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Title: The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 05, No. 28, February, 1860
Author: Various
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 05, No. 28, February, 1860" ***

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THE

ATLANTIC MONTHLY.

A MAGAZINE OF LITERATURE, ART, AND POLITICS.

VOL. V.--FEBRUARY, 1860.--NO. XXVIII.



Transcriber's Note: Minor typos have been corrected. Footnotes have been
moved to the end of the article.



COUNTING AND MEASURING.


Though, from the rapid action of the eye and the mind, grouping and
counting by groups appear to be a single operation, yet, as things can
be seen in succession only, however rapidly, the counting of things,
whether ideal or real, is necessarily one by one. This is the first step
of the art. The second step is grouping. The use of grouping is to
economize speech in numeration, and writing in notation, by the exercise
of the memory. The memorizing of groups is, therefore, a part of the
primary education of every individual. Until this art is attained, to a
certain extent, it is very convenient to use the fingers as
representatives of the individuals of which the groups are composed.
This practice led to the general adoption of a group derived from the
fingers of the left hand. The adoption of this group was the first
distinct step toward mental arithmetic. Previous groupings were for
particular numerations; this for numeration in general; being, in fact,
the first numeric base,--the quinary. As men advanced in the use of
numbers, they adopted a group derived from the fingers of both hands;
thus ten became the base of numeration.

Notation, like numeration, began with ones, advanced to fives, then to
tens, etc. Roman notation consisted of a series of signs signifying 1,
5, 10, 50, 100, 500, 1000, etc.,--a series evidently the result of
counting by the five fingers and the two hands, the numbers signified
being the products of continued multiplication by five and by two
alternately. The Romans adhered to their mode, nor is it entirely out of
use at the present day, being revered for its antiquity, admired for its
beauty, and practised for its convenience.

The ancient Greek series corresponded to that of the Romans, though
primarily the signs for 50, 500 and 5000 had no place. Ultimately,
however, those places were supplied by means of compound signs.

The Greeks abandoned their ancient mode in favor of the alphabetic,
which, as it signified by a single letter each number of the
arithmetical series from one to nine separately, and also in union by
multiplication with the successive powers of the base of numeration, was
a decided improvement; yet, as it consisted of signs which by their
number were difficult to remember, and by their resemblance easy to
mistake, it was far from being perfect.

Doubtless, strenuous efforts were made to remedy these defects, and,
apparently as the result of those efforts, the Arabic or Indian mode
appeared; which, signifying the powers of the base by position, reduced
the number of signs to that of the arithmetical series, beginning with
nought and ending with a number of the value of the base less one.

The peculiarity of the Arabic mode, therefore, in comparison with the
Greek, the Roman, or the alphabetic, is place value; the value of a
combination by either of these being simply equal to the sum of its
elements. By that, the value of the successive places, counting from
right to left, being equal to the successive powers of the base,
beginning with the noughth power, each figure in the combination is
multiplied in value by the power of the base proper to its place, and
the value of the whole is equal to the sum of those products.

The Arabic mode is justly esteemed one of the happiest results of human
intelligence; and though the most complex ever practised, its
efficiency, as an arithmetical means, has obtained for it the reputation
of great simplicity,--a reputation that extends even to the present
base, which, from its intimate and habitual association with the mode,
is taken to be a part of the mode itself.

With regard to this impression it may be remarked, that the qualities
proper to a mode bear no resemblance to those proper to a base. The
qualities of the present mode are well known and well accepted. Those of
the present base are accepted with the mode, but those proper to a base
remain to be determined. In attempting to ascertain these, it will be
necessary to consider the uses of numeration and of notation.

These may be arranged in three divisions,--scientific, mechanical, and
commercial. The first is limited, being confined to a few; the second is
general, being common to many; the third is universal, being necessary
to all. Commercial use, therefore, will govern the present inquiry.

Commerce, being the exchange of property, requires real quantity to be
determined, and this in such proportions as are most readily obtained
and most frequently required. This can be done only by the adoption of a
unit of quantity that is both real and constant, and such multiples and
divisions of it as are consistent with the nature of things and the
requirements of use: real, because property, being real, can be measured
by real measures only; constant, because the determination of quantity
requires a standard of comparison that is invariable; conveniently
proportioned, because both time and labor are precious. These rules
being acted on, the result will be a system of real, constant, and
convenient weights, measures, and coins. Consequently, the numeration
and notation best suited to commerce will be those which agree best with
such a system.

From the earliest periods, special attention has been paid to units of
quantity, and, in the ignorance of more constant quantities, the
governors of men have offered their own persons as measures; hence the
fathom, yard, pace, cubit, foot, span, hand, digit, pound, and pint. It
is quite probable that the Egyptians first gave to such measures the
permanent form of government standards, and that copies of them were
carried by commerce, and otherwise, to surrounding nations. In time,
these became vitiated, and should have been verified by their originals;
but for distant nations this was not convenient; moreover, the governors
of those nations had a variety of reasons for preferring to verify them
by their own persons. Thus they became doubly vitiated; yet, as they
were not duly enforced, the people pleased themselves, so that almost
every market-town and fair had its own weights and measures; and as, in
the regulation of coins, governments, like the people, pleased
themselves, so that almost every nation had a peculiar currency, the
general result was, that with the laws and the practices of the
governors and the governed, neither of whom pursued a legitimate
course, confusion reigned supreme. Indeed, a system of weights,
measures, and coins, with a constant and real standard, and
corresponding multiples and divisions, though indulged in as a day-dream
by a few, has never yet been presented to the world in a definite form;
and as, in the absence of such a system, a corresponding system of
numeration and notation can be of no real use, the probability is, that
neither the one nor the other has ever been fully idealized. On the
contrary, the present base is taken to be a fixed fact, of the order of
the laws of the Medes and Persians; so much so, that, when the great
question is asked, one of the leading questions of the age,--How is this
mass of confusion to be brought into harmony?--the reply is,--It is only
necessary to adopt one constant and real standard, with decimal
multiples and divisions, and a corresponding nomenclature, and the work
is done: a reply that is still persisted in, though the proposition has
been fairly tried, and clearly proved to be impracticable.

Ever since commerce began, merchants, and governments for them, have,
from time to time, established multiples and divisions of given
standards; yet, for some reason, they have seldom chosen the number ten
as a base. From the long-continued and intimate connection of decimal
numeration and notation with the quantities commerce requires, may not
the fact, that it has not been so used more frequently, be considered as
sufficient evidence that this use is not proper to it? That it is not
may be shown thus:--A thing may be divided directly into equal parts
only by first dividing it into two, then dividing each of the parts into
two, etc., producing 2, 4, 8, 16, etc., equal parts, but ten never. This
results from the fact, that doubling or folding is the only direct mode
of dividing real quantities into equal parts, and that balancing is the
nearest indirect mode,--two facts that go far to prove binary division
to be proper to weights, measures, and coins. Moreover, use evidently
requires things to be divided by two more frequently than by any other
number,--a fact apparently due to a natural agreement between men and
things. Thus it appears the binary division of things is not only most
readily obtained, but also most frequently required. Indeed, it is to
some extent necessary; and though it may be set aside in part, with
proportionate inconvenience, it can never be set aside entirely, as has
been proved by experience. That men have set it aside in part, to their
own loss, is sufficiently evidenced. Witness the heterogeneous mass of
irregularities already pointed out. Of these our own coins present a
familiar example. For the reasons above stated, coins, to be practical,
should represent the powers of two; yet, on examination, it will be
found, that, of our twelve grades of coins, only one-half are obtained
by binary division, and these not in a regular series. Do not these six
grades, irregular as they are, give to our coins their principal
convenience? Then why do we claim that our coins are decimal? Are not
their gradations produced by the following multiplications: 1 x 5 x 2 x
2-1/2 x 2 x 2 x 2-1/2 x 2 x 2 x 2, and 1 x 3 x 100? Are any of these
decimal? We might have decimal coins by dropping all but cents, dimes,
dollars, and eagles; but the question is not, What we might have, but,
What have we? Certainly we have not decimal coins. A purely decimal
system of coins would be an intolerable nuisance, because it would
require a greatly increased number of small coins. This may be
illustrated by means of the ancient Greek notation, using the simple
signs only, with the exception of the second sign, to make it purely
decimal. To express $9.99 by such a notation, only three signs can be
used; consequently nine repetitions of each are required, making a total
of twenty-seven signs. To pay it in decimal coins, the same number of
pieces are required. Including the second Greek sign, twenty-three signs
are required; including the compound signs also, only fifteen. By Roman
notation, without subtraction, fifteen; with subtraction, nine. By
alphabetic notation, three signs without repetition. By the Arabic, one
sign thrice repeated. By Federal coins, nine pieces, one of them being a
repetition. By dual coins, six pieces without a repetition, a fraction
remaining.

In the gradation of real weights, measures, and coins, it is important
to adopt those grades which are most convenient, which require the least
expense of capital, time, and labor, and which are least likely to be
mistaken for each other. What, then, is the most convenient gradation?
The base two gives a series of seven weights that may be used: 1, 2, 4,
8, 16, 32, 64 lbs. By these any weight from one to one hundred and
twenty-seven pounds may be weighed. This is, perhaps, the smallest
number of weights or of coins with which those several quantities of
pounds or of dollars may be weighed or paid. With the same number of
weights, representing the arithmetical series from one to seven, only
from one to twenty-eight pounds may be weighed; and though a more
extended series may be used, this will only add to their inconvenience;
moreover, from similarity of size, such weights will be readily
mistaken. The base ten gives only two weights that may be used. The base
three gives a series of weights, 1, 3, 9, 27, etc., which has a great
promise of convenience; but as only four may be used, the fifth being
too heavy to handle, and as their use requires subtraction as well as
addition, they have neither the convenience nor the capability of binary
weights; moreover, the necessity for subtraction renders this series
peculiarly unfit for coins.

The legitimate inference from the foregoing seems to be, that a
perfectly practical system of weights, measures, and coins, one not
practical only, but also agreeable and convenient, because requiring the
smallest possible number of pieces, and these not readily mistaken for
each other, and because agreeing with the natural division of things,
and therefore commercially proper, and avoiding much fractional
calculation, is that, and that only, the successive grades of which
represent the successive powers of two.

That much fractional calculation may thus be avoided is evident from the
fact that the system will be homogeneous. Thus, as binary gradation
supplies one coin for every binary division of the dollar, down to the
sixty-fourth part, and farther, if necessary, any of those divisions may
be paid without a remainder. On the contrary, Federal gradation, though
in part binary, gives one coin for each of the first two divisions only.
Of the remaining four divisions, one requires two coins, and another
three, and not one of them can be paid in full. Thus it appears there
are four divisions of the dollar that cannot be paid in Federal coins,
divisions that are constantly in use, and unavoidable, because resulting
from the natural division of things, and from the popular division of
the pound, gallon, yard, inch, etc., that has grown out of it. Those
fractious that cannot be paid, the proper result of a heterogeneous
system, are a constant source of jealousy, and often produce disputes,
and sometimes bitter wrangling, between buyer and seller. The injury to
public morals arising from this cause, like the destructive effect of
the constant dropping of water, though too slow in its progress to be
distinctly traced, is not the less certain. The economic value of binary
gradation is, in the aggregate, immense; yet its moral value is not to
be overlooked, when a full estimate of its worth is required.

Admitting binary gradation to be proper to weights, measures, and coins,
it follows that a corresponding base of numeration and notation must be
provided, as that best suited to commerce. For this purpose, the number
two immediately presents itself; but binary numeration and notation
being too prolix for arithmetical practice, it becomes necessary to
select for a base a power of two that will afford a more comprehensive
notation: a power of two, because no other number will agree with binary
gradation. It is scarcely proper to say the third power has been
selected, for there was no alternative,--the second power being too
small, and the fourth too large. Happily, the third is admirably suited
to the purpose, combining, as it does, the comprehensiveness of eight
with the simplicity of two.

It may be asked, how a number, hitherto almost entirely overlooked as a
base of numeration, is suddenly found to be so well suited to the
purpose. The fact is, the present base being accepted as proper for
numeration, however erroneously, it is assumed to be proper for
gradation also; and a very flattering assumption it is, promising a
perfectly homogeneous system of weights, measures, coins, and numbers,
than which nothing can be more desirable; but, siren-like, it draws the
mind away from a proper investigation of the subject, and the basic
qualities of numbers, being unquestioned, remain unknown. When the
natural order is adopted, and the base of gradation is ascertained by
its adaptation to things, and the base of numeration by its agreement
with that of gradation, then, the basic qualities of numbers being
questioned, two is found to be proper to the first use, and eight to the
second.

The idea of changing the base of numeration will appear to most persons
as absurd, and its realization as impossible; yet the probability is, it
will be done. The question is one of time rather than of fact, and there
is plenty of time. The diffusion of education will ultimately cause it
to be demanded. A change of notation is not an impossible thing. The
Greeks changed theirs, first for the alphabetic, and afterwards, with
the rest of the civilized world, for the Arabic,--both greater changes
than that now proposed. A change of numeration is truly a more serious
matter, yet the difficulty may not be as great as our apprehensions
paint it. Its inauguration must not be compared with that of French
gradation, which, though theoretically perfect, is practically absurd.

Decimal numeration grew out of the fact that each person has ten fingers
and thumbs, without reference to science, art, or commerce. Ultimately
scientific men discovered that it was not the best for certain purposes,
consequently that a change might be desirable; but as they were not
disposed to accommodate themselves to popular practices, which they
erroneously viewed, not as necessary consequences, but simply as bad
habits, they suggested a base with reference not so much to commerce as
to science. The suggestion was never acted on, however; indeed, it would
have been in vain, as Delambre remarks, for the French commission to
have made the attempt, not only for the reason he presents, but also
because it does not agree with natural division, and is therefore not
suited to commerce; neither is it suited to the average capacity of
mankind for numbers; for, though some may be able to use duodecimal
numeration and notation with ease, the great majority find themselves
equal to decimal only, and some come short even of that, except in its
simplest use. Theoretically, twelve should be preferred to ten, because
it agrees with circle measure at least, and ten agrees with nothing;
besides, it affords a more comprehensive notation, and is divisible by
6, 4, 3, and 2 without a fraction, qualities that are theoretically
valuable.

At first sight, the universal use of decimal numeration seems to be an
argument in its favor. It appears as though Nature had pointed directly
to it, on account of some peculiar fitness. It is assumed, indeed, that
this is the case, and habit confirms the assumption; yet, when
reflection has overcome habit, it will be seen that its adoption was due
to accident alone,--that it took place before any attention was paid to
a general system, in short, without reflection,--and that its supposed
perfection is a mere delusion; for, as a member of such a system, it
presents disagreements on every hand; as has been said, it has no
agreement with anything, unless it be allowable to say that it agrees
with the Arabic mode of notation. This kind of agreement it has, in
common with every other base. It is this that gives it character. On
this account alone it is believed by many to be the perfection of
harmony. They get the base of numeration and the mode of notation so
mingled together, that they cannot separate them sufficiently to obtain
a distinct idea of either; and some are not conscious that they are
distinct, but see in the Arabic mode nothing save decimal notation, and
attribute to it all those high qualities that belong to the mode only.
The Arabic mode is an invention of the highest merit, not surpassed by
any other; but the admiration that belongs to it is thus bestowed upon a
quite commonplace idea, a misapplication, which, in this as in many
other cases, arises from the fact, that it is much easier to admire than
to investigate. This result of carelessness, if isolated, might be
excused; but all errors are productive, and it should be remembered that
this one has produced that extraordinary perversion of truth to be found
in the reply to the question, How is all this confusion to be brought
into harmony? It has produced it not only in words, but in deed. Was it
not this reply that led the French commission to extend the use of the
present base from numeration to gradation also, under the delusive hope
of producing a perfectly homogeneous system, that would be practical
also? Was it not under its influence, that, adhering to the base to
which the world had been so long accustomed, instead of attempting to
regulate ideal division by real, which might have led to the adoption of
the true base and a practical system, they committed the one great error
of endeavoring to reverse true order, by forcing real division into
conformity with a preconceived ideal? This attempt was made at a time
supposed by many to be peculiarly suited to the purpose, a time of
changes. It was a time of changes, truly; but these were the result of
high excitement, not of quiet thought, such as the subject requires,--a
time for rushing forward, not for retracing misguided steps.
Accordingly, a system was produced which from its magnitude and
importance was truly imposing, and which, to the present day, is highly
applauded by all those who, under the influence of the error alluded to,
conceive decimal numeration to be a sacred truth: applauded, not because
of its adaptation to commerce, but simply because of its beautiful
proportions, its elegant symmetry, to say nothing of the array of
learning and power engaged in its production and inauguration: imposing,
truly, and alike on its authors and admirers; for the qualities they so
much admire are not peculiar to the decimal base, but to the use of one
and the same base for numeration, notation, and gradation. But if the
base ten agrees with nothing, over, on, or under the earth, can it be
the best for scientific use? can it be at all suited to commercial
purposes? If true order is the object to be attained, and that for the
sake of its utility, then agreement between real and ideal division is
the one thing needful, the one essential change without which all other
changes are vain, the only change that will yield the greatest good to
the greatest number,--a change, which, as volition is with the ideal,
and inertia with the real, can be attained only by adaptation of the
ideal to the real.

A full investigation of the existing heterogeneous or fragmentary system
will lead to the discovery that it contains two elements which are at
variance with natural division and with each other, and that the
unsuccessful issue of every attempt at regulation hitherto made has been
the proper result of the mistake of supposing agreement between those
elements to be a possible thing.

The first element of discord to be considered is the division of things
by personal proportion, as by fathom, yard, cubit, foot, etc. It is
obvious at a glance, that these do not agree with binary division, nor
with decimal, nor yet with each other. It is this element that has
suggested the duodecimal base, to which some adhere so tenaciously,
apparently because they have not ascertained the essential quality of a
base.

The second is the numeration of things by personal parts, as fingers,
hands, etc.,--suggesting a base of numeration that has no agreement
with the binary, nor with personal proportion, neither can it have with
any proper general system. Are there any things in Nature that exist by
tens, that associate by tens, that separate into tenths? Are there any
things that are sold by tens, or by tenths? Even the fingers number
eight, and, had there been any reflection used in the adoption of a base
of numeration, the thumbs would not have been included. The ease with
which the simplest arithmetical series may be continued led our fathers
quietly to the adoption, first, of the quinary, and second, of the
decimal group; and we have continued its use so quietly, that its
propriety has rarely been questioned; indeed, most persons are both
surprised and offended, when they hear it declared to be a purely
artificial base, proper only to abstract numbers.

The binary base, on the contrary, is natural, real, simple,
and accords with the tendency of the mind to simplify, to
individualize. In business, who ever thinks of a half as
two-fourths, or three-sixths, much less as two-and-a-half-fifths,
or three-and-a-half-sevenths? For division by two produces a half
at one operation; but with any other divisor, the reduction is too
great, and must be followed by multiplication. Think of calling
a half five-tenths, a quarter twenty-five-hundredths, an eighth
one-hundred-and-twenty-five-thousandths! Arithmetic is seldom used as a
plaything. It generally comes into use when the mind is too much
occupied for sporting. Consequently, the smallest divisor that will
serve the purpose is always preferred. A calculation is an appendage to
a mercantile transaction, not a part of the transaction itself; it is,
indeed, a hindrance, and in large business is performed by a distinct
person. But even with him, simplicity, because necessary to speed, is
second in merit only to correctness.

The binary base is not only simple, it is real. Accordingly, it has
large agreement with the popular divisions of weights, etc. Grocers'
weights, up to the four-pound piece, and all their measures, are binary;
so are the divisions of the yard, the inch, etc.

It is not only simple and real, it is natural. On every hand, things may
be found that are duplex in form, that associate in pairs, that separate
into halves, that may be divided into two equal parts. Things are
continually sold in pairs, in halves, and in quantities produced by
halving.

The binary base, therefore, is here proposed, as the only proper base
for gradation; and the octonal, as the true commercial base, for
numeration and notation: two bases which in combination form a
binoctonal system that is at once simple, comprehensive, and efficient.



MY LAST LOVE.


I had counted many more in my girlhood, in the first flush of
blossoming,--and a few, good men and true, whom I never meet even now
without an added color; for, at one time or another, I thought I loved
each of them.

"Why didn't I marry them, then?"

For the same reason that many another woman does not. We are afraid to
trust our own likings. Too many of them are but sunrise vapors, very
rosy to begin with, but by mid-day as dingy as any old dead cloud with
the rain all shed out of it. I never see any of those old swains of
mine, without feeling profoundly thankful that I don't belong to him. I
shouldn't want to look over my husband's head in any sense. So they all
got wives and children, and I lived an old maid,--although I was
scarcely conscious of the state; for, if my own eyes or other people's
testimony were to be trusted, I didn't look old, and I'm quite sure I
didn't feel so. But I came to myself on my thirty-second birthday, an
old maid most truly, without benefit of clergy. And thereby hangs this
tale; for on that birthday I first made acquaintance with my last love.

Something like a month before, there had come to Huntsville two
gentlemen in search of game and quiet quarters for the summer. They soon
found that a hotel in a country village affords little seclusion; but
the woods were full of game, the mountain-brooks swarmed with trout too
fine to be given up, and they decided to take a house of their own.
After some search, they fixed on an old house, (I've forgotten whose
"folly" it was called,) full a mile and a half from town, standing upon
a mossy hill that bounded my fields, square and stiff and
weather-beaten, and without any protection except a ragged pine-tree
that thrust its huge limbs beneath the empty windows, as though it were
running away with a stolen house under its arm. The place was musty,
rat-eaten, and tenanted by a couple of ghosts, who thought a fever, once
quite fatal within the walls, no suitable discharge from the property,
and made themselves perfectly free of the quarters in properly weird
seasons. But money and labor cleared out all the cobwebs, (for ghosts
are but spiritual cobwebs, you know,) and the old house soon wore a
charming air of rustic comfort.

I used to look over sometimes, for it was full in view from my
chamber-windows, and see the sportsmen going off by sunrise with their
guns or fishing-rods, or lying, after their late dinner, stretched upon
the grass in front of the house, smoking and reading. Sometimes a
fragment of a song would be dropped down from the lazy wings of the
south wind, sometimes a long laugh filled all the summer air and
frightened the pinewood into echoes, and, altogether, the new neighbors
seemed to live an enviable life. They were very civil people, too; for,
though their nearest path out lay across my fields, and close by the
doorway, and they often stopped to buy fruit or cream or butter, we were
never annoyed by an impertinent question or look. Once only I overheard
a remark not altogether civil, and that was on the evening before my
birthday. One of them, the elder, said, as he went away from my house
with a basket of cherries, that he should like to get speech with that
polyglot old maid, who read, and wrote, and made her own butter-pats.
The other answered, that the butter was excellent at any rate, and
perhaps she had a classical cow; and they went down the lane laughingly
disputing about the matter, not knowing that I was behind the
currant-bushes.

"Polyglot old maid!" I thought, very indignantly, as I went into the
house. "I've a mind not to sell them another cake of my butter. But I
wonder if people call me an old maid. I wonder if I am one."

I thought of it all the evening, and dreamt of it all night, waking the
next morning with a new realization of the subject. That first sense of
a lost youth! How sharp and strong it comes! That suddenly opened north
door of middle life, through which the winter winds rush in, sweeping
out of the southern windows all the splendors of the earlier time; it is
like a sea-turn in late summer. It has seemed to be June all along, and
we thought it was June, until the wind went round to the east, and the
first red leaf admonished us. By-and-by we close, as well as we may,
that open door, and look out again from the windows upon blooms,
beautiful in their way, to which some birds yet sing; but, alas! the
wind is still from the east, and blows as though, far away, it had lain
among icebergs.

So I mused all the morning, watering the sentiment with a bit of a
shower out of my cloud; and when the shadows turned themselves, I went
out to see how old age would look to me in the fields and woods. It was
a delicious afternoon, more like a warm dream of hay-making, odorous,
misty, sleepily musical, than a waking reality, on which the sun shone.
Tremulous blue clouds lay down all around upon the mountains, and lazy
white ones lost themselves in the waters; and through the dozing air,
the faint chirp of robin or cricket, and ding of bells in the woods, and
mellow cut of scythe, melted into one song, as though the heart-beat of
the luscious midsummer-time had set itself to tune.

I walked on to loiter through the woods. No dust-brush for brain or
heart like the boughs of trees! There dwells a truth, and pure, strong
health within them, an ever-returning youth, promising us a glorious
leafage in some strange spring-time, and a symmetry and sweetness that
possess us until our thoughts grow skyward like them, and wave and sing
in some sunnier strata of soul-air. In the woods I was a girl again, and
forgot the flow of the hours in their pleasant companionship. I must
have grown tired and sat down by a thicket of pines to rest, though I
have forgotten, and perhaps I had fallen asleep; for suddenly I became
conscious of a sharp report, and a sharper pain in my shoulder, and,
tearing off my cape, I found the blood was flowing from a wound just
below the joint. I remember little more, for a sudden faintness came
over me; but I have an indistinct remembrance of people coming up, of
voices, of being carried home, and of the consternation there, and long
delay in obtaining the surgeon. The pain of an operation brought me
fully to my senses; and when that was over, I was left alone to sleep,
or to think over my situation at leisure. I'm afraid I had but little of
a Christian spirit then. All my plans of labor and pleasure spoiled by
this one piece of carelessness! to call it by the mildest term. All
those nice little fancies that should have grown into real
flesh-and-blood articles for my publisher, hung up to dry and shrivel
without shape or comeliness! The garden, the dairy, the new bit of
carriage-way through the beeches,--my pet scheme,--the new music, the
sewing, all laid upon the shelf for an indefinite time, and I with no
better employment than to watch the wall-paper, and to wonder if it
wasn't almost dinner- or supper-time, or nearly daylight! To be sure, I
knew and thought of all the improving reflections of a sick-room; but it
was much like a mild-spoken person making peace among twenty quarrelsome
ones. You can see him making mouths, but you don't hear a word he says.

A sick mind breeds fever fast in a sick body, and by night I was in a
high fever, and for a day or two knew but little of what went on about
me. One of the first things I heard, when I grew easier, was, that my
neighbor, the sportsman, was waiting below to hear how I was. It was the
younger one whose gun had wounded me; and he had shown great solicitude,
they said, coming several times each day to inquire for me. He brought
some birds to be cooked for me, too,--and came again to bring some
lilies he had gone a mile to fetch, he told the girl. Every day he came
to inquire, or to bring some delicacy, or a few flowers, or a new
magazine for me, until the report of his visit came to be an expected
excitement, and varied the dull days wonderfully. Sickness and seclusion
are a new birth to our senses, oftentimes. Not only do we get a real
glimpse of ourselves, undecked and unclothed, but the commonest habits
of life, and the things that have helped to shape them day by day, put
on a sort of strangeness, and come to shake hands with us again, and
make us wonder that they should be just exactly what they are. We get at
the primitive meaning of them, as if we rubbed off the nap of life, and
looked to see how the threads were woven; and they come and go before us
with a sort of old newness that affects us much as if we should meet our
own ghost some time, and wonder if we are really our own or some other
person's housekeeper.

I went through all this, and came out with a stock of small facts
beside,--as, that the paper-hanger had patched the hangings in my
chamber very badly in certain dark spots, (I had got several headaches,
making it out,)--that the chimney was a little too much on one
side,--that certain boards in the entry-floor creaked of their own
accord in the night,--that Neighbor Brown had tucked a few new shingles
into the roof of his barn, so that it seemed to have broken out with
them,--and any number of other things equally important. At length I got
down-stairs, and was allowed to see a few friends. Of course there was
an inundation of them; and each one expected to hear my story, and to
tell a companion one, something like mine, only a little more so. It was
astonishing, the immense number of people that had been hurt with guns.
No wonder I was sick for a day or two afterward. I was more prudent next
time, however, and, as the gossips had got all they wanted, I saw only
my particular friends. Among these my neighbor, the sportsman, insisted
on being reckoned, and after a little hesitation we were obliged to
admit him. I say we,--for, on hearing of my injury, my good cousin, Mary
Mead, had come to nurse and amuse me. She was one of those safe,
serviceable, amiable people, made of just the stuff for a satellite, and
she proved invaluable to me. She was immensely taken with Mr. Ames, too,
(I speak of the younger, for, after the first call of condolence, the
elder sportsman never came,) and to her I left the task of entertaining
him, or rather of doing the honors of the house,--for the gentleman
contrived to entertain himself and us.

Now don't imagine the man a hero, for he was no such thing. He was very
good-looking,--some might say handsome,--well-bred, well educated, with
plenty of common information picked up in a promiscuous intercourse with
town and country people, rather fine tastes, and a great, strong,
magnanimous, physical nature, modest, but perfectly self-conscious. That
was his only charm for me. I despise a mere animal; but, other things
being equal, I admire a man who is big and strong, and aware of his
advantages; and I think most women, and very refined ones, too, love
physical beauty and strength much more than they are willing to
acknowledge. So I had the same admiration for Mr. Ames that I should
have had for any other finely proportioned thing, and enjoyed him very
much, sitting quietly in my corner while he chatted with Mary, or told
me stories of travel or hunting, or read aloud, which he soon fell into
the way of doing.

We did try, as much as hospitality permitted, to confine his visits to a
few ceremonious calls; but he persisted in coming almost every day, and
walked in past the girl with that quiet sort of authority which it is so
difficult to resist. In the same way he took possession of Mary and me.
He was sure it must be very dull for both of us; therefore he was going,
if we would pardon the liberty, to offer his services as reader, while
my nurse went out for a ride or a walk. Couldn't I sit out under the
shadow of the beech-trees, as well as in that hot room? He could lift
the chair and me perfectly well, and arrange all so that I should be
comfortable. He would like to superintend the cooking of some birds he
brought one day. He noticed that the girl didn't do them quite as nicely
as he had learned to do them in the woods. And so in a thousand things
he quietly made us do as he chose, without seeming to outrage any rule
of propriety. When I was able to sit in a carriage, he persuaded me to
drive with him; and I had to lean on his arm, when I first went round
the place to see how matters went on.

Once I protested against his making himself so necessary to us, and told
him that I didn't care to furnish the gossips so much food as we were
doing.

When I turned him out of doors, he would certainly stay away, he said;
but he thought, that, as long as I was an invalid, I needed some one to
think and act for me and save me the trouble, and, as no one else seemed
disposed to take the office, he thought it was rather his duty and
privilege,--especially, he added, with a slight smile, as he was quite
sure that it was not very disagreeable to us. As for the gossips, he
didn't think they would make much out of it, with such an excellent
duenna as Cousin Mary,--and, indeed, he heard the other day that he was
paying attention to her.

I thought it all over by myself, when he had gone, and came to the
conclusion that it was not necessary for me to resign so great a
pleasure as his society had become, merely for the fear of what a few
curious people might say. Even Mary, cautious as she was, protested
against banishing him for such a reason; and, after a little talking
over of the matter among ourselves, we decided to let Mr. Ames come as
often as he chose, for the remaining month of his stay.

That month went rapidly enough, for I was well enough to ride and walk
out, and half the time had Mr. Ames to accompany me. I got to value him
very much, as I knew him better, and as he grew acquainted with my
peculiarities; and we were the best friends in the world, without a
thought of being more. No one would have laughed at that more than we,
there was such an evident unsuitableness in the idea. At length the time
came for him to leave Huntsville; his house was closed, except one room
where he still preferred to remain, and his friend was already gone. He
came to take tea with us for the last time, and made himself as
agreeable as ever, although it evidently required some effort to do so.
Soft-hearted Cousin Mary broke down and went off crying when he bade her
good-bye, after tea; but I was not of such stuff, and laughingly rallied
him on the impression he had made.

"Get your bonnet, and walk over to the stile with me, Miss Rachel," he
said. "It isn't sunset quite yet, and the afternoon is warm. Come! it's
the last walk we shall take together."

I followed him out, and we went almost silently across the fields to the
hill that overlooked the strip of meadow between our houses. There was
the stile over which I had looked to see him spring, many a time.

"Sit down a moment, until the sun is quite down," he said, making room
for me beside him on the topmost step. "See how splendid that sky is! a
pavilion for the gods!"

"I should think they were airing all their finery," I answered. "It
looks more like a counter spread with bright goods than anything else I
can think of."

"That's a decidedly vulgar comparison, and you're not in a spiritual
mood at all," he said. "You've snubbed me two or three times to-night,
when I've tried to be sentimental. What's amiss with you?" and he bent
his eyes, full of a saucy sort of triumph, upon mine.

"I don't like parting with friends; it sets me all awry," I said, giving
back his own self-assured look. I was sorry to have him go; but if he
thought I was going to cry or blush, he was mistaken.

"You'll write to me, Miss Rachel?" he asked.

"No, Mr. Ames,--not at all," I said.

"Not write? Why not?" he asked, in astonishment.

"Because I don't believe in galvanizing dead friendships," I answered.

"Dead friendships, Miss Rachel? I hope ours has much life in it yet," he
said.

"It's in the last agony, Sir. It will be comfortably dead and buried
before long, with a neat little epitaph over it,--which is much the best
way to dispose of them finally, I think."

"You're harder than I thought you were," he said. "Is that the way you
feel towards all your friends?"

"I love my friends as well as any one," I answered. "But I never hold
them when they wish to be gone. My life-yarn spins against some other
yarn, catches the fibres, and twists into the very heart"----

"So far?" he asked, turning his eyes down to mine.

"Yes," I said, coolly,--"for the time being. You don't play at your
friendships, do you? If so, I pity you. As I was saying, they're like
one thread. By-and-by one spindle is moved, the strands spin away from
each other, and become strange yarn. What's the use of sending little
locks of wool across to keep them acquainted? They're two yarns from
henceforth. Reach out for some other thread,--there's plenty near,--and
spin into that. We're made all up of little locks from other people, Mr.
Ames. Won't it be strange, in that great Hereafter, to hunt up our own
fibres, and return other people's? It would take about forty-five
degrees of an eternity to do that."

"I shall never return mine," he said. "I couldn't take myself to pieces
in such a style. But won't you write at all?"

"To what purpose? You'll be glad of one letter,--possibly of two. Then
it will be, 'Confound it! here's a missive from that old maid! What a
bore! Now I suppose I must air my wits in her behalf; but, if you ever
catch me again,'----_Exit_."

"And you?" he asked, laughing.

"I shall be as weary as you, and find it as difficult to keep warmth in
the poor dying body. No, Mr. Ames. Let the poor thing die a natural
death, and we'll wear a bit of crape a little while, and get a new
friend for the old."

"So you mean to forget me altogether?"

"No, indeed! I shall recollect you as a very pleasant tale that is
told,--not a friend to hanker after. Isn't that good common sense?"

"It's all head-work,--mere cold calculation," he said; "while I"----He
stopped and colored.

"Your gods, there, are downright turn-coats," I said, coming down from
the stile. "Their red mantles are nothing but pearl-colored now, and
presently they'll be russet-gray. That whippoorwill always brings the
dew with him, too; so I must go home. Good-night, and good-bye, Mr.
Ames."

"I scarcely know how to part with you," he said, taking my hand. "It's
not so easy a thing to do."

"People say, 'Good-bye,' or 'God bless you,' or some such civil phrase,
usually," I said, with just the least curl of my lip,--for I knew I had
got the better of him.

He colored again, and then smiled a little sadly.

"Ah! I'm afraid I leave a bigger lock than I take," he exclaimed. "Well,
then, good friend! good-bye, and God bless you, too! Don't be quite so
hard as you promise to be."

I missed him very much, indeed; but if any think I cried after him, or
wrote verses, or soliloquized for his sake, they are much mistaken. I
had lost friends before, and made it a point to think just as little of
them as possible, until the sore spot grew strong enough to handle
without wincing. Besides, my cousin stayed with me, and all my good
friends in the village had to come out for a call or a visit to see how
the land lay; so I had occupation enough. Once in a while I used to look
over to the old house, and wish for one good breezy conversation with
its master; and when the snow came and lay in one mass upon the old
roof, clear down to the eaves, like a night-cap pulled down to the eyes
of a low-browed old woman, I moved my bed against the window that looked
that way. These forsaken nests are gloomy things enough!

I had no thought of hearing again of him or from him, and was surprised,
when, in a month, a review came, and before long another, and afterwards
a box, by express, with a finely kept bouquet, and, in mid-winter, a
little oil-painting,--a delicious bit of landscape for my _sanctum_, as
he said in the note that accompanied it. I heard from him in this way
all winter, although I never sent word or message back again, and tried
to think I was sorry that he did not forget me, as I had supposed he
would. Of course I never thought of acknowledging to myself that it was
possible for me to love him. I was too good a sophist for that; and,
indeed, I think that between a perfect friendship and a perfect love a
fainter distinction exists than many people imagine. I have known
likings to be colored as rosily as love, and seen what called itself
love as cold as the chilliest liking.

One day, after spring had been some time come, I was returning from a
walk and saw that Mr. Ames's house was open. I could not see any person
there; but the door and windows were opened, and a faint smoke crept out
of the chimney and up among the new spring foliage after the squirrels.
I had walked some distance, and was tired, and the weather was not
perfect; but I thought I would go round that way and see what was going
on. It was one of those charming child-days in early May, laughing and
crying all in one, the fine mist-drops shining down in the sun's rays,
like star-dust from some new world in process of rasping up for use. I
liked such days. The showers were as good for me as for the trees. I
grew and budded under them, and they filled my soul's soil full of
singing brooks.

When I reached the lawn before the door, Mr. Ames came out to see
me,--so glad to meet that he held my hand and drew me in, asking two or
three times how I was and if I were glad to see him. He had called at
the house and seen Cousin Mary, on his way over, he said,--for he was
hungering for a sight of us. He was not looking as well as when he left
in the autumn,--thinner, paler, and with a more anxious expression when
he was not speaking; but when I began to talk with him, he brightened
up, and seemed like his old self. He had two or three workmen already
tearing down portions of the finishing, and after a few moments asked me
to go round and see what improvements he was to make. We stopped at last
at his chamber, a room that looked through the foliage towards my house.

"This is my lounging-place," he said, pointing to the sofa beneath the
window. "I shall sit here with my cigar and watch you this summer; so be
circumspect! But are you sure that you are glad to see me?"

"To be sure. Do you take me for a heathen?" I said. "But what are you
making such a change for? Couldn't the old house content you?"

"It satisfies me well enough; but I expect visitors this summer who are
quite fastidious, and this old worm-eaten wood-work wouldn't do for
them. What makes you look so dark? Don't you like the notion of my
lady-visitors?"

"I didn't know that they were to be ladies until you told me," I said;
"and it's none of my business whom you entertain, Mr. Ames."

"There wasn't much of a welcome for them in your face, at any rate," he
answered. "And to tell the truth, I am not much pleased with the
arrangement myself. But they took a sudden fancy for coming, and no
amount of persuasion could induce them to change their minds. It's
hardly a suitable place for ladies; but if they will come, they must
make the best of it."

"How came you ever to take a fancy to this place? and what makes you
spend so much money on it?" I asked.

"You don't like to see the money thrown away," he said, laughing. "The
truth is, that I've got a skeleton, like many another man, and I've been
trying these two years to get away from it. The first time I stopped to
rest under this tree, I felt light-hearted. I don't know why, except it
was some mysterious influence; but I loved the place, and I love it no
less now, although my skeleton has found a lodging-place here too."

"Of course," I said, "and very appropriately. The house was haunted
before you came."

"It was haunted for me afterward," he said softly, more to himself than
to me; "sweet, shadowy visions I should be glad to call up now." And he
turned away and swallowed a sigh.

I pitied him all the way home, and sat up to pity him, looking through
the soft May starlight to see the lamp burning steadily at his window
until after midnight. From that time I seemed to have a trouble,--though
I could scarcely have named or owned it, it was so indefinite.

He came to see me a few days afterward, and sat quite dull and
abstracted until I warmed him up with a little lively opposition. I
vexed him first, and then, when I saw he was interested enough to talk,
I let him have a chance; and I had never seen him so interesting. He
showed me a new phase of his character, and I listened, and answered him
in as few words as possible, that I might lose nothing of the
revelation. When he got up to go away, I asked him where he had been to
learn and think so much since the last autumn. He began to be, I thought
and hoped, what a sterner teaching might have made him before.

He seemed a little embarrassed; said no one else had discovered any
change in him, and he thought it must be only a reflected light. He had
observed that I had "a remarkable faculty for drawing people out. What
was my witchcraft?"

I disclaimed all witchcraft, and told him it was only because I
quarrelled with people. A little wholesome opposition had warmed him
into quite a flight of fancy.

"If I could only,"----he began, hurriedly; but took out his watch, said
it was time for him to go, and went off quite hastily. It was very weak
in me, but I wished very much to know what he would have said.

The next time, he called a few moments to tell me that his
lady-visitors, with a friend of theirs, had come, and had expressed a
wish to make my acquaintance. He promised them that he would call and
let me know,--though he hoped I would not come, unless I felt inclined.
He was very absent-minded, and went off the moment I asked him where he
had left his good spirits. This made me a little cold to him when I
called on the ladies, for I found them all sitting after tea out at the
door. It was a miserably constrained affair, though we all tried to be
civil,--for I could see that both ladies were taking, or trying to take,
my measure, and it did not set me at ease in the least. But in the mean
time I had measured them; and as experience has confirmed that first
impression, I may as well sketch them here. I protest, in the first
place, against any imputation of prejudice or jealousy. I thought much
more charitably of them than others did.

Mrs. Winslow was one of those pleasant, well-bred ladies, who can look
at you until you are obliged to look away, contradict you flatly, and
say the most grossly impertinent things in the mildest voice and
choicest words. A woman of the world, without nobility enough to
appreciate a magnanimous thought or action, and with very narrow,
shallow views of everything about her, she had still some agreeable
traits of character,--much shrewd knowledge of the world, as she saw it,
some taste for Art, and an excellent judgment in relation to all things
appertaining to polite society. I had really some pleasant intercourse
with her, although I think she was one of the most insulting persons I
ever met. I made a point of never letting her get any advantage of me,
and so we got along very well. Whenever she had a chance, she was sure
to say something that would mortify or hurt me; and I never failed to
repay both principal and interest with a voice and face as smooth as
hers. And here let me say that there is no other way of dealing with
such people. Self-denial, modesty, magnanimity, they do not and cannot
understand. Never turn them the other cheek, but give a smart slap back
again. It will do them good.

The daughter was a very pretty, artificial, silly girl, who might have
been very amiable in a different position, and was not ill-natured as it
was. I might have liked her very well, if she had not conceived such a
wonderful liking for me, and hugged and kissed me as much as she did.
She cooed, too, and I dislike to hear a woman coo; it is a sure mark of
inferiority.

We were quite intimate soon, and Miss Lucy fell into the habit of coming
early in the morning to ride with me, and after dinner to sit and sew,
and after tea for a walk. She showed me all her heart, apparently,
though there was not much of it, and vowed that she scarcely knew how
she should exist without me. I let her play at liking me, just as I
should have indulged a playful kitten, and tried to say and do something
that might improve her for Mr. Ames's sake. I saw now what his skeleton
was. He was to marry the poor child, and shrunk from it as I should have
shrunk from a shallow husband.

He used to come with her sometimes, and I must confess that he behaved
admirably. I never saw him in the least rude, or ill-natured, or
contemptuous towards her, even when she was silliest and tried his
patience most severely; and I felt my respect for him increasing every
day. As for Mrs. Winslow, she came sometimes to see me, and was very
particular to invite me there; but I saw that she watched both me and
Mr. Ames, and suspected that she had come to Huntsville for that
purpose. She sought every opportunity, too, of making me seem awkward or
ignorant before him; and he perceived it, I know, and was mortified and
annoyed by it, though he left the chastisement entirely to me. Once in a
while Cousin Mary and I had a real old-fashioned visit from him all
alone, either when it was very stormy, or when the ladies were visiting
elsewhere. He always came serious and abstracted, and went away in good
spirits, and he said that those few hours were the pleasantest he
passed. Mrs. Winslow looked on them with an evil eye, I knew, and
suspected a great deal of which we were all innocent; for one day, when
she had been dining at my house with her daughter, and we were all out
in the garden together, I overheard her saying,--

"She is just the person to captivate him, and you mustn't bring yourself
into competition with her, Lucy. She can out-shine you in conversation,
and I know that she is playing a deep game."

"La, ma!" the girl exclaimed. "An old maid, without the least style! and
she makes butter too, and actually climbs up in a chair to scrub down
her closets,--for Edward and I caught her at it one day."

"And did she seem confused?" asked Mrs. Winslow.

"No, indeed! Now I should have died, if he had caught me in such a
plight; but she shook down her dress as though it were a matter of
course, and they were soon talking about some German stuff,--I don't
know what it was,--while I had to amuse myself with the drawings."

"That's the way!" retorted the mother. "You play dummy for them. I wish
you had a little more spirit, Lucy. You wouldn't play into the hands of
this designing"----

"Nonsense, mamma! She's a real clever, good-natured old thing, and I
like her," exclaimed the daughter. "You're so suspicious!"

"You're so foolishly secure!" answered mamma. "A man is never certain
until after the ceremony; and you don't know Edward Ames, Lucy."

"I know he's got plenty of money, mother, and I know he's real nice and
handsome," was the reply; and they walked out of hearing.

I wouldn't have listened even to so much as that, if I could have
avoided it; and as soon as I could, I went into the parlor, and sat down
to some work, trying to keep down that old trouble, which somehow
gathered size like a rolling snowball. I might have known what it was,
if I had not closed my eyes resolutely, and said to myself, "The summer
will soon be gone, and there will be an end of it all then"; and I
winced, as I said it, like one who sees a blow coming.

The summer went by imperceptibly; it was autumn, and still all things
remained outwardly as they had been. We went back and forth continually,
rode and walked out, sang and read together, and Lucy grew fonder and
fonder of me. She could scarcely live out of my presence, and confided
to me all her plans when she and Edward should be married,--how much she
thought of him, and he of her, all about their courtship, how he
declared himself and how she accepted him one soft moonlight night in
far Italy, how agitated and distressed he had been when she had a fever,
and a thousand other details which swelled that great stone in my heart
more and more. But I shut my eyes, until one day when I saw them
together. He was listening, intent, and very pale, to something she told
him, and, to my surprise, she was pale too, and weeping. Before she
could finish, she broke into a passionate rush of tears, and would have
thrown herself at his feet; but he caught her, and she sunk down upon
his shoulder, and he stooped towards her as he might if he had loved
her. Then I knew how I loved him.

I had to bear up a little while, for they were in my house, and I must
bid them good-night, and talk idly, so that they should not suspect the
wound I had. But I must do something, or go mad; and so I went out to
the garden-wall, and struck my hand upon it until the blood ran. The
pain of that balanced the terrible pain within for a few moments, and I
went in to them calm and smiling. They were sitting on the sofa, he with
a perplexed, pale face, and she blushing and radiant. They started up
when they saw my hand bandaged, and she was full of sympathy for my
hurt. He said but little, though he looked fixedly at my face. I know I
must have looked strangely. When they were gone, I went into my chamber
and shut the door, with some such feeling as I should have closed the
entrance of a tomb behind me forever. I fought myself all that night. My
heart was hungry and cried out for food, and I would promise it none at
all. Is there anyone who thinks that youth has monopolized all the
passion of life, all the rapture, all the wild despair? Let them breast
the deep, strong current of middle life.

I never could quite recollect how that last month went away. I know that
I kept myself incessantly occupied, and that I saw them almost daily,
without departing from the tone of familiar friendship I had worn
throughout, although my heart was full of jealousy and a fast-growing
hatred that would not be quelled. Not for a thousand happy loves would I
have let them see my humiliation. I was even afraid that already he
might suspect it, for his manner was changed. Sometimes he was distant,
sometimes sad, and sometimes almost tenderer than a friend.

It got to be October, and I felt that I could not bear such a state of
things any longer, and questioned within myself whether I had better not
leave home for a while. If I had been alone, it would have been easy;
but my cousin Mary was still with me, and I could give no good reason
for such a step. Before I had settled upon anything, Lucy came to me in
great distress, with a confession that Mr. Ames was somehow turned
against her, and that she was almost heart-broken about it. If she lost
him, she must die; for she had so long looked upon him as her husband,
and loved him so well, that life would be nothing without him. What
should she do? Would I advise her?

I didn't know, until long afterward, that it was a consummate piece of
acting, dictated by the mother, and that she was as heartless as it was
possible for a young girl to be; and while she lay weeping at my feet, I
pitied her, and wondered if, perhaps, there might not be some spring of
generous feeling in her heart, that a happy love would unlock. The next
morning I went out alone, for a ride, in a direction where I thought I
could not be disturbed. Up hill and down, over roads, pastures, and
streams, I tore until the fever within was allayed, and then I stopped
to rest, and look upon the beauties of the bright October day. All
overhead and around, the sky and patches of water were of that
far-looking blue which seems all ready to open upon new and wonderful
worlds. Big, bright drops of a night-shower lay asleep in the curled-up
leaves, as though the trees had stretched out a million hands to catch
them. And such hands! What comparison could match them? Clouds of
butterflies, such as sleep among the flowers of Paradise,--forgotten
dreams of children, who sleep and smile,--fancies of fairy laureates,
strung shining together for some high festival,--anything most rich or
unreal, might furnish a type for the foliage that was painted upon the
golden blue of that October day. I could almost have forgotten my
trouble in the charmed gaze.

"You turn up in strange places, Rachel!" said a voice behind me.

This was what I had dreaded; but I swallowed love and fear in one great
gulp, and shut my teeth with a resolution of iron. I would not be guilty
of the meanness of standing in that child's way, if she were but a fool;
so I answered him gayly.

"'The same to yourself,' as Neighbor Dawkins would say. Why didn't you
all go to the lake, as you planned last night?"

"For some good reasons. Were you bewitched, that you stood here so
still?" He looked brightly into my face, as he came up.

"No,--but the trees are. Shouldn't you think that Oberon had held high
court here over-night?"

"And that they had left their wedding-dresses upon the boughs? Yes, they
are gay enough! But where have you been these four weeks, that I haven't
got speech with you?"

"A pretty question, when you've been at my house almost every day! Where
are your senses, man?"

"I know too well where they are," he said. "But I've wanted a good talk
with you, face to face,--not with a veil of commonplace people between.
You're not yourself among them. I like you best when your spirits are a
little ruffled, and your eye kindles, and your lip curls, as it does
now,--not when you say, "No, Sir," or "Yes, Ma'am," and smile as though
it were only skin-deep."

I started my horse.

"Let's be going, Jessie," I said. "It's our duty to feel insulted. He
accuses your mistress of being deceitful among her friends, and says he
likes her when she's cross."

He laughed lightly, and walked along by my side.

"How are your ladies? and when will Miss Lucy come to ride out with me?"
I asked, fearing a look into his eyes.

This brought him down. I knew it would.

He answered that she was well, and walked along with his head down,
quite like another man. At length he looked up, very pale, and put his
hand on my bridle.

"I want to put a case to you," he said. "Suppose a man to have made some
engagement before his mind was mature, and under a strong outside
pressure of which he was not aware. When he grows to a better knowledge
of the world and himself, and finds that he has been half cheated, and
that to keep his word will entail lasting misery and ruin on himself,
without really benefiting any one else, is he bound to keep it?"

I stopped an instant to press my heart back, and then I answered him.

"A promise is a promise, Mr. Ames. I have thought that a man of honor
valued his word more than happiness or life."

He flushed a moment, and then looked down again; and we walked on
slowly, without a word, over the stubbly ground, and through brooklets
and groves and thickets, towards home. If I could only reach there
before he spoke again! How could I hold out to do my duty, if I were
tempted any farther? At last he checked the horse, and, putting his hand
heavily on mine, looked me full in the face, while his was pale and
agitated.

"Rachel," he said, huskily, "if a man came to you and said, 'I am bound
to another; but my heart, my soul, my life are at your feet,' would you
turn him away?"

I gasped one long breath of fresh air.

"Do I look like a woman who would take a man's love at second hand?" I
said, haughtily. "Women like me _must_ respect the man they marry, Sir."

He dropped his hand, and turned away his head, with a deep-drawn breath.
I saw him stoop and lift himself again, as though some weight were laid
upon his shoulders. I saw the muscles round and ridgy upon his clenched
hand. "All this for a silly, shallow thing, who knows nothing of the
heart she loses!" some tempter whispered, and passionate words of love
rushed up and beat hard against my shut teeth. "Get thee behind me!" I
muttered, and resolutely started my horse forward. "Not for her,--but
for myself,--for self-respect! The best love in the world shall not buy
that!"

He came along beside me, silent, and stepping heavily, and thus we went
to the leafy lane that came out near my house. There I stopped; for I
felt that this must end now.

"Mr. Ames, you must leave this place, directly," I said, with as much
sternness as I could assume. "If you please, I will bid you good-bye,
now."

"Not see you again, Rachel?" he exclaimed, sharply. "No! not that!
Forgive me, if I have said too much; but don't send me away!"

He took my hand in both his, and gazed as one might for a sentence of
life or death.

"Will you let a woman's strength shame you?" I cried, desperately. "I
thought you were a man of honor, Mr. Ames. I trusted you entirely, but I
will never trust any one again."

He dropped my hand, and drew himself up.

"You are right, Rachel! you are right," he said, after a moment's
thought. "No one must trust me, and be disappointed. I have never
forgotten that before; please God, I never will again. But must I say
farewell here?"

"It is better," I said.

"Good-bye, then, dear friend!--dear friend!" he whispered. "If you ever
love any better than yourself, you will know how to forgive me."

I felt his kiss on my hand, and felt, rather than saw, his last look,
for I dared not raise my eyes to his; and I knew that he had turned
back, and that I had seen the last of him. For one instant I thought I
would follow and tell him that he did not suffer alone; but before my
horse was half turned, I was myself again.

"Fool!" I said. "If you let the dam down, can you push the waters back
again? Would that man let anything upon earth stand between him and a
woman that loved him? Let him go so. He'll forget you in six months."

I had to endure a farewell call from Lucy and her mother. Mr. Ames had
received a sudden summons home, and they were to accompany him a part of
the way. The elder scrutinized me very closely, but I think she got
nothing to satisfy her; the younger kissed and shed tears enough for the
parting of twin sisters. How I hated her! In a couple of days they were
gone, Mr. Ames calling to see me when he knew me to be out, and leaving
a civil message only. The house was closed, the faded leaves fell all
about the doorway, and the grass withered upon the little lawn.

"That play is over, and the curtain dropped," I said to myself, as I
took one long look towards the old house, and closed the shutters that
opened that way.

You who have suffered some great loss, and stagger for want of strength
to walk alone, thank God for work. Nothing like that for bracing up a
feeble heart! I worked restlessly from morning till night, and often
encroached on what should have been sleep. Hard work, real sinewy labor,
was all that would content me; and I found enough of it. To have been a
proper heroine, I suppose I should have devoted myself to works of
charity, read sentimental poetry, and folded my hands very meekly and
prettily; but I did no such thing. I ripped up carpets, and scoured
paint, and swept down cobwebs, I made sweetmeats and winter clothing, I
dug up and set out trees, and smoothed the turf in my garden, and
tramped round my fields with the man behind me, to see if the fences
needed mending, or if the marshes were properly drained, or the fallow
land wanted ploughing. It made me better. All the sickliness of my grief
passed away, and only the deep-lying regret was left like a weight to
which my heart soon became accustomed. We can manage trouble much better
than we often do, if we only choose to try resolutely.

I had but one relapse. It was when I got news of their marriage. I
remember the day with a peculiar distinctness; for it was the first
snow-storm of the season, and I had been out walking all the afternoon.
It was one of those soft, leaden-colored, expectant days, of late autumn
or early winter, when one is sure of snow; and I went out on purpose to
see it fall among the woods; for it was just upon Christmas, and I
longed to see the black ground covered. By-and-by a few flakes sauntered
down, coquetting as to where they would alight; then a few more
followed, thickening and thickening until the whole upper air was alive
with them, and the frozen ridges whitened along their backs, and every
little stiff blade of grass or rush or dead bush held all it could
carry. It was pleasant to see the quiet wonder go on, until the
landscape was completely changed,--to walk home _scuffing_ the snow from
the frozen road on which my feet had ground as I came that way, and see
the fences full, and the hollows heaped up level, and the birches bent
down with their hair hidden, and the broad arms of the fir-trees loaded,
like sombre cotton-pickers going home heavily laden. Then to see the
brassy streak widen in the west, and the cold moon hang astonished upon
the dead tops of some distant pine-trees, was to enjoy a most beautiful
picture, with only the cost of a little fatigue.

When I got home, I found among my letters one from Mr. Ames. He could
not leave the country without pleading once more for my esteem, he
wrote. He had not intended to marry until he could think more calmly of
the past; but Lucy's mother had married again very suddenly into a
family where her daughter found it not pleasant to follow her. She was
poor, without very near relatives now, and friends, on both sides, had
urged the marriage. He had told her the state of his feelings, and
offered, if she could overlook the want of love, to be everything else
to her. She should never repent the step, and he prayed me, when I
thought of him, to think as leniently as possible. Alas! now I must not
think at all.

How I fought that thought,--how I worked by day, and studied deep into
the night, filling every hour full to the brim with activity, seems now
a feverish dream to me. Such dead thoughts will not be buried out of
sight, but lie cold and stiff, until the falling foliage of seasons of
labor and experience eddies round them, and moss and herbs venture to
grow over their decay, and birds come slowly and curiously to sing a
little there. In time, the mound is beautiful with the richness of the
growth, but the lord of the manor shudders as he walks that way. For
him, it is always haunted.

Thus with me. I knew that the sorrow was doing me good, that it had been
needed long, and I tried to profit by it, as the time came when I could
think calmly of it all. I thought I had ceased to love him; but the news
of her death (for she died in two years) taught me better. I heard of
him from others,--that he had been most tender and indulgent to a
selfish, heartless woman, who trifled with his best feelings, and almost
broke his heart before she went. I heard that he had one child, a poor
little blind baby, for whom the mother had neither love nor care, and
that he still continued abroad. But from himself I never heard a word.
No doubt he had forgotten me, as I had always thought he would.

More than two years passed, and spring-time was upon us, when I heard
that he had returned to the country, and was to be married shortly to a
wealthy, beautiful widow he had found abroad. At first we heard that he
was married, and then that he was making great preparations, but would
not marry until autumn. Even the bride's dress was described, and the
furniture of the house of which she was to be mistress. I had expected
some such thing, but it added one more drop of bitterness to the
yearning I had for him. It was so hard to think him like any other man!

However, now, as before, I covered up the wound with a smiling face, and
went about my business. I had been making extensive improvements on my
farm, and kept out all day often, over-seeing the laborers. One night, a
soft, starlight evening in late May, I came home very tired, and, being
quite alone, sat down on the portico to watch the stars and think. I had
not been long there, when a man's step came up the avenue, and some
person, I could not tell who in the darkness, opened the gate, and came
slowly up towards me. I rose, and bade him good-evening.

"Is it you, Rachel?" he said, quite faintly. It was his voice. Thank
Heaven for the darkness! The hand I gave him might tremble, but my face
should betray nothing. I invited him into the parlor, and rang for
lights.

"He's come to see about selling the old house," I thought; there was a
report that he would sell it by auction. When the lights came, he looked
eagerly at me.

"Am I much changed?" I said, with a half-bitter smile.

"Not so much as I," he answered, sighing and looking down;--he seemed to
be in deep thought for a moment.

He was much changed. His hair was turning gray; his face was thin, with
a subdued expression I had never expected to see him wear. He must have
suffered greatly; and, as I looked, my heart began to melt. That would
not do; and besides, what was the need of pity, when he had consoled
himself? I asked some ordinary question about his journey, and led him
into a conversation on foreign travel.

The evening passed away as it might with two strangers, and he rose to
go, with a grave face and manner as cold as mine,--for I had been very
cold. I followed him to the door, and asked how long he stayed at
Huntsville.

Only a part of the next day, he said; his child could not be left any
longer; but he wished very much to see me, and so had contrived to get a
few days.

"Indeed!" I said. "You honor me. Your Huntsville friends scarcely
expected to be remembered so long."

"They have not done me justice, then," he said, quietly. "I seem to have
the warmest recollection of any. Good-night, Miss Mead. I shall not be
likely to see you again."

He gave me his hand, but it was very cold, and I let it slip as coldly
from mine. He went down the gravel-walk slowly and heavily, and he
certainly sighed as he closed the gate. Could I give him up thus? "Down
pride! You have held sway long enough! I must part more kindly, or die!"
I ran down the gravel-walk and overtook him in the avenue. He stopped as
I came up, and turned to meet me.

"Forgive me," I said, breathlessly. "I could not part with old friends
so, after wishing so much for them."

He took both my hands in his. "Have you wished for me, Rachel?" he said,
tenderly. "I thought you would scarcely have treated a stranger with so
little kindness."

"I was afraid to be warmer," I said.

"Afraid of what?" he asked.

My mouth was unsealed. "Are you to be married?" I asked.

"I have no such expectation," he answered.

"And are not engaged to any one?"

"To nothing but an old love, dear! Was that why you were afraid to show
yourself to me?"

"Yes!" I answered, making no resistance to the arm that was put gently
round me. He was mine now, I knew, as I felt the strong heart beating
fast against my own.

"Rachel," he whispered, "the only woman I ever did or ever can love,
will you send me away again?"



A SHETLAND SHAWL.


    It was made of the purest and finest wool,
    As fine as silk, and as soft and cool;
    It was pearly white, of that cloud-like hue
    Which has a shadowy tinge of blue;
    And brought by the good ship, miles and miles,
    From the distant shores of the Shetland Isles.

    And in it were woven, here and there,
    The golden threads of a maiden's hair,
    As the wanton wind with tosses and twirls
    Blew in and out of her floating curls,
    While her busy fingers swiftly drew
    The ivory needle through and through.

    The warm sun flashed on the brilliant dyes
    Of the purple and golden butterflies,
    And the drowsy bees, with a changeless tune,
    Hummed in the perfumed air of June,
    As the gossamer fabric, fair to view,
    Under the maiden's fingers grew.

    The shadows of tender thought arise
    In the tranquil depths of her dreamy eyes,
    And her blushing cheek bears the first impress
    Of the spirit's awakening consciousness,
    Like the rose, when it bursts, in a single hour,
    From the folded bud to the perfect flower.

    Many a tremulous hope and care,
    Many a loving wish and prayer,
    With the blissful dreams of one who stood
    At the golden gate of womanhood,
    The little maiden's tireless hands
    Wove in and out of the shining strands.

    The buds that burst in an April sun
    Had seen the wonderful shawl begun;
    It was finished, and folded up with pride,
    When the vintage purpled the mountain-side;
    And smiles made light in the violet eyes,
    At the thought of a lover's pleased surprise.

    The spider hung from the budding thorn
    His baseless web, when the shawl was worn;
    And the cobwebs, silvered by the dew,
    With the morning sunshine breaking through,
    The maiden's toil might well recall,
    In the vanished year, on the Shetland Shawl.

    For the rose had died in the autumn showers,
    That bloomed in the summer's golden hours;
    And the shining tissue of hopes and dreams,
    With misty glories and rainbow gleams
    Woven within and out, was one
    Like the slender thread by the spider spun.

    As fresh and as pure as the sad young face,
    The snowy shawl with its clinging grace
    Seems a fitting veil for a form so fair:
    But who would think what a tale of care,
    Of love and grief and faith, might all
    Be folded up in a Shetland Shawl?



ROBA DI ROMA.

[Continued.]


CHAPTER VI.

GAMES IN ROME.

Walking, during pleasant weather, almost anywhere in Rome, but
especially in passing through the enormous arches of the Temple of
Peace, or along by the Colosseum, or some wayside _osteria_ outside the
city-walls, the ear of the traveller is often saluted by the loud,
explosive tones of two voices going off together, at little intervals,
like a brace of pistol-shots; and turning round to seek the cause of
these strange sounds, he will see two men, in a very excited state,
shouting, as they fling out their hands at each other with violent
gesticulation. Ten to one he will say to himself, if he be a stranger in
Rome, "How quarrelsome and passionate these Italians are!" If he be an
Englishman or an American, he will be sure to congratulate himself on
the superiority of his own countrymen, and wonder why these fellows
stand there shaking their fists at each other, and screaming, instead of
fighting it out like men,--and muttering, "A cowardly pack, too!" will
pass on, perfectly satisfied with his facts and his philosophy. But what
he has seen was really not a quarrel. It is simply the game of _Mora_,
as old as the Pyramids, and formerly played among the host of Pharaoh
and the armies of Cæsar as now by the subjects of Pius IX. It is thus
played.

Two persons place themselves opposite each other, holding their right
hands closed before them. They then simultaneously and with a sudden
gesture throw out their hands, some of the fingers being extended, and
others shut up on the palm,--each calling out in a loud voice, at the
same moment, the number he guesses the fingers extended by himself and
his adversary to make. If neither cry out aright, or if both cry out
aright, nothing is gained or lost; but if only one guess the true
number, he wins a point. Thus, if one throw out four fingers and the
other two, he who cries out six makes a point, unless the other cry out
the same number. The points are generally five, though sometimes they
are doubled, and as they are made, they are marked by the left hand,
which, during the whole game, is held stiffly in the air at about the
shoulders' height, one finger being extended for every point. When the
_partito_ is won, the winner cries out, "_Fatto!_" or "_Guadagnato!_" or
"_Vinto!_" or else strikes his hands across each other in sign of
triumph. This last sign is also used when Double _Mora_ is played, to
indicate that five points are made.

So universal is this game in Rome, that the very beggars play away their
earnings at it. It was only yesterday, as I came out of the gallery of
the Capitol, that I saw two who had stopped screaming for "_baiocchi per
amor di Dio_," to play pauls against each other at _Mora_. One, a
cripple, supported himself against a column, and the other, with his
ragged cloak slung on his shoulder, stood opposite him. They staked a
paul each time with the utmost _nonchalance_, and played with an
earnestness and rapidity which showed that they were old hands at it,
while the coachmen from their boxes cracked their whips, and jeered and
joked them, and the shabby circle around them cheered them on. I stopped
to see the result, and found that the cripple won two successive games.
But his cloaked antagonist bore his losses like a hero, and when all was
over, he did his best with the strangers issuing from the Capitol to
line his pockets for a new chance.

Nothing is more simple and apparently easy than _Mora_, yet to play it
well requires quickness of perception and readiness in the calculation
of chances. As each player, of course, knows how many fingers he himself
throws out, the main point is to guess the number of fingers thrown by
his opponent, and to add the two instantaneously together. A player of
skill will soon detect the favorite numbers of his antagonist, and it is
curious to see how remarkably clever some of them are in divining, from
the movement of the hand, the number to be thrown. The game is always
played with great vivacity, the hands being flung out with vehemence,
and the numbers shouted at the full pitch of the voice, so as to be
heard at a considerable distance. It is from the sudden opening of the
fingers, while the hands are in the air, that the old Roman phrase,
_micare digitis_, "to flash with the fingers," is derived.

A bottle of wine is generally the stake; and round the _osterias_, of a
_festa_-day, when the game is played after the blood has been heated and
the nerves strained by previous potations, the regular volleyed
explosions of "_Tre! Cinque! Otto! Tutti!_" are often interrupted by hot
discussions. But these are generally settled peacefully by the
bystanders, who act as umpires,--and the excitement goes off in talk.
The question arises almost invariably upon the number of fingers flashed
out; for an unscrupulous player has great opportunities of cheating, by
holding a finger half extended, so as to be able to close or open it
afterwards according to circumstances; but sometimes the losing party
will dispute as to the number called out. The thumb is the father of all
evil at _Mora_, it being often impossible to say whether it was intended
to be closed or not, and an unskilful player is easily deceived in this
matter by a clever one. When "_Tutti_" is called, all the fingers, thumb
and all, must be extended, and then it is an even chance that a
discussion will take place as to whether the thumb was out. Sometimes,
when the blood is hot, and one of the parties has been losing, violent
quarrels will arise, which the umpires cannot decide, and, in very rare
cases, knives are drawn and blood is spilled. Generally these disputes
end in nothing, and, often as I have seen this game, I have never been a
spectator of any quarrel, though discussions numberless I have heard.
But, beyond vague stories by foreigners, in which I put no confidence,
the vivacity of the Italians easily leading persons unacquainted with
their characters to mistake a very peaceable talk for a violent quarrel,
I know of only one case that ended tragically. There a savage quarrel,
begun at _Mora_, was with difficulty pacified by the bystanders, and one
of the parties withdrew to an _osteria_ to drink with his companions.
But while he was there, the rage which had been smothered, but not
extinguished, in the breast of his antagonist, blazed out anew. Rushing
at the other, as he sat by the table of the _osteria_, he attacked him
fiercely with his knife. The friends of both parties started at once to
their feet, to interpose and tear them apart; but before they could
reach them, one of the combatants dropped bleeding and dying on the
floor, and the other fled like a maniac from the room.

This readiness of the Italians to use the knife, for the settlement of
every dispute, is generally attributed by foreigners to the
passionateness of their nature; but I am inclined to believe that it
also results from their entire distrust of the possibility of legal
redress in the courts. Where courts are organized as they are in Naples,
who but a fool would trust to them? Open tribunals, where justice should
be impartially administered, would soon check private assassinations;
and were there more honest and efficient police courts, there would be
far fewer knives drawn. The Englishman invokes the aid of the law,
knowing that he can count upon prompt justice; take that belief from
him, he, too, like Harry Gow, would "fight for his own hand." In the
half-organized society of the less civilized parts of the United States,
the pistol and bowie-knife are as frequent arbiters of disputes as the
stiletto is among the Italians. But it would be a gross error to argue
from this, that the Americans are violent and passionate by nature; for,
among the same people in the older States, where justice is cheaply and
strictly administered, the pistol and bowie-knife are almost unknown.
Despotism and slavery nurse the passions of men; and wherever law is
loose, or courts are venal, public justice assumes the shape of private
vengeance. The farther south one goes in Italy, the more frequent is
violence and the more unrepressed are the passions. Compare Piedmont
with Naples, and the difference is immense. The dregs of vice and
violence settle to the south. Rome is worse than Tuscany, and Naples
worse than Rome,--not so much because of the nature of the people, as of
the government and the laws.

But to return to _Mora_. As I was walking out beyond the Porta San
Giovanni the other day, I heard the most ingenious and consolatory
periphrasis for a defeat that it was ever my good-fortune to hear; and,
as it shows the peculiar humor of the Romans, it may here have a place.
Two of a party of _contadini_ had been playing at _Mora_, the stakes
being, as usual, a bottle of wine, and each, in turn, had lost and won.
A lively and jocose discussion now arose between the friends on the one
side and the players on the other,--the former claiming that each of the
latter was to pay his bottle of wine for the game he lost, (to be drunk,
of course, by all,) and the latter insisting, that, as one loss offset
the other, nothing was to be paid by either. As I passed, one of the
players was speaking. "_Il primo partito_," he said, "_ho guadagnato io;
e poi, nel secondo_,"--here a pause,--"_ho perso la vittoria_": "The
first game, I won; the second, I----_lost the victory_." And with this
happy periphrasis, our friend admitted his defeat. I could not but think
how much better it would have been for the French, if this ingenious
mode of adjusting with the English the Battle of Waterloo had ever
occurred to them. To admit that they were defeated was of course
impossible; but to acknowledge that they "lost the victory" would by no
means have been humiliating. This would have soothed their irritable
national vanity, prevented many heart-burnings, saved long and idle
arguments and terrible "kicking against the pricks," and rendered a
friendly alliance possible.

No game has a better pedigree than _Mora_. It was played by the
Egyptians more than two thousand years before the Christian era. In the
paintings at Thebes and in the temples of Beni-Hassan, seated figures
may be seen playing it,--some keeping their reckoning with the left hand
uplifted,--some striking off the game with both hands, to show that it
was won,--and, in a word, using the same gestures as the modern Romans.
From Egypt it was introduced into Greece. The Romans brought it from
Greece at an early period, and it has existed among them ever since,
having suffered apparently no alteration. Its ancient Roman name was
_Micatio_, and to play it was called _micare digitis_,--"to flash the
fingers,"--the modern name _Mora_ being merely a corruption of the verb
_micare_. Varro describes it precisely as it is now played; and Cicero,
in the first book of his treatise "De Divinatione," thus alludes to
it:--"_Quid enim est sors? Idem propemodum quod_ micare, _quod talos
jacere, quod tesseras; quibus in rebus temeritas et casus, non ratio et
consilium valent._" So common was it, that it became the basis of an
admirable proverb, to denote the honesty of a person:--"_Dignus est
quicum in tenebris mices_": "So trustworthy, that one may play _Mora_
with him in the dark." At one period they carried their love of it so
far, that they used to settle by _micatio_ the sales of merchandise and
meat in the Forum, until Apronius, prefect of the city, prohibited the
practice in the following terms, as appears by an old inscription, which
is particularly interesting as containing an admirable pun: "_Sub exagio
potius pecora vendere quam digitis concludentibus tradere_": "Sell your
sheep by the balance, and do not bargain or deceive" (_tradere_ having
both these meanings) "by opening and shutting your fingers at _Mora_."

One of the various kinds of the old Roman game of _Pila_ still survives
under the modern name of _Pallone_. It is played between two sides, each
numbering from five to eight persons. Each of the players is armed with
a _bracciale_, or gantlet of wood, covering the hand and extending
nearly up to the elbow, with which a heavy ball is beaten backwards and
forwards, high into the air, from one side to the other. The object of
the game is to keep the ball in constant flight, and whoever suffers it
to fall dead within his bounds loses. It may, however, be struck in its
rebound, though the best strokes are before it touches the ground. The
_bracciali_ are hollow tubes of wood, thickly studded outside with
pointed bosses, projecting an inch and a half, and having inside, across
the end, a transverse bar, which is grasped by the hand, so as to render
them manageable to the wearer. The balls, which are of the size of a
large cricket-ball, are made of leather, and are so heavy, that, when
well played, they are capable of breaking the arm, unless properly
received on the _bracciale_. They are inflated with air, which is pumped
into them with a long syringe, through a small aperture closed by a
valve inside. The game is played on an oblong figure, marked out on the
ground, or designated by the wall around the sunken platform on which it
is played; across the centre is drawn a transverse line, dividing
equally the two sides. Whenever a ball either falls outside the lateral
boundary or is not struck over the central line, it counts against the
party playing it. When it flies over the extreme limits, it is called a
_volata_, and is reckoned the best stroke that can be made. At the end
of the lists is a spring-board, on which the principal player stands.
The best batter is always selected for this post; the others are
distributed about. Near him stands the _pallonaio_, whose office is to
keep the balls well inflated with air, and he is busy nearly all the
time. Facing him, at a short distance, is the _mandarino_, who gives
ball. As soon as the ball leaves the _mandarino's_ hand, the chief
batter runs forward to meet it, and strikes it as far and high as he
can, with the _bracciale_. Four times in succession have I seen a good
player strike a _volata_, with the loud applause of the spectators. When
this does not occur, the two sides bat the ball backwards and forwards,
from one to the other, sometimes fifteen or twenty times before the
point is won; and as it falls here and there, now flying high in the air
and caught at once on the _bracciale_ before touching the ground, now
glancing back from the wall which generally forms one side of the lists,
the players rush eagerly to hit it, calling loudly to each other, and
often displaying great agility, skill, and strength. The interest now
becomes very exciting; the bystanders shout when a good stroke is made,
and groan and hiss at a miss, until, finally, the ball is struck over
the lists, or lost within them. The points of the game are fifty,--the
first two strokes counting fifteen each, and the others ten each. When
one side makes the fifty before the other has made anything, it is
called a _marcio_, and counts double. As each point is made, it is
shouted by the caller, who stands in the middle and keeps the count, and
proclaims the bets of the spectators.

This game is as national to the Italians as cricket to the English; it
is not only, as it seems to me, much more interesting than the latter,
but requires vastly more strength, agility, and dexterity, to play it
well. The Italians give themselves to it with all the enthusiasm of
their nature, and many a young fellow injures himself for life by the
fierceness of his batting. After the excitement and stir of this game,
which only the young and athletic can play well, cricket seems a very
dull affair.

The game of _Pallone_ has always been a favorite one in Rome; and near
the summit of the Quattro Fontane, in the Barberini grounds, there is a
circus, which used to be specially devoted to public exhibitions during
the summer afternoons. At these representations, the most renowned
players were engaged by an _impresario_. The audience was generally
large, and the entrance-fee was one paul. Wonderful feats were sometimes
performed here; and on the wall are marked the heights of some
remarkable _volate_. The players were clothed in a thin, tight dress,
like _saltimbanchi_. One side wore a blue, and the other a red ribbon,
on the arm. The contests, generally, were fiercely disputed,--the
spectators betting heavily, and shouting, as good or bad strokes were
made. Sometimes a line was extended across the amphitheatre, from wall
to wall, over which it was necessary to strike the ball, a point being
lost in case it passed below. But this is a variation from the game as
ordinarily played, and can be ventured on only when the players are of
the first force. The games here, however, are now suspended; for the
French, since their occupation, have not only seized the post-office, to
convert it into a club-room, and the _piano nobile_ of some of the
richest palaces, to serve as barracks for their soldiers, but have also
driven the Romans from their amphitheatre, where _Pallone_ was played,
to make it into _ateliers de génie_. Still, one may see the game played
by ordinary players, towards the twilight of any summer day, in the
Piazza di Termini, or near the Tempio della Pace, or the Colosseo. The
boys from the studios and shops also play in the streets a sort of
mongrel game called _Pillotta_, beating a small ball back and forth,
with a round bat, shaped like a small _tamburello_ and covered with
parchment. But the real game, played by skilful players, may be seen
almost every summer night outside the Porta a Pinti, in Florence; and I
have also seen it admirably played under the fortress-wall at Siena, the
players being dressed entirely in white, with loose ruffled jackets,
breeches, long stockings, and shoes of undressed leather, and the
audience sitting round on the stone benches, or leaning over the lofty
wall, cheering on the game, while they ate the cherries or _zucca_-seeds
which were hawked about among them by itinerant peddlers. Here, towards
twilight, one could lounge away an hour pleasantly under the shadow of
the fortress, looking now at the game and now at the rolling country
beyond, where olives and long battalions of vines marched knee-deep
through the golden grain, until the purple splendors of sunset had
ceased to transfigure the distant hills, and the crickets chirped louder
under the deepening gray of the sky.

In the walls of the amphitheatre at Florence is a bust in colored marble
of one of the most famous players of his day, whose battered face seems
still to preside over the game, getting now and then a smart blow from
the _Pallone_ itself, which, in its inflation, is no respecter of
persons. The honorable inscription beneath the bust, celebrating the
powers of this champion, who rejoiced in the surname of Earthquake, is
as follows:--

_"Josephus Barnius, Petiolensis, vir in jactando repercutiendoque folle
singularis, qui ob robur ingens maximamque artis peritiam, et collusores
ubique devictos, Terræmotus formidabili cognomento dictus est."_

Another favorite game of ball among the Romans is _Bocce_ or _Boccette_.
It is played between two sides, consisting of any number of persons,
each of whom has two large wooden balls of about the size of an average
American nine-pin ball. Beside these, there is a little ball called the
_lecco_. This is rolled first by one of the winning party to any
distance he pleases, and the object is to roll or pitch the _boccette_
or large balls so as to place them beside the _lecco_. Every ball of one
side nearer to the _lecco_ than any ball of the other counts one point
in the game,--the number of points depending on the agreement of the
parties. The game is played on the ground, and not upon any smooth or
prepared plane; and as the _lecco_ often runs into hollows, or poises
itself on some uneven declivity, it is sometimes a matter of no small
difficulty to play the other balls near to it. The great skill of the
game consists, however, in displacing the balls of the adverse party so
as to make the balls of the playing party count, and a clever player
will often change the whole aspect of affairs by one well-directed
throw. The balls are thrown alternately,--first by a player on one side,
and then by a player on the other. As the game advances, the interest
increases, and there is a constant variety. However good a throw is
made, it may be ruined by the next. Sometimes the ball is pitched with
great accuracy, so as to strike a close-counting ball far into the
distance, while the new ball takes its place. Sometimes the _lecco_
itself is suddenly transplanted into a new position, which entirely
reverses all the previous counting. It is the last ball which decides
the game, and, of course, it is eagerly watched. In the Piazza di
Termini numerous parties may be seen every bright day in summer or
spring playing this game under the locust-trees, surrounded by idlers,
who stand by to approve or condemn, and to give their advice. The French
soldiers, once free from drill or guard or from practising trumpet-calls
on the old Agger of Servius Tullius near by, are sure to be rolling
balls in this fascinating game. Having heated their blood sufficiently
at it, they adjourn to a little _osteria_ in the Piazza to refresh
themselves with a glass of _asciutto_ wine, after which they sit on a
bench outside the door, or stretch themselves under the trees, and take
a _siesta_, with their handkerchiefs over their eyes, while other
parties take their turn at the _bocce_. Meanwhile, from the Agger beyond
are heard the distressing trumpets struggling with false notes and
wheezing and shrieking in ludicrous discord, while now and then the
solemn bell of Santa Maria Maggiore tolls from the neighboring hill.

Another favorite game in Rome and Tuscany is _Ruzzola_, so called from
the circular disk of wood with which it is played. Round this the player
winds tightly a cord, which, by a sudden cast and backward jerk of the
hand, he uncoils so as to send the disk whirling along the road. Outside
the walls, and along all the principal avenues leading to the city,
parties are constantly to be met playing at this game; and oftentimes
before the players are visible, the disk is seen bounding round some
curve, to the great danger of one's legs. He whose disk whirls the
farthest wins a point. It is an excellent walking game, and it requires
some knack to play the disk evenly along the road. Often the swiftest
disks, when not well-directed, bound over the hedges, knock themselves
down against the walls, or bury themselves in the tangled ditches; and
when well played, if they chance to hit a stone in the road, they will
leap like mad into the air, at the risk of serious injury to any
unfortunate passer. In the country, instead of wooden disks, the
_contadini_ often use _cacio di pecora_, a kind of hard goat's cheese,
whose rind will resist the roughest play. What, then, must be the
digestive powers of those who eat it, may be imagined. Like the peptic
countryman, they probably do not know they have a stomach, not having
ever felt it; and certainly they can say with Tony Lumpkin, "It never
hurts me, and I sleep like a hound after it."

In common with the French, the Romans have a passion for the game of
Dominos. Every _caffè_ is supplied with a number of boxes, and, in the
evening especially, it is played by young and old, with a seriousness
which strikes us Saxons with surprise. We generally have a contempt for
this game, and look upon it as childish. But I know not why. It is by no
means easy to play well, and requires a careful memory and quick powers
of combination and calculation. No _caffè_ in Rome or Marseilles would
be complete without its little black and white counters; and as it
interests at once the most mercurial and fidgety of people and the
laziest and languidest, it must have some hidden charm as yet unrevealed
to the Anglo-Saxon.

Beside Dominos, Chess (_Scacchi_) is often played in public in the
_caffès_; and there is one _caffè_ named _Dei Scacchi_, because it is
frequented by the best chess-players in Rome. Here matches are often
made, and admirable games are played.

Among the Roman boys the game of _Campana_ is also common. A
parallelogram is drawn upon the ground and subdivided into four squares,
which are numbered. At the top and bottom are two small semicircles, or
_bells_, thus:--

[Illustration]

Each of the players, having deposited his stake in the semicircle (_b_)
at the farthest end, takes his station at a short distance, and
endeavors to pitch some object, either a disk or a bit of _terracotta_,
or more generally a _baiocco_, into one of the compartments. If he lodge
it in the nearest bell, (_a_,) he pays a new stake into the pool; if
into the farthest bell, (_b_,) he takes the whole pool; if into either
of the other compartments, he takes one, two, three, or four of the
stakes, according to the number of the compartment. If he lodge on a
line, he is _abbrucciato_, as it is termed, and his play goes for
nothing. Among the boys, the pool is frequently filled with
buttons,--among the men, with _baiocchi_; but buttons or _baiocchi_ are
all the same to the players,--they are the representatives of luck or
skill.

But the game of games in Rome is the Lottery. This is under the
direction of the government, which, with a truly ecclesiastic regard for
its subjects, has organized it into a means of raising revenue. The
financial objection to this method of taxation is, that its hardest
pressure is upon the poorest classes; but the moral and political
objections are still stronger. The habit of gambling engendered by it
ruins the temper, depraves the morals, and keeps up a constant state of
excitement at variance with any settled and serious occupation. The
temptations to laziness which it offers are too great for any people
luxurious or idle by temperament; and the demon of Luck is set upon the
altar which should be dedicated to Industry. If one happy chance can
bring a fortune, who will spend laborious days to gain a competence? The
common classes in Rome are those who are most corrupted by the lottery;
and when they can neither earn nor borrow _baiocchi_ to play, they
strive to obtain them by beggary, cheating, and sometimes theft. The
fallacious hope that their ticket will some day bring a prize leads them
from step to step, until, having emptied their purses, they are tempted
to raise the necessary funds by any unjustifiable means. When you pay
them their wages or throw them a _buona-mano_, they instantly run to the
lottery-office to play it. Loss after loss does not discourage them. It
is always, "The next time they are to win,--there was a slight mistake
in their calculation before." Some good reason or other is always at
hand. If by chance one of them do happen to win a large sum, it is ten
to one that it will cost him his life,--that he will fall into a fit, or
drop in an apoplexy, on hearing the news. There is a most melancholy
instance of this in the very next house,--of a Jew made suddenly and
unexpectedly rich, who instantly became insane in consequence, and is
now the most wretched and melancholy spectacle that man can ever
become,--starving in the midst of abundance, and moving like a beast
about his house. But of all ill luck that can happen to the
lottery-gambler, the worst is to win a small prize. It is all over with
him from that time forward; into the great pit of the lottery everything
that he can lay his hands on is sure to go.

There has been some difference of opinion as to whether the lottery was
of later Italian invention, or dated back to the Roman Empire,--some
even contending that it was in existence in Egypt long before that
period; and several ingenious discussions may be found on this subject
in the journals and annals of the French _savans_. A strong claim has
been put forward for the ancient Romans, on the ground that Nero, Titus,
and Heliogabalus were in the habit of writing on bits of wood and shells
the names of various articles which they intended to distribute, and
then casting them to the crowd to be scrambled for.[A] On some of these
shells and billets were inscribed the names of slaves, precious vases,
costly dresses, articles of silver and gold, valuable beasts, etc.,
which became the property of the fortunate persons who secured the
billets and shells. On others were written absurd and useless articles,
which turned the laugh against the unfortunate finder. Some, for
instance, had inscribed upon them ten pieces of gold, and some ten
cabbages. Some were for one hundred bears, and some for one egg. Some
for five camels, and some for ten flies. In one sense, these were
lotteries, and the Emperors deserve all due credit for their invention.
But the lottery, according to its modern signification, is of Italian
origin, and had its birth in Upper Italy as early as the fourteenth or
fifteenth century. Here it was principally practised by the Venetians
and Genoese, under the name of _Borsa di Ventura_,--the prizes
consisting originally, not of money, but of merchandise of every
kind,--precious stones, pictures, gold and silver work, and similar
articles. The great difference between them and the ancient lotteries of
Heliogabalus and Nero was, that tickets were bought and prizes drawn.
The lottery soon came to be played, however, for money, and was
considered so admirable an invention, that it was early imported into
France, where Francis I., in 1539, granted letters-patent for the
establishment of one. In the seventeenth century, this "_infezione_," as
an old Italian writer calls it, was introduced into Holland and England,
and at a still later date into Germany. Those who invented it still
retain it; but those who adopted it have rejected it. After nearly three
centuries' existence in France, it was abolished on the 31st of
December, 1835. The last drawing was at Paris on the 27th of the same
month, when the number of players was so great that it became necessary
to close the offices before the appointed time, and one Englishman is
said to have gained a _quaterno_ of the sum of one million two hundred
thousand francs. When abolished in France, the government was drawing
from it a net revenue of twenty million francs.

In Italy the lottery was proscribed by Innocent XII., Benedict XIII.,
and Clement XII. But it was soon revived. It was not without vehement
opposers then as now, as may be seen by a little work published at Pisa
in the early part of the last century, entitled, "L'Inganno non
conosciuto, oppure non voluto conoscere, nell'Estrazione del Lotto."
Muratori, in 1696, calls it, in his "Annals of Italy," "_Inventione
dell' amara malizia per succiare il sangue dei malaccorti giuocatori_."
In a late number of the "Civiltà Cattolica," published at Rome by the
Jesuits, (the motto of which is "_Beatus Populus cujus Dominus Deus
est_,") there is, on the other hand, an elaborate and most Jesuitical
article, in which the lottery is defended with amusing skill. What
Christendom in general has agreed to consider immoral and pernicious in
its effects on a people seems, on the contrary, to the writer of this
article, to be highly moral and commendable.

The numbers which can be played are from one to ninety. Of these only
five are now drawn. Originally the numbers drawn were eight,
(_otto_,)--and it is said that the Italian name of this game, _lotto_,
was derived from this circumstance. The player may stake upon one, two,
three, four, or five numbers,--but no ticket can be taken for more than
five; and he may stake upon his ticket any sum, from one _baiocco_ up to
five _scudi_,--but the latter sum only in case he play upon several
chances on the same ticket. If he play one number, he may either play it
_al posto assegnato_, according to its place in the drawing, as first,
second, third, etc.,--or he may play it _senza posto_, without place, in
which case he wins, if the number come anywhere among the five drawn. In
the latter case, however, the prize is much less in proportion to the
sum staked. Thus, for one _baiocco_ staked _al posto assegnato_, a
_scudo_ may be won; but to gain a _scudo_ on a number _senza posto_,
seven _baiocchi_ must be played. A sum staked upon two numbers is called
an _ambo_,--on three, a _terno_,--on four, a _quaterno_,--and on five, a
_cinquino_; and of course the prizes increase in rapid proportion to the
numbers played,--the sum gained multiplying very largely on each
additional number. For instance, if two _baiocchi_ be staked on an
_ambo_, the prize is one _scudo_; but if the same sum be staked on a
_terno_, the prize is a hundred _scudi_. When an _ambo_ is played for,
the same two numbers may be played as single numbers, either _al posto_
or _senza posto_, and in such case one of the numbers alone may win. So,
also, a _terno_ may be played so as to include an _ambo_, and a
_quaterno_ so as to include a _terno_ and _ambo_, and a _cinquino_ so as
to include all. But whenever more than one chance is played for, the
price is proportionally increased. For a simple _terno_ the limit of
price is thirty-five pauls. The ordinary rule is to play for every
chance within the numbers taken; but the common people rarely attempt
more than a _terno_. If four numbers are played with all their chances,
they are reckoned as four _terni_, and paid for accordingly. If five
numbers are taken, the price is for five _terni_.

Where two numbers are played, there is always an augment to the nominal
prize of twenty per cent.; where three numbers are played, the augment
is of eighty per cent.; and from every prize is deducted ten per cent.,
to be devoted to the hospitals and the poor. The rule creating the
augments was decreed by Innocent XIII. Such is the rage for the lottery
in Rome, as well as in all the Italian States, and so great is the
number of tickets bought within the year, that this tax on the prizes
brings in a very considerable revenue for eleëmosynary purposes.

The lottery is a branch of the department of finance, and is under the
direction of a Monsignore. The tickets originally issue from one grand
central office in the Palazzo Madama; but there is scarcely a street in
Rome without some subsidiary and distributing office, which is easily
recognized, not only by its great sign of "_Prenditoria di Lotti_" over
the door, but by scores of boards set round the windows and doorway, on
which are displayed, in large figures, hundreds of combinations of
numbers for sale. The tickets sold here are merely purchased on
speculation for resale, and though it is rare that all are sold, yet, as
a small advance of price is asked on each ticket beyond what was given
at the original office, there is enough profit to support these shops.
The large show of placards would to a stranger indicate a very
considerable investment; yet, in point of fact, as the tickets rarely
cost more than a few _baioicchi_, the amount risked is small. No ticket
is available for a prize, unless it bear the stamp and signature of the
central office, as well as of the distributing shop, if bought in the
latter.

Every Saturday, at noon, the lottery is drawn in Rome, in the Piazza
Madama. Half an hour before the appointed time, the Piazza begins to be
thronged with ticket-holders, who eagerly watch a large balcony of the
sombre old Palazzo Madama, (built by the infamous Catharine de' Medici,)
where the drawing is to take place. This is covered by an awning and
colored draperies. In front, and fastened to the balustrade, is a glass
barrel, standing on thin brass legs and turned by a handle. Five or six
persons are in the balcony, making arrangements for the drawing. These
are the officials,--one of them being the government officer, and the
others persons taken at random, to supervise the proceedings. The chief
official first takes from the table beside him a slip of paper on which
a number is inscribed. He names it aloud, passes it to the next, who
verifies it and passes it on, until it has been subjected to the
examination of all. The last person then proclaims the number in a loud
voice to the populace below, folds it up, and drops it into the glass
barrel. This operation is repeated until every number from one to ninety
is passed, verified by all, proclaimed, folded, and dropped into the
barrel. The last number is rather sung than called, and with more
ceremony than all the rest. The crowd shout back from below. The bell
strikes noon. A blast of trumpets sounds from the balcony, and a boy
dressed in white robes advances from within, ascends the steps, and
stands high up before the people, facing the Piazza. The barrel is then
whirled rapidly round and round, so as to mix in inextricable confusion
all the tickets. This over, the boy lifts high his right hand, makes the
sign of the cross on his breast, then, waving his open hand in the air,
to show that nothing is concealed, plunges it into the barrel, and draws
out a number. This he hands to the official, who names it, and passes it
along the line of his companions. There is dead silence below, all
listening eagerly. Then, in a loud voice, the number is sung out by the
last official, "_Primo estratto, numero 14_," or whatever the number may
be. Then sound the trumpets again, and there is a rustle and buzz among
the crowd. All the five numbers are drawn with like ceremony, and all is
over. Within a surprisingly short space of time, these numbers are
exhibited in the long frames which are to be seen over the door of every
_Prenditoria di Lotti_ in Rome, and there they remain until the next
drawing takes place. The boy who does the drawing belongs to a college
of orphans, an admirable institution, at which children who have lost
both parents and are left helpless are lodged, cared for, and educated,
and the members of which are employed to perform this office in
rotation, receiving therefor a few _scudi_.

It will be seen from the manner in which the drawing of the lottery is
conducted, that no precaution is spared by the government to assure the
public of the perfect good faith and fairness observed in it. This is,
in fact, absolutely necessary in order to establish that confidence
without which its very object would be frustrated. But the Italians are
a very suspicious and jealous people, and I fear that there is less
faith in the uprightness of the government than in their own
watchfulness and the difficulty of deception. There can be little doubt
that no deceit is practised by the government, so far as the drawing is
concerned,--for it would be nearly impossible to employ it. Still there
are not wanting stories of fortunate coincidences which are singular and
interesting; one case, which I have every reason to believe authentic,
was related to me by a most trustworthy person, as being within his own
knowledge. A few years ago, the Monsignore who was at the head of the
lottery had occasion to diminish his household, and accordingly
dismissed an old servant who had been long in his palace. Often the old
man returned and asked for relief, and as often was charitably received.
But his visits at last became importunate, and the Monsignore
remonstrated. The answer of the servant was, "I have given my best years
to the service of your Eminence,--I am too old to labor,--what shall I
do?" The case was a hard one. His Eminence paused and reflected;--at
last he said, "Why not buy a ticket in the lottery?" "Ah!" was the
answer, "I have not even money to supply my daily needs. What you now
give me is all I have. If I risk it, I may lose it,--and that lost, what
can I do?" Still the Monsignore said, "Buy a ticket in the lottery."
"Since your Eminence commands me, I will," said the old man; "but what
numbers?" "Play on number so and so for the first drawing," was the
answer, "_e Dio ti benedica_!" The servant did as he was ordered, and,
to his surprise and joy, the first number drawn was his. He was a rich
man for life,--and his Eminence lost a troublesome dependant.

A capital story is told by the author of the article in the "Civiltà
Cattolica," which is to the point here, and which, even were it not told
on such respectable authority, bears its truth on the face of it. As
very frequently happens, a poor _bottegaio_, or shopkeeper, being
hard-driven by his creditors, went to his priest, an _uomo apostolico_,
and prayed him earnestly to give him three numbers to play in the
lottery.

"But how under heaven," says the innocent priest, "has it ever got into
your head that I can know the five numbers which are to issue in the
lottery?"

"_Eh! Padre mio!_ what will it cost you?" was the answer. "Just look at
me and my wretched family; if we do not pay our rent on Saturday, out we
go into the street. There is nothing left but the lottery, and you can
give us the three numbers that will set all right."

"Oh, there you are again! I am ready to do all I can to assist you, but
this matter of the lottery is impossible; and I must say, that your
folly, in supposing I can give you the three lucky numbers, does little
credit to your brains."

"Oh, no! no! do not say so, _Padre mio_! Give me a _terno_. It will be
like rain in May, or cheese on my maccaroni. On my word of honor, I'll
keep it secret. _Via!_ You, so good and charitable, cannot refuse me the
three numbers. Pray, content me this once."

"_Caro mio!_ I will give you a rule for always being content:--Avoid
Sin, think often on Death, and behave so as to deserve Paradise,--and
so"----

"_Basta! basta! Padre mio!_ That's enough. Thanks! thanks! God will
reward you."

And, making a profound reverence, off the _bottegaio_ rushes to his
house. There he takes down the "Libro del Sogni," calls into
consultation his wife and children, and, after a long and earnest
discussion and study, the three numbers corresponding to the terms Sin,
Death, and Paradise are settled upon, and away goes our friend to play
them in the lottery. Will you believe it? the three numbers are
drawn,--and the joy of the poor _bottegaio_ and his family may well be
imagined. But what you will not imagine is the persecution of the poor
_uomo apostolico_ which followed. The secret was all over town the next
day, and he was beset by scores of applicants for numbers. Vainly he
protested and declared that he knew nothing, and that the man's drawing
the right numbers was all chance. Every word he spoke turned into
numbers, and off ran his hearers to play them. He was like the girl in
the fairy story, who dropped pearls every time she spoke. The worst of
the imbroglio was, that in an hour the good priest had uttered words
equivalent to all the ninety numbers in the lottery, and the players
were all at loggerheads with each other. Nor did this persecution cease
for weeks, nor until those who had played the numbers corresponding to
his words found themselves, as the Italians say, with only flies in
their hands.

The stupidity of many of the common people in regard to these numbers is
wonderful. When the number drawn is next to the number they have, they
console themselves with thinking that they were within one of it,--as if
in such cases a miss were not as bad as a mile. But when the number
drawn is a multiple of the one they play, it is a sympathetic number,
and is next door to winning; and if the number come reversed,--as if,
having played 12, it come out 21,--he laughs with delight. "Eh, don't
you see, you stupid fellow," said the _speziale_ of a village one day to
a dunce of a _contadino_, of whose infallible _terno_ not a single
number had been drawn,--"Don't you see, in substance all your three
numbers have been drawn? and it's shameful in you to be discontented.
Here you have played 8--44--26, and instead of these have been drawn
7--11--62. Well! just observe! Your 8 is just within one point of being
7; your 44 is in substance 11, for 4 times 11 are 44 exactly; and your
26 is nothing more or less than precisely 62 reversed;--what would you
ask more?" And by his own mode of reasoning, the poor _contadino_ sees
as clearly as possible that he has really won,--only the difficulty is
that he cannot touch the prize without correcting the little variations.
_Ma, pazienza!_ he came so near this time, that he will be sure to win
the next,--and away he goes to hunt out more sympathetic numbers, and to
rejoice with his friends on coming so near winning.

Dreams of numbers are, of course, very frequent,--and are justly much
prized. Yet one must know how to use them, and be brave and bold, or the
opportunity is lost. I myself once dreamt of having gained a _terno_ in
the lottery, but was fool enough not to play it,--and in consequence
lost a prize, the very numbers coming up in the next drawing. The next
time I have such a dream, of course I shall play; but perhaps I shall be
too late, and only lose. And this recalls to my mind a story, which may
serve as a warning to the timid and an encouragement to the bold. An
Englishman, who had lived on bad terms with a very quarrelsome and
annoying wife, (according to his own account, of course,) had finally
the luck, I mean the misfortune, to lose her. He had lived long enough
in Italy, however, to say "_Pazienza_" and buried his sorrows and his
wife in the same grave. But, after the lapse of some time, his wife
appeared to him in a dream, and confessed her sins towards him during
her life, and prayed his forgiveness, and added, that in token of
reconciliation he must accept three numbers to play in the lottery,
which would certainly win a great prize. But the husband was obstinate,
and absolutely refused to follow the advice of a friend to whom he
recounted the odd dream, and who urged him to play the numbers. "Bah!"
he answered to this good counsel; "I know her too well;--she never meant
well to me during her life, and I don't believe she's changed now that
she's dead. She only means to play me a trick, and make me lose. But I'm
too old a bird to be taken with her chaff." "Better play them," said his
friend, and they separated. In the course of a week they met again. "By
the way," said the friend, "did you see that your three numbers came up
in the lottery this morning?" "The Devil they did! What a consummate
fool I was not to play them!" "You didn't play them?" "No!" "Well, I
did, and won a good round sum with them, too." So the obstinate husband,
mad at his ill luck, cursed himself for a fool, and had his curses for
his pains. That very night, however, his wife again appeared to him,
and, though she reproached him a little for his want of faith in her,
(no woman could be expected to forego such an opportunity, even though
she were dead,) yet she forgave him, and added,--"Think no more about it
now, for here are three more numbers, just as good." The husband, who
had eaten the bitter food of experience, was determined at all events
not to let his fortune slip again through his fingers, and played the
highest possible _terno_ in the lottery, and waited anxiously for the
next drawing. He could scarcely eat his breakfast for nervousness, that
morning,--but at last mid-day sounded, and the drawing took place, but
no one of his numbers came up. "Too late! taken in!" he cried. "Confound
her! she knew me better than I knew myself. She gave me a prize the
first time, because she knew I wouldn't play it; and, having so whet my
passions, she then gave me a blank the second time, because she knew I
would play it. I might have known better."

From the moment one lottery is drawn, the mind of the people is intent
on selecting numbers for the next. Nor is this an easy matter,--all
sorts of superstitions existing as to figures and numbers. Some are
lucky, some unlucky, in themselves,--some lucky only in certain
combinations, and some sympathetic with others. The chances, therefore,
must be carefully calculated, no number or combination being ever played
without profound consideration, and under advice of skilful friends.
Almost every event in life has a numerical signification; and such is
the reverence paid to dreams, that a large book exists of several
hundred pages, called "Libro dei Sogni," containing, besides various
cabala and mystical figures and lists of numbers which are
"sympathetic," with directions for their use, a dictionary of thousands
of objects with the numbers supposed to be represented by each, as well
as rules for interpreting into numbers all dreams in which these objects
appear,--and this book is the constant _vade-mecum_ of a true
lottery-player. As Boniface lived, ate, and slept on his ale, so do the
Romans on their numbers. The very children "lisp in numbers, for the
numbers come," and the fathers run immediately to play them. Accidents,
executions, deaths, apoplexies, marriages, assassinations, births,
anomalies of all kinds, become auguries and enigmas of numbers. A
lottery-gambler will count the stabs on a dead body, the drops of blood
from a decollated head, the passengers in an overturned coach, the
wrinkles in the forehead of a new-born child, the gasps of a person
struck by apoplexy, the day of the month and the hour and the minute of
his death, the _scudi_ lost by a friend, the forks stolen by a thief,
anything and everything, to play them in the lottery. If a strange dream
is dreamed,--as of one being in a desert on a camel, which turns into a
rat, and runs down into the Maelström to hide,--the "Libro dei Sogni" is
at once consulted, the numbers for desert, rat, camel, and Maelström are
found and combined, and the hopeful player waits in eager expectation of
a prize. Of course, dream after dream of particular numbers and
combinations occurs,--for the mind bent to this subject plays freaks in
the night, and repeats contortedly the thoughts of the day,--and these
dreams are considered of special value. Sometimes, when a startling
incident takes place with a special numerical signification, the run
upon the numbers indicated becomes so great, that the government, which
is always careful to guard against any losses on its own part, refuses
to allow more than a certain amount to be played on them, cancels the
rest, and returns the price of the tickets.

Sometimes, in passing through the streets, one may see a crowd collected
about a man mounted upon a chair or stool. Fixed to a stand at his side
or on the back of his chair is a glass bottle, in which are two or three
hollow manikins of glass, so arranged as to rise and sink by pressure of
the confined air. The neck of the bottle is cased in a tin box which
surmounts it and has a movable cover. This personage is a charlatan,
with an apparatus for divining lucky numbers for the lottery. The "soft
bastard Latin" runs off his tongue in an uninterrupted stream of talk,
while he offers on a waiter to the bystanders a number of little folded
papers containing a _pianeta_, or augury, on which are printed a
fortune and a _terno_. "Who will buy a _pianeta_," he cries, "with the
numbers sure to bring him a prize? He shall have his fortune told him
who buys. Who does not need counsel must surely be wise. Here's Master
Tommetto, who never tells lies. And here is his brother, still smaller
in size. And Madama Medea Plutonia to advise. They'll write you a
fortune and bring you a prize for a single _baiocco_. No creature so
wise as not to need counsel. A fool I despise, who keeps his _baiocco_
and loses his prize. Who knows what a fortune he'll get till he tries?
Time's going, Signori,--who buys? who buys?" And so on by the yard.
Meantime the crowd about him gape, stare, wonder, and finally put their
hands to their pockets, out with their _baiocchi_, and buy their papers.
Each then makes a mark on his paper to verify it, and returns it to the
charlatan. After several are thus collected, he opens the cover of the
tin box, deposits them therein with a certain ceremony, and commences an
exhortatory discourse to the manikins in the bottle,--two of whom,
Maestro Tommetto and his brother, are made to resemble little black
imps, while Madama Medea Plutonia is dressed _alla Francese_. "_Fa una
reverenza, Maestro Tommetto!_" "Make a bow, Master Tommetto!" he now
begins. The puppet bows. "_Ancora!_" "Again!" Again he bows. "_Lesto,
Signore, un piccolo giretto!_" "Quick, Sir, a little turn!" And round
whirls the puppet. "Now, up, up, to make a registry on the ticket! and
do it conscientiously, Master Tommetto!" And up the imp goes, and
disappears through the neck of the bottle. Then comes a burst of
admiration at his cleverness from the charlatan. Then, turning to the
brother imp, he goes through the same _rôle_ with him. "And now, Madama
Medea, make a reverence, and follow your husband! Quick, quick, a little
_giretto_!" And up she goes. A moment after, down they all come again at
his call; he lifts the cover of the box; cries, "_Quanto sei caro,
Tommetto!_" and triumphantly exhibits the papers, each with a little
freshly written inscription, and distributes them to the purchasers. Now
and then he takes from his pocket a little bottle containing a mixture
of the color of wine, and a paper filled with some sort of powder, and,
exclaiming, "_Ah! tu hai fame e sete. Bisogna che ti dia da bere e
mangiare_," pours them into the tin cup.

It is astonishing to see how many of these little tickets a clever
charlatan will sell in an hour, and principally on account of the
lottery-numbers they contain. The fortunes are all the stereotype thing,
and almost invariably warn you to be careful lest you should be
"_tradito_," or promise you that you shall not be "_tradito_"; for the
idea of betrayal is the corner-stone of every Italian's mind.

In not only permitting, but promoting the lottery, Italy is certainly
far behind England, France, and America. This system no longer exists
with us, except in the disguised shape of gift-enterprises, art-unions,
and that unpleasant institution of mendicant robbery called the raffle,
and employed specially by those "who have seen better days." But a fair
parallel to this rage of the Italians for the lottery is to be found in
the love of betting, which is a national characteristic of the English.
I do not refer to the bets upon horseflesh at Ascot, Epsom, and
Goodwood, by which fortunes change owners in an hour and so many men are
ruined, but rather to the general habit of betting upon any and every
subject to settle a question, no matter how trivial, for which the
Englishman is everywhere renowned on the Continent. Betting is with most
other nations a form of speech, but with Englishmen it is a serious
fact, and no one will be long in their company without finding an
opinion backed up by a bet. It would not be very difficult to parallel
those cases where the Italians disregard the solemnity of death, in
their eagerness for omens of lottery-numbers, with equally reprehensible
and apparently heartless cases of betting in England. Let any one who
doubts this examine the betting-books at White's and Brookes's. In them
he will find a most startling catalogue of bets,--some so bad as to
justify the good parson in Walpole's story, who declared that they were
such an impious set in this respect at White's, that, "if the last trump
were to sound, they would bet puppet-show against judgment." Let one
instance suffice. A man, happening to drop down at the door of White's,
was lifted up and carried in. He was insensible, and the question was,
whether he were dead or not. Bets were at once given and taken on both
sides, and, it being proposed to bleed him, those who had taken odds
that he was dead protested, on the ground that the use of the lancet
would affect the fairness of the bet.[B] In the matter of play, things
have now much changed since the time when Mr. Thynne left the club at
White's in disgust, because he had won only twelve hundred guineas in
two months. There is also a description of one of Fox's mornings, about
the year 1783, which Horace Walpole has left us, and the truth of which
Lord Holland admits, which it would be well for those to read who
measure out hard justice to the Italians for their love of the lottery.
Let us be fair. Italy is in these respects behind England in morals and
practice by nearly a century; but it is as idle to argue
hard-heartedness in an Italian who counts the drops of blood at a
beheading as to suppose that the English have no feeling because in the
bet we have mentioned there was a protest against the use of the lancet,
or to deny kindliness to a surgeon who lectures on structure and disease
while he removes a cancer.

Vehement protests against the lottery and all gaming are as often
uttered in Italy as elsewhere; and among them may be cited this eloquent
passage from one of the most powerful of her modern writers. Guerrazzi,
in the thirteenth chapter of "L'Assedio di Firenze," speaking on this
subject, says, "You would in vain seek anything more fatal to men than
play. It brings ignorance, poverty, despair, and at last crime....
Gambling (the wicked gambling of the lottery) forms a precious jewel in
the crown of princes."

In a recent work, by the same author, called "L'Asino," occurs the
following indignant and satirical passage, which, for the sake of the
story, if for no other reason, deserves a place here:--

"In our search for the history of human perfection, shall I speak of
Naples or Rome? Alas! At the contemplation of such misery, in vain you
constrain your lips to smile; they pout, and the uncalled tears stream
over your face. Pity, in these most unhappy countries, blinded with
weeping and hoarse with vain supplication, when she has no more voice to
cry out to heaven, flies thither, and, kneeling before the throne of
God, with outstretched hand, and proffering no word, begs that He will
look at her.

"Behold, O Lord, and judge whether our sins were remitted, or whether
the sins of others exceed ours.

"Is not Tuscany the garden of Italy? So say the Tuscans; and the
Florentines add, that Florence is the Athens of Tuscany. Truly, both
seem beautiful. Let us search in Tuscany. At Barberino di Mugello, in
the midst of an olive-grove is a cemetery, where the vines, which have
taken root in the outer walls and climbed over their summit, fall into
the inclosed space, as if they wished to garland Death with vine-leaves
and make it smile; over the gate, strange guardians of the tombs, two
fig-trees give their shadow and fruit to recompense the piety of the
passers-by, giving a fig in exchange for a _De Profundis_; while the
ivy, stretching its wanton arms over the black cross, endeavors to
clothe the austere sign of the Redemption with the jocund leaves of
Bacchus, and recalls to your mind the mad Phryne who vainly tempted
Xenocrates. A beautiful cemetery, by my faith! a cemetery to arouse in
the body an intense desire to die, if only for the pleasure of being
buried there. Now observe. Look into my magic-lantern. What figures do
you see? A priest with a pick; after him a peasant with a spade; and
behind them a woman with a hatchet: the priest holds a corpse by the
hair; the peasant, with one blow, strikes off its head; then, all things
being carefully rearranged, priest, peasant, and woman, after thrusting
the head into a sack, return as they came. Attention now, for I change
the picture. What figures are these that now appear? A kitchen; a fire
that has not its superior, even in the Inferno; and a caldron, where the
hissing and boiling water sends up its bubbles. Look about and what do
you see? Enter the priest, the peasant, and the housewife, and in a
moment empty a sack into the caldron. Lo! a head rolls out, dives into
the water, and floats to the surface, now showing its nape and now its
face. The Lord help us! It is an abominable spectacle; this poor head,
with its ashy, open lips, seems to say, Give me again my Christian
burial! That is enough. Only take note that in Tuscany, in the beautiful
middle of the nineteenth century, a sepulchre was violated, and a
sacrilege committed, to obtain from the boiled head of a corpse good
numbers to play in the lottery! And, by way of corollary, add this to
your note, that in Rome, _Caput Mundi_, and in Tuscany, Garden of Italy,
it is prohibited, under the severest penalties, to play at _Faro_,
_Zecchinetto_, _Banco-Fallito_, _Rossa e Nera_, and other similar games
at cards, where each party may lose the whole or half the stakes, while
the government encourage the play of the Lottery, by which, out of one
hundred and twenty chances of winning, eighty are reserved for the bank,
and forty or so allowed to the player. Finally, take note that in Rome,
_Caput Mundi_, and in Tuscany, Garden of Italy, _Faro_, _Zecchinetto_,
_Rossa e Nera_ were prohibited, as acknowledged pests of social
existence and open death to honest customs,--as a set-off for which
deprivation, the game of the Lottery is still kept on foot."

The following extraordinary story, improbable as it seems, is founded
upon fact, and was clearly proved, on judicial investigation, a few
years since. It is well known in Tuscany, and forms the subject of a
satirical narrative ("Il Sortilegio") by Giusti, a modern Tuscan poet,
of true fire and genius, who has lashed the vices of his country in
verses remarkable for point, idiom, and power. According to him, the
method of divination resorted to in this case was as follows:--The
sorcerer who invented it ordered his dupes to procure, either at dawn or
twilight, ninety dry beans, called _ceci_, and upon each of these to
write one of the ninety numbers drawn in the lottery, with an ink made
of pitch and lard, which would not be affected by water. They were then
to sharpen a knife, taking care that he who did so should touch no one
during the operation; and after a day of fasting, they were to dig up at
night a body recently dead, and, having cut off the head and removed the
brain, they were to count the beans thrice, and to shake them thrice,
and then, on their knees, to put them one by one into the skull. This
was then to be placed in a caldron of water and set on the fire to boil.
As soon as the water boiled violently, the head would be rolled about so
that some of the beans would be ejected, and the first three which were
thus thrown to the surface would be a sure _terno_ for the lottery. The
wretched dupes added yet another feature of superstition to insure the
success of this horrible device. They selected the head of their curate,
who had recently died,--on the ground that, as he had studied algebra,
he was a great cabalist, and any numbers from his head would be sure to
draw a prize.

Some one, I have no doubt, will here be anxious to know the numbers that
bubbled up to the surface; but I am very sorry to say that I cannot
gratify their laudable curiosity, for the interference of the police
prevented the completion of the sorcery. So the curious must be content
to consult some other cabalist,--

                 "sull'arti segrete
    Di menar la Fortuna per il naso,
    Pescando il certo nel gran mar del Caso."

Despite a wide-spread feeling among the higher classes against the
lottery, it still continues to exist, for it has fastened itself into
the habits and prejudices of many; and an institution which takes such
hold of the passions of the people, and has lived so long, dies hard.
Nor are there ever wanting specious excuses for the continuance of this,
as of other reprobated systems,--of which the strongest is, that its
abolition would not only deprive of their present means of subsistence
numbers of persons employed in its administration, but would cut off
certain charities dependent upon it, amounting to no less than forty
thousand _scudi_ annually. Among these may be mentioned the dowry of
forty _scudi_ which is given out of the profits received by the
government at the drawing of every lottery to some five or six of the
poor girls of Rome. The list of those who would profit by this charity
is open to all, and contains thousands of names. The first number drawn
in the lottery decides the fortunate persons; and, on the subsequent
day, each receives a draft for forty _scudi_ on the government, payable
on the presentation of the certificate of marriage. On the accession of
the present Pope, an attempt was made to abolish the system; but these
considerations, among others, had weight enough to prevent any changes.

Though the play is generally small, yet sometimes large fortunes are
gained. The family of the Marchese del Cinque, for instance, derive
their title and fortune from the luck of an ancestor who played and won
the highest prize, a _Cinquino_. With the money thus acquired he
purchased his marquisate, and took the title _del Cinque_, "of the
Five," in reference to the lucky five numbers. The Villa Quaranta Cinque
in Rome derives its name from a similar circumstance. A lucky Monsignore
played the single number of forty-five, _al posto_, and with his
winnings built the villa, to which the Romans, always addicted to
nicknames, gave the name of _Quaranta Cinque_. This love of nicknames,
or _soprannomi_, as they are called, is, by the way, an odd peculiarity
of the Italians, and it often occurs that persons are known only
thereby. Examples of these, among the celebrated names of Italy, are so
frequent as to form a rule in favor of the surname rather than of the
real name, and in many cases the former has utterly obliterated the
latter. Thus, Squint Eye, (_Guercino_,) Dirty Tom, (_Masaccio_,) The
Little Dyer, (_Tintoretto_,) Great George, (_Giorgione_,) The
Garland-Maker, (_Ghirlandaio_,) Luke of the Madder, (_Luca della
Robbia_,) The Little Spaniard, (_Spagnoletto_,) and The Tailor's Son,
(_Del Sarto_,) would scarcely be known under their real names of
Barbieri, Tommaso, Guido, Robusti, Barbarelli, Corradi, Ribera, and
Vannuchi. The list might be very much enlarged, but let it suffice to
add the following well-known names, all of which are nicknames derived
from their places of birth: Perugino, Veronese, Aretino, Pisano, Giulio
Romano, Correggio, Parmegiano.

The other day a curious instance of this occurred to me in taking the
testimony of a Roman coachman. On being called upon to give the names of
some of his companions, with whom he had been in daily and intimate
intercourse for more than two years, he could give only their
_soprannomi_; their real names he did not know, and had never heard. A
little, gay, odd genius, whom I took into my service during a
_villeggiatura_ at Siena, would not answer to his real name, Lorenzo,
but remonstrated on being so called, and said he was only _Pipetta_,
(The Little Pipe,) a nickname given to him when a child, from his
precocity in smoking, and of which he was as tenacious as if it were a
title of honor. "You prefer, then, to be called Pipetta?" I asked.
"_Felicissimo! sì_," was his answer. Not a foreigner comes to Rome that
his name does not "suffer a sea-change into something rich and
strange." Our break-jaw Saxon names are discarded, and a new christening
takes place. One friend I had who was called _Il Malinconico_,--another,
_La Barbarossa_,--another, _Il bel Signore_; but generally they are
called after the number of the house or the name of the street in which
they live,--_La Signora bella Bionda di Palazzo Albani_,--_Il Signore
Quattordici Capo le Case_,--_Monsieur_ and _Madama Terzo Piano, Corso_.

But to return from this digression.--At every country festival may be
seen a peculiar form of the lottery called _Tombola_; and in the notices
of these _festas_, which are always placarded over the walls of Rome for
weeks before they take place, the eye will always be attracted first by
the imposing word _Tombola_, printed in the largest and blackest of
letters. This is, in fact, the characteristic feature of the _festa_,
and attracts large numbers of _contadini_. As in the ordinary lottery,
only ninety numbers are played. Every ticket contains blank spaces for
fifteen numbers, which are inserted by the purchaser, and registered
duly at the office or booth where the ticket is bought. The price of
tickets in any single _Tombola_ is uniform; but in different _Tombolas_
it varies, of course, according to the amount of the prizes. These are
generally five, namely,--the _Ambo_, _Terno_, _Quaterno_, _Cinquino_,
and _Tombola_, though sometimes a second _Tombola_ or _Tomboletta_ is
added. The drawing takes place in precisely the same manner as in the
ordinary lottery, but with more ceremony. A large staging, with a
pavilion, is erected, where the officers who are to superintend the
drawing stand. In the centre is a glass vase, in which the numbers are
placed after having been separately verified and proclaimed, and a boy
gayly dressed draws them. All the ninety numbers are drawn; and as each
issues, it is called out, and exhibited on a large card. Near by stands
a large framework, elevated so as to be visible to all, with ninety
divisions corresponding to the ninety numbers, and on this, also, every
number is shown as soon as it is drawn. The first person who has upon
his ticket two drawn numbers gains an _Ambo_, which is the smallest
prize. Whoever first has three numbers drawn gains a _Terno_; and so on
with the _Quaterno_ and _Cinquino_. The _Tombola_, which is the great
prize, is won by whoever first has his whole fifteen numbers drawn. As
soon as any one finds two of the drawn numbers on his ticket, he cries,
"_Ambo_," at the top of his lungs. A flag is then raised on the
pavilion, the band plays, and the game is suspended, while the claimant
at once makes his way to the judges on the platform to present his
ticket for examination. No sooner does the cry of "_Ambo_," "_Terno_,"
"_Quaterno_," take place, than there is a great rustle all around.
Everybody looks out for the fortunate person, who is immediately to be
seen running through the parting crowd, which opens before him, cheering
him as he goes, if his appearance be poor and needy, and greeting him
with sarcasms, if he be apparently well to do in the world. Sometimes
there are two or three claimants for the same prize, in which case it is
divided among them. The _Ambo_ is soon taken, and there is little room
for a mistake; but when it comes to the _Quaterno_ or _Cinquino_,
mistakes are very common, and the claimant is almost always saluted with
chaff and jests. After his ticket has been examined, if he have won, a
placard is exhibited with _Ambo_, _Terno_, _Quaterno_ on it, as the case
may be. But if he have committed an error, down goes the flag, and, amid
a burst of laughter, jeering, whistling, screaming, and catcalls, the
disappointed claimant sneaks back and hides himself in the excited
crowd. At a really good _Tombola_, where the prizes are high, there is
no end of fun and gayety among the people. They stand with their tickets
in their hands, congratulating each other ironically, as they fail to
find the numbers on them, paying all sorts of absurd compliments to each
other and the drawer, offering to sell out their chances at enormous
prices when they are behindhand, and letting off all sorts of squibs
and jests, not so excellent in themselves as provocative of laughter. If
the wit be little, the fun is great,--and, in the excitement of
expectation, a great deal of real Italian humor is often ventilated.
Sometimes, at the country fairs, the fun is rather slow, particularly
where the prizes are small; but on exciting occasions, there is a
constant small fire of jests, which is very amusing.

These _Tombole_ are sometimes got up with great pomp. That, for
instance, which sometimes takes place in the Villa Borghese is one of
the most striking spectacles which can be seen in Rome. At one end of
the great open-air amphitheatre is erected a large pavilion, flanked on
either side with covered _logge_ or _palchi_, festooned with yellow and
white,--the Papal colors,--adorned with flags, and closed round with
rich old arrases all pictured over with Scripture stories. Beneath the
central pavilion is a band. Midway down the amphitheatre, on either
side, are two more _logge_, similarly draped, where two more bands are
stationed,--and still another at the opposite end, for the same purpose.
The _logge_ which flank the pavilion are sold by ticket, and filled with
the richer classes. Three great stagings show the numbers as they are
drawn. The pit of the amphitheatre is densely packed with a motley
crowd. Under the ilexes and noble stone-pines that show their dark-green
foliage against the sky, the helmets and swords of cavalry glitter as
they move to and fro. All around on the green slopes are the
people,--soldiers, _contadini_, priests, mingled together,--and
thousands of gay dresses and ribbons and parasols enliven the mass. The
four bands play successively as the multitude gathers. They have already
arrived in tens of thousands, but the game has not yet begun, and
thousands are still flocking to see it. All the gay equipages are on the
outskirts, and through the trees and up the avenues stream the crowds on
foot. As we stand in the centre of the amphitheatre and look up, we get
a faint idea of the old Roman gatherings when Rome emptied itself to
join in the games at the Colosseum. Row upon row they stand, a mass of
gay and swarming life. The sunlight flashes over them, and blazes on the
rich colors. The tall pines and dark ilexes shadow them here and there;
over them is the soft blue dome of the Italian sky. They are gathered
round the _villetta_,--they throng the roof and balconies,--they crowd
the stone steps,--they pack the green oval of the amphitheatre's pit.
The ring of cymbals, the clarion of trumpets, and the clash of brazen
music vibrate in the air. All the world is abroad to see, from the
infant in arms to the oldest inhabitant. _Monsignori_ in purple
stockings and tricornered hats, _contadini_ in gay reds and crimsons,
cardinals in scarlet. Princes, shopkeepers, beggars, foreigners, all
mingle together; while the screams of the vendors of cigars,
pumpkin-seeds, cakes, and lemonade are everywhere heard over the
suppressed roar of the crowd. As you walk along the outskirts of the
mass, you may see Monte Gennaro's dark peak looking over the Campagna,
and all the Sabine hills trembling in a purple haze,--or, strolling down
through the green avenues, you may watch the silver columns of fountains
as they crumble in foam and plash in their mossy basins,--or gather
masses of the sweet Parma violet and other beautiful wild-flowers.

The only other games among the modern Romans, which deserve particular
notice from their peculiarity, are those of Cards. In an Italian pack
there are only forty cards,--the eight, nine, and ten of the French and
English cards having no existence. The suits also have different signs
and names, and, instead of hearts, spades, clubs, and diamonds, they are
called _coppe_, _spade_, _bastoni_, and _denari_,--all being of the same
color, and differing entirely in form from our cards. The _coppe_ are
cups or vases; the _spade_ are swords; the _bastoni_ are veritable clubs
or bludgeons; and the _denari_ are coins. The games are still more
different from ours than the cards, and they are legion in number. There
are _Briscola_, _Tresette_, _Calabresella_, _Banco-Fallito_, _Rossa e
Nera_, _Scaraccoccia_, _Scopa_, _Spizzica_, _Faraone_, _Zecchinetto_,
_Mercante in Fiera_, _La Bazzica_, _Ruba-Monte_, _Uomo-Nero_, _La
Paura_, and I know not how many others,--but they are recorded and
explained in no book, and are only to be picked up orally. Wherever you
go, on _festa_-day, you will find persons playing cards. At the common
_osterias_, before the doors or on the soiled tables within, on the
ruins of the Cæsars' palaces and in the Temple of Peace, on the stone
tables in the _vigna_, on the walls along the public roads, on the
uncarved blocks of marble in front of the sculptors' studios, in the
antechambers or gateways of palaces,--everywhere, cards are played.
Every _contadino_ has a pack in his pocket, with the flavor of the soil
upon it. The playing is ordinarily for very low sums, often for nothing
at all. But there are some games which are purely games of luck, and
dangerous. Some of these, as _Rossa e Nera_, _Banco-Fallito_, and
_Zecchinetto_, though prohibited by the government, are none the less
favorite games in Rome, particularly among those who play for money.
_Zecchinetto_ may be played by any number of persons, after the
following manner:--The dealer, who plays against the whole table, deals
to each player one card. The next card is then turned up as a trump.
Each player then makes his bet on the card dealt to him, and places his
money on it. The dealer then deals to the table the other cards in
order, and any of the players may bet on them as they are thrown down.
If a card of the number of that bet on issue before a card corresponding
to the number of the trump, the dealer wins the stake on that card; but
whenever a card corresponding to the trump issues, the player wins on
every card on which he has bet. When the banker or dealer loses at once,
the bank "_fa toppa_," and the deal passes, but not otherwise. Nothing
can be more simple than this game, and it is just as dangerous as it is
simple, and as exciting as it is dangerous. A late Roman _principessa_
is said to have been passionately fond of it, and to have lost
enormously by it. The story runs, that, while passing the evening at a
friend's house, after losing ten thousand _scudi_ at one sitting, she
staked her horses and carriage, which were at the door waiting to take
her home, and lost them also. She then wrote a note to the prince, her
husband, saying that she had lost her carriage and horses at
_Zecchinetto_, and wished others to be sent for her. To which he
answered, that she might return on foot,--which she was obliged to do.

This will serve at least as a specimen of the games of chance played by
the Romans at cards. Of the more innocent games, _Briscola_, _Tresette_,
and _Scaraccoccia_ are the favorites among the common people. And the
first of these may not be uninteresting, as being, perhaps, the most
popular of all. It is played by either two or four persons. The _Fante_
(or Knave) counts as two; the _Carallo_ (equal to our Queen) as three;
the _Rè_ (King) as four; the Three-spot as ten; and the Ace as eleven.
Three cards are dealt to each person, and after the deal the next card
is turned as trump, or _Briscola_. Each plays, and, after one card all
round is played, its place is supplied by a new deal of one card to
each. Every card of the trump-suit takes any card of the other suits.
Each player takes as many counting-cards as he can, and, at the end of
the game, he who counts the most wins,--the account being made according
to the value of the cards, as stated above.

[To be continued.]

FOOTNOTES:

[A] See Dessault, _Traité de la Passion du Jeu_.

[B] Even while I am writing these notes, I find almost the same incident
recorded as a "modern instance," in a recent work by Lieutenant-Colonel
Addison, entitled _Traits and Stories of Anglo-Indian Life_; but,
despite the authority of Colonel Addison, I cannot but suspect that he
has simply changed the _venue_, and that his story is but a
_rifacimento_ of the actual case alluded to above.



THE AMBER GODS.

[Concluded.]


Papa made Mr. Dudley stay and dine, and of course we were almost bored
to death, when in came Rose again, stealing behind Lu's chair and
showering her in the twilight with a rain of May-flowers.

"Now you'll have to gather them again," he said.

"Oh, how exquisite! how delicious! how I thank you!" she exclaimed,
without disturbing one, however.

"You won't touch them again? Then I must," he added.

"No! no! Mr. Rose!" I cried. "I'll pick them up and take toll."

"Don't touch them!" said Lu, "they're so sweet!"

"Yes," he murmured lower, "they're like you. I always said so, you
remember."

"Oh, yes! and every May-day but the last you have brought them to me."

"Have you the trailing-arbutus there?" asked Mr. Dudley.

"No," returned Rose.

"I thought I detected strawberries," submitted the other,--"a pleasant
odor which recalls childhood to memory."

For some noses all sweet scents are lumped in one big strawberry;
clovers, or hyacinths, or every laden air indifferently, they still
sniff strawberries. Commonplace things!

"It's a sign of high birth to track strawberry-beds where no fruit is,
Mr. Dudley," said I.

"Very true, Miss Willoughby. I was born pretty high up in the Green
Mountains."

"And so keep your memory green?"

"Strawberries in June," said Rose, good-naturedly. "But fruit out of
season is trouble out of reason, the Dream-Book says. It's May now, and
these are its blossoms."

"Everybody makes such a fuss about ground-laurel!" said I. "I don't see
why, I'm sure. They're never perfect. The leaf is hideous,--a stupid
duenna! You get great green leaves, and the flowers all white; you get
deep, rosy flowers, and the leaves are all brown and bitten. They're
neither one thing nor another. They're just like heliotropes,--no bloom
at all, only scent. I've torn up myriads, to the ten stamens in their
feathered case, to find where that smell comes from,--that is perfectly
delicious,--and I never could. They are a cheat."

"Have you finished your tirade?" asked Rose, indifferently.

"I don't believe you mean so," murmured Lu. "They have a color of their
own, almost human, infantine; and when you mass them, the tone is more
soft and mellow than a flute. Everybody loves May-flowers."

"Just about. I despise flutes. I like bassoons."

"They are prophets of apple-blossoms."

"Which brings them at once into the culinary."

"They are not very showy," said Mr. Dudley; "but when we remember the
Fathers"----

"There's nothing like them," said Rose, gently, as he knelt by Lu,
slowly putting them into order; "nothing but pure, clear things; they're
the fruit of snowflakes, the firstlings of the year. When one thinks how
sweetly they come from their warm coverts and look into this cold,
breezy sky so unshrinkingly, and from what a soil they gather such a
wealth of simple beauty, one feels ashamed."

"Climax worthy of the useless things!" said I.

"The moment in which first we are thoroughly ashamed, Miss Willoughby,
is the sovereign one of our life. Useless things? They are worth king
and bishop. Every year, weariness and depression melt away when atop of
the seasons' crucible boil these little bubbles. Isn't everybody better
for lavishing love? And no one merely likes these; whoever cares at all
loves entirely. We always take and give resemblances or sympathies from
any close connection, and so these are in their way a type of their
lovers. What virtue is in them to distil the shadow of the great pines,
that wave layer after layer with a grave rhythm over them,
into this delicate tint, I wonder. They have so decided an
individuality,--different there from hot-house belles;--fashion strips
us of our characteristics"----

"You needn't turn to me for illustration of exotics," said I.

He threw me a cluster, half-hidden in its green towers, and went on,
laying one by one and bringing out little effects.

"The sweetest modesty clings to them, which Alphonse Karr denies to the
violet, so that they are almost out of place in a drawing-room; one
ought to give them there the shelter of their large, kind leaves."

"Hemlock's the only wear," said Louise.

"Or last year's scarlet blackberry triads. Vines together," he
suggested.

"But sometimes they forget their nun-like habit," she added, "put on a
frolicsome mood, and clamber out and flush all the deep ruts of the
carriage-road in Follymill woods, you remember."

"Penance next year," said I.

"No, no; you are not to bring your old world into my new," objected
Rose. "Perhaps they ran out so to greet the winter-worn mariners of
Plymouth, and have been pursued by the love of their descendants ever
since, they getting charier. Just remember how they grow. Why, you'd
never suspect a flower there, till, happening to turn up a leaf, you're
in the midst of harvest. You may tramp acres in vain, and within a
stone's throw they've been awaiting you. There's something very
charming, too, about them in this,--that when the buds are set, and at
last a single blossom starts the trail, you plucking at one end of the
vine, your heart's delight may touch the other a hundred miles away.
Spring's telegraph. So they bind our coast with this network of flower
and root."

"By no means," I asserted. "They grow in spots."

"Pshaw! I won't believe it. They're everywhere just the same, only
underground preparing their little witnesses, whom they send out where
most needed. You don't suppose they find much joy in the fellowship of
brown pine pins and sad, gray mosses, do you? Some folks say they don't
grow away from the shore; but I've found them, I'm sorry to say, up in
New Hampshire."

"Why sorry?" asked Lu.

"Oh, I like it best that they need our sea. They're eminently choice for
this hour, too, when you scarcely gather their tint,--that tint, as if
moonlight should wish to become a flower,--but their fragrance is an
atmosphere all about you. How genuinely spicy it is! It's the very
quintessence of those regions all whose sweetness exudes in
sun-saturated balsams,--the very breath of pine woods and salt sea
winds. How could it live away from the sea?"

"Why, Sir," said Mr. Dudley, "you speak as if it were a creature!"

"A hard, woody stem, a green, robust leaf, a delicate, odorous flower,
Mr. Dudley, what is it all but an expression of New England character?"

"Doxology!" said I.

"Now, Miss Louise, as you have made me atone for my freedom, the task
being done, let me present them in form."

"I'm sure she needn't praise them," said I.

She didn't.

"I declared people make a great fuss over them," I continued. "And you
prove it. You put me in mind of a sound, to be heard where one gets
them,--a strange sound, like low, distant thunder, and it's nothing but
the drum of a little partridge! a great song out of nothing.--Bless me!
what's that?"

"Oh, the fireworks!" said Lu. And we all thronged to the windows.

"It's very good of your uncle to have them," said Rose. "What a crowd
from the town! Think of the pyrotechnics among comets and aërolites some
fellows may have! It's quite right, too, to make our festivals with
light; it's the highest and last of all things; we never can carry our
imaginations beyond light"----

"Our imaginations ought to carry us," said Lu.

"Come," I said, "you can play what pranks you please with the little
May; but light is my province, my absorption; let it alone."

It grew quite dark, interrupted now and then by the glare of rockets;
but at last a stream of central fire went out in a slow rain of
countless violets, reflected with pale blue flashes in the river below,
and then the gloom was unbroken. I saw them, in that long, dim gleam,
standing together at a window. Louise, her figure almost swaying as if
to some inaudible music, but her face turned to him with such a steady
quiet. Ah, me! what a tremulous joy, what passion, and what search, lit
those eyes! But you know that passion means suffering, and, tracing it
in the original through its roots, you come to pathos, and still
farther, to lamentation, I've heard. But he was not looking down at her,
only out and away, paler than ever in the blue light, sad and resolved.
I ordered candles.

"Sing to me, Louise," said Rose, at length. "It is two years since I
heard you."

"Sing 'What's a' the steer, kimmer,'" I said. But instead, she gave the
little ballad, 'And bring my love again, for he lies among the moors.'

Rose went and leaned over the pianoforte while she sang, bending and
commanding her eyes. He seemed to wish to put himself where he was
before he ever left her, to awaken everything lovely in her, to bring
her before him as utterly developed as she might be,--not only to afford
her, but to force upon her every chance to master him. He seemed to wish
to love, I thought.

"Thank you," he said, as she ceased. "Did you choose it purposely,
Louise?"

Lu sang very nicely, and, though I dare say she would rather not then,
when Mr. Dudley asked for the "Vale of Avoca" and the "Margin of
Zürich's Fair Waters," she gave them just as kindly. Altogether, quite a
damp programme. Then papa came in, bright and blithe, whirled me round
in a _pas de deux_, and we all very gay and hilarious slipped into the
second of May.

Dear me! how time goes! I must hurry.--After that, _I_ didn't see so
much of Rose; but he met Lu everywhere, came in when I was out, and, if
I returned, he went, perfectly regardless of my existence, it seemed.
They rode, too, all round the country; and she sat to him, though he
never filled out the sketch. For weeks he was devoted; but I fancied,
when I saw them, that there lingered in his manner the same thing as on
the first evening while she sang to him. Lu was so gay and sweet and
happy that I hardly knew her; she was always very gentle, but such a
decided body,--that's the Willoughby, her mother. Yet during these weeks
Rose had not spoken, not formally; delicate and friendly kindness was
all Lu could have found, had she sought. One night, I remember, he came
in and wanted us to go out and row with him on the river. Lu wouldn't go
without me.

"Will you come?" said he, coolly, as if I were merely necessary as a
thwart or thole-pin might have been, turning and letting his eyes fall
on me an instant, then snatching them off with a sparkle and flush, and
such a lordly carelessness of manner otherwise.

"Certainly not," I replied.

So they remained, and Lu began to open a bundle of Border Ballads, which
he had brought her. The very first one was "Whistle an' I'll come to
you, my lad." I laughed. She glanced up quickly, then held it in her
hands a moment, repeated the name, and asked if he liked it.

"Oh, yes," he said. "There couldn't be a Scotch song without that rhythm
better than melody, which, after all, is Beethoven's secret."

"Perhaps," said Louise. "But I shall not sing this."

"Oh, do!" he said, turning with surprise. "You don't know what an
aërial, whistling little thing it is!"

"No."

"Why, Louise! There is nobody could sing it but you."

"Of good discourse, an excellent musician, and her hair shall be of what
color it please God," quoted I, and in came Mr. Dudley, as he usually
did when not wanted; though I've no reason to find fault with him,
notwithstanding his blank treatment of me. He never took any notice,
because he was in love with Lu. Rose never took any notice of me,
either. But with a difference!

Lu was singularly condescending to Mr. Dudley that evening; and Rose,
sitting aside, looked so very much disturbed--whether pleasantly or
otherwise didn't occur to me--that I couldn't help enjoying his
discomfiture, and watching him through it.

Now, though I told you I wasn't nervous, I never should know I had this
luxurious calm, if there were nothing to measure it by; and once in a
great while a perfect whirlpool seizes me,--my blood is all in
turmoil,--I bubble with silent laughter, or cry with all my heart. I had
been in such a strange state a good while, and now, as I surveyed Rose,
it gradually grew fiercer, till I actually sprang to my feet, and
exclaimed, "There! it is insupportable! I've been in the magnetic storm
long enough! it is time something took it from me!" and ran out-doors.

Rose sauntered after, by-and-by, as if unwillingly drawn by a loadstone,
and found the heavens wrapped in a rosy flame of Northern Lights. He
looked as though he belonged to them, so pale and elf-like was his face
then, like one bewitched.

"Papa's fireworks fade before mine," I said. "Now we can live in the
woods, as Lu has been wishing; for a dry southerly wind follows this,
with a blue smoke filming all the distant fields. Won't it be
delicious?"

"Or rain," he replied; "I think it will rain to-morrow,--warm, full
rains"; and he seemed as if such a chance would dissolve him entirely.

As for me, those shifting, silent sheets of splendor abstracted all that
was alien, and left me in my normal state.

"There they come!" I said, as Lu and Mr. Dudley, and some others who had
entered in my absence,--gnats dancing in the beam,--stepped down toward
us. "How charming for us all to sit out here!"

"How annoying, you mean," he replied, simply for contradiction.

"It hasn't been warm enough before," I added.

"And Louise may take cold now," he said, as if wishing to exhibit his
care for her. "Whom is she speaking with? Blarsaye? And who comes
after?"

"Parti. A delightful person,--been abroad, too. You and he can have a
crack about Louvres and Vaticans now, and leave Lu and Mr. Dudley to
me."

Rose suddenly inspected me and then Parti, as if he preferred the crack
to be with cudgels; but in a second the little blaze vanished, and he
only stripped a weigelia branch of every blossom.

I wonder what made Lu behave so that night; she scarcely spoke to Rose,
appeared entirely unconcerned while he hovered round her like an
officious sprite, was all grace to the others and sweetness to Mr.
Dudley. And Rose, oblivious of snubs, paraded his devotion, seemed
determined to show his love for Lu,--as if any one cared a straw,--and
took the pains to be positively rude to me. He was possessed of an odd
restlessness; a little defiance bristled his movements, an air of
contrariness; and whenever he became quiet, he seemed again like one
enchanted and folded up in a dream, to break whose spell he was about to
abandon efforts. He told me life had destroyed my enchantment; I wonder
what will destroy his. Lu refused to sit in the garden-chair he
offered,--just suffered the wreath of pink bells he gave her to hang in
her hand, and by-and-by fall,--and when the north grew ruddier and swept
the zenith with lances of light, and when it faded, and a dim cloud
hazed all the stars, preserved the same equanimity, kept on the _evil_
tenor of her way, and bade every one an impartial farewell at
separating. She is preciously well-bred.

We hadn't remained in the garden all that time, though,--but, strolling
through the gate and over the field, had reached a small grove that
fringes the gully worn by Wild Fall and crossed by the railway. As we
emerged from that, talking gayly, and our voices almost drowned by the
dash of the little waterfall and the echo from the opposite rock, I
sprang across the curving track, thinking them behind, and at the same
instant a thunderous roar burst all about, a torrent of hot air whizzed
and eddied over me, I fell dizzied and stunned, and the night
express-train shot by like a burning arrow. Of course I was dreadfully
hurt by my fall and fright,--I feel the shock now,--but they all stood
on the little mound, from which I had sprung, like so many
petrifactions: Rose, just as he had caught Louise back on firmer ground,
when she was about to follow me, his arm wound swiftly round her waist,
yet his head thrust forward eagerly, his pale face and glowing eyes
bent, not on her, but me. Still he never stirred, and poor Mr. Dudley
first came to my assistance. We all drew breath at our escape, and, a
little slowly, on my account, turned homeward.

"You are not bruised, Miss Willoughby?" asked Blarsaye, wakened.

"Dear Yone!" Lu said, leaving Mr. Dudley's arm, "you're so very pale!
It's not pain, is it?"

"I am not conscious of any. Why should I be injured, any more than you?"

"Do you know," said Rose, _sotto voce_, turning and bending merely his
head to me, "I thought I heard you scream, and that you were dead."

"And what then?"

"Nothing, but that you were lying dead and torn, and I should see you,"
he said,--and said as if he liked to say it, experiencing a kind of
savage delight at his ability to say it.

"A pity to have disappointed you!" I answered.

"I saw it coming before you leaped," he added, as a malignant finality,
and drawing nearer. "You were both on the brink. I called, but probably
neither you nor Lu heard me. So I snatched her back."

Now I had been next him then.

"Jove's balance," I said, taking Parti's arm.

He turned instantly to Lu, and kept by her during the remainder of the
walk, Mr. Dudley being at the other side. I was puzzled a little by Lu,
as I have been a good many times since; I thought she liked Rose so
much. Papa met us in the field, and there the affair must be detailed to
him, and then he would have us celebrate our safety in Champagne.

"Good-bye, Louise," said Rose, beside her at the gate, and offering his
hand, somewhat later. "I'm going away to-morrow, if it's fine."

"Going?" with involuntary surprise.

"To camp out in Maine."

"Oh! I hope you will enjoy it."

"Would you stay long, Louise?"

"If the sketching-grounds are good."

"When I come back, you'll sing my songs? Shake hands."

She just laid a cold touch on his.

"Louise, are you offended with me?"

She looked up with so much simplicity. "Offended, Rose, with you?"

"Not offended, but frozen," I could have said. Lu is like that little
sensitive-plant, shrinking into herself with stiff unconsciousness at a
certain touch. But I don't think he noticed the sad tone in her voice,
as she said good-night; I didn't, till, the others being gone, I saw her
turn after his disappearing figure, with a look that would have been
despairing, but for its supplication.

The only thing Lu ever said to me about this was,--

"Don't you think Rose a little altered, Yone, since he came home?"

"Altered?"

"I have noticed it ever since you showed him your beads, that day."

"Oh! it's the amber," I said. "They are amulets, and have bound him in a
thrall. You must wear them, and dissolve the charm. He's in a dream."

"What is it to be in a dream?" she asked.

"To lose thought of past or future."

She repeated my words,--"Yes, he's in a dream," she said, musingly.


II.

Rose didn't come near us for a fortnight; but he had not camped at all,
as he said. It was the first stone thrown into Lu's life, and I never
saw any one keep the ripples under so; but her suspicions were aroused.
Finally he came in again, all as before, and I thought things might have
been different, if in that fortnight Mr. Dudley had not been so
assiduous; and now, to the latter's happiness, there were several ragged
children and infirm old women in whom, Lu having taken them in charge,
he chose to be especially interested. Lu always was housekeeper, both
because it had fallen to her while mamma and I were away, and because
she had an administrative faculty equal to General Jackson's; and Rose,
who had frequently gone about with her, inspecting jellies and cordials
and adding up her accounts, now unexpectedly found Mr. Dudley so near
his former place that he disdained to resume it himself;--not entirely,
because the man of course couldn't be as familiar as an old playmate;
but just enough to put Rose aside. He never would compete with any one;
and Lu did not know how to repulse the other.

If the amulets had ravished Rose from himself, they did it at a
distance, for I had not worn them since that day.--You needn't look.
Thales imagined amber had a spirit; and Pliny says it is a counter-charm
for sorceries. There are a great many mysterious things in the world.
Aren't there any hidden relations between us and certain substances?
Will you tell me something impossible?--But he came and went about
Louise, and she sung his songs, and all was going finely again, when we
gave our midsummer party.

Everybody was there, of course, and we had enrapturing music. Louise
wore--no matter--something of twilight purple, and begged for the amber,
since it was too much for my toilette,--a double India muslin, whose
snowy sheen scintillated with festoons of gorgeous green beetles' wings
flaming like fiery emeralds.--A family dress, my dear, and worn by my
aunt before me,--only that individual must have been frightened out of
her wits by it. A cruel, savage dress, very like, but ineffably
gorgeous.--So I wore her aquamarina, though the other would have been
better; and when I sailed in, with all the airy folds in a hoar-frost
mistiness fluttering round me and the glitter of Lu's jewels,--

"Why!" said Rose, "you look like the moon in a halo."

But Lu disliked a hostess out-dressing her guests.

It was dull enough till quite late, and then I stepped out with Mr.
Parti, and walked up and down a garden-path. Others were outside as
well, and the last time I passed a little arbor I caught a yellow gleam
of amber. Lu, of course. Who was with her? A gentleman, bending low to
catch her words, holding her hand in an irresistible pressure. Not Rose,
for he was flitting in beyond. Mr. Dudley. And I saw then that Lu's
kindness was too great to allow her to repel him angrily; her gentle
conscience let her wound no one. Had Rose seen the pantomime? Without
doubt. He had been seeking her, and he found her, he thought, in Mr.
Dudley's arms. After a while we went in, and, finding all smooth
enough, I slipped through the balcony-window and hung over the
balustrade, glad to be alone a moment. The wind, blowing in, carried the
gay sounds away from me, even the music came richly muffled through the
heavy curtains, and I wished to breathe balm and calm. The moon, round
and full, was just rising, making the gloom below more sweet. A full
moon is poison to some; they shut it out at every crevice, and do not
suffer a ray to cross them; it has a chemical or magnetic effect; it
sickens them. But I am never more free and royal than when the subtile
celerity of its magic combinations, whatever they are, is at work. Never
had I known the mere joy of being so intimately as to-night. The river
slept soft and mystic below the woods, the sky was full of light, the
air ripe with summer. Out of the yellow honeysuckles that climbed
around, clouds of delicious fragrance stole and swathed me; long wafts
of faint harmony gently thrilled me. Dewy and dark and uncertain was all
beyond. I, possessed with a joyousness so deep through its contented
languor as to counterfeit serenity, forgot all my wealth of nature, my
pomp of beauty, abandoned myself to the hour.

A strain of melancholy dance-music pierced the air and fell. I half
turned my head, and my eyes met Rose. He had been there before me,
perhaps. His face, white and shining in the light, shining with a
strange sweet smile of relief, of satisfaction, of delight, his lips
quivering with unspoken words, his eyes dusky with depth after depth of
passion. How long did my eyes swim on his? I cannot tell. He never
stirred; still leaned there against the pillar, still looked down on me
like a marble god. The sudden tears dazzled my gaze, fell down my hot
cheek, and still I knelt fascinated by that smile. In that moment I felt
that he was more beautiful than the night, than the music, than I. Then
I knew that all this time, all summer, all past summers, all my life
long, I had loved him.

Some one was waiting to make his adieux; I heard my father seeking me; I
parted the curtains, and went in. One after one those tedious people
left, the lights grew dim, and still he stayed without. I ran to the
window, and, lifting the curtain, bent forward, crying,--

"Mr. Rose! do you spend the night on the balcony?"

Then he moved, stepped down, murmured something to my father, bowed
loftily to Louise, passed me without a sign, and went out. In a moment,
Lu's voice, a quick, sharp exclamation, touched him; he turned, came
back. She, wondering at him, had stood toying with the amber, and at
last crushing the miracle of the whole, a bell-wort wrought most
delicately with all the dusty pollen grained upon its anthers, crushing
it between her fingers, breaking the thread, and scattering the beads
upon the carpet. He stooped with her to gather them again, he took from
her hand and restored to her afterward the shattered fragments of the
bell-wort, he helped her disentangle the aromatic string from her
falling braids,--for I kept apart,--he breathed the penetrating incense
of each separate amulet, and I saw that from that hour, when every atom
of his sensation was tense and vibrating, she would be associated with
the loathed amber in his undefined consciousness, would be surrounded
with an atmosphere of its perfume, that Lu was truly sealed from him in
it, sealed into herself. Then again, saying no word, he went out.

Louise stood like one lost,--took aimlessly a few steps,--retraced
them,--approached a table,--touched something,--left it.

"I am so sorry about your beads!" she said, apologetically, when she
looked up and saw me astonished, putting the broken pieces into my hand.

"Goodness! Is that what you are fluttering about so for?"

"They can't be mended," she continued, "but I will thread them again."

"I don't care about them, I'm sick of amber," I answered, consolingly.
"You may have them, if you will."

"No. I must pay too great a price for them," she replied.

"Nonsense! when they break again, I'll pay you back," I said, without in
the least knowing what she meant. "I didn't know you were too proud for
a 'thank you!'"

She came up and put both her arms round my neck, laid her cheek beside
mine a minute, kissed me, and went up-stairs. Lu always rather
worshipped me.

Dressing my hair that night, Carmine, my maid, begged for the remnants
of the bell-wort to "make a scent-bag with, Miss."

Next day, no Rose; it rained. But at night he came and took possession
of the room, with a strange, airy gayety never seen in him before. It
was so chilly, that I had heaped the wood-boughs, used in the
yesterday's decorations, on the hearth, and lighted a fragrant crackling
flame that danced up wildly at my touch,--for I have the faculty of
fire. I sat at one side, Lu at the other, papa was holding a skein of
silk for her to wind, the amber beads were twinkling in the
firelight,--and when she slipped them slowly on the thread, bead after
bead, warmed through and through by the real blaze, they crowded the
room afresh with their pungent spiciness. Papa had called Rose to take
his place at the other end of the silk, and had gone out; and when Lu
finished, she fastened the ends, cut the thread, Rose likening her to
Atropos, and put them back into her basket. Still playing with the
scissors, following down the lines of her hand, a little snap was heard.

"Oh!" said Louise, "I have broken my ring!"

"Can't it be repaired?" I asked.

"No," she returned briefly, but pleasantly, and threw the pieces into
the fire.

"The hand must not be ringless," said Rose; and slipping off the ring of
hers that he wore, he dropped it upon the amber, then got up and threw
an armful of fresh boughs upon the blaze.

So that was all done. Then Rose was gayer than before. He is one of
those people to whom you must allow moods,--when their sun shines,
dance, and when their vapors rise, sit in the shadow. Every variation of
the atmosphere affects him, though by no means uniformly; and so
sensitive is he, that, when connected with you by any intimate
_rapport_, even if but momentary, he almost divines your thoughts. He is
full of perpetual surprises. I am sure he was a nightingale before he
was Rose. An iridescence like sea-foam sparkled in him that evening, he
laughed as lightly as the little tinkling mass-bells at every moment,
and seemed to diffuse a rosy glow wherever he went in the room. Yet
gayety was not his peculiar specialty, and at length he sat before the
fire, and, taking Lu's scissors, commenced cutting bits of paper in
profiles. Somehow they all looked strangely like and unlike Mr. Dudley.
I pointed one out to Lu, and, if he had needed confirmation, her
changing color gave it. He only glanced at her askance, and then broke
into the merriest description of his life in Rome, of which he declared
he had not spoken to us yet, talking fast and laughing as gleefully as a
child, and illustrating people and localities with scissors and paper as
he went on, a couple of careless snips putting a whole scene before us.

The floor was well-strewn with such chips,--fountains, statues, baths,
and all the persons of his little drama,--when papa came in. He held an
open letter, and, sitting down, read it over again. Rose fell into
silence, clipping the scissors daintily in and out the white sheet
through twinkling intricacies. As the design dropped out, I caught
it,--a long wreath of honeysuckle-blossoms. Lu was humming a little
tune. Rose joined, and hummed the last bars, then bade us good-night.

"Yone," said papa, "your Aunt Willoughby is very ill,--will not recover.
She is my elder brother's widow; you are her heir. You must go and stay
with her."

Now it was very likely that just at this time I was going away to nurse
Aunt Willoughby! Moreover, illness is my very antipodes,--its nearness
is invasion,--we are utterly antipathetic,--it disgusts and repels me.
What sympathy can there be between my florid health, my rank, redundant
life, and any wasting disease of death? What more hostile than focal
concentration and obscure decomposition? You see, we cannot breathe the
same atmosphere. I banish the thought of such a thing from my feeling,
from my memory. So I said,--

"It's impossible. I'm not going an inch to Aunt Willoughby's. Why, papa,
it's more than a hundred miles, and in this weather!"

"Oh, the wind has changed."

"Then it will be too warm for such a journey."

"A new idea, Yone! Too warm for the mountains?"

"Yes, papa. I'm not going a step."

"Why, Yone, you astonish me! Your sick aunt!"

"That's the very thing. If she were well, I might,--perhaps. Sick! What
can I do for her? I never go into a sick-room. I hate it. I don't know
how to do a thing there. Don't say another word, papa. I can't go."

"It is out of the question to let it pass so, my dear. Here you are
nursing all the invalids in town, yet"----

"Indeed, I'm not, papa. I don't know and don't care whether they're dead
or alive."

"Well, then, it's Lu."

"Oh, yes, she's hospital-agent for half the country."

"Then it is time that you also got a little experience."

"Don't, papa! I don't want it. I never saw anybody die, and I never mean
to."

"Can't I do as well, uncle?" asked Lu.

"You, darling? Yes; but it isn't your duty."

"I thought, perhaps," she said, "you would rather Yone went."

"So I would."

"Dear papa, don't vex me! Ask anything else!"

"It is so unpleasant to Yone," Lu murmured, "that maybe I had better go.
And if you've no objection, Sir, I'll take the early train to-morrow."

Wasn't she an angel?

       *       *       *       *       *

Lu was away a month. Rose came in, expressing his surprise. I said,
"Othello's occupation's gone?"

"And left him room for pleasure now," he retorted.

"Which means seclusion from the world, in the society of lakes and
chromes."

"Miss Willoughby," said he, turning and looking directly past me, "may I
paint you?"

"Me? Oh, you can't."

"No; but may I try?"

"I cannot go to you."

"I will come to you."

"Do you suppose it will be like?"

"Not at all, of course. It is to be, then?"

"Oh, I've no more right than any other piece of Nature to refuse an
artist a study in color."

He faced about, half pouting, as if he would go out, then returned and
fixed the time.

So he painted. He generally put me into a broad beam that slanted from
the top of the veiled window, and day after day he worked. Ah, what
glorious days they were! how gay! how full of life! I almost feared to
let him image me on canvas, do you know? I had a fancy it would lay my
soul so bare to his inspection. What secrets might be searched, what
depths fathomed, at such times, if men knew! I feared lest he should see
me as I am, in those great masses of warm light lying before him, as I
feared he saw when he said amber harmonized with me,--all being things
not polarized, not organized, without centre, so to speak. But it
escaped him, and he wrought on. Did he succeed? Bless you! he might as
well have painted the sun; and who could do that? No; but shades and
combinations that he had hardly touched or known, before, he had to
lavish now; he learned more than some years might have taught him; he,
who worshipped beauty, saw how thoroughly I possessed it; he has told
me that through me he learned the sacredness of color. "Since he loves
beauty so, why does he not love me?" I asked myself; and perhaps the
feverish hope and suspense only lit up that beauty and fed it with fresh
fires. Ah, the July days! Did you ever wander over barren, parched
stubble-fields, and suddenly front a knot of red Turk's-cap lilies,
flaring as if they had drawn all the heat and brilliance from the land
into their tissues? Such were they. And if I were to grow old and gray,
they would light down all my life, and I could be willing to lead a
dull, grave age, looking back and remembering them, warming myself
forever in their constant youth. If I had nothing to hope, they would
become my whole existence. Think, then, what it will be to have all days
like those!

He never satisfied himself, as he might have done, had he known me
better,--and he never _shall_ know me!--and used to look at me for the
secret of his failure, till I laughed; then the look grew wistful, grew
enamored. By-and-by we left the pictures. We went into the woods, warm,
dry woods; we stayed there from morning till night. In the burning
noons, we hung suspended between two heavens, in our boat on glassy
forest-pools, where now and then a shoal of white lilies rose and
crowded out the under-sky. Sunsets burst like bubbles over us. When the
hidden thrushes were breaking one's heart with music, and the sweet fern
sent up a tropical fragrance beneath our crushing steps, we came home to
rooms full of guests and my father's genial warmth. What a month it was!

One day papa went up into New Hampshire; Aunt Willoughby was dead; and
one day Lu came home.

She was very pale and thin. Her eyes were hollow and purple.

"There is some mistake, Lu," I said. "It is you who are dead, instead of
Aunt Willoughby."

"Do I look so wretchedly?" she asked, glancing at the mirror.

"Dreadfully! Is it all watching and grief?"

"Watching and grief," said Lu.

How melancholy her smile was! She would have crazed me in a little
while, if I had minded her.

"Did you care so much for fretful, crabbed Aunt Willoughby?"

"She was very kind to me," Lu replied.

There was an odd air with her that day. She didn't go at once and get
off her travelling-dress, but trifled about in a kind of expectancy, a
little fever going and coming in her cheeks, and turning at any noise.

Will you believe it?--though I know Lu had refused him,--who met her at
the half-way junction, saw about her luggage, and drove home with her,
but Mr. Dudley, and was with us, a half-hour afterward, when Rose came
in? Lu didn't turn at his step, but the little fever in her face
prevented his seeing her as I had done. He shook hands with her and
asked after her health, and shook hands with Mr. Dudley, (who hadn't
been near us during her absence,) and seemed to wish she should feel
that he recognized without pain a connection between herself and that
personage. But when he came back to me, I was perplexed again at that
bewitched look in his face,--as if Lu's presence made him feel that he
was in a dream, I the enchantress of that dream. It did not last long,
though. And soon she saw Mr. Dudley out, and went up-stairs.

When Lu came down to tea, she had my beads in her hand again.

"I went into your room and got them, dear Yone," she said, "because I
have found something to replace the broken bell-wort"; and she showed us
a little amber bee, black and golden. "Not so lovely as the bell-wort,"
she resumed, "and I must pierce it for the thread; but it will fill the
number. Was I not fortunate to find it?"

But when at a flame she heated a long, slender needle to pierce it, the
little winged wonder shivered between her fingers, and under the hot
steel filled the room with the honeyed smell of its dusted substance.

"Never mind," said I again. "It's a shame, though,--it was so much
prettier than the bell-wort! We might have known it was too brittle.
It's just as well, Lu."

The room smelt like a chancel at vespers. Rose sauntered to the window,
and so down the garden, and then home.

"Yes. It cannot be helped," she said, with a smile. "But I really
counted upon seeing it on the string. I'm not lucky at amber. You know
little Asian said it would bring bane to the bearer."

"Dear! dear! I had quite forgotten!" I exclaimed. "Oh, Lu, keep it, or
give it away, or something! I don't want it any longer."

"You're very vehement," she said, laughing now. "I am not afraid of your
gods. Shall I wear them?"

So the rest of the summer Lu twined them round her throat,--amulets of
sorcery, orbs of separation; but one night she brought them back to me.
That was last night. There they lie.

The next day, in the high golden noon, Rose came. I was on the lounge in
the alcove parlor, my hair half streaming out of Lu's net; but he didn't
mind. The light was toned and mellow, the air soft and cool. He came and
sat on the opposite side, so that he faced the wall table with its dish
of white, stiflingly sweet lilies, while I looked down the drawing-room.
He had brought a book, and by-and-by opened at the part commencing, "Do
not die, Phene." He read it through,--all that perfect, perfect scene.
From the moment when he said,

                        "I overlean
    This length of hair and lustrous front,--they turn
    Like an entire flower upward,"--

his voice low, sustained, clear,--till he reached the line,

    "Look at the woman here with the new soul,"--

till he turned the leaf and murmured,

    "Shall to produce form out of unshaped stuff
    Be art,--and, further, to evoke a soul
    From form be nothing? This new soul is mine!"--

till then, he never glanced up. Now, with a proud grace, he raised his
head,--not to look at me, but across me, at the lilies, to satiate
himself with their odorous snowiness. When he again pronounced words,
his voice was husky and vibrant; but what music dwelt in it and seemed
to prolong rather than break the silver silence, as he echoed,

    "Some unsuspected isle in the far seas"!

How many read to descend to a prosaic life! how few to meet one as rich
and full beside them! The tone grew ever lower; he looked up slowly,
fastening his glance on mine.

    "And you are ever by me while I gaze,--
    Are in my arms, as now,--as now,--as now!"

he said. He swayed forward with those wild questioning eyes,--his breath
blew over my cheek; I was drawn,--I bent; the full passion of his soul
broke to being, wrapped me with a blinding light, a glowing kiss on
lingering lips, a clasp strong and tender as heaven. All my hair fell
down like a shining cloud and veiled us, the great rolling folds in wave
after wave of crisp splendor. I drew back from that long, silent kiss, I
gathered up each gold thread of the straying tresses, blushing, defiant.
He also, he drew back. But I knew all then. I had no need to wait
longer; I had achieved. Rose loved me. Rose had loved me from that first
day.--You scarcely hear what I say, I talk so low and fast? Well, no
matter, dear, you wouldn't care.--For a moment that gaze continued, then
the lids fell, the face grew utterly white. He rose, flung the book,
crushed and torn, upon the floor, went out, speaking no word to me, nor
greeting Louise in the next room. Could he have seen her? No. I, only,
had that. For, as I drew from his arm, a meteoric crimson, shooting
across the pale face bent over work there, flashed upon me, and then a
few great tears, like sudden thunder-drops, falling slowly and wetting
the heavy fingers. The long mirror opposite her reflected the interior
of the alcove parlor. No,--he could not have seen, he must have felt
her.

I wonder whether I should have cared, if I had never met him any
more,--happy in this new consciousness. But in the afternoon he
returned, bright and eager.

"Are you so very busy, dear Yone," he said, without noticing Lu, "that
you cannot drive with me to-day?"

Busy! In five minutes I whirled down the avenue beside him. I had not
been Yone to him before. How quiet we were! he driving on, bent forward,
seeing out and away; I leaning back, my eyes closed, and, whenever a
remembrance of that instant at noon thrilled me, a stinging blush
staining my cheek. I, who had believed myself incapable of love, till
that night on the balcony, felt its floods welling from my spirit,--who
had believed myself so completely cold, was warm to my heart's core.
Again that breath fanned me, those lips touched mine, lightly, quickly.

"Yone, my Yone!" he said. "Is it true? No dream within dream? Do you
love me?"

Wistful, longing, tender eyes.

"Do I love you? I would die for you!"

       *       *       *       *       *

Ah, me! If the July days were such, how perfect were the August and
September nights! their young moon's lingering twilight, their full
broad bays of silver, their interlunar season! The winds were warm about
us, the whole earth seemed the wealthier for our love. We almost lived
upon the river, he and I alone,--floating seaward, swimming slowly up
with late tides, reaching home drenched with dew, parting in passionate
silence. Once he said to me,--

"Is it because it is so much larger, more strange and beautiful, than
any other love could be, that I feel guilty, Yone,--feel as if I sinned
in loving you so, my great white flower?"

I ought to tell you how splendid papa was, never seemed to consider that
Rose had only his art, said I had enough from Aunt Willoughby for both,
we should live up there among the mountains, and set off at once to make
arrangements. Lu has a wonderful tact, too,--seeing at once where her
path lay. She is always so well oriented! How full of peace and bliss
these two months have been! Last night Lu came in here. She brought back
my amber gods, saying she had not intended to keep them, and yet
loitering.

"Yone," she said at last, "I want you to tell me if you love him."

Now, as if that were any affair of hers! I looked what I thought.

"Don't be angry," she pleaded. "You and I have been sisters, have we
not? and always shall be. I love you very much, dear,--more than you may
believe; I only want to know if you will make him happy."

"That's according," said I, with a yawn.

She still stood before me. Her eyes said, "I have a right,--I have a
right to know."

"You want me to say how much I love Vaughan Rose?" I asked, finally.
"Well, listen, Lu,--so much, that, when he forgets me,--and he will, Lu,
one day,--I shall die."

"Prevent his forgetting you, Yone!" she returned. "Make your soul white
and clear, like his."

"No! no!" I answered. "He loves me as I am. I will never change."

Then somehow tears began to come. I didn't want to cry; I had to crowd
them back behind my fingers and shut lids.

"Oh, Lu!" I said, "I cannot think what it would be to live, and he not a
part of me! not for either of us to be in the world without the other!"

Then Lu's tears fell with mine, as she drew her fingers over my hair.
She said she was happy, too; and to-day has been down and gathered every
one, so that, when you see her, her white array will be wreathed with
purple hearts-ease. But I didn't tell Lu quite the truth, you must
know. I don't think I should die, except to my former self, if Rose
ceased to love me. I should change. Oh, I should hate him! Hate is as
intense as love.

Bless me! What time can it be? There are papa and Rose walking in the
garden. I turned out my maid to find chance for all this talk; I must
ring for her. There, there's my hair! silken coil after coil, full of
broken lights, rippling below the knees, fine and fragrant. Who could
have such hair but I? I am the last of the Willoughbys, a decayed race,
and from such strong decay what blossom less gorgeous should spring?

October now. All the world swings at the top of its beauty; and those
hills where we shall live, what robes of color fold them! Tawny filemot
gilding the valleys, each seam and rut a scroll or arabesque, and all
the year pouring out her heart's blood to flush the maples, the great
impurpled granites warm with the sunshine they have drunk all summer! So
I am to be married to-day, at noon. I like it best so; it is my hour.
There is my veil, that regal Venice point. Fling it round you. No, you
would look like a ghost in one,--Lu like a corpse. Dear me! That's the
second time I've rung for Carmine. I dare say the hussy is trying on my
gown. You think it strange I don't delay? Why, child, why tempt
Providence? Once mine, always mine. He might wake up. No, no, I couldn't
have meant that! It is not possible that I have merely led him into a
region of richer dyes, lapped him in this vision of color, kindled his
heart to such a flame, that it may light him towards further effort. Can
you believe that he will slip from me and return to one in better
harmony with him? Is any one? Will he ever find himself with that love
lost, this love exhausted, only his art left him? Never! _I_ am his
crown. See me! how singularly, gloriously beautiful! For him only! all
for him! I love him! I cannot, I will not lose him! I defy all! My
heart's proud pulse assures me! I defy Fate! Hush! One,--two,--twelve
o'clock. Carmine!


III.

_Astra castra, numen lumen._

The click of her needles and the soft singing of the night-lamp are the
only sounds breaking the stillness, the awful stillness, of this room.
How the wind blows without! it must be whirling white gusty drifts
through the split hills. If I were as free! Whistling round the gray
gable, tearing the bleak boughs, crying faint, hoarse moans down the
chimneys! A wild, sad gale! There is a lull, a long breathless lull,
before it soughs up again. Oh, it is like a pain! Pain! Why do I think
the word? Must I suffer any more? Am I crazed with opiates? or am I
dying? They are in that drawer,--laudanum, morphine, hyoscyamus, and all
the drowsy sirups,--little drops, but soaring like a fog, and wrapping
the whole world in a dull ache, with no salient sting to catch a groan
on. They are so small, they might be lost in this long, dark room; why
not the pain too, the point of pain, I? A long, dark room; I at one end,
she at the other; the curtains drawn away from me that I may breathe.
Ah, I have been stifled so long! They look down on me, all those old
dead and gone faces, those portraits on the wall,--look all from their
frames at me, the last term of the race, the vanishing summit of their
design. A fierce weapon thrust into the world for evil has that race
been,--from the great gray Willoughby, threatening with his iron eyes
there, to me, the sharp apex of its suffering. A fierce, glittering
blade! Why I alone singled for this curse? Rank blossom, rank decay,
they answer, but falsely. I lie here, through no fault of mine, blasted
by disease, the dread with no relief. A hundred ancestors look from my
walls, and see in me the centre of their lives, of all their little
splendor, of their sins and follies; what slept in them wakes in me. Oh,
let me sleep too!

How long could I live and lose nothing? I saw my face in the hand-glass
this morning,--more lovely than health fashioned it;--transparent skin,
bounding blood, with its fire burning behind the eye, on cheek, on
lip,--a beauty that every pang has aggravated, heightened, sharpened, to
a superb intensity, flushing, rapid, unearthly,--a brilliancy to be
dreamed of. Like a great autumn-leaf I fall, for I am dying,--dying!
Yes, death finds me more beautiful than life made me; but have I lost
nothing? Great Heaven, I have lost all!

A fancy comes to me, that to-day was my birthday. I have forgotten to
mark time; but if it was, I am thirty-two years old. I remember
birthdays of a child,--loving, cordial days. No one remembers to-day.
Why should they? But I ache for a little love. Thirty-two,--that is
young to die! I am too fair, too rich, for death!--not his fit spoil! Is
there no one to save me? no help? can I not escape? Ah, what a vain
eagerness! what an idle hope! Fall back again, heart! Escape? I do not
desire to. Come, come, kind rest! I am tired.

That cap-string has loosened now, and all this golden cataract of hair
has rushed out over the piled pillows. It oppresses and terrifies me. If
I could speak, it seems to me that I would ask Louise to come and bind
it up. Won't she turn and see?

Have I been asleep? What is this in my hands? The amber gods? Oh, yes! I
asked to see them again; I like their smell, I think. It is ten years I
have had them. They enchant; but the charm will not last; nothing will.
I rubbed a little yellow smoke out of them,--a cloud that hung between
him and the world, so that he saw only me,--at least----What am I
dreaming of? All manner of illusions haunt me. Who said anything about
ten years? I have been married ten years. Happy, then, ten years? Oh,
no! One day he woke.--How close the room is! I want some air. Why don't
they do something----

Once, in the pride of a fool, I fear having made some confidence, some
recital of my joy to ears that never had any. Did I say I would not lose
him? Did I say I could live just on the memory of that summer? I lash
myself that I must remember it! that I ever loved him! When he stirred,
when the mist left him, when he found a mere passion had blinded him,
when he spread his easel, when he abandoned love,--was I wretched? I,
too, abandoned love!--more,--I hated! All who hate are wretched. But he
was bound to me! Yes, he might move restlessly,--it only clanked his
chains. Did he wound me? I was cruel. He never spoke. He became
artist,--ceased to be man,--was more indifferent than the cloud. He
could paint me then,--and, revealed and bare, all our histories written
in me, he hung me up beside my ancestors. There I hang. Come from thy
frame, thou substance, and let this troubled phantom go! Come! for he
gave my life to thee. In thee he shut and sealed it all, and left me as
the empty husk. Did she come then? No! I sent for her. I meant to teach
him that he was yet a man,--to open before him a gulf of anguish; but
_I_ slipped down it. Then I dogged them; they never spoke alone; I
intercepted the eye's language; I withered their wintry smiles to
frowns; I stifled their sighs; I checked their breath, their motion.
Idle words passed our lips; we three lived in a real world of silence,
agonized mutes. She went. Summer by summer my father brought her to us.
Always memory was kindled afresh, always sorrow kept smouldering. Once
she came; I lay here; she has not left me since. He,--he also comes; he
has soothed pain with that loveless eye, carried me in untender arms,
watched calmly beside my delirious nights. He who loved beauty has
learned disgust. Why should I care? I, from the slave of bald form,
enlarged him to the master of gorgeous color; his blaze is my ashes. He
studies me. I owe him nothing.

Is it near morning? Have I dozed again? Night is long. The great
hall-clock is striking,--throb after throb on the darkness. I remember,
when I was a child, watching its lengthened pendulum swing as if time
were its own, and it measured the thread slowly, loath to
part,--remember streaking its great ebony case with a little finger,
misting it with a warm breath. Throb after throb,--is it going to peal
forever? Stop, solemn clangor! hearts, stop! Midnight.

The nurses have gone down; she sits there alone. Her bent side-face is
full of pity. Now and then her head turns; the great brown eyes lift
heavily, and lie on me,--heavily, as if the sight of me pained her. Ah,
in me perishes her youth! death enters her world! Besides, she loves me.
I do not want her love,--I would fling it off; but I am faint,--I am
impotent,--I am so cold! Not that she lives, and I die,--not that she
has peace, and I tumult,--not for her voice's music,--not for her eye's
lustre,--not for any charm of her womanly presence,--neither for her
clear, fair soul,--nor that, when the storm and winter pass, and I am
stiff and frozen, she smiles in the sun, and leads new life,--not for
all this I hate her; but because my going gives her what I
lost,--because, I stepped aside, the light falls on her,--because from
my despair springs her happiness. Poor fool! let her be happy, if she
can! Her mother was a Willoughby! And what is a flower that blows on a
grave?

Why do I remember so distinctly one night alone of all my life,--one
night, when we dance in the low room of a seaside cottage,--dance to
Lu's singing? He leads me to her, when the dance is through, brushing
with his head the festooned nets that swing from the rafters,--and in at
the open casement is blown a butterfly, a dead butterfly, from off the
sea. She holds it compassionately till I pin it on my dress,--the wings,
twin magnificences, freckled and barred and dusty with gold, fluttering
at my breath. Some one speaks with me; she strays to the window, he
follows, and they are silent. He looks far away over the gray loneliness
stretching beyond. At length he murmurs: "A brief madness makes my long
misery. Louise, if the earth were dazzled aside from her constant
pole-star to worship some bewildering comet, would she be more forlorn
than I?"

"Dear Rose! your art remains," I hear her say.

He bends lower, that his breath may scorch her brow. "Was I wrong? Am I
right?" he whispers, hurriedly. "You loved me once; you love me now,
Louise, if I were free?"

"But you are not free."

She does not recoil, yet her very atmosphere repels him, while looking
up with those woful eyes blanching her cheek by their gathering
darkness. "And, Rose,"----she sighs, then ceases abruptly, while a
quiver of sudden scorn writhes spurningly down eyelid and nostril and
pains the whole face.

He erects himself, then reaches his hand for the rose in her belt,
glances at me,--the dead thing in my bosom rising and falling with my
turbulent heart,--holds the rose to his lips, leaves her. How keen are
my ears! how flushed my cheek! how eager and fierce my eyes! He
approaches; I snatch the rose and tear its petals in an angry shower,
and then a dim east-wind pours in and scatters my dream like flakes of
foam. All dreams go; youth and hope desert me; the dark claims me. O
room, surrender me! O sickness and sorrow, loose your weary hold!

It maddens me to know that the sun will shine again, the tender grass
grow green, the veery sing, the crocus come. She will walk in the light
and re-gather youth, and I moulder, a forgotten heap. Oh, why not all
things crash to ruin with me?

Pain, pain, pain! Where is my father? Why is he away, when they know I
die? He used to hold me once; he ought to hear me when I call. He would
rest me, and stroke the grief aside,--he is so strong. Where is he?

These amulets stumbling round again? Amber, amber gods, you did mischief
in your day! If I clutched you hard, as Lu did once, all your spells
would be broken.--It is colder than it was. I think I will go to sleep.

What was that? How loud and resonant! It stuns me. It is too sonorous.
Does sound flash? Ah! the hour. Another? How long the silver toll swims
on the silent air! It is one o'clock,--a passing bell, a knell. If I
were at home by the river, the tide would be turning down, down, and out
to the broad, broad sea. Is it worth while to have lived?

Have I spoken? She looks at me, rises, and touches that bell-rope that
always brings him. How softly he opens the door! Waiting, perhaps. Well.
Ten years have not altered him much. The face is brighter,
finer,--shines with the eternal youth of genius. They pause a moment; I
suppose they are coming to me; but their eyes are on each other.

Why must the long, silent look with which he met her the day I got my
amber strike back on me now so vindictively? I remember three looks:
that, and this, and one other,--one fervid noon, a look that drank my
soul, that culminated my existence. Oh, I remember! I lost it a little
while ago. I have it now. You are coming? Can't you hear me? See! these
costly _liqueurs_, these precious perfumes beside me here, if I can
reach them, I will drench the coverlet in them; it shall be white and
sweet as a little child's. I wish they were the great rich lilies of
that day; it is too late for the baby May-flowers. You do not like
amber? There the thread breaks again! the little cruel gods go tumbling
down the floor! Come, lay my head on your breast! kiss my life off my
lips! I am your Yone! I forgot a little while,--but I love you, Rose!
Rose!

       *       *       *       *       *

Why! I thought arms held me. How clear the space is! The wind from
out-doors, rising again, must have rushed in. There is the quarter
striking. How free I am! No one here? No swarm of souls about me? Oh,
those two faces looked from a great mist, a moment since; I scarcely see
them now. Drop, mask! I will not pick you up! Out, out into the gale!
back to my elements!

So I passed out of the room, down the staircase. The servants below did
not see me, but the hounds crouched and whined. I paused before the
great ebony clock; again the fountain broke, and it chimed the
half-hour; it was half-past one; another quarter, and the next time its
ponderous silver hammers woke the house it would be two. Half-past one?
Why, then, did not the hands move? Why cling fixed on a point five
minutes before the first quarter struck? To and fro, soundless and
purposeless, swung the long pendulum. And, ah! what was this thing I had
become? I had done with time. Not for me the hands moved on their
recurrent circle any more.

I must have died at ten minutes past one.



THE POET'S FRIENDS.


    The Robin sings in the elm;
      The cattle stand beneath,
    Sedate and grave, with great brown eyes,
      And fragrant meadow-breath.

    They listen to the flattered bird,
      The wise-looking, stupid things!
    And they never understand a word
      Of all the Robin sings.



THE MEMORIAL OF A. B., OR MATILDA MUFFIN.


THE MEMORIAL OF A. B.

_Humbly Showeth_:--

Ladies and gentlemen,--enlightened public,--kind audience,--dear
readers,--or whatever else you may be styled,--whose eyes, from remote
regions of east, west, or next door, solace themselves between the brown
covers of this magazine, making of themselves flowers to its lunar
brilliancy,--I wish to state, with all humility and self-disgust, that I
am what is popularly called a literary woman.

In the present state of society, I should feel less shame in declaring
myself the elect lady of Dunderhed Van Nudel, Esquire, that wealthy
Dutch gentleman, aged seventy, whom we all know. It is true, that, as I
am young and gay and intelligent, while he is old and stupid and very
low Dutch indeed, such an announcement would be equivalent to saying
that I was bought by Mr. Van Nudel for half a million of dollars; but
then that is customary, and you would all congratulate me.

Also, I should stand a better chance of finding favor in your eyes, if I
declared myself to be an indigent tailoress; for no woman should use her
head who can use her hands,--a maxim older than Confucius.

Or even if I were a school-ma'am! (blessed be the man who has brought
them into fashion and the long path!) In that case, you might say, "Poor
thing! isn't she interesting? quite like _the_ school-mistress!"--And I
am not averse to pity, since it is love's poor cousin, nor to belonging
to a class mentioned in Boston literary society. I really am not!

But the plain truth is, I earn my living by writing. Sewing does not
pay. I have no "faculty" at school-keeping; for I invariably spoil all
the good children, and pet all the pretty ones,--a process not
conducive, as I am told, to the development of manners or morals;--so I
write: just as Mr. Jones makes shoes, Mr. Peters harangues the jury, Mr.
Smith sells calico, or Mr. Robinson rolls pills.

For, strange as it may seem, when it is so easy to read, it is hard work
to write,--_bonâ fide_, undeniable hard work. Suppose my head cracks and
rings and reels with a great ache that stupefies me? In comes Biddy with
a letter.

     "The editor of the 'Monthly Signpost' would be much obliged to
     Miss Matilda Muffin for a tale of four pages, to make up the
     June number, before the end of next week.

                    "Very respectfully, etc., etc."

Miss Muffin's head looks her in the face, (metaphorically,) and says,
"You can't!"--but her last year's bonnet creaks and rustles from the
bandbox, finally lifts the lid and peeps out. Gracious! the ghost in
Hamlet was not more of an "airy nothing" than that ragged, faded,
dilapidated old structure of crape and blonde. The bonnet retires to the
sound of slow music; the head slinks back and holds its tongue; Miss
Muffin sits down at her table; scratch, scratch, scratch, goes the old
pen, and the ideas catch up with it, it is so shaky; and the words go
tumbling over it, till the _t_s go out without any hats on, and the
eyes--no, the _i_s (_is_ that the way to pluralize them?)--get no dots
at all; and every now and then the head says, softly, "Oh, dear!" Miss
Muffin goes to something called by novel-writers "repose," toward one
o'clock that night, and the next night, and the next; she obliges the
"Monthly Signpost" with a comic story at a low price, and buys herself a
decent little bonnet for Sundays, replenishing her wardrobe generally by
the same process; and the head considers it work, I assure you.

But this is not the special grievance to which I direct this Memorial. I
like to work; it suits me much better to obtain my money by steady,
honest effort than it would to depend on anybody else for one round
cent. If I had a thousand dollars unexpectedly left me by some unknown
benefactor, I don't think it would be worth five cents on the dollar,
compared with what I earn; there is a healthy, trustworthy pleasure in
that, never yet attained by gifted or inherited specie. Neither is it
the publicity of the occupation that I here object to. I knew that,
before I began to write; and many an hour have I cried over the thought
of being known, and talked about, and commented on,--having my dear
name, that my mother called me by, printed on the cover of a magazine,
seeing it in newspapers, hearing it in whispers, when Miss Brown says to
Miss Black under her breath,--"That girl in the straw bonnet is Matilda
Muffin, who writes for the 'Snapdragon' and the 'Signpost.'"

I knew all this, as I say. I dreaded and hated it. I hate it now. But I
had to work, and this was the only way open to me; so I tried to be
brave, and to do what I ought, and let the rest go. I cannot say I am
very brave yet, or that I don't feel all this; but I do not memorialize
against it, because it is necessary to be borne, and I must bear it.
When I go to the dentist's to have a tooth out, I sit down, and hold the
chair tight, and open my mouth as wide as it will open, but I always
say, "Oh! don't, doctor! I can't! I can't possibly!" till the iron
what-d'you-call-it enters my soul and stops my tongue.

Yes, when I began to write, I knew I should some day see my name in
print. I knew people would wonder who and what I was, and how I
looked;--I had done it myself. I knew that I should be delivered over to
be the prey of tongues and the spoil of eyes. I was aware, I think, I am
aware now, of every possible "disagreeable" that can befall the state. I
am accustomed to hear people say, if I venture a modest opinion about a
dinner, "Dear me! as if a literary woman knew anything about
cooking!"--I endure that meekly, sustained by the inner consciousness
that I _can_ cook much better than any artist in that line I ever yet
encountered. Likewise I am used to hear people say, "I suppose you don't
waste your valuable time in sewing?" when a look at my left forefinger
would insure me a fraternal grip from any member of the Seamstress's
Friends Society anywhere. I do not either scold or cry when accidentally
some visitor discovers me fitting my dress or making my bonnet, and
looks at me with a "fearful joy," as if I were on a tight-rope. I even
smile when people lay my ugly shawl or _passé_ bonnet, that I bought
because they were cheap, and wear for the same reason, at the door of
the "eccentricities of genius." And I am case-hardened to the
instantaneous scattering and dodging of young men that ensue the moment
I enter a little party, because "gentlemen are so afraid of literary
women." I don't think gentlemen are; I know two or three who never
conceal a revolver in the breast of their coat when they talk to me, and
who sometimes even offer to go home with me from a tea-party all alone,
and after dark too. It is true, one or two of these are "literary"
themselves; the others I knew before I was dyed blue; which may account
for it. Also I am impervious to anonymous letters, exhorting me to all
kinds of mental and moral improvement, or indulging in idle
impertinences about my private affairs, the result of a knowledge about
me and the aforesaid affairs drawn solely from my "Pieces in Prose and
Verse."

Then as to the matter of the romantic stories that are afloat concerning
me, I am rather amused than otherwise by them. I have a sentimental
name, by the religious and customary ordinance of baptism, legally my
own; and at first, being rather loath to enter the great alliterative
ranks of female writers by my lawful title of Matilda Muffin, I signed
my writings "A. B."

Two reprobatory poems addressed to those initials came to me through
the medium of the "Snapdragon," immediately after my having printed in
that spicy paper a pensive little poem called "The Rooster's Cry": one,
in Spenserian measure, rebuking me for alluding lightly to serious
subjects,--a thing I never do, I am sure, and I can't imagine what "J.
H. P." meant; and another, in hexameter, calling upon me to "arouse,"
and "smile," and "struggle on," and, in short, to stop crying and behave
myself,--only it was said in figures. I'm much obliged to "Quintius" for
the advice; but I should like to explain, that I am subject to the
toothache, and when it is bad I cannot possibly write comic poetry. I
must be miserable, but it's only toothache, thank you!

Then I have heard several times, in the strictest confidence, the whole
history of "A. B., who writes for the 'Snapdragon.'" Somebody told me
she was a lady living on the North River, very wealthy, very haughty,
and very unhappy in her domestic relations. Another said she was a young
widow in Alabama, whose mother was extremely tyrannical, and opposed her
second marriage. A third person declared to me that A. B. was a
physician in the navy,--a highly educated man, but reduced in
circumstances. I think that was a great compliment,--to be actually
taken for a man! I felt it to be "the proudest moment of my life," as
ship-captains say, when they return thanks for the silver teapot richly
chased with nautical emblems, presented by the passengers saved from the
wreck, as a token of gratitude for the hencoops thrown overboard by the
manly commander. However, I called myself a woman in the very next
contribution, for fear of the united wrath of the stronger sex, should I
ever be discovered to have so imposed upon the public; although I know
several old women who remain undiscovered to this day, simply because
they avail themselves of a masculine signature.

There were other romances, too tedious to mention, depicting me
sometimes as a lovely blonde, writing graceful tales beneath a bower of
roses in the warm light of June; sometimes as a respectable old maid,
rather sharp, fierce, and snuffy; sometimes as a tall, delicate,
aristocratic, poetic looking creature, with liquid dark eyes and heavy
tresses of raven hair; sometimes as a languishing, heart-broken woman in
the prime of life, with auburn curls and a slow consumption.

Perhaps it may be as well to silence all conjecture at once, by stating
that I am a woman of----no, I won't say how old, because everybody will
date me from this time forward, and I shall not always be willing to
tell how old I am! I am not very young now, it is true; I am more than
sixteen and less than forty; so when our clergyman requested all between
those ages to remain after service for the purpose of forming a week-day
Bible-class, I sat still, and so did everybody else except Mrs. Van
Doren, whose great-grandchild was christened in the morning;--our church
is a new one.

However, this is digressing. I am not very tall, nor very short; I am
rather odd-looking, but decidedly plain. I have brown hair and eyes, a
pale light complexion, a commonplace figure, pretty good taste in dress,
and a quick sense of the ludicrous, that makes me laugh a great deal,
and have a good time generally.

I live at home, in the town of Blank, in a quiet by-street. My parents
are both living, and we keep one Irish girl. I go to church on Sundays,
and follow my trade week-days.

I write everything I do write in my own room, which is not so pleasant
as a bower of roses in some respects, but is preferable in regard to
earwigs and caterpillars, which are troublesome in bowers. I have a
small pine table to write on, as much elderly furniture as supplies me
places for sleep and my books, a small stove in winter, (which is
another advantage over bowers,) and my "flowing draperies" are blue
chintz, which I bought at a bargain; some quaint old engravings of
Bartolozzi's in black and gilt frames; a few books, among which are
prominently set forth a volume of "The Doctor,"--Nicolò de' Lapi, in
delightful bindings of white parchment,--Thomas à Kempis,--a Bible, of
English type and paper,--and Emerson's Poems, bound in Russia leather.
Not that I have no other books,--grammars, and novels, and cook-books,
in gorgeous array,--but these are within reach from my pillow, when I
want to read myself asleep; and a plaster cast of Minerva's owl mounts
guard above them, curious fowl that it is.

The neighbors think I am a pretty nice girl, and my papa secretly exults
over me as a genius, but he don't say much about it. And there, dear
public, you have Matilda Muffin as she is, which I hope will quash the
romances, amusing though they be.

But when, after much editorial correspondence, and persevering whispers
of kind friends who had been told the facts in confidence, A. B. became
only the pretext of a mystery, and I signed myself by my full name, the
question naturally arose,--"Who _is_ Matilda Muffin?"

Now, for the first time in my life, do I experience the benefits of a
sentimental name, which has rather troubled me before, as belonging to a
quite unsentimental and commonplace person, and thereby raising
expectations, through hearsay, which actual vision dispelled with
painful suddenness. But now I find its advantage, for nobody believes it
is my own, but confidently expects that Ann Tubbs or Susan Bucket will
appear from a long suppression, like a Jack-in-a-box, and startle the
public as she throws back the cover.

Indeed, I am told that not long since a circle of literary
experimentalists, discussing a recent number of a certain magazine, and
displaying great knowledge of _noms-de-plume_, ran aground all at once
upon "Who is Matilda Muffin?"--even as, in the innocent faith of
childhood, I pondered ten minutes upon "Who was the father of Zebedee's
children?" and at last "gave up." But these professional gentlemen,
nowise daunted by the practical difficulties of the subject, held on,
till at last one, wiser in his generation than the rest, confidently
announced that he knew Matilda Muffin's real name, but was not at
liberty to disclose it. Should this little confidence ever reach the
eyes of those friends, I wish to indorse that statement in every
particular; that gentleman does know my name; and know all men, by these
presents, I give him full leave to disclose it,--or rather, to save him
the trouble, I disclose it myself. My name, my own, that would have been
printed in the marriage-list of the "Snapdragon" before now, if it had
not appeared in the list of contributors, and which will appear in its
list of deaths some day to come,--my name, that is called to breakfast,
marked on my pocket-handkerchiefs, written in my books, and done in
yellow paint on my trunk, _is_--Matilda Muffin. "Only that, and nothing
more!" And "A. B.," which I adopted once as a species of veil to the
aforesaid alliterative title, did not mean, as was supposed, "A Beauty,"
or "Any Body," or "Another Barrett," or "Anti Bedott," or "After
Breakfast," but only "A. B.," the first two letters of the alphabet.
Peace to their ashes!--let them rest!

But, dear me! I forgot the Memorial! As I have said, all these
enumerated troubles do not much move me, nor yet the world-old cry of
all literary women's being, in virtue of their calling, unfeminine. I
don't think anybody who knows me can say that about me; in fact, I am
generally regarded by my male cousins as a "little goose," and a
"foolish child," and "a perfectly absurd little thing,"--epithets that
forbid the supposition of their object being strong-minded or having
Women's Rights;--and as for people who don't know me, I care very little
what they think. If I want them to like me, I can generally make
them,--having a knack that way.

But there is one thing against which I do solemnly protest and uplift
my voice, as a piece of ridiculous injustice and supererogation,--and
that is, that every new poem or fresh story I write and print should be
supposed and declared to be part and parcel of my autobiography. Good
gracious! Goethe himself, "many-sided" as the old stone Colossus might
have been, would have retreated in dismay from such a host of characters
as I have appeared in, according to the announcement of admiring
friends.

My dear creatures, do just look at the common sense of the thing! Can I
have been, by any dexterity known to man, of mind or body, such a
various creature, such a polycorporate animal, as you make me to be?
Because I write the anguish and suffering of an elderly widow with a
drunken husband, am I therefore meek and of middle age, the slave of a
rum-jug? I have heard of myself successively as figuring in the
character of a strong-minded, self-denying Yankee girl,--a
broken-hearted Georgia beauty,--a fairy princess,--a consumptive
school-mistress,--a young woman dying of the perfidy of her lover,--a
mysterious widow; and I daily expect to hear that a caterpillar which
figured as hero in one of my tales was an allegory of myself, and that a
cat mentioned in "The New Tobias" is a travesty of my heart-experience.

Now this is rather more than "human natur" can stand. It is true that in
my day and generation I have suffered as everybody does, more or less.
It is likewise true that I have suffered from the same causes that other
people do. I am happy to state that in the allotments of this life
authoresses are not looked upon as "literary," but simply as women, and
have the same general dispensations with the just and the unjust;
therefore, in attempting to excite other people's sympathies, I have
certainly touched and told many stories that were not strange to my own
consciousness; I do not know very well how I could do otherwise. And in
trying to draw the common joys and sorrows of life, I certainly have
availed myself of experience as well as observation; but I should seem
to myself singularly wanting in many traits which I believe I possess,
were I to obtrude the details of my own personal and private affairs
upon the public. And I offer to those who have so interpreted me a
declaration which I trust may relieve them from all responsibility of
this kind in future; I hereby declare, asseverate, affirm, and whatever
else means to swear, that I never have offered and never intend to offer
any history whatever of my personal experience, social, literary, or
emotional, to the readers of any magazine, newspaper, novel, or
correspondence whatever. Nor is there any one human being who has ever
heard or ever will hear the whole of that experience,--no, not even
Dunderhed Van Nudel, Esquire, should he buy me to-morrow!

Also, I wish to relieve the minds of many friendly readers, who, hearing
and believing these reports, bestow upon me a vast amount of sympathy
that is worthy of a better fate. My dear friends, as I said before, it
is principally toothache; poetry is next best to clove-oil, and less
injurious to the enamel. I beg of you not to suppose that every poet who
howls audibly in the anguish of his soul is really afflicted in the said
soul; but one must have respect for the dignity of High Art. Answer me
now with frankness, what should you think of a poem that ran in this
style?--

    "The sunset's gorgeous wonder
      Flashes and fades away;
    But my back-tooth aches like thunder,
      And I cannot now be gay!"

Now just see how affecting it is, when you "change the venue," as
lawyers say:--

    "The sunset's gorgeous wonder
      Flashes and fades away;
    But I hear the muttering thunder,
      And my sad heart dies like the day."

I leave it to any candid mind, what would be the result to literature,
if such a course were pursued?

Besides, look at the facts in the case. You read the most tearful
strains of the most melancholy poet you know; if you took them
_verbatim_, you would expect him to be found by the printer's-boy, sent
for copy, "by starlight on the north side of a tombstone," as Dr.
Bellamy said, enjoying a northeaster without any umbrella, and soaking
the ground with tears, unwittingly antiseptic, in fact, as Mr. Mantalini
expressed himself, "a damp, moist, unpleasant body." But where, I ask,
does that imp find the aforesaid poet, when he goes to get the seventh
stanza of the "Lonely Heart"? Why, in the gentlemen's parlor of a
first-class hotel, his feet tilted up in the window, his apparel
perfectly dry and shiny with various ornamental articles appended, his
eyes half open over a daily paper, his parted lips clinging to a cigar,
his whole aspect well-to-do and comfortable. And aren't you glad of it?
I am; there is so much real misery in the world, that don't know how to
write for the papers, and has to have its toothache all by itself, when
a simple application of bread and milk or bread and meat would cure it,
that I am glad to have the apparent sum of human misery diminished, even
at the expense of being a traitor in the camp.

And still further, for your sakes, dear tender-hearted friends, who may
suppose that I am wearing this mask of joy for the sake of deluding you
into a grim and respectful sympathy,--you, who will pity me whether or
no,--I confess that I have some material sorrows for which I will gladly
accept your tears. My best bonnet is very unbecoming. I even heard it
said the other day, striking horror to my soul, that it looked literary!
And I'm afraid it does! Moreover, my only silk dress that is presentable
begins to show awful symptoms of decline and fall; and though you may
suppose literature to be a lucrative business, between ourselves it is
not so at all, (very likely the "Atlantic" gentlemen will omit that
sentence, for fear of a libel-suit from the trade,--but it's all the
same a fact, unless you write for the "Dodger,")--and, I'm likely to
mend and patch and court-plaster the holes in that old black silk,
another year at least: but this is my solitary real anguish at present.

I do assure all and sundry my reporters, my sympathizers, and my
readers, that all that I have stated in this present Memorial is
unvarnished fact, whatever they may say, read, or feel to the
contrary,--and that, although I am a literary woman, and labor under all
the liabilities and disabilities contingent thereto, I am yet sound in
mind and body, (except for the toothache,) and a very amusing person to
know, with no quarrel against life in general or anybody in particular.
Indeed, I find one advantage in the very credulous and inquisitive
gossip against which I memorialize; for I think I may expect fact to be
believed, when fiction is swallowed whole; and I feel sure of seeing,
directly on the publication of this document, a notice in the
"Snapdragon," the "Badger," or the "Coon," (whichever paper gets that
number of the magazine first,) running in this wise:--

     "MATILDA MUFFIN.--We welcome in the last number of the
     'Atlantic Monthly' a brief and spirited autobiography of this
     lady, whose birth, parentage, and home have so long been wrapt
     in mystery. The hand of genius has rent asunder the veil of
     reserve, and we welcome the fair writer to her proper position
     in the Blank City Directory, and post-office list of boxes."

After which, I shall resign myself tranquilly to my fate as a unit, and
glide down the stream of life under whatever skies shine or scowl above,
always and forever nobody but

              MATILDA MUFFIN.
    BLANK, _67 Smith Street_.



SOME ACCOUNT OF A VISIONARY.


"Dear old Visionary!" It was the epithet usually applied to Everett Gray
by his friends and neighbors. It expresses very well the estimation in
which he was held by nineteen-twentieths of his world. People couldn't
help feeling affection for him, considerably leavened by a half-pitying,
half-wondering appreciation of his character. He was so good, so kind,
so gifted, too. Pity he was so dreamy and romantic, _et cetera, et
cetera_.

Now, from his youth up, nay, from very childhood, Everett had borne the
character thus implied. A verdict was early pronounced on him by an
eminent phrenologist who happened to be visiting the family. "A
beautiful mind, a comprehensive intellect, but marvellously
unpractical,--singularly unfitted to cope with the difficulties of
every-day life." And Everett's mother, hanging on the words of the man
of science, breathless and tearful, murmured to herself, while stroking
her unconscious little son's bright curls,--"I always feared he was too
good for this wicked world."

The child began to justify the professor's _dictum_ with his very first
entry into active life. He entertained ideas for improving the social
condition of rabbits, some time before he could conveniently raise
himself to a level with the hutch in which three of them, jointly
belonging to himself and his brother, abode. His theory was consummate;
in practice, however, it proved imperfect,--and great wrath on the part
of Richard Gray, and much confusion and disappointment to Everett, were
the result.

Richard, two years younger than Everett by the calendar, was at least
three older than he in size, appearance, habits, and self-assertion. He
was what is understood by "a regular boy": a fine, manly little fellow,
practical, unsensitive, hard-headed, and overflowing with life and
vigor. He had little patience with his brother's quiet ways; and his
unsuccessful attempts at working out theories met with no sympathy at
his hands.

After the affair of the rabbits, his experiments, however certain of
success he deemed them, were always made on or with regard to his own
belongings. The little plot of garden-ground which he held in absolute
possession was continually being dug up and refashioned, in his eager
efforts to convert it successively into a vineyard, a Portuguese
_quinta_, (to effect which he diligently planted orange-pips and manured
the earth with the peel,) or, favorite scheme of all, a
wheat-field,--dimensions, eighteen feet by twelve,--the harvest of which
was to provide all the poor children of the village with bread, in those
hard seasons when their pinched faces and shrill, complaining cries
appealed so mightily to little Everett's heart.

Nevertheless, and in spite of all his care and watching, it is to be
feared that very few of the big loaves which found their way from the
hall to the village, that winter, were composed of the produce of his
corn-field. More experienced farmers than this youthful agriculturist
might not have been surprised at the failure of his crop. He was.
Indeed, it was a valiant characteristic of him, throughout his life,
that he never grew accustomed to failure, however serenely he took it,
when it came. He grieved and perplexed himself about it, silently, but
not hopelessly. New ideas dawned on his mind, fresh designs of relief
were soon entertained, and essayed to be put in practice. These were
many, and of various degrees of feasibility,--ranging from the
rigorously pursued plan of setting aside a portion of his daily bread
and butter in a bag, and of his milk in a can, and bestowing the little
store on the nearest eligible object, up to the often pondered one of
obtaining possession of the large barn in the cow-field, furnishing the
same, and establishing therein all the numerous houseless wanderers who
used to come and ask for aid at the hands of Everett's worthy and
magisterial father.

That father's judicial functions caused his eldest son considerable
trouble and bewilderment of mind. He asked searching questions
sometimes, when, of an evening, perched on Mr. Gray's knee, and looking
with his wondering, steadfast eyes into the face of that erewhile stern
and impassible magistrate. The large justice-room, where the prisoners
were examined, had an awful fascination to him; and so had the little
"strong-room," in which sometimes they were locked up before being
conveyed away to the county jail. Often, he wandered restlessly near it,
looking at the door with strange, mournful eyes; and if by chance the
culprit passed out before him, under the guardianship of the terrible,
red-faced constable,--Everett's earliest and latest conception of the
Devil,--how wistfully he would gaze at him, and what a world of thought
and puzzled speculation would float through his childish mind!

Once, he had a somewhat serious adventure connected with that dreadful
strong-room.

There had been a man brought up before Mr. Gray, charged with
poultry-stealing; and he had been remanded for further examination.
Meanwhile, he was placed in the strong-room, under lock-and-key,--Roger
Manby, as usual, standing sentinel in the passage. Now Roger's red face
betokened a lively appreciation of the sublunary and substantial
attractions of beef and beer; and it seems probable that the servants'
dinner, going on below-stairs, was too great a temptation for even that
inflexible constable to resist. Howbeit, when the prisoner should have
been produced before the waiting bench, he was nowhere to be found. He
had vanished, as by magic, from the strong-room, without bolt being
wrenched, or lock forced, or bar broken. The door was unfastened, and
the prisoner gone. Great was the consternation, profound the
mystification of all parties. Roger was severely reprimanded, and
officers were sent off in various directions to recapture the offender.

Mr. Gray seldom alluded to his public affairs when among his children;
but that evening he broke through the rule. At dessert, with little
Everett, as usual, beside him, he mentioned the mysterious incident of
the morning to some friends who were dining with him, adding his own
conjectures as to the cause of the strange disappearance.

"It is certain he was _let out_. He could not have released himself.
Circumstances are suspicious against Manby, too; and he will probably
lose his office. Like Cæsar's wife, a constable should be beyond
suspicion, and he must be dismissed, if"----

"Oh, papa!"--and Everett's orange fell to the floor, and Everett's face
was lifted to his father's, all-aglow with eager, painful feeling.

"You don't like old Roger," said Mr. Gray, patting his cheek. "Well, it
is likely you won't be troubled by him any more."

"Oh, papa! oh, papa! Roger is an ugly, cross man. But he didn't,--he
didn't"----

"Didn't what, my boy?"

"Let the man out. He was in the kitchen all the time. I heard him
laughing."

"_You_ heard him? How?"

"I--I--oh, papa!"

The curly head sunk on the inquisitor's shoulder.

"Go on, Everett. What do you mean? Tell me the whole truth. You are not
afraid to do that?"

"No, papa."

He looked up, with steady eyes, but cheeks on which the color flickered
most agitatedly.

"I only wanted to look at the man; and the men had left a ladder against
the wall by the little grated window; and I climbed up, and looked in.
And, oh! he had such a miserable face, papa! And I couldn't help
speaking to him."

"Well, go on."

The tone was not so peremptory as the words; and the child, too ignorant
to be really frightened at what he had done, went on with his
confession, quite heedless of the numerous eyes fixed upon him with
various expressions of tenderness, amusement, and dismay. And very soon
all came out. Everett had deliberately and intentionally done the deed.
He had been unable to withstand the misery and entreaties of the man,
and he had slipped down the ladder, run round to the unguarded strong
door, and with much toil forced back the great bolt, unfastened the
chain, and set the prisoner free.

"And do you know, Everett, what it is you have done?--how wrong you have
been?"

"I was afraid it was a little wrong,"--he hesitated; "but,"--and his
courage seemed to rise again at the recollection,--"it would have been
so dreadful for the poor man to go to prison! He said he should be quite
ruined,--quite ruined, papa; and his wife and the little children would
starve. You are not _very_ angry, are you? Oh, papa!"

For Everett could hardly believe the stern gaze with which the
magistrate forced himself to regard his little son; and sternly uttered
were the few words that followed, by which he endeavored to make clear
to the childish comprehension the gravity of the fault he had committed.
Everett was utterly subdued. The tone of displeasure smote on his heart
and crushed it for the time. Only once he brightened up, as with a
sudden hope of complete justification, when Mr. Gray adverted to the
crime of the man, which had made it right and necessary that he should
be punished.

"But, papa," eagerly broke in the boy, "he hadn't stolen the things. He
told me so. He wasn't a thief."

"One case was proved beyond doubt."

"Indeed, indeed, papa, you must be mistaken," cried Everett, with
tearful vehemence; "he couldn't have done it; I know he couldn't. He
said, _upon his word_, he hadn't."

It was impossible to persuade him that such an asseveration could be
false. And when the little offender had left the room, various remarks
and interjections were indulged in,--all breathing the same spirit.

"What a jolly little muff Everett is!" was his brother Dick's
contingent.

"Innocent little fellow!" said one.

"Happy little visionary!" sighed another.

And Everett grew in years and stature, and still unconsciously
maintained the same character. It is true that he was a quiet, sensitive
boy, with an almost feminine affectionateness and tenderness of
heart,--and that keen, exquisite appreciation both of the joyful and the
painful, which is a feminine characteristic, too. Yet he was far enough
from being effeminate. He was thoughtful, naturally, yet he could be
active and take pleasure in action. He was always ready to work, and
feared neither hardship nor fatigue. When the great flood came and
caused such terror and distress in the village, no one, not even Dick,
home from Sandhurst for the midsummer holidays, was more energetic or
worked harder or more effectually than Everett. And the boys (his
brother's chums at Hazlewood) never forgot the day when Everett found
them ill-treating a little dog; how he rescued it from them,
single-handed, and knocked down young Brooke, who attacked him both with
insults and blows. Dick, not ill-pleased, was looking on. He never
called his brother a "sop" from that day, but praised him and patronized
him considerably for a good while after, and began, as he said, "to have
hopes of him."

But the two brothers never had much in common, and were, indeed, little
thrown together. Everett was educated at home; he was not strong, and
was naturally his mother's darling, and she persuaded his father and
herself that a public school would be harmful to him. So he studied the
classics with the clergyman of the parish, and the lighter details of
learning with his sister. Between that sister and himself there was a
strong attachment, though she, too, was of widely differing temperament
and disposition. Agnes was two years older than he,--and overflowing
with saucy life, energy, and activity. She liked to run wild about the
woods near their house, or to gallop over the country on her pony,--to
go scrambling in the hedges for blackberries, or among the copses for
nuts. The still contentment that Everett found in reading,--his
thoughtful enjoyment of landscape, or sunset, or flower,--all this might
have been incomprehensible to her, only that she loved her dreamy
brother so well. Love lends faith, and faith makes many things clear;
and Agnes learned to understand, and would wait patiently beside him on
such occasions, only tapping her feet, or swinging her bonnet by its
strings, as a relief for the superabundant vitality thus held in check.
And she was Everett's _confidante_ in all his schemes, wishes, and
anticipations. To her he would unfold the various plans he was
continually cogitating. Agnes would listen, sympathizingly sometimes,
but reverently always. _She_ never called or thought him a Visionary. If
his plans for the regeneration of the world were Utopian and
impracticable, it was the world that was in fault, not he. To her he was
the dearest of brothers, who would one day be acknowledged the greatest
of men.

And thus Everett grew to early manhood, till the time arrived when he
was to leave home for Cambridge. It was his first advent in the world.
Hitherto, his world had been one of books and thought. He imagined
college to be a place wherein a studious life, such as he loved, would
be most natural, most easy to be pursued. He should find a
brother-enthusiast in every student; he should meet with sympathy and
help in all his dearest aspirations, on every side. Perhaps it is
needless to say that this young Visionary was disappointed, and that his
collegiate career was, in fact, the beginning of that crusade, active
and passive, which it appeared to be his destiny to wage against what is
generally termed Real Life.

He was considerably laughed at, of course, by the majority of those
about him. Some few choice spirits tried to get up a lofty contempt of
his quiet ways and simple earnestness,--but they failed,--it not being
in human nature, even the most scampish, to entertain scorn for that
which is innately true and noble. So, finally, the worst that befell him
was ridicule,--which, even when he was aware of it, hurt him little.
Often, indeed, he would receive their jests and artful civilities with
implicit good faith; acknowledging apparent attentions with a gentle,
kindly courtesy, indescribably mystifying to those excellent young men
who expended so much needless pains on the easy work of "selling Old
Gray."

However, from out the very ranks of the enemy, before he left college at
the end of his first term, he had one intimate. It would, perhaps, be
difficult to understand how two-thirds of the friendships in the world
have their birth and maintain their existence. The connection between
Everett and Charles Barclay appeared to be of this enigmatical order.
One would have said the two could possess no single taste or sentiment
in common. Charles was a handsome, athletic fellow, warm-hearted,
impassioned, generous, and thoughtless to cruelty. He had splendid
gifts, but no application,--plenty of power, but no perseverance.
Supposed to be one of the most brilliant men of his years, he had just
been "plucked," to the dismay of his college and the immense wrath of
his friends. Everybody knew that Barclay was an orphan, left with a very
slender patrimony, who had gained a scholarship at the grammar-school.
He was of no family,--he was poor, and had his own way to make in life.
It was doubly necessary to _him_ that he should succeed in his
collegiate career. It was probably while under the temporary shadow of
the disgrace and disappointment of defeat, that the young man suddenly
turned to Everett Gray, fastened upon him with an affection most
enthusiastic, a devotion that everybody found unaccountable. He had
energy enough for what he willed to do. He willed to have Everett's
friendship, and he would not be denied. The incongruous pair became
friends. Whereupon, the rollicking comrades, who had gladly welcomed
Barclay into their set, for his fun and his wit and his convivial
qualities, turned sharp round, and marvelled at young Gray, who came of
a high family, for choosing as his intimate a fellow of no birth, no
position. Not but that it was just like the Old Visionary to do it; he'd
no idea of life,--not he; and so forth.

During the next term, the friendship grew and strengthened. Everett's
influence was working for good, and Barclay was in earnest addressing
himself to study. He accompanied Everett to his home at the long
vacation. And it ought to have surprised nobody who was acquainted with
the _rationale_ of such affairs, that the principal event of that golden
holiday-summer was the falling in love with each other of Everett's
sister and Everett's friend. Agnes was the only daughter and special
pride of a rich and well-born man. Barclay was of plebeian birth, with
nothing in the world to depend on but his own talents, which he had
abused, and the before-named patrimony, which was already nearly
exhausted. It will at once be seen that there could hardly be a more
felicitous conjunction of circumstances to make everybody miserable by
one easy, natural step; and the step was duly taken. Of course, the
young people fell in love immediately,--Everett, the Dreamer, looking on
with a sort of reverent interest that was almost awe; for the very
thought of love thrilled him with a sense of new and strange
life,--unknown, unguessed of, as heaven itself, but as certain, and
hardly less beautiful. So he watched the gradual progress of these two,
who were passing through that which was so untrodden a mystery to him.
If he ever thought about their love in a more definite way, it was--oh,
the Visionary!--to congratulate himself and everybody concerned. He saw
nothing but what was most happy and desirable in it all. He knew no one
so worthy of Agnes as Barclay, whom, in spite of all his faults, he
believed to be one of the noblest and greatest of men; and he felt sure
that all that was wanting to complete and solidify his character was
just this love for a good, high-souled woman, which would arouse him to
energy and action, sustain and encourage him through all difficulties,
and make life at once more precious and more sacred.

Unfortunately, other members of the family, who were rational beings,
and looked on life in a practical and sensible manner, were very
differently affected by the discovery of this attachment. In brief,
there ensued upon the _éclaircissement_ much storm on one side, much
grief on the other, and keen pain to all,--to none more than to Everett.
Our Visionary's heart swelled hotly with alternate indignation and
tenderness, as he knew his friend was forbidden the house, heard his
father's wrathful comments upon him, and saw his bright sister Agnes
broken down by all the heaviness of a first despair. You may imagine his
passionate denunciation of the spirit of worldliness, which would, for
its own mean ends, separate those whom the divine sacrament of Love had
joined together. No less easily may be pictured the angry, yet
half-compassionate reception of his vehemence, the contemptuous wave of
the hand with which the stern old banker deprecated discussion with one
so ignorant of the world, so utterly incapable of forming a judgment on
such a question, as his son. His mother sat by, during these scenes,
trembling and grieved. It was not in her meek nature to take part
_against_ either husband or son. She strove to soothe, to soften each in
turn,--with but little effect, it may be added. For all he was so gentle
and so loving, Everett was not to be persuaded or influenced in this
matter. He took up his friend's cause and withstood all antagonism,
resisted all entreaties to turn him from his fealty thereto.

Ay, and he bore up against what was harder yet to encounter than all
these. Charles Barclay's was one of those natures which, being
miserable, are apt to become desperate. To such men, affliction seems to
be torture, but no discipline. But our humanity perceives from a level,
and therefore a short-sighted point of view. We may well be thankful
that the Great Ruler sees above and around and on all sides the
creatures to be governed, the events to be disposed.

Charles Barclay went to London. One or two brief and most miserable
letters Everett received from him,--then _all_ a blank silence.
Everett's repeated appeals were unanswered, unnoticed. It might have
been as if Death had come between and separated these lovers and
friends, except that by indirect means they learned that he was alive
and still in London. At length came more definite tidings, and the
brother and sister knew that this Charles Barclay, whom they loved so
well, had plunged into a reckless life, as into a whirlpool of
destruction,--that he was among those associates, of high rank socially,
of nearly the lowest morally, whom he had formerly known at college.
Here was triumph for the prudent father,--desolation to the loving
woman,--and to Everett, what? Pain, keen pain, and bitter anxiety,--but
no quailing of the heart. He had too much faith in his friend for that.

He went after him to London,--he penetrated to him, and would not be
denied. He braved his assumed anger and forced violence; he had the
courage of twenty lions, this Visionary, in battling with the devils
that had entered into the spirit of his friend. The struggle was fierce
and lengthened. Love conquered at last, as it always does, could we so
believe. And during the time of utter depression into which the
mercurial nature then relapsed, Everett cheered and sustained him,--till
the young man's soul seemed melted within him, and the surrender to the
good influence was as absolute as the resistance had been passionate.

"What have I done, what am I," he would oftentimes say, "that I should
be saved and sustained and _loved_ by you, Everett?" For, truly, he
looked on him as no less than an angel, whom God had sent to succor him.
It was one of those problems the mystery of which is most sacred and
most sweet. In proportion as the erring man needed it, Everett's love
grew and deepened and widened, and his influence strengthened with it
almost unconsciously to himself. He was too humble to recognize all that
he was to his friend.

Meanwhile, imagine the turmoil at home, in respect of Everett's absence,
and the errand which detained him. No disguise was sought. The son wrote
to his mother frankly, stating where he was, and under what
circumstances. He received a missive from his father of furious
remonstrance; he replied by one so firm, yet so loving withal, that old
Mr. Gray could not choose but change his tone to one of angry
compassion. "The boy believes he's doing right. Heaven send him a little
sense!" was all he could say.

But there came a yet more overwhelming evidence of Everett's utter
destitution of that commodity. A mercantile appointment was offered to
Charles Barclay in one of the colonies, and Everett advanced the large
sum necessary to enable his friend to accept it. To do this, he
sacrificed the whole of what he possessed independently of his father,
namely, a legacy left to him by his uncle, over which he had full
control. It must be years before he could be repaid, of course,--it
might be never! But, rash as was the act, he could not be hindered from
doing it. His father raged and stormed, and again subsided into gloomy
resignation. Henceforth he would wonder at nothing, for his son was mad,
unfit to take part in the world. "A mere visionary, and no man," the
hapless parent said, whenever he alluded to him.

When Everett returned, Charles Barclay was on his way to Canada,
vigorously intent on the new life before him. Agnes drew strength and
comfort from the steadfast look of her brother's eyes, as he whispered
to her, "Don't fear. Trust God, and be patient." The blight fell away
from her, after that. If she was never a light-hearted girl again, she
became something even sweeter and nobler. They never talked together
about him, for the father had forbidden it; and, indeed, they needed
not. Openly, and before them all, Everett would say when he heard from
his friend. And so the months passed on.

Then came the era in our Visionary's life,--an era, indeed, to such as
he!--the first love. First love,--and last,--to him it was nothing less
than fateful. It was his nature to be steadfast and thorough. He could
no more have _transferred_ the love that rose straightly and purely from
the very innermost fire of his soul than he could have changed the soul
itself. Not many natures are thus created with the inevitable necessity
to be constant. Few among women, fewer yet among men, love as Everett
Gray loved Rosa Beauchamp.

When they became aware of this love, at his home, there ensued much
marvelling. Mr. Gray cordially congratulated himself, with wonder and
pleasure, to think that actually his mad boy should have chosen so
reasonably. Captain Gray, home on leave, observed that Old Everett
wasn't such a flat as he seemed, by Jove! to select the daughter of an
ancient house, and a wealthy house, like the Beauchamps of Hollingsley.
The alliance was in every way honorable and advantageous. The family was
one of the most influential in the county; and a lady's being at the
head of it--for Sir Ralph Beauchamp had died many years before, when his
eldest son was but a child, and Lady Beauchamp had been sole regent over
the property ever since--made it all the pleasanter. Everett, if he
chose, might be virtual master of Beauchamp; for the young baronet was
but a weak, good-natured boy, whom any one might lead. Everett had
displayed first-rate generalship. "These simple-seeming fellows are
often deeper than most people," argued the soldier, wise in his
knowledge of the world; "you may trust them to take care of themselves,
when it comes to the point. Everett's a shrewd fellow."

The father rubbed his hands, and was delighted to take this view of the
case. He should make something of his son and heir in time. Often as he
had regretted that Richard was not the elder, on whom it would rest to
keep up the distinction and honor of the family, he began to see an
admirable fitness in things as they were. Everett was, after all, better
suited for the career that lay before him, in which he trusted he would
not need that knowledge of mankind and judgment on worldly matters that
were indispensable to those who had to carve their own way in life. "It
is better as it is," thought the father, unconscious that he was echoing
such an unsubstantial philosophy as a poet's.

And so the first days of Everett's love were as cloudless and divinely
radiant as a summer dawn. But events were gathering, like storm-clouds,
about the house of Gray. Disaster, most unforeseen, was impending over
this family. For Mr. Gray, though, as we have said, a practical and
matter-of-fact man, and having neither sympathy nor patience with
"visionary schemes or ideas," had yet, as practical men will do,
indulged in divers speculations during his life, in one of which he had
at last been induced to embark to the utmost extent. Of course, it
seemed safe and reasonable enough, even to the banker's shrewd eyes;
but, nevertheless, it proved as delusive and destructive as any that
ever led a less worldly man astray. The fair-seeming bubble burst, and
the rich man of one day found himself on the morrow virtually reduced to
beggary. All he had had it in his power to risk was gone, and
liabilities remained to the extent of twice as much. The crash came, the
bank stopped payment, and the unhappy man was stricken to the dust. He
never lifted up his head again. The shrewd man of the world utterly
succumbed beneath this blow of fate; it killed him. Old Mr. Gray died of
that supposed disease, a broken heart,--leaving a legacy of ruin, or
the alternative of disgrace, to his heir.

The reins of government thus fell into Everett's hands. "The poor Grays!
it's all over with them!" said the pitying world. And, indeed, the way
in which the young man proceeded to arrange his father's affairs savored
no less of the Visionary than had every action of his life theretofore.
Captain Gray, who hastened home from his gay quarters in Dublin, on the
disastrous news reaching him, found his brother already deeply engaged
with lawyers, bills, and deeds.

"You know, Richard, there is but one thing to be done," he said, in his
usual simple, earnest way; "we must cut off the entail, and sell the
property to pay my father's debts. It is a hard thing to do,--to part
with the old place; but it would be worse, bitterer pain and crueler
shame, to hold it, with the money that, whatever the worldly code of
morality may say, is not _ours_. There must be no widows and orphans
reduced to poverty through us. Thank God, there will be enough produced
by the sale of the estate to clear off every liability,--to the last
shilling. You feel with me in this matter?" he went on, confidently
appealing to his brother; yet with a certain inflection of anxiety in
his voice. It would have wounded Everett cruelly, had he been
misunderstood or rebuffed in this. "You have your commission, and Uncle
Everett's legacy, and the reversion of my mother's fortune, which will
not be touched. This act of justice, therefore, can injure no one."

"Except yourself,--yourself, old fellow," said Richard, moved, in spite
of his light nature. He grasped his brother's hand. "It's a noble thing
to do; but have you considered how it will affect your future? You, with
neither fortune nor profession,--how do you propose to live? And your
marriage,--the Beauchamps will never consent to Rosa becoming the wife
of a--a"----

"Not a beggar, Richard," Everett said, smiling, "if that was the word
you hesitated about; no, I shall be no beggar. I have plans for my own
future;--you shall know of them. Our marriage will, of course, be
delayed. I must work, to win a home and position for my wife." He
paused,--looked up bravely,--"It is no harder fate than falls to most
men. And for Rosa,--true love, true woman as she is, she helps me, she
encourages me in all I do and purpose."

Captain Gray shrugged his shoulders. "Two mad young people!" he thought
to himself. "They never think of consequences, and it's of no use
warning them, I suppose."

No. It would have been useless to "warn" or advise Everett against doing
this thing, which he held to be simply his duty. And it was the
characteristic of our Visionary, that, when he saw a Duty so placed
before him, he knew no other course than straightly to pursue it,
looking neither to the right hand nor to the left, unprevented by
obstacles, and fearless of consequences.

So in this case. His brother advised a temporizing course,--to mortgage
the estate, for instance, and pay a moiety of the debts. It was surely
all that could be expected from a man who had not actually incurred
them. And then he might still be the nominal owner of Hazlewood,--he
might still marry Rosa.

"While, if you do as you propose," argued the Captain, "(and you know,
of course, old fellow, I fully appreciate your noble and honorable
feeling in the matter,) you ruin your own hopes; and I can't see that a
fellow is called upon to do _that_, as a point of filial duty. What are
you to do? that's the thing. It isn't as though you had anything to fall
back upon, by Jove! It's a case of beggaring yourself"----

"Instead of beggaring other people," Everett said. "No, Richard,--I
cannot see either the justice or the wisdom of what you propose. I will
not cast the burden on other shoulders. As my father's representative, I
must abide the penalty of his mistake,--and I only. I cannot rest while
our name is as the catchword of ruin and misery to thousands around us,
less able to bear both, perhaps, than I, who am young and strong,--able
to work both with head and hands."

"But think of Rosa!" said his brother. "How do you get over _that_?
Isn't her happiness worth some consideration?"

"It has been my thought, night and day, ever since," Everett said, in a
low voice. "It has come between me and what I felt to be the Right, more
than once. You don't know what that thought has been, or you would not
challenge it against me now."

"Well, well,--I only want you to look on all sides of what you are about
to do, and to count the cost beforehand."

Everett smiled quietly. As if "the cost" were not already counted, felt,
and suffered in that deep heart of his! But he said nothing.

"In the next place, what do you propose to do?" pursued his brother.
"Will you enter a profession? Can't say you're much adapted for a
lawyer; and perhaps you're too tender-hearted for a doctor, either. But
I remember, as a boy, you always said you should like to be a clergyman.
And, by Jove! when one comes to think of it, you've a good deal of the
cut of the village priest about you. What do you say to that?"

"Nothing. I have other plans." And Everett proceeded briefly to tell him
these. He had heard from Charles Barclay, now high in the confidence of
one of the leading mercantile firms of Montreal; and through him, he had
obtained the offer of an appointment in the same house.

Richard Gray listened to all this, with ill-concealed amusement
twitching the corners of his mouth. He thought the idea of his brother's
turning man-of-business one of the "richest" he had ever heard.

"With your hard head and shrewd notions, I should say you were likely to
make a sensation in the mercantile world," he observed. "It's a hopeful
scheme, altogether. Oh, hang it!" proceeding from sarcasm to
remonstrance, "that'll never do, Everett! You'll be getting into some
precious scrape or other. You're not the fellow for a merchant's office,
trust me. Now something in the way of a government appointment is much
more like it. A pleasant, poetical sort of sinecure,--there are lots of
them to be had. You just trundle down for an hour or two every day,
write letters, or poems, or whatever you like, with the official
stationery, and receive your salary quarterly. You _can't_ do any
mischief in a place like that. Now that's the sort of thing for you,--if
one could get hold of some of those fellows in power. Why!" brightening
with the sudden dash of an idea, "there are the Beauchamps themselves!
They've a legion of influential relatives. Couldn't they get you into a
snug berth? Oh, the Devil!"--for Everett's look was not to be
mistaken,--"if you bring your high-flown ideas of dignity and
independence into this plain, practical question of subsistence, it's
all up with you. Do you mean to tell me that you seriously think of this
Canada scheme?"

Everett assented.

"Have you informed Lady Beauchamp of your intention of becoming a
merchant's clerk? I should like to see her face when you tell her; she's
such a shrewd old soul; and when a woman _does_ take to the sharp and
worldly style of thing, it's the very deuse! Expect no indulgence in
that quarter."

"I don't ask it. Rosa, of course, cannot become my wife till I am able
to give her a worthy home. Her mother will not wish to cancel our
engagement in the mean time."

"The deuse she won't! Trust her!" the consolatory brother rejoined.
"Why, it will be her first natural step. The idea of her daughter
betrothed to a merchant's clerk is preposterous on the face of it. You
yourself must see _that_."

"No, I don't," Everett said, smiling.

"Oh, I suppose you intend to make a large fortune in a twelvemonth, and
then return and marry?"

"No,--but in ten years,--less than that, God helping me,--if I live, I
will return and marry Rosa."

"You don't say so? And poor little Rosa is to wait patiently for you all
that time! By Jove! a modest expectation of yours! It's a likely notion
that Miss Beauchamp will remain unmarried for ten years, because you
choose to go to Canada."

"She will never marry, if she does not marry me," Everett said, with
simple gravity. "It is not alone the outward sacrament of marriage that
sanctifies a union. The diviner and more vital consecration that binds
us together, it is too late, now, to seek to undo."

"Oh, hang it! It's of no use talking poetry to _me_. I don't understand
that sort of thing," Captain Gray frankly said. "I'll tell you
what,--it'll never do to take those transcendental ideas with you into
the world. All very well to poetize and maunder about in quiet
Hazlewood; but, by Jove! you'll find it won't do in practical life. Take
my word for it, if you go to Canada, long before the ten years are out,
Rosa Beauchamp will be wooed and won over again. 'Tisn't in nature that
it should be otherwise. In books, very likely, those sort of things
happen often enough,--but not in real life, my dear fellow, I assure
you. When you return, it will be to find her a thriving matron, doing
the honors of one of the neighboring mansions. Make up your mind to
_that_. Foresee your future, before you decide."

Everett smiled, sadly, but trustfully. His brother's arguments neither
persuaded nor disturbed him. He stood very quiet and thoughtful.
Visionary-like, he saw pictures of the future, indeed,--but very
different from the one just drawn. He was not afraid.

And Captain Gray left him unconvinced and unmoved. It was not probable
the two brothers would see this matter in the same light. They stood on
different levels. They must be content to differ.

The next conference on the subject was between Everett and Lady
Beauchamp; and the mother of Rosa was, it must be admitted, a rather
formidable person to encounter in such wise. She was a busy, clever,
worldly woman,--kind-hearted, too, and with both a strong will and
strong affections. She was one of those people in whom even an astute
observer might often be deceived, by failing to give her credit for
certain good qualities which are commonly coexistent with
worldliness,--especially in a woman. There was a spice of something
better latent amid her shrewdness and hard-headed sagacity; the echo of
more generous aspirations lingered through all the noise of this earth's
Babel in her heart. And so, when she heard of Everett's resolve to pay
his father's debts by parting with the property, her better and higher
nature warmed to the young man; and though she protested against his
Quixotism, and frowned, and talked of prudence, and so forth, her busy
brain was, in fact, all the while setting itself to work for his
benefit. She was, in a way, fond of the young man. No woman is quite
insensible to that chivalrous deference which a Visionary like Everett
always manifests to womanhood, collective and individual. And though she
certainly held him to be rash, foolish, unfit to deal with the world,
"poetical," (a capital crime in her eyes,) and dreamy, she yet liked
him, and was glad to discover a plan whereby the objections to his
marriage with her daughter, under the present adverse circumstances,
might be smoothed away.

She was sitting at her big desk, strewn with accounts, in the
sober-looking library where she always spent her mornings, and she rose
to receive her prospective son-in-law, with an aspect serious and
business-like, yet not stern.

"Well, my dear Everett, what is all this that I hear about you? A very,
very sad affair, of course; but you must come and tell me how you intend
to act. Yes, yes,--I've heard something about it; but I don't quite
understand the state of the case. I want to have a talk with you."

And she leaned her comely face upon her plump, white hand, while gravely
listening to Everett's brief statement of what he had already done, and
what were his plans for the future.

"You will sell Hazlewood, pay your father's debts, and begin life on
your own account, by going to Canada and becoming a merchant's clerk!"
She then recapitulated his plans in a sharp, pitiless tone. "Very well!
and we have only to bid you good-bye and wish you success. Is it so? For
it appears to me that my daughter is left entirely out of your
calculations, and very properly so. You cannot, as a merchant's clerk on
a hundred a year, marry Rosa Beauchamp, I presume."

"No," Everett said, steadily, and holding her, as it were, with his
earnest eyes, "I cannot have Rosa for my wife till I am able to give her
a home worthy of her; but you will not refuse to sanction our engagement
during the years in which I shall work for that home?"

Lady Beauchamp tapped the table with her fingers in an ominous manner.

"Long engagements are most unsatisfactory, silly, not to say dangerous
things. They never end well. No man ought to wish so to bind a young
girl, unless he has a reasonable chance of soon being in a position to
marry her. Now I ask you, have _you_ such a chance? If you go to Canada,
it may be years before you return. Just look at the thing in a
common-sense light, and tell me, can you expect my daughter to wait an
indefinite time, while you go to seek and make your fortune?"

She looked at him with an air of bland candor, while thus appealing to
his "common sense." Everett's aspect remained unchanged, however, in its
calm steadfastness.

"I would not bind her," he said, "unless she herself felt it would be a
comfort and a help, in some sort, during the weary years of separation,
so to be bound. And that she does feel it, you know, Lady Beauchamp."

"My dear Sir, you are not talking reasonably," she rejoined,
impatiently. "A young girl like Rosa, in love for the first time, of
course wishes to be bound, as you say, to the object of her first love.
But it would be doing her a cruel injustice to take her at her word.
Surely you feel that? It is very true, she might not forget you for six
months, or more, perhaps. But, in the course of time, as she enters on
life and sees more of the world and of people, it is simply impossible
that she should remain constant to a dreamy attachment to some one
thousands of miles away. She would inevitably wish to form other ties;
and then the engagement that she desires to-day would be the blight and
burden of her life. No. I say it is a cruel injustice to let young
people decide for themselves on such a point. Half the misery in the
world springs from these mistakes. Think over the matter coolly, and you
will see it as I do."

"It is you who do Rosa injustice," Everett answered, and paused. "Were
it to be as you wish," he added, "and we to separate utterly, with no
outwardly acknowledged tie to link us, no letters to pass between us, no
word or sign from one to the other during all the coming years,--suppose
it so,--you would shadow our lives with much unnecessary misery; but you
are mistaken, if you think you would really part us. You do not
understand."

"Nonsense! You talk like a young man in love. You _must_ be reasonable."

Lady Beauchamp, by this time, had worked herself into the usual warmth
with which she argued all questions, great and small, and forgot that
her original intention in speaking to Everett had only been to set
before him the disadvantages of his plans, in order that her own might
come to the rescue with still greater brilliancy and effect.

"You _must_ be reasonable," she repeated. "You don't suppose I have not
my child's happiness at heart in all I plan and purpose? Trust me, I
have had more experience of life than either of you, and it is for me to
interpose between you and the dangers you would blindly rush upon. Some
day you will both thank me for having done so, hard and cruel as you may
think me now."

"No, I do not think you either hard or cruel. You are _mistaken_,
simply. I believe you desire our happiness. I do not reproach or blame
you, Lady Beauchamp," Everett said, sadly.

"Come, come," she cried, touched by his look and manner to an immediate
unfolding of her scheme, "let us look at things again. Perhaps we shall
not find them so hopeless as they look. If I am prudent, Everett, I am
not mercenary. I only want to see Rosa happy. I don't care whether it is
on hundreds a year, or thousands. And the fact is, I have not condemned
your plans without having a more satisfactory one to offer to your
choice. Listen to me."

And she proceeded, with a cleared brow, and the complacency of one who
feels she is performing the part of a good genius, setting everything to
rights, and making everybody comfortable, to unfold the plan _she_ had
devised, by which Everett's future was to be secured, and his marriage
with Rosa looked to as something better than a misty uncertainty at the
end of a vista of years.

Everett must go into the Church. That was, in fact, the profession most
suited to him, and which most naturally offered itself for his
acceptance. His education, his tastes, his habits, all suited him for
such a career. By a happy coincidence, too, it was one in which Lady
Beauchamp could most importantly assist him through her connections. Her
eldest son, the young baronet, had preferment in his own gift, which was
to say, in hers; and not only this, but her sister's husband, the uncle
of Rosa, was a bishop, and one over whom she, Lady Beauchamp, had some
influence. Once in orders, Everett's prosperity was assured. The present
incumbent of Hollingsley was aged; by the time Everett was eligible, he
might, in all probability, be inducted into that living, and Rosa might
then become his wife. Five hundred a year, beside Miss Beauchamp's
dowry, with such shining prospects of preferment to look forward to, was
not an unwise commencement; for Rosa was no mere fine lady, the proud
mother said,--she was sensible and prudent; she would adapt herself to
circumstances. And though, of course, it was not such an establishment
as she well might expect for her daughter, still, since the young people
loved one another, and thought they could be happy under these reduced
circumstances, she would not be too exacting. And Lady Beauchamp at last
paused, and looked in Everett's face for some manifestation of his joy.

Well,--of his gratitude there could be no question. The tears stood in
his earnest eyes, as he took Lady Beauchamp's hand and thanked
her,--thanked her again and again.

"There, there, you foolish boy! I don't want thanks," cried she,
coloring with pleasure though, as she spoke. "My only wish is to see you
two children happy. I _am_ fond of you, Everett; I shall like to see you
my son," she said. "I have tried to smooth the way for you, as far as I
can, over the many difficulties that obstruct it; and I fancy I have
succeeded. What do you say to my plan? When can you be ordained?"

Everett sighed, as he released her hand, and looked at her face, now
flushed with generous, kindly warmth. Well he knew the bitter change
that would come over that face,--the passion of disappointment and
displeasure which would follow his answer to that question.

He could never enter the Church. Sorrowfully, but firmly, he said
it,--with that calm, steady voice and look, of which all who knew him
knew the significance. He could not take orders.

Lady Beauchamp, at first utterly overwhelmed and dumfounded, stood
staring at him in blank silence. Then she icily uttered a few words. His
reasons,--might she ask?

They were many, Everett said. Even if no other hindrance existed, in his
own mind and opinions, his reverence for so sacred an office would not
permit him to embrace it as a mere matter of worldly advantage to
himself.

"Grant me patience, young man! Do you mean to tell me you would decline
this career because it promises to put an end to your difficulties? Are
you _quite_ a fool?" the lady burst out, astonishment and anger quite
startling her from all control.

"Bear with what may at first seem to you only folly," Everett answered
her, gently. "I don't think your calmer judgment can call it so. Would
you have me take upon myself obligations that I feel to be most solemn
and most vital, feeling myself unfitted, nay, unable, rightly to fulfil
them? Would you have me commit the treachery to God and man of swearing
that I felt called to that special service, when my heart protested
against my profession?"

"Romantic nonsense! A mere matter of modest scruples! You underrate
yourself, Everett. You are the very man for a clergyman, trust me."

But Everett went on to explain, that it was no question of
under-estimation of himself.

"You do not know, perhaps," he proceeded, while Lady Beauchamp, sorely
tried, tapped her fingers on the table, and her foot upon the
floor,--"you do not know, that, when I was a boy, and until two or three
years ago, my desire and ambition were to be a minister of the Church of
England."

"Well, Sir,--what has made you so much better, or so much worse, since
then, as to alter your opinion of the calling?"

"The reasons which made me abandon the idea three years since, and which
render it impossible for me to consider it now, have nothing to do with
my mental and moral worthiness or unworthiness. The fact is simply, I
cannot become a minister of a Church with many of whose doctrines I
cannot agree, and to which, indeed, I can no longer say I belong. In
your sense of the word, I am far from being a Churchman."

"Do you mean to say you have become a Dissenter?" cried Lady Beauchamp;
and, as if arrived at the climax of endurance, she stood transfixed,
regarding the young man with a species of sublime horror.

"Again, not in your sense of the term," Everett said, smiling; "for I
have joined no sect, attached myself to no recognized body of
believers."

"You belong to nothing, then? You believe in nothing, I suppose?" she
said, with the instinctive logic of her class. "Oh, Everett!" real
distress for the moment overpowering her indignation, "it is those
visionary notions of yours that have brought you to this. It was to be
expected. You poets and dreamers go on refining your ideas, forsooth,
till even the religion of the ordinary world isn't good enough for you."

Everett waited patiently till this first gust had passed by. Then, with
that steady, calm lucidity which, strange to say, was characteristic of
this Visionary's mind and intellect, he explained, so far as he could,
his views and his reasons. It could not be expected that his listener
should comprehend or enter into what he said. At first, indeed, she
appeared to derive some small consolation from the fact that at least
Everett had not "turned Dissenter." She hated Methodists, she
declared,--intending thus to include with sweeping liberality all
denominations in the ban of her disapproval. She would have deemed it an
unpardonable crime, had the young man deserted the Church of his fathers
in order to join the Congregation, some ranting conventicle. But if her
respectability was shocked at the idea of his becoming a Methodist, her
better feelings were outraged when she found, as she said, that he
"belonged to nothing." She viewed with dislike and distrust all forms of
religion that differed from her own; but she could not believe in the
possibility of a religion that had no external form at all. She was
dismayed and perplexed, poor lady! and even paused midway in her
wrathful remonstrance to the misguided young man, to lament anew over
his fatal errors. She could not understand, she said, truly enough,
what in the world he meant. His notions were perfectly extraordinary and
incomprehensible. She was deeply, deeply shocked, and grieved for him,
and for every one connected with him.

In fact, the very earnestness and sincerity in their own opinions of a
certain calibre of minds make them incapable of understanding such a
state of things. That a man should believe differently from all they
have been taught to believe appears to them as simply preposterous as
that he should breathe differently. And so it is that only the highest
order of belief can afford to be tolerant; and, as extremes meet, it
requires a very perfect Faith to be able to sympathize and bear
patiently with Doubt.

There was no chance of Lady Beauchamp's "comprehending" Everett in this
matter. There was something almost pathetic in her mingled anger,
perplexity, and disappointment. She could only look on him as a
headstrong young man, suicidally bent on his own ruin,--turning
obstinately from every offered aid, and putting the last climax of
wretchedness to his isolated and fallen position by "turning from the
faith of his fathers," as she rather imaginatively described his
secession from Orthodoxy.

And, as may be concluded, the mother of Rosa was inexorable, as regarded
the engagement between the young people. It must at once be cancelled.
She could not for one moment suffer the idea of her daughter's remaining
betrothed to the mere adventurer she considered Everett Gray had now
become. If, poor as he was, he had thought fit to embrace a profession
worthy of a gentleman, the case would have been different. But if his
romantic notions led him to pursue such an out-of-the-way course as he
had laid out for himself, he must excuse her, if she forbade her child
from sharing it. Under present circumstances, his alliance could but be
declined by the Beauchamp family, she said, with her stateliest air. And
the next minute, as Everett held her hand, and said good-bye, she melted
again from that frigid dignity, and, looking into the frank, manly, yet
gentle face of the young man, cried,--

"Are you _quite_ decided, Everett? Will you take time to consider? Will
you talk to Rosa about it, first?"

"No, dear Lady Beauchamp. I know already what she would say. I have
quite decided. Thank you for all your purposed kindness. Believe that I
am not ungrateful, even if I seem so."

"Oh, Everett,--Everett Gray! I am very sorry for you, and for your
mother, and for all connected with you. It is a most unhappy business.
It gives me great pain thus to part with you," said Lady Beauchamp, with
real feeling.

And so the interview ended, and so ended the engagement.

Nothing else could have been expected, every one said who heard the
state of the case, and knew what Lady Beauchamp had wished and Everett
had declined. There were no words to describe how foolishly and weakly
he had acted. "Everybody" quite gave him up now. With his romantic,
transcendental notions, what _would_ become of him, when he had his own
way to make in the world?

But Everett had consolation and help through it all; for Rosa, the woman
he loved, his mother, and his sister believed in him, and gloried in
what other people called his want of common sense. Ay, though the
horrible wrench of parting was suffered by Rosa every minute of every
day, and the shadow of that dreadful, unnatural separation began to
blacken her life even before it actually fell upon her,--through it all,
she never wavered. When he first told her that he must go, that it was
the one thing he held it wise and right to do, she shrunk back
affrighted, trembling at the coming blankness of a life without him. But
after a while, seeing the misery that came into _his_ face reflected
from hers, she rose bravely above the terrible woe, and then, with her
arms round him and her eyes looking steadfastly into his, she said, "I
love you better than the life you are to me. So I can bear that you
should go."

And he said, "There can be no real severance between those who love as
we do. God, in His mercy and tenderness, will help us to feel that
truth, every hour and every day."

For they believed thus,--these two young Visionaries,--and lived upon
that belief, perhaps, when the time of parting came. And it may be that
the thought of each was very constantly, very intimately present to the
other, during the many years that followed. It may be that this species
of mental atmosphere, so surrounding and commingling with all other
things more visibly and palpably about them, _did_ cause these dreamers
to be happier in their love than many externally united ones, whose lot
appears to us most fair and smooth and blissful. Time and distance,
leagues of ocean and years of suspense, are not the most terrible things
that can come between two people who love one another.

       *       *       *       *       *

And so Everett Gray, his mother, and his sister, went to Canada. A year
after, Agnes was married to Charles Barclay, then a thriving merchant in
Montreal. When the people at home heard of this, they very wisely
acknowledged "how much good there had been in that young man, in spite
of his rashness and folly in early days. No fear about such a man's
getting on in life, when once he gave his mind to it," and so forth.

Meanwhile, our Visionary----But what need is there to trace him, step by
step, in the new life he doubtless found fully as arduous as he had
anticipated? That it was a very struggling, difficult, and uncongenial
life to him can be well understood. These reminiscences of Everett Gray
relate to a long past time. We can look on his life now as almost
complete and finished, and regard his past as those in the valley look
up to the hill that has nothing between it and heaven.

Many years he remained in Canada, working hard. Tidings occasionally
reached England of his progress. Rosa, perhaps, heard such at rare
intervals,--though somewhat distorted, it may be, from their original
tenor, before they reached her. But it appeared certain that he was
"getting on." In defiance and utter contradiction of all the sapient
predictions there anent, it seemed that this dreamy, poetizing Everett
Gray was absolutely successful in his new vocation of man-of-business.

The news that he had become a partner in the firm he had entered as a
clerk was communicated in a letter from himself to Lady Beauchamp. In it
he, for the first time since his departure, spoke of Rosa; but he spoke
of her as if they had parted but yesterday; and, in asking her mother's
sanction to their betrothal _now_, urged, as from them both, their claim
to have that boon granted at last.

Lady Beauchamp hastily questioned her daughter.

"You must have been corresponding with the young man all this time?" she
said.

But Rosa's denial was not to be mistaken.

"He has heard of you, then, through some one," the practical lady went
on; "or, for anything he knows, you may be married, or going to be
married, instead of waiting for him, as he seems to take it for granted
you have been all this time."

"He was right, mother," Rosa only said.

"Right, you foolish girl? You haven't half the spirit I had at your age.
I would have scorned that it should have been said of _me_ that I
'waited' for any man."

"But if you loved him?"

"Well, if he loved _you_, he should have taken more care than to leave
you on such a Quixotic search for independence as his."

"He thought it right to go, and he trusted me; we had faith in one
another," Rosa said; and she wound her arms round her mother, and looked
into her face with eyes lustrous with happy tears. For, from that lady's
tone and manner, despite her harsh words, she knew that the opposition
was withdrawn, and that Everett's petition was granted.

They were married. It is years ago, now, since their wedding-bells rung
out from the church-tower of Hazlewood, blending with the sweet
spring-air and sunshine of a joyous May-day. The first few years of
their married life were spent in Canada. Then they returned to England,
and Everett Gray put the climax to the astonishment of all who knew him
by purchasing back a great part of Hazlewood with the fruits of his
commercial labors in the other country.

At Hazlewood they settled, therefore. And there, when he grew to be an
old man, Everett Gray lived, at last, the peaceful, happy life most
natural and most dear to him. No one would venture to call the
successful merchant a Visionary; and even his brother owns that "the old
fellow has got more brains, after all, by Jove! than he ever gave him
credit for." Yet, as the same critic, and others of his calibre, often
say of him, "He has some remarkably queer notions. There's no making him
out,--he is so different from other people."

Which he is. There is no denying this fact, which is equally evident in
his daily life, his education of his children, his conduct to his
servants and dependants, his employment of time, his favorite aims in
life, and in everything he does or says, in brief. And of course there
are plenty who cavil at his peculiar views, and who cannot at all
understand his unconventional ways, and his apparent want of all worldly
wisdom in the general conduct of his affairs. And yet, somehow, these
affairs prosper. Although he declined a valuable appointment for his
son, and preferred that he should make his own way in the profession he
had chosen, bound by no obligation, and unfettered by the trammels of
any party,--although he did this, to the astonishment of all who did
_not_ know him, yet is it not a fact that the young barrister's career
has been, and is, as brilliant and successful as though he had had a
dozen influential personages to advance him? And though he permitted his
daughter to marry, not the rich squire's son, nor the baronet, who each
sought her hand, but a man comparatively poor and unknown, who loved
her, and whom she loved, did it not turn out to be one of those
marriages that we can recognize to have been "made in heaven," and even
the worldly-wise see to be happy and prosperous?

But our Everett is growing old. His hair is silver-white, and his tall
figure has learned to droop somewhat as he walks. Under the great
beech-trees at Hazlewood you may have seen him sitting summer evenings,
or sauntering in spring and autumn days, sometimes with his
grandchildren playing about him, but always with _one_ figure near him,
bent and bowed yet more than his own, with a still sweet and lovely face
looking placidly forth from between its bands of soft, white hair.

How they have loved, and do love one another, even to this their old
age! All the best and truest light of that which we call Romance shines
steadily about them yet. No sight so dear to Everett's eyes as that
quiet figure,--no sound so welcome to his ears as her voice. She is all
to him that she ever was,--the sweetest, dearest, best portion of that
which we call his life.

Yes, I speak advisedly, and say he _is_, they _are_. It is strange that
this Visionary, who was wont to be reproached with the unpracticality of
all he did or purposed, the unreality of whose life was a byword, should
yet impress himself and his existence so vividly on those about him that
even now we cannot speak of him as one that is _no more_. He seems still
to be of us, though we do not see him, and his place is empty in the
world.

His wife went first. She died in her sleep, while he was watching her,
holding her hand fast in his. He laid the last kisses on her eyes, her
mouth, and those cold hands.

After that, he seemed _to wait_. They who saw him sitting _alone_ under
the beech-trees, day by day, found something very strangely moving in
the patient serenity of his look. He never seemed sad or lonely through
all that time,--only patiently hopeful, placidly expectant. So the
autumn twilights often came to him as he stood, his face towards the
west, looking out from their old favorite spot.

One evening, when his daughter and her husband came out to him, he did
not linger, as was usual with him, but turned and went forward to meet
them, with a bright smile, brighter than the sunset glow behind him, on
his face. He leaned rather heavily on their supporting arms, as they
went in. At the door, the little ones came running about him, as they
loved to do. Perhaps the very lustre of his face awed them, or the sight
of their mother's tears; for a sort of hush came over them, even to the
youngest, as he kissed and blessed them all.

And then, when they had left the room, he laid his head upon his
daughter's breast, and uttered a few low words. He had been so happy, he
said, and he thanked God for all,--even to this, the end. It had been so
good to live!--it was so happy to die! Then he paused awhile, and closed
his eyes.

"In the silence, I can hear your mother's voice," he murmured, and he
clasped his hands. "O thou most merciful Father, who givest this last,
great blessing, of the new Home, where she waits for me!--and God's love
is over all His worlds!"

He looked up once again, with the same bright, assured smile. That smile
never faded from the dead face; it was the last look which they who
loved him bore forever in their memory.

And so passed our Visionary from that which we call Life.



THE TRUCE OF PISCATAQUA.

1675.


    Raze these long blocks of brick and stone,
    These huge mill-monsters overgrown;
    Blot out the humbler piles as well,
    Where, moved like living shuttles, dwell
    The weaving genii of the bell;
    Tear from the wild Cocheco's track
    The dams that hold its torrents back;
    And let the loud-rejoicing fall
    Plunge, roaring, down its rocky wall;
    And let the Indian's paddle play
    On the unbridged Piscataqua!
    Wide over hill and valley spread
    Once more the forest, dusk and dread,
    With here and there a clearing cut
    From the walled shadows round it shut;
    Each with its farm-house builded rude,
    By English yeoman squared and hewed,
    And the grim, flankered blockhouse, bound
    With bristling palisades around.

    So, haply, shall before thine eyes
    The dusty veil of centuries rise,
    The old, strange scenery overlay
    The tamer pictures of to-day,
    While, like the actors in a play,
    Pass in their ancient guise along
    The figures of my border song:
    What time beside Cocheco's flood
    The white man and the red man stood,
    With words of peace and brotherhood;
    When passed the sacred calumet
    From lip to lip with fire-draught wet,
    And, puffed in scorn, the peace-pipe's smoke
    Through the gray beard of Waldron broke,
    And Squando's voice, in suppliant plea
    For mercy, struck the haughty key
    Of one who held in any fate
    His native pride inviolate!

           *       *       *       *       *

    "Let your ears be opened wide!
    He who speaks has never lied.
    Waldron of Piscataqua,
    Hear what Squando has to say!

    "Squando shuts his eyes and sees,
    Far off, Saco's hemlock-trees.
    In his wigwam, still as stone,
    Sits a woman all alone,

    "Wampum beads and birchen strands
    Dropping from her careless hands,
    Listening ever for the fleet
    Patter of a dead child's feet!

    "When the moon a year ago
    Told the flowers the time to blow,
    In that lonely wigwam smiled
    Menewee, our little child.

    "Ere that moon grew thin and old,
    He was lying still and cold;
    Sent before us, weak and small,
    When the Master did not call!

    "On his little grave I lay;
    Three times went and came the day;
    Thrice above me blazed the noon,
    Thrice upon me wept the moon.

    "In the third night-watch I heard,
    Far and low, a spirit-bird;
    Very mournful, very wild,
    Sang the totem of my child.

    "'Menewee, poor Menewee,
    Walks a path he cannot see:
    Let the white man's wigwam light
    With its blaze his steps aright.

    "'All-uncalled, he dares not show
    Empty hands to Manito:
    Better gifts he cannot bear
    Than the scalps his slayers wear.'

    "All the while the totem sang,
    Lightning blazed and thunder rang;
    And a black cloud, reaching high,
    Pulled the white moon from the sky.

    "I, the medicine-man, whose ear
    All that spirits hear can hear,--
    I, whose eyes are wide to see
    All the things that are to be,--

    "Well I knew the dreadful signs
    In the whispers of the pines,
    In the river roaring loud,
    In the mutter of the cloud.

    "At the breaking of the day,
    From the grave I passed away;
    Flowers bloomed round me, birds sang glad,
    But my heart was hot and mad.

    "There is rust on Squando's knife
    From the warm red springs of life;
    On the funeral hemlock-trees
    Many a scalp the totem sees.

    "Blood for blood! But evermore
    Squando's heart is sad and sore;
    And his poor squaw waits at home
    For the feet that never come!

    "Waldron of Cocheco, hear!
    Squando speaks, who laughs at fear:
    Take the captives he has ta'en;
    Let the land have peace again!"

    As the words died on his tongue,
    Wide apart his warriors swung;
    Parted, at the sign he gave,
    Right and left, like Egypt's wave.

    And, like Israel passing free
    Through the prophet-charmèd sea,
    Captive mother, wife, and child
    Through the dusky terror filed.

    One alone, a little maid,
    Middleway her steps delayed,
    Glancing, with quick, troubled sight,
    Round about from red to white.

    Then his hand the Indian laid
    On the little maiden's head,
    Lightly from her forehead fair
    Smoothing back her yellow hair.

    "Gift or favor ask I none;
    What I have is all my own:
    Never yet the birds have sung,
    'Squando hath a beggar's tongue.'

    "Yet, for her who waits at home
    For the dead who cannot come,
    Let the little Gold-hair be
    In the place of Menewee!

    "Mishanock, my little star!
    Come to Saco's pines afar!
    Where the sad one waits at home,
    Wequashim, my moonlight, come!"

    "What!" quoth Waldron, "leave a child
    Christian-born to heathens wild?
    As God lives, from Satan's hand
    I will pluck her as a brand!"

    "Hear me, white man!" Squando cried,
    "Let the little one decide.
    Wequashim, my moonlight, say,
    Wilt thou go with me, or stay?"

    Slowly, sadly, half-afraid,
    Half-regretfully, the maid
    Owned the ties of blood and race,
    Turned from Squando's pleading face.

    Not a word the Indian spoke,
    But his wampum chain he broke,
    And the beaded wonder hung
    On that neck so fair and young.

    Silence-shod, as phantoms seem
    In the marches of a dream,
    Single-filed, the grim array
    Through the pine-trees wound away.

    Doubting, trembling, sore amazed,
    Through her tears the young child gazed.
    "God preserve her!" Waldron said;
    "Satan hath bewitched the maid!"

           *       *       *       *       *

    Years went and came. At close of day
    Singing came a child from play,
    Tossing from her loose-locked head
    Gold in sunshine, brown in shade.

    Pride was in the mother's look,
    But her head she gravely shook,
    And with lips that fondly smiled
    Feigned to chide her truant child.

    Unabashed the maid began:
    "Up and down the brook I ran,
    Where, beneath the bank so steep,
    Lie the spotted trout asleep.

    "'Chip!' went squirrel on the wall,
    After me I heard him call,
    And the cat-bird on the tree
    Tried his best to mimic me.

    "Where the hemlocks grew so dark,
    That I stopped to look and hark,
    On a log, with feather-hat,
    By the path, an Indian sat.

    "Then I cried, and ran away;
    But he called and bade me stay;
    And his voice was good and mild
    As my mother's to her child.

    "And he took my wampum chain,
    Looked and looked it o'er again;
    Gave me berries, and, beside,
    On my neck a plaything tied."

    Straight the mother stooped to see
    What the Indian's gift might be.
    On the braid of wampum hung,
    Lo! a cross of silver swung.

    Well she knew its graven sign,
    Squando's bird and totem pine;
    And, a mirage of the brain,
    Flowed her childhood back again.

    Flashed the roof the sunshine through,
    Into space the walls outgrew,
    On the Indian's wigwam mat
    Blossom-crowned again she sat.

    Cool she felt the west wind blow,
    In her ear the pines sang low,
    And, like links from out a chain,
    Dropped the years of care and pain.

    From the outward toil and din,
    From the griefs that gnaw within,
    To the freedom of the woods
    Called the birds and winds and floods.

    Well, O painful minister,
    Watch thy flock, but blame not her,
    If her ear grew sharp to hear
    All their voices whispering near.

    Blame her not, as to her soul
    All the desert's glamour stole,
    That a tear for childhood's loss
    Dropped upon the Indian's cross.

    When, that night, the Book was read,
    And she bowed her widowed head,
    And a prayer for each loved name
    Rose like incense from a flame,

    To the listening ear of Heaven,
    Lo! another name was given:
    "Father! give the Indian rest!
    Bless him! for his love has blest!"



THE MAROONS OF JAMAICA.


The Maroons! it was a word of peril once; and terror spread along the
skirts of the blue mountains of Jamaica, when some fresh foray of those
unconquered guerrillas swept down upon the outlying plantations,
startled the Assembly from its order, General Williamson from his
billiards, and Lord Balcarres from his diplomatic ease,--endangering,
according to the official statement, "public credit," "civil rights,"
and "the prosperity, if not the very existence of the country," until
they were "persuaded to make peace" at last. They were the Circassians
of the New World; but they were black, instead of white; and as the
Circassians refused to be transferred from the Sultan to the Czar, so
the Maroons refused to be transferred from Spanish dominion to English,
and thus their revolt began. The difference is, that, while the white
mountaineers numbered four hundred thousand, and only defied Nicholas,
the black mountaineers numbered less than two thousand, and defied
Cromwell; and while the Circassians, after thirty years of revolt, seem
now at last subdued, the Maroons, on the other hand, who rebelled in
1655, were never conquered, but only made a compromise of allegiance,
and exist as a separate race to-day.

When Admirals Penn and Venables landed in Jamaica, in 1655, there was
not a remnant left of the sixty thousand natives whom the Spaniards had
found there a century and a half before. Their pitiful tale is told only
by those caves, still known among the mountains, where thousands of
human skeletons strew the ground. In their place dwelt two foreign
races,--an effeminate, ignorant, indolent white community of fifteen
hundred, with a black slave population quite as large and infinitely
more hardy and energetic. The Spaniards were readily subdued by the
English,--the negroes remained unsubdued; the slaveholders were banished
from the island,--the slaves only banished themselves to the mountains:
thence the English could not dislodge them, nor the buccaneers, whom the
English employed. And when Jamaica subsided into a British colony, and
peace was made with Spain, and the children of Cromwell's Puritan
soldiers were beginning to grow rich by importing slaves for Roman
Catholic Spaniards, the Maroons still held their own wild empire in the
mountains, and, being sturdy heathens every one, practised Obeah rites
in approved pagan fashion.

The word Maroon is derived, according to one etymology, from the
Spanish word _Marrano_, a wild-boar,--these fugitives being all
boar-hunters,--according to another, from _Marony_, a river separating
French and Dutch Guiana, where a colony of them dwelt and still dwells;
and by another still, from _Cimarron_, a word meaning untamable, and
used alike for apes and runaway slaves. But whether these
rebel-marauders were regarded as monkeys or men, they made themselves
equally formidable. As early as 1663, the Governor and Council of
Jamaica offered to each Maroon, who should surrender, his freedom and
twenty acres of land; but not one accepted the terms. During forty
years, forty-four acts of Assembly were passed in respect to them, and
at least a quarter of a million pounds sterling were expended in the
warfare against them. In 1733, the force employed against them consisted
of two regiments of regular troops and the whole militia of the island,
and the Assembly said that "the Maroons had within a few years greatly
increased, notwithstanding all the measures that had been concerted for
their suppression," "to the great terror of his Majesty's subjects," and
"to the manifest weakening and preventing the further increase of the
strength and inhabitants of the island."

The special affair in progress, at the time of these statements, was
called Cudjoe's War. Cudjoe was a gentleman of extreme brevity and
blackness, whose full-length portrait can hardly be said to adorn
Dallas's History; but he was as formidable a guerrilla as Marion. Under
his leadership, the various bodies of fugitives were consolidated into
one force and thoroughly organized. Cudjoe, like Schamyl, was religious
as well as military head of his people; by Obeah influence he
established a thorough freemasonry among both slaves and insurgents; no
party could be sent forth by the government but he knew it in time to
lay an ambush, or descend with fire and sword on the region left
unprotected. He was thus always supplied with arms and ammunition; and
as his men were perfect marksmen, never wasted a shot and never risked a
battle, his forces naturally increased while those of his opponents were
decimated. His men were never captured, and never took a prisoner; it
was impossible to tell when they were defeated; in dealing with them, as
Pelissier said of the Arabs, "peace was not purchased by victory"; and
the only men who could obtain the slightest advantage against them were
the imported Mosquito Indians, or the "Black Shot," a company of
government negroes. For nine full years this particular war continued
unchecked, General Williamson ruling Jamaica by day and Cudjoe by night.

The rebels had every topographical advantage, for they held possession
of the "Cockpits." Those highlands are furrowed through and through, as
by an earthquake, with a series of gaps or ravines, resembling the
California cañons, or those similar fissures in various parts of the
Atlantic States, known to local fame either poetically as ice-glens, or
symbolically as purgatories. These chasms vary from two hundred yards to
a mile in length; the rocky walls are fifty or a hundred feet high, and
often absolutely inaccessible, while the passes at each end admit but
one man at a time. They are thickly wooded, wherever trees can grow;
water flows within them; and they often communicate with one another,
forming a series of traps for an invading force. Tired and thirsty with
climbing, the weary soldiers toil on, in single file, without seeing or
hearing an enemy; up the steep and winding path they traverse one
"cockpit," then enter another. Suddenly a shot is fired from the dense
and sloping forest on the right, then another and another, each dropping
its man; the startled troops face hastily in that direction, when a more
murderous volley is poured from the other side; the heights above flash
with musketry, while the precipitous path by which they came seems to
close in fire behind them. By the time the troops have formed in some
attempt at military order, the woods around them are empty, and their
agile and noiseless foes have settled themselves into ambush again,
farther up the defile, ready for a second attack, if needed. But one is
usually sufficient;--disordered, exhausted, bearing their wounded with
them, the soldiers retreat in panic, if permitted to escape at all, and
carry fresh dismay to the barracks, the plantations, and the Government
House.

It is not strange, then, that high military authorities, at that period,
should have pronounced the subjugation of the Maroons a thing more
difficult than to obtain a victory over any army in Europe. Moreover,
these people were fighting for their liberty, with which aim no form of
warfare could be unjustifiable; and the description given by Lafayette
of the American Revolution was true of this one,--"the grandest of
causes, won by contests of sentinels and outposts." The utmost hope of a
British officer, ordered against the Maroons, was to lay waste a
provision-ground or cut them off from water. But there was little
satisfaction in this; the wild pine-leaves and the grapevine-withes
supplied the rebels with water, and their plantation-grounds were the
wild pine-apple and the plantain groves, and the forests, where the
wild-boars harbored and the ringdoves were as easily shot as if they
were militia-men. Nothing but sheer weariness of fighting seems to have
brought about a truce at last, and then a treaty, between those high
contracting parties, Cudjoe and General Williamson.

But how to execute a treaty between these wild Children of the Mist and
respectable diplomatic Englishmen? To establish any official relations
without the medium of a preliminary bullet required some ingenuity of
manoeuvring. Cudjoe was willing, but inconveniently cautious; he would
not come half-way to meet any one; nothing would content him but an
interview in his own chosen cockpit. So he selected one of the most
difficult passes, posting in the forests a series of outlying parties,
to signal with their horns, one by one, the approach of the
plenipotentiaries, and then to retire on the main body. Through this
line of perilous signals, therefore, Colonel Guthrie and his handful of
men bravely advanced; horn after horn they heard sounded, but there was
no other human noise in the woods, and they had advanced till they saw
the smoke of the Maroon huts before they caught a glimpse of a human
form.

A conversation was at last opened with the invisible rebels. On their
promise of safety, Dr. Russell advanced alone to treat with them, then
several Maroons appeared, and finally Cudjoe himself. The formidable
chief was not highly military in appearance, being short, fat,
humpbacked, dressed in a tattered blue coat without skirts or sleeves,
and an old felt hat without a rim. But if he had blazed with regimental
scarlet, he could not have been treated with more distinguished
consideration; indeed, in that case, "the exchange of hats" with which
Dr. Russell finally volunteered, in Maroon fashion, to ratify
negotiations, would have been a less severe test of good fellowship.
This fine stroke of diplomacy had its effect, therefore; the rebel
captains agreed to a formal interview with Colonel Guthrie and Captain
Sadler, and a treaty was at last executed with all due solemnity, under
a large cotton-tree at the entrance of Guthrie's Defile. This treaty
recognized the military rank of Captain Cudjoe, Captain Accompong, and
the rest; gave assurance that the Maroons should be "forever hereafter
in a perfect state of freedom and liberty"; ceded to them fifteen
hundred acres of land; and stipulated only that they should keep the
peace, should harbor no fugitive from justice or from slavery, and
should allow two white commissioners to remain among them, simply to
represent the British government.

During the following year a separate treaty was made with another large
body of insurgents, called the Windward Maroons. This was not effected,
however, until after an unsuccessful military attempt, in which the
mountaineers gained a signal triumph. By artful devices,--a few fires
left burning, with old women to watch them,--a few provision-grounds
exposed by clearing away the bushes,--they lured the troops far up among
the mountains, and then surprised them by an ambush. The militia all
fled, and the regulars took refuge under a large cliff in a stream,
where they remained four hours up to their waists in water, until
finally they forded the river, under full fire, with terrible loss.
Three months after this, however, the Maroons consented to an amicable
interview, exchanging hostages first. The position of the white hostage,
at least, was not the most agreeable; he complained that he was beset by
the women and children, with indignant cries of "Buckra, Buckra," while
the little boys pointed their fingers at him as if stabbing him, and
that with evident relish. However, Captain Quao, like Captain Cudjoe,
made a treaty at last, and hats were interchanged instead of hostages.

Independence being thus won and acknowledged, there was a suspension of
hostilities for some years. Among the wild mountains of Jamaica, the
Maroons dwelt in a savage freedom. So healthful and beautiful was the
situation of their chief town, that the English government has erected
barracks there of late years, as being the most salubrious situation on
the island. They breathed an air ten degrees cooler than that inhaled by
the white population below, and they lived on a daintier diet, so that
the English epicures used to go up among them for good living. The
mountaineers caught the strange land-crabs, plodding in companies of
millions their sidelong path from mountain to ocean, and from ocean to
mountain again. They hunted the wild-boars, and prepared the flesh by
salting and smoking it in layers of aromatic leaves, the delicious
"jerked hog" of Buccaneer annals. They reared cattle and poultry,
cultivated corn and yams, plantains and cocoas, guavas and papaws and
mameys and avocados and all luxurious West Indian fruits; the very weeds
of their orchards had tropical luxuriance in their fragrance and in
their names; and from the doors of their little thatched huts they
looked across these gardens of delight to the magnificent lowland
forests, and over those again to the faint line of far-off beach, the
fainter ocean-horizon, and the illimitable sky.

They had senses like those of our Indians, tracked each other by the
smell of the smoke of fires in the air, and called to each other by
horns, using a special note to designate each of their comrades, and
distinguishing it beyond the range of ordinary hearing. They spoke
English diluted with Spanish and African words, and practised Obeah
rites quite undiluted with Christianity. Of course they associated
largely with the slaves, without any very precise regard to treaty
stipulations; sometimes brought in fugitives, and sometimes concealed
them; left their towns and settled on the planters' lands, when they
preferred them, but were quite orderly and luxuriously happy. During the
formidable insurrection of the Koromantyn slaves, in 1760, they played a
dubious part: when left to go on their own way, they did something
towards suppressing it,--but when placed under the guns of the troops
and ordered to fire on those of their own color, they threw themselves
on the ground without discharging a shot. Nevertheless, they gradually
came up into rather reputable standing; they grew more and more
industrious and steady; and after they had joined very heartily in
resisting D'Estaing's threatened invasion of the island in 1779, it
became the fashion to speak of "our faithful and affectionate Maroons."

In 1795, their position was as follows:--Their numbers had not
materially increased, for many had strayed off and settled on the
outskirts of plantations,--nor materially diminished, for many runaway
slaves had joined them,--while there were also separate settlements of
fugitives, who had maintained their freedom for twenty years. The white
superintendents had lived with the Maroons in perfect harmony, without
the slightest official authority, but with a great deal of actual
influence. But there was an "irrepressible conflict" behind all this
apparent peace, and the slightest occasion might at any moment revive
all the Old terror. That occasion was close at hand.

Captain Cudjoe and Captain Accompong and the other founders of Maroon
independence had passed away, and "Old Montagu" reigned in their stead,
in Trelawney Town. Old Montagu had all the pomp and circumstance of
Maroon majesty; he wore a laced red coat, and a hat superb with
gold-lace and plumes; none but captains could sit in his presence; he
was helped first at meals, and no woman could eat beside him; he
presided at councils as magnificently as at table, though with less
appetite;--and possessed, meanwhile, not an atom of the love or
reverence of any human being. The real power lay entirely with Major
James, the white superintendent, who had been brought up among the
Maroons by his father (and predecessor), and who was the idol of this
wild race. In an evil hour, the government removed him, and put a
certain unpopular Captain Craskell in his place; and as there happened
to be, about the same time, a great excitement concerning a hopeful pair
of young Maroons who had been seized and publicly whipped, on a charge
of hog-stealing, their kindred refused to allow the new superintendent
to remain in the town. A few attempts at negotiation only brought them
to a higher pitch of wrath, which ended in their despatching the
following remarkable diplomatic note to the Earl of Balcarres:--"The
Maroons wishes nothing else from the country but battle, and they
desires not to see Mr. Craskell up here at all. So they are waiting
every moment for the above on Monday. Mr. David Schaw will see you on
Sunday morning for an answer. They will wait till Monday, nine o'clock,
and if they don't come up, they will come down themselves." Signed,
"Colonel Montagu and all the rest."

It turned out, at last, that only two or three of the Maroons were
concerned in this remarkable defiance; but meanwhile it had its effect.
Several ambassadors were sent among the insurgents, and were so
favorably impressed by their reception as to make up a subscription of
money for their hosts, on departing; only the "gallant Colonel
Gallimore," a Jamaica Camillus, gave iron instead of gold, by throwing
some bullets into the contribution-box. And it was probably in
accordance with his view of the subject, that, when the Maroons sent
ambassadors in return, they were at once imprisoned, most injudiciously
and unjustly; and when Old Montagu himself and thirty-seven others,
following, were seized and imprisoned also, it is not strange that the
Maroons, joined by many slaves, were soon in open insurrection.

Martial law was instantly proclaimed throughout the island. The
fighting-men among the insurgents were not, perhaps, more than five
hundred; against whom the government could bring nearly fifteen hundred
regular troops and several thousand militia-men. Lord Balcarres himself
took the command, and, eager to crush the affair, promptly marched a
large force up to Trelawney Town, and was glad to march back again as
expeditiously as possible. In his very first attack, he was miserably
defeated, and had to fly for his life, amid a perfect panic of the
troops, in which some forty or fifty were killed,--including Colonel
Sandford, commanding the regulars, and the bullet-loving Colonel
Gallimore, in command of the militia,--while not a single Maroon was
even wounded, so far as could be ascertained.

After this a good deal of bush-fighting took place. The troops gradually
got possession of several Maroon villages, but not till every hut had
been burnt by its owner. It was in the height of the rainy season, and,
between fire and water, the discomfort of the soldiers was enormous.
Meanwhile the Maroons hovered close around them in the woods, heard all
their orders, picked off their sentinels, and, penetrating through their
lines at night, burned houses and destroyed plantations, far below. The
only man who could cope with their peculiar tactics was Major James, the
superintendent just removed by government,--and his services were not
employed, as he was not trusted. On one occasion, however, he led a
volunteer party farther into the mountains than any of the assailants
had yet penetrated, guided by tracks known to himself only, and by the
smell of the smoke of Maroon fires. After a very exhausting march,
including a climb of a hundred and fifty feet up the face of a
precipice, he brought them just within the entrance of Guthrie's Defile.
"So far," said he, pointing to the entrance, "you may pursue, but no
farther; no force can enter here; no white man except myself, or some
soldier of the Maroon establishment, has ever gone beyond this. With the
greatest difficulty I have penetrated four miles farther, and not ten
Maroons have gone so far as that. There are two other ways of getting
into the defile, practicable for the Maroons, but not for any one of
you. In neither of them can I ascend or descend with my arms, which must
be handed to me, step by step, as practised by the Maroons themselves.
One of the ways lies to the eastward, and the other to the westward; and
they will take care to have both guarded, if they suspect that I am with
you; which, from the route you have come to-day, they will. They now see
you, and if you advance fifty paces more, they will convince you of it."
At this moment a Maroon horn sounded the notes indicating his name, and,
as he made no answer, a voice was heard, inquiring if he were among
them. "If he is," said the voice, "let him go back, we do not wish to
hurt him; but as for the rest of you, come on and try battle, if you
choose." But the gentlemen did not choose.

In September the House of Assembly met. Things were looking worse and
worse. For five months a handful of negroes and mulattoes had defied the
whole force of the island; and they were defending their liberty by
precisely the same tactics through which their ancestors had won it.
Half a million pounds sterling had been spent within this time, besides
the enormous loss incurred by the withdrawal of so many able-bodied men
from their regular employments. "Cultivation was suspended," says an
eye-witness; "the courts of law had long been shut up; and the island at
large seemed more like a garrison under the power of law-martial, than a
country of agriculture and commerce, of civil judicature, industry, and
prosperity." Hundreds of the militia had died of fatigue, large numbers
had been shot down, the most daring of the British officers had fallen,
while the insurgents had been invariably successful, and not one of them
was known to have been killed. Captain Craskell, the banished
superintendent, gave it to the Assembly as his opinion, that the whole
slave population of the island was in sympathy with the Maroons, and
would soon be beyond control. More alarming still, there were rumors of
French emissaries behind the scenes; and though these were explained
away, the vague terror remained. Indeed, the Lieutenant-Governor
announced in his message that he had satisfactory evidence that the
French Convention was concerned in the revolt. A French prisoner named
Murenson had testified that the French agent at Philadelphia (Fauchet)
had secretly sent a hundred and fifty emissaries to the island, and
threatened to land fifteen hundred negroes. And though Murenson took it
all back at last, yet the Assembly was moved to make a new offer of
three hundred dollars for killing or taking a Trelawney Maroon, and a
hundred and fifty dollars for killing or taking any fugitive slave who
had joined them. They also voted five hundred pounds as a gratuity to
the Accompong tribe of Maroons, who had thus far kept out of the
insurrection; and various prizes and gratuities were also offered by the
different parishes, with the same object of self-protection.

The commander-in-chief being among the killed, Colonel Walpole was
promoted in his stead, and brevetted as General, by way of incentive. He
found a people in despair, a soldiery thoroughly intimidated, and a
treasury, not empty, but useless. But the new general had not served
against the Maroons for nothing, and was not ashamed to go to school to
his opponents. First, he waited for the dry season; then he directed all
his efforts towards cutting off his opponents from water; and, most
effectual move of all, he attacked each successive cockpit by dragging
up a howitzer, with immense labor, and throwing in shells. Shells were a
visitation not dreamed of in Maroon philosophy, and their quaint
compliments to their new opponent remain on record. "Damn dat little
buckra!" they said; "he cunning more dan dem toder. Dis here da new
fashion for fight: him fire big ball arter you, and when big ball 'top,
de damn sunting (something) fire arter you again." With which Parthian
arrows of rhetoric the mountaineers retreated.

But this did not last long. The Maroons soon learned to keep out of the
way of the shells, and the island relapsed into terror again. It was
deliberately resolved at last, by a special council convoked for the
purpose, "to persuade the rebels to make peace." But as they had not as
yet shown themselves very accessible to softer influences, it was
thought best to combine as many arguments as possible, and a certain
Colonel Quarrell had hit upon a wholly new one. His plan simply was,
since men, however well disciplined, had proved powerless against
Maroons, to try a Spanish fashion against them, and use dogs. The
proposition was met, in some quarters, with the strongest hostility.
England, it was said, had always denounced the Spaniards as brutal and
dastardly for hunting down the natives of that very soil with
hounds,--and should England now follow the humiliating example? On the
other side, there were plenty who eagerly quoted all known instances of
zoölogical warfare: all Oriental nations, for instance, used elephants
in war, and no doubt would gladly use lions and tigers, also, but for
their extreme carnivorousness, and their painful indifference to the
distinction between friend and foe;--why not, then, use these dogs,
comparatively innocent and gentle creatures? At any rate, "something
must be done"; the final argument always used, when a bad or desperate
project is to be made palatable. So it was voted at last to send to
Havana for an invoice of Spanish dogs, with their accompanying
chasseurs, and the efforts at persuading the Maroons were postponed till
the arrival of these additional persuasives. And when Colonel Quarrell
finally set sail as commissioner to obtain the new allies, all scruples
of conscience vanished in the renewal of public courage and the chorus
of popular gratitude; a thing so desirable must be right; thrice were
they armed who knew their Quarrell just.

But after the parting notes of gratitude died away in the distance, the
commissioner began to discover that he was to have a hard time of it. He
sailed for Havana in a schooner manned with Spanish renegadoes, who
insisted on fighting everything that came in their way,--first a Spanish
schooner, then a French one. He landed at Batabano, struck across the
mountains towards Havana, stopped at Besucal to call on the wealthy
Marquesa de San Felipe y San Jorge, grand patroness of dogs and
chasseurs, and finally was welcomed to Havana by Don Luis de las Casas,
who overlooked, for this occasion only, an injunction of his court
against admitting foreigners within his government,--"the only
accustomed exception being," as Don Luis courteously assured him, "in
favor of foreign traders who came with new negroes." To be sure, the
commissioner had not brought any of these commodities, but then he had
come to obtain the means of capturing some, and so might pass for an
irregular practitioner of the privileged profession.

Accordingly, Don Guillermo Dawes Quarrell (so ran his passport) found no
difficulty in obtaining permission from the governor to buy as many dogs
as he desired. When, however, he carelessly hinted at the necessity of
taking, also, a few men who should have care of the dogs,--this being,
after all, the essential part of his expedition,--Don Luis de las Casas
put on instantly a double force of courtesy, and assured him of the
entire impossibility of recruiting a single Spaniard for English
service. Finally, however, he gave permission and passports for six
chasseurs. Under cover of this, the commissioner lost no time in
enlisting forty; he got them safe to Batabano, but at the last moment,
learning the state of affairs, they refused to embark on such very
irregular authority. When he had persuaded them, at length, the officer
of the fort interposed objections. This was not to be borne, so Don
Guillermo bribed him and silenced him; a dragoon was, however, sent to
report to the governor; Don Guillermo sent a messenger after him and
bribed him, too; and thus, at length, after myriad rebuffs, and after
being obliged to spend the last evening at a puppet-show, in which the
principal figure was a burlesque on his own personal peculiarities, the
weary Don Guillermo, with his crew of renegadoes, and his forty
chasseurs and their one hundred and four muzzled dogs, set sail for
Jamaica.

These new allies were certainly something formidable, if we may trust
the pictures and descriptions in Dallas's History. The chasseur was a
tall, meagre, swarthy Spaniard or mulatto, lightly clad in cotton shirt
and drawers, with broad straw-hat and moccasins of raw hide; his belt
sustaining his long, straight, flat sword or _machete_, like an iron bar
sharpened at one end; and he wore by the same belt three cotton leashes
for his three dogs, sometimes held also by chains. The dogs were a
fierce breed, crossed between hound and mastiff, never unmuzzled but for
attack, and accompanied by smaller dogs called _finders_. It is no
wonder, when these wild and powerful creatures were landed at Montego
Bay, that terror ran through the town, doors were everywhere closed and
windows crowded, not a negro dared to stir, and the muzzled dogs,
infuriated by confinement on shipboard, filled the silent streets with
their noisy barking and the rattling of their chains.

How much would have come of all this in actual conflict does not appear.
The Maroons had already been persuaded to make peace upon certain
conditions and guaranties,--a decision probably accelerated by the
terrible rumors of the bloodhounds, though they never saw them. It was
the declared opinion of the Assembly, confirmed by that of General
Walpole, that "nothing could be clearer than that, if they had been off
the island, the rebels could not have been induced to surrender."
Nevertheless a treaty was at last made, without the direct intervention
of the quadrupeds. Again commissioners went up among the mountains to
treat with negotiators at first invisible; again were hats and jackets
interchanged, not without coy reluctance on the part of the well-dressed
Englishmen; and a solemn agreement was effected. The most essential part
of the bargain was a guaranty of continued independence, demanded by the
suspicious Maroons. General Walpole, however, promptly pledged himself
that no such unfair advantage should be taken of them as had occurred
with the hostages previously surrendered, who were placed in irons, nor
should any attempt be made to remove them from the island. It is painful
to add, that this promise was outrageously violated by the Colonial
government, to the lasting grief of General Walpole, on the ground that
the Maroons had violated the treaty by a slight want of punctuality in
complying with its terms, and by remissness in restoring the fugitive
slaves who had taken refuge among them. As many of the tribe as
surrendered, therefore, were at once placed in confinement, and
ultimately shipped from Port Royal to Halifax, to the number of six
hundred, on the 6th of June, 1796. For the credit of English honor, we
rejoice to know that General Walpole not merely protested against this
utter breach of faith, but indignantly declined the sword of honor which
the Assembly voted him in its gratitude, and retired from military
service forever.

The remaining career of this portion of the Maroons is easily told. They
were first dreaded by the inhabitants of Halifax; then welcomed, when
seen; and promptly set to work on the citadel, then in process of
reconstruction, where the "Maroon Bastion" still remains,--their only
visible memorial. Two commissioners had charge of them, one being the
redoubtable Colonel Quarrell, and twenty-five thousand pounds were
appropriated for their temporary support. Of course they did not
prosper; pensioned colonists never do, for they are not compelled into
habits of industry. After their delicious life in the mountains of
Jamaica, it seemed rather monotonous to dwell upon that barren
soil,--for theirs was such that two previous colonies had deserted
it,--and in a climate where winter lasts seven months in the year. They
had a schoolmaster, and he was also a preacher; but they did not seem to
appreciate that luxury of civilization,--utterly refusing, on grounds of
conscience, to forsake polygamy, and, on grounds of personal comfort, to
listen to the doctrinal discourses of their pastor, who was an ardent
Sandemanian. They smoked their pipes during service-time, and left Old
Montagu, who still survived, to lend a vicarious attention to the
sermon. One discourse he briefly reported as follows, very much to the
point:--"Massa parson say no mus tief, no mus meddle wid somebody wife,
no mus quarrel, mus set down softly." So they sat down very softly, and
showed an extreme unwillingness to get up again. But, not being
naturally an idle race, (at least, in Jamaica the objection lay rather
on the other side,) they soon grew tired of this inaction. Distrustful
of those about them, suspicious of all attempts to scatter them among
the community at large, frozen by the climate, and constantly
petitioning for removal to a milder one, they finally wearied out all
patience. A long dispute ensued between the authorities of Nova Scotia
and Jamaica, as to which was properly responsible for their support; and
thus the heroic race, that for a century and a half had sustained
themselves in freedom in Jamaica, were reduced to the position of
troublesome and impracticable paupers, shuttlecocks between two selfish
parishes. So passed their unfortunate lives, until, in 1800, their
reduced population was transported to Sierra Leone, at a cost of six
thousand pounds, since which they disappear from history.

It was judged best not to interfere with those bodies of Maroons which
had kept aloof from the late outbreak, as the Accompong settlement, and
others. They continued to preserve a qualified independence, and retain
it even now. In 1835, two years after the abolition of slavery in
Jamaica, there were reported sixty families of Maroons as residing at
Accompong Town, eighty families at Moore Town, one hundred and ten
families at Charles Town, and twenty families at Scott Hall, making two
hundred and seventy families in all,--each station being, as of old,
under the charge of a superintendent. But there can be little doubt,
that, under the influences of freedom, they are rapidly intermingling
with the mass of colored population in Jamaica.

The story of the exiled Maroons attracted attention in high quarters, in
its time; the wrongs done to them were denounced in Parliament by
Sheridan and mourned by Wilberforce; while the employment of bloodhounds
against them was vindicated by Dundas, and the whole conduct of the
Colonial government defended, through thick and thin, by Bryan Edwards.
This thorough partisan even had the assurance to tell Mr. Wilberforce,
in Parliament, that he knew the Maroons, from personal knowledge, to be
cannibals, and that, if a missionary were sent among them in Nova
Scotia, they would immediately eat him; a charge so absurd that he did
not venture to repeat it in his History of the West Indies, though his
injustice to the Maroons is even there so glaring as to provoke the
indignation of the more moderate Dallas. But, in spite of Mr. Edwards,
the public indignation ran quite high, in England, against the
bloodhounds and their employers, so that the home ministry found it
necessary to send a severe reproof to the Colonial government. For a few
years the tales of the Maroons thus emerged from mere colonial annals,
and found their way into Annual Registers and Parliamentary
Debates,--but they have vanished from popular memory now. Their record
still retains its interest, however, as that of one of the heroic races
of the world; and all the more, because it is with their kindred that
this nation has to deal, in solving the tremendous problem of
incorporating their liberties with our own. We must remember the story
of the Maroons, because we cannot afford to ignore a single historic
fact which bears upon a question so momentous.



THE PROFESSOR'S STORY.


CHAPTER III.

MR. BERNARD TRIES HIS HAND.

Whether the Student advertised for a school, or whether he fell in with
the advertisement of a school-committee, is not certain. At any rate, it
was not long before he found himself the head of a large district, or,
as it was called by the inhabitants, "deestric" school, in the
flourishing inland village of Pequawkett, or, as it is commonly spelt,
Pigwacket Centre. The natives of this place would be surprised, if they
should hear that any of the readers of a periodical published in Boston
were unacquainted with so remarkable a locality. As, however, some
copies of this periodical may be read at a distance from this
distinguished metropolis, it may be well to give a few particulars
respecting the place, taken from the Universal Gazetteer.

     "PIGWACKET, sometimes spelt Pequawkett. A post-village and
     township in ---- Co., State of ----, situated in a fine
     agricultural region, 2 thriving villages, Pigwacket Centre and
     Smithville, 3 churches, several schoolhouses, and many handsome
     private residences. Mink River runs through the town, navigable
     for small boats after heavy rains. Muddy Pond at N. E. section,
     well stocked with horned pouts, eels, and shiners. Products,
     beef, pork, butter, cheese. Manufactures, shoe-pegs,
     clothes-pins, and tin-ware. Pop. 1373."

The reader may think there is nothing very remarkable implied in this
description. If, however, he had read the town-history, by the Rev.
Jabez Grubb, he would have learned, that, like the celebrated Little
Pedlington, it was distinguished by many _very_ remarkable advantages.
Thus:--

     "The situation of Pigwacket is eminently beautiful, looking
     down the lovely valley of Mink River, a tributary of the
     Musquash. The air is salubrious, and many of the inhabitants
     have attained great age, several having passed the allotted
     period of 'three-score years and ten' before succumbing to any
     of the various 'ills that flesh is heir to.' Widow Comfort
     Leevins died in 1836, Æt. LXXXVII. years. Venus, an African,
     died in 1841, supposed to be C. years old. The people are
     distinguished for intelligence, as has been frequently remarked
     by eminent lyceum-lecturers, who have invariably spoken in the
     highest terms of a Pigwacket audience. There is a public
     library, containing nearly a hundred volumes, free to all
     subscribers. The preached word is well attended, there is a
     flourishing temperance society, and the schools are excellent.
     It is a residence admirably adapted to refined families who
     relish the beauties of Nature and the charms of society. The
     Honorable John Smith, formerly a member of the State Senate,
     was a native of this town."

That is the way they all talk. After all, it is probably pretty much
like other inland New England towns in point of "salubrity,"--that is,
gives people their choice of dysentery or fever every autumn, with a
season-ticket for consumption, good all the year round. And so of the
other pretences. "Pigwacket audience," forsooth! Was there ever an
audience anywhere, though there wasn't a pair of eyes in it brighter
than pickled oysters, that didn't think it was "distinguished for
intelligence"?--"The preachéd word"! That means the Rev. Jabez Grubb's
sermons. "Temperance society"! "Excellent schools"! Ah, that is just
what we were talking about.

The truth was, that District No. 1, Pigwacket Centre, had had a good
deal of trouble of late with its schoolmasters. The committee had done
their best, but there were a number of well-grown and pretty rough young
fellows who had got the upperhand of the masters, and meant to keep it.
Two dynasties had fallen before the uprising of this fierce democracy.
This was a thing that used to be not very uncommon; but in so
"intelligent" a community as that of Pigwacket Centre, in an era of
public libraries and lyceum-lectures, it was portentous and alarming.

The rebellion began under the ferule of Master Weeks, a slender youth
from a country college, under-fed, thin-blooded, sloping-shouldered,
knock-kneed, straight-haired, weak-bearded, pale-eyed, wide-pupilled,
half-colored; a common type enough in in-door races, not rich enough to
pick and choose in their alliances. Nature kills off a good many of this
sort in the first teething-time, a few in later childhood, a good many
again in early adolescence; but every now and then one runs the gauntlet
of her various diseases, or rather forms of one disease, and grows up,
as Master Weeks had done.

It was a very foolish thing for him to try to inflict personal
punishment on such a lusty young fellow as Abner Briggs, Junior, one of
the "hardest customers" in the way of a rough-and-tumble fight that
there were anywhere round. No doubt he had been insolent, but it would
have been better to overlook it. It pains me to report the events which
took place when the master made his rash attempt to maintain his
authority. Abner Briggs, Junior, was a great, hulking fellow, who had
been bred to butchering, but urged by his parents to attend school, in
order to learn the elegant accomplishments of reading and writing, in
which he was sadly deficient. He was in the habit of talking and
laughing pretty loud in school-hours, of throwing wads of paper reduced
to a pulp by a natural and easy process, of occasional insolence and
general negligence. One of the soft, but unpleasant missiles just
alluded to, flew by the master's head one morning, and flattened itself
against the wall, where it adhered in the form of a convex mass in _alto
rilievo_. The master looked round and saw the young butcher's arm in an
attitude which pointed to it unequivocally as the source from which the
projectile had taken its flight.

Master Weeks turned pale. He must "lick" Abner Briggs, Junior, or
abdicate. So he determined to lick Abner Briggs, Junior.

"Come here, Sir!" he said; "you have insulted me and outraged the
decency of the schoolroom often enough! Hold out your hand!"

The young fellow grinned and held it out. The master struck at it with
his black ruler, with a will in the blow and a snapping of the eyes, as
much as to say that he meant to make him smart this time. The young
fellow pulled his hand back as the ruler came down, and the master hit
himself a vicious blow with it on the right knee. There are things no
man can stand. The master caught the refractory youth by the collar and
began shaking him, or rather shaking himself against him.

"Le' go o' that are coat, naow," said the fellow, "or I'll make ye!
'T 'll take tew on ye t' handle me, I tell ye, 'n' then ye caänt dew
it!"--and the young pupil returned the master's attention by catching
hold of _his_ collar.

When it comes to that, the _best man_, not exactly in the moral sense,
but rather in the material, and more especially the muscular point of
view, is very apt to have the best of it, irrespectively of the merits
of the case. So it happened now. The unfortunate schoolmaster found
himself taking the measure of the sanded floor, amid the general uproar
of the school. From that moment his ferule was broken, and the
school-committee very soon had a vacancy to fill.

Master Pigeon, the successor of Master Weeks, was of better stature, but
loosely put together, and slender-limbed. A dreadfully nervous kind of
man he was, walked on tiptoe, started at sudden noises, was distressed
when he heard a whisper, had a quick, suspicious look, and was always
saying, "Hush!" and putting his hands to his ears. The boys were not
long in finding out this nervous weakness, of course. In less than a
week a regular system of torments was inaugurated, full of the most
diabolical malice and ingenuity. The exercises of the conspirators
varied from day to day, but consisted mainly of foot-scraping, solos on
the slate-pencil, (making it _screech_ on the slate,) falling of heavy
books, attacks of coughing, banging of desk-lids, boot-creaking, with
sounds as of drawing a cork from time to time, followed by suppressed
chuckles.

Master Pigeon grew worse and worse under these inflictions. The rascally
boys always had an excuse for any one trick they were caught at.
"Couldn' help coughin', Sir." "Slipped out o' m' han', Sir." "Didn' go
to, Sir." "Didn' dew 't o' purpose, Sir." And so on,--always the best of
reasons for the most outrageous of behavior. The master weighed himself
at the grocer's on a platform-balance, some ten days after he began
keeping the school. At the end of a week he weighed himself again. He
had lost two pounds. At the end of another week he had lost five. He
made a little calculation, based on these data, from which he learned
that in a certain number of months, going on at this rate, he should
come to weigh precisely nothing at all; and as this was a sum in
subtraction he did not care to work out in practice, Master Pigeon took
to himself wings and left the school-committee in possession of a letter
of resignation and a vacant place to fill once more.

This was the school to which Mr. Bernard Langdon found himself appointed
as master. He accepted the place conditionally, with the understanding
that he should leave it at the end of a month, if he were tired of it.

The advent of Master Langdon to Pigwacket Centre created a much more
lively sensation than had attended that of either of his predecessors.
Looks go a good ways all the world over, and though there were several
good-looking people in the place, and Major Bush was what the natives of
the town called a "hahnsome mahn," that is, big, fat, and red, yet the
sight of a really elegant young fellow, with the natural air which grows
up with carefully-bred young persons, was a novelty. The Brahmin blood
which came from his grandfather as well as from his mother, a direct
descendant of the old Flynt family, well known by the famous tutor,
Henry Flynt, (see Cat. Harv. Anno 1693,) had been enlivened and enriched
by that of the Wentworths, which had had a good deal of ripe old Madeira
and other generous elements mingled with it, so that it ran to gout
sometimes in the old folks, and to high spirit, warm complexion, and
curly hair in some of the younger ones. The soft curling hair Mr.
Bernard had inherited,--something, perhaps, of the high spirit; but that
we shall have a chance of finding out by-and-by. But the long sermons
and the frugal board of his Brahmin ancestry, with his own habits of
study, had told upon his color, which was subdued to something more of
delicacy than one would care to see in a young fellow with rough work
before him. This, however, made him look more interesting, or, as the
young ladies at Major Bush's said, "interéstin'."

When Mr. Bernard showed himself at meeting, on the first Sunday after
his arrival, it may be supposed that a good many eyes were turned upon
the young schoolmaster. There was something heroic in his coming forward
so readily to take a place which called for a strong hand, and a prompt,
steady will to guide it. In fact, his position was that of a military
chieftain on the eve of a battle. Everybody knew everything in Pigwacket
Centre; and it was an understood thing that the young rebels meant to
put down the new master, if they could. It was natural that the two
prettiest girls in the village, called in the local dialect, as nearly
as our limited alphabet will represent it, Alminy Cutterr, and Arvilly
Braowne, should feel and express an interest in the good-looking
stranger, and that, when their flattering comments were repeated in the
hearing of their indigenous admirers, among whom were some of the older
"boys" of the school, it should not add to the amiable dispositions of
the turbulent youth.

Monday came, and the new schoolmaster was in his chair at the upper end
of the schoolhouse, on the raised platform. The rustics looked at his
handsome face, thoughtful, peaceful, pleasant, cheerful, but sharply cut
round the lips and proudly lighted about the eyes. The ringleader of the
mischief-makers, the young butcher who has before figured in this
narrative, looked at him stealthily, whenever he got a chance to study
him unobserved; for the truth was, he felt uncomfortable, whenever he
found the large, dark eyes fixed on his own little, sharp, deep-set,
gray ones. But he found means to study him pretty well,--first his face,
then his neck and shoulders, the set of his arms, the narrowing at the
loins, the make of his legs, and the way he moved. In short, he examined
him as he would have examined a steer, to see what he could do and how
he would cut up. If he could only have gone to him and felt of his
muscles, he would have been entirely satisfied. He was not a very wise
youth, but he did know well enough, that, though big arms and legs are
very good things, there is something besides size that goes to make a
man; and he had heard stories of a fighting-man, called "The Spider,"
from his attenuated proportions, who was yet a terrible hitter in the
ring, and had whipped many a big-limbed fellow in and out of the roped
arena.

Nothing could be smoother than the way in which everything went on for
the first day or two. The new master was so kind and courteous, he
seemed to take everything in such a natural, easy way, that there was no
chance to pick a quarrel with him. He in the mean time thought it best
to watch the boys and young men for a day or two with as little show of
authority as possible. It was easy enough to see that he would have
occasion for it before long.

The schoolhouse was a grim, old, red, one-story building, perched on a
bare rock at the top of a hill,--partly because this was a conspicuous
site for the temple of learning, and partly because land is cheap where
there is no chance even for rye or buckwheat, and the very sheep find
nothing to nibble. About the little porch were carved initials and
dates, at various heights, from the stature of nine to that of eighteen.
Inside were old unpainted desks,--unpainted, but browned with the umber
of human contact,--and hacked by innumerable jackknives. It was long
since the walls had been whitewashed, as might be conjectured by the
various traces left upon them, wherever idle hands or sleepy heads could
reach them. A curious appearance was noticeable on various higher parts
of the wall, namely, a wart-like eruption, as one would be tempted to
call it, being in reality a crop of the soft missiles before mentioned,
which, adhering in considerable numbers, and hardening after the usual
fashion of _papier maché_, formed at last permanent ornaments of the
edifice.

The young master's quick eye soon noticed that a particular part of the
wall was most favored with these ornamental appendages. Their position
pointed sufficiently clearly to the part of the room they came from. In
fact, there was a nest of young mutineers just there, which must be
broken up by a _coup d'état_. This was easily effected by redistributing
the seats and arranging the scholars according to classes, so that a
mischievous fellow, charged full of the rebellious imponderable, should
find himself between two non-conductors, in the shape of small boys of
studious habits. It was managed quietly enough, in such a plausible sort
of way that its motive was not thought of. But its effects were soon
felt; and then began a system of correspondence by signs, and the
throwing of little scrawls done up in pellets, and announced by
preliminary _a'h'ms!_ to call the attention of the distant youth
addressed. Some of these were incendiary documents, devoting the
schoolmaster to the lower divinities, as "a ---- stuck-up dandy," as "a
---- purse-proud aristocrat," as "a ---- sight too big for his, etc.,"
and holding him up in a variety of equally forcible phrases to the
indignation of the youthful community of School District No. 1,
Pigwacket Centre.

Presently the draughtsman of the school set a caricature in circulation,
labelled, to prevent mistakes, with the schoolmaster's name. An immense
bell-crowned hat, and a long, pointed, swallow-tailed coat showed that
the artist had in his mind the conventional dandy, as shown in prints of
thirty or forty years ago, rather than any actual human aspect of the
time. But it was passed round among the boys and made its laugh, helping
of course to undermine the master's authority, as "Punch" or the
"Charivari" takes the dignity out of an obnoxious minister. One morning,
on going to the schoolroom, Master Langdon found an enlarged copy of
this sketch, with its label, pinned on the door. He took it down, smiled
a little, put it into his pocket, and entered the schoolroom. An
insidious silence prevailed, which looked as if some plot were brewing.
The boys were ripe for mischief, but afraid. They had really no fault to
find with the master, except that he was dressed like a gentleman, which
a certain class of fellows always consider a personal insult to
themselves. But the older ones were evidently plotting, and more than
once the warning _a'h'm!_ was heard, and a dirty little scrap of paper
rolled into a wad shot from one seat to another. One of these happened
to strike the stove-funnel, and lodged on the master's desk. He was cool
enough not to seem to notice it. He secured it, however, and found an
opportunity to look at it, without being observed by the boys. It
required no _immediate_ notice.

He who should have enjoyed the privilege of looking upon Mr. Bernard
Langdon the next morning, when his toilet was about half finished, would
have had a very pleasant gratuitous exhibition. First he buckled the
strap of his trousers pretty tightly. Then he took up a pair of heavy
dumb-bells, and swung them for a few minutes; then two great "Indian
clubs," with which he enacted all sorts of impossible-looking feats. His
limbs were not very large, nor his shoulders remarkably broad; but if
you knew as much of the muscles as all persons who look at statues and
pictures with a critical eye ought to have learned,--if you knew the
_trapezius_, lying diamond-shaped over the back and shoulders like a
monk's cowl,--or the _deltoid_, which caps the shoulders like an
epaulette,--or the _triceps_, which furnishes the _calf_ of the upper
arm,--or the hard-knotted _biceps_,--any of the great sculptural
landmarks, in fact,--you would have said there was a pretty show of
them, beneath the white satiny skin of Mr. Bernard Langdon. And if you
had seen him, when he had laid down the Indian clubs, catch hold of a
leather strap that hung from the beam of the old-fashioned ceiling, and
lift and lower himself over and over again by his left hand alone, you
might have thought it a very simple and easy thing to do, until you
tried to do it yourself.--Mr. Bernard looked at himself with the eye of
an expert. "Pretty well!" he said;--"not so much fallen off as I
expected." Then he set up his bolster in a very knowing sort of way, and
delivered two or three blows straight as rulers and swift as winks.
"That will do," he said. Then, as if determined to make a certainty of
his condition, he took a dynamometer from one of the drawers in his old
veneered bureau. First he squeezed it with his two hands. Then he placed
it on the floor and lifted, steadily, strongly. The springs creaked and
cracked; the index swept with a great stride far up into the high
figures of the scale; it was a good lift. He was satisfied. He sat down
on the edge of his bed and looked at his cleanly-shaped arms. "If I
strike one of those boobies, I am afraid I shall spoil him," he said.
Yet this young man, when weighed with his class at the college, could
barely turn one hundred and forty-two pounds in the scale,--not a heavy
weight, surely; but some of the middle weights, as the present English
champion, for instance, seem to be of a far finer quality of muscle than
the bulkier fellows.

The master took his breakfast with a good appetite that morning, but was
perhaps rather more quiet than usual. After breakfast he went up-stairs
and put on a light loose frock, instead of his usual dress-coat, which
was a close-fitting and rather stylish one. On his way to school he met
Alminy Cutterr, who happened to be walking in the other direction. "Good
morning, Miss Cutterr," he said; for she and another young lady had been
introduced to him, on a former occasion, in the usual phrase of polite
society in presenting ladies to gentlemen,--"Mr. Langdon, let me make y'
acquainted with Miss Cutterr;--let me make y' acquainted with Miss
Braowne." So he said, "Good morning"; to which she replied, "Good
mornin', Mr. Langdon. Haow's your haälth?" The answer to this question
ought naturally to have been the end of the talk; but Alminy Cutterr
lingered and looked as if she had something more on her mind.

A young fellow does not require a great experience to read a simple
country-girl's face as if it were a signboard. Alminy was a good soul,
with red cheeks and bright eyes, kind-hearted as she could be, and it
was out of the question for her to hide her thoughts or feelings like a
fine lady. Her bright eyes were moist and her red cheeks paler than
their wont, as she said, with her lips quivering,--"Oh, Mr. Langdon,
them boys'll be the death of ye, if ye don't take caär!"

"Why, what's the matter, my dear?" said Mr. Bernard.--Don't think there
was anything very odd in that "my dear," at the second interview with a
village belle;--some of those woman-tamers call a girl "My dear," after
five minutes' acquaintance, and it sounds all right _as they say it_.
But you had better not try it at a venture.

It sounded all right to Alminy, as Mr. Bernard said it.--"I'll tell ye
what's the mahtterr," she said, in a frightened voice. "Ahbner's go'n'
to car' his dog, 'n' he'll set him on ye 'z sure 'z y' 'r' alive. 'T's
the same cretur that haäf eat up Eben Squires's little Jo, a year
come nex' Faästday."

Now this last statement was undoubtedly overcolored; as little Jo
Squires was running about the village,--with an ugly scar on his arm, it
is true, where the beast had caught him with his teeth, on the occasion
of the child's taking liberties with him, as he had been accustomed to
do with a good-tempered Newfoundland dog, who seemed to like being
pulled and hauled round by children. After this the creature was
commonly muzzled, and, as he was fed on raw meat chiefly, was always
ready for a fight,--which he was occasionally indulged in, when anything
stout enough to match him could be found in any of the neighboring
villages.

Tiger, or, more briefly, Tige, the property of Abner Briggs, Junior,
belonged to a species not distinctly named in scientific books, but well
known to our country-folks under the name "Yallah dog." They do not use
this expression as they would say _black_ dog or _white_ dog, but with
almost as definite a meaning as when they speak of a terrier or a
spaniel. A "yallah dog" is a large canine brute, of a dingy old-flannel
color, of no particular breed except his own, who hangs round a tavern
or a butcher's shop, or trots alongside of a team, looking as if he were
disgusted with the world, and the world with him. Our inland population,
while they tolerate him, speak of him with contempt. Old ----, of
Meredith Bridge, used to twit the sun for not shining on cloudy days,
swearing, that, if he hung up his "yallah dog," he would make a better
show of daylight. A country fellow, abusing a horse of his neighbor's,
vowed, that, "if he had such a hoss, he'd swap him for a 'yallah
dog,'--and then shoot the dog."

Tige was an ill-conditioned brute by nature, and art had not improved
him by cropping his ears and tail and investing him with a spiked
collar. He bore on his person, also, various not ornamental scars, marks
of old battles; for Tige had fight in him, as was said before, and as
might be guessed by a certain bluntness about the muzzle, with a
projection of the lower jaw, which looked as if there might be a
bull-dog stripe among the numerous bar-sinisters of his lineage.

It was hardly fair, however, to leave Alminy Cutterr waiting while this
piece of natural history was telling.--As she spoke of little Jo, who
had been "haäf eat up" by Tige, she could not contain her sympathies,
and began to cry.

"Why, my dear little soul," said Mr. Bernard, "what are you worried
about? I used to play with a _bear_ when I was a boy; and the bear used
to hug me, and I used to kiss him,----so!"

It was too bad of Mr. Bernard, only the second time he had seen Alminy;
but her kind feelings had touched him, and that seemed the most natural
way of expressing his gratitude. Alminy looked round to see if anybody
was near; she saw nobody, so of course it would do no good to "holler."
She saw nobody; but a stout young fellow, leading a yellow dog, muzzled,
saw _her_ through a crack in a pickéd fence, not a great way off the
road. Many a year he had been "hangin' 'raoun'" Alminy, and never did he
see any encouraging look, or hear any "Behave, naow!" or "Come, naow,
a'n't ye 'shamed?" or other forbidding phrase of acquiescence, such as
village belles understand as well as ever did the nymph who fled to the
willows in the eclogue we all remember.

No wonder he was furious, when he saw the schoolmaster, who had never
seen the girl until within a week, touching with his lips those rosy
cheeks which he had never dared to approach. But that was all; it was a
sudden impulse; and the master turned away from the young girl,
laughing, and telling her not to fret herself about him,--he would take
care of himself.

So Master Langdon walked on toward his schoolhouse, not displeased,
perhaps, with his little adventure, nor immensely elated by it; for he
was one of the natural class of the sex-subduers, and had had many a
smile without asking, which had been denied to the feeble youth who try
to win favor by pleading their passion in rhyme, and even to the more
formidable approaches of young officers in volunteer companies,
considered by many to be quite irresistible to the fair who have once
beheld them from their windows in the epaulettes and plumes and sashes
of the "Pigwacket Invincibles," or the "Hackmatack Rangers."

Master Langdon took his seat and began the exercises of his school. The
smaller boys recited their lessons well enough, but some of the larger
ones were negligent and surly. He noticed one or two of them looking
toward the door, as if expecting somebody or something in that
direction. At half past nine o'clock, Abner Briggs, Junior, who had not
yet shown himself, made his appearance. He was followed by his "yallah
dog," without his muzzle, who squatted down very grimly near the door,
and gave a wolfish look round the room, as if he were considering which
was the plumpest boy to begin with. The young butcher, meanwhile, went
to his seat, looking somewhat flushed, except round the lips, which were
hardly as red as common, and set pretty sharply.

"Put out that dog, Abner Briggs!"--The master spoke as the captain
speaks to the helmsman, when there are rocks foaming at the lips, right
under his lee.

Abner Briggs answered as the helmsman answers, when he knows he has a
mutinous crew round him that mean to run the ship on the reef, and is
one of the mutineers himself. "Put him aout y'rself, 'f ye a'n't afeard
on him!"

The master stepped into the aisle. The great cur showed his teeth,--and
the devilish instincts of his old wolf-ancestry looked out of his eyes,
and flashed from his sharp tusks, and yawned in his wide mouth and deep
red gullet.

The movements of animals are so much quicker than those of human beings
commonly are, that they avoid blows as easily as one of us steps out of
the way of an ox-cart. It must be a very stupid dog that lets himself be
run over by a fast driver in his gig; he can jump out of the wheel's way
after the tire has already touched him. So, while one is lifting a stick
to strike or drawing back his foot to kick, the beast makes his spring,
and the blow or the kick comes too late.

It was not so this time. The master was a fencer, and something of a
boxer; he had played at single-stick, and was used to watching an
adversary's eye and coming down on him without any of those premonitory
symptoms by which unpractised persons show long beforehand what mischief
they meditate.

"Out with you!" he said, fiercely,--and explained what he meant by a
sudden flash of his foot that clashed the yellow dog's white teeth
together like the springing of a bear-trap. The cur knew he had found
his master at the first word and glance, as low animals on four legs, or
a smaller number, always do; and the blow took him so by surprise, that
it curled him up in an instant, and he went bundling out of the open
schoolhouse-door with a most pitiable yelp, and his stump of a tail shut
down as close as his owner ever shut the short, stubbed blade of his
jacknife.

It was time for the other cur to find who his master was.

"Follow your dog, Abner Briggs!" said Master Langdon.

The stout butcher-youth looked round, but the rebels were all cowed and
sat still.

"I'll go when I'm ready," he said,--"'n' I guess I won't go afore I'm
ready."

"You're ready now," said Master Langdon, turning up his cuffs so that
the little boys noticed the yellow gleam of a pair of gold
sleeve-buttons, once worn by Colonel Percy Wentworth, famous in the Old
French War.

Abner Briggs, Junior, did not apparently think he was ready, at any
rate; for he rose up in his place, and stood with clenched fists,
defiant, as the master strode towards him. The master knew the fellow
was really frightened, for all his looks, and that he must have no time
to rally. So he caught him suddenly by the collar, and, with one great
pull, had him out over his desk and on the open floor. He gave him a
sharp fling backwards and stood looking at him.

The rough-and-tumble fighters all _clinch_, as everybody knows; and
Abner Briggs, Junior, was one of that kind. He remembered how he had
floored Master Weeks, and he had just "spunk" enough left in him to try
to repeat his former successful experiment on the new master. He sprang
at him, open-handed, to clutch him. So the master had to strike,--once,
but very hard, and just in the place to tell. No doubt, the authority
that doth hedge a schoolmaster added to the effect of the blow; but the
blow was itself a neat one, and did not require to be repeated.

"Now go home," said the master, "and don't let me see you or your dog
here again." And he turned his cuffs down again over the gold
sleeve-buttons.

This finished the great Pigwacket Centre School rebellion. What could be
done with a master who was so pleasant as long as the boys behaved
decently, and such a terrible fellow when he got "riled," as they called
it? In a week's time, everything was reduced to order, and the
school-committee were delighted. The master, however, had received a
proposition so much more agreeable and advantageous, that he informed
the committee he should leave at the end of his month, having in his eye
a sensible and energetic young college-graduate who would be willing and
fully competent to take his place.

So, at the expiration of the appointed time, Bernard Langdon, late
master of the School District No. 1, Pigwacket Centre, took his
departure from that place for another locality, whither we shall follow
him, carrying with him the regrets of the committee, of most of the
scholars, and of several young ladies; also two locks of hair, sent
unbeknown to payrents, one dark and one warmish auburn, inscribed with
the respective initials of Alminy Cutterr and Arvilly Braowne.


CHAPTER IV.

THE MOTH FLIES INTO THE CANDLE.

The invitation which Mr. Bernard Langdon had accepted came from the
Board of Trustees of the "Apollinean Female Institute," a school for the
education of young ladies, situated in the flourishing town of Rockland.
This was an establishment on a considerable scale, in which a hundred
scholars or thereabouts were taught the ordinary English branches,
several of the modern languages, something of Latin, if desired, with a
little natural philosophy, metaphysics, and rhetoric, to finish off with
in the last year, and music at any time when they would pay for it. At
the close of their career in the Institute, they were submitted to a
grand public examination, and received diplomas tied in blue ribbons,
which proclaimed them with a great flourish of capitals to be graduates
of the Apollinean Female Institute.

Rockland was a town of no inconsiderable pretensions. It was ennobled by
lying at the foot of a mountain,--called by the working-folks of the
place "_the_ maounting,"--which sufficiently showed that it was the
principal high land of the district in which it was situated. It lay to
the south of this, and basked in the sunshine as Italy stretches herself
before the Alps. To pass from the town of Tamarack on the north of the
mountain to Rockland on the south was like crossing from Coire to
Chiavenna.

There is nothing gives glory and grandeur and romance and mystery to a
place like the impending presence of a high mountain. Our beautiful
Northampton with its fair meadows and noble stream is lovely enough, but
owes its surpassing attraction to those twin summits which brood over
it like living presences, looking down into its streets as if they were
its tutelary divinities, dressing and undressing their green shrines,
robing themselves in jubilant sunshine or in sorrowing clouds, and doing
penance in the snowy shroud of winter, as if they had living hearts
under their rocky ribs and changed their mood like the children of the
soil at their feet, who grow up under their almost parental smiles and
frowns. Happy is the child whose first dreams of heaven are blended with
the evening glories of Mount Holyoke, when the sun is firing its
treetops, and gilding the white walls that mark its one human dwelling!
If the other and the wilder of the twain has a scowl of terror in its
overhanging brows, yet is it a pleasing fear to look upon its savage
solitudes through the barred nursery-windows in the heart of the sweet,
companionable village.--And how the mountains love their children! The
sea is of a facile virtue, and will run to kiss the first comer in any
port he visits; but the chaste mountains sit apart, and show their faces
only in the midst of their own families.

The Mountain that kept watch to the north of Rockland lay waste and
almost inviolate through much of its domain. The catamount still glared
from the branches of its old hemlocks on the lesser beasts that strayed
beneath him. It was not long since a wolf had wandered down, famished in
the winter's dearth, and left a few bones and some tufts of wool of what
had been a lamb in the morning. Nay, there were broad-footed tracks in
the snow only two years previously, which could not be mistaken;--the
black bear alone could have set that plantigrade seal, and little
children must come home early from school and play, for he is an
indiscriminate feeder when he is hungry, and a little child would not
come amiss when other game was wanting.

But these occasional visitors may have been mere wanderers, which,
straying along in the woods by day, and perhaps stalking through the
streets of still villages by night, had worked their way along down from
the ragged mountain-spurs of higher latitudes. The one feature of The
Mountain that shed the brownest horror on its woods was the existence of
the terrible region known as Rattlesnake Ledge, and still tenanted by
those damnable reptiles, which distil a fiercer venom under our cold
northern sky than the cobra himself in the land of tropical spices and
poisons.

From the earliest settlement of the place, this fact had been, next to
the Indians, the reigning nightmare of the inhabitants. It was easy
enough, after a time, to drive away the savages; for "a screeching
Indian Divell," as our fathers called him, could not crawl into the
crack of a rock to escape from his pursuers. But the venomous population
of Rattlesnake Ledge had a Gibraltar for their fortress that might have
defied the siege-train dragged to the walls of Sebastopol. In its deep
embrasures and its impregnable casemates they reared their families,
they met in love or wrath, they twined together in family knots, they
hissed defiance in hostile clans, they fed, slept, hybernated, and in
due time died in peace. Many a foray had the town's-people made, and
many a stuffed skin was shown as a trophy,--nay, there were families
where the children's first toy was made from the warning appendage that
once vibrated to the wrath of one of these "cruel serpents." Sometimes
one of them, coaxed out by a warm sun, would writhe himself down the
hillside into the roads, up the walks that led to houses,--worse than
this, into the long grass, where the bare-footed mowers would soon pass
with their swinging scythes,--more rarely into houses,--and on one
memorable occasion, early in the last century, into the meeting-house,
where he took a position on the pulpit-stairs,--as is narrated in the
"Account of Some Remarkable Providences," etc., where it is suggested
that a strong tendency of the Rev. Didymus Bean, the Minister at that
time, towards the Arminian Heresy may have had something to do with it,
and that the Serpent supposed to have been killed on the Pulpit-Stairs
was a false show of the Dæmon's Contrivance, he having come in to listen
to a Discourse which was a sweet Savour in his Nostrils, and, of course,
not being capable of being killed Himself. Others said, however, that,
though there was good Reason to think it was a Dæmon, yet he did come
with Intent to bite the Heel of that faithful Servant,--etc.

One Gilson is said to have died of the bite of a rattlesnake in this
town early in the present century. After this there was a great
snake-hunt, in which very many of these venomous beasts were
killed,--one in particular, said to have been as big round as a stout
man's arm, and to have had no less than _forty_ joints to his
rattle,--indicating, according to some, that he had lived forty years,
but, if we might put any faith in the Indian tradition, that he had
killed forty human beings,--an idle fancy, clearly. This hunt, however,
had no permanent effect in keeping down the serpent population.
Viviparous creatures are a kind of specie-paying lot, but oviparous ones
only give their notes, as it were, for a future brood,--an egg being, so
to speak, a promise to pay a young one by-and-by, if nothing happen. Now
the domestic habits of the rattlesnake are not studied very closely, for
obvious reasons; but it is, no doubt, to all intents and purposes
oviparous. Consequently it has large families, and is not easy to kill
out.

In the year 184-, a melancholy proof was afforded to the inhabitants of
Rockland, that the brood which infested The Mountain was not extirpated.
A very interesting young married woman, detained at home at the time by
the state of her health, was bitten in the entry of her own house by a
rattlesnake which had found its way down from The Mountain. Owing to the
almost instant employment of powerful remedies, the bite did not prove
immediately fatal; but she died within a few months of the time when she
was bitten.

All this seemed to throw a lurid kind of shadow over The Mountain. Yet,
as many years passed without any accident, people grew comparatively
careless, and it might rather be said to add a fearful kind of interest
to the romantic hillside, that the banded reptiles, which had been the
terror of the red men for nobody knows how many thousand years, were
there still, with the same poison-bags and spring-teeth at the white
men's service, if they meddled with them.

The other natural features of Rockland were such as many of our pleasant
country-towns can boast of. A brook came tumbling down the mountain-side
and skirted the most thickly settled portion of the village. In the
parts of its course where it ran through the woods, the water looked
almost as brown as coffee flowing from its urn,--to say like _smoky
quartz_ would perhaps give a better idea,--but in the open plain it
sparkled over the pebbles white as a queen's diamonds. There were
huckleberry-pastures on the lower flanks of The Mountain, with plenty of
the sweet-scented bayberry mingled with the other bushes. In other
fields grew great store of high-bush blackberries. Along the road-side
were barberry-bushes, hung all over with bright red coral pendants in
autumn and far into the winter. Then there were swamps set thick with
dingy-leaved alders, where the three-leaved arum and the skunk's-cabbage
grew broad and succulent,--shelving down into black boggy pools here and
there, at the edge of which the green frog, stupidest of his tribe, sat
waiting to be victimized by boy or snapping-turtle long after the shy
and agile leopard-frog had taken the six-foot spring that plumped him
into the middle of the pool. And on the neighboring banks the
maiden-hair spread its flat disk of embroidered fronds on the wire-like
stem that glistened brown and polished as the darkest tortoise-shell,
and pale violets, cheated by the cold skies of their hues and perfume,
sunned themselves like white-cheeked invalids. Over these rose the old
forest-trees,--the maple, scarred with the wounds that had drained away
its sweet life-blood,--the beech, its smooth gray bark mottled so as to
look like the body of one of those great snakes of old that used to
frighten armies,--always the mark of lovers' knives, as in the days of
Musidora and her swain,--the yellow birch, rough as the breast of
Silenus in old marbles,--the wild cherry, its little bitter fruit lying
unheeded at its foot,--and, soaring over all, the huge, coarse-barked,
splintery-limbed, dark-mantled hemlock, in the depths of whose aërial
solitudes the crow brooded on her nest unscared, and the gray squirrel
lived unharmed till his incisors grew to look like ram's-horns.

Rockland would have been but half a town without its pond; Quinnepeg
Pond was the name of it, but the young ladies of the Apollinean
Institute were very anxious that it should be called Crystalline Lake.
It was here that the young folks used to sail in summer and skate in
winter; here, too, those queer, old, rum-scented, good-for-nothing,
lazy, story-telling, half-vagabonds, that sawed a little wood or dug a
few potatoes now and then under the pretence of working for their
living, used to go and fish through the ice for pickerel every winter.
And here those three young people were drowned, a few summers ago, by
the upsetting of a sail-boat in a sudden flaw of wind. There is not one
of these smiling ponds that has not devoured more youths and maidens
than any of those monsters the ancients used to tell such lies about.
But it was a pretty pond, and never looked more innocent--so the native
"bard" of Rockland said in his elegy--than on the morning when they
found Sarah Jane and Ellen Maria floating among the lily-pads.

The Apollinean Institute, or Institoot, as it was more commonly called,
was, in the language of its Prospectus, a "first-class Educational
Establishment." It employed a considerable corps of instructors to rough
out and finish the hundred young lady scholars it sheltered beneath its
roof. First, Mr. and Mrs. Peckham, the Principal and the Matron of the
school. Silas Peckham was a thorough Yankee, born on a windy part of the
coast, and reared chiefly on salt-fish. Everybody knows the type of
Yankee produced by this climate and diet: thin, as if he had been split
and dried; with an ashen kind of complexion, like the tint of the food
he is made of; and about as sharp, tough, juiceless, and biting to deal
with as the other is to the taste. Silas Peckham kept a young ladies'
school exactly as he would have kept a hundred head of cattle,--for the
simple, unadorned purpose of making just as much money in just as few
years as could be safely done. Of course the great problem was, to feed
these hundred hungry misses at the cheapest practicable rate, precisely
as it would be with the cattle. So that Mr. Peckham gave very little
personal attention to the department of instruction, but was always busy
with contracts for flour and potatoes, beef and pork, and other
nutritive staples, the amount of which required for such an
establishment was enough to frighten a quartermaster. Mrs. Peckham was
from the West, raised on Indian corn and pork, which give a fuller
outline and a more humid temperament, but may perhaps be thought to
render people a little coarse-fibred. Her speciality was to look after
the feathering, cackling, roosting, rising, and general behavior of
these hundred chicks. An honest, ignorant woman, she could not have
passed an examination in the youngest class. So this distinguished
institution was under the charge of a commissary and a housekeeper, and
its real business was feeding girls to grain, roots, and meats, under
cover, and making money by it.

Connected with this, however, was the incidental fact, which the public
took for the principal one, namely, the business of instruction. Mr.
Peckham knew well enough that it was just as well to have good
instructors as bad ones, so far as cost was concerned, and a great deal
better for the reputation of his feeding-establishment. So he tried to
get the best he could without paying too much, and, having got them, to
screw all the work out of them that could possibly be extracted.

There was a master for the English branches, with a young lady
assistant. There was another young lady who taught French, of the
_ahvahng_ and _pahndahng_ style, which does not exactly smack of the
_asphalte_ of the Boulevard _trottoirs_. There was also a German teacher
of music, who sometimes helped in French of the _ahfaung_ and
_bauntaung_ style,--so that, between the two, the young ladies could
hardly have been mistaken for Parisians, by a Committee of the French
Academy. The German teacher also taught a Latin class after his
fashion,--_benna_, a ben, _gahboot_, a head, and so forth.

The master for the English branches had lately left the school for
private reasons, which need not be here mentioned,--but he had gone, at
any rate, and it was his place which had been offered to Mr. Bernard
Langdon. The offer came just in season,--as, for various causes, he was
willing to leave the place where he had begun his new experience.

It was on a fine morning, that Mr. Bernard, ushered in by Mr. Peckham,
made his appearance in the great schoolroom of the Apollinean Institute.
A general rustle ran all round the seats when the handsome young man was
introduced. The principal carried him to the desk of the young lady
English assistant, Miss Darley by name, and introduced him to her.

There was not a great deal of study done that day. The young lady
assistant had to point out to the new master the whole routine in which
the classes were engaged when their late teacher left, and which had
gone on as well as it could since. Then Master Langdon had a great many
questions to ask, some relating to his new duties, and some, perhaps,
implying a degree of curiosity not very unnatural under the
circumstances. The truth is, the general effect of the schoolroom, with
its scores of young girls, all their eyes naturally centring on him with
fixed or furtive glances, was enough to bewilder and confuse a young man
like Master Langdon, though he was not destitute of self-possession, as
we have already seen.

You cannot get together a hundred girls, taking them as they come, from
the comfortable and affluent classes, probably anywhere, certainly not
in New England, without seeing a good deal of beauty. In fact, we very
commonly mean by _beauty_ the way young girls look when there is nothing
to hinder their looking as Nature meant them to. And the great
schoolroom of the Apollinean Institute did really make so pretty a show
on the morning when Master Langdon entered it, that he might be pardoned
for asking Miss Darley more questions about his scholars than about
their lessons.

There were girls of all ages: little creatures, some pallid and
delicate-looking, the offspring of invalid parents,--much given to
books, not much to mischief, commonly spoken of as particularly good
children, and contrasted with another sort, girls of more vigorous
organization, who were disposed to laughing and play, and required a
strong hand to manage them;--then young growing misses of every shade of
Saxon complexion, and here and there one of more Southern hue: blondes,
some of them so translucent-looking, that it seemed as if you could see
the souls in their bodies, like bubbles in glass, if souls were objects
of sight; brunettes, some with rose-red colors, and some with that
swarthy hue which often carries with it a heavily-shaded lip, and which
with pure outlines and outspoken reliefs gives us some of our handsomest
women,--the women whom ornaments of pure gold adorn more than any other
_parures_; and again, but only here and there, one with dark hair and
gray or blue eyes, a Celtic type, perhaps, but found in our native stock
occasionally; rarest of all, a light-haired girl with dark eyes, hazel,
brown, or of the color of that mountain-brook spoken of in this chapter,
where it ran through shadowy woodlands. With these were to be seen at
intervals some of maturer years, full-blown flowers among the opening
buds, with that conscious look upon their faces which so many women wear
during the period when they never meet a single man without having his
monosyllable ready for him,--tied as they are, poor things! on the rock
of expectation, each of them an Andromeda waiting for her Perseus.

"Who is that girl in ringlets,--the fourth in the third row on the
right?" said Master Langdon.

"Charlotte Ann Wood," said Miss Darley;--"writes very pretty poems."

"Oh!--And the pink one, three seats from her? Looks bright; anything in
her?"

"Emma Dean,--day-scholar,--Squire Dean's daughter,--nice girl,--second
medal last year."

The master asked these two questions in a careless kind of way, and did
not seem to pay any too much attention to the answers.

"And who and what is that," he said,--"sitting a little apart
there,--that strange, wild-looking girl?"

This time he put the real question he wanted answered;--the other two
were asked at random, as masks for the third.

The lady-teacher's face changed;--one would have said she was frightened
or troubled. She looked at the girl doubtfully, as if she might hear the
master's question and its answer. But the girl did not look up;--she was
winding a gold chain about her wrist, and then uncoiling it, as if in a
kind of reverie.

Miss Darley drew close to the master and placed her hand so as to hide
her lips. "Don't look at her as if we were talking about her," she
whispered softly;--"that is Elsie Venner."



MEXICO.


A certain immortal fool, who had, like most admitted fools, great
wisdom, once said, that the number of truces between the Christians and
Saracens in Palestine made an old man of him; for he had known three of
them, so that he must be at least one hundred and fifty years old. The
saying occurs in a romance, to be sure, but one which is not half so
romantic as the best-accredited decade of Titus Livius, and is quite as
authentic as most of what Sir Archibald Alison says, when he writes on
the United States.

What Palestine and the Crusades were to the witty son of Witless, Mexico
and her politics are to moderns, not even excepting the predestined
devourers of the Aztec land, who ought to know something of the country
they purpose bringing within the full light of civilization through the
aid of slaughter and slavery. There are some myriads of "Americans of
the North" yet living, and who entertain not the remotest idea of dying,
who remember Mexico as a Spanish dependency quite as submissive to
Viceroy Iturrigaray as Cuba is now to Captain-General Serrano; and who
have seen her both an Empire and a Republic, and the theatre of more
revolutions than England has known since the days of the Octarchy. The
mere thought of the changes that have occurred there bewilders the mind;
and the inhabitants of orderly countries, whether that order be the
consequence of despotism or of constitutionalism, wonder that society
should continue to exist in a country where government appears to be
unknown.

Less than fifty years cover the time between the appearance of Hidalgo
and that of Miramon; and between the dates of the leaderships of the two
men, Mexico has had an army of generals, of whom little is now known
beyond their names. Hidalgo, Morelos, Mina, Bravo, Iturbide, Guerrero,
Bustamente, Victoria, Pedraza, Gomez Farias, Paredes, and Herrera,--such
are the names that were once familiar to our countrymen in connection
with Mexican affairs. We have now a new race of Mexican
chiefs,--Alvarez, Comonfort, Zuloaga, Uraga, Juarez, Vidaurri, Haro y
Tamariz, Degollado, and Miramon. Some of these last-named chiefs might,
perhaps, be classed with those first named, from years and services; but
whatever of political importance they have belongs to the present time;
and the most important man of them all, Miramon, is said to be very
young, and was not born until many years after the last vestiges of the
vice-regal rule had been removed. Santa Aña, but for his shifting round
so often,--now an absolute ruler, and then an absolute runaway, yet ever
contriving to get the better of his antagonists, whether they happen to
be clever Mexicans or dull Americans,--might be called the isthmus that
connects the first generation of leaders with that which now misleads
his country. Santa Aña's public life synchronizes with the independence
of Mexico of foreign rule, and his career can hardly be pronounced at an
end. It would be of the nature of a newspaper coincidence, were he to
know his "last of earth" at the very time when, by all indications,
Mexico stands in greater danger of losing her national life than she has
known since the day when Barradas was sent to play the part of Cortés,
but proved himself not quite equal to that of Narvaez. Santa Aña owed
much of his power to his victory over the Spaniards in 1830, though
pestilence did half the work to his hand; and perhaps no better evidence
of the hatred of the Mexicans for Spanish rule can be adduced, than the
hold which he has maintained over their minds, in consequence of the
part he took in overthrowing that rule, and in rendering its return
impossible.

Provoked by the anarchy which has so long existed in Mexico, American
writers, and writers of other countries, have sometimes contrasted the
condition of that nation with the order that prevailed there during the
Spanish ascendency, and it is not uncommon to hear Americans say that
the worst thing that ever happened to the Mexicans was the overthrow of
that ascendency. They forget that the causes of Mexican anarchy were of
Spanish creation, and that it must have exhibited itself, all the same,
if Mexico had not achieved her independence. The shock caused by the
seizure of the Spanish throne by Napoleon I. led to that war against the
Spaniards in Mexico which prematurely broke out in 1810, and which was
of the nature of a _Jacquerie_, but which would have been completely
successful, had Hidalgo been equal to his position. It had been intended
that the blow should be struck against the _Gachupines_,--European
Spaniards, or persons of pure Spanish blood,--who were partisans of
Spain, whether Spain were ruled by Bourbons or Bonapartes; and it was to
have been delivered by the Creoles, who remained faithful to the House
of Bourbon. Circumstances caused the Indian races to commence the war,
and this was fatal to the original project, as it led to the union of
both Spaniards and Creoles against the followers of Hidalgo. The army
with which Calleja overthrew the forces of Hidalgo was an army of
Creoles. It was composed of the very men who would have been foremost in
putting down the Spaniards, if the Indians had remained quiet. From that
time dates the disorder of Mexico, which has ever since continued,
though at intervals the country has known short periods of comparative
repose.

In 1811 Morelos was the most conspicuous of the insurgent chiefs, and
the next year he was successful in several engagements; and it was not
until the end of 1815 that he fell into the hands of his enemies, by
whom he was shot, sharing the fate of Hidalgo. During the four years
that he led the people, efforts were made to settle the controversy on
an equitable basis that would have left the King of Spain master of
Mexico; but the pride of the Spaniards would not allow them to listen to
justice. They acted in Mexico as their ancestors had acted in the
Netherlands. It is the chief characteristic of the Spaniard, that, in
dealing with foreigners, he always assumes a Roman-like superiority,
without possessing the Roman's sense and shrewdness. The treatment of
the Capuans by the Romans, as told by Livy in his narrative of the
Hannibalian War, might be read as a history of the manner in which the
Spaniards ever treat "rebels"; and never did they behave more cruelly
than they behaved toward the Mexicans in the last days of the viceroys.
This fact is to be borne in mind, when we think of the sanguinary
character of Mexican contests; for that character originated in the
action of the Spaniards during their struggles with the Patriots. The
latter were not faultless, but they often exhibited a generosity and a
self-denial that promised much for the future of their country, which
promise would have been realized but for the ferocious tone of the
warfare of the old governing race. The Spaniards were ultimately beaten,
but they left behind them an evil that marred the victory of the
Patriots, and which has done much to prevent it from proving useful to
those who obtained it at great cost to themselves and their country.

The defeat and death of Morelos proved fatal, for the time, to regular
opposition on the part of the Patriots, and it was not until the arrival
of Mina in Mexico that they renewed the war in force. This was in April,
1817; and Mina was defeated and put to death in seven months after he
landed. At the beginning of 1818, the viceroy Apodaca announced to the
home government, "that he would be answerable for the safety of Mexico
without a single additional soldier being sent out to reinforce the
armies that were in the field." Had he been a wise man, the event might
have justified this boast; but as he was neither wise nor honest, and as
he sought to restore the old state of things in all its impurity, his
confidence was fatal to the Spanish cause. The Spanish Constitution of
1812 had been proclaimed in Mexico in the autumn of that year, and its
existence kept the Liberal cause alive. So long as the Patriots had any
power in the field, Apodaca, though an enemy of the Constitution, dared
not seek its destruction; but after the overthrow of Mina, when he
believed the Patriot party was "crushed out," he plotted against the
Constitution, and resolved to restore the system that had existed down
to 1812. Not a vestige of Liberalism was to remain. He selected for his
chief tool the once famous Agustin de Iturbide, who turned out an edged
tool, so sharp, indeed, that he not only cut the viceroy's fingers, but
severed forever the connection between Mexico and Spain. Iturbide had
eminently distinguished himself in the royal army, and to him it was
owing that Morelos had been defeated. He was brave, ambitious, and able,
and he possessed a handsome person and elegant manners. He was appointed
to head an army in Western Mexico, on condition that he should
"pronounce" in favor of the restoration of absolute royal authority. He
accepted the command; but on the 24th of February, 1821, he astonished
his employer by proclaiming, not the plan upon which they had agreed,
but what is known as the _Plan of Iguala_, from the town where the
proclamation was made. This plan provided that Mexico should be
independent of Spain, and for the erection of the country into a
constitutional monarchy, the throne of which should be filled by
Ferdinand VII., or by one of his brothers,--or by some person chosen
from among reigning families, should the Spanish Bourbons decline the
invitation. The monarch was to be called _Emperor_, a title made
fashionable and cheap by Bonaparte's example. Perfect equality was
established, and all distinction of castes was abolished. Saving that
the Catholic religion was declared the national religion, the
twenty-four articles of this Plan were of a liberal character, and leave
an impression on the mind highly favorable to their author. Viewing it
in the light of thirty-nine years, and seeing that republicanism has not
succeeded in Mexico, even a democrat may regret that the Plan of Iguala
did not become the constitution of that country.

The simple abolition of Spanish rule would have satisfied the mass of
the inhabitants, who cared little for political institutions, but who
knew the evils they suffered from the tyranny of a class that did not
number above one-eightieth part of the population. For the time, the
Plan was successful: the clergy, the military, the people, and the old
partisans of independence all supported it; and O'Donoju, who had
arrived as successor to Apodaca, recognized Mexican independence. The
victors entered the capital September 27, 1821, and established a
provisional Junta, which created a regency, with Iturbide for President.
On the 24th of February, 1822, a Congress assembled, which contained
three parties, the representatives of those which existed in the
country:--1. The Bourbonists, who desired that the Plan of Iguala should
be adhered to in all its details; 2. The Iturbideans, who wished for a
monarchy, with their chief as Emperor; and, 3. The Republicans, who were
hostile to monarchical institutions as well as to Spanish rule. It is
possible that the first party might have triumphed, had Spain been under
the dominion of sagacious men; for the clergy must have preferred it,
not only because it was that polity under which they were sure to have
most consideration, but because the whole power of Rome might have been
brought to bear in its behalf, and that the clergy never would have
seriously thought of resisting;--and the influence of the clergy was
great over the mass of the people. But the Spanish government would not
ratify the treaty made by O'Donoju, or abandon its claim on Mexico. This
left but two factions in the Congress, and their quarrel had a sudden
termination, for the moment, in the elevation of Iturbide to the
imperial throne, May 18th, 1822. This was the work of a handful of the
lowest rabble of the capital, the select few of a vagabondage compared
with whom the inhabitants of the Five Points may be counted grave
constitutional politicians. The legislature went through the farce of
approval, and the people acquiesced,--as they would have done, had he
been proclaimed Cham. Had Iturbide understood his trade, he might have
reigned long, perhaps have established a dynasty; but he did what nearly
every Mexican chief since his time has done, and what, to be just,
nearly every revolutionary government has sought to do: he endeavored to
establish a tyranny. He dissolved the Congress, substituting a Junta for
it, composed of his own adherents. The consequence was revolt in various
parts of the empire. Santa Aña, then Governor of Vera Cruz, "pronounced"
against the Emperor; and Echavari, who was sent to punish him, played
the same part toward Iturbide that Iturbide had played toward Apodaca:
he joined the enemies of the imperial government. As Iturbide had
triumphed over the viceroy by the aid of men of all parties but that of
the old Spaniards, so was he overthrown by a coalition of an equally
various character. He gave up the crown, after having worn it not quite
ten months, and was allowed to depart, with the promise of an annual
pension of twenty-five thousand dollars. Seeking to recover the crown in
1824, he was seized and shot,--a fate of which he could not complain, as
he was a man of bloody hand, and, as a royalist leader, had caused
prisoners to be butchered by the hundred.

The Republicans were now triumphant, but their conduct showed that they
were not much better qualified to rule than were the Imperialists. They
made a Federal Constitution,--that which is commonly known as the
Constitution of 1824,--which was principally modelled on that of the
United States. This imitation would have been ridiculous, if it had not
been mischievous. Between the circumstances of America and those of
Mexico there was no resemblance whatever, and hence the polity which is
good for the one could be good for nothing to the other. One fact alone
ought to have convinced the Mexican Constitutionalists of the absurdity
of their doings. Their Constitution recognized the Catholic religion as
the religion of the state, and absolutely forbade the profession of any
other form of faith! In what part of our Constitution they found
authority for such a provision as this, no man can say. It has been
mentioned, reproachfully, that our Constitution does not even recognize
God; yet on a Constitution modelled upon ours Mexican statesmen could
graft an Established Church, with a monopoly of religion! Just where
imitation would have been more creditable to them than originality, they
became original. It has been said, in their defence, that the Church was
so powerful that they could not choose but admit its claim. This would
be a good defence, had they sought to make a Constitution in accordance
with views admitting the validity of an Ecclesiastical Establishment.
The charge against them is not, that they sanctioned an Establishment,
but that they sought to couple with it a liberal republican
Constitution, and thus to reconcile contradictions,--an end not to be
attained anywhere, and least of all in a country like Mexico.

The factions that arose in Mexico after the establishment of the
Republic were the Federalists and the Centralists, being substantially
the same as those which yet exist there. The Federalists have been the
true liberals throughout the disturbances and troubles of a generation,
and, though not faultless, are better entitled to the name of patriots
than are the men by whom they have been opposed. They have been the foes
of the priesthood, and have often sought to lessen its power and destroy
its influence. If they could have had their will any time during the
last thirty-five years, the priests would have been reduced to a
condition of apostolic simplicity, and the Church's vast property been
put to uses such as the Apostles would have approved. Guadalupe Victoria
would probably have been as little averse to the confiscation of
ecclesiastical property as was Thomas Cromwell himself. The fear that a
firm and stable federal government would interfere with the privileges
of the Church, and would not cease such interference until the change
had been made perfect, which implied the Church's political destruction,
is one of the chief reasons why no such government has ever had an
existence in Mexico. The Church has favored every party and faction that
has been opposed to order and liberty. Royalism, centralism, despotism,
and even foreign conquest has it preferred to any state of things in
which there should be found that due union of liberty and law without
which no country can expect to have constitutional freedom. Had it ever
been possible to establish a strong central government in Mexico, it is
very probable the Church would have been one of its firmest pillars. The
character and organization of that institution, its desire to maintain
possession of its property, and its aversion to liberty of every kind,
would all have united to make such a government worthy of the Church's
support, provided it had supported the Church in its turn. The
ecclesiastical influence is everywhere observable in the history of
Mexico, from the beginning of the struggle for independence. The clergy
were supporters of independence, not because they wished for liberty to
the country, but that they might monopolize the vast power of their
order. They hated the Spaniards as bitterly as they were hated by any
other portion of the inhabitants of Mexico. But they never meant that
republicanism should obtain the ascendency in the country. A powerful
monarchy, an empire, was what they aimed at; and the government which
Iturbide established was one that would have received their aid, could
it have brought any power to the political firm the clergy desired to
see in existence. It may be assumed that the clergy would have preferred
a Spanish prince as emperor, for they were too sagacious not to know
that the best part of royalty is that which is under ground. Kings must
be born to their trade to succeed in it; and a brand-new emperor, like
Iturbide, unless highly favored by circumstances, or singularly endowed
with intellectual qualifications, could be of little service to the
clerical party. He fell, as we have seen; but the clerical party
remained, and, having continued to flourish, is at this time, it is
probable, stronger than it was in 1822. It is owing to this party that
the idea has never been altogether abandoned that Mexico should resume
monarchical institutions; and every attempt that has been made to favor
what in this country is known as consolidation has either been initiated
by it or has received its assistance. That we do not misrepresent the
so-called clerical party, in attributing to it a desire to see a king in
Mexico, is clear from the candid admission of one of its members, who
has written at length, and with much ability, in defence of its opinions
and actions. "Had it been given to that party which is taxed with being
absolutist," he says, "to see such a government in Mexico as the
government of Brazil, (not to take examples out of the American
continent,) their earnest desires would have been accomplished. It is
therefore wrongfully that that party is the object of the curses
lavished upon it." This is plain speaking, indeed,--the Brazilian
government being one of the strongest monarchies in the world, and
deriving its strength from the fact that it seeks the good of its
subjects. The blindest republican who ever dreamed it was in the power
of institutions to "cause or cure" the ills of humanity must admit,
that, if Bourbon rule in Mexico could have produced results similar to
those which have proceeded from Braganza rule in Brazil, it would have
been the best fortune that the former country could have known, had Don
Carlos or Don Francisco de Paula been allowed to wear the imperial crown
which was set up in 1822. With less ability than Iturbide, either of
those princes would have made a better monarch than that adventurer. It
is not so much intellect as influence that makes a sovereign useful, the
man being of far less consequence than the institution. Even the case of
Napoleon I. affords no exception to this rule; for his dynasty and his
empire fell with him, because they lacked the stability which comes from
prescription alone. Had Marlborough and Eugene penetrated to Paris, as
did Wellington and Blücher a century later, they never would have
thought of subverting the Bourbon line; but the Bonaparte line was cut
off as of course when its chief was defeated. The first king may have
been a fortunate soldier only, but it requires several generations of
royalty to give power to a reigning house, as in old times it required
several descents to give to a man the flavor of genuine nobility. If it
be objected to this, that it is an admission of the power which is
claimed for flunkeyism, we can only meet the charge by saying that there
is much of the flunkey in man, and that whoso shall endeavor to
construct a government without recognizing a truth which is universal,
though not great, will find that his structure can better be compared to
the Syrian flower than to the Syrian cedar. The age of Model Republics
has passed away even from dreams.

We have called the party in Mexico which represents a certain fixed
principle the clerical party; but we have done so more for the sake of
convenience, and from deference to ordinary usage, than because the
words accurately describe the Mexican reactionists. Conservative party
would, perhaps, be the better name; and the word _conservative_ would
not be any more out of place in such a connection, or more perverted
from its just meaning, than it is in England and the United States. The
clergy form, as it were, the core of this party, and give to it a shape
and consistency it could not have without their alliance. Yet, if we
can believe the Mexican already quoted, and who is apparently well
acquainted with the subject on which he has sought to enlighten the
English mind, the party that is opposed to the Liberals is quite as much
in favor of freedom as are the latter, and is utterly hostile to either
religious or political despotism. After objecting to the course of those
Mexicans who found a political pattern in the United States, and showing
the evils that have followed from their awkward imitation, he says,--"No
wonder, then, that some men, actuated by the love of their country,
convinced of the danger to Mexican nationality from such a state of
things, seeing clearly through all these American intrigues, and
determined to oppose them by all the means in their power, should have
formed long ago, and as soon as the first symptoms of anarchy and the
cause of them became apparent, the centre of a party, which, having
necessarily to combat the so-called 'Liberal party,' or, in other words,
the American army, is accused of being a retrograde, absolutist,
clerical party, bent on nothing but the reëstablishment of the
Inquisition and the 'worst of the worst times.' Nothing, however, is
less true. That party contains in its bosom the most enlightened and the
most respectable part of the community, men who have not as yet to learn
the advantages and benefits of civil and religious liberty, and who
would be happy indeed to see liberty established in their country; but
liberty under the law, rational and wise liberty, liberty compatible
with order and tranquillity, liberty, in a word, for good purposes,--not
that savage, licentious, and tyrannical liberty, the object of which is
anarchy, so well answering the private ends of its partisans, and, above
all, the iniquitous views of an ambitious neighbor.... For the present,
no doubt, their object is limited to obtain the triumph over their
enemies, who are the enemies of Mexico, and to put down anarchy, as the
first and most pressing want of the country, no matter under what form
of government or by what means. In pursuance of such an object, the
clergy naturally side with them; and hence, for those who are ignorant
of the bottom of things in Mexican affairs, the denomination given to
this party of 'Clerical party' supported by military despotism; whereas
the 'Anarchical party' is favored with the name of 'Liberal
Constitutional party.' It is, however, easy to see that those two
parties would be more exactly designated, the one as the _Mexican
Party_, the other as the _American Party_."

If this delineation of the Conservative party be a fair one,--as
probably it is, after making allowance for partisan coloring,--it is
easy to see, that, while the clergy are with it, they are not of it; and
also, that it would be involved in a quarrel with the priesthood in a
week after it should have succeeded in its contest with the Liberals.
Where, then, would be the restoration of order, of which this Mexican
writer has so much to say? The clergy of Mexico are too powerful to
become the tools of any political organization. They use politicians and
parties,--are not used by them. The Conservative party, therefore, is
not the coming party, either for the clergy or for Mexico. It answers
the clergy's purpose of making it a shield against the Liberals, whose
palms itch to be at the property of the Church; but it never could
become their sword; and it is a sword, and a sharp and pointed one,
firmly held, that the clergy desire, and must have, if their end is to
be achieved. The defensive is not and cannot be their policy. They must
rule or perish. Hence the victory of the Conservatives would be the
signal for the opening of a new warfare, and the clergy would seek to
found their power solidly on the bodies of the men whom they had used to
destroy the Liberals. They have pursued one course for thirty-eight
years, and will not be moved from it by any appeals that shall be made
to them in the name of order and of law, appeals to which they have been
utterly insensible when made by Liberals. Indeed, they will not be able
to see any difference between the two parties, but will hate the
Conservatives with most bitterness, because standing more immediately in
their way. A combat would be inevitable, with the chance that the
American Eagle would descend upon the combatants and swoop them away.

If anarchy were a reason for the formation of a league in Mexico,
composed of all the conservative men of the country, it ought to have
been formed long ago. Anarchy was organized there with the Republic, and
was made much more permanent than Carnot made victory. Unequivocal
evidences of its existence became visible before the Constitution was in
a condition to be violated; and when that instrument was accepted, it
appeared to have been set up in order that politicians and parties might
have something definite to disregard. The first President was Guadalupe
Victoria, an honest Republican, whose name has become somewhat dimmed by
time. With him was associated Nicolas Bravo, as Vice-President. It was
while Victoria was President that the masonic parties appeared, known as
the Scotch masons and the York masons, or _Escoceses_ and _Yorkinos_,
which were nothing but clubs of the Centralists and the Federalists. The
President was of the _Yorkinos_ or Federalists, and the Vice-President
was of the other lodge. Bravo and his party were for such changes as
should substitute a constitutional monarchy, with a Spanish prince at
its head, for the Constitution of 1824. Bravo "pronounced" openly
against Victoria,--a proceeding of which the reader can form some idea
by supposing Mr. Breckinridge heading a rabble force to expel Mr.
Buchanan from Washington, for the purpose of calling in some member of
the English royal family to sit on an American throne. Through the aid
of Guerrero, a man of ability and integrity, and very popular, the
Liberals triumphed in the field; but Congress elected his competitor,
Pedraza, President, though the people were mostly for Guerrero. This was
a most unfortunate circumstance, and to its occurrence much of the evil
that Mexico has known for thirty years may be directly traced. Instead
of submitting to the strictly legal choice of President, made by the
members of Congress, the Federalists set the open example of revolting
against the action of men who had performed their duties according to
the requirements of the Constitution. Guerrero was violently made
President. That the other party contemplated the destruction of the
Constitution is very probable; but the worst that they, its enemies,
could have done against it would have been a trifle in comparison with
the demoralizing consequences of the violation of that instrument by its
friends. Yet the Presidency of Guerrero will ever have honorable mention
in history, for one most excellent reason: Slavery was abolished by him
on the anniversary of Mexican independence, 1829, he deeming it proper
to signalize that anniversary "by an act of national justice and
beneficence." Will the time ever come when the Fourth of July shall have
the same double claim to the reverence of mankind?

Guerrero perished by the sword, as he had risen by it. The
Vice-President, Bustamente, revolted, and was aided by Santa Aña. His
popularity was too great to allow him to be spared, and when he was
captured, Guerrero was shot, in 1831. Of the many infamous acts of which
Santa Aña has been guilty, the murder of Guerrero is the worst. Possibly
it would have ruined him, but for his services against the Spaniards, at
about the same time. He was now the chief man in Mexico, and became
President in 1833. The next year he dissolved Congress, and established
a military government. The Constitution of 1824 was formally abolished
in 1835, and a Central Constitution was proclaimed the next year, by
which the States were converted into Departments. Santa Aña kept as much
aloof from these proceedings as he could, and sought to add to his
popularity by attacking Texas, where he reaped a plentiful crop of
cypress.

The triumph of the Centralists was the turning-point in the fortunes of
Mexico, as it furnished a plausible pretext for American interference in
her affairs, the end of which is rapidly approaching. The Texan revolt
had no other justification than that which it derived from the overthrow
of the Federal Constitution; but that was ample, and, had it not been
for the introduction of slavery into Texas, the judgment of the
civilized world would have been entirely in favor of the Texans. In
1844, when our Presidential election was made to turn upon the question
of the annexation of Texas to the United States, the grand argument of
the annexationists was drawn from the circumstance that the Mexicans had
abrogated the Federal Constitution, thereby releasing the Texans from
their obligations to Mexico. This was an argument to which Americans,
and especially democrats, those sworn foes of consolidation, were prone
to lend a favorable ear; and it is certain that it had much weight in
promoting the election of Mr. Polk. Had the Texan revolt been one of
ambition merely, and not justifiable on political grounds apart from the
Slavery question, the decision might have been different, if, indeed,
the question had ever been introduced into the politics of this country.
The sagacious men who managed the affairs of the Democratic party knew
their business too well to attempt the extension of slave-holding
territory in the gross and palpable form that is common in these
shameless days. But Texas, as an injured party that had valiantly
sustained its constitutional rights, was a very different thing from a
province that had revolted against Mexico because forbidden by Mexican
authority to allow the existence of slavery within its borders. There
was much deception in the business, but there was sufficient truth and
justice in the argument used to deceive honest men who do not trouble
themselves to look beyond the surface of things. For more than twenty
years our political controversies have all been colored by the triumph
of the Mexican Centralists in 1835-6; and but for that triumph, it is
altogether likely that our territory would not have been increased, and
that the Slavery question, instead of absorbing the American mind, would
have held but a subordinate place in our party debates. It may, perhaps,
be deemed worthy of especial mention, that the action of the Centralists
of Mexico, destined to affect us so sensibly, was initiated at the same
time that the modern phase of the Slavery question was opened in the
United States. The same year that saw the Federal Constitution of Mexico
abolished saw our government laboring to destroy freedom of the press
and the sanctity of the mails, by throwing its influence in favor of the
bill to prevent the circulation of "incendiary publications," that is,
publications drawn from the writings of Washington and Jefferson; and
the same year that witnessed the final effort of Santa Aña to "subdue"
Texas to Centralization beheld General Cushing declaring that slavery
should not be introduced into the North, thus "agitating" the country,
and winning for himself that Abolition support without which his
political career must have been cut short in the morning of its
existence. Such are the coincidences of history!

From the time of the victory of the Centralists until the commencement
of the war with the United States, Mexico was the scene of perpetual
disturbances. Mexia, a rash, but honest man, made an attempt to free his
country in 1838, but failed, being defeated and executed by Santa Aña,
who came from the retirement to which his Texan failure had consigned
him, as champion of the government. After some years of apparent
anarchy, Santa Aña became Dictator, and in 1843 a new Constitution, more
centralizing in its nature than its immediate predecessor, was framed
under his direction. At the beginning of 1845 he fell, and became an
exile. His successor was General Herrera, who was desirous to avoid war
with the United States, on which account he was violently opposed by
Paredes, with success, the latter usurping the Presidency. Aided by our
government, Santa Aña returned to Mexico, and infused new vigor into his
countrymen. On his return, he avowed himself a Federalist, and
recommended a recurrence to the Constitution of 1824, which was
proclaimed. Paredes had fallen before a "revolution," and was allowed to
proceed to Europe. He was a monarchist, and at that time the friends of
monarchy in Mexico had some hopes of success. It is believed that the
governments of England and France were desirous of establishing a
Mexican monarchy, and their intervention in the affairs of Mexico was
feared by our government. Two things, however, prevented their action,
if ever they seriously contemplated armed intervention. The first was
the rapid success of our armies, coupled as it was with the exhibition
of a military spirit and capacity for which European nations had not
been prepared by anything in our previous history; and the second was
the potato-rot, which brought Great Britain to the verge of famine, and
broke up the Tory party. The ill feeling, too, that was created between
the English and French governments by the Montpensier marriage, and the
discontent of the French people, which led to the Revolution of 1848,
were not without their effect on affairs. Had our government resolved to
seize all Mexico, it could have done so without encountering European
resistance in 1848, when there was not a stable Continental government
of the first class west of the Niemen, and when England was too much
occupied with home matters, and with the revolutions that were happening
all around her, to pay any regard to the course of events in the
Occident. But the Polk administration was not equal to the work that was
before it; and though members of the Democratic party did think of
acting, and men of property in Mexico were anxious for annexation,
nothing was done. The American forces left Mexico, and the old routine
of weakness and disorder was there resumed. Perhaps it would be better
to say it was continued; for the war had witnessed no intermission of
the senseless proceedings of the Mexican politicians. Their contests
were waged as bitterly as they had been while the country enjoyed
external peace.

Several persons held the Presidential chair after the resignation of
Herrera. Organic changes were made. The clergy exhibited the same
selfishness that had characterized their action for five-and-twenty
years. An Extraordinary Constituent Congress confirmed the readoption of
the Constitution of 1824, making such slight changes as were deemed
necessary. Santa Aña again became President. Some of the States formed
associations for defence, acting independently of the general
government. After the loss of the capital, Santa Aña resigned the
Presidency, and Peña y Peña succeeded him, followed by Anaya; but the
first soon returned to office. Peace was made, and Santa Aña again went
into exile. Herrera was chosen President, and for more than two years
devoted himself to the work of reformation, with considerable success,
though outbreaks and rebellions occurred in many quarters. President
Arista also showed himself to be a firm and patriotic chief. But in 1852
a reaction took place, under favor of which Santa Aña returned home and
became President for the fifth time, and Arista was banished. The
government of Santa Aña was absolute in its character, and much
resembled that which Napoleon III. has established in France,--with this
difference, that it wanted that strength which is the chief merit of the
French imperial system. It encountered opposition of the usual form,
from time to time, until it was broken down, in August, 1855, when the
President left both office and the country, and has since resided
abroad. The new revolution favored Federalism. Alvarez was chosen
President, but he was too liberal for the Church party, being so
unreasonable as to require that the property of the Church should be
taxed. Plots and conspiracies were formed against him, and it being
discovered that the climate of the capital did not agree with him, he
resigned, and was succeeded by General Comonfort. Half a dozen leaders
"pronounced" against Comonfort, one of them announcing his purpose to
establish an Empire. Government made head against these attacks, and
seized property belonging to the Church. Some eminent Church officers
were banished, for the part they had taken in exciting insurrections. At
the close of 1857, Comonfort made himself Dictator; but the very men who
urged him to the step became his enemies, and he was deprived of power.
Zuloaga, who was one of his advisers and subsequent enemies, succeeded
him, being chosen President by a Council of Notables. Comonfort's
measures for the confiscation of Church property were repealed. The
Constitution of 1857 placed the Presidential power in the hands of the
Chief Justice, on the resignation of the President, whence the
prominence of Juarez lately, he being Chief Justice when Comonfort
resigned. Assembling troops, he encountered Zuloaga, but was defeated.
The Juarez "government" then left the country, but shortly after
returned. Insurrections broke out in different places, and confusion
reigned on all sides. General Robles deposed Zuloaga, and made an honest
effort to unite the Liberals and Conservatives; but the Junta which he
assembled elected Miramon President, a new man, who had distinguished
himself as a leader of the Conservative forces. Miramon reinstated
Zuloaga, but accepted the Presidency on the latter's abdication, and has
since been the principal personage in Mexico, and, though he has
experienced occasional reverses, has far more power than Juarez. At the
close of the year 1859, the greater part of Mexico was either disposed
to submit to the Miramon government, or cared little for either Miramon
or Juarez.

It is impossible to believe that the Juarez government is possessed of
much strength; and the gentleman who lately represented the United
States in Mexico (Mr. Forsyth) is of opinion that it is powerless.
Nevertheless, our government acknowledges that of Juarez, and has made
itself a party to the contests in Mexico. In his last Annual Message,
President Buchanan devotes much space to Mexican affairs, drawing a
deplorable picture thereof, and recommending armed intervention by the
United States in behalf of the Liberal party. "I recommend to Congress,"
says the President, "to pass a law authorizing the President, under such
conditions as they may deem expedient, to employ a sufficient military
force to enter Mexico for the purpose of obtaining indemnity for the
past and security for the future." This force, should Congress respond
favorably to the Presidential recommendation, is to act in concert with
the Juarez government, and to "restore" it to power. In return for such
aid, that government is to indemnify the Americans, and to provide that
no more Americans shall be wronged by Mexican governments. Does the
President believe this theory of Mexican settlement will be accepted by
the world? If yes, then is he a man of marvellous faith, considering the
uncommonly excellent opportunities he has had to learn what the
political settlements of Mexico really mean. If no, then he has a
meaning beneath his words, and that meaning is the conquest of Mexico.
We do not charge duplicity upon President Buchanan, but it is vexatious
and humiliating to be compelled to choose between such charge and the
belief of a degree of simplicity in him that would be astonishing in a
yearling politician, and which is astounding in a man who has held high
office for well-nigh forty years. Let us suppose that Congress should
kindly listen to President Buchanan's recommendation,--that a strong
fleet and a great army should be sent to the aid of the Juarez
government, and should establish it in the capital of Mexico, and then
leave the country and the coasts of "our sister Republic,"--what would
follow? Why, exactly what we have seen follow the Peace of 1848. The
Juarez government could not be stronger or more honest than was that of
Herrera, or more anxious to effect the rehabilitation of Mexico; yet
Herrera's government had to encounter rebellions, and outrages were
common during its existence, and afterward, when men of similar views
held sway, or what passes for sway in "our sister Republic." So would it
be again, should we effect a "restoration" of the Liberals. In a week
after our last regiment should have returned home, there would be
rebellions for our allies to suppress. If they should succeed in
maintaining their power, it would be as the consequence of a violation
of their agreement with us; and where, then, would be the "indemnity"
for which we are to fight? If they should be overthrown, as probably
would be their fate, where would be the "security" for which we are to
pay so highly in blood and gold? It is useless to quote the treaty which
the Juarez government has just made with our government, as evidence of
its liberality and good faith. That treaty is of no more value than
would be one between the United States and the ex-king of Delhi. Nothing
is more notorious than the liberality of parties that are not in power.
There is no stipulation to which they will not assent, and violate, if
their interest should be supposed to lie in the direction of perjury.
Have we, in the hour of our success, been invariably true to the
promises made in the hour of our necessities? A study of the treaty we
made with France in 1778, by the light of after years, would be useful
to men who think that a treaty made is an accomplished fact. The people
of the United States have to choose between the conquest of Mexico and
non-intervention in Mexican affairs. There may be something to be said
in favor of conquest, though the President's arguments in that
direction--for such they are, disguised though they be--remind us
strongly of those which were put forth in justification of the partition
of Poland; but the policy of intervention does not bear criticism for
one moment. Either it is conquest veiled, or it is a blunder, the chance
to commit which is to be purchased at an enormous price; and blunders
are to be had for nothing, and without the expenditure of life and
money.

We had purposed speaking of the condition of Mexico, the character of
her population, and the probable effect of her absorption by the United
States; but the length to which our article has been drawn in the
statement of preliminary facts--a statement made necessary by the
general disregard of Mexican matters by most Americans--warns us to
forbear. We may return to the subject, should the action of Congress on
the President's recommendation lead to the placing of the Mexican
question on the list of those questions that must be decided by the
event of the national election of the current year.



REVIEWS AND LITERARY NOTICES.


_The Florence Stories._ By JACOB ABBOTT. _Florence and John._ New York:
Sheldon & Co. 16mo. pp. 252.

_Ernest Bracebridge, or Schoolboy Days._ By W. H. G. KINGSTON. Boston:
Ticknor & Fields. 16mo. pp. 344.

How should a book for children be written?

Three rules will suffice. It should be written clearly and simply; for
young minds will spend little time in difficult investigation. It should
have a good moral. It should be interesting; or it will generally be
left unread, and thus any other excellence that it may possess will be
useless. Some writers seem to have a fourth rule,--that it should be
instructive; but, really, it is no great matter, if a child should have
some books without wisdom. Moreover, this maxim is eminently perilous in
its practical application, and, indeed, is seldom followed but at the
expense of the other three.

To these three rules all writers of children's books profess to conform;
yet a good book for children is a rarity; for, simple as the rules are,
they are very little understood. While all admit that the style should
be simple and familiar, some appear to think that anything simple to
them will be equally simple to their child-readers, and write as nearly
as possible in the style of "The Rambler." Such a book is "The Percy
Family," whose author is guilty of an additional impropriety in putting
his ponderous sentences into the mouth of a child not ten years old.
Another and more numerous class, evidently piquing themselves not a
little upon avoiding this error, fall into another by fancying it
necessary to _write down_ to their young readers. They explain
everything with a tiresome minuteness of detail, although any observer
of children ought to know that a child's mind does not want everything
explained. They think that simplicity demands this lengthy discussion of
every trivial matter. There is such a thing as a conceited simplicity,
and there is a technical simplicity, that in its barrenness and
insipidity is worthy only of a simpleton. In Jacob Abbott's "Juveniles"
especially, by means of this minuteness, a very scanty stock of ideas is
made to go a great way. Does simplicity require such trash as this?

     "The place was known by the name of the Octagon. The reason why
     it was called by this name was, that the principal sitting-room
     in the house was built in the form of an octagon, that is,
     instead of having four sides, as a room usually has, this room
     had eight sides. An octagon is a figure of eight sides.

     "A figure of four sides is called a square. A figure of five
     sides is called a pentagon, of six sides a hexagon, of eight
     sides an octagon. There might be a figure of seven sides, but
     it would not be very easily made, and it would not be very
     pretty when it was made, and so it is seldom used or spoken of.
     But octagons and hexagons are very common, for they are easily
     made, and they are very regular and symmetrical in form."

The object of all this is, doubtless, to impart valuable information.
But while such slipshod writing is singularly uninteresting, it may also
be censured as inaccurate. Mr. Abbott seems to think all polygons
necessarily regular. Any child can make a heptagon at once,
notwithstanding Mr. Abbott calls it so difficult. A _regular_ heptagon,
indeed, is another matter. Then what does he mean by saying octagons and
hexagons are very regular? A regular octagon is regular, though an
octagon in general is no more regular than any other figure. But Mr.
Abbott continues:--

     "If you wish to see exactly what the form of an octagon is, you
     can make one in this way. First cut out a piece of paper in the
     form of a square. This square will, of course, have four sides
     and four corners. Now, if you cut off the four corners, you
     will have four new sides, for at every place where you cut off
     a corner you will have a new side. These four new sides,
     together with the parts of the old sides that are left, will
     make eight sides, and so you will have an octagon.

     "If you wish your octagon to be regular, you must be careful
     how much you cut off at each corner. If you cut off too little,
     the new sides which you make will not be so long as what
     remains of the old ones. If you cut off too much, they will be
     longer. You had better cut off a little at first from each
     corner, all around, and then compare the new sides with what
     is left of the old ones. You can then cut off a little more,
     and so on, until you make your octagon nearly regular.

     "There are other much more exact modes of making octagons than
     this, but I cannot stop to describe them here."

Must we have no more pennyworths of sense to such a monstrous quantity
of verbiage than Mr. Abbott gives us here? We would defy any man to
parody that. He could teach the penny-a-liners a trick of the trade
worth knowing. The great Chrononhotonthologos, crying,

    "Go call a coach, and let a coach be called,
    And let the man that calleth be the caller,
    And when he calleth, let him nothing call
    But 'Coach! coach! coach! Oh, for a coach, ye gods!'"

is comparatively a very Spartan for brevity. This may be a cheap way of
writing books; but the books are a dear bargain to the buyer.

A book is not necessarily ill adapted to a child because its ideas and
expressions are over his head. Some books, that were not written for
children and would shock all Mr. Abbott's most dearly cherished ideas,
are still excellent reading for them. Walter Scott's poems and novels
will please an intelligent child. Cooper's Leatherstocking tales will
not be read by the lad of fourteen more eagerly than by his little
sister who cannot understand half of them. A child fond of reading can
have no more delightful book than the "Faërie Queene," unless it be the
"Arabian Nights," which was not written as a "juvenile." There are pages
by the score in "Robinson Crusoe" that a child cannot understand,--and
it is all the better reading for him on that account. A child has a
comfort in unintelligible words that few men can understand. Homer's
"Iliad" is good reading, though only a small part may be comprehended.
(We are not, however, so much in favor of mystery as to recommend the
original Greek.) Do our children of the year 1860 ever read a book
called "The Pilgrim's Progress"? Hawthorne's "Wonder-Book" is good for
children, though better for adults.

Then look at our second rule. What, after all, constitutes a "good
moral"? We say that no book has a good moral which teaches a child that
goodness and effeminacy, laziness and virtue, are convertible terms; no
book is good that is "goody," no book is moral that moralizes. The
intention may be good, but the teaching is not. Have as much as you will
of poetical justice, but beware of making your books mere vehicles for
conveying maxims of propriety. You cannot so deceive a child. You may
talk _at_ him, while pretending to tell him a story, but he will soon be
shy of you. He has learned by bitter experience too much of the
falseness of this world, and has been too often beguiled by sugared
pills, to be slow in detecting the sugared pills of your
literature,--especially, O Jacob Abbott! when the pills have so little,
so very little, sugar.

Our notion of a good moral is a strong, breezy, open-air moral, one that
teaches courage, and therefore truth. These are the most important
things for a child to know, and a book which teaches these alone is
moral enough. And these can be taught without offending the mind of the
young reader, however keenly suspicious. But if you wish to teach
gentleness and kindness as well, let them be shown in your story by some
noisy boy who can climb trees, or some active, merry, hoydenish girl who
can run like Atalanta; and don't imply a falsehood by attributing them
always to the quiet children.

Mr. Abbott's books have spoiled our children's books, and have done
their best to spoil our children, too. There is no fresh, manly life in
his stories; anything of the kind is sourly frowned down. Rollo, while
strolling along, picturesquely, perhaps, but stupidly, sees A Noisy Boy,
and is warned by his insufferable father to keep out of that boy's way.
That Noisy Boy infallibly turns out vicious. Is that sound doctrine?
Will that teach a child to admire courage and activity? If he is ever
able to appreciate the swing and vigor of Macaulay's Lays, it will not
be because you trained him on such lyrics as

    "In the winter, when 'tis mild,
    We may run, but not be wild;
    But in summer, we must walk,
    And improve our time by talk" (!)

but because that Noisy Boy found him out,--and, quarrelling with him,
(your boy, marvellous to relate! having provoked the quarrel by some
mean trick, in spite of his seraphic training,) gave him a black
eye,--and afterwards, turning out to be the best-hearted Noisy Boy in
the world, taught him to climb trees and hunt for birds' nests,--and
stopped him when he was going to kill the little birds, (for your
pattern boy--poor child! how could he help it?--was as cruel as he was
timid,)--and imparted to him the sublime mysteries of base-ball and tag
and hockey,--and taught him to swim and row, and to fight bigger boys
and leave smaller boys in peace, instructions which he was at first
inclined to reverse,--and put him in the way to be an honest, fearless
man, when he was in danger of becoming a white-faced and white-livered
spooney. And that Noisy Boy himself, perversely declining to verify Mr.
Abbott's decorous prophecies, has not turned out badly, after all, but
has Reverend before his name and reverence in his heart, and has his
theology sound because his lungs are so. No doubt, Tom Jones often turns
out badly, but Master Blifil always does,--a fact which Mr. Abbott would
do well to note and perpend.

What! Because Rollo is virtuous, shall there be no more mud-cakes and
ale? Marry, but there shall! Don't keep a boy out of his share of free
movement and free air, and don't keep a girl out. Poor little child! she
will be dieted soon enough on "stewed prunes." Children need air and
water,--milk and water won't do. They are longing for our common mother
earth, in the dear, familiar form of dirt; and it is no matter how much
dirt they get on them, if they only have water enough to wash it off.
The more they are allowed to eat literal dirt now, the less metaphorical
dirt will they eat a few years hence. The great Free-Soil principle is
good for their hearts, if not for their clothes; and which is it more
important to have clean? Just make up your mind to let the clothes go;
and if you can't afford to have your children soil and tear their laced
pantalets and plumed hats and open-work stockings, why, take off all
those devices of the enemy, and substitute stout cloth and stout boots.
What have they to do with open-work stockings?

    "Doff them for shame,
    And hang a calf-skin on those recreant limbs."

Believe now, instead of learning by sad experience, that tin trumpets
and torn clothes do not necessarily signify depravity, and that quiet
children are not always free from deceit, cruelty, and meanness. The
quiet, ideal child, of whom Mr. Abbott thinks so highly, generally
proves, in real life, neither more nor less than a prig. He is more
likely to die than live; and if he lives, you may wish he had died.

These models not only check a child's spirit, but tend to make him
dishonest. Ask a child now what he thinks, and, ten to one, he mentally
refers to some eminent exemplar of all the virtues for instructions,
and, instead of telling you what he does think, quotes listlessly what
he ought to think. So that his mincing affectation is not merely
ungraceful, but is a sign of an inward taint, which may prove fatal to
the whole character. It is very easy to make a child disingenuous; if he
be at all timid, the work is already half done to one's hand. Of course,
all children are not bad who are brought up on such books,--one
circumstance or another may counteract their hurtful tendency,--but the
tendency is no less evident, nor is it a vindication of any system to
prove that some are good in its despite.

Again, the popularity of these tame, spiritless books is no conclusive
evidence of their merit. The poor children are given nothing else to
read, and, of course, they take what they can get as better than
nothing. An eager child, fond of reading, will read the shipping
intelligence in a newspaper, if there be nothing else at hand. Does that
show that he is properly supplied with reading matter? They will read
these books; but they would read better books with more pleasure and
more profit.

For our third rule, let our children's stories have no lack of incident
and adventure. That will redeem any number of faults. Thus, Marryatt's
stories, and Mayne Reid's, although in many respects open to censure and
ridicule, are very popular, and deserve to be. The books first put into
a child's hands are right enough, for they are vivid. Whether the letter
A be associated in our infant minds with the impressive moral of "In
Adam's fall We sinned all," or gave us a foretaste of the Apollo in "A
was an Archer, and shot at a Frog,"--in either case, the story is a
plainly told incident, (carefully observing the unities,) which the
child's fancy can embellish for itself, and the whole has an additional
charm from the gorgeous coloring of an accompanying picture. The
vividness is good, and is the only thing that is good. Why, then, should
this one merit be omitted, as our children grow a little older? A
lifeless moral will not school a child into propriety. If a twig be
unreasonably bent, it is very likely to struggle in quite a different
direction, especially if in so doing it struggle towards the light.
There is much truth in a blundering version of the old Scriptural maxim,
"Chain up a child, and away he will go." If you want to do any good by
your books, make them interesting.

And with reference to all three rules, remember that they are to be
interpreted by the light of common sense, and you will hardly need the
following remarks:--

It is alike uncomfortable and useless to a child to be perpetually
waylaid by a moral. A child reading "The Pilgrim's Progress" will omit
the occasional explanations of the allegory or resolutely ignore their
meaning. If you want to keep a poor child on such dry food, don't
mistake your own reason for doing so. It may be eminently proper, but it
is very uncomfortable to him. If you want children to enjoy themselves,
let them run about freely, and don't put them into a ring, in
picturesque attitudes, and then throw bouquets of flowers at them. But,
if you will do so, confess it is not for their gratification, but for
your own.

If you choose to try the dangerous experiment of writing "instructive"
stories, beware of defeating your own object. You write a story rather
than a treatise, because information is often more effective when
indirectly conveyed. Clearly, then, if you convey your information too
directly, you lose all this advantage.

Perfection is as intolerable in these as in any other stories. We all
want, especially children, some amiable weaknesses to sympathize with.
Thus, in "Ernest Bracebridge," an English story of school-life, the hero
is a dreadfully unpleasant boy who is always successful and always
right, and we are soon heartily weary of him. Besides, he is a horrible
boy for mastery of all the arts and sciences, and delivers brief and
epigrammatic discourses, being about twelve years old. However, the book
is full of adventure and out-door games, and so far is good.

After all, a child does not need many books. If, however, we are to have
them, we may as well have good ones. There is no reason why dulness
should be diverted from its legitimate channels into the writing of
children's books. Let us disabuse ourselves of the idea that these are
the easiest books to write. Let us remember that the alphabet is harder
to teach than the Greek Drama, and no longer think that the proper man
to write children's books is the man who is able to write nothing else.


_The Simplicity of Christ's Teachings, set forth in Sermons._ By CHARLES
T. BROOKS, Pastor of the Unitarian Church, Newport, R. I. Boston:
Crosby, Nichols, & Co. 1859. 16mo. pp. 342.

The name of the author of this volume has long been known as that of an
accomplished man of letters. Successive volumes of poetic versions,
chiefly from the German, had, by their various merit, gained for him a
high rank among our translators, when four years ago, in 1856, by a
translation of "Faust," he set himself at the head of living authors in
this department of literature. It is little to say of his work, that it
is the best of the numerous English renderings of Goethe's tragedy. It
is not extravagant to assert that a better translation is scarcely
possible. It is a work which combines extraordinary fidelity to the form
of the original with true appreciation of its spirit. It is at once
literal and free, and displays in its execution the qualities both of
exact scholarship and of poetic feeling and capacity.

This work, and the others of a similar kind which preceded it, were the
result of the intervals of leisure occurring in the course of their
author's professional life as a clergyman. While the wider world has
known him only through these volumes, a smaller circle has long known
and loved him as the faithful and able preacher and pastor,--as one to
whom the most beautiful description ever written of the character of a
good parson might be truly applied; for

    "A good man he was of religioun,
    That was a poure Persone of a toun:
    But riche he was of holy thought and werk;
    He was also a lerned man, a clerk,
    That Cristes gospel trewely wolde preche,
    His parishens devoutly wolde he teche.

           *       *       *       *       *

    And Cristes lore and his apostles' twelve
    He taught, but first he folwed it himselve."

And it is in this character that he now comes before us in the volume
which is well entitled "The Simplicity of Christ's Teachings."

It is a misfortune that the qualities which distinguish most published
sermons are not such as to recommend them on the score of literary
merit. The volumes of religious discourses which are worthy to hold a
place in literature, when judged by the usual critical standard, are
very few. A very large proportion of those which are continually
appearing from the press deserve no remembrance, and fortunately have no
permanence. They are addressed to a special class of readers,--a class
generally neither of highly cultivated taste, nor of acute critical
perception. Their writers are rarely men of sufficient talent to win for
themselves recognition out of their own narrow set. What in the slang of
the day are called "sensation" sermons are no exception to the common
rule. Their momentary effect, depending upon exaggeration and
extravagance, is no indication of worth. We should no more think of
criticizing them in a literary journal, than of criticizing the novels
of Mr. Cobb or Mr. Reynolds. Some of the causes of the poverty of
thought and of the negligence of style of average sermons are obvious.
The very interest and importance of the subjects with which the preacher
has to deal oftentimes serve to deaden rather than to excite the mind of
one who takes them up in the formal round of duty. The pretensions of
the clergy of many sects, pretensions as readily acknowledged as made,
save them from the necessity of intellectual exertion. The frequent
recurrence of the necessity of writing, whether they have anything to
say or not, leads them into substituting words for thoughts, platitudes
for truths. The natural weariness of long-continued solitary
professional labor brings mental lassitude and feebleness. The absence
of the fear of close and watchful criticism prevents them from bestowing
suitable pains upon their composition. These and other causes combine to
make the mass of the writing which is delivered from the pulpit poorer
than any other which passes current in the world,--perhaps, indeed, not
poorer in an absolute sense, but poorer when compared with the nature of
the subjects that it treats. It is by no means, however, to be inferred,
that, because a sermon is totally without merit as a work of literature,
it is incapable of producing some good in those who listen to it. On the
contrary, such is the frame of mind of many who regularly attend church,
that they are not unlikely to derive good from a performance which, if
weak, may yet be sincere, and which deals with the highest truths, even
if it deal with them in an imperfect and unsatisfactory manner. And,
indeed, as George Herbert says, good may be got from the worst
preaching; for,

                        "if all want sense,
    God takes the text, and preacheth patience."

Unquestionably, however, there is too much preaching in these days; too
many sermons are written, and the spirit of Christianity is less
effective than if the words concerning it were less numerous.

It is a rare satisfaction, therefore, to find such a volume of sermons
as that of Mr. Brooks, which, though not possessing the highest merit in
point of style, are the discourses of a thoughtful and cultivated man,
with a peculiar spiritual refinement, and with a devout intellect, made
clear by its combination with purity of heart and simplicity of faith.
The religious questions which are chiefly stirring the minds of men are
taken up in them and discussed with what may be called an earnest
moderation, with elevation of feeling and insight of spirit.


_Goethe's Correspondence with a Child._ Boston: Ticknor & Fields. 1859.

The immediate cause of the republication of these letters is the recent
death of Bettina, the child with whom Goethe corresponded. Though this
fact, and the beauty of the volume, may quicken the sale of the work,
and draw out fresh encomiums on its excellence, it has long since passed
the critical crisis and taken its place as one of the most remarkable
series of letters which the public have ever been invited to peruse.
Something of the marvellous vanishes from them, however, when we find
that the title, "Correspondence with a Child," is a misnomer; Bettina
having been, in truth, twenty-two years of age when she first visited
Goethe. Yet while this important circumstance abates much of the wonder
with which we once read her thoughts and confessions, they really become
all the more valuable as studies in human nature when we learn that they
are the exhalations of a heart in full flower, and one upon which the
dews of morning should not linger. The poet had reached the age of sixty
when this tide of tender sentiment, original ideas, and enthusiastic
admiration began to flow in upon him. Their first interview, as Bettina
describes it, with singular freedom, in one of the letters to Goethe's
mother, will be found a useful key, though perhaps not a complete one,
by which to interpret the glowing passion which gushed from her pen.
That the poet was pleased with the homage of this sweet, graceful, and
affectionate girl, and drew her on to the revealing of her whole nature,
is readily perceived. But when we inquire, To what end? we should
remember, that, like Parrhasius, Goethe was before all things an artist;
and furthermore, the correspondence of time will show that from this
crowning knowledge the "Elective Affinities" sprang. It may be that her
admiration was for his genius alone; if so, she chose love's language
for its wealth of expression. Were it so received, it could not but be
regarded as a peerless offering, for she was certainly a kindred spirit.
There are many rare thoughts and profound confessions in these letters,
which would have commanded the praise of Goethe, had they been written
by a rival; and coming, as they did, from a devotee who declared that
she drew her inspiration from him alone, they must have filled his soul
with incense, of which that burned by the priest in the temple of the
gods is only an emblem. To be brief and compendious on this book, it
appears to be a heart unveiled. German critics throw some doubts on the
literal veracity of the book; but it belongs at any rate to the better
class of the _ben trovati_, and among its leaves, the dreamer, the
lover, and the poet will find that ambrosial fruit on which fancy loves
to feed, but whose blossoms are so generally blasted by the common air
that only the few favored ones have had their longings for it appeased.
In imagination, at least, Bettina partook of this banquet, and had the
genius to wreak on words the emotions which swept through her heart.


_Sir Rohan's Ghost._ A Romance. Boston: J. E. Tilton & Company. 1860.
pp. 352.

It is very plain that we have got a new poet,--a tremendous
responsibility both for him who will have to learn how to carry the
brimming vase of Art from the Pierian spring without squandering a drop,
and for us critics who are to reconcile ourselves to what is new in him,
and to hold him strictly to that apprenticeship to the old which is the
condition of mastery at last.

Criticism in America has reached something like the state of the old
Continental currency. There is no honest relation between the promises
we make and the specie basis of meaning they profess to represent. "The
most extraordinary book of the age" is published every week; "genius"
springs up like mullein, wherever the soil is thin enough; the yearly
catch of "weird imagination," "thrilling pathos," "splendid
description," and "sublime imagery" does not fall short of an ordinary
mackerel-crop; and "profound originality" is so plenty that one not in
the secret would be apt to take it for commonplace. Now Tithonus, whom,
as the oldest inhabitant, we have engaged to oversee the criticism of
the "Atlantic," has a prodigiously long memory,--almost as long as one
of Dickens's descriptive passages,--he remembers perfectly well all the
promising young fellows from Orpheus down, and has made a notch on the
stalk of a devil's-apron for every one who ever came to anything that
was of more consequence to the world than to himself. His tally has not
yet mounted to a baker's dozen. Accordingly, when a young enthusiast
rushes to tell Tithonus that a surprising genius has turned up, that
venerable and cautious being either puts his hand behind his ear and
absconds into an extemporary deafness, or says dryly, "American kind, I
suppose?" This coolness of our wary senior is infectious, and we confess
ourselves so far disenchanted by it, that, when we go into a library,
the lettering on the backs of nine-tenths of the volumes contrives to
shape itself into a laconic _Hic jacet_.

It is of prime necessity to bring back the currency of criticism to the
old hard-money basis. We have been gradually losing all sense of the
true relation between words and things,--the surest symptom of
intellectual decline. And this looseness of criticism reacts in the most
damaging way upon literature by continually debasing the standard, and
by confounding all distinction between fame and notoriety. Ought it to
be gratifying to the author of "Popular Sovereignty, a Poem in Twelve
Cantos," to be called the most remarkable man of the age, when he knows
that he shares that preëminence with Mr. Tupper, nay, with half the
names in the Directory? Indiscriminate eulogy is the subtlest form of
depreciation, for it makes all praise suspicious.

We look upon artistic genius as the rarest and most wayward apparition
among mankind. It cannot be predicated upon any of Mr. Buckle's
averages. Given the census, you may, perhaps, say so many murders, so
many suicides, so many misdirected letters (and men of letters), but not
so many geniuses. In this one thing old Mother Nature will be whimsical
and womanish. This is a gift that John Bull, or Johnny Crapaud, or
Brother Jonathan does not find in his stocking every Christmas. Crude
imagination is common enough,--every hypochondriac has a more than
Shakspearian allowance of it; fancy is cheap, or nobody would dream;
eloquence sits ten deep on every platform. But genius in Art is that
supreme organizing and idealizing faculty which, by combining,
arranging, modulating, by suppressing the abnormal and perpetuating the
essential, apes creation,--which from the shapeless terror or tipsy
fancy of the benighted ploughman can conjure the sisters of Fores heath
and the court of Titania,--which can make language thunder or coo at
will,--which, in short, is the ruler of those qualities any one of which
in excess is sure to overmaster the ordinary mind, and which can
crystallize helpless vagary into the clearly outlined and imperishable
forms of Art.

It is not, therefore, from any grudging incapacity to appreciate new
authors, but from a strong feeling that we are to guard the graves of
the dead from encroachment, and their fames from vulgarization, that the
"Atlantic" has been and will be sparing in its use of the word _genius_.
One may safely predicate power, nicety of thought and language, a clear
eye for scenery and character, and grace of poetic conception of a book,
without being willing to say that it gives proof of genius. For genius
is the _shaping_ faculty, the power of using material in the best way,
and may not work itself clear of the besetting temptation of personal
gifts and of circumstances in a first or even second work. It is
something capable of education and accomplishment, and the patience with
which it submits itself to this needful schooling and self-abnegation is
one of the surest tests of its actual possession. Could even
Shakspeare's poems and earlier plays come before us for judgment, we
could only say of them, as of Keats's "Endymion," that they showed
affluence, but made no sure prophecy of that artistic self-possession
without which plenty is but confusion and incumbrance.

So much by way of preface, lest we might seem cold to the very
remarkable merits of "Sir Rohan's Ghost," if we treated it as a book
worth finding fault with, instead of condemning it to the indifferent
limbo of general eulogy. It is our deliberate judgment that no first
volume by any author has ever been published in America showing more
undoubtful symptoms of genuine poetic power than this. There are
passages in it where imagination and language combine in the most
artistic completeness, and the first quatrain of the song which Sir
Rohan fancies he hears,--

    ----"In a summer twilight,
      While yet the dew was hoar,
    I went plucking purple pansies
      Till my love should come to shore,"--

seems to us absolutely perfect in its simplicity and suggestiveness. It
has that wayward and seemingly accidental just-right-ness that is so
delightful in old ballads. The hesitating cadence of the third line is
impregnated with the very mood of the singer, and lingers like the
action it pictures. All those passages in the book, too, where the
symptoms of Sir Rohan's possession by his diseased memory are handled,
where we see all outward nature but as wax to the plastic will of
imagination, are to the utmost well-conceived and carried out. It was
part of the necessity of the case that the book should be conjectural
and metaphysical, for it is plain that the author is young and has
little experience of the actual. Accordingly, with a true instinct, she
(for the newspapers ascribe the authorship of the book to Miss Prescott)
calls her story a Romance, thus absolving it from any cumbersome
allegiance to fact, and lays the scene of it in England, where she can
have old castles, old traditions, old families, old servants, and all
the other olds so essential to the young writer, ready to her hand.

We like the book better for being in the main _subjective_ (to use the
convenient word Mr. Ruskin is so angry with); for a young writer can
only follow the German plan of conjuring things up "from the depths of
his inward consciousness." The moment our author quits this sure ground,
her touch becomes uncertain and her colors inharmonious.
Character-painting is unessential to a romance, belonging as it does
properly to the novel of actual life, in which the romantic element is
equally out of place. Fielding, accordingly, the greatest artist in
character since Shakspeare, hardly admits sentiment, and never romance,
into his master-pieces. Hawthorne, again, another great master, feeling
instinctively the poverty and want of sharp contrast in the externals of
our New England life, always shades off the edges of the actual, till,
at some indefinable line, they meet and mingle with the supersensual and
imaginative.

The author of "Sir Rohan" attempts character in Redruth the butler, and
in the villain and heroine of her story. We are inclined to think the
villain the best hit of the three, because he is downright scoundrel
without a redeeming point, as the Nemesis of the story required him to
be, and because he is so far a purely ideal character. But there is no
such thing possible as an ideal butler, at least in the sense our author
assumes in the cellar-scene. The better poet, the worse butler; and so
we are made impatient by his more than Redi-isms about wine, full of
fancy as they are in themselves, because they are an impertinence. For
the same reason, we forgive the heroine her rhapsodies about the figures
of the Arthur-romances, but cannot pardon her descents into real life
and her incursions on what should be the sanctuary of the
breakfast-table. The author attributes to her a dash of gypsy blood; and
if her style of humorous conversation be a fair type of that of the race
in general, we no longer wonder that they are homeless exiles from human
society. When will men learn the true nature of a pun,--that it is a
play upon ideas, and not upon sounds,--and that a perfect one is as rare
as a perfect poem?

In the prose "Edda," the dwarfs tell a monstrous fib, when they pretend
that Kvasir, the inventor of poetry, has been suffocated by his own
wisdom. Nevertheless, the little fellows showed thereby that they were
not short of intelligence; for it is almost always in their own overflow
that young poets are drowned. This superabundance seems to us the chief
defect in "Sir Rohan's Ghost." The superabundance is all very fine, of
the costliest kind; but was Clarence any the better for being done to
death in Malmsey instead of water?

This fault we look on as a fault of promise. There is always a chance
that luxuriance may be pruned, but none short of a miracle that a
broomstick may be made to blossom. There is, however, one absolute, and
not relative fault in the book, which we find it harder to forgive,
since it is one of instinct rather than of Art. The author seems to us
prone to confound the _terrible_, (the only true subject of Art) with
the _horrible_. The one rouses moral terror or aversion, the other only
physical disgust. This is one of the worst effects of the modern French
school upon literature, the inevitable result of its degrading the
sensuous into the sensual.

We have found all the fault we could with this volume, because we
sincerely think that the author of it is destined for great things, and
that she owes it to the rare gift she has been endowed with to do
nothing inconsiderately, and by honest self-culture to raise natural
qualities to conscious and beneficent powers.



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Engravings. New York. Harper & Brothers. 16mo. pp. 368. 60 cts.





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