached party, of about thirty of
them, were seated on the roadside drinking _aguardiente_, preparatory
to advancing. On one side was a cactus-hedge, and a grove of plantain
a little in front. Whilst they sat here deeply absorbed in the
_aguardiente_, a considerable party of the enemy got amongst the
plantain-trees, and fired a hundred muskets into them at the distance of
a few rods. Strange to say, the greasers were so nervous at finding no
barricade between them, or were such contemptible marksmen, that not
a shot took serious effect; only the demijohn of _aguardiente_ was
shivered into a thousand pieces, and the liquor ran out into the grass.
The filibusters jumped up astounded and disordered; but, seeing so much
good liquor running away wastefully into the grass, they grew terrible.
It was an insult and injury which both men and officers appreciated. It
gave every man in the troop a personal quarrel with the enemy. "Charge
'em!" shouted the captain; "we'll pay the scoundrels for the miserable
trick!" At full speed they swept through a gap in the hedge, and rushed
into the plantain-grove before the enemy had time to reload. But when
the greasers saw them coming on fiercely, their hearts failed them, and,
turning their backs, they fled towards the town. Never were filibusters
or men-of-war better pleased than now! They rattled on furiously behind
the nimble greasers. They sent howling death into their midst at every
step of the chase. They passed bloody forms stretched here and there
upon the earth. They followed the flying foe even to the edge of
the town, and saw its hostile swarm running hither and thither in
alarm.--Alas! General William Walker, why were you not here at this
propitious moment, with all your brave spirits, invincible with rum,
behind you? Then might you have rushed with the fugitives into the town,
and hurled the yellow-skinned invaders into the lake! Then might the
flag of Regeneration have waved even at this day over the hills and
valleys of Nicaragua,--and the unfortunate author of this history have
received a reward for his services!--_Ay de mí!_ Even now, reposing in
the shade of the palm-tree, fanned by the orange-scented breeze that
blows over the lake, I might drink the immortal juice of the sugarcane,
called _aguardiente_, and dream, and gaze at the cloud-wrapped cone of
Ometepec!--But I must forget this.

The dead killed in this plantain-patch were all that our men obtained
sight of. How many fell behind the barricades, where all the serious
fighting took place, it was impossible to tell; though there was no
reason to think that the enemy, fighting under cover, had suffered at
all proportionably with our men, or, indeed, had suffered equally,
losing man for man, except that ours were the better marksmen.

We passed a cold and sleepless night, awaiting the word to take up
arms and advance; but in the mean time General Walker had changed
his intention, and, when morning broke, the whole force quitted the
outskirts and marched back into Rivas. The killed and wounded by
the whole affair were reported officially at one hundred, or
thereabout,--underrated, most probably, for effect upon the men. It
was enough, however, considering the filibusters had no more than
four hundred engaged. Amongst them, though not reported, was that
devil-hearted dog which I have mentioned heretofore. He fell, shot
through the head, whilst advancing with the others toward the barricade.
He was lamented by the whole army,--by many superstitiously, even,--who
said he had gone through all Walker's hard stresses so far untouched,
and his end was prophetic of downfall.

And it is even true, that from this battle General Walker's prospects
clouded rapidly. A proclamation, issued by the Costa-Rican government,
promising fugitive filibusters free passage to the United States, found
its way into Rivas, and immediately worked immense mischief, and was,
indeed, the instrument of his overthrow. The men had no sooner seen it
than they began to leave as fast as they found opportunities to escape.
Guards were placed around the town, and spies in every company; but it
was of no avail; and every morning it was rumored through the camp that
this or that number had got off for Costa Rica during the night. General
Walker, in a speech which he made a few days after to infuse new spirit,
said that these were the cowards,--whose absence was beneficial, and
from whom it was well that the army should be purged. However, this was
exaggerated. It is true, doubtless, that there were many leaving merely
from fear, who would have chosen to stay with him, rather than trust
to the promises of a people believed to be treacherous and
promise-breaking, and whose hatred they had incurred,--had the battles
of San Jorge and Obraja been successful. And, indeed, the filibuster
ranks were not wanting in cowards. Cowards might be induced to come on
a desperate enterprise like this, through misrepresentation by Walker's
own agents; through mere thoughtlessness, or mistake,--not knowing what
soldier's metal was in them; or, with the bayonet of Hunger against
their backs at home, they might be unmindful of any other bayonet on the
distant shore of Nicaragua. (It should be musket-shot, however; for the
greasers never found heart to use the bayonet.) And then again, many,
who, when they first reached Nicaragua, were no cowards, after a few
months' stay, became changed,--by the depressing effects of fever, by
loss of confidence in their drunken officers, and by the absence of all
incentive to fight stoutly for a leader so unpopular as Walker. It was a
common saying, that in this army an old rule was reversed,--the veterans
were worse fighters than the recruits. The soldier was at his best
when he first landed upon the Isthmus, raw and healthy. After that, he
rapidly deteriorated, losing spirit with every battle, until he became
at last a thoroughbred coward. Seven or eight greasers to one filibuster
was said to be good fighting, at one time; but now three or four to one
was thought to be great odds; and before the game ended, I hear, they
were become equally matched, man for man, almost. But, whatever General
Walker said in his speech, this class of weak ones were not always the
deserters. It required some little energy or strength of legs, with
which these were unfurnished, to go over to the enemy at San Jorge, or
walk down to Costa Rica; and the fact was, that from the first many of
the healthiest and liveliest men, whose defection could least be borne,
were leaving,--not from fear, mainly, but because by this proclamation
they were offered the first opportunity to escape from a disagreeable
service to which they thought themselves bound by no tie of love or
honor.

It was now about time for a steamer to arrive at San Juan on the Pacific
with the California passengers; and the next day, or the second day,
perhaps, succeeding the battle at San Jorge, General Walker said to
General Sanders, in his quiet, whining way,--"General Sanders, I am
going to take two hundred and fifty riflemen and the rangers and go down
to San Juan to bring up our recruits to Rivas; and if three thousand
greasers are on the Transit road, I intend to go through them."
Accordingly, the riflemen, the ranger regiment, and a small party of
artillerymen with one of the two brass howitzers, met in the _plaza_,
and set out on this expedition at midnight, with Generals Walker and
Sanders both in the party.

The route of the detachment was the one I have mentioned before as
inland through the forest, and striking the Transit road some miles west
of the lake and Virgin Bay. It was firmly believed that we should meet
the enemy somewhere on the Transit road,--since the hills through which
it passed offered many excellent barricading-points, and it would seem a
matter of great importance to them to cut us off from junction with any
fresh recruits the steamer might land at San Juan. So there was much
preparatory drinking amongst the officers, (yet I say it not in slander,
for many were brave enough for any deed, and drank before battle only
because they drank always,)--and less amongst the men solely because
spirits had become scarce around Rivas, and dear; and there were very
few, truly, who had not ceased long since to carry coin in their
pockets. The captain of our company, who was an incautious man, and was
frequently drinking more than was needful, on this occasion drank more
than he was fitted to bear; and whilst the detachment was stopped some
time getting the wheel-piece over a hard place in the road, his strong
friend Aguardiente brought him to the ground, as he sat on his mule near
the front with his company,--where he lay in eruptive state like a
young toper, and so falling asleep lost his mule, which strayed into the
forest to browse, causing him much embarrassment and confused search
when the detachment was ready to start. Being up again, however, the
sleep and stomachic alleviation proved beneficial, and we, his soldiers,
followed after him in much greater comfort and confidence.

Such delays by the howitzer, and a wagon transporting spare muskets for
the expected recruits, were so frequent, that we made but slow progress,
and when we emerged from the woods the sun was already shining upon
the broad Transit road,--I might have said like a glory on the brow of
Ometepec, but my memory is bad, and I doubt whether the fact may not be
that the sun rises upon this point from lower down on the lake. After
entering the Transit road, the rangers were sent ahead to discover if
there were an enemy in the way. Our regiment, as we called it, now
together for the first time since I joined it, consisted of some
seventy men, divided into three companies, all under command of Colonel
Waters,--a soldierly-looking man, and, moreover, brave, and not without
training in the Mexican War. Some time before the regiment had numbered
one hundred, but had become thus reduced by disease and the enemy.

On this ride I remember a feeble infusion of that excellent spirit
which, since the days of Sir Walter Scott, ought to belong to all
horse-soldiers, moss-troopers, or mounted rangers, but which I had
despaired of ever finding in General Walker's service. It is true we had
no bugler, or standard-bearer, or piece of feather in the troop, or,
indeed, any circumstance of war, save our revolvers and Sharpe's rifles,
vermin and dirty shirts. Nevertheless the morning was splendid, with a
fresh breeze behind us; the road was hard and smooth, and rang under
our horses' feet; and withal I felt, that, if we should see a troop
of greaser lancers ahead, in good uniform, we might run 'em down, and
bullet 'em, and strip 'em, with good romantic spirit, even.

But this is a most hollow cheat which Sir Walter Scott and other
book-men have played off on some weak-headed young men of our low-minded
generation. There is no doubt but a man seated amongst ten thousand
cavalry, who shake the earth as they charge, ought to feel himself
swell, as part of an avalanche or mighty Niagara,--as part of the
mightiest visible force which feeble man can enter or his spirit
commingle with. This were no contemptible joy, which the thin-blooded
philosopher might laugh at,--better, indeed, than most to be found here
on this fog-rounded flat of ours, where some few melodies from heaven
and countless blasts from hell meet, and make such strange, unequal
dissonance. But, alack! alack! it is not for the feeble, or the young
soldier, fresh from his plough or his yardstick, his briefs or his
pestle. For how shall we who have all our lives been standing guard
against the approach of death, who start horror-shaken from the dropping
of a tile, whose small wounds are quickly bound up by tender mother or
sister, and lamented over,--how shall we feel romantic in the midst of a
shower of bullets? Enough done, if our vanity or sense of duty hold us
there in any spirit, so that we do the needed trigger-work, and not turn
tail and disgrace ourselves. Even the veteran's satisfaction, since the
laying aside of steel armor, is not much, to be sure, or is gathered
after the battle. There is some savage ecstasy, perhaps, when he sees
his enemy fall, or when he sees his back; this last, indeed, a glorious
sight for any soldier,--worth rushing at the cannon's mouth to look
at, almost. But the man, be he veteran or other, who tells me he found
pleasure on the field where the Minié-balls kill afar off, in cold
blood,--I know him for one of the eccentric, stupid, or talkers for
purposes of vanity.--But this will suffice.

There were three places on the road, amongst the Cordillera ridges,
where, in former wars, a Costa-Rican force, flying before the
filibusters, had stopped to barricade, and gathered heart to withstand
their pursuers awhile,--long enough to bark the surrounding trees with
musket-shot,--some of them, indeed, amid their topmost branches; for it
is a greaser-failing to shoot inordinately high. Each of these sites we
approached with caution, expecting to see an enemy there; but there was
none, and we came down safely at length to our old shed-camp. Here we
halted, and made our station, as it was more convenient for pasturage,
whilst the foot passed on to San Juan, two miles beyond.

The steamer not arriving, we remained at this place several days,
employed as before, with the sugar-cane and the wood-ticks, miserable
enough.

In the mean time, the foot at San Juan, finding unusual temptation to
escape from this place, so much nearer the Costa-Rican line, were
leaving in large parties; and unwilling service was made of the rangers
to intercept the fugitives, by posting them below on all the paths
leading through the forest to Costa Rica. General Walker esteemed these
more faithful, because they had been more considerately treated, better
fed, allowed greater freedom and privilege,--having no drill, loose
discipline, and exemption from guard-duty when with the foot; and,
above all, their part of the service being healthier, and, though more
fatiguing, far preferable, on the whole, to the other. One night I was
detailed, with others, on this disagreeable duty, and remember it,
for other reasons, as the most wretched night of all that I passed in
Nicaragua. Our station was on the bank of a little wooded stream, some
miles below San Juan. After the guard had been posted, I lay down to get
some hours' sleep, which I needed,--but was no sooner on the ground than
a swarm of infinitesimally small creatures, of the tick genus, whose den
I had invaded, came over me, and the rest was merely one sensation of
becrawled misery; so that, notwithstanding great previous loss of sleep,
I went again unrefreshed. I asked an old filibuster who lay near me, how
he could sleep through it. "Oh," said he, "I've got my skin dirty and
callous, and this easy-walking species, that can't bite, never troubles
me." On this subject I read the following in Mr. Irving's "History
of Columbus" with some emotion:--"Nor is the least beautiful part of
animated nature [in those tropical regions] the various tribes of
insects that people every plant, displaying brilliant coats-of-mail,
which sparkle to the eye like precious gems." It seems strange to me
that any good should be recognized in these children of despair, which
have caused me more unhappiness than all the world's vermin beside.
I think this praise must be from Mr. Irving himself, looking up the
picturesque. It is not possible that Columbus would have had the heart
to flatter and polish up these mailed insects, who, in his day, ate him,
turned him over and over, and harried him more than ever was Job by
Satan.

Next morning, whilst we were roasting green plantains in
the fire for breakfast, a man dressed in General Walker's
blue-shirt-and-cotton-breeches uniform came upon us suddenly
from out of the woods beyond the stream. He was evidently going
south,--but seeing our party, with startled look, he turned, and
went in the direction of San Juan. We knew him at once for a deserter,
but had no zeal to arrest him; and he had already got past us, when
some one ejaculated,--"D--- him, why don't he go right? That's not
the road to Costa Rica!" Upon this unlucky speech, the officer in
command of the detail, who, either through inattention or design,
was suffering the man to pass unquestioned, ordered him to be
followed and seized. He was a German, and either a dull, heavy
fellow, or else stupefied by his terrible misfortune; and being
unable to say a consistent word for himself, the officer sent him
off under guard to San Juan, where it was well known what General Walker
would do with him.

Some hours after this misadventure, as most of us took it, our detail
was relieved and we rode back to camp. The man who had been taken in the
act of deserting was condemned to be shot at San Juan this same evening,
in presence of the whole detachment. He was led down to the beach, and
seated in a chair at the water's edge. He bore himself carelessly, or
with an absent, almost unconscious air, like one who felt himself acting
a part in a dream. A squad of drafted riflemen was brought up in front
of him, and the word was given by a sergeant. They made their aim false
purposely, and but one shot took effect on the doomed man. He fell back
into the water, where he lay struggling, and stained the waves red with
his blood. It was a wrenching sight, too brutal far, to see the sergeant
place his gun against the poor wretch's head, and end his agony!

It seemed so abominable to every spectator there that General Walker
should thus seek to enforce Devil's service from his men, entrapped
mostly in the first place, without wages or half maintenance, and with
no claim upon them whatever, but by a contract without consideration
on the one part, on the other hard labor to the death,--that this
exhibition, which in another army were calculated to strengthen just
authority, here only aroused indignation and disgust. This very night,
after witnessing the deserter's punishment, eleven men left the company
to which he belonged in a body, and were seen no more in Nicaragua. And
though for selfish reasons I was concerned to see the army falling to
pieces, and the load of toil and danger increasing upon the rest of us,
yet both I and the rest acknowledged that there was no tie of honor or
honesty to keep any man with us who wished to escape; and this deed
seemed to us without decent sanction.

The steamer at length made its appearance, and, after landing us about
forty recruits, departed south with the States passengers for Panamá;
and afterwards, the new soldiers being all furnished with muskets, the
detachment started on its return to Rivas. On the way, it was rumored
amongst the men, that a reinforcement to the enemy, marching from Costa
Rica, were halted at Virgin Bay, and that General Walker was going to
attack them. We hurried over the Transit road as fast as the foot were
able,--General Sanders, I recollect, riding far in advance, sometimes
out of sight, and thus giving himself to an ambush, had the enemy placed
any. By repute he was a man of extreme courage, and held his life so
contemptuously that he would scarce hesitate to charge an enemy's line
by himself. But I fear that this time he had other impulse than his
innate valor; for there was no occasion for a solitary man, riding in
these gloomy woods, to be singing and hallooing, and whirling his sword
about his head, and swaying to and fro on his horse, unless he were
strongly worked by _aguardiente_.

Reaching Virgin Bay some time after dark, we found the report of an
enemy there untrue; but the pickets were got out in remarkable haste,
and all the native population--some dozen women and children--were
seized, to prevent discovery of us to the enemy, and I suppose there was
some expectation of an attack. However, liquor being plenty amongst the
hotel-keepers at Virgin Bay, the officers thought it a good place to get
drunk in,--and many spent the night in that endeavor, and in playing
poker; so that in the morning, walking down to the lake to water my
mule, I met a colonel and a general staggering into quarters, rubbing
their eyes sullenly, having just lifted themselves from the street,
where the honest god Bacchus, as a poet calls him, had put them to bed
the night before.

The steamer "San Carlos" still lay over at the island, under shadow of
the volcano. The other probably lay at San Jorge, by the enemy. The old
brig formerly anchored at Virgin Bay having been burned, there was now
no hope of retaking these steamers, unless the party of Texans, which we
had by this time heard was fighting its way up the Rio San Juan, should
succeed in getting upon the lake with a boat from the river. But to-day
we came near reaching the top of this hope unexpectedly. For whilst we
still delayed in Virgin Bay, smoke began to rise from the chimneys of
the "San Carlos," and in proper time she turned her prow and came across
the water directly toward us. It was scarcely possible that she knew
anything of our presence in Virgin Bay; and it was doubted by no one but
she was coming to land there for some purpose; and then her recapture,
were she full of the enemy, was certain, in the spirit we then were in:
for all felt, that, could we once get the steamer into our hands, and
reach the four hundred fresh Texans on the river, the filibuster star
would have shot up so high that it were ill-management indeed that would
ever pull it down again. Accordingly all were quickly driven into the
houses, and told to lie there close, and be ready to burst forth when
the steamer touched her pier. But we were miserably disappointed. She
came steadily up within half a mile of land, and then, catching an
alarm, turned, and put swiftly back to the island. I afterward heard
that two drunken officers had rushed out into the street, and so
apprised her of the danger.

After this the detachment set out towards Rivas. We advanced along the
lake shore some distance, fording the mouth of the little Rio Lajas,
whose waters had lost much depth since I first, passed over this road,
crossing the stream in a bungo. In the forest we found, at one point,
trees felled across the road, as if the enemy had here been minded to
oppose us; but we passed by, seeing no one, and reached Rivas in good
time, unmolested.

Arrived at Rivas, we found that a change was taking place in the
character of the war. The town had been threatened by the enemy during
our absence, and General Henningsen was busy putting it into a state
better suited to repel any sudden attack. Pieces of artillery looked
down all the principal approaches, from behind short walls of _adobe_
blocks, raised in the middle of the street with open passage-ways on
either side. Native men with _machetes_, watched by armed guards, were
clearing away the fine groves of orange, mango, and plantain, which
everywhere surrounded Rivas, and were fitted to cover the approach of an
enemy. Others were tearing down or burning the houses in the outskirts,
to narrow the circle of defence. The tenants of these houses--when they
had any--were moved up nearer the _plaza_, or, if native, sometimes
into the country. The native population of Rivas, however, was scanty,
consisting mostly of a few women,--of the kindest and most affable sort.
In what direction the men had all, or nearly all, gone, I am unable to
say. Doubtless some of them were with the Chamorristas.

So many of the houses were marked out to be pulled down, that General
Walker was obliged to quarter his new recruits in the church, a large
stone building, and curious from the head of Washington, easily
identified, carved in relief on its _facade_. Hitherto some native women
had been accustomed to assemble in this church and worship, under care
of a fat, unctuous little _padre_, very obsequiously courteous toward
filibusters;--and well he might be; for General Walker was suspicious
of all _padres_, and kept a stern eye upon them. Once he caught one of
them, who had preached treason against him within reach of his arm, and
released him again only upon payment of five thousand _pesos_. Another,
for a like offence, was put into the guard-house, and required to ransom
himself at twenty-five hundred. What became of this one, whether he paid
his ransom and got out, or whether he stayed there until he lost oil and
became lean on the small ration furnished him, was not rumored. Yet,
with all this in his memory, when the present _padre_ came again with
his flock of women and found the church occupied by soldiers, he went
away scowling, and never even lifted his shovel-hat to me when I met
him.

On the night succeeding our return from San Juan, General Walker
determined to try a night attack on San Jorge, hoping much from the
fresh spirit and muscle of his forty Californians. To assist in this,
our company had orders to be on the _plaza_ at two o'clock, afoot, with
clean rifles and forty rounds of ammunition. At one o'clock we arose
and went down on the _plaza_, in number about twenty, the rest of the
company remaining behind on account of sickness. On the way, however,
the number was augmented by a second company of near twenty dismounted
rangers, with Colonel Waters at their head.

Whilst we stood, in rather low spirits, waiting the hour of departure,
our captain procured us a calabash of _aguardiente_, which, thinking
upon the desperate work ahead of us and the infinite toil and
sleeplessness of the last few weeks, we considered excellent, and not to
be spared. Discomfort in battle is a positive evil, felt, perhaps, by
all sons of Adam; and he who will use means to get rid of it and leave
himself free to work is no more a coward, so far, than he who takes
chloroform to prevent the pain of a tooth-pulling,--mere positive evil,
likewise. _Aguardiente_ will serve a good purpose;--provided the head be
not essentially weak, or too inflammable, it ascends you into the brain,
and dries you there, as one hath said, all the nervous, crudy vapors
that environ it. But this captain of ours drank too injudiciously, and,
indeed, so obscured himself with his drink, often, that we his men were
loath to trust and follow him,--doubting that he knew where he was about
to take us, or for what purpose. To-night he strapped a large canteen of
_aguardiente_ about his neck and wore it into battle,--and many times,
as the danger staggered, we saw him draw courageous spirit through the
neck of it, and go on befogged and reassured. Yet, withal, he was no
greater coward than other men,--indeed, much braver than most,--had been
wounded whilst leading a forlorn hope over a barricade,--and would, I
doubt not, have fought well without _aguardiente_, had drinking been a
mark of cowardice in the army.

At length all was ready, and, with something above three hundred
riflemen and infantry, under command of Generals Walker and Sanders, we
started out on the San Jorge road some hours after midnight. We kept
along the highway until we began to approach the town, and then turned
aside into a by-lane crossing to the left. The by-lane was interrupted
at one place by a deep pool of water, through which the detachment
plunging, half-leg deep, some of the weak-legged stumbled and fell,
getting their cartridge-boxes under, and spoiling their ammunition.

At the end of this lane we came into another highway running toward San
Jorge, along which we advanced rapidly. After a while we came to a halt,
and a party was sent off; then forward again, a corner turned, and
another halt,--when I heard General Walker asking some one, in composed
voice, "Does he know exactly where we are?" Whilst we stood there, a
sudden and hot rattle of musketry began from the front, and we again
advanced swiftly, by scattered _adobes_, turning corners, and came in
full view of a barricade some distance ahead spitting flashes of fire
crosswise into the right-hand side of the street. We crossed over from
left to right, and halted behind an _adobe_. On our right hand stood
a grove of small trees, through which the assailants had probably
advanced, and in which, just ahead, hot work was now going on
loudly,--with Minié-balls, grape-shot, shouts, outcries, and blood
enough doubtless. After some delay here, part of us rangers, led by
Colonel Waters, recrossed the street, and advanced, crouching, toward
the barricade spitting flames in front. We crept, double file, along a
palisade of tall cactus which bordered this part of the street, against
whose thorns my neighbor on the right would frequently thrust me, as the
shot nipped him closely,--inconvenient, but without pain, so intense was
the distraction of the moment. We had crept within a few rods of the
barricade, where we had glimpse of faces through embrasures, amidst the
smoke and flame, and our leader, as he afterwards said, had it on his
lips to order the forward rush,--when the party attacking on our right,
behind the trees, gave back, and our own mere handful was checked, and
retraced its steps running. A moment later, and we had gone upon that
high barricade, some score of us, without backers in the street, to
draw on us the enemy's whole fire,--and very likely--unless they had
foolishly fled at our first rush--to be all killed there.

On the retreat, I with some others was ordered out of the ranks to pick
up a wounded officer and carry him off the ground. We took him down the
street, turned a corner, and laid him on the floor of a church some
distance beyond. He had an arm broken and a bad wound in his body,--a
hopeless man; but upborne and defiant through _aguardiente_ and native
strength. After getting him off our hands, we returned to our company,
which we found sheltering behind the _adobe_ where we had halted when on
the advance. Here we remained some time, with instructions from General
Walker (whom, at this time, we seemed to follow as personal guard) to
keep ourselves out of reach of the missiles flying on either side of the
house. The darkness was so thick that we could see only what was passing
immediately around us, and therefore were ignorant as to the position
of the foot, and what was now doing amongst them. It was said, however,
afterwards, that their officers strove to rally and bring them up to
another charge, but that they proved mutinous, and refused to move.

They had suffered, indeed, discouragement enough. Colonel O'Neal, who
had led them, was mortally wounded; the barricade was too high and
dangerous; they had tried to fire it without success. Some of the forty
recruits, who were in front of the party, had climbed over it; and these
afterwards affirmed, that, had the others followed then, the barricade
had been gained; but the older soldiers had degenerated, possessed
little of these men's zeal or spirit, hesitated, and, their colonel
falling, gave back. Those who had gone over the barricade were killed
there, or came back with wounds,--one with a bayonet-thrust through the
arm,--a most remarkable wound, in which, perhaps, Central-Americans
fleshed a bayonet for the first time.

Our company, or part of it,--for most had been placed about on pickets
when the attack failed,--after a while fell farther back, turned the
corner before mentioned, faced about, and came to a stand in the street,
with an _adobe_ house on the left. The street in which we stood ran
straight forward, and crossed the one down which we had just receded at
right angles, a few feet ahead of us, so that there was here a junction
of four streets, or, I might better say, roads; for there were no more
than four disconnected houses in the immediate vicinity,--the one on the
corner beside us, one on the corner diagonally opposite, the one up the
street running left, on the far side, behind which we had a little while
ago taken shelter, and the square stone church, whither we had carried
the wounded man, and which stood on the far side of the street some
yards behind us. The rest of the space was covered with fruit-trees and
a heavy growth of hushes; and concealed behind these lay the barricades
and the _plaza_ of San Jorge. But all this was seen later; then the
whole was wrapped in thick darkness, it yet lacking some short time of
daybreak.

Whilst our detached company was standing there, with the foot drawn up
in the road a little way before us, a single horseman came out from the
enemy and galloped past our picket, stationed up the road some distance
ahead of the detachment. The picket fired upon him after he had passed;
he dropped under his horse's side, and galloped back, apparently
unharmed; but, from the direction of their fire, the picket was
naturally mistaken for the enemy by the detachment in front, who could
see only the flashes through the darkness. Some stood their ground, and
returned the fire, placing the picket in great danger; but the bulk,
already well scared by their repulse, broke away panic-stricken, and
came rushing down the road toward us, thinking the enemy were charging
behind them. Our company was suddenly overwhelmed, or borne along by the
current, ignorant of the cause of alarm. I brought myself up behind the
corner house, where many of the others were taking shelter. But hearing
some one cry out, "To the church! to the church! make a stand in the
church!" I immediately ran across the road and entered the church by a
side-door. As I crossed the entrance, with two or three others,
General Walker came running up from the interior, with his sword out,
crying,--"Where's that man came into the church? Show me that man!"
There were cocked revolvers with some of us, and it was, perhaps, well
for General Walker that the crowd now pouring in strongly at both front
and side doors diverted him. Turning to these, he threw himself first on
one, then on another, battered, tugged, and thrust them out at the door
with such force as I hardly thought was in him. He was soon assisted
by Sanders, Waters, and other officers, and, with the curses and
vociferations of these men, the confused rush of the panic-stricken
crowd in the dark, and the outcries of the wounded, who lay about
on the floor, as the fugitives trampled over them, there was such a
pressure as might unchart a young soldier, and strand him among his
fears.

After seeing enough of it, I ran out again into the street, sore
bestead, indeed, to know what I should do. Day was beginning to break,
and in the gray dawn I saw the men ejected from the church running
hither and thither, trying to rejoin their officers. And, there being
neither standards nor drums to collect by, the sergeants stood at divers
points shouting at the top of their voices the number and letter
of their companies, and calling the fugitives to come into ranks.
Minié-balls whizzed about in the air or knocked up the dust from
the street, and firing was now and then heard near by in uncertain
directions, where perhaps the enemy were vexing our pickets. I believe
it had been a helter-skelter day for us all, had the enemy got in then
and attacked us in the midst of this confusion. They might surely have
driven us into irretrievable rout, flying on the road to Rivas, by a
spirited charge of fifty good men, or much less.

Whilst I stood in doubt what course to take, I saw our captain, followed
by three or four of the company, looking over the ground for the
missing, and I forthwith made up and joined him. Others came in, one by
one; and at length, the foot being gathered together in the _adobes_,
and things brought to order outside, the captain led his company into
the church. General Walker was still there, talking earnestly with
Sanders and Waters, having cleared the church of the fugitives. As we
approached, he asked the captain, who by this time had emptied his
canteen of _aguardiente_, how many of his men were killed. The captain
began cursing the foot, and telling how he had been run over, having
tried to stand,--and would have made a long talc, but Colonel Waters
touched him on the shoulder, and said in undertone,--"Lead your company
off. You are too drunk to talk now."

Our post thenceforward was at the several doors of the church, where we
kept guard for the wounded, who lay about the floor in miserable plight
for lack of water. Outside, drop-shooting was still kept up by the enemy
in the bushes, and returned by ours from the doors.

It was an ill-looking situation for our small, panic-shaken party,
resting here within pistol-shot of an overwhelming and victorious enemy.
The enemy's respect for us was too great and unreasonable. It behooved
them certainly, as honest soldiers, to come forth now and drive us out
of their town, in which, I think, if well commenced, there had been but
little difficulty. Afterwards, indeed, when I was amongst them in Costa
Rica, they declared concerning this affair that they knew we were in
their power then, but refrained because they were unwilling to shed more
filibuster blood, preferring rather to conquer us by proclamation, and
send us back to our homes unhurt,--more expensive, to be sure, but
recommended by humanity. Yet I laugh at this when I remember how they
crept snake-like in the bushes, and tried to pick us off at the doors,
and how they strove, without much danger to themselves, to run our
pickets in on us, and get to see our backs turned, whereupon, doubtless,
humanity would have been little thought of, and filibuster blood cheap
enough. Indeed, once that morning, with little less than four-score
horse, they came charging with hope to pass a picket of ten men; but
saddles being emptied, they recoiled, and their leader being slain,
whilst attempting to rally them, they fled contemptibly,--seven or eight
from one. However, this is only my revenge for much exasperation and
deploration that they would never come away from their pestiferous
walls,--where, after all, they had a right to stay, and will not be
blamed by the candid and unbebullet-whizzed reader that they did stay.

We kept our post at the doors, annoyed and apprehensive, until the sun
was an hour or so high, when a party of rangers arrived from Rivas
with led horses to transport the wounded,--which incumbrance it was, I
suppose, that prevented our withdrawal earlier. The wounded were carried
out and mounted, some with a soldier behind to support them. Colonel
O'Neal, however, who had both legs broken, was carried on a litter, with
a cocked revolver on each side of him; for, though he had lost much
blood, there was yet spirit in him, and he wanted revenge for these
death-wounds. The pickets were now all brought in hastily, and the
detachment began its march, leaving, I remember, one stark form propped
against the church wall, with staring eyeballs fixed, and soul wandered
somewhither. This, from his clean looks, had been one of the fresh
California recruits, who, indeed, had found miserable entertainment on
their arrival in Nicaragua, land of oranges and sunshine,--being first
and longest this night at the barricade, and leaving many of their
number there.

A little way from the church we crossed a road running into San Jorge,
and, looking up, saw a high log-barricade, some fifty rods off, with
embrasures and black-mouthed cannon frowning down on us. Why we were not
fired upon I know not, unless on that same score of humanity, or because
the enemy had abandoned it during last night's assault. Farther on,
whilst passing through a plantain-patch, we saw the greasers some
way off in our rear, watching us, running to and fro, and seemingly
exercised with preparation for attacking. However, we passed out into
the road, and went on undisturbed, yet still with the enemy hovering
behind us.

Coming to a place where an abrupt little mound rose at a fork in the
road, our company, which brought up the rear of the detachment, had
orders to conceal itself behind this, and await the pursuers, and give
them check. In a moment they came galloping up the slope of a hill some
two or three hundred yards back, their heads only appearing at first,
then the rest down to the saddle, when we arose suddenly and gave them a
volley of rifle-bullets. They dropped down quickly, either to the ground
or under their horses' bellies, in which manoeuvre some of them rival
the prairie Indians. Others coming up from behind, we gave them more,
until they all disappeared finally. After this we saw no more of them,
and arrived at Rivas without further alarm.

This was now the third repulse we had sustained within a few days, with
an aggregate loss, perhaps, counting wounded, (who, as I have said, were
more regretted than the dead,) not very far under two hundred men,--and
it became apparent that the filibuster day was over, unless General
Walker could find some stratagem in his head, or some better mode of
fighting than this confident rushing upon an overwhelming enemy, under
strong cover, and grown bold with success. The prospect, truly, began
to look black enough. The men had lost confidence in themselves and in
their officers, no longer despised the enemy, and dreaded the barricades
at San Jorge so deeply that they would be led against them no more.
Those who intended to desert avoided every exposure to danger, and
feigned sickness whenever detailed for service. One of the rifle
regiments had grown mutinous, upon some quarrel with its officers, and
refused to do duty of any kind, and it was absurd to attempt to compel
it by aid of the others. The natives, who had charge of the beef cattle,
turned them all out of the _corral_, and ran away in the night, leaving
the army without meat, and the commissary force, some forty horsemen,
to seek for prey wherever it was to be found. And then there were ill
reports heard about the party on the Rio San Juan, and its success began
to be doubted. But worse than all was the fast-spreading spirit of
desertion, which all saw would prove ruinous of itself, unless shortly
stopped in some way.

At this juncture it might have been worth while for General Walker to
form a corps for one attack of all the men in his army who felt an
earnest interest in driving the enemy out, and were willing to fight
desperately for the sake of it. There were scores of stout men acting
as lieutenants, captains, majors, etc., of slight performance in those
capacities, but who, had they been formed into companies, and asked to
fight now one night, at this desperate juncture, for the _haciendas_
General Walker had promised them, would have done willing, perhaps, and
excellent service. To these might be added all those among the ranks
to whom, from any cause, desertion or expulsion from Nicaragua was
disagreeable,--those who distrusted the Costa-Rican promises, or feared
disgrace at home, or had sick or wounded friends at Rivas, or were
desperate, broken men without other home, or with what other peculiar
motives there might be. With this force gathered to themselves by call
for volunteers, allowed to choose their own officers, furnished with
Colt's revolvers, or bayonets, or both, and led in advance, as a forlorn
hope, with ladders to scale the barricades by,--it is likely the enemy
might have been driven out, and the cause of Regeneration set up once
more. So, at least, it was thought by some. And, indeed, it must have
been extremely discouraging for one of better will to be fearful at
every step that his comrades would dart aside into the bushes and leave
him unsupported; it must have served to cripple the efforts of all the
well-intentioned in the army, and should have been remedied. However,
no call for volunteers was ventured by General Walker,--he, probably,
thinking it too unreasonable to ask his men to do anything for him
unforced.

There were some others who thought affairs might be retrieved, if
General Walker were displaced, at least from his military command,
and Henningsen, or some other, put in his stead. He was exceedingly
unpopular, hated, indeed, by a great many, (I have known more than one
who professed to nourish the intent of shooting him during his next
battle, when the deed could be covered,) was respected only for his
strong will and personal bravery, and had never been superseded, solely,
perhaps, because the great majority of his men were either without
energy, or were careless about everything but escape, and so felt no
interest in dethroning him and setting up another, when thereby they
were not helping their chance of getting out of the Isthmus. However,
there was now a conspiracy commenced by some who were unwilling to leave
Nicaragua, and who distrusted General Walker's ability to save the
filibusters much longer.

But these underworkers had made us no sign up to the night attack on
San Jorge, and the day succeeding that the writer lost sight of the
filibuster camp, and knew what took place in it no more. I will tell how
the withdrawal was brought about, and then extinguish my story. Near the
middle of the day, after returning from San Jorge, the company rode out,
under command of the sergeant, to gather forage for the animals. In
order to give my own mule a respite, I mounted for this occasion a
bad-winded animal, long before used up, and discarded by one of the
company, and left to run about the yard. As we rode out at the gateway,
one of the men advised me with some pointedness to go back and get my
own animal, assuring me the one I had would fail me on this expedition.
Yet, knowing he was good for the distance we usually rode foraging, I
paid him no heed, and thought nothing of his somewhat singular manner
until afterwards. When we had gone some distance, the same man asked me
if I had heard that forty deserters had left last night for Costa Rica,
adding, that it was his opinion the whole army would soon be on the same
road. "Well," said I, "I suppose we'll be among the last." "I don't
think I will," rejoined he, "nor the rest of this company." He said no
more; but it flashed upon me then that we were even now on the road for
Costa Rica; and it soon became certainty, as the sergeant turned down
toward the Transit road, a direction in which we had never been
allowed to forage, probably because the natives on that side had more
communication with San Juan and Virgin Bay, and General Walker was
unwilling that the States passengers should hear too many complaints
from them. I was before aware that many of the company had been for some
time revolving desertion, and had myself been sounded by one a day or
two previously; but could have had no suspicion that this was to be the
occasion, because several of the most forward in the matter had made
excuses, and remained behind in quarters.

At length we halted in a little stream, some miles from Rivas, to water
our animals, and it was here openly announced that the party was on its
way to Costa Rica to take the benefit of the government proclamation. I
rode back toward the rear, where I saw a dispute going on between one of
the company who wanted to return to Rivas and others who insisted that
he must go forward. One of them met me in the path, and told me I must
go with them until they had got beyond the Transit road. They had no
wish, he said, to force men to desert; but this much was needed to save
themselves from danger of pursuit. I told him my mule would never carry
me back from the Transit road. "We will catch you another," said he,
"when we reach the Jocote _rancho_." The whole crowd, save two or three,
were with him, and it was useless to persist. So I turned and rode
forward with the rest.

At the Jocote _rancho_ we succeeded in catching a mule, but he was given
to another of the company, whose animal showed worse signs than my own,
which, indeed, had borne me much better than I expected, and was not yet
seriously fatigued.

We came out upon the Transit road, passed over the Cordillera ridges,
and, just beyond the little river which crosses the road, two miles from
San Juan, turned aside into a forest-trail leading down the coast to
Costa Rica. Those of us who had been pressed thus far, after crossing
the Transit road, gave over all design of returning. The bonds which
drew us back were not strong, and the danger of return was considerable.
We had heard that the enemy was at Virgin Bay, and that their lancers
frequently passed backward and forward on the Transit road, and between
San Jorge and Virgin Bay. If we returned, we should be confined to the
path nearly all the way to Rivas by the impenetrable forest, and easily
taken, should we meet the enemy, or liable even, one or two only, to be
shot down from ambush by the hostile natives who lived on the route.

For my own part, I decided to go on with hesitation and regret, and I
believe, had one been ready to return, I should have borne him willing
company. I preferred even the hard service and dubious chance of General
Walker to the alternative of going amongst the Costa-Ricans, where
a cowardly populace would probably kick and spit upon us as dirty
filibusters and deserters; and should their government even keep its
promises, I had no stomach for being set ashore in the city of New York,
without money in my pocket, or home that I wished to go to. My health
had been good in Nicaragua, and, I believed, would remain good. The
motive which sent me there was still in force; and, withal, I wished to
see the filibuster game played out,--with Henningsen, or some other man
than General Walker, as military director. I believed it might even
take a turn so, and a _sans-culotte_ man be furnished at last with a
two-hundred-and-fifty-acre home in Nicaragua,--

  "'Mid sandal bowers and groves of spice,
  Might be a Peri's paradise";

and plantain food without sweat, and the elixir of joy called
_aguardiente!_ Nevertheless it was all left behind; and Samuel Absalom
tore the large, dirty canvas letters M.R., signifying Mounted Ranger,
off from his blue flannel shirt-breast; and his experience as filibuster
in Nicaragua closed,--somewhat ingloriously.

       *       *       *       *       *


ROBA DI ROMA.

[Continued.]


CHAPTER V.

CHRISTMAS HOLIDAYS.


The Christmas Holidays have come, and with them various customs and
celebrations quite peculiar to Rome. They are ushered in by the festive
clang of a thousand bells from all the belfries in Rome at Ave Maria of
the evening before the august day. At about nine o'clock of the same
evening the Pope performs High Mass in some one of the great churches,
generally at Santa Maria Maggiore, when all the pillars of this fine old
basilica are draped with red hangings, and scores of candles burn in the
side chapels, and the great altar blazes with light. The fuguing chants
of the Papal choir sound into the dome and down the aisles, while the
Holy Father ministers at the altar, and a motley crowd parade and jostle
and saunter through the church. Here, mingled together, may be seen
soldiers of the Swiss guard, with their shining helmets, long halberds,
and party-colored uniforms, designed by Michel Angelo,--chamberlains of
the Pope, all in black, with their high ruffs, Spanish cloaks, silken
stockings, and golden chains,--_contadini_ from the mountains, in their
dully brilliant costumes and white _tovaglie_,--common laborers from the
Campagna, with their black mops of tangled hair,--_forestieri_ of
every nation,--Englishmen, with long, light, pendant whiskers, and an
eye-glass stuck in one eye,--Germans, with spectacles, frogged coats,
and long, straight hair put behind their ears and cut square in the
neck,--then Americans, in high-heeled patent-leather boots, a black
dress-coat, and a black satin waistcoat,--and wasp-waisted French
officers, with baggy trousers, a goat-beard, and a pretentious swagger.
Nearer the altar are crowded together in pens a mass of women in black
dresses and black veils, who are determined to see and hear all,
treating the ceremony purely as a spectacle, and not as a religious
rite. Meantime the music soars, the organ groans, the censer clicks,
steams of incense float to and fro. The Pope and his attendants kneel
and rise,--he lifts the Host, and the world prostrates itself. A great
procession of dignitaries with torches bears a fragment of the original
cradle of the Holy Bambino from its chapel to the high altar, through
the swaying crowd that gape and gaze and stare and sneer and adore. And
thus the evening passes. When the clock strikes midnight all the bells
ring merrily, Mass commences at the principal churches, and at San Luigi
dei Francesi and the Gesù there is a great illumination (what the French
call _un joli spectacle_) and very good music. Thus Christmas is ushered
in at Rome.

The next day is a great _festa_. All classes are dressed in their best
and go to Mass,--and when that is over, they throng the streets to chat
and lounge and laugh and look at each other. The Corso is so crowded in
the morning, that a carriage can scarcely pass. Everywhere one hears the
pleasant greeting of "_Buona Festa,_" "_Buona Pasquà_." All the _basso
popolo_, too, are out,--the women wearing their best jewelry, heavy
gold ear-rings, three-rowed _collane_ of well-worn coral and gold, long
silver and gold pins and arrows in their hair, and great worked brooches
with pendants,--and the men of the Trastevere in their peaked hats,
their short jackets swung over one shoulder in humble imitation of the
Spanish cloak, and with rich scarfs tied round their waists. Most of
the ordinary cries of the day are missed. But the constant song of
"_Arancie! arancie dolci_!" is heard in the crowd; and everywhere
are the _sigarari_, carrying round their wooden tray of tobacco, and
shouting, "_Sigari! sigari dolci! sigari scelti_!" at the top of their
lungs; the _nocellaro_ also cries sadly about his dry chestnuts and
pumpkin-seeds. The shops are all closed, and the shopkeepers and clerks
saunter up and down the streets, dressed better than the same class
anywhere else in the world,--looking spick-and-span, as if they had just
come out of a bandbox, and nearly all of them carrying a little cane.
One cannot but be struck by the difference in this respect between the
Romans on a _festa_-day in the Corso and the Parisians during _fête_ in
the Champs Élysées,--the former are so much better dressed, and so much
happier, gayer, and handsomer.

During the morning, the Pope celebrates High Mass at San Pietro, and
thousands of spectators are there,--some from curiosity, some from
piety. Few, however, of the Roman families go there to-day;--they perform
their religious services in their private chapel or in some minor
church; for the crowd of _forestieri_ spoils St. Peter's for prayer.[A]
At the elevation of the Host, the guards, who line the nave, drop to
their knees, their side-arms ringing on the pavement,--the vast crowd
bends,--and a swell of trumpets sounds through the dome. Nothing can be
more impressive than this moment in St. Peter's. Then the choir from its
gilt cage resumes its chant, the high falsetti of the soprani soaring
over the rest, and interrupted now and then by the clear musical voice
of the Pope,--until at last he is borne aloft in his Papal chair on the
shoulders of his attendants, crowned with the triple crown, between
the high, white, waving fans; all the cardinals, monsignori, canonici,
officials, priests, and guards going before him in splendid procession.
The Pope shuts his eyes, from giddiness and from fasting,--for he has
eaten nothing for twenty-four hours, and the swaying motion of the chair
makes him dizzy and sick. But he waves at intervals his three fingers to
bless the crowd that kneel or bend before him, and then goes home to the
Vatican to dine with a clean conscience and a good appetite.

[Footnote A: "How," says Marforio to Pasquino, "shall I, being a true
son of the Holy Church, obtain admittance to her services?" To which
Pasquino returns for answer: "Declare that you are an Englishman, and
swear that you are a heretic."]

It is the universal rule among priests to fast before saying Mass, and
never to take the wafer or body of Christ upon a full stomach. The
law is _de rigueur_, and is almost never broken. But sometimes the
temptation of the appetite, it may be supposed, will overcome even a
pious man; for priest though one be, one is also flesh-and-blood. An
anecdote lately told me by the Conte Cignale (dei Selvaggi) may not
be out of place in this connection, and I instance it as an undoubted
exception to the general rule. A friend of his, an English artist,
enamored of Italian life, was spending the summer in one of the mountain
towns. Finding little society there except the physician and the parish
priest, he soon became on intimate terms with them. One morning the
priest called on him before he had finished breakfast. A savory dish was
smoking on the table, and the fumes of the hot coffee filled the room.
"I wish you could take breakfast with me," said he; "but I know you are
to say Mass, and that it would be contrary to rule for you to eat
until it is performed." The priest shrugged his shoulders and looked
deprecatorily at the artist and at the breakfast. "Still," continued the
latter, "if your scruples would allow you, I should be delighted if you
would help me with this capital dish." The temptation was great; the
smell was savory. The priest made a strong internal defence, but the
garrison was forced at last to capitulate. _"Eh!"_ said he, as he took
his seat, _"in fatto è il costume generale di non mangiare prima di dire
la messa e di prendere l'ostia. Ma--in queste circostanze_,"--here
he looked to see that the door was well fastened,--_"mi pare che si
potrebbe far un letto per nostro Signore, Gesù Cristo."_

It is the custom in Rome at the great _festas,_ of which Christmas is
one of the principal ones, for each parish to send round the sacrament
to all its sick; and during these days a procession of priest and
attendants may be seen, preceded by their cross and banner, bearing the
holy wafer to the various houses. As they march along, they make the
streets resound with the psalm they sing. Everybody lifts his hat as
they pass, and many among the lower classes kneel upon the pavement.
Frequently the procession is followed by a rout of men, women, and
children, who join in the chanting and responses, pausing with the
priest before the door of the sick person, and accompanying it as it
moves from house to house.

At Christmas, all the Roman world which has a _baiocco_ in its pocket
eats _torone_ and _pan giallo._ The shops of the pastry-cooks and
confectioners are filled with them, mountains of them incumber the
counters, and for days before Christmas crowds of purchasers throng to
buy them. _Torone_ is a sort of hard candy, made of honey and almonds,
and crusted over with crystallized sugar; or in other words, it is a
_nuga_ with a sweet frieze coat;--but _nuga_ is a trifle to it for
consistency. _Pan giallo_ is perhaps so called _quasi lucus,_ it being
neither bread nor yellow. I know no way of giving a clearer notion of
it than by saying that its father is almond-candy and its mother a
plum-pudding. It partakes of the qualities of both its parents. From its
mother it inherits plums and citron, while its father bestows upon it
almonds and consistency. In hardness of character it is half-way between
the two,--having neither the maternal tenderness on the one hand, nor
the paternal stoniness on the other. One does not break one's teeth on
it as over the _torone,_ which is only to be cajoled into masticability
by prolonged suction, and often not then; but the teeth sink into it as
the wagoner's wheels into clayey mire, and every now and then receive a
shock, as from sunken rocks, from the raisin-stones, indurated almonds,
pistachio-nuts, and pine-seeds, which startle the ignorant and innocent
eater with frightful doubts. I carried away one tooth this year over my
first piece; but it was a tooth which had been considerably indebted to
California, and I have forgiven the _pan giallo._ My friend the Conte
Cignale, who partook at the same time of _torone,_ having incautiously
put a large lump into his mouth, found himself compromised thereby to
such an extent as to be at once reduced to silence and retirement behind
his pocket-handkerchief. An unfortunate jest, however, reduced him to
extremities, and, after a vehement struggle for politeness, he was
forced to open the window and give his _torone_ to the pavement--and
the little boys, perhaps. _Chi sa?_ But, despite these dangers and
difficulties, all the world at Rome eats _pan giallo_ and _torone_ at
Christmas,--and a Christmas without them would be an egg without salt.
They are at once a penance and a pleasure. Not content with the _pan
giallo,_ the Romans also import the _pan forte di Siena,_ which is a
blood cousin of the former, and suffers almost nothing from time and
age.

On Christmas and New Year's day all the servants of your friends present
themselves at your door to wish you a _"buona festa,"_ or a _"buon capo
d'anno."_ This generous expression of good feeling is, however, expected
to be responded to by a more substantial expression on your part, in the
shape of four or five pauls, so that one peculiarly feels the value of a
large visiting-list of acquaintances at this season. To such an extent
is this practice carried, that in the houses of the cardinals and
princes places are sought by servants merely for the vails of the
_festas,_ no other wages being demanded. Especially is this the case
with the higher dignitaries of the Church, whose _maestro di casa_, in
hiring domestics, takes pains to point out to them the advantages of
their situation in this respect. Lest the servants should not be aware
of all these advantages, the times when such requisitions may be
gracefully made and the sums which may be levied are carefully
indicated,--not by the cardinal in person, of course, but by his
underlings; and many of the fellows who carry the umbrella and cling
to the back of the cardinal's coach, covered with shabby gold-lace and
carpet-collars, and looking like great beetles, are really paid by
everybody rather than the _padrone_ they serve. But this is not confined
to the _Eminenze,_ many of whom are, I dare say, wholly ignorant that
such practices exist. The servants of the embassies and all the
noble houses also make the circuit of the principal names on the
visiting-list, at stated occasions, with good wishes for the family. If
one rebel, little care will be taken that letters, cards, and messages
arrive promptly at their destination in the palaces of their _padroni;_
so it is a universal habit to thank them for their politeness, and to
request them to do you the favor to accept a piece of silver in order
to purchase a bottle of wine and drink your health. I never knew one of
them refuse; probably they would not consider it polite to do so. It is
curious to observe the care with which at the embassies a new name is
registered by the servants, who scream it from anteroom to _salon,_ and
how considerately a deputation waits on you at Christmas and New
Year's, or, indeed, whenever you are about to leave Rome to take your
_villeggiatura,_ for the purpose of conveying to you the good wishes of
the season or of invoking for you a _"buon viaggio."_ One young Roman,
a teacher of languages, told me that it cost him annually some twenty
_scudi_ or more, to convey to the servants of his pupils and others his
deep sense of the honor they did him in inquiring for his health at
stated times. But this is a rare case, and owing, probably, to his
peculiar position. A physician in Rome, whom I had occasion to call in
for a slight illness, took an opportunity on his first visit to put a
very considerable _buona mano_ into the hands of my servant, in order to
secure future calls. I cannot, however, say that this is customary; on
the contrary, it is the only case I know, though I have had other Roman
physicians; and this man was in his habits and practice peculiarly
un-Roman. I do not believe it, therefore, to be a Roman trait. On the
other hand, I must say, for my servant's credit, that he told me the
fact with a shrug, and added, that he could not, after all, recommend
the gentleman as a _medico,_ though I was _padrone,_ of course, to do as
I liked.

On Christmas Eve, a _Presepio_ is exhibited in several of the churches.
The most splendid is that of the Ara Celi, where the miraculous Bambino
is kept. It lasts from Christmas to Twelfth Night, during which period
crowds of people flock to see it; and it well repays a visit. The simple
meaning of the term _Presepio_ is a manger, but it is also used in the
Church to signify a representation of the birth of Christ. In the Ara
Celi the whole of one of the side-chapels is devoted to this exhibition.
In the foreground is a grotto, in which is seated the Virgin Mary, with
Joseph at her side and the miraculous Bambino in her lap. Immediately
behind are an ass and an ox. On one side kneel the shepherds and kings
in adoration; and above, God the Father is seen surrounded by clouds of
cherubs and angels playing on instruments, as in the early pictures of
Raphael. In the background is a scenic representation of a pastoral
landscape, on which all the skill of the scene-painter is expended.
Shepherds guard their flocks far away, reposing under palm-trees or
standing on green slopes which glow in the sunshine. The distances and
perspective are admirable. In the middle ground is a crystal fountain of
glass, near which sheep, preternaturally white, and made of real wool
and cotton-wool, are feeding, tended by figures of shepherds carved in
wood. Still nearer come women bearing great baskets of real oranges and
other fruits on their heads. All the nearer figures are full-sized,
carved in wood, painted, and dressed in appropriate robes. The
miraculous Bambino is a painted doll swaddled in a white dress, which is
crusted over with magnificent diamonds, emeralds, and rubies. The Virgin
also wears in her ears superb diamond pendants. Joseph has none; but he
is not a person peculiarly respected in the Church. As far as the Virgin
and Child are concerned, they are so richly dressed that the presents of
the kings and wise men seem rather supererogatory,--like carrying coals
to Newcastle,--unless, indeed, Joseph come in for a share, as it is to
be hoped he does. The general effect of this scenic show is admirable,
and crowds flock to it and press about it all day long. Mothers and
fathers are lifting their little children as high as they can, and until
their arms are ready to break; little maids are pushing, whispering,
and staring in great delight; _contadini_ are gaping at it with a mute
wonderment of admiration and devotion; and Englishmen are discussing
loudly the value of the jewels, and wanting to know, by Jove, whether
those in the crown can be real.

While this is taking place on one side of the church, on the other is a
very different and quite as singular an exhibition. Around one of the
antique columns of this basilica--which once beheld the splendors and
crimes of the Caesars' palace--a staging is erected, from which little
maidens are reciting, with every kind of pretty gesticulation, sermons,
dialogues, and speechifications, in explanation of the _Presepio_
opposite. Sometimes two of them are engaged in alternate question and
answer about the mysteries of the Incarnation and the Redemption.
Sometimes the recitation is a piteous description of the agony of the
Saviour and the sufferings of the Madonna,--the greatest stress being,
however, always laid upon the latter. All these little speeches have
been written for them by their priest or some religious friend, been
committed to memory, and practised with the appropriate gestures over
and over again at home. Their little piping voices are sometimes guilty
of such comic breaks and changes, that the crowd about them rustles into
a murmurous laughter. Sometimes also one of the very little preachers
has a _dispitto_, pouts, shakes her shoulders, and refuses to go on with
her part;--another, however, always stands ready on the platform to
supply the vacancy, until friends have coaxed, reasoned, or threatened
the little pouter into obedience. These children are often very
beautiful and graceful, and their comical little gestures and
intonations, their clasping of hands and rolling up of eyes, have a very
amusing and interesting effect. The last time I was there, I was sorry
to see that the French costume had begun to make its appearance. Instead
of the handsome Roman head, with its dark, shining, braided hair, which
is so elegant when uncovered, I saw on two of the children the deforming
bonnet, which could have been invented only to conceal a defect, and
which is never endurable, unless it be perfectly fresh, delicate, and
costly. Nothing is so vulgar as a shabby bonnet. Yet the Romans, despite
their dislike of the French, are beginning to wear it. Ten years ago it
did not exist here among the common people. I know not why it is that
the three ugliest pieces of costume ever invented, the dress-coat, the
trousers, and the bonnet, all of which we owe to the French, have been
accepted all over Europe, to the exclusion of every national costume.
Certainly it is not because they are either useful, elegant, or
commodious.[B]

[Footnote B: That cultivated gentleman, John Evelyn, two centuries ago
wrote some amusing words on this subject. After quoting the witty saying
of Malvezzi,--"I vestimenti negli animali sono molto securi segni della
loro natura, negli nomini del lor cervello,"--he goes on to say, "Be it
excusable in the French to alter and impose the mode on others, 'tis
no less a weakness and a shame in the rest of the world, who have no
dependence on them, to admit them, at least to that degree of levity as
to turn into all their shapes without discrimination; so as when the
freak takes our Monsieurs to appear like so many farces or Jack Puddings
on the stage, all the world should alter shape and play the pantomimes
with them. Methinks a French tailor, with an ell in his hand, looks like
the enchantress Circe over the companions of Ulysses, and changes them
into as many forms.... Something I would indulge to youth; something to
age and humor. But what have we to do with these foreign butterflies? In
God's name, let the change be our own, not borrowed of others; for why
should I dance after a Monsieur's flageolet, that have a set of English
viols for my concert? We need no French inventions for the stage or for
the back."--From a pamphlet entitled _Tyrannus, or the Mode_.

"Si le costume bourgeois," says George Sand, in _Le Péché de M.
Antoine_, "de notre époque est le plus triste, le plus incommode et
le plus disgracieux, que la mode ait jamais inventé, c'est surtout au
milieu des champs que tous ses inconvénients et toutes ses laideurs
révoltent.... Au milieu de ce cadre austère et grandiose, qui transporte
l'imagination au temps de la poésie primitive, apparaisse cette mouche
parasite, le _monsieur_ aux habits noirs, au menton rasé, aux mains
gantées, aux jambes maladroites, et ce roi de la société n'est plus
qu'un accident ridicule, une tâche importune dans le tableau. Votre
costume gênant et disparate inspire alors la pitié plus que les haillons
du pauvre, on sent que vous êtes déplacé au grand air, et que votre
livrée vous écrase."]

If one visit the Ara Celi during the afternoon of one of these _festas_,
the scene is very striking. The flight of one hundred and twenty-four
steps, which once led to the temple of Venus and Rome, is then thronged
by merchants of Madonna wares, who spread them out over the steps and
hang them against the walls and balustrades. Here are to be seen all
sorts of curious little colored prints of the Madonna and Child of the
most ordinary quality, little bags, pewter medals, and crosses stamped
with the same figures and to be worn on the neck,--all offered at once
for the sum of one _baiocco_. Here also are framed pictures of the
Saints, of the Nativity, and, in a word, of all sorts of religious
subjects appertaining to the season. Little wax dolls, clad in
cotton-wool to represent the Saviour, and sheep made of the same
materials, are also sold by the basketful. Children and _contadine_ are
busy buying them, and there is a deafening roar all up and down the
steps of "_Mezzo baiocco, bello colorito, mezzo baiocco, la
Santissima Concezione Incoronata,"--"Diario Romano, Lunario Romano
Nuovo,"--"Ritratto colorito, medaglia e quadruccio, un baiocco tutti,
un baiocco tutti,"--"Bambinelli di cera, un baiocco_."[C] None of
the prices are higher than one _baiocco_, except to strangers,--and
generally several articles are held up together, enumerated, and
proffered with a loud voice for this sum. Meanwhile men, women,
children, priests, beggars, soldiers, and _villani_ are crowding up and
down, and we crowd with them.

[Footnote C: "A half-_baiocco_, beautifully colored,--a half-_baiocco_,
the Holy Conception Crowned." "Roman Diary,--New Roman Almanac."
"Colored portrait, medal, and little picture, one _baiocco_, all."
"Little children in wax, one _baiocco_."]

At last, ascending, we reach the door which faces towards the west.
We lift the great leathern curtain and push into the church. A faint
perfume of incense salutes the nostrils. The golden sunset bursts in as
the curtain sways forward, illuminates the mosaic floor, catches on the
rich golden ceiling, and flashes here and there over the crowd on some
brilliant costume or shaven head. All sorts of people are thronging
there,--some kneeling before the shrine of the Madonna, which gleams
with its hundreds of silver votive hearts, legs, and arms,--some
listening to the preaching,--some crowding round the chapel of the
_Presepio_,--old women, haggard and wrinkled, come tottering along with
their _scaldini_ of coals, drop down on their knees to pray, and, as you
pass, interpolate in their prayers a parenthesis of begging. The church
is not architecturally handsome; but it is eminently picturesque, with
its relics of centuries, its mosaic pulpits and floor, its frescoes of
Pinturicchio and Pesaro, its antique columns, its rich golden ceiling,
its Gothic mausoleum to the Savelli, and its medieval tombs. A dim,
dingy look is over all,--but it is the dimness of faded splendor; and
one cannot stand there, knowing the history of the church, its exceeding
antiquity, and the changes it has undergone since it was a Roman temple,
without a peculiar sense of interest and pleasure.

It was here that Romulus, in the gray dawning of Rome, built the temple
of Jupiter Feretrius. Here the _spolia opima_ were deposited. Here the
triumphal processions of the Emperors and generals ended. Here the
victors paused before making their vows, until the message came from
the Mamertine Prisons below to announce that their noblest prisoner and
victim, while the clang of their triumph and his defeat rose ringing in
his ears as the procession ascended the steps, had expiated with death
the crime of being the enemy of Rome. Over these very steps,--nineteen
centuries ago, the first great Caesar climbed on his knees after his
first triumph. At their base, Rienzi, "last of the Roman tribunes,"
fell. And, if the tradition of the Church is to be trusted, it was on
the site of the present high altar that Augustus erected the "_Ara
primogenito Dei_" to commemorate the Delphic prophecy of the coming of
our Saviour. Standing on a spot so thronged with memories, the dullest
imagination takes fire. The forms and scenes of the past rise from their
graves and pass before us, and the actual and visionary are mingled
together in strange poetic confusion. Truly, as Walpole says, "memory
sees more than our eyes in this country."

And this is one great charm of Rome,--that it animates the dead figures
of its history. On the spot where they lived and acted, the Caesars
change from the manikins of books to living men; and Virgil, Horace, and
Cicero grow to be realities, as we walk down the Sacred Way and over
the very pavement they may once have trod. The conversations "De Claris
Oratoribus" and the "Tusculan Questions" seem like the talk of the last
generation, as we wander on the heights of Tusculum, or over the grounds
of that charming villa on the banks of the Liris, which the great Roman
orator so graphically describes in his treatise "De Legibus." The
landscape of Horace has not changed. Still in the winter you may see
the dazzling peak of the "_gelidus Algidus_" and "_ut alta stet
nive candidum Soracte_"; and wandering at Tivoli in the summer, his
description,

  "Domus Albuneae resonantis,
  Et praeceps Anio, et Tiburni lucus, et uda
  Mobililius pomaria rivis,"

is as true and fresh as if his words were of yesterday. Could one better
his compliment to any Roman Lalage of to-day than to call her "_dulce
ridentem_"? In all its losses, Rome has not lost the sweet smile of its
people. Would you like to know the modern rules for agriculture in Rome,
read the "Georgics"; there is so little to alter, that it is not worth
mentioning. So, too, at Rome, the Emperors become as familiar as the
Popes. Who does not know the curly-headed Marcus Aurelius, with his
lifted brow and projecting eyes, from the full, round beauty of his
youth to the more haggard look of his latest years? Are there any modern
portraits more familiar than the pensive, wedge-like head of Augustus,
with his sharp-cut lips and nose,--or the dull phiz of Hadrian, with his
hair combed down over his low forehead,--or the vain, perking face of
Lucius Verus, with his thin nose, low brow, and profusion of curls,--or
the brutal bull head of Caracalla,--or the bestial, bloated features of
Vitellius?

These men, who were but lay-figures to us at school, mere pegs of names
to hang historic robes upon, thus interpreted by the living history of
their portraits, the incidental illustrations of the places where they
lived and moved and died, and the buildings and monuments they erected,
become like the men of yesterday. Art has made them our contemporaries.
They are as near to us as Pius VII. and Napoleon. I never drive out
of the old Nomentan Gate without remembering the ghastly flight of
Nero,--his recognition there by an old centurion,--his damp, drear
hiding-place underground, where, shuddering and quoting Greek, he waited
for his executioners,--and his subsequent terrible and cowardly death,
as narrated by Tacitus and Suetonius; and it seems nearer to me, more
vivid, and more actual, than the death of Rossi in the court of the
Cancelleria. I never drive by the Caesars' palaces, without recalling
the ghastly jest of Tiberius, when he sent for some fifteen of the
Senators at dead of night and commanded their presence; and when they,
trembling with fear, and expecting nothing less than that their heads
were all to fall, had been kept waiting for an hour, the door opened,
and he, nearly naked, appeared with a fiddle in his hand, and, after
fiddling and dancing to his quaking audience for an hour, dismissed them
to their homes uninjured. The air seems to keep a sort of spiritual
scent or trail of these old deeds, and to make them more real here than
elsewhere. The old horrors of the Amphitheatre can be made real to any
person of imaginative mind in the Colosseum. He has but to lend himself
to the contagion of the place, and he will see the circle of ten
thousand eager eyes thirsting for his blood, fill up the ruined benches
and arched tiers as of yore, and hear the savage murmur of human voices,
worse than the dull roar of the beasts below. The past still lives in
these old walls. It is in vain to say that the ghosts of history do not
haunt their ancient habitations. Places, as well as persons, have lives
and influences; and the horror of murder will not away from a spot.
Haunted by its crimes, oppressed and debilitated by the fierce excesses
of its Empire, Rome, silent, grave, and meditative, sighs over its past,
wrapped in the penitent robes of the Church.

Besides, here one feels that the modern Romans are only the children of
their ancient fathers, with the same characteristics,--softened, indeed,
and worn down by time, just as the sharp traits of the old marbles have
worn away; but still the same people,--proud, passionate, lazy, jealous,
vindictive, easy, patient, and able. The Popes are but Church
pictures of the Emperors,--a different robe, but the same nature
beneath;--Alexander the VI. was but a second Tiberius--Pius the VII.,
a modern Augustus. When I speak of the Roman people, I do not mean the
class of hangers-on upon the foreigners, but the Trasteverini and the
inhabitants of the provinces and mountains. No one can go through the
Trastevere when the people are roused, without feeling that they are the
same as those who listened to Marcus Antonius and Brutus, when the bier
of Caesar was brought into the streets,--and as those who fought with
the Colonna and stabbed Rienzi at the foot of the Capitol steps. The
Ciceruacchio of '48 was but an ancient Tribune of the People, in the
primitive sense of that title. I like, too, to parallel the anecdote of
Caius Marius, when, after his ruin, he concealed himself in the marshes,
and astonished his captors, who expected to find him weak of heart, by
the magnificent self-assertion of "I am Caius Marius," with the story
which is told of Stefano Colonna. After this great captain met with his
sad reverses, and, deprived of all his possessions, fled from Rome, an
attendant asked him,--"What fortress have you now?" He placed his hand
on his heart and answered,--"_Eccola!_" The same blood evidently ran in
the veins of both these men; and well might Petrarca call Colonna "a
phoenix risen from the ashes of the ancient Romans."

But, somehow or other, I have wandered strangely from my subject.
_Scusi_,--but what has all this to do with the Bambino?

The Santissimo Bambino is a very round-faced and expressionless doll,
carved, as the legend goes, from a tree on the Mount of Olives, by a
Franciscan pilgrim, and painted by Saint Luke while the pilgrim slept.
It is difficult to say which was the worse artist of the two, the
sculptor or the painter. But Saint Luke's pictures generally do not
give us a high idea of his skill as a painter. The legend is a
charming anachronism, unless, indeed, Saint Luke was only a spiritual
presence;--but, as the whole incident was miraculous, the greater the
anachronism, the greater the miracle. The Bambino, however he came into
existence, is invested, according to the assertions of priests and the
belief of the common people, with wonderful powers in curing the sick;
and his practice is as lucrative as any physician's in Rome. His aid is
in constant requisition in severe cases, and certain it is that a cure
not unfrequently follows upon his visit; but as the regular physicians
always cease their attendance upon his entrance, and blood-letting
and calomel are consequently intermitted, perhaps the cure is not so
miraculous as it might at first seem. He is borne by the priests in
state to his patients; and during the Triumvirate of '49, the Pope's
carriage was given to him and his attendants. I was assured by the
priest who exhibited him to me at the church, that, on one occasion,
having been stolen by some irreverent hand from his ordinary
abiding-place in one of the side-chapels, he returned alone, by himself,
at night, to console his guardians and to resume his functions. Great
honors are paid to him. He wears jewels which a Colonna might envy,
and not a square inch of his body is without a splendid gem. On festal
occasions, like Christmas, he wears a coronet as brilliant as the
triple crown of the Pope, and, lying in the Madonna's arms in the
representation of the Nativity, he is adored by the people until
Epiphany. Then, after the performance of Mass, a procession of priests,
accompanied by a band of music, makes the tour of the church and
proceeds to the chapel of the _Presepio_, where the bishop, with great
solemnity, removes him from his Mother's arms. At this moment, the music
bursts forth into a triumphant march, a jubilant strain over the birth
of Christ, and he is borne through the doors of the church to the great
steps. There the bishop elevates the Holy Bambino before the crowds
who throng the steps, and they fall upon their knees. This is thrice
repeated, and the wonderful image is then conveyed to its original
chapel, and the ceremony is over.

The Eve of Epiphany, or Twelfth-Night, is to the children of Rome what
Christmas Eve is to us. It is then that the _Bifana_ comes with her
presents. This personage is neither merry nor male, like Santa Claus,
nor beautiful and childlike, like Christ-kindchen,--but is described as
a very tall, dark woman, ugly, and rather terrible, "_d' una fisionomia
piuttosto imponente_" who comes down the chimney, on the Eve of
Epiphany, armed with a long _canna_ and shaking a bell, to put
playthings into the stockings of the good children, and bags of ashes
into those of the bad. It is a night of fearful joy for all the little
ones. When they hear her bell ring, they shake in their sheets; for the
Bifana is used as a threat to the wilful, and their hope is tempered by
a wholesome apprehension. It is supposed to be a distorted image of the
visit of the kings and wise men with their presents at the Nativity, as
Santa Claus may be of the shepherds, and the Christ-kindchen of Christ
himself. However this may be, it is curious to observe the different
characters this superstition assumes among different nations and under
different influences.

The great festival of the Bifana (a corruption, undoubtedly, of
_Epifania_) takes place on the Eve of Twelfth-Night, in the Piazza di
San Eustachio,--and a curious spectacle it is. The Piazza itself, (which
is situated in the centre of the city, just beyond the Pantheon,) and
all the adjacent streets, are lined with booths covered with every kind
of plaything for children. Most of these are of Roman make, very rudely
fashioned, and very cheap; but for those who have longer purses, there
are not wanting heaps of German and French toys. These booths are gayly
illuminated with rows of candles and the three-wicked brass _lucerne_
of Rome; and, at intervals, painted posts are set into the pavement,
crowned with pans of grease, with a wisp of tow for wick, which blaze
and flare about. Besides these, numbers of torches carried about by hand
lend a wavering and picturesque light to the scene. By eight o'clock in
the evening, crowds begin to fill the Piazza and the adjacent streets.
Long before one arrives, the squeak of penny-trumpets is heard at
intervals; but in the Piazza itself the mirth is wild and furious, and
the din that salutes one's ears on entering is almost deafening. The
object of every one is to make as much noise as possible, and every kind
of instrument for this purpose is sold at the booths. There are
drums beating, _tamburelli_ thumping and jingling, pipes squeaking,
watchmen's-rattles clacking, penny-trumpets and tin horns shrilling, and
the sharpest whistles shrieking everywhere. Besides this, there are the
din of voices, screams of laughter, and the confused burr and buzz of
a great crowd. On all sides you are saluted by the strangest noises.
Instead of being spoken to, you are whistled at. Companies of people are
marching together in platoons, or piercing through the crowd in long
files, and dancing and blowing like mad on their instruments. It is a
perfect witches' Sabbath. Here, huge dolls dressed as Polichinello or
Pantaloon are borne about for sale,--or over the heads of the crowd
great black-faced jumping-jacks, lifted on a stick, twitch themselves in
fantastic fits,--or, what is more Roman than all, men carry about long
poles strung with rings of hundreds of _giambelli_, (a light cake,
called jumble in English,) which they scream for sale at a _mezzo
baiocco_ each. There is no alternative but to get a drum, whistle, or
trumpet, and join in the racket,--and to fill one's pockets with toys
for the children and absurd presents for one's older friends. The moment
you are once in for it, and making as much noise as you can, you begin
to relish the jest. The toys are very odd,--particularly the Roman
whistles;--some of these are made of pewter, with a little wheel that
whirls as you blow; others are of terra-cotta, very rudely modelled into
every shape of bird, beast, and human deformity, each with a whistle in
its head, breast, or tail, which it is no joke to hear, when blown close
to your ears by a stout pair of lungs. The scene is very picturesque.
Above, the dark vault of night, with its far stars, the blazing and
flaring of lights below, and the great, dark walls of the Sapienza and
Church looking grimly down upon the mirth. Everywhere in the crowd are
the glistening helmets of soldiers, who are mixing in the sport, and the
_chapeaux_ of white-strapped _gendarmes_, standing at intervals to keep
the peace. At about half-past eleven o'clock the theatres are emptied,
and the upper classes flock to the Piazza. I have never been there later
than half-past twelve, but the riotous fun still continued at that hour;
and, for a week afterwards, the squeak of whistles may be heard at
intervals in the streets.

At the two periods of Christmas and Easter, the young Roman girls take
their first communion. The former, however, is generally preferred, as
it is a season of rejoicing in the Church, and the ceremonies are not so
sad as at Easter. In entering upon this religious phase of their life,
it is their custom to retire to a convent, and pass a week in prayer and
reciting the offices of the Church. During this period, no friend, not
even their parents, are allowed to visit them, and information as to
their health and condition is very reluctantly and sparingly given at
the door. In case of illness, the physician of the convent is called;
and even then neither parent is allowed to see them, except, perhaps, in
very severe cases. Of course, during their stay in the convent, every
exertion is made by the sisters to render a monastic life agreeable, and
to stimulate the religious sensibilities of the young communicant. The
pleasures of society and the world are decried, and the charms of
peace, devotion, and spiritual exercises eulogized, until the excited
imagination of the communicant leaves her no rest, before she has
returned to the convent and taken the veil as a nun. The happiness of
families is thus sometimes destroyed; and I knew one very united and
pleasant Roman family which in this way was sadly broken up. Two of
three sisters were so worked upon at their first communion, that the
prayers of family and friends proved unavailing to retain them in their
home. The more they were urged to remain, the more they desired to go,
and the parents, brothers, and remaining sister were forced to yield a
most reluctant consent. They retired into the convent and became nuns.
It was almost as if they had died. From that time forward, the home
was no longer a home. I saw them when they took the veil, and a sadder
spectacle was not easily to be seen. The girls were happy, but the
parents and family wretched, and the parting was very tearful and sad.
They do not seem since to have regretted the step they then took;
but regret would be unavailing--and even if they felt it, they could
scarcely show it. The occupation of the sisters in the monastery they
have joined is prayers, the offices of the Church, and, I believe, a
little instruction of poor children. But gossip among themselves, of the
pettiest kind, must make up for the want of wider worldly interests. In
such limited relations, little jealousies engender great hypocrisies;
a restricted horizon enlarges small objects. The repressed heart and
introverted mind, deprived of their natural scope, consume themselves in
self-consciousness, and duties easily degenerate into routine. We are
not all in all to ourselves; the world has claims upon us, which it is
cowardice to shrink from, and folly to deny. Self-forgetfulness is
a great virtue, and selfishness a great vice. After all, the best
religious service is worthy occupation. Large interests keep the heart
sound; and the best of prayers is the doing of a good act with a pure
purpose.

  "He prayeth best who loveth best
  All things, both great and small;
  For the dear God who loveth us,
  He made and loveth all."



ABDEL-HASSAN.


  The compensations of calamity are made apparent after long intervals of
    time.
  The sure years reveal the deep remedial force that underlies all fact.
   --EMERSON.


  Abdel-Hassan o'er the Desert journeyed with his caravan,--
  Many a richly laden camel, many a faithful serving-man.

  And before the haughty master bowed alike the man and beast;
  For the power of Abdel-Hassan was the wonder of the East.

  It was now the twelfth day's journey, but its closing did not bring
  Abdel-Hassan and his servants to the long-expected spring.

  From the ancient line of travel they had wandered far away,
  And at evening, faint and weary, on a waste of Desert lay.

  Fainting men and famished camels stretched them round the master's tent;
  For the water-skins were empty, and the dates were nearly spent.

  All the night, as Abdel-Hassan on the Desert lay apart,
  Nothing broke the lifeless silence but the throbbing of his heart;

  All the night he heard it beating, while his sleepless, anxious eyes
  Watched the shining constellations wheeling onward through the skies.

  When the glowing orbs, receding, paled before the coming day,
  Abdel-Hassan called his servants and devoutly knelt to pray.

  Then his words were few and solemn to the leader of his train:--
  "Thirty men and eighty camels, Haroun, in thy care remain.

  "Keep the beasts and guard the treasure till the needed aid I bring.
  God is great! His name is mighty!--I, alone, will seek the spring."

  Mounted on his strongest camel, Abdel-Hassan rode away,
  While his faithful followers watched him passing, in the blaze of day,

  Like a speck upon the Desert, like a moving human hand,
  Where the fiery skies were sweeping down to meet the burning sand.

  Passed he then their far horizon, and beyond it rode alone;--
  They alone, with Arab patience, lay within its flaming zone.

  Day by day the servants waited, but the master never came,--
  Day by day, in feebler accents, called on Allah's holy name.

  One by one they killed the camels, loathing still the proffered food,
  But in weakness or in frenzy slaked their burning thirst in blood.

  On unheeded heaps of treasure rested each unconscious head;
  While, with pious care, the dying struggled to entomb the dead.

  So they perished. Gaunt with famine, still did Haroun's trusty hand
  For his latest dead companion scoop sepulture in the sand.

  Then he died; and pious Nature, where he lay so gaunt and grim,
  Moved by her divine compassion, did the same kind thing for him.

  Earth upon her burning bosom held him in his final rest,
  While the hot winds of the Desert piled the sand above his breast.--

  Onward in his fiery travel Abdel-Hassan held his way,
  Yielding to the camel's instinct, halting not, by night or day,

  'Till the faithful beast, exhausted in her fearful journey, fell,
  With her eye upon the palm-trees rising o'er the lonely well:

  With a faint, convulsive struggle, and a feeble moan, she died,
  While her still surviving master lay unconscious by her side.

  So he lay until the evening, when a passing caravan
  From the dead incumbering camel brought to life the dying man.

  Slowly murmured Abdel-Hassan, as they bathed his fainting head,
  "All is lost, for all have perished!--they are numbered with the dead!

  "I, who had such power and treasure but a single moon ago,
  Now my life and poor subsistence to a stranger's bounty owe.

  "God is great! His name is mighty! He is victor in the strife!
  Stripped of pride and power and substance, He hath left me faith
    and life."--

  Sixty years had Abdel-Hassan, since the stranger's friendly hand
  Saved him from the burning Desert, lived and prospered in the land;

  And his life of peaceful labor, in its pure and simple ways,
  For his loss fourfold returned him, and a mighty length of days.

  Sixty years of faith and patience gave him wisdom's mural crown;
  Sons and daughters brought him honor with his riches and renown.

  Men beheld his reverend aspect, and revered his blameless name;
  And in peace he dwelt with strangers, in the fulness of his fame.

  But the heart of Abdel-Hassan yearned, as yearns the heart of man,
  Still to die among his kindred, ending life where it began.

  So he summoned all his household, and he gave the brief command,--
  "Go and gather all our substance;--we depart from out the land."

  Then they journeyed to the Desert with a great and numerous train,
  To his old nomadic instinct trusting life and wealth again.

  It was now the sixth day's journey, when they met the moving sand,
  On the great wind of the Desert, driving o'er that arid land;

  And the air was red and fervid with the Simoom's fiery breath;--
  None could see his nearest fellow in the stifling blast of death.

  Blinded men from prostrate camels piled the stores to windward round,
  And within the barrier herded, on the hot, unstable ground.

  Two whole days the great wind lasted, when the living of the train
  From the hot drifts dug the camels and resumed their way again.

  But the lines of care grew deeper on the master's swarthy cheek,
  While around the weakest fainted and the strongest waxéd weak;

  And the water-skins were empty, and a silent murmur ran
  From the faint, bewildered servants through the straggling caravan:--

  "Let the land we left be blessed!--that to which we go, accurst!--
  From our pleasant wells of water came we here to die of thirst?"

  But the master stilled the murmur with his steadfast, quiet eye:--
  "God is great," he said, devoutly,--"when _He_ wills it, we shall die."

  As he spake, he swept the Desert with his vision clear and calm,
  And along the far horizon saw the green crest of the palm.

  Man and beast, with weak steps quickened, hasted to the lonely well,
  And around it, faint and panting, in a grateful tumult fell.

  Many days they stayed and rested, and amidst his fervent prayer
  Abdel-Hassan pondered deeply that strange bond which held him there.

  Then there came an aged stranger, journeying with his caravan;
  And when each had each saluted, Abdel-Hassan thus began:--

  "Knowest thou this well of water? lies it on the travelled ways?"
  And he answered,--"From the highway thou art distant many days.

  "Where thou seest this well of water, where these thorns and
    palm-trees stand,
  Once the Desert swept unbroken in a waste of burning sand;

  "There was neither life nor herbage, not a drop of water lay,
  All along the arid valley where thou seest this well to-day.

  "Sixty years have wrought their changes since a man of wealth
    and pride,
  With his servants and his camels, here, amidst his riches, died.

  "As we journeyed o'er the Desert, dead beneath the blazing sky,
  Here I saw them, beasts and masters, in a common burial lie;

  "Thirty men and eighty camels did the shrouding sand infold;
  And we gathered up their treasure, spices, precious stones, and gold;

  "Then we heaped the sand above them, and, beneath the burning sun,
  With a friendly care we finished what the winds had well begun.

  "Still I hold that master's treasure, and his record, and his name;
  Long I waited for his kindred, but no kindred ever came.

  "Time, who beareth all things onward, hither bore our steps again,
  When around this spot were scattered whitened bones of beasts and men;

  "And from out the heaving hillocks of the mingled sand and mould
  Lo! the little palms were springing, which to-day are great and old.

  "From the shrubs we held the camels; for I felt that life of man,
  Breaking to new forms of being, through that tender herbage ran.

  "In the graves of men and camels long the dates unheeded lay,
  Till their germs of life commanded larger life from that decay;

  "And the falling dews, arrested, nourished every tender shoot,
  While beneath, the hidden moisture gathered to each wandering root.

  "So they grew; and I have watched them, as we journeyed, year by year;
  And we digged this well beneath them, where thou seest it, fresh and
    clear.

  "Thus from waste and loss and sorrow still are joy and beauty born,
  Like the fruitage of these palm-trees and the blossom of the thorn;

  "Life from death, and good from evil!--from that buried caravan
  Springs the life to save the living, many a weak, despairing man."

  As he ended, Abdel-Hassan, quivering through his aged frame,
  Asked, in accents slow and broken, "Knowest thou that master's name?"

  "He was known as Abdel-Hassan, famed for wealth and power and pride;
  But the proud have often fallen, and, as he, the great have died!"

  Then, upon the ground before them, prostrate Abdel-Hassan fell,
  With his aged hands extended, trembling, to the lonely well,--

  And the sacred soil beneath him cast upon his hoary head,--
  Named the servants and the camels,--summoned Haroun from the dead,--

  Clutched the unconscious palms around him, as if they were living men,--
  And before him, in their order, rose his buried train again.

  Moved by pity, spake the stranger, bending o'er him in his grief:--
  "What affects the man of sorrow? Speak,--for speaking is relief."

  Then he answered, rising slowly to that aged stranger's knee,--
  "Thou beholdest Abdel-Hassan! They were mine, and I am he!"

  Wondering, stood they all around him, and a reverent silence kept,
  While, amidst them, Abdel-Hassan lifted up his voice and wept.

  Joy and grief, and faith and triumph, mingled in his flowing tears;
  Refluent on his patient spirit rolled the tide of sixty years.

  As the past and present blended, lo! his larger vision saw,
  In his own life's compensation, Nature's universal law.

  "God is good, O reverend stranger! He hath taught me of His ways,
  By this great and crowning lesson, in the evening of my days.

  "Keep the treasure,--I have plenty,--and am richer that I see
  Life ascend, through change and evil, to that perfect life to be,--

  "In each woe a blessing folded, from all loss a greater gain,
  Joy and hope from fear and sorrow, rest and peace from toil and pain.

  "God is great! His name is mighty! He is victor in the strife!
  For He bringeth Good from Evil, and from Death commandeth Life!"



ABOUT SPIRES.


When the children of Shem said one to another at Babel,--"Go to, let us
build us a city and a tower whose top shall reach unto heaven," they
typified a remarkable trait of the human mind,--a desire for a tangible
and material exponent of itself in its most heroic moods. In the earlier
ages of the world, when humanity, as it were, was becoming conscious of
itself and its godlike energies, it seems as if this desire could find
no nobler expression than in towers. The same spirit of enterprise which
in our own day stretches forth inquiring hands into unexplored realms of
physical and intellectual being, and acknowledges in the spoils of such
search its noblest and proudest attainments, in more primeval times
appears to have been content with the actual and visible invasion of
high building into that sky which to them was the great type of the
unknown and mysterious.

The birth of these structures was not of the practical necessities of
life, but of that fond desire of the soul which has ever haunted
mankind with intimations of immortality. Towers thus became the boldest
imaginable symbols of energy and power. And when, in the course of time,
they became exigencies of society, and familiarized by the idea of
usefulness, even then they could not but be recognized as expressions of
the more heroic elements of human nature.

Founded in superabundant massiveness, and built in prodigality of
strength, the tower seems to defy the elements and to outlive tradition.
Old age restores it to more than its primeval significance; and when
humbler erections have passed away and crumbled in ruins, it appears
once more to rise above the customary uses of men, and to become a
companion for tempests and clouds. Dismantled, deserted, and bearing,

  "Inscribed upon its visionary sides,
  This history of many a winter's storm,
  And obscure record of the path of fire,"

Nature lays claim to it, and with moss and ivy and eld, with weeds and
flowers, she takes it to her bosom.

  "Dying insensibly away
  From human thoughts and purposes,"

we at length associate it with no achievements of man, and its masonry
becomes venerable to us, as shaped by mysterious beings,--Ghouls or
Titans,--no fellow-workers of ours.

Let us for a while forget the tedious realisms around us, and eat of the
dreamy Lotos. Let us look eastward over the wide waters, and behold,
along the horizon, the "dim rich cities" printing themselves against the
morning. Let us listen to their mellow chimes that come faintly to us,
and bless those deep-toned utterances so full of the tenderness of
ancient days and the melody of gray traditions. Let us bless them; for,
like lyres of Amphion, at their sound arose the bell-bearing tower,
which made cities beautiful and their people happy. O St. Chrysostom!
there were other golden mouths than thine that preached by the
Bosphorus, and their pulpits were the airy chambers of the first
Christian towers. Where the muezzin every hour from the lofty minaret
now calls the faithful Mahometan to prayer, were first heard those matin
and vesper chimes which since then throughout Catholic Europe have
accompanied the rising and the setting of the sun. Thus the Christian
tower immediately becomes associated with the tenderest and most
poetical ideas of monastic and pastoral religion. It seemed emulous from
the beginning to be the first to catch the beams of morning, and, like
the statue of Memnon, to respond to the golden touch by sounds of music.
Then the fervid heart of Italy took fire, and from her bosom uprose over
all her cities the beautiful campanile. Still and solemn it stood on
the plains of Lombardy, like a sentinel on the outskirts of our faith,
whispering to the vast of space that all was well. Over the lagunes of
Venice the weary toil of two centuries piled up the tower of St. Mark.
Ravenna, with barbaric pride, built her round-cinctured towers to the
glory of the Exarchate. Rome followed with her square campaniles, whose
arcaded chambers looked down on a hundred cloisters. Then there were
La Ghirlandina at Modena, Il Torazzo at Cremona, Torre della Mangia at
Siena, the Garisenda at Bologna, the Leaning Tower at Pisa. Everywhere
they sought the skies with emulous heights, and ere long they arose in
such number as to give a distinctive aspect to the Christian city, and
to warn the traveller from afar that he approached walls within which
religion was a pride and a power. Who has not admired the Giotto
Campanile, called "the Beautiful," at Florence? And who has not wondered
at the splendor of her citizens, whose command was, "to construct an
edifice whose magnificence should be beyond the conception even of
the _cognoscenti_, and whose height and quality of workmanship should
surpass all that has been built in any style, in Greece or Rome, even at
the most florid period of their power!"

But the spiritualization and glory of the tower are yet wanting. There
is a very human expression about it, as it stands in the midst of
those glimmering lands, with its haughty summit commanding far-distant
plains,--

  "Far as the wild swan wings, to where the sky
  Dips down to sea and sands,"--

a very human expression of scornful pride and imperious dominion. We
shall see how it outgrew its mere humanities and became an expression
of immortal aspirations, a symbol of our relationship with ethereal
existences.

These Italian campaniles had either flat summits, or were crowned with a
low, unimportant roof. But as they approached the North of Lombardy, and
found their way into Germany, France, and Britain, these roofs, through
the necessities of climate, became steeper and sharper. Many of the
little gray mountain-chapels in the South of Switzerland still lift up
these pointed towers amid the hamlets of the valley, having gathered
in the hardy flocks at eventide for seven or eight centuries. The same
early modifications may yet be seen on the banks of the Rhine, where the
conical, stork-haunted caps of the round towers are so picturesquely
associated with that legendary scenery. Those dear, time-worn, rugged,
red-tiled roofs, with their peaks coming in just where they are
needed,--what could the artist do without them? Then the same
necessities made the early French and Norman builders push up into the
air those gaunt, quaint old camelbacks, with spindles or pinnacles
astride. You cannot but love them for their strangeness and the surprise
they make against the quiet sky. In Britain, too, you might have beheld
this tendency, where the lordly curfew quenched the lights in castle and
cot from beneath a very extinguisher of a roof. Now, as, in the natural
growth of the human mind, the heart became more and more impregnated
with the beauty of holiness, and the prayers of men ascended with
somewhat of purer aspiration to heaven, so did they build their
tower-roofs higher and higher into the air, till at length the spire was
born. In one of those quaint antique towers of Normandy, Coutances, it
was first fully developed; and it is curious to see how in this
instance its roof-origin was still remembered: for it has tall, gabled
garret-windows rising from its base, connected by rude cross-bars to the
slope of the spire; and it has a kind of scaly mail, Ruskin says, which
is nothing more than the copying in stone of the common wooden shingles
of the house-roof. Now the proud Italian architects, disdainful though
they were of the arts of the rude Northern builders, could not but admit
the expressiveness of the pointed roof; so they placed a form of it on
some of their campaniles, as on those of Venice and Cremona, in both
these instances making it a third of the whole height. But the spire,
though an effective, was as yet an unambitious structure,--scarcely more
than an exaltation or an apotheosis of the roof. For a long time it
continued to be merely a supplementary addition in wood to the solid
masonry of the tower, and in the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth
centuries was often added to substructures of the tenth, eleventh, and
twelfth.

Surely it is very dull in us, out of our present enlightenment, to
continue to distinguish the mediaeval times as the _Dark_ Ages, as if
they were glimmering and ghostly, and men groped about in them blindly,
living in a sort of dusky romance of feudality. Did you ever study De
la Roche's incarnation of Mediaeval Art in his Hemicycle,--that long
saintly robe with its still and serious folds, that fair dreamy face,
those upturned eyes, "the homes of silent prayer," the contemplative
repose? It is truly an exquisite idealization; yet there is something
wanting. I believe the piety of those days was rather a passion than a
sentiment. Their "beauty of holiness" was rather an active emotional
impulse than a passive spiritualization, and was incomplete without a
material expression, a tangible demonstration of itself. Like the fabled
Narcissus, it yearned for its own image. Hence the joy and luxury of the
ecclesiastical buildings of that period. They were the very blossoming
of the tree of knowledge. This was, indeed, an unenlightened, perhaps
a superstitious principle of worship; but it was enthusiastic,
self-sacrificing, and chivalrous. It, indeed, sent the stylite to his
pillar, the hermit to the wilderness, the ascetic to the scourge and
hair-cloth shirt; but it also led the warrior to the Holy Land, the
beggar to the castle-hearth, and the workman to the building of the
House of God. It is no wonder that a religion born thus in childlike
fervor, and seeking expression in outward signs, built upward. It is
no wonder that out of the prosaic elements of the roof it made the
spiritual essence of the spire. If we look through the whole range of
architectural forms in classic or mediaeval times, we shall find no one
so indicative of any human emotion as this simple outline is of the
highest of all emotions,--prayer. It is a significant fact, that the
sentiment of aspiration is nowhere hinted at in Classic Art, and we look
in vain for it in all pagan architectures. This is not surprising.
The worshippers who built in those schools demonstrated there all the
noblest ideas they were capable of,--intellectual beauty, dignity,
power, truth, chastity, courage, and all the other virtues cherished in
their theologies; but their personal relations with any higher sphere of
existence, vague and undefined as they were, called for no expression in
their temples, and obtained none.

The pyramidal form has ever possessed peculiar fascinations for men,
and, from its simplicity, grandeur, and power, has been used in all ages
with innumerable modifications in those structures whose object was to
impress and overawe,--as in the pyramids of Egypt, the temples of India
and Mexico, and in all the earliest funereal monuments. It involved a
rude symbolism, which recommended itself to the barbarous childhood
of nations. But it was not until the pyramid was sharpened and
spiritualized into the spire that it gained its completest triumph over
the secret emotions of men. The Egyptians made the nearest approach
to it in the obelisk. That mysterious people felt very keenly the
suggestiveness of the pyramidal form, and refined the language of
its sentiment into some very beautiful expressions. Yet between the
mausoleums of Gizeh and the hieroglyphic shafts of Luxor and Karnac
there existed a modification, the intensity of whose meaning they
were not prepared to understand. Neither their civilization nor their
religion required such an exponent; so they exhausted themselves with
their mountainous bulks of stone and their pictured monoliths.

We know not how the first view of a Christian spire would affect the
mind of an alien; but so far as our own experiences are concerned,
though perhaps familiar only with the lowliest and most unpretending of
its kind, we are conscious that it deeply impressed even the "unsunned
temper" of our childhood. The wisest among us may not be able to define
precisely these impressions, or trace to their source the admiration
and satisfaction it occasions, yet all are ready to acknowledge its
beautiful fitness to adorn and glorify the Christian temple. But to the
thoughtful mind how suggestive it is of pleasant imagery! It is "the
silent finger" that points to heaven; it is an upward aspiration of the
soul; a prayer from the depths of a troubled heart; a _suspirium de
profundis;_ a hymn of thanksgiving; a pure life, throwing of the worldly
and approaching the ethereal; a finite mind searching, till lost in the
vastness of the unknown and unapproachable; a beautiful attempt; a
voice of praise sent up from the earth, till, like the soaring lark, it
"becomes a sightless song." Indeed, our unbidden thoughts, that wild-ivy
of the mind, are trained upward by the spire, till it is hung round with
the tenderest associations and recollections of all that is sweet and
softening in our natures. Thus, when the painter has represented on his
canvas some wild phase of scenery, where the gadding vine, the tangled
underwood, the troubled brook, the black, frowning rock, the untamed
savage growth of the forest,

  "Old plash of rains and refuse patched with moss,"

impress us with awe, and a sad, homeless feeling, as if we were lost
children, how eloquent is that last touch of his pencil that shows us
a simple spire peeping over the tree-tops! How it comforts us! How it
brings us home again, and bestows an air

  "Of sweet civility on rustic wilds"!

But even if we were not inclined to be sentimental on the subject, even
if base utilities had crowded out from our hearts the blessed capacity
of shedding rosy light on things about us, the coldest esteem could not
but ripen into affection, when we reflected that the spire never adorned
the shrine of a pagan god, never glorified the mosque of a false
prophet, never, in purity, arose from any unconsecrated ground; but
when, at last, the Church of Christ felt the "beauty of holiness," then
it developed out of that beauty and pointed the way to God. It exhaled
from the growing perfection of the Church, as fragrance from an opening
flower. It is, therefore, peculiarly holy. It is a monitor of especial
grace. "It marshals us the way that we are going," like the visionary
dagger of Macbeth; but the knell that sounds beneath it summons only to
heaven.

Practically, it is utterly useless; and this is its honor and its
unspeakable dignity. We cannot even climb it, as we could a tower;
for it is nearly as unapproachable as the Oracle of God, save to the
innocent birds, who love to flock and wheel about it in the sunshine,
and build their nests in its "coignes of vantage," or, in the
night-time, to the troops of stars which touch it in their journey
through the skies. It is as beautifully idle as the lilies of the field;
and yet its expressiveness touches us so nearly, the propriety of its
sentiment is so striking, that, when the great test question of this
living age is applied to it, and we are asked, What is its use? what is
it good for? the heart is shocked at the impiety of the question, and
the feelings revolt, as against an insult. Upon the arches of Canterbury
Minster is carved,

  NON * NOBIS * DOMINE * NON * NOBIS *
  SED * NOMINI * TVO * DA * GLORIAM *

Nothing can be simpler than the composition of the pure spire. The
aesthetics of its development and growth are characteristically natural
and apparent. They are like the history of a flower from bud to bloom
under a warm sun. Let us become botanists of Art for a while, and
analyze those flowers of worship, as they opened "in that first garden
of their simpleness."

Considering the growth of the spire from the tower-roof, it might
naturally be supposed that the earliest forms would be square or round,
in plan. But no sooner had the roof passed into this new sphere of
existence, than the fine intelligence of the builders perceived that it
needed refinement. They saw that in a square spire there was so coarse a
distinction between the tapering mass of light and the tapering mass
of shadow, that the delicacy and lightness necessary to express the
sentiment they desired to convey did not exist in the new feature;--in
a round spire, on the other hand, they found that this distinction of
light and shade was too little marked; it was vapid and effeminate, and
quite without that delicious crispiness of effect which they at once
obtained by cutting off the corners of the square spire, and reducing it
to an octagon. With very rare exceptions, as in the southwest spire of
Chartres Cathedral, this form was always used. Now it will be seen that
a difficulty arises in the beginning, how to unite the octagon of the
spire with the square of the tower. There are four triangular spaces at
the summit of the tower left uncovered by the superstructure; and how
best to treat these, simple as the task may seem, constitutes what may
be called the touchstone of architectural genius in spire-building.
There are several general ways of effecting this, each of them subject
to such modifications, in individual instances, as to give them an
ever-varying character.

Perhaps the earliest method was simply to occupy those triangular spaces
with pyramidal masses of masonry, sloping back against the adjacent
faces of the tower,--an expedient which Nature herself might have
suggested in the first snow-storm. Then they boldly cut the Gordian knot
by shaving off the corners of the tower at the top, thus creating there
an octagonal platform, to which the spire would exactly correspond.
Still oftener they chamfered the spire upwards from the corners of the
tower: in other words, they placed, as it were, a square spire on
their tower, occupying the whole of its summit, and then obtained the
necessary octangularity by shaving off the angles of the spire from the
apex to a certain point near the base, where the cutting was continued
obliquely to the corners of the tower. The latest method was to build
pinnacles on the triangular territory. In such cases the spire usually
stood wholly within the outer boundaries, and parapets assisted to
conceal the first springing of the spire.

The first of these methods is usually considered the most perfect and
beautiful, on account of its simplicity and candor. This is called the
broach; and it is the only form thus far spoken of wherein the tapering
surfaces rise directly from the tower-cornice, without mutilating the
tower or violating the pure outlines of the spire. The heavenward
aspiration, as it were, ascends without effort from the solidity of the
tower. It seems to typify a certain fitness and adaptability to heavenly
things even in the gross and earthly nature of man. One cannot fail to
admire its unaffected dignity, its harmonious balance, its graceful
proportions.

It would be impossible within the limits of this article to give any
idea of the wonderful diversity of treatment these simple generic forms
received at the hands of the early builders. The changes of combination,
proportion, and ornamentation were endless. For the mediaeval spirit was
eminently earnest in its labor, and would not be content with copying an
old shape merely because it was a good shape. It would not be satisfied
with the cold repetition of a written litany of architectural forms; but
its ardent piety, its thoughtful zeal, the _life_ of its love, demanded
an ever-varying expression in these visible prayers. Emerson himself
might find nought to censure there, in the way of undue conformities and
consistencies. Its language was written with the infinite alphabet of
Nature.

We are speaking now especially of England; and we, her children, may
well be proud that these divine enthusiasms of antiquity, which we
thought so quaint, so rare, so far away from us, nowhere else found
fairer demonstrations. The English spires bear especial witness to the
zeal and aspiration of their builders. They belted them with bands of
ornament, cut at first in imitation of tiles, and afterwards beautifully
panelled with foliations. Moulded ribs began to run up the angles of
the spires, and, when they met at the summit, would exultingly curl
themselves together in the most precious cruciforms. Quaint spire-lights
began to appear. Sometimes curious dormers would project from alternate
sides; and the very ribs, as if, in this spring-time of Art, they felt,
quickening along their lengths, the mysterious movements of a new life,
sprouted out here and there with knots of leafage, timidly at first, and
then with all the wealth and profusion of the harvest. The same impulse
wreathed the crowning cross with a thousand midsummer fancies, till the
circle of Eternity, or the triangle of Trinity, which often mingled
with its arms, scarcely knew itself. The pinnacles, too, blossomed into
crockets and bud-like finials, and began to gather more thickly about
the roots of the spire, and from them often leaped flying-buttresses
against it. During this time the spire itself was growing more and more
acute, its lines becoming more and more eloquent. After the fourteenth
century, the tower began to be crowned with intricate panelled tracery
of parapets and battlements, from behind which the spire, an entirely
separate structure, shot up into the sky. In this, the period of the
perpendicular style, pinnacles, purfled to the last degree, crowded
about the base of the spire, reminding one of the admiring throng
gathered about the base of some old picture of the Ascension. But there
is another English form which perhaps conveys this sentiment even more
impressively: We refer to that whose prototype exists in the steeple of
the Church of St. Nicholas at Newcastle-upon-Tyne. This, however, has
four turrets, one on each angle, from which, with great lightness, leap
towards each other four grand flying-buttresses, which join hands over
an empty void and hold in the air a lantern and spirolet of great
elegance. This is a very bold piece of construction. It has been
imitated at St. Giles's, Edinburgh, at Linlithgow, in the college
tower of Aberdeen, and it is especially made known to the world by
Sir Christopher Wren's famous use of it in the steeple of St.
Dunstan's-in-the-East, London.

The most famous spires of England and Normandy are St. Peter's at Caen,
a very early specimen, St. Michael's at Coventry, Louth, that of
the parochial church of Boston in Lincolnshire, that of Chichester
Cathedral, the three that rise from the famous Lichfield Cathedral,
and finally and especially the magnificent spire over the cross of
Salisbury. In the judgment of most English connoisseurs, this is the
finest in the world. It was probably erected during the reign of Edward
III., a very florid period for architecture. It is the highest in
England, its summit rising four hundred and four feet from the pavement
of the church beneath. It is one of the earliest erected in stone, and
is remarkable for skilful construction, the masonry in no part being
more than seven inches thick. This spire is belted with three broad
bands of panelled tracery, and there are eight pinnacles at its base,
two on each corner of the tower. The ribs are fretted throughout the
whole height with elegant crockets, thus imparting to the sky-line an
appearance similar to the gusty spray on the borders of a rain-cloud. An
admirer has said of it, "It seems as though it had drawn down the very
angels to work over its grand and feeling simplicity the gems and
embroidery of Paradise itself!" England once boasted the loftiest spire
in the world, that of old St. Paul's, London, whose summit, five hundred
and twenty feet from the ground, seemed to sail among the highest
clouds; but the great fire of 1666 destroyed it, and Sir Christopher's
stately metropolitan dome now rises in its place.

One could believe in the "merrie" days of Old England, were her abundant
spires their only evidence. The ardent zeal that kindled so many
thousand answering beacons throughout the length and breadth of the land
is the best proof of that concord of souls which is true happiness. We
know that the decision of the Council of Clermont about the Crusades was
believed to have been instantly known through Christendom, and that the
great cry, _God willeth it!_ which shook the council-roof, was echoed
from hill to hill, and at once struck awe and astonishment to the hearts
of remotest lands. So in the birthplaces of our Pilgrim fathers, over
these cherished spots,

  "Where the kneeling hamlets drained
  The chalice of the grapes of God,"

arose the "star y-pointing" spire, like a voice of adoration; and then
another would be raised in unison in some neighboring village, where
they could see and communicate with each other in their silent language;
and yet another close by among the hills; and presently, in full view
from its summit, twenty more, perhaps,--till the good tidings were known
through the whole country, and from hamlet to hamlet, over the streams
and tree-tops, was thus echoed the great _Te Deum_ of the land. For it
was said among the people, in that antique spirit of worship, as Milton
exhorted the birds in his Hymn of Thanksgiving,--

  "Join voices, all ye living souls! ye _spires_,
  That singing up to heaven's gate ascend,
  Bear on your wings and in your notes His praise!"

It is a beautiful proof of the spirit of sacrifice which actuated the
Masonic builder of the Middle Ages, that his fairest and most precious
works were not confined to the great metropolitan churches and
cathedrals, where they could be seen of men, but were frequently found
in quiet and secluded villages, nestled among pastoral solitudes, far
away from the gaze and admiration of the world. Though the spire of
Salisbury was, perhaps, an epic in Masonic poetry, yet in humble hamlets
of England, beyond her most distant hills, and amid many an unnamed
"sunny spot of greenery," were idyls sung no less exquisite than this.
Many a village-spire, of conception no less beautiful, arose above the
tree-tops among the most untrodden ways. All day long its shadow lingers
in the quiet churchyard, and points among the humble graves, as if, over
this dial of human life, it loved to preach silent homilies on "the
passing away," even to the simplest poor. It must be inexpressibly
touching to meet with these beautiful forms in the lonely wilderness,
where the ivy alone, as it throws its loving arms around them, appears
to recognize their grace and all their tender significance. It is like
the chance discovery of a good deed done in the darkness, or like a
pure life spent in the sweet and serious retirement of a little hamlet,
pointing the way to heaven for its scanty flock of cottagers.

It was the custom in those days, during the celebration of Mass, at the
moment when the Host was raised, to ring a peculiar bell in the tower,
in order that those not gathered beneath the consecrated roof might be
made aware far and wide of the awful ceremony, and be reminded to offer
up their devotion in unison. And we remember what Izaak Walton said of
quaint George Herbert,--how "some of the meaner sort of his parish did
so love and reverence Mr. Herbert, that they would let their plough rest
when his saints'-bell rung to prayer, that they might also offer their
devotion to God with him, and would then return back contented to their
plough." Now it seems to us that the spire is a perpetual elevation
of the Host, a never-ending lifting-up of the Symbol of Redemption, a
consecrating presence to field and cottage, hillside and highway, ever
ready to bless the accidental glance of wayfarer or laborer, and to make
in the desert of his daily life a momentary oasis of sweet and hallowed
thought. Its peaceful influence extends over the whole landscape and
pierces to its remotest corners.

  "A gentler life spreads round the holy spires;
  Where'er they rise, the sylvan waste retires,
  And aëry harvests crown the fertile lea."

It may be thought that St. Peter's cock, which so often answers the
sunbeams from the spindly spire, and kindles and glitters there like a
star, is rather empty of emblematic significance and soul-language. But
what saith old Bishop Durandus?--"The cock at the summit of the church
is a type of the preacher. For the cock, ever watchful, even in the
depth of night, giveth notice how the hours pass, waketh the sleepers,
predicteth the approach of day,--but first exciteth himself to crow by
striking his sides with his wings. There is a mystery conveyed in each
of these particulars: the night is the world; the sleepers are the
children of this world, who are asleep in their sins; the cock is the
preacher who preacheth boldly, and exciteth the sleepers to cast away
the works of darkness, exclaiming, Woe to them that sleep! Awake, thou
that sleepest! and then foretell the approach of day, when they speak
of the Day of Judgment and the glory that shall be revealed, and, like
prudent messengers, before they teach others, arouse themselves from the
sleep of sin by mortifying their bodies; and as the weather-cock faces
the wind, they turn themselves boldly to meet the rebellious by threats
and arguments."

But it was on the Continent, especially in France, the Low Countries,
and Germany, that the Gothic flower opened in fullest perfection; and it
is here that we find the loftiest and most luxurious spire-forms. They
were always the last part of the church completed, the finishing-touch,
the last that was needed to perfection. The progress of the building
of a cathedral thus embodied a beautiful symbolism. In most cases,
the choir, or east end, the holiest part of the church, was the first
erected, in order to sanctify and protect the high altar; and then, as
the treasures of the church flowed in, after the expiration of years or
centuries, the builders, tutored by a legendary science, and harmonized
by a wonderful feeling of brotherhood, in the same spirit, perfected the
designs of their predecessors, by leading out westward the long naves
and attendant aisles, completing northward and southward the transepts,
adding a chapel here and a porch there, glorifying the western front
with the touches of divine genius; and when at last every niche was
occupied with its statue of angel, saint, or pious benefactor, and the
holy choir, with its apsis, had been re-adorned with the accumulated art
of centuries, and glowed with the iris-light from painted windows,--when
the mural monuments of bishops, warriors, and kings had thickened
beneath the consecrated roof, and the whole structure had been hallowed
by the prayers and chantings of generations,--then, at last, over the
ancient tower arose the lofty spire; as if an angelic messenger had
spread his wings at its base and mounted upward to heaven, shouting
out the glad tidings of the completion of the House of God, and, as he
arose, the voice grew fainter and fainter, till at length it melted into
the sky!

The finest spires of Europe were erected as late as the fourteenth,
fifteenth, and sixteenth centuries, upon towers prepared for their
reception, usually, in much earlier times. This confidence of the old
builders in the final completion of their structures is remarkable. They
drew without stint on the piety of after ages,--a resource which has not
unfrequently proved too feeble to realize their generous expectations.
There are few cities in Europe which do not bear sad marks of this
misplaced confidence. This is especially witnessed in the unfinished
steeples. And, indeed, when we find that not only one, but two, three,
four, or even five spires were sometimes required to flame upward from
the same building, as in Caen Cathedral, we do not wonder that the
kindling spark is often wanting. It would seem as if another fire must
come down from heaven, as of old it did upon the first offering of Moses
and Aaron, to inflame these censers, rich in frankincense and naphtha.

Now let us see what were the distinguishing attributes of the
Continental spires. We know not why it was, but in the gray old towns
of Belgium and the Low Countries there existed such exuberance of
imagination, such an unbounded luxuriousness of conception, as created
more images of Gothic quaintness and intricacy than elsewhere can be
seen. If any architecture ever expressed the average of human thought,
that of these towns is especially eloquent in its indications that their
inhabitants were very happy and contented. Look at a print of any old
Belgian town or street, and you will at once see our meaning. What a
joyous upspringing of pinnacles and pointed roofs and spires! of no more
earthly use, indeed, than so much pleasant laughter. There is no tower
without its spire, no turret or gable without its pinnacle, no oriel
without its pointed roof, no dormer without some such playful leaping
up into the air. Every salient point attacks the sky with its long iron
spindle, wrought with strange device and bearing a hospitable cup where
the bird makes his nest; and every spindle sings and shrieks with a
shifting vane,--so that the wind never sweeps idly over a Belgian town.
This innocent and happy people did not frown through the ages from grim
battlements, and awe posterity with stern and massive walls. But they
loved old childlike associations and fireside tales. They loved to build
curious fountains in commemoration of pleasant legends. They loved, too,
the huge, delicious-toned bells of their minster-towers, and the sweet
changes of melodious, never-ceasing chimes. They carved their Lares
and Penates on their house-fronts very curiously, with sun-dials and
hatchments, sacred texts and legends of hospitality. The narrow streets
of Ghent, Louvain, Liege, Mechlin, Antwerp, Ypres, Bruges are thus full
of household memories and saintly traditions. So it is not strange that
a people whose daily hours were counted out with the music of belfries
were fond of fretting their towers with workmanship so precious and
delicate that it has been called "the petrifaction of music."

But before we proceed to tell in how florid a manner the Low Countries
interpreted the simpler forms of spires, we shall describe generically
in what manner not only they, but all the other European kingdoms, were
indebted to the old Rhineland towns for some of these forms. When the
bell-tower, in about the seventh or eighth century, began to be used in
Germany, it at once received certain very important modifications on the
earlier Italian campanile. The upper terminations of these latter
were horizontal, on account of their flat roofs. Now in more northern
climates, where the snow falls, these flat roofs would be unsafe and
inconvenient. So we find that the first church-towers that arose in such
Rhenish places as Oberwesel, Gelnhausen, Bacharach, Coblentz, Cologne,
Bingen, "sweet Bingen on the Rhine," no longer ended in these horizontal
lines, but arose in pointed shapes. Indeed, the Germans, who were great
rivals of the Italians in those days, not only in matters pertaining to
architecture, but to literature also, in the same independent spirit
which induced them alone, of all civilized peoples, to retain through
all time the cramped, angular letters of monkish transcribers, in
preference to the fair and square Roman forms, took particular pride in
avoiding horizontal lines entirely at the tops of their towers, as they
did at the tops of their letters. Wherever they so occur, they are
insignificant,--rather ornamental than constructive. Not so with the
English; they kept the square tops to their towers, and contented
themselves with the pointed superstructure. Let us see how Teutonic
stubbornness arranged the matter. Each separate face of their towers,
whether these towers were square or octangular, ended above in a gable;
and from these gables, in various ways, arose the octangular pointed
roof or spire. This circumstance, more than any other, tended to give
a peculiar character to German Gothic. The simplest type of the gabled
spire was magnificently used in the spire of St. Peter's at Hamburg.
This was the finest in North Germany; it was four hundred and sixteen
feet high, and, if still standing, would be the third in height in the
world. But it was destroyed by the great fire of 1842. Many a traveller
can bear witness to the sweet melody of the chimes that used to sound
beneath it every half-hour.

In later times, between the Germans and the French, was invented the
_lantern_,--a feature so often and so superbly used, not only on the
Continent, but more lately in England, that we must needs glance at it.
This consisted in a tall, perpendicular, octangular structure, placed
upon the tower, quite light and open, and pierced with long windows.
Here they used to swing the bells, and the place was called the lantern
or _louvre_; thence the octangular spire arose easily and naturally.
Now, notwithstanding this device, those troublesome triangular spaces
still remained unoccupied at the top of the square tower. The manner
in which this difficulty was remedied was exceedingly ingenious and
beautiful. It was by building on them very delicate pinnacles or
turrets, peopled, perhaps, as at Freiburg, with a silent and serene
concourse of saints in rich niches, or inclosing, as at Strasburg,
spiral open-work stairs. These structures accompanied the tall lantern
through its whole height; thus rendering the entire group a memory,
as it were, of the square tower below, while, at the same time, it
beautifully foreshadowed the octangular character of the sky-seeking
spire above,--a significant symbolism.

Now, when the Belgians and their neighbors received the spire thus from
the fatherland, they at once began to express in it the joy of their
worship by all the embroidery and tender imagery and grotesque conceits
it was capable of receiving. They varied as many changes on it as they
did on their bells. They concealed the first springing of their spires
behind clustering pinnacles, flying-buttresses, canopied niches with
gigantic statues, galleries with battlements and parapets pierced and
mantled in lacework of flamboyant tracery, pointed gables alive with
crockets and finials, and long, quaint dormers,--all with a bewildering
intricacy of enrichment. And they inherited from the Germans a love for
the gargoyle, which haunted the springing of the spire at the corners
with visions of very hideous _diablerie_. It may well be believed that
these florid builders did not suffer the spire to arise serious and
serene from the midst of this delicious tangle of architecture. They
tricked it out with all the frostwork of Gothic genius. Not only did
they use in its decoration spire-lights, crockets, ribs and cinctures,
bands of gablets, and masses of reticulated relief, but, with wonderful
skill, they pierced each face from base to apex in foliated patterns
of great richness, so that the whole spire became a web of delicate
open-work, through which the light was sprinkled in beautiful shapes,
varying with every movement of the beholder. Their plainer spires of
wood they were fond of covering with glazed tiles of various tints
arranged in quaint taste. And they would vary the outline by making it
curve inward, giving a fine sweep thus from the base to an apex of great
slenderness. Sometimes they would give it, with exaggerated refinement,
the _entasis_ of the Greek column. There are instances of this last
treatment both in France and England.

But it was not only in exuberance of enrichment and quaintness of form
that these enthusiastic workmen uttered their inspirations. They built
their spires to a most amazing height. Indeed, the loftiest steeples in
the world arose in level tracts of country, where they could be seen at
immense distances, as not only in Belgium and thereabout, but on the
flat margins of the upper and lower Rhine, as at Strasburg and Cologne.
In these countries, and about the North of France, there was a generous
rivalry as to which city should lift up highest the cross of God. But as
soon as the sacred passion for spire-building was corrupted by this new
element of human emulation, some strange things happened. The people of
Beauvais, for instance, desiring to beat the people of Amiens, set to
work, we are told, to build a tower on their cathedral as high as they
possibly could. The same thing had been done once before on the plains
of Shinar. One foresees the result, of course; "it fell, for it was
founded upon the sand, and great was the fall thereof." And so with the
good people of Louvain. They built three spires to their cathedral, of
which the central one reached the unparalleled height of five hundred
and thirty-three feet, according to Hope, and the side-towers four
hundred and thirty feet. This tremendous group, however, fell, or,
threatening destruction, was taken down, in 1604. We remember what the
Wanderer said so finely in the "Excursion":--

  "We must needs confess
  That 'tis a thing impossible to frame
  Conceptions equal to the soul's desire;
  And the most difficult of tasks _to keep_
  Heights which the soul is competent to gain."

But we find that ecclesiastical edifices were not the only ones
which were adorned with this high building; for town-halls were not
infrequently distinguished by immensely lofty spires, as at Brussels. It
is curious to see, however, how easily the less exalted impulses which
erected them may be discovered. They do not _soar_, they _climb_ up
panting into the sky, like the famous passage up through Chaos, in
Milton, "with difficulty and labor hard." They have not the light, airy
gliding upward of the religious spire, whose feeling George Herbert had
in his mind, when he sang of prayer:--

  "Of what an easy, quick accesse,
  My blessed Lord, art thou! how suddenly
  May our requests thine eare invade!"

Not so; but it is all human rivalry, a succession of diminishing towers,
steps piled one above another, where the mind every now and then may
stop to breathe, and then fight its way onward again;--not an Ascension,
like that from Bethany; rather the toil of a very human, though very
laudable ambition.

Unfinished spires were in Europe very common legacies from generation to
generation. Descendants were called upon to embody the great conceptions
of their forefathers. But the ancestral spirit too often failed in the
land, the wing of aspiration was broken, the crane rotted in its place,
the great conceptions were forgotten, or lived only as vague and dreamy
inheritances; and the half-completed spires stood like Sphinxes, and
none knew their riddles! They are very melancholy memorials. Like the
broken columns over the graves of the departed, fallen short of their
natural uses, they seem only the funeral monuments of a race that
is dead. The empty air is stilled over them in expectation, and the
imagination makes vain pictures, and fills out their crescent of
splendid purposes. They have been called "broken promises to God." Too
often, perhaps, they were rather monuments of the feebleness of those
who would scale heaven with anything but adoration upon their lips.
There were Ulm, indeed, and Cologne, and Mechlin, as artistic
intentions, eminently grand and beautiful; and in the early part of the
sixteenth century Belgium was famous for designs of open-work spires,
which, if erected, would have surpassed in height and richness all
hitherto existing. But it is worthy of note that at this period the
purity of the Church had become so sullied with priestcraft and the
plenitude of Papal power, that it no longer possessed within its
violated bosom those sacred impulses of piety which whilom sent up the
simple spire, like a pure messenger, to whisper the aspirations of men
to the stars. "Gay religions, full of pomp and gold," could neither feel
nor utter the grave tenderness of the early inspirations. And so, when
the German monk affixed his ninety-five theses to the door of Wittenberg
Church, the spire had ceased to be an utterance of prayerful aspiration.
It had lost its peculiar significance as an involuntary expression of
worship, and had become liable to all the accidents and contingencies
that attend the efforts of a merely human ambition. The whole story is
an architectural version of the parable of the Pharisee and the Publican
who went down to the temple to pray.

Of the finished spires, the loftiest in the world are, first, that of
Strasburg Minster, 474 feet; second, that of St. Stephens at Vienna,
469 feet; third, that of Notre Dame at Antwerp, 466 feet; then that of
Salisbury, 404 feet; Freiburg in the Breisgau, 380-1/2 feet; and then
follow the distinguished heights of Landshut, Utrecht, Rouen, Chartres,
Brugrels, Soissons, and others. The highest spire in our own country is
that of Trinity Church, New York, 284 feet. We do not "sweep the cobwebs
from the sky" so effectually as when men built according to the scale
of spiritual exaltation rather than that of practical feet and
inches,--after the stature of the soul, rather than that of the man.

The architects of the revival of classic architecture, with the learned
language of the five orders, with pediments and attics, consoles and
urns, labored to express the childlike sentiment of the spire. But even
the great Sir Christopher Wren, with his sixty steeple-towers, and
all his followers to this day, have not succeeded in a translation so
unnatural. Spirituality and the artless grace of inspiration are wanting
to the spires of the Renaissance, and so they struggle up painfully into
the sky. And it is very rare to find those who have gone back even to
Gothic models building a spire which touches our affections, or claims
affinity with any of our nobler emotions; so sensitive is this unique
structure to the approach of any element foreign to the early conditions
of its existence.

As for the great Strasburg example, that _Jungfrau_ of all spires,
German traditions have very properly babbled many strange stories about
the erection of it. These constitute an episode so characteristic in the
history of spire-building, that this essay would be incomplete, were
they not briefly told here.

In the legendary days of yore, nothing was more common than to meet that
personage known as the Devil walking up and down the earth, in innocent
guise, but ripe for all sorts of mischief, especially where the people
were building up mighty monuments to the glory of the good God. Very
naturally, the sacred spire was a special object of his aversion; and,
for some reason or other, that of Strasburg was honored with peculiar
marks of his hatred. Two ancient churches, which stood on the site
of the present minster, had been successively destroyed by fire; and
although, in the one case, this had been kindled by the torch of an
invading army, and in the other by a thunderbolt, yet the infernal
agency, in both cases, nobody ever thought of doubting. So it was
the effort of Bishop Werner to combat these evil influences; and he
accordingly inflamed the pride and indignation of the people to such
a degree, that throughout the land all concerted to defeat the wicked
designs of the Adversary. In two centuries and a half the whole
cathedral was completed, save the tower, the corner-stone of which was
forthwith laid with great pomp by Bishop Conrad of Lichtenberg, on the
25th of May, 1277. Doubtless the Arch-Fiend laid many cunning schemes to
entrap the illustrious architect, Erwin of Steinbach; but, unlike his
brother in the craft at Cologne, he came out unscathed; so we must
believe that throughout the whole work he was actuated by the most
unselfish spirit of devotion, infernal machinations to the contrary
notwithstanding. Now it must be confessed that the Enemy had a hard time
of it, since we read that the good Bishop Conrad fought against him with
all the powers of the Church, and granted absolution for all sins, past,
present, and future, for forty thousand years, to whatever person should
contribute to the building of the spire by money, material, or labor.
Owing to the scarcity of parchment, these grants of absolution were made
out on asses' skins; and it will be seen, that, in the great struggle,
these instruments retained in a very eminent degree that quality of
stubborn resistance which had cost them in their original state many a
beating from the driver's staff. The greatest enthusiasm was kindled
among rich and poor; year after year, thousands of pilgrims flocked
hither from all Germany to offer their aid, without reward or
recompense, to the building of the tower; and out of the
farthest boundaries, even from Austria, came wagons loaded with
building-materials, the gratuitous offerings of the pious. Rich legacies
were left to the work, and many a cloister devoted a fourth part of its
yearly revenues to the same object So much for asses' skins!

Meanwhile the Devil was not idle. In the night-winds he and his legions
would shriek and yell and rattle among the scaffolding and cranes
in vain. In the latter part of the thirteenth century, he shook the
structure with a frightful earthquake, which terrified all Alsatia,
and, although whole streets were thrown down in Strasburg, yet the
foundations of the _Wunderbau_, as the Germans love to call it, were not
loosened, and no stone was moved from its place. A few years afterward,
in 1289, he once more made use of his favorite element, and laid in
ashes the market-place of Strasburg all around the minster. More
fortunate than its great compeers, St. Paul's of London, and St. Peter's
of Hamburg, it miraculously experienced but trifling damage.

Well, the great Erwin died at last, when he had built the tower as high
as the roof-ridge of the nave. His son succeeded him, finished the tower
to the platform, when he, too, was gathered to his fathers in 1339. John
Hültz followed as master; and finally his nephew, Hültz II., in 1439,
finished the grand pyramid, fixed the colossal cross in its place, and
crowned the whole with a gigantic statue of the Virgin. Thus, from the
laying of the foundation-stone till all was completed, were one
hundred and sixty years; yet throughout this time the work was never
discontinued, and five successive generations labored upon its walls.

But the wrath of the Arch-Enemy, as may well be believed, waxed greater
as this prodigious structure gradually developed itself in all its
lordliness and strength, and was not at all appeased at its triumphant
completion. Ever since then he has visited its stately height with
especial marks of his malice. The most furious tempests have raged about
it, and more than sixty times has it been struck by lightning, and five
times have earthquakes shaken its foundations. But in vain. "The Golden
Legend" tells us how Lucifer and the Powers of the Air stormed about the
spire, and how he cried,--

  "Hasten! hasten!
  O ye spirits!
  From its station drag the ponderous
  Cross of iron that to mock us
  Is uplifted high in air!"

and how the voices replied,--

  "Oh, we cannot!
  For around it
  All the Saints and Guardian Angels
  Throng in legions to protect it;
  They defeat us everywhere!"

At one point, however, the evil spirits were successful; the colossal
statue of the Virgin, which crowned the dizzy summit, and was familiar
with the secrets of the upper air, and which, like its dread Enemy,

  "above the rest,
  In shape and gesture proudly eminent,
  Stood like a tower,"--

after having for fifty years borne the insults of these airy powers,
till it had lost all its original brightness, and its face

  "Deep scars of thunder had intrenched,"--

was taken down, and the present cross put in its place. And there it
stands to this day, high up in the silence of midair, where the voices
of the city below are rendered small and thin by the distance,--four
hundred and seventy-four feet above the heads of the populace, who, in
their littleness, crawl about and traffic at its base. This amazing
summit, "moulded in colossal calm," in its unapproachable grandeur,
seems to forget the city from which it rises, and to hold communion only
with that vast circle of "crowded farms and lessening towers" which
it surveys. It is a worthy companionship; on the one hand, the great
Vosgian chain, the closed gates of France,--on the other, afar off, the
hills of the Black Forest, and, more near, Father Rhine, winding his
silver thread among the villages and vineyards of Germany.

There is (or was) an enormous key suspended just beneath the cross of
Strasburg Cathedral, its use, and why it was placed there, having passed
away from the memory of man. If it were not to open the gates of heaven
for those who built this ladder of light and those who worship in
its shadow, it remains a riddle and a blank. Let us accept the
interpretation, and, made mild-eyed by the lens of tender memories, we
shall behold in every spire a means of grace and a hope of glory.



THE PROFESSOR'S STORY.


PRELIMINARY CORRESPONDENCE.


THE PUBLISHERS TO THE AUTHOR.

_Queerangle Building, Nov. '59._

Dr. SR,--

Will you contract to do us a tale or a novel, at the rate of say 10 pp.
per month, with some popular subject, such as philanthropy, or the Broad
Church movement, or fashionable weddings, or the John Brown invasion,
brought in so as to make a taking thing of it? When finished, to come
to a 12mo of 350 pp. more or less. A good article of novel is always
salable about Christmas time, and we can do it up by Dec. 1, 1860.
Our Mr. Goader has been round among the hands that do the light
jobbing,--finds several ready to undertake the contract, at say 75c. @
3.00 per page;--but want the job done in first-rate style, and think
you could furnish us a good article. Our firm has great facilities for
working a novel, tale, or any kind of fancy stuff. What w'd be y'r terms
in cash payment, 1st of every month?

P.S. Would any additional compensation induce you to allow each number
to be illustrated by a colored engraving?

Yr obt serv'ts.


THE AUTHOR TO THE PUBLISHERS.

GENTLEMEN,--

In reply to your polite request, I have to say, that under no
circumstances can I entertain your proposition to write a _fictitious_
narrative. I could, however, relate some very interesting events which
have come to my knowledge, and which, if told in a connected form, might
undoubtedly be taken by the public for a work of fiction. I think my
narrative, with some collateral matter I should introduce, would take up
a reasonable space in about a dozen numbers of the Oceanic Miscellany.
I cannot listen to your proposal about the engraving. If you accept my
offer to write out, in the form of a story, the incidents of real
life to which I have referred, we will arrange the terms at a private
interview. I consider the first day of a month as unobjectionable as any
other in the same month, as a time for receiving payment of any sum that
may be due me under the proposed contract.

Yours truly.


CONFIDENTIAL EDITOR OF THE OCEANIC MISCELLANY TO THE AUTHOR.

MY DEAR PROF.,--

We have had lots of bob-tail stories,--docked short in from one to three
months. Can't you give us a switch-tail one, that will hang on so as
to touch next December? Something imaginary, based on your
recollections,--the incidents of the War of 1812, for instance;--but, at
any rate, a regular "to be continued" "_pièce de résistance_"

Yours ever.


THE AUTHOR TO THE CONFIDENTIAL EDITOR.

MY DEAR ED.,--

I really wouldn't undertake to tell an "imaginary" story, or to write
a romance, or anything of the kind. I might be willing to relate some
curious matters that have come to my knowledge, arranging them in a
collective form, so that they would probably pass with most readers for
fictitious, and perhaps excite very much the same kind of interest they
would if genuine fictions. I don't remember much about the "last war";
but I suppose both of us may recollect the illumination when peace was
declared in 1815.

Ever yours.


THE PUBLISHERS TO THE AUTHOR.

(Inclosing a check, in advance, for the first number.)


THE AUTHOR TO THE READER.

Finding myself in possession of certain facts which possess interest
sufficient to warrant their publication, I am led to ask myself whether
I shall put them in the form of a narrative. There are, evidently, two
sides to this question. In the first place, I have a number of friends
who write me letters, and tell me openly to my face, that they want me
to go on writing. It doesn't make much difference to them, they say,
what I write about,--only they want me to keep going. They have got used
to seeing me, in one shape or another,--and I am a kind of habit with
them, like a nap after dinner. They tell me not to be frightened about
it,--to begin as dull as I like, and that I shall warm up, by-and-by, as
old _Dutchman_ used to, who could hardly put one leg before the other
when he started, but, after a while, got so limbered and straightened
out by his work, that he dropped down into the forties, and, I think
they say, into the thirties. _L'appétit vient en mangeant_, one of them
said who talks French,--which, you know, means, that eating makes one
hungry. I remember, when I sat down to that last book of mine, which you
may perhaps have read, although I had the facts of the story, of course,
all in my head, it seemed to me that I should never have the patience
to tell them all; and yet, before I was through, I got so full of the
scenes and characters I was talking about, that I had to bolt my door
and lay in an extra bandanna, before I could trust myself to put my
recollections and thoughts on paper. You don't expect a locomotive is
going to start off with a train of thirty or forty thousand passengers,
without straining a little,--do you? That isn't the way; but this is.
_Puff!_ The wheels begin to turn, but very slowly. Papas hold up their
little Johnnys to the car-windows to be kissed. _Puff----Puff!_ People
shake hands from the platform to the cars, walking along by their side.
_Puff--puff--puff!_ Now, then, Ma'am! pass out that tumbler pretty
spry, out of which you have been swallowing that eternal "drink o'
wotter," to which the human female of a certain social grade is so
odiously addicted. _Puff, puff, puff, puff!_ Too late, old gentleman
I unless you can do a mile in a good deal less than three minutes,
carrying weight, in the shape of a valise in one hand and a carpet-bag
in the other. That's the way with anything that's got any freight to
carry. It's slow when it sets out;--but steam is steam,--and what's bred
in the boiler will show in the driving-wheel, sooner or later.

If I had to _make up_ a story, now, it would be a very different matter.
I could never conceive how some of those romancers go to work, in cold
blood, to draw, out of what they call their imagination, a parcel of
impossible events and absurd characters. That is not my trouble; for I
have come into relation with a series of persons and events which will
save me the pains of drawing on my invention, in case I shall see fit to
follow the counsel of my too partial friends. I am only afraid I should
not disguise the circumstances enough, if I were to arrange these facts
in the narrative form. Some of them are of such a nature, that they
cannot be supposed to have happened more than once in the experience
of a generation; and I feel that the greatest caution and delicacy are
necessary in the manner of their presentation, not to offend the living
or wrong the memory of the dead.

It is very easy for you, the Reader, to sit down and run over the pages
of a monthly narrative as a boy "skips" a stone,--and the flatter and
thinner your capacity, the more skips, perhaps, you will make. But I
tell you, for a man who has live people to deal with, and hearts that
are beating even while he handles them,--a man who can go into families
and pull up by the roots all the mysteries of their dead generations and
their living sons' and daughters' secret history,--_responsible_ for
what he says, here and elsewhere,--open to a libel suit, if he isn't
pretty careful in his personalities, or to a visit from a brother or
other relative, wishing to know, Sir, and so forth,--or to a paragraph
in the leading journal of that whispering-gallery of a nation's gossip,
Little Millionville, to the effect that--We understand the personages
alluded to in the tale now publishing in the Oceanic Miscellany are
the Reverend Dr. S---h and his accomplished lady, the distinguished
financier, Mr. B---n,--and so through the whole list of characters;--I
say, for a man who _writes_ the pages you skim over, it is a mighty
different piece of business. Why, if I _do_ tell all I know about some
things that have come to my cognizance, I shall make you open your eyes
and spread your pupils, as if you had been to the Eye Infirmary, and the
doctors there had anointed your lids with the extract of belladonna.
Mark what I tell you! I have happened to become intimately acquainted
with circumstances of a very extraordinary nature,--not, perhaps,
without precedent, but such as very few have been called upon to
witness. Suppose that I should see fit to tell these in connection with
the story of which they form a part? I may render myself obnoxious to
persons whom it is not safe to offend,--persons that won't come out in
the public prints, perhaps, but will poke incendiary letters under your
doors,--that won't step up to you in broad daylight, and lug a Colt out
of their pocket, or draw a bowie-knife from their back, where they had
carried it under their coat, but who will dog you about to do you a
mischief unseen,--who will carry air-guns in the shape of canes, and
hang round the place where you get your provisions, and practise with
long-range rifles out in the lonely fields,--rifles that crack no louder
than a parlor-pistol, but spit a bit of lead out of their mouths half a
mile and more, so that you wait as you do for the sound of the man's axe
who is chopping on the other side of the river, to see the fellow you
have "saved" clap his hand to his breast and stagger over. It makes me
nervous to think of such things. I don't want to be suspicious of every
queer taste in my coffee, and to shiver if I see a little powdered white
sugar on the upper crust of my pastry. I don't want, every time I hear a
door bang, to think it is a ragged slug from an unseen gun-barrel.

If Dick V---- was _not_ killed on the Pampas, as they have always said
he was, I should never sleep easy after telling my story. For such a
fellow as he was would certainly see through all the disguises I could
cover up a real-life story with, and then----. He has learned the use of
the lasso too well for me to want to trust my neck anywhere within a rod
of him, if there were light enough for him to see, and nothing between
us, and nobody near.

And besides, there were a good many opinions handled by some of these
people I should have to talk about. Now, of course, a magazine like the
Oceanic is no place for opinions. Look out for your Mormon subscribers,
if you question the propriety of Solomon's domestic arrangements! And
if you say one word that touches the Sandemanians, be sure their whole
press will be down on you; for, as Sandemanianism is the undoubted and
absolutely true religion, it follows, of course, that it is as sore as a
scalded finger, and must be handled like a broken bone.

Add to this that I have always had the greatest objection to writing
anything which those who were not acquainted with the facts might call
a _romance_ or a _tale._ We think very ill of a man who offers us as a
truth some single statement which we find he knew to be false. Now what
can we think of a man who tells three volumes, or even one, full of just
such lies? Of course the _primâ-facie_ aspect of the case is, that he
is guilty of the most monstrous impertinence; and, in point of fact,
I confess the greatest disgust towards any person of whom I hear the
assertion that he has _written a story,_ unless I hear something more
than that. He is bound to show extenuating or justifying circumstances,
as much as the man who writes what he calls "poems." For, as the world
is full of real histories, and every day in every great city begins and
ends a score or half a dozen score of tragic dramas, it is a huge piece
of assumption to undertake to make one out of one's own head. A man
takes refuge under your porch in a rain-storm, and you offer him the use
of your shower-bath!

Also, I cannot help remembering, that, on the whole, I have been more
intensely bored with works of fiction,--beginning with "Gil Blas," and
ending with--on the whole, I won't even mention it,--than I ever was by
the Latin Grammar or Rollin's History. Naturally, therefore, I should
not wish to threaten my friends with the punishment I have endured from
others. But then, as I said before, if I write down the circumstances
that have come to my knowledge, with some account of persons, opinions,
and conversations, no one can accuse me of writing a _novel,_--a thing
which I never meant to do, under any circumstances.

----After having carefully weighed my friends' arguments and my own
objections, I have come to the conclusion to do pretty much as I like
about it. Now the truth is, I have grown to be rather fonder of you, the
Reader, than I have ever been willing to confess. You are such a good,
kind creature,--it takes so little to please you,--you laugh and cry
so very obligingly at just the right time,--you send me such charming
notes, such dear little copies of verses,--nay, (shall I venture to say
it?) such prodigal tokens of kindness, some of you, that I----in short,
I love you very much, and cannot make up my mind to part with you.
Rather than do this, as I could not and would not write a romance, I
have made up my mind to tell you something of some persons and events of
which I have known enough,--of some of them, I might say, too much. Of
course, you must trust wholly to my discretion and sense of propriety,
in dealing with living personages, recent events, and subjects still in
dispute. Trusting that none of my friends will pay any attention to any
idle rumors tending to fix the personages or localities of which I shall
speak, and reminding my readers that the narrative will constitute only
a part of what I have to say, inasmuch as there will be no small amount
of reflections introduced, and perhaps of conversations reported, I
begin this connected statement of facts with an essay on a social
phenomenon not hitherto distinctly recognized.


CHAPTER I.

THE BRAHMIN CASTE OF NEW ENGLAND


There is nothing in New England corresponding at all to the feudal
aristocracies of the Old World. Whether it be owing to the stock from
which we were derived, or to the practical working of our institutions,
or to the abrogation of the technical "law of honor," which draws a
sharp line between the personally responsible class of "gentlemen" and
the unnamed multitude of those who are not expected to risk their lives
for an abstraction,--whatever be the cause, we have no such aristocracy
here as that which grew up out of the military systems of the Middle
Ages.

What our people mean by "aristocracy" is merely the richer part of the
community, that live in the tallest houses, drive real carriages, (not
"kerridges,") kid-glove their hands, and French-bonnet their ladies'
heads, give parties where the persons who call them by the above title
are not invited, and have a provokingly easy way of dressing, walking,
talking, and nodding to people, as if they felt entirely at home, and
would not be embarrassed in the least, if they met the Governor, or even
the President of the United States, face to face. Some of these great
folks are really well-bred, some of them are only purse-proud and
assuming,--but they form a class, and are named as above in the common
speech.

It is in the nature of large fortunes to diminish rapidly, when
subdivided and distributed. A million is the unit of wealth, now and
here in America. It splits into four handsome properties; each of these
into four good inheritances; these, again, into scanty competences for
four ancient maidens,--with whom it is best the family should die out,
unless it can begin again as its grandfather did. Now a million is
a kind of golden cheese, which represents in a compendious form the
summer's growth of a fat meadow of craft or commerce; and as this kind
of meadow rarely bears more than one crop, it is pretty certain that
sons and grandsons will not get another golden cheese out of it, whether
they milk the same cows or turn in new ones. In other words, the
millionocracy, considered in a large way, is not at all an affair of
persons and families, but a perpetual fact of money with a variable
human element, which a philosopher might leave out of consideration
without falling into serious error. Of course, this trivial and fugitive
fact of personal wealth does not create a permanent class, unless some
special means are taken to arrest the process of disintegration in the
third generation. This is so rarely done, at least successfully, that
one need not live a very long life to see most of the rich families he
knew in childhood more or less reduced, and the millions shifted into
the hands of the country-boys who were sweeping stores and carrying
parcels when the now decayed gentry were driving their chariots, eating
their venison over silver chafing-dishes, drinking Madeira chilled in
embossed coolers, wearing their hair in powder, and casing their legs in
white-topped boots with silken tassels.

There is, however, in New England, an aristocracy, if you choose to call
it so, which has a far greater character of permanence. It has grown to
be a _caste_,--not in any odious sense,--but, by the repetition of the
same influences, generation after generation, it has acquired a distinct
organization and physiognomy, which not to recognize is mere stupidity,
and not to be willing to describe would show a distrust of the
good-nature and intelligence of our readers, who like to have us see all
we can and tell all we see.

If you will look carefully at any class of students in one of our
colleges, you will have no difficulty in selecting specimens of two
different aspects of youthful manhood. Of course I shall choose extreme
cases to illustrate the contrast between them. In the first, the figure
is perhaps robust, but often otherwise,--inelegant, partly from careless
attitudes, partly from ill-dressing,--the face is uncouth in feature, or
at least common,--the mouth coarse and unformed,--the eye unsympathetic,
even if bright,--the movements of the face clumsy, like those of the
limbs,--the voice unmusical,--and the enunciation as if the words were
coarse castings, instead of fine carvings. The youth of the other aspect
is commonly slender,--his face is smooth, and apt to be pallid,--his
features are regular and of a certain delicacy,--his eye is bright and
quick,--his lips play over the thought he utters as a pianist's fingers
dance over their music,--and his whole air, though it may be timid, and
even awkward, has nothing clownish. If you are a teacher, you know what
to expect from each of these young men. With equal willingness, the
first will be slow at learning; the second will take to his books as a
pointer or a setter to his field-work.

The first youth is the common country-boy, whose race has been bred to
bodily labor. Nature has adapted the family organization to the kind of
life it has lived. The hands and feet by constant use have got more than
their share of development,--the organs of thought and expression less
than their share. The finer instincts are latent and must be developed.
A youth of this kind is raw material in its first stage of elaboration.
You must not expect too much of any such. Many of them have force of
will and character, and become distinguished in practical life; but very
few of them ever become great scholars. A scholar is almost always the
son of scholars or scholarly persons.

That is exactly what the other young man is. He comes of the _Brahmin
caste of New England_. This is the harmless, inoffensive, untitled
aristocracy to which I have referred, and which I am sure you will
at once acknowledge. There are races of scholars among us, in which
aptitude for learning, and all these marks of it I have spoken of,
are congenital and hereditary. Their names are always on some college
catalogue or other. They break out every generation or two in some
learned labor which calls them up after they seem to have died out. At
last some newer name takes their place, it may be,--but you inquire a
little and you find it is the blood of the Edwardses or the Chauncys or
the Ellerys or some of the old historic scholars, disguised under the
altered name of a female descendant.

I suppose there is not an experienced instructor anywhere in our
Northern States who will not recognize at once the truth of this general
distinction. But the reader who has never been a teacher will very
probably object, that some of our most illustrious public men have come
direct from the homespun-clad class of the people,--and he may, perhaps,
even find a noted scholar or two whose parents were masters of the
English alphabet, but of no other.

It is not fair to pit a few chosen families against the great multitude
of those who are continually working their way up into the intellectual
classes. The results which are habitually reached by hereditary training
are occasionally brought about without it. There are natural filters as
well as artificial ones; and though the great rivers are commonly more
or less turbid, if you will look long enough, you may find a spring that
sparkles as no water does which drips through your apparatus of sands
and sponges. So there are families which refine themselves into
intellectual aptitude without having had much opportunity for
intellectual acquirements. A series of felicitous crosses develops an
improved strain of blood, and reaches its maximum perfection at last in
the large uncombed youth who goes to college and startles the hereditary
class-leaders by striding past them all. That is Nature's republicanism;
thank God for it, but do not let it make you illogical. The race of the
hereditary scholar has exchanged a certain portion of its animal vigor
for its new instincts, and it is hard to lead men without a good deal of
animal vigor. The scholar who comes by Nature's special grace from an
unworn stock of broad-chested sires and deep-bosomed mothers must always
overmatch an equal intelligence with a compromised and lowered vitality.
A man's breathing and digestive apparatus (one is tempted to add
_muscular_) are just as important to him on the floor of the Senate as
his thinking organs. You broke down in your great speech, did you? Yes,
your grandfather had an attack of dyspepsia in '82, after working too
hard on his famous Election Sermon. All this does not touch the main
fact: our scholars come chiefly from a privileged order, just as our
best fruits come from well-known grafts,--though now and then a seedling
apple, like the Northern Spy, or a seedling pear, like the Seckel,
springs from a nameless ancestry and grows to be the pride of all the
gardens in the land.

Let me introduce you to a young man who belongs to the Brahmin caste of
New England.


CHAPTER II.

THE STUDENT AND HIS CERTIFICATE.


Bernard C. Langdon, a young man attending Medical Lectures at the school
connected with one of our principal colleges, remained after the Lecture
one day and wished to speak with the Professor. He was a student of
mark,--first favorite of his year, as they say of the Derby colts.
There are in every class half a dozen bright faces to which the teacher
naturally directs his discourse, and by the intermediation of whose
attention he seems to hold that of the mass of listeners. Among these
some one is pretty sure to take the lead, by virtue of a personal
magnetism, or some peculiarity of expression, which places the face in
quick sympathetic relations with the lecturer. This was a young man
with such a face; and I found,--for you have guessed that I was the
"Professor" above-mentioned,--that, when there was anything difficult to
be explained, or when I was bringing out some favorite illustration of a
nice point, (as, for instance, when I compared the cell-growth, by which
Nature builds up a plant or an animal, to the glass-blower's similar
mode of beginning,--always with a hollow sphere, or vesicle, whatever he
is going to make,) I naturally looked in his face and gauged my success
by its expression.

It was a handsome face,--a little too pale, perhaps, and would have
borne something more of fulness without becoming heavy. I put the
organization to which it belongs in Section C of Class 1 of my
Anglo-American Anthropology (unpublished). The jaw in this class is but
_slightly_ narrowed,--just enough to make the width of the forehead tell
more decidedly. The moustache often grows vigorously, but the whiskers
are thin. The skin is like that of Jacob, rather than like Esau's. One
string of the animal nature has been taken away, but this gives only a
greater predominance to the intellectual chords. To see just how the
vital energy has been toned down, you must contrast one of this section
with a specimen of Section A of the same class,--say, for instance, one
of the old-fashioned, full-whiskered, red-faced, roaring-big Commodores
of the last generation, whom you remember, at least by their portraits,
in ruffled shirts, looking as hearty as butchers and as plucky as
bull-terriers, with their hair combed straight up from their foreheads,
which were not commonly very high or broad. The special form of physical
life I have been describing gives you a right to expect more delicate
perceptions and a more reflective nature than you commonly find in
shaggy-throated men, clad in heavy suits of muscles.

The student lingered in the lecture-room, looking all the time as if he
wanted to say something in private, and waiting for two or three others,
who were still hanging about, to be gone.

Something is wrong!--I said to myself, when I noticed his
expression.--Well, Mr. Langdon,--I said to him, when we were alone,--can
I do anything for you to-day?

You can, Sir,--he said.--I am going to leave the class, for the present,
and keep school.

Why, that's a pity, and you so near graduating! You'd better stay and
finish this course, and take your degree in the spring, rather than
break up your whole plan of study.

I can't help myself, Sir,--the young man answered.--There's trouble at
home, and they cannot keep me here as they have done. So I must look out
for myself for a while. It's what I've done before, and am ready to do
again. I came to ask you for a certificate of my fitness to teach a
common school, or a high school, if you think I am up to that. Are you
willing to give it to me?

Willing? Yes, to be sure,--but I don't want you to go. Stay; we'll make
it easy for you. There's a fund will do something for you, perhaps. Then
you can take both the annual prizes, if you like,--and claim them in
money, if you want that more than medals.

I have thought it all over,--he answered,--and have pretty much made up
my mind to go.

A perfectly gentlemanly young man, of courteous address and mild
utterance, but means at least as much as he says. There are some people
whose rhetoric consists of a slight habitual understatement. I often
tell Mrs. Professor that one of her "I think it's sos" is worth the
Bible-oath of all the rest of the household that they "know it's so."
When you find a person a little better than his word, a little more
liberal than his promise, a little more than borne out in his statement
by his facts, a little larger in deed than in speech, you recognize a
kind of eloquence in that person's utterance not laid down in Blair or
Campbell.

This was a proud fellow, self-trusting, sensitive, with
family-recollections that made him unwilling to accept the kind of aid
which many students--would have thankfully welcomed. I knew him too well
to urge him, after the few words which implied that he was determined
to go. Besides, I have great confidence in young men who believe in
themselves, and are accustomed to rely on their own resources from an
early period. When a resolute young fellow steps up to the great bully,
the World, and takes him boldly by the beard, he is often surprised to
find it come off in his hand, and that it was only tied on to scare away
timid adventurers. I have seen young men more than once, who came to a
great city without a single friend, support themselves and pay for their
education, lay up money in a few years, grow rich enough to travel, and
establish themselves in life, without ever asking a dollar of any person
which they had not earned. But these are exceptional cases. There are
horse-tamers, born so, as we all know; there are woman-tamers who
bewitch the sex as the pied piper bedeviled the children of Hamelin; and
there are world-tamers, who can make any community, even a Yankee one,
get down and let them jump on its back as easily as Mr. Rarey saddled
Cruiser.

Whether Langdon was of this sort or not I could not say positively; but
he had spirit, and, as I have said, a family-pride which would not let
him be dependent. The New England Brahmin caste often gets blended with
connections of political influence or commercial distinction. It is a
charming thing for the scholar, when his fortune carries him in this way
into some of the "old families" who have fine old houses, and city-lots
that have risen in the market, and names written in all the stock-books
of all the dividend-paying companies. His narrow study expands into a
stately library, his books are counted by thousands instead of hundreds,
and his favorites are dressed in gilded calf in place of plebeian
sheepskin or its pauper substitutes of cloth and paper.

The Reverend Jedediah Langdon, grandfather of our young gentleman, had
made an advantageous alliance of this kind. Miss Dorothea Wentworth had
read one of his sermons which had been printed "by request," and became
deeply interested in the young author, whom she had never seen. Out of
this circumstance grew a correspondence, an interview, a declaration, a
matrimonial alliance, and a family of half a dozen children. Wentworth
Langdon, Esquire, was the oldest of these, and lived in the old
family-mansion. Unfortunately, that principle of the diminution of
estates by division, to which I have referred, rendered it somewhat
difficult to maintain the establishment upon the fractional income
which the proprietor received from his share of the property. Wentworth
Langdon, Esq., represented a certain intermediate condition of life
not at all infrequent in our old families. He was the connecting link
between the generation which lived in ease, and even a kind of state,
upon its own resources, and the new brood, which must live mainly by its
wits or industry, and make itself rich, or shabbily subside into that
lower stratum known to social geologists by a deposit of Kidderminster
carpets and the peculiar aspect of the fossils constituting the family
furniture and wardrobe. This _slack-water_ period of a race, which comes
before the rapid ebb of its prosperity, is familiar to all who live in
cities. There are no more quiet, inoffensive people than these children
of rich families, just above the necessity of active employment, yet
not in a condition to place their own children advantageously, if they
happen to have families. Many of them are content to live unmarried.
Some mend their broken fortunes by prudent alliances, and some leave a
numerous progeny to pass into the obscurity from which their ancestors
emerged; so that you may see on hand-carts and cobblers' stalls names
which, a few generations back, were upon parchments with broad seals,
and tombstones with armorial bearings.

In a large city, this class of citizens are familiar to us in the
streets. They are very courteous in their salutations; they have
time enough to bow and take their hats off,--which, of course, no
business-man can afford to do. Their beavers are smoothly brushed, and
their boots well polished; all their appointments are tidy; they look
the respectable walking gentleman to perfection. They are prone to
habits,--to frequent reading-rooms, insurance-offices,--to walk the same
streets at the same hours,--so that one becomes familiar with their
faces and persons, as a part of the street-furniture.

There is one curious circumstance, that all city-people must have
noticed, which is often illustrated in our experience of the slack-water
gentry. We shall know a certain person by his looks, familiarly, for
years, but never have learned his name. About this person we shall have
accumulated no little circumstantial knowledge;--thus, his face, figure,
gait, his mode of dressing, of saluting, perhaps even of speaking, may
be familiar to us; yet who he is we know not. In another department of
our consciousness, there is a very familiar _name_, which we have never
found the person to match. We have heard it so often, that it has
idealized itself, and become one of that multitude of permanent shapes
which walk the chambers of the brain in velvet slippers in the company
of Falstaff and Hamlet and General Washington and Mr. Pickwick.
Sometimes the person dies, but the name lives on indefinitely. But now
and then it happens, perhaps after years of this independent existence
of the name and its shadowy image in the brain, on the one part, and the
person and all its real attributes, as we see them daily, on the other,
that some accident reveals their relation, and we find the name we have
carried so long in our memory belongs to the person we have known so
long as a fellow-citizen. Now the slack-water gentry are among the
persons most likely to be the subjects of this curious divorce of title
and reality,--for the reason, that, playing no important part in the
community, there is nothing to tie the floating name to the actual
individual, as is the case with the men who belong in any way to the
public, while yet their names have a certain historical currency, and we
cannot help meeting them, either in their haunts, or going to and from
them.

To this class belonged Wentworth Langdon, Esq. He had been "dead-headed"
into the world some fifty years ago, and had sat with his hands in
his pockets staring at the show ever since. I shall not tell you, for
reasons before hinted, the whole name of the place in which he lived.
I will only point you in the right direction, by saying that there are
three towns lying in a line with each other, as you go "down East," each
of them with a _Port_ in its name, and each of them having a peculiar
interest which gives it individuality, in addition to the Oriental
character they have in common. I need not tell you that these towns are
Newburyport, Portsmouth, and Portland. The Oriental character they have
in common consists in their large, square, palatial mansions, with sunny
gardens round them. The two first have seen better days. They are in
perfect harmony with the condition of weakened, but not impoverished,
gentility. Each of them is a "paradise of demi-fortunes." Each of them
is of that intermediate size between a village and a city which any
place has outgrown when the presence of a well-dressed stranger walking
up and down the main street ceases to be a matter of public curiosity
and private speculation, as frequently happens, during the busier months
of the year, in considerable commercial centres like Salem. They both
have grand old recollections to fall back upon,--times when they looked
forward to commercial greatness, and when the portly gentlemen in cocked
hats, who built their decaying wharves and sent out their ships all over
the world, dreamed that their fast-growing port was to be the Tyre or
the Carthage of the rich British Colony. Great houses, like Lord Timothy
Dexter's, in Newburyport, remain as evidence of the fortunes amassed
in these places of old. Other mansions--like the Rockingham House in
Portsmouth (look at the white horse's tail before you mount the broad
staircase) show that there was not only wealth, but style and state,
in these quiet old towns during the last century. It is not with any
thought of pity or depreciation that we speak of them as in a certain
sense decayed towns; they did not fulfil their early promise of
expansion, but they remain incomparably the most interesting places of
their size in any of the three northernmost New England States. They
have even now prosperity enough to keep them in good condition, and
offer the most attractive residences for quiet families, which, if they
had been English, would have lived in a _palazzo_ at Genoa or Pisa, or
some other Continental Newburyport or Portsmouth.

As for the last of the three Ports, or Portland, it is getting too
prosperous to be as attractive as its less northerly neighbors. Meant
for a fine old town, to ripen like a Cheshire cheese within its walls
of ancient rind, burrowed by crooked alleys and mottled with venerable
mould, it seems likely to sacrifice its mellow future to a vulgar
material prosperity. Still it remains invested with many of its old
charms, as yet, and will forfeit its place among this admirable trio
only when it gets a hotel with unequivocal marks of having been built
and organized in the present century.

----It was one of the old square palaces of the North, in which Bernard
Langdon, the son of Wentworth, was born. If he had had the luck to be
an only child, he might have lived as his father had done, letting his
meagre competence smoulder on almost without consuming, like the fuel
in an air-tight stove. But after Master Bernard came Miss Dorothea
Wentworth Langdon, and then Master William Pepperell Langdon, and
others, equally well named,--a string of them, looking, when they stood
in a row in prayer-time, as if they would fit a set of Pandean pipes, of
from three feet upward in dimensions. The door of the air-tight store
has to be opened, under such circumstances, you may well suppose! So it
happened that our young man had been obliged, from an early period, to
do something to support himself, and found himself stopped short in his
studies by the inability of the good people at home to furnish him the
present means of support as a student.

You will understand now why the young man wanted me to give him a
certificate of his fitness to teach, and why. I did not choose to urge
him to accept the aid which a meek country-boy from a family without
ante-Revolutionary recollections would have thankfully received. Go he
must,--that was plain enough. He would not be content otherwise. He was
not, however, to give up his studies; and as it is customary to allow
_half-time_ to students engaged in school-keeping,--that is, to count
a year, so employed, if the student also keep on with his professional
studies, as equal to six months of the three years he is expected to
be under an instructor before applying for his degree,--he would not
necessarily lose more than a few months of time. He had a small library
of professional books, which he could take with him.

So he left my teaching and that of my estimable colleagues, carrying
with him my certificate, that Mr. Bernard C. Langdon was a young
gentleman of excellent moral character, of high intelligence and good
education, and that his services would be of great value in any school,
academy, or other institution, where young persons of either sex were to
be instructed.

I confess, that expression, "either sex," ran a little thick, as I
may say, from my pen. For, although the young man bore a very fair
character, and there was no special cause for doubting his discretion,
I considered him altogether too good-looking, in the first place, to be
let loose in a room-full of young girls. I didn't want him to fall in
love just then,--and if half a dozen girls fell in love with him, as
they most assuredly would, if brought into too near relations with him,
why, there was no telling what gratitude and natural sensibility might
bring about.

Certificates are, for the most part, like ostrich-eggs; the giver never
knows what is hatched out of them. But once in a thousand times they
act as curses are said to,--come home to roost. Give them often enough,
until it gets to be a mechanical business, and, some day or other, you
will get caught warranting somebody's ice not to melt in any climate, or
somebody's razors to be safe in the hands of the youngest children.

I had an uneasy feeling, after giving this certificate. It might be all
right enough; but if it happened to end badly, I should always reproach
myself. There was a chance, certainly, that it would lead him or others
into danger or wretchedness. Any one who looked at this young man could
not fail to see that he was capable of fascinating and being fascinated.
Those large, dark eyes of his would sink into the white soul of a
young girl as the black cloth sunk into the snow in Franklin's famous
experiment. Or, on the other hand, if the rays of a passionate nature
should ever be concentrated on them, they would be absorbed into the
very depths of his nature, and then his blood would turn to flame and
burn his life out of him, until his cheeks grew as white as the ashes
that cover a burning coal.

I wish I had not said _either sex_ in my certificate. An academy for
young gentlemen, now; that sounds cool and unimaginative. A boys'
school; that would be a very good place for him;--some of them are
pretty rough, but there is nerve enough in that old Wentworth blood; he
can give any country fellow, of the common stock, twenty pounds, and hit
him out of time in ten minutes. But to send such a young fellow as that
out a girl's-nesting! to give this falcon a free pass into all the
dove-cotes! I was a fool,--that's all.

I brooded over the mischief which might come out of these two words
until it seemed to me that they were charged with destiny. I could
hardly sleep for thinking what a train I might have been laying, which
might take a spark any day, and blow up nobody knows whose peace or
prospects. What I dreaded most was one of those miserable matrimonial
misalliances where a young fellow who does not know himself as yet
flings his magnificent future into the checked apron-lap of some
fresh-faced, half-bred country-girl, no more fit to be mated with him
than her father's horse to go in double harness with Flora Temple. To
think of the eagle's wings being clipped so that he shall not ever
lift himself over the farm-yard fence! Such things happen, and always
must,--because, as one of us said awhile ago, a man always loves
a woman, and a woman a man, unless some good reason exists to the
contrary. You think yourself a very fastidious young man, my friend; but
there are probably at least five thousand young women in these United
States, any one of whom you would certainly marry, if you were thrown
much into her company, and nobody more attractive were near, and she had
no objection. And you, my dear young lady, justly pride yourself on your
discerning delicacy; but if I should say that there are twenty thousand
young men, any one of whom, if he offered his hand and heart under
favorable circumstances, you would

  "First endure, then pity, then embrace,"

I should be much more imprudent than I mean to be, and you would, no
doubt, throw down a story in which I hope to interest you.

I had settled it in my mind that this young fellow had a career marked
out for him. He should begin in the natural way, by taking care of poor
patients in one of the public charities, and work his way up to a better
kind of practice,--better, that is, in the vulgar, worldly sense. The
great and good Boerhaave used to say, as I remember very well, that the
poor were his best patients; for God was their paymaster. But everybody
is not as patient as Boerhaave, nor as deserving; so that the rich,
though not, perhaps, the best patients, are good enough for common
practitioners. I suppose Boerhaave put up with them when he could not
get poor ones, as he left his daughter two millions of florins when he
died.

Now if this young man once got into the _wide streets_, he would sweep
them clear of his rivals of the same standing; and as I was getting
indifferent to business, and old Dr. Kilham was growing careless, and
had once or twice prescribed morphine when he meant quinine, there would
soon he an opening into the Doctors' Paradise,--the _streets with only
one side to them_. Then I would have him strike a bold stroke,--set up a
nice little coach, and be driven round like a London first-class doctor,
instead of coasting about in a shabby one-horse concern and casting
anchor opposite his patients' doors like a Cape-Ann fishing-smack. By
the time he was thirty, he would have knocked the social pawns out of
his way, and be ready to challenge a wife from the row of great pieces
in the background. I would not have a man marry above his level, so as
to become the appendage of a powerful family-connection; but I would not
have him marry until he knew his level,--that is, again, looking at the
matter in a purely worldly point of view, and not taking the sentiments
at all into consideration. But remember, that a young man, using large
endowments wisely and fortunately, may put himself on a level with the
highest in the land in ten brilliant years of spirited, unflagging
labor. And even to stand at the very top of your calling in a great city
is something,--that is, if you like money and influence, and a seat on
the platform at public lectures, and gratuitous tickets to all sorts of
places where you don't want to go, and, what is a good deal better than
any of these things, a sense of power, limited, it may be, but absolute
in its range, so that all the Caesars and Napoleons would have to
stand aside, if they came between you and the exercise of your special
vocation.

That is what I thought this young fellow might have come to; and now I
have let him go off into the country with my certificate, that he is fit
to teach in a school for either sex! Ten to one he will run like a moth
into a candle, right into one of those girls'-nests, and get tangled up
in some sentimental folly or other, and there will be the end of him.
Oh, yes! country doctor,--half a dollar a visit,--ride, ride, ride all
day,--get up at night and harness your own horse,--ride again ten miles
in a snow-storm,--shake powders out of two phials, (_pulv. glycyrrhiz.,
pulv. gum. acac. aa: partes equates_,)--ride back again, if you don't
happen to get stuck in a drift,--no home, no peace, no continuous meals,
no unbroken sleep, no Sunday, no holiday, no social intercourse, but one
eternal jog, jog, jog, in a sulky, until you feel like the mummy of an
Indian who had been buried in the sitting posture, and was dug up a
hundred years afterwards! "Why didn't I warn him about love and all
that nonsense?" Why didn't I tell him he had nothing to do with it, yet
awhile? Why didn't I hold up to him those awful examples I could have
cited, where poor young fellows that could just keep themselves afloat
have hung a matrimonial millstone round their necks, taking it for a
life-preserver?

All this of two words in a certificate!



ANDENKEN.


  I.


  Through the silent streets of the city,
  In the night's unbusy noon,
  Up and down in the pallor
  Of the languid summer moon,

  I wander and think of the village,
  And the house in the maple-gloom,
  And the porch with the honeysuckles
  And the sweet-brier all abloom.

  My soul is sick with the fragrance
  Of the dewy sweet-brier's breath:
  Oh, darling! the house is empty,
  And lonesomer than death!

  If I call, no one will answer;
  If I knock, no one will come;--
  The feet are at rest forever,
  And the lips are cold and dumb.

  The summer moon is shining
  So wan and large and still,
  And the weary dead are sleeping
  In the graveyard under the hill.


  II.


  We looked at the wide, white circle
  Around the autumn moon,
  And talked of the change of weather,--
  It would rain, to-morrow, or soon.

  And the rain came on the morrow,
  And beat the dying leaves
  From the shuddering boughs of the maples
  Into the flooded eaves.

  The clouds wept out their sorrow;
  But in my heart the tears
  Are bitter for want of weeping,
  In all these autumn years.


  III.


  It is sweet to lie awake musing
  On all she has said and done,
  To dwell on the words she uttered,
  To feast on the smiles I won,

  To think with what passion at parting
  She gave me my kisses again,--
  Dear adieux, and tears and caresses,--
  Oh, love! was it joy or pain?

  To brood, with a foolish rapture,
  On the thought that it must be
  My darling this moment is waking
  With tenderest thoughts of me!

  O sleep I are thy dreams any sweeter?
  I linger before thy gate:
  We must enter at it together,
  And my love is loath and late.


  IV.


  The bobolink sings in the meadow,
  The wren in the cherry-tree:
  Come hither, thou little maiden,
  And sit upon my knee;

  And I will tell thee a story
  I read in a book of rhyme;--
  I will but feign that it happened
  To me, one summer-time,

  When we walked through the meadow,
  And she and I were young;--
  The story is old and weary
  With being said and sung.

  The story is old and weary;--
  Ah, child! is it known to thee?
  Who was it that last night kissed thee
  Under the cherry-tree?


  V.


  Like a bird of evil presage,
  To the lonely house on the shore
  Came the wind with a tale of shipwreck,
  And shrieked at the bolted door,

  And flapped its wings in the gables,
  And shouted the well-known names,
  And buffeted the windows
  Afeard in their shuddering frames.

  It was night, and it is daytime,--
  The morning sun is bland,
  The white-cap waves come rocking, rocking,
  In to the smiling land.

  The white-cap waves come rocking, rocking,
  In the sun so soft and bright,
  And toss and play with the dead man
  Drowned in the storm last night.


  VI.


  I remember the burning brushwood,
  Glimmering all day long
  Yellow and weak in the sunlight,
  Now leaped up red and strong,

  And fired the old dead chestnut,
  That all our years had stood,
  Gaunt and gray and ghostly,
  Apart from the sombre wood;

  And, flushed with sudden summer,
  The leafless boughs on high
  Blossomed in dreadful beauty
  Against the darkened sky.

  We children sat telling stories,
  And boasting what we should be,
  When we were men like our fathers,
  And watched the blazing tree,

  That showered its fiery blossoms,
  Like a rain of stars, we said,
  Of crimson and azure and purple.
  That night, when I lay in bed,

  I could not sleep for seeing,
  Whenever I closed my eyes,
  The tree in its dazzling splendor
  Against the darkened skies.

  I cannot sleep for seeing,
  With closed eyes to-night,
  The tree in its dazzling splendor
  Dropping its blossoms bright;

  And old, old dreams of childhood
  Come thronging my weary brain.
  Dear foolish beliefs and longings;--
  I doubt, are they real again?

  It is nothing, and nothing, and nothing,
  That I either think or see;--
  The phantoms of dead illusions
  To-night are haunting me.



CENTRAL BRITISH AMERICA.


Even before the announcement of the discovery of gold upon the Frazer
River and its tributaries, the people of Canada West had induced the
Parliament of England to institute the inquiry, whether the region of
British America, extending from Lakes Superior and Winnipeg to the Rocky
Mountains, is not adapted by fertility of soil, a favorable climate,
and natural advantages of internal communication, for the support of a
prosperous colony of England.

The Parliamentary investigation had a wider scope. The select committee
of the House of Commons was appointed "to consider the state of those
British possessions in North America which are under the administration
of the Hudson Bay Company, or over which they possess a license to
trade"; and therefore witnesses were called to the organization and
management of the Company itself, as well as the natural features of the
country under its administration.

On the 31st of July, 1857, the committee reported a large body of
testimony, but without any decisive recommendations. They "apprehend
that the districts on the Red River and the Saskatchewan are among those
most likely to be desired for early occupation," and "trust that there
will be no difficulty in effecting arrangements between her Majesty's
government and the Hudson Bay Company, by which those districts may be
ceded to Canada on equitable principles, and within the districts thus
annexed to her the authority of the Hudson Bay Company would of course
entirely cease." They deemed it "proper to terminate the connection
of the Hudson Bay Company with Vancouver Island as soon as it could
conveniently be done, as the best means of favoring the development of
the great natural advantages of that important colony; and that means
should also be provided for the ultimate extension of the colony
over any portion of the adjacent continent, to the west of the Rocky
Mountains, on which permanent settlement may be found practicable."

These suggestions indicate a conviction that the zone of the North
American continent between latitudes 49° and 55°, embracing the Red
River and the Saskatchewan districts, east of the Rocky Mountains, and
the area on their western slope, since organized as British Columbia,
was, in the judgment of the committee, suitable for permanent
settlement. As to the territory north of the parallel of 55°, an opinion
was intimated, that the organization of the Hudson's Bay Company was
best adapted to the condition of the country and its inhabitants.

Within a year after the publication of this report, a great change
passed over the North Pacific coast. The gold discovery on Frazer's
River occurred; the Pacific populations flamed with excitement; British
Columbia was promptly organized as a colony of England; and, amid
the acclamations of Parliament and people, Sir Edward Bulwer Lytton
proclaimed, in the name of the government, the policy of continuous
colonies from Lake Superior to the Pacific, and a highway across British
America, as the most direct route from London to Pekin or Jeddo.

The eastern boundary of British Columbia was fixed upon the Rocky
Mountains. The question recurred, with great force, What shall be the
destiny of the fertile plains of the Saskatchewan and the Red River of
the North? Canada pushed forward an exploration of the route from Fort
William, on Lake Superior, to Fort Garry, on the Red River, and, under
the direction of S.J. Dawson, Esq., civil engineer, and Professor J.Y.
Hinde, gave to the world an impartial and impressive summary of the
great natural resources of the basin of Lake Winnipeg. The merchants of
New York were prompt to perceive the advantages of connecting the Erie
Canal and the Great Lakes--with the navigable channels of Northwest
America, now become prominent and familiar designations of commercial
geography. A report to the New York Chamber of Commerce very distinctly
corrected the erroneous impression, that the valleys of the Mississippi
and St. Lawrence rivers exhausted the northern and central areas which
are available for agriculture. "There is in the heart of North America,"
said the report, "a distinct subdivision, of which Lake Winnipeg may
be regarded as the centre. This subdivision, like the valley of the
Mississippi, is distinguished for the fertility of its soil, and for the
extent and gentle slope of its great plains, watered by rivers of great
length, and admirably adapted for steam-navigation. It has a climate not
exceeding in severity that of many portions of Canada and the Eastern
States. It will, in all respects, compare favorably with some of the
most densely peopled portions of the continent of Europe. In other
words, it is admirably fitted to become the seat of a numerous,
hardy, and prosperous community. It has an area equal to eight or ten
first-class American States. Its great river, the Saskatchewan, carries
a navigable water-line to the very base of the Rocky Mountains. It is
not at all improbable that the valley of this river may yet offer the
best route for a railroad to the Pacific. The navigable waters of this
great subdivision interlock with those of the Mississippi. The Red River
of the North, in connection with Lake Winnipeg, into which it falls,
forms a navigable water-line, extending directly north and south nearly
eight hundred miles. The Red River is one of the best adapted to the use
of steam in the world, and waters one of the finest prairie regions on
the continent. Between the highest point at which it is navigable, and
St. Paul, on the Mississippi, a railroad is in process of construction;
and when this road is completed, another grand division of the
continent, comprising half a million square miles, will be open to
settlement."

The sanguine temper of these remarks illustrates the rapid progress
of public sentiment since the date of the Parliamentary inquiry, only
eighteen months before. Of the same tenor, though fuller in details,
were the publications on the subject in Canada and even in England. The
year 1859 opened with greatly augmented interest in the district of
Central British America. The manifestation of this interest varied with
localities and circumstances.

In Canada, no opportunity was omitted, either in Parliament or by the
press, to demonstrate the importance to the Atlantic and Lake Provinces
of extending settlements into the prairies of Assinniboin and
Saskatchewan,--thereby affording advantages to Provincial commerce and
manufactures like those which the communities of the Mississippi valley
have conferred upon the older American States. Nevertheless, the
Canadian government declined to institute proceedings before the English
Court of Chancery or Queen's Bench, to determine the validity of the
charter of the Hudson's Bay Company,--assigning, as reasons for not
acceding to such a suggestion by the law-officers of the crown, that
the proposed litigation might be greatly protracted, while the public
interests involved were urgent,--and that the duty of a prompt and
definite adjustment of the condition and relations of the Red River
and Saskatchewan districts was manifestly incumbent upon the Imperial
authority.

This decision, added to the indisposition of Lower Canada to the policy
of westward expansion, is understood to have convinced Sir E.B. Lytton
that annexation of the Winnipeg basin to Canada was impracticable, and
that the exclusive occupation by the Hudson's Bay Company could be
removed only by the organization of a separate colony. The founder of
British Columbia devoted the latter portion of his administration of
the Colonial Office to measures for the satisfactory arrangement of
conflicting interests in British America. In October, 1858, he proposed
to the directors of the Hudson's Bay Company that they should be
consenting parties to a reference of questions respecting the validity
and extent of their charter, and respecting the geographical extent of
their territory, to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. The
Company "reasserted their right to the privileges granted to them by
their charter of incorporation," and refused to be a consenting party to
any proceeding which might call in question their chartered rights.

Under date of November 3, 1858, Lord Caernarvon, Secretary of State for
the Colonies, by the direction of Sir E.B. Lytton, returned a dispatch,
the tenor of which is a key not only to Sir Edward's line of policy,
but, in all probability, to that of his successor, the Duke of
Newcastle. Lord Caernarvon began by expressing the disappointment and
regret with which Sir E.B. Lytton had received the communication,
containing, if he understood its tenor correctly, a distinct refusal on
the part of the Hudson's Bay Company to entertain any proposal with a
view of adjusting the conflicting claims of Great Britain, of Canada,
and of the Company, or to join with her Majesty's government in
affording reasonable facilities for the settlement of the questions in
which Imperial no less than Colonial interests were involved. It had
been his anxious desire to come to some equitable and conciliatory
agreement, by which all legitimate claims of the Company should be
fairly considered with reference to the territories or the privileges
they might be required to surrender. He suggested that such a procedure,
while advantageous to the interests of all parties, might prove
particularly for the interest of the Hudson's Bay Company. "It
would afford a tribunal preeminently fitted for the dispassionate
consideration of the questions at issue; it would secure a decision
which would probably be rather of the nature of an arbitration than of
a judgment; and it would furnish a basis of negotiation on which
reciprocal concession and the claims for compensation could be most
successfully discussed."

With such persuasive reiteration, Lord Caernarvon, in the name and at
the instance of Sir E.B. Lytton, insisted that the wisest and most
dignified course would be found in an appeal to and a decision by the
Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, with the concurrence alike of
Canada and the Hudson's Bay Company. In conclusion, the Company were
once more assured, that, if they would meet Sir E.B. Lytton in finding
the solution of a recognized difficulty, and would undertake to give all
reasonable facilities for trying the validity of their disputed charter,
they might be assured that they would meet with fair and liberal
treatment, so far as her Majesty's government was concerned; but if,
on the other hand, the Company persisted in declining these terms, and
could suggest no other practicable mode of agreement, Sir E.B. Lytton
held himself acquitted of further responsibility to the interests of
the Company, and proposed to take the necessary steps for closing a
controversy too long open, and for securing a definitive decision, due
alike to the material development of British North America and to the
requirements of an advancing civilization.

The communication of Lord Caernarvon stated in addition, that, in the
case last supposed, the renewal of the exclusive license to trade in
any part of the Indian territory--a renewal which could be justified
to Parliament only as part of a general agreement adjusted on the
principles of mutual concession--would become impossible.

These representations failed to influence the Company. The
Deputy-Governor, Mr. H.H. Barens, responded, that, as, in 1850, the
Company had assented to an inquiry before the Privy Council into the
legality of certain powers claimed and exercised by them under their
charter, but not questioning the validity of the charter itself, so, at
this time, if the reference to the Privy Council were restricted to the
question of the geographical extent of the territory claimed by the
Company, in accordance with a proposition made in July, 1857, by Mr.
Labouchere, then Secretary of State for the Colonies, the directors
would recommend to their shareholders to concur in the course suggested;
but must decline to do so, if the inquiry involved not merely the
question of the geographical boundary of the territories claimed by
them, but a challenge of the validity of the charter itself, and, as a
consequence, of the rights and privileges which it professed to grant,
and which the Company had exercised for a period of nearly two hundred
years. Mr. Barens professed that the Company had at all times been
willing to entertain any proposal that might be made to them for the
surrender of any of their rights or of any portion of their territory;
but he regarded it as one thing to consent for a consideration to be
agreed upon to the surrender of admitted rights, and quite another to
volunteer a consent to an inquiry which should call those rights in
question.

A result of this correspondence has been the definite refusal of the
Crown to renew the exclusive license to trade in Indian territory.
The license had been twice granted to the Company, under an act of
Parliament authorizing it, for periods of twenty-one years,--once
in 1821, and again in 1838. It expired on the 30th of May, 1859. In
consequence of this refusal, the Company must depend exclusively upon
the terms of their charter for their special privileges in British
America. The charter dates from 1670,--a grant by Charles II. to Prince
Rupert and his associates, "adventurers of England, trading into
Hudson's Bay,"--and is claimed to give the right of exclusive trade and
of territorial dominion to Hudson's Bay and tributary rivers. By the
expiration of the exclusive license of Indian trade, and the termination
in 1859 of the lease of Vancouver's Island from the British government,
the sway and influence of the Company are greatly restricted, and the
feasibility of some permanent adjustment is proportionately increased.

There is no necessity for repeating here the voluminous argument for and
against the charter of the Hudson's Bay Company. The interest of British
colonization in Northwest America far transcends any technical inquiry
of the kind, and the Canadian statesmen are wise in declining to relieve
the English cabinet from the obligation to act definitely and speedily
upon the subject. The organization of the East India Company was no
obstacle to a measure demanded by the honor of England and the welfare
of India; and certainly the parchment of the Second Charles will
not deter any deliberate expression by Parliament in regard to the
colonization of Central British America. Indeed, the managers of the
Hudson's Bay Company are always careful to recognize the probability of
a compromise with the government. The late letter of Mr. Barens to Lord
Caernarvon expressed a willingness, at any time, to entertain proposals
for the surrender of franchises or territory; and in 1848, Sir J.H.
Pelly, Governor of the Company, thus expressed himself in a letter to
Lord Grey:--"As far as I am concerned, (and I think the Company will
concur, if any great national benefit would be expected from it,) I
would be willing to relinquish the whole of the territory held under the
charter on similar terms to those which it is proposed the East India
Company shall receive on the expiration of their charter,--namely,
securing the proprietors an interest on their capital of ten per cent."

At the adjournment of the Canadian Parliament and the retirement of the
Derby Ministry, in the early part of 1859, the position and prospects of
English colonization in Northwest America were as follows:--

1. Vancouver's Island and British Columbia had passed from the
occupation of the Hudson's Bay Company into an efficient colonial
organization. The gold-fields of the interior had been ascertained to
equal in productiveness, and greatly to exceed in extent, those of
California. The prospect for agriculture was no less favorable,--while
the commercial importance of Vancouver and the harbors of Puget's Sound
is unquestionable.

2. The eastern slope of the Rocky Mountains and the valleys of the
Saskatchewan and Red River were shown by explorations, conducted under
the auspices of the London Geographical Society and the Canadian
authorities, to be a district of nearly four hundred thousand square
miles, in which a fertile soil, favorable climate, useful and precious
minerals, fur-bearing and food-yielding animals, in a word, the most
lavish gifts of Nature, constituted highly satisfactory conditions for
the organization and settlement of a prosperous community.

3. In regard to the Hudson's Bay Company, a disposition prevailed not to
disturb its charter, on condition that its directory made no attempts
to enforce an exclusive trade or to interfere with the progress of
settlements. All parties anticipated Parliamentary action. Letters from
London spoke with confidence of a bill, drafted and in circulation
among members of Parliament, for the erection of a colony between Lakes
Superior and Winnipeg and the eastern limits of British Columbia, with
a northern boundary resting on the parallel of 55°; and which, although
postponed by a change of ministry, was understood to represent the views
of the Duke of Newcastle, the successor of Sir E.B. Lytton.

4. In Canada West, a system of communication from Fort William to Fort
Garry, and thence to the Pacific, was intrusted to a company--the
"Northwest Transit"--which was by no means inactive. A mail to Red
River, over the same route, was also sustained from the Canadian
treasury; and Parliament, among the acts of its previous session, had
conceded a charter for a line of telegraph through the valleys of the
Saskatchewan, with a view to an extension to the Pacific coast, and even
to Asiatic Russia.

Simultaneously with these movements in England and Canada, the citizens
of the State of Minnesota, after a winter of active discussion,
announced a determination to introduce steam-navigation on the Red
River of the North. Parties were induced to transport the machinery
and cabins, with timber for the hull of a steamer, from the Upper
Mississippi, near Crow Wing, to the mouth of the Cheyenne, on the Red
River, where the boat was reconstructed. The first voyage of the steamer
was from Fort Abercrombie, an American post two hundred miles northwest
of Saint Paul, _down north_ to Fort Garry, during the month of June. The
reception of the stranger was attended by extraordinary demonstrations
of enthusiasm at Selkirk. The bells of Saint Boniface rang greeting,
and Fort Garry blasted powder, as if the Governor of the Company were
approaching its portal. This unique, but interesting community, fully
appreciated the fact that steam had brought their interests within the
circle of the world's activities.

This incident was the legitimate sequel to events in Minnesota which had
transpired during a period of ten years. Organized as a Territory in
1849, a single decade had brought the population, the resources, and the
public recognition of an American State. A railroad system, connecting
the lines of the Lake States and Provinces at La Crosse with the
international frontier on the Red River at Pembina, was not only
projected, but had secured in aid of its construction a grant by the
Congress of the United States of three thousand eight hundred and
forty acres a mile, and a loan of State credit to the amount of twenty
thousand dollars a mile, not exceeding an aggregate of five million
dollars. Different sections of this important extension of the
Canadian and American railways were under contract and in process of
construction. In addition, the land-surveys of the Federal government
had reached the navigable channel of the Red River; and the line of
frontier settlement, attended by a weekly mail, had advanced to the same
point. Thus the government of the United States, no less than the
people and authorities of Minnesota, were represented in this Northwest
movement.

Still, its consummation rests with the people and Parliament of England.
Sir Edward Bulwer Lytton was prepared with a response to his own
memorable query,--"What will he do with it?" Shall the Liberal party be
less prompt and resolute in advancing the policy, announced from the
throne in 1858, of an uninterrupted series of British colonies across
the continent of North America? This will be determined by the
Parliamentary record of 1860.



ART.

PALMER'S "WHITE CAPTIVE."


Once on a time a maiden dwelt with her father,--they two, and no
more,--in a rude log-cabin on the skirts of a grand old Western
forest,--majestic mountains behind them, and the broad, free prairie in
front.

Cut off from all Christian companionship and the informing influences
of civilized arts, all their news was of red men and of game, their
entertainments the ever-varying moods of Nature, their labors of the
rudest, their dangers familiar, their solacements simple and solitary.
Alone the sturdy hunter beat the woods all day, on the track of
panthers, bears, and deer; alone, all day, his pretty daughter kept the
house against perils without and despondency within,--the gun and the
broom alike familiar to her hand.

Commissioned to illumine the murk wilderness around her with the glow
of her Christian loveliness and faith, Nature had touched her with
inspirations of refinement, with a culture as unconscious as the growing
of the grass, and the clear intuitions of a spiritual life full of
heaven-born inclinations. Nature, too, had endowed her with fine lines
of beauty, attitudes of grace, movements of dignity and love, and all
the charmfulness that had learned its shapes from flowers and its arts
from birds. Nature's officers, the elements, had bestowed on her each
his appropriate gift,--the Air its crispness, the Earth its variety, the
Sun its brightness and its ruddy glow, the very Water from the well its
freshness and its fluent forms; the stars repeated their friendliness in
her eyes, the grass dimpled her pliant feet, the breeze tossed her brown
hair in triumphs of the unstudied becoming, and from the wildness all
about her she had her wit and her delightful ways; Morning lent her her
cheerfulness, Evening her pensiveness, and Night her soul.

But Night, that had given her the Christian soul, true and wise,
self-reliant and aspiring, brought also the surprise and the peril that
should put it to the proof; for once, when the hunter was belated on his
path, and sudden midnight had caught him beyond the mountain, far
from the rest of his hearth and the song of his darling, came the red
Pawnees, a treacherous crew,--doubly godless because ungrateful, who had
broken the hunter's bread and slept on the hunter's blanket,--and laid
waste his hearth, and stole away his very heart. For they dragged her
many a fearful mile of darkness and distraction, through the black
woods, and grim recesses of the rocks; and there they stripped her
naked, and bound her to a stake, as the day was breaking. But the
Christian heart was within her, and the Christian soul upheld her, and
the Christian's God was by her side; and so she stood, and waited, and
was brave.

And here still she stands, as the sculptor's soul sat down before her,
in a vision of faith and tenderness, to receive her image,--stands and
waits for the pity and the help of you and me, her brothers and her
lovers. We long to rescue her and take her to our hearts; we are touched
by her predicament, as Michelet tells us the heart of the beholder is
moved by the bound Andromeda of Puget,--that great artist in whom
dwelt the suffering soul of a depraved age, and who all his life long
sculptured forlorn captives,--"Ah, would I had been there to rescue the
darling!"

But we are told of the Andromeda, that, unconscious and almost dead, she
knows not where she is, nor who has come to set her free; for, paralyzed
by the chafing of her chains, and even more by fear, she cannot stand,
and seems utterly exhausted.

Not so with our Andromeda. Horror possesses her, but indignation also;
she is terrified, but brave; she shrinks, but she repels; and while all
her beautiful body trembles and retreats, her countenance confronts her
captors, and her steady gaze forbids them. "Touch me not!" she says,
with every shuddering limb and every tensely-braced muscle, with
lineaments all eloquent with imperious disgust,--"Touch me not!"

Her lips quiver, and tears are in her eyes, (we do not forget that it
is of marble we are speaking,--there _are_ tears in her eyes,) but they
only linger there; she is not weeping now; her chin trembles, and one of
her hands is convulsively clenched,--but it is with the anguish of her
sore besetting, not the spasm of mortal fear. Though Heaven and Earth,
indeed, might join to help her, we yet know that the soul of the maiden
will help itself,--that her hope clings fast, and her courage is
undaunted, and her faith complete.

Among her thronged emotions we look in vain for shame. Her nakedness is
a coarse chance of her overwhelming situation, for which she is no more
concerned than for her galled wrists or her dishevelled hair. What is it
to such a queen as she, that the eyes of grinning brutes are blessed by
her perfect beauties?

The qualities which constitute true greatness in a statue such as this
are, if we apprehend them aright,--first, that sublime simplicity of
Idea which omnipotently sways the beholder, and alike inspires his
coarseness or his culture; next, that personality, that moving humanness
of feeling, which holds him by his very heart-strings, and makes him
forget its marble, to accept its flesh and blood; and, finally, that
wondrous skill of nice manipulation, which, neglecting nothing in the
myriad of anatomical and physiological details,--not even the faintest
sigh or the dimmest tremor,--tells, fibre by fibre, a tale that all may
read, and comes to us with a story "to hold children from play and old
men from the chimney-corner."

Tried by this definition, we believe the "White Captive" proves its
claim to genuine greatness, and that it will presently take its place,
with the world's consent, in the front rank of modern statues,--good
among the best, in the flesh-and-bloodness and the soul of it. It is
original, it is faithful, it is American; our women may look upon it,
and say, "She is one of us," with more satisfaction than the Greek women
could have derived from the Venus de' Medici, with its insignificant
head and its impossible spine.

Especially true to the American type, as compared in statues with the
familiar Greek, the head of the "White Captive" is large; but that it
is too large, or in excess of the least of a thousand female heads that
have been gathered around it since it was first exposed to the
public scrutiny, we have failed to discover in repeated and careful
examinations; and we are constrained to commend such as may be exercised
on that point to the critical flippancies of the jaunty gentlemen who
find the hips at once too broad and too narrow, the bosom too full and
too young, the arms too meagre and too stout.



FOREST PHOTOGRAPHS.


We call the attention of our readers to a series of twelve photographic
views of forest and lake scenery published by Mr. J.W. Black, Boston,
from negatives taken by Mr. Stillman in the Adirondack country. The
points of view are chosen with the fine feeling of an artist, and the
tangled profusion and grace of the forest, with the moment's whim of
sunfleck and shadow, are given with exquisite delicacy. Whatever
the all-beholding sun could see in those woodland depths we have
here,--sketches of the shaggy Pan snatched at unawares in sleep. One may
study these pictures till he becomes as familiar as a squirrel with fern
and tree-bark and moose-wood and lichen, till he knows every trunk and
twig and leaf as intimately as a sunbeam.



REVIEWS AND LITERARY NOTICES.


_Plutarch's Lives._ The Translation called Dryden's. Corrected from the
Greek, and Revised, by A.H. CLOUGH, sometime Fellow and Tutor of
Oriel College, Oxford, and late Professor of the English Language and
Literature at University College, London. Boston: Little, Brown, &
Company. 1859. Five vols. 8vo.

In these five handsome volumes, we have, at length, a really good
edition in English of Plutarch's Lives. One of the most delightful books
in the world, one of the few universal classics, appears for the first
time in our language in a translation worthy of its merits.

Mr. Clough, whose name is well known, not only by scholars, but also by
the lovers of poetry, has performed the work of editor with admirable
diligence, fidelity, and taste. The labor of revision has been neither
slight nor easy. It has, indeed, amounted to not much less than would
have been required for the making of a new translation. The versions in
the translation that bears Dryden's name, made, as they were, by various
hands, and apparently not submitted to the revision of any competent
scholar, were unequal in execution, and were disfigured by many
mistakes, as well as by much that was slovenly in style. At the time
they were made, scholarship in England was not at a high point. Bentley
had not yet lifted it out of mediocrity, and the translators were not
stimulated by the fear either of severe criticism or of comparison
of their labors with any superior work. The numerous defects of this
translation are spoken of by the Langhornes, in the Preface to their
own, with a somewhat jealous severity, which gives unusual vigor to
their sentences. "The diversities of style," say they, "were not the
greatest fault of this strange translation. It was full of the grossest
errors. Ignorance on the one hand, and hastiness or negligence on the
other, had filled it with absurdities in every Life, and inaccuracies on
almost every page." This is a hard, perhaps an extreme judgment; but it
serves to show the difficulties that would attend a revision of such a
work. These difficulties Mr. Clough has fairly met and overcome. We
do not mean to say that he has reduced the whole book to a perfect
uniformity, or even to entire elegance and exactness of style; but he
has corrected inaccuracies, he has removed the chief marks of negligence
or haste; and, after a careful comparison of a considerable portion of
the work as it now appears with the Greek text, we have no hesitation in
saying that this translation answers not merely to the demands of
modern scholarship, but forms a book at once essentially accurate and
delightful for common reading.[A] We think, moreover, that Mr. Clough
was right in choosing the so-called Dryden's translation as the basis of
his work. Its style is not old enough to have become antiquated, while
yet it possesses much of the savor and raciness of age. The book
is interesting from Dryden's connection with it, but still more
so--considering how slight that connection was, his only contribution to
it being the Life of Plutarch--from the fact, that the translations of
some of the Lives were made by famous men, as that of Alcibiades by Lord
Chancellor Somers, and that of Alexander by the excellent John Evelyn;
while others were made by men who, if not famous, are at least well
remembered by the lovers of the literature of the time,--as that of
Numa by Sir Paul Rycaut, the Turkey merchant, and the continuer of Dr.
Johnson's favorite history of the Turks,--that of Otho by Pope's friend,
the medical poet, Dr. Garth,--that of Solon by Creech, the translator of
Lucretius,--that of Lysander by the Honorable Charles Boyle, whose name
is preserved in the alcohol of Bentley's classical satire,--and that of
Themistocles by Edward, the son of Sir Thomas Browne.

[Footnote A: For the sake of illustration of the care and labor given by
Mr. Clough to the revision, we open at random on the Life of Dion, Vol.
V., p. 291, and, comparing it with the original _Dryden_, we find, that
in ten pages, to the end of the Life, there are but three, and they
short sentences, in which changes of more or less consequence have not
been made. These changes amount sometimes to entire new translation,
sometimes consist merely in the correction of a few words. Throughout,
the hand of the thorough scholar is apparent. The earlier volumes of the
series would, probably, rarely exhibit such considerable alterations.]

But Mr. Clough's labors have not been merely those of reviser and
corrector. He has added greatly to the value of the work by occasional
concise foot-notes, as well as by notes contained in an appendix to each
volume. So excellent, indeed, are these notes, so full of learning and
information, conveyed in an agreeable way, that we cannot but feel a
regret (not often excited by commentators) that their number is not
greater. In addition to these, the fifth volume contains a very
carefully prepared and full Index of Proper Names, which is followed by
a list for reference as to their pronunciation.

When this version, to which Dryden gave his name, was made, there was no
other in English but that of Sir Thomas North, which had been made, not
from the Greek, but from the French of Amyot, and was first published in
1579. It was a good work for its time, and worthy of being dedicated to
Queen Elizabeth, although, as the knight declares, "she could better
understand it in Greek than any man can make it English." Its style is
rather robust than elegant, partaking of the manly vigor of the language
of its time, and now and then exhibiting something of that charm of
quaint simplicity which belongs to its original, Montaigne's favorite
Amyot. "Of all our French writers," says the incomparable essayist,
"I give, with justice, I think, the palm to Jacques Amyot";[B] and
thereupon he goes on to praise the purity of his style, as well as the
depth of his learning and judgment. But, although Amyot had "a true
imagination" of his author, he was not always exact in giving his
meaning. The learned Dr. Guy Patin says: "On dit que M. de Meziriac
avoit corrigé dans son Amyot huit mille fautes, et qu'Amyot n'avoit
pas de bons exemplaires, ou qu'il n'avoit pas bien entendu le Grec de
Plutarque."[C]

[Footnote B: _Essays_, Book II. 4.]

[Footnote C: _Patiniana_.]

Amyot's eight thousand errors were not diminished in passing into Sir
Thomas North's English; but their number mattered little to the readers
of those days, who found in the thick folio enough of interest to spare
them from making inquiry as to the exactness of its rendering of the
meaning of Plutarch. From the time of its first publication, for more
than a hundred years, it was one of the most popular books of the
period, as was proved by the appearance of six successive editions in
folio.[D] Some of these clumsy volumes may, no doubt, have been put
to uses as ignoble as that which Chrysale, in "Les Femmes Savantes,"
suggests for his sister's similar copy of Amyot:--

  "Vos livres éternels ne me contentent pas;
  Et, hors un gros Plutarque à mettre mes rabats,
  Vous devriez bruler tout ce meuble inutile";--

but duller books of the same size, of which there were many in those
days of patient readers, would have had an equal value for such
economical purposes as this, and "The Lives of the Noble Grecians and
Romans by that Grave Learned Philosopher & Historiographer Plutarch"
were too entertaining to young and old to be left for any length of time
quietly upon the shelf. They were the familiar reading of boys who
were to become the actors in the great drama of the Rebellion and the
Commonwealth, or who a little later were to frequent the dissolute court
of Charles, presenting in their own lives, whether in camp or court, as
patriots or as traitors, parallels to those which they had read in the
weighty pages of the old biographer.

[Footnote D: In 1579, 1595, 1602, 1631, 1657, 1676. Mr. Hooper, in his
Introduction to Chapman's Homer, London, 1857, says, that "the edition
of 1657 was published under the superintendence of the illustrious
Selden." We do not know his authority for this statement. The fact, if
it be one, is very remarkable, as Selden's death took place in 1654.]

Nor in more recent times has North's version failed of admirers. Godwin
declared, that, till this book fell into his hands, he had no genuine
feeling of Plutarch's merits, or knowledge of what sort of a writer he
was. But the chief interest of this translation at the present day,
except what it possesses as a storehouse of good mother-English, comes
from the fact that it was one of the books of Shakespeare's moderate
library, and one which he had thoroughly read, as is manifest from the
use that he made of it in his own works, especially in "Coriolanus,"
"Julius Caesar," and "Antony and Cleopatra." It was from the worthy
knight's folio that he got much of his little Latin and less Greek. He
helped himself freely to what was to his purpose; and a comparison of
the passages which he borrowed from with the scenes founded upon them is
interesting, as showing his use of the very words of the author before
him, and as exhibiting the new appearances which those words take on
under his plastic hand. We have no space for long extracts; but a short
illustration will serve to show that Shakespeare is the best translator
of Plutarch into English that we have had. Compare these two passages:--

"Therefore, when she [Cleopatra] was sent unto by divers letters, both
from Antonius himself and also from his friends, she made so light of
it, and mocked Antonius so much, that she disdained to set forward
otherwise, but to take her barge in the river of Cydnus; the poop
whereof was of gold, the sails of purple, and the oars of silver, which
kept stroke in rowing after the sound of the musick of flutes, bowboys,
citherns, viols, and such other instruments as they played upon in the
barge. And now for the person of herself, she was laid under a pavillion
of cloth of gold of tissue, apparelled and attired like the goddess
Venus, commonly drawn in picture; and hard by her, on either hand of
her, pretty fair boys apparelled as painters do set forth god Cupid,
with little fans in their hands, with which they fanned wind upon her.
Her ladies and gentlewomen also, the fairest of them were apparelled
like the Nymphs Nereides (which are the Myrmaids of the waters) and like
the Graces; some steering the helm, others tending the tackle and ropes
of the barge, out of the which there came a wonderful passing sweet
savour of perfumes, that perfumed the wharf's side, pestered with
innumerable multitudes of people. Some of them followed the barge all
along the river side; others also ran out of the city to see her coming
in. So that in the end there ran such multitudes of people one
after another to see her, that Antonius was left post alone in the
market-place, in his imperial seat to give audience."--NORTH'S
_Plutarch, Life of Antonius_, p. 763. Ed. of 1676.

_Enobarbus._ When she first met Mark Antony, she pursed up his heart
upon the river of Cydnus.

_Agrippa._ There she appeared, indeed; or my reporter devised well for
her.

  _Eno._ I will tell you.
  The barge she sat in, like a burnish'd throne,
  Burnt on the water: the poop was beaten gold;
  Purple the sails, and so perfumed that
  The winds were lovesick; with them the oars were silver,
  Which to the tune of flutes kept stroke, and made
  The water, which they beat, to follow faster,
  As amorous of their strokes. For her own person,
  It beggar'd all description: she did lie
  In her pavilion, (cloth of gold, of tissue,)
  O'er-picturing that Venus where we see
  The fancy outwork Nature: on each side her
  Stood pretty dimpled boys, like smiling Cupids,
  With divers-color'd fans, whose wind did seem
  To glow the delicate cheeks which they did cool,
  And what they undid, did.

  _Agr._     Oh, rare for Antony!

  _Eno._ Her gentlewomen, like the Nereids,
  So many mermaids, tended her i' the eyes,
  And made their bends adornings: at the helm
  A seeming mermaid steers; the silken tackle
  Swell with the touches of those flower-soft hands,
  That yarely frame the office. From the barge
  A strange invisible perfume hits the sense
  Of the adjacent wharfs. The city cast
  Her people out upon her, and Antony,
  Enthron'd i' th' market-place, did sit alone,
  Whistling to the air, which, but for vacancy,
  Had gone to gaze on Cleopatra too,
  And made a gap in Nature.

_Antony and Cleopatra_. Act II. Sc. 2.

The operations of Shakespeare's creative imagination are rarely to be
observed more distinctly than in such instances as this, where we see
the precise source from which he drew, in all its original limitations
and native character. Books were to him like ingots of gold, which,
passing through the mint of his brain, came out thence stamped coin,
current for all time. Viewing some of his plays, it may be said, with no
real, though with apparent contradiction, that no man ever borrowed more
from books, and yet none ever owed less to them. For the Roman times
Plutarch served him, as Holinshed and Hall supplied him for his English
histories. Under Plutarch's guidance he walked through the streets of
ancient Rome, and became familiar with the conduct of her men. He is
more Roman than Plutarch himself, and by divine right of imagination he
makes himself a citizen of the Eternal City. While Shakespeare was using
Plutarch to such advantage, on the other hand, Ben Jonson seems to have
borrowed little or nothing from him in his Roman plays. He got what he
wanted out of the Latin authors, and he succeeded in Latinizing his
plays,--in giving to his characters the dress, but not the spirit of
Rome.

It was toward the end of the seventeenth century that Dryden's
translation appeared, and for about fifty years it held much the same
place with the reading public that North's had filled for previous
generations. It was, no doubt, in this version that Mrs. Fitzpatrick
amused herself during her seclusion in Ireland, as she tells Sophia
Western, with reading "a great deal in Plutarch's Lives." But this was
at length superseded by the translation of the brothers Langhorne,
which, spite of its want of vivacity, its labored periods, and formal
narrative, has retained its place as the popular version of Plutarch up
to the present day. One can hardly help wishing--so little of Plutarch's
spirit survives in their dull pages--that a similar fate had overtaken
these excellent men to that which carried off the gentle Abbé Ricard
with the _grippe_, when he had published but half of his translation of
the Philosopher of Cheronaea.

It is a proof of the intrinsic charm of Plutarch's Lives, that thus,
notwithstanding the imperfect manner in which they have been, up to this
time, presented to English readers, they should have been so constantly
and so generally read.[E] They have given equal delight to all ages and
to all classes. The heavy folio has been taken from its place on the
lower shelves in the quiet libraries of English country-houses, and been
read by old men at their firesides, by girls in trim gardens, by boys
who cared for no other classic. The cheap double-column octavo has
travelled in peddlers' carts to all the villages of New England, to
the backwoodsman's cabin in the West. It has taken its place on the
clock-shelf, with only the Bible, the "Pilgrim's Progress," and the
Almanac for its companions. No other classic author, with, perhaps, the
single exception of Aesop, has been so widely read in modern times; and
the popular knowledge of the men of Greece and Rome is derived more
from Plutarch than from all other ancient authors put together. The
often-repeated saying of Theodore Gaza, who, being once asked, if
learning should suffer a general shipwreck, and he had the choice of
saving one author, which he would select, is said to have replied,
"Plutarch,"--"and probably might give this reason," says Dryden, "that
in saving him he should secure the best collection of them all,"--this
saying is but a sort of prophecy of the decision of the common world,
who have chosen Plutarch from all the rest, and find, as Amyot says, "no
one else so profitable and so pleasant to read as he."[F]

[Footnote E: We have not spoken of Mr. Long's translations of Select
Lives from Plutarch, which were published in the series of Knight's
Weekly Volumes, under the title of _The Civil Wars of Rome_, because,
although executed in a manner deserving the highest praise, they
presented to English readers but a limited number of Plutarch's
biographies. Mr. Clough says, justly, in his Preface, that his own work
would not have been needed, had not Mr. Long confined his translations
within so narrow a compass.]

[Footnote F: "De tous les auteurs," says the Baron de Grimm, "qui nous
restent de l'antiquité, Plutarque est, sans contredit, celui qui a
recueilli le plus de vérités de fait et de spéculation. Ses oeuvres sont
une mine inépuisable de lumieres et de connaissance; c'est vraiment
l'encyclopédie des anciens." _Mémoires Historiques_, etc., I., 312.]

Nor is it merely the common mass of readers who have chosen Plutarch as
their favorite ancient. The list of great and famous men who have made
him their companion is a long one. Men of action and men of thought have
taken equal satisfaction in his pages. Petrarch, the first scholar of
the Revival, held him in high esteem, and drew from him much of his
uncommon learning. Erasmus, the first scholar of the Reformation, made
his writings a special study, and translated from the Greek a large
portion of his Moral Works. Montaigne has taken pains to tell us of his
affection for him, and his Essays are full of the proofs of it. "I never
seriously settled myself," he says, "to the reading of any book of
solid learning but Plutarch and Seneca."[G] And in another essay he
adds,--"The familiarity I have had with these two authors, and the
assistance they have lent to my age, and to my book wholly built up of
what I have taken from them, oblige me to stand up for their honor."[H]
And again he declares,--"The hooks I chiefly use to form my opinions are
Plutarch, since he became French, and Seneca."[I] The genial humanity
and liberal wisdom of Plutarch claimed the sympathy of Montaigne, while
his discursive style and love of story-telling suited no less the taste
of his disciple. Montaigne, as it were, makes Plutarch a modern, and
uses his books to illustrate the passing times. He introduces him to new
characters, and reads his judgment upon them. He finds in him a hundred
things that others had not seen. It is a wide step from Montaigne
to Rousseau, and yet, spite of the naturalness of the one and the
artificiality of the other, there were some points of resemblance
between them, and they harmonize in their love for a common master,
Rousseau has written of Plutarch as Montaigne felt,--"Dans le petit
nombre de livres que je lis quelquefois encore, Plutarque est celui
qui m'attache et me profite le plus. Ce fut la première lecture de mon
enfance, et sera la dernière de ma vieillesse; c'est presque le seul
auteur que je n'ai jamais lu sans en tirer quelque fruit."[J] Plutarch's
Lives was one of the few books recommended to Catharine II. of Russia,
as she herself tells us, wherewith to solace and instruct herself during
the first wretched years of her miserable married life. It is, perhaps,
not impossible to trace in some passages of her later life the results
of what she then read.

[Footnote G: _Essays._ Book I., Chapter 25.]

[Footnote H: _Essays_, II. 23.]

[Footnote I: _Ibid._ II. 10.]

[Footnote J: _Les Rêveries d'un Promeneur Solitaire._ Quatrième
Promenade.]

And thus we might go on accumulating the names of men and women whom
all the world knows, who have confessed their obligations to the old
biographer,--philosophers like Bacon, warriors like Bussy d'Amboise,
poets like Wordsworth; while many a one has owed much to him who has
made no open acknowledgment of his debt. Montaigne somewhere complains
of the unlicensed stealings from his author; and Udall, in his Preface
to the Apophthegms of Erasmus, declares,--"It is a thing scarcely
believable, how much, and how boldly as well, the common writers that
from time to time have copied out his [Plutarch's] works, as also
certain that have thought themselves liable to control and amend all
men's doings, have taken upon them in this author, who ought with
all reverence to be handled of them, and with all fear to have been
preserved from altering, depraving, or corrupting."[K]

[Footnote K: The following passage presents a view of some of the uses
to which Plutarch's narratives were turned during the Middle Ages. "Or
personne n'ignore que les chroniqueurs du moyen âge compilaient les
faits les plus remarquables de l'Écriture Sainte ou des histoires
profanes pour les mêler à leurs récits. C'est ainsi que ceux qui ont
écrit la vie de Du Guesclin ont mis sur le compte de ce héros ce
que Plutarque rapporte de plus mémorable des grands hommes de
l'antiquité."--SOUVESTRE. _Les Derniers Bretons._ I. 147.]

The question naturally arises, What are the qualities in Plutarch which
have made him so universal a favorite, which have attracted towards him
men of such opposite tempers and different lives? It is not enough
to say that all real biography is of interest,--that every man
has curiosity about the life of every other man, and finds in it
illustrations of his own. Other writers of lives have not had the same
fortune with Plutarch. For one reader of Suetonius or of Diogenes
Laërtius, there are a thousand of Plutarch. Nor is it that the subjects
of his biographies are greater or more famous than all other men. Some
of the noblest and best known men of Greece and Rome are omitted from
Plutarch's list.[L] The true grounds of the general popularity of
Plutarch's Lives are not to be found in their subjects so much as in
his manner of treating them, and in the qualities of his own nature, as
exhibited in his book. At the tomb of Achilles, Alexander declared that
he esteemed him happy in having had so famous a poet to proclaim his
actions; and scarcely less fortunate were they who had such a biographer
as Plutarch to record their lives. He himself has given us his
conception of the true office of a biographer, and in this has explained
in great part the secret of his excellence. "It must be borne in mind,"
he says, "that my design is not to write histories, but lives. And
the most glorious exploits do not always furnish us with the clearest
discoveries of virtue or vice in men; sometimes a matter of less moment,
an expression or a jest, informs us better of their characters and
inclinations than the most famous sieges, the greatest armaments, or the
bloodiest battles whatsoever. Therefore, as portrait-painters are more
exact in the lines and features of the face, in which the character is
seen, than in the other parts of the body, so I must be allowed to give
my more particular attention to the marks and indications of the souls
of men; and, while I endeavor by these to portray their lives, may be
free to leave more weighty matters and great battles to be treated of by
others."[M]

[Footnote L: In Rogers's _Recollections_, Grattan is reported as
saying,--"Of all men, if I could call up one, it should be Scipio
Africanus. Hannibal was perhaps a greater captain, but not so great and
good a man. Epaminondas did not do so much. Themistocles was a rogue."
It is curious that Themistocles is the only one of these men of whom we
have a biography by Plutarch. His Lives of Scipio and Epaminondas are
lost. Hannibal did not come within the scope of his design.]

[Footnote M: _Life of Alexander_, at the beginning.]

It is his fidelity to this principle, his dealing with events and
circumstances chiefly as they illustrate character, his delineation of
the features of the souls of men, that constitutes Plutarch's highest
merit as a biographer. He is no historian; he often neglects chronology,
and disregards the sequence of events; he omits many incidents, and he
avoids the details of national and political affairs. The progress of
the advance or decline of states is not to be learned from his pages.
But if his Lives be read in chronological order, much may be inferred
from them of the moral condition and changes of the communities in which
the men flourished whose characters and actions he describes. Biography
is thus made to cast an incidental light upon history. The successes
of Alexander give evidence of the lowering of the Greek spirit, and
illustrate the immemorial weakness of Oriental tyrannies. The victories
and the defeats of Pyrrhus alike display the vigor of Republican Rome.
The character and the fate of Mark Antony show that vigor at its ebb,
and foretell the near fall of the Roman liberties. Thus in his long
series of lives of noble Grecians and Romans, the motives and principles
which lay at the foundation of the characters of the men who moulded the
fate of Greece and Rome, the reciprocal influences of their times upon
these men and of these men upon their times, may all be traced with more
or less distinctness and certainty. It was not Plutarch's object to
exhibit them in sequent evolution, but, in attaining the object which he
had in view, he could not fail to make them manifest to the thoughtful
reader. His book, though not a history, is invaluable to historians.

But the character of Plutarch himself, not less than his method of
writing biography, explains his universal popularity, and gives its
special charm and value to his book. He was a man of large and generous
nature, of strong feeling, of refined tastes, of quick perceptions. His
mind had been cultivated in the acquisition of the best learning of his
times, and was disciplined by the study of books as well as of men. He
deserves the title of philosopher; but his philosophy was of a practical
rather than a speculative character,--though he was versed in the wisest
doctrines of the great masters of ancient thought, and in some of his
moral works shows himself their not unworthy follower. Above all, he was
a man of cheerful, genial, and receptive temper. A lover of justice and
of liberty, his sympathies are always on the side of what is right,
noble, and honorable. He believed in a divine ordering of the world,
and saw obscurely through the mists and shadows of heathenism the
indications of the wisdom and rectitude of an overruling Providence.
To him man did not appear as the sole arbiter of his own destiny, but
rather as an unconscious agent in working out the designs of a Higher
Power; and yet, as these designs were only dimly and imperfectly to
be recognized, the noblest man was he who was truest to the eternal
principles of right, who was most independent of the chances and
shiftings of fortune, who, "fortressed on conscience and impregnable
will," strove to live in the manliest and most self-supported relations
with the world, neither fearing nor hoping much in regard to the
uncertainties of the future, and who

  "metus omnes et inexorabile fatum
  Subjecit pedibus."

In his whole character, Plutarch shows himself one of the best examples
of the intelligent heathen of the later classic period. His Writings
contain the practical essence of the results of Greek and Roman life
and thought. His intellect, equally removed from superstition and
from skepticism, was open with a large receptiveness, which sometimes
approaches to credulity, to the traditions of early wonders, to the
reports of recent miracles, and to the stories of the deeds and sayings
of men.[N] The evidence upon which he reports is often insufficient to
establish the statements that he makes; but his readiness to tell the
current stories gives to his biographies a peculiar interest, adding
to their entertainment, and at the same time to their value as
representations of common beliefs and popular fancies. He is one of the
best story-tellers of antiquity, and from his works a series of "Percy
Anecdotes" of ancient men might easily be compiled. "Such anecdotes will
not," says he, in his Life of Timoleon, "be thought, I conceive, either
foreign to my purpose of writing lives, or unprofitable in themselves,
by such readers as are not in too much haste, or busied and taken up
with other concerns." It is this fulness of anecdote, which, perhaps,
more than any other quality of his writings, makes him the favorite
of boys as well as of men. He treasures up pithy sayings, and his own
reflections are often epigrammatic in expression, and always full of
good sense.

[Footnote N: There are two remarkable passages in the _Life of
Coriolanus_ which illustrate Plutarch's opinions upon these points. The
first (ii. 91) treats of the divine influence on the human will and
action; the second (ii. 97-98) relates to the mode of regarding events
seemingly incredible. This latter is peculiarly distinguished by its
good sense and clear statement. It closes with the memorable saying,
"Knowledge of divine things for the most part, as Heraclitus says, is
lost to us by incredulity."]

In his Life of Demosthenes, in a passage which is pleasant on account of
its personal reference, Plutarch speaks of the advantage that it would
be for a writer like himself to reside in some city addicted to liberal
arts, and populous, where he might have access to many books, and to
many persons from whom he might gather up such facts as books do not
contain. "But as for me," he says, "I live in a little town, where I am
willing to continue, lest it should grow less." And he goes on to excuse
himself for his imperfect knowledge of the Roman tongue, which unfits
him to draw a comparison between the orations of Demosthenes and of
Cicero. But, although his acquaintance with the structure and powers
of the language may have been insufficient to enable him to venture on
literary criticism, his acquaintance with the books of the Romans was
considerable, and he had thoroughly studied the Greek authors who had
written on Roman affairs. His own library, or the libraries to which he
had access at Chaeronea, must have been well furnished with the books
most important for his studies. He is said to quote two hundred and
fifty authors, some eighty of whom are among those whose works have been
wholly or partly lost. He made careful use of his materials, which were,
of course, more abundant for his Greek than for his Roman narratives.
"If we would put the Lives of Plutarch to a severe test," says Mr. Long,
than whom no one is better qualified to speak with authority upon the
subject, "we must carefully examine his Roman Lives. He says that he
knew Latin imperfectly, and he lived under the Empire, when many of the
educated Romans had but a superficial acquaintance with the earlier
history of their state. We must therefore expect to find him imperfectly
informed on Roman institutions; and we can detect him in some errors.
Yet, on the whole, his Roman Lives do not often convey erroneous
notions; if the detail is incorrect, the general impression is true.
They may be read with profit by those who seek to know something of
Roman affairs, and have not knowledge enough to detect an error. They
probably contain as few mistakes as most biographies which have been
written by a man who is not the countryman of those whose lives he
writes."

Yet, spite of his general accuracy and his impartial temper, the
representations which Plutarch makes of the characters which he
describes are not always to be accepted as fair delineations.
Unconscious prejudice, or misconception of circumstances and relations,
sometimes leads him into apparent injustice. Thus, for example, while he
bears hardly upon Demosthenes, and sets out many of his actions in too
unfavorable lights, he, on the other hand, interprets the conduct and
character of Phocion with manifest indulgence, and presents a flattered
portrait of a man whose death turned popular reproaches into pity, but
was insufficient to redeem the faults of his life.

Mr. Grote, in his History, passes a very different judgment upon these
two men from that to which one would be led by the perusal of Plutarch's
narratives merely. And it is an illustration, at once, of the honesty of
the ancient biographer, and of the ability of the modern historian, that
Mr. Grote should not infrequently derive from Plutarch's own account the
means for correcting his false estimate of the motives and the actions
of those whom he misjudged.

In an excellent passage in his Preface, Mr. Clough remarks that

"Much has been said of Plutarch's inaccuracy; and it cannot be denied
that he is careless about numbers, and occasionally contradicts his own
statements. A greater fault, perhaps, is his passion for anecdote; he
cannot forbear from repeating stories the improbability of which he is
the first to recognize, which, nevertheless, by mere repetition,
leave unjust impressions. He is unfair in this way to Demosthenes and
Pericles,--against the latter of whom, however, he doubtless inherited
the prejudices which Plato handed down to the philosophers.

"It is true, also, that his unhistorical treatment of the subjects
of his biography makes him often unsatisfactory and imperfect in the
portraits he draws. Much, of course, in the public lives of statesmen
can find its only explanation in their political position; and of this
Plutarch often knows and thinks little. So far as the researches of
modern historians have succeeded in really recovering a knowledge of
relations of this sort, so far, undoubtedly, these biographies stand in
need of their correction. Yet, in the uncertainty which must attend all
modern restorations, it is agreeable, and surely also profitable, to
recur to portraits drawn ere new thoughts and views had occupied the
civilized world, without reference to such disputable grounds of
judgment, simply upon the broad principles of the ancient moral code of
right and wrong. .... We have here the faithful record of the historical
tradition of Plutarch's age. This is what, in the second century of
our era, Greeks and Romans loved to believe about their warriors and
statesmen of the past. As a picture, at least, of the best Greek and
Roman moral views and moral judgments, as a presentation of the results
of Greek and Roman moral thought, delivered, not under the pressure
of calamity, but as they existed in ordinary times, and actuated
plain-living people, in country places, in their daily life, Plutarch's
writings are of indisputable value."

Of all the biographies contained in his work, none might excite greater
suspicion of incorrectness than that of Timoleon, on account of the
extraordinary character both of the man and of the incidents of his
career. His story reads like a romance of the ancient times, like a
legend of some half-mythical hero, rather than like the true account of
an actual man. There is, perhaps, none among his Lives which Plutarch
has written with greater spirit, with livelier sympathies, than this.
And yet, in spite of all its seeming improbability, there is little
reason to question its essential truth. It corresponds, with some minor
exceptions, with all that can be ascertained from other ancient authors
who wrote concerning the deliverer of Sicily; and even Mitford, with all
his zeal in the cause of tyrants, can find little to detract from the
praise of Timoleon, or to diminish our confidence in the truth of
Plutarch's account of him.

But, in addition to the interest that belongs to these biographies,
from their intrinsic qualities, as affected by the character of
Plutarch,--beside the interest which the common reader or the student
of biography and history may find in them, they possess a still deeper
interest for the student of human nature, in its various modifications,
under varying influences, and in different ages, from exhibiting to him,
in a long series, many of the chief characters of the heathen world
in such form as fits them for comparison with the prominent men of
Christian times. The question of the effect of Christianity upon the
characters and lives of the leading actors in modern history is not more
important than it is difficult of solution. Plutarch, better than any
other ancient writer, affords the means of estimating the motives, the
principles, the objects, of the men of the old time. We see in his pages
what they were; we see the differences between them and the men of later
days. How far are those differences exhibitions of inferiority or of
superiority? How far do they result from the influence of secondary
causes? how far from the change in religious belief?

No man who knows much of the course of history will venture to insist
greatly on any essential change for the better having been wrought as
yet by Christianity in the manner in which the affairs of the world are
carried on. Christianity has not yet been fairly tried. Nations
calling themselves Christian are still governed on heathen principles.
Christianity has been for the most part perverted and misunderstood. The
grossest errors have been taught in its name, are still taught in its
name. Falsehood has claimed the authority of truth, and its claim has
been granted. The stream which flowed out pure from its source has been
caught in foul cisterns, has been led into narrow channels, has been
made stagnant in desolate pools and wide-spread weedy marshes. The
doctrine of Christ has had thus far in the world but very few hearers
who have understood it. Many a modern creed might well go back to
heathenism for improvement. This perversion of Christianity is a
chief element in the difficulty of tracing the real influence of true
Christian teaching upon character. It is this which compels us to draw
a parallel, not so much between the actual characters of ancient and
modern times, if we would rightly understand the differences between
them, as between what we may assume to be the ideal standards of the
heathen and the Christian. But to treat this subject with the fulness
and in the manner which it deserves would lead us too far from Plutarch,
and we have done enough in suggesting it as matter for reflection to
those who read his Lives.

One of the most marked differences in the position of the ancient and
the modern man is that which has been quietly and gradually brought
about by science; but its effect is little recognized by the mass of men
or the most wide-spread churches. It is the difference of his recognized
relations to the universe. While this earth was supposed to be the
central point and main effort of creation, while the earth itself
was unknown, and all the regions of space were regarded as void and
untenanted, save by the inventions of fancy, man may have seemed to
himself a creature of large proportions and of considerable importance.
He measured himself with the gods and the half-gods, and found himself
not much their inferior. In reading Plutarch, one cannot fail to be
struck with the manly self-reliance of his best men of action. Their
piety had no weakness of self-abasement in it. They possessed a piety
toward themselves as well as toward the gods. Timoleon, who was attended
by the good-fortune that waits on noble character, erected in the house
which the Syracusans bestowed upon him an altar to [Greek: Automatia],
which, as Mr. Clough well remarks, in a note, "is almost equivalent to
Spontaneousness. His successes had come, as it were, of themselves." The
act was an acknowledgment of divine favor, and an assertion at the
same time of his individual independence of action. This spirit of
self-dependence was the grandest feature of Greek and Roman heathenism;
and it is in this, if in anything, that a superiority of character is
manifest in the men of ancient times. The famous passage in Seneca's
tragedy, in which Medea asserts herself as sufficient to stand alone
against the universe, contains its essence and is its complete
expression.

  _Nutr._ Spes nulla monstrat rebus adflictis viam.

  _Med._ Qui nil potest sperare, desperet nihil.

  _Nutr._ Abiere Colchi; conjugis nulla est fides;
  Nihilque superest opibus e tantis tibi.

  _Med._ Medea superest; hic mare et terras vides,
  Ferrumque, et ignes, et deos, et fulmina.
  _Medea_, Act ii. 162-167.

Here is self-reliance at its highest point; the strength of resolute
will measuring itself singly and undauntedly against all forces, human
and divine.

But, as a necessary consequent of this spirit, as its implied complement
in the balance of human nature, we find, as a distinct trait in the
lives of many of the manliest ancients, an occasional prevalence of a
spirit of despondency, a recognition of the ultimate weakness of
man when brought by himself face to face with the wall of opposing
circumstance and the resistless force of Fate. Will is strong, but the
powers outside the will are stronger. Manliness may not fail, but man
himself may be broken. Neither the teachings of natural religion, nor
the doctrines of philosophy, nor the support of a sound heart are
sufficient for man in the crisis of uttermost trial. Without something
beyond these, higher than these, without a conscious dependence on
Omnipotence, man must sink at last under the buffets of adverse fortune.
Take the instances of these great men in Plutarch, and look at the end
of their lives. How many of them are simple confessions of defeat!
Themistocles sacrifices to the gods, drinks poison, and dies.
Demosthenes takes poison to save himself from falling into the hands of
his enemies. Cicero proposes to slay himself in the house of Caesar, and
is murdered only through want of resolution to kill himself. Brutus says
to the friend who urges him to fly,--"Yes, we must fly; yet not with
our feet, but with our hands," and falls upon his sword. Cato lies down
calmly at night, reads Plato on the Soul, and then kills himself; while,
after his death, the people of Utica cry out with one voice that he is
"the only free, the only undefeated man." It may be said that even in
suicide these men displayed the manliness of their tempers. True, but it
was the manliness of the deserter who runs the risk of being shot for
the sake of avoiding the risks and fatigues of service in war.[O]

[Footnote O: There is a striking passage in Seneca's treatise _De
Consolatione_, which may, perhaps, be not unfairly regarded as the
expression of a sentiment common among the better heathens in regard to
death,--a sentiment of profound sadness. He says,--"Mors dolorum omnium
solutio est et finis, ultra quam mala nostra non exeunt, quae nos in
illam tranquillitatem, in qua antequam nasceremur jacuimus, reponit."
xix. 4.]

Again, we must be content rather to hint at than to develop the matter
for reflection and study that Plutarch affords, and unwillingly pass by,
without even a glance at them, large domains of thought that lie within
his pages. We are glad to believe, that, through the excellent edition
before us, his Lives will be more widely read than ever. In this
country, where the tendency of things is to the limited, but equal
development of each individual in social and political life, and hence
to the production of a uniform mediocrity of character and of action,
these biographies are of special value, as exhibiting men developed
under circumstances widely contrasted with our own, and who may serve
as standards by which to measure some of our own deficiencies or
advantages. Here were the men who stood head and shoulders above the
others of their times; we see them now, "foreshortened in the tract of
time,"--not as they appeared to their contemporaries, but in something
like their real proportions. But the greatness of those proportions for
the most part remains unchanged. How will it be with our great men two
thousand years hence? Will the numerous "most distinguished men of
America" appear as large then as they do now? Will the speeches of our
popular orators be read then? Will the most famous of our senators be
famous then? Will the ablest of our generals still be gathering laurels?

There is a story told by the learned Andrew Thevet, chief cosmographer
to Henry III., King of France and Poland, to the effect that one
Triumpho of Camarino did most fantastically imagine and persuade himself
that really and truly one day "he was assembled in company with the
Pope, the Emperor, and the several Kings and Princes of Christendom,
(although all that while he was alone in his own chamber by himself,)
where he entered upon, debated, and resolved all the states' affairs of
Christendom; and he verily believed that he was the wisest man of
them all; and so he well might be, of the company." The fantastical
imagination of this Triumpho furnishes a good illustration of the
reality of companionship which one who possesses Plutarch may have in
his own chamber with the greatest and most interesting men of ancient
times. If he be worthy, he may make the best of them his intimates. He
may live with them as his counsellors and his friends. Whether he will
believe that he is "the wisest man of them all" is doubtful; but,
however this may be, he will find himself in their company growing
wiser, stronger, tenderer, and truer.

It has been well said, that "Plutarch's Lives is the book for those who
can nobly think and dare and do."


_The Lost and Found; or Life among the Poor._ By SAMUEL B. HALLIDAY. New
York: Blakeman & Mason. 1859.

It has been asserted--most emphatically by those who have most fairly
tried it--that no house was ever built large enough for two families to
live in decently and comfortably. Yet in this present year of grace,
1859, half a million of men and women--two-thirds of the population of
New York--are compelled, by reason of their own poverty and the avarice
of certain capitalists, to live in what are technically known as
"tenement-houses," or, more pertinently, "barracks,"--hulks of brick,
put up by Shylocks anxious for twenty per cent., and lived in--God knows
how--by from four to ninety-four families each. Of 115,986 families
residing in the city of New York, only 15,990 are able to enjoy the
luxury of an independent home; 14,362 other families live in comparative
comfort, two in a house; 4,416 buildings contain three families each,
and yet do not come under the head of tenements; and the 11,965
dwelling-houses which remain are the homes of 72,386 _families_, being
an average of seven families, or thirty-five souls to each house!

But this is only an average. In the eleventh ward, 113 _rear_ houses
(houses built on the backs of deep lots, and separated only by a narrow
and necessarily dark and filthy court from the front houses, which are
also "barracks,") contain 1,653 families, or nearly 15 families or 70
souls each; 24 others contain 407 families, being an average of 80 souls
to each; and in another ward, 72 such houses contain no less than 19
families or 95 souls each!

This seems shocking. But this is by no means the worst! There are 580
tenement-houses in New York which contain, by actual count, 10,933
families, or about 85 persons each; 193 others, which accommodate 111
persons each; 71 others, which cover 140 each; and, finally, 29--these
must be the most profitable!--which have a total population of no less
than 5,449 souls, or 187 to each house!

That part of Fifth Avenue which holds the chief part of the wealth and
fashion of New York has an extent of about two miles, or, counting both
sides of the street, four miles. These four miles of stately palaces
are occupied by four hundred families; while a single block of
tenement-houses, not two hundred yards out of Fifth Avenue, contains no
less than seven hundred families, or 3,500 souls! Seven such blocks, Mr.
Halliday pertinently remarks, would contain more people than the city of
Hartford, which covers an area of several miles square.

Such astounding facts as these the industrious Buckle of the year 3000,
intent upon a history of our American civilization, will quote to the
croakers of that day as samples of our nineteenth-century barbarism.

"But," some one may object, "if the houses were comfortably arranged,
and land was really scarce, after all, these people were not so badly
off."

The "tenement-house," which is now one of the "institutions" of New
York, stands usually upon a lot 25 by 100 feet, is from four to six
stories high, and is so divided internally as to contain four families
on each floor,--each family eating, drinking, sleeping, cooking,
washing, and fighting in a room eight feet by ten and a bed-room six
feet by ten; unless, indeed,--_which very frequently happens,_ says Mr.
Halliday,--the family renting these two rooms _takes in another family
to board,_ or _sub-lets_ one room to one _or even two_ other families!

But the modern improvements?

One of the largest and most recently built of the New York "barracks"
has apartments for 126 famines. It was built especially for this use.
It stands on a lot 50 by 250 feet, is entered at the sides from alleys
eight feet wide, and, by reason of the vicinity of another barrack of
equal height, the rooms are so darkened that on a cloudy day it is
impossible to read or sew in them without artificial light. It has not
one room which can in any way be thoroughly ventilated. The vaults and
sewers which are to carry off the filth of the 126 families have grated
openings in the alleys, and door-ways in the cellars, through which the
noisome and deadly miasmata penetrate and poison the dank air of the
house and the courts. The water-closets for the whole vast establishment
are a range of stalls without doors, and accessible not only from the
building, but even from the street. Comfort is here out of the
question; common decency has been rendered impossible; and the horrible
brutalities of the passenger-ship are day after day repeated,--but on a
larger scale. And yet this is a fair specimen. And for such hideous and
necessarily demoralizing habitations,--for two rooms, stench,
indecency, and gloom, the poor family pays--and the rich builder
receives--_"thirty-five per cent, annually on the cost of the
apartments!"_

When a city has half a million of inhabitants who _must_ content
themselves with such quarters as these, which, even the beasts of the
field would perish in, does any man wonder that 18,000 women were
arrested in the last year? that in the three months ending January
31st, 1859, 13,765 arrests were made by the city police, of which over
one-third were females, one in six under twenty years of age, and more
than one-half under thirty? that in 1855 there was one death in every
26-1/3 of the population? that in 1858 the five city dispensaries were
called on to treat (gratuitously) 65,442 infant patients? that, in 1855,
1,938 infants were stillborn, and 6,390, or 1 in 99 of the population,
did not live the first year out? while, at the present time, 20,000
children roam the streets, and never enter a schoolroom? With such
homes, is there cause for surprise that husbands murder their wives?
that mothers abuse their children,--and would kill them, too, were they
not profitable little slaves, as Mr. Halliday shows? that men and women
live in drunken stupor upon the spoils of young children,--often not
their own,--sent out to beg, to steal, or do worse yet? that even the
very fag-end of humanity, the sentiment of "honor among thieves,"
perishes here?

For twenty years, Mr. Halliday has labored among these poor creatures,
as the "agent" or missionary of the "American Female Guardian Society
and Home for the Friendless," an association of noble-minded and
unusually practical men and women. If any of our readers fear lest the
fountain of benevolence may dry up within him, we commend Mr. Halliday's
book to his perusal. He will find there some little stories which have a
pathos beyond tears; some facts--happening, mayhap, within ten minutes'
walk of his own fireside--quite as strange as the strangest fiction of
Mr. Cobb or Mr. Emerson Bennett. We have not space left for any account
of Mr. Halliday's labors. His Society provides not only boys and girls,
but even men and women under certain circumstances, with present
assistance and shelter, and afterwards a home and work in the country,
at a distance from the temptations and miseries of the city. It is
curious to read that Mr. Halliday receives frequent orders from various
States--even the most distant West--for "a baby," "a boy," "a little
girl." It is good to know that in that way many bright young souls are
saved from the horrors of "tenement" life, and placed in kind hands;
and it is touching to read, that, while many of these little ones are
remarkable for good looks and bright spirits, all are reported as
singularly quiet, sedate, and submissive. We are glad to know that the
types of the paper published by the Society are set up by the women who
have a refuge in its Home; and we were sorry to read of one boy, who
always ran away from everybody and every place, being at last secured
in the House of Refuge, where, being now nearly eleven years old, the
monster! "he seems dejected, and I have never seen him smile," says Mr.
Halliday. This boy--and a good many others who like the streets and the
free air better than the black-hole of a tenement--should go to sea.
The sea is an honorable trade, (it _used_ to be a profession,) and the
merchants of New York could not do a wiser or a better thing than in
providing a school-ship where such lads could be taught the rudiments
of seamanship and navigation, or, in default of that, sending them as
apprentices in their vessels.

We have two complaints to enter against Mr. Halliday: first, that he
has given his book a title which will deter most sensible people
from opening it; and, second, that in his valuable report on the
tenement-houses, he does not give the names of those enterprising
personages who make thirty-five per cent, at the expense, not only of
their poor tenants, but of every tax-payer in New York.


_The New American Cyclopaedia: a Popular Dictionary of General
Knowledge._ Edited by GEORGE RIPLEY and CHARLES A. DANA. Vol. VI.
Cough--Education. New York: D. Appleton & Co. 8vo. pp. 772.

More than one-third of the task assumed by the editors of this work is
now completed; and the best testimony in its favor is, that, although it
has been freely criticized, sometimes with closeness and severity, and
sometimes with studied harshness and evident malice, its reputation has
risen among candid and competent readers with the appearance of each
volume. Faults, negative and positive, may undoubtedly be discovered in
it; but the same is true, in a greater or less degree, of every other
production of human labor; and the eyes neither of malice nor of
hypercriticism have been able to find any sufficient reason why this
Cyclopaedia should not be accepted as the beat popular dictionary of
general knowledge in the English language. As the work advances, the
comprehensiveness of its plan, the honesty of its purpose, and the truly
catholic and liberal spirit which animates it, become more and more
apparent; and the names of the authors of the articles (a list of which
is to be published, we believe, with the last volume) sufficiently show
the determination of the editors to secure the cooperation of the first
talent in the country. Among the contributors to the present volume are
the Rev. Dr. Bellows, Edmund Blunt, Dion Bourcicault, Professor Dana
of Yale College, Edward Everett, Professor Felton of Cambridge, Parke
Godwin, Richard Hildreth, George S. Hillard, William Henry Hurlbut, and
Professors Lowell and Parsons of Cambridge.

Of the articles, we especially notice _Cranmer_, remarkable for the
candor and the coolness of perception with which the character of its
benevolent and gifted, but inconsistent and vacillating subject, is
discussed:--_Cromwell_, which gives a completer, more authentic, and
less prejudiced account of the eventful life of the great Puritan leader
than is to be found in any other publication known to us:--_Crusades_,
a complete picture in little of those great fitful blazes of religious
enthusiasm by which it flickered into its final extinction; (for,
afterward, only a semblance of it was made a stalking-horse by
politicians;) and this article is quite a model of epitome:--_Cuneiform
Inscriptions_, in which the writer has presented concisely and clearly
the fruits of a careful examination of all the many theories that have
been broached with regard to these important and puzzling records of the
ancient world, without revealing a preference, if he have one, for
any; a wise course, where, in a case of such consequence, the views
of learned men are so conflicting, but one not always easily
followed:--_Damascus Blades_, a very interesting, and, for general
purposes, a very full description of the peculiarities of those famous,
and, it appears, not too much lauded weapons:--_Deaf and Dumb_, a very
copious article of eleven pages, rich in historical and biographical
detail, and giving full accounts of the various methods of instruction
adopted for this class of persons in all times and countries, with a
large body of statistical information upon the subject; an article of
great interest, but perhaps undue length:--_Death_, which conveys much
information on a subject as to which the grossest and most deplorable
misconceptions prevail; an article equally remarkable for its careful
and minute presentation of the phenomena of death and for the placid and
philosophical spirit in which it is written:--_Deluge_, in which, with
the ingenuity before shown in the treatment of similar subjects, the
various accounts of that event, and the facts and theories relating to
it, are laid before the reader in a manner to which no one, of whatever
creed, can object, and a new and very ingenious and rational mode of
accounting for the phenomenon in question is proposed;--_Dog_, the
fulness of which makes it acceptable to the lover of natural history,
the sporting man, and the general reader:--and the last article,
_Education_, one of great value, which describes the systems of
instruction pursued in all ages and countries, and which, without
entering upon the support of any one of them, presents to the reader
such an impartial and detailed summary of the distinguishing features of
them all, that he can form an intelligent opinion upon them for himself.

The volume is so meritorious, that we have not looked for faults; but,
as we turned the leaves, we noticed a few such as the following:--that
the river Dove, in England, should be mentioned as "noted for its
picturesque scenery," and yet its association with Izaak Walton and
Charles Cotton, its chief glory, be passed unnoticed; and that Discord
should be defined as, "_in music_, a combination of sounds inharmonious
and unpleasing to the ear"; whereas, although, out of music, discord
means a sound inharmonious and displeasing to the ear, in music discord
is the golden bond of harmony, the life and soul of expression, that for
which the ear yearns with a yearning that is inexpressible, and enjoys
with poignancy of pleasure. We asked, too, if Thomas Dowse should be
honored with a page and a half, in which his fall from a tree, his
rheumatic fever, and the head winds which prevented him from visiting
Europe are chronicled,--while the eminent French painter, Couture, whose
use of the pallet is marked by such striking originality, that it has
produced an impression upon the works of a generation of painters,
has twelve lines! And we can hardly be accused of hypercriticism, in
directing the attention of the editors to a sentence like the following,
in the article _Diptera_, p. 498, 2d col.:--"Though _this order_
contains the bloodthirsty mosquito, the disgusting flesh-fly, and many
insects depositing their eggs in the bodies of living animals, _it_ is a
most useful one, supplying food to insectivorous birds, and _themselves_
[who? what?] consuming decomposing animal and vegetable substances,"
etc. But these are instances of oversight in not very important matters,
or of inaccuracy of expression, or of difference of judgment between
the editors and ourselves as to plan, which even in our judgment do not
affect the value of the work in which they occur. Graver errors could be
found in almost every work of great scope that ever came from the
press. We indicate them that we may afford some help toward a nearer
approximation to that perfection which is unattainable.


_Tom Brown at Oxford: a Sequel to School-Days at Rugby._ By THOMAS
HUGHES, etc. Part I. Boston: Ticknor & Fields. 1859.

Many men write successful books; but very few have the power of making
a book succeed by naturalness, simplicity, and quiet strength, as Mr.
Hughes found the secret of doing in his "School-Days at Rugby." It is so
easy to be eloquent,--scarce a modern French novelist but has the gift
of it by the ream; so easy to be philosophical,--one has only to begin
a few substantives with capitals; and withal it is so hard to be genial
and agreeable. Since Goldsmith's day, perhaps only Irving and Thackeray
had achieved it, till Mr. Hughes made himself the third. It is no
easy thing to write a book that shall seem so easy,--to describe your
school-days with such instinctive rejection of the unessential, that
whoever has been a boy feels as if he were reading the history of his
own, and that your volume shall be no more exotic in America than in
England. Yet this Mr. Hughes accomplished; and it was in a great measure
due to the fact, that beneath the charm of style the reader felt a real
basis of manliness and sincerity.

His second book, "The Scouring of the White Horse," was less
successful,--in part from the narrower range of its interest, and
still more, perhaps, because it lacked the spontaneousness of the
"School-Days." In his first book there was no suggestion of authorship;
it seemed an inadvertence, something which came of itself;--but the
second was _made_, and the kind fairy that stood godmother to its elder
brother had been sent for and accordingly would not come.

In this first number of his new story Mr. Hughes seems to have found his
good genius again, or his good genius to have found him. We meet our old
friend Tom Brown once more, and commit ourselves trustingly to the same
easy current of narrative and incident which was so delightful in
the story of his Rugby adventures. We have no doubt the book will be
instructive as well as entertaining; for we believe the author has had
some practical experience as teacher in "The Working-Men's College,"--an
excellent institution, in which instruction is given to the poor after
work-hours, and which, beside Mr. Hughes, has had another man of genius,
Mr. Ruskin, among its unpaid professors. The work is to be published
simultaneously in this country and in England.


_Avolio; a Legend of the Inland of Cos, with other Poems, Lyrical,
Miscellaneous, and Dramatic._ By PAUL H. HAYNE. Boston: Ticknor &
Fields. 1859. pp. 244.

There is a great deal of real poetic feeling and expression in this
volume, and, we think, the hope of better things to come. The author has
not yet learned, and we could not expect it, that writers of verse tell
us all they can think of, and writers of poetry only what they cannot
help telling. The volume would have gained in quality by losing in
quantity, but to give too much is the mistake of all young writers, and
it is, perhaps, only by making it once for themselves that they can
learn to sift. It is so hard at first, when all the sand seems golden!
Of old the Muses were three, each of whom must reject something from the
poem, but when verse-writing became easier and more traditional, their
number was raised to nine, that they might be the harder to please. And
what a difficult jury they are! and how long they stay out over their
verdict!

But, after all, it seems to us that Mr. Hayne has the root of the matter
in him; and we shall look to meet him again, bringing a thinner, yet
a fuller book. The present volume shows thoughtfulness, culture,
sensibility to natural beauty, and great refinement of feeling. We like
the first poem, which is also the longest, best of all. The subject is
an imaginative one,--and the choice of a subject is one great test of
genuine aptitude and ability. In this poem, and in some of the sonnets,
(which are good both in matter and construction,) Mr. Hayne shows a
genuine vigor of expression and maturity of purpose. There is a tone of
sadness in the volume, as if the author were surrounded by an atmosphere
uncongenial to letters. The reader cannot fail to be struck with this,
and also with the oddity of two or three political sonnets, in which Mr.
Hayne calls on his fellow-citizens to rally for the defence of slavery
in the name of freedom. The book is dedicated, in a very graceful
and cordial sonnet, to Mr. E.P. Whipple; and it is seldom that South
Carolina sends so pleasant a message to Massachusetts. Mr. Hayne need
only persevere in self-culture to be able to produce poems that shall
win for him a national reputation.


_Fairy Dreams; or Wanderings in Elfland._ By JANE G. AUSTIN. With
Illustrations by Hammatt Billings. Boston: J.E. Tilton & Co. 1859.

This is a pretty book for children, written with no little feeling and
fancy, and in a graceful style. The chimney-corner has been abolished
by the economical furnace-register, and Santa Claus, if he come at all,
must do it like an imp of the pit. The volumes for children to pore
over, as they bake by the stove, or stew over the black hole in the
floor, have also suffered an economic and practical change. No more
fires, no more pretty fancies, seems to have been the doom. Parents who
think, as we do, that children inhale practicality with our American
atmosphere, and that a little encouragement of the imaginative side of
their nature is not amiss, will be glad to drop Mrs. Austin's book into
the proper stocking. The stories are well told; that, especially, of
the Gray Cat is full of fanciful invention. The book is very prettily
manufactured also, though we think publishers are carrying their
fondness for tinted paper too far. Salmon-color is too much; the deepest
tint allowable is that of cream from a cow that has grazed among
buttercups.


_Twelve Years of a Soldier's Life in India:_ Being Extracts from
the Letters of the late Major W.S.R. HODSON, B.A., Trinity College,
Cambridge; First Bengal European Fusileers, Commandant of Hodson's
Horse. Including a Personal Narrative of the Siege of Delhi and Capture
of the King and Princes. Edited by his Brother, the Rev. GEORGE H.
HODSON, M.A., Senior Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge. From the
Third and Enlarged English Edition. Boston: Ticknor & Fields. 1860.
16mo. pp. 444.

This book should be widely read; or we might better say, this book _will
be_ widely read,--so widely, indeed, that there is no need for us to
repeat its story here, or to give an abstract of its contents. Hodson
was a man worth knowing, and his letters show him to us as he was.
The special qualities of which Englishmen are proud, as the traits
of national character, belonged in an uncommon degree to him. He was
eminently truthful, staunch, and brave; he had a clear eye, a strong and
ready hand, cool judgment, stern decision, and a tender heart. He might
have borne the old Douglas motto on his shield.

He was trained under as good teachers as a young man ever had. At Rugby,
under Dr. Arnold; then, for a year or two, living among the ennobling
associations of Trinity College; then at Guernsey, as a young soldier,
under Sir William Napier; then in India, with James Thomason,
Lieutenant-Governor of the Northwest Provinces, one of the best rulers
that India ever knew, "_facile princeps_ of the whole Indian service";
and finally passing from him to serve under Sir Henry Lawrence, the
noblest soldier of India, a man for whom common words of praise are
insufficient,--Hodson had an unrivalled set of masters, and his life
proves him to have been worthy of them.

The British rule in India is of such sort as to test the qualities of
its officers to the last point. If they have anything good in them, it
is sure to be brought into full action. Such responsibilities are thrown
on them as at once to stimulate them to exertion of their best powers.
Men who in the ordinary fields of work might remain all their lives mere
commonplace mediocrities, under the discipline of Indian service, find
out and show their real value. The Indian mutiny exhibited how common
the rare qualities of foresight, energy, and enduring courage, and the
still higher qualities of submission, patience, and faith, had become
among those against whom the natives rose like a flood to overwhelm them
in destruction. The little bands of English at Cawnpore, at Lucknow, and
at many a less famous station, stood like rocks against the dashing of
the storm. The qualities that enabled them to win the admiration even
of their enemies, and to call forth the respect and the sorrow of the
world, were the result, not of sudden stress, but of long and habitual
training. The reader of Hodson's memoir will gain a knowledge of the
processes by which such characters are developed.

The letters which make up the larger part of this book are written
with animation and simplicity, and are full of spirited accounts of
adventure, of rough and various service. The narrative which they afford
of the siege of Delhi is of absorbing interest. The picture of the
little army of besiegers, wasted by continual disease and exposure to
the heats of an Indian summer,--worn by the constant sallies and attacks
of a host of enemies trained in arms,--saddened by the receipt of evil
tidings from all quarters,--feeling that upon their final success rested
not only the hope of the continuance of British supremacy in India, but
the very lives of those dear to them,--and, worst of all, compelled
to submit to a succession of incompetent generals, whose timidity and
irresolution baffled the best designs of officers and the dashing
bravery of the troops;--the pictures which Hodson gives of this little
army, of its unflagging spirit and resolution, and its valorous deeds,
are drawn with such truth as to bring the successive scenes vividly
before the imagination. Hodson himself was one of the best and most
useful of a noble corps of officers. His modesty does not hide the
grounds of the enthusiasm which was felt for him by his men,--of the
admiration that he excited among his fellows. The story of the capture
of the King and Princes, after the fall of Delhi, is one of the most
interesting stories of daring ever told. You hold your breath as you
read it. It was a gallant deed, done in the most gallant way.

Altogether, the book is one of thoroughly manly tone and temper,--a book
to make those who read it manlier, to put to shame the cowardice of easy
life, to make men more honest, more enduring, more energetic, by the
example which it sets before them. Hodson's life was short, but its
result will last. There was no sham about it, no meanness,--nothing but
what was large, true, and generous. As one turns the last page, it is
with no regret that such a man should have died in the fight, for he
was a Christian soldier. He was the _preux chevalier_ of our times. The
words in which Sir Ector mourns for his brother, Sir Lancelot, are fit
for his epitaph. "'Ah, Sir Lancelot,' said hee, 'thou were head of
all christen knights! An now I dare say,' said Sir Ector, 'that, Sir
Lancelot, there thou liest, thou were never matched of none earthly
knight's hands; and thou were the curtiest knight that ever bare shield;
and thou were the truest friend to thy lover that ever bestrood horse;
and thou were the truest lover of a sinful man that ever loved woman;
and thou were the kindest man that ever strook with sword; and thou were
the goodliest person that ever came among presse of knights; and thou
were the meekest man and the gentlest that ever eate in hall among
ladies; and thou were the sternest knight to thy mortall foe that ever
put speare in the rest.'"


_Friends in Council_. A Series of Readings and Discourse thereon. A New
Series. 2 vols. Boston: James Munroe & Co. 1860.

The best class of readers in England and America are sure to give a
cordial welcome to a new book by Mr. Helps. Nothing better need be said
of this second series of "Friends in Council" than that it is a worthy
sequel of the first. It is the work of a man of large experience and
wide culture,--of one who is at the same time a student and a man of
the world, versed in history and practically acquainted with affairs.
Refined thoughtfulness and common sense combine to give value to all
that Mr. Helps writes, and he is master of a style at once manly and
elegant, quiet and strong. Two famous lines, which occur in a passage
quoted in these volumes, serve well to characterize their merits:--

  "Though deep, yet clear,--though gentle, yet not dull,--
  Strong without rage,--without o'erflowing, full."

Such books have a special worth in these days of hasty writing. They
admit one to the companionship of thoughtful, well-mannered gentlemen.
One feels that he has been in good company, after reading them; and,
whatever he may have gained of wisdom from the friends he has met in
council, he is also improved in temper and in manners by their society.

The conversations which form the setting of the essays in these volumes
enable Mr. Helps to present in an easy and effective way various sides
of the important questions that he discusses. Completeness of statement
is rarely to be obtained upon any of the deeper topics of life. If the
golden side be displayed, the silver side is likely to be hidden. The
same man holds various, though not irreconcilable opinions upon the same
subject, according to the different lights in which he views it or the
different phases it presents. The most honest man must sometimes
appear inconsistent for the sake of truth; and the clearer a man's own
convictions, the wider will be his charity for those of others. Mr.
Helps exhibits admirably this natural and necessary diversity of
thought, existing even where there is a coincidence of principle and of
aim.

The essays upon War and Despotism are, perhaps, the ablest in these
volumes, and deserve to be seriously viewed in the light of passing
events. They are distinguished by freedom from exaggeration and by their
moderation of statement. As in so many of the productions of the best
English writers at the present day, something of despondency in regard
to the condition of the world is to be traced in them. And truly, to one
who looks at the state of Europe and of our own country, there is more
need for faith than ground of hope.

But at this Christmas season, this season of peace and good-will, let
all our readers read the essay on Pleasantness. And if they will but
take its teachings to heart, we can wish them, with the certainty of the
fulfilment of our wish, a merry Christmas and a happy New Year.


_The Marvellous Adventures and Rare Conceits of Master Tyll Owlglass._
Newly collected, etc., by KENNETH R.H. MACKENZIE. With Illustrations by
Crowquill. Boston: Ticknor & Fields. 1860. pp. xxxix., 255.

This is a very beautiful edition of a very amusing book. The preface and
notes of Mr. Mackenzie will commend it to scholars, while the stories
themselves will divert both young and old. A book of this kind, which
can keep life in itself for more than three hundred years, must have
some real humor and force at bottom. It is as good a specimen of
mediaeval fun as could anywhere be found. With nothing like the satiric
humor of the "Epistolae Obscurorum Virorum," it appeals to a much larger
circle of readers. We are very glad to meet it again in so handsome a
dress, and with such really clever illustrations. It is just the book
for a Christmas gift.


_Reynard the Fox, after the German Version of Goethe._ By THOMAS
JAMES ARNOLD, Esq. With Illustrations from the Designs of Wilhelm von
Kaulbach. New York: D. Appleton & Co., 346 and 348 Broadway. 1860. pp.
226.

It is very well that Mr. Arnold should tell us on the title-page that
his version is _after_ that of Goethe. Nothing could be truer,--and it
is a very long way after, too. By substituting the slow and verbose
pentameter of what is called the classic school of English poetry for
the remarkably forth-right and simple eight-syllabic measure of the
original, the translator has contrived to lose almost wholly that homely
flavor of the old poet, which Goethe carefully preserved. We do not mean
to say that this is altogether a bad version, as such things go; on the
contrary, it has a great deal of spirit, as it could hardly fail to
have, unless it belied its model altogether;--but it is as far as
possible from giving any notion of the characteristic qualities of
"Reinaert de Vos." If Mr. Arnold must change the measure, Chaucer's
"Nonnes Preestes Tale" would have been a safer guide to follow.

The book, in spite of its American title-page, is wholly of English
manufacture. It is a very handsome volume, and Kaulbach's illustrations
are copied with tolerable success, though with inevitable inferiority to
the German originals. Kaulbach is hardly so happy an animal-painter as
Grandville, but he has at least given his subjects in this case a more
human expression than in his monstrous caricatures of Shakspeare.



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Series. In Two Volumes. Reprinted from the English Edition. Boston and
Cambridge. James Munroe & Co. 16mo. pp. iv., 242, iv., 280. $1.50.

Sir Rohan's Ghost. A Romance. Boston. J.E. Tilton & Co. 12mo. pp. 352.
$1.00.

Stories of Rainbow and Lucky. By Jacob Abbott. New York. Harper &
Brothers. 16mo. pp. 187. 50 cts.

Preachers and Preaching. By Rev. Nicholas Murray, D.D., Author of
"Romanism at Home," "Men and Things in Europe," etc. New York. Harper &
Brothers. 12mo. pp. 303. 75 cts.





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